Here’s what the situation in Iraq is really like. Democracy, indeed. What a disaster.

Hrmm. So the debate is tonight, which interests me a little bit—I’d like to watch Kerry destroy that other guy, but since it’s going to be so tightly scripted, I don’t think it’s worth watching. Instead, I’ll shut off the TV and ignore it.

Here’s a sketch of what the house could look like without the enclosed porch. Since I did this, Jen and I agreed on different pillars (square, perhaps tapered in sort of a Craftsman vibe) and larger windows on the sunporch (over on the side, first floor.)

Album of The Day: Death Cab for Cutie: Transatlanticism. Thanks to Shelly, I am totally hooked on this album. Nate tried to get me into DCFC about three years ago, and I was not into it. I think the Postal Service opened the door, and now I’m going to grab the back catalog.

Date posted: September 30, 2004 | Filed under house, music, politics | Leave a Comment »

Been spending the morning watching the live feed from SpaceShipOne as they attempt to win the Ansari X-Prize. Absolutely thrilling stuff. We thought he was going to wrap it, but from what they said, the wild rolling at the very end was expected.

Date posted: September 29, 2004 | Filed under geek | Leave a Comment »

It probably wasn’t a good idea to leave most of the windows open this morning.

Top ten CSS tricks you may not know. (via )

My New Shirt-Folding Technique Is Unstoppable. Look upon me and weep in amazement. I have tried this, and it works. Rejoice! (via )

The second of three floor-sanding quotes came in yesterday, and it’s about $300 less than the first. This guy was really cool as well. Meanwhile, a cherry ’78 Scout showed up on the DC Craigslist for $3,700 in running condition—the same amount for a new fiberglas tub delivered to the house. I cried myself to sleep last night.

Date posted: September 28, 2004 | Filed under art/design, history, humor | Leave a Comment »

A few years ago I came into possession of a designer’s Holy Grail: a CD burned with meticulously organized font collections, obviously compiled by some lowly summer intern and then passed, hand to hand, like a Grateful Dead bootleg. Not long after I got the CD, I bought a second-hand laser printer and burned out two ink cartridges making spec books. The four (!?!) binders were carted to each job I took, placed high on the Shrine Of Anal Retentive Designer Worship, and consulted in times of crisis.

Since I made those books, we’ve bought, traded and collected a bunch more fonts from various sources, and I’ve lost track of what we actually have. So last week I began to take advantage of the double-sided print function here at work and print out the catalogs we don’t have spec sheets for. I’m through the second catalog and I have a stack about an inch thick, four-up on a sheet. And there’s five catalogs to go.

View From The Top. My Dad took a plane ride this weekend and sent us the digital pics from his trip: here’s my grandparents’ farm looking south from across the road.

My Kidneys Hurt. Renie got a late start on the road Friday, so Jen and I drove into the city for some dinner before she got in. It’s always a good thing when your server recognizes you with a smile, and even better when they offer you a free round to welcome you back. Saturday morning we drove down into Ellicott City for some breakfast and to drop in on Home Anthology, where we found a shelf full of old signage lettering and lots of beautiful furniture we can’t afford right now. Continuing on to the IKEA, we wandered through the aisles and made it almost to the checkout with only a bag of tea candles before a new wine rack jumped into our cart. Back at home, we helped Jen put dinner together, a mouthwatering pork tenderloin with saffron rice, and we stayed up late talking, polishing off three bottles of wine.

Sunday we nursed hangovers and headed into the city to help our friend Shelly move out of her apartment; between the five of us and Doug’s box van, we got everything into the house in an hour and a half. They then treated us to some of the best sushi we’ve had in years, at a little restaurant at the foot of the hill in Mt. Washington. (From what we understand, the sake martini wasn’t too shabby, either.) The rest of the evening was more relaxed, mixing a bit of freelance, lots of couch time, and an evening walk to the local ice cream stand.

Renie’s at the house right now working on the resume and keeping Penn company; she’s promised us dinner tonight, so Jen and I have to decide where to go. Ideas, anyone?

(Special shout-outs to Shelly for the fantastic music I didn’t even know I wanted.)

Date posted: September 27, 2004 | Filed under art/design, family, friends, photo | Leave a Comment »

Up until 1:30 freelancing last night, and back at work at 8:30am. I feel swell.

  • The second of two floor estimates came in last night—$2,600 for the whole first floor, stairs, and kickplates ($400 for the kickplates alone.) Ouch.
  • Jen’s comment from yesterday is true: we looked at our tomato plants on the back porch, and the single survivor of three original vegetables, which was forming beautifully, is gone. We don’t think it fell off—it’s gone, like somebody came and took it. Bastards. We’re going to have to rig up some kind of Stalag spotlights-and-barbed-wire arrangement when we plant our garden next year.
  • The new season of the Surreal Life, starring a New Kid On The Block, Flavor Flav, Brigitte Nielsen, Charo, and one of the guys from Full House, is a magnificent train wreck of a show, and we are hooked.
  • Date posted: September 24, 2004 | Filed under entertainment, garden, house | Leave a Comment »

    The roof estimate comes in at about $1,500, which is somewhere around what I figured. While not great news, it’s better than being told the whole thing is shot. So the floors will wait a little while longer.

    Overheard at Dinner. The setting: a whitehaired dude sitting four booths down from us at the restaurant down the street suddenly exclaims to his table:

    “The difference is, George Bush never threw his medals away!”

    It took all my strength to resist yelling back, “At least Kerry earned some medals.”

    Activism. Last night there was a meeting at the elementary school across the street about a proposed road-widening not too far from our house. We’re near a major north-south artery off the beltway, and the State Highway Administration wants to three-lane one of the feeder roads, citing accidents and public safety as their major reasons. Living on a highly trafficked state road already, the idea of opening the area up to further congestion does not appeal to me. I’m one of the weird folks who believes that wider roads don’t ease congestion, but promote higher speeds and enable more traffic to back up. I believe in alternative methods for “safety”.

    We’ve been in the house for a year now, and we’ve only met a handful of our neighbors. I don’t think we’ve offended anybody on purpose; we don’t let our dogs crap on their lawns, shoot bottle rockets at their windows, or mow the lawn naked. The “community association” in our neighborhood seems to be run by people who aren’t predisposed to welcome new arrivals—they held their annual picnic two weeks ago and never bothered to invite us, or our friends who live across the street. (Just wait ’till I put my “Kerry For President” sign on the front lawn.) So it was interesting to see all of these people together in one room.

    The meeting was as you’d expect: one tired-looking state official fielding questions from a room full of frightened residents, with the occasional whitehaired man shouting rambling statements at him. Jen and I filled out our opinion cards and listened to the rabble for a while before leaving; I decided to sign up for the community organization south of us so I have some connection to the opposition (I’d say the room was 95% against, with four or five people timidly raising supporting hands in an informal poll) and the neighborhood. This should be an interesting foray into local politics.

    Date posted: September 23, 2004 | Filed under house, politics | Leave a Comment »

    We’re in the middle of making plans to have my sister Renie join us this weekend for a much-needed break away from her job, and I think we’re all getting excited. There are some tentative plans for IKEA, possibly some Home Anthology, and a lot of refreshment.

    Update: Looks like Renie’s going to need more than a few drinks- her asshole company just laid her off. We’re going to see if she wants to come south a little sooner than Friday. That makes a combined four five layoffs for the Dugan family in the last five years. “Recovering economy” my ass.

    Lucky Break. It turns out that our atrium windows are ½” away from being standard size—I was able to find an off-the-shelf storm window at the Lowe’s for $33 to button up the side of the house. That’s much better than $130/ea. I was quoted for custom-built versions, and I can work around the missing half-inch.

    Date posted: September 22, 2004 | Filed under family, house | Leave a Comment »

    This morning my cellphone went off as we were getting ready for work at about 8:45. I’ve been calling all over creation getting quotes on different stuff for the last couple of days—not because we have the money, but because somehow knowing how much things will probably cost is one step better than not knowing how much anything will cost and having the great unknown hanging over our heads like a black cloud of doom.

    Anyway, I’ve been playing phone tag with roofing contractors for a few months now. Getting a roofing contractor to come out for a quote is hard enough; on the food chain of home improvement contractors, roofers are below sewer plumbers and above housepainters and therefore not the most reliable of fellows. (Being a working plumber implies that you went to trade school and probably apprenticed under somebody. Getting a job as a housepainter is easier than robbing a 7-11, less dangerous, and provides as steady a supply of weed as a short-order cook, but without the available pool of single waitresses.) Slate roofers are smarter than the average roofer, in that their trade is skilled (I’ve laid asphalt shingle, and it ain’t rocket science) but more in demand, because there aren’t a lot of guys who are good enough to do it and also smart enough to convince people to pay what it costs to do the job right, so they’re harder to find. When the phone rang this morning and he told me he was outside, I threw on my jeans and ran out in socks to talk with the guy. He was really personable, got up on the roof and put in some temporary patches over the slow leak on the southwest corner, and gave me the straight dope: about 60 slates are in need of repair. At about $5-7 per slate, that’s not a bad per-material cost, but the day it’ll take to fix everything will be the major hit. I fear that the flooring may have to wait until we take care of the roof, but I know I’d sleep better this winter with a solid cap on the house.

    Date posted: September 21, 2004 | Filed under house | Leave a Comment »

    Friday night I installed a dehumidifier ($139 from Sears) in our steaming, fetid basement with a hose going directly to the drain. I also put stringers in the linen closet and blocked out where the pass-through medicine cabinet will be, while adding at least four inches of dust to the upstairs bedrooms. Saturday I finished up the major part of my consulting gig, then returned home to continue on the closet. Jen was out of town, so I stopped over at the neighbors’ for some pizza and beer, which was a lot of fun. Sunday the skies were blue again, so I continued the housework, stopping only for a visit with Dave, who dropped off a loaner bass cabinet for me to play with. Thanks Dave!

    Date posted: September 20, 2004 | Filed under friends, house | Leave a Comment »

    Boy howdy, do I feel like crap today. Too much red wine last night.

    Person 1 leaves memory card in car. Person 2 finds it and starts a fictional blog based on the pictures. Hilarity ensues.

    Quote one for the downstairs floors is somewhere between $1,800 to $2,400, including the kitchen floor. Higher than I was thinking, but still reasonable. I guess to have it completely done in three or four days would be worth the extra money. We’ll keep you posted on quote number two.

    Date posted: September 17, 2004 | Filed under house, humor | Leave a Comment »