Damn. I just got a quote from Renewal by Andersen which included custom-built new windows, installation, and warranty. The cost of one of their windows was more than all six of the off-the-shelf windows I was originally considering, and three times the amount of the windows we picked out on Tuesday. The entire bill was enough to make me dizzy.

Date posted: May 30, 2008 | Filed under house, porch | Comments Off on File Under: No Thank You.

Goodbye, Hedley Lamarr. Here’s a brief primer.

Date posted: May 29, 2008 | Filed under humor, shortlinks | Comments Off on Harvey Korman, RIP

Coffee Terrorism. Anyone who thinks that wearing a kaffiyeh promotes terrorism really just needs to die. Personally, I find Rachael Ray’s carnivorous Joker grin more frightening than a scarf.

Date posted: May 29, 2008 | Filed under politics, shortlinks | Comments Off on Coffee Terrorism

My original intent, when I began the front porch renovation, was to keep the costs low by using off-the-shelf materials to replace the crap I was tearing out. I’d looked at stuff at the local superstores and found inexpensive candidates, but I knew I’d have to special-order certain things (windows) because nothing in this house is standard size.

With that in mind, I’ve been hemming and hawing over the replacement windows for weeks now, unsure of my plans. The window openings on the porch were all framed in by drunks, so their heights all vary by as much as an inch, and the horizontal level is off by at least a half-inch. In order to figure out what I was going to do (and what shape the framing was in), I pulled all three of the front-facing jalousie windows out on Monday to see what I was dealing with. The base of the frame on the far right was in terrible shape, and I had to pull the entire thing out in order to see what I was dealing with. For a temporary fix, I cut sheets of plywood down and nailed them up until we got our new windows delivered.

ghetto windows

Aaaaaaand, here’s where things go south.

Returning to Lowe’s Tuesday with my 10% off coupon, Jen and I looked at the off-the-shelf offerings, and she helped me realize how shitty they look. The mullions (crossbars on the top window) were inside the glass, which looks funny from the outside, and the entire window is covered with a screen, which is ugly. After some discussion, we got a quote for better quality replacement windows which turned out to be about three times as much as I was originally expecting—not what I was hoping for. With the coupon and a firm quote I figure it will go down to about twice my original budget, but this is still putting a major dent in our plans. I’ve got a couple calls in to the better window companies to see what decent replacement windows will cost; I’m not expecting miracles but I’m hoping for one. The hard part will be getting a quote for the windows minus installation fees; I’m pretty sure that’s where their markup lives.

Meanwhile, eating our breakfast in the upstairs bedroom has gotten more exciting due to the looks of shock and awe of the passers-by as they crane their necks trying to figure out what happened to the front of the house.

new cherries!

Outside, we wrapped a couple of branches of the cherry trees so that we might be able to enjoy some of the fruit this spring. With the exception of the Year of the Locust (when plentiful, if earthy-flavored food was burrowing out of the ground all summer), the birds have cleaned out all of the ripening red cherries before we’ve been able to taste it. The grape arbor also got wrapped on Monday to keep the bunches protected for the season (and to keep the vines off the stairwell).

* * *

In other strange news, I had a dream last night where I was asked by Daft Punk to sit in on one of their concerts. I knew all the parts to the songs, but the “instrument” they stood me in front of was like no other I had ever seen, and made no sense. They got pissed at me when I couldn’t figure out how to play it (it was like a vibraphone stood on its side, with lots of added glowing sampler buttons that made no sense), yelled at me in French, and kicked me off the stage. I was so psyched to put on a helmet and a jumpsuit and rock out, too.

Date posted: May 29, 2008 | Filed under garden, house, porch | Comments Off on This is How We Renovate…In the Ghetto.

This weekend was spent as any good summer weekend should be: lots of friends, outdoor activities, and laughter. I carried my camera with me pretty much everywhere but only took a select few pictures, which seems to be the M.O. these days.

I had a chance to catch up with Mr. Scout on Friday, who has been hard at work on a familiar friend:

Chewbacca, Reborn

Compare that shot with this one:

disassembly continued

He’s been able to get the body off, have the whole thing sandblasted and painted, then replace the fuel tank, brakes and brake lines, water pump and fan assembly, as well as a pile of other things too long to list here. it makes my heart feel good to see the old girl looking better.

We then joined he and his wife for the Herb Festival on Saturday morning, where we enjoyed the sunshine and picked up a cartful of plants and vegetables from the assembled vendors, including this little gem:

Carnivorous plant

This is a Northern Purple pitcher plant, not as sexy or elegant as a Venus Flytrap, but still deadly to our eight-legged friends. Leaving the festival, we wasted no time feeding it a live ant, which now seems to be in a state of digestion. I set it up on our office windowsill in wait for more unwanted tenants, and we’ll see how well it does.

Thus endeth the photographic portion of the weekend; we had another dinner and picnic scheduled for our remaining days, interspersed with yardwork, sloth, and delicious scratch-made coconut cake. Not a bad way to spend the holiday, in my opinion.

Date posted: May 27, 2008 | Filed under friends, general | Comments Off on Memorial Weekend.

I originally put this in the sidebar, but it’s too large to read well over there: The Secret History of Star Wars, an unauthorized origin of the series, told through interviews, articles, and other sources. The Behind the Scenes article on the set of The Empire Strikes Back is the kind of stuff I love the most: What is the creative process behind the movie? How do the people interact? For example, this exchange:

Irvin Kershner: (Turns to Carrie) Now you see what a problem it creates if you slap him.

Billy Dee Williams: Well, let’s just try it that way.

(Suddenly, Carrie gives Billy quite a powerful whack.)

BDW: Don’t hit me like that!

Carrie Fisher: Did it hurt?

BDW: Of course it hurt.

CF: I’m sorry. How do you hit someone?

IK: You telegraph it to him.

BDW: If you want to hit me, fake it.

Based on the final product, Lucas should have let Kershner direct the remaining four movies too, or, at least, the prequels.

Date posted: May 23, 2008 | Filed under entertainment | Comments Off on The Secret History of Star Wars.

This has been around since 2004, but I’ll post it here. The Branding of Polaroid is a neat, if choppily written website by the man who was charged with rebranding a stale product line in the face of the Kodak juggernaut. It’s fascinating on many levels, and clear parallels can be drawn to modern-day Apple/Microsoft packaging.

Date posted: May 23, 2008 | Filed under design, shortlinks | Comments Off on The Branding of Polaroid

On this day four years ago, your mother and I married each other at a big party in front of our friends and family. It was a wonderful day which went by way too quickly, and when you’re ten we’ll explain to you all about the locusts.

Your mother and I have had quite a few adventures since then. We’ve traveled around the world twice, started our own businesses, watched friends and family graduate, give birth, and pass on. And during that time, we’ve grown closer than we were when we married each other, sharing good times and helping each other through the bad. It’s pretty cliche to say “my partner is my best friend”, but I think that’s what makes your mother and I work—because nobody but a best friend could stand to live with me, that’s for sure. Who knew there was a “correct” way to load the dishwasher?


You, our greatest adventure, are doing very well from what we can tell. Your mother is having intermittent Braxton-Hicks Contraptions, which are her body’s way of getting itself ready for the Big Stretch. She calls them “contraptions” because she doesn’t like the sound of “contraction” in relation to her own body, which I can completely understand. We’re also beginning to receive baby clothes from family and friends; your aunt knitted you a beautiful sweater, your grandma sent along a package of new clothes, your aunt sent you a bear-themed bathroom set, and there’s a chest-high pile of clothes from one of your future playdates. So throw up all you want, kid—we’ll keep you covered.

Mommy is beginning to show now, too, which is good, because for a while there I was thinking that the doctors were fooling us into believing you weren’t really there.

We still don’t have a name for you yet. All of the ideas we’ve had are pretty much dead in the water with the exception of one girl name and two boy names, but I don’t think we have consensus. We’re working on it, though, so don’t worry George Lavernius Tiffani Othello Thibodeaux Aragorn Jim-Bob Sally Katrina John Wayne Knute Britney Shaqueela Chewbacca Dylan .

Date posted: May 22, 2008 | Filed under finn | 1 Comment »

I just found a very interesting podcast through iTunes called Beginning Guitar 101 (podcast link) which has four-minute video tutorials for the beginning student. From what I’ve looked at so far, the tutorials start out with some basic fingerings, go over basic chords, chord fills, and then chord transitions. I’ve not been keeping up with my practice, sadly, but this is something I’m going to put on my iPhone for downtime minutes.

Date posted: May 22, 2008 | Filed under music, shortlinks | Comments Off on Learning Guitar by Podcast

The Most Curious Thing – Errol Morris wonders how the girl in the Abu Ghraib picture could be smiling, and why. This is an outstanding article.

Date posted: May 21, 2008 | Filed under life, shortlinks | Comments Off on Errol Morris and Abu Ghraib