That’s the shower tile as it stands today. Brian is coming back to finish the area down to the floor and around the bench, and then he’s going to grout the walls. Then he’ll lay the floor in and grout that. We have a rough quote on the glass door, which is not cheap, but it will highlight the interior of the shower perfectly as you walk in the door.

* * *

Jen and I spent another weekend almost completely consumed by grading student work. We did get out here and there but it wasn’t at all what I hoped we’d be doing, for the second week in a row. We’ve been trying to line up things for Finn to do while we’re busy but it’s hard to stay focused when there are kids running around—who inevitably come to us to help them find something to do.

I’m at the point where I’m doing twice as much work to teach than I did my first semester; as we’ve gotten more involved in refining the rubric and syllabus and have striven to offer constructive, helpful feedback (going so far as to add a third project into my syllabus to give students an earlier idea of how they’re doing) the workload has quadrupled. Jen and I are conscientious about how we grade our work, so we double-check each other’s grading and notes, which adds more time to the process. And Finn sits idly by, bored out of her mind. Saturday was a mixture of rain and sunshine, and even though it was cold and damp we should have been outside hiking somewhere, not stuck inside.

I turned to Jen Sunday night and told her I’m thinking about quitting teaching. Finn’s life is flashing past me, and I’m not spending enough time with her right now. It’s breaking my heart.

* * *

One thing we did do as a family is go to see a matinee of How to Train Your Dragon 3. The three of us have been hooked on the series since Finn was old enough to appreciate it, and it was one of the many things we shared with the Morrises (I can’t hear the phrase “DEPLOY THE YAK” and not think of Rob and Zachary). The final movie in the series was good. It hit all of the main plot points and character beats as a good movie should; there were callbacks to the original movie that old-school fans appreciated, it definitely hit us in the emotional core (my family is pretty heavily invested in these characters, after two movies and three TV series) and it wrapped things up in a solid way that felt right.

Deploy the yak!

But it was lacking the careful pace of the first movie, which took time to slowly show us the wonder of the relationship between a boy and his dragon, and how that in turn affected his relationships, as an outsider, with his community and his father. The first movie (I rewatched a bit of it last night as I cleaned up my desk) moved slower, took time to develop the stakes, and also let us breathe. It showed us how wonderful the world it created was, asked us to notice the details, and gave us time to appreciate them. I felt like the new movie was following a producer’s note that simply read, “MORE DRAGONS”. There was so much going on in every frame that it felt hard to keep up with what was happening. The only time I really felt like it was slow enough to let me appreciate the story was at the very end, and if I hadn’t been so familiar with the characters from my previous experience I wouldn’t have cared half as much.

* * *

The IPWhatever is kegged and carbed, and I tapped it on Saturday afternoon. In terms of taste, it’s pretty nondescript. Even after I’d dry-hopped it for much longer than I’d intended, the flavor is still pretty bland. But it’s got a hell of a kick–I never did a final gravity reading on it (because, after I’d fucked it up, what’s the point?) but it definitely hits me when I finish a pint of it. And that’s good timing, too, because the grapefruit IPA is just about kicked.

* * *

Our neighbors on the right side, who have been in the house as long as we’ve lived here, recently moved to an assisted living community and put their house up on the market. We were in New York when they held the open house, so we didn’t get to walk through it, but we told a bunch of friends and our brother and sister to check it out. Having walked through the downstairs a few times I didn’t see any huge problems, but everybody we know said it was more work than they were willing to take on. As it turned out there was a bidding war on the first day and it’s going to settlement this Friday. Apparently the buyers have kids a little younger than Finley, and they’ve had several people come by to look at the place, who we can only guess are contractors. I hope they’re normal and we can get along with them.

Date posted: February 26, 2019 | Filed under bathroom, brewing, entertainment, family, friends, house | Leave a Comment »

Here’s the surround in place with two coats of paint (ignore the kickplates at the bottom; that’s a whole other thing) and the clock recentered.

Date posted: February 25, 2019 | Filed under appliances, house | Leave a Comment »

I’ve been listening to a podcast about the Apollo 13 disaster and it’s led me down a rabbit hole of interesting information. When I was in the third grade, one of our readers had an article about the event and it fascinated me. Did you know that all of the film from the Apollo missions has been scanned and posted (unedited) on Flickr? Someone put together an animation from that footage of the damaged Service Module.

Date posted: February 21, 2019 | Filed under geek, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

From the Washington Post: The Supreme Court unanimously decided that the Constitution’s prohibition on excessive fines applies to states as well as the federal government.

The Eighth Amendment states: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” Two of those commands — regarding bail and cruel and unusual punishments — have been deemed to apply to state and local governments. But until now, the ban on excessive fines had not.

Having your car seized and sold just because you ran a stop sign is egregious and immoral. Now it’s illegal too.

Date posted: February 20, 2019 | Filed under politics, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

Here’s where we are with the shower as of today. Brian was in yesterday and made huge progress on the north wall (left side) and begun the back wall up to where the niche starts. It’s really beginning to come together.

We’re getting somewhere between 4-6″ inches of snow right now, so I’m working from home. Jen made some eggnog pancakes and bacon and we all noshed on that for breakfast, and a little after lunchtime we went over to the Elementary School for some sledding. As of 2PM it had stopped snowing, and tomorrow’s forecast is for 50˚ so I doubt there will be anything left when I get home after  work.

I finally kegged the IPWhatever I’ve had sitting in the fermenter for four months; I dry hopped it at least a month ago but never pulled it out into a secondary to filter so I have no idea what to expect in terms of flavor. It could taste like shit or it could be the best beer I’ve ever produced; I’ll never be able to recreate it in any case. It’s currently carbing in the cooler, and should be ready to pour by the weekend.

Date posted: February 20, 2019 | Filed under bathroom, brewing | Leave a Comment »

I’m just going to leave this here: Man dies in toilet fire at Baltimore Ravens stadium.

Date posted: February 19, 2019 | Filed under humor, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

Honda announced today that it’s going to close its plant in Swindon, UK in 2021, and that this decision has nothing to do with Brexit, even though the plant accounts for 1/10th the auto output in the UK. Why do I care? Our trusty CR-V was built in the Swindon plant and shipped here.

The loss of such a major employer in Swindon, which backed Brexit in the June 2016 referendum, risks a further 10,000 jobs in the supply chain, which could have knock-on effects for other carmakers due to the interconnected nature of the sector.

I guess voting against your own self-interest isn’t exclusive to the Colonies.

Date posted: February 19, 2019 | Filed under cars, honda, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

I’m on the couch sipping a cup of coffee while Finn, who has off from school today, sleeps in upstairs. I have off from work today myself, but it’s only most of the day, as I still have to teach tonight. Last week was canceled due to the ice storm so the class is sort of a week behind (I assigned the second project via email so we’ll see how this whole thing shakes out today). Overall it’s going OK this semester, even though they’ve packed my class with 18 students, the absolute maximum–and frankly, about 4 students too many. They did contact me last week about teaching the branding class again in the fall, which would be ideal; I’m tired of this syllabus and would like to mix things up again.

I did sell the other two radios on Saturday morning, which made me a little sad. I had plans at one time to fix and refinish the Philco tombstone, but the reality of the situation is that we just don’t have anyplace to put it. The buyer apparently got the Telefunken set working and mentioned that he specializes in repairing the electrical bits, so I might get in touch with him later in the spring to fix one of the sets I’ve got here. File that under future nonessential plans.

I’ve been learning a lot about my sleep habits with the Fitbit. Namely, even though I lay my head down on the pillow at 11PM and get up at 6:40, I’m only averaging about six and a half hours of sleep every day. Analyzing the data, it looks like I’m going down easy at first, and then bouncing up and down out of restful sleep starting at about 4AM or so. I’ve always worked better at night: my peak concentration hours start at about 8PM and go to 1AM, but I can’t follow that schedule anymore. I’m going to have to train myself to close my eyes at 10:30 religiously to make up for the loss.

Today’s plan is to get some stuff around the house done. I have wood ready for the refrigerator surround ready and want to put that in place first thing. I’ve got to keg the beer that’s been sitting in the basement for the last four months; god only knows what that will taste like at this point. Then I want to measure the greenhouse for new footers and new plastic, and make a plan to refurbish it for a fresh crop of tomatoes in the spring.

Date posted: February 18, 2019 | Filed under brewing, geek, projects, radios | Leave a Comment »


Date posted: February 17, 2019 | Filed under finn | Leave a Comment »

We had friends over for drinks and dinner last night and they brought the fixings for several different delicious cocktails. One of these was one I haven’t had, called War of the Roses, which features Pimm’s, gin (which I rarely drink), elderflower liqueur, and lime juice. It sounds like it could be very bad but it tastes very, very good.

Date posted: February 17, 2019 | Filed under friends, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »