Wednesday, October 21, 2009

House: Week Six

DSC_4075This week progress on the house was painfully slow for the bulk of the week. The framers spent most of the time plugging away at finishing the roof sheathing, which took far, far longer then I would have imagined. This appeared to be because of the slow nature of making all the angle cuts where various sections of roof met and also because they seemed to run out of wood not once but twice.

Then, on Monday there was a flurry of activity as the last pieces of wood finally showed up so they could finish the roof, the windows were delivered, the eaves were finished, and the house was wrapped.

On Tuesday they installed all of the windows in the house except the one over the garage, and had the shingles delivered.

Then on Wendesday, they didn't work again. Two steps forward, one step back. But at least we are really, really close to being sealed from the weather.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

LED Lights

I watched the first season of Big Bang Theory on my iPod going to and from India earlier this summer. Prior to that I had seen a few episodes here and there, but hadn't watched it regularly. Lately, Linzy and I have been watching it pretty regularly.

I get a kick out of the humor, particularly Leonard in season 1, but now Sheldon in the current season. Linzy also seems to enjoy it. Although I regularly get the feeling that to some extent she is laughing at me.

One of the things that I am regularly amused by is the Dell XPS laptops that they frequently use on the show with LED lights and colorful add-ons. We bought a dual-SLI XPS laptop at work for a new particularly graphically intense application's on-site sales demonstrations and the sales team mocked it mercilessly. In the end we settled on sweet Sony Vaio laptops that are probably somewhat slower then the SLI monster, but work much better for the sales people.

But watching Big Bang Theory, every time they show one of the XPS laptops I envision a buttoned down English sales guy pulling out a 17-inch noisy laptop with a power brick the size of a college textbook and having the rear LEDs start flashing during the demonstration. Totally unrelated to actual humor on the show, but it still makes me laugh.

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Monday, October 19, 2009


Normally once I fall asleep, I sleep like the dead until the morning. Because of this, I very rarely actually remember any dreams that I have, and even more rarely actually have nightmares. My sister remembers all kinds of crazy dreams, but I don't remember a thing except turning off the light the night before.

Last night for some reason I had a terrible time sleeping. I kept waking up cold, or hot, or at some unexpected sound, and because of this I remembered a few of my dreams. The strangest one was not strange in terms of what happened, but it was basically a nightmare, that when I go to do my presentation next week in London, that I looked like an idiot and mess it completely up.

Which is just bizarre, because I'm really not worried about the presentation. Or at least I thought I wasn't, prior to this, when clearly I secretly am.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Poor Planning

For several reasons, I've had a bit more free time on my hands the past month or so, which has allowed for some more video game playing then normal. A couple weeks ago I finished Shadow Complex and then finished Gears of War 2 (which I was about 50% finished with already) the following weekend. Since then I've been trying to figure out what I would be playing next as Grand Theft Auto 4, the other game I didn't put in storage, wasn't really keeping my interest. Eventually after some thinking, I settled on Fallout 3.

I decided to hold out for the Game of the Year edition, because that came with all five DLC packs and so seemed like a good deal. That version didn't come out until Tuesday (10/13) and I decided to save some money and finally use the credit I had gotten from trading in old DS games this summer.

Now in general I am morally opposed to used game trade-in business, for more reasons then I could list here but primarily because I feel that it takes advantage of young kids who have games but no money. They have limited options for getting rid of the games (especially before the rise of Craigslist) and the used game stores give poor trade-in value and over-charge for used games. Including charging more for used games then the going price of a new copy. There's a benefit of convenience, but the stores have various means to lock their customers in so that they are more-or-less forced to keep their business at one chain.

Anyways, one of these means is to stock few if any new games, and push consumers to used games. Which I am well aware of, but didn't really think through relative to wanting Fallout 3: GOTY the week that it came out. Of course the store didn't have any, and would have wanted to sell me a used copy instead (despite the fact that wouldn't have had the DLC).

Since I failed to consider this problem, I was in a position of wanting the game so I could play it this weekend, but now couldn't even get it from Amazon and save a few bucks, so I ended up paying more at Best Buy. Plus I didn't have my gift cards on me at the time, so instead of getting it for free (at the used game store) or for a reduce price (through gift cards or Amazon), I ended up paying full price for it just to have it 'now'.

Very poor planning and patience. And on top of that, I haven't been terribly impressed with the game, as the pacing is fairly slow and combat is far too frequent and takes forever to beat even weak enemies (fire ants for example). Perhaps I should have bought Borderlands.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

House: Week Five

As you may remember from week four, last Wednesday after a two-day work week the new house had exterior walls on the second level. This week we made quite a bit more progress.

First they built all the interior walls on the second level and finished up the main staircase

Then they added most of the roof trusses

For the past two days they have been working on sheathing the roof, which turns out to be far slower then I was envisioning.

They're actually a bit further then that picture shows, about two-thirds of the roof is complete. There is also some work being done with the HVAC and/or sewer, but no one can quite put their finger on what is being done. The house has also become quite the muddy mess after all of the rain and snow. I imagine that will only get worse before it gets better.

[ Total days spent framing at this point is 11 ]

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ear Trim

DSC_4056Pippen went in today for her twice yearly haircut. Around 11am Linzy called me at work to say there had been an accident at the grooming parlor and they had cut Pippen's ear. She described them as having 'glued the ear', which I was envisioning as them having totally snipped the ear off and were trying to glue it back together.

Apparently there is a vet right next door, and since they couldn't get the bleeding stopped they took Pippen over there for assistance. It was the Vet who was doing the gluing, not the grooming place thankfully. They had originally told Linzy that if we wanted there not to be a notch, they had to put Pippen under so that they could stitch up the ear.

We made the call more-or-less sight unseen to not put Pippen through anesthesia. Which after seeing the cut would have been totally ridiculous, because it is very small. Pippen appears to be no worse for wear after the injury, and in fact was claiming to me tonight that it gave her 'street cred' and made her look more rough-and-tumble.

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Monday, October 12, 2009


I've been amused lately at the onslaught of Verizon ads trashing AT&Ts 3G coverage.

For some reason showing the coverage map seems to be a highly effective way of differentiating the coverage. I assume AT&T would claim that their coverage includes X% of their subscriber base (where X is large) and it is therefor irrelevant whether they have 3G coverage in central Wyoming. But since AT&T already has quite the reputation for shoddy (at best) coverage, it seems to hit home and play to Verizon's "It's the network" trademark.

Still doesn't address the lack of an iPhone killer, but Well Played.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Apology Accepted

On Saturday night Brenden, Allison, Fred, Robin, Linzy and I went out to eat at Crave at the Mall of America. The evening had been in the plans for over a month, due to all of our busy schedules, and Linzy and I were looking forward to it.

We had made a reservation for 7pm, which turned out to be good because the restaurant was packed. After starting the wine that Fred and Robin brought, we ordered our meal and then waited for our starter salads. And waited, and then waited some more.

Eventually it got to the point where I was commenting to Fred and Linzy that I was starting to get worried that the salad would end up coming at the same time as my steak. Shortly after, however, our salads came and everything seemed OK again. We ate the salads and then waited for our main course. And waited, and then waited some more, and then waited even longer.

By this point the tables around us had been seated after us, eaten, left, and had the second round of guests well on their way through dinner. We started looking around trying to figure out what was going on. Our waitress was spending a lot of time checking over meals on the counter, and discussing something with the chefs. At the end of one of the conversations, she handed the chef a list which he grabbed and threw down on the counter in anger.

At that point the waitress talked to the manager, which was clearly not a good sign. The manager came over and explained that they had thought they lost our meal order, found it but had thrown away the food because it had sat too long, and had just figured all of this out. She was very apologetic and immediately offered up taking care of our entire meal including wine (which happened to be only a corking fee, but she didn't know), and desert.

While they were remaking the meal, the executive chef came out and apologized profusely, they brought two baskets of bread (which are extra cost) and brought everyone at the table another salad. In addition we ordered another bottle of wine.

Our dinners came eventually and were very good. My steak was perhaps not quite on par with Flemmings, but was certainly as good as Porterhouse in Lakeville. Then on top of two salads and bread, we all couldn't resist ordering deserts to share. I was extremely full, but it was a very tasty dinner.

None of us could believe that with no complaint, or suggestion they picked up our entire bill that probably ended up pushing $400. The consensus was that we would have expected free desert, or perhaps a discount or free bread baskets. But covering everything we had ordered plus allowing us to order more was more then anyone would have expected. It definitely took a situation where we would have been frustrated with the experience to one where all we could talk about was how well they treated us.

Which I suppose was the point, and probably something that a restaurant that is charging the prices they charge needs to do to maintain a reputation for service, but it was still a pleasant surprise. Overall it ended up to be a very enjoyable evening with friends, regardless of the fact that dinner took well over three hours.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

House: Week Four

Unfortunately this week, they only worked on the house for two days. The other days were rained out. The first day they put in floor joists for the second level, along with almost all of the decking. The second day they built all the exterior walls for the second level.

For those of you keeping score at home, so far they've spent 6 days framing the house. That makes my original claim of 10 days for framing look pretty accurate, since all that is left is the interior walls and roof rafters plus roof sheathing. Depending on how much they work, we could be getting close to being sealed in next week.


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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

True Fan

To some extent on my fantasy football teams I try not to have any Vikings players. I've found that it usually ruins watching the game for me, because if the Vikes are doing poorly then so is my fantasy team. Of course this still doesn't protect me from the awkward situation where my opponent has Vikings players and I'm subconsciously rooting against that player even while cheering the team on.

This week my team was leading my opponent by 20 points going into Monday night's game, and I still had Ryan Grant left to play. Unfortunately my opponent had Bernard Berrian, Percy Harvin, Vishante Shiancoe, and the Minnesota defense left to play. Needless to say, I ended up losing by quite a bit.

Clearly my opponent had embraced living and dying by the Vikings. Of course, he was 0-3 at that point in the season, but maybe now things will turn around. At least I've gotten through Adrian Peterson last week, and basically the rest of the team this week, so I should be safe from conflicts of interest for a while.

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Double Tap

This weekend Linzy was out of town, so I was left mostly to my own devices. For the most part I did miscellaneous solo activities like cleaning the house, going on ridiculously cold bike rides, or finishing Gears of War 2. But on Saturday night I had enough of the house and decided to go see a movie.

I went to go see Zombieland, because I thought it was a safe bet Linzy would never want to see it. Five seconds into the opening scene, that was affirmed and I knew that Linzy would have hated it. I, on the other hand, was thoroughly entertained. The movie made me laugh, kept my interest, and was generally amusing and fun. I liked Woody Harrelson's antics and Jesse Eisenberg's phobia-ridden character.

The movie was definitely not something that everyone will enjoy, but I liked it.

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Sunday, October 04, 2009

Hardbat Classic

Today in between watching some football, I watched some of the Bud Light Hardbat Classic table tennis tournament. I stumbled upon the tv coverage randomly while flipping between channels and then ended up being hooked. Growing up we had a ping pong table and I spent played pretty regularly with my Dad and family, and then played a bit when I was in the college dorm.

Watching the long rallys and crazy return shots brought back memories of playing in our basement. Perhaps not accurate memories, but at least memories of trying to make those behind the back looping returns.

Looking at the details of the tournament handicapping system after the fact took some of the magic out of it, because it explains why the Pro players had such a difficult time playing the average players, and why some of the matches were not as close as you would think they should have been. But I still found it interesting to watch and start thinking about whether I can fit a ping pong table in the new basement.

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Meet Klaus

For the past three years, I've driven about two miles each way to a bus park and ride and then ridden the bus to downtown. This use of a car always strikes me as sort of silly, but at the same time it is just a little too far to walk, riding a bike has all kinds of complications, and in general it is just far more convenient to drive. Even if it does seem ridiculous.

At my new bus stop, I've been noticing a lady driving what appears to be a Porsche Cayman coming and going at around the same time as me each day. This amazes me for many reasons, and not just because of all the door dings I can imagine on the sides.

It looks sweet and all, but is the right use of your shiny $60,000 sports car really driving two miles and then getting on the bus?

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