haven’t really been posting since i started work, hope i can pick it up again soon. there’s been so much going on that i haven’t had much time to breathe, let alone blog. where to start?
last i wrote, i had just graduated and gone camping at canyonlands national park w/ my dad in utah. it was his first camping trip EVER, so we were really looking forward to it. the park was gorgeous – red, rocky, and desert. the area we hiked was the meeting point for three distinct areas of the park – one area that looked like the grand canyon, one that looked a bit like bryce cancyon, and another that was a bit like bulbous blobby rocks. my dad couldn’t handle more than 2 days of hiking tho – we couldn’t finish our first day’s 8 mile hike, but did ok on the 4 mile hike the following day. after camping we hit a hotel in moab and went rafting down the colorado – nothing serious, class 2 rapids at most. it was beautiful to coast down the river, though, and appreciate the scenery. this was my dad’s favorite part of the trip. i don’t think he’ll be camping again any time soon – or ever really. on the upside, the 6′ tall tent i got to make his camping easier will make future camping trips for my budding family quite comfortable. we never really do more than car camping anyway – park the tent at a campsite and go on day hikes.
about a week after i returned from utah, i started work. i’ve been here about 2 months now, and it’s been great. we’re in a major crunch and are trying to get our construction document set out in 2 weeks. it’s been a super fast paced project from the get go, but we’re in the home stretch. we’re renovating an existing classroom building from 1930 (2 story) and it’s 1980 addition (1 story). we completely demolished the interior, and are creating a 3 story atrium in the middle between the 2 buildings. the top story of the atrium will be a kalwall ‘box’, providing daylight to the atrium and surrounding hallways. the kalwall sits on a copper ‘sleeve’ – the move is if the copper and kalwall were fitted right into the center of the building. the atrium is divided in to 3 laboratory bays, separated by 8′ tall terra cotta walls – the rest of the wall from 8′ to the top of the kalwall is glass, so that the daylight can diffuse across all the bays. there are also 2 study pods that are going to hover in this space, sticking out from the second story of the existing building. these study pods are what i’m spending most of my time on right now. i’m covering them in reclaimed wood, and have been working on the size, patterning, spacing of the boards, and aligning the module with the structure. getting the spacing to line up with a 4′ module from the kalwall box and how the study pod protrudes through the existing wall and into the adjacent hallway has been really stimulating. here are some pics:
aside from work, we bought a house, and have been busy doing our renovations. this house was the right price in the right area, but was so ugly that i had real reservations about buying it. during our 3 visit to the house before going through with contract i finally started brainstorming renovation ideas that would not only make this house rock, but would also make us a hefty profit when we sell. i’m pretty sure that the house hadn’t been renovated since the first owner died or moved out. he lived in the house since it was built back in 1965. all of the walls were these dreadful shades of tan, peach, aqua, and sky blue. they were all lit by single incandescent bulb fixtures from the center of the room, which provided this shallow deathly pallor. i felt like we were moving into a slum when i walked down the narrow bedroom hallway. the killer was the living room – it has an 8′ wide sliding glass door w/ this amazing retro yellow/mustard curtain. it’s not really retro, tho, b/c it’s original. all of the walls were polyurethane coated wood panels, which bled into the kitchen where all of the cabinets were similarly finished. it was horrible. every room except of the kitchen and bathrooms was carpeted. here’s what happened:
we moved in, ripped out the carpet in every room, and got to painting. all paint was sherwin-williams harmony paint, which emits ZERO V.O.C.’s. indoor air quality is extremely important, and slowly people are getting more educated about the amount of chemicals we breathe on a daily basis. of course, that was to a degree all for naught b/c beneath the carpet in the living room, we found vinyl sheeting glued to the concrete slab. it took me 4 days of scraping to get that shit off. i rented a power scraper from home depot which got about half of it off, but i had to resort to using Jasco chemical crap to dissolve the glue, which had hardened over the last 50 years. i kept my pregger wife out of the house while i did most of that stuff. we painted the wood paneling in the living room white w/ a purpleish pink accent wall. it looks awesome w/ the retro curtain, which we kept. the front room, which had been set up as a dining room and formal living room when we looked at the house is now just the dining room. it’s too small to be both. it is now a bright white.
we laid hickory hardwood in the living and dining room using low V.O.C glue from Mapei. that glue is super strong – it took over a week for that stuff to come off of my hands. it was such a pain in the ass to lay hardwoods that i’m hiring somebody to lay the remaining 180sqft in the office and hallway. we should have hired somebody in the first place – it would have saved time and labor. it wasn’t really such a pain, but it’s definitely back breaking. we were originally going to go w/ bamboo, but the only bamboo in our price range was of low quality and therefore soft enough to easily dent and scratch. in terms of sustainability, then, our floor has the positive aspect of not being shipped halfway around the world, but not much else.
the baby’s room is now painted a soft cheery yellow w/ white trim, and will have carpet tiles in various shades of light green. we designed the room unisex, but cindy won the battle of finding out the sex, and we are now well aware that our baby is a she. i don’t like designing the room around a sex anyway. the hallway is now white instead of nasty tan, and it feels so much bigger and brighter. it’s amazing what white, or any coat of paint for that matter, can do to your perception of space. the master bedroom is still halfway primed – we’ll probably finish it in a month or so when everything else in our life settles down (hardwoods are completely installed, vacation is over). the bedroom will be mostly white w/ a khaki accent wall, which will go well w/ our natural beech wood furniture (it’s all ikea veneer, but that’s the color). we painted the office yesterday – white again. it had been some sorry shade of off-white – you didn’t realize how OFF-white it was until it was being repainted. a much cheerier room now. once the painting is complete, we’ll lay baseboards everywhere which will pretty much complete the current renovation. in about 2 years we’ll probably do a major renovation which will expand our square footage by 800-1000. the ideas are churning in my head – plenty of time for refinement.
anyway, we did most of that in about one week, and that had 8 of our best friends from college visit austin for a weekend. we packed just about everybody into the house which still had boxes and paint and hardwood everywhere. this trip had been planned long before we found the house or set the closing date. chaotic is the word. but we had a great time despite the incessant rain. it rained all summer in austin, and that weekend was no exception. as soon as they left, though, it stopped raining and we haven’t had a drop since.
so that’s about it. plenty in the span of 2 months, i feel. oh yeah – the reward program changed at the place where we had our registry, and we found out we’re eligible for the top prize – a 37″ flat screen sharp aquos lcd! i called up and the thing is already shipping – we should get it this week. super psyched to get something that rockin’ for free! it looks to be about a $1299 value. that’s a hardcore reward gift.
a good friend of mine got engaged last week, and as we chatted about it she asked me to be a bridesman. i laughed, we joked about dresses. then today she was chatting online w/ my wife and mentioned the bridesman thing. turns out it wasn’t a joke! i’m of course completely honored to be given that role in a friend’s wedding, so i’m very excited about being a bridesman – i just didn’t realize first time around that it was real. the wedding’s going to be in NY in september, so it’s a great chance for us to get up to see my family before the baby’s born in november. i have another friend getting married in NY at the end of september, but i may have to attend that one solo since that’s w/in the 6 week timeframe for the baby’s due date. i’m pretty sure somebody else is getting married around that time as well – i can’t remember who, but can only hope that it’s here in austin.
on a side note, all of my ATL buds are finally booking their tix for our annual throwdown. one of our friends is pregnant w/ her second baby, so she and cindy will be our designated drivers all weekend. sweet! another of our friends just settled on a house up in DC area, so that’s super great, too. that means next year our shindig will be up in the DC area w/ 4 of this 10 person crew living up there. we get around the country w/ our visits – ATL, Miami, Alabama, Austin, DC… that sums up everyone’s living location, so unless somebody moves, we’re either going to start doing repeats in 2009 or we’re going to have to start w/ destination weekends!
[UPDATE:] ah yes, that other wedding i couldn’t remember – that would be one of my best friends. i just received a save the date email last night, and the wedding is in NY the day after the baby’s due date. i’m so upset that i won’t be able to attend this wedding. i knew that it was going to be around the time of the baby’s due date, and let me friend know – but i also noted that he shouldn’t arrange his wedding around me when he made comment to that effect. i’ll have to be sure to make it to the bachelor party, which better not occur in the 6 weeks prior to delivery…
one of my best buds just published his first book, National Darkroast Day. a satirical jab at American coffee culture and corporate greed/automatons, it’s most definitely worth a read! pick it up online at iUniverse.com and Amazon.
i haven’t eaten at the new Mellow Mushroom on the Drag yet, but that’s not to say i’ve never eaten at Mellow Mushroom before. see, Mellow Mushroom started out in the ATL, which is where i went to college and lived for a while following college. Mellow Mushroom is a nostalgic connection to one of my favorite cities.
when i did eat there, a remember it being ok, nothing i absolutely loved, but it was certainly better pizza than domino’s. it was also a fun vibe. additionally they had Simpsons trivia. now, trivia was a big part of my ATL career. there seemed to be trivia at a different bar every night, and the best part was always the names of the teams: Sue Itchy Guys, Uh-huh!!!! (you must watch Yatta to understand that ludicrous team name). but let me give you a clue to how ridiculously impossible it was to compete in Simpson’s trivia at the Mushroom – question 11: ‘what was the 3rd word utter by Homer following Ned’s exclamation 14 minutes into episode 156?’ yeah, i don’t know how anybody could anser that. of course, some team did, and they walked out w/ the title ‘need a life’.
anyway, i’m excited to have a culinary connection to the ATL, and will give the new Mellow Mushroom a taste one of these days.
Mellow Mushroom > by 26th and Guadalupe, formerly Legs Diamond.
FB – aaiigghtt! so school has started again, and perhaps i can get back into the swing of updating. my schedule is pretty intense this semester, but then again, it’s been intense every semester. the difference this time is that i fucked up my grades real bad last semester, and i can’t afford to do that again. and also, the solarD house is in crazy design phase. about 12 people actually signed up for the solarD class, which was pretty impressive. unfortunately, the class didn’t seem to get the direction it needed – and i won’t get into that b/c i’ll be freakin pissed to high hell if i start talking about that again. suffice it to say it’s going to be insane actually getting out construction documents this fall.
i bought a package of M&M’s tonite. they were black and white – i thought it was one of those promotions where if you find the color you win a bazillion dollars. i may have eaten the colored one, i have no idea. note: don’t eat candy in the dark when the candy may provide you several lifetimes of money. but alas, i think it was an old pack of candy w/o any sort of contest. stupid m&ms.
last wk i actually took a wk off from school/working! cindy and i went to ATL to visit friends, and it was, as expected, a freakin rockin time. we went to bars, visited Emory, drank at sweetwater, saw Alienvs.Predator (the funniest worst movie ever), and rented a pontoon and cabin on lake lanier. i can’t begin to outline all the hysterical things, but perhaps alien vs. predator will be enough.
why we thought this would be a good movie, i can’t begin to figure. but where it lacked in horror, it did farely well in making a mockery of the alien and predator lines. like how an archaeologist managed to read a huge room filled on every surface w/ heiroglyphs of egyptian, cambodian, and aztec origin in a matter of seconds, and decipher the history of the alien v. predator story, and how humans are entwined. the ultimate was his lau tsu like quote to sum up the human party’s position on how to deal w/ this war they seemed to be in the middle of: “The enemy of my enemy…is my friend.” how profound! that is now actually our website (www.theenemyofmyenemyismyfriend.com). within 10 minutes of the start of the movie, the 10 of us were laughing hysterically to the dismay of the 20 other people in the theater. understandably, they joined in pretty soon, making fun of the ridiculous crap. however, the theater workers were not as sympathetic. when we left, they were hanging out by the exit door, and they said amongst themselves, “those people did not respect that movie.” that’s right, RESPECT. for reals.
maybe this can get funnier when i don’t watch dharma and greg at the same time.
oh yeah, we took a shitload of awesome pics in ATL and New Orleans (we stopped there for 2 days on the way back to austin).