Saturday, October 28, 2006

Now witness the power of this fully armed Operating System!

Apparently Miscrosoft isn't satisfied with owning 97% of the OS market and has decided to 'Covince' people to use their new Vista OS by threatening them with a frickin' DEATH STAR.

Oh sure, it will supposedly be a bright, happy blue. But if you painted the Death Star blue, it would still be the goddamn Death Star now wouldn't it? You can make the planet-killing laser make kitten sounds but you're still blowing up Alderan. I don't know about you, but I'm heading out to reserve my copy of Vista at Comp USA today. (via

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Pics Online!

We finished today and began cleaning up the huge mess we created in building this thing. I used the new Picassa Web albums feature, I hope you like.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Before MTV sucked..

Years ago in the Pliestine age (1984) there was a video and song that I truly dug. I remember it was called "Land of Hunger" and it was by a group called "The Earons". Well, thanks to the Internets and youtube I am once again able to enjoy this very cool song, and so can you. The weird thing is that the band members were known only by numbers. Supposedly they were well known, but no one has any data on this. Go check the google or wikipedia. These guys were fucking ninja's!

I believe they call this

When we moved in to Bag End several years ago we sat about drinking mead and dreaming of ways we could turn it into our perfect dream home. These dreams had to wait of course. Being a home owner means you can't bitch at the landlord to fix the leaks in the roof or repair the gutters etc etc. But after we took care of the biggest issues we dreamed again of wild, cool things. One of those projects was to replace the awning roof in front of the house. There was nothing wrong with this roof per se. It was well built and in acceptable shape. But its builder failed to take a few things into consideration. He basically extended the original roof to make a screened porch. But the math didn't quite work out which resulted in a very low roofline, a loss of natural light and and entrance that was only 6 foot tall and required some ugly cuts just to allow the doors of the house to open.

Enter the Michigan Renaissance Faire. Rossana and I wandered the site last year, marveling at the nice booths and in particular some of the cedar shake roofs. After some inquiries I was led to one Richard Heinzelman, woodworker and booth builder. On a lark I told him about my home and asked if he could turn our low, sharp, plain roof into something higher and more organic looking. We talked a while, he asked for measurements and pictures. We talked some more. We drew pictures. We discussed materials costs. In the end, he agreed to do the project if three things would happen:

  • I would need to find a source of fresh cut, green hardwood
  • I would have to help
  • It would have to be done in the last two weeks of October. (The worst time of the year weather-wise and during the Ohio Ren run).
I agreed anyway. If we didn't do it now we would miss our chance. Richard wasn't available the entire rest of the year. Thanks yet again to Grimm I found a source of wood from an Amish saw mill. We put Richard up at our house and last week we began work. And I do mean work. The first step was ripping apart and hauling away the old roof. This involved physical labor, something I eschew. Then came the more-funner job of post hole digging. By the end of the second day I couldn't actually hold tools. Did I mention the horrible cold that was still plaguing me? But after that things began to take shape. I cut the rafters and basically did grunt work and Richard worked his magic. The results, which should be done in the next two days, are nothing short of amazing. It looks incredible. Even better, the roof now lets in way more light. The entranceway to our house? Its now under a 7 1/2 foot arch.

Of course, removing the old roof exposed a LOT of wires, pipes, cinder block and other nastiness underneath that has to be covered up somehow. We (I) hadn't quite thought if that during planning. Covering the front of the house with stucco is our eventual goal, but that will have to wait until finances are available. Until then we're going to just cover it all up with some spare paneling.

Richard's labor costs were very reasonable and using me instead of bringing a member of his usual crew saved a lot. So did getting the wood from the Amish, who were very cool and eventually charged us LESS than we had originally agreed upon.(Cultural footnote: The Amish consider a firm handshake a sign of aggression and dominance, give 'em a limp-wristed shake and they'll consider you slightly less barbaric English) Grimm even helped out last Sunday while we finished up O-Ren. I thought this project would take two weeks but Richard thinks he'll be done in two days. This is what happens when someone knows their shit. I will post pics when we're done. The worst drawback to this project has been the damage to the plants near the house, which we have been walking all over. Its unavoidable and Rossana had been very stoic about the destructive, plodding men trampling everything in sight. And of course the new roof, being curved, has no gutters. I am slightly nervous about where the water is going to go in a heavy downpour. We may end up having to dig some French drains. More digging, horay.

The weather needs to hold on for two more days. Just two more days...