July 2008 Archives

AC and various topics

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The AC replacement is a collaborative effort between us doing the demolition and other labor (wiring, drywalling) required to raise the height of our hall ceiling, and the contractor, Liberty Air, who's doing only the air conditioning and insulation related tasks. It's gone surprisingly well, despite some frayed nerves from working in the heat and general YUK that comes from living in a mess where this ancient insulation and decades old dust and various pest remnants is blowing through my house. I know we've had raccoons and rats during my tenure here.. who knows what else made its home up there. Tomorrow they should be able to finish the wiring and plumbing and ducting to have it all hooked up. We won't fire it up though, until the hall ceiling is in place, so as not to suck all that nastiness above into the nice clean ducts. The new unit is slightly smaller than the vintage '82 unit it replaced, but the outdoor unit is enormous. All aluminum, no copper joints, so high efficiency ratings. One, maybe two more nights with window units. Here's a few photo galleries:

Day One

Day Two

Tomatoes: I've given up. Only the cherry tomatoes have produced, and not very well at that. I'm not sure if they had too much sun or too little sun, or too little water, or what. We had 2 good tomatoes for a capri salad, and that was it. Maybe next year.

Neighborhood clinic: Chaz and I attended a neighborhood meeting for "Northpark Estates", one of the border neighborhoods of the proposed clinic. The opposition to the clinic is wisely focusing on the zoning issue. We've been pro-clinic and have contacted the county to that effect. The local NPR affiliate station, KUT has called Chaz to interview him as part of a story on the dust-up. We remain astounded that people don't realize that they're within a c*nt hair of being indigent and without health care themselves. This month GM cut retiree benefits and the retirees in these neighborhoods think that it can't happen to them. It's nuts. I'm having a hard enough time planning for retirement with rising fuel costs; I can't imagine being an aging boomer on fixed income and seeing energy costs cut deeper and deeper into the money I would use for health care or housing. This is a train wreck in slow motion.

Timing is everything

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july284cast08.jpgI don't know how we manage to time it so that our house is without central air during what looks to be the hottest week of the year. [104 is 40 Celsius, 76 is 25 C]

We do have 2 rooms with window airconditioners: the bedroom and the office.

Spacemen Abduct Ducting

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IMG_9245.jpgThe destruction has begun in full force.
IMG_9244.JPG... we must certainly be due.

Tomorrow the Central AC in the house is going to be replaced, as are the ducts. Chaz, of course, undaunted by the mess and the destruction involved, will be using this as an opportunity to remove the fur-downs where the original ducts were. Once the new ducting is up, he'll be moving some wires, and we'll tape & float out new drywall in our taller hall. Until then, we've got sections of the house sealed off, and insulation dust will be all over the place for months to come.

The only surprise to fall out of the ceiling this time was a 2 quart tin can that looked like some kind of Christmas thing. Not quite a find like the vintage swinger porn we found when we remodeled the bathroom.

In this moment

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Obama couldn't have had a better evening for the speech, and a moving speech it has been, transcending national boundaries and redefining what it means to be a global citizen. This is our moment.


Tuesday Notes

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Dolly is approaching the Texas coast. We've already got the high cirrus clouds arcing from east to west over Austin. They're moving right along as well.

Some Austinites are whining about their electric bills. Did they not notice the fact that June was hotter'n hell?
Duplex is painted, all the hazardous waste is taken away, nearly ready to rent out. Bit more cleaning and its there.
The uptight neighbors across Lamar are having a meeting tonight to discuss the proposed County Health Clinic. They've dialed down some of their rhetoric, and seem to be wisely asking 'is this the right spot for the clients' which is a hard argument to counter, but considering the spot where they're counter-proposing is in the 100-year flood plain on smaller streets, I think they've still got an uphill battle. I'm thinking I'll go and keep my mouth shut. Don't know if Chaz will be able to, however.

30 years later...

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july19_30reunion.jpgThis weekend we made a mad dash down to Houston for Chaz's 30-year class reunion. It was held at the Houston Club, which I'm sure in its heyday 40 years ago was quite swanky, but in context of 2008, is quite like a crazy old aunt that's dressed up; a remodel is desperately in order. In all, the reunion was nice - everyone was cordial, the food wasn't bad, and they did all those reunion-y things like count kids and grandkids and have a dance. We stayed a good three or four hours before trekking through the downtown canyon back to the hotel for the evening. Chaz was a bit disappointed that more of his closer friends weren't there for the event, but I think we had fun nonetheless. I got a kick out of these green-screen photos; Chaz's shirt resembles Harry Potter's cloak of invisibility in a subtle way.

On the way out of Austin we stopped at Southside Market in Elgin for some barbeque. It was pretty quiet there for a lunch hour. Apparently everyone was a bit north at the newly appointed"Best BBQ in Texas", Snow's. If they hadn't heard the story though, they might have been out of luck; word is they run out of meat within 2 hours of opening at 8.

This week I'm ramping up a work colleague on a project in NY state, and getting ready for our new AC installation at the house. Its gonna be a mess. That and finishing getting the duplex ready for a tenant.


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chaz: OMG!!!!
D: uh oh
chaz: I just wrote one of those lines of code tha I just use to HATE cause I could never read it
D: bwuahahahahha
chaz: if(e.getURL().toString().substring(e.getURL().toString().lastIndexOf("/") + 1, e.getURL().toString().length()).equals("return"))
chaz: I might be a geek
D: might?


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Netroots Nation is in town, and I didn't think to register.


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IMG_9145.JPGHe's made himself at home in the Continental Presidents Club. On the floor watching cartoons.

Suck it, Marlin Perkins!

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HA! 2 *FAT* armadillos were spotted in my backyard this morning as I was doing morning routine at 6:40. In the morning light the two of them were rooting around the fenceline and exploring all under the deck. I'd seen the little divots in the yard, but had no idea there were two of them. Was too dark to get a photo.

Packed and on the way to Palm Springs for the weekend!


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Looks like I don't have to put Fake Steve Jobs on the blogroll that I never got around to writing.

Missing M

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A big weekend in Munich coming up. CSD: their gay pride weekend, with a street festival on Saturday and Sunday, a political parade on Saturday (the Rosa Liste (pink list) again earned a place in the city council during the elections this year), and the "Pumps Race" on Sunday in which hilarity ensues. Franz said he's going to take part in the events this year, so hopefully he'll get some good photos.  While listening to some radio from M just now, they mentioned Siemens is laying off people there this week. Yikes.

Ruhetag in the states?

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During our recent roadtrip, Chaz speculated that perhaps we may soon see the reemergence of euro-style Sundays where retail would have to close one day, in order to both cut business costs, as well as to resolve staffing issues if staff can't afford to come to work 7 days a week.  His sister has already started doing the 4-day work week discussed here. It's no longer out of the question, and I suspect may come at us quickly.
Heather really is a gifted writer.

Democracy In Action

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IMG_9136.JPGDoesn't look like much here, but Chaz got fired up this weekend. Travis County selected a site for a new health clinic down on Braker, which is a major street in our area. The neighborhood association which abuts the site is trying to fight the county, at first using zoning, but they're also having a brainstorming/planning meeting tomorrow to come up with other angles for not having the clinic be there. It really boils down to the neighborhood not wanting people from the neighborhood RIGHT ACROSS Braker on their side of the street. Heaven forbid poor people or people of color come near their property, nevermind the neighbor down the street on a fixed income that can no longer afford to travel to the existing clinics to get a free shingles shot. The neighborhood association next to ours asked for some help in petitioning the city and fighting that location, and a few of our neighbors have said its worth their time to do so. Chaz and I are progressive enough to be indignant at this, so we sat at the end of the drive and gathered just a few signatures of the walkers in our neighborhood. Only 1 couple out of 12 were on the fence, and one signer even said she used the clinic in Pflugerville when she was out of a job. I'm going to present this at our association's board meeting tonight, and let them know I think they should stay out of the fray. If individuals want to support the fearful neighborhood association, more power to them, but I don't think they're doing it out of benevolence. I ask myself, would I support the clinic going in where the Albertson's is at the corner of Lamar and Braker which abuts my neighborhood, and I think I can. It'd be a bit better than having it empty as it is now. Would it affect my property values? Not as much as having a rental property with junked cars parked in its backyard next door, as was the case when I tried to sell my house last year. If these guys think they can get away with racially motivated scare tactics, its crap, and we'll make sure they know that.

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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