The Big Think

June 2, 2006

And So It Begins

Filed under: Woodworking — jasony @ 9:50 pm

What was I thinking?

Last year we decided to redo the bathrooms upstairs. The upgrade was going to be just paint, but, as is usual with me, it has expanded to a rebuild of Monster House proportions. I decided to use the guest bathroom as my proof of concept/testbed/practice area before I tackle the master bathroom (which is a bit larger and funkier in shape). The guest bathroom is of the “as small as we can built it and still call it a full bath” variety, with just enough room for a full sized tub, commode, sink, and that’s about it.

So I thought heck, as long as we’re painting it, I might as well put up crown moulding. I mean, I have extra around and it looks nice and it’s not that hard, what with all the practice I’ve gotten on the rest of the house. Well, if you’re going to have crown moulding on your ceiling, vinyl flooring just won’t do, no sir. So we decided that we would tile the floor. I tiled the kitchen backsplash, so how hard could a floor be? You know what? Tile floor looks nice, but a tile floor that continues up the wall to chest height looks really nice. And you have to finish it off with some cool decorative tile accents (not exactly these, but close).

Well, if you’re going to all that work, you can’t- you just can not– pass up the chance to install a much needed medicine cabinet, and put a cabinet over the toilet (both of which I’m able to build in my shop, thankfully). And to finish things off, do you really think we’re going to put that old fish shower curtain back up? Don’t forget the new curtain rod, new towel racks (with new towels, natch), and new light fixture.

The only saving grace of this project is that we’ve been slowly accumulating bits and pieces here and there for the last six months. We’ve managed to score some really fantastic deals on stuff because we’ve been willing to wait. Until today.

I was thinking that we had the whole pile of stuff ready to go and the only thing we were waiting on was… was… well, nothing really. I have the time, the stuff is all here, paint’s picked, crown moulding ready to go, shower curtain bought, etc. So today I wrote out an order of demolition and construction, gathered a pile of tools, and started tearing into things. With any luck, nine days from today we’ll have a spiffy new bathroom. As is the case in most things I tackle, once I start going down the road of “wouldn’t it be nice”, I don’t stop until there’s nothing substandard in the whole project. It’s a curse, I tell you, and a very expensive one at that.

The bathroom is empty… and I mean empty. Toilet gone (removing a toilet is a nasty job), no trim on the walls, no mirror or light fixture. Door removed. Nothing but the tub and the main vanity cabinet- which I didn’t rebuild… how can I ever live with myself?

Wine Tasting

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 9:21 pm

Back at Christmas Erin got me a stocking stuffer for the new wine place that just went in a mile north of here. It’s called Vino 100 and has a hundred or so (hench the name) boutique wines for very reasonable prices (the most expensive is around $25 and most of them are in the $10-$15 range).

We finally went in there tonight, six months later, and spent more than an hour with the two owners tasting four different wines and talking about the differences. Erin and I got quite an education on wines and were able to refine our tastes a bit more. I learned again that I don’t really like heavy tannin-rich wines like Merlot’s or Shriaz’s (and the tannins can sometimes set off a migraine headache). I do like the lighter and slightly fruity white wines. Erin likes a wider variety than I do.

We ended up purchasing two bottles of wine. One was a wonderful wine called the Henry Estate White Riesling Select Harvest Umpaqua Valley (there’s a mouthful). It’s fruity and sweet without being too cloying, and should go well as a dessert wine. The other was a red table wine called Rose D’Anjou Domaine Nouelles. We bought the second one based on the owner’s recommendation and it was fairly inexpensive (hey Denise, this fits in with the “Crappy but Free!” card you sent Erin!). We’re looking forward to trying these wines out and really hope the place stays in business. We were there for an hour on a friday night and were almost the only customers.

Fan Mail

Filed under: Current Reading — jasony @ 11:41 am

I finished Alastair Reynolds’ book Century Rain a few weeks ago and blogged about it here. Just after I finished it I figured I’d dash off a thank you to the author. I didn’t really think I’d get a reply. I just wanted to say thanks for such a good story.

Well, my email just binged and I got a reply! He wrote a very kind and thorough email. In fact, his reply was longer than my medium-sized original email to him! He addressed all of my questions and gave me some insight into several aspects of his writing (didn’t know it took him nine months to write a book… and yes, I’ll read slower next time). In all, very kind of him to reply. Kinda neat, too. It’s not the first time I’ve written a note to an author I’ve enjoyed reading. I usually get replies. Those writers must be a lonely lot. 🙂

Vista vs Tiger

Filed under: Computing,Macintosh — jasony @ 11:21 am

I feel comfortable predicting that Windows Vista will not outpace Mac OS X Tiger for overall quality and usability. It’s hard to beat Apple’s top-notch GUI design grafted onto an implementation of Unix variant BSD. Mac OS X has excellent reliability, security and usability…I’m placing Windows Vista as a distant second-best to OS X.

from 20 Things You Won’t Like About Windows Vista

Shame on you, Microsoft. Shame on you, but not just for not doing better. We expect you to copy Apple, just as Apple (and Linux) in its turn copies you. But we do not and should not expect to be promised the world, only to be given a warmed over copy of Mac OS X Tiger in return. Windows Vista is a disappointment. There is no way to sugarcoat that very real truth.

Paul Thurrott Where Vista Fails


Filed under: Bandwidth Speed,Technology — jasony @ 11:18 am

As of yesterday we’ve finally left Cox Communications and our clunky, horrible cable modem service, behind. The verdict on the new DSL connection so far has been very positive. After the inevitable installation and configuration issues (mostly my fault), the modem has been up and running without a single glitch for about ten days. That right there beats the pants off of Cox’s service. It clocks in around 1.5-2mbps, but generally feels the same as the old service. And it’s fifteen bucks as compared to Cox’s fifty. Cox is such a ripoff.

I happened to see that our old Motorola Surfboard modem is going for about fifty bucks on ebay. It’s been five years since I’ve sold anything on ebay and don’t have much of a history there, but I’d still like to sell it.

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