Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Power tools

Yesterday they handed me a circular saw. Today I got a power screwdriver. And I hung windows. I don't have a "before" picture. But here's the "during" picture:

And here's the "after" picture:

This is what the house looks like after three days:

Monday, April 23, 2007

Day One

Well, my feet hurt.

But other than that, it was a good day. Hot. I think it got up to around 84 but it felt much hotter. I was debating wearing shorts tomorrow, but I kind of liked having something between my knees and the ground, as little as it was.

There are four houses being built on our site, and at the end of day 1, our team is "winning." We got all the (prefabbed) interior and exterior walls in place, the front porch overhang up, and about 80% of the house covered in that foam sheeting stuff. I don't know what it's really called, but I sure nailed a lot of it down in the afternoon:

In the morning, I was the staple-gun mama-jama:

It turns out I'm also really good at holding things:

I'll have more pictures up tomorrow or Wednesday. I'm the point person for everyone's memory cards so I should have a bunch to choose from.

I've eaten so much fried food in the past two days, that all I wanted to eat tonight at dinner was a salad.

And no, I did not get sunburned today. Which I believe is a pretty amazing feat for being outside from 7am-4pm.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


You know what I'm talkin' about.

So, we're here. The flight was my favorite kind...uneventful. Although our connecting flight in Dallas took off almost 45 minutes late, and I think that was the smallest plane I've ever been on. Only three seats wide. I got a seat to myself. We had dinner at a place called Don's; there were frog legs and alligator on the menu. I just got fried catfish and shrimp. I tried a little crawfish etouffee but it wasn't really all that for me. Went to a Piggly Wiggly for some snacks/bottled water to have on hand in the room, and here we are now. Darlene fixed me up with the wireless internet connection (my computer is so stupid about the wireless internet ever since Hopkins IT had a go at it). Anyway, I gotta get up at 6am tomorrow, which luckily is really 7am on the Eastern time that I'm used to! Hope to have some real updates and maybe some pictures in a day or so.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


I mean, Saturday. I looked at all of the "lolcats" pictures on the website. The best source for pictures like this:

I can has cheezburger?

So, what did I do today. Got up. Went to lunch with Matt at Arbys. Went over to church to pull a few weeds and plant the tulips that have been in our window since Easter. I cut back all the flowers, since they were wilting, and the leaves had gotten a bit yellow from not getting enough sun in our house, but the bulbs were still in good condition so if they don't rebloom this year, then definitely next year. Went to Child's Play to look at the games. Matt and I couldn't agree on one, and the people there were SO overbearing (I think we were there for half an hour or so, and during that time three different people came over at least seven times to ask us if we were finding everything okay or telling us about different games. Yes, I can read the back of the box myself, thank you). We didn't end up getting anything. Came back home, and worked on my project. The professor had extended the deadline to next Saturday (originally it was due tomorrow) but when I'm honest with myself, I realize that I'm not going to want to work on it this week. So I got it all done today and submitted it around 8:15pm. 12 page document plus two spreadsheet attachments. Hope it was good enough.

Dinner, packing, maybe a movie or some TV left for tonight?

I'll try to blog about my trip while I'm there. I'm a little worried that I won't be able to get to the internet computer does funny things with outside wireless connections ever since Hopkins IT did some crazy thing to my wireless access drivers. I guess we'll see what happens.

Happy wedding day, Ryan :-)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


I've seen comments on the internet lately about how people can grieve for the VT students that they've never met, and yet when twice as many people or more die in Iraq every day, somehow our grief is lost there. I don't think the deaths in Iraq, on the base of it all, are any less tragic. I think that the difference is that the students at Virginia Tech are more tangible. People who die in Iraq every day, they're people, but in the news they're just a number. Most times unless it's someone famous, a political figure or something, there's never a name. Never a picture. But the students and professors that were killed on Monday, we know their names, we know their faces. They were real people with friends and majors and hometowns and myspace pages. We read about their lives, we see them permanently captured in ones and zeros on the internet. We can't picture Iraq, but we've been in West AJ and in Norris and on the drill field and walked down the streets where the ambulances were parked. Is it wrong to place our grief in one place and not another? Perhaps. but I think it's our saving grace. If we were that close to tragedy, if it was that personalized and real for us every day, I don't believe we would be able to function as human beings.

Can you dream without sleeping?

It seems odd to talk about mundane things, but here it is anyways.

When I got my first radio (2nd or 3rd grade, I believe) I used to use the sleep function so I could listen to it when I was in bed. It was the first time I ever really listened to pop music. Out of all the songs, I really remember two. One was Roy Orbison's "Anything You Want." The other, I always thought was by Debbie Gibson. The only words I could ever remember from it were "radio, radio romance..." I tried looking on the internet several times in the past but could never find it. After a while, I started to wonder if I had made it up. Turns out when I looked today, that it's a Tiffany song. Success.

I ran into (not quite literally but almost) a pedestrian accident waiting to happen yesterday. I was on Broadway crossing Monument with a green signal on the crosswalk sign. Three steps into the intersection, I realize that the cars on Monument are starting to move. Hustle hustle. When I get to the other side of the street I realized that the crosswalk signal is somehow *rotated 90 degrees* so that the signal facing me was actually the one that was supposed to be for people on Monument crossing Broadway (and thus my signal is facing up Monument, away from traffic). It was fixed today.

I made an awesome salad last night. It was sweet baby lettuce mix, candied pecans, dried cranberries, goat cheese, and red wine vinaigrette. Yum. I brought it for lunch today too. And why is there an "a" in vinaigrette? There's no "a" there in vinegar. Crazy spelling.

I've written 5 of the 10 required pages for my project. I'm not sure if I slept last night. Those two sentences are not related. I have 3.5 more days to work on it. Then Louisiana.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Hokie Nation

I heard bits of Bush's speech at the convocation held in Cassell today. One of the things he said was "They were in the wrong place at the wrong time." I couldn't find the quote, but it reminded me of something a mother of one of the murdered Columbine High School students said, essentially to the effect of "People say she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. She wasn't in the wrong place at the wrong time. She was in the RIGHT place. She was exactly where she was supposed to school." That's kind of how I felt when I heard Bush's comment.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sunday, rainy Sunday

I updated my "American Eagle at Payless" bookmark to only show shoes that were currently in stock in size 8, to avoid further disappointments.

I'm trying to decide if I want this bikini. What I really wanted was a true halter top (not a string halter) with blue multi stripes and a matching bottom. Old Navy had one once, but it went out of stock. I was only able to find something similar in one place, and it was $80. I guess if I'm going to polka dot route I can go with the one I found at Lands End, which has the style of top I want but I'm not sure if I like the bottom. Plus it's getting pretty up there in price as well.

Today is a yucky rainy gray chilly day. Perfect for a nap. I think I'll put one on my schedule for this afternoon.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Cruel to be kind

Except Payless is not being kind. I'd like to point out what was on their website tonight:

Yes, that first shoe. It's the one I've been looking for for a month. I saw it and was immediately overjoyed. Until I actually clicked on the link and got the usual "We’re sorry. The system was unable to locate the page you requested or inventory for the size and/or product you specified at this time." Why?????

There are times that landscapes change

I told Matt Green that I was a level 21 wizard riding a wolf, and he asked me if I had been drinking. Hehehe. Matt (mine) bought me Puzzle Quest a couple days ago. I was initially skeptical, but it's totally addicting. I played for like 8 hours yesterday.

Why, you ask? Because my car was having the brakes fixed. I brought it in at 8am, thinking it might be a 2-ish hour job and I could be at work before lunchtime. Not a chance. I wasn't able to get my car until 1:45pm, thus making the day a total wash. But it was fun. Although if I had known I was going to be home all day I would have slept in!

I also got a chance to play for a while tonight. We babysat for Ben while Sean and Jen went to Glen Echo park for dancing. Man, this baby thing is easy. You just sit around playing video games and eating muddy buddies. I don't know why more people don't do it!

I am totally, absolutely kidding...please don't beat me with a stroller. Ben did sleep the whole time though.

I accidentally bought light ravioli the other day. It was fairly vile.

Matt just told me that a season of Sheep in the Big City is available on iTunes!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Okay, I had to put these here because they're so FUNNY.

First off, for all the "irresponsible homeowners are defaulting on their McMortgages and we need the government to bail out the housing industry" bellyaching, we still get a brazillion cash-out refinance offers. Like the one we received yesterday. Here's the fine print terms for a company that wants to give us $46,250 and a "NEW LOWER MONTHLY PAYMENT" that's about $150/month cheaper than what we currently pay:
This example loan is based on a first mortgage refinance 2/28 Adjustable Rate Mortgage loan with an interest-only payment feature, a loan-to-value ratio of 80% and 2.09% origination points. The monthly repayment example is based on 360 payments (with the disclosed payment being the initial interest-only payment of $1164.31, a contract interest rate of 5.99% and an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of 9.06% (APR assumes that a prepayment penalty option is selected). The initial rate and APR are variable rates which may increase after closing, at the end of the 2 year fixed rate interest only payment period. The interest only portion of the mortgage provides an initial lower monthly payment in exchange for assuming a higher monthly payment in the future when the interest only term expires.
Umm yeah, so I can pay some company about $5000 to give me a loan that saves me $3600 over 24 months and then slams me with a payment that's AT LEAST $900 more per month? No thanks. I can't believe this crap is still legal.

The other one is a little longer, but substantially funnier. So, as (I think) I've mentioned before, my dad bought us a subscription to The Washington Times, who promptly sold our name to all the right-wing mailing lists. We got an offer for a subscription to National Review:
Dear Friend,

You know "the look," don't you?

It's the look of profound sadness that crosses over the face of a network "anchorperson" who, once again, has had his or her heart broken by cruel conservatives who thwarted Nancy Pelosi's bill to, let's say, provide government-subsidized weddings for Gay and Lesbian Free-Range Poultry Farmers.

Or perhaps it's the angst-ridden lament of a New York Times columnist whose dreams of a "nuanced and compassionate" White House led by President Alec Baldwin and Secretary of State Cindy Sheehan appear not on the way to becoming reality.

You see the read the words...and you cringe: Is this just a bad dream or have the inmates really taken over the asylum?

Well, they certainly own most of the news media. And the universities. And the public education system. And nearly every square inch of Hollywood and Malibu.

Take heart! You are hereby invited to feel SANE again - and to enjoy an intelligent news source with the guts to enthusiastically skewer America's worst gasbags, liars and frauds. It's fun!

And it's a breeze to try a copy of NATIONAL REVIEW.

You're invited to enjoy a complimentary issue - sent entirely at our expense. Our next issue is due out soon, and it's yours to read free.

Try NATIONAL REVIEW. See how much fun it is to play "offense" rub their noses in their own sanctimonious hypocrisy. Just return the enclosed card - and start feeling sane again!

Best regards,
Jack Fowler
This is everything that's wrong with politics today, on both sides of the plate. And maybe even a little sadistic.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Today I feel...

Discombobulated. Unfortunately that's not an option on my little face frame magnet thingy. You know what I'm talking about. Matt was still sick today. So I went to church by myself. And then our Easter meal was steaks at Ruby Tuesday's. The waitress wasn't very attentive. We were going to walk around the mall, but it was closed. So we came home. And I've done nothing for the rest of the day.

The end.

Happy Easter

(Image link goes to photoblog with more)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Ollie Williams with the weather report

It's raining sideways!

No, seriously, what is up with the snow??

So, it's been an interesting weekend thus far. We usually go to my parents' place for Easter dinner. But. We found out last week that my dad has laryngeal cancer. He's having a vocal cord biopsy on Monday morning, so my parents are driving down to UVA medical center tomorrow. So we had Easter dinner today. Except instead of the usual Easter dinner, we had lobsters. Because Jesus died on the cross, and thus shellfish is no longer unclean. Nono, because that's what dad wanted for dinner. And I'm not one to turn down a free lobster.

And then, Matt came down with something and woke up this morning with an awful cough (after only sleeping for about 4 hours). So I had to drive down by myself. And my brother decided not to come home for the weekend.

-I need to get working on my class project that's due in two weeks.
-I've started reading 1984.
-I'm going to be in Baton Rouge in two weeks.
-My mom thinks I have an overly substantial shoe collection.
-The Dale Earnhardt Story is a pretty low-caliber movie.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

My favorite snack is crunching numbers

I had a lot of free time on my hands today, and so I played around with our finances. The awesome news is that we are on track to be debt-free in under two years.

Now, when I say debt-free, I obviously don't count the mortgage...for a couple of reasons. One is that people our age generally don't pay off their houses. The second is the tax benefits, and the third is that you get the principle back when you sell. So our current "debt" is only cars, student loans, and our heat pump (we don't carry credit card balances). But that's still pretty cool. I also calculated that without changing Matt's current 401K investment rate, he'll be a millionaire by age 59. I'm jealous, because I don't have a 401K at the moment. (And no, there is no point in me getting an IRA, because we haven't maxed out his 401K yet). But someday, I'll beat him :-) Though I do wonder how much a million is going to be worth in 2059.

And we did it without "economic outpatient care."

There's a sign on the way home from work advertising a number to call for information on a "VAN POO." Hehehe.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Alanis does Fergie

That's hot.

No, wait. I mean, Alanis does her version of Fergie's "My Humps."


Monday, April 02, 2007


We made turkey chowder for dinner, to use up the Boston Market leftovers. It game out pretty good.

Target and CVS carry Burt's Bees products now. That's pretty awesome.

I realized tonight that I am 25 years old, and I don't need my mom to buy me Cadbury Creme Eggs anymore. I bought them for myself this year (gasp!)

Did you get April Fooled?

I didn't. But for your enjoyment, here's a list of the Top 100 April Fools Pranks of All Time.

I bought the brown shoes from the previous post. Piperlime had free shipping and a code for 10% off your first purchase. I think I've decided against the pink ones.

Ummm, not much else to say here. Back to the reading.