Saturday, June 10, 2006

How I Spent My Saturday Evening...

I was down at KBTC helping with the Doctor Who pledge drive. After a year and a half without the show, they got the rights to it back and can now show the first 26 years worth of shows again! So we had a party pledge drive, with The Dalek Invasion of Earth. The turn-out was good, so I was able to sit in the background for most of the pledge breaks, holding up the penguin from the top of our telly to harrass my husband, who was on-air talent.

-by Tegan at 11:44 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

More Construction Photos

The gutters won't be fixed until Monday at the soonest, but I can show what's happened so far now.

Here's a picture from Thursday, showing the "possum" vent now securely covered by a new pressure treated wood frame and solid screening. The crawlspace was a bit deeper than the feared eight inches. There was a wide concrete foundation, which you can see in the image, then the crawlspace starts at the plastic. They did replace one major support down there, and they crawled under the house through that hole.

The new subfloor. The lighting was so bad they had a high-powered light outside aimed at the work. It would have been nice to have some sun.

New sheetrock. My guess is that they will leave it like that, allowing us to paint it to our tastes. They did say they would put in a patch floor over the subfloor, though...

Done for the day, they blocked up the area with heavy plastic sheeting. And a good thing they did, too, because we ended up having a ton of rain overnight. Hmph. "One hour of light showers" my shiny metal a... anyway.

Friday morning, they put up the boards under the siding, then started putting up the siding itself. The board sticking straight up in the left of this image is the board they rigged up to keep the rain off them while working.

Here's the inside after the patch floor was put in and the wall mud was applied. After he did this work, he said he'd send somebody over to put in some finishing touches once the whole thing was completely dry. It doesn't match up perfectly, and we'll have to get a floor expert in to put in new hardwood at some point, but I plan on throwing a nice rug over it and not worrying about it until we've recovered financially from this hit this one gave us.

Behind the door, up in the bedroom, the guy did a VERY nice job, almost matching it perfectly with the siding that was already there. I decided to not take a picture, because it's pretty boring. But it looks good.

And here's what the outside looks like now. Definitely a far cry from the final picture of my first set. We need to paint the house sometime. Just one more worry. I'm thinking it might look good in a different color. A green or something. I'd like to paint it dark green, but I bet there's all kinds of reasons why that's a bad idea. In any case, the new siding is solid. I watched them put everything in, and once the gutters are fixed, it's going to be very nice.

Ah, the gutters! While a couple of guys worked on the siding, a couple more started work on the gutters. Now, I don't want you to get the wrong impression about hubby-Eric here. He cleans out the gutters regularly. But the plants that are growing up there are called "Herb Robert" aka "Stinky Bob", and they will grow in a centimeter of pine needles. Seriously. These smelly plants grow ON MY VAN. Overnight. They told us not to bother cleaning the gutters until they came to do the work, so the plants had plenty of time to get big. Despite that, they have almost no roots, so they aren't a big problem.

Anyway, the damaged part of the gutter is in the middle of the second picture, and it's from where a branch from one of the large trees in our yard came down. The gutter split and spills right down onto the cement below. I have been trying to find somebody who specializes in gutters for some time, but apparently they don't advertise!

Here's a picture from Friday. The damage is clearer in the second picture, despite the rigged up protection. It was still leaking water, just not as fast. You can see that somebody else once made an attempt to divert water from the back by making a sub-gutter that flows to the side of the building. There is absolutely no drainage in the back at all, so when they replace the gutters, they plan to put all downspouts on the sides.

-by Tegan at 11:43 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Friday, June 09, 2006

Random Thoughts

Colleen Doran on JMS and Print-on-Demand.

Comic Book Urban Legends #54. Special Mike Grell edition.

Don't steal somebody's Sidekick, then claim you didn't... Slashdot has the goods, particularly in this comment if the site is still down.

Ten flagrant grammar mistakes that make you look stupid. Looking through the list, I think I'm guilty of #4, and maybe a couple of the others. Numbers 1-3 and 6 drive me nuts when I see them in otherwise intelligent writings.

In cryptozoology news, Okapis have been rediscovered in an area they were thought to be extinct in. In fact, it was thought that they'd been extinct from that area, where they were first discovered, for 47 years.

Mars and Saturn colliding! Ok, not really, but they are getting close in the night sky.

Gail and Torvald

Gail Simone has a blog. Description: "I've gone on record saying that I'm not crazy about most creator blogs. So I wanted to make the stupidest one I possibly could, just for fun. I'm not linking it anywhere intentionally, and if no one ever finds it, that's probably for the best."

Large meteorite hits Norway. Maybe. Bad Astronomy blog has a bit more.

Captain Copyright gets the fanfic treatment.

-by Tegan at 6:53 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Doctor Who Adventures

Is there anyone who lives in England who can get ahold of the Doctor Who Adventures magazine (for kids) for us? It's up to issue #6 already. We'd like all of them if we can get them. There doesn't seem to be an American distributor. If you can, e-mail me ( or hubby-Eric (the more responsible one, and let us know. Or post a comment if you know a way to get them in the US. Thanks.

-by Tegan at 8:08 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

A Bit Early...

The construction guys who came to finish the job came at 7:30 sharp, as opposed to yesterday's crew who came at 8:30. Ack. Luckily, I was up, showered, and dressed.

Different guys this time, and they have to work in the rain, which is double-plus ungood, since it was water that was the problem originally. It wasn't supposed to rain. We were supposed to get "a brief shower, lasting about an hour". It's been raining since before sunset last evening. Grrr.

Update: They worked on the wall for a few hours, it's 11 am now, and the rain lessened and is almost gone now. They rigged something up to keep the water from the gutter out of their work area. Then the other truck arrived and they started working on the gutters and roof. I watched as somebody started throwing piles of pine needles off the roof, and listened as he walked across the roof.

Then suddenly I heard something sliding on the roof, I looked up and watched in disbelief as one of the construction guys jumped off the roof and landed on his feet a good meter from the side of the house. I blinked, sure I hadn't seen what I just saw. Then I blinked again and got up and walked out of the house to find out if he was ok.

Yeah, he just slipped. We have a metal roof, and when it's wet, it gets really slippery. He was walking across the top with both hands full, lost his step, and slid down the roof. Rather than drop either his sunflower seeds (left hand) or his boss' radio (right hand) he continued his slide and jumped the gutter when he reached it to land on the ground.

Ok, I'm laughing while I write this... but it could've been really bad. He just missed some landscaping rocks, not to mention three different trees. He landed on a soft layer of pine needles, but it could've just as easily been something else. What was really funny was that he had to admit what happened because I saw him. The other crew members came running from around the house, but didn't see any of it. He didn't want to admit that he'd taken the radio up onto the house, which I gather he wasn't supposed to do, nor did he want to admit that he wouldn't drop his snack to try to stop his fall.

Update: I just heard one of the crew refer to the guy that fell/jumped as "The Flyin' Hawai'ian", so I think somebody just got a new nickname today.

Update: No gutter replacement until Monday. The crew that was cleaning off the roof and starting to remove the gutters stopped when they got the news. Only a small section of gutter is gone, and it's not supposed to rain between now and Monday. Cross yer fingers. The rest of the work is pretty much done. All that's needed is a bit of touch up, and that won't happen until all the paint and plaster inside is dry. So until Monday, no more construction.

-by Tegan at 7:47 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Construction Pictures

First up, the pre-shot. This shows the plywood patches we threw over the hole, and the vent to the crawlspace that the possum used to get underneath the house.

Close-up of the vent. As you can see, hubby-Eric covered it REALLY well so we wouldn't get more critters in the crawlspace.

They pulled the plywood off, then took off a little bit of the siding, and this is what they found. You can't see most of the ants, but the whole wall is one REALLY big antfarm.

When they pulled one section off, the ants just spilled out. The ants themselves don't show in the images so well, but you can see the eggs.

This is what it looked like after they'd cleaned up the ants and got a hole through the wall into the bedroom.

Here's a shot of the interior from our living room looking out. The damage in the corner is what I first noticed when I discovered the problem. We also suspect that the mouse came up through that hole.

Another interior shot, this one from the bedroom, just on the other side of the spill of ants.

Back to the living room, they've now taken out a section of the wall that was ant-infested, and we made the decision (jointly, they asked me) to cut the floor so they could find all the ants and get rid of the lot of them.

This contractor does not do hardwood floors, so I'll have to bring in a specialist sometime later to replace the bit that they fix. In the meantime, it'll have a plywood patch, but the ants will all be gone.

The other option was to leave the floor alone and hope that the hardwood guys I hire could find the rest of the ants and fix the subfloor and joists. It wasn't really much of a choice. I'd rather have an ugly plywood patch for awhile than ants.

And there goes my beautiful floor... This corner was actually the first part of the hardwood floor in this house that I saw. When my mother-in-law and I were looking at it just before we bought it, she pulled up the carpet in that corner, and that was when I decided we had to refinish the floors and dump the carpet.

The opossum hole from the inside! That's a view of the house I hope to never have again.

Inside the bedroom looking out again. You can't see them very well, but the floor is crawling with ants in this image.

And one last look at the wall now that it's been ripped up. Hopefully this is the last of the "before" pictures, and I'll have a lot of "after" pictures of nicely restored siding and a plywood patch on the floor to show.

And we haven't even looked at the gutters yet. Still, I have hope that this will be done fairly quickly and professionally. These guys really seem to know what they are doing. I grew up around construction (my dad started to build an addition on his house when I was very young), and I'm impressed by them so far.

-by Tegan at 10:53 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Construction Day

The hole in our wall is being fixed as I write. Well, it's being evaluated by pulling off all the siding and looking at what's underneath. It's not a pretty sight. After getting the plywood off, they immediately found an ant farm of moisture ants in the wall. Now they are removing as much as they can to see if there is any structural damage. Pictures to follow, when I get the batteries recharged on my camera.

So far they are a very professional gig. The gutter crew is coming a little later to replace the gutters in the back completely.

I wish the weather was like yesterday. It's overcast and drizzly today instead of sunny. I could definitely use some sun right now.

Update: The gutter dudes are coming tomorrow instead of today, as of the last update I heard from the main guy working on the wall at the moment. This apparently can change at any moment, so they might still arrive today, but I don't mind too much.

The guys taking the wall off are making a wonderful amount of noise, especially to somebody inside the house, which is acting as an echo chamber. It's really freakin' loud in here. They found more ants, including a whole section of wall that was basically one big nest. The damage was mostly minimal, but they are pulling off more siding to make sure the damage doesn't go further.

The guy whose job it was going to be to go under the house discovered that there is less than eight inches of clearance from the ground to the bottom of the floor in the section he would need to work in. They are going to have to do the work from above, because nobody could fit in that space AND work at the same time.

It appears that the critters weren't trying to get into the house to watch American Idol after all. They wanted at the tasty ants.

I'll post some pictures once Blogger stops acting up.

Update: The guy tried going down into the crawlspace, but there just wasn't enough room. So they are cutting out part of the hardwood floor to get at the damaged and ant-infested subfloor underneath. The sound is horrible, even the squirrels have noticed and are watching tensely. I'm depressed about losing some of the floor, but on the other hand, this will save us a lot of time and money down the road, if these guys can get rid of all the ants and water-damage.

Oh crap. They just pulled up that corner. I swear it looks like an anthill. NASTY. They are having to stop work every few seconds to vacuum up ants.

-by Tegan at 8:59 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

No Reviews Yet, How About Some Links?

Yeah yeah, I'm still trying to work up the enthusiasm required to review the piles of comics I have sitting around my computer. In the meantime, I've been very successful at finding links I think people will enjoy to share...

Top Cow to offer legal comic book downloads. I'll be curious to see if the books are in a DRM-controlled format, and if so, how useless they'll be when you change computers. If the content is crippled with software that locks it down, people will simply go download the pirated version that they can use without problems. Assuming Top Cow puts out any titles I'm interested in (I don't buy any Top Cow right now) maybe I'll buy some.

I wish DC would do this, and start at the beginnings of some series, like Top Cow is doing. There is a lot of money to be made with digital formats: people would rather be honest if possible, but will break the law if it's the only way to get the material they want. The key is providing content at a good price in a format that isn't too difficult to use.

More on Bob Kane, from Mark Evanier.

Speaking of Mark, he also reports that Popeye is coming to DVD. The original cartoons. I loved them as a kid. Adored them even. I always knew it would be a really good one if I saw the opening with the doors. I may just have to put the sets on my wishlist when they come out.

Neil Gaiman points us to all that need be said about Batwoman. I don't usually read Bat-books, so I probably won't be reading the new character. So I don't have much of an opinion on it either way.


Was the Ark of the Covenant actually a Leyden Jar? Via BB.

More on the battle of the Jovian storms.

-by Tegan at 7:01 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Tuesday Linkage

Here's an interesting Garfield strip with an article which postulates that every Garfield strip since 1989 has been a product of Garfield's denial of his own demise...

Metafilter directs us to a guy who REALLY likes football helmets. I admit, the first thing I thought of when I saw the site was the big display at the new Seahawks stadium that has a helmet from every High School football program in the state. I'd like to get a better look at that display some time and see if I can pick out my alma mater.

Neat petroglyph might depict a well-known supernova of the year 1006.

Maybe it was the borax.

Animator vs Stick Figure, a Flash presentation via MeFi.

I was able to help someone with an old post of mine. I gotta admit, reading that comment made my day!

I've had to add the second season of Entourage to my Amazon Wish List. Hopefully I'll get some credit from people buying stuff through my site and be able to get it later this summer.

-by Tegan at 2:16 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Monday, June 05, 2006

Monday Linkdump

Bob Kane Swipe. Fascinating look at the early art of Bob Kane, who apparently was a so-so artist, but really good at swiping.

Filk song: $3.07 Gas.

Another must-read post from Near-Mint Heroes: Why Questionable Facts Go Unchallenged. Picked up via Lea.

What happens when you combine 200 liters of Diet Coke and over 500 Mentos mints? Watch and learn. Via querldox.

-by Tegan at 1:12 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Doctor Who

Last night's Doctor Who, The Impossible Planet, was very odd. I liked it, but it was very odd. Looking forward to seeing the next episode.

We had guests, and after watching The Impossible Planet, we watched Timelash (featuring the Sixth Doctor). The contrast was... impressive.

-by Tegan at 10:47 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

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