Frank Lloyd Wright Quote

"Form follows function-that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union"

Frank Lloyd Wright

Friday, December 26, 2008

My Wife Gave Me the Bird

Isn't it cute?

It's a bird sculpture made out of wire and sunglasses by Terry Border. I've been following his blog, Bent Objects for a while now and I finally got to purchase a piece from his Etsy shop for a Christmas present. He takes ordinary objects and gives them personality using little more than his slightly warped sense of humor and a little bent wire. I love it!

And now for something completely different.... Here's an advertisement:
Hotel Furniture
Hill Cross specialise in providing high quality hotel furniture.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Craigslist To The Rescue

If you've been following this blog you already know we got a LOT of snow in Portland this week (over a foot so far). Normally in Portland if you ignore the snow long enough it will just go away. That's what I've been hoping for all week, but to no avail. We got another 5" overnight with more on the way. With time quickly running out to finish the Christmas shopping, I figured I had better give-in and get some chains for the car so I can get out on the roads. Of course by now every auto parts store in the area is out of chains that fit my car. As a last-ditch effort I resorted to craigslist. To my surprise I found a guy fairly close to me who offered to deliver the chains to my door! On top of that he was asking far less than the retail price of the chains. His name is Jose Mesa and he's an auto wholesaler here in Portland. I figured since he helped me out I'd post a link to his website: I've never bought a car from him but he seems like a good guy so look him up if you're looking for a car.

Six Degrees of Renovation

Pardon the geek-speak, but I want to talk about something I call "cascading dependencies". When renovating an old house you are bound to spend countless hours pondering all the things that need to be done, and in what order to do them so you can prevent re-work or avoid painting yourself into a corner (so to speak). It's kinda like playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, only a whole lot more expensive. In everyday life you analyze dependencies without thinking about it, but when it comes to remodeling projects it takes on a whole new dimension. For example, if you said to your spouse "I need to put on my socks before my shoes", you might get a strange look for stating the obvious. But if you say something like "We can't remodel the kitchen until we get a new furnace" or "You can't park the car in the garage until we get a new fence and electrical panel" you're bound to find out that what is obvious to you isn't so obvious to everyone else.

Here's a shorthand notation depicting my actual kitchen/furnace and parking/main panel issues:

Remodel Kitchen
> Put in new corner cabinets
>> Remove old utility chimney

>>> Move furnace so it vents out basement wall
>>>> Buy new 95% efficient furnace (can't vent through wall with old 80% units)

Park in Garage
> Install garage door opener
>> Run electricity to garage
>>> Dig up old fence and run conduit underneath
>>>> Replace main panel so it can handle new 50A circuit

Of course cascading dependencies exist in all areas of life, but most people aren't geeky enough to post about it on their blog. For example, you might hear your wife say something like this: "Thanks for the lovely platinum necklace. Of course I can't wear it with my gold earrings; I'll need a new platinum pair to match." Or perhaps "This new HDTV is awesome! Now we need to buy a Blu-Ray player."

Now let's have some fun with this. Post your favorite not-so-obvious chain of dependencies in the comments below.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Morning After

Sometime early this morning the blowing snow changed to freezing raing. Now we have about 1/8" of ice on EVERYTHING. Unfortunately I couldn't get the car up the driveway yesterday and now it's parked directly under that big maple tree that is covered with ice and losing branches. I guess I should go move it somewhere, but I'm afraid it won't budge.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Portland's Version of a Blizzard

I stepped out onto the front porch before the light was gone and shot a quick video of our street. I haven't seen a storm like this since I left Minnesota as a kid. I know that's not saying much since I spent most of those years in places like Texas and Arizona, but still, it's quite miserable out there tonight. We've had snow on the ground continuously for a week now. That hasn't happened in Portland since I've lived here. The schools were closed on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but open on Tuesday and Thursday. That made for an "interesting" work week. The worst part is that I've been trying to finish my Christmas shopping (and shipping) all week but the weather is making that very difficult.

The hummingbird feeder has been busy this week. I don't see how those little guys can survive in the cold weather. I've been bringing the feeder in to let it thaw twice a day and they seem to appreciate it!

Riley says "NO THANK YOU!!" I don't blame him. I wouldn't want to run around out there in my bare feet either.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Website Remodel is Done

I've been working on redesigning this website during my FTO this week (Forced Time Off). I decided that the old look and feel was getting, well, old. I changed the blog template and took advantage of some new features. I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snow Daze

'Tis the Season, and everybody has been posting pictures of their fabulous holiday decorations. We've even seen pics of Portland's snow this week. Well here's the less glamorous, more realistic vision of the second Snow Day this week (so far), as seen by anyone who is brave enough to enter the 1916 Portland Bungalow.

In this picture you see my camera shy 7-year old, all the crap that comes from being cooped-up for 2 days, and proof that I still haven't finished the dining room wainscotting. If we get any more snow days this week somebody better send me a dump truck. And a straight-jacket.