Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Joys of Home Ownership

I love owning a house, yet I hate owning a house at the same time.

We've found a few issues along the way that look to be issues with the construction of the house.  One of those issues was the construction of the bay window in the front of our house, they cut a few corners along the way.  It has a copper roof and it just wasn't sealed or attached to the brick face very well.  Between that and the caulk seal on the windows on the second floor above the bay window we became the proud owners of some water damage.

I fixed the caulk on the second floor windows and repainted, but I had a contractor take care of the copper roof and trim issue on the bay window.  With that out of the way it was time to focus on the interior damage, which was than I expected it to be.  This is generally how these kind of things go for me.  I was hoping to patch some soft spots, but I decided to tear all the dry wall around the windows and the adjoining small patch of ceiling once finding a small bit of mold.

I replaced the standard dry wall with mold resistant dry wall and commenced taping and mudding the joints.  It took me some time, but I moved on to sanding.  To say it was dusty would be obvious and really doesn't describe the amount of dust it produced.  Painting went well, but I had some frustration with the moulding and millwork.  Angles that shouldn't be completed, were.  I got through it and caulked it throughly.  I painted the trim and seat with counter top would should be more resistant to the dogs, time will tell.

I learned a lot and it's not perfect, but it's complete, dry, and mold free.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Vinyl Me Please - October 2014: R.L. Burnside

The record and it's Vinyl Me Please sleeve

The featured cocktail recipe and custom art print
I had been looking for an easy way to bolster my record collection so I ventured out on the good old world wide web and looked around.  I came upon a few services, but the one that struck me was Vinyl Me Please.

For the sake of keeping it simple I'll call it VMP.  VMP has a pretty straight forward system, pay 23 dollars a month (shipping not included) and they'll ship you a record they've curated, a cocktail pairing (recipe), an art print inspired by the record, and a weekly digest with interviews, album reviews, and free downloads.  You can pay monthly, every six, or yearly.  For the sake of trying it out I'm going with the monthly option for now.

The October 2014 pick was R.L. Burnside's Too Bad Jim.  I got record 417 out of the limited edition set of 4500.  It's a fun foot stomping blues record that was recorded in the 1990s.  Inside the record sleeve was a card with a digital download code, which I might add is something I was wondering if they would include.  I wouldn't have been upset if it didn't have a digital download, but it sure makes the deal sweeter for me that they do.  The cocktail pairing is something called the Bloody Motha, a simple take on a Bloody Mary that's pretty much bourbon and tomato juice.  The art print based on the record is gorgeous, you'll see it pictured above.

I'm not sure if this happens every month, but VMP also sold one-off copies of other records.  I decided to picked up the Shakey Graves' "And The War Came" after previewing a few of the tracks on Spotify.  This is a nice album, I'm going to listen a few more times and probably review it later this week.

Book Review: World of Trouble

World of Trouble (The Last Policeman, #3)World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the final book of the Last Policeman trilogy, Hank Palace sets out from Massachusetts in search of his sister Nico who’s believed to be in Ohio. He's accompanied by Cortez, an interesting character introduced in Countdown City, and Houdini, his dog. Nico has joined up with what amounts to an extremist group, led by someone with the code name of Astronaut, who’re trying to find a way to avert the coming asteroid 2011GV1, named Maia. The asteroid would be hitting earth and decimating civilization in the coming days.

Along the way Hank, meets a local Amish community, an entertaining hedonistic couple partying up the end of days in their RV eating chicken and getting drunk on home brew. Gangs of survivors have taken over stores like Target looking for trade in the midst of anarchy. The world deals with the end while Hank tries to find his sister.

Ben Winters writes a finite end, but it doesn't answer every question. In this case, it's completely acceptable, it makes for good thought. I've enjoyed this series start to finish, I was able to plow through this story in an evening, about 3 to 4 hours with a few breaks here and there. Good writing leads to easy reading.

I will be keeping my eye open for future works from this Indianapolis based author, I'll actually be looking to pick up the trilogy for my personal library since I borrowed these to read from my local library.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cloud Atlas

Cloud AtlasCloud Atlas by David Mitchell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm not going to try and detail the differences and similarities between the six similar yet different narratives that encompass the Cloud Atlas. David Mitchell must have had a crazy map of how all of the interactions and mentions between the stories. The overlapping conscientiousnesses between characters, the shared birthmark and the sometimes remembered memories from a past life.

The stories are unique and they each have their own time frame and dialect. The major characters were Adam Ewing, Robert Frobisher, Luisa Rey, Timothy Cavendish, Sonmi, and Zachary. The story that followed Zachary in the far future was the hardest for me to read. I probably enjoyed the stories of Robert Frobisher and Luisa Rey the most, Timothy Cavendish and Sonmi followed closely behind. I liked the stories arrangements, you went form the furthest in the past to the furthest and future and back again. You end where you began.

It was lovely written and complex, just what I needed.

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Friday, October 17, 2014


1Q84 (1Q84, #1-3)1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Japan 1984, down the rabbit hole Aomame goes when she leaves a taxi and highway through an emergency exit to make an important appointment. With the help from an elderly woman and her body guard Aomame hands out permanent retribution to domestic abusers. Her childhood friend Tengo is approached to rewrite a story called Air Chrysalis. The real author is the seventeen year old Fuka-Eri, who escaped from the Sakigake cult. Aomame and Tengo are both pursued by Ushikawa, the disgusting yet effective man ordered by Sakigake to find them. These three characters stories intertwine and drive the story.

This is a complex and intricate work, it was originally published in three volumes in Japan. We're talking about a parallel world with two moons and mythical creatures known as Little People. Throw in a something like a love story and a well connected cult and you get a lot of stuff to think about. It was good, maybe a little too dense to read when you're needing an easy read, but it hit the spot. I'll be reading some of Murakami's other translated works down the road.

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