The carpeting and hardwood floor are done. Dramatic improvement. I feel like I am in a different house. Well, at least when I am upstairs. No pictures yet, I would like to get the counters in, dining room light fixture installed and the trim tacked on before final pictures. So in another week, some pictures.

Pink Bismuth Makes Black Poo

We had a tropical high temperature of 44 degrees yesterday at the Zoyx Compound. Almost all of the The snow/ice melted off of the driveway and porch. As I type, the temperature is 2 above, with a blustery northwest wind. The forecast for the rest of the day is “PAIN”.

The hardwood floor installer is working as I type. He managed to get 3/4 of the job done yesterday. Today he finishes up. The reason why he didn’t finish is because he didn’t know that he had to tack down another layer of plywood in the dining room. A communication breakdown somewhere. Always seems to happen in these type of projects. The carpet layers come in later this morning after he wraps things up.

My copy of Oozing Skull arrived in the mail. I brought it with me to “guys night” last night at the Claddagh Irish Pub in Maple Grove. After dinner, we went to one of the guys SUV with a DVD player built into the car stereo. He pressed a button, and this 6 inch screen flipped out of his dash. It was probably pretty funny for onlookers seeing 6 guys crammed into this SUV watching the first 5 minutes of Oozing Skull. I came home and watched the remainder of Oozing Skull. Those CineTit folks still know how to riff!

The theme music is very contagious. Another song that gets in your brain and stays there. This is the blog post that goes into the making of the theme music. The second clip is the finished product.

The CineTit crew will be doing some live stuff near me on Feb 12. I really should go. Assuming my schedule doesn’t change, I have that time off.

The Song That is In My Brain

Just downloaded the “Alright, Still” album by Lilly Allen from Amazon. Good album, fairly solid all the way through. There is the rap song or two that bugs me, but a good effort. The song that is currently echoing through my hollow head is “Alfie”. Here is your video link. If only pop music was more like this, the music industry wouldn’t be in the state that it is right now.

Computer Desk For Sale!

You know you want it. Make a bid. I am pretty sure I accidentally left $1000 in one of the drawers.

Slow day. I painted the base trim that will get tacked on after the hardwood floors are installed. I have a date now for the counter tops. Sooner than expected, February 4th. So, in a perfect world, this renovation will be done in less than two weeks. I can’t wait!

I pulled the trigger on a mortgage refinance. The low interest rates were too juicy to pass up. So I am going from a 30 year loan at 6.25%, to a 15 year loan at 4.875%. I also reduced the loan amount by $70,000. So even though I went from 30 years to 15 years, my monthly payment will be going down by $110. A 15 year loan makes sense, considering I am considering retiring in 14 years. If you go solely by interest paid, the $3800 that the refinance cost, will be paid off in about 14 months. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to write off as much interest on my taxes, which means more taxes being paid. So it will probably be two years for this refinance to be paid off.

About two weeks ago, I called my insurance company. I complained about paying too much. After the conversation, I will be paying about $100/month less on my car and house insurance. So between the refi and the insurance reduction, I will get about $2400 extra per year. Well, again, in a perfect world.

So you are probably thinking, he has refinanced, he has done major renovations, he must be rooting down. Heck no! I have a new job application out for Grand Junction, CO. The job is just too sweet to pass up. Great location, better job and the cost of living is a touch cheaper. Let’s go for it!

In other news, the Cinematic Titanic has launched. Many of the folks behind MST3k are behind this project. Including the originator of the MST3k show, Joel Hodgson. They have their first release out, the Oozing Skull, which I ordered this morning. No robots this time around, only your favorite movie riffers. They are really good at this stuff, this show is going to be great.


One of the reasons I am grouchy is because of the cold. The Zoyx Compound got down to -18 last night. That is the third time in the past week we have reached that anti-lofty mark. Good news is that we will be hitting the 20s (above) on Friday and Saturday, and then the 30s on Sunday and Monday. Bad news is that it will get cold again after that.

James Lileks tries to lift my spirits by doing silly cold weather experiments. It works for a few fleeting seconds, then the deep dark depression that is winter weather creeps back in.

We past the 5 PM sunset mark on the 16th. The day I am looking forward to is daylight savings day when we zoom to a 713 PM sunset. The average high is about 40 degrees by this date. The switch to Daylight savings is a holiday to me. Let the countdown begin.

More Shit Done

I’m tired and grouchy, and this post will probably reflect that.

Yesterday I got the ball rolling on a new water heater. That’ll set me back $750 including installation. A 40 gallon tank with an energy saving algorithm included. In theory, it will keep track of my hot water usage and adjust the temperature accordingly. Since I am a shift worker, it’ll be interesting if it can find a pattern. This was back ordered. So it will be around 10 days before this is installed.

My kitchen faucet didn’t have any shut off valves underneath the sink. This is important because I will be ripping out the sink just before the new counter and sink is installed. So it would be nice to shut the water off locally. Long story short, it took me 3 trips to Lowes before I got the right valves for the job. After the valves were installed, they leaked. So it took some adjusting with teflon tape to get these new valves to stop dripping.

Still trying to decide on what new flooring to place in my office and the nearby entry way. New contestant is laminate flooring. It is concrete underneath the carpeting so it would be wise to get a floating floor. The leading candidate is spalted maple. Lots of character in that wood design.

I removed the laminate from the bottom two steps near the entry way. Wasn’t nearly as tough as I thought it would be. Probably a 15 minute job. Nice to have one thing that was straight forward today.

I took out the computer desk from in the office. I am now typing from on top of a card table. I will be placing this desk on craigslist shortly. Yep, more purging.

I better get to bed.

Welcome to Stagflation

I think peak oil is going to result in a long-term economic malaise. A federal tax rebate will help, but remember, this is a loan, not free money. Also a drop in the fed rate will briefly help. But the source of the problem will not go away.

The basic premise of “peak oil” is that supply of “easy oil” has peaked and will either stay the same or even begin to drop. Meanwhile the demand for oil will keep on increasing, unless aggressive conservation measures are taken. The result of falling supply and rising demand is rising petroleum prices. The increased energy costs will result in both inflation and loss in jobs. Stagflation.

The last episode of stagflation was during the Carter administration. Here is the price of oil adjusted for inflation with a peak in 1979-1980. What initiated that was OPEC getting together and reducing oil supply (oil as a weapon). What ended it was a break in OPEC members and the western nations getting scared into reducing their energy use.

OPEC isn’t behind this latest spike in prices. It is simply, we are running out of easy oil. We can’t simply increase the supply, because the supply isn’t there. What is scary is, no one seems to be scared. We won’t fix this problem until we become properly scared or worried. So this is a request to you all, start becoming scared about this. Once you have become properly scared, start demanding that your politicians take action. This should be the number one issue in the next election, and it isn’t. The problem can be fixed, if the proper action is taken. The tax rebates and fed rate drops are not attacking the core issue.

Surrounded by Incompetance

Team Fortress 2: First to gloat. I just completed my best game of Team Fortress 2. I had the most points on the winning team. Twenty-two kills vs. 16 deaths with some assists and a capture included – I ended up with 33 total points. Second behind me was Xenocide_X, someone I know on the coyote forums. That propelled me into 92nd place on the USDN server. Nice to know that at my ripe old age, I can still hit one out of the park.

Delivery: My island/table was delivered yesterday. They were supposed to give me a call in the morning, to coordinate a delivery time for the afternoon. Nope, they just dropped off the boxes at my front door while I was at work in the morning.

There was only two boxes, which I thought at the time meant it was in pieces, and there was going to be a lot of assembly. Nope again. I had one assembled storage unit, when there was supposed to be two. In other words, they forgot a box. I called the store manager, he will call the delivery company early tomorrow morning, and ask where the missing box is.

More Projects: In a recent post, I listed stuff around the house that I would like to do after the current project is done. Of course there is more beyond those. There’s always more.

I would like to cut down some trees. There are at least 30 trees in my yard. I should get that count down to 20. The owner of my house back in the 70s planted two rows of trees (over 25 years ago). They are now mature, and it is apparent, that the trees were planted too close to each other. They are fighting each other, so none of the trees have good symmetry. Plus when these trees fully leaf out, I cannot see the pond from my house.

I need a new water heater. The one I currently have is from the early 90s. I have been looking at an electric on-demand water heater. Bad news, in order to heat my 50 degree tap water, I would need to get a 120 amp water heater. Considering I only have 150 amps coming into the house, I would need a major upgrade to my electrical. Looks like I will be getting an old school tank water heater. Probably for the best. I imagine tank water heaters are more reliable.

I would like to finish the garage and somehow heat it. The walls have been insulated with some plywood tacked on. So I just need to “rock” the ceiling and then blow in some insulation up there. I should also tape the seems of the sheetrock. Doesn’t have to look good in the garage, so my amateur work is okay in there. After that I would need a furnace to heat the place.

Below is my stats “sticker” from the USDN Team Fortress 2 server. This server is located in Canada, of all places.

I Experiment So You Don’t Have To

Plan A didn’t work out tonight. So today’s thumb was this evening’s plan B.

I took a poster, attached it to the wall using 3M command strips. I then took some molding, did some 45 degree cuts, and attached the molding so as to frame the poster. Again using command strips. The experimenting is the use of command strips. In theory, they aren’t supposed to destroy things when you detach them, but are strong enough to hold your stuff to a wall. We shall see. At any rate, I am very pleased with the result.