Wednesday, January 31, 2007

To the left, to the left...

Beyonce has put all my stuff in the box to the left.

Apparently she is kicking me out.

Why is the box with my stuff in it "to the left?" That, to me, implies that there is at least one other box there that I might mistake for the one with my stuff in it. Otherwise she wouldn't have to qualify her statement. If there was just one box she would say, "Over there, over there. Everything you own in a box over there."

Who's stuff is in the box to the right, or the one in the middle?

Why do you have so many boxes full of stuff out here anyway?

If she can't keep her men happy then clearly, it is Beyonce who has the problem.

Maybe they are getting sick of that chip on her shoulder. Talkin 'bout "You must not know 'bout me..." Yeah, I didn't know about your penchant for puttin all your boyfriend's shit in a box.

She even tells me in that strong woman of the new millennium tone that she can have another one like me over here "in a minute, matter of fact he'll be here in a minute." Does HE know 'bout you? What's he gonna think about all the boxes full of your ex's stuff layin around?

The box itself is a nice touch though. Walking down the hall after a fight with everything that's mine in a tall hefty kitchen cinch sack is not cool. The box at least has some dignity to it.

Does she keep a stash of boxes around for occasions like this?

That song makes me crazy.

The box pictures in this rant/post are in my actual bedroom. I have done ZERO work in there, other than putting my bed down and stacking up the boxes directly above to make a TV stand. The ones at the top of the post are NOT unpacked (my stuff is in both the one on the left AND the one on the right by the way) and have been serving as my night stand.

I have no clue what to do in that room. Once the living room is finished I'll start in there.



There are a couple things I COULD/SHOULD be doing or have done already...

I COULD go and get my taxes done. I have all the paperwork I think. But I am PETRIFIED that this home ownership thing is going to make me look stupid in front of the preparer! I know that bazillions of people who own homes get their taxes done every year (Hell, some of them do it themselves!), but it's making me very nervous.

I SHOULD go do my Homestead Exemption thing... but again, I am certain that I will have to wait in a long line, stand on the other side of bullet proof glass from an angry and indifferent government employee and be told that I don't have all the paperwork necessary to complete the transaction, dumbass!

Instead of doing either of those things today, I watched Lee Adama and Kara Thrace long for each other while Gaius Baltar was tortured to no avail.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Last Sunday

P and I had a cool weekend at This New Condo... we took advantage of my new proximity to resturaunts by walking across the street and picking up a pizza to eat while watching TV Saturday night. Sunday morning P played hooky from church. We slept really late and then walked across the street to another nearby restaurant for breakfast. I know walking to a meal sounds fairly mundane, but in Atlanta no one walks anywhere. It's very L.A. in that respect. The car is king here, so it felt really cool to leave the car parked and just pop downstairs to eat.

After breakfast we took a long walk through one of the nearby neighborhoods. Lots of great "Wisteria Lane" kind of streets around here. Not all square and managed like a lot of the new subdivisions... these are long winding lanes lined with homes with big lawns shaded by tall trees and even bigger back yards. We passed a few "for sale" signs, and were pretty surprised by the range of prices... from 800k down to 300k... all on the same street.

It's interesting that I have never liked the idea of home ownership, but having owned this place for even just the short amount of time that I have, I can now imagine owning a house on a piece of land.

The Alliance Theater is premiering a production of a musical based on the movie "Sister Act." You know the one where Whoopi Goldberg plays a lounge singer who witnesses a murder and has to go into hiding in a convent where she pretends to be a nun. It's a cute movie. Made for a cute play as well.

It's called "Sister Act the Musical" and it plays at the Alliance here in Atlanta through February 25th. P and I saw it on Sunday. The highlight for me was that the music was by Alan Menken who along with lyricist Howard Ashman (1951-1991) wrote the music for "Little Shop of Horrors."

It was cute... MOST of the women cast as the other nuns were underused... the story was a little thin... and the stage was pretty boring. The music was good and the actors all had good voices. I thought the actor playing Deloris Van Cartier aka: Sister Mary Clarence was good, but she should have been a stronger singer. There were a couple of standout songs... the woman who is questioning her calling had a great number, and the three "henchmen" share a very funny song about how to hit on a nun. The woman who played the Mother Superior sounded just like Kate Mulgrew, and I kept expecting her to say, "Chakote, you have the bridge. B'Ellana, Tom, Seven of Nine, my ready room, now!"

Hard to tell what the deal is... I'm not sure if this is a test run before moving on to New York (both Aida and The Color Purple debuted in Atlanta before moving on to Broadway) or if it's just being performed here for the sake of performing it.

So it was pretty good. I laughed a lot, but I was not bowled over.

Overall a very good weekend!

Oh, on Saturday we saw this. We didn't realize it at the time, but we had bought tickets for the Open Captioned/Descriptive Audio showing. So the whole movie had captions running at the bottom of the screen. At first I thought it was going to be really annoying, but after a while I didn't even notice them, and anytime I couldn't understand an actor, either because of his or her accent or because of some noises on screen I could glace down and get the captioning! Good movie. There's a scene that takes place in a building that is being shelled by the military. While I've never been in a situation like that, it felt VERY real. It takes place in the near future so they got to play with reality a little. I liked a lot of the little "future" effects, like the moving images on bus averts and such. P liked it too and he hates anything that has even the slightest Sci-Fi elements, so that's sayin' something.


Monday, January 29, 2007

...but is it art?

That is a poster I have had since I was a teenager. I FINALLY finished framing and hanging it today. Can you see why I've held on to it? Look close at the title...

The movie was ultimately released as "RETURN of the Jedi." My Dad bought the poster 20 or so years ago at an auction. I'd always heard that Lucas changed the name of the movie after realizing that according to their "code," Jedi do not seek "revenge." According to Wikipedia however, Lucas MAY have wanted to call the movie "Return of the Jedi" all along, and just called it "Revenge..." to throw off merchandise counterfeiters.

It's value is questionable... I have heard from some collectors that it is QUITE valuable, and from others that it's fairly common. The ones I see for sale on ebay all seem to have been folded and so have crease lines all through them. This one had always been rolled, so it's smooth. I did make a HUGE mistake as a teen though. I had it mounted on foam board. I had good intentions... I thought it would help to preserve the poster... instead I learned that by doing that I lowered any value the poster had dramatically. Even with the mounting, it has suffered some damage over the years. It's been through 7 or so moves, 2 or 3 different frames, and even a fire... but is still in fair condition.

It now (after much indecision regarding a proper frame) hangs fairly prominently in what MAY be a dining area some day... it's a space between my kitchen and the living area... directly across from the mirror on the brown wall. It's new frame is quite large, like the mirror, and I think it helps to balance the room.

So, is it art? Is it appropriate? Does a movie poster belong in such a prominent place in my new adult place? When guys see it they think it's pretty cool, girls think it's weird that I would have it on display. I can personally justify it's placement by pointing out it's unique mis-titleing, by the fact that I am a fan, by the fact that it has a lot of red in it and red will be a prominent accent color in the room, and design-wise as a balance to the oversized mirror directly across from it.

Art? I don't know. Appropriate? I think so, for now. Interesting? Yes.

Oh, by the way, have you seen the ads on TV for the "hercules hook?" That guy Billy Mays, yells about it on TV all the time. Well, my Mom bought some of them, and sent me a few. They totally work! As Seen On TV. I was not able to muscle the hook through the drywall on my own like Billy does, so I drove a 2" finishing nail through the wall, pulled out the nail and then pushed the hook through the hole. Easy peasy. My poster is in a very heavy frame, and that frame is being held up by two of those hooks... no problem! I even had to reposition one of the hooks three times and it was not a big deal.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Bitching and broken vows

Yes, yes... I cracked. I broke my vow of silence to you and spoke up in last night's Homeowners Association meeting. Only briefly though, and what I said was constructive I think.

MOST of the meeting was a discussion about the Parking Deck. We talked and talked and talked about the parking deck and how there isn't going to be enough parking spaces for all of our guests! Frankly I am surprised by all the hubbub. I knew months before I moved in, months before the deck was even done being built, that I would have one parking space, and that my guests would have to park in the "public parking" area... and that likely they would be charged to do so. So why were all the rest of these folks so worked up about it?

My first vow of silence violation occurred during this extended discussion. There was a question about the security of residents in the building due to the nature of the entry doors from the unsecured areas of the parking deck... it's kind of convoluted. I spoke up regarding this issue to explain to the person who brought it up WHY that situation exists, and to agree with her that it is something we should look into. I didn't get to the agree part though, I was interrupted by a guy who was NOT HAPPY that we were spending so much time talking about parking when there were so many other issues! He was perfectly happy with the parking situation!

We talked about the sidewalk down below me... apparently there is more to that story. Still to come is a railing and some shrubbery!

We also learned the projected opening dates for the retail units down on the street. Three storefronts (Ted’s, a chocolate and liqueur "bar," and a mortgage company office) should be open by mid February, and one more in mid March.

One dude complained about the water puddles in the lobby over the weekend because people were shaking their umbrellas after coming in. He wanted special rainy day mats with the building logo on them laid down to absorb some of those umbrella drippings. Dude, shake your umbrella outside! There are plenty of covered places to do that!

My second slip of the tongue came after more people brought up other little issues... elevator lobby decorations, painting questions, parking deck beautification... At one point the developer's representative spoke up and said, "So what about all these things do you want to know?" I said, "Are they done?" Meaning, is the developer finished with the finishing touches. The rep didn't know, but assured us we'd be more in the loop about that stuff.

After all was said and done, I kind of felt like I had just spent two hours with a group of people who were mad that their automatic ass wiping machines were not as shiny as they expected.

I did meet some new neighbors, and said hello to some I already knew and that was cool... but I definitely do NOT want to be a board member!

PostScript: (5:39pm) I have edited this post to delete some words I used to describe the language and attitude of one of my neighbors. I forget that this is a public document and I need to take that into consideration. My intent is to just document some of the issues that come up in condo ownership, not to defame anyone.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

My booty...

...or loot, as some might say, has arrived!

The first of my two sweepstakes wins has come to fruition. Today I received a box full of toys from the Wired Store in NYC. I was the winner of their December 8th Pink Light special sweepstakes! As such I was awarded some really cool stuff:

The big thing on the bottom is a remote controlled helicopter! On top and on the right side of the picture is an i-Dog (ironically I KIND of made fun of this toy not too long ago). Finally in the upper left is the coolest and least useful of the three toys... it is the H-racer: "The world's smallest hydrogen car." It even comes with it's own hydrogen producing fueling station! Yes, in addition to my usual carbon monoxide and methane gas generation I will soon be producing my own HYDROGEN!

Let me also say here that I appreciate the fact that I am 38 years old, and in no way need a remote controlled helicopter or a dancing dog or a toy hydrogen car. I am however a total sci-fi/gadget geek** and it's going to be hard to part with any of them!

A couple of weird things about this particular sweepstakes:

1. My prize was sent VERY quickly after I was notified. There is usually a ridiculously long waiting period till prizes are shipped. I do not know the reason for this, but it's usually the case. I waited months and months for my Treo to ship.

2. They have put me in a slightly awkward position. The official rules for this sweepstakes indicate that there is a 4th prize that should have been awarded as part of this package. These three awesomely cool toys and another less "toy-like" item. So now it's up to me to come up with a cool way to say, "Hey, thanks for all the bitchin' stuff, but you forgot to include the other free thing. I'm a greedy bastard and I want it!" I may or may not mention it when I email to say that the box arrived and that it's all cool stuff, it does kind of irk me.

And now, I present you with... THE MOST BORING TEASE EVER WRITTEN:

Next time: Homeowners Association Meeting Highlights!

**Speaking of Sci-Fi geek, did y'all catch the sweaty biceps on Apollo the other night!? Damn!

The Association

In the wake of all the drama a meeting of the homeowners has been called for tonight on the Lido Deck. Attending this meeting will be any owners/residents who wish to be there and people representing the builder, building management and concierge contractor. They are calling it a Homeowner's Association meeting, but there really isn't an association, as such, yet.

Meetings are not my strong suit... I lack the "think THEN speak" filtering mechanism... I tend to say REALLY stupid things in meetings... and then suffer terrible stomach aches for hours afterward thinking about how stupid I am. Tonight though, I am taking a vow of silence. I vow, here and now, in front of you and the other dude who reads this blog that I will not say a WORD during the "meeting" portion of the meeting. I will do the meet and greet unit number introduction thing that I assume is customary in settings such as these, and then I will zip it.

I'm an association meeting virgin so it should be fairly interesting. All the little things that seem to make people crazy 'round here (noisy rain down spouts, hallway vacuuming schedule, dog poop areas) I have just been chalking up to the newness of it all. Both the newness of the building AND my newness to condo ownership. Maybe I am being too cavalier. Maybe I SHOULD be outraged at the length of time it's taken to repair the finish on the elevator doors, damn it! Tonight I'll find out. Quietly.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Hobby Update

My embarrassing hobby paid off a little yesterday! I was notified that I'd won two sweepstakes! One notification came by phone, the other by email. I'm superstitious about telling people exactly WHAT my winnings are until they actually arrive, but here are some vague teases:

1) a very cool collection of 3 electronic toys from my favorite magazine's SoHo store. These should arrive fairly soon and I'll post pics when they do.

2) a single item that also qualifies as an electronic toy, but it's on a whole 'nutha level. This one will take up to 8 to 10 weeks to arrive... so don't hold your breath for that reveal. My plan is to sell it, and use the cash to buy something else.

It feels good to have a few wins again. I have not been nearly as active with my sweepstaking as I was before I moved to This New Condo so it shows that even just a little effort can pay off.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Sunday Brunch, Acrobats and me

Today it is back to work after a week off. I can't say that I'm dreading going back, but I'm not really looking FORWARD to it either. So instead of looking forward lets jump in the wayback machine and take a very short trip back to check out yesterday because Sunday was AWESOME!

First of all, it RAINED ALL DAY! That's not sarcasm. I dig the rain and It was one of those good consistent rains. It never let up.

Second, "L" my mortgage broker AND one of my first and best Atlanta friends came over and I cooked brunch for her and P. Between the muffins last Friday and brunch yesterday, I think that is the most action my kitchen has seen since I moved in! Epicurious had a brunch menu that I wanted to make for my friends who went to the cabin with P and I last weekend, but it is a little "different" and my cabin friends are... not picky... but not adventurous eaters. So I invited L over so I could try out the "Baked Eggs with Cantal Cheese" and "Sweet-and-Spicy Bacon" recipes I didn't get to try in the mountains. I'm not a really good cook is the thing... so I did manage to screw up the eggs (I whisked shredded cheese into a bowl of egg whites that had been beaten till they formed stiff peaks. I should have folded the shredded cheese in. After the whisking incident, my whites no longer held stiff peaks) but not to the point that they were inedible. In fact they were quite good, they just didn't LOOK the way I had intended. For the record I could not find this "cantal cheese" so I went with a mild, white, english cheddar and it worked just fine if you ask me. I paired those with the bacon, toasted english muffins, a bowl of mixed fruit, mimosas and viola! This New Condo's first brunch is served!

It was very nice sitting with L and P and just catching up.

Then, Sunday afternoon, P and I went to Cirque du Soleil's Corteo at Atlantic Station. I was floored. Never been to a Cirque show before and I have to tell you that it was really, really amazing. The physical feats the actors perform are unbelievable and the STAGE is miraculous! An engineering marvel. We had front row seats. I loved every second of it.

This coming week is going to be a little weird... my schedule is all switched up due to some training I have to take part in mid week. Even my hours are really wacky. I'll only do my ACTUAL shift one time (today in fact) and then the rest of the week is a mixture of "on-call," training, and a "bonus day" on which I don't have to go in at all. GOOD way to come off a week of vacation.

Hope y'all had a good weekend.


Saturday, January 20, 2007

I saw this today and she was awesome and fearless.

Friday, January 19, 2007

I saw this today and these did not detract from the funny and shocking story one bit!

2 out of 5

P and I call the 5th floor of my building "The Lido Deck." There is no Julie Your Cruise Director up there but there IS a club room with a pool table and an area where there might be a big ol plasma screen TV at some point. Outside there is a small pool, and an area where we'll have an outdoor fireplace to sit by someday. I imagine in the summer it will be kind of cool to go hang out up there.

Also included in that area is the workout room/fitness center. Believe it or not, my fat ass used to have a gym membership, but I let it lapse when I moved into This New Condo because the nice lady who sold me this place assured me the building would include a "world class fitness center." Well, maybe she didn't say "world class," but that was the impression I left with after one of our many discussions. It's not world class. If the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs is world class, then this is more like a D-List celebrities' basement gym. Which is not bad really.

Two treadmills, an elliptical, a multi-use kind of nautilus station, a stationary bike, small selection of dumbbells and a bench. So far no "cardio-theater." I think even a D-List celebrity would have a TV or two in there but my iPod is full of episodes of "Wait Wait... don't tell me: The NPR News Quiz" and other various podcasts which keep me entertained.

2 of the 5 days so far this week I actually did manage to push myself back from the computer long enough to do an hour's worth of light cardio... sweat inducing, but not deadly. Here's some proof:

Granted, it's only proof that I was in there long enough to take one picture... but notice that I am wearing workout type shorts and that it is blurry in some places which PROVES that I was at least moving... or that I've gotten very good with the smudge tool in photoshop.

I always feel GREAT after I am active and it always amazes me that an hour isn't really THAT big a part of my day. 2 out of 5 is a pretty crappy ratio, but I got up there and I did it, and next week maybe I'll do 3.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

It's good to be the Bar Keepers Friend

Hard water. I don't get it... all the water I have ever encountered is fairly soft. That is, I have never had any problems diving into a pool or standing under a shower of water. When I lived in L.A. I used to hear advertisements on the radio for water softening systems... "Hey Culligan Man!" Had no idea what they were selling.

Meanwhile, I have been fighting with my shower door. It gets these spots on it... water marks are what I always called them. Little while circles left where water droplets dried on the glass. Every week or so I have to go in and try and get them to disappear. I've used many. many, many products that claim to remove these marks but they have not been effective.

This is a picture looking through my shower door only a few days after a thorough cleaning with KaBoom:

It's been very frustrating. My Mom suggested I keep a squeegee in my shower so I could wipe down the glass after every use... I'm opposed to this. The main reason I am anti-showersqueegee is because I am lazy. My shower is my relaxing place. I want to enjoy my time there. If the whole time I am in there all I can think of is the CHORE that is awaiting me at the end of my nice, hot, relaxing shower then the whole experience is ruined. The entire shower would be spent resenting my glass shower doors.

In my post about the concierge drama I mentioned the Yahoo! Group that one of the owners has started. In addition to lots of bitching about stuff people have also posted some tips on how to do things, like seal the tile and granite (still need to do that) or set the thermostat. One such tip caught my attention yesterday. My neighbor posted that His New Condo, and by association This New Condo, suffer from HARD WATER and THAT is what has been causing the watermarks on my shower doors. Luckily my neighbor also posted a solution.

This stuff is awesome! It's like Comet, but not as harsh... put some on a damp cloth, make it into a paste and gently rub on the glass, rinse and those deposits are GONE. I'm amazed. Check it out:

I included the door handle in that last one so you could tell it was actually the door you were looking through and not me just taking a picture through an open door. LOL.

My neighbor also suggested treating the cleaned glass with Rain-X which is stuff people put on their car windshields to help repel rain, sleet and snow. Hopefully it will repel the Hard Water from my shower door too! I'll keep you posted.

Disclaimer: This worked for me, I am not saying it will work for you. Glass is NOT one of the items listed on the back of the Bar Keepers Friend container as a surface that should be cleaned with this product.

PostScript: I am just realizing how BORING my blog is. A whole post dedicated to watermarks.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I tried to resist the urge...

...but my resolve is weak.

A very popular TV show had it's season premiere last night. I feel stupid for watching, and if I watch again it will be after these preliminary shows where the goal seems to be making fun of mentally challenged or socially naive hopefuls.

I just need, NEED, to point out one thing. NOTHING on TV is real.

Two posts in one day... can you tell I am on vacation?

Sidewalks? How pedestrian.

Here are the b and a shots of the sidewalk outside This New Condo:



There is still a strip of dirt down there... You can see in the next shot how gets bigger as it extends toward the corner.

Not sure what the plan is for that patch... can't be grass. We'll have to wait and see I guess.

Some Blog housekeeping:

Added a couple links to my Blogroll.

Changed out my Apple ad (that will have to do until I can put a pic of my next phone up there).

Added a Yahoo! Messenger button. My Yahoo! Messenger screen name is: thisnewcondo (can you believe condoblogger was taken?).

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


One of our concierges (consieri?) has been fired! No one is sure why... but we all got a kind of cryptic note informing us of her dismissal and assuring us that a new person would be hired post haste. I really liked the woman. She always had a smile, remembered my name LONG before I knew hers, kept on top of issues and questions I had. Thing is, a lot of us here LIKED the fired concierge and this has caused a bit of a ruckus.

We don't have a homeowner's association yet, but we do have a Yahoo! Group on which some owners post about issues and questions. I'm not sure what the timeline is on forming an official HOA, but for now, a series of contractors have formed a loose alliance to work in the background and keep things running till we take over. The builder, a condominium management company, and a third company who's role I am not entirely clear on have been running the place since I moved here in late September.

That last company (lets call it Halliburton) is the one behind the firing of the concierge that we all liked. According to the posts I have been reading in the Yahoo! Group she "made friends" with some of the owners, which is not allowed. Hunh?

So the Yahoo! Group is all abuzz about this. The email addresses of several muckitymucks at all the aforementioned companies are being posted, and we are being encouraged to email them and demand our old concierge back. I'd resisted the urge to put in my two cents because I don't like politics and complaining... but then I got a call from the potential replacement concierge.

I feel I need to - just quickly - say that I'm not a xenophobe and I embrace all cultures. I have a stance on immigration and border control and english as the official language and all that, but this is not the place for such discussion. My opinions on those matters and other matters of cultural harmony are in no way related to what I am about to say.

The replacement concierge called. The guy introduced himself, but all I could understand was the word "concierge." I cannot tell you from where his accent originates, it was a new one for me. Kind of like Balki on Perfect Strangers, but with some Hindi and Faroese mixed in. "Morng Misses. In the hall, asmell smoke in 317?" Apparently one of my neighbors smelled smoke and he was calling to ask if I did too. I did not. I also did not like being called Misses... which he CONTINUED to do for the minute and a half we were on the phone.

My email in support of the fired concierge was transmitted 5 minutes later.

It appears that enough of us emailed and called that it made a difference and last night a hastily planned meeting was held in the common area room where the pool table is... I could not attend, I was celebrating Dad's 68th. So I don't know what was discussed. I'm certain our old concierge won't be coming back, but I do hope that the companies that are supporting us in this interim period until the HOA is formed now understand that we have loud voices.

By the way... I feel a little self conscious taking about my "concierge." It reminds me of that Seinfeld episode "The Stranded" where they are all at a party and that Sigourny Weaver lookin lady has been separated from her fiancé:

Woman: I wonder what happened to my fiancé. I know he's here somewhere. Ellen? Have you seen my fiancé?

Ellen: He's upstairs.

Woman: Are you going upstairs? Tell my fiancé I'm looking for him. I have lost my fiancé, the poor baby.

Elaine: Maybe the dingo ate your baby. -**-

Anyway, I'm not trying to be posh... I am many things, but POSH ain't one of em. Concierge is just the job title, and frankly it's easier to type than: person at the front desk.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Just got home

Spent the weekend with P and some friends in a cabin up north (see 12 of 12 post below). Had an AWESOME time. Relaxed, played cards and board games, did a little hiking while listening to some podcasts, even made (tried to make) a fancy breakfast one morning! It came out totally wrong, but P and my friends ate it anyway!

Now back home and have to turn around quickly... it's my Pop's B-Day today! My present to him this year is a half rack of Guinness (it's a family joke sort of) and my services as a video technician. Dad bought his wife TiVo for christmas and it's up to me to hook it up for them.

As I drove up I noticed a crew finally pouring the sidewalk down below This New Condo... it's been a muddy mess since they started construction over a year ago.

Hope you all had a great weekend, and a nice MLK day.

Friday, January 12, 2007

January 12 of 12

My first foray into a non-condo related kind of post... and my first 12 of 12. All these pics were taken on the 12th of January, 2007. The first day of a long weekend during which me and a group of friends rented a cabin in the N. Georgia mountains.


Atlanta, GA, my bedroom, 6:11 AM. Should have been up 11 minutes ago.


Atlanta, GA, my kitchen, 7:25 AM. Baking muffins for breakfast at the cabin tomorrow (VERY non-typical behavior for me).


Atlanta, GA, my entryway, 10:15 AM. Packed and heading out the door to meet my friends for the drive to the cabin.


Just outside Atlanta, GA, in my buddy's car, 12:30 PM. On our way to the cabin. Highway 515 I think... the caps on the dash are ones with codes I texted to My Coke Rewards as we drove.


Blue Ridge, GA, in front of the cabin, 2:47 PM.


Kitchen counter in the cabin, 2:48 PM. Supplies.


Trash can in front of our cabin, 2:49 PM. Thanks for the warning but we already have a couple bears IN the cabin.


Back deck, 5:09 PM. My buddies playin rummy. I really like this pic for some reason.


Back deck, 5:51 PM. Sunset over N. Georgia.


Dinner table, 6:50 PM. P made chicken pot pies... and I made a happy plate.


Game table, 9:17 PM. I Won.


By the fire, watchin TV, 9:48 PM. Last shot.

Gonna give this a shot...

12 of 12 looks like fun and I am going to try it. I was thumbing through some of the shots people have submitted and what really struck me was not the images themselves, but this idea that while life is happening here, it's also happening here, and here. I mean OF COURSE life is happening, but on this day it all seems a little less far away, a little more real. It's a bit of a mindfuck actually... really takes me out of my head to see how all these different people spent one day, and how they chose to document it.

I'm off work today, starting my weekend early, but it's going to be a busy 4 day weekend and so I won't be able to post my shots of my 12 of 12 till Monday at the earliest...

Thanks to "that guy" over at The Gilded Palace of Sin and his cool pics for turning me on to 12 of 12. Thanks to Chad at the Untitled Chad Darnell Project for (apparently) coming up with the idea!

Have a great weekend y'all!

PostScript: My spellchecker thinks mindfuck ought to be two words.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The new chair

Two years ago, had I been shopping for a new chair it would have been one of those big ol La-Z-Boy, extending foot rest, cup holder in one armrest, hidden storage area for remotes in the other, pleather, vibramassage, enormo-chairs. Like an RV in your living room. So how did I end up with this?

The difference is two years ago I was not decorating. The things I bought two years ago were stuffs I NEEDED to live in a temporary space (a temporary space I stayed in not too temporarily for nearly 5 years). Now in the era of This New Condo the stuffs have become pieces, and I don't just buy them I shop for them so they can be incorporated into the design scheme.

I've always liked things modern, clean, simple. I like the things I see in DWELL magazine. It's only been recently that I've had the means, actually the DESIRE to try and create a space like the one's I see in that mag.

So there is my slipper chair (new term I learned whilst looking for what I described as, "something with no arms, kinda low..."). It's from West Elm and was purchased with a gift certificate from my Mom!

This could get really long winded so I'll just say that I THOUGHT I had an idea of the colors I wanted to use in this room. That chair was intended to be the blue anchor piece for a blue/brown/tan color combo I'd planned on implementing in the living room. Here's the inspiration pillow:

The more I thought about it though the more I realized that I am seeing that EVERYWHERE. I actually did shop for a long time for a chair that would suit my blue/brown/tan needs... but every one I found was either too expensive or not exactly right.

When this chair presented itself to me I was initially hesitant because, there is already a lot of brown in the living room... couch, tables, floor... and this, while lighter, is still brown. Given the circumstances though (what with the GC and all) I think it's a perfect fit.

Now, imagine a large, circular red rug anchoring that grouping and above the couch a large, framed photo of red bricks. Reds I think are going to replace the blues I had initially been so keen on.

So there ya go... the new chair. It's pretty comfy too!

...and YES that is a poinsettia. I KNOW Christmas is over, but I just can't bring myself to throw it away. It's alive, ALIVE!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Full Metal Lobby

Check this out:

It's a HUGE sculpture in my lobby. Looks like wrought iron, but I'm no expert. It's metallic, of that I am sure.

The same night I came home to find the Ted's Sign lit, I was also greeted by this massive installation. This was NOT in the computer animation they showed me in the sales office!

It's EXTREMELY detailed... in fact... want to play a game? See if you can find these guys in the picture above:

Answers below...


Little Metal Axeman is in the bottom center box.
Little Metal Builder Man is in the top center box.
Little Metal Drinking Man is in the upper right box.
Little Metal Climbing Man is in the box in the center of the pic.

My favorite guy is Little Metal Drinking Man who appears to be kicking back and having a beer. My kinda guy. Upon closer inspection however...

He's holding something ELSE in his other hand. Hmmmm... food maybe? Beer and pretzels, beer and a burger, beer and a brat... what is it?

An OREO COOKIE? Dude isn't drinking a beer at all! He's havin a bottle of milk and a damn OREO cookie! Or, maybe, JUST MAYBE Little Metal Drinking Man is on his 4th or 5th little metal brewski and he's really not concerned about that beer/oreo flavor combination. I've been there.

The artists name is Ivan Bailey. According to his website he's a local guy and has quite a few pieces on display 'round Atlanta.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

I'm in love.

The neon's on

I think it looks pretty cool. It's actually been on since Saturday or Sunday... I spent the weekend mostly at P's so I don't know exactly when they threw the switch. I first noticed it in the afternoon, but it was still light out and I couldn't tell what impact it would have on this new condo. Last night at work I got an email from one of my real life neighbors reminding that it was on. I was pretty certain though that they would turn it off after closing hours so I didn't think I'd be able to catch it all electrified. Luckily I finished early and a buddy of mine who I work with offered me a ride home (I usually take the train) so I was able to get there in time to see what a yellow neon buffalo looks like all lit up, and I think it looks cool.

We must have pulled up JUST IN TIME though because by the time I got up to my unit it was off and so I didn't get a chance to see how much (if any) of that yellow bovine light is stampeding into my place.

The next picture illustrates why I think I am going to be OK and why I think my neighbor needs to invest in some heavy drapes:

The YELLOW ARROW indicates where the light is reflecting off the tops of my neighbors windows. In my neighbor's case I don't think it matters, that is one of the mac daddy corner units. That window opens into a 3rd bedroom (not the master) and there's only one person living there. So they can sleep in one of their OTHER bedrooms. The GREEN ARROW shows the underside of my deck and how it seems to be deflecting most of the light away from my space.

Let me point out that these photos were taken with my Treo, and so the resolution is not the best. Also white light seems to look a lot brighter than yellow light so some things might APPEAR brighter when in fact they just have a different color temperature that my little Treo cam can't cope with.

I honestly think a bigger issue for me is going to come from a street lamp that will be going up in close proximity to my space. Right now the sidewalk below me is all torn up, but amongst all that dirt there is a base for a street lamp. I assume "they" are waiting until that patch of concrete is poured to reinstall the light. Once that is in I think it will negate any issues the neon buffalo might have caused by washing it out with it's own brightness. Hard to tell if I am high enough up for my deck to block any of that light pollution.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Credit where credit is due...

...and boy is it DUE!

Isn't it funny how when you are buying things on credit they are so much less expensive than if you were spending cash? For example a 400 dollar rug is so much harder to buy with cash than it is with credit. I THINK it's because I don't have to make a withdrawal to put that rug on a card.

The point is I THOUGHT I was being fairly frugal over the holidays. What with the making of the gifts and buying gift certificates through work for a reduced price. I THOUGHT I had really been cautious and judicious when making my purchases during November and December. Not so much according to my last statement. Turns out that I ate out A LOT in November and December... so it wasn’t the shopping that got me, it was the dinner and drinks AFTER the shopping that snuck up on me.

Master Card’s bill was not the only thing that alerted me to my lack of liquidity... it was an insurance bill. I had set it aside when it came in, three weeks ago. Luckily I found it just a day before the due date. Unluckily the due date was the day before payday and I did not have enough in the kitty to pay it. So for the first time since I moved into this new condo and started this new responsible life, I paid a bill late. Not a big deal, but definitely a big warning!

There are no major events for a while that I will be required to add to my growing MC balance (Valentine's Day is the only thing really LOOMING) so I have removed said plastic from my wallet. Thus reducing the likelihood that I will attempt to use it for a time frame equal to that in which I can pay down a good bit of it.

When I bought this place I put an elaborate system of automatic deposits and payments into action, this reducing the chance of me accidentally blowing the mortgage on beers for the boys at WOOFS (totally plausible by the way). This system, while effective, has also resulted in a dramatic drop in my "discretionary" funds. An adjustment I am still adjusting to. MOST of that adjusting time has happened during the 3 months we like to call "The Holiday Season."

I started out in late September fairly flush with cash thanks to some very active saving in order to be ready for my move and all the incidentals a move requires... all that ready cash gave me a very false sense of security. Damn false senses! If I had only relied on the more COMMON SENSES!

I've given myself till July to really turn this ship around... and I think that is a doable goal. Not to be debt free, just to be on the downward side of my credit limit. I probably won't be much fun for a while.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

I love the rain

This is what a raindrop sees right before it hits the railing on my deck:

Growing up in Southern California I didn't see many rainy days. Yes, of course it rains there, but really not very often. I THINK that is why I love rainy days now. I LOVE rainy days. The worse the weather, the better mood I am in.

Anyway, today is a nice, wet, grey day and I'm digging it!

I have a few posts in me that I haven't had time to write... here are the one sentence synopsis that I'm hoping to flesh out over the next few days:

Money is TIGHT.
The sign is ON.
I have a new chair.

For now though... I'm off to enjoy this beautiful day!

Thursday, January 4, 2007


I saw it and she was outstanding.

The Homestead

Brief moment of panic today when I realized the new year had begun and I had not filed for my homestead exemption. Mind you, I'm not even really sure what exactly a homestead exemption is. I know I have to go to some government office and apply for it (more paperwork, YAY!). I also know it's a tax thing and so "before the first of the year" seemed like a logical cutoff.

In the midst of this panic attack I called my friend the mortgage broker. After forcing myself to calm down and ask about her New Years' (which I really was curious about - she was asleep by 11), I gave her one of those, "Hey, while I got you... let me ask you about that homestead thing." Turns out that because of some deed thing or something I'm not even legally ALLOWED to apply till after the 3rd of this month and I have until March something to do it! Dumb luck wins again!

Why would I qualify for this tax exemption anyway? I'm hardly "homesteading." Don't I need a covered wagon, a mule team and some salted meats for that?

Tax season is going to make my stomach hurt a lot I think. I've been around the H&R Block before but this is a whole new area. Even before I owned this place I never knew what would happen at the end of a tax session... Refund? Pay? Pay AND Refund? A big reason I bought this new condo was for the tax benefits. Everyone from my Mom on down to that guy who sits next to me sometimes at work has extolled to me the tax virtues of home ownership. No one has really told me what the virtues are or why I might get them, but they all get big grins on their heads when they talk about their refund. I don't think I have lived here long enough to reap any of those rewards this year. I'm 100 percent clueless as to what will happen at the end of my tax preparation session. But that's still weeks and weeks away.

For NOW though, crisis averted! Now if you'll excuse me, Jack Twist and I have to water the horses and get the prairie schooner loaded with supplies for our journey across the plains to city hall so I can be there before March to apply for my homestead exemption.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

New Year - New TiVo Season Pass

You may have noticed my "Home Theater" list over on the right side of your screen... scroll down, it's there. It's a list of the first 20 things on my TiVo's Season Pass list. Eagle eyed readers may have noticed that it's changed recently.

My Season Pass list is a little bit of an obsession for me. I was an early adopter of the TiVo technology having become the owner of my first one 6 years ago. Ever since that fateful Christmas I have tried and tried to come up with the perfect Season Pass strategy. Fine tuning the list so that TiVo performs at it's optimal capacity.

Several strategies have been employed over the years:

I've ordered shows by the days of the week they typically air on, pairing them with shows on competing channels and instructing TiVo to only record new episodes of one and all the episodes of the other so that when one is in reruns the other is recorded.

I've set up the list so that the top 20 are all new episodes only, but not in any particular order.

I've grouped shows by type putting all my animation stuff in one area, all my hour long dramas in an area, sitcoms, home improvement shows, reality shows, talk shows all in their own areas.

One year I spent an afternoon going through all the shows listed in TiVo and ranking them with thumbs up or thumbs down. Then I deleted the list all together and just let TiVo record what it wanted based on those ratings.

Based on all that experimentation I have decided that there is no perfect Season Pass list strategy. It has to be maintained, updated, massaged from time to time and I have come to enjoy that process.

My newest top 20 (and for that matter my whole season pass list) is now based on shows that I like and how much I like them. I've tried being scientific, now it's time to go with my ample gut!

Behold the mind of a TiVo addict:

The new additions:

- My Name is Earl (NBC) - Must See TV is back on Thursday. I've been a flip flopper on this one, but it's caught me off guard a couple times, and a surprise in a sitcom is hard to come by... so Earl hits the list for the first time at a respectable #5.

- Scrubs (NBC) - Another link in NBC's Thursday night chain. Always a solid performer... as if the Monkees worked in a hospital. A musical show with songs written by the people behind Avenue Q is coming!

- Ugly Betty (ABC) - I can't recommend this show... but I can't not watch. It's shot and acted like a kids show. Frenetically paced, over acted, lots of bright colors... It's on Thursdays... up against all the NBC Prime time stuff, but I might be able to catch it when it plays on ABC Family.

- Gay, Straight or Taken (Life) - Will probably be lame, but I'm going to give it a shot. Game show where female contestants try to determine which guy is gay, which one is straight and which one is taken. Producers really throw a monkey wrench into the works when they include a bisexual, transgendered guy who is in a three way monogamous relationship with people named Chris and Pat. Not really, but why not?

- Psych (USA) - Plot holes big enough to drive a truck through, but my crush is stronger than my critical eye.

- The King of Queens (CBS) - I like Leah Remini. Sue me.

- The New Adventures of Old Christine (CBS) - should she have won the Emmy? Probably not. But it's JLD back on the tube and that's enough for me.

- Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC) - If it hadn't been for OZ I probably wouldn't love this show so much.

- Wheel of Fortune (syn) - it's a sweepstakes thing. Do you have your Spin ID?

- Dirt (FX) - looks interesting. FX has taken some great changes which have resulted in some great shows... lets see if Mrs. Arquette can keep the streak going.

- The White Rapper Show (VH1) - I'm too embarrassed about this one to explain it.

The deleted and moved:

- The Amazing Race (CBS) - tricky one. It's over so I had to delete it from the list. This last season of the Amazing Race showed up in TiVo as "Amazing Race Season 10." Now, I'm going to record the next season of this show, but it will be called "Amazing Race Season 11" and as smart as TiVo is, it doesn't know that 10 and 11 are the same programs with different numbers at the end, it thinks they are different shows and so season 11 will need it's own new entry in the Season Pass list when it starts. I could create an "Amazing Race" wishlist but that's a whole 'nuther option worthy of a blog entry of it's own.

- Desperate Housewives (ABC) - falls from #2 to #7. Not sure why... I'm loosing interest though I am looking forward to a rumored episode centering on the Husbands that will feature the voice of Bree's dead husband as the narrator.

- The Simpsons (Fox) - drops out of the top 20 to #21. Too easy to catch reruns of this show now-a-days.

- American Dad (Fox) - Tried and tried and tried to love this show, but it never really connected with me. Dropped it all together.

- Family Guy (Fox) - Falls to #20. It's too easy to catch the replays on Adult Swim, no need to keep it so high on the list where it might conflict with something I can only watch in prime time. For example:

- Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (NBC) - up to #2 Two Words: Aaron Sorkin. Nuff Said.

- Survivor: Cook Islands (CBS) - Deleted. Similar story to the Amazing Race... didn't really get into it this year either.

- The Office (NBC) - Up to #4. I'd been missing this show because of conflicts with other shows... but I've decided that it's too good not to make sure I get... in fact the whole Thursday night NBC Lineup is now in the list.

- 30 Rock (NBC) - Moves up to #3. I didn't like it at first... now I really, really, really like it.

- Battlestar Glactica (SciFi) - #1 now baby. BSG used to be down lower on the list because it replays on SciFi later in the evening AFTER it's initial showing... so I could keep it down below all the network prime time stuff and STILL get the new episodes. But my new Season Pass list is not about schedules, it's about "like." And I really, really LIKE BSG.

- Top Chef (Bravo) - It's no Project Runway, but UNTIL Tim Gunn and crew are back, this will have to do.

- Heroes (NBC/SciFi) - I'm going to be shunned from the group for this, but I just never got into it. I TRIED but all I can think when I watch this show is, "Dudes, it's called the X-Men." So Heroes have fallen off the list.

- Nip Tuck (FX) - down to #25. I have a love/hate thing going on with this show. It's either really compelling (obese woman becoming one with her couch) or really stupid (Larry Hagman wants ball implants). The top 20 real estate is much to valuable to have a show that I don't really dig (or am really curious about) taking up space.

- South Park (Comedy) - still the funniest thing on TV... but thanx to late night airings and replays on Comedy Central, I can keep this gem lower in the list and still get my fix. Down to #23.

- The Soup (E!) - up to #11. This is really one of the few things I look forward to on TV every week. HYSTERICAL.

- Kath & Kim (Sundance) - Off the list. If you have the Sundance Channel this is a great show. Since I moved into this new condo I have only the "expanded basic" channels and so no longer get to see this "Reality STYLE" show about a kind of trashy but don't know it mother and daughter living in the suburbs somewhere in Australia.

- My Boys (TBS) - #17 on the hit parade. Think Carrie Bradshaw as a sports writer. Loose the female friends (save one) and you have My Boys. I have a crush on one of her boys by the way...

- Saturday Night Live (NBC)/Mad TV (Fox) - Fall to 26 and 27 respectively. These two are a good example of how I use the "New Episodes Only" feature on TiVo. SNL is only recorded when it is a new episode. If SNL is a repeat then TiVo will record Mad TV instead because I have told TiVo to record new and repeat episodes of that show. Anyway, they are both on late at night and so I can keep them low on the list and they will probably not be effected by conflicts.

- The Venture Brothers (Cartoon Network) - Down to #29. MAYBE funnier than South Park, but in a very different way. It's Johnny Quest all twisted up and thrust into modern day America. Falls down the list because again, it is on very late at night (early in the morning) on Adult Swim and not a lot conflicts with it at those hours.


Grease: You're the One that I Want (NBC) - Not sure yet.

The Apprentice: Los Angeles (NBC) - Trump MAY have Jumped the Shark.

Monday, January 1, 2007

The Big One

This one has it all: Cash, a car, and a kick ass ski in - ski out, Colorado mansion. The HGTV Dream Home Sweepstakes begins today. Sweepers across the country rejoice!

The Dream Home Sweepstakes is the mother lode for people who share my embarrassing hobby. Oh, sure... party poopers pessimistically point out that the taxes on a prize like the Dream Home make it a difficult prize to win, but let's cross that bridge when we get there!

Last year they gave away some secondary prizes, this year it looks like it's just the GRAND PRIZE and weekly prizes of a Doggy Dream Home. A great thing about the Dream Home Sweepstakes though is that it has a very short entry window... less than 2 months. Entries must be in by 5p on 2/16! That is a great odds increaser. Especially since you can enter once a day, every day! The bad thing is that it's HEAVILY promoted which causes more people to enter.

Remember as with any sweepstakes, READ THE OFFICIAL RULES and Good Luck!

Really though its all a moot point since I will be winning this year. You won't have to worry 'bout those pesky tax forms and entry deadlines and what not.