Condo Renovations

The last two weekends Lauren and I have spent hours upon hours working on the condo. We’ve been painting trim, painting rooms, upgrading switches, outlets and heaters and, on occasion, totally screwing things up. Below are a few of the recent projects with some tasty before and after shots. The first is the one I’m probably proudest of. I ripped out the old and nasty baseboard heater and upgraded it to an wall unit. The second is a before and after shot of our balcony. I started with 20 inch square deck material that I bought from Ikea and, basically, cut it to fit our balcony and then nailed it all together with boards underneath.

Before and After Heater Upgrade

Balcony Deck Upgrade

By no means is this all that we’ve done the last two weekends. Here is the laundry list of things we have done in the last few weekeneds.

  • Painted the guest bedroom “mocha brown”.
  • Painted four new interior door slabs only to realize that I had measured two of the doors wrong and I couldn’t hang the other two doors because I was neither equipped with the knowledge or the right tools for the job.
  • Put new trim in the guest bedroom.
  • Put new switches and outlets in the guest bedroom, our bedroom and the bathroom.
  • Painted the window sills in both bedrooms.
  • Replaced the baseboard electric heater in the guest bedroom.
  • Put in a faux deck on our balcony.
  • Painted over the nasty yellow in the living room with a clay color.

This coming week our contractor is coming to put in all new interior doors, which will need to be painted and trimmed. After that is done we plan on painting and putting new closet doors up in both of the bedrooms.

At that point we will have hit a wall. The other projects from that point forward will need to be handled by professionals. We plan on gutting the kitchen and the bathroom and then, the final touch, putting in all new carpet.

You know you live in Seattle when …

My mom forwarded me the following list. It was originally intended for people living in California, but many of them apply to Seattle as well. As a result I’ve modified the list and created my own You know you living Seattle when …

  1. Your coworker has 8 body piercing’s and none are visible.
  2. You make over $300,000 and still can’t afford a house.
  3. You take a bus and are shocked at two people carrying on a conversation in English.
  4. Your child’s 3rd-grade teacher has purple hair, a nose ring, and is named Flower.
  5. You can’t remember … is pot illegal?
  6. You’ve been to a baby shower that has two mothers and a sperm donor.
  7. You have a very strong opinion about where your coffee beans are grown, and you can taste the difference between Sumatran and Ethiopian.
  8. You can’t remember, is pot illegal?
  9. You need a compass and a tape measure to park.
  10. It’s barely snowing and there’s a report on every news station: “SEVERE WINTER STORM WATCH.”
  11. It’s barely snowing outside, so you leave for work an hour early to avoid all the weather-related accidents.
  12. HEY! Is pot illegal?
  13. Both you AND your dog have therapists.
  14. You drive 60MPH in the fast lane, 55MPH in the middle lane and 45MPH in the right lane.

There you have it. My updated list for Seattle. Enjoy.

Copy Songs from your Ipod

Lauren’s iBook died recently and, with it, went all of her songs. I told her we could most likely recover the songs from her iPod so it shouldn’t be a big deal. However, as many of you probably know, you can’t simply restore your music library from your iPod. Thankfully, there is hope! Being the UNIX geek I am I whipped up a shell script to get all the songs of the iPod and it worked like a charm.


TYPES="mp3 mp4 m4a m4b"

for ext in $TYPES
    find $IPODPATH -name *.$ext -print -exec cp {} $DST ;

I’m sure I’ll be getting a letter from Apple any time now, but there it is. Using simple UNIX commands you can easily recover the songs from your iPod. Maybe Apple will listen to it’s consumers and create an avenue to back up and recover one’s music library. Until then, UNIX is your friend. By the way, for those of you wondering, the m4b extension is for books. You may have other extensions on your iPod as well. To find what extensions you have I found the following command to be most helpful.

find /Volumes/iPod/iPod_Control/ -print | awk -F . '{print $2}' | sort | uniq

Of course you’ll need to change the names of the directories above to the actual name of your iPod (mine is simply named “iPod”). Once mounted it should show up in your /Volumes folder.

By the way, those of you with Cygwin installed should be able to use these scripts, after modifying the paths as well on your Windows iPods.

Anthony Fedorov Fan Mail

Now that 12% of my traffic comes from various searches involving the name Anthony Fedorov I thought I’d post a followup to my other Anthony Fedorov posts. The reaction I’ve gotten has been an endless source of amusement for me and I want to thank everyone for responding. The following are a collection of the various comments and email I have received regarding the aforementioned posts.

Yea for real if someone likes anthony thats there biz not yours so u need to lay off and get over it if u dont like him than whatever get over other people do just cause u want someone off doesnt mean other people do the world dont revolve around u!!! so get a life and face the facts nobody cares what you want so give it up

It was after this comment that I turned on “AOL Kiddie Filtering” in my blog. No longer are you allowed to post “ppl”, “cuz” and the like on my blog. One of the overwhelmingly obvious traits of the feed back was the complete lack of understanding of the English language; especially punctuation, spelling and the use of upper case.

YOU’RE A PIECE OF ****! Everyone who keeps insulting the “hole in Anthony’s neck” or the fact that he’s Russian (Ukrainian actually) should go f*** themselves! It’s not his fault that he had to go through that operation! And there’s NOTHING wrong with having a Ukrainian American Idol! YOU F****’N RACISTS! ANTHONY DID NOTHING TO YOU SO SHUT THE F*** UP! You have NO right to call him an IDIOT or WANNABE for trying to fufill his dreams! YOU a**holes don’t have the guts to do what he’s doing so get up of ur F***’n ASSES AND DO WHAT HE’S DOING BEFORE YOU OPEN YOUR UNGRATEFUL MOUTHS! JACKASSES!

Everyone who’s telling these people off, you rock. Anthony was excellent and if anyone has a problem with him, KEEP IT TO YOURSELF!

I about fell out of my chair when I read this one. I really couldn’t stop laughing. I’m not sure who Via is, which is the person who sent me this, but thanks for the great laugh.


Now, one of the most troubling things the comments kept bashing me about was the whole “Who cares if he’s Russion?” argument, which I didn’t understand since I hadn’t ever brought that up before. The only thing I said was that the hole in his kneck freaked me out and that I thought he was an idiot. Oh, I also said that I thought he wasn’t a great singer. Good, but nowhere near great.

you (sic) people are so mean to anthony!!! (sic) you (sic) should not be picking on him just (sic) thing in his throat. oh (sic), and by the way its not a hole their is still skin there!!!!! (sic) so stop picking on him! lets (sic) see you get up there and sing in front of millions of people. how (sic) could you be so heartless and pick on someone you dont (sic) even know.!* (sic) you (sic) all are a bunch *idiots*! so (sic) stop being such immature children and you are acting like five year olds, and you might want to go back to 2nd grade and re-take (sic) english! i (sic) mean come on im (sic) in 9th grade and i have better grammer (sic) than you!!!!!! so (sic) shutup (sic) and deal with his hottness (sic)!

Oh man, I laughed and laughed and laughed at this one. What really made me laugh was the following sentence. It just drips with irony.

so stop being such immature children and you are acting like five year olds, and you might want to go back to 2nd grade and re-take english! i mean come on im in 9th grade and i have better grammer than you!!!!!!

  1. All of your sentences need to start with an upper case letter (ie. Stop being such immature children …)
  2. The first sentence is a run-on sentence.
  3. It should be “second grade” and “ninth grade”, not “2nd grade” and “9th grade”, though this is up for debate, I suppose..
  4. It’s “retake” and not “re-take”.
  5. Possibly the best part of the sentence is her spelling of “grammer”. It’s “grammar”. Rob is going to love that one.

What is, without a doubt, the best part of all of these comments is that they couldn’t recognize that the only reason I post about American Idol on my blog is because I know the absolute worst on the Internet will drop by and make me laugh with such stupid comments. I could care less who wins American Idol. The funny part is watching 35,000,000 idiots call in over and over for people on the basis of who is “hot” or “nice”, not who can actually sing, and then blogging about the lunacy of it all only to have said people then invade my blog to defend their favorites.

I welcome all to browse around the posts above and read over the comments. There are some true gems in there. I’ve only included a few of the emails I’ve gotten, but they are the best of the best for sure. Hope you laugh as much as I have.

America West Redeems Itself

After a rather annoying flight delay caused by America West in Las Vegas I wrote in to their customer support department outlining my issues. My main issue was that I was delayed about nine hours and the America West representative didn’t even offer to buy me dinner. The delay was only part of my problems, which included being thoroughly searched after having to exit the secure area.

I honestly didn’t think I would ever hear back from them. A few days later I got an email saying that a customer service representative was looking into my complaint and would followup with me shortly. Much to my surprise Lauren told me that I had received a letter from America West.

Enclosed with a letter saying how sorry they were that their customer representatives had failed to provide adequate care was a voucher for $100 off my next America West flight. While this only amounts to about $10 per hour for my delay, I consider it fair retribution for my troubles. Just wanted to let everyone know that, while the delay sucked really bad, America West made amends and did so quickly I might add (voucher and letter of apology in less than two weeks).

War on Terrorism at Work

This is a lawsuit that everyone in the United States should be paying attentiong to. The ACLU, PETA, Greenpeace, American-Arab Anti-discrimination Committee and United for Peace and Justice are suing the FBI over an ignored FOI regarding problems they have had being subjected task forces created to combat terrorism. PETA? Give me a break. All those granola eating tree hugging hippies ever did was spray paint a few fur coats and break into a few animal testing labs. Not even in the same galaxy as Bin Laden (hey, where is that guy anyways?).

This is exactly the problem I have with the PATRIOT Act, in that it will inevitably be used by the whoever is the current administration to monitor groups and people they don’t like. If the Democrats where in power they’d use this horrific piece of legislation to monitor right leaning groups, while the Republicans will use it to monitor left leaning groups.

A few of the above mentioned groups could, I suppose, be considered “radical”, but “terrorists”? Hardly. In fact, I’d say the ACLU has done more to protect the average American’s individual rights than any other group, including our own government, in the last 100 years.

At any rate, this is something to keep your eye on. If the FBI is forced to comply, which may not happen if they invoke “National Security”, and we find out they were monitoring such benign groups it could be another huge mess for the FBI.

Hi, I'm a Sheep

I saw the following quote via the A Whole Lotta Nothing and I must say it’s pretty hilarious.

I saw it first yesterday and thought it was kind of dumb, but in the past 24 hours I’ve found dozens more from folks I read and admire, and I’ve changed my tune — it’s turned out to be kind of cool.

So, let me rephrase this into what Matt is really saying.

I saw it first yesterday and thought it was kind of dumb, but in the past 24 hours I’ve found dozens more from folks I read and admire, and, as a result, I’ve decided that in order to keep my edge as one of the “cool” bloggers I should do the right thing and follow the pack.

Dude, if you think it’s dumb then just say it. It’s OK to think that some of the things the folks you read and admire do is dumb. Don’t follow the herd just because everyone else is.

Lauren gets all the cool toys

Argh! Lauren has been getting all sorts of fun new toys in the last few weeks. What do I get? Nothing. For the first time in my life my significant other has what is, arguably, a better machine as far as technical specs go. The following is a list of news toys she has gotten in the last few weeks, amazingly with my blessing.

  1. 1.2GHz iBook – Faster CPU than my machine, but I’ve got a 15 inch screen, much more RAM and a larger hard drive. It’s a zippy little machine for a mere $999. Probably one of the best buys for laptops right now.
  2. 4GB iPod Mini – She’s training for a half marathon and running with a full size iPod was a little cumbersome for her. So we got her a mini with an arm band. She’s all set now.

To her credit she managed to take me to the Apple store twice in less than a week and keep me from buying myself one of those hot new Apple displays.

Followup to Tyranny of the Majority

Before I respond to Mark’s comment, I want to make a few things clear. First, I was talking about the dangers of the simple majority. Obviously, if 90% of Americans think that something should be so there is little, if anything, someone could do to stop them. Also, what I do in public, versus what I do in private are two very different things. I should be given wide latitude to do whatever I wish in the confines of my own home and, especially, in my own head.

Liberties I’ve lost in the last few years:

  1. It’s now legal for authorities to search my home via a secret, sealed warrant, without my knowledge (violating my right to due process, privacy and a slew of other rights).
  2. It’s now legal to hold me indefinitely without charges on the sole basis of being a suspected terrorist (violating my right to due process).
  3. If I were a cheerleader in Texas I couldn’t shake my booty quite as much as I could in other states (violating my right to free speech, or, in this case, my right to shake my booty).
  4. I can no longer check a book out from the library without the government having access to my reading list (chilling effect on freedom of speech).
  5. Banks must no report any “suspicious” activity in my bank accounts directly to the government (illegal search and seizure).
  6. In three years, when the Real ID Act goes into effect, I’ll have to carry around a form of ID that, literally, broadcasts my vital personal information (age, sex, location, photo, signature, etc.) (illegal search and seizure).

If you want to tell the world that Jefferson really hates majoritys, maybe you should question why our political system is based on the representation of the majority. It certainly isn’t the fault of any one party.

Actually, thanks to the Bill of Rights, our system isn’t set up solely on the basis of majority representation. In fact, there is something called “checks and balances”, that was built into the system to prevent this very thing. Just because 51% of Americans think we should make it a crime to speak your mind, doesn’t give the simple majority the right to strike down the First Amendment.

We don’t live within a spread landscape of hundreds of miles between towns spanning state-to-state. We must deal with what we, the people, have decided based on our majority.

This is true. For the most part this is how it works, but if 51% of Americans think that two men holding hands or two girls kissing in public should be outlawed should we make it so? Hopefully, such a law would be struck down as it violates the First Amendment. What if 51% of Americans think it should be illegal to carry a concealed weapon? Again, this violates your Second Amendment rights.

Well how isn’t a no-smoking section a tyrannical-majority? Are all non-smokers now officially biggots because they want to be segregated from those evil smoke-inhaling fiends of Satan?

No, this is a good example of a law that was enacted because smoking does affect the people around you when you are in a public place. I would link to the plethora of studies that support the fact that second-hand smoke is deadly and causes cancer, but I trust we can all use Google here. Also, it should be noted that smoking has been banned within the confines of small places (resturants, bars, etc.) and not in wide open public places (parks, sidewalks, etc.). I would fight any ban on smoking in wide open public places, but I think bans on smoking in, say, airplanes and resturants makes perfect sense.

If your party and ideals were happening, you know you wouldn’t be saying all of this…

Can’t argue here. If a Libertarian was in office I’d be doing a naked jig in the streets of Seattle. We’d have strictly enforced personal rights, a small federal government and we sure as hell wouldn’t be in Iraq. I, however, wouldn’t be any happier if a Democrat was in office.

Yes dramatic effect is fun… but more importantly… we can sensationalize anything you want to pretend is a right given by our fore-fathers. They wanted us to marry brother and brother, smoke weed, drink at 9, hug a tree, and make sure a God-loving man was never President for fear of morality!

Actually, George Washington owned slaves, Thomas Jefferson even banged a few of his slaves and Benjamin Franklin was a natorious womanizer and drunk. In fact, Franklin once said “Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy.” So I doubt he’d be too happy about our current drinking laws. I should also note that weed was legal until the early 1900’s, but had been in America long before that, so I doubt the Founding Fathers found many problems with weed. Washington was so distraught as a young boy over having killed a cherry tree he confessed to his sins. I’m not sure how they’d feel about gays, but I’m fairly sure they’d recognize that what people do in their own homes is up to them. This is a good place to mention that the reason marriage licenses even exist today was because they were once used to restrict interracial couples from marrying. An absurd though by today’s standards.

I have no problem with a religious man being President as long as he realizes and understands, as Jefferson implied with his use of the word “Creator”, that his God is not the only god and that his morals aren’t the only morals in the country. Our country is a country filled with Muslims, Roman Catholics, Jews and even a few atheists.

My point is if you are unhappy with the government then do something more proactive to change it rather than complain retroactively about the election. The election has come and gone. 3 1/2 more years of this evil tyranny. Creator [not God] save us all from these Tyrannical Christians; who knows, they may keep trying to save babies and prevent planes from flying at our buildings. The horror of it all.

I’m doing what I can. I email/write/call my representatives and I vote. Other than running for office or organizing protests I’m not sure what else I can do. Also, please go and read my post again. Not once did I mention the election nor did I complain about it.

Also, I’m all for saving babies! Babies, despite being annoying and dirty little creatures, they are kind of cute and have their moments of being funny. However, an egg is not a baby in the same way that an egg at the super market is not a chicken. I recognize that we need to define when a fetus is “alive” and use that as a benchmark for abortions. I think a good measure would be the age at which the average featus could survive outside of the womb, although I am not a doctor so I can’t say for sure.

And, as numerous reports and studies are showing, the measures put into place and the billions spent on airport security have not made us significantly more safe in any real way from terrorist attacks such as the ones carried out on 9/11. Making a woman drink her own breast milk does not make us safer.

The mindset that 51% of a population can dictate what the other 49% of the population does is completely insane, which is why we have the Bill of Rights. It’s also why it takes a vote of 3/4 of the states to change The Constitution. I think the current sense of entitlement or that the current administration has a “mandate” is absurd. In my previous post I was merely stating that I find this idea that a minority majority (I won’t say “majority” since less than half the population votes) can rule the rest of the country with total disregard to the Bill of Rights, The Constitution and the thought that the rest of the country doesn’t matter is disgusting. It, also, “doesn’t scale well”.