Friday, May 28, 2010

Cultural Fix

Pageant of the Masters is a community event City of Laguna Beach has done for the better part of the last century. It's very difficult to describe but well worth attending every 10 years or so.
AnnaMarie can't wait; I think Shoo's wife Pam is pretty excited too. Shoo's resigned himself but I think he'll be glad he went. Byron and Paula will love it as will Mike F. I don't know Mike's date so there's a wild card involved.
I'm really looking forward to it. It will be my third time; Once in high school, once when AnnaMarie and I were dating.
There's a real 'Wow' factor. So here's what they do--- they take famous works of art and replicate them lifesize, but use real people in the paintings or sculpture. The way the light it you'd swear it's a flat painting. Every now and then someone wiggles a little though. The curtains close, they quickly change to another one. There's narration, music, and a theme--this year's is "Eat, Drink and be Merry". We will follow that theme before and after the Pageant with dinner out and a Hotel stay (Laguna Beach is a few hour drive from Cuyamaca)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

New House, $18,500


The foundation isn't even dug yet but lumber prices were creeping up, so took delivery on materials. We lost most of the driveway for awhile.
Even though it's a tiny house, it's lots of lumber. The fire resistive codes for this region call for lots of heavy timber. The seismic zone we're in (directly over part of the Elsinore Fault) calls for heavy bracing for those heavy timbers. Since I wanted a 'green' building, the walls are extra thick for more insulation.
It's a small lot with a big septic system. Actually, it wasn't even supposed to be a buildable lot so I was lucky to get to build at all. I ended up with a 20x20 area on which to build, so I'm going up, and also cantilevering out. More heavy timbers.
So, new houses are going for $18,500. Self assembly required. Land, utilities, permits, plumbing, electrical, propane tank, appliances, and fireplace not included.
There's really no suitable location for the materials at the building site. That's why they were delivered to our home

Monday, May 17, 2010

Work Like an Egyptian

It wasn't easy finding a pole to purchase. Once located, the delivery cost was more than the pole itself so loaded it (550 pounds) on the truck. I drove uphill from the hole. I just sort of untied it and got out of the way; it rolled right into my new fence, bounced off with no damage, and pointed itself pretty much at the hole---wrong side down. Pivoting it around on a slope without having it roll away involved lots of rope and anchors.
You have to put a board in the hole for the butt end to scrape against, otherwise the pole gets stuck and you collapse dirt back into the hole. Once in position you just lift the end of the pole as high as you can. The butt end frictions against the other board so you can re-position. (No pictures of the actual lifting because I was actually lifting)
Then a PVC pipe is strapped to the pole. This is so the inspector can run a rod down the pipe to make sure you buried the pole deep enough (5' is required; I went 6.5') Then a grounding rod is pounded in, 8' deep. Then all the electrical service stuff is built up and attached to the pole.
With everything dome according to County of San Diego and SDG&E specs, I called for an inspection. Over the phone the inspector said I needed a second 8' grounding rod pounded in at least 6' away with 4AWG copper wire bonding the two rods. I can't find that anywhere in the literature but, keeping the inspector happy is worth $15 in copper and 2 hours with the sledge.
He comes today while I'm at work. Hope it goes well; also hope he doesn't find some major flaw with the whole project (not likely, just one of those deep in the pit of the stomach fears)

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Lauren Trap


I took time out from building to dig a Lauren Trap. I dug one about 7 years ago, same size--even though Lauren was much, much smaller back then.
The last one took three days. Dunno if it's softer soil, recent rains, better shovel, or what---but this one was done in about 7 hours. I even got some concrete poured the same day.
Wasn't long before I captured a Lauren. She's a beauty, too. Now AnnaMarie says I have to fill the hole back up since we don't need any more Laurens. I'll stick my telephone pole I got for my birthday in the hole to mark where it was.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Best Travel Pics I Ever Took


Were ruined.

The first one is a nice truck driving between me and the exact spot the levee broke in the ninth ward. I was standing on the K rail trying not to fall into traffic.
The next one shows the Empire State Building with a delivery truck in the way.
Finally there's a picture of a New York pedestrian. Just past said pedestrian is a very touching memorial plaque, right where the towers fell.
There's a button on my camera that says 'timer' but I don't think it really helps with timing

Anza Borrego Ride

I was invited to a desert bike ride through Anza Borrego. At first I said no, since I was fresh off the plane from NY but AnnaMarie encouraged me to go.
Then I found out we were meeting at 7 am. Okay...So I got to Banner at 7 am. It was 38 degrees out. Ummm how far are we riding? "28 miles, give or take". Couldn't wimp out at this point.
San Diego county is pretty unique. We live in the mountains, but you can drive 45 minutes to the beach, south to Mexico, or east to the desert. Today we were going east.
Banner is a town on the outskirts of Julian. We headed down the highway, it was FREEZING cold. As we headed into the desert (pretty much all downhill) it warmed up to absolutely perfect temperature. The ride was very pleasant--just a cruise. We were able to converse the whole way. The desert was in bloom, too.
Two hours later we were at Agua Caliente. There's a natural hot springs that feeds a few pools, and a very nice campground. We were met there by family members bearing food and conversation.
They say no one needs a vacation like the man who just took one; this was a perfect little get away after my big get away. What a contrast, Manhattan one day then Man its hot here the next.