I do feel bad but…

I do feel bad but not as bad as I should most likely, I haven’t been ignoring the web entirely but it has seemed, at times, to me that Alt Text is so far away from me.

I have been taking a ton of photos of my house. It is now on track (in fact it must) to be done by Feb 11th.

I also just finished up a class last night that I have been taking at the Carlson School of Management. I am pretty sure I got an A as I got an A on everything up until the final presentation and thought we did well for ourselves on that and the final paper. One note, college students are not what I remembered them being. It seems like high school – no effort, no intelligent discussion, rarely any questions. Though I do feel a bit like I miss school. I have been thinking about getting a Masters degree in something. Not an MBA though – I couldn’t stand the thought of 2 more years of talking about how to manage a sales force.

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Here are some collected links over the past couple weeks since my last post:

Build your own Bag End, from the Lord of the Rings. Damn I already started building an above ground home!

Slightly related: a petition to George Lucas to let Peter Jackson direct the 3rd Star Wars movie.

Did anyone catch the CBS nightly news show a couple weeks ago about doctors who do not take insurance and were able to cut costs and better serve their patients by doing so? There was one group who didn’t have offices and for a $1300 annual fee would visit you in your home all year. Others were able to cut their fixed costs by 2/3’s in some cases because they did not need the extra office space and staff required to satisfy the insurance companies requirements. it was very interesting. My only concern about not having insurance would be for big things that would occur – car crashes, major illness, etc. I wonder if I can change insurance premiums to have a higher deductible or something and make anything like this worth while.

More house updates

2nd floor start

They are to the second story. The recent snow and rain has caused some delays, though they say it should be no more than 60 days away from completion.

We have moved again. Now we are in a much better neighborhood, with a fenced in yard and 3 bedrooms. I feel better now. if I could only unpack all these boxes – I just can’t do it with another move less than 3 months away. My life is a disorganized mess.

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White Oleander was a good book and a decent movie. I thought it was well acted all around. There was a lot left out and the movie definitely felt less yucky than the book, but so did the sense of the main character’s ordeals and the true, deep reach and hold that her mother had on her life. Worth seeing with your significant other even if you have not read the book.

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Buy this for your loved ones this holiday season.

Pleased to meet you, won’t you guess my domain?

One of the first things I ask someone in my industry (web) when I meet them, is whether or not they have a personal site. I am usually very disappointed when people do not. Most of the time I mentally “mark them down” as someone who isn’t very serious about what they do? I mean why wouldn’t you have your own site to experiment with and express yourself on, if you were *into* what you were doing. I can see not keeping it up when you get busy, but to not even have a domain or a place you can point me to see some of your work or thoughts? – It’s just disheartening.

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I have posted some new photos of the house building experiment I am a part of. The photos are of days 10-16 (I only count business days) and show the progress (or lack thereof) of completing the foundation, weatherproofing it, and backfilling against the outside walls of it. It is all very exciting stuff. They tell me the framing is supposed to start this week. I guess sub-contractors are like mogwai and can’t get rained on lest they turn into gremlins. Framing could be completed next week. Wow.

I can already say that I am not entirely pleased with the house we are building. It is kinda crazy, but we are too far into it to change much and I don’t think I will *love* the way the house looks once it is completed (the first phase anyway). This statement is very unfortunate seeing as I am likely going to live in this house for the next decade or more of my life. I am not really sure how it happened – I guess I fell in love with the inside features of the house, then had to scale back on what we could do right away (due in part because of the expense of the lot and in part due to the extreme costs of building a nice* home these days. We just weren’t expecting our small little custom home to cost so much to build. Anyway, I am still very excited about the house and all the features we are building into it. If it’s ugly for the first half-dozen years of its life then so be it. We are planning an addition at some point in the next 5 years. This may sound ludicrous but we just can’t afford to do it all right now and it happened that our house plans could be phased relatively easily and without much waste in the future.

* For my purposes a nice home is defined as a home that is built with care out of high quality materials and does not fall into the category of home where the builder says “here, pick between these 4 layouts”.

Pleased to meet you

Jason expands on an idea that was brought up recently by Justin Hall, and countless others, that personal websites like Alt Text, Kottke.org, and Links.net can serve as efficient vehicles for getting to know its owner/operator post haste. This idea is on track and has both positive and negative aspects to it. From reading Justin’s site I (and many other people) may feel a little *too knowledgeable* on some aspects of his life. But that is the nature of the web today and always and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It is for this reason that I have been pushing a couple of people I work with to start sites. I enjoy talking to them sure, but I find reading what someone actually “deems worthy” for post on their site very interesting. I can’t do much more than buy people their own domain (which I have done) in order to persuade them. At some point the desire to express oneself has to come from within.

On tap for tomorrow: more thoughts on these ideas.

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It has been slow-going on the house building front. They have been waiting to start framing and backfilling against the foundation. We have to decide what general color scheme to use for the house and I really don’t know how to decide.

Need to get caught up on the house-building process? Here are some links:

House Update IV: A New Hope

So a glimmer of hope came to me in my bid to build a house. Last Friday the neighbor who had been holding up the ground breaking on my property asked if the offer I made over 2 months ago was still on? Specifically would I help to fix his driveway in exchange for his releasing of any claims on my property.

Lets just say that I was more than willing to give him $2000 over two months ago to get this thing behind me – but now – after paying interest on a construction loan in excess of $3000 plus losing my interest rate lock and potentially having to pay another set of loan origination fees – I am a little more hesitant to give in on this. Forget the fact that it is entirely unfair that I have to pay a dime, forget the fact that I went over to this guy’s home before purchasing the property to introduce myself, had coffee with him and 30 minutes later he had not said anything about these claims, forget all these things and you still have a practical question? What am I willing to do to take destiny into our own hands and end this thing?

Now, we could wait 30-90 more days for the courts to decide but then we would be paying more in interest and could potentially need to go to court ourselves against one of the parties in this initial suit. Needless to say its a bit complicated. I am hoping that by the end of the week it will be much simpler.

Observations from the hood

So its not really the real hood, it is still St. Paul’s East side and there are still little naked kids runnin’ around with (what I am hoping are pellet) guns. Having spent a month here in the “new” house I have come up with a list of differences between living in the city and living in the suburbs.

When comparing the suburbs and the city you will often find…

  • …alleys.
  • …people working on their cars in those alleys.
  • …more small businesses and family run restaurants as opposed to chains owned by McDonalds.
  • …more loose dogs running around.
  • …those loose dogs tend to be much larger in size and also of breeds more prone to rip your face off.
  • …”stoop-sitting” is much more prevalent.
  • …a wider variety of grocery choices. (within 5 block of my house I can get Mexican, Asian, and Indian groceries.)
  • …more crack houses or houses condemned for other reasons – you really don’t see much of that in the ‘burbs.
  • …far more naked children running around in the streets.

I am sure I will be back with more. I like being able to walk to places, I just hope I get where I am going before one of those dogs gets to me.

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I have something else to say here. Senility. I hope I remember before I go to bed. Its always tough for me to fall asleep if I can’t remember something.