Friday, August 22, 2008

House Post #7 - Main Floor Repair (pt. 2)

So, I said in my previous post about not knowing how to repair the hole in the chimney; I think I did a pretty decent job. The hole was about the size of two half bricks on top of each other. I chiseled out the remainder of the brick to make an opening for two whole bricks and cleaned out the surface of the opening. The amount of mortar I bought wasn't enough and was meant to touch up small areas so I was initially only able to do one brick. You can see how the mortar on the lower brick is dry while the rest of it is fresh. After picking up more mortar I put in the second brick and filled in any gaps that were left with the first brick. The result is a chimney with no holes and a few mismatched bricks and different colored mortar. I don't really care too much about this because I intend on having the chimney taken out (if possible) once I get central air and no longer need it for exhaust purposes.

The hole prior to prepping it for repair

Finished product

Going to Vegas

So I am leaving for Vegas tomorrow at 6:30 AM and I have yet to pack anything. The only thing I have done is print my boarding pass and find a deck of cards to play with at work today. This procrastination can be completely blamed on Summer Glau (she is also awesome in Firefly and Serenity) and her portrayal of a terminator in the Sarah Conner Chronicles that was released this past Tuesday. Thankfully there were only nine episodes because of the writer's strike and I was able to finish the season around 12:30 last night so I can concentrate on packing when I get home tonight.

To do:
Call MGM Grand and request early check-in - done
Print out schedule of daily poker tournaments - done
Print out wikipedia page about craps and roulette - done
Check-in and print boarding passes - done
Find glasses and extra contacts
Do laundry
Pack clothes
Pack laptop and other necessary electronics
Buy new headphones from Best Buy
Take everything valuable out of car

I really don't have much to do and had to reach to come up with a list that wasn't only a couple things. I'll be sure to take lots of pictures and hopefully have some good stories when I get back ... oh and lots of extra money (not likely).

Monday, August 18, 2008

This weekend

This weekend I learned some things:

  • When you leave work early on a Friday to take a nap before happy hour, you won't wake up until hapy hour is over
  • After you miss happy hour, there is no desire to go meet up with a bunch of people that are already drunk
  • I am not a mason and don't know how to repair a chimney with bricks missing
  • I grossly underestimate the amount of mortar needed to replace two bricks
  • Going out at 2:00 PM for a 7:30 PM football game = not remembering the football game
  • NFL Preseason football = not worth remembering
  • Mother's is a good place to go before a worthless football game
  • I still love Dog Pub and always will but hate that I can't refuse the free shots of GM they give me
  • Nacho cheese washes out of shorts pretty well
  • Tropic Thunder is funny but tries too hard to be as un-PC as possible
  • The movie theater in Linthicum is a great deal
  • Phelps is a great swimmer but I still prefer watching any track event over swimming
At Mother's before the game
Quick shot for J's bday, also before the game

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dragonboating & Beyond

So every Tuesday (when it isn't storming) a group of people from work go to Canton Marina and practice for our dragonboat race in September. I'm not the most in-shape person (or really in-shape at all) but I enjoy doing this and am pretty strong overall, which helps with the paddling. We have only practiced a few times, but every time we do, things seem to be coming together more and more. This year's race has two categories, competetive and sport. We are in the sport division so it takes some pressure off and we are mostly just out to have fun and do something good for charity. Here are a couple pictures from today:

After practice, a few of us grabbed a couple beers and I headed to Speakeasy again for my daily dose of the Olympics. Caught the end of men's beach vball USA beating Argentina and then watched as local Katie Hoff fell to fourth place as the top 3 all beat the world record in the 200M Freestyle. Saw some women's (but none of these girls seem to be women yet, they all look 12 years old) gymnastics and then watched Phelps become the life-time gold medal record holder.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

House Post #6 - Main Floor Repair (pt. 1)

Since this is a catch-up post it kinda falls out of order from some of the previous ones but I don't care, here it is. The first thing(s) I did to my house was getting a new front door (and new water pipe from the street and new circuit breaker box). The previous door, which I sadly don't have any close up pictures of, was pretty much a glorified piece of cardboard with the kind of lock you find on antique desks. I felt like I was going to fall into my house before even turning the knob when I would stumble home drunk. The new door was a good investment and while I am trying to do as much labor on my home as I can, I really just had no interest in completely framing a new door and dealing with all the details involved in constructing something that I needed yesterday. I hired a contractor to do it and feel like I got a fair price.

This is the best picture I had of the original door

While I lost the storm door, I gained some privacy and security.

House Post #5 - Main Floor Demo (pt. 1)

If you look at the original main floor house post, you will see that the right wall is covered with 70's era wood paneling (I really don't know if it is 70's era, but that is the time period I picture it being put up during). My first construction/demolition projects on my house were taking down the drop ceiling, removing these wood panels, and getting a feel for the time and effort required to expose all the brick on the first floor (minus the kitchen at this point). The drop ceiling and wood panels were easy and took little effort (but created a lot of waste). When I got to the plaster on the wall, removing it became a bit more difficult and exponetially more messy. I got through a section of the wall and decided I would wait until I get one of those portable dumpsters that my neighbors will hate because it will take up three spaces in front of my house. Here is what it looks like so far:

As you can see the fireplace was closed up and the chimney is currently used as the exhaust for the gas water heater and boiler (which is not currently running). Yes, that black spot above the fireplace is a hole where a deteriorated brick fell out. Great ... now I have exhaust fumes flowing into my living room everytime I use some hot water. I bought some mortar last night and will make an attempt at patching it (temporary solution) for the time being. I'll let you know how that turns out.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Olympic Thoughts

It was only a week ago that my feelings toward the Olympics could be summed up as apathetic at the best, but now that the NBC barage has begun I find myself completely drawn to everything Olympic. I find myself spending my free time at work researching the athletes and the sports that no (or maybe only a few) American cares about (Hand ball anyone?). I realized that America's best hope at a badmiton medal works at the Home Depot and that the Chinese loves team USA basketball more than team China. I was out at Buffalo Wild Wings in White Marsh Saturday night (after a horrible round of golf) and there was football, baseball, the olympics and several random sports channels on. My choice to watch, everything having to do with the olympics. I can't really remember who was playing football, the O's were winning (I think because they fell into their usual play a few months ago), the White Sox may have been playing, and I think there was some other sports news going on. I do remember everything olympics we watched; Phelps getting his first gold in the 400M medley, the US Women's beach vball winning and some other things. Tonight, I went to Speakeasy in Canton to watch Phelps get his third gold after watching some more beach vball and gymnastics. I completely expect this obsession to continue and I cannot wait until track starts.

I wish I had some form of cable to watch the Olympics (yes, yes I know NBC can be watched over the air but the signal is fuzzy and I don't like poor quality), but I don't feel that the cost of comcast or direct tv is worth the short amount of time I would spend watching it. Plus, I can get almost all the content I want to watch online and I have a 600+ DVD/Blu-ray collection to keep me entertained.

I think I will try out NBC's streaming video at work tomorrow .

Sunday, August 10, 2008


After work on Thursday I went to the Volleyball House in Elkridge with my vball team and played for a couple hours in a random warehouse that's lacking A/C. After losing every ounce of water in my body, we headed to our respective places and got cleaned up to go to a concert of one of the other guys on the vball team, Walter. He was playing at The Depot on Charles St about one block north of Penn Station. The music was very interesting, it was a mix of sounds and I really don't know how to describe it, but I definately liked it. Here is all of us at the Depot and Walter playing:
After the concert most of us headed down to Fed Hill to the Dog Pub to get a couple "pairs" of beer. The cabbie that took of down in a Mini-Van was named Sammie and was getting into it with Jeff about what he was drinking. We tried to get Sammie to come in and grab a drink with us but I thnk he had enough to drink in his water bottle. The manager at Dog Pub gave us a few shots of GM (which I hate but can't turn down) before kicking us out (last call) so we headed to the pizza place for some late night snacking. Of course by snacking I mean we dominated two pizza's in about 5 minutes.
Overall it was great time and I look forward to more of these nights when our vball league starts up again in September.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

House Post #4 - Outside

Here's the outside of the house.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

House Post #3 - Upstairs

So here are pictures of the upstairs from when I first bought the house. Since this level is in decent condition it will be the last area of the house I work on (plus I need a place to live while I am tearing shit down everywhere else). My favorite aspect of the bedroom is the canary yellow walls ... they are really a joy to wake up to every day.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

House Post #2 - Basement

Here are some pictures from the basement when I first bought the house. It is a lot different now because I got a new water line coming in from the street (the old one had several holes in it and was leaking water under the sidewalk in front of my house) and a new breaker box (the old one was manufactured by a company that no longer existed and you couldn't get new breakers or blanks to fill in the empty slots). I also have a bunch of stuff stored down there and have moved a lot of crap the old owner left into the back to get thrown out when I rent a roll-off dumpster thing.

Apparently this bathroom was the only one in the house until about 10 years ago. The toilet is under the stairs. Also, the black tube you see pointed into the tub is the drain for the washer and drier that are next to the tub.

Monday, August 4, 2008

House Post #1 - Main Floor

I bought a house in Canton that needs a lot of work. I see it as my project for the next 2+ years. It is in livable condition and the second floor (where I will be living) is in pretty good shape. This leaves the whole first floor as my workshop and my retreat from any stress I may feel at any time. Here are some pictures of the first floor from when I first moved in.

Weekend round up

After my night out Friday, my old roommate dropped her dog off for me to watch over the next week.
Skye (the pit) is a county dog and was really confused by the lack of grass during the first walk. She didn't go to the bathroom until the third time I took her out. So after walking her I left her to go to my sister's boyfriend's uncle's grandmother's thrid cousin's 30th birthday (- the uncle, grandma and cousin). My sister recruited me to work the grill about 4 months ago.

The party was a suprise for Bryan and it turned out he had no idea. His parents, sister and about 25 - 30 friends showed up in the back yard of a Baltimore city house, needless to say, it was packed. While cooking I had plenty to drink (helped get rid of the hangover from the night before), inhaled at least a years worth of grill exhaust, and felt my eyebrows singe on more than one occasion. The food turned out great, the rain held off (aside from two less than 10 minute showers) and everyone seemed to have a great time. Instead of staying for the 3 - 4 hours I had planned on, I ended up leaving after midnight and riding my bike home drunk. Being that I got my bike back last week for the first time in about two years and was riding home drunk around the same time other drunk people were driving home from the square ... I felt good about my chances of not getting hit by a car. I got home fine and took Skye out for a walk then went home and passed out.

Sunday I took Skye to my mom's in Columbia to play with Joey (the blonde mutt in the picture) and do my laundry (my house is under construction and I don't have those appliances (well, I do but not in working order)). Other than Skye trying to get in my lap as I drove through the Harbor tunnel and almost killing me, the drive was fine. Joey and Skye did great together and I got my stuff done and went to look at a new phone (they didn't have the Curve in stock so I will go back later and get it). Got back to Canton around 6 and put on a movie while I cleaned up the house a little. Watched the first disc of "The Tudors" and went to sleep.

I have determined that I do not want a dog until I have a yard. The whole needing to walk the dog three or four blocks to find grass right before bed when I have already been lying in bed for 3 hours and needing to get dressed and walk the dog in the morning before taking a shower and actually getting dressed is too much of a sacrifice for me. I have no problems walking the dog in the morning, but would rather do so after I go through my wake-up routine ... this would result in cleaning up after the dog being added to that routine. I need to have a small back yard for short bathroom only breaks before I have a dog.

Anyways, I am in for a fun week of Dragonboat practice, volleyball practice, and dog watching on top of the always exciting work day.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Last night

So last night ... and by last night I mean Friday night since it is now past midnight and last night would really mean tonight.

OK ... so last night I went to a happy hour for this guy (who said he would add me to his "Blogroll") with Brian and Dave. I now have several things I must do as a result of this excursion. I volunteered to help this girl with some home improvement demolition (which I would actually love to do). I need to try Haggis because the happy hour host and his Mrs. spoke so highly of it. I have to take a glass blowing class and need to remember to get information about doing so from Charissa (and I need to not eat the Hummus at Don't Know). I met a lot of good people and learned other people's reasons for blogging and can compare them to my own (or at least what I think my reasons for blogging are).

After meeting all those good people (and winning a game of shuffleboard (and losing Dave and Brian to random circumstances)) I headed to Mother's then realized everyone I was meeting up with was at "the Magic Bar" (Illusions). I went over there and had a couple beers and watched the show then we left and went to ... Mother's. After a while and some more beers I went to leave but there was a horrible storm out the front window. I went back and had another beer with my friends hoping the storm would pass, when I went back to leave it was still raining. I asked the person next to me (some random stranger) if they knew when it would stop raining. They looked at me funny and just walked away ... I was confused so I looked out the side window and it wasn't raining there. Apparently someone or something hit the fire hydrant across the street and it was spraying all over the front window but I was too drunk to realize it wasn't raining until that person gave me a funny look. I left through the front door (because I was too stupid to use the side door and not get sprayed with Baltimore fire hydrant water).

Overall a good night.

Friday, August 1, 2008


So I've realized that while I think of things I want to blog about just about every day, I have zero desire to sit at my computer while my house is still in a state of disarray. Also being a devoted procrastinator, I don't see myself logging too many entries throughout the work day (as I am doing right now). Hopefully I will be able to get into some kind of rhythym and post on a semi-regular basis and maybe this will become worthwhile for you to look at more than once a month. I decided to post today because I am going to a happy hour tonight at Don't Know and there will be a bunch of bloggers there that I have never met and am really interested in meeting. Plus, I have to buy this guy a drink because it's his last month of blogging and he has brought much joy to my workday.

That's all for now, maybe I will add something meaningful one of these days.