We survived

Snowcapped Home
Originally uploaded by Thom Slattery.

In case you couldn’t tell from the previous posts, we survived our first snowstorm in the new house. While I don’t mind a little physical labor, shoveling 20 inches of snow (no matter how short the driveway) is not a fun Sunday afternoon activiy when you’ve spent the last week moving boxes and rearranging furniture. I am exhausted in more ways than I though possible.

Anywho, since I have had requests (yes, believe it or not, I have), here are some updated photos of the progress that is our home.

LOW @ Bowery Ballroom

Last Monday night I went to the Bowery with one of my sisters (Maureen, if you insist on being so nosey) to see LOW. Aside from it being terribly late for a weekday night (I didn’t get back until 2:something) and terribly expensive to park (i.e. more than the ticket for the show itself), it was a fabulous show. Although we spent most of the first act trying to figure out if Death Vessel was male or female and what the deal with all of the overhead projectors was, the second band (His Name Is Aliveseen here) was a definite pleasant surprise. I even picked up a couple CDs from them.

But the main attraction was LOW. If you don’t know them, you should. They are classified as “slowcore” or “sadcore” but their later albums have definitely branched out to explore both harsher and more pop-oriented sounds. Right now I’m regretting not including “California” in my list of what’s blowing me away (which really needs to become a regular item around here). You should definitely check out the amazing Things We Lost in the Fire whenever you get the chance. In the meantime, I managed to take a couple shots at the end of the show:

Alan SparhawkMimi Parker & Zak Sally

That funny bump on my wrist

I’ve had a bump on my wrist for sometime. I believe it is the result of a curse some god has placed on me for once mocking carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive stress injuries as if they were made up by lazy CAD people. I get it. I’m a convert. I, too, accept that growth in my wrist as my lord and savior.

Not really, but it does mean I have an excuse not to do push-ups anymore – and isn’t just what everybody’s looking for these days? I still haven’t named my ganglion, so any suggestions are welcomed – then you, too, can accept him (or her) into your heart!

The only reason I’m even bringing this up now, is because I was absolutely amazed to read someone else (namely Matt at defective yeti) talk about this “condition” (doesn’t that make it sound much worse – well, if I hadn’t used the quotes) in the exact same manner I always do! Right down to the cure:

And if it doesn’t go away, I can always exorcise it using The Word of God. I don’t mean faith healing or anything — I mean that, in Ye Olde Olden Dayes of Yore, the typical cure for a ganglion was to hit it with a Bible.

Lisa (among others) can testify to the fact that numerous times I’ve called for the family Bible in order to rid myself of this push-up debilitating disease. But we’re both too chicken to actually try it – and I just don’t drink like I used to.

P.S. I was very excited to use the words “cyst” and “ganglion” as tags for this entry, but “woose” just doesn’t look right when spelled out.

Currently blowing me away

Musically speaking:

The Black Keys10 A.M. Automatic – Quite possibly the greatest blues/rock song since Led Zeppelin II hit the shelves. I just can’t get enough of the riffs or that soulful chorus. Get it from Fat Possum Records, and then rush out and buy all of their albums!

Feist – Mushaboom – Wow, what a great voice and beautiful delivery. This song is so catchy it’s been on my mind since I first heard it on Conan O’Brien a couple months ago. The album stretches across multiple genres, but this track really grabs ahold of a post-modern folk-dance vibe. Several samples are available on the site (although I really wanted to go see her in NYC tonight – sold out).

Broken Social Scene – 7/4 (shoreline) – Exactly what you would expect from an such an organic mixture of personnel (including the above mentioned Feist). This is the kind of song that should just keep playing on and on as it seems to completely capture the feeling of creating something special. It’s on the noisey side – just the way I like it.

Cat Power – The Greatest – After hearing nothing from Chan Marshall for a few years, she’s stormed back with this jazzy, folky album that seems to downplay all of her strengths and blows me away with what I would have thought to be weaknesses. The fragility of her voice and playing style are ignored and, instead, she steps up to the mic and leads an all-star Southern cast of musicians on a tour of songs far more accessible than usual. Yes, it’s different than her usual albums, but sometimes growing does that to your music.

Not-so-musically speaking:

In Photos (Donncha O Caoimh)Texting Texting Texting – I wish I had the eye to create such a perfect street shot of modern life.

SerioComic (M.J. Hudson)The Framer – Ah, to capture the human essence in a frame! That is what I aspire to.

Helveticaneue (Laura Kicey) – I am enamoured with her imagery. Both artistic and realistic, she captures truly stunning photos.

Let there be light!

We didn’t lose electricity or anything, but I am dealing with a 50+ year old house that only has two-prong outlets – the bane of computer geeks all over the world. Of course, once you start pricing out upgrading your electrical wiring, you look around and realize just how few appliances use grounding. And then you are both relieved and frightened all at the same time.

But seriously, just because my TV doesn’t have a third prong doesn’t mean I’m going to let my 32″ Wega suck juice straight out of a questionable receptacle. So I began to investigate my options. After deciding that burning down my house while rewiring the whole thing myself was a bad idea, it started to look like I would have to deal with those nasty 3-2 prong adapters for a little while longer until I could afford an electrician.

I kept looking up info on DIY boards anyway, because I wasn’t pushing my desk against the wall until I was certain that the wiring was how it should be. New hope was found in a response to someone asking about a similar situation in which the author mentioned that the outlets might very well be grounded already, but they simply didn’t bother to upgrade the receptacles, too. Excitedly I ran out to Home Depot and picked up some outlets and a tester. Sure enough, all of the receptacle boxes are grounded!

Last night and this morning I did the first rounds of rewiring – upgrading the outlets in the living room and office that will be used for computers, TVs, etc. That means tonight I can really start cleaning up the place as furniture can now be pushed against the wall and devices can be taken off the floor. Now I just need that Internet thing again, and some method for receiving and decoding digital video images beamed from outer f***ing space.

(Bonus points for anyone who knows what that last bit was a reference to).

It can’t rain all the time

Alrighty then, time for a quick rundown of the BIG MOVE. After all of the packing and painting and signings of last week, the day for us to get all of the furniture and actually start living in our new home came. Saturday morning, Lisa and I got up bright and early to get as much ready for the hectic day ahead. Unfortunately we wouldn’t be getting the U-Haul until the middle of the afternoon, as my options were 9 AM – 2 PM or 3 PM all the way to Sunday morning. The choice was pretty obvious – nobody was getting to us that early on a Saturday to help.

The first order of business (after making biscuits and coffee) was to go pickup a free stove. Yup, we’re already upgrading appliances. Some guy on craigslist was getting rid of a nice (albeit lowend) gas oven that will replace the frightful unit we currently have. Now I just need to get PSE&G to install it, as working with gas is just asking for trouble (even if I am doing a lot of electrical work). We also have to figure out how much it will cost to get a gas hookup for the dryer done since we didn’t realize until after getting a cheap used one from a co-worker that our current model is electric! (Boogie woogie, woogie!)

So anyway, after moving as much as we could with just the minivan and car, we got back to the apartment to start preparing the furniture. I realized too late that I should have told everybody to get there at 2 – instead, everybody showed up around 3, just as I had to head to U-Haul. So my brother-in-law Carlos and I headed over to the pickup center, and left Laura in charge of handling the incoming masses. Unfortunately, I had conflicting messages as to where I should pick up the truck and, of course, ended up picking the wrong one. That little set back caused an hour delay just as the rain started. Once I got back, we decided to get people moving stuff over to the house while Jeff, Sara and I headed out to the new location for the truck.

Yay, deisel engine! Holy crap, just upgrading 3 feet on the truck to get a 17-footer made the experience far more harrowing. That thing handled like a block of metal on a tray of gravel – going up hill (don’t ask for an explanation of that analogy, please). Sara and I spent 10 minutes just trying to turn the lights on! And, of course, the rain really started pouring at that point. Oh yeah, and the guys delivering our bed showed up while everybody was still back at the apartment!

In other words, absolutely nothing (except for the morning) went according to plan. Nevertheless, I had outstanding help from family and friends. It was a shame that Jeff and Sara couldn’t stick around to see the new place and enjoy the fantastic Chinese dinner afterward, but there’s time for that later.

Moving the furniture wasn’t that big of a problem, and we got stuff between the two places with minimal soaking from the rain. Now, the apartment is cluttered with little things that haven’t been packed completely, and the house is filled with everything that can’t be put away yet. Life is a total mess right now – and it is well worth it. I jsut hope I still feel that way next month when the mortgage comes due!

Offline state of mind

A more indepth update will hopefully be forthcoming around lunch time, but the essential information is that although we got the majority of our crap into the new house (thank you family members (Dad, Laura, Carlos, Suzanne, and Alex) and Jeff and Sara) we have no means of communication. I still have to switch the telephone service over, and Comcast is currently trying to make me wait 2 weeks before I get cable and Internet. Yes, the nerd AND geek in my is ready to kill someone.

Sadly, this means I’ll stay at work even longer just to keep up with all of my online dealings. Well, not really, but I do need to mooch off of the connection more than usual.

Holy hardwood floors, Batman!

Just a couple days from the big move, and work on the new house is moving along nicely. Saturday we had a lot of help from Bhavna and Ginny (co-workers of mine and Lisa’s, respectively) and were able to get most of the living room and the office done. We also discovered that the Chinese food place within walking distance is AWESOME! Honestly, I haven’t had decent Chinese food since moving out of Hoboken a year and a half ago – and there I used to get some once or twice a week. But this place (China Gourmet, for anyone who might be in West Orange) had fantastic food, which tought me the true pleasure of shitake mushrooms.

Later in the evening, our friend Ivy dropped by. After helping us put up the first coat for the dining room, we sat around and discussed color schemes for other areas of the house. It was rather odd that all three of us became very excited once we decided upon “Earth Tone” for the hallway – but we’re still a-twitter from the decision. About three quarters of a bottle of wine later, and Ivy managed to talk us into ripping up the carpet in our living room. It was most definitely in bad shape, but there was a great deal of risk as to what condition the floor below would be in. While there is some damage in certain areas, overall it looks excellent – although the decision would have made more sense to make at 1 PM rather than 1 AM!

Now with all of the rooms containing bare hardwood floors, I’ve abandoned the plans to refinish them. It’s truly amazing how quickly your ambitions for a new home can be squelched by reality – but there remain plenty of other projects in my future. Less than a week into homeownership and a couple runs with a hardwood floor scrubber has quickly replaced any goal of sanding, staining, and sealing I might have entertained.

I was hoping to create a flickr set to update with pictures from the ongoing project – unfortunately I just found out that regular accounts can only create 3. Now I must decide whether or not I really want to spend the money for a pro account when I fully intend to setup zenPhoto on this site. Not that $25 is a lot of money, but I don’t know that it’s worth it for me…

Whoops, I got sidetracked – inspite of the lack of a set, there are updated pictures of the house available.