Saturday, May 24, 2008



A floating wireless computer keyboard in a bathtub full of water. For the type A in you. For the clean computer addict?

Snakes in HD. What a thoughtful and customer-centric idea! All through the house run a documentary on snakes. "Y'know, Hon, the house gave me the creeps for some reason."

3 lots for the price of... 3 lots. You had to buy the house and the two facing lots to preserve any view, so they bundled them for Richey Rich.

A nice piece of pottery - maybe 4 feet high - ceramic urn or whatever - the price tag was showing it to be a mere 'accessory' at $4500. You know, I'd be tempted to sneak back in with some fake tags and but them on everyday items... this here geegaw? $12,500!

Certainly in this one newly opened development you'd not get a sense that the economy is struggling!

Oh, and NOT seen, but anticipated - on long wooden stairs leading to and from (obviously) the top floor. Take yer dog with any sense of claws and enthusiasm and place him upstairs. Now ring the doorbell downstairs. Now watch what happens... one, two, three steps, oops, flying dog...

Friday, May 23, 2008


I want to stand in a home in the $2+ million range and breathe the air. Let opulence be my hyperbaric chamber! We're goin' to the Parade Of Homes. Irony: the development we live in isn't far off that range, though we pull it down as best we can.

The Parade is a fanchised mock-event-with-charity-attached-so-you-don't-feel-so-enviously-bad where developers build fancy homes and they then charge you to get in and see how the swells live. Or make that: how the interior decorators think the swells will want to live. It might depend if they are OLD money or NEW Money as in Scratch-Off winners.

One of the 6 homes has TWO elevators! Another has a library with safe room concealed by a reversable cabinet and hidden pullout bed... for safe sleeping? or sex while the kids are home?

Some features on display:
Master bath with hidden laptop display: Hide the laptop. You think you are slimmer that way. Raise the mirror. I find that works.

The large home is 10,000 sq feet. Comes with an air conditioning bill to give you a cool nosebleed. It includes a resort style pool - that's the one with screaming kids, one of whom has a dirty diaper, and oblivious parents flopped in lounge chairs poolside, isn't it? It also has a 16 foot glass door. This is another way to say, "Welcome, you low to the ground insignificant pissant of a shadow of a human!"

Another claims 2 disappearing glass walls. BONK! Damn! Hit the disappearing glass wall again. Hey, how about a disappearing Hilary Clinton Glass Ceiling? What? Not structurally sound? Oh, too bad. Next time then.

I love the terms of architectural endearment: "Rustic beauty and Old World Luxury" a.k.a. "the $2,000,000+ outhouse is right there, beside the buckboard." Not too much distance from rustic to rust, is there?

Koi pond. Koi, it's what's for supper.

I'll let you know what we see.


KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - A Missouri car dealer said on Thursday sales have soared at his auto and truck business since launching a promotion this week that promises buyers a free handgun or a $250 gas card with every purchase.

Max Motors, a small Butler, Missouri dealership that has as its logo a grimacing cowboy wielding a pistol, has sold more than 30 cars and trucks in the last three days, far more than its normal volume. And owner Mark Muller credits his decision to start offering buyers their choice of a $250 gas card or a $250 credit at a gun shop.

"This thing has taken off. Sales have quadrupled," said Muller. The store sells both used and new vehicles including General Motors and Ford products.

Every buyer so far "except one guy from Canada and one old guy" has elected to take the gun, Muller said. Muller recommends his customers select a Kel-Tec .380 pistol.

"It's a nice little handgun that fits in your pocket," he said.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


I TiVo the show... watch the performances, listen to the 'judges' and high speed to the next song. That makes it bearable.

This apparently was especially true for the two night grand finale - the bearable part - as the big fight analogy crap was wasted on me (other than the ring announcer guy - I like him for some reason.) Last night's season ender was so full of extraneous stuff even at high speed it appeared to be what it was - a hype for the tour of the top 10 finalists, a hype for former winners and 'stars' who had new CD projects to push.

Toward the end, I slowed down... ah, here were the two Davids standing with Seacrest and the envelope is presented by some hack accountant. I checked the timeline - the show often runs long but surely they will have this one timed to the second... won't they?

Seacrest says something like, "and this year's American Idol IIiiis DA... VID..." and the recording times out. Seriously. Couldn't have been more perfect.

I didn't even care enough to look it up on the web. It was in today's paper. What? 96 million votes (at $? a vote!?) somebody's making a TON on this show!
David ... COOK. Well, nice.

They both really won all the publicity and spotlight either can handle.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


POOL DAY, POOL DAY, It's dear ol' back to POOL DAY

My first plunge of the year! A great day - temp to hit 98 or so, water at 81, no slithery things in sight (my neighbor is Houston would find snakes in his skimmers from time to time! but his was a flat to the ground pool and in our case the damn snake would have to come up the stairs.)

Tomorrow will officially kickoff trunksbelly reduction measure season, involving cutbacks to ice cream, cookies and cake.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


As we headed out to dinner tonight at a new restaurant to our experience, I went to the drawer for my car key, house keys, sunglasses and wallet. My cell phone lives with me as an appendage, just in case, as I remain always hopeful for that elusive big commercial voicework booking!

But the wallet wasn't there.

It wasn't in the office. Not upstairs. Not in my other pants pockets.

I remembered the last time I saw it - at LOWES, where the barely competent checkout girl couldn't figure out how to bill for a sack of compost. I swiped. I then had to unload a couple hundred pounds of other stuff so she could scan the darn thing. Then she had to figure out how to take the register out of manual...I swiped again.

Not in the bed, bathroom or my closet. Not in the car. I enlisted Terri's help along the way - she's used to following around after this Doofus and helping me.
Not in HER office, not in the living room.

My gosh, could I have left it at LOWES? But wouldn't someone - some honest soul in that growing line behind me - have called to me as the cart with x hundred pounds on it was no speed racer.

I called LOWES. Was put on hold. Sinking pit in stomach. What will we have to cancel and replace - has someone used the credit cards? ALL MY ID!!!

Then Terri walked into the room and handed me a paper towel. Actually a clump in a paper towel. A wet clump of something. My wallet. From the baggy yardwork shorts' back pocket deep within Der Schlitterbahn Kenmore Water Theme Park.


When we lived in Minneapolis, Best Buy was building a HUGE campus for its consolidated operations. HUGE! They seem to dominate the big box electronic store category and have some strong things going for them.

However, in today's paper was a story of the BB ZERO INTEREST FOR A YEAR! swindle ("Not, so," says a spokesperson, "'s all there if you read the fine print..." yeah, in 13 pages - literally!)

Here's the deal. You don't pay for a year, but the interest is accruing and hits you with an add-on at the end of the year. So you don't HAVE TO pay, but if you don't, they make MORE money on you.

That's the company where their Reward Coupons expire and you have to spend the exact amount or MORE of the coupon to use it. Where the warranty plans are calculated to be another high profit item since few actually use them.

At Best Buy, there's a lot of profit for them/expense for you, you don't see when you gobble the bait.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I think my listening room has finally been put back together after the pipe leak remediation. I write THINK because I haven't turned it on yet, and might wait a day until scheduled thunderstorms pass. We still have a couple of pieces of floor threshold outstanding but I scrubbed, cleaned and rehooked all, including a new amplifier that I am to review for an online publication.

If everything works, Steely Dan is first, Eagles on deck, and that betrays my age. Actually, these are good CDs I like and which also I know sound very good.

Monday, May 12, 2008


The painter left 20 minutes ago. My listening room, equipment closet and hallway are put back together (well, almost, there are still two pieces of flooring threshold due tomorrow. Also today. Also last week.) We expect the plumber to put the toilet back into the bathroom tomorrow morning (part of the search for the leak.)

All I have to do is give everything time to dry then do a really good cleaning and reinstall my gear.

My deal with myself is when someone is working in that room, I must be present. This is because of the nature of the equipment - very costly - PLUS a lot of the room is lined in fabric or fabric-covered insulation. A puncture or paint drip would be the next best thing to impossible to fix. Today I watched and waited for the painter to move into the room. Naturally he saved it for last and I waited almost all day. I dozed and my mind went numb (no, I had the door open to vent the fumes, thankyouverymuch.)

Why didn't I insist he start there? I couldn't figure out what he was doing most of the time and his english is as limited as my spanish. Don't hassle the guy with the paintbrush about to drip...

Friday, May 09, 2008


When was Easter-the-day-of-our-pipe-leak?

It seems to go on forever. Let's see... (some might be out of sequence)

Leak discovered.
Builder called. Some discussion about term of liability.
Lawyer involved.
Plumber called.... removes toilet, puts hole into wall (nope, not there!)
Specialist plumber visit with sonar and other exotic tools to find leak. Thinks he found it but...
Third plumber - by now, another two holes in more walls.
Floor guy rips out flooring, trim, which was wicking water. Bathroom, hallway, (music) listening room.
Plumbing Sub assumes liability.
Water mitigation people assess and leave gear
Water mitigation guys check back - not dry yet... a few more days, they say.
Water mitigation guys return to assure all is dry and remove drying gear.
Trim delivered, several pieces wrong.
Trim painted in garage.
Trim installed except missing wrong pieces.
Flooring installed in two days except missing thresholds which are (re?)ordered.
Corrected trim pieces delivered, then taken away to be painted elsewhere.
Return of corrected trim.
Return of trim installer.
Prep guys due tomorrow to caulk and texturize wall where now bare.
Paint guys due Monday to paint trim over caulk spots, walls.

Shouldn't we be compensated for the TROUBLE in a addition to the expense, especially since the negligence was obvious in that they installed a half sawed pipe which eventually gave way to a leak? Have a good laugh about that!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


A story in the paper today said that pennies and nickels cost more than their face value to make. I wonder how far away we are from plastic?

Hillary just lent another almost 6 million to her campaign. Not that the $110 million over the last few years - Clintons don't have the cha-ching. At this point, though, the only way she gets in appears to be through some maneuvering and perhaps nastiness behind the scenes.

If she gets to be the candidate against McCain, I think we are doomed.

Monday, May 05, 2008


A brand new bank opening provided me a great chance to get close to and photgraph BEVO, the University OF Texas mascot. "How big are the pills?" I asked one of the handlers. "This one doesn't need any." He assures me. So, idiot that I am, I am kneeling in front of a couple tons of steer with really long sharp horns, on twin leashes held by two rather skinny students. If the steer decides - no - WHENEVER the steer decides, these dudes will be waterskiing across blacktop while Mister Bevo goes whereever he wants to go.

'Man killed in one steer stampede.' I now think. "...must have been that Japenese camera - it had an electronic sound effect when the shutter fired, and for some reason, he bolted."

I worked at a radio station where they held an annual "Kidfest" and at that, among other attractions, was Jingle Jim (or whomever) and the wild cat show. Jim would come out on a makeshift stage and thrill the widdle kiddies sitting below - with no protection - with a cougar on a leash of chain. I left the room. I'm pretty sure Jim couldn't keep kitty (who didn't appear tranquilized at all) from doing whatever kitty wanted.

Sometimes the obvious is hidden just behind a layer of stupid.

IT NEVER DID THAT BEFORE is a poor excuse.

In Panama we saw a tourist attacked by a GOAT. Let me tell you the goat was pretty seriously wailing this woman - up on its hind feet and really going at it with the forepaws!


The old Bob would have been plenty angry and let those involved know it. I am either evolving into a better version of my previous self, or I've been beaten by circumstance, hammered by mediocrity into acquiescence via low expectations.

When WAS Easter this year? That's the day we discovered we had water under the wooden floor.

Skip a couple chapters and we were to have the new flooring installed Friday, and planned accordingly. But no, the padding wasn't in. MONDAY MORNING! was the word.

Between 10:30 and Noon was the word.

At 10:50 I got the call. "If it weren't for this rain we'd be there - I am worried that the wood will get wet." "Plastic." I say. "But we need a dry place for the saw and..." "The garage," I say. "I'll call you right back," I am told.

Right back = 90 minutes. "We're 20 minutes away."

Terri is having a big luncheon here on Wednesday so if we slip into Tuesday which spans Wednesday, then we're into Thursday as a start. Another week shot as I have to BE HERE for the install as there are various easily damaged problematic spots in my listening room.

As I sit here waiting, wondering if this will ever get done, I realize it will, and ponder the school of thought that says you create your own reality. If true, I must be a masochist. Rejoice, any and all those who don't like me.

Friday, May 02, 2008


You've seen time lapse films of construction projects? We are living beside two of them and the time lapse is amazingly fast. Watching homes be built here (as the 12th or 14th home occupied out of an eventual 400+) we've seen how some shoot up, some start and stop, while various sub contractors take their time, or don't show up for a time.

The project up the hill from us is moving at quite a clip. It seems every time I turn around there's a notable change. I believe that one is sold, so perhaps with a general housing slowdown there are more workers available per project. It's just amazing - in fact, I just spun my chair to take a look: yesterday, no roof... today, roof boards are up. That's a BIG house and a lot of boards. Amazing.

And on the subject, thank god for nailguns. I've spent time elsewhere next door to hammering. Now it's relatively quiet pop pop pop, done!

We are supposed to get the flooring reinstalled after our pipe leaker flood tomorrow. Place your bets.