Way back in the dark ages when I started this site, I didn’t manage to keep track of the date. It was before blogger software, and before it was even affordable to own a domain name for a personal site (it cost in the $200 range to purchase one). I believe – but am not entirely sure – that I put my first pages up in November of 1994. My “site” was hosted at my local ISP. I had the pages of jokes up, and an article I’d written on the National Women’s Music Festival (Cringeworthy! Don’t read it!), and various news stories I’d cribbed from around the internet. And a bunch of “essays” on love and life, some of which aren’t up anymore because I’m embarrassed at how ridiculous they sounded upon reading them later. One of my first site iterations has a treasure map image map on the front page, and all the sections of content were items on the map. It was deeply cheesy and I’ll have to dig it out, because it was hilarious.

Time Flies The consequence of all of this is that I’ve never had a “blogiversary” date to celebrate like other sites. So I’m making one up now. November has just past; this site is at least 14 years old. Woo ha. Party hats for all.

I haven’t written much lately; summer is always hectic, and we’ve got lots of outstanding projects.

The rental house is again empty, and we have again have lots of repairs from tenant neglect and abuse of the property. We’re working on those and hope to have a property manager so we won’t have to deal with this sort of thing for months on end every freaking year. It amazes me how little people care for where they live if they don’t own it. It’s really sad, and frustrating for us, since we have to put time into it when there’s so much to do at our house, too.

We’re also working on lots of stuff around our house. We’ve made some progress here and there getting stuff in shape and clutter-busting. The guest room has been a particularly knotty problem for us. It turned into the catch-all room when we were moving in and didn’t know exactly what to do with stuff, and consequently, we have boxes and boxes that need to be sorted — all piled up in front of the Murphy bed cabinet. At one time or another, one of us would wander into the room and attempt to figure out how to put stuff away, get overwhelmed, and scurry out again.

So we hired an organization guru to help us. So far, she’s spent 2 hours with us in the room, working on sorting out boxes and choosing what stays, what gets trashed, and what goes to goodwill. Having someone other than yourself ask you questions about your stuff is REALLY helpful in focusing your thinking. She doesn’t have all the hang-ups and blinders, so she can ask what the item really means to you. And she can keep your attention on small chunks of the organizing so that you don’t get overwhelmed by the full volume of stuff. We got so much done in the first two hours that I was excited for days afterward. We can see large sections of the floor! The Murphy bed is within reach! We can have people stay over soon! Maybe! I’m not sure Stephanie was equally thrilled, which worries me.

Last night I went through and reorganized much of our Christmas decor in the basement. Inside, we’re only decorating modestly and putting up the small tree to keep things simple. We plan on decorating the porch with lights for the first time (we had an outlet installed this summer) so I have to work out a lighting scheme. Last night we also went through all the strands of lights we have available and tested and fixed many of them. I really enjoy that. I kinda wish we had an art project using lights.

I’m looking forward to Christmas, although it’s hectic at work and we’re already shaping up to have too many parties to attend. But it is at least some respite from the down-in-the-dumps feelings I get every year when there’s no sun and it’s too cold. I really would just like to curl up at home and stay there and never venture out into the weather. The news and worrying about the economy and financial considerations of loved ones also has given me the blues in a serious way; hence the lack of real writing here.

There’s so much that seems out of my control that I feel helpless a lot of the time, and angry, too.

Continue ReadingBlogiversary?

Everything is Miscellaneous

Everything Is Miscellaneous
Everything Is Miscellaneous
I mentioned the book Everything is Miscellaneous a few posts back on my list of recent reads, but I wanted to pull it out and write more about it, because it was very thought provoking, and a book I intend to buy (I borrowed it from the library) because I want to read it again.

In the book, author David Weinberger is discussing how we think about and organize knowledge, and about how the internet is changing the way we do that. He starts by discussing the hierarchical nature of traditional organizing schemes (what he calls first and second order schemes) like the Dewey Decimal System, and Linnaeus’ taxonomic scheme of organizing the natural world, and then examines some of the flaws with those systems. Among them: Dewey isn’t flexible enough to account for new knowledge or allow changes in categorization (libraries would have to move and relabel all of their books) and doesn’t allow books to be located in more than one spot in the system (the history of military cooking is an example of a problematic book). Linnaeus’s taxonomy forces us to make rigid decisions about what fits where, when there are grey areas in between. Both systems are authoritarian in nature; neither allow for additions or contributions by lay people who might possess knowledge the system authors do not. My paraphrasing of his ideas is pretty simplistic here, and I’m leaving lots out, unfortunately.

Weinberger then examines what he calls the “third order” organizational scheme that the internet has given rise to – hyperlinking and tagging are examples. Hyperlinking, of course, allows anyone creating a page to associate any idea to any other by linking pages together. Tagging allows people to create their own robust systems of metadata about a piece of knowledge by “tagging” it with words they associate with it – excellent examples are sites I use every day to do that very thing – Flickr, where I describe my photos using tags,, where I bookmark links and tag them with descriptions. Systems like these are democratic in nature (anyone can provide tags that mean something to them), flexible enough to accomodate grey areas and restructuring, and allow a one-to-many association of ideas.

It’s a thought-provoking book for me because I’ve pondered some of the same flaws in hierarchical systems while organizing my graphics, photos, personal design work, blog entries, fonts, library catalog and my library itself, and I want to buy a copy and re-read it thinking about my own systems specifically. I’m hopeful that I can solve many of my long-standing doubts about my approaches to those systems – the biggest being that list of topics over there in the right column of this site.

Incidentally, the problem with first and second order organization schemes is exactly what I’ve been frustrated with and trying describe the flaws of in my rants about how Movable Type treats templates for category pages.

David Weinberger was also one of the authors of another book I found very thought-provoking years ago: The Cluetrain Manifesto (a book I wish we’d paid more attention to at work, frankly) and his website/blog is also a great regular read.

Weinberger spoke recently to the employees of about his book and about the web; here are the notes from a fellow who attended that lecture.

Weinberger has been thrust into the debate with Andrew Keen, a former technophile who recently wrote a book about his change of beliefs, for a variety of complex reasons. Weinberger comments on Keens book and numerous public appearances at Huffington Post, and that was a really interesting read as well.

Continue ReadingEverything is Miscellaneous

Weekend Update 2006-06-19

We had our shower plumbing (check out experienced plumbers at Sarkinen Plumbing here) worked on for the third time Friday, and they finally got it right. The “on” handle was leaking to start out with, then it was fixed but hard to turn on or get good pressure. Now it’s awesome — the kind of water pressure that almost knocks you over it’s so strong. I love that. Our shower rocks.
We spent Saturday doing some more moving, with Stephanie’s friends Barb and Ollie helping, and unpacking at home. I think we’re making progress, but it’s hard to tell. As soon as we get stuff unpacked and put away, more stuff seems to find it’s way to the house. We took a load of the crappy carpet from the basement to the landfill, which was pretty entertaining.
We spent some time trying to get the cats to like each other. That’s a work in progress. For now, everyone has their own room, and they get to roam the house at different times.
Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning we painted the laundry room. We decided to do it because the washer and dryer were pulled out (we replaced the crappy ones that came with the house with mine) and we thought it would be good to do before we put them in place, since the last people who painted didn’t bother to do it behind the appliances. Sunday morning I hooked up the washer and dryer, and we started washing the massive piles of laundry we’ve been accumulating.
Sunday afternoon we went to a cookout at my Dad’s house to celebrate Father’s day and all the June birthdays. Everyone has a better camera than I do — I want a good Canon. I’ll have to work on that. My dad gave us his 18′ ladder, which we toted home, and in the evening, we took a small load of stuff from Stephanie’s and grabbed Phoebe and brought her to live in her new garage.
It was a pleasant enough weekend, although it was overshadowed by some bad news from some friends that really kinda has me feeling down. I don’t want to write more than that out of respect for other’s personal stuff. But sometimes life really sucks.

Continue ReadingWeekend Update 2006-06-19

Moving is Hard, Barbie

It seems like I’ve hit a bit of a wall when it comes to the moving and unpacking process. My muscles are incredibly sore, making the task of lifting boxes much more challenging than it should be. Everywhere I look in the new house, there are boxes piled up, obstructing the spaces where we need to start unpacking our belongings. I wonder if hiring a professional West Jordan moving company could alleviate some of this stress.

My latent OCD tendencies are causing me to feel overwhelmed by the clutter and disarray created by all these boxes. It’s like having a persistent buzzing noise in my ears; the visual chaos of stuff scattered everywhere is exacerbating my stress levels. Last night, I had a meltdown due to the mounting pressure, and Stephanie is graciously trying to support me through it all. She truly is a remarkable person for being so patient and understanding.

We managed to make some progress on Tuesday when we packed up a significant portion of the kitchen at Stephanie’s house, thanks to the invaluable help of Elizabeth. However, there’s still a considerable amount of work left to do there. Additionally, I still have about two truckloads of belongings at my own house that need to be transported to the new place.

Continue ReadingMoving is Hard, Barbie

Caylor – Jenkins – Riddle House

Copied from the Old Northside Historic Plan, information on our house:

Caylor – Jenkins – Riddle House
c. 1876
Built by Joseph Caylor, who lived next door, this Italianate cottage has had its original frame porch replaced by the present brick porch with battered columns. The window sash has also been changed to four over one. These changes were probably made after 1910.

Dennis Jenkins took up residence at this address in 1890. He was publisher of the Jersey Bulletin, a publication for Jersey cattle breeders. A permanent memorial to Jenkins exists in the form of the bell at Irvington Presbyterian Church, which he donated upon its construction.

From 1919 to 1925, Charles L. Riddle, Jr. resided here. Riddle was president, treasurer, and general manager of the Charles L. Riddle Company. They were dealers in wholesale plumbing supplies and electric light fixtures.

The Charles L. Riddle Company is mentioned in Indiana’s Historic National Road: The East Side, Richmond to Indianapolis because it was located at 462 W. Washington Street in 1919. According to that book, “The Charles Riddle Store sold automobile tires, tubes and electrical supplies.”

After doing a bit of searching on the former residents of our abode:

Charles L. Riddle
Charles L. Riddle Co., Merchant’s Heat and Light Co. wagon, 1919

Regarding Dennis Jenkins and his Jersey Cow publication (from the PDF file, courtesy of The American Jersey Cattle Association):

Into this void came The Jersey Bulletin, established in 1883 by Dennis H. Jenkins, a railway clerk in Indianapolis, Ind. “To it belongs the credit of being the first magazine published exclusively as a dairy breed paper,” writes Gow. Its 16-page premier issue was dated October 1 and in the “Salutatory,” Jenkins wrote:

“The mission of the BULLETIN will be to give promptly all the Jersey news of interest, publish the transfers and movements of Jersey cattle, the experience and views of practical breeders, collect all items of value or interest, employ able writers on the subject, and to make it, in fact, perfectly indispensable to every one who has an interest in this great (breed) of butter makers.”

Continue ReadingCaylor – Jenkins – Riddle House

Weekend Update 2006-06-12

We spent the weekend moving and unpacking, and unfortunately we missed both Pride and the Talbott Street Art Fair in the process. (We have our rainbow flag out at the new place, though! So we’re trying to represent.) We did get a lot done, although there’s still a huge amount to do. I think I have my house cleared out down to just a couple more truckloads of stuff. Stephanie’s friends helped her pack lots of stuff Saturday and move five carloads over to our house, and Stephanie did a lot of packing Sunday afternoon. But most of Stephanie’s stuff is still at her old house, so we have several busy weekends ahead of us.
I managed to unpack some of my books last night. I’m hoping to bring over another load of stuff tonight, and get the washer and dryer hooked up, too. Currently, we have boxes all over the house; I’m hoping to get some of them put away.
We brought my cats over to the new house, so all the kids are in the new place. Mine are all in the guest bedroom right now, getting used to the new house. Lucy is still hanging out in the upstairs bathroom, and Spike has staked out the dining room as his territory for now. So they all sorta have neutral corners, although Spike was chasing Lucy around upstairs this morning. Poor Lucy.

Continue ReadingWeekend Update 2006-06-12

The furniture is moved

So I spent 6/6/6 packing my house, mostly. I got to mow the lawn at the new house! I love lawn mowing, and the grass was knee-high in the back yard at the new place. On the Old Northside mailing list, they announced a gardening contest — you don’t compete with the neighbors, (we’re out of our league there) but with your own yard. You take a bunch of “before” pictures now, and at the end of 2007, you take “after” pictures, and whomever has the most improvements wins. Considering we just inherited the largest weed collection in North America, I think we’re shoe-ins for this contest. If people need Atlanta, GA landscaper for their garden, they can get them from here!

Stephanie took me out to eat for dinner. We were going to go to Colorado Steakhouse because I love their prime rib, but they’re closed for remodeling, so we went to Outback Steakhouse. Outback’s prime rib — not so much, really. However, you can always hire contractors for commercial projects from this site!

She gave me — a cool blue pillow, the Curious George Xbox game, the DVD of Good Night and Good Luck, an excellent terra cotta firepit for the backyard, and some great other stuff that I can’t remember because my brain is totally fried after yesterday. My girlfriend is excellent. Please let her know!

Yesterday the movers came and moved all the big furniture and boxes. Also, the Pod people picked up the pod, an electrician (click here for options) came to work on the kitchen lights, and the cable guy came to set up cable. We are now wired at the new house, and Stephanie can finally get her email.

I still have some truckloads of stuff to get to the new house (kitchen, hanging clothes, gardening stuff, and, oh yeah, the cats) but we got a major amount of stuff done yesterday. And of course, we have to pack and move all Stephanie’s stuff. We might be about 3/5 of the way done? I think.

And I still have to sell my house.

Continue ReadingThe furniture is moved

My prediction is…

That someone will call and want to see my house today or tomorrow. Because that is the worst possible thing that could happen right now, so of course it will. I haven’t done laundry, I haven’t done dishes, the house is only half-packed. We have electricians, plumbers and locksmiths coming to the new house, and we have to finish painting there. And at some point this weekend, I have to pack enough personal stuff to start staying at the new house.
I’m not sure when to schedule my nervous breakdown, but I’m sure I’ll fit it in somewhere.

Continue ReadingMy prediction is…

Painting, Day Two

With Carolyn’s help, we managed to finish painting the library and get a first coat of paint on the dining room. Tomorrow we start on the living room and finish up the dining room. The colors we picked are exactly what we expected, and they look fantastic. The rooms look much bigger and brighter — with the lighter colors, the sunshine bounces around the room and everything looks clean and cheery, not all somber, like it did with the darker colors.
I must say, the weather could really cooperate a bit more — it went from rainy and wet to sauna, without a pleasant interval in between. I resorted to throwing the air conditioners in the windows at the old house just to cool everything down.
Eventually, I’ll write about something other than houses and real estate, I swear.

Continue ReadingPainting, Day Two


The first day of painting was exhausting — but we got a lot done. Our friends Dan, Elizabeth, and Carolyn came over to help, because they are wonderful people and amazing friends. They were awesome, and thank god we had their help. Painting 10-foot-high walls is hard, Barbie. The walls in my old home are 9 feet, but that extra 12 inches is killer on your back. I think we’ll be investing in a taller step ladder.
We taped off and primed the walls of all three of the “must paint” rooms, which was a pretty awesome accomplishment. Just the having the primer up was a HUGE difference. The rooms were really strong darker colors, which can look great but just didn’t work in this house. They made the rooms look too dark and too small, and the color overwhelmed the really interesting features — like the cool woodwork, french doors, and nice windows. If you’re looking for locksmith services, you can check out Low Rate Lockmsith in Carmichael .We’ve picked some more serene lighter colors, which should make the rooms brighter and fresher, and today we start painting those.

Continue ReadingPainting