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Below are 20 journal entries, after skipping by the 20 most recent ones recorded in andrewfarago's LiveJournal:

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    Saturday, September 4th, 2010
    11:54 pm
    On with the show, this is it!
    In case I haven't mentioned it recently, I've got a book coming out next month. It's my first, not counting mini-comics, comic books, magazine articles, etc., and there's something extra-exciting about having my name on the front cover of a real hardcover from a real publisher. The book is The Looney Tunes Treasury, and you can pre-order it from Amazon.com here.

    And if you want to see what it looks like, I got a copy hand-delivered to me by my editor this morning:

    Me reading through the book:



    The front cover:



    The start of my intro:



    Art sample:



    Title page (probably where I'll be SIGNING these. Wow!):



    Here's Bugs!



    Bound-in Porky Pig comic reproduction:



    Bound-in folder containing replica "Rabbit Hood" script pages:



    Nice double-page "What's Opera, Doc?" spread:



    My editor's great, and it was really easy working with the publisher, who went along with a lot more of my suggestions than I'd have predicted as a first-time author.

    Please check it out when it hits bookstores next month, and please spread the word to any friends and colleagues who enjoy Looney Tunes. This will be a great holiday gift, and the more copies you buy, the more likely I'll get to do additional projects with these guys in the future. We're already talking about a few possibilities, any one of which will be really cool.

    Th-th-that's all...for now, folks!
    Sunday, August 8th, 2010
    11:21 pm
    Cats & Dogs


    We're inching toward our two-month anniversary of having our cat, Tesla, and fast approaching the six-month mark of living in our house. Man, this year's flying by.

    I'm expecting to come into some money from a few side projects soon, which means planning new repairs and such for the house. Window replacement is at the top of the short list there, since we've got some slotted windows that exist for the sole purpose of leaking cold air into the house. The sidewalk and front porch can use some red paint, as can the paved areas in the backyard and basement. I'm hoping to fix up the basement to the point that I can use it as a comic-reading/storage room, which will free up some floor space in Shaenon's office, until we can completely renovate the garage so that Shaenon can use it as a backyard office/studio, and...

    Yeah, I think we'll have to space this stuff out a little bit. Looking back on it, though, we've gotten a lot done since taking ownership of the house back in late December.

    We've got a lot of backyard work we want to do, too. Shaenon's got a nice-sized garden behind our garage, and she wants to expand it considerably. I'd like to get rid of the crabgrass that makes up...well, pretty much 100% of our lawn. The weeds are gone, so I'll shift my focus to ripping out all of that crabgrass and eventually planting real grass there.

    The neighbor's dogs are still barking, but we've got more and more neighbors on board for filing complaints against him, so we're hoping that he'll reach a breaking point soon. Apparently he's intending to start a dog-breeding business on his property, and since I'm sure he doesn't have a license for that sort of thing, I'm hoping we can take him down that way if Animal Control doesn't.

    Our cat's settling in pretty well, although she is prone to barfing on things if she gets upset or overeats or...aw, who can tell? We can't figure out what sets her off, but we're hoping that she'll continue to feel more at ease as time passes.

    And that's what we're up to right now. Any questions?
    Friday, July 2nd, 2010
    1:21 am
    Kitty update
    **Warning: Stories about cat's digestive habits ahead:

    Tesla had a really good day today, and seems to be back to normal.

    Well, as "normal" as it gets when you've only been living someplace for about ten days. She didn't throw up today, seemed a lot more playful and less irritable, and we're happy to see droppings in her litter box, which indicate that she's been keeping food in her system. (Those are all signs that I'm doing well, too, come to think of it.)

    We bought some stomach-settling food supplements at the pet store after work today, and with Shaenon home from work all day tomorrow, both of us having time to spend at home this weekend, and me having the day off on Monday, we think it will be a nice, relaxing four days for the cat.

    And as a special bonus for those of you who aren't following me on Facebook, here's a picture of the cat:

    Tuesday, June 29th, 2010
    12:39 pm
    Kitty-cornered
    Shaenon and I got a cat last weekend, and for the most part, she's adjusting really well to her new home. Her name at the SPCA was "Boa," but Shaenon decided that wouldn't do, and has renamed her "Tesla."

    Tesla's playful, she's friendly, and she's settling in enough that she'll even sit with us on the couch for more than three minutes at a time now before bolting and exploring some other area of the house.

    Unfortunately, we've hit a couple of snags in the settling process, but we're hoping we can get them resolved soon. If you've been through any of this with cats before and can weigh in, I'll really appreciate it. I haven't had a new cat in over 25 years, and he was an indoor/outdoor cat, so he was very autonomous very early on, so we didn't have to do much housebreaking with him. Tesla is most likely going to be strictly an indoor cat, so the learning curve is a lot different.

    Anyway, here are the problems so far:

    In an effort to keep our kitchen a little less stinky, we bought a litter box with a covered top and a pet door for easy in-and-out access to replace the flat litter box that we'd been using. Tesla hasn't warmed to the idea, and has opted (twice so far) to use the bean-bag chair in the living room, since it's full of something that feels like sand.

    Our solution for now is to remove the bean-bag chair from the areas of the house where the cat lives (maybe throwing it away altogether) and to leave the litter box open and uncovered again. Does anyone have advice for transitioning a cat into using the covered litter box? I worry that without the bean-bag chair as an option, Tesla will just find some out-of-the-way spot that we won't discover right away, which is even worse than having a corner of the kitchen smell like kitty litter.

    **

    The other problem is that Tesla keeps different hours than us, and starts meowing outside of our bedroom door at some point between 5am and 6am, and keeps it up intermittently until we exit at some point between 8am and 9am. We made allowances for this at first, but since we want to break her of this habit, when Tesla wakes Shaenon, Shaenon opens the door, tells the cat "NO!" in a firm voice, and Tesla gets the hint and wanders off. Shaenon started doing this a few days ago. Shaenon chastised Tesla about five times yesterday morning, and only about twice today, but the past two mornings, Tesla has "revenge-barfed" at some point after getting an earful from Shaenon. Yesterday it was on the kitchen floor, and today it was on the couch.

    Should we assume that she's still settling in, and will get the hang of our sleep schedule soon enough, or are there other training methods we should use? We're not going to catch her in the act of doing this, since Tesla's doing it specifically because we aren't around to pay attention to her, but we obviously don't want to wake up to a new mess every single morning while she's settling in.

    **

    Thanks for any advice you can give on this! I'm pretty sure we'll have Tesla trained pretty well within a couple of weeks, but we're heading off to Comic-Con for about a week at the end of July and don't want to leave a vengeful cat at home with whomever we get to house/cat-sit for us.
    Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010
    12:31 am
    RIP Adrienne Colan
    Just got word that Gene Colan's wife, Adrienne, has passed away.

    While there's been a lot of drama and turmoil surrounding her and Gene over the last few months, I'll always remember her very fondly.

    Quick story: In December 2008, Gene and Adrienne flew out to San Francisco for a special reception celebrating his life and career, in conjunction with the retrospective exhibition we were hosting at the Cartoon Art Museum. We also sprung our lifetime achievement award, The Sparky, on him as a surprise.

    Just a few days before that, though, my dad had a heart attack. Since I had to wait a few days for him to get out of the hospital and get settled back in at home, I decided to distract myself with work and stick around until after Gene's event, after which I'd fly back to Ohio to see my family.

    I was pretty much a wreck that whole week, though, but I somehow managed to hold myself together long enough to get through that evening, serving as emcee and making sure all the Colans' needs were addressed. Adrienne had heard about my dad from Glen David Gold, who'd co-curated Gene's art exhibition with me, and she made sure to take me aside as soon as possible to say a few kind words, and to reassure me that this kind of thing is fairly routine, and that Gene had gone through the same thing years and years earlier, and he was still alive and kicking.

    Basically, she knew exactly what to say, and how to say it, and she really helped me get through a rough spot.

    And that's how I'm going to remember her.
    Thursday, June 17th, 2010
    3:39 pm
    The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes
    Insight Editions just released a book called The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes, which is available now at quality bookstores near you, or Amazon.com, for those of you who do the online ordering thing.

    I'm mentioning this because I wrote two essays in the book, talking about Chuck Jones's western epic "Drip-Along Daffy" and Friz Freleng's "Little Red Riding Rabbit," which is one of my absolute favorite Bugs Bunny cartoons. My wife, Shaenon, wrote two essays, too, but she's got her own blog and can talk about them there.

    I'm also mentioning this because I'm writing a book called The Looney Tunes Treasury for the same publisher, and that's coming out this fall. If all goes well, I'll probably do more animation-related writing for them in the future, so I encourage you to support them financially so that they'll be able to keep hiring me for more projects.

    Completely unrelated to that, I'm going to be at the San Diego Comic-Con this summer, working the Cartoon Art Museum's table, so please stop by and say hello if you're down there. If you're an artist who'd like to help out with our fundraising Sketch-a-thon, please reply here or write to me at gallery[at]cartoonart.org for more information.

    Th-th-th-that's all, folks!
    Monday, May 10th, 2010
    8:45 pm
    Dogs of war
    Small update:

    We had a housewarming party over the weekend and talked to our next door neighbor, who's got the dogs immediately behind his house, so he actually gets the barking a little bit worse than we do.

    He told us that yes, he did file a citizen's arrest, like we did, and that apparently resulted in a small fine that the dog owner paid, which got him off the hook again.

    But the very next day, our next door neighbor got a notice from Animal Control saying that *his* dog had been barking and causing problems, and that his yard was full of animal droppings. Yes, our next door neighbor has a dog, but he keeps it inside at night, and we might hear it bark once or twice a week, if they run into another dog when they're going for a walk.

    So, if there was any doubt that the pit bull owner is a colossal jerk who's going for the gold medal in the Worst Neighbor of All Time competition, that erased it entirely.
    Wednesday, May 5th, 2010
    5:08 pm
    Dog Day Afternoon...and night...and morning...
    So, we're pretty much settled into the house, and are just a tall bookshelf and a couple of miscellaneous pieces of furniture away from really getting everything into perfect shape. The commute's easy, the neighborhood's full of great stuff, the people on our street seem friendly (and we'll be getting to know them better at our housewarming party this weekend), BUT we've got one big problem.

    THREE big problems, actually.

    The neighbor catty-corner (cat-a-corner? What's the preferred terminology here?) to our backyard has three big angry dogs patrolling his backyard. They never leave their enclosure, no one seems to pay any attention to them, and the only reason that our neighbor possibly owns them is because he actively hates humanity and has found that this is the easiest way to express that hatred.

    These dogs bark ALL THE TIME. This morning, they started up around 6am, and they were still going when I left for work around 9am. They'll probably be barking when I get home around 7pm. They'll bark some more around 10pm, midnight, and probably between 1am and 2am.

    The only interaction that I've ever seen through the bushes obscuring our view of their yard is the owner smacking the cage (and probably the dogs) and telling the dogs to shut up, but he generally seems to deal with this problem by going into his house and turning the TV up loud enough to drown out the barking.

    (I know this is how he's handling it, by the way, since attached to the back of his house is a weird-ass clear-plastic tent, which is like a giant horrific fumigator/circus tent attached to the scariest house within a 20-mile radius.)

    We've called the cops repeatedly, and they've put us in touch with Animal Control. We've gone so far as to file a Citizen's Arrest, and apparently that leads to Animal Control fining the dog owner, him paying the fine, then him not changing his behavior or his treatment of the dogs in any way whatsoever.

    I've invested in a sonic dog-training device which is supposed to condition the dogs by subjecting them to high-pitched frequencies when they bark, but even the top-of-the-line ones I've seen reviewed online seem to be really hit-or-miss.

    Animal Control mentioned that we could take the dog owner to court, but one of my neighbors says that people tried to do this unsuccessfully several years ago, which means that we'd probably have to go out of pocket for a really good lawyer if we wanted to make it worth all of the time and money that we'd need to put into this.

    Any suggestions for dealing with this? We don't know the neighbor's name, but we've got his address. We don't want to confront him directly, since we've heard lots of bad things about him and he's obviously a sociopath. Shaenon has advised me to resist starting to chuck trash into his yard every time the dogs bark outside of "quiet hours" (10pm-7am, when there are supposedly ordinances against excessive noise coming from one's home), since we don't want to do anything criminal and in any way justify this guy's rationale for having angry dogs protecting his scary house. I don't want to attack the dogs, since it's not their fault that their owner is a [omitted for sensitive readers].

    This isn't worth moving over, either, but it is making us both pretty tired and miserable. And it's just WRONG to let this guy win. He's been terrorizing the neighborhood for years, apparently, and it's baffling to me that the neighbors have all just given up. I feel like we're young enough and motivated enough to make something happen here, but it's an uphill climb.
    Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
    4:54 pm
    You big dummy!
    I don't know if anyone but me will think this is funny, but I wrote a guest column for Comic Book Galaxy. Here it is.

    Tuesday, March 30th, 2010
    1:14 am
    WonderCon! Batman haircuts! DC Comics! And Unicorn Power!
    Man, is it time for another convention already? Once again, WonderCon is coming to San Francisco, and I'm moderating three panels this year (well, moderating two, and serving as co-moderator/co-panelist for one). Please check 'em out if you're at WonderCon this weekend:

    Friday, April 2
    2:00-3:00 Hero Initiative and "Ed Hannigan: Covered"— Hero Initiative president Jim McLauchlin and Cartoon Art Museum curator Andrew Farago preview the Gallery's "Ed Hannigan: Covered" exhibit. See some of the great art that will be up for auction and catch the world debut of the Ed Hannigan video, celebrating the works of the great artist. And hit the Museum Friday night at 8:00 pm for a great party! Room 232/234

    Sunday, April 4
    11:30-12:30 Spotlight on Judd Winick: The Ugly Truth!— WonderCon special guest Judd Winick (Batman, Justice League: Generation Lost) -- comics writer, cartoonist, and "reality TV has-been" (Judd's choice of words, not ours!) -- is holding court, taking questions, and battling back all comers in a no-holds-barred Q&A. The controversial creator will be discussing new work, old hullabaloos, and how he's come to "love the haters" with the Cartoon Art Museum's Andrew Farago. And there may be cookies. Room 220

    1:00-2:00 From Page to Screen— WonderCon special guests Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn), Jimmy Palmiotti (Painkiller Jane), Tim Powers (On Stranger Tides, the basis for the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie), and Greg Rucka (Whiteout) talk about their own experiences in seeing their creations make the move to the big—and small—screen. The Cartoon Art Museum's Andrew Farago moderates. Room 103

    ***

    And I should also mention that I'll be at The Cartoon Art Museum's fundraising party on Friday night. If we receive $5,000 in donations by Friday night, I'll get a Batman logo shaved into my hair. You can check the progress on that here. We're still about $3K short, so tell your friends and any of my enemies who might want to see this happen.
    Friday, March 5th, 2010
    1:01 pm
    House: The Movening (February 27 onward)
    We spent the last week in our apartment packing more and more stuff. I absolutely hate packing. It's the worst part of any vacation, and something about it gets me downright surly at times. I was pretty grumpy all week, but we managed to get it all done, somehow.

    Saturday, February 27: Moving Day. We hired a friend, Nathan, to help with the move. He's the husband of the Cartoon Art Museum's director, and he was really excited about the prospect of helping us move, plus he cut us a deal, so we probably saved more than $500 using his services. That being said...

    Nathan made a U-Haul reservation for a jumbo-sized truck that would be available at 10am. Due to a miscommunication, we had to wait until 1pm to pick it up, but we had several dozen boxes to move from the third floor of our apartment down to the ground floor, so that didn't make much of a difference at all. Miscommunication #2 netted us a vehicle that was in the bigger-than-a-van/smaller than the jumbo-sized truck class, which meant that we'd have to make at least two trips. Not a huge hassle, but it was a little bit frustrating.

    The big hassle was the fact that Nathan's friend, who was supposed to help with the move, canceled at the last minute, meaning that Shaenon and I were on the hook for a lot more moving of stuff than I'd expected--and Nathan and I had to carry our couch down three flights of stairs, among other things.

    It was, not surprisingly, a very exhausting process. Going up and down all of those stairs 60-or-so times would have been tiring, but adding 20-50 pound boxes to each of those trips just plain wrecked me. As of this writing, on Friday morning, my knees are back to about 85-90% of what they were prior to the move. They aren't making that weird creaking sound that they were earlier in the week, either, which is reassuring.

    I will say this, in Nathan's defense, but he's a great packer. We got almost everything into two truckloads, despite the smaller capacity of the vehicle. We had to leave a few things behind with our second trip, but we left our apartment key with Nathan and he brought those last things over to the house the following evening.

    We got everything packed into the house by about 9pm, at which point we set up the bed, then went out to grab a Domino's pizza before crashing. I wouldn't say that we slept well, since we were both racked with pain, but we managed to get through the first night in the house pretty well.

    Construction update as of move-in: The bathroom had walls, a working toilet and a functioning tub when we arrived, which was good enough for us.

    Sunday, February 28: Unpacking begins. Re-assembly of furniture, unpacking of boxes, hanging of curtains, etc. This part's been a bit of a blur, but we've got fewer boxes stacked up all over the house now than we did on Saturday night, so that's a sign of progress. Things are starting to look pretty good, and our big next steps mostly involve getting clothes up off the floor and into closets.

    Rest of the week: No Internet at home yet, since tech support from AT&T has been pretty dodgy, but just about everything else is really coming together. We're having a few friends over on Sunday to watch the Oscars, so hopefully things will be pretty presentable by then.

    Heating system seems to work pretty well, and the auto-program is functioning pretty smoothly, too.

    Bathroom has some tiles around the shower, a working overhead light and a medicine cabinet as of Thursday night, and we're expecting it to look much closer to normal by Friday evening, and just about done by next Friday. The process of getting inspectors in for every step of construction has slowed things up, but I'm hoping that shampooing our hair in the kitchen sink and bathing in the tub every other day will soon be a distant memory.

    Next up: The quest for good restaurants within walking distance.
    Thursday, March 4th, 2010
    4:49 pm
    Cartoon Art Museum links
    Here's a list of links to the Cartoon Art Museum's various webpages, with information on how you can support the museum!

    CAM Causes page

    CAM Facebook page

    Cartoon Art Museum homepage

    CAM PayPal Page
    Monday, February 22nd, 2010
    12:45 am
    February 20-21 house updates
    Saturday, February 20: Probably the low point in the moving experience, as far as our moods are concerned. We got an early start and painted a lot of trim, baseboards, etc., but we realized that we weren't going to get absolutely everything done prior to move-in, which is kind of a letdown.

    Home Depot delivered our refrigerator on Saturday afternoon, but not our stove, which was another source of frustration. I called in a few weeks ago to change the delivery date for both items to February 20, and whomever I spoke with on the phone only changed one date, probably because the stove was ordered by Shaenon's mom.

    Shaenon called Home Depot and was on the phone with them for about an hour just trying to find the stove, which was a big hassle because nothing is filed under anyone's name--everything's organized by phone number. So, after trying our home phone, both of our cell phones, Shaenon's Mom's home phone and Shaenon's mom's cell phone, we finally found the stove and arranged to have it delivered this coming Wednesday. Which will get screwed up somehow, I'm sure.

    The other frustrating thing was that our flooring crew messed up the baseboards in our kitchen. Somehow "replace the current baseboards with something the same height" translated into "put in tiny little baseboards that leave about three inches of exposed, ripped up drywall all the way around the kitchen floor." The flooring guys know we're unhappy, and plan to make amends and fix the baseboards as soon as possible, but it was one thing too many that morning.

    On top of that, the whole inspections process has slowed up everything. Our contractor couldn't start covering up the bathroom walls until the electrical inspection happened, and our electrician took longer than we thought because the rainy weather limited his ability to hook up some things in the house, so our bathroom's only going to be partially finished when we move in. We should be able to take baths and use the toilet by Saturday, I think, which isn't exactly what we were hoping for way back when.

    Sigh.

    If we'd had it to do over again, I suppose I'd have paid rent on our apartment one more month, but I guess we're committed at this point, and we'll just have to hope everything else comes together pretty quickly.

    Sunday, February 21: Painted more trim. I hung some "Baby's House" decals in the kitchen to add some decoration to the house. Painted the buffet (more painting white stuff white). The big project for the day was clearing as much stuff out of the house as possible so that we'll have somewhere to put furniture and boxes when we move next Saturday.

    It's starting to sink in that this is actually happening, which is exciting and scary at the same time. I'm hoping that we're still in decent spirits as we're waiting for the bathroom to get completely finished. If nothing else, we can just pretend we're on an extended camping trip. Maybe I can grow another beard.
    Monday, February 15th, 2010
    11:28 pm
    February 13-14 house update
    Saturday (Feb. 13) was a short day at the house, since I had work-related meetings back at the Cartoon Art Museum to take care of. We touched up the paint in the bedroom, and didn't do too much beyond that.

    I had to go back to San Francisco to return Sleeping Beauty artwork to Disney animator Ron Dias, then have dinner with Jim McLauchlin, the head of The Hero Initiative, with whom I organized our Ed Hannigan exhibition.

    We put in a full day's work on Valentine's Day, though, which was also our sixth wedding anniversary (and ninth anniversary of our first date). Our day started with a trip to OSH (Orchard Supply Hardware) for curtain rods and other odds and ends. Rather than spending about $1500 for blinds right now, we're going with the $300 or so option of putting up curtains around the house. We can always upgrade to blinds when one of us comes into some extra cash down the road.

    Once we got back to the house, we started on some touch-up paint projects, including cleaning up some edges in the bedroom, kitchen and office, plus I started painting baseboards and door frames so that we could have a consistent white color on them, instead of the grungy off-white/yellowish color things are now.

    Lots of spackling and sanding on Sunday, too. I can understand not necessarily knowing that a $30 investment in a caulk gun, a couple of tubes of caulk, some vinyl spacking, a putty knife and some sandpaper could do a lot to make most of your rooms look a lot better, and a homeowner doesn't necessarily come from a family of contractors or have hands-on experience with this stuff himself, but there's nothing stopping someone from going to the hardware store and saying "I gotta bunch of holes in my wall and there are weird gaps at the corners where air comes into the house. Is there a way to fix that, or do I have to move?" I still don't understand how you can live someplace for five years and only invest yourself in making the duct tape/mailing tape effort of repairing things.

    The kitchen floor is being installed this week, and appliances are coming on Saturday. I think that the bathroom should get framed in this week, too, which should put us pretty close to on-schedule for our February 27 moving date.

    As always, check http://shaenon.livejournal.com for pictures to accompany my home repair accounts.
    Monday, February 8th, 2010
    8:06 pm
    February 6 House Update
    Painted, mostly. I finished up the living room while Shaenon started the bedroom, and I helped her with that later in the afternoon. Shaenon bought an antique lamp for the foyer, and that was about it until our friends Mohamed, Pancha and Liz showed up. When they arrived, we drove to Home Depot to look at blinds, which took us through Saturday.

    We took Sunday off so that I could watch the Super Bowl and sleep in for the first morning since New Year's Day. The game was good, commercials were so-so, I enjoyed The Who's halftime performance, and Pancha and Liz came over to eat the pizza that I cooked and hang out, so it was a pretty relaxing Sunday for a change.

    Still moving ahead on clean-up projects, inspections, additional purchases, etc. It's happening a bit slower than I'd hoped (not all of the lights were hooked up yet, for one thing), but we're still making forward progress. We'll have the floor installed from February 15-17, and the stove and refrigerator will arrive on the 20th, so it should be looking pretty house-y by then.

    On that note, does anyone have any washer/dryer recommendations? Should we spend the extra money to get pedestals? Is it possible to get high-efficiency, eco-friendly laundry equipment for about a thousand bucks total?
    Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
    12:40 am
    January 23-24, 30-31 house update
    After the rapid progress of the first weekends, we're hitting the looooong, slooooow parts of the renovation.

    Read more...Collapse )
    Monday, January 18th, 2010
    10:29 pm
    House Update: January 16-18
    Not much to report on the day-by-day aspect of things. I spent Saturday through Monday knocking plaster off of the ceiling, ripping walls apart, and chiseling off the tiles that were spread out absolutely everywhere in the bathroom. I removed the toilet on Sunday, and was hoping to demolish the tub today, only to find out that it was made of steel, and will have to be carried outside.

    I changed the locks on Saturday. Well, all but one deadbolt, which is giving me some trouble. All the different screws they gave me for the locks are slightly the wrong size, so the "snaps together and installs in five minutes" instructions I got are just a bit inaccurate. Hoping I can track down the right screws next week.

    We hired a contractor (Mario) on Saturday, and went over the whole project with him. He's willing and able to drive us around to pick out fixtures for the bathroom, which is another plus.

    Hired the contractor, Metin, today (Monday, MLK Day), and he should be able to get started right away. He's rewiring the entire house for a little over $6K. Our other estimate was around $4K, but that involved leaving all of the pre-WWII wiring in the house and just putting in new outlets and switches, which didn't sound like enough of a fix for that amount of money.

    Brought in someone to fix the furnace today, since that's been on the fritz. Really hoping that we don't get slammed with a big bill for it. I think it's covered (or mostly covered) by our homeowner's policy, but we're new to all of this, and don't know what to expect. There was a $55 service charge, so I'm hoping that we aren't on the hook for much beyond that.

    Shaenon got a lot of painting done over the weekend, and the house is looking a lot different already. She's frustrated that it's taking as long as it has, but we're making steady progress.

    Bought some bathroom and basement lights at OSH today, and now we just need some fixtures for the front porch.

    First really stressful day of home renovations, as the terrible rain, wind and gloominess (combined with Shaenon's not-waterproof-at-all shoes) hit Shaenon pretty hard, and the furnace guy was a couple of parts shy of getting everything up and running today. If we'd been able to dry off in a toasty house, I'm sure spirits would have been higher. The furnace guy is coming back tomorrow, though, so things should be fine when we return on Saturday.

    More to come...
    Friday, January 15th, 2010
    1:34 am
    January 15 house updates
    We've picked a contractor, and I'm 90% sure about our electrician. I'll be making a few calls tomorrow to make sure that we want to go with this electrician, then it's full speed ahead.

    On Wednesday, January 13, Shaenon took the plans that I'd drawn up to the permit office and we got the go-ahead for our bathroom renovation plan. It costs just over $1,000 to file for a bathroom permit, which explains to me why so many people just do these projects without filing with the city. Our realtor says that we'll be much better off in the long run, though, since proper permits make it a lot easier to sell the house, if we decide that we want to do that at some future date. If all of your home improvements are up to code, the next owner can buy with confidence that the house is safe and in good condition.

    We're going with the contractor that we liked the best (personality-wise), and he happened to put in the lowest bid by a significant margin, which is an added bonus. He came recommended by a friend, and I already happened to know the contractor, too--but we didn't know about his day job until our other friend recommended him. I'm still waiting for e-mail confirmation that he's available right away and can take on the bathroom renovation, but I'll mention his name here once that's official.

    A really important thing with this contractor is that we know we can work with him. He's not going to tell us to put in things we don't want, he'll walk us through the things we can do ourselves, and he'll be really helpful when it comes time to buy all of the fixtures and things we need for the bathroom. Having never purchased a house before, having never renovated a bathroom before, and having never purchased a tub, sink and toilet before, we really wanted to have someone who'd be willing to walk us through this, make some recommendations, and really help us to make this project work.
    Sunday, January 10th, 2010
    10:29 pm
    January 10 house update
    *Shaenon painted the rest of the office space, minus a little bit at the top of the walls. Second coat to come next weekend. She also painted the wall at the outside of the kitchen space/far end of the living room the same color.

    *Installed two of those little things at the floorboards that prevent you from opening a door all the way and smashing your doorknob into the wall. Add those to the list of "weird things the previous tenants took with them when they left."

    *Had our first plumbing emergency. The spigot for the washing machine hookup was dripping even more than usual (add that to the "reasons to declare revenge on the people who did repairs to this house before we lived in it" list), so I cranked the handle on it. Water started coming out fast, so I turned the handle the opposite way, and water still kept coming out. Sprinted outside to the shutoff and turned off the house's water supply. Hope to get some tools tomorrow and make a quick trip to the house to fix that. I'm breathing a HUGE sigh of relief, since that spigot was going to fail sooner rather than later, and if it had blown out on its own, say, on a Monday morning, our house could have been flooding all week. Will make note to generally leave the house's water turned off if we're not in it.

    *Kept tearing apart the bathroom. They tiled every last surface in that room. Stripped the tiles off of all but the floor and the walls behind the toilet and on the wall that's got the bathroom window. Found the dryrot that the pest report had turned up. Cursed previous owners again, as there had been a bad leak near the showerhead at some point in the past, and no one seems to have fixed it properly.

    *Got lunch from the nearby Thai Temple for the second week in a row, and will probably do so again next Sunday.

    And that's the house report for today.
    Saturday, January 9th, 2010
    10:44 pm
    H to the Hizzouse
    Weekend number two of home repair continues. I think I'll keep a running log of that stuff here, so that when the time comes, I can transcribe all of this into a notebook that we can refer to six months from now when we're wondering why we got so worked up about home repairs.

    January 2: First day visiting the house as owners. Met with two contractors and an electrician to discuss home repairs, specifically bathroom renovation and rewiring. Spent most of the day cleaning up, patching holes with spackle, dealing with a defective caulking gun that exploded on me, and looking for flooring and lighting places in our neighborhood. Removed chicken-wire from backyard.

    January 3: Bought a better caulking gun and dealt with some problem areas, and also bought a sledgehammer. Discussed paint colors. Demolished large, badly-constructed wooden porch-thing with bad plastic sheeting that was cluttering up our backyard. Removed more chicken-wire from backyard. Removed accordian door separating living room from kitchen. Removed old mattresses from basement, put into storage in garage (which is serving as a trash dump until we schedule a "Dump Day" with the City of Berkeley).

    January 6: Shaenon met with a contractor to discuss bathroom, wiring and other home repairs, and also met with a flooring expert to discuss our kitchen floor options.

    January 9: Met with husband-and-wife contractors to discuss bathroom options. Met with electrician to discuss wiring options, including complete removal of current pre-War knob-and-tube wiring versus repairing wiring and updating outlets, switches and fixtures. Mohamed and I set to work demolishing the bathroom--got as far as removing the medicine chest, removing the sink & vanity, removing all of the tile (and about half of the plaster underneath the tile) on one wall, while getting started on removal of tiles around the bathtub and the remainder of the bathroom. Shaenon, Pancha, Liz and Leia commenced painting of the spare bedroom/office area. Tried "Cheerful" yellow paint in the kitchen, but decided that we'd probably rather go with a more subdued blue, instead.

    First really cold day inside the house. Contractors and electrician had no guess as to why the furnace wasn't kicking on, so we put in a call to PG&E, who will check it out next Saturday between 8am(!) and 5pm.

    Hope to have a contractor picked out by next Saturday, with work commencing on the bathroom around January 18, and hoping that we can get the bathroom and wiring done around Valentine's Day. We're planning to vacate the apartment on or before February 28, so that would give us at least a week of wiggle room if something turns out to be more complicated than we'd planned.

    And that's the home report thus far. I'll try to update as we go from here on out, so if house talk bores you, please be patient. I'm sure I'll be talking about Spider-Man again before long.
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