« April 2008 | Main | June 2008 »

May 28, 2008

I'm gonna catch you rain drop!

austin water utilities has a deal on rain water barrels.  these normally cost around $150 each but the local water co subsidizes the cost so they are $60 each.  ours are set to catch excess rain water from the green roof/deck.

whole house audio wireless server is working!  bought a used mini mac and plugged in an airport express.  now I can get music from one library to play on the five different stereos we have around the house.  I can even control it from my itouch.  getting this set up has caused many problems and some friction. 

my wife is normally the computer person and I'm normally the stereo/music person.  just as nostradamus had predicted, the future will have computers morphing with other household appliances, including the stereo, quite possibly the microwave and espresso machine as well.  he might have predicted some other stuff too, less interesting stuffs not involving itunes, beverages bikinis etc.  I prefer his lesser known weekend type predictions.  the week day prediction stuff is a bit dark and oppressive.

I'm still working on getting a shine on these floors.  

here is an article for the 2008 cool house tour.  we are "unconventional" 

I see they did use pics from the blog and none from the professional photographer.

memorial day dance.

had friends over for a swim.  pics were posted on the austintreehouse site 


this may look like cake bit t's actually an irish cheddar cheese with guniness in it. 

[ Yahoo! ] options

May 21, 2008

"say cheese"

architectual photographer and crew came today.

as promised I have a pic of the airstream restoration in progress.  this one will really stand out from the crowd. 


[ Yahoo! ] options

May 19, 2008

lonely no more dare ga-nome

about a week ago we had a violent hail and electrical storm roll through the area.  our plants suffered hail damage as did some of our cars.  many trees in the area just couldn't stand up any longer.

if you check this link over at austintreehouse.com you will see pics of the lightning and hans dare ga-nome shining through the storm.  it must have been frightening for him to go through the storm all alone.  we are compassionate people so we rallied and put forth an effort to rid him of his gnome solitude.

kat was first up and quickly found a spot of shade.  note how faded hans has become under the harsh texas sun.  no worry, this is also a maintanence trip.

the view back from where we hiked.  you can see our red excursion PSD way over there. 

three little dare ga-nome friends for hans!  hans also got a fresh coat of paint finished off with a UV filtering clear polyurethane.  we hope this retards his fading.

duncan's humans were out of town for the weekend.  he came along fo the hike.  mom shared her water with him.

a final pic of hans and his gnome family.

they look so happy.

hiking back up the other side. 


[ Yahoo! ] options

pea gravel runway

pea gravel drainage rock between foundation and retaining wall

stripped the screen room floor finish.  trying something different.

it's likely that I will include the occasional 1968 airstream restoration blog post here.  above is the cork flooring that will be in the living and kitchen areas of the '68 overlander.  I've gutted most of the kitchen, living room and bed areas.  I hope to start installing new items later this week.

traditional frisbee hat dance on the roof deck.  we've been enjoying very mild temps so far.  I'm sure we'll pay for it come august, so we make the best of it while we can.  the roof top deck is at the north/east end of the house so it gets shade early.  we find it cools off up there in the early afternoon while the screen porch (south/west end) is warm till the sun sets.

we found these very cool outdoor lights at ikea.  they are LED and have a solar panel to charge them.  reminds me of an airport landing strip. 

a new bank opened up a few blocks down the rd.  it seems when banks open here they have a huge party and spend a good bit of the money they hope the neighbors will be depositing.

they had a big trailer with outdoor guitar hero.  the  inside was lined with more flat panel monitors and gaming consoles of every flavor.

my daughter was excited to see her classmate reach the top of the faux rock wall.  I asked her if she wanted to go over to say hi.  she looked at me like I had suggested something crazy.

local band vallejo played 

free amy's icecream.  this stuff is the best!   also free was the best wurst, that was some of the best brat we ever had.

a horse

free face painting



jump house and slide


after the bank party we went to the annual picnic to eat with the other residents of our street.  the life guard looks bored in the background.   rain was threatening to dampen the gathering.






[ Yahoo! ] options

May 15, 2008


we have seen many very enthusiastic thunder and hail storms this spring.

I woke up last night to hear the hail pounding on the side of the polygal wall.  it was like being inside a giant drum.  

the bananas are shredded.

this cactus was pulverized (will likely now have hundreds of small cacti)

the oak and cedar trees got sliced up as well and made a light blanket over the yard and street.

elephant ear is pierced

but this one cut the deepest.  I spent several hours this past sunday hauling and shoveling over a ton of decomposed granite for the driveway.  it looked real nice for about four days.

I think we are going to look into getting permeable pavers to end this erosion 


[ Yahoo! ] options

May 14, 2008

this blows

this may look like a giant megaphone but it is some sort of duct pressure device.  like a dyno for hvac systems.

this was all part of the austin green builder rating system.  our builder believes (as do we) that we easily have a five star home.  but the rating system is a series of boxes that get checked or unchecked without regard to differing home systems and types.  one example would be the volley of exchanges over the termite barrier.  the inspector kept insisting that our framing was in jeopardy from being eaten by termites.  we insisted that it's just not possible since we have no wood framing... all steel studs.  this was really difficult to get around as there is no box to check for "no wood for termites to eat".  then there was the issue with the toilets. we have dual flush toilets, BUT the brand we have is not on their list.  we could have a low water use toilet that was on their list and get our five stars, but even though our toilets are using less water than those (because the smaller flush of the dual flush is HALF of every flush on the approved low flow toilet), our particular brand has not been tested.  I know there were lots of last minute debating over what is "green" and what is not.  our rating will likely be listed as "not yet rated" for the cool homes tour.

by the way, am I the only person who is getting sick and tired of having this green issue being picked up by everybody?  it seems that every major corporation is now waving a green flag, from soap peddlers to auto makers.... c'mon.  it seems everybody is either telling you how to be green or proclaiming that they are green.   doing the right thing doesn't mean waving your flag and beating your chest about it.  I bet many of these corporations now advertising their green status have spent more on those ad campaigns than actually being environmentally responsible.  OK, let's get off the green wagon for today (see at the bottom of the page how we drive our vintage cars w/ no emissions!)

have some furniture on the roof deck (was called green roof).  all the plants we have up there are growing like weeds!  

occotilla bloom out front 

he is also growing like a weed.

we shoveled about two tons of pea gravel and decomposed granite this past weekend.  a friend came over to help so we could get a day pass to participate in a scavenger hunt/road rally hosted by the alamo drafthouse  to promote the new speed racer movie.

we took the M roadster and forgot to wear SPF.  we eventually put the top up and used the a/c 

it's been a while since I've posted.  I've been lazy as it's just easier to read about what I've been doing over at the austintreehouse.com blog 

we attended a BMW meet.  we were surprised to find that the meet was composed of mostly brand new bmw.  nothing wrong with that, they are awesome cars.  but it sort of became a "look at my rims" show.  it was like a scene from the fast and the furious, not that I've seen that movie, but it was what I imagine it might be like, complete w/ hip-hop music and dancing girls.  it was odd.  very different from the car events we used to attend back in CA. 

with a vintage car, you spend time restoring, fixing, upgrading, searching for parts etc.  the meets are a social event where you walk away inspired and usually learn something. 

with the new cars it's like a contest of who has spent the most $ recently.  most owners fall into two categories, guys with enough $ to drop on such expensive toys, or young guys who have signed away their life to car payments often more than their house note.  occasionally we get the urge to sell a few of our vintage cars and buy some fancy new toy (we don't like to finance cars)  but then 2 years down the rd you realize your car is no longer new and the kids who just signed away their life now have the hot new toys.  and there we'd be holding a used car that is depreciating like a brick.   I guess that all comes from the lesson learned soap box.

we do like new bmws, I'm not bashing the new cars or their owners.  I especially like the 335i and the new 135i.  I've driven our friend's 335i and I was very impressed.  we are anxiously awaiting bmw to bring over their diesel engines.  that mini clubman D is supposed to get 60 mpg and quick 0-60. 

we still like our 40 year old cars.   

it is great fun to speed up an empty parking garage. 

mother's day heffe weizen 

[ Yahoo! ] options