Every now and again I'll do a little side work to earn a few extra dollars. This past spring I worked with a family from Plainville to make some changes to their home. I had met them through my work on the Board at St. Ray's down in Pawtucket. The guy was actually the son of one of the other Board members and he introduced me.
The house is a traditional center hall colonial, typical of what you see in a New England neighborhood. The unfortunate part was the large window above the front door. The builder of the neighborhood must have gotten a good deal on these windows because each house has one and they're all big and ugly. The clients had spent a considerable amount of time living in England so they not only wanted to replace the ugly window, but they also wanted to add an English touch that would remind them of their time abroad. The current entry had no shelter from the elements so we also wanted to provide some relief. They had recently replaced the front steps, so those were off limits to me, Ii'd have to work with them. This meant I probably wasn't going to be able to incorporate any columns or things that sat directly on the stairs and landing.
Below is the existing front elevation and next to it is what we finally came up with after a half dozen variations.
These are the photos of the existing house:
And...the long awaited finished product photos that the client sent over last week. They've very happy and wished they'd done it a lot sooner.
We also did some work on a mudroom and laundry room, but I don't have any shots of those just yet to post. And hopefully I'll be able to get some final shots of the front once it's finally painted.
I've been doing some work on Matt's mom's kitchen recently too and that should all be done in a few weeks. I'll be sure to post a few shots of that as well.
We've got a lot of snow in the past 3 days, a lot of snow. It started at around 1 in the afternoon on Friday and hasn't stopped since. It's currently about 10 past 8 on Sunday night and the flakes are still flying. That's 57 hours straight for you math wizards out there. We must have at least 18" or 20" out there. At least.
I took a few snapshots while we were oot and aboot today, and around the neighborhood. My favorite is this guy who was so lazy that he practically drove his car inside of a Micheal's store to load up his goods. People could barely get in cause of him, and he was there for like 10 minutes!
You all remember these photos of the street lamp outside our apartment from the Blizzard of 2005 right?
Well you've got to see the stalactite hanging from it today...
Make sure you're not standing underneath when this thing lets go! Yammahamma.
All of my regular readers surely know about the 50 States Project I've been working on. For the past 3+ years mind you. If not, I've written about it here, here, and here. Catch up if you need to.
Once I finally had photographs of all 50 states and our nations capital it was time to sit down and put it all together. After about 3 nights of editing this week in Photoshop I've finally got all the images laid out and I think it looks sharp. [click image to enlarge] [and you'll have to deal with the word PROOF written across it. This thing took way too much effort to put together so I didn't want anyone to download it and claim it for themselves.]
It was a real pain in the ass to do all those states that border the Mississippi River let me tell you. Who knew that thing was so squiggly! In the end I'm really happy with the way it's turned out and glad I was able to actually take all the photos.
Now I'm on a quest to figure out how to mount/display it. My friends at Mpix.com have these great things called Gallery Wrapsthat may be cool. I'm really trying to turn it into a piece of artwork so I'll probably get it printed as large as possible...maybe 24"x36". I'd also like to explore the idea of getting it printed directly onto a piece of metal or wood or, even plastic, and then have it cut around the outline of the country. I think this would look great, although I'd probably have to lose Hawaii and Alaska! Oh well. Let me know if you have any ideas or insights for how I should display this.
Once I do figure out what I'm going to do with it i'll be sure to offer it here to you if you'd like one.
This weekend was action packed for us and kicked into high gear on Friday evening with my office Christmas dinner. This year we were at a restaurant called EVOO, not far from our place. I won't get into too much detail about the nights events other than to say the food was amazing! Kel had the "Chinese Box" and I went with the "Day Boat Scallops". Just unreal. A few photos below of course!
We were some of the last folks to leave the restaurant so on our way out the wait-staff handed us some loaves of bread for the road. Kind of odd, but we put ours to good use during dinner on Sunday.
- - - - -
On Saturday I sat down to determine what had been slowing down our 3 year old laptop. It was getting pretty bad and had essentially become useless since it took so long to do anything. After speaking with the Dell man he suggested I add some RAM since it was only running with 256mb! I quickly logged on to crucial.com to figure out what I needed and then shot over to Micro Centerto pick it up. It's great having that store so close by, but it was absolutely mobbed with MIT nerds and the like who were there for some huge Christmas blow-out sale they were having. Once I got home with my new 2gb of RAM the install was quick and painless, and afterwards, we've essentially got ourselves a brand new laptop. Amazing how a $29 investment can make that much of a difference. I'm just kicking myself that I didn't do it earlier.
- - - - -
Saturday night Kel and I made an appearance at Jose's for dinner since we hadn't been there in like 2 weeks! Outrageous, I know. Our friend "Hey Buddy" was very happy to see me. After that we decided to actually see a movie at a movie theater. Something we haven't done since August of 2007, and before that, I can't even remember. As soon as we walked into the theater we recalled why we always stick with Netflix at home...the place smelled and it was just dirty. Perhaps it was because we went to the sketchy Fresh Pond cinemas near our apartment, but either way, we'll probably be sticking to the comfort of our own couch for the foreseeable future! And for those who 'll inevitably ask, we saw Four Christmases. It was OK, marginal at best.
- - - - -
Did everyone here about GW's final surprise visit to Iraq this weekend and the shoe throwing incident that happened during a press conference he was having? Apparently there was an angry Iraqi reporter in the crowd who took it upon himself to launch a couple size 10's in Bush's direction. Below is a photo that was taken as the shoe was in mid-flight. I must admit, Bush sure does have some cat like reflexes!
The video is even better. Click HERE for that! The whole thing is actually pretty hilarious but is it just me or are the boys of the Secret Service a bit slow to react?
- - - - -
Tonight Kel and I decided to change up our usual Italian dishes and try something new for us. We usually make manicotti or baked ziti, but this time we thought we'd go with stuffed shells. It's the best of both worlds because you not only get the ricotta cheese that you get with the manicotti, but also the ground beef that you see in the baked ziti. They turned out really great and we even had some of that bread from Friday night as a side!
- - - - -
For those keen observers here at KN.com, I'm sure you noticed the new photo of me in the right hand corner. I decided it was time for a little update since the previous photo had been taken on our trip to Montreal in 2006. Speaking of photos...I decided to check just how many digital photos I actually had here on my external hard drive. 47,387. Yep. 47,387. And that's only since December of 2002 when we had our first digital camera. Imagine if that were film I had to get all them all developed? I'd be in debt up to my eyeballs!
For the most part it looks like the "bailout" of the 3 big US automakers is all but a done-deal at this point, however; I'm still going to take the opportunity to throw in my two cents on the matter. [you see, it's my blog and that's just how it works]
Why is the government doing this? Because it doesn't seem to make much sense. Think about it...who's the last person you know that's bought an "American made" car? I really can't think of anyone that I personally know. Now I'm not expert on the automotive industry but I believe there are two key contributing factors as to why these companies are sinking like a stone:
#1. Ford, Chrysler and GM make cars that people just don't want [with the exception of pick-up trucks, minivan's and Jeep Wranglers; they do all those very well]. It's really as simple as that. The first question people ask themselves when they think about buying a new car is "how does it look?". If people don't like the design of a car they're not going to take the next step of investigating price, gas mileage, etc. They'll just walk away and move on to the next car. In reading all the coverage about the bailout in the papers and on the interweb I haven't seen one person bring this up. It seems to be the big elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge. Somebody needs to say it. So there, I just did.
#2. Union Labor. If the styling and design hasn't killed them then it's certainly union labor. When you buy a car from one of the Big 3 about $3,000+ of the cost goes to paying old union retirement benefits and current salaries. Healthcare, pensions, job banks, you name it. Things that have long gone by the wayside for most American workers. Now compare that to a Toyota/Honda/Hyundai where the cost is less than $500, and you can already see how they're at a huge disadvantage. They've automatically got to inflate the cost of their cars to cover those costs buy passing it on to the consumer.
The union higher-ups think only of the short term...what's best for the worker at this exact moment. They'll demand an outrageous salary for an assembly line worker, not caring that the company really can't afford it. Then if the company even thinks about balking at it they'll threaten to strike and shut down the entire operation. So yes the union has gotten the worker a few more dollars in his/her pocket, but they've thrown job security right out the window by doing it.
I've always been against unions in todays' modern society where we have strict laws that are in place to protect workers rights. The unions served a purpose at one point in time, but I think that with the death of the automakers so should go the unions!
The bottom line is that we taxpayers are being asked to put up this money to save a product that no one wants. The product and reputation [I will say that I think the quality issue that has dogged them for so many years really isn't even the issue anymore. They do make reliable cars that can compete with the others] are going to remain the same and I believe we'll find ourselves back in this very position again. Six months from now, a year? Then what happens?