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Posted on 2014.08.19 at 09:26
Tags: , ,
I have few words. Mostly they are sad and angry ones. My deepest condolences to the Brown Family.


Yes, of all things, it takes a tornado to make me post.

Posted on 2013.05.22 at 17:08
Current Mood: angryangry
Tags: ,
A little engineer's rant: So, well, 'people' are claiming that

  1. The land's really flat in Oklahoma, so no one needs a basement;

  2. There's no frost so no one needs a basement;

  3. It costs a lot to excavate soil;

  4. The codes don't require them because

  5. Basements cost too much and it ups your assessment by 20%;

  6. Shelters cost about $4000 and would make houses unaffordable;

  7. But, up-market homes are being built with them.

My responses:

  1. Wtf does flat land have to do with a presence or absence of a basement?

  2. The frost issue has to do with where you put your foundations, not if there is a basement or not. Of course, most private homes with basements have the footings integrated into the walls of the basement, so you get both at the same location. What's a bigger issue that can make a basement expensive is the presence of bedrock close to the groundsurface OR the presence of groundwater where you want your basement. Excavating rock is more expensive by a lot than excavating soil (although generally the basement wall construction is a little cheaper) and the groundwater will mean you've got to have a more expensive structural item called a 'pressure slab' in your basement. Essentially, the basement is going to be built like a bathtub to prevent it being a bathtub.

  3. Well, here in NYC, which I consider possibly the most expensive place to do construction in the Lower 48, I'd estimate soil removal at $90,000 as AN EXTREMELY CONSERVATIVE UPPER BOUND for excavating a basement.(*) If you can keep the soil on-site and use it for landscaping (not a bad idea), there is no hauling cost, so $30,000. Plus money to build the basement walls/slab.

  4. About building to code: when a contractor emphasises to me how they build to code, after a while I want to say "That is the bare legal minimum, if you want to brag, tell me how you are doing better than code."

  5. If you want a really low assessment, you buy a smaller house. I'd like the safest house I can get for my money, not the biggest. But, finished basements are useful, too.

  6. A $4,000 pre-made, engineered shelter is a lot cheaper than a basement. (And, you could dig a root cellar and sheet-n-shore it with 2" timbers and 4x4" posts and it would work pretty damn well...that's where lots of settlers used to shelter from a tornado.)

  7. OoooooOOOOOoooh! Up-market homes have 'em! So, rich people get them as standard and poor people get to be crushed.

(*) Nitty-gritty if you care: Excavation at about $50 per cubic yard, with haulage at about another $85 per cubic yard (w/ swell factor). So, say a typical suburban house has a 40x40 foot plan...that's a normal-ish house these days I think (of course, I live in a tiny apartment, so what do I know)...and that's including the garage...and an 8' high basement. We could make it 10' high f-t-f to simplify the math. That's 1,600 square feet x 10 feet high= 16,000 cubic feet. Divide by 27 to get cubic yards...593 cubic yards. Multiply by 1.2 as a swell factor (when you excavate the naturally laid soil, there's now more voids and the excavated mass is 'larger'. We have to account for this when ordering dump trucks and calculating haulage cost.) SO, 712 cubic yards! That's about $30,000 for the excavation and $60,000 for the haulage. In New York City. A place where we have to consider ALL soil is contaminated, so it can't be taken and dumped as 'clean fill' and where there are few dumps anywhere within 100 miles. Lots of our spoil goes to New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We are also a place with permitting requirements that would probably blow the minds of most construction companies working elsewhere. We are a place where for construction estimating we cannot ever use R.S. Means Cost (a book put out annually for construction estimation in the US).


Random Post

Posted on 2013.05.09 at 08:39
Tags: , , ,
Why did the hipster burn his mouth on the pizza?

He ate it before it was cool.

And the real reason I came here to post was to put up this entirely unrelated link.


Gaaak! Update!

Posted on 2012.10.31 at 09:02
Tags: ,
Hey. Me and mine are OK here in NYC. No electricity, but I have running cold water and cooking gas, so we are good. Have been cooking like crazy using up stuff in fridge and we've been feeding the building. Am at my office in midtown where there IS power. Have been nervous about my jobs and wanted to deal with them. Not to mention check in with my friends.

Hope all you are good.


Posted on 2012.10.26 at 13:20
Yes, I still am here. I just lurk, and not as often as I would like. Life has been busy and not a kind of busy where I wanted to post about it.

But, pixie has now been playing bass guitar for 2+ years and plays well with others. :)

And, did you know you could get mononeucleosis more than once?! I didn't either, until my doc said that's what was going on with me.

Check out this review from Flick Filosopher (she rocks, too!) http://www.flickfilosopher.com/blog/2010/03/033010the_runaways_review.html

An added bonus is the discussion of women in rock in the comments.


U gotta problem?

Road trip! Road trip!

Posted on 2010.04.01 at 11:49
Current Mood: excitedexcited

Tomorrow is going to be fantastic! Right at the end of my work day I am running out the door and across the street to Penn Station and getting on a train for Albany to go to the Plastic Jesus record release party at Valentine's AND, much to my delight, they got the Turbo AC's to come up there, too, and play. (As well as a whole lot of other bands.)

Two excellent bands. The Turbo AC's are big favorites of mine -- see my icon for this post -- and are great live. And I've been looking forward to this Plastic Jesus show for a while now.

Road trip! Road trip!

Here's some vid. Go to the links. Well worth your time and will give you a nice shot of adrenalin!

Turbo's "Avenue X" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_Nsynwwe4A and "The Future" which is one of my favorite songs of theirs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kZrWY08B6s 

Unfortunately, Plastic Jesus's mySpace page seems to be messed up somehow, seems two songs are playing at the same time, so I'm not going to encourage that with any links.

Edited 4-1 because I realized that one of the links was less than perfect.

I happen to think that Liev Schreiber is a fantastic actor as well as being great eye candy -- see pic http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://images.allmoviephoto.com/2008_Defiance/2008_defiance_009.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.allmoviephoto.com/photo/2008_defiance_009.html&usg=__PIEsxbB26L4E8w9oHFsVijCeB7g=&h=2001&w=3000&sz=391&hl=en&start=2&itbs=1&tbnid=STyGClAbOp2ksM:&tbnh=100&tbnw=150&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dliev%2Bschreiber%2Bdefiance%26hl%3Den%26gbv%3D2%26tbs%3Disch:1 that I find especially appealing for those who might not know what he looks like. For a long time, I mostly had just seen him on stage (Yes, I'm very lucky. I live in New York City and am relatively close to a number of off-Broadway theaters). His Talk Radio blew me away and I had seen it back in the day when Eric Bogosian did it himself.

More recently, he's been in some bigger money-making mainstream films (ie: not a modern Hamlet nor Walk on the Moon, nor The Daytrippers although I loved him in all of those) and probably can feel a certain sense of security. I'm happy for him about that 'cause that means that I'll continue to be able to see him in theater (notorious for not actually paying very much considering the irregular nature of the work) -- any artist reading this will understand what I mean. Obviously, his bit as Sabertooth made it easier for him to take on Vilma in Taking Woodstock although slimming down for that dress must have been difficult.

BUT -- but, jesus on a hockey puck! I sure wish the blockbusters or wannabe blockbusters were movies I actually wanted to see. I wish they were movies that got better reviews. X-Men Origins: Wolverine got a lot of crap reviews from the reviewers I consider decent -- except for Schreiber; but, they pretty much said something like: He chews up the scenery and his acting shows how bad everyone else is.

Ok, nice for him, sorta, but why couldn't everyone else rise to the occasion? Or why couldn't the director have a clue as to how to actually direct actors to get good performances out of everyone?
I saw XMO:W on an airplane and I'm really glad I didn't pay money for it and that isn't because I'm a film snob, 'kay? I enjoyed the few minutes total that Schreiber was on-screen. (And, just in case someone wants to jump all over me saying it's 'cause I don't like the world of comics, can I say that I really like Iron Man?)

Fast forward to this month. I liked the idea of Repo Men when it was named Reposssion Mambo, even though it seemed potentially derivative of Repo! The Genetic Opera. I really wanted to see Liev Schreiber in another work -- aside: I got cheap tix in the nosebleed seats to see him play Eddie Carbone in A View From the Bridge recently, it was good, and I wasn't too annoyed with Scarlet Johanson who I normally can't stand -- so I was looking forward to it.


Well, even from the trailer I had the feeling that I was going to be debating about waiting for it on dvd. Then, I read this hilarious review at Flick Filosopher: http://www.flickfilosopher.com/blog/2010/03/031910repo_men_review.html . She's fantastic and I love the perspective...and I'm still kinda thinking if I can find it at a bargain matinee, I might still go to see it. But, seriously, even for Schreiber, would I want to sit though all of that?

[Let alone how guilty I'd feel for going to see something that ripped-off the title of one of my all-time favorite movies: Repo Man. Here is Alex Cox talking about his first movie before it became a cult fim: http://www.alexcox.com/dir_repoman.htm And here is the trailer from way back when: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=554AX4l1tmw  Poke around on his website and in youtube and you can find bits about Repo Chick. I really want to see it so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for its release at least in art houses.]

Her review reads like a great piece of fan-fic, except that this is anti-fan fic. You MUST go look. Did I give you a linkie? Yes. I. Did.

Here it is again:  http://www.flickfilosopher.com/blog/2010/03/031910repo_men_review.html



Can I just say I love Joan Armatrading?

Posted on 2010.03.27 at 20:11

And Whatever's For Us is a beautiful album. That was her first (co-written with Pam Nestor).

And here's some random Joan videos.

In These Times:     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgJLS8y-nnc

Love and Affection:    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7T4lg8VAjMI&feature=related

When You Kiss Me:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBt25zyRb-c&feature=related

And a very 80's track! Drop the Pilot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifARMmcqhD8&feature=related

Her albums really work as albums. I like it when someone does that. It is one of the reasons I don't go for iPods...I like hearing the album all together.


I have too much AOR/Prog in my music collection.

Posted on 2010.01.11 at 12:43
I'm not sure how this happened, but as I'm working my way through the vinyl, I'm discovering how much 70's/early 80's AOR/Prog Rock is there. I mean, I knew about the Jethro Tull. I listen to it often. (It gets played back-to-back with the Clash or Killing Joke or even Bessie Smith...I did warn you I'm ecclectic) But, I have now removed History the Greatest Hits of America from the shelf, too. And, I'm duitifully listening to the several (!) Fleetwood Mac albums I have. I really like Mick Fleetwood's drumming and there are some good songs, but I'm unimpressed overall with the albums...I get bored and then I have to put The Adverts on to scrub my mind out.

Even though my voice is not the best, I think I prefer MY version of Sister Golden Hair rather than America's. That one is DEFINATELY going.

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