Where the heck did October go? I swear it was just September and I was posting about cleaning out soggy drywall from the house. That’s moving slowly by the way. I know I haven’t been updating because, honestly, it’s kind of a bummer to think about as it’s happening. We’re still a long way off from being back in the house. Funding has been secured though and we’re moving forward with bids and estimates from contractors. The plumbing work has begun in earnest. It needs to happen first before walls get closed up. We decided to do a whole house re-pipe. Every wall we opened up exposed more and more old galvanized pipes. They were deteriorating pretty badly, some nearly rusted through. It made more sense to do it all while the walls were open than to put drywall back only to have to tear it out again if we had a leak or a plumbing problem down the line. The same goes for the electrical. The house has old 14-guage un-grounded wiring. It makes more sense to do that now rather than risk a fire (or something just not working) later on.
So, when people ask “are you done with the house yet?”, and I just kinda laugh and say “no”, they get confused. Most people are thinking it was just a matter of putting sheet-rock back and moving on with our lives. Nope. While we could have, and did contemplate that, it made more sense to do all these actual repairs and improvements. Yes, it will take ten times as long. Yes, we won’t be back into the house for at least another two months. Yes, it’s expensive. It’s also getting all those “remodeling” projects that people do over their lifetimes completely out of the way all at once. Seriously. I won’t have to re-tile a bathroom, update a living room, repaint a bedroom, refinish a cabinet, or any of those other weekend DIY projects FOR DECADES. That’s kinda neat.
There’s other projects that have a higher chance of actually happening now as well. A home server rack for example. While I haven’t decided if I’m going “rack mounted” or “old PC in a closet”, there’s going to be some network upgrades happening for sure. I’ve already gotten the ok to take over what was the wrapping paper closet in the hallway, and I’ve been looking up ventilation solutions (hint: silent bathroom fans, who knew?!) and wiring ideas. If anyone has any expertise in that, I’d love to pick your brain.
The other thing that’s kinda neat is that I might be able to “finish out” the garage. We’ve already gotten it sheet-rocked and last weekend we installed a window A/C unit to keep the room cool. We’re using it as storage for the furniture that was salvageable. So, it’s filling up quickly, but it’s cool and dry, and after all is said and done, it’ll make a great work space for all sorts of other fun stuff. I’ll have new walls, A/C, and I’ll probably epoxy the garage floor when we’re done with it.
So, where does that leave us? Well, we’re about a mile or two down a very long road. Lots and lots of hard work ahead. We’re trying to save money any way we can while getting the most out of the remodel. So, that means things like sanding, cleaning, demoing, putting down laminate floors, putting up drapes, painting, etc, will all be done by us. The harder stuff like plumbing, electrical, AC, tile and cabinets will get handled by our collection of professionals.
I feel weird posting about stuff other than baseball, baseball cards, BBQ, and everything else I normally enjoy. There just hasn’t been any time for that stuff. It’s going to be a long, tiring winter. We’re up for the challenge. It just might not make for interesting blog posts. Hopefully we’ll get back to normal soon. Fingers crossed.
Matt “Doc” Perry, Creative Idiot, Texas
I had seriously considered not publishing this at all. Part of me feels like it’s the trading card equivalent of magicians secrets. In the wrong hands, you could use these notes to create fake cards and to scam people out of real money.
That was a major concern, but I’m a creative person, and by nature I enjoy sharing with people. My enjoyment in creating something overrides my hesitations about people using this for nefarious purposes. Much like guns can be used for good, they can also be used for evil, and in much the same way so can knowledge. I don’t mean to make this sound ridiculously grandiose. It’s not. They’re little pieces of plastic and cardboard. However, in researching all this, I found a very purposeful and distinct “we don’t talk about this” among the card community, especially among people who create custom cards. No one wanted to discuss this. I couldn’t decide whether people were simply keeping it for themselves, or if in some altruistic way they thought they were preventing fraud in the card community. I don’t want to dismiss the later, but I also don’t agree with keeping secrets in what is essentially an art project.
There’s not really any reason why I haven’t updated since November except to say that work was exceptionally crazy. In December I typically photograph a lot of Christmas parties, this year was no exception, and that took up the majority of my weekends. At work I also had a big push to finish a large web project by the end of the year. On the upside, with the free time I did have, I managed to carve out a good portion of time to do things with the family, which is infinitely more enjoyable than typing into a blog editor panel. We went to see the nutcracker ballet, we saw movies (Moana good, Sing bad), we played games, we had people over and cooked and ate and enjoyed the time we had together. I was going to mention something about my birthday, but thankfully it was a non-event, just how I like it. Lots of little things to catch up on here and there.
Overwatch – Had some time to really dig deep and enjoy it. I retract any of my previous statements about it being “vanilla” or generic. It has surprising depth and I’m really liking it. It’s that next evolutionary step beyond Team Fortress 2’s “rock, paper, scissors” formula.
Moana – Was genuinely awesome. The animation was good, the story was good, The Rock was excellent. Disney’s in-house animation is now on par with Pixar, I think that’s safe to say.
Sing – Was disappointing in a number of ways. For starters, everything in between the singing, which was fine, was very nearly PG-13. That’s fine for me, but it’s considerably above the heads of most 5-10 year olds. There’s robbery, foreclosure, depression, gambling debt, scams, breakups, theft, assault, near-murder and all sorts of other fairly dark themes that kids just aren’t going to get. It’s marketed as a kids movie, and it’s not that.
Rouge One – Wow. That was an impressive dip into the Star Wars universe that satisfied all those “geeky” needs, without destroying the franchise, and sucessfully expanding it. I’m not going to get into original Lucas canon vs. new Disney canon, I just don’t care that much. All I know is that it was good, really good, and the entire movie didn’t even have a light saber in it. If I’m being perfectly honest, I kinda liked it better than Episode 7.
Raspberry Pi – I finally got on board the Pi train this Christmas. That was my present from my awesome wife and I love this thing. I loaded it up with BerryBoot (boot loader) right off the bat and created several partitions to play with. Raspbian was an obvious choice, but I also installed RetroPie and PirateBox as well. I’m also thinking about a PiRate Radio as soon as I can track down a jumper for one of the pins and a random length of copper wire. We had considerable fun playing old Nintendo games over the holidays with RetroPie and a USB knock-off of a SNES controller. I’m letting the kiddo learn the classics. The pure joy she had when she got the end of the first level in Mario was priceless.
Cards – Yes, I did get some cards throughout December. Those are sitting by the scanner for when I have a minute. I have a good sized SportLots order and a hobby box of Diamond Kings to share at some point.
BBQ – I finally nailed a perfect brisket. Do I get my Texan card now? Achievement unlocked? I’ve always been good with pork and ribs, but brisket took some serious practice. Look at that rendered deckle…
Customs – Last but not least, in my spare time, which is mostly single moments in-between emails, I’m still putting together custom cards. I’ve been able to recreate several BUNT designs that, at least in my opinion, should have been real physical cards and not just digital designs (he says, as he creates digital designs). BUNT Posters, Infinite and Heroes & Legends to name a few. I’ll show those off down the road. I’m also working on approximations of Panini Noir, 1966 Topps Hockey, FIRE, Goodwin Champions and BUNT Blueprints.
It’s funny how the plans we all have are often times not the path we end up walking. We learned on Friday that my wife’s job will be going away shortly. The business owner is retiring and they’ll be closing the doors soon. We had hoped to visit my family in New England this year, let the kiddo experience a real white Christmas, all that good stuff, but that’s probably not happening. That’s ok, plans can change. What’s important is that we find a good fit job wise and it’s something enjoyable and fulfilling. It’s only a minor bump in the road, nothing we can’t handle together. Wish us luck!