Kitchen Post

I’m going to write about my kitchen for a while. For any of those who are uninterested, I make a promise of discussing boobs at the end of the post.

Did a bunch of demolition work on my kitchen today.  The guy facilitating the work (I don’t know if it’d get him in trouble with anyone if I said who he is since he’s doing this in his free time, so I’ll just call him “Dave” from here on out) is doing a great job and is rolling with the punches the house is throwing really well.  This is already 500% more successful than the bathroom remodel.  (And yes, I know that 500% is not actually a possible percentage.)  So it’s going good so far.

Today we did some pretty serious demolition work.  We ripped out an assload of cabinets.  The oven has been removed.  The island has been dismantled and removed.  There was some electrical re-wiring.  And I got to make a lot of those lovely smashing noises I love so much.  We worked really hard for a long time.  It was the most manly work I’ve done in years.  It was also the most physical work I’ve done in years.  I’m sore all over and I’m going back and forth between exhaustion and endorphin rushes (because my body’s freaking out and waking me up in case more is coming, ha ha).  It was a good day.

I mentioned electrical re-wiring (as though there’s any other kind of re-wiring…but shut up).  There’s some background information needed here.  The house I live in is about 50-ish years old.  Since none of us are 100 years old, there was a guy who lived there before my family did.  He made poor choices.  There have been more repairs needed because of his idiocy and irresponsibility than I can count.  Everything from over-ambitious soldering to gas-line remapping to electrical fire hazards…and it was the latter we ran into today.

There’s a flourescent light in my basement (two, actually) that has been there for as long as anyone in my family has lived there (and it’s the only house I’ve ever known).  In ripping out the island in the kitchen, we had to kill a power-outlet and pull the wire through into the basement—and the wire for that outlet ran down to the area by the light in the basement.  Now, we figured the wire would run down to a junction box and we’d just kill the electric to it for a few minutes, rip out the wire, and be done.  Shouldn’t be more than a 5-10 minute effort.  Well, it ended up taking about 3 hours.

First of all…the guy who lived there before us wired the outlet in such a way that it was pretty much being powered off of that light (even when the light was off!).  That’s insane enough…but wait!  There’s more!  As I said, this is a flourescent light, which has a nice, long fixture, as most of them tend to.  Well…once we got up into the ceiling (I have drop-ceilings down there), Dave informed me that the light is barely attached to the joists in any serious way, and is mostly just resting on top of the frame for the ceiling.  But wait!  There’s more!  The previous owner was using an old light fixture as a jumper box, with an EXPOSED thread.  But wait! There’s more!  The wiring coming out of the fixture was held together with (only) electrical tape.  And it just BARELY covered the bare wire.  But wait…etc!  Then he had the wiring for the actual flourescent fixture coming off the old, bare, exposed fixture, and it was stretched so tight, it looked like two guitar strings.  You probably could’ve gotten a tone out of them if you plucked them.  And remember…this is all covered by a drop ceiling.  That’s pretty much the entire length of the basement, covered in highly flammable tile, with a bare fixture a shoddy wiring less than 2-3 inches from its surface.  How we’ve gone 30+ years without a fire is a mystery.

So…that had to be addresses.  We (and by “We” I mean “Dave”) fixed it as much as possible, removing the bare fixture and getting some slack to the wires going to the flourescent light.  But we aren’t really able to secure the fixture.  So instead, I’m going to go out and look at a new fixture, and we’re going to drop it in so that we can be somewhere NEAR up to code.  (And also, that’ll accomplish part of my dream of removing the flourescent lights from the basement.)

…but it occurs to me that there is a SECOND flourescent light on the other side of the basement.  Which means all of this is probably happening over there, too…  But we’ll cross that bridge sooner or later.  One step at a time.

Anyway…once the semi-emergency wiring repair was done, we finally got back upstairs and finished tearing out the cabinets.  It’s almost surreal to walk in there and see it so open and different!  I’m really happy with how today went and I’m looking forward to this upcoming Saturday, when we’ll be ripping out the drywall and countertop (and sink and whatnot).

Also, I went to Hood’s to look at cabinets and I think I found some that I’m in love with for cheap…and I think I found a countertop there too!  I was going to get granite from Lowe’s…but looking around Hood’s, I found one that’s comparable for a fraction of the cost that is a REALLY good-looking laminate.  It looks GREAT (I actually thought it was granite!) and pops out some nice brown tones that I think will fit in with my theme throughout the house pretty well.  I’ve got to take some measurements and then go back out to Hood’s where they’ll design it in a computer and I can see how it’ll look and what it’ll cost.  But I think it’ll be awesome.  I’m getting pretty excited about it, and I’m glad I came up with the idea of going out there.

And there we go.  I’ll stop writing now, since a lot of you only skimmed this to begin with…thanks for putting up with me and my excitement about the project.

I lied about the boobs, though.  Sorry.

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Current Listening:

A whole bunch of Queen.

Catching Up…

I have not blogged in over a week.  Yikes.  Sorry.  I can’t even blame it on the Tumblr page, as I’ve been relatively quiet there for a few days too.  I guess life’s just got me distracted enough that I haven’t needed to live vicariously through my Internet connection.  So…let’s get caught up, whaddya’ say?

  1. Peter Falk died.  I love Peter Falk.  I first got to know him as Max in “The Great Race” (holy crap, the entire main cast of that movie is now dead!).  Most of you will know him either as Lt. Columbo from “Columbo” (yay!) or as the grandpa reading Fred Savage a story in “The Princess Bride” (meh!).  I’ve seen every episode of Columbo, and it sucks that he died…but on the other hand he’s been very ill for a very long time.  His mental state had decayed so much that he didn’t even remember being Columbo…which might be the saddest thing I’ve ever heard in my life.  So I’m glad he’s free from that now.  Either way…watched some “Columbo” with my dad this weekend in honor.  So rest in peace.  …and push the button, Max!
  2. The Great Kitchen Remodel has been eating up a lot of my concentration.  I’m basically enjoying it, although I wish I had a little bit more of a clue on how some of it is done so I could do a better job of pricing it.  Cabinets have been particularly problematic as they are—how do I put this?—ass blastingly expensive.  Hood’s has some good deals, assuming it’s fully wood…which I think it was…we shall see.  But I’ve found a counter-top I like, a flooring I like, a back-splash I LOVE, and appliances I really dig.  So it should be cool.  Even if the cabinets I saw and liked are chipboard, they look really good and I might be okay with that…even though there are very valid reasons people say not to go with chipboard…  I’ll figure it out.
  3. Watching wrestling tonight, CM Punk delivered one of the best promos I’ve ever seen anyone do.  The fact that John Cena is cheered and Punk isn’t is just proof that (1) wrestling audiences are stupid and (2) Vince McMahon is great at exploiting stupid people.
  4. Thanks to everyone who downloaded and is enjoying the “Wayne County EP.”  I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback and I’ve really appreciated it.  But now that it’s behind me, I’m looking forward to focusing on Two Hangmen.
  5. The Hangmen EP has taken a GIANT leap forward in that I’ve officially confirmed that the ink I need to print on the discs has officially been shipped.  I know it doesn’t sound like much…but it’s HUGE.  So we’ll be selling that to you soon.  Which means I have a lot more work to get done on www.twohangmen.net.
  6. I pulled an old hard drive out of an old computer recently.  I just ordered a thing that should allow me to pull information off of it.  Hopefully that will lead to some interesting results.  I’m looking forward to seeing who I was in 1999!  Or if it doesn’t work, I’m looking forward to screaming curse-words at it.  Either way…big weekend coming up!
  7. Thinking I’m going to get a haircut in July.  I didn’t mean to let it get so long.  Think I’ll go pretty short, then cut it again next July.  Try the “once a year” thing.  Unless I need to clean up for some kind of wedding or television appearance or something.  🙂
  8. Comic books have been making me happy lately.  I don’t think I’ve picked up anything I thought was a waste in over a month.  Particularly enjoying “Fear Itself” and “Flashpoint.”  But I’ll soon write about that on Empty Checking.  (Which I’ve been neglecting FOREVER.  Super-sorry!)
  9. Gay marriage is now legal in New York.  I’m fine with that.  If nothing else, I’m happy for Neil Patrick Harris, who was pretty clear in a statement last week that he wants to get married.  And for those opposed to gay marriage, just remember this…it’s the fault of straight couples.  After all, if they didn’t have gay children, they wouldn’t grow up to want gay weddings.
  10. I accidentally invented something delicious.  I was at a church thing with a lot of different fast foods.  I ate a Wendy’s Spicy Nugget and immediately followed it up with a White Castle with cheese.  That is a taste sensation, and you’ve got to try it out. In advance…you’re welcome!  🙂
  11. Been raining a lot.  I don’t know if I know anyone in Florissant that didn’t have to break out the wet-dry vacs in their basement this weekend.  (The tenses and pluralizations in that last sentence were insane.)  I like rain a lot…but I’m a little tired of the damage that’s recurring throughout the Midwest, and I’m VERY tired of thunder waking me up in mid-sleep pattern.  So I’ll relent and say, “Summer?  Why not?  Let’s try it.”  It’d be nice to dry out for a while.

…and that pretty much brings us up to speed.  I’ll try to write some more this week.  Sorry for the silence.

TTFN.

Something that amounts to nothing…

A lot has happened that I haven’t written about.  So I’m going to do a random thing…but I’m not going to write much.  This is less a post than it is a list of topics I want to write more about, if I remember to…

  1. Been listening to a ton of Klaus Nomi and David Bowie.
  2. Larry, one of my best friends, just moved to Kansas City, and I already miss him being in St. Louis.
  3. Saw my friend Todd Keller play at Cicero’s.  Check out the Todd Keller Band!
  4. Wayne County EP is almost online for download.
  5. Happy Father’s Day to my Dad.
  6. Kitchen remodel is moving forward kinda…but it’s only been about a week of serious planning, and there’s more to be decided.
  7. Rest in peace, Clarence Clemons.
  8. Finally got my stuff from Amazon.  Reviews pending.

…and that’ll do for now.  I promise I’ll write something that amounts to something soon.  🙂

So a very important character in Doctor Who now has the same first name as one of my nieces. Good thing she’s too young for that to go to her head.

Let’s do a random thing…whaddya say?

  1. I’ve let the “Empty Checking” blog/podcast slide lately.  Got a lot I should write and/or talk about.  I’ll get to it sometime this week…possibly even today, depending on how it goes.
  2. I don’t know a politically correct way to say this…but I totally get chicken and waffles.  I don’t know why other white people think it’s weird.  COME ON, white people!
  3. Working on getting DerekBrink.com up to par.  Looking at it in preparing for “Wayne County” I saw that it hadn’t really been updated for almost a YEAR.  Yikes!
  4. I’m kind of starting to get into the “Marble Hornets” thing that’s on YouTube.  It’s sort of like Blair Witch if you ever got any payoff from SEEING THE ACTUAL FREAKING THREAT in Blair Witch.  It explores the “Slender Man” myth that popped up on the Internet a couple of years ago (although, I maintain that they based the myth on multiple earlier horror movies/stories…but I digress…).  It’s okay.  The story and concept are good.  But unfortunately the acting isn’t even on par with Blair Witch.  Oh well…at least it’s free.
  5. Watching a Man v. Food marathon and getting hungry.  I really want something that comes with a lot of cheese…and decent fries.  Or maybe cheese fries…
  6. I’m thinking about the eventual backsplash for my kitchen…  I don’t know where it’s going just yet, but it’ll be tile of some kind, of course.  I actually kind of want to try for a similar, though perhaps more muted tone of the mirror I have hanging next to the hall in the house.  Maybe pull the two ideas together somehow…  We’ll see…
  7. Haven’t been sleeping well this week.  Last couple of nights I’ve been sleeping really lightly, and even though it technically adds up to a lot of time spent in bed, I probably haven’t actually slept much more than I did during the work week.  Oh well.  Probably just because it’s been hot outside and the weather’s going up and down all day.  I don’t adjust well to weather changes.
  8. So it seems that the cool thing to do is make Congressman Weiner jokes.  Too easy.  I don’t know anything about the guy, really.  Don’t even know which party he’s from.  Frankly, I just think it’s sad that a guy’s personal mistakes end up taking the spotlight and his political career is pretty much over because of it.  I mean…regardless of if anything he did was actually illegal, there’s no way he’s NOT going to resign or be somehow forced out at this point, is there?  Unfortunately, that’s probably the best thing for everyone.  There’s not any business getting done at this point, after all.  His debacle has just distracted the entire nation and put a pall over his term and his constituents.  It really shouldn’t be that way…but at this point…  May as well just move on.
  9. I think it’s just time that I admit to myself and others that Matt Smith has taken over from David Tennant as being my favorite Doctor.  Bowties ARE cool!
  10. Got a little bit of a headache going on…
  11. Still waiting on the new music I ordered from Amazon.  Took them about a week to even ship the stuff, even though it was all in stock and all being sold DIRECTLY by Amazon.  Not the first time this has happened to me.  Not likely to order from them again without either a spectacular deal or a gift card.  Could’ve driven to their facility and picked it up myself by now.  What’s the point?  *Finger-shake at Amazon.*

Well…I can’t think of anything else and I kinda have to pee.  So I’m going to stop writing now.

Something Kitchen This Way Comes…

I don’t remember how much I’ve said about it on the blog…  But I’m working toward a kitchen remodel.

Over the years, I’ve come to hate my kitchen.  I’m pretty sure everything in it except for the microwave is from the 1960s.  The oven’s in the wrong place and doesn’t light properly.  The stove works weirdly with the burners shooting out inconsistent levels of flame.  The fridge has stopped working entirely.  The sink shoots water out of the side.  The dishwasher sometimes leaks and/or doesn’t get all of the soap off of the dishes.  The linoleum is curling.  The cabinets are run down and disturbingly painted flourescent orange inside.  The cabinets over the island hang so low, it’s less an island and more a wall with a space for shoving bags of chips into.  (And I can’t count how many times I’ve banged my head on those goddamned cabinets!)  The ceiling light is falling apart.

In short, the place is a mess.  So we’re gutting it and starting over.

Unlike the ill-fated bathroom remodel from not-so-long-ago, I know what I want in the kitchen.  I am also working with someone I trust and like—and who I’m pretty sure won’t leave me with a list of crap that pissed me off.  In fact, so far he’s been incredibly helpful, found a couple of ways to save money, and he has me excited about the whole thing.  (He’s a personal friend, too…and that helps.)  He’s already light-years better than the guy who did the bathroom.

Tonight, I think I picked out all of the needed major appliances at Lowes.  I took some crappy cell-phone pics that I’ll put on the Tumblr page sooner or later…  But basically, the fridge is stainless, the oven/range is black and stainless, the dishwasher is black, and the microwave is stainless.  Nothing too flashy…but modern enough and versatile within almost any color palate.  In my case, I’ll be doing mainly browns and blacks.  The contractor (whose name I’ll with-hold, just in case it would end up causing any problems for him since he’s doing me some favors) recommended a black granite countertop with some black-coffee overtones to it.  I haven’t seen it yet, but it sounds lovely and like it’ll fit right into my earth-toney color-scheme.  I haven’t decided what I’m doing for the floor, back-splash, or lighting yet.  There’s still some time on that.  I think I might like to do a sort of wood laminate for the flooring, but I’ll need to see the countertop to decide some of that.

Anyway…it’s all starting to come together and I’m excited about some of the ideas that it looks like we’ll get to try out.  I’ve thought long and hard (tee-hee!) about the kitchen and whereas we’re already going in a little bit of a different direction than I’d imagined…it’s a direction I like and it’s in line with a lot of the ideas I’ve had all along.  It’ll be cool.

…and also, I discovered that there is a small, 6-8 bottle wine fridge available for $100.  I haven’t bought it yet…but that looks amazing!  🙂

I’m sure I’ll keep y’all posted.  I have no idea what the timetable is going to be…but hopefully we’ll get moving soon-ish!

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Quick review: Foo Fighters – “Wasting Light” — Nearly perfect.

Wayne County EP

So I’m posting audio of the Wayne County EP over on the Tumblr Page.  One track a day over 7 days.  You can’t download it from there (unless you know something I don’t), but you can listen.  It’ll lead up to me posting the whole thing on DerekBrink.com, along with downloadable art.  But for now, I’m going to tease you by forcing you to go to the page.  🙂

Tracklist: (Updated with links as more is posted)

  1. Scars
  2. Born in this Town
  3. God’s Gonna Shut Your Mouth
  4. Outlaw
  5. All My Ghosts
  6. Nobody Has It All
  7. Just Another Day

Keep checking back, and let me know what you think…unless you think it sucks.  Then please be nicer than the Internet and just move along.  🙂