Saturday, January 19, 2008

Old Wallpaper

Not much more exciting than the old wall paper I found lurking under a million coats of old paint. Hard to believe this stuff ever went out of style. Hold on, hold on... ahhhh

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

House Finds

Have you ever taken you house apart and found old stuff? Stuff people forgot in the walls or things that just stood out as old. Taking apart the closet area of the house, I found an old SF Datebook / Pink Section in the wall dated March 1 1959. So what was going on in March 1959 in SF?

Looks like there is a interesting double feature, Hoodlum Girls "Thrill Mad, Without Shame, Wanton and Dangerous " or Teen Age Jungle "Violence and Vice". Haven't heard of those movies but amazingly you can get them still and on DVD even.

Or maybe a dark, philosophic movie like Ingmar Bergman's, "The Seventh Seal". I saw this recently at the Castro Theater so it caught my eye. I couldn't imagine what it would have been like to see this when it first came out back in the day. It got a "jumping out of the seat" review. But if you actually read the review, it does review anything. Just a very short description.

It looks like the always popular Jack Benny is in town. Wouldn't want to miss that. And then there is that Disney cartoon. It's in Technarama 70! Who knows, it might take off.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Deferred Maintenance

So when I got the house appraised a couple of years ago, generally things were good but there were several "deferred maintenance" issues. I thought that was the best way I could remember of someone calling me lazy. It's like saying, you know there is work to do (plaster falling off the walls, rotten floor boards, etc... ) but that you are just too busy (football season, sleeping in, drinking beer... ) to get to it today: deferred maintenance.

Anyway, I realized that if left up to me actually doing the work, it was likely that the maintenance would be deferred another decade or so, so I asked around and, hopefully, found the right guy. He's the brother in law of a co-worker and is a construction foreman by day. Weekends and night he does side jobs like -

1) replacing the buckling plaster and nasty sconce cans in my living room by hanging new dry wall. I know some of you out there like sconces, but tough. They're gone.

2) framing and hanging dry wall on that ridiculous 4th door leading into the master bedroom. Can anyone really NEED four doors in the bedroom. If you need to get out of that room that fast then there are probably much more serious issues.

3) actually making a real closet out of the "window" closet I've been living with since I bought this place. Why would anyone have a closet that didn't go all the way to the floor or left about two feet of ceiling space inside that was inaccessible. Weird. Oh, and it turns out that the closet used to be a door. So FIVE doors into this room. Seriously, why?

OK, now this isn't gonna sound PC but I was hesitant on hiring the guy to hang dry wall because he, well, he's got a hook where one of his hands used to be. I know, I know, bad Mat... but have you ever wrestled with dry wall? The stuff is brittle, heavy and just plain a pain in the ass. I asked my friend and yes, it is weird but he's really good so just do it. So Salvador shows up with all the gear and promptly starts kicking ass. So far so good. He is busy taping up the dry wall joints in the living room and it all looks good. But I have to wonder, there are a few small holes in the middle of the panels that he has taped over that look suspiciously hook sized.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Making Macho Candles

OK, not sure how to write this one. I guess let me start out with some semi truths and work my way to lies.

Well, I was doing some Xmas shopping as I am likely to do sometimes. Looking through some boutique soap and foo foo candle shop, I was shocked by how much they charge for this crap. Yes I wanted some of it but damn if I was gonna pay $4 for a crappy candle that burns up in an afternoon. It can't be that hard to make this stuff, right? I remember that my Uncle had some candle making things that I messed with as a kid. I would heat up the double boiler with the wax in it and then turn it off and watch it cool. As the top turned a fuzzy white from the clear melted wax I would dunk my fingers in it. Ouch! Then again and again until I had a little mold of my hand. Then, carefully, I pulled my fingers out. Wonder if I still have any of those around?

Anyway, refusing to pay the $4, I looked up how to make candles on the internet. Dead easy. OK, now I just needed supplies. A quick search on Craigslist under "free stuff", and I had a classic candle making setup with all the supplies needed. Now the only hard part is how to admit to my friends that I spent the weekend making smelly candles cause I'm so cheap. But I guess I just did.

So here I am melting the wax in my stove top double boiler and then below is the finished product. About 20 votive candles scented with 'clean cotton'. The odd thing is trying to pick the color to match the scent. I guess it is what those marketing types do when making the fake banana or orange flavor. Everyone knows it isn't like the real thing. But what should it look like. Is 'clean cotton' blue? or yellow? Confused I looked it up on the manufactures website where they actually list a suggested color: white or pastel. Interesting. I also used two different types of molds. The pour from the top and then the upside down pour from the bottom. How exciting. Guess I know what everyone is getting for Xmas next year.

New Years 2008

Another year older and all that... decided to head over to Jesse's for another of his New Year parties. Always seems to be a good time and you can't beat the 6 block walk especially on the stumbly way back. Jesse made a great Chocolate Porter and had a lighter beer on tap so we had black and tans for most of the night. It was his usual group of misfits but a bit more debauchery this year. Oh and his two brothers showed up. Poor young Ari, scared of that nice tattooed girl looking at him like a little furry Jewish pork chop.