Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Trial of Brian David Mitchell - Testimony of Elizabeth Smart

I didn't follow the Elizabeth Smart case when it broke several years ago.  When she was found by police nine months after she was abducted was absolutely incredible.  I honestly did not believe they would find her alive.  Fast forward to today to the trial of Brian David Mitchell.  I've read some of the news accounts of her testimony against Mr. Mitchell.  All I can say is, "Wow!  You go girl!"

I cannot imagine the hell that she went through for nine months.  I cannot believe the fortitude that she now has to testify in front of her former captor.  Her story is amazing.  Mr. Mitchell is a disgusting man.  I hope the prosecution can bring a strong enough case that he isn't insane and that the jury sees what kind of a man he really is.

To Ms. Smart:  Be brave, and be strong.  I wish you the very best for you in your life.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A home facelift, AKA replacing defective vinyl siding

My wife and I have been in our house for just over nine years.  A year or so after we moved into our house, we had problems with our vinyl siding.  We knew the siding we had was defective because we have some neighbors that had the same batch (same color even) installed, they had problems and they got their siding replaced.  However, we opted not to pursue a warranty claim at the time.  The contractor that built our house was not very good to respond.  Our siding issue at the time wasn't very bad (we had a few warped boards) so we decided to not do anything.

A couple of years ago we decided that we wanted to sell our house.  We actually listed our house on the market for six months, but nothing ever happened.  It was at that time that our vinyl siding looked like crap pretty pathetic.  It had warped in some spots and was severely faded.  We talked to a siding installer and he told us that our siding has a lifetime guarantee.  So we decided to pursue a warranty claim and get our known defective siding replaced.

Short story, we got the run around.  The local siding dealers were not very helpful (I'm being very kind here...).  The "limited" lifetime warranty wasn't worth the paper it was printed on.  And, get this, warranty services denied our claims.  We even had a company claims guy come out and look at our house and tell us specific issues that we had with our siding so we could get a claim.  Denied.  Literally, a year's worth of work all for nothing.  Needless to say, we were not happy.  So after trying for a year to get the issue resolved on our own locally, we decided to go talk to a regional manager and plead our case with him.  And the most amazing thing happened......  We called and told them our issue.  The very next day we were approved!  Yeehaw!  The local guys were still jerking us around, but we got it approved.  We order our product and it arrived at the house.

All good.  So we have the guys yank off the old siding.  And while we were at it, we had some brick work that was installed that we wanted redone.  So we asked one of the neighbors to help out.  Well, come to find out we had a bit of a problem with the house.  Check out this photo:

(C) Tom Larsen - 2010

Yep.  You guessed it.  Dry rot.  Our fake "cultured" rock and brick work was not done correctly.  I can't complain too loudly because I'm one of the installers.  The vinyl installers didn't help either.  But we had a bad installation and so we ended up with dry rot in a portion of the wall.  So we ripped out the rock so we can fix the dry rot problem.  In the end, we didn't want to do this ourselves.  So we asked this same neighbor to come and lay brick for us.  By the way, he did an excellent job.  I'll have to upload a photo or two of the finished product.

The brick work finished at 1:30 AM on Friday, November 5th.  The vinyl siding guys have done three of the four walls of my home.  Now that my brick is done, I hope they come back on Monday to do the front of my house.  But then again, the weather is supposed to be crappy on Monday, so that may not happen for a while.

So there you have it.  Our house had a face lift.  Now, where did I leave my drill?  Has anyone seen it?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Going cold turkey - No more cable TV

Last Friday I called my cable provider and asked them to disconnect me.  I thought they were going to do it yesterday, but they didn't.  Instead, they came by today and disconnected us.

My first reaction was "Finally!"  But then I thought about it a bit and realized that there won't be any "entertainment" on any more.  If I want to watch something, it will have to be from the video collection.  Or I'll have to hook the home PC up to the TV and watch something over the Internet.  Ick!

So we'll see what happens.  I may have it reconnected at the end of the week.  Then again, maybe never!  But right now, it is a relief that I don't have to pay one more thing that I really don't use much or need to have in my house.  One less distraction for me and my family.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Google TV - no more cable TV

A week or two ago I purchased a Logitech Revue.  I bought it Friday night.  Took it home.  It was late, so I didn't even bother to take it out of the box.  I slept on it and the next day I realized that I had made a $300 mistake.  So I took it back to the store the next day for a full refund.  The inner geek wants it.  The realist in me knows that I have no time to waste sitting in front of the TV watching garbage or surfing the Internet.  And we've had some expenses that have taken a toll on our savings account.  I guess I'm just trying to be fiscally responsible this year or something.

I also decided to cancel our cable TV subscription as well.  I called on Friday and they will be shutting it off today.  It is only $15/month, but there is just so much trash on TV that I really don't think we'll miss it.  There is a lot of stuff on the Internet.  If we go through withdrawals, we can sign up again or hook the home PC up to the TV and watch TV via the Internet.  Or I may break down and get that Roku player that I've been thinking of getting....  Naw.  We'll just go without.  We'll be OK.