Friday, July 27, 2007

out and about

I went to see a bunch of friends (and some relatives) a week or two ago. It was a good time. I took a bus for about two days, played several board games that were new to me, went to see an incredible house/theme-park, and all kinds of other things before getting a ride home with some friends. I was only gone for about a week, unfortunately. I would have enjoyed spending a lot more time there, but I had to get back here in time to move out.

Starting next month I will be living with a guy I met through a couple degrees of mutual friends. We play board games together sometimes. After I get my stuff relocated, maybe I’ll get back out for another vacation.

I have been finishing up some old projects lately. I went through a pile of old computers copying all the games I could find. I kept the hard drives for now, and took everything else to the local computer re-use/recycle center to be recycled. I also made a slightly nicer gallery interface for the name charts that I generated a few months ago. I should really re-generate all the charts to include 2006 data, and to fix the unsightly long filenames, but for now I’m finished with it.

Not all projects have ended successfully. I killed an old laptop that I finally got around to taking apart. I just wanted to get to the screen, but by the time I did it wouldn’t turn on anymore.

Next on my list is finishing a write-up for a math problem that I started thinking about more than a year ago. After that, maybe I’ll have to sit down and make a new list.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

house construction

A few days ago I met some friends of a friend who are in the process of building their own house. They were kind enough to let me come out to hang around for a few days while they worked. The land they’re building on is out in the country, a little more than an hour where I’m living. The property was entirely wooded when they bought it, with a small spring and creek and plenty of hills. Every point on the land seems to be sloped in one direction or another.

For the few days I was there, I helped out where I could: moving dirt, carrying water and other work. The walls are partly made of stacked tires packed tight with dirt. The tire packing is highly labor-intensive, but all that had been done last summer. (A second house on the property, however, is in the early tire-packing stage.) The walls and roof of the first house are up, and while I was there the front greenhouse and entryway framing were being finished. We were also berming earth up around the walls.

Power comes from a small solar array and water comes from a small spring a short hike from the building site. They plan to catch and store rainwater in the cistern dug out in the area underneath the future bathroom as well.

The trip was a lot of fun, and I learned quite a lot about finding property, planning and constructing houses (some of it in the “what not to do” category). I hope to get back out there once or twice more this summer.