Property Clearing
December 20th, 2010 | View Post

This is definitely something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time now. It wasn’t cheap, but Fig & Co. Builders hired a company to come out to the property, install a silt-fence (as the city requires), and finally level the ground as it was intended to be. There were several dumptruck loads of trash that needed to be removed. Also included was brush, some construction debris, a few knocked down trees, and a bunch of rock.


We also went ahead and had them install a construction entrance at the northwest corner of the property (right where the existing gate is). A construction entrance is what future contractor trucks and heavy machinery will use to enter and exit the property. I’m told it’s not really about traction or anything like that, but rather serves as somewhat of a front-door ‘wipe your feet off’ mat. Basically it helps to remove all of the mud and dirt from the tires of vehicles exiting the property before it gets tracked all over the public street.

Water and Sewer Hookups
December 6th, 2010 | View Post

One of the many issues I’ve long since known we’d have to deal with is with respect to water and sewage taps. Unfortunately the City of Austin does not permit commercial sites to utilize septic systems, so that is already ruled out. We had Rick Selin from the City of Austin run the specs on the property just to get an idea of where the hookups are and how difficult they would be to access.

He was pretty nice and promptly wrote us back with the following:

There is an 8” DI water main infront of the property, however there does not appear to be an existing water service to the property. There is no wastewater main infront of the property. The nearest service points appear to be roughly 185’ north of the north property line near the intersection of Axel & Jackie Robinson or roughly 252’ south of the south property line near the intersection of Axel and Wilcab. To get water service, an engineered tap plan will need to be submitted for review and approval by AWU. To get wastewater service, an engineered plan to extend the wastewater main to the property will need to be submitted for review and approval by AWU. You can speak with Seyed Miri @ 972-0202 to explore the option of an SER for the wastewater portion.

He also provided us with this image of the water lines for the area:


The water lines from the city's GIS data

The Milk Bath
Story circa November 28th, 2010 | View Post

In the fall of 2010, I was working on a large contract project in southern Oregon. I loved the company, I loved my coworkers, and I most especially loved traveling to southern Oregon.

As is common with these types of contracts, the contracting firm provided me with a daily stipend. It was high. I think they gave me $75.00 per day. This might not seem like a ton of money, but when breakfast is provided at your hotel and an average lunch costs maybe $12, finding a way to spend $63.00 every night in a small town becomes an interesting adventure.

Many of the other contracting companies made their employees a deal whereby they could get paid in cash, albeit a lesser amount. I asked my firm if they would allow this. Instead of providing me with a reimbursable per-Diem of $75, I asked if they could just pay me $45 in cash. If they had, I'd have been motivated to spend less money, they would have spent less money on me, and both of us would have financially benefited. They turned this down.

I had recently read about how Cleopatra use to enjoy milk baths. The idea of this intrigued me. There is lactic acid in milk and evidently soaking one's skin in this acid provides a very strong exfoliation.

I began stopping at the grocery store after work and would pick up a few gallons of milk; I had a large refrigerator in my hotel suite. After several days of this I had an entire refrigerator full of creamy whole milk.

After I'd accumulated between 12-15 gallons of it, I drew some piping hot water into the base of the bathtub and proceeded to fill it with all of the milk I had accumulated. The hot water was just to make the bath comfortable since the milk was so cold.

It turns out that taking a milk bath is incredibly relaxing. The milk leaves a thin coat on your skin each time you lift a part of your body out of the tub. I have no idea how the exfoliation process actually works, but I do know that my skin felt silky smooth after the bath.

I haven't appended the Wikipedia article yet, but it is a fact that in addition to Cleopatra and Elizabeth I of England, Kevin Ludlow has also indulged in a milk bath.

I would highly recommend it.

Corpus Christi Time Lapse
November 26th, 2010 | View Post

Since we've been sitting around my parent's house in Corpus for the Thanksgiving holiday, my sister and I have been experimenting with her new camera. I downloaded the software that lets us hook it up to my Apple and so we can control the camera with much more granularity than the camera otherwise allows for.

She and I setup my computer and her camera on the front porch while we had dinner and let it take a picture every 20 seconds for an hour or so. Once the sun had completely set, I took all of the images and stitched them together in iMovieHD.

The result was a really nice high-definition sunset.

Hank on the Treadmill
September 20th, 2010 | View Post

I was at Dreux's house earlier today and saw the most amazing thing: his Boston Terrier, Hank, actually enjoys walking on their treadmill. It was one of the funnier things I've seen.

Anyway, I shot some video of him doing it and stitched together a little movie.

World Trade Center Mosque Commentary
August 25th, 2010 | View Post

I'm fucking exhausted of listening to all of the bullshit that's being spewed left and right about this whole mosque debate. On the right we have a bunch of bigoted assholes, with absolutely no respect for legal process or property rights and all of whom appear gravely confused as to what this war is allegedly for that we're fighting. But on the left, we've got a bunch of hipsters trying to advocate for the rights of a group that they couldn't disagree more with. And I'd be all for that if their view was at least consistent. But I guarantee next time some other close-minded conservative group needs help, they're not going to be there. This is fashionable protesting in my opinion and is just ludicrous.

I tried to make my writings on the matter a bit less opinionated.

Full text of the video clip below:

Over the past several weeks I have been quietly enjoying this debate over the "World Trade Center Mosque". To me personally, this is nothing more than a property rights issue and provided the organization legally owns the land and conforms to the local building codes, they're completely within their right and there are no certainly complaints from me.

While I'm in no way surprised at the reactions coming from the right, I wish I could say that I was surprised at the reactions coming from the left and wanted to explore this confusion.

I know that the poetic diction of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow is mentally invigorating, but they're both paid to appease an audience and you're not a "news commentator". In short, this mosque is a complete contradiction of the left's own guiding principles.

Let me very quickly illustrate what I mean.

Islam is a western religion just like Christianity. It uses arbitrary rules to control its congregation and promises a bountiful afterlife if these rules are adhered to. Meanwhile, it basks in its own wealth and just like other churches, has virtually no regulatory oversight, and pays absolutely no taxes in our country.

So let's consider some basic social issues. Much like its common Christian counterpart, Islam is openly against any freedom of abortion, condemns any form of promiscuity, and strongly opposes homosexuality - in some cases even to the penalty of death in other countries.

You may have recently read how a Saudi Arabian court, under non-secular Sunni Islam law, sought to medically sever a man's spine in retribution for him paralyzing another man two years earlier with a knife. This is the same non-secular system of government that justifies the stoning of raped women in the name of honor. And mind you, this is not mob rule. This is religion, affecting government, attempting to carry out unspeakable acts against other human beings, all in the good name of God.

Let's consider some financial issues. Think about all the poor starving children, diseased nations, and uneducated African villages that could benefit from a 100 million dollars worth of charity. I know you believe they should be helped, but I guess it's better that a few thousand people practice religion in comfort than a few hundred thousand get the chance at basic survival. Of course, this is very consistent with the thinking of western religion, for example: the Vatican.

Also, do you have any idea what the tax revenue on a $100 million dollar building in the financial district of Manhattan is worth? Since this is a Mosque, presumably it’s nothing. Which is unfortunate considering social services such as food banks, homeless shelters, and public HEAHTLCARE centers are in dire need of funding.

Let me be clear. I have absolutely no prejudice for Muslims at all. Rather, I have contempt for anyone - Christian, Jew, Muslim, or otherwise - that would use their faith to interfere with the lives of others while wasting money on divine opulence.

So, my argument is not suggesting you should or should not give your support to this building. Rather it is suggesting that the only reason you ARE giving your support is because of the age-old proverb that "the enemy of your enemy is your friend". Basically that just because the political-right is opposed to this Mosque, you naturally support it.

Where is your compassion for the Christian right lobbying against gay marriage? ...or condemning abortion? ...or wanting to ban contraceptives? ...or, the list goes on. The simple reality is that like it or not, you do not agree with one SINGLE philosophy that this organization has to offer.

Imagine the wonderful irony that would exist if Christians and Muslims ever figured out that they opposed the same social ideologies that liberals fight so hard for. My guess is that you'd be far less willing to support them then.

That's not to suggest you should be out there denouncing their plight, but it sure seems strikingly hypocritical to openly support it.

To conclude, you simply can't have it both ways. You can't openly condemn one religion spreading their ideas against social norms, but then turn right around and speak in favor of an otherwise identically conservative religious ideology attempting to do the same thing, just because it happens to be in the minority.

Thank you.

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