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Everything posted by drone

  1. While I am sad to see these beautiful houses go, and worry that they won't be the last, I am happy that we'll at least be getting guaranteed green space out of it. Yes, the CC seems to be very much on top of it. Too bad it's not exactly contiguous with the existing park, but at least it's more greenery, better than cookie-cutter houses or convenience stores... !c
  2. Hi all, I'm wondering if anyone has any good recommendations for a foundation company. I want to start getting pricing together so I can set the goals to get what I need done, done. Here's what I need to have done, and hopefully that will help w/ the recommendations: Detached 2-car garage: slab -- slab is cracking and sinking, causing lots of water in the garage. Want to get the slab repaired, and preferably lifted a bit to prevent water from entering the garage during heavy rains. AFAICT, there are both gas and water/sewer lines under the slab. Don't care so much if it's too high for cars to get in, as I'm going to basically turn it completely into a workshop. Pier & Beam: what appears to be a later addition to my home is shifting slightly, causing cracks, etc. It's not bad, but I'll want to get it resolved before I start some interior work later this year. I'm wondering if anyone has any recommendations on a _single_ company that can do both (I don't have much time to deal with multiple vendors), do them well at a reasonable price, and offers a warranty. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! !c
  3. In theory they should already support Zwave, which I believe uses zigbee networking - it's on my long to-do list to hack up a zigbee transceiver and see what it'll tell me. I don't expect to get to it until this summer, but if I find anything useful, I'll come back and post it here. !c
  4. *laugh* I sure I hope I've not got a second personality, and if I did - I'd hope it wasn't living down the street! *grin* (That could get real confusing, real fast!) All this reminds me that it's been a bit since I've been to the range, and I still haven't taken the lady to get her familiar with the most recent selection in "ready defense." (Shame on me!) Alas, looks like her and I have a date this weekend, hehe. !c
  5. Agreed - and I don't believe it makes them stupid. I guess it's all a matter of training and upbringing, I was raised to believe that any use of a firearm (outside of certain crowd control uses by trained personnel) should be considered a deadly measure, it reflects in my position on them (such as making sure that even a dis-assembled barrel is not pointed towards anyone during cleaning). No one else's opinion should be considered wrong, I was just trying to make the point that it would seem to me that "non-lethal" and "firearm" don't really go together in most situations. But, yes, one must not discount the courage and willingness to defend that a firearm may impart on an individual, even if it has less-than-lethal ammo loaded. The most important part is that when you're in the situation, don't hesitate and don't appear scared. I'm with you on the "outside of my home" part. I would approach the situation differently if they're outside of my home, not just because of the intrusion and safety factor, but also because the situation could be rendered differently under the law -- the threat could be less imminent. Mind you, a simple pump-action shotgun can resolve most such issues without a shell being fired, but lord help you if you need to fire it, and it isn't ready to! For the OP, I sympathize with your situation, and am glad it ended with no one hurt, and nothing lost. !c
  6. I'm of the general presumption that I'm not psychic, and therefore I cannot determine at the moment of entry whether or not a burglar is there to a) just steal, and will run if confronted, b ) just steal, and will fight back if confronted, c) there with primary goal to cause harm to my family, or d) intoxicated and unpredictable. Additionally, not being psychic, I am unable to determine if they are armed until there is compelling evidence of either case. Given that, and given the numerous other variables, and general awareness that the police, even if called, will likely not arrive for a number of minutes, I keep what you might call "protection" available at home. Added that I am unaware of their armed status, I refuse to load such "protection" with non-lethal or minimal-penetration (i.e. frangible) ammunition. My presumption is that in the case I am compelled to protect myself, I must be prepared to trade a life for a life. I understand that everyone has a different viewpoint on the subject, but when it comes to self-defense, you're defending yourself -- not diffusing a riot, or playing "war games". That means my opinion is that if you've got a weapon to defend yourself, and if you've pointed it at someone, then you should be prepared to kill them. Not being prepared, hemming and hawing over non-lethal ammunition will show its self in a time of crisis, and likely give your attacker the upper-hand. So, pistols are loaded (including chambered round) with hollow points, shotguns with lethal ammo. I practice and tell myself "keep shooting until it doesn't move," and throw my faith behind the Castle Doctrine. Thankfully, I've never had to put these concepts to the test, but I do pray that if I ever do, that I worry that I responded with too much force, rather than too little. !c
  7. Maybe he got some bad tamales, and had to miss the parade? !c
  8. Actually, it ends in Van Horn and extends all the way to Florida. It's 1,633 miles long. http://en.wikipedia....i/U.S._Route_90 Edit: Whoops. I got it a little mixed up. US 90 runs to Van Horn, US 90 ALT runs from Seguin to Houston.
  9. You mean the train tracks at Dowling & Commerce? I got stuck at a train there less than 3 months ago. Have they been de-commissioned since then?
  10. Having lived in the warehouse lofts next door, long before those townhouses were built, all I can say is -- if you decide you want it, and you're a light sleeper - spend a night in it first. Those train tracks are active, it's not a quiet zone, and aside from the great rumbling of two trains passing at once, you also get the wonderful honking they do at each other from many blocks away, and solid right through the intersection. I lived there for a year, and barely ever slept. (Other people like it just fine, though.) So, I'd get a good chance to double-check the soundproofing before I'd make any decision =)
  11. Update: yes, if you have a smart meter you can use DEIS to see your usage. Mind you, it's about as interesting as watching paint dry, and the options as to what to display and how are pretty limited. (In fact, the same information is on my bill from the REP, but DEIS makes it slightly more granular - two week periods instead of 1 month periods.) Here's the URL: https://deis.centerpointenergy.com/index.asp?pageid=424
  12. No, Google does not make them. They are made by a company named 'eMeter'. (http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/17620) You are charged each month for 12 years. I don't know how much they cost, but they keep repeating, if one were to ask them, "the cost includes the cost of the supporting infrastructure." Edit: yeah, I have one. Looks cool. Guess I'll get all that HAN stuff when zWave gets cheap enough, and then I can, uh, um. Is DEIS the web-front to look at your energy usage? I'll check it when I get home later.
  13. Well, the garage is approximately 16' x 18' - and I'd want to keep the footprint about the same size, if not a little bit longer (16x20-24). And yes, there is everything in the way... Power lines, power poles, a house, etc. It's set-back at least 80' from the street, behind the house. The best I could probably hope for is the neighbors letting me use their driveway - it's real easy to access from there, and theirs is much wider than mine. Let's not forget the natural gas, sewage, etc... I think it might all work better if I move to a tankless heater in the house (the washroom and water heater are in the garage), but it would still have to have the laundry plumbing - nowhere appropriate to put a utility room in the house, not without taking away a lot of space from something. I would presume that a demo and re-build would run in the 25k range?
  14. Hey Laurie! Yeah, I've not been taking many pictures lately, instead have been focusing on photo-related electronics for a bit. Once the latest project gets into full production, expect me to be back out on the water shooting again =) (Although, admittedly, most of it will be motion rather than stills!) !c
  15. Thanks for the advice everyone - that probably will be the best way to get to the specs I want anyhow. Now, to figure out the premium for getting a garage built where the driveway is too skinny to get a concrete truck, or any other construction equipment back there =)
  16. Well, I currently have the required easement size on one side for the power co., and it's currently within the setback requirements (3' according to the deed restrictions, IIRC) with the other two sides facing inside the property - so it shouldn't be a problem on that front. It's the thought of the cost that gets me - and not having a hot water heater or washer/dryer during the re-build =)
  17. I don't normally do many "cityscape" shots, but I shot this one last fall, and thought y'all might appreciate it. From the park, across from the police memorial, "Park Life": FWIW, It was shot with a Pentax K10D, Sigma 17-70 DC Macro, and a circular polarizer. It prints well at 11x17".
  18. Hello all, I recently purchased a 1948 bungalow, and having a 2-car garage (to use as a workshop) was extremely important to me. So, it has a garage, but now that everything the previous owner had in there has been moved out, the problems facing this garage have become very obvious. So, here's the list of problems it has/I have with it, and the general question is -- is it worth it to try and repair it, or should I just go the demo and re-build route? * The slab is cracked in the middle, and one side sits much lower now - this causes water to enter that side of the garage floor * It was sheetrocked in, both in the walls and a ceiling (and due to the above, there is a lot of rotted sheetrock) * The ceiling height is just north of 6'8" * The garage door opening height is just north of 6'1" (see the problem here? =) * It has had major termite problems in the past, and is scheduled for yearly termite treatment w/ warranty * There are a few holes in the roof that need to be patched up So, at a minimum, it will need a new slab poured - as I'm pretty sure that any work I do to it would be destroyed eventually by the moving slab, and the water entering the garage would wreck havoc with my tools and benches. The ceiling is way too low, I can (with some effort =) raise the ceiling up about 8", giving me more head-room and allowing for an easy install of an electric garage door opener, and make it not feel so claustrophobic in there. (I'll be tearing out the sheetrock either way tomorrow, as much of it is falling down.) My thoughts are (and I could be completely off-base) that I could pay someone to come in and jack up the structure, pour a new slab, and then elevate the structure a foot or two by using cinderblock on top of the slab, and mounting the existing structure to that. At that point, I could then fix up the interior structure - like replacing the rotted sheetrock on the walls that were touching the ground, etc. Not to mention, this would now make it such that my 6'6" tall vehicle could enter the garage, if need be =) Would that be more costly than worthwhile? Should I just abandon the 61 year old structure, have it demo'd and build a new one? Space is at a severe premium in the backyard, and I'd like to turn it into a two-story structure, with my work-shop on top, but I fear I won't have the funds for that for a long while. I know I can save money by doing the framing myself, but I'd hate to build something new if the old could be made functional without a great cost. Any advice, and thoughts on what it would cost for a new slab would be greatly appreciated.
  19. The interesting this is that I had a house appraised in Idylwood around pretty much the same time. (Two weeks ago. Yes, I purchased it.) Mind you, I never looked at that house, as it was out of the price range I wanted to spend. The one I bought was several hundred sq. ft. smaller, and while it looked great in the HAR photos, let's be honest - it didn't have nearly the upgrades of the one in the article (I saw recessed lighting, better kitchen upgrades, utility room in the house w/ mud room, the 2-car garage is likely in much better condition, known problems with the house I purchased, etc.), and there were numerous issues that need to be dealt with. (Nothing out of the ordinary for a 61 year old house.) All of that being said, my appraisal came in quite a bit higher than his appraisal. That's a bit disconcerting, since my appraisal was made on comps sold _only in Idylwood_ in the past nine months, and given the current condition of the house. So, I notice his listing is gone now from HAR, whether it's because it sold or because he de-listed it, I don't know. It does have me concerned that a single bad appraisal is enough to warrant a Chron article? Did he have several bad appraisals? Was he being pre-emptive towards future appraisals, or is it just part of the PR campaign to get the new appraisal rule changes reversed? (A rumour I've heard a few times regarding this article.) Yes, I do believe the appraisal his buyer got was a bad one. Namely, because I have access to at least one other appraisal done at the same time on a comparable house in the same neighborhood =). Of course, you could always make the argument that my appraisal was bad, but, you know, I've got 20 pages of documentation that goes into exacting detail as to how it was generated, and it all looks good to me and everyone who read it. (We'll avoid pointing out the obvious that at least one of those readers is a non-expert [me] *grin*)
  20. FWIW, Huynh isn't exactly new, just new to the location. They first opened up about 12 years ago over on Milam (Where the Post Oak Grill [i think that's the name of the place] is now) as Pho Huynh. I have been going there for about ten years, with a small break while they opened up the new shop =) Annh and her husband are great, very nice. It's a family shop, much of the staff are related. Just remember when you go there, order "vietnamese style" for certain dishes. =) !c
  21. Yup, there were a couple of incidents that seemed out of the norm on that block (according to crime maps), with a couple of houses going up for sale within a couple of weeks after the incident, right around the block 'address-wise'. Seemed almost like they were related, but you know - it's really easy to confuse coincidence and cause. =) !c
  22. It's a real shame - just one month too late. I was just one month too late for the other house (the yellow two-story w/ all front yard) when looking, and now this listing is one month too late. That one appears to have everything I want, and is right in my range. I really liked that section a lot, but with loan rates moving up rapidly, I had to find something soon, and now I'm closing on a great little bungalow in Idylwood this week. I do feel ya though - that's a great section of Eastwood, and I really wish that listing or another one nearby had come up 30 days ago. If you don't mind though, when I was doing some research, there seemed to be a bit of an "anomaly" last fall on the 4200 block. It had me hugely concerned when I was looking, as there seemed to be a series of incidents and I couldn't find out any more info. I guess it doesn't matter at this point, as I'm no longer looking, but if you wouldn't mind illuminating me via pm, that would be great for curing my curiosity. Thanks, !c
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