Monday, August 29, 2005

weekend log

Saturday I worked around the house...put the finishing touches on my son's new bedroom. It is lofted with a nice cozy reading corner. He is quite happy with it except that we haven't brought his computer in yet. My daughter is desperately holding on to it in her inherited room. Its alright, I have another one to build up that just needs a monitor. Using a program like GameDrive makes kids computers so easy to maintain. A virtual CD drive keeps the software thinking the CD is installed even though it is safely tucked away from the mangling hands of youngsters.

On Sunday we went over to the first annual art fair at Levis Commons. It was very comparable to UT's Art on the Mall. Not quite as scenic as campus, but has more eating venues and good parking. I didn't see two of my favorite artists "Mr Atomic" aka the Kersey brothers. Their vibrant works can be seen all over Toledo, at the Docks for instance (Tango's, Old Navy Bistro). I have one of their paintings by Mark at home called "Computer Man".

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Weekend log

On Friday my brother came up to help me install nice new baseboard trim around the new room downstairs and a bedroom upstairs. Having that 18v Dewalt cordless nail gun sure speeds up the job!

Saturday I installed new gutters along the front of the house.

Sunday I finished the jacks for voice/data/cable wiring for the new downstairs family room. The centralized wiring closet is working out nicely. In my first escapade with X10 home automation, I wired my cable modem and firewall router to be rebooted remotely via the computer. Later I returned the favor to Rion and helped him install crown molding in his country mansion. I guess its not a mansion yet, but you could fit my house inside his with room to spare, plus mine has two kids in it and his has none.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

A new start for Westgate

I hope Costco makes it happen in Westgate:

Westgate's demise has really bothered me, coupled with the empty retail around the closed Food Town on Secor. A Costco in place of the old Dillards is convenient to the city dwellers and will be an incredible improvement to the area. It is an anchor that will revitalize the whole retail district around Central/Secor. I'm sick of having to go to the burbs for decent big box shopping (and don't jump on the "why Walmart and every other big box is evil" bandwagon with me, I disagree).

I just hope they improve the look of the shopping center to mesh better with the classic neighborhoods. I think Home Depot did a decent job of that a few years back. I doubt they would have put in the money and effort if there wasn't so much community "involvement" during that ordeal. Yes, we'll have to deal with some juggling of retail space regarding the surrounding shops. In the end there will be room for all of them I'm sure, even if it means moving across or down the street a short ways. They will all benefit in the long run (probably even short term as soon as Costco opens).

Monday, August 08, 2005

Shankland disturbs me...

In the August 3-9 issue of Toledo City Paper Terry Shankland (a candidate for City Council) claims COSI is dead, dark, and dingy. He says it cannot support itself financially so it makes no sense to keep it. That way it can be a shopping center again, albeit a heavily subsidized one ("we can't kill the stores with high rent"). Does anyone see a contradiction here? Further more, to say it should die because it doesn't break even is nonsense. Using the same logic we should shut down the libraries, parks, and public transportation.

COSI is a huge success and asset to this region. Believe it or not, it helps make downtown a destination, not just for Toledoans. Educated, creative families want venues like this, the zoo, the stadium, the metro parks, the museum, etc. Thousands of children come to our COSI each year to prop up their science curriculums and build enthusiasm. We all know Toledo schools could use all the help they can get. Many progressive cities have science museums for their children. We have a great one that should be maintained, improved, and encouraged.

About COSI being dark and dingy, it is not by any means dark unless you consider the areas that are SUPPOSED to be dark. Dingy may be true, I've commented on some of the dust accumulating in certain areas to the COSI administration. They said they were going to pose a funding issue to the voters a while back, but the Ford administration asked them to hold off to be part of an overall arts improvement budget. It seems to me they should just bring it to the voters independently. The independent venues that are supported directly by customers, voters, and benefactors seem to be the most successful. When city politics get involved, enthusiasm and progress seem to come to a grinding halt. I'm thinking of successes like the Zoo, Metro Parks, Museum of Art, Rep, etc.

As for having more retail space downtown, there seem to be plenty of other vacancies. Leave COSI alone, better yet, support it.


Mom picked up the kids on Friday night so Megan and I split. We decided make Chicago our destination. Traffic was nasty getting there so we pretty much arrived at the hotel and crashed. Saturday was so beautiful...we had a leisurely morning of eating and shopping. Megan couldn't miss the Sanrio store, and keeping pace I required a trip to the Lego store. Later in the afternoon we walked around Oak Park. We saw FLW's Unity Temple, an awesome venue for a UU congregation. The town is gorgeous, we walked around the neighborhood admiring the old homes. For Toledoans, it is like the Old West End on steroids. It had a very lively main street, very pedestrian friendly and alive with activity. We ate at the Khyber Pass Indian restaurant, it was excellent.

Today I wired the downstairs for cable, telephone, and data (the gigabit backbone grows). I creatively snaked it through the stairwell by popping off the top step, down to the central wiring closet. 5 of the 9 rooms are wired now. 2 more will happen later in the fall. Also, its time to begin X10 experimentation.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

An amazing journalist/blogger

Its too bad I learned of Steven Vincent's blog only in death. He was a terrific writer and seemed to have little restraint in his investigative work.

I've always felt that turning Iraq into a democracy would be handing its future to a heavier political influence from Iran (via religion), and after reading parts of SV's blog I feel my predictions are partially verified. Not exactly a step in the right direction, or at least in the intended direction.