Thursday, June 24, 2010

sports in 2010

it's a great time to be a sports fan. and i'm not talking about your typical american sports fan with the superbowl sunday bbq. it's about all kinds of different sports where people are giving it their all and really doing some ridiculous things.

last week we were all glued to the TV for the celtics-lakers NBA finals. lakers took it in 7 in a rough final game and the tension was incredibly thick in every living room and bar in boston. somewhere, fans have to cry, it just happened to be in the beantown this year. i didn't really follow the celtics that much but now i will be watching rondo play next year.

then the world cup starts in south africa. it plays in the morning so we couldnt really watch as a group but the buzz is everywhere, and not just from vuvuzelas. when the US tied england 1-1 there was a shitstorm on reddit about getting England back for BP (which is ridiculous). then the US lost a point to tie 2-2 instead of win, and US fans were suddenly in uproars about bad reffing. but then we had a victorious overtime score by landon donovan (another person i didn't really follow until now) and it is all good for the US fans. furthermore, France has some serious *drama* and is out of the first round, and italy, last year's world cup winners, just lost and did not qualify for the 16. in fact they lost to south africa, who did not qualify but left the world cup with a sweet victory. and north korea scored 1 point against brazil for which kim jong-il must be rewarding his player, but they lost 7-0 against portugal.

then we've had the longest match in wimbledon history, john isner vs isner mahut, 5 sets over 3 days, with the final set ending at 70-68. they played for 10 hours yesterday until they couldnt see because the sun had gone down, and this morning resumed at 56-56. it was good that someone didn't just screw up and the game ended 58-56. but hopefully isner doesn't just lose in the next round in 3 sets or something pitiful, because he's going to be feeling this game for a while.

tomorrow morning we leave for Spain, for the World Universiade Taekwondo Championships! there will be a lot more sporting craziness, alot of travel and sightseeing after the competition, and a lot of europe to experience.

Friday, June 11, 2010

final room

before anyone moves in:

looking for a place to rent starting aug 14? lemme know!

workweek day 6

thursday. today we pounded out the work and changed a construction site to a bedroom. just don't look up at the ceiling because i ran out of paint.

let there be light!the electricians came in the morning and put in bulbs and outlets, so there's actually electricity in the room. no more need for that long extension cord! of course there's still an issue with the dimmer switch actually connected to the rest of the outlets. that's not good because then your computer could be hooked up to an outlet that can be dimmed down to 1% of actual power. the shopvac sounds pathetic when it's "dimmed".

iliya and i figured out how to level the floor. we took all of chsueh's broken boards and cut them to fit in the groove where the wall used to be. they matched up with the height of the lower half of the room perfectly. so then we had a long thin layer of the old paneling covering the crack, then we fully covered that half of the room with another layer of the old paneling. and with that slight step change in height you can't feel anything under the laminate.

iliya cutting paneling. who knew these would be useful?the paneling covering the old hardword side of the room

laying down hardwood floor is alot harder than internet sites say but alot easier than you'd think. the hard part is dealing with small regions like the closet. because the walls aren't quite perpendicular (my fault?) the floors are slightly angled all the way through. but once we got out of the closet area and started laying en masse, it went much faster.

the first laminate plank, lined up with the outside of the closet

cwilli being a slave driver

anye and mengfei measuring end pieces

construction cat

the painting went on at the same time as the flooring, basically, because we had two groups and one could paint while the other cut and installed flooring. i had to run to home depot because i didn't have primer for the paint left over from the previous owner, so i sucked it up and bought a gallon of paint+primer. turns out 1 gallon doesn't cover the whole room, and when the guy said that it would be enough for a 200 sqft room he meant 200 sqft of surface, not floor space. so i'm leaving the ceiling artistically bare, for now.

painting the closet

we had enough paint for the walls but not the ceiling

at the end of the night, the room looks like it's almost, ALMOST habitable! i just have to install the closet shelving and put the trims in. one day.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

renovation expenses

and just before i forget i'm going to list down what i think this place has cost:

electrical $700
flooring $300
closet $100 shelving, $20 wood
paint and spackle - $40
sheetrock - $100
beer and pizza - $50

workweek day 5

wednesday, june 9. a crazy day in terms of scheduling. i went to the home depot straight after work and stayed for about an hour and half, making two trips through the checkout for two different projects. i've never purchased flooring so the whole section was a mystery to me. i finally found the cheaper but pretty laminate (estate cherry, 99c/sqft) and it cost me $200 for the ~170 sqft room. I'll have extras for the downstairs.

then i went back to look at closets and just became engulfed in the selection of their closet shelving system. not to get into details but it is much much better than the old ghetto wood plank and metal hooks in the original closet.

wednesday evening is usually busy for other reasons - UIU homework (a midterm today) and poomse practice. so i went home, worked on the midterm for half an hour, ran to the gym to practice poomse with rdc and sauza, came back for another half hour still in my dobok to finish the 2nd part of the midterm, picked up cwilli and xuan and put them to work sanding and dusting while i finished the rest of the midterm.

so we did more cleaning. it seems that the dust never really goes away because it gets dispersed into the air each time you clean. and this time we removed the sublayer from the carpet, which was full of dust, and finished all the sanding. in the end, we had a system of sweeping the dust into the cracks under the walls, vacuuming it up from there, then wiping down the walls with a dry sponge. and voila the room was clean.

we moved the paneling that was used to cover the hardwood half of the room down to the garden in order to try out the laminate. the color i bought matches pretty well, but it turns out that with underlayment and laminate down on the old carpet half, there's about 1/2 inch of height difference. even if i had bought the right high to low t-moulding, i think having a 1/2 inch ledge in the middle of your bedroom is not very convenient. so it looks like i'm going to have to lay down laminate over the original hardwood. at least it'll match completely. and if we use the paneling over the hardwood, it actually brings the height up exactly, so that there is no need for connective moulding.

cwilli and xuan stayed until 2, and by then we were making scary faces in the worklight.

proof that i am actually involved in this project:

tomorrow is a finishing day. the hardwood will go down, the paint will go up, and the lights are already being installed by the electricians.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

workweek day 4

tuesday. we put in the final layer of spackle in. one thing i realized is that i shouldn't have used corner tape for all the seams. mesh tape would have been fine and easier to smooth over, but i was thinking that since corner tape is flat it makes a smooth surface. it does, except the edges pop up when the spackle is dry. i'm too pressed for time to change it now but i'm afraid that after painting, it'll just be a permanent mistake that can't be covered up.

other than that, we were able to clean up the whole room more or less, and get rid of a lot of the dust. we took up the boards protecting the floor to reveal the original hardwood. i'm not sure if this hardwood is good or not, so i might just be putting in laminate over the whole thing. this is providing i can even the floor between two levels or figure out how to make a nice transition.

tasks to do:

build inside of closet
fill in gap in floor where old wall was
put down laminate
install electrical components (thurs morning)
trim (?)
assemble furniture

the small details I have to look into today:
measure for trim
measure for laminate
buy closet materials
buy paint or use existing paint

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

workweek day 3

i am so tired and covered in spackle dust. this dust is almost as bad as plaster dust. but it's gotten all over me in a sheet of white powder. fortunately this time i invested in decent masks and goggles and i am not coughing up a lung.

today was basically 4-5 hours of sanding and respackling. i haven't even put up the 2nd layer of spackle yet. i think at this rate i'm going to just stop with the 2nd layer (and spackle so well that no sanding is needed!) because I really need to jump to painting and flooring.

no interesting pictures because everything looks the same. there were a few large mosquitos flittering around because the window was open, though.

Monday, June 7, 2010

workweek day 2

sunday, june 6 - most of the work right now is spackling. then sanding. then screwing in more screws. those were definitely done out of order but with multiple people, whatever task is available is done whenever someone is not busy. primarily anye is helping, but cwilli and rene came by in the afternoon and helped with taping and spackling. we had a system where cwilli would slab on huge amounts of spackle, and i would come by with the corner tool and just make one swipe and the whole thing would pretty much form into a square edge. here's the picture of the horrific gaps in one corner. some require a lot of spackle, plus paper tape to cover the gaps so we don't empty a gallon of the mix into the wall cracks.

one thing i've never done is install corner beads. so we did that and it was a learning experience. the closet was a great experimental wall so basically we slathered a lot of spackle onto the corners, pushed the corner bead onto it and nailed small nails to hold it in place, then spackled some more.

before and after:

i also finished the chimney. because i need a contractor to come and look at the water damage i'm leaving the wall semi unclosed, with plywood covering it instead of drywall. it looks kind of funny but it's the room's avant garde art display.

and finally at the end of the weekend:

Sunday, June 6, 2010

nature you scary

i was witness to an amazing phenomenon of nature.

i was walking to dupont, and while passing the saferide turnaround, i saw a sheet of water descend in a cascade in front of me, coming like a wall toward me. it was like when the wet leaves of a tree get shaken up and a bunch of drops fall down at the same time while the rest of the day is clear. well that wasn't tree water but the rain that suddenly went from zero to downpour. in the 1.5 seconds it took to reach me i audibly said "oh shit" and threw on my hood (my china rain jacket is SO money) and hugged my d90 into my chest, and the torrent hit my head at the same time i heard screams from nearby Mass ave where unprepared pedestrians were now instantly soaked.

another guy passed me as he nonchalantly opened his umbrella. we both said at the same time, "that was awesome."

Saturday, June 5, 2010

workweek day 1

Saturday, June 5 - in one week the new tenant moves in, so this is almost the equivalent of my freshman workweek when I spent a week renovating. part of me welcomes the excitement of finishing a project at breakneck speed with a deadline looming. i welcome the tiredness and dirtiness. the only thing that bothers me is that we always used to cut corners as deadlines comes closer, and i can feel that as time runs down i might find ways to make things work easily again.

i went to the beach and on the way was a lowes, so it was a good time to buy some spackle and start the drywall finishing process. the walls are almost all up, though there are always small pieces, like inside the closet and the rest of the chimney that i always forget still needs patching.

the other thing that takes forever is actually screwing in the drywall. when you put each piece up, you put in like 6 screws to keep it in place and move on to the next portion. later when all the pieces are up you realize you have about 200 screws to put in and you've forgotten where the studs are. furthermore, for the connecting walls that are double paned, we use the long 3" screws, which get harder and harder to drill into the studs so i first drill a lead hole. switching between the drill bit and screw bit is a pain.

here's the glory of the back wall, complete with all its panes. i started spackling a little because i just couldn't wait. the bottom layer has the seams in the gap between two studs, so hopefully no one will lean on it. the top layer has two pieces (because i was running out of drywall so i had to use the piece on the right) sharing a stud, so the screws are really close to the edge of both the drywall and the stud. sketchy operation all around, but it'll be ok once it's all covered and out of sight.

also notice the gap in the ceiling and the bottom layer. those are all small gaps compared to other corners. so spackling comes next, and we have a ton of mesh and paper tape to cover up those holes and hide my mistakes.

at the end of day, here are the photos so you get an idea of the before and after. here is the back wall again, with most of the gaps filled. it makes a world of difference.

and at the end of the day a lot of gaps and nails have been spackled, and the room is beginning to look like it has real walls.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

finishing ceiling and drywalling

drywalling is almost done. here is a view of the back wall, with the double layer of drywall (for fireproofing and sound insulation) almost complete. figuring out the right dimensions so that the drywall is supported by studs is somewhat hard.

ceilings are hard. especially when the beams are not actually perpendicular to each other, when there are light cans in the middle of beams, and when you havent quite finished putting in the closet frame. but the plus side is that me, cwilli, and iliya all got some extra points for my Kicked into Shape program for holding up heavy, heavy drywall. my shoulder and neck muscles hurt. here's the last major piece of the ceiling. with the insulation sticking out below the studs, you had to push the drywall up flush against the stud or the screw will just spin in place.

pane after pane we've moved the drywall up the stairs from the back yard into the living room, measured them, put them into place, found that they didn't fit and then filed away corners until they fit. there are some large gaps left, but hopefully that will all be covered up by trim. i have a lot of faith in trim.

cutting holes for the lighting is one of the most annoying things to do, because you measure from the wall into somewhere 28" from this wall and 32" from that wall, not even really knowing whether the drywall fits into the place you're measuring from. but because the trim for the lights isn't that big, any error either results in a large gap or the need to saw off tiny slices until the fixture peeks through the hole.