Long time no see

It’s been a while I have not blogged since Jolie attacked the place with offensive comments on about any post she could find. I subsequently locked the blog from unregistered posting and viewing, as well as blocked Jolie in Live Messenger. She hasn’t given up yet, so I’m still keeping the blog mostly closed.
There is much to say. I’m in the middle of redoing the lawn of my house. A project much bigger than I anticipated. I wrote the following to Pat some times ago about this project:
"Well professional landscape companies have proposed me to convert the pain for my body into pain for my bank account. Some are very happy to notice my foreign accent and hope to charge me an extra – they will be disappointed. I am evaluating my options.
When I was looking for a house in the vicinity of the Redmond campus, associations of condominium owners sounded scary and un-trustworthy. Hence I aimed at an individual house which pretty much meant having a lawn. Not having the experience of maintaining a city-like lawn before (my parents living in a small mountain village where lots have simple natural high grass) I was looking to avoid anything complicated. I made the mistake to take a house which lawn was dead. I thought it would be less maintenance, but actually it’s worse as the weed invasion growth much faster than grass and neighbors are unhappy from the weed seeds it generates.
I was worried by the cost of redoing the lawn – multiple of thousand dollars – until I got tricked by very bad advices from young sellers at the homedepot who convinced me that Round-Up and re-seeding would get the job done for less than $200. I was foolish to believe them. Reading the Round-Up instruction on lawn redo, I ended-up renting a roto tiller, and spent a week working the dirt. Then still following the same instructions got some soil amendment – for a pricey $900 even after taking the best price of 4 providers. As spreading this over 5500 sq ft turned to be a major pain, I called in help from landscape professionals, who are now unhappy at me because I tried to do things on my own instead of letting them do the job end-to-end.
At least I’ll be a much more educated buyer next time I shop for a house. 🙂
"Actually it depends of the extent of the work one has to do to get the lawn healthy again. Some argued to me that the topsoil needed to be removed, and then the material (== new topsoil) can get pricey too. But not as pricey as this same person wanted to charge me for labor. Another challenge is to have the right tools. For instance I needed a sod cutter, then a roto tiller – for several days -, an excavator for spreading the soil amendment and/or topsoil, finally something I have not yet exercised for this job like a compactor, or some heavy roll I don’t know the right English name. When you add it all up it gets expensive too. A professional should be able to be more efficient by either having his own tools or taking benefit of extensive length rental discounts by using the same tools on multiple projects.
Fortunately I received two additional quotes in the meantime, and while still above a thousand dollars, they are way more reasonable than the first quote I got.
Rainy weather has finally returned to Seattle a week or two ago. The unusually sunny summer is finally over.
The office of our building are been repainted. Choice of colors for so called ‘accent’ wall are depressing. But it’s also a good opportunity to clean one’s office. I’m already filling 3 boxes with my accumulated… junk. As everybody is doing the same, corridors are full of discarded items. Not quite an off-season spring clean-up, but almost.
Food at the cafeteria has much improved lately. Our building had earn the little desirable reputation of worst cafeteria of the whole campus. With a new vegetarian station, improved sub station, new around the world station and finally a new station I’m not too sure what the style is officially, it’s a great change.
The collegue who formely owned optical storage in Windows for about ten years is leaving the storage group. There is only people from test team now left of the ‘old days’ of optical storage at Microsoft.
Comcast has updated their DVR control software. I hate the new software, which no longer record 2-3 minutes buffer around show start times, resulting in many bad record where the show is cut either at the beginning or end. The new search program is bogus as well, clumsy to set recurring series recording and unable to distinguish HD from regular showing for things like Grey’s Anatomy. A little plus is that the software doesn’t crash as often and is a little less unstable while recording shows through the firewire output.
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