Thursday, August 31, 2006

Katrina: One Year Later (links)

Katrina: One Year Later
On the hurricane's anniversary, much of the work has yet to begin.

August 4: The Damage
  Katrina's Damage: A Tale of Two Disasters
  Damaged Goods: A Breakdown of the Devastation
  Video

August 11: The Clean-Up
  Fighting Off Vultures in Hurricane Katrina's Wake
  Nothing's Normal in Rebuilding New Orleans

August 18: Being There
  The State of New Orleans: Still Holding Its Breath
  The State of New Orleans: 1984 All Over Again
  Video

August 25: Far-Reaching Effect
  Katrina Wreaks Havoc on Contractors' Future
  Storms Stir Up Concerns about Codes

(From HGTVPro.com)

 

A little history about building

There's an interesting article, Building a Balloon with Sticks and Nails, in the October issue of Early American Life.  The first such building may have been a Catholic church in Chicago in 1833; the church needed to be built before winter, and the old way would take too long.  Scoffers said that the first big wind would blow it away like a balloon.  The article says, "Balloon construction is the first truly American contribution to building design." 

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tropical Storm Ernesto

Update (8-31): Ernesto left without giving us much rain, though some areas got a lot.  It strengthened over water and is moving northeast.  (And another wave came off the coast of Africa, though a weatherman said that when the Pacific is more active, it's usually quieter in the Atlantic.)

Update: Ernesto is now a tropical depression, and we haven't gotten much rain, but it's still south of us.  There's no longer a tropical storm watch here, but there is a flood watch.

Ernesto is heading in our direction, but its track has shifted farther east.  We're  expecting some wind and rain tonight and tomorrow; they're predicting 2-4" for us.  At least one rain band has rotated through, but it missed us.  Most of the rain is still way south.  Our county is under an inland tropical storm warning, and our schools will be closed.  Schools on the west coast are open, and no shelters are open there, but everyone's watching it.  Hurricanes are shifty little devils.  Here's an earlier report:

ERNESTO...LOCATED ABOUT 170 MILES EAST-SOUTHEAST OF KEY WEST FLORIDA AND
ABOUT 180 MILES SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF MIAMI FLORIDA.

A WESTWARD-MOVING TROPICAL WAVE IS LOCATED ABOUT 700 MILES WEST-SOUTHWEST OF
THE CAPE VERDE ISLANDS. DEVELOPMENT...IF ANY...OF THIS SYSTEM IS EXPECTED TO
BE SLOW TO OCCUR.

(Thanks, Lloyd!)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Katrina rebuilding (link)

Lots of little problems add up to one big quagmire.

NAHB representatives attending the Mississippi Recovery Expo in Biloxi earlier this month were reminded afresh of the seemingly insurmountable challenges confronting home builders and home owners working to rebuild after last year's hurricanes.  ...

Link: News : Hurricanes & Tornadoes : Katrina Rebuilding Proceeds By Fits and Starts : HGTVPro.com

From HGTVPro e-newsletter (Article reprinted with permission from Nation's Buidling News)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

High tech wiring (discussion link)

Network Centric
I am still seeing houses built with basic phone and video. When >50% of US households are connected to the Internet, builders still don't....

Networkcentric - Topic Powered by eve community  (From HGTVPro e-newsletter)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Investors Return to Haunt Florida Builders (link)

Builders in Florida who grew accustomed during the industry's recent boom times to selling out their developments even before a shovel went into the ground are noticing a stark shift in the marketplace and could find themselves in trouble if they don't take steps to manage investors who are nearing closing day with neither the intention nor the means to close on those sales.  ...

Link: News : Business News : Investors Coming Back to Haunt Florida Builders : HGTVPro.com

From HGTVPro e-newsletter (Reprinted from NAHB Nation's Building News,
August 21, 2006 issue)

Friday, August 25, 2006

Tips for making small bathrooms bigger (link)

Find more space in your small bath—without remodeling.

Kohler: Planning Tips: Found Space: 8 Tips for Small Bathrooms: Bathroom: Articles

(From Kohler e-newsletter)

Tropical Storm Ernesto

Ernesto update (8-28): After shifting east, Ernesto's projected track is shifting back west.  (The overview of the shifting spaghetti strands look like a crazed spider.)  It's being torn up over Cuba, so it's still iffy, but we may have squalls here Wednesday afternoon.  We have an inland tropical storm watch in our county. 

Ernesto update (8-27): Ernesto became a hurricane briefly, but is now a tropical storm again.  It weakened going over the island mountains, and that should happen again when it hits Cuba.  It looks like it's going to cross over Florida and move up the east coast unless it fizzles completely.  Very iffy.

Ernesto update (8-26): Ernesto's track is moving east, and it's predicted to become a category 3 hurricane.

TD5 is now TS Ernesto and is heading towards the Gulf; it may become a category 1 hurricane.  Here's an earlier report:

Atlantic SPECIAL TROPICAL DISTURBANCE STATEMENT

000 WONT41 KNHC 241920 DSAAT SPECIAL TROPICAL DISTURBANCE STATEMENT...CORRECTED NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL 315 PM EDT THU AUG 24 2006 CORRECTED FOR DATE IN HEADER REPORTS FROM AN AIR FORCE RECONNAISSANCE PLANE INDICATE THAT THE TROPICAL WAVE MOVING WESTWARD THROUGH THE WINDWARD ISLANDS HAS DEVELOPED A CLOSED WIND CIRCULATION...AND ADVISORIES ON EITHER A TROPICAL DEPRESSION OR TROPICAL STORM WILL BE INITIATED AT 5 PM AST. MAXIMUM WINDS AT THIS TIME APPEAR TO BE JUST BELOW TROPICAL STORM STRENGTH...BUT IT IS POSSIBLE THAT STRONGER WINDS MAY BE OBSERVED PRIOR TO ADVISORY TIME. $$ FORECASTER 

Posted on: Thu, Aug 24 2006 5:56 PM

(Thanks, Lloyd!)

 

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Home buying study (link)

Americans Buy More Houses Than Their Parents Did
Members of each generation buy more houses in the course of their lifetimes.

Parsippany, N.J./August 21. 2006/PRNewswire/—A new study commissioned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp. has found that Americans earning at least $75,000 are buying more houses than their parents at a comparable age, with each generation outpacing the home purchase trends of the previous generation. According to the Coldwell Banker 2006 Homeownership in America Study, 66 percent of survey respondents aged 61 and up have owned between two and five homes. Already, 66 percent of baby boomers (aged 42 to 60) have owned between two and five homes.

For more (including why people move and what they want): News : Trends : Americans Buying More Houses Than Previous Generations : HGTVPro.com

Katrina survivors in Houston (link)

It Makes a Village
Thanks to Habitat for Humanity, and with help from Oprah's Angel Network, Katrina survivors are putting down roots in Houston.

Link: It Makes a Village: Hurricane Victims Move In to New Homes

(From Oprah's e-newsletter)

 

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tropical Storm Debby

We finally have another tropical storm, though it's headed--more or less--for Bermuda.  I see there may be another tropical wave forming closer to us.

Here's an earlier report on Debby:

Atlantic Tropical Weather Outlook

000 ABNT20 KNHC 212102 TWOAT TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL 530 PM EDT MON AUG 21 2006 FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO... THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IS ISSUING ADVISORIES ON NEWLY FORMED TROPICAL DEPRESSION FOUR...LOCATED OVER THE FAR EASTERN TROPICAL ATLANTIC OCEAN ABOUT 250 MILES SOUTHEAST OF THE SOUTHERNMOST CAPE VERDE ISLANDS.

(Thanks, Lloyd)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Decorating ideas

In the September issue of Country Home is an article, Nature, Nurture, about designer  David Benrud's decorating ideas.  "Unlike the dark, shaggy, heavily-patterned 1970s, the new ... look is gleaming raw woods, feel-good fabrics..., spare but organic accessories, and lots of light." 

"Thank rising fuel costs and sinking autumn mercury for offering good reasons to snuggle with luxurious cashmere cable throws.  'The tactile experience of these fibers is worth the splurge,' Benrud says."  A number of lovely photos enhance this article--and others--and showcase accessories from the great outdoors. 

I also enjoyed the article on Sweet Grass Ranch.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Behind the Bathroom Door

From The American Standard eNewsletter:

Get your copy of Behind the Bathroom Door, a new 20-page bathroom reading booklet from American Standard. It features everything from trendy bathroom ideas, to fun facts about Americans' bathroom habits, to a bathroom history timeline. And don't miss the foreward by Carter Oosterhouse of TLC's Trading Spaces. It's a great read if you're behind the bathroom door. And if you're not.

> Order your copy of Behind the Bathroom Door.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Life After Katrina


This emotional special focuses on the residents of three neighborhoods—Lakeview and Gentilly in New Orleans and 2nd Street in Gulfport, Miss.—as they pick up the pieces of their homes and their lives during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

It premieres on HGTV August 21 at 9pm ET and repeats August 22 at 1am, August 27 at 11pm, and August 28 at 3:30am.

Learn more about the rebuilding efforts in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast on its sister sites:

HGTVPro.com
Katrina: One Year Later

FINE LIVING
Musician Chris Isaak's reflections on New Orleans and its recovery..

Monday, August 14, 2006

Remodeling

I recently read the August issue of House Beautiful Home Remodeling.  There were articles on some lovely remodeled homes, landscaping, and making your kitchen remodel green, plus a profile of Lee Snijders, interior designer and the new host of Design on a Dime (HGTV).  The Ask the Expert column included new flooring products.  Oh, the new in-color is orange.  It was interesting seeing what's available in orange.  And if you get the magazine, be sure to read This Land is MY (WET) LAND at the end of the magazine (Closing Thoughts).  I sympathized with his landscaping dilemma, not that I have that much rain (He lives in Washington.), especially when he talked about hardscape.  "Next will be the hardscaping, including ...patios..., plus stone paths to and fro.  (I hope I can afford to pave the fro.)"  I know what you mean! 

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Government coverup (book excerpt)

"*It's amazing how good governments are, given their track record in almost every other field, at hushing up things like alien encounters.

One reason may be that the aliens themselves are too embarrassed to talk about it.

It's not known why most of the space-going races of the universe want to undertake rummaging in Earthling underwear as a prelude to formal contact.  But representatives of several hundred races have taken to hanging out, unsuspected by one another, in rural corners of the planet, and as a result of this keep on abducting other would-be abductees.  Some have been in fact abducted while waiting to carry out an abduction on a couple of other aliens trying to abduct the aliens, who as a result of misunderstood instructions, trying to form cattle into circles and mutilate crops.

The planet Earth is now banned to all alien races until they can compare notes and find out how many, if any, real humans they have actually got.  It is gloomily suspected that there is only one--who is big, hairy, and has very large feet.  ..."

From: Hogfather by Terry Pratchett*

*Always read his footnotes.  They are funny.

 

Friday, August 11, 2006

WomanScapes

Short Story Anthology, Edited by EJ McFall Coming soon to ebook and paperback!

WomanScapes is a collection of alternative visions written by women, about women. The tales take place on distant planets, once upon a bygone age, in the realm of mythic creatures, and in seemingly ordinary backyards. Each author has created her own unique landscape of the imagination. Each reader must decide for themselves if they are ready to enter these strange worlds of Other Where and Other When.

In WomanScapes, you will meet...

  • a septuagenarian adventurer determined to share a drink with a dragon
  • endangered life forms trying to coexist with hordes of invading tourists
  • a Mangcansten glamourer whose job is to hunt down an elusive brink
  • a disillusioned scientist who holds the future of the spoiled Earth in her hands
  • ordinary, unsuspecting women who encounter ghostly beings, very odd neighbors, and curious fairy folk
  • the Gastonian governor who must juggle a family holiday and a planetary threat
  • a slave who risks everything to escape to freedom
  • suffragettes facing danger at a women’s rights rally
  • a 1940s Hollywood starlet who faces blackmail and the threat of media exposure

The WomanScapes authors have donated their talent in order to benefit worldwide humanitarian relief efforts. So join them as they spin fourteen very curious tales for one very good cause!

WomanScapes Authors
Nancy Sampson Bach
EB Clutter
Kathryn Mattingly
Marilyn Penner
Kim Sheard

For more information: Short Story Anthology to Benefit Humanitarian Aid

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Green Building Sprouts New Products (link)

Green Building's New Growth
Increased popularity of green building leads to new crop of products.

By Wendy A. Jordan, CAPS

The bad news, of course, is that energy costs are rising. The good news? So is the energy efficiency of houses and home building products. In fact, housing is "more efficient than it was five years ago, and twice as efficient as it was in the early 1970s," says Ray Tonjes, an Austin, Texas, custom home builder and remodeler and chair of the National Association of Home Builders Green Building Subcommittee.   ...

Link: News : Trends : Green Building Sprouts New Products : HGTVPro.com

Katrina cleanup (link)

Subcontractors Are Key to Katrina Cleanup
Tough conditions, processes frustrate small businesses.

By Marcia Jedd

Nearly a year after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina to the Gulf Coast area and the resultant levee flooding in New Orleans, much cleanup work remains before building can begin again.  ... 

Link: News : Hurricanes & Tornadoes : Subcontractors Key to Katrina Cleanup : HGTVPro.com

Monday, August 7, 2006

Architecture of the Imagination

James Morlake's flat in Bond Street was, perhaps, the most luxurious apartment in that very exclusive thoroughfare.  The room in which he sat, with its high ceiling fantastically carved into scrolls and arabesques by the most cunning of Moorish workmen, was wide and long and singular.  The walls were of marble, the floor an amazing mosaic covered with the silky rugs of Ispahan.  Four hanging lamps, delicate fabrics of silver and silk, shed a subdued light.

With the exception of the desk, incongruously gaudy in the severe and beautiful setting, there was little furniture.  A low divan under a curtained window, a small stool, laquered a vivid green, and another chair was all.  

From The Black by Edgar Wallace

Saturday, August 5, 2006

House building tips

From the Summer 2006 issue of Renovation Style:

Charles Riley's Smart Save: "In every conversation with your builder, ask which solution is most efficient and also cost-effective."

Patricia Gaylor's favorite green products:

American Clay Plaster, FLOR, Hemp fabrics, Kirei board, Marmoleum floor covering, Neill Kelly Cabinetry, Oceanside Glasstiles, Richlite Countertop Material, SJMorse wood veneers, and structurally insulated panels.  See magazine for more details.

Get recycled bricks from www.historicalbricks.com

 

 

 

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Publication news

Pretty Pink Planet in WomanScapes (ebook): Short Story Anthology to Benefit Humanitarian Aid

Shared World Anthologies at The Idea Boutique

Straight On Until A New Planet at The Idea Boutique

Taking Tawny Home at Story Station - Children's Stories & Young Adult Stories

Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook is now #5 on this Barnes & Noble list: Barnes & Noble.com Books - Architecture, Domestic->Amateurs' manuals

Upcoming:

Pretty Pink Planet in WomanScapes (paperback): Short Story Anthology to Benefit Humanitarian Aid

Crystal Quest in Magistria: Shards of the Goddess: Shards of the Goddess

Cold New Planet in Tales from the Big Black: Space Opera

Gridlock in Tales from the Big Black 2: Space Opera

Hidebound (ebook) from Mundania Press: Not long after Anfissa and Ferenc meet, they’re trapped on a planet where even the grass is deadly.

 

 

 

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Tropical Storm Chris

We've made it to #3, but a weatherman (noon weather) expects it to fizzle because of the high it's headed toward.  Here's a report.  (Thanks, Lloyd!)

WTNT23 KNHC 010254
TCMAT3
TROPICAL DEPRESSION THREE FORECAST/ADVISORY NUMBER   1
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL   AL032006
0300 UTC TUE AUG 01 2006

AT 11 PM AST...0300Z...THE GOVERNMENTS OF FRANCE AND THE NETHERLANDS
ANTILLES HAVE ISSUED A TROPICAL STORM WATCH FOR THE ISLANDS OF
SABA...ST. EUSTATIUS...ST. MAARTEN/ST. MARTIN AND ST. BARTHELEMY. A
TROPICAL STORM WATCH MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...IN THIS CASE WITHIN THE NEXT 12 TO
24 HOURS. 

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING WITH LITTLE ADVANCE NOTICE COULD BE
REQUIRED FOR ANTIGUA...BARBUDA...ANGUILLA...ST. KITTS...
NEVIS...AND THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS EARLY TUESDAY MORNING.

TROPICAL DEPRESSION CENTER LOCATED NEAR 16.6N  59.4W AT 01/0300Z
POSITION ACCURATE WITHIN  30 NM

PRESENT MOVEMENT TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST OR 295 DEGREES AT 14 KT

For more news about hurricanes:

NASA Science News for July 26, 2006 1:00:00 PM

Where do hurricanes come from? Researchers are
flying across the Atlantic to catch the mighty
storms in the act of being born. The data they
collect could lead to better forecasting and a
deeper understanding of hurricanes.

FULL STORY at

http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2006/26jul_namma.htm?list55203

(Thanks, Lloyd)