Monday, February 25, 2008

Closet, I have it.

I finally installed the rod under my stairs for my coat rack. I have another idea I'd like to use for hooks hanging from the cieling, but that would be in addition to this. Wow, that picture's terrible.

Netflix should thank me...

... cuz I won't be driving over their DVDs anymore :P

Basket with cork back board
(Sorry for the poor photo)

I have a mailslot on my garage door, but no mailbox on the other side, so the mail just falls to the ground. My mom got me this plastic basket-type thing for x-mas to use as a mail basket and I finally got around to installing it on my garage door with a few bolts. After doing so I realized that the basket didn't return to it's normal position after the garage door went up and back down, making the mail miss the basket. To get around this, I bolted a piece of extra cork to the back of the basket, acting as a stop for the mail, as well as making it so people can't look into the garage.

Looking up at the basket on garage door in it's open position:

Number Ni... Seven.

I got this wood letter from Jo-Anna Fabrics, painted it with the same color paint as my siding and put three of the screw-bolts used to attach the siding in it (for show). It's too cold now, but when the weather's more temperate, I'm going to attach it to the concrete block with glue. For now I taped it to the front window though.

This. Is. Big. (Tetris.)

As it is now, my living room/dining room has a very prominent "flutter echo" from the two large parallel walls. Although it's a neat phenomenon, it's also somewhat annoying because it makes the room sound loud. I've been planning to put acoustic paneling up on this area for a while now to deaden the room, but that's quite a large project so it isn't one that I thought I'd get to in the near future. However, we started getting some things for work shipped in these large, crazy looking styrofoam pieces and I immediately thought to use them instead of the fabric panels I'd been envisioning. They're not really ideal acoustically for what I want to do, but they should help, and they're free.

I was able to get 18 of them so far, they measure about 18" x 29", and there's a top piece and a bottom piece. Top and Bottom are similar, but both have two distinctly different sides on them; one which has square bumps coming out of them, and the other that has half-cube like holes. Word on "the street" is that we get these regularly so I should be able to get more.

My first plan was to hang them on the wall with nails, but then tonight while my friends Teddy and Jess were over, we came up with an even better plan: put nails (or pegs) all over the wall, allowing you to rearrange the pieces anyway you want, anywhere you want. We also discovered that in addition to hanging them, if arranged in the right way, they can be stacked on top of each other, essentially making a giant Tetris/Jenga game! It's hard for me to convey how cool I think this is going to be. Anybody that comes over can just rearrange the wall in a manner they like.
Also, with the track lighting mounted only a foot or two from the wall some really dramatic shadows are created. Stop motion photography to come ;)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"The System" Works (Like a Dysfunctional Family)

Lots of updates to tell about the proposed place across the street today.

A few weeks ago the zoning hearing for the new building took place. Since I last wrote on here I re-examined what effect it would have on me and realized that looking out my window, I would barely be able to see the sky with this new building built as specified. I worked with my mom to create some scaled drawings of what it would look like next to my house and neighboring houses
and it really would be very out of place in the neighborhood, as well as blocking my light/view from the front. Additionally, my mom did some drawings showing that the land could easily be developed in a manner to fit 7 single family houses.

My mom and I went to the zoning hearing with two poster boards of drawings/pictures showing what I described above. The developer, his lawyer, a number of neighbors, and several Southside community groups (Southside Local Development Company, a Southside slopes group etc) showed up. After the zoning board had everybody state who they were and what their positions was (almost all the neighbors were opposed), the zoning board asked the developers' lawyer if they'd contact the neighbors or the neighborhood groups about the proposed development. When the lawyer said they hadn't, the board basically said, "Well, you should go and do that before you waste our time, because clearly there are some upset people here."

A week later the councilman arranged a community meeting. The meeting began with the developer going through a presentation he'd put together on who they were, who their company was, and what they hoped to do with the property. He focused heavily on it being a small family business (his wife, and two nephews were there, and his brother was involved, but couldn't make it) and that the intention was not to put in college rentals, but to put in nice condos for working professionals. The developer was clearly nervous, and I got the distinct impression from his manner during the presentation and through previous encounters with him on the street that he isn't a bad guy... just maybe didn't know the best way to go about these things. As they were talking there were clearly unhappy mumblings from the crowd here and there, with people talking under their breath or louder in disapproval at various things.

Next came the comment section in which the community members could have 2 minutes to speak. I went up first in an attempt to make a good example to the others of not being irate. I stated that although I was happy that somebody was developing the area and that they had some good ideas, the fact is that it's a really tall building that's out of place in the neighborhood and doesn't promote a neighborhood feeling at all. I explained that my mom had figured a way to put 7 single family houses in the same area and that this would be a much better way to develop the land. The comments from the other neighbors ranged extremely widely. The neighbors directly next to the property complained of irresponsible demolition practices, which they certainly had some justification in complaining about, while others practically yelled at them, and other still were pretty reasonable and logical about it all. It was really an interesting experience... the way people's approaches to the same thing can be so drastically different is fascinating.

Being that I didn't think the developers are terrible, money hungry people and having gone through a somewhat similar scenario with catty neighbors myself, I felt sorry for the developers a bit. Granted, I don't think their plan was the best it could be and they made some mistakes in not supervising their demolition crew properly... but so be it, nobody's perfect and they sure got an earful to think about. My mom, dad and I talked with them a bit after the hearing and they were clearly a bit shaken up by the whole thing.

I need to go to bed now, but the next chapter in this story is the Southside Planning Forum meeting just 5 days after the community meeting described above, and 2 days before the postponed zoning board hearing date.