Saturday, July 16, 2011

Roof - Phase One

Well, I figured it was time to explain why I haven't been around the blog-sphere very much lately. I have been spending most of my free time getting a tan on my roof! :)

Seriously, I have a darker tan than I've had in years!! :)

Well anyway, If you have read these two posts you know that I had to rebuild my porch because of water damage. That damage was due to the roof leaking so the real project was to re-roof the house to stop that from happening again to my pretty new porch!

So, this was how I spent my holiday on July 4th! I woke up and got an early start, intending to make short work of this front section of roof: (Short was the desire but not the reality!)

First, the shingles came off and I pulled the thousand or so nails that remained sticking out of the roof:

Then the bottom row of plywood had to be removed because that was where the leaking had been and it was rotted out:

Then I had to repair the rotted rafters:

Then after getting some new plywood in place I was finally able to start putting down the new shingles:

And finally, the finished product:

Now I say "finished" but this is just the first section.

If you notice, we changed the color of the roof from red to this nice gray-blue. It just makes sense since the trim, the posts, and the doors are blue, right? Well, the truth is, we changed that stuff from red to blue a few years ago so it is nice to get the roof to match once again!

Now for the fun part! I set up my timelapse video camera to catch the whole process! I wanted a good vantage point, so despite Tammy's fears of me getting myself killed, I mounted it way up on a telephone pole!

The second half of this video is a bit boring because it is of a different day when we were doing a small section on the back and you can't really see it very much. Not to mention that while I was working on that section I found another place where there had been a leak and I ended up spending most of the day tearing out and rebuilding a rotted out section of wall! But that's a story for my next post.

You'll notice that Tammy came up and started helping me when I was about half-way done with the shingles on the front. She did this because I was so exhausted by the time I got that far that she faced her fear of heights and helped me finish! She has continued to be a huge help as this project continues and I am very thankful for her!

Enjoy the video:

So there you have it! Isn't it crazy the lengths to which people will go to get a tan?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Elantris - Brandon Sanderson

By: Brandon Sanderson
Published: 2005
Audiobook Read by: Graphic Audio

I was reading a post by my friend Jamie over at Mithril Wisdom and he mentioned a few authors including Brandon Sanderson. When I was checking him out I ended up getting this book. I have to say a hearty thank you to Jamie for this one! It was GREAT!!

Prince Raoden is nothing like his father. His desire is to see his country prosper and grow strong. Since the fall of the great city of Elantris, Arelon has fallen into disarray. The king, being a greedy merchant before being crowned, is not helping. The people were so accustomed to getting everything they needed from the magical Elantrians that now they don't know how to take care of themselves.

To make matters worse, there is a serious threat from the religious order of the Derethi, who's power is vast and who's forces are ruthless. Between the king's stupidity, the people's confusion, and the impending religious jihad, there doesn't seem to be much hope, but Raoden has a plan. Little does he know that the Shaod will be visiting him, dooming him to the cursed city of Elantris and pulling the rug out from under all his plans to save Arelon!

What nobody was prepared for was the tall, red-headed princess from Teod! Sarene, arrived in Arelon ready to marry a man who is now dead. Most women would have been hysterical about it but Sarene takes control of her situation and picks up where her betrothed husband left off. Sarene is a woman to be reckoned with, and like it or not, Arelon has to deal with her now! Can Sarene's determination and Raoden's studies of Elantrian magic be enough to save them? It certainly doesn't look very hopeful!

I loved the depth of this book! Brandon has developed a very complex society here complete with religious controversies, cultural complexities, and magic that is powerful yet vulnerable to the laws of nature. The characters are well developed and their struggle to understand the world around them is very easy to relate to. The religious conflict was equally interesting. There were two distinct religions that were at work in the story, each having their own deity but each also having some similarities as well. The protagonist of the invading religion is a man of values and is surprisingly respectable despite being bent on domination.

When I looked for this book in audio format I found a traditional audiobook read by a single narrator as well as Graphic Audio's production done by an entire cast of actors. I contacted the company to see how much abridgement the story underwent during production and was informed that nothing was cut out except what was made unnecessary by the way it was produced. I decided to give it a try and was very impressed. I followed along in the book for a few pages to see how accurate it was and as far as dialog went, it was pretty much verbatim. There were a few omissions that were along the lines of descriptions and such but overall I enjoyed it very much.

If you are a science fiction/fantasy buff you'll love this one! It is very complex and keeps you interested from beginning to end!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tying Up Loose Ends

Well if you read my post on Leaving Things Hanging, you saw that my front porch was in need of some help, like this:

Well, I had to rebuild the beam to give the poles something to do so Tammy helped me get it put back together:

The poles were really happy to be holding something up again. But the ceiling was needing some attention as well:

I had to add 2x4s crosswise to support more 2x4s running lengthwise to support the vinyl soffit. Finally I got aluminum bent to cover the beam, put the gutter back up and installed the soffit back in place. It looks a lot better now:

It's a happy porch now!

And now just one more picture of Tammy helping me so very much!

She really is a LOT of help, even if she sometimes just stands there looking beautiful! :)

Now for the roof itself.......

Friday, July 1, 2011

Artemis Fowl - Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl
By: Eoin Colfer
Published: 2001
Audiobook Read by: Nathaniel Parker
My rating: Wonderful

When I listened to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, I liked it so much I decided to get the rest of the books in the series. I discovered that the last of the six books is actually written by Eoin Colfer so I did a little research on him and discovered that he wrote this Artemis Fowl series of children's books. Now, confession time, I got this to listen to with the kids but since I didn't know what it was like I decided to listen to a little bit of it and make sure I approved. Well, after listening to a little bit I couldn't stop and listened to the whole thing!

Artemis is a genius. Artemis is a criminal mastermind. Artemis is fabulously wealthy. Artemis is twelve years old.

Yes, Artemis is only twelve but his genius makes him a far more formidable adversary than age could have done. He knows that his family's fortunes are starting to dwindle since his father's disappearance, so he devises a plot to bolster them. Who can have enough wealth to give Artemis a chance to get what he needs in one shot? The fairies do! But they're just the stuff of myth and legend aren't they? Artemis knows better, and to make him even more dangerous, he knows the secrets behind their magic. All he needs to do is use their own magic and rules against them. The boys in LEPrecon, trained soldiers of the highest degree that they are, don't stand a chance. Artemis is one step ahead of them at every turn. What they see is a foe that is calm, efficient, brutal, and has nerves of steel and ice water in his veins. But is he really that hard? Artemis has his weaknesses but they'll never be able to use them against him.

This book was a masterpiece of imagination! I love the image of fairies, leprechauns, dwarfs and trolls that flies in the face of all the fairy tails. The personalities Eoin gives them are so much fun and so very different from anything we read about in our bedtime stories! I also love the human characters. Artemis, while being a criminal, is still someone you can have sympathy for and his henchmen are also likeable. The plot of the story keeps you guessing and in the end ties up nicely. I was fully engrossed in it from the very beginning!

I listened to the audio book read by Nathaniel Parker. He did a spectacular job with all the voices and his accent was wonderful!

Overall, this is a great book and I wouldn't hesitate to share it with my kids! In fact, I will be listening to it again, with them, and I'm sure I'll enjoy it just as much the second time around!