“The constitutions of most of our States assert, that all power is inherent in the people;that they may exercise it by themselves, in all cases to which they think themselves competent,... or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of the press.”
by John Dewey The Living Thoughts of Thomas Jefferson, pp.46 - 47




"walls of the city" logo conceptualized by Oleg Volk and executed by Linoge. Logo is © "walls of the city".

we are all serfs

I used to think we owned our house free-and-clear now that we paid off the mortgage. 

Then our property tax statement arrived. 

Bonus:  our house’s tax appraisal is somewhere around 20% more than we paid for it, reappraisals only happen every eight years, the last one was in 2008, and you can appeal for a reappraisal, but “Any inflation, deflation or other economic changes occurring after this date do not affect the county’s […]

debt-free by thirty-three

Ok, so the age thing was only thrown in there because it rhymes, but it all works out in the end. 

Better Half and I have always had the dream of being able to say that we were debt-free, and specifically being able to say that we owned our own home outright and without a mortgage. 

Today, that dream was realized. 

As of 1100 today, we closed on selling our old house […]

knoxville home for sale

Not sure if any of my readers would be interested, but if anyone is looking for a contemporary, 3000+ square-foot, 4 bedroom / 2.5 bathroom, two-floor-plus-finished-basement house on half an acre that recently had its kitchen, living room, dining room, powder room, and master bathroom completely renovated from the floor panels up and that is very convenient to West Knoxville shopping, let me know. 

I might have a lead on one… 

new house residents

I went out to wheel our trash and recycling to the curb this morning (yay for living somewhere that does not actually charge you to recycle… aside from the higher property and income taxes, of course), and was confronted with these guys, one chilling under each can: 

No idea what either is (aside from “snake”), and by the time I had secured a better camera than my phone, […]

new house notes

I am never again moving into a not-brand-new house/apartment/etc without first steam cleaning the carpets. Repeatedly. We have vacuumed, steam cleaned, vacuumed, vacuumed, steam cleaned, and vacuumed a single bedroom, and dust bunnies – drowned and otherwise – are still being pulled out of the carpet. Good times.

Irrespective of employment (since it was Better Half’s job that brought us here), I can only come up with one reason (you can purchase wine in […]

welcome to north carolina

How is it that “court costs” are fully six times the amount of a citation fee?

For that matter, how are there court costs at all if you waive the hearing and eat the citation?

Oh well. Looks like my first ever speeding ticket has been achieved in a rented Jeep Compass; sadly, the state trooper’s incredulity at my getting that heap up to the speed he recorded did nothing to get me out […]

people suck

We are days away from closing on our new house in Raleigh, and things are getting down to the wire.  One of the ongoing difficulties is that our offer, and the standard offer contract for North Carolina, apparently, specified that the current homeowners would leave anything attached to the walls where it was – this includes shelving, curtain rods, and so forth. 

Imagine our surprise when we arrived at the house a few weeks […]

well that is a little unsettling

So my house security system false alarmed a few days back, and I was on the work line when the monitoring company called my cell phone, so I could not tell them not to send the police. Once I looked up the phone number and verified they were a monitoring company, and then checked the web interface for my alarm system, I scrambled back home and arrived about the same time as the patrol car […]

new project

The previous owner indicated that it was originally used by the Army to move around aerial surveillance cameras when they were not actually in their aircraft. I have no idea – tried researching the serial numbers on it, and did not come up with much.

In any case, the entire top lifts off (no hinges) courtesy of those cool tension latches on the front and […]

no. 50 nitetable from mainline by hooker

Alright, old guys, time to do your thing. 

Better Half found this cute little night table at a thrift store in the area, and before we do something crazy like spray-paint it or refinish it or whatnot, we want to ensure it is not something important/special/rare/etc.  Apparently the brand was big back in the ‘50s and ‘60s, but that rather predates us by a bit. 

The only […]

moving numbers around

Well, we pushed the button yesterday, and it will not actually take effect until tomorrow, but I figure it is worth calling today.

Yesterday, we paid off 66% of our home’s mortgage. Once it posts tomorrow, we will have paid off 75% of the total mortgage between FEB10 when we bought it and tomorrow. And we plan on paying off the remainder of the balance sometime next year.

Why? Fairly simple: our mortgage […]

busy now

Come back in a month. 

Although, in all seriousness, at the rate my little pepper plants are producing, I may have a few of these to give away (or perhaps even sell, once I have had a chance to do some basic quality control on them) in the near future… 

On a related note, a rain barrel might have been our best garden-related investment ever.  We have not had measurable […]

dude, i do not think you will fit

For scale, the birdhouse is about a foot tall.  And, unfortunately, the image quality is degraded due to this being later in the evening and the camera being at the fullest extent of its zoom.  The sad/funny part is that I am fairly certain there is a bluebird family living in that box right now; as I asked Better Half (who took the picture), imagine something of appropriate scale landing on […]

unfamiliarity breeds ignorance

So what happened with the saga of the basement lights?

Well, there is a sordid tale behind it all… but the shortest story of all, since I doubt you all care about the particulars, is that on the recommendation of some good-and-generous folks, I purchased a new switch to replace the old one, and, on taking the old one out of the wall, I noticed that it had more wires going into […]

is there an electrician in the house?

No, seriously, do any of my readers have any training, formal or otherwise, in home wiring, AC electricals, fluorescent lighting, or related topics?  We are having a rather peculiar problem with our basement drop-ceiling lighting, and while we have reached the extent of my limited electrical theory knowledge, we want to make sure it is not something stupidly obvious before we call in the big guns… 

yup, looks about right

That might as well be a drawing of our house… 

(Courtesy of my father-in-law, original cartoon by Buck Brown.) 

the gift of comfort

Yesterday, as Better Half and I were headed to bed, the following conversation about our heat pump installation transpired:

Better Half: You’re getting an HVAC for your birthday. [singing] Happy birthday to you… [/singing]

Me: Can we put candles on it? That would be awesome.

Better Half: [singing] It comes with an air handler too… [/singing]

Sure enough, when I got home from work today, there it was:


going to start charging rent

I got home today and scampered downstairs to the basement to pick up my camera and go see how our baby cardinal was doing.  Incidentally, he had fledged and apparently moved on, but I did not know that at the time, and I only thought briefly about the funny looking leaf on the floor of the basement as I headed into my office.  Having grabbed my camera and started to head upstairs, I … ZOMGTHELEAFISRUNNINGACROSSTHEFLOOR!!!  […]

you are responsible for your own safety

One of the things you will see us pro-rights activists harping on from time to time is "situational awareness". What does that mean? Well, the snarky answer is, "Exactly what it says," but the more-complete answer can be delivered by way of a story.

Last week, I was coming home early from work to meet up with HVAC technicians to try to get our upstairs heat pump replaced (scheduled for this Wednesday… thank God), […]

i. hate. mulch.

That is all.