Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A different kind of telemarketing

My nephew Aaron has been touring with a music group that is part of a ministry that brings music and drama teams to churches around the country and around the world, called CTI Music Ministries.

Due to the current economic downturn, he has had to participate in a rather awkward task: Cold-calling people to ask for donations.

What he experienced was surprising. Read all about it here, at his ministry team's blog.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More LOST Season 5 goodness




Once again, you're welcome. :)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Loser: Weeks 1 & 2

Yes, yes, I know...I'm VERY late on my weekly weight loss reporting. So, here we go.

Week 1 wasn't too hot. I actually GAINED 2 pounds:

Start Weight: 252
End Weight: 254
Lbs Lost This Week: -2
% Lost This Week: -0.79
Total Weight Lost So Far: -2
Total Percentage Lost So Far: -0.79

But, some improvement in week 2 (I feel like the stock market...):

Start Weight: 254
End Weight: 250
Lbs Lost This Week: 4
% Lost This Week: 1.57
Total Weight Lost So Far: 2
Total Percentage Lost So Far: 0.79

That's about it. I'll keep slugging it out. Stay tuned for more weekly reports.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Get 'em while they're hot!

Sent to me by my real estate agent, of all people...



Saturday, November 22, 2008

Double your pleasure

Lost? Good!
The Fray? Good!
Together? In one video? Priceless.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Geeking out

For your viewing pleasure:






All I can say is: Scotty, beam me to 05/08/09. Nuff sed.

Loser

Recently Jamie's cousin Michelle from Arizona emailed us to give us a challenge: To weigh ourselves, then compete a'la "The Biggest Loser" in a contest to see who can lose the most weight (in percentage of original body weight) by the time we meet next summer in Tubac, Arizona for the semiannual Zwemke family reunion. We all weighed ourselves yesterday to start off the contest. I'm too much of a gentleman to reveal the ladies' weights, but I will be posting my weight loss results as we weigh in each week, and reveal the winner next summer.

Week: 1
Starting weight: 252 lbs
Weight lost this week: 0 lbs
% Weight Lost this week: 0%
Total weight lost: 0 lbs
% Total Weight lost: 0%

Tune in each week for updates...the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

More House Pictures

For your viewing pleasure, here are a few more pictures of the new house:

Dining Room


Kitchen

Den as seen from Kitchen

Den Fireplace & Built-Ins


Master Bath counter & cabinets

Until next time...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

We did it!

For those who don't already know, who happen to read this blog from time to time....we just signed a contract on our new home yesterday. Here's a picture of the house:We're excited, and starting the loan application process, and planning for the move. We close on December 29th, and we'll move in in early January. As usual, stay tuned for more news as it happens.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Welcome to the Obama Nation

"It's time for a change!" ... to WHAT, exactly?

"Yes we can!" ...do WHAT, exactly?

That, of course, remains to be seen. I know that I will be watching our president-elect closely to see exactly how his administration and the Democrat-controlled Congress plan to turn those vague campaign slogans into policy, and law.

Although noone can know a man's heart, I take some small comfort in the hope that Mr. Obama's professed faith will allow him to be open to the urgings of the Holy Spirit to do the right thing for all Americans, and not just what the left wing agenda says he should do.

Pray for this country, its leadership, and its people. I know I will. In the meantime, remember:

God is in control
Though godless men conspire
His will unfolds
though mortal minds are sometimes left to doubt
His ways are higher than our ways
So, even through the fire
Take heart and know
God is in control

Friday, October 31, 2008

Campaigning at the polls?

While standing in line outside of the polling place for advanced voting yesterday, we had a bit of entertainment. Starting from miles away, we saw what looked a parasail lazily floating hundreds of feet above the trees. It soon started to come our way, where it eventually started circling the parking lot where we stood in line. I got this picture with my sorry phone camera, so it seems like he was very far away, but he was only a couple hundred feet up at the most at this point:

The parasail was actually a three-wheeled, gas-engine powered ultralight aircraft, with a parasail for a wing. Folks remarked how uncomfortable he must be up there, with the engine buzzing like an insane mosquito, and the temperatures quickly dropping with the sun.

He turned toward the line near us, dropping to just 50 feet or so above the treetops, and as he passed, he shouted: "VOTE McCAIN-PALIN!!!!".

So, go vote. You never know what entertainment you might get.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Homeless

Yep. That's us. Homeless. The sale of our house closed on Friday, October 24, 2008 at 10 AM. We turned over our keys, shook hands, and left our home of 9 years in the hands of strangers. Now, the waiting time comes. Waiting for the bank account to grow enough to put down a solid down payment on the new place, waiting and hoping that noone swoops in and buys it before we can make our offer, just...waiting. As we left our house after doing the final cleaning, I took a few pictures to echo the empty feeling that momentarily passed our hearts as we said goodbye to 5684 Tattersall Terrace:

Master Bedroom


Sitting Room
(part of Master BR)


Kitchen


Den & Dining Room

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Moving (OUT) Day

Well, it's (mostly) done. We've moved out of our house. All the major furniture and 95% of our stuff is in a storage unit. I'm sitting here writing this on my laptop at my in-law's house, which will be our abode for the next couple of months. Pray for the patience and forbearance of us and our in-laws as we get up close and personal every day. We still have some stuff to get out of the house, but we have until the closing on the 24th to get the rest out. As usual, stay tuned for more news as it happens.

UPDATE: For those interested, our email addresses have changed. My new email address is richswww@gmail.com and Jamie's is jamiesstephens@gmail.com. Our U.S. mail is being temporarily forwarded to:

P.O Box 2641
Suwanee, GA 30024

That's it for now. More as it occurs.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Locked and Load....ING.

This post is for David, an old friend who recently reconnected with me via ye olde interwebs. He's probably the first person outside of immediate family to actually read the entire contents of this blog so far.

Well, David let me know that I probably didn't make it clear that we actually HAVE sold our house. The 15-day due diligence period passed on August 31st, and we are locked in for a closing date of October 24th.

Until then, we're loading all our stuff into boxes, bit by bit, and putting it all in storage. That's because we haven't actually bought our NEW house yet. We're going to stay with Jamie's parents up in Jackson county for a month or two to save as much money as possible to make sure we have a good down payment before we get our new house. We're still hoping to buy the original house that was built "for us". As of now, it's still out there, finished, on the market. We just need to get our dough together to get it paid for.

That's about it. We'll let you know more as it develops.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What I want for my birthday

"Grass...and a book!" That's what one of my nieces asked for for Christmas a couple of years ago, when she was just barely talking. She got just that: A small box with some grass harvested from the yard, and a book. When she opened the box Christmas morning, she was completely over the moon. She had to show EVERYONE her box of grass and her book. She talked about it for weeks afterward, and as far as I know, she still has both.

My 42nd birthday is coming up soon, on September the 1st. Everyone who knows me knows I am a big kid, and I have plenty of toys: Hi-def TV, Wii, Computer, smartphone, iPod....Lord knows I don't need anything.

People in the impoverished nation of Ethiopia have next to nothing. They die regularly of disease from water-borne illnesses that come from brackish water that they and their children must walk miles to haul every day, not to mention the lack of water for crops to feed themselves properly.

So, what I want for my birthday this year is for everyone I know to click on this graphic:

and donate 1$ for every year of my life on this planet. This charity comes from one man's visit to Ethiopia, what he saw, and how he decided that, as one man, he could help. Take a look at the video, go to my birthday site, and donate. That'll be a happy birthday to me.


The September Campaign Trailer from charity: water on Vimeo.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Under Contract

That's right, you heard it first, right here! Our house is NOW under contract to be sold! There is of course, the 15-day "due diligence" time period that encompasses the buyer getting their loan, performing inspections, etc. etc. that we have to go through, but once that's done, we are LOCKED IN. August 31st is the magic day when this contract is solid as a rock, and we gotta start packing!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

An OFFER!

Just got a call from the realtor who showed our house today. She said they WILL be submitting an offer! The buyers were very happy with the new bonus room, and loved the touch of cookies & lemonade Jamie left on the dining room table. Stay tuned here for details as we learn them!

UPDATE : 7:45 PM - We are now on our second counteroffer. Hopefully this one will be the charm. We'll let you know if and when we get an acceptance!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Done!

We thought we had 11 days to finish our bonus room. We didn't. It turns out that it wasn't 11 days, it was UNTIL THE 11th. Our prospective buyers are scheduled to come into town TODAY, on the 11th of August. (UPDATE: The buyers are planning to get into town this EVENING, but aren't planning to actually see the house until Thursday.)

I guess it's good that we got it done! With many thanks to all those who helped with this LONG LONG process from the beginning: Rod, Ryan, Danny, and most especially my in-laws, Judy & Ray (the man!), we were able to take our bonus room the final leg from newly plastered walls and bare floor to completely painted, trimmed, and carpeted bonus room in SIX days!

Without further ado, here is the newest 250-ish square feet of our humble abode!

Standing at the bottom of the stairs

Halfway up the stairs


At the top of the stairs, facing the front of the house


Facing the back of the house, showing the half-wall and huge TV-cubbyhole


Back down the stairs

There's the 50-cent tour. Here's hoping that this new piece of "sweat equity" we've put in our home will pay off in a sale soon. You're welcome to come by to see it for yourself any time. As usual, we'll keep you posted!

Monday, August 4, 2008

11 Days

Walking into the gates at the Braves game on Saturday, I got a call on my cell phone. A realtor wanted to show my house. This was kind of bad, because we hadn't made the house perfectly spiffy for showing that morning -- the bed was unmade, etc. It was good, though, too, because this meant that our realty company had done what we had asked them to do -- that is, ask realtors who want to show our house to actually SPEAK to us on the phone before showing it, rather than just leaving a message and going on in.

We decided to go ahead and let the realtor show the house, giving our apologies that it wasn't in prime shape for showing. She assured us that it was OK -- her clients were more interested in seeing the layout of the house in general than its presentability. We didn't hear anything back from the realtor for the rest of the day, as is usual. But she DID call the next day, saying her clients wanted to see the house again on Sunday afternoon. This time we got it all spiffy and left the house to eat a late lunch and run some errands.

We ended up at Ryan & Cathlyn's (Jamie's brother and wife) to hang out for a bit that evening, and on a whim I decided to check messages at home. Behold, a message from the realtor! I called back and spoke to her. It turns out her clients were interested in our house, in large part because of the bonus room that we had just completed finishing the drywall on. They had seen ours and one other they were interested in, but were leaning towards ours. Her clients were moving into town from the Southwest, soon, and wanted to know if we could get it finished in time for them to see it when they returned. At that time they would be fully moved into their temporary apartment, and would be ready to make serious offers if they still liked what they saw.

The catch? They will be back in 11 days. That's right. We have 11 days to prime, paint, get trim work primed, painted and installed, finish the stairs, and have the room carpeted and buttoned up for them to see.

11 days. A strong possibility of an offer, and a lot of work to do between now and then. Pray for us, our stamina, and the family moving in from those many miles away that everything come together and make this happen! Stay tuned, faithful readers (all 3 of you!)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Awesomeness

Like most red-blooded American males, I am completely addicted to those "tough guy" shows, like "Deadliest Catch", "Ice Road Truckers", and "Ax Men". If I catch one of them on, I can't help myself. I try to get out, but they keep pulling me back IN!

I also enjoy the occasional "reality"/competition show, like Survivor.

So what if you could have your cake and eat it too, perfectly melded together like peanut butter & jelly, ham & cheese, Simon & Garfunkel??

YOU CAN. Witness:



Awesomeness. Just awesomeness.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

What a Pair

For those who didn't know, the amazing musician Meghan Coffee just got married, to amazing music photographer Zack Arias. I found out from her blog, where there's a link to photos that were taken in the Dekalb County Courthouse where the deed was done. I'm sure the wedding will be blogged all over the place, but I just had to point out the odd pairing on this photo (and no, I'm not talking about the happy couple themselves):
It seems that in Dekalb county you can file for the right to get married and the right to carry a weapon in the same place. Poetic, no?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Don't Worry About it...

With all the stuff in the news that is hyped as being cancer-causing, or world-destroying, or otherwise just BAD, we all need a little good news now and then. Here, for your education and entertainment, is a list of "10 Things to Scratch From Your Worry List".

You're welcome.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I think this pretty much says it all...

6715 VICKERY POST LANE
CUMMING, GA 30040
MLS ID# 3721442


Yep, if you follow that link, you'll see that "our" new house, built to our specifications, is officially up for sale - with an asking price of $15,000 less than the original price we negotiated.

When Pulte homes decided they were not going to renew any contingency contracts, they didn't waste any time. In short order, we got notice that our contract was cancelled, got our earnest money back, and got notice that our loan application from Pulte mortgage was cancelled (even though we were already approved). All the letters we got (no phone calls, no prior notice) were written as though WE had requested it.

All we can do at this point is hope this house sits for long enough for our home to sell, and for us to save up enough for a decent downpayment. Otherwise, it's the death of a dream.

Only time will tell how this turns out, but it's not looking like we're going to be moving any time soon. As usual, stay tuned...




Thursday, July 3, 2008

Childlike Faith

The video here was a post on the "Laugh. Love. Learn" blog that was posted as a part of the "Creative Chaos" blog carnival at Carlos Whittaker's "Ragamuffin Soul" blog. Take a look, and a listen. Out of the mouths of babes...

Join the Dharma Initiative Today!


GAW: Dharma Initiative
Originally uploaded by Giant Ideas
For your education and entertainment, I present you with a recruitment poster for the Dharma Initiative. Doesn't it make you want to go to "the island"?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

On the Phil-ip side...


Jamie & I were able to drop by the Tats For Tots party at Danny & Cindy's place last Saturday, but most of our evening was taken up with an awesome concert by the incredible Phil Keaggy.

The concert was a benefit for the Gwinnett County Special Olympics organization, and was the final leg in his "Master and the Musician 3oth Anniversary" tour, celebrating, well, the 30th anniversary of that record. "Master and the Musician" was an instrumental album, which was an unusual thing for a Christian artist to do at the time. In the concert, they played the album in its entirety, along with some other selected music from Phil and the amazing band that he brought along with him. Pics with varied exposition below:

Phil started out the evening with a mind boggling acoustic piece. He made that guitar do things I could never have believed a guitar COULD do. At one point, I thought I heard a percussion loop playing in the background. He then picked up a small finger cymbal, and hit it, once. I started hearing that cymbal strike, over and over. I realized then that he had actually sampled the rhythmic drumbeat and bass line he had just played at that very moment, and continued playing with the sampled-on-the-fly rhythm "track". It was amazing. He did that several times during the night, and each time it was amazing how he made it flow into the performance.
On stage i counted 12 guitars, 2 basses, a cello, a mandolin, a flute, a keyboard, and one mysterious beast I had never seen the like of before:
This is a "Harp Guitar". It was played in the concert by Tom Shinness, an amazing musician in his own right with multiple albums to his credit. It was made in 1913 by the Gibson Guitar company. Apparently at the time there was an effort to make this sort of instrument popular that never really caught on. The harp strings were all in a lower register, so most of the playing on them consisted of bass lines, but it still made for a fascinating performance.

Unfortunately, Jamie & I had to miss the second half of the concert, where more vocal performances were promised, but the part we did see was breathtaking. If you ever get a chance, GO SEE HIM.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Not bad news...but not good, either.

After finally getting ahold of the salesman at our builder, we have....interesting...news. What's not bad is that they haven't rejected the idea of renegotiating the price on our new home. What's not good is that they haven't really given any real thought to it. That is because the folks in the ivory tower of the company headquarters of our builder has unilaterally decided to pretty much cancel any contingency contracts.

What that means for us is this: Once our new house is complete, we can either buy it right then and there (which we can't do at all if our house isn't sold yet at that point), or we release it -- which means they can sell it to whomever they'd like. It doesn't necessarily mean that we won't be able to get it. Our salesman isn't going to purposely point people to the house we had customized for US try to get them to take it out from under us, but if someone DOES really want it, and they have the money, they can buy it.

If we have to release it, then we can start fresh with a brand new contract and negotiate a brand-new price. (Of course, if we buy it once it's built, we'll still renegotiate the price anyway).
If someone else buys it, we can always have the builder build another one exactly the same on another lot in the neighborhood. In any case, the bottom line is we just have to "let it ride" and see how things fall out. A lot depends on if we sell our house and how soon. It's OK I guess, but things just keep working out so that we still have to wait to see the final conclusion, and that gets frustrating. Maybe that's God's way of pushing us to wait on his timing. I'd like to think so.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Strike Two...

Well, we were shot down again. Although our buyer's own agent considered our house the best choice, the client "decided to expand their search closer to where they work". The agent also stated that he would "definitely keep this one in mind" -- I would hope that means he might be the first agent to actually show our house to more than one potential buyer. Oh well. Third time's the charm (I hope).

We'll let you know how the price negotiation with our new place goes tomorrow (hopefully).

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

One of Three

One of Three...that's what we are. Just got word that a buyer has our house as 1 of 3 possible choices. We've got a little homework to do to get some more information for them, then, we wait to see if we are the "chosen ones". Pray it up, folks...

New House News

Jamie & I went over to our new subdivision yesterday for our "pre-drywall meeting". What this means, basically, is that we look at all the internal wiring and piping and such to ensure that everything is where we intended it to be, and any extra wiring we negotiated is in place before they actually put in insulation and slap sheetrock on the walls of the new house. It was nice to find out about what switch is where for what, etc.

What is of concern is that recently, when talking to a mortgage loan counselor, I learned that banks will assess the value of a new house based in great part on the value of homes recently sold in that subdivision. Knowing this, I had a real estate agent pull up a report of homes sold in our new subdivision this year, and discovered that homes were selling substantially lower than what our negotiated price was...as in $30k substantially.

I put together a polite but firm e-mail to our salesman, letting the builder know of our concerns over the price on Friday. The response I got (so far) was "I will look into this and see if we can reasonably make any adjustment." Last I heard since then, we should be expecting an answer on Thursday.

Continuing in the vein of belief that God will open the doors he wants us to go through, and close those he doesn't, a lot is riding on their response. Jamie & I really love the new house, but if this doesn't go favorably for us, it may be difficult (if not impossible) to get the payments to a place where we can afford it, or possibly to even get a loan at all (if the purchase price ends up being higher than the value the lender's estimator assigns to the house).

For the few that may read this, your continued prayers on this matter are greatly desired and welcomed. Stay tuned...you'll find out when we do.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Coffee Talk

Last night Jamie & I went ITP (That's "Inside The Perimeter" for those who don't live in Atlanta) to Smith's Olde Bar. No, we weren't going bar-hopping on a Thursday night. We went to see the amazing Meghan Coffee, who was doing a release-party concert for her new CD, "Songs To Sail By".


To say she was great would be an understatement. She's funny, refreshlingly honest, and enormously talented. Her songs were moving, her lyrics intriguing, and her band, as my brother would say, was "stupid ridiculous". Here's my "artistic" shot of Meghan doing her thing. Nice impressionist-painting effect on that picture, right? Nah. Just a bad cell phone camera in a dark room.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Raise the roof!


As you may (or may not) be able to tell, our new house now has a fully shingled roof! What you can't tell from the photo is also the fact that the furnace & ductwork are all in, and it appears that the rough plumbing is pretty much in. Our bathtubs are even installed. Our open house the other weekend was pretty much a bust, and we haven't had any visits since. Keep us in your prayers. We'd love to see everything go smoothly, but if for some reason this whole new house deal isn't what God wants for us, then we are at peace about just staying where we are. Stay tuned for any updates as they come in...

Friday, June 6, 2008

Time flies...

Less than two weeks ago, our new house was nothing more than a concrete slab.
Today, check it out...fully framed, windows in, the beginnings of a roof up.

The construction manager said the roof should be fully shingled in a few days. Estimated completion date: August 29th (at the earliest).

Also, we're doing an open house this weekend trying to sell the old house, so keep us in your prayers!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

...but only LESSER well known is THIS!

Just for fun...

song chart memes
more graph humor and song chart memes

If you don't get it, go to the movie store and rent this.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Strange Days, Indeed...

So, I'm driving home yesterday, and I hear the familiar backbeat of some hip-hop/rap anthem coming from a car nearby. Not so unusual, right? I look in the lane to my left and just ahead of me, and there is a tricked-out black Hummer H2, looking all "fly" and "gangsta". Fits the stereotype perfectly to find that such a vehicle has the windows down and the rap music booming for EVERYONE to enjoy, whether they like it or not.

Typical, right? Nope.

I turn my head further to the left directly beside me, and there is a white Lincoln Town Car with a late 40's-early 50's VERY white guy driving it with the windows down, and the hip-hop groove wafting from his open windows.

Shows ta go ya...just like books and covers, you can't always judge the music lover by the car.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

How firm a foundation?

I recently got a call from our builder to schedule an appointment with us for our "pre construction meeting". I was a bit taken aback by this, since we were previously told our new house wouldn't begin construction until there was a contract on our current house. Apparently the builder made a unilateral decision to start construction on several houses in our new subdivision. You'd think we'd be happy to see our new home start going up, but we had planned on having extra time living with the in-laws to save up more money for a larger down payment and some other incidentals involved with setting up our new home. Alas, that was not to be.

Jamie & I decided to run by the site on Sunday afternoon to see the foundation slab which has already been laid. For your education and entertainment, here is Lot 114, with a foundation for our house firmly set in concrete:


Jamie modeling the slab

While walking around the foundation, we noticed something disturbing -- we're no experts on home construction, but it appeared to us as though the back part of the foundation wasn't big enough to include the sun room option we had picked for this model of our home. That's a BIG deal to us, since the size of the main living area (including that sunroom) was one of the biggest selling points on this house for us. We mentioned this to the salesman on duty (who, by the way threw up some lame excuse about his phone going out on him as the reason why we never got the message he was SURE he sent us about our home construction starting -- yeah, right), and he assured us that he would have the person in charge of overseeing the construction call us on Tuesday. That is TODAY 05/27/2008. I'll let you know if/when we hear from him and what happens. Jamie & I are starting to get a little wary of this builder, since this isn't the first time we were told one thing had had something different happen regarding this home. If you read this, throw up a prayer for us that God will make things work out, or else give us a peace about moving on from this situation and waiting for something else to happen on the new home front.

UPDATE: 05/27 5:10 PM: Knowing the track record of the salesman at the sales office for our new subdivision, I decided to take it upon myself to call the construction supervisor to check on this, since I hadn't heard from him as promised. As I suspected, he knew nothing of my concerns about the foundation (the salesperson apparently had NOT contacted him, as he said he would). The construction supervisor checked out the foundation and called me back within minutes of our first conversation. He verified that the foundation does indeed include the sunroom, so all is well with that. That's ONE thing, at least. Check back here for more updates in the saga of the home build as they come in!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Show them the way that you feel...

This weekend Jamie & I have tickets to see the incomparable James Taylor at Chastain Ampitheatre. With the tragedy of the Chapman family still firmly in everyone's minds, I'm reminded of some of the words one of JT's greatest songs:

Just shower the people you love with love
Show them the way that you feel
Things are gonna work out fine if you only will
Shower the people you love with love
Show them the way you feel
Things are gonna be much better if you only will


Steven Curtis Chapman's manager has set up a blog for people to show their support and condolences to the Chapman family during this trying time. Take a minute to go to "In Memory of Maria" and show them some love. While you're at it, show some to someone YOU love today, too.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pray for the Chapmans

I have no words, other than to say this: Pray for the family of Steven Curtis Chapman today. Read why here.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Oh no, THAT'S not a scam...

I got this email in my in-box today from someone who saw my listing at BuyOwner.com. (The name and email are x-ed out by me):

Visitor Name: xxxxx
Visitor Email: xxxxxxxxx@gmail.com
Property ID: ATL29197
Comments: I would like to make an offer of 160000 on this house. If you are interested please let me know so we can setup an appointment to look at the house. thanks

Uh huh. A sight-unseen offer via email on my house of 25,000 below my asking price, coming from an anonymous free email account (gmail.com). Yep. I'm gonna take THAT one seriously....NOT.

Perseverance

I don't have the words to express how appropriate this video is to my brother's life right now, and how proud I am of him for being persisent and faithful in steadfastly pursuing God's vision for his life in the middle of trying circumstances right now...and I don't think you could find a more perfect illustration of this concept than this video post at Ragamuffin Soul: "You Play The Next Chord".

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I don't know if this is hilarious...or scary.

I'd say both. It IS hilarious, if you're a Star Wars fan like me...and downright scary when you realize how much it really IS like a Gospel (or CCM) music video. For your education and entertainment, here is "Ewok Gospel Music Video" (that's what they named it on YouTube, I swear!) :

Hows THAT for results!

Well, I'm convinced that switching to MLS Realty was a good idea. Just ONE day after having our house listed with them, I got TWO phone calls from realtors wanting to show the house. One begged off after realizing that the house may be a little further north than her client wanted, but said she knows the neighborhood and would keep us in mind for future clients. The second is planning to show the house on Friday! Keep prayin' folks! We'll get this thing sold yet!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Home Sale News

Since BuyOwner is not producing a whole lot of response for us (none, actually), we have now signed up for a deal with their partner realty company MLS Realty. We're gonna end up paying just 1% more, and our listing will now not only be on BuyOwner, but also on the main MLS listing services that realtors actually use when they are searching for homes to show their clients. We'll let you know how that pans out.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Your tax dollars at work.


One of my pet peeves is people who park in handicap spots who don't really belong there -- at least, those that don't display a handicap tag or window sticker or that little sign that hangs from your rear view mirror. So, I'm walking out of the Target by the Mall of Georgia on Saturday, and what do I see in the very first handicap parking spot next to the store? A big white car with no visible handicap markings or sign. The most important detail, however is this -- it may be hard to tell from my bad phone camera picture, but that tag reads "SR99". That's the official tag for a Georgia state representative. Nice. I guess power has its privilege, eh?

Whew!

Our first open house is over! The results: 4, count 'em, FOUR visits. Two on Saturday, and two on Sunday. One set of visitors had a realtor with them, even. It was hard to tell what they thought, though, because both the visitors and the realtor spoke amongst themselves in an Eastern European language -- I heard the word "da" (Russian for "yes", though that word might be "yes" in some other languages too, I don't know) a couple of times.

One thing I'm not particularly impressed by, though, is the performance of our BuyOwner listing. Two months on their web site, and a grand total of ZERO calls/emails or any other responses due to the listing with BuyOwner. All 4 visitors this weekend were from people who just saw our signs in the neighborhood, and our previous "close call" came because our next-door neighbor's mother is a real estate agent who happened to see our sign.

I'm not quite sure what to do about BuyOwner.com just yet. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Typety type type

65 words

Speedtest

This was my first try...how about you?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Say What? Just for fun...

For all us Lost-ies hankering for the return of new episodes of our favorite island-bound mystery adventure series, here's a taste of our intrepid castaways using what appears to be their favorite word... over and over and over.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Swing! ...and a miss.

Just got the word...the buyers who were looking at our house opted for another one they were looking at. *sigh* Back to trying to prepare it for an open house.

If there's anyone reading this who knows ANYONE who might be interested in a nice ranch in Sugar Hill, GA, point them to HERE.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Antici.........pation

It's making me crazy...waiting to hear whether our nibble has become a full-blown BITE. You'll hear when we do!

Wii Fit-ter

You may remember the post I did on the Wii Fit game a while ago. (If not, scroll down, or go over there to my history to find it). Here's an interesting article from a fellow at Wired News who has used the Wii Fit game for a month. I gotta get me one of those...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Nibble, nibble...

The bobber on the "buy my house" line is wiggling...stay tuned for more news as it breaks!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wisdom from the Drive-In

I found this on the menu of the Beacon Drive-In in Spartanburg, SC, which was featured on the show "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives " on the Food Network.


You never know where you're going to find your moment of inspiration for the day...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Smalltown Poets - The Sublime to the Ridiculous

Just for fun today I did a search on YouTube with the word "Smalltown Poets". You never know what you're gonna find. For example, here's a pretty neat acapella arrangement of the song "I'll Give" from the Poet's eponymous debut album:


Then again, there's this:

I'm quite sure that when my dad wrote the poem that became the lyrics to "One Of These Days" (from the Poets' "Listen Closely"), and when Danny wrote the song and subsequently recorded it in one continous take (that's right folks, no edits on that particular song), he never envisioned it as the soundtrack to an anime sci/fi fantasy cartoon...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

An unexpected advocate of creationism


What you see above is the trailer for the upcoming documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed by, of all people, Ben Stein.

Now, if you don't recognize that name, maybe you'll recognize this:

Yep. THAT Ben Stein. That would be the last person I would expect to see doing a documentary about Creationism vs. Evolution, but I for one am pumped to see this. I'll probably have to wait for it to come out on DVD, but it'll be on my Netflix list as soon as its available.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

For the couch potato gamer in you...


Wii Fit, eh? I've got to admit, I'm intrigued. I love my Wii (as do my nieces & nephews) and I hate to exercise. Maybe this will get me off my duff for a bit of exercise? Plus, it doubles as a scale and weight-tracking system.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Lot 114

See that house there? No, not the two in the background. The one in my imagination, on that empty lot right in front! That's where my new home is going to be. Lot #114.
I'll keep you posted with construction updates as time goes on.

In the meantime, somebody BUY MY HOUSE!

Monday, February 25, 2008

BuyOwner Watch...

I have now added my new "BuyOwner Watch" widget. It automatically keeps up with the number of days my house has been on the market. The rest I'll be updating manually. Stay tuned for all the excitement as time rolls on...

Friday, February 22, 2008

With You and Buy Owner...

...it's as good as sold!

... or so they say on their TV advertising. Jamie and I are in the final stages of picking out our new digs, so we're selling our first home, using BuyOwner.com.

If you're interested, or just curious, you can check it out here.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Tale of the Rhodes, Part Deux

I visited my brother at his studio last night. I was there to try to take a look at that Rhodes electric piano to see if I could do anything to make it properly output sound. Not much, it seems. It looks like the volume/tone pots on it may be shot, since pretty much no sound comes of out it when we plug an amp into it. However, we got some sound when we bypassed the volume pots and went directly into the connector from the sound pickups. It was still pretty weak and noisy, tho.

There's a little board on the other side of the piano that has a capacitor on it, and when we futzed with it, we could get a little improvement (and more noise) from the volume level coming from the piano. I did my best to try to clean up some solder joints there, and it seemed to help a little bit, but not enough. Danny's gonna try to get the pots and 2 capacitors out of there and take 'em to an electronics parts house to get replacements.

The studio is pretty well equipped, and there were people there doing some recording last night, so I didn't want to get in the way too much. Here's a pic of the control room with Danny "at the helm", and another shot of the same room with Danny's business partner, Dan Hannon, working out some obscure musical detail with some of their clients in the studio. (Sorry about the picture quality - we're talking about a VGA-level (LESS than 1 megapixel) cell phone camera here.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Tale of the Rhodes...

Some months ago, my sister-in-law (My wife's brother's wife) asked if I could help her try to sell a "keyboard" she had collecting dust in a back closet. I said, "Sure, why not?".

Turns out this "keyboard" was actually a 70s-vintage Fender Rhodes electric piano. Now, to most of you, that may not mean much, but those old Rhodes pianos put out a distinctive sound that can't really be reproduced with modern electronics. It's kind of like tube amps or Leslie organ rotating speaker cabinets. It's pretty sweet.

Not wanting to let this great power fall into the wrong hands, I got in touch with my musician Brother, Danny Stephens, he of Smalltown Poets and Buckhead Church fame.

After some time sitting in my garage, the Rhodes is finally in his possession over at the studio where his new music venture, One Atlanta Music (more about that some other time), has its HQ. The Rhodes isn't fully operational right now, but I'm going over there to see if I can futz with it to try to get it working a little better. I'm no electronics engineer, but I'm gonna check solder joints and clean contacts, etc.

I'll report more on my trip to the studio tomorrow...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Knight Rider? Kinda...

So, who saw the new Knight Rider movie on NBC last night? Cool car. It had its moments, I guess...but is there ANYONE out there who didn't know who was gonna open the motel door on the room with the mom and the inventor in it when all of the baddies were opening motel room doors at the same time as the hero? Duh...

Monday, February 18, 2008

OK, here goes...

So, I'm posting on my own blog for the first time. Heck, who knows, it may be the last. I guess I got inspired from reading other people's blogs and seeing that sometimes random thoughts or scenes of everyday life are sometimes inspiring to others. From time to time, if I am again inspired, I'll jot something down here. It may be completely mundane. It may be life-changing. It may be frivolous. It may be serious. It may be worthless to anyone but me. It may be the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Who knows? If I don't give it a try, maybe I'll never know...