Back from Nantucket

Posted by Steve on Tue, 12/09/2008 - 1:55pm


As we do every year, Karen and I packed up the dogs and headed off to Nantucket for Christmas Stroll. It's a tedious trip involving 6.5 hours of boring driving and 2.5 hours of even more boring sailing. With stops and check-in at the Hyannis Steamship terminal, we generally leave Brooklyn at 8am and arrive at Karen's house near town in Nantucket around 6pm. Or about the same time it would take to leave NY and check into a hotel in Moscow.

If it wasn't for this annual break from my work schedule, my Christmas spirit would last as long as the buzz from two Christmas Eve margaritas. But as soon as you step off the dock in Nantucket, the town envelopes you with the sights, sounds and smells of a 19th century Christmas. Which, of course, is what it's intended to do.

While I always bring my ubiquitous electronic leashes -- my cellphone and laptop -- I rarely use them. It's basically five days of rest, relaxation and sore feet from negotiating Nantucket's slippery cobblestone streets. And unending heartburn from the gallon of quahog chowder, five pounds of prime rib and the hot eggnogs I scarf during the trip with no regard for the consequences.

It also gives me a chance to get away from the often ostentatious and overly precious rehabs and restorations of Brooklyn to study the subtlety of understated Nantucket architecture and to possibly steal a few ideas I can use for myself.

Love it or hate it, Nantucket's strict architecture codes have resulted in an island where you won't find five different kinds of siding and three different styles of modern windows on the same house. Nor a beautiful old Victorian obliterated with vinyl siding, a Home Depot metal entry door and a stainless steel fence surrounding a concrete slab where a lawn is supposed to be. Even the island restorations are made to look like they were done twenty years ago.

As a result, you won't find a single example of "eyesore" on Nantucket.

HomeOwnersLike.Us

Posted by Steve on Sat, 11/22/2008 - 10:45pm


I've been neglecting my blog, and my house for that matter, but for a good reason.  This summer a client and I were chatting about an idea for networking public health-related blogs.  He described his concept as a clearinghouse for blogs on a given topic, such as child health, where users would have a single point of access to selected RSS feeds on a given subject.

"Wait," sez me.  "That sounds like HouseBlogs for the wellness community." So I sent him to HouseBlogs and he told me it was similar to what he envisioned. He wanted a few additional features, like a Wiki, a virtual "home page" where the publisher could talk about his organization, answer user questions, post links to other resources and manage his own feed, and a Slashdot-type of ratings system. Okay, the last idea was mine.  No harm in up-selling an eager client.

BrooklynRowHouse Site Redesign

Posted by Steve on Mon, 11/17/2008 - 11:17am

Working on your house blog is a lot like working on your house.  You get a microscopic obsession with details like a hairline crack in your newly painted wall and a lockset that's a little too sloppy.  And, of course, you know where all the "hacks" you made are and they'll bug you for years, or at least until early Alzheimers kicks in.


What lines?

Posted by Steve on Tue, 11/04/2008 - 5:00pm


I took the dogs out for their walk this morning and decided to cruise my local polling place (the High School of Telecommunication Arts and Sciences... and, no, I don't have a clue what they teach there) to get an idea of how long my wait was gonna be. I figured it would probably be somewhere between the aggravation of the checkout line at the Hamilton Ave Home Depot and Zep reunion tickets.

Cops and Robbers

Posted by Steve on Mon, 10/27/2008 - 2:30am


So we're experiencing a sudden crime wave in my peaceful 'hood. Nobody's said WHY this is happening but according to The Brooklyn Paper:

During a 28-day period starting on Sept. 5, crooks broke into 39 residences in Bay Ridge — an increase of more than 60 percent compared to the same four-week periods in 2007 and 2006, when there were 24 and 21 burglaries respectively.



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