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Work Weekends? - 11/30/08 11:09 AM
This matter of my working weekends, wanting to, having to, has sure changed for me over the years. Here at Active Rain most of us, probably, work weekends when we have to. That is part of making things happen when you are an independent business. When I first entered the field of broadcasting, 1969, it was standard all over the industry for the announcers to work six days a week. The bosses got around overtime laws by having us work seven hours five days of the week and saving five hours for Saturday. That way they could have the main staff on (37 comments)
One of the most important meetings of the Washington State home inspector licensing board is set for Wednesday of this week. The meeting will include reports and recommendations by the various committees to the full board. That will include reports from the licensing committee, the education committee and changing business practices committee. Topics of interest will include reciprocity, testing, education requirements, field training and standards of practice. The public, and inspectors, may attend. The meeting is at the Doubletree Inn at Seatac, 18740 International Blvd (1:30pm to 4:30PM) Steve, Member Washington State Home Inspector Licensing Board Steven L. Smith (0 comments)
A Tip for Professionals -- Testing the Carbon Monoxide Detecting Meter - 11/30/08 12:16 AM
This article has content intended to be of interest to the professional home inspector, who uses a sophisticated carbon monoxide (CO) detection meter, and also the consumer. I learned of this means of testing my CO meter from technicians at the factory. I thought that other inspection professionals, who might not be aware of this simple test, would find the information useful. And, of course, regarding other portions of the article, it is important to make consumers aware of the dangers of CO. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a danger that we read about but not something any of us expect to (52 comments)
Let's Hear it For the Kitties - 11/29/08 09:39 AM
A couple days back I posted an article introducing a kitten that the wife and I have taken in. I mentioned that we were keeping the boy and socializing the girl to give away. I also said that I would be posting a photo of the pair of them. The black kitty on the right, the girl, is the one up for adoption. The tiger kitty is very friendly and both are pretty tame, but the black one is not as bold. She will fall asleep if you hold her, but she does not come up to you like the tiger (6 comments)
Stories Behind the Music: Two Old Guys Kicked the Beatles' Butts - 11/28/08 05:24 PM
The Beatles dominated the singles chart in the early 1960's. In April of 1964, the Beatles released a song that is, arguably, their most significant hit. Can't Buy Me Love, and the group, set many milestones: Greatest dominance in the top five; greatest dominance in the top 100; biggest jump to #1, from #27; most consecutive #1 singles; largest advance sales. Four of those accomplishments still hold today. Can't Buy Me Love is not as well-known, or as highly-touted today, as some of their other tunes but it was a monumental success.
The Beatles - Can't Buy Me Love (Live) - (13 comments)
Welcome Tigrotto Tartufo - 11/27/08 01:08 PM
I think Thanksgiving is a good day to make this post. Those of you who go back aways here at Active Rain will remember I had a cat that "worked" at my office. That was pre-Nutsy. His name was Mr. Topolino Stromboli. I wrote a few posts about him. You can read one of the posts here. Topo was the offspring of a feral (untamed) cat that hangs-out in our yard. She got sick, after having three kittens and we found out that she could not nurse them. Two died, and my wife and I rescued the one we found and raised him from (20 comments)
Stories Behind the Music -- Please Mr Postman - 11/27/08 10:30 AM
Almost everybody has heard of Motown Records. Motown was a legend in the 1960's. Berry Gordy, Jr, the founder, was an innovator in R&B, soul and pop music. When you think of Motown and girl groups, you probably think of the mighty Supremes. Fact is, the Supremes were a hard act to get off the ground. Of course, once they got going, the girls were a hit machine. The first girl group to have a number one single for the Motown label was a group called the Marvelettes. The Marvelettes consisted, in the beginning, of four girls from a Detroit suburb. They began (11 comments)
Stories Behind the Music -- Telstar - 11/26/08 11:51 AM
A week ago I wrote about the first song from England to go to the top of the American charts. That song was a couple years before the Beatles and when the British Invasion officially got underway. Those of you who read the post know that that first song was by Mr. Acker Bilk and it was called Stranger on the Shore. That was an instrumental. Honestly, it is not that common for instrumentals to make it to the top of the charts -- ever. That makes it doubly interesting that the next song from the UK to hit the top of the US (15 comments)
Hiding at the New House - 11/25/08 10:05 AM
Below is a photo that shows yet another reason to have a home inspection at a new home. In this case, the builder, or his subs, had forgotten to connect the downspouts to the drains. This seemed to be kind of obvious, but it was not unless one peaked behind the brush. We have here, yet again, another example of a good reason to have a full home inspection at new construction. Certain problems are found over and over again at these inspections. The problems include caps left on plumbing vents, insulation packed around B-vents, no insulation installed at all and a host (4 comments)
Stories Behind the Music -- Stranger on the Charts - 11/21/08 05:28 PM
The British Invasion hit like a guided missile on February 1, 1964 when the Beatles shot to the top of the American charts with I Want To Hold Your Hand. Billboard looked upon that monumental event as the beginning of the British Invasion. Actually, there were two British artists, who made it to the top of the American charts, prior to that wave of young UK artists that has since been termed the British Invasion. This time, I am telling you about the first British artist to ever attain the #1 position on the Billboard chart. I will write about the second such song, and the (7 comments)
On the air, early 1970's, click to hear Steve in the summer of 1974 There is an old saying in the radio business that explains annoying songs quite nicely. It goes along these lines: 3 stages of annoyance for the deejay 1. As a deejay, when you first play a song, even if you like it, nobody in the listening audience will notice it. 2. When you are getting really tired of that song, (35 comments)
Great Art, Age Inappropriate Models - 11/20/08 08:32 AM
This is sort of related to the book meme. Not directly, but it is in that Charles Buell insisted that I get some books on the great artists. I did so and this blog is the result of that. Let's talk great art. Have you ever noticed how some model in a painting or photo is supposed to be a young girl or a boy but the image or vision just does not cut it? The girl or boy is long in the tooth. It is as bad as watching a movie where the 14 year old is played by a 28 (38 comments)
Davy Crockett Changed My Life - 11/19/08 08:58 PM
If you were a child from the 1950's, a boy for sure, you will remember the World of Disney's Davy Crockett series. The shows starred Fess Parker, who later in life became a famous vintner. He also played Daniel Boone for Disney, but the Crockett shows were what I remember. These Davy Crockett shows, using a term from the era, were really the cat's meow. You remember the theme song?
Youngsters who were my age, and I will prove it with a photo, were into the coonskin caps. They were the rage of the age.
If you think I made all of this (6 comments)
Fremont Area Seattle: Photos Freakin' Me Out - 11/18/08 08:24 PM
Have you ever heard of spirit photographs? The concept is out-of-this-worldly and not something I ever gave any credence to prior to today. I guess I have to change my mind. From the beginning: I had a meeting of the home inspector licensing board today in the Fremont District of Seattle. This is a funky area. It is known for outdoor sculpture and art, also coffee shops, quaint buildings, specialty shops, micro-breweries, wineries, Gasworks Park, liberals, aging hippies, or so goes the reputation of the district. Two of the better known attractions are the sculpture of the troll that lives under the Aurora Bridge and (16 comments)
The descendent of Daniel Boone that made good would be his "great, great, great, great" grandson. This "grandson" of Daniel Boone, a few generations removed, was the second most successful singer of the 1950's, just behind the hound dog man, Elvis. Daniel Boone's direct descendant had a total of fifty-four hit records. If you think about last names, it is not too hard to figure out who this descendant of the legendary frontiersman might be. We are talking about Pat Boone. And I guess (6 comments)
Tower Scuttled in Bellingham - 11/16/08 11:11 AM
One of the first posts that I wrote in my blog here at Active Rain, nearly two years ago, referred to a high rise residential project planned for the city. You can read that initial article on the Bay View Tower here. This was a controversial project in Bellingham from day one. Issues, people were arguing about, included (1) the fact it would be a monster of a tall building compared to anything we are accustomed to -- this is not Seattle; (2) the project could block views of the bay.
Proposed tower Well, now it looks like this has broken loose (9 comments)
Stories Behind the Music -- Thanks Sunny - 11/16/08 09:16 AM
When music and songs are ranked, the tendency is to focus on those that hit #1 on the charts. The fact is, there are many songs that never hit that top rung, yet were very significant in the history of music. In fact, over time, some of the hits that did not make #1 became classics and some of the #1 hits faded into obscurity. There are many examples of that. One that comes to mind for me, as I was working in radio at the time, is the song "Sunny" by Bobby Hebb. It never made it beyond #2 on (4 comments)
Little Issues: Missing Door Stops - 11/15/08 04:38 PM
In the realm of home inspection issues this is minor. It is not something that homebuyers or realtors get too excited about. However, especially in new homes, some type of door stop should be installed to keep the door knobs from damaging the wall. Time and time again, an inspector will find scuffed paint and holes in sheet rock the result of repeated "dinging" of the door handle against the wall. Even if people are careful, it happens when the door swings up against the wall. Door stops come in various styles and they can be installed in different locations, and (15 comments)
Stories Behind the Music: Hey Kid, Wanna Be A Teen Idol? - 11/15/08 09:51 AM
This has to be one of the more bizarre stories of the early era of rock n' roll. The true story involves the discovery of a rock star. In retrospect it is amusing, but it would not have been so funny at the time. The dad of the future star was having a heart attack. The ambulance was at the house. This fourteen year old boy, whose dad was having the heart attack was upset, worried and panicked. He sat on the front steps as the ambulance took his dad away. Mom went to the hospital with dad and this older boy in the family (14 comments)
What to do -- Flush It or Take a Bath In It? - 11/14/08 07:22 PM
When you take your first look at this photo, you might think it is something that it is NOT. If you think that it is a biffy yet to be flushed, then you are wrong. This is a whirlpool tub. You know, relax and soak in the ambiance of the pristine, clean water. Luck of the draw I guess, but I had to inspect three tubs just like this in three weeks time. It seemed like every time I inspected a whirlpool tub I saw yellow or brown water. Even for an inspector, it is pretty disconcerting to fill a tub and to (39 comments)
Stories Behind The Music -- The Most Beloved Song Ever - 11/14/08 10:57 AM
When critics are picking the most beloved song of the rock n' roll era, there would be as many possibilities as there are great songs. However, Billboard Magazine lists "In The Still of the Night" as a renowned song and one of the top contenders to wear the crown as the most beloved rock oldie ever. The song was firmly planted in the 1950's, so it brings back memories of simpler times -- kids, boyfriends, girlfriends, soda shops, movies, strolling in the moonlight. The song is pretty and it is full of imagery. It was written by lead singer, Fred Parris, while he was (17 comments)
George and Abe Together Were Not Worth a Dime - 11/13/08 10:57 PM
I was going through some old memorabilia and photos that had belonged to my mother. In so doing I found a number of stamps. I do not know the age on these, but it looks like they were on a post card. It was kind of interesting to see the two most respected Presidents side by side. Washington was worth a nickel and honest Abe was worth 4 cents. I suspect that these are from the late 1960's or the early 1970's. Any stamp collectors out in the rain might know. I do not have any thoughts that they are of (25 comments)
The Trees Were Burning - 11/11/08 02:43 PM
It was startling, until we realized what was happening. Then it was startling in yet another way. Over the weekend, my wife and I drove to Vernon, British Columbia. On the way, as we headed over the mountain pass between Hope and Kelowna, we saw smoke and large red flames. The initial reaction was that there was a forest fire. Then, realizing how wet it was -- this is not forest fire season -- we knew that it must be an intentional and planned forest fire.
It ends up, when we got to our destination, we asked and found out (16 comments)
Stories Behind The Music: Phil Spector and His Teddy Bears - 11/10/08 09:52 PM
One of the legendary men of rock music is Phil Spector. During his career he had some major accomplishments in music. A few weeks back I wrote a post on probably the most famous of those accomplishments. That article was called Phil Spector's wall of sound. I made an amusing discovery the other day, that provided me with interesting information on the man. Spector, who graduated from high school in 1958, almost immediately set about making a name for himself in the music business. Obviously, he did not start off as a high-powered producer. He started off as a band member and (8 comments)
Driveway Runoff Water - 11/07/08 09:32 AM
Last few posts I have been blogging about decay, rain, and our general condition here in the wet Pacific Northwest. In many areas we have attached garages with driveways that slope down toward the garage vehicle door. Even with the door gasket at the bottom, these doors are not even close to watertight. In the better installations, the builder's put in one or more drains to collect that water that is racing down the sloped driveway. So the builder does his or her part, but the homeowners often neglect to ever clean the drains. Before they know it, water is in the garage and has (3 comments)
Drowning in the Active Rain - 11/07/08 09:16 AM
The folks who gave the name Active Rain to their Seattle area website sure as heck picked the right name. I am in Bellingham, 100 miles north of Seattle and this year the rain has been beyond active. I have had to do a couple inspections in the rain and, honestly, it is relentless this year. On the weekend all the storm drains were blocked by the fall leaves, even though they were colorful, so water was a mile high on the street. You did not want to be a pedestrian because the splashing water from car tires would drown you. No (12 comments)
Decay at the Garage - 11/07/08 09:05 AM
Take a look at this photo. I would say that, universally, this is the most common area in which I find rot or decay.
That photo is the wood trim that is around a garage vehicle door. At least here in the northwest, the builders always have that would in contact with the concrete driveway. You know the rest of the story probably -- rain collects, the wood stays wet and the wood rots. While it is seldom the case, the builder should trim the wood so it ends about an inch over the concrete. Keep it out of the (7 comments)
How Can That Person Do this Work? - 11/06/08 09:29 PM
I am always amazed when, a week or two after an inspection, I get a call from someone who was hired to fix certain issues in my report. The person, of course, tries to act as if he or she has some clue about houses and building. But sometimes they give it away. They do not have a clue! More than once, I have had people call to ask questions about a roof such as the one pictured below. The questions are so rudimentary that they are almost laughable. For example -- "Yeah, you say here that there are shingles missing (15 comments)
Washington State Home Inspector Licensing Advisory Board - 11/06/08 08:10 AM
Rules, that will impact home inspectors and realtors in Washington State for years to come, are now being formulated by the Washington State Home Inspector Licensing Board. Yesterday, one of the critical sub-committees met -- the education committee which will make recommendations to the board regarding home inspector testing for all inspectors and education requirements for new inspectors. Standards of practice are being formulated by another committee. Especially home inspectors, who will be impacted by these rules, are encouraged to participate in some of these meetings. All full board meetings are open to the public as are the sub-committee meetings. I (5 comments)
Critical Issue -- Rot - 11/06/08 07:45 AM
Much of the decay (rot) that a home inspector sees is in non-critical locations. Sure, you do not want siding touching earth as that will lead to decay. And, over time, rot in siding can lead to major damage under the siding. However, sometimes decay is in a location that makes it a significant worry. In this case, this column, along with probably ten others in similar shape, were holding up the roof on a horse stable. When decay is present in a location that is important to structural stability, obviously, the concern becomes more urgent than when it is on the siding (6 comments)
Acorns Across America -- Whatcom County Votes 2008 - 11/04/08 03:45 PM
Our election four years ago was so riddled with suspicion, primarily the contest for governor, that the whole system of voting and tabulating votes has changed in Washington State. For example, here in Whatcom County there are no more polling places in schools, churches. You vote with a mail-in ballot, or you drop it off or, otherwise, you do not vote. Too bad, so much for running into friends at the polls. It was all Norman Rockwell like and a sign of simpler times. I had been putting off voting so got the ballot out this morning. I marked it and hopped in the truck (15 comments)
Stories Behind the Music -- The Best Voice Ever? - 11/03/08 09:59 AM
Trying to determine, historically, which singer had the best voice in the history of pop music is one of those impossible and thankless tasks. That does not mean that critics do not argue the topic. Whenever I see a list of contenders for that title -- the greatest voice in rock or soul -- one name is always near the top: Sam Cooke. Sam Cooke also wrote, or teamed up with others, in writing most of his own material. That was unusual in the 1950's. Cooke was another performer, in a long line of performers, whose life ended abruptly, prematurely and tragically. Sam (6 comments)
Window Don't You Weep for Me - 11/01/08 07:26 PM
It shouldn't be anymore, but it still surprises me when I find a job a homeowner has done, trying to be a good homeowner, and, as a result of a lack of understanding, the homeowner has messed something up. The other day, while inspecting a home, I noticed lots of caulking at the vinyl windows. Then I took yet another look. The homeowner, we hope it was not the builder, had caulked all of the weep holes. These vinyl windows have two weep holes at the bottom, one near each corner, so any rain that is intruding will be able to weep (10 comments)
Idiots in our Midst - 11/01/08 12:34 PM
Life is full of being warned about things. Some warnings make a whole lot of sense. There are other warnings that are so blatantly obvious that they have to be posted only to protect idiots. One warning that seems pretty stupid and unnecessary, that we inspectors or roofers see, is the stock safety warning on skylights. In case you were thinking it might be a fun to do so, heed my advice as one who has read the warning label -- you are not supposed to walk or dance on the glazing. Glazing, that is the clear part, you know, the window, (15 comments)
Stories Behind the Music -- Babysitter Makes Good - 11/01/08 10:27 AM
It is always good to hear of someone making good. How about a babysitter hitting the big time? This is the story of Eva Narcissus Boyd Harris. In New York City there was a group called the Cookies. The group worked with Carole King, a famous songwriter who teamed up with her husband Gerry Goffin. In 1960, Eva went to NYC to visit her brother and met the lead singer of the Cookies. A few months later she went back to audition for Carole King for a spot in the group. Carole offered Eva the job but had another thought too. (5 comments)
Washington State Home Inspector Licensing - 11/01/08 01:29 AM
It has been announced that the licensing committee of the Washington State Home Inspector Licensing Board will be meeting on Tuesday, November 18. The location is the Department of Licensing Services Office, 320 N. 85th Street, Seattle. The public is encouraged to attend and the meeting is scheduled for 9:30AM to 12:30PM. Items on the agenda include: A. Final Review and Consensus of Licensing Application Model
B. Final Discussion and Consensus on Reciprocity
C. Consensus on Licensing Procedures
D. Other Related Business
E. Adjourn Licensing board members are: David Pioli, Deb Wenneman, Steven L. Smith Steven (4 comments)
Steven L. Smith, King of the House Home Inspection, provides information for real estate buyers, sellers and real estate industry professionals.
Blog posts emphasize issues commonly found in Bellingham, WA and Whatcom County. Smith is Washington State Licensed Home inspector #207, a state licensed structural pest inspector and one of the most experienced inspectors in the northwest corner of the Pacific Northwest.
Steven L. Smith is lead instructor of home inspection at Bellingham Technical College and teaches classes for Washington State University and the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Steve was a two-term member of the state licensing board.
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