Book Review: Extremes

Extremes, book two of the Retrieval Artist series by Kristine Kathryn Rusch furthers the adventures of Miles Flint, and his former partner, Armstrong Police Detective Noelle DeRicci. In Extremes, DeRicci is sent to investigate a death on the course of the Moon Marathon. At first, it appears to be a simple case, but DeRicci quickly realizes that this death is anything but simple. Meanwhile, Miles Flint is settling into his life as a Retrieval Artist, and learning what cases he should–and shouldn’t–take. The former partners paths cross in the most unlikely of ways, but not before all of Armstrong is threatened with survival. Does Extremes live up to the promise laid out in The Disappeared, or does it fall tremendously flat?

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The Building Blog: Part 7

A Little Break

First off, we’re still on schedule to close on February 25th, 2013. That said, things have slowed down a bit in the construction. We had our second construction meeting today, December 21st, where we went over everything to date, and confirmed a lot of the things we already knew.

As far as construction goes, here’s where we stand:

  • Framing is completed
  • 2nd-story roof is fully shingled. (1st floor roof in front will be shingled after initial painting, to prevent damage to shingles)
  • HVAC ductwork is installed, and has been tested and certified
  • Plumbing and electrical wiring is finished
  • Insulation is completed

Minor Vandalism

Yesterday, when I arrived to do my daily inspection, I noticed some movement from within the house. When I entered, the rear sliding door was open (it had been closed just a minute earlier when I drove past) and there was a burned smell throughout the first floor. I noticed a couple kids walking across the street, around 14 or 15 years old, most likely. I didn’t say anything to them, but knew that they had been in the house. It turns out they were setting some of the insulation foam on fire (or trying to), and there were some black streaks where they had made the attempt. Fortunately, no real harm was done, but we mentioned it to our construction manager. He thinks they may have been responsible for some other small signs of fire they’d had in a couple of the other houses being built.

All things considered, this is kids being kids. If they really wanted to, they could cause massive damage, so the fact that they haven’t is likely them just trying to find something to do. That said, it will be a relief once they can lock up the house (quite soon, as it turns out.)

Next Construction Steps

Right after Christmas, construction will kick off again. Our drywall will be delivered on the 26th, with it being hung on the 27th. For several days after that, it’ll just be taping and floating several times, so it will appear to be going relatively slow, but it’s just a part of the process. Once they have the drywall up, they can install the garage door, and start locking up the house, to prevent the aforementioned kids from entering and causing any more trouble (we hope).

So the next major steps to take place are:

  • Drywall installation
  • Bricking of the front and sides of the house
  • Basic paint of the exterior
  • Cabinetry and trim

The exciting part will be when the brick and paint go up, and our cabinets start to show up. Then it will really start to feel like it’s our house that’s taking shape–when it no longer resembles every other house, but shows the touches we chose.

Regardless, things are moving right along, and within just a couple months, we’ll likely be closing on our first home.

Book Review: The Disappeared

Good science fiction mysteries are a rare commodity these days. Few have been able to successfully combine the two genres into some semblance of a decent story. Kristine Kathryn Rusch bucks this trend with The Disappeared, the first of the Retrieval Artist series of books. First introduced in The Retrieval Artist and Other Stories, Miles Flint is a detective with the police force in Armstrong Dome on the Moon. When a series of seemingly unrelated cases appear, Flint quickly puts together the clues to determine just what these cases have in common. Sworn to uphold the law–despite his misgivings–Detective Flint must do everything in his power to ease his conscience, while staying within the strict guidelines of the law. Can he reconcile himself in these difficult circumstances, or will he be forced to bend–or even break–the laws he’s dedicated his career to?

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The Building Blog: Part 6

From Nothing to A House

Once the foundation was poured, construction moved forward fairly quickly. A week after the foundation was poured, the framing of the house started going up. Only a week later, the house was framed, siding and windows had been installed, plywood roofing, and the plumbing and gas lines had been installed. In just about a week, we’ve gone from essentially nothing but a concrete slab, to a completely formed house, which looks now similar to what it will when it’s finished. It’s sobering, really.

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Book Review: Bowl of Heaven

For the first time, Gregory Benford and Larry Niven team up for Bowl of Heaven. The first human expedition to another habitable planet takes them across interstellar space, where they encounter an object somewhat like a Dyson Sphere–only this one encompasses half the star instead. With their ship malfunctioning, and survival questionable, they investigate the ‘bowl’ in hopes they can re-supply for the remainder of their journey. Instead, half the landing crew is captured by the aliens, and the other half is running for their lives.

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