Possibly the most boring One Smoot post ever, unless you're as big of a dork as I am

But since you're reading this, chances are pretty good. Anyway, I seem to be nearing the homestretch in my bathroom renovation repairs.

(See, the City of Boston doesn't like renovations, because those add to the value of your house, so then they want to come out and assess them. Repairs seem to be fine though, even though they inevitably also will add to the value of your house. Mortgage lenders, on the other hand, consider periodic replacement of fixtures and so forth to be "maintenance" and don't want to hear about it unless you do major gutting. So this entry will just talk about how I was poking around at my bathroom fixtures and tile to check out some water damage that had occurred due to improper installations of things throughout the bathroom, so then I had to repair said damage, as well as the damage from my poking around. And my repairs just happened to be much more attractive than the previous state of the bathroom. I can't help it if I have good taste.)

So here's the bathroom before:

Bathroom: before

The entire thing was covered in godawful off-white tile, along with off-white fixtures. The place came with gold faucets, door hardware, towel bars, and toilet paper holder, plus a gold-trimmed oak mirrored bigass medicine cabinet thing and matching soap dishes and toothbrush holders. The medicine cabinet and all the accessories were taken down within hours of buying the place. Shortly after, I put up a normal mirror and towel bars, but didn't do much else for a few years.

My flickr set has more details about looking for water damage, finding it, how just about everything in the bathroom was installed wrong, and so forth. Here's a lovely pic:

Bathroom: during

I'll spare the details for those who aren't total DIY geeks (some are in my flickr, or feel free to e-mail me), but here's an almost-done picture, taken tonight:

Bathroom: after

IKEA Freden vanity (which is on closeout!), Höllviken sink, Apelskär faucet, Molger shelf. Still loving the fishy shower curtain I bought years ago. I'll put the mirror back up once the paint dries completely, and then probably going to get some Molger or Grundtal wall shelves. I'm going to swap out the toilet in a few weeks (nothing fancy, just one that's white rather than off white, and which I plan to install properly so it doesn't get all effed up like the current one). When I'm rich (um, yeah), I'm going to replace the tub with a deeper one with jets and redo the tile. Word.

EDITED TO ADD: This is a later "after" photo, taken since I put up the mirror and put stuff on the shelf. Click through to my flickr to see more after photos as they appear.

Bathroom: before Bathroom: after
Before and after, side by side

Tollbooth worker goes postal

I was driving on the Pike back into Boston this morning with my friend Brian. As we approached the Allston/Brighton tolls, we noticed that one booth had a red light, but people were lining up anyway. This of course resulted in the usual idiocy of people realizing they'd gotten into a closed lane and wanting out of that lane. They either did this by either being so timid that no one really believed they wanted to move over, or suddenly yanking the wheel and swerving out of the lane without looking where they were going. I think I might have seen one person change lanes appropriately. Oh, and every time someone moved out of that lane, someone from one of the other two (green light) lanes would over course jump at the opportunity and swerve over into the now-vacated spot in the line, which had of course closed in in the meantime. Lovely.

As we got closer, we saw that the line with the red light was actually taking tolls. When we got to our booth (I'd just stayed in my line the whole time, since I have this rare gift of recognizing that the way to get through the lines fastest is to just fucking stay put), I mentioned to our toll collector that the next lane over had its red light on, which seemed to be confusing people. He looked back at the traffic, said, "oh yeah, you're right...thanks, I'll mention it to her." He gave me my change, and as we took off, I heard him shout across the lane, "Hey, your light's on red, asshole!"

I really hope these two know each other.

Anyone know where I can find a House of Pizza around here?

This is a little project I've been doing, in which I take photos of Houses of Pizza.

The rules are simple:

1) The name on the sign must be "[Locality] House of Pizza," in that order, with no exceptions. Any sort of name of a nearby neighborhood or landmark qualifies as a locality.

2) The photo must be taken by me. Feel free to suggest houses for me to visit, but don't bother sending me photos of HoP that I didn't personally visit and photograph.

Oh, and I suppose I'm limiting it to Massachusetts, though if I happened to spot one somewhere else, I probably wouldn't be above shooting and posting it.

So far I've been told to visit the Millis House of Pizza and the Milford House of Pizza. I also seem to have deleted my picture of Andrew Square House of Pizza, so I need to take that one again.

I should mention that I've never eaten at a HoP, and I'm not sure I plan to. Most of my informants who've clued me in to the existence of a HoP in their neighborhood have also mentioned that the place was terrible. Just adds to the intrigue, as far as I'm concerned.

Fun story about them guerrilla gay bar folks

Rundown of what happened when they took over Bell in Hand, here.

Dear humanity: "people of faith" does not refer only to Christians. Thanks.

This website from care2.com links to a booklet using Christian principles to illustrate how environmentalism is a Christian issue and why followers of Christ need to care about the environment. The campaign is a great idea, except for one thing: the Care2 e-mails and website refer to the campaign being geared toward "people of faith" and "G-d's creations" and "believers in G-d."

Christianity is not the only faith nor the only group of people who believe in G-d -- this is especially true considering the booklet itself comes from the National Council of Churches. They've generally been a very inclusive and pro-interfaith organization, and they certainly don't tend to be folks who hold the view that Christians are the only valid faith or the only true believers.

The booklet itself is great, and I'd recommend checking it out. The NCC folks who launched the campaign seem to have been really clear that it's geared toward Christians and is rooted in Christian theology. Apparently though, the Care2 people think "Christian" is a dirty word or something. I'm wondering if maybe they thought "people of faith" was more inclusive than "Christian," but the way they use it, it's actually just offensive, since you then click through to a book that's clearly Christian. Why not just say that it's a Christian campaign?

Massachusetts Department of Revenue wtf

I just got this letter from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue saying I owe personal income tax from 2004. Which has been accruing interest since 2004. Which they apparently need from me so badly that they waited three years to say anything.

I checked my copy of my return, and I ended up owing tax in 2004, which I paid. No, the letter doesn't explain which figures from my return they're disputing or anything -- just that I owe them money, plus interest, and I need to pay it by next week. As far as I know, they could be completely pulling this out of their asses. I'm not about to pay taxes that they're not even telling me what they're for.

There's an option for filing an appeal. So I went on the website, downloaded the form, and, um, wtf? The form requires that I list the line items on the tax return that I dispute their assessment of. Well, gee, I'm not sure which line items those would be, since they didn't send a copy of how they calculated that I owe them money. All I suppose I can really do is send them a copy of my tax return showing them the figures I believe to be correct, but isn't that what I did when I filed it in the first place?

Which leads me to another question: are there actually people who would just see this bill and pay it? I mean, I suppose there are a handful of people out there who knowingly left out a 1099 or something and would see the bill and realize it caught up with them, but as far as I know, I filed my taxes correctly. There's no way I'm paying this unless they can actually show me something that I overlooked or entered in two places or whatever it is they think I did.

One Smoot Short: your source for caffeine-related news

Also, my last two posts seem to be about coffee places. Maybe I should start a weekly caffeine feature or something.

Sign that the apocalypse is coming

They've put a second Dunkin Donuts in at North Station. Like, inside the part of the station where the first one is. Like, 50 feet away from the other one. Like, you could throw a donut and hit the new Dunkies.

I recommend this.