Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween from Eric Three Thousand!

Here's our pumpkin! Last night I carved him up, ripped out his guts, toasted them with olive oil and kosher salt, and then served them with fava beans and a nice Chianti. Poor guy didn't know what hit him but the pumpkin seeds were good! Our first Halloween in the new house; I hope we get lots of trick-or-treaters! Have fun! [Update: we didn't get a single trick-or-treater; apparently they skip the townhomes and go to the nearby multi-million-dollar houses. What do we do with all this stupid candy?!]

New posts on Eric Three Thousand!

Make sure to go over to Other Eric's blog to read exciting news about our swimming pool!

Read my post below about the Republican power grab in California!

Read my recent updates on the home remodel!

Read about our cruise to the Mexican Riviera!

Also, I've enabled the word verification in my comments section because I've gotten some SPAM recently. Sorry for the inconvenience; please keep commenting!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

How do you get a Republican elected president when the majority of Americans vote for the Democrat?

(Besides getting your friends on the Supreme Court to stop all the votes from being counted.) You pay for a ballot measure in California that would result in up to 40% of our electoral college votes going to the Republican, which would virtually guarantee a Republican win.

I mentioned this possibility earlier this year when I wrote about the National Popular Vote but now it might actually happen. This ballot measure could get on the ballot in California next year and people might vote for it because they don't understand what it means.

The voters will be told that it's a more fair system because, instead of all our electoral votes going to one candidate, they would be split up according the votes in congressional districts. And on the surface that is more fair (although only slightly, because congressional districts are gerrymandered and don't accurately reflect the popular vote, either). But obviously it isn't fair because it means a Democratic state would be giving up a lot of electoral votes while Republican states keep all theirs. And Republicans should remember that it could happen in a Republican state, so they shouldn't be too thrilled about this. It's basically a way to make sure the election of the president has absolutely nothing to do with what the American people want.

The only way that would be fair would be if all the states did it at the same time. But, as I said, that would still be a mess because of the gerrymandering of congressional districts. The only real solution is the National Popular Vote. (But that's not the topic of this post.)

So how would such a ballot measure that would almost guarantee a Republican win actually pass in a state that votes Democratic? Two ways:

It will be sold as a "fairness in voting" measure, or something like that. People who don't understand the consequences or even how the electoral college works may think it does sound more fair. Independents who might vote Democratic much of the time but don't like living in a state that is solidly Democratic might think it sounds like a good idea because they might think it would make the state more independent. But, of course, it doesn't make the state more independent; it only makes it useful to the Republican party.

The other way it could pass is that old standby of the Republican party: low voter turnout. Republicans love low voter turnout because the majority of Americans are moderates who would lean to the left if they were forced to make a decision but most of those people don't care enough about the issues to actually vote. People on the extreme left and right are more likely to vote but there are more people on the extreme right than on the left (even though, as I've said, the majority of the Americans are moderates who lean left on many issues). So this is why Republicans love bad weather on election day: they know they can get out their radical voters and many moderates will stay home. (This is also why they put things like anti-gay measures on the ballot: most people, often including those backing the measures, don't care about the issue but Republicans know it will bring out the religious extremists in large numbers and they can use that skewed voter turnout to accomplish other, more important things. This is also why a few Republicans are opposed to the National Popular Vote: because it would increase voter turnout and that scares them.) In the case of this ballot measure, it won't end up on the primary ballot, when people will actually vote; it will end up on some weird midterm election that nobody will bother with. This will give a huge advantage to the minority Republicans in the state.

But before it gets on the ballot it needs signatures. It will probably get the signatures because getting signatures is no problem if you can pay for it. It has been demonstrated that people will sign petitions for anything. People collecting the signatures are getting paid for it and the ballot measures never sound like what they will actually do. So they'll get the signatures.

But still, DON'T SIGN THIS PETITION! If you are asked to sign something for "fairness in voting" or something similar, DO NOT SIGN IT! You will be signing to guarantee a Republican president in the next election. If you know people in California, tell them not to sign this petition.

Actually, it is a good idea to never sign petitions for ballot measures since they are usually bullshit. I'll get into my hatred of ballot measures and the mess they've made in California in another post. Until then, stay away from this petition and, when it does get on the ballot (and it will), make sure you go to the polls (even if it is inconvenient; even if it means missing part of American Idol) and vote against it!

Thank you!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Searching for a stud and other adventures in remodeling!

Sorry it's been so long! I really want to be good about posting at least once a week; otherwise, I'm afraid I'll get out of the habit. But the past two weeks have been so busy. We came back from our holiday and, like most people, we had so much to catch up on. And by 'so much to catch up on' I mean we had so much recorded television to watch. No, just kidding. There was a lot to catch up on at work and we came back to the unfinished house. And then, on top of that, a friend asked me to write the essay for his exhibition catalog and it had to be written in a week! It was such a great opportunity so I said I would do it even though I was feeling really overwhelmed with everything else I had to do.

Anyway, I finished the essay; that's what I did last weekend instead of blogging. Then this weekend Eric and I were going crazy on the house, trying to finish up a few more major projects before next weekend, when his parents come to town. They aren't staying with us but we want the place to look somewhat finished so they don't think we're living in a total shithole.

There were a couple of things I've been putting off for too long. One was putting up bookshelves. It didn't seem that high a priority but I knew that once I put them up there would be so much less crap sitting around on the floor. The shelves actually came with the house but they were in another room. They were nice solid wood and they perfectly fit the wall in our second bedroom so I thought I would reuse them. I got a stud finder at Lowe's and nearly drove myself crazy searching for the studs. Maybe the $100 stud finders work well but this $10 piece of crap was really annoying. It took hours and I still wasn't sure where they were.
Can someone tell me where the studs are?!
Larry Craig: "Why does everyone keep asking me that? How would I know? I'm not gay!"
Whatever. Anyway, I got the damn shelves up today and I was on to the next job.

I still haven't gotten to the lighting in my bathroom (in other words I don't have lights in my bathroom) but there was one major lighting job I had to get done. We had been putting it off for months, trying to figure out what to do about the lighting over the kitchen sink. I had torn down the hanging cabinets between the kitchen and dining room, which really opened up the space and looks great but it left a hole in the ceiling and a metal electrical tube hanging down (Eric referred to it as the elephant dong).

We decided we wanted three recessed lights over the sink area. It didn't seem like a big deal. We had a big electrical company come out for an estimate, which cost $99. Now I know why they charge to come out: because they know nobody is crazy enough to have them actually do the work. Never pay for an estimate! This was a major company and we wanted it taken care of so I decided to just try them but their prices are outrageous.

So the outrageously expensive electrician came out and I told him I wanted three recessed lights and this is what he said to me:

Outrageously Expensive Electrician: "You know what would look really hot? Three pendant lights hanging down over the breakfast bar. I think that would look really hot!"

I am not Paris Hilton. I do not need my kitchen to look hot. So I told him I just wanted three recessed lights and, after telling me all the amazing things he was going to do (like replace the outlets and switches), he told me it would cost ... wait for it ... TWENTY FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS!!!

Yeah; that's not hot.
I can't afford that! So after outrageously expensive electrician left, the guy plastering the ceiling in the garage from the repaired pipe (we had water pouring into the garage from a broken pipe the week we moved in) said he's a handyman and I should call him if I ever need any other work done. So I had him come upstairs and he said he would do it for about $300. That seemed more like and I told him I'd probably give him a call.

I tried calling him when we got back from our holiday but his phone message was so unprofessional I didn't leave a message. The message was something to the effect of "If you called, you know who this is. Do your thing at the tone and remember..." I don't remember what the last part was. Something like "keep it real" except the kids don't say that anymore, right? Actually, after I hung up I decided to just leave a message anyway but when I called back someone yelled at me. It sounded like a woman saying "he's not here!" but I'm not sure.

So then I was back where I started. I decided to try to do it myself:

Other Eric: "You can do it!"

That's just the support I needed! OK, I'll give it a try!

What happened next was me standing in the lighting section of Home Depot staring blankly at hundreds of different pieces of recessed-lighting equipment, none of which seemed to go together. Seriously, you need three different pieces but I couldn't find the three pieces that actually match each other:

Other Eric: "Why don't you ask someone?"

And surrender my manhood? Never!

Instead, we grabbed a kit that really wasn't what I wanted but at least all the pieces were there. Putting it up was much easier than picking it out. First I shut off most of the circuits because I didn't know which one controlled the light (I couldn't test it because there was no light there anymore). Then I cut the hole in the ceiling with a keyhole saw and it almost replaced the hole that was already there. After I hooked up the wires it went up into the ceiling pretty easily. I turned all the breakers back on and ...

The light worked! Believe me, no one was more surprised than I was! So it's only one light instead of three but it lights up the sink area and I saved about $2,480 by putting it up myself!
But I can't help looking at it and thinking, "You know what would look really hot? ..."

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Erics of the Mexican Riviera: at world's end!

Yes, a week after we moved in to our new house, we took the vacation we planned at the beginning of the year. I wanted to go snorkeling in the Caribbean and Eric wanted to take a cruise to Alaska so we compromised and took a cruise to the Mexican Riviera.

We took an eight day cruise on the Golden Princess round trip from Los Angeles to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas. As some of you may know from reading Other Eric's blog, he was thrilled to be on the "Love Boat" and I got a little snorkeling in so we had a great time!

In case any of you are thinking of taking a similar cruise, I will give you my review of the vacation:

We drove down to San Pedro (Long Beach) and did the whole embarkation thing. It wasn't too bad; kind of like a good day at the airport. We had a balcony stateroom (you have to call it a stateroom) and it was really nice! We have been in hotel rooms that were smaller than this so we were completely comfortable. The bathroom was pretty nice but larger people might have a little trouble maneuvering in it. Eric thought about getting a mini-suite, which had a small sofa, but I thought that was unnecessary; the important thing was the balcony. Having the balcony was totally worth it! We sat out there and had some wonderful views; we even watched dolphins jumping right outside our room!

We were on deck 11 (Eric kept correcting me when I called them "floors"), which was the Baja deck, and we were toward the back. It was a very good location; we could look down on the decks below but nobody could see down onto our balcony; and the buffet was just two decks up, almost directly above us.

Our balcony and room were very quiet; we couldn't really hear all the partying on the decks above. And the ship really didn't feel crowded, even though there were three thousand people aboard. People warned us that it would feel like too many people but the ship was so big, there was plenty of space; in fact there were many places on the ship that were completely deserted.

However, as big as the ship was, it still wasn't as big as I expected. I was especially disappointed with the shopping. It wasn't that I wanted to do a lot of shopping but the brochures seemed to go on and on about it and it clearly stated that anything I forgot, I would be able to find on board. I was expecting a complete shopping mall on that ship! Maybe at least a drug store. Well, no; there were two jewelry shops, a perfume shop, and a souvenir shop like you would find in an airport. I did manage to find a small bag to take on our shore excursions and I also found some sunblock but the selection was really limited.

The dining was pretty good. We ate at the buffet a lot; like I said, it was very close to our room so it was very convenient; we could even grab things and take it back to our room (oops, I mean stateroom). I had a continental breakfast delivered the first morning because I thought it would be nice to just hang out on the balcony before I ventured out. It was pointless because you could get much nicer things to eat right upstairs. We didn't order any other room service because the menu was very limited and there was just no point. Some of the food at the buffet was bad but most was edible and some of it was really delicious; this was definitely not Hometown Buffet.

I think I ate five or six meals a day! Apparently cruising makes me very hungry; I really stuffed myself. I swear I must have gained at least four and a half ounces! (Seriously, I can't wait to go to the gym and see if I actually gained any weight.)

We ate in the regular dining room twice. The food wasn't bad. We got the "personal choice" dining, which meant we just went to the dining room whenever we wanted to instead of having a regular time and table. We actually think we might like to try traditional dining next time. The first night we were placed at a table for eight and it was a little unpleasant because the table was too big to really have conversations with total strangers. The second time we went to the dining room we were at a table for six, which was much better. We had a nice time talking with the two other couples. Of course, it was also later in the cruise so we were a little more comfortable. You can also request to sit alone but that seems so unsociable and not very cruise-like so I'm glad we did the group seating thing a couple of times to get the full cruise experience.

I've learned that you don't bother introducing yourself by name on a cruise. You tell people where you are from and ask them where they are from (sorry about ending those phrases with prepositions but I just don't know how else to say it). You can, of course, exchange names but it really isn't necessary since you will never see these people again. It seemed strange to me at first but it makes perfect sense. Where you are from (sorry again) seems to be the most important thing to people on a cruise. The staff all have their country of nationality on their badges (interestingly, I don't think any of them, from waiters to captain, were American). Many guests seemed to be from the Los Angeles area, where the cruise originated, but I think most people came from elsewhere, many from other countries. This is a little surprising because one of the reasons Eric and I took this cruise was because we didn't have to fly anywhere, which adds one more annoyance to a vacation.

Oh, so back to the food: there are two specialty restaurants on the Golden Princess: an Italian restaurant called Sabatini's and a steak house. You pay $15 and $20 extra to eat at these restaurants. I can't recommend Sabatini's ... highly enough! Hah, got you! No, really, it was fantastic! I'm sure it wasn't the best food in the world but we really enjoyed it; it looked like the menu at a normal Italian restaurant but the difference is you get all of it! You get something like eight courses of lots of little things (the only thing that was bad was the gnocchi) and my main course of lobster was delicious. The steak house was a dud. My wine glass was dirty, my spinach-artichoke dip appetizer was more like soup, and I couldn't eat my steak. I don't eat much meat anyway but I do occasionally love a good fillet minion. The dessert was OK but by that time I wasn't very happy.

Anyway, in general, I was pretty satisfied with the food. It was nice to be able to just eat whenever and whatever you wanted without thinking about how much it was costing. The drinking, of course, is a little different. I think everyone knows "that's how they get you." Eric hardly drinks and I have about one drink a day so this wasn't a problem for us but there were people onboard drinking from ten in the morning until they went to sleep at night and they must have spent at least $100 a day on booze. The nice thing is they really don't gauge you; the drinks cost what they would at any bar. But they should at least give you free soft drinks. You do get free iced tea, coffee, and what I hope is filtered water.

So I signed up for shore excursions for our three port days:

Other Eric: "We're supposed to be relaxing; not running all over the place."

Me: "Don't worry; they'll be plenty of time to just sit in our room doing nothing."

Cut to the trip:

Other Eric: "What are we going to do now?"

Me: "Can't we just sit and read?"

Other Eric: "We can't just sit around!"

What I'm trying to say is I was forced to watch "Licensed to Wed." In fact, I think this whole trip may have been an elaborate ruse just to get me to watch a Robin Williams movie.

Slightly better than "Licensed to Wed" were the onboard shows. They were pretty bad. I know traditionally these shows were meant to keep people busy as they traveled from one place to another but I thought they were supposed to be better now. These were definitely just a way to relieve boredom. Most of the singers couldn't sing. In the first show, of Broadway songs, one woman did a very good version of "On My Own" from Les Miserables but the tap dancing numbers were ridiculous. The next night we saw a silly magic show; how many times do we need to see a woman being levitated to old Prince songs? Then we saw a ventriloquist; I was sure I would hate it but I actually thought the guy was pretty funny (actually, Eric grew up watching this guy on a children's show in Arizona). The final show we saw was another "big production" show. This one was of movie songs. It was better than the Broadway show but not by much. There was one amazingly bad number that I referred to the the "Cirque du Celine" number: a truly bizarre interpretation of "Windmills of My Mind" with dancers hanging from fabric:

Other Eric: "I'll never be able to listen to that song again."

OK, so young hot guys dancing around in their underwear? Yeah, I get that part. I'm totally down with that. But it wasn't enough to make up for that singing and arrangement.

In Puerto Vallarta we took a boat trip and went snorkeling in a cove and then went to a little fishing village called Yelapa. The little village only got electricity a few years ago and is only accessible by boat. It was very interesting. We hiked up and went swimming under a waterfall. The crew on this Yelapa tour were amazing and we all had a really good time (I even survived being forced to join a conga line). If you like to drink, this trip would be a very good value for you. People got a LOT of free alcohol; I'm sure if they had that many drinks on the ship it would have cost them much more than the $80 excursion price. It was really a full, fun day and I highly recommend this tour. Oh, the water was really warm but pretty murky because there had recently been a storm. I still got to see some pretty fish but you couldn't see very far. Also, on the walk back from the waterfall we had to walk through this stream that probably is usually easy to cross but because of the recent rain, it was waist high and really wide. I was a little worried that some of the older people on the tour were not going to make it across and I was also worried Eric would drop his camera. But everything was OK and it ended up turning it into more of an adventure.

In Mazatlan we took the Sierra Madre tour, which was a bus trip two thousand feet up into the mountains, where we visited two little villages and had a delicious lunch (for some reason, the only Mexican food of the entire trip). The mountains were beautiful. The plant life was very strange; it was like a combination of rain forest and desert, with jungle vines covering cacti. We really enjoyed this tour, too, and it was a nice, more relaxing day. Oh, and apparently you are supposed to buy vanilla in Mazatlan. So I did. You are also supposed to buy silver but what do I need with silver? Every other person on the street is trying to sell you silver chains for a dollar. Seriously, how many silver chains could anybody possibly need? In my case it's exactly zero but, assuming you did need silver chains, would you really need to buy more of them every few feet?

In Cabo we took another boat tour, this one was snorkeling in Chileno Bay off a catamaran. The water was much nicer is Cabo; not quite as warm as Puerto Vallarta but much clearer. I saw some pretty fish but Chileno Bay was a little crowded. This was only a half day tour and the crew were definitely not as good as the Puerto Vallarta crew and the tour was the same price. So we thought the Puerto Vallarta tour was a much better value but the water was so much better in Cabo we still enjoyed it. I can see why Cabo is such a popular tourist site; it's really beautiful. We'd like to go back.

On our last sea day I got a massage and a facial. I found the spa treatments a little confusing but it was very relaxing and my skin looks a little better. However, I expected to look ten years younger and I don't. Oh, well.

After a massage you are supposed to avoid alcohol so I went to a wine tasting. The time was listed incorrectly in the daily schedule so I showed up half an hour late and they were already three wines into the six we were being offered. Several of the wines were very good but I really didn't learn anything about wine and I also thought it was going to be pairing wine with food but it wasn't. Like I said, it was a nice opportunity to try some expensive wines but this experience was still disappointing.

We also went to an art auction. It was kind of fun but the art was really awful. I know I am not the intended audience of this art but it would have been nice if they had actually had something good.

Disembarkation was pretty easy. Our time to disembark was 9:00 AM and by 11:00 we were back in the San Fernando Vally. So it was really not as bad as we had been told.

Eric decided pretty quickly into the trip that we are "cruise people." I would cruise again but I'm not sure we are "cruise people." We don't really love talking to strangers, I don't enjoy most of the activities on the ship, I don't like sitting in the sun in a deck chair, the pools are not very nice, the entertainment is crap, we don't drink much, we went to bed too early to experience the night-life, we didn't do any onboard shopping, and we don't gamble. I do like looking at the ocean, however, and it was nice to get somewhere without flying but I don't know if that's enough to make us "cruise people."

So, we had a wonderful time. The weather was very hot and humid but we missed the storms. The cruise was relaxing but we also did some really fun things. We only saw Mexico on guided tours but we got to see some small villages instead of the cities. We would probably cruise again. We don't know if the next one will be a Princess cruise to Alaska or a Disney cruise to the Caribbean.

Check out Other Eric's blog for a slide show he put together and should be posting soon!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Top Chef: Miami: Not in Miami: Special double finale recap!

OK, so I missed last week but it was really just the first half of the finale so I'm just going to pretend that I planned to wait and recap it all at once. You'll never know the difference.

Oh, wait, pretend I didn't just write that.

So last week they did the whole Brokeback Mountain thing:

Tom: "Howie, I wish I could quit you."

Oh, stop that. No, there was none of that going on. Just the cowboy part and cooking by a mountain stream. It was pretty much a disaster but judge Eric Ripert was impressed by some sauce Hung made:

Ripert: "You maded it yourself?"

Aw, he's so adorably French. Somehow Casie wins the quickfire and gets the chance to use her special ingredients in the elimination challenge, which she decides not to do because her Asian ingredients don't go with the cowboy challenge.

So, for the elimination challenge they have to cook for lots of hungry cowboys and cowgirls who are pretending to come in from a hard day's work. Oh, yeah, and they have to cook elk, or something weird like that:

Casie: "Well, I'm from Texas so ..."

Say no more. We understand.

I forget exactly what happened next. I think Hung's flavors were off because he wasn't cooking for cowboys and Brian had too many ingredients:

Ripert: "And he made us choose our own cheese! That's his job as chef!"

Padma: "Yeah, I don't have time to be choosing my own cheese! Just cheese me, already!"

Actually, I would love to be given the option of stinky cheese or no stinky cheese but, since I think both those cheeses were pretty stinky, I don't see why he didn't just go with one of them. Brian is out.

I think Dale and Casie did well, though Casie's elk was really rare:

Ripert: "No, that was raw. That was elk sashimi."

Dale wins the opportunity to cook with Eric Ripert, I think for some charity event. Congratulations, Dale! It's about time.

Now, on to the live Top Chef finale!

For the finale, the chefs are taken to the top of Mount Everest, where water doesn't boil, souffles don't rise, and Casie's head explodes:

Casie: "Ow."

OK, not really. The producers of Top Chef did something even more spectacular: They secretly moved the entire city of Aspen into the Bravo studios in Chicago just so they could do a live broadcast!

Me: "Why didn't you just film the live broadcast in Aspen?"

Padma: "We didn't think of that."

So the "live" broadcast is really just the taped final challenge and Padma standing in front of a studio audience telling us over and over again that it's a live broadcast. How exciting.

For the final challenge the chefs are cooking at some fancy schmancy club in Aspen:

Padma: "This is a very exclusive club. I could get in but none of you could. To become a member you have to pay $100,000 a year and allow Dick Cheney to shoot you in the face during a quail hunt."

Chefs: "Sounds worth it."

Padma: "Oh, it is."

For the first day of prep work, the chefs get three of our fabulous guest judges to work as their sous chefs. I forget their names but trust me, they are big deals. The next day they get new sous chefs (CJ, Sara, and Howie) and they have to add a fourth course to the meal, with only an hour to go:

Other Eric: "Ooh, it's just like Project Runway, when they have to make an extra outfit at the last minute and they get an eliminated contestant to help make it."

Casie and Dale make another protein dish, while Hung goes for it and makes a dessert for the fourth course. Good for him. As I've said before, I want my damn dessert!

Two courses go to Hung and two courses go to Dale:

Tom: "It's a tough decision but one thing is certain: Casie is not the winner."

Casie: "I can hear you, you know. I'm standing right here."

It really was hard because Casie made a lot of mistakes but none of her dishes were complete disasters, while Dale had a couple of stand-out dishes but he also made one that Tom thought was inedible. Hung had three strong courses but the judges weren't wowed by his dessert. Apparently his chocolate cake was very good but not exciting. More of a problem, in my opinion was that it didn't go with his Vietnamese menu. But it was good so I think he should have gotten credit for making dessert. I think four protein dishes in a row is a bit much.

So who won?

Padma: "We're here in front of a live studio audience. I don't know why. If you don't live on the East Coast you aren't watching live, anyway. And most of you are just recording it and watching it tomorrow, you ungrateful losers. Why do I even bother?"

Tom: "Thank you for that gracious introduction Padma. This was a really tough decision. All three of you did such a good job."

Casie: "Everyone already knows I lost, Tom."

Tom: "Oh, yeah. Well, it was a really tough decision between Dale and Hung."

Padma: "Congratulations ..."

[Padma stares blankly at the camera for several minutes]

Padma: "... Hung!"

He deserved it. He was really strong during the entire competition and he didn't screw up any of his courses during the finale. It's nice to see this not be a popularity contest, for a change.

Thanks for reading! This was a pretty good season. Coming soon: Project Runway!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Pardon our dust!

We did finally watch last week's Top Chef last night and I promise I'll write something soon but we just finished moving out of our apartment yesterday. Whew; that's done! The moving company actually came last Monday but we still had some things to get out of there (some china we didn't want the movers to smash, some stuff we wanted to take to GoodWill, etc.).

So obviously the new house is filled with boxes and junk is everywhere, though it's starting to look better. The dishwasher is still sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor (and we have no hot water in the kitchen, which makes it hard to wash dishes) but the rest of the appliances are in. I finally got my bathroom to a state where I could take a shower (no lights and there is still horrible floral wallpaper but I cleaned it up enough so it could be used). I was just standing there enjoying my new shower, liking the water pressure, thinking that the shower head is actually high enough that I can stand under it (unlike the other bathroom), and generally feeling good when Other Eric runs in:

Other Eric: "Get out of the shower! Water is pouring into the garage!"

It's almost humorous. Almost.

The other shower seemed fine, for some reason. But then when I tried to do laundry the same thing happened. Fortunately, we have a plumber out here now tearing down the ceiling in the garage and cutting out the cracked drain pipe. Why, after half a century, would the pipe crack the week we move in? Anyway, the good news is that nothing was really damaged (we would have been very upset if our new bamboo floors were ruined) and our home warranty should cover it.

More updates to come!