Thursday, August 21, 2008

More Progress

The project hit a bit of a snag recently, when the city's engineering department raised an issue with the prefabricated roof trusses that had been used. As I understand it, the trusses were manufactured to the version of the California State Uniform Building Code which took effect on January 1, 2008, while the city expected them to be built to the previously used code which was in effect when the project was designed and approved. This resulted in a three week delay while the project's engineer of record, the truss manufacturer's engineers and the city's engineers went back and forth just to be sure that the place wouldn't come down on our heads during the next great earthquake. The guy who was installing the air conditioning ductwork in the attic when a 5.4 maginitude quake struck on July 29, could have settled the matter by telling them what he told me, "It was quite a ride, but this place moved as a solid unit, no creaking, rattling…nothing!" That's good enough for me. The entire matter is close to resolution though. The project's engineer has certified that the truss calculations are good, and submitted a letter which has been forwarded to the city's engineering department. Perhaps simply sending an envelope full of $100 bills would have been more efficient!

With that issue out of the way now, insulation, roofing, drywalling and stuccoing can commence. The kitchen cabinets are on hand, volunteers have been lined up to help with the painting, the floor material has been purchased and things are ready to move at a brisk pace shortly.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Engineer Bill

Bill Stulla passed away on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 at the age of 97. He was better known as "Engineer Bill" to kids who grew up in the Los Angeles area during the 50s and early 60s. He hosted an afternoon cartoon show on KHJ channel 9 seated with two young guests behind an American Flyer train layout. This Los Angeles Times obit tells the story quite well.

This video recalls the experience of watching the show precisely.

My appearance on the Engineer Bill show, 1959.

I watched this show religiously…until I was on it. The train layout that was so impressive on TV didn't even measure up to the one I had in my bedroom. I had asked for a refrigerator car in my letter, but instead was sent a Maine Central boxcar that was lettered on only one side. When we played Red Light, Green Light I kicked that little girl's butt, yet they gave her the same prizes that I had "won" moments earlier. Didn't seem fair to me. After being on the show, I never watched it again.

Forgive me Bill.

They sure don't make kids' shows like that anymore.