Wednesday, 6 June 2012 06:59 by salim

Immigration officer (IO): Why are you being paroled?

Me: Adjustment of status, I work for xyz.

IO: How long you been working for xyz?

Me: 13 years

IO: Wow! That is ridiculous. If I were you, I will move back to India.

Me: That is exactly what I am doing. See?


IO: Good for you!

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It is getting closer

Monday, 6 February 2012 23:24 by salim

I don’t think anyone really believed me when I took the firm decision to write a post every day. Well, this year has been better than last one, so far.

Now, back to construction. After the post concreting pause work started a couple of weeks ago. I am still waiting for a good picture of the completed studio room, but it is apparently quite dark and hard to get to at this stage.

Arial view looking towards South-East

As expected the masonry work is progressing at a good pace. The huge mud blocks help, so does the profusion of windows. Sajan and Shobha ended up buying too many windows from someone and now trying to put it wherever possible. Thus the single bay window in the dining area became a huge bay window and a semi-circular window. I think it will look nice. But that is a lot of windows!

Crazy about windows 

I finally got dimensions of the actual built area in the basement room.


The height is still a bit iffy. The final height is supposed to be at least 11’, but depending on the final decision on flooring it could change. The current dimensions are a bit larger than the original plan I had. One good thing is that the sizes of the doors are much smaller than I thought. I am still at a loss as to how to lay out the room. Once I get some sound level measurements from ground I will start posting in groups asking for help.

I am slowly getting excited. Woohoo!!

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This is where it all will happen!

Sunday, 8 January 2012 22:59 by salim

I am still waiting for the pictures of the inside of my office/studio space after the concreting. But, since Shobha is travelling, the pictures are not gotten here yet. I do have a couple of pictures from earlier.

So, the space is 5.1m X 16.6 X 3.5 m in size. One thing I have noticed after living in the US for this long is that I have successfully changed my unit of length. I think there is something about homes and rooms though that it makes it easier to understand in feet than in meters. That is a big room. I wanted a big room and the geography of the land made it possible without too much additional cost. I want to split it into a decent size room that will double as my office and control room, a nice big live space and one or two isolation booths. This is an expensive venture and I might have to break it down to smaller pieces to make it happen. We will see.

Basement room before the celing slab.

In the John Sayers recording design forum, the preferred tool for showing sketches is Google Sketchup. I don’t have a lot of experience with 3D tools. So, the learning curve to get something meaningful done in Sketchup was a bit steep. I still don’t believe I will be able to create models anywhere near the perfection of the ones presented in that forums. But I am practicing.

Sketchup 3D model of the studio room

Now, this is a very early creation. I am still trying to figure out all the things I can do with Sketchup. My current aim is to create model decent enough to accompany a post in the recording forum. May be I will post it along with the first pictures of the interior.

I also need to get some measurements of sound levels in and around the house. I am not sure how loud those temple speakers are, they are quite loud. Right now there might not be a lot of difference between the sound pressure outside and inside the room. The two openings are quite big. They are also in a bit odd positions.

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Didn’t I say, resolutions never work

Wednesday, 4 January 2012 01:28 by salim

That is exactly what happened. Good thing though is that, it was broken only for a few days.

The problem is this. I decided to write one posting about my house construction every day reporting on its progress and any other subject that comes along with it. Unfortunately the house construction is now at one of its pause points. The basement floor slab concreting is now complete. This is how it looks now.

Basement Floor After Concreting

It will take a few days to cure and during that time another group is making adobe, the clay bricks we are using for most of the walls.

Adobe drying in the sun

One of the biggest problems we are facing is the speed of making these bricks. We need around 5000 for the ground floor, but the current speed is only around 150 per day. The space constraints make it hard to increase the output any further. Constant rain is another issue. Shobha tried real hard to get laterite blocks but it turns out to be very difficult to get good quality laterite.

Now, during this hiatus, may be I will start thinking about how I want to setup my studio. I have already created an account at the Larry Sayers (sp) website. I am preparing a detailed post for the forum. In the meanwhile I can use this space as a repository of links and information I collect during my research. Wonderful.

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Ohh The Cliché

Sunday, 1 January 2012 03:06 by salim

It is such a cliché to start/restart something like a blog on the new year’s day. And that is what I am trying to do. Yes, I know, a few days down the line, may be a couple of weeks, I will look back here and wonder why I couldn’t keep up with my decision of writing a blog every day….

Yes, that is what I am going to do. The problem with a decision like that is to find a subject every day to write about. In my life, right now, there is something happening that actually has something to report on a daily basis. We are building our home in Kerala. The construction started a couple of months ago, and it is going at a healthy pace. So, at least for the next several weeks, there will be something to write about. May be that much time would be enough to make it into a habit.

The home is also going to be our work place. Shobha has her gallery and studio in the upper floor of the house. I have my office/studio in the basement. The house will be mostly built from mud, recycled wood and bamboo, except for the basement floor which is granite with filler slab ceiling.

View of the foundation - facing north-east

It is a bit unusual to have a basement floor in Kerala. The main reason for choosing to have a basement floor is the nuisance from the nearby temple. Every day there is few hours of blaring noise that is barely music from their megaphones. And for every kind of auspicious day, which we have no dearth of, it becomes a 12 hour affair. The noise is so high that you cannot even think. Since I am strongly pushing for having a decent semi-pro audio studio, noise insulation was a big problem. By putting all the mass of the surrounding earth from the three parts and the granite wall on the east it should stop most noises.

Originally the walls were to be made from adobe bricks. But, practical concerns like space to dry the bricks and speed of making them has forced us to look at other options. Laterite is something we are pursuing, but there also availability is a problem. I personally want to avoid bricks because there is a little too much energy expenditure in making them that is not really needed for the structural requirements of the building.

Mid floor ceiling is the other concern. Bamboo is an option, recycled wood ceilings (മച്ച്), recycled wooden beams and bamboo ply, etc. We will soon come to a decision, most likely end up using more than one.

It looks like we do have some agile methodologies being applied in this project. Now, what I am not sure is how these agile methodologies will affect the final result as well as the other parameters of the project like time and cost. We will see I guess.

Yea, I know, it is January 1 and supposed to wish everyone. But it is just an arbitrary date on an arbitrarily chosen calendar. There will be more days. Hopefully, each of them will also have a post from me.

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