Feb. 20th, 2017

Home early

Feb. 20th, 2017 12:17 am
howeird: (Default)
Last night was horrible. Bedtime, I felt like I was coming down with a cold, not too surprising because I was out in the cold and wind a lot. My first pit stop I was shaking like a leaf, which I blamed on the illness, but it also is a symptom of low blood sugar. Kind of ruled that out because dinner was high in sugars and starch, and I didn't shoot up any more insulin than average.

The other theory is it was chilly in the room, so I looked at the thermostat and it was off. Turned it on and set it for 70. Or maybe 72. Next time I woke up the chills were gone, but OCD was there to replace them. I was up to look on Amazon for a Nikon lens. The fast 50mm I shot the Hmong exhibit with is old and doesn't auto-expose very well -- after a few shots I switched to manual mode. It was built for a pre-automatic camera, the f-stop ring actually works, but not on the newer cameras, which error out if it's not at the highest setting.

Did not find what I was looking for. What I did find was either too bulky or too expensive or both. I shouldn't be buying toys, anyway. I can always pull out the D90 and use its DX 35mm lens.

Woke up way too many times. As the morning progressed, the pillows went from heavenly to rockyard. Most wake-ups I checked the webcams, and saw that Spook was restless too. She was on the livingroom floor, on the guest room futon, the bedroom cat bed and the porch-view cat tree. I had closed the bathroom door before I left, hoping she would sleep on the bed, but she didn't.

Finally 9 am rolled around, I got dressed and went next door for the buffet breakfast. It was a pretty nice buffet, similar to a mainstream hotel's. Scrambled eggs, sausages, potatoes, a variety of juices. Only two problems: no plates and nowhere to sit. I saw people with to-go boxes, but none were set out. I finally got one from a staffer.

It was drizzling on the walk over there, so Plan B was invoked. I fired up the Amtrak app and changed my reservation to 12:10.

Ate in the room, watched TV, and spent way too much time on the crapper. Blaming that on the impending illness. At about 11, when my tummy agreed, I checked out and walked down the block and across the street to the train station, and spent another round in the loo. There was someone sleeping in a sleeping bag in one of the stalls. Homeless are all over Sacramento. One would think the state capitol would be more sensitive to its image.

Speaking of image, there is a huge mural depicting breaking ground for the trans continental railway in January 18-something. I suspect it was not well researched, because most of the crowd was wearing shirtsleeves and nobody was wearing an overcoat. That does not seem accurate for January in Sacramento. And the clock above it is stuck at 3 o'clock.

I was ready to go half an hour before train time, but had to wait, because they only start running the shuttle at 15 minutes till departure. Not a good plan, since by then the best seats are taken. As usual I lost my bearings, and when the train pulled out it was going backwards. It was more than half full, none of the forward-facing seats in my car were free, so I had to put up with it. Traveling backwards makes me mildly carsick.

A couple of stops later, I was able to move to a better seat, it turned out to be the same one as the one I rode up on, except that one was in the front car, this was in the back car.

There was a lot of water in the landscape. The Sacramento River looked like about 6 feet below crest. There are some fields in the delta with water halfway up the trees.

Here and there we slowed way down near flooded areas, there were lots of small landslides on the cliffs along the bay by Martinez. Here and there we rocked hard going fast.

For the most part it was an uneventful trip. There were a lot of babies on board, but they didn't land in my car. And being 4 cars back, the horn wasn't as invasive. I was able to read from the tablet. Amtrak wi-fi is not bad, so email and antisocial networking was available. I ate half a PNB&J and a Payday and drank lots of water. My tummy behaved itself for the whole ride.

Got to the station on time, the experiment worked - my car was where I'd left it. Home in 10 minutes. Considered stopping off to get my nails done or do some shopping, but no.

Home, unpacked in stages, downloaded the pictures, which can be found here. Here are a couple:

Pointing out pictures of people they knew in Laos, or in the camps.

This is the great-grandfather of the woman I chatted with yesterday.

A volunteer guards the display case. Not really, she was mostly there to welcome visitors and direct traffic.

Paul was in Peace Corps/Thailand from the year before I arrived to about 3 years after I left. I'm sure I met him.

My favorite of all the costumes on display. I was told long ago, and it may even be true, that the coins were her dowry.

Dinner was a Healthy Choice sweet&sour chicken thing. Four thin mint cookies for dessert. And some cheap caviar on ritz crackers as I watched the Bloomberg technology report. They had on an ex-NSA executive, and he had the same take on Trump as I do. Unlike all other Presidents of living memory, he immediately started fulfilling his campaign promises. And by jumping in with both feet, finesse was not a consideration.

Plans for tomorrow:
Shopping at The French Store and Safeway.
Coffee with Janice
howeird: (Default)
That lens I couldn't find yesterday? Found it. Instead of Amazon, I looked on Nikon's site, found a really nice 50mm FX lens, and it pointed me to places to buy it. Adorama, which is a reputable company I've used a few times in the past, had it in stock, with a free filter kit (about a $60 value) and free shipping. But they wanted 446.95. Too much. That was for the very fast f/1.4. Under "related items" was the same lens, but a little less fast - f/1.8. Minuscule difference for the kind of shooting I do. Other than that, the specs were the same. Smallest lens opening is f/16, which isn't as good as I would like, but fine for a 50mm, it's almost a macro, it can focus as close as 18", and it has the built in S focus, lightning fast. For $216.95. Sold!
Last night sleep was on and off, couldn't really settle in. Tummy is still a little bit iffy, and I was running a low grade fever. Very low grade. Like C-. Maybe D+. Thought about aspirin, but forgot.

Playing videos on the Samsung tablet has been erratic lately, Chrome, Firefox, Dolphin, Puffin and Safari knock-off browsers all had problems skipping around the timeline. Found a 2017 internet app which is rock solid, and wasted two hours putting it through its paces. Got out of bed a little before 11.

Turned on the radio and was zapped by the emergency broadcast system telling me there were slides and flash flood warnings for Alameda County. My big gripe with Bay Area radio is it "serves" a huge geographical area, so I am forced to hear alerts and traffic reports which are the East Coast equivalent of hearing about Boston traffic in Portland, ME or Providence, RI. Not applicable. Not interested. And useless, even for those who commute in those areas because by the time it is on the radio, it has changed.</RANT>

Plan A was a surgical strike to Target, which was completed mostly successfully. Did not buy anything not on my list, they had an exchange for my SodaStream cartridge, and everything on my list sort of. They were out of Lactaid 2% milk, so I bought one fat free and one house brand ($1 more) 2%. There were enough frozen meals that I didn't need to go to Safeway.

Stopped off on the way home at Grocery Outlet, still no PayDays, but they had a good price on eggs and Tillamook dark chocolate mint ice cream.

Home, hard boiled the eggs while eating the ice cream. There's still a little bit of ice cream left.

Relaxed, spent minimal time online, and at 4:15 headed to MV and chatted with Janice till 6. She's a Red Cross volunteer and it looks like she will be helping at shelters in San Jose, which are crowded because the usual homeless camps are now rivers, and probably will only get worse until Thursday. She went to SF to see the 20th anniversary performance of Rent, but she and her friends hated it and left at halftime.

OTOH she also went to see Allegiance and was blown away. She is puzzled by why it only ran for 5 months on Broadway. She figures a less than all-star cast could easily have taken over and run for a long time. I suggested she write to George. I may too, now that she mentions it.

Before we left, I looked up the rain report - more than 2" in Mountain View today. Looking again, 2.77" in 24 hours. Wow. YTD 29.17". Average annual is 39.28.

Back home by surface roads because it was raining hard and it was after dark. For dinner I gnawed on a couple of smoked turkey wings. Probably should have had some veggies but instead opted for an ice cream sandwich and two aspirin. Watched Elementary, from the week before last, on CBS All Access. It was also recorded on Tivo, but the signal sucked. This time there was no soap, just drama, and only one plot line. Some excellent acting by Isiah Whitlock Jr. as the antagonist, not to be confused with "bad guy". You had to be there. Episode name "Over A Barrel" is pretty lame. Comes from a minor plot point. Kind of like naming "E.T." "Bicycle Ride".
Delivered was a wet, broken package from OnTrac, three times bigger than it needed to be and filled with not enough packing paper to make it crush-proof. 16 lb bag of cat food, 3 bottles of shampoo, 3# of walnuts. In a box the size of a police dog kennel.

Did a load of laundry this morning, another is in the dryer now.

Plans for tomorrow:

May 2017

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