Mar. 12th, 2017

howeird: (localhost)
But here it is already after 1 am and I have a load of shirts yet to hang up.

Sweaty night despite sleeping on a memory foam "cooling" pillow. Felt like I was sleeping on a slab of meat. I was wrong about the odor, over time it blooms. It is being shipped back to Amazon tomorrow. The MyPillow isn't winning any contests either, because it is too small and insubstantial. I'll keep it as a third. 
Spook spent a lot of time on the bedroom window sill. I've opened the window, and the front bay window and one of the livingroom windows to the security catch. We are suddenly in almost-summer mode, highs in the 70's, lows in the high 40's. Lots of sunshine. My bay laurel is sprouting buds, and the Bee plants are starting to show their fuzzy blue flowers. Poppies should launch flowers soon. Now that the last rose has died I was able to cut back two very tall branches. What I trimmed last month is already growing new branches.

Refilled one feeder, this time used a single drop of blue to 10 of red, and it is darker than I wanted. A nice purple, a similar color to the sage the hummers like.

Also refilled the windshield washer reservoir which went dry last night. But that was after Microsoft.

10:30 manicure, the cute one did the honors.

From there to 99 Ranch market in MV, they didn't have pandan leaves or banana leaves in the fresh produce section. But I found yellow, green and Penang curry paste packets, and quart boxes of coconut milk and coconut cream. Hungry, decided $9/lb was too much for BBQ pork for a snack so bought three sesame balls for < $3. Also bought limes and grapes.

At the register I asked about pandan leaves, she had not idea, so I asked about banana leaves and she pointed me at the freezer case, and there were "pandang" leaves cut into 4" strips (I was expecting larger units). When I showed the cashier she pointed to my coconut stuff and said the leaves were great with that.

Down Hwy 237 to Microsoft campus, it's been a while. I don't think I'd been in Building 1 before, it's the conference center, visitor stuff. I worked in 2 & 4 I think. 5 was Apple (Office for Mac is the biggest seller on Apples). Half hour stop at Pear Ave Starbucks.

ACLU "People Power" program "Activist Training" turned out to be a 90-minute infomercial about the ACLU, live broadcast from Miami. Kind of weird they didn't do it in DC. About 40 people attended the MSFT session, there were others in nearby towns, ACLU says about 2,000 nationally.

There wasn't much actual training. Briefly, one lawyer displayed a poster in English and even more briefly in Spanish which said what to do if ICE shows up at your door. When he greeted the crowd in Spanish, the closed captioning said "words in a language other than English". That got a snicker from our gang.

One woman lawyer spent a lot of time justifying the fact that the ACLU defends everyone's freedom of speech, even the bad guys'. She gave some helpful pointers on where people can protest legally, and said the organization does not support civil disobedience or breaking any laws (blocking traffic, violence, etc.). She recommended getting parade permits and park use permits and following the occupancy rules for public gathering places.

The guy I didn't like turned out to be almost as smarmy as expected, and he had all the charisma of a Harvard Law graduate.

The best speaker was not a lawyer, it was a chef from one of the popular cooking shows. She spoke well and enthusiatically about how she is "brown" and an immigrant and feels threatened, but she is tall, speaks with no accent and is less brown than I get in the summer.

On the technical side, the closed captioning typist was slow and inaccurate, at no time did the broadcast display the name of the speaker, and as each speaker left the stage all audio was muted, not just the speaker's mic.

Before the broadcast, the host had us break into clumps to get to know each other better. My clump was two couples, not very interesting. After the broadcast, the host stumbled through trying to find someone else to host the next meeting in 2 weeks. A retired woman finally volunteered. Host was a 20-something Microserf who lives in Sunnyvale, and wanted to attend meetings closer to home.

Home, did some online stuff, which included scanning in all my passport ID pages and a page from my Pecae Corps and post-Peace Corps (issued in Bangkok) passports:

Posted on FB to straighten out the paranoids who think they will be kept from leaving the country. It's more likely that you'll be kept from entering another country. Canada has been known to be non-welcoming to US citizens who want to work in Canada without making it their home. I was given a hard time in Malaysia & Singapore for not having 6 months left on my passport. I had 3 months, and was on my way home at the time. EVA Air had warned me about that possibility before I boarded the flight to Asia. Made me sign a waiver.

The new (since 1989) ones don't have the notice, they just say to check with for advisories, and to check in at the nearest embassy when going into dangerous places.

So I went to that web site, and discovered an online passport renewal form. My current passport is good until 11/18, same as my driver's license, but keeping the 6 month thing in mind, that effectively makes it good till 5/18, so yeah, I'm jumping the gun doing it now, but since I have the $ and no international travel planned in the next couple of months, may as well.

Filled out the form, printed a check for the fees, printed a priority mail label, tried to take a photo but unlike last time they don't allow Photoshopping out the background. Since it was on my way to Santa Clara Players, I stopped in at FedexKinko and had them shoot one. They do pairs, and I bought two pair, because sometimes visas require a passport photo too.

Too early to go to the theater, so I had a pastrami and melted cheese sandwich at Subway. Which reminded me why I don't usually eat there.

SC Players are doing an obscure 2-act called 7-10 Split, and two of the 4 cast members are people I have been in shows with before. The first act is hillarious, set in a white trash trailer in a white trash trailer park. The husband gave up a pro bowling career for his wife & now out of the nest baby, her sister lives across the street. They are always bickering, and it's a fast-moving act with lots of funny quips and one-ups. At the end of the act "the visitor" shows up.

And the show is dead from there to the end. The guy playing Olaf (the visitor) was cast because the director thought he needed to be BIG. Director has probably never seen Arsenic & Old Lace.  Once onstage, nothing worked. Part of it was the actor playing Olaf, part of it was the script took a sharp downward twist far beyond the writing skills of the playwright.  And then it is revealed That Olaf is a bowling fan, and actually idolizes the husband

Home, disappointed.

Spook is curled up behind me in the office cat bed.

Plans for tomorrow:
Ship the pillow back
Mail the passport stuff
Target - shop for non-feather pillows
Meet Janice for coffee


Mar. 12th, 2017 10:43 pm
howeird: (localhost)
Since I stayed up past 3 setting clocks, I slept till noon. That didn't keep Spook from climbing on me at some ungodly early hour.

Lots to do, everything seemed to have a catch. First stop was the PO, to drop off the passport stuff. Priority mail envelope already postage paid and ready to go, but the PO has removed the priority mail boxes, so after a thorough search to make sure, I dropped in in the regular slot in the wall. From there it was a short trip to the local park, where I was wanting to buy a season pass, but they were out. Put that on the list for next weekend.

Next stop was supposed to be the nearest open UPS drop-off, a Postal Annex several miles away, but it was closed. Plan B was Target, the closest one to where I had been, and was surprised to see the Postal Annex next door with a "now open Sundays" banner. So the memory foam pillow is on its way back to Amazon.

Target, three things on my list:
Pillow cases that are not microfiber or high thread count
Diet cola syrup

The pillow display was a mess. Few of the pillow racks had price tags, and those which did the tags did not match the pillows. I found one which I liked, but the scanner said it wasn't in the system. I put it in the cart to have the cashier check. Found pillow cases in the right color made from T-shirt cotton. And there was one diet cola syrup bottle left.

At the register, long long wait for a woman with about 25 small clothing items (baby socks, etc) and then a not-from-around-here man whose wife piled stuff on the belt and then strollered away with her baby. Man had no idea how to use the credit card swiper. He was using a card with a chip.

Finally time to check the pillow and it is not in the system. Cashier called a manager, who went to another register and did some keyboarding. Pillow went on sale today, half price, someone at Target Central dropped the ball.

I had planned to go from there to a nearby massage place, but only had 90 minutes to get to Mountain View to meet Janice, and would not have made it in time, so I went to MV an hour early, did some FB and read some Kindle. Along the way got some ATM cash.

 J & I compared notes on yesterday's ACLU thing, she went to the home of a rich woman in an upper crust neighborhood. They had the same lack of enthusiasm for regular meetings as my group. This was our last chat for a while, J is off to Chile on Tuesday for a week or three.

Home, used the facilities and then drove to the massage place. Interesting experience. Good legit massage, Chinese staff, they were offering a free table shower, but I declined. Maybe next time. Had those a few times in Thailand, they can be fun. But not what I was after today.

Back home, collected the garbage, there was a lot less than expected. The shredder needed to be emptied. Not a lot of recycles, but already in the bin were jugs from fabric softener, bleach and windshield washer fluid. Wheeled the bins out to the curb and then attacked the monumental task of reducing a pile of boxes to a flat bundle. The vacuum arrived in a thick outer box and a sturdy retail box. There was the big box for the MyPillow, one for a case of Famous Amos, the box for the fabric softener, and two or three medium sized ones from other online purchases. Took less time than expected.

Somewhere in there I tossed the shirts back into the dryer for 15 minutes, then laid them out on the bed. Spook didn't help as much as usual.

Dinner was just a snack, small meat loaf frozen thing, four cubes of agar treat for dessert and some walnuts and honey. Chopped up some ginger and started brewing some ginger ale.

Interesting geographical trivia, after not being in the neighborhood of either Microsoft or Santa Clara Players for at least 3 months, I have been both places yesterday and again today.

Plans for tomorrow:
Boss sync planned at 9:30.

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