howeird: (How_Transit_1)
Way behind because work and Little Shop has eaten all my time. And thanks to the way too late rehearsals (a disorganized director who has zero consideration for anyone's time) I did the opening weekend with a cold. Dayquil, Nyquil and extra vitamin C have helped, but it's no fun singing with a scratchy throat and putting out an effort with a fever and runny nose.

Audiences were small-ish but very appreciative. Lots of laughs, major applause. The theater holds about 300, we've been maybe 1/3 full. Enough for critical mass.

Another thing about the director is he either has pretty low standards or lies a lot. He tells us the show is "golden" and has major praise for the incredible talents of the cast and crew. Most of the cast and crew are still in, or just out of childrens' theater. It shows.

On the other hand, I'm not embarrassed to be in it. There is a lot of raw talent, everyone is doing their best.
Yesterday the sun came out, and after staying in bed till noon, I went to Home Despot, bought painting paraphernalia, came home and painted the shed as per the community manager's missive. I should have done that months ago and glad it is done.
This evening after the show I stopped off at the grocery and bought what fixings for chicken soup I didn't have, and some that I did but preferred fresh to frozen. The cauldron is on the stove as I type, an hour into its process of rendering down. I had to siphon off about a quart of liquid, it already tastes pretty good. What is in it, you ask?
Chicken giblets
Chicken legs & thighs
Chicken stock
sliced carrots
sliced celery
sliced and chopped parsnip
sliced and chopped onion
kafir lime leaves
mint leaves
water to cover

The pot is too full, too many legs & thighs, but those should boil down eventually so I can slice in some fungus.

Garbage has been taken out, planning on being in bed by 10.

Plans for tomorrow:
Possibly concurrently
howeird: (Default)
Most of my timepieces are on the internet or atomic clock radio signal, so I only had to change the time on the microwave, and two clocks which have a DST switch. And the car clock, though the GPS shows the right time.

And now I remember the waterproof clock radio in the shower need to be set, too.

Got to Consonance just before noon, which I thought was Tim Griffin's concert but it was Margaret & Kristoph's CD release party, which I found  out while vacuuming up delicious coffee cake in the con suite. I went down to the party room, wove my way to the CD display, but a couple of boorish, inconsiderate people slammed into me to get where I was, so I left. The place was beyond its capacity, anyway, and I can get the CD any time.

Tim's concert was supposed to be for kids, but most of the kids were camped out in the back rows, on their smartphones, completely oblivious. Bela's tribe was up front and appeared to have levels of interest commensurate with their ages. Tim didn't do the songs of his I would have expected for a kid's concert, but since the audience was mostly adults, maybe that was for the best.

2x10s were mostly non-descript, except the Gold ones. I didn;t know Barry had such a beautiful bass-baritone voice, he is usually drowned out by taking a back seat to his wife, who did not sing this time. Lynn was amazing just by being on her feet, and moreso by dancing a little. It has been an unusually tough year for her all around, and especially for her ankles. Bill surprised me by somehow convincing Kristoph to accompany him on a parody of one of K's songs which starts and ends with a finder-twisting lightning-fast guitar lick. Bill has a habit of choosing his own keys when he sings, and changing them early and often, often in mid-word, which makes him a better candidate for a capella.

The Surprise Concert was Mike Whittaker with Rika. Offstage, Mike is a high energy, witty and charming person. Onstage too, until he starts to sing, and then he switches to "ose" mode. Rika seems to almost always be in ose mode, so it was a match. Lucky for me I had a rehearsal to get to, but first needed to spend quality time with some glucose and study my lines. So I left after three songs.

My Hgl was shouting warning messages at me, so I parked in front of Specialties' a couple of blocks from the house, had a mocha and a sticky bun, and got back down to human as I looked at my Act 1 lines, and then Act 2.

Home, the SM had posted a new PDF of the script, this time with all the typos fixed and the new lines inserted. I bought a subscription to Acrobat Pro so I could make some other changes, and highlight my lines. That took till 6:40 to print out, I needed to leave (I thought) so I didn't 3-hole punch them and went with my older script. There was a production meeting under way, and we didn't get going till almost 7:30. :-(

Lots of my time wasted. We had been expecting to do a run-through of At 1, but instead the director micro-adjusted all the scenes I wasn't in and blew off re-choreographing my big number.

He did that after Act 1 was done, while the cast was in the back room learning the final number. 

Home, should have had a snack, shot up and gone to bed, but I had stopped at Safeway on the way meaning to buy ice cream, bananas, limes and lactose-free milk. Decided it was time for the revenge of the beef-disguised-as-lamb from last night and bought a $23 leg of lamb and all kinds of things to toss into a crock pot with it. A huge bundle of fresh mint topped the list. I also stocked up on frozen dinners, which was on my list, and ended up spending $115.

So at home I took stuff out of the three bags, arranged them by where they get stored (idiot checker bagged frozen stuff in all 3 bags when it all would have fit easily into one, nothing was in any kind of order). Put stuff away except for the lamb fixings. Chopped up celery, onion, carrots, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Anyhow it's in the crock pot on slow cook.

Plans for tomorrow:
Take the stuff out of the dryer and run a load of whites
Rehearsals, surprise photo shoot at 6:30. I need to bring costume stuff.
howeird: (Hawaiin Shirt)

Very quiet day today, I had just enough time to start a battle of wits with an unarmed person on Facebook when the alarm reminded me I was seeing the Hobbit 2 matinée  3D showing. Got there 10 minutes before the alleged start time, looked into the room and there were only about 12 seats occupied, so I got a hot dog and a pack of peanut M&Ms to stave off insulin shock, made a pit stop, and now right at start time magically the place was 1/3 full. Found a seat in the 2nd row for the back, but the view was partially blocked by the top of the seats in the last row before the aisle, so I went to that row and it was much better.

It's a long movie. Short review: Mostly boring, interrupted by too-long fight and flight sequences, no LOL moments, and too many plot lines taking too long to not quite converge. Just when it got good the lights came on and they rolled the credits.

Longer review behind the cut )

 Bottom line: if you must see it, do it in 2D. Better to wait for the three to come out on DVD.

Starbucks, because it was not the warm sunny day which had been predicted, but heavily overcast and chilly. And for the eye candy. And to glom onto their wifi on my laptop and install Office 2013, aka 365, and update Norton virus definitions and Firefox. But the wifi was at a crawl, so I reluctantly closed up the machine and finished all that at home where I have 5GHz wireless.

Late lunch of something I can't remember. FFed through the Military Bowl because my nephew is a Terp. They lost - kind of packed up and went home with 5 minutes left to play. Sad, it was still winnable.

Dinner was Penang beef meatballs, from an old family recipe I made up as I went along. Excellent use of my new kafir lime tree's leaves. Basically it was just a dollop of Penang curry in a can's worth of coconut milk (the creamy kind) with the lime leaves chopped very fine. Simmer until the curry is mixed in, and add lean ground beef meatballs (made by hand). Simmer for 15 minutes, turn the heat way down for another 15. Probably could have stopped at 15.

Watched the start of the Kill Hunger Bowl which was in San Francisco, my alma mater crushed BYU on the scoreboard, but lost on every other stat except special teams. Wish I had known ab out it sooner, I might have gone. Alumni band is supposed to alert me, they failed. Maybe they were told no alumni band. like the Rose Bowl does. :-(

Paused at halftime because in the mail tonight was a notice from the home insurance company that they want $200 more by January 4 because I am not entitled to the Allstate preferred partner rate because there is no security system. That makes the insurance $150 more a year than what the lender offered, instead of $50 less. Also the lender's coverage is for the full price, which Allstate's partner's is not. So I fired up the scanner, made a PDF of the letter, emailed a "please help me" message to the loan arranger with copies to Allstate, the mfg rep, her assistant and the escrow officer.

What I want to have happen is for the lender to use their insurance, which will raise my monthly payment by about $5-10, give me full coverage and get rid of the bait-and-switch. This is more than a month after everything was supposed to be done, and I am pissed. Comcast's home security is $40 a month, $480 a year, not worth the Allstate insurance rate hike, which is no doubt part of the scam.

In other insurance news, yesterday Allstate gave me an estimate on earthquake insurance. Their lowest cost one is $1700/year and has a $15,000 deductible. That's a non-starter. I doubt that a quake would cause $17k in damage to this place.

What else?

Oh, the whale tour group I went with in the summer is showing amazing pics this week of dolphin pods and grey whales, so I'm going down there Sunday to bring them one of my calendars which has this as the cover:

and one month is a montage of 5 photos from my 3 outings. May, I think.

I finally got around to ordering a case of treats for Domino, changed the litterbox so need to order refills. One cat = 1 litterbox = 1/2 the order.

Plans for tomorrow:
Make a reservation for the Sunday afternoon whale watch
Get petrol
Maybe watch some football
If the sun comes out as they predict, go to the park and watch RC planes and drones.

howeird: (Default)

The first half of Plan A was to see American Hustle at 11:50 at the AMC, which is pretty close to home. Matinee senior price was $7. The second half was to see The Hobbit in IMAX at 2:20. But with 20 minutes of trailers, 138 minutes later was too late to do the second half, and the place was packed, so I went home. Met my next door neighbor in #6, she said she was widowed 3 years ago, she had company which saved me from a real conversation. She has a pretty thick accent, I think Philippines.

Was hungry, but it was too early for a meal. I made popcorn, but that wasn't enough so I cut up more sourdough batard and had a triangle of goat brie with that, as Domino stood on my lap trying to intercept the cheese as I spread it on the bread-ettes. I gave her a few fingertips worth.

Tivo had one episode of Restaurant Stakeout, which was another miracle success. This time Willy totally failed with most of the staff, and what finally saved the place was the owner doubling the staff, and the chef providing cheat sheets to the dumb as rocks android wait staff for the daily specials.

Elementary stepped into the future, I am thankful they resisted the pressure to make it a Christmas tree festooned episode. Instead they promoted the Christmas spirit by nailing the head of a Holocaust victims' fund for triple murder, money laundering and drug dealing.

Since I had time and a decent kitchen, dinner was a minor production number. Put some egg noodles (twisty) on the boil, sauteed two slices of onion and a tablespoon of crushed garlic in corn oil, added 1/4 lb of ground beef, a dash of sage and a dash of ginger, and when it was almost cooked poured in a few shots of Canadian whiskey.

Drained the noodles and put them on a plate, dumped the ground beef on top. Should have used a bowl, it got cold quickly. Domino loved the little bits of beef I gave her.

Afterward she got her Fancy Feast and I got my Breyers Thin Mint ice cream.

Watching high school football, a local school called De La Salle is very good. There are some college teams they could hold their own against.

Made a poor man's egg cream. Love my SodaStream because now I always have seltzer handy. Just fill a glass halfway with seltzer, top it off with chocolate milk. They make lactose free 2% now. Yummy.

Plans for tomorrow:
Post office, buy a lot of stamps and apply them to envelopes with calendars in them.
Maybe see The Hobbit, but not in IMAX.
Visit the office, request a larger garbage bin.

howeird: (Inigo Montoya)
Today was a company day off. They give us two days for Turkey, Jesus and Janus. My plan for a while was The Big Shed Project.

It was amended a little because mornings have been cold, but afternoons have been warm. So this morning I hit the matinée showing of Frozen in 3D, which has been getting rave reviews.

It started out charming, with some enjoyable music, but soon degenerated into a very violent plot with forgettable songs and a frenetic score to match the heart-stopping action.

Idina Menzel, who was the green witch in Broadway's Wicked played the ice princess. This is an actress with a gorgeous singing voice, but they kept her to mostly dialog and much of it shouting. OTOH,  Kristen Bell plays the younger princess and sings quite a bit, including a duet with Prince Hans, voiced by Santino Fontana. I can find no evidence of either of them singing professionally before. They did well, but the songs didn't require much range.

Olaf the snowman is ridiculous, and a great attraction for the kiddies, but I would not have brought a child to this very violent movie.

As is my habit, I stayed through the 10 minutes of credits for the Easter egg. It was there, but it was a throw-away. However, there is a disclaimer cleverly hidden in the credits toward the end which was worth the wait.

Speaking of movies, my biggest disappointments this week are that two movies which I otherwise would have loved to see are starring men who both do not fit the part, and can't act. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was a childhood favorite book, and the movie starring Danny Kaye was pretty good. It would be spectacular re-made with modern technology and a Mitty who was of Kaye's calibre. But Ben Stiller? Gag me. And Saving Mr. Banks would have been fun if someone with enough acting chops to make us believe he is Walt Disney was playing opposite the extraordinary Emma Thompson. But Tom Hanks? Save me.
By the time the film was done, it was in the 60s outside so instead of catching The Hobbit 2: Spare The Air Day, I went to The Milk Pail and spent about $65 on cheeses. And that's even though they didn't have my favorite French sheep cheese. Some cheeses for snacking, some for fondue.

Then home, to do The Shed Project™.

This has been on the drawing board since I moved in. The house has a storage shed out at the end of the driveway. The previous owner had shelves installed left, right and back wall. The shelves on the right were too deep to get the door open wide enough - you had to shove stuff inside, close the door and then move the stuff where you wanted it. The shelves at the back made the space too short for my bike. And they were too close together vertically to hold any of my stuff.

So the Project was:
- Completely empty the shed
- Remove all the shelves on the left and back and one from the left and stack them off to the side
- Knock off all the shelf holders from those (this needed my heavy plumber's wrench. Well, a hammer really but I was too lazy to get it out of the closet)
- Put the bike in facing the door
- Stack all the tubs of stuff against the back wall
- Put all the camping gear on the left-hand shelves
- Add musical instruments, music stands, the big cooler and the microwave

It took about 2 hours. But now it's done, yay!

Parked myself in front of the TV and played the currently recording Tivo of the Hawaii Bowl. Boise State got clobbered early by the Beavers, but managed to raise their score to something less embarrassing at the end. I think Oregon State's coach gave them some help at the end to try to make a game of it.

Also watched some of The Long Island Medium marathon. One of the best cold readers on the planet, but she's strident and I can only take so much of her.

Dinner was duck soup. Yes, I know it is Marxist. But I had in the freezer taking up too much space the ribcage and other assorted bones from the duck I roasted the weekend I moved in. Threw those into a pot, covered with water, added a little salt, a tablespoon of crushed garlic, a couple of twists from the pepper mill, some bay leaves and a few leaves from my Kaffir lime tree. Then a tablespoon each of split peas and barley, and two of dried lima beans. Simmered for 90 minutes. The whole house smelled ducky. And it was yummy. Could have used more salt and barley. After two bowls of it, there is enough left for another meal.

After I write this I am running a bath in the lovely deep "garden style" tub because I am sore all over from the shed project.

Plans for tomorrow:
RMA a couple of Amazon purchases
See another movie


Dec. 19th, 2013 02:10 am
howeird: (Default)
But first, happy birthday to [ profile] smallship1, [ profile] howbearca and [ profile] mettemu!

So my UK cousins sent me their annual letter in Microsoft Publisher format. There are no known third party readers for this format, and I did not have it on my machine, but I thought it was part of my Office 2010 DVD, which meant I needed the disc & its license code, which were in one of the 87 boxes still unopened in the 3rd BR. This morning I opened about 6 of the more likely ones, did not find it. After work I opened 4 more, found it, and read the list of apps, Publisher was not one of them.

Coincidentally, my copy of Outlook stopped working, somehow completely disappeared from the machine. It would not re-install from the DVD after 2 tries I punted.

Office 2013 is only $99 for the download, includes all the apps, 1-year subscription, so I got that. I was able to read the .PUB file, which included a lovely photo of the cousins, and also restored Outlook, complete will all the data files. But they have traded the professional looking UI into something which looks like it was designed by kindergarteners with a very limited supply of pastel colored crayons. :-(

Work went more quickly than usual, the part of the spec I'm reading is new information, had to pay attention. Also tried the new espresso machine, did two demitasse shots, which may have helped. Lunch was a trip to Fry's to look at cable modems, but they didn't have anything better than what's on its way from Amazon. I did pick up an N network dongle for the PC but it turned out to not be the dual band one, so i will be filed. Not worth returning.  Was not feeling too hungry, so just lived on the snacks in my cooler.

Had a long chat with Automation Guy about the specs.

1-on-1 with the boss was a lot of braindump. He handles those well. One reason I wouldn't make it as a manager.

Home, eager to find that Office DVD. Tackled two more projects. Moved my microwave off the counter, onto a temporary cart which is too small for it. Need to buy a real cart, or decide that the built-in microwave will work for me. That counter now hosts the blender & cuisinart, which clears the island for more counter space. Also put up the last of the 3 under-counter lamps. And bagged some boxes/foam which were messing up the livingroom.

Before the move, the desk drawer lost one of its two bolts, which was probably on the floor in the old apartment. The movers ought to have at least asked about it, but just leftg the drawer hanging. This evening I got on my back under the desk and saw I could borrow a bolt from another location, and it needed a hex driver. after going to the tool drawers and finding my hex bits, I was back on my back, and did the deed, which included having to unstick the driver from the bolt. When I got up, the back of my head pressed against the wooden floor protector, and I was hit with a wave of nausea, almost passed out. I couldn't shake it, so instead of dinner I fed Domino her kitty crack and went to bed. Slept for a couple of hours, was still a little woozy, so took a Dramamine and opened a bottle of diet Coke, decided I needed something salty which translated into two sausages and a cup of corn with margarine melted on it. That elped. Watched an episode of Shark Tank and Restaurant Stakeout.

And here  am, at 1:05 am, but the nap means I'm wide awake.

In other news, I peeked in on the webcams a few times during the day, and saw that Domino has found many places to park, including the top of the big cat tree, which is a place she had never gone before, under the piano bench, top of the small cat tree, window sills by the front door (one of her stair steps is there, the other is at the foot of the bed), the small round bed on the livingroom floor, the seat of the recliner, and the pillow on the sofa. Never saw her on the bed, which used to be her daytime hangout.

Plans for tomorrow:

Work. Find something to do after I finish reading the spec.
Home, football
Maybe start unpacking those opened boxes in the 3rd BR.
howeird: (Kaan-Domino LazyBoy)
..and there were not many plans.

Shot up at 9, decided to make a real breakfast: French toast with Orowheat Health Nut bread, eggbeaters, lactose-free 2%, cinnamon, powdered sugar with a little margarine in the pan to make it crisp. Not as attractive as white bread, but much yummier.  

Got the car washed, it is so nice to have the windows clean inside and out. I don't care if the car is shiny, as long as I can see out.

Broke down all the empty boxes from online purchases, and bungeed them. Not enough to haul to the dumpster, I tell myself. I lie, but why make the trip?

Watched some football. Jets vs. Patriots. Tom Terrific Brady sucked. Geno was adequate. Jets played like an NFL team for a change, Pats didn't.

Kaan had been voluntarily parking inside the cat carrier for the last 3 days, but when it came time to put him in there for the ride to Petco, he fought like mad. I had to upend the box and drop him in. Got there 15 minutes early, the guys at the front table gave me a "Group 1" tag, and said the line would form halfway to the back of the store, but I could see there already were 4 people ahead of me. Then they moved the tables and had us line up closer to the front of the store. At a little before 2, they handed each of is a clipboard with a form to fill out. Right at 2, another table was set up way at the back of the store, and we were told to wait till we were called. But we lined up back there anyway. All four pets ahead of me were dogs. All four weighed less than Kaan. It was pretty quick, since the dogs were all in shopping carts and just needed to be lifted out, held in place, and shot. The one in front of me also got some oral meds.

Kaan fought with all his might to stay in the crate, but these guys knew what they were doing and hauled him out, got him in position and gave him the shot in about 20 seconds. He ran back into the carrier when they were done.

Next stop, the first table, where they took my money ($22), gave me the rabies shot medallion, and a copy of the form with generic "things to look for after a vaccination" sheet.

Back home, just long enough to let Kaan out of the carrier and see that he wasn't mad at me. Watched a wee bit of the 49ers game, made sure it was recording on Tivo and headed for Starbucks to chat with Janice. This time it was mostly me talking, but next time she will be back from India, and will have lots to tell me.

Home, launched the recording of the game, 2xFFed past all the commercials, and as usual kept it in single FF so it was slow enough to see everything but the annoying announcers' voices are muted. 3xFFed past halftime BS. The game started slowly, eventually the 9ers came up to speed and owned the game, but they cruised through the 4th quarter, just not enough to lose.

Watched an episode of Restaurant Stakeout. I keep thinking it's time to stop recording this, because it has become formula, the restaurant always turns itself around. I want to see a failure now and then because you know there have to be some.

Wore the new shoes all day, I am liking how they feel with the new socks. But next time I think I'll order the crew length sox instead of the calf length. Speaking of sox, the team color for both the teams in the World Series is red. How will we tell the fans apart? 

Plans for tomorrow:
MNF or BASFA. If BASFA, I will bring some empty moon cake tins to auction.  
howeird: (Default)
Had a painful night last night, my elbow would not stop hurting. Finally took 2 nighttime Tylenol, which didn't do much for the pain but made me stay drowsy when I finally hauled myself out of bed at 10. Part of the delay is just as I was trying to get up, Kaan, jumped on the bed and parked himself against me.

My plan was to sleep till 10, anyway, due to not enough sleep Thursday night.

After my usual Saturday routine, I hunted for and finally found the crock pot (it was at the back of the cabinet under the kitchen sink, behind the paper bag collection) decided it was too small and instead found the giant wok-like pan I'd bought for this kind of project. Its flat bottom is anodized aluminum, the right size for a large burner, and it curves out to a much wider circular bowl. Non-stick surface, very solid, great for not burning things.

Into that went three cans of coconut milk (the white kind), three cans of water. Heated on 5 (out of 10) for 15 minutes, then stirred in 1 Tbsp Thai yellow curry paste. A taste test said "what curry paste?" so I added another dose. Better, but still a bit mild. Better mild than too strong, I figured.

Added the chicken drumsticks, covered the pan, and gave it half an hour to come up to a simmering boil. Added baby corn, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts, because those don't overcook. Turned the heat to 3, another half hour it was at a boil (much to my surprise), added the straw mushrooms and green peas and turned the heat down to 1.5.

Let that simmer for an hour, which was just a wee bit too long, but the drumsticks were holding together, so I caught it in time. Sort of. Could not spear them with a fork, they were too tender, so I used a slotted spoon to put them into my official potluck food containers (they fit perfectly). Next I used a wok strainer to scoop out the small stuff, and distributed it fairly evenly between the two containers.

What with the added water and chicken fat, the curry sauce was way too thin, and there was way too much of it, so I boiled it down. Added a dash of fish sauce and a little dark brown sugar suggested by Nancie McDermott's recipe book, Quick and Easy Thai. And I also added another Tbsp of curry paste, since this was going on top of and not inside the chicken.

That took about 2 hours, but after 1.5 it was time to pick up a package at UPS, so I turned off the stove and did that. Then I decided to try out a new massage place I saw in The Metro, punched it into the GPS and discovered the address was the parking lot of the Santa Clara American Legion post. :-(

Not to be discouraged, I went to the one I've been using, not too far from home, and Jessica made my right shoulder feel much better.

Heading home, passed Fry's, remembered I needed to buy some canned air, so I cut off an obnoxious SUV which had been pacing me as I tried to slow down to change lanes behind him.

Canned air was on special, 3-fer, so I got a a pack of that, and also a pack of microfiber cloths. Looked for but did not find backup software. Decided not to spend $700 on an 8TB backup drive. Or settle for the small package of inkjet internet shipping labels (they only had the large economy size in laserjet ).

Home, emptied the console storage bin of 8 CDs, which are waiting to be shelved where they belong. I had been listening to the London cast recording of Matilda which is what was in the Amazon locker yesterday. I am disappointed in the music. One tune is memorable on first play, two more might be after listening a few more times, and there is a monologue near the end which is a non-ingenue actress' wet dream. It is not listed on the track list, they have buried it after several seconds of silence after the final song, not in its own track. Read more... )

From the album, which includes a lot of dialog, it is clear this is one of those shows which will be spectacular as a production, as long as they find a super-strong set of children, because it's all about kids in an exclusive private school.

The reason for my interest is I was in a production of The Wizard of Oz in 1986, Dorothy was played by a very talented girl named Lesli Margherita, who is now starring in the Broadway production.
This is her then:
Read more... )
This is her now:Read more... )

Finished the coconut milk curry reduction in between flipping between the very wet Oregon Ducks and Stanford games (Stanford playing WSU in Seattle for some strange reason), and miffed because none of the channels I get was showing my 17th-ranked Huskies. I had to rely on my Baltimore sister's FB updates for that. Also peeked at the Mariners-A's game, which showed the April Fools broadcast, Mariners leading in the 6th by a hefty margin.

Poured the curry sauce into each of the containers on top of all the other ingredients and let it seep in. Back into the fridge, and after it was clear that Oregon and Stanford were blowing out the competition, I fired up the PC and made card stock tents naming the dish and its ingredients.

Caught up on FB, Twitter & LJ, and also took a look at mobile home park listings, and found 5 nearby which are for old farts.

Plans for tomorrow:

Put on my band uniform, glue in my teeth, grab my horn and participate in Ye Olde Town Band's last concert of the year.
Potluck dinner afterward.
howeird: (Trumpet)
It's a LONG time between 9 am and 12:30, so I dragged the box with the exercise bike into the livingroom, pulled everything out, and read the directions. "Some" assembly required, my ass. They did make it simpler than most bikes, but by the time I had everything laid out and had read the instructions it was time to stuff my baritone into the trunk and go to Shoup Park for the band concert.

The way the concerts work, we don't know what we are playing, or in what order, until we get there and grab a program. There are hints during the rehearsals, but this first month was also for trying out new numbers and reviewing old ones to see if they should be retired.

Since this is Memorable Day weekend, we did a lot of patriotic stuff. And this is the only time except the 4th of July when we play the Star Sprinkled Banana. I won't be at the 4th ceremonies this year, Westercon calls. [ profile] westercon66

On the way home I stopped off at Draeger's expecting them to have the sheep milk cheese I like, but they didn't. They had some other stuff of the goat milk kind which I got. Next stop, The Milk Pail, which did have the sheep milk cheeses, and I also grabbed three chunks of fondue cheese and a sourdough bastard for tonight's dinner. In the back of my mind I thought there might be an ingredient which I also should have bought, but couldn't think what.

Home, tried some almond butter as a snack (Diabetes doc suggested it) but that stuff is not very tasty, I ended up making an & jelly sandwich with it. That worked.

Got down to assembling the bike, and hit a snag right off. The first thing to attach was the rear cross piece on which the bike stands. There is a similar front piece. In the instructions, the two pieces have different part numbers, but their drawings are identical. IRL one has wheel-like inserts, the other doesn't. After a while I just guessed. Managed to not miss any pieces until the very end. There is a holder which needs two screws to attach to the bike. I have no idea what it is supposed to hold. It is too thin to hold a water bottle. Maybe it can hold a cell phone or music player. Anyway, I can't find the second screw. When I vacuumed after the build (lots of Styrofoam bits) I heard what could have been a small screw get sucked up. I don't think it's worth digging for.

Time for dinner. Fondue requires more assembly than I remembered. And the thing I forgot to buy was white wine, but I still had half a jug of something cheap, so no worries. It took a while to grate all the cheese, even using the food processor.

It came out great, I finished about half a loaf of sourdough. There is enough left over for omelets, I just need some eggbeaters which are not past their expiration date.

I bought this particular bike because it's supposed to fold up for storage, but folded up it only takes up about 2 feet less room. :-(

I tried it out, it works well, has a smooth feel (magnetic traction) and I got the seat height right the first time.

Plans for tomorrow:
No clue.
howeird: (Naga)
I had four items on my list for today:
Piazzi's, buy frozen matzo balls and primo chocolates
Office Depot/Max, buy a Fragile stamp
UPS Store - P/U new microwave
8 pm Little Women musical at Sunnyvale players

What I actually did:
Woke up at 6 because Kaan was digging into my back, trying to get his fetching toy. We played fetch for a few minutes. I went back to sleep.
Woke up at 10, went online and handled all the email and FB/LJ traffic. At 11:15 I started to fall asleep at the computer so I went back to bed
Woke up at 12:30, showered, dressed, did my meds.
Watched some NFL draft, until it was clear that ESPN's pundits were no longer paying attention to the draft as it happened, but instead decided the reason they were in prime seats at Radio City Music Hall was so we could hear them blather to each other, argue, poke fun, and occasionally show film and talk about someone who was drafted 2 days ago. NFL Network also had a draft show, but they did that from ESPN studios, and they made no pretense of following the draft itself, instead showing interviews with players, coaches, players' families, coaches' pet llamas, and Some Drunk Woman On The Street in NYC Wearing a Red Sox cap.

Finally got email from UPS that the microwave was ready to pick up, took my dolly there, got it back home. Took lots of photos of the seriously battered box, the broken foam "protective" padding, the broken foam disk which was supposed to hold the glass turntable in place and keep it intact, and the ding in the side of the unit. Later also saw the side opposite the ding is bent a bit out from the unit.

Bought it for the sensor reheat function. Put four stuffed grape leaves in mint sauce on a paper plate and pushed the button. 10 minutes later it was still cooking, and when I stopped it, the food was one messy pile of slag, and smoke was pouring out. Very angry.

Just when I had gotten most of the burned smell out of the apartment from the last one.

I'll have to report this to Amazon, and see what they say. This monster is too big & heavy to ship back on my dime, and the box and foam lining are not usable. It would cost more to ship it than it is worth.

Thanks to the added excitement, I only had time to do some chores and some reading. Lots of chores. Hang up the laundry I'd run the last 2 days, cut down 3 months' of amazon/mail order boxes and haul them to the dumpster, take out the garbage.

Sunnyvale Players performs down the same road I live on, about 4 miles, so it only took a few minutes to get there, even hitting all the red lights. I picked up my ticket, read from my Kindle by the fountain for half an hour, then grabbed a seat toward the middle of row 3, figuring people would not sit right next to me. When it was too late to move, two whole families parked themselves to my right, with the largest member choosing the seat next to me. This in a theater which was only 1/3 full. Asshole.

Mini-review: I had many friends in this show, and they all did well. One of them completely owned the show. The last time I was on stage with Molly, she was playing Aldonza the kitchen slut in Man of La Mancha. Tonight she was playing the straight-laced, stern, dowager aunt. Quite a range! Unfortunately, her character does not sing.  Also unfortunately, the two main singing roles were played by people who did not have much of a singing voice. All in all, this version of Little Women did not impress me. The only tune I remember is a novelty song done by The Girl Who Dies and The Rich Old Man. The latter was played superbly by a fellow I have not seen before, which is odd because he's about my age and that's a part I might have auditioned for if I wasn't already in a show. Ross Harkness. Looking at his resume, I see why. He mostly performs in the East Bay.

The plot did not speak to me at all, maybe because I have three very different, independent, strong sisters whose lives did not derail when they got married.

At halftime I changed seats to the back row, which was a lot roomier, and actually had better acoustics, probably because of being far from the too-loud orchestra. The orchestra started off out of tune and cringe-worthy, but got it together after a few numbers.

The set was the usual SCP joke. Some boxes, a couple of stair steps, and some furniture was moved to denote a new location. Lighting was overdone, too many changes for what was needed. The audio depended on the cast, they were not miked, and a couple of them needed to be.

Worth seeing for some of the individual performances, but kind of like Brigadoon, not really a show one can relate to.

Plans for tomorrow:

Piazzi's, buy frozen matzo balls and primo chocolates
Office Depot/Max, buy a Fragile stamp
Pay a visit to a Ford and a Honda dealership.
howeird: (Default)
Got to work a little early, did a lot of ad hoc testing of some new video streams. Boss suggested a new routine for automation - instead of us non-programmers learning to code, we could write "pseudocode" and send it to the programmers to implement. So I took one of the tests which I did not want to do the math for and wrote a description of what the code needed to do, and submitted it. According to the database, I was the first. Automation Guy had to leave early, so I'll see what he says about it on Monday. Ironically, Tues-Wed he is giving a class on how to use his tcl harness to write code.

Lunch was at the Round Table Pizza buffet. They set up a good spread, a little more expensive than it needs to be but not by much.

After work a trip to Lucky's got me more Breathe-rite strips and a small pile of frozen dinners. I expect the new microwave tomorrow. For tonight I made chicken/matzo ball soup from a Costco package. Microwave instructions were the usual series of heat, uncover, heat more, let stand. Stovetop was "pour into a cook pot and bring to a boil". :-)

The matzo balls were not as good as the frozen ones, better than the ones in a jar. Lucky's stopped stocking the frozen ones after Passover, I need to make a run to Piazza's for more. Maybe tomorrow.

The cats usually meet me at the door, but not tonight. I found them in the computer room, Kaan curled up on my office chair, Domino curled up under the desk. Staring at each other.

The cats had stopped using the big expensive multi-level cat tree I'd bought when I moved to the new place, and only Domino was using the shorter one which I'd bought for Kaan. The tall one has sisal wrapped posts, which Domino likes, and since Kaan showed a love of clawing the carpet, I bought a carpet-covered one for him. He immediately started using all the sisal posts in the apartment and ignored the carpeted tree except to perch on once in a while. Except when Domino perches there, sometimes he tries to make nice by stretching out to his full height against the carpeted post. He is tall enough to reach Domino, but she hisses at him so he backs off.

So a few nights ago I moved the subwoofer from the left side of the patio door to underneath one of the speakers, and moved the tall tree across the room to where the subwoofer had been. Immediately, Kaan started climbing all over it. He is pwns it now.

More cat territory drama: On the sofa is a round cat bed which Domino spends most of the day curled up in. When I come home, Domino usually moves to the top ledge of the carpeted tree, and lately Kaan plops himself down in the cat bed, which is too small for him to curl up in, and kneads it while staring at Domino.

Watched the Tivo of the NFL draft, but Tivo failed and did not switch to ESPN2 after an hour and a half, instead it stayed on ESPN which was broadcasting the NFL playoffs. Boo. Hiss. I did see Te'o get drafted, that was a hoot.

Also watched the latest episode of Elementary which was annoying because they went into OMGWTFBBQ mode, a reason I don't read mysteries very often. What I mean is the solution to whodunnit was something which the audience was not given even a hint of until it was revealed by the Sherlock. And it's too late now, but naming the pair Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Joan Watson is just WRZONG. (the z is silent).

On the way home from Lucky's I stopped at 7-11 and picked up another case of Fancy Feast from the Amazon locker. How's this for a WTF?: If I order the stuff on a monthly subscription, they (a) don't ship it till 2 weeks later and (b) won't ship it to a locker. But if I pay about 50 cents more for a one-time order, they deliver it in 2 days, and to the locker.  Same stuff from the same source.

Did laundry. Shirts are on the bed in a basket. Jeans & T's are in the dryer, dried.

Plans for tomorrow:
Maybe find a "Fragile" stamp
Maybe do some more car research (more on that later)
Maybe buy frozen matzo balls
P/U the new microwave from the UPS store 
See the musical version of Little Women at Sunnyvale Community Theater. Two of the leading characters are friends.

What rain?

Mar. 31st, 2013 10:13 pm
howeird: (Default)
There were dire predictions of rain and thunderstorms. We got some impressive clouds and blustery winds, but no precip. A couple of photos for you:

Clouds over Milpitas, shot from Baylands Park in Sunnyvale.

This one's for [ profile] zyzyly, my latest portrait of Obama:

I almost kept to my schedule today, slept till 9:30, showered and took care of some business on the computer, took drugs at about 11, played with the cats a little bit, washed the comforter and put it in the dryer, put a load of jeans & t-shirts in the washer and at a little after noon went to Fry's to buy some printer paper.

They were closed. I'm guessing it was in memory of Caesar Chavez, whose 86th birthday would have been today.  It was odd seeing that big parking lot completely empty in daylight, so I parked near one of the entrances to think about what place might be open and have printer paper. I stayed for about 15 minutes because I was amused by the stream of cars coming in and turning back around. I would say that the vast majority of Fry's customers are not Christian, and those who are probably don't do Easter. Or Chavez's birthday. Their staff seems to be divided between Hindus, Muslims and Catholics. Being closed today lost them a lot of business.

Decision time, I continued to Lawrence Expressway, and turned onto El Camino, thinking something would come up. And it did. Big Lots was open, and they had reams of printer paper for $3 each, better than most of the time at Fry's. They also had deals on baby wipes (I need them for removing stage makeup later this week) and body wash (I have some, but $1.50 for a family-size bottle is a deal). Surprised they fit in one bag, took that out to the car, thought about vegging at Starbucks across the parking lot, but it was a nice day, considering, so I hopped back on Lawrence and went to Baylands Park. Last weekend there was no one at the toll booth, it's supposed to cost $6 per car to get in from March till November 1. This time there was someone taking money, she did not look old enough but she was in the booth, which made it official.

I headed for the far end where the RC planes play, but the folks were just standing around. One of the old guys told me the wind was so unpredictable that everyone was crash landing. Only two people got planes in the air in the 2 hours I was there. I remembered the Kindle this time, and my camp chair (the benches all face away from the field and toward the path) and a bottle of water. It was very pleasant, but eventually the wind picked up so much I figured rain was imminent, so I packed up and went  to the Starbucks nearest the apartment.

Did some FB, updated Norton's, then went home.

Brought in the bag from Big Lots. It only had paper in it. I guess I left the baby wipes and body wash at the store. :-(

Took the comforter out of the dryer, put the jeans & T-shirts in, put the comforter on the bed with Kaan helping by climbing up my torso with his front claws and head-butting me. My beard is very long now (been growing it for the show for the last 4 months) so he's a little weirded out by that. When I was done, the fleece blanket went on top, with Kaan under it. He doesn't really like being under the covers, but he has a really lousy sense of direction, so it takes a while for him to find the exit.

Meanwhile Domino is yelling at me for some treats.

Took care to LJ and FB and then broke for dinner. I made Wor Won Ton Matzo Ball soup. Yummy. Chopped up breaded chicken breast, frozen won tons, frozen Chinese BBQ pork in a big bowl of water. Nuked for 7.5 minutes. Added two huge frozen matzo balls, another 7 minutes, and it lasted all through the last hour of The Voice.   I almost never watch that show, after the first few episodes it was clear that the audience reaction was as important as the voices in making the judges hit their buttons. And after the initial auditions, it just gets more and more Hollywood and less about the voices.

Tonight I heard three outstanding voices, only two were chosen. The last one was a ringer, she had been a major singer in Michael Jackson's final road show, and sung at his memorial. There is no reason she needs to be on a contest show, she should already be a star. Her excuse is Michael's death hit her hard, and she didn't feel right about launching a career off of his funeral. But honey, that's the way it works. What better tribute to Michael can there be? The unchosen one was a 14-year-old girl who was 90% of the way there, and a good coach could have easily brought her the up another 8%. But none of the stars on the show are coaches, they are just talented stars and promoters.

After dinner I had a project, the string which closes the bag for the camp chair had long ago lost one of its stoppers, and was 1/4 of the way inside the lining. I did some surgery to pull it out and push it back through, and now I have a bag which closes again. Go me.

The laundry is still in the dryer, I think it can stay a while.

Plans for tomorrow:
PO - drop off the tax amendments
Leave early for move-in at the theater. I doubt we'll have a rehearsal, though the director expects to. 
howeird: (Default)
Stayed up way too late last night, totally forgot there was a memorial service I wanted to go to, stayed in bed till 10,  played fetch with Kaan after I made it clear that we don't play with tie wraps and he brought me his pretzel toy. Did some stuff online till 12:30, was falling asleep at my desk so shut down the computer and took a nap. Woke up at about 2 with my left hand on Domino and Kaan just out of reach on my right.

Forced myself to pretend it was a nice day, I should be outside at least a little. Drove to the Mercado, thinking to grab an outdoor seat at Starbucks, but hunger won and I went into Subway and got a pastrami sandwich in honor of St. Schwartz's Day. It was as close to corned beef as they had. Finished 90% of it till it started making me sick. I rarely go into Subway, much prefer Togo's.  But I did sit outside while eating, and reading another chapter on the Kindle from The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination: Original Short Fiction for the Modern Evil Genius which I am enjoying very much. Each chapter is a short story by a different author, and so far there have been no clinkers, not even the one from [ profile] seanan_mcguire. :-)

And then the Kindle gave me a low battery message, and I trundled over to Starbucks where there was a huge line and nowhere to sit inside or outside. So I relocated to the lesser-known one near Lucky's on Mathilda. My apartment is about halfway between the two. Got a good seat, stayed a couple of hours, kept forgetting to look up from the laptop to check out the eye candy.

Was searching for a convenient mailbox service, but the only one I found had a negative rating on Yelp from about 20 people. I have a bit of a dilemma, and that's that I don't know if the sale of Moto will mean a move for us. Boss' boss says he doesn't think it will, and has been lobbying against it, but OTOH he as put plans to upgrade the labs on hold until after the sale, when he can ask the new owners what they have in mind. Most of what I order online is UPS or Fedex, so just a PO box won't do. I may get one anyway....

Some of the stuff I did online today included ordering a GoPro camcorder, which will be for cats at first, and this summer I may take it on bike rides. There will be no theater projects this summer, I want to enjoy the sunshine.

Also ordered a half dozen bottles of dried kafir lime leaves. I'm tempted to get a small lime tree for the patio, but not yet. Anyway, the leaves are amazing for Thai cooking. Any cooking, actually. Soups, stews, curries, etc.

Emailed the headboard people and told them their canned "pack it up, put a return label on it and bring it to UPS" solution is not feasible. I need the piece of junk picked up and repacked. And I need a 1-hour pickup window.

Did my taxes in TurboTax, and e-filed both federal and state. I may need to amend the cost bases of a couple of stocks, one which split 1 for 7 and then lowered the price by 90%, which makes the math convoluted.

But that's the last time for that - I've sold all my stocks and am now invested only in a small sampling of tax free bonds and cash reserves. If I retired today, that would buy me lunch for weeks.

Today's cooking project was one last go at Tod Mun Pu, Thai style crab cakes. I mostly followed a recipe I found online, with some minor changes. One thing I learned is these need to be fried in oil on high heat, not medium as my recipe book author friend recommends.
Recipe hidden here )

Ate about a dozen for dinner, while watching Channel 4's I'm Witless News.

Plans for tomorrow:
Patelco CU - close account
Rehearsals - two more scenes where I am just a warm body.
P/U a delivery at the 7-11 locker


Mar. 15th, 2013 12:50 am
howeird: (Default)
Pi day in the US.

Had a breakthrough at work with a script, something I realized when I woke up this morning. The details are hard to explain, and boring.

Lunchtime I went to Lakewood shopping center, 45 minutes early for my dental appointment because I wanted to check out the Chinese market next door. I had not been there in years, because it used to be filthy (flies all over the place) with narrow aisles, very limited stock and high prices.

It has changed.

New Wing Yuan Market is now clean, with wide aisles, and oh so much stock. They have things I have never seen before. It took me 5 minutes just to check out the noodle aisle. Live lobster, carp, catfish (but no crabs - huh?). The produce section does not have half the variety of Ranch 99, but what they do have, they have a lot of. Some surprising machines, such as a wooden coconut shredder, a 3-foot-tall rice dispenser, so many different kinds of fresh & frozen fish. All the usual - and unusual - canned fruits. A half an aisle of faux Western treats made in Hong Kong, Czech Republic, PDRC. Shrimp chips from San Diego.

Made a note to come back after the dentist appointment, and got to the dentist 15 minutes early. It took 20 minutes to fill out their paperwork. They really need to have an online solution for that, my handwriting is horrible. The regular dentist was out of the country, her stand-in is a compatriot Philippina, as are the two assistants. Excellent all around, no pain, and an appointment for next week to re-do a filling which I thought needed it 2 years ago but the dentist I went to then was more interested in throughput than care.

Back to the market, spent about $20 in impulse buys. Prepared cuttlefish (a favorite snack of mine in Thailand), chocolate milk for way too many pennies, sesame candy and a kind of Asian peanut brittle. Almond cookies from an East Bay bakery ($1 less than the world famous ones from LA), a chocolate roll cake from Goldilocks, and two faux cup of noodles in crab and seafood flavors. And shrimp chips.

Back at work, made some progress on the script until Something Went Wrong and we lost all connectivity to the test machines. Or at least I did. By then it was after 5:30 and most of the people who could fix it were gone.

At about 6 I left and went for a manicure. Half an hour wait, which is unusual - if they think it's going to be that long they'll ask me to come back later. Manicurist tried to converse, but I couldn't make out what she was saying behind that mask. Most places have little fans to blow away the grindings, not this one.

From there to Lucky, where I was in search of frozen matzo balls. The bottled ones are gross. That was the last thing I found. Also got the obligatory pie (Dutch crunch apple), ice cream (how could I resist "malted milk mint"?) and stuff which was on my list like lactose-free milk and turkey bologna.

Had wanted to park at Starbucks, but it was too warm to leave ice cream in the car, so home I went.

Dinner was the remaining 3 Costco crab cakes, which I baked this time, and they didn't fall apart till I started eating them. Pie a la mode for dessert. Celery for appetizer.

Caught up on email. More info from my Baltimore sister about funeral plans for a dear family friend killed in a car crash. It will be on my brother-in-law's birthday (St. Patrick's day - he's a redhead) which is very Twilight Zone-ish because in 2010 my mother's funeral was on his birthday, and he came out to Seattle for that too.

Also in email was a question from a potential bidder about an eBay sale. It's a used phone, and somehow he misread the auction listing to think it was "mint". Which is isn't. And which it is not advertised as. I replied, setting him straight on that point and making the reply public. The auction closes tomorrow.

Plans for tomorrow:

Work, includes boss' boss' team meeting and my weekly report


Feb. 10th, 2013 02:16 am
howeird: (Danvers Hookers)
The Logitech Orbiter webcam is one of the most advanced USB-connected cameras ever created. I found mine in a box of lower-priority computer gear from my last move. Plugged it in, installed the software and when I launched it, a message popped up that it did not work on Windows 7. Went online, and lo and behold, they never built software for it after Vista. And they don't sell it anymore.

A shame, because this is the only webcam I can find which has a motorized tilt/swivel base. And it has a superb glass lens by Zeiss.

Late morning, woke up at about 9, played fetch with Kaan for a little bit, put pants on somewhere around noon, after loading up the dishwasher with the stuff I made fondue with last night, stripping the bed and putting the sheets into the washer.

There was light sour cream in the fridge and Knorr leak soup mix and minced clams on the kitchen counter, so I made clam dip.

Went online and discovered The French Store had microfiber sheet sets for about half the price of the cheapest cotton ones, and several of the reviews pointed out that they were good for avoiding night sweats, which has been a problem for me the past couple of weeks. So, off to Targét, and looked for those after plucking Q-tips and house brand electric toothbrush heads from the shelf. It was quite a long hunt. All the packages look alike for each brand, and there did not seem to be any microfiber. There was Jersey, which might also do the job, but no microfiber. Until I looked at the identical rows of house brand sheets, and there on the rack meant for Queen Easy Care sheet sets, some customer had slipped in a microfiber. But it was white, and online the perk was many bright colors.

There was no one to ask. All the help seemed to be over in the grocery side.

Finally found them on the end display, but there were only the sheet sets, no separates. I use 3 or 4 pillows, you see. So I picked a blue and a yellow, and then snagged an extra pair of pillowcases in those colors in Jersey material.

On the way home I stopped in at Fry's, where they now have two long rows of security cams, but those are all either $300 wireless internet cameras or analog made to attach to a video recorder or a video card. Way in the back of the store is a section of webcams, but few of them were high quality, and only the Microsoft top of the line said it swiveled. But it didn't say it swiveled by software command or digitally - using the digits on your hand. It definitely did not tilt by motor.

Home, had just enough time to flip between CNN, HLN and TWC trying to get an update on the LA killer cop.** Instead I got in-depth coverage of what looked like normal snowfall for early February in NY and Boston. I've seen more snow in Boston on Thanksgiving weekend. There was a view of heavy machinery removing cars from the road, with the excuse that they needed to be removed in order to plow the roads. This was in an upper upper middle class neighborhood on Long Island about 30 miles from where I spent my first 14 years. When I was a kid, the plows would have been out at the first prediction of snow, and the roads would be clear enough to drive on by daylight. The plows would also push about 5 feet of snow up against our driveway, so we did a lot of shoveling to get Dad's car onto the road. But the roads were drivable. So much sensationalism by reporters based in Atlanta who probably only saw snow in some big winter storm there, where plows and snow preparedness is not an issue.

HLN - Headline News - was playing a 1-hour show about a road rage shooting from several years ago. Not at all what I expect to see on a channel created for up to the minute news bytes. The Weather Channel was showing the wide variety of snowfall amounts from the storm, and pointing out that they were normal for this time of year, and the only remarkable thing about the storm is how wide a path it made.

**A sort of a rant and cynicism about the cop thing )

Drove to MV and had a short coffee klatch with Janice, who did not tell me anything about her NJ Red Cross experience so she could ask me some dating advice.

We were at the Pear Avenue Starbucks, across the street from the Computer History Museum. Parking was maxed out, but I didn't see anything on their web site about the event. They really need to fix that - they don't list non-museum events, which they have a lot of. Google and other businesses hold parties and meetings there.

Stopped in at 7-11 for potato chips, which were on sale.

Home, had chips and my home-made clam dip for dinner. Neither of the cats liked the dip. Very strange.

Janice had given me a DVD to watch, so I did. The Power of Two is the story of Japanese-American twins with cystic fibrosis and how lung transplants saved their lives. And their campaign to encourage people to sign and carry organ donor cards. And to help change the attitudes in Japan, which are strongly against organ donations from brain-dead patients.

It's a fascinating and touching movie, I'm going to see if it's available in PAL format and send it to my cousin in the UK who has MS and has been campaigning for better government policies on disability care and funding for people with "hidden" chronic diseases.

Went to Cheetah's to break a $100 bill, and get a lot of singles, and enjoy the show. I was there for about 90 minutes, and left after the Playboy model danced. She is not your typical PB model - about 5' tall, very petite. But she is beautifully toned, and has a great smile.

Yesterday's shopping included Pepperidge Farms frozen turnovers. I just made 4 cherry and 4 apple. There is one less cherry left.

Plans for tomorrow:
Set shop? I'll only stay if there is painting to be done. Any heavy lifting is out
Put the last 300 Thailand slides back in their folders
Consider what the next batch of slides will be. If they can put B&W negatives onto DVD as positives, I have a bunch of Thailand photos which are actually in order.

howeird: (Kaan Closeup)
In the microwave, actually. This is the second time I've put something in there for a few minutes and it just never turned off. Last time it was frozen cookies for 30 seconds, this time it was edamama for about 2 minutes. Smelled smoke, turned the thing off, made the mistake of opening the door to check. Had to close it immediately, then put the kitchen fan on high, and open all the windows. I wanted to open the door too for some cross-ventilation, but it doesn't have a screen. But the work-around was to turn off the heater and put its fan on full.

That was about 2 hours ago, the windows are back where they belong, heater is heating again, fans are off. It only smells slightly burnt. But the microwave is landing in the dumpster in the morning, and I'll be doing some unplanned shopping tomorrow. Online is out, shipping for those things is ridiculou$.

So, early morning, team meeting at 9 so we could conference in our buddies in Belgium. Spent too much time tweaking the automation on something I thought I had finished, only to be told by Automation Guy that our GUI does some rude things behind the scenes which assigns different names to the same items in a way our scripting program can't handle.

Lunchtime I went to Rite Aid for Vitamin D and found they ad the 1-year supply of the high-test stuff on sale for about 30,000 times less per unit than the 200-capsule medium-strength bottle. Which translated as $4.50 more for the high-test 365-capsule bottle. Don't you love marketing math?

So, started working on verifying fixed bugs, and on the third one, I hit a key and the machine locked up. Turns out the fix broke something else. I left my machine like that and the engineer who had fixed the first bug took it over to troubleshoot. The answer should be very interesting.

Went home, stressful day so I reclined for a while, decided I did not need the chaos of a fully-attended BASFA meeting, which it looked like it was shaping up to be, and tried to take a nap. There was a package by the door as I came in, it had another seltzer siphon to partially replace the one which blew a gasket and is now out of stick with no parts available. And a macro light ring which is a flash which fits over the camera lens for close-up photography. I put the siphon to use right away, the macro ring will be a while before I use it.

After about 5 minutes, Kaan jumps up on the bed and head-butts my back. I turn around and he plops his favorite toy down in front of me. I throw it out of the bedroom and clear across the livingroom. He takes off like a shot, and in about 3 seconds brings it back to me. We played fetch for about 10 minutes, until my arm got tired. Proof positive that he is half Labrador Retriever. I have never had a cat who would play fetch. I have had several who would play "you throw it, I'll chase it, then I'll play with it for a while and then go do something else, completely ignoring you."

Got up, gave the cats their treats, turned on Tivo to watch Elementary which was supposed to follow the Superbowl, but TiVo FAIL, they started recording at the usual 7 pm program time so all I got was an hour of the game. So I tried The Mentalist, but TiVo FAIL again, it recorded an hour of pre-game crap - idiots in bars around San Francisco. And that was my whole TiVo stash. :-(

Turned on the NatGeo channel, which had a fascinating thing on leopards, which is when I heated up the edamama and smoked the place up. Went online to look for microwaves not made by Panasonic, with a handle instead of push-button door opener, and turntable. Wasted some time on the Book of Face, which they tell me is 9 years old today.

And here I am at 10:30 pm, not having had dinner except for some celery stalks, thinking I should heat up some chicken soup the old fashioned way.

Plans for tomorrow:
Dumpster run
Pick up whatever package they have for me at the apartment office
Shop for a microwave

Way Behind

Feb. 3rd, 2013 07:53 pm
howeird: (Default)
Well, the superbowl is not going at all well, so I thought I'd catch up on almost a week of lost journaling.

Last real entry was on the train Monday. Skip to Tuesday. They kept saying they were running late, but when we got to Sacramento we were more than half an hour early. The sun wasn't up yet. I stayed on the train, very sleepy. The rest of the stops we were early, but we got delayed somewhere south of Oakland, and managed to just make it on time into San Jose, about 10 am.

Home, feeling poorly, but managed to pet the cats, top off their water, unpack, shower & take drugs and get to work around noon.

There was a lot to do at work, but nothing worth writing about. They had a town hall meeting way too early, so I caught the replay. It was a pretty good update on the Arris acquisition, they gave a lot more actual information than we got when Google was buying us.

Can't remember lunch or anything except going home to very affectionate cats.

Wednesday my cold was still hanging on, work kept my mind off it for the most part, I had some bug fixes to verify and some automation to work on. Home, faked some soup for dinner from Chinese BBQ pork and a couple of frozen won tons. Bed, woke up often. Kaan mostly stayed on the foot of the bed.

Thursday I was able to wrap up an automation script which was just waiting on a bug fix. They fixed the bug and it was easy from there. Starbucks for lunch, I think. The one near the furniture store, not one of the usual ones. There was a Brigadoon rehearsal, I was feeling just well enough to go - not contagious, just a stuffed nose and a mild fever. This was a run-through of what they had done so far, and I had not been blocked in 3/4 of it yet. We did my solo, and I was very displeased that he has me take center stage for it, which doesn't match the lyrics. He has not made allowances for non-dancers, so I've had to make allowances for myself. It looks like we will keep rehearsing to the boom box, which sucks big time. Music rehearsals don't start till the 11th, which is bass akward. Normally you learn the music first.

The good news is there are lots of pretty women, and many of them hang around me a lot, since I am the candy maker. The bad news is the director has all of us onstage all the time, pretty much. It's one way to do the show, but I think it detracts from the leads.

There is a dance number which is annoying me a bit. We have a very tall ballerina of Amazonian proportions (except she has both breasts - big ones), who is beautiful, graceful and a joy to watch. The character she is dancing with is a foot shorter than her, has a significant paunch, and it just looks wrong. He has no dancing training other than country dance.

We're supposed to go at 9, he kept us till 10:30 to block the end of the dance (lots of ensemble stuff, some of which I can't do, I need to talk to him about that).

Home, crashed

Friday was not feeling much better, but not worse. Work was again busy and I was able to wrap up yet another automation project which was waiting for a bug fix. Can't remember what I did for lunch, but I know I didn't go with the gang because they went too early [again]. After work I went to Office Max and looked for something to ship the Boskone art show photos in. I found something perfect, except it was way expensive. The 10-pack of 12x18 envelopes comes in a box which was the right size, but it was $25. On my way out I found their cardboard boxes, and got one which was 18x18x12, and went home with that. Of course it was too small for 12x18 photos.

Faked some soup dinner, and went to bed way too late after making the bid sheets and control sheet for the art show. She sent us non-writable pdfs, there is no way I am writing by hand, so it was a lot of copy and cut and paste work. At least I had the titles on a spreadsheet already.

Woke up at 1:30 pm. The cold was worse. I got up and dressed and was headed for Office Max to spend that $25, but the  garbage needed taking out, and lo and behold in the cardboard recycle area was the box from an ASUS video display which was pretty darned close to perfect, and free. So I took that inside, packed things up, weighed it, went online and printed UPS shipping and return labels, taped it up and blacked out all the bar codes that were not UPS, and took it down to the UPS store. Got that done in time to be an hour early to meet Janice at Starbucks, where I was going to start this tome but Facebook distracted me.

Janice was just back from 2 weeks in NJ as a Red Cross volunteer working with hurricane Sandy victims, and was pretty tired, so she had me fill her in on Conflikt, and we'll talk about her adventures next week.

Earlier in the day while things were falling out of the freezer compartment at me, I saw I had raw chicken thighs and drumsticks in there, so on my way home I stopped at Safeway and picked up the chicken soup makings I didn't have - which was really only green peas and gizzards (but they didn't have any of those). Decided to add corn, and buy a couple of fresh parsnips because the one in the freezer isn't fresh and was kind of small. I also bought a pizza and cream puffs for Superbowl Sunday, and some frozen dinners.

Home, hauled out the huge cauldron and filled it with chicken soup makings. This is basically my mom's recipe, but a little more generic. She used Manischewitz mixes:

and added a chopped onion and celery and sliced carrots. I buy the barley, beans, and split peas in bulk, and I start off with a gallon of chicken stock, and add chopped garlic, bay leaf, salt, ground pepper. Mom cooked it the usual way, I make it crock style - low heat overnight so to meat comes off the bones and the bones are soft.

So that was my 1 am snack.
howeird: (Kaan Closeup)
No idea.

Part of the pre-dental thing for a cat is you hide the food at 9 pm, because they will be under general anesthesia. At about 4 am, Kaan starts yelling, jumps on the bed and runs into the catfood area, lather, rinse, repeat. He finally gets the idea I am ignoring him, and I get another hour's sleep, waking up too early fearing I will wake up too late. I set the alarm on the new phone, but I have not used it before so I don't trust it. I need to be out of the apartment by about 7 am.

The alarm does its thing, blasting the business end of Stars and Stripes Forever, it takes me a while to find the off button.

Dressed, poured Kaan into his carrier (this really needs 3 hands to achieve with any precision), and head off to the vet.

They have me sign the estimate, which is a good $200 more than what I expected (having done this to cats at two previous vets). And of course there was the note that if it looked like Trouble, there would be a $70/each X-ray and a "you don't even want to know" charge for extractions.  

Home, did my usual morning stuff, then to work.

Looked at my to-do list, and there was only one test left to run, but it was a doozy.

Lunch with automation guy at the Thai place where they speak my native language to me. While there I noticed my voicemail icon was on, the vet had called to say Kaan probably needed two teeth pulled, maybe 4, so I called her back and said to go ahead and do whatever. That turned out to be another $300. 

Then back to work where I mostly look for tests but don't find any. There are some lengthy video quality tests I signed up to do, but they require a special dual-machine setup which needs to be prepped by someone else on my team. Maybe Monday.

The hardest I worked today may have been in trying to come up with things to put in my weekly report, because even though I did a reasonable amount of work, the number of items was small.

Went to the vet, spent about half an hour waiting, being briefed by the vet (two teeth were pulled), waiting, and taking Kaan home with two sets of liquid meds which I knew were never going into his mouth. I did try, 3 times, but he is strong and fast and can see a syringe from 5 feet away. He was still a little dulled by the anesthetic, but not dulled enough to bolt when he saw meds coming his way. I am not strong enough to hold him, open his mouth and squirt the stuff. It needs 4 hands, and that's more hands than I was issued.

She also gave me some dentally correct semi-dry food to switch him over to, but no way Jose. Because Domino will eat it all, and then barf it everywhere. There is no place I can put food were Kaan can get to it and Domino can't. When I had to do that for Pumpkin it was easy - he couldn't get his huge self up past the bottom rung of the cat tree. But Domino and Kaan are both climbers.

Anyhow, Kaan went to his food dish, and then to Domino's, and while he ate slowly, he didn't have any trouble with the dry food.

After giving up on chasing Kaan around, I pulled six different cheeses out of the fridge, used the Cuisinart to shred them, and made fondue in the big pot I'd bought a couple of months ago. It was delicious. The only bread I had was fresh sliced sourdough, but cutting it up and nuking it a few times in the microwave dried it out just enough for fondue.

I ate maybe 1/3 of it, the rest was poured into storage containers after it cooled enough.

Plans for tomorrow:
Nothing really. Keep an eye on Kaan. Watch some football. Catch up on Tivo and reading. Maybe some Starbucks time, now that they have put away the Jesus decorations and music.


Dec. 31st, 2012 12:33 am
howeird: (Naga)
Saturday Kaan needed to be poured into the carrier to go to the vet. They told me his poop sample was clear before they took him to have his blood sampled and a distemper shot. That took about 20 minutes as I waited in the lobby.

Home, watched some college bowl games, and finally got up and got stuff together to make Kourabiethes. Greek shortbread cookies. It comes with a short story: When the Daily Astorian social editor, Vernice Berg, found out I cooked, she signed me up to do a "cooking for bachelors" column. After 11 months there, I took a  Greek cooking class at the local community college, taught by the woman who owned the local pancake place. She was Greek, and hoped one day to open a Greek restaurant. Her son was often her assistant in the class. Several months later, I was in a production of Camelot in Astoria, OR, and he was our Sir Lancelot.  For dessert night, one of the things we made was Kourabiethes. I loved them, they were melt in your mouth, and made with cardamom they had an exotic flavor. The recipe was so simple I never wrote it down for myself. But guess what? I just found it in my string book:

Cut for kindness )

Wish I'd looked for it yesterday, because what I found online had baking soda, baking powder, almonds (which I ignored), and called for far more sugar in the cookies. And now I am wondering where I got the cardamom idea from. Maybe we made some other cookie with them that class, or maybe the teacher added that in class but not on the printed recipe. I wonder. Probably not the latter, because when I wrote those cooking columns I usually put in all the variations.

I had gone online and found three recipes which seemed close to what I remembered, and merged them. They called for baking powder and baking soda, which I did not have, so I went to Lucky's and got that, and more flour and more powdered sugar. Turns out I needed both.

The cookies I made yesterday had too much flour, an extra egg, baking powder and baking soda, and came out too dry. They still tasted great. I like the hint of cardamom too.

Cookies done, time for more football. About an hour before party time (it takes about half an hour to get there from here), I realized I did not have the address. I had been there a few times before, but had always just punched the address into my GPS. But I have changed GPS systems a few times and it's not on the one in the car. I didn't have their phone number either. The way I found the address  )

Got to the party with two containers filled with cookies, returned with 1 container full, left about a dozen behind for the lateniks. I think they would have all been eaten except the desserts were down two flights of stairs from the wine and beer, and the snacks and horses d'ovaries were on the dining room table next to the wine and beer table. Many people never knew the cookies were there. :-(

Excellent party, lots of people from many walks (and limps) of life, some brilliant conversations, and I managed to catch some of the hostess' photos from her summer teaching in China, which was in slide show mode on a laptop in the conversation pit. Huge turn-out, many people arrived after going to the movies, or dinners or other parties. I left at 2 am, it did not feel that late, probably because the party was still going strong.

I wore my new SF Giants jacket, it got lots of compliments.

One of the party latecomers produces an online fanzine called The Drink Tank. I am not sure where the name came from, I suppose I can ask him some time. I am an irregular contributor, mostly photos, but sometimes an article. He had put out a call for 2012 nostalgia, and I sent in some words and lots of pictures of the shuttle Endeavor fly-over at NASA Ames. At the party he announced that the issue was sent to the web site, and my article was in it, along with articles from two or three others at the party. Click here to see the zine.

It was good to see [ profile] figmo at the party, she said she'd seen my posting about it, and thought she had forgotten, but I think what happened is they had several possible dates and she missed the final choice. Anyhow, I'm tagging [ profile] susandennis here, because [ profile] figmo is a brand new IBMer, going for her disorientation this week, and she posts about it on LJ. Susan has been posting a bit about her 25 years with IBM, now that she is retired. Both have a background in writing, too.

Sunday. Nothing on the agenda until 5 pm coffee with Janice. After a 3 am bedtime, waking up at 9:30 was about an hour too soon, blame the automatic light switch. There was a lot of football, but most of it was not what I wanted to watch. Bummed that they did not show the Seahawks game, but the Raiders and 49ers were at the same time slot. I also wanted to see the Jets get beaten again, but that was not available either.

Lunch was a major project, which involved taking a leftover lunch of leg of lamb with veggies which had been made in Awful Sauce™ and remove the offending bitter flavoring. Long story short, 4 sessions of simmering in water for 10 minutes, drain and refill each time, then make a casserole gravy. My mom used to do this all the time, but she never taught me how to make the gravy. I tried a simplified version of what's in the Fanny Farmer cookbook, which worked okay but needed salt & pepper. It was very filling, half of it is in the freezer for a later meal.

Maiming time until I needed to leave for coffee, I ordered a pair of oven mitts and a set of no-longer-sold-in-stores food storage containers online, watched more football, played on FB and Twitter, and just as I was about to leave my tummy said it needed to check the plumbing. That done, went to the car and once again tummy decided no, not yet,

I got to Starbucks with 5 minutes to spare, plus Janice had emailed she would be late. But she wasn't, she arrived just as I was paying for my drink.

Long conversation, as usual, she gave me a CD to copy for her. I thought it was photos, but it turned out to be a recording of a speech at an AA meeting by a friend of hers who passed away recently. It is an hour long, which surprised me, I thought maybe the original was defective, but nope, he talked for that long. Without going into details, it was the most incredible story of how much denial an addict can sustain.

So now she will have a copy, with an attractive printed disc.

Home, hungry again, ate a whole can of stuffed vine leaves (15 small ones) in two shifts. All the time, Domino is standing beside the recliner staring at me, even though I've offered her a piece and she did not like it.

Took a break to try to feed Kaan his liquid meds, because they have been working well but I missed last night's dose. He hates being dosed, and ran all over the place to get away. I finally went back online for an hour, and got him while he was half-asleep on the recliner. It still was difficult, but I think I gor most of it in him and only a little bit on him. But tah's okay because he will lick it off.

I am a happy sports fan, as little as I pay attention to these things. Oakland almost came back from certain defeat, only losing by 3. Seattle won again, putting them in next week's playoffs. Washington won, making them the Seahawks' next opponent. Baltimore lost, but they already clinched a playoff spot. 49ers won, it was ugly and against a vastly inferior team, but that gives them next week off before they play their first playoff game. I wonder if Baltmore sister, whose husband works in DC, will be going to next week's game there. We are both Seahawks fans, being from Seattle, but she also roots for the Baltimore and DC teams since she lives there now.

Posted more pix of the cats here. I espeically like these:Read more... )
Plans for tomorrow:
Plan A: Troll Facebook for a NYE party to go to.
Pan B: Make pigs-in-blankets, take out the egg nog & nutmeg, and have my own party while I watch it on TV.
Midnight, take down all the 2012 calendars. Confirm the world did not come to an end. Put up the 2013 calendars.

howeird: (Default)
First stop this morning was to deliver a vial of Kaan poop to the vet. Made an appointment for tomorrow morning to have his blood work and any needed vaccinations done. And dental cleaning next Friday.

Work was quiet, but I got that pesky automation script done, and then found a related one to do, which took the rest of the day. Lunch with Automation Guy at Andy's BBQ. Some irrelevant history )

I finished my weekly retort at about 5, and left soon after.

First stop: Costco. Dropped off the next set of 500 slides from 1975-77 Thailand. Meant to only buy some Oreos and chocolates, and maybe paper lates. Spent >$100.
Next stop: Safeway because Costco doesn't sell egg nog or storage container jars. I almost bought some Costco diced/dried garlic for the jars, but $4 each was a bit too much. And I also wanted to pick up just enough eggs, flour and sugar to make Kourabiethes, now that I have the cardamom for them. Safeway was not only out of egg nog, they no longer have space marked for it. And they didn't have the jars I wanted.
Next stop: Lucky's. Got two half gallons of egg nog, and some jars.
Next stop: Starbucks, redeemed my latest free drink credit and update the laptop's virus scan definitions. When I ordered, I asked how late they were open. They said 9 pm. WTF of the day - at 8 pm all the unoccupied tables have their chairs stacked on top and the guy is mopping the floor. Listen people, you mop the floor after you lock up for the night, not an hour before closing. I saw three couples walk away when they saw the chairs on top of the tables. Stoopid.

Next stop: Apartment mailbox. I have not used my Slate card in almost a year, and they claim to be super security conscious, but they send me pre-printed checks, unsolicited and unwanted. Talk about begging for identity theft. I shred them. I ought to mail the shreds back to them with a nastygram. And I really need to close that account.

Final stop: home. Lots of football on Tivo. Caught the end of the Duke loss to Cincinati. Watched the Bruins get ripped apart by Baylor, a game which ended in the refs awarding a touchdown to a UCLA play which was actually stopped at the 2 yard line as rime ran out. They refused to review the play, which ought to get some refs fired, since it's a requirement. I don't care that it didn't change who won or lost, but it did change the outcome of the game. Officiating seems to get worse and worse at both college and pro levels in football. I don't follow hockey or basketball to know about those. Baseball officiating is mostly about calling strikes and balls, and the umpire really ought to be replaced with an electronic sensor. TV coverage has been using (unofficial) electronic strike zone imaging for years. They have been doing the same for calling a strike vs. a checked swing.

Spent some time on Quicken and FB and Twitter.  

One of the stores had row upon row of Prego brand products. I wonder who was pregnant.

Gave Kaan most of his liquid medicine, which gained me a couple of scratches on my tummy and a scared 14-lb cat. His adoption papers said 16 lbs, bu he weighed in at the vet at 14.15 lbs. I credit having a large apartment to run around in.

Plans for tomorrow:
Kaan to vet
Catch up on sleep
Make goodies
Go to [ profile] dinogrl and [ profile] dave_gallaher's House of Spike party. I will probably bring Ghirardelli dark chocolate squares, and maybe Kourabiethes.

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