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But it isn't, yet. It is one of those weeks when I have zerozipzilch in the evenings but way too many things I want to be doing on the weekend. Saturday there's a photo walk meetup in Capitola, which I will only go to if it's not raining, and even then it may be a stretch because at 3 we get our scripts and read/sing through Little Shop and at 6:30 in deepest darkest southern San Jose there's the annual meeting of the San Jose Astronomical Assn. which I just joined. I'm guessing I'll be late and must remember to put something in the car for the potluck.
Friday night has been announced as a Bad Movie Night at the home of a couple of long time theater friends, by the husband, but his wife announced it as Saturday. If it is Friday I'll be there, Saturday probably not.
Work was more data entry, for a feature I was assigned yesterday. Tomorrow will be another feature. Something called Teletext, which is a European TV standard from the bad old days, the PAL version of closed captioning, except not just subtitles but it can also blank out whatever is playing and fill the screen with ugly HUGE ASCII text of different colors overlaid on bands of contrasting colored background bands.

Barf-worthy. The example video I have on my machine is in German, so I can sort of read it.
Straight home after toying with a making side trip to see some women interacting with a tall metal cylander bolted to the stage.
Domino kept yelling at me until I sat in the recliner and she jumped up on my lap. Then she head-butted my tummy so I petted her. She allowed that to happen for about 2 minutes, and then she was done with me.
I took a shot at starting to build a POI table from scratch with Google maps, but it is very tedious. I think I'll just do it the old fashioned way and enter addresses into the unit by hand as needed.
I am pretty well done with the overpriced in-dash Kenwood DNX890HD. It regularly reboots the iPod, doesn't show me all the backup camera views, wipes out all my settings and points of interest whenever I update the firmware and the map is 5 years old though it claims to be current. Tomorrow I think I'll talk to the folks at the Toyota place where I didn't buy the car and find out what it would cost to have the OEM unit installed. I can sell the Kenwood for a lot on eBay, probably come out even or close to it.
Time to bleed on a test strip, shoot up and create dinner. And unload the dishwasher and hang up the laundry from Monday.
Plans for tomorrow:
More boring data entry
Costco, pick up the 10 poster board photos I ordered for the Contact 2014 art display. I missed last year because with NASA Ames bulldozing their conference center, the conference was moved to LA. This year it is back here, at SETI the first day and the St. Claire Hotel the rest of the weekend.


Sep. 25th, 2013 11:55 pm
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So the highlight of the day was a trip to the Miracle Ear hearing aid office at Sears' Valco store. They had advertised free testing and sale prices. For the past couple of years I have had trouble understanding what people are saying to me, and I was hoping there was a device which would help with this. I've had my hearing tested at Kaiser a couple of times in the last 5 years, and the results have been similar, with reasonable hearing in the voice range but loss in the upper frequencies. Yesterday I checked myself out in the upper ranges and I can hear 8,400 Hz. In 1997 I could hear almost to 15,000. A CD and most standard earphones claim 22,000. What those freqs buy you is more harmonics of things in the voice and music range. Voice is around 4,000.

They did a very quick look into both my ears with a device that threw the image up on the screen. My ear canal is packed with hair, and there were little bits of wax here and there but no blockage.

Next was the claustrophobic booth test. I made sure I could not see what the tech was doing. I had a button to push each time I heard a tone. The pattern he used was too logical, so I heard more than I would have if they had been randomized. The pattern started with my right ear, going through all the tones in order, each tone repeated 4 times at a progressively lower volume. Then the same with my left ear. There was one break in the pattern - the tones went from high frequency down the scale to low, but ended on the highest frequency, and that frequency was generated as more of a shriek than a tone, probably a piezoelectric buzzer.

After the test, they showed me a map the tech had made of my hearing response, and it looked exactly like the one from Kaiser in 2010, just a bit more loss than 2008. The salesmonster from the head office was having a hard time thinking of a way to sell me a hearing aid, it was clear he did not think his products would help me much. So I asked him to just show me the prices. Top of the line, a tiny behind-the-ear  instrument with 48 programmable channels, lists for $9k a pair, special discount this week only, $7k. I pretended that this was out of my price range at the moment, including the $200/month financing with no interest the first year. 

Looking at my two Kaiser tests, 2008 and 2010, glaringly missing from the Miracle Ear test was the word recognition series. Spoken words you are asked to repeat. Can't really test the kind of hearing loss I'm interested in without that. I suppose I should find out about Kaiser's current program.

That was in the middle of the work day. Before the test I went to lunch across from Sears at the Japanese mega-buffet which is now called Tatami. I had not allowed myself enough time for dessert.

This morning's work was taking another PPT class, this one was a 2-fer, the first part was about QAMs, which are the devices at the cable company which translate satellite feeds into images you can see on your TV. It was from the point of view of someone who has to install and service them. The second part was about a "new" technology cable companies were looking at which uses fiber optics instead of coax cable except for the last little bit between the phone pole to your house. The class was from 2007, this is now standard. But still interesting.

After the hearing test was my 1-on-1, I had some stats the boss asked for about the bug that wouldn't die, which showed it was not an out-of-memory issue. And I brought him up to date on the latest major bug one of the customers found, and tried to impress on him how critical it is, and how we missed finding it. And it also spawned another bug, a minor one about the spec being wrong.

Picked up a package at UPS after work, it was 8 2-packs of undies. I originally found them in Scotland, in the UK equivalent of Macy's, and finally found them on amazon. Since it was across the street I went to Starbucks, got a mocha, but had to sit outside, no room at the inn. And outside there was no wi-fi signal, so I went home and did some stuff on the laptop, which needed to be charged up and virus definitions updated.

Dinner was a small frozen one. Banquet. No more of those after this batch, the plastic trays melt a bit.

Tried on the undies, they are way too big. Went online and got an RMA and shipping label from Amazon for 7 2-packs (they won't take back used underwear). When I print labels from eBay, Paypal and they are formatted to print on Avery 8126, which is adhesive-backed 8.5x11 perforated at the 5.5" point, perfect for a shipping pre-paid label. Amazon won't do that, they have their own stupid form which prints the label in the center of the page with a lot of verbiage around it. So you have to tape the paper label to the package and pray.

I'll drop that off at UPS Friday, probably. Meanwhile I ordered the undies 2 sizes smaller. That should be about right.

Plans for tomorrow:
Put away the laundry
YOTB. Last rehearsal of the year

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I had hoped to sleep in, on account of staying up late. What woke me was low blood sugar - at 9:30 am it was 77. Luckily there was some chocolate milk in the fridge, and that got me back up. 127 by noon. Okay, so I over-shot a little, but my target is 130, so there.

Also got my blood test numbers back, they are all better than 3 months ago, but still nothing to write home (or here) about. Got my exercise taking out the garbage from the bathroom and livingroom. And hauling my baritone and the heavy music stand to the car. And from the car down the hill to the park. And playing from 1:30 till about 3:30 with a 15-minute intermission. Talking with the baritone player I sit next to, he may be bowing out temporarily while the pain drugs for his damaged foot get balanced. He said he was having trouble finding the notes on the page, and it sounded that way too. According to an article in a long ago Stanford newspaper, he started grad school there in 1962, which would make him at least 76.

I wasn't playing very well either, but we had an easy set of tunes, not a lot of high notes, and my lip lasted until the last number before the finale. The finale is easy, so I was okay for that.

At showtime it was only 77°, and we were in the shade of our huge oak tree, and it was breezy. It had climbed to 81° by intermission, I didn't check after that. We were expecting high 90s.

Went straight from there, hungry, to Starbucks where I was meeting Janice at 5:30, the plan was to have lunch before she arrived, at the new Thai place there (Rengstorff & Middlefield) but it's closed Sundays. So I went to Starbucks and had a pair of their yummy croissant hot dogs. And a huge iced tea.

Read on the Kindle while I ate, then put that away and launched the laptop and Facebooked and Twittered. I build a dummy Twitter account to follow news and a couple of personalities, but it isn't linked to anything and I'm not accepting followers. Hope that will prevent the hackers. If it doesn't, well, I don't care if CNN, BBC or Recall Nancy Pelosi get invitations to watch gay porn.

Janice showed up on time, we had a nice chat, I told her about Uncle Bonzai, she told me about her latest assignation. I also told her, and she was shoocked, that the Kindle Paperwhite has no audio capability. I showed her mine. Most of her Kindle purchases are audio books, and she was wondering why they dikdn't download, and Kindle support didn't have a clue either. Turns out she usually puts those on her iPod, so no real harm done.

Safeway, I was almost out of TV dinners, and they had a sale on Crystal Lite and Cheez-its.

Home, put the food away, brought the baritone and the laptop inside, heated up a dinner and ate it on the patio with cats wandering around. Looked at the mail - the Kindle Paperlite holder was there, it doesn't quite work as advertised for a unit which has ads. Instead of turning the machine off when the cover closes, it displays an ad forever.

Bought NovaBackup last night, started it up backing up my 2TB mirrored RAID drive to a 3TB network drive. I ordered two more matching drives, now that they are on sale for $90 each, and the plan is to format them, change to RAID 4 or 5, and restore to what will then be a hopefully faster) 6 TB array. At a later date I may need to buy a bigger backup drive. But for now, it says this backup won't be done till late tomorrow night.

Created an email message to all the people on panels I'm moderating for [ profile] westercon66. Only one bounced, but he has other addresses and the second one went through.

Plans for tomorrow:

Indoor Cat

Jan. 13th, 2013 03:11 am
howeird: (How_Transit_1)
I had one of the best sleeps in ages, didn't wake up till 6:30, took a leak, went back to bed till 10. No morning football, so I did some stuff online, made lunch (which was a disaster - macaroni and sliced beef franks, with leftover twice-cooked fondue as the cheese. But the fondue had become fondon't, oily and very strong. I left most of it over, and used egg nog as an antidote. With lots of nutmeg.

Watched the Ravens/Broncos game, at halftime walked to the apartment office and picked up two packages: an extra longer-life battery and charging station for the Samsung phone. And a Coleman lunch cooler similar to the Frozn one I have been trying to replace for about 2 years. The differences are minor, they have the same size main section and removable hard plastic liner.

Back to the game, turned off the audio because those guys just never shut up, and most of the time they are babbling about things which have nothing to do with the game, or things that do which I don't need to hear. I like to hear the crowd noise, but...

The Ravens won despite abysmal special teams play, and as is usual in the NFL, the mistakes of their opponent.

The game ran to double OT, so when I switched to the 49ers game it was already in progress, and Green Bay had already scored. It was a good game, Harbaugh let his QB go long, both passing and running, and after the initial hiccup they won handily.

Dinner was lunch resurrected. I washed everything, turned it out onto a paper towel to dry and de-oil, picked out as much of the globs of fondue as I could see, and then back into the bowl slapped on three slices of American Singles and about 3 Tbsp of grated Parmesan, and nuked it for 2 minutes.  Much better.

Somewhere in there I switched to the bedroom TV and put away the whites. So exciting.

This game ran long too, but that was fine, it made it just the right time to go to Cheetah's, watch the show for about 2 hours, and launder money. Legally. They had no problem accepting a $100 bill for the $20 cover + $20 in 1's.  So now I have plenty of $1 bills for the junk food/soda machines at work.

At about 11 it was time for a Safeway run. They were practically empty, which I thought was pretty odd for after the after-party on a Saturday night. I guess most folks blew their budget on the holidays. I only had a few items on my list, but this was designed to be a stock-up run, so while I did get the limes, celery, bananas, kitchen trash bags and kitty crack (as [ profile] susandennis very accurately calls Fancy Feast), I also got some microwave frozen meals, bread, hot dog buns, sourdough round, raw turkey drumsticks, onions, whipped cream (the kind Domino likes and are always 2-for-1) Ritz crackers and cheese in a squirt can, and most important, Klondike bars. Spent >$100.

Hauled that home and found a place for everything, somehow.

Kaan had not touched his med-slimed Fancy Feast turkey flavor dose at dinner time, I made the mistake of mixing in the anti-itch meds which he hates. So I mixed up some salmon flavored with just the antibiotics, and he scarfed that down.

Domino is coming around a little, she spent a lot of the football time on my knee or on the arm of the recliner. Kaan curled up once on my lap, and went to sleep for about half an hour, and wasn't keen on waking up when I had some stuff to do in the kitchen. When I returned he was on the recliner seat, owning it.

It is way late but who cares? I have taken my meds, and can sleep till 10 if I want to.
Last week I donated to the Jay Lake Genome project. Jay is a science fiction author popular among fandom, who has been battling cancer for years. He has journaled extensively about his ordeal. I have met him a couple of times at cons, IMHO he's Good People. Recently he set up a Paypal account to raise the $20k it would cost to sequence his DNA, with a hope of researchers finding something which might help cure this kind of cancer, or at least know what genes might be red flags. The last I heard he reached his goal, but PayPal has locked the account, questioning its legitimacy as charitable. Assholes.
 Plans for tomorrow:
sleep in
watch the Seahawks-Falcons game (which I may turn off if the wrong team starts to pwn the game)
Coffee with Janice at 5
Maybe play the Tivoed Houston-Patriots game. Maybe not, unlike the other three games I have no dog in this hunt.
Look at the Brigadoon score some more. It is a mess. Hand drawn, sometimes the chorus part is on 3 lines, sometimes 2, it is a total piece of crap. You would think that with what Tams Whitmark charges for the rights, they would have the scores professionally printed.
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Laundry is done. I just need to take the whites out of the dryer. And evict Domino from the basket of shirts.

New business cards are printing, the first 10 are in my wallet. A few will be made into luggage tags.

Got all the bathroom boxes unpacked and organized. That required going out to the storage room and opening a box which the movers had packed which was supposed to go into the dining room. Long story medium sized: The apartment prior to the last one had an open area under the bathroom sink, which I bought three plastic drawers to put inside. The last apartment had drawers built in, so I had put the plastic drawers in the storage closet by the dining room. This apartment has the open design, so the plastic drawers came out of storage and into the bathroom again. I know, TMI.

Moved some heavy boxes around the office, the ones with the files were where I wanted the file cabinet to go. Those are switched, and the bottom drawer's contents have been unpacked and loaded into the cabinet. The pile of flattened boxes grows by the front door.

So much for the moving chronicles.

At lunchtime I went down to the place where I had bought the alarm and had them send it in for replacement/repair. And also put a deposit on another electronic goodie for the car, which they will install a week from Saturday.

Work was busy, wrapping up an automation project, but each time I ran the program it refused to cooperate at one particular point. I tried several variations, none worked. 99% of the script runs great, just this one little dialog box "OK" button seems to be invisible to it. Tomorrow I will ask Automation Guy to take a look.

Plans for tomorrow:
Anything Goes performance.
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I woke up at about 7, Domino was curled up at the far foot of the bed, and I had no intention of getting going that early so I poked around on the internet radio through all the BBC choices, and stumbled upon a live feed from the Queen's jubilee parade - which was a floating down the Thames. Turned on the bedroom TV and poked around until I found BBC America, which was carrying the parade live as well, but it was in SD and the Comcast channel guide sucks puppies for finding the channel line-up, so I went out to the livingroom and found the HD equivalent on Tivo, and watched it there.

My first thought was it doesn't hold a candle to Seafair. Only 1,000 vessels. What a crock. Seattle gets more than that for the yearly opening day regatta. And I guess I'm spoiled, but the royal barge had some fancy gold stuff on the bow, but it was nothing compared to the King of Thailand's royal barge. BTW, he marked 63 years on the throne a month ago.

But there was a lot of music. A lot of very beautiful music. The BBC did not do as good a job as the could have (their announcers talked over almost everything) but you could see a lot of boats fitted out with orchestras, choruses, chanty singers, bands, you name it. The highlight was supposed to be the London Phil at the end of the event, but I haven't looked at the Tivo to see if they made it onto the air. It was pouring down rain by that time.

I missed the ending because it was late and I needed to get showered and dressed and manicured. I phoned my little sister, and that made me even later. She had posted on FB how she did not like Lactaid as a cure for lactose intolerance and I wanted to know why. Turns out she is against taking supplements of any kind. Had I been thinking, I'd have pointed out that the insulin  which keeps me alive is a supplement in the same sense - it replaces something my body should make a lot of, but doesn't.

Off to the manicure place, only two people working, both busy. Read from my Kindle for about 45 minutes before there was an opening. Usually there are 5 people, but the owner said her daughter got mad & quit, and two people were out sick. Two times there, waited both times and both times the manicure was just adequate. Time to try the little place nearest the apartment instead.

Togo's for lunch, then home to attack the patio cat fence project. Cut a piece of fencing, wrestled it into place and gaffer taped it, but it needed something more to neaten it up and hold it against the gate. Went to Fry's and bought some 7" tie wraps. Tried those, they are too short for the top (horizontal) rail (it looks smaller because it's rectangular, not square) but I managed to tighten things up on the smaller vertical rails. That was enough for today, I was not about to do 18 speed bumps just for a pack of 14" tie wraps. The gaffer tape is not holding, so I'll need to tie wrap the top. Tomorrow. 

The TV was still on BBC and they were doing the life of the Queen, probably three hours of it, and I watched two hours before the host got on my nerves, as did all the living PMs except Thatcher raving about how they need a queen and royalty and all that. Most other countries manage to fill the ceremonial role with someone not-royal, and considering the poor track record of her eldest son.... (Thailand has the same issue, but their monarchy is not reliant on direct descent, as I understand it, any prince can be named king).

More cat stuff:
Mixed the Iams dry food she pecks at half and half with Pumpkin's diabetes high-protein dry food, which she vacuums up when I toss handfuls at her, and stocked her food tower with that.
Took care of the litterbox.

I suppose I ought to make dinner.

Plans for tomorrow:
Cat fence
BASFA if there's time. I expect it will be packed.  

Stuff done

May. 23rd, 2012 11:28 pm
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Started the morning on the phone to Tivo support, they worked around the hung machine by having me unplug the wi-fi adapter and plug it back in. When I left for work it said it was 78% done downloading.

All-hands meeting at 8 am, since it was being held at MMI HQ in Chicago. Former CEO spoke, I was not impressed. Google founder spoke, he did very well for someone who probably would prefer to be in his office, coding. New CEO spoke, I was very impressed. He knows how to do a presentation, Q&A showed he listens & remembers.

Checked my brokerage account, and yes, by golly, yesterday all my MMI stock was automagically cashed out at $40/share. Which is good because technically I didn't pay anything for them. But technically I  did. Here's what happened:

In 2007-9 I bought Moto stock on the employee purchase plan. It started at $10.50 but kept going down, probably was about $7 when I pulled the plug on a losing program. When Moto split into MMI and MMS, I got about 1 share of MMI for every 6 of Moto, and the full number of shares of MMS. Then MMS split 8 for 1 or something bad like that.

Anyhow, the cash out is good enough to buy 5 shares of Google on a good day. Which I don't plan on doing.

Lots of busy stuff at work, and a bug fix to verify, which was fun to work with. Took an old set of commercials and set them to play in a loop as if they were a cable program. Did the same with a couple of other video clips.

Lunchtime I went to the Safeway at Rivermark, needed a few minor items, also got some creamy goat cheese to put on the sourdough mini slices I had on the counter at home. Then to Yo Yo Sushi across the parking lot. This one is about the same as the other one I went to recently. Excellent sashimi.

1-on-1 with the boss, he missed the meeting, so he asked what I could tell him about it.

I'm between projects, so I volunteered for a boring one but it's one I can do. My main project was supposed to begin Monday but engineering is not ready.

Home, fired up the Tivo and it was back at square 1, and hung at the same place as last time, but with a different error message. Workaround B got me through - power off the adapter & the router, then router up and then adapter back in place. Then I called Comcast to pair the cable card. The tech had no idea what he was doing, but I did so it all worked out.

I managed to add my season passes, except for football season because Tivo had not loaded the full database yet. No rush. It hung on me while I was doing that, same as the box it was replacing, so I re-arranged some furniture to get the Tivo wi-fi adapter away from the big speaker and near the wall which the router is on the other side of.

Tivo was recording on both tuners, so I fired up the DVD player, launched Amazon Prime and watched an old Star Trek episode.

Dinner was celery stalks, ha gow and sui mai with double chocolate fudge brownie ice cream, and pistachios for dessert. No goat cheese because I'd forgotten the sourdough minis had gotten moldy so I threw them out 2 days ago.

I had planned to take a nap, but that only lasted half an hour.

The old Tivo and the ASUS Zan machine are boxed up and ready go to UPS

Plans for tomorrow:
YOTB rehearsal
howeird: (Default)
Probably the most powerful thing my father ever told me is that, like us, he and his father did not get along, and one of his biggest regrets was he never had the chance to reconcile with his father. His father was a handyman, and fell off a roof when my dad was 19. It took decades, but by the time my father was gone, we were on good terms with each other.
Someone who had a crush on me when she was in high school (I was 23) is now one of the production staff at Seattle Opera. Over on the Book of Face, she posted the trailer for their current production of Madame Butterfly, as well as an article in a not-quite-local paper about the 6-year-old girl whom she found to play the part of Pinkerton's son. I did not want to be rude to her over there so I'll say it here.

First, there are plenty of boys in Seattle who could have played that part. Plenty of girls too. Okay, so the kid is only from Lynnwood, but that's a nasty commute from the northeast end of Lake Washington to the opera venue in downtown Seattle, at least an hour one way after school.

Seattle used to be a place where young opera talent could get a break, but they decided to cast an older performer (14 years since her debut) as the leading lady. She looks older than that. The role calls for a teenager. The woman has enough vibrato to stress test a 747. The fellow playing playful boyish Pinkerton is a stuffed shirt. Nice voice, though. The mix was horrible - the orchestra in most of the clips was too loud to hear the soloists' words. It does not look like a production I would go out of my way to see.
This morning listening to KNBR, the local all-sports station, they played a Home Despot commercial and an Orchard Supply commercial back to back. OSH was advertising patio and outdoor furniture on sale, and I've been thinking about buying a chaise for the patio, so I went there after work. I did an online search and found nothing I wanted, but often the store has more than the web page. I did find a nice one for $99 at Anyhow, OSH had nothing I wanted. Heavy iron ones for $179 which needed a pad for more $, a horrible flat plastic one in gray, and something called a Zero Gravity Chair which looked a lot like the dreaded Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal. Almost went straight home, but remembered that everything I had planned for this weekend fell through, so I had time to make pickles. Detoured to the produce place and picked up 4x7 pickle cukes. And a nice big celery bunch. And some medium big limes. Celery meant needing bleu cheese dressing, so next detour was to my local supermarket, which did not have the brand I liked but they had "good enough".
Home, the 2012 map from Garmin was under my welcome mat. I'll try it out tomorrow.

Watched the latest episode of Who Do You Think You Are? which followed Quincy Jones' daughter Rashida's search for her Jewish mother's ancestors. It was incredibly moving, I'm pulling it from TiVo onto my PC and will make DVDs for my sisters, and my aunt.
Work was boring. I cranked out a ton of test cases for a new feature, but I think I'm at a dead end for now. Will pursue it Monday.
Lunch was a rare case of me driving the gang, irony being we went to a hole in the wall Japanese place across the street from my apartment. I've eaten there once before and was not impressed. But it was a nice day so we sat outside. One of them has a very loud voice, and is virtually un-interruptable, so it's nice that he has interesting things to say. He does pause from time to time, but not often.
I forgot to go to the PO, mostly because I usually do that at lunchtime.

Plans for tomorrow:
PO, mail the calendar to Michi in Japan
Manicure (my nails have grown way faster this last 2 weeks than usual)
Best Buy - see about having the GPS antenna in the car placed where it gets a better signal
Make pickles. Plan A: 7 jars w/4cukes each. Plan B: same as Plan A, but spears instead of whole pickles. Plan C was pickle chips, but I've already scrapped that.


Garbage Day

May. 4th, 2012 12:57 am
howeird: (Default)
Work was mostly spent on the continuing saga of this week's pet bug. While showing the automation guy the steps to test it, we found it was not working as I thought it was, some video streams did and some didn't. Very puzzling. Spent some time with the engineer, doing the whole matrix grid thing. More later when two new builds are released to QA.

Lunch was at the Valley Plaza Cafe, which is the hotel restaurant for the Embassy Suites hotel. They have had a sign up for a couple of months with their hours, they are almost next door to Sizzler and next door to the old Peppermill (which is trying very hard to be Axis night club) so I pass by twice a day at least.

I had the braised beef rib (singular) which is served on a pile of lovely broad egg noodles. There was also a delicious very sour bread kind of like focacia but better. The beef and whatever they braised it with was excellent. The noodles looked great but were way too salty. I had the opera cake for dessert - $7 for $2 worth of cake. Iced tea was a little bitter, and they had no  sweeteners on the table. All in all a good place to try other items, but skip dessert and go with a not-tea beverage.

Home, took out the garbage, relaxed a bit, took my BP (it was actually a little low, yay!) then went to the local naked women place and enjoyed watching two of my favorite pole dancers. We're talking high quality routines similar to aerial dancing, not some sleazy bump and grind.

Home, smoked turkey leg and steamed veggies for dinner. Chocolate ice cream, sliced banana, macadamias and whipped cream for dessert.

A couple of days ago, a calendar I sent to a friend in Japan in November was returned marked "unknown number". Odd, because at the time it was the address of my friend's parents, well out of the tsunami area. I was surprised it took so long until I saw it was sent by slow boat, and probably returned by slower boat. I asked for her current address, and she replied with one in Tokyo, different from her pre-tsunami Tokyo address. I have the calendar ready to send again, this time it goes air mail.

Plans for tomorrow:
Tempted to go to the SJ First Friday Art walk.


Apr. 29th, 2012 09:04 pm
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Slept in, except for getting up in time to take drugs. Stayed in bed watching the DVD player update its firmware. Then watched a DVD. And checked out some Amazon Prime free video, to make sure the update didn't break anything. Read some more, with Domino curled in a little ball behind me. Which reminded me to change her litterbox.

Went out to the pool at about 3, found a spot in the shade, and read. Lots of bikinis out there, about 5 of them on bodies which are bikini-worthy. One of them was speaking Russian with a big guy who was wearing a Gold's Gym T-shirt. When he took it off to go swimming, it was clear he had not been in the gym lately. Looks like a former body builder, though. After an hour or so, the sun had hit where I was sitting, so I moved to the other side of the pool. This gave me a nice view of a couple who came in a few minutes later, with five kids. Mom & Dad were both tattooed over every inch of what was not covered by swim suit. Dad had portraits of three of the kids on his torso. Soon the place was filled with kids, time to leave.

I'm reading Orson Scott Card's Pathfinder. Except for him getting wrapped up occasionally in convoluted faux-time-travel logic, it's pretty good.  

Did the laundry yesterday, forgot to take the shirts out of the dryer. So I ran the dryer for a bit and forgot again till about 7 pm. I had one less load to do because my Walmart order arrived, a month's supply of new socks and undies. Threw out the old ones, which were starting to fall apart.

Parked myself in the recliner and read some more, then made a late lunch - fried 3 eggs and slapped them onto two pieces of whole wheat bread. Chocolate ice cream for dessert.

Watched what was on ESPN-U, a series of Grudin interviewing quarterbacks, one at a time. Half an hour per. His organization is called the FFCA - Fired Football Coaches Assn. Gotta love it. One of the QBs, a 6'7" [young] Elvis look-alike Brock Osweiler from Arizona State, was praised by the coach for his tattoos. One says "Live Life to it's Fullest". Coach did not notice the mis-used apostrophe.
A permanent reminder of a jock's education. Crap tattoo job, too.

While I was watching that, I was also seeing all the piled up boxes in the corner, from my online purchases. Finally got out the box cutters, broke those down and hauled them out to the dumpster. Much prettier livingroom that way.

Next up was the NC State spring football game, which I expect happened yesterday, but was definitely not live since the sun was out there, at 10 pm NC time. Early in the game the smoke alarm in my livingroom went off. I got out the ladder and pushed the reset button, but it kept chirping every minute or so. Called the emergency maintenance line, and got a callback in half an hour, the another half hour for him to get here. He had given me instructions on how to pull the battery and drain the capacitor which stores the chirp juice, but I didn't want to go all night without a working alarm. He put in a new battery, but it kept chirping. Apparently it works better if you don't put it in backwards. Not his fault, the +/- is almost impossible to see.

The Moto cell phone which sold on eBay last time for $160 but a-hole buyer did not pay, went for $200 this morning. It is boxed up and ready to ship.

In other news, there are three or four friends on FB who get all emo from time to time, and post a dozen or so in a row, allegedly inspirational quotes, pictures, poems, etc. Most of them tell me they are depressed and lonely. One of them also posts invitations to join her for dinner, but the place she picks is a total sleaze dump, and she wonders why she rarely gets company there. And then there's the one hard core unemployed person who posts every 3 minutes anything which catches his eye on the 6,284 web sites he regularly scans. Maybe once a day it's something interesting.

Plans for tomorrow:
Work, team meeting at 9
BASFA, maybe. I have an auction item which ought to fetch at least a quarter.
howeird: (Default)
It was sort of a relaxa-con day Friday. The original plan was to work till 1, go to lunch and drop the car off at 2 to have the JVC in-dash system removed and replaced with a Kenwood.

When I got to work the network was still hosed, I could not reach any of the servers I needed to from my desk machine (it's a laptop in a dock). Not by wired or wireless. Very strange. I went into the lab and found a machine which could reach the servers, and by some miracle I was able to remote to it from my desk and finish all but two items on the list. Those two needed me to log into my test unit, which was unreachable from anywhere. IT has been destructively playing with the routers, not telling anyone what is being affected. It's a small building, sneakernet would have worked when email is down.

I had the PC guy look at my machine, and  after an hour of poking at it he decided it needed to go to the IT guys, because it was apparently being blocked on the internal network, but could get to the outside world just fine.

Somewhere in there I called Scottrade and T. Rowe Price and had them close the trust accounts and send me the pennies which had accumulated therein after I had dumped everything into BofA. One or two dividends which had been earned but not paid out. In the case of TRP cutting the check will cost more than the check is worth.

It was 12:30, no way I could do anything useful before lunch so I headed over to Best Buy to check in and do the paperwork (pay for the install). This is puzzling -- the guy in the car audio department with the reservations book had nothing open until this afternoon when I checked in two weeks ago, but the installer guy had no work to do, he took the car in at 12:45, and said it would be done in an hour. Really? The last three places I had this done it took 3 hours or more.

Walked way down the block and across the street to Starbucks, had a light lunch and watched a lot of eye candy. Walked next door to Safeway and applied for a replacement card with address change. Installer called before 2, so I walked back and got the car.

The first thing I noticed was the GPS on this system is VERY easy to read. Yay. That was the main reason for the replacement.

The second thing I noticed is there is no volume knob, and the attenuator was on. When I plugged in the iPod it was too faint to hear. I'm still parked at Best Buy, so I pull out the manual and am reminded that this unit has a motorized panel, and there is a way to make it angle up, which I do. And there are the volume widgets along the bottom of the frame. ATT is the first one on the left, real easy to hit by mistake. There are volume up/down widgets, as well as one for each major function (Telephone, Nav, Music, equalizer). They are not buttons, they are touch-sensitive areas which are not lit very well and the lettering is minuscule. With the panel in the flat position they cannot be seen hardly at all.

But they are very sensitive, and I keep hitting them by mistake and being sent to screens I don't want to be in.

Long story short, I was there for about half an hour discovering all the ways what is in the manual doesn't quite match what is on the screen. :-(

I had expected to be there till 5, but it's not even 3, so I drive to the nearest BofA, confirmed that all the wire transfers to my sisters had gone through, and had them cut me a check for my 1/4 share and close the account.  I took the check to the CU and deposited it, then went home to see if I could finish work over VPN, but no, my test machine was still offline.

So I did some shopping on Amazon, browsed FB where I found out that there is a pizza party on Friday nights (I'm not sure if this is weekly or what) and the ringleader is one of my favorite directors. He said people show up after performances, so 10:30 at the earliest. I searched for the place under pizza on the new GPS, but it didn't find it. Searched for it under all foods, and there it was, right next door to one of my favorite massage parlors. I got there at 11. I  saw the group, only 5 of them were there, including one person who FBed that she couldn't make it. Four people I know, I waved, but no one waved back. No one recognized me.

There was a HUGE line/mob to order, and many more arrived right after I did. Mostly middle school and high school kids. It got very claustrophobic. I tried to catch someone's eye at the table, failed, so I left. Back at the car I programmed in the radio station presets, which took a while, then looked back at the pizza place - the line was still out the door.

Plan C. Somehow I was not feeling sleepy at all. Headed home, and along the way there was nothing open. Except my local strip club, which I had not been in for a long time, so I parked and went in. This place is one of the non-sleaziest strip clubs anywhere, partly because the state liquor control board won't grant a license to a place where people are naked. I was surprised by the number of hetero couples and young women customers. And the quality of the entertainers. There was some very athletic pole dancing worthy of Cirque. Two of them somehow managed to remove their bikinis while sliding down a pole. We are talking about a pair of poles which are as tall as four women, so about 25 feet. It's a high ceiling.

Eventually someone was on stage whose only talent was for having plastic surgery. Watching her inspired me. It made me wonder "what if Tater Tots® were stuffed with brie?" When you heated them up, they would be Lactater Tots.

There was no clock in the place, I had stopped wearing a watch a few weeks ago and cell phones were verboten, but it seemed like it was time to go. Outside I checked and it was 1:11. I still did not feel sleepy.

Home, took two slices of pizza out of the freezer and reheated them, then went into the bedroom to plug in the cell phone and saw Domino had pooped on the carpet by the foot of the bed.

Scooped that up and dumped it in the litterbox, which was nowhere near needing changing. So Domino is now banned from the bedroom. I'll have to get some "no go" spray.

Went online, downloaded update firmware for both the main Kenwood unit and the GPS, and ordered a new map update.

Reheated the reheated pizza, ate it while watching an episode of Shark Tank.

Finally to bed, with the door closed. It's a lot darker that way, I may make it a habit. Domino has become too needy lately.

Plans for Saturday:
Kaiser - drop off sharps & collect an insulin prescription

Day of Mon

Feb. 28th, 2012 12:04 am
howeird: (Default)
Predicted rain did not happen, but predicted chilly did. Team meeting was short, even though I talked too much. Boss' boss was there, and I kept a straight face when he reminded us he has an open door policy and we can come chat with him any time. He has only been in CA one week out of 4 since he took the job. Apparently he has found a place out here to move to, and is in the process. He's a very nice guy, very open, and does his best to answer questions at the meetings, when he's here. He just needs to be here more.

Closed most of the test cases I'd written Friday. Two need the next build to be tested.

Lunch was at Denny's, sausage smash. First time ever that the hash browns were edible.

Home after work, there was a package to pick up - the new car GPS-audio system. Yes, another one ) Now I need to make an appointment to have it installed.

This weekend is Consonance. Maybe I can get it done at the nearby Best Buy while I'm at the con Saturday. Hmm.

Took a nap, then went to BASFA, which started with the announcement that Coco's had booked another meeting into the room at 9:30. Our meetings lately had not been lasting that long because we were ending them early to discuss Hugo awards, but normally we go till 10, and would probably have gone till 10:30 if we'd been allowed to. Lots of people attending who had announcements and reviews. [ profile] johnnyeponymous ran the meeting in a way that got some of that done and got us out in time.

Every place we have had our meetings has double-booked on us, but lately service has been poor, advertised menu items not available and now this. Time to consider relocating.

Had a nice chat with Mike McGee, who has written a book series and on amazon the first volume is 99 cents or free for Prime members. Click here. He's a delightful person, picked my brain a lot about Thailand. I overcame my natural shyness and told him a few anecdotes.

Home, fired up the amazon prime vids on the bedroom DVD and discovered that while the Doctor Who logo was here, all the content was gone. Boo, hiss. But found the first season of Downton Abbey. I'll watch the first episode, see where it goes.

Plans for tomorrow:
Return the drapes (finally got a shipping label from them)
Maybe see The Artist at Santana Row.
howeird: (Default)
Up with the alarm, and on the computer in minutes, to phone Scottrade so they can unlock my account. It seems that after I had established my online accounts they changed the rules and implemented a "secret questions" scheme where you have to choose from a list of questions, and give answers to 5 of them. The first time you log in on a different computer, it is supposed to randomly pluck from these 5 q's and if you get it wrong twice, you're toast. On every effing computer you may use. Since I had never set up my questions, it threw the first two at me, which were:

Who was your first boss?
Who is your favorite athlete?

I have no idea who my first boss was. My first job was filling in for my high school photography teacher for the month between the start of high school and when I had to leave for college. I suppose the principal was my boss, but maybe not because I was actually paid by the school district under a special "paraprofessional" program.

I have no favorite athlete. A long time ago I would have said Warren Spahn, who was not only a great pitcher, but also had just about the best batting average (including 35 career homers) of any pitcher. But I'm not much of a baseball fan anymore. In college I may have picked Sonny Sixkiller, except he did some truly stupid things after his senior football season which kept him out of the NFL. , There are just too many great athletes in so many sports to have to choose between them.

Luckily, they had about 30 secret questions to choose from, and I found four which were easy to remember and none of my friends would know, plus one which was a little tricky to guess but some of my friends may know. And then I needed to do the same for my IRA account.

Lately I have been selling off loser stocks from my IRA and keeping them in the cash account. I'm old enough to pull from my IRA penalty-free, and I may decide to do that to help pay for Pumpkin's final bills.

Work. Pretty light in the morning. Took a late lunch time because the gang decided to go to the mall, which is 45 minutes RT, and they chose a place which is meh. So I bailed. It was time to go to Kaiser and try to get a free sharps container (I have a prescription) and a drug which is sometimes special-order. And I needed enteric aspirin and multi-vitamins. Turns out they don't give away the sharps containers, they are OTC for about $3.50. And I waited 20 minutes for them to tell me they had to special order the drug, so I'll have to come back next week for that.

Hoped to go to Gombei for lunch, but all the restaurants in that shopping plaza close at 2. Plan B was Starbucks in the corner of the plaza, but there are only 4 tables and they had about 30 people around them.

Stopped in at Vesuvius instead, thinking I had not been there before. As soon as I walked in I remembered I had been, similar circumstances - late lunch - and I was the only customer. Paid too much for their baked rigatoni special, which had a single pale meatball on top. It was a big portion, tasted good enough to box up and take home.

Afternoon at work was a summer festival. I volunteered to verify that a bug was fixed which required doing what I like best, analyzing the actual video quality of a stream playing over the network. cut for geek )

Neither of us is sure this would not happen at a customer site. We decided to pursue it further next week, mostly because the people we needed to talk to about it were all busy and/or getting ready to go home.

 I hung around for another hour, did my weekly retort, and went straight home.

The Samsung 3D Blu-ray player was at the door. After petting the cat, getting the mail and taking my coat off, I set it up in the bedroom. Connected it to the network, looked at the internet content menu, and no Amazon video. Hulu, Netflix, Vudu and several others. So I went into the support menu and found there was an update ready. I ran that, and after it installed it also cranked a while in the content menu, deleting some things and adding others. Still no Amazon.

I had ordered this thing on Amazon, I could have sworn I ordered it from their Amazon streaming video products page. But looking again, I see they don't have any Samsung devices listed there.

So I filled out an RMA form, and it will go back tomorrow. In its place I ordered an LG, which was $20 less. Which is about what they will ding me for returning the Samsung.

Time for dinner.

Plans for tomorrow:
9 am-ish, if the weather is non-rainy, NASA Ames for the LUNAR model rocket launch.
8 pm Finain's Rainbow closing night at SBMT in Saratoga. Way too many friends are in or around this show.
howeird: (Default)
  • One of the worst things about the Swiffer is it piles up a layer of crud against the edges of the floor. Using a real mop and bucket is the only easy way to fix this.
  • Two days ago the toilet in the master bathroom backed up and flooded some of the floor. It did not smell good.
  • I get a lot of boxes from online orders, they are usually much too big for what was packed in them.
    • There was a 6'x4'x4' area of my livingroom filled with boxes
  • I needed a new bedspread. The comforters are too heavy and the sheets are too light.
  • I really liked how JC Penney stood behind Ellen DeGeneres

I woke up way late - 10:10.  So much for getting to JCP when they opened. But when I went to shower, Priority 1 had me dig the sponge mop, bucket and Pine cleaner and take care of the bathroom floor and the kitchen floor.

There was some business online I needed to handle, that only took a few minutes.

Then to Valco shopping center and JCP. It took a while to find the quilts and bedspreads. There was a sea of comforters to wade through. Just as I found them a worker bee asked if she could help me find anything. They have three basic kinds of bedspreads. True quilts, which are patchwork sewn together, printed spreads, which look like quilts until you notice the patterns are printed onto the fabric and it is one contiguous piece, and embroidered spreads, which are prints which have some additional patterns (like a string of small flowers or a vine) embroidered on top of the print. I wanted #1. They had a couple, $100 and $210 were the Queen prices. Then I found an odd one for $80 which was pretty close to what I had in my brain. Looked around some more, found a weighted shower curtain liner I could use, $6, and a bright orange sheet set for $30 plus $15 for an extra pair of pillowcases. I keep 4 pillows on the bed. Maybe I'll explain that some time.

While I was looking at shower curtains, another worker bee asked if I needed help finding something and I remembered I needed a new sofa cover. Nope, they only have those online.

Took my stash to the cash register, the total was $98 and some pennies. Huh? Well, that one-off bedspread was half price, on clearance. It wasn't marked on the package or the shelf, so that was a nice surprise.

I told them I was there to support JCP's standing behind Ellen. They did not even blink. They were already smiling before I said that, because they had been trying to sell me on getting a JCP credit card for 20% more off my purchase and I was giving them amusing reasons not to. Anyway, it was no thang to them, which probably just means they have heard it a lot and it's no surprise, what with this being San Francisco Bay and all.

Next to JCP is, allegedly, a Food Court. There are big signs. I decided I would eat lunch there. The choices were few - most of the stalls were unoccupied. Subway was out, as was Burger King. The teriyaki place only had one teriyaki plate, everything else was Udon noodles. There was a noodle place which had rice plates. Okay, let's try the rice plate with pork and an egg roll.  It took 5 minutes. They ran out of forks so they gave me two spoons. I asked for a fork, 5 minutes more for the guy to get them out of the plastic bag (which was open, and right at hand) and into the holder. Looked at the choice of condiments. Sweet and sour sauce and hot sauce. No egg roll sauce. No salad dressing for the iceberg lettuce and shaved carrot salad with cucumber slices.

Took my tray to a table, and saw that I needed a knife too. The pork was large thin slabs of grilled meat. Easy enough to just bite through, it was too far to walk back for a knife. The rice was dry, it was not a tasty meal.

On the way home stopped at Safeway, got celery, apples, bananas, ice cream, milk and whipped cream. The last one is for Domino.

Home, dragged the goodies upstairs. Checked the mail - all that was in the box was a free recipe magazine from Better Homes & Gardens, with an invitation for a subscription. No thanks. Walked in the front door and was surprised to not have to block a small B&W cat from making a dash to freedom. She was fast asleep on the lambskin rug. This is a brand new one, just received a couple of days ago to replace one which was collateral damage from Pumpkin's illness.

Put the food away, put the spread on the bed, it looks a little bland compared to the stars & planets comforter or my sister's patchwork quilt, but it'll work. I had to retire my sister's quilt because after 10 or so years of washing and almost constant use, the colors are mottled and the edges are starting to fray. It's a work of art, I don't want it to deteriorate any further.

Put the orange bedding in the closet because I just changed the sheets yesterday.

Sat down to watch some mindless TV, chose a Kardashian thing or a Real Housewives. After a couple of minutes, a banner comes up at the bottom of the screen from E!, saying Whitney Houston was dead. OMG. Turned to the local stations, nothing. CNN was all over it. With all the file footage of her, why did they keep playing the same 30-second clip of an obscure number from an obscure concert? CNN really sucks that way.

I watched for about the next hour and a half, until there was enough to know we were not going to know anything useful for a couple of days.

Then I hung the shower curtain liner, and it was finally time to attack the pile of boxes. It took almost an hour to break them all down and make a neat stack. Bungee corded them, put them on my dolly and wheeled them out to the dumpster. That's a LONG trip - have to go out the front door, all the way to the driveway, down the drive to the underground parking and all the way to the back of the garage.  The return trip is easier - stairs halfway to the front, one apartment length to mine.

Caught my breath, made dinner and watched some more Tivo.

Dinner was half fail. I made some nice Penang curry dip with soy milk and corn starch. Then I took out the cast iron skillet and tried to make some roti. Burned the first two, but this was my first try on the crappy stove in the new apartment, #3 and 4 came out fine. Ate those, then pulled out some celery stalks and bleu cheese dressing as a post-appetizer. Ice cream for dessert.

Been nibbling on pistachios. They are tres salty, I have to wash my hands and apply lotion after.

It was supposed to rain today, but it didn't We had some wind, and a lot of threatening clouds.

Domino is still yowling at nothing in particular, it doesn't seem to matter where she is when she does it, either. One nice thing about not having a diabetic cat anymore is the bill for litterbox refills will be way lower.

Plans for tomorrow:

I don't think I have any. Maybe coffee with Janice, but she's traveling a lot this month and may want time to meet more men.


Dec. 4th, 2011 10:43 pm
howeird: (Default)
Too busy Saturday to post here. Started the day by shoving the old litterboxes into the boxes which the new ones came in, and hauling them out to the dumpster.

1 pm went to a photo shoot, a new organizer found a couple of very amateur models and 10 photographers for a 3-hour session. The "studio" is a section in an industrial row in Santa Clara, and it has a couple of good things going for it, including an "airlock" entrance (two doors separated by about 4 feet of space), a small WC, and no windows, except for the ones built into the doors.

Unfortunately, to make that airlock and restroom area, the room is oddly shaped - looks like a Tetris piece. Our host chose to set up his backdrops in the narrowest part of the room, and put the makeup artist and model's area in the wide part. Bottom line is the space was way too narrow for the full-length shots we were mostly going for. It could have been a win if the models had clear complexions or the makeup artist had applied stage makeup instead of street makeup, but in my three 5-minute sessions (one per model, plus one with both models) there is not a single picture I would post online. I'll probably nuke them all.

But it was not a total loss, one of the other photographers told me about some upgrades to Photoshop which I had been waiting for, so this afternoon I upgraded to the latest version. Also got Lightroom at a discount, and have been playing with it a little.

Back to Saturday. After the photo shoot and processing my pix, it was time to head for Foothill and the Psychotronix Film Festival. It's always fun, but not so much this year. A lot of the clips they dredged up were snoozers, especially a couple of ancient ones from Poland with vaguely Christmas themes. There were several of a series of what looked like 1950s music videos which had very high production values, and featured a (usually Black) solo singer and a backup dance team of extremely white college-aged girls. The same ones in each video. Surreal. There one clip which started out looking promising, from 1962, what looked like an ad for an indoor auto race track toy series. It soon became clear that this was meant to be shown to the buyers, not the general public. And eventually it became clear they were going to do a full campaign for every one of their 7,584 toys. We could have been fine with splitting some of those up, and leaving some on the cutting room floor.

As usual, there was a wide variety of pretty good door prizes. I'm guessing about 50 were given away. I was not a winner. Again. Not even close. And the MC,Robert Emmett, was great.

It started at 7, I thought it would be over by 10, but it ran past 11, and I had not eaten since lunch, so I plugged IHOP into the GPS and went for pancakes. I brought my netbook with me, but they didn;t have wi-fi. One more reason to go to Denny's. I ordered a hot fudge sundae for dessert. After a few minutes the waiter came back and asaid they were all out of vanilla ice cream, would chocolate be okay? He said it like it was bad news. Sheesh. Come to think of it, the same thing happened to me the last time I went to an IHOP and ordered that - different branch, though.

Sunday. I slept till 11. At one point during the night Pumpkin was curled up in my arm and Domino was alongside my leg, continuing the snake. Lazy day, I didn't leave the apartment till about 6.

In football news I watched the end of the Raiders' game, all of the 49ers, and the end of the Saints-Lions. Niners still don't have a quarterback. When Smith first started 5 years ago, I chalked it up to him being an arrogant jerk, who was getting the kind of treatment Warren Beatty got in Heaven Can Wait - scroll to about 5:52 in this clip:

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But it has been 5 years, and he still hasn't shown anywhere near the skills of Mr. Farnsworth. Sigh. The coaches have done a great job of working around this, and they keep winning games. Kind of like the 2010 SF Giants. I'll take it over the last few seasons.

Went shopping, once again the GPS sent me to a Safeway which has been closed for years. The nearest one is actually only half a mile from there. Stocked up on lunchbox things and frozen dinners.

In other news, the new litterboxes are functioning as advertised. I'm pretty sure the extra-fancy Teflon-coated replacement rakes I had bought for the old ones had their fingers set too close together. Maybe just coating them made the difference.

Plans for tomorrow:
howeird: (Default)
Five other co-workers showed up, two actually stayed a whole work day. I found a new pair of features in one of my favorite test tools and played with that all day. It lit up two more TV screens in the lab, so we looked busy. :-)

Lunchtime I went to Petco and paid too much for off the shelf litterbox refills. $23 each. I may ask for a refund from the online Petco folks, who were supposed to have delivered 4 of those yesterday, for <$60. They botched my subscription. I could have gone to Pet Club at $16 each, but they share a parking lot with Costco, and I did not have my clown suit or my zoo pass.

Had been snacking all morning, so instead of lunch I stopped in at HoneyBerry and had their version of a banana split. Generous on banana & ice cream, but totally lacking in toppings. Very pretty presentation, though.

Left work a little after 5, went straight home. The calendars were there, so after I got settled in I took a look, and long story short, 15 of the 25 were defective. Something wrong with their equipment - it put a white line down the center of several of the photos. It was on the cover of the first one out of the box. So, RMA time. Boo hiss.

The ones which are good are better than the Costco ones - VistaPrint's full screen layout is truly full screen, and using the same canvas size as I did for Costco, there was no clipping.

Had to deal with another form letter from the IRS today, same one they keep sending me which says "we'll get back to you in 60 days". They were responding to a fax which included, among other things, an address correction. They sent this letter to the old address. They continued to botch the recipients' names. I called the number on the letter this morning, it took 10 minutes of punching "0" to get a person on the line, and she was useless. So I am mailing a nastygram.

Kindle touch arrived. It is significantly slower than the G/keyboard one. And smaller. Will try reading from it tonight.

Dinner was leftover soul food BBQ chicken and pot see hiew. The chicken was supposed to be all dark meat but they snuck in a clump of very dry white meat. The rest was great.

Was invited to T-day at Brian Wilson's house in Pacifica, I think the link is the right place. No thanks, no driving for me tomorrow. And my inviter said there would be no watching of football, so no thanks again.

Planz for tomorrow:

I'll be making a cauldron of chicken soup (mine takes hours, it's basically crock pot soup) because I have the time. Lunch will be turkey dogs on hot dog buns with dijon and sauerkraut, with clam chowder for starters and creamed corn on the side. I'll also be puréing last week's leftover lobster. That's going to be messy, and I wish I'd picked up some celery when I was shopping yesterday. I actually stared at the celery from across the aisle, and decided I had no use for it.

Not sure what's for dinner, but there is plenty of stuff in the fridge and freezer. Including leftover pizza fruit. On the kitchen counter there are naval oranges (after a long drought when all we had in the stores were Coast Guard oranges). Maybe I'll cook up some orange something. More likely will fry up some roti and make some Penang curry dip.

All this while watching a lot of football, and probably chatting with my Baltimore sister before the Ravens-9ers game.
howeird: (Danvers Hookers)
Today at work was too much fun. I had two bugs working, each on a different product with different engineers, both of which needed my attention pretty much at the same time. And both took some significant setup, though the second one was done in 20 seconds as soon as it was set up. The second one stumped the expert, the first one stumped me.

Lunch was a Carl's Jr. stop with two of the team, who had been planning on walking but my knee was complaining about the mere thought, so I drove us. 

After work, Fry's stop, picked up some luggage tags - the kind which laminate your business card into them. Looked for accordion hanging folders, but they have removed all their major office supplies. Turns out I had them at home, just was looking in the wrong file drawer.

Home, built 10 luggage tags from my latest set of calling cards, fed the cats & had dinner, then sat down at the PC and started to build my 2012 calendar on the Costco site. And then on four other sites. They all had one thing in common - they clipped about 1/3 of the image when it is placed on the page, and while one can zoom in, one cannot zoom out or in any way see the full picture. Annoying since I had prepared the cover page with the year and "photos by" credit, both of which were clipped by the software.

I finally phoned Costco photo support (they are open till 10 pm Pacific!) and the nice man had the numbers right at hand. It was not straightforward for a beginner, but easy to figure out and program into Photoshop for an expert such as myself. The secret code is cut for boring ) After I batch processed the images, I had room in the canvas area to caption each one.

Those were uploaded and Drag'n'Dropped onto the calendar, with some juggling to match the image with the month where it made sense, and trying not to have two of the same kind of image in a row. I'm happy with all my choices except for one, which was chosen for the novelty of the subject more than the quality of the photo composition. And I am disappointed that two people whose photos I wanted to use declined the honor. And by the way, [ profile] lemmozine, the spices photo on my final pass did not pass muster - it's at a bad angle. So I used the shot of the museum's gift shop from the rafters instead.

That adventure ate two hours, which I should have used for unpacking. So I did penance by unpacking all my CDs. And discovered I have far more CD rack than CDs. There was a lot of stuff parked in there which was thrown out or Goodwilled. The top of the rack is filled with Beanie Babies and similar animalia.

Plans for tomorrow:
Work, bring my 20x30 framed photos for new co-worker to choose from to hang in her cubicle. Read more... )
Pack for Baltimore
Maybe do some unpacking.
howeird: (Default)
I woke up early to be ready for the 8am on-site estimate from 1 of 2 moving companies, and he phoned to say he would be about 45 minutes late. Which he was. So that company loses a point - moving companies have to be all about being on time, since they charge by the hour. He also said he expected to have an estimate for me by the end of the day, and did not, so 2 points down.

While he was here, Domino made all kinds of "pet me" signals, but Pumpkin was nowhere in sight. Found him under the bed later.

Second company is due here at 9 tomorrow.

In other news, CPA says not to send the IRS any $$ yet - wait till they get back to us - probably in 60 days is what the notice said.

Looks like I'm selling my older beater baritone. Mom of 10-year-old said it was exactly what she was looking for, I'll bring it over to their home Friday night. They live just the other side of the Palo Alto border from me.

Work today was kind of boring to begin with, but got more interesting when I asked one of the team to let me look over his shoulder while he verified that a particular bug was fixed. It was related to a bug I'd worked on 3 years ago, but I'd forgotten too much about the video analyzer to know how to set up the test. And then boss said to move on to the next release and I started verifying some bug fixes on that.  More tomorrow.

Lunch was at a sushi place I have been meaning to try. No aircon, and it was 88° out, which was uncomfortable, but very good nigiri & California rolls, and great service. One youg woman came in to order take-out dressed in short shorts and a leotard top. She looked delicious too.

Three or four of my facebook friends posted an event tonight at the San Jose Improv - a lineup of stand-up comics - so I went online and bought a ticket, expecting at least a couple of them to show up. Nope. Just me. There were about 50 others in the audience, one a group from the local Jamba Juice.

I was going to do a comic-by-comic review, but it's late and they were not worth boosting. The improv has wiped the night from their calendar already, and so has Facebook, so I don't know who I saw except:

- Redheaded male host with a mostly lame monologue about having lost about 40 lbs. with diet
- Whiny short woman with way too high pitched a voice and no presentation skills who had some new twists on those tepid relationship jokes.
- Tall southerner man who did an amusing but low-key routine about Werner Herzog. He needs work on staying with the accent.
- Tall skinny blonde woman with no sense of comic timing and occasionally funny lines but too many vagina jokes. She held the mike tightly, by the connector, pressing on the latch which pops it free of the mike, and had no idea why the mike kept cutting out on her.
- Short dumpy local man who could be a headliner. Excellent presentation skills, gracefully recovered from the mike connector popping completely free when he took it out of the stand (thanks, blondie). Lots of funny material, I especially liked his comparing Obama to a panda. Very clever.
- Shorter, dumpier man who was the headliner, but he was all about dicks, poop and going for shock value over humor. Yes, your mike does look like a dick but as an audio guy I write off anyone who bangs the mike against his head. He spilled his beer about 5 minutes in, and shrugged it off. Awkward, no improv skills. I don't think I laughed out loud once during his bit.

Parked at the 4th street garage, I decided to have dinner at Flames which is at its base. LOUD place when I walked in, but became bearable when they stopped pumping in white noise from the DJ in the back "party" room. Seated on the aisle to the restrooms, many women in their sexiest outfits walking by. One trio had something going back there, they made the round trip, cell phones out, at least 5 times.

Home by 11:30.

Plans for tomorrow:
YOTB rehearsal


Aug. 20th, 2011 01:59 am
howeird: (Default)
Friday morning I was up at 6:30, took my time getting out of bed, medicated, socially networked & dressed. The plan was to go to the mall for breakfast and then to the nearby Best Buy to replace the broken Kindle. Got on the bus, there was a guy in a BB shirt, so I got off where he did, and followed him.


He was going further south, and I lost track of him. Did not see a BB. Walked to the mall, which is where I should have gotten off the bus in the first place, it being half an hour before BB opens. The sign for the food court pointed to one or two closed eateries, Starbucks was open, but that's not what I had in mind.

Walked back to the main drag and continued south. After about a mile there was a Joe's Diner, very retro, and they had a pretty good pancake sandwich and cute help. I knew I had gone past BB, so I fired up the Google Map on the phone, and it led me back north, but through the most bizarre route into a strip mall and then out again. Just as I was about to give up I saw the BB, it was just behind the bus stop I'd gotten off at. Had I simply gotten off the bus and walked back the way we'd come 20 feet, I'd have been there. :-(

Found the eBook nook, bought the white version of the Kindle I'd had in Graphite, since they were the same price.

Had just enough time, after walking for 10 minutes to the shifted bus stop for the other direction, to drop it off in my room, get my camera, and get to the Katie Tinney concert. She is very good, and the lucky teenager had at one time or another during the set, backups by Mary Crowell, Sooj, AJA and Tony Fabris. Katie could use some work on enunciation and memorization. Of all the songs she did, I liked the last one best, one she wrote and sang a capella called Guitar, enumerating the many reasons she has not learned to play one yet. And a promise that she will.

Skipped the Seanan McGuire concert because (a) way too many people on stage and (b) I've heard most of her stuff many times before. Went instead to a panel called "Space Telescopes: A Progress Report" which oddly was a panel of three women, no men. They did not know how to use their mikes, and basically had nothing to report except funding cuts. So I left to go to "So You Believe in Evolution" for the last 7 minutes, 5 of which were hogged by some guy in the back without an "off" switch. From the wrap-up it seemed like [ profile] yourbob had done a good job moderating. There was no blood on the floor, security had not been called.

I put the Voice Acting panel on my list because it was being moderated by the incredibly articulate Elen Klages, but she did not show up, so it turned into the Bill Mills show, another person with no "off" switch. Some Britt without enough charisma tried to moderate, but mostly failed. I didn't learn much, and regret not having gone to the "Pros Read Fans" event at the fanzine lounge.

"Designing Believable Planets" was next, and it kind of became the Gerry Nordley Show because the moderator took the title too literally. It could have been much better. [ profile] yourbob and [ profile] dinogrl were on that panel, but none of the questions the moderator threw their way were in their areas of expertise.

By this time I was feeling the effects of the long walk in the hot sun early in the morning, and went back to the hotel for hydration and a nap. Also plugged in the Kindle to charge it before dozing off. The nap meant missing Kim Stanley Robinson's reading and Unwoman's concert.

Got to the CC in time for a half hour filk set by a woman I've seen around a bit but all things considered I could just as well have napped for another half hour. It was fun to see the audio guy try to do the sound check with her mike unplugged.

[ profile] lemmozine's concert was the real reason I was there, and he did a set with uke for some songs and guitar for the others. I don't think I had ever heard him play guitar before (just uke and banjo). He plays superbly. Most of the songs were good for a chuckle, and/or some thought, but I actually cried during A Dog and His Boy, a nostalgic tribute to Dr. Peabody & Sherman and the Wayback Machine. I don't think it was meant to be more than a tongue-in-cheek low-key comic number, but the combination of lyrics, music and presentation touched me very deeply.

By now it was after 6, and somehow my phone's program guide was telling me Masquerade began at 7, and there was a huge line of people to take the not-enough-shuttle-buses over to the Peppermill, so I got in line instead of going back to the room and changing into scrubs & my Dr. howeird lab coat. I'll wear that tomorrow.

Bus got me there just at 7, the masq was not open yet. I went into the photogs room, but the lighting was too dim and I wanted to see the show anyway. There were not that many costumes in the competition.

Found the NY Deli, got a Reuben and cream soda which included way too much standing in line staring at my already-made sandwich while people ahead of me waited for their orders to come up. Not efficient at all.

At the masq, found a seat on the side, fortunately no one sat in front of me for 3 rows. But the big screens gave a better view, anyway. Good event, the MCs did well, there were only a couple of "clunker" costumes, some of the best were done by teenagers. Video tech was super, audio not so much (slow to cue things up, levels too low). There was a major delay at "halftime", the crew didn't bring out the set (two sofas and two chairs) for the entertainment. Took about 10 minutes. No excuse for that. The entertainment was a replica of a BBC radio game show called Wait A Minute which is a little too complex to explain, but involves each of four panelists attempting to hold forth for 60 seconds on an assigned topic without pauses, repeating a word, or going off-topic. This session went well beyond that in hilarity, at one point with Seanan McGuire putting her mother on speakerphone to confirm that she really did force her sister to dress up like monsters from Space 1999 (to prove she was not off topic).

Two hours of sitting was enough for me, I really did not care who won the masq awards, most of them were worthy of something shiny. So I found the 24-hour cafe and had a banana split. Actualy it was a banana surround. Served in a shallow soup plate, it looked like a slog of whipped cream and nuts, but underneath was the usual three scoops of ice cream covered in three different toppings, but instead of this being held between two halves of a split banana, there was a whole banana on each side. I guess this is healthier. The chocolate ice cream was wonderful, I should ask which brand they use. My Japanese waiter called it a "banana sa-plitt-a"

On my way to finding the shuttle, I ran into Dr. Ellie again, and we chatted some more. Always a pleasure.

Back in the hotel, I took a quick trip to the party floor to get photos of the London In 2014 tube station map with my good camera, and to pay for a pre-supporting membership. I have cousins in London and by summer 2014 I might even be able to afford the trip.

In other news, I got an official "see you Monday" email from the Moto "Talent acquisition" person, and my boss also sent me a "welcome back" note. And an old friend from theater who retired to Roseville, and thinks the only use for email is to spam her friends with items she saw today which have been on the internet for decades, phoned me during one of the concerts and left good voicemail.

Plans for tomorrow:
Officially tell the hotel I'm checking out Sunday. Panels starting at 10. ending with Match Gae SF starting after the Hugos around 22:00.
howeird: (Party)
Did tour the parties, Texas was still serving BBQ, big room, well laid out, but why oh why do people cluster in place as soon as they get their food, blocking the line? London party was huge, well-attended, and highly amusing tube maps on the walls. Did not know Mordor had a tube station. The combined Westercons party room was a bit small but fun. Many of the usual Ba Area peeps, incuding [ profile] lisa_marli, [ profile] dinogrl, [ profile] dave_gallaher, [ profile] bovil in cowboy hat behind the bar, [ profile] kproche sporting a mohawk, in front of the bar. I tasted an olive (yummy!) sans martini fixings. Had a nice chat with a couple who liked my "You never forget your first doctor" Tardis T-shirt.

Had a cupcake at the London party, but it was time at about 12:30 to go to the Purple Parrot and have a banana split. Small-ish banana, but otherwise quite good, and once again the service was excellent. Saw Phil Foglio at a nearby table, I'm guessing with his wife (only saw her from the back) which surprised me since the Girl Genius dance was still going on.

I've been sleeping through the night since I got here, instead of my usual 3 am potty call. Not sure if it is the comfy pillows (which I liked so much I ordered a pair online) the different mattress, or the very full days with lots and lots of walking. All of the above, perhaps. I know it isn't better blood sugar control, because my meter says I've been in the usual range.

This morning's plan is to catch the bus to the other end of the route from yesterday, which is a mall that has a Best Buy, among other things. Probably will snag some breakfast in that area, and maybe I'll make it to the con for the 11:30 Katie Tinney concert, which will probably feature her mom Betsy on cello, since AFAIK Katie, who is a teenager, does not play any instruments. At least I have never seen her do more than sing, which she does beautifully. I also love her confidence.

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