howeird: (Domino_scanner)

Today was one of those days when I blew off Plan A because I can do the Fair next weekend, and I didn't know until after it was too late to get there that there is a steam train event going on this week in Niles. I'll go there tomorrow.

Running around in the back of my mind for the past couple of weeks was the concept that now that I own a house, maybe I should get some furniture. What triggered this is that the bathroom remodel removed a big floor to ceiling cabinet which made the toilet area claustrophobic, and the plan was to put something small there which would be a good place to put my cell phone, or a book, while I was on the throne. 

I remembered Walmart as having things like that, some assembly required. I was already going there to refill my stash of Polident which, for reasons unknown, they sell for 1/3 of the going online price.

And then I thought Ikea has a lot of stuff, and I figured if I was going to Ikea, I should buy All The Things: The bathroom table, a work table for the office, a coffee table for in front of the sofa, and a small kitchen table. So I went to their web site, and found the latter three things and wrote them down.

So off I went. Walmart had nothing I was looking for, except the Polident. When I got to Ikea, the idea was to check out the stuff on the list, to see if it looked as good and felt as sturdy as it looked online. And maybe there would be something right next to it which was cheaper and nicer.

And there was. The nightstand was going to be the bathroom table, but I decided I did not want to mess with drawers. The things they had without draws were shoddy, lightweight. So no bathroom table.

The kitchen table and chair set got nixed because the chairs were cheap plastic and the table was too big. And I already have chairs. So instead I got a smaller, beautiful solid wood table. The coffee table was way overpriced for the quality, I found something for 1/3 of the price, again in beautiful solid wood. And while I was at it, I discovered their mix and match table top/legs deal. I was looking for something about 5' long, and that table top in faux wood brown matched legs for $3.50 each.

It took forever to get from the upstairs showroom to the downstairs self-service section, and about 5 minutes to figure out the shelf labeling system. I had made the mistake of thinking that the product number was the key, when it's more the aisle/bin number. Loaded up the flat cart, which was a Herculean task because tables are heavy and bulky and awkward.

There was a huge line at checkout, with some people ahead of me furnishing the entire neighborhood.

And then there was the wait for the elevator. Only one of the two was running. Stupid. And a pattern had developed where everyone who was going down would take the elevator up, which meant there was no room left when it was going down. They really needed someone to play traffic cop to fix that. They really needed both elevators working.

Got to the car, it was a long walk, and was surprised that everything fit just fine, with the back seats pushed down. It took some juggling to keep the cart from rolling away, but other than that it worked okay.

Home, parked on the street in front of the main steps, and staged the coffee and work tables next to the livingroom door and the kitchen table next to the kitchen door. Then parked the car in the carport and brought everything inside. One thing I love about this neighborhood is it's safe to leave stuff on the porch for a while, it will still be there when you get back. And I don't have to close the trunk before every grocery bag trip inside.

Dinner first. Heated up some stuffed grape leaves and slopped some cole slaw on the plate, and made some lime soda. Watched a couple of episodes of Hollywood Game Night and half of Restaurant Stake-out before starting construction.

First up was the coffee table, which I figured woud be the hardest because it has a shelf. It took a few minutes for the light to dawn that the reason that there was only one black plastic piece when they showed it being hammered in with a screw on all four legs is it was the template for making pilot holes for the shelf mounts. After that it was pretty easy.

Next up was the work table, which was more tedious but also easy. Five screws for each of the four plates which the legs screw into. But it was done in 20 minutes.

Finally I thought the kitchen table would be the easiest, but they fooled me. Four brackets had to be screwed into flat pieces to make a square frame (4 screws per bracket), the frame screwed into the bottom of the table top, 12 screws. The legs get a metal cylindrical insert which is a screw receiver, and a long screw-like headless rod screws into that. And that in turn is bolted into the bracket. Took 45 minutes for that one.

The good news is I got them all put together right the first time, they all look lovely. I now have a place to put my coffee table books, and a nice large work surface in the office and a little dining table in the kitchen which will also be a second island.

As for the bathroom, that was taken care of thanks to the air conditioning project. Where the aircon unit will go out by the carport, there was a small plastic porch chair and a small glass-top table. The chair came inside to be with its mate in the kitchen at the new table and the glass top table went into the bathroom. Birds. Stone.

Plans for tomorrow:
Niles for the steam trains
Janice for coffee late afternoon

Tangled

May. 28th, 2014 12:35 am
howeird: (localhost)
Up at 6, expecting the remodeling crew at 7. Left for work at 8:30 without them here. When I checked the webcams at 10 they had the drop cloth down and were busy working in the bedroom, bolting the cabinet to the wall. Cabinet had been in the bathroom taking up too much space, and one had to close the bathroom door to open its doors. Nice ceiling-high cabinet, looks good anywhere.

Today Fuzzy was there with two others, one guy I had not seen before. Just for grins I turned on the mike on the bedroom cam, just curious if it worked. It did. Talk about being a fly on the wall. At that point Fuzzy was sitting on the bed supervising, new guy (who is a native English speaker, unlike the two who worked last week) was sipping on a soda, old Hispanic guy was on his knees by the sink finishing up grouting the tiles.

I watched them wrap up at about 3:30, they did a thorough job of cleaning up, and expected a call from Fuzzy, but no call.

Work was light, no meetings, not much progress on projects. Lunch at Togo's where there was limited by high quality eye candy. One of the sandwich makers has a true bubble butt, and her pants were cut to be up her butt crack. The only underwear which would have fit would be a thong. There was also a trim 30-ish redhead. One of the customers caught my eye, petite, wearing very high heels. She sat where I could see her, and didn't leave until I was wrapping up, which was nice.

Went home at 6 and looked for a note from Fuzzy, but there was nothing. Checked the work.

The tile work looks good, but he should have used white, not brown-stained off-white. Already it looks dirty.
Nice to have separate hot and cold taps in the shower, but they are installed upside down. Horizontal is off, down is on.
Shower head is great, non-restricted, forceful flow the way I like it, and at a comfortable height.
LED light in the shower is excellent, bright, but they wired it to the main switch by the door, instead of the one on the wall next to the shower. I'll ask him to fix that.
Toilet, as requested, is taller by about 2.5", but has one of those stupid mechanisms which need to be held down for a #2. Looks higher capacity, though.
Had to dust off the Thai lime tree and must it.

The main reason for this exercise was to have a usable shower in the master bathroom.

Before After

More images are here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/how3ird/sets/72157644874016471/

Plans for tomorrow:
Call Fuzzy
Work
Bingo at the community center
howeird: (Musknik-Seymour-Future)
instead of waiting till I've had dinner. Yeah, stupid move. But I've had two large glasses of home made lime soda and one of lactose-free milk to hold me.

Long day at work, going through a section of test cases I wrote one-liner summaries for, hoping to be able to write the actual steps, but I need the hardware, which isn't due out for months. It's like being told the next model car will run on helium, and you have to write a test which measures how much oxygen is consumed. Until they build the car you don't know how to do that measurement.

At the end of the day Automation Guy gave me a project to work on, but I found two bugs and thought up a third, which he says he will fix by Monday.

Lunch was supposed to be at Sizzler, but between a bunch of new companies moving into the neighborhood and a new hotel opening up next door, and $2 off on the endless salad buffet, it was packed. And of course since it was after 1 pm most of the staff were on break and there was only one person at the register to handle a very long line. So I left, went to Coco's, beause I have not been able to go to BASFA meetings since rehearsals started. The NY steak is pretty thin, so medium is more like well done. And they had alleged vegetables. The chocolate cream pie made up for a lot of that.

After work was Costco, I had an Amex cash back check for $123 and spent $270. $50 of that was for a set of solar powered outdoor path lights, which have been on my list for months. Well, not 8, more like 4, but for that price, whatever.

Home, put the food away, remembered that tomorrow I'm taking the car in to have a new in-dash GPS/entertainment unit installed and they will probably need access to the trunk. So I emptied the trunk. It took about an hour. One of the reasons I bought the Corolla was for the big trunk, but I keep being too lazy to remove things I don't need in there.

Recovered in the recliner with the livingroom fan on, and Domino half on my lap and half on the arm rest, being a shedding machine. Watched some TV non-news. Fired up the PC and caught up on Facebook, updated Quicken, and scanned a bunch of photos from an album inherited from my mother's mother when mom passed away. One is an intriguing mystery - it's from, I think, my mother's cousin in London:

The right-hand side is the back of the photo.

I can't remember who Max was. Posted it on FB and tagged my sisters and UK cousins. One of them will set me straight, probably the Baltimore sister who Sees All and Knows All about family. That pin she is wearing may also be a clue. RAF?

Plans for tomorrow:
If I wake up in time, put the month's collected soda cans out for the homeowners' association monthly drive. 8 am.
10 am be at All Pro Audio to have the new in-dash unit installed.
Use my Clipper card to go to the mall. Hang out at the food court and play on my laptop
If they are done by 1, go to the Sunnyvale Players' set shop and help paint
Bad Movie Night at Bob & Sharon's. I'll bring along a bad movie DVD. 
howeird: (Default)
For the first time in a while it's both before tomorrow and I'm mostly awake. No work. No rehearsals. Took it easy.

Got to the Contact conference in time for Seth Shostak's talk, which was very entertaining, about SETI's new theory that red dwarf stars are the best place to look for inhabitable earth-like planets. It made a lot of sense, except he didn't say anything about the effect on life that red sunlight might have. One good thing is he reminded me I need to make an effort to tune in to his [livejournal.com profile] podcast.

Next up was someone formerly at ILM now with the CA Academy of Sciences whose presentation a couple of years ago was exceptional, but this year he phoned it in, and showed boring snippets of fish-eye video which the CAAS uses in some of their environmental displays. Boring.

I ducked out a little early to drive to the office, grab a photo I wanted in the Contact art show, drive back and hang it with the rest of my display (there was plenty of room).


Before I left for the conference this morning I had printed a tag for it.

It was still lunch time, I walked a block to KFC and ate there.

Back to the hotel, there was supposed to be a panel with Larry Niven, but he didn't show and nobody even mentioned that he was supposed to have been there (it was pretty clear in the program, with a bio and everything). Boring panel about several artists, social scientists and real scientists coming up with visualizations of space aliens by basically looking at the science and pulling ideas out of their butts.

The next talk was almost as boring, a part-time anthropologist with horribly crude slides made from purloined web photos placed at random angles. Her assertion is that until we are all  

    Trustworthy,
    Loyal,
    Helpful,
    Friendly,
    Courteous,
    Kind,
    Obedient,
    Cheerful,
    Thrifty,
    Brave,
    Clean,
    and Reverent.

we will be unfit to welcome visitors from the stars. She rates the US as 4.something out of 10 in meeting her requirements. Frankly, it was more like 0.3 from what I can tell. I asked her why everyone has to meet these requirements when it's only the best of the best and some military jocks who will actually have First Contact and her answer was something like "can't we all just get along?"

I ducked out before the next speaker started, I wanted to read some more in the book I'd started on Kindle, which was by someone I sort of know and respect. It also gave me a chance top duck into the art display and see that it had been set up, with lots more than just my 10 photos. The book failed, and I made the mistake of going back into the presentation room while Ms. Global Warming was slogging through her doom and gloom scenarios. Bottom line, according to her, is we will all die in 2022. Most of her stuff was on ways to make coal burning power plants cleaner. No clue about nuclear. A couple of unworkable alternates (kites?). She needs to get a life.

The final talk of the day which I was very much looking forward to again was a no-show, I walked out a minute into the not at all interesting to me replacement.

Hung out in the art show with the art show director and one of the more impressive artists, and the guy whose book I had just failed. He does some pretty good drawings.

There was quite a crowd at the 5 pm art show reception, but a gaggle of people gathered in a traffic-blocking mass in front of my photos to pass around 3D-printed alien models. I think 2 people actually saw my stuff.

Went to Lowe's to get a replacement for the broken kitchen faucet aerator, also got a couple of self-watering planters for the drying-out vines hanging from the kitchen curtain rods, and a fuchsia to replace the hummingbird feeder outside.

Home, took care of that, made dinner, watched two episodes of TMZ, remembered not to feed the cat any treats no matter how much she yelled at me.

Have been going over my lines in my head, I think I know them all, mostly in order, and maybe also with blocking.

Plans for tomorrow:
Look at lines, especially for a couple of songs I am not a soloist in
3 pm-ish, back to the hotel and pick up my photos - there is nothing in the Sunday program I am interested in
7-ish, Sitzprobe at the theater. That's French for first time singing with the band. Probably will go till 10.
howeird: (How_photog-viewfinder)
Amazing but true, everything I planned to do today were did.

Lowe's, bought a 5/8" drill bit. Home, drilled the hole in the door from the now-discarded industrial strength knocker from 1/4" to 5/8". Sort of. The drill bit didn't like the metal facing on the door, and made a somewhat triangular hole, so I had to finesse it with a file.
Installed a peep lens into the hole in the door.

Lunch was some small Safeway Select Asian beef thing.


Photo shoot at 2 pm in a warehouse space tricked out into a workable studio space. This was a group shoot with one of my Meetups, the first one I have been to in a long time (tendinitis after the whale watching trips made it painful to hold the camera, and most of my favorite meetup groups had disappeared or gone downhill).

The host photog has lots of experience, lots of lighting equipment, and he runs the shoot in a friendly manner while still maintaining the rules. I stopped going to two groups because the host didn't enforce the "no shooting unless it's your turn" rule.

The model is drop-dead gorgeous. Redhead. It was a nude shoot, so I can say natural redhead. Which reminds me of a joke: Read more... ) She never ran out of poses, kept a sense of humor, and we were her 2nd 3-hour session but she was still energetic right to the end. Or at least till I left, which was at 4:50.

We did four sets:
Stripes Darkened room, black background and side panels, a special spotlight with a patterned slide projects stripes onto the model's body. There is enough light to focus, barely, but when the shutter is pushed, the light flashes. The model had a lot of fun moving around in ways which made interesting patterns. Kind of fun, but a waste of a beautiful model.
Box: Lights back on, white background, a white cube about 2 feet on a side in the center of the shooting area. The model took direction well, and she looks a lot better fully lit than striped.
Rope: Same background. A huge rope is suspended from the ceiling. We are talking the kind of rope which secures The Queen Mary to the dock. Model poses with the rope draped around her, hanging onto it as a counter-balance, but didn't have the biceps to climb it.
Ring: Same background, the rope is replaced by a Cirque-style metal ring large enough for the model to sit inside without hitting her head on the top. Lots of fun poses, and lots of laughs because she had no way to keep the ring from slowly spinning. She tried, but nothing worked. Finally the host and the model's companion helped, but it slowed things down waiting for the hand to leave the shot.

With 9 photographers, we didn't get a lot of shots, I only came out with about 140.

A couple of my favorite work-safe ones:
Read more... )

Ducked out at 5 to meet Janice a couple of miles up Lawrence for Starbucks. It's the largest one I know, it used to be a bank. And it's always packed. We had a good chat. Her current boyfriend has survived a year now. We decided to take light rail to see 1776 next weekend.

Watermarked one photo from each set, and uploaded to the meetup page, and added a comment full of compliments to the host & model.

Plans for tomorrow:
Do some reading
Afternoon head for Murphy Ave and find a place to watch the ball game. The Seahawks meetup in MV already has 50 people saying they will be there, and that place only holds about 40 places where you can see the screen. 
Evening depends on who wins
 
   
howeird: (Charlie Brown)
Almost everyone I know had shifted from here and Dreamwidth to Facebook, but this is my journal, The Book of Face is merely my place to be clever and annoying.
When I got to work, the sky was incredibly blue, not a cloud in it, and my brain fed me this quote:
"The sky so blue, the sun so bright, how could anything go wrong on a day like this?"
Followed by:
"Woof! Boom!"


The first line is the cue for the cast to start the title song for You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, for which I played the title role in Astoria, OR in 1973. At the end of the intro, Snoopy yells "Woof!" and the cast echoes with "Boom!". I love that bit. Probably my favorite moment in all the shows I have been in. Partly because this is the first musical I was ever in. It was a total fluke. I didn't think I was a singer, all my theater had been comedy or drama plays, except for a musical which the Temple choir did when I was in grade school, while I was still a first soprano, so that doesn't really count.

Read more... )

More adventures at work today, while I was trying to tune up the scripts on the machine which Automation Guy had allegedly reserved for me, someone else started running scripts with the same program, by automation. So Automation Guy says he can only lock a machine for 8 hours. So he found a machine not in the automation pool, but VNC does a strange thing with it - any time I hit a letter for which CTRL+ALT+letter is a command, it does the command. So I hit an F and it opens the search dialog box. U throws up the accessibility menu. And so on. Makes it useless to edit my scripts. So I edit them on my own PC, saved the a shared drive in the lab, and run them on the machine he assigned. But we can't do Monday's demo like that. And it's a royal PITA to write that way.

Lunchtime was Togo's, I asked if they still did the half-and-half: half a sandwich and half a bowl of soup. He said yes. But they don't. Instead I got half a small bowl of soup and a min-sandwich on a bun. Gag me. Next time I'll order a full one of each and take half the sandwich home.

Went there because it's the closest place I can get no-fee cash from an ATM which is near good places to eat.

Rivermark Safeway after work, which had the stupidest, most dangerous exit from the expressway and is a total clusterf*ck for parking. The lot is HUGE and turnover is constant, except the traffic patterns prevent people from getting in or out in anything resembling a timely manner. Medium-sized shopping this time to stock up on frozen dinners, ice cream, crackers and I forgot the cheese. Was able to log into their wi-fi and see what was extra cheap on my card, otherwise would have forgotten margarine.

Home, one huge box on the side steps, one large box by the livingroom door, one small box on the porch landing. All from Amazon. Go figure.

The huge box was a ceramic heater with electronic thermostat for the bedroom/master bathroom which are at the far end of the house, so by the time air from the furnace gets there it is not very warm.

Large box was candy. A 64-pack of Anton Berg booze-filled dark chocolate mini-bottles (a bedtime snack) and a 12-pack of Werther's sugar-free caramels. Good to wake up to.

And in the small box was a wireless doorbell, with two push buttons. The side door already has one which plays Winchester chimes, I was hoping that the buttons were on the same channel, but they are not. No problemo, JoseBee, there is an archway between the kitchen and piano room which the bell fits on perfectly and resonates through the house. The buttons program the sound, so I installed one by the kitchen door which cuckoos, and one by the livingroom door which plays a standard door bell sound. I was going to make it do a knocking sound, because there used to be a 1-ton knocker on that door which I recently removed because it is heavy and ugly and I'd rather have a peep hole there.

I have been buying entirely too much Stuff. En route still are 2 pairs of Levi's 550's, an 18-gallon storage tub on which to raise the night table, and a set of coat hooks to be mounted near or on the side door.

Did a load of laundry - put things in in the morning and into the dryer when I got home. This morning it occurred to me that my shower towel has been in use for a month. And I've been looking for a time to wash my Supersonics jacket. Some jeans and T-shirts also benefited.

The Big Games are on Sunday, so I'll go to Ardenwood on Saturday with my camera and telescope or just a long lens if I can't figure out how to mount the camera to the telescope. Monarch butterflies are in season. 

 Plans for tomorrow:
Work
1-on-1
????
howeird: (Naga)
Worked from home until the furnace guy arrived at about 1. Well within the 10 am - 2 pm window. He said the thermostat I'd bought would work, but was unreliable, and the one he had to sell cost less too, so I bought his. I doubt that Honeywell is less reliable than Emerson, but I didn't need the wifi anyway.

CU had sent a note last week that someone would come by to check the outside of the house. He came by just after the furnace guy left, as I was changing belts on my pants. I don't think I've lost weight, but my butt no longer hold up my pants.

Work was more spec reading. Weekly report was very short. Today's WTF is they scheduled an all hands meeting in the break room at the same time as the holiday party a couple of miles away. I may call in with eye trouble.

Home after work, discovered the new webcam wi-fi stopped working. Sending it back to Amazon, ordered a pair of white ones (need one for the office and for the side door). Also ordered body wash and toothpaste. I know you were wondering. I was going to order Fancy Feast, but the 2-day delivery was after a week's handling time. I'll get a case at Petco, everything is on sale this month.

Grabbed my uke book, trimmed the nails on my left paw and went to class. This time I was actually able to play some chords, C, Am, F,  though Em is a challenge and my fingers don't want to unbend after playing a G. Strumming is not working either, I am more comfortable using my thumb, and playing melodies a note at a time.

Stopped off at Lowe's on the way home, returned the thermostat. Then Fresh & Easy, because I needed frozen veggies for dinner and wanted to give the neighborhood grocery a chance. Very limited choices, reasonable prices, but all the aisles are self check-out. One of the staff was nice enough to bag my stuff (I brought bags) but I gathered that was not usual. The prices are not low enough for me to work for them, so I'll be only shopping there as a last resort.

For dinner I reheated some duck and sweet corn, and finished off the chocolate cookie mint ice cream. I had another low in the middle of the night, which is where much of that went. Have to lower my pre-bedtime insulin by a lot, now that I am no longer mega-stressed about the house, and am eating less.

Watched an episode of Elementary and was disappointed on many levels, but mostly that they chose to make the leading man more of an asshole than ever, when they had the chance to let him defrost. They also changed writing styles from chronological to one of discovery in no particular order. Nice try, but not well executed. 

During the day finished unpacking the last big kitchen box, and just have the one with the breakable dishes, which I will do after I write this. Also moved the big cat tree into the office, Domino gave it a try but she prefers the recliner. I also put the leopard pattern velour slipcover back onto the sofa.

Plans for tomorrow:
To-do stuff:
Take down the livingroom shades and put up the new ones
Take down the kitchen curtains and put up the new ones
Pack the car full of flattened boxes and take them to the SMART station.
Meet Janice for coffee 3:30, earlier than our usual
Hang the transporter room somewhere. Probably next to the sofa.
Put up the curtain rod & curtain in the guest bathroom
Obtain a small set of drawers for the main bathroom closet. Reverse sides (I set up everything by the sink near the shower, because the movers had blocked the one near the door. Turns out the light above the one near the shower is broken.
Call an electrician. Need to have the bathroom light, one bedroom outlet fixed and the kitchen light replaced. Though I may do that last one myself.

 
howeird: (Kaan-Domino LazyBoy)
Which reminds me, I need to buy some iodized salt. Or does sea salt contain enough iodine?

After many days of BORING! at work, today two emergency major projects needed my attention. Yesterday I had shown Automation Guy that the syntax in his tcl docs was wrong, and by the time I arrived this morning he had found the fix, which turned out to not be about the tcl syntax but SNMP syntax which there is no way to document correctly. You just have to know to add that ".0" to the end of certain commands.

He then made a syntax error which kept the program in an infinite loop. Well, not infinite, just 2,000 minutes.

Before I could fix that, one of my favorite engineers came by and told me I could use his two linked machines to run a test I wanted to do last Friday and yesterday but didn't have a pair of my own machines with the right stuff to link them. It took 20 minutes to update their firmware, then 10 to run the test. And another 15 to write it up.

When I told boss, he reminded me that the results of the test justified a bug I had filed which Engineering zapped as "works as designed".

Lunchtime was Sizzler. They had a special on Steak & Lobster, I decided to splurge. I asked for the steak done medium, they made it well done. It was so small a piece it was not worth sending back.Tasted okay. The lobster was lobster tail, a small-ish one, but cooked to perfection.

Back to work, there was much to be done to the tcl program to make it part of the official automation run, that took the rest of the day.

Straight home, decided I needed to lie down, so I did. And slept for 2 hours, much to my surprise. And almost stayed there.

But I had a Project to do, which needed clothing on my body. First I put the small microwave which smells like smoke into the big box  which had housed the replacement replacement unit, taped it shut, put it on a dolly and motivated it to the dumpster. Next, I dollied out the replacement unit, which only smelled a little bit of smoke, and left it in the recycle section where someone will grab it and have a free almost-working microwave. Or the apartment minions will dispose of it.

Kaan and Domino had been parking on the boxes and the replacement unit (they were in the livingroom). Now I have space for an exercise bike. The apartment has a couple of those in the main building, but that's a block away, and it requires changing clothes and stuff. Now I just need to find an exercise bike.

Plans for tomorrow:
Work
YOTB
howeird: (Default)
Today's adventure was a trip to the store to buy a storage tub and a storage box and store things in them.

There have been four moving boxes of misc. electronics and office stuff piled behind the file drawers since October. None of them had much in them. Tonight I sorted everything in there, kept out some things, threw out others. Took that out to the storage room on the patio, and while I was there put all of last summer's Ye Olde Towne Band programs into the bin where they belonged. Pulled out my Thai tub, extricated what I thought was a shoebox of letters I had sent home from Thailand, brought those inside and slid them into the storage box. On closer inspection, the box is an envelope box, and the letters are not just ones I sent home, but also ones I received in Thailand and Israel from friends and flames.

They don't seem to be in strict order. The plan is to pull all the letters I sent, put them in order, transcribe them and maybe publish them. And while I'm at it, put the ones to me in order and read them. Some are from other volunteers talking about the newsletter I edited, or the advisory group meetings. I found a letter from a former girlfriend who had broken up with me while I was still in college, to go for a doctorate in chemistry in Texas. It was a long philosophical letter talking a lot about religion. It was addressed to me in Israel. Anyhow, lots of interesting stuff. I found the first letter I had written home, and it said on the plane we saw "Young Frankenstein". I don't remember that. It also said we arrived in BKK at 2 am, I thought we landed in daylight. Hmmm.


Stayed up too late again, which happens after rehearsals. Slept till I had to get up. Kaan wanted to play fetch again, so we did, but he stopped after a few rounds. The microfiber sheets have been very comfortable, and they don't get wet from the night sweats. Or rather, they wick the wet away quickly. My hair was wet, the pillowcases were not.

Not much work to do at work, I only found one bug to check. I watched a lot of TV, adjusting the settings on my test machine until ESPN didn't stutter anymore on our network. There was a townhall meeting by the head of the division which is in charge of our department, with numbers from 2012 which were disappointing and targets for 2013 which faked out the ones from 2012. Chances are slim that we will still be a cohesive entity by the end of the year, the sale of the company is going to shuffle things a lot, I think.

Lunch was at Round Table, read more of the Octavia Butler book. I'm not thrilled with it, but I'll give it a chance. The characters are skin deep. The story line jumps around a bit. I am thinking it is YA science fiction. Except there's no science.

Home by way of shopping, and you know the rest.

Plans for tomorrow:
Work
1-on-1
Brigadoon music rehearsal
howeird: (Default)
ADD strikes again. Reading my email there was a reminder to bring my theater resume to auditions Sunday, which meant adding the last two shows I was in, tweaking the photo and printing it. Done. Strange but true, the last show I did for this theater group is not listed on their history archive.

Work was busy, more automation stuff, two bugs to revisit, a new employee to send some internal software to, and some heavy duty packet chasing.

Lunchtime I picked up the RMA car alarm remote, they sent a new-in-the-box one. Getting it out of the box took more time for the tech than pairing it to the car.

Next stop was only a few doors up the block, Mattress Discounters, which is practically across the street from its two biggest competitors. Tried three of the Sealy Posturepedics, found the one which felt like the one at the sleep clinic, and before I even asked, he dropped the price $150 for the queen mattress and box springs, and also gave me a deal on a new frame (just the basic one, but I think I've had the one I have been using for about 20 years). This replaces a 15-year-old mattress which was wonderful when I got it, but no longer.

It didn't really matter which of the 3 places I bought it, they all have a best price guarantee. Sleep Train's commercials annoy me, they are everywhere and everywhen. I hate it when they make the radio talent do the commercials, with their train whistle pipe. And the name - what on earth is the connection between sleeping and taking the train? Mancini's Sleep World also over-advertises, and they were out of stock on the one I wanted when I checked online.

I looked into Costco, but they charge extra for hauling away the old mattress, and for the model I wanted they charged extra for the box springs, and the frame is sold separately.

Anyway, the way MD does it, they call from their dispatch center the same evening to say what 2-hour window they will arrive, so all I knew was Saturday.

More work at work, then off to Palo Alto for Stanford Theater's showing of the original 1920's version of Phantom of the Opera, with Lon Chaney. Along the way Mattress Discounters called, my delivery will be somewhere between 9 am and 11 am. Excellent! I headed for my secret parking lot, all 5 floors were filled solid, and it was so much fun waiting for people to turn around their SUVs and Urban Attack Vehicles in the most awkward places. That ate about 15 minutes. I parked across the street at the CalTrain lot, which meant buying a $4 ticket 2 blocks away. When I got to the theater the line was half a block long, which is fine because it probably went around the block at the time I'd planned to be there. This theater I'm not a senior, but it's not very expensive.

I found a seat in the balcony, one with leg room - the second section from the bottom, with an aisle in front of me. Never again. The number of people walking in and out during the show was obscene.

This theater usually begins with an organ concert, so when the organist stopped playing after his signature opening number and turned around to chat, I was puzzled. He gave a complete history of not just the print we were going to see, but all the prints ever made (another of which will be shown over the weekend), and how he got his first shot at playing a theater organ at college by organizing a Halloween showing of this film. Then he turned around, the organ lowered into the pit, and I got un-puzzled when he started to play the accompaniment. Dennis James is his name, and he played straight through, no stops, no intermission, for about 90 minutes. The print was a hodgepodge of splices of various quality, apparently there is no existing original print intact, but it was pretty good. It would have been better with the first 40 minutes, where they establish the relationship between the mystery voice and the soprano. Anyhow, standing ovation, loud applause. Worth full price.

I am by now starving, and I have always wanted to try the Peninsula Creamery, which is open late and probably older than I am. There is no place to sit, because 1/4 of the place has been reserved for a middle school drama troupe, and it's a popular place without that. After about 5 minutes a spot opens up at the counter, I read the very large menu, decide what I want, and wait. After 10 minutes of none of the staff even looking at me, I am fed up with being ignored and having my back to all the Sweet Young Things in the main seating area, so I leave. By this time the reserved section has been filled to overflowing, so I don't feel guilty, they have plenty of other customers. Some other time, then.

I go across the street to a new place called Thaifoon, it looks like they are closing soon, I ask the waitress in Thai when they close, and she asks in English if I want to see the menu. I'm 90% sure she is Thai, so I just say "no" and walk on by. Every place I go to is either closing in half an hour, closed, or not real food. Finally I remember the Cheesecake Factory waaaaaaaaay down University, they are open till midnight or 1 on Fridays. Fast service, my only gripe is it is so dark in there I need to use my cell phone "flashlight" app to read the menu. I am across the room from the bar, and between me and the bar TVs is eye candy. Lots of it. Especially right in front of me is a strawberry blonde, green-eyed petite woman having drinks with a female friend. Lovely view.

I had the combo shrimp scampi/Steak Diane, neither of which were exactly what I think of when someone mentions those dishes, but they were both delicious. Had the caramel pecan turtle cheesecake for dessert which was excellent except for the stale swirl of chocolate fudge on top half the size of the piece of cake. Service was okay, but looking at how far she had to trot to get to her tables from the kitchen, I gave her a big tip.

Back to the car, the alleged jazz group which was at the plaza was breaking up for the night. When I passed by on the way to the theater it sounded like 11 people with musical instruments they had just seen for the first time today, each playing their own tune in their own key and without anything identifiable as rhythm. This is a major reason I don't like jazz. It gets sloppy. In fact, sloppy gets high marks most of the time. I enjoy playing jazz because I'm a sloppy player, but I don't enjoy listening to it. There are exceptions.

Home, give Domino her whipped cream and open up a new package of dry treats for her. She still yells at me. I shift a lot of boxes and some furniture into other rooms so there is a better path for the bed.

Way past time for bed. I set the alarm for 7 so I will have time to shower & shave before they are due. I can take a nap after they leave.

Plans for tomorrow:
Up early
Mattress
Nap
Maybe go to Convolutions for the afternoon & parties
Figure out what music I'll audition with. Practice it.
Fall back

Boot Camp

Jun. 17th, 2012 01:20 am
howeird: (Default)
The temps got up to around 90° in my neck of the woods today, but the apartment does not get any direct sunlight, so out on the patio it was only about 82, and inside it was mostly 76 since that's when the air conditioner kicks in. It is like boot camp for Thailand. Minus the humidity.

Slept till 9:30, eventually walked a few blocks to the nearest manicure place and my timing was perfect, got my nails done right away, even though only one person was working. Nice little place, probably they have two people doing  nails/pedicures and one or two doing hair during the week. I think it's called Touch of Silk. Manicurist was a very nice middle-aged Chinese-Vietnamese lady who kept up a conversation through the whole time. I'll be back.

Back home, tried the patio for a while but it was too hot. As usual, most of the traffic was families with kids. Boring. Channel surfed and found Ghostbusters II on Bravo, which IO watched because a friend of mine was the person inside Slimer's suit. Funny, at the time I tuned in, the ghostbusters were climbing out of  the sewer covered in slime, and Bravo put up one of their annoying little promo overlays which said "Real Housewives of NYC get some unexpected visitors". LOL. I managed to record that, and Slimer's last 3-second appearance as a bus driver.

Vacuumed, and also shampooed some trouble spots. There is an area I spilled some red Crystal Light or similar house brand drink, and nothing is getting it out.

Made a banana smoothie, this time remembered that the malted milk was the one on the left, the one on the right is Parmesan.

Looked up an article I did in 1974 for the Astoria, OR paper at the request of a friend (via her husband on FB), found the negatives for the photos which went with it and scanned them in with my neat little Wolverine hand-held film scanner. It does a great job, except it expects store-bought film where the gaps between each image line up with the notches on its feeder. But these were hand cut from 100-foot rolls so some of the photos needed the ugly black line cut off. Posted them on FB, instantly got comments from several of her hubby's friends.

At about 6:30 I headed to Palo Alto, got to the theater sooner than I expected, waited in the park for the box office to open and was happy to find they did have a ticket reserved for me. The back to the park with my Kindle. Am now reading Hugo nominee with the unlikely name of The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees By E. Lily Yu. I gave up, sadly, on Mary Robinette Kowal's Kiss Me Twice. Two problems - the mobi formatting was annoying (top and bottom headers are in line with the text) and pdf formatting was unreadable on the Kindle (6 point type. Trying to expand it made the type bigger, but cut off at the width of the screen). Bigger problem is it is awkward, as if she was writing a detective story as a class assignment. The beautiful flow she had in last year's winning story is just not there in this one. Sigh.

Back to the theater, took my seat, and people were still arriving at 8:05. My row was full, as were the rows in front and behind me. Most of the side section seats were empty, as well as the last five or six rows. I made a note to move at halftime.

The play is called The Lieutenant of Inishire, and according to the director's notes, it is an attempt to show through over-the-top humor the insanity of "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland. Had this been produced during the bombings and assorted bloodshed and other nastiness, it might have had a point, but these many years after everything is peaceful, it is just another case of beating a dead horse. And poorly.

I did not enjoy the play at all. Had I been able to understand the words, I may have laughed once or twice, but the cast all talked far too quickly, with way too thick an accent, and mostly talked upstage. It also helps it one opens one's mouth when one speaks.

The first scene takes place in a humble Irish home. The second in a torture chamber, with a victim hanging upside down from his ankles, stripped to the waist, bleeding from under his pants. Several audience members gasped and looked away. This scene has what I took to be light banter between the torturer and the victim, but as I could rarely understand either of them, all I saw was a person hanging upside-down for far too long. I think at one point he was given a choice of which nipple would be cut off, but I'm not sure.

A couple of scenes later, the woman sitting next to me started to snore.

Half the audience did not come back for Act II. As he left, a man in the row behind me said there was still time to watch the baseball game on TV.

The only reason I did not leave is after the play was free food. The play just got worse and worse, in thoroughly predictable ways, except for the next-to-final twist at the end, which I would bet a case of Guiness was thrown in by the author after the play was finished, when he showed it down at the pub to his drunken buddies. The twist at the very end was the expected punchline of the shaggy dog story which the play is.

The sets were okay, scene changes were marred by too-loud, too-cacophonous metalicized Irish folk tunes.

The free food was quite good. I only saw one person from Jeckyl & Hyde (my free ticket was thanks for being in that show earlier this season). Some of the conversation was amusing. One man pointed out that one of next year's offerings, Miss Saigon, is a musical. As if this was unknown previously. But it did make me think that there should be a rip-off musical, Donald Trump's Miss Saigon Universe - The Musical!

Home, unpacked the eBay-bought VCR, and it did not work. It fired up okay, but would not play a tape, fast forward or rewind for more than 3 seconds, and when I started to open it up to see what was going on I didn't - when I saw that someone who did not know how to had already done so, bending one metal part and breaking off a plastic catch. So I sent a nastygram to the seller, and bought one from a repair shop.

Plans for tomorrow:
Take pictures of my eyes
MIB3 - matinée if I wake up in time (not a problem, 3D is at 12:20)
Spend some time at Starbucks
Take the camera out for some GPS testing.
Move two boxes out of the bedroom. One goes into the computer room and gets sorted, the other will probably get dumped. Very heavy metal sections which snap together with plastic connectors, which I stupidly threw away when I moved.
Get a massage, if it cools down.
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.
howeird: (Default)
I'm a notch better. Less coughing, less zombie-ness. Woke up every hour last night, did my morning stuff a little early and then went back to bed. I don't have to be at work till 10 which means 9:30 is a reasonable wake up time. Mind you, I like to get to work earlier so I can leave earlier.

Did a lot of complex testing, and actually found a bug in one of our test tools. Luckily we have several for double-checking. It looks like the rest of the week will be spent in the lab, since the tool I need most is licensed per machine, and all those machines are in the lab.

Denny's for lunch. Service was very slow. Making it through a lumberjack slam took a while also.

Home, the 2 qt Revere Ware pot and tea kettle were at the door. I was expecting the curtains too, but was not surprised they weren't there. Put on the kettle, fed the cats, and the door bell rang - it was Fedex with the curtains.

They are not quite the material I thought I was ordering, but they are close enough. The color is spot on. Blackout lining - check. The hardware they included was for a pleated curtain, which this is not, hung from a drawstring mount, which I won't be using. On second thought, it may work fine with the rings which are on the curtain rod. I just need another package of those. There's a Lowe's not far from work.

Everything stays in the box till I'm ready to do the deed. I'll also put up the door curtain at the same time.

Plans for tomorrow:
Work
???

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