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. 

Recovered

Mar. 1st, 2014 12:09 am
howeird: (Default)
Slept well, no lows, got to work okay. Mostly continued the usual stuff there. Lunch with the gang, we poked our heads into the Philippine place, but (a) our resident Filipino was not impressed and (b) there was noplace for 5 people to sit. Went to Sushi Blvd instead, which is usually jam packed, but they were half empty. Had a bento box.

Home after work, the Thai flag was fine but the US flag had wrapped itself around the pole 4 times. I thought I had fixed that. Grrr. Grabbed the rent check and drove over to the community center and put it in the slot. Usually I walk there but tonight it was raining and blustery. While I was there I turned on the lamps in the billiard room, and played a horrible game of 8-ball which I lost by scratching on the 8-ball. We have a table at work now, but if I racked up on that there would be vultures in minutes. I'm not very good, I don't want to play 4-somes, which is what always manages to happen.

Back home, caught up on FB. Used my laptop, partly to charge it and partly to update Windows and Norton.


The last model friended me and tagged my photo. The one I took of her. Somewhat NSW so I'll hide it behind the cut )

Also proved the power of social networking:Way TMI ) In short, I helped two of my friends connect and find a theater internship for a deserving daughter. Yay!

Yesterday I was looking for a photo of a cousin when he was about 5 to embarrass him with, went through a ziplock bag full of photos where I thought this one was, but it wasn't. Instead I found a handfull of old pix with me in them, which I just scanned. It looks like I had something going with one of the violinists in the Fiddler on the Roof show I was in in Sunnyvale a long time ago. She's an FB friend but she rarely posts, possibly because she works for a FB app company. I wonder where I went wrong? Probably didn't follow up after the show was done.

Plans for tomorrow:
Photo shoot at 11
Little Shop of Horrors at Foothill College at 8
Stop off at Fry's somewhere in there to get a replacement power brick for my laptop (the one I keep at home died)
howeird: (Camelot)

Especially for [livejournal.com profile] zyzyly

After You're A Good Man Charlie Brown, they held auditions for Camelot. Different director, and I was still not convinced I could sing. I had always wanted to play King Pellinore, an elderly knight who shows up at the start of Act II wearing full armor with the visor closed. He has a dog, the shaggier the better. His only singing is from the wings with the chorus in Act I and with the other knights as ensemble in Act II. He doesn't have a lot of lines, either.

I was 23, but had played old men in high school and college, and enjoyed it. And it was a low-impact part which wouldn't require a lot of rehearsal.

This time auditions were short, I sang a song, I think, and did cold reading from the script. I don't remember any callbacks, or reading against anyone.

A day or two later the director phones me, and he says he has some bad news. He reminds me that this is community theater, and unlike high school and college, there are a wealth of men who actually are old, and he has chosen one of them to play King Pellinore. "He even owns his own set of armor", I think he said. Or maybe just that the other guy fits into the suit of armor they will be using. Whatever. I am heartbroken, until he says he has some good news. Maybe. "

"Would you consider playing a different king?" he asks, timidly.

"I don't remember any other kings in the show."

"King Arthur."

"Oh. That other king."

Before I could answer he said how much he enjoyed my Charlie Brown, and he was looking for Arthur to start out as that kind of naive, innocent, victim type, but then grow up. And he said he liked my singing.

I said yes, and the rest is history. (the userpic is me and Guenevere dancing a fiery dance).

Except for two things:

Thing the First: At the start of Act II, King Pellinore leads his St. Bernard onstage, plants himself downstage center. Every night the dog peed on his leg. He waits for the laughter to subside, and does what it says in the script:

PELLINORE lifts his visor, and looks around.

PELLINORE: Oh! It's stopped raining!

Brought down the house every time.

Thing the Second:

The Monday after closing night I was fired, given 2 weeks' notice. We had changed bosses sometime during rehearsals, and new boss told me he wanted to fire me sooner and put in his own layout editor, but he and his wife were big boosters of the theater, and he didn't want to leave them in the lurch. 


What do the simple folk do?

Antidote

Nov. 3rd, 2013 11:03 pm
howeird: (Default)
After the horrible mess Sunnyvale Players made of Zombie Prom Friday night,  needed the antidote. Luckily today was the last of 3 performances in Mountain View (there's another one in Walnut Creek next Saturday) of Free Range Opera's production of the 1919 hit musical Irene. It was delightful.

And this is interesting because it was done on a bare stage with a few chairs, no props, minimal costuming (all the men wore tux, the women evening gowns) in a 150-seat 3/4 round little theater. The musical accompaniment was a single baby grand. I have been on stage with 5 of the cast and the accompanist, plus the producers.

It was easy to see how this now-forgotten gem ran for almost 2 years on Broadway. It's also easy to see why it has been forgotten. There are some tuneful songs, but they lean towards ragtime style. The plot is outdated, but it's not too different from My Fair Lady's plot. And the woman playing the title role needs to have an astonishing memory, she has lines which must traverse two or three pages at a time.

There was such a crush of people after the show that I only got a chance to say hello to one of my friends. I feel a bit guilty about that, but it has not been a good week for that.

Standard Time has me doing everything an hour earlier than usual, including this entry. I did manage to turn back the clocks which needed it. I used some of that time to do more packing, but not the packing I had in mind yesterday. Instead of the office book shelves, I cleared out the three drawers of a plastic dresser in the living room, which was stuffed with my parents' drug store-developed photos. That's what I remembered being in there, but when I dove into it there were stacks of souvenir postcards, a lot of loose older photos of the family, cassette tapes of my Israeli nieces and nephews singing tunes they composed, and an 8mm spool which I don't have the equipment to look at. It's a single roll of film's worth. It all filled one small book box.

Lunch was a pair of corn dogs.

After the show I watched football, dinner was beef brisket in Jack Daniels sauce and baked beans mixed with sliced green beans. No unidentifiable body parts in those so far.

And I packed up most of the shelf in the livingroom of the parents & grandparents old photos. Most of them are framed or matted, and there were also some other gems like mom's & dad's high school diplomas. And a school pennant or two.

No more ice cream, so I had pistachios for dessert. Maybe I'll make an egg cream later. I am really enjoying the Sodastream unit. Much less hassle than siphons. But still some hassle because you have to use their bottles to charge a liter at a time of water.

Kaan did something while I was watching the ball game which amazed me. Hanging from the bottom of the top shelf of the tall cat tree is a pair of soft fuzzy balls on an elastic string. He has been batting them around for weeks. Today he wrapped his mouth around one, jumped down one level, then to the top of my tall speaker and then to the floor, which snapped the elastic and left him playing with one fuzzy ball. When he got tired of playing I tied it back onto its loop, and tied the other one on as well. He is too clever by half.

In other cat news, this morning the Humane Society called, they won't take Domino. They will take Kaan, but I'm not really interested in that. Good to know it is an option if the park manager insists on the 1-cat rule.

While I was at the show, the guy from the first choice moving company left voicemail saying they could do the move, $145/hr. Minus a 5% return customer discount applied at the end of the move. It took him more than a week to get back to me, and the mover I scheduled is charging $119/hr. Maybe in a week I'll let him know he was too late. He did this the last time too, but it was more like 3 days.

Plans for tomorrow:
Work
Kaiser pharmacy, insulin & enteric baby aspirin. If I take enough, will I have an enteric baby?
MNF and more packing. What I pack depends on whether the parental collection of 78's & LPs will fit into the boxes I already have.
howeird: (Weird Load)
This is one of my more obscure Small World™ stories.

I went to high school at Rainier Beach, the southernmost one in Seattle. Probably the easternmost too, but I won't bet real cash money on that. Looked on a map and would bet money on it. Somewhere during my senior year a DDG blonde was added to the senior class, her last name was Applegate. Or maybe Applewood. I don't remember her first name, but it was something not very common. Call her Brina. The story is she was there because her parents had split, and needed a school to be in until they decided who she would live with.

She isn't in the yearbook, and isn't on the graduation list. Sometime before those were made up she transferred out, and that's the last I heard of her. That would have been sometime in late 1967 or early '68.  

In 1974, after I was fired from my first real-world newspaper job, I found one in Omak, WA, just the other side of the Cascades about 90 miles south of Canada. It was a town of 5,000. My first day on the job, the boss sends me out to take a mug shot of someone for the Society column. It was her. Turns out she had grown up in Omak, her father was a big name in the area with a cattle ranch and apple orchards. When her Mom got the divorce,  she took Brina Far Away To The Big City, hoping to get custody. But Brina turned 18 before graduating high school, and took herself back to Omak to live with Daddy. Part of the reason for the mug shot is she had gone to college at WSU, and was now back home.

It was obvious she didn't remember me, so I didn't bring it up.  I never saw her again.
howeird: (Default)
But that's how it shakes out today. I did a lot, considering how little I accomplished. Woke up at about 9, played fetch with Kaan. Took my Hgl readings and shot up, did some stuff online, like changing my Twitter password. Also killed the connections between Twitter and Facebook, because that seemed to exacerbate the friendslist spam issue.

Tried connecting the phone to the USB 3.0 cable which arrived yesterday, plugged into the PCIE USB 3.0 card which has been in the PC for ages but has never worked. I thought it was the cable, but it's the card. Windows says it has the latest drivers. Will have to replace that, but not till after my trip, because why bother?

Showered, dressed, took my meds, decided today was round tuit day. When I get things in boxes, eBay things, Amazon.com things, etc., unless they are HUGE boxes I get out my box cutter, slice through the tape, fold the box and slide it into a space between the livingroom garbage can and the coffee table. After a few months this gets to be an eyesore, which was today. So I loaded all the boxes onto a dolly and wheeled them out to the dumpster. It took two trips. And it also took me un-stupid-ing what some stupid person did in the dumpster. A couple of days ago, Wag.com sent me my order of 6 litterbox refills. In the past they had put them into a square box (the items are rectangular) just long enough to fit, with a pile of inflatable plastic pouch filler to fill in the empty side. This time they used a box twice as large, with enough filler to re-carpet my livingroom. Literally. I had noplace to store such a large piece of cardboard so I broke it down right away, flattened it, and put it in the dumpster (the apartment does not recycle cardboard. Boo. Hiss.) This morning, the box was back to its full HUGE shape again, blocking anything else from being thrown away. Flattened it again and it was all good. So, this took two trips, partly because at the bottom of the pile of boxes I had found a box of 1,000 super-sized drinking straws which had FAILED and were there to throw away; plus a box from Costco of my first pass of 2013 calendars, on which they had made a printing error (they re-printed the right way, but had no use for the misprints).

Now there is a bit more room in the livingroom next to the trash can. Whoopee.

Next on the list was Kaan-ifying the patio, now that it is swept and no longer crunchy to walk across. Domino can be out on the patio unattended, because she is too short to jump the wall. Kaan is tall enough. The solution: put a row of flower pots on the wall and fill them with flowers. Not pots exactly, but those long narrow planters. And the flowers should be ones which attract hummingbirds. Measured the wall width and depth, 139" x 6.5". the 139 could also be 125 if we subtract the sides.

So, off to the nearest nursery, paid way too much for 4 30" planters and 14 4" square-potted plants. 7 each of Salvia and Fuchsia. Also got a big bag of potting soil, more than I thought I would need in my lifetime. Took those home and set up on the wall, and saw I could use two more plants and a trowel.

Long drive to Saratoga looking for a nursery I liked 12 years ago which I thought was on Saratoga-Sunnyvale road. The further I drove the more certain I was that I was on the wrong road. Must have been Saratoga Avenue. But no problem, Yamagami's was up there, they are huge and mostly less expensive than the local place. But they did not have Fuchsias in 4" and their salvia looked scrawny, so I popped for two 6" Foxgloves and a trowel.
Read more... )
Home again, set up the folding table on the patio, and spent about two hours transferring the plants into the planters and filling the spaces with potting soil. Used the whole huge bag, almost - not enough left to save - then watered them.
Read more... )

While I was doing this, Domino had claimed the patio seat/pillow which she used to curl up on at the last two apartments, Kaan kept walking around, not sure what to make of this new space.

Done, folded the table back up, vacuumed the mess off the floor, got some Crystal Lite on ice and my Kindle and sat in the chair I used to use, and did some reading. Kaan made several attempts to sniff at Domino and got hissed at each time. Somewhere during my reading Domino went inside and perched on the top of the small cat tree and Kaan curled up where Domino had been. 

Back inside, made dinner, way early (6-ish). Finished the book over a portion of Marie Calendar's alleged country fried steak. Took a peek outside, Domino was back in her spot, no sign of Kaan. I looked all over for him, was scared he jumped the wall anyway, but nope. Inside, looked up and found him on the top platform of the tall cat tree. I had been thinking a couple of days ago it has been a month or more since either of them has used the cat trees. :-)

The book: All the Stars by Andrea K Höst. Aliens invade earth, spraying dust which gives some humans blue skin and super powers, and other humans green skin, making them drones of the aliens. People who escape the dust stay human. Set in Sydney, Australia, with Aussie spelling. Fairly consistent world building, no blatantly "pulled it out of my butt" moments. Probably meant to be YA, teen romances occur, teens are the main characters. I gave it 4 stars out of 5, but could see 3 stars as a reasonable rating as well.

Facebook is all photos of fathers, this Hallmark Day. I refrained for several reasons, mostly because Dad didn't believe in any Hallmark Day except the original one, Mother's Day.
 TMI below the cut )

Plans for tomorrow:
Work
Pack for Seattle (3-day trip, not much to pack)
howeird: (Slarty Animated)

[livejournal.com profile] lisa_marli re-posted on FB a graphic purporting to show a teacher doing school work on hs own time, and a diatribe caption about how teachers do that. And she commented that she used to help grade his class' work because he taught accounting, and she is good at accounting. I will tease her here instead of there and mention that my father once taught Werner von Braun's undergrad classes as a TA, and graded those class papers, but I never learned any astrophysics or orbital/celestial mechanics. But that's just a tease because by the time I was old enough to learn that stuff, he was an engineer and all his work was top secret, so even if he wanted to he couldn't teach it to me. And he didn't want to.

But it got to thinking about my grade school teachers. I am going to try to remember them and say a smidge about each one.

Kindergarten: Name??? Blonde, young, was insulted that I could recite the alphabet before she taught it to us.
1st Grade: Miss Moshey. She had taught German to US soldiers during WWII. Her favorite phrase was "mach schnell, bitte". She was horribly strict for a 1st grade teacher, but eminently fair. Here is an example:Read more... )


2nd Grade: No idea.
3rd Grade: Another blonde. She tried to reason with me that the baby Mom was pregnant with might not be a girl. I was certain it would be. My sister was born two weeks after school ended for the Summer, and I had to wait for months to nyah nyah nyah the teacher.
4th Grade: no idea
5th Grade: Mr. Costa. Science teacher at heart, he had the best field trips, and supported my science fair entry. His tests were easy for me, I kept getting 110% (there was always a bonus q). He also change my life for the worse by assigning me to a different 6th grade class from all the others just because I hit a bully with a rock while we were filing back to class from recess.
6th Grade: Mr. Egger. Total jerk. Did not deserve to be teaching. When I corrected him in class for his WRONG definition of vapor, by reading it out of the big dictionary, he took my report card, slapped an overlay strip and made all my grades D or worse. My parents complained to the principal, and he did not get re-hired the next year. Irony, he went to a high school elsewhere in the district, where he taught science. The next time I saw him was in 8th grade, he was judging the science fair. :-(


It was also Nurse Appreciation day/week/eon. My appreciation for nurses started in college when I shared a house with a bunch of fellow folkdancers, and one of them was dating a nursing student who was living in a houseful of nursing students, and I dated one of them and hung out with all of them. They all had stories about how a nurse had saved their lives, and inspired them to become nurses.

I have never been sick or wounded enough for nurses to have done that for me, but I saw them in action when my folks were in hospice care at a nursing home. There were two kinds of nurses - the basic RN, who saw his/her job as helping and old person live; and the hospice nurse, who saw his/her job as helping the old person die. Mom's hospice nurse was a total drag. Mom and Dad both had two or three basic RNs who were wonderful.

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

2-fer

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

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

Cut for kindness )

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
howeird: (Default)
The quick-turnaround yesterday got me feeling like it was Friday today. But only for a few hours. I had a lot of work to do on automation, did not finish because I can't until they fix a bug. But I did make a lot of progress. And now I am told I need to create another suite of the same test for a 10-port machine (this one is for a 4-port model).

Lunch was at China Stix, which has really good beef chow fun, but just as I was getting ready to order the dim sum cart comes by, but it was mostly desserts. The nice man called out the steamed stuff cart for me, and he had all my usual favorites. Left him a nice tip.

Straight home after work, Thursday Night Football mostly with the sound off because the color commentator was so incredibly stupid. And they were all about trying to dig up dirt on the home team's manager and GM. Inappropriate for during the game, leave that crap for the tabloids. Channel surfing during the breaks I found Comcast replaying the Giants' parade, which made me happy because I only got to hear half of the mayor's speech and I wanted to catch the whole thing. It was about an hour and a half into the show, and they edited it out. The bastards. Maybe it's on youtube.

San Diego won the football game, n o thanks to their lame offense. Two interceptions for touchdowns mainly did it.

The timing was right to see the Giants pose for their photo op, and see Tony Bennett trotted out again.

Dinner was dolmathes and duck l'orange.

Plans for tomorrow:
Work
Stanford Theater for a showing of the original silent movie version of The Phantom of the Opera
howeird: (Default)
Slept real well, did not wake up till the lights came on at 7. The "alarm" eases in too, but it's on the internet radio, and it's KOMO, Seattle's news station, which doesn't help clear the morning disorientation. My phone was blinking, reminding me there was an online corporate meeting at 8. My plan was to watch via VPN from home, but after my morning stuff I got dressed anyway.

Could not get connected to my work machine, something screwy with the new wireless setup which kept shutting off the router as soon as VPN connected. So I drive to work and got there at 8:30, and the Q&A session had already started. Odd, because this was billed as a 2-hour meeting. It was the usual non-answers. A little after noon the replay was available, and it was half an hour of my life I will never get back.

The rest of the morning was spent in much more constructive activity, I solved the mystery of the disappearing files from last night, it seems a feature of the machine is to clean up the files on every reboot. So I had to not reboot after I applied the patch. As soon as I got that going, the new patch crashed the machine a few times. I helped the engineer duplicate my test setup, and loaned him my machine. He had it fixed in less than an hour, so I re-tested. Yup, working. Now we need to wait for the next release where his code is in as a regular part of the product.

Lunch was at Barn Thai, a nice hole in the wall place in an obscure shopping plaza. Very slow service today, but while I was waiting for my change, I went over to the wall and tried to read the gold inscription around a pair of 50-Baht bills in a fancy frame showing heads an tails. The one staff member who always speaks to me in Thai came over and I said the writing was too small, what did it say? She said it was a 50-Baht bill. I asked her what made it special, and she said it was very old. But looking at it, it could not have been more than 30 years old, judging by the age of the King in the picture. It looked more like it was a special edition. Next time I'll bring my ancient 100-Baht bill and impress her. It's at least twice as old as that 50.

Which reminds me, I need to look up glassine envelopes on the web. It's about time I tried again to put some of my foreign bills on display.

The afternoon at work was spent creating test cases for a new feature which may or may not make it into the release we are working on. There are more to write, but I need to have a working model of the feature before I can write the cases, since we have no detailed spec for them yet.

By the time I got home, the Giants were ahead of the Tigers 4-0, so I mostly ignored the game. I tuned in for the start of the 9th, but shut it off when the manager made what IMHO was a stupid pitching change, which resulted in a 2-run homer. I didn't want to see if the home team would blow a 4-point lead. They didn't, maybe because I wasn't paying them no nevermind.

I am impressed by the Giants this October. It is a team's team. Everyone on the squad has made a positive difference. It was good to see the fat kid go 4-4 with three of those home runs. And Timmy has come back from the dead. Funny to hear the fans shouting "Barry, Barry" again, for a pitcher. A pitcher who hit an RBI. There is a rumor that at one point the manager smiled. The game still bores me to death, but the highlights are a lot of fun, as are the many friends of mine who are fans.

With the game in the bag, I Took The Bull By The Horns™ finally, went out to the patio storage room, removed almost everything and then:
- Cleared a space in the livingroom near the bedroom door
- Moved the big storage rack into that space
- Moved a wide, 3-drawer plastic cabinet full of parental snapshots & postcards into the space alongside the rack
- Lugged four very heavy boxes from the storage room and office into the rack area
- Re-arranged the remaining stuff in the storage room (luggage, plastic tubs of Stuff, musical instruments, spare cat carrier, etc.) so it is easier to get to
-- this included bringing the big tub with my big scripts and posters and the little tub with my little scripts, programs and posters near the front
- Placed two boxes of framed photos and art in there where I can pull them out later. They belong on top of the rack, but I need ballast first

Dinner was half a roast duck with orange sauce, iced jasmine tea, reheated frozen tollhouse cookies.

Someone de-friended me here after I went all Le chevalier des miroirs on his ass on Twitter. Looks like he unfollowed and blocked me on Twitter and FB too. BFD, not someone who makes any impact on my life, and I'm  sure I make even less on his.  

Plans for tomorrow:
Work
Home, unpack the photo records, photo albums and big mostly framed family photos onto the rack
Consider installing my New Orleans bead art and framed Thai temple rubbings on the walls of the livingroom
howeird: (Trumpet)
Pencil Thin Mustache by Jimmy Buffet has been earworming me today. Specifically "an autographed picture of Andy Devine". Andy Devine was my favorite TV actor when I was a kid, and I did have an autographed picture of him.** I remember him as the comic relief deputy in countless western TV shows, and several guest shots on Flipper. From time to time he would pop up in a movie, like Around The World in 80 Days and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

Also on my list back then was Burl Ives, who had a similar personality but tempered by being able to sing and play banjo and guitar. He was a much more elegant actor than Devine, but he had the same spark.

Peter Ustinov and Orson Welles were a notch higher on the Hollywood totem pole, and I liked them too. And Theodore Bikel.

And this is all pure narcissism, because in one way or another, they all reminded me of me. :-)


**It was the only autographed picture I ever wrote away for.
howeird: (Default)
But now I'm starting to feel like it is past my bedtime.

This morning I was so sleep deprived I emailed in that I would be late, stayed in bed with my eyes mostly closed while I called Comcast for the 4th time (plus two trips to their office) to get the second Tivo's cable card fully authorized. This card did have actual Comcast data on it, so I was able to provide a host ID and card ID to the nice man, and in about 45 seconds ESPN showed up on the TV. He was surprised it was there so soon. That was after 10 minutes of punching digits on the phone and waiting on hold. Hint: each time you enter another menu level, they try to sell you something. Hit 0 and it will abort the marketing crap and move to the next prompt.

So now I have the lovely Tivo GUI and all my Comcast digital channels. Yay.
Got dressed and drugged and out by a little before 10, went for a haircut, then to Costco where I picked up the first DVD and the 200 slides which were scanned onto it. Looked at them at work while other things were rebooting, and was very surprised to see a couple of ct photos and a handful from Tel Aviv beach in 1978. Or maybe it was still 1977. They did a goo job of cleaning the slides, and they all are in focus. They did not do any color correction, so before I post these they will need some serious photoshopping.

Yesterday I received surprise email from Ed Jilek, who was in the Peace Corps with me. We were nextdoor neighbors my second year - he taught and lived at Prince of Songkhla U which was at the south end of the Rubber Research Center's plantation. I photographed his wedding, which was at the local US consulate, and he had found one of the photos on my Flickr page during a web search for himself (now that he is retired he has time to play online). Coincidentally, the whole set of pix is on the DVD, so I'll make up a special disk to send to him & his wife Noi, whom I knew as Umaporn. Because she was a department head, and they are not called by their nicknames, especially on formal occasions. Soooooooo excellent to hear from Ed!
Work PC is now fully configured, and I was able to tweak an encoder to send the right audio signal, which let me record a couple of scrambled videos which our latest box can unscramble. And I did some other neat stuff. It's a very fast machine, 64-bit Win7, I don't know how much RAM but probably a lot since it's the company's standard engineer's model.
Found the latest updates for the Clarion in-dash unit. It needs two micro-SD cards and a USB drive. Tomorrow, I hope.
Preview performance, once again they ran the whole year-long big dance number. I expect they will do this every night. It HATEHATEHATEHATEHATE that. It effs up my prep for the show. It effs up everyone's prep for the show.

This was out first time with an audience. When I peeked through the gap in the curtain and saw only about 1/3 of a house, randomly scattered, I was disappointed. But they were LOUDly appreciative from the get-go, and the applause and shouts at the end of the big numbers hit me like a wall of sound. It felt like a Seahawks game.

They absolutely loved the show. Okay, so it helps that these are all friends of the cast who got in for free, but still. Looking online, there are only 3 center section seats left for the gala grand opening, and maybe a dozen on the left and right edges of the side sections. Walk-ups ought to sell out the house. This will also be a friendly audience. The big test will be the Sunday matinee - mostly retired folks who know their musical theater, have seen this show a few times before, and won't be yelling and clapping just to support their friends.

After the show they made us stay so they could give awards. All the cast members I would have given the Gypsy Robe to had already won it once (I guess this theater won't let anyone repeat) so it went to someone who didn't really deserve it. They gave the tech award to the stage manager, who mostly phoned it in this time. There were two others on tech staff who were more deserving, IMHO. Newbie award went to a great guy - come to think of it, I would have given him the robe as well.

Then there were photos. Taken from the booth. Cast, then cast&staff then add the crew & band.

Went on  Safeway run, the GPS sent me to a mall which used to have one, but now it's an REI or something. Next choice was the one closest to work. Bagger has never payed Tetris. There's a Lucky's much closer, but they don't have the mint chip Klondike bars. Main reason was to buy some baby wipes. I bought a big bag of Huggies brand, which looked like it had two or three containers inside. Got it home, and it was a FAIL. One big pile of wipes, fan folded into a 1-foot-high stack. And they did a lousy job of removing makeup.   
Oddball dinner. Rice pudding + cinnamon, sourdough baguette slices with cheese-n-bacon squirts, corn nibblets on the cob. Klondike bars.
Plans for tomorrow:
Change the litterboxes
Update the Clarion
Bake some cookies, and freeze them for next week's shows
U-haul, buy boxes. I have lots of tape and markers from the last move
CVS, buy better baby wipes
Spend some Starbucks time with the laptop
6:30 call for the show.
howeird: (Both Ends + Middle)
Slept in. On purpose. It was a long Saturday. Didn't get dressed until after scanning the 1989 photos and finding the ones from 2004, 2008 and 2012 which needed to go with the Friends of Thailand article. Found a small pile of 1975-77 pix which are too many to scan by hand, I'll have Costco do them. Ed & Umapon's wedding, some of my fellow volunteers in teacher training - teaching English to Thai high school students. I donated one quiz question:
Do you walk to school or bring your lunch?
Also some field trip or other we went on in training.
Too much other stuff on my plate right now, I need to wait a bit till I can bring all my slides in to be scanned. And even then it will be in batches, by album.

Finally got showered & dressed & drugged and bananaed. Attacked the 4-foot-high pile of Stuff in the livingroom, shoved the towels into one lawn trash bag, costumes, a couple of old suit jackets and assorted clothes into another, shirts & jeans cutoffs into a third, bedding and curtains into a 4th, and put three comforters and two blankets into my old lady wheeled grocery basket. Moved the car out of the garage and up to street level, and schlepped all that stuff - it took 3 trips and major amounts of sweat.

Returned the cart to the apartment, petted Domino, and punched the Goodwill location into the GPS. The first turn was wrong - it was sending me to one of the smaller ones in Santa Clara. Tried again, and it sent me toward an even smaller one inn Palo Alto. It did not have the big one in MV-Sunnyvale, so I faked it. The big one makes it easy - donation area is to the side of the store, lots of parking space, but they now have it set up so you drive into it in order, and they take you 3 at a time. What took an hour to get collected, schlepped and into the car took 1 minute to unload. I don't stick around for the receipt - experience has shown that I will not have enough deductions for this to make a difference.

Home, next item on the agenda was to haul electronics to the recycle station, but I decided to do that Some Other Time. Relaxed a bit, spent some time with Domino walking across my lap. Checked FB. Set up the Tivo to record 49ers games (I thought it was already, but Wishlist failed, and decided I needed to see games in low def two days after they were played).

Then to Starbucks an hour before Janice was meeting me, and studied lines. I think I know them now. We'll see this week when we run Act I without books. I have only had one rehearsal for my scene.

8 pm rehearsal for 30 minutes to run the number I was having issues with. This is the one where they had me dancing a doe-si-doe box step with another non-dancer. The AD talked me into trying it the way we had blocked it, and he would decide from there. Tough to do because my partner non-dancer was not there. I was not able to convince him that it was stupid to have me make a lightning costume change and show up as another character downstage. He quibbled about the center stage part - but it doesn't really matter - I'm in the front row, flanked only by leads.

After we ran it once, he removed me and my invisible partner from the box step.

They will find out at dress rehearsal that the costume change won't work. It would have been much smarter of them to admit they were wrong now, and avoid the train wreck. But smart and this production staff won't usually be in the same sentence. The producer who assured me at the start that I would not be dancing told me during my debate with the AG that I should trust the extremely experienced and talented production staff. He's telling this to someone with 50 years of theater experience? Jesus on a tadpole.

One thing they have done well is stick to their schedule, so we were out of there by 8:30. Almost. SInce the whole cast was there the social director (yes, we have one, maybe two) felt obliged to ask if it was okay if we had a taco truck for the cast party. WTF? This is the party which is held the day after closing night/strike. October 7. I will not be there, so I don't care what they do, but to keep us late at a rehearsal to ask this?

There was another announcement, but it was even less important.

So. I'm home, my linen and bedroom closets are much emptier, I cannot believe how much stuff I had which should have been recycled before my last move. And there is still more. T-shirts which no longer fit. One with holes in it which I bought a replacement for (which is in a box headed my way, presumably, around the time I move). 

Got email from the woman I met on the boat trip in Phuket, asking me to friend her on FB, but all she sent was a hotmail address. The <> had her Thai surname, but when I looked that up, there were two of them, the one in Phuket may be her but has a different first name. Of course the first name she gave me ("Apple") is her nickname, so maybe that is her real first name on FB. I wrote back suggesting she friend me, but she replied she couldn't find my name. So I sent a friend request to ปรียภัทร์ สุวัฒน์พัฒนากูล (Boripaht Suwanapanakul). We'll see what happens.

Plans for tomorrow:
Team meeting
1 pm mover rep at the apartment
AG rehearsal at 9 pm.
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 overstock.com. 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.




 
howeird: (Train)
Last night I opened my safe box and saw the pile of passports. The latest one (12/2008-12/2018) was at the bottom of the stack. It's the pretty, artistic new passport, and I thumbed through the visa pages and was momentarily surprised they are all blank. Then I remembered that the last time I was out of the country, my passport only had 3 months left on it, and the airlines had changed their rule to require 6 months. For tourists, a stupid rule. And airlines should not be making up their own laws.

EVA gave me a hard time about leaving the country on a perfectly good passport, but when I pointed out that I had a return flight booked in less than a month, and the passport was good for 2 months longer than that, they let me fly, but with a warning I might not be allowed to fly back.

Long story short, I did have some problems getting through immigration at Malaysia and Singapore on my way back, but none at SFO. The officers at Malaysia and Singapore understood how ridiculous it was to try to stop someone from going home on a valid passport - they could arrest me, but they would end up deporting me anyway.

I took out my 1998-2008 passport and marveled at all the visa stamps. Since December 2008 I have been unemployed or a contractor for all but 10 months. WHen I had time to travel, there was no $$, and vice versa. Plus I was making frequent trips to Seattle to see my parents.
howeird: (Lazar)
This post was inspired by a tangent on [livejournal.com profile] smallship1's pages, which did not need to be further cluttered up with my nostalgia.

As a musician raised as a practicing Jew and avid choir member, I was steeped in the concept of most religious music being in a minor key. I sang in Hebrew, and while I never gained fluency in the language, the cantor was thorough about making sure we knew what each word of each song/prayer meant. I mention this because I know some folks who know the sounds but not the meaning, whether it be Hebrew or Latin.

I went to a public school, and was not in chorus, mostly because I played trumpet in the band, which was at the same time as chorus, as if they were separate religions. Unfortunately, this made me think for a long time that my singing was just something I did at Temple, and my real music was with the band.

But I digress. Since I went to a public school in suburban NY, every concert was just before school break, which meant Easter tunes at spring break and Christmas tunes at winter break. End of the school year was all secular. We also played Jewish tunes, mostly thanks to my mother, who helped organize the PTA, which had a large percentage of Jewish members, and lobbied the school board - or maybe just the local administrator - to represent all religions in the concerts which were represented at school. At the time this meant Js and Cs. There were no Muslims or Hindus or Pastafarians - there well may be now.

Long story longer, playing Easter and Christmas tunes in the band was always uncomfortable for me. We chose the popular ones, the ones everyone knows the words to. And though I was only playing the music, the lyrics would be in my head. I had mixed feelings about the Jewish songs, because although it was fun to actually know a tune some of the other band members didn't, a school concert was not the place to be playing them.



I said all of that to tell you this story:
Many moons ago I worked for HP, my job was to support recipients of grants. I worked for six very high-powered research scientists, and one of them was from Mainland China. He was the audio expert, very proud of his new car with Infinity speakers and a high-end cassette player. He popped a tape into the machine just as we pulled out of the parking lot and wanted me to listen to this beautiful music. He was in love with the music, and it was a thrill for him to hear it played with such good fidelity.

It was beautiful. The audio was first rate. The orchestra excellent. When it was over, he raved about what great music it was, and I was at a loss how to reply. The tune was Ave Maria. It was quite a WTF, because he was not Christian, and he had no idea this was religious music. I could not get the words out of my head, even though this was an instrumental.

There is some irony here, because the reason I knew the words is my mother loved Nelson Eddy's voice, and it was on both an LP and a 78 of his which she played from time to time.

Remembery

Apr. 2nd, 2012 05:33 pm
howeird: (Default)
This popped into my head for no apparent reason:
A woman I met online drove up to meet me, sight unseen. This was in the days of Usenet when it was all text, no web. She drove a Jeep. I think I was living in Kirkland WA and she was living in PDX. Online she had described herself as petite and athletic. Yes to the latter, no to the former unless someone who is a wide-shouldered 5'8" in flats can be called petite.

I poured us both Cokes, using my traditional 3 ice cubes. She took them both back to the fridge, poured everything into the sink, then filled each glass completely with ice cubes, and poured the Coke on top to the rim.

She said she was a part time cocktail waitress, and that's how they taught her to do it.
howeird: (screwed)

I'm going to put most of this behind a cut, because it will be long and shocking.

It started out like this: Facebook saw that I had included in my history a stint as a summer intern cameraman at KOMO-TV the summer of '69. They suggested I find friends from that gig. The first person who came to mind was Don McGaffin, who came to KOMO as an investigative reporter. THE investigative journalist. For a week or two, Don was conscripted to host the station's daily morning show, which had a small live audience (maybe 30 people) and one special guest. His included Tiny Tim, Dr. Irwin Corey and Shari Lewis. I was one of the cameramen. Don was a Character. And very sharp, and a heck of an interviewer. He showed up roaring drunk at least once, but not on a day he was on the air.

When I was about to go back to school, Don gave me a photo of an AWOL Army draftee he was looking for, telling me the guy had started an underground anti-war newsletter which the soldier somehow was distributing at Fort Lewis. In Fort Lewis. Don was strongly anti-war, knew I was too, and he knew I was on the campus daily newspaper. I don't remember if the newspaper published the photo, but one night I came back from a rehearsal to find the dorm counselor waiting for me. It seems my roommate had parked himself near our room with a bottle of Jack Daniels and a Bowie knife. By the time campus police arrived, he had finished most of the whisky, and apparently he was planning on killing me.

A few nights before, he had seen the photo on my desk, and asked how I'd gotten it. I told him Don McGaffin gave it to me at KOMO. The counselor said the roommate had thought I said "Tacoma" , checked it out, discovered Don had never worked in Tacoma, and figured I was an Army spy trying to trick him into giving up his brother's location. You can't make this shit up. And it gets better. Roommate had been in a mental hospital, and was at the University because the shrinks thought he might be ready to handle the real world.

McGaffin did find the AWOL soldier, did a series of stories on anti-war draftees, and I lost track of him when I left Seattle in 1972.

I wanted to find out what ever became of Don, so I did a search from FB, which sent me straight to the following obituary-cum-memoir by a Christy Diemond, who had met him when she was working as a helper at the Seattle PD's horse patrol, and saw that one of the senior officers was abusing the horses. Don loved stories like that, and loved cleaning up the mess they pointed to. Here's the article. It's long, and worth reading all the way through to get the full impact of what I found next.

Don McGaffin 1926-2005 )



The article moved me. I wanted to write to Ms. Diemond and thank her for it, even though it was written 7 years ago. I looked at the Uninformed Consent web page, the organization she headed for years, but it hadn't been updated since 2009. Linked-In had a listing but it was also out of date. A web search for her name produced a shocking article about her in the Seattle P-I:

Animal Cruelty )

And looking further, saw that her farm was being sold for back taxes.
Assessment )

So I guess I am not going to be writing to her after all. And am relieved that Don did not live to see this.

howeird: (Default)

The anecdote starts with 16-year-old me on a stage at the Seattle Center in front of about 2,000 people. I was saying "Are the Indian dancers ready?" and getting a laugh. But I was serious.

I was MC of the second annual International Youth Friendship Festival, the brainchild of Ruth and Cliff Leisey of Seward Park, an affluent south Seattle neighborhood. My older sister was supposed to be up there, she had MCed the first festival, but she had won a scholarship to spend a year in Israel, and had mentioned that I had some stage experience, was reasonably articulate, and would not be nervous in front of a big audience. I had acted, sung and played in concert bands in front of big audiences since I was about 7. But I had never been a master of ceremonies.

The stage show part of the festival had started with the usual speeches, and it was my turn. I started to introduce the first act, but they were not ready. Nor was the second act. Third on the list was a troupe of Native American dancers, hence the laugh line which was not meant to be a laugh line.

I filled for maybe 3 minutes, and the first act was ready. I don't remember much about the program, except that one of the groups was about half a dozen singers and players of instruments who were very energetic, and had some catchy tunes and lyrics, some of which were written by one of the group members and a few were from the national organization they were part of: Up With People. I was impressed. I asked if they needed a trumpet player. They did. I joined the group. I was still in the group when I went to college that fall, and had been dating one of its members, a stunning redhead named Kitty Hepokowski.

We had performed at her church in the U district, after the event was over we got into an argument, she threw her keys at me, and I held onto them. The priest came in, and she told him I had her keys, he asked me to give them back so I did. And that was the end of my relationship with Kitty.

The next time I saw her, I was in a journalism class where we went to Olympia once or twice a week and were the actual state capitol reporters for newspapers which were either too far away or too poor (or both) to have someone on site. I was assigned the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin because the professor thought a city boy ought to learn how to report for a farm town paper. And because both the speaker of the house and the president pro-tem of the senate were from there. I did not have a car, so I bummed a ride with a classmate. Kitty was in the car too - she had become a volunteer for the handsome and charming Sen. Pete Francis, who proudly wore a vasectomy pin on his lapel.

I also was on the staff of the campus paper, and was assigned to cover U district affairs. One story was a continuing saga of some students, businessmen and neighbors who bought a house up around 52nd and University and turned it into a community center. One of the volunteers, Bob Schupe, I did not like at all, but he had done a lot of the plumbing and grunt work, and was named by the board to be the center's director. I went to do a formal interview (which was not all that formal, since we knew each other and I'd worked on the center quite a bit myself), and sitting on his lap when I arrived was Kitty. It turns out she had done a lot of volunteering, and was Sen. Pete's liaison to the project. She and Bob were engaged. She showed me the ring.

After about six months, I ran into her on the street, asked how Bob was, and she said he had dumped her. He was now engaged to another, slightly older, redhead named Colleen. The next time I saw Bob, he told me her name was Colleen Howard.

Yes, it was the same Colleen Howard I had gone to high school with, she was a year older than me, played the sax, and had helped me get into the UW concert band. I'd had a massive crush on her, but she always seemed to have a boyfriend. I was amazed she had hooked up with Bob, she was much more classy than that. I think they did actually get married.

I never saw Bob, Colleen or Kitty again.

But I did see the Leiseys.

They attended the oldest Protestant church in the city, on First Hill, and their pastor had suffered a near-fatal heart attack. When he gave his first sermon after recovering, they invited me to come with them. I remember the service well. The hymns were beautiful, but the congregation sang them without hearing the words. The church was very impressive, but the congregation was used to it, it had no impact on them. The sermon was not memorable, the pastor had not recovered his former zeal yet. I understand it took him a year.

A few years later I was in Seward Park, at the lakeside beach, swimming. When I went to the bath house to take a shower, there was no shower. The bath house had been converted into an art studio for kids, and Mrs. Leisey was the person who accomplished this. She was in there teaching kids how to spin pots and make ceramic coffee cups. She invited me to come home with her for lunch, and her husband Cliff gave me some home made cider. He told me that all I had to do to make my own was pour half a gallon of apple juice into a container, add a packet of yeast, and let it set in a cool place for 3 days.

And I think that was the last time I saw them.

I think that's enough for now.



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