howeird: (Default)
This morning started with a wee bit of WFH, just enough to download ffmpeg from the company-blocked site, try it out, read enough of the html docs to know I wasn't going to master it in my lifetime. Took it and my photos from SBA to work on a thumb drive, was unsuccessful making it work with our box.

Lunch at Carl's because it's the closest eatery, and it was 95° outside. At work the aircon is cranking well, and I have a desk fan to help it out. Many of the places I usually go for lunch are not cooled.

Back at work, the guy who foisted ffmpeg on us came by to show me how to use his scripts, which did not work for me when I tried them on the command line (ffmpeg is a command line app). Turns out it works well with drag & drop.

Got it to convert one of my jpegs into a movie which our box could play.

To do this right, now I need to make movies from 50 different photos, in three different sizes. Which means batch converting them to those sizes. Easy to do in Photoshop (I ran a quick test on 720x480 which worked). Then those 150 files plus the 50 originals go onto a thumb drive, and get uploaded to the box, but not all at once. First test will be 30 at the smallest size. Final test will be 50 at the largest size, if none of the tests break the box first.

I may get it done tomorrow, but maybe not.

Because it was so hot, I decided it was shopping day, because I was running low on things I usually get at Costco and on Breyers ice cream, which I had a coupon for at Safeway. Electronic coupon, added to my card by their app.

Home, decided not to water the plants. Still too hot. I don't think the strawberries are going to make it, and one of the mint plants is shriveling up. The iceplant seems to be thriving. some of them are even flowering.

Lots of junk in the mailbox today, including stuff for the former owner who obviously did not submit a change of address to the USPS. Also a couple of pieces for people who have never lived here.

Put away the grocs, opened some windows and turned on the fans, but it's still in the 80s in here.

Watched the last two episodes of Shark Tank, and had a very expensive dinner. Meant to only eat half the 3-flavors lox package, but killed off all but a few pieces. And about a dozen olives. Three glasses of lime juice in Sodastream soda water with lots of ice. Finished off the two Breyers containers, which was about 4 scoops. Had to make room for the two new ones.

Updated Windows and Evernote.

Plans for tomorrow:
WFH
To work after lunch
YOTB rehearsal will be very warm

Assessed

Apr. 16th, 2014 11:13 pm
howeird: (Default)
County assessor's letter arrived today, looks like they are doubling my property tax. Boo. Hiss. Turns out they re-assess any time it is sold.

Got to work just in time for what was billed as a hands-on demo of a very complicated video analyzer. It was nothing of the sort, partly thanks to the two bozoids from upstairs interrupting the sales engineering rep before he even showed his first slide.

It was a disjointed, scattershot presentation with a lot of interruptions. No actual hands-on, and the presenter talked so softly and with a thick accent it was mostly useless. His marketing rep (identified easily by her Apple laptop) spoke louder and more clearly, but it is apparent this is an amateur company and we are using their product strictly because of a low price point compared to the professionals.
Finished my digital signal processing project and wrote it up. Customer description of the issue was wrong, much worse than the actual issue. In short, some versions of the product pretended to allow you to add a text crawl or overlays or change the resolution of the video on a trigger or a schedule, but when you looked at the output it wasn't there. But any pre-existing ones continued to work. Most of our customers don't change those after they put them in place.
Got my nails done. Had to wait 10 minutes for the owner to get back from dialysis. Would rather have it done by her little sister, but she was booked. No time for lunch but a snack at the bakery a few doors down.

Back at work, not much to work on, so I researched telescopes, and ordered one which looks much better for photography than the one I have. Two main points" f/5 compared to f/12.1, eyepiece is at the top on the side, not at the bottom middle.  Also has a unique tripod built for scopes.

Meanwhile I need to organize all my lenses and put everything in the carrying bag, and think about putting it on eBay or Craig's list.
Costco on the way home. Spent almost $150 and am pretty sure I'd have done better at Safeway. Prices at Costco are skyrocketing, but the requirement to buy in bulk remains.

Home, heated some canned dolmathes from the produce store and three pork buns from Costco. Watched two episodes of TMZ. I am soooo behind on my Tivo watching.

Took the second load out of the laundry, could only find 5 of 6 socks. These are my black socks for the show. #6 showed up on the floor as I was hanging up my shirts.

Email from baby sister, she will be here Saturday. We may have time to do lunch. Pissed because she is flying into SFO not SJC, and wants to go to the farmer's market, as if she will be able to bring anything back home with her. Original plan was a bike ride. Looking forward to seeing her & her husband, they are both acoustical engineers with lots of Navy experience, and I am eager to pick their brains about the search for the Malaysian airliner. Due to the nature of her work, we can't mention stuff like that in email, let alone FB.

Plans for tomorrow:
Work
Leave at 5
Show at 7:30
howeird: (Default)
In more ways than one.

Slept till 10, Domino kept trying to wake me up by yelling at me. She doesn't meow, she wails in a scratchy voice. Highly annoying. She knows how to meow, but rarely does it.

Wasted time till 12:30, drove to the theater - it only took 10 minutes with Sunday traffic. At 1:00 cast call time the place was still locked up. It was a bright sunny day and this happened:


I walked around to the front of the theater and saw this:

I think the church group which had something going on in the Senior Center (they had blue flags and signs all over the place) is responsible. I had gone to the Sr. Ctr to join up, but they are closed on weekends. WTF? That means there probably is no reason to join, except maybe to get in on their weekend trips. If there are any.

Stage manager finally showed up 10 minutes late. He's supposed to be half an hour early to let in the crew. Not that it matters, the cast call is insanely early anyway.

It was our largest audience, by a lot. 2/3 full. And they LOVED it. Huge laughs, major applause. The show is where it should have been opening night. Janice was there with a date. Also there was a fellow I was in Pirates of Penzance with 10 years ago. The director also showed up, but thank goodness he will be in Tahoe next weekend. I like it better when directors show up for opening and closing and leave us be the rest of the run.

Home by way of Lowe's. My older sister in Israel responded to my posts on FB about planting roses asking me to plant a yellow rose. I'm pretty sure she meant in memory of her recently departed husband. So I bought a yellow rose bush, and also a small hedge trimmer, but I need to call the manager of the park to find out if I am supposed to be taking care of the overgrown bushes which line the street.

Planted the rose bush, watered all of them and the blue flowers on the other side of the front walkway. Finally went to the carport strip and planted the mint.

Roses


Strawberries & mint

Took a shower, got dressed again in fresh things, played online, microwaved some Safeway lasagna for dinner. Ran Windows update on the Windows 8 laptop - 83 updates, it took hours. Windows 8.1 update is finally running, it took 4 tries. The Windows 8 version of Microsoft Update sucks lemons through a garden hose. The progress bar is unreadable, and it takes two or three rounds of "configuring" after the reboot, with wildly inaccurate % estimates. "100% complete" can stay on the screen for 15 minutes. 16% can jump to 96% in a minutes.

This 8.1 experiment is the main reason I got the machine. Someone in Thailand asked an old friend in Spokane who has a computer troubleshooting service why the 8.1 upgrade wiped out Microsoft Office. It shouldn't have, unless she had a preview version. I bought the same make, almost the same model as her, and will see in the morning.

Garbage & recycle is at the curb, along with most of the cardboard boxes, flattened and bundled, from the last 2 weeks. Saving two. One for the WD external drive and one for the Kenwood in-dash unit, both eBay bound.

Plans for tomorrow:
Work
(demo for automation at the weekly meeting)
Maybe BASFA
Take the telescope out at about 11:30 pm and see if I can photograph the eclipse, which should be total about midnight.
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)
I've been having trouble falling asleep, and the result is at about 3-4 pm my body approaches hibernation mode. Today I didn't do much, slept till 8:30, used the guest shower again (now that the soap/shampoo dispenser is mounted in there, it is way more comfortable than the closet-like master shower).

I really need to call a remodeling person to see about fixing the master bath.

Went to the Domain Hotel at about 2 and collected my photos, and had a chat with Mo, the art show maven. She tells me Contact may take a year off again.

Other stuff I did in the morning included studying lines, and trying to figure out if the very nice Synology software can do an incremental backup. Looks like it can't. Bummer. I need backup software that can take advantage of the 1Gbps transfer rate. Put all 500 slides from the last scan back into the folders.

Home at 3:30, had a late lunch, studied more lines, re-filled the bird feeder, sat out on the porch until it got into full sun. Ignored Domino's yells for treats because she pooped outside the box, this time right next to it.

Took out the garbage & recyclables, this time all the cardboard fit into the bin. Put into folders the 100+ slides from the first scan which were actually from 15 years earlier, and put into another folder the 50 or so not related to my Asia trips. This all in the 3rd bedroom. So now one can walk the length without stepping on slides or albums.

6:30 or a little before, drove to the theater, hung out in the park by the pond, and watched the two swans. And wondered why they seemed to stay in almost the same place. And why they didn't seem to be made of feathers. And how come there was a ring around the base of their necks where their heads moved. Turns out they are plastic. Probably there to scare away the Canada Geese.


I need to go there with my 300mm lens, the phone camera zoom is useless.

Sit 7 Sing with the band. The WAY TOO LOUD band. The SM eventually gave us a few mikes to share, but he didn't turn the monitor up enough to make a difference. The band is pretty good, and most of the tunes we only needed to do once. But since we didn't start till almost 8, we didn't get out till 9:30.

Home, made elbow macaroni, with chopped up sausage, and melted some sharp cheddar & swiss on top. Fudge brownie ice cream for dessert because my Hgl was down to 69.

Plans for tomorrow:
Work. Lots of typing & cutting and pasting
Rehearsal. He thinks we will run Act 1 2x, without books. He is dreaming.
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: (Hawaiin Shirt)
Costco, picked up the box of scanned slides and the two DVDs they were scanned to. Had just enough time to copy them to the PC before heading back to Consonance. There are so many of the solid musician types there this year, made me miss [livejournal.com profile] lemmozine. Seanan is elsewhere, which I think raises the level of musicality a bit, and lowers the chaos factor. The latter may or may not be a good thing. Brooke is also elsewhere, and I miss her music & energy & creativity. And am sad that tragedy struck her in a way which makes it impossible for me to sing my favorite song of hers which I am capable of singing. There are a couple I like better but my mouth doesn't know what to do with the lyrics.

I got there in time for the 2x10s, the first person on stage sang boring bardic balladish balderdash. Steve Savitsky came down from his transplanted home near Seattle and sang his old tune about how his house is always open to all on one night of the week, except maybe now it isn't. And he sang a song he wrote about/for Naomi, which was very touching and I would have asked him for a recording to send to my cousin who has MS except for the bit about how Naomi's SO stands beside her, because cousin's husband bailed when she got the diagnosis. Brett Glass, whom I had not seen in so long I still don't recognize him, sang a cute Time Lord song accompanied by his laptop orchestra. Jane Mainlander, who is often the most entertaining person at the con, bored me with a couple of songs about Sherlock Holmes spin-offs. One was a tribute to Joan in Elementary which I thought fell short. Needed a more upbeat tune. Nick pleaded con crud and instead of singing told the story of the Pied Piper. His voice sounded fine, and while he is a wonderful storyteller, it didn't work for me. I needed a trick ending, or something.

International guest Rika Körte, who impressed me singing harmony last night, did an entire set above her range, and the sound people made it worse by over-modulating. Nothing in her set was memorable. A good chunk of it was in German.

Interfilk guests Robin Holly and Jonathan Turner were mostly entertaining. Jonathan did most of the singing, he has a bad habit of swallowing the words at the end of a line, especially punchlines. He did a funny one about how he won't sing Bob Dylan.

Home, pulled some weeds using the claw thing I'd bought a while ago for that purpose, but many of the weeds were too deeply rooted to get them all.

Did some more processing on the photos, renamed them, and started the upload to Flickr. Left the machine on as I returned to the con.

Clare Cook was a first-timer with a 30-minute set, mostly Clancy Brothers, and she thinks Irish Rovers originated the song The Merry Minuet. She updated it in a way which was charming and awkward and not entirely necessary. I liked her alternative ending:
What nature doesn't do to us
Will be done by our fellow man.. woman..person of indeterminate gender


And that brought us to the GoH concert, Margaret & Kristoph. Mark Osier sang their intro, to the tune of Let It Go from Frozen. Brought down the house when he changed the chorus to "They're our GOH" (pronounced "go")

As usual, M&K gave a consummate musical performance with only a tiny bit of filk content, and they brought up several people to help, with Brett Glass playing bass on a few numbers, one tune he had Brett, Paul Kwin, Maya & Jeff, Jim Partridge, Paul Kwinn and Beckett Gladney (on harmonica) to sing about things lost in the dryer, and lost beer.

They got a standing O, did an encore, and then things broke up for open filk. I went across the street looking for food (it was almost 10 and most places were closing) and found a restaurant called Chef Wang's Indian Chinese. Staffed by Indians, I was the only non-Indian in there. I ordered the Manchurian lamb but I think they gave me beef. It was very spicy. My sinuses and tear ducts have been completely irrigated. The corn & crab soup used fake crab. I can check this place off my list.

Home, put the final touches on the Flickr set, caught up on FB and fed the cat. And had some ice cream as an antidote to dinner.
Some photos behind the cut )
Flickr link is -->here<-- 


 
Plans for tomorrow:
Study lines
Con at noon
Rehearsals at 7
howeird: (Default)
March Fools Day is the day in 1961 when JFK established the Peace Corps. I served in Thailand from March 1975 to July 1977. More on that later.

Today started with a trip to Fry's to get a replacement power brick for my laptop. I keep the original one in the laptop bag, and it still works, but usually I run it on battery, as God intended, and charge it from a spare power brick at home. That one died. I wanted a 60W Toshiba, but all the retail ones these days are 90W and above universal (they come with a set of plugs, one of which will match your laptop).

Fry's was on the way to the photo shoot. Miki, the model, is one of those women which prompt cries of outrage from the average and larger-than-they-want-to-be-but-it's-not-PV-to-admit-it women on LJ and FB and Twitter...ad nauseum of "nobody looks like that! These must be Photoshopped!" Here's Miki, the only photoshopping I did was to adjust the contrast level and maybe crop the background.
Cut because I care )

I got some good shots, and since this one was lingerie and not nudes, They are all mostly work-safe. It wasn't a very good shoot compared to the last two, for a number of reasons. The host did several lighting setups, all of them were difficult to shoot in. I won't bore you with the details. The model kept changing poses and expressions faster than the lights could re-charge and she sucked at taking directions.

I won't be doing any shoots for at least another 2 weeks, what with rehearsals and Consonance con.

Home, processed the photos, had dinner, threw a load of laundry into the washer and drove to Foothill College to see their production of Little Shop. Nutshell review:
The girl trio was spectacular. They sounded like they had been singing together for years. I asked after the show, and they hadn't. The whole production was way over-choreographed. The guy playing my part lost his character a third of the way through - he went from somewhat believable NY Jewish shopkeeper to Red Skelton in two easy steps. He managed to get cut from one of the musical numbers and some of the choreography, and they slowed down the two numbers where he has tongue twisters. They had a large cast, our director has chosen to make one guy play many parts, which I think is stupid and a Big Mistake, this show had a different person for each part, which meant they had some serious vocal power as an ensemble chorus. The female lead was very good, the male lead was okay. The band was excellent, but the sound system wasn't. All the cast were miked, and whoever was on the audio board had it cranked up too high. Toward the end there was feedback. We also had some mikes being bumped backstage at the start. The set was good. Costumes were iffy, except for the stunning red sparkley dresses the trio wore at the end.

Home, here I am.

Plans for tomorrow:
Janice's 70th birthday party at noon at her condo's community center
Rehearsal at the theater. My first time on stage there in 14 years. Or backstage probably. I doubt if we will rehearse on the Little Princess set. Sunnyvale has a big dressing room/rehearsal room backstage.

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: (Photog)
Last night's project was a round tuit one. Took all the 500 slides from Costco out of their boxes (50 at a time) and put them back into their albums, this time attempting to put them in order of some sort. Discovered that about 100 (which are on the floor of the 3rd BR) were from my 1970s Peace Corps time. I knew there were some, I didn't realize how many. When I transferred them from the DVD, I remember sending many of them to my 1975-77 folder.

And I went through the 10 sets of scans, re-assigning them by location (Bali, Singapore, Malaysia, Phuket, Southern Thailand). Those are here (click).

This is one reason I went to Bali:


and this is the other:



Today: Up and out in time, for a change. Domino barfed in the bedroom and pooped in the livingroom, so no treats for her for a while. Barf is from eating treats in vacuum mode. Poop is just plain unacceptable. Her litterbox is automatic, it should last two weeks with just her.

Work started well, the demo I gave worked fine, Automation Guy was pleased. And now I see I am supposed to attend the weekly automation team meetings. Grrr.

Spent the day researching and actually finding video clips for testing Teletext. There are two kinds. One, mostly used in Germany, makes the whole screen into an ugly almost ASCII display- worse, really, looks like a bad bitmapped font. It usually is a news feed or a broadcaster's list of upcoming programs. The other, mostly used by the BBC, is ugly bitmapped subtitles. Both are carried in a hidden signal line on analog (similar to closed captions) which get converted into hidden packet streams on digital. All our box is supposed to do is pass those packets untouched and unharmed.

Lunchtime started at Costco, where I dropped off (and paid for) 462 slides to be scanned. I think this is the last of the 1989 vacation.

Home after work, just enough time to open the packages. One was the camera adapter tube for the telescope, the right diameter this time. I was able to fit a telescope lens inside and attach the camera. No time to try it, and it looks like rain all the rest of the week. Also received the rent bill. Down from last time. But the experiment of using a space heater is a FAIL. $25 more for juice than last month.

Off to the library, got there 10 minutes into the 90-minute tutorial on a 3D printing program called Sketchup. The presenter is a very good teacher, he did a great job of showing how to use the basics of the program, first 2D then 3D. It's about as feature-filled as PhotoShop, but it's free and looks it. Worth missing BASFA for.

Home by way of Lucky's, where I got everything on my list. Short list, just bananas, limes, TV dinners and Klondike bars. And enteric baby aspirin. Bleach and detergent should have been on the list so I got those too.  I also picked up a catnip toy for Domino. She ignored it.

Home, made dinner. Leftover fried chicken and a box of cheesed and baconed potato skinettes from Lucky's frozen foods section. Thin mint ice cream for dessert.

Watched some of the NFL Combine, but the commentators won't shut up, and they don't say anything useful. So those have been deleted from my Tivo list. Caught up on TMZ.

Changed the litterbox. Just in case.

Printed the rent check, but won't walk it over there till the 28th. Need my paycheck to cover it (paid a chunk of my London vacation charges this month).

Did my taxes from scratch. Somehow, when I imported from last year's return, TurboTax was trying to credit me for stock loss carry-overs which I am not due. That could have gotten ugly. Finished around midnight, e-filed and will be getting about a grand back from Messrs. Obama and Brown.

Plans for tomorrow
Work
Maybe come home and study lines.
howeird: (How_photog_longlens)
Watched some of the woman's skeleton finals. The Aussie motormouth color bozo was way annoying so I muted the sound. The checkpoints were chosen for the convenience of the programmer and did not make much sense. Show me speed at every checkpoint, not just one. Show me the curve numbers in real time. Most important, show me the neat artwork on the helmets. One of the Canadians' was awesome, one was awful and the neon-haired American had a great idea but it was poorly executed. A bald eagle can look so much more real and 3D-ish.

Watched some women's speed skating short course, but those gals are huge, or at least they look like Amazons, even the Japanese. When I left it the tiny Chinese gal was still the fastest.

Boss was not at work, so the time I crashed the database will have to wait till Monday. Silly Cold Fusion setting, methinks. Very tedious data entry now that the one-liners are mostly done. Entering all the steps to test, including EVERYTHING so that people who speak Indglish as a 12th language can automate them. Gah!

Lunch with the gang, we went to Lillie Mae's chicken & waffles, which she just took over now that the soul food house next door is overflowing. Very beautiful waitress but they needed two of her and six more chefs. Our food came an hour after we ordered it.

The joke de jour was we should stop at Costco on the way back so the married guys (everyone in the car except me) could pick up flowers for V-Day.

Left early for a nail appointment. Manager does my nails, she says she can find me a woman, especially if I like Koreans. Which I do. She said she will call me and take me to one of the Coffee Shops Of Ill Repute in south San Jose and hook me up. She said the girls all are born in the US and speak English, but I doubt it. She can guide me with her Viet skills.

Home, stopped at the community center to drop off my $$ for the community Chinese New Year dinner a week from Saturday. They have some sort of dinner every month, I think. I skipped Xmas, because the community is very Christian.

Glad I took that moon photo last night, it's all clouded over tonight and probably will continue that way for a few days. Got a ton of compliments on FB. Also lots of views on Flickr. Boss sent a message asking how it was taken.  Just adjusted it to fit in 11x14 frame and ordered a posterboard print from Costco.

Anyhow, the overcast and threatening rain meant deleting from my calendar tomorrow morning's Capitola photo walk. Too early in the morning for me, and Hwy 17 in the rain is a white knuckle death trap.

Sat down with all the telescope pieces I have, and sort of figured out a way to insert a lens into the extension tube, but not how to attach the tube to the scope. After I finish this I'll look at Orion's web site and figure it out. It will probably be a while before there are clear skies.

Plans for tomorrow:
Michael's and/or Aaron's for poster hangers, slide archive boxes and shoebox-sized boxes for my old B&W negative collection.
3 pm Little Shop first rehearsal
6:30 annual meeting of San Jose Astronomicals.
howeird: (Weird Load)
It felt like it should be Friday all day. Big disappoint dept.: the Friday Bad Movie Night was moved to Saturday, and I am already triple booked. :-(

Nothing to talk about at work, except I got to attend an engineering planning meeting for one of the features of the next product I'll be helping with. Maybe.

I brought a small frozen meal for lunch, in an attempt to have lunch with all the folks who eat in the break room almost every day, but they don't talk to each other hardly at all, and there are ping pong balls flying and a gang playing doubles pool in the far corner making lots of noise. I think I'll resume going out for lunch.

Home by way of Costco, two projects to pick up. The 500 slides scanned to DVD were in, which was a surprise (I expected another week at least) and the posterboard photos for Contact 2014 were there as expected. I went with 11x14 except for one 16x20 of a breaching whale. Last time, 2 years ago, it was all 12x18 and 20x30 and there wasn't enough room for all of them. Also 11x14 cost $10 each as it is. Now I have to go online and buy a bunch of hangers for them. Stick-on plastic ones work fine.

Home, email said Avanquest finally updated CheckDesigner to work with Quicken 2014 (which I bought months ago). Tonight's adventure was putting that on the PC, and updating Quicken, then updating the laptop (it needed Norton and the latest 20 updates from Microsoft) and putting Quicken 2014 on that and downloading the online backup onto it. Laptop is in the bedroom now, hooked up to the charger. I usually run it on batteries as God intended.

Lots for Facebooking today.

On my way home I saw the moon, and it was heading for the sweet spot above the end of my driveway. It was too low to see when I got home, so I set an alarm for an hour, and interrupted my computerizing to mount the telescope on the tripod, install the right angle attachment and a lens, and went out and looked. The moon exactly filled the field of view, full moon , pretty bright. Next step was to try out the camera attachment, which didn't work as expected - the extension tube is the wrong size - but I was able to direct connect the camera. It wouldn't stay aimed, the weight of the camera kept pulling it up too high. But I managed to get a series of acceptable shots, after some Photoshop tweaking for brightness and sharpness. The final one at 1/2000 of a second was the best.

When I got the tripod inside and took off the scope, I saw that the mount could be moved a couple of inches to better balance it, which I did, but there was too much to do (500 slides to organize) and I want to take some pix when the moon is not full. And see if I can get some help at the SJAA on using a telescope lens and extension tube. Orion swore they sent me the right ones for my scope, I just don't know how it all fits together.

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

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

Was out the door by 9, I think. Rain, blustery wind, dark skies. Like we had changed planets from last week. We don't need the rain. The mountains need snow, and all this wet stuff falling in the Bay and in the industrialized strip between SF and SJ is wasted. It would be more valuable bypassing us and falling on the Sierras where the reservoirs and river heads are. </rant>

Work started with boss pointing out that the 50+ test cases I entered in the database were all tagged the same way, and needed to be tagged with their sub-features. I had not sen the sub features because I expected them to start with the name of the feature, but they weren't. So that took a while.

After I finished that there was nothing much to do, so I emailed the team that I was running some errands and then having a later lunch. First errand was in the parking lot, updating the firmware for the in-dash unit. As advertised it took 11 minutes. I was hoping the update would allow the unit to read an SD card so I could upload the map info to it, but it didn't. However it did solve a problem I've had since May where the very fancy rear view camera acted like a dumb as a rock $15 model. Now it acts like the $150 model I bought - in addition to looking straight back, it now can show me approaching traffic in a split screen left and right, another view paints guides for parking in reverse and it can also look straight down for children's toys, children or terrorists. But I repeat myself.

Next errand was Costco where I paid $150 to have them scan the 500 slides I'd boxed last night. Boxes 1 and 10 are a mixture of slides I missed from the 1970s, the other boxes are from a trip made in 1989, which I hope has some significant views of intercropping in the south.
more than you ever want to know about my role in that )

When I left Thailand I had not idea if the farmers had bought into the plan. I was only there for a year. That was 1977. When I returned in 1989, I was jazzed to see most of the south's young rubber fields looked like my slide show.

Next stop was UPS, dropping off the Linksys router. They never got back to me with an RMA, but it didn't cost much to ship back, and it also didn;t cost that much for the router, so if they don't give me a refund I'm not out that much. And I can challenge the charge on the credit card.

UPS HQ is right near my favorite Chinese soup place, Chef Lee's, and it was an ugly day made for a big bowl of soup. House Special Wor Won Ton. Chicken broth with bits of pork, beef, shrimp, bok choi, slices of other veggies. They make the best in the area. When I worked nearby I went there for lunch a lot, and they were always almost empty, but today it was packed at 2 pm. Good to see. Nice folks, good food. I've had other dishes there, but that soup is my fave.

Back to work, had a chat with a couple of support engineers about 4K video, and also chatted with Automation Guy who had some Americana questions.

My weekly report did not take long. I spent a lot of hours on projects, but they could be summarized in very few lines.

Thought about going to Mathilda Starbucks and getting gasoline after, but it was an awful rainy windy day and I felt like home would be a better choice.

Dinner while watching 2 week old Elementary which keeps getting better. Reheated the chicken satay and peanut sauce (mixed some extra yellow curry paste in & chunky PNB) but I forgot what a microwave does to that stuff and ended up with brown spicy pasty powdery stuff. Also threw 4 of the beef wellingtons into the nuke, and they were delicious.

Sliced up a banana and topped it with chocolate ice cream and sprinkles.

Domino got another 1/3 can of kitty crack, we have now changed to Ocean Whitefish & Tuna which she seems to like better than the salmon.

Online, looked up the problem I was having with the SD card, and found it had to be formatted FAT32. Did that, took it out to the car and it uploaded info about the map. Ran Garmin's update app against it, and was told the map is up to date. Bummer because even though it claims to be 2013, it was published in 2012 and the info on it is from 2010. I am constantly running into exits which aren't there, and it can't find half the places I am looking for. To make life more frustrating, the firmware update erased all my saved locations. There apparently was no way to back those up or restore them. Grrr. All the portable Garmins can do this, which is why I got this unit in the first place - only Kenwood uses Garmin.

My favorite photo meetup send email about a model I really wanted to shoot, but it's on the same day as a book convention I have a ticket for. Another shoot I was attracted to is Sunday, but I have tickets to a show. The morel they are shooting tomorrow is pug ugly, they bring her in because she does Goth things I am not interested in photographing.

Plans for tomorrow:
Maybe 10 am library talk on electric vehicles.
Chill
howeird: (Default)
One of my FB theater friends posted a photo of a field of young pineapples, from the "Unbelievable sights" page with the caption "That awkward moment when you thought Pineapples grew on trees." He thought they did.

And this set me to looking for photos I'd taken in Thailand, where one of my jobs was to help rubber plantation farmers learn how to grow cash crops like pineapple in between the rows of rubber tree saplings. Malaysia and the FAO had developed a strain of rubber tree which yielded 10x what the Thai trees did, and were more insect and disease resistant. But it takes a rubber tree 7 years from seedling to producing, so the farmers needed to do two things: not pull up all their trees at once (we recommended 1/8 of the plantation each year) and find crops which could make them some money during those first 6 years.

I found photos on my randomly shuffled slide collection on Flicker, but they showed the pineapple bushes before the fruit had started growing. Looked like lemongrass. And that got me to remembering that I had three binders of slides which are on my "when I get around to it" list to have scanned and put on discs. So I turned the 3rd bedroom where they reside into a workshop and have filled 5 50-slide Costco boxes so far. Took a break for dinner, after I post this I'll do another 50 and call it a batch. There are more than 500 slides, but it's better to just do 500 at a time.

Dinner was Marie Calendar's amazing roast chicken frozen thing, with F&E ice cream for dessert.

Work today was all keyboard work. I started by taking some steps which had been sloppily cut and pasted into email messages, dumped them into Word and re-formatted everything into the same font and style and tweaked it for the next software release.

Next was a major cut and paste job, writing test case 1-liner summaries from the specs into Excel until boss cleared the database, and then pasted those into the database. Finished all I could with what I have on hand for specs (which are still under construction).

Lunch was going to be at impossible parking Starbucks. I wasn't hungry because I had somehow managed to go low blood sugar at 11, and ate glucose until I was back to normal. There was no parking, so I went to the next one on El Camino, which happened to be by Santa Clara Caltrain and I used to hang out there when I worked at Roxio at the other end of that lot. Set up my laptop because it needed some updates, and enjoyed the parade of co-ed eye candy. Today everyone was dressed to show of their fine little butts. Quite enjoyable.

Straight home from work, put the whites in the dryer and the shirts in the washer. The whites are now in the laundry basket waiting to be topped by shirts.

Now, back to putting slides in boxes.

Plans for tomorrow:
Work
???
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: (How_photog-viewfinder)
With Sunday reserved for football, having today off was mostly useless. The Tech Museum was open and the Star Wars exhibit was extended so I did the experiment of walking to the light rail stop (10 minutes, thanks to a very long stop light), and barely catching the 10:14 train because it arrived at 10:09 and did not wait longer than it took for us to get on board. I had to run to tag my Clipper card, and run even more because the train stopped at the far end of the platform, and there was only one car instead of the usual two. It took four stops before I got my breath back.

Got off at the Paseo stop, one stop before the closest to the museum, it took 40 minutes for what takes 20 minutes to drive. Paseo is a pedestrian mall, and I was hungry and thinking of stopping at Starbucks or the European bakery for some goodies, but didn't want to risk being too late to get a ticket at the museum.

The line was enormous. It was not helped by the crowd of morons gathered in front of the info desk, blocking not only the entrance to but the view of the ticket line. Once I figured I had to push through those people, it was about a block long line to enter the maze. 11:20 by the time I got a ticket and my entrance time was not till 11:45. At the entry, the Nice Lady said "you know that the Star Wars exhibit is in the other building?" Why no, there was no clue about that until right now. No biggie, just go out past the block-long line, out the doors, hang a left, around the corner to the attached next building. Got there at 11:30 because I'd stopped in at the cafe for orange juice and chips. There were two lines, one for xx:15 and xx:45 and one for xx:00 and xx:30. Again, poor signage had some 00 people waiting in my line, not knowing they could go right in.

The exhibit was large, and had a ton of stuff for kids, all kinds of experiments based on the science which was fictionalized in the movies. Many display cases of models used in the films, and some of the costumes. That part of the room was very dark, and the displays were harshly lit with halogen spotlights, and there was no flash photography allowed, so most of the shot I got are way high contrast. I had the lens pegged at 1.8, at 1600 ISO, and was surprised how few shots were too blurry to keep. Because of the crowds, especially the kids whose obnoxious parents would push them in front of others so they could take pictures of the kids in front of the displays, I did not get all the shots I wanted.

I like this one:

There's only one X-wing fighter, the glass display cases made for lots on interesting mirroring.


This model is about 6" tall


Lots of kids escaped parental supervision. Lots of parents just didn't give a hoot.

It took me an hour and a half to see everything twice. The full photo set is [livejournal.com profile] here.

I took another hour or so to go downstairs and then upstairs in the main building to see other exhibits, but the ones I had not seen before were all kids hands-on things. I wanted to get a better infrared photo of me, but the tag reader was broken.

Back to light rail, just missed the train, was too walked out to go anywhere for half an hour so I sat on one of the benches. This time the 3:14 arrived at 3:20. Figures.

Long slow ride home. On the ride to the Tech, the only nasty was one perpetually whining/crying baby. On the way back we had a series of smelly homeless people and too many bicycles for the limited number of racks.

Home, the garbages had been collected,  and my new bigger garbage can was there, replacing the too-small one. I can finally throw away the packing materials and such which are not recyclable and have been sitting on the dryer and the laundry room counter.

On the carport stoop was a pair of boxes. One had the storage tub, which I managed to put the night table on top of. It's not a perfect fit, but good enough, and it raises the table high enough. In the other box was a 4-pack of 10-packs of Quaker low-cal oats variety individual serving pouches. My usual at-work breakfast. And a 200-count container of Centrum Silver.

Answered email and FB, then went to BASFA which meant I didn't have to make dinner. Very sparsely attended, but people still were talking among themselves when they should have been listening. [livejournal.com profile] gil_liant scored several good puns. My rumor of the week won, I know not why. I did not manage to find a place for this pun: A new musical - Web Site Story.

Home, Domino yelled at me until I gave her Fancy Feast. She is now curled up in the bed between the file cabinet and the postal stuff rack.

Plans for tomorrow:
Work
Giving a demo at 11
???
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: (Default)
All my plans to stay an extra day at Morro Bay were derailed by the weather report for tomorrow, which was for colder, cloudy, possibly rain along the drive home, coupled by the fact that the grey whales will be migrating for a couple more months, and I can see them from Half Moon Bay just as easily in February.

So I had a lovely breakfast at the motel (Best Western San Marcos), checked out at about 10 after I was sure I didn't need to use the facilities any more, drove down the hill to the parking lot next to my favorite coffee shop "Buns and Sun", walked there but decided I was full from breakfast (four small self-made waffles) and just got in the car and headed up Hwy 1. Got a good view of the ocean for about 20 minutes, then inland over the hills to Paso Robles, and up 101. Stopped after an hour at the rest stop, then again just short of my trip odometer hitting 300, in King City to fill up, then home.

Just in time for email from the mfg rep's office, someone I had not worked with before confirmed which insurance quote I was wanting to switch to, she emailed me the paperwork, I signed and emailed it back, also snailmailed it. The lender will add the difference to my monthly bill (something like $5/month), which may go higher if they have to add flood insurance. I can't really tell from that line item if it is in there or not. Also attached was an offer of CA earthquake coverage, but while the annual premium was half that of the one Allstate quoted, the deductible was twice as high. So no on that.

My Allstate agent emailed that he thinks the reason his insurance partner company wanted to add $200 to a $650 annual premium is there is no full time live-in manager at the mobile home park. That's ridiculous, this isn't an RV park, it's a community of 230+ homes with a manager & staff & community center. Anyhow, I'm done with that partner company, as all of this should have been done two months ago, and giving me what amounted to 4 working days' notice to pay them was vile. It also ignored the fact that the insurance comes out of escrow, not directly from me.

Good thing I came home early. Also, was able to make a coffee/movie date with a friend.

While I was online I had a brainstorm and found a way to fix the fonts in Firefox so they didn't break up in Facebook. Just needed an add-in for fonts, which made the change all by itself. Basically it automatically defaults to a readable font.

And I'm out of egg nog, which I will take care of tomorrow. Also need to go to a hardware store and get some L-brackets, and some fluorescent bulbs.

Domino was sunning herself on the rim of the bathtub when I got home, one of the few places not in view of a webcam. She can't decide if she's mad at me or misses me. On the side stairs was the 10-pack of treats I'd ordered.

Uploaded the photos to the PC, most of them came out well, but none of them are calendar quality whale action pictures. For a change all of them got GPS tagged.
Photos behind the cut )

Watched the Alamo Bowl until Texas scored, then went to BASFA, which was a longer meeting than usual because of some fun & games around the reading of the minutes, and the fact that for the last several meetings while the secretary was unable to attend the various holographic secretaries had not posted the minutes online. I brought a pair of my calendars, one for artist [livejournal.com profile] maurinestarkey and one to auction off. There were actual bids this time, and it went for almost what it cost to make. A nice surprise.

I got a very interesting artsy poster for $1. Things bogged down when someone decided to put about a dozen packages of Christmas cards on the table.

Another good thing is I asked for suggestions for books by James Gunn, and got two good suggestions, plus [livejournal.com profile] kproche pointed me to the author's web site, which happens to be the U Kansas sci-fi center. It all makes sense, because the person who saw the article on him and asked me, has a license plate which says JHAWKS.

Home, watched the rest of the game and marveled how badly Oregon crushed Texas when the Ducks only made about 10% of their tackles and kept backing themselves up with penalties which kept them from the end zone. I think they had two offensive TDs and two defensive ones (interceptions run back for TDs). The rest was field goals, including a missed one. But then, Texas was the king of 3&out in the 2nd half.

Plans for tomorrow:
Hardware store
Grocery store
Starbucks
Philomena
Replace burned out bulbs
Install my NOLA art
Install a bracket to hold my 3-tier fruit basket
Maybe install a couple of hummingbird feeders on the front porch
Maybe make pigs n blankets & watch the ball drop on TV
howeird: (Default)
Decided to take the Nikon 18-200 instead of the Tamron 24-270 after using the Tamron this afternoon to shoot pix of RC planes. Even the in-focus pix were not as sharp as I thought they should be. In the camera case the Nikon 55-300 was on there, which I used last time for whale watching, but it's so heavy it gave me tennis elbow.


This morning was a slow start, Domino had abandoned me overnight, could not find her on the webcams, finally looked and she was curled up in the office between the cat tree and the spare chair, in front of the heating grate. It's one of her favorite spots when I'm on the PC, and is on the other side of the tree from the webcam. If I look real close I can see her, usually. Almost out of Whiska's treats for her, 10-pack on order. She yells at me and leads me to the kitchen each morning until I shell some out.

Lazy day, mostly. Watched the Notre Dame-Rutgers game (Pinstripe Bowl - oy veh - at Yankee Stadium on the worst kept grounds evah) until the Tivo got equal to real time. Nibbled on soft goat cheese and sourdough slices, then finished off the "extra sharp" Vermont cheddar, which is about as sharp as Kraft medium. Domino loved licking the soft cheese off my fingertips, but wasn't too keen on the cheddar.

At about noon-thirty it was warm enough to go to Baylands Park, which is free from November to March, took my camera, a camp chair, the Nexus in case there was no action, and watched Radio Controlled model airplanes and choppers being flown. There was one guy about my age with a medium sized model of a Cessna 2-seater, I think, a late-model barnstormer. He flew it out past the park, out of the way of the others, and did some very smooth Himmelmans, barrel rolls, but mostly take-offs and landings. No touch-and-go, he said that was for his partner the retired Marine pilot. Lots of action, first time I have used the Nikon since tennis elbow, except for pix of the new house a month ago. I need to keep wearing the arm strap.

Made reservations for the Morro Bay Best Western for tomorrow night, and for the 1 pm whale watching tour. Little by little I have been gathering cold weather gear for that. My Seahawks stadium jacket and UW Huskies sweatshirt.

I had watched on Tivo a recent Actor's Studio with Laura Dern and her dad, and thought for dinnertime I would pull up Amazon Prime on the blue ray and see Silent Running, but they wanted $$ for that, so I browsed and found the 1929 not so classic Fritz Lang film Woman in the Moon. It gets of to a slow start and continues slow and steady from there. Excellent B&W camera work. This is one of the first serious rocket to the moon movies, and it was amusing how much tech stuff they got right, and how much they got totally wrong. Stuff which was well known back then.

Dinner was some re-heated Penang curry sauce on beef ravioli and mixed veggies. Much better than last night, after doubling the amount of curry paste. I'm usually a curry wimp, but Penang is relatively mild. Domino perched on my leg, expecting to be fed, and unusual for her, she didn't hop off when I offered her a piece which didn't smell like food to her. Had to push her off finally.

One nice thing about post-Kaan, is she is now doing a much more thorough job of grooming herself. She had let that go when Pumpkin died, and got dirty and matted. She's now the soft-furred thing of 15 years ago.

Plans for tomorrow:
Up at 7
On the road 8:30 or 9 at the latest
Morro Bay around noon - the tour is at 1, but will probably be late by 10-15 minutes.
Check into the hotel, they have evening cheese tastings, but I may be too late for that
Check out at noon, hang out at the coffee shop along the waterfront
Drive home late afternoon, shoot for 2-ish.
Plan B is to stay all day Monday and drive back Tuesday morning.
At the moment I don't have plans for NYE.

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