howeird: (Lazar)
Am having a running battle with [ profile] lemmozine on FB and here about the chronologically challenged people flooding into the US without parents or papers.

He is all about being good to the children, and I believe he has a greatly exaggerated concept of the dangers they are escaping. I have a greatly exaggerated concept of how these things should be done legally.

We share a heritage of grand and/or great-grandparents being kicked out of their homes by fascist governments who really were killing them what did not scoot fast enough. All of these folks found ways to enter the United States legally, despite racist government quotas, anti-semitic bosses, poverty, and questionable hygiene.

I have no problem with the color of their skin, their religion, their place of birth or their questionable hygiene. I have a problem with their parents not having the guts to come with them. I have a bigger problem with their parents not finding a legal way into the country. It costs far less to apply for a visa than it does to hire smugglers. About 10% of the cost per person. If they are truly refugees, there is a pathway to claim that status and bring the whole family.

But bigger than that, I have a problem with their own countries not fixing the problems they are trying to run away from.

[ profile] lemmozine is thinking of the children, and I admire that. I am also thinking of the children, but in the long term.
howeird: (Both Ends + Middle)
Don't know why, but when  I woke up this morning I thought it was Friday, and dressed like Jay Lake in honor of his birthday.

Hawaiian shirt, shorts, sandals, socks. He mostly wore tie-dyed socks so I was not completely regimental here.

Subconsciously I knew it wasn't Friday, because I didn't get to work till after 10, which on Any Given Friday would mean the bagels or donuts would be gone.

At work I had just enough time to try one experiment with turning a photo into a video, before the IT department, without any notice, disconnected all the test equipment from the network. It was still down when I left at 6. This is part of a planned renovation of the lab, converting most of it to optical cable instead of copper (we need a mix for the current product, but the upcoming one only uses fiber). There was really no reason for them to interrupt anything just to add more fiber. :-( And email woud have been nice. Like last week.

Lunch was at Sizzler, the price for the salad bar has gone up, but seniors still get a free soft drink. The place is decidedly less crowded now, which I blame on all the price hikes because the massive construction project next door is done, and it's a hotel. Ought to be lots of extra customers from that, but there aren't.

Strange but true, boss and I did have a 1-on-1 today, we had a lot of work stuff to talk about, and also moaned and groaned over the sad state of, which has ceased to be the easy to use web site and the app is even worse. Picasa will be getting another look-see. And so will some other photo storage sites. With my luck the best one will be called "cloud-"something.

For those of you who are not long-time Internet engineers, this is what a basic diagram of the Internet has looked like for the past 30 years:

Nobody ever called it The Cloud. Everyone knew that the Internet was symbolized in engineering drawings as a cloud. Saying "we store things in The Cloud" is like saying "we do our computing in The Rectangle". Effing idiot marketing people.

This morning I decided Fuzzy had installed the left side of the rear shower door backwards. Sliding doors, the front door has the towel rack, easy to grab onto and slide that door with. The rear door has nothing to grab to slide the doors in the other direction. The glass door is in an aluminum frame, four pieces, top, bottom and two sides. Both sides have a flange which one can use to slide the door. Both flanges face the inside of the shower. So I removed the left side piece, reversed it, and discovered that it was no easy task to slide it back, because there is a cheap silicone liner which pushes into the glass, and then fits in the slot in the aluminum piece.

I didn't have time to mess with it, so I left for work with the door not functional.

So on my way home I stopped in at Depot de la Casa, which is where I figured Fuzzy had bought the shower kit. But they didn't have anything remotely like it, and the only showers they had on display were the novelty ones (corner closet and curved glass door ones). And nobody to even ask.

So on to Lowe's. This took me right past the still-a-crime-scene on Fair Oaks and Maude where cops at about 9 am shot dead someone they had come to arrest. 7 pm and there were still several police cars, vans, one lane blocked off, two TV microwave trucks and a lot of spectators.

One of my pet peeves as a better than average marksman is police shoot to kill, when it is not much harder to incapacitate the perp by shooting her in the leg.

Lowe's had on display the same shower shell, and a large collection of doors, including the one I have. And I was wrong, the flanges do both point inside the shower. Go figure. And no, Fuzzy didn't choose the least expensive doors, he chose the 2nd least expensive.

Right there in front of that one was a type which does not look like it will fall apart easily. I snapped a photo of the price tag, and of the $299 flat fee installation tag. Tomorrow I will go in there and arrange to have it installed. It will come to about $700. :-(

In other remodeling news, in my walkabout, I saw lots of granite countertop. I really want to do the kitchen in that. I really know I won't because I can't afford it.

Another thing which does need doing is have the carpet on the outdoor front steps replaced. I'll ask Lowe's about that too. That's a safety thing, I have to get that done before winter.

Plans for tomorrow:
Work from home, until the AAA Furnace person comes (between 9 and 11) to give me an estimate on air conditioning.
Maybe find a #jaycon gathering. Probably at a pizza place.
howeird: (American Flag)
I am not patriotic. I will cheer when my country does the right thing, and jeer when my country does wrong.

On Memorial Day I am not posting any memes or graphics or sayings praising all veterans for "keeping me safe" or for their "sacrifice". 

In my heart I have three memorial days:

1. I praise anyone who fought and died actually protecting America's freedom:
The American Revolution
The War of 1812
The Civil War union side. Confederates can suck it.
Philippine-American War

2. There is a spot in my heart for those who were conscripted, then forced to fight and die for bad foreign policy decisions:
Mexican-American War
Indian Wars
Spanish-American War
Korean Police Action
Vietnam War

3.After 1973, we have had an all-volunteer military. And  none of the actions the government has committed troops to have safeguarded my freedom. In the case of Iraq and Afghanistan, just the opposite. I don't mourn the soldiers who volunteered to blindly follow orders and were killed in the process.

Emotionally, though, I am an American. Let me tell you a short story.

In 1977, I had been working in southern Thailand for about a year, at a Thai agricultural research center in the middle of a forest of rubber trees. For the first couple of months there was a group of scientists and administrators from the UN, but no Americans other than myself. I lived on campus, ate and partied with my co-workers, and had almost no contact with anything Officially American. I had some business at the US consulate in Songkhla, a few miles from the research center, and the bus only went as far as the center of town. There was a hill between me and the consulate. As I walked up the road and started to crest the hill, I saw the huge American flag flying above the consulate. In that moment, it felt like I was home.
howeird: (Don't Vote)
As we go through the primaries and on to the November elections, Social Media™ fills up with graphics and memes and other missives to the effect that if you don't vote, you have nothing to complain about the government being a pile of festering cow pies. Makes me very angry to see those, because your vote does not make any difference at all. Money runs this country, and if we all withheld our votes, no one would be elected, hence the country could not be effed up any more than it already has been.

But of course I do vote in every election, great and small, because if I didn't, I couldn't say "I voted, and it made no difference."

Recently one of my friends told me that if I felt that way, I could write my congresscritters, because they read their mail.

That's a crock. I write my reps, and my senators, and all they do is reply with whatever answer they have already made up their minds to.

Just to show how far I can go to express my political beliefs, here's a story.

In 1980 Ronald Reagan was running for President. I lived in Washington State, where polls showed him running away with the GOP primary. There was almost no chance Carter would be re-elected if Ronnie was the Republican candidate. A group of 30 of us in and around Seattle decided to make our voices heard, and try to block Reagan's nomination.

To do this, we needed to be able to vote in the state GOP primary. To do that we needed to be elected Republican Precinct Committeemen. Between us, we lived in 18 different precincts. I joined the Republican Party, paid my small fee to get on the ballot, and ran unopposed in my almost totally Democratic precinct. I won the seat. All 18 of us did.

At the time, there was an anti-war, socially liberal but fiscally moderate Republican congressman named John Anderson, whose name was on the GOP primary ballot. We chose him as our candidate, and went to the state convention as delegates pledged to him. I found this item in his wikipedia page: "Anderson increasingly found himself at odds with conservatives in his home district and other members of the House. He broke with the administration on Vietnam, was not always a faithful supporter of the Republican agenda, and was a very controversial critic of Richard Nixon during Watergate."

At the convention, there were 40 of us Anderson delegates from around the state. George Bush had about 500 delegates and their very smarmy campaign manager tried to buy our votes. Bob Dole, Howard Baker and John Connally were also in the race, but I think by this time they had bowed out in favor of Reagan.

Just before the convention started, Anderson left the GOP and declared as an independent candidate, with Patrick Lucey, as his running mate. By the rules of the convention, we were still pledged to Anderson, he was still on the ballot, so we stuck to our guns.

I have to say that the state GOP chairman was extremely gracious, he allowed our nominating speeches the full allotted time, and he stifled any and all calls from the floor to have us disowned.

Reagan won on the first ballot. It was something like 1200 to 40.

I voted for Anderson in the November election, but the tally was:
Ronald Reagan/George Bush, Republican       43,903,230  50.75%  [489  90.9%   electoral votes]
James Carter/Walter Mondale, Democratic     35,480,115  41.01%  [  49    9.1%   electoral votes]
John Anderson/Patrick Lucey, Independent        5,719,850   6.61%  [    0    0.0%   electoral votes]

In 2008 I voted for Obama, because he promised to withdraw our troops from Bush's war in the middle East, do away with "don't ask, don't tell", and discontinue Bush's bank bailout program. How has that worked out?

So in 2012 I wrote in Hilary and Bill for Prez and VP, respectively, not being 100% certain that Bill could legally hold that office.

This election I will be voting against all incumbents. They'll probably get re-elected anyway. They will definitely continue to follow wherever the money leads them.
howeird: (How Electronics)
LJArchive, which has been downloading and storing locally all my LJ posts & your comments, has suddenly stopped downloading. The server doesn't respond. When I punch the server's IP address into the browser it gives me an LJ goat logo and what is basically a 404 message. I have since tried two other archive apps, with the same results. LJ has not posted anything about this, and comments on the archive sites are a year old, from when LJ changed the way it linked comments and the archive apps could only download main postings.

Took my time getting to work this morning because there was little work to do, or so I thought. Domino's litterbox was definitely wanting to be changed, so I did that, and was pleasantly surprised that the used cartridge fit completely into the new, larger garbage can, on top of more than twice as much garbage as was able to fit into the old one.

As I walked to my car, the caregiver for the woman next door was waiting for me. She had just bought a 2014 Corolla yesterday, and she claimed to hear the alarm going off. I could not hear a thing, so it wasn't the alarm. But I'm sure she can hear way higher frequencies than I can, and a 15kHz tone would sound like an alarm to someone who can hear it. When I unlocked the car with the key's buttons, it gave 4 beeps instead of the usual 2, so someone must have set off the alarm. I have an after-market alarm system, so I told her to bring it in to the dealer. They're open till 9. I'm sure she'll tell me what happened next time she's on duty.

The folks who are renovating the outside of our building had the usual entrance to the parking lot blocked off, so I used the driveway of the building next door which some time in Summer will be ours too. There used to be a chain across the connecting road, but it has been down for about a month. There was a bucket lift in front of the building, it looks like they are re-tiling the roof. As usual, our not having an ops manager means we get no real info on what is actually being done, just a vague email message about how long it might take.

When I told Automation Guy that I was running out of things to do, he gave me a follow-on to the project I did yesterday. This one required logging into one of his lab machines, which I don't like to do, I'd rather keep my under-destruction work on my own machine.

Lunch was Togos, followed by an educational trip to Fry's. I was looking for two things:
1. A network-attached storage device at least 8TB and capable of 100Gb/s
2. A Linksys router to replace the Netgear one which has been acting flaky. And to match the recently purchased Linksys cable modem. Dual band wireless and 4-port 10/100 Gb/s wired.

What I found was a trend in external storage to use USB 3.0 instead of Ethernet. Just Plain Stupid for anything more than 1TB. And none of the Ethernet ones could do more than 1GB/s. Seagate makes an 8 for $600, Netgear for $700. Hitachi has bet the farm on Mac users and Thunderbolt cable. A pity because they make the best high-capacity HDDs.

And there were so many different routers on the shelves with so little real information on the boxes that I relegated that search to online.

Back to work, I set up a couple of tests for Automation Guy, allowed him to volunteer me to demo them at Monday's meeting. To really show off these tests I need to play video from the lab's high speed network, but I won't have access to that in the conference room. :-(

After 6, I went online and looked for their latest protocol, called AC, and found refurbished 1/10/100, dual band ones on Linksys' site for $80 off. Bought one.

Home, forgot to stop off for bird seed, but also forgot my Lowe's discount coupon. It was 6:45 when I pulled into the little shopping/big condo center hoping to curl up with the Kindle app at Peet's, but they were closing. Very poor planning, to close at 7 when you have "expensive condo owner late-evening magnet" written all over you.

Domino was on top of the new recliner again. I had checked a few times today on the webcams, and she mostly stayed curled up in the bed in the office, but she also spent some time on the cat thing which I had relocated to the kitchen in front of a window with a view of the street.

There was a lot of Facebooking to do, and somehow I got trapped into watching a particularly ballistic episode of Millionaire Matchmaker. The matchmaker is incredibly sexist, ageist and loud. Want a second opinion? Fine. She's also ugly.

There are two former Peace Corps volunteers in the Bay Area Science Fiction Assn. The other guy served in Ukraine. Both our countries are in the early throes of a civil war. In both cases the official government is passing laws to restrict free assembly, and they are both failing, Thailand more emphatically than Ukraine. But Ukraine's protesters are showing much more skill setting things on fire.

Plans for tomorrow:
Tweak the new automation demo
Finish reading the marketing doc
Glance at the release doc Boss sent around today
Write my weekly report
Maybe go to opening night of the all-female version of 1776 being done by friends in downtown SJ. It might be better to wait till they have a few performances under their belt and need audience members. I don't think this show will be all that popular.

Read more... )
howeird: (Hawaiin Shirt)
My first adventure today was taking the Kaffir lime tree (it's a dwarf, about 3 feet tall) out of its plastic nursery container, knocking all the dirt and mud off of the roots, and re-planting it in a pot with new, dry, quick-drain made-for-citrus potting soil. The 14-inch diameter Tecate clay pot sits on top of a 16-inch diameter 3-inch deep pan which in turn sits on a 14-inch wooden platform on casters.

The main point to the new soil and the clay pot is I had over-watered the tree, and needed to repair the damage. It still needed a light watering, but the pan under the pot is there to catch the excess water, and to provide the tree with some external humidity which it needs as a tropical plant.

It was a nice sunny day, and the tree got a lot more sun than it did in the house. The master gardener site says these are hearty trees which can survive overnight temps as low as 30°, and is drought resistant. I plan to leave it out on the backyard end of the driveway and just let it be. It probably won't need more watering for a month. Longer if it manages to rain first. A lot of leaves fell off, and they are in a faux tupperware tub in the freezer, for when I need them for a Thai recipe. The leaves are very aromatic and have a unique and pleasant (to me at least) taste.

That done, I went out on the front porch and sat a while, saw three hummingbirds feeding on flowers across the street, and checked my feeders, one of which I thought was being used, but it turned out to be leaking. Decided I needed to buy a new pair, so I went online and looked for 5-star rated feeders. Mine came up first. WTF? All the latest reviews said they had no problem with leakage reported by the stupid people who had not read the instructions. I went to the mfg site and played the video, and found out that unlike most feeders, where you fill it and walk away, this one you have to tighten the base, tighten the tube, fill it, screw the top in very tight, then forcefully pull up on the tube until it pops. This opens the ports of the dispenser and creates a vacuum which prevents leaks. I brought the two feeders inside, dumped what was left of the nectar, made a new batch, and followed the directions. It worked. Hung them back up outside, we'll see if some birds come over.

Still had an hour to kill before the first football game, so I read a few chapters in China Miéville's The City and The City.  According to Kindle I am less than halfway through. It's a speculative fiction murder mystery. Not sci-fi because there is no science behind the speculation, which is: What if there was a civil war which ended with a treaty that said the two factions would co-exist, but one side would have to pretend to not see the people and buildings of the other side, and vice versa. They would pretend to be two completely different cities, occupying basically the same area, each with its own laws and governments. I don't generally like murder mysteries, and this is turning into not an outstanding one, but it was chosen as the Book Of Honor at this year's Potlatch, which I plan to attend, and so I am plugging away.

Denver beat New England handily. Their defense completely stymied the Patriots. The 26-16 score was less lopsided than the game, NE didn't score a touchdown until the 4th quarter and one of those was kind of a fluke.

Seattle started their game by fumbling to the 49ers, who only managed a field goal, but it was a pretty even game all the way through, though again the score didn't reflect this. 10-3 in favor of SF at halftime. But between some majorly wrong and non-calls by the officials, and some majorly fumble-fingered play by SF, the Seahawks won it 23-17, deflecting a pass in the end zone and intercepting it with about a minute to go. Defense was excellent on both sides, Seattle's was just a hair better. Neither side's offense was Superbowl quality. Denver will probably win the big game.

Game over, I heated up a Fresh & Easy house brand dinner, turkey medallions, stuffing and veggies. Tiny portion, bland.

A note about today's winners: Colorado and Washington State legalized pot. Coincidence?

Plans for tomorrow:
Walk to light rail and take it downtown (SJ) to see the Tech Museum's Star Wars exhibit. Should be interesting and will be a photo op, they allow non-flash pix
Wear my Science Fiction Museum T-shirt. See if anyone mentions the football game to me.
Try not to offend too many of my MLK-worshiping friends by pointing out that RFK did far more to change civil rights for the better in America, and was also senselessly assassinated, but since he was white and sounded like Bugs Bunny, he doesn't get a holiday.
howeird: (Satan Claus)
So much ado about the death at 95 of Nelson Mandela. He was a great man, and deserved the praise.

But I cannot think of him without thinking of his ex-wife Winnie.

And of the chaos he left behind when he retired from active politics. Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma. Winnie. That sign language "interpreter".

howeird: (Hawaiin Shirt)
And there was hardly any timing today.

Worked from home till 2, because we'd gotten a note tacked to our doors two evenings ago saying they would be coming in for safety inspections between 10 and 2. I wanted to take advantage of free birthday goodies at a couple of places at lunchtime, but ended up having lunch at home. Nobody showed up to inspect. Assholes. Ha Gow for lunch.

At about 1 the asst mfg rep called, she wante to set up an escrow signing for me Tuesday, a week earlier than expected. Which meant I needed to sign the lease at the mobile home park prior to that. Mfg rep had said I needed a cashier's check for 1st and last month's rent when I went. I called the park, they said don't bring a check, the money will be taken from escrow. Made an appointment for 10 am tomorrow. Bring a picture of Domino, she said. So I cropped one and printed it out.

I also needed to bring to escrow my last pay statement which was today, so put that off till after work.

As I walked in at work a little after 2, boss said I was invited to a meeting at 1:30. The room it was supposed to be in was empty, so I tried our usual meeting room, and though I was late it wasn't too late to be useful. Interesting meeting, looked to me like a boondoggle, though. A small company which wants to make a custom analyzer for our custom product. Maybe not. We'll see.

What time was left was mostly spent chatting with a team member about what a feature is supposed to do, and writing my weekly report. I actually had done a lot of work this week, on paper.

Home, watched some of Batkid's antics. It's a dilemma. On the one hand it exceeded this kid's wildest dreams and made a boy who has been sick for a very long time feel like a hero. On the other hand it pretty much shut down San Francisco for a day. And he's really not old enough to appreciate what a huge thing this was. His wish was for a batman costume. I think they got carried away.
At least they didn't try to tie it in with Christmas.

Mfg rep sent me a form to sign which we missed a month ago, so I printed it out, signed it and faxed it back.

Got to the rec center at 7:10 for the 7:30 uke class. Wrong building. The front desk guy was closing up, so he took me to the right building, which was locked. But he knew the keypad code. Guitar class was still wrapping up, so I waited out in the lobby, and opened the door for 2 classmates. 4th one arrived at 7:30, we all okayed starting at 7 for the duration.

Teacher had forgotten his uke. I loaned him mine for the show and tell about body parts. He gave a lesson on how to read music which I had in grade school, but apparently two of the others had not. And he showed us tablature, but by then I was already learning it just by looking at the book.

We played easy exercises from the book, I was able to do some of them without looking at my fingers after a while, but the uke's tuning is non-intuitive and so were some of the lessons. Why is the lowest string as high as the 3rd fret on the 2nd highest string? Class was only 45 minutes (supposed to be at least an hour) so we didn't get to chords. Or strumming. Next time.

The youngest class member was trying to play Red Hot Chili Peppers tunes. I didn't know they had tunes.

Home, put away the uke, had some nibbles, played on the computer. Sent a copy of my pay statement to the asst. mfg rep

Killed time till 10:15, drove to Jake's in Saratoga, and joined actor/director/composer Ted for his every other Friday night after-theater chat. Eventually we were joined by one of my theater heart throbs, recently divorced; Tevye from West Valley's production and Ande, who usually plays reeds or conducts but is in the ensemble for Fiddler. Tevye is one of three well-known Dougs in local theater. I can't remember if we have been onstage together but I know he has seen me perform at least twice.

Home at 12:45, realized I forgot to shoot up before heading for Jake's. Rectified that.

Plans for tomorrow:

10 am Mobile Home park
Library to retyrn two awful DVDs and a misrepresented audio book
Find a place to have a nice birthday dinner, preferably with lobster. Maybe also with steak.
And find some black forest cake.
howeird: (Don't Vote)
and I get  rash on my feet. A while ago I bought a pair of New Balance shoes to replace the ones I'd been using for 18 months, but they changed the design and they bruised my toes. Once worn outside they can't be returned, so they were set aside and replaced with a similar style from Brooks. Those seemed to work fine, until a couple of months ago rashes which looked a lot like shingles dotted the side of my feet, with one in the center of my left sole. Two doctors independently said these were from wearing a shoe which did not have enough ventilation. It was summer, so I switched to my Teva sandals. But they are a size too large, had to buy the right size. And that's what I wore until 3 days ago. Back to the Brooks shoes. Rashes cropped up within 2 days. Today I wore the beat-up old NBs, and after much research, found these on Zappos:

 New Balance MC656

I had really wanted velcro instead of laces, but every shoe which has that from every company I looked at are like Brooks, no ventilation. So I traded velcro for laces and solid black or white for Kinetic Blue trim. We'll see how that goes.

Work was so boring I took another video class. This one was pretty good, #2 in the 6-class series on why & how cable companies need to migrate to Internet Protocol for streaming video. It included enough technical information on MPEG-2 transport to make it interesting for me.

But for the most part I watched TV monitored the streams on and multicast multiple program transport streams. The local stations are a day behind on almost every news item except what might be called Page 1 news. And even some of that.

Lunch was with Automation Guy, we went to the Round Table pizza buffet.

1-on-1 with the boss, pretty boring, nothing much to talk about. I told him of my impending home purchase.

Home by way of UPS (Young Frankenstein The musical CD, sandstone coasters) and 7-11 Amazon locker (2 cases of kitty crack).
Also in the mail was my receipt/verification of enrollment in an evening uke class Fridays 11/15-12/20 with no class on 11/29. BYOU. And bring the insurance waiver. If I am impaled by a classmate's splintering instrument as she lightning-strums The Tiger Rag, I cannot sue the City of Sunnyvale.
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One news item I am getting tired of is the government shutdown/credit limit. By most readings of the 14th Amendment, Boehner refusing to put the issues to a vote is a violation of that Amendment, and Obama would be well within his powers to declare martial law and authorize the two bills himself. While he's at it, he could arrest Boehner and the teabaggers in the House for treason.

In other bad news, the check from my broker did not arrive as expected today. :-(
But balancing that out, when I checked my brokerage account, the mutual fund which is the rest of my downpayment settled, and is available whenever I need to cash it out.

Netflix DVD arrived. I'm doing the 1-disk plan.

Plans for tomorrow:
Library, return two DVDs
howeird: (Satan Claus)
Going out to the car this morning there was a garbage truck by the dumpster, but it was only the recycle one. No time today to do the dump thing anyway.

Work was another day of letting the machines crank away and monitoring the video. Nothing strange with the quality, but the content sure was bizarre. First there was the shooting at the Navy base. I have a relative who works there sometimes, but she is on this side of the country today. All the alleged reporters did their best all day long to not find out anything along the lines of who what when where or why. Even the police were sending off a false report of a suspect whom they said later wasn't even a person of interest. There were many helicopters buzzing around the area.

Then there was Colorado, where there were many helicopters buzzing around the area, looking for survivors of the massive floods. It was just one dam break after another. Probably exacerbated by the erosion caused by the massive forest fires earlier this year.

America's cup did not go well for the home team. They seem to not have the faster of the two boats.

But the most important item is They™ crowned Miss New York as Miss America, totally ignoring her flailing attempt at talent (Bollywood dancing? Gag me with a soggy roti) and her rambling, squeaky voiced answer to the finalist question. Miss California IMHO was the better choice, and Miss Florida should have been runner up. Both showed more poise and grace, with a more upbeat attitude, I think. But I don't think it will be a disaster, and if she uses the scholarship money to become a doctor as she said she plans to do, that's a good thing.

Lunchtime started with a trip to the PO to mail another birthday card to my soon-to-be-60 sister (she gets one a month until she hits the big 6-0) and to drop off the eBay sale item. 15 minutes wasted in line because some bozo in DC thinks someone brazen enough to mail a <?!?!?> won't be brazen enough to hand it to a postal clerk. Sheesh.

Halfway to work there's an iHop, I made the mistake of letting them put me in a booth. The way I am shaped, my tummy wedges against their tables, and it is very uncomfortable. I justified not moving by thinking I was there for a quick lunch, would not be there long, and there were screaming children in the back room where the chairs are. But service was glacial, and the screaming was still very loud from where I was sitting.

After work I went to the car and phoned my sister. The car's bluetooth is a lot clearer than the earbuds, since the audio comes from the 4-speaker system, and there's a directional mike. By the time we were done chatting it was too late to stop at UPS or the beauty supply place, so I went home, swapped my button down for a Westrcon T-shirt and went to the [ profile] basfa meeting.

We were still down a few people who were not yet back from Worldcon, or who were suffering from con crud in its various nefarious forms. There was much humor, but also much cross-talk by the people flanking me. The auction item I brought sold for $5, which was reasonable, but I expected it to go for more than that. My review flopped. No one got the joke that Megapython vs. Gatoroid could be misread as Gatorade. And once again the rumor of the week which should have won got derailed by too many add-ons. Sigh. Brevity is the soul of wit, people. And while imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it is rarely as funny as the original. </rant>

Plans for tomorrow:
Beauty supply
Peninsulaires voice lesson #2 (of 6)
howeird: (Bells)
does not mean getting more sleep. Before falling asleep, I:
Read some more of Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St Mary's) but put it down in disgust when, with only a couple of chapters to go, she gets the whole expedition captured by the heavily armed Bad Guys.

Hooked up my Nexus to the Internet radio and played some tunes through its speakers, starting with Rose Sirinthip's bilingual (Thai/Spanish) A Tu Corazon. Aka สู่กลางใจเธอ (To The Center Of Your Heart).  Then looked for Antje Duvekot's Dandelion but found the same title (different song) by Kacey Musgraves which I didn't want to hear right then, but played her Follow Your Arrow instead. Ditched the music player and launched YouTube and played Antje Duvekot's Dandelion but couldn't make out half the words. Internet radio's speakers are not that great. Then back to the music player and Uncle Bonzai's Just One Angel about three and a half times.

Went to the kitchen and poured a glass of lactose-free milk, into which I squeezed about 1/4" of chocolate syrup, which I did not mix in because I only wanted about half a glass of milk, but needed the chocolate in case I woke up at 4 am again with low blood sugar.

Back to the bedroom, pointed the internet radio to a Brahms station, but it was playing something decidedly not lulabye-ish. Switched to the Portland classical station, which was even worse. Some raucous symphony. WNEW, the DC news station usually puts me to sleep, but they had actual news about Obama's obscene fascination with Sarin gas, which he apparently smoked in high school, "but I didn't inhale".

Went back to the kitchen, drank half of the half remaining milk in the glass.

That sounds awkward. I drank half of what was left of the milk in the glass.

Not much better.

Back in bed, finished the book. The Nexus Kindle app does not have the "share/rate the book" feature. I would have given it "worth half price, slightly more if you are British and have a tea habit".

At that point Kaan hopped onto the bed. No, launched himself onto the bed. He curled up at the foot, well out of reach. :-(

It's now about 2 am, lights out, then back on again because I forgot to put on a breathe-right strip. Bathroom, did that, bed, eventual sleep.
Woke up with a slight headache. Almost felt like a cold coming on. Shower fixed that.

Morning Hgl was 187, a bit higher than I expected. At least I didn't go low overnight.

Somewhere in there I did laundry. Heavy stuff from yesterday went into the dryer and shirts went into the washing machine.

Work was a continuation of yesterday's adventure, still no clues what will duplicate the customer's issue. My vote is customer network equipment snafu.

Lunch at Togo's. Roast beef on sourdough with dijon mustard.

Straight home because it was a beautiful day but they are getting shorter. Patio, phone my Baltimore sister, who punctuated the conversation with Red Sox home run announcements. They were playing that French team. Sounds like Detritus. (I don't get that with Seattle area sister, because the Mariners are not even on her radar). Final score was 20-4, Boston.

Dinner was a few slices of ham from the freezer, the two ribs from yesterday's lunch, a croissant and mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Watched Who Do You Think You Are? this one was Trisha Yearwood, who discovers that the ancestor on her father's side who immigrated to the New World in the mid-1700s was a poacher who was sentenced to hang, but got transported to Georgia colony instead, and by lots of con artistry managed to become one of the wealthiest land owners in the county. Putnam County. Except he was illiterate, so no relationship to the spelling bee.

Played on FB some.

I am incensed at this spear-shaking being done by our Peace Prize winning President and Peacenik anti-war demonstrator Vietnam Vet secretary of state. There is nothing we can do to Syria which will not kill innocent people, and make El Quaida stronger. Nothing.

Wanted to post something on Facebook. I was looking for George Washington's farewell address quote warming against foreign entanglements, but it is about Europe, very specifically. Instead I found this:

"We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully –- not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. "
- Barak Obama, Inaugural Address
January 21, 2013
Lying asshat.
howeird: (CamoOcto)
Woke up to KOMO news at 7 am, which is 10 am DC time, which is when Supreme Court decisions are usually handed down. DOMA came first. As usual, they mis-reported it as being struck down when they really left it mostly intact, except for the handful of states where gay marriage is legal.

Switched to DC's WNEW news station for more educated commentary, and waited for the Prop 8 decisions. Again, mis-reporting that it was struck down when what they really did was refuse to hear the case on a technicality. Switched to the local news, got educated California commentary which explained that (a) Supreme Court decisions don't take effect until 25 days after and (b) there is still a stay in effect against overturning Prop 8 which won't be lifted until those 25 days are over, and maybe not then. In the good news side, Gov. Brown has told all the county clerks to start printing up new marriage license forms.

And last night's brave stand by Texas  Sens. Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte, backed by a packed peanut gallery, has to do it all again because the Putzoner has called a special session.

So that's how my day started.

Tried again and failed again to connect to the company VPN, but started early enough to not be late for work.

 Took on a particularly challenging bug fix verification because I own the feature it is about. I needed to borrow a pair of machines with a particular setup, and the engineer who loaned them to me last time let me use them during my lunchtime. But they were not the same pair, and didn't work. He fixed that, and then fixed some files which delayed testing again, so what should have been a 20-minute test took 2.5 hours. But no worries, late "lunch" at Starbucks, complete with much eye candy. Not much left to do back at work, but the day was almost over.

Called the car audio place and made an appointment for Saturday morning to have the backup cam re-attached directly to the in-dash unit now that the firmware has been upgraded.

Called the nails place and made an appointment for tomorrow lunchtime.

Straight home, thinking of going out later, but the patio and Kindle beckoned, and the new flower pots needed watering.

Online, ordered 10 packets of Domino's favorite dental treats from Petco. Half the price of Amazon.

Frozen spaghetti & meatball low-cal dinner, bananas & whipped cream w/cinnamon and nutmeg for dessert.

Watched an episode of Restaurant Stake Out.  Scheduled Tivo to record the next Crossing Lines because three diverse friends have posted good things.

Fired up the VPN again, and when it failed I phoned Motorola support, since we are still on their network even after a year of being owned by Google and then sold to Arris. Turns out they have switched to a very new and vastly improved product from Juniper called Pulse which the support guy installed for me via remote desktop. Impressed at how efficient he was.

Email from Petco, confirming my order, but ship-to was my last year's address. Went to their page, fired up chat, the supportless person said there was nothing she could do because the order had been processed. I pointed out it won't actually ship until tomorrow. She suggested I have UPS hold it for me. I suggested I can stop payment on the order. She didn't reply to that after 3 minutes, so I ended to chat and gave her all 0's in the survey.

Plans for tomorrow:
Band practice or NASA event? Hmmm.
howeird: (Satan Claus)
Paula Deen was under oath in a courtroom and lawyer asks if she has ever said "nigger". She said 'yes, but not recently'. The media hears the first part but not the second and brands her a racist. The reason she is in a courtroom is she is being sued by an employee whom she had fired, the employee making IMHO hard to believe claims of systematic racial discrimination against said employee.

The knee-jerk reaction from her various employers will bite them eventually.
Snowden. Espionage? Srsly? Espionage is when you give classified information to enemies, not when you give it to We, The People™.
The Voting Rights Act was not thrown out by the Supreme Court. What was thrown out was what I have always thought of as an unconstitutional section which singled out particular counties to be required to submit any proposed changes to their voting laws to a Federal court to be evaluated for discriminatory activity. IMHO all counties ought to be subjected to this level of scrutiny, or none of them. I hate to agree with Roberts, but in this case he's right that the 40-year-old list is no longer based on current data. His decision didn't throw out the special section, it only told Congress to update it based on current data. And again the media is screaming as if all voting rights are now in the toilet. Sheesh.
Sad to see former Texas Gov. Ann Richards' daughter's filibuster against the proposed medieval abortion law was halted on a technicality.
howeird: (Sgt. Redbeard)
I'm going to post where I stand and why, and leave it open to comment, but I'm not going to reply to any comments.

Three of my grandparents were kicked out of Russia (for being Jews) around the beginning of the 20th century, the fourth was born soon after the boat docked in NYC. Their parents had gone through a lot of crap to get them here legally. There was a quota on how many Jews the US allowed in. All my grandparents learned to speak English with only a hint of an accent, three of them through night school. My parents sounded like the native New Yorkers they were. I had to fix my accent when we moved to Seattle, but that's another story. My father was saved from having a foreign accent by the fact that his Russian father married a Hungarian, and the only language they had in common was English. My mother's first language was Yiddish, but you couldn't tell from her unaccented English.

I was born on Manhattan Island, which was purchased legally from the local Native tribes. One man's trinket is another man's treasure. None of my family was even remotely involved with stealing land from the natives. So don't be playing that card on me.

Ever since living in Thailand, I have wanted to return there to work, but the process for getting a work visa is pretty similar to the one for the USA - you need a company to sponsor you. Unlike the USA, only a child of a Thai citizen can obtain citizenship, just being born there doesn't hack it. Only a citizen can get a free education. Christian mission schools tend to fill that gap. Most of the illegals I know from the US/Europe/Australia either have no family, or have left them home.

Giving a pathway to citizenship to people who come here illegally rewards them for breaking the law. I think those who came here illegally should be told to go back to their homelands, and be given the opportunity to apply for visas. If they have children under 18 who are citizens, those children should go with them.

For those who say there is no way to enforce this - it's pretty much the same way you would offer a path to citizenship. If you believe the government can process 12 million applications for amnesty/citizenship, then you also must believe the government can process 12 million exit visas.

Which, of course, they can't.
howeird: (American Flag)
That's what it feels like, all the recent announcements by conservatives that they have had a change of heart, and now see the rightness of legalizing gay marriage.

It took Obama way too long to see the light. He was not raised a Bible bigot, he chose to become one, and those born-for-the-first-timers can really plant their feet. But he has come around most of the way.
Many of the minds were changed by their children coming out to them. A few managed to on their own finally separate their church from their state. Whatever the catalyst, it feels to me like a big rock being rolled away from the cave entrance, and the hostages coming out. The dawn of a new era. Maybe the dawn of a new ERA as well?
TMI behind the cut
Read more... )
Anyway, all of that to say I have always taken people at face value. The only time I care at all what a person's sexual orientation is is when it's a woman I'm interested in dating. But then, there have been far more women who were not interested in me who were not interested in women, either.

But I digress. This week has given me some hope. I hope the Supes continue that feeling.

Papal Bull

Feb. 12th, 2013 01:30 am
howeird: (Satan Claus)
The first thing I saw on FB today was Ratzinger's quitting. I have several comments about this which will offend some )
howeird: (Default)
Thing One: Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15. The Federal holiday, one would think, ought to have been on the Monday nearest the actual date, but somehow it shifted to the Monday after. Today.
Thing Two: The Constitution says the President is inaugurated on January 20. Somehow this got shifted to today, also.
This last item is called playing the race card. 
You can skip this rant )
I didn't pay any attention to the inauguration because I don't see it as significant. I think the wrong person was nominated in 2008, and the right person made a deal not to run in 2012 in return for the most glamorous job in the cabinet.
And when someone who is inept but on my side is running against someone who is ruthlessly capable but against me, and nothing I can do will change that, I'll settle for Obama and hope for the best.

I listened to the snippets of his speech they showed on the news, and have this to say:
- Gay marriage: It's about time you changed your opinion. Now let's see you introduce a Constitutional amendment, and an act to repeal DOMA.
- The War: In 2004 you promised to bring our troops home in 18 months. Today you said the war is coming to an end, but named no dates. Your last official pronouncement on this would put it at 18 months from now. This is why I could not vote for you.
- The economy: Yes, it's better. But it still sucks.

Today was the day to do the things I didn't do because Friday night I had a special show to attend, Saturday there was serious sleep deprivation and a crab feed, Sunday two important football games, cookie baking and a potluck/rehearsal.

I was feeling slothful all day. Got a lot done, anyhow:
- Took the latest 506 slides from the scanning service and put them back into two binders
- Plucked the last 300 slides from the final binder and put them into boxes of 50 for the scanning service.
- Moved the recliner and vacuumed and steam cleaned the area by my feet. This confused the heck out of the cats
- Spent a couple of hours online trying not to make too much fun of so many of my friends who worship the air Obama breathes.
- Ran a load of laundry
- Dishwashered the second set of cookie baking gear and cleaned powdered sugar off too many surfaces, including my blood sugar monitor.
- Plugged in the rehearsal dates for Brigadoon into my Google calendar. The calendar they provided was not in a PDF, and not arranged in anything approaching readable.

When I opened the door to go to BASFA, there was a Fedex package there. WTF? I was home all day, they couldn't ring the bell?

Anyhow, BASFA was sparsely attended, but I like it that way. Too many people = too many cross-conversations. My rumor of the week was voted in. It really shouldn't have been because it was the last one on the list, but otherness prevailed.

I mentioned at the meeting that I thought Michelle Obama had told her overcoat maker to "make me something Kardashian" but they thought she said "Cardassian". Here are the photos, you be the judge:

Plans for tomorrow:
howeird: (Slarty Animated)

Two disparate things I want to talk about: guns and gays.

Guns first.
[ profile] bridget_coila posted some excellent gun control petitions and ideas on her LJ and FB pages. I made a brief comment there to the effect that at this point petitions are useless, but I have some more to say which doesn't need to clutter up her site.

Read more... )

Gays next. Read more... )

howeird: (How Elephant)
Long day at work. Lunchtime I went to Costco to pick up the 3rd set of scanned slides. There were 508, not 500. I thought I had counted everything twice. Six of the extras were in box #9, so chalk it up to starting to go blind. Many many crappy photos, a lot of them due to having been developed in 100° temps in rural Thailand. I had to tape a lot of them back into their paper holders - the adhesive had dissolved. Still, there were some good ones. I'll put a few behind a cut.

I wanted to do some shopping, but the lines were too long. All I was really after was celery hearts. And maybe chocolates.

Back at work, I was trying to write a script to test a new I/O card, based one one which was already working for an old I/O card. But with more efficient code. I couldn't get past the first step. Turns out the card which was in the test machine I'd borrowed was faulty. While one of the other testers was trying to figure it out with me, we both got a lesson on something entirely different (new piece of monitoring equipment) from the seniorest tester.

Home, the only thing in the mailbox worth the 1-block walk through the bitter cold was Boskone's progress report, which has the schedule and my name's even in it as an artist. Had the slides not arrived today, this evening would have included making labels for the photos I'll be mailing them. Tomorrow, then.
Okay, you have waited long enough. Some ancient Thailand photos from batch #3:
here )
Plans for tomorrow:
Starbucks or McDonalds
howeird: (Default)
The other day I was out of limes, and even though the ones at Lucky's were small, I bought 8. Today I was in SaveMart and theirs were just as small, and 1/3 more expensive. This is an issue for me because at home my favorite drink is a glass of seltzer with a couple of ice cubes and half a lime fresh-squeezed into it. With these small limes, it takes 2/3 of one or a whole one. I also have a bottle of commercial lime juice in the fridge, but it doesn't have the same bite.

Lots of talk at work about the acquisition, including a townhall meeting at 8 am PST held in the Pennsylvania HQ of the part of the company which was sold off. I watched the replay at about 9:30, and it was pretty good, for a change. The CEO of the company which is buying us was on conference call for about 10 minutes, he gave some useful details and said some very nice and encouraging things about us.

Spent most of the work day pounding on a complicated test script and missing the time when I mostly played with audio and video. I'll get to do more of that soon.

Lunch was with Automation Guy at Barn Thai. The waitresses recognized me and spoke Thai. :-)

Email said to come pick up the vocal score for Brigadoon between 6 and 8, I got there at 6:10 but no one was there. Traffic. Finally got it at 6:20 or so.

Petco, to buy more cat food, now that Domino has decided she likes the new guy's food better than her own, and hasn't barfed it up in a week. Bought a case of his "treat" canned food, which she likes far better than the whipped cream which she had been loving previously. Tonight she not only finished her canned food, she also finished what he left over. Totally cleaned both bowls.

I am still working on a new name. I thought maybe "copper" since he's kind of that color, but in Thai that's "red gold" "tong dang". That dang cat. No thanks. It's hard to pin down because he has multiple personalities. He can be very laid back, or hyper. He loves being held and petted and purrs up a storm, but a minute later he's hiding under the bar stools or the coffee table. Meanwhile Domino has started to adopt the cat bed I bought for him, which is fine because it's too small.

Tonight she has been snarling and spitting at him a lot. He wants to play, and can't figure out why she doesn't. Neither can I. She use to play with Pumpkin all the time. When she is rude to him, he just backs off and walks away, sometimes with a meow or three but usually not.

Neither of them seem to be interested in any of the new toys. I'll leave them on the livingroom floor and see if they move overnight.

Plans for tomorrow:
Probably will be sent home early for the 4-day weekend
Maybe I'll get the slides put away
Calendars for the apartment office staff

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