howeird: (Default)

The day started out fine, with me rushing to make it to the library by 10 for a talk/showcase of all-electric cars. There was a line to get in the front door. Huh? Turns out the library opens at 10, the talks started at 10:30. The format was a multiple panels thing, which was done somewhat ineptly. They had four panels of 5 people each, each person was given a chance to pour their heart and soul out about their particular EV. So instead of finishing at 11:30 it took 2 hours. It would have worked a lot better (for me) if, instead of using every volunteer, they had designated one person per model.

There were two glaring common denominators to the panelists:
1. They were all over 40
2. They all owned a house (which gave them the opportunity to go solar and get paid to charge the car)

I'm now in that demographic, and my days of driving to Seattle or LA are done, so I'm in that demographic, except my roof won't support solar panels and part of the lease requires me to stay on the grid (the park provides our electricity & gas feeds).

Two of the women on the panel were so jazzed about their cars that they are now working for the dealership selling them. Both were at the point of "retire or 3rd career?"

I just bought my Corolla in May, but maybe it's time to look into an EV. After the talk we went to the parking lot where all the panelists had their cars on display, plus a couple of models which had been parked by dealers but not represented by a human. Talking with the folks and looking at the cars, the Nissan Leaf looks like a good fit for me. Hybrids don't have enough trunk room because they have two engines and a battery pack and a gas tank. But pure electrical cars only have the smaller electric engine and the battery pack is in a less obnoxious location. There were a couple of Rav4s, but they are too big and ugly as a brick. Some of the other models are more like enclosed golf carts. I was telling one guy that I needed something my baritone horn would fit in, and he plays bass so he knows that's not a problem.

The initial price might be a show-stopper, but my Corolla is new enough to get almost as much back as I paid for it. Maybe more because they gave me a generous trade-in. Hmmm.

While at the talk, I used Great Clips' app to "check in". By the time I got there, it had expired. But it didn't matter because checking in does nothing for you. You still have to wait in the order that you physically arrived. Inept. Which for me was 25 minutes. Very inept. More inept was the trainee at the check-in. Okay, Plan B was to chill out at Starbucks in the Safeway next door but inept cashier was arguing (politely) about a customer trying to use a Safeway coupon. As it turns out, they don't accept Starbucks apps, they are on Safeway's register system. Customer decided to pay for an armful of groceries there. I walked out.

This store has a set of tables and chairs with umbrellas, which kept them dry. They are tolerant of homeless folks parking there all day, and there was some interesting chat by a woman telling a friend all about her morning appointment with the psychologist. When she was done I wandered back to wait another 10 minutes for the haircut. The list got confused because one guy came in with his son, and the trainee couldn't understand that he woud skip his turn so he could watch the kid, and then get cut by the same barber.

Next stop was Kaiser, to pick up some insulin and test strips and load up on B&D alcohol swabs. But there was a long, slow line and I needed to pee, which reminded me I was due for my quarterly lab tests, and one of them was pee-in-the-cup. The lab was almost empty, now serving 41 and I was 43. That all went well, but the line at the pharmacy was a prime example of inept layout and staffing. Huge banners all over proclaim that they will ship your prescription for free if you order online, but it ignores three things:
They won't ship insulin
They won't ship OTC items
It can take 2 weeks to get the stuff they do ship

Half an hour later I had my items, and went to the Starbucks across the street, where they were very ept, and there was a place to sit and read (the tables are too small for a laptop and mouse), and there was some eye candy from Kaiser but more from the Korean supermarket.

Weather was still blustery and intermittently raining, so I went home. Pulling out of the parking lot, I tried to use the split screen in the backup camera, and found that the Kenwood had forgotten it could do that. When I got home I re-updated the firmware, which seemed to fix it, but it forgot after 5 minutes.

While I was messing with it, I went back inside, went online and found instructions on Garmin's site on how to upload points of interest (POI) from files I'd backed up on the PC. Followed the directions, but instead of adding POIs it erased the entire map and all its built-in POIs. I tried to do and "update maps" but it insisted I had the latest map. 

I emailed support, but they will probably want me to buy a map SD card for $100. Meanwhile, one more reason to get a Leaf. It has a really nice GPS, and the woman who became a salesperson played classical music on its sound system,and it sounded great.

One other chore I did was once again unfurl the flags. The American flag keeps winding itself around the pole, and the Thai flag makes one loop before it is stable. Tomorrow I'll that the pole down and store it and the flags until the weather calms down. I shouldn't be flying them in the rain, anyway.

Dinner was in two parts. A snack of roasted corn chowder, and later ravioli in Alfredo sauce with mixed veggies.

Plans for tomorrow:
Nothing in the morning
noon-ish, slog to the light rail and take it downtown, meet Janice to see an all-female cast production of 1776. I frankly did not like the two productions I've seen, and probably will like this one even less, but the level of talent is amazing, I have been on stage one place or another with more than half the cast.


Moving Day

Jan. 16th, 2014 11:28 pm
howeird: (Default)

My 1-on-1 was moved from yesterday to today. Then my nails appointment was moved from today to tomorrow. And finally my trip to Ardenwood was moved to next Thanksgiving.

That latter bit goes like this: I recommended the butterflies walk to my boss, who lives maybe 10 minutes from there but has never heard of the place. I went online to find the hours, and instead found this:
Read more... )

The irony here is that when there were a thousand, around Thanksgiving, I had time off and could have gone, but my notes said the last time I was there and saw a lot of monarchs was in January. :-(

Did some more work at work, and was assigned a bug which I had lobbied hard against. And the one guy who had the hardware was gone by the time it was assigned.

Another move: The demo which I was planning for Monday at 10 had to be moved to Tuesday at 11 because Monday is MLK day, another religious holiday for someone else's faith. IMHO, he is the most overrated figure in American history and deserves a holiday named after him about as much as Walt Disney. One thing which separates the two, of course, is Walt wasn't assassinated until this year, and only on cellulose.

The demo couldn't be scheduled for 10 because the guy I couldn't find today has the room reserved from 10-11.

Lunch was supposed to be at the bad Chinese fast food place next to Jamba and Starbucks which is eye candy central, but there was no parking, so I went to Boston Market instead. I liked the brisket, the mashed was okay but the creamed spinach had coagulated. Their soft drink glasses are hard plastic and huge.

Straight home, after doing some email I took the telescope and a tripod out onto the end of the driveway, but the moon had set. Venus and maybe one of the big planets was visible so I thought I would try those, but the outside light is on a motion sensor and kept going out, and I was having trouble fitting the quick-connect mount on the scope to the tripod, so I brought it inside. Seems to be the wrong size, so I put the one from the tripod onto the scope, and that seemed to work. But then I couldn't find an eyepiece which fit. Digging in some of the carrying case pouches I found one, but that's when the scope fell off the tripod. It didn't appear to be damaged, but the quick connect was way loose. Decided I need to do this in daylight, and maybe even read some instructions and/or go to the San Jose astronomy group and ask for help.

Watched some American Idol. The new judges are not as solid as the old ones. And they mostly agree with each other. And once again the show wastes way too much time on the truly horrible, and does not spend enough time on winners. They also would do well, I think, to run it like musicals auditions with an accompanist and contestants required to bring music in their key.

What else? Yesterday there was a note in my "tube" (under the mailbox, for the park's magazine and park business) saying my bigger garbage can will be delivered Monday and not Feb. 3 as originally told to me. I need to print out a note and tape it to the current can so the helpful person next door doesn't wheel it back onto the carport after the garbage is collected. I may need to do it in Tagalog.

Blood sugar has been closer to normal lately, for no apparent reason.

Been reading the Potlatch Book of Honor: The City and The City by China Miéville. Imagine a city where people have learned to not see inhabitants of a different culture, and to believe that those people actually inhabit an entirely different city, in the same space as yours. The concept is very intriguing to me, but we learn about this strange construct by way of a murder investigation. I'm not a fan of murder mysteries, and Miéville is not very good at writing them from what I have seen so far. The plot moves like mole-asses and I'm not getting any feeling for the characters. For the first chapter I thought the detective narrating the story was a woman, but then he starts referring to himself as male. I usually get this when the writer is a woman trying to write a man's character, but China is definitely not a woman:

It's going to take me a while to finish the book.

Plans for tomorrow:

Day of 2's

Jul. 23rd, 2013 11:00 pm
howeird: (Default)
Took my time getting to work after firing up the VPN and seeing there was no new email. Parked on the far side of the lot because some major sewer line pumping with three huge tank-truck vehicles were working right in front of the driveway next door, close enough to hurt my car if I was parked in my usual spot.

Got another automation done. Yay.

Today they finally changed the sign out front and over the receptionist's desk to the new company name & logo. It's a very attractive logo, similar to the last Canadian Worldcon's.

Lunchtime I went to the car wash, and for the first time since I bought the car, the windows were clean. Toyota dealer had used dirty rags, which left an annoying residue when the air conditioning shoved new car plastic fumes at it.

On the way back had a late lunch at a new place called Ginger Cafe, which is across the street from PF Chang. Ginger from the outside looks unassuming, and I'd figured it as just another low-end Asian place.Not so - it is every bit as classy as PG Chang, maybe moreso. The menu is pan-Asian, with dim sum, Thai iced tea, etc. I had what they called Saigon Street Chow Fun, which was mixed seafood, chicken and veggies on a bed of wide noodles. It was way too peppered for me, I only finished about 1/3. The Thai iced tea was good, but they didn't need to add that sugar. Lobster dumplings apparently used fake lobster and had corn nibblets as filler. Pricey ordering a la carte, I must go there again and have a lunch special which does not have 2-alarm symbols next to the name.

Back to work, got some feedback on last week's automations. One was accepted, the other needs work (hard-coded IP address should be a variable, and that sort of thing).

Tried to take the Sharepoint training, but it was all aimed at salescreatures, and they were a series of ADD videos, each video with a different presenter in a different audio setup. One guy narrated it over the phone! This is Official Microsoft Stuff™ and I am flabbergasted. Finally gave up and prowled around on my own. That didn't work so well either.

Home, picked up a package at the apt, the new seat covers for the car. I'll put them on at work tomorrow, not enough room in the carport.

Across the street to Lowe's, bought a couple of small potted flowers to replace the ones on the patio which have fried. Also bought a small can of Goof Off, which is mostly lighter fluid, and in the parking lot with a hand towel I keep in the trunk, I removed the adhesive which had been holding the little bug-eyes. I also bought a pair of non-swivel bug eyes, but they are only 3" replacing a pair of 2" ones, so I have not installed them. Online checking says they also make 3 3/4" which may work better for me.

Home, planted the flowers in the patio window thing, sat out there with the cats for an hour reading A Scanner Darkly.  Philip K. Dick. [ profile] johnnyeponymous is doing a Dick issue of Drink Tank, I should ask if there is time to write something. It won't be very complimentary, I'm finding his writing slow reading.

Dinner was frozen veggies and chao sua bow, or however they spell BBQ pork-filled white bread steamed round things.

Plans for tomorrow:

- including going-away lunch for the founding CTO, being done on the cheap in the break room. I expect it will be some kind of buffet, but he deserves a banquet room affair off-site. And they have a town hall meeting right after that.
Install gaudy velour seat covers
Install bug-eye mirrors
Hang out @ *$'s
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Woke up at 5, feeling low Hgl symptoms. Meter said 90 which meant lower, and low for me. Had a couple of oreos, back to bed.
Slept in, watched TV in bed, caught up online with FB, LJ, G+.  Morning stuff, Hgl up to 111, which is excellent for 11 am. Heated up a Safeway chicken and dumplings soup, took it out onto the patio and had lunch there with Domino on the chair and Kaan finally settling on the cat bed. Set up the Kindle to read while I ate, and it was hard to see. Open shade, but not enough light. I had to lie it flat.

After lunch went inside, hear a yell from Domino, she followed me in - Kaan had taken over her chair. Amazon, ordered a Kindle Paperwhite. It has a built-in light. Though about getting a Fire, but 8 hours of battery life is a FAIL, and I don't want a tablet.

Back out to the patio, finished reading Alan Dean Foster's The Human Blend and was infuriated that it had no ending. Have to read the next book in the trilogy, which I happen to have already bought, Body, Inc.. Probably will also need to buy The Sum of Her Parts to get the resolution.

3 pm, half an hour before I wanted to leave for Pacifica, went to the car and update the firmware for the Kenwood GPS/radio, which took 20 minutes. Punched in the address of Pacifica Community Center and drove there for the Hugh Daniel life celebration. Lots of thick fog going over the hill, pretty scary. Pacifica was overcast and raining/misting.

I brought 4 6-packs of muffins, but b y the time I got there @ 4:30 (4 pm was the announced start time) there was no room on the long table of food for them. They were parked nearby by the person in charge of food.

Huge turnout, I probably knew half the people there from sci-fi, filk, hacking. Hugh's sister Lesli talked about Hugh, and read something from their mother who is unable to travel. I talked to her a little toward the end of the gathering, she seems to be the kind of person anyone would be proud to have as a sister. She's stunned and sad and mad that he checked out at 51 when he was the one who wanted to live to 120. She said she would be fine with 65 for herself.

She had brought hundreds of Hugh's CDs for the taking. When I got to that table there was an ancient Moira Stern CD which I adopted, and one by a Khazack redhead whom I had never heard of, Irina Mikhailova.

There was also a silent auction, I won a couple of NASA holographic bookmarks, a Mars Rover "wish you were here" postcard book, and a small replica of King Tut's sarcophagus, complete with mummy. Heavy thing. All proceeds going toward sending Hugh's ashes into space.

We were all given tiny LED flashlight keyrings at the door, and Lesli said we would be doing something with those later, but the crowd had dispersed before there was a chance. Also it was just way too loud in there - some genius decided he needed to get out a hammer to take apart some electronics for his children. Hugh used to do that, teach kids how to take apart stuff, but without a hammer.

I escaped the crowds by going out into the lobby, Kathy Mar was there too, we chatted for quite a bit. She has been following my FB writing, which flattered me a lot. We talked about her CD Made By Magic,  which pretty much was. She gave me some new insight on Zander Nyrond's Sam's Song which surprised me.

At a little before 8 we stacked chairs and stuff, I headed back over a still very foggy hill, and home. Opened the door to Kaan poop right in front of it. :-( Glad I kept the bedroom door closed. It will stay closed tonight.

Plans for tomorrow:
Work, early team meeting
Ophthalmology appointment at 1:00
May try for an urgent care appt after that, some rashes on my left foot which refuse to go away. Maybe more shingles.

Some Fun

Feb. 12th, 2013 01:52 am
howeird: (Danvers Sings)

Was in bed at about 10, read for an hour from Octavia Butler's Kindred, loaned to me by someone who never reads sci-fi but somehow she read this. I don't think the writing is outstanding, and the idea is not new, but I'll probably finish it. While I was reading, Domino planted herself on the fleece blanket at the foot of the bed. She used to own that spot while Pumpkin was alive. These days Kaan usually beats her to it.

Woke up at 7, Kaan was there, I didn't see where Domino went.

Got to work half an hour before the 9 am team meeting, but it was at 10 this week. It rotates every week, and I have it in my calendar correctly, sometimes I forget to look. Not a problem, there was work to do from over the weekend.

Team meeting was very short, we have finished testing on the next release and all that remains are bug fixes, which are waiting on the next build. Which we expected Friday, but it came in too late to get checked in. I talked a lot, since I'd found some things to pass along during this morning's work.

The build came through late in the day, and I plowed through all the bugs I had filed, and then tackled a couple of others. All of them passed.

Had a nice long chat with one of the engineers who built the CALM feature. My former US Rep, Anna Eshoo, got this bill through Congress which requires broadcasters and cable companies to make sure that ads played at the same volume as the programs they were inserted into. Our box just won an Emmy for its ad insertion feature, so we needed to put this in place. I had some questions on how to test it, and he filled me in, and as usually happens when I talk to him, we chatted for half an hour about other things. Like the upcoming sale of the company, which the DOJ just screwed by waiting until today, the last day of the 30-day review period,  to ask for more details from the two companies. So now it's another 30 days of waiting, which screws all our stock awards.

Lunch was at McDonald's for the wifi.

Home at 5:30, sat with the cats & read.

7:10 off to rehearsals, our first music rehearsal, which really should have been a month ago. Musicals work better if the cast knows the songs before they learn the blocking. He's a fine music director, one of the best. It was a good rehearsal, he kept it fun while making us work. The harmonies in this score are wacko, the bass part looks like it was written by someone on a pogo stick. But when sung right, they sound very good. Music Director loves the music, which makes it a lot better.

He let us go right at 10. Just before we got to my solo. Maybe next time.

Oh, and we finally had an accompanist, one of the best ones too. He's been pianist for at least five shows I've been in, and several auditions.

Home, heated up some edamama and dolmathes, and made some lime soda. Ate the soy beans while online, still have the grape leaves in the microwave. TBE.

Plans for tomorrow:

howeird: (Default)
The nominees:
Movement: A Short Story About Autism in the Future by Nancy Fulda
The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees by E. Lily Yu
The Homecoming by Mike Resnick
The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu
The Shadow War of the Night Dragons Book One Of The Dead City by John Scalzi

Movement is not really a sci-fi or fantasy story. It's a day in the mind of an autistic girl, onto which the author has tacked a lame sci-fi hook (there is a procedure which "cures" autism) and she gives the girl's brother some kind of futuristic iPod gadget. Neither of these things are in the least necessary for the story. It is an attempt to explain what may go on inside the mind of one autistic girl, well written and fascinating, but I don't think it belongs in the Hugo nominee list.

Cartographer Wasps is charmingly written, and starts with the premise that in a certain rural village somewhere in China, the wasps are world class cartographers, and if you break open their nests you will find highly detailed miniature maps of the area. The rest of the story tells what happens when the townspeople discover this, and start collecting the nests, and what the wasps did in response. And that's where the author lost me. Maybe not lost, but mislaid. The last 2/3 of the story may have been an allegory for current Chinese politics.

Homecoming will be getting my vote. Beautifully written, the small cast of characters are substantial, and by the end of the story we know them better and admire them all in their own way. The story begins with a long-lost son returning home to visit his mother, who is in the final stages of Alzheimer's. His father has basically disowned him for having major reconstructive surgery which made him not look human, and moving to another planet. The way the son talks with his mother is extremely moving. There were real tears for me at the ending.

 Paper Menagerie would have been a close second except for the self-serving ending. A Connecticut Yankee marries a mail order bride from Hong Kong, who makes for their son the Chinese version of origami animals, except when she blows into them they come to life. The first 2/3 of the story has a playful mood, but then the son turns on his mother, wanting her to become American. The story is told in the voice of the son, but I found myself seriously disliking him. I suppose that was the point.

Shadow War was a chore for me to read. I think the author was so caught up in playing with sounds that he lost track of his audience. The first paragraph is a single sentence. It takes up half the page. The last sentence in the story is a teaser for the next story, and is straight out of a Bulwer-Lytton Award -winning work.
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Got up at about 9:30, did my meds then got online where a message from the repair shop which sold me the second broken VCR said that from the symptoms, it was nothing I could fix at home. The Sony SLV-700 is incredibly easy to open up, and like the previous broken VCR, there was a large rubber roller rattling around loose in the case. This time I did a better job of matching it to where it belonged - on a post near the audio head. Got that in place, ran the head cleaner tape (which also tests audio & video) and it worked like a champ. The acid test was the 1984 TheatreWorks production of Peter Pan, which I was able to play, FF to my entrance as a pirate, and record that number. WIN! Closed it up, and will do some more captures during the week. Maybe that will be my project Monday-Tuesday while my colon is being cleansed.

The project required my PC to be on so I could see and hear what was coming into the  capture card, so I also spent some Quality Time annoying people on FB. I did this until about 2:30 pm.

Got showered and dressed, hurriedly, because there was email from the apartment that I had a package to pick up. I was home, it should have been delivered to my door by whomever (Fedex, it turns out), but whatever.  I thought the office closed at 3:30 on Saturdays. Turns out to be 5:30. The package was part 2 of a Walmart shipment, part 1 came yesterday, and was sent USPS and ended up in one of the larger mailboxes.

Next project was to put the new map on the GPS in the car, which meant pulling the car apart to get the in-dash unit out, plugging the laptop into the USB port in the back of the unit and replacing the 2010 map file with the 2012 one. I had almost everything apart when it was clear I needed an extension for the electric screwdriver. Back to the apt, it took 10 minutes (including dumping whole drawers out onto the floor) to find it.

Back to the car, got the unit out, and was surprised to find not a standard USB slot but a female USB connector on the end of a cable hard-wired into the unit. This meant I needed a male-to-male USB cable, which I did not think I owned one of. Of which I thought I owned none. And I was right both times. Even dumping everything on my bed failed to find one.  Which meant a trip to Fry's, which meant putting the car back together. Except for one bit of good news. It turns out the cable is long enough to bring through to the front panel, which is something the installer should have done in the first place. It meant I do not have to pull the radio out again. YAY.

Fry's only had one brand/model of this cable, which surprised me, but it was all I needed.

Home, fired up the laptop, attached the USB and nothing. Nada. Nichts. Shum davar. The laptop did not recognize the unit as a drive of any kind. Tried a few slots and looked through the unit's menus, but the clue fairy is on vacation.

Before going to Fry's I had not replaced the last panel - the one which frames the gear shift and has a cigarette lighter connection. To get that panel on or off, the shifter needs to be in low, which means the car engine has to be running to make the shift, and while the engine can be turned off as soon as the gear is shifted, the electricity cannot be turned off until the shifter is in Park. I made the mistake of re-attaching the lighter to its power plug with the power on, and the in-dash unit went dark. I put the car in park, turned the key off and back on (it had some trouble starting) and the unit came up in first-time use mode, asking me to pick a language, etc. A couple more power cycles and it was back where it had been, except I needed to re-set the screen angle.

I'll have to read the hacker instructions again, and find out what I am missing.

By now I had missed the opening of the Google Street View exhibit at CHM, and the first day of panels at SETICon. My concert tomorrow will make it impossible to attend any of SETICon, so boo, hiss.

After the car foo, I organized a box of Stuff™ in the bedroom which is a combination of the contents of the night table, and my desks from the last two long-term jobs. Lots of swag from Terayon which they gave to us when Motorola bought the company in 2007. Maybe the CHM wants some of that. Probably not.

That done, sat out on the patio with Domino, and finished reading the last two Hugo short story nominees. I know which one I will be voting for. IMHO only one of the stories is not Hugo quality, and just barely. I'll post something separately with a no-spoilers wrap-up. On to the novellas. Or are novelettes the shorter ones?

[ profile] yourbob mentioned that my eyeball icon was creeping him out, and it was creeping me out too so I changed it. One fun thing about LJ is if you change your default icon, it changes every previously posted instance of default icon. 

Plans for tomorrow:
Continue the clear liquids diet
Concert at Shoup Park, Los Altos, 1:30 pm but I'll be there by 1.
Meet Janice for coffee (her) and iced tea (me). She's my ride to and from the "procedure" Tuesday.

howeird: (Default)
Thanks to a comment made by [ profile] quadrivium over on the Book of Face, I had loaded onto my Kindle the classic novel Slave Girl of Gor by John Norman. It is, perhaps, the most poorly written romance novel of the 20th century. Or maybe not, since I have not read many of them. Three, I think. It is Not Safe For Work, so I read it before I go to sleep (at home, not at work). To balance this out, for times when I am wearing clothing, I also have on the Kindle Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself by Harriet Ann Jacobs. They balance each other in an odd way, the first being fiction about a girl born free, kidnapped into slavery and getting more and more into it, and the second being about a girl born a slave, trying to get out of it.

Reading the latter book was mostly how I spent my evening, outside in the sunny side of the apartment's picnic area waiting for an eclipse. I was stupid and did not go to Fry's as planned to get safety glasses or something similar, and since the cell phone was between my eyes and the sun I was able to take pictures, but without a filter all I got was a bright ball of sun, as if nothing was happening. At about 6:15 it started to get a little darker, but the big clue was when the wind picked up dramatically and the temperature dropped. It never got that dark - maybe 25% darker.

This morning I slept in, Domino joined me for some of that, and spent most of the morning loading about a hundred updates onto the ASUS laptop. I managed to sync Firefox with my main PC, except they lied about it syncing passwords - I had to do those all over again.

I'm not 100% sure I will be keeping this machine. The Toshiba fingerprint login is much more reliable than ASUS's face image login. ASUS has placed the delete key next to the power button, and they are the same size & shape. And the "home" and "end" keys are function keys so it takes two hands to use them. The touchpad is HUGE and I keep brushing it by mistake.

It is faster than the Toshiba, and has a sharper display, but not by much.

While I was installing, friends in Baltimore Skyped me, and we chatted for about half an hour. My old theater buddy George and his parents (who were visiting from Ashland, Oregon). He and his parents are all long-time friends, we did The Wizard of Oz together in Fremont, CA in 1986. George and I were in at least three other musicals before that. He has given up theater for a wife and two boys. So it goes. Domino jumped up on my lap during the chat. George used to have about 6 cats, but gave that up too when he moved east.

Plans for tomorrow:
work - 10 am meeting
BASFA, probably
howeird: (Default)
But I've finished a major project to fix what had become an everyday minor annoyance. In the car I have an iPod hooked up to the in-dash audio/gps system, and it will display the album art if there is any. If there isn't, it displays a bland musical note icon. The project was to look through my iTunes library, and any album which did not have cover art, I either scanned the image from the CD, or snagged it from an online search. Most of the Thai compilation CDs needed to be scanned, but the solo ones often were online. The biggest WTFs were the OBC of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and the movie version of The Little Mermaid did not have art on Gracenote. The mermaid OBC did. A smaller WTF is a popular collection of Scott Joplin rags didn't have art work, I had to search online for it.

Somehow I lost the SD card which has the GPS' 2011 map. Went online to order a replacement, and the 2012 map is out. Win!

Thanks to [ profile] quadrivium, whose clue on the filker FB channel was inspirational, my Kindle now has a copy of the reportedly highly educational documentary Slave Girl of Gor.

And I ordered an el cheapo SD camcorder from Tech4Less which I plan to give to a friend who keeps borrowing my HD one for her trips, and returning it broken. It was cheap, but it's a Sony, so not so shabby. Meanwhile I need to spend about the same amount to repair mine.

Bought a couple of books from [ profile] lemmozine's eBay auction, and posted a plug on the [ profile] basfa page, since we have a couple of serious collectors in the group. Most of the more interesting volumes are (deservedly) way out of my price range, but maybe not for the book dealers in the club.

Got some lovely email from [ profile] vasilatos, thanks Max.

And it seems this is sibling catch-up email week. I've gotten letters from all three. I suppose I ought to return the favor, but I don't have much news.

Today at work we received the obligatory "when the company is finally sold, here are the things you can't do with your stock and stock options" email. It was amazingly readable for coming from a lawyer. The only part which applies to me when that time comes is I still own a handful of shares of company stock from 2007-9 when I was foolish enough to participate in the underwater employee purchase plan. Not so stupid after all, I paid $10 and it's going to cash out at $40.

I put off procrastinating, and wrote a bunch of test cases for the new feature, and will continue to grind out more. I have until May 20 to finish the suite, I may be done before then.

Lunch was at China Stix which used to be a majorly dim sum lunch spot, but now they do the lunch specials menu and only had one dim sum cart with only a couple of items on it. I had the prawns with mixed veggies, which was quite good.

It's cold and windy and grey out, so after work I came straight home.

Will watch this week's Eureka on Tivo and have dinner in a few. I'm pissed at them for chickening out of the Jupiter exploration which was set up last season, and more pissed for them doing the dream-induced story line. And for making the person we all suspected of being the secret bad guy the secret bad guy.

Plans for tomorrow:
something after
howeird: (Default)
Seth Grahame-Smith wrote this thing, apparently one in a series of opportunistic "famous folks from the past meet the undead" offerings.

His writing style is okay, as far as putting one word in front of another goes, but he turns what could have been an action-packed thriller into a moderate-paced narrative.  

The gist of it is someone has found a bundle of secret journals and letters by Lincoln, and gives them to a writer to make a novel from. That novel is the rest of the book. In which we learn how Honest Abe came to be a secret hunter of vampires, and how most of his family dies from vampirism. Seth re-invents vampires as super-human beings with super speed and strength. He gives them knife-like claws and psychic abilities. And the longer they exist, the less sensitive to sunlight they become, and most of the ones in the USA are able to co-exist with the living in daylight, with the help of sunglasses.

The author scrupulously follows real-life Lincoln's time line, but saves himself from having to write action scenes by skipping chunks of years with lame little notes about how Abe fought lots of vampires during those years, or retired from vampire hunting for those years.

Not a compelling book. Definitely not worth Kindle price. Pick it up at a used book store if you feel compelled to read it for yourself. I understand the movie hs gone way overboard on the blood and gore, so I'll be skipping that. 

Day is Done

Apr. 1st, 2012 05:25 pm
howeird: (Default)
The only plan for today was to listen to some lectures at Contact, have lunch and pack up my photos.
All the talks had good content, two of the speakers actually knew how to speak to an audience.

Jim Pass - "Medical Astrosociology: A Combination of Space Medicine and Social Science" had a ton of interesting info about what to expect from various societies in space and in lunar and planetary colonies. Dr. Pass started out okay but by the end of his talk was not easy to hear. His slides made up for that, they were filled to the brim with detail. During the Q&A he got back to speaking into the mike.

Chad Rohrbacher - "Curriculum Guide for Using SF to Teach Science" is a subject I am fond of. Chad is a professor, he speaks well, has a sense of humor, and his slides were talking points rather than jam-packed with every word of his lecture. My only complaint is he cited three or four people on the slides, only giving the full name of one. None of them were household names.

Dennis Etler - "China's Vision of the Future" sounded like it could have been dull, and Etler not having any slides was not a good omen, but the guy has a powerful stage voice, he made the mike redundant, and he is super articulate, had good notes in front of him, and did a fine job of comparing and contrasting China's version of communism with the Soviet Union's, and basically gave a warning that unlike the USA, China has a clear vision of its future in space, and has a head start since most of those wheels have already been invented. Who would have guessed he is a paleontologist?

Lunch was at the Fish Market, delicious cup of clam chowder, right-sized crab & shrimp louie with blue cheese dressing instead of that godawful hundred islands of ketchup dressing, way too heavily sugared apple crisp. Pricey, but excellent food & service. At lunch I started reading Water For Elephants, having finished The Forever War last night. Riveting, is WFE. Looks to be a very quick read, unlike FW.

From there to the big Starbucks, got a view seat right away, and have been building April Fools images for FB. The first one was a Dalai Lama quote attributed to Abe Lincoln, the next two were Abe Lincoln quotes attributed to the Dalai Lama. I posted the first one here too.

Will go home soon and spend some quality time being ignored by the cat.


Mar. 18th, 2012 09:27 pm
howeird: (Default)
Woke up at 9:30. Made it to the 10 am photo shoot at 10:10. The photogs were all hanging out outside in the cold and wind. No model. Big WTF why they were all outside when it was nice and not-windy in the studio. We moved under the eaves when the downpour arrived. We called it a no-show at 10:30, I stayed in the parking lot to play with the GPS for another 15 minutes while they all packed up equipment (I had never taken mine out of the car).

Spent the rest of the day:
- Photoshopping and posting yesterday's shoot pix
- Sautéing half an onion + 3 cloves of garlic in olive oil and adding a handful of last night's corned beef for a yummy lunch. Home-made pickle was also yummy.
- Making snide comments on FB
- Playing Political Words With Friends on [ profile] lemmozine's LJ
- Eating celery dipped in bleu cheese dressing
- Finished reading Somtow's Starship & Haiku (mostly with Domino on the arm of the chair) which was interesting, but not convincing at all. Not that it is meant to be.
- Listed three things on eBay
- Wrote this

Plans for tomorrow:
Work (9 am meeting for real this time)
howeird: (Photog)
The Bears did their 49ers imitation tonight against the Packers. They basically crushed Green Bay in every statistic except touchdowns. I get very tired of hearing the announcers say that a team must establish a running game in order to win, when it doesn't take a rocket scientist (thought I suppose being one would help) to know that a football travels farther and faster in the air than it does being carried by a runner. And a runner who is not carrying a ball can run faster than someone who is. Partly because no one is trying to tackle him.

So Chicago lost by a lot of points.
Just as the game was starting I was boiling up some hot dog slices, had the timer set for 10 minutes. At about 7 minutes the smoke alarms in the bedroom and kitchen went off. The water had overflowed, which is normal, but there was some crud in the aluminum reflector which must have had oil in it, because it produced some smoke. Not much, though. I had to open the patio door and one of the windows to clear it enough for the alarms to quiet down, and hauled a ladder to each to push the reset button, which turned them completely off. I moved the pot to a clean burner, but as soon as it started to boil one of the alarms went off again till I hit its button again. That was way too much noise for a non-fire. The C02 detector by the door tried to sound off too, but I gave it my best evil eye and it reconsidered.

I did three important chores today:
1. Flattened the pile of cardboard boxes in the livingroom, put them on a dolly and wheeled them to the dumpster/recycle area.
2. Cleared up the clutter which was three or four clumps of things which had come out of kitchen boxes during the move which did not belong in the kitchen. It is now one foot bath tub with lots of little stuff inside to be sorted later, and one big lazy Susan went into one of the kitchen cupboards while the other three are in the closet.
3. Changed the litterboxes and slid the used ones down the garbage chute

The dishwasher is well and truly broken. I opened it up to remove the dirty dishes, etc. and put them in  the sink, and noticed the base was filled with water. Floating in front were two pieces of something rubbery or plastic which used to be one piece. Probably the thing which seats the water hose inside the machine. Hopefully, maintenance will be here tomorrow to fix it/look at it/replace it/whatever. For what the apartment costs, it sure has crappy appliances.

Did the paperwork and printed & stamped the envelope to get my $25 rebate for the new PocketWizard.

Thinking about selling my used 28-200mm Nikkor lens. People on eBay are paying $150+ for those. I don't use it anymore, since it is not as fast as the 18-200mm VR lens I have been using, which cost major pieces of my anatomy.

Figured out the transparent watermark routine on Photoshop.

Did I post this yet? Work-safe photos of Lilly from the last shoot are on flickr:
Read more... )

Plans for tomorrow:
Pet Club, donate cans of cat food which my felines did not appreciate. But some more Fancy Feast.
Nail salon, drop off a 2012 calendar with my manicurist
Minor groc shopping
BASFA? MNF? Guess.


Dec. 25th, 2011 06:17 pm
howeird: (Domino_yawn)
Very quiet day. Woke up up at 8:30, got out of bed at 9:30. I love my internet wi-fi radio - listened to radio stations in Bangkok, Pataya and Prae. The ads  are still an even split between soft women's voices politely suggesting a product and loud men's voices shouting about everything from a boxing match to a motorcycle to hair goop.

Did not expect anything worthwhile on TV, so sat in the recliner and listened to KLIV's rebroadcast of the Commonwealth club's interview of the guy who wrote the Steve Jobs biography. He had also written best selling bios of Einstein and Ben Franklin. He said Jobs was like Franklin, a design expert with wide-ranging interests while Einstein was a quantum leap ahead on the genius scale.

Finished reading Ruth Rendell's The Face of Trespass, which was a difficult read, especially for Rendell. I don't recommend it. It's a writing experiment, mostly, where Rendell, a logical, concise writer attempts to be inside the head of someone who is scattered, and whose internal dialog is all over the place. The last three chapters were so telegraphed it sucked the mystery right out of it. Loose ends were taped into place rather than tied up.

Spent some of my reading time out on the patio in my Shark's jacket (it was about 50° out) and jumped each time the heater came on (it is a big heater/aircon unit on the patio).

Next up is Terry Pratchett's Reaper Man.

But first, the Packers are about to play Da Bears.

howeird: (The Gov - book throw)

I have a form of targeted memory loss which one of my LJ friends reminded me of, which I will call biblioamnemonia. I'll buy a book or series of books, start reading, and realize I have read this book before.

Unlike many of my Sci-Fi fan friends, I don't like re-reading a book, or seeing a movie more than once. So many, so little time, etc.

However, on further reflection, I have on my bedroom bookshelf a handful of books I keep because I enjoy reading from them from time to time.

Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (and what Alice found there) and Jabberwocky and Hunting of the Snark all in one volume, by Lewis Carroll aka Rev. Charles Dodgson
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Red Dwarf by Grant Naylor, aka Rob Grant & Doug Naylor
Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Boy Scout Handbook (circa 1963), Boy Scouts of America
The Norton Anthology of English Literature, W.W. Norton & Co.
Write Your Own Horoscope, by Joseph F. Goodavage
and a Thai palmistry book, written in Thai and profusely illustrated with line drawings, circa 1976. I used it as a primer for learning to read Thai, with the fringe benefit that I learned a little about palm reading as well.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is on the shelf, not really because some day I may re-read it,  but to remind me that a simpler tale is usually the better tale. And also because of an amusing coincidence. A long-time theater friend/librarian with whom I sometimes exchange books sent it to me at the same time I sent the same edition to her.

Until very recently Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein was up there, but I cheated and listened to the audio book after not being able to remember anything except the martyr scene towards the end when I was talking about the book with a Fan. In college I was very impressed with that scene, laughed out loud as it struck me how many religions' martyrs  he was lampooning. But the audio book reminded me how horribly wordy the whole thing is, and on a second pass that scene was not nearly as powerful. I've learned a lot more about religions and language since college.

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