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

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

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

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

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

I may get it done tomorrow, but maybe not.

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

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

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

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

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

Updated Windows and Evernote.

Plans for tomorrow:
To work after lunch
YOTB rehearsal will be very warm
howeird: (How_Transit_1)
Way behind because work and Little Shop has eaten all my time. And thanks to the way too late rehearsals (a disorganized director who has zero consideration for anyone's time) I did the opening weekend with a cold. Dayquil, Nyquil and extra vitamin C have helped, but it's no fun singing with a scratchy throat and putting out an effort with a fever and runny nose.

Audiences were small-ish but very appreciative. Lots of laughs, major applause. The theater holds about 300, we've been maybe 1/3 full. Enough for critical mass.

Another thing about the director is he either has pretty low standards or lies a lot. He tells us the show is "golden" and has major praise for the incredible talents of the cast and crew. Most of the cast and crew are still in, or just out of childrens' theater. It shows.

On the other hand, I'm not embarrassed to be in it. There is a lot of raw talent, everyone is doing their best.
Yesterday the sun came out, and after staying in bed till noon, I went to Home Despot, bought painting paraphernalia, came home and painted the shed as per the community manager's missive. I should have done that months ago and glad it is done.
This evening after the show I stopped off at the grocery and bought what fixings for chicken soup I didn't have, and some that I did but preferred fresh to frozen. The cauldron is on the stove as I type, an hour into its process of rendering down. I had to siphon off about a quart of liquid, it already tastes pretty good. What is in it, you ask?
Chicken giblets
Chicken legs & thighs
Chicken stock
sliced carrots
sliced celery
sliced and chopped parsnip
sliced and chopped onion
kafir lime leaves
mint leaves
water to cover

The pot is too full, too many legs & thighs, but those should boil down eventually so I can slice in some fungus.

Garbage has been taken out, planning on being in bed by 10.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plans for tomorrow:
If I wake up in time, put the month's collected soda cans out for the homeowners' association monthly drive. 8 am.
10 am be at All Pro Audio to have the new in-dash unit installed.
Use my Clipper card to go to the mall. Hang out at the food court and play on my laptop
If they are done by 1, go to the Sunnyvale Players' set shop and help paint
Bad Movie Night at Bob & Sharon's. I'll bring along a bad movie DVD. 

Turds Day

Mar. 14th, 2014 12:36 am
howeird: (Musknik-Seymour-Future)
Hgl levels are back to reasonable. Yay. Irony is the levels are still too high, but the experimental insulin made me seesaw from record lows to record highs even using the same dosages.

Closed my Capital One card when they started charging interest, but also because they effed up the Target card theft routine by changing my card number and not sending me the new card for almost 3 weeks. Without the new number I had no way to log in with Quicken to see if there were any bogus charges. Of course there weren't. Got a 0% Citi card in the mail today. Took about a week, but Quicken was able to log in with just my online username/password the day I set up the account.

Lots of work at work today, putting the finishing touches on some test steps, then automation team meeting which was mostly not productive because motor mouth again wouldn't stop saying the same thing over and over.

Monitored the news - Ukraine and missing plane on CNN and BBC, but I had to log into the Bangkok Post and the Thai Nation newspapers to get their news. It looks like things are heading for the PM and cabinet to be kicked out for corruption. Again.

Was invited to be nominated to the board of Friends of Thailand, which is all Peace Corps/Thailand alumni, including one former US ambassador to Thailand. Quite an honor. Will know soon.

In computer news, as I mentioned the very affordable 8TB NAS drive which is due to be delivered tomorrow seems to not be NAS at all, but Thunderbolt connected. Thunderbolt is Apple's latest answer to USB 4, and even though it's an Intel platform feature, most PCs, including mine, have no way to use it. So I'll sell that on eBay, and also due to be delivered tomorow is a refurbished Synology 2-bay NAS enclosure and a pair of Hitachi 4TB SATA 3 7200 RPM drives. Total cost < $500 which is about $200 less than a no-name pre-built, and half the price of a Synology pre-built.

Lunchtime I went to Walgreen ISO a foam soda can holder, the solid, non-collapsible kind. They had nothing. Neither did 7-11. Bummer. They usually have them for sports teams. The novelty one I use at work is losing its bottom. Can't find what I want online either. Grrrr.

Had beef chow fun at China Stix, which is now accessible by a long pathway from the piece of new parking lot which has been built four stores away. The whole shopping center is being renovated, they are putting in a Target and a Sprouts and maybe a supermarket. China Stix has had its makeover and looks great except for the chain link fence and the huge dirt yard where their parking lot used to be.

From work I drove straight to the park where rehearsals would be, it was about 80° and the place was packed. I sat in the car for a while with the windows rolled down, playing my Big Number over and over again from the smartphone over bluetooth to the in-dash unit. It sounded great, but I didn't. It's much faster than my brain can tell my mouth what to say, with those awkward lyrics and ninja phrasing.

Moved to a picnic table and studied lines till it was time to go inside the clubhouse. Tonight's rehearsal was fine tuning Act 2, finishing the blocking (we had not done the last scene yet) with the leading man gone and the director filling in for him. The director has played this part before, I think. I first met him when we did Annie back in the 80s, so I know he can act and sing. It took me a while to remember that, though.

I have my first scene, which is short, memorized, but the second scene I am in is a challenge because his staging is way different from what is in the script and every other production of the show. And there are a lot of lines which have to be synced with the music, and the voice of the plant, and the backup chorus which so far has not come in on time ever. But we were missing two of them. And that's another thing. The script calls for three backup singers, he has cast four.

We got through in 2 hours, and then ran it without stopping in 45 minutes, which is close to how long it will run IRL.

Home before 10, barely. Watched some of the TV news, tonight every Bay Area channel, CNN and even The Weather Channel were playhig commercials at the same time, often the same commercial. And lots of them. More than the FCC allowable maximum.

And I am making eggregious typos which speelwrecker is not tagging. I will have to proofread this.

Plans for tomorrow:
Study lines
8 pm performance of Arsenic And Old Lace which three friends are in, at Santa Clara Players fairly close to work.

Two Ning

Jan. 29th, 2014 12:31 am
howeird: (Default)
The piano tech arrived a couple of minutes early, I was on the PC, VPNed into work and actually working.

Tall Hungarian fellow, the first thing he did was claim that tuning it the right way would cost more than buying a new piano. He makes the mistake that I actually play the piano, though he does understand the concept of emotional attachment. No, that's not the phrase. I'll think of the right one and poke it in later. Sentimental value. That's the phrase.

He had sent me his prices, and I knew we were looking at about $300. He way underestimated how well built this relic is, and was sure we would be busting strings right and left at $80 a string. The piano was flat by about 2%. He was afraid that tightening the strings, which are almost all the originals, would break them if he did it all in one fell swoop like all the other piano techs have done for the past 46 years. So I let him do two passes at $45 and an hour each. He also wanted to adjust the action, which is something it needed, but he gave up before he had finished the 5 & 6 octaves. I use 5 a lot, 6 not so much.

I've probably told the sentimental value story before, here it is again )

So that was my day, plinking sounds in the background as I read documents & email for work.

During a break I updated my theater resume, it needed the new address, and was set to print it, but could not find any card stock. Tried photo paper, but it's a 2-sided resume, and the back of Kodak paper doesn't take ink.

I quit working at 5, and headed for Fry's to get some card stock. But they have castrated their stationary department, and had none. So I slogged in rush hour traffic up to Office Depot, and paid way too much for a ream. Used to be able to buy card stock in smaller doses.

Since I was now right across the street from Safeway I went there to stock up on produce and frozen food. Oh my, the eye candy was out in force. The woman in charge of the self check-out is DDG, looked like she ought to be on a ski slope posing for a breath mint commercial. Or chapstick. So beautiful! And many customers were in the "mommy, I want one!" category. Enjoyable trip.

Home, big envelope in the mailbox, turned out to be the docs for the replacement insurance. Fully approved, they included flood insurance for no extra $$, and it's for full replacement cost of the home, not the cheap-o $150k which Allstate had lined up. I dashed off email to Escrow Lady with the details, because insurance for the first 2 years is suppose to be paid out of escrow, and asked who else I need to contact. In theory the old insurance gets canceled as of today because I didn;t fork over the bogus $200 they claimed I owed because the community doesn't have a staff member living here full time.

Printed the theater resume on card stock, printed the audition forms and filled them out.

Dinner was the rest of the Marie C lasagna and some garlic sourdough bread.

Plans for tomorrow:
1-on-1 with the boss, maybe. He moved it to Thursday the last 2 times.
I expect to hear from the director about coming in to audition.  
Maybe set up the telescope on the tripod. It's a VERY solid tripod. Too bad it's a new moon. I should check to see in SJ Astronomy club is getting together for a dark sky night.
howeird: (Default)
Got up a little before 6 for no apparent reason, took my blood sugar and it was an all time low of 53. Dr. howeird prescribed ice cream with sprinkles. Followed by an egg cream.

Usually those hit me at 3 or 4 am, so going back to bed I slept through the alarm at 9:30, woke at about 10, and it was a chore to get out of the house by 12:30 to be in time for the library 1 pm presentation.

At 12:30 the room wasn't open yet, I had my laptop so I went online and ordered two pairs of briefs, which was on my list. Later I realized I had ordered a pair on Amazon while under the influence of sprinkles. It's okay, I can wear them all.

Also later remembered there were shirts in the washer to switch to the dryer.

The library presentation was on the care and feeding of fruit trees in this neck of the woods, by a master gardener who loved the subject and was a very engaging speaker. At the start of the show she ditched the lavalier mike for the hand-held one, under the mistaken impression that the latter was louder. It bit her constantly because she did a lot of gesturing and used her body to show what parts of a tree to prune. Can't hold the mike your mouth and do that at the same time. There was a lot of good info, and even though I didn't get a chance to ask about my lime tree, she gave all the hints I needed.

As I usually do when in the library, I looked at the books on CD section. Decided it was time, and checked out the Basic Vietnamese set. I ripped it to the PC and it's now on the iPod for car listening.

Inspired by the talk, I went to OSH and bought some stuff. It took a lot of walking around and weighing pros and cons, but finally settled on a 14" heavy tecate pot, not one of the tapered one, but one which is 14" diameter from top to bottom. Also got a stand-off to keep it above the clay dish I also bought, and also got the 14" wooden platform on rollers which was on the original list. And generic potting soil.

The hints I got were this:
- I had gotten the roots too wet
- The plastic bucket which the tree is in needs to be replaced by a clay one which breathes, evaporates water and drains better
- No fertilizer is needed, but soil which drains well should replace the moisture-holding stuff now in the pot
- Lime trees are drought-resistant and can stand temps as low as 30°. They survive frost
A huge part of the talk was about the fruit itself, but in the case of my lime tree, those lime are horrible, it is the leaves which are aromatic and yummy in Thai food.

And from the stuff on the ultimate Kaffir Lime web site:
- Find a way to make the air around the tree more humid
- Don't put it in a bigger pot

I was sort of also looking for a bigger tree, but they just had one smaller than mine.
And from another list, looked for a bird feeder, but their prices were ridiculous. $40 for the one I liked best. Did Amazon's scan thing, and found it online for half that. Almost bought bird seed, but will wait till I have the feeder.

Next stop, Northwinds nursery. They had a 3-year-old Kaffir which was rife with diseased and/or insect-chewed leaves, and they wanted $100 for it. Not a big selection of feeders, nothing to buy here.

Final stop, Home Depot. They had 3 trees, all the same as mine. I picked up some better potting soil marked as "quick drainage" and "for citrus". And also bought a plastic deep dish big enough to put under the pot and hold water to create a humidity field.

Home, unloaded everything, found a spot on the end of the driveway which I think gets enough sun, and staged the new stuff there. It was getting chilly and dark so I made a note to do the re-potting tomorrow before football.

And I wasted the rest of the day online, in front of the tube, and making dinner. Twice. Ravioli from frozen in Alfredo from a jar mixed with string cheese. And 2 hours later a grilled cheese sandwich on Health Nut bread with American Singles and very sharp cheddar. Made in an omelet pan with lots of margarine. Nailed it. Crispy golden brown bread, melty cheese.

Rescued the shirts from the dryer and hung them up. Decided to be OCD this time and arrange them from darkest to lightest, all the ones of the same color together, with the Hawaiian styled ones between the solids and the stripeds. I usually just hang them up in whatever random order they came out of the basket.

Thanks to some FB postings from [ profile] scendan, went online to see if the Tech Museum is open Monday, it is, so I think I will hobble the three blocks to the light rail station and take the train there to celebrate MLK's massive contributions to the world of technology, especially his influence on Star Wars. They allow non-flash photography, so I'll bring my 50mm f 1.1 and/or my 35mm f 1.8.

Plans for tomorrow:
Take the lime tree outside, shake the dirt off and re-pot it
Watch the Patriots play the Broncos
Maybe tweet rude remarks about it
Watch the Seahawks play the 49ers. Either way I win, but I have to say that I lean toward Seattle because they have the most beautiful logo in the NFL, and I love their colors. SF has, hands-down, the ugliest logo in the league, and the only place Red and Gold belong is in Chinese New Year parades.
howeird: (Default)
Mostly dull day at work except for one amusement. I asked a hardware engineer and a software engineer if they could find me a piece of hardware which both had worked with so I could check out a bug. S/W thought H/W had it, H/W thought a third engineer had it, who said the lat time he saw it S/W had it. Bottom line, I didn't run that test today.

Did some work for Automation Guy.

Lunch was at Denny's. Traditional Grand Slam.

After work 6 pm appointment at Sassy Nails. I was 5 minutes early. They were 20 minutes late, and halfway through she got up to schmooze with some waiting customers. Didn't get out of there till 7:15. Boo, hiss. And this was the appointment she had me delay a day.

Home, dinner was smoked turkey leg, with a side of green peas smothered in margarine, crushed garlic and thyme. Domino bothered me for turkey all through the meal. Annoying because it's hard to carve those.

After dinner I took the tripod out, figured out how to use the heavy-duty quick-connect on it. Screwed the quick-connect to the bottom of the telescope and mounted it on the tripod. Flop! Unmounted it, and moved the connect up to the front hole in the scope. Much better.

Took it outside to look at the moon, which was huge and right where I thought it was supposed to be. However the telescope kept flopping down, I couldn't keep it aimed. Turns out the tripod is defective, the handle which is supposed to screw in to hold things horizontal didn't work.

Online, looked up my telescope and ordered the tripod which the manufacturer suggests for it. It's also a good photography tripod, so worth the extra $$.

Brought everything back inside and put it away for now.

Nothing in the mailbox tonight.

Did some laundry - whites. Last night two pairs of Levi's arrived, to replace one fraying pair and one pair of Wranglers which are way cheaply built, possibly counterfeit. The new ones are a size apart, but they both fit.

I have been swapping around people I read on LJ, so if you don't see me leaving comments it's just me rotating the crops. One person I had not been reading is back on my list because he/she/it is an entertaining writer, and I had heard rumors of divorce and a sex change operation which I found hard to believe. Turns out some of that was true, some not so much. Also added back someone who used to write way too much. Added because he/she/it has a very scary small world relationship with me of which said person is unaware. And the spouse's name is a variation on one of my sisters' names. But so far I haven't seen any posts. Maybe they went goodbye or flocked their posts.

Plans for tomorrow:
Be lazy
Attend a 1 pm presentation at the library by master gardeners on the care and feeding of fruit trees.
Buy a pot and rolling stand for the lime tree and relocate it outside.
be lazy some more 
howeird: (Default)
In early to work, most of my team was there early except for the two who were out sick. Short team meeting, because we're in a major lull right now. I woulkd have nothing to do except Automation Guy asked me to test some new SNMP scripts, since I'm the expert on that. Took a lot of setup because the engineer who wrote the scripts designed them to only work on the automation server. When I finally got a test run, the results were unreadable because engineer didn't specify the machine which we were collecting SNMP data from, so it made a file merging all data from all machines. I'll have to read up on the command line commands to see if I can fix that.

Bottom line, this should keep me busy all week.

Yesterday's having a guest over for the game meant moving my recliner to the side and the sofa into the center of the livingroom. And the sofa is too low for me. One of the ads during the game was for a Lay-z-Boy clearance sale, and since that's where I bought my recliner about 3 years ago, not on sale, for too much $$, lunchtime I went there in search of a second, similar recliner, but at sale prices.

Every item in the place had a clearance sale tag on it, but prices were $800-$1200. I told the salescreature I expected a sale price on a good-looking push-button recliner to be $400 or so. He had nothing. He showed me two totally gruesome things for $450 (tags said $650). Bailed quickly, went to China China buffet next door for lunch.

Straight home from work, wheeled the garbage and recycle cans back to the end of the driveway and moved the car up a bit. In the mail was a flyer from Allstate encouraging me to get insurance from them. Already have it, thanks. Also in the mail was an envelope inside an envelope. One of my Peace Corps buddies and his wife had tried to mail me a Christmas card on 12/12, and it was returned to sender "unable to forward". I'll be bringing that to the PO to find out why my 12/4 change of address was not honored. I've gotten some stuff forwarded, like from Allstate, sent to the old address. Anyhow, the bounce allowed them to add a thank you note for the calendar. This is the volunteer who was my "next door" neighbor during my second year. We had trained together, ad he had been sent south to a teacher's college which was on the other side of the wall way at the end of the research rubber plantation I worked at. He married his boss, the ceremony was at the local US consulate, and I was there taking photos. We totally lost track of each other until last year, when he did a web search and found my photos.

Came straight home to watch the BCS championship. It was an exciting game, but the redheads gave it away to the redskins in the second half. They had it won, and just stopped tackling.

A Seminoles joke my youngest sister showed me en route to her house.

Dinner was a Marie Callendar country chicken TV dinner. Also been making a dent in the gallon of egg nog left over from NYE. Maybe I'll cook up another batch of pigs in blankets. My Israeli sister calls them cocktail franks. Pigs are not kosher.

She's slowly recovering from her husband's death. It was very sudden, cancer which was caught after it was way too late. Israel has free national health, but it's no good if you don't use it. Anyhow, she is answering all our individual email in one reply-all, which I suppose saves time, but there are only four of us. After her 5 children and 27 grandchildren (it might only be 23, I lost count) went their separate ways after the funeral,  neighbors' teenage daughters have slept over (one a night) so the house wouldn't feel empty. I really don't think she needs that, but she's the psychologist, so...

Anyhow she's about done with that, and is back at work which she supposedly semi-retired from a year ago, but it's good work for her, she translates Hebrew into English for a non-profit educational group. There was a time when she was also fluent in French, German, Yiddish and had a working knowledge of Arabic, I think.

Guilt by association dept: A theater friend posted a birthday note and youtube clip of famous country picker Earl Scruggs. I thought he was on the last Steve Goodman appearance of Austin City Limits which is on Goodman's DVD. So I plugged their names into Youtube, but discovered it was Jethro Burns, of Homer and Jethro who was on that DVD. But it also found a memorial montage of clips of John Prine, Arlo Guthrie, Kris Kristopherson, Goodman's widow, his agent and someone who knew him through Johnny Cash's band. Half an hour, low production values, but very touching and interesting. I've heard many times Arlo's bit about how Goodman's City of New Orleans found its way to him, but Prine says it was originally pitched to Johnny Cash, who said no because he didn't want to be stereotyped as a train singer (Folsom Prison Blues had already established him as one).

I have the DVD, but am not up to meganostalgia right now.

Plans for tomorrow:
Mancini's is supposed to call with an ETA for the new bed Wednesday
Maybe watch another episode of Breaking Bad - Just to see what chemistry lessons they have in store.


Jan. 5th, 2014 10:18 pm
howeird: (Default)

Domino did a lot of yowling last night, I don't know why. I thought she was getting used to the big house. Woke me a few times. And I woke up early.

Took my time getting going, not much to do. I needed produce and TV dinners. The local grocery is no good for those, or anything for that matter, so I went to the Safeway at Rivermark, which is tied for closest. The other is in the opposite direction and is smaller.

The limes were on sale, larger and fresher than Costco's. Ditto the bananas. Got some huge tangelos too. Most of the frozen dinners were on sale, for very misleading prices. Bought some.

Home, unloaded stuff into the fridge/freezer. Watched the end of the morning football game. Wondered if Janice had changed her mind. She showed up 10 minutes late but there was no score, nothing really to rewind for. She's a lot more demonstrative than I am, but at least we root for the same team.

She's very allergic to cats, so of course Domino spent most of the afternoon trying to get past me to her.

49ers were their usual mediocre self, Green Bay hung right in there till the final second. SF won by a field goal.

Next week is Carolina at their home. They beat SF recently, at SF. I think they are the better team, but it depends on whether both teams show up with all players.

Watching the GoDaddy Bowl, but so far have not seen any sponsor commercials. :-(

Plans for tomorrow:
BCS championship

howeird: (Default)
First day back to work since the 24th. Got there at 9:07 (left home at 9:00, took the freeway, which is not practical before 9, and may not be after this weekend). Not much to do, but luckily the guy with the next product's test matrix spreadsheet was in, and he emailed it to me, so I spent most of the day perusing it and comparing things to the specs. Not to bore you, but it's a complex product, and figuring out how to translate the specs into a test plan is going to be a long, challenging process. I'll do some more of that tomorrow.

Gave calendars to boss and the two cow-orkers who were there. Left one on each seat of those who are on vacation. I still have 3 left, so if you didn't get one and want one, send me a snailmail address. First come...

Nails were due for a fill, at 1:20 I phoned for a 2 o'clock appointment, was told there were no more openings, but come at 1:30. I rushed to get there, and the front of the house was empty. The staff was in the back having lunch and the owner was at the bank. I offered to come back at 2, but they said to wait a few minutes. Owner did my nails, and gave her 2 o'clock client to another staff member until she was done with me.

I had been doing some research on sleep apnea and mattresses. This was precipitated a couple of weeks ago when I changed the sheets and saw that my 2-year-old discount mattress was starting to come apart on top in the area I use the most. When I went to flip it, there were two issues: 1) it has no handles and 2) the bottom is not like the top, it is not a sleeping surface it is a box spring contact surface.

All the info I have read on sleep apnea regarding beds had been useless and vague, saying that the mattress doesn't make a predictable difference, it's a personal issue. Everyone is different. But that can't be true, everyone's airway is basically the same, and there are only so many triggers for apnea.

European Sleep Works up in Berkeley has some solid info, they make a bed which they say helps, and an "oxygen pillow" which also helps. But they are hella expensive, too far to get to during work hours, and the only day I could get there would be Saturday. So I penciled in Saturday for a trip there, but meantime looked around other places I know about. Mattress Discounters is out, they sold me the piece of crap I have now. Sleep Train is out, they over-advertise and they have been constantly beating us up with ads begging for $$ for their foster children program. California has a pretty generous pay out to foster parents, so there's some special interest Sleep Train is scamming here. That pretty much left Mancini's Sleepworld as the last name brand local showroom.

I went to the Sunnyvale branch, big showroom, only one staffer. But Kevin knew his stuff, answered my questions, did not try to up-sell or hard sell me, and shared that he has severe sleep apnea, and the reason the sleep apnea sites were vague about mattresses is the real help is to have and adjustable frame which can elevate your head and feet a little bit. He made sure I thoroughly tested the five mattresses which would work with an adjustable frame and were designed for folks like us who get too warm on a standard mattress. And I played with the adjustable frame for a while on a nice mattress. And he found out that the best mattress in the place was due to be replaced by a 2014 model, and got me the floor model at a huge discount, and a new adjustable frame at half off. Checking online, those were good prices, made better by the free delivery/set-up and hauling away the old mattress & frame.

So that will be delivered Wednesday, they will call with a time window on Tuesday evening. Easy enough to work from home.

Home, Domino was perched on the arm of the sofa, not one of her frequent flyer spots. And got some stuff done:
- Moved the officecam to the other side of the room, where it can see me from the back, and Domino's favorite parking spot. This entailed installing a multi-plug outlet, moving the Midi keyboard out of the way, drilling holes and inserting plastic screw thingies, and losing my computer reading glasses.
- Watched the first half of the Sugar Bowl
- Hunted for my glasses. Finally found them on the floor of the office closet where they fell off while I was putting tools away
- Made a TV dinner
- Watched the second half of the Sugar Bowl, but missed an Oklahoma TD where the Tivo had rebooted when I turned off the circuit breaker to install the multi-plug outlet. And it did not add an hour as instructed, so I missed the last 4 minutes.
- Gave Domino her traditional half-can of Fancy Feast. Last night she left half of it over. If she does that again, we go to 1/4 can servings
- Updated my cats page on to reflect the singlehood of Domino and return of Kaan
- Updated my page to reflect the change of Comcast IP address, and added camera. All cams have a guest login of "hacker" with no password.

For another day: check the links on the links pages, and add stuff to

Plans for tomorrow:
Work. Weekly report
howeird: (Party)
But first, how my day went. I slept in, which did not amuse Domino who wanted her morning treats. Procrastinated until about 12:30, went to Home Depot with a list of things I needed for the house, expect to actually to the work tomorrow:
Hummingbird feeders
Brackets to hang them from the porch posts
An indoor bracket to mount somewhere in the kitchen for my 3-tier fruit basket
A fire extinguisher, because the house was supposed to already have one but didn't
Wood screws and anchor screws
did not find the kind of box cutters I wanted. Probably need to get those at Lowe's.

Continued on to Central Expwy and Menlo Park, an hour early for my coffee/movie meetup. As I was walking to Starbucks from the parking lot, a friend in Seattle called who had received a calendar, wanting to know what that metal tube thing was. She was the occupational health nurse at Moffett back when it was still a Navy base, but she and her husband retired up north before AT&T Park was even on the drawing board.

Janice was right on time, we had a short (for us) chat and then walked to the cinema, just in time to be a minute or three after the movie started. Philomena. Oh my, what a story. And so much good acting! Excellent tech, and the flashback 8mm home movie snippets are priceless, a fine example of how a movie can improve upon the book. One thing which threw me is how often the title character makes surprisingly out of character statements and decisions for a thoroughly indoctrinated middle aged Irish Catholic woman.

J invited me to join her and a couple of our mutual friends for dinner, but I was wanting to stay up for midnight, which she doesn't do, so I went home, planning to stop at the nearby mega-Safeway for egg nog. They were completely out. In the spaces which were labeled for 7 varieties, here were 186 quarts of house brand vanilla cinnamon flavored, and that was all.

I did get the rest of my short shopping list, turkey franks, pizza dough, ice cream, Ritz crackers and cheese in a can. The first two for making pigs in blankets, which is my traditional NYE snack.

Obsessed, I detoured to Piazzi's, and got a quart of their over-priced Bud's egg nog, which is all they had. Not satisfied with that, I turned off the freeway at the first of my two possible exits and turned right instead of left to go to Lucky's, which had insanely cheap half gallons of both regular and light egg nog, so I bought 2 regular. The egg nog is really an excuse to use up some of the bulk nutmeg which I bought a couple of years ago and have barely made a dent in.

Home, unloaded the car, gave Domino her treats, took a nap until 9:30, gave her her half can of Fancy Feast, poured a glass of nog, opened the crackers and cheese and finished a roll of ritzes and shared some canned cheese with the cat. Finally cleared all the flotsum off the kitchen island and made the pigs n blankets, put them in the oven, and watched some Bones on TV. Which I rarely do, but everything else on was total crap.

Flipped channels, settled on KRON 4 which is now a local all-news channel except when they are playing failed syndicated junk and paid misinfomercials, because they claimed to have live from SF complete with fireworks from three angles. Unfortunately they chose their three least attractive, non-talented staff to host, outside in the cold. So I also had a button set for Ryan Seacrest, and managed to catch Miley Cyrus' act, including her finale, a touching rendition of Wrecking Ball. Not just the song, but the fact that the audience sang along so loud she was able to hold out her mike to catch that for a few words. One thing filk has taught me is few things are as rewarding for a songwriter as hearing the audience know all the words.

Pigs in blankets turned out excellent, I only ate half (they are great leftovers) and set KRON to record while I watched the NYC ball drop. Toasted the new year with egg nog.

Then played back the KRON recording, and saw spectacular fireworks with craptastic sound track, I would rather hear the bang of the explosions. So I muted the TV and did hear explosions - there was probably a fireworks show on my end of the bay, but where the house is located I can't see. May have been from the Hindu temple across the street, they are big on blowing things up.

Plans for tomorrow:
One last morning to sleep late
Put up hummingbird feeders
Hang the fruit basket
Install two more towel racks in the main bathroom
Find a lace for the fire extinguisher
Drink more egg nog
howeird: (Inigo Montoya)
Today was a company day off. They give us two days for Turkey, Jesus and Janus. My plan for a while was The Big Shed Project.

It was amended a little because mornings have been cold, but afternoons have been warm. So this morning I hit the matinée showing of Frozen in 3D, which has been getting rave reviews.

It started out charming, with some enjoyable music, but soon degenerated into a very violent plot with forgettable songs and a frenetic score to match the heart-stopping action.

Idina Menzel, who was the green witch in Broadway's Wicked played the ice princess. This is an actress with a gorgeous singing voice, but they kept her to mostly dialog and much of it shouting. OTOH,  Kristen Bell plays the younger princess and sings quite a bit, including a duet with Prince Hans, voiced by Santino Fontana. I can find no evidence of either of them singing professionally before. They did well, but the songs didn't require much range.

Olaf the snowman is ridiculous, and a great attraction for the kiddies, but I would not have brought a child to this very violent movie.

As is my habit, I stayed through the 10 minutes of credits for the Easter egg. It was there, but it was a throw-away. However, there is a disclaimer cleverly hidden in the credits toward the end which was worth the wait.

Speaking of movies, my biggest disappointments this week are that two movies which I otherwise would have loved to see are starring men who both do not fit the part, and can't act. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was a childhood favorite book, and the movie starring Danny Kaye was pretty good. It would be spectacular re-made with modern technology and a Mitty who was of Kaye's calibre. But Ben Stiller? Gag me. And Saving Mr. Banks would have been fun if someone with enough acting chops to make us believe he is Walt Disney was playing opposite the extraordinary Emma Thompson. But Tom Hanks? Save me.
By the time the film was done, it was in the 60s outside so instead of catching The Hobbit 2: Spare The Air Day, I went to The Milk Pail and spent about $65 on cheeses. And that's even though they didn't have my favorite French sheep cheese. Some cheeses for snacking, some for fondue.

Then home, to do The Shed Project™.

This has been on the drawing board since I moved in. The house has a storage shed out at the end of the driveway. The previous owner had shelves installed left, right and back wall. The shelves on the right were too deep to get the door open wide enough - you had to shove stuff inside, close the door and then move the stuff where you wanted it. The shelves at the back made the space too short for my bike. And they were too close together vertically to hold any of my stuff.

So the Project was:
- Completely empty the shed
- Remove all the shelves on the left and back and one from the left and stack them off to the side
- Knock off all the shelf holders from those (this needed my heavy plumber's wrench. Well, a hammer really but I was too lazy to get it out of the closet)
- Put the bike in facing the door
- Stack all the tubs of stuff against the back wall
- Put all the camping gear on the left-hand shelves
- Add musical instruments, music stands, the big cooler and the microwave

It took about 2 hours. But now it's done, yay!

Parked myself in front of the TV and played the currently recording Tivo of the Hawaii Bowl. Boise State got clobbered early by the Beavers, but managed to raise their score to something less embarrassing at the end. I think Oregon State's coach gave them some help at the end to try to make a game of it.

Also watched some of The Long Island Medium marathon. One of the best cold readers on the planet, but she's strident and I can only take so much of her.

Dinner was duck soup. Yes, I know it is Marxist. But I had in the freezer taking up too much space the ribcage and other assorted bones from the duck I roasted the weekend I moved in. Threw those into a pot, covered with water, added a little salt, a tablespoon of crushed garlic, a couple of twists from the pepper mill, some bay leaves and a few leaves from my Kaffir lime tree. Then a tablespoon each of split peas and barley, and two of dried lima beans. Simmered for 90 minutes. The whole house smelled ducky. And it was yummy. Could have used more salt and barley. After two bowls of it, there is enough left for another meal.

After I write this I am running a bath in the lovely deep "garden style" tub because I am sore all over from the shed project.

Plans for tomorrow:
RMA a couple of Amazon purchases
See another movie


Dec. 22nd, 2013 10:10 pm
howeird: (Weird Load)
Got my short but time-consuming to-do list done. Slept in until 9, though it took several tries. Woke up about every 20 minutes between then and 7.

Unpacked the two boxes of Video cassettes and DVDs, and found one more box to unpack, it was labeled "Mom's albums" so I thought it was part of the stash of snapshots in a box I don't intend to open. But it turned out to be a set of photo albums which belonged on the big black rack with the LPs, 78s and such.

The flattened boxes more than filled the back seat, had to put a couple in the front seat and three in the trunk. Totally forgot the one on the driveway which the movers had bleached. I had not flattened it yet, and it was all closed with plastic tape, which is a no-no for recycling. I'll get it later.

Had the cardboard recycling dumpsters to myself, so it went quickly.

Back to the house, packed the trunk with the old ugly kitchen curtains and livingroom shades, and the short roll of Astroturf which used to go under the two litterboxes. Took those to Goodwill.

Stopped at OSH and bought a pair of garden hose nozzles (there are three hoses at the house, only one had a working nozzle) and an aerator/sprayer for the kitchen faucet. Previous owner had a Pur unit on there which did the aeration, but I hate those things.

Between my left knee acting up again (thanks to all the box hauling) and my right elbow still ouch-ing, decided t was time to try the massage place next to the nails place. Good call. Standard price scheme, and DDG northern Chinese woman who spoke reasonably good English, and walked on my back with her hands. There was actually a pair of rails for back walking, but she knelt next to me and pushed, hard. Good solid job, I shall return.

Stopped off at Target for bath rugs, parking was insane - full of vultures in the main garage, but plenty of spaces in the second garage which is the same distance to the doors. Go figure. Got to the entrance, the line for the cash registers went from the last register all the way to the other end of the store. There was one young man in the long empty corridor perpendicular to the registers, directing people to the next available register. It was even more insane than the parking, so I returned my cart and left.

Home, went online, ordered a pair of bath rugs at, but when I tried to check out it gave me a 404 error. Tried three times, FAIL. Probably will try Penny's later.

Watched football games for the rest of the evening. Stated with a bowl of popcorn, graduated to Marie Calendar beef dinner. Thin mint ice cream FTW.

Plans for tomorrow:
Watch what will probably be the last game played at Candlestick park, which should have been torn down in 1989 after the quake. Laugh at the phony nostalgia stories.
howeird: (Hawaiin Shirt)
Morning project - re-imaged all four Squeezeboxes to UE. Another day of Waiting at work, the feared all-hands meeting was not attended by nearly all hands. I think vacations account for some, but not most. It was better than expected, for once they talked engineering instead of marketingpseak, except for one bozoid salesperson in the back of the room asking inane questions. He sounded like a plant. But there were no slides to show, just two execs talking off the cuff, and doing a fine job of it.

Though the room was set up for snacks, none appeared.

I was hugely pissed off, because the big exec started the meeting by praising the vast amounts of Christmas decorations. He's from Massachusetts, where they actually do have snowmen and mostly Christian staff. Note to exec: quantity is not always commendable.

Went for Pho with Automation Guy, the meeting spanned lunchtime. Grrrr.

Spent the rest of the day reading the specs, and having the most amusing mini-dreams when I dozed off for a few seconds at a time.

Stopped at 7-11 for cash, thinking I might get a massage after the manicure, but I ended up waiting a bit more than an hour for my nails to be done (did not know they were appointment-only, but they had one opening at 7 which turned out to be 7:20). Sassy Nails. New place not far from work, friendlier and more organized than Michelle's. It will be my new regular place.

Next stop, Costco, which I thought was open till 10, but turns out it closes at 8:30, so I had 15 minutes to go to all four corners of the store collecting stuff on my list. Could not find the loperamide or booze-filled dark chocolate bottle-ettes, forgot the string cheese, but got everything else. $140.

Home, 9 pm, fed myself a thing of cream of chicken soup which has been the in fridge for about a year. Domino liked the bits of chicken. Watched the finale of The Voice, which for a change picked the only winner possible, as they had narrowed it down to two mediocre singers and a ringer. First week when I heard her, I knew it had to be her. Not really fair because she was a well-established pro before she entered the contest.

Lady Gaga and Christina Aguilara did a duet, which showed that Gaga is flashy with a decent voice, Christina is a diva with some flash.

In local news, the house is getting there. This weekend will feature another cardboard recycling run, and if it doesn't rain I'll empty the shed. pull out most of the shelves, and stack things back in to make much better use of the space. The shelves are too deep and prevent the inward-opening door from opening all the way. Have to get inside and close the door to do any work in there, which is rude because there's no light. Or I don't remember one.

Plans for tomorrow:
howeird: (Default)
Morning, threw all the crap off of the left-hand bathroom sink counter into one of the cabinets. Transferred all my morning routine stuff from the right sink to the left sink. Backstory - the lights above the right sink don't work. Shifted the space heater to the right side, nearer the shower.

Took down the unsprung livingroom shades and replaced them with new ones. Now I have shades which can be pulled all the way down or all the way up. 

Printed out the RMA labels for the defective webcam and put those and the cam into the trunk of the car. Moved the car way up so the rear door was easily accessed.

Bullet biting time: Sorted all the boxes into piles on the kitchen floor (they had been against the wall, across the floor, etc.). One wardrobe, piles of dishpack, medium, glasspack, small. Carried the file boxes from the floor in the office to the laundry room.

Took about an hour and part of my left knee to load all the kitchen boxes largest-first onto the rear seat. Tossed the file boxes into the trunk. All of this closing the house door behind me with each armload, because Domino wanted out.

Took a short break to watch a wee bit of the Army-Navy game.

Drove to the recycle center, spent 20 minutes unloading the boxes into a couple of big recycle dumpsters.

Next stop, Petco, got a case of Fancy Feast. Took a peek into the (closed) Humane Society branch, no sign of Kaan, I'm sure he was adopted quickly. In the same center is my CU, deposited a refund check from the movers. Stopped in at Great Clips, then Safeway for a can of Rot Guard.

Looked for drawers at Pep Boys, but they didn't have what I was looking for.

Off to Target, found the drawers I was looking for, and changed check-out lines 4 times before finding one with only 2 people ahead of me with only moderate amounts of purchases. Still took 15 minutes. I messaged Janice I would be late for our 3:30.

I was about 7 minutes late, thanks to Target being on a 45mph road a straight shot to the freeway. We caught up as usual, the last time this year because she has Commitments™. Her alarm clock was an Asian woman who joined us for just enough time to say hi, as they went off to a party. Very special, because Janice makes it a point to not introduce me to her single female friends if she can help it.

Home, noticed the white board was crooked, fixed that. Moved my calendar to the kitchen. Took down the ugly brown kitchen curtains and replaced them with white ones with blue trim. Much nicer.

Watched some high school championship football while having calamari rings, fish sticks and mixed veggies for dinner.

Repositioned the lime tree so it didn't block the webcam.

Spent way too much time troubleshooting the 4 internet radios. I think Logitech's server was down this morning, but I also wasn't seeing local wi-fi connections. Things came up when I rebooted the router.

Popped about 200 air-filled shipping filler cells from both my sister and Amazon, and flattened those boxes.

Installed a curtain rod and hung a curtain in the guest bedroom, also moved the toilet maintenance gear from the livingroom there. Master bedroom already has its set.

Domino still yowls if she loses track of where I am. Very annoying.

On the bright side, she has found several places to curl up.

 And she sits on my lap, the arm of the recliner, the top of the recliner more than ever.

My final project for the day was hanging the Star Trek transporter. Found a good place for it by the front door.

Plans for tomorrow:
Sleep in (again)
Fold and put away T-shirts
Set up the electronic keyboard on its stand in the office
Play it by ear. Maybe see a movie. Maybe watch football

Day of Mon

Dec. 9th, 2013 11:16 pm
howeird: (Default)
Was up on time, got to work early because I forgot to sit down at the PC. It's been on all day, which I don't like because it eats power and heats the room quite a bit. I blame the chaos which is moving for throwing off my routine. And Domino following me around yelling at me. If I'm home but out of her sight, she might do her "I am so alooooooone!" yowl. Tres annoying.

Team meeting was another case of the guy who can't shut up giving a 5-minute presentation for 45 minutes. He and another team member had done a good job with a difficult project, and it only needed one Excel spreadsheet to explain it.

Not much to do except read the spec doc. I'm up to about page 70 out of 335.

Lunch was at Round Table, once again I forgot that a personal pizza is the size I can eat in one sitting. The small pizza is significantly more expensive for not significantly more food. The leftovers are in the trunk of the car, where it is currently 33°.

Home after work to grab the Lowe's coupon, then to Lowe's for a wi-fi-ready electronic thermostat. Also spent way too much time not finding a replacement for the kitchen track light fixture. I want something which takes fluorescents, which screw in not those bayonet mounts. I think I'll call an electrician to handle that. Need one to figure out why the 2nd bathroom light bank isn't lighting.

Watched some of the football game, it was interesting to see Da Bears clobber Dallas. Apparently this week more points were scored in the NFL than ever before. This despite worse weather in many placed than ever this time of year. I don't know which Thursday's points go into that stat.

Did some minimal packing in the office, most of it stuff which the movers should have put inside the closet but left in a closed garment box.They were supposed to take all the garment boxes with them.

A few minutes ago I figured out where the file cabinet will go. I'll move it there after I finish this, and maybe unload the file boxes into it.

Cut up the leftover duck. Had enough for dinner tonight + 3 more, plus bones & such for soup. All in the freezer until I get to them. Domino loves duck.

Still sore. Left knee is complaining again.

Blew off the Computer History Museum event tonight. Wanted to do the thermostat bit and watch football at home.

Plans for tomorrow:
Unpack some more
howeird: (Default)
This morning's adventures started with gassing up the car, expecting price gouging on this travel-fest of a weekend, but it was the same price as last fill-up. Onward to the new place, with an automotive dolly (the 4-wheeled thing which mechanics lie on to slide under a car). I used my super-human strength to lift the 6-foot-tall pressboard cabinet onto it, and started to wheel it through the archway into the kitchen, which is when I discovered it is taller than the archway. Even without being on a dolly. So I walked it down to the floor, pushed it through and then walked it up against the kitchen wall, shoving it into place, making sure it cleared the archway on the right and the kitchen light switch was still accessible on the left.

The space which it occupied was originally the place to hang clothing as it came out of the dryer. It will soon be the place where the litter box goes.

Then I measured the width of the spring-loaded window shade which I thought I needed two of. 45".  Took a look at the blue patch which I painted on top of the Affirmation, in full light I could no longer see the lettering. I guess those extra two coats did the trick. No need to buy thicker paint. Tossed the roller and pan and put the small paint can in one of the laundry room cabinets. 

Jotted down the model number of the TV Which Must Go Away. Looked it up online and it's a 43-inch rear-projection HD-ready TV with the matching "stand not included". 

End of Round 1 for today

Next, the hunt for window shades and other stuff.

Lowe's, returned 2 of the 3 keypad locks, and the two dummy door knobs. They had brought in a series of those lane-marker ribbon stands which made one line perpendicular to the registers, but there were not nearly enough customers or cashiers to justify it. All it did was obstruct.

Next stop, Home Despot. They had the door knobs I wanted, and a re-keying kit which was supposed to work with the brand of locks in the house. Also got four Scripto BBQ lighters on sale, they did not have the kind of window shades I wanted. On impulse I walked the cart through the outdoor plants section, and found a little Kiffir lime tree, just the right size. The leaves are a very strong and delicious spice. The fruit not so much.

Then Target. They didn't have any window shades either. Nor did OSH.

Somewhere in there the movers called to confirm the date & time, and let me know I had 3 days to cancel or change without a penalty.

Back to the apartment for some relax time with Domino.

And then to the house, armed with a page from the furnace service guide which has a better picture of the pilot light location than is on the furnace. The Scripto lighter got it first try, and the heater kicked in about 3 minutes after I tweaked the thermostat. The fan is NOISY.  While I was having a gas, I tested the oven, and it works. Pilot light was on, or electric spark-lit. The burners have the sparker.

Set the temps on the fridge and its freezer, they were a bit low. Discovered the unit has an ice maker section, but it doesn't have the mechanism, just the plastic piece. Two ice cube trays can fit into the pull-out tray, I think.

Next chore was re-mounting the window shade. Turns out it just needed to be wound up. Put the left side into the holder and rolled up the shade with the right side loose, then inserted the right side into the holder. Tedious, but it worked.

The livingroom door was the next victim. Turns out the re-key device only works on a certain model of Kwikset locks, which these were not.

Removed the knobs with the keyhole/lock and replaced it with a pair of keyless knobs. Easy, because they made it so the screws stay attached. The kitchen door was more of a challenge because the deadbolt was set too high for the hole in the door frame, so first I had to remove the keyed knob/lock and move the deadbolt to its place. Lining up the screw holes was a summer festival. Took about an hour. But putting in the dummy knobs was easy, having done it once, and not caring that it doesn't latch all the way as long as the deadbolt works.


Looked for a place to put the lime tree. We're not allowed to plant anything in the ground, and the most obvious place was on the wide cement strip on the left side of the house, but the two water hoses are at the opposite corners. So it's next to the driveway, on the right, where there is a narrow strip which used to have shrubbery but now just has square spaces filled with bark. One of these days I will get a large wooden tub or some such and some mulch and transplant the tree, but for now it's fine the way it is.

Done for the nonce, time for a Starbucks visit. The place was almost deserted. Everyone must be out shopping. Or just out. Checked online and found Ender's Game was playing at the local AMC in an hour. I figured there would be crowds for Hunger Games and a blockbuster Bollywood film, and Frozen and I would have the theater to myself. Almost. Movie start is listed for 5:55, at 10 minutes before it was about 10% full, I got a good seat in the back row center. But by the time the trailers were done half an hour later, we were up to about 80%.

Title Mash-ups:
Ender's Hunger Game of Thrones
Frozen Thor
Philomena The Book Thief

Mini-review with possible spoilers under the cut:

Technically it is one of the best films I have seen in a long time. Superior camera work all around. The most amazing thing about most of the special effects is they did not look special. They looked real. Makeup followed the first rule of makeup - make it look like no one is wearing any. Ben Kingsley's Maori face tattoo looked real. Same comment about audio. And about the acting. In the whole movie I missed maybe 2 words. The only gripe I have about the audio is they pushed the bass a bit too much when the rockets blasted off, but it wasn't distorted, just loud. Costumes are mostly jumpsuits, no challenge there but well done. The battle suits were also understated but made sense.

This was not the Ender's Game I read in college. They changed the name of the enemy. I don't remember as much happening on Earth in the book as there is in the movie. I don't remember as much bullying of Ender. And they left out his real name, and how he really came to be called Ender. One thing they did get right was they didn't telegraph that the final simulation was the for real war.

And I don't remember the final scenes being on a former Bad Guys planet. And I'm pretty sure the final scene in the movie is actually the the start of the sequel, Speaker For The Dead. Which I hope to Hugo is not made into a movie, because the rest of the series is a self-deprecation suckfest.  

But despite any changes, it worked as well as or better than the original.

Home, dinner was a pair of sausages, a can of corn with lotsa spices plus margarine, sauerkraut and grey poop-on. While watching Restaurant Stakeout. 

Plans for tomorrow:
Try on my suit jackets, and the ones which don't fit go to Goodwill. Also cull my costumes. I'll keep the train engineer and one set of scrubs, but Elvis is leaving the building. That one will be dumpstered because I made the mistake of gluing on some very fine gold glitter, and it gets everywhere.
Pull out all my suitcases, keep my favorite one and the rest go to Goodwill
If I am feeling energetic, box up my camping equipment and my dishes and coffee cup collection.
It's about time to start boxing up my files. Need to hit an office supply store for boxes. U-Haul's are horrible. Also need some packing paper.

Fry Day

Nov. 8th, 2013 11:09 pm
howeird: (Domino_scanner)
Up at 7, out of bed in a few minutes, played on the computer a little and did my usual ad hoc filling of the lunch box. Was at work at about 9, I think.

There was a lot of work to do, this project I'm on. My weekly report took an hour to write.

Lunchtime the plan was to go to Starbucks and install the VPN software. There was no parking at the first one, but plenty of parking and seating at the big one a couple of miles down El Camino.

Tried the orange-mango smoothie. Not bad, but not good enough to try again.

The VPN software did not work on my laptop. I was on wi-fi, it was expecting me to be hard-wired. And when I rebooted, just in case that was the issue, it showed me two login icons, identical. That ate up half an hour as I tried everything reasonable to get it working. I may call support on Monday for ideas. Most of us have laptops as our company PCs, it has to be something they have seen before.

Safeway after work, because they have better produce than Lucky's. And better Klondike bar flavors.

picked up lactose-free chocolate milk, which will make making egg creams real simple. And some regular lactose-free milk.  And half a gallon of egg nog. Wanted a pumpkin pie, but the ones they were selling were way too big.

Home, installed Quicken 2014, but it didn't work with my check printer program and Quicken *still* hasn't come up with a check printing widget which lets you build your own background design. So I uninstalled it and re-installed 2013. Check Designer will eventually update their program, maybe in 3-4 months.

Plans for tomorrow:

Morning - visit the movers' and maybe pick up some picture boxes and something for the glass tumblers and coffee cups. And maybe a roll of packing paper. Maybe.
1 pm Sunnyvale Library is holding a class on low-water-usage plants which grow well in this climate, taught by master gardeners.  I'll also return the Fragile Things CD set and donate a bunch of books to the friends of the library drop-off.
howeird: (Default)
And now it is after dinner. My diabetes doctor reminded me that it's all in the timing, especially with the new 5x insulin, so whatever evils I am fighting on the Internet, dinner's at 8, insulin at 9. We'll see how long that lasts. I set up reminders on Google calendar, only to discover my phone is no longer syncing with that. Damned AT&T. Have to tell the phone to sync manually. I'll have to check with Google on why that changed all of a sudden.

Found it - Samsung's fault - cleverly hidden in the Data Usage section when you hit the menu button. Boo, Hiss.

Okay, about today. Did all my to-dos with too much time to spare.

- 7-11 picked up an amazon locker delivery of socks allegedly designed to provide better ventillation
- OSH, bought a rubber mat, a squeegee and a pack of AAA batteries
- Sports Authority, found 1 lb and 2 lb mini dumbbells. Looked at shoes, found some nice Asics, but $150? No thanks.
- UPS, piked up a Zappos package with $50 shoes
- Petco, confirmed they give vaccinations tomorrow at 2

Home, tried on the shoes, they fit okay. Kaan helped me tie them. Knot. These are the first shoes with laces he has seen on me. All my others are slip-on or Velcro.

Watched bits of the Stanford game. Poorly played by both sides. Stanford won but not by a lot. Then on another channel the UW game came on, horrible display of inaccuracy by the QB. It was a rout by halftime, final score I see was 53-24. Urp.

Went out on the patio to read, Domino curled up on her chair for a while, but Kaan stayed inside, on my computer chair. He also camped out in the pet carrier, which is good. He's in there now. Should be easy to get him in there for the trip to Petco tomorrow.

Watched an episode of Elementary. I am liking the direction they are taking it. Nuked my remaining The Mentalist episodes & season pass. A shame. Solid acting, pretty good writing, but the producers have decided to obsess on something they should have ended in Season One.

In the mail today were two items: The US Mint's holiday catalog. and a Truth in Lending letter from the CU which is loaning me the $$ for the house. It gave my credit score, from the same source I got mine from 4 days before, and it was 23 points less. Still excellent, but that's effed up. So I went online like they said, and got my free credit report, but it didn't include the score. 16 pages of other stuff, though.

Mfg rep emailed last night that Mon & Tues there were inspections scheduled on the house. During some of my down time this afternoon I read some of the park's monthly magazine, it was 60% canned content, 20% local info from the community association, and 20% ads. The ads were very useful - the park isn't allowed to recommend service providers, but the magazine was full of ads for everything from maid service to re-leveling contractors.

Some friends are in Zombie Prom, a musical opening November Fools' Day at Sunnyvale community theater, I bought a ticket online for opening night.

Plans for tomorrow:
Car wash
Rabies shot for Kaan
Coffee with Janice before she runs off to India.

Am I Blue?

Oct. 9th, 2013 12:06 am
howeird: (Default)
After the latest Windows update the PC bluescreened. Had to go to safe mode/no network and do a system restore to last week. Seems to be working now. Turned off automatic updates.

Boring day at work, the only useful thing I did was write up a doc on all the new company classes I took, and email it to the team.

Lunchtime I took the non-freeway route from work to the mfg home, then back via Sizzler. Round trip was about 27 minutes. Might have been faster if I remembered that the new place is virtual north** of the current place.

Email from the rep claiming I sent CU statements for July and September, not August. I was sure I had sent all three, so captured them at work and emailed them to her.

Home pulled up the email, and sure enough I had missed the August one. Weird because it is in the folder on the desktop where I've been keeping all the paperwork.

Looked up the listing online, Redfin says it's pending sale. Yay! Sent the MLS# to Baltimore sister who works for a financial giant, and has access to that. She claims it's the one she chose for me. I didn't know she was looking at specific listings. But it's good she has come around. Her impression was "manufactured home" was a euphemism for "trailer" and "trash".  I looked at listings near Baltmore, hoping to show her she was wrong about that, but everything within 50 miles is $42k mobile dwellings, half a notch up from an RV, in that they are towed not driven.

Got the mail, no check from the broker yet. 50-50 chance it would be there today, 90% tomorrow. I'll want to walk it into the CU office when I get it. That's for the deposit and  closing costs. The mutual fund already sold and the funds are listed as available - that's for the downpayment. I won't need a check for that for a while yet.

Peninsulaires voice lesson #5 started as a clusterbleep, sort of. Whoever was supposed to conduct the warmups was not there on time, so we got a guy who had done it before, but wasn't very good at it, but after 5 minutes he had to go to rehearsals and pulled a chorus member off the risers who had no clue what to do. But there were enough officials around whose brains were pickable, so it was only half a fail.

Next up was the lesson, given by the same guy who has been doing it. Most of the time was spent reviewing the first 4 lessons, which gave him very little time to add anything new. As usual, he kept us standing way too long after each singing round. When he was done, another guy, who had been leading the singing of an actual song all these weeks (Grand Old Flag) got us up on the risers and put us all in the sections our voices matched, but unlike a real chorus, he had the bases on one end, the baritones on the other and tenors & leads in the middle. Most choruses like to go from high to low. He did a little bit better job this time of teaching the individual parts, but they are completely non-intuitive except for the lead part (which is the melody we all learned in grade school or in my case on late night TV from Jimmy Cagney). We sung it about six times, and it sounded horrible. Partly because it was in a key way too high.

I bailed at the break, not interested in seeing the highly annoying chorus sing two numbers.

From there to Safeway, I needed ice cream and frozen dinners. But first, this one had a CU ATM, so I deposited two checks.

Home, tried to fit the frozen stuff into the freezer compartment, but had to pull out the curried chicken (3 servings in separate freezer bags), and one frozen dinner, and had a second one for dinner. The Klondike bars had to be released from their boxes and stuck in any available nook and cranny.

Trivia: my uncle Dave was born in 1922. 91 years old.

Plans for tomorrow:

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