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 http://howeird.com/cats.html to reflect the singlehood of Domino and return of Kaan
- Updated my http://howeird.com/webcams.html 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 howeird.com links pages, and add stuff to http://howeird.com/grammar.html

Plans for tomorrow:
Work. Weekly report
???
howeird: (Default)
Started the day as a total slacker. Woke up at 8, not feeling rested at all. Did not do anything on my to-do list in the morning. The recycle trip was nixed because it came to my notice that there was one more room to unpack, and it would be better to do that before making a recycle run.

Decided to attack the most difficult thing first. Found the right circuit breaker on the first try, uninstalled the ugly halogen spotlight 3-lamp fixture over the sink and replaced it with a much more attractive 3-normal-bulb fixture. It took a bit of doing because I needed to remove most of the old mounting hardware and use what came with the new light, but in retrospect it was all straightforward. It worked, nothing caught fire, nothing exploded.

Found college games to watch, found myself falling asleep in the recliner. Domino found a new place to perch - on my tummy. She is so skinny, I can feel the bones of her spine when I pet her. I'm chalking it up to old age, because she isn't hyper (which she would be if it was thyroid relapse). I finally took a nap in bed, had some weird dreams.

Back to the recliner, but remembered the baguette and brie, so I cut tiny bread slices and watched the Wazoo-CO State game while scarfing up cheesy bread. Between the cheese and the bread, there were several trips to the guest bathroom, and popped some anti-lactose pills & immodium. Tasty meal, though.

Was dilemmaed about the result of the WSU game. They had it sewn up, but made a series of stupid decisions and lost to a last minute field goal. Normally I root against the UW's nemesis, but I'm told that when playing outside the league one roots for one's state.

Also watched Tulane fail to grab victory from the jaws of defeat in about the same way. Maybe they will be demoted to Onelane.

It was fun to see San Diego State thoroughly mash Buffalo, and funny that it was the Idaho Famous Potato Bowl. They played on Boise's blue field.

Dinner was going to be TV, but it's a day when I have time to cook, so I boiled some water and heated up some ravioli. The gas range is not as good with the heavy pot as I expected it to be. But it cools down a lot quicker when you turn it off.

Bit the bullet, went into the 3rd BR and started unpacking. All the boxes were labeled by which bookcase/shelf/rack, and in what order. Unpacking is the reverse order from packing. There were some things that were out of order due to size, but for the most part it was load from the bottom up.

So now I have unpacked:

Shelves 1:
Photo and slide albums
Shelves 2:
Small electronics (mini-camcorder, GPS, mini shortwave radio)
Misc bookshelf things (tarot cards, NatGeo DNA kit, loose photos in a ziplock bag, jewelry holder shaped like a Chinese temple, HP 5-year pin, etc.)
Books
More books
String books
Thailand scrapbooks and journals and chotchka
Big rack:
Parental stuff:
- 78s
- LPs
- Framed family photos
- Dad's 8mm camera
- Parental diplomas
My calendars
Small racks 1&2:
CDs

Yet to be done:
Small rack 3, which will be DVDs and videotapes and beanie babies. And maybe large CD collections
There is a pile of clothes, towels, pillows, hats and fanny packs which were used for packing material. They will go into the closet.


Even more annoying than the seasonal ads on the radio are the PSAs. There are a total of three which are being played over and over, sometimes two times in a row, ad nauseum. Two are by young undocumented aliens claiming they deserve to be full citizens. One if from a boy who claims to be Thai, which is a hoot because he may be the only undocumented one in the country. The third is an annoying boy asking question after question (Why is the sky blue? How do you hit a baseball? - crap like that) and not soon enough a voice-over says you don't have to be a foster parent to help a foster child. If that's the foster child, the help would be strategically applied duct tape. We have programs in place for foster children, PSAs calling for additional help are out of line. As for undocumented children, their parents need to solve that problem.

Plans for tomorrow:
Finish unpacking
recycle
watch the Seahawks game it it's on local TV
see a movie? Frozen is on the list.


howeird: (OMGWTFBBQ)
Why am I still awake at 11:30 pm? I don't know. I had a dream last night that I had insomnia, and found myself awake at 4:30 am looking up Dodge Dart info on my cell phone. :-(

Never did get back to sleep, thanks, and this may seem ironic or something worse but it isn't meant to be anything except honest, to Kaan hogging 3/4 of the bed and then both cats deserting me.

My PC powers up automatically at 6:30 every morning. When I heard the tune which says Windows has started, I headed for the computer room. No, wait, I only thought about doing that, I actually waited until all the apartment lights automatically power on at 7 am. The tune, by the way, is the first few bars of Go The Distance from Hercules (a French Horn fanfare of great majesty and pomp). 

Went to KBB.com (Kelly Bluebook) and then Edmunds.com and punched in for info on the Dodge Dart. What got me to the Dart is I realized this search for The Best Nav System In Cars was being done backwards. My favorite map system is Garmin, so I searched for car companies partnered with Garmin. Chrysler showed up first, but they really still are your grandfather's car, so I looked at Dodge, and even the lowly Dart can be equipped with Garmin nav with voice recognition. Voice recog extends to all the controls in the in-dash unit, including the phone, radio, iPod, CD/DVD, air conditioning and midwifery.

I sent in a "give me a quote" request, and as has happened almost every time so far, the Internet Salescreature responded later that morning with "when can I call you?" as if I had not spent half an hour selecting what stuff I wanted in the car. I replied with what I wanted, and said I would drop by after work.

Skip to after work, walked into a dealership with all the staff sitting around a table chatting with each other, no customers in sight. This is the only dealership in Silicon Valley, they represent Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep and Ram. It's also the oldest building, which was once a fast food place. They found the internet guy for me, he only remembered I wanted a blue car. I had to tell him I wanted mostly to demo the voice/nav system. It took a while for him to find one, and when he did, it was broken (it kept showing "loading voice recognition....please wait"). Another 5 minutes and he found one which worked, sort of. It had the very pretty Garmin maps, and he wanted to punch everything into the touch screen, but I hit the voice switch and tried some commands. They display the 12 possible commands and syntax on the screen, so it should be easy.

It wasn't.

It rarely understood what I said. Even when I was saying line numbers as in "please choose the line number of the item you want". The biggest WTF was when I said "Tune 88.5 FM" and it gave me a list of the 5 nearest pizza places.

The car itself is a heavy beastie, even with a 6-speed automatic it only gets 19 MPG city. Horrible for a compact. It's just barely easy enough to get into and out of. Sight lines are okay. Rear camera has color-coded zone lines. It probably would be clearer if they took the protective plastic off the lens. Price tag with all the features I wanted was about the same as a hybrid. Stupid design - the odometer is analog, tiny, and off to the right behind the wheel.

During the demo the rep took a personal call, switched to a dialect of Spanish which I actually was able to understand some of. Not good form, dude. In San Jose you can't expect a customer, even a Gringo, to not know Spanish. He did have the sense to step outside before completing the drug deal.

Anyway, the Dart is a non-starter.

Back to my day. Got to work at about 9, played some more with the automation scripting language and discovered some stuff which did not work as advertised. And some that did. Corp sent us email pointing to the PTO entry screen, but it would not let me log in.

Lunch was at Sizzler. I love the wings they have at the salad bar. And the clam chowder.

Got email from Fremont Chevy's Internet guy, inviting me to take a test drive of the Cruze. I replied with "How about Sunday?" because there is no way to get to Fremont before they close at 8. I figure I can spend some time at Ardenwood Farm with my camera, and head up to Chevy after the farm closes at 4.

Which reminds me, I need to figure out a way to get my Giants' ticket from [livejournal.com profile] dave_gallaher, since I will be going to a friend's indie movie premiere instead of BASFA Monday night. The game is Friday night.

Stopped by Safeway on the way home from Dodge, lots of people from foreign lands with more children than they had hands to keep from wandering off. Nearly ran 3 of them over with my cart. Darwin would have approved.

Dinner was microwave frozen stuff, and sensor-reheated garlic/cheese bread. I am liking this replacement replacement microwave.


Plans for tomorrow:
 
Get some sleep
Research which cars I could buy which the Kenwood will fit into. Corolla seems like a good bet.
Maybe take one more look at the Ford Focus/ C-Max?
Coffee in PA with Janice
Miss Saigon at PA Players
howeird: (Default)
One of the things I dislike about the new apartment is it is a 2-block walk to the other side of the complex to get the mail, and it usually isn't worth the trip. Especially today, in the rain, with nothing but a Christmas ad.

Worked from home this morning because I woke up at the crack of OMG with a splitting headache, which I think actually stared when I discovered at about 2:30 am that after I told the new Squeezebox radio in the kitchen to synchronize with the not as new one in the bedroom, when I turned on the one in the bedroom at low volume to the easy-to-sleep-to Thai easy listening station, the one in the kitchen would tune to the same station, at its last known volume which was LOUDER. And using the remote to turn it off also turned off the one in the bedroom, so I had to walk out to the kitchen and turn off the power switch. And back in the bedroom, un-synced them.

Tried to get back to sleep after taking 2 Anacin, but Domino thought it was snack time, and my subconscious thought it was time to remember last night's lap dance at the strip club. Her stage name is
Isis,
totally wrong for a petite blonde with next to zero knowledge of Egyptian deities.

I finally dragged myself out of bed and did the morning rituals, including treats for the feline, went to the PC and sent email to the team that I would be working from home. And went back to bed.

I did eventually remote into my work PC and get a lot of cut and paste work done and at noon-ish had lunch and then went to the office and finished the job. And then ran some tests which I could also have done from home, but are easier without the extra layer of network lag. A new engineer came by for some clues on how to use an encryption feature I've become an expert with, which I did have to be in the office to do. 

Ordered an electric fondue pot on amazon, using some of my Discover card cash back bonus.

Just as I was getting ready to leave for the weekend, my calendar popped up a reminder that I needed to write my weekly report, which would be longer than usual because it had to cover the last 2 weeks.

Wanted to go straight home and watch the Stanford game, but needed some stuff at Safeway. I can't believe they don't carry windshield washer fluid anymore. And I forgot the whipped cream. But I did find little flasks of Kirschwasser and some nice goat brie.

Am pissed at George Takei. I pre-ordered his new book, which means a downloaded pdf, but they password protected it in the stupidest way - every time you open the file you need to enter the password. It is gobbledygook mixed case and digits and not easy to type into the Kindle. And no way to store it on the Kindle to cut and paste. So that's one book I will not be reading.

Watched the last quarter of the Stanford game, which was very exciting, apparently much more so than the previous 3 quarters, and they won, which sends them to the Rose Bowl. Good thing, because it's kind of redundant to send UCLA there.

Plans for tomorrow:
Surgical strike Shopping: A different Safeway for whipped cream and French onion soup mix, Trader Joe's for fondue, maybe Bevmo for a real bottle of Kirschwasser, and maybe Milk Pail for sheep brie. It's a long drive, but there's a TJ and Bevmo in that shopping center. And Safeway is across the street. And an auto parts store across the other street.

Sci-fi readers/writers meetup in the evening, if they announce a location.

To Sleep

Nov. 15th, 2012 12:49 am
howeird: (Default)
They let me out of the sleep clinic at about a quarter to 6 am, and it was VERY cold outside, 45 or so. That woke me up. Drove home, the apartment still smelled like chicken soup, so I took out a container and heated a bowl of it for breakfast. Yum! But first I took a shower to get the glops of gel out of my hair, chest and legs. Took my Hgl reading, it was 94 (I had not eaten much for dinner) and I also took my meds.

Was borderline thinking of going to work, but common sense set in, and I went to bed. Domino is completely freaking out. I tell her when I'm going to be gone overnight, but she never listens.

One nice thing about the new apt is the bedroom window is about half as wide as the one in the old apt, so the blackout curtains really do black out 99% of the light. And they are a lovely caramel colored silk.

It was superb to be on my new soft mattress with the fairly new queen sized faux down pillows and 400 count sheets and a lovely mid weight comforter. I slept till the lights went on at 7, along with KOMO. Listened to the Typical Seattle weather and traffic reports, turned off the radio & lights and slept till 9:30.

Was at work by 10:30, not much to do, still waiting for a new build.

Lunch was at Denny's I wanted to see the hobbit menu. I had the hobbit hole breakfast with an side of shire sausage.

Tasted far better than it looked. Those two things in the foreground are English muffins with sunny-side-up eggs cooked into them and topped with cheese. The hash browns are covered in cheddar and bacon. The sausage was pretty good, too.

Back to no-work, then straight home.

Looked at the Boskone art invite, and they will let me buy only one panel, which means 10 photos of the size I displayed at Chicon7. So I signed up for one panel, also bought a full membership (I won't be going, but they ought to require at least a supporting membership for mail-in artists, but they don't offer a supporting membership). I looked through my Worldcon pix, and picked out 6 which are fannish, added two from a previous show, and ordered several of the Endeavor piggyback event from Costco, of which I will pick two, or maybe three - and ditch an older NASA Ames photo from the older set, and have those mounted. Plenty of time, the con is in February. Boston is not a place I want to be in mid-winter.

Got the CD of my knee's X-ray and MRI images, but they are in a format which need to be viewed from a special piece of software, also on the CD. Not intuitive. At first I thought there was one image from each, but there's a "play" button, and maybe a dozen MRI shots from two orientations. They had to be print-screened and slapped into Paint to be useful.

It came with a 6-page write up which is much more detailed than what the doctor provided. I posted some of those on FB as works of modern art. I like this one the best:


My WWII veteran uncle in NYC emailed that he and my aunt were able to get to DC this weekend for a reunion of the Vietnam era version of his 39th combat infantry battalion, which had invited him. He is one of very few remaining WWII members, and they treated him like the hero he is. He was surprised and touched at the very warm reception, and he said my aunt got the same from the wives. I love how he describes the final day sitting in the hotel lobby chatting and answering questions like he was holding court. Every time Uncle opens his mouth he's holding court, I can visualize the scene clearly. :-)

Plans for tomorrow:
Work
Treat myself to a birthday dinner. Lobster, probably.

 

Nailed it

Nov. 12th, 2012 10:19 pm
howeird: (Default)
Got to work early, 8 am for the 9 am team meeting so I would have time to talk to the IRS. Their machine said they were closed for the holiday. We should have been, too, but I guess they make up for it with a 2-day turkey day.

Set up my personal laptop for VPN, which I thought I had done last summer. I guess not. Or maybe they changed the routine when Google bought us.

Lotsa work at work, again. Some automation clean-up, and some verifying fixed bugs, low-hanging fruit department.

Lunchtime the plan was to go to the new nails place next to the new Wing Stop, and get my nails done, but if they were booked, go have lunch at WS. Nail place said come back in 45 minutes so I had lunch (WS is hella slow, 15 minutes for 8 wings with no orders ahead of me). Back to the nails place and the nice lady got out a bowl of soapy water and a soft brush and got the WS sauce off my finger tips.


She did a good job, quicker than most places because she skipped a couple of unnecessary buffs and files. I will return. It's much closer to work than Satan Row, less expensive, and the waiting area is comfortable enough. And there are plenty of places to eat nearby. I'm not all that thrilled with WS, they do not offer wings with no sauce. FAIL.

Back to work, got a call from the sleep clinic I'd gone to last time, we made an appointment for 11/27 to do it again with a CPAP machine in the mix.

Home, turned MNF on right away, turned off the crock pot which had filled the apartment with chickeny soupy aromatic goodness, unloaded the dishwasher, checked email on my phone and there were two messages which needed answering so I fired up the PC.

At halftime I decanted the chicken gizzard soup into 4 1-quart containers. It was just barely cooled off enough to not melt the containers. One fit into the freezer, the others are in the fridge. It needs some rice or barley, I think. Simple recipe behind the cut: )

The football game was torture, it was raining pretty hard, but that went away by the 2nd half. Very close game, Steelers won it with an interception/FG in overtime.

Dinner was turkey pot pie.

Plans for tomorrow:

Work
Home early for a shower and then off to the nostril appliance sleep study at Kaiser. (overnight)
howeird: (Danvers Hookers)
Up way late (I have the lights set to all turn off at 1:30 am, and I was at the PC when that happened. I think I was in bed by 2:30) so I slept way in, 9:30 I was still asleep when the alarm went off. Watched some football on the bedroom TV, got up & drugged & dressed & played on the PC.

Lunch was franks & beans, a traditional football watching meal. Bought a pile of beef franks on my last Costco trip,  and after years of turkey franks these are too salty and harsh. I'll stick to using them in pasta and omelets.

Domino was way more attentive to my lunch than she needed to be, at one point jumping up on the arm of the recliner to get a better look.

Stripped the bed and threw the bedding into the washer. Looked for a T-shirt to wear, which is when I stumbled upon all the Thai shirts I thought were lost in the mail. Before making the bed with another set of sheets, I pulled off the mattress pad, and yes, that's what was turning the comfortable mattress into something too firm. Also started a load in the dishwasher.

I popped my Brigadoon OBC CD into the PC and tried to learn to music I was sent for callbacks, but the tune is all over the place - it's a jig - and it starts way higher and I think in a different key than what comes before. Glad I was not interested in this part. I also went over the bit from the script they sent, for a different character. It's a lovely quirky part, but he doesn't sing. At. All. I don't enjoy playing a non-singing part in a musical. I think for this one I'd rather be in the ensemble.

So, 2 pm rolled around, time to start making my way to the car. I got to the rehearsal hall 5 minutes before my 2:25 scheduled call, but they were running late, and it was a good half hour before my turn. The posted schedule on the green room wall said I would read first, then there was another group reading another scene, and then I sing.

There were three of us going for the non-singing part, and I think I was 2nd best. They had us read against the two male leads (there were 3 sets of those also), and then the director told us he wanted the character to be more energetic & a bit quirky, so try it again y'all. I may have done best in the round, but #1 was good too, he just chose a different quirky.

After that I sat through 5x2 readings of the strangest scene in the play - the young stranger would rather sleep than be seduced by the town slut. Three of the women who were trying for that part would not get a "no" from me.

So, enter the accompanist, and it seems I am the only one called back for Sandy the candy man. I am totally lost trying to pull the first note out of thin air, and almost as lost following the tune. So the music director comes over to me and sings it with me a few times, gives some clues, and has me sing it  a couple of times by myself. I get the impression he really wants my voice in his chorus (which is what Sandy does after the first Big Number). We go way back, he was director of Pirates of Penzance when this group was strictly G&S, back in 2004. But as I said ensemble would suit me fine.

It was fun, especially since I didn't care if I got a major part.

Plugged Starbucks into the GPS and was reminded there was one less than a mile away I'd been meaning to try. It's in a shopping plaza which is half Costco and half Staples-plus-small stuff. It was not easy to get to, there is no street entrance on that side, you have to come from the other side and drive through Staples' parking lot. I stopped off at Staples first, and got a box of calendar mailer envelopes. Then saw that Starbucks was closed Sundays. :-(

So, went to the one which is on the way home, and sat on an uncomfortable stool of a couple of hours because that's how long it took on their overloaded wi-fi to install the company version of anti-virus and its 9 updates.

Next stop, Safeway, which had a special on chicken stock, which reminded me I have two pounds of gizzards in the freezer, taking up needed space, waiting to made into soup. Also got the bullion cubes for work and the Klondike bars which were on my list, and some Stoufer's lasagna for dinner. And some other frozen meals.

On my way home, saw the produce place where I usually buy pickling cukes, and realized I had no veggies for the soup. So I got parsnip, carrots, celery, onion and garlic.

Home, turned on the football game, hauled out the crock pot, pre-heated the oven for the lasagna, put grocs away. Pulled out the Cuisinart and sliced up the veggies, then pulled up a stool and peeled 2 heads of garlic while the gizzards defrosted in the microwave.

Finally got to the recliner in time for the miserably rainy 4th quarter.

Had half the "feeds 6" lasagna, again with Domino's eyeballs on it. After I was done I gave her the plate to lick, but she wasn't interested.

Stirred the crock pot to get the meat distributed and the slices unstuck from each other.

Also, mounted my NOLA art on the livingroom walls.

And here I am now. Whew.


Plans for tomorrow:
9 am team meeting
get my nails done
MNF
Unload the dryer & dishwasher
howeird: (Default)
Just did something I should have done years ago: got my sheet music, music books and lyrics sheets separated out. This stared as a hunt for the music for Edelweiss from The Sound of Music which it turns out I do not have. So much for using it at auditions tomorrow.

The morning started too early. I decided to go back to bed for an hour after the 7 am alarm, an hour being plenty of time to get ready for the 9 am earliest possible mattress delivery. I was up and prepped and dressed by 8:15. The truck arrived at 8:30.

They had not trouble with my request to haul away all the old stuff, including the ugly broken headboard. They were done in 10 minutes. I made the bed before I remembered I had left Domino locked in the office (the litterbox it there, but not food & water).  She was parked in her usual spot for when I'm on the PC:


It's also her fave spot to sun herself.

SInce I had gone to bed late and gotten up early I decided to try out the new bed, after going online and seeing that the talk I wanted to go to at Convolution was not till 4 pm. It takes 45 minutes to get to the convention hotel from my place on a weekend. Weekday is more like 90, since it is one exit from SFO.

Managed to get some sleep, but the mattress is a lot more firm that the one in the showroom, and I don't think it is really the model they had in the sleep clinic. I'll give it a few more days before hunting for a softer one. Posturepedic has three models, and I am not sure which one the sleep center had. It's also possible my mattress cover is the culprit. I got up to work on the PC for a bit, and the fixit guy came to collect his blower. This meant finding something to wear in a hurry. I also had him look at the toilets, he agreed they are not doing the job.

On the road a little after 3, but the parking garage was big, the walk to the registration desk was long and there were no signs, and the registration setup was for a convention which was only expecting one walk-in every 10 minutes. So I got to the talk with 3 minutes to spare.

It was worth it. [livejournal.com profile] kproche is an excellent speaker, he had understandable Powerpoint slides, and had a backup plan for when he found out that the convention's program rooms had no internet connection. The talk was 90 minutes (I was thinking 60) and it could have gone longer. Somewhere late in the talk some ringer came in who started asking questions he already knew the answers to. Annoying. I asked a couple of stupid questions, and got smart answers. Bottom line: I learned stuff.

There were no panels/talks after 6, and the only place in the hotel serving food was the overcrowded, noisy bar. I sat under an aircon vent, the only seat available, and was eventually served a pretty good fish & chips with garlic fries while watching USC not quite be a match for Oregon.

The only party advertised was the Klingon Dark Hole, which I went to for about 15 minutes. There were only two places to sit, and those were taken. Small room. I saw a tweet from [livejournal.com profile] johno which got me making the 2-mile hike to the pool pavilion for the Doctor Who themed burlesque show.  It was packed, I found a seat by the back door. The good news is there were a series of very clever striptease skits which all had a legitimate Whovian hook. The bad news (YMMV) is all the performers were plus+-sized women, well beyond Rubenesque, which I do not find attractive. The rest of the audience loved it, though.

I left to go to the masked ball, on the opposite side of the hotel, scheduled for 9 pm, but at 9:15 no one was there, there was no music, no nothing. Everyone must have been @ the burlesque show. So I paid the exorbitant parking fee and drove home.

This con is an attempt to salvage the fandom which Baycon has managed to alienate. I think it was a good first try, but they really need to find a 3-day weekend for it, get a Big Name or two as guests of honor, and fix some of the newbie mistakes like lack of signage, under-equipped/understaffed registration desk, too many panels crammed into too short a time frame, and insisting the hotel keep their café open for dinner. Oh yeah, and fix the wi-fi in the events areas.

Home, I watched some college football, gave Domino her whipped cream treat which she barfed a few minutes later, played on FB and wrote this.

Plans for tomorrow:
Shop for see-though drawers of shelves or racks to fit in a 3-foot-wide space in the bedroom so I can finally empty some boxes of things like sweats, linens and electricals which had a home in the old apartment but not here.
Identify  & Practice my audition piece
Audition
Meet Janice for coffee
Maybe something after
howeird: (Default)
ADD strikes again. Reading my email there was a reminder to bring my theater resume to auditions Sunday, which meant adding the last two shows I was in, tweaking the photo and printing it. Done. Strange but true, the last show I did for this theater group is not listed on their history archive.

Work was busy, more automation stuff, two bugs to revisit, a new employee to send some internal software to, and some heavy duty packet chasing.

Lunchtime I picked up the RMA car alarm remote, they sent a new-in-the-box one. Getting it out of the box took more time for the tech than pairing it to the car.

Next stop was only a few doors up the block, Mattress Discounters, which is practically across the street from its two biggest competitors. Tried three of the Sealy Posturepedics, found the one which felt like the one at the sleep clinic, and before I even asked, he dropped the price $150 for the queen mattress and box springs, and also gave me a deal on a new frame (just the basic one, but I think I've had the one I have been using for about 20 years). This replaces a 15-year-old mattress which was wonderful when I got it, but no longer.

It didn't really matter which of the 3 places I bought it, they all have a best price guarantee. Sleep Train's commercials annoy me, they are everywhere and everywhen. I hate it when they make the radio talent do the commercials, with their train whistle pipe. And the name - what on earth is the connection between sleeping and taking the train? Mancini's Sleep World also over-advertises, and they were out of stock on the one I wanted when I checked online.

I looked into Costco, but they charge extra for hauling away the old mattress, and for the model I wanted they charged extra for the box springs, and the frame is sold separately.

Anyway, the way MD does it, they call from their dispatch center the same evening to say what 2-hour window they will arrive, so all I knew was Saturday.

More work at work, then off to Palo Alto for Stanford Theater's showing of the original 1920's version of Phantom of the Opera, with Lon Chaney. Along the way Mattress Discounters called, my delivery will be somewhere between 9 am and 11 am. Excellent! I headed for my secret parking lot, all 5 floors were filled solid, and it was so much fun waiting for people to turn around their SUVs and Urban Attack Vehicles in the most awkward places. That ate about 15 minutes. I parked across the street at the CalTrain lot, which meant buying a $4 ticket 2 blocks away. When I got to the theater the line was half a block long, which is fine because it probably went around the block at the time I'd planned to be there. This theater I'm not a senior, but it's not very expensive.

I found a seat in the balcony, one with leg room - the second section from the bottom, with an aisle in front of me. Never again. The number of people walking in and out during the show was obscene.

This theater usually begins with an organ concert, so when the organist stopped playing after his signature opening number and turned around to chat, I was puzzled. He gave a complete history of not just the print we were going to see, but all the prints ever made (another of which will be shown over the weekend), and how he got his first shot at playing a theater organ at college by organizing a Halloween showing of this film. Then he turned around, the organ lowered into the pit, and I got un-puzzled when he started to play the accompaniment. Dennis James is his name, and he played straight through, no stops, no intermission, for about 90 minutes. The print was a hodgepodge of splices of various quality, apparently there is no existing original print intact, but it was pretty good. It would have been better with the first 40 minutes, where they establish the relationship between the mystery voice and the soprano. Anyhow, standing ovation, loud applause. Worth full price.

I am by now starving, and I have always wanted to try the Peninsula Creamery, which is open late and probably older than I am. There is no place to sit, because 1/4 of the place has been reserved for a middle school drama troupe, and it's a popular place without that. After about 5 minutes a spot opens up at the counter, I read the very large menu, decide what I want, and wait. After 10 minutes of none of the staff even looking at me, I am fed up with being ignored and having my back to all the Sweet Young Things in the main seating area, so I leave. By this time the reserved section has been filled to overflowing, so I don't feel guilty, they have plenty of other customers. Some other time, then.

I go across the street to a new place called Thaifoon, it looks like they are closing soon, I ask the waitress in Thai when they close, and she asks in English if I want to see the menu. I'm 90% sure she is Thai, so I just say "no" and walk on by. Every place I go to is either closing in half an hour, closed, or not real food. Finally I remember the Cheesecake Factory waaaaaaaaay down University, they are open till midnight or 1 on Fridays. Fast service, my only gripe is it is so dark in there I need to use my cell phone "flashlight" app to read the menu. I am across the room from the bar, and between me and the bar TVs is eye candy. Lots of it. Especially right in front of me is a strawberry blonde, green-eyed petite woman having drinks with a female friend. Lovely view.

I had the combo shrimp scampi/Steak Diane, neither of which were exactly what I think of when someone mentions those dishes, but they were both delicious. Had the caramel pecan turtle cheesecake for dessert which was excellent except for the stale swirl of chocolate fudge on top half the size of the piece of cake. Service was okay, but looking at how far she had to trot to get to her tables from the kitchen, I gave her a big tip.

Back to the car, the alleged jazz group which was at the plaza was breaking up for the night. When I passed by on the way to the theater it sounded like 11 people with musical instruments they had just seen for the first time today, each playing their own tune in their own key and without anything identifiable as rhythm. This is a major reason I don't like jazz. It gets sloppy. In fact, sloppy gets high marks most of the time. I enjoy playing jazz because I'm a sloppy player, but I don't enjoy listening to it. There are exceptions.

Home, give Domino her whipped cream and open up a new package of dry treats for her. She still yells at me. I shift a lot of boxes and some furniture into other rooms so there is a better path for the bed.

Way past time for bed. I set the alarm for 7 so I will have time to shower & shave before they are due. I can take a nap after they leave.

Plans for tomorrow:
Up early
Mattress
Nap
Maybe go to Convolutions for the afternoon & parties
Figure out what music I'll audition with. Practice it.
Fall back
howeird: (Dr. Howeird)
I thought it was twice as far, probably because the new apartment is a lot closer. But not that much closer. Anyhow, I was at the sleep clinic an hour early. Which gave me time to relax in a very comfortable bedroom in a lovely leather chair and read my Kindle. I think it's something from the same author as Water For Elephants, but I can't remember. It is very well written, and has the same excellent character development.

There was also a questionnaire, the whole first page was a notice that I accept that if my insurance doesn't cover the service their attorneys are required to remove one kidney and their choice of fingers on my left hand. Since this is via my HMO and is prepaid, they really should have left that page off. The next two pages were asking what Dread Diseases I have and what medications I am taking for them. And the final page was in 30-point type, with checkboxes for allergies to latex, vinyl, rubber and fetish clothing. I only had to initial that one, the others had to be signed.

The tech was a pretty woman named Rochelle, and we had a lovely chat while she was organizing the Rig Of 1,000 Wires, and slapping gel-coated contacts onto various parts of my anatomy. I was surprised by some of them, such as the pair which went on my legs. One on the calf and one on the quads. A pair for each side. The ones for the right side had red wires, which gave me a chance to tell her how that's a sailing thing - "Red on the right returning". When you come into the harbor, there are red marker buoys and green ones,  with the red ones marking the right side of the channel. Okay, starboard. The wires for the left leg were not green, which kind of watered down the analogy.

There was a band to go around my tummy and another for my chest, a contact at th corner of each eye, and a vinyl tube to shove into my nose which had a useless metal prong in front which got in the way when I tried to sip a cup of water and take my meds.

The rig was about 8" long and 5" wide, in a carrying bag with a shoulder strap, and this attached to the monitor with a single coax-width snap-in/snap-out cable. It was hung on the headboard and I was told to lie down on the queen-sized bed and  she went through about 10 minutes of monitor-checking exercises with me, like hold my breath for 20 seconds, blink each eye 5 times, move one leg then the other, and a couple of other things I forget.

The bed was very comfortable. I asked what Rochelle thought about my taking the Ambien which the doctor had prescribed, she said to try for an hour without it. She said it would totally knock me out. With all the wires and the oxygen sensor on my index finger it was hard to get comfortable, and also this was 2 hours before my normal bed time, but after an hour I felt like sleep was a distinct possibility, and decided to make a restroom run and try for real. Rochelle was in the room in a flash to help me figure out the disconnect routine, and helped me rec-connect when I was done.

In half an hour I was asleep, and though I woke up maybe 6 times during the night only once was to take a leak, twice to hydrate. Two times I woke up speaking the last lines of th dream I was coming out of, and I remember one of those was "Well, that's cute!". I'm pretty sure the comment was about a clever way to use all 5 battery-backed up outlets on my new UPS. I also know I dreamed about Rochelle. And why not? She is pretty, has a nice figure, very intelligent and laughs at my jokes. Even the one where I pointed out that to me she was New Rochelle.

I was fast asleep when she came in to kick me out. 6:20 am. They told me to expect to be out the door at 6, but I was happy for the extra sleep because it was not a night of restful repose. After she unhooked me, hanging each wire on a custom rack on the wall as she removed them from me, she handed me a washcloth to get the gel off the arms and legs, but there was a slab of gel across the back of my hair which needed a shower. And then there was another questionnaire, mostly asking how many times I thought I woke up and how much less well I slept than I do at home.

Before I left she helped me find the make and model of the mattress - I'll be trading my 1987 Sears special for a Sealy Posturepedic Real Soon Now. I will not be buying it from Sleep Train, their ads have annoyed me for decades. And not Costco, they don't provide a bed frame and sometimes not box springs either, and they charge extra to haul away the old one. I'll be doing some shopping this weekend, probably.

So, home right about 7 am, Domino was waiting at the door. Undressed, showered, took my meds and packed snacks. And off to work early.
howeird: (Default)

Going to bed early backfired. That low blood sugar episode drained me a lot, and also churned my stomach a bit. Had to duck out of a team meeting to use the facilities.

Early morning, 8:30 tutorial by a good presenter on HEVC, the next video format. It will replace MPEG-4, and be called MPEG-H. The stats show it will carry the same amount of video on half the bandwidth. This means real HD on your phone (if you can stand looking at an image that small). It also uses a much more complicated set of tricks for correcting errors, which means a smoother, sharper image.

10 am team meeting, then I worked on some more automation (Automation Guy showed me a new trick which let me automate one more test).

Lunchtime I went home and took a nap.

Stayed at work till 6, home and did some unboxing (got the last kitchen box done - it had my kitchen knife set, more Mason jars than I thought I owned, and the blender. Watched the Jets play a professional football team until halftime, then went to BASFA. It was a fun meeting, not too crowded but with some new people and lots of the usual suspects. I handed off my Playstation DVDs to the VP, to whom I had donated the PS2 about a year ago for use in a convention suite he helps run. Just one more thing I forgot I had, which showed up while packing.

The best (IMHO) community theater choreographer in town announced he will be director/choreographer for Lyric Theatre's Brigadoon, auditions are next month.  We were in TheatreWorks' Peter Pan together in the 80's when he was still in Palo Alto Children's Theater. Music director is a fellow who directed me in Pirates of Penzance there many years ago, and he was great too.  I guess I'll try out. This is a show with a lot of older men with low voices. I'll have to watch it to refresh my memory.


Plans for tomorrow:
Work
Dr appt to get a second opinion on my knee pain. I'm not buying the arthritis diagnosis as the whole reason.
More unboxing, but maybe some hanging out at Starbucks too.

howeird: (Anything Goes)
Survived work, got a ride from the one cow-orker who drove and did not have family errands to pick up the car. The brakes were still "next visit" away from needing work, but I had them done anyway. Only one pair. Thanks to the speed bumps, it seriusly needed the alignment I'd asked for. And as a bonus cashectomy, the timing belt was cracked. The battery tested good, which is nice since it was just installed a couple of weeks ago. Sunnyvale Toyota has the slowest cashiers on the planet, but other than that this trip was the best I've had there.

I was still feeling a bit dopey, so instead of going straight home I stopped off at Best Buy and Stereobase, both on the way, and was disappointed that neither of them had much in stock, and Stereobase didn't want to sell me a new alarm system because I have the one they use in their cars. I see why their Yelp revues are either 1 star or 5 star - the place is a dump, hard to park at, poorly stocked, but they all speak English and seem to know what they are doing. They suggested I buy something online and bring it to them to install. Sounds like a plan, maybe.

Home, a little after 6, got undressed and crashed. Slept for an hour, then another hour. Got dressed, gave Domino her whipped cream allowance, and drove to the nearest Starbucks. Almost went to Yo Yo Sushi for dinner, but didn't bring my Kindle. I'll have something when I get home. There's a lot of frozen home made chicken soup, and it's time to start emptying the freezer. The fridge is already almost empty.

Not much eye candy here tonight. But there is *some*. Air con is way too high. It's only 69 degrees outside, they could turn it off any time.

Have been exchanging email with the show staff, and it looks like they may just take me off the balcony the two times I am blocked there. We'll see tomorrow night. I don't like the initial message from the director to "talk to the AD", when it should have said "safety first".

Plans for tonight: online shopping
Plans for tomorrow:
Work
Rehearsals
howeird: (How_photog-viewfinder)
Is what it felt like. Team meeting at work, boss is back from Thailand. Closed one feature request, tested a new feature which was buggy in the previous build, the thing which was wrong was fixed in the new build, but they broke something else (less severe). So one giant leap forward and a micro step back.

Lunchtime was Costco for gas, refill inkjet cartridges (or buy new ones) and p/up Worldcon prints. Got gas, but they don't refill the cartridges I need and don't sell them either. Picked up the prints, was suspicious when both auto-corrected and non were in the same envelope. Got them back to work and discovered they had made a booboo and forgot to turn off auto-correct on three prints, which made two of them useless and one not quite as good as I wanted. Instead of going back to hassle them I just ordered them from the other Costco, to be picked up after work. After 7 pm, actually. That meant no BASFA.

Had time to drive down to Great America and take a peek at the 49ers stadium construction in high gear. Four big orange cranes barely fit on the site. Lunch at Togo's nearby, then back to work.

Not much to do, so I read some specs.

Home, took a nap, picked up the three prints at Costco in MV, then drove to Aaron Brothers in Svale and had to explain all over again what I wanted because the fellow I talked to last time was not there. The nice woman understood just fine, came up with the same price. Something I forgot to ask last time was if they shipped, but they don't. Not a big deal, I need to send by UPS with pre-paid return, and I think I have a box from the last move. If not I'm sure UPS will help with that.

Home, dinner was corned beef and stuffing. Domino liked the corned beef till it dried out. Replacement soda siphon arrived, and is working just fine. Same brand as the last one. Email from Amazon said the other brand was out of stock, so got only one not two.

Watched some Olympics, but this FF for hours is getting old. And Tivo's list of what's in each program is not always correct. I think I'll switch to BBC online or Youtube to see what I want. So far none of the boxing matches have featured actual boxing. Have yet to see any women's gymnastics except floor routines. And very few US team sports. At Togo's they had the USA-Hungary women's water polo, but they apparently left the horses behind. The TV display was broken, so we only saw the USA score. :-(

No rehearsal tomorrow night. Not sure what I'll do.

No plans for tomorrow except work.
howeird: (Default)
Up till almost 4 am, almost plotzed at work at 4 pm but was woken up by needing to do some brain-engaged writing.
Lunchtime, picked up a pair of Netgear plug-n-play wifi-N repeaters. Fast food for lunch because, well, time.
Home, installed the repeaters but they did not seem to be repeating. Open box units, probably were set up for someone else's network. Screw it, I needed to crash.

Tried to get to sleep, Domino did her spynx thing next to me. That was about 6:30, last look at the clock I remember was 7:30. Woke up at a little before 11. Got dressed, drove to Denny's for dinner. Excellent service for a change. No wi-fi there, so finished reading Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself and switched to Slave Girl of Gor when I was done.

Back home, found the setup guide for the repeaters which was missing from the boxes. One by one reset them, paired them with the router, fired up the Ultrabook because my main PC does not have wireless and setup needed a PC which would connect to the repeater by wireless. The wizard is a little out of order, but in about 15 minutes I had them both set up with unique SSID names, and the same login and password, and was able to connect to each of them. Tivo, unfortunately, at 1 am locked me out of network setup because there's a software upgrade coming at 2 am. Stupid, it only takes 5 minutes to change the network settings, and the update might fail with the current setup. I did get the blueray player set up, and played an Amazon Prime video, it was a much better connection. Put one in the bedroom, and hooked up the squeezebox radio to it. Much better signal, but it showed that the intermittent play from Thailand's Fung Fung Fung station is not due to my network. Bummer. I get other stations from Thailand which are more reliable, but they have too many loud commercials. One thing about Thai radio commercials is they either sound like ads for a relaxing spa treatment or they sound like ads for a monster truck rally. Often the ones which sound like ads for monster truck rallies are ads for a relaxing spa treatment. :-(  

Spent a lot of $ today. Also bought a replacement connector for my camera's GPS unit (they have improved it by making a flex curled cord instead of the straight one which keeps popping out). Cord was $12, express shipping from HK $30. Non-express would take a month. Bought an iPod 6th gen on eBay, now that two 5th gens have crapped out intermittently on the car audio system. I'm blaming the battery. Also bought a battery replacement kit for the 5th gen. Both of those will probably go on eBay "for parts".  Also plopped some change into my Discover card to keep me below the limit. It's a low limit, but 0% interest. If I keep rotating money through it, I get cash back. My Chase card started charging interest (it had a 0 balance but a late submission from Kaiser for $10 cost $11.09) so I put that card away.

Bought some Safeway Select 78% chocolate the other day, and it's pretty good. I'd say 7 out of 10.

Plans for later today:
Use my free Starbucks drink card, and take my netbook there for upgrades
Maybe hit Baycon. Maybe. I've had enough of Fanime, and just don't get steampunk so no clockwork alchemy
If I didn't have a concert Sunday I'd have taken the train to Sacto for the jazz.

Stuff done

May. 23rd, 2012 11:28 pm
howeird: (Default)
Started the morning on the phone to Tivo support, they worked around the hung machine by having me unplug the wi-fi adapter and plug it back in. When I left for work it said it was 78% done downloading.

All-hands meeting at 8 am, since it was being held at MMI HQ in Chicago. Former CEO spoke, I was not impressed. Google founder spoke, he did very well for someone who probably would prefer to be in his office, coding. New CEO spoke, I was very impressed. He knows how to do a presentation, Q&A showed he listens & remembers.

Checked my brokerage account, and yes, by golly, yesterday all my MMI stock was automagically cashed out at $40/share. Which is good because technically I didn't pay anything for them. But technically I  did. Here's what happened:

In 2007-9 I bought Moto stock on the employee purchase plan. It started at $10.50 but kept going down, probably was about $7 when I pulled the plug on a losing program. When Moto split into MMI and MMS, I got about 1 share of MMI for every 6 of Moto, and the full number of shares of MMS. Then MMS split 8 for 1 or something bad like that.

Anyhow, the cash out is good enough to buy 5 shares of Google on a good day. Which I don't plan on doing.

Lots of busy stuff at work, and a bug fix to verify, which was fun to work with. Took an old set of commercials and set them to play in a loop as if they were a cable program. Did the same with a couple of other video clips.

Lunchtime I went to the Safeway at Rivermark, needed a few minor items, also got some creamy goat cheese to put on the sourdough mini slices I had on the counter at home. Then to Yo Yo Sushi across the parking lot. This one is about the same as the other one I went to recently. Excellent sashimi.

1-on-1 with the boss, he missed the meeting, so he asked what I could tell him about it.

I'm between projects, so I volunteered for a boring one but it's one I can do. My main project was supposed to begin Monday but engineering is not ready.

Home, fired up the Tivo and it was back at square 1, and hung at the same place as last time, but with a different error message. Workaround B got me through - power off the adapter & the router, then router up and then adapter back in place. Then I called Comcast to pair the cable card. The tech had no idea what he was doing, but I did so it all worked out.

I managed to add my season passes, except for football season because Tivo had not loaded the full database yet. No rush. It hung on me while I was doing that, same as the box it was replacing, so I re-arranged some furniture to get the Tivo wi-fi adapter away from the big speaker and near the wall which the router is on the other side of.

Tivo was recording on both tuners, so I fired up the DVD player, launched Amazon Prime and watched an old Star Trek episode.

Dinner was celery stalks, ha gow and sui mai with double chocolate fudge brownie ice cream, and pistachios for dessert. No goat cheese because I'd forgotten the sourdough minis had gotten moldy so I threw them out 2 days ago.

I had planned to take a nap, but that only lasted half an hour.

The old Tivo and the ASUS Zan machine are boxed up and ready go to UPS

Plans for tomorrow:
work
UPS
YOTB rehearsal
howeird: (Default)
Had a low blood sugar episode at 3:30 am which was fixed with the intelligent application of two scoops of thin mint cookie ice cream and an episode of The Twilight Zone. These always drain me for hours, even though I get back to sleep. I was up at 9:30, and after taking drugs and shooting up I performed the annual
biting off of the head of the hollow chocolate easter bunny. It is truly awful milk chocolate (could not find dark except for solid bunnies), so the rest will find itself melted down for banana dipping or ice cream topping.

Put the halter on Domino again, and tried to lead her to the patio, but she refused to go anywhere except behind the recliner. I took the leash off but left the halter on, put my shoes on my feet and took my Kindle out to the pool and tried to relax in the sun and read. It worked fine until a mommy with a squealing child went into the pool. The kid was having fun, but at 10,000 Hz and rock star decibels.

I went back to my patio and read some more. When I went inside, Domino was curled into a little ball inside the top of her tree. She did not wish to come out.

Locked up the patio and grabbed the copy of Ghost I'd bought at Fry's and the too-small SSD and their respective receipts. IHOP was on the way, and it was lunchtime. Late lunchtime. It turned out to be a 20 minute wait for a table, but service was fast, and the food was okay. Next stop was going to be Microcenter, but they were closed,  so I parked and had a mocha at Starbucks, sitting outside until the sun started to burn my arm. Went inside thinking to use the bathroom, get an iced tea and sit inside and write this, but it was a long wait for the former, and while I was in line for the latter I started feeling woozy so I bailed and went home. Domino was still in her tree, but when I opened the fridge door she was there. I took off the halter, which she had half gotten out of by herself. Vegged in the recliner, after a lot of walking back and forth across my lap and the coffee table, Domino settled on the left arm of the recliner. I had finished Water For Elephants at Starbucks, so I read the two articles after the book. One was the author's afterword, and the other was an old interview by Powell's.

I don't really like to hear authors talk about how they wrote a book, the way I don't like to hear an athlete say how he/she won that race, scored that goal, caught that javelin; or how an actor researched that character, found that motivation, murdered seven women with a scalpel to really be "in the moment" for that part. For me the book, the sports contest, the theater/movie performance stands alone.

After reading the afterword, with Domino still parked on the recliner arm, I went back out onto the patio, leaving the screen door open enough so Domino could come out if she wanted to. Instead, a few minutes after I was on a patio chair, she got off the arm and curled up onto the seat of the recliner. Some cats...

Still not feeling 100% after finishing the Kindle book, I pulled three pieces of whole grain & nut bread out of the freezer and toasted them in the oven. Slathered them with margarine, and filled a glass with ice cubes and seltzer. Sat down at the PC and wrote this.

The toast & seltzer helped.

It's still early. The sun is shining but the wind has picked up again. Maybe I'll go out again, maybe not. Next up on the Kindle is Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.

Plans for tomorrow:
Work. 10 am team meeting, 11 am engineering meeting
Ophthalmology appt at 3:30 (leave by 2:30 to have my eyes dilated in time)
I won't be able to see well enough to read for a few hours, probably will go home and sit in the dark. Costco is on the way home, and I'm out of cheese.

Who Knew?

Mar. 30th, 2012 12:14 am
howeird: (Default)
The highlight of my day, and maybe week, was the visit from my little sister, who flew into SJC on her way to a gardening workshop tomorrow in Santa Cruz. She arrived at my work at noon, but everyone on my team had gone to lunch. I gave her a tour of my cubicle and the lab, showed her a couple of video magic tricks, then took her to my favorite little Thai place for lunch (she loved it) and then to my apartment where Domino got more than enough affection to last her.

And I gave her a small bag of goodies, which she got a kick out of. Read more... )

Back to work, where she had a chance to chat with my boss and the Israeli IT guy who sits in the next office, at the same time - open doors and we were right outside in the hallway. IT guy was thrilled when Sis said she had been to Israel a couple of times. She had some interesting answers to his questions about places there she had been. She wrapped up with a joke, which I think I may have told her:

Read more... )

She is a very people person, and the fact that she is an engineer and understands what kind of work we do, she had some good conversations when I took her around to meet the team members. I had always thought of her as shy, but she talked a blue streak, and is very much a people person, it turns out. I'd never seen her interact with strangers before - she has a gift for it.

At about 3 I sent her on her way south, with a couple of hints to add to the directions she already had. She texted at about 5 that she got there okay. And emailed a photo later taken from the pier. Overcast, but not raining.

1-on-1 with the boss, he said he heard the team liked my sister, when can she start work? She probably would enjoy working there, but not living someplace so non-rural. Got some things to do from boss, which may help fill some of the time till my next formal assignment starts in May.

Was very tired, not enough sleep the last few nights (stayed up too late). Home, tried to crash but the first nap was only half an hour. Next nap took me to 9 pm.

Put a pizza in the oven while making an SD card with both the 2011 Garmin map and my personal points of interest on it. The map takes up 2GB, so I needed a 4GB card, which is SDHC. I'm not sure if the Kenwood can read that kind of card. Will see in the morning.

Plans for tomorrow:
Work
3:30 - head for the Domain Hotel with my photos
Hang whichever ones they have space for, and attend the 6 pm reception.
howeird: (Default)
  • One of the worst things about the Swiffer is it piles up a layer of crud against the edges of the floor. Using a real mop and bucket is the only easy way to fix this.
  • Two days ago the toilet in the master bathroom backed up and flooded some of the floor. It did not smell good.
  • I get a lot of boxes from online orders, they are usually much too big for what was packed in them.
    • There was a 6'x4'x4' area of my livingroom filled with boxes
  • I needed a new bedspread. The comforters are too heavy and the sheets are too light.
  • I really liked how JC Penney stood behind Ellen DeGeneres

I woke up way late - 10:10.  So much for getting to JCP when they opened. But when I went to shower, Priority 1 had me dig the sponge mop, bucket and Pine cleaner and take care of the bathroom floor and the kitchen floor.

There was some business online I needed to handle, that only took a few minutes.

Then to Valco shopping center and JCP. It took a while to find the quilts and bedspreads. There was a sea of comforters to wade through. Just as I found them a worker bee asked if she could help me find anything. They have three basic kinds of bedspreads. True quilts, which are patchwork sewn together, printed spreads, which look like quilts until you notice the patterns are printed onto the fabric and it is one contiguous piece, and embroidered spreads, which are prints which have some additional patterns (like a string of small flowers or a vine) embroidered on top of the print. I wanted #1. They had a couple, $100 and $210 were the Queen prices. Then I found an odd one for $80 which was pretty close to what I had in my brain. Looked around some more, found a weighted shower curtain liner I could use, $6, and a bright orange sheet set for $30 plus $15 for an extra pair of pillowcases. I keep 4 pillows on the bed. Maybe I'll explain that some time.

While I was looking at shower curtains, another worker bee asked if I needed help finding something and I remembered I needed a new sofa cover. Nope, they only have those online.

Took my stash to the cash register, the total was $98 and some pennies. Huh? Well, that one-off bedspread was half price, on clearance. It wasn't marked on the package or the shelf, so that was a nice surprise.

I told them I was there to support JCP's standing behind Ellen. They did not even blink. They were already smiling before I said that, because they had been trying to sell me on getting a JCP credit card for 20% more off my purchase and I was giving them amusing reasons not to. Anyway, it was no thang to them, which probably just means they have heard it a lot and it's no surprise, what with this being San Francisco Bay and all.

Next to JCP is, allegedly, a Food Court. There are big signs. I decided I would eat lunch there. The choices were few - most of the stalls were unoccupied. Subway was out, as was Burger King. The teriyaki place only had one teriyaki plate, everything else was Udon noodles. There was a noodle place which had rice plates. Okay, let's try the rice plate with pork and an egg roll.  It took 5 minutes. They ran out of forks so they gave me two spoons. I asked for a fork, 5 minutes more for the guy to get them out of the plastic bag (which was open, and right at hand) and into the holder. Looked at the choice of condiments. Sweet and sour sauce and hot sauce. No egg roll sauce. No salad dressing for the iceberg lettuce and shaved carrot salad with cucumber slices.

Took my tray to a table, and saw that I needed a knife too. The pork was large thin slabs of grilled meat. Easy enough to just bite through, it was too far to walk back for a knife. The rice was dry, it was not a tasty meal.

On the way home stopped at Safeway, got celery, apples, bananas, ice cream, milk and whipped cream. The last one is for Domino.

Home, dragged the goodies upstairs. Checked the mail - all that was in the box was a free recipe magazine from Better Homes & Gardens, with an invitation for a subscription. No thanks. Walked in the front door and was surprised to not have to block a small B&W cat from making a dash to freedom. She was fast asleep on the lambskin rug. This is a brand new one, just received a couple of days ago to replace one which was collateral damage from Pumpkin's illness.

Put the food away, put the spread on the bed, it looks a little bland compared to the stars & planets comforter or my sister's patchwork quilt, but it'll work. I had to retire my sister's quilt because after 10 or so years of washing and almost constant use, the colors are mottled and the edges are starting to fray. It's a work of art, I don't want it to deteriorate any further.

Put the orange bedding in the closet because I just changed the sheets yesterday.

Sat down to watch some mindless TV, chose a Kardashian thing or a Real Housewives. After a couple of minutes, a banner comes up at the bottom of the screen from E!, saying Whitney Houston was dead. OMG. Turned to the local stations, nothing. CNN was all over it. With all the file footage of her, why did they keep playing the same 30-second clip of an obscure number from an obscure concert? CNN really sucks that way.

I watched for about the next hour and a half, until there was enough to know we were not going to know anything useful for a couple of days.

Then I hung the shower curtain liner, and it was finally time to attack the pile of boxes. It took almost an hour to break them all down and make a neat stack. Bungee corded them, put them on my dolly and wheeled them out to the dumpster. That's a LONG trip - have to go out the front door, all the way to the driveway, down the drive to the underground parking and all the way to the back of the garage.  The return trip is easier - stairs halfway to the front, one apartment length to mine.

Caught my breath, made dinner and watched some more Tivo.

Dinner was half fail. I made some nice Penang curry dip with soy milk and corn starch. Then I took out the cast iron skillet and tried to make some roti. Burned the first two, but this was my first try on the crappy stove in the new apartment, #3 and 4 came out fine. Ate those, then pulled out some celery stalks and bleu cheese dressing as a post-appetizer. Ice cream for dessert.

Been nibbling on pistachios. They are tres salty, I have to wash my hands and apply lotion after.

It was supposed to rain today, but it didn't We had some wind, and a lot of threatening clouds.

Domino is still yowling at nothing in particular, it doesn't seem to matter where she is when she does it, either. One nice thing about not having a diabetic cat anymore is the bill for litterbox refills will be way lower.

Plans for tomorrow:

I don't think I have any. Maybe coffee with Janice, but she's traveling a lot this month and may want time to meet more men.

Crash Day

Feb. 2nd, 2012 02:03 am
howeird: (Domino_yawn)

Was seriously lagging all day. Boss assigned me some tests which had not been done since 2009, and while the procedure was well documented, the guy who wrote them said the computers in the lab I needed were long gone. Amazing but true, I was able to download a free copy of the software and run it on my desktop machine. All three tests passed as soon as I figured out how to configure  everything.

Vet called, said to be there by 5:15 to bring Pumpkin for another night at the ER. Left at 4:30, there was very little traffic and lots of green lights, so was there in 15 minutes. Waited in the office till 5:15, paid the bill ("only" $377), drove to the ER. Lots of traffic and red lights but still got there 15 minutes before their 6 pm opening time. Waited in the car with a silent cat.

Inside at a little before 6, they took the furball and his bags of IV drip into the back immediately. Waited till 6:50 for the vet. She was very disappointed in his lack of progress.

It's a bit of a puzzle. Tests show the only things wrong are high blood sugar (in the 300 range, so not fatal), some kind of liver issue, and acidic blood/urine. Kidneys are good, no signs of cancer or other Dread Diseases. But he looks like hell.

The assistant brought me back to give Pumpkin some petting, but he was mostly out of it, still. Different assistant from yesterday, but both are very petite redheads. Yum. Out of there at 7, short stop at Safeway for some laundry stuff and fixings for dinner.

Home via freeway, much faster than rush hour or Central Expressway. In at 8, put stuff away, Domino was all over me, making rude noises. Went to bed, napped till 10 with Domino sitting on guard about halfway down the left side of the bed. She tried climbing Mt. Howeird, but I lifted her off.

Appetizer was celery stalks and bleu cheese salad dressing dip. Dinner was two split English muffins with a pat of margarine on each piece, crab claw meat, a slice of Velveeta and 1/4 of a piece of string cheese cooked for 1.5 minutes in the microwave. And iced jasmine tea. Java chip ice cream with walnuts & honey for dessert.

I opened one of the computer room windows (directly above the litterboxes - closed while I was on vacation) and Domino immediately rushed up the kitty steps and shoved her nose against the screen. She is still there now, keeping the neighborhood safe.

Plans for tomorrow:
P/U Pumpkin from ER by 8
Pumpkin to the vet
Work
P/U Pumpkin from the vet. Maybe take him home. The jury is still out.

howeird: (Default)
On of my oldest Bay Area theater friends is on FB and goes on emo jags where she posts every self-pity picture she can get her hands on. Some of them are very tragic, many are just plain tacky, more than one a week is overkill.


Kept dozing off at work this afternoon, only for a second at a time, but still. I blame the prescription strength allergy meds. They help me not cough at night, but I was given the 24-hour version. No more for me until I can get the 12-hour ones.

Did not complete a single test case at work. Two big ones didn't work because the person who wrote the instructions got some critical details wrong, and since the document was written,  the syntax has changed for the command I needed. The ones Boss suggested last week which I looked at today all needed special equipment which I don't have access to. I'll work with the expert for the first two tests tomorrow morning. I give him a 50-50 chance of figuring out how to make them work.

Lunchtime, went to Fry's for lunch. Worst pastrami sandwich ever. 3/4 gristle. Food in the big electronics store's café is always iffy. The reason for pastrami is I figured if Jews went to Chinese restaurants for Christmas, it was only fair to have Jewish food on Chinese New Year.

I was at the store to buy a wireless repeater, they had the one I wanted on sale, and as an added bonus all the ones on the shelf were returns, which meant another $5 off.

9 am meeting day, so I bailed at 5:30. Home, headed straight for bed. Only got an hour's nap. Watched TV in bed till 9, when it was "must make pickles now" time. I'd left the cukes in plastic bags, which was a mistake, a couple of them had started to melt, I had to wash all of them thoroughly.  These ones were too thick to fit three in a jar, so I sliced all of them into spears. Sterilized the jars & lids, started the mix to boiling. Watched Tivo while I waited for all that. Was about two spears short of the 7th jar being full, but that's okay. The mix was only enough for 6 jars, so I took the jar of way-too-spicy pickles from two batches ago out of the fridge, heated up the juice and used that for jar 7.

I'm not too sure these will come out well. I had turned the heat down on the canning pot after I took the sterilized stuff out, and forgot to turn it back up when I put the full jars in. They are supposed to be in boiling water for 10-12 minutes, but they were in sub-steaming water for that long, and after I turned up the heat it got to a boil in maybe 5 minutes. I'll find out when I'm back from Seattle.

Speaking of which, I added Wednesday to my hotel reservation. Plan A had been to rent a car and drive to Bremerton Wed afternoon (plane lands at 2:30) and find a motel, then continue to sister's place in Kitsap County, spend the day there Thursday and drive to the hotel that evening. But it seems like a better idea to stay by the airport overnight and do the whole trip Thursday. Conflikt starts Friday.

Set up the wireless repeater, but can't tell if it is working. The lights say it is. Cell phone showed a full strength signal before and after firing it up atop the piano.

Plans for tomorrow:
Work
Pack

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