howeird: (Default)
In more ways than one.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Strawberries & mint

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

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

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

Plans for tomorrow:
(demo for automation at the weekly meeting)
Take the telescope out at about 11:30 pm and see if I can photograph the eclipse, which should be total about midnight.
howeird: (How_photog-viewfinder)
Amazing but true, everything I planned to do today were did.

Lowe's, bought a 5/8" drill bit. Home, drilled the hole in the door from the now-discarded industrial strength knocker from 1/4" to 5/8". Sort of. The drill bit didn't like the metal facing on the door, and made a somewhat triangular hole, so I had to finesse it with a file.
Installed a peep lens into the hole in the door.

Lunch was some small Safeway Select Asian beef thing.

Photo shoot at 2 pm in a warehouse space tricked out into a workable studio space. This was a group shoot with one of my Meetups, the first one I have been to in a long time (tendinitis after the whale watching trips made it painful to hold the camera, and most of my favorite meetup groups had disappeared or gone downhill).

The host photog has lots of experience, lots of lighting equipment, and he runs the shoot in a friendly manner while still maintaining the rules. I stopped going to two groups because the host didn't enforce the "no shooting unless it's your turn" rule.

The model is drop-dead gorgeous. Redhead. It was a nude shoot, so I can say natural redhead. Which reminds me of a joke: Read more... ) She never ran out of poses, kept a sense of humor, and we were her 2nd 3-hour session but she was still energetic right to the end. Or at least till I left, which was at 4:50.

We did four sets:
Stripes Darkened room, black background and side panels, a special spotlight with a patterned slide projects stripes onto the model's body. There is enough light to focus, barely, but when the shutter is pushed, the light flashes. The model had a lot of fun moving around in ways which made interesting patterns. Kind of fun, but a waste of a beautiful model.
Box: Lights back on, white background, a white cube about 2 feet on a side in the center of the shooting area. The model took direction well, and she looks a lot better fully lit than striped.
Rope: Same background. A huge rope is suspended from the ceiling. We are talking the kind of rope which secures The Queen Mary to the dock. Model poses with the rope draped around her, hanging onto it as a counter-balance, but didn't have the biceps to climb it.
Ring: Same background, the rope is replaced by a Cirque-style metal ring large enough for the model to sit inside without hitting her head on the top. Lots of fun poses, and lots of laughs because she had no way to keep the ring from slowly spinning. She tried, but nothing worked. Finally the host and the model's companion helped, but it slowed things down waiting for the hand to leave the shot.

With 9 photographers, we didn't get a lot of shots, I only came out with about 140.

A couple of my favorite work-safe ones:
Read more... )

Ducked out at 5 to meet Janice a couple of miles up Lawrence for Starbucks. It's the largest one I know, it used to be a bank. And it's always packed. We had a good chat. Her current boyfriend has survived a year now. We decided to take light rail to see 1776 next weekend.

Watermarked one photo from each set, and uploaded to the meetup page, and added a comment full of compliments to the host & model.

Plans for tomorrow:
Do some reading
Afternoon head for Murphy Ave and find a place to watch the ball game. The Seahawks meetup in MV already has 50 people saying they will be there, and that place only holds about 40 places where you can see the screen. 
Evening depends on who wins
howeird: (Charlie Brown)
Almost everyone I know had shifted from here and Dreamwidth to Facebook, but this is my journal, The Book of Face is merely my place to be clever and annoying.
When I got to work, the sky was incredibly blue, not a cloud in it, and my brain fed me this quote:
"The sky so blue, the sun so bright, how could anything go wrong on a day like this?"
Followed by:
"Woof! Boom!"

The first line is the cue for the cast to start the title song for You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, for which I played the title role in Astoria, OR in 1973. At the end of the intro, Snoopy yells "Woof!" and the cast echoes with "Boom!". I love that bit. Probably my favorite moment in all the shows I have been in. Partly because this is the first musical I was ever in. It was a total fluke. I didn't think I was a singer, all my theater had been comedy or drama plays, except for a musical which the Temple choir did when I was in grade school, while I was still a first soprano, so that doesn't really count.

Read more... )

More adventures at work today, while I was trying to tune up the scripts on the machine which Automation Guy had allegedly reserved for me, someone else started running scripts with the same program, by automation. So Automation Guy says he can only lock a machine for 8 hours. So he found a machine not in the automation pool, but VNC does a strange thing with it - any time I hit a letter for which CTRL+ALT+letter is a command, it does the command. So I hit an F and it opens the search dialog box. U throws up the accessibility menu. And so on. Makes it useless to edit my scripts. So I edit them on my own PC, saved the a shared drive in the lab, and run them on the machine he assigned. But we can't do Monday's demo like that. And it's a royal PITA to write that way.

Lunchtime was Togo's, I asked if they still did the half-and-half: half a sandwich and half a bowl of soup. He said yes. But they don't. Instead I got half a small bowl of soup and a min-sandwich on a bun. Gag me. Next time I'll order a full one of each and take half the sandwich home.

Went there because it's the closest place I can get no-fee cash from an ATM which is near good places to eat.

Rivermark Safeway after work, which had the stupidest, most dangerous exit from the expressway and is a total clusterf*ck for parking. The lot is HUGE and turnover is constant, except the traffic patterns prevent people from getting in or out in anything resembling a timely manner. Medium-sized shopping this time to stock up on frozen dinners, ice cream, crackers and I forgot the cheese. Was able to log into their wi-fi and see what was extra cheap on my card, otherwise would have forgotten margarine.

Home, one huge box on the side steps, one large box by the livingroom door, one small box on the porch landing. All from Amazon. Go figure.

The huge box was a ceramic heater with electronic thermostat for the bedroom/master bathroom which are at the far end of the house, so by the time air from the furnace gets there it is not very warm.

Large box was candy. A 64-pack of Anton Berg booze-filled dark chocolate mini-bottles (a bedtime snack) and a 12-pack of Werther's sugar-free caramels. Good to wake up to.

And in the small box was a wireless doorbell, with two push buttons. The side door already has one which plays Winchester chimes, I was hoping that the buttons were on the same channel, but they are not. No problemo, JoseBee, there is an archway between the kitchen and piano room which the bell fits on perfectly and resonates through the house. The buttons program the sound, so I installed one by the kitchen door which cuckoos, and one by the livingroom door which plays a standard door bell sound. I was going to make it do a knocking sound, because there used to be a 1-ton knocker on that door which I recently removed because it is heavy and ugly and I'd rather have a peep hole there.

I have been buying entirely too much Stuff. En route still are 2 pairs of Levi's 550's, an 18-gallon storage tub on which to raise the night table, and a set of coat hooks to be mounted near or on the side door.

Did a load of laundry - put things in in the morning and into the dryer when I got home. This morning it occurred to me that my shower towel has been in use for a month. And I've been looking for a time to wash my Supersonics jacket. Some jeans and T-shirts also benefited.

The Big Games are on Sunday, so I'll go to Ardenwood on Saturday with my camera and telescope or just a long lens if I can't figure out how to mount the camera to the telescope. Monarch butterflies are in season. 

 Plans for tomorrow:
howeird: (localhost)
Woke up before 7, was in the bathroom when the two alarms went off, which is one perk of living in a house, no wall-share neighbors to hear your alarm going off. Got to the DMV at 8:30, found parking and made my way past the long line of people without appointments to the line for people with. 3 people ahead of me. 8:45 had the form filled out and was assigned a number, and told that contrary to what the web site says, yes, I can get a new license with my current address for a mere $26, and yes, I can also get a free senior citizen ID card. 5 minutes later I was being helped by a trainee and two veterans on either side of her. She was way too bright to be working at the DMV - she understood stuff the first time, is a native speaker of American English, and did not blame the slow computer for anything. After collecting my $26 she gave me a receipt, a temporary license and another receipt for the ID card and sent me to the line behind me. This was apparently the line for people with appointments because after the three people ahead of me were shot, they pulled me in ahead of abut a dozen others for my photo & signature. So not only do I get a new license with the right address, I get a photo which was not taken in 2000.

I was out of there by 9:10. Meanwhile the no-appointment line had reached around the building, in the 45° chill.

Which meant I was at work on time, because the DMV is only 1.5 miles away.

Not much to do at work, so I socialized. It was a good chance to chat with team mates who also had little actual work to do.

One cute thing, the media program we use for playing video over the lab network, VLC (videolan - it's free and you should get it) has a taskbar logo which is now sporting a Santa hat. My back wall neighbor has been receiving tons of toys from amazon, I figured she would get a kick out of it - she did.

My weakly report was pretty sparse this week.

Home, gave Domino her chew treats, relaxed until it was time to go to uke class. I'd put a load of bedding in the dryer this morning, took that out and started the load of shirts.

Uke class was not very productive, even though only 2 of us showed up and he gave us each a lot of personal attention. Problem is he goes at his pace, not ours, so while he's playing the entire song in the book, I'm still trying to figure out how to play a G. He showed a finger pick routine which could work, with practice, but he didn't allow time to practice. One thing I did learn is my fingers are too wide for many chords. Or rather, to play them the way they are shown in the book. With practice I think I can play tunes which have C, A, A minor and F. Are there any?

Stopped off at Safeway on the way home, mostly for TV dinners and ice cream. Also got a long thing sourdough baguette which I'll slice up to eat with the goat brie I bought the other day.

Dinner was a Healthy Choice Asian steam bowl. Not going to stay on my list, that series.

Spent some time on looking for a trip to take during NY's holiday. We get eve & 1st off, and I'll take Monday too for a 5-day weekend. Denver looked do-able. Grand Canyon did not - fares are sky-high on the Texas Eagle. And there's a bus bridge, which defeats the purpose of taking the train. Santa Barbara and even San Diego are possibles, if I don't mind arriving at SAN at 1 am. Also looked at Reno, but it is too !@#$%^&* cold. Did not look north, been there, done that too many times. Vancouver BC might be nice but that's a 2-day ride.

Got email from PG&E that they were billing me twice, once for December and once through January 8. I emailed the old apartment asking if this meant my apartment had been rented. They took their time replying, but said yes, I don't owe any more rent. So I went online with PG&E and had the gas & electric shut off, and updated my address. And emailed Allstate to cancel the insurance. Got an out of office reply, will shoot some email to the assistant.

Anyhow, typical that the apartment people didn't tell me on their own.

And it saves me about $3k. Which was part of the point of this whole exercise. So now I have officially lowered my rent by $1k/mo. Yay!

Plans for tomorrow:
Visit the mobile home park office, say hi,  and request a larger garbage bin
Unpack the 3rd BR.
Fill the car with cardboard and take it to the recycle center
Replace the kitchen light fixture
Call Fuzzy about fixing the second set of lights in the bathroom and the nearby dead outlet in the bedroom. They may be related. And ask about replacing the sink. And whether it is feasible to remove the second sink and install a walk-in shower. It may not be possible structurally. And a ramp to the side door.
Watch a bowl game, if there is one.
howeird: (Costume Malfunction)
Up way too late, photo shoot at 9:30 am in Mountain View. Texted I'd be late, but I wasn't. Organizer was. :-(

Model was a super-skinny, multiple-tattooed young woman who posed well but had to keep being reminded to keep her eyes open, and not look so grim. The best shot I got was of one of the female photographers. LOLz. Somehow I managed to take 200+ pictures, but will have to go through them to see if any are more than mediocre. One of her tattoos was very interesting, it was a minimalist drawing on the back of her arm which looked like Marilyn Monroe. Very clever. All her tattoos were clean and very legible, including the entire Serenity Prayer which took up all the space between just below her bust to her hips.

We went till a little after noon, several locations around Shoreline Park. I missed the best one (by the Bay) when  I had to take a restroom break. Tummy was bothering me ever since I woke up.

I would really have liked to have lunch at the Lakeshore Café, but I was very very tired. Home, took a nap, woke up with Domino laying on my upper right chest. Didn't even feel her. She bolted as soon as I woke up, as usual.

Still running a little late, wanted to get to Starbucks by 4 for the 5 pm date with Janice, but it was 4:30 at least, and did not finish the writing I was doing. Good chat with J. She liked the Starwars/Starbucks T-shirt I brought back for her from Thailand. August is not a good month for her, and this year is no different. She's holding up okay, but 'nuff said.

Home again, it was a bit of a challenge because there was an event at Shoreline Amphitheater, some country western young people's crush, and nobody was obeying the traffic lights or the "keep intersections clear" or "don't walk". They needed traffic police, but did not have any. I ought to send a nastygram. When there is an event at the city-owned venue, they need city traffic cops at the freeway exits and big intersections. Lately they have left that to the event organizers, who have not been doing enough.

I had not eated all day, except for the frap and banana nut bread at *$s, so boiled up some corn cobettes and put a cookie sheet full of wings and drumettes into the oven. Took twice as long as the package said. :-(

Got email from Anything Goes, I have no rehearsals until move-in. That sucks. Move-in is the 25th, the first acting rehearsal is the 27th.

Been watching the Olympics closing ceremonies. While the jerks on NBC are saying the athletes are coming in as "one world" not as one country, I am seeing athletes coming in as a national group, many of them waving their country flagettes vigorously, especially the Koreans who looks way stupid, no matter how well they did in the games. So many Bad Costumes™. I want to find the costumers and ask what drugs they are on, and tell them to flush them down. No theme, a mish-mash of music, a closing ceremony done by committee with an unlimited budget. I sure hope all those people on stage in the bad costumes are being paid well. They are working very hard.

The head of John Lennon was macabre. Whose bright idea was it to make it lying down like a sarcophagus? And Batman & Robin escaping an exploding yellow taxi-like cartoon car? Sheesh.
I did manage to get something useful done online at Starbucks. I looked up the Yelp reviews for movers, and it reaffirmed I chose the wrong company last time. Blame dyslexia. As with last time, the best reviews were for a company named Advanced Moving Company. I had chosen Advantage Moving and Storage. Not as big a mistake as it might have been, they basically slowed down and left the job incomplete when it was clear they would be over the guaranteed estimated time. They broke a lamp and left the pieces scattered on a bedroom floor, too. So tomorrow I'll phone Advanced and schedule a visit.

Tonight: Go through the photo shoot pix, fix what ought to be fixed. Upload some to Flickr and the meetup site.
Pick up bike from repair shop
Look for slides from '89 and '75-6 of my work sites
Study my lines
howeird: (Train)

This is the best whale shot I got Sunday. We were maybe 50 feet away.

Monday morning the plan was to walk across the street to the Carriage museum, and see what they had there. Backstory: When I worked for the Daily Astorian in Oregon in 1973-4, my friend Hilary (with one "L") who had directed me in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, invited me to meet her friend and his carriage collection. I did a photo spread for the newspaper. Her friend was quite a legend in the science fiction community, though I was mostly unaware of it at the time. I just knew him as Graham. Hilary and I are still in touch (last week she sent me a cool card - she always addresses the envelopes in calligraphy, so no matter what is inside, the envelope is a keeper.). He was Graham Doar, who wrote several early sci-fi TV classic episodes back in the late 40's, early 50's.  Anyway, I went there knowing photos would be amusing for Hil.

This one caught my eye

It's a very interesting museum, lots of carriages but also a huge collection of saddles and tack. Very poor display, though. Most of the vehicles are up on a ledge or out in the back parking lot not on formal display. The saddles are behind glass, and some clever person designed signs for each one set inside a horse shoe, but they are too small to read.

It's free, it's worth going to and making a small donation. There were no humans anywhere near the displays  when I was there.

Checked out of the motel as a family of 6 Japanese tourists invaded the alleged breakfast offerings. I had seen two of them the day before - they were hard to miss. Two women in neon pink, one in very tight jeans and one in stretch pants. Both had amazing round bubble butts. Turns out they were a mother-daughter team. More on this family later.

Walked to the main drag, the bus went by when I was half a block away. Decided waiting half an hour for the next one was less painful than walking 20 minutes. It was 10:15, I was in no hurry.

Bus took 2 minutes to go that 20-minute walk distance. Win. Walked a block to the 24-hour coffee shop, had iced tea and one of their giant almond croissants. Wandered across the street to the train station, an hour and a half early. My Kindle kept me entertained, and so did the occasional eye candy, which included the Japanese family. They were seated in front and to the side of me. The way it broke out was: young man and young woman, in their 20's, maybe married, maybe just engaged. His parents and her parents. He was really cute and had that Japanese assertiveness gene, and I just really wanted to TMI here ) But that passed quickly when he showed his romantic side. As soon as they were seated, the young couple plugged in their laptops and tried for a wi-fi connection, of which Amtrak has NONE. FAIL!. He figured this out in no time, put his computer away and fired up a Japanese soap opera on her machine, and they snuggled together and watched it. Later in the trip, he gave his dad some help with a new tablet. Nice guy, I wish him well.

The camera went off by accident, I swear. :-)

Her dad, OTOH, was extremely annoying. He sat there much of the trip cracking sunflower seeds with his teeth, using his cavernous mouth as a sounding board. It sounded like cracking walnuts in a cave.

The train was packed. I was lucky to have no one seated next to me, but my "window" seat had the divider between the windows, so totally crap for photos. I hardly took any. The lounge car had three or four very loud drunks and no empty seats. Where were all these people going on a Monday? Sheesh.

The ride was mostly uneventful until San Luis Obispo, where there was a crew change. The new conductor made the announcements which th previous crew had neglected, such as "drunks will be put off at the next stop". They sobered up pretty quickly. He also pointed out interesting sites and sights, and gave some Little Known History. For instance, who knew that Norma Jean was the first Castroville Artichoke Queen? One thing he missed, though, as we passed through San Miguel, I saw a sign on a bar called The Ranch, which said "We Now Serve Mexican Food", as if it was the only non-Mexican place in town and had succumbed to popular demand by offering tacos or something. When I got home, I found them online [ profile] here. It appears to be a gay show bar, which only serves Mexican food.

We were side-tracked once, and for some reason we didn't start up again until 15 minutes after the other train had passed. There was a lot of slow going, for no apparent reason.  Even though we were a little bit late, we were not late enough to get a true sunset over Elkhorn Slough, so I faked it with manual shutter/f-stop settings.

Nice sepia tone look was the result.

We arrived in San Jose just about on time, I drove home to a very vocal cat.

As usual, all my best photos are here:
howeird: (Default)

Routine testing at work, it was a nice sunny warm day so at lunchtime I looked at my to-do list and on it was a trip to Custom Audio to have them fix yet another thing on the car alarm. So far each time they fixed one thing, they broke something else. This time it was the lights did not flash when the alarm armed and disarmed. It had been working before I brought it in to them last weekend to fix the auto-arm not working and then a few minutes later the radio going dead.

It took about 20 minutes for the guy to find he had crimped a wire in such a way that it broke, so he re-attached that, and off I went. Stopped for lunch about 3 miles down the road, when I got back to the car it would not unlock. The alarm would disarm, but the doors stayed locked. Back to CA and it took half an hour for him to fix yet another broken contact. It was a nice warm sunny day, and I stood outside through all these repairs, so at least I got some vitamin D and skin cancer enhancers. I think we're done, but one never knows. I've had the car out twice and the alarm seems to be okay, except the remote is showing PST instead of PDT. BFD. I'm pretty sure I can fix that myself.

Back to work, and soon after I'd run one fun test which "forced" me to listen to a variety of music channels for half an hour, automation guy asked me to join him for lunch. Lately he has been eating lunch at 4, because between meetings and scripting that is usually his first chance, and if he doesn't eat the lunch his wife made, she hurts him. Not really, I've met her a few times, she's very sweet. Which is a better reason.

And then he picked my brain for about 90 minutes on various things. Which is when I noticed that the apartment had emailed - I had two packages to pick up, neither of which should have required a signature. So I wrapped things up on the computer and got those.

Home, previously cooked turkey leg with sliced apples, which I put on a little bit of sourdough bread. Once again forgetting to cut up the celery in the fridge for appetizer. Tomorrow.

Tried to refill a Kaiser prescription online, but the prescription web site was still down (it's been down for at least 2 days. I think they sent a memo, but it was so long ago I forgot what it said).

Took myself out to a night club, watched the pretty dancers, managed to not be asked during my 2 hours there if I wanted a drink. Staff also was not clearing empties off the tables. When they started playing jungle music with highly obscene lyrics, I left.

Still getting a steady stream of pings from the Thai dating service. So far only three were spam - all from countries other than Thailand inviting me to hook up with them on Yahoo Chat.

I have an email conversation going with someone whose handle is Thai for "polite". Her real nickname means "a cut" or "a wound" - I know it sounds weird but it's not about hurting herself, it's usually something about a mark or blemish she was born with. She asked if I really spoke Thai, and I recorded a video of me doing that for 30 seconds (the site limit) but so far it has not been made public. I suppose I should put something on my web site. Audio may be better. Easy enough to make an mp3.

The packages were a new pair of Brooks shoes, to see if they fix the painful knees from the New Balance shoes, and 20 packet of cat treats. Domnio goes through one every two weeks, so they will last a while. They don't go stale, and even if they did she would still eat them.

Plans for tomorrow:
Maybe hang out at Starbucks


Apr. 18th, 2012 12:23 am
howeird: (BKK Gargoyle)
Felt like Friday, but was Tuesday. Routine day at work except for the boss2 staff meeting, which was good but the usual suspects shut off the lights and the glare from the screen plus the aircon burned my eyes, had to keep closing them.

Lunch at hometown buffet because: lazy, did not want to eat much. They have a goodly variety of cooked veggies. Sweet corn was sweet.

Had some Italian reduced fat salami for a snack at about 4, keeping automation guy company with his late lunch.

Home, took a nap. Woke up at 8:30, shampooed some carpet high traffic places. Salami made its presence felt in dramatic fashion, good thing I was home and near my Immodium stash.

Been playing around on a Thai singles site, $70 for a membership which will last till my trip. Most of the women contacting me are ignoring my English/Thai note that I'm not interested in women with children living at home. And most of the pings are from women who are from the one part of Thailand which is not in my list of places I am interested in. They also have no way to turn off the "available for chat" feature, so I get to be rude. I did chat with someone tonight because she is from Sri Chiangmai, which has a special place in my heart. Her English is surprisingly good, she credits her Peace Corps high school teacher. But she was only 11 when I was in PC. Her photos did not grab me. Nice conversation, though.

Plans for tomorrow:
howeird: (Default)
Another day at work playing with the automation program. Automation guy was back from the land of the dead, but he had two days of very busy work to catch up on, and was still pretty sick & stayed in the lab all day. Except at about 5:30 he came up for air and showed me two magic reveals which gave me enough info to finish the projects tomorrow. The bad news is I have to completely rewrite them. In a nutshell, stupid automation software thinks a check mark in a check box is text. I was thinking of it as an image.

Lunchtime was LONG, I took the box to Office Depot where they very reluctantly accepted it, after I showed them email from corporate saying to take it to them. The manager said they have a package someone else dropped off which corporate has not picked up after 2 weeks. When I got home I emailed the person I talked to at corp asking that she make sure there was a pickup order. She had not done that when we talked.

GPS said there was a Sizzler across the street. I looked, and no, that place has not been a Sizzler in about 15 years. Next on the list was a Greek place down the block. Got there, it was gutted, workers were in the process of making it the other half of a Peet's. There was a small by-the-slice pizza place at the other end of the parking lot, I had a small Greek salad and a slice of the 2nd worst pizza ever. Note to pizza makers: sausage should not look like rabbit droppings. Cheese should be completely melted.

Checked email, and there was a package to pick up, so I detoured to the apartment office, but then thought it might be the laptop, so I re-detoured to Fry's and bought a notebook sized bluetooth mouse. The package was the FuReal cat. That saved me a trip to my apartment, I just tossed it into the trunk and went back to work.

FB was exploding with friends saying which parts they got in How To Succeed and I was surprised by some of the choices. Not the people, but the parts they landed. It's a great cast, though, what I saw of it - they have not posted it on the official web site yet. Ethel Merman's grand-nephew is in it. He's an SPF 1 billion redhead.

Home, unwrapped the FuReal cat, which does walk a little and meow a little and purr a little, but only when you pet its back. Not the automagical machine I expected. Nice fur, looks very much like Domino. She took a few close looks at it, each time walking away a foot or so to use her head-scratcher. Finally she got bored and went to her water dish. I put the toy next to the cat bed on the couch, Domino thinks it is guarding the bed, and has parked herself on the cat perch on the other end of the couch, which is one of the places where she spends a lot of the day.

The jury is still out. I hope Domino bats it around a bit so it makes some noise/motion. First she has to convince herself it is harmless.

Dinner was the last of the yummy corned beef, with wheat nut bread, brown mustard and a pickle. Domino attacked every piece of beef I moved in the direction of her face.

Watched enough of CNN to get the gist of the Florida child murder stupidity, and Whitney's coroner's report. Under the circumstances, it seems odd that they ruled out foul play. In her condition, all it would have taken was a gentle push. Face it, the last thing the Grammies needed was a WUI.

8 pm, hauled my butt to the Mercado Starbux, but there was not a single seat available, and it was about 50 degrees out, wind chill factor of below Arctic. I saw two long lines at the theater, people camped out with blankets, card games, video games, etc. Both lines for the midnight opening of Hunger Games, one line for 3D the other for 3D IMAX. I figured the folks at *$$ were keeping warm before getting in line, so I braved the cold and wind and went to MicroCenter and asked about SSDs (which are on sale for a very good price) and tried out a Toshiba ultrabook. Much lighter than the Asus, not as fast but it had the i3 processor. It had bluetooth, which is strange because according to the Toshiba site they don't have a BT antenna in that model. I may end up sending the i7 back unopened and going for the i3 if that's the case. Save muchos dinero. Or not. They want the same for the i5 as Toshiba sells the i7 for. More research is in order.

Back at SBUX 8:45, plenty of seats. 9 pm theater doors opened, no more lines by 9:10. Meanwhile this place has been eye candy central.

Plans for tomorrow:
Toshiba machine should be at the apartment office by lunchtime
Howeird's night in, I think.
howeird: (Default)
Today at work reminded me of George Burns' famous line about his wife: "I asked her 'how's your brother' and she talked for 20 years". My next door neighbor likes to come over and ask me things about American culture, languages and other stuff that he figures I know more about than him just because he didn't grow up in America. And I tend to branch off into stream of consciousness mode. For instance, today he wanted to know what a "bird's-eye view" was, and half an hour later we were comparing the use of tone marks in Thai vs. Vietnamese.

Other than that, it was dead boring. I tried to read the presentation on test automation, but hit a snag right off when the slides didn't match at all what I saw on my PC.

Had a 4 pm appointment at Kaiser to be in an info session about sleep study. The Homestead campus parking is a nightmare. It was not designed, it just kind of fell from the sky. I finally found a place in the hospital's parking garage, which is a considerable walk. I was 15 minutes early but there was a long line. Bottom line, the classroom filled up most of the way, about 50 people. Very few fat folk, no one who took up more than one chair. That surprised me.

They gave us a form to fill out, but it wasn't collected until after, and won't be used unless/until we take the study.

The doctor gave a pretty good presentation, and surprised us all by telling us they don't do the test in a clinic, they set us up with the equipment, send us home to sleep, and the next morning we return the stuff and they download the biometrics and take it from there. The theory being we sleep better in our own beds. Which makes sense until you consider that we are all there because we can't sleep for shit in our own beds. I did learn a few things about sleep apnea and snoring which I did not know. At least two of them were not true. But in his defense, the doctor prefaced these items by saying they were not true for everyone. Some people with sleep apnea don't present any of the classic symptoms, some who do don't have the malady.

But he hit enough buttons that I wanted to be tested, so I joined the long line again, and the best I was able to get was 12/15 at 3 pm. You would think they would  be scheduling evening appointments. Oh well. My main concern is it's no picnic getting there when the diamond lanes are enforced, and when parking is its most difficult.

By the time all that was over it made no sense to go back to work, so home it was. There were four boxes waiting for me:
Two new automatic litterboxes
The high-powered steam cleaner
The RMA batch of calendars from Vistaprint

That last was my first project. Looked at every page of all 25 calendars, and all the images were ok. One calendar had been trimmed wrong, the loops which are supposed to hold the spiral binding were clipped off. But I'm letting that pass since they printed 25 to replace 15 bad ones, so I'm still ahead by 9.

The litterboxes are parked in the study until the ones in place now need a change of refills.

Put the steam cleaner together, and there was a mystery moment when it looked like there was a hose piece with nowhere to plug it in, and no mention of the piece in the quick assembly guide. The full manual had the clue - this is the high end model and the hose is an optional attachment for cleaning furniture. So I set that aside, filled up the tank, and took a few swipes at Poo Corner, which went well, so then I attacked the high traffic area in front of the cats' food & water station. Excellent. I am pleased. Now I need to haul the old cheap one out to the trash, and that huge box too.

All that was done on schedule - I wanted to wait till 7:30 before going to Walmart across the bay, which is now the closest one to me. It's also a newer, nicer store with slightly higher class clientèle. W*M is my preferred purveyor of body wash, shampoo, conditioner, lotion and (depending on the price) ding dongs, donettes, and other Hostess goodies. Got what I came for, plus a couple of other items which were on my "pick them up if you see them" list.

Home again, put everything away, made a microwave dinner, munched on some of the pistachios I picked up at W*M, and watched a little bad TV. How come all the repo reality shows are populated with the ugliest, stupidest repo agents?

Plans for tomorrow:
Shift some cardboard to the dumpster


Nov. 30th, 2011 12:22 am
howeird: (Default)
Not much more to say. Spent an hour at one of the Starbucks near work, and regretted it. They are now in full Jesus Music mode. I will not be patronizing them again until next year.

Home, had matzoh balls and chicken soup and a serving of clam strips for dinner, chocolate ice cream for dessert.

The only delivery today was a case for the netbook. Third time's the charm. The first two claimed to be for 10.2" computers, but they are not that big, and once the netbook is inside there is no room anywhere for the power brick. This one is much better, the only nitpick I have is the outside pocket for the power brick closes with velcro and not a zipper. BFD, I'm happy.

With the cats back on PetSmart's house brand Sophisticat mariner's catch canned food, there were no gastronomical surprises.

I caught up on Tvio - the WSU-UW game, Huskies won but Wazoo put up more of a fight than I thought they were capable of. Pawn Stars looks like it will be dropping off the season pass list. That Rick guy who owns the place lowballs everything. I am amazed at how many suckers accept his ridiculously low offers. As if he's the only pawn shop in Vegas. Sheesh.

Also watched HDnet's Girls Gone Wild series for the last couple of weeks. Lots of topless women, but way too much screen time for the camera crew, the production board and the Hugh Hefner wannabe who has no class at all. Okay, he's classier than Ron Jeremy, but not by much.

Checked my IRA for the first time in a couple of months, moved some cash into tax-free bonds for no particular reason. Also found some pocket change which never got transferred from T. Rowe Price when I moved my IRA out of there. TRP had given me an incredibly stupid hard time in liquidating my parents' assets after their death, displaying zero common sense, or humanity and even less knowledge of living trust law, so I split my business between Scottrade and Vanguard, which both went to great lengths to make that difficult time as painless as possible.

Did I mention that at about 3:45 am I woke up for a potty visit and found both cats curled up near each other near my feet on the bed?

Plans for tomorrow:
Kaiser @ 4 for a sleep apnea test information session.


Oct. 1st, 2011 07:05 pm
howeird: (Default)
Been thinking about posting something about this for years. I've mentioned parts of it here and there.

When I was going to grade school in the mid-50s, I loved to read, but was slowed down enormously by what my teachers said was just a lack of concentration, but which I know now is two forms of dyslexia. Make that three.

The first symptom was not being sure if "d" was D or B and if "b" was D or B. q and p were also confusing but not as much because q is not that common in a grade school reader. Unlike many dyslexics, I did not see R as mirror image, but I did have trouble remembering which direction to start writing an S and an e.

Another symptom is I would write words with the letters out of order. Teachers said I was thinking faster than I could write. Maybe so, but it was another form of dyslexia.

And the third one came later in life, and is getting worse as I grow older. I do not touch type. I tried to learn once, but by that time I could "hunt and peck" 100 wpm and 5 wpm the "right way" was very frustrating. And I am not good at memorizing things like keyboard layouts. What has been occurring more and more is I will look at the screen, and discover that the keys I saw my fingers hit were not the keys they actually hit. I *knew* I hit the right keys (or wrong keys) but different characters would sometimes appear on the screen. Sometimes I catch it before it happens (the last three times I typed "dyslexic" my finger went to the s instead of the d). Backspace is my friend. Spellchecker is my savior.

I still read much more slowly than most people I know. Sometimes whole words shift positions in a sentence. Often the word that I want to see (a word I like better) takes the place of the word on the page. It's always a similar word. I will lose my place on the page, and have to hunt around for it. I may be a line off, or several paragraphs away.

When email made the @ sign popular, it took me a year or more to be able to draw one by hand.

This is a sour grapes entry. I know if I had been born 10 years ago instead of 60, my kindergarten or first grade teacher would have caught the dyslexia, I would have been given extra help reading, and would read faster and with better comprehension and retention today. My whole life might have turned out completely differently. But that's a sci-fi novel in iteslef.
howeird: (Default)
Was in the process of leaving for work early when the vet called, asking if I wanted to bring Pumpkin in this morning, but I decided it was already too late, and made an appointment for 8 am tomorrow. And got to work somewhat early.

Work went slowly, with several tests which needed me to downgrade the software on the machine in order to see the bug, then upgrade it to the current release to see if it was fixed. One bug which was fixed showed me that another was opened (what they did to fix the one re-opened an old bug). Had a nice chat with the program manager to figure out if the process was to re-open a bug from a previous project, or open a new one. He said to re-open the old one, it's a shared code base.

Also had one of those "if you do this thing 20 times which no customer should ever do more than once, the audio will go away from one of the 10 channels on that output". That took a couple of hours and four changes of software to nail down. Plus some help from the tester who worked on it back in January.

Home after work to say hi to the cats, then off to Google/YouTube for the WebMappingSocial meetup group. They always serve dinner, this time it was a choice of 5 kinds of hot dog like objects, sauerkraut, buns, pickles, macaroni salad, potato salad, the usual condiments, bottled water and Sprite. And two flavors of rugelach. About 100 people showed up out of the 165 who said they would.

Three presenters, all with interesting projects. The Stanford Peace Innovation group showing how data mining can show world peace in action - such as people being friends on FB who would kill each other if they met in person, people buying from people on eBay who they would never do business with face to face, and some generation gap bridging. The presenter had the remnants of a Canadian accent, which somehow bothered me. Them holier-than-thou Canucks preaching peace to us war-loving Amurkans. I also thought the results were a crock. I have a bunch of FB friends whom I met through non-political activities whose politics I find abhorrent, but otherwise they are wonderful people. That's not a bridge of peace, we do a lot of debating, rarely changing minds.

Next up was a fellow who is from somewhere like India or Pakistan, but pretends that since he got his degree at Berkeley he is from around here. 20 years in the country, probably a citizen, it would be the polite thing to take accent reduction classes. His partner makes no bones about being Israeli. They had an app which is your basic GPS, on top of which they have added photos and dialog about points of interest you are driving through. A mobile phone screen is too small to really pull off the photo part, but the talking can be a winner if he shortens the descriptions a bit.

Finally up was a woman who needed to find kid-friendly places in SF, so she created a spreadsheet, which she turned into an app, which has no gone viral and covers 29 cities with 90,000 downloads. It's called MomMap, and I think it's the American Dream come true for her. She has done a great job with it, and really needs to think about hiring a staff.

About 1/4 of the audience was women, and not there just for the MomMap thing. After the presentations, the MC asked if anyone had job openings, and got two responses. Then she asked if anyone was looking for work, and got none. Hmmmm.

Wrapping this up early so I can go to bed early and wake up early.

Plans for tomorrow:
Moto picnic
Hang out somewhere with the netbook. (Thought about the CHM lecture, but I'm not interested in vulture capitalists).  

Table Talk

Jun. 17th, 2011 01:24 pm
howeird: (CamoOcto)
I'm sitting at a table in the Chinese fast food place, vacuuming up the tangerine boneless ribs and house chicken when a couple in their late 20's takes the table kitty corner to mine, in the corner nearest the front windows, maybe 3 feet away. He is Asian, she is Caucasian, and he is talking quietly and quickly in a language I do not recognize. It isn't anything Asian, though. She answers, also in a quiet voice, a mile a minute. She faces the window, so her back is mostly toward me but since she is closer to me than he is, I can hear her a little better. It's an Eastern European language, not Russian but related.

After a few minutes of this quiet back and forth, she starts sobbing and crying while she is talking. His side of the conversation is not angry at all, his tone of voice is reasonable. It might be him breaking up with her, or he may be her shoulder to cry on. I don't understand the words, and here are no real cues.

The conversation ends, they take their (soft) drinks with them as they leave. They walk close together through the parking lot, past my car. She notices my license plate. She looks back and sees me looking at them, then they move on. I think she was wondering how much of her conversation I understood.

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