howeird: (Weird Load)
It felt like it should be Friday all day. Big disappoint dept.: the Friday Bad Movie Night was moved to Saturday, and I am already triple booked. :-(

Nothing to talk about at work, except I got to attend an engineering planning meeting for one of the features of the next product I'll be helping with. Maybe.

I brought a small frozen meal for lunch, in an attempt to have lunch with all the folks who eat in the break room almost every day, but they don't talk to each other hardly at all, and there are ping pong balls flying and a gang playing doubles pool in the far corner making lots of noise. I think I'll resume going out for lunch.

Home by way of Costco, two projects to pick up. The 500 slides scanned to DVD were in, which was a surprise (I expected another week at least) and the posterboard photos for Contact 2014 were there as expected. I went with 11x14 except for one 16x20 of a breaching whale. Last time, 2 years ago, it was all 12x18 and 20x30 and there wasn't enough room for all of them. Also 11x14 cost $10 each as it is. Now I have to go online and buy a bunch of hangers for them. Stick-on plastic ones work fine.

Home, email said Avanquest finally updated CheckDesigner to work with Quicken 2014 (which I bought months ago). Tonight's adventure was putting that on the PC, and updating Quicken, then updating the laptop (it needed Norton and the latest 20 updates from Microsoft) and putting Quicken 2014 on that and downloading the online backup onto it. Laptop is in the bedroom now, hooked up to the charger. I usually run it on batteries as God intended.

Lots for Facebooking today.

On my way home I saw the moon, and it was heading for the sweet spot above the end of my driveway. It was too low to see when I got home, so I set an alarm for an hour, and interrupted my computerizing to mount the telescope on the tripod, install the right angle attachment and a lens, and went out and looked. The moon exactly filled the field of view, full moon , pretty bright. Next step was to try out the camera attachment, which didn't work as expected - the extension tube is the wrong size - but I was able to direct connect the camera. It wouldn't stay aimed, the weight of the camera kept pulling it up too high. But I managed to get a series of acceptable shots, after some Photoshop tweaking for brightness and sharpness. The final one at 1/2000 of a second was the best.

When I got the tripod inside and took off the scope, I saw that the mount could be moved a couple of inches to better balance it, which I did, but there was too much to do (500 slides to organize) and I want to take some pix when the moon is not full. And see if I can get some help at the SJAA on using a telescope lens and extension tube. Orion swore they sent me the right ones for my scope, I just don't know how it all fits together.

Watched some skeleton races, it's like luge except the racer is on her tummy. A much better arrangement, I think.
Plans for tomorrow:


Feb. 2nd, 2014 10:06 pm
howeird: (Default)

Today was all about Plan F

Did not go anywhere. My one trip outside was to go to the shed and dig out the bottom storage tub which has all my musicals scripts, and look for music to Be Like The Bluebird which I want to sing for my audition Tuesday. I had found 2 out of 3 pages of it in the 3rd bedroom shelves, which I had transposed using a music scanning/editing program I still have on my PC, but that file is not on the computer anymore and I didn't want to go through an album full of poorly marked ancient backup CDs to try to find it.

Found the vocal booklet from one of the three productions of Anything Goes  I have been in, brought it inside and scanned TIFF and JPG copies (the music editing program can translate TIFF) and discovered it is just the vocal line. Useless for the pianist at auditions. Finally went online and bought a copy for $5. I could have sworn I had the piano/vocal book for that show, but didn't find it on the shelf. Anyhow, printed that out (it took two tried because the printer decided to feed two pages at the same time) and now I have all the stuff I need for Tuesday.

I didn't get out of bed till 11, it drove Domino crazy. She tried staring me down from in front of the bathroom door, and then jumped up onto the bed (well she used the pet steps, actually) and nudged my elbow. She jumped off when I tried to hug her. I had woken at 7 with low blood sugar, self-medicated with a Klondike bar, and went back to bed, which is why I was not feeling like getting up.

Word from the Seahawks fans meetup is the tav where they were meeting was over capacity by 1:30, for a 3:30 game. I visualized being in an unknown crowd elsewhere, and decided that it would be a better experience to watch it at home on Tivo with a half-hour delay so I could FF past the boring parts and hear the commercials.

I almost went out at halftime when Seattle was ahead 22-0, but it was halftime on Tivo and more like halfway through the 3rd quarter IRL, so I FFed through the halftime BS (Bruno who?) made a snack (dinner, really) and watched the rest of the game at home. And the after-show. 43-8, what a wonderful surprise. I guess I'll have to wear my jersey to work tomorrow.

There were some epic commercials:


Budweiser Clydesdales with puppy

GoDaddy Tanning Studio

Doritos Time Machine

Coke Multilingual America The Beautiful

Plans for tomorrow:
BASFA, maybe will leave before the Hugo nomination session, since I haven't read any of the eligible works.
howeird: (Default)

The first half of Plan A was to see American Hustle at 11:50 at the AMC, which is pretty close to home. Matinee senior price was $7. The second half was to see The Hobbit in IMAX at 2:20. But with 20 minutes of trailers, 138 minutes later was too late to do the second half, and the place was packed, so I went home. Met my next door neighbor in #6, she said she was widowed 3 years ago, she had company which saved me from a real conversation. She has a pretty thick accent, I think Philippines.

Was hungry, but it was too early for a meal. I made popcorn, but that wasn't enough so I cut up more sourdough batard and had a triangle of goat brie with that, as Domino stood on my lap trying to intercept the cheese as I spread it on the bread-ettes. I gave her a few fingertips worth.

Tivo had one episode of Restaurant Stakeout, which was another miracle success. This time Willy totally failed with most of the staff, and what finally saved the place was the owner doubling the staff, and the chef providing cheat sheets to the dumb as rocks android wait staff for the daily specials.

Elementary stepped into the future, I am thankful they resisted the pressure to make it a Christmas tree festooned episode. Instead they promoted the Christmas spirit by nailing the head of a Holocaust victims' fund for triple murder, money laundering and drug dealing.

Since I had time and a decent kitchen, dinner was a minor production number. Put some egg noodles (twisty) on the boil, sauteed two slices of onion and a tablespoon of crushed garlic in corn oil, added 1/4 lb of ground beef, a dash of sage and a dash of ginger, and when it was almost cooked poured in a few shots of Canadian whiskey.

Drained the noodles and put them on a plate, dumped the ground beef on top. Should have used a bowl, it got cold quickly. Domino loved the little bits of beef I gave her.

Afterward she got her Fancy Feast and I got my Breyers Thin Mint ice cream.

Watching high school football, a local school called De La Salle is very good. There are some college teams they could hold their own against.

Made a poor man's egg cream. Love my SodaStream because now I always have seltzer handy. Just fill a glass halfway with seltzer, top it off with chocolate milk. They make lactose free 2% now. Yummy.

Plans for tomorrow:
Post office, buy a lot of stamps and apply them to envelopes with calendars in them.
Maybe see The Hobbit, but not in IMAX.
Visit the office, request a larger garbage bin.

howeird: (Hawaiin Shirt)
Morning project - re-imaged all four Squeezeboxes to UE. Another day of Waiting at work, the feared all-hands meeting was not attended by nearly all hands. I think vacations account for some, but not most. It was better than expected, for once they talked engineering instead of marketingpseak, except for one bozoid salesperson in the back of the room asking inane questions. He sounded like a plant. But there were no slides to show, just two execs talking off the cuff, and doing a fine job of it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plans for tomorrow:
howeird: (Default)
A full day. Solved the mystery tunnel problem at work, and finished all the test cases on the to-do list. One of them I marked FAIL but it will probably never be fixed because (a) the person who wrote the code doesn't know how and (b) there are at least 3 easy work-arounds.

In an orgy of screen captures with lots of cropping in MS Paint, documented the tunneling process, and sent it to Automation Guy who is also the gatekeeper of the team's library of tips'n'tricks.

Lunch at Pollo Loco because I love their chicken and it has been a while. Their latest scam marketing deal is to offer rice and beans as the two sides with the combo plates, and charge extra if you want something edible instead. And they still don't understand "no tortilla, por favor".

It was chilly this morning, so I wore my Sharks jacket to work. It was still chilly at lunch time, so I wore it to lunch, but by the time lunch was over it was 72° outside and the sun was streaming in through the windows and I forgot my jacket on the back of the chair. Got to the last stoplight before work before I realized this, so wasted 10 minutes going back and grabbing it. Surprised it was still there, it's a nice jacket, $200 retail, XXL which means Gangsta size.

This morning I had put the 2nd baritone in the storage shed and hauled out the two sealed boxes which I was sure contained (box 1) 20x30 framed poster sized photos from the last Worldcon art show and (box 2) 18x12 sized ones. When I got back home after work, I opened them both, box 1 was what I knew it was, but box 2 had no photos, instead it was a 2/3 full box from USPS of non-flat-rate boxes (folded) sandwiched between two lazy Susans which I had given up for lost. I absolutely hate how movers pack things randomly. The boxes and photos are now in the dumpster, the lazy Susans are leaning up against the rack of shelves in the livingroom, next to the framed Thai temple rubbings and both will go into boxes later for the move.

On the Sunnyvale library for a NASA update on voyagers and Mars missions. Ames down the pike in Mountain View is the main site for coordinating the Mars program, among other things. Got there at 6:40, the door was still locked for the meeting room. Looked around the DVD collection, nothing caught my eye, wandered over to the audio books section and found Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things. checked it out, and saw the door was open. 10 minutes before the talk and only about 10 people were there. I grabbed a seat in the front row, put my camera and the Gaiman disk set on the chair to my right. Plenty of empty seats, no guilt. People kept arriving, but there were at least 20 empty seats throughout the talk. People, mostly kids, kept coming up, blocking my view, asking if they could sit there. Nope. Next time, come on time if you want a good seat. There are plenty of seats in the back, and plenty of standing room on the sides if you're short. Besides, this was announced as an adult talk, children not encouraged to attend. Of course there were 4x as many children as adults. I'm pretty sure this made the speaker dumb things down a bit.

There were a ton of questions, which cut into the 1-hour program considerably. Most were on topic, but also things which anyone interested int he subject ought to know. I learned one thing I had not known: Mars' atmosphere is too sparse to use for slowing down incoming craft, but dense enough that retro rockets might blow back and burn up the craft.

Home, ripped the Gaiman CDs to the iPod so can listen in the car. Also watched the latest Shark Tank and was happy to see Mr. Wonderful buy half interest in a scam business.Two Guidos from the brass knuckles collection company give small business loans in exchange for taking over the business' credit card processing, at a 26% payoff.

Deleted the Tivo of the Seahawks game, having heard how awful the ending was.

Caught the re-run of the last pitch of the World Series, kind of anti-climactic. Glad it's over in less than 7, and that the home team won it at Fenway after being nixed for 95 years. Meanwhile, the Giants need hitters. Enough already with pitchers. Pitchers don't score points. I don't care how many runs the other team scores, as long as we score more. More hits on both sides makes the game more exciting.

And speaking of sweeps, two of my FB friends this week have reported hilarious Roomba failures. I have too much stuff on the floors to make one practical. And they cost 3x more than a serviceable vacuum.

Got a note from mfg rep, nothing happening until about 11/20 or 21, when park lease gets signed and I hand over 2 months' rent. Scottrade shows the mutual fund sale to pay for this is now in my account, where it will stay until then.

1st choice Movers have not gotten back to me. Time to hit up #2

Plans for Halloween:
No costume. No candy
Work. I need to write some step-by-steps for test cases for the offshore automation folks
Movies straight after work. Or not. All the good stuff opens Friday. :-(


Oct. 15th, 2013 10:56 pm
howeird: (Hawaiin Shirt)
Work got a little bit interesting, there was a bug fix to check out on the older model machine, which I do happen to have one of. Still no word when I get my main machine back.

No lunch. Lunchtime was a UPS pickup, then off to the Safeway next to where the hearing test was going to be. Surgical strike shopping, though I did buy some Australian extra-sharp cheddar just because.

I was still way early for the hearing test, but had my Nexus and the Kindle app. Even though the booth was roomy and not claustrophobic, my breathing kind of interfered with the test. But the results were about the same as last time. The doctor gave me two pieces of advice:
1. Get the wax cleared out of your ears by a professional
2. Don't waste your $$ on hearing aids yet.freq graf behind the cut )
Basically shows my hearing is crap above 4kHz but okay for the bulk of the vocal range, 250-1KHz. The drop at 1.5KHz is borderline "needs bionics".
X is left ear, O is right ear. The numbers up and down are dB. 0dB is what radio and TV stations are supposed to top off at. Every 3dB is double the loudness.

So, back to work, finished the bug I was checking and wrote it up, and then it was time to go home. But first a stop at Lucky's for one item Safeway didn't have. Almost parked for a while at the BatCave Starbucks, but there was too much stuff to do for the loan arranger.

Home, rounded up all the paperwork (electronwork?) which the loan people needed. Printed checks for their appraisal (which I'll try to drop off tomorrow) and for the termite inspection (which gets mailed).  I am still waiting for HR to answer my fax asking for the employment verification form. I'll email them tomorrow if there's nothing before I leave for work.

Watched some TV, Bones grabbed me  because Pretty Redhead. The Voice I could only take in small doses because their idea of a voice is mostly my idea of noise. But there's a sexy blonde on the panel who tried very hard to come out of the top of her dress.

Then the Olds, which they call news but there was nothing new.

UPS included NB sneakers from Zappos, which are going right back because by WIDE they meant the heel, not the toe box. :-( Too tight in front, slips like crazy in the back.

The whites are still in the dryer, and will probably stay there.

Made an appointment for Thursday morning to have Domino shot for rabies and de-matted.

Plans for tomorrow:
Doctor at 3 to follow up on the elbow, BP and ear wax.
Call mobile home park, try for an interview spot Thursday afternoon (I have the day off for PTO)
Drop off the check and the loan offer agreement at the loan arranger's
howeird: (CamoOcto)
Woke up to KOMO news at 7 am, which is 10 am DC time, which is when Supreme Court decisions are usually handed down. DOMA came first. As usual, they mis-reported it as being struck down when they really left it mostly intact, except for the handful of states where gay marriage is legal.

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

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

So that's how my day started.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plans for tomorrow:
Band practice or NASA event? Hmmm.
howeird: (Default)
Got to work a little early, did a lot of ad hoc testing of some new video streams. Boss suggested a new routine for automation - instead of us non-programmers learning to code, we could write "pseudocode" and send it to the programmers to implement. So I took one of the tests which I did not want to do the math for and wrote a description of what the code needed to do, and submitted it. According to the database, I was the first. Automation Guy had to leave early, so I'll see what he says about it on Monday. Ironically, Tues-Wed he is giving a class on how to use his tcl harness to write code.

Lunch was at the Round Table Pizza buffet. They set up a good spread, a little more expensive than it needs to be but not by much.

After work a trip to Lucky's got me more Breathe-rite strips and a small pile of frozen dinners. I expect the new microwave tomorrow. For tonight I made chicken/matzo ball soup from a Costco package. Microwave instructions were the usual series of heat, uncover, heat more, let stand. Stovetop was "pour into a cook pot and bring to a boil". :-)

The matzo balls were not as good as the frozen ones, better than the ones in a jar. Lucky's stopped stocking the frozen ones after Passover, I need to make a run to Piazza's for more. Maybe tomorrow.

The cats usually meet me at the door, but not tonight. I found them in the computer room, Kaan curled up on my office chair, Domino curled up under the desk. Staring at each other.

The cats had stopped using the big expensive multi-level cat tree I'd bought when I moved to the new place, and only Domino was using the shorter one which I'd bought for Kaan. The tall one has sisal wrapped posts, which Domino likes, and since Kaan showed a love of clawing the carpet, I bought a carpet-covered one for him. He immediately started using all the sisal posts in the apartment and ignored the carpeted tree except to perch on once in a while. Except when Domino perches there, sometimes he tries to make nice by stretching out to his full height against the carpeted post. He is tall enough to reach Domino, but she hisses at him so he backs off.

So a few nights ago I moved the subwoofer from the left side of the patio door to underneath one of the speakers, and moved the tall tree across the room to where the subwoofer had been. Immediately, Kaan started climbing all over it. He is pwns it now.

More cat territory drama: On the sofa is a round cat bed which Domino spends most of the day curled up in. When I come home, Domino usually moves to the top ledge of the carpeted tree, and lately Kaan plops himself down in the cat bed, which is too small for him to curl up in, and kneads it while staring at Domino.

Watched the Tivo of the NFL draft, but Tivo failed and did not switch to ESPN2 after an hour and a half, instead it stayed on ESPN which was broadcasting the NFL playoffs. Boo. Hiss. I did see Te'o get drafted, that was a hoot.

Also watched the latest episode of Elementary which was annoying because they went into OMGWTFBBQ mode, a reason I don't read mysteries very often. What I mean is the solution to whodunnit was something which the audience was not given even a hint of until it was revealed by the Sherlock. And it's too late now, but naming the pair Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Joan Watson is just WRZONG. (the z is silent).

On the way home from Lucky's I stopped at 7-11 and picked up another case of Fancy Feast from the Amazon locker. How's this for a WTF?: If I order the stuff on a monthly subscription, they (a) don't ship it till 2 weeks later and (b) won't ship it to a locker. But if I pay about 50 cents more for a one-time order, they deliver it in 2 days, and to the locker.  Same stuff from the same source.

Did laundry. Shirts are on the bed in a basket. Jeans & T's are in the dryer, dried.

Plans for tomorrow:
Maybe find a "Fragile" stamp
Maybe do some more car research (more on that later)
Maybe buy frozen matzo balls
P/U the new microwave from the UPS store 
See the musical version of Little Women at Sunnyvale Community Theater. Two of the leading characters are friends.

What rain?

Mar. 31st, 2013 10:13 pm
howeird: (Default)
There were dire predictions of rain and thunderstorms. We got some impressive clouds and blustery winds, but no precip. A couple of photos for you:

Clouds over Milpitas, shot from Baylands Park in Sunnyvale.

This one's for [ profile] zyzyly, my latest portrait of Obama:

I almost kept to my schedule today, slept till 9:30, showered and took care of some business on the computer, took drugs at about 11, played with the cats a little bit, washed the comforter and put it in the dryer, put a load of jeans & t-shirts in the washer and at a little after noon went to Fry's to buy some printer paper.

They were closed. I'm guessing it was in memory of Caesar Chavez, whose 86th birthday would have been today.  It was odd seeing that big parking lot completely empty in daylight, so I parked near one of the entrances to think about what place might be open and have printer paper. I stayed for about 15 minutes because I was amused by the stream of cars coming in and turning back around. I would say that the vast majority of Fry's customers are not Christian, and those who are probably don't do Easter. Or Chavez's birthday. Their staff seems to be divided between Hindus, Muslims and Catholics. Being closed today lost them a lot of business.

Decision time, I continued to Lawrence Expressway, and turned onto El Camino, thinking something would come up. And it did. Big Lots was open, and they had reams of printer paper for $3 each, better than most of the time at Fry's. They also had deals on baby wipes (I need them for removing stage makeup later this week) and body wash (I have some, but $1.50 for a family-size bottle is a deal). Surprised they fit in one bag, took that out to the car, thought about vegging at Starbucks across the parking lot, but it was a nice day, considering, so I hopped back on Lawrence and went to Baylands Park. Last weekend there was no one at the toll booth, it's supposed to cost $6 per car to get in from March till November 1. This time there was someone taking money, she did not look old enough but she was in the booth, which made it official.

I headed for the far end where the RC planes play, but the folks were just standing around. One of the old guys told me the wind was so unpredictable that everyone was crash landing. Only two people got planes in the air in the 2 hours I was there. I remembered the Kindle this time, and my camp chair (the benches all face away from the field and toward the path) and a bottle of water. It was very pleasant, but eventually the wind picked up so much I figured rain was imminent, so I packed up and went  to the Starbucks nearest the apartment.

Did some FB, updated Norton's, then went home.

Brought in the bag from Big Lots. It only had paper in it. I guess I left the baby wipes and body wash at the store. :-(

Took the comforter out of the dryer, put the jeans & T-shirts in, put the comforter on the bed with Kaan helping by climbing up my torso with his front claws and head-butting me. My beard is very long now (been growing it for the show for the last 4 months) so he's a little weirded out by that. When I was done, the fleece blanket went on top, with Kaan under it. He doesn't really like being under the covers, but he has a really lousy sense of direction, so it takes a while for him to find the exit.

Meanwhile Domino is yelling at me for some treats.

Took care to LJ and FB and then broke for dinner. I made Wor Won Ton Matzo Ball soup. Yummy. Chopped up breaded chicken breast, frozen won tons, frozen Chinese BBQ pork in a big bowl of water. Nuked for 7.5 minutes. Added two huge frozen matzo balls, another 7 minutes, and it lasted all through the last hour of The Voice.   I almost never watch that show, after the first few episodes it was clear that the audience reaction was as important as the voices in making the judges hit their buttons. And after the initial auditions, it just gets more and more Hollywood and less about the voices.

Tonight I heard three outstanding voices, only two were chosen. The last one was a ringer, she had been a major singer in Michael Jackson's final road show, and sung at his memorial. There is no reason she needs to be on a contest show, she should already be a star. Her excuse is Michael's death hit her hard, and she didn't feel right about launching a career off of his funeral. But honey, that's the way it works. What better tribute to Michael can there be? The unchosen one was a 14-year-old girl who was 90% of the way there, and a good coach could have easily brought her the up another 8%. But none of the stars on the show are coaches, they are just talented stars and promoters.

After dinner I had a project, the string which closes the bag for the camp chair had long ago lost one of its stoppers, and was 1/4 of the way inside the lining. I did some surgery to pull it out and push it back through, and now I have a bag which closes again. Go me.

The laundry is still in the dryer, I think it can stay a while.

Plans for tomorrow:
PO - drop off the tax amendments
Leave early for move-in at the theater. I doubt we'll have a rehearsal, though the director expects to. 


Feb. 27th, 2013 02:28 pm
howeird: (Slarty Animated)
It has been busy, what with work and rehearsals and buying stuff on Amazon and selling stuff on eBay, which leaves me with all kinds of brainworms needing to be written about. So...

Budweiser accused of watering their beer. How can anyone tell?

Sleep Train mattress company. WTF does a train have to do with sleeping?

Brigadoon - there's a death scene. Call it Brigamortis.

Everyone is blaming Seth McFarlane for the inane sexist theme of the Oscars. But he didn't write that stuff, he only presented it. Of course if he had any integrity he would have refused to present it. OTOH actors are often required to say things on stage they would not say IRL. And he sings beautifully. He would be great in The Book of Mormon.

I liked the Lincoln joke. Funniest method acting joke in ages. Much less offensive than Abe Lincoln: Vampire Slayer.
howeird: (Kaan Closeup)
In the microwave, actually. This is the second time I've put something in there for a few minutes and it just never turned off. Last time it was frozen cookies for 30 seconds, this time it was edamama for about 2 minutes. Smelled smoke, turned the thing off, made the mistake of opening the door to check. Had to close it immediately, then put the kitchen fan on high, and open all the windows. I wanted to open the door too for some cross-ventilation, but it doesn't have a screen. But the work-around was to turn off the heater and put its fan on full.

That was about 2 hours ago, the windows are back where they belong, heater is heating again, fans are off. It only smells slightly burnt. But the microwave is landing in the dumpster in the morning, and I'll be doing some unplanned shopping tomorrow. Online is out, shipping for those things is ridiculou$.

So, early morning, team meeting at 9 so we could conference in our buddies in Belgium. Spent too much time tweaking the automation on something I thought I had finished, only to be told by Automation Guy that our GUI does some rude things behind the scenes which assigns different names to the same items in a way our scripting program can't handle.

Lunchtime I went to Rite Aid for Vitamin D and found they ad the 1-year supply of the high-test stuff on sale for about 30,000 times less per unit than the 200-capsule medium-strength bottle. Which translated as $4.50 more for the high-test 365-capsule bottle. Don't you love marketing math?

So, started working on verifying fixed bugs, and on the third one, I hit a key and the machine locked up. Turns out the fix broke something else. I left my machine like that and the engineer who had fixed the first bug took it over to troubleshoot. The answer should be very interesting.

Went home, stressful day so I reclined for a while, decided I did not need the chaos of a fully-attended BASFA meeting, which it looked like it was shaping up to be, and tried to take a nap. There was a package by the door as I came in, it had another seltzer siphon to partially replace the one which blew a gasket and is now out of stick with no parts available. And a macro light ring which is a flash which fits over the camera lens for close-up photography. I put the siphon to use right away, the macro ring will be a while before I use it.

After about 5 minutes, Kaan jumps up on the bed and head-butts my back. I turn around and he plops his favorite toy down in front of me. I throw it out of the bedroom and clear across the livingroom. He takes off like a shot, and in about 3 seconds brings it back to me. We played fetch for about 10 minutes, until my arm got tired. Proof positive that he is half Labrador Retriever. I have never had a cat who would play fetch. I have had several who would play "you throw it, I'll chase it, then I'll play with it for a while and then go do something else, completely ignoring you."

Got up, gave the cats their treats, turned on Tivo to watch Elementary which was supposed to follow the Superbowl, but TiVo FAIL, they started recording at the usual 7 pm program time so all I got was an hour of the game. So I tried The Mentalist, but TiVo FAIL again, it recorded an hour of pre-game crap - idiots in bars around San Francisco. And that was my whole TiVo stash. :-(

Turned on the NatGeo channel, which had a fascinating thing on leopards, which is when I heated up the edamama and smoked the place up. Went online to look for microwaves not made by Panasonic, with a handle instead of push-button door opener, and turntable. Wasted some time on the Book of Face, which they tell me is 9 years old today.

And here I am at 10:30 pm, not having had dinner except for some celery stalks, thinking I should heat up some chicken soup the old fashioned way.

Plans for tomorrow:
Dumpster run
Pick up whatever package they have for me at the apartment office
Shop for a microwave

Boo Hiss

Jan. 13th, 2013 10:51 pm
howeird: (Default)
Seahawks lost, thanks to their coach's dirty trick backfiring. :-(

Slept well, was up at 6 because Kaan was making noise and jumping on the bed wanting to play fetch. Back to sleep, up again at 10, as planned.

The Seahawks were already behind 0-10 by the time I was showered, shaved, medicated and dressed. Less than half an hour. This did not bode well.

So I did other things until lunchtime, and turned it on again to see an amazing comeback. With better clock management they would have won. It was nice to see center Max Unger make a heads-up goal-line in-the-air fumble recovery, though they didn't give him official credit because it was his own guy who fumbles, and the guy had already broken the plane. Touchdown, though.

Lunch was dim sum, broke out my steamers for that.

Called my Baltimore sister to tell her a couple of Ravens jokes. Cell signal on the new phone sucks. I'll have to do some research on that. May be the individual phone, may be the phone design. It isn't Verizon, I had a good signal on the Motorola phones with them.

Mostly ignored the Houston-New England game. I was happy to see Texas lose but sad to see the Patriots dominate. It is going to be an interesting next pair of games.

Met Janice for coffee, got caught up. She will be leaving next week for NJ as a Red Cross volunteer, she is both a degreed social worker and has $$ administrative expereince, and will be helping the Sandy victims who are not being helped by FEMA, thanks to the Congrassholes.

Home, Kaan was so affectionate as I petted him while he was on the 2nd to top platform on the taller cat tree that he did a back flip and fell off. His antibiotics are done, so tonight I tried mixing the anti-itch stuff into his Fancy Feast. He was not fooled. A shame, because he is still itching some. Maybe I'll try the human Benadryl liquid topical lotion on him.

Watched another episode of Shark Tank, and was surprised that none of them were interested in a novel ice cream shop with a good track record, but they all wanted in on two other businesses which  struck me as being dead ends.

Dinner was a Stouffer's pot pie, which tasted very good but their microwave package design gave me a lopsided, soft-top, burnt bottom crust.

Also played the latest Elementary which has the world's worst plot designers. It's a very poor imitation of Lie To Me. The premise is the same: talented Brit with no social skills, aided by beautiful woman who is socially and intellectually his superior solve crimes. The main difference is in Lie To Me the talented Brit reads faces and body languages while in Elementary he pulls the answers out of his ass. They almost lost me last time with a plot about Russian spies which was probably found in a 1950's reject pile. This time it was about a psychopathic serial killer who killed 37 people, but not the Brit's girlfriend. And he was not a psychopath, just a hired assassin.

Plans for tomorrow:
Brigadoon dialect rehearsal (first rehearsal, apparently called a week prematurely by the director).

howeird: (Default)
Early to desk
Early to write
Makes a man nearsighted

Early to desk
Early to write
Makes a man grumpy, dumpy and impolite.

Never mind.

Lots of varied and interesting/challenging work today.

Lunch at Denny's, had the build-it-yourself Hobbit Slam which was more than I could finish but not by much:
Shire sausage which is a large mild Italian style tube of yummy goodness
Seed cake French Toast was not related to any toast or French I've ever seen, it was like a square slice of yellow pan cake with poppy seeds, cut into two toast-like triangles, drizzled with some kind of delicious sweet icing. More of a dessert than an entree item
The double order of pumpkin pancakes is what did me in. One order is 2 pancakes, and as it turned out I really only had room for three and a half of these yummy disks with a huge scoop of pumpkin butter on top.

Service was excellent, which sometimes doesn't happen when the place is as empty as it was, so I gave her a big tip. The price of the meal was so low the tip looked outrageous, but she deserved it.
Before I went to lunch I turned on the hands-free phone system in the car and dialed up the CPAP supplier, waited 5 minutes on hold as a recorded message kept telling me how great their customer support is, with frequent splice-ins telling me not to hang up or I'll lose my place in line. Drove to Denny's, about 10 more minutes, sat in their lot another 5, and finally gave up on CPAP place's excellent service and went in for lunch.

Home, the only thing in the mailbox was an Alienware ad. :-(

No packages today, but last night I went on a spree ordering NFL cheerleader calendars from more places than I have wall space. It started with the Seagals, then the Redskins, obligatory Dallas, and when I saw the Jets' cover I had to have one. And Miami. No 49ers or Raiderettes, yet. Maybe not - 49ers is out of stock, Raiders is 3 women to a page, in one-piece swim suits.

Got FB notes from 2 out of 3 UK cousins that they received their calendars. And my sister in Israel, who thought the postage was expensive. And yeah, it cost $1 more to mail than to print, for all the overseas addresses. Haven't heard from Canada yet. Oregon and Baltimore, yes.

Plans for tonight:
One more episode of The Mentalist in Tivo.
Spanikopita for dinner?
Maybe also watch me some Undercover Boss.
Give the CPAP another try

Plans for tomorrow:
Set up the second litterbox and maybe water & food towers
Be at Sunnyvale HSSV by 10
Maybe adopt a cat (Milo The Huge Blue-Eyed Attention Whore is still listed as adoptable)
And all that that entails
Maybe bring some cat food to a friend
Maybe meet Janice for coffee


Nov. 21st, 2012 12:51 am
howeird: (Default)

Got to work early, beat up the SNMP software until it worked, and it worked like a champ. Perfect for the day-long test I needed to run. But it was nefarious and installed itself as a pair of services, which I did not need/want, so I removed those.

Which is when the lab manager, who had gotten me the software, installed it to see what it looked like. Which I found out when I tried to run my actual test, and the software complained that it had a 1-user license, and there were two computers trying to use it. It pointed me to a web site which gave a command line which showed that the other user was the lab manager.

I emailed him that we needed a site license, then went to lunch.

Sizzler, where being an old person gets me a free soft drink with my salad bar lunch. I love their clam chowder and chicken wings.

Back to work, lab manager emails that no more licenses are needed, he isn't using the software, he was just checking (which is something I would have done too). So I showed him how the services were still running. We went to my desk, and I showed him the command line trick, which clearly showed his company ID as the other user. Back to his desk, I showed him how to stop the services, then I went back to mine and confirmed I was able to log in again. So he deleted those services from his PC.

By now it's 3, and all I need to do is wait till EOD and if my test machine hasn't crashed or started reporting strange numbers to the SNMP monitor, the last test case for the new feature passes.

Automation guy invites me to the break room to keep him company while he has lunch, which we do from time to time. We usually talk about work a little, and he often has questions about Americana and languages and things he knows I'm interested in. We decided, for example, that the reason Thai sounds prettier than Vietnamese is the Vietnamese speak too quickly. Both languages are musical, tonal tongues, but the music is lost if your pronunciation is too staccato.

While we're chatting, I get a call which is breaking up badly, btu the nice lady says my photo order is ready to pick up. I check my email and there's a confirmation from Costco that my calendars are ready (round 2, the ones with the better layout).  After work I go to Costco and pick up a box of calendars and head home. At home I discover that there are only 25 in the box, there's a box missing. I return the call from earlier, but the person on the other end says it's Aaron's art shop, which means my Boskone photos are mounted and ready to be picked up. I have some things to do online, then I head over there.

They did their usual excellent job, but they forgot to attach the hanger tabs. So I chatted with the young woman while she did that. She said she loved the photos, especially the shuttle fly-by ones.

Trader Joe's is next door, and I ended up buying dinner there. A small sourdough round, an apple, a ready-to-heat fondue and since they didn't have kirschwasser, a bottle of $10 brandy. Also gave in to my spanikopita craving, got a quart of high test egg nog, celery hearts, brie and enema edama.

Home, cut one celery bunch into edible stalks, popped the fondue in the microwave, and ate celery and onion dip while watching Shark Tank. Cut up the bread and apple, added some brandy to the fondue and ate that while watching the South Park post-election episode. The ending was a cop out.

Pans for tomorrow:
lunchtime trip to Costco
Dinner with Janice at Chili's for chicken fried steak

howeird: (Trumpet)
Pencil Thin Mustache by Jimmy Buffet has been earworming me today. Specifically "an autographed picture of Andy Devine". Andy Devine was my favorite TV actor when I was a kid, and I did have an autographed picture of him.** I remember him as the comic relief deputy in countless western TV shows, and several guest shots on Flipper. From time to time he would pop up in a movie, like Around The World in 80 Days and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

Also on my list back then was Burl Ives, who had a similar personality but tempered by being able to sing and play banjo and guitar. He was a much more elegant actor than Devine, but he had the same spark.

Peter Ustinov and Orson Welles were a notch higher on the Hollywood totem pole, and I liked them too. And Theodore Bikel.

And this is all pure narcissism, because in one way or another, they all reminded me of me. :-)

**It was the only autographed picture I ever wrote away for.

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:
YOTB rehearsal
howeird: (Default)
Didn't do much today. Picked up some prints from Costco, where I shot this amusing photo:
Read more... )
watched an episode of The Shark Tank, which is my latest Tivo season pass. It is a bit over-dramatized, but interesting to see the inventions and business proposals which make it to the program, and how much personality has to do with who gets funded, and how.

Then to Starbucks to snag a table and meet Janice, who had some computer/phone/Kindle questions. At 2:30 there was not a single seat inside or out. I went back to my car for 20 minutes, and when I came back the place was half empty. When Janice arrived 10 minutes later, it was full again. Very odd.

What we decided was her half-ton HP netbook did not do anything her Android phone did not do. I demonstrated Skype, pointed her to K-9 email, the Kindle app, and a couple of other goodies, and the HP became redundant. She just needed something which would let her read and manage email when she traveled, without loading her down. She'll keep the Kindle for reading and audio books, and use the phone for what little browsing she does.

She was having so much fun she forgot to tell me about her latest boyfriends.

Home, dinner was 99 chicken and baked beans. Domino loves chicken, but it's hard to eat dinner with a cat sitting up on the arm of your chair.

Watched another episode of The Mentalist. Guest star was Serenity & V heart throb Morena Baccarin. Yum.

Channel surfed between the news and the Oscars. Was disgusted with the talking heads interviews and waited until the memorial segment to tune in for real. Which also gave me the 4 top "bests". My thoughts on those are emblazoned in an earlier post.

Plans for tomorrow:
Work (10 am team meeting)
BASFA with auction items.
howeird: (Weird Load)
Stayed inside all day today. No reason to go outside. Watched both football games, was surprised by the outcome of both of them but as they say, on any given day...

Last night I hung the new curtains and this morning when the sun was on that side of the room it was clear they did not put in the blackout lining. I'll have to give them a call Tuesday and find out what happened. It looks like they installed the hooks for blackout lining but didn't include the lining.

I looked up blackout lining online and it costs about $45, and they charged me $40 for it at the drapes place, so...

It's snowed in the Seattle/Puget Sound area today. I hope it takes a hiatus for the 25th-26th so I can drive out to Poulsbo and visit my sister.  And fly to Seattle too, come to think of it.

Been watching way too much TV, I know all the commercials. Some of them are so stupid I will flip channels. That rarely works with Geico commercials because they are on every channel, all the time. I cannot believe the Ford F150 monster truck is being pushed as a fuel-efficient vehicle. And I am so glad the Ram truck "nutcracker" commercial is off the air.

Dinner was reheated pizza. Domino stared at me until I gave her a piece of sausage. Okay, I also had some celery stalks.

Plans for tomorrow:

To Sleep

Jan. 3rd, 2012 08:09 pm
howeird: (Dr. Howeird)
I had no idea I could stay up that late. Despite the codeine and expectorant, I could not get to sleep in bed with the noises my upper respiratory system was making. The percussive coughing did not help, and that stitch in my side felt like I was being shot each time I coughed.

Back to the recliner, 2 am, made a cup of bullion, turned on the TV and looked at my Tivo programs. I still had 7 of the Twilight Zone marathon episodes. How appropriate.

The first one I chose wasRead more... )

I think I also finished watching the two episodes of Pawn Stars that were on there. Finally decided to take some more codeine and got to bed at 4:30. It almost worked. Did sleep once for half an hour.

Basically pulled an all-nighter, then. Tried to have a somewhat normal day. Took my usual meds plus the antibiotic at 7, made an omelet for breakfast, drank lots of water & bullion. The doctor had suggested inhaling steam for 5 minutes at a time, I did that a couple of times and it seemed to help a little. At about 2 I started to fade, went back to bed and was back and forth between there and the recliner. Actually slept for an hour at a time twice. Also managed to get my PC on the corporate network and remote desktop to my work PC.

I think the antibiotics are working, the symptoms are less severe now, I was able to do two loads of laundry, and the stitch in my side is not stiff anymore. Still hurts when I cough.

Made a bowl of large elbow macaroni & margarine for dinner, strawberry Newtons for dessert. And a Ding Dong.

I'll see how it goes tonight. I may be well enough to work from home tomorrow.  

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