howeird: (Domino_scanner)

Today was one of those days when I blew off Plan A because I can do the Fair next weekend, and I didn't know until after it was too late to get there that there is a steam train event going on this week in Niles. I'll go there tomorrow.

Running around in the back of my mind for the past couple of weeks was the concept that now that I own a house, maybe I should get some furniture. What triggered this is that the bathroom remodel removed a big floor to ceiling cabinet which made the toilet area claustrophobic, and the plan was to put something small there which would be a good place to put my cell phone, or a book, while I was on the throne. 

I remembered Walmart as having things like that, some assembly required. I was already going there to refill my stash of Polident which, for reasons unknown, they sell for 1/3 of the going online price.

And then I thought Ikea has a lot of stuff, and I figured if I was going to Ikea, I should buy All The Things: The bathroom table, a work table for the office, a coffee table for in front of the sofa, and a small kitchen table. So I went to their web site, and found the latter three things and wrote them down.

So off I went. Walmart had nothing I was looking for, except the Polident. When I got to Ikea, the idea was to check out the stuff on the list, to see if it looked as good and felt as sturdy as it looked online. And maybe there would be something right next to it which was cheaper and nicer.

And there was. The nightstand was going to be the bathroom table, but I decided I did not want to mess with drawers. The things they had without draws were shoddy, lightweight. So no bathroom table.

The kitchen table and chair set got nixed because the chairs were cheap plastic and the table was too big. And I already have chairs. So instead I got a smaller, beautiful solid wood table. The coffee table was way overpriced for the quality, I found something for 1/3 of the price, again in beautiful solid wood. And while I was at it, I discovered their mix and match table top/legs deal. I was looking for something about 5' long, and that table top in faux wood brown matched legs for $3.50 each.

It took forever to get from the upstairs showroom to the downstairs self-service section, and about 5 minutes to figure out the shelf labeling system. I had made the mistake of thinking that the product number was the key, when it's more the aisle/bin number. Loaded up the flat cart, which was a Herculean task because tables are heavy and bulky and awkward.

There was a huge line at checkout, with some people ahead of me furnishing the entire neighborhood.

And then there was the wait for the elevator. Only one of the two was running. Stupid. And a pattern had developed where everyone who was going down would take the elevator up, which meant there was no room left when it was going down. They really needed someone to play traffic cop to fix that. They really needed both elevators working.

Got to the car, it was a long walk, and was surprised that everything fit just fine, with the back seats pushed down. It took some juggling to keep the cart from rolling away, but other than that it worked okay.

Home, parked on the street in front of the main steps, and staged the coffee and work tables next to the livingroom door and the kitchen table next to the kitchen door. Then parked the car in the carport and brought everything inside. One thing I love about this neighborhood is it's safe to leave stuff on the porch for a while, it will still be there when you get back. And I don't have to close the trunk before every grocery bag trip inside.

Dinner first. Heated up some stuffed grape leaves and slopped some cole slaw on the plate, and made some lime soda. Watched a couple of episodes of Hollywood Game Night and half of Restaurant Stake-out before starting construction.

First up was the coffee table, which I figured woud be the hardest because it has a shelf. It took a few minutes for the light to dawn that the reason that there was only one black plastic piece when they showed it being hammered in with a screw on all four legs is it was the template for making pilot holes for the shelf mounts. After that it was pretty easy.

Next up was the work table, which was more tedious but also easy. Five screws for each of the four plates which the legs screw into. But it was done in 20 minutes.

Finally I thought the kitchen table would be the easiest, but they fooled me. Four brackets had to be screwed into flat pieces to make a square frame (4 screws per bracket), the frame screwed into the bottom of the table top, 12 screws. The legs get a metal cylindrical insert which is a screw receiver, and a long screw-like headless rod screws into that. And that in turn is bolted into the bracket. Took 45 minutes for that one.

The good news is I got them all put together right the first time, they all look lovely. I now have a place to put my coffee table books, and a nice large work surface in the office and a little dining table in the kitchen which will also be a second island.

As for the bathroom, that was taken care of thanks to the air conditioning project. Where the aircon unit will go out by the carport, there was a small plastic porch chair and a small glass-top table. The chair came inside to be with its mate in the kitchen at the new table and the glass top table went into the bathroom. Birds. Stone.

Plans for tomorrow:
Niles for the steam trains
Janice for coffee late afternoon

howeird: (Both Ends + Middle)
Don't know why, but when  I woke up this morning I thought it was Friday, and dressed like Jay Lake in honor of his birthday.

Hawaiian shirt, shorts, sandals, socks. He mostly wore tie-dyed socks so I was not completely regimental here.

Subconsciously I knew it wasn't Friday, because I didn't get to work till after 10, which on Any Given Friday would mean the bagels or donuts would be gone.

At work I had just enough time to try one experiment with turning a photo into a video, before the IT department, without any notice, disconnected all the test equipment from the network. It was still down when I left at 6. This is part of a planned renovation of the lab, converting most of it to optical cable instead of copper (we need a mix for the current product, but the upcoming one only uses fiber). There was really no reason for them to interrupt anything just to add more fiber. :-( And email woud have been nice. Like last week.

Lunch was at Sizzler, the price for the salad bar has gone up, but seniors still get a free soft drink. The place is decidedly less crowded now, which I blame on all the price hikes because the massive construction project next door is done, and it's a hotel. Ought to be lots of extra customers from that, but there aren't.

Strange but true, boss and I did have a 1-on-1 today, we had a lot of work stuff to talk about, and also moaned and groaned over the sad state of, which has ceased to be the easy to use web site and the app is even worse. Picasa will be getting another look-see. And so will some other photo storage sites. With my luck the best one will be called "cloud-"something.

For those of you who are not long-time Internet engineers, this is what a basic diagram of the Internet has looked like for the past 30 years:

Nobody ever called it The Cloud. Everyone knew that the Internet was symbolized in engineering drawings as a cloud. Saying "we store things in The Cloud" is like saying "we do our computing in The Rectangle". Effing idiot marketing people.

This morning I decided Fuzzy had installed the left side of the rear shower door backwards. Sliding doors, the front door has the towel rack, easy to grab onto and slide that door with. The rear door has nothing to grab to slide the doors in the other direction. The glass door is in an aluminum frame, four pieces, top, bottom and two sides. Both sides have a flange which one can use to slide the door. Both flanges face the inside of the shower. So I removed the left side piece, reversed it, and discovered that it was no easy task to slide it back, because there is a cheap silicone liner which pushes into the glass, and then fits in the slot in the aluminum piece.

I didn't have time to mess with it, so I left for work with the door not functional.

So on my way home I stopped in at Depot de la Casa, which is where I figured Fuzzy had bought the shower kit. But they didn't have anything remotely like it, and the only showers they had on display were the novelty ones (corner closet and curved glass door ones). And nobody to even ask.

So on to Lowe's. This took me right past the still-a-crime-scene on Fair Oaks and Maude where cops at about 9 am shot dead someone they had come to arrest. 7 pm and there were still several police cars, vans, one lane blocked off, two TV microwave trucks and a lot of spectators.

One of my pet peeves as a better than average marksman is police shoot to kill, when it is not much harder to incapacitate the perp by shooting her in the leg.

Lowe's had on display the same shower shell, and a large collection of doors, including the one I have. And I was wrong, the flanges do both point inside the shower. Go figure. And no, Fuzzy didn't choose the least expensive doors, he chose the 2nd least expensive.

Right there in front of that one was a type which does not look like it will fall apart easily. I snapped a photo of the price tag, and of the $299 flat fee installation tag. Tomorrow I will go in there and arrange to have it installed. It will come to about $700. :-(

In other remodeling news, in my walkabout, I saw lots of granite countertop. I really want to do the kitchen in that. I really know I won't because I can't afford it.

Another thing which does need doing is have the carpet on the outdoor front steps replaced. I'll ask Lowe's about that too. That's a safety thing, I have to get that done before winter.

Plans for tomorrow:
Work from home, until the AAA Furnace person comes (between 9 and 11) to give me an estimate on air conditioning.
Maybe find a #jaycon gathering. Probably at a pizza place.
howeird: (Default)
Feels like Friday.
Work included the distraction of a new build for the current product, and with it a test I could do easily to verify a bug was fixed. Continuing to research Teletext and wrote some more test case one-liners. Many of them I have no idea how to actually do the tests. Those require the box to get its input from a satellite feed, and we don't have any European feeds that I know of.

Lunch was Boston Market, the half rack of ribs was good, but twice as much as I should have eaten. Small, dry cornbread. Not very sweet sweet corn. Decent loaded mashed potato. The very large plastic glass they give for soft drinks is a keeper. Finished the second Giver book, Gathering Blue. It isn't a sequel to The Giver but is billed as a "companion book". Nope, I don't buy that either. Totally different characters and setting, and different magic. Started #3, which is a sequel to #2 right off the bat. I love her writing. YA book which doesn't make me feel overqualified.

Looked up the remodeling company which was suggested by a friend and advertises in the community magazine, but there are no Yelp reviews and BBB doesn't know about them. Not a good sign. The mfg rep said she would send references, and we got a new magazine today which I'll do some checking against.

Put the small Seahawks logo decal on the car, and the a little too large college sticker, which was falsely advertised as a window cling.

Home after work, did my best to avoid it, but eventually sat down with the music and the script and tried to learn the words to my songs. Not very successful. The phrasing and cadence of the song lyrics is counter-intuitive, and there is no place to catch my breath. Will need much help at the rehearsal Thursday with music director. The theater is occupied so we'll do it at his house, where we had the first read-through.

Tried playing the two versions of the songs I have from Amazon, but neither of them matches the script. One comes close but they chop out the intro to the Big Numbah. :-(

In other news, have been infuriated once again by Da Meedea warping a story for sensationalism. Arizona passed a bill, which the governor has not yet signed, which simply allows a business owner to refuse to serve anyone on grounds it would violate business owner's religious beliefs. But instead of reporting it that way, they are all calling it the "anti-gay" bill.

Yes, someone whose religion holds that homosexuality is wrong could refuse to serve gays. But it also allows a Jewish deli owner to refuse to serve men who are not wearing a head covering, or a halal store owner can legally turn away women customers whose arms are not covered. That would make it a "right to bare arms" issue. I'm sure that with enough research, a Navajo could come up with a reason to 86 someone on religious grounds. "You are trespassing on sacred ground, leave!"

I am all in favor of allowing a private business to choose its customers. Just as I have a choice in which businesses I patronize. It should work both ways.

Plans for tomorrow:
Bingo at the community center. A tough choice because there's a NASA talk at Foothill too, but I probably could not get up there in time.
Put in some more script time
Change the sheets
howeird: (Default)
One of my challenges in life is, when I have several disparate things which need doing, my brain freezes trying to choose which to do first. And next. And next. And each step of the way there is usually a moment of "I don't really have to do that one yet".

Today was a series of getting over these blocks and putting milestones behind me. My usual rule is tackle the easiest first, because I am basically lazy.

But this time I was stymied by the easiest to do not being the easiest to plan. All I needed to do was mount a bracket somewhere in the kitchen and hang my 3-tiered mesh fruit basket from it. Sounds easy, until you look at the layout of my kitchen and find there is no clear answer to the question of "where?".

Second task first, then. Mount two fancy garden brackets on each of two posts on the porch, hang a hummingbird feeder from each one, and fill the feeders. Turns out the wood screws I'd gotten were not sharp enough to dig their own path, so I had to drill pilot holes first. I think altogether it took half an hour, part of that time being spent misremembering where I'd unpacked the hummingbird food mix.

Third task was by far the most daunting. Install two towels bars in the master bathroom. I cannot believe she only had the one by the shower, and used lame stick-on hooks on the back of the door and the back of the cabinet. The directions on the box were clear, they came with all the mounting hardware, and all it took was marking the bracket location with a pencil, drilling 3/16" holes, screwing the brackets on, sliding the rack mounts over those and screwing them down. Maybe an hour for the two, because placement for the second one was not intuitive.

Finally the first task, made simpler by taking the calendar an Thai hills tribes necklace off the wall and mounting the bracket where the latter had been, hanging the basket in front of where the former had been parked. Moved the calendar to the wall next to the porch/kitchen door, and moved the necklace to a wall in the livingroom on which the previous owner had slapped her collection of crosses.

Watched the Rose Bowl until it was clear Stanford was not going to run away with it, threw some laundry into the washer, and decided to go for the minus-first project, which should have been done last week: Put my "NOLA Art" on the wall.

Which meant taking down the necklace, moving it to the top of the piano for now, screwing in the tie rack, and hanging all the large beads which fit. Then moving the sofa about 2 feet to the left, which I should have done almost a month ago after the new thermostat was installed, screwing the second tie rack above that gap, and hanging the remaining large beads every other peg and all the small beads in sort of random places, trying not to have two of the same color together.

Watched enough of the sports reports to see that Stanford didn't come through.

Brunch today was a pastrami sandwich from Togo's I'd bought yesterday, had the leftover duck soup for a snack later, and most of a baked brie in pastry shell and a handful of leftover pigs n blankets for dinner. Dessert was some lactose-free chocolate ice cream which Breyers does so well I'll pay extra for it. Very very chocolaty, and the lack of lactose doesn't make any difference to the taste.

Domino tried to jump onto my lap during the soup phase, it smelled and sounded more appetizing than it was cat-friendly. All bones, not much meat. She likes the cartilages, though.

Time to print a January Hgl log sheet for the fridge. Looking at December, the numbers are way too high, I probably should go back to shooting up before meals. I suppose it would help if I always had dinner at about the same time.

Plans for tomorrow:
Hand out calendars
(there are two kinds of people in the world - those who want to see all the photos right away and those who want to be surprised each month)
Maybe get my nails done


Nov. 28th, 2013 12:33 am
howeird: (Default)
Worked from home this morning, was able to finish two online classes before it was time to pack up Kaan and bring him to the Humane Society. The call it "surrender" but I prefer "recycle".

I will miss him. He is by far the most affectionate cat I have ever owned. Also the fastest, strongest, best jumper (had to shoo him off the top of the piano last night) and the only one who ever played fetch.

But balancing that out, Domino hated him at first sight. In his efforts to befriend Domino, he ended up bullying and terrorizing her. Lately his way of trying to get her to play with him was to take a running start from a room away, and leapfrog her.  When she went into her hidy hole, he would park himself in front of it. He would also block the bedroom door, keeping her out.

I had to keep the bedroom door closed at night because he would wake me at 6 am to play fetch. Or when I was asleep he would curl up against my back so I couldn't roll over. But I will miss him curling up by my head, or in the crook of my arm when I was in the recliner watching TV. And I will miss his head butts.

I'm sure he will be adopted quickly. When I brought him to the Humane Society HQ, they said the Sunnyvale branch where I had adopted him had requested he be sent to them again. They missed him.

I was hungry and hypo so I stopped off at IHOP for lunch. They have lost their touch making the multigrain & nut pancakes. They don't hold together. Used to.
At work I fired up the webcam app and saw that Domino had reclaimed the recliner.

And when I got home, she pwned me

She was on my lap or the arm of the recliner most of the time I was sitting there. As usual she sat in front of my while I ate dinner, staring at me. :-(

Her evening dose of kitty crack went mostly uneaten, probably because there was no Kaan to keep it away from.

Stopped off at Lowe's on the way home, spent about $400, mostly on three electronic keypad deadbolt door locks. One of them will be returned if the re-keying kit they gave me works with the one keypad lock already in the new house.

Bought some Goof-off for helping remove the Jesus sticker (I don't think anyone in CA sells lighter fluid anymore, [ profile] lemmozine), and some plastic wood in case I need to drill new holes for the out-of-alignment strike plate. And a combination lock for the missing one on the small shed. I need to look into having those sheds removed and a new one installed. Major $$, though.

I am so sad for one of my team mates. He is a new dad, and lived in a motel for a couple of months while his wife was with her family having the baby, while he scouted out a new apartment. His biggest complaint about the old one was the noise (it overlooked the expressway & freeway). He says the new apartment is worse. :-(

Plans for tomorrow:
New house:
Drop off the rent check
Take "before" photos
Remove the Jesus sticker
Paint over the Jesus calligraphy
Install two of the keypad door locks, and their accompanying dummy door knobs
Try to re-key the third door. Replace the keypad if that doesn't work
Check to see if the satellite dish has been removed
Put a lock on the small shed
Take "after" photos
Back to the apartment, bake a pair of turkey legs, make dressing. Maybe buy an onion somewhere for that.
Watch some football
howeird: (Default)
From my last post, this morning:
Moved my only surviving VCR into the computer room, only to find it does not have S-Video, and my capture card has only cable and S-video inputs. Silly me, I should be able to daisy chain the cable through the VCR. Problem solved.

Other plans for today are to process the photo shoot pictures and post the best ones, watermarked, on Flickr, make a modem ringtone, maybe re-capture some of my old theater clips and put higher resolution ones on the web site. Maybe enjoy the sunshine.

Got the VCR set up after some false starts. My capture card, which I thought had one cable connector for TV and another for FM radio, actually has one for digital TV and one for analog TV (aka VCR). Killed my cable modem connection while discovering that. Now all is well, except when I put the tape cleaner into the machine, it was obvious the audio heads were shot. I went online and bought a replacement machine for about $60 (eBay). After which a friend offered to give me her old one.

Ordered a new, better GPS unit for the camera this morning from a company in HK which has been very good to me. Got email offering to send me the next gen of that model, which is officially not out till next week, if I don't mind it not coming with the new gen manual or the wireless remote (both of which will ship in 2 months). The next gen will be about $40 more but they will send me the new one at the same price I paid already. I said okay. It should be here later in the week, plenty of time to learn it before Thailand.

I processed the photos from the model shoot, they are here. Some of my favorites:

I achieved a watermarking breakthrough - something I needed to figure out before printing the Worldcon art show entries - turns out that in three easy steps, the first one being entirely not documented, one can position it at any corner. I like the lower right, since that's where artists traditionally sign their work. I could build a signature just as easily, but no one would be able to read it.

Made the modem ringtone and texted it to my work buddy. And my middle sister. She has not mentioned it.

And the VCR problem nixed the video captures for now.

I finished the cat fence, Domino yelled about it for a while, then settled down to watching the world through it.

She eventually jumped up on my lap (I took the photo from a chair in the other corner) and stared out of that side (it's mirror image of the side you see here). Until she got bored and went inside and parked herself just inside the patio door, where it was cooler. It was about 86° when took the photo, 74° indoors.

Oh, and while I was putting the finishing touches on the fence, I used one of the small tables to push myself from kneeling to standing, and my hand went completely through it:

That was a surprise. The rest of the day I mostly napped, in between reading from Jar Jar Biggs Must Die. Lunch was two lean cuisine entrees and four amazingly delicious sweet corn cobettes.

Changed both litterboxes, ordered another 3-pack, which should do me till vacation. It is getting very close. I am starting to get pre-post-travel regret.

While I was puzzling out the capture card, I updated the drivers for the display adapter. AMD/ATI has made that a 30-minute install. Too many gamer features, out of which one cannot opt.

Shopped for Nikon's latest greatest telephoto zoom lens, which I dearly want, but no one has it in stock. One site had a message from last year blaming the floods in Thailand for the delay. The lens is, indeed, made in Thailand. When I get to BKK I'll see about buying one, which will mean paying some $$ at customs on the way home, but I can live with that.

I also will be buying a suit, Thai silk tie and dress shirt when I get there. It's not the bargain it used to be, but they also have learned that fat old white guys are really that large. Used to be they didn't trust their measurements, and instead trusted their (always wrong) instincts about that.

Time for dinner, maybe an hour ago.

Plans for tomorrow:
9 am team meeting
call Kaiser about travel shots


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