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Another Busy-as-a-Summer-festival Day

Got up with the alarm, but it took me a while to realize that was why the radio was playing a rant by Armstrong & Getty. That's because at 7:30 they are supposed to be going to news and the incredibly irrelevant traffic report. Spook was on the bed for a moment, until I got up.

Which wasn't till 8:30. Somehow I justified working half an hour offset from my usual 9-5:30. It was a good decision, traffic was a lot lighter getting onto 101, and the only major bottleneck was at the exit where many more idiots than usual had failed to notice it was an exit-only lane.

At work at 9:30, there was some email to parse before going across the street for banana, HB egg and diet Cola.

Before I had a chance to continue work on the tiny STB from yesterday, the next door neighbors came over to work with me to figure out why two identical pieces of hardware with software 1 generation apart did not send audio out the same ports. But they had fixed the one with the current version so that it actually played video, so I was able to reproduce a problem which had been reported by one of our software partner managers, and then take it one step further to confirm a theory he had. And I also found a bug which I'd reported months ago on different hardware.

And I needed to install the latest new (pre-release) software on the new unit, and do enough testing to confirm it didn't make a difference. Which meant I could set that machine aside.

Pulled out the mini STB, and it was crashing all over the place, I finally gave up on it and let the managers know. Tomorrow I'll get the power supply for the mid-sized one, and try that. There was still some time left, so I fired up the prototype board, which we got email saying was now supported by a major app, but it wasn't. Boo, hiss. And finally I set the mini up to run an automation test which I will check in the morning.

Home, traffic on 101 was slow but almost non-existent on the frontage road.

At 6:30 UPS was still claiming my lens was in transit and to be delivered by 5:30. By 7 it was not here, so I took a nap. It was finally delivered at 7:30. I slapped it on the camera and took it outside around dusk, and shot a lot of pictures. Low light is the main reason to get this lens, and it worked fine. I need to remember to shoot in fixed aperture mode instead of auto, to take advantage of the largest lens opening setting.

It's not a macro, but it's pretty close. It showed me limes starting to grow on two of the porch trees.

And there's the obligatory Spook photo:

Lee came over with two apples from her tree. I'll slice them in the morning and put them in the lunch cooler.

Lunch was turkey tetrazini and M&Ms. I had not forgotten to pack cookies yesterday after all, I was out of them. Dream woman was not there today. Nor were the boys with backpacks. Instead we has a lot of Howard West T-shirts. 

And I saw from the caravans of visitors coming back from the company store that they have finally produced colorful shopping bags. Possibly for an extra fee, but still much better than the ugly plain ones.

Break time was similar, minimal eye candy. The Howard West kids had a few posters to look at. Posters as in letter sized prints of presentation slides taped to poster board. One of the least effective ways to communicate.

On the road by 6, home by 6:30. Watered the newly seeded patch, disappointed that nothing is sprouting yet. Also watered the oregano, which has gone to seed, but some new sprouts are coming up.

Dinner was 4 BBQ brisket sliders and some raw baby carrots from work. Watched the 6 o'clock news, which was 90% national news & local/state fires.

I uploaded the 35mm test photos here

Plans for tomorrow:

Out Of My Dreams And Into The Break Room

Up before the alarm again, but only barely. Spook jumped onto the bed and got some knuckle rubs. And then she plopped down on the foot of the bed until I got up to do my morning stuff, and she headed toward the kitchen. But when she realized I was not following, she came back and curled up in the doggie bed.

After I was dressed and medicated, I remembered sort of hearing a knock on the carport door and there were two packages, the second doggie bed, which I put in the office, and the replacement pump, which went onto the kitchen island to be dealt with later. Not delivered, despite tracking email saying it would be, was the new lens.

Off to work, traffic was insanely heavy the whole way. It was nice and cool outside so the lack of aircon in the hole was not an issue. I opened two widows, but the air was rushing out with enough force to blow off the screens. The tech have made the building more airtight, it seems.

One of the new product managers messaged that he had two STBs for me to test. After an hour I drove up there and got them from him and took them back to the hole. Had it been a hot day I would have set up in the big building.

The first unit is tiny, about 3/4" tall, 3"x3" or so. The longer I had it on, the flakier it became. Between bug reports and just trying to get it stable I was only half-way done by the end of the day. Usually that test only takes 3 hours. Toward the end of the day the next door engineers came in and I gave them a tutorial on HDMI ARC. Audio Return Circuit, which is a tricky piece of tech built into the second generation of HDMI. All it really does is send optical-quality audio directly to a home theater receiver through a high def video cable. It's counter intuitive because it's an input, but it plugs into the receiver's HDMI Out port. They can get away with that if the receiver is not being used as an HDMI switcher, but that's a massive waste of $$ and a good receiver. Better to use an optical cable input and use the output as a switcher.

Anyhow, somehow we got to talking about mobile homes, so I showed them mine on Flickr. They were impressed by how it looked like a real house.

Tomorrow's going to be busy.

Lunch was crowded,lots of Howard West kids and mentors. And the woman from my dream was having lunch in the far corner. My lunch was Thai ginger beef, and M&Ms and grapes because I forgot to pack the cookies.

Break time there was that gang of backpacked boys, four of them were playing a card game, it looked like a cheap version of Magic. Many pretty women came through. This time the WOMD was standing by the all-the-coffees machine for about a minute, then she left, and then she came back and stood at one of the tall tables near where I was sitting, which gave me the whole view. Her face is slightly androgynous, short peter pan haircut adds to that look. And she is about 5'10" and though she is not well endowed she wears tops which show she is female. And in the no accounting department, I am attracted to her bottom, though it is not the bubble type I am hardwired for. It helps that it is not equine.

Home a little after 5:30, leaving my room open so the next door neighbors can use my AV receiver (theirs did not appear to support ARC).

Traffic was the worst I have ever seen. The back roads were backed up where they usually are slow but moving.

Home, plugged in the car, was expecting to see the lens package, but did not. And there were two confusing email messages from UPS. One from this morning said the package was delayed till tomorrow, and one at 5:30 pm which claimed it was on its way, to be delivered between 3 and 5:30. The UPS app still thinks it is in transit for a delivery today.

Not a problem, as long as I get it before Saturday evening, it's fine. I want to use it at the Mimi Tran runway show.

Checked email and Facebook, and took a quick look at the Worldcon site to see if they were ready to take my money for the nuke site trip (they were not, but the organizer had said Saturday). They also were not taking money for the ferry trip and tour the next day to the island fort.

At about 7, I took some photos of the carport electrical outlet, then went to Home Depot where it took half an hour to decide that all I needed was the basic receptacle, so I got two 20A heavy duty ones, one with side connections and one with the connectors in the back. The way the outlet is mounted I think the back is the one I need. Back home, I plugged in the car and watched the glowing charger ring as I turned off each of the circuit breakers one at a time. None of them seemed to work. Very strange. I'll have to use something less capacitive next time.

Dinner was macaroni and sliced turkey dogs & cheese. Watched the final episode of Doctor Who. All the loose ends got wrapped up by Moffat pulling them out his butt. And the Doctor's final scene was interminable. Capaldi has aged many years in the last two. All those close-ups were a cruel thing to do to an aging actor. And the fake 1st doctor was a fake. Anyone familiar with the late, great William Hartnell (who died in 1975) was not fooled, and anyone who was not familiar with him wouldn't care about that scene. I did like that they brought back the incredibly cute girlfriend for Bill.

And here I am. Spook is outside the office door on the runner, ignoring the new bed. I opened the guest room back up, since she likes the futon during the day, makes it easier to keep track of her.

Installed the replacement pump, but will put off adding the fountain till next week. I'm not sure where I want to put it. Maybe the piano room.

Plans for tomorrow:
Probably will finish the Witch book. It seems to be moving rapidly downhill toward a conclusion. 

Another Late One - Blame the CHM

But first, the morning. Up with the alarm, Spook was on the bed trying to wake me up 90 minutes before.

I posted about one very weird dream, but there were at least three others that night. One involved me hitting on a woman who had caught my eye in the break room yesterday, who, in the dream, told me to take her home - and en route specified my home. When we got there she wanted to tie me to the four corners of the bed, but I managed to talk her into just letting me assume that position. The rest of that dream is TMI.

And there were a couple of lucid dreamlets - very short snippets of the beginning of a dream where something was wrong with the plot so I told the protagonist to stop the dream and get off. I'm still mostly awake at this point, so it works.

The overheating outlet warning light was on on the car charger again. I need to get that socket replaced. I replaced a similar one on the kitchen island, but the outdoor one has a hood on it, not sure how to deal with that.

On the road at the planned time, AG phoned as I was pulling out of the driveway. He's feeling better and back at work. And Apple has asked for a 2nd phone interview. Odd, since he didn't think he liked the first interviewer.

The aircon guys were busily at work when I arrived. It was cool enough outside that we didn't need it till late afternoon, when they shut it off. Facilities support guy had emailed asking us when a good day would be to shut it down for another major repair, saying they were waiting for a compressor on order. Two of us answered to just let us know ahead of time when it arrived so we could make arrangements.

Spent the day testing a new, not ready for prime time, machine. Considering how far away from shipping it is, it did pretty well.  Except it refused to play any videos from any app. I beat up on it, but finally had to show the engineers next door (it was their machine) and they were baffled. One of them was working on it when I left for the day.

Lunch was tuna casserole with extra cheddar & cashews with cookies for dessert. A lot of eye candy, and a lot of eyesores. A gang of guys hovered around one of the small tables in the middle of the room, with their packs on. For half an hour. As I was reading, a very attractive young woman came over and complimented my nail color, and asked it it was gel or polish. It's gel.

They look darker & more purple under fluorescent lights.

Break time was a parade of eye candy, including the one from my dream. 

Back at the hole at 4:30. On my way out at 5:30 I saw signs on the front doors. New ones, saying for the next 2-3 days the aircon would be off. We were in the building, the doors were unlocked, they could have said something. I took pictures and added them to the facilities ticket.

Next stop, the CHM, for what I thought was food (a reception) and an interview with someone who builds boats but is now VP of Google Cloud. During the talk she claimed to have founded and was first CEO of a company I had worked for, VXtreme,  but the co-founder she named was like #3 on the list when I worked there. She was long gone and someone else took over as CEO when I arrived, expressly to raise more funds or sell the company. As I remember, I was the first and last tech support engineer. I was recruited to be tech support manager, but told them I'd rather not manage. When they were bought by Microsoft I was moved to Redmond, where my job for about 3 months was to answer all support email by saying the product was no longer supported.  The actual founder of VXtreme, the former grad student whose breakthrough it was became a VP at MSFT, and now runs a venture capital company.

She also says she founded and was CEO of VMware. Their site seems to back that up. Her story is she was a rich kid from Annapolis who loved to sail, which was nice because her folks had a house on the waterfront. She went for a mechanical engineering degree, then an advisor pointed her to MIT for naval architecture, and then after a lot of bouncing around found the SF Bay's wind surfing, and software at UC Berkeley. Her work story is of being in the right place at the right time over and over again. And being assertive when she needed to be.

There was no reception. But there was a new, very beautiful wing of exhibits opened.

World of Warcraft & D&D exhibit

Home, Spook was watching me through the office window as I watered the plants.

Dinner was falafel, some shrimp egg rolls, mixed veggies and my world famous satay sauce. Ice cream for dessert while watching the next Doctor Who episode. Somewhat better written than those which came before it. But it got all soapy at the end. I do love that they plopped Missy in. I love her acting, while being somewhat put off by her character. Next one on the list is the one I mistakenly saw out of order, and was not as I thought the final episode of the season - there are 2 more.

Plans for tomorrow:
Work. If it gets too warm in the afternoon I'll move across the street.
Home. Maybe by way of Home Depot. Or Home Depot after dinner.  


Weird Dream Channel

I am in line at a CVS or Rite-Aid type drugstore. The cashier is a tall, skinny man with black-framed glasses who is wearing a yellow raincoat over his dark blue uniform. As he is finishing scanning my purchases, I pick up a wooden fish-shaped object from one of those "buy on impulse" racks they have near the registers. It's flat, about 10" long and maybe 5" wide, and looks like some tropical ornament. I put that on the conveyor belt, and as soon as he sees it, the cashier throws a fit. He yells for his manager, who is at a stand a few feet behind him. Something about "pedophile". She doesn't even look up, so he runs over to her. They have a short, animated conversation, which they take outside. I can see them through the sliding glass doors, looking back at me,  and I get the impression she is calling the police.

I look at the fish figure to see if there is anything which would hint at what is going on. I see a little sticker on it which says "Hawaiian Warfish". I take the thing outside, and shove the label under their noses, yelling at them that it's only a fish.

I wake up still yelling, breathing heavily, still in a panic.

Biting Bullets

Last things first. After looking at my credit card balance, and extrapolating what it will be in a month, I went ahead and ordered a lens which I have been considering for a while. I had already bought the lightweight all-purpose Tamron zoom to use on vacation instead of the heavier Nikon, and it has worked so well that I can't tell the difference in the photos. But my indoor, low-light lens has been a not-so-trusty Nikon 50mm, which I think I actually bought eons ago for my film camera. It has some issues with autofocus, and has proved to be not wide enough. It's okay as a snapshot lens. I thought I had a fast 35mm lens, and it turns out I do, but it's a DX lens, for 3/4 frame cameras (like my D90) but DX lenses only cover 3/4 of the frame, so no good on my full frame camera. The equivalent FX lens was $650 when I first checked, Adorama has it for $526, and includes the filters for free. So that's now on order. UPS says I'll see it Thursday. The real sticker shock came when I looked up the next fastest 35mm lens. $2k. The one I bought is f/1.8 the other is 1.4. And the other is twice as heavy, IMHO not a good trade-off.

Two more bullets - a second doggie bed for Spook, and a replacement pump for her old but usable water fountain.

Up on time, but couldn't motivate myself to get on the road until 9. After 9. Got to work at 9:30, the aircon repair folks were still at it, but they had it running on one cylinder, so temps inside were okay until about 4 pm, and still livable after that.

I had very little to do again, one of the manufacturers asked for photos front & back of the three bricked TVs, to try to ID them and maybe figure out how to un-brick them. Boss asked me to reproduce a bug I filed a couple of months ago, but I no longer have the firmware or access to it. I tried on a different machine with similar firmware, but it can't find any test videos.  Tall Engineer never showed, nor did Boss.
Worldcon came out with the program schedule, and I just spent an hour checking events I'm interested in during the first two days. As usual, there are 5x as many events as there are me to be at them. One nice thing is it knows me, and has my one panel already marked.

One cute touch is where available, it has a head shot of each panelist/presenter. Where not available, it has a head shot of The Invisible Man.

And one disappointment - a lovely woman I first met at a con here who now works in Sweden does not appear to be attending the Helsinki con.

Food report:
Breakfast was the usual.
Lunch was clam chowder & cookies (not mixed together)
Break time hazelnut chocolate soda.

All day there were literal parades of people passing by the hole. Much eye candy breakfast, lunch & dinner.

Plans for tomorrow:

Journaling Out Of Habit, Not Necessity

Not much earthshaking happened today. Woke up at about 6:30, Spook was in the new doggie bed by the hampers. 7:30 when the lights came on she was sprawled across the bed past my feet. I told Alexa to turn off the lights, and the next time I woke up around 9, Spook was back in the doggie bed. She spent a lot of her day there.

Played online,  Acronis was doing its monthly full backup of my 6TB RAID drives, which means leaving the PC on all day. Actual backup is 3.03TB onto an 8TB NAS drive. That's "just" drive E, which has all my photos, docs and music. Saturdays it backs up 5GB Drive C, which is the system and program files. Now I need to erase the previous E backups, to make room for a month of incrementals, and I see I also have a month of C full & incrementals to delete prior to the last full backup.

Done. 4TB free on the backup drive.

The backups start at 6:35 am, today's completed at about 8 pm. A full C backup only takes till 8:05 am.

Email from Worldcon announced the final progress report, and it is a beautiful piece of work. About 30 pages of pdf, which I foolishly printed it out (double-sided) then came to my senses and copied it to my phone and the Kindle folder on my tablet.

It listed some field trips, and one I emailed asking to sign up for is a bus trip to the nuclear power plant for a tour, the day before the com starts, which is the day after I arrive. It looks like the bus may return to Helsinki in time to get to the con site & register, which means getting a free transit pass. They also make it sound easy to get to the island fort by ferry, another trip I was thinking of taking.

Lunch was a disaster. I had it all planned out, a cold plate. But the last of the container of cole slaw had gone grey, the half a package of lox had turned as well. The packet I bought the other day was okay but not as good quality and it was a small portion. The sardines and hard boiled egg were fine, and so were the last two marinated artichoke hearts, but when I opened up a new container for more of them, those were spoiled. There was only one slice of Muenster left, so I sliced some Velveeta. While digging for more edibles in the back of the fridge I found a last "everything" bagel, miraculously not green and fuzzy, toasted it and buttered it. And poured a glass of milk.

Set up a second tray table and read while I ate. First the progress report and then some of the Witch book.

Running out of things to do before the planned trip to BB&B for SodaStream syrups prior to coffee date, I realized I had not watered all the plants yesterday, so got that done. My butterwort has sprouted a flower on a long stalk, and the scraggly New Zealand sundew is well on its way to one as well.

BB&B, it was 93° outside, the car's aircon worked fine. So did the store's. It took a while to find, because some genius had put all the SodaStream things on a wall facing an aisle which was packed with display cases. While I was plucking items from the wall, nobody could pass by. And I was plucking a lot of items because none of the other stores even stock them, and BB&B has priced them $2 below MSRP.

Much eye candy, so I cruised the store a little, but also because there was a line for all the cashiers about 3 deep.

Drove to the other end of the shopping center and PetSmart. Plan A was to buy another doggie bed, but they didn't have the one Spook likes, and the next closest were >$50, way too much. Plan B was a replacement pump for her water fountain, which was making too much noise. Nope. But my eye was caught by a large capacity fountain on sale. I was getting nervous that her fountain was just barely going to make it through the 2-week vacation. So I bought that.

On to Starbucks, where I got lucky and managed to snag a table indoors while waiting for my drink to appear. It was packed, as usual. The place thins out around 5:30, but it was 4:45 with Janice due at 5.

Home, put stuff away. Set up the new water fountain, and watched Spook inspect it but not use it. I know she will figure it out soon enough. But as with any change to her world, she whined at me for a bit.

This morning I started a packing list on the whiteboard, initially to remind me to bring badge ribbons. I just remembered that and added them to the list.

Dinner was Marie C chicken fried steak, which is probably her 2nd most Meh offering, first being the chicken version.

Janice asked me to watch a Netflix movie, Valley Uprising, so I did. It's about the rock climbing culture at Yosemite through the decades. I ran out of patience when they started base-jumping. I'll watch the ending at work. Maybe. 17 minutes left. There is a lot of incredible photography, and a lot of pure crap.

Took out the garbage & recycles. No garden waste this week, and won't bother with cardboard with only 2 empty boxes. Watered the seeded patch and the new ground cover plants. Topped off the water under the lime trees.

Ordered a replacement pump for the original water fountain, my plan is to set that up in addition to the new one, just in case, the day before my trip.

Plans for tomorrow:
If the aircon isn't running, move to the big building.
I wishbasfa wasn't at the other end of Commute Hell Highway. I would like to go once in a while.

Almost a typical saturday

Up at 7:20, turned the lights back off when they came on at 7:30. Slept till 9. I like that the Fabriq speaker by the bed can tell Alexa the same home automation commands that the echo dot in the livingroom can - I don't have to shout.

I opened the bedroom and office doors, but Spook wasn't too impressed. She doesn't like me being out of sight when I'm in the house, but that's about all. I was hoping she would be more affectionate after being closed out, but no.

11 am, BofA and got my Euros. 5's, 10's and 20's. Only about $10 more than the official rate. 5%.

Target, got all the things I went for, but none of the "while I'm here" items. Lactose free milk was too expensive, even the generic. They stopped carrying Lactaid ice cream, too. Did get some dark chocolate on sale. Lots of pretty women in the store.

Home, got my camera, put the lighter Tamron lens on, grabbed an extra battery and plugged in the GPS unit. Then off to the community garden.

Half an hour early for the 2 pm presentation. It was starting to get warm - 80's. The talk was given in an area under a tree, lots of shade. Speaker arrived just after 2, she thought it started at 2:30 and was surprised she was not early enough to set up.

It was an informative talk, basically the message was all the veggies I detest are the best ones to grow in our area. But there's hope - apparently broccoli has a pretty flower, if you don't pick it while it's (allegedly) edible. She also showed why to use plastic and not peat containers to start seeds. She uses the ones in which typically nurseries use for selling seedlings. Makes sense. 

By the time the talk was over, it was almost 3, I had not eaten at all yet and my morning insulin was making me hungry. Next stop: Denny's for a grand slam or something like that. Pancakes, bacon, sausage, eggs, muffin, OJ. I would have ordered dessert but the waiter was going off shift and slapped the bill on the table without giving me a chance to order anything more.

Still hungry, which I should not have been, so I made an emergency strike at Lucky's. Lactaid ice cream, fudge flavor magic shell, and Haagen Daaaaas dark chocolate on chocolate pops were on sale so I bought two boxes. And a Snickers bar to eat in the car.

Next stop, World Oil, put 5 gallons of gas into the car, it keeps telling me the car is below 1/4 full, then above. Odd.

Home, put all the things away, Facebooked, had an ice cream pop.

It was 92° outside, so putting the sheets into the dryer was out.

Processed the photos from the gardens. I like the knickknacks people plant along with the plants

The whole collection is here.

When it was cooler, thanks to some cloud cover and the sun starting to set, I drove to Lowe's to see if they had plastic seed pots, but they didn't. And they had moved the seeds and what was left of the seed growing kits out into the garden section. They used to be by the indoor plants. I also did not find the large pots I want to transplant two of the Thai lime trees into.

They also have stopped using the 6-pack plant flats, which was Plan B - buy some cover plants, plant them, and use the empty flat for seedlings. Finally bought an 18-pack of a kind of creeping ice plant, Red Apple Aptenia, some green pea seeds and potting soil.

Home again, planted the Aptenia in a row across the front of the garden, hopefully it will discourage the Brewer's blackbirds which have been ripping up the garden again. They have also deposited a couple of pigweed seeds. Anyhow, that was a LOT more work than I expected. 18 plants. Sadly, the flat was all contiguous, and cracked. So I ordered a seedling kit online.

Dinner was late, after 9, watched the pilot for Orphan Black, which was the only first season episode available on SlingTV's BBC page. They had all of the final season so far, but nothing between the pilot and season 5. Anyhow, I am not impressed, except for the nudity. there are some fine bodies in that pilot. Sling kept trying to show me Orange is the New Black when I searched for Orphan Black. No thanks, women in prison shows are disgusting pandering.

In the park mail slot was another letter from the Corporation, this time from someone titled "Managing Partner". I looked him up on their web site, he is the son of the last partner to join the firm, and the web site says he retired in 2012. It was an encouraging "we know the problem is severe, we're committed to fixing it" letter. But once again the message was the corporation would work with the "Community Association" to fix things.

That meant it was time for me to write a letter. I explained to him that the "Community Association" is a voluntary $5/year social club, and is in no way a legal Home Owners Association. I quoted the paragraph in the state law on mobile homes which spells out how changes to the park rules are to be made, and told him I am not represented by anyone except myself. And thanked him from coming out of retirement to help.

I did not mention, but it occurred to me, that when I worked at HP Labs, an unfortunate choice of CEOs and an economy in the toilet let to Dave Packard coming out of retirement to fix things. And he did. But it didn't take long for the board to make the same stupid mistake again, and now HP is a joke. They don't even make the product lines which made them a giant in test & measurement equipment, workstations and servers.

As I wrote this, I'm listening on the Fabriq speakers to what had been my parents' fave Seattle station, KIXI. They play 40's music mostly, and at the moment they have a Dick Powell radio drama on the air. This morning I heard Together and immediately identified the singers as Helen Forrest and Dick Haymes.  I have the 78, and it's also on the USB drive in the car.

But somehow the earworm it triggered was Jeanette MacDonald's San Francisco from the movie of the same name starring Clark Gable. Here's the trailer:

And the song, in a  variety of styles, the final one a lot like Al Jolson might do:

Plans for tomorrow:
Put the sheets in the dryer
Relax on the porch
Coffee with Janice in MV
Not so much now. Facebook sucked me in deep today with some very interesting stuff, including this:

Trio Mandili

Three girls from the Other Georgia. Re-posted by a friend in Aberdeen, WA from some guy's blog written in Arabic who steals and posts un-attributed music. It took almost 5 minutes searching to remember YouTube. Which I spent all week testing. With lots of searching.

Early wake-up - 6 am - with optical migraine (took two migraine-strength Tylenol), stumbled into the kitchen where my meter is, it took two tries to get the blood sample onto the tiny, awkwardly located slot in the test strip. 66. Low. One Klondike bar and some recliner time, then back to bed. Spook whining at me the whole time because she thought I was up to be the Treats Fairy. She is still locked out of all the rooms.

Woke up at 9, out at 9:30, but no matter because today started in the big building, where I found my alleged desk cluttered with boxes and cables from the guy who sits behind me. Had a nice chat with Tall Engineer, who was pre-testing a new prototype, but this one was in an actual production case. He will bring it by Monday for me to beat up on.

It took me a while to find the TV I was supposed to test. Odd, since it's 85". Unbeknownst to me, the managers had set up a conference room for TV testing, and there it was. Plugged in with a working remote. And the pre-release app already installed. half an hour and I was done, and updated the shared spreadsheet, which also showed the other TVs Boss asked me to test there had already been done by other folks.

Back to the hole. Aircon unit was off, and a new tech was working on it.

Tall Engineer had given me a wifi USB dongle for his proto board, so I hooked that up and it worked. I ran the pre-release app tests on it and added a line in the spreadsheet for them. Also tried an automation test, but something blocked it from connecting. Tall Engineer doesn't Get It that the chip manufacturer needs to follow the rules.

An engineer with the company which makes the three TVs I bricked sent me all the firmware, but that is no help because they don't power up, and the TV has to at least power up to read the USB stick. Maybe Monday I'll get better help from him.

Lunch was turkey pot pie/small, cookies and chocolate pudding.

Also fired up an Australian STB, but it didn't like my login, and the only way to get a new one is on a .au web site which blocks all other domains. So I'm SOL until the rep in London can help. Monday.

And then the long-awaited James Bond device was fired up to run a test from one of our partners. All the current Android TVs have an accessibility feature called Talkback, which, when enabled, will speak the words on the screen as they are highlighted. A very human-sounding woman's voice, and extremely annoying because it says every. single. damned. word. as you scroll down the page. Turns out the unit I have is so new I can't find some of the audio features which need to be turned on for the test to work. The feature is to send surround sound audio from the unit to a home theater by reverse HDMI cable.

Break time I went out to talk to the tech working on the aircon. I was going to take a picture to send to the dimwit in support who keeps closing the ticket, but didn't want to be rude to the tech. He was an hour into overtime and working hard. He had pulled some relays. He said the main problem is the huge outdoor unit is not huge enough by about half. That, on top of it being a 1983 model.

Break time, I'm reading a new novel. The Witch of Napoli by Michael Schmicker. Very well written, moves right along, about a young photographer with a crush on the local psychic.

5:30, straight home again. Hungry, toasted some cinnamon raisin bread. Watched a Doctor Who episode, The Lie of the Land, which was part II of the previous episode. Horribly stupid script, 10 minutes of emotional claptrap for a climax, and totally useless psychoanalysis of Missy by The Doctor at the end. Once again, Pearl Mackie is thrust into a spotlight in which she is not capable of shining. Every week I miss K-9 more and more. And Romana, Adric, Nyssa, Leela, and Martha, though truth be told I thought  Freema Agyeman (Martha) ought to have been the next Doctor. Maybe someday...

One of the problems with watching BBC America on SlingTV is they play the same commercials in the same order for every episode of every show. Doctor Who, Graham Norton, etc., And they cannot be skipped. Two are ambulance-chasing non-lawyer ads: Class action suits for Hernia mesh and for artery blocker malfunctions. "Even if you have no symptoms". One Geico ad, three Subaru "the kid grows up and inherits the family car", and a BBC promo.

Roast beef for dinner, I added mini marshmallows. Ice cream. just finished a root beer float.

Plans for tomorrow:
10-ish BofA the get my Euros. I am getting a little nervous about the trip only being 3 weeks away and I have not thought much about it since I booked the flight/hotel.
1 pm community garden with camera, master gardener demo/talk on fall & winter food crops. I'll probably ask about purslane, which is edible. But I want it more for its ground cover properties. When I was taking the unemployment classes, I walked through the gardens a couple of times, they are across the parking lot.
No evening plans. Yet.

Shut out

I closed all the doors. Had to hard-latch the office door, Spook was able to open it when it was just closed - it's a double door, the two meet in the middle, and can be pushed apart from the outside unless one of them is bolted. Checked on her from work on the camera system, didn't have to check the bedroom, guest room or office, she can't get in those. She spent most of the day on the cat tree by the porch windows, and some on the floor in front of the office. When I got home she was in front of the carport door, ready to bolt outside, but ringing the doorbell scared her away.

She tried her usual routines of meowing, brushing against my leg in the kitchen on her way to the food area, and flopping down in my path. I ignored her.

Up on time, out later than expected but at work 5 minutes early. 101 is a lot faster than it looks.

Work was mostly running the same videos on three machines, and recording the results in a shared spreadsheet. After several hours, one of them showed a bug which someone else had found and assigned me to try to reproduce. But it happened on a different machine than expected (same chipset, so not a huge surprise).

Lunch was Safeway house brand clam chowder. I forgot my soup spoon, and they only have teaspoons at the break room. Mostly drank from the container after wearing too much of it. Mint Milanos for dessert.

No break - got interrupted when that bug surfaced.

Messaged Boss that I would start tomorrow in the big building, since she wants some HUGE TVs tested in there. Part of the reason is 85-inch TV is not really transportable to the hole, other part is it's competition with the engineers next door, who think the other company went out of business. Almost, they fired the CEO/founder, but are not bankrupt yet. Boss messaged that she will be in LA, but come over anyway.

So I brought my laptop and its kit home.  Underground parking at the new big building is easier than the old big building. Same garage, other end.

Straight home at 5:30. Traffic was miserable until the last leg, 101 was at a standstill so I took the back way. Almost detoured to Lowe's for cover crop seeds, purslane, but just wanted to be home, and not mess with gardening till the weekend.

Marie C potato roast, with way too little beef and veggies. Ice cream. While watching the end of the episode of Doctor Who I had left last night. Turns out it was the wrong episode - I think the last in the series. Major bummer of a spoiler. But then I was able to back up and watch the right next episode, which ends in a cliffhanger. BBC America's user interface on SlingTV sucks.

Delivered was a new nose hair trimmer, this one actually worked. And a new aromatherapy mister, which appears to work but I won't know for sure till I check later. I have had bad luck with them.

Long story short, I love the smell of menthol, eucalyptus and peppermint. Singly or in combinations. I have monkey balm, a Thai paste which has them all, and then some, which one smears below one's nose. But it's greasy and doesn't last too long. So I have been using cold water misting machines designed for aromatherapy, and oils of various nice-smelling things similarly purposed.

But they all share the same design, and I have had one burn out, another just stop altogether, a third had no way to turn off the "soothing" but extremely bright light ring, and the last one, which was very pretty faux wood and high volume turned itself off after 10 minutes despite having settings for 1-4-8 hours.

So this one is plastic, has a "mist till empty" setting, and takes 500ml of water. Add a few drops of aromatic oils and go.

In the mail were three pieces which went direct to shredder.

Plans for tomorrow:

10 o'clock and all is....well....

Spook scratched my face, my beard is bleeding a little. I was holding her, which she hates, getting ready to trim her claws, which she usually tolerates. The irony is not lost on me. I think tonight I will shut all the doors, let her sleep in the livingroom.

Up on time, out by 8:45. AG called, he is still sick. I told him to complain to HR if his micro-manager guilts him into coming to work sick.

The HVAC guys, all three of them, are still hard at work. More freon is being dumped into the outdoor unit by the gallon. I've seen remnants of pumps and compressors lying on the table, ready for an autopsy. But they do have it working - 72 in my room most of the day, despite 90+ on the wall outside.

Put away one test rig. Grabbed a TV from next door at Boss' request, tried to update it, and bricked it completely. Repeated, another brick. Manager for that product did not return my "suggestions?" message. I know there's a way to resurrect it via serial cable, but I don't have one. Or instructions. Boss says to steal another, which I will do in the morning before the engineers next door arrive. This time I'll not update it. I can run the tests we need on old versions, I am pretty sure.

Meanwhile, installed the new pre-release app on two other machines, and beat them up. Also tested new video formats and entered results in Boss' spreadsheet. Including my home NVidia Shield, which she says is the old model. New model came out a couple of months later. I should see about an exchange.

Upgraded the firmware on two boxes, ran and recorded results from one, started running on the other, will get results tomorrow.

Lunch was quiet. Howard West was around, but mostly in class. Turkey tetrazini. Mint Milanos. Break time there was a noisy gathering of Google employee veterans. Military veterans with jobs at Google.  I made an iced chocolate soda and finished the book I was reading. And wrote a glowing review.

Phoned for a nails appointment, got there 15 minutes early. Waited 10. Manicurist misunderstood that I wanted flat silver polish, asked if I wanted all my nails painted black. She showed me the many-faceted color chooser and I chose a dark silver metallic one. Then she did my nails as if I was not wanting color, and realized her mistake as she was putting my hand in the UV curer. Took my hand out, ground all the top coat off, applied the color, which is UV curable. Two layers. $3 extra.

Home, lots of traffic until 101, then it was almost 65mph all the way to my exit.

Delivered was the box of paper bowls. Mailbox contents went straight to the paper recycle bin.

Watered all the gardens, including the porch plants.

I may do some more gardening after all. Need ground cover. Online suggestion was Purslane, known to Mexicans as Verdolagas.
Word is to get it at a Mexican produce store. We have a couple nearby.

Watched about 2/3 of the Doctor Who episode about the colony ship stuck near a black hole. The Pyramid at the End of the World. Pearl Mackie is trying very hard, but she just isn't a Companion. Ditto Nardole. IMHO. I love the Missy character, what a fine actress. Michelle Gomez. Makes you want to kill her. Often. In the most horrible ways.

Dinner was herb roasted chicken, ice cream with chopped pistachio.

Uploaded the Alviso photos here.

Plans for tomorrow:
Home. Maybe by way of a Mexican produce place.

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