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Brainfart

Wanted to add this to tonight's entry, but LJ online edit seems to be out to lunch:

Totally forgot. I had not known the 49ers were playing tonight, until this thing happened. I was so bored watching inane news shows and the Weather Channel's never-ending obsession with tornado chasers that I finally did what I had planned to do months ago. I had an ugly black pressboard TV stand/equipment rack since forever. I bought a new TV, and its stand was too wide to fit safely, so I bought a shorter/wider glass one which was on clearance at Fry's. I moved the ugly rack "temporarily" to the side of the coffee table. The slightly smaller TV in the bedroom was donated to charity, and the one which had been in the livingroom was moved to the bedroom, where it just barely fit on the stand I'd assembled there from several individual pieces of furniture. They happened to match the coffee table.

The ugly black stand was very useful, one of my surround sound speakers sat on it, and it was a great place to open packages and leave incoming mail and such.

But today the light dawned that it was a better size for the bedroom TV, and on casters, so I finally disassembled the bedroom setup (TV, Tivo, BluRay player, HDMI switch box, Tivo network adapter, power strip), moved the pretty blonde wood multi-piece stand aside, wheeled in the black cabinet, set everything up, plugged it all in, and tested it.

After the Tivo powered up, it tuned into the 49ers game, about 3 minutes in.

So I rushed to the livingroom, and set the Tivo there to record the game so I could FF past the commercials and the instant replays later.

It took almost an hour to recover from that work, actually dozed off a bit. Turned on the Tivo replay, and watched till halftime. Then I hauled the stand pieces from the bedroom and parked them next to the coffee table, and they look like they belong there. Much more attractive.

It was well after dark, I went outside and watered the gardens, and unplugged the car.

Watched the game on FF until it reached real time, so it is now paused at about 5 minutes on the clock. I'll watch the end when I'm done with this.

49ers defense is like Swiss cheese. Kaepernick sucked. I'm blaming his tattoos. He has so much ink in him that he weighs 50% more, and it slows him down, drags on his throwing arm, and sucks out energy. Gabbert was pretty good, comparatively. The Packers have a great defense, and Rodgers was brilliant. Calahan looks like a high school kid, but he has the right stuff, maybe too much of it because most of his best passes were thrown just out of the receiver's reach.

Enough. Time for an egg cream and more football. Then some sleep. 

Okay, that was pretty cool, but...

This morning's adventure was a video call with the QA manager of highfive.com, which was done using their video conferencing app. It was a pleasure talking to someone who spoke the same language (okay, he has a trace of a French accent, but still), and seeing technology work the first time. The only glitch I saw was when he switched from his (Apple) laptop to the company's camera and wide screen TV. That's pretty much to be expected, given the huge difference in formats & network connections.

He's leaning more toward someone who codes, so I probably won't get this, and he will still be interviewing people next week so even if I do get an in-person interview it won't be as soon as I would have liked. They are in Redwood City, which would make it possible to do stuff at Dragon and  the Fox. He mentioned liking my theater background.

Had lunch, reheated some frozen corned beef and cooked onions, with pita.

Wasted time online, then went downtown and hacked a bunch of portals and turned a few green. Linked some too. The on to Starbucks, which was almost full, but I nabbed a seat in the corner with a view of the customer line. Not a lot to look at there, but two of the baristas are total babes. This branch hires a wide variety of people, there's always someone for everyone's taste.

Email from the HR person about the interview, she is going off the grid next week, and hoped to get some follow-up to me by the end of the day, but I didn't expected that to happen, and it didn't. But she gave me email addresses to follow up.

Fired up the Kindle app and read more of True Calling. Section 1 was from the teen girl protagonist's POV, section 2 is from the teen guy's POV. He's on a different planet. It's a literary form I enjoy, probably the best example ever is Pierre Bouelle's§§ The Bridge On The River Kwai which rotates between four plots in different locations which come together in the end. Pierre shifted locations a lot more often than this author, but I think Bridge lends itself better to that than Calling does.

§§ For those of you who are not as old as me, yes, this is the same Pierre Bouelle who wrote The Planet of the Apes. 

More Ingress after. Took back the CalTrain portals.

Home, major rush hour delay getting out of the garage thanks to poor road design and no traffic light synchronization. Managed to escape after 5 minutes using a bus to run interference for my right-hand turn.

One of the side effects of pulling out the hedge and adding mulch and worms from unknown origins is now I have some tiny ants in the garden and on the porch railing and in Spook's canned food dish. The kitchen issue was solved by swiffering, using ammonia-laced swiffer juice. They walked across the porch rail and were attacking the blossoms on one of the lime trees, but pulling the trees away from the railing fixed that. Still want to ant-proof the porch, it looks like 50-50 mix of water and vinegar will work. I may also set some ant traps in the front garden.

Spook's favorite RC car had died, it won't take a charge any more, so I ordered an RC tarantula for her. She really had no idea what do to with the car except get out of its way and try to eat its spoiler when it stopped.

Plans for tomorrow:
Nothing specific. Maybe look into a trip to a national park. This week entry is free to all of them to celebrate their centennial,  but I have a senior pass which gets me in free whenever. I want to go somewhere I haven't been, but I don't want to drive too far. There are a lot of them around here.
Maybe hop on a train, take a day trip.

With the sound of aboots in the background

Playback of the Vancouver Lions vs. the Ottawa Redblacks in the background. WTF kind of name is Redblacks? Sounds like a combination of the two most racist sports team names, the Redskins and the All-Blacks. Ottawa's CFL team used to be the Roughriders. Strange but true, Saskatchewan's CFL team had the same name at that time.
8:30 am, calls from Indian recruiters with east coast phone numbers, sent to voicemail. No one left voicemail, but all sent email. All for the same Verizon job which I've been turned down for at least three times now. Verizon does this thing where they farm for prospects by broadcasting a job description to all the contract companies, as if it's a new listing. Which it isn't. It may not even be an actual opening.
Quiet day today, the main event was supposed to be the special delivery of a shipment of earthworms from Alabama, via San Jose's The Worm Dude. I was supposed to wait for it because it had to be signed for. USPS.com said it was out for delivery at 8:45 am.

While waiting, Lee came over to borrow my big cooler chest, which was on a shelf at the back of the shed. She said she didn't need the cold packs I'd put in the freezer for her yesterday because they had a lot of ice. She may need them later in the week, though. Their new fridge is not due till Tuesday.

Lunch was a pair of grilled cheese sandwiches, using hand-grated sharp cheddar and a slice of Swiss, and lots of margarine. Made in the microwave after toasting the bread. Not as soggy as it could have been.


At about 1:45 I heard a thud on the porch, USPS, instead of delivering the worms on their morning express run, put them with the regular mail, and that driver never asks for a signature. Or rings the bell.

Opened the box, the cold pack was warm. The bag contained smelly compost and mostly alive worms. I threw handfuls onto various parts of the front garden, then a couple into the rose garden, one onto the marigolds by the mailbox, a few onto non-planted spots on the carport strip, and one last handful into the compost bin.  But not in that order because as I was throwing them onto the front garden, they were living up to their Alabama Jumpers name, and performing acts of contortion to twist and roll down the gentle slope to the street, where they got trapped in the culvert. It was challenging to pick them up, but eventually they all got tossed to the back of the garden. Counter to the ads, they did not immediately dig into the dirt, most of them locomoted up a storm.

That done, I washed my hands and checked email. There was a message from Hitachi's HR person that I was not chosen to join their team. :-(
A disappointment because at this point any job with a reputable company is sorely needed, but they don't do any video QA or any audio at all, so I don't see where I would be useful to them.

Time to move on.

Drove to Great Clips and got a haircut, then next door to Safeway for a handful of items - bananas, apples, milk & grapes. The malt balls were probably not a wise choice. But I can always find a justification for a small piece of Black Forest cake. Apple prices have doubled this year for no apparent reason.

Home, watched TV, wasted time online, read more of the latest Kindle free book. True Calling by Siobhan Davis is fairly well-written, a compelling and complex plot, but it's a female YA demographic and the teenage young woman protagonist is highly unstable from an objective POV, but Just Another Teen Gal™ from the story POV. Despite that, it makes me want to find out what happens. There have been two or three free books this summer which did not.

Spook got caught in the screen door trying to claw her way to me, so I trimmed her nails. She wasn't as cooperative as she could have been, but did not fight me much. And then she let me give her a thorough brushing, which did a lot to make her coat more beautiful.

Dinner was Marie C honey roasted chicken, popsicle for dessert.

Plans for tomorrow:
11 am video interview. I hope. The HR person was supposed to send me the link right after she confirmed the time with me, but she hasn't yet. I would not be surprised if it's delayed till next week.
Plan an overnight trip for Mon-Tues.  No idea where.

Too Quiet

Did practically nothing today. I was so bored I vacuumed the black kitchen mat on which Spook's food & water rests, which made me notice the discoloration. Flipped it over and there was a touch of mold and the floor was blackened in spots. Rolled up the mat and set it in the "for the garbage" corner, and swiffered the whole area. I'll leave the food tower and water fountain on the floor.

Refilled one of the hummer feeders. Usually they are close to the same amount of empty, but not this time. Sat on the porch waiting for birds, but they keep dive bombing each other and flying away.

No calls or email from Amazon or Hitachi. A conferencing company called Highfive emailed that their QA manager is not free today or tomorrow, so how about Friday or next week. I emailed back that Friday would work, pick a time, but I'll probably be traveling Mon-Tues. No reply yet. They want to have me use their software and make it a video call. Sounds like fun. She only gave me the manager's first name, but his company and title made him easy to look up. He's another guy who can't hold a job. French, his resume says he was a Lieutenant in the French Army for less than a year, doing IT stuff. He has worked for a short time for a series of tiny companies. Anyhow, I used his full name in my response.

LinkedIn showed me a company literally down the block which is doing some things with wireless which looks bleeding edge, so I applied for one of the QA openings, with a cover letter saying I would consider any job they thought was a fit. Full duplex wireless.

Planted the second aloe in the second square of dirt by the driveway. Swept the driveway and the paving stones along the street in front.

Watched some TV. Botched is pretty interesting. Two plastic surgeons repair boobs, butts and noses. Sometimes the results are not as good as the doctors and patients say they are. They are always improvements, though.

6 pm, walked to the community center and played Bingo. $5 for a set of cards and $5 for the 50-50 drawing. I won the first bingo for $10, nothing after that, not even close until the final, blackout - I was one number away on two cards. The good news is each round was won by a different person.

Home, played online, watched more TV, unloaded the dryer. Was about to write this when the carport doorbell rang. Lee, nextdoor neighbor, said her fridge went up in smoke while she was out shopping, and asked to put some stuff in my fridge. Luckily I have some room. Two big bags of shredded cheeses. I gave her some of the ice packs which came with my insulin, put some more in the freezer for her for tomorrow. She said she'd bring more stuff over tomorrow, for the fridge & freezer.

Spook actually stayed out for her (they have chatted through the windows before). Cat was nervous, but let Lee pet her a little.

Plans for tomorrow:
Hang around for Lee
USPS is supposed to deliver worms from Alabama. I thought they were coming from San Jose. I had found the Alabama site online, but didn't order from them (for $10 less) because of the cross-country shipping.
The rest of the day depends on when the worms arrive and when Lee comes over.

Okay, that was tedious

Typical morning, except I made sure to shower before 8 because they put two notes on my doors saying they might have to shut off water to the park.  

Spook continues to be unpredictable and a tease. And sometimes disappears and other times yells a lot.

Fedex called, the tablet I bought on eBay was ready top pick up yesterday - they had called but my voicemail was not set up yet. So I drove over to the mercado and got that, and since I was in the area, stopped at Walmart and bought some more Mexican coconut popsicles.

The item is a Samsung 7" tablet, which I stated to set up, which after a while just means letting it download stuff from my Google backup for a couple of hours.
The Big Event was an in-person interview at 1 at Hitachi Insight, which is a small group spun out of Hitachi Data Systems which is being groomed to spin out as its own company eventually. They are in a brand new building which I watched being built, it is across the street from my favorite Sizzler, and when construction started on this complex (there are three buildings, a 4th is under construction) Sizzler went from not having many customers to being packed every day. There's also a McDonald's to take up some of that slack.

Also built during that time, a block away, was a HUGE complex, anchored by a Whole Foods, with a bank, several restaurants including a new Specialty's to replace the one they bulldozed, and some other assorted shops TBA.

I got there way early, so took a spin around the new WF complex,  coming back I misjudged the Hitachi parking lot entrance and ended up parking in front of the next building over, a very short walk. Went to the 4th floor at 5 minutes till 1, and there is a reception desk & seating area but it is not staffed. They put the sign-in station behind a keycarded door. FAIL. Someone came out to sign me in, and my phone screener arrived at the same time.

It's a cubicle warehouse, not quite open plan. Walls are opaque to 3' high and then glass to about 5'. Easy to read names on all the occupied cubes. Maybe 5 cubes to get to the window, and too many to count for the length of the building. And more on the other side of the elevators.

We eventually found an unclaimed conference room, and the screener, an automation programmer, re-interviewed me. Then I talked to the program manager, and then a developer and finally the QA manager. All of them have been in the job force for less than 5 years. All of them asked how come I've had so many jobs. Clueless how silly that question was coming from them. I pointed out that my most recent job lasted longer than each one has been employed, total. And it was a re-hire for a total of 2 more years.

They all drew the same product diagram. It's pretty standard stuff, but they think it's revolutionary. Truth be told, the camera part is pretty lame. They use whatever cameras the customers have in place. A shame, because Hitachi makes killer cameras.

The only one who asked stupid logic questions was the program manager, who is new at this (she came from coding, I think she said). Her solutions were logical, but I pointed out that IRL they were not the best answer - there was no best answer for the problem she presented.

The developer, oddly enough, was the only one who talked about video formats and internals. He was happy to hear that I knew that well. And we talked Linux and Windows and HTML also. If I brushed up on my Java, I could do his job. Better him than me, though.

They were all friendly and energetic and young and eager to change the world. I think that's a good thing.

This would be a much higher paying job  than Amazon, with good benefits, but it's back to the same commute as the previous job, and it would use very little of my video and none of my audio skills. Amazon is no benefits (contract), lower pay, but a very short commute and it would use my skills.

And after I was done (5 pm) there was email from another company asking to arrange a phone screen.

Drove over to Whole Foods because I needed bananas. There was a free electric car charger section, so I stole some juice while I shopped. Turns out their bananas are tiny organic things, so I only bought two, but they had the biggest limes I have seen in a year, and their cheese department has two people to help, an though they don't carry my favorite French sheep cheese, they had a couple of others. I wanted to buy a small round of goat brie, but they couldn't find a price for it. Not in the system.

Got a small tub of marinated olives, and some on sale herring in wine sauce.

I thought about hanging out at Specialty's, but was kind of pooped, so I drove home.

Put stuff away, installed a couple of apps on the new tablet, plugged it into the PC and transferred the webcam file so I didn't have to set them up manually.

Compared it side by side with the NVidia, and it looks like I have everything important. Will wait a couple of days before resetting the NVidia and selling it.

Watched PTI and some of last week's football. Watered the front garden, this time not watering the lilacs, which ought to develop roots better if they have to dig for water. No sign of any worms on the surface, so I guess they are doing their job. Also didn't water the aloe which I planted in one of the empty dirt squares by the carport. I need to figure out what to do with the second aloe. It's fine on the driveway for now. Maybe a clay pot on the porch? TBD

Dinner was Marie C meat loaf & the last of the first container of mint chocolate chip ice cream & a coconut popsicle.

Wanted to watch the news, but they started with Ms. Pantsuit's fundraiser, I had to turn it off or puke.

Some new stamps are coming out from USPS:

And this set includes egg cream stamps:



Plans for tomorrow:
Depends on whether the email rings or I get phone or not.
Plan an overnight trip Thurs-Fri

Glad I Did That

It wasn't like the HR person to not respond to my Thursday email, so yesterday I hauled out the laptop and sure enough, it looks like it was blocked by the AVG virus software, which doesn't let email got through coffee shop networks - not even Google networks. So I sent it again and first thing this morning got a reply. Not long after, I was confirmed for an in-person interview for tomorrow afternoon.


That left me with today free. Mostly stayed online, teased the cat, watched some football reruns and then headed downtown. Grabbed some Inverness goodies from enemy portals, and then took back two of the three CalTrain portals, and captured a third neutral one.

On to Starbucks, had iced tea and a criossant. The place was almost empty, so I grabbed my favorite seat, and watch some eye candy go by. Mostly women ducking into the place to get drinks for people in the gym nextdoor. Stuck around for a couple of hours, there was a rush of high school girls who sat at my table, studying. Three of them, three different subjects. The one closest to me was holding her pencil in a strange way, at first I thought she was a lefty, but then saw it was her hight hand, she was clutching the pencil in her fist, not using her index finger. I wonder where she learned that.

Before I left, I asked the baristas if they still gave away used grounds for gardening, and one guy smiles and offers me all of what's in the bucket. He hands me a double-bagged clump of about 15 lbs. Outside I was able to get it into my knapsack, but it was so heavy I decided to take it straight to the car, and not Inverness any more.

Home, I dumped it on top of the compost in the bin, and now the bin is full. It smells a lot better than steer manure. And I think that's about all I'm going to do with the compost bin except maybe turn it over in a week or three. Though I may put some more worms in when those arrive toward the end of the week.

But maybe not, because what I ordered are not compost worms, they are clay-aerating worms. Those will go in the front garden, and the rose garden. The bin already has a bunch of compost worms.

Talked to my Baltimore sister, watched some TV, rescheduled tomorrow's PTI to ESPN2 per the announcement at the end of the show.

My back still hurts a little, but not as bad or as often.

Spook was very affectionate this morning, she did a bunch of head butts and let me pet her, and curled up at my feet for a few minutes. But she didn't touch her canned food overnight.

Lunch was macaroni and cheddar & mozzarella. Dinner was Marie C honey roasted chicken.

Plans for tomorrow:
wear business casual clothes
Interview at 1, be there at 12:30 because I have no idea about parking for that building.
Check out the new Whole Foods across the street (I need bananas), and whatever other shops/eateries they have open there. The construction was so massive and poorly signed that it's still a mystery.
Fedex at the mercado, they should be holding an ebay delivery for me.

Moar Gardening Stuff

As planned, went to OSH, found a bucket and lid to put kitchen scraps, and a container of earthworms. Also bought for $1.59 each, a pair of bags of steer manure. I thought I was buying straight manure, but when I got it home it was plainly mostly not-manure, a compost mix. Then to Home Depot, bought a wooden planter shaped like the bottom half of a barrel. They had similar ones at OSH, but this one is more breathable and has a hole in the bottom which will help with aeration.

Home, checked the front garden, all the worms I plopped onto the mulch have gone underground. That was more a proof of concept than anything else, not nearly enough worms to make a big improvement in the clay.

Took all my kitchen scraps and chopped them up into a fine paste in the food processor. It was pretty messy, but most of it wound up in the OSH bucket. Outside, put the tub on the retaining wall behind the house, next to where the failed tomato project had been, emptied a bag of manure/compost into it. Almost filled the tub, so I emptied the other bag into an empty space in the front garden, on top of where some of the worms had gone.

Plopped the container of OSH worms into the tub, and mixed them in a bit. Not too much. Want to spread them, not kill them. Next, poured the bucket of pureed scraps on, mixed that in as well, which brought a lot of the worms to the surface. Covered the tub with some plastic sheeting the painters left behind.

Watched some Olympics (the men's basketball medal ceremony - I like the SSB arrangement they played), gave Spook some treats, and at about 3:30 took back roads to MV Starbucks and played on the laptop till Janice arrived. There were some truly eye-catching women during that time.

Helped J pop open the battery compartment on her remote. It needed a small screwdriver - the release tab was under the lid, no way to open it by hand.

After, stopped off at 7-11 for cheesy poofs and newspapers.

Home, tore a few sheets of newspaper into strips, soaked them in water and squeezed them out so they were like a damp sponge. Uncovered the compost tub outside, and arranged the strips on top of the "brew". Saw this in one of the composting sites. Covered it back up.

Watched the Raiders lose to the Packers, mostly on FF because those announcers never stop talking. The less they have to say the more they talk.

It was a poor effort by both teams, but it's pre-season. They just need to marinate some more.

Dinner was a Marie C roast beef/smashed potatoes/veggies dinner followed by one scoop of ice cream with walnuts.

Ordered 1,000 "Alabama jumpers" earthworms from The Worm Dude, which may or may not be in stock. His web page was vague about that. Some research showed these to be the best for digging into clay. Better for the garden than the bait worms.

Plans for tomorrow:
Wait for the phone to ring or email to arrive with word on the three pending jobs. 
Maybe fly the copter
Maybe play some Ingress on the new phone, see if its GPS is more accurate than the HTC phone, which drifts a lot.
Maybe go to BASFA, which either will be packed with people eager to tell of their Worldcon adventures, or devoid of people because most will be lagged from their Worldcon adventures

Late --> Early

That was a very late night, and I slept till 10:30, if you ignore a couple of pee breaks. There was a lot of stuff to do online, so instead of going to the nature preserve, I was still at the computer researching composting worms at 1:30. None of the local garden places seem to sell worms, just worm casings (which apparently make good organic fertilizer). I found two places, though, both in SJ. The Worm Dude runs a mail-order business, didn't even have his address on the web site. I filled in the "contact us" form and asked if he allowed in-person pickups, and got a quick reply that he's only open by appointment on weekends, and to call him after 4:30 pm on weekdays. He gave me a list of the few things which could be ordered to pick up, two of them are possibilities.

And then I found a tiny fishing supply store in Little Saigon, way south SJ. They had small batches of night crawlers & redworms for cheap. So that was plan A. I drove down there, had to park a couple of blocks away. It isn't prejudice if it's learned from experience, so I'll say this: If you want to see the worst drivers and most insane way-too-small parking lots, find yourself a neighborhood which is half Vietnamese and half Latino. And then give most of them BMWs and monster pickup trucks.

I bought four sets of worms-in-a-plastic-tub. Two with a dozen big night crawlers and two with 25 each small redworms, packed in composted soil. On my way back to the car, I saw three massage parlors in that strip mall, and they were advertising half the price of my local ones. Next move was drive to the nearest BofA and get some cash, then back to the shopping center, which by now had some places to park. Had a very good massage from a Vietnamese woman who spoke pretty good English. She started off by saying that if I just wanted a massage, she would do that, but if I wanted "something extra" someone else would have to take her place. I stuck with her, and it was not a mistake.

Went straight home, took the worms inside, watched some football, and started thinking of all the places I would have to contact to change my phone number if I went with my original plan. It took three tries to get the right number, but I called AT&T and it only took about 10 minutes for them to port my number over to the new phone. Wiped the HTC phone, took some pix of it, and will eBay it soon. Will probably eBay the Verizon phone as well.

Dinner was steamed ha gow, sui mai and cha sui bow. One scoop of ice cream because I'm cutting back.

After 7 I watered the front garden, then plopped the contents of the worm tubs into four well composted places in the front garden. The theory is that they will burrow and eventually help break up the hard clay. But this was clearly just a start, I'll need the kind of quantity Worm Dude offers to make a good go of this.

A lot of the seeds I broadcast out front are germinating. Looks like bee's friend, but also at least two other flowers. Not seeing poppies yet.

Plans for tomorrow:
Lowe's, Home Depot and/or OSH to put together a composting project. My sister suggests steer manure and shredding my organic scraps, adding both of those to the "compost" from the dump. I'll need a container for the kitchen and another to sub for a compost pile since there is very limited space by the house for that. Probably where the tomatoes were,  but I'll need to level that space somehow.
Coffee with Janice in MV

Over the hill

Got off to a slightly slow start this morning, but eventually got on the road to HMB with both phones and did the test. Bottom line is both phones had a telephone signal on the beach, but the Sprint phone's signal was not as strong and it had no data signal, where AT&T was fine. So I will be switching.

While on the beach, the AT&T phone delivered email from my youngest sister, her husband had been in a bad bicycle crash, broke a femur, and now has pins and wires holding him together. So when they visit me next month the planned bike race is not going to be part of the trip. Two surprises - the bike was not hurt, and the surgeon is an Olympic medalist in crew and an avid bicycler, and the clinic is called  Olympic Medical Physicians, since it's on WA's Olympic Peninsula. Brother in law was biking down Hurricane Ridge at the time of the crash. Some other good news is all three vehicles stopped to help.

While I had her on the line, I asked her about compost, and she said that yes, I needed to put my food scraps in a blender or the food processor and add those shreds to the recycle center compost and let it heat up. And she also was surprised that there are no worms in the soil here, so I will see about buying some. She lives in a rain forest, so the concept of concrete-solid clay soil with no worms is foreign to her.

Sprint phone couldn't load email because no data signal. :-(

Relaxed on the beach, though it was difficult with the screaming children. Who teaches them to scream? Bloodcurdling ear-piercing screams, not shouts of joy.

The sun never broke through, so there were no bikinis on display, and it didn't start to get populated until I was getting ready to leave at around 3.

Stopped off at the More-or-Less for cheesy poofs and diet Coke. Also stopped off as planned at the succulents nursery, bought a pair of aloe plants (different varieties) and a couple of those brightly colored ball on top ones. The latter to add to the basket which I took down when they painted, in which most of the plants had died. The aloe will probably go in the front garden near the lilacs.

Home, plugged in the car, had fried rice and BBQ pork for dinner. Watched the second half of the Seahawks game. They did okay, but dropped balls and overthrown passes kept them from winning. They have a pretty good 2nd string QB and a couple of running backs who almost replace Beast Mode. Something which impressed me is when two of the defensive players were given headsets and interviewed by the announcers, they spoke proper English.

8:45 pm headed out to Saratoga for Ted's birthday pizza party. He actually holds one every other Friday for theater folks to gather. Mostly people are coming from a performance to unwind and balance the adrenalin with pizza. It was quite a crowd, and also included co-workers of his from Apple, and I finally found out what he does for a living. He's one of the project managers for the spaceship building project. Also finally met an actress I've been a fan of for a long time but never worked with or met before, so now we're FB friends. Also friended one of Ted's co-workers.

Left a little before midnight, got lots of hugs from friends.

Home, had some fruit and a thin mint ice cream patty.

Plans for tomorrow:
Start a compost project. Find worms.
Take the camera out to Don Edwards park, a place I have never been but have passed by a lot of times. It's a nature preserve.
There may be a football game to watch

A university grows in Brooklyn

I was expecting a 9 am phone screening from an engineer at Hitachi in Santa Clara. At 9 the phone rang, but it had an area code I didn't recognize, and the phone said it was New York. The woman said something with an Indian accent, I didn't hear "Hitachi" so I told her I was expecting a call and no, this would not be a good time to talk, and hung up.

Five minutes later, same phone number, this time I asked if she was calling from Hitachi, and she apologized and said yes, she should have said that last time. When I told her the phone number was New York, she was surprised. I took that to mean that multinationals sometimes use phone systems based where the US HQ is. Amazon's Sunnyvale office uses 206 area codes (Seattle), for instance.

I didn't catch her name, but she's an automation engineer, she told me she works for a tiny team which is being organized by Hitachi to be spun off as its own company eventually, and is currently operating like a start-up. I've been through that twice before, Adaptec --> Roxio and SGI --> Kasenna. And I was one of the first employees of VXtreme, which was sold to Microsoft, and killed. Turns out this unit also has an office down the road from Microsoft in Bellevue, WA.

We had a productive chat. They are looking for a manual tester, but also a JOATMON, which is kinda what I am. Jack Of All Trades, Master Of None. She asked me about managing, but I explained that I had tried that, did not like it, and was not very good at it. I would rather play with (and break) the toys. She got that.

The product is mostly a data crunching system, my Dad once applied for a job as a systems analyst which sounded like what these folks do. Nowadays that title is a computer scientist, but back then it was a mathematician who reduced a physical system to numbers, manipulated the numbers to be more efficient/logical, and translated those new numbers back into a physical model. He was pitching himself to the county bus system, which sorely needed to fix its routes to serve customers instead of politicians. Hitachi is using their vast data gathering resources to do exactly the same thing.

I'm not sure I can help them much, because they don't need a video expert. They use whatever cameras and video streaming the customers already have. In the future they might build bundles with Hitachi's excellent video camera systems, but not in the near future. They may need people to monitor the video, but a high school dropout (aka TSA employee) could do that.

We talked for 45 minutes, and after the call I looked up her phone number online, got several hits which said her name is Shreya, and she recently graduated from Columbia University, which is in the area code of that phone number. Mystery solved. LinkedIn says she also went to Simon Fraser, after some college and a private high school in Bangalore.

We were done before 10 am, so I was able to finish all my other job search and RSS reading and then looked at driving to HMB. But the main highway there was closed due to a commute time accident, and there is no good alternative route from here. So Plan C: looked up movie times for Star Trek in 3D. The closest was over in Newark, a mall which I thought was next to the hotel Consonance was in a few years ago. Plugged the address in to the GPS and headed over there.

Turns out to be brand new. And quite empty at 1 pm on a Thursday, summer break notwithstanding. Actually I think school may have already started.

The first thing that surprised me is their Senior price is the same as my local's regular price. Next surprise is seats are reserved. And more surprises - popcorn and small soda are each $1 more.

The theater is big. All the seats are livingroom recliners. The good news is you can raise the footrest. The bad news is when you do the back tilts backward, making it hard to see the screen.

Huge screen, built for 75mm movies. So-so sound, allegedly Dolby but you could have fooled me. It sounded more like normal stereo across 20 speakers. That improved when the movie started.

Half an hour of 2D trailers, including the new Ben-Hur, with (WTF) Morgan Freeman in (WTF) dreadlocks. I do not care what backstory they give him, nobody in Rome in that time period wore dreads.

There were no 3D trailers except the AMC animation telling us to turn off our cell phones. So I was not too surprised that it was several minutes into the film before they turned off the house lights.

There were only 5 others in the theater. Three when the feature started and a woman and her child discovered they were in the wrong plex, and ran out.

I had seen the movie a few weeks ago at Century 12, in an experiment with panoramic display. What drew me to that was they said the projection gear was by a company famous for the highest quality industrial displays and time code clocks. But it was a massive FAIL because they had not aligned the side screens with the center screen, and only random bits were in panorama. And it was a trio of 35mm prints, so not very high resolution.

This time it was a gorgeous display, very comfortable seats and the only thing missing was enough of an audience to laugh at the jokes with me. It was well worth seeing again, I missed a lot trying to follow the panorama the last time.

No Easter Egg. :-(

Checked my email after, the Hitachi HR person said they wanted to bring me in next week for an in-person interview. Yay! I suggested Mon or Tue. They are located where I thought, about 2 miles closer to home, in the same neighborhood as my last job. Across the street from my first HP job, and across the other street from the new Whole Foods.

After almost 6 months, it's nice to finally have two in-person interviews. I hope at least one results in an income, because my unemployment insurance runs out after the next dole in 2 weeks, and I can't claim guilt-free Social Security until November.

I had planned on walking around the mall, but it's still under construction and only Macy's is open.

The movie let out just as rush hour was clogging the roads, so I found the nearest Starbucks and did stuff on the laptop. After responding to Hitachi HR's email, and Facebooking, and writing the previous note on LJ, Dell said it needed to update the machine. And then Windows 10 had a major release which kept me there for more than half an hour! But that was okay because about that time the day manager changed into civvies, and came out in very tight jeans, which showed off her amazing figure. Very exotic Asian face, too. And there were also a few gorgeous customers.

Thought about going to the park near the Thai temple, but while it was only 6 miles away, Google maps said it would take more than half an hour to get there, due to traffic. So I drove home, taking advantage on 237 of my commuter lane tags.

In other news, my #6 neighbor's house did get finished yesterday. And #8 said my front garden wins. Which is a huge compliment because his wife has the greenest thumb on the block, and the front of their house looks like a tropical rain forest.

Dinner was Marie C's chicken fried pork chop and apple chunks. Yummy. And mint chocolate chip ice cream. I need to cut down on that stuff, my overnight Hgl has been going too high.

Watched PTI. Checked the Tivo, and glad I did because what it claimed was the Seahawks game was the Raiders, and I had to flip to NFL network to get the Seattle game, but only caught it from halftime. But that's okay for a preseason.

Am amused by the Olympics coverage of the swimmer's alleged robbery at gunpoint, which is looking more and more like drunken vandalism caught by a bribable security guard.

There have been a lot more human interest stories this Olympics than ever before. Some of it I chalk up to more coverage of more events. Some of it is a trade-off of soft reporting vs. coverage by experts.

Spook is using my chair and jeans as a claw exerciser, so it must be time to take drugs and go to sleep. She already has her soft food & treats for the night.

Plans for tomorrow:
Try HMB again.
Plan B: Don Edwards park on the Bay

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