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A Relatively Boring 4th

I love watching fireworks. I hate the crowds and especially the horrendous traffic after. For many years when I lived in Mountain View, I had free tickets for the SF Symphony concert ending with coordinated fireworks and I would get my max, and Janice would organize a bunch of our friends. We would get there (Shoreline Amphitheater) early enough for decent lawn seats, some people would chat, sometimes there was a bridge game, and I met many interesting people, most of whom were alcoholics, some of whom were Stanford staff, some were both. This is where I met my first lesbian couple who were not in a dive bar, and later their first turkey baster child. At least one was a Stanford psych professor. But a few years ago the symphony lost its charm as summer interns took the place of the better musicians, who would land summer visiting gigs elsewhere (including the conductor) and the drought caused the fireworks to be less impressive.


In the 80s there was this thing called Usenet, which was a text-based message center with a variety of national and then local categories. "soc" was for things related to social, "sci" for science, "rec" for recreation. Those were worldwide. "ba" was for Bay Area, mostly only carried on the San Francisco area servers. And the sub-categories were on a decimal system. soc.singles, soc.motss (members of the same sex), rec.humor (which got so much trash that the legendary Brad Templeton moderated rec.humor.funny.). I attended many soc.singles parties, people sometimes flew in from Europe for those. ba.singles had regular get togethers at Tied House, and at a Chinese restaurant in Mountain View. A lot of very smart people went to those, including the guy who started match.com. He gave us charter memberships for beta testing. ba.singles also was a place to arrange dates.

In 1989, Janice invited me on ba.singles to have coffee with her, either in MV or Palo Alto. She was working at Stanford at the time, which gave her Usenet access. It turns out I also knew her brother from Usenet, but since they have different surnames (she kept her married on after the divorce) I didn't figure it out until we met. He has since tragically passed away.

We hit it off, one thing led to another, and after that, for reasons only she knows, she decided LJBF. But unlike most "just friends", she kept in touch (something I am totally inept at) and we met for coffee and events, she saw plays I was in, and then in about 1992 I became HP's tech support person to, among others, Stanford's computer science department. She worked in the Psych department, CS was upstairs in her building. In the basement was a Thai food café, so we went to lunch a lot when business brought me on campus.

Janice was newly sober at the time, and very happy to have a friend who doesn't drink.  She has mentored many people at AA over the years, and some of them are in her 4th of July group. She won't hook me up, even though some of them are single, pretty and smart, because she thinks I will drive them to drink. She may be right.


Yesterday Janice asked if I was doing anything for the 4th, she was going to have a group again, but I wasn't interested.
I wasn't up all that late last night, but I slept soundly, Spook jumped on the bed at 9:30 to beg for treats. 

No breakfast, no real lunch either, instead I went downtown to tag my senior clipper card, because when I logged in online it said they were holding all my funds hostage until I actually needed to use them. But first I went on an Ingress binge, hacking and resonating and linking and finding a couple of portals hidden around the backs of things. And then this happened:

And all of a sudden it got easier to link portals. Mixed news, though, all of the portals in the area were now green (my side) except one out of the way neutral one which I captured. Two of the portals are at Caltrain, so I hacked them before tagging my clipper card. I had half a mind to take the train somewhere, but it was a half-hour wait, so I tagged on the other side and got most of my fare back. But mission accomplished, it's showing all my $$ on the card now.

El Capitan released next week's schedule and tomorrow is my only rehearsal till next Monday. That is not a good thing, I need the practice.

After tagging up, I went to Starbucks, where I had another freebie waiting, so only $2.25 on the card for an apple fritter. Odd population today, short waves of being almost full, long stretches almost empty. My seat was by the window looking out on the main drag, lots of people-watching to do. There was zero in the way of job hunting online, too many posts in FB about the holiday. I did some homework. It was a struggle, the first assignment we were supposed to do some magic using a function he covered in class, but his example in class didn't even come close to hinting how to solve the problem that way. I was able to work a fraction of the function into my answer, but it took a long time to get the syntax right. The next exercise was more reasonable, but python kept throwing errors at me, and I finally gave up halfway through.

Took the great circle route back to the car to do some more Ingressing, building links and fields. Got a merit badge for that.

Home, transferred my homework to a USB, and loaded it onto the big PC. Launched the ISO program, and while I was copying the DVDs to bin files, worked on that second homework exercise. After about 20 minutes the light dawned on what I might have been doing wrong, added a pair of debug lines, and had the program working in another 3 minutes. And then added a "play it again, Sam?" loop.

Dinner was an ad hoc of Things I Found In My Fridge Freezer. Half a dozen meatballs, a cup and a half of sweet corn, and from the cheese drawer a half a round of goat brie and a triangle of soft sheep cheese (made from very soft sheep, apparently). The brie was bad, so I sliced up some cheddar and peeled a couple of slices of Swiss. This made the sheep cheese redundant. Nuked it all with some margarine, and it was a pretty decent dinner. Coconut popsicle for dessert.

People on FB were all "the fireworks will scare the shit out of your pets" which is BS for any cats I've had. So I started posting pix of Spook - we've been hearing explosions less than a block away all night and day.

This is my favorite


Here she is at the window closest to the noise.

At about 9, there was a major display somewhere really close by - professional fireworks, lasted 45 minutes on and off. I was able to see some over the houses across the street. The thunder-lightning rule says 2 miles away. Looking at Google maps, it was probably done from the huge parking lot of the former Applied Micro building which is just across Hwy 237 & Moffett Park Drive. It looks like AM moved to Great America Parkway, a much more expensive location. 

Watched for about half an hour, but it was getting chilly, and the display was mostly over. And then closer to 10, Shoreline started up, I could only see the glow reflected on the clouds, and I could hear Great America's 3 miles behind me.

Went back to homework, but as always the rest of the exercises were for the amusement of the teacher and either a repeat of previous ones, or of no practical use.  For example, when would I ever use a program which takes 3-digit numbers and makes a sum of the three digits? Gag me. And the rest were stupid math tricks.

About the El Capitan score, I had a bright idea, when I remembered that pdf files can be highlitered. But unfortunately, my dexterity with the mouse is not nearly good enough. 


Plans for tomorrow:
Take down the flag
Clip the dangerous rose branch
Email L that the DVDs are done, when can we get together? Thursday is my first opportunity.
Study the score.
Sing-through rehearsal at 7, will probably run late.
 

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