December 30th, 2005


And now I'm Bored...

It was quite the exciting morning. I had been on call all week, and this morning my boss met me at the "new" offices at a little before 10 so I could pass the pager to him. The place is still being remodeled and painted, and is maybe 3 minutes by car from my apartment. When I first started this job, I lived 3 minutes from work, but that was because I had moved into slum housing after I got laid off and was doing low paying jobs. As soon as I was hired full-time again at my old salary, I moved about 5 miles away. I didn't want to move that far, it just happened to be the closest apartment complex which had the amenities I wanted. So now work is moving and I can walk it if I want. I would ride my bike, but I'm just not a big fan of being rained upon.

Both UPS and Fedex made their deliveries before that, instead of their usual 4 to 6 p.m. weekday schedule. That was nice. A pile of CDs from Thailand and a guide book to my camera. More on those later.

So, free of the pager, I got on Hwy 237 (which is also right near the new offices) and took 237-->880-->Mission Blvd-->680-->84-->Livermore to have lunch with scendan and _oy_ because I had souvenirs of Thailand for them which needed to be delivered in person. They had their choice of about 20 of them, actually. Armed with flashlights and magnifying glasses, they each found one to their liking. It was so much fun to be with them, and the food was pretty good too. And once again I was mesmerized by scendan's bright eyes and alabaster complexion, so if I appeared to be looking more at _oy_, it was my natural fear of hypnosis. Not that _oy_ isn't hypnotic in her own right, but she has gold band disease, which for me is the antidote to any Svengali-like attributes.

It was too much fun. The weather was kind to me - it stayed dry all the way there, and except for some wind-blown rainy sections at the top of the pass along 680, the way home was easy too. less than 40 minutes to go 45 miles. It used to take me 2 hours to get there, but now that I think about it, I was mostly going after work, and before 237 was a freeway and before the new Dumbarton Bridge was built.

At home I watched a bit of the college bowl games, had my latest favorite pseudo-healthy dessert - take a small microwave-safe bowl, slop in a tablespoon of chunky peanut butter. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. Take an apple corer/slicer and segment an apple. Then chop the segments into bite-size pieces. Stir the pieces around in the melted peanut butter. Quite yummy.

Went to my favorite Starbuck's, but it was packed, and too windy to sit outside, so went to my Plan B Starbucks instead. Not as much eye candy, and the lighting is not as good, but I did manage to almost finish Ted Sturgeon's ancient tome The Cosmic Rape, which has at its core one of the more creative Sci-Fi ideas, and he also does this neat thing of writing a chapter each about four or five disparate characters and bringing them all into the theme at the end. But he blows it by writing three whole chapters past the end of the story, all fraught with morbid philosophizing, and the way he brings the characters together is a self-serving sham. Kind of like what my answers would be if someone told me I had to build something useful out of a toothbrush, a stack of porn magazines, three corn cobs and a bottle of cologne. My answer would be to build a cologne-soaked corn cob on a stack of porn while brushing my teeth.

Back home, dinner, more football, finish the book, and here I am.

About the package deliveries. You may have seen my close-ups of the sapphires I bought in Thailand. Photographically they suck. I had blamed it on not having a lens which can stop down to a small enough aperture. After shooting those photos, I had ordered two different lenses, but they all had the same f/32 minimum lens opening, which is what I had on the two lenses I used for the pictures, so I sent those new lenses back. The camera guide book told me something I had no known. Even using the macro setting on this camera does not assure the smallest lens opening. I can get that by choosing the "A" mode and setting the lens opening manually. So just to be sure, I looked at the original photos using ACDSee, my favorite photo viewer software, and set it up to show all the info about the pictures. And sure enough, none of them were taken with a lens opening smaller than f/9. The smaller opening makes more of the photo come into focus. So I'll re-shoot with the same lenses, using the right setting this time.

The CDs: While in Thailand, I didn't get a chance to listen to much local radio, I had almost no idea about popular songs, so I bought a sampler pack of 10 CDs at the big department store in Bangkok, and when I got home I stuck them in the car stereo and discovered five singers whose work I really liked. In the past I had ordered DVDs, VCDs, maps and software from, and they were always reasonably priced and delivered quickly, so I used them again to order all the CDs and VCDs which had been made by my very favorite singer out of that sampler, someone named Ploy (Jewel). Amazing but true, I liked almost every cut on every album. Buoyed by that success, I ordered 8 more CDs, this time from my #2, 4 and 5 picks. #3 apparently only made the one CD. I also ordered two "best of the year" CDs which included songs from #2, and a CD I saw in Bangkok but didn't want to buy without hearing more about the singer. Her name is Tata Young, and the album is Dangerous Tata. I had since heard good things about her. So those are all in my car's CD changer, and that's what I listened to on the Livermore drive. Tata's album, sad to say, is 2/3 rap, but it's kind of amusing hearing the mixture of what sounds like a black rap group singing backup in English and Tata going between English and Thai. There's one where the backup singers carry the song, while all Tata does is say "Wasted time" in Thai at various intervals. She has a pretty vice when she sings ballads, and there are a couple of nice ones on the album. She apparently also sings in Japanese, and has a popular rendition of the song Cinderella from Disney's The Cheetah Girls - I'll be ordering that CD next.

Oh, one more note, for you SCA and fans of armor - during the Chick-Fil-A college bowl game, said company advertised a calendar which I rushed right out and ordered. Check it out here.