July 27th, 2011


Much Up-catching - Friday

LJ was down while I had a LOT to write about. I'll probably never catch up. But here goes some short updates.

For those of you who don't know, LJ has a place you can look to see if they think they are toast: click And there is a site showing their recent uptime history: click.

Last Thursday was my last post. Friday was another frustrating day at work, but I had begun to understand how to work around most of the contradictions between test cases, specs and what is on the screen.

Traffic after work is a mess. In a way that's good news, it means people are working again. It will get even more stupid when school is back in session. I do okay by getting on 237 for one exit, taking Carribean to Moffet, and then the road along light rail to Ellis, then Middlefield most of the way home. 40 MPH between stop lights up to Middlefield, which is faster than the cars on 237 or 101 are going.

After work Friday I created a layout for my display at the RenovationSF art show, and sent it off to yourbob. I also did the control sheet, and all that is left is labels for the backs of the prints and post-its to ID the photos for the fans.

Saturday Was a Full Day

Started the day driving to Fremont and Pi Pannee's house for another Thai cooking class. Took a lot of photos, did not do any food prep because Pannee and the two others attending were all gung ho and doing a much better job than I would have. Photos will be on Flickr Real Soon Now.  We made noodle-wrapped mackerel, stuffed chicken wings and beef salad. I don't think I saw any of these in Thailand, but I didn't go to many catered events there. 

The mackerel was not actually wrapped in noodles, it was cleaned, rubbed with fresh lime and the lime was stuffed into it to keep the fish from collapsing. Then it was scored and baked. K'nom Chin noodles (aka vermicelli) were boiled, drained, cooled, and curled into bite-sized lumps. The fish was eaten by making a sandwich of a lettuce leaf, the noodles and the fish. There was a sauce of some kind for it too.

The chicken wings were a yummy variation on egg rolls. We made egg roll filling from various shredded things, and then chicken wings were de-boned and the meat removed from the big part above the joint, so all we had left was skin with a bone "handle". The skin is stuffed with the egg roll stuffing, the whole thing is dipped in watered-down tempura batter and deep fried. Nom nom.

Beef salad was a variety of Thai-friendly greens (basil, mint, cilantro, etc.) topped with a huge slab of grilled London broil cut into bite-sized strips. Delicious. Pannee's husband Warren made the steak - he's somewhat familiar with such things, bring head of dining services at Berkeley's I-House.

After we ate, Pannee showed us how to make flowers by carving salad onions and carrots, and she demonstrated how to make a butterfly from a piece of carrot. Amazing stuff.

Much fun, great company, excellent food, what more could one want?

Entertainment, that's what. So I got home just in time to put my leftovers in the fridge, and get to the train station. Took the express to Redwood City - I didn't know there was one, I expected to wait 20 minutes more for the milk run.

Redwood City was in the throes of a blues festival, which was very loud, and aimed right at the Fox theater across the street. I am not a blues fan, or a too-loud-music fan, so I found my favorite cafe down the block, had dinner and then picked up my ticket and saw Broadway By The Bay's Music Man. I had two friends in the cast, they were terrific.

Nutshell review:
Everyone in the cast fit their parts, except for the fellow playing Professor Hill (the role Robert Preston was uninspiring in in the movie). He played it like Jimmy Cagney, which is not so bad when I come to think about it. But the role needs someone more suave, someone we can fall in love with. The cast was superb at falling for him, but I felt is was more because that was what the script said to do rather than because they were inspired. The barbershop quartet is superb, and stole the show each time they were singing. My other complaint is the dance numbers were way too long. I'd have cut about half of the non-singing all-dancing sections. The ensemble was more than up to the task, but it made me tired watching them. The set was an enigma for me. It was beautifully constructed, and the art work on it was excellent but the color scheme was beige on tan, and did far too good a job of not distracting from the play. Colors would have been nice.

Took the train back to MV, at home I uploaded the pix from the camera, and did the initial plucking out of blurred and embarrassing photos. Bed too late.

Sunday Flowery Sunday

Slept in, and around noon or 1 took the camera to the Los Altos History Museum to get a more comprehensive set of photos of the museum and the J. Gilbert Smith house next to it. The Smith house has been restored and stocked with some of the original furniture and some things from the museum's collection. They have done such a good job, and it's free to visit. I'll be doing an article for johnnyeponymous to go with the photos Real Soon Now. I was going to do it Sunday, but got distracted.

On the way back I stopped by Costco to pick up- a print for my layout I thought I had in 12x18, but didn't. Ordered it late Saturday night. They do good work quickly, worth keeping my membership for. Also got batteries - I ran down the ones in the flash at the museum, and was all out of AA's.

So what to do instead of writing the article? Well, I'd seen an ad for a new massage place, phoned them, and they were about 6 blocks from me. Grand opening. Not the best massage, but at least nothing hurt more after than before. Did some shopping too.

And I went all OCD over something which ate the rest of the evening. My cousin in Brighton is putting a birthday book together for her mother, Viv, who will be 60 next month. She has hit all of us up for photos and anecdotes. Her mother was my pen pal from the time I was 13 until maybe college. I forget when we tapered off writing. Collapse )  After email came along, we started writing again, and are now in touch daily with Facebook.

On my way back from Thailand and Israel in the winter of 1977, I spent a few days with Brian and Viv, Viv took me to the British Museum, and I took a picture of her and her son Mike all bundled up in heavy coats in a niche near the museum's main entrance. I have stumbled across that photo several times this year, but now that I wanted to send it for the birthday book, I can't find it. I've looked almost everywhere. The places I have not looked require too much work than it's worth. The funny thing is I instantly found the first photo Viv sent me as a pen pal, scanned it, did some Photoshop restoration and emailed it.

Which is my excuse for not writing the article, and I'm sticking to it. :-)

Monday, etc.

Monday was easy. Work, home, BASFA.

Tuesday was work, with a team meeting in the morning, during which an issue was raised which I actually knew how to troubleshoot. And I found out that two of my team are pretty technical in a good way.

I took a quick lunchtime trip down the road to Techmart to deliver something I'd sold on eBay. Saved him $15 and me the hassle of packing something fragile and standing in line at the PO.

After work went to Ranch 99 and bought three brands of egg roll wrappers to use with the leftover chicken wing stuffing from Saturday. Learned the hard way they need to be defrosted the slow way. Microwave was not kind to them. I made a batch of the world's ugliest egg rolls anyway. Hey, I was hungry. The ones I ate tasted good, when I got past the cardboard. The good news is one pack is still in the freezer, I just need to whip up more stuffing.

Which brings us to today. More frustration at work, most of it caused by infrastructure stupidity. It took 6 hours to provision a machine which should have taken an hour or less. And I had to fool the other machine with my linux skilz, otherwise it would have been out to lunch too. After the linux one was running, I was given two fixed bugs to verify. One was fixed, the other was fixed in 3 out of 4 menus, but then I found another menu which had the problem which the tester who wrote the bug had missed because it's not a menu which comes up unless a couple of hoops are jumped through and some time is allowed to pass. The only reason I found it is one of my test cases needed those hoops and the extra time.

Another lunchtime errand to drop off another eBay sale item, this time was more complicated. It's a telescope. UPS wanted $90 to pack and ship it. It was only worth $150. SO I listed it as "local sale only - will not ship". The winner of the auction lives in SoCal. After some email exchanges, he knew what he was doing, and was counting on a friend who works real close to where I work part time, and in LA part time, to pick it up and bring it to him. That was about 3 weeks ago. We met in Alviso, and the friend turns out to be an experienced astrophotographer.  We had a nice chat while we waited for his ride to bring the keys to the car (he ducked out of lunch a little early).

So two big items out from underfoot, and delivered. Time to transfer some $$ from PayPal to my bank account.

Good things came of the weekend's OCD episode. I found prints I thought were lost of photos I took at KOMO-TV in the summer of 1969 when I was a studio cameraman for their morning talk show. Mrs. Miller with Charo. That was an interesting combination. Sheri Lewis. Tiny tiny woman with great legs and impressive endowments. And she was a budle of energy and laughs. Prof. Irwin Corey, who guest-hosted. I remember him during his "interact with the audience" approaching a very tall woman in a fairly short dress and saying "Nice legs. Do they go all the way up?".  And a couple of another guest host talking with my mentors, Mr. & Mrs. Leisy. Mrs. Leisy (I later learned her first name was Ruth) produced am international youth festival at the Seattle Center, and she drafted my older sister to MC it. I think they met through the Seattle Sister City committee, which my sister was on way back when there was only one sister city - Kobe, Japan. When my sister went off for a year abroad, Mrs. L drafted me to MC the festival. I'd done a lot of theater in high school, it made sense at the time. She later helped build an arts and crafts center at Seward park and taught classes there. Her husband Clifford was a retired architect. He taught me, somewhat surreptitiously, how to make apple cider. He designed the house they lived in, it was very impressive, especially her studio windows. They both passed away many years ago.

Somewhere I also have photos of Tiny Tim at that TV show, in a box somewhere. Maybe. He was Just Plain Strange. And tall. Very very tall.

Also found were some photos I thought had been stolen when I was in Thailand of me being thin and possibly sexy. And a set of color photos from the 1964 Spokane World's Fair.

Plans for tomorrow:
1-on-1 with manager.
Ye Olde Towne Band rehearsals.