June 12th, 2012


Phone Calls Galore

I usually get about one phone call a week. Most of my communication is email and social networking. At work it's email for the formal stuff, but most of the time we just talk face to face or over the cubicle walls.

Today I had three calls, within about 2 hours.

First call was from Kaiser's travel department, to make an appointment for any injections I may need for Thailand. Sounds like one or two at most. My yellow health card from my Peace Corps days is all filled with Gamma Globulin shots, which I remember as being painful for about a week. It does not appear that I need those anymore. They didn't mention it, but I probably need malaria meds, since I may leave the cities and go to the flooded plains of Phichit to visit boss' place. I thought I needed to take care of this right away, but they said June 20.

Next call was a surprise, Travelex had my Thai currency to pick up, a day early. I was gouged pretty badly for the convenience (something like 20%) but I can sell the big bills for dollars when I get to Bangkok and make some of that back. I paid about $500 for 14,000 Baht, Bank of Thailand says they would buy that back for $555. I may just do that.

Third call was also from Kaiser, Collapse ). The earliest appointment they had was July 3, which would be awkward because YOTB has a concert on the 4th, and I'm leaving on the 7th. She said she would call back with a June date. Putting it off till after I returned was out of the question.

Team meeting at 9, Boss  was blinking like mad. Turns out his doctor appointments were forlasik. Whew!

After the meeting, my bug-verification buddy, fresh back from vacation, and I chatted about what we'd left for him to do. He also showed me that a bug I had thrown back to engineering was my mistake - I'd missed a configuration which is cleverly hidden in a file on the machine which controls what gets logged. Turned on the appropriate flag and everything started working, so I closed the bug. Yay.

Lunchtime, had the GPS find a better way to get to Valley Fair Mall, and it did. I parked in the wrong garage, and had to walk about 4 blocks to find the Travelex kiosk, but once there the nice lady took care of business in a friendly, professional manner. I asked it they could also sell me $100 worth of Euros, but apparently six student groups had shown up unannounced and gotten all she had, and the emergency supply was not due in for half an hour. I didn't need Euros, I just thought they might come in handy. And I was reminded at Travelex that I have a bag of Thai coins, which I need to decant out of the fireproof box and take with me.

While I was there, I stopped at the Verizon kiosks both upstairs and downstairs and got two different answers to my question "will my phone work in Thailand?".

They were near the food court, so I had lunch. Note to self: Sbarro's meatballs

probably do not contain any actual meat, and the spaghetti is too thin to have earned that name.

Back to work, the rest of the day was spent doing software updates and double-checking to make sure the feature I was supposed to be working on was not in the build yet.

Took a couple of short internet breaks, during one of which found out (a) Verizon is planning a software upgrade to make my phone global, but the ETA is "this summer", so probably won't be in place when I need it and (b) it is way less expensive to just buy a phone at the new HUGE mega-mall near the National Stadium, 4th floor, and let people know my Thailand phone number. In Thailand, cell calls from overseas are free, they only charge the caller. While I'm there I can have them unlock my Moto phone.

Another short break to look into buying a suit in Bangkok. Turns out the last place I had one made comes up at the top of everyone's Yelp-like lists. And the one near my hotel gets almost as high marks. But neither of them mention Thai silk suits, which are featured at a couple of places not very close to the hotel. And they didn't have the color I want. So I'll wait till I get there, and find out if I need to buy the material myself. And whether they can have it ready for the Wednesday shindig.

Home after work, relaxed out on the patio as Domino explored. She discovered that if she jumped up on my lap it was an easy jump to the top of the railing, and a very quick fall back down because the rail is metal. The last apartment she loved to walk the rail, but it was wood, so she had a good grip there. She eventually got bored and went inside.

Walked to BASFA, remembered to bring the Peace Corps 50th anniversary poster for Chuck, who was in PC recently in Chernobyl. He had just returned from a reunion with his students, maybe it was graduation. He said PC hunted him down and offered him a 1-year assignment starting in August, but it's not feasible for him.

Lightly attended meeting, which meant poor auction prices, I am happy the two items I brought got bid up a bit. I managed a couple of zingers, including my modem ringtone,  and bought a Prometheus movie promo T-shirt for $2.75.

Home, it was still 76° inside, 74° outside, so I went out on the patio again, Domino followed, but mostly to yell at me to give her her nightly treats. But before I did that, I walked to the apt. office and picked up the Kindle Touch 3G, got it all provisioned (including the Hugo nominees and some downloaded PG Wodehouse), and put it on the charger.

Plans for tomorrow:

Pocari Sweat

So much for slacking off

Full day at work, morning spent trying to fool a program into giving up a text version of what we see on the screen, and it gave me everything except the bit I needed. There has been no upgrade to their web site since 2004, and in theory support for us expired long ago.

Lunch with automation guy at Thaibodia. I tried one of the Cambodian dishes, it was pretty much Thai yellow curry veggies with pork, except the meat was not cut small enough and the veggies were mostly American. Not bad, though. Service, once again, was glacial. We were two of only 8 people there, everyone else was finishing their meal when we arrived.

Back to work, tackled a total re-do of an automation script, and by 6 pm was almost done, in theory. I just need to add one more line. But it's a long test, since the machine has to run an update, reboot, then check that the version was updated correctly. That reboot is lengthy. And I also have to figure out how to look for a particular error message to disappear before continuing.

Got a call from Kaiser, Collapse ) is scheduled for the 26th. They need someone to bring me and take me home, which is odd - last time it was done without drugs, I was fine with it, watched the whole thing on the monitors, and went home under my own power.

Home, very warm day, sat out on the patio to enjoy it. Not much of a view except for people bringing their children to the pool, and often bringing them right back out, screaming. The children. Sometimes the parents too.  I hate that my high rent helps pay for things which attract hoards of screaming children. I'll be moving when my lease is up.

Domino is not nearly as interested in the patio now that it's clear she cannot get out. Or see out very well.

Had dinner, watched a couple of segments of Dr. Drew on HLN, and will be nuking that season pass because he has stopped talking about happy things like he used to do on Love Line, and is now all about face-eaters, child molesters, fathers beating child molesters to death, and anything else unpleasant he can find.

Did the whites (laundry). Which reminded me of one of my favorite lines from All In The Family. Archie is left to do the laundry, and just dumped all the clothes in together. Meathead says something like "I can't believe this! Archie forgot to separate the coloreds from the whites!".

Worked with PhotoShop to see if I could change my embossed text watermark to my signature. It worked fine when I was recording the macro, but the automation widget did not understand how to keep two files open, and copy one to the other. I can make it work if I do the first 3 steps manually, which only has to be done once per session. But I'll poke around a bit because I'm sure there's a way to make it all automated.

Pulled down my various file boxes, and looked for Thai coins. At first I thought I had found an envelope about an inch thick with Thai paper currency, but looking closer it is my collection of bills from all the countries I have visited since 1989. I did find two coin purses and a zip-lock bag which had Thai coins. Lots of 1 baht coins (about the size of a Canadian dime) and a few 5 baht and 10 baht (which look like oversized Canadian Twonies). OCD set in and I put the larger coins in one purse and the smaller ones in another. I'm not sure what 1 baht buys today, it takes 32 or so to make $1. But change is for the better. Maybe zyzyly knows.

So financially, I'm set for the trip.

Apartment emailed that they have a package for me, but it's 30 lbs of kitty litter, I'm not making a special trip for that. I expect two more packages tomorrow, will grab those at lunchtime, or on the way home.

Plans for tomorrow:
Costco - I'm out of good (Noah's) bagels. TJ's suck, they are dry and crumbly and taste like sand.
Kaiser - p/up a prescription