May 15th, 2013



The plan for Monday was to try to get to Tina's Nail Salon on the other side of town, have a much-overdue manicure (I had lost one acrylic overlay already) and get back to the motel, check out by noon and make the 12:40 train which was about a 20-minute walk away.

Part of this was based on the shuttles - I thought they ran every 15 minutes at 10 am, but that turned out to only apply to the one going up State Street, perpendicular to where I wanted to go. The one I wanted was every 30 minutes, and it needed changing shuttles at the wharf. I walked (slowly) to the warf before a single shuttle went by, and was about 1/3 of the rest of the way before it got too hot and my legs said "no mas". So I wandered along the trail, thought I would get some shots at the skateboard park, but no, that was being hosed down by a guy with a very noisy water pumper truck.

I did get a pretty good chair photo:
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Backing up, I was up by 7:30, had the continental breakfast by 8:30. Packed about 90% of the way before stepping out.

Tried out the 270mm zoom on distant bikinis, it was quite nice, though the focus was a little soft. Wish I'd brought the Nikon 55-300. It's soft in the mid range but sharp as a tack at 300.

Got back to the motel, checked out at 11:30, walked slowly to the train station, was there about noon. Checked Amtrak's app, and it had not data on the train status. Train is scheduled for 12:40, but it didn't even know that. By 12:20 it was saying the train was going to be 20-25 minutes late. SBA Amtrak is totally lame - the readerboard never mentioned the Coast Starlight, it was stuck on "Welcome to the Pacific Surfliner" and they made no announcement that the train was delayed. At about 12:45, there was an automated announcement of "first call" for boarding the Coast Starlight, which was amusing because it was not going to be there for another 20 minutes. 10 minutes later the first call was repeated. The train finally arrived at 1:05.  

I got a window seat on the opposite side from the trip down, which meant the same view. :-( Someone going to OAK was put in the aisle seat, but after the assignment I never saw him, I think he had friends in another car. The train was packed, including the sightseeing car, so there was no escaping the two people behind me who had just met (they both boarded in SBA), had nothing in common, and yet managed to never shut up for 8 hours. Inane stuff. She is a real estate salescreature, he said he is a retired Boeing assembly worker, but reading between the lines he was laid off at 55, is now 56, and can't find another job. They traded recipes, misinformation about Amtrack (he insisted they don't have a west coast to Florida auto train because he knew there was one from the northeast). After a couple of hours she started to try to sell him stuff that she got commissions on as a real estate mogul. She also fancies herself as a wine gourmet, he knows nothing about wine except it's red or yellow. She said they should go to the club car and get a bottle of Zinfandel to split, he agreed. But in their jabbering they missed the announcement that the club car person was on break. They had a little disagreement about the Zin - she insisted it was a red wine, he said he saw a pink in. The guy who knows nothing about wine was right, of course. Much later they tried again, and came back with a small bottle of Chablis.

I could go on, but it was so inane. She is married, he didn't say if he was, but I'd bet he is. She lives in Portland, he in south Seattle. When he ducked out for a nature call, she phoned her daughter and said she would invite him visit them and see Multnomah Falls.

 Shadow's End  by Sheri S. Tepper is on my Kindle, but it is a very complicated novel which weaves between three or four plots, so the chatter behind me was not escapable through that. Besides, the scenery is amazing for most of that ride, I didn't want to be buried in a book.

We continued to be late as Union Pacific continued to play games with the signals. To add to the fun, the minions were unable to turn the heaters off, so the air conditioning was losing the battle against that plus the 99° heat outside. It was about 78° in the cab most of the trip. Maybe more - the string cheese I'd brought was softened, and the American singles slices were melted.

We got to SJC at about 9 pm, I was home before 10. In the mail was the check from my stock cash-out from the previous company, which went into the CU today.

Today - Tuesday - was wasted in trying to set up for the test which I was working on at the end of the day Friday. After a lot of juggling it was clear we do not have the combination of equipment in our QA lab to run this test. Project manager sent an engineer to help me, he saw that there was no way to do it and offered me the use of his setup tomorrow for an hour. I figure it will take about that long.

Lunchtime I went to the highest-rated nail parlor in town, Michelle's,  5 stars from 29 reviewers. Many of them recent. Weird location across from a high school, behind a Shell station, between a BBQ place which had zero customers and no staff in sight at 12:30, and a bulgar wheat crepes place. I showed them my nails, they told me come back at 1, Michelle needed to see.

I went and had a bulgar crepe - they are all named for soccer teams - I had the Arsenal which was the opposite of its name - plain cheese. It was very good.

Back next door, showed Michelle my nails, we decided the old acrylic was yellow and ugly and needed to come off. Usually when they do this they use a press-on nail as a shiv, work it under the acrylic and it's usually painful because they score the nail underneath. But Michelle is an artist, and managed to pop them all off with no pain.

She used a high quality acrylic powder, after putting a press-on nail on each finger with superglue, and then trimming it short. This is also a popular way to build a base when there is no nail past the finger. The only nail which didn't need this was on my left thumb.

After the usual buffing, gel and UV curing she did a hand and lower arm massage with some kind of heated lotion. Nice touch. The nails look beautiful now. And feel a lot better too. I will be going back there next time.

Back at work, Automation Guy challenged me to show him one of the tcl scripts which did not work. So I did, and he was stumped. I also showed him how the commands worked correctly manually. He says he can fix it, tomorrow. It was nice to be vindicated.

After work I headed for Lucky's for a short list of stuff and then the Starbucks next door. Then home. Kaan is now very agressively trying to get Domino to play with him. He seems to be making progress. He was able to get right next to her a couple of times without being hissed at. 

Plans for tomorrow:

Maybe make appontments to test drive some cars on Saturday.
Kaan-Domino LazyBoy

It Rains, It Pours

Which reminds me, I need to buy some iodized salt. Or does sea salt contain enough iodine?

After many days of BORING! at work, today two emergency major projects needed my attention. Yesterday I had shown Automation Guy that the syntax in his tcl docs was wrong, and by the time I arrived this morning he had found the fix, which turned out to not be about the tcl syntax but SNMP syntax which there is no way to document correctly. You just have to know to add that ".0" to the end of certain commands.

He then made a syntax error which kept the program in an infinite loop. Well, not infinite, just 2,000 minutes.

Before I could fix that, one of my favorite engineers came by and told me I could use his two linked machines to run a test I wanted to do last Friday and yesterday but didn't have a pair of my own machines with the right stuff to link them. It took 20 minutes to update their firmware, then 10 to run the test. And another 15 to write it up.

When I told boss, he reminded me that the results of the test justified a bug I had filed which Engineering zapped as "works as designed".

Lunchtime was Sizzler. They had a special on Steak & Lobster, I decided to splurge. I asked for the steak done medium, they made it well done. It was so small a piece it was not worth sending back.Tasted okay. The lobster was lobster tail, a small-ish one, but cooked to perfection.

Back to work, there was much to be done to the tcl program to make it part of the official automation run, that took the rest of the day.

Straight home, decided I needed to lie down, so I did. And slept for 2 hours, much to my surprise. And almost stayed there.

But I had a Project to do, which needed clothing on my body. First I put the small microwave which smells like smoke into the big box  which had housed the replacement replacement unit, taped it shut, put it on a dolly and motivated it to the dumpster. Next, I dollied out the replacement unit, which only smelled a little bit of smoke, and left it in the recycle section where someone will grab it and have a free almost-working microwave. Or the apartment minions will dispose of it.

Kaan and Domino had been parking on the boxes and the replacement unit (they were in the livingroom). Now I have space for an exercise bike. The apartment has a couple of those in the main building, but that's a block away, and it requires changing clothes and stuff. Now I just need to find an exercise bike.

Plans for tomorrow: