September 23rd, 2013


Rodeo Day

But first, there was the waking up at about 3 am to push Kaan further to the other side of the bed, because he had curled up against my back when I was on my left side, which I found out when I tried to roll over onto my right. Earlier Domino was making rude noises from her hideaway under the shelves. Somehow Kaan had managed to burrow into the corner between her and the wall. He has been harassing her a lot lately. She hates it, he thinks it's a game. When Pumpkin did this, Domino played along, so I'm pissed that she hasn't adapted to Kaan's playfulness.

Was up and about by 8:30, way too early to hit the rodeo, so I did what I had been planning to do today, broke down the half dozen boxes which had not been flattened yet, piled the other 30 or so, which had been flattened,  onto the dolly (on top of a used litterbox cartridge and a faux non-stick cookie sheet) and dumpsterized them. The livingroom is now a bit more open. There is still the second cookie sheet and a box from an in-dash unit which was in the old car (because it has styrofoam blocks in it) and an old not-flat-rate USPS box. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe next week.

About 11:00 I was in the car and headed for the rodeo, and I made the same mistake as last time, followed the GPS direct route, which is an enormously long and dangerous drive on a 1-lane road crammed with insane bicyclist and motorcyclists 90% of the way to the ranch.

Finally got to the entrance a little after noon, and was told this wasn't the entrance anymore, it was up the road half a mile. Drove a mile up the road, did not see another entrance. Drove back, and they said they forgot to mention it is on the other side of the road from the rodeo, there is a tunnel under the road there.

When I get to the parking lot, I am told to walk along the "caution" tape to the tunnel. Nope, no tunnel there. "Oh, not the caution tape right here. You see that caution tape half a mile away at the bottom of this muddy hill? That one."

In the past, the parking lot was on the same side of the road as the rodeo, but this year they reserved the whole thing for RVs and handicapped parking. Apparently there was less land now, because the ranch is in the process of being donated to the the park service.  In fact, the road to the parking lot had one of those little wooden park service "no dogs/firearms/midgets" signs.

Finally got there, and they were running way late. I was hoping to miss the Grand Entry, scheduled for noon, but it didn't happen till 12:30. And it was long.

Bull riding was the first event, they had a lot of participants but I think only two qualified, so I got a lot of great shots, I thought, of people falling off in dramatic fashion. More on that later. Next up was goat dressing, which is not real photogenic because it's just a race for pairs of people to put panties on a goat from a running start. The goat is tethered to a fixed position. Most of the time all you see are people's butts. Then came calf dogging, where a person is put into the chute with a calf which has a pair of horns, and has to get the calf to go across a line a foot from the chute, and then flip it tits-up. Only a few of the contestants managed that. After seeing a few it gets old. Then came the drag race, which puts a cow on a leash, and the team consists of a man, a woman, and someone in drag. Did I mention this is a gay rodeo? Anyhow, the cow had to be brought across the arena past a line, the person in drag has to mount the cow, and then the team needs to get the cow back across the line. That's one of the more photo worthy events, people fall off a lot, and usually the cow resists being pulled, making for lots of tension in the picture.

There was barrel racing and flag racing to come, but those take a lot of time to set up, and are not that much fun to shoot, so I bailed. There was no bronc riding, I don't remember why (someone told me, but I forgot). Roping events were in the morning before I arrived.

Went home the smart way - La Honda Road becomes a nice well-maintained, divided 55 mph highway after it passes the ranch, and ends at Hwy 1, the Pacific Coast Highway, which is also well maintained and mostly 55 mph, and at Half Moon Bay turn right to Hwy 92, which is sometimes windy, but on a Sunday when the sun is out it is always congested, which makes it not popular with 2-wheeled idiots, and I think safer because no one is trying to do the speed limit when the caution signs say 30. And that hooks up with I-280 to the south bay.

A couple of blocks from the Wolfe Rd. Exit is 99 Ranch market, and a Starbucks. I stopped into the market and picked up some on-sale moon cakes, and my favorite frozen dim sum, 2 out of 3 were on sale, and samples being offered. I picked up the two on sale and asked the sample person where the third one was, she showed me, but wanted to talk me out of buying it because it wasn't on sale. But it's still pretty cheap, and I like it. Went to the produce section looking for longans, but they didn't have any, but they did have lovely big limes for 20¢ each, and huge celery bunches for 99¢.

I was tired from the long drive, and wanted to use a restroom before going home, so I stopped off in Starbucks, read on the Nexus' Kindle app, enjoyed the eye candy, and when the last person in line for the restroom went in, I got in line. And waited. And waited. I think he was changing clothes and taking a sponge bath. Or maybe he got tied up on Facebook (he had a backpack which probably had a laptop inside). Finally got to use the facilities 10 minutes later, then back to the comfy chair for a while, mostly viewed the eye candy, there were many and varied pretty women there.

Then en route to home, stopped off at Safeway, stocked up on TV dinners, ice cream, and milk. Also got a fresh container of eggbeaters. Totally forgot to get a case of diet Coke. That's okay, they fixed the machine at work.

If it wasn't Sunday I would have gone to get gas, but I'll wait till tomorrow evening. Almost stopped at Half Moon Bay, the big no-name station at the edge of town had it for sale at $3.86. It's > $4 most of my neighborhood. Gonnifs. It should be $2. Thanks Mr. Obama for not handling that situation.

Home, discovered that TiVo had not recorded the 49ers game, but looking at the sports news, I guess it was trying to save me from high blood pressure.

Slurped the photos from the camera into the PC and discovered that the stupid thing had destroyed a bunch of my best photos by auto-setting the shutter speeds way low. It was dialed in for "P" which is supposed to balance the shutter speed and lens opening, but instead it shut down the lens to f/10 and slowed the shutter to  1/60 on a lot of the key shots. Got to remember to dial in a high shutter speed for sports events.

I did manage to get some good shots. They are here. A couple of my favorites:
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Somewhere in there I had two of the small TV dinners, finished off the last of the lactose-free chocolate ice cream, gave the cats their evening kitty crack, caught up on FB, watched the end of the Steelers-Cowboys game and wrote this.

Plans for tomorrow:
PO - mail the girl scouts coin gift box to sister
Monday Night Football
May go to BASFA if the game sucks

Dr. Howeird

Something to Do and something to don't

At the team meeting, boss tried very hard to get someone, anyone, to comment on boss' boss' plans to cross train his two sets of QA engineers, but no one would bite. Several people chimed in about other things which took place at the meeting Friday. I knew if I started talking about it, the meeting would last another hour, and go nowhere. Boss' boss was at the team meeting, which he usually is. It's one thing I like about him - he comes to keep in touch, and only contrinutes when asked, or when there is something important he needs to share.

During the meeting my phone vibrated 3 times, it was my doctor's office, but it's the generic number so I didn't know which doctor. Then email saying there was a message from my doctor on the Kaiser site. It was both doctors. Main doctor asking me to keep taking the sleeping pills latest BP meds (I said no, I can do one at night and that's all) and one from diabetes doc asking for an update, and also asking if I would be willing to try a BP med I was on in 2009, which made me pee like a racehorse. I replied to him, and he called back and we had a good chat. Which reminds me I need to run the program which does my Hgl numbers and send him a list.

After the team meeting I thought I would have a boring day, so to make it less so I started looking at the corporate training offerings, most are videos of PPT slide shows with narration. I found three, two are 1-hour tutorials on aspects of video which probably have useful information to add to the mass of what I already know, and one is a 6-hour course on something a little off my beaten path but worth taking a look at - the networking standard which is coming up next year and will enable non-cable modems to almost compete with cable modems for continuous video delivery. Or something like that.

That brought me to lunchtime. I totally flaked on going to the PO because (a) there is no rush to mail the package and (b) it's Hell Day at the PO. Took my cooler to the break room and created a ham sandwich out of components I'd brought, expecting to make a picnic. Talk about lazy - too lazy to drive to the park.

Watched one of the tutorials. It was voice over a video of PPT slides projected on a screen, horrible video quality, which is ironic because the tutorial is by a guy who (as I later fond by online search) holds 4 patents and wrote what appears to be a doctoral dissertation on the math behind making network video clearer.

I give the course a C. The presenter is an expert, knows this stuff inside and out, but he didn't define some important math terms so he gets an A-. But the image slides, which were crucial to understanding the verbiage, were unreadable. The large print word slides were readable but fuzzy. So the videography gets a D-.

Just when I was about to tackle the next one, email arrived asking me if I had seen a certain bug which a customer had just reported, about a feature I am the expert for. Collapse )
This is a show-stopper, so now we know there will be one more build.

Just in time, the Loan Arranger from my CU called, and we did the math around buying a "manufactured home". Turns out I can swing a 25% downpayment (which lemmozine pointed out on FB goes towards the care and feeding of the ducks), and the result on a standard 3br place would give me a mortgage payment half of my current rent. Taxes would up that some, but I'm already paying utilities/water/sewer/garbage, so yeah, I can afford this. He said it is best to get pre-qualified, so I'll make an appointment to do that.

By now it was almost time to go home so I updated my notebook and did so. Completely forgot that I was going to stop by Target and check out the Sodastream devices. I am down to one 1-liter seltzer siphon, having broken 5 in the past 2 years. That's more than the high end Sodastream costs.

Home, did not feel like going anywhere. Watched as much of the Raiders-Broncos game as it took to finish eating dinner, turned it off very disappointed in Oakland's offensive line and horrible tackling, and brainless penalties.

Took solace in emptying the dishwasher and getting caught up on FB. And then looked through Craig's list to see what prefab homes were available, and where, and for what price. There are some excellent choices out there, a couple of them in "communities" (aka mobile home parks) I have driven past many times. There are also a few in the swamps, or what used to be the swamps. on the other side of 237 from Alviso. Those are mostly 55+ which I am well qualified for, and not having screaming children living next door would be a plus.

Plans for tomorrow:
Peninsulaires (voice lessons, and a chance to say "no, I don't want to be in a chorus which sings screwy harmonies and emotes the song to death")

Weird Load

Anecdote, if I can remember it right

This is one of my more obscure Small World™ stories.

I went to high school at Rainier Beach, the southernmost one in Seattle. Probably the easternmost too, but I won't bet real cash money on that. Looked on a map and would bet money on it. Somewhere during my senior year a DDG blonde was added to the senior class, her last name was Applegate. Or maybe Applewood. I don't remember her first name, but it was something not very common. Call her Brina. The story is she was there because her parents had split, and needed a school to be in until they decided who she would live with.

She isn't in the yearbook, and isn't on the graduation list. Sometime before those were made up she transferred out, and that's the last I heard of her. That would have been sometime in late 1967 or early '68.  

In 1974, after I was fired from my first real-world newspaper job, I found one in Omak, WA, just the other side of the Cascades about 90 miles south of Canada. It was a town of 5,000. My first day on the job, the boss sends me out to take a mug shot of someone for the Society column. It was her. Turns out she had grown up in Omak, her father was a big name in the area with a cattle ranch and apple orchards. When her Mom got the divorce,  she took Brina Far Away To The Big City, hoping to get custody. But Brina turned 18 before graduating high school, and took herself back to Omak to live with Daddy. Part of the reason for the mug shot is she had gone to college at WSU, and was now back home.

It was obvious she didn't remember me, so I didn't bring it up.  I never saw her again.