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December 21st, 2013

Positive surprises

Woke up before 7, was in the bathroom when the two alarms went off, which is one perk of living in a house, no wall-share neighbors to hear your alarm going off. Got to the DMV at 8:30, found parking and made my way past the long line of people without appointments to the line for people with. 3 people ahead of me. 8:45 had the form filled out and was assigned a number, and told that contrary to what the web site says, yes, I can get a new license with my current address for a mere $26, and yes, I can also get a free senior citizen ID card. 5 minutes later I was being helped by a trainee and two veterans on either side of her. She was way too bright to be working at the DMV - she understood stuff the first time, is a native speaker of American English, and did not blame the slow computer for anything. After collecting my $26 she gave me a receipt, a temporary license and another receipt for the ID card and sent me to the line behind me. This was apparently the line for people with appointments because after the three people ahead of me were shot, they pulled me in ahead of abut a dozen others for my photo & signature. So not only do I get a new license with the right address, I get a photo which was not taken in 2000.

I was out of there by 9:10. Meanwhile the no-appointment line had reached around the building, in the 45° chill.

Which meant I was at work on time, because the DMV is only 1.5 miles away.

Not much to do at work, so I socialized. It was a good chance to chat with team mates who also had little actual work to do.

One cute thing, the media program we use for playing video over the lab network, VLC (videolan - it's free and you should get it) has a taskbar logo which is now sporting a Santa hat. My back wall neighbor has been receiving tons of toys from amazon, I figured she would get a kick out of it - she did.

My weakly report was pretty sparse this week.

Home, gave Domino her chew treats, relaxed until it was time to go to uke class. I'd put a load of bedding in the dryer this morning, took that out and started the load of shirts.

Uke class was not very productive, even though only 2 of us showed up and he gave us each a lot of personal attention. Problem is he goes at his pace, not ours, so while he's playing the entire song in the book, I'm still trying to figure out how to play a G. He showed a finger pick routine which could work, with practice, but he didn't allow time to practice. One thing I did learn is my fingers are too wide for many chords. Or rather, to play them the way they are shown in the book. With practice I think I can play tunes which have C, A, A minor and F. Are there any?

Stopped off at Safeway on the way home, mostly for TV dinners and ice cream. Also got a long thing sourdough baguette which I'll slice up to eat with the goat brie I bought the other day.

Dinner was a Healthy Choice Asian steam bowl. Not going to stay on my list, that series.

Spent some time on Amtrak.com looking for a trip to take during NY's holiday. We get eve & 1st off, and I'll take Monday too for a 5-day weekend. Denver looked do-able. Grand Canyon did not - fares are sky-high on the Texas Eagle. And there's a bus bridge, which defeats the purpose of taking the train. Santa Barbara and even San Diego are possibles, if I don't mind arriving at SAN at 1 am. Also looked at Reno, but it is too !@#$%^&* cold. Did not look north, been there, done that too many times. Vancouver BC might be nice but that's a 2-day ride.

Got email from PG&E that they were billing me twice, once for December and once through January 8. I emailed the old apartment asking if this meant my apartment had been rented. They took their time replying, but said yes, I don't owe any more rent. So I went online with PG&E and had the gas & electric shut off, and updated my address. And emailed Allstate to cancel the insurance. Got an out of office reply, will shoot some email to the assistant.

Anyhow, typical that the apartment people didn't tell me on their own.

And it saves me about $3k. Which was part of the point of this whole exercise. So now I have officially lowered my rent by $1k/mo. Yay!

Plans for tomorrow:
Visit the mobile home park office, say hi,  and request a larger garbage bin
Unpack the 3rd BR.
Fill the car with cardboard and take it to the recycle center
Replace the kitchen light fixture
Call Fuzzy about fixing the second set of lights in the bathroom and the nearby dead outlet in the bedroom. They may be related. And ask about replacing the sink. And whether it is feasible to remove the second sink and install a walk-in shower. It may not be possible structurally. And a ramp to the side door.
Watch a bowl game, if there is one.

Weird Dream Channel

A theater group is in the middle of a run of a show, I don't know which one but the costumes look like maybe Little Mary Sunshine. The lead actress is also the owner of the company, and she has an off-stage moment where she is telling me that they may have to disband if this show doesn't start attracting audiences. There are more people on stage than in the house.

There is a scene where the hero is supposed to break down a door, and for dream reasons instead he tries to smash head-first into the dryer. The dryer door opens outward, so instead of opening the door he knocks himself out. As he staggers into the green room, the owner says she is giving up.

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