December 15th, 2014


That week went by quickly

Slept in today when I checked the calendar and saw that the library centennial celebration didn't start till noon, and if I wanted to miss the mayor's babble I should not arrive until half past. The puppeteers were on a little after 1, which was the only thing on the program I was wanting to see/photograph.

So I had time to watch the Raiders get off to a good start, hoping it would last.

Got to the Library, and as usual they had several things going on at the same time, mostly for the kids. There was a long, constant line for cake & juice and the children also got party hats if they wanted them. In the teen section there was a photo shoot with props (plastic neon colored guitars, santa hats, reindeer horns, etc) and in the area across from the check-out desk an older man was letting people print 100th birthday imprints on pre-printed bookmarks using a tiny hand-operated platen press.

The "puppeteers" turned out to be one guy calling himself Jungle Joe, not his real name and nowhere to be found online, who was not just puppeteer, but also a ventriloquist who has built a variety of stuffed animals which he operates pretty much like sock puppets. He was very entertaining, and had some really simple, but neat tricks, and Hispanic accent was almost all gone. There was a huge audience of children, seating was on the carpet "behind the blue line", Joe's head mike system worked flawlessly and he talked non-stop. His way of telling the kids to sit down (which he did maybe 700 times during the hour) was to simply say "legs crossed, applesauce". I had no idea what he was saying, but the children mostly did, and sat in what, in less politically terrorized years, we called Indian style. I suppose in a room where 2/3 of the children's parents are from India, it was a good call.

In addition to the stuffed animals, he had a small white board which he had tricked out to include movable eyes and mouth, which somehow were hidden until he manipulated the controls. And he started off with a couple of simple magic tricks, two of which he showed the kids how to do.

He had lots of kids come up one at a time to play with the puppets, as in throw a ball to the giraffe, pet the donkey, etc. The only thing I didn't like about his show is he had the donkey and giraffe chase kids around, biting their necks. Of course it didn't hurt, but it scared the crap out of many of them. And he was all about fart jokes. He knows his audience.

Wish I'd asked for one of his cards, he could use some publicity, and a background check. Very strange that the library didn't list his name. It's possible he was a last minute substitution for a marionette style puppet show.

I wasn't interested in the Bollywood dancers or the mountain dulcimer player which were the other acts, and I was starving so I went to Denny's and enjoyed their pumpkin pancakes. Ordered a chocolate shake for dessert, and was given something which was more like strawberry flavored milk. I wasn't in the mood to send it back so I just paid the check with less than the usual tip.

Home, my across the street neighbors were outside for the first time since I moved here a year ago, and she chatted with me for a bit. I guess I don't see them out because I am usually at work. She said the neighborhood is too quiet, nobody comes outside to talk. That's mostly true if you don't go to bingo or the dinners.

Inside, played with Spook, who was in SST mode; looked up the Raiders' game score (they apparently didn't show up for the 4th quarter)

Back on the road, to Mountain View and met Janice at Starbucks for a chat. She had a couple of simple computer questions and we caught up on the week. She will be going to San Mateo for a couple of days to volunteer with the Red Cross. She usually goes farther away, and does admin stuff, but this time the floods are more conveniently located.

Home again, and queued up the Tivo to watch the 49ers-Seahawks game. I'm a fan of both teams, and lately both have been less than stellar, so I was okay with either one winning as long as it was a close, high-scoring game. It was a close, low-scoring game, with equally poor play by both offenses and just enough defense on both sides to screw things up for the other team. 49ers were still ahead late in the 3rd quarter when Tivo decided the game was over. It was also set to record it from the Seattle side, but apparently that was blocked out in this area, and instead I got some college basketball game which I could not have cared less about. Had to wait for the 10 o'clock news to see how the Seahawks eked out a win. It was the same pattern as most of the season for SF - early good play, falling apart in the second half. Frank Gore left the game with a concussion, ironically inflicted upon himself by making a block. It would have been a good block it he hadn't hit his helmet on the guy's shoulder pads.

So the 9ers are not going to play post-season, but Seattle probably will be in the hunt for at least one round.  

Took out the garbage, which included cutting up a lot of boxes, including the big one the chairs came in.

Dinner was during the game, my traditional hot dogs with grey poupon and sauerkraut, with large elbow macaroni covered with a couple of slices of yellow cheese. Mint chocolate chip ice cream for dessert. And SosaStream diet orange soda for drinkies.

Plans for tomorrow:
PO, get a priority mail international flat rate box, pack Hazel's present in it and stand in line forever to drop it off. This depends on parking, which there is not much of until after 10 am, so I may just not do this until lunchtime. Word is this is the busiest postal day of the year. I saw deliveries being made today, the PO is on 7-day schedule till either X-box or the end of the year.

Call the printers again for an update
Monday Night Football

Muhn Dhai

Slept well last night, woke to another day of very painful back & other places. I am blaming the drop in barometric pressure - it's still raining or threatening to.

Up and out early for me, but not as early as I might have been. Took the freeway, which was interesting because even though it wasn't raining, the road was wet enough for tires to kick up some spray, and the wind must have been 40 or more. Saw one brick-on-wheels get pushed a couple of feet across her lane.

Weekly team meeting, learned a few things about the new box. The day was spent grinding through more subtitle tests, but I hit a snag when a line item in a very long test called for a setting which not only doesn't exist, it isn't called for in the specs. Talked to my teammate who had written the test and he fessed up that he was extrapolating from the box they build upstairs, which has that feature, and upon which our new box is fashioned. He did some more research and confirmed that there's no feature, and no plans for it.

Okay, so I continued past that item and came upon one which failed.

So the next step is to document the results, which is usually done by listing each step number and giving it a pass or a fail, or a blocker. But the guy who wrote the test had a massive cut and paste FAIL, which gave it two step 3's, two step 4's, and then 5 -12.

So I have to fix that before I can document it. And by this time it was 5:30 and I was fed up, so I went home.

Just before that, Boss had emailed me to update a test document for something I had done a very thorough test on months ago, but only a "smoke test" the other day. I need to talk to him about that, because I didn't test the final version as much as I did the original. And can't because the files I'd used are gone, they took up too much space on my drive.

And in other news, I chatted with the woman who was putting together my calendar, and we figured out what needed to be done. She sent a proof, it looks good, except one caption may get cut off at the bottom (but still be readable), so I okayed it and it will go into production tomorrow. Yay!

Lunchtime was a trip to the PO. Glad I waited because there would have been zero parking in the morning (they open the big lot behind the building after 10, when most of the delivery trucks have gone). Looked for but did not find an international flat rate box, but then saw they have changed the sign and all the domestic boxes are now good for international, even though it doesn't say so on the box. It used to. Pissed me off because I have a pile of those boxes at home and could have done the packing there instead of in the lobby. Would have saved me some time, too.

But the clerk was happy to get a pre-labeled package after all the challenging one. Most of the people in line were coming in without labels, and the line hid the paces they are stored, so they mostly got to the head of the line and were sent back to get a label.

Since I was near home, and Fedex was expecting to finally deliver the laptop,  I went there and made a sandwich for lunch. No package by the carport door, none by the front door. Looked up the tracking info and it said it had been delivered more than an hour ago. They hid it behind a chair by the kitchen door. That's a first.

It had to wait until after work. Set it up in the livingroom while watching MNF on TV, and it did its Windows 8 setup, and even though I told it not to, it downloaded all the apps and settings from the Windows 8 crap machine I had just reset to factory defaults because it was too slow and Windoze 8 is so amazingly sucky. I tried to install Windows 7 from my DVD, but it wouldn't boot from it, and wouldn't install from it either. And in the process of trying that I realized I did not like this laptop at all. HP, very heavy, large unwieldy touch pad with left and right click areas on opposite sides, kind of a rocker. Keys too small - wide but not high enough. Couldn't even read the F key numbers. And the backlighting is minimal, useless in normal indoor lighting.

Decided it would be better to just get an upgraded version of my Toshiba. So I went online, and found that Toshiba had a sale on both a 500MB mini-SSD and 8GB of RAM. After taxes it came to about $200 less than the HP. A replacement laptop would have run $1200. Not this week. So that problem is solved.

Spook is mad at me because I sprayed her when she jumped up on the table and started chewing on a letter from a friend which was a replacement for one she chewed up a couple of weeks ago.

Also delivered today was a very nice looking selfie stick. I'll get to trying that maybe this weekend. No rush. And at 9 pm someone rang the carport door bell and ran away, leaving a package from Zappos. Confused me a bit because the UPS notice said it was from Amazon, and had been delivered to a woman.

Plans for tomorrow:
Costco - return the HP
Safeway - breathe-right strips, shower door cleaner, bananas, velveeta, string cheese, egg nog.