December 31st, 2014


Making Up For Lost Thyme

I guess I missed yesterday's entry. A very boring Monday at work. Surprisingly half my team was there, and not surprisingly I crashed the newly de-crashified system we are now using to enter our test results. It crashed in random places, sometimes with and sometimes without soring the data I entered.

My test machine is also a disaster, it refuses to play video for more than an hour (usually much less) without rebooting itself. A chance meeting in the parking lot at lunchtime with one of the program managers about 12 levels above me, I said I was there to break the machines, she said they pretty much break themselves. She said she spent the Jesus festival with family in "Washington State" so I asked where and she said "Camas" so before she could say nobody have ever heard of it I replied "yeah, near Washougal". She was very surprised. But you live in Seattle or Portland, and they always refer to it in the traffic/weather reports as the "Camas-Washougal area". It's now muscle memory for me.

Lunchtime I went online and ordered a hot sandwich at Specialty's, to be ready at 1:30. Went to the home PO to pick up a package and the line was long and filled with people so clueless that each one took about 5 minutes. There is one clerk who means well, but always manages to do the CYA dance, which makes each customer facing episode 5x longer than it needs to be. Long story longer, I didn't get back to Specialty's until 2, the sandwich was cold, and once again they substituted some lame cinnamon thing for the sticky bun I had ordered. I will be writing a nastygram to them that they need to add inventory control to their system. It should not let me order something they are out of. And the system should know, because they know how many sticky buns are delivered, and each one is rung up as it is sold. Most online systems have that feature.

Ran into a co worker, who had taken the day off. Kind of odd.

UPS sent me a tracking notice that the calendars were due to be delivered yesterday, by the end of the day, which in my book is 5 pm. At 5:30 they were still in transit, so I went home to wait for them. Wanted to bring some to basfa and also wanted to start stuffing envelopes. But by 7:15 there was no sign of them so I went to the meeting. Had a good time, told lots of bad puns. Gave maurinestarkey the big bag of senior formula cat food which I no longer have a senior cat to eat (she does), dinogrl gave out the annual newsletter from her and dave_gallaher, very welcome to have since it includes their new address.

Sometime during the meeting I checked the UPS tracking number, and the calendars had been delivered just before 8 pm. Boo. Hiss.

As usual, the Annoying Woman was annoying, giving massages (yes, I know they feel good, but a dinner meeting is not the time or place) and she is very chatty while she is doing that, which is even more annoying. And she messed up one of my auction items by putting tickers on it, and when it came up for bids she yelled about something, bid 25 cents and didn't shut up, not letting anyone else bid. 

Two books from lemmozine went up for bid, they both did well, one of them caused some spirited bidding.

Home after the meeting, opened the calendar box, they were wrapped in groups of 25, which is convenient. They look much better than Costco's -- very professional,  and the only thing I don't like is their web site had no way to fit the pictures exactly, so even though all the images were uploaded at the same size and resolution, and there should not have been any borders, many of them have borders and are not quite the same size or centering. Most people won't notice.


Tuesday Feels Like Friday

Once again, half the team was at work. Most of us will be gone Friday, though. My test machine was bricked overnight, took two unplugging/re-pluggings to resurrect.

Automation guy found out the reason the new test case system was borked, and this time he fixed it. Now it runs fast, no crashes, and has the right time stamp.

Ironically, what he did to fix it also made all my entries work, so I had nothing new to enter.

Distributed calendars to my team and a couple of people on the team nextdoor. Everyone was impressed.

Lunchtime I went to the nearest PO, which is in "downtown" Santa Clara across from the university. It is an old run down building and has the feel of a Wells Fargo stagecoach bank. Wooden façade with domed windows craved into it for teller cages. All that's missing are the cage bars. The clerk answered some important questions, like telling me they don't need customs forms to be shipped overseas, and the prices I had looked up online were correct. I needed $1, $2 and $5 stamps, I had some at home but not nearly enough. She and the two other clerks insisted that the were out of 1's and 2's and were not allowed to order more 2's, and there was no such thing as a 5.

So I went to my home PO, and they were out of 2's, and also said they could not order more, but they had enough 1's for me to use a pair of them instead of a 2, and they had all the 5's and 1-cent stamps I could eat.

Took those back to work with me. At work I heated up leftover shrimp scampi which I had brought along against the possibility that the PO adventure would eat up my lunch hour, which it did.

Checked the weather for Emigrant's Pass, which is the most scenic part of the Amtrak route to Reno when there are snow-covered evergreens, but the forecast snowfall didn't happen. Instead of a healthy dump, they only got 0.11 inches of precip. The forecast for the rest of the week us sunny and clear, so there's no reason to take that trip.

Spent a lot of my down time watching the news of the Air Asia crash recovery. Totally opposite of the Malaysia Airlines plane which still has not been found, the CEO personally joined the families, owned the tragedy, and along with the mayor of whatever town the plane took off from, console the grieving. The press conference announcing the recovery of a couple of bodies and some wreckage was an "oh, the humanity" moment, with search & rescue soldiers, navy & air force officials and aides all looking like this was a personal tragedy for them. And Indonesia had been quick to welcome help from all its neighbors.

On the way home the plan was to stop in at Costco and get some cheeses and milk. I had already gone online and ordered batteries, and a pair of Sony bluetooth noise canceling headphones. But the parking lot was insane, it looked like I expected it to look tomorrow, with NYE party shoppers. I guess they all decided to get there early to avoid the crowd. I bailed, and hit Fry's, where I returned the extra mSATA enclosure, and then picked up some blank return address labels and a ream of paper on sale for $2.50.  And I wandered over to the headphone display, and was immediately "helped" by a man who knew nothing, including which headphone was wired to which "play" button. I ripped him a new one over that - put on my best Angry Old Man act, and very forcefully told him his display was a mess, and how did he expect to sell anything if customers can't try them out? And stomped off before he could answer.

I love character acting.

Home, set up in the computer room to put stamps on envelopes, which I had put address labels on last night, then stuffed them with a calendar each, except for Heidi's which got two because when I met her dad a few years ago we talked photography for a couple of hours, so he gets his own copy.

It took a couple of hours, but now it is done.

That finished, I powered up the TV and Tivo and watched the Foster Farms Chicken Bowl which was still in progress. I started at the beginning, which was actually the ending of another game. Maryland played well, they have some super-quick guys on defense, but Stanford had the address of the end zone in their GPS, and just kept scoring. MD's three touchdowns were impressive, but Stanford's  45 points were moreso. It would have been 48, but the wind blew one field goal out of the zone. Good game, I will tease my nephew, who went to MD for his undergrad degree.

Dinner was a reheated Boston Market chicken fried steak & mashed. Not bad.

Spook is being very vocal tonight, and also testing me by batting his toys against the recliners and using that as an excuse to claw the furniture.

My extra cell phone sold on eBay for slightly more than it was listed, and that is now boxed up and labeled and ready to go.

Went onto the Amtrak site, canceled the Reno trip and booked Santa Barbara. Called the hotel reservations place and canceled the Reno reservation, the went online to my favorite Santa Barbara motel's site and was pleased that they had a room still available, so I booked that.

Plans for tomorrow:
Post office, I can put all the calendars in the slot because they are less than 8 ounces, but I may have to stand in line with the ebay box.
Depending on when I am done, meet Janice for lunch & then a movie
Maybe Costco
Probably will go to one or 2 NYE parties.