August 30th, 2016


First Timer

Before going to sleep I was reading in bed, and as I sometimes do, I had a few individually wrapped processed cheese slices on the night table, and I would peel one and let it melt in my mouth a corner at a time. Spook hopped up onto the bed, eying the cheese hanging out of my mouth. She does that sometimes, but usually as soon as I hold a piece out to her, she jumps off the bed and walks away. Or runs away. Not this time. She just stared at me as I held it out to her, which I've learned means no, she won't take food from the hand of a human. So I put it down in front of her. She may have something wrong with her teeth, because she had trouble picking it up, but once she gets it she chomps a few times and it's gone. And she looks at me again, so I give her another piece, which she eats. I try a third time, but she ignores the cheese, jumps off the bed and goes back to her window sill perch.

It was a boring morning. Nothing on my agenda except to ping the contract agent who is handling the Amazon job. Which I do. When I don't get a quick response I do my usual search, find a corner case to apply for, and another one which it turns out is something I've applied for 4 times, so it is obviously a troll. Companies do that, they list an opening as new, which has either been open forever, or is a non-existent job. Sometimes it is for a HR grunt to inflate her numbers, and sometimes it is to pretend to list a job to the outside world when they know they will be hiring internally but have to pretend anyone can apply, for legal reasons.

There was time for the MP3 player project. The story is this: I rippedall my musicals CDs to a directory, a folder for each CD, and carefully named the folders with the name of the show (CD rippers sometimes mess this up). Then I copied that directory to the player. Plugged the player into the car, and waited for car's software to index the tracks. Then had it show me all the albums. The last time I did that, it only showed me up to "H". It was as if it didn't recognize the rest of the folders.

So today's trick was to format the MP3 player, and copy the CD folders right to the root directory on the player, and try it again in the car.

Same problem.

But it didn't re-index. So I took the player back to the PC, renamed it, and tried again.

Same problem.

Hooked it back to the PC and ran a tree listing (which shows all the files under each directory). And somehow the car had erased the contents of all the folders after "HMS Pinafore".

Massive FAIL. I have an old iPod 80GB device, reset it, updated it to the latest, re-installed iTunes and re-synced. I know I will get duplicates, but that's better than no tunes after "H". Also, my iTunes directory had all my favorite CDs, not just the musicals. I was missing my Thai tunes, and Christina A.

Put that in the car and listened to parts of 42nd Street and the original Wizard of Oz. Much better.

Just as I was wrapping that up, a reply came from the Amazon contractor rep, although they said good things about me, Amazon hired someone else. :-(

That really knocked me down several notches, the two only in-person interviews I've had in almost 6 months said no.

In theory there are still two more which have completed phone screens and may bring me in, but they are both iffy.

I completely forgot my semi-plan to take a train ride somewhere new, and instead went to a side of Baylands Park I have not been to for a long time.
 The irony is that this is a concrete structure.

One would think that those would have lights inside, but they don't.

I thought I would sit and read, but instead I walked a lot, first through the recycled water test garden, which looks like it has not been maintained in years, and then to the plaza pictured above, and finally out to an area set up for what looks like military training.

I may have been there for an hour. Maybe a little more. Very few people out and about, made me feel too lonely. Headed home, but made a detour along the way to a little corner building I used to go to which has a Togo's, hoping to sit in the café nextdoor. but that's gone and they are setting up a tiny Uno Mas there. :-( As far as I'm concerned the less Mas Mexican places there are, the better.

Home, saw some pretty roses in my garden. Here's one:

The lilacs are not doing well, I think it may be over-watering. So tonight I did not water the gardens. It was cooler than usual, overcast most of the day.

Got email from another of those Indian recruiters, this one representing Adecco, a contract agency which I have worked for before. She sent a job description which was for an automation engineer, not related to video at all. It ended with a note to send her my resume if I was interested.

And then she replied to my auto-reply thanking me for my interest. Idiot.

So I emailed her back that it was an auto-reply (which it clearly says in the subject line) and she should actually read it this time, and if she still thinks I'm a match, I'll be happy to send a resume.

She's sort of local, but looking at her LinkedIn profile, she graduated from a private high school in Delhi, and took one (1) class at UC Santa Cruz in HR. So that makes her qualified to do technical recruiting. Gag me.

Between boredom and wanting to hear about Worldcon first hand from people who had been there, I drove to the BASFA meeting.

The 7 pm trip on 237 was worse than usual. On a Monday, by 7 pm rush hour is almost over, and traffic is moving at about 55 (speed limit is 65) with some slowdowns due to stupid merge patterns. This time it was stop and go all the way to First Street, where I counted 7 cars distributed along two miles of emergency lanes (both sides) in various states of crunchedness. Two were accordioned halfway, one from the front the other from the back, but their drivers were standing next to the cars, and there were no ambulances. And only one cop car. And no tow trucks.

This was my first visit to the new venue, and I have to admit the Black Bear Diner's banquet room is far better than any of the previous meeting spots. The food is great, the portions are huge and the prices match the huge portions. The waiter was working hard, and had support from the manager when needed. The one thing he didn't do was ask if people wanted dessert, which probably cost him $100 in tips.

The usual suspects were mostly much better behaved than they had been.

But the rambling reviews and interminable follow-ups bored me, and there was nothing worth bidding on at the auctions except Mo, and she was bidded up past what I could afford by someone who bids $500 on a CD at the filk auctions. A couple of years ago I wanted to hire Mo to paint a mural in my livingroom to pretty up the spot I'd painted over where the previous owner had some Jesus message caligraphed on. But she's had some serious health issues, and I don't see her getting up on a ladder to paint. 

I went home by surface roads, which on the map is almost as direct as 237. Instead of stop and crunch, there are a fair number of traffic lights, speed limit is 40,45,35 and 40 again.

While I was at the meeting, I opened the webcam app, and saw that Spook had knocked over her food tower. I cleaned that up, and set the tower directly on the floor (it had been using a brick to tilt it forward).

Plans for tomorrow:
Maybe take light rail to way south SJ and see Pete's Dragon at one of those new posh cinemas.
Maybe I'll hear from about a follow-up interview
Probably go to an evening meeting which will explain some major construction which will seriously eff up an already forked Mathilda Avenue as they change the 237/101 interchange from criminally insane to merely psychotic.
Or I may just stay in bed and watch porn 


Plan A-minus

I was getting ready to wake up at about 9:30 when the phone rang, and it was Automation Guy checking in. I had texted him that Amazon (he works there now) said no. That lasted almost an hour

At about 12:30 I was thinking of hitting the road, but someone from the contract agency which sent me to Amazon called. "What went wrong?" he asked. I told him that as far as I was concerned the only thing that went wrong is I wasn't hired. He didn't get it that nothing needs to "go wrong" for one of several candidates to not be hired. And he also didn't get that it was *his* job to find out from the non-hiring manager what made them pass me up. He said he had another job possible, and would send me the job description in a couple of minutes.

He never did.

By now I needed some kind of lunch, so I made a sandwich and had some olives with that. The new compost bucket was not quite doing its job so I food processed what was in it, and fed it to the compost tub outside.

Out the door at close to 2, drove to Mountain View and deposited a return in one of the Amazon locker boxes. There are six lockers closer to me, but they all were marked full. Online Amazon sets a very short time limit for returns and pickups, but it seems they don't enforce it.

Since I was in MV, I drove to the nearest free light rail park and ride and caught the train, and went all the way to the end of the line (Winchester). Along the way I realized that was a stupid move because we basically took 20 minutes to get to the station a mile from my house, and I really should have driven to the park and ride closer to San Jose. VTA has FAILed on park and rides for me, there is nothing near my home station, even though there is a parking  lot there for a grocery store. The next free parking lot is halfway to downtown SJ.

So by the time I got to Winchester it was after 4, which means I missed Pete's Dragon at the nearby cinema, so I saw Kubo and the Two Strings instead. It was really 3 strings, but I see why they chose the title. A well done animation, powerful story, several small characters with actual personalities. And as usual for Japanese style animations, the objects (coins, fish, origami) looked real, but the people did not.

The voiceover work was excellent. George Takei even has a small role. Imagine that - a Japanese-American voicing a Japanese person in a story set in Japan.  There are several other Japanese names in the cast, but not in leading roles.

It's a bit dark for a children's show, and a bit more violent than it needed to be, but a lot of that is offset by the CGI magic.

It was after 6 by the time I got out, and there were a couple of places to eat, but I wasn't hungry and just wanted to get on the train and go home.

The first train out was only going as far as the civic center, but that was okay, I got off at Paseo and stopped in at the pastry shop and got a pair of Napoleons to go. Trainee behind the counter needed me to repeat the order 5 times, punched in the wrong price, asked me to confirm that I'd also ordered a drink (no, I didn't) and punched in the amount I paid in the wrong place and was a deer in the headlights when the register said that 20 - 9 is 13.

She was saved by the manager, who took less than 10 seconds to void the order and re-enter it correctly.

Back to the train station and it was about 10 minutes before the Mountain View one came by.

Home, gave Spook some treats, topped off her water, and took some spanikopita and a serving of lasagna out of the freezer and made those for dinner. Grapes for after, and then I remembered the Napoleons, so I had one and put the other in the fridge.

Missed the meeting about Mathilda/101/237. Sigh.

Plans for tomorrow: