Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Spring is Coming


Also taken at the Strybing Arboretum in GGP, I was happy to see buds on this magnolia because it means spring is coming. Dawn's brother Darryl commented about all the winter solstice celebrations a few days ago that the only reason to celebrate is that it means we're heading back to spring...

A Tangled Web

Fall Colors




My friend Lilia posted about fall colors in the Bay Area a couple of days ago, after I'd taken the first of these pictures thinking the same thing she was. I took the second at the botanical garden in Golden Gate Park yesterday.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

2009 Nature Calendar

I've just created my 2009 Nature Calendar; some of the pictures are from our trip to Florida in March, others from Joshua Tree, and a couple of others from around our house. Have a look and let me know what you think: http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8IctmzhqzbvCA

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Missed Opportunity


In March, while we were in Florida, I took Rachel to Butterfly World. The weather wasn't very good and we got there late. After letting us sit in their food counter's eating area, the manager took pity on us (we were leaving the next day) and let Rachel in for free, charged me half price, and gave me a coupon (his business card) for free admission next time we come, good for life. The facility is very nice and there were lots and lots of birds and butterflies, including two species of hummingbird I'd never seen before, several really interesting butterflies, and at least a dozen different species of passionflower.

As a photographer, missing a shot is nothing new to me, but I'm frustrated about this one because I had lots of time. I was already aiming at this bird on the far side of the pond as it began to fly lazily across to the other side. Yet I failed to get the whole reflection!! Dammit!

Open Sesame

I'm enjoying taking pictures of the Cymbidium as it opens. Custom white balance is serving me well again, but I think that I need to bust out the GorillaPod next time... not to mention take some during daylight hours...

Ornamented

We got two trees this year. Well, actually, Darryl got a very little one (maybe 2 1/2 feet high) for Rachel to have in her room, and we have a 4' in the living room. This is the smallest tree we've had, because we want it to sit on the coffee table to help keep Zachary away from it. Or at least make it harder for him to get to, I suppose.I used the custom white balance and the color turned out very well. I'm a little disappointed that the focus didn't land where I expected (on the silver/grey ornament). That has been one of the main problems I've had with the 20D, especially in low light or at long range.

Thanksgiving Sunset


This is the view from my parents' place, the third floor deck outside what used to be my bedroom. I didn't notice the helicopter in the shot until just now (it's near the right edge just above the base of the clouds (easier to see if you're looking at the whole image, instead of the 'thumbnail'). What's particularly interesting and unual about it is that there's a stripe of sunlight on the water even though the sun is hidden by the clouds.

Leavin' On a Jet Plane


I took these pictures as I was leaving the gate and taking off from Burbank on the way back to Oakland. It turns out to be damn near impossible to hold the camera still relative to the plane while pushing it up against the window...

Why did the tarantula cross the road?



Somehow, while doing 35 mph down the road to the South exit of Joshua Tree, Dan managed to spot three different tarantulas in the road. This was the first one, and we pulled over and followed it across the road... to it's lair.

Population What?


Dan and I were rather amused by this sign...

Not Quite our Mascot














I went to Berkeley High School, home of the Yellowjackets... this wasp is the first I've ever seen that was yellow and red (like a yellowjacket which, to be accurate, is a kind of wasp). Dan and I noticed this one sitting on a rock where we decided to have lunch at the 49 Palms Oasis while hiking in JTree. There were a LOT more that had built their nest in the 'beard' of one of the palm trees. No, we didn't count to see whether there were actually 49...

Elephant Guard


This rock elephant kept watch over our camp site while Dan and I were in Joshua Tree.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

In from the cold


This is one of my favorite types of orchid; we've had it out on our front porch a long time, and it has been pretty happy, but 40s is too cold for it, so we brought it inside. I am going to try taking a variety of pictures of it, as it blooms. It happens to be sitting in front of a mirror, though this picture doesn't make that very clear, so once we clear off the dining table to give a better (i.e. neater) background, I may try some reflections...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Adonis







I am fairly sure that this is an Adonis Blue, which I caught outside my aunt & uncle's cabin near Lake Tahoe.

Lurking


I was the one lurking, really... this may be a Bay Checkerspot, which is an endangered species.

Brooding...


Lake Tahoe from Donner Pass

Intertwined


A house not far from ours has both a honeysuckle (or jasmine, I can't remember) and a gorgeous passionflower, growing on the front fence. It's on the way to and from BART, and when their in bloom, they're very pretty and they smell amazing.

Tall

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Which way is up?

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Lean!


This was on the return from Sausalito to SF; I really wish it hadn't been so hazy, but it came out fairly well anyway.

Stop and Go


Ship's Flag

Last April, we took BART to the City and took the ferry over to Sausalito. I took a lot of pictures, including several of somewhat random things, concentrating less on landscapes, animals, and flowers (which I photograph the most) and more on everything we saw. I have another picture that has this flag with the Golden Gate in the distance, but it isn't as good somehow.

Friday, December 12, 2008

beep beep beep

So, for a long time, we've used the chime feature on our alarm to let us know whenever a door or window is opened in our house. This is particularly useful with small children in the house. Although we have tried hard to make sure that Rachel knows when it is OK to open the door and when it isn't (primarily that we need to know she is going to, at least at the front door), the chime helps us know when it happens... so clues us in if she forgets to tell us.

Occasionally we turn it off if we're going in and out or opening and closing windows a lot, because it can get a little annoying. A few weeks ago when we turned it off, we didn't turn it on for a while, and somehow we decided that if the alarm doesn't beep we have to say beep beep beep for it.

When we were at my parents' place for Thanksgiving, I had to go out to the car to get something, and when I walked out the front door, I said (not very loudly)... "beep beep beep".

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Kitchen Nightmares

Today when Rachel and I came back from dinner with my parents, I went to put the left-overs in the refrigerator. Our refrigerator is a bit of a disaster, so this required moving a couple of things around. As I'm moving things, I find the lid for a plastic store-bought food container.

At first, I was just going to leave it; my parents were still here and I didn't feel like dealing with it, and I didn't immediately see any lidless containers, but that's how the fridge gets the way it is (besides having food for 3 adults, a child, and a baby), so I decided to suck it up.

What's the lid from? Hummus, our favorite, specifically. Hmmm... that's a little strange. Where's the hummus? Searching... searching... hey, that's odd... why's the parmesan in there at a funny angle? Huh. Strange... it has hummus on it. Ahhh... there's the hummus... open, dried out, and with the parmesan sitting in it.

Our refrigerator isn't worthy of sort of scorn Chef Ramsey summons regularly on Kitchen Nightmares, but he certainly wouldn't approve! Dawn and Darryl thought the story was hysterical, though!

Get off the phone!

So, a very pretty woman comes marching up to the BART turnstile tonight, talking on the phone and paying no attention to the numerous people in line to go through. Marches right up between two lines, think there can't be a reason there's not one trying to go through that gate, such as that it might be closed. Finally realizes she can't get out there and tries to cut into the line to her right.

Did I mention she was on the phone and not paying much attention? I can pretty much guarantee, gives what she looked like, that a glance and a small smile would have gotten her in front of almost any man. But, she wasn't paying attention and tried to cut in front of the plainest woman insight who snapped at her.

Of course, once that happened, the line tightened up, as if by magic, and she got stuck looking foolish waiting until someone would let her in.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Great Pumpkin Pie Saga

My father doesn't like pumpkin pie, so if he's responsible for dessert at Thanksgiving, there won't be any pumpkin pie. For some reason, I really like having pumpkin pie and, of course, I know my father's opinion of same.

Somehow, I managed to think that with so many people coming to Thanksgiving at my parents' place this year there would be someone else bringing dessert, and that odds were at least one of those desserts would be pumpkin pie.

Two people brought appetizers, Charles (who even more than my parents could be a gourmet chef if he wanted) brought the turkey (I think) and stuffing, and I brought the cranberry sauce. My parents made everything else. Which means no pumpkin pie.

After dinner, on the way home, I decided I had to see if I could come up with some pie. I knew, of course, the odds were pretty low, but there are 6 grocery stores within 2 miles of my house. I knew one of them hadn't been open at all on Thanksgiving, but figured at least the 24-hour Safeway would be open. No joy.

Friday, Dick and Darryl walked to a nearby pet store and before they left, I told Darryl it was necessary that they get some pumpkin pie on the way back. They could also get pecan pie if they wanted. Despite Dawn's claims, I did not say they would ot be allowed back into the house without it. It's hardly my fault if they chose to infer anything sinister!

I did, in fact, have a piece of the pie on Friday evening, and it was good. It came from Whole Paycheck and was both better AND cheaper than one of the other stores near us.

Cut to Saturday night. We had a nice simple dinner of some of our favorite ravioli, from The Pasta Shop. Dick's friend Linda arrived from Sacramento as we were finishing, and joined us for dessert.

But wait... Is that MOLD on the pumpkin pie??

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Uh-Oh

A few minutes ago, Dawn attacked me as I sat innocently on the sofa with Rachel and Zachary. She started, completely without warning, to throw various stuffed toys at me. Despite the fact that not one of her first salvo scored a direct hit, I could let the assault go unanswered.

Several minutes of stuffed toy warfare ensued, with Dawn even hitting the children on occasion, until she surrendered (she called it a "truce") when I started tickling her.

At one point, as I started to throw one of Zachary's toys, it said....

Uh-oh!

Monday, November 03, 2008

How 'bout that?

I've long thought it strange that MUNI's automated announcements sounded more human than BART's. It seems BART may have upgraded their speech software... Both the voices (for some reason one direction is announced by a female voice and one by a male) seem to sound a lot better today. Still a little mechanical, especially on the word 'platform'.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wanna Get Away?

I do, and I am. Work has been very hard for a while, and having a baby at home doesn't exactly reduce my average stress level (although it is often very nice to get to play with the kids when I get home). So I'm headed to So Cal to spend the weekend with Dan.

Theoretically, we're going camping in Joshua Tree, but since all the other people we invited have bailed at this point, we are going to play it by ear and do whatever the two of us feel like. No wrangling multiple cars or keeping everyone happy.

I'm sitting at gate 30 in the Oakland airport. My flight leaves for Burbank at 7:45. I haven't been flying as much lately. Haven't been on the road for work since February, or on a plane at all (as far as I can remember at the moment) since 7 months ago today, when we came home from Florida. Zachary was 6 days old and Dawn flew across the country with him by herself, while I brought Rachel home later in the day.

The security line is almost invariably shorter at terminal 1 (14 gates) then terminal 2 (18, all Southwest), so I had Dawn drop me there. There's NO ONE HERE. I walked right up to security where there were TWO people ahead of me. I'm not sure I've ever gone through security so fast.

Although a lot of the major changes to the airport we finished the last time I was here, it remains almost unrecognizable by comparison to what I'm used to. There are 32 gates now, instead of 25, and most of the airport is in pretty good shape, neither drab not run down.

There are at least 4 Starbucks and a Peet's where there used to be mostly nameless unknowns. And now they have not only the one decent place (360 Buritto) but also Fenton's, Max's, CPK, and a Pyramid! If I had more time and weren't figuring we'll get something to eat in So Cal, I'd probably try Pyramid.

I'm flying Southwest, which occupies the majority of the airport and all of terminal 2. Owing to poor timing, I was at the gate by 6;20, in time to contemplate the idea of hopping one of TWO earlier flights. I am on a very early fare, and would have to upgrade for $80 to take either one. Now, I understand that those are the terms of the ticket, but I'm surprised at Southwest. Each of the earlier flights left half full and it would have been an easy opportunity for Southwest to do something nice for me. Certainly, if I'd called ahead, even earlier this afternoon, it would make sense to charge me, not knowing how full the flight might get, but it would have cost them NOTHING to do it and would have pleased the customer. As it is, I am disappointed with them.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

7 Years






















Dear Rachel,

We've been celebrating your birthday lately. Reasonable, as your birthday is this week. Seven whole years. I can hardly believe it's gone so fast.

Don made this cake, a Ren de Saba (Queen of Sheba), for your family dinner party tonight. You had some trouble waiting to know what was for dessert, and it probably wasn't fair of us to make you wait for the coffee to brew. Carol suggested that we could follow the French method and have coffee after dessert, which lead to much discussion of their attempts to wait out the French waiters in order to have coffee with dessert. It never worked.

You loved the cake and you got such a great expression on your face when Mommy brought it out. I love the pictures I got; they're great and captured your wonderful smile, except that I also got reflections of the candle flames that mess them up. I am going to see if I can figure out how to get rid of them. Maybe I'll ask Uncle Max to tackle it; he has the patience for that, unlike yours truly.

Tomorrow is the big party at Trapeze Arts, where I'm not sure whether you (jumping, flying, playing & learning) or I (watching & photographing) will have more fun. I know you'll have a wonderful time, and I can't wait.

I love you,
Daddy

How 'bout that?

Well, they haven't taken it out (I'd have noticed that!) but after blogging about our street-tree earlier today, I noticed that they finally came by and trimmed it. Our neighbor actually saw them doing it, either Wednesday or Thursday, but I only noticed tonight. This is a new picture of it. They did a good job, and it looks a lot better. Perhaps it will perk up a bit, but most of the leaves look pretty droopy and not really the right color.

They're doing it wrong!

Why isn't the Dodgers' player Hu playing FIRST?

The Lookout


Although I want the City to take it out, I will be sorry to see our (dying) street-tree go for one reason: this hummingbird loves to hang out in it. I wish I'd gotten this shot at f/10 instead of f/6.3. I could have sacrificed a bunch of shutter speed (this is 1/320) since it was just sitting there, and then the beak would have been in focus as well. I have another from a few minutes later in much better focus...

Not quite there...


This did not come out quite the way I had in mind... Maybe the rose is more overblown than I remembered, but I really wanted the bit of purple that's right up against the bottom of the rose to be fully in focus and the other two both out of focus. Of course, I could also have used a lensbaby.

Evening Glory?


Rachel and I went on a walk around the block one evening and took this at a neighbor's house. I meant for the flower on the right to be slightly more out of focus, but the flower on the left & the droplets on it look better in this one.

Soon To Be an Ex-Tree

This is a branch of the camphor tree in front of our house. Although it is in our sidewalk strip, it technically belongs to, and is the responsibility of, the City. I have been trying to get them to remove it for a few years - the sooner they take it out, the sooner they'll put a new one in; the sooner they put a new one in, the sooner it will start adding (beauty & shade) to the neighborhood. Although the tree as a whole has more leaves than dead branches, it is not doing well and the leaves it has are not very green. As in this picture, the leaves are yellow-green or red or falling off.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Is that REALLY the best solution?

I'm on the platform at MacArthur station. They are apparently having a track problem in the City. As we arrived here, they took two SF trains out of service. It seems they think that's a good way to handle the problem, but crammed onto the platform with several hundred other people, I'm having trouble seeing it.

The next SF train has come and gone already. Of course, it didn't actually take many people - being late, it was more crowded than it would normally be. And meanwhile, more people are arriving by other means and, so far a Fremont train.

Someone near me left a message whereever she's going saying that she figured she wouldn't be in until 9:30 or 10. I said she was being optimistic. I'm not sure if she thought I meant pessimistic or was suggesting it couldn't be that bad. Another person noticed the destination sign saying the next SF train would be in 20 minutes. I said we were doing well because it said 19 a couple of minutes ago. She didn't catch the sarcasm either.

Oh, and this is even better. They've just taken another SF train out of service.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Old School

Sarah has the dresser that matches the crib. And she said something about a rocking horse.

A rocking horse?

Yeah.

What kind?

I don't know.

An old-school rocking horse? With, springs?

You mean a death-trap?

No, I mean FUN!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Small Selection of Random Things

A friend said 'tell me things', so here goes. I'm going to keep it brief because it's 12:20 am and I'm waiting for the water to boil so I can make formula.

Zachary is now 5 months old, and we started him on solid food. He seems to like it, and I'm hoping that it will help him sleep through the night better. He is turning out to LOVE being physical; he likes to be bounced and thrown and swung. He's probably going to love roller coasters. Or flippin' HATE them.

Rachel and I went swimming at Strawberry Canyon today (Cal's outdoor pool up above the stadium) and I was reminded that ... they're baaaa-aaack. The very young college people, that is.
I haven't been on my bike this weekend (I count today and tomorrow as weekend, since I'm taking a couple of days of vacation), which is disappointing in a way, except I haven't seemed to be all that into it. I did start up on pushups and some other morning exercises. We'll see whether I keep it up. And I am teaching Rachel to play hacky-sack. I'm going to be VERY sore tomorrow. Or the next day, really, as old as I am...

I finished The Cat Who Walks Through Walls. Pixel is very funny. And there's a fuck-load of sex in that book, as well as Time Enough for Love. Hmm... No pun intended. I'm starting on the Number of the Beast.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Color?

We should get some cereal bowls. They don't have to be from the set, just complement it.

The white bowls don't go with the set? There is white on the dishes, after all.

I was thinking of a color.

But white is ALL colors, honey!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A "Rule" Change

This is pretty ridiculous: the US Department of Health and Human Services is considering changing a "rule" such that birth control will be considered "abortion". I don't see anything about this on NY Times or CNN or MSNBC... The article is from the Houston Chronicle.

Moveon.org is helping Planned Parenthood with this one, of course. The AMA, ACOG, and 112 members of Congress are also opposed to it. Will you sign their petition?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Smash THIS Bernard

Did you watch the men's 4x100 freestyle relay? It was just incredible.

After Phelps' decent start, Webber-Gale did OK, but Jones gave up a bit of time. Then, just when it was looking impossible, Lezak managed to erase a half-body length lead in about 30 or 40 meters. Extremely impressive.

Not only that, 5 of 8 teams beat the existing world record, which was set just 15 hours before by the US "B" team during the qualifier.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Hello, Pot?

Rachel walked into the kitchen just a moment ago and picked Zachary up out of his chair, where he was happily watching Dawn and me do things in the kitchen. We sometimes refer to it as "Kitchen TV".

Rachel: Every time I look at you, you're bigger!

Daddy: Speaking of the pot calling the kettle black...

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Reunion - Campus Tour

I got my wish with Shonelle at the campus tour. Shonelle is living in LA and doing, among other things, some stand-up. No, I didn't tell her to say something funny. I did encourage her to try out for Last Comic Standing sometime, though. There were some other people there I remember vaguely; I suppose that's not surprising anymore. I also finally got to chat with James a little.

The campus has changed a lot. The B building, which used to have offices, the library, and a few classrooms, is gone (apparently torched by students), replaced by a nice looking courtyard. The "round room" cafeteria and the steam plant are gone. In their place, are a very long building along a half or more of the East side of the campus. This new building has the offices and library, a practice gym, a pool and locker rooms, as well as a round cafeteria that seems to sit precisely where the old one did. This one, rather than being a concrete monstrosity is a tall, open silo with nice wood and lots of windows. The practice gym and pool are very nice looking and drew a lot of praise, and not just for not smelling like dank, moldy, sweaty gyms.

The gym that was new when we were students is still there and in decent shape, though unlike the new gyms, it smells of ... insufficient ventilation. The G and H buildings were gutted and remodeled a few years ago; they still have shops, art, and science, along with some humanities, but they also have a very fancy health center. When we were there, the nurse's office had a cot and you might be able to get band-aids. This place has a mental health office, real first aid gear and more. Impressive.

The C building remains pretty similar to what we remember. Smaller lockers (apparently all the lockers are in this building) and a small art gallery where one classroom used to be were the only changes I noticed.

From there, we moved to the theatre, which basically hasn't changed. I don't remember the gallery of famous people who went to BHS over the years. Jack Lalane, Ursula Le Guin, Belva Davis, Elihu Harris. There were several others I recognized but can't think of now. Of course, Chidi Ahanotou is listed in the gym as a member of the BHS Athletics Hall of Fame... And he's from our class. I remember seeing his first NFL game, lo these many years ago. He was with the Bucs then and played Joe Montana and the Chiefs - I love Montana but boy was I shouting for Chidi to get 'I'm when he got close to Montana!

Reunion - Informal Mixer

This weekend, we are celebrating 20 years since we graduated from Berkeley High School: June 15, 1988. It is surprising somehow that it has been so long already. Some of us don't even feel like adults particularly. Of course, my friend John, who made that comment has long been one of the most adult of us all. It does seem as if more of our class has joined us in adulthood, though.

At the 5th year reunion, it felt just like high school. Basically the same clics, partiers partying and planning where to go for more partying, geeks (myself included) being (or at least feeling) socially awkward, etc. 10 years was a bit better. It seemed as if there were more people who were serious about life and definitely more kids. Not that there wasn't plenty of drinking, of course.

There is quite a slate of events this weekend. Last night was an informal mixer at a bar not far from BHS (the bar wasn't there yet when we were kids). This morning was a tour of the campus, tonight dinner at Golden Gate Fields (whose secondary parking lot, in which any number of us learned to drive, is now being replaced with soccer and baseball fields), and tomorrow a picnic in Tilden.

Originally, I wasn't really all that interested in the reunion. The people I most want to be in regular touch with from high school I already am. My two best friends, John and Dan, whom I talk to all the time and see fairly often (seeing Dan isn't so frequent, now that he is in LA, but we agree it is worth his being there - his wife Karyn is wonderful). Kim, one of my closest friends in high school, who now lives in NJ; we keep in fairly close touch, given the distance - I actually didn't even realize she was coming, so imagine my delight when she walked into the bar last night! Daniel, who like John I've known since 7th grade, if not earlier. Danny (first grade).

I planned on going by the mixer, and on the tour once they announced it, and trying for the picnic. Rachel has a birthday party that starts shortly after the picnic, so we'll see whether she and Dawn make it. The dinner, though, is a bit pricey and I don't think I really want to go.

Last night, Dawn was socialed out, thanks to my office summer BBQ, so she skipped. John and I walked down to Thalassa together. I am still somewhat surprised - I wound up staying until almost midnight and made it home just in time to feed Zachary without him waking Dawn.

The mixer was great, if vaguely surreal in a way. I recognized many more faces than I expected but remembered fewer names. There were a bunch of people I recognized instantly, including remembering their names. Alison, Chalyn, Robin, Sarah P, Ted, Dennis, Loren, Cybele, Lucas, Sally, Nicole.

And there are so many people I'm glad to have seen, even though I didn't remember all their names immediately. Lilia, Tawanna, Erik N, Ben G, Jesse, Jessica B, James D. I think I'm already forgetting some of the others, there were so many. And there were some I saw but didn't get to talk to (Sarah H and Maryam come first to mind) or who recognized me but didn't have name tags and said hi in passing so I didn't get their names. As I said, surreal.

A lot of people look GREAT. Cybele, Robin, Loren. John, of course. I suggested he show up in a tight t-shirt that reads "With a body like this, who needs hair?". Chalyn, who does triathlons regularly. Some people look exactly the same, except not like teenagers. I notice this particularly about Kim (and Sarah P), though perhaps it is that I've seen her a number of times since. Dennis, Sarah. Several people commented that I look just the same, except for being taller (I was about 6' at graduation).

I had particularly nice conversations with Alison, whom I remember as far back as 7th grade, and with Lilia, whom I didn't recognize at first. As we talked I started to realize her mannerisms were very familiar, and I agree with her that we had several friends in common. It was a mixer, so there were also many interrupted conversations; I hope to catch up more with Erik N, Sally, and Robin. There are at least a couple of people I didn't even see at the bar: Kelly, whom I remember as very tall as far back as 5th grade, but who I know is shorter than I now (but tall for a woman) because I've bumped into her occasionally, and Shonelle, with whom I had several classes and remember very fondly. Also Jennifer H, Kwame, and Marya.

Now I want to go to the dinner tonight.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Few Days Away


Dawn and I took the kids and went up to my aunt & uncle's cabin near Donner Lake for the last couple of days. Yes, believe it or not, I took 3 days off from work and actually did not work. I know! Call Ripley!

We got up there, with a nearly obligatory stop at In-n-Out burger, about 9pm Sunday and didn't get Rachel to bed (she had to look at all the bedrooms and switch which bed she was in a few times, ending up on the futon in the loft outside the bedroom we were going to be in) until after 10, which is really late for her...

We went for a walk at Donner Memorial State Park and Rachel and I did some rock climbing. She really seems to enjoy it, so I'm going to be taking her more - we went to Berkeley Iron Works on Wednesday after we got back.

We also spent a bit of time at a nearby lake, which was quite cold. Fun, but very cold. We also had breakfast one morning at a joint called 'Coffee And' in Truckee. Food was OK; Dawn loves joints.

On the way back, we stopped at Ikeda's for lunch and to pick up some fruit & pies. Lunch was OK, at best, and the marionberry pie wound up being disappointing, but the blackberry cobbler was quite tasty.

The trip was very nice & well worth it. I had trouble getting to sleep the first night after we got home because I was trying to figure out all the different hums (from the various electronics) in our house!

Too Cute


Our dear friends Dan & Karyn got this cute stuffed dog chair for Zachary. It is very soft and fuzzy and I'm sure he will love it. Today, however, Cynthia decided it was time to test it out... it's only made cuter by the fact that she is recuperating from an injury...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Brilliant!

My friend Duane posted a note on his blog about GraphJam, so I started looking. My work in software for data analysis make some of these even more funny than they might already be.

The first one I saw was the Death Star, which is somewhat amusing:

song chart memes

I especially like the one about Mr. T and fools:

song chart memes

And this one is funny:

song chart memes

But so far, this one has us (5 co-workers and me) laughing hardest:

song chart memes

Some of them aren't particularly good, and some are very esoteric, but overall just brilliant.

Little Boxes

Dawn and I have been watching Weeds on Showtime lately; we've seen all of the third season and the episodes aired* so far. It is well written and very quirky, starring Mary-Louise Parker as a suburban (at least in season 3) mother and pot dealer.

During the third season, the opening title sequence used a different version of Malvina Reynolds' song Little Boxes, about a ticky tacky subdivision that went up on a hill in Daly City in the late 60s or early 70s. The opening sequence consists of multiple scenes showing people who look the same.
  • 5 men jog by, all wearing the same clothes.
  • Big black SUVs file out of driveways and down the street.
  • Children file off a school bus and toward their, all wearing the same clothes and backpacks.
A perfect video of the song, really, if it had been written in the music video era.

I remember the song from my childhood, mainly from Pete Seeger's version, which they played in full at the end of the 3rd season finale. I found myself riveted to the opening sequence of every episode, and I always fast forward through opening sequences, because they're normally the same throughout the season. I recognized the voices of Malvina Reynolds and Joan Baez on their versions.

I don't think I disliked a single version, though perhaps my fond childhood memories of folk music had something to do with that. Linkin Park did a rap-ish version, one of our favorite childrens' singers, Laurie Berkner did it, some group that did it half in Russian... I am hoping I can find out all the bands, just out of curiosity.

Warning - Spoilers Ahead!

Thanks to several the twists and turns of several conniving characters, by the end of season three, Nancy (Parker's character) has a grow house in the subdivision in which she lives and most of the subdivision goes up in flames thanks to a wild fire. At some point, the fire fighters break into the grow house to make sure it's been evacuated and discover, of course, pot.

Now, the reason I bring all this up, besides that I really enjoy the show, is this story from CBS about a grow house in Oakland. Evidently there was a TV news report Dawn saw in which a neighbor is quoted as saying "it's just like that show Weeds!" Somehow more amusing is that we were about half a mile away just before the fire.

* Although we don't get SHO over the air...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Roaster Coller

One of the several blogs I read regularly (I use Thunderbird as an RSS reader, as well as for personal email, so I get new posts quickly) is Danny Evans' Dad Gone Mad. I think he's very funny, and I can relate to a lot of his stories.

His post today, about pushing his son to ride Space Mountain with him reminded me of our trip to Disneyland three years ago. I can't believe it's been that long. We'll have to go again when Zachary's a bit older.

Rachel was, of course, mad about all the various princesses, and wanted to go on the Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs ride. She did OK on that ride; physically it is very tame, but at one point I thought her heart was going to leap right out of her chest. She much preferred the even tamer stuff - the Mad Hatter's spinning tea cups, some of the Bug's Life stuff, the carousel's were big and she LOOVED the huge "Ferrist Wheel". She wasn't especially interested in the things she called "roaster collers", but she adored the Heimlich caterpillar train ride (I think she rode that more than any other).

Somehow, we managed to get her to go on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride with us. I'd never been to Disneyland either, so Dawn really wanted me to go on it. To help Rachel see that it was OK, we played up throwing our arms up in the air and enjoying ourselves. She did fairly well with it, though I don't think she really thought it was that great. Not like "It's a Small World" (and now I'm going to have that damned song rattling around in my head the rest of the day. Good job.), certainly, which she went on several times, but no abject terror.

A few weeks later, I picked Rachel up from my parents' place on my bike. At the time, she was still riding strapped into a seat mounted directly to the bike behind my seat. My parents live on a hill, so we had to start out going down said hill. I happened to look down and see her shadow on the ground -

arms thrown up in the air, yelling "wheeeeee" as if she were on a roaster coller.

Monday, July 14, 2008

No longer common courtesy

As I was standing on BART this evening, a large and obviously injured woman, with her leg resting across her companion's lap had her friend get up to let an obviously pregnant woman sit down. Why are there so few people who will give their seats to people who need them?

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Positive Attitude Check

I hate Huggies.

Me too, we should get Pampers next time.

Yeah. Just remember "hate Huggies" and buy Pampers.

That's pretty negative, honey. How about "prefer Pampers"?

Tempted fate...

Yesterday at lunch with a couple of friends, we were talking about how Dawn and I had a diaper-free period (actually quite a long one) between Rachel's not needing them anymore and Zachary's birth. We had a 'soft' reintroduction, since dirty diapers won't get really toxic until he starts eating things other than formula.

I mentioned to my friends that since he generally fills his diaper during the day, while I'm at work, it seems as if I haven't had to change one in a couple of weeks. I should have known better than to tempt fate that way.

When I got home, I offered to change him so Dawn could sit down to dinner. One very full dark green pasty diaper...

Then this morning I changed him when he woke up... And was surprised to find another dirty one. And then after breakfast, he filled another one!

Evidently the price of commenting that I'd managed to avoid dirty diapers that long was 3 in a little more than 12 hours.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Laughable?

I'm standing in the BART station closest to my office in San Francisco. As I walked on to the escalator down to the platform, they were saying over the PA that there's another train directly behind this one... And reminding people in stern tones to stand behind the yellow safety strip. Never a good sign.

So I got down to the platform as a train was closing its doors. The paltform was somewhat crowded, but not ridiculously so. Rumor has it that was a Pittsburg train. As soon as that one left, another came. I got on that one fairly easily.

Then came the trouble closing the doors. Then the operator had to leave the cab to lock the door that wouldn't close. THEN they took the train out of service.

Next in was a Richmond train... It started to seem as if something was wrong when the sign said it was 10 cars but it ended before the back of the station. After a moment, they annoinced it was having a mechanical problem and wouldn't open its doors. It left fairly promptly after that. I think that's 3 straight trains leaving without picking anyone up. From what they're saying on the PA, it sounds as if they've locked the entry gates because it is so crowded down here.

The next train in was another Pittsburgh train, but I couldn't squeeze on. There were many pleas and dire warnings not to hold the doors open. The train managed to leave, to many cheers, as did the next, a Dublin train. I am now stepping onto a Pittsburgh, which will surely be chock full. And there's a woman here with her bike...not allowed at this hour.

I overheard a guy after the 2nd train telling someone on his cell phone that it is laughable. Most people are being fairly good natured about it. So far.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Anti-climax

Evidently the entire room of jurors was there for a single trial. About 9:30, the judge came down, with her staff, to announce that she had some good news and some bad news for us. Once the good news that we're all excused and our service is complete for a year was announced, I was surprised that she thought the bad news was worth announcing. It is as if we might have known we were the for a single trial or what said trial was about and therefore care that one of the parties is sick and the trial won't start today.

Don't get me wrong, it is too bad one of the parties is sick, but I don't even know whether it was a civil or criminal trial, much less who the parties are, so it can't really be considered bad news.

Then the judge introduced her staff... Two clerks, a reporter and a bailiff. Again... Why is this important to me? And why is it worth the judge's time to drag her staff down to the jury room? I suppose now that there's no trial today, none of them have anything to do.

All in all just a slightly odd way to spend a morning. I was shocked to see only three or four people asking blatantly stupid questions. There was one guy who's actually in jury selection since last week, but didn't evidently understand he's not due back until NEXT Tuesday. Or the guy who called over and over last night trying to find out whether to report; perhaps if he'd called the jury number rather than the office he'd have gotten the message that he wasn't needed.

Justice system propaganda

We were just shown an orientation video. It starts out very patriotic, both for the U.S. and for California, which it says, and I quote, "is the greatest state in the Union". Later, it turns from direct patriotism to how good being a juror will make you feel and even mentioning that many jurors keep in touch after their trials are over. That drew a few chuckles. I spent a lot of the video trying to decide whether the judge in the video might be one of the two judges I know from my childhood. Turns out I do - she looks just like an older version of her daughter, with whom I went to high school.

Now we sit and see whether they need us. It looks as if there may be wireless, so I suppose I should have brought my laptop.

I am really hoping they won't select me. I am generally interested in being on a jury, but this is not a good time. I have deadlines at work that don't just magically go away (perhaps I can get some of them extended some, but I don't know), we have the finalization hearing for our adoption of Zachary in a few days, and I'm taking a vacation a few days after that. I'm not going to make a good juror right now.

A friend of mine said to wear a tie-dye and play up by liberal Berkeley roots. I may well do the later, if it seems appropriate, but, as the son of a lawyer, I couldn't bring myself to do the former.

Another friend tells a story about showing up to juror selection in a Bart Simpson t-shirt with the words "I didn't do it, nobody saw me do it, nobody can prove anything.". He claims to have been excused as a result.

A First Time For Everything

I am sitting in a jury room in Oakland. For the first time in my life I've actually been called to report for jury duty. Until today, I've always checked in the night before (and usually then again the morning of) and been told my service was at an end.

There have also been several times I've been summoned again in less than a year and gotten out of it thanks to recent 'service'. My favorite was a few years ago, not long after I moved from SF to Oakland, I got a jury summons from SF.

The summons was addressed to me in Oakland; the envelope had a large admonition to the USPS not to forward it out of county, but in their defense, it was SENT out of county by the court, not forwarded. I wrote 'see mailing address' on it and sent it back. I am convinced that someone in SF, on opening my reply, called someone at the court in Oakland... "Hey, summon this guy."

Happily, it had only been three months or so since I was last summoned in Alameda, so I just wrote the prior badge number on it and sent it back.

Good try, though.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Two Kinds of People

"There are two kinds of people in this world. Cake people and pie people."

Long pause for this to sink through Dylan's attention as he reads something on the computer.

"What did you say?"

Dawn points at the cookbook in her hand. "It says that right here: there are two kinds of people in this world, cake people and pie people."

"It does not say that!"

"It does!" Dawn holds up the book to show the title. "And this is the pie BIBLE."

"OK. And where's the cake bible?"

"Right behind you."

The Anti-Raisin

We ran out of raisins a week or so ago. Who knew what trouble this would cause? The real amusement, though, has been in how hard it has turned out to be to replenish our supply. As of yesterday morning, Dawn and Darryl have forgotten raisins on at least three different shopping trips, so when I went to do some shopping for the BBQ we were going to, Dawn put raisins on my list. Darryl usually has raisins in his oatmeal and Rachel likes ants on a log. For the BBQ, though, Dawn was planning on making cole slaw, and needed raisins. Naturally, Rachel and I forgot them despite their presence on my little list.

Fine, so we'll stop by the store on the way to the BBQ and get some, no big deal. I also wanted to pick up some drinks. By the time we got to John & Karolyn's, it had become abundantly clear that we were going to have enough food to sink a ship, so Dawn didn't bother making the slaw.

Cut to this morning as Darryl was trying to make his oatmeal concoction.

Darryl: Where are the raisins?

Dawn: I don't know... Dylan?

Dylan: I don't know, I didn't unpack them. They were in the bag with the cole slaw stuff.

Dawn: Do you see any bags left to be unpacked?

Dylan: No. Wait. They weren't in the bag with the slaw stuff, they were in the bag with the drinks... which didn't come home with us.

Clearly Dawn's conclusion that we are the Anti-Raisin Household is correct. Some mystical force is preventing raisins from coming to our house!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

So much for MMS blogging

On the 24th of June, I sent two posts to this blog by MMS. As of right now, they still haven't posted on their own, so I dug them out of my blackberry's outbox and posted them by email. Evidently MMS blogging needs some work. I will stick with email now, although I wish that it used the same font for posting that way. I still don't understand why there isn't a blogger app for the blackberry.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Channeling my inner cat

Saturday night I was so tired I crashed at 5 in the afternoon and except for a few minutes at 7 was basically dead to the world until almost 7am.

And what I missed! I wish I could have filmed it. Tom brought in a mouse. He and Cynthia played with it, having a grand old time, while Dawn and Darryl, eventually aided by our neighbor who happened to get home in the middle of the hilarity.

At one point they had a line of chairs so they could walk around the dining room without being on the floor. Of course, that wouldn't really have done much good - later they tried to get into a paper shopping bag by knocking off its perch high up on a door frame...

Ultimately, it went under the refrigerator, so they pulled said fridge out... And tipped it backwards. Our neighbor managed to step on it enough to stun it and then they popped a can over it.

Today when I got home, I found Cynthia playing with the plant on a plate on a stool in the living room. At first I was going to shoo her away. Then I noticed... a mouse on the plate! Not a silver platter, unfortunately.

Dawn had mention considering the idea of using a pair of tongs to pick the mouse up off the door frame, so I went straight for my BBQ tongs...

Only took me 20 minutes of chasing it around 1/3 of the living room before I managed to pin one of his legs in the teeth of the tongs. Carried him that way across the street and let him go.

Airblanket

... And he leaked today, so don't use the white blanket.

What white blanket?

... Is for immediate loading and unloading only

- stunned silence -

Friday, June 20, 2008

MMS Blog Entry

This blog entry is from my BlackBerry, 6/20 at 3:34pm PDT. And can we tag it?

[Answer: no, at least not obviously. I tried putting Labels: Blogging in the text, but that just wound up in the text.]

MMS may have worked after all

Interesting... so despite getting an error message back about how my carrier isn't supported, much later (4:29 am) I got a response with a claim token so I could attach my new mobile blog to this one. As you can see from the 4:29 post titled 'testing', the MMS message does seem to have gotten through. Question is... how long will it usually take?

Testing

With mms this time.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mail2Blogger

It seems I actually already set up Mail-to-Blogger and neither remembered nor tested it...


[note] I will have to see whether it is possible to include links in the emails... or images, for that matter... could be interesting. Some info, which I haven't read completely, about Mail-to-Blogger at: http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=41452

And notice that the font from the email is different from the normal post...

Trying for Mobile Blogging

Well, I tried to set up mobile blogging from my BlackBerry... I figured it was a simple matter of sending email to the particular address, but I got an error message back saying my carrier isn't supported. I'm trying an MMS message now - I hadn't realized that you could send MMS message to email addresses before. I am somewhat surprised that there isn't a Blogger app specifically for the BlackBerry, considering that I have Google News, Gmail, Google Maps, and a couple of others already. We'll see what comes of it...

[5:27pm] OK, so MMS didn't work either... got the same message. Now we'll see if I can figure out what Mail-to-Blogger is...

Monday, June 16, 2008

They Covered That?

I am listening to the severely limited collection of music I have on my work laptop in shuffle mode, so I get lots of random songs. One minute it's Jewel discussing why she wrote a particular song, then it's Dave Matthews Band's American Baby.

That track is on Live Trax 6, from their Boston concerts in July 06. At the end of it, Dave starts talking about how they've been working on some new stuff and if you don't like it he's really really sorry (great Southern drawl) and if you do like it, "well, you right".

Of course, then as the next song started I was thinking "I didn't know they covered the Beastie Boys"...

No, it's just the party shuffle that got me the Beastie Boys' Girls next.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Spacing or Staring

At some point as we were getting ready for bed the other night, I was either staring at Dawn or staring into space in Dawn's direction.

Stop staring at me.

What?

Stop staring at me.

Was I staring at you?

I don't know, were you?

Why was I staring at you?

I don't know. Were you staring at me?

Not that I'm aware of... .... pause .... Oh. Wait. I love staring at you! Of course I was!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Geek Humor

Anyone who knows me will agree I'm a geek. I love things like this binary clock, t-shirts like this (my brother has one with some complicated calculus on it, that I think has to do with light, but I don't remember), or this graph, so naturally I found this comic hysterical. Thanks, John.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Making Dinner

Dawn very nicely gave me some extra time today to go to breakfast with John & Darryl, to take a nice long ride with John, and to get one of my bikes over to the shop. Since I didn't get her a chance to take a nap, I figured the least I could do was make whatever she wanted for dinner. We had already been planning on BBQing something.

What would you like me to make for dinner?

Hmmm....

I make a mean Lanesplitter Pizza.

Ooh! I could go for a Lanesplitter Pizza!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Random Reminiscence

Today at the end of dinner, for some reason, Rachel went about getting ready for bed walking backwards. This reminded Dawn of a great old story from when Rachel was maybe 2 at most. As many toddlers do, Rachel would not just sit down on a lap or a chair, she would get in position somewhat in front of the thing she meant to sit on and back up to it before sitting down. At some point, Dawn started saying beep beep beep as Rachel was backing up, imitating the often annoying reverse alarms on many trucks. This was far too amusing to be annoying, of course, especially when one day, in front of Dawn's father, Rachel did it herself!

Misplaced

Our next door neighbor works on cars. He loves working on cars, as many people do. Of course, he doesn't limit it to cars. He drives a large Dodge pickup with a huge tow hitch and a lumber rack. He modified both the Dodge (and at least one of its predecessors) and their family Jetta to take biodiesel. As a contractor, the Dodge comes in handy, but he also owns at least a couple of other vehicles, including a dump truck and a little bobcat. We often joke when he shows up with something new. Yesterday, when we came home there was a big-rig tractor in front of his house, with the hood open. A new toy? No, he's just helping a friend work on it.

Around 10:30 last night, as Dawn, Darryl & I were finishing watching something we heard the loud clang of a large piece of metal falling on the ground. I said "Good night, X", and went out to tease him about it.

He commented that he hoped the truck wasn't as loud as his (the aforementioned Dodge, which can typically be heard from at least a block away), to which I replied that I couldn't imagine that hope being anything but badly misplaced.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Geographically Challenged

I have known for a long time, thanks to my mother, how the Federal Interstate Highways are numbers. The major cross-country routes running East-West are numbered 10 to 90, counting by 10, with their numbers increasing South to North, so 10 runs from L.A. to FLA and 80 from S.F. to N.Y. Meanwhile, the major North-South routes are numbered from 5 to 95, also counting by 10, with numbers increasing from West to East, so 5 runs from through California, Oregon and Washington, while 95 runs up the East coast.

This may seem like a non-sequitur, but stick with me.

My wife's cousin's family, including her uncle, are getting ready to move from Grand Junction, CO to Oklahoma City, OK. It sounds like a great opportunity and it is wonderful that Uncle John is going to be living with Jill, Schuyler and their 3 great children. I only wish they were moving toward us instead of further away.

One of the comments I made to Jill was that I don't think I've ever been to OKC. By now, I'm sure I haven't, but at the time I mentioned that if I-80 went through it, then I've been through as my family and I drove across the country on 80 when I was a kid, more than once. Now, if I had remembered, or though about, the fact that Oklahoma is immediately to the North of a chunk of Texas, I could easily have figured out that it's not 80 that goes through OKC, but I-40.

Perhaps I better relearn some of my basics before Rachel gets to them in school!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Oh, the Irony

The FBI raided the Office of the Special Counsel today as part of an investigation into misconduct and the intimidation of whistle-blowers within said Office. One of the Special Counsel's primary responsibilities is, of course, protection of government whistle-blowers.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Friday, April 25, 2008

I Think I'll Go for a Walk

Dawn wanted to go for a walk tonight, so we paused the very good (surprisingly) Giants game, and went for a walk, with her brother and my brother. Darryl brought his mini-dachsund, Daisy. And my cat Tom decided to follow us. We didn't walk long, but he stayed near us the whole time. Did I mention he's bigger than Daisy?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

And Speaking of Random...

Some poor sucker in Berlin deposited his stolen coins in just the wrong bank.

Naked Olympics?

This article discusses a new Speedo swimsuit that is helping its wearers shatter records like crazy, as well as affecting (easing) their access to the Olympics. The article mentions 36 records, some of them simply obliterated it seems, in the last couple of weeks alone. I don't know about you, but as soon as I read that the suit "aids streamlining and reduces skin vibration and muscle oscillation", I think it shouldn't be allowed. Perhaps it is time for the Olympics to return to their naked roots?

Some of my friends may comment that I have distinctly mixed feelings about the current steroid scandals with respect to baseball. I think using them is wrong, for a variety of reasons, but I may not care as much in baseball. This is particularly true because current/recent players are being excoriated for it and people are claiming it taints recent stats compared to the past. I think that's disingenuous because there have been other substances used in eras past. Think of speed, coke, etc.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Amen, Sister

I have the same feeling from time to time!

The Wise One

Rachel and two friends, while playing after school one day:

Kelly (can't find something): My mom's going to kill me if I can't find it!

Emma: I don't think she's actually going to kill you.

Rachel: It's just an EXPRESSION, Emma!

Monday, March 24, 2008

New Addition

Our son, Zachary, was born at 3:52pm Pacific (daylight) Time on March 24, 2008. He was 7 lbs., 7 oz., and 19 1/4". For those who might care, his APGARs were 9 and 9. He is very cute and healthy, and eating and sleeping well.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Another Bird, More Similar Feathers

I was talking to a friend about coming for a BBQ today at 4 and asked how it would work for his son. AJ is 4 months old, so naturally what I meant was whether it was a good time with respect to naps. My friend, in just my sarcastic manner, said "I checked his schedule and he is definitely free in the afternoon and evening."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Birds of a Feather

A couple of weeks ago I was trying to talk a neighbor into interviewing for one of our engineering jobs. He's not going to right now because his wife is pregnant, and the baby is due in May. They don't know the gender, yet.

"Are you going to find out?"
"Well, yeah, eventually."
"Oh, yeah. You'd fit in fine at our office."

Thursday, March 06, 2008

When else?

Rachel often spends Wednesday afternoons and evenings with my parents. The other night, my mother was getting out vitamins after dinner:

"What are you doing, Carol?"
"Getting out the evening vitamins."
"What about the evening dessert?"

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Stick It to the Man

Thursday, we got something in the mail from the state controller's office, addressed to the previous owner, a woman who was in her 90s, living a convalescent home, when we bought the house 6 years ago this month. We opened the letter to make sure it wasn't something about the property that would matter to us.

It's not. It's a notice that some account is going to be turned over to the state later this year if they don't hear from her. At first glance, I thought it was about $39k, so I figured I'd call the realtor and see if she knew how to get in touch with him. This was easy; until we decided to put an offer on the house, she was also our realtor, and she has been the buyer's realtor for every property anyone in my family as bought in the last 25 years.

She said she'd do some searching; the family was actually represented by the second son and she had a fax that seemed to have been his. She told me his name and said she put out some feelers and to let her know if I found anything. I was going to leave it at that until I took a closer look at the letter. It turns out that it's not 39k dollars, it's 39k shares of Franklin CA tax-free income, a mutual fund worth $7 a share. If you don't feel like doing the math yourself, 30k shares would be 210,000 and 40k shares would be 280,000. Dollars.

I typed the name into Zaba Search, though I don't really think much of that organization, based on some of what they planned to do and how they planned to do it. They were going to allow anyone to write anything about anyone and have almost no way for people to refute the statements or find out who wrote it. Haven't paid much attention to find out whether they did.

The search turned up a variety of people with the name, something like 54 in the state, one of whom appeared to live in the Bay Area and be the right general age (71). I clicked on one of the links, to intellius.com, and got back an initial list of names. One of them happened to show that the first name is an abbreviation (Leo), and the 71 year-old I was looking at is named Leonard and happens to have lived in Berkeley.

I paid $7.90 to get a list of 14 of these Leonards, starting with that one. I probably could have stuck with the $2.95 version but figured I might as well splurge for the extra $5 to see if they had any address or phone number confirmation. I called the phone number (same area code and prefix of the fax number Gaby gave me) and spoke to the woman who answered.

I tried to establish some credibility by giving her my whole name (and by calling on my unblocked cell phone) and telling her that I'd bought my house in Berkeley from him. She asked me if it was a certain address, which is next door, so I corrected her. That seemed to do it. Leo was out at the time, but she's going to have him call back and was very appreciative - I think she thanked me about 6 times when we were getting off the phone, and I didn't even tell her how much it was worth. I did mention that it seemed as if it was a fair amount of money.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Trying to Organize

"Look rubber gloves!"

"I called to say hi and see how you're doing, not have you ridicule my collections of crap."

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Waiting for Butter

Look! There is the plastic wrap for the butter. Waiting, patiently, for the butter to come back.

Really?

Yes! And it's going to be upset if it gets thrown in the trash, rather than used for the butter. Because it's waiting for the butter.

OK!

And this is NOT like waiting for Godot!

Recipe Rescue

I have been making sourdough rye muffins, with buttermilk, every Saturday morning for several weeks. My father has been doing the same for most, if not all, of my life, and Rachel has enjoyed helping him occasionally when she's at his house, so now we make them too.

Last weekend, apparently, the recipe fell down between the oven and the cabinet. I guess Dawn knew it was down there, because yesterday when she wanted to make sure we had everything we would need to make them today, she started trying to get it back out.

Rachel was home sick from school, and had the idea to put a piece of tape on the end of a stick (that we normally use for getting the cats' toys out from under things) and getting it to stick to the paper. It was a great idea, and saved us having to move the stove!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Projecting Something

I've never really enjoyed project management all that much, but I'm starting to have to be more active about it to make things work well in my current job. As a result, I actually (gasp) created a project plan from scratch today.

In the process, I learned something kind of cool about Microsoft Project. We do our production deployments for one customer on Tuesdays, so when I put in tasks for deploying to production, I want them always to show up on the next available Tuesday, but I don't want to have to adjust it any time I change other things in the sequence.

I happened across a page somewhere that talked about 'task calendars', so I started monkeying around with them. Ultimately, I created a calendar called 'Production Runs' that has working hours only from 5pm to 11:59 pm on Tuesdays and assigned the production deployment tasks to that calendar.

Project complains when I do that the first time for a task that there aren't enough working hours, and I haven't figured out why, but it does what it should - as I change other things about the sequence of tasks, the production deployment tasks automatically shift to the proper Tuesday.

Now I just need to go back in and change the weeks when we'll be deploying late because of Monday holidays.