Friday, October 31, 2008

Flashbacks


Last year I dressed as the Joker.
And this morning as I'm driving to work with my big black mask, I remembered driving to work on Halloween back in 1997.
I was doing temp work at the Bank One offices in Lexington, KY. I had picked up a coworker and fellow grad student, and we were on our way. Like last year, I was dressed as the Joker.
And halfway to work, I was rear-ended. I saw it coming, and was about to warn Reuben, when we got hit. The force of the impact pushed me into the car ahead of me. Twice.
The idiot in the car who hit me was some kid, and the car I hit had two large black men in it. And I was dressed as the Joker.
Soon the police arrived, and had us pull into a nearby parking lot. They took our statements, and told me that my car, a 1988 Toyota Corolla SR5, was pretty solid having not taken any real damage. And I was dressed as the Joker.
Then I got to work, and explained why I was late. I ended up winning the costume contest, and had the notoriety of having been spotted on the road by high up execs visiting from the Ohio headquarters.
Truly my most memorable Halloween.

Happy Halloween

Maybe I've said this before, but my favorite single movie is William Goldman's "The Princess Bride". And my costume this year is the Dread Pirate Roberts. ("No one would surrender to the Dread Pirate Westley.")

I've got my Faire shirt and pants, plus my sword belt and sword, but I've added a sash to the belt, gloves, and a headscarf. Plus I made my own mask. Oh, and I shaved my beard to a thin moustache. I promise to post pictures once I get some taken.

And to get me into character more, Jennifer insisted we watch the movie last night. I was finishing some things up for the party on Saturday, so I skipped the beginning, but came in for my favorite part: the sword duel. ("I do not mean to pry, but you do not happen to have six fingers on your right hand?")

Between the training and choreography, and Mark Knopfler's soundtrack, that is an incredible scene. And it pays tribute to the classic sword fights of Errol Flynn and Tyrone Power.

And the rest of the movie is so much fun.

Burritos

Wednesday night, Jennifer and I went to La Piñata. And this time we had burritos.

The sheer size of these things were incredible. Jennifer said she didn't think they made tortillas that big.

It took me back to the CSUS marching band trips to San Diego, and Casa de Bandini. There you could get these huge drinks, like a fish bowl with a margarita in it. And their portions were this big too.

I would guess that the burrito was 9 inches long and maybe 5 inches in diameter.

We each ate about a third of our food, and then had it for lunch yesterday.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Just because


I make no excuses. This is just funny.

Hacking

Last week my Yahoo account got hacked. Somehow, everyone in my Yahoo contacts list received spam sent from my account. After getting a call from Mom, I checked the account, and found the offending e-mail in my Draft folder.

So I immediately changed my password, and began doing that for all of my accounts. Granted it used to be just a single uncapitalized word, but it is still disturbing to have it happen.

So now I'm in that limbo of no remembering which accounts I have changed the password for. I log on somewhere, or try to, and find out if its the old weak, or new strong password.

Bleah.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Results of Saturday

Well, my mom is taking off on her blog.

And she even gave me credit in her e-mail to everyone:

In my old age, I have started writing. I asked son Erik to read some of my writing and see if it was worth pursuing. He deemed it worthy enough to keep trying. And Erik suggested that I blog in order help me write. I said," I don't know how to set up a blog." Ten minutes later he had me set up. Erik is a good teacher, he made me do the set up.

Below is the link to I have no endings. Keep the link in your favorites and check in every now and then. I won't write daily, but will write more than once a week. If you feel it is worthy, pass the link on to someone. Feel free to make comments.

Janet A
www.Ihavenoendings.blogspot.com


So I encourage you to read her stuff. She has some good stories, and more than just a blog might come from this. Mom's becoming "mobbed up" in the publishing world.

My only qualm is that there are things my parents don't know about: The tattoos, the trip to Key West, the iPod, the car stereo, to name a few. I have to post with my AOL ID. So feel free to post Comments on hers and even become a Follower.

Just don't tell her about this place.

Multiple Reading

As you can see, I'm reading Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. But I've been wanting to listen to rock music during my workout, and I just can't read fantasy with music with words.

So at the gym I'm reading Jumper by Steven Gould.

He is not to be confused with Steven Jay Gould.

I think I've said before how much better the book Jumper is than the movie.

But the main influence for reading Jumper again is the hope of playing our GURPS Psionics group again. We've got a few different players, but the background is as detailed as the Fantasy world. And my character is based on Davey in Jumper with the added bonus of teleporting objects to and from himself. And against people with a touch.

I'm very excited about the possibilities of what the other players might create.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dad's Birthday

Friday was my dad's birthday, but I was working, and he was working and had other things to do Friday night. So Saturday I spent the day with him.

The day started at the glass study in Berkeley. I got there at 10:00 and we chatted while I watched him sculpt glass. He made hearts, and one flame sculpture, and I got to help with two gazing balls he made. They actually have my breath in them. He doesn't have the gazing balls on his site yet, but do go check it out. The hearts are very affordable, and make nice gifts. And the sculptures are great too, but beyond my price range.

For lunch I went on a quest for Long John Silver's. I had done a search on their web page, and it listed one in Richmond on San Pablo Avenue. I took down the address and put it in my navigator ready to go. I tried to call the store to see if they were still in business, but all I got when I called was a fax tone. So with low expectations, I set out.

It turns out that the shop does exist, is a KFC/LJS. and is right off of Interstate 80 on San Pablo. So I got the food, and we enjoyed LJS for lunch. Dad also invited me over for supper with him and mom.

Dinner was great with T-bone steaks, ceasar salad, and sauteed mushrooms and snow pea pods. And an incredible 1984 Rodney Strong. Apparently their wine in the 80s was really good. Now? Not so much.

And I did the Son thing, and helped out around the house. But in my way.

Dad and I tired to fix the panes on his greenhouse, but we couldn't get them in the tracks, so he's going to do some little work inside and caulk them closed.

I did get his e-mail working. When they switched over to AT&T DSL, dad chose to merge the primary account with his Yahoo account. You can do this because essentially AT&T e-mail is hosted on Yahoo. But this caused a big headache getting the passwords, protocols and such all right. Now, it's straightened out, and should work fine.

And then after dinner, I did a little first look and editing for some writing mom is tyring to get into. She volunteers at the Alameda County Clerk's office and marries people on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. She had such great experiences that her friends have talked her into trying to write a column or a book. So she asked me to look it over and see if it was entertaining. I told her I thought it would be if she expended things more, telling whole stories and not just little paragraphs.

And then for practice, I suggested she write a blog.

So until 11:00 last night, I helped her set up her blog. Once she starts posting, I'll have to throw a link up to it.

Now sometime today I have to find time to run and get my comic books.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cushy

I had a wonderful surprise today when I got home:

One lone silicone ear pad for my headphones.

Apparently Jennifer had found it somewhere in the house.

It saves me $6.99 at Bose.

Music

Well, I found my extra headphone pads stash.

Music is much better than the silence of the office.

And through my random rotation I got to hear the main theme to the old "Alien Nation" television show. Great song.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Teh Suck

To add to today's lameness:

  • Only John has responded to the RPG e-mail interim session for the Warders.
  • I've lost one silicone ear cover for my headphones. Luckily Jennifer and I have the same headphones, and she has smaller ears than me. Now I just have to remember where I put the spares.

On the good side, I made chili last night, and that's what's for dinner tonight.

Wstfgl...

This is another one of those days that I wish I had the excuse of hard living to explain how I feel.

I was relatively good last night, and didn't stay up too late. And all I got to show for it was a nightmare, a compelling dream I can't remember, and a face that looks like I didn't sleep at all.

So sometime around 3:00 AM, I had a dream where ants/spiders/tiny spheroidal creatures were slowly being pumped into my bedroom onto my night stand. And it was real enough, disturbing enough, and/or effective enough that I woke up looking for them, and trying to stop them. I turned on the light, slapping at every stray hair touching my back, arms, or legs, and worked to convince myself that it was just a dream.

At least the light didn't wake my up too much, and did not wake up the cat. So I went back to sleep.

Pom did decide she wanted to go out ten minutes before the alarm went off, and I was deep in another dream. Deep enough that her scratching at the closet door (the outside, she doesn't sleep in the closet) became incorporated into the dream. I shuffled around, let her out, and then spent the next half an hour, in between alarm snoozes, trying to remember what the dream had been about.

No fucking idea.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It's been a while...

And not much is going on.

Last Saturday, I played in my first Call of Cthulhu game at my local Canadian's non-embassy house in Alameda.

I had a great time, and got to play with two guys I've known for a few years, but never been at the same table with.

We've spent the time since the game describing the trailer for the film the movie could be made into. The trailer idea started from a double 9-mm attack the characters' security head made, and has gone from there. And I keep think it would be really cool to actually make the movie.

And then John recently brought up our old GURPS Psionics campaign. We both miss it a lot. I'm sure he misses the complex plots. I miss playing a global teleporter.

My character was based on Davey from Jumper (the book not the movie) by Steven Gould, but with the ability to teleport others by touching them as well.

If we can get the Steve and Scott re-interested, and Jason and Barton pre-interested, then we may do some of those games as a break from Fantasy.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

More Time Wasting

So I have already posted this wonderful site.

But I must share my latest addiction by the same creator: Stick Ranger

It appeals to my inner gamemaster.

Dying Foods

After the last post, I thought I'd go looking for other LJS stores.

So there's one in Richmond on San Pablo; I'll go looking for it. Also there is one in Pittsburg/Antioch, so sometime I'm over that way I'll look for it as well. Maybe there is hope.

There are other foods that I must do without living in California.

Steak 'n' Shake. Skyline Chili/GoldStar Chili. White Castle (and the ones in the freezer section don't count).

Then there are the discontinued foods (at least around here): SoBe Dragon, Post Alpha-Bits cereal, Pepperidge Farm Seasoned Croutons, and my long lost Old San Francisco Style Sourdough Snacks.

That's what I want my time machine for: to be able to go back and buy up as much of each of these that I can get my hands on.

I am Sadness

Yesterday was a bit rough. It's budgeting time at ETIC for our XOM client. The downside (yes, a downside to looking into the future and guessing how much money you'll need for the upcoming year) is that we have to match the mid-year forecast we gave good ol' XOM. So we're trying to budget for the new year and trying to match the money we guessed we would need in '09 back in May of '08.

And there is so much that has happened in five months that it just can't be done.

Then I had some changes I needed to make for a report that is being over-reviewed by yet another person at the office.

On top of this, the office is being painted outside. So we've been power-washed thoroughly enough to make all of the windows leak. The windows have been covered with paper for three days now. All of the windows. And the leaks that the power-washing showed us are allowing the paint fumes to come in and be trapped inside.

But none of this is what really makes me sad.

After yesterday's roughness, Jennifer and I had a plan. She had been able to spend the day at the beach. He beach of choice is just south of Stinson Beach near Red Rock. She called to suggest that we meet in Pinole (about halfway), and enjoy our favorite fried past time: Long John Silver's (Seafood Shoppe). She said she would call when Magellan said she was 30 minutes away, but I got impatient, and drove to be there first.

And it was closed.

Not closed early, but closed shut down. The lights were out, and there were poorly handwritten signs (in ball point pen) saying "Sorry We Closed". Now I don't know if it was poor English, or bad English, but, I was bummed. I thought I would call the number and see if there was a reason given on an answering machine for loyal, living customers, but all I got was the three rising tones, and the wonderful female voice saying that the number was disconnected.

And so I slid into depression.

I called Jennifer, and told her the news, she was still a ways out. I drove home, and sank into a funk. When Jennifer got home, we went to Fuddruckers (and what ever happened to the apostrophe?) in the Willows Shopping Centre. Afterwards we watched "Casino Royale", or at least I did. Jennifer had seen some of it at a hotel, and didn't want to sit through it all.

Overall, it was a bit of a letdown for the whole day.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Nostalgia

I meant to post this on Friday, but I forgot with other posts and pesky things like work and musicals...

Twenty-two years ago on Friday, was my first kiss.

The musical I went to see Friday, "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" was about the many stages of relationships in the 21st Century. It was really funny, and were it not for the brake problems (metal grinding) my car began suffering on the way home from said play, Jennifer and I would probably get season's tickets to the Campbell Theater.

But anyway, the musical reminded me of that day in high school. Back when I was elated to be kissing a kill on the cheek or forehead, and the "trick" played on me when she kissed me on the kips instead. I still don't know how I got home that day. Driving from Lafayette to Concord, making it home just before dinner, and reliving the kiss the whole way home.

Another of the songs in the musical was sung by a husband looking at his wife of thirty years. He sings of how science says that love is temporary and eventually fades, and yet he can't understand then why he still loves his wife so much. The poignant part is that its a morning-at-the-kitchen-table-over-coffee-and-newspaper kind of moment. They're both in robes, and she's got the curler hood up. He ends the song simply looking at her, and she notices and says, "What?" He says, "Nothing," and the spotlights fade out. It was very moving.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Time

Last night I watched a little indy movie called "Primer".

Let me start off by saying that if "Donnie Darko" confused you, and "Southland Tales" left you looking like the RCA Victor dog, then this movie is not for you.

I usually pride myself on being able to follow time travel movies pretty well, but this one finished with a "Huh?" rather than an "Oh."

And the "Huh?" comes more from a why? As in, what's the point of the movie?

It's followable, but it does not leave you satisfied at the end.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Still Juggling...

I just finished Juggler of Worlds, and I'm a bit frustrated. Yes it closes the story of the fleet of worlds and Sigmund Ausfaller and the puppeteers until Ringworld.

But it didn't answer my questions.

Damn.

On to The Charnel Prince by Greg Keyes.

Reading and such

I finished Greg Keyes' Briar King recently. It's a good read once you get used to jumping around to different characters a lot. I understand they were necessary, but I would just be getting interested in the character and what was happening, and there would be a mini-cliffhanger, and he would jump to a different character. I've got the next book set aside from John. I'll get to it soon, but...

Right now, I'm reading Juggler of Worlds by Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner. They co-wrote Fleet of Worlds which was pretty good, but this one is much more enjoyable. It's kind of a what was going on in the background during the Beowulf Schaeffer stories (as best compiled in Crashlander). And what was happening on Earth during Fleet of Worlds. I would have almost liked to have seen Fleet and Juggler as one book. It could have been done, if been a bit massive of a book.

And now a geeky pondering: One thing that I have wondered since reading Crashlander is what happened to Beowulf, Carlos Wu, and the rest of the family on the earth-like planet of Home. I did a tiny bit of research last night since there are years given in Juggler of Worlds, and I compared them to a timeline given in Protector.

Protector is kind of an unofficial prequel to Ringworld, and describes the Pak race and their connection to Earth. Towards the end, the Brennan-Monster and his human assistant are traveling to Home. The timeline the assistant creates begins with time a few hundred years before events in Juggler, but dates get distorted as they are traveling at relativistic speeds. He even mentions the need to reset calendars when they reach Home.

We know that Louis Wu, son of Carlos, and primary protagonist in Ringworld and its sequels, survives and travels, but what of the rest? Do they live long enough to become Protectors? Does Carlos Wu become a genius Protector? This site has a timeline which incorporates dates from Known Space up through Fleet of Worlds. We'll have to see.

Maybe it will say in this book, or maybe there will be future revelations in other books. I have to admit my joy of the continuing tales from Known Space. I just hope Mr. Niven keeps writing.

I feel drained

Yesterday morning I got up an hour early, for our company's monthly safety meeting.

I went out to the car, and while I was able to unlock the car electronically, that probably used up the remaining energy in the battery. It didn't even click when I turned the key. I had two lights on the dash and that was it.

So I sheepishly woke Jennifer up, and we tried to jump start it. Nothing.

So I used her old car, drove to work, and pondered what to do. She had been going to check on getting it fixed for me, but work came up for her, and so it landed back on me.

I did the manly thing. Honestly, I did. I went to Kragen. I bought a battery, and I replaced the old one all by myself. Except for one call to our Health and Safety guy at ETIC for a recommendation on which terminal connector to remove first.

The final say: remove negative first, then positive. After replacing the battery connect positive first and then negative.

All is better now. I just have to try to not feel negative (I swear, no pun intended) about the whole event.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Text

Two weeks ago was John's birthday celebration. The pictures are in the previous post. We had a good time, and there was much food and merriment.

Last weekend, Jennifer, her father, and I went to the Ren Faire in Casa de Fruta. We had a fun time, but it's never the same with others, so we made plans to return on the 4th, yesterday.

All week I was anxious because there was rain forecast for Saturday. But as the weekend edged closer it looked like the rain was edging earlier, and would be finished just before the Faire opened.

And it was... for a while.

We drove through little localized showers, and completed dressing for the Faire in the parking lot, made our way in and saw the mud. Apparently it had poured for about 5 minutes just before opening. Things were fine, but it was a bit mucky. We were hopeful though that the rain was over.

Jennifer wore her new outfit she had bought a few years ago. She has moved up in station and dresses, nearly noble now. While there, we bought her a new flogger from the Tower of London. And a new head piece. Last week she had bought her first snood, and as you can see from the photos she looks great.

We were finally able to get me a new surcoat. It's awesome. I didn't get the shorts and slashed slops. I wold have needed to get tights and some new boots. Plus we like the look of the bloused pants. But I'm going to need new pants soon. We've re-dyed these, but I need something better.

And then the rain started up again. Fortunately I was warned that the surcoat (mostly suede) would be fine in the rain if I didn't brush the water off, and then let it rest flat to dry. And I had hoped to get a new hat (one of leather as the felt one I have is getting old); however, they didn't have my size, but I plan to go online and get the one I want. But there are a lot of choices.
The problem with the rain was that Jennifer got cold. She didn't have the layers that I did. So we had to leave and missed out on seeing the Moonie, then Broon, then the Moonie and Broon jam session. We did get to see a little of Broon's show before Jennifer got really chilled, and we bought the Moonie and the Moonie and Broon DVDs. They're are a poor substitute to the really thing, but will help us get a long until January when they will be at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek.

It's usually around our "Other Anniversary" (our first date), and we have only missed one since they've been doing it.

Playing Catch-up

An old joke from my friend Donna:

A tomato family is walking down the street. The son keeps falling behind,
and finally the father has had enough. He turns around, and squashes the
boy, saying, "Catch up!"

Say it out loud if you don't quite get it.

So let's see...

Here are some pictures from John's birthday picnic, the Renaissance Faire when the FIL was here, and finally, some pictures from yesterday's Faire.

Explanations to follow.

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