Saturday, December 24, 2011

New Year, New Job

So, I think we can all agree that 2011 has been a difficult year.  It’s certainly been a personal roller coaster.

I was let go from a job of almost 5 years when the company I was working for lost their contract with Exxon Mobil. {As a sidebar, I happened to see the EM project manager at a store in Emeryville yesterday.  I showed amazing restraint, and did not ask her how she was feeling about destroying the lives of so many people with her company’s policies.  But I digress…]

Jennifer and I moved to a wonderful place in Emeryville, and we did a lot of cycling around.  Sure I had free time, but there are so  many cool shops around that it was hard to not be able to go in and get what we wanted.

In August, I finally began work again for a contracting company.  And boy was I bored there.  I wasn’t doing anything close to geology, and it was really not a good fit.

In November, I started interviewing with an environmental company in Walnut Creek, and last week, I received an offer letter.  I’ll be starting the new year with a new job.  I’ll be a project geologist, and working with some really fascinating people.

Christmas Movies

There are certain traditions we observe for Christmas.  One of my favorites is watching “The Nightmare Before Christmas” while we decorate the house.

[To preface the rest of this, please note that the last time Jennifer asked to see a movie that would make her cry, I suggested “Serenity”, and she accepted.]

Then the other day, Jennifer said she wanted to watch another Christmas movie.  I suggested “Gremlins” since she had never seen it.  She thoroughly enjoyed it, and now I debate with myself on showing her the mixed goodness and badness of the sequel.

Then last night, she wanted another Christmas movie.  I suggested “Lethal Weapon”.  We ended up watching the first and second movie, and when we finished, she suggested watching the other two tonight after our Christmas light driving tour.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Book Report

So yes, it has been taking me a long time to read the Lovecraft compilation.

In my defense it is almost 1,100 pages long.

I’ve just finished “The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath” and am starting “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward”.

But I’m really enjoying going through his works chronologically.

It’s Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas

Because this is here.

Don’t stop now.

Go. Watch it.  And smile!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Have You Been Touched?

First of all there is this: The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

This is not a new thing, but I think the sentiment behind it is important.

On an tangential note, John informed me today that he is now an ordained minister of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM).

When asked, the newly anointed Man of the Colander passed on to me these words of wisdom:

The Eight "Rather You Didn't's" of the FSM:

1. I'd really rather you didn't act like a sanctimonious holier-than-thou ass when describing my noodly goodness. If some people don't believe in me, that's okay. Really, I'm not that vain. Besides, this isn't about them so don't change the subject.

2. I'd really rather you didn't use my existence as a means to oppress, subjugate, punish, eviscerate, and/or, you know, be mean to others. I don't require sacrifices, and purity is for drinking water, not people.

3. I'd really rather you didn't judge people for the way they look, or how they dress, or the way they talk, or, well, just play nice, okay? Oh, and get this into your thick heads: woman = person. man = person. Samey = Samey. One is not better than the other, unless we're talking about fashion and I'm sorry, but I gave that to women and some guys who know the difference between teal and fuchsia.

4. I'd really rather you didn't indulge in conduct that offends yourself, or your willing, consenting partner of legal age AND mental maturity. As for anyone who might object, I think the expression is "go fuck yourself," unless they find that offensive in which case they can turn off the TV for once and go for a walk for a change.

5. I'd really rather you didn't challenge the bigoted, misogynistic, hateful ideas of others on an empty stomach. Eat, then go after the bitches.

6. I'd really rather you didn't build multi million-dollar synagogues / churches / temples / mosques / shrines to my noodly goodness when the money could be better spent (take your pick):
I. Ending poverty
II. Curing diseases
III. Living in peace, loving with passion, and lowering the cost of cable
I might be a complex-carbohydrate omniscient being, but I enjoy the simple things in life. I ought to know. I AM the creator.

7. I'd really rather you didn't go around telling people I talk to you. You're not that interesting. Get over yourself. And I told you to love your fellow man, can't you take a hint?

8. I'd really rather you didn't do unto others as you would have them do unto you if you are into, um, stuff that uses a lot of leather/lubricant/Vaseline. If the other person is into it, however (pursuant to #4), then have at it, take pictures, and for the love of Mike, wear a CONDOM! Honestly, it's a piece of rubber. If I didn't want it to feel good when you did it I would have added spikes, or something.

I Think Barry and Wally Blinked - Updated

So MIT has created a camera that can record one trillion frames per second.  Below is a video they made which shows the propagation wave of a camera flash.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Chef-ness

So Jennifer has been sick recently.  And she’s been making some food requests.

In the past few days, I’ve made a chicken noodle soup and eggs benedict with smoked salmon.

Poached eggs aren’t as hard as they make it out to be.  Neither was the hollandaise sauce.

The chicken soup was made with a great chicken broth, and then baby carrots, and crimini mushrooms.

It’s a bit of strong-arm tactics, but she’s making me into a better cook.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Time

In my times at home over the six months I wasn’t working, I always knew what time it was.

You see in Emeryville, there is a Clif Bar factory, and they have a whistle/tone just like in “The Flintstones.”  And it goes off at:  7:25, 7:30, 11:25, 11:30, 11:55, 12:00, 3:55, and 4:00.

Additionally somewhere there is a church somewhere nearby, and it has bells that go off at 8:00, 12:00, and 6:00.

However, it wasn’t until this past Friday that I discovered there is something definitely wrong with the church clock.  At 8:00 in the morning it rings 18 times.

Now let’s think about that.  That’s not two tolls for each hour.  It’s also not off by 12 hours and ringing military time.

That’s all.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Happy Ink Day

So last night at about this time, I was two-thirds through my latest tattoo session.  And I knew it had been a long time, but I didn’t realize until I posted the picture on Facebook that it had been over a year since my last session.  Unemployment really put a crimp in my plans.

This time I was in Davis.  The artist who was working on me is taking over a shop.  He’s wanted to open one since he stared tattooing, and this opportunity was unexpected, but is an offer he just can’t refuse.  The owner is walking him through everything, mentoring him on how to run the business, and the hand-off will be official with the start of the new year.

So if you’re in the area, and need some modification, go check out Primary Concepts Tattoo in Davis.  Phil has only been there for about two weeks, so his work isn’t up yet, but it will be soon.

But more about me…

This was one of my longer sessions we started close to 6:30, and were walking out the door about 10:15, so all told with breaks and such we did about 3 hours.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I find it is best if I'm talking to people when I’m getting the work done.  It helps me compartmentalize the pain.  So we talked about Phil taking over the shop, about his equipment, state regulations for shops and tattooists.  And I told him about this video:

We’re wondering if it’s real after seeing others from the YouTube channel.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Take the J Bus

When I had first moved out to California in the 70s, two guys who became my best friends at the time were two other Chevron kids who had moved from Kentucky the same time we had.

They had a couple Bill Cosby LPs, and I got my first real introduction to that comedian beyond the Saturday morning cartoon.  And one of the bits that he did was on Street Football.

It’s all about the planning stages that kids go through for playing football in the street.  There are so many lines from that one that can stand alone.  One of my favorites is:

“Okay now, Shorty, you’ll be the Coke bottle top.”

“I don’t wanna be the bottle cap, coach.”

“Okay, what do you wanna be?”

“I wanna be the piece of glass.”

But then this morning as I’m coming out of Emeryville, and getting on the freeway, I’m behind an AC Transit bus.  I look at the designation and I see it’s the J bus.

“Cosby, you go down to 3rd street.  Catch the J bus.  Have them open the doors at 19th… I’ll fake it to you.”

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Origen Opens Tomorrow

Last week, Jennifer received an email for being a friend of Nibblers.  Nibblers was a restaurant in Pleasant Hill that did small plates and was run by a wonderful man named Daniel.

he is an amazingly knowledgeable man, and we had several great times there, not the least of which was a birthday dinner for Jennifer.

The email she received was an invitation to a preview of Daniel's new restaurant Origen on Telegraph in Berkeley.  We decided on an evening, and made our reservations.  We planned for the day, and set aside money for what we expected to be a possibly expensive evening.

Tonight we went an experienced the “Farm to Fork” plan of Origen.  we didn’t order, they just brought out food asking about cocktails or wine that we might like with the meal.  We had a squash and gorgonzola pizza.  We had a potato and chard soup garnished with bacon.  We had a salmon wrapped in Artic chard with cloved figs.  We had a chuck burger with gruyere and homemade red pepper ketchup.  And we finished with a chocolate pavê infused with plums and orange zest.

When we were done, we asked for the check, and our waiter explained that there was no cost for the meal.  This was a celebration of the new restaurant for the friends of Nibblers.  So we left a very nice tip, thanked our waiter and our host, and came home.

This is a place we plan to patronize.  And we hope that those of you who are local will as well.  Go and enjoy.

Decision Decided

So I had been leaning toward the blue rocket with red fins for coloring my tattoo, and then I saw this picture for an upcoming cover to Action Comics, and my decision was confirmed.

AC_Cv5_ajshdfa76sd8f1

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wine

We got one of those wine aerators the other day at Costco.  I opened it up, and set it out, when I noticed that it came with directions.  I find the need for directions for an item like that similar to the need for directions to use a toothpick.

Insert screen.

Pour wine.

Drink wine.

Mmmm… wine.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Shake Me

I missed the first earthquake today.  I was working in Santa Rosa today, and came home to some things shifted on shelves.

Then this evening we had an aftershock.

Jennifer was upstairs taking a shower, and it really freaked her out.  It started with a pretty loud band, and then a lot of rattling and shaking.

I was sitting on the couch, and what did I do as a geologist?

I sat there and grinned and rode it out.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Chess! The Trainwreck!

Last night, Jennifer and I went to see the Willows Theatre’s production of the musical “Chess”.  It was the worst production of anything we have ever seen at the Willows, or just about anywhere else.

I discovered the music of “Chess” in the ‘80s with the song “One Night in Bangkok” on MTV.  It has remained one of my favorite songs.  Jennifer came to “Chess” from the song “Anthem” which had been covered by Linda Eder.  Both of us eventually acquired the album, and thought about seeing the musical.

A few years after we were married, we were in San Jose, and happened to be walking around downtown, and we came across a theatre there who were putting on the show.  Unfortunately the tickets were out of our range at the time, and we both had to leave disappointed.

Then last year, when the Willows Theatre announced their return season, we saw they were doing “Chess”, and we knew we had to see it.  We’d been looking forward to this for almost a year, but last night destroyed our concept of the show and our trust in the Willows.

The acting was stiff.  The choreography was horrible.  The sound was mushy, and not all of the singers could project well enough to carry their voice to the back of the theatre (and it’s not a big theatre).  The secondary male lead was horrible; he couldn’t sing in the range the songs were written, and we kept thinking his voice would crack.  And he sang “One Night in Bangkok” and muffed it.  Badly.  There was live music this time at the Willows with a bari sax, a cello, a violin, and electric keyboard, and drums and guitar.  But the violinist couldn’t hit the right notes.  There was even one song where the musicians were supposed to play in a minor key (we think), and they couldn’t even play that convincingly enough.  If you’re going to be dissonant, you’ve got to do it big and with confidence.

The only redeeming part of the show was the female lead.  She had a great voice, and carried things.

I have no idea what show this reviewer and this reviewer went to see, but it certainly wasn’t the one we attended.  We feel we wasted 3 hours of our lives, not to mention the money we spent on the tickets, and gas getting there.  We’ll certainly not be going back to the Willows Theatre anytime soon.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Tungsten Hydrogen Oxygen

As you know, one of my favorite comedy skits ever is Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First'?” and the various variations thereof.
So, I’ve recently been more serious about reading the webcomic “Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal” and I came across a recent strip they did.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Working for a Living

So it has been an interesting couple of weeks.  There's been lots of driving, and learning, but the biggest thing was working for the state.

A few weeks before I had my first interview with PIVOX, I got a requests for applications from the the California Board of Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists (CBPELSG).  Other than being a typical application, it asked for a list of counties worked in, and the kind of work done there.

Then in the first week after I was hired, I got a phone call telling me I had been selected to review a case, and that the documents would be on their way to me.  They arrived a week or so later, and I was to review documents related to a case closure that was being appealed.  The geologist who had approved closure of the site was being asked to reverse his decision, or the complainant would request censure.

I spent the evenings of about a week looking the documents over, reviewing the last three quarters of the site, and making my decision.

So I got that in the mail this weekend, and just in time, because Friday night, I got sick.It started with itchy eyes, and by Saturday morning half of my head was plugged up, and I slept until 10:00.  Sunday was the same. Monday I stayed home, and did a little work, but ended up falling asleep during Monday Night Football.

I'm in the office today, and I'm drinking as much water as I can.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Mood

At this moment, none of my books are appealing to me.
I so enjoyed the other books about Richard Feynman, but the book I'm on now is not thrilling me.
I’m not really in a Lovecraft mood either, so that’s out.
I’ve read my comic up to the end of “Flashpoint”, and the newly re-launched “Justice League”, but for right now, that’s all I’ve got.
As I sit here and type, I look across the room at the bookshelf full of hardcover and trade paperback graphic novels.  Perhaps, I’ll pull on of those off the shelf.
***
On an unrelated note, Kevin Smith’s newest movie “Red State” is available on demand from just about every cable and/or satellite TV carrier.  I think it’ll be available through the month, and while it’s a departure of his normal stuff, it’s still a good movie.  It’s also very intense.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The Fourth State

I like plasma spheres.  I can remember as a kid seeing them, and how insanely expensive they were.  Beyond the reach of the common man.

Then the Eye of the Storm came out, and my parents got me one for Christmas.  It can act normally, or you can adjust the intensity, and even have it react to ambient sounds.

Then other things came out, and I even got a small plasma sphere.  Jennifer and I even have small discs that react similarly to a plasma sphere.

And now Tokyo Flash is gathering votes for their new watch design, and I want them to make this one.

So go.  Vote!  And then I can have a plasma “sphere” on my wrist.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Quenched

Two weeks in Madera.  That’s where I’ve been.

Do you know how hot it gets there?  It’s just north of Fresno.  Do you know what they make in Fresno?  Raisins.  they put perfectly good grapes outside and let them shrivel up in the sun.  Today in Madera, (while I was in “scenic” yet gloriously temperate Hunter’s Point) it got up to 104 degrees F.  I am glad to be home.

The best thing about today was working, coming home, and having dinner with my wife.

And tomorrow I have the office all to myself.  the newest hire if off south to take my place in Madera (poor soul) for the rest of the project, the other two engineers are working at Hunter’s Point, and my Supervisor is there as well for a meeting with the public.

And the best part? I’ve been instructed to play with some Excel files; get to know them and see what I can do with them; fill in some data.  I get to play all day tomorrow.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Debunking Makes Me Feel Good

I’m sure a lot of people have seen this picture by now.  It’s even made it onto some news shows.  The claim is that hurricane Irene flooded one of the Caribbean Islands so badly that a shark was seen in a flooded street.

iaevy

Now check this old motivational out.

demotivational-posters-company

Now compare the sharks.

Especially not the divots in the fin caused by light refraction and the wake around the tail and dorsal fin.  See anything familiar?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Day 3: Madera, Day 1

I’ve been training.  The refresher course took some time because the online course had a timer, and you had to have 8 hours elapsed to take the test.

I got through the training in 6 hours, and thought that if I left the training up, it would accrue the time.  But the recording has to actually be playing for the timer to count.

I had some time on Tuesday, but the power went out at the server site of the company hosting the training.  I finally finished my training Tuesday night about 9:00.  Which was good because I had to be in Madera to be on the job site at 8:00.

I’ll be here through Friday, and then back out next week from Monday through Thursday.

Monday, August 15, 2011

BART Excitement

So I’m sure by now that everyone has heard about  how Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) shut down cell repeaters in its San Francisco stations and in the Trans-Bay Tube last week.
Well, now the FCC is looking into whether or not this is a fineable offense.  Last night, Anonymous hacked the MyBart database, and there was a protest scheduled for today.
Around 4:45, the principal of our company was watching a group of helicopters circling west of our office.  I figured they were over the Civic Center BART station as that was where I had heard the protest was going to be staged.
I just checked the BART iPhone app to see if Civic Center had been reoopened, and the BART Twitter feed is an amazing read (Times are relative to 8:00 PM PDT).
All stations open. For advisories visit bart.gov or m.bart.gov; sign up for email/sms at bart.gov/alerts; or txt "BART delay" to 878787
7:40 PM
Embarcadero Station reopened.
7:18 PM
Embarcadero Station now closed for entries and exits.
6:46 PM
Embarcadero now open for exits only.
6:41 PM
Montgomery Station reopens for entries and exits.
6:30 PM
Civic Center Station reopens for entries and exits.
6:20 PM
Trains now stopping for riders to disembark at Powell.
6:12 PM
Montgomery Station closed due to civil disturbance.
6:02 PM
Powell Station closed due to civil disturbance; trains now stopping to let riders off at Civic Center.
5:47 PM
Civic Center Station has been closed. Trains are running through.
5:29 PM
I got to the Montgomery station gates about 5:05, and waited less than 5 minutes for a train.  We sat for a long time for people to board (I got a seat, lucky me), so I think the times above may be the announced closure times, but not when it really happened.

Looking forward to seeing what tomorrow will bring.

UPDATE: Got the real times off of the Twitter feed on the BART app.

Working For A Living

If yesterday felt like the Sunday before school started, then this morning was definitely like school.

I woke up several times during the night, and not because I didn’t trust my alarm.  It was all just on my mind.

Then this morning, I walked to the bus stop, and waited in silence with the other people.  No bullies at the stop, but also no cute girls either.

Emery-Go-Round is such a nice service.  And it’s free.  the BART ride was fine.  Being at MacArthur, there’s just so many choices in the morning.

My day at work consisted of taking my online refresher for HAZWOPER, and getting my picture taken for the building security system.  I also got to sit in on a conference call.

It’s looking like I’m going to be the office guy who helps take the load off of the principal (yeah, another school-like reference) so that he can get some work done.  Tomorrow, we’re going to Hunter’s Point for a bit, and then the rest of the week (maybe) I’ll be in Madera.  But somewhere in there I need to get my physical.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Back to School

That is exactly what today has felt like.

Think back to those long summers as a child.  The endless days of doing what you wanted.

And then it’s August.

And then school is almost back in session.

And then it’s the Sunday before school starts on Monday.

That’s what today feels like for me after my six and a half months off.

Luckily tomorrow, I only have one street to cross by myself.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Color Test

So I’ve had a coloring book style copy of my tattoo for a bit.  and now that I’ve finally scheduled more color work (for November, Phil’s a busy guy), I’m closing in on getting the rocket colored in.
So I did a collection of color tests by coloring in.  It’s a variation based on body/fins/trim.
Now, the original rocket was blue, and DC went back to that in one retelling.  In another the ship was golden.  So I have my choices below.  Some color combinations were no good, so they’ve been ignored.
I cut the colored ships out, and had Jennifer take pictures of them all while in place.  the copy is a little larger than the actual rocket on my back, but it’ll do for now.
Please give me your color opinions.
Red with Blue FinsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA,





Yellow with Blue Fins
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Yellow with Red Fins
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Blue with Red Fins
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Work, Work, Work

So, it’s official, I’ll be starting work on Monday with PIVOX Consulting Management.
They’re based out of Irvine, and I’ll be in their San Francisco office.  I’ll be taking the Emery-Go-Round to BART, and getting off at the Montgomery station.  Then I’ll walk a few steps, and enter the building.
I’m not sure what exactly I’ll be doing to start, but it will all come out on Monday.
Thanks again to everyone who’s been supporting me emotionally.  I could hardly believe the outpouring of support on Facebook when I announced that I’d gotten the job.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Full of Rice

Lots of food in the past few days, and almost all of it has involved rice.

Thursday, Jennifer made enchiladas, and Mexican rice to with them.  She made the seasoning herself from a recipe she found on the internet, and it was just amazing.

Friday for lunch, I went out to Pleasant Hill and had lunch with a bunch of former coworkers at Ming’s.  I had my usual, and was pretty stuffed until late in the day.

Friday for dinner, Jennifer had a creole craving, so we made a late night run for Popeye’s.  I had the jambalaya, and was really stuffed.

This morning, she wanted to know if I wanted a big breakfast, and I said that Cheerios would be just fine as I needed to cleanse myself before we did any more heavy eating.

Friday, we had also run out to San Rafael, and bought a replacement bike for the one that was stolen a week and a half ago.  Today we did a significant ride.  We went to Jack London and had a beer at Heinhold’s First and Last Chance Saloon.  Then we rode to Solana Avenue, and had another couple of beers at The Pub in Albany.  This was mostly to kill time until Sushi Solana was open.

This was truly the best experience we’ve ever had at a sushi restaurant.  The ambience was nice, and sitting at the bar, we chatted with the sushi chef.  He talked tings over with Jennifer for exactly what she wanted, and helped with our experimentations.  Jennifer had a dogs head fish liver pate that she said knocked foie gras on its ear.  I had a rice bowl of sushi with 7 types of fish plus a shrimp tail.  As a palette cleanser and meal closer we had lotus root that was amazing; crunchy and sweet.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Sunspots!

This morning, I read this article:

Strong Solar Activity / Spotted Sunsets

And then all day we were overcast.  Until about 10 minutes ago.

Now as a kid I used to always play with a magnifying glass.  I burned ants and sow bugs, but I also burned paper and wood.  I loved being out in the summer because it was right over head, but in the evening I could watch the sun’s rays travel up the wall.

One of the other things I noticed was the way I could recreate the image of the sun.  And I knew to never look into a telescope or binoculars with the naked eye.

Tonight, I recreated the image of the sun on a piece of white comic book backing board using a pair of binoculars.  Jennifer held the board, and I focused the image.  We were able to clearly see sunspot set 1263 and faintly see 1261.

We were so excited we didn’t think of taking a picture, but the sun was only out for maybe 5 minutes as it passed below the clouds, and then passed behind the Marin hills.

I love science.

Smackdown–Update

Last night I got a callback from the company.  he apologized that he hadn’t called me during the day, but he’d been in meetings all day.

I asked for clarification on his statement in the email, and he said that he didn’t want to leave bad feelings between us over their response.  he said they thought my letter was an all of nothing, not a step in negotiations.

He told me that the VP will be back up Thursday and Friday, and since Thursday was mostly meetings, that they would likely give me a call Friday to discuss things with me, and do some verbal negotiations.

So now I get to ponder my true feelings for this company.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Another Interview (Still Not Mine)



And the interviewee and interviewer reverse tasks.

Interview (Not Mine)



Two of my newer favorite authors talking about the latest Harry Dresden book.

Getting the Smackdown

So let’s talk about the last week.  I interviewed last Monday, and was told I could expect an offer letter in the next few days.  I was told that the salary I was asking was higher than they were willing to pay, so I was expecting a slight decrease.

Wednesday I received the letter as an attached PDF (poorly scanned, I might add) to an email.  The offered pay rate was less than 90% of what I had asked for and and even less than what I had been making at my former position.

I looked up some information, and wrote a negotiation letter with a counter offer.  I suggested a salary halfway between my original asking rate and their offer.  I also asked for a third week of vacation and that the company pay my wife’s insurance coverage as well as mine.  I was hoping that all the things I asked for would be met, but I figured that some would be denied in a counter offer.

Now, I deliberated over this with Jennifer and sent it in the evening of the day I received the offer letter (Thursday night). Last night (Tuesday) at almost 11:00 PM, I received a reply email.
Thank you for the time meeting with us in person and the counter offer letter presented for our review.  We have discussed the counter offer submitted for consideration, and feel that the original offer is still appropriate.  We certainly appreciate your time throughout the process, and wish you the best going forward.
It’s pretty vague, so I called this morning for clarification.  The cell phone I called rang twice, and then went to voice mail.  So I know I was ignored.

And did I mention that they have absolutely no webpage?  It's really odd.

The hunt goes on.  I filled out four new applications today.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dream Job?

Okay, so I’ve never found how to be a professional comic book reader.

But this?  I’d love to do this:

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Legs of Steel

So, you remember yesterday’s ride from the Ferry Building to Fort Point and back?  Today we went from Spear and Folsom in San Francisco to the Ferry Terminal in Tiburon.

Our friend Steve the Programmer acted as our guide.  We followed the same route, but before we turned on the final approach to Fort Point, we took the road up to the Golden Gate Bridge.  No unfortunately they are working on the west side of the bridge, so we had to walk/ride our bikes with all of the walkers and other bikers on the east side.  It was very crowded, but the downhill to Sausalito was lots of fun.

In Sausalito we looked out at the City near the ferry terminal there, and then we were off again to Tiburon.  At Tiburon we had a meal, and the barely got on the ferry.  They almost locked us out because there were so many bikes on board.  The entire bottom deck was full of bikes.  They were leaned up again the outer bulkhead, and all around the lower staircase.  We were kind of lucky to be nearly the last on because it meant that we were among the first of the bikes to get off.

This ferry took us back to Pier 41, and so we rode back to Steve’s place for a pit stop, and then rode back to Embarcadero BART and rode the train back to MacArthur.

All in all we did between almost 26 miles.  We’re tired, but it’s feeling oh so good.

Birthday Weekend

Oh what a wonderful day yesterday was.

Jennifer and I got up when we wanted, and rode our bikes to Jack London Square, took the ferry to San Francisco, and then rode to Citizen Chain.  We both got our bikes checked out, and I got axels that are not quick release, so that I can lock up without needing the cable with the U lock.

Various 078From there we rode to Fisherman's Wharf, and had our traditional meal of clam chowder in a bread bowl for lunch.  There weather was amazing, and we had a great seat at the Chowder Hut.  Then we kept on riding.

We went past the beach at the Maritime Museum, and rode out and back onto the breakwater pier.  We braved the steep hill that is behind Fort Mason. Various 084 We rode along Chrissie Field and the Marina District.  And then Fort Point just seemed so close, we went on and ended up there.

We then rode back to the Ferry Building, and waited for a ferry.  it was about 15 minutes late, and then had to go to Pier 41.  Once at Pier 41, we were notified that, “This boat is broken, so we’ll be moving you all over to another boat.”  We ended up on a boat of the Blue and Gold fleet, and which was essentially commandeered by Captain Andy who took no guff from the crews.  We heard him say to one of them, “I’m the captain, you’ll do what I say, and we’re taking that boat.”  Once the new boat was checked out we were on our way to Alameda where they very quickly off-loaded and on-loaded passengers, and then jaunted over to Oakland. 

After our ride back home, it was 4:30, and we both had to get cleaned up, because we had to pick up my cake in Oakland, and then get to T-Rex at 6:00.  We arrived at 6:05.

The group was great, and we had wonderful conversation and drinks, and food.

Various 103

Various 104

Various 106

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday to ME!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Birthday Addendum

First off, I forgot to relate the last thing I did on my birthday.

I’m reading the complete fiction of H.P. Lovecraft, and I had just read “The Statement of Randolph Carter” during the day.  I told Jennifer about how  it was the first Lovecraft story I ever read.

I was in a collection of horror that I came across when I was expending my reading at the library on day.  I happened to read it late one night when my parents weren’t home, and at the time, it was the scariest thing I had ever read.  The story is only five pages long, and it builds the tension so well.

So Wednesday night, I read it to Jennifer.  It being her first experience with Lovecraft, she really enjoyed the language, and she is looking forward to reading the collection once I’m through.

An update on my new external hard drive is also worth mentioning.  After a full night of formatting, and then reformatting to XFS, it turns out (after another call to tech support) that my NAS doesn’t support hard drives larger than 2 TB.  Apparently Buffalo Technologies doesn’t believe in Moore’s Law, because at the time the NAS was built, the largest drive size was 2TB so that’s all they allowed for.

I can see no need to set an upper limit in programming for additional drive sizes other than planned obsolescence.  Isn’t this just Y2K all over again?  It’s certainly something to ask my programmer friend who works at Google on Saturday.

But anyway, today we took the 3 TB drive back to Costco, and got a 2 TB drive.  This one formatted to XFS with no problem, and is right now transferring data from the old external to the new.

Un-Birthday Birthday Post

Yesterday, I turned 42.  And yesterday, I had to explain again to Jennifer what “Base 13” means.
syrupShe surprised me in the morning by asking if I wanted breakfast out.  So we took our bikes to the Royal Café in Albany.  They do a great waffle, and served the syrup in a shot glass.
Then she asked where to next.  I suggested a ride to Costco so we could ride and walk off our breakfast.  While we were there, she asked if I still wanted the new external hard drive I had been looking at.  I said yes, and the 3 TB external drive was on sale.  then as we were walking through the sporting goods, we saw that they had hydration backpacks, and they were one third of the price at REI.  So Costco ended up being a big treat as well.
The fun part was getting everything we bought into our new packs and Jennifer’s basket.  But we made it and did our normal trail ride home.
When we got home, she gave me at home present which was a bike jersey.  But not just any bike jersey, specifically this bike jersey.  It fits so well, and I can wear my long-sleeve wicking shirt underneath it too.  My other surprise is to go to Citizen Chain where we got our bikes, and get the special locking axels so I won’t have to use the cable with the U-lock, but just be able to use the lock alone.  We’ll be doing that with a special bike ride on Saturday morning along the Piers of San Francisco.
So at home, I played with the hard drive, which just now finished formatting in FAT32 to get rid of WD’s partitioning, and will be now be reformatting it in XFS for use by the NAS.  Then I’ll move our music and pictures over, and then I’ll be able to attach the old 500GB hard drive to our DVR for additional storage.
Also last night, Jennifer and I did a ride to OSH for some flowers for outside.  We got four petunias and put them in Jennifer’s basket.  I thought they looked so cool, I took a picture.
flowers
She did so much for me, and on our limited budget.  She’s really been putting aside to make this a special celebration.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Thank You

So in about a week, I’ll have been unemployed for 6 months.  It’s the longest I’ve been without a job since I graduated from Sac State.  And while I was reading this afternoon, I just had this feeling for what  I needed to do.

I wanted to thank John for his patience with me during our email sessions and games.  Sometimes I’ve been slow to respond, and he’s been very understanding.  And he’s been a good lunch buddy.

Thanks to my parents for their continued support.  It’s always good to have them there for networking, suggestions, and support.

Thanks to all of my other friends who have looked for jobs for me, and given me people to talk to.

But most of all, I’m thankful to Jennifer who has supported me with her love and kindness.  There is no way that I could have made it through this with any semblance of sanity without her.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Two Bicycles Built for One

Today Jennifer and I were adventurous.

Yesterday, she wanted to go for a ride, but events conspired against us, and we weren’t able to get away from home until after dark.  Not a big deal, and it forced us to dress up for dinner.

We went to Miyozen at the corner of 40th and San Pablo.  It had received pretty good reviews on Yelp, but we got lucky.  You see they have a conveyor sushi bar.  And they have a happy hour where every plate is $2.  We had so much fun pulling things off the belt, and trying them.  And with the little bits (2 or 3 pieces per plate) we filled up on the cheap.

So today after her midday commitment, we were all set for a bike ride.  First we hit the library to return a book, then to Trader Joe’s in Emeryville for her to make a request and return some bad bread.  And then on to the ride, and the target was Lake Merritt.

So we took the flyover by IKEA, went between Home Depot and Michael’s, and entered the dark depths of Oakland.  So take Hollis, bend onto 32nd, then Adeline to Grand Avenue, and you’re at the lake.

Jennifer commented that at least she had worn the right hat, and my first thought (as her bike helmet is red) was “Why, are we in Bloods territory?” But then I saw the Raiders baseball cap under her helmet.

Lake Merritt was very pretty with the sun and clouds, and only slightly marred by the herds of Canada geese.  Not flocks, they were walking. And then to reward ourselves for what would end up being 13 miles round-trip, we had lunch at True Burger.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Stereo

Today I dropped off my car to have the stereo installed.  The store had required additional approval due to wire damage from the theft.

After installation I got a call telling me about the dashboard light issue.  things had gotten shorted out from the loose wires, and when I would turn on the headlights, the dash would go dark.

So, he called for an additional authorization, and luckily the body shop had made the note when I told them about it, so now we’re just waiting on the part.

And I get to drive with a car that has music again.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Myth Confirmed

Back during my time in Sacramento, I had gotten to the point of biking from 10 to 15 miles a day.  And back then I had a portable cassette player.  At this point is was probably an Aiwa.  And the best music In had found for a good constant pace was the soundtrack called “Songs from the Cool World”.  It became the soundtrack of my rides.  Now when I hear music from that album I immediately go to my time on the American River trail.

The only time I regretted having my music on was once when two cyclists coming toward me shouted something, that I couldn’t understand because of the music and headphones.  then I came around a curve and there across the pavement was a snake.

That’s when your brain goes into overdrive.  I quickly assessed which end was the head and which the tail (I saw a small rattle), and steered myself to pass behind it.  As I went passed it, the snake turned and actually struck at me.  I see it all in slow motion as my foot comes down on the stroke and the head is coming towards it.  I see the fangs, and I pump that much harder to get by unscathed.  And I did, but I had quite the clip going at that point.

Looking back I still can’t really understand the people coming at me, but while I thought they might have been shouting, “Pig!” (where was my mind?) they were surely shouting, “Snake!”

I was pretty shook up the rest of the day.  I had to work that day as a teller at Wells Fargo, and told everyone at the branch my story.  One guy said from the size and length (maybe 4 feet long), and the way it acted, it was probably a young rattler.

So for some reason this was all with me today as I went for a ride today.  No snakes today, and all dogs and children encountered were well behaved and under control.  But today I was testing something.

A few months ago I came across this on the internet:

cycling-listening-to-daft-punk

So today, my music of choice was the soundtrack to “Tron: Legacy” by Daft Punk.

Now, unfortunately the whole soundtrack isn’t fast paced, but when the right stuff comes on, the above graphic is definitely true.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Various Repairs and Maintenance

So a few things have gotten accomplished this week.

Wednesday, the guy from the fireplace company came out and installed the replacement receiver/controller for the gas fireplace.  He got it installed (nice fire and heat; truly a source of infrared radiation), and then I asked him about getting the heat upstairs.  He said that was an optional attachment.  I said that it was the installation of that blower that had caused the problem in the first place.  In talking on speakerphone with the property manager, we found that there is supposed to be a switch somewhere that turns on the fan to pump the air upstairs.  I told him I know where all of the switches are and what they do.  So we'll see what the future holds with that.

Today, I went for an eye exam.  I found out that my eyes haven't changed since the last time I had them checked.  it sure is nice to have some contacts again.  Plus maybe I can get some new glasses.  I'm very careful with the ones I have, but I think these are closing in on 8 years old, so even with great care, there are scratches showing up.

Now my appointment was at 5:30 in Richmond.  Today was also the day for my replacement stereo for my car to arrive via UPS.  Usually they come between 5:00 and 6:00, but on Friday's with traffic and other circumstances they're usually after 6:00.  I got out of the eye appointment right at 6:00, and checked the iPhone app, and saw there hadn't been a delivery attempt yet, so I kept saying all the way home that I wanted him to arrive at 6:30.  Even allowing for the traffic (I used the wonderful frontage road along the Emeryville Mudflats) I got home in 15 minutes.  Then I raced upstairs hoping he wouldn't arrive while I was en route.  And right at 6:30 the doorbell rang.

So tomorrow, I'll go by SoundSource in Oakland, and see if they can do the work, or if they'll have to talk to the insurance company about full compensation.  And if they have to talk to the insurance company, I'll have to wait for them to do the work on Monday.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

So, yeah…

I’ve had a few thoughts that have seem inspired lately, but when I’ve sat down to write about them, they’ve seemed kind of blah.

I’ve done some biking.  Monday, Jennifer had a meeting with a client, so I went on a bike ride.  I did the ride all the way to Richmond that we had done together.  This time I did it alone with my iPod.  It was fun, and I did it all in about an hour and a half. 

Then Tuesday we biked to Café Gratitude in Berkeley, and I had an amazing vegan chocolate mousse.

Wednesday, I made a quick trip tot eh bank and on the way back became preoccupied with the concept of how the spokes in my bike wheel worked.  The subtle ballet of tension and compression.  I was determined when I got back to count the spokes and try to work out some sort of calculation on how much force was on each spoke.  Then I got home and really didn’t care anymore.

It’s just been that kind of week, I guess.

Today, I am grateful for not being in Kentucky.  Tornadoes suck.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sword Fighting

I saw this video, and it’s really quite the pastiche of Hollywood sword fights.  The only notable ones I didn’t see were the old black and white Zorro movies.

And then there’s the whole meta-ness of it by having the sword fight from “The Princess Bride” which is a tribute in and of itself to the old Ho

Technorati Tags:
Hollywood sword fights.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

First!

And the first new thing to come in on the feed reader? This hilarious video:

Feed Me

A few weeks ago, I was talking with a friend about the things we read on the internet, and we got on the comics we read online. Once again someone with not a lot of comics in common. At least not anymore.

She asked me how I kept track of which ones to read on which day. This is because other than those that are also published in newspapers, few webcomics are published every day.

I said that all of my links to them have a not in the shortcut, so I know which ones to go to each day. Tags like: M-F, MWF, M-Th, WSa, TThSu. She asked why I didn’t use an RSS reader. I said I just had never tried it.

Last night, I thought I would experiment with the RSS feeds of the comics and other sites I go to regularly (see the respective boxes in my sidebars). I’ve just finished all the organizing, and I’ll see how things work out this week.

Now, I’m using the Google RSS reader. It was already populated with blogs that I “Follow”, but there were so many more pages out there that I visit. And the advantage will be that I can access that list from any computer that I can get to with my Google account.

The downside is that there are still about 1/8 of the comics and a handful of blogs that I read do not have an RSS feed. So those I’ll have to check on manually. But at least I won’t be dealing with the frustration of sites that update late or irregularly. Now I won’t miss them.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Frak

Yesterday I went out to the car while Jennifer and I were on a bike ride, and I discovered that one of the windows had been broken, and my stereo had been stolen. This morning I also realized that my sunglasses had been taken, but that’s not too big of a deal.

It looks like this is all going to eat up the deductible for the car as there is the window to repair, the stereo, and some pry marks on the door and dashboard from the theft.

The glass repair people are on their way today, and should do the work around lunchtime. This will be followed by a claims adjuster visit on Tuesday for the physical damage, and then stereo replacement following that.

I quote Bill Murray from “Stripes”: And then, depression set in.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Missed One

The whole time I was writing the previous post, I knew I was going to miss one I wanted to put up.

The reason I missed this one is that I can’t find an MP3 of the song. Now, it was done as a promotion for a Star Wars music video contest, or some such thing, so it’s got a pretty high production value, but the song itself is what I writing about.

Now, I’ve looked hard for the MP3. They had a blog for a little bit that had a link to the song. I missed out on it and the song is now gone.

Fun Music

So there are a few fun bands that have championed the term Nerdcore.

These are bands that sing or play songs that are based on nerdy things like science fiction, video games, and such.

Weird Al touches on this a bit with some of his songs. “The Saga Begins” is one of his best, and tells that tale of “The Phantom Menace” to the tune of “American Pie”.

Jonathan Coulton is kind of another one, but he’s become popular because he actually wrote the final songs to the games “Portal” and “Portal 2”. He even challenged himself a few years ago with what he called Thing-A-Week where he wrote a song every week for a year.

Then there’s a scattering of others. Richard Cheese wrote “Star Wars Cantina” to the tune of “Copacabana”. And every now and then you come across songs on an album that are hidden references to a band’s favorite thing. Apparently Iron Maiden loves the original Dune series by Frank Herbert, and lots of their songs have reference to the series. Even Fatboy Slim likes Dune; just listen to “Weapon of Choice”. And watch it for Christopher Walken.

Then there’s full-on Nerdcore.

The band Powerglove does (mostly) all instrumental rock versions of video game and cartoon theme songs. I got to see them in concert a year or two ago, and their musicality is pretty amazing. especially their drummer. And the whole time they were dressed up as World of Warcraft style armor. The drummer even had campaign flags on his back.

And the latest I’ve come across is Kirby Krackle. I don’t even remember how I came across them last week. I enjoyed the music you could stream from their website, liked them on Facebook, and then I came across the song “Ring Capacity”. It struck home with me. And apparently it’s struck home with a lot of other people because there is a campaign to have it be on the soundtrack to the new Green Lantern movie. And then today, they posted an official video for the song. One that I heard about through DC Comics itself, so they seem to be getting some approval.

Monday, May 30, 2011

This Looks Familiar

I was doing some job hunting today, and on Craigslist, I came across this ad for a Project Engineer/Geologist.

It sure looks a lot like the add that I answered 5 years ago. Except for the last bullet before successful candidates.

Essentially it makes it look like I became too expensive for their tastes, and so they downgraded the job that I was doing.

Today did at least provide some opportunities. I sent out 5 resumes today.

Now, we’ll see how long it takes these people to respond.

Testing, 1,2,3…

This is a test of using Windows Live Writer.

It’s nice an visual to see how things will look in the column of the webpage as I write.

And now a test of a picture:

batman-family

I still giggle when I look at this.

Okay, posting now.

Nothing

Yeah, I got it.

No call backs.

No motivation to do much of anything.

Bleah.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ups and Downs

Tonight, Jennifer asked for a cocktail, so I made her her latest favorite: a trader Joe's cherry cider with half a lime and a shot of vodka.

She asked me what I thought I'd have, and I decided to have the drink I had devised in my head the last time I was at St. George Spirits on Alameda.

I made a large mug of homemade hot chocolate. Then I added a shot of St. George's Firelit coffee liqueur. And it tasted wonderful.

The downside to this is that it contains quite a bit of caffeine. And I've cut down my caffeine intake in the past few months. Like down to cups of tea and a Throwback Pepsi once a week.

So when it turned out to be 11:00 and Jennifer was falling asleep watching television with me, and she asked why I was so awake, I remembered the caffeine content of the Firelit. Then I started to giggle, and Jennifer said it was definitely the caffeine.

So she's in bed, and I'm sitting up at the computer. It's a good thing I've got nowhere to be tomorrow.

And addressing that, I've written to the person I interviewed with a few weeks ago, and haven't heard back from him, so I've got no idea if I'm still being considered for the job or not.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Alpha-Bits, the Breakfast of Me

For some background, refer to my earlier post. (No pun intended.)

Yesterday, Jennifer and I were at the new Target in Emeryville. It's one that has regular Target type stuff, but also has food. We were combining a run for sundries, and food, and happened to be walking by the cereal section.

I ducked my head in the aisle to look, and all I saw was Kellogg's cereals along half of the aisle. the rest of the aisle was breakfast bars.

I was pretty bummed. But then, Jennifer said, "What about the other side?"

I turned around, and the whole other side of the aisle had cereal boxes, and there were the Big G and Post cereals.

And there, towards the far end of the aisle was a double row of Alpha-Bits.

I just stood there staring at it, and Jenifer asked me how many I needed. I said I needed all ten boxes so that I would have then when Post stopped making them again.

But I settled for two, and had a bowl for breakfast this morning.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Shorts

I was reminded of some of the short animation festivals this morning, and so i went lookign for some of my favorites.

The first is one that if we had had the internet when I was an undergraduate, another trumpet player and I would have had this memorized.


Another favorite of ours was this one.


This one was my first introduciont to Joe Satriani's music.


Then Dad had this one on a Laser Disc.


There are a few others that I wish I could find. One was called "A Story", and was about a fairy tale that goes wrong. The villain was Randy, the Killer Clown, and his Goon Squad. Another that I don't remember the title of was a sketchy black and white that took place in a child's nursery. The toddler's pet giraffe comes to life as a monster and tries to attack him. It was so well done, and quite scary.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Inclination

So I'm working my way through The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. The story arc is called "Kingkiller Chronicles".

On page 56 of the latest book, I think I have come up with who the king is that Kingkiller will eventually kill.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Observation

When I read my webcomics in the morning, I tend to open several tabs at once. Not all of the comics tabs at once, but one page worth of shortcuts for that day.

Lately when I open the syndicated ones from The Washington Post, I've noticed something strange. When I get to that tab to read them, there is nothing on the page, but it does suddenly start loading.

It's like the page is in a state of existing and not existing until the moment that I look at the tab, and it suddenly comes into being.

A little Heisenberg-esque to say the least.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Zork Addendum

Today over dinner with Jennifer I had a mild geek revelation.

So I had posted earlier a video about the grues from "Zork".

"Zork" was a text adventure from the masters of the genre at Infocom. I never played it, instead playing "Apple Adventure" which was apparently similar. The difference was that in "Apple Adventure" when your torch or lamp went out you were likely to fall down a hole. In "Zork" if you entered darkness, or your light source went out, you were likely to be eaten by a grue.

Now, this was a text adventure. No one knows what a grue looks like. First, they were never shown, it's a text adventure after all. Then of course they they only came out in the dark, and were seemingly terrified of the light.

So I'm thinking all of this while I'm describing the game and grues to Jennifer over dinner, and it hit me.

The movie "Pitch Black" takes place on a planet populated entirely by varying species of grues.

Zork Bitches

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Nanny Ogg Cooking

Nanny Ogg is a character from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. She's a witch. She's also someone who sees everything as a double entendre. In Maskerade, she makes a cake that is an incredible aphrodisiac.

Soon after writing it, Pratchett wrote a Nanny Ogg's Cookbook with ways to make things from Discworld. Usually toned down for our simplers tastes. One of them is a recipe for this cake.

Ever since buying the book, I've been wanting to make the cake, but the original recipe is in metric units. It also has some out of the ordinary ingredients.

Finally, I took the time for measurements and conversions and translations, so what you have below is a best approximation for Imperial units with American ingredients.

So here follows:

Nanny Ogg's Chocolate Delight
with
Special Secret Sauce

For the Delight:
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2/3 tsp salt
5/6 (1/2 + 1/3) cup corn starch
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup superfine sugar
1 cup + 3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 eggs (beaten)
3/8 cup milk
1 cup white chocolate chips
5 tbsp dark chocolate syrup

For the sauce:
5/8 cup cream
7 pods cardamom
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4+ cup (heaping) milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup white rum

Preheat the oven to 375F. Mix all the dry ingredients for the delight in a bowl, and then rub in the butter. Add the eggs and milk and beat thoroughly. Swirl in the white chocolate chips and syrup, making sure not to overmix (the syrup should give a ripple effect). Divide between two 8-inch, deep, well-greased cake tins and bake in the top part fo the oven for 30 minutes. [Reduce cooking time for 9-inch pans] or until skewer comes out clean when testing.

Note: This is a cross between a pudding and a cake and should be moist. When baked, allow to cool for five minutes and if not for immediate consumption transfer to airtight container.

Start preparing the sauce about 10 minutes before the delight is ready. Warm the cream with the spices, taking care not to boil. Break up the chocolate and stir into the cream. When it has melted, add the rum. Keep stirring for a couple more minutes, then remove the cardamom pods. Serve with the delight fresh from the oven.

An additional note from me: We found that it might be better for the sliced delight to be served in a bowl to better contain the sauce, although we mopped it up pretty well. It was truly amazing.

Status Quo

Not a lot of things happening right now.

Had a good interview on Friday, but otherwise things have been pretty quiet.

The weather has been wonderful, so Jennifer and I have been lots of cycling.

I'll update as news come in.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bikin' Thru Da Hood

Today Jennifer and I did a quick jaunt south along the SF Bay Trail.

South means we went on Shellmound to Mandela Parkway, then turned on 8th (big time in the Hood), and then Wood to 7th.

I think on of the busiest intersections in teh Bay Area is Martime and 7th. For one light cycle (no, not that kind of light cycle) there had to have been 40 trucks that went through. Then we continued on 7th into the Port of Oakland. It's really quite the experience.

We were pretty close to a lot of the big container loading cranes, but no one was working near where we were.

There's a little Park called the Middle Harbor Shoreline Park there, and it has a great lookout tower (with facilities), and then a further point where we watched some tugboats and some water birds.

We felt like we were as far west as Yerba Buena and Treasure Island, but I think that was just an illusion.

All told, about 13 miles, so a nice burst of exercise.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Misread

Today I was reading my Facebook news feed, and I came across a post for Mythbusters.

Tomorrow's episode features the build-team (Tory, Kari, and Grant) are testing a myth of Dynamite Axe.

If you read that too fast in your head, and happen to be a big Legion of Super-Heroes fan, do you know what you get?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Internet, I Haz It!

Well, after close to 8 weeks without Internet, we are now up and running.

After Comcast told us their unwillingness to work with us, the sales guy I was working with referred me to a guy working with ClearWire. ClearWire is a 4G wireless Internet network. They started in southern California, and have been spreading north.

The representative I spoke to is in San Jose, and is right near a tower getting great speeds. He said the average speeds are 10 Mbps, and once I have this announcement out, I'll be checking some speeds.

Plus, it's a WiFi enabled modem, so I've got the printer and the externals to setup on the new network. And then I can get the SlingBox from Dish network going, and the Blu-Ray on the network, and we can get back to streaming our shows too.

If you are needing better Internet coverage, and want to save some money too, send me an e-mail, and I'll hook you up with the ClearWire representative's number.

I want this thing to grow.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Amazing

Here is an amazing video of the growth and change of a sunspot cluster. It's taken over the course of two weeks which is one half of a full rotation of the sun. And it's all from convection in the solar material, and the moving and shifting of the sun's magnetic field.



I got the link from good ol' Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Internet Soon

So I found out yesterday that Comcast claims it will take $50,000 worth of work to bring a cable to our building. Because of that cost, they want our landlord to split the cost with them. Understandably, he has refused.

So I got a referral to another company that supplies Internet access over a 4G network. All it needs is a modem; no cable or phone line is required. The modem should arrive Thursday or Friday.

If it works out as well as advertised, then I will pass on the good news and contact information.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Exercise

Today Jennifer and I took another long bike ride along the San Francisco Bay Trail.

yesterday we were at the Costco in Richmond and noticed the bike trail that we though had ended in El Cerrito, was continuing on. So on our drive back, we watched where it went, and then decided we would ride as far as Costco today.

We ended up going a little farther.

We ended up going as far as the Boiler House restaurant. Sticking to the trail\, we ended up going about 27.5 miles, round trip.

We were glad for the elevator when we got home, that's for sure.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Saying Good-Bye

Last night I finished I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett. It is his latest book in the Discworld and I get the feeling he is working to say goodbye to his characters as well as his readers.

Diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2010, Pratchett has curtailed a lot of his traveling and interviews. He has donated lots of money to Alzheimer's research as well the protection of orangutans (as one of his recurring characters is a man who was transformed into one).

In this fourth book in the Tiffany Aching arc, Tiffany travels to the city of Ankh-Morpork for part of the book, and meets a few other recurring characters from the Discworld. And one other character she meets has only appeared once before, and it's one that I as well as many other readers have always wondered about. What happened to her?

Now we know.

And with other things mentioned, I feel Pratchett is doing his best to wrap up loose ends, move bits of continuity along, and prepare to close the door on his universe. And I for one hope that he gets the opportunity to finish his work.

There are many authors out there who have died and left their works unfinished or open to interpretation.

The first posthumous speculation I ever read was Fuzzy Bones by William Tuning which continued the story about Fuzzies introduced by H. Beam Piper. Then I found the true lost sequel written by Piper that was found after his suicide.

I've read the Dune sequels and prequels and will read the "inter-quels" as they come out. Written based on notes and manuscripts by Frank Herbert, these books are written by Herbert's son Brian and Kevin J. Anderson. Now while I enjoy the books and knowing the rest of the story (as Paul Harvey used to say), they don't have the same gripping story as Frank Herbert would have written them.

Another person carrying on from a passed writer based on notes left behind is Brandon Sanderson working to complete Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. I've enjoyed Sanderson's stories, mostly because he is closing the story and moving the plot along. Jordan had found a cash cow and said a few years before he dies that he intended to write until he died and for someone else to complete his story for him.

Then there is the sixth book in Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers' series ... And Another Thing by Eion Colfer. I read this one, and it was severely lacking in the Adams' touch.

And finally there are the Amber prequels written by John Gregory Betancourt. I can't even bring myself to read them. The Amber Chronicles by Roger Zelazny are some of my favorite stories, and I don't want anyone's speculations to mess with the memories I have of them.

So I thank Pratchett for his wonderful world, and wish him continued strength in his life, but hope that he has time to finish his works.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Job Hunt

Yesterday, I wrote to one of the companies I had interviewed with. The one that I had gone back to for a writing test/example. They had said they should get back to me by the end of the week. In response, I was told that I was overqualified for the staff position (I knew that), but was told that the hiring decision for the senior project position was on hold for another 2 to 3 weeks.

Joy.

No news otherwise. I've applied for 3 jobs today. One I had applied to in January, and again in February. I can tell by the company's job number. Maybe if I keep applying to them they'll at least give a "no". In going on 10 weeks of applying for work, I have received to rejections after applying. The only rejections have been after the interviews. And one from a headhunter.

Apparently, companies are being so cowardly that they don't want to hurt peoples' feelings so they are just not responding negatively to applicants, feeling that no response is "kinder" than a rejection.

Once again I wish had saved all of the rejection postcards and letters I collected in '94 and '95 and then again in '98. At least then I knew for sure that people were at least reading the resumes. Or possibly just seeing that they existed. I feel like a sub-atomic particle. I don't exist unless some HR person acknowledges me.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

An Explanation

So yesterday's post title needs explanation.

Normally I only breathe through one nostril. It's strange but true. I've been given suggestions to overcome it, but the tricks don't work. However when I'm working out or exerting myself like on a bike, the other one opens up. The first time I noticed it, I was pretty amazed. It's probably one of the things that keeps me going back to the gym.

Friday, April 01, 2011

My Life is One Nostril at a Time

Well, here it is 4:30 and I still don't know about my future Internet connection. Jennifer and I took a long bike ride today, and I hoped that at some time I would get a call from Comcast. I called them today when we got home at 4:00, and the guy said that he had to talk to somebody. I just sat in silence, and he said,, "I can talk to him now if you'd like." I said yes, and he said he'd get back to me. I guess I'm the bad guy for wanting this guy to actually do his job. But as for the bike ride, Jennifer and I had a great time. We went to Subway on our way out and got sandwiches for lunch. We rode to the Berkeley Aquatic Park, and took the Pedestrian Overpass at University Avenue. Then we rode along the San Francisco Bay Trail all the way to the Albany Waterfront, and enjoyed our sandwiches. Then we rode back past University Avenue, and went down to the Powell Street peninsula, and looped around it, and then stopped at Chevy's for chips and salsa, margaritas, and spicy wings. Then we rode back along the trail to the pedestrian overpass, and rode home. All told (if I'm getting the Google maps bike route correct with adjusted waypoints) we did about 21 miles. Also still no word from either Ninyo & Moore or Stellar Environmental. I'll give them calls on Monday if I don't receive letters in the mail on Saturday.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Waiting Game

Today I ran some errands, and brought mom my library copy of One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde. While I was there, I borrowed her Internet connection and got out five applications to new companies. Meanwhile, I'm waiting on feedback from the two companies that I interviewed with recently. Both have said they'll get back to me by the end of the week. So I'm hopeful. Also by the end of the week, I should have some news on the Internet connection through Comcast by the end of the week as well.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Interviewing and Letting Off Steam

This week I had two interviews. One was for an environmental company in downtown Oakland. They have work over most of the state, and I go back on Monday to take a writing test. I'll have an hour to condense some facts into a few paragraphs. Then Friday I had an interview and lunch with the principal of an environmental company in Berkeley. they're a very small company with only 3 full time employees. It would be doing all tasks from marketing to office work to field work. Then Saturday Jennifer and I joined the Sorrells for the San Francisco Body Art Expo at the Cow Palace. Jennifer got another tattoo, making her original butterfly into the equivalent of a shoulder angel, but on her front, by adding a "devil" butterfly. She's doing very well, but the fun part was closing down the Expo. Lisa got another big tattoo on her leg. Last year she got the face of Marilyn Monroe, and her artist finished it up 10 minutes before they began turning the lights off. Last night, we were the last booth running while hers was finished up. But it will look wonderful when she'd all healed up.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Unpacked

Yesterday, Jennifer and I opened and unpacked our last moving box. The last room was the office, and we started the day with seven boxes to go.

Mostly it was Jennifer's stuff, but I had random items in her boxes as well. But we got all of them opened and unpacked. I've got several pieces to unwrap and place in the shelves, and our two cabinets need to be hung on the wall, but the boxes are done.

Then we did some picture placement. The fun part is that the ceilings are 9-feet tall instead of the normal 8-feet, and so we can put pictures on top of the bookcases and lean them against the wall instead of nailing them up.

This morning, we hung a few small pictures, and we figure in a couple days we'll start moving the big pictures around the house and decide where we want to hang the rest of them. It's really looking nice, and we feel so relieved to have that stage done.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Summarizing

Lots has happened since my lat post.

Last Saturday, Jennifer and I had to give Pom up to someone else so that she could have a better life. She was acting out from anger, and was pretty miserable being stuck inside. We are hoping that she will be happy in her new home. We are still pretty sad, but it is getting better.

Yesterday I got word from both Bank of the West and the recruiter from Haley & Aldrich. Both companies ended up going with someone else for the positions. However, this morning, I got an interview for next week for Ninyo & Moore in Oakland.

Comcast is still dragging their feet, but are working with the property manager for their survey. Eleven out of 14 of the units want Comcast in some form or another, so we're hopeful for a speedy resolution.

Unpacking progresses, and we're down to the office, and then getting things on shelves to decorate them. And of course hanging pictures.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Disconnected

And I'm still without internet at the new place.

I called Monday, and found out that the whole "surveying the location for the Comcast database and pulling the cable to the electrical room' had been setup on the commercial side instead of the residential side. And for some stupid reason is in as San Francisco.

So after talking to this guy, it's supposed to be on its way to be being straightened out.

Right?

Well, I called him today as a follow-up, and had to leave a message. I then decided I would call through the regular Comcast line, and see what I could find out.

Still nothing. So i worked with them on their side for finding out what to do, and I am supposed to get a call within the next 24 to 48 hours to learn the results of their survey to determine if they service this part of the street yet. I've told them that the electrical room is ready, and just needs the cable pulled. I've seen the empty conduit. But they still have to come out and do this.

The thing I like is that they keep stressing that there will be no cost to me for them doing this.

Really? Well, I'm glad as I don't even have an account with them yet because I can't get anything setup since they still have the building in as one unit instead of the 14 separate units it had been divided into.

So by noon on Friday i should have received a call telling me what they can do for me. Believe me, I'll have my finger on the dial button if I don't hear from them by 12:15.

One good thing is that over the phone, they can't do better for the first 6 months than $40 per month, while online (if I could get past the point where it checks for your address being in the database) I can get the same rate (15 Mbps downstream) for $30 per month. They've put all that in their database now, so I'll be able to dicker with them when they finally decide how they can help me.

Half the fun of this is getting three or more sides of one company to at least claim they are working to help you. I would love it if there were three different groups coming out to pull the cable. It might get done sooner.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Moved

Last weekend, Jennifer and I began out move from Pacheco to Emeryville.

We had begun the process the week before I was laid off, and Jennifer put in our 30-day notice just a couple hours before I was laid off.

We had money set aside for moving expenses, so that was good. We hired movers, and halfway through the day, Jennifer fired them because they were just dragging. Jennifer's phrase of the day was "slower than molasses in winter."

For those that remember from ten years ago, we had water leakage in the place in Pacheco. It got fixed and then a second leak occurs. We had thought that was all fixed. We had three bookshelves on the wall, and when they were moved we discovered that there had been more leakage. Fortunately the bookcases are only stained on their backs, so that's good.

My favorite phrase is: we are well shut of that place.

Now we get to learn all about our new neighborhood, and sign up with the Oakland Public Library.

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