Almost there...

Friday, August 31, 2001

Hooray! Elizabeth had a baby boy last night. Welcome to the world Logan Conner Schluntz!!!

Elizabeth has long been the most likely, best qualified candidate to be a mom amongst us. I think she and Sean are going to be two of the best parents around. Now the one catch is that Elizabeth's moniker, Miss Elizabeth, really doesn't suit her anymore. Guess I'll have to start calling her Mama Elizabeth or something.

Thursday, August 30, 2001

Last night I headed up to the city to help Tracey pack and feed her yummy Indian food (mission accomplished!). On the way up I started thinking about the weather. All day it had been fairly warm at Stanford. In the eighties probably. Warm enough that we turned on the fans. As I drove toward SF, I saw the clouds pouring over the coastal mountain range and by the time I reached the city, it was misting. I had to turn on my windshield wipers. What's amazing to me about that is how constant the weather can be in one location, and yet five minutes up the road is a totally different climate. Weird. I think I like that better than the description I often hear of places like Texas or the midwest in general: "Don't like the weather? Wait five minutes. It'll change." That's just not true around here. Sure, if you go five miles it's really different, but in any one spot, it's doing it's own thing and really happy doing it.

I like it here. I just wish we could afford to buy a house.

Wednesday, August 29, 2001

Okay, so I freely admit that my specialty is not web technical stuff. But my website is finally working thanks to a lot of help from my friends. Ray saved my butt today and managed to get the Netscape tables issue worked out for me. I did the happy dance.

There was this guy, and he fixed my website, and I said Weeeeee!

Now I've just got to grab Kev tomorrow and figure out one last javascript thing to deal with the scroll bars issue. I really couldn't have done any of this without Fred and Kevin and Ray to help get me over the tech hurdles. I love my friends.

Last night Kevin and I were standing in Barnes and Noble after dinner at Extreme Pizza (yummy Mr. Pestato Head. mmmmm) looking at the magazines. Right on the cover of a psychology magazine was a teaser for an article called, "Can men and women really be friends?" I turned to Kev and said, "I dunno Kev, whatdya think?" He replies, "Oh no, never!" and we both laughed. One thing I can say about my guy friends: they're far more forgiving than women. Women hold grudges. Ray and I have been to the brink of utter hatred. It culminated with a 51 page report that Ray wrote and delivered to me on how I used to be interesting and cool and how now (then) I was just an evil bitch. We didn't speak to one another for a year. Yet, today I can honestly say he's my hero for the day. Ray's growing up, getting experienced, and really maturing. It's great to see that given time, we all do that. Even me! I love my friends. They're better than family. For all our faults and gaffes, we stick together and grow together. Yay us!

Tomorrow night I'm headed up to the city to bring Tracey dinner and help watch Camryn for a few hours. Tonight she's having dinner with her mother and father in law who are very angry that they're moving to Seattle. Little do they comprehend that the thing driving Dirk and Tracey away most is these same in-laws. I wish families could learn to work together as well as my friends. Oh well. At least I'll be there for Tracey to have someone to vent to. She's probably going to need it.

But for tonight, I'm off to go see Moulin Rouge again. It's at the cheapie theaters now. Rick and I are celebrating our day's successes. He finally got the render farm up and working at his office. I finally got the Netscape problem fixed. Now it's time for dinner and a movie, and there's an Erik's Deli Cafe right next to the theater. Woohoo!

Monday, August 27, 2001

Woof. Last week ended up being a whirlwind of late nights. Kevin and I were having a contest to see who could be the latest worker in America on Thursday night. It didn't start out that way, but that's how it ended up. He planned to leave the office at 8. I planned to leave around 9. Neither of us were done at 11:00, but that's when I decided to give up and go home. Of course, since Kevin was still at work, he convinced me to stop by and play him a game of air hockey before going home. It actually ended up being a really good idea. It gave me that mental break that allowed me to say, "I had some recreational time today." After twenty minutes, three and a half games, and a soda, I was ready to really head home and sleep, or at least pack for my trip to Sacramento on Friday.

On Friday I had to release the beta version of my web based learning course. Come hell or high water, it had to be done on Friday. So I put out a beta version on Friday. It works great on Windows using IE. Anything else has issues. Sigh. I'll keep poking at it today. At least it exists. Now it's just all the detail work. I hate that.

Thursday, August 23, 2001

Y'know, I used to be a Netscape user. I hated IE when it first came out. I hate everything that Microsoft does. I hate the fact that Microsoft comes stomping in, looks around to see what is big, and then creates a product based on that and tries to run the other guy out of business. I think Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer are two rather evil chaps. Nonetheless, as time has passed, Netscape has been worn down and 6.0 just isn't usable. Version 4.7 is weak at best and IE really has surpassed Netscape for basic usability. The ability to hit enter and have it submit forms alone is enough to send me running to IE at this point. Save me extra keystrokes and mouse clicks? You bet!

Unfortunately, at some point a million years ago (or maybe five or ten), Stanford bought a site license for Netscape Navigator. This apparently happened at some point in history long enough ago that web browsers weren't free. I haven't been able to glean anything further on the subject from anyone because conversations on the subject usually go like this:

"So why do so many people at Stanford use Netscape?" I ask.
"Because we have a site license," they respond.
"But it's free. Why do you need a site license?" I ask.
"Because we have a site license," they respond.
"But it's free!" I restate.
"But we have a site license..."

So the result is that 80% of the campus uses it.

I've been working on creating a WBL course for PeopleSoft stuff. It works fabulously on IE. There are these really great interactions that look like you're really in the system even though it's just screen shots. You click through, and it goes to the next anchor so there's not even any time between graphic loads, even though the graphics are huge. Anyway, it's all done in a special popup window without scrollbars or anything, so you don't even notice that you're not changing pages. EXCEPT, that stupid Netscape 4.7x on Windows (not on Mac apparently) can't jump to the next anchor unless the browser window itself is displaying scroll bars!!! AAAAAAARGH! I'm going to go shoot myself now thankyouverymuch. Ugh.

One more day, one more major item to build. I'm here at work tonight until it's done. Hopefully that includes having enough time (or just taking the time) for a real lunch break today. The last few days have been arrive at work, sit down, get up to pee, sit down, get up to pee, sit down (repeat as needed), go home. No breaks, no meetings across campus, no walks, no stretching. My big plan before bed tonight is to spend about twenty minutes on the floor trying to get the cement out of my joints. Hopefully all will go well with the last interactive demonstration I'm creating and I'll be home before I know it.

Monday, August 20, 2001

So now that I've had a week to get back in the groove, I can now feel comfortable writing about Lark Camp. We started out on Friday morning about 11:00 heading toward Mendocino after packing the car and dropping off the cat with her sitter. Rick promptly got a page from work asking panicky information about a laptop that had gone south the day before. Even though Rick was at work finishing details until late on Thursday night, this was one that was not noted as urgent, and so was going to be left for his partner Jeff to take care of on Monday morning. No such luck. Turns out that the user forgot to mention that they were leaving over the weekend for a business trip. They needed it now!!! The new guy was trying to take care of it, and failing badly. Between his limited grasp of English and short time at this job, he was flailing. Rick gave him a few instructions, and we went on our way. Soon we were out of pager range. Ahh. No pagers. No cel phones. No internet. No connectivity at all. Just us and a windy road. So of course, I promptly got car sick on the first stretch of Highway 128. We paused in a wide spot in the road at the general store for a soda and a potty break. Then we got back in the car and drove all the way to Mendocino, passing Terri and Jocelyn in another little town along the way. When we pulled into Mendocino, we stopped by the Lark in the Morning store to ask a huge batch of questions and to buy a shoulder rest for my fiddle. Sure enough, Jocelyn and Terri followed us into the store a few minutes later. They graciously showed us the way to the public restroom in Mendocino. For this, they have a special sort of blessing. Then we jumped back in the car and started heading out of town. We popped into the town grocery momentarily to pick up marshmallows for toasting by the campfire. Rick paid with his ATM card, and once again we were sure we weren't in Silicon Valley anymore. They tried to send his ATM card through, but it got all clogged up and spit out a bunch of meaningless numbers. After fifteen minutes (during which I wandered down to the only town bank to grab some cash, just in case), Rick finally ended up paying in cash. And we were off to camp.

We headed down Little Lake Road to the Mendocino Woodlands. We followed the signs pointing to Lark camp and wound our way down a little road. Just before we figured we must have missed a turn, we saw a white sign with black lettering stuck to a tree. It had one of what was to be a series of very bad musician jokes, most of which were about the flammability of accordians, bagpipes, and banjos and various other instruments we expected to see a lot of for the next eight days. We wound down the canyon stopping at each sign for the first 25 or so to read the bad jokes. Finally, we decided we'd had enough and just drove on and went back to listening to our book on tape: "The Vor Game" by Lois McMaster Bujold.

Finally we made it down to a long line of cars waiting to be checked in. It took quite a while, but we were eager to keep listening to our book, so it didn't bother us in the least. Finally, we got our check in materials and headed toward our cabin to unload. Even though we had listed ten people to share cabin space with, they placed us with two strangers. Oh well. The two strangers turned out to be a nice father and son who had come down from Winnepeg just for this. We unpacked, set up our bedding, and headed back down the hill to find out where we should go to find dinner just in time to bump into Frank and Janelle. Janelle has been going to camp for nine years. They were unsure about who their roomies were going to be as well, but they took us back to their cabin to show it off. Cabin 42. They confessed that they were hoping we'd be sharing a cabin with them, and we suggested that might still be possible depending on who their roommates ended up being.

We all headed up toward the dinner line for our first taste of dinner at camp. It was corned beef and cabbage or tofu and cabbage. Even though I don't generally eat beef, I decided that I wasn't brave enough for tofu right now. Of course, it turned out this was only the first in a series of attempts to get us to eat the corned beef. The next day followed with corned beef has for breakfast and corned beef soup at lunch. The next day had corned beef cold cuts at lunch and more corned beef soup. I will probably never ever eat corned beef ever again. Nonetheless, the first night's corned beef and cabbage wasn't so bad. I went to the makeshift coffee house and found that they weren't serving decaf. Desperate for a warm cup of coffee, I decided to just have one cup of regular. We followed that with a game of Scrabble. We called it an evening relatively early and showered up and headed for bed. I spent the next four hours reading my book in bed with a flashlight since the caffeine from my coffee, the snoring of our roommates, and the strangeness of my surroundings had combined into a mighty case of insomnia.

The next morning, the alarm didn't go off. I awoke with a start just before nine a.m.. I was supposed to be taking an Irish Step Dance class at 9:00. It just wasn't going to happen. I roused Rick and got dressed quickly, heading for breakfast at light speed. We made it and found that breakfast was a fairly nice affair. They served a truly fabulous granola. Just the right flavor. Add to that orange juice, corned beef hash, eggs, and french toast, and I was ready to face my classes. I made it to my 10:00 Balkan Singing class only a few minutes late. I proceeded to spend the next hour looking like a deer in front of oncoming traffic. I've never done any organized singing at all and I'm still amazed that Jocelyn and Janelle and Terri managed to talk me into this. But the instructor was really funny, and the song was peppy and light. If only the words were in English instead of Bulgarian, I probably would've felt better sooner. Rick chickened out in the first two minutes and ran away.

My next class was English Country Dance taught by a guy named Jason and his sidekick/fiddle player Kevin, a truly goofy man with an absolutely infectious laugh. Anyway, English Country is the first type of dance I ever learned, and I've still got a fondness for it. Next I headed for Beginning Fiddle. We didn't pick up the fiddle much that first class, and mostly spent our time learning to flap our arms just the right way. Very silly, but it did come in handy down the line. After that, I had to take a break for lunch or miss it entirely, which was too bad because it meant I had to miss Scottish Country Dance. At lunch, we ran into Suzanne and Laura, who turned out to be Frank and Janelle's roommates. Laura was there with her first real boyfriend, Blake. Suzanne was not thrilled. She gave everyone full license to yell "Stop that!" whenever we saw them snuggling, kissing, hugging, or in any other way being affectionate starry eyed teenagers. Anyway, Suzanne had no problem with trading cabins, so we arranged to do it at 6:00. At 2:00, I headed out to the Sean Nos Irish Dance class. Sean Nos means old style. It's a more low style shuffle footwork. Fun, but unfortunately, the instructor decided at the end of the class that she was going to cancel this class and only teach at noon, which was the same time as my Beginning Fiddle class. Sigh. I headed down to the Irish Step Dancing class at the Pavillion and found myself hopelessly outclassed and quickly realized that in all the shoes I'd brought, I hadn't remembered to bring anything with a heel for that sort of dancing (or for the Flamenco class!). At 4:00, I headed back up the hill for a round of cards with Michael, a friend of mine from Wednesday nights at Scruffy Murphys. I quickly pulled him into a game of Aquarius, and introduced him to Jocelyn. Rick eventually made it by and we headed out to make the cabin trade. We repacked everything, and then went to find Suzanne and Laura. This was when we noticed that it would be kind of cool if our cel phones worked. I left Rick at their cabin and went to go hunt them down. I found them in the dinner line having thought that we'd planned to do it after dinner. I talked them into going ahead and attacking it now. This turned out to be a really fabulous decision, since dinner ended up being three hours late that night. After moving everything, we still ended up standing around waiting for dinner for two more hours.

After dinner, we finally made it to part of the English Dance night. I danced for a while and Rick sat outside chatting. We dragged ourselves back to the cabin, showered up, and slept like the dead.

More of this saga tomorrow...

Wednesday, August 15, 2001

Eyehck! Looks like it was a really bad week for prominent companies. CitySearch (who recently bought eVite) is going away according to as well as (which my grandparents use for email service). Even AOL internet (part of AOL TimeWarner. Whatever.) and eBay are doing layoffs. And they're also closing all of the Warner Brothers stores (as opposed to just some earlier this year). Plus there's the little tidbit about a shortage of U-Haul trucks in San Francisco. Seems too many have been rented one way - out of town. I'm glad I've decided against buying real estate for the moment. Things still look like they're going to get worse before they get better. And y'know, that $300 from W doesn't seem to be making a darned bit of difference. Go figure.

Tuesday, August 14, 2001

So I'm listening to a book on CD called "Don't Know Much About The Bible". It's full of bible trivia. Here's today's random piece of trivia: Jesus is a greek translation of the name Joshua. Go figure. When it was translated into Latin, they decided to keep it as Jesus and it's stuck ever since. You'd think I would've heard that in my Bible as Lit class in college. There's just so much to know about the Bible, and none of it makes me want to become a Christian of any type. Jewish, maybe. But definitely not the undereducated illiterate Christians I usually find.

Oh and one more thing - there's this site that helps you do those funky little math puzzles. Remember the ones where you had to get everyone over to one side without leaving people alone? Anyway, here it is, new, improved, and modernized. I like how the cannibals say a very breathy "I'm evil I'm evil I'm evil" as they lick their lips.

I don't know why this makes me laugh. Still, every time I see a squirrel running around campus, I think "Weeeeeeeeeeee!"

Okay, I'm back from Lark Camp. I'm not going to give a full report right this minute since I have a meeting in 13 minutes, but let me just say a few small words. First, it was great fun. Second, I'm SO exhausted. Third, I'd do it again. Fourth, it was worth every penny. Fifth, next year I'm going to Paris (dammit!).

While gone, my Nanofictionary beta test deck arrived in the mail. Kevin and Emily and Athena and Rick and I are going to play it tonight and see how it goes. We played this once back when the Looneys came to visit, so I already know that it will be both fun and challenging.

Well, off to my meeting!

Thursday, August 02, 2001

I'm off to Lark camp. The next eight days will be spent dancing and learning to play fiddle. Hopefully it will be as amazingly cool as everyone says it is. I finished my storyboards for the WBL course and so I won't have that hanging over me. When I get back, I'll have to develop like a mad woman, but I figure I'll be really ready for it by then. I reckon I'll come home physically exhausted, but my soul should be refreshed.

Oh, and there's no net connection up there. No net connection, no laptop, no cel phones. I can't wait.

Wednesday, August 01, 2001

Great quote on love: "You can love more than one child! You can love BOTH your parents! WHY do people think you can or should only love ONE other person?"

My thoughts exactly.

So I've been having one of those weird days where I have to wrestle mindset and beliefs and the real world and what is going on amongst my friends and coworkers.

I'm in a totally monogamous committed relationship and I'm happy in it, but that relationship style isn't in my nature. I'm polyamorous by nature. One of my friends is currently experiencing her first moments in a poly sort of relationship with two people whom I love dearly. It has the potential to be really fabulous. Meanwhile, Monica and Paul, the poster children for happy polyamory recently (several months ago) broke up and Monica is living in a committed monogamous relationship with someone else. But PDH survives, and Emily is gleefully happy seeing David and the current set up of David, Jenny, and Matt plus Emily is working well for everyone involved. Then Kevin sends me this link to a discussion on kuro5hin. Anyway, it's all got my mind spinning about relationships and what is right for me. I'm really happy in my current relationship and I don't think anything is going to change any time soon, so I guess it's healthy to have these little mental check ins every now and then. It's just weird when the world seems to suddenly bonk you over the head and say, "It's time for you to review your position on X right now."

The one other weird detail that came out in all of this was a chart that Kev found about the relationship of the female suicide rate to the legalization of unilateral divorce. It's stunning what a direct correlation there is. In another chart, it also shows that the suicide rate decrease seems to match the rate of legalization by different states. It boggles the mind. I personally have such a hard time fathoming being "trapped" in a marriage, but there really was a time not all that long ago that this was a real issue. You were legally trapped. You couldn't just say, "I want a divorce!" and get a lawyer and have it be so. Both parties had to agree. It's just so hard to imagine. And women were more likely to get married back then too. Heck, I'd be an old maid (or maybe just a sinner who will rot in hell) by old standards. I wonder if I'll ever get married. I rather doubt it. I just don't cotton to the idea of being legally bound to another person. Isn't love binding enough? Isn't setting up a life together binding enough? For me, it definitely is.

So I guess the net result of all of this thought is that I should spend more time and energy being an advocate for sexual freedom since I believe in it so strongly. I should spend more time being an AIDS activist. I should spend more time being a women's rights activist. Or at least I should donate my tax refund to these very important causes.

Okay, so my life has been filled with an odd level of irony lately. Last night as Wynn was racing out of the office, looking quite flustered and rushed, I asked him where he was heading. He said he was late for his stress reduction class. Ah.

Then the other night on tv there was an ad with a fellow standing in a spotlight with cheers all around taking bows. It was a California energy conservation commercial. It said, "We've done great so far, but the battle isn't over yet" and basically reminded us to conserve electricity. This commercial was immediately followed by an advertisement for the Main Street ELECTRICAL Parade at Disney's California Adventure. Right.

Well, it made me laugh anyway.