Almost there...

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Alameda is a wacky town. Full of gorgeous old Victorians, a wacky small town feel, and a little bit of an odd sense of humor. On this bench in Alameda, the inscription really does read "In Memory of My Dumb Friends".

Rick walked from Morgan's place back to Frank and Janelle's place on Sunday, and found a lost wallet along the way. After digging through it trying to find a phone number or email address to no avail, we called a couple of other numbers. After calling his mom, and mom's husband (dad?) said, "Oh, no, we don't know where to find him. We disowned him years ago," we decided the best thing to do was hand the wallet in at the police station. On Monday on the way to breakfast, we ran across a police cruiser in the same neighborhood as the bench, handed them the wallet, and asked after the origins of the inscription on the bench. The woman cop asked her partner and said some of the "saltier, old guys" might know, but she didn't.

And then we had our waffle at Ole's. Mmm.... waffle. Should've taken a picture of the waffle.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Remember the Great Breakfast Quest? It lives! We were house/catsitting for some friends in Alameda this weekend (who happen to have the cutest, most loving pair of kitties I've encountered in ages), and Sunday morning called for yummy breakfast out. I'd heard good things about Ole's Waffle Shop, but this place was great. It looked like it was frozen in time from 1975. The wall behind the counter was wide alternating stripes of burnt orange and creamy yellow. The waitresses still sported Dorothy Hamill cuts. And the waffle was to die for. Rick had the biscuits and gravy and I had the spicy turkey sausage special. We split a waffle on the side. It was all good. Really good. But the waffle. The waffle is what waffles are supposed to be. It was perfect. Crispy on the outside without being tough, soft and flavorful on the inside. Spoiling it with syrup was too much for me. The waffle was good enough on its own. Rick had the syrup, and it was real maple syrup. Yum. I was in waffle heaven. So much so that we came back the next morning on our way out of town for the waffle special. No splitting of waffles this time. I wanted my own. So we each had the Waffle Special - $5.05. The bacon was glorious. The waffle was perfection, again. And I'm just so glad I don't live in Alameda, because I'd eat there way to often. Yummy yummy waffle. Mmm...

Oh, and I turned 29 on Saturday. (mmm.... waffle) Had a really great party up at Alex's new place in the Oakland Hills. I got some unexpectedly wonderful gifts. I never expect people to give birthday presents to old people, but I guess other folks think differently. Cathleen gave me a gorgeous little handbag with a stunning brooch inside. My grandma sent a tin of her gingersnaps and a stack of hair conditioners from her hair dye boxes. I know that doesn't sound cool, but it really really is. It's the best conditioner, and you can't buy it without buying the hair dye. My mom got me the first season of Twin Peaks on DVD. Now I get to try to inflict it on Rick. (mmm... waffle) I also got a nice bottle of merlot from Heather, with the added bonus of having a Heather around for once in a blue moon. Just don't see enough of that girl anymore. Megan brought me copies of the CDs from the first guerrilla dance in SF. Can't wait to rip those and listen at my desk. Foot tapping and bum bouncing will likely ensue.

Sunday I went to the first St. Patrick's dance rehearsal. It was good, though I was well and truly reminded about one of the major downsides of faire - the sun. Dancing on dirt, under a blazing sun, in too many clothes. This sounds like a good idea how? Ah well, we'll see. If I can get a costume together, I think I'd like to help them out. I also think I want to see about starting an Irish ceili class here on campus, maybe as a HIP class. It's great exercise. I'm in great cardiovascular health for someone who is technically "obese". I can polka at insane speeds for longer than almost anyone I know. Now there's a sentence that doesn't come up often. (mmm... waffles. Yes, there's a reason why I'm obese.)

Yesterday, Cyrus and Athena had a barbecue at their house. In the second half of the evening, we'd played Apples to Apples several times, and finally settled in to watch American Pie, which I'd never seen. Mostly, it was an uninspiring movie, especially for one so high on itself as "reflecting the teen experience" which it didn't really in my opinion. Try Pump Up the Volume instead. Please. Anyway, like I was saying, uninspiring, except for Allyson Hannigan. God damn that woman is the sexiest geek ever. When she screams, "What's my name?! Say my name, bitch!" I was glad I'd sat through the rest of the movie. Unfortunately, that meant missing the Plough. Oh well. Definitely be there next week. The Authority tutorial will be done, and Dirk and Tracey and Camryn will be in town.

Wait, the Authority tutorial. Dangit. Gotta work now... (mmm... waffles...)

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

It just chaps my hide to read things like this. Notice that everything like it is only in the international media, rather than the American media. Why? Because they're too busy trying to be the next hit tv show, having utterly lost sight that they're supposed to report on what actually happened rather than craft it into a great story.

We're being lied to, and the media is helping bring the lie to fruition. I feel like I'm trapped in a dystopian sci-fi novel.

Okay, so I couldn't help it. Even though we had plans with Athena to watch the final episode of Buffy this evening, I heard about the Buffy showing at the Parkway, and we couldn't resist. We drove up and stood in long line only to be told, "Sorry, it's sold out." Aw. As we started to walk away, I overheard the manager talking to the box office person saying, "Well, you can sell, um, maybe, let's see, 10 more tickets." With a quick about face, I slapped the money on the counter. She said, "No refunds?" I said, "No problem." We headed in, grabbed two seats fairly close together, moved them closer together ('cause the Parkway is cool like that) and Rick went out to move his car from the forbidden parking lot. I struck up a conversation with our new tablemates, Clarissa and Jared, a nice couple who moved out here in 2000 from Texas. I mentioned to them that they didn't exactly look like they belonged in Texas. They offered me a high five. Apparently, they're really glad to be here.

Buffy was great. There was a lot crammed into an hour, not all of which made perfect sense, but I loved the end. And I loved the scene with the original gang standing in the hall discussing what to do after the big battle (go shopping, of course!). I'm gonna miss Buffy a lot. But last night, I had to be there, in a large group setting, finishing this with everyone else. There's a lot to be said for a group experience, and Buffy night has always been about sharing it with others, whether physically at the time, or online the next day. And maybe that's what I'll miss the most. Buffy night. I could always count on at least 2 or 3 groups of friends having a Buffy night gathering. And tonight, I'm having my last Buffy night at home with Cy, Athena, Paul, Bill, and Rick.

Last night's mass experience of the finale was followed by a mass viewing of Once More, With Feeling. There was some singing along, but mostly just reverence. I hope Joss takes a nice break after this year, recharges his batteries, and comes back swinging in a year or so with some killer new TV. I'm still mergly about Firefly being cancelled, but if it makes room in his head for more greatness, so be it. I guess. Nah. I just wish I still had Firefly to look forward to. Grr. Arg.

Aw drat, I'm rambling. Better go buy tickets to Alegria now. Oh, and do some work. Yeah.

Monday, May 19, 2003

Blogging from the kitchen.

I'm waiting for pasta to boil, blogging from my Jornada, now newly enabled with the wireless network.

I'm not at the Plough again tonight because I was on the edge of having a migraine earlier today. All of the symptoms leading to the start of it, then something went twang! in my head at 3:21 (yes, it was abrupt enough to make me look at the clock) and I started feeling more like myself. And hungry for the first time all day. Anyway, the net result was that I didn't start getting too much done before that, so had to stay there and work even though I was feeling better. Just got home a few minutes ago, and I'm making a pot of my mom's new minnestrone soup recipe, and boiling some pasta to go with leftover sauce for tonight's dinner, since the soup takes about an hour to cook and pasta takes 10 minutes and it's already pretty late.

The upside to staying late at work was that I made a significant amount of work done on the Authority Manager tutorial. I hope to finish the very rough draft tomorrow, and start working on making it pretty next.

Pasta's done!

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Went to see The Matrix - Reloaded last night. Gotta see it again. Good flick. And an interesting commentary on religion. Can't go into that and spoil it for everyone else. People will be talking soon enough.

But I gotta say, I'm just not willing to keep going to Century theaters when AMC does it better. First there's the difference between Movietickets.com and Fandango. On Fandango, you pay a $1 service fee per ticket. On Movietickets.com, it's fifty cents, or better yet, it's free with a MovieWatcher card. And that's another thing - the Moviewatcher card they gave me almost always spits out some sort of incentive. Sometimes it's free popcorn or a free soda, but every 15 or so tickets, it's a free movie ticket. And that adds up fast when I buy two at a time. Another difference between Fandango and Movietickets.com is that on Fandango, they warn you extensively that these tickets are non-refundable, and if you don't have the printout or the confirmation or the credit card, too bad, you're screwed. With Movietickets.com and AMC, if you need to change to a different showing, just go to the customer service desk at the theater before the show starts and they'll gladly exchange your tickets or even provide a refund.

All that aside, when I get to the theater, that's where it really matters. Picking up my tickets is always quick and easy with the ABOs (Automated Box Office) at AMC, and it's still easy if I don't do prepurchase tickets on line. And when things go wrong, AMC theaters have a customer service desk that's always happy to assist, even in some wild and wacky situations like the time I left my wallet at home but they could get my tickets for me by other means. And then when I sit down in the theaters, universally, AMC theaters have much better seating. Century has taken a weird approach where they alternate rows of love seats and rockers, which basically means that if you're in a love seat row, it makes British Airways seating look spacious. Last night at Shoreline, the guy in front of me casually sat down and smacked his seat back into my knees rather painfully. And that's with someone who is a mere 5 feet tall in the seat. Anyone taller would be in agony. And getting out to pee in the middle of a movie involves causing a major disruption because everyone you pass is forced to stand up. So not only do you disrupt your row, but also the people behind you. And sometimes my bladder is just not mighty enough for a long movie. At the AMC theaters, more space is left between rows, and all the stadium seats are non-rocking, wide-butt loveseats. Getting out to pee usuallly involves very little disruption beyond someone having to pull their bag out of the aisle.

So I guess this is my notice. Hopefully my friends will choose AMC theaters (The Mercado, Saratoga 14, or Emery Bay) and Movietickets.com in the future for group movie outings, otherwise, I will likely not be joining them. Unless it's for something at the Grand Lake theater. That's a whole other animal for which I'll gladly give up the conveniences of online ticketing and stadium seating. The acoustics in that place, and the pure grandeur of the old movie palace still make it a better choice for a perfect movie going experience.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

So tomorrow I give a presentation to the Ivy League Plus conference about implementing workflow at Stanford. I can't believe I'm doing this. Who am I to talk to folks from:

- Brown University
- Columbia University
- Cornell University
- Dartmouth College
- Harvard University
- MIT
- Princeton University
- University of Pennsylvania
- Univesity of Chicago
- Yale University

and tell them how to set up a workflow system. Hell, I didn't know jack about Workflow six months ago. And I'm just a snot-nosed kid with no particular technical training. And what happens if I start channelling Joss Whedon again? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Crap I'm nervous. Thus, the being at work at 8:00 the night before polishing the presentation. Yikes. Yikes. Yikes.

Send your best butterfly calming vibes tomorrow about 1:30. I'll need it.

Ha!

So I was all prepared to get really grumpy if they cancelled all three of my Joss Whedon shows in one year. First Fox killed Firefly. For this they will rot in hell. Then the Buffy series ended, and well, I guess I'm okay with that. I'm sure everyone wants to move on. Then the WB was holding off on stating the fate of Angel, and I started to get really really pissy.

This is of course after realizing that when giving a presentation a couple of weeks ago, my banter with the audience had a distinctly Whedonesque tone to it. The audience never knew, but they did laugh.

[spoiler warning!!!]

So today in my inbox was the Angel Chronicles newsletter. They made me click to the WB website to find out that yes, Angel will be returning. What's more, James Marsters will be joining the cast. More Spike-y goodness! Hooray! If only Willow was slated to be there too. Oh well. Guess we'll find out what happens to the rest of the gang in a week or so.

[/spoiler warning!!!]

Friday, May 09, 2003

Reality just sunk in. I have one month.

In next month, I have to produce online tutorials for the Authority Manager, for Originators in PeopleSoft and for Approvers and Originators using the Worklist Manager. That's four. At least. Plus help pages. And it's all due by June 15th. Actually, the Authority Manager stuff needs to be done by June 1.

During that same time I need to be out giving presentations and collecting approver information from 30-50 constituent groups on campus. Well, collecting data from 30, presenting information to 50 total.

This is the part where I drop off the face of the earth for the month. Friends, forgive me. I'm drowning in work, and I'm the entire campus readiness team. Yikes.

Monday, May 05, 2003

Today I went to the first half of a workshop called Beyond Usability, offered by Adaptive Path, and spent the whole day sitting next to two guys who work on Blogger. Boy am I glad it started working again on Friday. Mere bemusement with the problems was all I could muster. If it was still broken, it would've been so different.

Really good class, but boy is my brain full. And I really wish I'd taken it before starting the Workflow Project. Oh well. At least I know for next time.

And now for dancing!

Friday, May 02, 2003

Oh. My. God.

So for the entire month of April, my blog wouldn't post. There was some 404 FTP error I kept getting. Kevin diagnosed it as definitely occurring from Blogger's end. I sent them several Blogger Control help tickets starting on April 9th after Kevin looked at it extensively from his end. These went unreviewed. For a month. Kevin was going to set up Moveable Type for me, but hadn't gotten around to it between school and job interviews and illness. I got so fed up that I actually started a new blog using their Dano beta just to be able to put in a Blogger Control ticket that would get reviewed. It never got marked as reviewed, but after three days, it mysteriously changed from being a Dano ticket to being a regular Blogger ticket.

And then today, as if the time that my blog had to spend in purgatory was over, it suddenly started posting to the web. I guess it's May now so it's thirty days pennance are up. I don't know whether to be overjoyed, or still mad at Blogger. It's hard to stay mad at Blogger when I'm listening to my new Kitka CD. Still a little mad though.

Just got the new Buffy hte Vampire Slayer and Philosophy book in the mail. And my Kitka CD. This is so cool on so many levels.

First, the book. Subtitled "Fear and Trembling in Sunnydale". I can't wait to read this. It's such a guilty pleasure. Philosophical discussions founded around something I know and love. This is so going to be my Philosophy class in college.

Second, the cd. Kitka does Balkan singing. We listened to several of their songs while rehearsing for Leneia. One of the songs I didn't learn - Dumai Zlato - is still haunting me. I wanted it. So I got the CD. Beautiful haunting music. I wonder if we sounded half as cool as these folks.

Finally, I just ordered this earlier this week with free super-saver shipping. Then it was delayed because the credit card on my account was expired. Then I put in a new credit card number yesterday, and they shipped it after that. And it got here today. Today. One day later. Amazon rocks. Sure, it was only coming from Fernley, Nevada, but still. This way rocks. Thanks Amazon. Oh, and thanks UPS. I'm going to have pretty new music in the car as I fight traffic across the bridge to see X-Men this evening.