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Friday, April 27, 2007

Tiny Houses

I've been aware of Tumbleweed Tiny Homes for a while and have more than once considered putting one on the weird back corner of our lot. It's nice to see them getting some publicity. Really, a house for one or two people doesn't need to be 2000, 3000, or 4000 square feet. Personally, I really don't ever want to have to vacuum that much house. I love the idea of having a tiny house in a cluster of tiny houses with a larger common house/room for social gatherings (like dancing!). I guess that's why my little 1115 square foot house is plenty big enough for me, and even that is sometimes too much to keep clean. Apparently I'm not the only one with the tiny house fantasy though, because this article is the most read on SFGate today.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

This is an interesting variation on self-response quizzes. In this version, you take the quiz, but then your friends/readers get to adjust the quiz result by answering five additional questions. So here I begin with an ocelot, which is an awfully pretty cat. Let's see how it turns out.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Figments

On the flipside, Sam Weiler pinged me yesterday asking if I was free for lunch today because The Figments - a English/Irish/Gypsy/etc. band that is in town to play some Contra and ECD dances - are playing in the Stanford Hospital atrium at 12:30. Nothing makes my day a little better than lunch with a friend and spontaneous dancing to live music. In an hour there were four or five waltzes, some lovely swing, a couple of polkas, and one very pretty song not to be danced to. There was another woman dancing on her own, so I asked her to polka and we had a good time. Later we were dancing swing and our styles weren't quite meshing. I asked when she learned swing and she hedged a bit and I said, "Wait, was it in the fifties?" She said, "Yes, American Bandstand style." I did the happy dance. She even knew Chalypso. So, we danced a couple of times before she headed back to check on her brother in ICU.

Anyhoo, good lunch, good company, and good music.


Yesterday was fired when I got word that Janelle didn't get the job at Stanford. That was the final straw. I left work right after finishing testing thinking that maybe I could at least get a few errands done, maybe go to the AIRobics. I got lost trying to get to AIRobics and missed the class. This didn't improve my mood. Things have not been going my way lately. I am grumpy.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Today is fired. That is all.


After a full year of mysteriously dropping weight, my body seems to be up to its old tricks. I've gained five pounds, and it happened really suddenly about a month ago, and I've been unable to shake it despite extra trips to the gym and lighter eating. This makes me sad and worried. I'm also cold all the time again, which was less of a problem last year, so I suspect that whatever has changed is actually metabolic on some level. It's a major bummer to have new clothes feel tight. I will fight the fight. I will not let my body win. But I miss the easy days of coming home to find myself a few pounds lighter instead of heavier. I will take that year as a gift and hold it close to my heart for the rest of my days.

Stupid Testing

After four days and five testings sessions, we've just found a bunch of errors in the scripts.

The first is most annoying. We believed all along that you couldn't do resource scheduling, Mark says, "Why can't I just pick a room from this list." At which point, the team goggled and said, "How'd you get there?!" So funny thing - if you create an event and double click on it to add people, you just get a normal "Where" field. If you click and then click "Edit Event Details" you get a link to "Check guest and resource availabity". So, five testing sessions, fifty people testing, and the primary complaint has been, "It's okay, but I can't do what I need it to do like help me find a room." and it turns out it's there, but only if you follow one of the navigation methods and not another. Gah!

The second was on the Outlook script where I'd made the script for Windows, testing carefully, then cut it down for the Mac/Light version. Turns out, Brad edited the OWA script for Mac using the one copy, then went back later and reupdated it to reinclude all the Windows stuff, only he missed some things you can do like add a Category to an email or event. I didn't go through and verify his script because there was less than one hour between when the Mac testing finished and the Windows testing started. Bummer. Too many cooks stirring the pot.

Net result, a bunch of the testing is less valuable. All of these were pointed out by the same guy, and no one else noticed it in five sessions. I am again utterly annoyed that this whole thing was handed off to a project manager who went on vacation for the week 2-3 weeks before the testing when all of these issues should've been being managed, when we should've been validating the test scripts, and when all I thought I needed to do was recruit participants. Now I don't even feel like all that effort generated a fair comparison.

Petulant Politics

So I've been thinking a lot about the idea of setting a timeline for withdrawal in Iraq, and I think that the Dems are really doing this wrong. The administration is right that if we set a formal official timeline, then that just gives the insurgents a finish line to strive for. I for one know I can keep up on things far better when I know there's a time that it ends. Heck, it worked for a year and a half of time in Los Angeles. So, no, believe it or not I agree with our president on something. Freakish, eh?

However, yesterday our president said, that he rejects "Washington politicians trying to tell those who wear the uniform how to do their job". After last week's ruling on the abortion ban, I think Bush should take some of his own advice. I strongly reject Washington politicians (and the court they stacked) telling doctors (who are far better educated than soldiers) how to do their job. Do you really think that the average person having a partial birth abortion is doing so because they just forgot to use a condom and don't want to have a baby? And if that much is true that they've also found a doctor that will facilitate that behavior? It's the most unlikely edge case. The more likely scenario is where something is terribly wrong with the baby or the mother and the pregnancy has to be terminated, usually involving a lot of heartbreak for the parents. Why, oh why, would politicians ever ever ever need to be involved in such a personal and painful medical decision. It should be between a woman and her doctor and possibly the father, and absolutely no one else.

Monday, April 23, 2007


Emily posted about going to Sky High, so I clicked on the link, and it's an indoor trampoline gym.

You would think that I'd have an aversion to trampolines nowadays, but you'd be wrong. Heck, the carnival outside the Louvre in Paris had a trampoline cage with 8 linked trampolines and as I stood there leaning on my cane, I thought, "Oooooh! That looks fun!" Actually, I said it out loud which made my traveling companions look at me like I'd grown a second head. But I digress.

Anyway, so thinking of ways to take advantage of such amazing coolness, I notice there's AIRobics on Tuesdays and Thursdays for five bucks! I think I'll have to check that out next week. Trampoline aerobics. I love it here.

If it's really super cool, maybe I could have my birthday party there.


I love going shopping and wearing a new dress to Gaskells and spending my whole night with people saying, "Wow!" and "Nice dress!" and so on. Just don't mind that a bit. The dancing was good too, even if the band should never be allowed any caffeine before the ball again. All the polkas were fast. Most of the waltzes were very fast. Crazy Brassworks. Love them, but I sometimes wonder if they love the dancers.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Week on Fire

Usually I see weeks of insane work coming several miles away. This one completely blindsided me. I'm working on an integrated email and calendar project and somehow went from my sole task being recruiting attendees to being responsible for the test scripts, which was a vastly different role. Sure, something I could do, but just a bit more time consuming. Things got a little crazy at the end of last week, and the draft storyboard for the script was available on Monday for testing that happened starting yesterday. This is a bit closer than I ever like to shave it. Testing the script against the functionality of the tools revealed vastly different vocabulary between the tools, necessitating three scripts that had to stay tied together. Then some products couldn't do one or more actions described in the script, so I decided rather than delete that, we'd just strikethrough so that we wouldn't lead testers down a rabbit hole but so that the cue that the tool couldn't do that wasn't lost. Anyway, lots of stuff happened, and it culminated with four people sitting in my office, working on script and survey and test data and verification, and finally finishing 16 minutes before the first testing session started. And it went well.

But sorry to anyone who I was supposed to respond to this week. I lost days. After getting home from dinner on Wednesday, I worked another 2 hours, corresponding with colleagues who were also online, and the ones who went to bed at 10 were amazed at how there could possibly be 32 messages from the team between 10pm and 6am. Hopefully I can catch up next week some time.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Nona's Cafe

I've been hearing Alex and Elizabeth sing the praises of Nona's Cafe for a while now, and we girls made a pilgrimage to Pacifica to visit tonight. Owned by Joreth from Dickens Fair, we were treated to an orgy of food, starting with roasted red pepper soup, crab cakes, and beet salad, with seared tuna on a bed of risotto and butternut squash and sweet pea raviolis with sage for entrees and finally ending in no less than five desserts: creme brulee, butterscotch pudding, chocolate brownie sundae, baked cinnamon apple, and pineapple upside down cake. Plus Joreth got to be the first man ever to sit in on our girls night conversations, for which he felt most privileged.

And now I'm going to find some excuse to make it back to Pacifica very very soon.

Stranger Than Fiction

Yet another movie I'd highly recommend. It's an interesting story, very well told. I'd say, "How could you go wrong with Emma Thompson" but I suspect most people I know would answer, "By adding Will Ferrell." The good news is that he's actually good and the acting is nuanced. Add in Maggie Gyllenhall as the baker/tax rebel and Dustin Hoffman and you've got a really strong cast. I'd even recommend this one to my grandparents.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

MS Hatred

I know that I'm just used to other paradigms. I know that my experience using GMail transfers over to Zimbra gracefully. But oh my god, using Outlook Web Access (OWA) for 2007 is making me tear my hair out. I've got a huge list of "How do I?" questions for the Windows guy to ask tomorrow. I can't manage to do anything useful with this thing. I can't even manage to put together a simple email filter (or rule or whatever the hell they call it in Outlook). But it's not under the New button, and it's not when I right click on my persona, and it's not when I right click on the inbox, and it's not when I go to Options. Where the hell is it hiding! Bah!

Monday, April 16, 2007


We had Hawaiian Bowling last Thursday. I got dressed up in a Hawaiian shirt, fake grass skirt, and a lei and gave out awards for best shirt and high and low bowling scores. The best part was when I saw two of the Windows Systems Group guys playing air hockey. From the moment I saw the table, I'd been itching for a good game. So I asked to play winner. Greg asked, "So have you played before?" Heh heh heh. I then proceeded to whomp him. He was really surprised. So then I took on Stacy, and really did him in: 7-1. Y'ouch! I talked to their boss Sean the next day and he said that he was going to have to add that to their training plans for the year.

Friday night I ended up spending with Malaya sort of unexpectedly. Rick, Fred, and Jeremy went to see Grindhouse, and I don't really do Quentin Tarentino movies (not since Marvin got his brains blown out in Pulp Fiction). Anyway, driving home after dinner with the boys, I remembered that Monica was having an gallery opening at Works San Jose. So we stopped in and joined in the fun. I played with acrylic paints for the first time ever. They're neat. I made a heart on fire because I thought making flames would be fun. All of the works created during the show will later be sold on eBay as whole bodies (four pieces of art from different artists - head, torso, legs, and feet). It's pretty cool. Then we came home and watched Clue. Still makes me laugh every time. Malaya had never seen it before.

Saturday I went to the Gunne Sax outlet with Auntie and we each came home with a slinky black dress. They were having a 50% off sale, so that's fifty percent off the outlet price, which meant I got this amazingly slinky/hot black dress for $30. Woot. We shall see if it comes to Gaskells on Saturday.

Sunday morning began with a trip to Babies R Us. Yikes that place is scary. Luckily, we printed out Ali & Mark's registry, read over it, and loved the first thing we went to find on the list. Then we found a little outfit to go with it. Now Baby Novak has his very first fanboy outfit.

Sunday afternoon was Christyn's clothing swap where I learned that her friend Dita has the super-power of buying pants that fit me. She was at the last clothing swap and was the source for my current favorite pair of jeans. This time I came home with three more pairs of pants. I now own more pants than I've ever owned ever, and they fit. This is so very weird.

I also learned more of Anne's wedding ceili dance. She tried to convince a bunch of Irish dancers to raise their arms in a very Scottish way. Didn't work. We were having none of it. I had to stop and fix my armpits after the first time we tried that. Reason number 427 why Irish dancers keep their arms down: it's sweaty dancing so let's be as polite as possible about that, eh?

Sunday night I got brave and drove up to the Browncoats gathering to see Drive. It was hosted by the guy who won the juggling geese at the Browncoat Ball. He's got a fabulous penthouse condo and a wicked cool black kitten named Crash. Why is he called Crash? Well, Crash is always in motion, and not especially graceful. Having 20 people in the tv room was great for him because he could just keep walking through, get petted, then go run around the house for a few minutes, then walk through the forest of hands put there for his kitty scratching needs.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Every now and then, something comes along and adds a little perspective to your world.

One of the greatest skills of the future will be the ability to choose which information is important - to you, to your local needs, and to the global community.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


I was just having the nerd vs. geek discussion with somebody the other day.

Modern, Cool Nerd

78 % Nerd, 82% Geek, 26% Dork

For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.

A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.

A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in Nerd and Geek, earning you the title of: Modern, Cool Nerd.

Nerds didn't use to be cool, but in the 90's that all changed. It used to be that, if you were a computer expert, you had to wear plaid or a pocket protector or suspenders or something that announced to the world that you couldn't quite fit in. Not anymore. Now, the intelligent and geeky have eked out for themselves a modicum of respect at the very least, and "geek is chic." The Modern, Cool Nerd is intelligent, knowledgable and always the person to call in a crisis (needing computer advice/an arcane bit of trivia knowledge). They are the one you want as your lifeline in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (or the one up there, winning the million bucks)!


Also, you might want to check out some of my other tests if you're interested in any of the following:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Professional Wrestling

Love & Sexuality


Thanks Again! -- THE NERD? GEEK? OR DORK? TEST

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on nerdiness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on geekosity
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You scored higher than 99% on dork points

Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Monday, April 09, 2007

No Plough

It's 6pm and I've already had my fill of Plough drama for the day. I'm going to work a bit late and hit the gym.

Much Needed Weekend

After two weekends of home improvement projects, I desperately needed a real weekend, and that's just what I got. It started a little early with a Janelle arriving from eastern Washington for a job interview at Stanford on Friday. I think she's got a solid chance at getting this job, and we'd have a Flonk and Jan living with us for the forseeable future. I'm all for this. I'm so ready to abdicate my kitchen to her.

However, I am a horrible person. Josh was to stay at my house before flying out from San Jose early Saturday morning. It was a simple thing. All I needed to do was to leave a key out for him on Friday night. I got home Friday with Janelle after spending the day with her on campus, walking her around entirely too much. I went out the front door and noticed that a party was starting across the street and that several folks were standing in the driveway. It occurred to me that tossing a key under the mat might be a tad obvious, so I went back inside with the mail that was in the entryway, thinking I needed to work out a better plan for the key, and then call Josh, and then I got distracted. I never did work out the better plan. Josh drove down, and couldn't find the key (because it didn't exist!) and we weren't home. When we got back from our dinner and a movie expedition, I thought, "That's odd. I'm surprised Josh isn't here yet." It dawned on me about 20 minutes later. I checked my phone and sure enough there's a voicemail about an hour ago. Arrrgghhh! I called him back, but went straight to voicemail. I agonized for a bit over what to do, then just took my phone to bed with me, tried calling again an hour later, and finally giving up. But I couldn't sleep. Finally Josh called when he arrived at the airport, having driven home and driven back again in the morning. Arrrgghhh! But he got safely on his way to New York and swears it's no big deal. It'll be a bit longer before I forgive myself. I really do need to work out a long term solution for a guest key at home. This has been a problem before and really shouldn't have to be. Working out a compromise with Rick's paranoia and my desire for a welcoming household is always a tricky business though.

We took Janelle to Hobee's for breakfast, which has the fabulous benefit of being a place where there are multiple things she can eat straight from the menu. After that, we took her on a tour through Trader Joe's. I'm pretty sure I'd starve (or at least eat far less well) if there were no Trader Joe's near me, and Janelle has been living that nightmare for a year and a half. She picked out what would fit in her bag and smuggled a little of this and that back to the wilds of West Richland. I took her to the airport with fond promises that it was just temporary and she'd be back in a month or so, working at Stanford, and it'll all work out.

Next stop was the Pryankster's dance party where I finally got to learn the 29th of May. It was as much fun as it looks. I also learned a new dance Bob brought which led to much grimacing because everywhere it would ordinarily be a set and turn, this was a set and honor. My partner and I kept cracking each other up as we planted our feet and bowed, fighting the whole time to avoid turning. There's at least a half dozen of these instances throughout the dance. Someday I'll be able to do it with a smile on my face.

After that, I headed out to Cy's birthday party: CyCon. The night was full of Guitar Hero 2 and a six layer chocolate cake and Cy got a Wii so we spent a lot of time making Miis for the Wii. We started making Miis by committee with the person sitting in the modeling hot seat and everyone on the sofa deciding what eyes they have, what eyebrows, how high the eyebrows should go, which hair is just right. Oddly enough, some of these committee miis looked amazingly accurate. You can instantly recognize Rick's mii as him. Tox's mii too. At the end of the evening we started playing Wii Sports. I'm far better at Wii tennis than I've ever been at real tennis. Rick and I played Wii boxing, and I knocked him out repeatedly. He was thinking maybe his controller wasn't working right, so we traded sides. I still beat him up. My flailing is apparently just right for Wii boxing.

Sunday was back to Sunnyvale for Second Sunday. Once again the party got fully sucked in to Guitar Hero 2. I remembered that I don't much care for that game because I don't blink when I'm playing it and then at the end of the song, I blink and my eyes start watering like crazy for the next ten minutes. So, I spent a good chunk of the afternoon curled up with Alex on the end of the sofa, chatting about this and that. Then the puppies arrived. First there was the 10 week old Husky puppy who was shy and timid. Then there was Jill's puppy, a lab/shepherd mutt that wanted to play with the other puppy so badly. They were crazy cute.

Finally, Paul and I tore ourselves away to head to Anne's dance practice for the wedding. She wrote a new dance that's the same length as four-hand reel. It's still a little rough around the edges, so we spent most of the time working out the first figure. It was fun though. And one element reminded me of a figure in the Eight Hand Jig, but it's been so long since I've done the Eight Hand Jig that I could remember what dance it was, so then I had to look it up. I was thinking it would help us work out the issues with the figure if we could see a way it's been accomplished before, but that didn't happen, but now I'm hoping I can talk Patrick into doing it tonight. I like it better than the Glenbeigh jig and we've done that one several times in recent history.

Anyway, finally home again to watch Over the Hedge and send it back to Netflix. It was cute. Hammy the Squirrel was totally adorable. Still, I direct you all to go see Meet the Robinsons. We took Janelle to see it on Friday, and she liked it too.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Meet the Robinsons

Last night Rick and I blew off all household responsibilities and had a traditional gym and a movie date night. We saw Meet the Robinsons which had me laughing out loud throughout the movie. The Bowler Hat Guy was the most perfectly oily villain whose plans weren't very well thought out. There were tons of little details that made the movie fabulous, like the frogs, the little goth girl with the fire ants, the caffeine patches, and the Hong Kong movie homage. And at the end of the day, the movie had a great message. I'm glad Rick talked me into it.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Pryanksters Practice

Pryanksters English Country Dance Practice is at my house tomorrow evening. If you've thought about trying it, or wanted a dance guild to work with at Renaissance Faire, now is a good time to show up. We usually get through 8-10 dances in an evening. It's fun and easy and Pixel loves the extra attention. Ping me if you want more information.

Berry Pomegranate Slurpee

One of the trends I'm enjoying is that there are fun drinks out there that aren't made with a ton of corn syrup. Case in point: Berry Pomegranate Slurpee by Crystal Light. I went out yesterday to order windows for the attic room and pick up some tools and supplies for my dad's vent project and on the way home I stopped at the local 7-11 to pick up sodas for everyone. After filling a Big Gulp for everyone, I checked the Slurpee machine to see what was on tap. With four choices, one was sugar-free, and it was even an interesting flavor. So I poured a little one for Rick and I to share and it was a serious blast of flavor. Yummy. And intense. And I froze my brain. And Rick liked it too. I hope it's still available when the weather turns hot again and we'll be spending long nights wondering whether or not all this insulation is actually doing any good.

Home Ownership

This weekend was another weekend of home ownership. I installed more insulation (though not in the overly cramped bedroom this time). I scrubbed the tub and the grout using about a quart of Lime-A-Way, then dried it all thoroughly, including running my hair dryer to overheating and shutting down on the corner of the grout where it just wouldn't dry. Then I used grout sealant on most of the grout and silicone sealant on the parts where the tub meets the tile where the grout was clearly failing. After all of this, I still have a big hole in the bathroom wall waiting to be patched.

Meanwhile, my dad finished building the stem wall around the water heater vent, rerouted the sewer vent, and installed new vents in the sides of the house. Rick finished the insulation on the side walls and fitting the rigid insulation in the attic ceiling.

Still on the to-do list: install the driveway security light, move the wire running through the attic room to outside of the stem wall, replace the attic lights, and then hire someone to do sheetrock. Then it will be a room. If Flonk and Jan come live with us, they'll have their pick of having their bed on the ground floor, or up the stairs and having their own living room space in the current bedroom. If they find work in Sac instead, then I'll have a sewing room and we'll move everything we intend to keep out of the garage, knock down the garage and rebuild it, this time with a foundation.

Meanwhile, I'm still wondering how I ended up with a house instead of a townhouse or a condo. I'm just not that into house project stuff to really own a house. Oh well. Next time.


There are reasons that I make my living fussing at words - writing them and saying them. I got one wrong on this online quiz, and thanks to the author, I know that it's not so much that I got it wrong, but instead that I chose one of the choices when I should've picked all of the above. That's fine by me. You would never guess when reading this blog that I actually do generally know the rules of the language, but I've always said that to artfully break the rules, you must first thoroughly understand them.

English Genius

You scored 100% Beginner, 100% Intermediate, 100% Advanced, and 86% Expert!

You did so extremely well, even I can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly! Way to go!

Thank you so much for taking my test. I hope you enjoyed it!

For the complete Answer Key, visit my blog:

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Beginner
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Intermediate
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Advanced
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Expert

Link: The Commonly Confused Words Test written by shortredhead78 on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test