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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

David Rakoff in San Jose

Last night I heard on the radio that David Rakoff would be speaking at the San Jose Museum of Art. I looked it up today, and sure enough it's true, and it's not expensive. David Rakoff is a humorist with a similar style to David Sedaris, but whom I sometimes enjoy more. One of my all-time favorite episodes of This American Life - "What are you looking at?" features a story about a devout indoorsman going to climb a mountain in Vermont. It's fabulous. Oh heck, the whole hour is gold.

As an aside, if you've never listened to This American Life, take an hour and listen. I think my all time favorite episode is "Conventions". That one got me to pull over off I-5 in Valencia so that I could hear the end before losing signal as I went over the Grapevine. You can listen for free any time, or download an episode for just $.95 to listen to later.

Anyhoo, back to my original point: David Rakoff will be speaking in San Jose at 7:30pm on Thursday, February 21st and tickets are only $18. Seems a steal to me, so I grabbed a pair.

Monday, September 24, 2007

FNW on Saturday Rocked!

It's a good night when you get to teach and dance Irish, English, French and Disco at one event. Add to that waltzing to a lot of traditional and non-traditional tunes and I had a great time.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Cumberland River Sutlery

Allow me to make a big endorsement for Cumberland River Sutlery. I ordered the green and gold dress and it arrived yesterday. I tried it on last night and now all I need to do to be ready for Dickens is hem the bottom of the skirt and dress my bonnet. I am so relieved. It fit so well and looked great and it was $99 plus shipping, and the shipping cost was really pretty much what it cost in postage.

So, if you've been thinking Dickens might be fun but can't stomach the thought of making a dress or paying some incredibly high cost to have one made, then this is the place to go. Back when I started looking, the dresses were grouped by type, but they've since split it out to include waist size and they have sizes from 24 inches to 50 inches. It makes shopping easy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Fall Fell

Fall arrived this morning with a mighty whump. Actually, I think it sort of started arriving yesterday as I drove around the students arriving in their dorms on campus and nearly killed one who stepped off the curb carrying a big box she apparently couldn't see over and couldn't hear my car coming. Yikes. But then this morning the heater kicked on and KQED said there would be thunderstorms this afternoon and the wind was blowing and I grabbed a coat before leaving the house. Then I went and gave the Fall Kickoff TIPS presentation and I've already gotten 3 big complements. Luckily, the presentation rocked as much as I thought it did. Woohoo! Er... wait, I meant to say, "Yarrr!"

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fall Social Dance Classes

Richard Powers just posted the list of Thursday evening classes for the fall. I'm very grateful that there's nothing there I can't stand to miss because I've already got a class on Thursdays this fall. Whew!

However, if you've been thinking about getting in to social dance and want a good foundation, the 7pm Waltz & Swing class is the best foundation you could ask for. It's a great class taught by a great instructor at a very reasonable price. Sign up quickly as it always fills up.

Thank You Karma Fairy!

Okay, so then in one fell swoop I got it all back. I got my car back at 4:30. So then I drove to Alameda for the ceili. I arrived early enough to celebrate and treat myself to gelato, and they had my favorite flavor (Caramello Chocolate Crunch). The girl said, "Wow, we haven't had that flavor for a while. You lucked out." Yay! And then I got to dance. Not dance gently and carefully - dance all out, through a reel-a-thon and 13 minutes of polka set. This rocked. And then I got home and my ATM card had come in the mail. I'm now officially ready to face the world again.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Yahoo Buys Zimbra

One of the projects I've been working on for the past few months is the choice of a new email and calendaring solution for Stanford. We were down to three - Google, MS Exchange, and Zimbra. Things just got interesting because Yahoo bought Zimbra for $350 million.

Woo-hoo! Woo hoo hoo!

I got my car back!!!

Funny thing - I've been fighting RSI in my wrists all last week. This is one of those things that usually only happens during crunch times at work, but it's not been crunch time (at all). So I figured it was something about my keyboard (because I know it's not a perfect set up). But sitting down in my car, I was immediately aware of the different placement of the steering wheel and how my arms rested and so on, and I think the other car was actually aggravating the RSI. This boggles me a bit, but isn't completely insane considering how much I drive each week. Here's hoping the return of Shadow also means that my hands and arms stop hurting.

Also, it's really hard to hug a car. It's just too big to hug. Really wanted to though.

TV Consumption

So the odd thing about sewing is that I like to "watch" tv while doing it. Watching doesn't so much happen so much as listening and glancing up to see what's going on. Usually this requires an old favorite movie like Pride and Prejudice or Moulin Rouge, but this time it was a little different.

First, I took advantage of the Amazon Unbox offering to download several NBC pilots for free directly to TiVo. This is a brilliant plan on NBC's part. I would've never noticed 3 out of 4 of these pilots were it not for this option. What's more, 3 out of 4 of them were worth watching.

The Bionic Woman is done by the same guys who redid Battlestar Galactica. It's got potential. It is set in San Francisco, but doesn't seem to look much like San Francisco.

Chuck is about a loser guy who works for the Nerd Herd at Buy More (a transparent substitution for the Geek Squad at Best Buy) reads an email from his old college roommate that manages to download a bunch of government secrets to his brain. It's a terrible premise, and I didn't have much hope for it, but it was actually decently written, and the satire on things like Best Buy and Home Depot (called "Large Mart") is great so I suspect I'll stick it on the season pass to watch while I'm exercising.

The most interesting of all turned out to be Journeyman. It stars the guy who plays the uptight soldier in Rome and it's about a guy who starts time traveling one day. He just leaps out of his current time stream and into another. It seems to be a little bit Quantum Leap (putting right what once went wrong) and a little bit of "The Time Traveler's Wife" and a little bit Sliding Doors. Anyway, must say the pilot was engaging and had a truly great climax scene with his wife. This one is actually my favorite for the new season, and I had no intention of watching it before the Amazon Unbox offer. Also, this one is set in San Francisco, and actually appears to be in SF, save for the one scene where you can see the Golden Gate Bridge looming on the horizon from Golden Gate Park. That made me snort.

I also watched a couple more episodes of the Dresden Files. Meh. It's a little too much like Charmed without the cute chicks.

I also broke into the set of Freaks and Geeks that Ray loaned me. Lots of familiar faces there, and so far, pretty fun. Definitely good sewing or exercise material, and there's only 18 episodes total so that won't take long to get through.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Curtains Done

The fabric from FNW is now 3 curtains with ties for the windows facing the lobby. It took longer than I expected, but now it's all done and spiffy. I still need to make two more for the other two windows, but they're a different shape and separate so its okay that they're not going to be the same fabric. But the 3 main windows have lovely curtains in Pendleton wool.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Rockstar!

Ever have those days where you feel really good at your job? I'm having one. Just finished building an iPass demo for a presentation at TIPS next week and it's pretty and even weird connectivity issues through IE didn't stop me.

Plus, I had to do this from a T-Mobile Hotspot to get it captured correctly, so I just HAD to go have a Frappucino at Starbucks. Oh the burdens of my job!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Of Cars and Car Repairs

I talked to the shop about my car repairs today. Turns out they found more damage once they took off the outer panels. It's a few more days in the shop for Shadow. Oh how I miss my little Prius!

Meanwhile, I'm driving a basic model Saturn Ion. It's the younger version of my former '93 Saturn SL, and I'm sad to report that it's a step backwards from the old Saturn in so many ways. It's missing some basics included in the base model I got in '93 like a trunk light and an interior fueling door release. The bottom of the door frame is oddly high and tripped both Rick and I this weekend. The bottom of the window is also higher, which Rick liked at his height, but at my height it makes me feel like I'm sitting in a hole, and it's not comfortable to rest my elbow there.

The thing that amazes me though is what a hugely symbiotic relationship I've developed with my car in the year I've had it. I accidentally left my dance shoes in the sub-trunk, because that's where they live. I'm used to carrying a lot more stuff and still being able to get in the car gracefully rather than having to stop and dig out a key to unlock it. Of course, I keep forgetting to lock it as well since there's no button on the outside for locking, so that's no good. And making a call in the car is much more dangerous because I have to dig out my phone, make the call, and hold it to my head. To answer a call, I can't just press a button on my steering wheel, but have to actually fish out the phone. It's just really weird how all of this has become second nature to me. Bryan said I was a "Car 2.0 person now." That made me giggle.

The final bummer is that I have to get new Access OK stickers for Shadow, which may or may not be possible. I've sent in the paperwork, so we shall see. If those are gone because of this, I'll be really really sad. Commuting to work this week has been far more time consuming.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Feeling Better

For the past two months I've been fighting a calf injury. I tore a little muscle in my calf, and I've been trying to be relatively kind to it. This has meant all flat shoes (because any heel at all aggravated it) and avoiding dancing that hurts it. This means polkas and Irish.

I have Irish every Monday whether I should do it or not.

So it's been slow going, with a few set backs, and there may be more. But last night, for the first time in two months, my legs did what I told them, didn't demand that I go flat footed, didn't demand that I stop and stand aside. Nope. There was a hint of pain that reminded me to be very very careful, but nothing screaming to stop right now.

And I feel so much better. When life is stressful (which it has been lately), I usually dance and feel better. Having that resource taken away, yet still having to suit up and attend and find the balance between the desire to dance and the pain it caused, all of that made the stress much much worse. One night of dancing, not yet trusting the leg, but having it be cooperative, and I'm feeling so much better.

Add to that a bit of schadenfreude for dear friends who are far worse off than I and I feel like I'm getting my spunk back. Whew. I was really starting to miss it. I don't like the grumpy-sad version of me.

Now if I could just have my car and my ATM card back I could start really moving forward again.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Stupid Wells Fargo and My Stupid ATM Card and My Stupid Inability to Keep Track of Things. Grr.

Never have found my ATM card. I think Chris may be right and it may have been lost to the machine due to Wells Fargo's annoying habit of not returning the card until the end of your transactions. I called to ask about whether or not my card might've been left in the machine, and they said that cards are sucked back into the machine after 10 seconds and that they're destroyed when the machine is serviced. I asked if they recorded the card number and name in case the customer inquired and he said no. This makes me very grumpy. So I may never know what became of my ATM card. But I'm going to be without it for at least another 2 weeks (10 business days), and then it will take time to transfer all of my automatic payments over to the new card. Gah! I really feel like I'm running on empty these days with way too many stupid traffic lights turning red as I approach.

Mouse in the House

I've never had to deal with mice in the house before. It feels very different than bugs. With bugs (ants, roaches, earwigs, spiders, etc.), squishing them doesn't seem so awful. It's just a bug. But with a mouse, it's a mammal, and it's kind of cute, and it has eyes that look at you with the same panic you're looking at it with.

So here's hoping that between our steel wool and duct tape patches around the house and the ultrasonic rodent annoyance device, we won't actually have to kill any of them. If we do, I went for the D-Con brand traps that snap shut and kill the little guy and you just pick up the entire disk and discard it. The thought of dealing with traditional mouse traps was more than I could handle, and poison seemed dangerous since Pixel will put almost anything in his mouth, including a dying mouse. Also, I know they're pests and really need to be killed to be controlled, but lordy I'm a big old softy and I just don't wanna.

Dickens on the Brain

At FNW, Scott was helping the church get rid of leftovers and unclaimed items from their lost and found, and there was 4 yards of wool just looking for a home. They shall be the curtains for Fezziwigs so that when Red Barn decides to open the lobby to guests an hour and a half early, the Fezziwigs need not be fully on stage. This has seemed a preventable madness for the past couple of years, but it required someone to step up and say, "I'll make curtains so that it's not a problem." This goes way beyond insufficient reluctance and right into actual initiative. But this one really matters to me, because nothing ruins my morning more than being told we're going to be opening early and that my cup of coffee and my bowl of breakfast isn't period and has to go away. It elicits a rather un-Victorian response complete with many colorful expletives.

I also ordered a dress last week. I finally settled on the green and gold dress because I couldn't justify the extra $40 for the red and taupe when the green and gold was the most popular in the survey. The funny thing was that the green and gold was the number one pick, but also the number one for least preferred. The red and taupe was only one person's least preferred, so I almost went with that. Hopefully it will arrive shortly and need very little tailoring and I'll be dressed for the season.

Pixel Victorious

On the plus side of the whole mouse in the house thing, Pixel has been very cute all night, reenacting his victorious mouse attack for us with his toys. He's been way over the top, whacking toys around with a vigor we don't see so often these days. We're pretty sure he's been trying to tell us about this for a while, and he seems really happy we finally get it. This explains several late night complaints about something when he had food and a clean litter box and water. Rick thought it was about wanting love from the sink, but really he was trying to tell us that one of his toys came to life.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Eeeeek!

So Pixel has been obsessed with under the stove for a few weeks, but no probing or visual inspection had produced any results. We figured he was just after where the red dot hid.

So then Rick opened the cabinet under the sink, where the trash and recycling lives, and a mouse ran out. Pixel whacked it, and after bouncing around a bit, it ran under the stove.

Rick came and told me and I promptly lost it. So, I went to the store and got traps and an ultrasonic rodent discouragement device. Rick pulled out the stove and uncovered the two holes in the wall and the gap around where the gas line comes in from the basement. So our plan for the evening changed to patch up holes and set traps. I also scrubbed down the sides of the stove since it was out.

All I can say is, "Dear Karma Fairy, Ha ha. Very funny. I surrender. You win. Please go pick on someone else now."

Friday, September 07, 2007

Turned Her Over

So I handed over the Prius for repairs this afternoon. They said it should take a week to ten days. I'm now driving a very basic Saturn Ion - no cruise control, no power locks, no power windows, (no Power button, no carpool lane stickers). And the past driver was apparently a huge fan of bad cologne. I can smell it on my hair after being in the car for 30 minutes. Ew. I miss Shadow.

Stupid Ammy & Her ATM Card

So for the second time in the past two weeks, I've misplaced my ATM card. It went missing about 2 weeks ago on a Friday, defied all attempts to find it, but didn't accrue any new charges. Only the stuff I'd made before misplacing it was on there. After a full week of hunting through my wallet and my purse, calling Trader Joe's (the last place it was used), digging through my car, and generally coming to the point where I was just ready to surrender and count it lost, it suddenly reappeared in my wallet as if it had been there the whole time. This was very cool, so I just took it as a blessing and moved on.

Except my ATM card disappeared sometime after lunch on Tuesday again. The last thing I did was to deposit the ceili funds and go to lunch. I paid for lunch with cash. When I went to use my ATM card yesterday afternoon, it wasn't there. So I dug through my purse a bit, then checked my account and nothing was amiss. The last purchase I'd made was from home via the internet, so I thought maybe I'd left it there (not remembering at the time that I'd used it to deposit cash on Tuesday). So this morning I looked all over the house to no avail. Then I came back, emptied my wallet, checked for a transdimensional pocket, and finding none, return to my perplexed state. Again, nothing is amiss with my account, so I think it is once again misplaced, not stolen. (The last time my ATM/Check card was stolen, it had charges starting 10 minutes after it disappeared at the same gas station where it went missing.)

So I guess I'm just losing my mind or the karma fairy is having some good fun with me. All I know is that I pretty much use my ATM/Check card for everything, and now I'm stuck and just plain confused.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

ASL

I took my first ASL class tonight at San Jose City College. It was totally fun, and kind of scary. I can say "My name is Ammy. I must practice for my homework. I am not deaf. I am not hard of hearing. I am hearing. Thank you." And well, that's about it. Our teacher is a character. We'd make goofy signs and he'd tell us what we just said. Let's just say "meet" and "kiss" are close.

There was an interpreter there when we started, but after an hour, we found out she was leaving. People's questions got a lot more panicky. But then she left and we did okay. This should be interesting.

Could someone please explain to me why I thought it would be a good idea to take a class that has a final on December 20th? Crazy me. Tra la.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

2011

They just announced that the move to Redwood City is targeted for 2011 - not in a year or two years - at least four years away. Meanwhile, the list of folks moving off campus next June to Porter Drive is a very short list - mostly Administrative Systems, the Controller's Office, Central HR, and possibly the IT Services Help Desk. So, I'll have to wander over there for presentations and meetings occasionally, but I'll still be on campus 98% of the time.

This is a lovely relief. One less thing to consider in the next couple of years.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

New Backyard Kitty

After the sudden and inexplicable disappearance of the cat population in our backyard a few months ago, we were plagued with some rather noisy birds moving in and some mice migrating over from Rudy's house next door as they moved out. Finally, a little feral angel has come to our yard to set things right. She's a pretty little calico that wants nothing to do with people and everything to do with the local mouse and bird population.

So, the back yard ecosystem is starting to balance out again. The birds are still eating the roaches that are fool enough to hang out in the daylight, but the birds are staying higher in the trees now and the loudest ones have become lunch. The mice are all but gone. And there's a lithe little lady cat keeping everyone in line. And Pixel is fascinated every time he sees her through the screen door. Ah, the circle of life.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Labor Day Weekend

Just ate my last snickerdoodle from Janelle's last visit. So yummy. And the perfect antidote to too much yardwork. Rick wielded the machete and I worked the weed whacker. It's not all done yet, but it already looks much better. All other plans for the day went away since the car shouldn't be driven as the tire rubs on right turns and bumps in the road. Ah well.

Yesterday was Avenue Q and dinner at Chevy's and drinks after at Trader Vic's next door. Q was fabulous. I adored the Bad Idea Bears. Dinner with good friends including Michelle and Kerry. Got to return Lost Season 1. Anyway, it was a lovely day.

Tomorrow more yard work and figuring out how best to journey to Alameda for dancing.