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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Just Working

I really seem to have a truly special capacity to bring out the worst in computers. I just got my computer back up and running after the adventures in hard drive failure. I actually just reinstalled my Qarbon Viewlet Builder software today. So, thinks I, I'm back to fully functioning. I've got my backup running successfully. I've got everything encrypted. I've even customized my trackpad behavior. Then, at the end of a meeting, I was talking to Jason about a Skype/Firefox/Zimbra interaction and I got to type up a note to myself and I see this:

Putting it to sleep and resuming gave me a few minutes relief, but then it happened again. A full reboot seems to have resolved it momentarily, but local tech support hero Jeremy said that these are classic examples of a failure that means I need the motherboard replaced. He wondered if there were any lemon laws on these things, because after the DVD drive failure, the battery failure, the hard drive failure, the latch failure, and now the motherboard failure, he's put more work into my one machine in the single year I've had it than he puts into most machines in three years. But Macs just work! Right? Riiiiiiight.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Talking to the Right People

It never ceases to amaze me that I can spend days laboring over a communications planning document, then go to one meeting where I actually get to talk to the stakeholders, and the whole thing flows out of my fingers like water pouring from a tap.

Monday, August 24, 2009


I love XKCD as much as the next geek, but today is a home run.

No really, that's it!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Leeloo's Checkup

I took Leeloo to the vet for her annual checkup. At a year and four months, she's just 8.1 pounds. She's always going to be a tiny little girl. Other than that, she's healthy as can be and now happily napping on the sofa after snuggling Pixel when she got home.

Now to figure out what to do with the rest of my afternoon.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Vacation - Wrap Up

We had another day in Disneyland. We met another couple in line for Midway Madness. The gent was wearing a coin necklace from the folks who strike them at fair. Turns out, yes indeed, they're fair folk, retired. Randy posted a photo on Facebook today:
DCA with Faye

On Saturday, we slept late, then headed for the bay. There was a nasty traffic jam in L.A. - oh huge surprise, I know! We made it back to the bay area around 7:30 with just enough time to get ready for the Gaskell Ball. The dress I'd gotten at Arielle's clothing swap was perfect. It fit in a bag for a week and didn't end up wrinkled beyond wearing. I forgot my gloves and stockings, but made due with the usual tights and bare hands. We spent the night in Alameda with Alex and Sherman and finally made it back to San Jose on Sunday afternoon. Laundry and dinner paired well with Dollhouse Epitaph One (and the unaired pilot!) and Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day.

Meanwhile, Leeloo and Pixel had been under the care of Erik Powell, a friend of Tracey's who needed a place to crash for a week in exchange for pet sitting. We were a match made in heaven. Pixel and Leeloo figured he was a worthy substitute for my company and acted like I hadn't left them alone for more than a night. During the trip, I kept getting adorable photos of them sent to me every day or two.
who's got a rug?
pretty princess
Since I started the week maxed out on vacation, I opted to take Monday and Tuesday off as well with the intention of housekeeping and relaxing. I was pretty good with the relaxing, but not so much with the housekeeping. Part of that was that my house was cleaner than when I'd left (Thank you Erik!). Part of it was just an attack of the lazy. Monday, Elizabeth and I worked on a warm-up routine for Fezziwigs next year. We'll give it a test drive at rehearsal on Saturday. Today I grabbed lunch with Frederik and met with my financial advisor. Both were lovely. Add to that a little shoe shopping and a bit of tv and kitty snuggles.

After nearly two weeks vacation, I may actually be ready to get back to work!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Vacation - Day Four

Disneyland is always lovely. Today was utterly charmed. It's the height of the summer season, but crowds were light. 10 minutes to wait for Pirates. 5 minutes to wait for Haunted Mansion. At the Blue Bayou for lunch, we split a Monte Cristo and made it out of there, quite full, for less than $30. After lunch, the weather took a turn for the cool and the afternoon and evening stayed pleasantly in the 70s. We met up with Glenda and her family just in time for fireworks and watched them sitting on reserved benches. We chatted for quite a while after the show and then made it just in time, 11 minutes before Fantasmic to get the sweet spot. Fantasmic was always charming, and now includes Flotsam and Jetsam during Ursula's segment. We ended the day with Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, Astro Orbiters and finally Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.

Vacation – Day Three

Started today packing up at John and Rebecca’s place. Rebecca didn’t have to be to work until 10:30, so she made us a fun little sweet egg casserole that was the first thing she ever learned to cook. We finished packing up and followed her out a few minutes later, going through her gate and waving madly on our way out.

We headed down Highway 41, stopping at Tunnel View. Everyone there asked and offered to take photos for one another. There was one guy there busily posing everyone into much better-than-average photos. He was clearly retired and enjoying every minute of it. After watching him do it for someone else, I said, "Alright, I have to ask you to take one of us. You're clearly doing a much better job than anyone else here." He cheerfully obliged, then chatted for a good bit.

Next we made it past the exit gate and headed two miles up to the Mariposa Grove. Not really thinking of it as a hike, we started up the hill to the Upper Grove and the museum. It was steeper and dustier than we’d planned on, but up at the top, we met Edger, an entirely too tame raven.

He’d let you get within nearly arm’s reach, or closer if you had a cracker. (We didn’t feed him, but he’d talked another family out of a Ritz cracker.)

Back down to civilization and out to the highway, we hurtled on to southern California. We made it to Buena Park for dinner at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Restaurant with 10 minutes before closing time. Finally we headed to the Marriot on Harbor and with two options before us – call it a night at 10 or head into Disneyland – we opted for running off to Disneyland. In less than two hours we hit Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, and Nemo’s Submarine Voyage. We also met a nice family in line for the subs who were amused by us playing Monopoly on the iPhone in line. Cody thought it was way cool. We bumped into them again later after Space Mountain and Glenda invited us to join them for fireworks the next day in the VIP section.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Vacation - Day Two

Vacation is still awesome. John and Rebecca are wonderful hosts and made us yummy yummy barbecue dinner after we went to the valley yesterday. We rented bikes and tootled around the valley floor, looking at the beauty and grandeur all around us. Then we hiked up to Mirror Lake. Then we decided to be really really dumb and hike over the rock slide because some other guy said it was pretty cool and would take 20 minutes or so. An hour later, we made it to the other side and were well more than ready for lunch. It was cool though. Biking downhill after that was even more awesome. We finished our evening playing Slide 5 with John and Rebecca. It's been such a joy to stay with them. They're happy for the company and we're so thrilled to be so well fed.

Next stop: Disneyland!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Vacation - Day One

Vacation is awesome. I should definitely do this more often.

We decided to take John & Rebecca up on their offer to come to Yosemite. Today I danced on Devil's Dance Floor (waltz, swing, Duke of Kent's Waltz, and Congress of Vienna with arms flung everywhere!!!) and hiked out to Twin Bridges before going to dinner at the Mobil Gas Station.

No really, at the gas station.

We had wild buffalo meatloaf, elk ribs, sea bass, and a cheeseburger all at the gas station. Oh, and mango margaritas. It was awesome.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Congratulations Alex & Sherman!

Alex and Sherman's wedding was a smashing success.

I've been a bridesmaid more times than I can count. I've been a groomsmaid twice. But I now have a new favorite job at the wedding: Officiant. That job totally rocks. And doing it for Alex and Sherman was perfect. There's no couple I will ever be more happy to marry. I love you guys!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Master and Slave

Macs aren't better. They're just like other computers. In some ways, they're significantly less graceful. I say this as someone who tried to uninstall something on a Mac this week and had to delete files from a half-dozen different folders to do so... eventually. There is no "Add/Remove Programs" equivalent on a Mac.

But that's not what makes me sad right now. With the hard drive failure, I realize one major weakness of the Mac/iPhone integration. The Mac is the master and the iPhone is the slave. I cannot take what is accurate on my iPhone and put it on my Mac. The Mac insists on erasing everything on my iPhone and syncing from Mac to iPhone.

Now, sure, I pulled back some things. I used Music Rescue to get my music off. But it just nuked every text message I've ever had and every note. Since the old hard drive was perceived as the old computer that had my backup, and since the iPhone can only be sync'd to one computer at a time, there was absolutely nothing I could do except take the blow. This is not okay.

Hard drives fail. I go through one a year on average. Therefore, about a year from now, I'll get to face this issue again. That makes me unwilling to trust the device, and why for all the years of Palm and Treo and other hand-held tools, I stuck to a simple pen and paper method. If it matters, it shouldn't be stored digitally. So while my iPhone remains slave to it's highly fallible master, I will not be slave to it. I'm going back to pen and paper for things I want to keep. And I'm just going to be sad to lose my text messages again. Some of those were really really sweet.

Monday, August 03, 2009


The vampires called again and said that I was eligible and that they had a terrible shortage and could I please come donate today. Sure, says I. I've learned to warn them about how my vein leaps out of the path of the needle at the last moment, so the last two trips have been much better. Add to that the incentive of two free movie tickets (good at AMC Theaters) and I'm a happy girl. Maybe I will go see Harry Potter after all!

Grandma Update

Just wanted to let folks know that my grandma is back home again. I drove up Saturday afternoon to stop by for dinner. She's looking so much better, so that's a big relief. And now, back to my regularly scheduled (over-scheduled?) life.

Grandpa's Garden

My grandfather has a garden. To say it's a garden is a bit disingenuous. It's a small farm. He grows corn, tomatoes, zucchini, cantaloupe, honeydew, black-eyed peas, beans, eggplant, and more. Then there are the fruit trees: two kinds of cherries, two kinds of peaches, apples, oranges, tangerines, kumquats, and grapefruit. Leaving Grandma and Grandpa's house this time of year inevitably includes a box full of fresh, ripe, delicious produce.

Last night I had 3 peaches for dinner and a piece of bread. That's all I needed. Oh my goodness they were juicy. They remind me what peaches are supposed to taste like. I had three because those three didn't travel well and were starting to bruise. This also reminds me of why the produce in the market does not taste like this.

Today I had a peach for breakfast with my oatmeal. Then I had eggplant soup for lunch made with eggplant and tomatoes from the garden.

Whenever my grandpa goes anywhere, he brings bags of tomatoes and other stuff. No one is ever sad to see him coming. It's just magical cutting into a tomato that doesn't have any white parts. They're brilliant red through and through. And I'm spoiled for life. Whenever I see one of those sickly salmon-colored slices on something I've ordered, I just pick it off. But I fully expect to have a dinner of sauteed tomato and spinach this week. Or tomato-basil-mozzarella salad. Or tomato-zucchini-corn-onion stew. Grandpa's tomatoes are a tasty treat in anything I throw together.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Bring Out Your Change!

I had to trim my trees. The city said so. So out I go with my sunglasses and my clippers and I hack at the trees for an hour. Eventually, I haul out the step ladder to finish. I follow that with some whacks to the geraniums. A big pile of leaves and branches are piled up in front of my house. Just as I'm carrying the ladder back into the house, I hear the Bong of the Bring Out Your Change truck. Most ice cream trucks have annoying music. The popsicle bar sellers have jingly bells. The Bring Out Your Change truck just goes Bong... ... ... Bong... ... ... Bong! And when it pulls up, it's got soft serve cones dipped in chocolate. It was so perfectly timed. Hot, sweaty, and perfectly ready for ice cream.