August 2003

Summary: Patrick Visits Los Angeles with Sam; Melissa's Dahlia Show; Little Brian's Birthday; Blaster worm downs Windows NT4, 2000, XP, and Server 2003; Sobig virus is fastest-spreading ever

Dates on this page

Fri Aug 1, 2003

Butter on toast and fresh plums for breakfast. Telecommute day. Link checking. More leftnav work: restored temporary loss of leftnav from pages served to older browsers. Got subhomepages working with the new leftnav. Lunch and dinner at home by myself: same as last night. After work, I worked on my personal Web site some, playing with CSS image resize tricks I found on, adding more accessibility with keyboard shortcuts, very pretty patterns from, CSS tricks by Owen Briggs for font size normalization, and just plain complicated CSS. Had so much fun, I stayed up all night experimenting. Went to bed around 5:00 AM. Been listening to the techno station on Netscape Radio.

Sat Aug 2, 2003

Woke up around 11. Did a whole lot of house chores: dusted, vacuumed, laundried, washed the dishes. Showered, dressed. Buttered toast for breakfast. Shells and cheese, steamed broccoli for lunch. (I threw in some real cheddar chunks with the shells, then shredded some over the broccoli. Yum!) Mailed letters at the post office. Ran errands in West Portal: returned Back to the Future, rented Back to the Future 2, Walgreens. Groceries at Safeway on Taraval. Dinner at home by myself: mini penne in olive oil with garlic, mushrooms, sliced bell peppers in three colors, green onions, a little bit of sliced zucchini. And big, whole leaves of basil. Side of buttered toast. (I forgot to make it garlic toast.) Did more CSS coding same as last night. Template pages look pretty now.

Sun Aug 3, 2003

Onion bagel with light cream cheese for breakfast. Smog check on Fell Street (US$53.80). French fries snack at Bean Bag Cafe ($2.50 for fries, $1.00 for a 7-UP, and we can't remember how much for an iced tea). Divisadero car wash (ultra wash for $19.99). Late lunch at Bagdad Cafe with Patrick: grilled chicken salad with ranch dressing for me, cobb salad with bleu cheese dressing for Patrick, two iced teas, $25.00 after a $3ish tip. Grocery shopping at Golden Produce (the little grocery on Church next to Safeway). Picked up a movie at Superstar Video. Listened to the All Madonna and All Duran Duran playlists that I created yesterday and today. Tried to find out if it's legal to put a car cover on a parked car. I didn't expect to find the answer on any government Web site, but I tried anyway. The California DMV Web site didn't have the answer, but somewhere on it I found a link to the California Legislature site at, where I eventually found that it's part of code 5200-5206: "Article 9: Display of Plates, Tabs, and Stickers" which states, "The installation of a cover over a lawfully parked vehicle to protect it from the weather and the elements does not constitute a violation of this subdivision. Any peace officer or other regularly salaried employee of a public agency designated to enforce laws, including local ordinances, relating to the parking of vehicles may temporarily remove so much of the cover as is necessary to inspect any license plate, tab, or indicia of registration on a vehicle." It took me about an hour, which is still about the same as 10 years ago when your only option was to call them on the phone, wait an hour, then get your answer. However, now that the government is using the Web, I don't have to tie up my phone line for that hour. Such progress! And just in case you didn't know what the Internet was or how to gain access to it, they have a page at dated October 2001 which answers exactly those questions: "What is the Internet?" and "How do I Gain Access to the Internet?" It's written in such staid and decade-old text that it's now—in 2003—hilarious! I offer a short excerpt here: "Individuals with a computer, a modem, and a phone line can access the Internet. A modem allows your computer to use your regular home phone line to dial-up and communicate with the Internet and other computers. In addition, a subscription to one of the Internet access services is required. These Internet access services provide a doorway into the Internet. The fee-based services may be a flat monthly fee, usage-based fee, or a combination of the two. Several books, including The Internet Companion and Connecting to the Internet, list these companies. You can also call InterNIC, an Internet information service, at 888-642-9675, for a list of access service providers." It mentions their Gopher site, too, for all you people who use gopher on a daily basis.

Mon Aug 4, 2003

Oatmeal for breakfast. Link checking. Tweaked the user agent detection script to resolve a tiny problem I inadvertently introduced on Friday. Made several new floorplans of possibilities for James's new office space. Cindy, Kristina, and I went up to 9th Medical Sciences to do more measurements for our new office space. Chatted with Robert Weinberg about wireless options for our student lounge. Installed the past 3 versions of PharmAdMIT on Joel's computer. Upgraded James's computer to Windows XP after making a backup of his primary partition with PartitionMagic. Updated Melissa's emergency backup disk. Changed James's graphics card from his temporary analog one to digital. Took the 7:00 PM bus home today. Sharon was at the stop, so I chatted with her a bit. It's our favorite driver today. We got his badge number—1952—so that she could send in a commendation for him. After we got off the bus, I asked Sharon what his name was. She didn't know, either! I'll ask next time I see him. Another try at setting up Robin Keir's K9 spam filter. This time I'm using a different computer than my regular computer, and I'm using Outlook instead of Eudora. I eventually figured out that no e-mail client would work on my regular computer—must be something messed up at the OS level. It's Win 98 SE so I'm not surprised. So now e-mail is coming in to Outlook and being filtered by K9. I gotta teach it, though, so it'll be a little while before it's completely useful. But I've gotten farther than I did in my first attempt. Dinner at home with Patrick: spinach salad with heirloom tomatoes; angel hair in olive oil with zucchini, shrimp, yellow squash, tomatoes, sliced olives, and chunky basil, garnished with parmesan and a sage leaf.

Tue Aug 5, 2003

Link checking. Checked on James's Windows XP upgrade—no problems. Gathered power requirements for all our office equipment for our contractor Steve. Lunch at desk: leftovers from last night. Yogurt snack from the hospital cafe. Leftnav work—propogated styles to the other stylesheets. It's almost all done—just need to get partners pages to use the right background color. Melissa brought in another round of flowers for everyone. This time I got 5 very large orange ones. I'm sneaking 2 of them back home tonight so Patrick can enjoy them, too. Chatted with Mike Webb about a broken link on the saawww site and authentication needs for our student directory project. Dinner at home with Patrick: salad and pasta, potato rosemary bread with olive oil. Discovered SmartyPants from a link off of—maybe I can use it instead of writing my own code like I thought I needed.

Wed Aug 6, 2003

Oatmeal for breakfast. CSS (leftnav) work all day. Also tried to figure out why Sophos is installed properly on James's computer but the Sophos Admin can't see it. Gave up after several reinstalls trying various different configurations. Got an error message when downloading Mac 9.2.2 Update: "The Shrinkwrap engine has reported an error. Error -60. (OK)" It appears the error message is benign—just double-click the downloaded archive to access the contents. Sent the following e-mail today to "Ugh! Please formally register my complaint with the popup window on your home page at Here's what happens: 1. I go to your home page. 2. I get the popup window. 3. I close the popup window. 4. I click a link to view one of your pages. 5. I click my Back button. 6. I get the popup window. 7. I close the popup window. 8. I click a link to view one of your pages. 9. I click my Back button. 10. I get the popup window. 11. I close the popup window. and so forth. If you can't make the popup window go away, I'll just stop visiting your site. It's not worth my time! -- Frank Farm" Upgraded my office Power Mac G4 from 9.1 to 9.2.1, then from 9.2.1 to 9.2.2. (Thanks for the tips, Chris!) Lunch at Beijing on Irving. My fortune: Prosperity makes friends and adversity tries them. Dinner at Four Season with Patrick: potstickers, sesame chicken, basil shrimp (not spicy), steamed rice, hot tea. $22.95 before a $3.50 tip. His fortune: There is no substitute for hard work. Mine: You will have a long and prosperous life. Visited Brian, Kelly, and Jesse for the first time in about 8 months. Watched Jesse play Simpsons Road Rage (at which he's a master) and Buffy The Vampire Slayer (at which he's not bad). Watched an episode of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy on their TiVo. It was funny, but felt like an info-poor version of tips from GQ magazine. I wanted them to show the total cost of everything at the end along with a cash register sound clip: "cha-ching! This makeover cost only US$79,814.29!" Brian had a great suggestion: that someone create Straight Eye for the Queer Guy for all the gay and bisexual men who advertise themselves as "straight" or "straight-acting" and need someone to slobbify everything to convince the trick or date of their straightness. Brian showed us a new iPod which I hadn't seen before, as well as movies from one of their digital cameras, and snapshots from their new cellphones.

Thu Aug 7, 2003

Installed Mac OS X. It took a very long time—felt like an hour, tho I didn't time it exactly. Software update automatically notified me of a 10.0.4 and IE 5.1 Preview updates. Installed them. Installed StuffIt Standard 7.0.3, Mozilla 1.4, Netscape 7.1, Opera 6.02. Neither Mozilla nor Netscape would start—the icon would blink in the Dock for a few seconds, then disappear—no application appears. Don't know why. When starting Opera, it gave an error: "The application Opera has unexpectedly quit." Don't know why. Link checking. Spent a good part of the day fighting with Windows XP getting it to print to the HP LaserJet 1200se. It's a known problem—there's a "Win XP Communications Patch" on the HP site, but it wasn't easy installing it—the instructions weren't as clear as they could have been, especially since we had about 8 different HPLJ1200 drivers on the computer—I didn't know which one to choose when the dialog prompted me to pick one. Workaround for the future: uninstall the HPLJ1200 before upgrading to XP. Lunch at desk: leftovers from Beijing on Irving. Dinner at home with Patrick: five-spice salmon, asparagus, leftover pasta revisited with chunky vegetables, potato rosemary bread with olive oil.

Fri Aug 8, 2003

Spent the whole day drawing plans for our new office cabinetry in Illustrator. Dinner at Blue with Patrick: "salad in a bowl" (no garbanzos) and an iced tea for me, roast chicken with mashed potatoes and broccoli and a Peroni for Patrick, no dessert: US$22.41 before a $4.00 tip. We ate late—around 8:15 PM—and tho the place was packed we waited only about 5 minutes for a table. My salad arrived with garbanzos, but when I sent it back both the deliverator and our waitron (Cathleen 9) apologized with sincerity, and I got a new salad quickly enough. Sitting at Table #10 by the propped-open door was colder than we realized, but Cathleen 9 closed the door without complaint when we asked. Bar hopping in the Castro.

Sat Aug 9, 2003

River Side Seafood Restaurant (1201 Vicente Street at 23rd, 415-759-8828) for brunch: potstickers and sizzling rice soup—delicious: $13.02 before a $1.50 tip. My fortune: Stop searching forever. Happiness is just next to you. Patrick's fortune: Your home is a pleasant place from which you draw happiness. Office Depot for supplies. Grocery shopping at Safeway on Church and Golden Produce. Napped. Dinner at home with Patrick: Chilled lime shrimp salad—a recipe from the 50 Ways book that Melissa had recommended to me. Here's a rough outline of Patrick's version of the recipe: Start by preparing creme fraiche—equal parts of sour cream and heavy whipping cream. Let sit for 4 hours. Marinade shrimp in cilantro, lime juice, lime zest, olive oil, and garlic for 30 minutes. Grill the shrimp. Arrange avocado slices on plates and top with diced tomato. Add the grilled shrimp, then season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Mix a teaspoon of lime juice into the creme fraiche, then add dollops on top of the plates and garnish with chives. Serve chilled from the refrigerator. The recipe is particularly pleasing on a hot day. We used it as a very light meal before intending to go out dancing, but Patrick fell ill at the last minute and we stayed at home instead.

Sun Aug 10, 2003

Breakfast at home with Patrick: Cheerios for me, Grape Nuts in milk (then heated) for Patrick. Planned Patrick's forthcoming Provincetown expenses in Excel. Did the same for potential trips to New Orleans and Anaheim for us both. We realized we can't afford the $2500 we would need to enjoy our minimum one-week itinerary for New Orleans, so that trip was postponed until Patrick's novel is sold. Graphed my salary history versus my rent history—I'm now better equipped to understand exactly how much I'm not happy with our money situation. Late lunch at home with Patrick: pipette pasta with diced herbs and vegetables in olive oil. At Cafe Flore, Patrick wrote ideas for a new novel. I (re)read from Ethan Mordden's How Long Has This Been Going On?. I had forgotten how much of a pleasure it is to read this book, and I relished each scene anew. The last time I remember reading this book I was in Key West sitting poolside under awnings on the patio of the Lighthouse Court in the middle of a severe tropical storm. We had coffee and tea and shared a peanut butter cookie: about $8. Grocery shopping at Golden Produce. Shared a burrito and regular nachos and a Snapple iced tea with Patrick at Azteca: about $10.

Mon Aug 11, 2003

Oatmeal for breakfast. New offices drawings. Visited the new office space with Chris and Melissa. I took photos. Made live the MPH changes for Chris and Cindy. Dentist appointment: a regular cleaning. Learned from Dr. Lee that our insurance doesn't cover 2 exams per year like nearly every other insurance plan. Oh, UCSF—you have so much power—why don't you use it? Bus 66 didn't show up at all today for my ride home. I must have waited from 5:20 PM to 6:05 PM and no bus. I took the 43 to Forest Hill. An L train came in 9 minutes, but it was packed. There was another in 5 minutes, so I waited for that one. When it arrived, it too was packed. I got on anyway. Got home around 7:00 PM and was in a bad mood the whole night because of it. Dinner at home with Patrick: tortilla chips with lime creme fraiche and tomatoes, sage and shrimp with fiori (this new Barilla shape is a cross between wagon wheels and daisies). W32/Blaster-A worm begins spreading, causing mayhem in the information technology community.

Tue Aug 12, 2003

Oatmeal for breakfast. Answered questions for Melissa. Collected installers for the cdrom for incoming students. Completed the descriptive chart that goes along with the cdrom we'll be distributing. Lunch at desk: leftovers from last night. Left messages for Brian Warling and Robert Weinberg and Craig at our web hosting company. More new office cabinetry drawing. Dinner at home by myself: spinach ramen with fish balls. Installed my update virus definitions batch file for all our home computers. Updated everything to Sophos Anti-virus version 3.72. Shopped for underwear for Patrick online. Shopped for shoes for me online.

Wed Aug 13, 2003

Lunch at Canvas with Melissa, Ena, and Joel. We got to ride in Melissa's Honda Accord. We sat surrounded by modern art and ate chicken salad focaccia sandwiches, minestrone and chicken noodle soup, and salads. I flipped through an InStyle Magazine that happened to be on the table (one page showed a history of Angela Bassett's hairstyles) while we discussed things such as "How do artists decide the prices of each piece?" and watched another cafe-goer cuddle with the tiny dog he brought along by hiding it under his shirt. Joel took us all to near-tears and back home by explaining plot-turn-by-plot-turn the season finale of The Osbournes. "Cut!" Dinner at home with Patrick: pasta with vegetables. Watched The Iron Ladies on DVD with Patrick—a comedy recommended to him by one of the guys behind the counter at Superstar on 18th. The movie is not awful but not great—doesn't really register on my radar, but at least I didn't fall asleep. I was surprised at the end to discover that the film was based on a true story. I had no idea.

Thu Aug 14, 2003

Lunch with Patrick at Beijing on Irving: He had hot and sour chicken ("not too hot") and I had chicken with mixed vegetables. The lunch specials here are a great bargain. As low as $4.95, and you also get the soup of the day (usually either hot and sour or egg drop), a small egg roll, steamed rice, and hot tea. Patrick is especially humored by the waiter's zealous enthusiasm to welcome his guests. My fortune: Answer just what your heart prompts you. Patrick's fortune: You have had a long-term stimulation relative to business. Met Felicia Silva and Robert Weinberg after today's CSC meeting—they seem like very nice people and had decent responses to my queries about getting wireless access points set up for the student lounge in October. Met with one of our Pharmacy students Jennifer Lu whose computer got hit with the Blaster/A virus. This afternoon a power outage occurred in the northeastern United States and in parts of Canada—50 million people! It's the largest power outage in United States history. The photos on Yahoo! News are weird and creepy at the same time. Times Square dark. The skyline mostly dark. The Empire State Building dark. I've never been to New York City, but it still creeps me out just thinking about it. All those people and no electricity. Dinner at home with Patrick: deep-fried wontons, sizzling rice soup, mint Darjeeling tea—everything homemade by Patrick! He's so wonderful! Watched Back to the Future 3 on DVD. I had forgotten parts of this movie completely, so it was a lot of fun to watch again "for the first time." It reminded me of something Don Dornblaser had said to me a long time ago. It was probably around the time when Back to the Future 2 was new in theatres and we had probably gone to see it with Dough Steckman on opening night. He said—no, *lamented*—that he wished there were a way to erase a movie from your memory entirely. The joy of seeing a pleasing film for the first time only happens once. Every time after it's not the same—you know the punch lines to the jokes, the suspense never grabs you the same way as the first time. Wouldn't it be great, he thought, if somehow you could experience that same first-time joy over and over again—or at least more than just once? That made sense to me then. How young we were to think that we'd never forget anything!

Fri Aug 15, 2003

Melissa is surprised to learn that I edited the entry from 2 days ago to remove something I said about her car. What was that now? I can't remember! No telecommute today—I anticipate needing to be at work due to the Blaster worms. This past week, Melissa has been bringing in what seems to be scores of smile-coaxing flowers in a huge bucket. She deserves a ridiculous and colorful nickname such as Gardeness or The Flowerista or Dahlia Dolly, but I can't decide, and an office consensus would be more appropriate anyway. In any case, at her offer, our home now has the beauty of 3 flowers raised by her hands, and Patrick and I are both thankful for that. Checked on the student lounge computers for Blaster—none there, but the virus definitions weren't consistently up to date. Made everything fresh—caught a few instances of W32/Flood-Y. Patched Julie Ryu's laptop for Blaster. Lunch: leftovers from Beijing on Irving. A delicious dinner at Four Season with Patrick: steamed chicken dumplings, tangerine beef, mixed vegetables, steamed rice, hot tea: $20.80 before a $3.50 tip. Patrick got 2 fortunes: Look in the right places, you can find some good offerings. And: You will soon have an opportunity to make a change to your advantage. My fortune: You have had a long-term stimulation relative to business. Shared a custard eclair and a coffee ($4.96) at Just Desserts with Patrick.

Sat Aug 16, 2003

Shared an Asian pear before heading to the Embarcadero Farmer's Market. We got there and were hungry for breakfast, but after standing in line for crepes for 15 minutes in hot sun in a moderately long line that was hardly moving, I got frustrated and tired of waiting. We went across the street to Embarcadero Center where we discovered the open but empty Crepe Cafe and got a ham and cheddar crepe for me and a veggie crepe with feta and a chocolate milk for Patrick for $14.92. Same prices, but no waiting in long lines, no hot sun, no noisy crowds, and they even had a table and chairs. My favorite part was the plasticware dispenser—like a straw dispenser but for forks, knives, and spoons. I thought I was in Europe for a minute there. We had planned to buy groceries at great-deal prices at the Farmer's Market, but after the crepes we went back and although we found lots of great (mostly organic) food, the prices were mostly not pleasing. Crunchy, sweet, and big black plums for $3.00 per pound. Heirloom tomatoes for $3.50 per pound. One place had okay prices on herbs. We saw pies for $8 each—not bad. The ferry building seemed to have been recently renovated and housed lots of gourmet food vendors: a butchery, a flower shop, a chocolatier, a Sur La Table kitchenwares shop, a local olive oil producer. The building looked new and was beautiful. It all had an upscale air, as though not everyone could afford to enjoy what was available. The chocolatier, for example, sold a "S'mores Kit"—a prettily packaged box with gourmet chocolate, rectangle cookies, and special marshmallows, and wooden sticks for $20. I laughed and wondered what Tina would think. Who would buy that? If I were rich enough to pay $20 for what would probably turn out to be 3 s'mores, I'd probably already have a chef on my campsite setting it up for me. Some of the meat prices were on par with Tower Market but we couldn't come all the way to the Embarcadero just for a few pieces of free-range chicken at $1.59 a pound. We ended up buying absolutely nothing and going to Golden Produce at Church and Market for veggies. In the vendor cluster across the street from the Ferry Building I saw a man selling knitted hats and scarves and immediately thought of Joel. I checked out a price tag for one hat—$15. Home: Patrick napped while I installed K9 and set him up with Outlook. We get about 90% spam in our Lodestar Quarterly mailbox, so I decided that something must be done. Haircut with Bao at Nice Cuts.

Sun Aug 17, 2003

Felt unmotivated all day today, spent most of it sleeping. Yesterday my book order arrived—Susie bought a whole bunch of Web development books that I requested. I set aside Ethan Mordden and read Steve Krug's "Don't Make Me Think"—a very good book despite a few inaccuracies in the details and too many irrelevant sidetracks. Finished that in essentially a day and started on Joe Clark's Building Accessible Websites. I'd read a bunch of the first chapters online on his website, but it's much more comfortable in print. Dinner at home with Patrick: pasta with vegetables.

Mon Aug 18, 2003

Dermatologist appointment with Denny Tuffanelli. Link checking. Schedule updates for Kristina and Debrah. CD-ROM development at the lab. The office celebrated Chris's birthday late—Joel brought in a tower of cupcakes, some grapes, some fresh strawberries, and he made a festive sign in PageMaker. Another hour-long commute home because the 66 bus didn't show up. I waited from 6:55 to 7:15 PM, caught a 43 to Forest Hill, waited 18 minutes for an L train, got home at 7:55. Dinner at home with Patrick: spinach salad and macaroni and cheese. Put together a travel expenses chart for Disneyland for me and Patrick and Tina. About $1200 for 3 days not including travel expenses. Installed a new free version of Pop-Up Stopper at home.

Tue Aug 19, 2003

Link checking. Made some corrections to the CD-ROM software chart. Lunch at desk: chicken burger, fries, and onion rings from the hospital cafeteria. I know I said "never again" about that place, but I'd gone too long without lunch due to having to meet with Cindy and Steve about the new office buildout and the hospital cafe was convenient. Spent 2 hours dealing with Kraig Kluba insisting that mail records be added to the DNS record for our domain either today or tomorrow. No one I knew had been notified of this change, and neither Julie Bernstein nor Charles Koehler were comfortable with the hasty plan, so I had to make phone calls and send e-mail inquiries and requests for authoritative action. Rob Duca and Susie Levings were both on vacation, and neither Cindy nor Chris had heard of these changes, so I sent e-mail to and left a message with Dean Koda-Kimble. Turns out Kraig decided to not hijack our domain thanks to steadfast efforts by Julie Bernstein and Jeff Miller. But because of that, I ended up staying at work until 7:30 PM to finish the final layout of the mini kitchen in our new offices, since I'm a little behind on providing her with those drawings due to the Blaster worm. Printed 3 copies tabloid and left them for Cindy to review in the morning. Dinner at home with Patrick: Boboli pizza with onions, garlic, green bell pepper, mushrooms, red sauce. Spinach salad. Put together a travel expenses chart for me and Patrick staying at Tina's small apartment in San Diego. About $750 for 5 days and 4 nights for everything, but no Zoo or anything special except one fine meal. No matter—we plan to spend most of our time checking out neighborhoods and rent prices and house prices anyhow. Forgot to call HealthNet to switch primary care doctors. The W32/Sobig-F virus begins spreading today and becomes the fastest-spreading computer virus in history.

Wed Aug 20, 2003

Switched doctors—did it all online on HealthNet's website—pretty sweet. Chatted with Cindy about yesterday's domain hijacking. Link checking. CD-ROM work. First CD test is almost perfect—just a small problem with 2 exes, figured out the workaround quickly enough—must use a filename different than setup.exe—no problem. Windows CD-ROM should be gold by tomorrow—as I had hoped. Finished almost-final drafts of student lounge cabinet layouts. Dinner at home with Patrick: leftover pizza, tubular pasta with zucchini and other vegetables in red sauce. Got a package from—a new Calphalon non-stick frying pan that was on sale; the one we have has been wearing out. Installed mIRC 6.03 and practiced my French with someone in Watsonville, chatted with someone else in Seattle.

Thu Aug 21, 2003

9th floor new offices walkthrough with Steve, Mike, Grace, and Cindy. Lunch at desk: Hong Kong noodles leftover from a lunch that Patrick had out a day or two ago. Helped Mike Lemont with questions about slow e-mail and a problem with his Internet connection to Pac Bell. CD-ROM mastering. Laptop maintenance for Chris (2 laptops). Stayed at work until 9:15 PM working on cabinet drawings. Dinner at home with Patrick: barbecue flavored chicken legs, corn on the cob, leftover pasta with vegetables.

Fri Aug 22, 2003

Link checking—changed WebCT port number on links by removing 8900. Student lounge drawings. Student database. Dinner at La Mediterranee with Patrick: I can't remember what we ate, but it was a very nice meal. $29.46 before a $5 tip.

Sat Aug 23, 2003

Went to the Dahlia Show that Melissa had told me about. She entered several flowers that she had grown in her patch in a garden in Golden Gate Park, and at least one of them was given a special honor by the judges. The show took place in a building just inside the park at 9th and Judah. Patrick and I had breakfast beforehand at Canvas Cafe: tomato, basil, and garlic frittata and water for me; poppyseed danish and egg croissant and coffee for Patrick. There were so many dahlias that we were astounded by the number and colors of varieties. Late lunch at Fuzio with Patrick: chicken sandwich for Patrick, tuna melt sandwich for me, two iced teas, $21.50 before a $3 tip. Installed Windows XP on one of our computers. Dinner at Spiazzo (415-664-9511, 33 West Portal) with Patrick: pollo funghetto for me, a risotto and iced tea for Patrick, we shared spumoni for dessert: $34.88 before a $5.25 tip. Of Spiazzo, I said, "Excellent meal!" and Patrick said, "When I come here it always makes me happy."

Sun Aug 24, 2003

House chores, Windows XP configuration, exercise. Grocery shopping at Safeway on Taraval. Dinner at home with Patrick: shrimp salad with lite bleu cheese dressing, ciabatta.

Mon Aug 25, 2003

Student lounge drawings. Lunch with Joel at L'Avenida. Met with Susie, gave her a plan for getting all School of Pharmacy web site owners to fix up their broken links. We talked about the new alumni site that's being developed. Installed Pop-up Stopper for Chris. Reinstalled Sophos for Chris so that it checks for network updates every 5 minutes instead of 60 in case I need to push out new virus definitions much faster than before. Installed Photoshop 7.0.1 Tryout for Chris. Dinner at home with Patrick: Boboli pizza with tomatoes, mushrooms, red bell peppers, herbs de provence, roasted garlic, a blend of six Italian cheeses (mozzarella, provolone, parmagiana, romano, fontina, and asiago), red sauce. Reinstalled Windows XP a second time because of really strange behavior in the first installation. If this doesn't work, I'm giving up and installing OpenBSD. I got e-mails from Steve Miles and Eric the Red over the weekend—haven't responded because my e-mail is on the computer I'm (re-)installing Windows XP on. It will take at least another day or two before it's working, as I forgot to pick up programs that were on a USB drive from work today.

Tue Aug 26, 2003

Met with Steve, handed off final drawings of cabinetry—he seems happy with them so far. Updated a schedule for Kristina. Coded Orientation City Tours info for Joel and Lilie and Marin, sent it to them for review. Link checking. Changed instances of to Looked at new computer mouse options with James. Dropped off the master cdrom to Brian Pomon at 1cdsolution. Bought Muni passes, which are now $45 instead of $35 each. Celebrated Little Brian's birthday at their home on Clinton Park, which Patrick and I got to see for the first time. It's large by San Francisco standards: 3 rooms in the front, a bathroom, another room downstairs, a kitchen, and then a tree-covered patio in back. It looks comfortable despite a smallish kitchen. On my way over, I saw Jesse heading home to change his shoes and pants because he had accidentally stepped into what others who saw it said to be human feces due to the pile's amazingly large size. After he returned to the party, he was the butt of poop jokes for the rest of the night. Little Brian, whose family celebrates birthdays by the birthday person giving presents to his or her parents, received from Adrian a wireless game controller, and some birthday cards. Chinese food from Four Season was magically delivered, and that was fortunate because neither Patrick nor I had eaten and weren't told we would be fed. We listened to Fannypack's "So Stylistic". We met their housemate, Kim. Also in attendance were: Simma, Nico, Brian, and Kelly. We learned that their upstairs neighbor was Kirk Read, a writer with whom Patrick is acquainted. Worked on the Win XP reinstall at home—determined finally through running Sophos and watching the CPU usage with Task Manager that the problem is the 2nd hard drive. (Later, this turned out to be not true.)

Wed Aug 27, 2003

Shopped for a new hard drive before leaving for work, didn't get far enough to make a decision, but at least it won't cost us a lot—I'm thinking 120 GB should do us fine, and that should come out under $100. (The drive we're replacing is 40 GB.) Breakfast at the Moffitt Cafe: scrambled eggs, 2 sausage links, potatoes, and cinnamon bread. $3.24 after tax. Coded a new update from the dean, sent it to Susie for review. Continued troubleshooting Mike's computer: defragged, scandisked, had to install a new network card since the integrated adapter was busted, then installed Win 2000 SP4 and a bunch of other updates, defragged again. Installed Time and Place/2 on Chris's second computer. Also installed a new digital graphics card for him and did a bunch of non-critical Windows updates. Lunch with Joel at Katana-Ya (6th and Judah). We had never eaten here before. To me it simply never looked very appealing decorwise. However we were having very late lunch (like 3 PM) and You See Sushi and Pomelo were both closed until dinner. We each had California roll with teriyaki chicken over rice: $8 before tax. Service was particularly slow which was particularly puzzling since for most of our meal there was only one other table of 2 people in the dining room. My favorite part of the decor was the power strip hanging over the front window and strung up by the cords plugged into it. Joel's favorite part was the 60s or 70s wallpaper banner than ran in the vertical middle of the wall—like something out of an old midwestern kitchen. The service was so awful I didn't feel bad leaving no tip. Dinner at home with Patrick: chicken with hoisin sauce. Ena taught me and Chris something new about our digital Meridian telephones: if a call is ringing, you can double-click the Call Fwd button, and that sends them directly to voicemail. Now if only we had the Do Not Disturb (DND) buttons I remember from Adobe.

Thu Aug 28, 2003

Ordered a new hard drive for home. Coded a new front page news story for Susie, sent it out for her review. She approved the update from the dean, so that page went live. More troubleshooting with Mike Lemont's computer—I think it's mostly better now. It'll have to do as it's all I have time for. Installed a new monitor which Susie got for me on her budget: a Samsung SyncMaster 191T. It's sweet coz I still have 3 other XVGA computers on a KVM switch and I can still hook them up to the 191T at the same time as the new digital graphics card I installed. Everything is bright and sharp now, almost too sharp. I only have Windows 2000 but I need ClearType. Can't wait to install Windows XP to get that. Lunch at desk: leftovers from last night. Windows non-critical updates and Office updates took most of the afternoon and early evening. Got everyone in the office done except James and Chris. Stayed at work late; caught the 8:00 PM bus home. Dinner at home with Patrick: Barilla cellentani con i salmoni, country bread. Unplugged the suspectedly bad hard drive from the problematic computer. Restarted. Scanned for viruses. Discovered the Nachi-A worm (finally!) on it. Cleaned, rebooted, checked again—not there. The drive was occasionally making groaning sounds, so now I know it's this one not the one I just unplugged. Played e-Scrabble in real time with Brian Kusler.

Fri Aug 29, 2003

Worked on the student database on the Web project: Built the data table and imported the data. Built and refined the login and login errors forms. Got the login redirect working. Put in a trouble ticket—the SSL isn't working right; I suspect the certificate wasn't installed like we expected. Printed out an image of a shoe that BK modified for Adrian and Lil Brian. Lunch at home: leftovers. Dinner at Diamaru (415-863-9128, 290 Sanchez, near 16th and Market) with Patrick and Brian and Kelly. It was the first time there for me and Patrick. The food was splendid—Brian and Kelly introduced us to the house special: spicy crab roll deep-fried in batter—yum! The service was miserable, however. Only one waitron for about 32 patrons. Friday on Labor Day Weekend, of course the place would be packed. We spent more money than I'm willing to admit, but that's usually the case when we eat sushi. Went back to their place and watched Jesse and Big Brian play Gauntlet on Xbox.

Sat Aug 30, 2003

Baghdad Cafe for brunch: coffee and Greek omelette for Patrick, large orange juice and Western omelette for me. Our waitress was a new one here. Her name is Michelle, and she's Jewish-mom sassy and in-your-face friendly, almost to the point of being overbearing. "You better eat that whole omelette, coz you're too skinny!" Patrick said, "I'm glad they finally hired someone with pep." There was never really anything wrong with the other wait staff; they just didn't go out of their way to wish you a Happy Labor Day Weekend or call you Sweet Pea or or Sweetie like Michelle did. My glass had lipstick stains ("I took a sip—thought you wouldn't mind!"), our table wasn't wiped completely (still had syrup in one corner), and every fork I touched felt sticky to me (but Patrick didn't notice anything wrong). Otherwise we had a great meal here. We like Baghdad Cafe very much. After brunch, we walked around the Castro, stocked up on 2-for-1 Tom's of Maine peppermint toothpaste at Walgreens, bought $5 needle-nosed pliers at Cliff's Variety because Tina told us we didn't need $47 tweezers for removing bones from fish, and eventually sat in Sweet Inspirations (quieter than Flore and free coffee refills). I re-read from Ethan Mordden's How Long Has This Been Going On? (almost done) while Patrick studied Mandarin. Went to Rainbow for grocery shopping. Spent several hours trying to fix one of our computers. It was a chain of situations all gone wrong. It all started about a week ago when we found that the Chicago DVD we had rented was skipping frames. After some troubleshooting, we found other DVDs were skipping too—others we had known to work fine. Our music was skipping too, so it wasn't the DVD player software. Hours of troubleshooting over the past week led to the emergency purchase of a new hard drive, the arrival of which I'm still awaiting. However, I'd been trying other avenues of troubleshooting. For example, I had a spare drive and wanted to copy the old drive (which was suspected to have problems unfixable by ScanDisk) to the spare drive. However, I couldn't load PartitionMagic from floppy disks coz this computer didn't have a floppy disk drive. I couldn't install one because all the drive bays were taken up. I temporarily removed the tape backup so I could put in a floppy disk drive, plugged in the spare hard drive, and when I loaded up Partition Magic the spare hard drive claimed to have only 2 GB instead of the 6 GB it's rated for. Must have had some platters that were damaged. Another troubleshooting path: took out the combo drive which was suspected of having tracking problems since April 3 and put in the old DVD drive which worked fine but didn't have CD-RW capability (okay for now). Attempted to install Office XP—good news: it got farther than it did with the bad combo drive! However, shortly thereafter it rebooted without warning in the middle of the installation! Restarted in safe mode and used system restore to wipe its brains clean of the bad incident. Now I'm out of options—I suspect the primary hard drive to be the primary cause of all these problems—perhaps the virtual memory page file is sitting on bad sectors. Can't do anything until that new hard drive arrives sometime next week—I feel like the drive will crash at any moment. Dinner at home with Patrick: garden vegetables linguine, bread. Watched the Will and Grace episode with Madonna starring as Karen's roommate. It was so bad that Patrick apologized to me afterward for asking me to watch it, but he was laughing a lot during it, so I can tell he enjoyed it at least some. I didn't laugh once. We tried to find other entertainment online at Atom Films but we tried 3 comedies and they were all pretty bad—never again. We wanted to see Madonna on last night's MTV Music Video Awards but although there were some clips none had Madonna in them so we gave up on that.

Sun Aug 31, 2003

Bagels and light cream cheese and a nectarine for breakfast. Napped. Listened to Proton Radio house dance music on Shoutcast. Read news and mail and Wired Magazine online. Had fun learning about MIT OpenCourseWare, Experimenta, Fetish gear. Dinner at home with Patrick: falafel in pita bread with tomatoes, cucumbers, that yogurt sauce with herbs, and green leaf lettuce. Delicious! Patrick found the opening act for the MTV Music Video Awards—the one with Madonna, Britney, Christina, and Missy E—so we watched that and it was fun for the 12 minutes or so it lasted. Patrick joins Friendster because his classmate Toby invited him to join and he checked out their privacy policy and got curious about it and joined. If you're on Friendster, send him an invitation. (I didn't join—still wary.)