November 2003

Summary: Office team at work moves into new offices; My birthday in San Diego with Tina, Patrick, Domenica, and Corey.

Dates on this page

Sat 1

It's Saturday, but I go to work to assist Cindy with the office move. Before the movers arrive, I chat with Peter—the foreman (I think) of another move project in the office neighborhood. Movers from NorCal arrived around 9:00 am: John, Eduardo, Moses, Jesus, and a few other guys. They're smart, speedy, and careful—three great qualities in movers. John says after about an hour's worth of work that our move is one of the most organized he's seen in a while. The move goes as planned, and they finish around 2:00 or 3:00. I take a lunch break: Panda Express, chow mein, orange chicken, mixed vegetables. My fortune: Soon, a visitor shall delight you. Back to work: I have 12 computers to set up. The cluster of 4 in my office takes the longest, and as I finish that set I realize that some of our network connections aren't working as expected. The others go quicker—again, most don't have network. I leave Joel's to do tomorrow when I return with my car to pick up the bookshelf I bought for my office. When I get home, Patrick has ordered pizza and salad from Seniore's. We eat and then shower. Today Patrick had lunch with Travis, then met with Aaron.

Sun 2

Brunch at home with Patrick: scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, hash browns—a variation of My Favorite Breakfast! Office move. Picked up the bookcase I had bought for my office to take it home. Patrick went along to see our new office and help me load the bookcase into the car. Spent the whole day trying to get as many of the phone and data services working as possible. It wasn't easy because the network people didn't tell me what was and wasn't activated, so I had to go to each workspace with a laptop plugging the network cable in, waiting 10 seconds and watching the network status icon in the system tray. Same kind of thing for phones. Sometimes I'd find a live connection, and sometimes none of the ports would work. Had to get creative to get some temporary solutions. For example, I realized that I could actually get the server connected by connecting two 20-foot patch cables with a hub I had in order to reach a live port in a neighboring office. I wanted to connect more computers through the hub, but I ran out of patch cables.

Mon 3

Morning abs workout. Took the trash out. I've been away from the journal lately because of our office move. Saturday I worked from 8:00 am to 6:30 pm. Sunday I worked from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Today was the first day of operations in the new offices. Our office staff arrived to find phones and computers set up (but not necessarily connected) and still-packed boxes that had been left by the movers on Saturday. Everyone spent the day unpacking and organizing. We received a handful of our first-ever visitors who looked around in awe at our shiny, new, and very clean surroundings. I took photos of the old space in UC Hall U-12. Worked with Mike R and another network guy named Lito (not sure of the spelling, though) to continue getting all the services running. Setting up the network printers has been giving me a headache. To his credit, Mike R has been more communicative today than usual, and he got all our phones working by (I think) 10:00 or 11:00 am. Data took longer—it wasn't until around 4:30 that Lito finally got things ironed out enough to cover all our high priority issues. Cindy bought lunch: Round Table Pizza and salad. Fought with HP's Web site today—couldn't find Web JetAdmin to download. Realized late in the evening that they had just released a new version today (what a coincidence!) so consequently their download page was incorrect for a while. Downloaded it, installed it, and got a message saying I don't have Java—ugh! 30 minutes later after a 15-megabyte download at about 10 KB/sec the Java installer downloads. I run it, and it needs to download another 5 MB of I don't know what. I give up (for now) and think to myself: "Java will never truly be my friend." Dinner at home with Patrick: leftover salad, Martha Stewart's 200-grain bread, fettucine with mushrooms and basil and homemade alfredo. Tried to reach Tina by phone, sent her e-mail instead, read blogs. Caught up on e-mail.

Tue 4

Basic 4 for breakfast. Cleaned up dirt particles spewed out of the air circulation vent. Staff meeting: our first after our office move. Link checking. Chatted with Mike R about changing a wall phone from beige to black, a phone extension that was getting forwarded to us accidentally, plugs falling out of wall jacks because they don't click when you insert them, and a phone extension that wasn't behaving like it should. Got kitchen utensils that I had ordered for the office. Got an order from MotherNature.com—they messed up the shipping address in a big way, so I'm not sure I'll order from them again. Lunch at Beijing on Irving: cashew nut chicken lunch special. My fortune: Opportunity knocks only once. Be alert. Shopped for post-moving supplies: monitors, locks, power cords, network cables, cable management solutions. Chatted with Susie about home page changes (a new news story) and photos from Homecoming. Fixed the network printers problem. Put in Susie's home page new changes. Dinner at La Mediterranee with Patrick. I did the dinner special—pig brouchettes—with avgolemeno soup, Patrick did the dinner special with spinach soup and dessert sampler. One iced tea, one hot tea, one coffee. $37.70 before a $6 tip.

Wed 5

Basic 4 for breakfast. Link checking. Cleaned up dirt particles spewed out of the air circulation vent. Updated the ccsc Web page for Susie—we have a new exec director. Pasta Pomodoro with Patrick for lunch. I had joined their special club months ago and they sent me an e-mail for a free entree when I dined with someone else, so I ordered the shrimp scampi. Patrick had gemelli with chicken. Two iced teas. About US$13 after the free entree and before a $2.25 tip. (Service was really slow for a whole bunch of tables in our area.) Cleaned up move photos. Tidied up draft schedules which Debrah prepared, printed them out for Debrah to review. Coded Bob Day's commencement speech to the class of 2003, sent it to Susie for review. Read blogs.

Thu 6

I had a strange and scary dream last night. I dreamt I was in a Spanish coastal town with Tina and Patrick. We were walking around looking at the shops and restaurants and we got separated somehow—someone wandered to investigate a restaurant while the others each wandered their own ways too. After some time I was worried because I couldn't find either of them. I thought I'd keep walking and looking through restaurants hoping to see Tina eating, but I didn't find her. I thought of calling Patrick's cellphone, but I didn't see a public phone anywhere. In the course of further wandering, I found beautiful views of the sea that reminded me a lot of Barcelona and Collioure. Usually the places I saw had outdoor dining set up so that diners could enjoy the view as well. I walked back through the shops and restaurants after reaching the end of it and came to a grassy street median where I saw several hot air balloons flying over the town and through a nearby canyon. It was very picturesque, like an oil painting. Then, a helicoptor swooped overhead—very low to the ground for a helicopter. It pulled up from its arc and came back—this time, upside-down. It looked like it was performing acrobatics, and seemed to do fine for the first pass. It was painted some solid color I can't remember now and I was thinking it was either a fire or police copter. It flew upside-down underneath power and telephone lines—everyone was shocked and amazed. It then started to look like it was getting out of control. Another swoop or two later it crashed into a telephone pole where it stuck like a magnet instead of falling to the ground. Instead of an explosion it spewed out fluorescent yellow liquid which everyone believed to be gasoline. An old man who was also watching the hot air balloons got doused completely with the liquid. I turned to look around me and I saw a man close by holding a gun-like object, the end of which looked hot or smoking—a torch-gun like Ripley used in the Ridley Scott film called Alien. He threatened, jokingly I think, to turn it on. I immediately turned and tried to run, but my shirt was caught on something. I unhooked it, and that's when I woke up.—Chatted with Sharon on the bus. Abs workout. Patrick made rolled biscuits for breakfast. Cleaned up dirt particles spewed out of the air circulation vent. Chatted with my sister a few minutes by telephone. Coded pages for Marie Parfitt Pattie—she wants photos of Homecoming up as soon as possible. Met with Steve and our electrician Bill regarding some outlets we found we needed after our move. Uploaded photos to ofoto.com for Marie. Helped Chris with trouble printing. Late lunch: Panda Express at desk. The office held a surprise birthday party for me. Cindy brought in pumpkin cheesecake and Martinelli's cider from Andronico's—very delicious! My birthday card was a dog sitting on the roof of a doghouse (Snoopy-style). The dog sat up on its hind legs and wore a yellow scarf and aviator goggles. Blurring in Photoshop made it appear as though the dog were flying. Fixed 11 broken links to the Office of Admission and Registrar site. Told the post office we were going on vacation using usps.gov for the first time—we'll see if it works.

Fri 7

On the morning of my first vacation in 13 months, I receive a most interesting e-mail from a stranger from Italy named Maurizio (or Maurice) Bertolini. The subject of the e-mail is "Ratonneau Island"—which is the titular subject of Patrick's first novel, Second Island. Maurice says he's seen the photos on my website of Ratonneau and would like to know more about the island. I wait until Patrick wakes up because I can't remember if there are places to sleep on the island. My guess is no, but I confirm with Patrick before replying to Maurice. Shower. Abs workout. Patrick woke up and he agreed with me, so I replied to Maurice. We left for San Diego around 10:30 AM. This turned out to be a poor decision, as we ended up hitting L.A. at 5:30 PM. We should have left 3 or 4 hours earlier. L.A. and Orange County traffic added between 1 and 2 hours to our trip. Patrick still isn't all comfortable with the stick shift, so I drove for about 11 hours before we reached Tina's place. We ate Taco Bell ($7.48) and Wendy's ($1.07) along the way and stopped at a Starbuck's where we got a slice of banana bread and a coffee. Tina was excited to see us and had already prepared dinner: pasta pomodoro salad: pasta ribbons with grilled onions, garlic, basil, cheese. Somehow within an hour or two of our arrival we decided to play Lord of the Rings Risk. We played several rounds of turns and the game was turning slightly in Tina's favor before we looked at the clock (2:00 AM) and decided it was time to get some sleep.

Sat 8

Tina, Patrick, and I had breakfast at Arterra (858-369-6032, 11966 El Camino Real, San Diego, CA 92130), a fine dining restaurant in the Del Mar Marriott hotel. A woman in the kitchen was a student of Tina's from the Art Institute, and we learned shortly after being seated that all our meals were compliments of the kitchen. That put big smiles on our faces. And the meal was splendid. First of four courses: huckleberry hotcakes. on the side: fresh raspberries, blackberries, champagne grapes, and very thinly sliced apple. Course 2: smoked salmon hash: smoked salmon stacked atop diced mini new potatoes, cooked with scallions, dill, and yellow onions on a plate decorated with citrus sambal hollandaise. Course 3: huevos rancheros with quail eggs: fried, 3-inch tortillas, black beans fried in butter, diced tomatoes, jalapenos, onions. (There were more ingredients but I didn't get them all written down.) Course 4: apple crisp with vanilla ice cream. After breakfast we drove over to the cove at La Jolla and walked around the park area. The day was warm and sunny. I was in jeans and a t-shirt and felt overdressed. Tina took the stairs down to the beach to look at something in the water which was unusually clear. We drove back to Tina's place in North Park. I got my shirt mended at a laundromat with a seamstress. Patrick and I took a nap. We woke and continued playing Lord of the Rings Risk. Didn't finish the game yet, but Patrick and I had to leave for dinner. I had arranged to meet with my cousin Corinna and her husband Patrick who have a home in Del Mar. They invited Tina along to dinner, but Tina had to stay behind to get some work done. Bought whipped cream in a can from 7 Eleven. Corinna cooked us a delicious dinner served on their new china dinnerware: baked brie in sourdough round to start, salmon and beef Wellington, homemade mashed potatoes, soda, water, and coffee. We met their adorable dog, Molly, who barked only once (when we rang the bell) and behaved very well throughout our entire visit. My throat started getting sore on the way back from Corinna and Patrick's. When we got back to Tina's place, we found half of her apartment in darkness, and we found her spooked out because the power had gone out on one circuit in her apartment and she didn't know where the circuit breaker box was to fix it. She knew it was outside, but she didn't know where. I got my flashlight out from my backpack and checked in the back garden shed, which I noticed was very well supplied, but no breaker box. So I went back to the apartment, and the 3 of us crouch-crept around the other dark corner of the building Scooby-Doo-style down a narrow passage between the house and the fence. Patrick eventually found the box and did the fix by pushing the magic button. We introduced Tina to the Powerpuff Girls movie on DVD.

Sun 9

Farmer's Market with Patrick, Tina, Domenica, and Do's chihuahua Reese. Patrick had lots of allergy symptoms, and my sore throat had gotten worse. Patrick napped while I did troubleshooting and optimizing of Tina's computer and some online shopping of computer things for her. Patrick continued to nap while Tina and I stepped out to get groceries at Henry's Marketplace. Lunch: leftover pasta pomodoro. Bourbon Street for a round of Bailey's and coffee drinks. El Zarape for dinner with Tina and Patrick. I had a shrimp burrito, Patrick had a chicken burrito and a chicken taco, Tina had the pork chile colorado. We all watched Secretary on DVD afterwards. I wasn't sure I'd like it, but I found it quite interesting.

Mon 10

Went to Vons with Patrick to get him some generic Claritin. Patrick had been having severe allergy symptoms ever since we arrived in San Diego. Domenica suggested that it was perhaps the residual ash from the recent tragic wildfires which had destroyed many homes in the San Diego area. My sore throat was even worse than yesterday, but still barely tolerable. Domenica joined Patrick, Tina, and me for my birthday breakfast made by Tina at home: classic Spanish tortilla (frittata with sausage, mushroom, scallions, bell peppers), fresh red grapes, mimosa, coffee cake, toasted squash bread, chocolate apricot bread. Corey took a break from work to stop by and say hello and happy birthday. Went to Balboa Park with Domenica, Reese, Tina, and Patrick because Patrick had never been. The weather was warm and sunny, and we enjoyed strolling through the green lawns, the tall trees, the arboretum, and the beautiful architecture of the museums. Tina said hello to a palmist who was beginning to set up a table on the lawn. A young boy at the Reuben H. Fleet Space Center went wild over Reese The Happy Chihuahua, eventually picking her up and walking around a bit with a big smile on his face. Went to Hillcrest for coffee at Peet's, a bagel from Einstein's, and some bookstore browsing. Napped. Dinner at the San Diego Chicken Pie Shop with Domenica, Tina, and Patrick. This restaurant is an old-style kitschy dinner restaurant specializing in chicken pie. Lots of fake wood paneling, new-style fluorescent light bulbs plugged into old-style ceiling fans. One wall was lined with different kinds of ceramic statues of roosters. Tina had the chicken pie dinner with peach pie, Patrick had the chicken pie dinner with coconut cream pie, Domenica had a burger and fries, I had fried chicken. The meals were extraordinarily inexpensive. My fried chicken dinner came with a salad, mashed potatoes and gravy, side of vegetables, two big pieces of chicken (one breast, one thigh), dinner roll, and a small dessert pie for about $6. The food was delicious and filling. We love the Chicken Pie Shop! At home we had cherry pie which Tina and I picked up at the store earlier and talked about Tina's favorite subject.

Tue 11

Patrick's allergy symptoms seemed to have all gone away this morning, probably due to the Claritin he took yesterday. Drove all day from San Diego to San Francisco. Carl's Jr for lunch ($11.25). Why does my Carl's Jr receipt say: "DON'T BOTHER ME I'AM EATING!!!!" (Yes—it does indeed say "I'AM".) Received birthday e-mails and phone messages. (Thanks Sam, Travis, Dex, The Honmas, and Jamie and Aaron!) For a variety of reasons, this was easily our most inexpensive vacation ever. I don't think we even spent $200 total. Hooray! Thank you Tina, Domenica, Corey, Corinna, and Patrick!

Wed 12

Ignored dirt particles spewed out of the air circulation vent. Download speed tests for testing our poor network connection. Updated the admissions special notice for James. New home page news story for Susie. Link checking. Moved Debrah's computer from its original position to the corner because of glare problems. Work on Chris's old laptop: virus removal, removed Sophos, installed McAfee, did Windows and Office updates, did a complete backup. Lunch from the cafeteria: salisbury steak, brown rice, mixed vegetables—mostly unsatisfying. Work on Chris's new laptop: removed Sophos, installed McAfee, did Windows and Office updates. Set his firewall to block rpcnet.exe and disabled the corresponding service in services.msc. Dinner at home with Patrick: chicken and shrimp chow mein. Listened to earplug links: DJ D-Reel on massiveselector.com (WORD 5 is fun(ky)). Opened birthday cards I got in the mail. (Thanks, Chris, Nate, and Mikey!) Got a birthday party invitation from Jeremy. The post office's vacation service worked pretty well, I guess. Blocked out dates for vacation. Caught up on e-mail. Made plans for the weekend (secret for now).

Thu 13

Breakfast: Leftovers of a lunch Patrick had at a pho shop near 99 Market: beef and shrimp with rice noodles. Yummy! Ignored dirt particles spewed out of the air circulation vent. Uploaded winter draft schedules for Debrah. Updated the current students calendar through February. Updated graduating students calendar. Did more bandwidth speed tests—still awful: 428 kbps! Mike Lemont treated me to lunch at Zazie: he had a croque madame and water, I had pumpkin pancakes and a chai tea. My meal was very delicious and it was most pleasant to get away from campus for lunch—something I don't get to do often. After lunch was a CSC meeting from 2 to 4. After that I did updates for Windows and Office on all our computers. Bandwidth test on Debrah's computer: download speed was 40 kbps (5 KB per second)! Installed PharmAdMIT 2004 for Kristina and repaired the previous installations of 2002 and 2003. Ensured that all computers were up to build 13 for 2004. 6:30 pm bus 66 didn't show up. I arrived at 9th and Judah at 6:20 pm and waited until 6:45 pm before taking a bus 44 to Forest Hill, then an L train to 30th and Taraval. Dinner at home with Patrick: steamed broccoli, macaroni and cheese, boneless skinless chicken boob with Chinese barbecue sauce and ground black pepper. Fixed a problem with Domenica's website. Link checking for home websites. Replied to a few e-mails. Wrote a few vacation entries in the journal. Did computer shopping online. Visited my Amazon wish list.

Fri 14

Worked with Ariel Malig who was assigned by ENS to resolve our slow network connections. He is running some tests. Completed Windows and Office updates for Chris and James. Upgraded Chris's two computers to PharmAdMIT 2004 build 13. Send the new commencement speeches page to Bob Day for review after Susie had okayed it. Met with Mike R who is still working on the 5 issues our office has had open with ENS since November 1. Met with student Jessica Huang and her friend Jeff about problems sending and receiving e-mail from Microsoft Outlook XP. It worked fine in the past, she tried repairing Outlook and running ScanDisk. She has not installed any new hardware or software. She uses Yahoo! Mail with the POPMail service to send and receive e-mail from our itsa server. UCSF WebMail sometimes works, sometimes tells her her login or password is incorrect. We tested UCSF WebMail from my computer and it worked. We set up her account in Eudora and that worked, too. The problem seems to be isolated to Outlook, so I suggested she check the configuration settings. She might need to uninstall then reinstall Outlook. She can also install Eudora as a test to verify that it's just Outlook that's having trouble—not her computer. Mocked up Homecoming 2003 photo pages for Marie. Chatted with Chris C about Lisbon and Seattle. On the 66 bus, I got the story from James about why there was no bus yesterday. The bus had broken down around 5:40 pm, and James being a great driver called in to Central 3 times over the next 2 hours to say that he knows he's the only bus on Route 66 and they should send a bus to 9th and Judah to pick people up, but Central didn't get a bus there at all over the next 2 hours. When mechanics finally fixed James's bus around 7:30 pm, a substitute bus arrived at 30th and Vicente—the wrong end of the line. Since there's only 1 bus assigned to our route, and since Muni took 2 hours to get that one bus fixed, no one was able to travel on the 66 route for that time. James said to me that we should ask Muni for another bus on the line. When I asked him why he can't suggest that to his supervisor, he said he has no power to make a change like that happen. He also said there's no other route he knows of that has only one bus, and he's driven a lot of routes.

Sat 15

Ate breakfast (ham croissant and "looks like creme brulee" chai tea for me, ham croissant and almond croissant and coffee for Patrick) and picked up pastries (rugulach and blackberry rolls) from Ambrosia Bakery. Went to Jeremy's 4th birthday party, which had the most people we'd ever seen in my sister's family's house. Jeremy got a lot of presents from his many friends—more than we could count. Lots of new clothes to wear, two talking globes of the earth, a Crayola shoot paint out of a gun onto spinning paper toy, a rocket stomper which launches styrofoam rockets out of a tube connected to an air bulb you step on with your foot, books, and more. Mom and Dad got him rollerblades—he's going to be the next roller hockey star! Patrick and I got him a LeapPad from amazon.com which came with a book called Leap's Pond. We also got him a LeapPad book about Thomas the Train, which is one of Jeremy's favorite storybook characters. (We chose the LeapPad because our friend Amy works there and thereby introduced us to that company's educational toys.) In the kitchen there was a lot of food, too: cheesy ham and eggs frittata and cheesy frittata, Aidell's sausages. The birthday cake was an inventive mountain of a variety of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. After Jeremy blew out his candles, each of the zillion kids crowded around the table got his or her own doughnut—how easy is that? Jeremy's little brother Matthew is walking now, which we don't remember him doing when we last visited on the 4th of July. Of all his presents, Jeremy seemed to most enjoy having someone read to him out of a Richard Scarry book called "What Do People Do All Day?" which teaches young kids about people's professions and how things get done: firepeople fighting fires, doctors healing people, road workers making roads. All the party guests were personally thanked by Jeremy as they left to other activities, and they each got a treat bag filled with some of Jeremy's favorite candy, too! Lani and Rob sent us home with some of the yummy leftovers. After the party Patrick and I got a $2 car wash at the nearby Valero gas station, which was fun because we got to stay in the car while it got washed in about 4 minutes. I wish we had a Valero gas station near our home. At that price, I'd get a car wash several times a month! After that, we returned home. He stayed up and did Lodestar work and studying while I ate leftovers, shopped for cable management solutions and a new computer, then napped. Dinner at home with Patrick: Seniore's veggie combo pizza. (No salad this time.) Read A List Apart: "Tackling Usability Gotchas in Large-scale Site Redesigns" by Jeffrey Zeldman and "How to Save Web Accessibility from Itself" by Joe Clark. The former article was well-written and informative. The latter article was somewhat confusing and so considerably tiring that I had to quit reading before I reached the middle. Sore throat from a week ago is almost all gone. Yesterday I e-thanked Mikey Anitas for sending me an American Greetings Super Sparkle Collector Series III birthday card which had a photo of Aaron Carter. The pop superstar was surrounded by multicolor glitter snowflakes, and he was looking either sleepy or drugged out. He wore diamond earrings in both ears, a white hat, white tank top, and white baggy pants. Over his shoulder was slung a white jacket (I presume, since it's mostly hidden). His name is in the top right corner in something very similar to helvetica neue 77 bold condensed oblique—"aaron" in orange, "carter" in red-orange. Over his crotch are the words "Life is a Party!" spelled out in multicolor glitter (same font as before). Mikey replied with the smartest rhetorical question anyone I know has asked in recent memory: "Why would an adult let him pose like that?"

Sun 16

Cleaned the bathroom. Breakfast at home: leftover sausages and frittata from Jeremy's birthday party. Returned a movie to the new Superstar Video on Castro Street. Walked around the Castro doing errands. Worked at a coffee shop on the corner of 17th and Sanchez: Patrick edited Jason Baum's first completed story, I balanced the checkbook. Shopped for groceries at Safeway on Church and Market. Late lunch at home with Patrick: leftover pizza. Finished cleaning in the bathroom and closet. Shopped online for camouflage face paint, placed an order. Looked through Amazon wish lists for people I know. Reviewed our ofoto albums. Visited the San Francisco Public Library website for the first time in over a year. They've done a redesign, and it's a lot more usable and pretty now. Their URL is still awful—sfpl.lib.ca.us—why couldn't they get library.sf.ca.us? Added SFPL and Asian Art to my bookmarks page. Shredded old paperwork, organized papers. Patrick made pumpkin bread pudding—yum!

Mon 17

Cheerios and rice milk for breakfast. Ariel Malig finally figured out the problem with our slow internet connection at work: cables in the service closet weren't connected correctly. His explanation went over my head, but just like little Anakin, he moved things around until it was working right. My dslreports speed tests went from about 43-481 to 47360-19323—I just about fell out of my chair I was going so fast. The speed is so fast, in fact, that it's off the scale for dslreports' speed test. Faster than "rocks" and "awesome" and "insane" and "dude!" Now that's a fast connection! Completed finishing touches on the homecoming photos and sent it off to Marie for review. Today is the birthday of my co-worker Melissa, so the office staff prepared a surprise potluck celebration. Chris brought seasoned fried shrimp and also cheese and scallion cornbread, Joel brought plain cornbread, Kristina brought Caesar salad with croutons, James brought spicy jambalaya, Debrah brought chocolate swirl brownies, Ena brought tableware and drinks, and I brought Patrick's version of Emeril Lagasse's pumpkin bread pudding with Kentucky bourbon sauce. Cindy had to be in a meeting at noon but showed up with a lovely bouquet of tulips for Melissa. Worked with Steve and the electrician to move an electrical outlet for one of our printers and to determine logistics for some final painting that needed to be done. Chatted with David Powers, who needed someone to work a web redesign job for him—I declined. Worked with James to update the admissions calendar. Discovered a new blog called tecknetix while searching for a Web page describing the difference between Watchfire's Bobby and WebXACT services. Dinner at home with Patrick: fish fingers, cold linguine pasta salad with aioli, red bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes.

Tue 18

Cheerios and rice milk for breakfast. Abs workout. At work: Checked in with Mike R about our network issues—some ports still hadn't been activated. Uninstalled unneeded Windows components, installed Opera 7.22, changed administrator settings for my computer. Made changes to the Kappa Psi listserv for Jeff Lo. Tested low priority network ports—two more I needed still aren't working. Notified Mike R. Met with Cindy and Chris regarding the computer assistant position. Lunch with Joel at You See Sushi. Afterwards, we went down to Irving Street. I picked up picture hanging hardware at the hardware store. Back at the office, I helped people in the office hang things on the wall: two clocks in the front office, four pieces of art for Joel, one for James, one for me. Accepted a list of changes to a mailing list from one of our students. Helped Chris with his laptop—We tested ports, discovered his analog data port wasn't working like we had expected. He'd also been having freezes—I ran ScanDisk in MS-DOS mode—no errors, then again in Windows—no errors. He'd already defragged. I gave him tips on what to look for: what apps are running? what action did you do just before the freeze occurred? can you uninstall anything you don't need? Dinner at home with Patrick: pecan-encrusted baked salmon, baby bok choy with garlic, hash browns. Did Lodestar work: sent a query to British Telecom—one of their customers has been abusing our Web site by subscribing the names of others without their permission. Since Lodestar Quarterly is a journal of queer literature, someone believes it is funny that someone else they know (presumably straight) is getting subscribed to it. Well, I changed the code for our Web site so that I receive tracking information for all subscriptions and traced the culprit to a customer of British Telecom. I probably won't ever find out what BT will do, if anything, but their acceptable Internet usage policy seems to say that a violation along the lines of what I reported can get the person 6 months in prison. I'm crossing my fingers.

Wed 19

Cheerios and rice milk for breakfast. Link checking. Lunch with Joel: our first time at a new tacqueria called Pancho's (415-731-TACO, 712 Irving St). Joel had a plate of 3 taquitos, rice and beans for $6.39 and a soda for $0.95, I had chicken fajita burrito ($5.39) and a Nantucket Nectar—they only had Orange Mango ($1.50). The food is delicious, the service is the typically slow kind you get at most taquerias and other places where your meal is made to order. Because it's not full table service, it makes waiting for your food that much harder. They could make it easier by including a basket of their tasty multicolored tortilla chips to munch on while you wait. After lunch Joel got passport photos at Star Photo, I got more hardware supplies for the office at the five and dime and Progress Hardware. Updated the Phi Delta Chi mailing list for Jannie and (I think) Amy. Chatted with Chris about library Web-based curriculum issues and expectations. Met with Susie about Web issues. My cyberguys/efilliate order arrived, so I unpacked it. Very fast, and their Web site has improved since the last time I saw it a long time ago. Organized cables and computer hardware. Dinner at home with Patrick: he made chow mein noodles, but they turned out too salty for me, so instead we ordered out from a place called Brother's Pizza: garlic bread, bbq chicken, green salad with blue cheese dressing, potato wedges. The delivery was fast (about 30 minutes) and the food was delicious. $16.79 before a $2 tip.

Thu 20

Morning abs workout. Cheerios and rice milk for breakfast. Updated Quicktime and checked speed issues on Chris's computer—no problems. Researched monitor arms for the student lounge computer to see if prices had changed since I looked several months ago. Helped Mike L with a problem connecting to the Internet—we changed his connection from SBC to UCSF RAS and he's okay now. Helped Cindy hang some artwork in her office. Joel and I moved Debrah's printer back into place after the painting had dried from Wednesday. I still don't have the last static IP I need from Mike R, so the printer can't be used yet. Lunch with Joel and Patrick at Pasta Pomodoro: I used my coupon for a free butternut squash ravioli appetizer (worth $4.95). Patrick had angel hair with shrimp in red sauce. Joel had a salad with no dressing and the special (something with broccoli and chicken) with no parsley on top. I had shells in cream sauce with spinach and tomato. Joel seemed amazed at the deliciousness of the ravioli—indeed, it's quite delectable. Joel's order arrived with the parsley on top, just as we predicted several minutes beforehand. A managery-acting gay boy was working—the first time we'd seen him there. He came over and sincerely apologized for the error—eventually taking Joel's entree off the bill—very nice. My office was freezing most of the day today. The facilities guy Pat who arrived to fix it took a reading and said my office was 60 degrees F. He said that other people doing construction work on our floor changed something in the vents which caused most of the floor to have the too-cold problem. Pat did something down the hall which got the temperature back up to 69 and said he would continue to see if other adjustments could be made to make it warmer than that. Organized cables and computer hardware and tidied my office, which is starting to look a lot less like I had just moved in now that all the art is on the walls. The wire loom arrived today, so I grabbed the scissors, some twist ties, and some cable clips and did some cable management for Kristina and Ena. The wire loom is pretty simple to install and it makes a big difference in creating a harmonious place to work. It just takes some time to do. Dinner at home with Patrick: leftovers.

Fri 21

Cheerios and rice milk for breakfast. Telecommute today. Link checking. Changes to admissions calendar proposed pages for James. Talked with Brad at OmniPro about ordering the new computer for the student lounge. Put together a proposed updated page for the OSACA contact information, partly in response to Cindy's request that we use only 94143 and not also 94122-2272. Chatted with Michael Zeif about the UCSF access website. Lunch at home: Patrick's leftover pasta. Chatted with Chris C about network settings for his laptop at home. Student directory on the Web project. Napped. Late dinner with Patrick: Ordered Chinese food in from Ha's (415-665-6033, 2333 Irving St): $9.95 deluxe family dinner for 2: fried wontons, egg rolls, hot and sour soup, broccoli beef, kung pao chicken, mixed fried rice. The food is very good and was delivered in about 20 minutes. Patrick's fortune: You will have good luck in the springtime. My fortune: If a true sense of value is to be yours it must come through service. About $21. Our neighbors moved out today. Patrick learned they are moving to Phoenix, Arizona.

Sat 22

Morning abs workout. Filed paperwork. Morning errands with Patrick: Breakfast at the Crepevine on Irving Street. Stopped at On the Run shoe store where I spoke with podiatrist Tuyen Huynh Kemp, DPM about my ongoing patellofemoral pain. She had me walk while she watched and said that my feet were too flat. I've already been using Superfeet orthotics, but she recommended a different kind that lasted longer. she said Superfeet lasts only about a year and that the ones they sell for $50 last 5 years. She also said that custom-made orthotics were the best, but they are about $300 and my HMO insurance likely won't cover it. She encouraged me to switch to a PPO plan, just like the receptionist of the doctor we want to go to but cannot afford: Lisa Capaldini. Got a car wash and wax at Divisadero Car Wash. Went to the Sunset branch of the public library and got a whole bunch of stuff for free: 2 DVDs (The Color Purple and The Night of the Hunter) and 4 hardcover books: The Crazed by Ha Jin, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, Pastwatch: the Redeption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card, and Timeline by Michael Crichton. Grocery shopping at Safeway. Ate a late lunch of leftovers at home. Patrick napped. I read craigslist. Patrick woke. I cut my hair and took a shower. Dinner at home with Patrick: leftovers from Ha's. Patrick wrote while I organized closet spaces. I added some Neal Stephenson books to my Amazon wish list and shopped online for an air cleaner and Stokke chairs.

Sun 23

Patrick and I both woke up feeling like we had important dreams but we both couldn't remember what had happened. Patrick left early to meet with Aaron at Jumpin Java. Aaron has more feedback for Patrick's novel. I stayed home, cleaned the shower, dusted and vacuumed the whole apartment, took a shower, sequestered the Vornado heater we had been using only as a circulation fan since it smelled funny whenever the heating element was turned on. It had accumulated a huge amount of dust which is all on the inside and cannot be cleaned off without taking the whole thing apart. I realized that this could be a significant source of Patrick's allergy symptoms—it was essentially a dust engine that randomly threw dust into the air whenever physics determined that some of the dust broke apart from the mother dust ball within. It made me wonder a little about the reliability of reviews such as on Amazon. If I had written a review for the Vornado heater, it would likely have been within a month after I bought it, and I would have given it 5 stars with a high recommendation. Now, however, I would give it 3 stars and not recommend it unless you (and your societal conscience) can afford to spend $100 to buy a new one each year to remain both warm and free of dust. I surmise that very few reviewers revisit their ratings and writings 2 or more years after having been posted. How many other products might there be like this? Left the air cleaner on high on the kitchen counter in the middle of our apartment before leaving. Met Patrick and Travis and Erick at La Mediterranee for brunch. It was our first time meeting Erick, a Java programmer originally from Jakarta who has also written two novels on the side but has no agent yet. We (or rather, he and Patrick) talked about writing and the book business. Travis had the steamed two eggs dish with bacon, Erick had the Lorraine (spinach), Patrick had the Mykonos (feta and olives), and I had the Constantinople (smoked salmon and chives). A bargain meal at $10 each after a $5.25 tip. After brunch, we walked through the Castro enjoying the sunny but chilly day. Erick and Travis took off to go shopping downtown at American Eagle. Patrick and I went home. Patrick napped. I moved the air cleaner to the floor, rinsed the car and scrubbed off some bugs from the front that the car wash people had missed. Uploaded various photos to Ofoto: Laguna Beach (from August last year), Blue Angels air show, miscellaneous photos of Jeremy on 4th of July and Tina's apartment when we visited a few weeks ago. These were all photos that I had taken with my brother's camera. I was surprised at how well they all came out, especially the Blue Angels ones. Read blogs. Helped Chris C with tips for his home network connection. Mid-afternoon snack: leftovers from Ha's and Progresso soup. (Yes, we still had leftovers from Ha's, if you've been keeping track. This was the last of it.) Patrick had a bagel with cream cheese. I napped, then woke. Chatted with Chris C again. Late dinner at home with Patrick: porcini mushroom tortellini with alfredo sauce and fresh chive. Watched a flash movie which Tina recommended: themeatrix.com. It's about why and how you should support the sustainable meat industry rather than factory farms. I highly recommend it, if only for the entertainment value. Patrick and I eat a lot less meat than we did a year ago, though it's not always sustainable meat when we do. This movie gives us good reason to reconsider our choices at the grocery store. Installed CDex 1.51 on the Win 98 machine since we haven't been able to rip for over the past month on the Win XP machine due to last month's troubleshooting problems.

Mon 24

Put together RFOs for the student lounge computer and computer arms. Initiated a request to obtain scans of our first-year students from PhotoBooks. Spent most of the day researching canonical naming schemes and issues for e-mail addresses for a draft of questions for the pending itsa to exchange migration. Late lunch at desk: Panda Express and a SoBe Drive beverage. Link checking. Dinner at home with Patrick: spinach ricotta tortellini in Vidalia onion and roasted garlic red sauce. I started reading the large print version of The Lovely Bones today. I don't really need large print, but I saw this on the shelf and wanted to read it so I snagged it and took it with me to the library checkout. I finished the first chapter just as the 66 bus got to 9th and Judah—the book starts out with a bang, and I'm hooked. James drove me home on the 7:30 bus. Got a birthday card from my parents today. Why is it postmarked as coming from the City of Industry? Watched The Night of the Hunter (1955) on DVD from the library. For about 10 minutes. And then we took it out of the player and watched The Color Purple (1985), which neither of us had seen before. I cried at the end, and Patrick said, "You don't cry watching movies." The back of the DVD box has a quote from a Jeffrey Lyons review: "A movie you'll never forget!" and he's so right. Patrick made a delicious devil's food chocolate bundt cake today, so we enjoyed slices of that during the movie.

Tue 25

Typical staff meeting. At the meeting, I received a "spot award"—what UCSF uses as incentive awards for excellent work. The award was a $25 gift card to Macy's for my coming in over the weekend of November 1 and spending 8 hours Saturday and 8 hours Sunday making sure that the server and all our computers were working for people when they arrived on Monday. Placed orders for student lounge computer and computer arms. Lunch with Joel at Nan King Road Bistro. itsa to exchange migration draft. Dinner at home with Patrick: Boboli with green bell pepper, mushroom, green onions, grilled garlic, mozzarella. Hearts of romaine salad with mushrooms, green pepper, tomatoes, parmesan, croutons. Melissa kindly let us borrow her rental of Together (2002) on DVD from Blockbuster. Watched Together with Patrick. More bundt cake.

Wed 26

Woke up at 3 am. Couldn't sleep. Made some ramen. Tweaked the stylesheet for my bookmarks page to resolve a small problem that was only visible when using a font size set larger than 100% in Internet Explorer. (Some margins and padding on an h2 header was obscuring the nearby h1 header when the h2 header wrapped to the next line.) Read more of The Lovely Bones. Read Chris De Lay's blog. Wasted time on amazon.com. Went back to sleep. Lunch with Joel: takeout from Palio. itsa to exchange migration draft, other assorted tasks. Dinner at home with Patrick: turkey, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob.

Thu 27

I dreamt last night I was in a warehouse—perhaps a furniture warehouse. Some other people were with me but I can't remember who they were. Near the entrance, on the right, there was a huge metal box—stainless steel, probably—and the inside of it was on fire, just like an oven. Inside the oven were two very large pigs, which looked larger and uglier than I had expected. It was obvious to me that they were being cooked for food. One of the pigs was still alive. I could see one leg moving and one eyelid moving open and closed with great difficulty. I remember feeling very sorry for the pigs. That's all I remember.—Patrick made pumpkin biscuits and cheese medley 'n' chive biscuits. Watched Cirque du Soleil's Cirque Reinvente on DVD with Patrick. Patrick started making his mask for the upcoming masquerade at Jamie's. Thanksgiving dinner in the early afternoon with Patrick and Sam at Cove Cafe. Sam had the prime rib dinner with chickpea soup. Patrick had the turkey dinner with a salad with a side of ranch dressing. I had the turkey dinner with chicken noodle soup. Iced tea all around. For dessert, Sam had apple pie and Patrick and I had pumpkin pie. These special Thanksgiving dinners were $20 each—a bargain in San Francisco. We talked about Anne Rice, Patrick's writing, Sam's family and friends. Chatted with Tina, who spent Thanksgiving at Domenica and Corey's place with Tony, Molly, and all the pets. Patrick studied Mandarin while I edited two pieces for the forthcoming Issue 8 of Lodestar Quarterly. Later, we watched The Incredible Adventures of Wallace and Gromit on DVD, which Patrick borrowed from the Eureka Valley branch of the San Francisco Public Library.

Fri 28

Started Tina's pancake recipe. Bought groceries at Safeway, returned DVDs, and cleaned my windshield while Patrick slept in. Tina's pancakes for breakfast. Patrick studied Mandarin while I disabled services and uninstalled unneeded applications in an attempt to troubleshoot Win XP blue screen of death problems on one of our computers. Went to the Castro to read in a cafe. Returned DVDs to the library. Lunch at Pasta Pomodoro (415-558-8123, 2304 Market St): Patrick had coffee and pollo alla griglia, I had hot chocolate and primavera. $19.75 before a 3.25 tip. Picked up a DVD at Superstar. I finished editing one work for Lodestar, Patrick worked on his mask for the masquerade. Late snack-like dinner at home with Patrick: leftover turkey, soup, leftover pancakes. Over dinner we talked about some of his edits to Between Here and There.

Sat 29

Woke too early (about 6:30 AM). Started the computers, then went back to bed. Patrick got up and went to the Castro to do some studying. Lunch at home with Patrick: I made ramen with baby bok choy, egg, and mushrooms. Patrick had ?. I napped. Patrick wrote. I woke. Finished our benefits selections—open enrollment ends tomorrow for UC. We hadn't been happy with HealthNet, and we can't afford a POS or PPO plan, so we chose Kaiser and are crossing our fingers that it won't be a horror story. Dinner at home with Patrick: beef stroganoff. Watched The Simpsons: Computer Wore Menace Shoes and The Parent Rap.

Sun 30

It's raining this morning. While Patrick slept, I organized closets, washed dishes, and did laundry. Showered while Patrick dried dishes and copied his Mandarin homework to index cards. I balanced credit card statements. Brunch with Patrick at Zazie: We shared the pumpkin pancakes special (topped with real cooked pumpkin chunks), and 2 poached eggs on English muffin with bacon and tomato and a side of home potatoes, and a small orange juice. Read at Cafe Flore: Patrick from The Crazed by Ha Jin, me from The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Stopped at The Gap, didn't buy anything. Golden Produce for groceries. Patrick worked on his mask. I repaired Patrick's umbrella using a finishing nail and needle and thread. Patrick made guacamole, which we ate with tortilla chips. I read Google News, almost caught up on e-mail, read Wired Magazine online. Late dinner at home with Patrick: green leaf lettuce and basil salad with mushrooms, three colors of bell pepper, tomato. Dessert was cherry Jell-O made in holiday molds given to us by Tina and Daniel several Christmases ago. I'm embarrassed to admit this was our first time using them, but neither Patrick nor I were very practiced in the art of using cooking molds beyond the bundt cake pan. Our ceiling started leaking again in one spot with today's rainstorm.