April 2004

Summary: House of Chen with Patrick and BriKelJess; Nara Sushi and Shaolin Soccer with Travis and Steve; Aaron's birthday dinner at Shanghai 1930 with me, Patrick, Aaron, Jamie, Demetrius, Joseph, Brock, Nicole, and special surprise guests Aaron's teenage brothers John and Alex, and Aaron's mom Marsha; Shopping downtown and dinner at Zazie and a visit with Aaron and Jamie for Patrick's 34th birthday; Patrick goes to China until the end of May; A Night of 34 Cheeses at Jamie's; Dinner with BriKel at Sunflower; Cherry Blossom Festival Parade in Japantown with Travis, Steve, Wei, Yan Hui, Derrick, Tony, Stephen.

Dates on this page

Thu 1

Linkchecking. Updated the purchasing section with new e-mail addresses, sent it to Matt D for review. Updated a name and e-mail on the faculty and staff page due to Georgia H's retirement. Coded a new front page news story for Susie, and we got it through review to live quickly. Updated current students news with the new news story. Made backups of the dev server site root and my home folder and the live site's htaccess file. Lunch with Joel at L'Avenida (415-681-1246, 511 Irving Street). It was our first time back since their remodel, and it's quite classier than before. The walls and ceiling of the dining room were redone, the furniture is sturdier than before, the lighting is improved, they added a flat screen TV and a fountain and a fireplace. Also: a restroom between the kitchen and the dining room—no more walking through the kitchen to do your bizness. It's much more pleasant, and Joel said, "They took it to the next level" and I wholeheartedly agree. Installed FireFox 0.8 for Mac and Windows. Tweaked the Mozilla stylesheet on newstitle. Cleaned up my start menu. Worked on privacy pages again. Cable management for Cindy and Ena. Dinner at House of Chen (415-861-6868, 335 Noe near Market) with Patrick and BriKelJess. It was the first time for Patrick and me. Brian and Kelly had been before and said the food was good but the service was painfully slow. And that's exactly how it was tonight, too. We had two appetizer platters, crispy ginger fish, Hong Kong chow mein noodles, General Tso's chicken, sesame beef, mixed vegetables, steamed rice. Afterwards we went back to their place and watched a South Park episode about Mel Gibson and his Passion movie (I don't remember the exact name). Unfortunately, the episode wasn't very funny except for the appearance of the likeness of Alan Alda and the part at the very end.

Fri 2

Met with Larry, Alex, and Kevin to discuss how Alex might syndicate the UCSF Calendar data so that we can pull it in as a feed to our separate sites. Alex agreed he would see to setting up some RSS files we can hook into. Met with Anna M and Shabnam E to set up a listserv for CP 151. Worked with Donna and John at ITS to set up the Rho Chi Web space account. Brought the laptop down to Cindy for the Law Review. Edited a new news story for Susie. Searched unsuccessfully for a stock photo to go along with the story. Either prices were too high or not easily accessible or rights were too restrictive. (We have what Corbis calls a "sensitive subject"—depression—so additional usage rights need to be negotiated.) Link checking. I got an e-mail today about the Adobe Designer beta—I'm in! No more talking about it for now, I suspect, due to non-disclosure policies. Ena got a paper cut today, so I helped her out with some Bactine from my desk drawer. Dinner at home with Patrick: veggie stir fry with yellow squash, orange pepper, crimini mushrooms, sage, red onion, tomato, French feta. Patrick has been frequently playing Kylie Minogue's Body Language which he found used at Streetlight Records for $9.95. He said of it today, "It's the CD Madonna should have made." Watched Better Luck Tomorrow on DVD which is a film about 4 Asian guys in high school who make trouble. I didn't care for the film much because of the subject matter (violence, drugs, breaking the law) and the values that implies, but I recommend it for having portrayed Asian males as sexually appealing even though they do bad things.

Sat 3

I dreamt last night I was in a small grocery with a deli somewhere in San Francisco. I picked about 10 or so deli items and put them into my basket. However, after a few minutes I thought, "Why am I paying 6 dollars for a loaf of bread?" and put back all of the items except for a few, which I ate. I then went to the register where I spent several minutes explaining to the checker what I did and didn't eat.—Dim sum with Patrick at White Horse (415-665-9080, 937 Taraval Street). It's a small shop with about 4 or 5 tables. The dim sum was sum-good and sum-bad. The best part was that it was inexpensive: about $10 total for a meal for 2. The sticky rice was filled with mystery chicken (we couldn't identify which part of the chicken) and egg yolk and other wonders. It was much stickier than we prefer and not as flavorful as it could have been. The shau mai were big, but tendony. The char siu bau buns were delicious except inside they gave off a very distinct smell of white wine gone slightly bad—weird! The shrimp dumplings weren't bad enough to complain about nor good enough to praise. I was so hungry that the hot, hot tea burned my tongue. The egg cream bun was just okay—could have been creamier or richer-flavored. The decor is cringeworthy. The sign over the counter listing dim sum and prices was drawn on the back of old Chinese wall calendars and taped in place using 2-inch clear packing tape. I guess that's still a step up from duct tape, so perhaps I shouldn't be so harsh. A nearby light switch had the smudges and grime that you know only builds up after years of neglect. However, the seating environs aren't as bad as the place across the street and half a block down, which I haven't tried yet but we looked into on our way back to the car. Grocery shopping at Safeway. Patrick took a short nap while I did journal entries. Travis and Steve came over and picked us up. We drove over to the Lumiere Theater. We couldn't buy tickets right away, so we had lunch at Nara Sushi (415-567-1515, 1515 Polk Street). Patrick had salmon teriyaki and tempura. Steve had chicken teriyaki and tempura. I had the bento special with Cali roll, chicken teriyaki, and vegetable tempura. Travis had chicken teriyaki and gyoza, green tea with lemon. The service was neglectful. Back to the Lumiere, where we got tickets to see Shaolin Soccer, an over-the-top film with ridiculous cable fu stunts and special effects. We all liked it a lot, I think. Afterwards we drove to the Castro, returned a DVD, walked around, tried to get a seat at Flore but it was packed (as we expected), ran into BriKel on the way to Just Desserts. I had a chocolate eclair with a chai, Patrick had orange spice tea with chocolate cake and chocolate frosting, Travis and Steve shared a chocolate cake with white frosting. Steve drank a soy milk with hazelnut (we think). We can't remember what Travis drank. We drove back home and chatted in the living room listening to Kylie Minogue's Body Language. Patrick and I had planned to have pork chops for dinner, but after they left we both were so exhausted that we just went right to bed. It was a fine day.

Sun 4

Breakfast: bagel and cream cheese, orange for me. Bagel and cream cheese and yogurt for Patrick. Patrick wasn't feeling well today—allergy symptoms and headaches. We watched Julia and Jacques make sausages and pate. We watched a We Love Lily Tomlin show. Patrick took a nap while I surfed the Web and had some soup. Walgreens. I took a nap while Patrick worked on his novel. Dinner at home with Patrick: pork chops with sage and red onion, Italian bread, broccoli. Watched Simpsons reruns.

Mon 5

Oatmeal for breakfast. Link checking. Worked on the privacy section all day. Met with Susie, Bob Day stopped in to chat and gave Susie some ideas on how to bring money into the school. Dinner at home with Patrick: bowtie pasta with four cheese red sauce and Italian sausage, Italian bread. Watched Simpsons episodes. Our copy of Diatribe of a Mad Housewife had noisy interference, so we couldn't finish watching it. Watched older episodes instead.

Tue 6

Oatmeal for breakfast. Student Computing Subcommittee meeting. Privacy section. Lunch at desk: takeout taco salad (tostada) from Carmelina's. Helped James with computer buying decisions. Dinner at home with Patrick: Seniore's Pizza - mushroom and green bell peppers, Caesar salad with chicken. Did research for Patrick's trip related to his computer—confirmed that he won't need a transformer, printed out the plug adapters he might need, sent him links. Made a currency conversion cheat sheet for him—United States dollars to Chinese yuan—it's currently 1 USD to 8.276 CNY. Did research about calling cards. It's pretty cheap for me to call from San Francisco to him in Zibo—about 6 cents per minute plus a 95-cent surcharge per call using ZoneLD. However, ZoneLD's calling card won't work for him in China. Did time zone research—sent him links to the personal world clock on timeanddate.com, which even had Zibo in its database—cool!

Wed 7

Oatmeal for breakfast. Link checking. Color-corrected, then uploaded a new photo of Mary Anne (the dean) at her request. (Her thank you e-mail made me laugh.) Met with James to review admissions section pages. Sent a snail mail letter to a student whose e-mail account was forwarding to a non-working offsite account. Semi-manually created the list required for a CP151 listserv, put in the request with Danica. Worked on comments to the network border policy. Attended a lecture by a police officer about identity theft. He'd handed out an FTC pamphlet and really just talked—no presentation. Ironically, it was a lot of the same information I'd found yesterday and the day before working on the privacy section. Lunch at desk by myself: leftover taco salad from yesterday. Followed up with ITS regarding the reactivation of another student's e-mail account. They now say it won't be until Tuesday morning. Sent another student and an instructor login and password and account information for a fraternity that needed Web space. The Adobe Designer beta program is a shambles, I've decided. Mail I send to the 2 e-mail addresses I have bounce. I faxed in my form but they sent me an e-mail saying they didn't receive anything. And aside from the 2 e-mail addresses and 3 fax numbers, I have no other way to contact a human. I guess I'll have to cut my losses and call it quits with them. What a pity! Some trouble today with Meeting Maker, but Rodney resolved it quickly enough.

Thu 8

Met with student Diane N to resolve problems with loading and syncing Lexi-something—a pharmaceutical database—to her Tungsten T palm pilot. It took us 2 hours, and it reminded me why I avoid such devices, but we finally got it working. The problems were overlapping—She had two folders for the Palm Desktop software—one at c:\program files\palm and another at c:\palm. Another problem seemed to be the cable—the connector where it plugs into the base didn't seem to fit the cable plug well. I'm pretty sure that sometimes when we did a sync I'd push the cable into the connecter tighter and see a reaction on the screen like the cursor changes to an hourglass or something. Upgraded Kristina's computer to Win XP using a clean (reformatted hard drive) install. I initially made the mistake of not unplugging it from the network—within just a few minutes of it being set up it had been infected with Nachi-B. Started over with another clean install after that—bringing Sophos to it like a baby needs a bottle of milk—before hooking it up to the network. After that things went fine. I didn't finish, but I think I got enough done to get her through Friday, and I'll continue on Monday. Lunch at desk: Subway sandwich. Computer support coordinator meeting. Dinner at Shanghai 1930 with me, Patrick, Aaron, Jamie, Demetrius, Joseph, Brock, Nicole, and special surprise guests Aaron's teenage brothers John and Alex, and Aaron's mom Marsha. Patrick and I had never been before. The restaurant is down an elegant set of stairs at the entry and set in dimly lit, spaces that were cavernesque with low ceilings. Jamie had arranged to bring in a case of wine he had purchased—all the wine drinkers chipped in and consequently everyone saved a bundle rather than getting wine from the menu. The meal was stunning—most especially the bill. We all agreed to get the Banquet Royale set menu—an extravagent 12-course meal. Hors d'oeuvres: (1) minced roast duck in lettuce petals, (2) Nanking petite spring rolls, (3) Yiubao prawns. Soup: (4) choice of three precious upside-down soup or hot and sour soup. Intermezzo course: (5) Jingjiang Peking duck. Main courses: (6) 5 spice grilled rack of lamb, (7) Szechwan chili prawns with sauteed leeks, (8) chicken lily with black bean sauce, (9) fish on the vine in wine sauce, (10) Buddha's golden picnic basket, (11) Jasmine rice. Dessert: (12) red bean crepe a la mode. All the food was excellent, suffering only slightly due to delays caused by the large number of diners at our table. People particularly liked (a) the hot and sour soup which was a translucent milky color instead of the typical reddish brown, (b) the fish on the vine—crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, in a sweet wine sauce, and (c) the rack of lamb. I had only a bite of lamb—don't care for eating the animal much—and instead asked the waiter for the Manchrian filet of beef, which was delicious, but almost too rich. I also particularly liked the upside-down soup, which involved I think three kinds of mushrooms molded together with pork broth poured around it in a bowl. Our waitron was Victor Lau—he did a very good job. Someone had a grey goose martini which cost $9.50. An order of coffee (just coffee) was $2.50. Patrick and I shared Jasmine tea. Dinner ended around 11:00 PM, and although there was Ben and Jerry's ice cream cake back at Jamie's place, Patrick and I instead went home. Jamie left a bottle of wine for Victor.

Fri 9

Oatmeal for breakfast. Telecommute day. Link checking. Updated current students calendar. Admissions section updates for James involving 20 files. Dinner at home with Patrick: Leftover Ha's: sesame beef, garlic chicken, shrimp chow mein, steamed rice. Watched Simpsons episodes afterwards.

Sat 10

It's Patrick's 34th birthday! Patrick had breakfast with Sam and Simmone while I slept. They gave Patrick birthday gifts. Sam gave a Sonicare toothbrush. Simmone gave him $50 in a Chinese red envelope. Basic 4 for breakfast for me. Patrick and I went birthday / going away shopping for him downtown. At CompUSA, I got him a security cable and a portable surge surpressor for his laptop. At Macy's, I/we got him a blue Blue Marlin New York hoodie—he'd been needing a new one for a while. Returned home, rested a bit, then went to Zazie for Patrick's birthday dinner—just the two of us. I had a mushroom soup that was perfectly rich and tasty, then penne with shrimp, spinach, feta, and roma tomatoes—very delicious. Patrick had a spinach and walnut salad with balsamic vinagrette, then the fish soup. For dessert, we shared the brownie and the Nouvelle Orleans bread pudding. Afterwards, we visited Aaron and Jamie at Jamie's place. They gave Patrick birthday / going away gifts: Mao's little red book, a canister of Peet's darjeeling extra fancy Kalimpong tea, and a set of lacquered coasters with hand-painted pears on them.

Sun 11

I cut my hair. Biscuits for breakfast. Walgreens—last-minute needs for Patrick's trip. I washed the car. We napped. Sam stopped by to say farewell. Dinner with Patrick at Chevy's: fajitas for him, chicken tacos for me, two iced teas. Made new business cards for him. Took care of customs paperwork for him. Took him to the airport. It was the first time either of us had seen the new international terminal, which is very spacious and new and nice. The parking garage was a little confusing, but we figured it out after a bit. The price for hourly parking in the garage was $9.00 for 1 hour and 44 minutes—about 8.7 cents per minute. That's more than I pay for long-distance phone calls!

Mon 12

Oatmeal for breakfast. Minor Web problems with SSH on the live server and the alumni folder—Julie and Audrey got it fixed up quickly. Graduation changes for Joel. Put together a list of new Adobe software we need. Finished work on Kristina's computer. Also did Office updates for Chris, Joel, and Kristina. Defragged computers for Ena, Debrah, Melissa, Cindy, Kristina. Visited BriKel. Bri tried to get me to go to Eros, but I declined. Dinner by myself at Sparky's: bacon cheeseburger with fries, green tea. Grocery shopping at Safevay. Although they had long since fixed the sign, I still call it Safevay. When I got home, 3 messages on the answering machine let me know that Patrick had arrived safely in Seoul, Korea—one from Sam, another from Simmone (!), and another from Sam. Patrick found free Internet access in the airport there and even sent me an e-mail.

Tue 13

No 8:50 am bus this morning. Grr! Breakfast: oatmeal with pumpkin pie spice and bananas. Graduation ceremony changes for Joel, including creating new PDF files and new redirect URLs. Sent James a status of his admissions changes round 1. Staff meeting. James brought a delicious tiramisu from Sweet Inspirations to celebrate the end of the admissions cycle. Updated calendars: current students, graduating students, visitors. Send Joel links for review. Worked on the privacy section. Link checking. On the bus ride home, my favorite Muni driver James is back on Route 66! Hooray! He says he had been driving Route 48 instead, which he wasn't too pleased about. His run this time lasts til June when drivers get to pick again. He gets Sundays and Mondays off. Dinner at home by myself: double ramen with shrimp, green onions, egg. Music: Diana Krall DJs on Netscape Radio. Did all the dishes, cleaned the kitchen, prepared clothes for laundering, changed the Brita filter. Installed Zone Alarm updates, Sun updates, and Windows Updates at home. Caught up on e-mail.

Wed 14

Breakfast: same as yesterday. It's Joel's birthday! I got Joel his very first DVD—Funny Girl (1968) starring Barbra Streisand. He previously had refused to purchase any DVDs until he owned either West Side Story (1961) or Funny Girl (1968) first. Cindy brought in bagels and Odwalla tangerine juice. Ena treated Joel to lunch at Pancho's and I went along too. Joel claimed he wasn't going to watch any more TV starting today (which I don't believe for a second). He says he's only going to watch Funny Girl for the rest of his life. Talked with Patrick in China using Skype. We talked for 22 minutes—all for free! Skype worked amazingly well. Only big problem is that when using the instant messaging in Skype it always steals focus away from other windows when new messages come in. That's extremely annoying when you're trying to get other things done. Defrag and ScanDisk and Windows Updates and Office Updates for Chris's computers. Graduation changes for Joel after his and Cindy's reviews came back. Two days ago student Diane N left a beautiful phalaenopsis in the IRC for me with a note: "To Frank Farm—Thank you for all your help. I hope you like the orchid." Cindy said I could keep it as long as it went in her office. Ha ha! I had helped Diane N out with her laptop and PDA problems. She's so nice to have done that. I don't have space at home for yet another orchid (there are 3 big ones at home), so I offered to leave it in the front office for the whole staff to enjoy. It's about 22 inches tall with 6 blooms—very, very pretty! Ordered miniblind samples—James found a place called decoratetoday.com which sells the blinds we've been looking for—honeycomb (they call them "cellular"—weird) in over 80 inches wide with top-down bottom-up and color on both sides. I thought these blinds didn't exist. Fixed PharmAdMIT 2004 for Ena by reinstalling as local admin rather than as netadmin. While I was checking Melissa's computer for Windows updates, I got The Look—twice—from some white guy sitting in a waiting chair in our front office lobby. Sure enough, nearby there was an Asian guy for whom he seemed to be waiting and who seemed about my age—he was talking to Ena, so he was likely either a prospective or current student. I paid the white guy little attention, but he kept trying to get some sort of response from me using body language. Later I learned from Ena that the Asian guy was indeed a student. Shopped for secure floppy disk disposal services, found a place called greendisk.com which seems like it would work. Lots of Windows Updates for everyone. Discovered publicmind.com through Skype—it's cool—it's a little like how I envision software development ought to be—driven by customer's desires rather than technology, programmer's whims, manager's whims, the marketing department's whims, etc. My vision would take the idea further (but not to the next level) by creating a contract between the software company and the potential buyer/upgrader. e.g., "I'll upgrade to the next version of Photoshop if it includes the following 10 features I want (e.g., the Remove Holes feature that PhotoStyler 2 had 10 years ago) and is priced less than $70." If and when Adobe makes good on that feature set, the customer is obligated by contract to purchase the software. Users agree to not modify their feature set for 6 months or 1 year or whatever, permitting the development team to work toward fixed goals which guarantee a certain amount of revenue when the goals are met and the product is delivered. You could even negotiate things like application stability—the software company owes me 10 cents for every crash (which can be recorded by third-party software) up to a certain amount. Web forums could enable users to argue amongst themselves over what features are more or less important. And services like publicmind.com give each of them the tools to broaden the support for specific features. I was planning to make pasta for dinner tonight, but I didn't have time to get to the grocery on the way home. So tonight it's spinach salad, broccoli crowns, carrot shavings, shredded cheddar, and creamy garlic dressing. Still hungry, so I finish off the carrot stick and make mini pizza with cheddar and tomato basil spaghetti sauce. Too late to call Patrick's mom, so I'll do that tomorrow morning. Did a Web survey forwarded to me by my cousin Jeanne. It's by Jane Y. Yang, M.S.Ed. and Ruth H. Gim Chung, Ph.D., at the University of Southern California for Jane Yang's doctoral dissertation. They are interested in learning people's perspectives on physical conflict in romantic relationships and how those perspectives might be related to one's cultural values and racial/ethnic background. It was interesting and took about 30 minutes. My long distance telephone provider, ZoneLD, let me know in my most recent bill that they're changing their rates, so I'm shopping for a new provider. If you have one you like, please send me e-mail.

Thu 15

English muffins with butter for breakfast. Called Patrick's mom—left a message saying that Patrick made it to China safely. Updated Sophos on the server, then pushed the updates to all clients. Chatted with Jacqui S about Microsoft and Adobe licensing. Windows Updates for laptops. Labelled laptop equipment with our phone number in case pieces get lost. Put an aerial photo of the campus as the desktop picture on the laptop. More trying to get Chris's laptop to connect to the network. Every time I install Client for Microsoft Networks, I get an error: "A duplicate name exists on the network" and the TCP/IP settings are messed up somehow and I can no longer connect to the Web. Dell Gold Support was unable to help. Got Chris's laptop shipping box from Rodney. Removed and reinstalled MS Office on his laptop, then did Office updates. Link checking. Made live Joel's graduation ceremony changes. Called SF Micro—they'll send someone today at 4:30 PM to help with the laptop. Late lunch in the workroom: takeout lasagna from the cafeteria. WebCT meeting followed by Microsoft MCCA license agreement meeting. Sat with Joe from SF Micro while he worked on Chris's laptop. I am very impressed with his skills—he works very fast in Windows—almost as fast as me. However it still took him 2 hours to fix the problem—I don't feel so bad that I got stuck on it. I ended up staying late because the laptop corrupted its TCP/IP stack again and needed some software reinstalled after Joe left. Left work around 8:40 PM. Moved the car. Showered. Dinner at home by myself: spinach salad with tomatoes, broccoli, cheddar cheese, roasted garlic dressing. When I tried to check e-mail tonight at about 11 PM, both lodestarquarterly.com and frankfarm.com failed. My web host's site is also down—I hope it's not another fire in their building. Installed a new version of Winamp due to security problems in older versions. Sent Patrick instructions on how to do the Winamp update as well as the recent Windows updates. Followed a link from wired.com to Paul Thompson's Complete 911 Timeline. I read the page about Flight AA 11 in fascination.

Fri 16

Breakfast: spinach omelet with garlic and grated cheddar and green onions on top, two links of sausage, an English muffin with butter. Kristina called because I forgot to log out of her computer as admin yesterday when I repaired her connection to Retrospect. D'oh! E-mail and websites seem to be fixed now from last night. Linkchecking: Anat115 and dillgroup and digitalinsurance are newly down. The PharmD/PhD page is still down on the BPS site—16 days now. Modified linkchecking because Pharm Chem changed their domain from www.pharmchem.ucsf.edu to pcweb.ucsf.edu. Helped student Mark P with problems with the itsa mail server erroneously sending him over 7000 duplicate messages. Spoke with ITS, got a new ticket number. Music for today: John Williams soundtracks. Went to my Web host's Web site and found a service announcement for last night's downtime, so it wasn't unplanned. Started on the Easter candy bag that Joel gave me: a cellophane bag with purple and pink jelly beans tied with a foil blue twist tie with cardboard eggs on the ends—one blue with yellow flowers and pink centers, another with pink, yellow, and blue stripes. Inside was a green plastic egg painted with pink and yellow swirls; a small package of plain M and Ms; Kit Kat; SweetTarts; Reese's peanut butter cups wrapped in foil colored pink, gold, light blue, and light green; Keebler fudge stripes cookies; yellow and orange Starburst fruit chews; a cream soda Dum Dums lollipop; a plastic bag shaped and colored like a carrot with Starburst jelly beans inside; and pink easter basket grass. Inside the plastic egg was peanut M and Ms colored in orange, lime green, blue, yellow, and red. Whew! Late lunch at home by myself: an orange, a can of beef stew, french fries. Coded computer requirements for fall students. It's quite a lot of work because I now decided I want to archive each year as it passes, so it involves some restructuring of that branch. Did 2 loads of laundry today. Reorganized our mule chest drawers. Changed passwords for both computers. Dinner at home by myself: steamed dumplings with soy, vinegar, and sesame oil dipping sauce.

Sat 17

Two oranges for breakfast. Did dishes. Did stretching exercises. Joel called from Long Beach where he's doing a presentation for the school—he can't change the power settings so that the screen saver doesn't kick in. I gave him the local admin password because there was no other way around it. I had actually noticed that on Thursday before I handed the laptop off but didn't have time to investigate it further. Washed out the toaster oven, which had been smelling funny. Dusted and vacuumed the entire apartment. Removed a few spiders in the process using our Australian spider catcher. Vacuumed the heat lamp vent in the bathroom. I demolished a bead on the beaded curtain, repaired it with needle and thread. Swapped air cleaners between the bathroom and front living room. Gathered junk of which to get rid. Installed black split tubing between the rackmount unit and the printer to hide the power and USB cables. Snacked on tortilla chips, fudge stripe cookies, and candied ginger. Installed more of the same for Patrick's Oyster docking station. Taped Jacques Pepin making some kind of almond cake with poached plums and a plum sherbert. Taped and watched a cheerleading championship show. (Joel got me mildly interested after his visit to Anaheim for a cheer competition.) Did weight exercises. Lunch at home by myself: ramen soup with spinach, egg, green onions, and wonton dumplings. Washed rugs. Brushed my teeth. Tower Market for groceries and cheese for tonight's party. It was billed as A Night of 30 Cheeses, but it turned out to be A Night of 34 Cheeses. They were brought together at Jamie's place, which was decorated with stylish flair, comme toujours. As people entered, they were asked to fill out a card specifying the name, vendor, country or region, and animal from which the cheese was made. All sorts of crackers, breads, and fruit accompanied the spread on the giant dining table, which had as its centerpiece a large 5-stem candelabra aglow. It took me a long time, but I tasted every cheese. The ones I liked: Saint Andre, garlic cheese dip, Red Dragon Somerdale, Sage Derby, Madrigal (which tasted like a mild Swiss), Cowgirl Creamery St. Pat, 5-year-old white cheddar, Pecorino Pepato (which had black peppercorns), Montsegur Le Roy (which had green peppercorns), Fromager d'Affinois Double Cream, Iberico, Taleggio, Farmhouse Cheddar. Ones I didn't like: Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk, Brillot Sougrilo Triple Cream, Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog, Rigotte d'Echalas, Sally Jackson, Blue Shropshire, dry Monterey Jack, Royal Blue Stilton, Nealsyard Daly (which tasted vaguely like shrimp or seafood to me), Monte Negro, Mor Bier, Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam, Camembert, Gorgonzola dip, Lancanshire, Shelly Grossman, Pau, French Valencay, Gorgonzola. There were two that I thought were okay except they were spicy: Jalapeno Monterey Jack and Cappiello Mozzarella. The favorite cheese of the night by seemingly all (including me) was easily the Red Dragon Somerdale, which had delicately flavored mustard seed in it—not spicy, my friend. I later learned that it was a cheddar that was also made with Welsh brown ale. I had brought the Humboldt Fog and the Rigotte. The former Jamie had assigned me to bring, and the latter I had bought on a whim at random. In attendance was Aaron's mom Marsha and her friend Tom, Randy, Chloe, Aaron, Jamie, Ben, Sanjay, Kai (who just the previous day had returned from 5 months in Philadelphia), Alina and her (new to me) boyfriend Mike, Nicole, Tara and Kevin and Michael, Tom and Sue, Greg, Brock, Demetrius, Evan (born and raised in San Francisco), Brian, Sam, Ronnie (whom I didn't get to meet), Steve, Waleed, Brian, Liz. I introduced Evan and Tara for the first time. Another delightful and memorable evening.

Sun 18

Scattered showers today, so I stayed home and cleaned and organized things. Orchid maintenance: put a baby plant in its own container, trimmed back stems of all the adult plants. Laundry. Lunch: chicken and turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomato. Snacked on fortune cookies: Expect a change for the better in job or status in the future.—You have a winning way. Keep it.—You will enjoy peace and harmony in your home. Updated anti-virus. Dinner: shells in a tomato cream sauce with garlic, basil, rosemary, and parsley. Side salad. Watched 2 Simpsons episodes: My Big Fat Geek Wedding (very funny, especially the Hulk Melon Baller) and The President Wore Pearls (not that funny). Watched Star Trek Voyager: Equinox (Part 1).

Mon 19

Breakfast: oatmeal with Mexican vanilla, cinnamon, banana. Link checking. Prepared RFOs for Adobe software purchases. Added names to the Kappa Psi LISTSERV for Jeff L. Scanned and adjusted photos for Cindy. Graduation photo Web page updates from Joel—coded, sent to review, then made live. Checked in with Kevin S about the SAA welcome letter and whether it should mention WebMail or not. Left a message with Rich T about the LDAP project asking for status. Lunch at desk: lunchmeat sandwiches, bite size Tostitos. Read an article on Slate by Josh Levin called "The Valet You Don't Have To Tip" about automatic parking garages. I had the idea for them in college—I didn't know people were actually making them. Cool! Slate has really nice short URLs. I like that. Went to woehr.de and watched the Flash presentation of the Multiparker 720—very sweet! Researched password management software. Updated List of Accounts and related Web pages. Talked on Skype with a stranger named Peter Torrens (torrpeter) who was trying out Skype for the first time. We talked for 3 minutes 22 seconds just testing it out—it worked well, as was the case the previous times I'd used it. He lives in Boulder, Colorado and has never been to San Francisco. Went home. Read the new Gay and Lesbian Review over dinner. The G and LR has an interesting article about the history of bisexuality and homosexuality in the Hawaiian islands. Watched bits of American Idol—for tonight's show they included some the worst auditions and performances so that people could laugh at them. I turned it off about 15 seconds into William Hung's live performance. The phenomenon of his popularity / notoriety is really quite bizarre. Tried figuring out why my cursor disappears in Gemstar Plus, found an ATI support document which gave a suggestion which seemed to work (for now): [Some customers have reported that the following steps have helped to work around this issue: Within TV Setup > Display tab: 1. Set the Video Size to 'Medium' 2. Uncheck 'Auto Hide Controls when in Full Screen' option 3. Exit the TV Player and launch Gemstar GuidePlus+. INFO-BASE# 4234. Also, separately, cpcug.org reported that the registry entry at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ATI Technologies\Multimedia\Features\TV\Display\DisplaySize can also cause the problem if that value is set to 4. Change it to 3 for the fix.] (Also see: Tue Aug 10, 2004.) I didn't realize until 10:15 PM that Brian K left me a message around 5:30 PM today. I had to listen to it 3 times coz I wasn't sure if it was him. Patrick wrote me a long letter and I started to write him a long letter back but got tired and it got late and I have a 9:00 AM meeting tomorrow.

Tue 20

I left a message today for Tina. I forgot her birthday on Monday and apologized. I realized it over breakfast and was so upset I couldn't eat and had to throw it out (the remainder of a bagel). The 7:49 AM bus driver for route 66 today was new to me. I don't usually take the bus this early, but I might start doing it regularly. He's so funny. About half the people that got on the bus he'd say something to right when they got on. (He didn't say anything to me tho.) When the bus pulled up to a telephone repair man working within the open doors one of a giant telephone switchbox, he'd yell out to him, "Hey! Fix my phone! It's been out of service for a week!" When we got to 19th, the driver stopped the bus, jumped out, said something to the florist on the corner, then came back to the bus with a bouquet of roses in his hand—I hadn't seen any money exchange hands. Later on down the line, I saw him give a single rose from the bouquet to one of the elderly women who boarded the bus. When we got to 9th and Judah and he saw an N train, he said, "Hey look, there's the N line! I useta do that job. BOOOOORING!" And again, for emphasis: "BORRRRRRING!" When we pulled up at UCSF and a UCSF shuttle was in the bus zone, he'd pull up alongside it and warn people as they got out: "Watch out for that bus! They're non-union—they don't know how to drive!" Like the others I saw around me, I left the bus with a smile on my face—it was so refreshing. I haven't had such a funny bus driver since the comedian bus driver I encountered in Seattle. Student Computing Support meeting. Joel had fixes for some errors he found in the graduation pages. Cindy notified me that the wireless project is moving along—they're going to get Mike R to find a contractor to do the installation for us. Spoke with Danica who had been ill, as I suspected. She got my listserv set up and I populated it and notified the requestors. Worked on Chris's laptop more. He presented it with complaints of script errors while browsing the Web, duplicate e-mail messages in Eudora, and a long delay before the network connects and starts working. I first did a full backup, now that Retrospect and the network connection were both working. I spent quite a while trying to figure the rest out. Ended up using System Restore, reapplying winsock and winsock2 reg fixes, and that fixed the delay problem. The script errors problem is resolved by checking "Disable script debugging" in Tools > Internet Options > Advanced &Browsing. Sped up browsing by unchecking "Automatically detect settings" in Tools &Internet Options &Connections &LAN Settings &Automatic Configuration—and—selecting "Every visit to the page" in Tools &Internet Options &General &Temporary Internet Files &Settings &Check for newer versions of stored pages. Dinner with BriKel at Sunflower—spring rolls, noodles, bbq pork, Vietnamese crepe. Went back to their place and watched Simpsons (dude ranch vacation, Lisa gets a crush on Luke—I'd seen it before but it's still funny), Queer Eye (the episode with the volleyball coach—funny), and Sit and Be Fit (bizarre yet somewhat fascinating). Home. Took care of another case of abuse for Lodestar Quarterly—when some homophobe signs up a straight friend as a joke. This one is from Cincinnati, Ohio. Tina left a message for me tonight. She is so busy! Read an article called The Secret Source of Google's Power on topix.net sent to me by Chris De Lay. Showered. Went to bed very late.

Wed 21

Bagel and cream cheese for breakfast. Link checking. Helped a student recover an unopenable Word file by running ScanDisk on her USB drive. Mike R stopped by about the wireless installation. Updated the computer security guide. Helped student Amy H remove and reinstall Windows Media Player which had gotten corrupted due to viruses. Updated listservs for Chris and Joel. Lunch with Joel at Nan King Road Bistro. I lost my UC ID and Muni pass today and spent about half an hour in that what-did-I-do? feeling but a woman named Sandy from UCSF Student Financial Services found it on the sidewalk and called me. I picked it up right away from her office. Problem solved. Whew! Met with James to review admissions changes. Talked with Tina. Patrick's mom left a message on the machine but I got home too late to call her back. I'll call in the morning. Received my $200 worth of medical supplies to treat my patellofemoral pain. Why did I spend another $200 for the same "solution" as last year when it didn't work? Coz I'm a victim of the American health care industry! Talked late on the phone with Tina. Late dinner at home: slow cooked vegetable beef soup from a can. I love the irony of having slow cooked soup ready in 5 minutes. Stayed up very late writing a long e-mail to Patrick. Discovered that the campus e-mail server was down for maintenance from 10 to midnight tonight but services were not restored at midnight as expected. Reported the problem by phone. I updated our current students news to indicate the problem.

Thu 22

Breakfast: Oatmeal with pumpkin pie spice and brown sugar and rice milk. When the 8:30 AM bus drove up to the bus stop this morning, the electronic sign on the bus said: EMERGENCY and then a second later it changed to PLEASE CALL 911. The driver didn't look panicked or edgy as I boarded, and the people already on the bus seemed sane enough, so I sat down. Eventually, at 19th Avenue, some people got on the bus and asked her about the sign, so she stopped the bus, got out, chatted with some strangers chatting next to the bus, walked around to the left side of the bus, and opened a panel and did something. She got back on the bus and I realized she was doing a system reboot. The electronic sign that tells what stop is coming up lit up anew with presumably the BIOS version (or equivalent). When I got off the bus at the end of the route, the sign was correct again. When I got in to work, the e-mail was server was still unavailable, and I got a voicemail saying that people were working on the resolution. Surprise, surprise. I updated our current students news to indicate the latest status—that people were working to resolve the problem. The problem was resolved around noon. Updated current students page. Worked on the computer security guide. Lunch: Joel, Ena, and I went to the cafeteria. Joel had a turkey sandwich, Ena had the turkey lunch plate special, and I had a cheeseburger with curly fries. Chatted with Susie briefly to catch up. Downloaded and burned CD-ROMs for Office 2003. (It's legal because we have a special UC license agreement with Microsoft.) Windows updates for the server. Home. Moved the car. Watched the Simpsons: Strong Arms O The Ma. Late dinner: gemelli with garlic sage mushroom cream sauce.

Fri 23

Bagel and cream cheese for breakfast. While reading an article on slate.com today a Flash advertisement popped up over—and completely obscured—the article I was reading, did its animation song and dance. After it was over, I closed the browser window (without finishing the well-written article by Clive Thompson), then added slate.msn.com to my hosts file. After all, it's a lot easier to do that than to turn Flash or Javascript on or off. (Don't tell me I should be using Mozilla or Opera. I have my reasons.) Problem solved. I considered telling them what I did, but I remembered the last time I tried to send Microsoft feedback, and I recall I wasted about 10 minutes of my time because I eventually couldn't find a way to do so, so Slate won't ever know how their advertising strategy has lost me as a visitor. Coded new news stories for Susie to review. Chatted with Chris about elephants in rooms. Admissions changes for James. Lunch at home: leftovers from last night. Dinner at home: leftovers from last night. Patrick writes me the longest e-mail he's ever written anyone: 12,114 bytes. I stay up late writing him a long e-mail back: 33,425 bytes (but my reply includes his e-mail, so my actual reply was 21, 311 bytes).

Sat 24

Some stranger whose username on Skype was lontek called me out of the blue (on Skype) while I was preparing my morning oatmeal. He claimed to be from the south of England, wanted to know what my favorite film was—whether I liked Shrek. Whether I liked taking photos. What the time and weather in San Francisco was. (I wanted to give him a URL so he could look it up himself—ha! No, I didn't, really.) He was really weird to talk to because we didn't have any common interests besides using Skype and because I could hear someone with him telling him what to say. "My English isn't very good..." (delay) "...because I'm from..." (and then I heard the other person said "Poland") "...Poland." Our call only lasted 7 minutes 31 seconds. I suppose now I could do a testimonial for Skype: "It gives me the power to receive strange calls from around the world for free!" And to think I turned off Club 977 (which was playing Michael Sambello's "Maniac") for that! Finished my oatmeal. Tidied up around the house: folded clothes, did dishes. Cut my hair, took a shower. Looked in Google Directory for things I might find interesting. Learned what letterboxing, geocaching, and spelology are. Radio listening today: frequence3.org—French Webradio live from Paris. Another stranger on Skype tried calling me when I was in the shower: xaranon - Klaus Kater from Germany. I didn't call him back - I presume these kinds of calls are just people who are trying out Skype for the first time and want proof it works. I planned to meet BK for ice cream after his bike ride, but they weren't home when I arrived a few hours later. I walked to the Castro, got blueberry ice cream in a plain cone at Ben and Jerry's, then hung out with Jesse who was working at All American Boy. BK and Kelly got home from their ride a little late, and the 3 of us went to Firewood for dinner: roast chicken and potatoes with plain water for me, roast chicken and salad with iced tea for BK, beets and some other veggie with Orangina for Kelly. Went back to their place. Eric H and Simma were there. Eric was watching a South Park episode. Simma was cooking a Persian soup called Osh (but I'm not sure about the spelling). Eric showed me his professional quality photos of orchids from his recent trip to Ecuador—orchidphotos.org—and I was impressed and amazed. Others showed up later: Nico, Nina, Jesse. We got a visit from drag queens, photos were taken, laughs were had. We sat down lateish for Simma's soup—delicious. Three kinds of beans, noodles (ingredients: noodles), garlic, onion, and other things I didn't see her put in. For dessert, chickpea cookies and rich, sweet baklava.

Sun 25

An orange for breakfast. Travis, Steve, and Wei came over. We took the L to Church Street Station. It was Wei's first Muni ride. Met up with Yan Hui and Derrick on the way, then Tony at Safevay, where everyone bought water bottles, then met up with Stephen outside of Safevay. We all hopped on the 22 Fillmore to Japantown. Fast food before the parade: Popeye's for brunch. We saw a young girl drive by us on the sidewalk in a pink plastic car (branded as Jeep). The car was completely motorized and people on the sidewalk had to dodge out of her way as she tore down the sidewalk about about 0.5 miles per hour. She crashed into a concrete wall, backed up, then took off again. Cherry Blossom Festival Parade in Japantown with Travis, Steve, Wei, Yan Hui, Derrick, Tony, Stephen. The parade was fun. In some ways it was disappointing because the pacing was really slow at times and because some of the participants weren't dressed in costume at all or didn't do anything interesting or appeared tired and unenergetic. (Could have been too much sun.) We'd had a good time nonetheless. We climbed a medium-sized wall next to Benihana so we had a very good view with seats. There was a lot of bird poop in some spots, so one of us found some free magazine which was torn apart so we could sit on the pages if necessary. We were on the shady side of the street near the end of the parade, just before the grandstand seating. The bugle corps was pretty good for such young kids. The taiko dojo drummers were excellent. (I kept thinking of Mojo Jojo, though.) A lot of the city officials were in the parade: Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White, Police Chief Heather Fong, Mayor Gavin Newsom, Assemblymember Mark Leno, Assemblymember Leland Yee. There were a lot of floats with queens and princesses on them. Instead of riding in their cars, Fong and Newsom both walked the length of the parade, shaking as many hands as they could. Fong even handed out what looked like business cards—I don't know what they were. After the parade, we took a bathroom break in the mall restroom. At the sink, while waiting for paper towels, I said to Stephen, "Move over bacon" and was embarrassed to later realize that he was too young to know what it meant (he's 25, I'm 34) and then I was embarrassed again upon learning that no one else in our party knew what it meant, either. We walked amongst some of the booths. Yan Hui got a free sample of some green powder which he poured into his water bottle and drank. (He said it tasted good.) Some of us were tired already, so we split up in the main square of Japantown. Travis, Steve, and Wei accompanied me back home where they had parked their car. On the way, I stopped at Golden Produce to pick up a few groceries for myself. On the L train at 19th and Taraval we saw lots of people on the sidewalks all up and down 19th wearing red shirts and holding signs that said in Chinese and English that marriage was for 1 man and 1 woman. Weird! Walking back from the L train, I saw at one of the houses on my street the same guy right next to whom we'd sat at the parade. (We'd never met or talked before.) He was out in front of another house on my block talking with some other people. I realized it was him because he had the same colorfully tattooed arm I remember from the parade. I said, "Hey!" and he said "Hey!" back when he too realized how strange that was. I noticed that he wore a Freedom to Marry sticker supporting same-sex marriage. Cool! Said goodbye to the boys. Washed windows. Read the news. Showered. Dinner at home by myself: pennete with tomato basil cream sauce: canned and fresh tomatoes, heavy whipping cream, diced garlic, diced onions, fresh basil chiffonade. Could have used a dash of salt, and I added the basil in too early so it lost some color, but otherwise it turned out just the way I wanted. Side of steamed carrots and broccoli with fresh grated cheddar on top. Yum! Shopped for a balans chair online. Began reading and editing Patrick's revision of Part 1 of Second Island.

Mon 26

Oatmeal for breakfast. Read a great explanation about forging e-mail on Ken Lucke's stopspam.org called "Reading E-mail Headers." Planned for Debrah's speaker replacement with Dell. Need to do more troubleshooting. Sent out summary of software computer requirements to the SCS group. Lunch with Joel. It was really hot today, so we walked around trying to find a place with air conditioning, but no place did. Everyone had their doors and windows open and few places had shady al fresco dining. We tried at Crepevine, but they take cash only and I thought I had a 20 but I didn't and Joel didn't have cash. We eventually came to L'Avenida where Joel used his credit card for both our meals (my turn to pick). On the way back to work we saw a woman walking a charcoal gray tiny toy poodle—so adorable! It had its upper body shaved back and only the legs had the furry dangles of hair all over. We didn't think until after we went on our way to take a picture—I'd had the camera for no good reason other than to catch a few photos of the area for future use on the Web site to show prospective students life in our community. Placed an order for Adobe software through Susie's budget with her permission. Posted feedback about Exact Choice for Kevin and the SCS group. Installed Winamp updates to 5.03 Lite for everyone. Swapped speakers with Debrah to troubleshoot her staticky noise problem. Also removed and reinstalled her computer's audio drivers. Used the wire stripper in my tools kit for the first time because the old speakers I had plugged in using tinned wires rather than plugs (!) and one of the wires had broken off clean. Stayed somewhat late evaluating password management software. Dinner at home by myself: simple lunchmeat sandwich, side of white corn tortilla chips. Washed dishes.

Tue 27

Oatmeal with cinnamon, brown sugar, and bananas for breakfast. Linkchecking. Staff meeting. Computer maintenance for James: Winamp updates, defrag, scandisk. Answered a question for Mary Anne about how to get an image from our Web site into Powerpoint. Lots of laptop updates. Lunch with Melissa, Ena, and Joel: we took food from the cafeteria to Saunders Court. Laptop maintenance: needed to resolve a problem in which the laptop user is unable to change power settings due to an error message "Power Policy Manager unable to set active policy." Found the answer in Q_20333222 at experts-exchange.com: Log in as admin, open Regedt32, Select the key at "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ Software\ Microsoft\ Windows\ CurrentVersion\ Controls Folder\ PowerCfg" then choose Edit &Permissions, then give Domain Users full control of that key. Did more experimenting with password management software. Researched ultra small USB drives (Pretec's iDISK Tiny and Iomega Micro Mini). Updated current students news. Joel told me the story about the car accident he was in 11 years ago. It sounded traumatic, but he shrugged it off like last season's shawl. I bid on a great balans chair on eBay but someone else outbid me—probably using sniping software—in the last 5 seconds. Aaaugh! Spent the next half hour looking at sniping software. Made 3 kinds of banana bread to take to the office tomorrow: almond, walnut, and chocolate chip. James had been doing banana bread as well lately, so I did cupcake style instead of loaf style like he did. Dinner at home by myself: baked potato with butter and cheddar, steamed broccoli and carrots with cheddar. Watched Voyager Equinox Part 2 of 2.

Wed 28

Banana bread muffin and an orange for breakfast at work. Updated computer security guide regarding spyware apps. Linkchecking. Lunch with Joel at Chow: burger for him, basil and mozz pizza for me. Back at the office I gave Joel a 5 minute tutorial on formulas in Excel. Updated the alumni section of our Web site with change requests from Clint M. Answered quick questions for James, who had called from Boston. He had 2 versions of Office which were causing conflicts in filetype associations. Once I helped him figure that out, he knew to uninstall Office Standard and reinstall Office Pro using the CD I gave him. No worries. Worked on computer requirements pages. Dinner at home by myself: green salad with fresh basil, mushrooms, and basil dressing. Washed dishes. Chocolate chip banana muffin for dessert. Watched The Simpsons: Today I Am a Clown and Catch'em If You Can. Laundry. Read more of Second Island.

Thu 29

Sent a letter to a student whose e-mail account had stopped working. Prepared old floppy disks for destruction (actually, secure recycling). Prepared info for a student to add names to a listserv. Linkchecking. Lunch with Joel at Cybelle's: salad and pepperoni pizza for him, chicken on dutch crunch roll with seasoned steak fries for me. Scanned photos and retrieved admissions documents for Cindy. Computer requirements web pages. Cable management for James. At home: moved the car, did paperwork—checked on my tax refund and payments, organized receipts, took care of snail mail, paid rent, deposited a check. Determined that our purchase of Ecco Mist air freshener on October 26, 2003 has lasted 6 months and cost us less than 13.9 cents per day. We ordered 4 bottles from mothernature.com at $6.26 per 8-ounce bottle, and now they're almost all gone. We like them because they smell great, they're all natural and non-aerosol, and since they use aluminum bottles, I think they can even be recycled (though I'm not certain how to confirm that). Dinner at home by myself: chicken and rice canned soup with oyster crackers. Easter candy from Joel for dessert. Let Chris De Lay borrow an article from our GL and R magazine.

Fri 30

Cinnamon brown sugar oatmeal with fresh banana slices for breakfast. Updated current students calendar for Cindy. (OAR changed the date for the last day to change a grading option or drop a course.) Music for today: frequence3, which interviewed a French band called Nafta6Tem in between music sets. Lunch: Italian vegetable soup with oyster crackers, since it looks sunny but cold outside today. Dinner: lunchmeat sandwich, steamed vegetables. Chatted with Travis. Signed up with a Web-based RSS reader called bloglines based on Travis's recommendation. Watched lots of Simpsons episodes. I remove my profile description and set my privacy preferences higher on Skype after some rude French people talked to me in a rude and snobbish manner.