December 2004

Summary: Began rebuilding, Tony Q's Psych Exercise, Holiday Lunch with the office at Scala's Bistro, Kinsey Sicks: Oy Vey in a Manger 2, Christmas Eve Dinner at 2223 Restaurant, Christmas Brunch with Galen and Patrick at Harbor Village, Kabuki Springs and Spa communal baths with Patrick, New Years Eve with Patrick at Samovar Tea House

Dates on this page

Wed Dec 1, 2004

Breakfast at home: oatmeal with blueberries, raspberry and orange fruit juice. Telecommute day. Coded secondary page headings to match our recent home page redesign, removing some crufty code in the process and identifying other cruft for later removal. Propogated new stylesheet code to all browser-specific stylesheets, did browser testing. Lunch at home by myself: leftovers. Converted a logo from PDF to AI and converted text to outlines and converted CMYK to grayscale for Chris using Illustrator CS. Faculty and about admin page updates for Susie. Updated the listserv page to include Erik W's new handheld mailing list. Linkchecking. CP155 updates for Chris. Polished and waterproofed my Doc Marten boots. Laundry. Dinner at home with Patrick: chicken. Travis told me about Weatherfox aka Forecastfox—a plug-in for Firefox that displays weather data from in the status bar. I tried it out and like it so far despite what I consider a large size for a plug-in (420 KB)—will keep it a few days at least. Installed SpyBot S&D 1.3 on all computers.

Thu Dec 2, 2004

Helped Joel reinstall his audio drivers and update iTunes. Helped Melissa and James retrieve a file from his computer remotely. Met with Cindy—a short meeting. CAPSLEAD poster project for Chris. Helped Melissa with a question about Yahoo! e-mail attachments. Lunch: cheddar cheeseburger, fries from the cafeteria: $4.19. Installed SpyBot S&D 1.3 on all computers. Updated SpywareBlaster on all computers. Ensured that Retrospect warnings are disabled on all computers. After work I hopped an outbound N-Judah train to meet Patrick for dinner. I boarded in the middle of the first car because it seemed the least crowded, and when I stepped up I instantly knew why. It reeked of something awful—urine or perhaps worse. Doing my nonchalant streetwise looking around the car while walking through it, I was scared to find that there no less than 3 people who dressed like homeless people. The bad smell was so strong that it was best to simply leave the car entirely. Fortunately there was some delay and I was able to exit the rear doors without stopping. I hopped on the second car before the doors closed, and all smelled well here. Wait. No, it smells like... marijuana! It's not my favorite smell, but I'll take it over fecal matter anytime. People in the second car were rubbernecking the first car, and we all laughed when we saw a woman in the first car with her back to us clearly waving her hand across her face to indicate unpleasant odors. Dinner out on a whim at So (415-731- 3143, 2240 Irving Street between 23th and 24th Avenues) with Patrick. We had decided on this restaurant over instant messaging and the bad puns flew. After all, who names a restaurant after two-letter adverbs? So be it. Make it So. OK, we go to So, no? I hope So is not so-so. Deep-fried shrimp dumplings with spicy garlic soy sauce, deep-fried mushrooms, noodles with shredded chicken and garlic, hot tea, edamame. The prices are pretty reasonable here—$6 for each of the dishes, and with larger than expected portions. The dumplings and mushrooms dishes came with about 9 of them each. The noodles dish came in a pile on a plate about 8 inches square. The edamame and tea were included at no charge. Our waiter was repeatedly slow to refill our tea cups, but he was friendly and helpful when we got him. The mushrooms normally come spicy but the menu doesn't indicate that—just like our last San Tung. But unlike San Tung, our waiter exchanged it for a non-spicy version with no fuss and at no charge. They don't take Amex here. Patrick had a glass of sake. $29.95 after a $5.00 tip. We'll be coming back here even though the tea was slow because I prefer to reward restaurants which treat customers fairly. It wasn't until I got home that I found on the web that So is run by the son of the woman who runs San Tung. Dessert at home: fresh blackberries, dried apricots, topped with whipped cream and cinnamon. Checked on my eBay auction—someone bought the rackmount case I was selling! I didn't make a profit (wasn't expecting to) but at least I lost less money than if I took it back to the store. (They had a 15% restocking fee.)

Fri Dec 3, 2004

Helped Melissa with a question about PDF fill-in forms. Lunch with Joel at Carmelina's: quesadilla for Joel, vegetarian burrito for me. In the afternoon, Joel, Melissa, James, and I went to another office at UCSF to get FluMist—it's a flu shot but no needles. They drip a sweet solution down each nostril with your head tilted back. It's very quick, easy, and painless. Added first-year students to the student database on the web. Made Patrick clean the fan filters on the rackmount—they were very dirty! Dinner at home with Patrick: leftover chicken cacciatore. Who is arawlis7?

Sat Dec 4, 2004

Woke up early—couldn't sleep. Installed various updates on Patrick's laptop: Windows, Office, ZoneAlarm. For the past few days I've been running into registry keys ending in 1004!=W=3 that Spybot S&D has found as bad DSO problems, but Spybot fails to remove them successfully. These reg keys also show up on computers at work and on our Windows XP computers. There are a lot of fora on the web giving advice like deleting the reg keys manually or changing the value from 1004 to 3, but the most complete answer I found was at in the Freebies section called DSOSTOP2. The dsostop2.exe file they provided seems to resolve the problem quickly and easily but upon restarting, I notice some of the same 1004!=W=3 registry keys still hanging around. Shall investigate further later. I notice this morning that a hooded down jacket at I've been manually tracking has dropped in price twice in the past couple of weeks. On November 26 the jacket was $88. When I checked this morning, it is $65. Patrick and I drop off the rackmount server case I sold on eBay at the local Mailboxes Etc type of place in West Portal shortly after 9:00 AM. Breakfast at Village Grill. Picked up toiletries at Walgreens. Left a message for Tina. Napped since I woke up too early. Patrick woke me because his mouse stopped working and he couldn't figure out the problem. He's particularly frustrated by this since he's working on final papers and studying for exams. [transition: 2 hours later] After battery reseating; battery replacing; dirty, then clean, driver reinstallation; checking for mouse driver conflicts; investigating an Unknown Device showing up in the hardware control panel; then finally testing the mouse on a different computer; I determine the problem is a hardware failure on the wireless mouse unit only. It's a Microsoft Wireless Optical mouse, just a few months after the warranty had expired. I unscrew the single screw and open it up—it's a rather tidy piece of work, but nothing unusual can be found. (Be careful when opening it—there's a black pole-shaped piece that can easily fall loose and disappear on the ground. This black piece is the reset button on the underside of the unit.) After much researching online for a replacement, I decide on a Microsoft Standard Wireless Optical in black and purchase for the first time from Amazon for local pickup at Circuit City in Daly City. I am surprised by how easy Amazon has made the process—anticipating questions, guiding me clearly through the process, and reinventing commerce along the way. Patrick and I attempt to have dinner. He has taken a variety of leftovers and Frankensteined a dish out of them—it's tomatoey rice with bits of vegetables and I can't remember what animal with sour cream—it's too rich-tasting for me, so I don't eat it. Patrick eats about a handful or two before giving up on it. I have an orange as a snack instead. Patrick takes a nap. Tina calls to chat. I ask her questions about cooking (Are 12 yolks too much for creme brulee? No, not for 4 cups of heavy cream. Is Cook's Illustrated a good magazine? Yes, but she doesn't agree with some of their decisions like the chocolate tasting. Is it true that most professional chefs choose KitchenAid for a home mixer? Yes, but she doesn't trust the sturdiness of attachments—they tend to unscrew themselves—and be careful about the wattage which varies from 250 to 525. If you want to mix heavier things like bread dough you need more power. What's a good brand of food processor? Either Cuisinart or Robot Coupe.) and she tells of her Thanksgiving (no turkey, then of getting ill on leftover pumpkin pie and recovering with salad) and of last night's Duran Duran concert and meeting the band backstage and if she had to do it all over again why she wouldn't (!). Patrick wakes, showers, then leaves to spend the evening with Aaron and Jamie. I plan to pick up the mouse at Circuit City and then get a bite to eat somewhere. I am nearly to the store when I realize that I've forgotten my wallet in another jacket, and I can't pick up the mouse without my ID and credit card, and the store closes soon so I can't pick it up and come right back, so I drive home dejected. Instead of getting a bite out, I eat ramen with egg after getting home. I do some dishwashing, vacuuming, then I cut my hair—the shortest haircut ever—using the #1 attachment all over. When I look in the mirror now, I am reminded of Shinehead O'Connor.

Sun Dec 5, 2004

I dreamt last night that I was given the task of helping to proctor an exam for the UCSF School of Pharmacy. The hallway at the exam location was crammed full of furniture and filing cabinets because the school had failed to plan adequately for space needs. In some places, there's only 5 inches left of hallway, so I squeeze through the small space to travel between the 2 rooms holding the exam. I notice that the filing cabinets have student files in them... and they're not locked! I am outraged but remember that information security worst practices are surprisingly common throughout the University, and so I don't bother to pursue the issue with anyone. I see the name Tina Carter on one of the files, and I wonder if it's Tina Carter from Adobe, but I don't bother to check because I don't think it's right (and somewhere the creators of FERPA are celebrating). Some filing cabinets are filled with ancient, yellowed, stained, or partially burned Christmas cards and other correspondence, and some of this also appears in secured bulletin boards nearby on the wall. Somehow I know it's all of sentimental value to Bob Day (or perhaps someone else, but most likely Bob Day) and that I will soon be asked to scan it all in for archiving. I've never been a proctor before, and no one gave me clear training for doing it, but I get most everything right. The one thing I forget is to bring a watch with me and there's no clock in the room (and I forgot to write down the time they started), so some of the students likely got extra time they shouldn't've. Forrest is one of the students still taking the exam (and getting extra time), but I don't remember anyone else specifically. And the dream ends there.—I woke up again at 6 this morning, groggy, perhaps another nap today sometime. I realize that Microsoft (or any mouse manufacturer) could program into a small percentage of their hardware that the mouse should stop working shortly after the warranty expires and no one would likely ever figure it out. I decide today ForecastFox is a winner even though it really didn't rain last night like the forecast had predicted. Now to introduce the office staff to it... Went to bed around 8:30 AM, woke up at 11:30 AM. We still have no food in the house, so Patrick and I go to Safeway on Taraval, stopping at Victor Bakery first for a quick bite of Chinese pork buns and American pastries. In Safeway we see again that they don't have Quaker Oatmeal—the slow version (not quick oats). They were out last time we came here, and we thought it was just a stocking fluke. We decide to not shop here and get groceries at the Safeway in Westlake. We drive to Daly City to pick up Patrick's replacement wireless mouse. At the Safeway in Westlake we discover that they too are out of the same oatmeal. This Safeway also has green-apple-flavored and mint-chocolate-flavored candy canes but none that are regular peppermint. We buy our other groceries. We get home and unpack. I set up Patrick's mouse and the Oyster docking station. It works as expected, and I discover from the Microsoft packaging that the mouse that broke is warranted for 3 years instead of just 1 like I thought, so I might try to send it in for repair or replacement. I wash the car by myself while Patrick works on his final paper for SLA. I go to buy gas and fill up air in the tires and get candy canes at Walgreens. I notice at Walgreens they too have the quick oats but not the slow oats. I guess I'll just have to buy them online. French-pressed coffee. I do the dishes and tidy up the place while Patrick continues to work on his paper. Shower. Shopping online—I kinda need a new warmest jacket. The jacket I have now is a ski jacket I got new for about $75 at the boy's department at REI Seattle in January 2000, so it's not only inappropriate for urban winters it's quite out of fashion. Didn't find anything that I really liked. I assembled the replacement server from the component pieces I had laid out over the past couple of days. This case matches the previous 2 I had, so I don't have to carry around an extra key—the locks match! Woo! It's ready to go, untested, but I can't put it in the rack yet. The rack needs to be reorganized, and until Patrick is done with class and Lodestar is live and gelled for a few days I can't tear everything apart as is required. This will be a project over my 2-week holiday break coming up starting December 18. Chatted online with BK.

Mon Dec 6, 2004

Cream of wheat, brown sugar, sliced banana, pumpkin pie spice. Dropped off jeans to be hemmed at Danny's Cleaners. WebCT Interest Group meeting—Brian demoed how to make permanent or persistent links with UC e-Links. Finished updating first-year students in the student database, made the changes live, then notified all test users. Security updates for almost all workstations. Lunch with Joel at Pasta Pomodoro. I had the healthy chicken lunch special with minestrone soup and an iced tea. Joel had conchigle pollo with salad (only the pasta and oil and broccoli—nothing else) and a diet Coke. Joel had a coupon for a free dessert, so he chose the warm-center chocolate souffle a la mode—delicious! Installed ForecastFox for nearly all workstations. Linkchecking. Made secondary page changes and other changes live. Tweaked stylesheets. Dinner at home with Patrick: mushroom, spinach, and cheese pizza from a box. Positioned the new server so that I could work on it before installing it in the rack. Watched trailers with Patrick on Quicktime is so annoying! Grrr! Why can't Apple learn to use CSS rollovers like everyone else?! Grrrrr! Watched the Simpsons: She used to be my girl—a very funny episode.

Tue Dec 7, 2004

Modified headers on secondary pages—after thinking it over I didn't like how yesterday's changes looked—the CSS just didn't give the right look I wanted. Quick update to the admin org chart for Susie. Linkchecking. Edited an article for Susie. Converted schedules to PDF and sent them to Debrah and Cindy for review. Finished spyware page updates. Lunch today was a sandwich from the cafeteria and some pasta salad, cottage cheese, and boiled egg. Met Robin Corelli, who was in the office today reviewing applicant files. Dinner at home with Patrick: bowtie pasta with shrimp and lima beans. Watched the director's cut of THX1138 on DVD. Patrick and I both enjoyed this film very much, and it's hard to imagine how THX1138 and Star Wars I were both born from the same brain.

Wed Dec 8, 2004

Usual breakfast at the cafeteria: breakfast package: scrambled eggs, potatoes, 2 sausage, 2 pieces of toast, orange juice. Uploaded winter schedules and announced to the OSACA and all students. Coded a new news story for Susie, sent it to her for review. Scanned in 2 documents for Melissa, converted them to PDF, then e-mailed her the documents. Researched HTML editors that include SFTP support—there aren't many. Our web admin is migrating us to different servers and increasing security, so I fear I must eventually switch away from my beloved editor of late: Chami's HTML-Kit. I installed jEdit and it took the longest time to figure out where the preferences were (under Utilities > Global Options). And then it took a long time to configure the fonts and colors the way I want them in Utilities > Global Options > Text Area. (It's not clear that jEdit doesn't let you choose foreground and background color for each item—you can choose only one foreground color and one background color and then the rest of your options just need to fit with those 2 choices.) jEdit is a Java app, so a lot of the Windows keyboard shortcuts that make me productive don't work in it. The text display is also very obviously not ClearText. It has "smooth text" options in the Text Area preferences, but it's of miserably unusable quality. After a few minutes, I decided to try out Lucida Console 14 points plain, gold on black, blinking white caret, dark gold for single selection, and the rest I didn't care much about (yet). The other HTML editor I found which has SFTP is Zend Studio. Haven't downloaded the trial version yet. Installed the Iomega Rev drive at work. The hardest part was putting the 5.25-inch-bay rails on—the plastic faceplace absolutely must be attached to the rails before the Rev drive is slid in between the rails. What is smime.p7m? Rick S sent me an empty e-mail message today with a file attached called smime.p7m. I don't know what I'm supposed to do with it. Yesterday Kim VW sent us a joke. Usually the jokes she sends are about marriage or blondes or men versus women, and we find them good for a chuckle. The one she sent yesterday had Patrick laughing so hard it looked painful. The joke goes like this: A new priest at his first mass was so nervous he could hardly speak. After mass he asked the monsignor how he had done. The monsignor replied, " When I am worried about getting nervous on the pulpit, I put a glass of vodka next to the water glass. If I start to get nervous, I take a sip." So next Sunday he took the monsignor's advice. At the beginning of the sermon, he got nervous and took a drink. He proceeded to talk up a storm. Upon his return to his office after the mass, he found the following note on the door: (1) Sip the vodka, don't gulp. (2) There are 10 commandments, not 12. (3) There are 12 disciples, not 10. (4) Jesus was consecrated, not constipated. (5) Jacob wagered his donkey, he did not bet his ass. (6) We do not refer to Jesus Christ as the late J.C. (7) The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are not referred to as Daddy, Junior and the spook. (8) David slew Goliath, he did not kick the shit out of him. (9) When David was hit by a rock and was knocked off his donkey, don't say he was stoned off his ass. (10) We do not refer to the cross as the "Big T." (11) When Jesus broke the bread at the last supper he said, "take this and eat it for it is my body." He did not say" Eat me." (12) The Virgin Mary is not called "Mary with the Cherry." (13) The recommended grace before a meal is not: Rub-A-Dub-Dub thanks for the grub, Yeah God. (14) Next Sunday there will be a taffy pulling contest at St. Peter's not a peter pulling contest at St. Taffy's.

Thu Dec 9, 2004

Breakfast: cream of wheat, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, rice milk, fresh banana slices. Linkchecking. Went through old files from the Tina M era and threw out ones that weren't needed. Coded the news story about Sharon with a photo essay. School plan edits for Susie. Updated current students calendar to reflect office holidays accurately. Pathway website updates for Kristina. Jeremy Lassen had some very nice things to say to me in e-mail. Lunch with Joel at Nan King Road Bistro: we each had our usual (#1 not spicy for me, #3 with twice-cooked chicken for Joel) but Joel forgot to specify peanuts on his. Dinner at home with Patrick: Chinese style pork chops, leftover angel hair with red sauce.

Fri Dec 10, 2004

Sesame bagel and cream cheese. Met with Susie to discuss new web stories and photos going online soon. Weeded old software cdroms and paperwork. Opened the new server to attach a plug protector that had fallen off last time it was open. Set up Outlook 2003, imported mail from Eudora 6.1.1—no problems so far. Chatted with Rick S who is getting us set up with Sygate firewall on our new server (and network). Updated the visitors page to include Cafe Evolution which claims to have free wifi access. Had a bite of the custard and strawberry pie that a student brought in for the office - yum! Lunch: leftover pork chops and angel hair. Dinner at home with Patrick: corn off the cob, leftover angel hair, salmon in puff pastry with cream cheese, sage, and garlic. Installed Outlook at home. Finished putting all the birthdays I have in Yahoo! Calendar. Ordered an Iomega Rev drive and 4-pack of tapes for home.

Sat Dec 11, 2004

I bought my secret Santa gift in the Castro. Met Tony at Castro Tarts. I had my standard breakfast: scrambled eggs, sausage, English muffin, tea. Patrick had a ham sandwich with a mocha. Tony had some kind of pig dish with rice, then a creme brulee. Afterwards we walked to Joseph Schmidt and Tony got to see the chocolates inside closer up. Then we went to Peet's: Patrick bought an eggnog latte, Tony had a latte. We then visited the Apple Store because he's in the market for an iPod. Walked to Central Computer where I bought 2 KVM cables for home. We shopped at the Gap—Tony bought 2 or 3 things including a brown corduroy jacket and a sweater. Golden Produce to pick up some food, then the liquor store for a bottle of wine. Tony gave us a ride in his car back to our place, and we invited him to join us for dinner: falafel in pita bread; corn, mushroom, red bell pepper potato salad; pita and hummus; a merlot. Over dinner we talked about lots of different things: cancer, medicine, medical studies, intuition, gossip, PLU, life and death, the meaning of life. After dinner, Tony administered a kind of psychological analysis game which purports to reveal how you look at life, and the results for me and Patrick were both quite interesting. Patrick and I both very much enjoyed his company today.

Sun Dec 12, 2004

Breakfast: a pastry for Patrick, a mushroom, spinach, and cheddar scramble for me. Spent about 4 hours helping Aaron swap hard drives between 2 Dell Inspiron laptops—a 300m and a 700m. All went well and I did other updates. Couldn't get CDex to rip properly. Edited Lodestar works all day. Lunch: leftover potato salad and leftover salmon en croute, pita and hummus. Hot sex in the shower. Dinner at home with Patrick: Xiao Loong delivery: potstickers, shitake mushrooms and baby bok choy, cheng bi chicken not spicy (but it turned out spicy), vegetable chow mein, fortune cookies. They gave us 7 fortune cookies. I had 3 and Patrick had 4. My fortunes: (1) You are an angel. BEWARE of those who collect feathers. (2) Share excitement with your best friends as you all run away for the weekend. (3) You live a double life and enjoy appearing to be something that you are not. Patrick's fortunes: (1) Someone thinks you are very special and lets you know it. (2) You are demonstrative with those you love. (3) The light of a hundred stars can not equal the light of the moon. (Think romance.) (4) Confucious says: Mistakes are the portals of discovery. Tried powering up the new server, but the watch battery in the motherboard had died, so setup must wait until we have a new battery.

Mon Dec 13, 2004

Met with Rick S for a few hours to set up Sygate firewall. Designed an ad for Cindy to go in the Class of 2005 yearbook. Edited a third story for the web from Susie. Lunch: leftovers. Dinner at home with Patrick: leftovers for me, a salad for Patrick.

Tue Dec 14, 2004

Oatmeal with cinnamon, brown sugar, and banana slices. Student computing committee meeting: Linda Jacobsen was invited to give us ideas on how our committee could get funding. I like her almost instantly because she speaks as resolutely and knowledgeably as an oracle. I felt as though I was in the presence of a divine being who could see fiscal futures as clearly as we saw our own obstacles. Office holiday lunch at Scala's Bistro. This fine restaurant is in the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, and I had never been here before. Joel remembered having eaten at Scala's once long ago, perhaps accompanying a friend to the friend's birthday party. Cindy had been here at least several times before, and I think she was the one who had suggested it. Our waiter was Dalton, and he was excellent. The large and detailed menu can appear daunting to those new to it, and he eased that by making light humor of its complexity in the manner of a close confidante. From my days at Adobe, I remembered a snippet of the training I received: create rapport. All the food was excellent. As appetizers, we had deep-fried calamari aka grilled octopus (Yukon Gold potatoes, haricot verts, salsa verde: $9.50) and a plate of bruschetta (roasted wild mushrooms, caramelized garlic, arugula, San Andreas: $9.00). Debrah also chose a Manila clam chowder to start. Entrees: Melissa and I both had halibut atop a dungeness crab salad. James had gnocchi ($14.25); Cindy had tremezzo—a crab cake sandwich; Kristina had pesto and ricotta ravioli ($13.50); Debrah had orecchietti with house-made sausage, broccoli rabe, pecorino cheese ($14.25); Joel had steak frites with Café De Paris Butter (well done, $20.50); Ena had grilled chicken boob salad with spinach, mushrooms, bacon, and vinaigrette ($12.95). A side of mashed potatoes with baby chives was shared around the table. Desserts: I chose the Sierra Beauty apple-cherry crisp with honey gelato. Melissa chose the warm ginger sticky toffee pudding with Guiness stout gelato, James chose the chocolate I.V., Cindy chose the holiday sampler plate of cookies and other sweets, Joel chose hazelnut bambolini (doughnut holes) with housemade Nutella, Ena had a mocha. Joel took the day's photos. Mimi Young was the pastry chef. Staffan Terje was the exec chef. Dalton reminded us frequently that "you can't go wrong with any of the choices" and he was indeed correct. Every dish looked wholly satisfying, and everything I tasted seemed perfect. Every bite of the halibut I had was moist and tender, and I could not help myself from thinking of Nico Santos imitating the woman judge on Iron Chef—the flavors did indeed dance in my mouth. After lunch, Joel and I met Patrick at Cafe de la Press (really, Starbucks—he complained of CDLP's prices) and then we went shopping, as per office custom following the office holiday lunch. We went to Macy's because I found a wool jacket on sale I might like on, but when I got there I tried it on and of course even the small was too big (sorry, no extra small!). We walked to a different section and I found a blazer labelled "34" that fit me, but it was Dolce and Gabbana and it was about $700 (not on sale). I imagined it would be cheaper to fly to Asia and buy a jacket there. We split up from Joel, went to French Connection (again, nothing I liked or which fit), then saw him again just outside of Urban Outfitters. I'll never understand why people pay new clothes prices for clothes made to appear second-hand. I understand the concept of, say, making jeans more pliable (worn) and then selling them new, but it seems to me UO takes things to the previous level—I saw things that would easily look at home in the Salvation Army store or an old military supply store. And when will people finally tire of t-shirts that are mildly ("Rick's Rod Shop") or overly ("i'm trying to pick you up") suggestive? Designers and store owners: please stop selling this fecal cloth matter! At home tonight while shutting down Windows XP it's the first time I see exit messages from the operating system: "Installing update 1 of 4... etc."

Wed Dec 15, 2004

I dreamt last night something about an elevator and—within it—a button labelled "54b" which was, oddly enough, the only button inside the elevator. I also dreamt that Patrick and I were in a room with no windows and we were disturbed by a sound of water spilling over—not unlike when our washer has had problems in the past in real life. We turned to look to a corner of the room and a water heater was there, obviously spilling water from the top somehow. It had stains of some sort indicating that water overspills with it a lot. The water ran toward a drain in the floor, but something about the floor made the water avoid the drain. Somewhere else a faucet came on by itself and although it was pointed toward the drain in the floor the water pressure was too high and so it missed the drain as well. After waking from this dream, I had to pee. Hash browns, eggs, and fake sausage for breakfast. Telecommute day. Worked on the supp app PDF. Lunch: nachos meal: tortilla chips, vegetarian black refried beans, diced red onion, shredded Tillamook cheddar, a little bit of corn from the freezer, diced tomato. After work, I got home and as per our custom Patrick removed my boots for me but the laces got stuck as they sometimes do, and he gave up trying to get them free. I gave him a simple instruction, which he performed, and the laces instantly and effortlessly came free. He knows I like when that happens. I did some work on Lodestar. Dinner at home with Patrick: apricot chicken, baked potato, French green beans. I fell asleep almost immediately afterwards.

Thu Dec 16, 2004

I dreamt last night that Tina Luu met me at some kind of an amusement park. She had brought with her a bunch of shopping bags with goods within—or maybe just one with a bunch of items—but still it was a lot of stuff. I thought we could put it in the trunk of my car, but I didn't have my car with me. Then I thought we could put it all in a locker, though we'd have a hard time finding a single locker big enough. I don't remember in the dream that we resolved that issue, but next thing I remember we were looking at a large map of the park on a kind of wall display trying to find a restaurant. The map we were looking at didn't seem to have what we wanted until I discovered that I could spin it to see more information. It wasn't intuitive that you could spin it, and I thought it was a poor design. We spun it to find a menu of a restaurant, but it was very American and very basic—fried chicken, etc. I don't remember what we decided, but next thing I knew we were going down an escalator. As we were descending, I saw Chris De Lay sitting in a coffeetablish lounge area on the floor we were just leaving. I turned to Tina quickly and asked her if she wanted to go back up and say hi. I don't remember hearing her response in the dream. I recall thinking in the dream that it was really easy for Chris to fly over from Hawaii just for a couple of days at an amusement park.—Met briefly with Cindy—a very quick meeting. Holiday luncheon and party at the Faculty/Alumni House. Shrimp skewers, roast beef, spinach salad, salmon, chicken drummettes, marinated mushrooms, various cheeses and crackers and breads, savory and sweet crepes, various desserts: yule log, cookies, petit fours. Holiday gift exchange (secret santa) at the office. This year was a flurry of gift stealing, so much so that I couldn't keep track of every turn in the stealing. Joel ended up with the much coveted square glass platter and cocktail napkins brought by Cindy. Cindy ended up with (plant) brought by ?. Melissa ended up with a leather picture frame brought by Debrah. Debrah ended up with Rite Aid frosted checkered glass coasters and assorted pharmacy-logoed tchotchkes and a $10 gift card to Starbucks. James ended up with the starting-to-bloom amaryllis plant brought by Melissa. (He named the plant "Seymour" even before the game had ended.) Ena ended up with fine yarn and purple knitting needles brought by James. And I ended up with an Umbra magnetic flower photo and note holder brought by me. (Ha!) The work room had an overdose of holiday sweets: a 2-pound box of See's Candies from Lloyd Young (thanks!), assorted muffins, James's pralines, candy canes, holiday rice krispie treats from Cindy. Helped Melissa with a serious problem with her laptop (the following blue screen of death BSOD: "STOP: c0000218 (Registry File Failure) The registry cannot load the hive (file): \SystemRoom\System32\Config\SOFTWARE or its log or alternate. It is corrupt, absent, or not writable. Beginning dump of physical memory Physical memory dump complete. Contact your system administrator or technical support group for assistance." -- see Wed Dec 29 for the solution), she gave me a ride home. Iomega Rev drive for home arrives. Dinner at home with Patrick: leftover chicken, new mashed potatoes. Worked on Lodestar.

Fri Dec 17, 2004

Helped Jeff Beck with a broken image problem which turned out to be a folder permissions problem. Reposted 2 schedules for Debrah and Cindy. Finished the set of 3 news stories Susie and I had been working on the past 2 weeks, then made them live. Scanned documents from the transgender training session in November, converted them to PDF, then put then on the internal server. Archived my 2274 certificate (Windows Server 2003 training). Pre-dinner snack: pork buns from J and J Bakery (415-681-6100, 1398-9th Avenue) which were good (85 cents each). Dinner at home with Patrick: vegetable stir fry. Worked on Lodestar. All fiction is coded and ready for review. Lately on my bus rides I've been reading William Gibson's Pattern Recognition. (Thanks, Chris and Nate!) I like it so far—parts are very funny.

Sat Dec 18, 2004

Woke up around 7:30 AM. Worked on Lodestar. Ate a banana and a fruit smoothie for breakfast. Napped. Woke around 1:00 PM. Patrick had gone to meet with his language group to practice Mandarin then go grocery shopping with Sam. Sam left us with some Christmas presents, including one he said we could open today: a Starbucks CD of Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas. Fun! After waking from my nap, I bought Basis soap at Walgreen's then got an Oriental chicken salad at Safeway on Taraval. Got home, ate the salad. Worked on Lodestar. Dinner at home with Patrick: baked lemon pepper chicken; cream-based sweet potato, carrot, and fresh corn soup; bread. Finished first-round coding for Lodestar. Patrick sent everything out for review. A few reviews have come back—mostly no changes. This issue is done sooner than expected due to no drama works. Pretty much now we wait for reviews to come back, make any final edits, then the new issue goes live on Tuesday.

Sun Dec 19, 2004

Patrick and I almost died last night / this morning. I woke up and the apartment smelled funny / bad. We thought it was the trash, which had some old chicken bones and other food substances. Patrick tied up the bag and left it by the door, but after a few minutes it still smelled bad, so I took the trash out and dumped it in the outside garbage bin. Still, it smelled funny, so we opened a few windows. As we were preparing for breakfast, Patrick noticed that the burner was on but the flame had gone out. Fortunately, it was only on the lowest setting. And, fortunately, I didn't light the pine-scented tea lights like I had thought about doing. It reminded me of the time I got home from clubbing and was really hungry and started some french fries in the toaster oven but fell asleep before I could take them out and eat them. Patrick dreamt last night that Chris De Lay had come to visit us again and they had a disagreement about ginseng. Dishes. Breakfast: bagels and cream cheese. Today we made plans for Christmas Eve (dinner at 2223 Restaurant), Christmas morning (dim sum brunch at Harbor Village followed by ice skating), and New Year's Eve (5-course tasting meal with 5 fresh crop whole leaf teas at Samovar). Reviews start coming back for Lodestar—they are mostly simple changes. House chores: dishes, laundry, floor cleaning. Nap. Patrick and I started making some holiday cookies using a recipe we found at Dinner at home with Patrick: orange, shrimp, and peas risotto. I began rebuilding which has been offline for about a month (I haven't been keeping track). I'm installing OpenBSD 3.6 and I'll tell you right now they say it's easy but it's just not. I grew up with Unix but this was a pain and took several hours just to get the install finished and connected to the net. The first problem was that I didn't order the CD from the website. In retrospect, I suppose I would order it for a future install. The second problem was having to read all the pages and pages of how to correctly partition the disk during installation. So time-consuming—they need a wizard for this decision process. The third problem was their confusing terminology. When they ask for "DNS nameserver?" I thought they meant what IP address do I want for my nameserver? Instead, this question means: what is the nameserver IP address given to you by your ISP? Since I accepted the default of "none" (because I didn't want to run DNS on this server), I was later unable to complete the FTP setup—the ISO they give you doesn't come with all the files you need. I tried creating the ISO cd with all the required files, but everywhere on the net people have instructions for Linux and BSD but I had to piece together instructions for Windows from a couple of different sites. Essentially, the idea in building that ISO is to download all of the files separately, then use a Unix utility called mkisofs to create the ISO. There were a number of stumbling blocks along the way, such as mkisofs requires Cygwin, and the newest version of it isn't distributed as an exe so you have to get a compiler working. All these things were more trouble than it was worth—I tried but could not get everything to work. Instead, I downloaded the files I needed and just burned them to a blank disc in Joliet format then insert it at the point where they were requested. Another terminology problem is the question of "Default route?" I guessed correctly—the correct answer to this question is to respond with the gateway IP address of your ISP or your net connection. I resolved the missing DNS setting by creating /etc/resolv.conf and adding the IP address with "nameserver " in front of it on a single line. The fourth problem I had was that my cdrom somehow didn't get added to the default mount points. I used dmesg to figure out what the device name for it was, then edited /etc/fstab to include it so that it could be mounted with the mount command. Still haven't figured out how to see USB drives, though I suspect it's similar. I downloaded and got Gunnar Wolf's tepatche installed and running (after more separate downloading and burning of the sys and src files), tomorrow I'll be attempting to rebuild the kernel with patches. We got a beautiful photo holiday card from Brian and Kelly today—a close-up of winter persimmons and chiles taken from a cart at the farmer's market.

Mon Dec 20, 2004

Bagel and cream cheese for breakfast. Lunch at New Loi's. Groceries at Andronico's. Patrick and I saw House of Flying Daggers (2004) at the Daly City Century 20. The reviews for this film were very promising. A.O. Scott of the New York Times called it "a gorgeous entertainment!" and we agree. Michael Wilmington of the Chicago Tribune called it "absolutely spellbinding! a truly impressive epic, full of dazzling period set design, radiant cinematography, powerful performances in the archetypal romantic roles. Fantastic and thrilling!" but Patrick and I would say "Occasionally somewhat spellbinding!" and "Not really an epic, but impressive in its own ways!" and "Has one scene with a few period set pieces and pretty much the rest of the film takes place outdoors!" Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly called it "eye-popping operatic richness!" but we think "eye-popping" is likely overstating her true reactions. What I liked best about the film was the peeling back of the layers of the richer-than-expected story. Patrick seemed to especially like that the ending was unexpected. After the film, we continued the holiday cookies project—there are 2 stages of refrigeration. Dinner: leftover risotto, leftover pasta, bread and butter.

Tue Dec 21, 2004

I left the OpenBSD 3.6 kernel rebuilding with patches last night, and it's still going! Immediately, I thought "Energizer bunny." And then I immediately thought, "That Energizer ad campaign has really worked too well." Why do I think of Energizer even in a situation where it doesn't apply? I'd like to give them some credit, however, for a recent ad I've had to walk past on my way to work mostly every day. It shows a young boy doing a pull-up at an exercise station like in a schoolyard, the Energizer logo in the lower right corner. there's no background—it's all a solid shade of pinkish purple. What I like about the ad is that the boy looks Asian but there are no other references to race evident in the ad. He's just an Asian kid, and this is just an ad for batteries. He's not doing a pull-up in a Chinatown playground. He's not wearing a special hat to protect his head from the rice paddies he works in after school. He's just an Asian kid. And it makes me think that if the Energizer people understand (or, in today's jargon, "get it"), why can't other companies? I am reminded of the brochure sent to be by my car insurance company, which, I think, is based in Rhode Island. They sent me a brochure full of smiling white people. Page after page of this white man or that white woman. And I couldn't help thinking if they even understood that in places like San Francisco those brochures really make them seem unworldly and lacking sophistication and intelligence. Cream of wheat, cinnamon, banana for breakfast. I made some holiday treats in the kitchen. Patrick did some Christmas shopping. I ran an errand to the post office. Late lunch: leftover Vietnamese noodle soup. Late dinner: pork chops, corn on the cob, skinny French fries, bread and butter. Watched White Christmas taped from TV. Because my computer's system clock wasn't exactly right, the computer failed to tape about the last 5 minutes of the movie. Oh, well. Today I spent mostly at home continuing to rebuild I tried to get Antec's EasyUSB to work properly with my KT7A-RAID motherboard. EasyUSB isn't easy. I changed the pinouts but I still have it wrong somehow—this is very hard to figure out. Afterwards I tried figuring out how to see my USB drive in OpenBSD 3.6—I still can't figure it out. However, I did set up the firewall, like yesterday piecing together bits of knowledge from various places on the web to create my /etc/pf.conf file. It also took me awhile to figure out that a lot of the information on the web about setting up an NTP daemon is outdated—a new ntpd called OpenNTPD is introduced in OpenBSD 3.6 and it's very simple to set up—simply add ntpd_flags="" to the file at /etc/rc.conf.local and edit the /etc/ntpd.conf file to allow the "servers" line and reboot (I think you need to reboot). I also set up DHCP and NAT but haven't tested it yet. No apparant problems so far, though. Patrick has been enthusiastically reading Sam's copy of The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown. It's not his usual literary fiction fare, but he is very much engaged in the book. I haven't seen him like this since the last Harry Potter book (#5, I think). I am still reading William Gibson's Pattern Recognition and have also started Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. We received a holiday card from Bill and Glenn as well as a box of Joseph Schmidt chocolates from Tony Q—thanks! Patrick and I also baked cookies this morning—they turned out well, and we are pleased.

Wed Dec 22, 2004

Spent today continuing to set up the new server. I think I got the EasyUSB problem fixed, but my Sony Microvault USB drive just won't mount properly—I think this is OpenBSD's problem, not EasyUSB's or mine. I got Apache set up and running by adding the appropriate line in /etc/rc.conf.local: httpd_flags="". I compiled and installed bash from ports. I added my default user account and configured the shell as I like it. I installed Mike's Ad Blocking Hosts File. Minor Lodestar edits—added URLs. Dinner at home with Patrick: homemade chicken chow mein. Bookmarked and Watched Simpsons and Jacques Pepin. Got SSL working. Inserted new web page placeholders.

Thu Dec 23, 2004

Breakfast at home with Patrick: Aztec scramble, orange juice, blackberries and whipped cream. Sam stopped by to say hello and we exchanged gifts. I got PHP and MySQL installed and running via packages. I went to Jamie's to help him set up his new laptop—a Dell Inspiron 8600. It was frustrating and took a long time because I couldn't get any network working. They have an 802.11b Netgear router hooked to a DSL connection. The thing that eventually fixed it was cycling power on the DSL modem. In the process I discovered a neighborhood wifi (also Netgear) which I had mistaken for Jamie and Iku's which (also) didn't have security or any password set up (!). Afterwards, Patrick met me at Jamie's with a change of clothes for me and we had a quick dinner at Chow on Church (2 coffees, 1 iced tea, lasagna for Patrick, sausage pizza for me, ginger cake shared for dessert, our server was Timothy) before going to Oy Vey in a Manger 2, which was a performance of drag queens called Kinsey Sicks singing a cappella holiday tunes turned humorous and raunchy. We liked the show a lot. The writing was very sharp, both of the songs as well as the jokes in between. We were astounded by the singing. Every note seemed perfectly timed and harmonious, and Trixie's (Jeff Manabat) little opera number was a pure pleasure. Afterwards, we saw in the Muni station that the next outbound L train was 66 minutes, so we took a cab home.

Fri Dec 24, 2004

Woke up too early, couldn't sleep: 4 AM. Patrick closed his account today due to the knowledge gained from, which we found because of an article Mark Morford wrote in Patrick had trouble finding the proper page for doing so, but found it after searching the help section on "close account" (no quotes). Sam came over—we opened presents with him because he's leaving today on short notice for New Orleans. I napped. Tina and Daniel called to say hello. Tina loves the candy-cane-encrusted rice krispie treats and peppermint pinwheel cookies Patrick and I sent them on Wednesday. We dressed to go to dinner at 2223 Restaurant. We arrived in the Castro early, so we walked around. Shops were starting to close up and there didn't seem to be many people doing last-second shopping. We laughed when we saw a porn movie called Drill Bill—the cover done just like Kill Bill. 2223 was bustling and festive. Service was rather slow tonight but we didn't care that much as we weren't in a hurry to go anywhere. I had had a cocktail and a little bit of wine, so by the time I had gotten home I zonked out in bed even though we had picked up a movie and intended to watch it. Dinner: We both had the crab and rock shrimp bisque to start. Patrick had the duck, I had the beef tenderloin. For dessert, we shared the bread pudding and the ginger cake. One half-bottle of wine for Patrick, one cocktail for me, two coffees.

Sat Dec 25, 2004

Christmas morning. On the way, Patrick chatted on the phone with his mom. We met Galen at Harbor Village for dim sum—a delicious meal. We didn't go ice skating like I thought we might, however—Patrick and I just weren't in the mood today. We gave Galen a small box of the cookies and rice krispie treats we had made earlier. Patrick and I agreed to meet Galen later today at his place for dinner and to watch Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade which we had rented last night from Superstar on 17th. Patrick and I went home and opened gifts. Sam got us 2 page-a-day calendars: chocolate facts for Patrick; "fact or crap" for me; a whole lot of Ferrero confections: rochers, mon cheris, and manderlys; a shiny green holiday picture frame; a pink, edible, marshmallow Christmas tree ornament; an Act II microwave popcorn set with 2 packs of microwave popcorn, a pair of tall white and red plastic pop corn boxes, and two shakers of popcorn salt—one butter and one cheese flavor. Tony Q got us a dozen large truffles from Joseph Schmidt: all dark, champagne, all milk, black & white, eggnog, grand marnier, wintermint, amaretto, raspberry brandy, double latte, venetian cream, and bailey's irish cream. We ate the eggnog truffle—sinfully delicious! Patrick got me the DVD for Kill Bill Volume 1 and the CD for Vangelis's Blade Runner. I got Patrick MC Solaar's Cinquieme As (Fifth Ace) and the DVD for Hero and a bunch of books: Marilyn Chase - The Barbary Plague The Black Death in Victorian San Francisco, Edmund White - Genet A Biography, Congwen Shen - Imperfect Paradise Fiction from Modern China, Albert Camus - The Plague. We chatted with Tina briefly. I archived greeting cards, paid a bill, tidied up the apartment, folded laundry that I guess Patrick had started last night and ran in the dryer this morning.

Sun Dec 26, 2004

Patrick made favorite breakfast. Nap. Leftovers for lunch. Patrick and I dropped off the movie at Superstar, then had a peppermint cocoa and berry-peach scone at Peet's. There weren't any good seats available, so instead of staying to read, we walked around some then went to Trader Joe's for groceries. Home. I installed gnome from ports. Chatted with Tony Q, then Melissa. Dinner at home with Patrick: rosemary cheddar puffs, organic greens salad with peppercorn ranch dressing, lasagna from TJ's. Patrick and I watched a bunch of Simpsons episodes. I ruined my new server setup because of insufficient instructions describing how—step by step—to resolve /usr out of disk space. I found out how to use the -E option in disklabel, but I made the mistake of using c to change the size of the partition and then rebooted. Now upon boot it gives a lot of errors about the disk or the partitions. Oh, well. I'll just redo the whole thing and it's better that way learningwise anyhow. /usr had filled up because I extracted all the ports to /usr/ports. Next time, I'll make /usr 20 GB instead of 2 GB. (The OpenBSD FAQ recommended tripling 250 MB would be sufficient—not true.)

Mon Dec 27, 2004

Breakfast at home with Patrick: pecan-banana-cornmeal pancakes, chicken sausage. Lunch: turkey hot dogs, cold pesto-lime noodle salad. Dinner: Spanish rice, salmon in Cuban mojito simmer sauce, steamed broccoli. Today I took apart the computer rackmount rack, inserted the new server, installed an Iomega Rev drive into one computer, and rearranged everything so that it is more orderly than before. Chatted online with Jacob at Iomega Technical Support regarding this error message: "Faulting application livesystem.exe, version, faulting module ntdll.dll, version 5.1.2600.2180, fault address 0x00010f29." The solution which seemed to solve the problem was to uninstall the version of Iomega Automatic Backup Pro I had ( and install the 3.0 version of the software which he gave to me as a download. This 3.0 version seemed to not yet be available from their website.

Tue Dec 28, 2004

Breakfast at home with Patrick: hot Grape Nuts with milk for him, hot cream of wheat with rice milk and cinnamon and brown sugar and fresh banana for me. I napped about 90 minutes while Patrick studied Mandarin. Lunch at home with Patrick: turkey hot dogs, tortilla chips, leftover Spanish rice. Restored (but stylesheets need some work). I realize now that I've lost a couple months' worth of my journal. It's possible that the data can be retrieved from the crashed hard drive, but I'm not optimistic at this point. Oh, well. Had trouble installing some software in OpenBSD 3.6. Grrr. I need a BSD expert to walk me through some of this stuff. Watched Kill Bill Volume 1 on DVD.

Wed Dec 29, 2004

Breakfast: 2 oranges and a banana. Met Melissa for lunch at Yum Yum Fish. We had plenty of good sushi, and it only came out to about $30 which Melissa insisted on paying. Helped Melissa recover data from her hard drive. Somehow when an automatic update installed it clobbered the boot process—the computer was unable to start into Windows no matter what I tried (last known good, safe mode, safe mode with networking, press R to restore in windows setup). She spent $6 on the 2.5-inch-to-3.5-inch hard disk drive adapter I instructed her to get at Central Computer, and using that we were able to mount the drive successfully onto a working computer then copy her data files over. After that, I set up Windows XP anew *not* using her Dell copy of Win XP. The whole process took about 7 hours, much of that time was waiting for ScanDisk to run a complete check of the drive—no problems. We went to the cafeteria for a snack. I got half fries and half onion rings. Melissa got onion rings. Finished with her computer (for now). Went home. Instead of eating dinner, Patrick and I instead had late snacks of tempura shrimp with dipping sauce and turkey hot dogs. I archived more Christmas and holiday cards and other documents. Tidied the apartment. It's been very rainy today. Resolved some problems with Iomega Rev unable to back up files because it thinks the filenames are too long.

Thu Dec 30, 2004

Breakfast: vegetable scramble with brown rice toast. Snack: rice krispies for Patrick, an orange for me. Patrick and I went to Kabuki Springs and Spa communal baths for a few hours of relaxation. Dinner at home with Patrick: Brazilian seafood stew. Today we begin using a compost bin in the kitchen. We had simply never done this before because we feared stinky smells, but I realized it's easy enough to just take out whatever is stinky and put it in the compost collection bin provided by the city of San Francisco. I first got the idea to try this out from my sister. She probably doesn't know I observed them using the same practices in their kitchen. Within hours Patrick and I had filled a small bag of compostables, and I realized how silly we had been to not do this earlier. This has an extra benefit in that it saves space in our regular garbage can, which is normally very full. This year we got Christmas and holiday cards from the following: Bill M; Tony Q; Sam; Mitchell W; mikeob and Brian R; Aunt Maryann; Mary Anne Koda-Kimble; Glenn and Bill; Dr Sr Theresa M. DuRapau, RSM; Dianne M; Chris and Nate; Brian and Kelly; Bo the money man; JWG; Abbo P; and the Honma, Garcia, Dornblaser, and Vu-Williams families.

Fri Dec 31, 2004

Last night (or early this morning) around 2:00 AM someone left us a weird prank call. He or she simply said, "You guys are gay" and hung up. We laughed at the message. He or she might as well have said, "You guys live in San Francisco" or "You guys are American." Breakfast: Grape Nuts for Patrick, ginger cream of wheat for me. Donated money to the American Red Cross for earthquake-tsunami relief in southeast Asia and east Africa. Lunch: bread and butter, leftover stew. Napped. Snack: tortilla chips and salsa. New Years Eve with Patrick, Aaron, Jamie, Evan, and Demetrius at Jamie's place, where we stopped for about 90 minutes in the evening for drinks and socializing. New Years Eve with Patrick at Samovar Tea House: Course 1: Mahi Mahi Rice Stew paired with Darjeeling Peony White Rosette. Course 2: Broiled Prawns with Oolong Dipping Butter paired with Ryokucha Green. Course 3: Keemun Tea Glazed Quail with Stewed Xiaoxing Shiitake Mushrooms paired with Iron Goddess of Compassion. Course 4: Russian Blinni with Wild Salmon and Caviar Trio paired with Samovar Russian Blend. Course 5: Tofu Custard with Matcha Powder and Chocolate Shavings paired with 1950 Vintage Extra Aged Pu-er. Although I found most of the teas we tried overly bitter for my tastes, we still had a great time. This is a tea house, so we excused the quality of the service we received, which would have been puzzling for a fine restaurant. Nitpicky suggestions for next time in case anyone from Samovar is reading this: use cloth not paper napkins, serve hot dishes hot not lukewarm, remind the staff to pull soup spoons after the soup not after 2 courses later. Neither Patrick nor I are very much tea connissours, so we didn't think to ask for cream or sugar, but if you ask me, for some of the teas, it wouldn't've helped much. The Samovar Russian Blend was the bitterest, followed by the 1950 Vintage Extra Aged Pu-er, then the Ryokucha Green, then the Iron Goddess of Compassion (the title of which Patrick especially liked—what gay man wouldn't?). The only tea I really enjoyed was the Darjeeling Peony White Rosette. We were able to discern sensibilities in the pairings, too, with Patrick's palate more sensitive than mine. For example, the Samovar Russian Blend had slight flavors of grapefruit, and the wild salmon with which it was paired was served atop slices of grilled grapefruit. When midnight arrived, the staff called attention to the passing of 2004 by way of a (presumably) reproduction of an ancient Asian bell, tapping the bell once for each of the last 10 seconds of the year. We toasted with about a half ounce of complimentary vodka, then shared a quick kiss over our candlelit table. Patrick resolves to make no more resolutions after I remind him of his resolutions (still unresolved) from 2 years ago.