January 2005

Summary: Mom Ryan visits, Dinner at home with Tony Q, frankfarm.org gets rebuilt

Dates on this page

Sat Jan 1, 2005

Dim sum snack and grocery shopping at 99 Market. I conquered DHCP! After many hours of trying to get DHCP to do what I need, I made things seemingly worse this morning—the lights on the NIC no longer lit up, but after a break at the grocery store I finally get it to work. Most tutorials say to put and in as the domain name servers in dhcpd.conf, but I think those numbers are correct only if your server is also running DNS. I am not, so I instead needed the IP addresses for DNS provided by my ISP. There were a bunch of other little things but I'm tired of dealing with DHCP so I won't go into many of them here. I think Webmin modified resolve.conf to include "lookup file bind" which screwed things up, so I deleted it and rebooted. All 3 of our home computers are now secured behind pf and (for extra safety in case pf fails) the free version of ZoneAlarm as well. I also have NAT running to permit up to 4 guests to connect via ethernet cable. (Still no wireless in our house—we just haven't had a need for it.) Patrick made a yummy steamed dumplings dinner.

Sun Jan 2, 2005

Driving lessons: Patrick and I drove to a nearby mostly empty mostly flat parking area next to Lake Merced which is about 5 minutes away. I had given him stick shift driving lessons before in this same place a while back, but we didn't do it consistently enough for him to feel comfortable on the road driving by himself. He did very well today, causing the car to stall only once or twice in about 90 minutes. Even though he's a new driver, he has never grinded the gears in my car. I believe he'll be quite trustworthy once he gains more confidence in driving a stick shift. Grocery shopping at the new Trader Joe's in Daly City. TJ's moved within the same shopping mall to a smaller location. It's more crowded than ever before—about as crowded as the downtown Trader Joe's. Could it be more city-dwelling Democrats turned on to TJ's by buyblue.org and choosetheblue.com? The novelty which caught my attention was an extremely industrial hot air hand dryer. I can't remember the name of it, but the air came out of it so forcefully that the skin on my hands resembled the face of the pilot in the world's fastest jet airplane—I could see my skin rippling like a bed sheet. Late lunch: deep-fried wontons, Chinese chicken salad. Yesterday I thought I had conquered DHCP but after the server was restarted the network didn't work again. I thought something had gone wrong in my software configuration and spent hours trying to figure out whether it was DHCP or the packet filter or something else. Eventually I figured out that all that was needed to fix the problem was to cycle the power on the hub I have for my internal network, then, in Win XP, repair the network connection if needed (if right-click > Repair doesn't work, then ipconfig /release followed by ipconfig /renew then ipconfig /all to check). Patrick made a very delicious dinner tonight: beef flank steak wrapped with goat cheese and spinach; coconut rice, steamed broccoli, garlic naan. After dinner we looked at photo albums online: Tina's pix of her trip across the southwest with Daniel, Galen's pix of his ski trip with the boys in Lake Tahoe, Tony A's pix of his trip to China. I archived some documents. One was something from long ago—Monday, August 16, 1993—a letter I wrote while working as a PageMaker technical support technician at Aldus Corporation, 411 First Avenue South, Seattle, Washington, 98104-2871. The letter described a snipped of PostScript code to add to the customer's HP LaserJet III file (HPIII522.PPD). "...Try printing as you did before, targeting for the HP LJ III PS, Printing To the same, and using the HP LJ III PS PPD." Vacation is over, and I'm glad we have no Christmas lights to take down or tree to leave out on the curb to die. Pay rent, sync up the USB drive, and it's back to work tomorrow.

Mon Jan 3, 2005

Breakfast: cream of wheat, sliced fresh banana, cinnamon, brown sugar. It's a pretty good day at work, considering I had been gone for 2 weeks. Under 100 e-mails, and none of them severe emergencies. Joel got me and Patrick a late Christmas present—a Xyliss food chopper. We had been discussing this particular kitchen appliance a while ago, and he very sweetly remembered that we didn't know how useful they could be. Helped a returning student reactivate computer accounts for Cindy. Downloaded tarballs of the website for archiving to CD-ROM. Posted info about a class for Chris because of trouble with the listservs. Updated student databases regarding a returning student and a departing student. Notified other systems owners of these changes. Answered questions about removing USB drives for Melissa. Joel showed me a table runner he made with his new sewing machine. The table runner he made was luxurious—gold on one side and deep red on the other, a silky or satiny material, with tassels at each end. It looked very professional, and I was very impressed. He also showed off his copy of a news magazine autographed "To Joel" by Coach Pat Summit. Lunch with Joel at the cafeteria. Helped a student with problems with e-mail warnings. Helped a student with laptop problems. She had had 2 anti-virus applications installed at the same time which caused her computer to slow to a crawl. Uninstalling one of them fixed the problem, and I performed other security and performance enhancements as well. Tweaked the firewall to resolve problems seeing the web server from outside, reconfigured ZoneAlarm on inside Windows clients for trusted IPs, got Samba working mostly by using the Webmin-Samba guide written by James j. Murray of Appleton, Wisconsin. I now have access from within HTML-Kit to the web server root. All the traffic is internal, protected by the server's firewall. Next step, for tomorrow maybe, set up regular disaster recovery backups of the new server to the new Iomega rev drive which is installed on a Windows computer in the home network. Once this last piece is in place, I'll be able to start backpopulating journal entries. I still haven't tried recovering data from the crashed drive. Dinner at home with Patrick: pork loin, baby shrimp and lima bean with mixed greens, baked potato, garlic naan. I worked on the server a bit, and then We watched The Simpsons: Homer versus Patty and Selma. Read Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox: Reviving Advanced Hypertext. Send some thank you iCards late tonight. Bed.

Tue Jan 4, 2005

I dreamt last night I was alone in a large house at night. The interior was clean and tidy with white walls. I approached one wing of the house where there was a sort of catwalk or walkway with a trellis above. To the left was a large, lush lawn. To the right, the same thing, only smaller. Far off to the right I saw a city skyline—all lights. I couldn't determine a specific city—I was too far away. The night air was cold, so I went back into the house, and I realized the room had a lot of fruit flies all over. It was disgusting! So I ran deeper into the house. My mom was there and for some reason a trickle of water was going through the room. It had ruined the parts of the wooden floor it had touched, so large squares of the floor were missing where tiles had been removed from water damage. My mom was taking care of the problem.—Breakfast: oatmeal, sliced fresh banana, cinnamon, brown sugar. Upgraded to Trillian 3.0 at work today. First impressions: very nicely done. Windows updates and security maintenance on the shared office laptop. Grad filing web changes for Cindy, sent them to her for review. Student Deanna S brought some delicious baklava and Greek (cookies?) for the office. I dragged Joel to the introduction to retirement benefits presentation given by Amy Dumont from Fidelity Investments, whom we both agreed was an excellent presenter. She was very knowledgeable, spoke confidently, easily handled problematic attendees who came in at the last minute and asked a lot of questions, checked in with us to make sure we understood everything, gave us time to ask questions, and best of all, she presented herself so immaculately that you could only think, "Now, she's sharp!" Lunch: cafeteria with Joel (we talked about my mom). Melissa stopped by to chat. After lunch I researched migration options from Meeting Maker to Outlook. (They don't look very good.) Posted a new P1 schedule for Debrah. Scanned Oprah photos for Joel. No 6:30 PM bus today. Dinner at home with Patrick: pizza, salad. The pizza dough was from Trader Joe's—$2 or $3, I think Patrick said. It was tasty. After dinner I rewired some audio cables which didn't get configured properly. Tested microphone recording with Patrick. He wants to record interviews with his mom, but I'm not certain this is a very good solution because we have really cheap microphones. Tried to figure out why our new web server responds so slowly. I'm not certain, but it seems to be an external net problem—maybe a router—and not our server.

Wed Jan 5, 2005

I can't remember last night's dream very well, but it had something to do with gay men in the late 1960s singing and dancing showtunes. Ate a banana for breakfast. No 8:08 AM bus this morning, so I went back home for a proper breakfast. The 8:30 AM bus showed up at 8:25 AM—I heard it go by. While eating breakfast I chatted online with John W (or possibly Douglas T) from sonic.net about packet loss. After a few minutes, he said there was a sonic router that might need looking into. I thanked him for his help and said goodbye. No 8:50 AM bus. At 9:12 AM the 9:10 AM bus hadn't shown up, so I started walking. At 9:14 AM, the 9:10 AM bus shows up. Grrr! Reposted a schedule for Debrah. Archived documents: computer assistant, omnilock instructions. Small grad filing changes for Cindy, made them live. Helped student Amy with downloading micromedex, chatted with Rodney who assisted with a solution for her. Lunch: takeaway from Carmelina's with Joel and Melissa. I had a delicious shredded chicken burrito. Over lunch, Joel explained (by drawing pictures) what "daisy chain" means. Everyone really liked the TJ's cinnamon graham crackers I brought and shared. Hardened our new Windows Server 2003. Laptop maintenance for Chris: backup, VPN reinstall, disable stick pointer, uninstall Brother multifunction software and PaperPort software. Chris C shared some Lindt dark chocolate wafer-thin squares—yummy! Dinner at home with Patrick: pig masala with rice, mojito seafood. We picked up Patrick's mom at the airport. She's staying with us for a week. No agenda—just a relaxing vacation. Mom has some of Patrick's pig masala with rice. I submitted 3 complaints on Muni's website for busses that didn't show up. I normally don't bother because if I submitted a complaint every time Muni was late or didn't show up I'd lose a measurable portion of my life doing so. But being able to do 3 at once seemed like it was worth it, so I did.

Thu Jan 6, 2005

I spent literally hours trying to figure out why the Acrobat 6.0 menus would not appear in Microsoft Word. I found the answer which fixed it for me in Adobe Knowledgebase Document 323749, solution 7: In Outlook, uncheck Tools > Options > Mail Format > "Use Microsoft Office Word 2003 to edit e-mail messages". However, that solution doesn't say that if you start Word before Outlook, the problem doesn't occur even with that option selected. Oh, Adobe! Snack: an orange. Grad filing changes for Cindy and Debrah, made them live. More server hardening. Created an extra backup tape for offsite storage. Set up backup strategy and new tapes for the new server. Used Norton Ghost to back up the hard drive image to a REV disk. Much grief trying to get the cdrom to boot—resolution: make the cdrom the master and the rev drive the slave. Lunch: salad from the cafeteria, TJ's graham crackers. I found 2 old fortunes in my pocket today. One says: You are strong and brave, use your strength to pull through. The other says: The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost. Created a new HTML template for new student organization websites, set it up for SNPhA's new site. Chatted with Amrita D. Archived a document: How to back up to your Iomega REV drive. Helped Joel with his timesheet. Patrick and his mom visited Twin Peaks and ate breakfast at Baghdad Cafe. Patrick had hiccups tonight that wouldn't stop.

Fri Jan 7, 2005

Pumpkin granola for breakfast. Lunch: burgundy beef with noodles and carrots from the cafeteria. Licensing section changes for Cindy. These were a lot of grief because the California Board of Pharmacy webmaster changes links around without setting up redirects, so all our links to important licensing documents get broken. Laptop maintenance for Chris. Waited all day for a call from Kraig K which never came. Patrick and his mom had lunch at Xiao Loong and saw The Incredibles at the Daly City Century 20. Dinner at home with Patrick and his mom: pork loin, salad, corn on the cob. Patrick's hiccups continued on and off all day and evening today. We talked about Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code.

Sat Jan 8, 2005

Cereal for breakfast. Patrick took his mom to visit Simmone—Sam drove. Simmone had a dim sum meal waiting for them. Laundry, dishes. Reviewed Tepatche notes—last night's patch didn't run correctly, so I need to log in and fix it. Dinner at 2223 Restaurant with Patrick and Patrick's mom. Drinks: Mom had an alotta colada, Patrick had 2 glasses of artesa merlot. Appetizers: Mom had grilled flatbread with red pepper rouille, parmesan, and fresh chives; Patrick had green chile and chicken tortilla soup with lime crema; I had a Romaine salad with grilled Bermuda onions, capers, asiago croutons, creamy garlic dressing. Entrees: Mom and I had herb roasted free range rocky junior chicken with garlic mashed potatoes, blue lake beans, fried onion rings; Patrick had herb encrusted lamb sirloin with curried vegetable samosa, spicy quince chutney, and coriander yogurt. Desserts: sour cherry bread pudding with brandy caramel, red wine syrup, vanilla ice cream; Valrhona chocolate mousse terrine with chocolate creme anglaise and chantilly cream. 2 coffees, 1 tea.

Sun Jan 9, 2005

Patrick's mom went to church at Most Holy Redeemer in the Castro. Patrick and I got a quick bite to eat at the French cafe next to Superstar on Castro Street. I went to Jamie's to help him set up his printer and some other software. Patrick and his mom went to Sweet Inspirations where I met them and then we all went to Rainbow Market for a few groceries. My eyes have been itching a lot lately, and I recently read an article in a newsletter called The Advocate for eczema sufferers about how one woman successfully got rid of her baby's eczema by not using chemical (detergent) based soaps. I got a 6 bars and a gallon of Dr. Bronner's unscented baby mild. (The unscented babies work the best.) We're going to try using it for just about everything—body, face, dishes, clothes. Dinner at home with Patrick and his mom: tempura shrimp with dipping sauce, southwestern salad, sage pork chops. Patrick interviewed his mom. We recorded it on the computer using a really cheap microphone.

Mon Jan 10, 2005

Usual oatmeal for breakfast. Rode the shuttle to Laurel Heights with Kevin, who described to me the process of choosing a school for his son, Xander. Met with Kevin, Todd Lawrence, Tom ?, Chandler, and Chris C at Laurel Heights to discuss setting up our school with Ilios. Finished licensing and other small changes for Cindy. Laptop maintenance for Chris. Found the mysteriously lost toner cartridges for Ena. Helped Melissa with Excel and mail merge. Lunch: cheeseburger and fries. Webdev guide connection page updates. Inserted accesskeys for the site since I noticed last week that Julie or Alex had done so for www.ucsf.edu. Patrick and his mom spent hours removing large patches of lipstick which had accidentally attacked her brand new white jacket (they used multiple methods; dishwashing detergent worked best). Installed rsync from source and set up backups for the new server. Further documented my installation and setup procedure.

Tue Jan 11, 2005

Patrick's mom leaves early in the morning—a 6:30 AM flight, so she had to be at the airport by 4:30 AM. She arrived home safely. Chatted online then on the phone with Douglas T at sonic.net. He says there appears to be no problem with the Sonic router as suspected earlier, so now I have to look at what's wrong on my server, even though he says the behavior I see is expected if there's a router doing NAT on my end, which there is, but I can't believe I'm not able to get better performance. Student computing committee meeting. Staff meeting. Lunch with Patrick at the Thai restaurant on Irving between 6th and 7th. Dinner at home with Patrick: salad, pizza. I've been reluctant to write journal entries lately. Did research online, but couldn't find any easy solutions. It might be hardware. One post said setting up DNS internally would help, but I am not certain that will work for me.

Wed Jan 12, 2005

Bagel, cream cheese, fresh chives for breakfast. Rebuilt the kernel for my server. Telecommute day. Linkchecking. Admissions e-forms. Patrick went to JJ to write or study Chinese. Dinner at home with Patrick: pecan-encrusted hazelnut salmon; green lake beans, orange pepper, mushroom medley; pugliese and butter.

Thu Jan 13, 2005

Worked with Kraig K to join our new server to the campus domain. Chatted with James about the supp app e-forms. Ran Windows Update for nearly all the computers. Set up Chris with Outlook instead of Eudora for e-mail. There's some problem with Out box dates if you import directly from Eudora to Outlook, so I did the workaround: Import from Eudora to Outlook Express then from OE to Outlook. I also had to uninstall Eudora and reinstall it because we installed Eudora in a location other than the default, but Outlook and OE only look at the default installation folder for Eudora. It took a couple hours, but I finally got everything in to Outlook. I hand-migrated his only sig file. After all that was done, he had a 1 GB PST file, so I broke out the older mail into archive PST files, then compacted everything—much better now. Gave him a mini-tutorial and checked that Eudora is also still working in case he needs it. Worked on supp app e-forms. Chatted online with Chris De Lay. Home. Pizza and tempura shrimp for dinner by myself. Patrick met with Elsa this evening. She gave him enthusiastic feedback about the first chapter of Second Island. Fixed a problem in which my server backups weren't accessible to Iomega Automatic Backup Pro. The error message I got from IABP was error code 0x20000026. There was no text explanation for the error code, so I got online yesterday with Iomega technical support. Kenneth eventually helped me out in a roundabout way. He also gave me IABP 3.1. They still show only IABP 2.1.0 on their support site, which I thought was weird. I asked him when 3.0 was first released, and he said, "That's a good question. I'm not completely sure." which I didn't believe for one second. It sounds to me like Iomega routinely beta-tests their new versions of IABP on customers who have problems they can't figure out. The backups accessibility problem was resolved by using Webmin to set the "Force Unix user" field to the appropriate user. Tested IABP, it works. So I guess I'm pretty close to start repopulating data in the journal to the live site. Thanks to Slace, aka aazzap, for the answer. I also figured out how to unhide dot files in Samba. Attempted to resolve problems with kernel rebuilding from yesterday. Set up daily backup script to be more secure by using a special account just for backups.

Fri Jan 14, 2005

Admissions e-form for James. Helped Melissa with a super-quick printing problem. Curriculum changes for Cindy. Chatted with Susie about HTML e-mail. Lunch: salad from the cafeteria. Chose dates for e-mail migration presentation with Cindy. Chatted briefly online with Travis. Emergency laptop backup for Chris. Reinstalled Sophos for Debrah. Left work at 8:00 PM. It's been a rather hard day today.

Sat Jan 15, 2005

House cleaning and chores: scrubbed soap scum from the shower, dusted and vacuumed everything, vacuumed dust out the heater, swept the entryway, folded laundry, watered the plants, took out recycling, changed the shredding bin bag, washed dishes, cleaned in the kitchen, took care of paperwork, archived photos and documents, cut my hair. Patrick and I did a lot of talking today. Dinner: Xiao Loong delivery: potstickers, mixed vegetables, cashew chicken. Patrick's fortunes: "Your ability to believe has created an upcoming dream - come - true" and the fortune every student wants to get: "You'll accomplish more later if you reach out for some fun this weekend." My fortunes: "You will meet someone special at a social event" and "The seeds of an idea you planted long ago finally blossom." Watched Kill Bill Volume 2 on DVD with Patrick.

Sun Jan 16, 2005

Leftover Chinese food for breakfast. Patrick has Grape Nuts. Cleaned the shower (again). Bought a water purifier at Walgreen's. Groceries at Trader Joe's where we saw Kristina and her husband. I installed the water purifier. I chose PUR Plus over a similar Brita model because it was $8 less expensive and had a 3 year warranty instead of just 1 year. I'm a little disappointed that the PUR model doesn't let us reattach the stream-spray switcher that we installed a few months ago, but we can live without it I guess. The Brita model has a built-in light that would shine green when the filter was new and blink red when it was ready to change the filter. I couldn't help imagining someone in a Brita boardroom saying, with desperate urgency, "Look, there's only one more month left in this quarter. Make ALL the lights blink red now BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!" After we got home, I realized that the Trader Joe's wild mushroom couscous looks like Vampire Wild Mushroom Couscous. The box depicts a (Middle Eastern?) temple with a black arched entryway, but it's all tinted purple and dark purple, so it's easy to mistake for a gothic mansion. The word COUSCOUS floats over the temple image in large letters with a yellow-white outer glow giving it a very Halloweeny feel. Somehow it made me wonder if January was the right time of year to eat couscous. Started backpopulating journal entries. I can't remember now when my old web server had crashed—it was 2 or 3 months ago—maybe the first or second week of November? Some of the past 5 or 6 months are holey or entirely missing. There might be some data to salvage from the old hard drive—I haven't gotten to that yet. Patrick ate the 5th fortune cookie: Your sparkle never fades, the party begins when you arrive. Patrick did the PUR Plus water taste challenge and guessed the filtered versus unfiltered water incorrectly. Dinner at home with Patrick and Tony Q. He brought a bottle of Volker Eisele cab 2000, which tasted fine enough to me. Patrick made us a delicious dinner: seared ahi tuna with carrot miso sauce, nicoise salad, bread and butter. We made popcorn and watched 2 Simpsons episodes. Tony had never seen the Simpsons before (!)—he said he didn't have time.

Mon Jan 17, 2005

I woke up this morning not able to remember the dream I was having but I felt a very satisfying feeling of completeness. Leftover Chinese food for breakfast. Tweaked Patrick's Sophos anti-virus installation. Dishes. Archived documents. Resolved some Iomega filename-too-long problems by reripping CDs with shorter filenames. Picked up a prescription and some generic Claritin for Patrick. Dinner at home with Patrick: biryani, punjab chicken, naan. Watched 2 Simpsons episodes with Patrick. Began a redesign of the frankfarm.org home page and bookmarks page.

Tue Jan 18, 2005

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Researched Outlook migration issues. Studied Outlook keyboard shortcuts. Notably, the Ctrl+Shift+I shortcut to jump to the Inbox doesn't seem to work for me at all. Ctrl+Shift+O works to jump to the Outbox, but then after pressing it no other keyboard shortcuts work except those in the menu and toolbars. In general, keyboard shortcuts in Outlook 2003 seem rather unreliable, but part of it might be because they seem to be modal—the currently active keyboard shortcuts change depending on what pane you're in or whether there's a message window open. For example, to view next and previous messages, it's either Alt+UpArrow/Alt+DownArrow or Ctrl+Comma/Ctrl+Period depending on whether a full mail message window has been opened. Why didn't they just make these identical? Yeesh! F6 works as expected to switch between window panes, but the focus indicator for the reading pane is so subtle I can hardly tell when it has the focus. Another problem is that when composing a message the Alt+S keyboard shortcut won't work unless the Send button is visible in the toolbar. If the window is resized smaller so as to cause that button to be hidden, Alt+S doesn't work. Staff meeting with Rob D. Resolved out of disk space issues for Chris's laptop, uninstalled bad Brother printer and scanner software and backed up the laptop, too. Helped James resolve a problem with network connectivity—Kraig K assisted with the workaround. Continued setup of the new server and study of Active Directory materials. Helped Ena with photos she needed to take of a bulletin board which arrived damaged and needs to get returned to the vendor. Very late lunch: spaghetti, corn off the cob, garlic bread, orange juice from the cafeteria. Chatted with Joan briefly about a BAD_ATTACHMENT error when a user sent an HTML e-mail message to the listserv—she hadn't heard of this error before, so we're chalking this up to the unreliability of HTML e-mail. Set up a custom MMC on the new server.

Wed Jan 19, 2005

Breakfast at the cafeteria. Coded new home page news stories for Susie. Organized files. Migrated data from the old server to the new server. Set up shared folders on the new server. Met with student Doris K who encountered the error message "Encountered 1 errors during the transfer" while attempting to transfer a file using SSH Secure Shell. I checked all the settings and they seemed fine. We created a new profile and the same problem occurred. I checked permissions using the terminal window but all looked well there, too. We created the same profile on my computer—no problems. I couldn't figure out what was causing this problem on her computer. We resolved the problem by using WinSCP instead. Re-setup Iomega Automatic Backup Pro on the new server, uninstalling 3.0 and installing 3.1. Lunch: cafeteria: turkey tacos, mac salad. Dinner at home with Patrick: ravioli with vegetable sauce, naan. Worked more on frankfarm.org making the pages look much prettier than before. Most journal pages are done, but the journal index still needs more work. A day or two ago at work Cindy found a small mouse in her office, so everyone is jittery wondering where the mice are and what they're doing. Melissa put a spoonful of peanut butter in a glue trap that the custodian brought in hopes that it would be more likely to get trapped.

Thu Jan 20, 2005

Patrick made 2-2-2 for me this morning. Scanned in 8 pages for James. Called Dell about the KERNEL_STACK_INPAGE_ERROR bsod that Chris has been seeing on occasion on his laptop. We had already check for viruses and ran scandisk and the problem still happens. Dell suggested I update the BIOS to the latest version and also run memory and hard drive diagnostics. I also reported to Dell that their support website has some compatibility problems with Firefox, but the tech was reluctant to gather that information and pass it along because (paraphrasing) "Somebody else takes care of that—not us." Steps to reproduce: Open Firefox 1.0. Go to the Contact Dell page. Click the link called Email Product Support. Enter your service tag. The Request Support page appears, showing the information about your computer and the service tag. It also asks you to log in. Log in. An error page appears, saying: "Please enter a valid service tag." Try the same steps in IE6 and no problem occurs. I asked the tech if he happened to have Netscape or Firefox or Mozilla, and he said, "No, they don't give us that here." Listserv updates for Chris. Curriculum page changes for Cindy. Kevin Souza and Chandler Mayfield demoed Ilios 3.0 for us. It's a custom application they built in VB and ASP to manage course curriculum. I am very impressed—they make it all seem really simple, but I can tell that they put a great deal of work in order to get the results we saw today. Chris C is trying to get us started with using it. Chris C, Rodney Y, and Don K also attended and were similarly wowed. Helped Joel with an RFO for a new palm pilot. Supp app form building in Acrobat. The more time I spend with Acrobat the more I like it despite it's authoring quirks. For example, I tried to figure out how to remove the inset background for a radio button and leave it transparent with no border. If you set the border and fill colors to none before changing the Line Style picklist to Solid, then you'll always have your inset no matter what. Change the picklist from Inset to Solid before setting the fill and border colors to none, and then you get what you want. If I hadn't stumbled across this answer on my own, I probably would have just accepted that I couldn't get what I wanted. Dinner at home with Patrick: tubini with chicken sausage red sauce, creme brulee with graham cracker. Watched The Simpsons "Catch'em If You Can"—funny. Prettified the journal index page. Ordered gifts for friends.

Fri Jan 21, 2005

I dreamt last night I was in a shopping mall. I was carrying about three 1-liter plastic bottles of water and some papers—my arms were pretty full. I needed to down one floor and found a stairway, but it had unusually steep stairs. Nevertheless, I was determined to make it down. With my arms full, I felt like an old man trying to make it down these big steps. I was also looking for something to eat, but all the places in the food court were spurnworthy. Later I ran into Melissa and asked her if she had had anything to eat and she said yes, she ate at the food court. I still hadn't eaten, and I wasn't going to eat in the food court. We walked for a bit outside and there was a grassy area next to either a railroad track or a river (can't remember exactly). We kept walking and then we were in a residential neighborhood. In a separate dream I dreamt that Brian K and Kelly H were walking with me in the city. We had been just walking, and they had gotten far ahead of me without realizing it. Usual breakfast #2 (cream of wheat, cinnamon, brown sugar, sliced banana). My office the past 2 days has been unusually warm. Even though my thermostat is set to the lowest setting it still says 73 degrees. I had called facilities 2 days ago, but no one has shown up (that I know) and the problem still exists, so I called them again today. Tinkered with VNC, which Kraig K says he needs to help me configure LMHOSTS properly for our server migration. Linkchecking. Prepared the laptop for James's AdCom presentation at noon. Supp app e-form building. Laptop set up for the presentation. Helped student Christine J set up wireless for her PDA. Before I left work, Ena had called to report that the N-Judah train was "off the track." I thought she meant that literally, but I misunderstood her slang. Melissa needed to get downtown for an appointment, so I lent her $15. Before James and I left about 30 minutes later, I checked NextBus which said that emergency sewage work was being performed and that shuttle busses were running between the beach and Cole. We had planned to get a cab together, but when we got down to Irving we saw lots of lights and construction workers, a big hole in the ground, a Muni shuttle bus was coming our way from the beach, and a train was waiting just east of Arguello to do a switchback. So we got on the train, and as I could have guessed, it didn't leave right away. A Muni guy on the ground kept the driver from leaving—"Wait until the next train shows up." The shuttle bus passed us by about a minute or two later—it was packed. We didn't realize it until Cole, but the bus must have let everyone off at Cole, so it didn't really matter in the end. Ran in to Rob S, who chatted and waited with us on the train. Dinner at La Mediterranee II with Patrick: chicken kabob for me, Med plate and iced tea for Patrick. Stopped at Radio Shack to replace a watch battery for the cheap yellow mountain climber's zipper pull watch that hangs on my backpack. Went to Karl M. Soehnlein's reading at the relatively new writer-focused guywriters series at Magnet. He read a gym scene from his new novel forthcoming in September—I can't remember the title. Afterwards he answered questions and the room discussed a variety of topics: the demise of correspondence as art, how writers communicate with (and about) other writers, the film option for The World of Normal Boys (Karl's first book), the edict of large publishing houses that gay coming-of-age fiction doesn't sell, whether to explicitly describe sex scenes or leave them imagined, Karl's fascination with the topic of sexuality. We enjoyed ourselves. Tony Q met us at the reading late, but we were too tired to hang out with him afterwards.

Sat Jan 22, 2005

Last night I dreamt that I was travelling on some elevated roadway or train and giant waves were washing through the city below. The waves were about 1 story tall, shaped like upside-down Us, and the vehicle I was in was moving in the opposite direction of the waves. In another part of my dream I was staying in a large house of some relatives. Although the house was large, boys in the household had to sleep on the floor. I got up in the middle of the night and was surprised to find one boy sleeping on the floor under the bed I was sleeping. It was raining pretty hard outside. I remember wandering throughout the house, and there was more to the dream, but I don't remember much else.—Usual granola breakfast but no banana—we ran out. Worked on frankfarm.org. Divisadero car wash and gas. Lunch at Fuzio: I had singapore bbq pork, rigatoni al fuzio, 2 iced teas. Walked in the Castro. Went to the Eureka Valley public library branch and checked out a buncha books. Bought cash. Peet's coffee. Golden Produce. Stopped at Best in Show to visit with the adoption doggies and kitties. Home. Worked on frankfarm.org. Watched Hero on DVD with Patrick.

Sun Jan 23, 2005

The flashlight I carry in my backpack, a HubbelLite 2202-2A, broke today after over 8 years of reliable service. It has a plastic casing and the plastic tab which holds the flashlight together after you insert the batteries broke off. I didn't end up replacing it, but since writing this entry I've gotten 2 requests from strangers who have tried unsuccessfully to find a replacement. The answer: search Google on Pelican Versabrite, which is essentially the same flashlight. Cleaned and dusted. Repaired a bedsheet which had a small tear in it. Repaired my ski jacket—the hood pull cord had come loose. Late breakfast: Patrick brought back dim sum from Chinatown after running errands with Sam. Watched a bunch of Simpsons episodes. While watching one which appears to have been taped on June 10, 2004, we saw the Chronicles of Riddick commercial I mentioned before where Shawn Edwards of FOX TV is quoted separately 4 times during the commercial. He's the only critic giving testimonials in the commercial, but it looks as if there are 4 critics since they show them so quickly. His 4 quotes: 1. EXTRAORDINARY. 2. A TRUE CLASSIC. 3. NOT TO BE MISSED. 4. ONE OF THE BEST SCI-FI FILMS EVER. We're saving this treasure of slick marketing from Universal just so we have something to laugh at when we're old and bitter. Patrick takes a nap. Worked on Ring Logo Roundup. Read from Kitchen Confidential. Updated frankfarm.org validate code. Set up a new URL to see the most current journal entry on frankfarm.org. Started looking at hand-coding an RSS feed. I'll need to configure the server to parse XML files for PHP—not today. Patrick and I somehow got to talking about pinball machines, and as I was in front of my computer already and was talking about a favorite pinball machine of mine from long ago, it took me about 20 seconds to locate and download and play sound clips from the pinball machine called Xenon, one of the first talking pinball machines. The speed with which I came up with this audio data would have been unbelievable a mere 15 years ago. I love the Internet! Dinner at home with Patrick: butternut squash soup, linguine with garden vegetables and chicken sausage in marinara.

Mon Jan 24, 2005

Banana on the road for breakfast. When I arrived at work today, the hallway had shrunk by 2 to 4 feet in width. Construction workers were busy setting up new walls down part of the corridor due to construction in these empty offices near us. The morning was really noisy, but in the afternoon all the workers left, and it was all quiet. Made live curriculum changes for Cindy. Met with student Lilie H—couldn't figure out how to get her Dell Axim X30 configured for UCSF wireless, sent her to the helpdesk at the library. Fixed up some small CSS errors. Added food and dining services links to the current students page. Signed and mailed Julie B's new contract for our web hosting. Chatted with Julie B. Supp app e-form building. I learn from Cindy that the new walls in the hallway are temporary. Dinner at home with Patrick: mixed seafood and vegetables with superfresh chow mein noodles which Patrick picked up in Chinatown yesterday. Watched Simpsons. Tweaked stylesheets for frankfarm.org. Mom Ryan sent a thoughtful thank you card which arrived today. Read from Kit Con on the bus.

Tue Jan 25, 2005

Student computing committee meeting: special guest Bob Flynn. Bob seems very competent, and I was impressed with his presentation. Gwen helped me out with questions about the tool dentists use to find hidden cavities, giving me some questions to ask: Do x-rays confirm that a cavity exists? Can it be resolved with sealant instead? Staff meeting. Sent James the first draft of the electronic supplemental application. Called facilities to complain that my office is still too warm. They said they would page the person who closed my ticket 5 days ago. Took photos of the dust from the hallway that made its way into my office through the space at the bottom of the door because the air pressure in the hallway is greater than that in my office. They're doing asbestos removal in the construction just outside my office door. I just hope that dust isn't asbestos dust. At the staff meeting Cindy said she would talk with the Environmental Health and Services department to see if they can tell us more about the safety procedures regarding the construction. Chatted briefly with Kraig K to help him get set up for our server migration. Chatted briefly with Mark B to reiterate our need for him and Bruce to get on the ball with e-mail migration presentations—I had sent him and Bruce proposed dates and times a week ago and have heard nothing since then. Cleaned up my address book in Outlook. After importing from Outlook Express from Eudora, it was necessary to remove dupes, resolve mailing list entries, fix up first names and last names, et cetera. Lunch: fish and fries. Assisted Daisy L with a Microsoft Word template created by Laura Myers—the header and logo kept reappearing on page 2 when they didn't want it there. Julie B sent me info for our new web server. Had a great chat with Kirk H about VPN and wireless and PDAs, told him I'd devote a few brain cycles to helping him come up with a workable solution to the problem of providing guidance to the campus community about how to connect wirelessly with a PDA without obligating the university to support every possible PDA device with wireless (because there are too many different configurations).

Wed Jan 26, 2005

Pumpkin granola and sliced banana for breakfast. Telecommute day. Gave Cindy some suggestions on how to resolve Error 10053 in Eudora: "Error reading from network. Cause: Connection aborted due to timeout or other failure." Prepared the list of new e-mail addresses for third-year students. People in the office reported problems getting to their My Documents folder. I drove in to work and resolved the problem with Kraig's help: it's not good to have an old NT4 server named the same name as your new Windows 2003 server. I renamed the new server to a different name and almost instantly everything is better. Complained again to facilities that my office was too warm. Adjusted a listserv for Cindy. Helped Daisy understand how to resolve the Word problem from yesterday. Link checking. Cleaned up some deprecated CSS code. Remotely verified that tonight's backup ran. Dinner at home with Patrick: salad, leftover pork loin, tempura shrimp. Worked on frankfarm.org. Read from Kit Con.

Thu Jan 27, 2005

My favorite breakfast (but with 2 extra sausage) at the cafeteria. My office is a few degrees cooler today! Now it's only 74 degrees! But James and I don't think our thermostats show temperatures accurately. The other day mine said 78 but it felt hotter than that. Supp app e-forms: removed the option for transgender in section A4 because I've been told that UCOP isn't ready to accept that data yet. Answered questions about setting up a website for students. Migrated my home directory from our old development server to our new one. Julie B helped out again. Went with Joel to see ethicist and science historian Alice Dreger, PhD speak about intersex conditions. Lunch with Joel at You See Sushi. He showed me a new cookbook he got which I liked but I also called it "food porn" because of the gigantic too-perfect glossy photos of dishes. Helped Chris get Meeting Maker to resync with his Palm. Investigated why the UCSF e-mail server was not working (again), distributed news via web and (after e-mail started working again) by e-mail. Tried chatting with Travis, but he wasn't available. Set up a time to chat with Kraig K about new server migration tomorrow. Chatted with Mark B about e-mail names for the forthcoming e-mail migration and how to do some common tasks after the migration. Snack: a banana. Chatted with Joan M about an e-mail account under my name which had gotten too ful—turned out to have been delegated to another person. Chatted with Debrah and James about getting preferred first names for students. Dinner at Cafe Asia with Patrick: New Delhi Chicken Curry for Patrick, Chilled Soba Noodle Salad for me. I didn't realize the soba salad had wasabi vinaigrette until after I got it, so Patrick ate most of it instead and I had some of the chicken curry. Iced tea. About $20. Visited the Siu Jianguo exhibit called The Sleep of Reason and Fakes, Copies, and Question Marks: Forensic Investigations of Asian Art. Watched 2 Simpsons episodes. Just fyi—the code I wrote yesterday for frankfarm.org's single day view doesn't work exactly right in all cases. And the block-level CSS (full cell width and cell height on background color on hover on th and td) in the journal doesn't behave exactly like I like, but unfortunately I have a suspicion that in this case IE is displaying it correctly and Firefox is not. I'll work on all that later. Almost done with Kit Con. I actually finished it, but I skipped the part about Tokyo, so I'm going back to reread that part. This book is such a treasure—I had no idea! Next book shall be The World of Normal Boys by Karl M. Soehnlein which I should have read a long time ago but just didn't get to it. After that, The Irreversible Decline of Eddie Socket by John Weir and then One Last Waltz by Ethan Mordden. Patrick watched AVP—Alien versus Predator—on DVD which Sam let him/us borrow. I told Patrick, "I'll only watch it if it has a rating of 6 or higher on IMDB," and so Patrick ended up watching it by himself today while I was at work. He said it was really awful, and I wasn't surprised. Neither of us knew the history of the story until we read the review on IMDB, though. Rain today on our way back from the museum. My old Adobe umbrella is a little bent out of shape.

Fri Jan 28, 2005

I hit my head today on an open overhead bin. Ena inspired me to look up the word "contusion." There's no bleeding, but the skin really is broken. It's only a few centimeters long, and not very deep. Not much to worry about. Spent most of today chatting with Mark B and Kraig K. Kraig helped me migrate 2 workstations using Aelita—things worked pretty smoothly, and I was impressed. Mark B helped migrate my e-mail account from itsa (pop) to our Exchange server. Things were a little rough at first because of duplicate accounts for me in the new domain, but we sorted it out together and now it's working fine. Lunch: salad from the cafeteria, an orange, a banana. $6.41. Dinner at the cafeteria with Patrick. Patrick had a Santa Fe sandwich but they were out of bacon so he got ham in it instead. I got a cheddar cheeseburger. We shared a lemonade and a side of half onion rings and half curly fries. $14.03. The onion rings and curly fries weren't fresh and tasted pretty bad to me, but I didn't feel like complaining and Patrick finished most of them anyway. Patrick and I watched Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (film) at Cole Hall Cinema. $7.50. We hadn't been back to Cole Hall Cinema in a long time. Despite the absurd convenience of every plot turn, we loved the film, and I found it wonderfully imagined. I like that it paid tribute to science fiction and storytelling of the past while creating a new world of its own. The sound wasn't all that great, but I believe this was due to the facilities at UCSF and not the filmmakers. Some of the dialogue was muddled and I found myself frequently leaning forward trying to make out the words. Sound seemed to come only from the front speakers, and if there was stereo I couldn't detect it. We were amused, too, that reel changes weren't flawless. For this particular film, it took an extra second or two to figure out that seeing the end of a film reel wasn't really part of the movie. Sound was scratchy, too, for the first 10 or so seconds of each reel.

Sat Jan 29, 2005

Patrick ate Grape Nuts and made my favorite breakfast for me. Groceries at Trader Joe's with Patrick. Patrick did Lodestar work. Repaired a Gap shirt. The problem is that they use plastic thread and plastic strips of tape to make the stitching stronger but this plastic scratches me at the neckline and is very irritating. I took some plain cotton cloth from an old t-shirt and hand-stitched it over the scratchy spot and now it's all better. Took a nap. Dinner at home with Patrick: zucchini, mushroom, chicken sausage, ricotta, parmesan, and basil lasagna; Il Fornaio sandwich rolls (michette); southwestern corn and bean salad. Picked up Tony Q at his parents' place in the Richmond. On our way to a party, I unexpectedly turned down Lombard Street at the beginning of the crooked part, so we went down the crooked brick road. It was already dark, so there wasn't much to see except the interior of someone's beautiful home where a window had no coverings. We had to park a ways from the party since it was in the heart of North Beach. Cobb's Comedy Club had some show going on, so parking was a particularly miserable affair. When we arrived at the party—a jungle-themed birthday for Steven, a friend of an ex of Tony's (I think)—I was pleasantly surprised. The residence looked newly remodeled and/or very well maintained. The entry immediately led into a flight of stairs which opened into a long hallway. Whoever decorated this place was a fan of old phones (such as those seen at oldphones.com) and Design Within Reach. The front room had a freestanding woodburning fireplace, bookcases built into the walls on either side, a fine wood console with an orchid plant, wooden antique chairs, a modern sofa, a rocking chair, Eric Pfeiffer's Mag Table in walnut (DWR, $165), Eames Walnut Stool Shape B in walnut (DWR, $700), a barrel-shaped log carrier/holder. The dining room had a fine wood dining table with matching chairs, a China cabinet built into the wall, and another console similar to the one in the front room and adorned with a dragonfly bowl-top lamp. A pair of matching gold saucers accented the lamp. The kitchen had, I believe, the Nelson Saucer Pendant Lamp - Medium (DWR, $300) and an industrial range. A tiny back patio with fountain, koi fish, trelliswork, and lots of plants. Two dark bedrooms I didn't see, and a home theatre room with projection onto a giant screen. One of the old phones was, I'm pretty certain, a Western Electric 202 (D1). The other was (I think) a Northern Electric #2 Wall Telephone. Comet, a sweet, mostly quiet, male, white westie—western highland terrier—appeared and disappeared at footlevel throughout the evening, peeing only once, probably due to the excitement of having dozens of people invade his space. The partygoers were just as pleasing as the home in which they gathered. I didn't remember the names of everyone I met, but here is the list I have: Mike, Ashley, Hong (sp?), Sharif, Anas, Sammy, Kat, Chris, Keith, Lauren, Megan, Tom/Thomas, Eric, James, Vince, Daniel, Chad, Gordon, Lance, Howard. I didn't meet either Peter or Pedro, but they were there, too. Most everyone seemed relaxed and plainly interested in meeting other people and sharing stories. The edibles were decidedly simple: chips and salsa, Chex party mix, cheesy puffs. The usual assortment of drinks were stacked in a corner table. Lauren told me about playground technology; Megan talked about Marie Callendar's; Thomas teased in a playful and charming manner; Sharif talked about Hastings; Anas turned out to be the doctor up for which Patrick and I had both signed; graphic designer Sammy and I talked about Adobe products and once I had said I had worked for Adobe he seemed to hold me personally responsible for (in his mind) the debacle called Illustrator 9; James and I talked about Lodestar Quarterly; James, Eric, Tony, and I talked about dried out contact lenses (Eric's right lens was out of action); I complimented Hong (sp?) on his perfectly partly bleached blond hair; Howard and Anas talked about migraines while I mostly just listened in. After a while, the front room turned into the dance room (yes, even though the fireplace was there). A man at the party who was from Australia said that no Australian drinks Foster's—Victoria Bitters, "if you're a manly man," I think he said. Partiers had been asked to come in a jungle-themed costume, if possible, but the only evidence I saw of that was one man wearing a tiger-ears headband and a tiger's tail and, later, a woman (Ashley) with a tiger-print purse. I guess now that I think about it one or two others also came in camoflauge, which would apply as well. After the party, Tony and I walked the loogie-covered sidewalks past straight boys and their Bebe-dressed girlfriends stumbling out of bar orifices to get back to my car. I drove him back to his parents' home, then took myself home.

Sun Jan 30, 2005

Slept in. Lunch: sandwich roll; Nicoise salad, leftover lasagna. Wrapped a birthday gift. Watched Simpsons with Patrick. Fixed the single day view. Dinner at home with Patrick: coconut boneless fried chicken, purple mashed potatoes, corn off the cob. Read the imdb record for Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Forgot to tape the Simpsons tonight. Watched Simpsons.

Mon Jan 31, 2005

I dreamt last night I was catching a regional bus. I was on a long and skinny strip of land where I knew there were about 5 bus stops along it. I was at one of the stops near the bottom. Either my dad or my brother was with me—I can't remember exactly. In a different dream, I was in a professional kitchen trying to make a timer count down 10 minutes, but the user interface was so bad that I couldn't figure out how to make it work. It took about 5 or 6 tries, and I was in the way of a kitchen worker trying to do other things. In another dream, I was waiting for a restroom and when one became available a woman tried to sneak in to one of the two restrooms where I had been waiting. I said some words to her, and she slunk to the end of the line guiltily. I went inside the restroom and changed my shirt. Oatmeal, banana, pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar for breakfast. Helped a student resolve problems with Windows on her laptop. Revised e-mail pages for the forthcoming e-mail migration. Updated Sophos on the old server. Discovered an update problem for all Sophos clients. Fixed the update problem on all workstations. More e-mail pages editing. Helped James resolve a network connectivity problem. Updated the off-campus students section for Cindy. Reviewed e-mail naming issues. Dinner at work: leftover fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Home. Vacuumed the bed. Made the bed, put away clothes. Dishes. Made a risotto for tomorrow's potluck: arborio rice, crimini mushrooms, zucchini, onion, garlic, basil, vegetable broth, mature Welsh cheddar. I did all the prep work except for the cheese; Patrick finished the job.