March 2005

Summary: Ethan Mao and Thai Chef with Galen, Peter, Stephen K, Tony A, Tony Q, and Patrick; Kelly's birthday; Jesse's birthday at Buca di Beppo; Gary Hill and Robert Bechtle at SFMOMA; Dinner and dancing with Travis and Steve; Dinner at Best of Thai Noodles with Anna B; Galen's birthday.

Dates on this page

Tue 1

Melissa's computer shut down by itself and wouldn't turn on again. Turns out to be a problem with the power supply. I swapped with a working computer to confirm the problem. Dell has a replacement on the way within minutes of my reporting and confirming the problem. I set Melissa up with the shared office laptop as a replacement computer until hers is fixed. More e-mail migration cleanup. Lunch: tostada salad from Carmelina's. Chatted with James about some computer issues: Meeting Maker, PharmAdMIT. Chatted with Chris about his Exchange e-mail account. Minor web page updates to the e-mail forwarding page. After much rsyncing and migration and rewriting and editing of various scripts by me, Julie completed our web server migration while I watched to make sure no problems occurred-- no problems except I forgot to set a database password, but I fixed it within minutes of the change taking effect. Hardly anyone uses that glossary database anyhow. Dinner at home with Patrick: teriyaki mahi mahi, organic greens salad with tarragon, seeded bread loaf and butter. Today was a big tea winner's day. We received from Chris and Nate an anniversary gift: two kinds of Théier tea from L'Epicier. One is muscat, and the other is rose green (green tea with rose petals). Jason B also coincidentally bought Patrick some tea from Chinatown: Jade Rose green tea and Dragonwell Chamomile green tea, both from Red Blossom Tea (415-395-0868, 831 Grant Avenue). We are pleased with our tea booty. Installed Firefox 1.0.1—some security fixes. Rewrote the code for the journal current entry page. It wasn't working correctly, and I had long suspected there were some logic problems with the code, so I worked it through and now I think it's all better. Tweaked the stylesheet to match the changes I made.

Wed 2

The PUR water filter we bought a few weeks ago has finally died on us. It lasted longer than we thought because the progress indicator was misleading. At first the progress window was empty, then over time we saw it fill up with a white bar, then later we saw it fill up again with a red bar. The box didn't warn us that there were 2 colors, so when we saw the white bar, we thought, "Well, that didn't last very long." Still, the box claims that it lasts 2 to 3 months and I think ours lasted no more than 6 weeks. Filed a report with Muni—the 9:10 AM bus yesterday didn't show up. The replacement power supply for Dell showed up today—that was fast! I swapped the bad with the good and Melissa's computer is back online about 24 hours after the initial problem report. Thanks, Dell! Telephone callbacks to students who did not complete the e-mail forwarding portion of their e-mail migration. "Unable to relay" error messages reported from Debrah and Chris while sending some messages from Eudora. Donna at ITS answered my call and I delivered her a scanned printout of the erroneous message headers. Updated a listserv for Chris. Updated current students news with a fundraiser event. Sorted old e-mails. Reconfigured SSH profiles. Lunch with Joel: Carmelina's. I had the #4 burrito with shredded chicken and mild salsa. I don't remember what Joel got, but it was small. Upon returning to work, the front office was freaked out by the sighting of a brown mouse in Kristina's cube. We discovered that the mouse (or mice) had chewed a quarter-sized hole through a backpack which was inside of a trash can liner tied with a knot and stored in an overhead bin. At Kristina's request, I put the whole backpack in the garbage and left it in the hallway. Everyone in the front office did some cleaning out of cube spaces, and the vacuum cleaner I had purchased recently for the office came in handy. Went to the dentist to repair a tiny cavity and a chipped tooth. Helped Chris with logo artwork. Home. Chatted with Tina on the phone. Dinner at home with Patrick: farfalle with chicken in garden primavera, seeded bread and butter. More password changing. My jaw aches now. Ouch! Watched videos from Erasure HITS! The Videos. Patrick soaked his feet in ginger water.

Thu 3

More e-mail migration cleanup. More followup with yesterday's e-mail sending problem. Found out our policy on Adobe software personal purchases for James. Set up a meeting for Cindy. Resolved mime types and PDF download issues with Jeff B and Julie B. Lunch: leftover pasta. Helped a student resolve problems with a slow laptop. The largest user profile I'd ever seen! 3.0 GB! Answered more logo artwork questions for Chris. Met Greg C, another sysadmin. Installed Microsoft AntiSpyware Beta 1, which didn't find anything new on my work computer. Dinner at home with Patrick: linguine with sausage and vegetables, naan. Patrick made blackberry scones—his first time ever making scones. Tried rebuilding the kernel on the webserver. Edited the mailing list for Lodestar. Patrick soaked his feet in ginger water. More work on Tina's website—just fixed up a page I had forgotten about. Made a new backup of Tina's site. Patrick found some Diesel shoes he liked at a used clothing store today. Melissa let us have some Meyer lemons which she had inherited. Yummy!

Fri 4

Woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep. Got up, ate some ramen soup for a snack, then rebuilt my source tree on the web server. A couple of days ago I installed Rootkit Revealer by Sysinternals which attempts to address new and interesting spyware threats in Windows. I haven't used it much yet, though. (Thanks, Jeremy L!) Breakfast: an orange and a blackberry scone. Helped Melissa resolve an e-mail problem. Updated the entering students section. Added next year's academic, block, and pathway calendars. Chatted with Tony A about Firefox 1.0.1 installation problems. Lunch: leftover linguine, Odwalla orange juice leftover from one of the office's events. Dinner at home with Patrick: homemade popcorn shrimp, boiled carrots and potatoes with rosemary. Early to bed.

Sat 5

Slept in. Shower project. Breakfast: fruit smoothie (orange, apple, banana), blackberry scone, fruit leftover from an office event, cherry juice blend. Updated Sophos on home computers. Other computer maintenance. Dinner with Melissa and Patrick at Watergate (415-474-2000, 1177 California St, San Francisco, 94108). Melissa wanted to do something nice for me after I spent many hours helping her with her computer a month or two ago, so I suggested that we all go to a nice dinner. Patrick and I hadn't been back to Watergate since (I think) my birthday in 2002. It had changed locations since then, moving from the Mission to Nob Hill. The food was delicious as always. Starters: Patrick had tiger prawns, Melissa and I both had day boat scallops. Entrees: Patrick had filet mignon, Melissa and I both had ribeye steak with fries. Desserts: Patrick had ?, Melissa had ginger creme brulee, I had a Napoleon. The fixed price for 3 courses had gone up since last time—$33 now up from $25. Patrick also believes that some of the portions seem smaller than before. Service was attentive during our meal, but neglectful after dessert was delivered. Our server made one grievous error: as he pulled a plate from the table, a knife fell from the plate into Melissa's lap. Fortunately, her martial arts training enabled her to catch the knife on its handle, and the error became a slight inconvenience rather than a clothing or medical disaster. The root cause of this problem is the silverware—the handles are too weighty, resulting in poorly balanced pieces. However, I would expect a waiter working with this silverware every day to fully pull the silverware into the plate before removal. Our server also couldn't remember who ordered what upon delivery—a minor inconvenience, but in a fine restaurant don't you expect the server to remember? Finally, an assistant delivering coffee tried to deliver it to our table, but we hadn't ordered any—it was for the next table over. Despite these problems, we enjoyed our meal, and I have no complaints about the food. Valet parking for $9 was available off Jones. Added the SF restaurant health violations website to my bookmarks page. More work on (problems with) rebuilding my web server kernel, and I ended up deciding I'm no longer a fan of OpenBSD—it's just too hard to figure out, and the OpenBSD community seems too elite to help even smart newbies without snide remarks. I still like the principles behind OpenBSD, but I simply don't have the days it takes to read documentation just to keep my system updated. This is particularly disappointing because I've been able to get it to do a lot of the things I wanted: NAT, firewall, web server, scripting it so that the web site data is automatically backed up from the Rev drive on Windows. I've learned a lot from OpenBSD, but the new Mac Mini is starting to look like a much better option for me now, and I just happen to have an empty spot in my rack mount that's exactly 6.5 x 6.5 inches. And there just happens to be an extra KVM cable just waiting for something to plug into.

Sun 6

Brunch with Patrick at Baghdad Cafe: western omelette for Patrick, 2 eggs with sausage for me. Today was sunny and warm, so we walked around in the Castro enjoying the weather. Picked up some groceries at Cala. Home. Started coding Lodestar's next issue. Finished the lodestar works and all poetry. Dinner at home with Patrick: rosemary pork chops, parboiled broccoli and carrots, potatoes au gratin. Watched Simpsons live. Watched more Erasure videos. Watched 2:00 to 2:25 of Doctor Zhivago.

Mon 7

Three times now when using Microsoft AntiSpyware Beta I've seen an alert come on my screen. It appears in the lower right corner and then moves—very quickly—up the screen. Every time it happens, I expect it to stop somewhere so that I can read it, but it never stops! It just keeps going up the screen until it goes off the top. Breakfast: oatmeal with dried nectarine. 8:30 AM bus didn't show up, so I got to work at 9:30 AM instead of 9:00 AM. Filed a complaint about the problem on the Muni web site. Chatted with Mark B about e-mail migration cleanup. Coded new news story for home page for Susie, sent it to her for review. Notified Nancy H of some broken links in the calendar site. Helped Chris C with laptop firewall questions. James sent me a Flash game called Can You Pass the Third Grade? You have to drag United States states names onto the map within a certain amount of time. I got most of them right. I remember I messed up Ohio and Iowa and I got a few of the northeastern states wrong. Lunch with Joel at Asqew Grill (415-701-9301, 1607 Haight Street at Clayton). We caught a 43 bus that just pulled up in front of Medical Sciences and took a bus to the Haight. It was nice to get out to a different neighborhood for lunch. We discovered the napkin Nazi—one of the servers who prevented me from taking napkins so that I could wipe down a table that I cleared myself (since the staff was busy doing other things). She offered to do it with a rag, and then, to my surprise, she actually did it! Joel had pig chunks on a skewer. I had chicken chunks on a skewer. We both had the Jasmine rice. Diet Coke for Joel, iced tea for me. About $16 before tip. In Asqew Joel and I saw a man wearing sunglasses where each lens was in the shape of a martini glass. After lunch we shopped not very assertively in clothing stores. We saw a choir singing for money outside of Ben and Jerry's. We returned to the office, a few minutes late for our informal planning meeting for Kristina's baby shower. Made live new news. More e-mail migration cleanup. Met with James to review minor changes to admissions pages. Installed Office 2003 and Office Updates for Ena and Joel. Installed Firefox 1.0.1 for Joel, but his copy of Firefox seems to have some problem installing extensions. Dinner at home by myself: nasi goreng, bread and butter. Did a whole bunch of dishes, cleaned the kitchen. Coded all fiction for Lodestar.

Tue 8

Our Internet connection was out for a while between yesterday and today because somehow our telephone cord had gotten accidentally unplugged from the jack. Breakfast: oatmeal, fresh banana, cinnamon, brown sugar. Lunch with Joel at Palio: I had a half San Secco sandwich (some animal and some cheese) and a small order of cous cous. Joel had a half sandwich and some tea cookies and bbq chips. At work, I troubleshot a problem with receiving e-mail messages from our web server. Dinner at home with Patrick: baked garlic chicken, yam, steamed broccoli and carrot, bread and butter. Read and edited the drama piece for the forthcoming issue of Lodestar.

Wed 9

Breakfast: cream of wheat, fresh banana, brown sugar, cinnamon. Telecommute day. Graduation section changes for Joel. More investigating the admissions e-mails not being received on itsa problem. Sent a password policy proposal to Chris. Updated current students news and calendar. Confirmed a calendar listing for an event a student wanted me to post. Lunch: leftover chicken and vegetables. Updated the student database on the web to reflect new e-mail addresses for third-year students. Updated InDesign to 3.0.1. Experimented with creating text filled with a gradient in InDesign CS. It took a while, but I eventually got the effect I wanted. But when I try to drag a gradient I created to the Swatches palette it's not saved there—I don't know why. Grocery shopping at Trader Joe's. We're trying mid-week to avoid crowds. Dinner at home with Patrick: pizza and salad from TJ's. Built an RSS 0.91 feed from scratch for my journal, got it to work correctly as a live bookmark in Firefox. (Travis, are you still reading here?) It took about 25 tabs of research in Firefox to figure it out. I didn't test any other RSS readers, but 0.91 looks pretty simple enough. Started creating a new favicon for frankfarm.org but stopped when I realized I had unwittingly very nearly recreated the circle-F icon/symbol that Macromedia uses for Flash. Time to take a break. Well, it's time for bed really.

Thu 10

Met with Ron and Anthony from Dell and the Student Computing Committee to talk about setting up a new Dell computer package for incoming fall 2005 students. The meeting went well. They admitted that last year had been problematic and seem to be working harder to gain and retain our trust this time around. I'm pleased. Continued troubleshooting laptop problems for a student; she has a 2.7 GB local user profile and her computer had picked up a virus. Started virus and spyware scans on James's computer. He's been having a strange problem with PharmAdMIT 2005 and we need to be more certain than normal that his computer is very clean. Resolved a lot of listservs which had outdated e-mail addresses. Updated listservs to include a student's resolved e-mail address problem, then updated the student database accordingly. Back to the student's laptop—she had a bunch of spyware. Ad-Aware found a lot, and then Spybot-S&D found a lot as well. I had to manually remove something called mqdscli.exe and mqdscli.dll. These files had information inside them saying they were "Microsoft MQ Client Directory Service" which sounds important but I couldn't find any mention of this service on Microsoft's site. I did a file find for mqdscli and within the results I started renaming mqdscli.exe to mqdscli.exe.bad and then mqdscli.dll to mqdscli.dll.bad. I was able to do the renaming, but immediately a new copy would appear in (I think it was) c:\windows\system32\dllcache so I knew then that it was a baddie and I restarted in Safe Mode to just outright delete the darned things. There were various copies of these files in c:\windows\prefetch and c:\windows\system32 and c:\windows\softwaredistribution\download\[some really long string of hex digits here]. Don't forget to look in c:\windows\system32\dllcache. After that, I opened regedit and searched for occurrences of mqdscli. Make sure to remove the line in HKCU\Soft\Micr\Wind\CurrentVersion\Run. Chatted with Chris about e-mail migration for our office and about password policy. Lunch with Melissa, Ena, and Joel. We got food from Millberry Union and sat in the commons area in front of the library, first in the sun, then in the shade (too hot!). Joel is looking for a new place to live. After lunch, Joel showed me more cool tote bags he had made with his sewing machine, and he gave me a Rite Aid ball point pen, which I will cherish for as long as the ink lasts. "With us, it's personal" it says imprinted on it. Reconverted InDesign schedule documents to PDF and uploaded them to the web, sent related announcements. Tried to figure out how to make user profiles smaller when it's not a roaming profile—just a local profile—no clear answer yet since most people covering this problem talk about roaming profiles. I showed Joel RSS today. Dinner at home with Patrick: braised beef stew meat over stir-fried chinese vegetables, "mild" curry rice for Patrick, naan for me. I coded the drama piece for Lodestar, switching to XHTML and CSS code that is better than what I have used for drama pieces in the past. Now the code more accurately reflects the structure of the document. We've noticed that some of the things we buy at Trader Joe's misleads us into thinking that the food item isn't spicy but in actuality it is. Like the "mild" curry rice tonight. It says "mild" on the box, and perhaps it's mild to a person from India who grew up eating spicy foods every day, but it's not mild to American palates, not by the measure of most people, I think. Next time we go to TJ's we need to remember to fill out the comment card. Disappointing us at the moment of our meal time is one way to lose our hearts. (Just ask Webvan.) Experimented with favicons again.

Fri 11

Fruit smoothie (apple and banana) for breakfast. Checked on final P3 e-mail migration problems. A fire alarm test interrupted our work. Coded new news for Susie. Scanned in an image for Cindy. Made one story live for Susie. Graduates licensing web page changes for Cindy. Lunch with Joel: sandwiches from the cafeteria, we ate in Saunders Court—another sunny and warm day. Met with a student to deliver her virus-free and spyware-free laptop. Send grads licensing pages to Cindy for review. Converted Chris C from itsa e-mail to Exchange e-mail. Left late. Dinner at home with Patrick: burgers and garlic fries. Started layout for Patrick's mom's book of poems—a short book that Patrick wants to give her for her birthday coming up. Patrick ran in to 2 Tonys today.

Sat 12

Slept in. Late lunch at home with Patrick: penne with creamy tomato sauce, bread and butter. More work on the book of poems. Added some Lodestar edits after reviews came back. Napped. Today was a severe disappointment caused by the weather service issuing an incorrect report. Today's chart on castrocam.net is actually quite reminiscent of my investment portfolio a couple of years ago. The daily highs for the last 5 days were: 65, 68, 71, 76, and 85. Today the high turned out to be 59 even though the forecast said 80. This evening Patrick and I went to the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. Before the film, we ran in to Glenn and Bill who were in town celebrating a friend's birthday and chatted for a few minutes. We saw a Quentin Lee film called Ethan Mao: "A teenage hustler returns home to confront his homophobic family in this explosive thriller/melodrama that violently tears down the facade of suburban normalcy." This description from the Castro Theatre website is accurate except that "explosive" isn't the first word I'd choose to describe this film, and the latter part of the description makes it sound ordinary. "Not *another* film that violently tears down the facade of suburban normalcy." This film covers that topic, but from a gay perspective. It is poignant, occasionally very funny, and occasionally sentimental without ever stepping over the line into cheese, self-ridicule, or mawkishness. Although it's obvious Quentin Lee (who wrote, directed, and co-produced it) made significant efforts to give all the characters some depth, I still yearned for more. If you liked Better Luck Tomorrow, you'd probably like this film, too. While in line for the film, we met up with Galen, Tony A, and Stephen K, and we met Peter, Ryan, and Jason. Tony Q arrived late. We saw Yan and said hello, but he didn't join us. After the film, the director, two leads, and (I think) producer answered questions for the audience. A late meal at Thai Chef with Galen, Peter, Stephen K, Tony A, Tony Q, and Patrick. Thai Chef (415-551-CHEF, 4133 18th Street) opened on 18th between Castro and Collingwood about 45 days ago. The food is delicious, the prices are quite reasonable (most dishes under $10), the wait staff is pleasantly flirtatious, and the decor is harmonious. We hope Thai Chef steals away all of Nirvana's customers seeking better service. Our server was Ake. After dinner we walked to Lime to have drinks, but it was crowded and noisy. Patrick and Tony A and I left. We gave Tony A a ride home, then went home ourselves.

Sun 13

Breakfast at home with Patrick: scrambled eggs over sliced tomatoes, bacon, everything bagels with cream cheese (Patrick's with capers). Worked on the book of poems. Lunch at home with Patrick: biryani, naan, hot chai lattes. Shopping at Stonestown Mall. Online shopping at Macy's, using gift cards that had gone long unused. More Lodestar edits. Dinner at home with Patrick: pan-fried marinated tuna, garlic green beans, lemon spinach couscous. Chatted with Tina. Finished watching Doctor Zhivago taped from PBS.

Mon 14

Breakfast: usual oatmeal. Today at work I spent almost the whole day working on 2 projects: a poster for Chris and the updated for-printing-only PDF files of the graduation info for Joel. I also helped Chris with Outlook and other laptop issues (deciding new components to purchase). Lunch with Joel at You See Sushi. A couple of days ago Joel told me about Glide—some kind of Sunday churchgoing "experience" in San Francisco but he made it sound like a Broadway extravaganza crossed with non-denominational spiritual enlightenment. Dinner at work: leftover tuna and couscous from last night. Kelly's birthday: Brian V and Eric made a delicious 2-layer cake from a box and topped it with homemade frosting and ganache. Kelly raked in the gifts: Hello Kitty waffles with ganache (Brian and Eric), The Cult of Mac in hardcover with custom wrapping paper (which was a Trader Joe's brown paper bag with a hand-die-cut of the Apple logo windowed with a panel of translucent plastic from a Nancy Boy shopping bag that Patrick had brought home) by Leander Kahney (me and Patrick), wooden signs with Kelly and Brian's signatures on them (Kelly's dad), homemade brownies and other baked goods (Kelly's mom), a new Windows computer from Central (Brian), Patron trio (who brought this?), Absinthe and some kind of blue gin (Amy), GROBOTS—some kind of science toy (Jesse). I'm sure there were other gifts, but I cannot remember them now. We watched South Park, Robot Chicken, Family Guy, Simpsons. I watch more TV in one evening at BriKelJess's place than I usually do in a month at home. Home. Tweaked my RSS feed so that it's served as a .xml file rather than a .php one by adding AddType application/x-httpd-php .php .xml and AddHandler application/x-httpd-php .php .xml to a .htaccess file in the rss folder and creating a .xml symlink of the php file and changing my template page so that the link tag points to the xml file rather than the php one. I realize today I never talked about my eBay win from a few weeks ago. It's a CD of Sandra Bernhard's Without You I'm Nothing. Steve Miles first introduced it to me, and he found his for (I believe) $8 in a used record shop around the corner from the building in which he and I used to live in Seattle. I remember it was the same record shop where I left my brand new Structure wool jacket behind the counter because I didn't want to be burdened with it while shopping and the guy behind the counter (who was stoned) dropped ashes on my jacket and never bothered to apologize when I picked it up afterwards. I never shopped there again. Anyhow, this CD is somewhat rare—someone on GEMM lists it for US$50.00—but I got my copy on eBay. The exciting part was that there were only 2 bids—mine and someone else's. I bid $15.05 and the other person bid $15.04. I won by a single penny! The CD turned out to be in excellent condition, so I'm very happy.

Tue 15

Made live licensing page changes for Cindy. Staff meeting. Updated the P1 schedule for Cindy, held it until she could confirm the change. Lunch at desk: leftover tuna and couscous (again). Shopped for a laptop briefcase for Chris. Prepared for the purchases we had agreed upon. Met with a student for trojans and spyware removal from her laptop. Edits to the graduation PDF files for Joel. Made live graduation page changes for Joel. Chatted with Chris about a table and chair setup tomorrow in Cole Hall—not my usual job, but it's a kind of emergency it seems. Dinner at Buca Di Beppo with Jesse, Brian T, Nick, Kelly, Brian K for Jesse's birthday. It was plenty of fun. Jesse and Brian knew one of the servers. We had garlic bread, pepperoni pizza, tortellini, ravioli, a meat plate. The candelabra was brought out, and we all sang the birthday song for Jesse. For dessert: the celebration cake. Back at their place, Jesse opened presents: 4 action figures from the TV series called Charmed, a Godiva chocolate bunny (me and Patrick), a 512 KB memory module for his laptop (Brian and Kelly), a blue iPod mini from Brian T. We watched Will and Grace, then The Incredibles on DVD which Jesse had just purchased. I stayed for about the first 15 minutes—it looked like a lot of fun.

Wed 16

Breakfast at the cafeteria. Joel and I went to Cole Hall to set up a table and chair to accommodate a student's accessibility need. Helped Melissa with printer problems. Discovered more mouse droppings behind her printer. Yuck! More spyware removal with a student's laptop. Updated homepage news for Susie. Met with Cindy. Chatted with Chris about hardware purchases. Chatted with James about changes to the change of schedule web page. More research on the problem opening PDF files from our website—the http headers still aren't saying application/pdf for the Content-Type—they say text/plain. Dinner at home with Patrick: biryani, naan. Looked at Joel's tote photo album, looked at Tony A's photos from Saint Patrick's Day Parade and the Ethan Mao event. Watched Simpsons.

Thu 17

It's Saint Patrick's day! Cindy brought in green coffee cake with green sugar sprinkles. Melissa brought a Swiss cake roll from a Japanese grocery or bakery for an Irish holiday. I think it was Ena who brought salsa verde and tortilla chips. Followed up with a lot of various issues: a student's e-mail account being accidentally closed, viewing PDF files problem with the website, others. Finished creating new password icons. Helped James and Melissa set up the laptop for the final admissions committee meeting. They celebrated the end of the admissions cycle with a green and white quarter sheet cake and other refreshments. Lunch with Joel at Pomelo: I had chicken noodle soup, Joel had rice with chicken and green beans. Afterwards we ran errands on Irving Street. Joel tried to find chopsticks for Michele but we could only find wooden ones and he wanted plastic. Had trouble refreshing icons that weren't displaying properly in Windows XP. In older versions of Windows, deleting ShellIconCache from the Windows directory fixed the problem. My version of Win XP doesn't have a ShellIconCache file anywhere. Instead, I deleted C:\Documents and Settings\[user]\Local Settings\Application Data\IconCache.db (on my system it's a 10 MB file!) and this didn't work either. I gave up trying to find a solution and just renamed the icons—if they have different names the problem goes away. Today Ena gave me a Jolly Rancher lollipop.

Fri 18

Breakfast at the cafeteria. Did some listserv testing to address a concern about non-subscribers posting to our lists. Updated a link on our home page—Lloyd Y found that one word wasn't quite right. Reannounced in e-mail new computer security measures to all staff. Finished with that student's laptop—it was the first time I found Microsoft Antispyware beta catch some stuff that neither Spybot Search and Destroy 1.3 nor AdAware caught. Some of the spyware on her computer was very pernicious and could only be removed by running all 3 tools in Safe Mode and some hand registry hacking. Met with Rodney and Chris to discuss security group policies. We came to a number of good decisions which should increase computer security a great deal in our two units. Lunch at desk: leftover lasagna. Made all the computer hardware purchases for Chris we had decided upon. Made live the P1 schedule change that Cindy told me about, sent out an announcement. Change of Schedule web page updates for James—we made the page semi-automatically update by itself year-round using some simple PHP code. Helped James troubleshoot a PharmAdMIT issue with lost data. Installed Sygate Security Agent and KeePass 0.98a for all workstations. Reconfigured password icons for all staff. Created individual password databases for all staff. Near closing, our cleaning woman was doing her rounds emptying trash cans and cleaning, and she accidentally dropped the remainder of yesterday's quarter sheet of cake on the carpet. I helped her clean it up—it looked awful at first, but now it doesn't look so bad. It's been a very productive day. Met Patrick at Starbuck's. Dinner with Patrick at Park Chow to celebrate (a) Patrick's being done with finals, (b) Patrick's completion of his first draft of his second novel, and (c) we received our lowest credit card bill yesterday! Small green salad with vinaigrette and wontons for me, mahi mahi special with mashed potatoes and veggies for Patrick. The wontons turned out to include a spicy ginger sauce (not mentioned on the menu), so I had to send it back to the kitchen. Hilary was our server, and she was friendly and efficient despite the problem about the wontons. There were about 7 wontons, and later I realized that 7 or even 8 wontons for $6 is not that great a deal, but I didn't want anything else on the menu tonight. We shared a coconut cream pie for dessert; it was good but we've certainly tasted better. I had an iced tea; Patrick brought a tea he had from Starbuck's. About $41 after a $6.25 tip. Park Chow does not accept American Express—we keep forgetting that. Home. Coded Lodestar reviews.

Sat 19

Breakfast: banana pancakes. Read news. Sleepy, napped. Late lunch: leftover lasagna. Started my taxes. Dinner at home with Patrick: pork chops, carrots, garlic fries. Worked on my taxes. A rather unproductive day.

Sun 20

Fruit smoothie (apple, banana, blood orange) and bagel and cream cheese for breakfast. Shopping errands: drug store, Macy's to return some pants I had bought that didn't fit. Dinner at Johnson and Chika's house. Jeanne is in town for a wedding, so the family all got together for a visit. It's been a long time since I had seen Jeanne. Chika and Johnson made a hotpot feast—no parents this time, so we know the kids can still throw a banquet without them. We also had handroll sushi. Dexter, Lani, Rob, Jeremy, and Matthew. Drove home late.

Mon 21

Breakfast: oatmeal. Mostly caught up on e-mail and filed some trouble tickets with ITS. Reworked backup strategy for the server. Previously I had 5 tapes, one for each weekday, but sometimes I'd forget to change the tape. So the new strategy is to make manual backups during each weekday and to leave in a single tape that backs up every 4 hours. If I miss a manual backup, then everything is still (theoretically) safe. Dropped in a new TIFF that Chris sent me for his poster project. Lunch with Melissa and Joel: takeout from the food court. Melissa got a taco, Joel got a pizza, I got Panda Express. My fortune: Next full moon brings an enchanted evening. Populated password databases for staff with known logins and passwords. Prepared for the final e-mail migration (P1 and P2 students). Dinner at home with Patrick: sea bass, lasagna, cornbread. Made Issue 13 of Lodestar Quarterly live. Watched The Simpsons: Mobile Homer. Bought drug store items online.

Tue 22

Fruit smoothie for breakfast. Student computing committee meeting. Undid the backup strategy I put together yesterday—it was too much work for the server. Reviewed clinical pharmacy website redesign comps. Uninstalled Acrobat 6.01 and installed Acrobat 5.0.5 in an attempt to reproduce a problem Bill S reported with downloading PDF files. Prepared data for my meeting with Cindy tomorrow. Helped Joel with a problem with Yahoo! Mail and fields too short. Lunch: fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn from the cafeteria. Helped a student connect his hp iPaq to our wireless network. Poster project with Chris—rearranging logos. Reviewed computer requirements for my meeting with Rob S tomorrow. Tried to catch the 7:00 PM bus home but it left 2 minutes early. I took a train instead. Realized that I somehow skipped a day (the 19th or 20th) and populated the wrong days with the wrong entries since then. Fixed it. Dinner at home with Patrick: ?. Watched The Incredibles on DVD—very fun.

Wed 23

Oatmeal for breakfast (no banana). Met with Rob S at Palio, discussed computer requirements. Met with Susie, then with Susie and Cindy about the clin pharm redesign project that others are working on. Met with Cindy about e-mail naming and other issues. Went back to the dentist today for a followup visit. No problems except my jaw aches some just like last time when the temporary piece was put in, though the dentist probably doesn't consider that a problem. Noticed that Travis started blogging again, so I updated my bookmarks to add him back. Showered. Dinner at home by myself: biryani, naan. Patrick went to Vestal McIntyre's reading this evening at A Clean Well Lighted Place for Books. Read blogs.

Thu 24

Joe's Ohs with banana for breakfast. Telecommute day. Installed Firefox 1.0.2. Worked on computer requirements summary from yesterday's meeting with Rob. Was going to announce the e-mail migration workshop date but realized I didn't have the previous text that ITS had agreed upon, so this will have to wait until Monday. Troubleshot a problem with itsa—the e-mail server was not letting people log on. Updated the grads job postings mailing list for Joel. Lunch: leftovers. Returned the Incredibles DVD. Dinner at Chevy's with Patrick. We went to SFMOMA this evening. Gary Hill, a video installation artist, was lecturing at 6:30 PM and I was on the fence about the lecture but I did want to see his current exhibit since I had seen his work in Seattle and thought it was very interesting. We left very shortly after 5:30 PM, parked in the 5th and Mission garage, and got dinner at Chevy's 3rd and Howard beforehand, missing the lecture. (We didn't know of any better but inexpensive restaurant in the area.) Patrick picked a 3-item combo and I picked a 2-item combo, we both had iced tea. Our server was Laura, who was friendly and helpful, but could have been a little more attentive. Patrick says the chefs at Chevy's Stonestown prepare the plates a lot more tidily. Dinner was $32.64 after a $5 tip. So back to Gary Hill. The works in this show are more disturbing than the ones I remember in the past. Lots more strobing. In one particularly intense exhibit, Hill is seen in microsecond flashes of him throwing himself against a black wall while speaking dialogue—an examination of how the sounds of the words are distorted by the impact of his body. The room is entirely dark except for the video, and a strobe light seems to pulse in conjunction with each impact. My favorite work in this exhibit was one in which about 5 or 6 projectors faced a very long wall showing a row of perhaps 20 or 25 men—migrant workers—simply standing, at about actual size. It seems trivial at first, but given a tablespoon of patience it reveals a blink here, a shifting of the legs there, and so forth. All the men are still—and not still—at the same time. After Gary Hill, it was quietingly pleasurable to walk a few feet to view works by Robert Bechtle, a Bay Area artist known for realistic and hyperrealistic paintings and drawings, mostly of Bay Area cars, houses, streets, and interiors. The exhibit includes source photographs and paintings from which Bechtle created some of his works, and it was interesting to see how he translated imagery from one medium to another. Although the subjects he draws and paints seem mundane at first, one can see the beauty he saw in old cars, suburban homes, daily objects like fans, heaters, and vacuum cleaners. The realism is startling—from certain angles and distances it's very hard to believe these aren't giant reproductions of photographs. Every Thursday is half-price from 6 to 9 PM, so this cost us only $8 total for 2 (Patrick with a student discount). Our SFMOMA receipt says "Transaction No. 174,318." Our parking at Fifth and Mission lasted 2 hours and 52 minutes and cost us $6.00. Our garage receipt says "Please Drive Safely." After the museum, we got gas at Twin Peaks. We buy 89 octane, which is currently $2.519 per gallon.

Fri 25

Cesar Chavez Holiday. Slept in. Cut my hair. Cleaned in the bathroom. Laundry. Showered. Fruit smoothie: blood orange, banana. Late lunch: chicken masala with brown rice and veggies, leftover cornbread. Did dishes. Online shopping for clothes. Installed drivers for the PCR-30, installed MixMeister. Dinner at home with Patrick: steamed dumplings with soy sauce and vinegar, pizza, salad. Watched The Stranger (1946) taped from PBS—we liked this film which stars Orson Welles in a post-WWII thriller about a Nazi hiding out in a small American town to avoid war crimes trials.

Sat 26

Breakfast: pumpkin pie spice French toast, sliced strawberries, fruit smoothies (strawberry and banana). Cleaned and tidied the apartment. Dishes, laundry. Sam let Patrick borrow an Edirol PCR-30 MIDI keyboard controller, so I completed configuration to hook it to one of our computers so that he can create music with it. Took apart the Cobalt Qube 3 and pulled out the hard drive to see if I could salvage data from it. Lunch: leftover pizza. Read "ONJ.com," Vestal McIntyre's story from Fresh Men: New Voices in Gay Fiction. Nap. Dinner at Xiao Loong with Steve, Travis, and Patrick: prawns and Chinese chive dumplings, Pan-Pacific wontons, black bean chicken, Xiao Loong beef, combination chow mein, steamed rice, two kinds of tea: one oolong, one green. Fortunes: Travis's says The dragon of desire is on your heels, pushing you into adventure. Enjoy! Steve's says Your ability to believe has created an upcoming dream - come - true. Patrick's said Confucius says your eyes have magnetized a secret admirer. Mine says You will be singled out for promotion. After dinner Patrick left to meet up with Aaron, and the rest of us browsed in A Different Light bookstore and a gifts store before drinks and dancing at The Cafe.

Sun 27

Easter Sunday. Chatted online with friends. We got a beautiful postcard from BnK travelling in Japan: front view of the Yomei-mon Gate. The postage is a colorful 80-yen stamp with some kind of anime spaceship. Patrick and I spent a few hours in the Castro. We were thinking of attending the Easter events that the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence hold in Dolores Park, but all morning was overcast and blustery, and I feared the discomfort I knew such weather would bring me, so we didn't go and simply imagined the wet Easter bonnets and hunky Jesuses (or Jesi?) shivering in their brown robes or whatever it is that Jesus wore. Late brunch at Thai Chef: pig pad thai for me, bbq chicken for Patrick. I couldn't stop myself from laughing when we overheard a man at a neighboring table giving his order to the server. It went something like this: "...well what about this dish—does it have coconut in it? And this one—(the server says something I didn't hear, but the diner interrupts him)—coconut? I see, well I'm thinking this one because...coconut...but can you tell me if this one has coconut? You see I just wasn't sure because the menu doesn't say whether it has coconut in it or not. Is there coconut in this one?" Eventually a decision was made, and the very patient server left to place the order. I couldn't tell if the man was trying to get or avoid coconut or if he was trying to see how many times he could say "coconut" without driving the server into a headlineworthy rage. Patrick also attempted to hide his snickering, but it was impossible to do, I tell you. A Different Light bookstore was having a big book sale so I got The Irreversible Decline of Eddie Socket (paperback) by John Weir for $1.99. We forgot to bring an umbrella and dashed from store to store to avoid getting soaked in the alternately light and medium-heavy rain. We said hello to our clothing store worker friends: Jesse (who kept begging Patrick to cook a meal) and Hussein, Adrian (who is getting a tattoo on his back soon—two phoenixes I think he said). We stopped at a cafe on 18th up the hill a ways and had an almond tart, a chai latte, and (what did Patrick drink?). I read William Sterling Walker's "Desire"—the second story in Fresh Men: New Voices in Gay Fiction—about men barhopping in New Orleans. So far this book is 2 for 2. I like that "Desire" is rich with details and that it doesn't explain everything. You're forced to figure things out—no "just feed me" mentality. Napped. Dinner at home with Patrick: biryani with naan. Called Tina, who was in Hawaii with Daniel, Domenica, and Corey. Within minutes after I had called, their luau show had started, so I let them go. Did some catching up on e-mail today.

Mon 28

Unpacked Chris's new laptop bag and docking station which had arrived. Updated current student news and calendar. Corrected a calendar item for Cindy. Posted news about e-mail migration forthcoming for P1 and P2 students. Helped Melissa with a problem with Microsoft Word not starting properly in PharmAdMIT 2005. Updated the graduation info for guests page for Joel. Late lunch: burrito #4 with refried beans, shredded chicken, mild salsa from Carmelina's: about $5. Helped Ena set up a new fax machine in the student lounge which was donated by the Class of 2005. Created a final for Chris's poster project. Created paper reminders for a forthcoming somewhat-of-a-surprise event. Dinner at Best of Thai Noodle with Anna B, one of my cousins I hadn't seen in years. She had a Singha (and got carded) with wide noodles with chicken and sea creatures in (I think) a peanut sauce, I had a Thai iced tea and chicken with vermicelli noodle soup. About $22 after a $4 tip. Yummy. We caught up on who's doing what. She's living in a studio in Long Beach and going to school, hoping to make a career in public relations or advertising. During dinner, we watched the Stussy shopkeeper across the street throw up white grapefruit-sized balls of something in the air repeatedly in attempts to chase out a pigeon which had flown into the store and chosen to rest in the eaves of the store's high ceilings and skylight. After dinner we crossed the street to observe more closely, and as the door was open (but the outer metal gate closed), we discovered that the balls were wads of (I think) butcher paper wrapped with clear packing tape, and we chatted with the short Asian man (whom we both admitted was rather attractive). He said he'd been at his task for the past hour and a half, and when I suggested he call the city's animal control department, he said he already did and that they would not be able to help him, having no ladder tall enough to reach the bird. The shopkeeper knew that the bird would ruin his merchandise with its excrement if he left it alone. There was little left for us to do but give him our empathy and go on our way. After I got home I realized his scenario would make an imaginative video game or cartoon. Anna and I parted company near Haight and Ashbury after her friend Izzy met us and we chatted briefly. They were off to some concert for which Izzy had finagled some free tickets, and I walked to Carl and Cole, took a whiz in the shadows in the dog park, then caught a train then a bus home. For my current reading, I'm alternating between two books: The Irreversible Decline of Eddie Socket by John Weir and Designing with Web Standards by Jeffrey Zeldman. I hadn't finished the former when I borrowed it from the library a few weeks ago—my card had expired and the book became due so I had to give it up even though I hadn't finished it. The latter book I think I had read once before, or maybe I hadn't, but in any case, it's a quick read since I've already adopted many of his teachings. Still, my code could be cleaner—this might encourage me to test my work site using a single stylesheet since I already suspect I can now get away with only one instead of the 7 stylesheets I started out with in 2001. Zeldman's writing is so clear that it makes me proud that someone took the time to explain everything he did. I feel like putting on my orange t-shirt and blue ski cap and joining thousands of other web developers similarly dressed—a kind of army to beat back old, shoddy code of the web's early days back when people still called it the World Wide Web and argued over whether you should say World Wide Web or Worldwide Web or WWW or Web. In case you didn't know, people nowadays just say "web." I believe it was Wired News which was first to issue a press release rationalizing this choice—"web"—and at the time I had been using "Web" and had found their action to be somewhat shocking. Indeed, it's not often one reads a press release that defends a style guideline. And at the time, deep down, I think I knew "web" was more correct than "Web" but so few people were using it in practice that it seemed daring to me. Tomorrow we go to Galen's birthday party, and I'm looking forward to it. Paid e-bills, archived some documents, confirmed our domestic partnership paperwork since we've been warned that UCOP is doing random audits, archived online shopping transactions.

Tue 29

Usual breakfast at the cafeteria. Sent out suggested computer requirements for fall to the student computing committee. Updated current students schedules, news, and calendar—the School of Medicine electives schedule still isn't available like I had thought. Poster project revisions, sent comps to Chris for review. Sent Mark and Bruce our list of e-mail names for the P1 and P2 student e-mail migration on Thursday. Notified students who chose non-standard e-mail names whether we accepted their suggestions or not. Updated a fraternity listserv for a student. Ena had a brilliant idea about the fridge and water cooler. The power to the outlet they were on had disappeared when we all arrived at work yesterday. Ena suggested we use a different outlet which was nearby. I tested it, and it worked, so we remaneuvered the cables accordingly and I notified the staff. Created PDF finals of the poster project for Chris to take to Kinko's. Met with Cindy briefly to discuss a handful of issues. Notified staff about the new fax machine in the student lounge. Update curriculum pages based on feedback from Chris, sent them to Cindy for review. Updated faculty page and admin pages to correct Betty-ann's title. Lunch: salad from the cafeteria. Followed up on a P3 student who didn't seem to complete the e-mail migration. Met with a student who had reported problems receiving listserv messages. Proposed a followup project planning meeting. Updated prospective students calendar for Joel. Updated the electives schedule for Debrah. Installed Firefox 1.0.2 and Office Updates for some users. Patrick and I went to Galen's birthday party at his place. We gave Peter a ride over. Bryan, Dave, Emery, Eric, Jonny, Duane, Joe, Yan, Ian, Charles, Jesse, Greg, Antonio, Patrick, Steve, John. Andy was reported to have been ill, and Scott was taking care of him, so they couldn't attend. Galen baked his own cake (!)—a variation on black forest that looked and tasted like a professional pastry chef's, and we also enjoyed some ice wine he brought back from his weekend in Toronto. I'd never had ice wine before—it was very sweet, slightly syrupy, highly delicious.

Wed 30

Usual breakfast at the cafeteria. Helped Mike L over the phone with PDF issues. Copied some presentations to the shared office laptop for Cindy. Archived a paper document to PDF. Filed a reimbursement request with Ena for the interest-free loan I gave the university on my credit card. Made live curriculum web page changes after reviews said OK. Copied a cdrom of photos to send to Susie. Lunch at Palio with Joel: he had a half sandwich which he liked and a bowl of broccoli soup which he didn't like. I had a half sandwich and a bowl of pasta salad with mushrooms and broccoli, both of which I liked. Announced to faculty, staff, and students of forthcoming changes to our mailing list configurations. Updated e-mail migration web pages, got OK from Mark B, made them live. Prepared for having two student organizations migrate their websites from one server to another. Set up a passwords database for James, helped him synch it to his USB drive. Updated a listserv for Chris. Confirmed an appointment time with a student for Friday. Home. Short nap. Another pleasant and delicious dinner at Banana Island (650-756-6868, 311 Lake Merced Blvd, Daly City) with Patrick: roti telur, sizzling beef, aromatic chicken, singapore fried rice, 1 thai iced tea: about $44 after a $6 tip. At the end of the dinner, the bill was accompanied by two mints, each with a wrapped depicting a modern, stylized American stars and stripes design. We flipped it over, and on the back was this phrase in big, bold letters: "Made in the USA." We laughed at that, and I wish it instead had said "Made in Japan." Grocery shopping at Trader Joe's. We got there 5 minutes before closing, so it felt like a TV game show where we had to grab everything we wanted before the time ran out. We spent about $7 per minute. Actually, it was more than that since we didn't use all our 5 minutes. Viewed Brian and Kelly's photos of their visit to Tokyo—they take such great photos, I'm very impressed. Online shopping.

Thu 31

Breakfast: Joe's Ohs plus banana. Updated the P2 schedule for Debrah. Updated current students news, curriculum, calendar. Managed e-mail name conflict reports from Mark B. E-mail migration workshop with Mark B: 9 of our students attended plus 1 from School of Medicine. I met Alan C. Met Joel's friend Christine—they were thinking of visiting Heather today. Lunch: bacon cheddar cheeseburger, half order of curly fries, half order of onion rings from the cafeteria. Microsoft license agreement meeting. Chatted with Debrah. Dealt with e-mail naming issues that came up for a couple of students. Dentist: picked up a new night guard. Dinner at home with Patrick: 6-spice fried chicken, small round loaves of bread, corn off the cob for me, Nicoise salad for Patrick.