Summary: Dinner with Melissa and Patrick at Gaspare's, Strawberry Hill and Stow Lake and cake from Ambrosia and dinner at Aziza for Patrick's birthday, Adobe buys Macromedia for $3.4 billion, Patrick lands a job with S.W.I.F.T.
Dates on this page
Joe's Os with banana. Cindy brought bagels in for the office. Met with a student to discuss Outlook and building a website. Met with another student to discuss VPN and e-mail migration. Secret meeting. Set up the laptop for the Law Review presentation. E-mail naming decisions. Dinner at home with Patrick: tempura prawns, mac and cheese, peas. Don Don sent me an invite to Yahoo 360. Today one of our students gave me a gift card for Best Buy to thank me for helping with her laptop. I always love getting these!
Breakfast: Joe's Os with banana. Showered. House cleaning: washed the insides of windows to remove dirt and mold. Took out trash, recycling, compost. Did some cleaning in the shower. Folded some laundry. Snack: a banana. Swept the entryway. Lunch: leftover linguine with red sauce, leftover mac and cheese. Showered. Went to Melissa's place to help her migrate files from her old desktop computer to her new laptop. Patrick and I watched the first episode of Battlestar Galactica, the entirety of which is available as a Realplayer stream online at the official site. The audio and video quality were crappier than our antenna reception, but—amazingly—it was still decent enough to watch. I liked the show except for the parts with the jerky camera and the parts where flying ships and explosions made sounds when there should have been no sound. When will humans be brave enough to depict space the way it really is? Is it too much to ask for this much honesty in representation? In exchange for my helping Melissa with her computer, she took Patrick and me to dinner at Gaspare's (415-387-5025, 5546 Geary Blvd), a charming Italian restaurant where we had a very enjoyable meal—all of us Gaspare's virgins. It's a long, rectangular room: 4-person booths line the walls, larger adjustable tables line the middle. On the walls are paintings of memorable vistas of San Francisco and Italy. The ceiling is a trelliswork from which grapes hang vineyard-style. (The grapes are fake, but it's still charming.) The most thoughtful part of the decor was including a thick-curtained foyer to bar the cold breezes from outside and to retain privacy for booths near the front. We shared garlic bread and a 2-person deluxe salad, fresh gnocchi alla bolognese, and a small pizza with mushrooms and italian style sausage. For dessert, we shared an order of spumoni and an order of tiramisu. All the food was delicious. The garlic bread had real bits of garlic, very strong on one side, weak on the other, which was good because you got to choose what you wanted. The pizza is thin-crust, done much to my liking. The spumoni is tri-color with bits of fruit within. The tiramisu is very, very delicious—my favorite part of the meal. Our server was very polite and mostly efficient. The one time she let our glasses run dry, she was very apologetic upon her return. We drove back to Melissa's where I did some final work with her laptop (for today, anyway). Patrick and I drove home. I chatted with Dex on the phone, then briefly with Tony Q on IM. Sleep.
Brunch with Patrick at Baghdad Cafe: we both get our standards. Me: eggs with sausage, wheat toast. Patrick: pancakes and sausage. We planned to read in a cafe and had sat down to some green tea at Sweet Inspirations but Patrick's allergies were so pestering that we went home. Patrick had a shower, and then we watched The Importance of Being Earnest (1952) on DVD. Napped. I cooked dinner at home with Patrick: carrot soup, pesto tortelloni with red sauce, bread and butter. Patrick has recently started composing some original music using Reason.
Pumpkin granola with banana. Set up Chris's new Dell docking station, removed his old computer and old monitor. Lots of e-mail migration followup. Helped Melissa with her laptop. Lunch: bacon cheeseburger, onion rings. Dinner at home by myself: biryani, naan.
Missed out on breakfast because the 8:08 AM bus didn't show up. Student computing committee meeting. OSACA staff meeting. Troubleshot a problem with Outlook 2003 on a student's laptop: "An unexpected error has occurred." Lunch: Panda Express. More work with the student's laptop, ended up sending a detailed problem report to Mark B. More e-mail migration issues—a lot more in this batch than the previous batch. Talked with 2 students: one about its accidentally closing her account, one about how she can't remember her password for McAfee privacy service and how it's very difficult (or impossible) to reach anyone at McAfee. (Again, as I have done many times in the past, I told her it's simply easier to uninstall McAfee and purchase and install Norton.) Updated next year's block calendar for Cindy. Dinner at home with Patrick: cow tacos.
Granola for breakfast. Telecommute day. Mostly did research for implementation of a message board. Made live home page news for Susie. Updated the jobs listserv for Joel. Some e-mail migration issues. Helped Chris with VPN. Lunch: steamed shrimp dumplings. Dinner at home with Patrick: leftover tacos. Watched Simpsons.
Granola for breakfast. Joel brought in some tasty buns from Sunset Bakery for the office. Cindy, Joel, and I met to discuss an optional web message board for entering students. Based on their requirements, we're going with a closed Yahoo! Groups group. It helps that Joel has owned a group of his own for over a year, so he's well familiar with the moderation and admin tools and settings. We pretty much just have to choose colors, a home page photo, and then get a feed from James of the e-mail addresses we plan to invite. Filed a problem report with ITS—there's a partition that's out of space. Reviewed Chris's notes about PDAs in preparation for content for the website. E-mail migration issues and followup. Rodney got me admin access to the AD accounts for our students, so I spent a few minutes updating display names to match what students really wanted, e.g., Steve instead of Stephen. Julie reported that she thinks she resolved our application/pdf filetype problem, and I tested, and it seems okay. Lunch: Panda Express. My fortune: You are next in line for promotion. A student mentioned again that the computer in the student lounge wasn't working, so I checked it out, and Chris R at Dell Chat quickly ordered a service technician to replace the motherboard. Returned a student's laptop. Created and posted a sign for Joel for the cleaning staff. Dinner at home with Patrick: baked lemon chicken.
Joe's Os for breakfast. I forgot to mention yesterday that Cindy brought a dead mouse into my office. It was all white. She handed it to me, and I picked it up and turned it over, and it was the old-style ball mouse, so we chucked it in the trash and I set her up with a new optical mouse we had lying around just for an occasion like this. E-mail migration issues. Helped Christopher, a repair technician from Dell, to repair and set up the student lounge computer. Replacing the motherboard did indeed fix the problem. He pointed out where capacitors on the mobo had burned up, causing the problem. Scanned in purchasing documents to archive as PDF. Helped a student with instructions for building a website (spindocs). Helped a student understand how to leave mail on the server with Outlook. Partial lunch: Vietnamese sandwich for $3 from a pharmacy student doing a fundraiser. Installed Firefox 1.0.2 updates, Office updates, Spywareblaster 3.3 updates for some office computers. Helped Chris set up his CMS BounceBack drive—it seems to work despite an unintuitive interface. It also wasn't very easy to set up. Installed Microsoft Antispyware Beta for some office computers. One of the students brought in a small, expensive-looking cake for the office as a thank you gift, but so few of us were around, Cindy and I decided that Ena should just take it home to share with her kids. I got photos, though. Dinner: Subway sandwich. Home. Computer maintenance. Today was Joe's birthday celebration at the Metro, but my eczema has been bothering me lately, and I feel miserable. I blame it on stress.
Eggs, hash browns, toast for breakfast with Patrick. Shower. Shopping at Stonestown Mall. We had gone looking for cinnamon chocolates at Godiva and underwear at Macy's but instead just bought new bath towels at Macy's. Lunch at Jitra: Patrick had yellow curry chicken, I had cashew chicken, we both had Thai iced teas. Picked up Patrick's birthday cake at Ambrosia Bakery. Groceries at Parkside Farmer's Market (415-681-5563, 555 Taraval Avenue). Patrick and I watched Enter the Dragon (1973) on DVD. Sam brought over birthday presents for Patrick: a ceramic bunny rabbit coin bank; a stuffed animal (duck); a red, bejeweled hair clip; a stuffed birthday cake plush toy that plays Happy Birthday when you press its center; a Norelco Acu-Control personal groomer; 2 D batteries; instant prehistoric dinosaurs ("just add water"); a neon alarm clock with the price sticker still attached ($9.99 on sale, regularly $14.99). Patrick got birthday cards from his mom and from Dianne, and a little bit of cash, too. Dinner at home with Patrick (I cooked): biryani, naan. Patrick and Sam went to a J.S. Bach piano recital featuring music friends of Sam. I stayed home and edited 4 tracks from Sandra Bernhard's Without You I'm Nothing CD so that the tracks have the singing parts only—it's nice to be able to hear just the singing separate from the non-singing. I tried doing my taxes again, asked Travis for help by e-mail, and he replied very thoroughly and quickly—he's so sweet and helpful.
It's Patrick's birthday today! We made aram sandwiches for Kristina's baby shower tomorrow. We drove to Golden Gate Park and got a hot dog and Icee snack at the boat house. The sky was mostly clear and the weather was warmish in the sun, cold in the shade. The water level of Stow Lake was currently too low for the paddle boats and rowboats to operate. For some reason, an elderly man sat with a handwritten sign which said as much at the boat house counter—we couldn't figure out why he had to hold the sign. (I thought he wanted to feel helpful.) We hiked to the top of Strawberry Hill, a small mountain in the middle of Stow Lake. The view was disappointing because of all the trees. Why doesn't someone chop them down to make paper? (Just kidding about the chopping but not kidding about the view.) The artificial waterfall wasn't running, either. If you're thinking about doing this same short hike, I recommend Buena Vista Park or Twin Peaks instead of Strawberry Hill. The other not-so-nice thing was that we smelled poop a whole lot while walking through GG Park. I could only hope that it was from a dog and not from human animals. After the park, we drove to Divisadero Car Wash, then we stopped in the Castro. Patrick wanted some new jeans but we went from shop to shop, saying hi to Adrian (we saw his new double-phoenix tattoo—cool! sexy!) and Jesse and Hussein. Stopped at Safeway on the way home. Snack: ham sandwich on a bagel from Safeway. I sang Happy Birthday for Patrick and we ate slices of the birthday cake we bought yesterday at Ambrosia. The cake is chocolate cake on the bottom layer (dark brown), chocolate mousse in the middle layer (light brown), and white chocolate mousse on the top layer (white). Deeeelicious! Patrick napped while I did laptop maintenance. Dinner at Aziza (415-752-2222, 5800 Geary Blvd) with Patrick. We really like this Moroccan restaurant whose dark but enchanting interiors reminded us of Tantra in Silverlake. (See 2002/08/01.) There is lots to like about Aziza: the staff is friendly, accommodating, and efficient. The seating (padded, colorful chairs and benches) is comfortable, even luxurious. The walls and ceiling are artful—painted tiles, patterned and stained woods, exposed wooden beams. After we ordered, the first item to arrive (not counting water glasses) was a pot of hot Moroccan mint tea (sweetened traditional moroccan tea, packed with fresh mint & a splash of orange blossom water), pre-sweetened but not too sweet—just the perfect amount. We also ordered a side of moroccan spiced mission almonds—these were coated in something sweet and slightly spicy; I was able to tolerate about a dozen given a proper pacing. They put a smile on our faces; maybe we are easily pleased, but it's not often we taste something so unique as these nuts. We also received a bowl of slightly sweet (honeyed?) anise bread encrusted with sesame seed as well as a small bowl of marinated olives and almonds. Our first course arrived: Patrick had tricolor, steamed Coke Farm beets with goat cheese pearls and balsamic vinaigrette, and I had seafood triangles (prawns & alaskan halibut tucked into phyllo, parslied couscous with pine nuts, saffron essence). Patrick wants me to mention specifically the artful arrangement of the beets dish. The plate was square with the beets and goat cheese in one corner and clover sprouts and dots of balsamic in the other then an empty space in the middle. "It was like looking at a piece of art," he says. We thought the tea was so good that we ordered a second pot. Main courses: Patrick had saffron-infused Hoffman Ranch cornish hen (capped with house-preserved meyer lemons, purple potato mash), and I had grilled Hoffman Ranch thyme chicken brochettes (with steamed saffron couscous and something they called "vegetable stew" but it's not a stew—it might be stewed vegetables, but it's not a stew). Patrick's braised cornish hen was pre-sliced and arranged like duck, and it tasted like duck, too, with a crispy skin and a rich, thick, flavorful sauce. My chicken brochettes were well marinated and grilled perfectly—they remained astoundingly juicy throughout. No dry corners or edges. Patrick had a glass of Cairanne (grenache / syrah / mourvèdre, domaine richaud, rhône, france, 2002) with the main course. We finished with the chocolate pot (suave chocolate & scharffen berger cocoa nibs, whipped cream—allow eight minutes), which arrived with a silver, festive, fourth-of-july sparkler and "Happy Birthday, Patrick!" handwritten in chocolate along the plate's edge—the hostess must have tipped off our server or the kitchen after Patrick mentioned offhandedly that it was his birthday while we were being seated. One thing I had never seen before: after our server took our leftovers to be wrapped, instead of returning with the leftovers she returned with a beautiful red mosaic glass paperweight in the shape of a heart. On the underside, it said something like, "We won't forget your leftovers." That's an elegance I had never seen before in all my experience of fine dining—very classy. We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner at Aziza and would definitely return. There are only a few recommendations I could make to improve the restaurant. Lighting in the rear room to the left (where we sat) is sometimes unacceptable. The table next to us, for instance, had one diner whose plate was perfectly lit, but the plate of the woman next to her (the same table) received only ambient light and no direct light. Just increase the number of halogen lamps on the wire track above. Maybe our server forgot, but no one crumbed our table. Very classy in every other way—tablecloths too—so why no crumbing? Our server forgot to bring Patrick's glass of wine with the main course, but a neighboring server and our hostess quickly repaired the problem enough for us to gladly overlook this small inconsistency. Other nice touches: mosaic glass candles throughout, the ceiling lamp in the bar throwing pretty light patterns on the dark ceiling, design elements from the wall tiles matched elsewhere in the room create a harmonious effect, luxurious draperies throughout, the bathroom was clean and tidy, all the staff we encountered seemed happy and unrushed, the music—mostly loungey electronica—was perfect and fitting for the environment. Our server, Jennifer, reminded me of Audrey Hepburn. If you can grant yourself a few hours to not worry about the forthcoming bill, it's very much a dining pleasure here. In fact, the euphoric mood seemed to touch everyone—we chatted briefly with neighboring tables on both sides of us. The booths in the front room seemed to me to be the best seats—the trio of candles atop each booth repeat to create a magical, romantic setting. The next best seating is the rear left which opens to the bar. Avoid the rear right room if possible—it's nice enough but slightly claustrophobic despite the large lit false window. Patrick says that room felt like a bar or a tavern—less formal. As we left, we were met with the remains of a bizarre San Francisco scene. I didn't understand the entire story, but for some reason police were attending to some incident and somehow a rubbernecking driver accidentally plowed into another car—how embarrassing. A man attacked another man with a crowbar; someone claimed that the victim had lost some teeth. Valet parking was $8. Our dinner bill was $101 after a $17 tip. Aziza offers a fixed price meal for $39 (minimum party of 8, all diners in your party must choose the fixed price meal), and Patrick thought it would be wonderful to bring 8 or 9 people to all get the prix fixe. Aziza has been open for about 3 years. Some of the dishes have an air of Savoury's Laguna Beach (chef Brad Toles; see 2002/08/03) but the flavor-combining craziness is tempered somewhat in comparison. One example from the dinner menu: kumquat-enriched niman ranch lamb shank, bergamot-infused dried fruits, cranberry couscous, grilled green onion. One example from the dessert menu: all grown up sorbets: rioja-raspberry, riesling-passion fruit, mint-cilantro.
Pumpkin granola. A lot of e-mail migration cleanup. Distributed information about e-mail addresses to faculty, staff, and students. Met with a student who reported that a listserv didn't have the people she expected on it. I got the info I needed from Jorge. Kristina's baby shower today in C-129 was a lot of fun. The rest of us in the office went all out making it seem mostly like a professionally catered event. Kristina received lots and lots of gifts. I had to leave early to meet with Susie about web topics. Dinner at home with Patrick: penne with creamy tomato sauce. Dessert: leftover cake. Filed my taxes with more help from Travis. Did more securing of passwords and serial numbers. Filled in yesterday's journal entry.
Pulled photos off the camera. Met with a student about a problem with Outloook Web Access freezing when she tried to reply to a message. Updated current students news and calendar. More e-mail migration cleanup. Lunch with Patrick at Kiki (415-661-5522, 1269 9th Av near Irving). We started with an order of gyoza. I had tempura with chicken teriyaki. Patrick had salmon teriyaki with California roll. Green tea. The food here is just okay. Parts of my chicken teriyaki were gristly, but otherwise there is nothing significant to say about this place. It's just an average place to eat with typical prices. The inside is surprisingly open and bright compared to the darkish, small entry. The walls are bright yellow and have reproductions of Japanese animation. After lunch, I stopped at On The Run to buy some new shoes and some orthotics. The ones I bought a while ago helped somewhat, but not enough—I still have pain occasionally in my right knee. Tim and Mark W helped me select some new shoes and orthotics, and I got some extra orthotics for other shoes back at home. Back to work. Helped Melissa troubleshoot a problem printing from Excel. Met with Cindy. Coded a new home page news story for Susie, sent it to her for review. Updated stylesheets. Met with a student regarding e-mail migration. Installed Microsoft AntiSpyware on 2 computers, ran scans. Helped Chris troubleshoot a sync problem to his handheld. Home. Grocery shopping at Trader Joe's with Patrick. Home. Added food details for April 10. Dinner at home with Patrick: supreme pizza, lemon ginger echinacea juice. Watched The Simpsons: "Bart of Darkness," which Patrick liked so much he chose to save it.
Met with a student who had questions about OWA. Computer maintenance (Fx upgrades, Windows updates, etc) for 2 computers. By way of ok-cancel.com, I found Paul Rademacher's supergeeky project which combines house and apartment listings from craigslist with Google Maps. Fascinatingly cool! A superb result! Helped a student with VPN on a Mac (and other computer issues). Met with the student from earlier this morning again. Attempted to synch Chris's old Palm Pilot with Meeting Maker (failed). Computer maintenance for 1 more computer. Home. Updated listserv headers to change the service area. Dinner at home with Patrick: salad, leftover pizza. Chatted online with Don and then later Galen. Watched a Simpsons episode with Patrick: Simple Simpson.
My lower back started hurting yesterday from the new shoes I had been wearing, and this morning the pain was bad, so I stayed home from work. With the new shoes and orthotics, my knee no longer makes strange clicking and crunching noises, but I find that I cannot endure the back pain it seems to be causing. As of last night, I'm back to the old orthotics and old shoes. I suspect I might have to break in the new shoes and orthotics slowly, but neither the shoe salesman or the doctor warned me that there might be back pain involved in these new orthotics. I made an appointment to see a back specialist tomorrow and let Cindy know I won't be in tomorrow as well. Breakfast: cinnamon roll. Rested all day. Lunch: a sandwich. It's Joel's birthday today, and I agreed yesterday to bring plates and napkins for today's party before the worst of the pain hit my back on my way home so Patrick was kind enough to drop them off on his way to Jumpin Java. Happy birthday, Joel! Dinner at home with Patrick: organic greens with sliced Canadian bacon and green bell pepper, enchiladas, Spanish rice. Watched Wag the Dog (1997) on DVD with Patrick. It was enjoyable and funny—a rather extruded way of making a point about the nature of politics, media, and public opinion. The cover of the DVD quotes Janet Maslin (New York Times): "SWIFT, HILARIOUS, AND IMPOSSIBLE TO RESIST!" and yes, the film is fast-paced, and there are many scenes which I think are very funny (but no true hilarity ensues). The film is clearly not impossible to resist, as this is the first time I have seen it since it was released in 1997. The film did not live up to the hype we had heard about it, so ultimately we were a little disappointed. Still, very good performances by Hoffman and De Niro.
Another stay-at-home day—my back is still hurting. Went to the doctor. Fortunately, no x-rays required—he agreed the new orthotics had caused the problem and I'll be returning some of the ones I bought in exchange for less rigid ones. Break them in slowly, continue leg strengthing exercises, get rest, drink water, yadda yadda. Home. Rested. Lunch at home by myself: turkey pastrami sandwich. If you're interested in how China filters the internet, search Google on the April 14, 2005 Wired News article titled "China's Filters Strong, Subtle." Yesterday our outgoing mail messages for our home computers wouldn't send. After poking around some I discovered that our ISP is doing some new security filtering to our connection, so the fix is simple: set our SMTP server settings to them instead. The medication I have for my back pain is helping. Dinner at home with Patrick: pork chops, rice with vegetables, corn on the cob. Watched Kung Fu Hustle on DVD with Patrick.
Slept in til 1 AM. Picnic lunch in Stern Grove with Patrick. We sat on a bench in the sun eating a small lunch while watching dogs play. Patrick went to a chocolate party at Jamie's place. Dinner at home by myself: chicken sausage calzone.
Fruit smoothie, bagel and cream cheese for breakfast. Rested. Installed Firefox 1.0.3. Experimented with Pinnacle Studio 8, then Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5 Tryout. Rested.
Usual oatmeal breakfast. 8:30 AM bus didn't show up today. Restored files from backup for Debrah. Reported broken links on the SAA web site. Realized that Iomega Automatic Backup Pro doesn't let you restore based on filename (confirmed by Iomega technical support). I told the guy I suppose I would have to go back to using Retrospect. Installed Firefox 1.0.3 for Chris. Updated more listserv headers. Enabled Offline Files for one situation where it's useful. Lunch: pretzels, leftover sandwich, water. Helped a student with e-mail migration. Submitted a request to start a new listserv for a student planning a forum. Followed up with Hubert who had a question about the RFO I submitted last week. Web changes for Susie (accomplishments, a news story), sent them to her for review. Reminded all staff to choose a new master password. Did some reviewing of Xythos demo accounts. More security update installations. Home. Holy crap!—when I got home today and checked my e-mail, my inbox was jammed with messages from fellow Aldusians and Adobeites talking about today's eye-popping, hat-raising, ear-spinning news: Adobe buys Macromedia for $3.4 billion! Adobe closed down 9.71% to 54.77 today. Macromedia went up 9.78% to 36.72. The deal isn't done yet, but this is certainly very important news in the computer software industry. It could turn out to be very, very good. Adobe just has to be careful how they play things, and careful they are, I know that. I can imagine the boardrooms of the other big players—Microsoft, Apple, Intel, IBM/Lotus, Corel (okay, Corel isn't really a big player)—people in suits asking each other "Okay, what does this mean?" and "Is this a threat?" and so on. My questions: Will Jakob Nielsen and the concept of web standards rub off Macromedia and onto Adobe, or will the web tragically become all PDF and Flash and ColdFusion? Will Microsoft later acquire Adobe? Will Adobe ever fix the leading on their website? (Actually, I just checked and I think it's fixed! Finally! I couldn't find a single page with the too-tight leading that existed for years. I see the Adobe User to User forums are still using fixed font sizes, though.) I'm sure glad I no longer have to manage Adobe's FTP site. Egads! What a nightmare to add all the Macromedia products, too! Macromedia employees: Prepare for some fun holiday parties! Dinner at home by myself: biryani with corn and extra peas and pearl onions, naan, fruit smoothie (apple, banana, cinnamon). Wasted 30 minutes browsing through Patrick's Instinct magazine.
Usual oatmeal breakfast. I noticed yesterday that the hallway floor outside my office is much shinier and cleaner than before. Last week some special cleaners came specifically to clean the floor and the difference is amazing. Kristina reported problems accessing her My Documents folder. Looks strange—I gave her a workaround before rushing off to the Student Computing Committee meeting. Late lunch: burrito #4 from Carmelina's. Met with a student who had trouble connecting with VPN. Finally got Meeting Maker to sync with Chris's Palm Pilot after lots of 0x50 and 0x55 errors. I had to do a very clean install: remove 2 installations of MM, remove 3 installations of Palm Desktop, clean out the U.S. Robotics registry branch, reinstall Palm Desktop 4.1.4, reinstall MM 6.0.8, then set up the config anew. It also helped to wiggle the Palm device in its cradle—the connection wasn't perfect. Helped Ena figure out what to answer for some Microsoft AntiSpyware alerts. She had the same problem Kristina had, too—her My Documents folder was pointing to the wrong place. I discovered that it's because she says Block to one of the antispyware alerts when she should say Allow. We keep user's My Documents folders on the server, but Microsoft AntiSpyware thinks me, the network admin, is trying to hijack her My Documents folder. It's certainly not Ena's or Kristina's fault they choose the wrong thing. After all, I told them, when you're uncertain, choose Block. But I could find no way to force Microsoft AntiSpyware to remember that those settings should be Allowed. One has a checkbox even called "Remember this action" but even if we select that checkbox and say Allow, the next time her machine restarts and she logs in she gets the alert again. Grrrr! Helped Melissa finish setting up Iomega Automatic Backup Pro on her home laptop. Reviewed Kirk H's edits for the SAA website. Kirk and our committee shouldn't be doing SAA's work for them, but it's worse for us if we don't. Updated the P1 schedule for Debrah. Dinner with Patrick at Xiao Loong: sizzling rice soup, clay pot curry chicken, white prawns, hot tea. We got 4 fortune cookies. Patrick's fortunes: The object of your desire comes closer—and—Be yourself and you will always be in fashion. My fortunes: Generosity and perfection are your everlasting goals; Keep yourself clean and bright. You are the window through which you see the world. The curry chicken was not spicy at all and was almost melt-in-your-mouth tender. The white prawns dish is very good, but be warned that the broccoli is simply steamed and left completely unseasoned. Created a letterhalf ad for Lodestar to appear in a Saints and Sinners brochure or handout or something like that.
Usual oatmeal breakfast, fruit smoothie (orange and banana). Telecommute day. Lots of e-mail migration cleanup which spilled over into listserv problems. Read some of the 9.6-megabyte, 294-page Email Newsletter Usability report that Susie purchased from the Nielsen Norman Group. Spoke with Russell at Adobe Customer Support who was very helpful in restoring access to my account. Lunch: 2 sandwiches (double peanut butter, black forest ham with sharp cheddar) and a strawberry banana fruit smoothie. Read most of the Email Newsletter Usability report. Susie paid a bunch of money to buy a site license for UCSF for this report on guidelines for creating and using e-mail-based newsletters. The report doesn't actually go into details about HTML versus text only, which is something I was hoping for. It's all about the usability—how to name and position links to sign up, how subscribe and unsubscribe processes should work, what users like and don't like, how they are most valuable. The 294 pages sounds daunting, and it is a lot of reading, but since it's searchable you can quickly and easily find the topics you're interested in. Signed up for and starting reading Proxy Magazine from Adobe to keep current on Adobe products and services. Grocery shopping at TJ's with Patrick. Home. Made revisions to the print ad from yesterday. Accidentally discovered print.google.com while searching Google for "Ian Philips" (to check the spelling of his name). Read Wikipedia (Passover, Tibet, Genghis Khan). Today I got a weird error message from Adobe Store: Code: UTY0009 could not be translated. Dinner at home with Patrick: pizza.
Usual oatmeal breakfast. I happened upon Joel at 9th and Judah this morning, and we walked up the hill together. Patrick sent the Lodestar ad off today, so it's all done. I'm very happy with it, and Patrick is, too. At work it was more e-mail migration cleanup—some minor headaches. It seems to start getting manageable and then students appear in my inbox with more questions, many of which were already answered in the instructi0ns I had posted on the web or later in e-mail. Met with Susie about web issues. Lunch: 2 sandwiches of black forest ham, provolone, tarragon, mayo on multigrain; some lowfat cheese crunchies. Spent about 2 hours composing an e-mail asking someone at another department at UCSF why some issues that were brought up 9 months ago, then again 6 months ago, then again 3 months ago have not yet been resolved. I don't know what makes me think that the 4th time I ask they'll actually resolve them, but they did make some progress at the 6-month mark. I guess I'm still too new to know any better. Stopped at the shoe store this evening to exchange the rigid orthotics I bought last week for semi-rigid ones. My back pain is all gone, so I'm going to start slowly using the semi-rigid orthotics now. Dinner at home with Patrick: salmon burgers, wedge fries. Ginger and garlic steamed broccoli for me, Nicoise salad for Patrick. I wrote a letter to Jon S but couldn't send it due to a problem with Yahoo 360 (which I reported). Wore the new shoes for 75 minutes. We watched a Simpsons episode before bed: Summer of 4 Foot 2. Alice: "Won't you join our tea party? It would be ever so—Don't do it, Lisa! It's a trick! Run!" And Lisa talking to herself: "Okaaay. Not your fault. It's a bird thing. You don't control the birds. You will someday, but not now."
Usual oatmeal breakfast. Updated home page news for Susie. Updated current student news. Installed Fx 1.0.3 for James and the shared laptop. Snack: an orange. Scanned in some documents for Cindy. Set up a shared folder on the server for Kristina. Helped a student with getting an HP iPAQ 4705 to connect to wireless, failed. When running the self test diagnostic, we kept getting "Invalid IP. Your IP address indicates a DHCP failure. Check your WEP key settings. OK." Lunch at desk: 2 pastrami and sharp cheddar sandwiches, blueberry snack bar, pretzels. Updated current students news and calendar to publicize an event for a student organization. Chatted with Mark B about a lot of e-mail migration issues. The light rain this afternoon surprised me as I walked out of the building. I was really tired when I got home, so I napped while Patrick ate dinner, then Patrick went to bed while I ate dinner. Fried rice (biryani with broccoli and mushrooms and rock shrimp). Wore the new shoes for 2 hours.
Late last night I started getting the tickle in my throat which means a sore throat is coming. Today it's fully not good, but I still had to go to Kaiser to give them my blood and urine samples (standard tests), which require 12 hours of fasting (water only). The service was pretty good by healthcare standards I've seen in the past. By the time I finished, I was lightheaded, sore-throated, and very hungry. Patrick and I went to Orphan Andy's for a midmorning meal. He got the Big 2 and I got sausage and eggs. We found plastic wine glasses for Dale's wine-tasting party tonight, but after we got home and had taken a nap, I realized I didn't have the energy to drive about an hour and drink samples of wine. Patrick called Dale to cancel while I continued to rest. Watched Murder on the Orient Express (1974) on VHS. What a pleasure to watch, with Albert Finney as Poirot, and so many familiar faces and classic stars: Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Bisset, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Anthony Hopkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Michael York. I accidentally guessed the killer long before Monsieur Poirot revealed all at the end. All my reading of Agatha Christie when I was a kid paid off, I guess. Plenty of fun!
The cold continues. In between sleeping, I read from Fresh Men, a new gay fiction anthology which is very, very good so far. And Patrick and I watched The Jade Mask on DVD. I had never seen a Charlie Chan film before—so strange. Later I read up about the controversy over its stereotyping of male Asian characters and that Charlie Chan—a ficitonal character of Chinese-Hawaiian descent—was never played by a Chinese or Chinese-Hawaiian man in the films. Instead, Caucasian men whose faces were made up to look Asian played Charlie Chan in all but 2 of the films. It was very strange to watch, but I agree with Leonard Maltin that it doesn't help to ban these films for that reason. As long as no one is promoting those films as how we should make films today, Maltin is right that these films serve an important historical record of the values of Americans at a certain time in history and that they should be continually reexamined in the context and discussion of what makes us feel differently about this film than people did in 1944 or 1994 or 2044. This "concern" is identical to the controversy which surrounded a particular poster at the swank Asian restaurant called Obachine in Seattle when I lived there in the 1990s. Some historically accurate poster artfully depicted something that offended some Asians who then accused the restaurant of furthering Asian stereotypes. I can't remember exactly what the poster depicted, but it was a beautiful piece of art, and it did indeed fit with the restaurant's luxurious decor. And I do remember wondering, why all the fuss? The restaurant didn't hire all Asian waitstaff and force them to wear coolie hats. I saw no reinforcement of Asian sterotypes at all. Somewhere in my college education I recall some student complaining about how there are no minorities depicted in Hans Christian Andersen tales. I consider myself liberal-minded, but that's just going too far. Think before you speak and act, okay, people?
Stayed home with a cold. Breakfast: 2 oranges. Slept. Watched Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon on DVD by myself. Lunch at home by myself: chicken noodle soup. Slept. Late dinner at home by myself: mac and cheese. All day lots of water, zinc, and ibuprofen. Patrick had a very busy day today. Mondays are busiest for him because he has 2 classes.
Stayed home with a cold.
The cold is starting to go away. I felt well enough to work from home today. Usual oatmeal breakfast. I was incredibly productive today going through the backlog of e-mail and getting lots and lots of web updates done, including new home page news stories from Susie. Lunch: pastrami and provolone sandwich, tortilla chips, fruit smoothie. Dinner at home with Patrick: hanger steak (or hanging tender) marinated in garlic and red wine, wild mushroom couscous, organic red pepper and tomato soup, bread and butter. Patrick today interviewed for—and got—a job with S.W.I.F.T.—which makes him sound like the Man From U.N.C.L.E. but SWIFT stands for Student of the World Invitation to Friendship and Travel, an organization committed to enriching peoples' lives by offering cross-cultural exchanges between all countries of the world. He'll be teaching English conversation to French high school students in Oakland 5 days a week for 2 months this summer. Hooray! We put together promo Lodestar postcards which will be included in registration packets at the Saints and Sinners writer's conference in New Orleans this May. Patrick will be attending it with AJ—a long weekend. Read "Debriefing Scalia" (thenation.com), a response from Eric Berndt to his classmates after he asked U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, "Do you sodomize your wife?" It is written with brilliant clarity of thought and logic, desperately passionate but with a tempered tone, and it convinced me we need more people like Eric Berndt on this planet. Thanks to Tony A for the link.
Breakfast: Joe's Os with banana. Still sick, but getting better. Worked from home again today. Started putting together the new Maps & Locations page that Susie and I agreed we needed. Did a lot of web housekeeping and code cleaning. Lunch: Canadian bacon and cream cheese mini sandwiches, leftover soup. Today I realized that my journal was stuck on April 18 and wouldn't display any entries after that even though I was writing them just about every day. Turns out I was missing a slash character in the closing <desc> tag. Sorry to all my regular readers out there!—all 3 of you. If I haven't written in my journal in 1 or 2 days, I probably have been with a cold or something like that. If I haven't written in 3 or 4 days, I'm probably not alive anymore, or, like this time, there's been a small problem. Patrick did a little shopping today, found a polo shirt he likes for his new teaching position and Nordstrom's let him exchange a pair of shoes that turned out to be so squeaky on certain floors as to cause him emotional distress. Because of my cold, I haven't left the house, really, since the 23th—a whole week—except to take out the garbage and move the car for street cleaning. The worst of it occurs at night—phlegm in my chest causes me to cough forcefully about once a minute, even after taking cough syrup. Sometimes I lie awake coughing for hours trying to sleep. Amazingly, Patrick doesn't hear any of it, and I don't know how, but he sleeps right through it. My daytime energy got better starting on the 4th day, but still with occasional similar coughing every day but less frequent when I'm awake. So tonight I feel well enough and tired enough of being home all the time that we go to Eric's Restaurant for dinner. I received an excellent score on my recent blood test (for which I studied diligently), so it's another reason to celebrate in a small way. We have the combination appetizer platter, sesame chicken, lemon prawns, brown rice, and tea. About $34 after a $6 tip—much less expensive than our recent and similar meal at Xiao Loong. (The dishes are priced somewhat higher at XL, and Xiao Loong doesn't provide tea for free—if you want it, it's gourmet tea, and priced accordingly.) It's a longer drive for us, but Eric's is definitely a better value. It's too bad there's nothing else to do right around Eric's—whenever we go to Noe Valley, it's for Eric's, and since there's nothing else there to do afterward we always end up coming right home. My fortunes (2): Friendship is the key to finding the answer you're looking for—and—You will enjoy good health and financial independence. Patrick's fortune: Good things come to those who wait. Be patient.
Woke up too early. Manually backed up the 147 captions that Patrick wrote for his China photos. Ofoto lets you buy an archive CD-ROM of all the photos in your collection, but it doesn't include the captions. Archived documents. Scanned a photo for Patrick for Lodestar. Breakfast at home with Patrick: 3 eggs, 2 sausage, 2 hash browns. Around midday my cold, which was starting to go away, came back—my sore throat and lots of coughing returned. I spent most of the day in bed. Showed Patrick how to rip vinyl—that is, how to record vinyl records to the computer. Watched 2 Simpsons episodes.