June 2005

Summary: Rob's birthday at Satsuma; Dinner at Firewood then Comics Gone Wild at Harvey's with Peter and Galen; Sam and Patrick return from Vienna; San Francisco Giants baseball game with the School of Pharmacy; The Universe Within with Steven, Travis, and Patrick; Tina visits us for 4 days and we eat: Bittersweet Cafe, Citizen Cake, Michael Mina, Mistral; Pink Saturday with Patrick, Andy, Sally, Eric, Ryan D, Ted, Emery. We met Alex and Mark (Marc?), Galen, Peter, Scott, Brett, Katie, and Jason. Gay Pride Festival with Patrick.

Dates on this page

Wed 1

Breakfast: granola with sliced banana, orange juice. Prepared computers for surplus. HTML e-mail. Met with a student to discuss website migration from itsa to www.ucsf.edu. Exchange migration town hall meeting. Lunch: leftovers. Helped Chris reinstall AT&T Global Network Client software. Dinner at home by myself: leftover noodle soup. Dessert: a teaspoon of coconut sorbet.

Thu 2

Telecommute day. Breakfast: eggs scrambled easy with leftover cow burger bits, leftover sausage, sausage, toast, orange and banana smoothie. Reread parts of the e-mail usability report from Nielsen Norman Group, prepared questions for my meeting on Monday with Susie. Linkchecking. Created a new page linking to virtual tours on UCSF websites since we don't have the resources to build our own specifically for the school. Sent it to Susie for review; she likes it. Lunch: biryani, naan. Dinner: spaghetti with leftover cow burger bits and creamy proscuitto sauce, garlic bread. Read and edited all but 2 works of prose for the forthcoming issue of Lodestar. Linkchecking for Lodestar.

Fri 3

8:30 AM bus didn't show up, 8:50 AM bus showed up at 9:00 AM. Usual breakfast at the cafeteria. Cindy introduced a new temporary staff person for our office. Linkchecking. Updated the find a place to live page to include links for furnishing an apartment. Set up appropriate accounts and permissions for the new person. HTML e-mail. Follow-up with student e-mail problems. Monthly archiving of website data. Dinner at Satsuma (650-966-1122, 705 East El Camino Real, Mountain View) with the Honmas and my brother Dexter. I had trouble with MUNI on the way home and there was unexpected traffic on the drive down, so I arrived late. I had the roll combo special for $14.95—the chef chooses 3 special rolls. One was spicy tuna, another was unagi, and I can't remember what the third one was. Two of them had a tempura prawn down the middle. At least one was generously covered in orange fish eggs. Each roll was slightly larger than 2 inches in diameter. Delicious! Afterwards we had chocolate ganache cake and coffee at the house, I met Ray who had stopped by for a visit. Rob took photos of the poker table he had made for his friend Ken—an amazing job, complete with silkscreened felt top with his friend's initials! We watched a video my dad had made when my parents had traveled to Yellowstone recently. Rob and Dex played race car games on Playstation 2.

Sat 4

Late brunch: leftover pasta. Cut my hair, showered. Pulled some weeds from the entryway sidewalk. Took photos again of things to get rid of or to sell. I went running again today and decided to check out the new Stern Grove. Each summer, free concerts are held in Stern Grove, and they have recently renovated the concert area. The change is stunning! Previously there were a few terraced areas but most people ended up sitting on hillsides, some of which sloped too steeply for comfortable seating. Now, the entire area is terraced beautifully in stones. The new sod has taken root and seems to be growing healthfully except in a handful of spots. The stage has been completely rebuilt in new wood, and there's a new wooden building at the back of the stage. New wheelchair ramps and paved walkways lead gracefully into the seating area, new stairs lead up and down the many terraces, and a new restroom facility sits nearby. New archways lead in and out of the seating area, and two rock tower sculptures provide visual interest and also function as seating. From the looks of it, the seating capacity seems to have doubled (or more), and the comfort level has been increased dramatically. These changes are certainly exciting for the summer concerts to start in just a couple of weeks. I stayed for a while to sit in the sun and do a few yoga poses and thought I might return again tomorrow to take some photos. Dinner: salmon burger, corn off the cob. Dessert: chocolate and coconut sorbets. I thought I might go out tonight but didn't and ended up getting 14 hours of sleep which I thought was very worthwhile.

Sun 5

Breakfast: sausage, eggs scrambled easy, potatoes o'brien, orange juice. Laundry. Archived documents. Took photos of Stern Grove, sat in the sun. Although today was very windy, deep in Stern Grove it was somehow protected from the cold wind and the warm weather felt nice—like 75 degrees even though today's forecast was 63. Home. Dinner at Xiao Loong: beef with broccoli, steamed rice, hot water. My fortunes: The world is always ready to receive talent with open arms—and—You are sociable and entertaining. $15 after a $2.60 tip. Grocery shopping at Safeway. Did some logo brainstorming for Corinna.

Mon 6

Breakfast: oatmeal. I learned who Jeremy M. Barker is today—a pal of Nico's. Met briefly with our new hire Charles, got him to create a master password and set it up, gave him basic instructions around his desktop and using Meeting Maker. Cleaned old keyboards which still work. Spent most of the morning trying to resolve a problem in which Internet Explorer 6 refuses to accept cookies. I tried the more obvious things like setting the browser settings correctly, entering the specific domains I want and saying "Allow" but it doesn't take. It used to work fine in the past but something has happened and it misbehaves consistently now. I uninstalled Service Pack 2 and now it accepts cookies. I reinstall Service Pack 2, and it no longer accepts cookies. Grr! Oh, look—a couple hours have gone by! I resign myself to my fate: this cannot be resolved without clean installing XP, something I'm not yet prepared to do. I will work around the issue by temporarily (we're talking at least several months) using Netscape 7 (the other "supported web browser" for many UCSF web applications). Linkchecking. Met with Susie: we talked about the new pages for maps and locations and the virtual tour which went live today. We created yet another new mockup in Photoshop of our HTML e-mail project. Ordered new spare keyboard and mice. Planned for setting up e-mail for a student who has returned from a leave of absence. Chatted with Chris about computer purchases and other things. Dinner at home by myself: blueberry and banana smoothie, large shell pasta, vegetable marina sauce, peas mixed in. Dessert: fresh strawberries, whipped cream.

Tue 7

Met with Cindy. Went to Mark B and Alan C's training session on itsa to Exchange migration. Did a little desktop setup and support with Charles, got his e-mail account working. Updated the mailing list to include him. Updated the staff page, sent it to Cindy for review. Updated graduation web pages. Announced that 2 new web pages went live yesterday: Maps and Locations, Virtual Tour. Picked up some plastic squeeze bottles and some vinyl bumpers at Cliff's. Chatted with Jesse and (Buddy?) at AAB. Met Galen at ADL. Dinner at Firewood with Galen (Peter joined us but didn't eat): half herb-roasted chicken with potatoes; salad with green apple slices, walnuts, blue cheese, creamy dressing. Harvey's with Peter and Galen: Nico, Nick, Chantale, Ronn, others. Megan and Milton waited on us. It was Megan's first day working at Harvey's. She had started at 4 PM. Peter, Galen, and I shared a slice of chocolate cake. Galen and I each had a kahlua and coffee, Peter had an iced tea. Sean Hetherington tipped me off to the event tonight—I found out afterward it's called Comics Gone Wild hosted by Pippi Lovetsocking (which I think is a typo and it probably should be Lovestocking), Ronn Vigh headlining. I didn't know Nico would be here tonight, but he was! Harvey's isn't the best venue for stand-up comedy because people tend to talk in clusters during performances, but after we 3 moved to the front, we had a great time. During his act, Ronn easily stole the whole show when using the wireless microphone he stepped out the sidewalk window and began harassing the pedestrians on the sidewalk. "Can you still hear me in there?!" And we all nodded and clapped, amazed at his brazenness. Or maybe it was the passerby who mooned the entire audience through the window.

Wed 8

Usual breakfast at the cafeteria. Helped a student resolve a problem with her laptop. Turns out she had inadvertently installed two Norton anti-virus products and they conflicted with each other. Removing them both and installing Sophos until she could reinstall only one a-v product fixed the problem. Lunch: leftover pasta, some fresh strawberries. Met with Chris and Rodney about new computer configurations for the computer lab. Cindy's review came back for the staff page, so I made that page live. Dinner at home by myself: biryani, naan. Dessert: fresh strawberries, whipped cream. Finished reading and editing all the prose for Lodestar. Today at 2:26 PM a very significant event occurred in blogdom but I am obligated to keep it a secret for now.

Thu 9

School of Pharmacy Staff Appreciation Day: SF Giants baseball game at SBC Park. Joel, Ena, James, Melissa, Cindy. The Giants won 9 to 7 over the Kansas City Royals. I think they hadn't won a game recently so people were happy and relieved. The school bought us free tickets in the nosebleed seats and gave us fun candy gift packages and Nalgene water bottles and $15 in Giants Bucks. They held a raffle and I won a grey Giants jersey which said SCHMIDT across the back. Melissa won an orange Giants t-shirt. I gave the jersey to Ena because neither Patrick nor I were baseball fans. For lunch I had a turkey burger and garlic fries (about $12). I drank a bottle of home tap water I brought with me. Melissa and I walked to the Ferry Building evening market. We tasted lots of summer fruits: apricots, cherries, strawberries, peaches. We didn't buy anything. There were no booths set up outside—everything was indoors, and, ultimately, disappointing because it was so scaled down from the Saturday market. Nap. Late dinner at home by myself: shrimp-flavored ramen noodles with mushroom and egg. Picked up Sam and Patrick at the airport. They both survived. Sam got his research he needed and Patrick took 9 rolls of film. Patrick says he'll never return. When I picked them up at San Francisco International Airport, what a mess! Their flight 8317 was due to come in at 11 PM following a layover in Toronto. I checked the Austrian Air website at 10 PM which said the flight was on time and due in at 11 PM. When driving in to the airport, one must choose between domestic and international to park. Patrick and Sam were flying Austrian Air. And I remembered seeing "operated by Air Canada" on their flight details, so I thought—maybe—that meant I should go to Air Canada instead of looking for Austrian Airlines. Well, that's still international, right? As I pull in to the international garage I see signs listing airlines but I don't see Air Canada or Austrian Air listed anywhere, and it just doesn't feel right, so I stop in front of one of the signs and wonder why this is so hard. Fortunately, no one is waiting behind me. I find the closest space and decide I'll just make my way to the terminal on foot. Somewhere along the way to the AirTrain terminal with the help of some maps and the flight details I had printed out I figure out the problem: Air Canada is in Terminal 1—a domestic terminal—not the international terminal. Somewhere (I can't remember now) something I see confirms it for me: "Domestic/Canadian." Why couldn't Austrian Air's flight details have said "Terminal 1 (Domestic)"? Why couldn't the freeway sign have said "Domestic/Canadian" or, even more amusingly, "Domestic/Canadian/Austrian" instead of "Domestic"? Or why couldn't SFO just put Canada/Austria where it should've been in the first place—in the international terminal? So frustrating! When I arrive at Terminal 1, passengers are slowly streaming out of one terminal gate, but it's not clear what airline and what flight is coming out. Monitors nearby are labeled Continental and the flight info doesn't match what I have, so I go looking for Air Canada's monitors. A few minutes of walking and I find the Air Canada ticket counter. It's entirely closed and has been so for over an hour. The area is dark, and no agents are around at all. There's some flight info on the non-digital board behind the counter but it's small type from this distance and I can't read it, so I duck under rows and rows and rows of queue management cordoning. The info matches what I had printed out earlier, except the flight number doesn't match and it says the flight is delayed by 20 minutes. While I'm spending a few minutes figuring this out, a woman comes over and appears to be doing the same figuring out I'm doing. I chat with her a few minutes—she had exactly the same problem I did and parked in the international garage. She's obviously looking for the same flight, as I see now on the board there aren't others this late for Air Canada. I have a gate number now, which turns out to be the same place I was a few minutes ago. It takes a few minutes for me to walk back. I wait a few minutes as more people come out but Patrick and Sam still don't show up. I fear that I'm too late and decide to go downstairs to check the baggage claim area. I go down and there seems to be only two flights there which aren't right—a different airline is designated. I go back up. I wait. And wait. It's hopeless waiting since I have nothing concrete to go on. I was unable to confirm that their flight arrived because the flight number on the board didn't match what I had printed out. For the same reason, I can't be sure I'm even at the right gate. I can't ask any Air Canada or Austrian Air official what's going on because they don't exist at this hour. Eventually I spot Sam and Patrick coming through the exit, and all is well. SFO has never disappointed me so much until today. I think I'll send my suggestion to the freeway sign people: Please change "International" to say 'International Except Canada and Austria."

Fri 10

Prepped supp app testing web pages, intro text, game plan; sent it to James for review. Updated my access to one of our computer labs with Brian. Lunch: Joel and I got food from the cafeteria. I got a cheddar cheeseburger and fries. Joel got a sandwich. More supp app prep. Updated our VPN config pages for Zone Alarm Pro. Reviewed a quote for computer purchases for Rodney and Chris. Chatted with Sneeper online about why David Caudle's "Feet of Clay" is one of my favorite pieces in Lodestar. Dinner at home with Patrick: Patrick's yellow curry chicken, naan, saffron rice. Dessert for me: one fun-sized Chick-o-Stix. Patrick and I watched the Amsterdam and side trips episode of Rick Steves.

Sat 11

Breakfast at home with Patrick: pancakes, fresh fruit bowl: nectarines, cherries, banana. Yesterday I fixed the journal entry for June 7 which had a misplaced tag so none of the data showed up. I only found out because Patrick told me. I write my journal entries in XML and very rarely double-check them in a browser, so if you regular readers see any missing entries like that feel free to throw a question mark my way. Backfilled the journal entry for June 9. So painful reliving my SFO experience. Lodestar work. Corinna's web site work: sent her logo type Set A. Repotted an orchid. Patrick and I took a break from Lodestar and other work to have lunch with Steve and Travis at San Tung. I had said never again in the past to this restaurant, but it had been a long time and at least I know what to expect. We had a delicious Chinese meal: shrimp dumplings, shredded pork with green onions, half of a roasted chicken, cold noodles in peanut sauce, steamed rice. There was a bit of a wait, as I expected, and the service was slow, inattentive, and not particularly friendly, again as I expected. All the food was delicious—the shredded pork was my favorite in this round. My fortune: You are ready to let your creative talents blossom. Patrick's fortune: You deserve to have a good time after a hard day's work. Afterwards we visited the exhibit called The Universe Within at the Nob Hill Masonic Center (415-292-9191, 1111 California Street). Tickets were $17 per adult. In this exhibit are displayed over 200 specimens of human whole bodies and organs preserved using a technique known as plastination. One body was preserved then sliced at half-inch intervals from head to toe. The slices were laid out with plastic supports—the body were lying on its back but stretched out so you could see the crosscut of the slices. Another body was preserved then sliced once vertically right down the middle. You can see into the chambers of the heart and lungs and stomach. It's scientific, educational, amazing, gross, and—as far as I know—unique. I have never seen an exhibit like this before. It's not a great idea to have a meal just before seeing this exhibit as we did, but fortunately no embarrassing retching occurred. Patrick and I were disappointed that they didn't show a healthy lung right next to the smoker's lung for comparison. All the bodies were presumably Chinese since we were told they came from the Museum of Life Sciences in Beijing, so we presumed all the lungs we saw today were smokers' lungs. (Maybe they couldn't show a side-by-side comparison because there are no healthy lungs in China?) Patrick and I very much enjoyed our break from work with Travis and Steve. They dropped us off at home to let us continue to work. More Corinna's website work and Lodestar work. Dinner at home by myself (Patrick was napping): I made a PANTONE dinner: leftover YCC, leftover saffron rice, orange juice. (I guess yesterday it was a PANTONE dinner as well.) More work on Lodestar.

Sun 12

Breakfast at home with Patrick: Veggie Impressionist omelette (finely diced broccoli, carrot, lavender, cheddar), foccacia. Lodestar work all day. More than half the work is done, so we're on schedule for finishing everything before Tina arrives next weekend. Chatted with Tina about her Dinner at home by myself (Patrick was napping): grilled cheese sandwiches. Late night snack: steak fries and ketchup.

Mon 13

Breakfast at home with Patrick: pancakes. Sausage for me (none for Patrick). 8:08 AM bus was just a few minutes late today. Chatted online with Galen about the forthcoming camping trip. It's a strike day today for clerical and admin assistant workers, so some of our staff are not here. Today is also the first Monday following the end of the quarter, so it's very quiet in the office. Joel and I cleaned up the student lounge some. I put rubber bumpers on the cabinet doors because I noticed a few weeks ago they were really noisy when closing. Went to the campus computer store to pick up an iPod Shuffle 512 MB for a drawing we're holding to gather feedback on our new supplemental application. Joel and I got lunch from Carmelina's and sat on Parnassus watching the strikers doing their thang. While we were eating, a man with a guitar approached us and asked us to choose one track from a list of titles on a handwritten CD jacket. He stood a little too close for comfort, so thankfully Joel asked him to step back and he did. The man played his guitar and sang his song. He had a black chihuahua on a leash attached to his body somewhere. While he sang, he closed his eyes and was in his own world. Joel threw a tortilla chip on the ground for the dog, and it lunged for it but was restrained by the limit of the leash. The man didn't seem to notice, and Joel and I laughed. After the man finished, he pulled out a small notebook listing the names of people who bought his CD and where they were from. Joel said he was #13—that he had already bought the man's CD, that it was previously in heavy rotation but he has to find it again. The man left to play for some other people. Archived some documents by scanning, saving to TIFF, then converting to PDF. Rubber bumpered more cabinets in the office and the student lounge. Reinstalled sound drivers for Ena—she had reported some sound problems with her computer last week. Replaced a mouse for Joel—his mouse has been crunky lately. While in his office we listened to the Michael Jackson verdict—not guilty on all counts—WOW! Reconfigured laptop backups. Submitted a problem report to Dell for Ena's computer—the cdrom drive connector comes loose repeatedly. Some CD-ROM work with DemoShield in the library today. Dinner at home with Patrick: lavender pork chops; steamed carrots; new potatoes with garlic, parsley, lemon, olive oil. Watched Rick Steves Cinque Terre.

Tue 14

Student computing committee meeting. Worked with Charles a little on Meeting Maker and password database training. Lunch by myself at Taboun (415-566-9696, 203 Parnassus Av): chicken shawirma wrap, $7, delicious (even though my lavash was a little too charred in a few places). CD-ROM building with DemoShield at the library. Dinner at home with Patrick: rock shrimp and vegetables rosilli (rotelle and fusilli), foccacia. Recently Patrick and I watched a documentary called "Happy Birthday, Oscar Wilde" taped from PBS, and I was surprised to see my former Adobe co-worker Kevin Fabian in it. The documentary is a celebration of the wit and history of Oscar Wilde, and it's amusing because of the style in which it's filmed. Famous and not-so-famous actors recite quotations of his deadpan or very dramatically. Lodestar work: small edits after reviews came back. Patrick went to bed early tonight. I think he's still recovering from jetlag. Balanced the checkbook. Configured new Forecastfox settings and exported them as XML to take to work.

Wed 15

Breakfast: fruit smoothie. This morning while waiting for the bus I saw a man sadly sweeping broken glass out the side of his parked Firebird. The entire passenger window was shattered; at least it wasn't raining, too. We don't live in a rich neighborhood, but we don't see a lot of crime, so this surprised me. OMG Margaret Cho finally updated her blog! Usual breakfast at the cafeteria. Usual lunch at Panda Express: chow mein, beef with broccoli, orange chicken. The orange chicken is spicier than normal today, so spicy I threw most of it away. My fortune: There will always be delightful mysteries in your life. At work: more CD-ROM DemoShield work: licensing forms. I had wanted to do CD-ROM building today, but needed to do Windows security updates. After work, Patrick and I wanted to do something fun. We headed to the movie theatre (our Daly City Century 20, so favored for no commercials except for Fandango and THX), and bought tickets ($19.50 total for 2) for Batman Begins, which opened today. We had a fast but less-than-satisfying meal at 88 Rice Bowl (about $10 for 2). Batman Begins was very good. Although it has a few flaws (what film doesn't?), they are nearly all easily overlooked while watching the film. The magic of this film, I realized while watching it, is that you sort of need to throw out most everything you already know about Batman because he's being reinvented before your eyes. You haven't seen this Batman before, and it's a little bit wondrous to see how this one gets molded anew. It carries the torch which has become popular with superhero movies lately of making the story more real, more realistic, by having the characters face the complexities of real life and real life relationships, as seen lately in Spider-man 1 and 2, The Incredibles, even Charlie's Angels. The first half of the film is more psychology and story and backstory, and the second half more roller-coaster action. A lot of the fight scenes are filmed closer than I'm accustomed to, but they still work. The pacing is also tighter than I'm used to—I felt left to fill in the blanks in a few places—but, again, it still works. I'm no comic book fan, but I'm certain that the film was peppered with all kinds of references which the readers of the comix will enjoy. The film makes fun of itself at times, cleverly, and fortunately we remain laughing with the film rather than at it (as was the case with some of the previous Batman films). I believe this film will successfully revive the Batman franchise, and I am already looking forward to a sequel.

Thu 16

Breakfast: a banana. Doctor appointment. Swapped out the CD-ROM drive and cable in Ena's computer because its connector had repeatedly come loose over the years. I would fix it and a few months later it would come loose again. The service from Dell was exceptional. They were understanding about the intermittency of the problem, and parts arrived overnight. This mirrors the previous parts replacement experience I last had with Dell; I'm very pleased. When I stepped outside for lunch, I was surprised to find a light rain falling. It seems the rain surprised most everyone. I sat on Parnassus and ate a Subway sandwich. (I know, it sounds weird, but it wasn't that cold and the trees protected me from the light rain and drizzle.) While I ate, I sort of witnessed an accident—a contractor's pickup truck passed a city bus which was stopped in the road to let off and pick up passengers, and while the truck passed somehow metal doors in the back of the pickup must have hit the bus. One had fallen off and the other was swinging on its hinges. No one was hurt, but the bus driver had to stop and file a report or something. CD-ROM DemoShield building. Showed Charles how to build a distribution list in Outlook 2003. Home. Lodestar work: small edits after reviews came back. Dinner at home with Patrick: pan-fried chicken boobs, mashed potatoes, cauliflower with grated cheddar. Watched Doctor Who which Chris sent us on DVD. Thanks, Chris! Watched The Simpsons: Goo Goo Gai Pan—excellent! (Patrick thinks it was a little biased against China.)

Fri 17

Pre-breakfast snack: half a banana. MUNI schedules on the web have been unavailable for a couple of days now. Argh! Oh, a few minutes later the page loads now. Usual breakfast at the cafeteria. No project work this morning; just catching up on e-mail and peripherally working on projects. While helping a student with her laptop, I noticed today that blackviper.com is down. I wonder what happened! Black Viper's site was a comprehensive site which guided sysadmins on how to shut down unnecessary processes in Windows. I was able to find the info I needed in the Wayback Machine, but it's unsettling that this very useful site seems to no longer be available and shall no longer be updated. What will we do when the next version of Windows is released?! Grocery shopping at TJ's. Dinner at home with Patrick: pizza.

Sat 18

Breakfast at home with Patrick: cereal and strawberries. Cut my hair. Did some work for Corinna's website. Picked up Tina at the airport. Picked some wild plums from trees in our backyard. Patrick and I had thought at least one tree to be a cherry tree, but we now think they're all plum trees with very small fruit. Snack at Bittersweet Cafe (510-654-7159, 5427 College Avenue, Oakland, bittersweetcafe.com and bittersweetchocolatecafe.com). This is a small chocolate specialty shop with chocolate and non-chocolate beverages, sweet and savory snacks, and lots and lots of chocolate which I think normally cannot be found in American grocery stores. We ordered a handful of chocolates: peppered pineapple (pate de fruit over milk chocolate ganache with black pepper), brazileño (Tasmanian honey and brazil nut praline), banana flambé (banana puree with caramel); two macaroons; two chocolate ginger cookies; the Bittersweet European hot chocolate (rich, deep chocolate taste, non-dairy) for Patrick; the Spicy! hot chocolate (a kick of pepper and a hint of cinnamon and rose) with homemade marshmallow for Tina; and the ChocoLatte (mocha) (chocolate, espresso, milk) for me. The tastes that can be found here are very delicious, and the staff seems to be very knowledgeable about chocolate. Emphasis on local and organic ingredients. We especially liked the macaroons. We were expecting the chocolate ginger cookies to have a ginger taste throughout the chocolate cookie, but it seems to be just the ginger dot in the cookie's center. Lunch with Shannie, Nicki, Brandon, Gavin, Tina, and Patrick at Citizen Cake (415-861-2228, 399 Grove Street). By our receipt, our server was Selah, and we ate at table 6/1. Patrick and I shared a Chinese chicken salad, Shannie had grilled cheese ultima, Brandon had turkey panini, Nicki had Chinese chicken salad, and Tina had the turkey scramble with green onion biscuit. For dessert, Patrick and I shared rose petal creme brulee with saffron cookie, Shannie had banana Foster's, Brandon had (dessert special?), Nicki had chocolate birthday cake, Tina had peach pain perdue with organic peaches and bitter almond ice cream and raspberry coulis. Home. Dinner with Jenny, Tina, and Patrick at Michael Mina restaurant. We did the 3-course $88 per person prix fixe menu and shared everything. At MM, everything is served in threes, so each course consists of a main ingredient prepared in 3 different ways. There were four of us, so the menu that follows simply lists all the things we ordered. For example, in Course 1, one plate was scallops 3 ways, another plate was foie gras 3 ways, and so forth. Somehow we misplaced the menu that they had given us from this evening, so the 3 variations listed here are from their current menu on their website and might not actually reflect what we had (because we can't remember it all exactly now). Course 1: seared diver scallops (hot in front) and marinated scallops (cold in back) (Meyer lemon, sevruga caviar; yellow corn, black truffles; scarlet beet, Maine lobster), langoustines wrapped with pancetta (this evening it was not tempura langoustines per the menu's norm) with chilled ceviche [the menu on the website says: "maroon carrot, ginger; Asian pear, galangal; green papaya, mango" but our were instead 3 melons: cantaloupe, watermelon, and honeydew]), roasted foie gras (in front) with torchon (in back) (Santa Rosa plum, young ginger; Maui gold pineapple, vanilla; crimson rhubarb, vanilla), sesame-crusted soft shell crab with Dungeness crab falafel (English pea, lemon cumin; chick pea, toasted garlic, saffron; fava bean, vine ripened tomato). Intermediate tableside classic course: ahi tuna tartare (scotch bonnet pepper, bosc pear, sesame oil). Course 2: pan-fried black bass (sticky rice cake, baby bok choy, ginger soy; basmati, dried fruits, snow peas; forbidden rice, chile eggplant, orange jalapeno), Alaskan halibut with brandade (dungeness crab, English pea, parsley potato; smoked sturgeon, sun-dried tomato, braised artichoke; salt cod, morel, jumbo asparagus), whole fried Amish chicken for two (truffled macaroni and cheese, carrots and cipollinis). Dessert: banana tarte tatin (caramel sauce, cinnamon ice cream), citrus (key lime pie, mascarpone sherbet; fallen lemon souffle, creme fraiche sorbet; tangerine creme caramel, tangerine ice cream), strawberry (rhubarb shortcake, marshmallow; oatmeal butter crisp, caramel sauce; bread pudding, fudge sauce), coconut cakes with ice cream (pineapple pound, roasted coconut; fromage blanc carrot, rum raisin; shari's german chocolate, dulce de leche), chocolate (peanut butter pudding cake, peanut butter shake; banana bread pudding, banana pot de creme; devil's food cake, caramel sundae). We ordered 2 wines, one a sancerre, the other an Australian pinot noir. (more details to come)

Sun 19

Breakfast at home with Patrick and Tina: fresh grapes, strawberries, and backyard wild plums; English muffin, blueberry bran muffin. Stopped at Jamie's to say hi. Went to the Embarcadero Farmer's Market, where Tina was happily overwhelmed by the number of fabulous cafes, shops, and restaurants under one roof. We had a very delicious light meal at Mistral Rotisserie Provencale (415-399-9751, Ferry Building Marketplace, One Ferry Building, Marketplace Shop #41): macaroni and cheese, ratatouille, herbed polenta, pork roast. The macaroni was surprisingly light-tasting with a subtle, rather than strong, cheese flavor. Grocery shopping at Tower Market for food items for the provencal lunch that Patrick will cook tomorrow afternoon. Tina took off in the early evening for Nicki and Brandon's house, not far away in the Sunset, to watch a basketball finals game and have some pizza. Patrick and I made good use of the time to ourselves, got some Lodestar work done, had pizza leftovers and Patrick ate a Chinese chicken salad from TJ's. I was very sleepy and took a short nap. Tina returned and she and Patrick did some prep work for lunch tomorrow: beets were steamed and diced, and creme brulee was prepared for chilling. In the late evening, Tina and Patrick spied what seemed to be one or possibly two mice crawling through the trees just outside our garden door.

Mon 20

I woke up this morning with a sore throat which had surprised me by how quickly it came on. Breakfast at home with Tina and Patrick: sliced fresh fruit (bananas, orange, blueberries), pastries from Acme Bread Company. Patrick and I laughed today when we read the newsletter that Kaiser Permanente sent us in the mail. Scott Gee, MD, director of preventive medicine in Northern California, is quoted as saying, "Take the stairs every day. Drink one soda instead of two. Eat half the cookie." Why couldn't he have advised people to drink water or 100% juices instead of soda? Maybe it's one of those out-of-context things. Still, I admire KP for seeming to do so many things right, particularly health education. Patrick made a very delicious Provencale lunch: lemon-thyme oven-roasted chicken with lavender; marinated beets; salad with strawberries, radish, Persian cucumber, mesclun, Basque shepherd's cheese; bread and butter. For dessert, traditional vanilla bean creme brulee. Tina and Jenny walked to the beach and back while Patrick and I napped. We all went to Biscuits and Blues (415-292-2583, 401 Mason at Geary) to see Del Ray and Susie Thompson perform. Del Ray is a friend of Jenny's. Jenny's mom showed up a little bit late, joined us for the show, and generously paid the bill for us all.

Tue 21

Breakfast at home with Patrick: English muffin, banana, blueberry bran muffin. Quick-watched and trashed a lot of TV I had taped. Lunch at home with Patrick: lemon-thyme chicken sandwich on ciabatta, leftover beets, tamari chips. Patrick and I went to Stern Grove. He sat in the shade reading from Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch by Dai Sijie while I laid out in the sun napping. We took a few photographs. Dinner at King of Thai Noodle with Patrick: chicken soup for me, number 17 for Patrick. Errands: Walgreens, Safeway. Home. Patrick made a tomato pasta sauce with some tomatoes we had. Shopping online. I laughed today when I read a Wells Fargo postcard that we received in the mail. It seems the University of California gave Wells Fargo my contact information (but I don't remember consenting to it). The postcard is promoting a special mortgage program for UC employees and claims, "Your employer knows how important a comfortable today and a secure tomorrow is to you." I could only laugh, thinking, "Well, if that were true, why can I still not afford to buy a decent house in San Francisco?" Today Patrick and I walked passed a house in our neighborhood near Taraval and 22nd selling for $850,000, and I'll tell you it is definitely not a mansion. Patrick and I make the 14th issue of Lodestar Quarterly live. My favorite piece this issue is Lauren Sanders's "Shopping" because it has so many layers to it.

Wed 22

I can't remember what I had for breakfast. First day back from 2 days of vacation. The office survived, and I spent today catching up on e-mail. Kristina stopped by with her new baby boy, Myles. Staff meeting. One-on-one meeting with Cindy. Lunch with Joel at You See Sushi. Cindy, Melissa, James, Debrah, and I went to Ken Lem's retirement party at the Faculty/Alumni House. It was a festive event: drinks, light snacks, carabiners, etc. Ken thanked Mike W, Mary Anne K-K, Lloyd Y, someone I didn't know, his wife, and his mom. Dinner at home with Patrick: Tower Market lemon chicken, mashed potatoes, peas. Did more logo drafts for Corinna.

Thu 23

Breakfast: leftover fruit salad. Lunch with Joel and Melissa at Evolution: cream of broccoli soup and orzo and sundried tomatoes salad for me, cream of broccoli soup and salad for Joel, panini sandwich for Melissa. Melissa shared a slice of Schubert princess cake with me—very yummy! Info security meeting. Mary Anne's stewardship review. Unable to resolve a problem with IEView 1.2.3 on Mac Firefox: "Unable to locate Internet Explorer." I tried pointing it to IE but it wouldn't populate the IEView inputfield with its location. I gave up, simply uninstalling IEView completely—so disappointed! Dinner at home with Patrick: parmesan rotelle with sausage, foccacia. Watched The Simpsons: "Mommie Beerest."

Fri 24

Usual breakfast at the cafeteria. In Windows XP, my print dialog box would take a long time to appear recently, and it happened in more than one application. I opened Printers and Faxes and deleted a bunch of printers I didn't regularly use, some of which had errors connecting, and this seemed to resolve the problem. A fire alarm went off on the 7th floor today. I grabbed the data safe and Cindy, Melissa, Charles, and I took the stairs down and went outside. On Parnassus, we met James who was getting in to work at his normal time and stopped him from going in the building. I went to the bookstore to buy Oral B Advantage toothbrushes for $0.69 each. Two fire trucks appeared and after about 10 or 15 minutes they prepared to leave and it seemed okay to enter the building (but there was no announcement saying so). Met with a student to set up e-mail on the new server and do a laptop security checkup. Chatted with Bill S who stopped by to talk about a web project he's doing. Lunch: tuna sandwich special from Subway, peanut butter crackers and orange juice from Bear Snacks. Converted fall draft schedules to PDF and put them online. Dinner at home with Patrick: pork chops and wild rice. Prepared for camping next weekend, gathered and took stock of supplies. Watched The Simpsons: Krusty Gets Cancelled.

Sat 25

Breakfast: smoot froothie (strawberries and blueberries), English muffin. Cut my hair, showered, cleaned the bathroom. Logo type set work for Corinna. Tidying. More camping prep. Lunch at home with Patrick: biryani, coconut shrimp, battered fish. Nap. Dinner at La Mediterranee with Patrick: appetizer combo (baba ganoush, taboule, hummus), 2 orders of pomegranate chicken, Patrick had a red tail ale, water for me. Service was slower than usual because today was Pink Saturday. It was perhaps the first time we'd ever seen more women than men in the restaurant. The food was delicious and perfectly prepared, as is always the case. One of our servers accidentally tipped over Patrick's half-full beer glass when she returned to the table with some bread, so she got him a new one at no charge. It took us about half an hour to alternately get through the line for the restroom at the end of our meal. But despite all this, we remained in a cheery mood and still had a lovely dinner. It's Pride Weekend! A gay.com double-decker bus was parked outside La Med. The top deck had no roof and we could see lots of people congregating, though I couldn't tell if they were doing anything more than talking. On the sidewalk a gay.com photo area was set up. It seemed they were trying to entice people to have their photo taken with suggestively clad gay.com employees (volunteers?) so that they could later pay for it on the web. It wasn't working I think because the people you could have your photo taken with weren't as gorgeous as professional models. Most of them wore gay.com-branded tank tops which were "artistically" cut with scissors a la Flashdance. One gay.com man wore a red thong underneath low-slung jeans, which I thought was more embarrassing than sexy. If they had, say, the guys from their football ad dressed in the same gear from the ad, or a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence, or porn stars, or even a fabulously attired drag queen, there might have been more of a line. We walked up Castro, paid our $3 each donation to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and it didn't take us long to happen upon others we knew: Andy, Sally, Eric, Ryan D, Ted, Emery. We met Alex and Mark (Marc?). Galen and Peter joined us a little later, then Scott with Brett and Katie, then Jason. The evening was cool with occasional gusts and a little drizzle now and then. Andy had gotten his photo taken with a naked man who danced alone to a boom box. (I couldn't make out what music the naked man played since music came loudly from so many different places.) A grunge band played in front of Cliff's Variety. Someone had toilet-papered the overhead electric bus wires at the intersection of 18th and Castro. Various DJ stages were set up at different places—we didn't even see them all because the crowd was so big and it would have taken too long to get to each one. It was very hard for Patrick to find a place to buy a beer—so hard that I think he gave up after a while. I didn't see a single portapotty, which surprised me—where were all these people going to relieve themselves? We ambled through the crowd of thousands, and it was obvious that most everyone was either drunk or very much along the way to getting there. We ended up at a restaurant called BS on 18th which—we were told by one of our friends—stood for "burgers and steaks." The restaurant was celebrating Pink Saturday with $2 drinks, and we stayed there for a while getting drinks and looking out the windows onto the melee in the street and enjoying 70s disco on a not-powerful-enough-for-this-event sound system. Andy pretended it was Mardi Gras but without the beads. On our way back to the MUNI station, Patrick and I glimpsed out of the corners of our eyes a man profusely spewing vomit from a standing position (and someone else photographing it), and it was not even the kind of horror that makes eyes stick like magnets. The instant I saw it, I looked away and sort of quickened my pace. It took a long time for an L train to show up, so I realized in the future we should just drive and park in West Portal for future events like these—that way we can take the first train going out, get out at West Portal, and drive home, saving us what can be 30 or 40 minutes.

Sun 26

Patrick slept in. Together we fixed the TV antenna to get clearer reception. Breakfast at home with Patrick: eggs and potatoes hash, fruit smoothie (strawberry and orange). Napped because I woke up too early. Patrick and I went to the Pride Festival today. It was cold and overcast today, and the sun didn't break out until late afternoon, but the average temperature likely didn't climb above 65 degrees F. I didn't see anyone we knew. We snacked at a Thai food booth, and Patrick also had a messy margarita—the salt got everywhere and made us sticky. We went shopping at Old Navy. We'd never shopped there before. We didn't find anything we liked—the clothes didn't fit properly. We snacked at Panda Express in the SF Shopping Centre, stopped in the Castro to pick up movies. Stopped at Walgreen's to buy soap.

Mon 27

Usual breakfast at the cafeteria. I got a lot done at work today. Made live new homepage news for Susie. Minor web page updates: one for a student org, some for the computer security guide (thanks, Chris De Lay!), some for the computer requirements page. Ran through another rev of the cdrom I'm building at the library with DemoShield, tested it, rebuilt 2 packages which weren't working as I had liked, returned to the library again to burn 10 test copies to distribute to the group. Printed demo labels for the cdroms. Did sysadmin updates for James's computer. Lunch was mac and cheese with broccoli, a banana from the cafeteria. Dinner at home with Patrick: an International Pavilions meal: Italian sausage, Spanish rice, American butternut squash soup. Dessert: lime and root beer popsicles. We watched the Simpsons: the episode where Patty gets married, then we watched Bananas (1971). My favorite parts: the dream sequence Fielding relates to his therapist, the scene with the harp, and near the end what Fielding does as he is surrounded by reporters and hiding his face with a hat. So ridiculous!

Tue 28

Joe's Os for breakfast. Student computing committee meeting. Chatted with Joyce today about e-mail, listservs, and e-mail migration. Spent most of today coding yet another new XHTML e-mail template for the Message from the Dean. Lunch: Joel and I got taco bar food from the cafeteria. Made live computing requirements for entering students. Dinner at home with Patrick: butternut squash soup, unnamed new food invented by Patrick (it's a cross between a pretzel and a bread stick), semi-homemade pizza. Watched movie previews on apple.com. Watched the Simpsons: Itchy and Scratchy and Marge—the episode with Kent Brockman finishing a Smartline episode with, "Join us tomorrow when our topic will be...Religion: Which is the one true faith?"

Wed 29

Breakfast: a banana and an Asian pear. Made a colorful poster for Debrah's last day at work today ("We'll miss you!"), did some logo work for Corinna before I left for work. More XHTML e-mail testing. Announced to entering students that our computer requirements had been posted. Sent Heidi feedback about her Xythos plan. Checked in with Rodney about getting Dreamweaver in the lab. Reposted one of the draft schedules. At 10, a bunch of faculty and staff (mostly clinical pharmacy people, I think) came to wish Debrah well on her last day. She's been with the university for about 15 years! At lunch, Melissa, Joel, and I took Debrah out—we went to Minh Tri and had delicious Vietnamese food. 38 for Joel, 44 for Debrah, 12? for Melissa, 39 for me. Gathered data from mysql for Susie. Organized old files. Anti-spyware and other updates for Melissa's computer. Patrick and I had planned to go to REI tonight, but I left work too late. He has been cleaning the oven at home, so that's partly why we also decided to eat out tonight. We went to Bombay Indian, had a delicious meal, then stopped for gas at Twin Peaks, then came home. Watched one episode of the Simpsons: Dead Putting Society.

Thu 30

Security updates. Set up Office:mac 2004. Updated access to Debrah's files. Maintenance on Debrah's computer and telephone. Supp app edits. Lunch: roast cow sandwich from the cafeteria. Covered the front office for an hour. Prepared for listserv rotations. At my request, BK sent me an invite for a gmail account since I need it to test my XHTML e-mail templates. Chatted with Sneeper who just had his wisdom teeth removed this morning. Rotated the listservs. Maintenance on Charles's computer. Home. Chopped and pulled up giant weedy grass from the entryway and driveway. This wild grass is the tallest I've ever seen, some almost as tall as me! Dinner at home with Patrick: pizza. Shopped online for a cellphone provider. I found a Consumer Reports article from March 2005 called "Cell-phone complaints: A sorry picture for Cingular/AT&T" which was helpful except that the URL to it was 315 characters. You can find it with tinyurl.com/8yc5q and if you steal my WebLogic session ID from me, I want it back. They also have a wireless plan comparison tool at tinyurl.com/bjf34 which works well for the most part except the comparison grid fails to include the name of the company in the results. All my recent research has made me decide I am still not ready to jump back in to having a cellphone. Or, alternatively, the cellphone industry isn't ready for my business yet. The Blackberry 7250 is interesting and very promising, but the interface demo makes it seem really clunky usabilitywise, and I found myself wondering, "But when will Blackberry devices feature ClearType?" Ah, Microsoft, evil empire that you are, you have truly spoiled me with ClearType. I also just noticed that every web page in blackberry.com I have visited seems to be titled "Blackberry"—this is very poor usability, particularly in search engine results. For example, the page describing the Blackberry 7250 should be titled "Blackberry 7250" instead of "Blackberry."