July 2005

Summary: July 4 weekend camping at Fife's (and karaoke at the Triple R) in Guerneville; Patrick gets an iPod; July 7 London terrorist bombings; Dinner at Mifune with the Honmas; floppies are dead; Shopping at Costco with Joel and Patrick; Visited Joel's home for the first time; The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? at American Conservatory Theater with Patrick, Melissa, Karen, and Lana; Melissa's last day at the office; Remi's birthday party; frankfarm.org crashes (again); Italian dinner with Yan and Patrick at home; Camping and whitewater rafting on the south fork of the American River in Lotus, California

Dates on this page

Fri Jul 1, 2005

Picked up toiletries at Walgreens. Stopped at REI at 12:58 PM. We picked up a new double-wide sleeping bag since the one I had was a single only and needed to be dry cleaned. (Patrick sneezed for a few hours after we opened it a day or two ago.) We rented 2 Therma-Rest self-inflating open-cell foam sleeping pads. Patrick got new sandals which were better for casual hiking than the sandals he brought along. I bought a beige Barmah canvas drover hat to wear in the sun. Tower Car Wash at 1:25 PM. Patrick and I leave San Francisco for a camping weekend with 10 friends in Guerneville, California, which is known for having a number of gay campgrounds and resorts. Lunch at 3:40 PM at Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers (1850 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa). I had a Chinese chicken salad, Patrick had a bacon classic burger with fries. We shared an iced tea. $10.82. We arrived in Guerneville around 4:00 PM. Travis and Steve came out to meet us and helped us haul gear in to our camping site at sites 17 and 18. Our neighbors at sites 13 and 14 already had their camp set up and decorated very festively in tiki torches and red, white, and blue flags and balloons and a sign which proudly proclaimed Camp Ol' Glory Hole. Travis, Steve, Patrick, and I raised Timmie's tent. Patrick and I got settled and rested for a bit. I played with Travis' new Blackberry. The user interface isn't as clunky as the demo on the Blackberry website makes it seem (see June 30, 2005), but Travis says if his company didn't buy it for him he'd have preferred a Treo instead. Patrick read from Dai Sijie (Mr. Muo). All four of us went to dinner at Main Street Station Ristorante, Cabaret & Pizzeria (707-869-0501, 16280 Main Street, Guerneville). Patrick had salad and calzone, I had salad and crab cakes, Travis had salad and spaghetti and meatballs, Steve had soup and spaghetti and meatballs. The restaurant had good live music which started just when we sat down. The food was good but not great, we got large portions, service was not terribly attentive but friendly and earnest when it arrived. Went to Safeway, bought a bottle of gerwertzermiener and some Jiffy Pop popcorn (which we ended up not using on this trip). When we arrived back at camp, Greg and Antonio had arrived, so we helped them bring gear in. Then Galen and Peter arrived. Galen made a round of cape cods. I was very sleepy and went to bed. Our camp site was the closest to the bunkhouse which turns into a disco/nightclub at night, so earplugs were very useful. My 30-decibel earplugs almost entirely silenced the music, but Patrick found the earplugs uncomfortable and ended up having trouble sleeping. If you decide to camp at Fife's and are sensitive to noise when sleeping, remember to stay away from (roughly) camp sites 10 through 28 and cabins 201, 202, and 310 through 318. One other thing about Fife's: There are only 2 men's showers for 60 camp sites (!). I consistently awoke early (around 6:30 AM) and didn't have to wait in line for a shower. If there's a really long line at the campground showers, try the day use showers next to cabin 318.

Sat Jul 2, 2005

Showered. Patrick and I do a little tai chi. Breakfast at camp: French press coffee, pancakes and sausage, raisin bran and milk, fresh sliced apples, apple juice, cranberry juice. After breakfast, we all checked out the bunk house and the river. We saw condom wrappers and used condoms strewn about here and there. Back to camp. Walked to town, checked out the local flea market and Jackson Beach, got a snack (root beer float for Travis and Steve, cherry snow cone for Patrick and me). Went to Coffee Bazaar, and while Patrick was in the rest room I ran in to Karl Soehnlein who was in town with his friend Barry. He was staying down the road a few miles. Patrick returned and we chatted a few minutes. Patrick got in line for coffee and chatted with his friend Mitsy who worked behind the counter. She kindly comped us two tall iced coffees. Back to camp. Some of us had a watermelon snack. Changed into swimsuits, went to the pool with Travis and Stave, which was full of weekenders enjoying the sun and the water. Lunch at Fife's Roadhouse Restaurant. Half-pound burgers and fries for me and Steve, pulled pork sandwich for Travis and Patrick. Remi and Jesse joined us late and had salads. An off-leash black and white Boston terrier darted in and out of bodies and poked its head at a beach ball, bouncing it in all kinds of directions. At one point, the dog jumped over a low (3-foot?) brick wall to get the ball, causing the pool crowd to gasp in unison. Back to camp. I napped while Patrick, Travis, and Steve won a game of volleyball against Galen, Greg, and Antonio. Back to camp. Others went to Safeway while I napped. They returned with food to cook for dinner: tri-tip cow, pork chops, roasted veggies, roasted corn on the cob, polenta with wild mushrooms, grilled shrimp. We met camp neighbors Todd and Wataru and their dog, Fergie. They joined us for dinner. We cleaned camp. Everyone else but me disco-napped (or supposedly disco-napped) in the early evening. They woke and we went to the bonfire at the bunkhouse joining the crowd of about 100 other campers. We roasted marshmallows and made s'mores and listened to the DJ play music, mostly 70s disco classics. Tony found a long branch which enabled him to roast marshmallows easier. At one point, his skewer of marshmallows entirely caught on fire, and I blew them out while everyone laughed. After we were done eating s'mores we offered some to other campers. Some of us returned to camp to sleep and others went in to town for bar hopping. Funniest moment today: Marck put his shoes down for a second on the tableclothed picnic table and Tony walked by and said in a very motherly way, "Don't put your shoes on the table—that's where food goes!" I laughed more at how Tony said what he did rather than Marck's actual sin. I think it was today that Greg explained to the group what beaver fever was. (If you don't know, it's probably not what you think.)

Sun Jul 3, 2005

Woke at 6:30 AM. Showered. Patrick, Galen, and I went to Safeway for groceries. Back to camp. Set up and cooked breakfast: French press coffee, French toast, fritatta, bananas, Rainier and bing cherries, orange juice. After breakfast, Remi, Jesse, Galen, Peter, and Marck went hiking at Armstrong Woods—a 5.6-mile loop climbing 1100 feet (East Ridge Trail from the front parking lot to Gilliam Creek Trailhead looping back along Pool Ridge Trail and Pioneer Trail) which included the Colonel Armstrong Tree—the oldest tree in the grove, estimated to be over 1400 years old and is named after a lumberman who chose to preserve this portion of the park in the 1870s. Travis, Steve, Patrick, Greg, Tony, Antonio, and I went to Fife's pool and laid out on blankets in the grassy area. Greg, Tony, and Antonio left after about an hour to go wine tasting. Travis, Steve, Patrick, and I stayed behind and played in the pool. The dog from yesterday was back again, and everyone laughed when the dog jumped onto the innertube that Steve was using in the pool. Picked up sandwiches and chips from Pasta Boys Deli (16337 Main Street, Guerneville) and ate them back at the pool. Patrick had cold pastrami and swiss, Steve had hot pastrami, Travis had ?, I had a chicken club sandwich. Steve played volleyball, I napped in the tent, Patrick helped Galen prepare dinner. Patrick made chicken and sausage jambalaya on the stove (served with sliced French bread) and Galen made spare ribs on the barbecue. We stayed in our camp and made s'mores over the barbecue. Galen, Peter, and Marck went to a foam party at Fab. Travis and Steve tried to get in to the foam party but couldn't and came back early. Greg and Antonio packed gear and left Guerneville this evening. Remi, Jesse, Patrick, Tony, and I walked through downtown Guerneville. All the locals were out in the street which had been closed off for a laser light show projected onto the fog which had floated in. We went to the Triple R and enjoyed karaoke. Tony visited the psychic at the Triple R. Remi, Jesse, and Patrick sang karaoke. Jesse sang Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind," Remi sang George Michael's "Jesus to a Child," and Patrick sang both parts of the Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand duet "You Don't Bring Me Flowers." Back to camp. Patrick learned earlier today by telephone that someone had drowned and died yesterday in the Russian River. Fortunately, it was no one in our party. Sleep.

Mon Jul 4, 2005

Showered. Breakfast: pancakes and sausage. Packed. Galen, Peter, and Marck related the mildly scandalous foam party event. We left Guerneville around 10:30 AM and did not experience much traffic on the way back. We stopped in Sausalito and had lunch at 11:34 AM at Sausalito Fish & Chips (415-332-2622, 817 Bridgeway, Sausalito). Patrick had a chicken sandwich, I had a burger, we shared onion rings, 2 Lipton bottled iced teas. Tower Car Wash at 1:16 PM. All in all, our camping trip went very well—no big problems, no fires, no injuries, no thefts, no severe sunburns. I was pleased with Fife's and would return again. Watched TV: Fourth of July fireworks and entertainment, Fear Factor. Dinner at Riverside Seafood Restaurant (415-759-8828, 1201 Vicente Street) with Patrick: corn and crab meat soup, prawns in lobster sauce, vegetable mu shu, Hong Kong style shredded pork chow mein, steamed rice, Tsing Tao for Patrick, hot tea. It was our first time eating here since they remodeled a while back. The dining room has been significantly improved.

Tue Jul 5, 2005

Usual breakfast at the cafeteria. Lunch: leftovers from last night. Melissa brought fixings for Vietnamese spring rolls, and the office enjoyed rolling our own. Caught up on e-mail. Helped Joel code Tennessee orange. Supplemental application project. Prepped for office e-mail migration from itsa (UNIX) to Microsoft Exchange. Home. Patrick received an iPod in the mail from Dianne as a thank you gift for accompanying and helping Sam on his trip to Vienna. Grocery shopping at Safeway. Dinner at home with Patrick: leftovers from last night, roast chicken. Set up ml_ipod and Winamp 5 and Geiss 2. Charged the iPod.

Wed Jul 6, 2005

Wrangled with the iPod, couldn't get it to work: "firmware update failure. disk write error" and an icon in the iPod display: folder with an exclamation mark in a yellow triangle warning symbol. Tried everything (resetting the iPod, uninstalling and reinstalling the iPod software, charging the iPod for 8 hours, resetting the iPod again). At times it was recognized by Windows and we were able to copy files to it, but without warning it would revert back to the yellow triangle and folder error. Breakfast at home: Joe's Ohs with fresh sliced banana, sliced white nectarine. I took some Rainier cherries to work to share. Cindy had received a gourmet snacks gift basket from one of our event partners—they must have been feeling guilty for screwing us over at our last event. We grazed throughout the day over items such as black peppercorn crackers, merlot cheddar, and Almond Roca. Lunch with Joel at Nan King Road Bistro. Joel had #3, I had double happiness. Spent most of the day working on supp app Javascript code and minor web page updates. Home. Backfilled journal entries for the July 1 to 4 camping trip. Dinner at home with Patrick: jambalaya and bread. Archived documents. Archived photos from the camping trip.

Thu Jul 7, 2005

When I checked the news this morning I was startled to learn of 4 bombings which had taken place in London. SFGate's Culture Blog pointed me to a wikipedia entry which was amazingly full of information even as the details of the terrorist act were unfolding. Breakfast: same as yesterday. Made live supp app workshop page. Finished up final testing from yesterday's supp app work. Updated the shared passwords database. Cindy, Joel, and I met with an applicant for Melissa's position. Lunch: green salad, pasta salad, cottage cheese, and yogurt from the cafeteria. Met with Mike L to migrate his e-mail account and train him in Outlook Web Access. Implemented encrypted folders in Win XP. Maintenance on Chris's computer: updated SpywareBlaster to 3.4, checked that MS AntiSpyware Beta was the 12-31-2005 version, ran SpyBotS&D (clean), ran Norton (clean), did Windows and Office updates, encrypted folders. Used update.microsoft.com for the first time. Finally Microsoft enables Windows Office users an automatic way to keep Office updated. Office updates for Joel's computer. Dinner at home with Patrick: green bell pepper and black bean beef stir fry with steamed rice. Watched a movie.

Fri Jul 8, 2005

Banana at home for pre-breakfast. Usual breakfast at the cafeteria. Prepped minor web updates to faculty page. Migrated Ena's e-mail from itsa (UNIX) to Exchange—no problems. Lunch: leftovers from dinner last night. Migrated Mike L's address book. Met with Cindy. Notified Mike L that his new e-mail account was working. Made faculty page changes live. Joel, Cindy, and I interviewed another candidate for Melissa's position. Minor update to the entering students find a place to live page. Patrick got the iPod working yesterday by returning it to the San Francisco Apple Store and they exchanged it for one that works. In the process of transferring music to it with ml_ipod, we found that many of our ID3 tags needed cleaning up. It's the equivalent of discovering a couple hundred loads of laundry that needed washing. Dinner at home with Patrick: leftovers, two macaroons from Le Bon Gateau: pistachio and hazelnut. Watched Team America on DVD. Our comments afterward: stupid, absurd, gross, sometimes very funny. I think I enjoyed it less than Patrick did, and it disappointed me to see it so politically empty except for a few well-placed jabs (such as the opening scene). Maybe I just wasn't smart enough to get all the jokes. Why did one character sound so much like Cartman from South Park? Why did almost all the characters sound like the same person was doing them? (Because it's true—Trey Parker did voices for a whole lot of the characters.) I was also very disappointed that they reused the Montage song/joke from a South Park episode, which I had seen/heard/enjoyed already twice before. What comedy professional reuses old material? That's boring. I liked seeing the puppetry work, and I kept trying to figure out how they set scenes up, and I was constantly amazed at how easy it was to forget I was watching puppets rather than real people. I thought the music was tedious but tolerable—nothing much new over South Park TV, really. On the bus lately I've just started reading Bloom Magazine Spring 2005 (Volume 2, Issue 1) and for whatever reason I just can't seem to get into any of the fiction. The stories aren't that interesting to me.

Sat Jul 9, 2005

Breakfast: toast and Joe's Ohs and fresh banana for me. Cocoa Krispies and toast for Patrick. Patrick and I spent the first part of the day at home getting some work done. Writing for him, working on my cousin Corinna's website for me. Lunch: Patrick's Organic Ginger Japanese Chicken Soup. We joined my sister's family for dinner at Mifune in Japantown. After dinner we browsed the bookstore and I read a couple of books to Jeremy and Matthew. We then had hazelnut and chocolate ice creams and chocolate crepes—yum! Earlier in the day Patrick and I had bought my sister a rug from the AIDS benefit store called Under One Roof in the Castro. The rug looks like a giant sunny side up fried egg, and it's a lot of fun, for a rug. We kind of figured a gift that the kids couldn't break would be best, and it would be perfect for the kitchen where she spends a lot of her time as a full-time mom. Best moment today: Jeremy is eating the chocolate crepe he's sharing with Matthew and everyone else, and he says to his mom, "Mom, are you thinking what I'm thinking?" She says, "Is it three words?" He replies, "Mmm hmm. Life...is...perfect." Service was not the best at Under One Roof today. Usually there's never a problem when we shop there, but today the person who gift-wrapped our gift took about 15 minutes to do it, and it wasn't even busy in the store. Our 30-minute meter was running out, and I got out the door just as our time had expired. To top things off, he left the price sticker on the item! Fortunately, when my sister pulled it out of the box, Patrick saw the sticker and tipped me off, and I was able to sneak the sticker off without her seeing (I think). Home. Archived documents. Patrick chatted with his mom—another hurricane is approaching New Orleans, so we're all concerned. Watched Simpsons.

Sun Jul 10, 2005

The hurricane moved east so we're relieved that it won't hit New Orleans very hard. Patrick and I did mostly nothing today. Breakfast: cocoa krispies for Patrick, Joe's ohs and fresh banana for me. It was sunny for part of the day but by the time we had decided we might want to leave it got cold and overcast. Lunch: leftovers. I did some more work for Corinna. Dinner: chicken fried rice, leftovers. Watched The Purple Rose of Cairo taped from PBS. I had seen it before and like it again, Patrick liked it, too.

Mon Jul 11, 2005

Pre-breakfast: a banana. On the bus today, an unusual thing happened. I got on the bus and it was empty, except for the driver, of course. Not a single person got on the entire run. I had heard the 8:30 AM bus show up at 8:40 AM so maybe that's why—the busses were too close together or something. Today I threw a box of 3.5-inch floppy diskettes into the recycling bin. These were, I believe, the last floppies I owned at home. I hadn't touched them in years, so it felt good to finally say goodbye to the archaic things. Usual breakfast at the cafeteria. Yesterday I installed Google Desktop at home primarily because Outlook's Find Message feature is so powerful as to be unusable. I'm hoping Google Desktop will enable me to type in a keyword and let me sort through a results list, narrowing further if needed. Installed Google Desktop at work today. I'm pleasantly surprised that they created an enterprise version of it. If it works out well, I might deploy it for our entire office as well. Migrated Joel from itsa to Exchange e-mail. His computer has the same problem mine does at home: The error message "Cannot start the reminder service. Unable to show reminders." appears when starting Microsoft Outlook 2003. Lunch: Unexpectedly, Ena brought nachos and Joel brought Nebraska's Cream of Tortilla con Pollo soup—yummy! Prepped Cindy's and James's computers for e-mail migration. Migrated Kristina from itsa to Exchange e-mail. Home. On the bus home, only one other person was on the bus. Dinner at home with Patrick: cheese ravioli in vegetable marinara sauce, toast with butter. Recently we installed Winamp 5 so that we could get the ml_ipod plugin to work. I hadn't trusted Winamp 5 for the longest time because when I first used it it would crash or freeze when playing some Shoutcast streams. However, this installation seems very stable, and we've discovered a whole library of music videos which we can watch on demand. We watched Diana Krall, Al Green, Dido. We watched several videos of Madonna's live performance at the recent Live 8 concert in London. The quality ain't great, but it's free, the sound isn't bad, and it's on demand—all a worthwhile tradeoff. Watched 3 Simpsons episodes, 2 recorded, 1 live. I accidentally used the feature that pauses live TV for the first time—it's kinda neat but I kept wanting it to take me into the future (past commercials) instead of only the past or the frozen present. Set up a free Flickr account so's I can see Chris's private photos (woo!).

Tue Jul 12, 2005

Usual breakfast at the cafeteria. Ordered a new e-mail account for our new admissions assistant. Answered computer requirements questions for entering students. Notified a current student that Apple has released the 10.4.2 update which resolves problems with our VPN client. Doctor appointment. Snack: fat free peach yogurt with rainbow sprinkles. Migrated James's e-mail from itsa to Exchange. Increased mail storage for one of our users. Dinner at Banana Island with Patrick: shrimp puffs (minced shrimp wrapped in bacon—decadent!), cow rendang, sizzling chicken, 2 Thai iced teas, 2 orders of rice, about $40 tip included, but we had lots of leftovers. Dinner was fine—no problems, good food, the cow was very tender. I believe Banana Island is the only restaurant I know which uses Adobe Hobo for their logo typeface. Updated Sophos at home. Watched Big Brother 6 and Rock Star INXS.

Wed Jul 13, 2005

Breakfast: a banana, a half slice of walnut streusel. Did Windows updates. Telecommute day. Prepped graphics for new XHTML e-mail templates for the office. Stylesheet tweaking for the website. Updated the computer security guide. Lunch at home with Patrick: cow burgers, fries. Dessert: popsicles. Updated e-mail support pages. Linkchecking. Updated admissions pages for James. Chatted online with Sneeper. Shopping at Costco with Joel. Patrick and I hadn't been to Costco in years, but it hasn't changed much. It seemed to me there was more furniture now than before. Cafe 150 as I knew it is gone. Before I remember you could get a slice of pizza for $1.50 and it included a free soda. (Or maybe the soda was extra?) Pizza slices now cost $1.99, and sodas are 55 cents which includes 1 refill. We bought nothing terribly significant. Some of the things I was looking for I found but wasn't happy with the quality or style (socks, cutting boards, hair cutting kit [Conair], frying pans [Circulon and some brands I'd never heard of]). Other things I was looking for I couldn't find: answering machine that didn't have a phone system attached to it, data or document safe that didn't require batteries, non-stick spatulas. Joel was looking for beef jerky or maybe it was turkey jerky, but I think he said they were out. The best deal I saw was 3 pounds of bananas for 99 cents (but we had just gotten bananas from TJ on Tuesday, so we didn't need any). Not organic, but that's a lot of inorganic bananas for under a buck. We ate pizza before leaving, then dropped Joel off at home. We visited for a while, seeing his place for the first time, meeting his housemate Anthony and playing catch with Anthony's dog, Coda. I got to see the cabinet he snagged from James, the couch he found on craigslist which—by way of incredible luck—exactly matched the loveseat he had bought a long time beforehand. Joel showed us his DirecTV TiVo and we watched Rock Star INXS and bits of other shows for a while. When we got home I was parking the car and almost had it in the space when the car stalled (my fault) and wouldn't start again. I was worried that I'd somehow flooded the engine, but we waited 30 minutes and tried again. After some research on Google, I determined that the battery is dead. The starter won't even turn, the headlights won't come on, and I realized now that I'd never replaced the battery since getting the car in 1998—a 6.5-year-old battery! I suppose I'm lucky it has lasted this long. The car is mostly in the space so I decided I'll deal with this tomorrow when the gas station and auto supply shop are open.

Thu Jul 14, 2005

Breakfast at home: banana and Joe's Ohs. Today was the first day for Stacey, our new admissions assistant taking Melissa's role in our office. Staff meeting. Lunch today was a going away lunch for Melissa's last day tomorrow. Melissa, James, Cindy, Joel, Kristina, Ena, and I ate at Ebisu, which I had suggested because I knew Melissa loved sushi and that she had been wanting to try this restaurant. Much delicious sushi was consumed, and all had a fun time. James presented Melissa with going away gift certificates for Boulevard, Scharffen Berger, The Imperial Tea Court, and Sur La Table which the office pooled together to get her. She was expressly grateful, but I think I speak for everyone in the office when I say that she deserved all of that and more, and we'll miss her and her amazing skills a great deal. This afternoon I prepped the supplemental application and submitted it to James for one final review. Dinner at home with Patrick: leftovers and blanket-wrapped shrimp. We dropped the car off at a repair shop, then walked from Noriega to Judah to catch an N train to downtown. Saw an American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) performance of Edward Albee's The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? directed by Richard E. T. White at Geary Theater with Patrick, Melissa, Karen, and Lana. This play was exactly how the reviews I had read portrayed it: insightful, sensitive, hilarious, brilliant, testing the limits of social consciousness. Pamela Reed was particularly excellent as Stevie. We sat in the highest section—the 2nd balcony. The angle was rather disconcerting and sometimes it was hard to hear the actors. However, our angel's-eye view was, in a sociological way, particularly apt for this play, seeing the tragedy splayed out from above. Patrick and I had seen A Christmas Carol at A.C.T. in December 2003, and Patrick again found the seats uncomfortable because there wasn't enough legroom. (He's only 6 feet tall.) Our seats were B1, B3, B5, B7, B9, and we would like to cast evil spells on the couple who sat in C5 and C7 who talked and unwrapped sticks of chewing gum and zipped and unzipped a purse throughout the entire performance. Late night snack: blanket-wrapped shrimp. Added Sneeper's blog to my bookmarks page. He writes with extraordinary care, I think. I like it.

Fri Jul 15, 2005

Pre-breakfast: banana. When I walked in the door at work, I saw 3 small white boxes sitting on the counter, and I smelled sugar before I saw them: beautiful small cakes which Joel had made and brought to work. They were round and white. One had a 4 ducks (plastic) sitting in a pool of blue sugar. Another had carrots made in frosting. He also brought cupcakes with various colors of colored sugar on top. He's truly amazing and so are his cakes! Breakfast with Joel at the cafeteria. My usual breakfast, and Joel had the same, but he calls it the Lumberjack's breakfast or something like that because it's a much heartier breakfast than he usually eats. We talked about The Goat—he had seen it earlier and found it fascinating as well. Today I set up Stacey with e-mail and trained her for about an hour with Outlook and Outlook Web Access and voicemail. I did final PDF builds and made the supplemental application live. I did linkchecking. It was also Melissa's last day. Her parting gift to me was a lovely box of truffles from XOX Truffles Inc (415-421-4814, 754 Columbus Av)—a delightful surprise! Lunch at Nan King Road Bistro: #1 not spicy. This afternoon I had the worst experience yet with Kaiser Permanente. I had finished an appointment which went well, and before I left the doctor said he electronically submitted the prescriptions we discussed to the pharmacy and that I could pick them up in about 15 minutes. I arrived at the pharmacy at about 4:30 PM. In the pharmacy an electronic sign board lists the last names and first initials of patients whose prescriptions are ready. (Is that really HIPAA-compliant? I don't think so.) I waited 15 minutes—my name did not appear on the board. I waited 30 minutes—no name. I waited 45 minutes—no name. I waited 60 minutes—no name. I waited 75 minutes—no name. I waited 90 minutes—no name. It was now 6:00 PM, and the pharmacy was closing. I would have gone up to the counter earlier if I hadn't overheard the conversation of another gentleman who had said he'd been waiting a long time too—longer than me. I eventually got my prescription, and it wasn't clear to me who or what had screwed up. The man who helped me couldn't immediately determine the status of my prescription order. Another man behind the counter told him that one of my medicines was out of stock and that's probably why my order was not to be found. The second man's information was ultimately not helpful. After a few minutes, the first man found that my prescription was packaged and ready, but it had been filed and wasn't in the location he had expected. I suspect, but cannot prove, that my prescription was completed a long time ago but the procedure which puts the person's name on the board was mistakenly forgotten by the pharmacist who filled the order. Throughout my entire visit, I received constant reminders that if I needed a refill I should call ahead. This reminder came from my doctor, from the pharmacy sign board, and from the first man behind the pharmacy counter. However, this reminder doesn't help me much if when I receive a new prescription it takes over 90 minutes to fill. I felt as though the doctor had lied to me when he said it would be ready in 15 minutes. I also felt as though the doctor should have asked if I wanted the prescriptions mailed to me automatically so that I wouldn't have had to waste an hour and a half of my time. The other customer who had been waiting a long time eventually said he had been waiting 2 hours and 15 minutes (!). He was much more disgruntled at the situation than I was, and rightly so. In another conversation I had overheard, that customer was told that 1-hour wait times were normal. (If this were true, why does the doctor say prescriptions will be ready in 15 minutes? And why did that man end up waiting 135 minutes instead of 60 minutes?) I couldn't understand how things had gotten bad so quickly, as I have had prescriptions filled before at this same pharmacy with no problems at all, but that was many months ago—maybe a year ago. I asked before I left the pharmacy if there was anyone to whom I could write to explain these problems, but I was told with resignation that I could try reporting these events to Member Services but that he thought it probably wouldn't do much good. To me, either the first man behind the pharmacy counter was lying when he said 1 hour wait times were normal or the pharmacists aren't doing a very good job communicating with the doctors with whom they work. Either way, their collective actions created an inexcusable situation, and I know I'm not the only customer affected by this problem. After my unfortunate Kaiser visit, I picked up my car from the auto repair shop, Sunset 76 (415-753-9635, 1700 Noriega Street, BAR AB237930, EPA CAD982493249). I left my car with this repair shop because of coupons they had posted in the elevator lobby at UCSF. One coupon advertised 15% off any repair over $50. Before I dropped my car off, I was quoted over the phone $95 plus tax for a replacement battery and no charge for labor. The day after I dropped it off, they called back and said it would be $110—more than the earlier quote because my car was a BMW and because they don't make much money on the batteries to begin with. After I picked up my car, I noticed that they charged me $10 for labor. And, they kept the unused 15% off coupon, presumably so that I could not use it again. (I was so happy to get my car back that I forgot to insist on the coupon's return.) The money situation here doesn't bother me much—I can swallow a $15 swindle. The part that bothers me is that this is simply poor communication and service. This kind of experience is why I think auto mechanics have the unsavory reputation they do, and it's why I continue to feel I'll never be able to trust any auto repair person for the rest of my life. Right up there with insurance salespeople, auto salespeople, and politicians. They should have quoted the most expensive battery, or they should have quoted a range, or they should have asked what kind of car I drove before providing a quote. They should have not charged me for labor if they quoted me no charge for labor on the phone. They should have returned the unused coupon. Even if I'm not really being swindled (and part of me thinks that might actually be the case), I feeel as though I am because of their inattention to detail and/or their lack of proper customer service skills. Dinner at home with Patrick: pizza. Dessert: one teaspoon of coconut sorbet for me, one "teaspoon" of coconut sorbet for Patrick. It's the end of the day, and needless to say...

Sat Jul 16, 2005

Installed Google Earth. Google continues to amaze me over and over again with simply superior technologies that are both cool and practical. Google Earth enables people with newer computers to observe satellite map data as though they were flying above the earth. I installed it and started the Play Tour feature from the View menu. My graphics card, a Geforce 5200FX, couldn't keep up with the redraws, so some tour stops were still blurry when I left them, but nonetheless it's an impressive piece of software and networking (streamed data). My first interface problem occurred when I realized the blue underlined text in Places could be double-clicked. In fact, single-clicking gives a different behavior than double-clicking, but since it's blue underlined text, I realized only by accident that I could double-click it. Napped. I had a daymare: I dreamt my mom was outside my window with a garden hose. She thought she was helping out by washing the walls of the house but she didn't seem to realize that the windows were open, so water was splashing in the room. There was already a small pool of water at the foot of the bed.—Added more text to yesterday's entry; I forgot to mention the beautiful cakes Joel had made and brought to the office. Patrick and I picked up Tony A and Stephen F and we all went to Remi's birthday party at his home in Menlo Park. We drank Absente, the legal American variety of the old famed French hallucinogenic liquor, Absynthe. It tastes like black licorce. Remi had a quiz for everyone to determine who knew him the best, and the winner turned out to be Stephen, who had met Remi for the first time today. Remi had karaoke set up in his living room, so after drinks, bbq, and dessert, they put on their own show to kick off the singing. Patrick sang 4 songs: True Colors (Cyndi Lauper), Vogue (Madonna), The Greatest Love of All (Whitney Houston), and Summer Lovin' (Olivia Newton-John, John Travolta). On Vogue, Galen, Stephen, Nicki, and ? were backup dancers. On Summer Lovin' Patrick sang Travolta's part and Stephen sang ONJ's part. For dessert, Patrick made and brought Creole Bread Pudding with Creole Hard Sauce. We had a wonderful time.

Sun Jul 17, 2005

Breakfast at home with Patrick: croissants with egg and heirloom tomatoes. Cut my hair. Today we did a lot of cleaning up in the apartment. I installed a 5-port USB PCI card in one computer to give us more ports. I had intended on working on Corinna's website but the cleaning took up the whole day. Lunch at home with Patrick: burgers and fries. Dinner at home with Patrick: cherry chicken, green beans, corn and rye bread with butter. Dessert: XOX truffles from Melissa—heavenly. Watched the first 75 minutes of Roman Holiday taped from PBS with Patrick.

Mon Jul 18, 2005

Yesterday I forgot to mention I stopped using a trackball and started using a mouse. Don Don had gotten me hooked trackballs years ago when he bought me a Logitech one. I had since switched to the Microsoft Trackball Optical, which I liked using a lot. Eventually, however, the ball became stickier than when I first got it, even if I cleaned out the socket repeatedly. I kept checking Microsoft's web site to see if they had updated it, but for years they never did, so I bought one of their inexpensive mice, the Wheel Mouse Optical, which is a basic mouse and suffices for my needs. I still avoid Logitech mice to this day because of the awful experience I had with their driver software. Everywhere in their software it seemed they tried to sell me something or make me visit their web site when I didn't want or need to or give me features that clearly benefited only the Logitech marketing department. This morning, while checking to see if Desperately Seeking Susan taped properly from ABC last night, I accidentally caught Janelle Wong on the 6:30 AM news on ABC KGO. Janelle and I had gone to college together at Santa Cruz, and she was a friend of a friend. I didn't know her well, but we'd met on several occasions. Although I had heard from friends that she was on the early morning news (see January 11, 2004), I'd never actually watched the show until today. When I recall knowing Janelle in college, I remember her strong self-confidence, her natural beauty, and her super sweet disposition. Pre-breakfast: a banana. Usual breakfast at the cafeteria. Updated the supp app for 11-digit PharmCAS ids. Helped a student with VPN for Mac. Helped a student with problems logging in to Outlook Web Access. Set up my (second) test Xythos account. Prepped class schedules. Helped Chris with an imposition and print job. Lunch with Joel at La Fonda (712 Irving St). It was our first time to La Fonda, which was a bright and cheery burritoria that a few months ago had replaced Pancho's Mexican Grill, a bright and cheery burritoria which had closed not long after it opened. Our visit to La Fonda was disappointing because the chicken in our food was gristly. So much so that I lost most of my appetite after encountering the first piece of gristle. (Yes, there were multiple pieces of gristle in my small taco.) Joel sent his plate back and requested (and received) the same thing with no meat, but who knows if they got the hint? Later Joel sent me e-mail: "I'll never be a vegetarian but it's meals like today's lunch that can really gross me out on meat." His nickname for this place now: La Vomit. If you come here, order vegetarian only or risk losing your appetite like I did. One nice thing: better-than-average, real silverware if you eat in. Other choices nearby: Gordo Taqueria (415-566-6011, 1239 9th Av) on 9th between Irving and Lincoln, or, our reigning favorite, L'Avenida (415-681-1246, 511 Irving St) near Irving and 6th. Helped Joel troubleshoot a problem with IE changing font settings inexplicably. Helped a student with a problem using Safari with Outlook Web Access. Set up Stacey's computer with a bunch of software she'll be needing. Dinner at home with Patrick: tortellini with chicken red sauce. Watched The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror 2. I discovered today while trying to install Acrobat Reader 7.0 that Adobe automatically installs Adobe Download Manager 2.0 in the process of downloading and installing Reader. Did I consent to that? I don't think so. If you're on a 300 baud modem, I guess Adobe Download Manager might be worthwhile, but to me it's simply Crap Which Probably Slows Down My Computer And Which I Don't Need. Simple workaround: Disable Javascript before visiting adobe.com. The filename you download will be something like AdbeRdr70_enu_full.exe instead of something like AdbeRdr70_DLM_enu_full.exe. Note: DLM means Download Manager, and enu probably means English Universal. Adobe also forces you to uncheck Adobe Yahoo! Toolbar and Adobe Photoshop® Album 2.0 Starter Edition if you don't want them—how lame is that? Just about as lame as Apple forcing people to install iTunes just to get QuickTime. I'm so embarrassed for my former employer that they've had to resort to these bordering-on-malware techniques in order to make money. Another workaround: if you know the naming scheme for the files, just use ftp: e.g., Visit ftp://ftp.adobe.com/pub/adobe/reader/win/7x/7.0/enu/ . Same great taste without all the fat! I thought the worst was over until I started up my trusty Startup Manager to discover that Adobe Reader 7.0 also adds an unnecessary startup item to slow down your computer: Adobe Reader Speed Launch. This Adobe Reader Speed Launch is new with Adobe Reader 7.0, as far as I know.

Tue Jul 19, 2005

Breakfast: coffee. Prepped and made live new news stories for Susie. Worked on schedules. Snack: pretzels. Helped Chris with a mouse issue. Submitted various tickets to ITS. Chatted with Rodney about residents and entering students and Active Directory. Lunch: lunch bowl from Panda Express. They have new entrees now! I tried chicken breast in lemon ginger sauce and found it to be just as good as the other Panda Express entrees. My fortune: Your talents will be recognized and suitably rewarded. Completed schedule drafts, submitted them to Cindy for review. Prepared and submitted paperwork for reimbursement of things I bought for the office on my own credit card. Trained Stacey on PharmAdMIT, bringing up the ASSIST login screen, KeePass, and additional Firefox tips. Today I started using the Ctrl+Y keyboard shortcut in Outlook 2003 for Windows. Outlook 2003 doesn't have any keyboard shortcut to go quickly to Inbox, Sent Items, or Trash like Eudora does. Outlook does not provide a way to configure your own keyboard shortcuts. Ctrl+Y followed by I followed by Enter is the fastest way I've been able to find to jump to my Inbox without setting up special third-party macro software. Reinstalled Acrobat for Stacey. I started reading The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown today. Got to chapter 2 on the bus ride to work—wow, what an opening! I think it's going to be a fun read. Dinner at Carl's Jr. with Patrick. We needed to catch a quick meal before seeing a film, and we weren't in the mood for a Subway sandwich. Patrick got a chicken burger and fries. I wanted the chicken salad but they were out so I got the taco salad instead. The meat in the taco salad was too spicy for me, but I ate some of it anyway. While we waited for our food, we noticed a sign advertising a breakfast hamburger which included a hamburger patty, bacon, cheese, hash browns, and egg all piled on a hamburger bun. Ugh! I like all those foods, but not all piled together and usually not all in one meal. The film we saw tonight was The Beautiful World, the story of a man's journey to find the mother and father who had left him with (we can only guess) an aunt at an early age. Tony had suggested this film, and Patrick, Peter, Galen and I went along, so it's ironic that he ended up disliking the film and the rest of us liked it. The film has a slow and steady pacing that I think feels very unusual to American audiences. Tony felt bored most of the film, but I found the change refreshing. I liked how—with the exception of Nick Nolte—I didn't feel like I was watching familiar Hollywood actors acting new roles. I felt like I was watching real people in a real story because it was like real big city life where you see an amazing diversity of people: beautiful, ugly, young, old, fat, skinny, rich, poor. There are a few plot elements that don't seem very realistic, and many of the peripheral characters are sterotypes, but the main players were really great, and I enjoyed this film for attempting to show a very large idea regarding the widespread and long-lasting effects that war has upon the humans who have survived it. At the end of the film, I felt kind of the same way I feel after an hour-long massage—relaxed, content, happy. Afterwards, Galen drove us all home—so sweet.

Wed Jul 20, 2005

I realized this morning that I had screwed up my entries for the 18th and the 19th, so I went back and fixed them. Helped 2 students set up FrontPage 2002 (!) for website building. I've been told Dreamweaver MX 2004 has been on order for the computer lab, so hopefully students will be able to switch to that soon. Prepped changes to the orientation pages for our student orientation directors. Updated the SFTP connection page to include Transit and Captain FTP. (Thanks, Chris!) Attempted to register our Microsoft client access licenses (CALs) as Jacqui instructed (Microsoft Q325869), but I got an error message: "No Terminal Server license server is available in the current domain or workgroup. To connect to another license server, click Action, click Connect, and then type the server name." She forwarded my problem report to Taylor. Prepared for e-mail migration of student organization accounts. Lunch: cheddar cheese burger, half fries, half onion rings. Dessert: orange push-up. Chatted with Teresa. Chatted online with Chris. Worked on HTML e-mail stationery; created 2 additional templates—one for OSACA people, another for the Office of the Dean. Helped Mike L with Outlook Web Access questions. In Outlook Web Access, there appears to be no way to send a message to everyone in your Contacts list. Fortunately, he is still able to get in to his old WebMail account where that task is very simple. Set up a signature for him. Showed him how to specify more than one person on the To line for a forwarded message. Dinner at El Toreador (415-566-2673, 50 W Portal Av) with Patrick: fajitas for him, dos enchiladas pollo for me. It had been a long time since we had been to El Toreador, but not for any particular reason. Patrick wanted Mexican food and our choices for that where we live in the lower middle Sunset are somewhat limited. Burrito Express on Taraval doesn't have table service, and Chevy's at Stonestown does but their food often turns out too spicy for me, so I don't enjoy eating there very much despite all its other better qualities. El Toreador was packed when we went at about 7:30 PM on a Wednesday. I believe our server's name was Hilda, and we found her to be friendly and efficient even though she seemed to disappear on us at the end of the meal. Food is good but not fantastic. There's a lot of colorful crazy crap on the walls and ceilings to look at, such as a collection of individual beer bottles which I realized near the end of our meal were still full of their original beers. Grocery shopping at TJ's. Very tired, but did some work for Corinna. Archived some paper documents to PDF.

Thu Jul 21, 2005

Archived documents. Completed my journal entry for the 19th. Breakfast: organic dried green apple granola with fresh sliced banana. Chatted with Sarah M about HTML e-mail templates and generic e-mail addresses. Helped Mike L with OWA issues again. Helped James with a problem with Outlook and script errors. Updated Maps and Locations page to include a new panorama from Public Affairs. More HTML e-mail coding, set up another new template for the OSACA. I just remembered this now: a couple of days ago the 6:30 PM 66 bus did not show up. I took a 44 bus to the Forest Hill station, but the next L train was 21 minutes, so I took a 43 bus back to 9th and Lawton and waited for the 7:00 PM 66 bus which showed up as expected. Info security meeting. Dinner at home with Patrick: macaroni and cheese, basil and garlic encrusted cod, steamed broccoli. Prepped for the whitewater rafting trip coming up. Updated my address books. Installed Firefox 1.0.6.

Fri Jul 22, 2005

Pre-breakfast: a banana. Usual breakfast at the cafeteria. Updated 3 computers with security updates and Firefox 1.0.6. Helped Charles set up a USB drive to work with documents at home, trained him on Outlook Web Access. Lunch: Santa Fe sandwich, fries. Investigated calendar sharing in Exchange/Outlook. Updated schedule drafts for Cindy. Updated entering students calendar for Ena. Dinner at home with Patrick: tubular pasta with shrimp and vegetables, Italian country bread. My web server at home crashed. This time it seems to be bad disk sectors in /var—this fscks! Intended to go to Club Dragon, a new gay Asian nightclub in SoMa, but we took a disco nap and set the alarm but neither of us heard it! I woke up around 2:00 AM, couldn't sleep, got up and checked e-mail and read more from The Da Vinci Code. Back to bed at about 6:00 AM.

Sat Jul 23, 2005

Slept in until about 11. Breakfast: black cherry yogurt, English muffin. Cleaned up the house some. Prepared for running errands. Bought a Mac Mini from the Apple Store online. Ran errands: smog check, clock repair shop, grocery. Patrick and I drove to Golden Gate Park to sit for a while enjoying the warm weather. Today was unusually hot—85 degrees, which in San Francisco can be called a scorcher. Grocery shopping at Tower Market. Back to home. For the past couple of weeks I'd been getting the following error message when starting Outlook 2003: "Cannot start the reminder service. Unable to show reminders." I tried some suggested solutions I found on the web. The first and second one: [ "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE11\OUTLOOK.EXE" /cleanreminders ] and [ "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE11\OUTLOOK.EXE" /safe ] did not work. The third one did: [ "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE11\OUTLOOK.EXE" /resetfolders ] I got 40 reminders all at once after starting Outlook with the /resetfolders option. I quit Outlook and restart it—no more "Cannot start the reminder service. Unable to show reminders." error message! Hooray! Did more logo work for Corinna. Dinner at home with Patrick: chinese chicken salad, leftover pasta and mac and cheese. Dessert: coconut sorbet. Watched about 50 minutes of Desperately Seeking Susan.

Sun Jul 24, 2005

Slept in while Patrick visited Simmone for some kind of martial arts test. Breakfast: a banana and a nectarine. Saw The War of the Worlds at Daly City Century 20 with Sam and Patrick. This film is good for its mass destruction special effects and not a whole lot else. Well, the acting is good, but the dialogue is not anything exciting and it's occasionally cheesy. The special effects were really interesting to me. One shot which particularly impressed me was when they're driving in a minivan—the camera circles the van around the front while it's moving, then circles back to the original position all while dialogue within the van is taking place and you can still see the characters in sync. The camera then pulls back and we see the van drive off and I realize—was this all a single take? Did they use a helicopter or a truck? It was likely neither; I think they used a bluescreen or greenscreen and masterfully put all the other elements in digitally. The camera pans around the car were rather gratuitous, however, and not really essential to the telling of the story. How did they do the scenes in the cellar? Should you see this film? If you like special effects and/or destruction/disaster films, then yes. Don't expect much from the denouement—ultimately it's a weak one, and the greatest mystery in the film remains unexplained: the mom's condition at the end. If you loved Independence Day, Jurassic Park, or Signs, you'll like this film. Snack: cheese and potato perogis. Did more logo work for Corinna. Italian dinner with Yan and Patrick at home, Patrick cooking. Antipasti: pancetta- and mozzarella-stuffed assorted olives and marinated onions, artichoke tapenade, Italian country bread. chicken parmigiana, grilled eggplant and yellow bell pepper. Dessert: Gelato Massimo limoncello. Finished watching Desperately Seeking Susan, which Patrick says is the film with Madonna's best acting (or perhaps second to Evita).

Mon Jul 25, 2005

Breakfast: a banana and a nectarine. Security updates for more office computers. Disk Defrag for several office computers. Schedule updates for Cindy, posted them. Troubleshot the same problem Mike L and I had last week—still unresolved. Installed PharmAdMIT 2006. Fixed a work offline problem for Chris. Set up special file access (desktop icon) for Cindy. This afternoon when people in the office tried to save documents to the server, they'd receive error messages such as Delayed Write Failed and Disk is Full. I couldn't figure out why the problem was happening so I spent over an hour on the phone with Dell who also couldn't figure it out. We updated disk controller drivers, system BIOS, disk controller BIOS. Together we concluded that it was a hardware failure with either the hard drive or the disk controller. Being the efficient team they were, they had fedexed replacement parts and dispatched a technician to meet me tomorrow. I printed notices for everyone in the office updating status and providing guidelines about what they needed to change regarding working with files on the server. Chatted with Chris C about airfares. Dinner at home with Patrick: pizza. Watched Rick Steves, Western Ireland.

Tue Jul 26, 2005

Breakfast: 1.5 English muffins, a nectarine. Student computing committee meeting. It's been crazy and more stressful than normal the past 24 hours. I found out this morning that our firewall admin administered a Sygate firewall update yesterday which had caused yesterday's Delayed Write Failed problem, so the Unisys technician, Alex, simply needed to pick up the fedexed parts, receive my explanation and apologies and thanks, and leave. What a waste of Dell's time! Chatted with Mike L. Helped Charles with a problem with his e-mail account. Set up Cindy with Exchange e-mail in Outlook and OWA, gave her the quickest of trainings on it. Lunch: Panda Express. My fortune: You will step on the soil of many countries. Met with Susie. Helped Michele download Firefox to her iBook. Scanned a photo for Joel who is creating a wedding program for Heather's sister. Dinner: Spanish rice (too spicy for me), bread and butter. Work on Corinna's business cards.

Wed Jul 27, 2005

No breakfast. Tried to drop off the car at the repair shop for a smog check but the guy refused to let me leave it all day. Work on Corinna's business cards. Lots of work involving the processing and sending of e-mail. Began setting up PharmAdMIT 2006. Lunch: Joel and I got Subway sandwiches. Snack: Joel and I got machine yogurt. Smog check. Dinner at home with Patrick: leftovers, really awful mozzarella sticks from Trader Joe's (the insides all melted away). Patrick accidentally hurt his back somewhat today. A crowded BART train and his backpack sliding off his back caused him to unconsciously twist in an awkward way, so we're wondering now if he can still go on our rafting trip. Helped Michele with Mac icons on her desktop that wouldn't go away.

Thu Jul 28, 2005

Usual breakfast at the cafeteria, chatted briefly with Charles on the way. Coded a new news story for Susie. Michele sent mail saying she fixed her computer problems! Hooray! Met with Cindy. Finished setting up PharmAdMIT 2006 for James. Helped James with Outlook calendaring. Chatted with Chris. Updated schedules for Cindy. Dinner at home with Patrick: delivery from Xiao Loong: garlic chicken, mongolian beef, xiao loong bao. I made steamed rice in the microwave to go along with the meal. Patrick's fortune: You are far more influential than you think (5 11 21 37 41 - 21). I got two fortunes, and they were identical!: Angels bless you...they do not try to impress you (8 11 13 36 39 - 7) and (6 11 19 37 40 - 25). The fortune cookies were particularly light, airy, crisp, and tasty. Began setting up Patrick's new computer. Patrick and I decide sometime today he won't be going on the whitewater rafting trip, and we're both disappointed about that, but at this point it would be worse if he still went since his back is still hurting.

Fri Jul 29, 2005

After picking up a few supplies at Walgreens, I left for camping and Class III (Class 3) whitewater rafting with friends on the south fork of the American River. Steve L (and Travis?) organized. Our rafting company was Mariah Wilderness Expeditions (800-462-7424, P.O. Box 1160, Lotus, California). Google Earth was pretty useful in printing satellite maps to get there even if the roads layer didn't line up perfectly with the satellite layer. Earlier in the week Timmie sent a great reminder checklist of things to bring. I got out of San Francisco around 12:30 PM and traffic was pretty heavy in spots. I picked up Tony Q in Sacramento, we stopped at a Jack in the Box near his home so I could wolf down a Chinese chicken salad (my bill came out to $6.66), then a Walgreens where I bought cheap sunglasses, then a Starbucks so he could pick up a drink, and we got to the camp site near Lotus and Coloma around 4:30 PM at around the same time as Ted and Emery and Scott and Andy. It must have been 90 or 100 degrees F, but we pitched our tents anyhow through streaming sweat and intense heat of summer sun. Hours passed and others started arriving, alleviating our worrying, since we weren't sure when everyone was supposed to arrive. In all, we were: me, Tony Q, Ted, Emery, Andy, Scott, Timmie, Steve L, Travis, Greg, Antonio, Rich, Bryan, Jesse, Remi, Ryan, Galen. As mentioned yesterday, Patrick ended up not going. For dinner, I ate half a Safeway sandwich which Andy didn't want to eat for fear of heated mayonnaise. (No problems.) Later, some of us drove down the road for dinner at Marco's Cafe—Flavors of Italy (530-642-2025, 7221 Highway 49, Lotus, California) where everyone got their orders except for me. I had ordered a large mushroom pizza slice, but we had been there over 30 minutes and they were just sending out my order after I had requested my money back. It bothered me that the woman who gave me the refund instructed the deliverator to just give the slice away to someone else. (She should have given me the slice for free.) Nonetheless, I would return to Marco's because it's a charming and lively spot. The people seemed friendly even though the service was wanting. The (champagne?) grapes hanging overhead through the trellis work are real, the live band was pleasing, the crowd was unusually straight and tanned and smiling. We drove back to camp. I held flashlights for Rich, Jesse, and Remi who arrived late and were pitching tents. We all sat around in the dark chatting for a while until bedtime. Ted and Emery graciously shared their 4-person tent with me.

Sat Jul 30, 2005

Showered—only 2 men's showers for the entire campground, which we shared with some interns from Bain and Company. Breakfast provided by Mariah (the rafting company): pancake, sausage, sliced fruit, yogurt, cereal and milk, orange juice, water. There was a problem with one stove, so each person got only 1 pancake the first round until everyone had been served. (Everyone griped about this, it seemed.) After breakfast, we got a wonderful introduction and initial orientation to our rafting trip from ? who explained what "lilydipping" was, and more. (It's not the same or opposite of lollygagging.) We had some time to make final preparations for our trip. I bought a Chums eyewear retainer ($5) and a Kap Strap ($3) for fear of losing valuables or semi-valuables in the rapids from the camp store. (They also provided string if you wanted to do it that way instead.) We met our rafting guides; each raft has a guide who sits at the back of the boat, provides paddling instructions, steers, and ensures we have the funnest and safest time we possibly can. We received our life preservers, which stank of body odor at first but later I didn't notice it as much. We started out from the Mariah campground at 10:00 AM. The guides immediately got us paddling basic strokes and commands (forward, backward, turns), and then we rafted for about an hour through fairly easy Class 2 waters. Riding in my boat: me, Antonio, Steve, Travis, Timmie, Greg, and our guide, Ben. Another boat: Rich, Jesse, Remi, Tony, Galen, and another couple not part of our party—a woman and a man. Their guide was Matt with the green and white John Deere cap and the fluorescent orange super whistle and compass attached to his life preserver. Riding in the last boat was Ryan, Scott, Andy, Bryan, Ted, and Emery, and their guide was ?, who seemed to me the most skilled in splashing others, which is a good part of the fun, and it hardly matters when the 95 degree heat dries you out in literally seconds. When we found out the name of our fleet leader was Nancy, discussion immediately wandered to the obvious pun that we were the Nancy Boys. Within the first, say, 15 minutes, the boat I was on got trapped on a rock, which can happen easily if the rock is big and not very visible from a distance. These were easy waters, though since we had just launched we didn't know any better, and I had thought we were doomed to being stranded while we watched the rest of the boats in our fleet continue down the river. Our guide, Ben, looked somewhat panicked the first few seconds, but to my surprise he stepped out of the boat completely and found footing on the rock which had stranded us, and with a couple of big shoves he freed us from it and hopped back in and we were on our way again. It seemed so simple in retrospect, and I felt better when I saw other boats in our fleet get caught in the same situation later on down the river. The paddling was easy because we typically only had to do 2 or 3 strokes to get the boat back to a correct path. Most of the time we're just floating with the current. The paddling is also hard—from the perspective of the entire day. We stopped for lunch, which was self-assembled sandwiches; Pringles; water and lemonade; various ordinary, store-bought cookies. I particularly liked the bread which was soft and thick-cut. After lunch, the rapids were more challenging and more fun, too. At the end of the rapids, a Sea-Doo towed us to the take-out, which is the terminology for the location where boats are removed from the river. (The entry point, conversely, is the "put-in.") In between the rapids are calmer parts of the river, and it's during these parts that you can get out of the boat and swim in the river to cool off from the sun and heat. I can't swim, but I liked the idea of that, so I slid off the side of the boat hanging on to a handle on the side. The life preserver does a great deal in keeping one afloat, so this was a fun and new experience for me. The water at the end of the trip was especially warm, much warmer than at the put-in. Along the way, Antonio salvaged a piece of jagged driftwood which had been floating in the river. I thought for certain through some of the rapids it would puncture the boat or one of us would be thrown about and impale ourselves on it, but luckily none of that happened. Near the end of the trip, I accidentally scraped one of my fingers on a D-ring on the side of the boat during a rowing stroke. A chunk of skin came off and it bled the rest of the rafting trip. It was disconcerting at first, but in the middle of the trip you can't really stop to apply pressure to a small injury like that, so it bled surprisingly slowly for about an hour or two. After the rafting was done, I was surprised to learn that we had to carry our boat in from the water up a short flight of stairs, but it's not that big of a deal—it's about an extra minute or two of work. Mariah guides directed us to cold bottled water and a bus which took us back to camp—about a 20-minute ride, and a good time to take a quick nap. They didn't tell us that the scariest part of the rafting trip was the bus ride back. The bus was really, really old and really, really loud. I didn't know that the bus would be so loud. If I did, I would have sat in the back. The bus ride was scary because I had every expectation that the bus would have a mechanical problem and we'd go right over the edge of the narrow mountain road we were climbing. Or, possibly, our driver (who unscrewed a bottled water and took gulps while driving) would somehow not keep us on the road. But we made it back safely and everyone trudged back to camp weary and wanting food. I immediately took care of the cut on my finger with some clean water, antibiotic ointment, and a finger bandage—thanks to Tony for bringing the first aid kit! I realized after a while that my finger wasn't going to stop bleeding on its own with just the bandage, so I found a napkin and applied pressure for about an hour and it seemed to have stopped most of the bleeding by then. The food was a long time in coming, and I don't know if my expectations were set incorrectly but it seemed like we waited 2 or 3 hours until dinner. The photographer who shot photos of the boats on the rapids showed a slideshow of his photos and pitched his deal: $90 for all the day's high-res photos on a CD-ROM. We learned later that the CD-ROM is not "per boat" but rather the photos of your entire fleet. Appetizers were served: chips, salsa, bean and cheese dip. Finally dinner: steak, salmon, or 2 kinds of chicken; salad; garlic bread; baked potato; brownies; water and lemonade. Beer and wine was available, too, from a nearby counter. A 3-piece band played folksy music, including one catchy song about New Orleans. Later in the evening, some of us went for a late swim and the rest of us gathered at our camp site playing cards or just chatting, thankful that the sun had gone down and things were starting to cool off. This is actually a great time to shower, I thought, since you know you won't be sweating much any more today, so I did. As the evening passed into night, we gathered again at camp looking up at the sky for shooting stars and satellites and planes and constellations. Chaotic hilarity ensued when Galen picked up a cockroach which had unfortunately found its way onto the slice of log we were using as a table, and Galen chased Tony in circles around the camp site. My mind and eyes weary from the day's rafting experience, I felt like I was in a zany cartoon. Bedtime.

Sun Jul 31, 2005

I slept very well (with earplugs). I had a very weird dream last night. I dreamt I was on top of a hill with hundreds of other people. We were all sunbathing and/or picnicking. I heard citywide alarms going off and the ground started to shake. I looked around and people around me were looking worried quickly. I pulled out a laptop and loaded up Google. The page showed a live image of people presumably in a different but nearby location who were bewildered and looking up at the sky. I loaded another page and this one showed some shopping center, again a live image. As I watched, and as the ground around me continued to shake and rumble and make noise, I saw the shopping center crumble to pieces. I saw people crushed by the weight of walls and ceilings, and I heard their screams. That's all I remember of the dream. Most of us work early and broke camp. Tony and I joined Travis, Steve, Ryan, and Bryan for breakfast at Lyon's near Sac. Dropped Tony off at home in Sac, bought gas ($2.599 per gallon of 89), drove home. There was very little traffic, so I'm glad I left early. Napped. Finished reading The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, enjoyed it, but I think I need to reread it again because not everything was exactly clear to me by the end. Showered. Dinner at home with Patrick: bacon-wrapped pork roast stuffed with boiled egg, mac and cheese. Patrick and I watched an episode of The Inspector Lynley Mysteries taped from PBS. This evening, I learn from Craig Henry Dietz that lilydipping is a paddle stroke prematurely ended, and I also learn that all the paddling I did yesterday was incorrect. I had been paddling by pulling with my lower arm on the throat of the paddle. He says instead one should paddle with one's lower arm shoulder as a pivot with one's back, shoulder, and upper arm doing most of the work. The way I had been doing it works, but it's not the most efficient way to use your energy. So now I know better. At least I intuitively knew I should feather the blade (even if I didn't always do it—it wasn't windy anyhow).