Summary: Club Dragon and Baghdad Cafe, Citizen Cake with Patrick, Charo at the Herbst Theater, We get a Mac Mini, Lee's I Love the 80s—Flashback Birthday Party, frankfarm.org is restored, Lani gives birth to Kiana, Gus Gus at Mezzanine, Sushi Night 001, Hurricane Katrina devastates New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, Mom Ryan comes to stay with us
Dates on this page
Slept in. Took the day off today to recover from the rafting trip. Caught up on e-mail. Picked up a clock from the clock repair shop. Stopped at work to drop off the clock and pick up some other things. Joel gave me a SplashGuard by guyotdesigns for my Nalgene water bottle. Thanks, Joel! Michele gave me a $10 gift card to Starbucks for helping her out (via e-mail) with her computer. Finished setting up Patrick's new computer—a Dell Inspiron 700m.
Put the repaired clock back on the wall. Staff meeting. Rick S handed off the final installer for our cdrom project. Attempted to finish our cdrom project, but the computer I was using in the lab was taken out of service without warning. Chatted with Brian W about this; he agreed to set up the computer again and notify me when it was ready. Canceled meeting with Susie due to conflicts with her schedule, chatted with her on the phone instead. Finished the cdrom master, sent it off to duplication. Prepped minor web page updates for Cindy. Finished installing PharmAdMIT for Ena and Cindy, started it for Stacey. Microsoft Anti-spyware beta upgrades for several computers. Home. Copied over Patrick's Trillian preferences to his new computer. Dinner at home with Patrick: "potstickers" and Patrick's secret recipe for pan-fried seasoned shrimp. Dessert: lacey cookies from TJ's. Looked at Andy's photos of the rafting trip. Designed business cards for Corinna. Reviewed brochure content for Corinna.
Breakfast: a white nectarine, a banana. Met with Susie, Heather, and Sarah to discuss HTML e-mail mailings process. I learned a lot and got to see the address database they work with. Heather and Sarah do an admirable job with the database, ensuring that the data is clean and very well aware of the process and problems. I am impressed. Tried to figure out the "registering CALs" process that Jacqui said I had to do, but the phone number she gave me was a tiresome Microsoft phone jail and I couldn't get it to work. I decided that I really didn't need to do as Jacqui said unless I needed to use Terminal Server or Terminal Services, which I'm not using. Made corrections for one of our HTML e-mail templates, sent them all to Cindy for review. Lunch at Golden Rice Bowl (415-731-8110, 1030 Irving St) with Joel. This restaurant had formerly been called Beijing on Irving before a recent remodel and slight change of menu. It's nicer, but not exactly nice. Colorful lanterns now line parts of the ceiling, but although the lanterns are Asian, they aren't traditionally Chinese. The fabric has Chinese symbols, but the shape (a kind of teardrop) is from India or some other region—weird. Joel just for laughs calls this place Golden Shower Rice Bowl. While we ate we had to endure a man eating with his family while he talked VERY LOUDLY ON HIS CELLPHONE and fussed over his children to behave and take photos of their meal. Joel's fortune: You have a keen sense of humor and love a good time. My fortune: Happiness is often a rebound from hard work. On our way back we stopped at Starbucks so I could get a wake-up drink (double tall mocha), and Joel chatted with a sidewalk woman who was working minimum wage to beg for money for environmental causes. Back at work, Joel and I tried to figure out the problem he reported a while ago where IE changes from small to medium sized fonts without explanation. I had found some spyware and removed it, but that didn't seem to fix the problem. I can't suggest anything else now except to reformat and reinstall Windows and everything else. This is ironic, because I need to do this for my own work computer because IE (stupid IE) won't permit cookies even though I've configured it to permit cookies. Fixed a small problem with our supplemental application changing text "Please type or print your name..." to "Please type your name..." so that people don't get the idea that they can fill out the form longhand. Ordered a new printer for Joel. The HP LaserJet 5 he's been using for the past few years is probably 7 or 8 years old (if not older) and I think 2 years ago I had said it was on its last legs. We're replacing it with a Dell 1100 which turns out to be a lot less expensive than an equivalent HP 1020 or 1022 particularly with respect to service and support. HP only seems to offer a 1-year warranty. Dell's printers come default with 2 years, and adding a 3rd year is only $10 more. How can I resist? I set up the order and put paperwork in Cindy's inbox to approve. Filed digital paperwork with La'Trece for reimbursement of web hosting I paid for on my own credit card. Chatted with Chris about rafting and paddling techniques and the J stroke. Set up shared calendaring and delegation for the shared OSACA calendar. Dinner at home with Patrick: hot pastrami and swiss sandwich, chicken noodle soup, tater tots. Watched some Simpsons episodes. Archived documents to PDF.
Pre-breakfast: 2 bananas. Usual breakfast at the cafeteria. Migrated data from the shared OSACA calendar, tweaked shared calendar permissions. Made live some web updates Cindy had approved. Updated the electives schedule for Cindy. Chatted with Cindy about HTML e-mail templates—she likes them a lot. Helped Joel update his and Ena's e-mail address in some listservs for which they are editors. Gave Cindy some tips on using Outlook and Outlook Web Access. Helped Charles understand our Campus Locator System database. Lunch with Joel at Dragonfly (415-661-7755, 420 Judah St at 9th), a new restaurant of contemporary Vietnamese cuisine. Migrated Chris's calendar from Meeting Maker to Outlook. It took about 4 hours, and it's mostly Palm's fault. There's no direct way I know to convert calendar items from Meeting Maker to Outlook, but you can go from Meeting Maker to a Palm Pilot then from the Palm Pilot to Outlook. It took so long because we kept running into problems and the Palm troubleshooting documents didn't anticipate the behavior we had gotten. For example, we could perform a sync, and the log file would reflect that data got transferred, but no data actually got transferred. The solution I figured out myself was: get a computer that had never had Palm Desktop installed on it. Install Palm Desktop using the original CD-ROM that came with the Palm Pilot (in this case, a Palm m515). During installation, choose to install Microsoft Outlook conduits. Download the latest version of Palm Desktop, then install that over the first Palm Desktop. Download and install updated (PocketMirror?) software from Ch????. The Outlook conduits can be installed only from the original CD-ROM and only if when you originally installed Palm Desktop from that CD-ROM you chose to install the Microsoft Outlook conduits. At that time, we were using Eudora instead of Outlook, so the Outlook conduits were never installed. We kept performing steps we thought would sync data to Outlook but the data never came across and the instructions on the Palm website for how to sync data to Outlook never accounted for this possibility, and the error log never accounted for this possibility, so we had no clue how to fix the problem. Palm, in my opinion, made 3 critically poor decisions. The first was to include the Outlook conduits only on the original CD-ROM. The second was to force the user during installation to choose either Palm Desktop or Microsoft Outlook for synching. (A much better design would have been to give the user both options by default and simply use whatever they request to use whenever they request it.) The third was for the log file to presume that data got transferred when it really didn't get transferred. (Or, you could also say the third critical problem was that the log file was a method of troubleshooting to begin with.) I have always had very frustrating experiences synching Palm Pilots to Windows apps, and consequently I will never buy one for myself or recommend them to others. You might say I give two thumbs down to Palm. Tomorrow we attempt to sync data from Outlook to Chris's new Treo. Home. Dinner at home with Patrick: combination pizza with extra red and yellow bell peppers. Unpacked the Mac Mini, then realized that I don't have the right connectors. I still use an old KVM with PS2 mini-din connectors for mouse and keyboard and the Mac Mini only uses USB, so I got a connector cable thing from Cyberguys for about $13 and ordered some CD-R and DVD-R media at the same time. The Mac Mini we bought has a DVD burner, so finally we'll have someplace to put all the Simpsons episodes we want to save besides our Iomega Rev drive tapes. (I never did get a DVD burner for the PC.) Archived documents to PDF.
Breakfast at home: bagel and cream cheese. Made live minor web updates for Cindy. Updated the electives schedule for Cindy. Chatted with Joel about student ID photos and orientation. Chatted with Cindy about calendar sharing. Lunch: takeout from the cafeteria: beef stroganoff, broccoli. Set up the laptop for James's presentation. Chatted with Rodney before he left for vacation. I'm his emergency backup while he's gone. Chatted with Mark B about Exchange issues. Attempted to synch Outlook to Chris's Treo 650 (a Palm OS device), and failed. We know the system detected the Treo because the balloon saying new hardware was found appeared, but during sync it simply timed out and no data was transferred. When I went to look at the log file, I got an error message saying the log file did not exist. Everything looks like it's set up correctly, but it just doesn't sync and nothing points us in the direction of a solution. I thought we'd uninstall Palm Desktop and reinstall it, so we uninstalled it. Upon restart, Norton Anti-Virus would no longer start properly. We attempted to use System Restore to travel back in time, but it failed us on the 2 most recent restore points (and there were no other restore points stored). System Restore simply said it couldn't do the restore we had requested and that no changes had been made. Now, because of Palm, I have to fix the Norton problem on Monday before attempting the Treo sync again. Napped. My first time to Club Dragon, where Andy, Scott, Travis, Steve L, Steve D, Jason, Ryan, Galen, Peter, and others were already there. Met Collin and Boman for the first time. Had fun. Afterwards, Andy, Scott, Patrick C, ?, ?, and I went to Baghdad Cafe for a meal. It must have been around 3 or 4 AM. Scott was falling asleep at the table but magically remained upright the whole time.
Breakfast at home by myself while Patrick slept in. Hash browns, 3 eggs, 3 sausage, 2 toast with margarine. Worked on a birthday present for Nate. Dinner at Citizen Cake (415-861-2228, 399 Grove St) with Patrick: soupe du jour (spicy organic tomato), romaine hearts salad with bleu cheese dressing and bacon, squash blossom. Dessert: taj mahal. Everything about our meal was perfect except that Patrick's iced tea was frequently left unfilled. Upon arriving at 6:00 pm, our host asked us if we were seeing a show. We'd said yes, 7 pm. He handed off the info to our server, Sarah, who sped us through by suggesting we order only appetizers, which worked well for us since we weren't terribly hungry. Patrick enjoyed his soup, and I thought my salad was perfectly proportioned and prepared. The squash blossom was new to us—two small, delicate, almost translucent squash were stuffed with seasonings and some kind of grain the name of which we couldn't remember but which was very tasty. The dish included raisins, champagne grapes, roasted and coarsely chopped almonds, olives. The taj mahal chocolate dessert tasted a little strange at first likely because we're not used to mango paired with chocolate, but after getting comfy with it, we ate it all to the last speck. After dinner Patrick and I saw Charo (and her Las Vegas Show), one night only at the Herbst Theatre, and her first show in San Francisco in 10 years. Our attendance tonight was the culmination of a decision I had made months ago. I cannot recall exactly how I had learned of it, but I must have received an e-mail from the show's producer, Kung Pao Kosher Comedy, which advertised the event and, somewhat on a whim, I decided to get tickets. We don't do this kind of thing often, so I decided to splurge: $75 seats. It was to be a surprise event for Patrick—we do these surprise events to keep things romantic. He found out at Citizen Cake (when the trying-to-be-helpful host said, "Are you trying to make Charo at 7?"), but he was again surprised when he found out we were in the fourth row on the aisle, as I know Patrick prefers aisle seats so as to not feel cramped. We sat down, and Patrick exclaimed, "We're in booby range!" The show was fabulous, lively, exciting, funny. The show was mostly as bringdown.com (now defunct) had reviewed it last summer. My co-worker Joel pooh-poohed the event, saying that Charo wasn't even C-list entertainment, and for a while I had worried I'd gone out on a limb that would break under me. But it was all worth it a few songs into the show during (I think) "Caliente," the song during which Charo breaks through the fourth wall for hugs, kisses, and high-fives. She had made her way befriending audience members in front of us, and when she saw Patrick, she shrieked in passion and excitement, and then she pulled Patrick's head to her breast and held it there while vigorously shaking her voluminous breasts. I kind of suspected this might happen, and I could do nothing but laugh and smile and keep clapping along to Caliente, like the rest of the audience (except for the old man seated on my right—more on him later). Afterwards, Patrick said he felt special because he was the only one in the theatre who got the cuchi cuchi booby shake. Secret insider's tip: the beads and sequins on her flaming red jumpsuit are very hard on the face, so receiving the cuchi cuchi is very memorable but not very comfortable. Charo sang Fernando and Chiquita by ABBA. She played Ravel's Bolero on the guitar. She played one song by Ibeniz. As part of her encore, she sang and danced the Macarena. She performed more songs than we can remember, and it was all a lot of fun. She seemed like a really smart, talented, and funny individual who is very at ease on the stage and a master of showmanship. So the old guy sitting on my right came to the show dressed in a dark suit. He was accompanied by no one. As far as I know, he said nothing the entire time. Just before the show started, he pulled out a pen and a small deck of blank, lined 3 x 5 index cards wrapped with a rubber band. During all the songs including Charo's 4th wall venture, his face was like a stone revealing nothing. He didn't clap or laugh or smile. During the first standing ovation, he didn't get out of his seat. I didn't see him write anything the entire show. During a couple of Charo's jokes, I saw him barely begin to smile. Not an actual smile, mind you. Just the seeds of smiling. I tried to ignore him, but how can one ignore the only person in the theatre who isn't openly having fun? In my mind, I tried to guess what his deal was. Did he have a childhood trauma? Was he Catholic? Or was he just an event reviewer who had seen everything? That this man was able to sit through Charo's show and show hardly any emotion was perhaps more amazing than Charo herself or Charo's guitar skills.
Slept in. Cut my hair. Showered. Breakfast at home by myself. Patrick ate earlier. 2 hash browns, 3 eggs, 3 sausage. Helped Patrick prepare his Vienna photos for uploading. Sent Chris De Lay an article (Dean). Napped. Did work for Corinna: outgoing fax correspondence template. Dinner at home with Patrick: fried mushrooms, grilled pork chops, mac and cheese with multicolor bell peppers.
Breakfast: a banana. Lunch: Joel and I got takeout from the cafeteria. I got vegetable cow soup, corn bread and butter, peach yogurt: $3.28. Helped two students and fellows with expired accounts. Set up a new shared calendar for the office since the behavior of the one I had previously set up wasn't what I expected. Listserv edits for Joel. Set up e-mail migration for student organizations. Laptop troubleshooting for Chris. Wasn't able to fix Norton, but was able to fully uninstall it, which is almost as good since it was unrepairable. Today the cable I needed for the Mac Mini arrived from Cyberguys. I also received replacement headphone ear pads for Patrick's headphones. Picked up some groceries at Golden Produce. Patrick had gone to dinner with Aaron this evening. I stopped by BriKel's place, Kelly was home but Brian wasn't. I stuck around for a while and chatted with Kelly and left after about an hour or so. Dos enchiladas dinner at Azteca. Home. Set up the Mac Mini. I had to muck about a lot with cables. After 2 hours and 35 minutes, I had the web server partly working—the journal pages aren't working probably because of some FilesMatch directive I had used for them which isn't present in the new configuration. Will figure this junk out later. So far I love the Mac. The best part about it is how quiet it is. With all my other computers off, the room is essentially silent.
Breakfast: organic apple granola and a nectarine. Set up shared calendaring. Lunch with Joel at that Vietnamese restaurant on Irving. We both had bun bo xao, Joel had a Diet Coke. Chris's laptop. Home. Mac setup: set power settings so that the Mac no longer goes to sleep. If I decide to turn on Personal Web Sharing in the Sharing control panel it ought to be smart enough to suggest that the power settings automatically be set appropriately for a web server, but I had to set this manually. I spent the next 4.5 hours trying to figure out why mod_rewrite wouldn't work and how to access my web root from Windows through file sharing. Eventually I got all kinds of errors I wasn't expecting to get with a Mac: "You don't have permission to access / on this server" and "fopen permission denied" and "httpd could not open error log file" and "skipping user" and "Exception: EXC_BAD_ACCESS, Codes: KERN_PROTECTION_FAILURE." I ended up hating the Mac for reminding me of OpenBSD. I plan to reinstall from the CD tomorrow because I can't figure this out myself and I don't want to deal with tech support. These errors should simply not be happening to me—that's why I bought a Mac! The poster said, "The power of UNIX. The simplicity of Mac." Chris C, AT and T DSL, ask for "clear radius" to reset faulty DSL.
I'm up to my ears in computers requiring brain surgery, and it's stressing me out. Most of my day was spent going back and forth among different computers needing Win XP set up. Chris's laptop has been acting very unreasonably ever since I activated encrypted folders in Windows XP SP2. Things no longer install properly, anti-virus stopped working, the computer started responding really slowly. Eventually I could not get it to log in with networking at all—only Safe Mode as local admin would work. I'm very disappointed with the encrypted folders feature in Windows. It has been touted as simple and effective, but I'll never use it again because it essentially destroyed this machine. We're lucky we have 2 levels of backup for it. This was particularly painful because I thought I was doing good when I encrypted the folders. Fortunately, Chris doesn't seem to mind as much as I thought he would. I guess he feels secure in the BounceBack backup device we have. Debrah's computer has been backed up and needs to be wiped clean before a new person comes in to fill the position she had left. I'm also setting up an entire workstation just so that it can run Outlook 24/7 as a delegate to automatically accept meeting requests for resource accounts. I'm really quite surprised that the Microsoft Exchange team couldn't include a better solution with their product. Joel's computer might need brainwashing too because it has a problem with IE that can't be fixed any other way. (No uninstaller makes it a little hard to perform maintenance on it.) And my own work computer—I think I've mentioned this before—has been refusing to accept cookies even though I tell it to (and it indicates it will accept them). Helped Uerica W with Macromedia Dreamweaver today. It's DW MX 2004 which I've never used before but I found the interface incredibly difficult to use. I probably need to view the tour and tutorial they provide, but I was really quite annoyed at the wysiNwygness of it. We also ran across a problem in which it would upload files but then set the permissions to really bizarre settings, sometimes removing write access for the owner—WTF? I couldn't figure that out at all. umask was set correctly for the account and there was no way I could find within Dreamweaver to see permissions of files before or after uploading. The answer might be in documentation but I just didn't have time to go do that while I had a student anxious to put a site online. Students really probably need something simpler—possibly Macromedia Contribute—and some simple templates. Browsed at the new Cost Plus in Daly City. Now I know where to go when I want to make a really expensive gift basket of cute miniaturized gourmet foods. Grocery shopping at Trader Joe's (cute checker guy and bagger guy today). Dinner at home with Patrick: bagel sandwiches with swiss and roast turkey and organic greens salad mix as lettuce. Reformatted the Mac Mini to get rid of the problems I had yesterday. Web server is down again.
Met with Nancy, Heather, and Sarah to discuss databases and listservs and mailing lists. Charles shared with the office a yellow rose from his garden that smelled faintly but distinctly of lemon—interesting. Lunch: Joel, Ena, and I got takeout from the cafeteria. I had roast turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, side salad. Helped Ena with some calendaring for a few minutes when we realized we needed a new distribution list, so I put in a ticket with ITS. Installed a new Dell 1100 black and white laser printer for Joel. Setup was very simple. Joel is a little disappointed he no longer has a separate tray for letterhead or envelopes. I'm disappointed that the quality is only 600 dpi, which is the same level of quality as common laser printers from over 10 years ago. But the thing is inexpensive—gotta give it that. We'll get burned on the toner cartridges, I know. That's how it all works. Installed Microsoft Update and other updates for nearly all office computers. Spent a lot of time today rebuilding Chris's laptop. Snack: dos bananas. Dinner at home with Patrick: pork chops stuffed with stuffing, steamed broccoli.
Breakfast: english muffin, a nectarine. Post-breakfast: a banana. More or less finished rebuilding Chris's laptop today. Also did some minor maintenance (defrag, updates) on some other workstations. Patrick asked me recently what I was reading now and I told him I was reading the installation guide for the enterprise version of Google Desktop Search—no joke. Today I was all ready to set it up and install it when I discovered I don't have rights to create group policy objects in our domain, so I submitted a ticket to request the permission. Today we received word from the Exchange admin that there indeed is no way for one to designate an appointment as private in Outlook Web Access. This seems to me a major oversight, particularly since one of the primary benefits of the Exchange server is shared calendaring. Lunch: turkey and swiss sandwich from home. Set up a dean's office listserv for Heather and Sarah. Snack: a banana, lowfat cheesy puffs. Dinner at home with Patrick: pan-fried London broil, mashed potatoes. Worked on Corinna's fax template. Napped. Showered. Went to Club Dragon. We saw and/or met Tony Q, Frankie, Ted, Emery, Greg, Antonio, Mike, Robert, Collin, and Erick. Afterwards, Patrick and I got a meal at Baghdad Cafe.
My favorite breakfast. Wrapped a present. Finished the first draft of Corinna's fax template. Sent it to her for review. Designed costumes for Lee's party this evening: I Love the 80s—Flashback Birthday Party. We made iron-ons for t-shirts of 80s things. Patrick's t-shirt: the MTV logo with the album cover of Madonna's Like a Virgin inserted into the M. My t-shirt: a photo of the original Macintosh and the words, "Introducing Macintosh. For the rest of us." Errands at Walgreens. Drove to the party in San Jose. Lee's place is brand new, a townhome atop a giant hill rising over new freeways. I like his place—the newness of it. We chatted mostly with Bill and Kevin and Dale, all of whom we hadn't seen in a long time. Met Melvin. Left somewhat early (8:45 PM) because Patrick has practice with Simmone at 5:00 AM tomorrow morning. Drove home. Sent Nate a digital gift: Wallace and Gromit desktop wallpaper, including two which I traced/reproduced in Adobe Illustrator myself.
Slept in. Lunch: shrimp ramen noodles with spinach, baby bok choy, egg, mushrooms. House chores. Put up a note about a contest for Project: QueerLit on the Lodestar home page for Patrick. Set up the webserver (attempt #2). Dinner at home with Patrick: cioppino, leftover mashed potatoes. Watched 2 Simpsons episodes.
Troubleshooting with Chris's laptop—he got a BSOD and other crashes over the weekend. While updating the video BIOS it took a long time and so I cancelled it and now it won't start at all—the screen is completely black even before Windows XP. Dell is sending someone to replace the mobo tomorrow. I was busy the whole day and felt like I had a million things to do. Lunch: Santa Fe sandwich, curly fries. Only ate half of everything. Interviewed a candidate for our open curricular affairs assistant position. Met with Susie. We talked a lot about databases. Dinner at home with Patrick: bow tie pasta with chicken and mushrooms. Biz card and fax template edits for Corinna. Chatted with Tony Q online. I realize at 11:13 PM my RSS feed is working again. Must be because of an httpd.conf tweak I had made yesterday. Still haven't figured out why the journal pages won't display properly.
I dreamt last night I was at the top of a telephone pole that was hundreds of feet tall. I was talking to two other people who were also on similar telephone poles. I wanted to get down from where I was, and I remember being very determined and careful as I worked my way down the handles—hand, foot, hand, foot—trying to avoid looking down at the dizzying height. I was doing alright for a short while, but then I started to feel the pole tilt—as though it had been rooted in sand. I started to go down with the pole, and as I watched the world come up to hit me, the pole and I accelerated, and when I would have hit the ground is when I awoke. It was still early morning—too early to get up, and eventually I realized it was all just a dream and went back to sleep.—Breakfast: english muffin, eggs, hash browns, sausage at home. Wrote up Outlook tips to send out to the office—a way of training everyone in the office in small easily digestible chunks which they can file and refer to later. Chris's laptop saga: Dell tech named Tito arrives, replaces mobo, problem still exists. He says the graphics card is not integrated into the mobo, which is what I thought and what the Dell tech on the phone agreed to. I send a message to the Dell tech I spoke with, asked him to fedex a graphics card replacement and a tech for tomorrow to do the install. (Sigh.) Got Joel's computer on Microsoft Updates—that's the whole office now on Microsoft Updates instead of Windows Updates. Hopefully it will make a big difference. Supp app troubleshooting—an applicant reported problems printing with Acrobat 7. I tested with Reader 7.0.3 and found no problems. Lunch: salad, garlic bread, a plum: $4.29. Dinner at home with Patrick: orange meal: mac and cheese with tuna, butternut squash soup, bread and margarine. Got my journal working again. The problem was that mod_rewrite wasn't working. I figured out I had to make a change to my user httpd.conf file and now all seems well. Next steps: set up automatic nightly backups like before, then set up editing from HTML-Kit. Downtime: 26 days. Loss of data: none. If you want to catch up on days missed, start on July 22.
Granola, toast and margarine, an apple for breakfast. At work fires burned all morning. The big one was that our computer lab server was misbehaving somehow, and I'm filling in for the admin who is on vacation. Logging in and logging out for student accounts took an unusually long time—if one was patient enough to wait 10 or 15 minutes. Yes, they're roaming profiles, but Group Policy is already set to exclude commonly large directories, and it's not clear why the problem happened shortly after the admin's vacation began. I had called in backup yesterday, and the computer support outsource agency we use for our more difficult problems sent Joe, who knows his stuff. He immediately suspected spyware or virus, but I knew the server had firewall and anti-virus, so I was doubtful. After trying and failing to access what we needed from the server remotely, we found no one had a key to the office where the server was located. The admin assistant down the hall wasn't at her desk, and another person in her office said he didn't have a key. Ena called the lock shop (which couldn't give us a time when they could show up) before relying on an inside connection no one else knew and came up with a key. We got in, and after some poking around we found we needed a local admin login and password and I had none. I feel a little responsible for these roadblocks, since I was entrusted to be a backup. I should have insisted on these things before the admin left, but I didn't. What could go wrong? I thought. Eventually, we suspected Sasser but a Sasser removal tool didn't find it on the system. We installed Microsoft Anti-spyware Beta but it found nothing, too. At one point, Blaster was a suspect, too, but again a removal tool did not find it on the system. Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 hadn't been installed, but when we tried to install that it gave an error that it could not install and subsequently restarted the server. We poked about in Group Policy. We googled and googled and googled for solutions to the various error messages we had been getting and came up with nothing conclusive. We looked in the event log for clues, and they led us nowhere. We disabled suspect services. Joe was very suspicious about all the blocked intrusions reported by our firewall but I told him it's normal for us to see that kind of activity. In the end, changing some permissions on a share got us almost back to normal, and in the process we had discovered that all 3 hard drives were severely fragmented and one of them was FAT32 instead of NTFS. It's not clear why the permissions change fixed the problem, but at least things seem to be working now better than before. I let Joe go to put out other people's fires, but there's still plenty of work to be done with this server. I started one drive defragging overnight. The smaller fire today was Chris's laptop. Tito from yesterday returned, replaced the graphics card with another one, and the problem still happens. He said Dell had sent him a refurbished graphics card, so he said he would call them and request a new graphics card as well as a new LCD (just in case, I guess). He'll likely be back tomorrow. Fortunately Tito didn't take up much of my time at all. I made updates to career fair and placement interviews and pharmacy information day for Joel. Lunch today was salisbury cow, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn off the cob from the cafeteria. Dinner at home with Patrick: butternut squash soup, leftover ramen and vegetables and egg, toast and margarine. Grocery shopping at Trader Joe's. Started researching backup solutions on OS X. My sister gave birth to a healthy baby girl today. Labor was only a few hours, Rob says. They have chosen a first name: Kiana.
I forgot my sandwich this morning, but Patrick found it and ran outside where Sam happened to just pull up and he asked Sam to drive to the corner to meet the bus so he could hand me my sandwich—so sweet! I forgot what I ate for breakfast this morning, but I know it was something. Probably a nectarine and toast if not my usual favorite breakfast. The firefighting story continues. The problematic server is relatively stable now. Not perfect, but not as bad as a couple days ago. I restarted after applying two security patches, then defragged another hard drive. Chris's laptop: the technician now thinks it was both the mobo and the display. We can now get a picture when we plug it into the docking station. (We couldn't before and there's a new mobo now.) He's ordering a display and will return tomorrow for the install. The CD-ROMs for entering students arrived. Set up Joel with the design he needed for promotional post-it notes to give to prospective students. Set up linkchecking for Aaron C and the CDDS website (one of the school's partners). Wrote Outlook tips for the office. Helped students via e-mail with Outlook questions. Troubleshot a problem with some of our cabinet doors with Ena. The doors get horizontal scratches across them but only sometimes. There's a lock right where the scratch occurs, so I had suspected that perhaps the position of the lock made a difference, but upon closer inspection (after Ena provided the key to the locks) it appears to be simply poor design by Steelcase. Made web pages live for pharmacy information day for Joel. For lunch, we were invited to a presentation by some students in our program who were doing a summer internship with Albertson's and Sav-on. They presented the internship activities in which they had participated. It was great to see their learning processes grow on them, and I could tell they're a really sharp bunch. Albertson's provided the food and drink, of course, so we got to eat fried chicken, giant slices of tortilla wraps, sandwiches, vegetables and dip, chips, and other lunch goodies. Dinner: I had brought a sandwich today but didn't get to eat it, so I took it home and ate it there. Patrick and I went to Mezzanine for the first time today to experience a DJ set by Gus Gus. We arrived way too early—9:00 PM—because I had thought the show would start right at 9. Starting DJs played electrosoul which we liked. An opening band named Protection played 1980ish electrorock which we thought was not great and not awful. (Patrick gives them a 4 on scale of 1 to 10, 10 being best, and I concur. The vocals are their weakest element, and the Stephen Hawking voicebox needs to be used in greater moderation.) When Gus Gus finally played around midnight we were tired of waiting. The almost entirely straight crowd disappointed Patrick, though I don't know what he was expecting. I hadn't seen so many women dressed like hookers since I'd been to North Beach. A Heineken cost $5. A rum and orange juice cost $6. Coat check was $2 per coat. Entrance was $10 each. Parking at the 5th and Mission garage was $9. We spent $44 tonight, and it wasn't worth it. We left not long after Gus Gus started and got a late night meal at Sparky's. Patrick got a burger and fries. I got a hearts of romaine salad with grilled chicken. About $20.
Breakfast: 2 nectarines, 2 pieces of toast with margarine. 8:30 AM bus 66 did not show up. Today I took the stairs up to the 9th floor where I work since I took the bus up from 9th and Judah. When I entered the hallway to my floor, I almost hurt myself because an Ethernet cable was crossing the closed doorway on the other side. Fortunately, someone was in the hallway at the same place and time and warned me—it was just enough. The cable was lodged on the door handle about 4 feet off the ground. No construction workers were around, but there was a ladder nearby and lots of ceiling tiles exposed the ceiling innards as has been the case for the past month or so. When I got to my desk, I created very polite sign asking the construction team to not permit cables to cross doorways without blocking off the doorways first. I printed it twice, then returned to the hazard site and posted one sign on each side of the doorway. Continued setup for our Exchange delegate to "automatically accept" meeting requests. It seems to work—meeting requests are now "automatically accepted" in only a few seconds. Corrected some listservs for Cindy. Defragged another hard drive on the problematic server. Lunch in the workroom with Joel and Ena—we all had brought our lunch today. Set up the laptop for James for a supplemental application workshop. Created and deployed a new Microsoft Word template for the office. Sorted through calendar migration details with Cindy. I collected all the post-it notes on which I jotted down notes from the problem with the computer lab server from Wednesday. Here they are: cannot update your roaming profile, Windows cannot find the local profile, lsass.exe 5.2.3790.0, offset 0000744e, Windows cannot locate the server copy of your roaming profile, Symantec Ghost Configuration Server: 08001 [Sybase][ODBC Driver][Adaptive Server Anywhere]Unable to connect to database server: Database server not running. OK, LSA Shell encountered a problem and needed to close, 1073740972 lsass.exe, MSBlast, Service Control Manager: Windows could not be started as configured. A previous working configuration was used instead. OK. I discovered that Chris's laptop will sync if Treo is connected directly to the laptop's usb port but not to a usb port on the docking station. The laptop also seems to no longer have a bluetooth radio. I'll have to mention these issues to Tito when he arrives on Monday.
Patrick and I visited my sister's family and their recently born baby girl. Errands in West Portal: dropped off a sleeping bag at a dry cleaner, picked up a DVD. Got bagel sandwiches from Noah's Bagels. Patrick had a rachel sandwich on cornmeal rye with cole slaw. I had a chicken salad sandwich on sesame with potato salad. Home. Ate. Napped. Sushi Night 001 at Sakana Bune (415-387-8561, 5701 Geary Blvd at 21st). At the suggestion of my co-workers, I decided to start a regular sushi night. We'll visit a different sushi restaurant each time. There are no other particular requirements. Sushi eaters of all levels are welcome. Sakana Bune is the favorite sushi restaurant of my co-worker Joel, who unfortunately did not attend this evening. In attendance: Melissa, Marina, Scott, Andy, me, Patrick, Ryan, Jason, Tony Q, Galen. We arrived around 6:00 PM, which was good because as the restaurant filled up, service got a tad slower. There were some interesting rolls which I hadn't seen before such as one that was slices of cucumber stuffed with sushi fillings. We ordered 2 large platters—one of sashimi and one of sushi—and most of us also ordered individual items and appetizers for the table. One roll we especially enjoyed had a deep-fried prawn and candied walnuts, similar to a Chinese dish called walnut prawns. I think it was called honey walnut roll. Dinner was $22 per person, which sounds expensive, but I think it's cheap for sushi. I remember paying $40 per person at Warakubune once. I believe everyone had a great time, and I'm glad the event seemed to go well. Melissa gave me a gift for Joel. Patrick and I noticed that Sakana Bune is very close to the restaurant we recently enjoyed very much called Aziza (415-752-2222, 5800 Geary Blvd, see April 10, 2005). Home. Researched digital cameras. The new Kodak EasyShare-One looks very promising. The touchscreen and wireless features are an innovation which I haven't seen on any other digital cameras (but I haven't been following the market very closely so it's possible that Kodak isn't first to market with them). Updated my RSS feed so that it shows the entire entry (as requested by sneeper). Before I was showing just the first 200 characters.
Cut my hair. Usual breakfast at home. I got a lot done this morning. Cleaned the bathroom. Did some laundry. I WD-40ed the refrigerator door hinge—it had been squeaking loudly for at least the past week. Broke down old cardboard boxes we didn't need. Removed the PUR water filter we bought a couple of months ago from the kitchen sink. (I've been drinking tap water instead—I can't tell the difference.) Tightened a kitchen cabinet door which was loose. Took out trash and recycling. Dusted and vacuumed. Archived documents. Cleaned out one of our closets some. Watched Charlie's Angels Full Throttle on DVD with Patrick. The film is, on the whole, completely ridiculous and salacious, and I think that's why I enjoyed it so much. Patrick had to explain parts of the plot to me afterwards because I couldn't follow it. Finished wrapping a gift. Grocery shopping at Safeway on Taraval. Laundry. Dinner at home with Patrick: chinese chicken salad, toast. Did some securing of OS X. More closet cleaning. Archived documents.
Breakfast: a banana, a nectarine, a sesame bagel with cream cheese. Installed Google Desktop 2.0 beta. Wrote more Outlook tips. Began brainwashing Joel's computer. It needs to be reformatted because he was having a problem with Internet Explorer that we could not resolve. His font size would inexplicably change from small to medium—very annoying. Lunch: roast cow sandwich with cheddar, a banana, pretzel tots, a fig bar. Helped Chris with printing and various other issues. Reinstalled his display drivers. Laptop replacement LCD is backordered—current ETA is 3 to 5 days. Dinner at home with Patrick: angel hair with four cheese red sauce, marinated mushrooms. Chatted with sneeper. Started my collection of things that were separated at birth. Played the 4th edition of Joey Katzen's Retail Alphabet Game, which sneeper suggested when he had heard my suggestion that my brain was tuned in to logo design. (I had mentioned to him that the OpenID logo resembled the Playstation logo.)
Breakfast: an apple, a banana, 2 toast with margarine. Telecommute day. Today's music: radio on theagriculture.com, which I like only a few minutes in. Tina called from Sacramento to say hello and find out what station NPR was on. Updated a bunch of web pages. Started completing my performance appraisal. Dropped off 2 packages at the UPS Store, both items to be repaired or replaced: some Calphalon pans which had had the non-stick coatings come off, and a Honeywell air purifier which had stopped working. Late dinner at home with Patrick: frozen pizza. Prepared a new mailing list and web pages for sushi night. Watched Simpsons.
Breakfast: a banana. Backed up Chris's laptop with Retrospect. Staff meeting. Met with student N.W. about a student organization website (more Dreamweaver wrangling). There's a problem with—I think—browser caching which prevents us from immediately seeing changes we make on the web server—very frustrating. Will have to ask Rodney about it when he returns. Started SP1 installation for his Win 2003 server. Lunch: roast cow with cheddar on cream cheese on sesame bagel, pretzel tots, graham crackers. Worked on my performance review self-appraisal, sent it to Cindy. Restored Eudora data for Joel. Zipped through the tutorial in Dreamweaver MX 2004. Notified Rodney he likely can get a free upgrade to Dreamweaver 8 because he bought Dreamweaver MX 2004 recently. DW8 is expected to ship in September. Fielded participants for our Xythos beta. Reset a password for a student organization website. Software updates for the shared laptop. Updated supplemental application workshop page for Stacey. Dinner at home with Patrick: burgers, tater tots, peas. Worked more on the sushi mailing list web page.
Breakfast: sesame bagel with cream cheese. Restarted Rodney's Windows Server 2003 after it had successfully installed Service Pack 1. Updated the electives schedule for Cindy. Updated e-mail policy with great suggestions from Chris C. Chatted with Bill S about a project he's working on. Lunch: cheddar cheeseburger, fries. Updated screen snapshot graphics illustrating how students should log in to Outlook Web Access and Outlook. Updated a listserv for Cindy. Edited the websites main templates slightly. Late afternoon snack: a banana. Helped Melissa reinstall wired and wireless network drivers for her laptop. Did some testing with Xythos. Updated an e-mail troubleshooting document with more details. Cindy chatted with Doug S about GAL issues; Doug S agreed to field any of the issues so I/we don't have to. Dinner at home with Patrick: homemade chicken fingers, mashed potatoes, corn off the cob. Napped. Patrick stayed home and slept while I went to Club Dragon and hung out with Scott, Andy, Ted, Emery, Collin. I met Minh, Arun, Kal, Donald, John, Steven, Devon. Some stranger stopped me and asked me who I liked better: Lisa Lisa or Sheila E and I answered Sheila E.
Slept in until noonish. Worked on items for Corinna's business identity: fax templates and color spec sheet. Worked on the sushi mailing list page. Dinner at home with Patrick: roast pig loin, stuffing.
Worked on the sushi mailing list page. Worked on scheduling backups for the Mac Mini. Patrick and I drove to Clement Street to get some dim sum brunch. On the way we passed Mao Zedong Village Cuisine Restaurant (415-668-1100, 1829 Clement St), at which Patrick laughed. We tried to go to Good Luck Dim Sum (415-386-3388, 736 Clement St) but it was too crowded. We went to a nearby dim sum place across and up the street: Wing Lee (415-831-7883, 501 Clement St). I liked that it wasn't empty but we still found a table pretty easily. I didn't like that they didn't provide separate plates or chopsticks—I felt barbarous. The food was good. We stopped at Schubert's Bakery (415-752-1580, 521 Clement Street near 6th Av) for a slice of princess cake and opera cake and a Viennese coffee. Everything tasted delicious and all the pastries in the window looked divine. We stopped at the dog run near 8th and Lake and watched a dog's owner patiently wait about 10 minutes for his dog to find the ball that he had thrown but the dog had lost interest in it. We stopped at the Three Bees Nursery near Clement and 20th but didn't buy anything. Patrick wants to clear out some tall grasses in the back yard before looking into getting some herbs that might grow well in our area. The nursery looks new and very well kept except for the 50% off section in the back—would anyone really want to buy sickly plants for half off? Grocey shopping at Safeway on Taraval. Snack: grapes. Dinner at home with Patrick: leftovers. Watched Simpsons. While we were watching, a spider came down from the ceiling right in front of us—scary! Patrick took it outside with the spider catcher. We've been watching the news about Hurricane Katrina. Patrick has a lot of family in New Orleans and he's worried about them. He convinced his mom to leave, and she's headed to Houston.
No 8:30 AM bus 66 this morning. Breakfast: granola. Finished setting up Lucia's computer. She arrives tomorrow for her first day. Reset Joel's default browser to IE. Various web page edits preparing for the arrival of new students. Lunch: Joel and I got Panda Express from the food court. Joel's fortune: You will soon be involved in many gatherings and parties. (I got 2 fortune cookies but saved them for later.) Spent some time updating firmware and bios for Chris's computer. Home. Napped. Late dinner at home with Patrick: herbed roast chicken with potatoes. For dessert: leftover desserts from Schubert's.
Patrick and I learned late yesterday that his mom and his brother Kerry ended up in Beaumont, Texas rather than Houston as planned, but she's safe from Hurricane Katrina and the resulting damage. We had taped the 6:00 AM and 7:00 AM news this morning and watched one while taping the other, fast-forwarding to get to news about Katrina. The news is simply awful and devastating. I went to work today but couldn't stop thinking about the city of New Orleans which I've never gotten to visit. Spent about an hour on the phone with Dell regarding Chris's laptop. Got things straightened away for the most part—the mobo will get replaced tomorrow along with the LCD screen which had been backordered. Today was Lucia's first day—it's great to have her helping us out. Chatted with Mark B about the Entourage setup web page. Cindy took the office out for a field trip to Gordon Biersch for lunch. Appetizers: calamari, bruschetta, artichoke hearts, crab and artichoke dip. Joel played dad and sat at the head of the table. Going clockwise, here's what everyone ate: Joel (asian chicken salad with cilantro and no red bell peppers), Ena and Frank (both of us got the guacamole and bacon burger special), James (cajun pasta), Cindy (caesar salad), Stacey (fire roasted chicken and fettuccine), Lucia (chicken caesar salad). We were all too stuffed to have dessert. Afterwards we visited UCSF Mission Bay because many of us had never been yet. Mission Bay is the university's newest campus which is built on what is one of the last remaining undeveloped parcels in the city of San Francisco. Consequently, everything is brand new: the buildings, the parking garage, the recreation center, the residence halls, the landscaping, the walkways. Researchers have already moved in to brand new labs last year, and some of our entering students this fall will be living in student dorms here. The day was sunny and hot, and we did a fair amount of walking, especially from GB to the campus. We took the shuttle back to Parnassus. I did some minor web page updates and tracked news about New Orleans. This afternoon I had learned that levees protecting New Orleans had broken and that the city was likely to be further flooded within the next 12 to 15 hours. Patrick persuaded his mom to fly to San Francisco to stay with us, and her plane is to arrive tomorrow at noon. He has been in contact with many of his other family members, but not all of them are known to be safe. We had also been worried about Sam's mom whom we thought was staying at the Doubletree (Hilton) Lakeside Hotel, but we learned late today that she had driven to Houston the night before the hurricane hit. Dinner: frozen pizza. Did work for Corinna. Patrick and I read the wikipedia entry for Hurricane Katrina and related blogs and websites. We are saddened not only by the total destruction left by nature, but also the looting and murdering and stealing of some of the humans who survived it. The stories I read make me want to cry. I set our ATI TV card to tape tomorrow morning's news again. Chatted with Sam who called late. Bedtime. It's been a sad and awful day.
Reviewed Mark B's Entourage edits. Downloaded photos from the camera, stored them on the server, notified everyone who attended yesterday where they were. City Tours edits for Joel, Luke, and Julie; sent them out for review. Helped Joel figure out how to avoid Reading Layout in Microsoft Word 2003 (Tools > Options > General, uncheck "Allow starting in Reading Layout"). Updated CPG members page for Susie. Reviewed a FERPA release form for Cindy. Updated the HIPAA training page for Cindy. Updated the P1 schedule for Cindy, sent it to her for review. Removed a virus from Joel's computer, repatched him against it just to make sure it stays clean. Chatted with Susie to resolve a problem she had sending RTF attachments. (Somehow she was sending shortcuts to the attachments rather than the attachments themselves.) Tito arrived to swap out the mobo in Chris's laptop yet again. This time it fixed everything. No LCD replacement was necessary and the docking station USB problem was resolved, too. Deployed HTML e-mail templates to nearly everyone in the office. Cleaned out one of my temp folders. Prepped for working with ITS to update the content for their VPN web pages. Lunch with Joel at Dragonfly: sesame beef appetizer, both of us got Saigon style vermicelli (bun cha gio thit nuong)—BBQ pig, imperial rolls, vermicelli, vegetables, fish sauce. Dinner at Lakeside Cafe with Mom Ryan and Patrick: Mom Ryan and I both had angel hair with chicken and spinach, Patrick had spaghetti and meatballs. We all shared an order of tiramisu for dessert. Afterwards we went shopping at Ross to get her some clothes. She left New Orleans quickly and didn't take much with her. Also, New Orleans was hot (95 degrees Fahrenheit) when she left, and San Francisco is much cooler, so she needed some warmer clothes. We spent the evening discussing the effects of Katrina: where family ended up, what areas are known to be flooded, the stories we had heard on the news, and so forth. Mom Ryan is still somewhat shaken by the sudden turn of events, and we all feel fortunate that she's alive and out of the area. Spent some time further securing the Mac and trying to get backups to work. Couldn't figure out how to make Automator burn 2 specific files to DVD. I set it all up so that it looked right, but when I clicked Run the DVD ejected without any files on it. I was unable to log into the Mac from work today and I don't know why. It worked in the past—maybe there have been firewall changes at work...I'll have to investigate further. I forgot to mention 2 days ago that when the 8:50 AM bus finally showed up it was filthy. The floor was strewn with sunflower seed shells, gummi cola bottles, candy bar wrappers, assorted trash, and the remains of a sticky spilled drink which had been cleaned up in a half-assed manner. One seat had some kind of greasy mess which was wiped up incompletely. The windows has grease marks where presumably tired riders had leaned their heads. Simply disgusting!