October 2005

Summary: Mom Ryan's Desperate Loveseat Hunt, Comedy Day featuring Robin Williams with Tony A (and Stephen F and Brian/Bryan, Steve L's birthday party, de Young Museum Opening, China Songshan Shaolin Temple Buddhist Ceremony

Dates on this page

Sat 1

Brunch with Patrick and Mom Ryan at Baghdad Cafe. Shopped at Ikea. I got a new desk lamp. Patrick and I got candles and tea lights. Mom Ryan got a bedside table with drawers, a short dresser with drawers which will serve as a TV stand. She also got some wall coverings, a vase, and pillows and pillowcovers. We had skipped lunch but had an early dinner at Malai Thai.

Sun 2

Chatted briefly with Mikey. Breakfast: waffles, sausage, orange juice, yogurt. Lunch at home with Patrick: mac and cheese with peas, texas toast. I spent all day at home working on materials for Corinna. Patrick did homework. Dinner at home with Patrick: roast cow with sweet potato.

Mon 3

Breakfast at home: english muffin, sausage. Today at work we celebrated Kristina's birthday. I guess she had called in sick or something—she didn't make it to her own surprise party. Joel brought cut fruit with a cool whip and yogurt dip, Cindy brought bagels, I brought Odwalla and made a poster, James made a drawing of Kristina to sit in her place while we celebrated. Resolved a problem for a student in which IE would not start correctly. Upon launching, it gave an error message: "Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime Library - Runtime Error! - Program C:\Program Files\Internet explorer\iexplore.exe - This application has requested the Runtime to terminate it in an unusual way. Please contact the application's support team for more information.)" I found the answer on a number of web sites including geekstogo forums and forums.microsoft.com: uninstall Google Toolbar (and reinstall with the newest version if desired). Resolved a different problem with another student's laptop: Her Toshiba laptop would not enter standby or hibernate correctly. From a link found on williamaford.com, I found Bart's Preinstalled Environment Builder which enabled me to boot into BartPE off the CD-ROM and then delete the offending file found at c:\windows\system32\geedb.dll. How did I know geedb.dll was the file? Hijack This found it—the blog entry called "Laptop doesn't standby or hibernate" and the comment called "Finding infected DLL's" on David Buck's blog helped immensely. Lunch: take out from Panda Express with Joel. His fortune: You have a captivating style all your own. My fortune: A cheerful letter or message is on its way to you. Chatted with Lucia about passwords for the staff portal and about our password manager program and about InDesign. Updated 2 listservs with a student's changed e-mail address. One student, AL, bought me a Lindt bittersweet chocolate bar for helping me fix her laptop. James gave me a bag of old clothes which didn't fit him anymore to see if Patrick or I would fit them. In general, I believe it's not worthwhile to go through clothes given up by a gay man, but he says they just didn't fit him anymore. Did some catching up on e-mail. Dinner at home with Patrick: leftovers.

Tue 4

Usual breakfast at the cafeteria. Student computing committee meeting. Staff meeting. Lunch: spaghetti, garlic bread, mixed vegetables. Dinner at Chow on Church with Mom Ryan and Patrick: Mom Ryan had fusilli in tomato cream sauce, chamomile tea; I had open-faced meatloaf sandwich with fries; Patrick had something pepper soup, garden salad pizza, iced tea. We shared an order of ginger cake with pumpkin ice cream. Yum! Grocery shopping at Safevay. Mom Ryan received another FEMA check today—this one is over $2000. Patrick called late at night to tell his mom the great news.

Wed 5

Telecommute day. Made a news story live for Susie. Updated web pages. Caught up on a lot of email. Set up some students to test our Xythos pilot. Did laundry. Set up Patrick's computer so that it's raised on a bit of folded-up cardboard so that he can plug his headphones into it while it sits in the Oyster dock. Installed updates. Lunch was canned Chunky soup. Dinner was pig-flavored ramen with mushrooms and green onions. Late night snack was white cheddar mac and cheese.

Thu 6

Updated a document listing the class officers. Met with student YB about an e-mail problem. Met with drop-in student PB—wireless had stopped working for him a few days ago. Turns out he needs to renew his GALEN account. Drafted a message about e-mail address privacy settings for Cindy. Sent the office a new copy of the list of all students. Deleted a listserv for Cindy. Updated an admissions web page for James. Updated my VPN web page. Chris complained of delays occurring at a certain hour—I guess I need to push our backups to a few hours later. Visited zimbra.com for the first time today via a link in a wired.com story. Wow! Mitch Kapor—what happened to you (and your blog)? I would try to set up zimbra at home, but I don't really need it (yet). The same WiReD article also talked about Flock, Zvents, and Greasemonkey. Flock does not interest me at all. Zvents looks somewhat promising. And Greasemonkey would be a lot more interesting if Firefox were bundled with it (because I don't want to have to ask people to install something in order for a script I write to work). Updates for Joel's computer. Ran Spy Sweeper scans. After listening to a music CD in the Mac Mini, I right-clicked it and ejected it, but it didn't come out. Although Apple Help gave some suggestions, the best answer came from allanmarcus on macoxshints who gave this very helpful tip: Use the command 'drutil eject' in a Terminal window. Apple should have put a paper clip manual eject on the Mac Mini, in my opinion. Started preparing for computer surgery to repair two crashed hard drives. Set up Spy Sweeper at home.

Fri 7

I got so much done today at work I didn't have time to write it all down. Reworked new firewall config instructions and screen snapshots for Rick S. Lunch: I think it was a cheddar cheeseburger and fries. Dinner: We ordered delivery from David's Kitchen. It arrived on time (35 minutes). Pad Thai, Vietnamese spring rolls, five-spice half-chicken cooked under a brick, extra order of Jasmine rice. The food was just okay. The pad thai was missing something flavorwise I couldn't identify. The spring rolls came only with shrimp (no pork) and weren't rolled very tightly. Of the dishes we ordered, I liked the half-chicken the best. It's a little fatty because the skin is left on, but that's where a lot of the flavor and crispness comes from—it wouldn't be the same without the skin. Fortunately, there didn't seem to be any gristle or unmentionable qualities to the chicken.

Sat 8

House chores. Started computer surgery. One hard drive, a Samsung, definitely checked out defective, so I'm inquiring about a replacement. (It's only 11 months old.) Shopping all afternoon and evening with Mom Ryan and Patrick to find Mom Ryan a new loveseat for her apartment. We went to a bunch of places (Pier 1, Pottery Barn, Sears) striking out every time but we eventually found something that worked at Levitz. Who knew she would love it at Levitz? Breakfast: fruit smoothie, yogurt, bagel and cream cheese. Lunch: leftovers. Dinner: teriyaki chicken and shrimp at Sarku Japan (Tanforan). In the course of our shopping, we had visited the new Tanforan Shopping Center. It was very crowded and Patrick got very upset because someone called me a faggot but I didn't hear it and I only found out from Patrick after we had gotten home. That and the Sarku food wasn't great, but what can you expect from a food court? Even the green tea they served us was made by Lipton. We also got Haagen Dazs at Stonestown along the way. Mine was orange sorbet (with real orange pieces!). Patrick had one scoop of hazelnut something and one scoop of chocolate something. Mom Ryan had one scoop of hazelnut something and one scoop of chocolate-covered almond something. Yum!

Sun 9

Patrick left to get a haircut. I did house chores and computer surgery in the morning. I showered, ate some food, and went to Comedy Day with Tony A. A bunch of comics, Golden Gate Park, free event. The surprise special guest was Robin Williams! He got a standing ovation when he was announced, and he was on stage for only about 10 minutes to tell a few jokes and to award some comedy award I had never heard of to someone I had never heard of. Most of the comics were just okay, but Robin Williams was very funny. After a while we left the event and walked around Golden Gate Park. Fleet Week was happening today as well, so while walking around we heard and saw jets and big airplanes flying around in the sky. Near Naan and Curry we ran in to Stephen F and his boyfriend Brian (Bryan?)—my first time meeting Brian. Picked up a birthday card at Accoutrements. Home. Went to Steve L's birthday party. We got him a gift certificate to Amazon. We didn't stay long because Patrick needed to wake up early. The cake was tiramisu—yummy! We learned that Steve's favorite store is The Body Shop. His favorite food is pho. Presents: books about how to make aquariums. (He likes fish.) Sneeper demonstrated how to solve a Rubik's cube several times.

Mon 10

Got an error message I had never seen before: "Microsoft Office Outlook - Can't open this item. You must enter a positive duration. OK" when attempting to view a calendar item invitation sent by Outlook 2003 in Outlook 2003. When I deleted the mail item from my inbox, another error message appeared: "Microsoft Office Outlook - The item may not have been deleted correctly. If someone sent you the item, that person's copy of the item may not be updated. You must enter a positive duration. OK." After clicking OK, the item is deleted. Searching on "you must enter a positive duration" in Google results in nothing. I think I know the answer to this—will test some more. It has to do with what happens on the last Sunday of every October.

Tue 11

I was disappointed to learn today that it's not simple—or in many cases not possible—to share mail folders in Outlook 2003 with Exchange server. A document I found on webapps1.housing.umich.edu was very helpful despite seeming to be incorrect. (You cannot actually share the folder called Security in their example.) The document is called "Page 2. Email with Microsoft Outlook 2003." The section is called "Sharing E-Mail Folders with other Users." I found that it's possible to share a mail folder, but only if it's the Inbox folder. Other mail folders cannot be easily shared without copying a .pst file somewhere—icky. We were promised workgroup features in Outlook and Exchange, so I'm extremely disappointed. Regarding yesterday's "you must enter a positive duration" problem, my testing did not come up with anything conclusive, but I think it has something to do with daylight saving time. I suspect that if you schedule a calendar item such that the start time and end time covers the changeover for daylight saving time, you'll *sometimes* get the error message "you must enter a positive duration." I forgot to mention 2 days ago Kristina gave 2 weeks notice that she was leaving our office to stay home to take care of her baby. Did training with Lucia on InDesign.

Wed 12

Usual breakfast at the cafeteria. Met with a student to configure wireless. Worked on VPN web pages for ITS. Made some proposed changes to the current students page. Lunch from the cafeteria: salisbury cow, mashed potatoes, gravy, carrots: $4.50. Dinner at So with Patrick: potstickers (not spicy), cow noodle soup for me, hot and sour noodle soup for Patrick. I forgot some printouts at work so I went back to get them. Patrick went home and got some studying done. Lately I've been reading The Stranger by Albert Camus (the Everyman edition which I think Jason Baum had bought him for his birthday a few years ago). Patrick has been reading Harry Potter 6.

Thu 13

Today I took the day off of work to visit the member's only preview of the brand new de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park opening this Saturday. I took bus 44 to Fulton. I arrived around noon and spent about 15 frustrating minutes trying to figure out how to get inside. The construction around the museum is not yet finished, so there are temporary fences, construction workers, and construction equipment all over the place. No signs direct visitors toward the entrance. I ran into other people who were also looking for the way in. We found a man in a suit with a walkie talkie and he pointed in a direction and said the entrance was that way. We walked for several minutes that way and found another man in a suit with a sheriff's badge who said that we could not get in this way. The elderly woman I was wandering around said she was a donor and she was a lot more frustrated than I was with the lack of organization. The correct directions to get in on foot are: As you walk in the park from Fulton (going south), turn right (west) at the T intersection (Kennedy) and then turn left (south) at the crosswalk a few hundred feet ahead. After crossing the street (Kennedy), turn left (east), navigating around the multiple temporary chain link fences. Follow the main drive right (south) to find the front of the museum and the main entrance where you can get in. I actually snuck through the fences through a construction zone to shortcut to the education entrance, but most of the time I think there's someone watching and you cannot go through that way. The wrong thing to do is to head west on Kennedy—you cannot get in that way. If you see a loading dock, that's a staff-only entrance and there's no way in there. As I approached, I took a few photos of the building's exterior. It's magnificent and grand with a skin of copper that is smooth in some places, embossed in other places, and punched with circles in other places. Strips of floor-to-ceiling glass windows provide views to the interior. The entrance leads into a pleasantly irregularly shaped courtyard with several large slabs of stone at just the right height for sitting. Laser-thin cuts divide the stone pieces as well as the floor upon which they sit. Once I got in, I got my ticket at the ticket counter on the right. Next I had a lot of trouble finding the coat check. The man who issued my ticket pointed across the room and said (I think) "down to the left." I wandered in that direction and found no signs leading me to the coat check. Along the way, a woman greeting people at the entrance told me that I could not carry my bag on my back and that I would have to check it in. I told her that was fine and continued to look for the coat check. I wandered around on the concourse level looking for the coat check a long time and eventually found a small window counter which said Coat Check but the window was closed. I asked someone else about this and they said they thought the coat check was downstairs and they directed me to an elevator. I took the elevator downstairs and immediately found a coat check room which was still being cleaned by two construction workers. There was a wall of cubicles for bags but they were all empty. Construction equipment was lying around on the counter and the room looked rather dusty and unclean. I found an information counter nearby and asked where the coat check was. A man pointed in the direction from which I had just come. I told him what I saw—that the coat check room didn't look ready and certainly wasn't staffed by anyone who looked like they were prepared to take people's coats and bags. Together we walked over and he seemed to agree. We waited for another man at the information counter to finish talking to other visitors. When we asked him where the coat check was, he said there's a free coat check over in the direction from which we had just returned. The other official explained that it wasn't finished and the other man behind the counter eventually said, "Well, I don't know what to tell you then." He suggested I might be able to leave my bag with someone behind the ticket counter, but that didn't sound very safe to me, so I ended up carrying my bag (which was rather heavy) for my entire visit. Fortunately, the galleries and the exhibits were mostly free of problems. Many pieces were missing their information cards, but I can never remember all that information anyway. I shuddered when I read the title of the introduction poster to one gallery: "America at the Crossroads." I saw works by Thomas Moran, Georgia O'Keefe, Wayne Thiebaud, and many, many more whose names I cannot remember. I saw nearly everything before deciding I needed to eat. I stopped at the cafe and decided I didn't want to wait in the long line to pay $9 for a gourmet sandwich so I left the museum and the park and found Cafe Muse at Fulton and 8th. The woman behind the counter was friendly and we chatted for a while. She's from Hong Kong, speaks Cantonese, and has a son and a daughter. Her name is Yvette. Patrick met me after he got off of work at 4:00 PM. We returned to the museum and while wandering around on the lower level I was very surprised to find a coat check counter right around the corner from the under-construction coat check I had seen earlier. I went back to the under-construction coat check area and found that it was all sealed off now—there were simply white walls in place of the doorways, as though it had never existed. I explained to the woman behind the coat check counter how I had not found the counter earlier and she apologized and took my suggestion for better signs directing people into the small, easily missed corridor. I dropped off my bag. I took Patrick up to the tower. The line seems long but it goes more quickly than you expect and the wire sculptures (and shadows thereof) to view while you wait are interesting. They have 2 elevators which can hold about 10 to 12 people each. Stairs exist, but they weren't open today. The 360-degree view from the 9th floor is a treasure—very pleasant. After the tower we went through a few of the galleries and left around 7:30 PM. Back at home, Patrick read from Harry Potter 6 and I typed up this journal entry.

Fri 14

Today was the White Coat Ceremony for the Class of 2009, so nearly all of my day today was taken up by it. The ceremony takes our first-year students, who have been in school for about a month, through a recitation of the oath of a pharmacist. Parents and friends are invited, and it's a touching and meaningful production which cements the students' commitment to their studies and their future careers. In a way it's the no-turning-back point for them. My co-worker Joel has this so well organized now that it's perhaps the easiest event our office has to work. The hardest part is having to smile all the time, which you kinda have to do because people are taking pictures everywhere so if you're working the event you need to look nice. People take pictures of everything in Cole Hall where the event takes place. They shoot the ceiling. They shoot the 3-piece orchestra. We hope they don't shoot the upper-left corner of the front wall above the chalkboards since the wood there has been rotting away for years due to a leak and improper facilities care. (When I asked Cindy today if we'll ever live to see that repaired, she tells me that Cole Hall is planned for renovation in 2006!) They shoot the flowers. They shoot the coaters conversing on the "stage" before the ceremony begins. Claire did a great job with our flowers, as usual. This was the first year she used potted orchids instead of cut ones. To hide the pots, she placed them in the back of the largish rectangular containers then fronted them with green flower foam blocks stuffed with yellow and orange gerbera daisies, yellow tulips, fern, and other leafy greenery I couldn't identify. She works wonders with plants and flowers. The event went off without any problems I could see. Fourth-year student BMcG gave a speech comparing pharmacy to pork ("the other white coat") which I missed but I heard that everyone loved. Afterwards I got to take home some of the tulips and daisies. Some mysterious someone sent me birthday presents—so early! I don't know who it is yet coz I didn't read the labels on the gifts yet. I'll wait till my birthday. Some computer equipment arrived for me today. Patrick brought home chicken pot pie from somewhere for dinner. It's yummy—rich but not too rich. Also a Caesar salad. While trying to figure out on the web what kind of orchids Claire used today, I stumbled across some great tips for taking pictures of orchids on orchidworks.com.

Sat 15

Slept in. Patrick and I had brunch at Tangerine. Service was really slow but the meal was delicious. I had the farmer's omelette and coffee. Patrick had the thai chicken omelette and coffee and orange juice. We shopped in the Castro for clothes. Patrick bought jeans at Citizen. Patrick got gelato at the new ice cream shop that replaced Ben and Jerry's. We ran into Drew and a friend of his visiting from DC. We visited Patrick's mom in the late afternoon. We got groceries at Safevay. Watched Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on DVD with Patrick. We both enjoyed it. Hilarious at times, definitely amusing. I spent some time working on our computer that's been having trouble lately. Fortunately, I was able to start the computer successfully and back up data that Patrick was worried about—some music he had composed. The hard drive had been making these weird noises and Windows was responding unusually slowly to a lot of tasks. I thought at first the hard drive had crashed, but a Maxtor disk utility said the drive was okay. I'm still worried about it because although things now seem okay the funny noises are still happening, so I need to rethink how we're backing it up and then consider the possibility of simply replacing the drive for the peace of mind. But at least I'll be able to begin putting the entire rack back together.

Sun 16

Woke up early to see the China Songshan Shaolin Temple Buddhist Ceremony at the de Young with Patrick and Mom Ryan. They performed a ceremonial blessing which was followed by the Shaolin monks performing their eight daily exercises. Afterwards, we tried to get dim sum at Harbor Village but we were very surprised to see they had closed their location at Embarcadero Center. An about.com web page says that they are now closed permanently after 20 years in business. How sad! We went to the Castro and ate at Cove Cafe (415-626-0462, 434 Castro Street), which has remodeled somewhat since our last visit a long time ago. The 8" x 10" framed photos on the wall are gone, but a note in the front window says they are being scanned in and will be displayed on TV monitors soon. Everything is a little bit classier than it was in the past. Modern ceiling fans, newly painted walls, new wall sconces, some new furniture, new ceiling lights, and so forth. The menu has been revamped as well—a needed improvement. We took Mom Ryan home and visited with her a few minutes. Patrick and I went home. He studied while I fixed computers. Did work for Corinna. Dinner: tacos, Spanish rice, refried beans. Watched Simpsons.

Mon 17

Breakfast: egg and sausage english muffin sandwich. Lunch: a banana, sushi at You See Sushi with Joel. He talked about Sharon Y and Continental Catering. He also told about how he was on MUNI and someone tried to steal a brand new video iPod out of someone else's hands. Helped several students who dropped in with questions about wireless and account problems. Caught up on e-mail. Down to 23 items in my inbox! Woo! Worked on VPN web pages. Dinner at home with Patrick: same as yesterday but no beans (we ran out). Patrick and I were both very tired tonight. Went to bed early.

Tue 18

Patrick has a cold. Virus checking for Chris's laptop—all clean. Updated a listserv for Joyce A. Worked on VPN web pages. Answered a call from Robin C about e-mail migration. Link checking.

Wed 19

Telecommute day. I got a lot done, mostly website updates. Patrick skipped his morning class but had to go to his evening class (TESOL) despite being ill. In the evening, Tina and Domenica called for assistance with InDesign—a CD project they're working on for a friend's wedding. Corinna sent me finished pieces of the stationery I designed for her. She seems very happy with it.

Thu 20

Breakfast: egg and sausage english muffin sandwich. The 8:43 Bus 66 this morning was 6 minutes late and stopped to pick up passengers at least 5 feet from the curb. More web page updates. Helped Joel with a Palm synching problem and updated iTunes. Updated display names in ADUC for students who have names similar to other people. Helped a student with a possible virus: gjoocb.exe, which looked suspicious to me. She said that Norton Internet Security 2005 found a virus but could not remove it. I restarted in safe mode. Nortin Internet Security would not start—an error message would appear. I ran Stinger from CD-ROM instead. Found other baddies: mc-110-12-0000080.exe, lisyxc.exe. Helped another student with a laptop. Today I received the replacement for the Samsung hard drive I sent back for repair/replacement to NewEgg.com. I'm very impressed. The return took only 9 days and newegg kept me informed via e-mail every step of the way. I was worried that I would have to be charged for not returning it with all the original packaging, but it appears I haven't been charged. Cancelled Sushi Night 002 due to low attendance and illness. I started getting a sore throat today and Patrick has been sick for a few days. I guess we'll be staying in this weekend feeling miserable. Shopped for rental cars. Baked pumpkin bread.

Fri 21

Potluck to celebrate (mourn) Kristina's last day at work. Cindy brought an artichoke heart frittata. Joel brought a huge salad that had everything in it including sliced grapes. Ena and Kristina each brought seven layer dip (they didn't know the other was bringing the same thing). Stacey brought baklava. Lucia brought margarita strawberry pie. I brought three kinds of pumpkin bread: plain, pecan, and ginger. Someone also brought a variety of Snapples.

Sat 22

Woke up at 2AMish, couldn't sleep. Miserable with a cold. Got up and looked through bk's photos on flickr for the past couple of months. Back to bed around 4:30 AM. Woke up again around 8 or 9 AM. Tonight was supposed to be Sushi Night 002, but Patrick and I are both still sick, so I cancelled it. Spent the day sniffling (frequently), coughing (occasionally), and reading a few salacious blogs. Organized photos on kodakgallery.com.

Sun 23

Stayed at home recovering from a cold. A leak in the ceiling appeared for about half an hour.

Mon 24

Stayed at home recovering from a cold. Georges came over to repair our oven light and toilet. Watched Halloween Simpsons episodes 4 and 15.

Tue 25

Another day at home recovering from a cold.

Wed 26

Yet another day at home recovering from a cold.

Thu 27

First day back to work after being sick. We have a new temporary employee in our office named Timothy, or rather Timmy, as he prefers to be called. He's our new but temporary pathway assistant in place of Kristina. I introduced myself briefly before today's webcast, and I let him know his e-mail and computer account were in the process of being arranged. Received two packages for work: one is a replacement battery for our 3-year-old Canon G2 digital camera, the other is a cheap keyboard and some 1/8-inch stereo extension cables. Joel found a video projector on MUNI a few days ago but has been unsuccessful finding its owner. He was excited to show it to me because whoever had owned it labelled it just like I would have. That's when I pointed out the name and phone number on one of the labels—he had missed seeing this until I pointed it out. He made some phone calls but got someone's voicemail, so he said he'd try again after lunch. Lunch with Joel at Cybelle's Front Room. Mushroom burger with potato wedges for me, some kind of burger for Joel with steak fries. Worked on VPN web pages for ITS. Helped Chris print out a floor plan of MSB1. Snacks during the day: a banana, an orange. Movie at Cole Hall with Patrick: Crash. The film was sponsored by UCSF Diversity something or other, so it was free and so was the popcorn. The room was pretty full, more full than usual for Cole Hall Cinema. Patrick and I both enjoyed the film very much. It's very worthwhile seeing because it really makes you think about how you interact with others around you on so many different levels. Suspend your disbelief of the all-too-impossible coincidences throughout, and just let it tell its valuable story. Everyone should see this film. Dinner at Dragonfly: something rolls, hainan rice, shaking beef, stuffed mushrooms, rocky road deep fried ice cream. Everything was delicious. Service was slow mostly at the start of our meal, but the food was so good we didn't care that much. The shaking beef, made from filet mignon, was particularly tender and tasty. Thai iced tea for me, jasmine hot tea for Patrick. The other tables around us had interesting dishes, too. One had a giant crab for two. Another had a birthday celebration with what looked like a big chocolate cream pie or tart. Patrick had overheard that it was brought in by the diners from Tartine. Another neighboring table had the fondue dessert which I thought looked tasty but Patrick wasn't that fonda it. It's the small touches here that make for some of the most pleasant surprises. For example, rice is served in individual portions in origamied banana or ti leaves placed inside round woven baskets, complimentary starter bread is served with pate which comes in a glass dish with a matching cylindrical glass dome lid, deep fried ice cream is served with a sugar cube atop dowsed with liqueur and then ignited—it burns ferociously for a minute or two and goes out by itself, oil-based incense sticks instead of a spray can of Glade in the restroom. Cloth napkins, candle and live flora at every table, padded seats—it's all good. Afterwards we had a few minutes to maim before the 10 o'clock bus, so we walked to 9th and Irving so that I could show Patrick the window display at (formerly Luba but I don't recall the new name) which has some of the same hanging screen things we bought at Ikea for Mom Ryan but which we haven't yet set up. You could tell that they had problems installing the screens in the window display because some of them were additionally tied at the top with plastic zip ties which to me meant that Ikea's equipment was faulty somehow. We bought the hook and clips instead of the metal bars, so we won't have the exact same problem, but I'm already anticipating a less-than-happy result. On the way back to the bus I pointed out how the awful window display at (not Luba) matched the awfulness of the window display at On The Run and Patrick agreed. How shameful for some shop owners if someone (probably a gay man) were to create a blog critiquing window displays, I thought. Perhaps someone is already doing that and I don't know about it. On the bus ride back, Patrick and I talked about his idea of fixing our mass transit system by forcing everyone to drive nerf-bodied instead of metal-bodied vehicles and also drive a lot slower because rushing everywhere is bad. I didn't discount it outright, but he admits he hasn't thought through the whole plan just yet. Halloween is coming up. Neither of us plan to have costumes—we've been too busy or sick to deal with that. Tomorrow is Sam's birthday, so we're taking him to dinner and a movie—Wallace and Gromit. Saturday Patrick will study while I will attempt to build a shelving unit in one of our closets and we have a party in the evening. Sunday we plan to help Mom Ryan find a coffee table for her new place. The weekend is pretty much accounted for, so just one more day to go before then.

Fri 28

Did research on the Kodak Easyshare One camera, the world's first camera with built-in 802.11b wireless and a large touch screen display. The $500 street price seems steep, but it wraps a great deal of convenience in a very small package, so I believe it's still a great value for the right kind of person. My typical workflow is to edit photos in Photoshop before uploading, so this convenience does not matter much to me if photos cannot be uploaded to anywhere but Kodak's website. Twenty-five days ago on satn.org, BobF wrote that one big problem with this camera is that photos are uploaded to Kodak's web site and he claims that Kodak essentially owns the photos, but this isn't true. The terms clearly state: "Kodak Imaging Network does not claim ownership rights in any image contained in your account." BobF seems to be primarily complaining about the lack of ability to download the full-res (or high-res) versions of his images, but Kodak (recently?) now has that ability if you pay their Gallery Premier subscription fee: US$2.49 per month or US$24.99 per year. For many people, I think this would be a great camera. I placed an order with universalgear.com several weeks ago. Over a week ago, I sent an e-mail to info@universalgear.com asking the status of my order which I hadn't received yet and as of today I have received no reply. I called the phone number in my order confirmation—1-800-204-1844—but there was no answer at all even though I stayed on the line for 2 minutes while it rang and rang. When I checked my credit card statement, no charge from this company appeared at all. It's as though they suddenly went out of business (but the web site still appears to be taking orders), but fortunately they don't appear to have stolen my money (yet). Very shady. Hey! I called back again later and spoke with Ray who said the order "must have fallen through the cracks" and didn't get printed by the system somehow. He said he'd send the order today, shipping would be waived, I would get the sale price on the track jacket, and I would still get to keep any sale prices from the underwear sale that was on when I placed my order. Super! I'm very happy with how this was resolved. I'll probably still order from them again because I know that if there's any problem it will be resolved quickly, efficiently, and more than fairly. Some minor web updates. Caught up on e-mail, set up Timmy's computer and e-mail, posted a news story for Susie. Lunch: foot-long oven-roasted chicken boob sandwich from Subway. Dinner at (that sushi restaurant that Sam likes) with Sam and Patrick for Sam's birthday. I forgot to mention that yesterday bus 66 in the morning did not show up twice in a row again. The 8:43 AM did not show up. The 9:03 AM did not show up. My district supervisor Fiona Ma never replied to the urgent letter I sent her about the problems with the bus service. Grrr! I'm over the worst of last weekend's cold, but I still have congestion-gestion in my lungs and nose. Yucky. At the office today, Dr. Kishi left us an assortment of Mexican breads he purchased for a student fundraiser. We also had a box of leftover doughnuts from someone somewhere, and I'd overheard that it was Timmy who brought in a box of little French schoolboy cookies (LU?). Joel returned my newly hemmed jeans yesterday. He's my personal tailor; I don't know if I've mentioned that before. He handles knitting needles and sewing machines like Jacques Pepin handles a knife. I sort of feel guilty giving him rather unchallenging grunt work like hemming pants, but hey, it's $9 per pair. Besides, I'm supposedly redesigning his secret blog for him. After sushi dinner, Sam and Patrick and I went to Daly City Century 20 (no commercials!) to see Wallace and Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. I believe I haven't laughed so much during a film—ever! It is quite possibly one of the most flawless films I've ever seen. The writing is witty and engaging. The voice talent is spot-on. The music is just right. Humorous things zoom left, right, up, down, and everywhere in this film, often layered and often so fast it's barely noticeable. Be quick on your thinking caps, too, because clever allusions and homages abound here. So. Much. Fun. And the bunnies are soo cuute! Preceding the show was an animation short called The Christmas Caper which is great fun as well. Don't be late to the theatre!

Sat 29

Patrick did staff practice at Simmone's. A few days ago I designed a shelving unit for one of our closets and today we picked up supplies for it from Cliff's Variety (415-431-5365, 479 Castro Street). Erik was our cashier, and Tom (Tommy?) cut our lumber for us. We also got groceries from Tower Market. We got back in the early afternoon and I spent the rest of the day putting it together while Patrick napped. I unexpectedly ran out of plastic wall anchors, so I got some from Chu Supply Inc (415-682-2323) near our home. The project is all finished and cost us about $135. We had desperately needed this to keep things organized. It created 17.4 actual square feet of storage, but since we store most of our stuff in cardboard boxes measuring 10.5 x 12.5 x 16, it's essentially 18.22917 cubic feet of storage space. We might add one more shelf. Each shelf gives us over 6 cubic feet of additional storage space. Patrick woke up and did more studying while I showered then napped. Late dinner: angel hair with sauteed chicken boobs in a creamy garlic sauce. Went to Tony Q's Halloween Party at Phil, Drew, and Danny's place in the Mission. We surprisingly found parking right on their block. We enjoyed seeing their very tastefully decorated home, sampling Danny's delicious egg rolls, and chatting with old and new friends. Marck surprised everyone by knowing for what BDU stood. Andy explained most everyone's IRC nicknames. Tony was dressed as Count Fagula, Marck dressed as a tissue box ("Blow me!"), I dressed in the BDUs I picked up in Paris and camoflage face paint, Phil used Tony Q's priest/monk outfit from last year, Emery and Danny coincidentally both dressed in single-strapped denim overalls, Scott and Andy dressed as a power plug (Andy) and power socket (Scott), Peter dressed as a SWAT team member, Galen was an American sailor, ? was a strange kind of Mr. Potato Head, Rachel and ? dressed as Prince and David Bowie. Patrick talked about New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina with Phil, who (we learned) was also from New Orleans. Around 11 the party closed down so that people could go to Castro Street to show off their costumes. The Saturday before Halloween, I learned, Castro Street is closed off from 18th to Market for these festivities.

Sun 30

Woke up too early. Breakfast: English muffin and butter for Patrick, English muffin sausage and egg sandwich for me. I napped while Patrick studied and did chores. Mini driving lesson for Patrick. Lunch at New Tsing Tao. Cashew chicken lunch for me, Szechwan shrimp lunch for Patrick, potstickers to start. Patrick's fortune: You have a unique personality, 07 16 28 34 39 - 21. My fortune: Your personality is great; use it proudly - don't debate. 03 16 17 25 43 - 16. Dropped off a carload of clothes left over from what people donated to Mom Ryan in September. We tried the Safeway at 18th and Noriega first, but the Goodwill station there wasn't open on Sunday, so we took it to Goodwill on Van Ness and it was very easy. Afterwards we picked up Mom Ryan and shopped for a coffee table for her. She had seen a coffee table on TV at Copenhagen that she liked, so we went there, but it turned out to be not the right style we were looking for and way too heavy (the top was made of tile). Another coffee table there might have worked, but they could not deliver it very quickly or conveniently for our tastes, so we left. Since we had such a good experience the last time at Levitz, I suggested we return there, and Mom Ryan ended up selecting one that was coincidentally right next to the demo living room that showed the love seat she purchased last time. They'll deliver and set up on Thursday, just like last time. Once again, we loved it at Levitz! "Dinner" at Tartine: chocolate cake, chocolate pudding, coconut cream pie, coffee drinks. Of these, the pudding was the finest (so impossibly smooth), the pie was the best overall, and the cake was rich and delicious but a tad too cold (from the refrigerator) and a little too dense for me. We also got two gingerbread cookies to go: a pumpkin for Mom Ryan, a cat for Patrick and me. Got gas at Twin Peaks. At home, chores and studying. Patrick has been working on his music again. Fortunately, his music files weren't lost in the recent hard drive problems we had had with two of our computers. We've reconfigured our backups, too, so there's less chance of him losing those important files.

Mon 31

While making breakfast this morning, two yolks came out of a single egg. Cindy telecommuted today, but she remembered to have Halloween cookies delivered to the office for us. Patrick called me at work to tell me that there's a dent in my car door now. "A bigger one than the one that's already there?" I asked. Unfortunately, the answer was yes. Joel and I had lunch at Dragonfly. We both had bbq cow vermicelli with fish sauce. Joel had a diet Coke. I had a Thai iced tea. Today was unusually sunny and hot for Halloween. When I got home, it was all dark—crazy daylight losing time. Indeed, a much bigger dent in my car door had appeared where none was before. The door handle and lock are smashed in and I think it's very unlikely we'll be able to track down who did it. I'm not terribly mad or bitter—it's the risk we take of living in such a densely populated city. I'm thankful I didn't get the smaller dent repaired like I should have—it's been years since I got it but was so not noticeable that I just let it slide. I'll make an appointment for the repair tomorrow. Fortunately, it's just the door panel that's affected, so I'm crossing my fingers it will be only a couple grand or so. Read parts of the Google Maps API. I got bags of candy today from Ena and student PM. Saw Corpse Bride at Century 20 Daly City in Auditorium 2 with Patrick (US$9.75 per ticket). Our ticket booth operator was Tricia Joy who did her job well. We both liked this film. I thought the animation was simply a pleasure to watch, the story is sweet, the voice acting is excellent, the music was a nice surprise (I didn't know it had elements of film musicals to it).