February 2006

Summary: Emery's Birthday Sharks versus Ducks, Melissa comes to visit for a day, Golden Gate Bridge with Drew and Phil, Travis's Birthday BBQ

Dates on this page

Wed 1

Usual breakfast at the cafeteria except no orange juice (the OJ machine was only spitting out water). More graduation regalia registration form work. Bill S stopped in to ask me to hunt for originals of some photos they used on their site. Found a broken link on the campus calendar site, informed Nancy H (who always corrects them straightaway). Began e-mail testing the regalia registration web form. Notified staff of a forthcoming system firewall upgrade and the actions they need to take. Updated a listserv for Joel. Lunch: double happiness and jasmine tea at Nan King Road Bistro by myself. Stopped at the hardware store. More graduation regalia registration form work. I have successfully used variable variables in PHP. Never had a need for them before today, but they are pretty darned useful. Makes my code lean and pretty and elegant. Home. More speaker wire stapling. Late dinner at home by myself: turkey burgers, side salad. Worked on an extra quick mashup mockup for Nate.

Thu 2

Usual breakfast at the cafeteria. A couple days ago the cafeteria started a new system. Instead of just telling the person behind the counter what you want (e.g., "breakfast package with sausage and wheat toast") one must now fill out a form and present it to the counter worker who hands you your plate of food along with the form. The form is presented at the register when you pay. I also noticed that at the same time they are reducing the portions. Now the workers seem very conscious of, say, putting only a single scoop of scrambled eggs, as that seems to be technically the correct portion for this meal. Before it was common for them to put more than one scoop of eggs. I've been eating the same breakfast at the cafeteria regularly because although it's cafeteria style it's exactly what I want for not a lot of money. Now, however, the value has degraded, and I'm thinking of finding other ways to get my hot breakfast in the morning. Several times in the past week I've had to go to several different tableware service stations just to find a fork. The orange juice machine doesn't always work properly. And the food isn't ever hot or always fresh when it comes off the line, so when I have to stand in a long line at the register, it's essentially cold (fork-hunting notwithstanding). And I won't even tell you about the bizarre Heinz ketchup packets. All this whining about something relatively insignificant is not something I enjoy doing, but this is part of my life which I'm sharing with you, and I feel I have to keep up with my fellow bloggers in that arena sometimes. Chris Heilmann's Unobtrusive JavaScript is back—Chris was just moving servers. Whew! Lunch with Joel at Dragonfly. This restaurant is such a gem, particularly since it seems to be still undiscovered—lunches are still very quiet with not many customers, and we feel badly because the food is great, the decor is better, and there aren't any reasons we can think of for people to avoid this place. Our server, Sam, told us that dinners were much busier, though. Good for them. I hope they succeed. I made a birthday poster and a birthday card. Hunted for some images that Bill S needed for a 3-panel pamphlet. More graduation regalia registration form work. Home. Dinner at home with Patrick: cow in noodles with spinach. Started building templates for Corinna's website.

Fri 3

Usual breakfast at the cafeteria except raisin bread instead of wheat and no orange juice. Regalia web form: working on the last piece now, checking to make sure it works gracefully with a browser that rejects cookies. Helped Chris with his Treo not synching as expected. When he attempts to sync, nothing happens for a long time (a minute or two) and then an error message appears. No errors in the error log on either the Treo or the computer. This sounded similar to the problems Joel was having, so I did Start > Run > outlook /cleanreminders and that fixed it. I bookmarked the web page describing the fix for Chris, told him what was going on, he's back in business now in about 5 minutes. Found instructions on the web provided by Charles Srisuwananukorn for configuring Outlook 2003 to defer (delay) all outgoing messages a certain number of minutes before sending. In Eudora, it was really easy to configure this. I didn't even know Outlook 2003 could do this, but I knew there must be a way. I needed this feature because lately I've composed messages and sent them and a second later I realized I forgot to include the attachments I talked about in the message. So embarrassing! Only problem: when you want to send something immediately, you can't. Maybe I can write a macro to work around this. We held a birthday party for Cindy. I made chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting topped with sugar crystals (a single color for each one) and a Mother's circus animal cookie. Joel made chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal raisin cookies wrapped festively in cellophane bags tied with red ribbon and decorated with colorful stickers. He also made a special package of cookies for Cindy to take home "to the men in her life." We talked about grocery stores, emergency room costs, KitchenAid mixers, how to frost cupcakes without crumbs getting in the frosting (answer: do a thin layer, let it harden some before putting another layer on—or—create a simple sugar glaze and do the same thing with that). I can't believe it—Joel voluntarily switched over to Firefox from Internet Explorer today. He was the only holdout in our office, and he had a pretty good reason: Bug 78510 (Link should become :visited color if URL is loaded in another window/tab/frame) which made Craigslist forums very unusable. Why did he switch? We determined that Internet Explorer was the reason he kept seeing his CPU usage jump and a long several-second delay almost every time he clicked a link in Yahoo! Mail. Closed IE, opened Firefox, tried the same thing, almost no delay, even without the AdBlock plug-in. (Joel prefers seeing ads.) Worked on adding Center for Gender Equity links to our current students page. Installed Netscape 8.1 for Lucia, who needed it because one of our UCSF websites she needs to log in to uses a plug-in that works only in Netscape. Sent user education e-mail to all students regarding computer viruses which fake e-mail headers.

Sat 4

More change of address notification work. Spent much of the morning attempting to set up a U.S. Robotics Wireless Access Point and Router (USR5461). Here's my review: the USR5461 would probably have set up easily and worked well if (a) I didn't have static IP addresses, and (b) I didn't have 4 computers, and (c) one of those computers wasn't a web server. Nap. Galen gave me a ride to San Jose to Emery's birthday celebration. An avid hockey fan, he booked a super-deluxe suite at HP Pavilion for tonight's hockey game: the San Jose Sharks versus the Might Ducks of Anaheim. It was my first-ever hockey game, and it was such a treat for the first-time experience to include a really great view and catered food. We all chipped in money for the tickets and suite, but later found out that Emery had "subsidized" the event out of his own pocket. The Ducks won 2 to 0, playing a much stronger game than the Sharks. Although my hometown is Anaheim, the Ducks weren't around when I grew up, so I didn't have much invested in them.

Sun 5

Uploaded about 3 weeks of journal data which I had been writing and storing offline during the move. Worked on Corinna's site: set up a keyed entry for previewing development pages. Finally saw Brokeback Mountain—it seems like almost everyone else we know has seen it. I enjoyed the film and am glad it's been getting so much attention. Worked on Corinna's site: template and stylesheet work.

Mon 6

Usual breakfast at M's Cafe. It's my first time getting breakfast after being fed up with the cafeteria, and I enjoyed it. Joel didn't think I could find a similar breakfast for a similar cost, but I did and took photos to prove it. Edited a class photo with Photoshop for Joel. One student was late for the class photo so he asked me to create a special photo just for her which includes her with her classmates. The photographer shot her photo late and it took just a few minutes to composite her image in the group photo. Lunch with Joel at Panda Express. His fortune: A surprise will come from an unexpected source. My fortune: Your loyalties will be rewarded. Updated the VPN web page and made it live to remove the reference that VPN is required to check e-mail in Outlook/Entourage from off-campus. I used InDesign to create more professional-looking instructions to describe computing services to entering students. Met with Susie. Dinner at home with Patrick: fettuccine with shrimp and peas. Took a bath. My right wrist started hurting today after I went through a UCSD online ergonomics training and made some adjustments to my workspace. I changed some things back after the pain began.

Tue 7

Breakfast at home: scrambled eggs, hash browns, a banana. Student computing committee meeting. Updated the website to change many occurrences of "pharmacy student" to "student pharmacist." Fixed the class photo so that it would print properly at 8 x 10 for Joel. Helped Cindy archive e-mail. VPN web page changes. Notified Jeff B of the pharmacy student / student pharmacist terminology change. Chatted with Susie about a new news story. Lunch with Joel and Ena at Cybelle's. I had a mushroom burger with garlic potato wedges. Joel had a mushroom burger with french fries. Ena had a monster slice of hawaiian with a side salad and 1000 island dressing. Afterwards I mailed a package at the post office. Tweaked proposed Center for Gender Equity links. Helped Joel set his default web browser to Firefox—hooray! Graduation regalia registration form work. My wrist is feeling better today. Dinner at home by myself: salad. Patrick had dinner at Stonestown Mall. I met him and then I returned some things I bought from gap.com that didn't fit. Drove home. Watched a Simpsons episode. Tonight was the first night we did the TV setup on the coffee table. Things aren't as easy as they could be—some cables aren't long enough, the remote control doesn't always work. But I got it to work after some futzing. These things will get worked out in time. Patrick went to bed. I bought a different wireless access point and router. I thought I was going to buy just an access point, but the one I chose was the winner for a variety of reasons, one of which is the outstanding documentation provided by Linksys. We'll see if I can get the Linksys WRT54GC to do what I need.

Wed 8

Breakfast at home: same as yesterday plus vanilla yogurt. Telecommute day. Lots of web edits to the computer security and email sections. Created a new help page for people with the mailbox too full problem. Minor web edit for James. Reposted a form for Lucia. Notified staff that an update has been postponed. Regalia reg form work—I realized I am not handling my check for cookies entirely properly. It seems I can't do a check that cookies work easily and keep clean URLs, but I'll try something out tomorrow that might work. Edited a white coat ceremony photo for Joel. Helped two students today. One needed an image of the campus, the other needed help with VPN. Chatted with Nate, sent Chris and Nate a new layout of the apartment. Routed an extension cable. Set up the air cleaner in the bathroom. Dinner at home by myself: turkey burgers. I am very behind on my e-mail. Took a bath.

Thu 9

Usual breakfast at M's. Updated a listserv for a student. The wireless router I bought from buy.com less than 48 hours ago arrived this morning - wow! Regalia reg form work. Lunch at Golden Rice Bowl: cashew chicken lunch special. My fortune: Adventure can be real happiness. 37, 25, 41, 45, 19, 9. Computer support coordinator meeting. Made live the graduation reg form after a name change. I looked up the meaning of haptic after reading Cult of Mac today in Wired News. Reinstalled Spy Sweeper for Lucia. Installed Google Safe Browsing for Lucia and Polly. Winamp and Quicktime updates for Chris. Dinner at home with Patrick: pig chops on a bed of grilled yellow bell pepper, baby bok choy with mushrooms, bread and butter. Spent a couple of hours setting up a Linksys WRT54GC wireless router. Forty-seven minutes of that was spent on the phone with Linksys technical support, which appears to have been outsourced to India. Linksys support could not help me—their technicians didn't seem to know what they were doing, although level 2 support was better than level 1. I had gotten everything working and connected except the web server was not visible from the outside. The solution was to change the web server's network configuration from a manually assigned DHCP IP address to a dynamically assigned one. I had originally chosen a manually assigned address because since it was a web server I didn't want it to accidentally lose its address, but in the Linksys interface I was able to plug in that computer's MAC address to manually assign it (or map it to) a DHCP IP address that I specified. I think that should be safe enough. So finally we have wireless working at home. I submitted an update to point frankfarm.org to the new IP address—it should take effect within about an hour. I think the Linksys technician I spoke with was really relieved that I solved the problem on my own because he didn't seem to be getting anywhere and didn't come up with any ideas or even very good questions. I think their jobs must be pretty hard for people like me with a more complicated home network than the typical person, so I didn't get mad or anything like that. So it turns out that Linksys wins over U.S. Robotics, and that 24-hour toll-free support was really worth it, even if they didn't actually help me other than provide emotional support. If this Linksys router didn't work out, I was ready to just give up on it all.

Fri 10

Sent Jeff B a minor web edit for one of his pages. Coded a new news story and sent it to Susie for review. Helped Cindy with pasting a logo into a document. Used Sanjay's tip from October 12, 2003 to make Acrobat 6 start faster ("Make Acrobat Reader 6 load faster"). Essentially, you create a folder called Optional at the same level as the plug_ins folder and move all the plug-ins into it. Works. Made live the new news story. Lunch 1: leftovers from yesterday. Defrosted the fridge. Lunch 2: tuna sandwich lunch special from Subway. Met with a student regarding a web forums project. When I got home today I was so tired I climbed into bed and didn't get up for 3 hours. Patrick had a bagel and cream cheese for dinner coz we've been needing to go to the grocery. He came to bed, I got up and had some canned soup. Folded laundry that Patrick had done earlier in the day. Funny headline of the day: "Seattle Police chief resisted probe at first" from seattletimes.com. Submitted this feedback to cyberguys.com after placing an order: "Every time I place an order I am annoyed that you can't save my preference of 'send catalog updates only' as well as my preferred shipping address. I love Cyberguys because you do so many things right, but this seems to be an e-commerce basic you still haven't yet mastered. Other sites (I won't name names) do this so well that it makes your site less than a joy to use. In the paper catalog I really like the index tabs across the top. It's the first print product that I've seen which has been improved from guidelines based on website usability."

Sat 11

Patrick and I got a lot done today. Because of my weird nap last night, I went to bed around 4:00 AM. Patrick woke up around 4:30 AM and practiced shao lin with Simmone. I got up around 8:30 AM, took a bath. He got back around 9:00 AM, took a shower then a nap. I relaced one of my shoes, labeled the shoelaces and shoe care box to make it easier to find next time, disposed of the Linksys packaging, decided a metal flower stand we have is too risky to keep on the marble tile floor and moved it to a vinyl tile floored room since it might easily scratch the marble, folded and stored laundry, hand-mended a pants pocket which had had a small hole, set up Patrick's laptop docking station in a temporary location (the dining table), left messages for some people. After Patrick woke up, we ate brunch at Bagdad Cafe, then ran errands: Cliff's, Walgreen's, Divisadero Car Wash, Safeway. Home. Patrick stored the groceries and took a nap. I prepared a newly purchased shirt for wearing. Gathered plastic bags for recycling. Cleaned the two standalone heaters our landlord provided for us. Removed a large sticker from one of the heaters using Goo Gone and a plastic spatula. Removed weeds from the back yard. Patrick woke up and started cooking dinner. I cut my hair, then took a quick shower, then a bath. Applied felt pads to bathroom cabinet doors to keep them quiet when closing. Dinner at home with Patrick: Shake and Bake chicken, "salsa" salad, bread and margarine. Watched The House of Flying Daggers on DVD with Patrick. Had a little trouble at the start since PowerDVD wouldn't play it at all, so it was Mac Mini to the rescue. It played in the Mac, but the sound was really screwed up—it would fade softer and louder throughout the film and we couldn't figure out why. Patrick said this had happened before when we had rented this film on DVD, but he couldn't remember exactly how we resolved it. We think it played okay if we switched computers, but that solution didn't seem to work for us tonight, so we just watched it anyway. For the first half or third of the film the sound was really too loud but then it would get really too soft. Finally I decided we'd just watch the film with the sound lower (so as to not disturb the neighbors too much). After the movie, Patrick went to bed. I prepared the spare bedroom closet for the installation of a shelf and curtain rod support. While cooking myself a late night meal (turkey burgers), I accidentally set off the fire alarm—oops, sorry! Turned off ssh to frankfarm.org coz I got tired of seeing attempted logins in my logfiles.

Sun 12

Slept in. Patrick made pancakes for us for breakfast, we also had yogurt. I did lots of home improvement stuff today. Shopped online for solutions for kitchen counter space that we need but couldn't find anything right. What I'd like is a stainless steel prep table no deeper than 16 inches. The length could be anywhere from 20 to 60 inches. Must be exactly 36 inches tall. Could have a butcher block or granite top instead of stainless steel. Below could be shelving or drawers—I'm not too picky on that part. But no one makes a table this thin. The other piece we could use is a triangular table or cabinet to fit in a corner, 43 by 43 inches on the square sides. Also 36 inches tall. Routed some speaker wire with insulated staples. Did some vacuuming. Put in a bracket support for a shelf in the spare bedroom closet. Prepared liquid paraffin lamps for refueling. Reorganized the spare bedroom closet. Labeled some boxes. Got rid of some things I don't need. Lunch at home with Patrick: leftover fried chicken, "salsa" salad. Dinner at home with Patrick: pork dumplings dinner. Did some baking in the evening. Worked on Corinna's website: got the header mostly styled.

Mon 13

I realize today I still love sonic.net and here's why. I haven't been happy with the DSL connection we ordered for our new place because we'd been getting the low end of the possible speed spectrum with it. 1.5 Mbps is guaranteed, but they say it's possible to get 3.0. We had only been getting 1.5, if that. And, with our new wireless router, I no longer need 4 or 8 static IP addresses. I called Sonic's main telephone line. A human answered immediately, and I asked for sales. I got transferred and—with no waiting—another human answered. I explained my situation and that I wanted to know if I could downgrade without penalty within 30 days of my order going live. She said no, there's still a $50 penalty. This was a much smaller penalty than I had expected. I didn't mind paying $50 if I were to be saving $20 (or was it $30?) per month over the next year. I asked her to do the downgrade, she explained the fine print of the action (prorate—blah blah—next bill—blah blah—one year—blah blah—penalty to end—blah blah) in just a few seconds, and I was off the phone in under 5 minutes. Five minutes! Have you ever been on the phone with an ISP for less than 5 minutes? It's often impossible with some companies! With Sonic, there was no insincere apology that I didn't originally get what I wanted, no lame attempt at explaining what speed was guaranteed versus what the line was capable of under the right condition. (I had already realized it was all within contract, and the woman I spoke with seemed to realize that.) I understood what I was doing, and they understood what they were doing, and we both got our business done very efficiently and very civilly. Most of all, there was no "Would you like to see if you have all the right services for you?" time-wasting nonsense that you get from Pac Bell or SBC or AT&T or Beatrice or whatever they're called now. (What they're really asking is: "Would you like to spend the next 10 minutes of your life finding out how you can give us more money and receive services that you really don't need?") I got that question the last three times I called the phone company, and the last time I finally asked: "Is there a way for you to specify that I'm tired of hearing that question every time I call?" The answer: No. I had to wonder: Why would anyone work for a company that forces you to annoy or anger or rudely financially exploit the people you're trying to help? Surely there are better jobs than those, and surely you can financially exploit your customers without being so rude about it. In my dreams, I wish everyone who calls the phone company to ask that question of the representative: "Why are you working there? Can't you find something better to do?" I'm sure they wouldn't like it if in the middle of our conversation I started asking if they wanted to buy a rackmount computer case or some ripe bananas I no longer need. The bananas would be great for baking or you can freeze them and use them later. You can make banana bread for the office or you can prepare your own baby food. Oh, this is making your call times longer and forcing money down the drain for your company? Sorry about that, but are you sure you don't want that rackmount computer case? It's essentially new and very clean. Years later, Lily Tomlin is still right. I can't not deal with the phone company because there's no other way to get broadband DSL where I live. Worked on the Idea Box forum. Helped Lucia with InDesign layers and objects. The highlight of the day was Lucia's birthday party. I brought in chocolate brownies with caramel and walnuts. Joel brought in Barefoot Contessa's chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting and candied flowers. James brought a ring-shaped coffee cake or strudelesque cake. Cindy brought a salad. We all chipped in for pizza which was ordered by Ena. Ena and Polly brought drinks. Stacey helped set up. Met with Cindy. Chatted with Susie. Helped Joel sync his Palm Pilot (again). Home. Archived documents. Left a message with our landlord about some minor issues. Dinner at home with Patrick: herbed chicken, asparagus, garlic bread. Worked on Corinna's website. Chatted with our landlord. Installed TextWrangler 2.1.1. Learned what the Konami code is.

Tue 14

Troubleshot problems with Chris's laptop which is having graphics hardware failure, uploaded photos to flickr, set him up with the shared office laptop. Doctor appointment. Lunch by myself at Golden Rice Bowl: sesame chicken. My fortune: Your mind can make your body rich. Submitted a support request to Dell for Chris's laptop. Dinner at home with Patrick: steak and potatoes, asparagus. Watched The Manchurian Candidate (1962) on DVD with Patrick.

Wed 15

Breakfast at home by myself: hash browns, scrambled eggs, a banana. Did dishes. Minor updates to Virtual Tour page. Left a message for Melissa. Heather from Dell had sent some suggestions on Chris's laptop. I checked them out and sent a report back as well as the links to the photos and video. More coding for a new news story for Susie, sent it to her for review. She got back to me with a few revisions, I made the story live. More revisions, posted. More revisions posted. Chatted with student JN about listservs. Lunch at desk by myself: leftover sesame chicken and steamed rice from Golden Rice Bowl. Coded a current students news story for student WH, sent it to her for review (but we're waiting on a logo from someone else). Susie dropped in to chat about Maria and Marylyn who will now be managing the BPS website. Susie and I discussed a new news story about SFGH. Adjusted Joel's mouse cable. Ena installed a new fax machine today. We want to spruce up the cable management in her area, so we identified a cable organizer we think might work well for her. I got my inbox down to 10 items today. We'll see how long that lasts. Patrick saw Memoirs of a Geisha by himself tonight. He's gotten upset and needed time to himself because he had heard that The Other Patrick Ryan has released his first novel with Random House, and it was discussed today on NPR. For those of you new to this issue (I can't recall if I've mentioned it before), there is another man named Patrick Ryan who is also a writer and also gay. The Other Patrick Ryan was born in Washington, D.C., grew up in Florida, and lives in New York City. My Patrick Ryan was born and raised in New Orleans and lives in San Francisco. They both even share the same middle initial! This will no doubt cause a great deal of confusion.

Thu 16

Joel found a small error in one of our home page news stories, so I fixed it and thanked him. Reviewed info about Office "12" aka Office 2007 which was semi-announced today. Attended a Writing for the Web seminar presented by Robert E. Johnson, PhD in conjunction with the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). I thought the seminar was just okay, but others seemed to think it was really good. Updated the news index page with some code to enable us to view thumbnails of images used in the news stories. Helped student TN reinstall Windows XP. Ordered a cable organizer for Ena.

Fri 17

Breakfast at home: yogurt, orange juice. Posted spring draft schedules and updated current student news. Minor web edits for Dr. Levens Lipton. Listserv maintenance. Checked on backups—all is well. Winamp security update for Joel. Lunch: takeout from Panda Express with Joel. My fortune: Do not hide your feelings. Let others know where they stand. Met with Susie: Outlook "Saved sent items in...", Harold Mann, video, home page fade-in fade-out images, faculty database, photo content, faculty bios, faculty pull quotes. Patrick and I celebrated 6 years together today at Sumi. We used a gift certificate which Patrick had gotten after having complained about our Christmas eve dinner. It was really cold tonight—like low 40s cold.

Sat 18

Breakfast: yogurt, orange juice. House chores: vacuumed, folded laundry, balanced the checkbook, washed dishes, tidied. Home improvement in the bathroom: fixed the o-ring on the tub faucet, velcroed items to the bathroom cabinet door to increase storage space, rearranged bathroom toiletries, installed the accordian mirror, cleaned. Early dinner: turkey burgers, orange juice. Fell asleep while taking a bath. Worked on Corinna's website.

Sun 19

Usual breakfast at Tennessee Grill by myself. Bought some groceries at Safeway. Helped Melissa with a data backup restore on her computer. She brought us a giant bouquet of perfect calla lilies. She bought me lunch at Cafe For All Seasons. Patrick tried to make it but Muni did not cooperate. dev/hda1 failed to restore, error code 0x20000012—who has time for these Iomega Automatic Backup error messages? The restore job took all day, and she bought us both dinner at Xiao Loong. Melissa's fortune: Love can make a summer fly or a night seem like a lifetime. Patrick's fortune: Ignorance has no light, but error follows a false one. My fortune was lost by the time I entered this journal entry. We ate Xiao Loong beef, prawns in lobster sauce, chicken chow mein, steamed rice, chrysanthemum tea. Worked on Corinna's website some.

Mon 20

Cut my hair. Showered. Met Phil and Drew at Sears Fine Food for breakfast. We drove to the Golden Gate Bridge and walked the entire length. I got a few photos. Afterwards we went back to their place and napped. We went to Costco. Patrick and Tony came over. We ate dinner: rotisserie chicken, salad, rice. I fixed their computer because I was tired of hearing, "Why is everything so slow?"

Tue 21

Student computing committee meeting. OSACA staff meeting. Minor web updates. Logo work for Cindy. Helped Ena with selecting an anti-glare filter for our monitors. Lunch with Joel at L'Avenida. Picked up my repaired monitor from The Technology Store. Dinner at home with Patrick: chicken pizza ordered in from Seniore's.

Wed 22

Helped Jeff M with interviews. It had been a long time since I had seen Julia and John and Larry, and it was good to talk to them again. Lunch by myself: Panda Express. My fortune: Your opportunities are many. Logo work for Cindy. Poster work for Cindy. Scanned documents to PDF for Polly. Logo work for Marie. Updated a listserv for Joel. Grocery shopping with Patrick at Safeway. Dinner at home with Patrick: salad and leftover pizza. Restored our internet connection—our switchover from static to dynamic IP address went through today. Webserver at home was down all day. I updated the zone settings but am not sure if it's fixed now. Oh, I just checked again and it looks like it's fixed. Took a bath. Did some catching up on e-mail.

Thu 23

Chatted with student CA about e-mail, vpn, messages stored on versus off the server. Idea box forum work. Updated a listserv for Joel. Joel repaired some jeans for Patrick last night. When I saw the finished product, I sent him an e-mail: "your work is so beautiful it makes me wanna cry. thanks!" Schedules updating. Reviewed the entering students page. More interviewing with Jeff M. Lunch: Panda Express by myself. My fortune: You are artistic and others can relate to you. Where was Joel today? I didn't see him around very much. Wrote up an announcement to students regarding the discontinuation of services for one of our servers. Checked in with web site owners who will be affected. Set up my refurbished monitor. Logo handoff prep for student CN. Early dinner at Dragonfly with Patrick and Mom Ryan. This was the first time we went for the early dinner special, which includes the golden prawns appetizer and a glass of wine for each person for free. Dinner was perfect, each dish a delight. We had treasure rolls, flaming beef, jumbo prawns with green curry and yams, coconut rice, hainan rice. The treasure rolls came with circular, plastic, screened mats to assist with rolling (I guess?). The flaming beef was cooked tableside in a ceramic bowl sitting in a plate of flaming rubbing alcohol. The jumbo prawns were very jumbo, and the prawns hung like hooks over the edge of a hollowed out coconutand within was the green curry. As we had seen before, the rice was served in origamibasketed banana leaves nestled within a round woven basket. We believe this was Mom Ryan's first visit to a Vietnamese restaurant, and she enjoyed it so much she's thinking of bringing a friend back for lunch soon.

Fri 24

Updated current students news for student WH. Sent Julia Firefox links. Updated our standard powerpoint presentation on the shared laptop for Joel. Made live updated schedules for Lucia. Sent student CN logos to use in a presentation. Sent Helene the photo she requested. Updated a listserv for Joel. Graduation lists project work for Lucia. Added a link to the Med Center Portal to our current students page at Mike W's suggestion. Idea box forum troubleshooting. Photo setup for student MB. Installed a cable organizer for Ena. I got it from cyberguys, and it's cheesily called The CORDination Station (cordinationstation.com), a black plastic box with two 5-outlet power strips inside. You hide the cables in the box. There's a switch on the outside which powers both power strips. The box is very sturdy and it includes plastic cable ties and anchors with adhesive backing. I needed to mount it upside down and at first couldn't figure out how to do it because the holes were placed in such a way that you can't install 4 screws and just slide the thing into place. However, even using only two screws I think it would have held in place just fine. I ended up using three. (Install two screws first, then attempt to install the 3rd and 4th screws with the main door open.) I wish it used rubber gaskets instead of plastic doors (a la our Oyster docking station), but the plastic doors work almost as well. The lock/unlock labeling didn't need to be there, and the OFF-RESET switch really ought to say OFF-ON/RESET instead. Not knowing that the RESET side was also the ON side was really confusing to me. RESETting is necessary if the circuit breaker within is tripped. Leena chatted with us for a few minutes when I got home. Dinner at home with Patrick: red beans and rice, corn loaf bread and butter.

Sat 25

House chores: laundry, vacuumed the entry, broke down boxes. Lunch: sandwich, apple juice. Removed the S accesskey on my bookmarks page so that I can use Sage more easily. (Alt+S is the shortcut to open and hide the Sage sidebar.) Worked on Corinna's website all afternoon and evening. Uploaded photos. Created a laminated sign for the UPS driver when we're expecting packages. Lunch: sandwich. Snack: sandwich. Dinner at home by myself: leftover red beans and rice. Chatted with Lani on the phone. Late night meal: turkey burgers. The URL to the Tonga Room in San Francisco is 223 characters (!). This looks like it's Vignette's fault, but you never know...

Sun 26

My favorite breakfast at home. Napped. Installed a bulletin board in the garage. In Microsoft Outlook 2003 at home, Outlook no longer checks for mail automatically except when I quit Outlook. I had changed the Send/Receive Groups a while ago to prevent messages from getting sent immediately, but then I changed them back and now Outlook no longer checks for e-mail except when I quit. I tried the Repair feature but it didn't fix it, and I checked all the Send/Receive Groups settings—I don't know how to fix this yet. A few days ago I fixed Acrobat 6 so that it wouldn't load all those plug-ins, but I realized that I need them often enough that it's not worth taking them out. I found a fortune in my keys bowl today: You're interested in higher education whether material or spiritual. Went to Bryan's where we celebrated Travis's birthday. I gave Jonathan and Adrian a ride down. Patrick stayed behind to spend time with his mom, but he prepared a fennel seed bread pudding with sweetened condensed milk topping for me to share. On the ride back, I was telling J and A about Lodestar and Jonathan wondered if we had an RSS feed for Lodestar. I really hadn't thought of it until now, having been swamped with projects, but it really makes sense, and I could probably put it together rather quickly.

Mon 27

My favorite breakfast. Helped Cindy insert logos into a Word document and then print it to PDF. Retrieved alumni data for Lucia. Sent Cindy proposed changes for adding some links to our current students page. Spent most of the day rebuilding one student's laptop and trying to figure out why VPN won't install on the other. Chatted with two students about how to send formatted e-mail out of Outlook 2003. Lost the day's journal data after removing a USB drive without safely disconnecting it first - d'oh! Two small lunches today: turkey and cheddar sandwiches I brought from home. Met with Susie briefly, we discussed decisions regarding our plans for video on our website. The internet was out when I got home. Cycled power on the router and all was well. Dinner at home with Patrick: ravioli with broccoli, bread and butter. Downloaded last night's photos to the computer. Shopped online for clothes, the first time I bought from a store specializing in men 5 foot 8 and under. We'll see how they turn out. Yesterday the weather forecast for today was "drenching rain" and they weren't kidding. My pant legs were soaked when I got home today. Fortunately I didn't get as wet going to work. The wind was unusually gusty, and from multiple directions, too. If you had an umbrella you'd have wanted to use two hands to hold it. About a week ago I finished reading Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon The Deep, which Nate generously let me borrow. I haven't read science fiction in a long time, and when I started reading it I thought, "This is much more hardcore science fiction than I'm used to," and that wasn't a bad thing. Not at all. What I love most about this book is that Vinge doesn't hold your hand much at all and that he seems so sure of his ground telling the story that that itself is reassuring. I had a hard time understanding why the parents didn't exercise greater caution, but my disbelief was fleeting, and the characters, the story lines, and the various races eventually all drew me in. I enjoyed having my mind expanded by the multigalactic scope of the book's events. I think I've never before read about greater tragedies. I've already started in on the prequel: A Deepness in The Sky (also borrowed from Nate).

Tue 28

Cereal for breakfast. Got to work. There was a power outage last night, so when I got in the staff were complaining about computer problems. I turned the server on—it had been hibernated after the backup power was exhausted. The outage occurred around 7:00 PM. I restarted the server just to be safe, then alerted everyone they should log out and log back in. Stacey's computer wouldn't start successfully—after the Windows XP logo and blue progress indicator disappeared, the screen would go black and it was as though the computer was rebooting or first turned on. I entered Safe Mode as local admin, used System Restore to revert to a system checkpoint hours before the outage, restarted, logged in as me, restarted, and now all seems to be well. Reset Will's password for our forums project. Scanned in 7 documents for Pollyanna, converted them to PDF for her. Installed XP SP2 for a student laptop. Chatted with student AC about receiving e-mail messages not intended for AC. Reported a very small backend db problem with a School of Medicine database. Helped Lucia with a problem in InDesign. Joel returned my hemmed jeans today—such fast service! Helped Pollyanna set up the laptop for presentations in Toland Hall. Minor web page updates for Cindy. Checked in with Julia about a librarian position at Mission Bay for my friend Chris. Handled an accidental spam message sent to our listservs. Because Travis and others had asked, I calculated the square footage of our new apartment. At 721 square feet, it's the largest apartment Patrick and I have shared together. It still feels small, though. I notice today that my Linksys router is now letting my Windows computers connect at 100 Mbps instead of only 10. About 2 weeks ago I noticed that it only let me connect at 10 Mbps and I couldn't figure out why and I didn't have time to contact their tech support during the day because I didn't want to talk to India (they were nice people but they didn't seem to have the knowledge I needed). Ever since (I think) the cycling power on the router, this problem is now magically gone. Did a little catching up on e-mail. Welcome to March!