April 2006

Summary: Disneyland with Patrick; CalWAC web accessibility conference; Lodestar Quarterly Issue 17; started using Flickr; PJ's Oyster Bed for Patrick's birthday with Mom Ryan; Dinner and movies with Phil and Drew; Brunch with Patrick and Mom Ryan at Eric's; Designing the Virtual Classroom by Rena Palloff and Keith Pratt; Dinner with Patrick at Thai House Bar and Cafe; Medicare Part D workshop; downtown shopping; Dinner with Phil, Drew, and Tony; Dinner with Remi and Jesse.

Dates on this page

Sat Apr 1, 2006

This morning Sam took me and Patrick to San Francisco International Airport for a 9:30 AM flight—we're going to Disneyland! Patrick has never been to a Disney park, and I haven't been back to Disneyland in about 14 years. (The last time I remember being at Disneyland, ToonTown hadn't opened yet.) We're in for a 5-day, 4-night stay at the Hyatt Regency in Garden Grove, only 2 miles from the park, and a 3-day park hopper pass which includes one early entry day. I picked this time of year because it was Patrick's spring break and I didn't want to deal with summer crowds. I picked the Hyatt Regency because it was the least expensive 3-star hotel on Expedia with availability for the dates we wanted. (I think Expedia says it's a 3.5-star hotel, actually.) Expedia makes it really easy to buy everything in a single package, which is what I wanted. I was expecting to only spend time at the Disney parks, so we didn't need a car rental and used the SuperShuttle. After buying everything on Expedia, you print vouchers which grant you boarding privileges on the SuperShuttle and which you exchange for tickets at Disneyland. It was very easy. While waiting for our plane, we ate breakfast at Mission Bar and Grill (650-821-8305, Terminal 3, boarding area E) and I was surprised to find that the prices weren't the jacked up prices I was expecting in a restaurant airport. We both had a standard eggs, potatoes, bacon, toast, coffee or orange juice meal and it came out to $27.17 after tax. Our server's name was Jeff. Our flight was uneventful and significant only in that it was a really small commuter plane—the smallest plane Patrick has ever flown on. I was confused along the way because I thought John Wayne Airport was in Irvine, but everything and everyone said it was in Santa Ana. I kept thinking there was a mistake somewhere and I was going to the wrong place or my SuperShuttle vouchers wouldn't be accepted, but it was all correct. It's also confusing because sometimes people say "Santa Ana" or "Anaheim" when they mean "Orange County" and vice versa. Catching the SuperShuttle from John Wayne Airport was a little tricky because the instructions on our voucher were not correct. We were instructed to look for an orange sign but there was none. Eventually we found it and there were no further problems with SuperShuttle. We checked in to the Hyatt Regency and got room 517 in the South Tower. Cindy had tipped me off earlier that the South Tower was newer than the North Tower. Our room had a king bed, a very small bathroom with tub and shower combination, a small sofa, a small desk and office chair, a TV sitting on the dresser. The decor was modern and conservatively hip—we liked it. The pillows were feather and down, and the bed was extremely comfortable. The desk had easy access to internet and power, tho we were disappointed to learn that it was $10 a day for internet access. Patrick had brought his laptop so we could download photos to it, but we chose to not spend $10 a day for internet access. Our room overlooked the swimming pool and jacuzzi, facing (I think) south. I asked if any rooms had a view of the fireworks, but I was told that other hotels block the view in that direction. Not long after we arrived, Tina and Daniel had shown up to meet us, as we had arranged earlier. We drove to The Block at Orange, an outdoor shopping mall. The weather was warm and sunny. We got some food at Cafe Tu Tu Tango: pita bread, soda crackers, and hummus; iced teas and sangrias; grilled sesame chicken salad (bok choy, napa cabbage, romaine, water chestnuts, cashes, orange segments, tamari-ginger vinaigrette); mango duck quesadilla (roast duck, manchego cheese, green peppers, onions, cilantro cream, mango salsa); cow skewers; bacon-wrapped shrimp skewers with angel hair pasta. Across from where we were sitting a mechanical bull awaited customers, and when a just-married couple passed by with some of their wedding party, we really really wanted the bride (at least) to give the bull a ride. She seemed to contemplate it for a bit but decided against it. We walked through the mall and encountered a huge indoor skateboard park built into a Vans store. Kids were everywhere, and I thought it was great to see kids getting some real physical exercise instead of playing video games or slouching next to mall waterfalls and planters. We bought coffee at Starbucks then walked to Ben and Jerry's and shared two waffle cones while Tina and Daniel told us their secret bakery plan. They dropped us off at the hotel, all of us sorry that they weren't able to join us at Disneyland. I got in a great workout at the hotel's gym while Patrick stayed in the room and watched ice skating and I Love Lucy. We showered and then took the hotel shuttle to Disneyland. I wanted to exchange our vouchers for real Disneyland tickets, so we did that first. At 7:30 PM, I discovered we needed to go to Ticket Booth 5—the only one open at this hour. Jane Marie patiently helped us out (the computer system took a long time) and gave us a lot of great advice about what not to miss. Tickets secured, we were off to dinner at Downtown Disney—an open-to-the-public shopping district nestled between Disneyland and California Adventure. At about 7:45 PM, we put our name in for a table at Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen. To pass the time while waiting, we walked over to Disneyland Hotel to see what we could see. We found old photographs of celebrities visiting Disneyland: Liz Taylor and Eddie Fisher, Dolly Parton, Sophia Loren, President John F. Kennedy, Nat King Cole. Back to Brennan's. After an hour of waiting (20 minutes longer that we were told), we finally got our table. While waiting for our table, we noticed many other people complaining about having waited for over an hour or that they were told 40 minutes only to return and be told again it would be another 40 minutes. (I think the host/hostess station needs a better system—they don't even have pagers.) Patrick seemed impressed by the reproduction of the building—even the tile plaque on the front of the building was similar to those in New Orleans. Our table was upstairs on the balcony next to a small bar and a kitchen door. Our server was Chelly. The wait staff was excellent; I observed them working as a team very efficiently, servers taking return dishes to help another server out, or handing off tray stands to someone just leaving the kitchen. I enjoyed watching—it was like a ballet. We had soups 1-1-1 (a tasting trio of gumbo ya-ya, red beans and rice soup, and Creole onion soup); soggy garlic and cheese bread; pasta jambalaya for me (gulf shrimp, andouille sausage, roasted chicken, spinach fettuccine, Creole seasonings); Creole cassoulet for Patrick; popcorn shrimp; pinot noir for Patrick; iced tea for me; bananas foster for two. The food was pretty authentic, according to Patrick, with the exception of no bread being served with the gumbo. The bananas foster was most impressive—I had never seen it done before (that I can remember). I was completely unprepared when the pan turned into a giant flame several feet tall—I didn't know that was going to happen. Stuffed with good food, we wobbled back to the shuttle and our hotel and turned in for the night.

Sun Apr 2, 2006

Daylight saving time ended (started?) today, so we lost an hour—why did I make our vacation during the day we lose an hour of sleep? In the morning we took the shuttle to Disneyland. At the rental station just outside the main gate, I had never seen such a large fleet of motorized wheelchairs, so I stopped for a quick photo. Patrick and I took the requisite "I'm here in front of Disneyland" photos. The day was sunny and warm. Before we went in the park, we went back to Brennan's. Next to the restaurant is the less formal, cafe-style Brennan's Jazz Kitchen Express which served beignets, we had noticed last night. It's not often we see restaurants serving beignets, so of course Patrick had to try them to see how authentic they were. We got a large order (6 beignets) as well as a large chicory coffee. We both enjoyed the mini breakfast. Patrick pointed out that these beignets were a little smaller than you get in New Orleans, and the dough was denser and less airy than it should be, but they still tasted great. After eating, we made our way back to the Disneyland park entrance but stopped for a quick peek at the Grand Californian Hotel—a super-expensive, beautifully designed hotel right on the Disneyland property and with an entrance directly to California Adventure. The hotel has been described as Frank Lloyd Wright meets the Pacific Northwest, and it's definitely grand. We got in the park (the lines look long, but they move quickly), took another "I'm here!" photo. This was Patrick's first moments inside any Disney theme park, and I didn't want to rush his virgin experience, so I let him choose whether we should go through the left tunnel or the right tunnel. Amused, he chose the left tunnel and we ambled through slowly, soaking in everything we could see. I pointed out City Hall, the fire station, and Walt's old apartment. Patrick took a photo of the commemorative plaque at the base of the flagpole in the main square. We sat on a park bench soaking in the sun and the pleasant atmosphere for several minutes, and Patrick struck up a pleasant conversation with a man doing the same thing. It made me happy just to be back. It wasn't long before, coincidentally, the 50th anniversary rededication ceremony began, right near where we were sitting. It was a great way to start off our first day at Disneyland. Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, and Donald emerged from backstage doors along with a marching band. The Mayor of Main Street (I think they called him) presided over the ceremony, said some sentimental and historical things, and at the end of it they pull the same trick the Pope does, but I leaned over to Patrick and said, "The Pope stole that idea from Mickey!" We walked down Main Street, and I pointed out the names on the windows for Patrick. Patrick was excited seeing the different things on Main Street. I forced him to duck in to the cinemas for a minute, and then we continued on our way. We got to the hub, and again I let Patrick choose where we went. He chose Adventureland, and I was so surprised and excited to find they still ran the Tiki Room that I insisted that be our first ride. I didn't remember the pre-show from my childhood at all, and I didn't remember a lot of the show inside either, so I was surprised many times and had a blast reliving it. Patrick enjoyed it very much. Next we rode the Jungle Cruise, still a favorite—those jokes are corny but they still make people come back. Next we rode Indiana Jones which Patrick liked a lot. Well, we both liked it a lot. Next we did Tarzan's Treehouse. This led us into New Orleans Square, and we happened upon a jazz band playing on the street. Patrick insisted I stand near the band while he took my picture, so there's a photo of me looking like I don't know what I'm doing next to a jazz band. We took a quick photo next to the railroad station, and by now we were hungry, so our first meal inside the park was at the French Market: fried chicken, french fries, and salad for me; fried chicken, red beans and rice, roll, and salad for Patrick. Lunch was delicious, and a different live jazz band was playing on the restaurant patio stage—at Disneyland it seems you're always surrounded by great artistry that life just seems so rich and full and worth it. Once stuffed, I got a photo of Patrick with the Columbia sailing ship even though we didn't ride it. We walked around to Critter Country and took a photo of the Splash Mountain entrance, but the line was around an hour long and we weren't sure if we'd be back in this area timingwise to use a fast pass, so we passed it up thinking we'd catch it on another day. The wait for the canoes was short by comparison—10 minutes—so we got in line and soon had fun paddling down the Rivers of America. Someone's little kid sat in front of me, and he couldn't paddle very well at all, but I was having so much fun I just kept laughing every time his paddle would hit mine or he would paddle with his oar at bizarre angles to the water. I was lucky that he didn't splash me very much at all. Next we rode the Mark Twain steamship, which was the same trip around Tom Sawyer's Island except you don't have to work as hard. After this, we took our afternoon break. I'd read on one of the Disneyland fan sites that it's a good idea to take a break in the early afternoon away from the park otherwise you wear yourself out a lot quicker, and this sounded like great advice to us. We took this advice every day we went to the park, and so it felt as though we went to Disneyland 6 times instead of 3! We took the shuttle back to the hotel, napped for an hour or two, freshened up, and returned to Disneyland. Up Main Street and through the castle into Fantasyland. We rode the Snow White ride since the line was short. The Peter Pan line was much longer than we wanted to endure, and while we were contemplating it, a bickering family entered the line, so that decided it for us. Who wants to spent even a minute next to parents swearing at their kids? At Disneyland even? We fled the horror. My favorite observation of parent-child behaviors at Disneyland: the mom who berated her daughter for stepping in front of her while she (the mom) wasn't looking where she was going anyhow. Where is the justice? We had dinner at Zocalo, which I remember from my childhood as Casa Mexicana. We both had enchiladas dinners and a soda (no photos). After dinner, we saw that the first Fantasmic! show was starting, so I thought now would be a good time to try to get on some rides but as we got to the hub, people were sitting everywhere waiting for the fireworks show to start and we didn't feel like worming our way through the crowd. Toward the Rivers of America crowds were watching Fantasmic!, so we were trapped. We waited out the first Fantasmic! show in the Frontierland gift shop and after it ended we worked our way to the front to get good seats for the next show. I'd seen this show before and it hasn't changed much that I can remember but now that I'm older I realized it doesn't make a whole lot of sense, and that was rather disappointing. You can very loosely tie everything together based on Mickey's imagination, but there's no clear, strong story being told here really. The technology is still great and wondrous after a decade (?), and it's fun to hear the snippets of music again, and they certainly put on a great show.

Mon Apr 3, 2006

We started out our day with breakfast at Rainforest Cafe. I had oatmeal, fresh fruit, a biscuit. Patrick had bacon, eggs, potatoes, a biscuit. We sat next to a giant fish tank with lots of beautiful tropical fish. One of the fish was dead, floating horizontally at the bottom of the tank, and several of the other fish were picking at it—gross. Shortly after we were seated, two women and a boy were seated next to us. The two women eventually started chatting with us and it wasn't until near the end of our meal that I had realized that it was a lesbian couple taking one of their grandsons to Disneyland. When each child reaches the age of 7, they get a trip to Disneyland—sounded like a great rule to me. One of the women told us about—and recommended to us—Annie O'Hara who works at US Bank on Castro Street in case we ever needed financial investment services. Patrick took photos with a gorilla. After breakfast, we headed to California Adventure. Neither of us had been to this park before. We ambled into the park, passing underneath the Golden Gate Bridge (the monorail passes along it!). We entered the center hub called Sunshine Plaza, saw the sun circle (purely decorative), the waves machine. Then, into the Hollywood Pictures Backlot, we passed bathrooms that look like they could have been designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, a walk-up hot dog diner, and lots of Los Angeles-looking architecture. Back through Sunshine Plaza and over into the Golden State area. The line for Grizzly River Rafting Company was pretty short, so we hopped on, had a fun ride. We did the Mission Tortilla factory tour and the Boudin Bakery tour. We were misled by Ariel's Grotto—a sign outside said something about "underwater dining" but we went inside and found out it really wasn't underwater. Even worse (for us), it was character dining, so we ended up eating lunch at Wine Country Trattoria at the Golden Vine Winery (which I sometimes mistakenly called "Golden Wine Vinery"): soup (we can't remember what kind now), I had a salad with garlic bread, Patrick had a salad with some kind of meat. We rode the Sun Wheel Ferris Wheel, which I found scary—sometimes I'm afraid of heights. I called my friend Chris to tell him that I was sending him a fax. (Not really.) We had dinner at House of Blues: skillet-baked rosemary cornbread with maple butter; I had a mixed field greens salad with bleu cheese crumbles, toasted pecans, and roasted tomato shallot vinaigrette, and a full rack of slow-smoked Tennessee-style baby back ribs with Jim Bean BBQ sauce, mashed sweet potatoes, green beans; Patrick had cajun-smoked turkey and shrimp file gumbo with white rice, diced tomatoes, and lemon, and creole seafood jambalaya with shrimp, chicken, andouille sausage and roasted green onions. For dessert, we shared a chocolate bread pudding. Yum! We returned to the park and watched the fireworks from Tomorrowland while waiting for Honey I Shrunk the Audience.

Tue Apr 4, 2006

Today is our last day at Disneyland. We used our early entrance and went first to Space Mountain, but the ride was temporarily closed—"check back later" we were told. We backtracked to Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, which we saw had long lines on previous days, and we got on the ride in about 5 minutes. The ride is fun, but I think my gun was broken because my score was a lot lower than Patrick's and I would aim and shoot and aim and shoot and only half the time things would seem like I hit them. At the end of the ride, a digital photo kiosk lets you e-mail yourself a photo of your car taken inside the ride. It was quick and easy and they included a note about privacy—perfect. Back to Space Mountain, and yes! it's open! The wait is a little longer, maybe 10 or 15 minutes, but the line moves quickly. The ride has been remodeled since I last rode it, and the giant chocolate chip cookie is gone. The ride is much darker now, and there's cheesy (I think) music playing inside the car throughout the entire ride. I don't remember there being music in the past. After Space Mountain, we were done seeing things we wanted to see in Tomorrowland, so I took Patrick over to ToonTown, but it was closed temporarily. We went to It's a Small World and we got on that ride in about 5 minutes. As our boat exited the ride, it started to rain. We were the only people on our boat who had brought an umbrella, so it felt weird to be riding in a Small World boat with an umbrella and rain coming down overhead. We took the train from ToonTown station to Main Street, passing through the Grand Canyon and Dinosaur dioramas. The rain was light but steady by now, and people everywhere were putting on translucent, white, plastic, hooded Disney rain jackets for which I suspect they paid too much money. Patrick and I had our umbrella, but I had only sneakers and our legs were getting wet. We hadn't had anything to eat yet this morning, so we stopped in at Blue Ribbon Bakery for a bite to eat. The line was long and slow, but eventually we got a cinnamon roll, 2 yogurt parfaits, and a grande cinnamon latte out of the place. We stepped next door into the ice cream parlor (no one was serving ice cream) and sat at a table near the arcade to eat. In the room, a giant (glass?) elephant sits atop a raised platform, lit from underneath. Next we headed over to Frontierland to the Golden Horseshoe Stage where we saw the 11:15 am show of Billy Hill and the Hillbillies, which was described as "musical madness that's one part rock'n'roll, one part bluegrass, and ten parts comedy!" The show was about 30 or 40 dlpms (dozen laughs per minute), judging by the audience's reaction—we had a blast. Afterwards we stumbled upon the Concord High School Symphonic Band from Concord, California playing at the Plaza Gardens Stage. We stopped to listen for a few minutes and to catch a breather from walking around in the rain. We return to ToonTown, and it's open! We walk through Mickey's house and take photos with Pluto. It's fun, but we had had enough of Mickey's house before we even get to see Mickey, so we duck out a side door exit. I buy taffy and lollipops for the office at The Gag Factory. Patrick bought some popcorn. We take the monorail to Downtown Disney and from the monorail station I get some photos of the new submarine ride under construction. We were hungry, so before heading back to the hotel for a nap, we ate at Uva Bar and Cafe in Downtown Disney. Patrick had a chicken salad and I had fish and chips. I buy gifts for Tina's birthday at Marceline's Confectionery. Hotel. Nap. Coffee at the hotel Starbucks. Since it had been raining today, we weren't sure if there would be a fireworks show tonight—they cancel it if the weather's not good. We hadn't yet gotten to watch the fireworks from in front of the castle, so we were hoping there would be a show tonight. By the time we got inside the park, they had announced it was canceled. So instead of eating inside the park, we left and got dinner at Hook's Point (Disneyland Hotel): I had grilled scallops with spinach risotto, Patrick had grilled tuna with broccolini. We enjoyed dinner very much, but I would have done the lighting differently.

Wed Apr 5, 2006

We woke up early and ate breakfast in the atrium restaurant at the Hyatt Regency which was called California Grill. Patrick had a plate of waffles with fresh fruit, coffee, orange juice. I got the buffet: mushroom cheddar omelet, fresh fruit, yogurt, coffee, orange juice. Some French flight attendants staying at our hotel ate breakfast at nearby tables while we did—they ended up brunching for hours. We took the shuttle to the airport and Patrick got a hot cocoa at Starbucks. Our flight was delayed, so we spent a boring couple of hours in the terminal. Sam picked us up from the airport, and we all went to lunch at Chili's San Bruno: awesome blossom onion rings, crispy chicken salad for me, cajun chicken sandwich for Patrick, chipotle burger for Sam. Afterwards we bought Sam a tank of gas, and he dropped us off at home. We unpacked.

Thu Apr 6, 2006

My favorite breakfast at home. Day 1 of 2 of the CalWAC web accessibility conference in downtown San Francisco. I was almost late getting to the keynote because my e-mail agenda said the Sheraton Palace Hotel was at "2 Montgomery" but it really should have said "2 New Montgomery." I still don't understand it completely, but I think technically there is no "2 Montgomery." If you're at 1 Montgomery and look across the street, there's no 2 Montgomery. However, if you look half a block down, you can see 44 Montgomery. I was very confused by this. I was surprised to see a full breakfast catering spread upon arriving at the keynote since our registration for the conference was only $200. I picked up my typical conference freebies (128 MB USB drive [useful], gym or overnight bag with conference name and year [not so useful], name tag, folder, conference materials). Although I had eaten at home, I had some yogurt and fresh pineapple and strawberries. The keynote speaker was Molly Holzschlag (molly.com) and although she delivered a decent enough opening speech for the conference, you could almost feel the burden carried by all of the web developers in the room with respect to accessibility issues. It was as though you could see the collective thought balloon from everyone in the audience saying, "How am I ever going to learn everything I need to know and do what I need to do with as few resources as I have?" Well, the conference is a great way to start, and we can only make progress by chipping away at it as best we can. I certainly could not have done a better job getting everyone in the audience motivated. My morning class was "Making PDFs Accessible" by Sean Keegan. I learned a lot I hadn't known before. Chatted with Alex K. Lunch by myself at Lee's. My afternoon class was "Advanced Topics in CSS" by James Craig. There was an evening reception for the conference, but I was beat and Patrick and I desperately needed to do some grocery shopping. Patrick and his mom walked around the Castro today. Home. Nap. Grocery shopping with Patrick at Safeway. Dinner at home with Patrick: pizza, salad. Started coding Lodestar—we're very late this time. Very tired. Bed.

Fri Apr 7, 2006

My favorite breakfast at home. Day 2 of 2 of the CalWAC conference. My morning classes: "Validating to Section 508" by Jim Thatcher and "Issues in Online Learning" by John Slatin and Jim Allan. Chatted briefly with Leslie K. Lunch with Judith Blackman (Stanford, Genentech) and Debbie (?) from CSU Chico at Cafe Venue. Afternoon class: "Javascript and Accessibility" by Derek Featherstone. Chatted with Sean Keegan. Home. Patrick went to Stonestown Mall with his mom today. Patrick and I watched video on Google of Disneyland from 1956. (Thanks to Chris for the link!) Drew and Phil came over for dinner. I made the salad with red and green leaf lettuce, spring mix, cucumber, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives, ranch dressing. Patrick made the angel hair pasta with red sauce, garlic bread, roasted elephant garlic. Afterwards we watched The Simpsons (In Marge We Trust).

Sat Apr 8, 2006

My favorite breakfast at home. Napped. Worked on Lodestar all day—got all the poetry coded. Still to do: all the prose. Patrick worked on Lodestar, too—bios. Still to do for him: decks. Monthly backups. Lunch at home with Patrick: leftover pizza and salad. Dinner at home with Patrick: leftover pasta, new pasta, leftover salad. Patrick and I went through our Disneyland photos deleting ones which came out blurry. I'll be uploading them soon. Archived bamf and psychobauble for safekeeping. Sam took Patrick to a movie today (Ice Age)—an early birthday present.

Sun Apr 9, 2006

My favorite breakfast at home, plus fresh sliced strawberries and bananas with banana cream yogurt. House chores: vacuumed, cleaned, washed dishes. Patrick left to visit with Wei. Cut my hair. Showered. Napped. Patrick returned. Late lunch at home with Patrick: I made a salad for me, he made pastrami sandwiches and potato chips for both of us. We worked on Lodestar. Patrick left for dinner with Aaron. Late dinner at home by myself: ramen with tuna and egg. Bought a Flickr Pro account. Started uploading Disneyland trip photos and backfilling the journal entry for April 1. This is going to take a while.

Mon Apr 10, 2006

My favorite breakfast at home, plus an orange, banana, pineapple smoothie. Stopped at J and J Bakery to reserve a cake. First day back at work after vacation and my inbox is overwhelming. After pruning, I still have over 70 messages in it when normally I have about a dozen. Most of the day was spent just replying to e-mail messages. I also spent a couple of hours reviewing resumes for Jeff M. Lunch by myself at desk: Panda Bowl. My fortunes: You have an active mind and a keen imagination. Prepare yourself for a change of events in your personal life. After work I picked up the cake I ordered. When I got home, Patrick and Mom Ryan were already waiting. We had canceled our plans to go to dinner at Old Mandarin and instead went to P.J.'s Oyster Bed (415-566-7775, 737 Irving Street at 9th), a New Orleans-themed restaurant to which Mom Ryan had never been. We sat at table 7 and admired the beautiful mural montage of New Orleans celebrities, wildlife, and scenes. Mom Ryan had decaf, I had an iced tea, and Patrick had a mojito. An order of oysters Rockfeller started us off. Mom Ryan had a cup of gumbo and an order of crab cakes. I had red snapper with garlic mashed potatoes and bok choy. Patrick had the Drocco Combo with chicken, pork ribs, and (sausage?). Our server was Hilary who was perfect for the start of our meal but inattentive for the second half. She was really sweet and apologized several times for having neglected our table. For example, Mom Ryan didn't get a coffee refill the whole meal, even after she asked Hilary directly and who replied, "I'll be right back with your refill," but forgot about it. Even the bus person was slow to remove plates and never once filled our water glasses. All the food was delicious. No food photos from tonight—I had forgotten my camera. After our meal, we each had slices of the coffee mousse cake I got from J and J Bakery (1398-9th Avenue at Judah). Mom Ryan thought the chocolate cylinder around the cake was brown cardboard and was very surprised to learn that you could eat it. Hilary comped us two scoops of ice cream and two coffees. Mom Ryan told us funny stories from her life and she also told us all about statistics. All stuffed, we dropped Mom Ryan off at home, then called it a night. Added titles to Disneyland Trip Day 2 photos on Flickr.

Tue Apr 11, 2006

Helped Cindy make decisions about a website design. Created a Medicare Part D poster for Susie. Reviewed our MCCA agreement for Valerie. Reviewed resumes for Jeff. Chatted with Jeremy G about captioning and video conversion. Installed Reader 7 for Ena. Helped Lucia reinstall cabinet doors. Uploaded a revised spring electives schedule for Lucia. Chatted with Chris about poster templates. Took photos of student TD. Responded to student questions about e-mail and VPN. Scanned 2 documents to PDF for Cindy. Chatted with student WO about RAS and iTunes U. Installed Visio for James. Inbox is down from 130+ items yesterday to 31 items! Woo hoo! Chatted with Bill L on the train. Chatted with pharmacy student (I think JH) walking down Noe. Shopped for birthday gifts in the Castro, didn't find what I was looking for. Dinner by myself at La Tortilla. Coffee at Bearbucks: decaf grande cinnamon latte, read from A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge. It's taken me a really long time to get through this book. I can't remember when I started.

Wed Apr 12, 2006

Fruit smoothie at home for breakfast. I wore my glasses to work today—something I rarely do—because I accidentally fell asleep with my contacts in last night. Oops! Listserv updates. Web calendar updates. Reviewed resumes for Jeff. Submitted a support request to Dell for Chris's D/Dock. Replaced the transfer roller for the color laserprinter. Laptop setup with Joel. Met with Susie. D/Dock troubleshooting for Chris. Sent out more quote requests on our video conversion and captioning project. Home. Dinner at home with Patrick: beef stroganoff. Watched a trailer for The Simpsons (thanks for the link, Chris!)—cool! (even tho it won't be until 2007). Watched Unleashed on DVD (English) borrowed from Drew and Phil. The film was entertaining, but many things didn't make sense in the story. Still, we enjoyed it. Uploaded photos for Disneyland Trip Day 3 and Day 4 (but no titles or captions yet). Backfilled journal entry for April 2. I told you it would take some time, didn't I? Funny moment of the day: Patrick and I were computing and I say to him, "Those spammers can't fool me, coz I know there's no one named Osborne Latonya or Violetta Crunk!" If you haven't heard, lately the Bay Area has been having a lot of rain. I don't know the exact statistics, but it's been like a month's worth or more of continuous rain days, and Patrick finally said witheringly, "So this is what Seattle is like?" and I said yes. You can feel the general aura of dejectedness in the idle hallway and elevator chatter as mutterings of global warming and "all Bush's fault" are tossed within earshot. Doesn't bother me much. I guess living in Seattle for 7 years builds up a resistance. How I lived there for so long I'm not sure I'll ever know. Like Yoda talking backwards me this is, hmmm? Okay, time for bed.

Thu Apr 13, 2006

My favorite breakfast at home. Handed off the laptop to Joel. Created an alternate color scheme for Susie's Part D poster. Part D video project work (quotes, vendors). Dell ImageBuilder work (questions for Dell). Handed off a schedule change request to Lucia. Lunch at desk: takeout from the cafeteria: turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, small salad. Troubleshot a printer jam for Ena (unable to reproduce). Chatted with James about creating an online supp app. Computer support coordinator meeting. Laptop troubleshooting for Chris. Drew and Phil picked me up at work and we drove to So Restaurant (415-731-3143, 2240 Irving) where Patrick met us for dinner. We had So Fish, noodles, spinach, potstickers, and soup. Home. Chatted with Nate. Uploaded photos to flickr. I introduced Travis to flickr, and today he uploaded over 3,000 photos to it.

Fri Apr 14, 2006

My favorite breakfast at home. It's Joel's birthday today. Everyone brought a little something to celebrate. Joel got chocolate bunny rabbits, peeps, a book about how to write a screenplay, and a table full of strawberries and donuts and juices. Schedule update. Finalized decision for video conversion and captioning vendor. Server troubleshooting. Lunch: I took Joel to Cybelle's and Starbucks. At Cybelle's we shared a monster Hawaiian pizza slice and a spinach-mandarinorange-pineapple salad. At Starbucks, Joel got a grande caramel hot apple cider. I got a cinnamon grande latte. Forwarded non-spam accidentally tagged as spam to the listservs. Handed off a logo to a tote bag provider for Susie. New news story for Susie. Dinner at PhilDrew's: pork chops, chicken and chinese broccoli, steamed rice. Watched Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle on DVD at PhilDrew's.

Sat Apr 15, 2006

My favorite breakfast at home. Caught up on e-mail, linkchecking. Uploaded and tagged photos. Lunch at home with Patrick: two kinds of bao from Simmone, one was traditional bbq pork, the other was chicken, egg, and shiitake mushroom. Yummy! Post-lunch: two turkey burgers and a leftover fortune cookie (A good home is happiness.). Helped Patrick remove a splinter from his finger. Patrick had dinner with Wei tonight. I got takeout from Whiz Burgers (teriyaki chicken, steamed rice, salad, and also a churro) and watched Airplane! with Phil and Drew at their place.

Sun Apr 16, 2006

My favorite breakfast at home. Coded some Lodestar works. Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Easter Bonnet Contest. Easter Brunch at Luna with Mom Ryan and Patrick. Stopped at Samovar to say hello to Drew and Frank. It started raining steadily as we walked Mom Ryan home. Tea at Mom Ryan's. Grocery shopping at Safevay. I accidentally cut my left thumb on the shopping cart where the plastic handle was cracked and broken. It bled after a while, but not badly. Watched The Simpsons with Patrick (It's a Mad Mad Mad Marge and Team Homer). Watched the pilot episode of the old TV show called Alice on in2tv.

Mon Apr 17, 2006

Breakfast at home by myself: banana, cherry yogurt, fruit cup, orange juice. Met with Cindy. Met with Lisa M about a PHP and MySQL project. (I can't get away from my responsibilities to help her, but I offered to point her in the right direction for finding someone.) Support technician Alex representing Dell fixed Chris's laptop today. Lunch with Joel: I got takeout from Panda and he got takeout from Subway and we sat on the library steps enjoying the warm sun. Student MD advised me to stay away from the orange chicken at Panda because it was not healthy. My fortune: Resist a temptation to take shortcuts of any kind. Dinner at home by myself: turkey burgers, leftover fortune cookie. My fortune: You are cautious in showing your true self to others. Chris introduced me to Google Pack, but don't install it today—it clobbered my Firefox installation and installed in its place—there doesn't seem to be an easy way to manually override if you want other updates. Reinstalling the full update of fixed it. Updates for Windows computers at home. Backfilled April 5 and part of April 4. Chatted with Rob and Jeremy. Chatted with Nate.

Tue Apr 18, 2006

Breakfast at home: cereal with sliced banana, orange juice. Student computing committee meeting. Met with Tiki M about her security awareness project. Joel brought in some delicious coconut cupcakes today in a fancy cupcake tree. Worked on security posters. Firefox updates for the office. Handed off the laptop to Joel. Today was sunny, clear, and hot, so for lunch I got bun bo xao from Minh Tri and a shaken iced coffee from Starbucks and sat in Golden Gate Park. Today's weather was just about perfect, and it reminded me of summer in Seattle. Dinner at home with Patrick: I cooked veggie and shrimp stir fry from a frozen bag—never again. Chatted with Tina, caught up on e-mail, coded some Lodestar reviews.

Wed Apr 19, 2006

Breakfast at home: banana, yogurt, orange juice. Backed up data from Chris's laptop in anticipation of reformatting it. Lots of trouble with the server's REV drive which took forever on a quick format so I had to restart the server to make it let go of the process. Couldn't proceed with the reformat because we both forgot he took the cdrom drive with him to Laurel Heights. Lunch: cow stew, brown rice, carrots. Listserv work for Claire. Listserv update for Joel. Showed Joel how to make Outlook not compress his weekend days into one cube. He didn't know how to fix it and had been just putting up with it for the past year. Helped various students with issues. Helped a faculty member with a listserv question. Minor web updates for James. Asked Julie to cover for me while I'm out next month. Helped Pollyanna with a question about Outlook. Helped a student concerned about spam. Minor web updates for Joel. Participated in group interviews today for the admissions assistant position in our office. Helped Mike L discover the problem he had with clicking links in e-mail messages—a "clunk" sound would happen but nothing else. He ended up having 4 or 5 different pieces of software providing pop-up blocker protection. This one happened to be Google Toolbar. I uninstalled it and lots of other junk, optimized other things, turned ClearType on, and so forth. Now his new laptop runs tons faster than before. Medicare Part D print materials, translations, and posters work for Susie. Dinner at home with Patrick: turkey parmesan over angel hair with asparagus. Added more data to the April 2 journal entry.

Thu Apr 20, 2006

Breakfast: oatmeal, a banana, orange juice. Telecommute day. Created a draft of a proposal for a different interface for SAA's e-mail address screen in the student portal. Reviewed the quote we got on our student laptop configuration from Dell. Poster work for Susie. Copy edits for Susie. Deprecated use of Yahoo! maps on our website in favor of Google Maps. Tested Sakai at sakaitestdrive.com. It's not bad. Some problems with accessibility, such as navigation disappearing when the font size is enlarged or the browser window is made smaller. Alt text could say "Sakai" instead of "logo." Things like that. Iframes and nested (!) iframes are cringeworthy, but it otherwise seems serviceable. Dinner at home with Patrick: frozen pizza. Erected shelves in the second bedroom. Watched part of Napoleon Dynamite which Sam thought I would like, and Patrick liked it but I didn't like it. Watched part of disc 2 of the Barbra Streisand TV specials.

Fri Apr 21, 2006

Created a proposal for the e-mail address web page interface for SAA. Attempted to work on VPN pages but couldn't get access, e-mailed John. Submitted an e-mail related ticket for student JR. Found a computer in my branch in Active Directory that wasn't mine, notified ITS to remove it. Lunch by myself at Pasta Pomodoro: healthy chicken, iced tea. Starbucks: iced grande caramel macchiato. Medicare Part D poster and handout work for Susie. Edited copy for Susie. Medicare Part D web page work. Cleaned out old e-mail. Dinner at home with Patrick: pork bao, vegetable bao, leftover pasta.

Sat Apr 22, 2006

My favorite breakfast at home. Archived photos and documents. Lodestar work. Online shopping. Lunch: sandwiches. Dinner: linguine with shrimp and vegetables and red sauce.

Sun Apr 23, 2006

Breakfast: oatmeal, a banana, orange juice. Finished journal entries for our Disneyland trip. We couldn't remember everything exactly, but it's pretty close to what happened. Patrick worked on decks this morning. Brunch with Patrick and Mom Ryan at Eric's Restaurant: appetizer platter, wonton soup, five taste chicken, ocean (delight?). Mom Ryan and Patrick both got the same fortune: Seek friendship and you will find someone special this month. My fortune: Don't underestimate yourself. Your social skills are needed by others at this time.

Mon Apr 24, 2006

Breakfast: yogurt, a banana. Medicare Part D work for Susie. Formatted and set up a laptop for a student. Lunch: Joel and I got takeout from the cafeteria. Unscrewed a screw from Chris's laptop. Dinner at home with Patrick: pan-fried breaded chicken drumsticks, bow tie pasta and broccoli in alfredo. We finished up our Lodestar issue and made it live—about a month late. Fixed a problem with my journal code—it was letting people seek to the previous day before the first entry on 1-1-2000. I discovered the problem because I noticed the link checker was checking dates backwards through 1980. Worked on the Lodestar RSS feed. Having some trouble dealing with em tags. Grrr! Linkchecking for home sites. I never knew until a week or so ago when Phil told me and Patrick that you aren't supposed to put bones in compost. I thought they would decompose, but then he said, "Well, what about the dinosaurs?" and then I thought, well, maybe bones that are turned over and over in a compost heap eventually decompose, but I looked it up later and found he was right. I blame my ignorance on the lack of an Alice Waters education in my grade school and the poor education efforts of my city's trash collection program. I recall the common recycling adage, "When in doubt, throw it out!" which, to me, is another way of saying, "Anything can happen!" because you can't predict what any particular person will or won't doubt. So now I know: no bones in compost! [But on January 9, 2007, I later wrote: "I discovered while browsing the website of the trash and recycling provider for our neighborhood that bones are okay to go into compost, which is the opposite of what I had found in the past on several other websites discussing composting."]

Tue Apr 25, 2006

Breakfast: banana, yogurt, oatmeal with raisins, an orange. Dell ImageBuilder WebCast. Conference at Millberry Union across the street, lunch is included: salad, hot pasta assortment, garlic bread. The event was called Designing the Virtual Classroom and was presented by Rena Palloff and Keith Pratt who are authors of several books which guide the development of online learning environments. I found them to be very knowledgeable and casually engaging presenters. Although our school hasn't done a great deal in this arena and it's arguable whether I can do anything about it, I got a number of excellent suggestions which I can adapt to other projects I'm working on. Special thanks to Rosemary P for inviting me to attend. Picked up a mended towel from the dry cleaners. Dinner at home with Patrick: turkey burgers, french fries. Worked on the RSS feed for Lodestar—almost done. We made the site live yesterday but didn't announce yet coz Patrick hasn't written his announcement letter. We'll announce tomorrow after I complete the RSS feed—only a few more changes needed, about another hour's work.

Wed Apr 26, 2006

Notified Jeff B of a broken link. Security Awareness Campaign Collaboration meeting with Tiki M, Angela W, and Michael K. Late lunch: panda takeout, sat in the sun by the library. My fortune: A photo cannot capture your charm. Created language table signs for Susie (Medicare Part D). Created a podium placard for Susie (Medicare Part D), worked with Jim at Repro to get it in the queue. Dinner at Thai Chef by myself. Home. Worked late on Lodestar—mostly the RSS feed.

Thu Apr 27, 2006

Announced Lodestar Issue 17. Breakfast: an orange, a banana, oatmeal. Minor web updates for Cindy and James. Updated a student org listserv for a student. Lunch: turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, dinner roll, roasted vegetables. Chatted with Joel about entering student issues: Yahoo! forum, entering students page. Lots of Medicare Part D work today: HTML transcript page, PowerPoint to PDF conversions, tested Jeremy's SMIL file, print templates for forthcoming translated Q and A documents (Russian, Spanish, Chinese). Archived web archives to cdrom. Played with Google SketchUp in Google Earth today after reading about it on Slashdot—it's really cool and interesting. I haven't looked at SketchUp yet, but the playback is certainly impressive. It makes me wish I could control Google Earth using better input devices than a keyboard and mouse. I still recall when Adobe purchased some smaller company, rebranded their software, and then rereleased it as Adobe Atmosphere before I left in 2000—they thought they were going to revolutionize and/or control the authoring of virtual environments, but I haven't heard anything about Atmosphere since. This evening while browsing Flickr I stumbled across the naughty profile of someone I know. I stayed up late uploading and organizing photos on Flickr. On the bus home today a woman named Madeleine introduced herself to me and we chatted for a while. She has been working at UCSF for 6 years and she was friendly and nice to talk to.

Fri Apr 28, 2006

Part D press announcement formatting for Susie. Updated a listserv for a student due to an address error discovered this morning. Helped a student learn how to send messages to the listserv. Staff meeting. Lunch at desk: takeout from the cafeteria: chicken burger, fries, cottage cheese, potato salad. Lots of Medicare Part D work today, including making our site live at pharmacy.ucsf.edu/partd. After a visit to the doctor, I went to the Castro hoping to meet up with Patrick. I got there and called him from a payphone, but he was spending time with his mom for a while. I took photos of the bizarre multi-car accident and resulting fire which took place outside Cliff's Variety yesterday evening. Two news vans with satellite antennas were parked outside. The paint on the wall at Fuzio turned all bubbly from the fire, and much of the awning for Cliff's had burned away. Some people had left flowers and signs with supportive words taped to nearby poles in memoriam of the man who died here yesterday. I took photos and uploaded them to Flickr but will add captions and other things later. Today was the first time I ever ran out of batteries with my camera. I think the last time I put in fresh batteries was after we got back from Disneyland, and I have taken over 100 photos. Stopped at Urban Eyes to discuss my eye care benefits and how to spend them, decided I will buy contact lenses online instead. I spent an hour in Books Inc looking for gifts for people but all I found was a book for myself: Teach Yourself Visually: Weight Training, which was on sale for $7.98, originally $24.99. It took me less than a minute to decide to buy the book. Just by browsing a few pages, I realized that it gave me a lot of key information very quickly, and reading some of the pages in detail corresponded with some of the knowledge I already had regarding weight training which I believed to be correct advice. I especially like that the writers tell you what not to do, what you can do to make a particular exercise easier, what you can do to make a particular exercise harder, and whether you should avoid or take extra care with a particular exercise if you have an injury or problem specific to a part of your body. They do this for pretty much every exercise, and there are about 300 pages in the book with 2 pages devoted to each particular exercise. The writing is clear and concise without being condescending. I also like that the male model is muscular and attractive without being porn star quality, which can be a rather difficult psychological hurdle to overcome for simply doing exercises and improving one's health. The female model is a little scary too-thin—see, for example, the photo on the first page of the table of contents. Dinner with Patrick at Thai House Bar and Cafe (415-864-5006, 2200 Market Street). We had fresh spring rolls, BBQ chicken, vegetable curry, steamed rice. The food was just okay, and the service was occasionally neglectful. We've eaten here a few times in the past. The space is nicely decorated, but the food and service are not pleasing enough to bring us back frequently. I'm 99% certain that Nathan S from the biopharmaceutical sciences degree program was seated at the table next to us, but he didn't seem to recognize me. I hadn't interacted with him much in the past so I didn't say hello. Home. Started reading the new weight training book. I'm learning a lot in just minutes. I love this book! I recently finished A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge and I can't remember if I said anything about it. It's a very long read, and not for science fiction beginners. It might not even be for science fiction intermediate readers, either. My joke to Nate was that A Fire Upon the Deep was mind-expanding, and A Deepness in the Sky is mind exploding. For me, it was less satisfying than A Fire Upon the Deep, which I believe is its sequel. (Or Deepness is a prequel to Fire, rather.) The book I'm starting now is The Commitment by Dan Savage. I've always enjoyed Dan Savage's books because he brings a perspective and voice to the world which no one else can bring, and he makes you laugh along the way whether you want to or not. Seeing the world through his eyes is enriching.

Sat Apr 29, 2006

Assisted Susie with the Medicare Part D workshop at Mission Creek. The event went very well. I met Timothy Cutler and Marilyn Stebbins as well as a lot of other people involved with the event. Though it was definitely a successful group effort, Susie did an amazing job putting everything together so seamlessly. I got breakfast and coffee at Safeway with Tim. There were some computer problems—initially the computers wouldn't connect to the building's wireless access point, but an ipconfig/renew fixed that. Also, after connecting successfully, many computers would lose their wireless connection some time later—very frustrating. Afterwards I went shopping in Union Square, stopped at Armani Exchange (clothes fit but t-shirts were $44!), Benetton (nothing I liked, store was empty like usual—how does it stay open?), H and M (the line for the dressing room had about 30 people—why do people spend hours here just to save a few dollars?), and eventually bought a two-piece Burberry suit for myself. I've never owned a suit before, and a great salesperson named Jay helped me with the selection, and I found his knowledge invaluable. While waiting for the seamstress to arrive, another man asked him if the suit he was trying on was black or blue. Jay looked at the tag (Hugo Boss) and told him it was blue (it looked black to me) and added that you can tell it's black or blue by the last digit on one of the numbers on the tag—1 means black and 4 means blue (or maybe it was the other way around—I don't recall). I had a very late lunch by myself at We Be Sushi (415-565-6749, 538 Valencia Street): ebi, unagi, hamachi, california maki: $11.50 before tip. Went to Phil and Drew's. Helped Drew with a laptop problem. We watched the channel 2 news (FOX) which covered the Part D workshop. Vietnamese sandwiches for dinner with Phil, Drew, Tony. I chatted with Jason in Arizona—someone Tony had met while visiting Chicago.

Sun Apr 30, 2006

Did some house chores. Added some notes to April 25. Affixed the last board in the second bedroom shelving project. Ensured that all (well, mostly all) light switch and outlet faceplate screws were horizontal. Patched holes in the wall with spackling. Uploaded photos from Patrick's trip with Sam to Vienna, Salzburg, and Melk beginning May 27, 2005. Went with Phil and Drew to a friend's BBQ at 24th and Hoffman. I met Jose and Keith and several others. The back yard had beautiful gardens which looked to me professionally maintained. There was a small stream and waterfall, too. The party food was delicious, and Riyahl (sp?) brought a lemon cake from Delissio which was delissio. Afterwards, Drew drove us downtown. I took photos of downtown San Francisco from the back seat of the car. We went to the Cartoon Art Museum. The current exhibits on rotation were: Earthquake!, No Straight Lines: Queer Culture and the Comics, and the small press spotlight was Gene Yang. Fun! Patrick and I had dinner at So Restaurant (415-731-3143, 2240 Irving) with Jesse and Remi. So Fish, spinach and garlic, shredded pork, fried rice. Afterwards: Double Rainbow for ice cream. I had cherry vanilla, Patrick and Jesse had golden gate fudge caramel ripple something, Remi had lychee nut ice cream. I watched a new Simpsons episode while we were there. Afterward, we listened to Vangelis, Mike Oldman, and selections from Patrick's new album of original music, which is still in production, but nearly finished. I am very much enjoying Dan Savage's The Commitment. It's a quick read, most especially because I waited for 40 minutes for a bus today. Our PGandE (one month) and water bill (two months) came out to $246. I chatted with L about this and other things. I notice Travis has over 10,000 photos in his Flickr account now (!).