3.216 socializing

Wednesday 07/06/2022

Went for The Walk first thing, fine. Then it was a matter of killing a bit of time until 10:30 when I went to the lobby to await the arrival of my guest, Dan Nitzan. He’s a charming guy who knows a lot and has done a lot in the tech field. (He doesn’t seem to have much of an online presence. Here’s an old interview from 2012 about his fireworks job.)

In person it turns out he is one of those people who has something entertaining to say about any topic, and he kept my group of AV nerds entranced for an hour in the auditorium, talking about our system and what we could do with it, and for another hour having lunch. (Scott would know what I mean when I say he could out-talk our friend Denny Sargent.)

After lunch I triaged some of my plants. Got rid of a couple that were sickly or actually dead, and noted what pots I have available.

In the afternoon I drove down Middlefield to the gas station and fueled the Prius for tomorrow’s outing. Then into the nursery where I picked up a couple of new plants.

There was a memorial reception on 11 at 6pm, which needed a mic, but I had delegated that job to Kass. She called me at 6:30 saying they had 4 people going to sing and they’d like a mic. She and I agreed that our mics don’t work when set back from the speaker, they have to be right by your mouth. But the people who were going to sing insisted, so I went down and got a mic stand from the auditorium and took it up to 11. Set the mic in the middle and instructed the singers to stand close and lean in. Which they didn’t do, so there was very little amplification. From what I could hear, that wasn’t a great loss anyway (he grumped). But Kass thinks we should have a more appropriate mic for this situation. Not knowing what to get, I did the obvious and emailed the question to my new bud, Dan Nitzan. I’m sure he’ll have an answer.

3.215 pictures, meeting

Tuesday 07/05/2022

A day with not much scheduled. I spent some time printing some new photographs for my picture gallery outside my door. The pictures there hadn’t changed in a while. I also reloaded the ink tanks in my Epson EcoTank printer. This was the first time I had done this since I bought the printer near the end of 2019. It has printed maybe 100 big color prints, not a whole lot of text.

I attended the writers meeting as usual, and read my reminiscence about shooting off fireworks in my youth.

I checked with Dan Nitzan, who had tentatively scheduled to visit here tomorrow, and confirmed that, and also reserved a table for lunch. Nitzan is a local expert in AV, setting up systems at local theater groups and churches. He has had relatives at Channing House. Patty and Lennie met him at a Pear Theater fundraising event.

3.214 volunteer day

Monday 07/04/2022

First thing I went for the standard walk, which was fine. Not long after my return I went to the auditorium to meet with Ian. Today’s event was a book talk by Prof. Patnode, who has given a number of such talks here. He never has media to project, he wants a whiteboard and a podium and that’s it. So this was supposed to be a simple, audio-only event, which Ian had signed up to manage.

Unfortunately George, the event manager, decided on his own and without consultation, to advertise the event as “auditorium or zoom”. Since it was in the daily calendar, the house email list, and the signs in the elevators, we had to provide zoom support. Which Ian has never done. Hence my joining him. We set things up using Ian’s PC and the talk went fairly smoothly. Actually it went very smoothly for the 35 or so people in the auditorium. One (1) person attended on zoom, and owing to various issues, they got audio problems and video drop-outs and what-not. Every time we do this we “learn something new”, i.e. we fuck it up in a different way.

When the talk was over and the equipment tidied away, I headed down to FOPAL where I had to get my section ready for the upcoming sale weekend. I was back by 2:30.

Laurel had started an email thread reminding me of childhood 4th of July events, which I wrote up for her, and then copied the email and re-edited it to make an essay for tomorrow’s writers group.

Like all holidays, the dining staff prepare sack suppers which we are supposed to pick up after lunch. As has been our custom for the last few months, many of the sixth floor residents gathered in our dining room to picnic on our sack suppers as a group.

Following that, I went down to the auditorium to grab a mic stand, and then up to 11 to help my volunteer Kass set up a simple one-mic arrangement for the 4th of July party. That was all set by 7:15, well ahead of the start time of 8pm.

Back to the apartment where I washed an amazing number of dishes considering I basically have a service for one, period. And refilled the hummingbird feeders and mixed up breakfast shakes for the next four days.

Then it was 8pm. Neighbor Carolyn had an operation last Thursday, an ankle replacement. She is using a wheelchair and I had agreed to wheel her up to 11 for the party, but now I found out that she wasn’t feeling up to it, and had decided to go to bed early. So I went up to the party, had a root beer float, listened to some very amateurish musical performances (well, they meant well and are our neighbors, so no criticism here).

The air was remarkably clear and the sunset light on the hills was lovely. I took some pictures that I need to process a bit. I watched the start of fireworks, then called it a night.

3.213 Docent

Sunday 07/03/2022

Usual Sunday morning. In watering the plants I am kicking myself for the state of some of them. I have two that really need to be put out of their misery and the pots reclaimed. I don’t feel like gardening today. Maybe Tuesday? Or not.

Off at 11 to lead the noon tour at the Museum. The place was unusually crowded today and I had a big batch of people, probably 35-40, at the start of the tour. Some peeled off as we went along but I still had 25 or so at the end, and got a nice round of applause. So that was nice.

3.212 clear desk, play

Saturday 07/02/2022

First thing I went for a medium walk and came back through the farmers market. Later I glued the last bit on the t-bird and shot some pictures. My desk is clear again. After weeks of having half the L-shaped surface covered with tools and bottles of paint, it’s all cleared out.

I ordered some more display cases but they haven’t come yet. Here’s a couple of shots of the car.

The proportions don’t look quite right from the side. I think it is a little too low in the back. I tried to correct that but then the rear bumper didn’t fit right. The hood opens to show the engine, I didn’t take a picture of that.

At 1:30 I met with Patty and Lois and we drove to the Pear theater (which is practically next door to the Computer History Museum where I will be tomorrow) to see a play, The Piano Teacher. This is mostly a monologue by an elderly woman, a retired piano teacher, reminiscing, and then trying to get in touch with former students, and then gradually finding out that they don’t remember the past they way she does. Who’s right? Who’s in denial, or fabricating? It was too slow for my taste, almost 100 minutes no intermission, and it was nearly an hour in before anything actually happened. I was mentally disagreeing with the plot most of the way through. Oh well it kept me awake.

3.211 getting it done

Friday 07/01/2022

Determined to get some stuff out of the way and go into the weekend clean. First up: polish my shoes, for the first time in probably a year. Well, it needed doing. Next, down to the Auditorium to try out some things regarding doing zoom meetings. They didn’t work but I learned a couple of things. Then, off to FOPAL. The sale weekend is coming up and my section is a mess. Was a mess. Now it’s all tidy.

Back to CH and resumed work on my writeup on how to zoom. It’s 12 pages long, which may seem like a lot but the whole process is ridiculously complicated. That done I distributed it by email to my A/V people, and shortly after it was time for that committee to meet and portion out the events for next month. I got two, which is tolerable.

I was invited to dinner with the Allens. I really need to invite people to dinner. I am accepting invites but never issuing any.

3.210 yosemite

Thursday 06/30/2022

Tidied up the apartment as usual on a Thursday. Then off to Milpitas for a day of work at the Yosemite warehouse. Actually there wasn’t much to do, mostly because everything needing doing, required curator Aurora’s supervision or involvement and there was only one of her, so we volunteers stood around a lot. I left early.

In the news there’s a shocker: USC and UCLA to leave the PAC-12 conference.

3.209 things

Wednesday 06/29/2022

I did not go for a walk this morning because I needed to do laundry. Ordinarily I’d have started a load and gone for the walk, but our washer has been intermittently acting up and I felt the need to stay close to it. So I supervised the laundry from a nearby chair. That took until 11 because for once I ran three loads. The third was my bathrobe and a floor mat from the bathroom. I’ve been wearing the bathrobe for a couple of hours every morning for three-plus years, so I thought I’d wash whether it needed it or not. <jk>

Then, quickly make a sandwich for lunch and drive off to FOPAL. I needed to be back for a haircut at 2:30. And buy some groceries first. So I had to leave there at 1:30 which meant I was not able to finish all the accumulated books. I’ll have to go back, maybe Friday.

So at 2:30 Leah, the house beauty person, cut my hair. Then down to the Auditorium to meet Bert and watch as he experimented using his big fast new Windows laptop with the Dell Dock. As soon as he connected the USB cable, the laptop immediately recognized the Dell Monitor attached to the Dock and made it an external monitor. That’s what the MacBooks will not do. So he worked through what he needed to do, to show slides for an event. He will shadow David M. for a presentation tonight and he will know what is going on.

After supper I went down and watched the setup for the presentation, and some of the presentation.

3.208 nothing much

Tuesday 06/28/2022

Started the day with a frustrating 2 hours in the Auditorium. I wanted to use the cheap little Acer laptop that we keep in a cabinet back of the stage, to test my instructions that I wrote yesterday. It was the only PC I had access to.

Well it is the slowest little slug ever. And old. Some weeks ago, our IT department added a Dell USB Dock and a Dell Monitor to the setup. When they run an event, they connect to the Dock and they are able to see the Monitor as one external screen, and the overhead Projector as another external screen. Actually they mirror those two, with the result that what they put on the Projector is also visible to them on the Monitor. David M. also uses this when he runs events.

I can connect the Dock to a MacBook, and the MacBook sees the Dock as a USB hub. Unfortunately Mac OS does not recognize the Monitor attached to the Dock as an external monitor. It does recognize the Projector as a display, so you can put various content up on the Projector screen, but to see it you have to crane your neck because you see the projector screen from the side.

The dorky little Acer, like a MacBook, could see the Dock as a hub but not the Monitor. So I couldn’t do what I wanted to. Other problems, too. With a MacBook, if you want to show powerpoint slides, you’ve got Keynote built-in. If you want to show PDF slides, you have Preview built-in. With Windows? Not so much. The only PDF viewer is the Edge browser. I tried multiple times to download Adobe Acrobat from the Microsoft Store and it failed every time with an obscure message. To show powerpoints? It seemed like the only choice was to buy a license for Microsoft 365 (aka Office). Well, no; there are free powerpoint viewer apps, but they warn “contain in-app purchases” so will they show ads? No idea.

I contacted Bert who has a better and newer PC and we agreed to meet at 3pm to try his machine. But at 3pm we found the Auditorium in use for a staff meeting.

So that was pretty much a wasted day. I did pay a couple of bills and brought the t-bird to “almost done” state. I also started looking at reference pictures for the next model, a 1953 Studebaker, like the one that Gary Pierce’s dad drove up our road in Washington every day in the late 50s.

3.207 writing

Monday 06/27/2022

Took the standard walk in the morning, all good.

Now what? Don’t want to go to FOPAL as I was only there on Saturday and no books will have piled up in a day. If they even do sorting on Sundays. Oh, I know. For some days I have been thinking about writing up clear directions on how to do zoom events from the Auditorium. Three others, David M, David G, and John M, have each worked out their own system for what is an extraordinarily complicated mess of equipment. I need to get more people trained on this, and before I can teach it I need to get what I know, organized. For me, that means, writing it.

So I spent the day, at least 5 hours of it, sitting in my chair doing tech writing, just like in the good old days at Informix or Silicon Graphics. At one point I went down to the Auditorium and worked through a couple of things that I hadn’t understood.

Tomorrow I am going to go down there and set up the whole scenario that I am documenting. I’ll print out what I have, then write notes on the paper copy and be able to do a final version, for the A/V meeting I’m having on Friday. This was very satisfying work.

At one point Patty called and asked to consult with me and Jerry about the H.C. grant request. That is reaching another stage of discussion and she wanted a couple of questions answered. I have no idea what will be happening but I guess we answered her questions.