2.317 Chinatown

Friday 10/22/2021

Today was the day scheduled for a tour of Chinatown. One of our newer residents, Gloria, used to lead tours of Chinatown on a regular basis. (I first mentioned Gloria on Day 2.158 when I was invited to a dinner party that included her.) She had offered to lead one for CH residents and this was it.

There were 23 people signed up, fortunate since the larger CH bus holds 24. It’s a Ford, or anyway a bus built by somebody on a Ford chassis. And functional but not deluxe at all.

Gloria is well-informed and well-organized. She talked a lot about the unique culture of Chinatown, which derived most of its early inhabitants from one very small region of China. That group spoke a regional variation of Cantonese, which is still spoken there today, despite that since the Communist revolution, Mandarin has been the only language taught in any schools in China, with Cantonese now restricted mostly to ShangHai. She went over the early influence of the Family associations. I had not known that China has only 400-some unique surnames and you are not supposed to marry someone with the same surname as you. Etc.

We visited several places, including, uniquely, a museum of the history of Chinese show-business, created by a friend of Gloria’s who was herself a showgirl in the 40s.

The group crosses from the Hilton to Portsmouth Square to start the tour.
Gloria explains some Chinatown history.
Fortune cookies were a Japanese invention, but when the Japanese were driven out or interned in WWII, the Chinese took over the manufacture of them. This shop still folds 10,000 a day, they claimed.
From the show-girl museum.

2.316 shustek mainly

Thursday 10/21/2021

Hit the gym at 7:30am to do my round of the resistance machines. At 9:15 I headed out under partial clouds (it rained last night) for the East Bay, Fremont, the Shustek center. Where I spent the day cataloging. Cataloging what? Well mostly a donation that consisted of a variety of ergonomic mice. Lots of companies tried to make mice that would avoid carpal tunnel, or something. Plastic blobs shaped by holding a big lump of clay and gently squeezing it, and taking a mold from that.

For the afternoon we were joined by relatively new volunteers, a couple, Paul and Katherine. I had met them first a couple weeks ago but didn’t really inquire into their history. Today one of the museum curators stopped by to answer a question, and he an Paul started an animated conversation in which I learned that Paul was the Paul Laughton who wrote Apple DOS, the original OS for the Apple II. (No, Steve Wosniak designed the hardware. Steve Jobs managed the development and marketing.)

And that his wife Katherine worked at Atari and wrote their editor/assembler.

I felt almost as impressed and star-struck as when I talk to my CH neighbors, John and Francis, who worked on the Apollo Guidance Computer under Margaret Hamilton.

2.315 laundry, strangely hard day

Wednesday 10/20/2021

Went for the benchmark walk. Then started my laundry. When it finished, it was time to join the monthly FOPAL post-sale, section managers zoom.

In between and after, I was dealing with email. I had accumulated several emails each of which represented something I needed to read and respond to. One was from a committee member proposing we get a device that would make producing Zoom simulcasts easier and more professional. It included links to the manufacturer and to two YT videos, so I had to read a bunch of stuff and watch the vids, and compose a reply. Two were about editing a form that we are trying to redesign, the Event Planning Form by which somebody putting on an event asks for help of various kinds. So that meant printing out the draft versions and marking them up.

About 3:30 I noticed a half-hour old email telling me that Gigi needed a microphone and speaker in the dining room at 5pm because she wanted to welcome people to the October Birthday Dinner. She had asked Paul, one of the IT staff, and he had passed it on to Bert, head of the resident tech squad, who passed it on to me, because it was an A/V request. Gigi is desperately well-meaning but not the sharpest knife in the drawer. She picks 3pm on the day to phone Paul and ask for a PA system for 5:15. Grrrrrreatttt.

At 4pm I called Paul and he volunteered to bring the little PA lectern down from 11. I met him and we set it up in the dining room. I showed, well it turned out to be Barbara, who is tiny and bent over but sharp as a tack, how to turn the mic on and how to hold it.

Then I sat down in the common area and waited to see how things would go. Barbara did her brief announcement then passed the mic to Gigi and George to sing a song. George took the mic and held it at belt level during the singing, so they might as well not have had a mic at all. No matter, everybody was pleased. I went away and came back about 6:30 to shut down the lectern and move it back to the 11th floor. I’m exhausted.

2.314 fopal mostly

Tuesday 10/19/2021

For exercise, I went down to the gym and did two rounds of the resistance machines. It left me feeling tired, which is good.

Normally Tuesday would be the day for the writers group at 11. However, Connie the leader had decided we should take a week off. So at 10 I went instead down to FOPAL, which I’d normally have done at 12 or later. I processed four boxes of books.

That was about it for the day. To take advantage of the open space, here are a couple of pictures of Connie’s poetry reading on Sunday. I had to take these with Stew’s phone, because my phone was on the stage, logged in to the Zoom session.

Connie reading; my phone on my tripod sharing her image to Zoom
The 50 non-zoom attendees.

2.313 meeting, insurance, Macbook, model

Monday 10/18/2021

Went for the benchmark walk. It was ok.

At 10:30, attended the Event Coordinator Committee meeting, where all the people who put on events go over their plans for the next month. Some discussion of Sunday’s simulcast poetry reading.

During the E.C. meeting I remembered that Apple was having an announcement event this morning, and since I was sitting in back, I peeked at store.apple.com. And oh yeah, they had finally fixed the MacBook Pro. The new one has a decent number of ports on the side, including an SD card slot; and it does not have that silly touch-bar thing but real function keys; and they have brought back the Magsafe(tm) power connector instead of forcing you to use one of your USB ports for power. After the meeting I placed my order for one.

After that I sat down with MyMedicare.gov and worked out what Part D med insurance to have next year, after Anthem Blue Cross had quadrupled their premium. And I have to say, the MyMedicare site is just about the best-organized, most friendly, helpful site I have ever seen. Just a really, really nice job of summarizing and presenting a whole lot of complicated info in a clear format.

In the afternoon I frustrated myself greatly on the Chrysler body. I had applied liquid mask goop to all the molded-in chrome trim, before I sprayed it. Now I tried to remove the paint and masking goop from the masked bits. It did not go well. In some places the stuff doesn’t want to come off. (And this after only 48 hours.) In other places it was impossible not to remove paint that shouldn’t have been masked, leaving numerous small areas that will need touching up.

All this trouble and I haven’t even gotten to the part where I try to draw the chrome color (I have a very realistic chrome paint in a pen) and not get it onto anywhere it shouldn’t go. I despair of ever having an adequate technique for this.

2.312 walk, tech

Sunday 10/17/2021

Watered the plants, fed the insatiable hummers (I refilled the two feeders 3 times today), did the Sunday crossword. Then as planned I walked to Walgreen’s in Midtown.

This was interesting. Online at Walgreens.com, 90 tabs of Famotidine were $8. At the store it was $10. I asked the nice clerk doing Sunday morning duty about it. She explained that I would have to order the stuff online for pickup at the store. Then she could hand me the two boxes of pills I was waving at her, and I would already have paid. If I just went ahead and bought them from her I would have to pay the shelf price.

So I stood there with my phone and ordered the two boxes from Walgreens.com for store pickup, and as soon as the sale completed, she showed me a text she had gotten saying Mr. Cortesi was coming to pick up these pills, and handed me the boxes, and off I went.

I had a lovely breakfast at the PA Cafe. That’s where we used to get our Sunday morning goodies for so many years, and I still did in the early days of this blog. Then I walked back (total walking for the day, 3.8mi).

Took a nap and it was 2pm and time to start prepping for Sunday At Home, the first Zoom simulcast we’ve ever done. I walk into the auditorium and find: the chairs are still arranged as for an employee event on Friday, in a big circle. So we need to arrange the chairs in rows. I call Stew, the event manager, and he comes down and starts on that.

I set up the podium, the lights, the mics, the tripod with my iphone on it. At 4pm Lennie starts the zoom meeting, I sign the iphone in, and we are off. Connie does a very nice reading of her poetry, some of which is really good. An audience near the Covid room limit of 50 is there, plus another 50 from various places, family and friends across the USA as well as in Channing House, on the Zoom. Which a couple of people told me worked really well.

So dang, we will probably have to do it again.

I eat dinner at a large table Connie reserved for her friends and have nice conversations.

Here’s one of Connie’s poems:

Home After Urgent Care

Suddenly, near sunset,

a shadow hummingbird

on the pale blue wall

beside my desk,

its fluttering form

dipping in, dipping out —

fish-like body

upturned tuft of tail,

blur of wings further blurred

by the sunlight’s cast.

I hold breathless,

not to frighten the shadow bird.

What must whir out there

is silent here.

One sunbeam

carrying a bird-shaped shade:

Nothing touches the wall,

only the bird without the bird.

2.311 another day

Saturday 10/16/2021

Strange how in prospect, I welcome a day with nothing on the calendar. When it’s here, what do I do with it? In this case, I walked over to CVS planning to refresh my stock of Famotidine (aka Prilosec) of which I take one, 10mg tab each evening. (This is how I know I forgot to take my evening pills: I wake up at 1am with strong heartburn. If I remember my evening pills, including the famotidine, I do not.)

CVS wanted $36 for 90 tabs of the CVS-brand equivalent (branded Prilosec was more). That seemed excessive. A quick check on the phone, yes, they were available for less than $9 elsewhere. So I walked home.

Later in the day I was going to drive to the Walgreen’s at Midtown to get them. Then I conceived a plan to walk there, tomorrow morning.

I spent an hour masking the chrome on a 1955 Chrysler. A miniature one of course. This is the model where I am By God going to have the body perfect before I start any other part of the kit. After masking, I sprayed a coat of paint. Very pleased with how the new spray techniques are going. Later, a second coat. A third coat tomorrow. Then masking off and chrome on; then clear coat and then polish.

That was about it. At 4pm went up to 11 and made the TV there show the Stanford-WSU football. Several other residents arrived. It is not magic, people. It’s just knowing how to choose the Roku as the source.

2.310 meeting, lunch, beer

Friday 10/15/2021

Body temp still elevated, 98.3. Went for the benchmark walk, yay me. Then held my A/V committee meeting, which went smoothly enough. We are not overwhelmed with events to support.

I had time after that to try a couple of spray painting experiments. I watched a youtube video by another car modeler the other day which gave me all kinds of new insights into painting. I raised the pressure out of the compressor to 40psi, and got a better pattern. Previously I had put it at 15 or 20 psi, based on advice from somebody. Now I’m kicking myself for never actually trying higher pressure.

Lunch with Tom and Scott, on California Ave. Tom has certainly lived an interesting life, as have his daughters. He and his wife Barbara, who is recovering from some serious medical problems, have decided to move into a retirement home. They have chosen The Point, which is where the Kellehers are.

Back at CH, it was time for Rhonda’s weekly Covid meeting, which had only good news: still no cases, and they are going to remove restrictions on capacity of public spaces. The auditorium can go back to full capacity. And there will be no more open meetings until next year.

Following that, it was time for the Octoberfest thing, every Friday in October. Initially only a few people had signed up, but today the number had more than doubled to 20 or so. I’m not impressed with the beer, frankly, but today’s snack was bratwurst with mustard, and that was good, and filling enough I didn’t bother with the supper meal.

2.309 temp, exercise, fopal

Thursday 10/14/2021

When I get up, I always immediately take my blood pressure and my oral temperature. My average temperature for the previous week was 97.7. This morning it was 98.4. Huh! I said. Am I sick? Don’t feel sick.

An hour later, as I was about to step into the shower, I noticed I had a band-aid on my left shoulder. Huh? Oh, right! Yesterday I had my COVID booster shot. I think that will do for an explanation of +0.7F temperature. Hey, my immune system is working!

Again I went to the gym and did two rounds of our six resistance machines, 20 reps each round. Followed by 20 minutes riding through a virtual landscape on the cyber cycle.

Early I received an email from Greta, the curator for whom I would normally be working today. She is unwell and won’t be in, so the 4 volunteers that would have gone to Shustek will have to stay away. So I have the day off.

Wanda is coming to clean my room as usual at 2pm. So after lunch I go to FOPAL and work for a couple of hours.

In the evening I watched the decisive Giants-Dodgers game: Dodgers win, Giants season ends.

2.308 exercise, meeting, tech

Tuesday 10/12/2021

Instead of going to the aerobics class, I went directly to the gym in the basement. Here I worked through each of the resistance machines. These machines supply resistance by air pressure in a cylinder. You raise or lower the pressure with buttons on the handles. So I worked out what pressure I could handle for 20 reps, on each machine. I figure in future to do more than 20 reps. Then I finished the session with 15 minutes on the Cyber Cycle.

In the time preceding the writers meeting I did a bunch of stuff. The SWBB schedule is now finalized, and I entered all the games into my calendar. Then I made a table of home games that I meant to share with CHBB, but held that up because I knew the next question would be, can we use the CH bus for transport to games. Which has never been done before; always ad-hoc car pools. So I wrote to Kim Krebs, asking what she thought of the bus, and she promptly replied that I take it up with James Alvarado, but there were problems with evenings (several games) and weekends (several other games).

I had nothing to contribute to the writers meeting, but there were a couple of good things to listen to.

After lunch I spent an hour in the auditorium and succeeded in solving a puzzle. Bert and I had not been able to figure out how to get audio out to headphones from the “MON” jack. I figured it out this time, but it isn’t what I expected. There doesn’t seem to be any way to monitor the actual mix going out to the speakers. The monitor jack has its own level and individual levels from each possible source.