4.186 av mostly

Monday 06/05/2023

Took the standard walk; it went fine. Saw a Lucid parked on Alma street, looking a bit dirty and neglected which is odd for a very expensive car.

At 10 I went down to the auditorium to set up for a Book Talk. The speaker was Nancy who is a very smart and together type, and she gave a terrific talk. Really interesting, about her work in enhancing women’s rights (which are human rights, she reminded us).

I had recorded the talk, not via Zoom but just direct from our camera and sound system into my #2 Macbook. After lunch I put together the final version of it which will be available at this link for a few days at least until it is moved to our Vimeo channel.

As an A/V event it came off quite well. I learned a lesson, though. At 10:45, with about 6 people in the room, I set Nancy up with her mic, and set the level to what seemed like plenty loud. But when she actually started talking at 11am, with about 70 people in the seats, people yelled, “Speak up! Can’t hear!”. Human bodies act like acoustic tiles and just soak up sound. So before the event, set the mic levels “too high” to have it come out right when the audience is in their seats.

That was about it for the day.

4.184 tech, docent

Saturday 06/03/2023

In the morning I had a date to help Nancy rehearse for her Book Talk on Monday. This went smoothly. She is an experience public speaker and had no problem with the over-the-ear microphone. All I had to do was the magic incantation to make her computer’s screen appear on the projector, and she was all set.

Next up was to drive to the museum and lead the noon tour. The museum busy and I started with at least 25 people. Some peeled off but I still had at least 18 at the end, and a nice round of applause.

I had dinner with Patty, Leon and Margaret. Mostly hearing about Patty’s recent trip back East.

According to my calendar I have another tour at 5:30pm tomorrow, but checking other sources, I think that was a mistake, there is no such tour, and the tour with that description is actually at 1:30 with other docents.

4.183 tech, no game, concert

Friday 02/06/2023

Took the standard walk. At 10:30 I met with Lynn to answer a tech help call re apple photos. No real problem, concerns straightened out.

At 1 I headed out intending to see a Stanford baseball game, the first game of a regional playoff. However there was nowhere to park within a quarter mile of the stadium so I left, thinking, alright fine I’ll watch it on telly. Back home however, I found that the ESPN+ streaming service, that I used to be able to get free with my Comcast sub, now wanted me to sign up for $9 a month or some such. Yeah, no. Checked later to find Stanford won 13-2.

At 6 met up with Sandy to drive in her car to a house concert. Actually a yard concert a couple miles away in Mountain View. The performers were two fiddle players and a guitarist/vocalist. They were all very skilled musicians and played well as far as I could tell, but the host had provided no amplification. Violins and acoustic guitar, played outdoors, really need amplification. Even sitting 20 feet away the sound was very thin. One of the fiddle guys told a corny joke between each song. Here’s one: A möbius strip walks into a bar, and it’s crying. “What’s your problem, buddy?” the barkeep asks. The strip replies, “Oh where do I begin?”

Main problem was, the temperature quickly dropped below 60 and there was a breeze. I had anticipated and wore a sweater but it was barely enough, and we were pretty chilled by the time it was over and we started back. So not a great concert experience.

4.182 old friend gone, shustek

Thursday 06/01/2023

Got a comment on yesterday’s post from Pat Snow, wife of John Snow, saying that he had passed after nearly 57 years of their marriage. It’s been quite a while since I actually saw John, and memories of him are way in the past. Here’s one. This would be when I was maybe 20 and John was a couple of years older, and much more experienced, having actually served a couple of years in the military. Anyway, he was still living in his mother’s house in Seattle. I think this is the period when I was living in a studio apartment on Capitol Hill, not far away. (Horrible time of my life.) Anyway, the Seattle paper ran a contest with some decent prizes. I don’t remember details but it involved answering trivia questions which had clearly been designed to be ambiguous, so that any question could be answered different ways. Answers had to be sent in on forms printed in the paper. We spent a weekend making answer forms and entered many times answering every question multiple ways. Didn’t win a thing. In hindsight, they probably threw out our hand-drawn forms. But that was how John was, willing to throw himself completely into any project that engaged him.

Today I spent a full day at Shustek center, processing 4 boxes of Sandy Fraser’s papers. These mostly related to multiple projects that AT&T had during the early 90s, to build consumer devices, music players or home networking hubs, or chips that would be part of such products. None of them made it into production. This very smart guy with all of Bell Labs’ expertise behind him, repeatedly made wrong guesses about where consumer taste was going, and where technology was going. Was it Yogi Berra who said, “Predictions are hard, especially about the future.” (Actually no, it was originally a Danish proverb.)

4.181 laundry, fopal, talk

Wednesday 05/31/2023

While the first load of laundry ran I took a short walk and had a nice coffee and pastry break. Then finished up the laundry. Later, to kill some time, I ran down to FOPAL and did an hour’s sorting. Added about 100 words to the novel, and fiddled around with a programming problem that has been bothering me.

In the evening I went downstairs for a talk. Professor Emeritus David Abernethy, taught at Stanford from the 1960s, working on a book in retirement. He’s writing about the general issue of how a few European countries came to dominate and colonize so much of the world, with effects still shaping the world today. He summarized that in an hour, so basically the outline of his book. I didn’t like how David M. was running the A/V but since he is one of my very best team members I am not going to criticize.

4.179 missed lunch

Monday 05/29/2023

It’s Memorial Day. And CH scheduled a BBQ lunch outdoors on the patio behind the dining room. I really meant to go to that. Was quite looking forward to it. And forgot all about it. I went for the standard walk in the morning, and then about 10:30 went down to FOPAL and did two hours of work, and came home about 1 and had a snack in my room. So stupid. I did a similar thing yesterday; Caroline invited everyone on the 6th floor to come join a “broadway musical sing-along plus ice cream” event at her church, which is less than a mile away. That was yesterday at 3, and I even had it on my calendar. Just forgot. And I was bored yesterday, too.

I don’t like myself when I act like such a doofus; also I don’t like the implications. Am I getting worse about it? Or have I always been a doofus, it’s just more obvious when I don’t have a spouse to remind me of things?

4.178 walk, novel

Sunday 05/28/2023

After my traditional Sunday Watering of the Plants and Crossing of the Words, I decided to walk to a market. But not over to the California Avenue one, because I’ve done that. Rather to the one in Menlo Park, because I hadn’t. Well it was a nice 2.5mile walk but the market is not a patch on the one to the South, or even on the Saturday one.

Nice little market, I said in a patronizing tone, and had coffee and pastry at, plan D, Starbucks. Plan A had been, buy something nummy at the market. Plan B was La Boulanger but they were not open. On Sunday at 10am? Crazy. Plan C was a bagel place next door but I wasn’t really feeling bagelish, so, plan D. Anyway.

In the afternoon I actually added words to the novel. Pat pat pat.