4.060 a legend dies, tech, fopal

Monday 01/30/2023

This morning, sitting with my computer sipping coffee, something that was said on the TV news made me remember something my mother often said. When in conversation any slur on women drivers came up (not infrequent in the 1950s), she would confidently counter, “You know, the inventor of the traffic signal was a woman.”

Was she right? Wikipedia was there just under my fingertips. And, uh, sorry, no. The first electric traffic signals were invented by men.

In 1912, the first electric traffic light was developed in 1912 by Lester Wire, a policeman in Salt Lake City, Utah….

The first four-way, three-colour traffic light was created by police officer William Potts in Detroit, Michigan in 1920

Sorry, mother.

At 10:30 I met with Gerald of IT on the 11th floor and he showed me how to share my screen with the rolling TV, using Zoom Room. It’s really quite simple. I am now set up for the Sock Hop rehearsal on Friday.

Then I went to FOPAL and processed 7 boxes of books. We’ve had a donation of books from the library of the late Martin Kay, a distinguished professor of Computational Linguistics at Stanford. Hence, quite a few books on, duh, Computational Linguistics and Natural Language Processing.

Back home I replaced one song in the Sock Hop video. Jerry, who is going to sing Unchained Melody, had supplied a different accompaniment track. Most of the songs are original recordings, either just audio or old TV videos, like Elvis doing “Don’t Be Cruel” on the Ed Sullivan show. But for a few numbers, certain self-confident residents are going to karaoke the songs. Jerry has a decent tenor and has been taking voice lessons for some time. Nevertheless… well just say that in his shoes, no matter how many lessons, I would not put myself up against Al Hibbler, who had the original hit, or against Bill Medley, the version of the song that everyone remembers. Anyway, I cut in his new accompaniment replacing the previous one.

Then I had iMovie export the finished video again. After dinner, I again inserted chapter markers at the start of each of the 23 songs. iMovie doesn’t do chapter markers, so I’m using a third-party app, the one that wouldn’t run on my iMac because the iMac is too old. Anyway, that’s all done now. Showing the video using Quicktime Player, I can jump to the start of any of the numbers.

Dr. Margaret invited me to dinner, along with new residents Bob and Anne Marie Willis. Very pleasant.

4.059 rehearsal, swbb

The play, The Play That Goes Wrong, was pretty funny. It’s about a very amateurish local theater production of a stereotypical British murder mystery, in which every possible thing goes wrong, and the players keep a stiff upper lip and carry on regardless. I can recommend it for a light evening of entertainment.

Sunday 01/29/2023

Stew had scheduled a short rehearsal for the performers for the sock hop for 9:30am. Prior to that, I needed to finish the hour-long video with the 23 songs on the program. What I needed to do was to add chapter markers to the video. iMovie does not do chapter markers.

I learned of a well-regarded app that does this, and when I tried to buy it from my iMac, the App Store would not let me, it required the latest MacOS. Which my iMac can’t run. It’s from 2015, getting senile, can’t be upgraded. So I bought the video app for my very up to date laptop. So I would have time after finishing my coffee and the paper, and 9:30, to do this.

But I needed to export the final version of the video, which takes half an hour at least. So I started that at 11pm and left it to run as I turned in. During the night the video rendered into the dropbox and propogated to the laptop, all 4.3GB of it.

In the morning I had my Sunday paper and coffee, and dressed and watered the plants, and then sat down to add chapter markers to the video. That went smoothly. The chapter markers made it easy, during the rehearsal, to jump back to the beginning of a song, or scoot forward over 4 or 5 numbers to the exact start of another.

With that out of the way, I killed time until 11:30 when I picked up Lennie (the other car pool members were either walking or biking to the game, or going instead to the ballet in San Franscisco) and off to SWBB. The Cardinal continues to play below their abilities. Are they over-rated at #3? They did not crush the Ducks, but they did lead the whole game and won by 8.

4.058 tour, play


Met with Gloria and Martha for breakfast, to discuss the people who need a tour. Called them and set it up for 2pm.

Fiddled around until then. Met the people, Helen and Tom Gracon, and their son and son-in-law. Martha and I did a really good job of leading them around, I think. Channing House is an easy sell, really. They seemed favorably impressed.

Had supper in my room. Realized belatedly, I have a Palo Alto Players show tonight, at 8. No problem. I’ll walk over there at 7:15 or so, and report on the play tomorrow.

4.057 various, meetings, swbb

Friday 01/27/2023

I was sipping coffee and reading the paper at 6:30 when I glanced out and saw we had an unusual foggy morning.

First up was a walk on a new route. At the writer’s group the other day, people were talking about a coffee shop I’d never heard of, Zoe’s, just across the creek into Menlo Park. So today I walked to that and back, and saw some streets that I’d never seen. It’s not that big a town and I’ve been here for 50+ years, and never got into that part of the Menlo Park-Palo Alto border area.

On return I was fiddling with the computer when Dennis called to say that Laurel’s husband Bill (I guess he would be a nephew-in-law?) had a stroke. From what Dennis said, it didn’t sound like the life-threatening kind, but possibly the kind that messes you up. TBD.

I took care of the first of the Tax Tasks, downloading my IBM 1099-Rs. Then edited the video for the Sock Hop, to account for the latest changes the committee wanted in the song lineup.

At 2pm it was time for the Nom. Com. to meet with our latest hopefully nominee for VP. I went down to the 4th floor and waited in the lounge, but the nominee hadn’t come back from some errand or other and it was getting close to 2:30, which is when I had called the AV committee to meet. So I went back up to the 6th floor lounge. That meeting went well, we got all the February events parceled out.

Then back to 4, and found the Nom. Com. in session with nominee Gloria. Who wasn’t saying yes or no, yet, but we had a pleasant chat. I am hopeful she will accept.

In the course of the conversation, she mentioned she knows a couple who had initially committed to another senior residence, but then decided they preferred Channing House. Except their kids were saying, “Mom, I don’t think you’d be happy there.” Gloria wanted to get the family a tour of CH, but to her surprise our two-person marketing department doesn’t do tours on weekends! Geez, that’s “Sales 101”, you are available when the customer wants you. Anyway, Martha and I said, “we’ll give them a tour”, and I think Gloria might set that up for tomorrow.

Passed the time until 7pm, when I left to join the basketball car-pool. Eight PM game time. Lennie drove. Stanford played Oregon State and on standings it should not have been a close game, but it was. How close? This close.

That was the final score. OSU might have had one last shot but when they inbounded the ball, our point guard got a finger on the ball and tipped it away and time ran out.

4.056 dentist, pics, tech, meetings

Thursday 01/26/2023

Did the gym round. That brought me to 9am, when I called the dentist office. They asked me to text over a picture of the detached crown. Which I did. It’s may more than a crown; it was a rebuild of a root-canal job, with a “post” as they call it.

Called again half an hour later and the nurse said, ok, Dr. Thomas Kono can see you at 1pm. T. Kono, turns out, is the son of my previous regular dentist, Dr. Kono.

Spent half an hour with Dr. Margaret over various tech concerns of hers.

Spent the next two hours refreshing my hallway art gallery, replacing the pictures of food that had been up there for a month, with pictures of sculptures. Some I had printed previously, and I printed a couple new ones.

At 12:30 I walked over to the dentist office and gave them my shiny new IBM health plan card to process. Then met Dr. Kono The Younger, nice young dude. He gave a gloomy prognosis. Some of the old root-canaled stub has broken off in the crown and there isn’t a lot left in the jaw. Although what’s there is in one piece at least. We can cement the crown back on but very likely it will break off again.

I opted to be optimistic and had him put it back. He ground down the top so it doesn’t quite contact with the upper tooth in normal closed jaws. Only contact when there’s something there to chew.

If it comes off again, the options will be to either put a smooth cap on the stub, to keep material from getting caught in it, and go without that tooth. Or, to have the remaining stub extracted and a complete new tooth formed by an implant into the jaw. So that will be a decision down the line.

When I checked with the desk after the procedure they said the insurance checked out, they will submit a claim and let me know what the balance will come to. First real claim against the new policy.

At 2:30pm the Sock Hop committee met. Before it, I went to the auditorium and played the sound track through the system while singing along on a mic. Karaoke. That’s an important element of what they are planning and I could tell them that it works.

At 4pm was the annual Resident-Trustee meeting where they review in excruciating detail the budget for the next fiscal year. We are still losing money but with the end of the upgrade project last year, and an upswing in apartment sales since the pandemic eased, it looks like we might be profitable again in FY 25.

4.055 laundry, docent, event

Wednesday 01/25/2023

I was scheduled to lead a private tour at 11, and it’s laundry day, so I started the laundry at 7:30 and had it all put away by 10. So off to the Museum to guide 17 students from a Catholic university in Korea. They were cute but not very attentive. Possibly their English was not up to my speech level? Although I tried to slow down and simplify. Anyway a core about 6 stuck close and listened, the rest kind of wandered off. Which is fine.

Back in time to get lunch in the dining room. Idled away the afternoon. At supper time I made a sandwich for myself and when I took the first bite of it, a crown fell off. Actually more than a crown, it’s like most of a tooth with a spike at the bottom, so more like an implant. Anyway, I now am chewing only on the right, and tomorrow I have to try to get that fixed. Shit.

At 6:30 I went down to back up David M running an event. He was facing a new problem: it was an Auditorium plus Zoom event, but the first one where there was a music component, a number by a singer playing the piano. So how to make sure the music got out to the Zoom audience? Also, music over Zoom usually sounds bad. He had fought the same problem at his volunteer gig at the Congregational Church recently. Turns out, Zoom recently introduced some audio tweaks that you have to disable. He was able to find the right settings on our equipment. Then we had feedback, and it took a while to run that down. But we did, and then the event came off nicely.

Gloria Hom had assembled six other China-descended residents and they took turns talking about Chinese New Year memories from their childhood. It was pretty interesting.

Best laugh was when Gloria was trying to explain about the cycle of 12 animals, and the cycle of five elements, so your birth year gives you an animal and an element. She said her eldest daughter was a Fire-Horse, “which means, nobody is going to marry her.” Somebody in the audience immediately asks, who did she marry? Gloria, “Oh, I found her another fire horse, so that’s ok.”

4.054 tech, managing, car

Tuesday 01/24/2023

First thing was to take the car to Toyota for service. I had booked it for 8am. Why did I do that? I could just as easioy have booked it for 9. So I ended up having to rush my morning routine. Whatever. To summarize, they found one of the tire pressure senders had failed, hence the persistent low-pressure warning light. This they charged $250 to fix, $125 for the part. Seems a bit steep. Let’s say they had to take the tire off the wheel to replace the sensor (which I believe is incorporated in the valve stem?). Also they had to sync the new sender with the computer. So that’s an hour of book time. But I bet the part could be found for less than $125. Yeah, I see them on Amazon as low as $15. Oh but here’s the real thing on Toyota’s website, $95.

Anyway, what was most shocking was the condition of the dealership. This is Magnussen Toyota of Palo Alto, a major dealership. The service department was busy, but the sales part was like a desert. There were no cars of any kind in the showroom. The big parking area around the front where cars for sale should be, was more than half empty asphalt. Very few new cars, about as many used. No sign of the 2023 Prius or any other current model. Is this dealership dying?

Back at the shop I took a tech call, trying to help Gigi who had been sent a video through ShareFile.com but when she downloaded it, it was 0 bytes. Obviously problem with at the sender end. When friend sent it again, it was again 0 bytes. My assumption is, friend is incompetent. Didn’t say that. Wasn’t able to help.

Writers meeting. I had nothing. Some interesting contributions from others.

Second tech call more successful. Connie had a problem with Dropbox and a problem printing. I was able to resolve both in short order. She claimed several other people had been unable to fix either. No comment. Anyway I’m a hero.

Did A/V managing, trying to schedule a meeting, and also loading scheduled events into the zoom room robots.

4.053 tech, fopal, po’d

Monday 01/23/2023

Went for a walk. Picked up a med.

Having some problem with my left foot, where the big toe has for years been turning inward, and finally is starting to irritate the second toe. So I put in a request for a podiatrist appointment at PAMF. Also scheduled a service appointment for the Prius, because it’s due and it looks like I’m keeping it.

Met Bert in the auditorium. He wanted to try some new mics. His barbershop group is performing here on Thursday and they want to use these cute little invisible mics that wrap around your ear and lie on your cheek. But when we plug one into one of the transmitters for our regular wireless lapel mics, they feed back. Funny thing is, they act like there is automatic gain control: if you talk into the mic, it sounds ok, but when you stop talking it its amplification comes way up and it feeds back. But there’s no AGC built in to the transmitter or the sound board, and the mic itself is just a wisp of wire. Odd.

Went down to FOPAL and processed a ton of books, took 2 and a half hours.

Came home, napped, forgot all about Rhonda’s open meeting at 4pm. Again. Even though I had made a specific note of it in my calendar.

Feeling very down on everything. I do not want to buy a new car. I do not want to travel! I don’t want to go into an airport, I don’t want to get on an airplane, I don’t give a flying fuck about any foreign scenery. I’ve seen mountains. I’ve seen Paris and London and Aukland and Sydney and Honolulu. People keep asking me where I’m going next. Probably to the bathroom, and later to bed. Fuck off.

I got hold of the draft events calendar for February (I’d had to miss the Event Coordinator’s meeting last Monday), and filled in my A/V events spreadsheet with scheduled events. One, there are 16 events in February that need some kind of A/V support. Yes, more than one every 2 days. Two, of those, 10, TEN, have never been booked the proper way, by the sponsor filing an Event Planning Form, which is what people are supposed to do if their event will need setup or support by facilities, housekeeping (e.g. chairs arranged, piano moved) — or A/V. We find out about them second hand. And I am not happy about that. Oh hey let’s just schedule a lecture for the auditorium and zoom, the A/V folks will show up, they always do.

4.052 unbolted, swbb

Sunday 01/22/2023

After breakfast and watering the plants, I collected the pink slip for the car and my checkbook, stowed the Prius charging cable in its trunk, and went and had the car washed. So it was all pretty and ready to be traded in for a maximum amount. Then off to Boardwalk Chevrolet for an 11am meeting.

It turned out that “Jenny” with whom I had exchanged emails and texts, no longer worked there. But another nice young person, David, had taken up my interest. Yesterday he had texted the availability of the Bolt I was interested in, a red 2LT trim level with adaptive cruise and infotainment package. Today he showed me the red ones in stock. Unfortunately, that one had been sold around noon yesterday! There was another 2LT with the right options but it was boring silver colored.

So with a little regret, but actually some relief, I thanked him and left. He promised to contact me if or when another appropriate Bolt shows up. I felt relief because I am actually quite conflicted about whether to make this switch. The Prius is in such good shape, and with my driving habits gets such good mileage (since last fill-up: 175 miles at 75mpg), that it’s really hard to show where there is is $25K value (net cost after trade-in), for me, in a new car.

Anyway I was back to CH in time to pick up my basketball car-pool of 1, Martha. Lenny had opted for a concert today; Patty had ridden the CH bus to the ballet; and David G. rode his bike.

Stanford had no problem with Colorado today, taking a double-digit lead early and holding it all the way. The 49ers also had a win, but I didn’t watch. I sped through the recording in 5 minutes to see what happened is all.

4.051 meeting, tech, book, ev?

Saturday 01/21/2023

First up was a quick meeting of the nom. com. at which we got an immediate refusal from our next candidate for VP. After she left, we agreed on the next three names to ask. Lois, the committee chair, will ask them. Starting with my across the hall neighbor Linda.

I went out on an errand run. Groceries, and CVS to try to get some prescriptions straightened out.

I took a tech squad call to a person with some problems with Mac Mail.

A few days ago I was reminiscing about two photo books that I supervised the making of, back in ’10 and ’11. These were made at Blurb.com, where they still reside (one and the other). They were rather nice if I do say so; I edited the books together using photos taken by other fans at Maples. I lost my only copies of them just after moving to Channing House (loaned them to someone who lost them).

So, checking on them and seeing they were still alive in cyber-land, I ordered a new copy of each. It didn’t occur to me that (duh!) Blurb would have my old 2340 Tasso address. It took a couple of weeks to print and ship the books then today I got an email saying, there’s a problem with your shipment. The tracking number, via UPS, revealed the problem. UPS had handed the package of to USPS for delivery, and my USPS mail forwarding had expired. So they “returned” it as of today. But returned it to whom? To UPS? Or to the sender? UPS was no help. The USPS station in Palo Alto is only open weekdays. But Blurb customer service actually responded! And I think it may get straightened out.

Next I noticed a text from Jenny, my contact at Boardwalk Chevrolet. “My” red Bolt is now in stock. So I am going to see her, and it, tomorrow morning at 11. I may actually have bought a new car by this time tomorrow.

The timing is a little awkward, since I must be back here by 1pm to drive another person to the SWBB game. But if I can nail down that red Bolt with all the luxe options, I don’t need to take delivery tomorrow. I just don’t want the one and only to be sold out from under me.