Took the standard walk in the morning. Then basically idled the day away like a couch potato. Until 4pm when the AV committee met. A successful meeting in that we assigned all the upcoming events to somebody. That was about it.
Oh, on my walk I came to a decision. I’ve been way too timid about traveling. I decided that by gum, I am going to get some traveling done. Next year. In December I will choose book and pay for some kind of a trip in spring 23.
This started as an uncommitted day, but I was bored. So I checkedandsure enough, nobody had signed up to do museum tours today. So I signed up for the noon tour. I printed one bridge picture. Then changed to my docent shirt and went to the museum. I ran the noon tour. Then I decided to be a hero and also ran the 2pm tour. Got home about 3:30.
At 5, I met with Nancy because she had a musician she has booked, who wanted to see the auditorium. That was about it for the day.
Well, not quite. Back about 2005 I set up a website, tassos-oak.com, to showcase my wonderful writing. About 2012 I decided to let it go and allowed the domain registration to lapse. Some prick immediately re-registered it and loaded it with my content, presumably scraped from the site before the domain lapsed. I only noticed this a year later.
At that time I paid a lawyer to write a letter and the site was taken down. A couple of years later I checked and it was back up. That time I went through the DMCA takedown process of the hosting service they were using, and it was taken down again.
Just for fun yesterday I checked again and a sadly truncated scrap of the old site is back up under the old domain name. They’ve dropped the screenplays and ebooks, keeping only a couple of pages and two old, short essays. The only change to my original content is a link to an advertising consultancy.
So I did some research on DMCA takedown notices. I would really like to make these sleazeballs pay but that probably isn’t in the cards.
Went for a slightly shorter than usual walk while my first load of laundry ran. Then finished up the other load.
At 1pm was the monthly FOPAL volunteers zoom meeting. The main topic this time was that there have been several instances of nice items growing legs and disappearing from the sale room. The Art section manager had set up a display of prints and a day later, somehow, a couple of them had disappeared. Some items that were in the high value boxes, where we stage books that are valued over $25 to be picked up and sold by the eBay volunteer group, also vanished. So the board has decided to put up a couple of cameras. The footage will be saved on a local server for a while, but only reviewed if there is a question about something vanishing.
At 3pm we had a talk by a resident, a rather new resident, Lou Thompson, whose career has been partly as a consultant advising the California High Speed Rail project. He reviewed high speed trains around the world. China has been building an amazing amount of HS trackage just since 2008. Then he reviewed all the stages the pathetic California HSR project has gone through. It has never been fully funded, or properly managed, or given adequate oversight by the legislature. The state is legally obligated to keep working on it because (a) the HSR Initiative we passed is the law and (b) we have taken and spent a lot of federal money as well, and would have to give it back. But the costs keep rising and the completion date keeps receding. He had no solutions. Good talk, well organized.
Talked Jan (pronounced Yon), who like me has a ticket to the Redwood Coast Music Fest coming up in just over a week. We will drive together in my car. He has a reservation in the same hotel as me.
Went down to the gym for some exercise in the morning. Attended only part of the writers meeting at 10:30, because I was called to go down to the Auditorium for my Covid booster. I am now bi-valently protected.
There wasn’t much to do, yet I felt very busy, mostly trying to work with various people scheduling future A/V event coverage. I really dislike this stuff. Although it does keep me in touch with my neighbors. But I look forward to the day I can shed the job.
Actually I felt kind of depressed in general all day. Well. Whatever. At 4pm there was a piano concert, a father-son duo, playing on the two grand pianos in our lobby. They play pretty abstract jazz forms, kind of like Hiromi last week but not IMO as interesting. Afterward I didn’t feel like eating in the dining room. So I got in the car and drove down to Mike’s in midtown. I had a really delicious pasta dish and a beer.
Went for the standard walk. Got back just in time for the start of the Event Coordinators meeting. I learned about the events planned for October and put them in the AV spreadsheet.
Then I made a sandwich for myself and ate it, and headed down to FOPAL to process what turned out to be 5 boxes of books, mostly very old and not interesting stuff.
Back in time for Rhonda’s open meeting at 4pm. Got some supper in the dining room and then met with Kass at 6:30 to provide sound support for a candidate night. Residents are allowed to bring in candidates for office for informational meetings. This was Patty’s event, her candidate is Vicky Veenker, candidate for City Council. Smart, well-spoken. Kass is now broken in as an AV tech for at least the simple meetings, where you need just microphones, no projection or zoom.
Back to my room at 8:30, filled the hummingbird feeders for the third time today, and going to bed.
In the morning I walked to the P.A. Cafe in Midtown for some breakfast and walked back, three miles yay me.
In the middle of the day I made myself work at developing the ideas for this YA SF novel I’m playing with. I started writing a brief synopsis, as for pitching to an agent, but somehow that turned into a long dialog scene where my main characters help each other (and help me) figure out what the aliens are really up to.
At 3pm it was time to set up and rehearse for a Sunday At Home event. These are informal talks by CH residents, in this case by my writing pal Prudence, who took a lot of good pictures on a trip to Zimbabwe and Botswana earlier this year. I thought it was going to go smoothly, and for the most part it did. But there is always something. In this case, it was the goddam clicker. The clicker is a little hand-held device that has a laser pointer and four buttons. It has a little USB dongle that acts as a receiver. You plug the USB thing into a port, and when you press any of the buttons on the device, the dongle convinces the computer that you just hit one of the four arrow keys on the keyboard. It “just works” for everybody else. It wouldn’t work for me. So half an hour before show time, I have to move things around so Prudence can reach the laptop from the podium and press the actual keyboard keys to advance her slides.
One nice thing, for the first time since the pandemic, there were many, many more people physically in the auditorium than on Zoom. It was like 10 on Zoom and easily 60 people in the real audience.
Had dinner with Stew the organizer, and his wife Kathy and Prudence. Then I think I will go to bed early.
Overcommitted Saturday. Had a docent tour to do at noon. At nine I went to get dressed in my red docent shirt which I last wore a week ago on a warm day, then hung up on a hanger. Phew, that’s ripe. So I put on a t-shirt instead, and hand-washed the docent shirt in the basin and trotted down the hall to the laundry room and ran it for 15 minutes in the dryer. And ironed it and put it on.
Museum attendance was light but I had a group of ten or so that stuck with me. Back to CH by 1:30. At 3pm I was scheduled to play a movie in the auditorium. Went down at 2:30 and set up. Movie was Here Today with Billy Crystal. An older guy is sliding into dementia. This seems familiar. It was just not so long ago that I was asked to run The Father with Anthony Hopkins playing an older guy who is sliding into dementia. I must ask Karen, who chooses the movies, if this is a theme or what.
At 5:30 I went down for dinner and fell in with the Allens and the Hartzells. From the dining room I went to the garage and drove to Los Altos, the Bus Barn, to see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I read the book some time ago, and mainly remember how it conveyed the inner world of an autistic person. Of course on stage you have the outer world. How would they do it? With lots of projections around a bare stage. The actors who portrayed Christopher and his two parents were really good. However the script had me shaking my head. So depressing, as everybody lies to the kid. He is betrayed by the people who should support him, over and over. So many times the script has people saying “Christopher, I promise…” and you know they can’t possibly promise that. In the end they tried to wrap it up with everyone getting together again. Nope, I don’t think so.
Anyway it ran long and I didn’t get to bed until 11. Near thing, the Prius might have turned into a pumpkin.
Had breakfast in the dining room for the first time in weeks, because AV member Kass wanted to talk about an upcoming event, so we met for breakfast. After which I went for a walk. That was fine.
Experimented with yet another piece of “AI” photo software, Topaz Photo AI, which I got free for having bought their package of other apps. This shit is truly amazing. Put in an OK scanned slide image, it mulls for ten seconds, and produces a massively improved version: larger, sharper, cleaner, brighter. Doesn’t do anything over the top, doesn’t make it too bright or saturated, just … better. Crazy. Printed a couple more bridge pictures.
At 3 I got with Prudence about her slide show for this coming Sunday. She has it in Photos on her mac. I hate and despise Photos, and today only gave me more reasons. She has 140 pictures in an album, all arranged in exactly the sequence she wants to give her talk. I need to get her show onto my computer, also a Mac running the same level of software. There is NO WAY to transfer the images and retain their sequence. The stupid thing will export the album to a thumb drive and even give the pictures filenames with sequence numbers. Great! But when you import the pictures off the thumb drive it scrambles the order. And there is no way to make it sort the pictures in an album according to their filenames. Well, long story short I worked around it with some labor.
At 5 I went down and set up a mic and speaker for the organizer of the Gift Shop Gala and Liqueur Tasting. Which is pretty much what it says: the gift shop people brought out all their back stock onto tables in the lobby, and there were cookies and bottles of liqueur to sample.
Went down to the gym at 7:10, and found Susan and Harry using the green machines. As I feared the one machine with 5 exercises is a bottleneck. I spent 15 minutes on the cyber cycle waiting for them to clear out. Anyway, sigh.
The main activity today was to pick up sister in law Jean and go to Filoli to meet with her cousin Darlene, partner Jessea, and the guest of honor, distant relative Pauline. Pauline’s parents Michelle and Sophie are like 4th cousins of Marian. They and their kids Pauline and Aurellien visited en famille back in what, 2016? Marian and I and Darlene had a big family picnic with them at Palo Alto’s Foothills park. For this summer, Pauline has been doing an internship at Cal and living with Darlene and Jessea. She’s getting ready to go home and this was an occasion for (mainly) Jean to see her before she left. So we walked around the Filoli gardens and had lunch in their cafe, and it was very nice. Of course we took pictures.
A day with few commitments and a lot of napping. In the morning I went for the standard walk. Then I printed pictures of a couple more bridges. My picture rails are full with six big pictures and I have to decide how to continue. I guess I will take away the first three and go on with the next three?
I’m very pleased with the various “AI” -based photo software I’m using. Starting with a 2500x1800px scan of a slide, excellent composition but barely enough pixels to print 6×8 inches; also tending to lack contrast and color. Luminar does a great job of opening up shadows and perking up colors in one quick step. Save that and drop it on Topaz de-noiser which simultaneously takes away the grain while making all the fine details beautifully sharp. Save and drop it on the Topaz “gigapixel” app to just double it in size. The “AI” figures out how to add pixels without seeming to duplicate anything, it just becomes a higher-res picture, 5000x3600px. Then into Affinity Photo for final tweaks and because Affinity does a better job of managing the printer, and print it on 11×14 or 11×17 paper.
At 1pm I had a haircut so now am back to my Steve Jobs-like very short hairdo. At 4:30 we had the monthly floor meeting. The first attended by my new across-the hall neighbor Linda. Then most of the 6th floor went down to dinner together.
After supper I worked on two other hobbies, software and science fiction, while keeping one ear on a zoom meeting. David M., our most skilled AV event person, ran one of the regular Speaker Series events in the auditorium and he had a problem with getting audio to the zoom audience. He solved it after ten minutes; I don’t know what the problem was although I mean to ask him. Anyway, our run of botched hybrid zooms continues. I’m going to run one Sunday, maybe I can pull off a flawless one.