3.276 hobbies, haircut, meetings

Wednesday 09/14/2022

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.

3.275 hobbies, meeting, event

Tuesday 09/13/2022

Went to the gym first thing, did the recommended double round of the machines. My first scheduled event was at 11. During the interim I took care of a pending item. I decided that it just wasn’t the right thing to send that model to youtuber Sarah. So I unpacked the box and put the model back on my desk. Then I printed two more of the London Bridge series of pictures.

At 11 I met with staff person Jasie, her tech consultant Tom, and IT techs Paul and Gerald. And Jerry, my neighbor and our video production guru. This was to discuss the upgrade of the auditorium. We went over all the parts of the build, the projector, new cameras, screens, etc., what we wanted, what was possible, in quite a bit of detail. They went off to start working with the contractor, ICS.

At 2:30 I went to the auditorium to help one of my AV committee members, Rich, on what should be a simple meeting: no zoom, just project hand out mics and put powerpoint slides on the big screen. Hah. The presenter didn’t arrive until one minute to 3, when the talk was supposed to start, and some audience was already there. She had her slides on a cute little Macbook Air, a new one, with only two USB-C ports. So I have to run back to my room and get a USB-C to HDMI adapter. Then try to work with her machine, which of course does the worst possible thing when it sees a second monitor added: it decides I must want that to be the main screen and moves the menu bar there, “there” being the projected image that I’m standing to one side of and can barely see. Anyway after futzing around for ten minutes we get her slides showing properly on the screen, but the remote clicker doesn’t work so she has to say “next slide please” each time.

Oh well. About 4:45, John calls from the auditorium. He’s doing a rehearsal for an upcoming event (which is an excellent idea and good on him) and he can’t get the camera to work. I tell him the couple of things I can think of but that doesn’t help. I suggest he try to get Paul or Gerald if they haven’t gone home. I am really coming to hate our AV equipment.

Had dinner with Patty and the Allens.

3.274 meeting, lunch, fopal, pics

Monday 09/12/2022

The monthly Residents Association meeting was at 9am. I went to the auditorium at 7:45 and as usual found stuff to move. I put the whiteboard to one side so I could move the piano off the stage, set up a table for the secretary, bring the podium up from the floor to the stage, etc.

The RA meeting is David G’s event, he’s been doing it a long time, but there were several glitches this time, mostly to do with various people’s slides. They didn’t get to him, or whatever. So things had to be delayed or taken out of sequence, and a lot of fiddling around on computers occurred. So annoying and distressing.

At 12:30 Harriet arrived. The nominal excuse for this was that she needs an iPad, and the Gift Shop had an iPad that I cleaned up and reset some time ago. So she agreed to buy it for $100, and I bought her lunch. I invited Lennie and Carolyn as well, and it turned out very well because, unbeknownst to me, all three had graduated from Wellesley!

After Harriet left I went down to FOPAL and did my post-sale cleanup. I counted the books remaining, and I went through all the shelves and sent those books that had seen at least 4 sales — which would be the ones with my datecode for June or earlier — off to the bargain room. Four boxes of them.

This was the day of the monthly “mixer”, in which the tables in one part of the dining room are set aside and you can take a number at random from a hat as you come in. That gives you your table number and so you sit with 3 or 4 other people chosen at random. I ended up the first at table 35, with Mary Ann, Lois and Michelle, all people I already knew well, so not much of an adventure although pleasant enough.

After supper I printed the first picture of what I plan will be a series of prints of our pictures of the Bridges of the Thames. We took those pics as Ektachrome slides in 1975-77. Around 1990, give or take, I borrowed an enlarger from Bill Pawek and made photo prints of the best of them. We had those around the house for a while. I scanned the slides in around 2005. Now I plan to reprint them with modern equipment.

I scanned the slides at a decent resolution but they aren’t quite high-res enough to make good prints at the 11×14 or 11×17 size I want. So I bought some digital toys from Topaz Labs. Really quite amazing software for de-noising, and for up-scaling, images. So I can take one of my 2600×1800 pixel scanned images and double it in size with no loss of quality at all, and print it at 11×14 inches. Looks great.

3.273 outage, model, play


Woke up at 6:15 and tapped my bedside lamp. No light. “Oh dear,” I said, “we have another outage.” And we did. Went into the pitch dark bathroom and was able to put my hand on my emergency flashlight in one try. Dressed and went down to the front desk, as planned, since I am part of the resident emergency response team that Bert set up only two weeks back. Bert and Leon were already there. Over the next half hour it didn’t seem as if much needed doing. Staff was dealing with everything very nicely. Dining services had instantly switched over from their usual breakfast to setting up a continental breakfast cafeteria line.

So I went back to my room, and thence to the garage and drove down to FOPAL to tidy my shelves after the first day of the sale weekend. Back to CH by 8:30 and found the power was back on, yay! Showered and dressed again, and took some pictures of the Studebaker (below) after which I cleaned my desk up. I really don’t know when/if I will start another model.

At 1:15 I headed downstairs to join a carpool headed to a play at the Pear theater. The play was Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Betties. (Link to Amazon, you can read the sample.) Lots of message to women, not so much to me. But excellent acting from all five Betties.

Stubedaker pics – click to open a gallery view.

3.272 make and mend

Saturday 09/10/2022

Did stuff around the house today. Went to Safeway and bought stuff for my pantry and fridge. Speaking of the fridge, I cleaned it. It was grungy. I like to clean the inside of my fridge every three years, whether it needs it or not. In this case, it did.

Kent, a neighbor, got me to come help fighting the Stanford athletics website. Stanford has gone to all “mobile” tickets, which is a major stumbling block for a lot of my neighbors. It’s easy, just open the email on your phone, tap the link to transfer to your Apple or Google Wallet app… my what, now? Plus he had password problems with a couple of websites. So that was an hour killed.

There has been a massive up-tick in the number of hummingbirds. I have a swarm of a dozen or more around the feeders at certain hours. And I have to refill twice a day, where it was just once a day only a week ago.

In the afternoon I printed the tiny (just over 1/2 inch wide) license plate and glued the last bits onto the Studebaker. Tomorrow I’ll shoot some pictures and then clear off my desk and enjoy an empty desk again for a while. Probably a long while.

On the other hand, I’ve got two shelves of closet space devoted to model making tools and materials. So you never know.

It was in my calendar that I was going to a play at the Bus Barn tonight. So at 6:30 I jumped up and said, gotta go, get the ticket, time to leave. Got the ticket and it said “Saturday 9/17”. Oh. Wrong calendar entry. So the evening is open. Guess I’ll watch some TV.

3.271 activity showcase, hiromi again

Friday 09/09/2022

I went for the walk this morning, for the first time in a week or more. My right ankle is completely back to normal. It probably was gout, since I get a very occasional flare-up of that in my big toe. However the ankle wasn’t hot or red or swollen, just painful. And as I said it mostly went away the next day, with maybe a lingering ache for another day. But now just fine again.

I glued the body of the Studebaker to the chassis and attached most of the chrome brightwork, except for the rear bumper. To finish that I need to make up a license plate, and I got sidetracked on that, and having problems with my graphics software. I want to make a Washington State custom license “53STOOD” (stoo-dee, get it?). That’s gonna take a little time tomorrow.

At noon by appointment I had lunch with Sherry. At the writers meeting Tuesday it turned out that we have the same cardiologist and that she needs a new aortic valve (stenosis). So I gave her all my experience with the recent TAVR.

At 3pm we had the Activity Showcase, a display of all the volunteer organizations and committees, and there are a shit-ton of them. It was a fun event even though the A/V team got only one rather feeble expression of interest, from Gloria, who’s a sharp cookie although not hugely computer literate. Still she could do the simpler events with training.

At 7:30, SFJazz streamed tonight’s solo concert by Hiromi. I was so pumped about the one last night, that I put it out on the bulletin board that I would put the stream on the 11th floor TV. Which I did, and it was going just perfectly for about 5 minutes, and then the TV started going black as if it lost the HDMI connection, and coming back after a few seconds. How bloody annoying. I, and Jerry, and David M, two of the best tech minds here, plus me, struggled with it for 10 minutes, during which half the audience of 7 or 8 left. Finally when we gave up and just hooked it up like it was to start with, it started working fine. So four of us enjoyed the rest of the concert.

3.270 docent, hiromi

Thursday 09/08/2022

Today I had docent tour, a private group at 11am. This was a small group of high-achieving kids age 14 or so, plus one teacher, plus three people who just kind of wandered in and stuck around. When I got there I found that they were already getting a 1401 live demo. I had not known this, and had planned on starting them in the 1401 lab anyway with my talk on “mid-century computing”. So I had to adapt on the fly. Also peeved because if I’d known they were going to start at 10, I would have been there to be introduced. Oh well the tour went OK.

Back home I did three things I’d been putting off. One, pay the Xfinity bill. Two, order another case of masks; the RA exec committee has approved the expense and asked me to continue storing and dispensing the masks as the Front Desk needs them.

Three, I looked into making custom 3×3 post-its. This is because when I moved in 3 years ago, I received a pad of nice, white, Channing House post-its. Which are all used up now, and nobody has any idea where they came from or where to get more. So I thought they would be ideal items for the Gift Shop to stock, if they existed.

Of course it turns out there are multiple online vendors who will print post-its with your uploaded graphic. It only remained to make a graphic to upload. I looked at the typography used on the channinghouse.org home page. It was easy to lift the little green and orange leaf icon but the words “Channing House” were a problem, mainly because I couldn’t figure out what font they had used. It was a traditional, serif, font with small-capital letters instead of lowercase.

OK it turns out there are multiple online sites that dispense free and for-money fonts and let you filter their collections by “serif” and “small-cap”. It took maybe half an hour to identify good matches to the website font (two free fonts named “cinczel” and “cormorant” were very close). So in about 90 minutes I had created a graphic, uploaded it, and ordered four pads of post-its. If they look good I will try to sell the idea to Mary Beth, Gift Shop manager (you need to order 100 or more in order to get the price down). Anyway I will have some of my own.

At 4:30 I headed out to attend a concert by Hiromi. Marian and I attended a Hiromi set at least 10, probably 15 years ago, at a little club in Half Moon Bay. Probably 5 years ago we went with Suzanne and Chuck to hear her at SFJazz. And now I went alone. I ate supper at the Ramen Cafe and it was very good, a big bowl of noods and tomatoes and chicken.

Hiromi has only gotten better both as a composer and as a musician. Her long, intricate numbers are starting to make real sense to me, not just a lot of notes tossed out for their own sake but with structure and themes. Her technical skill is amazing. She finished up with a version of “Rhapsody in Blue” where for 15 minutes she turned that familiar piece every which way but loose, and it was well worth the standing-O she got at the end.

3.269 uncommitted day

Wednesday 09/07/2022

In the night, my right ankle started to hurt. Why? Who knows? But it was severe enough that I got up and took a couple of ibuprofen. It was still hurting, making me limp, when I got up, so I did not go for a walk early, which I had planned to do because of 97ยบ heat forecast.

So I did my laundry instead and you know? By 10am the ankle was fine. Why? Who knows? I can only figure arthur itis, but I’ve never had arthur itis before; or maybe gout which I have had before but only in my big toes, not the ankle. But anyway it’s gone now so obviously nothing to worry about. (sarcasm)

Before the laundry I prepared two slides of powerpoint. This is for the Activity Showcase on Friday. The last Activity Showcase was 2019; it’s basically a volunteer job fair. All the many volunteer orgs at CH have tables and there’s entertainment (the chorus, also the harmonica group) and snacks, and we try to get people to volunteer for shit. I for the A/V team will share a table with Bert for the Tech squad, and behind us will be a big TV with a looping powerpoint slide show Bert had prepared, so these slides were to be added into that. Then the laundry, and fill the hummingbird feeders, and make a bunch of protein shakes, and work on the model car and it’s nearly lunch time.

After lunch, drive down to the Financial Advisors (not the Fiduciary, the older outfit) to sign a letter authorizing changing the name on some of the Schwab accounts to reflect the current name of the family trust. I see these people typically once a year, but everybody was friendly, how ya doin’ etc.

Back at the shop, Harriet emails, needs advice on getting iPad. I happen to know of one cheap, the one that I reset and cleaned up a few months ago (day 3.094 as a matter of fact) which is still kicking around the gift shop because Mary Beth hadn’t figured out how to price it. So after several emails, Harriet is coming to lunch Monday and to buy the iPad.

Detailed the Studebaker engine bay and glued on a couple more bits.

And in other model car news, I did something I had been thinking about for weeks. Some months ago I finished a 63 VW bug model, and it was one of my better jobs. So I am a big fan of Sarah-N-Tuned, one of three different car-restorer youtube channels I subscribe to. Sarah is currently rebuilding a 69 bug and painting it the same color as my model. So I packed up the model with a note and it is ready to send to her shop in Tucson. But I haven’t sent it, and may not. It’s a pretty juvenile thing to do.

This was an uncommitted day, nothing on the calendar. Tomorrow on the other hand, is rather busy.

3.268 meeting, fopal, managing

Tuesday 09/06/2022

Went down to the gym this morning and ran the cycle of the machines. Tried to write some more on the aliens story but didn’t get much done; the story just keeps branching out in all directions, so I was trying to write one little scene but there was so much to figure out about what must have happened earlier to make this possible I just got lost. So I had nothing for the writers meeting, but fortunately lots of other people had written.

Then off to FOPAL to finish setting up my section for the upcoming sale weekend.

Later I took care of a bit of managing. There’s a simple event with no coverage. There’s a committee member who’s been pretty inactive. So I called her up and was pleased to find that she is still interested, and we arranged that we would cover the event together and I would show her how to do something she hasn’t trained on. Successful management!

At supper, Lynn, who lives on the 4th floor, asked me for help showing a movie on their screen. Stew, who is very active on the 4th floor and who led a drive earlier in the year to install a big-screen TV on the wall of their lounge, is away this week. So of course Lynn comes to me as the tech guru. So after supper I spent a few minutes figuring out how Stew had set up their DVD, and wrote up a page of instructions, and then at 7:15 met with Lynn and walked her through the process, so she is now a trained movie projectionist, more or less, for her 4th floor buddies. Teach a person to fish and they’ll use a lot of worms. Or something.

3.267 event, fopal, pizza

Monday 09/05/2022

Today I was responsible for the A/V of a book talk. The speaker was Dr. Patnode, who has lectured here many times. He doesn’t use any slides, just a whiteboard, so the setup is real simple. And he doesn’t want it recorded, so I don’t have to remember to start the zoom recording. So I managed to run an event without screwing anything up.

Prior to the event I walked briskly over to NY Pizza on Hamilton and ordered five big pizzas for the floor dinner tonight.

I’d been invited for lunch with Marcia and Kent, plus Connie Erica and Joanne, so that was very pleasant.

After lunch I went down to Fopal and ripped through 9 boxes of mostly crap. I need to go back tomorrow and tidy the shelves and do a pre-sale count, for the sale this coming weekend.

At 5:15 I went down and waited for the driver with the pizzas. In all there were 14 of us in the 6th floor dining room for dinner. It was very nice and sociable.