4.004 a/v, fopal

Monday 12/05/2022

First thing I went for the standard walk (thus, just under 4 miles for the day). This was the first time I took the full walk since I injured my leg on 11/16. The leg felt a little “stiff” or “tight” but I had no problem completing the full distance and it feels fine now. So, that episode is pretty well behind me, thank goodness.

Next up was to run a Book Talk session with zoom, scheduled for 11. Started setting up an hour before, using my new checklist. Ian joined me, so with talking through the checklist and explaining the steps to him, it took 45 minutes to get ready. But we were ready, except, “there’s always something.” In this case, it was the lapel mic for the speaker, which tested fine at 10:45, but when he was ready to go at 11, it didn’t work. Oops. Swap it out for another one, and off we go, and the event ran smoothly.

The speaker was Ron Katz, a retired attorney who has in retirement found a talent for writing cozy mysteries about a retired couple, the Bernie and Babs Silver. He doesn’t write full novels, but rather long short stories, all of which are available to read free at https://www.thesleuthingsilvers.com/. His aim is to get the characters picked up by a TV production company as a streaming series. He talked about the closed bubble of Hollywood productions, how nobody will talk to you unless you have an agent, and no agent will talk to you unless you have had something produced. He got around that by finding, within the Facebook group he developed, a guy who had an agent and TV writing credits, who was willing to be a co-writer with him on a “treatment” script.

After that I went down and spent 2 and a half hours processing computer books and getting my section ready for the upcoming sale weekend.

Back to CH for a very short nap and then down to supper right at 5, because this first Monday of the month is the “mixer” night. Mixer night, you draw a table number from a hat as you come in, so theoretically you will be eating with people you don’t normally do. OK, it was people I knew well.

4.003 hobbies, swbb

Sunday 12/04/2022

In the morning I put an hour into one of those back-burner tasks, pictures. I have a folder where for I drop pictures that I want to keep. We can talk about why I would want to keep them, as in keep them for what, exactly?, some other time. Anyway, there’s 30 or 40 pictures in there, which need to be moved into the more-or-less-organized subject folders for permanent storage. And for an hour I did that, deleting some and moving others.

Pretty soon it was time to join the carpool to the SWBB game versus Gonzaga. Gonzaga is currently ranked 23rd in the country (Stanford ranking #2) and always give us a respectable game. Unfortunately for them, they have had a rash of injuries lately and three of the usual starters couldn’t play. The remaining team put up a good fight but eventually couldn’t keep up.

4.002 lunch, hobbies

Saturday 12/03/2022

Four years now since I began my “transition to codger-dom”. Maybe I’ve made it? I’m certainly comfortable in my life as a bachelor. Today, Dennis stood me to a very nice lunch at Il Fornaio. Walking back, he was remembering some of the major events he had known in Palo Alto, and it struck me how much tougher a life he has had compared to mine. I’ve had an extremely smooth, comfortable, emotionally stable life compared to him. Compared to most people, I imagine. Lucky in a lot of ways.

This morning I scratched out a fairly lengthy list of things I wanted to get done, some easy little errands, some large projects that have been languishing on the back burner. I made some progress on a couple, including printing up pictures of the next London bridge. This was a shot of the Cannon Street railway bridge, which in 1977, when we took the pictures, was a deep smoke brown, almost black, with a few low buildings behind it. I knew that couldn’t be how it was now, so I got on the internet and found a contemporary pic. Yup. The brick towers beside it aren’t black, but a nice clean pink brick color; the bridge itself is a medium green, and there are huge new buildings in the background.

All of which made me kind of nostalgic for London again. That done, I walked the mile round trip to Whole Foods to get some bread. This walk was through steady rain! There are hopeful signs that our drought, even longer than the pandemic, was finally breaking. We had a decent day of rain on Thursday, and today it rained steadily from before 6am until sundown.

Anyway Dennis arrived and we walked through the rain to the restaurant,and back. I told him I was going to take a nap, but somehow I never got around to it. Instead I worked on another item on the to-do list, preparing a detailed check-list for setting up an Auditorium event. It took a couple of hours to finish. I’ll test it on Monday when I run an event.

4.001 glasses, tech, docent, av

Friday 12/02/2022

OK, it’s my birthday, and I appreciate the people who’ve wished me well. I’m fortunate to have some many well-wishers. Not only my birthday, but a round number: 80.

I have not stressed birthdays for some time, partly because I didn’t really feel any meaning in it, but also in recent years because it was also the day Marian died. But again, 80 is a nice number and good wishes are always nice to get.

Anyway, what I did for my birthday was, first thing, out the door to Costco. I had the customer service person make me a new member card. I threw the ID card away a couple years ago after I decided that I wasn’t getting any use from it.

Then I walked 20 feet to the Optician counter. In 20 minutes I had picked out a pair of frames very much like my current frames, and the very pleasant and competent optician Andrea had measured my pupil distance and so on, and I had paid $240 for new glasses. (Roughly half what I paid last time at Menlo Optical.) It will be 10 days to make the lenses, just as with every other place I checked.

Back to CH and took a tech call to help Susan and Harry again. Two problems. An email problem was easily resolved. But the other problem was to make work a set of wireless headphones for hearing the television. This I failed on. One major problem was that the TV was fixed to the wall with minimal space between the back of the TV and the wall. So it was literally impossible to read the legends on the various jacks on the back, to know for sure which were the audio output. I found a picture of the back of a similar model on the internet. Based on that I plugged the audio cable to the headphone’s base station into what I hoped were the right jacks. But no sound came out of them. I deferred to the house IT staff.

I had an early lunch and left for the museum where I was supposed to lead a tour for a group from Meta. They were due at 1:30 and when they hadn’t shown up by 2, I had the staff call their contact. Oh, sorry, “something came up” and they aren’t coming. So, back home in time to join Lennie in the auditorium, to give moral support as she set up for a zoom event.

This event was a compilation of Christmas and Hanukkah music assembled by Bonny Weiss, a performer who has been to CH before, apparently, though not in my memory. The show was well crafted, but it went on too long. Lennie had wanted to put the zoom session (Bonny was remote on zoom) on the big screen to encourage people to come to the auditorium. Only a dozen or so did, and most had drafted away before the end of the show.

3.364 cyst, eyes, av

Thursday 12/01/2022

Note I am numbering this post with the number it should have. Sometime in the past six months I slipped a tens-digit and I don’t feel like looking back to find the mistake. Also certainly don’t feel like editing all the titles since then. This is next-to-last for the year, #364, period.

Well the mystery of the unsolicited Amazon package was solved: it was a birthday present from Laurel! Amazon messed up and didn’t send me the one with gift wrap and a card, just a bare box with a product, a custom hair clipper. So I thought… well. Never mind..

Anyway, off at 8 to Sequoia hospital to have my cyst drained. Dr. Tamrazi is cool, I like him. He did the drainage back in early 2021. It was a more involved procedure than I remembered from then, but still no big thing. Local anesthetic, 15 minutes on the table, two 500cc bags of whiskey-colored juice removed. Put your clothes on and leave.

At 1pm I was at PAMF for an eye exam. Now I have a new prescription. Where to get glasses made promptly? I drove over to University ave and tried Lenscrafters and Site for Sore Eyes, which are a block apart. Both quoted a week and a half. The optometrist at PAMF suggested Costco. I will try that tomorrow, although it would mean renewing my membership which I let lapse a long time ago.

At 2:30 I met with Lennie in the auditorium to practice setting up for her event, a zoom-based performance of christmas music tomorrow. The performer, Bonnie, will be remote on zoom, but Lennie wants to use the Zoom Room equipment to put her on the big screen so people can watch there, as well as from their rooms.

At 6pm I met with Joanne and Erica and Lennie and Rich for a dinner party arranged by Joanne. So, full day.

3.353 amazon, tech, docent, tech, swbb

Wednesday 11/30/2022

Amazon is just stupid. OK, I received a package that I did not order. Unsolicited Amazon packages are a known issue, just do a search on “unsolicited amazon package”. One of the top results will be this page from Amazon’s own Customer Service pages. It is clear what to do: “report it to Customer Service”.

Right. How? If you go to Amazon’s customer service page proper you end up at the “Hub Gateway” to service, which gives you a big menu of issues. None of which is “report an unsolicited package”. Click on any of those options and go as deep as you like; there is no way whatever to report an unsolicited package. All the choices are very specific and none of them are relevant to the problem.

Just as well, actually, because back on the help page, it says “List of order ID(s) (at least one order is required)” — and there is no order id on the label of the unsolicited package, and no invoice inside it.

(Later: I think I will go to the Amazon page for this item and leave a negative review, maybe.)

Anyway, did the laundry. At 10:15 I had a haircut. At 11:30 I got a call from Craig. He had a tech squad call from Susan and Harry: trying to upgrade Zoom on a Mac and it wants a password. Could I take it off his hands? I knew exactly what the problem would be: the same as Florrie’s (day 3.336), a hell of lost passwords. Usually when Zoom wants to install an upgraded version, it’s no problem. But on this most recent update, it wants to change something that MacOS thinks is protected. So MacOS asks for your administrator password. For most people this is not an issue; it’s your login password that you type every time you reboot the computer. Except Harry’s computer was set to not ask for a login on reboot, so he never did, and had no bleepin’ idea what his password was. The one that his wife Susan had written down didn’t work. So now we are in to resetting a Mac login password. No big problem, but it will require you to know your Apple iCloud password … and down the rabbit hole we go. Half an hour of resetting passwords everywhere and we got it all straightened out. Susan gave me a hug for my good work.

Grab a bite and join 7 of my neighbors to lead them on a tour of CHM. That went well, and they enjoyed the 1401 demo at 3pm also.

Back home I was just thinking about putting on a Stanford sweatshirt ready to meet the carpool for the SWBB game at 6:15 when there was a call from… David M. In the auditorium, trying to set up for an event tonight. This is 5:35, and good on him for starting early. In the next 30 minutes he and I work out his problems and get everything set up for the show. The setup was different this time, something we hadn’t actually done before, but it worked. I think. Everything looked good when I left him at 6:06 to go downstairs and join the carpool group.

The game was with Santa Clara, and I thought it would be another easy win, but in fact the Broncos played very tough and stayed within 10 points right to the end. When I got back just before 9pm the auditorium was dark, so David’s event was over for better or worse.

3.352 meeting, dentist

Tuesday 11/29/2022

Did the gym round on the machines, starting only a bit later than before, 7:45 instead of 7:15, but it worked, there was nobody else around to get in my way.

Printed another bridge picture and rotated my gallery display. There are only 3 more bridges in the series. I plan to end up with both picture rails full of various views of Tower Bridge, the iconic one. I’ve been thinking, I could put together quite a nice slide show, ken-burns the shit out of those pictures. If Stew needs a Sunday At Home topic I might propose that.

Writers meeting. The topic was “my qualities that have helped me through difficulty”. I didn’t feel like being introspective — and anyway my life has been so fortunate I’ve never had to fight through any great difficulty — so I didn’t write anything. Others did but none really striking.

This is really fix up the old carcass week. Today at 3 I went over to the dentist and had a simple cavity filled. Thursday, the kidney cyst and an eye exam. Today: no anesthetic, 20 minutes in the chair, $400. Supposedly my new IBM Medicare Advantage plan would have covered that, but it doesn’t kick in until 1/1/23. I made the dental appointment before I knew about the IBM plan, and it never occurred to me to postpone it.

In the category of TMI, I have had some issues with constipation the last few months. I think there is a possibility it might be related to the renal cyst. I’m looking forward to the drainage of that, which comes up Thursday. Anyway, I have been trying adding a fiber product to my breakfast shakes, and it has had some good results. Except this morning I used the last of what I had, and the order of more has gone into Fedex “in transit” limbo. So now I went looking for the product where the manufacturer says it is stocked. First my local Whole Foods. Then over to California ave to Molly Stone grocery and then to Country Sun. Nope. Then down to Whole Foods in Los Altos where at least I found my favorite beer.

I’m going to go down to sample a concert in the auditorium. Local jazz pianist and local vocalist. Dubious.

3.351 walk, appointment, fopal

Monday 11/28/2022

First thing, I went for a walk. My leg did not want to go the full distance (2.8 miles for the day) but I did a 2-ish mile loop. Walking a bit slower and shorter steps than normal it felt pretty good. Gonna be normal pretty soon. Walking around in the evening, it felt darn near normal, i.e. I walked to the elevator and didn’t think about the leg at all.

Back by 9:30 and it was time to do something about the glasses. Dennis called with a pointer to a place that repairs glasses, but they are in San Jose. I was going to call and see if they could fix mine while I waited, but decided first to settle the issue of when I could get an exam. With an updated prescription I could just order new lenses and frames, and if that was soon enough, I could make do with the masking tape fix.

So I called the optometry group at PAMF and waited on hold for 27 MINUTES and gave up. Better use of my time would be to go there, so I did. Drove over, parked, found my way to second floor of Jamplis bldg, stood in line for just two minutes, and was able to make an appointment for Thursday. Yay!

Went on down to FOPAL and processed a bunch of books. When I clean out my section after a sale, sending everything that has seen 4 sale days to the bargain room, I always worry if the empty spaces will fill up again. But they are filling nicely.

Back home. Went down at 5:40 for supper, didn’t see anybody I wanted to sit with and nothing on the menu I wanted, so I quietly exited back to my room. Remembering on the way, that I had the box of leftover pasta from Saturday. Heated that up, it was delicious. Heck with socializing.

3.350 glasses, docent, SWBB

Sunday 11/27/2022

When I picked up my glasses to clean them, which I do every morning right after toweling off from my shower, the left lens fell out in my hand. Huh? The frame had broken, the metal snapped just above the middle. So that became a priority issue right away. I dressed and went down to the basement to get my soldering iron from my toolbox in my storage cage. Brought it up and, no go. The metal of the frame didn’t want to hold solder. I tried a drop of superglue. Nope. So I fell back on a little strip of masking tape, which did the job for now.

You like the “meta” here? Glasses photographed over the blog about glasses? Huh?

I had a docent tour at 12, so I put on my red shirt and headed out at 10. Over to University avenue to LensCrafters. Nope. The guy there said there was no way any of the hundreds of frames on display would fit my lenses. There’s no such thing as standardization in frames, apparently. It has been a year and a half since I had an eye exam, so I put in a request for an exam appointment at PAMF. Probably Monday I’ll hear when that will be. Hopefully the masking tape can hold up for a few weeks.

Off to CHM, led about a dozen people on a tour. Back home. Called up George M and clarified some things about the three (!) upcoming events he is sponsoring.

Then it was time for the SWBB game from Hawai’i. Supposedly that was on TV. Hah. It was on ESPN+, which is a $10 a month subscription thing. I listened to the audio stream instead.

3.349 indulgences, tech

Saturday 11/26/2022

Indulged in some food today. I walked (2.6 miles total) ending at the downtown farmers market for the first time in months. Bought a chocolate hazlenut swirl, also 2 lbs of dried apricots. Ate on that sucker.

There was a SWBB game, second day of the Hawai’i tournament, at 2pm. Only audio. They romped. I’m glad I didn’t travel to the tournament.

At 4pm I met with David M. and Lennie in the auditorium, and we walked through the process of initiating and running an event using the Zoom Room tech. David M will be running a real event on the 30th. Lennie late in December.

I decided to continue the food indulgences by taking myself out to supper. I drove over to Mike’s in midtown. They have really good pasta. I had a plate of some kind of pasta shape I can’t even spell, with pesto and sausage, it was excellent. Also, as I’d known it would be, a very large serving so I brought half home in a box.