Got up a little early because the new Channing House Gym was to open today. There would be demos at 7am, noon and 3pm, and I figured 7am would be the least crowded. Wrong; by 7:05 there were at least 15 people there.
Plus, Veronica the rec director wasn’t fully prepped to demo the machines, which are new and will recognize a special badge which each of us is to carry, and the badge will contain some kind of history of our workouts? Somewhat unclear. Anyway I have an appointment to get my badge tomorrow at 3:30.
From there I went on my usual walk. At 10:30 came the monthly event coordinators’ meeting, where they go over the calendar for the upcoming month and note the planned events.
At the end of this meeting I grabbed Nancy, who coordinates concerts and such, all excited to tell her about Suzanne and how she could do a recital for her students. Oops, no; Nancy informed me that there is a long-standing policy NOT to invite music teachers to give recitals here. Too many music teachers around, apparently. So later I had to email Suzanne and apologize.
Off to FOPAL to clean up the computer section after a sale weekend. It was apparently a good sale, netting over $15K in all. Quite a few gaps on my shelves. It took a couple of hours to triage the shelves, send a couple of boxes of books that had seen at least 3 sale weekends without selling, to the bargain room.’
After the usual Sunday morning things, plants, crossword, yadda, I had nothing to do until leaving for the museum at 1. So I went for a moderate walk, and then generally wasted time on the internet. At 1pm I went to the Museum and led the 2pm tour. They had canceled the noon tour for lack of docent, I noticed. They really need to start a docent training program and recruit a few more. Anyway, the crowd looked light, but in the usual magical way, at 1:57 I was talking to five people and at 2:00 I had a group of over 30. It’s really amazing, like they come up out of the floor or something. I managed to keep most of them interested right to the end, yay me.
Back home, change clothes, take a short nap. Then at 6:15, out to dinner at Suzanne’s.
Suzanne was my manager at Informix lo these many years ago. 1980-85? Besides being an excellent manager, her side gig was being a piano teacher, and Marian and I attended a couple of student recitals at her place over the years. Her then-husband Chuck was (still is) a realtor. Chuck helped us buy and sell two properties in the 80s, and as noted in the first year of this blog, was my agent selling the Tasso house.
Last year she had gotten in touch to let me know that she and Chuck were divorced and she was now living with Jim. Last week I saw a funny email about musical terms and forwarded it to her, with the result she invited me to dinner with them. So off to their place, what turns out to be Jim’s long-time home in Menlo Park. We sat at their kitchen table while Jim cooked dinner and jawed away, telling our three respective life stories, from 6:30 to 9:30. Very pleasant an informative evening. Jim is a multi-talented person with degrees in both EE and law, a practicing lawyer and a near-pro level photographer as well as other hobbies. Suzanne has gone to full-time piano teaching.
Home late, nearly my bedtime, and I have to get up early (writing this at 6:15am) today.
Pretty much a nothing day, I didn’t leave the building.
Last night before I went to bed I did something I’d been thinking about, namely, set up the Nikon on a tripod with the 500mm mirror lens pointing at the hummingbird feeder. From about 8 feet distance, its field of view nicely frames a hummingbird’s size. With the sun up this morning I shot a bunch of pictures, exactly one of which was sharp and well composed. I shared it on the CHBB list and got lots of nice reactions back.
Not quite perfect, a perfect shot would not have cropped off the end of her tail.
Also yesterday a new flash drive arrived from Amazon. One by a name-brand maker, SanDisk, so presumably not fake garbage like the previous one. I put it to work copying the Users folders from Lois’s old iMac, so as I promised her I would have all of her old files if she needed them (she won’t). Then before supper I started the machine reformatting the hard drive with a “secure erase” meaning it writes every sector twice. I am hoping that this will improve its horrible slow performance. That took 2 hours. Meanwhile I cleaned its filthy keyboard and the case and screen. Now it is re-installing the OS. I can probably see it booting before bedtime.
At 2pm I went down to the auditorium to run a movie. Karen who manages the movie series had chosen Lion about an Indian orphan who uses Google Earth to figure out where he was born and go back and (spoiler) find his mother. I was ok with it to about the half-way point where they introduce a lot of (I thought) unnecessary family conflict and misunderstandings, so I mentally checked out and read a book on my phone.
Took the standard walk for the first time in a while; it was fine. About the only other thing I did today was to meet with the lawyer recommended by Prime Fiduciary, for the task of rewriting my family trust (technically it is now a “survivor trust”) to have the professionals as successor trustee. We talked about a few other modifications and edits, and it all seems pretty easy. Should be wrapped up in a week or two at the most.
The lawyer is a 30-something blonde lady with a bubbly personality. The world is being run by the children now (the old geezer huffed).
The main thing today was to help set up sis-in-law Jean with a cell phone. Her late husband Bill set them up with Verizon wireless contract years ago. He had an in-house wireless router that distributed the 3G signal to three wireless phones around the house. Recently Verizon notified her that they were going to shut down 3G service and she would have to upgrade, which she took as a cue to finally switch to a smartphone. After looking at various options, I finally said, heck, we’ll just add you as a line on my T-mobile account. So that was what we were to do, today.
I picked her up at home and we went to her local T-mobile store, half a mile away. Unfortunately their San Antonio road store was closed for remodeling and they were getting an overflow of customers. We were third on the list and waited an hour. Then the rep said what we needed first, was a full account number and a transfer PIN from Verizon. Which meant going to a Verizon store. The nearest was in Cupertino, so off we went. After having gotten the requisite numbers there, we had lunch at a handy Paris Baguette store. Back in the car, I was going to use Apple Maps to find my way back to the Mountain View T-Mobile but it showed me there was a T-Mobile store right across the street from where we were parked. So we went there. The T-Mobile rep Yuri was super helpful and spent an hour with us, helping Jean get a start with her new iPhone 13 Mini.
A hangup, which was dreadfully reminiscent of recent tech calls at Channing House, was that Jean has no idea of their iCloud password. So we tried to reset the iCloud password but she failed to correctly answer the security questions that Bill had set up probably back in 2010 or so. Yuri tried to get the new phone set up to receive Jean’s mail but again she didn’t have the password to her comcast mail account. Sigh.
So back to her place where her iMac already knows the password for the email (but not for the iCloud, too bad). I thought I was going to be clever and use the Keychain app to show all these passwords. However, Keychain wanted something I had never heard of, a keychain password. I am logged in as an administrator, dammit. However I got Firefox to divulge the comcast.net password, haha. So we got the iPhone receiving mail. But weren’t able to get the Apple ID straightened out. Jean is going to keep trying on that, and meanwhile learning other apps. She also is taking on a new roommate/house-share, Sally, who also has an iPhone and will be able to answer questions.
Main activity today was to lead a tour of 20 Apple employees at the museum. Given a knowledgeable group and a private tour, I stretched out to some topics I don’t normally do, but kept them to the end.
Back home I worked on Lois’s iMac. This is a 2014-era iMac that Lois has replaced. It was running very slowly and I want to try reformatting the hard disk to see if it will go faster. But before I do that, I promised I would save the files to an external drive. Although she prepped her new iMac from a backup of this one, she is afraid there might be something she missed.
To do a backup I need a large capacity flash drive, so I bought one off Amazon. Unfortunately after wasting a couple of hours formatting it and having it fail, I looked at the reviews on Amazon and discovered others violently dissing it as a fraud and a scam. So I wasted $30 on a supposedly 1TB thumb drive that doesn’t work. I ordered another from a reputable maker. Meanwhile I’m trying to take dumps of specific users (there are 4 user folders defined on this system and I’m not sure which of them have useful files) onto a smaller thumb drive, and the iMac is behaving strangely. It’s kind of buggered, basically. She was smart to replace it when she did. I am reading up at ifixit.com on how to replace its hard drive with an SSD, but I am wondering if it’s worth it, given that it can’t run the latest OS.
I updated my own 27-inch iMac (2015 retina) and found that it, too can’t run the latest OS, only the one before.
In lieu of a floor meeting, because it’s tradition to have no formal meetings in August, we had a 6th floor cocktail party this afternoon. After cheese and crackers and wine I was nodding off. Such a party animal I am.
First thing was a birding expedition of sorts, with next-door neighbor Carolyn. In the mornings there is a… crow? that sits somewhere above our apartments and makes a noise. It kind of says RALPH! very loudly, but spaced out at about 1-minute intervals. Or maybe not RALPH! exactly, the same noise that a baseball umpire makes to say “strike!”. I find it only mildly annoying, I’m up when it starts soon after sun-up. But apparently Carolyn wants to sleep with her patio door open. But we can’t agree on where exactly the noise is coming from, the big redwood alongside the building? or to me it sounds like it’s in the middle of the building, although that seems unlikely as it would have to be standing on somebody’s railing.
Anyway at 7:30 she came by and we went to listen from various points, in the fire stairs at the end, from the roof, from the lounge patio of the 8th and 7th floors. Unfortunately this morning the bird shut up early and we heard nothing.
At 11 it was time for the writers meeting. I had nothing to read, but enjoyed hearing the other people’s work.
After lunch I had a frustrating tech call: a resident, Randy, can’t get his email. Somehow for reasons unknown, his Mac can’t log in to his Yahoo account to get mail. I spent a frustrating hour trying to get Yahoo — which is now really AT&T, only his email is PacBell.net — one of them to let him reset his password. Finally I gave up. Bert will refer him to a professional outside tech person.
I spent some time getting my purchase of tickets for the next season at the Pear Theater right. Several of my neighbors had decided on the dates they were going so I was trying to get seats on the same dates.
And somewhere in their I did my laundry. Normally on Wednesday but tomorrow I have a docent tour in the morning.
A nice easy start to the day. No walk, just tidy up things I neglected over the past few days owing to VCF. Paid a bill, cleaned up the kitchen. At 11 I drove down to FOPAL where I turned over the cash box and credit card iPad to the Susan the treasurer. Then spent two hours processing books and finalizing my section for the sale weekend coming up.
Back home I had a couple of hours of which at least one was a deep nap. Then off again, this time to PAMF to for a routine visit with Dr. Dibiase, cardiologist. I look fine, but should start exercising again. I will, when the CH gym is reopened later this month.
After supper I stood by David M while he set up an event, a talk by a guy who was born in a minority sect in Afghanistan, and with his family found refuge in Canada, and has a long academic record in various universities, currently working at Stanford. He told about the various difficulties of Afghans under the Taliban, and about the complexities of Afghan society split among ethnicities and factions.
Up at 5, so I could have coffee and water the plants etc. before leaving at 7:30. The second day standing behind a table at VCF went well, with help from Dennis. We started boxing up our wares at 4pm and had everything stowed back to the storage room at FOPAL by 5:30. Which meant I got home in time to eat in the dining room. Then a little while relaxing and then early to bed.
Up and out early to set up our table at the Museum. Got there about 8am, and for the record, left about 6pm.
Dennis stopped by around 1pm and spelled me and Frank for a couple of hours, which was a much-appreciated break.
When we counted the take, we had taken in just over $600, mostly cash, some credit and PayPal. Which since we sold most books for $2, suggests we moved about 300 books.
Nearing 6:30 as I got near home, which was nearing closing time for the CH dining room, so I redirected to Town&Country and had a hamburger and shake from Kirk’s. Then home to kick back and go to bed early.