4.030 lunch, tech, flood, swbb

Saturday 12/31/2022

I was invited for lunch with Kent and Marcia. Afterward, I met with Stew and Mary in the auditorium. They wanted to try out karaoke-style singing along to 50s tunes, to see if it would work for the Sock Hop in February.

There was fairly heavy rain all day, and around 11 we got an official warning from the City about possible flooding. Apparently San Francisquito creek had overflowed near Chaucer street. At 3pm I went out for a little walk around the neighborhood. Some gutters were running level with curbs and there was water over the sidewalk in a couple of places. Tomorrow morning I will go out and take a look at the creek.

At 5 it was time to leave for the 6pm SWBB game. This was the first PAC12 game of the season, against Arizona. We play Arizona State on Monday at 11. Whoever planned the schedule is cruel, making the UA and ASU players spend the New Year’s weekend away from home.

In any case, Stanford commanded the game from the start, and won by 30, 101-69.

4.029 tech, decisions

Friday 12/20/2022

Went for the benchmark walk and it was fine. Well, the weather wasn’t fine, overcast and threatening, although no rain fell then. But the creek was up. But I felt healthy. As I mentioned the other day, the fact that I’m 80 continues to mess with my mind. Do I feel like an 80-year-old is supposed to feel? Eighty-year-olds are old. Should I be walking like this? Shouldn’t I be more, well, frail? I don’t feel frail. Am I kidding myself? This arbitrary number is dickin’ with my head.

Today I had an opportunity to introduce another resident to the new TV system that will soon be installed for everybody. She has been trying to use the 11th floor TV because there was a problem with the one in her unit, but had some problems with it. Since that is the exact system and remote that will soon be universal, I grabbed the opportunity to try training someone in it. One of her problems was, she couldn’t get the closed captions on. She was tickled pink to discover that you can just hold down the microphone button on the remote and say, “captions on” and it does it. Or say “PBS” and it switches to KQED. “I like the news channels,” she said, so I grabbed the remote and quick succession said to it, “CNN”, and then “MSNBC” and then “Headline news” and it happily switched to each one in turn.

Later on, I took a careful look at the Road Scholar website and made a big decision. Instead of planning my own trip to Barcelona, I will let them do it for me. I signed up for a Spanish Art trip that hits Madrid, a couple of other famous art centers, ending in Barcelona. Almost the same dates I had already planned, mid-April.

Another decision, less momentous, I would go out for an old-fashioned burger and fries dinner. I drove in the dark and the rain — paying very close attention as I drove because I’m 80 and therefore clearly not safe to drive at night, if at all — actually I had no difficulty whatever and I don’t think I’m deceiving myself about that — down to the In & Out Burger place on Rengstorff. Had a cheeseburger fries and a chocolate shake, sitting in my car listening to rain on the roof. Shades of Seattle in my youth.

4.028 fopal, meetings

Thursday 12/29/2022

Did the gym thing. That’s really not much of a challenge. I should probably extend it with time on the cybercycle. Maybe I will. But likely won’t.

Did a tiny bit of writing on the novel. Got bored and decided to go down to FOPAL. Probably I would find a box of books, clear it out in 20 minutes, and do some sorting. In fact I found quite a large pile of boxes and spent two yours getting them culled and priced and shelved.

Back at CH, at 2:30 was an in-service training for the 15 or so people who have offered to provide tech help for the Great TV Turnover. The what? Channing House has negotiated a new contract with Comcast. Currently most, but not all, apartments have Comcast boxes of various ages and models, some DVRs and some not. Under the new contract, Comcast will install new, X1 DVR boxes in all units, with new remotes.

For some who, like me, have an older X1, there will not be any significant change. The newest remote looks a little bit different but has all the same buttons, and the user interface of the box is the same as I’m used to. But for lots of people who have older, and often non-DVR, boxes and remotes there will be significant change. And this meeting was to introduce us technical help people to the new remote and its functions.

It was led by Gerald of the IT department and the feeblest kind of meeting, in which he went through a professionally prepared slide set, and basically read the text of the slides. Well, he had set up the zoom meeting rather cleverly so he could show us his fingers on the remote, and the screen of a TV, so he could demonstrate each point as he read it out. We had a lot of awkward questions, which I may get into another time.

From there I went down and joined Stew’s meeting on planning the 50s Sock Hop, in progress. Jerry was there which pleased me as he knows more about doing video with scrolling lyrics than I do.

That was it for the day.

4.027 laundry, meeting, av

Wednesday 12/28/2022

In the morning did the bi-weekly task of laundry. Took a short walk while the first load was running. Lunch in the dining room. Passed the time until 4 and time to run my AV squad meeting on zoom. We hashed out how to allocate the events of January. One problem is a book talk this coming Monday at 11, which nobody wanted to do including me, because there is a SWBB game at 11am also. Ian rescued me by saying, if I would help him set up at 10, he could run the event while I went to the game.

At 6:30 I went down and set up a mic in the lobby for the evening’s event, a “Christmas potpourri”, christmas music from resident musicians and then a sing-along. I had to stay around through it, to put the AV stuff away afterward.

A few months ago (see 3.304) there was a professional photo team to take realistic pictures of residents to use in advertising. Now some of the advertising is appearing. There’s a brochure being mailed around featuring pictures from that shoot, including one of me in my easy chair. You can look at a copy of the brochure at this link. I’m on the last page.

Hmm. That’s just what I look like, right this minute.

4.026 whatever

Tuesday 12/27/2022

Not much doing today. Went to the gym in the morning.

In the afternoon I came to the decision to finally abandon that software project I was spending time on the last few months. I spent a couple of hours reminding myself of what is currently being used for post-processing books at Distributed Proofreaders. My program does most of that, behind a much nicer user interface, but in the end is mostly duplication. Back in 2014 I didn’t like how they did it, so I did it my way. I might still do some volunteer work for them and use my code to do it. But I am not going to pursue polishing it or advertising it to anyone else. So that’s a load off my mind and my to-do list. Really nothing left to work on except the novel that I obsess about but haven’t done much actual writing on.

4.025 boxing day

Monday 12/26/2022

Busy morning. I took another look at my media center instruction pamphlet and decided I needed to verify the instructions for connecting a computer to the big screen, and capture a small detail about that. So off to 11 to do that and–it didn’t work. Connected my new (newish? It’s a year old now I guess) M1 Macbook Pro to the HDMI cable. The Mac knew it was connected to an external screen, I could see it adjust its screen geometry. But the TV just said “No Signal”. Tried lots of things, needing two trips back to my room and one to the auditorium to get parts to swap. No dice. Finally swapped the only remaining part, the computer. My older MacBook Pro worked just fine! So there is a problem with the new Mac hardware connecting to an HDMI port. Actually I think I’ve seen similar issues connecting it to the auditorium projector.

Anyway, I got the details I needed and sent the PDF of the edited intructions off to my team, asking them to beta-test it in their free time.

Then off to FOPAL where I processed 4 boxes of books. Bought something for lunch at Peet’s coffee, and back to CH to change into my Docent shirt. Down to CHM to lead a tour. The museum was busy on Boxing Day, and I had about 35 people at the start of the tour, and still 30 at the end. I’ve been tinkering with my presentation and tried some changes on people. It seemed to work.

The Allens called and invited me to join them for dinner. So that was nice.

4.024 quiet xmas

Sunday 12/25/2022

Sunday morning, and the usual task of watering the plants didn’t need to be done. Owing I guess to chilly weather, all the plants showed up as “wet” on my moisture probe.

Talked to Dennis and later to Laurel.

Spent an hour finishing a to-do list task, moving all the photos that I had pushed into a to-be-sorted folder, into the folders where they belonged. Or deleting them, because now on second thought, they weren’t worth keeping. Big check-off from the list!

Spent half an hour revisiting an old computer game, Vendetta Online. (https://www.vendetta-online.com/h/help.html) I first played it, according to my account settings, in 2007! A few years ago they moved to a “freemium” model, where you can play for free at basic levels, which are quite extensive, but can pay a small sum for extra privileges or whatever. And they have extended it to every platform under the sun including VR glasses and mobile devices. I have only played it on a large desktop screen. I can’t imagine what it would be like to play on a phone.

Anyway it is clear my muscles have forgotten all of my space piloting skills. Maybe I’ll try to relearn them.

CH provided a festive lunch, with wine & fancy appetizers to start, an entree choice of flank steak or baked cod, and an array of fancy dessert bites.

After a nap I decided to do something productive. The 11th floor media center has been changed quite a bit and the instruction sheet that Bert put up there a couple years ago is far out of date. So I went up and took a lot of pictures and prepared a new, 6-page instruction sheet for how to show broadcast TV, Roku TV, DVD, or computer output on the big screen. I almost sent the compiled PDF to my AV crew and then thought, nah, this wouldn’t look right on Christmas. I’ll send it out tomorrow. See? I’ve got social skillz.

4.023 tech, walk, dinner

Saturday 12/24/2022

Yesterday, as I failed to note, after the game I drove over to Home depot and bought a large and some small plastic organizer boxes. This morning I went down and tidied and organized the A/V cabinet. This is a large wooden cabinet kept in the stage right wing of the auditorium. It contains A/V related stuff shoved in there by at least a decade, probably more, of A/V volunteers.

I sorted out a basket of cables into HDMI-related cables, and audio-related cables. I moved some things around and generally got it sorted.

At 11 I met with Patty in the lobby and we took a Lyft down to the Baylands. There was a “king tide” i.e. a maximal high tide at noon. We walked the full route, from the south end at San Antonio, to the north end at Bixbee park. Along part of the route you could see that the water level of the open bay was at least 4 feet higher than the water level of the inner slough, which is gated by a weir that was closed, I don’t know why. But it wasn’t really very dramatic.

Had dinner with Edie, talking mostly about various travels. Her late husband was an avid fisherman and they traveled to fish famous streams. Marian and I traveled to see eclipses.

4.022 jean, swbb, tech

Friday 12/23/2022

After a morning walk, I sat down to try out the package of genealogical info that Jean wants to give to all her relatives. And it doesn’t work. The reason is, what she wants to pass on is a “family file” managed by the fairly well-known genealogy app, Reunion. People who get this package won’t have Reunion, so she’s included a copy of the app on the thumb-drive. Unfortunately when you launch it, Reunion looks around for a license, which costs $99. When you don’t have one, it runs in “demo mode”, and in demo mode it won’t open a family file with more than 50 people in it. Jean’s laboriously constructed family file probably contains a couple of hundred names, and Reunion in demo mode just won’t open it.

I made a couple of suggestions to her on what she can do, and she has my sympathy.

At 11 it was time to leave for a SWBB game. This was the first game of the PAC-12 season, and it was against Cal. In the carpool we were all complaining about the weird scheduling. Why would they start the season, and in particular against Cal, at a time when there are no students on campus? The audience was quite small. The team played well and won by 25.

At 5pm I helped neighbor Mary set up her mac to show slides on the big rolling TV to dinner guests. Then I sat down for dinner with Patty.

4.021 docent, jean

Thursday 12/22/2022

Did the gym. Tidied the apartment. At 10:30 I drove to the museum where I was one of three docents for a custom tour of 35 STEM students from Australia/New Zealand. I don’t think I connected too well, although I tried to. Of my group of 11, 5 stuck with me pretty close and the rest wandered off.

From there I went down to visit Jean to help advise on a problem she has. She has collected a mass of genealogical info on her extended family, which she wants to hand off to some of the younger generation. Her problem is the data is held in an app called Reunion. In order to read it, you need Reunion. So can she put a copy of the app along with the data on a thumb drive? Yes, but then can anybody who gets it, read it? I took the thumb drive home and will look at it tomorrow.

Ate dinner in the dining room, first time in a while.