Day 243, book, party, movies

Friday, 8/2/2019

OK, what the heck did I do yesterday? This is Saturday and that day has gone from memory. There’s nothing in my Google calendar, so I didn’t have external obligations.

I remember I went for a run in the morning. Then… at some point I put in an hour on Zooniverse, classifying stuff in a couple of projects. Oh, wait. Right. I uploaded a MOBI version of the book to Amazon and “published” a Kindle version to go with the paperback. I’m amused that Amazon accepted this because the file was generated by LeanPub and clearly says on the half-title page, “This is a LeanPub book…”.

Also, this was party day, Channing House held a party at 2:30 to celebrate the 7th floor beginning to move back and 6th floor getting ready to move out. Rhonda (CEO) commented from the stage that when the 7th move-back is complete, the renovation project will be half-done, two years down and two to go, and they are only a few weeks off of the originally planned target dates.

The party theme was black and white movies. I wore white pants, a black turtleneck, and my formal black fedora. I sat in a back corner, and Bert came and sat next to me. He’s the tech squad and A/V team leader and he asked if I wanted to be on the A/V team, and I do. He said they have a contract out for a full replacement/upgrade of the auditorium A/V equipment, so in a few weeks there would be a training session to learn the new gear.

I didn’t do much in the afternoon. Something I saw online reminded me of the classic anime film, Ghost in the Shell and just for giggles I did a search on the XFinity box and yup, it’s there on the “Tubi” app and free. I started it streaming and got bored with it 20 minutes in. But after stopping it and backing up to the main “Tubi” page there was a display of available movies and I spotted Rango, an animated feature from a few years ago that I’d always kind of wanted to see, so I ran that, all the way through.

So that was Friday. I better get started on Saturday before I forget.

Day 237, docent, sonnet, book

Saturday, 7/27/2019

Did nothing much between breakfast and departing for the Museum at 11am. Did my docent round, people liked it.

This morning I remembered the window handles at Tasso street. They are brass, and I think three times over the 40+ years I lived there, I polished them. They come up with a lovely warm shine, then over a decade or so, turn dark brown again. Which they are now, and I really would like them shiny. It’s not that bad of a job, especially if I were to use some kind of power tool. I have a good cordless drill, but I don’t have a buffer attachment for it. That’s a rubber disk on a spindle; you chuck it into the end of the drill and tie a lambs-wool pad over the disk, and then you can whizz away with your tool.

So I stopped on the way home at the hardware store intending to pick up a buffer disk, and to my surprise they didn’t have them. So at home I opened up Amazon and ordered one. It will arrive Monday, but that means I can’t, as I’d sort of planned, go do any buffing of window handles tomorrow. Well, I can, but I’ll have to do it manually, no power assist. Looking ahead, I’m hoping that the house will be full of painters next week, and I might have a hard time working in around them. Well.

In the afternoon email is a notice from Amazon that my book is now available for sale. I ordered three copies, although I’m not sure on whom I will bestow the third.

Sitting around in the afternoon I recalled a thought that drifted through my mind a couple of times lately: recalling Emma Lazarus’ famous sonnet about the Statue or Liberty,  The New Colossus, I wondered what kind of sonnet she might write about today’s immigration policy. Well, how about me, could I write a sonnet? And over about 90 minutes, I did, complete with proper sonnet rhyme scheme (mostly) and iambic pentameter (ok, ok, there’s one extra foot in one line, sue me).

(Removed, so as to meet the rules of most poetry magazines which don’t want anything published before, even in a personal blog.)

Since I’d never written a sonnet before, I think I’ll call this a day.

Day 236, walk, book, dinner

Friday, 7/26/2019

Didn’t feel like running; and anyway I used to have a habit of taking a longish walk on Fridays instead, so decided to have breakfast in the dining room and then walk to the Tasso street house to check progress.

Of which there has been none. The house is exactly like it was on Monday when I looked at it with Chuck. So I sent a text to Chuck suggesting that, as it was almost the weekend, he should try to stimulate the painter today, ok? And he didn’t reply, which probably means that, as on the prior couple of weekends, he is off playing the piano at some resort on the Russian River and out of cell phone coverage. Which is annoying. Both his absence on weekends and the lack of painting progress.

Chatted with neighbor Gloria, then walked up California Ave. and had coffee at the little invisible place in an alley, forget its name. And on home. (Over 10k steps for the day, yay me.)

Back home I worked on the book. This was mostly a matter of continuing to struggle with the LeanPub platform. The book is written in their flavor of Markdown, called Markua. Except they have been developing Markua for over two years now and keep not finishing the little corner features like poetry (i.e., a block of text in which the input spaces and newlines are preserved). I have 6 places in the book where I quote verse; they were defined with the Markua poetry markup as described in its spec, but it isn’t implemented so, when I complained in the user forum the developer suggested I use Code markup instead. Code markup (pre-formatted text in HTML terms) does preserve user newlines and indents, but it also uses by default, a monospaced font. But one can change that.

So I converted the poems to code markup and set the “Code” font to be the same as the body font, and regenerated. And discovered that code markup also doesn’t notice the markup for italics, so the italicized words in a poem aren’t, and it doesn’t recognize footnote references, so where I had a footnote reference at the end of a verse, as one should, it didn’t work. And in any case, the three places I had poems in the end-notes file (because I put poems in end-notes, ok?), this caused the PDF generation to end with an error.

Posted these issues to the user forum and the developer wrote back apologetically, yes, well, that’s how Code should work, the special characters you use for italics and footnote refs are meaningful in code so we can’t translate them. And the PDF generation errors? We’ll work on that.

So now I converted all the poems to block-quote markup. Blockquote markup does respect newlines, but loses indentations. But at least, it works in end-notes. Now I could generate a good PDF that, aside from poems not having indented lines, looks fine.

So I “published” a new version of the Leanpub book, eight purchasers will have had emails notifying them. But anyway, that version of the book now benefits from the dozens of little edits and tweaks I’ve made in the past weeks.

Then I generated a print-ready PDF and uploaded it to Kindle Direct. Kindle was happy with it, couldn’t find any problems, the preview looked good, so I clicked the “publish” button there. Sometime in the next 72 hours I’ll get an email saying the book is published on Amazon, and I can order a few author’s copies. One for my shelf, one for the C.H. library.

Took it easy for the rest of the afternoon, then went to supper, as invited, with Patti, Craig, Diane, and Karen and David. Very pleasant sitting with a bunch of chatty people, I hardly contributed anything.

Day 234, tree guy, FOPAL, book

Wednesday, 7/24/2019

Went for a run. Ended it with coffee at a new spot, not only new to me but I think quite new at all: Verve Coffee at  University and High street. Looks like a winner, lots of space indoors (but music a little too loud) and in a nice patio outside; and decent pastries.

Spent an hour editing the paper copy of the book. Amazing how many tiny edits I’m making,  replacing an emdash with a comma and such profound changes.

Drove to the Tasso street house to meet with an estimator from Davie Tree service. Chuck had texted it was 11am, but in fact the guy had come at 10 and gone, but left his card. I called him, and he was able to double back. Nice guy, very knowledgeable. Later he sent an estimate that was only $100 higher than the prior estimate, and it looks as if they will be able to do the work in a week or so.

While waiting I had a nice chat with Gloria from across the street. I showed her the “red” chest in the garage that didn’t go in the sale, and suggested that if it works in their garage, they take it.

From there I went to FOPAL where I found five boxes of computer books waiting. This haul was quite rich, over half of them were worth pricing (i.e. from the past 10-12 years or a subject that doesn’t date), and I ended up shelving two full boxes of priced books. There was quite a jam with four other section managers using the computers to do pricing. Then I did sorting for an hour and a half, when I felt quite tired from toting boxes around and bailed a little early. I have to say that sorting, in the summer, feels like bailing a sinking ship. You barely get the table cleared when another donor shows up with half a dozen shopping bags of books, or needs to borrow our dolly to bring in four or eight boxes. I’m going to bring this up tomorrow when I attend a FOPAL brunch for volunteers.

While I was sorting, I got a call from Jean, saying she thought her iMac was dying. I volunteered to come down and take a look at it. It booted right up and seemed normal. She said yesterday it would get stuck during boot-up. I don’t know; hard drive getting tired? She thought it was quite old; I was able to show it was a “late 2015” model. So if it has a problem again, tote it to the Apple store, it’s worth fixing.

Another problem was that her Comcast modem wouldn’t come up. In the ten minutes or so I waited, it just cycled its little lights in a repeating pattern, never settling down with “two blues” as she said it usually did. I power-cycled it again; no luck. I left it that if it didn’t come up overnight, she would have to call on Comcast for service (and good luck with that). She says she’s seen the Comcast truck around her trailer park often lately, which I think is suspicious.

Oh, this morning around 4am I realized one possible reason that C.H. has been tapping my Schwab account for only a bit less than half of the expected amount. That amount is probably the amount of my monthly fee that is allocated to health care (and deductible from taxes as such), while the remainder is for food, rent, maid service and garage, i.e. non-medical. The questions remain, (a) why did they do this without my permission, (b) why did they not do it this month, (c) how do I get it arranged to make a single, auto-payment? I’m probably going to kick this can down the road to August anyway.

I left the annotated book in the car when I came up and I’m too lazy to go get it, so I can’t finish editing it tonight.

Day 233, bball camp, book

Tuesday, 7/23/2019

I started the day by driving to the YMCA, doing 15 minutes on the treadmill and my round of strength exercises. Back home I did a bit of office work, filing some things and trying to make sense of my Channing House billings. I can’t get a clear picture of how much I am paying per month. When I first signed up, they received my initial buy-in by electronic funds transfer from my Schwab account. Twice in the three months since, they have again tapped that account, but not for the whole amount of a monthly rental, but rather a bit less than half that. I don’t know why. This month, they didn’t. I don’t know why. I have been paying the amount due on the bottom line of the monthly invoice by EFT from my SFCU (Stanford Credit Union) account and I guess the numbers are working out because they haven’t called me up to say “you’re in arrears”. But I would like to set up a single, monthly, auto-pay order at SFCU. Only I don’t know how much that should be, given they might choose to pay themselves some of it from my Schwab account.

I keep thinking things will clarify with the next month’s invoice. But I guess I will have to make an appointment with somebody in the accounts office.

About 11:30 I took a Lyft to the Stanford campus where I was to assist in registration for Tara’s basketball camp. This time I was assigned to the “A-to-E” registration table along with Nancy. It was fairly complicated as each camper got a name sticker and checked off on a list, then they (or their mom usually) paid some money into their “camp store” account, so they could buy souvenirs and snacks without having to have money in their dorm rooms. Then they got their lanyard and key to their dorm room. We divided this work among us and managed not to mess anything up or distress any campers, so that’s a win.

We were all done by 2:30. I bummed a ride back to CH with Nancy, who had just bought a  new Lexus and was happy to show it off to me.

Now I sat down with the paper copy of the book and kept reading, finding several more (very minor) typos. I have a few more chapters to go. Then I’ll make a new text PDF and update the Kindle Direct page with it, and officially “publish” it on Amazon. I’ll have to go back and re-publish the Leanpub version also. With that out of the way, I will start on another project, probably in early August, about the time the house is finally ready to sell.

Day 232, realty, FOPAL, book

Monday, 7/22/2019

Went for a run in the morning. Then at 10:30 left to meet Chuck at the Tasso house. We reviewed what had been done and needed to be done. Henry, our neighbor stopped by to meet Chuck. He and Chuck were not happy with the idea of cutting off an entire big limb of the oak, so that idea is out. Chuck wants to have the better-known Davey Tree Service provide an estimate, and he will have his office guy, Andrew, schedule that. Realistically the prep and staging likely won’t be done until the second week of August.

From there I went to FOPAL where I processed about 7 boxes of Computer section input, pricing and shelving a couple of boxes worth, and. sending 4 boxes to bargain. Then I settled in to do sorting until 4pm. All told about 4 hours of steady physical work.

I bought some of the sugar-free drinks I stock in my fridge, and a little fruit (since I forgot to go to the farmer’s market yesterday) and a pound of coffee, and headed home.

After supper, which I ate alone, I checked the mail and found the envelope with two trial copies of To Thrive Beyond Belief. (Marked “not for resale” because I haven’t officially “published” it to Kindle Direct.)


The cover looks great and the text is readable. I told myself I wouldn’t read it, but I read the opening and found a typo on page 9, which means I have to read it all, now. I got through Chapter 2, which is frankly, damn good.