1.050 FOPAL, writing

Tuesday 1/21/2020

My plan today was to go down to FOPAL mid-day and see how the carpet tile laying was going, and to help moving stuff around if needed. After a relaxing morning reading the internet, I did that. The carpet men had started on the sorting room and would clearly be at it for several hours. I chatted with long-time volunteers Frank and Matthew, but then went home again.

I ate lunch at my desk and added 1100 words to the novel, which gave me a lot of satisfaction.

About 2pm I went back to FOPAL. For an hour we stood around and then, out of boredom, I took on the job that I’d told myself I wouldn’t do: breaking down the mountain of cardboard boxes outside the entrance. People bring books in all sorts of boxes, almost never the banker’s boxes that we use. So we toss the boxes in a heap beside the entry stairs, and people who want a box are free to take one. However, the mountain is unsightly, and the bottom layers had been rained on. So I started breaking them down and putting them in the big dumpster-size recycle bin. It took less than an hour to clear the pile, which was satisfying in its own way.

The carpet guys finished up the sorting room near 4pm. Then I assisted Frank and Matthew in moving a lot of stuff, including 30 boxes of books, back into it. My back was a bit sore after that, so I headed home for “two ibuprofen and a nap”, only I didn’t take the nap, as it was supper time.


1.041 coffee, FOPAL, event, SWBB

Sunday, 1/12/2020

Found a new coffee shop! I was walking toward Verve and happened to take Ramona street, where I noticed Bistro Maxine as I walked past. Hmm. Looks pleasant; lots of room inside; they have an espresso machine. So I had my morning coffee there. It was pleasant. On the plus side, they serve a small glass of orange juice which is freshly pressed (Palo Alto Cafe has fresh pressed juice but only in a big 12-ounce mug). Downside, their array of pastries is limited to regular and chocolate croissants, but they were well-made.

On return I went direct to the 11th and was delighted to find the big rolling TV was now present. I plugged it in and arranged the lectern and mics, then called George who came right up. His laptop connected perfectly. He went away to finish his presentation (“I have too many slides”) while I got my morning exercise by moving chairs around to seat about 35 people facing the screen.

I went to lunch at 12 and from there direct to FOPAL to tidy up my section again. Much lighter crowd on Sunday. Then back for a blog post and a nap, and then to the desk and added 500 words to the novel. Here’s what makes fiction so hard. You have to keep inventing stuff. My characters, who are kids, need to overhear a conversation. They have to go somewhere to hear it. Why do they go there? Think, think. OK, somebody sends them on an errand. Great, who, and what errand? OK, I decide one of the adults will send them to fetch something, from the shop down the street. Fetch what, and why do they need it? I think of the reason the thing is wanted, and now I can write three lines of dialog to get them going to the shop. That only took ten minutes. So it happens to be evening, a shop in a very small place, sort of a village. What does the shop look like? I have to say at least a couple of words. Who is tending it? What is that person’s name? Not to mention, how do they speak, what do they say. I’m inventing a whole world here, this is in a nature preserve 400 years from now. So, somewhat to my surprise, the shop is empty, but when they call out, they hear footsteps and somebody comes down the stairs at the back. Even more to my surprise, my imagination offers up an image of a young girl about their age. Go, imagination! How do kids in this world greet each other? My imagination has gone back to sleep, so I get to spend another ten minutes figuring out 5 lines of dialog to complete the transaction. Now they can finally step out of the shop and hear voices raised in argument down the way, and we are set up for them to overhear what I need them to overhear. Tomorrow I get to figure out what those words are.

George’s talk went well, except that more people came than I had put up chairs for. I and another person kept dragging chairs over and adding them to rows. (George, by the way, is a retired professor emeritus and fellow of the Hoover Institute.) Afterward, I put away all the A/V gear, then went to my room and watched the Stanford women play at Cal on the TV. Cal put on a better show at home (of course), keeping it reasonably close for a while, but Stanford took over in the fourth and won easily. Now they are off for the toughest road trip of the year: #5-ranked Stanford to play #2-ranked Oregon and #3-ranked OSU. The PAC-12 is loaded this year, with four teams in the top 10 (UCLA at #8) and ASU at #18. Actually ASU will move up and Oregon down, because Friday ASU edged Oregon. Anyway, games among three highly-ranked teams any two of which could end up in the final four.


1.031 healthy, FOPAL

Thursday, 1/2/2020

I expected to wake up feeling ratty with the cold of yesterday, but in fact, and to my surprise, I felt fine. I did a few exercises, had breakfast downstairs, and then went to FOPAL for a usual four-hour stint of computer books and sorting.

In the afternoon I finished my bi-weekly laundry, and that’s pretty much all there was to this day.




1.028 Fopal, beer

Monday, 12/30/2019

Went for a run in the morning. My body wasn’t feeling quite top-hole, and I walked a couple of blocks in the middle that I normally run.

IMG_4500Then to FOPAL where I found fourteen boxes of books waiting. Sorters been busy over the holidays. So I spent a couple of hours culling them and pricing the best, and ended up shelving maybe 40 books, sending 9 boxes to the bargain room.

And a couple of hours of sorting after, brought me to 1pm and I clocked out.

Now I was determined to find my favorite beer, Rogue Brewing’s Dead Guy Ale. A couple months ago I used their “beer finder” web page to find a six-pack at my local Target store, of all unlikely places. But I checked twice lately and Target seems to have forgotten about Rogue entirely.

Now the beer finder pointed me to Total Wines and More on Rengstorff. That turned out to be a large and well-stocked wine place, reminding me of the old Beltramo’s in Menlo Park. And with some hunting (there were four aisles of craft beers!) I found my Dead Guy and brought some home.

Late in the afternoon I added a couple hundred words to the novel.

1.014 FOPAL, tech call

It turned out in hindsight that the Cardinal did something special beating Ohio State last night. A week earlier, Ohio State had won over the #2 ranked team, Louisville, behind a breakout performance by a highly touted freshman player. In last night’s game, said phenom had zero (0) points. So Stanford (i.e. Tara) had prepared a perfect game plan for this threat and the team executed it, and easily won over a team that had beaten #2. So maybe we deserve our current #1 ranking in the polls.

Monday, 12/16/2019

Went for a run in 50ยบ weather and felt good. That was a pleasure because last week I hadn’t felt all that great, just a bit off, but now all was fine.

Drove to FOPAL for the post-sale cleanup. Counted my section, 406 books before, 330 after, so 76 sold. Purged about 4 boxes of books that had been sitting around for 3 sales or more. Only one box of new donations waiting, shelved three books. Did sorting for two hours.

Back at CH I took on a tech squad call. Judy, like a lot of people around here, gets her email “@yahoo.com”, but actually reads the mail in the Mail app on her iMac. For some reason recently, Mail could no longer pull mail from Yahoo, and Judy was cut off. Mail (which I don’t use) apparently calls on the “Internet Accounts” panel of the Settings app. I’d never paid any attention to that panel, either. Anyway, what Judy sees is, the Settings app popped up in front of the Mail app, asking for her Yahoo password, which she had, it seems, forgotten. Peter worked on this the day before and got nowhere. Craig asked me to look at it, suggesting that I try to work through Yahoo instead of Mail.

That was a good suggestion. As soon as I went to yahoo.com in her Safari browser and clicked Log In, Safari happily offered to fill in her user id, and then offered to fill in the password for that user. Perfect. So we still didn’t know the password, but we were logged in. Go to “account management” and change the password to a new one. Fortunately Yahoo, unlike some sites, did not ask for the old password when taking a new one! With a new password set and tested, I could go back to Settings and put it into Internet Accounts. When I restarted Mail it immediately pulled in several days of mail. Yay!

Ate dinner at a table with one of the several other Davids in this place, and Colin and two guys whose names I should know but don’t.



1.013 Sunday, play, SWBB

Stanford volleyball started slow, behind as much as 6 in the first set, and I’m thinking, oh dear, this is going to be another five-set marathon if that. Then suddenly, with the score Stanford 14 Penn State 20, they woke up and ran off a bunch of points and finished the set 25-22. And just dominated the next two sets to win in a sweep. So they are off to the final four.

Sunday, 12/15/2019

Coffee and paper at the PA Cafe. Then drop in on the FOPAL sale room before anyone was there, to tidy up my section after Saturday’s sale traffic. Move books back to their proper sections (why do books from the adjacent Business section get shelved with mine?), neaten the rows, etc.

Showering this morning I noticed that my last bar of Pear’s Soap is diminishing. After breakfast I checked the shelves of CVS and Walgreens. No bar soap of any kind. Hmmm. I seem to have missed a general social transition to liquid bath soaps. I don’t care to use a bath gel, I’d rather rub a bar on my bod. Well, a repeating theme lately. I try for a product in the local stores. Then, 30 seconds at amazon reveals exactly what I want at a reasonable price with free shipping. It is so easy to fulfill any wish…

I don’t think I mentioned that among all my other activities yesterday I ordered the 8×10 area rug I want. A week ago I spoke to Angela the Upgrade Honcho and she said of buying a rug, just be sure to have it in house before January 10th, when the freight elevators are restricted to the move. Store it in your temp room and we’ll install it on the move. So I looked it up again on Amazon and it was in stock with free Prime shipping — which actually means something for a package that size, about half a cubic yard and heavy.

Then I headed out to see You/Emma at the Pear theater. This is a one-woman show in which the actress rehearses the plot of Madame Bovary, alternating between, one, the persona of Emma Bovary, two, a modern woman reflecting on how Emma’s life might have been in this century instead of 1840, and three, Gustave Flaubert (the same actress wearing a black wig and giant moustache, on a TV screen at the side of the stage). At some point in the past, Flaubert was quoted as saying “I am Emma Bovary”. In the play, Emma argues with him over his treatment of her, and his lack of insight into her plight and circumstances. It was quite clever and well done.

The play ran from 2pm to 3:30pm. Then I had an hour to kill before a SWBB game at Maples, my third time at Maples in three days. Stanford played Ohio State, which I had thought was ranked, but checking now it isn’t in the top 25 in any poll. They looked big and athletic in warm-ups. And Stanford had four players in street clothes, including two sometime starters, so I expected a competitive game. Stanford quickly took a lead and widened it steadily to the end. Six players scored, three of them freshmen. This is one solid team.


1.009 haircut, FOPAL

Wednesday, 12/11/2019

I had a haircut appointment for 9:30, so wanted an early run. Just to keep it short, I ran on the treadmill in the basement. 32 minutes of running there feels like more exertion than actually running on the street. I’m not sure why.

Actually could have had time for breakfast in the dining room, but instead had a Sated RTD on the way to Chris’s place.

From my haircut to FOPAL where I got the Computer section ready for the upcoming sale weekend. That includes counting the books on the shelves and generally arranging things for a pleasing layout.

I walked over to the grocery store for snacks and took a break in the car; then went back in for two hours of sorting.

A few days ago I think I mentioned that my anti-acid-reflux med, Ranitidine, had mysteriously disappeared from drugstores and online. This morning I messaged Dr. Julia about this, and she replied that Ranitidine had been recalled because of possible contamination with a cancer cause — but unlikely and don’t be concerned. Meantime, use Famotidine 20mg. So I need to get some of that.

Before supper I gave my wrap-up essay a final editing pass. I would like to get it read by Susan, who I know is a good editor, but I am a little afraid to do so. It’s pretty raw and open about emotions and it might be uncomfortable to expose myself this way to somebody here. On the other hand, why not? Well, think about it.

After supper (where I sat at an empty table and was quickly joined by Craig and Diane, which was nice) it was time for the Channing House Chorus to perform. I had bowed out of the Chorus back on day 326 (or 0.326 as it would be, by the new numbering scheme). Since then they’ve done a lot of work and did a pretty good performance. Most successful was a number in which two spirituals, Amen and Go Tell It were woven together; they actually swung it. There was drinks and cookies after, so very nice.


1.007 FOPAL, writing

Monday, 12/9/2019

I started the day with a run, out the door at 7:20, a bit earlier than usual, so that I could be back and showered and dressed in time for the monthly Residents’ meeting. Nothing too exciting there.

Immediately after I went to FOPAL to manage my Computer section, and found only one box of books waiting by it. However the yield from the one box was unusually good; I priced and shelved about 8 books, and found two high-value ones. Then I did sorting until 1pm.

Back home I had a nap, then spent another hour working on my year-end summary essay. Hopefully can finish that tomorrow.

About 4:30 Patty called, asking me to join a dinner party, which I was happy to do. Patty and Mildred and Craig and Diane and one other person whose name I didn’t get in the first place, so don’t have to confess to forgetting it.


1.004 FOPAL, tech squad, SWVB

Friday, 12/6/2019

Today I wanted to put in some time at FOPAL, since I was unable to go on Wednesday. I pictured many boxes of computer books piling up. However, I began the day with an indoor run, 32 minutes on the treadmill. Last time I did an actual run, I timed the main “legs” of my route, and it came out to (roughly) 16 minutes, 8, and 8. The two breaks are bridges where I slow down and walk for a short distance over the bridge. So that’s what I did on the treadmill, and on the Health app it came to very similar step counts to a real run.

Then to FOPAL where I found… only two boxes of computer books. And mostly dreck; I ended up shelving only 5 books. Then I started sorting, and was shortly joined by two new volunteers, a couple, Andrew and … damn, can’t remember her name, starts with a C and isn’t Clarice or Cordelia… This was another instance where completely new volunteers showed up at 10am when, had I not been there unscheduled, nobody would have been able to welcome them and show them the ropes. Well, it worked out.

Approaching 12, I left, picking up a few grocery items and then back to CH for lunch. At 1 I. was to meet Craig to install a printer on the 10th floor. This is an upgraded floor, and hence all wi-fi work goes through the ClearPass system (which I wrote about way back in June, Day 183). Craig had already gotten the Epson printer to report its MAC address, and input that to ClearPass as being part of the subnet for that apartment. Now we got the printer to join the wi-fi net. Next up, grab Barbara’s MacBook and tell it to forget its old default printer and look for a new one. At first, the printer didn’t show up, but then we checked and the Mac was logged into the building wi-fi, not the proper ClearPass one. As soon as we logged in to that network, the printer popped up instantly in the add printer dialog.

In a glow of accomplishment I left to take a nap. At 4pm I went via Lyft to Maples Pavilion. Mark and Susan, friends from SGI days and from Canopy, had invited me to join them for the NCAA first round of women’s volleyball. The first game, Georgia vs. Cal Poly, was close. Georgia won the first two sets. Then Cal Poly rallied to win two sets. In the fifth set, Cal Poly took a quick lead and won the match.

The second match, Stanford vs Denver (who?), went to Stanford in three sets. Tomorrow I will return to see Stanford/Cal Poly.


Day 364, men’s group, FOPAL

Monday, 12/2/2019

Started the day with a run. Felt fine. At 10am the Channing House Men’s Group had a meeting, to welcome and introduce a new resident, David Thornton. That makes a total of five Daves in the house, me, Dave Torin, David Morrison, David Golden, and this guy. Who has the mild manner of a minister, which he was for a few years out of Yale Divinity School. Then for three decades he had various positions with the YMCA, including the last 15 years as CEO of the Santa Clara Valley group of Y’s.

From there I went to FOPAL where there was only a couple of boxes of computer books and, even more astonishing, a vast reduction in the mountain of boxes waiting to be sorted. Somebody (notably I believe, Frank McConnel) has been doing a heroic amount of sorting. I took it on myself to pull out and sort all remaining non-standard boxes, i.e. moving boxes and shopping bags and such, leaving only firmly-packed (hence stackable) banker’s boxes. Those, I stacked neatly in 3, 5-high stacks, or 15 boxes. I estimate there is room now for about 45 boxes which would bring the mountain back to where it was a month ago. Then I got out the house vacuum and vacuumed the carpet. The whole sorting room looked neater than I have ever seen it in a year.

Coming in, I bumped into Chris of the facilities group in the hallway and asked him to take a look at the radiator in the bedroom of my temp unit, which doesn’t produce any heat. Later that evening Luis came by and worked on it, replacing the thermostat for that room. The thermostats in these un-upgraded units are interesting antiques. There is an air compressor in the basement, and an air feed to the thermostat. The thermostat unit itself has several cams and levers that operate a small valve that controls the amount of air being sent through the wall to the valve on the radiator. The radiator valve controls the hot water flow based on air pressure from the thermostat. Real antiques. I can see why the floor by floor upgrade includes a complete replacement of the HVAC system.