1.008 mostly writing

Had breakfast in the dining hall and then spent several hours finishing up the year-end essay. I want to go over it one more time, then will post it as a “page” of the site.

Later in the day I worked with ACDSee Photo Manager for Mac, and satisfied myself it would do everything that I have used Adobe Bridge for. It lets me organize image files in folders, retaining the Mac OS file structure; and I can edit image metadata with it. That was important for organizing our many scanned slides. They don’t automatically have a GPS location like iPhone pictures. Just the same, because they’ve all been keyworded by me, I could search for, e.g., “Toronto” and find all images taken there. Or all images created in 1993, or that are pictures of a bridge, etc.

I did all that keywording and searching with Adobe Bridge, but I can’t get an updated version since I dropped my Adobe subscription; and the old (pre-subscription era) version I’ve been using is a 32-bit app which won’t run in the next Mac OS. Hence the search for a replacement, and ACDSee’s product worked, had a usable interface, and could do the metadata management and searching. It has some added functions Bridge didn’t have as well. So I paid $80 to have a legit copy that I can use forever, and suck it, Adobe. With that and Affinity Photo I have good replacements for all Adobe stuff.

On the way to supper I was invited by Carolyn to sit with her, shortly joined by John and then by Lennie. We all had some degree of computer backgrounds (John especially from many years at DEC and then Google). Carolyn wrote a book about Silicon Valley and during the writing of it, interviewed Steve Jobs.



Day 341, Docent, printing

Friday, 11/8/2019

Went for a run. Do not remember (now, 24 hours later) what I did between then and 11am when I left for the Museum to do the 12pm tour. There was a Go Language conference on the upper floors, and those people had filled the parking lot, but in fact museum attendance proper on the ground floor was very light. My tour group was just six people. But they stuck with me the whole way.

Back at the “land-locked cruise ship” I took a short nap and then (anything to avoid actually writing) made some notes on the next phase of the novel, then spent an hour printing big pictures on my new printer. It does very nice, 11×14 prints. It would do 11×17 if I only had any paper that size.

That was about it; for supper I took one of my cans of beer to drink, big whoop.


Day 337, A/V, welding, novel, photos

Monday, 11/4/2019

Went for a run in the morning. Did not remember to wear a sweatshirt, but the temperature was just high enough — and with the time change, there was enough sun shining on my back — that I didn’t miss it.

Next up was my first assignment running the audio/visual for a performance, in this case a talk by George Marotta. This was nominally a “Book Talk” and a review of Dereliction of Duty by General (Ret.) H.R. McMaster. But George, who was in Viet Nam in 1957 working for the US Aid program, just in time for the Tet Offensive, talked a lot about his own experiences. For example, while working in the State Department under Robert McNamara, George was responsible for administering the program run by the Rand Corporation, including working with a Rand employee named Daniel Ellsberg. He reminisced about how McNamara was insistent that Rand was to keep very good records, which they did, and those documents ultimately were published by Ellsberg as The Pentagon Papers.

Anyway, I got the screen and projector and mics all set up and the presentation went off quite smoothly.

A few days ago, I noticed an object on the balcony outside the common lounge on this 4th floor: a wrought-iron plant stand. It has 6 pot shelves arranged in a climbing spiral around a central pole, the whole being 4’8″ high and a bit under 2′ wide. It’s dirty, rusty, and has two broken welds that make it unstable. I asked around and eventually found the lady who said she owned it, who said I was welcome to it if I wanted to fix it up.

Yesterday I used Yelp to find a local welding shop. Today I brought the car around front, lowered the rear seat, and brought out the stand, which fit in the Prius just fine. And off to Mountain View to a modest little hole in the wall where the guy said, sure, I can fix that, tomorrow morning ok? Which fits my schedule perfectly.

Back to CH where I spent an hour making progress with the novel. Added 700 words, mostly well-chosen.

Then I spent an hour going through my collection of pictures and picking out candidates that have enough pixels, and enough photographic quality, that they are worth trying to print at 11×14 or 11×17, with my new printer. Way back in April (Day 149, for one) I started the project of printing my best images for framing. I’ve got a half-dozen of those framed here in the closet now. Just after the estate sale, I found a box of 11×14 frames in the garage — something that Deborah had brought in to sell, I suppose, and left — and appropriated them. Now I have a printer that can do 11×14 or 11×17, and I have some 11×14 photo paper. My eventual aim is to have a photo wall, outside my 6th floor apartment. Each occupant “owns” the hallway wall outside their apartment. People put up all sorts of art. I’ve got it in mind to put up printed photos, a rotating collection of 4 or 6 at a time.

Tomorrow is a busy, busy day. And so to bed.


Day 329, Printer, TSA, Repair Cafe, smoke

Sunday, 10/27/2019

Went out for coffee and to read the paper at Verve. Talked to Dennis on the phone while waiting for my cappuccino. Back at CH, I had an hour to kill and put it to good use. First I tested the new printer by printing an 8×10 of one of my Greek pictures on good quality paper. Screen on the right, paper on the left. It did pretty darn well.

It could be a little more contrasty and more blue, but for a first try with default settings, not bad at all. Certainly every bit of detail was there.

I had time remaining so I did what I’ve meant to do for some time, went to the TSA site and applied for Global Entry. This is a superset of TSA Precheck which supposedly makes it faster to return to the US from abroad.

Now it was 10am (gosh but I am productive in the mornings), so I took one of the house shopping carts from the garage and used it to roll my toolbox three blocks up Homer street to the Museum of the American Heritage, for the quarterly Repair Cafe. I was teamed with apprentice fixer Daniel and we had a pretty successful day. We repaired an old calculator quite easily, and a wooden floor vent with somewhat more effort. Then we got a stand mixer that turned into the Job from Hell. Spent at least an hour figuring out how to get it apart. Quickly identified the broken part, a worm gear, and showed the client how to order a new one on Amazon. Then spent half an hour trying to reassemble the goddam thing before, with the client’s encouragement, giving up on the whole job.

Finally we had another easy one, an electric jigsaw where the user had cut into the cord. The break was only a foot from the handle, so we opened it up, discarded the short piece of cord, stripped and reattached the good part of the cord inside the device. Fixed!

We were working outdoors under canvas marquees and several times the gusty wind in the courtyard threatened to blow our marquee away like a kite. “Grab a pole!” was the shout and people would rush to hold them down. It was all fun and games until you realized, every such gust up in Sonoma county was spreading the Kincade fire…

Due to the wind shift, the smoke from that fire finally came down to us, and by late afternoon the sky was yellow and the air smelled like an old cigar. At sunset I saw the color and took some shots with the Nikon from my west-facing balcony.




Day 320, non-docent, pictures, eyelid news

Friday, 10/18/2019

I started the day with a run, for the third time getting out the front door and saying, “shit, it’s cold out here, why didn’t I wear a sweatshirt?” Whatever. Showered and shaved and put on my red docent shirt because today’s activity was to be a noon tour, a group of junior college students. I’d been thinking about this tour for days, wondering how to slant my pitch to people all of whom were born, probably, in this century. Well, no need to worry; at 9:30am I got an email from the museum, the group had canceled.

I did some reading. For a guy who says he does all his reading on Kindle, I seem to have a bunch of paper volumes around, but all free. The other day Jean handed me a copy of Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, about the Tehumara(?) people of Mexico who supposedly have superhuman running ability. I have two books I snatched from FOPAL while sorting. I’m 2/3 of the way through Just for Fun, Linus Torvald’s biography. And Wednesday I glommed onto a very fresh copy of Randall Munroe’s (creator of XKCD) book, What If? Serious answers to absurd hypothetical questions. Then yesterday, Toni had just received back from Greta, a set of old SF paperbacks by Melisa Michaels she had loaned, and I was intrigued so I borrowed them. All fun books, and I spent a couple of hours reading chapters from each.

Then I sat down for three hours of digital image work. During the Greek trip I had uploaded all my iPhone pictures to Smugmug. Now I downloaded them all to my permanent picture repository on the big Mac. I reviewed them all, and did minor editing: straightening horizons, cropping for better composition, occasionally a little bit of color correction. In the course of this I re-learned, or re-confirmed that the iPhone camera, while remarkably good at its default focal length, absolutely sucks when you zoom in more than a tiny bit. One of my favorite shots, morning sunlight making the Parthenon pillars glow, is just pixelated crap when you make it full screen. I had zoomed in maybe 50% to take it. Well, it was my considered choice not to carry my real camera; so you get what you get. Then I re-uploaded the edited versions to SmugMug.

At supper time I sat at an open table and was joined by four people I have talked to before, all nice, pleasant talk. When I returned to my room I noticed I had a voice mail. I had had a call from a 321- prefix and declined it, assuming it was a robocall. Well, not so. It was my opthalmic surgeon with the report on my eye thing. But she’d left a voice mail with the news that,

  • It was a basal cell carcinoma;
  • These are very common, slow-growing, and usually don’t come back if they are fully removed;
  • The pathologist reported that she had gotten a complete rim of normal tissue, so she believes it was fully removed;
  • I am to see her again in 3 months, 6 months, and 6 months again, just to make sure.

So that’s that, for now. The removal site, by the way, has not caused me any discomfort, just a round scab that is getting smaller, I think, already. Certainly healing nicely.