1.017 Shustek, Concert

Thursday, 12/19/2019

Drove to the Shustek center in Fremont to spend the day cataloging new acquisitions with Sherman. Nothing of any great significance. A Palm Pre from 2010, Palm’s attempt at matching the iPhone, which would have been two years old when this came out. For fun we plugged this one into a USB port on a laptop and Windows 10 quickly mounted it as a drive, and we explored the pictures the donor had left on it. Nothing exciting, but Gretta emailed the donor right away, asking if they minded or would want it wiped.

The evening’s plan was to attend a Voices of Music concert. The venue was new to me, the Community School of Music and Arts, a nice and new-looking institution tucked into the San Antonio Circle cul-de-sac. My ticket said 8pm, so I left at 7:15. The CSMA parking lot was full, but I followed signs to “more parking” which led to an alley that was also full, with a harried attendant directing a line of cars to “make a u-turn and leave” because this lot also was full.

Glad I allowed extra time, I drove further along San Antonio and then a side street where I found a legal spot, and walked back to the venue, where I found that the concert had just started. Huh? “Did you not get our email with the 7:30 start time?” the nice lady asked. I guess not. Later I checked and it was in the spam folder.

Anyway it was some Handel and some Vivaldi. Two artists were featured in front of a dozen local violins and celli. One was Christopher Lowrey, a counter-tenor, singing several arias from 16-century operas written to be sung by castrati, men castrated early so their voices wouldn’t change. In modern times we don’t do that. Lowrey was very good and got a justified standing-O. The other was violinist Alana Youssefian who played the lead in a very complicated, virtuosic concerto.

One year ago I was just starting the downsizing process and learning what widowerhood meant. In hindsight I’m kind of amazed I was already throwing stuff out only two weeks in. But on the other hand, why not, and what else did I have to do?


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.


1.012 many doings, SWVB

Stanford prevailed over Utah, but played very inconsistently, winning the second and third sets by a wide margin, but losing the first and fourth sets by a lot, and squeaking out the fifth. So it’s on for tomorrow night.

Saturday,  12/14/2019

After breakfast sat down at the desk to clear a pile of misc. paper. One item was a bill from Anthem, $20 for the first month of my new Part B drug coverage, covering 1/1 to 2/1/2020, due and payable by 1/1. Oooookay, pay in advance. Try to add it as a new account in SFCU bill-pay; it knows about Anthem but when I fill in my Anthem ID, it says “that isn’t the format that Anthem expects.” Hmm. Oh, also, I try yet again to log in to the Anthem website. I get one step further than before: after entering username and password, then entering the TFA code it sends to my cell (note, the fact that it knows my cell given my name, proves that I have “registered” successfully), it says “gathering your information” as it did before. Then it clears the window and puts up a lock icon saying “you are entering a secure site”; that’s new, yay! But then it says “Hmmm, we can’t complete your login” as before.

I set off on foot to do things. First to the credit union office, where I learn that Bill Pay isn’t their work; it’s a third party that they contract with. They can’t say why it thinks Anthem wants a different format of userid, but they give me the service number of the company; call them M-F 9-5.

Then to CVS on University to look for Famotidine to replace my now-recalled Ranitidine. I note their price, then walk a block to Walgreens. Oooh, Walgreens has a sale, so I buy it there.

Off around the corner to the post office to mail a Christmas tip to my newspaper deliverer, and to buy stamps because putting a stamp on his envelope cleaned me out of them. Around another corner to the Farmer’s Market where a CH resident had said, his barbershop quartet would be performing. But at this time there was a much larger group of singers doing carols. Bah Humbug. I bought a pound of dried apricots and a delish raisin snail and went home.

Then out again because I was determined to go to Macy’s and get one more pack of undershorts. Back on day 0.152 was when I bought a bunch, but didn’t buy quite enough to got two full weeks between laundries. Of course this outing was very stupid, a real brain fart. It’s noon, two weeks before Christmas, and I’m going to the shopping center. Doh! of course the parking lots were jammed with asses insisting on waiting for a car to back out, holding up everyone else. Well, I got parked — there were acres of open space on the second floor, people! — and walked into Macy’s and got my pack of tighty whiteys and hey, there was a nice full-zip sweater on sale at 50%, right there, why not.

Oh, cleaning my desk in the morning I did cancel the Apple Card. So that’s over. I asked the phone rep how to recycle the fine titanium metal card itself. There’s a recycle page on the Apple website, she said, or you can take it to an Apple Store. So I stopped at the Apple store in between drugstore stops, and the guys in the red shirts were completely flummoxed. They consulted with somebody and finally said, only on-line. So in the afternoon I got on the Apple site and with difficulty found where to recycle the card. They emailed me a Fedex label which I printed, and put  on an envelope, and now, after Macy’s, I went to a Fedex store and dropped it off.

Back home again I had a nap and watched a couple of YT videos. Watching one of my subscribed videos is a sure way of nodding off for a nap. One of the subscriptions I’ve been following is The Great War, documenting each week of WWI exactly 100 years after. They started, obvs. in 2014. I picked it up in 2018 and had only just now caught up to October 1918 when the Germans are starting to collapse and the Armistice surely must be near. Hearing about that war spread out over (in my case) two years has felt like a real ordeal (imagine what it must have been like to live it). Looking at their website just now to get a link, I see that they are continuing to 1923 (i.e. 2023). The same crew has started a WWII series, week by week 80 years after; I’m not sure I want to watch that simultaneous with the other.

After waking up I thought about the novel for a few minutes, but didn’t actually write.

After an early supper it is out again to the volleyball game.




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 354, Shustek, play

Let’s go back a day for a grief episode. I think it was Wednesday night, coming back into the building, my mind wandered to the London trip I’m planning. It occurred to me that one thing I could do that week, would be to take the train out to Strawberry Hill station and walk over Twickenham Green past the house we lived in from 1975-78. Walk down the Thames bank to York House Gardens. And even as these images were flitting through my mind — and then the image of when we re-visited it in 2005 and the present occupants saw us gawking and politely asked us in — I was hit by such a stab of grief I was amazed. Those times were some of the best of lives together, and the idea of going back without my partner, seeing those things without being able to turn to her and say, “remember that?” was just… unspeakably sad. Wow. You just never know when a train of thought will plunge into a tunnel.

Thursday, 11/21/2019

A few days ago, I knocked over the indoor/outdoor thermometer that I’ve had for… probably most of this century? Little gray plastic plinth with LCD numbers to display the indoor and outdoor temps, and the date and time. The last couple of times I’ve had to change batteries in it, it has been very difficult to set the date and time. The Set button doesn’t work, or as I finally worked out, has to be pressed with all the might of one’s thumb for a while to work. And even then, it’s never clear the order of what’s being set.

So this time when it fell over, and the back cover fell off and the batteries popped out, so now I’d have to work out how to reset it again, well, drat. Let’s fix this. Such is the nature of the modern world that it was less than five minutes before I had selected a similar but of course more stylish and smarter (does humidity too! doesn’t forget the time when batteries are changed!) device on Amazon and ordered it. So now it’s here, and I picked up batteries at the hardware store yesterday, so this morning I set it up. Very easy to set up, the button user interface is simple and clear, it worked immediately.

Now to trash the old one. But I don’t want to! Faithful old thing, still working fine, barring that the set button doesn’t work and the battery door flies off. So it is lying on my kitchen table and I think perhaps I will take it apart and see if I can diagnose and fix the button issue, and maybe give it to somebody. Or leave it at FOPAL because they do take and resell gadgets too.

Then off to Shustek for a day of cataloging. On return about 5pm, I had to decide how the rest of the evening should go. I have a ticket for Anne of a Thousand Days at the Dragon Theater in Redwood City, 8pm. Have supper here or somewhere on Broadway in RC? Drive myself, or Lyft?

I decided it would be no fun to drive to RC so I would Lyft. I decided it would be more fun to eat out. So at 6:05pm I went down to the lobby and ordered a Lyft. Might seem a little early, but I thought there might be delays. First I selected the shared-ride option, but Lyft first scheduled a pickup by a car that was 11 minutes away; and after a couple of minutes deleted that and scheduled a different car that was 10 minutes away and on the other side of the freeway. So I canceled that ride and re-ordered a regular Lyft (for $19, ouch) which came in 4 minutes.

On Broadway at 6:40, I went for the easy choice of a Mexican restaurant (at least I didn’t sink so low as Five Guys Burgers or the Old Spaghetti Factory). To the theater at 7:30.

This production was not a success, for me. The play consists of Anne Boleyn, awaiting her execution, recalling all her interactions with Henry the VIII, with her parents, with Cardinal Wolsey and others at court. Except for Anne and Henry, everyone in the small cast doubled and tripled in the various roles. The director had cast a couple of women to play multiple male roles. One had to play both Anne’s father and mother in the same scene, stepping from Anne’s left to her right and changing her pitch and body language in alternate lines. This was clearly some kind of intentional statement about gender roles, but I couldn’t figure out what that statement was.

Most of the actors read their lines very well, conveying both meaning and personality clearly. The production was spoiled for me primarily by the (male) actor playing Henry VIII. His voice and accent were completely, annoyingly wrong. Nobody was attempting a British accent, but his accent was Southern, almost into “y’all” territory, and it was jarring. And he had no stage presence, none of the overbearing, egotistical masculinity that Henry’s lines and actions seemed to call for. Just a feeble performance that stood out among a lot of quite competent ones.

So I left at intermission and was in bed by 10.


Day 353, Anthem, Exercise, Fopal, Lecture

Wednesday, 11/20/2019

I wrote a few days back that the in-house exercise class–actually called “Strength and Balance” class–happened at the wrong time of the day. It’s at 9:15am MWF. In order to participate, I have to change my other regular habits. I decided to try it out today. It wouldn’t be practical to go for a run and be back for exercise at 9:15. Would it? So no run. But what about breakfast? I don’t want to go down to the dining room in my exercise shorts and t-shirt. So eat in my room. But then I’m all fed and coffee’d and newspaper’d by 7:30, with 2 hours to kill. It just upsets everything. Well.

Today I passed the time after breakfast and before exercise, trying to register with my new drug insurance provider, Anthem. I’d tried a few days ago and failed. I would enter my Anthem account number, first and last name, birthdate. It would recognize me, to the extent that it wanted to do 2FA by sending a text to my phone “***-***-1986” as it coyly said. Fine, do it. Then it would put up a cute error message, “Hmmm, that didn’t work for some reason. Try again later, or call support at…”

Today I tried it some more with the same result. So I called support. The person there, who had a very thick Latino accent, was able to find my information, and said well, it is having a problem with 2FA, I’ll turn off 2FA for this account and you can try again. Which I did, and was able to get to the point of providing a username and a password. Then it told me to go ahead and log in with this new id.

When I tried to do so, it put up an overlay message “Getting your information”; then wiped that and displayed a familiar cutesy message, “Hmmm, that didn’t work for some reason…”

So I called support again. This person was able to “find my information,” but she had the sense to ask, When does your coverage begin? Um, January first? Oh, well, you can’t use the website until you are within 30 days of your coverage starting.

Oh. Do you suppose the website might fucking SAY THAT instead of “for some reason”? No, I didn’t swear at the lady. Anyway, it was now 9:15.

Exercise class was impressive. There’s at least 40 people there. Most in street clothes; I think I was the only one in shorts, other than Clark, the staff fitness person who leads it. He does a good job. He leads through a rapid sequence of a variety of exercises, some I found quite challenging. Not because they demanded a lot of strength, but because they involved coordination. OK, sit forward and upright on a chair. Lift your right knee, swing the leg out to 45 degrees; bring it back, repeat on the left side. Keep doing this, left, right, steadily, but now put both arms out straight and make circles. And so on. There were some strength exercises using thera-bands, and various other things, 45 minutes worth, which got me breathing and lightly perspiring.

I had a shower (quite a few people in the class were exercising as hard as I was, in street clothes, and I wondered about that) and then drove up the hardware store to get batteries so I can set up a new indoor/outdoor thermometer I’ve bought. I had a smoothie for lunch at Whole Foods. Then I went to FOPAL; yes, I was just there yesterday, but that was really Monday’s session delayed to Tuesday, and this was my regular Wednesday sorting session. And it’s quite a bit more actual bending and lifting exercise than the class was.

In the evening I attended a lecture here, a local artist presenting on “Who Shot Vincent?” He reviewed the brief,  tragic career of Van Gogh, showed lots of his pictures and discussed the development of his technique over the single decade of his painting career, and at the end presented the evidence that Vincent probably did not commit suicide but was shot accidentally by some teenagers goofing off.


Day 340, Yosemite, not theater

Thursday, 11/7/2019

Drove to the Yosemite Ave. warehouse for a day of working with artifacts. In the morning I put away some artifacts that had been brought out 3 weeks ago for a researcher. People researching computer history can ask to look at artifacts. When their project is approved, the relevant things are found and moved out to tables in the open area of the warehouse. In this case, the person was researching keyboard technology, and ten or so things with keyboards had been brought out. Aurora the curator said he got really nice photos, but I haven’t seen them.

Anyway, you don’t just put something away any old where. You look up its object number in the database; verify the location it came from (row, block, shelf numbers); walk over to find that location and make sure there is space on the shelf and nothing is in the way of transporting the thing; walk back and pick it up (or for heavy things, put it on a cart); move it to the location and shelve it. With over 110,000 objects, it is imperative that you know where objects are at every point.

Some of the things had been in boxes. In that case you have the additional step of repacking it in its box with other artifacts, then shelve the box where it came from.

In the afternoon Steve and I worked over inventorying more boxes. Lucky us, the boxes we took down from the shelf turned out to be part of the big collection of slide rules that the museum received in 2005. You do a database search on the box number; that turns up records for all the objects supposedly in the box. You verify that there are that many objects in the box (one box had 35 rules, one had 54). You go through the list of object numbers, finding each object, verifying that its database record is complete (often it isn’t) and that it has a photograph (often it doesn’t). If anything needs photographing, the box moves to the to-be-photographed cart. Or if it needs repacking (as the box of 54 rules did, they could be much better arranged) it goes on the repacking cart. Or rarely, the box goes on the “reshelve” cart so Aurora can figure out a more efficient place to put it. The box’s location record gets updated for each of these moves, of course.

Coming back, I stopped at FOPAL to hang up a cute picture in my computer section.

anime with three books

This came from a wonderful collection that Frank found, of pictures of anime characters holding computer books. I mean, the internet is a wonderful and bizarre place. Somebody has created and curated a large collection of pictures of anime characters holding computer books. Just specifically that.

Back home to rest. Then at 6:30, out to attend a play at The Pear. This turned into a fiasco. I thought to just buzz down 101 to Shoreline. Hah! When I hit 101 it was bumper to bumper creeping. I got off at San Antonio with fifteen minutes until start time. Went up to Middlefield and started South with ten minutes to go. Somehow — and I don’t like the implications of this — I missed the left turn onto Shoreline and found myself too far down Middlefield, at Ellis. Back under 101 and north to Shoreline, by which time it was 7:10 and no possible way to make the curtain. So I headed back home, but retracing my steps back to Shoreline and Middlefield. Yes, I know this intersection. Yes, I am positive I came down Middlefield 20 minutes ago, through here. And I didn’t see it. Was I distracted? I don’t know. But I don’t like it.


Day 326, Yosemite, not choir, another play, some mail

Thursday, 10/24/2019

Today I had in my calendar to attend a meeting of FOPAL volunteers at the Mitchell Park Library center. Except when I got there, no meeting. Got into Gmail on the phone, retrieved the e-vite, and of course: it’s the 31st, not the 24th. Bad enough when I forget to look at the calendar; now I’m putting the wrong dates in the calendar.

Anyway, on to the Yosemite warehouse for a partial day of working with artifacts. Then back to CH, arriving around 4:45. This is a problem for the following reason. When I attended the first Chorus rehearsal the other day, Mary the leader handed out a rehearsal schedule, with rehearsals at 4pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the next two months. Thursday is the only day of the week when CHM volunteers gather in the east bay to do collections work. I would have to leave every session an hour early, to get back to CH for a 4pm rehearsal.

I’m debating this, but I think on the whole I would rather be futzing around with old computers than singing in the back row of the chorus. Certainly my contribution to the former is a lot more substantial than the latter.

Waiting for me was the online links to all the tickets for the Stanford Women’s Basketball season. The Stanford ticket office does this in a rather lame way, sending you a list of 34 separate links, 17 to PDFs of individual print-at-home tickets, and 17 to PDFs of print-at-home parking passes (I paid the extra to park in the lot next to Maples Pavilion). I sat in my office printing 34 individual sheets of paper and organizing them into a packet, and sniffling quietly because this was a job Marian had always happily dived into, delighted to be setting up for a new basketball season.

By the time that was done it was supper time and I just didn’t feel like going to the dining room, so I had a PBJ and grapes in my room.

At 7pm was a theatrical presentation. Diane Tasca is large in local theatrical circles, formerly artistic director at the Pear Theater and often seen on stage at local shows. Today she and a partner presented a two-person play, “Love Letters”, in which the actors read out the letters written between a boy and a girl over their lives from grade school up. While the actors were doing a good job, the portraits the letters paint of the people, especially the girl, made me dislike them — the characters, not the actors. So I left at intermission.

Waiting in my mailbox were two interesting letters. One is from a bankruptcy court, setting out the details of the settlements from the bankruptcy of the San Jose Repertory theater company several years ago. The letter was addressed to Marian at the Tasso address, I presume because our season tickets to SJ Rep were in her name. The letter contains eight double-sided pages listing at least 150 names with amounts of $200-$500 owed. However, I’ve been over the list twice now and can’t find Marian’s or my name in it. So why did we get a copy?

The other interesting letter was hand-written, but I think I’ll write about it another time.

Day 325, FOPAL, theft, theater

Wednesday, 10/23/2019

Went for a run, sans sweatshirt as the weather has warmed up again. After that I wrote another long detailed note to the CHBB for MacOS users. Yesterday’s email had made the point about “your old 32-bit apps won’t run under the next release,” but that just raised the question, “which of my apps are 32-bit ones?”

Turns out it is quite simple to find out, but not obvious. So I wrote up how to do that: how to get your mac to list the 32-bit apps, so you could go down the list and decide which ones you actually use, so you can start trying to get upgraded 64-bit versions of them.

The big issue here is Adobe software. When Adobe went to the highway robbery excuse me, subscription model, a lot of people didn’t bother to subscribe. They just kept using the last version of Photoshop, InDesign, LightRoom that they had actually purchased on CD, which is the “CS5” edition. They work perfectly well. Unfortunately they are all 32-bit apps and will quit working when you next upgrade your OS. So you have the choice of paying Adobe an annual subscription, after which you can download the latest versions (and learn their modified UIs); or you can look for alternative products and learn a whole new app. I didn’t cover all that in the email; just how to find out what your 32-bit apps are.

About 10 I went to FOPAL. Well, first to the grocery store next door, where I bought about $15 worth, including some grapes and the sugar-free drinks I like to stock. I put them in the fancy canvas shopping bag that I had brought back as a souvenir from Mykonos, on the front seat of the car. And left the windows open.

I worked the computer section and then sorted until about 12, when I went back out to the car to have some lunch and chill out for a while. And guess what? My bag of groceries was gone. Some creep had reached in and taken my bag. I hope they were disappointed with what they got. I hope they choke on a grape. I really miss that bag, it was well-made and had a trendy hotel name on it.

After a while I went back in and did sorting during the 2-4pm open hours. Then back to CH to relax for an hour before dinner. I finished eating at 6:15 and left for the theater. I had tickets to TheaterWorks’ Mark Twain’s River of Song at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. It’s basically a concert of early American music, around the theme of a trip down the Mississipi, conducted by Mark Twain remembering his riverboat days.

This was not very good, and I left at intermission. There were several problems. The first was that the performers really weren’t very good, either as singers or musicians; just average living room performers, mostly. They played banjo, guitar and fiddle, but at no point did anybody try to solo on an instrument; the kind of musicianship you get in any bluegrass group was absent. With one exception their voices were average to weak; the exception being Valisia LeKae, who has an excellent alto voice and can really act.

Second problem was the staging. This was a small show, just six people sitting or standing around, no dancing,  little movement. If it were presented in a small theater like the Pear or even Lucy Stern in Palo Alto, it might come across better. But the MVCPA stage is enormous, it’s a huge room, and this little group was kind of huddled in the middle. The big stage emphasized how average (and also static) the performances were.


Day 323, long busy day

Monday, 10/21/2019

Started the day with a run, wearing a light jacket which I really didn’t need, but at least, I did remember. Then off to FOPAL where I processed four boxes of computer books, and did a little sorting.

From there I drove to the Alpine Inn to meet Scott and Denny for lunch. Google maps had pointed out to me a route I wouldn’t have thought of, but which worked great. FOPAL is just off Charleston road, which turns into Arastradero, which meanders into the hills and ends up exactly at the Alpine Inn. Parts of that I had bicycled many times, but I just didn’t think of it in terms of a car route.

Well, come to find out Alpine Inn isn’t open on Mondays! So we adjourned to a restaurant in Ladera shopping center where we chatted for about 2 hours? A long time. Well, Denny chatted. I had not seen him since, roughly, 1979. He has had an interesting life (in both the real and sarcastic senses of the word), has many stories, which he tells well.

Back at CH I didn’t even have time for a nap before it was time for chorus practice. I am still not persuaded I have anything to offer there, but Mary the leader and organizer is very persuasive, positive and encouraging, really a model of a group leader. I’ll keep attending for now.

Out of that, I had only a few minutes before it was time to grab my hat and head out for the evening. As I planned out in detail the day before: I walked to the Palo Alto train station and caught the southbound 5:56, which makes only one stop before reaching Diridon station in San Jose. Walked out of the station and caught a Lyft across to South 1st, where I had a delicious burger and shake at Johnny Rocket’s.

This was a sniffly emotional nostalgia trip, really. For several years before it died, we had season tickets to San Jose Repertory Theater. Marian and I would drive down, park at a garage on 4th street, walk past the theater to Johnny Rocket’s for indulgent burgers and shakes, then walk back to the Hammer Theater for the play. So I was recapping old haunts.

The event this time was the dance troup Momix, which specializes in using props, costumes, and lighting effects — along with spectacular dance and gymnastic skills — to create rather jaw-dropping routines. This video has samples of some, including several that I saw this night. It was good stuff.

I had worked out that if the show let out by 9:15 I would be able to Lyft back to the train and catch one back to Palo Alto, but if later than that, I’d just Lyft all the way home. It was, and I did.