Uncle Roger's Notebooks of Daily Life
My life is, to me, ripe with frequent challenges, occasional successes, spontaneous laughter, adequate tears, and enough *life* to last me a lifetime. To you, however, it surely seems most pedestrian. And therefore, I recycle the name I used previously and call this my Notebooks of Daily Life. Daily, because it's everyday in nature, ordinary. These conglomeration of events that are my life are of interest to me because I live it, perhaps mildly so to those who are touched by it, and could only be of perverse, morbid curiosity to anyone else. Yet, I offer them here nonetheless. Make of them what you will, and perhaps you can learn from my mistakes.
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Sunday, October 31, 2004
Did you ever wonder why text screens are eighty columns wide? Ever pondered when this new-fangled idea of single-user computers came about? Did you know that the very fact that you are reading this can be directly credited to the work of one person -- a woman? Want to know more?
Hey, don't forget to set your clocks back an hour tonight before going to bed. We all get an extra hour for free tonight.
Of course, we'll pay for it come spring. Tanstaafl.
Given the mess that my Visor is in, I've started thinking about a replacement.
The second features Utah Phillips, a true living treasure. If you've ever had any bit of a notion to hop on a boxcar and ride the rails, this is the singer and storyteller for you. There's a train that runs past the office building, but it's a commuter line and doesn't go very far; I don't think I'm in too much danger of going on walkabout from being so close. Anyway, that concert is happening on January 6, 2005, another Thursday, but I think there's enough time to prepare for this one.
I'd also love to see Ladysmith Black Mambazo again; they're playing in Berkeley on February 3, 2005. I dunno if we'll make that one, but I think the kids would enjoy it. They'll also be in Santa Rosa on the 5th and in Carmel on the 8th.
I don't know how many of these we'll get to, but it's better to try and not make it than to not try at all. And you happen to be available on any of those dates, I highly recommend marking your calendar now. You'll thank me later.
It's Friday and, for some reason, that makes things a little better than other days. It's the day before the weekend -- the last day of having to do what someone else (employer/client/etc.) wants me to do before I get two days to do what I (Rachel and the kids) want to do.
Well, we have internet connectivity (DSL through SBC) but still no phone lines. Go figure. This morning, as I left the house, there were four -- count 'em, four! -- SBC vans parked by the big phone box on the next street over.
I briefly toyed with the idea that it might have been a republican plot, knowing that our neighbors across the street were busy calling everyone everywhere that mattered to get them to vote for Kerry, but it turns out that other than a rather static-y connection on Tuesday, they hadn't lost phone service. So either it's not a republican plot (I never really thought so) or they are complete screw-ups (I thought so).
So, you still can't call me, but at least I can check out your web page.
"Daniel, my brother, you are older than me..."
I had a long talk with Daniel last night. Apparently, I am not the first to have done the whole garage/rack/tent thing.
Well, that didn't last long. And it's barely 10:30 in the morning.
So I was toodling along to work this morning, listening to the radio, letting my mind wander, thinking about the day ahead. As usual, I pulled off the freeway, made the loop around behind the building, and pulled into the garage.
And remembered I was in the Rover.
When the tent hit the steel tube that says the garage is too short.
To its credit, it appears the tent survived just fine. The Thule rack that it sits on, however, is pretty well hosed. So tonight, I'll take city streets home and spend the evening taking the tent off the vehicle.
After several hours of recovery work, I finally got my visor back to a usable condition. So, I thought I'd be a bright boy and preemptively back up the compact flash card where most of the programs I use are stored. The CF card had not been affected by the crash, but I hadn't backed it up in a while, so I thought this would an opportunity to do the wise thing.
Remember, tomorrow night, at 6:15pm, there will be a total lunar eclipse. It's the last one for more than two years. We'll be, weather permitting, on top of Twin Peaks overlooking pretty much all of San Francisco, if you're interested. We're easy to spot.
Don't try calling me today, because you can't. In fact, don't expect much out of me today, because I think I'm going to find a shack somewhere where there are no phone lines, no electricity, no technology of any sort, and just stay there for a while.
If, like me, you carry a laptop both for day-to-day use and for extended travel, you may find yourself having to repack your laptop case with different items each time you switch from transit-rider to traveller. When going to the office, you might only need one or two items. For a longer trip, however, you might need a fair bit more -- cables, tools, disks, and so on -- that you wouldn't want to lug around on a daily basis.
The solution is easy. Get yourself a second laptop case and stock it with everything you need to hit the road. Use your other bag for everyday commuting. When the time comes, simply slip the laptop into the appropriate case and you're on your way.
The real advantage to having great wealth is not luxury. It is not large homes, fancy cars, or other such trappings. Neither is it the power to which financial resources can provide access.
Turns out, Jared has five copies of Chicka Chicka, Boom Boom.
So last night, we took Jared over to Serramonte to get him out and about and to -- hopefully -- tucker him out so he'd go to sleep earlier than later. The big attraction is the center court where the recent renovations have included a good sized, zen-style koi pond.
The pond is stocked with a number of fish, a handful of turtles, and a couple of rocks with water spilling from them. Jared likes to watch the fish and turtles and I like the whole zen thing. Rachel likes the Disney store.
Last night, there were four turtles swimming around right close to where we sat at water's edge. Two smaller ones and two larger ones. And the two smaller turtles kept trying to mount their larger friends. Too bad Jared is still a bit young to learn about the birds and the bees. Not to mention the turtles.
Yesterday, despite having bathed the night before, Jared decided he needed to take a shower. He went into the bathroom, turned on the water, and got in. Fully clothed.
If you carry, as I do, a lot of cables, power supplies, and so on, you can keep them from turning into a rat's nest of knots easily and cheaply. I have a friend who uses some fancy velcro cable ties that he wraps around the coils of cable to keep them neat. My solution is not as classy, attractive, or durable, but it's cheap and it works.
Simply coil your cables and slip them into a Ziplock bag. This works for loose cables (cat-5, telephone, USB, etc.) as well as wall warts. In addition to simple cables, small parts or other, related item can be bagged along with the cables. If you have a battery charger with a detachable cord, as many that come with digital cameras do, you can bag the charger and the cable together. If you have a universal power supply with different tips for the power cable, the tips can be bagged with the power supply so you don't have to search for them (or worse yet, lose them completely.)
Finally got around to adding Sara to the family list over on the left. Only about four months late.
If you'd like your socks and pants to be nice and warm when you put them on in the morning, just drop them on the floor in front of the heater vent (not too close!) the night before. Mmmm. . . Toasty warm!
I think very little of recreational drugs and those who use them. I have never felt the need or the desire to try them.
That said, I do know people who use marijuana and I think I have a sense of the state of mind its use offers -- one of complete mellowness, a warm floaty kind of feeling, where it's all good. Whether or not that's accurate, I have found a way to achieve that state without chemicals.
The Pope works for God; he does God's will. The President of the United States works for the people of the United States; he does their will.
George W. Bush is doing God's will; I guess he thinks he's the Pope.
We need to hire someone who will work for us.
I managed to catch last night's episode of Jack Horkheimer: Star Gazer and thus am planning for Jared and I to be looking up next Wednesday, October 27, 2004 at about 6:15pm pdt for the the Eclipse of the Hunter's Moon.
I suggest you do the same.
For the past few years, I have felt some minor pressure to succeed, by whatever definition you like, more than my siblings. This pressure is nothing more than a small nagging in the back of my mind and is entirely self-inflicted. It applies only to my genetic siblings and to some more than others.
Once upon a time, AOL served a purpose -- they provided the world with free floppy disks. Then they switched to CD's, and they weren't good for much, except as coasters, maybe. Now, they've turned nasty.
Never, ever, put your glasses on top of your alarm clock. For that matter, don't put them, or anything else breakable, anywhere near the snooe button. You have been warned.
Recently, I posted a story in which I included a photo. After much agonizing and soul-searching, I finally decided on a size of 320 by 240 pixels as being the best compromise between making it as big as possible and sizing it so as to fit in as many people's browser windows as possible.
Once upon a time, the default display settings for windows users were 640x480 -- VGA while Netscape (back when there weren't really any other choices) came up with a default width of 400 pixels on the Mac (likely due to the compact Macs.) So, a conscientious web designer who was interested in reaching the widest possible audience kept their web pages looking good at 400 pixels wide. I think we've gone past that, though I don't doubt there are still people out there using compact macs or windows systems set to VGA.
Still, I am not convinced that the majority of the world is running even at the 1024x768 that my laptop supports. On the other hand, a 320x240 image looks really small to me, especially on a 1280x1024 desktop.
So, given the current state of the internet, and keeping in mind that I want my websites to be as accessible as possible, both in and outside the US, what size should I make images that are included for their own sake (as opposed to images which merely illustrate a story without being the point of it)?
We spent last Sunday in Calistoga at Calistoga Spa Hot Springs.
Here's a hot-tub-to-cold-pool shocker for you.
Startling, but fun.
Saturday morning, before the wedding, Cassie, Jake, John (Pa) and I were in the yard at Tall Timbers playing a bit of Frisbee. John went into his cabin, leaving me with the kids. Jake, however, didn't see where he went and, being four years old, had to find out.
Nota Bene: Pa is not fat. Unless you're a chicken contemplating eating him.
We used to have a big, heavy-duty, high-end printer. Now we don't. Or, more accurately, we used to have a big, heavy-duty, high-end printer that worked, and now we don't.
We've identified Paul's ideal job: Traffic cop.
I can't imagine anything that would make him happier than to spend his days right in the middle of everything, telling people when to stop, when to go; the ultimate authority over people's lives at that moment in time and space.
"I am Paul; hear me roar"
We stayed at a quaint little place called Tall Timbers Chalets this weekend. It was incredibly convenient for everything this weekend and was pretty darn nice to boot.
So we were in Calistoga on Sunday and went over to the Cal-Mart to get food for dinner. They had some junior-sized carts that were just about perfect for Jared.
We wandered around and Jared wouldn't let me put anything in the cart; I had to give it to him to put in the cart. We were near the front of the store and had stopped to regroup with Diane and Steve to see what else we needed, when Jared decided to do a little of his own shopping.
He grabbed an item of a display and dropped it in the cart just as calmly as you please. I have to give him credit, though, for what he picked.
Jared's choice was a bag of Peet's Sumatra.
Whew. It's been a long weekend, and I've got a lot to write about. However, it is rather late and I am pretty wiped.
Therefore, I will leave it at this for now and catch up over the next couple of days.
Craig and Kari!
A little later this morning, we'll be on our way to Napa where we'll check into the Tall Timbers Chalets. We're looking forward to it; it looks like a nice place.
I'm not sure, however, that we'll have a whole lot of time to enjoy it. This afternoon is the wedding rehearsal, followed by the rehearsal dinner. Tomorrow is the wedding (with set up and dressing beforehand) followed by the reception and clean up. Sunday, we check out and head for Calistoga for the day.
Still, it will be worth it in the end to get Craig and Kari off on their new life together.
I realized that I ham going to have a tough time meeting Dugh's challenge.
Craig's wedding is this weekend, so not only will I be extraordinarily busy, but I likely won't have internet access.
I'll have to see what I can do about getting on-line...
Okay, I just signed up for a pay-as-you-go account with T-Mobile so I can log on at Starbucks (blech).
There's also Back Room Wines, which may or may not have wi-fi access.
So, I think, if I can address the time issue, I can post. Otherwise, I'll see ya next week.
Two days hence, Craig gets married. Until then, life will be busy, hectic, and completely tranquility-free.
Still, it should be interesting. We're hoping Jared doesn't throw up at the rehearsal dinner, during the wedding, or at the reception, and yes, it's a possibility. He's been doing that a fair bit lately. The popular theory is that he's doing it either to get attention or to get out of/away from something/somewhere he's uninterested in.
This afternoon, Jared and I will pick up our tuxes, and then get the Rover packed. Tomorrow morning, we'll pick up the Jenny Craig food for the week, then head for Napa. After that, it's Wedding, Wedding, Wedding.
I was watching Wheel of Fortune last night and noted a phenomenon that is somewhat bothersome.
When you work at McDonald's, no one really expects much from you, either on the job or in your personal life. Either you haven't really gotten started or you never will.
As soon as you get the word Senior anywhere near your title, however, expectations go way up. You get a lot of pressure to perform, both on the job and at home.
I'm not saying this is a bad thing, mind you. Along with the pressure goes a higher income and other benefits. You do suffer, though, a significant loss of freedom. Money and stress, or freedom and unadornment. Your choice.
After a week of being stuck with a <shudder>Ford Taurus</shudder> for a week, I picked up the Captain this morning.
This was quite a weekend.
The Notting Hillbillies have a plaintive song entitled "I Feel Like Going Home", which for a long time summed up the way I felt.
I think that, of all the household chores a homeowner must deal with, I hate taking out the garbage the most.
Stay with me here... I may digress, but I'll get to the point eventually.