looking for a few good ideas

  amongst the irregular verbiage

Autumnal Murmerings

Well, it's October now, and the trees around the neighborhood are turning orange and yellow. In fact, a couple of days ago the rains finally began, pretty much on schedule for Autumn. It rained off and on most of the day, but by evening, it had stopped. The back yard smelled good and moist. 

Power Cuts

During the Summer, California had a minor power crisis. Mostly in the southern part of the state, and probably due to the heat. Up here in San Francisco we were lucky to escape without any power cuts. However, the other day the power went out suddenly, and then came on again intermittently, every few seconds. Argh! Not only was I in the middle of burning a backup CD of audio data, but with a house full of computers all rebooting over and over again repeatedly, I was in a panic and I ran around the house turning everything off. After about 15 seconds the power stayed off, and didn't come back on for about 40 minutes. Our laptops, having built-in batteries of course, stayed on, and in fact I was online browsing the web while the power was out. Naturally I went to the local power company to look for a status page reporting the outage, but the world is not that wired. Lisa reminded me that I could always ring the company support line and listen to the message - and indeed, they did know about the outage and it turned out to be a car hitting a power poll, and nothing to do with the planned power cuts. 

Inevitably, my backup CD was a coaster, having its write process interupted like that.

Our park gets a facelift

There's a little park around the corner of our street called Frietas Park. It has been under reconstruction for much of the Summer. During the last stages there suddenly appeared a strange erection - a series of circular arches where there used to be a dried up lake. It was a mystery as to what these might be, although we had some fun debating this amongst ourselves.

One day before Summer was officially over, it was finally finished, and there was a grand opening with a band and sausage sizzle and other neighborhoody kind of things. We went along to see what the rings were.

It turned out that they were a water sculpture kind of thing. The idea is that water squirts inward from each ring in a randomesque sequence, and kids can run through the loops or clamber over them or whatever. It looked neat. 

Yet another trip to that company that we work for

Our new boss/group leader decided to organise a face-to-face meeting with the members of the team for October. This is probably a good thing, considering that since the re-org we had last month, our standing instructions were to keep doing what we've been doing until further notice. We expect this meeting to be notice of our new roles and responsibilities. In the meantime, work has been pretty stressful and uncertain. Other departments that call on our services know about the re-org, and expect to lose us as resources at any time. And there are other stress-inducing factors... The last straw happened recently when our external clients were informed by other parties within the company about a critical change, and we had to find out about the change when customers contacted us out of the blue to ask, "is this right?". I won't go into details, but hopefully you get the idea. Not pleasant.

Usually when we go to Arkansas for a team meeting, we arrange to be there 4 or 5 days and fill the time up with other meetings with various people we've been working with. This time, however, we want to spend as little time there as possible, so we limited our schedule to only one extra day.  

The Fig Tree Does Its Thing

We have avoided a repeat of The Great Fig Explosion of 1999 due to two factors: 1) the tree got a severe pruning last Winter, and 2) we invited our next door neighbour Kerry to come over and pick as many as she wanted. She loves figs.  

Olympic Fever

One major network here, NBC, devoted itself to coverage of the Olympics, and they did a pretty silly job. None of the Olympics were broadcast live, and due to the time zone differences, we would end up watching events the outcome of which we would have already known had we been reading the paper or the WWWeb. Gah. We didn't make an effort to seek out particular events, but we watched the TV over dinner most nights, and caught quite a bit of gymnastics and track & field, swimming, diving, and weightlifting, so we feel reasonably satisfied.

Karma as elder statesman

OK, so Karma the Cat is getting on in years. Don't want to admit it, but he must be about 10 at least, and if not geriatric, this is a respectable age. First hint we had of problems was when he kept trying to pee unsuccessfully, and then kept washing himself, due to discomfort I guess. We took him in to the vet (he was due for his shots anyway) and they did a urine test (among other things) and confirmed, yes, his pH was off and there were crystals that shouldn't be there, and that from now on we should feed him a prescription diet to rectify the faulty kidneys.

Karma, who is feeling great now, is sampling various prescription diets in a vain attempt to find one that he likes. So far, a change is as good as a chocolate cake and he likes all of them. 

New Bed

All jokes aside, our platform bed was getting wobbly. I've tried tightening the bolts and putting shim in to stablise it, all to no avail. Seeing as recently we've had house guests who would have appreciated a spare double bed to sleep in, we decided to upgrade our bed. In the process of disassembling the old one, we revealed evidence that Karma at some point in the past had felt unwell and thrown up under our bed. We never noticed. Hmm. Lisa thinks it was reasonably fresh and possibly related to the antibiotics we we giving him.

The new bed is still a slat bed, and takes our futon mattress just fine, but is a box-style rather than a platform, and a lot more stable!

Lunch with Paul and Michelle

Paul and Michelle are going to Amsterdam for two years on a work-related jaunt. We had on a previous occasion had dinner with them and said our farewells, but they had not yet left the country. On there last day before catching the flight out of the country it turned out that they were at their house, overseeing the removal men moving furnature out of the house and into storage, and we decided to drive up to Santa Rosa and give them a picnic lunch on their back porch. It was very pleasant to spend a few hours with them there, before seeing a movie ("Almost Famous" - see it! It's great!) and then catching up with Derek for dinner before driving back down to San Rafael in the late evening.