Monthly Archives: August 2000
My flight home last night was slightly late leaving the gate but early arriving in San Jose and there was no wait for taxis, so I was at home before I was scheduled to land. No complaint there!
This morning, on the other hand, I remembered that I’d used up the last of the coffee on Tuesday just before leaving for the airport. This Does Not Bode Well.
By not-so-complete coincidence, my wife sent me this story today: Is Caffeine the “New Nicotine?”
Speaking of caffeine, I stopped at Starbucks on the way to work to get a cup since I had none at home. In the parking lot, I passed two guys, one of whom was saying “it’s great to be alive”. I have no idea of the context, but it was a cheerful thing to hear early in the morning.
If it’s Wednesday, I must be in the Admiral’s Club at O’Hare again. It’s more fun to be writing these notes on the way home than in the other direction.
My three-hour meeting ended only five minutes late, which I consider to be an amazing feat of leadership — not by me, I must add. I nearly didn’t make it on time — I took advantage of being at IBM Somers to visit the secretaries who support my group. They’re in a different building, and the inside passage between the two buildings takes about 15 minutes to traverse. After saying “hi”, I had only 10 minutes before my meeting. Fortunately, I had set a GPS waypoint at the entrance of the building in which the meeting was being held, and this let me figure out how to get there via the outside route, which is far faster. (If you’ve never been to IBM Somers, you haven’t missed much; I’m sure it’s architecturally distinguished and worthwhile, but as a user, it leaves much to be desired. There are four buildings, each with a pyramidal top, scattered on the site, along with the “Central Service Building”. Buildings 1 and 2 form a cluster, as do 3 and 4; each cluster is connected to the Central Service Building by a long and tedious passage.)
After the meeting, I had enough time to actually eat lunch en route to the airport at a nearby pizza place (Palermo Pizza, suggested by my trusty GPS) and still arrive in time to be checked in just as my flight was called for boarding.
Weather in Chicago meant that we were held on the runway in White Plains for about a half-hour, but once more, I have an amazingly leisurely connection (scheduled for more than 2-1/2 hours), and so I didn’t mind. And the plane was not full; I traded for a window seat and played with my GPS on the way. If it had only been clear, I would have known what I was looking at, but since there was an overcast under us almost all the way, I’ll have to take it on faith that the GPS was telling the truth.
The meeting was worthwhile showing up for; it was clear to me that trying to participate on the phone would have been very difficult and I’m sure I would have lost interest about 20 minutes in. While electronic means of communication are wonderful, sometimes there’s no substitute for face-to-face communication.
This update comes to you from the Admiral’s Club at O’Hare Airport, and I guess it’s good to know just how far away I am from home.
For a change, I have a leisurely connection at O’Hare (scheduled at 2 hours, but we arrived 30 minutes late), and so I was able to stay in my seat and let the passengers with tight connections leave the plane ahead of me. Having had that courtesy extended to me two weeks ago, I was happy to comply with the request. As usual, not everyone was willing to wait; I’m not sure what the attraction of sitting in an airport is, but some people just can’t wait.
Diane tells me that winter’s arrived at home — she said it rained earlier today. I guess if school’s already started, rain isn’t completely unreasonable to expect, even if it is still August.
2571 Miles at a Bearing of 280 Degrees
My flight arrived early and wasn’t completely full (both are amazing but true facts), and I had an easy drive to my hotel. Then a very long walk to my room — unfortunately, my GPS doesn’t work inside the hotel, so I don’t know how far, but I should remember to log it as an aerobic workout next time I’m at the Y!
Also amazing but true: only 5 e-mails awaited me. And two of them were spam. I could stay online and see if more mail arrives, or I could do the smart thing and call it an evening. ‘Night!
Jeffrey started 5th grade today; it’s his last year at Alta Vista. It seems like only yesterday that he started kindergarten there! Diane and I were walking by Union Middle School this evening and we realized that next year, he’ll be there — oy!
He’s got the same teacher this year as he did last year, which I think is good (it’s the second time this has happened; the other time was between first and second grades), and two of his best friends are in his class, which he thinks is good.
It does seem wrong, though, for school to start this early; and then they compound things by giving a four-day Labor Day weekend to the students (the teachers have an in-service day on the Tuesday after Labor Day). I’d rather they started after Labor Day like we did when I was growing up.
Hmmm…I think this is getting complicated. Let’s start at the beginning.
Jeffrey participated in the Summer Reading program at the Los Gatos Library; among his prizes was a discount coupon for Great America. He loves Great America, especially the rollercoasters; I don’t mind it too much, at least not in small doses, but Diane is most definitely not a rollercoaster person, having a rather sentimental attachment to her retinas. So this morning, he and I set forth for Great America for a few hours, and we had a good time (we rode the Demon twice; he wanted to ride it again just before we left, but I had had enough, and the hour’s wait for the Grizzly didn’t help, either).
Because we left fairly early, we had lunch at the park. Unfortunately, we chose pizza. It reminded me a lot of the pizza we’d had at Julian’s Restaurant in Richmond, loaded with a thick layer of bad cheese on top. But, to give Great America its due, at least this pizza was hot and the cheese had been melted.
So when we got home, I wanted something tasty, and suggested Baja Fresh, in the Superfund shopping center [it's actually called the Bernal Center, but it is built on the old Fairchild plant and Superfund site -- somehow, it seems a bit odd to have a shopping center full of restaurants and a supermarket on an old Superfund site, but I digress]. And it was tasty, but Diane’s was a bit spicier than she expected, and so she suggested we go to downtown Los Gatos and have sorbetto at Dolce Spazio.
That seemed like a good idea, so we did (in the interest of accuracy, I should note that Jeffrey had chocolate gelato, not sorbetto). And then we thought we’d go walk it off a bit — downtown Los Gatos has been one of our favorite places to stroll since the first time we were there, more than 15 years ago. As we were strolling, Diane noted that there were very few shops other than restaurants open (this was just before 7 on Saturday night); then we passed one of the few open shops, Domus, a kitchen and housewares store that we always enjoy browsing through. And then I remembered reading what Al had said about the Global chef’s knife on Tuesday (as well as what Anthony Bourdain wrote), and so I suggested we go in and see if they had the knife, which they did, and so we bought it.
And how did you spend your Saturday?
I, clearly, am not such a person.
I’ve been busy catching up from vacation, and have finally gotten to the point that I can reasonably say that I’m only slightly behind, so here I am again. I was hoping to have my pictures edited and posted by now, but I haven’t done that, either.
I spent the last three days editing a report at work; if I’d known it would have taken me that long to do, I might not have volunteered — I suspect most people will only read the Executive Summary anyway!
Time for the August Almaden Social (aka beer blast).
Today, we set forth to buy a small refrigerator for my office — I want to be able to survive on the days when the cafeteria is not up to par. We’d gotten an ad from Office Depot showing a 1.8 cubic foot model for $110 before $10 rebate; that sounded like a reasonable price, so off we went.
After some searching, we found the unit, marked for $120, with no mention of a rebate. And the only ads they had posted didn’t mention the refrigerator. And we couldn’t find anyone to help us. So we left, went home, and dug the ad out of the recycle bin.
But by then, it was lunchtime; after lunch, I decided to check Fry’s (I also am in the market for a laser printer) instead of going back to Office Depot. Much to my surprise, I found the same refrigerator at Fry’s for $110 (but no sign of a rebate); but then I looked a bit more and found a Daewoo for $100, and then a Sanyo for $80 (on sale, down from $120). We bought the Sanyo. No muss, no fuss, not a very long wait at the register. It was hard to believe I was shopping at Fry’s!
Then to my office to plug it in — I even made a sign to make the safety people happy:
Food and Drink Only
Food and Drink Only
Tomorrow, I’ll find out if it’s actually able to cool stuff enough to be useful.
Other than that, it’s been a quiet and peaceful weekend. Time to go watch “Millionaire”!
That pretty much sums up this week; it’s been more of a Red Queen’s Race than usual, but I think I’ve actually gotten through most of the backlog from vacation, at least at work. The backlog of mail which was waiting for us at home is a different story — and while we were cleaning up in preparation for the cleaning service’s visit yesterday, Diane found an issue of Analog which I hadn’t even seen, much less read. At least Business Week is skipping a week this week.
And one of the discoveries we made on vacation was Who Wants to be a Millionaire? — both my mother and Diane’s father watch it, and they got us into the habit, too. I play along on the “Enhanced TV” version if I’m watching live…but at the moment, I have the two most recent shows on tape waiting to be viewed.
Yesterday was the closing session for Extreme Blue — I was awed by what the students had done in 11 short weeks (though I think their typical workweek was quite a bit longer than mine!). I wish I’d been able to spend more time working with the Extreme Blue folks — every time I did manage to visit their lab, I’d come out energized and cheerful. And usually well-fed, too, so maybe it’s just as well that I didn’t spend too much time there after all!
Tonight, we have a pot-luck dinner at the YMCA Summer Childcare, and then services at Shir Hadash (it’s our turn to help with the oneg, too). The rest of the weekend looks to be less busy. I’m ready. Shabbat Shalom!
The worst thing about coming back from vacation is having to catch up with everything that happened while getting away from it all.
I haven’t succeeded in doing that yet, but I’ve made progress; I think I’ve at least glanced at every piece of e-mail that arrived, as well as all of the Weblogs on the server I’m running inside the IBM firewall. I still have lots more to do, but at least I think I know where the disaster areas are.
Sometime Real Soon Now, I’ll get a chance to look at the pictures we took on vacation.
But not tonight. I’ve spent enough time sitting in the chair at the computer today (even if it’s not the Hot Seat) to hold me for now.
The e-mail backlog was as bad as I expected — well over 500 messages. I could quickly pick out about 100 as spam and delete them, and another 100 or so were easy to read and delete. That leaves about 300 which require thought. *sigh*
More to come as time permits; I suspect I’ll stay home today to do a better job of hiding while I catch up!