Shelter-in-Place Journal, Day 218

A couple of years ago, the readers of the San Jose Mercury News voted the interchange between I-880 and US-101 the worst interchange in the Bay Area. It has many horrible features, but the worst of all, in my humble opinion, is the entry from Old Bayshore Highway to I-880 Southbound, just a few hundred feet from the exit to US-101 Northbound. Getting onto the freeway there is daunting at best; I try to avoid it if at all possible.

But today, we braved that route joyfully – we were on our way home (via the library) from dropping our ballots at the Registrar of Voters’ office. We’ve done our civic duty – now to see how else we can make a difference!

Shelter-in-Place Journal, Day 217

I made one more attempt to play the failing Looney Tunes Platinum Collection disc from the library – I cleaned the disc VERY carefully and even reset the Blu-Ray player to factory defaults. Still no dice. I’ve sent them a note saying there’s a problem and will return the set tomorrow.

I also expect to vote tomorrow – I did a lot of research today on the measures I was unsure of and have come to decisions on all of them. I want to sleep on it before filling out the ballot, though, because there were a couple of close decisions.

For those who are curious, I’m planning to vote Biden for President, Eshoo for Congress, Ravel for State Senate, Low for State House, Owens and Ristow for Town Council (4-year terms), and Stephenson for Town Council (2-year term). I’m planning to vote FOR Propositions 15, 16, 17, 18, and 25 and Measures A, B, L, and RR. I haven’t decided whether to vote in the election for Superior Court Office 24 – the judge currently in the seat is running unopposed, so it really doesn’t matter whether I vote or not! Ballotpedia has a link to his website, but when I go there, I see a “this domain for sale” page, so I don’t think he’s terribly worried about this election either.

Shelter-in-Place Journal, Day 216

We spent a lot of time in front of the TV today! We attended a concert in the park in Westchester County and a shiva minyan for the mother of one of the auxiliary rabbis at Shir Hadash.

But the most important thing we saw was interviews with all of the candidates for Los Gatos Town Council, which helped us narrow the field. We still have to make final decisions on the state propositions, Town Council candidates, and local measures – but at least the top of the ballot is easy!

I also reworked the website for the Silver Tongued Cats to put more information on the site. I liked the theme I used there (Colinear) so much I’m using it here, too – did you notice?

Shelter-in-Place Journal, Day 215

It was the first day of Torah Study for 5781; we are studying the Haftarot this year. Rabbi Aron gave us an introduction to the Haftarot in general (for example, the large range of regional variations in the choice of Haftarah for a particular Shabbat), but we didn’t actually get to this week’s Haftarah! Maybe next week….

Yesterday, the Los Gatos Public Library told me that their copy of Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 3 had gone missing, so I turned to the San Jose Public Library. They didn’t have the Golden Collection, but they said they had the Platinum Collection: Volume 2, which had “Duck! Rabbit! Duck!”, and they emailed me today to come get it.

I inserted Disc 2, which had the cartoon I wanted to see. I was greeted with the unstoppable “this is culturally wrong but worth watching anyway” disclaimer and then the main menu. I selected a cartoon; the screen went black…and that was it.

I even upgraded the firmware in my Blu-Ray player – it didn’t help. I can play some of the features on Disc 2; I can play Disc 1 just fine. But not the cartoons on Disc 2.

A friend had offered to loan me his copy of the Golden Collection, but I thought I’d see if I could find the cartoon online. YouTube has excerpts, but not the whole thing – but a wider search paid off.

If I wanted to see it again, I’d buy the Blu-Ray from Amazon (it’s only $10), but the mandatory ads and disclaimers are awfully discouraging.

Shelter-in-Place Journal, Day 214

I went back to the eye doctor for my 3-week followup for my vitreous detachment; nothing had changed, which made both of us happy.

We tried a new recipe for dinner for the first time in a while – Sheet-Pan Salmon and Broccoli With Sesame and Ginger from the New York Times. Fresh local wild king salmon season is over, but it would have been wasted in this recipe; we made it with wild coho from Lunardi’s. I was in a hurry and didn’t realize until I was typing this entry that I hadn’t rescaled the recipe for two portions instead of four, so I made twice as much glaze as I probably needed – I had enough that it puddled in the pan! Fortunately, I’d put parchment paper under the food, so clean up was easy anyway.

Shelter-in-Place Journal, Day 213

I was booked for a speech at the Silver Tongued Cats Toastmasters club today; it had to be humorous, include stories, and have a message. I decided to talk about my baking experiences (especially last week’s pretzel production), and it went over well. We continue to consume the pretzels, too – we’re more than halfway through the batch. I guess they’re good!

We watched the West Wing not-a-reunion benefit for When We All Vote and really enjoyed it. The appearances by Michelle Obama, President Clinton, and others during the act breaks were good, too. You need to subscribe to HBO Max to watch it, but they offer a 7-day free trial.

Santa Clara County entered the Orange Tier on Tuesday, and indoor restaurant dining was officially allowed yesterday (with significant capacity restrictions, of course). Restaurants are emailing to let us know that they’re open again; I wish them well, but I don’t expect to be dining inside for at least the rest of the year (we haven’t even taken advantage of patio dining at restaurants, and I don’t feel the urge for that, either).

Shelter-in-Place Journal, Day 212

Today was Dentistry Day at Chez D2.

Diane went to her dentist this morning for her long-delayed cleaning – it was supposed to have been in April, but….

We go to different dentists for historical reasons – when we moved out here, we used the same dentist. He retired around 1995, and Diane just went to his successor; one of my co-workers’ long-time girlfriend was a dentist whose office was close to work, so I switched to her practice, and then followed her when she joined another dentist, and then I stayed in that practice when she retired, and then stayed on when that dentist sold her practice and retired. Diane’s dentist is a sole practitioner; mine is in a multi-site, multi-dentist operation.

I needed a crown to replace an old one that had deteriorated – when that’s happened previously, it’s required two visits. But my newest dentist said she could do the whole thing in one visit of 2-1/2 hours, which sounded good to me.

The first step was numbing, as usual, and then the removal of the old crown. Then the dentist put a camera in my mouth for a few minutes, moving it around until she was happy with what she saw on her screen. After that, she told me to relax for a few minutes and left; a whining sound started from an adjacent office, and the screen started a countdown.

I got up and found the whining sound – my crown was being milled on the spot in a CEREC machine.

A few minutes later, the dentist came in to do a fit test; the crown was purple because it hadn’t been fully baked yet.

She made a few adjustments and took the crown away to bake it, then came back and finished the installation. The purple was gone, and that was it (except for the most painful part – the bill). The whole process took about 2-1/2 hours, as promised. I was impressed. I’d rather not do it again, though.

Shelter-in-Place Journal, Day 211

It was Prime Day today, and we were ready!

I’d had a cabin air filter for Diane’s car and a set of three OXO measuring cups in my cart for days, waiting for the right time. We even bought spaghetti and couscous from Whole Foods over the weekend to earn the $10 Prime Day credit they were offering.

As we got ready to order, the excitement was palpable. I checked Consumer Reports and The Wirecutter to see what other products they recommended – The Wirecutter told me about a very nice All-Clad stainless tri-clad frying pan that looked good.

I went out to Diane’s car and looked at the cabin air filter. It was clean (I guess we’d only driven the car a few thousand miles since I last changed it), so I took it out of the cart.

The All-Clad pan wasn’t available from Amazon (but I might get it from Williams-Sonoma, since it’s discounted there).

I even checked on LED “75-watt” bulbs, since the old incandescent over the kitchen table blew out this morning. The Wirecutter recommended the Cree bulb, and Amazon had it for $12; Home Depot has it for $6.

I pushed the button – one set of measuring cups is on its way at a $10 discount.

Oh, the excitement of it all!

Shelter-in-Place Journal, Day 210

I had to give a speech at Silicon Valley Storytellers today. I’m on the “Engaging Humor” path, but not all of the speeches have to be funny; I decided to talk about the upcoming election.

No, not about the Presidential election, nor even about any elected office. I talked about the propositions on the ballot. And I didn’t even give my opinion of any of the propositions; instead, I gave a presentation about how to research the propositions instead of relying on the limited information in the Official Voter Guide and the even more limited information in ads.

People seemed to find it useful – in fact, I got requests for my slides, so I put them online here.

I did something different in preparing the presentation – normally, I just start creating slides, but this time, I made a mindmap with iThoughts. I reorganized it a few times as I was pulling the presentation together, which would have been difficult in PowerPoint! When I was happy with the mindmap, I exported it to PowerPoint. I still wound up reordering the slides to make more sense as a sequential presentation, but it was pretty easy to get the flow I wanted.

I also experimented with the “Design Ideas” feature of PowerPoint to get away from plain bullet lists – instead, I had pretty bullet lists and boxes. I added pictures to a couple of the slides, and my evaluator suggested I do more of that. I have to give a speech to my other club on Thursday, and I might just reuse this one…with more pictures.