Finished with college at age 12

Jeffrey’s spent the past three weeks at West Valley College’s summer “College for Kids” program; today was the last day. He seems to have enjoyed it, though “Kids and Money” was his least favorite class — one day he complained that they’d spent the hour paying bills! Wait till he gets older….

But for now, he’s done with college. It’s a shame he didn’t qualify for the academic discount program for software that’s offered to matriculated students at West Valley — they have some awfully good prices. None for Game Boy games, though, so he probably doesn’t mind missing out.

Shabbat Shalom!

Yes! I am fasting! Hurry up!

PG&E showed up this morning just as I was getting ready to back the car out to go to the lab to have some blood drawn (for a routine physical — don’t panic, Mom!). Fortunately, I make a habit of looking in my rear-view mirror before giving the car any gas, even when I’m only backing out of my garage, and therefore I saw the guy instead of finding him with my bumper.

He went to the backyard, and I heard him say “Aha! I bet that’s the problem!”, so I went out and asked what was going on. He said that the wires from the pole to the house didn’t look right, and that the meter wasn’t sealed (which is definitely a no-no!). He also said he’d fix the problem, so I left for work.

When I got home, there were two messages from him on the answering machine. One told me that he’d found a loose connection on the neutral wire at the weatherhead and fixed it; the other gave me his cellphone number in case we had further problems. I consider that to be good service and will tell PG&E so.

I nearly called him to find out just what a weatherhead was, but a quick Google query led to enlightenment.

So then I went to Unilab. They opened at 8, and since this was a fasting blood test, I wanted to get there as early as possible and go have breakfast — my encounter with PG&E slowed me up, but it seemed like a worthwhile delay. But I was ready. Too bad they weren’t; when I got there at 8:25, they were still processing patients who’d been there promptly at 8. At one point, the receptionist/phlebotomist (an unusual combination of jobs) asked one of the other patients if she was fasting — the answer was a rather edgy “yes!” (I guess she wanted her breakfast, too!).

It seemed as though one patient was the cause of most of the delay, because the line started moving fairly quickly; I was called, and just as I sat down in the chair, my cellphone rang. Since almost no one has the number, I thought it might be important and took it out; sure enough, it was Shir Hadash calling. So I answered it.

It was the office manager, calling for advice; Norton AntiVirus had popped up an alert on the Rabbi’s computer. I wasn’t exactly in the best position to deal with the problem right then, so I told her I’d call back soon. But the call wasn’t totally unwelcome — the phlebotomist drew her sample while I was on the phone, and I never even noticed!

The day improved from there; I had a nice breakfast (blueberry pancakes) and earned some miles in the process, and when I talked with Shir Hadash, I found out that the problem was not serious: Norton AntiVirus had triggered when it detected a piece of e-mail which had been infected with Klez, and so there was no real infection or problem.

I won’t be able to tell if our power problem is really fixed or not until we need to turn on the lights and see if they still flicker. The PG&E troubleman did say that the transformer serving our area was pretty old and had been sized for the loads prevailing many years ago, before most of the neighborhood added hot tubs, air conditioning, and the like, so it might still be a trouble spot. We’ll see.

Nice weather for a garbage strike

Even Toronto has its problems. While the weather there was just lovely, there was a small difficulty I didn’t know about yesterday — a 2-week-old garbage strike. The lead story in today’s Toronto papers was that the provincial legislature had been called back into session to pass emergency legislation to end the strike.

While I was wandering around downtown Toronto today, I noticed that all of the trash receptacles were overflowing. At least it wasn’t too hot (though apparently last week was bad).

I’m home now, where it is definitely Too Hot. As we were landing at 7pm, they announced the temperature as 94; it’s now down to 77, and so we’ve got the windows open and the fan at full blast. And we’re waiting for PG&E to come and figure out why our lights dim for a second every time our neighbor’s air conditioner starts up, which is not supposed to happen.

I saw, yet again, how inconsistent security is on airplanes these days. On my flight from San Jose to Chicago yesterday, any time the cockpit crew needed to use the lavatory, the flight crew used a cart to block access to the front galley. Coming home today was a different story — near the end of the flight, the first officer spent at least five minutes in the front galley, with nothing between him and the passengers; in fact, they didn’t even ask us to stay seated while he was out there.

Who needs Martha when you have Larry and Sergey?

We were planning to have some friends over for a July 4th barbecue, and needed to decide what to make. We thought chicken breast would be a good choice for the main dish, but I wanted to make something more interesting than plain chicken. We have a kitchen full of cookbooks, so I did the obvious thing: I sat down at the computer and typed “chicken breast barbecue recipe marinade” into the Google toolbar on my browser.

3 seconds later, we had a bunch of recipes to choose from, and we picked this one because Diane likes cilantro. And it was a good choice — everyone seemed to enjoy it (and most people had seconds).

But that was last week. Now I’m in Toronto, after evading the wrath of Canadian Immigration — I must have answered a question wrong, because I had to go talk to a second agent before being allowed into the country. I suspect “consult” was the magic word; I won’t make that mistake again. But the extra interview only took an extra 90 seconds, so it wasn’t all that bad.

Toronto looked lovely in the taxi on the way downtown; as we drove by the lake, there were people enjoying the beautiful weather and sunset. Me? I’m in my hotel room, looking at a screen and keyboard, waiting for a phonecall telling me my IBM colleagues are here so we can meet in person.