Reclaiming Diane’s Identity

Diane and I were both very early adopters of Gmail. We tried to get our first names as our usernames, but Gmail wouldn’t accept them. Instead, Diane’s username is her first name followed by her last initial, and that turns out not to have been a great choice – it seems that there are dozens, if not hundreds or thousands, of people who enter that same string as their Gmail username on one form or another.

One of those people tried to set up a PayPal account several years ago – Diane found out when she tried to create a PayPal account and couldn’t because the email address was “taken”. There was no way to get in touch with PayPal about the problem because she couldn’t log onto the account. It wasn’t a serious problem – if someone really had to be paid via PayPal, I took care of it.

Today, we wanted to renew our membership to the Friends of the Los Gatos Library. In the past, they sent us a note in the mail and we sent back a check, but now they’ve joined the digital age and ask for donations to be sent through their webpage, which goes to PayPal. Diane’s name and email were on the account, so we wanted to use it when we made the payment, but, of course, she couldn’t log into that account.

Then I had an inspiration. She tried logging into the account and hit the “forgot your password?” link, which sent a password reset link to the address on the account – her Gmail account. A minute later, she was logged in. And five minutes later, the account was deleted.

Diane then went to the Friends’ site and made the payment with a credit card; PayPal asked if she wanted to set up a new account with that credit card linked to the account. She said “yes”, and, much to my surprise, it worked! I would have thought that PayPal would permanently retire the email address of a deleted account, but nope!

The experience motivated me to check my old Gmail account, where I found a month-old email from an inn in Washington state confirming a reservation from a couple in Ohio who had put my address on their registration. I hope they got it sorted out before they got to the inn!

I was annoyed when I couldn’t get “David” as my Gmail username; perhaps it was all for the best.

Sun and Rain

It’s been raining on and off all day, but we managed to get a couple of walks in anyway. One was our traditional after-Farmers’ Market walk through Los Gatos; it’s not spring yet, but it was a nice cheery day with flowers, birds, and pollinators.

The other walk was to Trader Joe’s to exercise their return policy; we had tried their Balsamic Vinegar salad dressing and were unimpressed because it was far sweeter than we liked.

After we got home, I spent much of the reset of the afternoon building a spreadsheet to compare the various solar bids we received, and now I’m reaching out to the finalists for more information.

We even managed to find time to get info for our upcoming trip to the Big Island – I’m ready for a vacation!

Life and Taxes

This week’s Torah portion was Beshalach, which tells the story of the Israelites’ escape from Egypt, including the crossing of the Red Sea. The Torah reading includes the Song of the Sea (Mi Chamocha), which was sung by the women after the escape; it is one of the only two readings where the congregation traditionally rises (the other is the Ten Commandments). One of our members has chanted this portion for many years (it’s her birthday portion), and she did so again today.

After services, we went to Mountain View to see Theaterworks‘s production of Ali Viterbi’s In Every Generation, which follows a Los Angeles family through three Seders, in 2019, 1954, and 2050, as well as showing them soon after the Exodus in 1416BCE. The play was a bit uneven – it took me a little while to figure out who was who (I guess it would have helped to read the program first), but once I got the characters and their relationships sorted out, I enjoyed it, and hearing the women in the cast sing the Song of the Sea as part of the play just after hearing it at Temple was an interesting coincidence. I’m not sure how much I would have gotten out of the play if I weren’t Jewish – there wasn’t a lot of explanation!

We came home just before the rains hit and I finished our taxes, despite a bug in TurboTax which caused the IRS to reject my submission at first. I had some “non-qualified compensation” which is reported on a W-2 form. In past years, it’s been treated like any other W-2 (salary) income; this year, the IRS changed the processing to move that kind of income to a different spot on the return, which confused me when I reviewed the numbers until I figured it out. TurboTax got that part right, but it also duplicated the income on the W-2 it submitted to the IRS, so the numbers didn’t add up and the return bounced. Fortunately, I was not the first one to run into the problem and the TurboTax forum suggested a work-around – go into the W-2 and delete the bogus number, then resubmit. It worked, and I’m done!

Sun and Song

We got the last estimates we expect to need for our solar system today; now I have to take the data the various contractors gave us and put them into a spreadsheet so we can see them all on one screen and can compare apples to apples. For example, each contractor made a different projection of future PG&E rate increases (all of which are probably too low!), and no two bids specify the same amount of power generation.

This evening was Shabbat Shirah, the Sabbath of Song. We watched the livestream from Shir Hadash; there were lots of familiar melodies, and the choir sounded very good.

After that, we watched a matched set of “what if” videos on YouTube: “2001: A Space Odyssey” Directed by George Lucas? and its mate, “Star Wars” directed by Stanley Kubrick?. Lots of fun.

We finished the evening by watching some Randy Rainbow videos. Two of them (Lida Rose and Pink Glasses) were non-political, but we liked them anyway. :-)

Shabbat Shalom!

Presentation Accomplished

My experiment with OBS at the Silver Tongued Cats was a success, with no technical glitches, much to my amazement. Some of the attendees liked the way I swapped between showing a slide or showing myself; others said they would have preferred the Zoom way of putting the slide in the background.

I’ll probably experiment some more in future speeches; putting myself side-by-side with the slide might be interesting; so might putting an inset of myself on the slide.

I also basically finished our taxes; tomorrow, we’ll go through them together in detail so Diane can make sure I didn’t make any silly mistakes.