Mundane life

I’m not sure if it was jet lag or an after-effect of my concussion, but I slept till 9 this morning. Very unusual. Very refreshing.

After finally getting moving, I made a trip to Costco and spent too much money. Some of it was on stuff I’d planned to buy before going there, but not all of it by any means. And now I have one more DVD in my queue to watch RealSoonNow — Galaxy Quest. Then lunch and new passport photos for Jeffrey (we discovered his passport expired on the day we entered Canada; fortunately, an expired passport is ok for US citizens at the Canada-US border). I’d love to know why the US INS agent at Montréal airport stamped Diane’s and Jeffrey’s passports but not mine — but I followed my rule when dealing with border guards and didn’t do anything to call attention to ourselves. Luckily, I didn’t look like this then. Shiner - June 10th: Thanks, Dave Winer, for the get well wishes. Despite the way I look, I am feeling pretty good (it only hurts when I do something which pulls at the Steri-Strips), but I certainly am getting comments from people who see me (tonight the cashier at Sam’s BBQ asked me what I had done, and it actually took me a minute to figure out what she was talking about!). And there is no truth to the rumor that I just did this to have something to write about which would increase my page views.

I finally posted some pictures from Reunion on the appropriate page (June 3rd).

Back home again

Our flights yesterday were uneventful, though crowded; for some reason, our travel agent had given us separate reservations and hadn’t linked them, and so we were scattered throughout the plane on our final leg. Jeffrey did not appreciate this (nor did we!), but once we found a person who had a middle seat next to one of us, we were able to make a deal. In the end, Jeffrey and Diane sat together just in front of the exit row, while I was at the back of the plane (but no one was in the seat next to me). The flight attendants were impressed by my eye, so I gave them a pointer to my home page!

After my experience in Montréal, I decided it was best to take it easy today, so I started the day at home with three consecutive phone calls taking up two hours. Then I finally tore myself away and visited the optician, who reshaped my glasses — though later on, I realized that they weren’t quite right and went back to let her wield her pliers some more; they’re much better now, and I should be able to get by until my regular appointment in July, when I expect to get a prescription for bifocals (*sigh*).

My eye continues to progress through the spectrum — it looked like this yesterday evening after we got home and now it looks like this.

Time for dinner, then to Shir Hadash for services. Shabbat Shalom!

What do Steve Young and I have in common?

Today, I attended the general CTRE session in the morning — all of the speakers were excellent. We had one talk from Bernard Buigues on the
raising of the mammoth, and another from Jane Lapotaire (a renowned Shakespearean actress and President, The Friends of Shakespeare’s Globe) and Professor Andrew Gurr on Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre — both talks got standing ovations, which really impressed me; IBM audiences are not usually so moved.

Then Diane and I had lunch and she headed out to take a Montréal city tour, while Jeffrey and I went ice skating. All went swimmingly for a while, then something happened (I don’t know exactly what and probably never will, because whatever it was caused a small amount of retrograde amnesia), and the next thing I knew, I was on a bench with two people trying to help me decide if I wanted to take a taxi or an ambulance to the hospital. And I didn’t remember having being out cold on the ice for ten minutes, either.

The rest of the evening was spent at the hospital, waiting for my X-rays and CT scan to be read. To make a long story short, everything appears to be well, but I sure looked awful, and neither my shirt nor my glasses will ever be the same (actually, my shirt will never come home). And I missed the grand finale of CTRE, the circus.

So to answer the question: both of us have suffered concussions within the past year. And apparently neither of us is playing in the NFL this year, either.

Tomorrow, it’s back home, and Friday, it’s work. After stopping at the optician, that is….

Live, from Montréal — it's the CTRE!

On Monday, we had planned to take Amtrak from Troy (actually Albany-Rensselaer) to Montréal; our hotel explained that Schenectady would be a better starting point, because they’d take us there for free. We were willing to see the logic in that argument, and were all set to get ask the van to take us, but I decided to check to see what kind of meals we’d be able to buy on the train. It’s a good thing that I did, because I also asked if the train was on time. The agent checked, and told me that it had suffered engine problems a mile outside of New York and had to be brought back to Grand Central and would be a couple of hours late getting on the rails again. That would have made us quite late for the first event at the CTRE (Corporate Technical Recognition Event), so I decided to see if I could get a rental car at a reasonable rate. I could, did, and we enjoyed a beautiful drive to Montréal, with a much better lunch (at Lox of Bagels and Moor in Queensbury, NY (exit 18 of the Northway)) than Amtrak would have provided at any price. Returning the car to Hertz wasn’t too painful (though I did get chased out of a parking lot) — and when I checked Amtrak’s web site to see when the train actually arrived in Montréal, the site told me that I’d have to call their toll-free number and talk to an agent, so I am very glad we chose to drive.

Today, I attended a three-hour meeting with some excellent speakers (Mordecai Richler, giving us a personal introduction to Montréal, and Dr. Sylvia A. Earle talking about the ocean), then a three-hour French wine tasting with lunch at Maison du Gouvernor. Guess which one I enjoyed more?

While I was slaving away, Diane and Jeffrey were exploring Montréal — they said they got as far as the ice rink at 1000 de La Gauchetière.

Tonight, Jeffrey will have a baby-sitter while Diane and I go to dinner along with other attendees. I’m not sure how I’ll be able to eat anything after lunch, but I’m sure I’ll manage.

We had dinner at Primadonna, a trendy Italian restaurant with a sushi bar. We didn’t sit at the sushi bar, and they didn’t offer us the sushi menu, so we had to make due with the Italian choices, which were quite tasty (and filling, not that I needed to eat anything else!). After dinner, we took a little walk, which became a longer walk than we intended when I got a bit turned around — but eventually, we found our way back to the right area and took a bus back to the hotel. Jeffrey was still up (we were hoping he’d’ve gone to sleep already), so we said good night and put him to bed, and then joined him ourselves.

Photos for June 6th (all from Maison du Gouvernor):

What have I done? I've volunteered….

I’m not sure what came over me, but at the class dinner last night, I volunteered to be co-secretary and networking person for the Class of ’75 for the next five years. The main qualification for the job appears to be the ability to use e-mail, something which I can safely claim. And it should help me stay in touch with my classmates and with RPI over the next five years, too.

We had some good visits with friends from the Class of ’75 during Reunion; then on Sunday, we visited friends from other classes who have stayed in Troy. I have to admit that every time I visit, I find myself liking the place more — of course, I never visit during the winter!

Pictures will follow, but not until I have decent connectivity.

Here's to old RPI…

Greetings from the beautiful
Voorhees Computer Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. I’m here, along with Diane and Jeffrey, for my 25th
Reunion.

We arrived Thursday evening and planned to go to one of our favorite restaurants, Platt’s Place (a deli with wonderful cheesecake), for dinner. But when we got there, we found that it was gone, replaced by a Buca di Beppo, which, while quite acceptable, was not the same thing at all. I was amused to find that their literature quoted a review in the San Jose Mercury News — I had never heard of the chain before, but apparently they have a location in the Pruneyard, 15 minutes from our house. It’d be better in a larger group, since they specialize in large family-sized meals (and our family was barely able to finish a small spaghetti!).

Yesterday, we drove to RPI to register for Reunion and wander the campus; we hadn’t signed up for many activities during the day, but the weather convinced us to stay inside as much as possible. Either it was hot and humid or rainy — sometimes both. And towards the end of the day, there were
thunderstorms, which impressed Jeffrey a lot! The storms knocked out the PBX at our hotel, and it’s likely to be down throughout our stay. Yesterday evening, we went to the Houston Fieldhouse for dinner, and then many of us from the Class of ’75 got together at the Troy Pub and Brewery (I can recommend the Uncle Sam Amber Ale). It was great to see some of my old friends, many of whom I see every five years, as if by clockwork.

Today is cool and sunny, ideal weather for a parade and a picnic, which are on the schedule for noonish. Right now, Diane is at the Modern Classroom Facility (as it was known when I was an undergraduate here; now it’s the Darren Communications Center) listening to RPI’s new President,
Shirley Ann Jackson, talking about the Rensselaer Plan, while Jeffrey and I are in the computer center — he’s looking at the Internet Movie Database and enjoying the fast Internet access that being on a campus provides.

I’ve been taking pictures but I may not be able to upload them until I get home — for some reason, none of the public-access systems here seem to have PCMCIA slots. More later.


Well, it’s much later, but here are some of the pictures we took on June 2nd and 3rd:

Work, work, work….

Three-day weekends are great. Returning from a three-day weekend is a different story. Fortunately, this is a two-day week for me!

We watched the rest of Spaceballs tonight. I’m afraid Jeffrey will never be the same.

Memorial Day Weekend

Saturday, Jeffrey went to a friend’s
birthday party, while Diane and I saw “Having Our Say” at San Jose Rep. The play was excellent — the audience gave the cast a standing ovation, the first one I’d seen at the Rep for several years, and I thought it was well-deserved.

Sunday, I started the day with a trip to the Y to work out for the first time since going to Amsterdam (and boy, do I need it!), then we puttered around the house — I tried to replace the filter cartridges for the kitchen sink and failed (somehow, I screwed the sumps on more tightly than I can manage to unscrew them). I’m going to try again today — this should not be beyond my capabilities. After that, Diane went to the Y and Jeffrey and I went to the video store, where we bought a fine motion picture, Eegah. But by the time we got home, it was too late to watch it.

This morning, Jeffrey woke up early and watched Eegah (twice — once with the bots and once without). While he was watching for the second time, I installed the USB driver and TWAIN support for my camera so I could upload pictures to my underdesk machine instead of always having to use the laptop. And now we’re going to go do the
Los Gatos year-round volksmarch and have lunch en route.

Well, I was close. We did the volksmarch (here are
before and after photos as proof (you can tell that Diane is more attuned to long walks than Jeffrey is)), but we noshed instead of eating actual meals. Oh, well. And we passed an typical Los Gatos parking lot, full of Ferraris (we don’t own one) on the way.

Then we came home and puttered for a bit; eventually, some friends came over (bearing a USB hub, no less!) and we had dinner. They also helped unscrew the filter housing, and I was able to put it back together correctly this time, so we have filtered water again.

And after they left, we watched the first half-hour of
Spaceballs, which is not in the best of taste, but is very funny (just what I expect from Mel Brooks). I hope Jeffrey doesn’t have too much homework tomorrow so we can finish the movie before it gets late fees.

It’s nice being in California in the spring!

Tomorrow, it’s back to the regular grind for a couple of days.

It's so nice to be back in my office…

Fortunately, it’s the day before a 3-day weekend, and this is the 3-day weekend that we have a site powerdown for maintenance, so I came in to turn on my machines so I could turn off my machines before I leave. There must be a message there….

And the message is…”go home early!” So I am.