texxgadget: (Default)
Its been said that a printing press can be every bit as dangerous as a small army.
In fact, as the USSR was starting to break down, there was an uprising in Moscow that was aided by the 1 printing operation that the KGB was not watching.
This was a time when all graphic repro equipment in the USSR was registered & licensed by the KGB.

I believe I already commented about finally finding one of the graphic arts I can excel in.

Its a real HOOT to realize how printers terms have affected common language.

Printers type is stored in "type cases" which in turn slide into type cabinets like a drawer.
Before 1850, a given font was separated into 2 cases, with the capitals in one and the rest in the other.
The cases with the capitals were stored at the top of the cabinet because they were heavy and the rest towards the bottom, because it was not as difficult to lift it up and over to the bench.
With time, they became known as "Upper case" and "Lower case.

In 1851, in San Francisco, the "California Job Case" was born.
It was double the width of the old cases, and held the capitals & some symbols in the right 1/3 of the case.
The order of the lowercase was shuffled to speed typesetting. A California case speeds the job by about 30%.

Most people had to memorize it "by rote".
*I* have a jingle that works for most of the left 2/3 of the case.
Ligatures and "k" are in the top row.

"Just Be Careful Driving Elephants Into Small Ford Garages"

"Let Me Now Help Out Your Punctuation With commas"

" X Villains Usually Take (3 to the EM spaces) And Run"
Printers and people who took Jr High printshop stop in to visit at DCF and the roar with laughter when I rattle off the jingle.
While the jingle has been around a while, it apparently was rarely taught in schools.

There was a time when every Jr High & HS had a print shop.
If you got good grades in all your printshop classes, the local printers union would have a place for you in their apprenticeship program.
It was a vocational arts class that really worked and worked well.
With the move to digital publishing, the printing industry is a shadow of what it once was.
When printers visit, I make them hold their hands up and count their fingers.
It gets laughs. Platen type letter presses were notorious for shortening fingers.

Sometimes a print job is completed, but its know that the job will be run again soon.
Rather than send the type back to the cases, the type is left on a galley tray, tied together with string to keep it together for re running later.
Obviously that type we left on the galley tray for reuse is "tied up" and not available for use in another job.
Sometimes we need something, but its not available because it is "tied up". Similar? Yes?

What is a "font"?

The size of a font is measured in "points".
There are close to 72 points to the inch.

The style of character is known as a type face.
Examples of this are "Times Roman" or "Park Ave"

Together, these make up the name of the font, such as "Park 36pt"

All of the uppercase "a's" in that particular font are known as a "sort", and so on for each character in the font.
This means that a font has 26 upper case sorts in it, and 26 lowercase sorts and then there are all the symbols & ligatures.
When I was having difficulty typesetting at Dickens, because I ran out of lower case "r",
I was genuinely "out of sorts", hence the term.

While some believe minding ones P's & Q's is a printers term, it applies, but P's & q's really comes from "pints and quarts".

The founder of the printshop at Dickens was a newspaper pressman, Gordon Sullivan.
"Sully" got interested in the historical angle and started collecting old printing equipment when presses were being cut up for scrap.
Since then, hobby letterpress has taken off and these old presses are finally being saved.

The new problem is the antique dealers who dump the type in buckets and sell it by the pound for ammo reloading and sell the empty type cases as shadow boxes and the cabinets for linen storage.
Browsing Ebay can make you cry. I see these guys selling type by the pound, I sent them messages reminding them that the type is worth 20 times the scrap value if it remains sorted.

Sully started bring pieces of his collection to Dickens in 1978. He passed in 2006 and I never met him.
We keep a portrait of him in a place of honor in the printshop.

Photopolymer has really helped revive the letterpress craft.
Not everyone has room for several cabinets full of type cases.
With "poly" one can compose on computer, print to transparency, expose under UV and then wash out in the sink getting a photopolymer plate.
The plate is then glued down to a wood block of proper thickness and then locked into a chase and installed in the press.

The print shop has been a BAD influence on me, and they are laughing hysterically at my expense (REALLY).
Just before DCF this year, I bought a tabletop press, a 3x5 Kelsey.
Its perfect for small jobs like calling cards.

During fair I got a deal on another Kelsey, an 5x8, big enough for small greeting cards and slightly larger jobs than calling cards.
Up until this point, I was expecting to do everything in poly.
I MIGHT get a case or 2 of loose type but thats it.
Kelseys in 3x5 or 5x8 are fairly common, many of them forgotten in peoples basements.

Well... I got a deal on a Kelsey 6x10 kind of rare.
OK, its time to shop for a type cabinet and then start looking for loose type.

All 3 presses need cleaning and minor repair.
Of course Sharon, Don & Z! are peeing themselves with laughter.
I told Sharon that its all Sullys (her dad) fault.

In Dec, I passed on a 10x15 Kluge. That thing was just TOO big.

I need to hold off on collecting too much more, but I REALLY DO want to find a deal on a "proofing press".
I missed out on a Vandercook model "O" a while back.
Maybe next time.

Medical research

2016-Jan-29, Friday 15:22
texxgadget: (Default)
Its all about proteins.

First, they have identified one of the mechanisms for cataracts.

In the old days, theyd scrape them off the eyeball.
Now they actually remove the defective lense from the pocket in the eyeball and slip in a plastic replacement.
I have always known my Dad with cokebottle lenses.
Before cataracts, he was 20-300, legally blind without glasses.
When he got cataracts and had them fixed, our family had to get to know him all over again.
Now he wears "readers" when reading or playing keyboard only.
The replacement lenses allow him to do almost everything else without glasses at all.

Now, UCSF has been researching cataracts.
The original lenses we are born with are made of flexible protein.
The eye focuses by squeezing it on the outer edge to change its shape.

Proteins start out as long curly kinky threads.
They get folded back and forth to build things like lenses.
When the proteins get incorredtly folded, we end up with things like cataracts.
As we age, the body replaces things and sometimes has to re fold protins, and if it makes an error, trouble ensues.

Enter UCSF. The are researching a solvent that will allow us to fix cataracts without removing the lense.
The goal is to treat cataracts with eyedrops instead.

Other research at UCSF is into the plaques that are at the heart of some types of dementia.
Alzheimers is a subtype of dementia, as if FTD and a few otheres/
Alzheimers & FTD have issues with these plaques that build up around the nerves and eventually smother them out.
Theoretically the cataract solvent would be a starting point for these amyloid plaques which are at the heart of Alzheimers syndrome.

This is quite exciting because we have the babyboomer generation scared to death of dementia and coming to the age when it starts showing symptoms.
Having an expanding cohort of Alzheimers patients will add to an already strained medical system.

Now, the other exciting news is with schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia tends to show symptoms in late teens or early adult years.
The big question is "Why THEN?"
Its looking like there is an answer.

Somewhere around kindergarten or 1st grade, the body kills off a bunch of excess neural connections.
This is similar to when they do into a forest and mark the less viable trees for removal so that the rest will grow in a more healthy manner.
The same thing is happening in the brain.
A certain amount of pruning is needed to optimize development.
In fact, there are some health consequences if the body does not cull enough neurons at that age.

This is process is related to the "C4" gene which is also part of the immune system.
In late teens, there is a second culling of excess neurons, and its more severe that the one in 1st grade.

Its been theorized that the reason kids who start piano after 1st grade seldom become concert calibre.
The theory says that starting piano before this culling of neurons, flags extra capacity for preservation and thus enables concert calibre skills to fluorish.

Back to the second culling.
The second culling is a more thorough culling.
Schizoprenics have a thinner layer of cross connections.
They now think that something goes awry in some people and too many neurons get flagged for removal and THAT is the root cause of schizophrenia.
This also explains the timing of the symptoms.

How to fix it, is quite another challenge.

With all the news concentrating on Donald Trump and trailer trash Sara Palin, I dont think this research got any press.

I wonder why good Christians hold in such high regard a woman who quits her governorship mid term, has a wife beater for a son and a daughter who cant be bothered to get married before getting preggers.

Ive become a republican supporter for Sanders...(Whos have thunk it?)
texxgadget: (Default)
This was supposed to be posted last week, but got stuck in the buffer, so its coming out a week or two late.

Like Mandelbear, I too am intrigued with shipping container houses.

Ive pretty much recovered from Dickens Fair.
Between Fair and "Bucko & Champs" & their xmas holiday parodies, I managed to survive.
I didnt have TOO many "dark days".

If you get on youtube and search for "Bucko & Champs" they have some pretty hilarious stuff.
While most of us associate xmas with snow, the Aussies have another take.
Its often well over 100f, there. They celebrate xmas "the Aussie way, by the barbeque"

Im now figuring out what to do with the rest of the year.
At this point, Im pretty much a boat without a rudder.
The good thing is that Ive lost 40lbs in the last year.
The bad thing is that Im still waiting for the body to pull in the flabby skin thats left.

Two weekends ago was the memorial for my Jr High band director.
It answered a number of mysteries about him.
The obit had the date and the place but not the time.
A lot of his students didnt see the obit.
I didnt set out to, but I ended up organizing 2 tables of students.

I was taken by surprise when I found out I was going to be called upon to speak.
I hurriedly composed something on a paper napkin.
I did amazingly well.
Ive been called upon to speak on short notice on several occasions and composed on a paper towel or napkin and Im getting better at it.
Perhaps its because I dont have time to "over think" it.

Unknown to us students, he was quite font of mexican food, so a taco buffet was set up there.
Things wound down, John had a gig down in Hayward, and Vinny (Whom I havent seen since 1976) had another gig somewhere else.
John & Vinny and a couple others ended up working "pro" on weekends.
After John left, Tony came up with the idea of popping down to Hayward and catching an hour of Johns gig.
Off we went in the pouring rain, and we ended up "closing up the joint".
That place had an AWSOME pear cider BTW.
Now John had a case of the munchies.
He knew a taqueria nearby.
It was GREAT!
We ended up closing that place up too.
Mexican food twice! What a way to remember Mr Lord!

Tony & I met in 8th grade, Ive known John since 7th.
It turns out Tony knew a bunch of the same pipe organ people i knew back then but somehow we never ran into people in those circles and it was only 10 years ago that I found out he was into pipe organs too.
About 10 years ago, John got bitten by the pipe organ bug at one of the last of the pizza & pipes places.
John & Tony are both trumpet players.
Now I do see Tony at some events, but since Bella Roma closed, John hasnt made it out to any organ events.
Ironically, I skipped being house manager for an organ concert in Berkeley that day, for Mr Lords memorial.

My current manager, it turns out worked in the kitchen at Bella Roma when he was in HS.

One of the last pipe organ factories on the west coast (Schoenstein & Co) moved from San Francisco to Benicia.
They have an open house every year and I need to drag Tony & John both.
Its kind of cool walking through the shop admiring gorgeous power tools, some close to 100 yrs old,
while listening to music played on whatever happens to be on the erection floor at the moment.
They build these huge church organs on the floor, test & rough voice, then dismantle & pack for shipping.
Then a field crew reassembles on site and does final voicing.
These are classical organs, but after the concert they have "open console" and SOMEBODY gets up there and takes a shot at jazz.
Jazz sounds amazingly good on a classical.

A few days after the memorial, I got my usual USMC #3 haircut.
That blew a few minds at work, because I let it grow wild after labor day for Dickens Fair.
Im also clean shaven for the 1st time in a year.

Last weekend we had a planning session for upcoming public service events that we will be doing radio for.
We have a number of bike-a-thons & runs and other things where we use ham radio because cell coverage doesnt work well.

The building that currently houses Halted Specialties is scheduled for demolition.
Fortunately, Halted has found a new home around the corner on Corvin.
They have already started moving and doors open at the new location on Feb 1.

Im a mediocre musician, mediocre at drafting, pretty good at stage sets, not bad with photocopier and light table, but I cant draw or paint to save my life.
Ive finally figured out my passion for letterpress printing.
I found a place in the graphic arts where I can excel.
This has financial consequences, however.
Ive now bought my 3rd printing press.
All will require restoration before use, but thats coming.

DCF complete

2015-Dec-21, Monday 20:53
texxgadget: (Default)
Well, Dickens Fair 2015 has come and gone.
I had planned to post every week during Dec, but well, you know..
REALLY ! I DID mean to !

Next to last Sunday I arrived during a squall.
Fortunately, I was a passenger in an SUV and Lodema was driving.
There are remarks made about women drivers, but shes REALLY good.
As we turned onto Geneva St near the Cow Palace, I realized the water was a foot and a half deep in whirlpools around the storm drains.
Geneva street was a foot deep river.
I would later learn that backstage got flooded and so did a few shops at fair.

The sad thing was that a lot of this flooding was due to a failure to clean drains, and this incident did not impress Cow Palace management to do anything about it during the week.
We had more drains clogged closing weekend as well as half the restrooms offline.

When "Sully" started collecting printing equipment, none of it was new.
He was a newspaper pressman who got interested in the historical end of printing.
He started the print shop at Dickens in the late 70s.
While he passed in 2008, his family has kept Elite Printing" going at the fair.
I am honored to be allowed to play with his toys.

We are coming to grips that a lot of the type is worn and just no longer makes proper impressions.
We will eventually have to acquire (GASP) new type.
Fortunately there are a few surviving type foundries out there, one of the largest being at the Presidio.
Its looking like all 3 sizes of "Lucida" are pretty much toast, "Parsons" as well and its alarming, but Im having to keep changing out "Park Ave" too.
Its a little irritating when I keep having to return the chase to the stone to change out another piece of type again and again, before I can get a decent proof.

Last day, I finally found the source of an ominous "klunk" on the smaller pressIt appears 2 or maybe 3 connecting pins at the bottom of the impression lever have work enough to need replacement.
Fortunately, these things are so simple, any machine shop can fabricate new parts for us if we have accurate drawings.

Unfortunately, things fell apart at the last moment, so our celebrity chimney sweeps werent able to join us for closing weekend. Originally Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen were going to don soot and join our cast of sweeps.
Nobody would recognize them dressed as sweeps and covered in soot and with their skills, Im certain they could wreak havoc on our streets of olde London.
Maybe next year....

There was a running joke in the print shop for a long time.
While its good luck to shake hands with a sweep (Without the sweeps, entire townes would have burnt down) our sweeps wouldnt shake hands with Sully, being a printer, he was the only one in London with dirtier hands than the sweeps!

My sister and her daughters came to fair on closing day.
I left them tickets at will-call, so that jumpstarted my x-mas shopping.
Margaret popped by the print shop and I didnt recognize her til i heard her voice.
Margaret told me that shed used the same pattern for the cravat she made for me to make a cravat for Bonnie.
Bonnie had gotten separated from the group.
So I commented "So Bonnie is in drag?"
Margaret was a bit taken aback, having heard "drag" only used for men dressing as women and not the other way around.

At closing, Ipopped by to visit Mr Allan Jeffries, Purveyor of Clothing for Men. (A haberdashar) and had a full set of measurements taken.
Ive never had a proper set of measurements taken.
I learned that most of the sizing in stores is complete fantasy.
I know that Im at least 1 clothing size smaller and maybe more.
These measurements will be helpful, should I have something made for me, but will be no help in store purchased clothing.
I desperately need some trousers that fit, so Ill have to try things on till I find something that fits.
The bizarre thing is that I was physically measured at 36 for my kilt and now Im having to keep hitching it up.
I figured this measurement had shrunk more than I really had.
My natural waist measurement is still 35.5.
Apparently half an inch makes a big difference, although I suspect maybe the kilt was a bit bigger than 36.
A kilt is properly worn at the navel.
Before 1960s. trousers were worn up there too, but now trousers are worn down at the hip.
My butt has shrunk so much that my kilt can slid off over it even buckled as tight as it goes.

I really shouldnt complain, Ive been trying to get my weight down for a long time and I seem to have succeeded.
I just never thought of the consequences of losing weight.
I didnt think Id ever get below 160 again.
Class reunion is coming up, If only i had time to hit the gym and REALLY tone up. hmmm...

Im sitting here waiting for a server upgrade to complete, and then Im heading home to bed.
After work, tomorrow, Ive got to get going on x-mas shopping.

Birthday depression

2015-Dec-09, Wednesday 23:19
texxgadget: (Default)
I should be happy, but Im not. Im well into my usual winter depression.
Ive had 2 offers this year of black market Zoloft and Im batting around whether to say yes.

As time progresses, background checks ratchet up.
Certain diagnoses can get one into the wrong databases.
Those databases can ruin ones life with no chance of getting out of said database.

*IF* I decide to do something about the winter blues, it WONT be legal.

Once a month we have cake in the break room for all the birthdays that month.
As it happened, it happened precisely on mine.

I share a birthday with a number of celebrities:

Actors Margaret Hamilton, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Broderick Crawford, Kirk Douglas, Redd Foxx, Dick Van Patten, Judi Dench, Beau Bridges, Michael Dorn, Felicity Huffman, band leader Freddy Martin (Bumblebee Boogie), computer pioneer Grace Murray Hopper, politicians Thomas P "Tip" O'Neill, Tom Daschle, athlete Dick Butkus, and same year as me; Donny Osmond.

I had planned on going out tonight. I got out to the car and sat there about half an hour and decided to just go home to bed.

I looped through Costco on the way home to pick up some things Ill need at Dickens this weekend.
Unfortunately the Xmas music started up and I just about had to run out of there.
texxgadget: (Default)
Being the 1st of December, it is World Aids Day and Mathew Shepards birthday.

I was thrilled to see a post from Chaos Wolf again.
I too miss the old Starport.
I happened to be driving by the day the new owners were moving in.
I did not stop.
I wonder if theyve had anyone drop in on a Wed night?

I enjoyed Freyjaws post about how Science Fiction is supposed to not only predict future but to prevent it.
Alas, few are listening to the lessons.
Im watching the world becoming more and more dependent on machines, to their detriment.
A good lesson is "The Machine Stops"

As everything moves to "The Cloud", our dependence deepens.
I imaging a future where we return to smart terminals and computing is something that comes out of the wall.
It probably wont happen in my lifetime, but there is a looming peril.

Computing is a "Pyramid scam". Its actually an inverted pyramid.
You have a couple very simple concepts that define more complex concepts and so on.
For a machine to be able to "Think" all of these coincepts must remain changeable.
The machine must have periods of time where it re establishes and recomputes these concepts.
This is known as learning and dreaming.
Eventually computers will dream. Thats where all hell breaks loose.

Eventually, a massive compute cluster, somewhere, some time (Imagine a room several miles across, rows and rows of server cabinets), one of these primitive concepts will get changed and or damaged.
The next dream cycle, all the concepts are disturbed, and Voila!
You have a machine with dementia or some other mental illness.
"Dave! What are you DOING Dave? I cant let you DO THAT Dave..."

Freyjaw was planning on coming to Dickens this past weekend, but I did not see her.
She thought last weekend was 1st weekend but Dickens now starts BEFORE Thanksgiving weekend.

So the re-cap from my end:
The booth shuffle delayed preventive maintenance on the printshop because we were rebuilding it.
This was after the reassembled the old shop in the new place.
We had to take it apart again and build it again in the new configuration in the new place.

Our grand plans to get all the bags from Cuthberts Tea Shoppe printed BEFORE opening day went out the window.
Between maintenance and the "make ready" process for bags, we lost opening day.
I was out at a memorial on 1st Sunday, but i gather they started printing bags then.

We printed in brown ink because somehow we had every other color, but no black.

Second weekend, we forgot the black ink. DOH! Forgot it all 3 days of 2nd weekend (DOH! DOH! DOH!)
Since Ross always has us do cards for him, always a BBAAAADD pun, we printed his in deep purple, as a joke.
"Archibald McAufleash Purveyor of the plaid cat Plaidipus "
Sharon mixed the purple ink by hand.
I had never tried hand mixing ink, so I tried my hand at it the rest of the weekend.
I must say, I might not go back to canned ink again...

We finally perfected the blocking for calling cards so that very little adjustment of the registration pins or the packing is required from 1 job to the next.
Switching over to Lady Franklyns card took me a whole 5 minutes (WOO HOO!)
A minor confusion issue almost fouled up Capt Hoods order.
A furniture block in the wrong place in the chase moved the image far enough up that on the proof i pulled,
I smacked the type with one of the registration pins.
If it hadnt been 18pt Lucian, I would have destroyed a piece of type and had to reset and re lock the job.
I got VERY lucky.

We made good progress in getting caught up on the orders.

We did some "fun" stuff too.
"Sillyness is a virtue - Some of us are more virtuous than others"

Unfortunately, a typo forced me to re run Chief Inspector Bowleys cards.
Its "Inspector" NOT "Inspectector" ! (DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH!)

The scraped knee sustained a week before fair is still slightly infected, but better than it was.
The smashed foot sustained a week before workshops is much better.
And now the big toe on the OTHER foot is giving me fits.

I switched from regular dress shoes to a pair of scottish "ghillie" brogues this year, along with proper kilt hose rather than the soccer sox I was using.
Its much better at cushioning. The ghillies are made of the same stuff as "Crocs" so I get even MORE cushion and better insulation from the cold of the floor.
If I hadnt made this footwear change, I dont think Id have made it through the day.

Meanwhile the drama... Always the drama...

I cant go into detail here, but even though LD has gone back to the midwest, his legacy remains.
Im finding out more and more about the carnage in his wake.
Fair doesnt know the half of it or they would have had him arrested.

What do you DO when you find out that one person you REALLY CARE about has done something dastardly to another person you really care about?
What do you do when there is a LIST of people you care about that were hurt by this other person you care about?

Someone Ive been walking past the last couple years and not recognized is someone from my life in the late 70s.
Ive found out that several people Ive been wondering about are indeed still walking the earth, so thats a relief.
I found out last night that my Jr High band director has passed, so thats another memorial to go to (In Jan)

This has been a year to remind me of my own mortality.

At the end of Fair last year, I was a bit over 190.
2 weeks into fair, Im now below 160.
NONE of my clothes fit.
Im using braces (suspenders) to keep my kilt up.

This year, switched from the plaid cravat that Lodema gave me (really looks like a bathrobe belt) to
a solid red cravat my sister made for me.
Of course being longer, I have to change the way I tied it.
I learnt at workshops that there is no wrong way to tie it.
Your neckwear and how its tied are your signature.

At the time, the standard "Four in hand" that most use in the 20th & 21st was a coachmens know in the 19th century. Specifically a public coachman would have used it. Because public coaches were 4 horse teams,
the coachman had "4 in hand" hence the name of the knot.

In the midst of all the confusion, I bought a second printing press.
Don & Sharon are a BAD influence for me.

Having done a full weekend at fair, I crashed on Lodemas couch on Sunday night and that had me half way to work.
Ordinarily, I would have blown a few minds to have me in before 7.
Unfortunately, while the extensions for us contractors were in the system, nobody updated the badging system.
I socially engineered my way past 4 badge readers and got to my desk.
The rest of the guys went out to breakfast and then came in via shipping and got escorted upstairs.

My net access was working fine. The newest guy on the team, his access was fine.
Everyone elses badges were messed up.
One guy in the team (next to longest tenure) was completely wiped from the system, no badge, not network, they even wiped his directory on the file server.
We have to get him set up all over again.
2 of the cubes, had their network drops killed, but we got that fixed.
So now all but 1 guy are fixed up again.

Nice reward for showing up early....
texxgadget: (Default)
Contrary to Freyjaws post, the 27th is actually the SECOND weekend of Dickens.

Ive done a could rail trips. The Starlight that Lynn was on should have left around 9PM from Emeryville.
The further up in the car you are, the more rocking you experience.

I only did Sat of Dickens weekend 1.
Sunday had me at a memorial for someone Ive known since middle school.

Don was 2 years behind me in school.
I went through scouts with Don, although different troops.
We both continued in Order of the Arrow after 18, and I dropped out of scouts in the early 90s.
Don stayed until the end.
I lost track of Don in the 90s and in the 2000s, my radio club got involved in radio support for an annual even Don was doing with the scouts.
The 1st couple times, I kept missing him by a couple minutes but we were in mail contact.
We finally did meet face to face a couple years back, and Id hoped wed meet outside the trail hike.
I always thought there would be time.

We held the memorial at Camp Herms in El Cerrito.
There were the slide shows, people told stories.
I was reunited with people Ive not seen in 30 years.
My decision to stop smoking 20 years ago was reaffirmed.
We shared sage smoke with the 4 compass directions, the sky and the earth.

Last year, I took to laying out in the sun at lunch.
It delayed the onslaught of winter depression last year.

This year, it hit me like a ton of bricks his week.
Thanksgiving was a bowl of cerial this morning and a pbj sandwich this afternoon.

I figured out how to get diagnostic codes off the engine with a paperclip.
Looks like I need an O2 sensor.
As long as I leave the paperclip in, the engine runs OK, but its rough without the paperclip.
This will hold it till I get a new sensor.
Of course it flashes engine codes while I drive.

Mr H G Wells should be along shortly to whisk me off to 1800s London and the world of Dickens.

Second week has completed, I seem to have failed to post this before heading off for the weekend.
texxgadget: (Default)
Id like to underline Steves praise of the Seattle bus system.
For a short time, I was commuting from West Seattle into downtown on that system.
I was boarding the bus in the dark and getting back to West Seattle in the dark, but it went where I needed to go pretty close to when I needed to go without too much hiking.
There was one night when I missed the last bus that went all the way and I had a 2 mile hike to where I was staying, but that was only once.

Its looking like most of the people i know from LJ have left, but as long as a few remain, Ill continue posting.

Almost a year ago, the building Ive leased workshop & storage space in was sold.
The new owner notes that industrial space in San Francisco is being replaced by residential and SF will soon become a "bedroom community".
Hes watching something similar happening in Oakland and a group of these developers are buying up all the available industrial in Oakland.
The 1st thing he does is get rid of any live work people as this is the beach head for residential.

Most of these buildings have been sliced & diced into small units.
The next pass is to get rid of the small tenants and recombine the spaces into larger again.
I got the bad news in May about my unit upstairs in the front.
It took 2.5 mo to move out, 1 truckload at a time.

Since then, most of the 2nd floor of the building has been removed, except a small mezzanine.
All the 1st floor offices are gone.
Several of the bays with loading docks on Peralta are now combined into a huge open bay.

I miss popping by late at night to drop something off and seeing people spinning fire in the middle of the street.

In August, the other shoe dropped.
I lost the 24x32ft bay in the back of Mandela.
This one took 3.5mo but I was out of it the 2nd Monday of November.

The new cage in San Leandro I leased was not ready so the upstairs went into 2 smaller cages.
Now that Im out of West Oak, and dont have bldg management breathing down my neck, my next step is to
merge the 2 smaller units into the larger one and then start sorting.

There wasnt time to sort during the move, but I now realize Im storing a lot of stuff I just dont need or want.
Ive also got a bunch of stuff from Dougs place that was boxed in 1985, most of it floor sweepings from his workshop.


When the gig at Facebook ended I went with a company on a "temp to perm" deal.
They got bought, so conversions didnt happen.
I saw the writing on the wall and started job searching before I know what would happen to me.
As it turned out, they were keeping very little of the company and mostly seemed interested in the customer list.
I dont think they truly understood what they bought, because that customer list will be worthless if they move the company to the cloud as they intended.

I got a 1 month extension on my contract to inventory and figure out how to put the Emeryville datacentre into the cloud.
I came back from 4th of July to find out that Id been hired purely off the phone screen, with no face to face and they wanted me immediately.
Ive been out in Pleasanton since 2nd week of July.

The contract was to the end of Nov, but its been extended.
We are doing infrastructure upgrades for a company that runs digital safes.
Theres lots of work to do, so Im happy.
I dont know if they will convert us or not, but Im hopeful.
Even though we are temps, we get insurance. Not great plan, but adequate.

Scottish Games went well. By then I was well into the move.

Right before Halloween, it came time to take down the loft.
Much of it I was able to do alone, but there was some 8x10 timbers that were a challenge.
They went up in the mid 90s, with me, my dad, Lori from BayCon, her bf, and 1 of her sons.
This time I had me, a pile of 2-by planks and a garage jack.
I managed to get the 16footer down on top of a 4ft high rolling scaffold.
I got help the next night from Stanton and 2 guys from the bay next door to brute force it down the rest of the way.

The good news is that we didnt drop the 8x10 on my foot.
The bad news if that I knocked a pile of 2ft long 2x12s onto my foot from the scaffold.
It was painful to say the least. And my foot turned some amazing colors.

Dickens Fair workshops were a week off.
Scratch the intro to Victorian dance....

This is my 5th DCF coming up.
This was going to be the 1st time I made it to workshops.
Ive been getting a LOT of flack about missing workshops.
I ended up going both weekends and got a full card of workshops.

It was great to see Jeanie & Fred again and many other people.
I was on a cane 1st weekend. Limping severely 2nd weekend.
The son of an ex boss is in Fezziwigs this year.

Meanwhile, there has been a booth reorganization.
Lodema is in the same space but they shrunk her space.

The printshop has been moved to next to Cuthberts Tea Shoppe.
This is nice as we are part of Cuthberts Guild, which entitles us to free tea.
Its bed, because we lost our back room, where we did a lot of things that we hide from the public (Like using tools from 100 years future).
This back room was also a green room for a number of other cast members as well.

With 2 booths Im attached to being reconfigured and the end off the West Oak move, its been most eventful.

A couple weeks ago, I noticed that I had lost some horsepower on the car.
When it started getting cold at night, it became hard to run.
It started but after 30 secs, became hard to keep going.
Once it got warm, it ran OK, not great but OK.

Mechanics will tell you its impossible, but that car is running on 2 out of 4 cylinders!
I lost an alternator in early September, and the replacement was flaky.
It would be fine until the car got warm and then the alternator check lamp would light.
I suspect it had a marginal diode bridge, and couldnt get the mechanics to put a hor air gun on it to prove my point.
We changed the flaky one and it pretty much behaved.
The alternator check lamp would flicker for a few secs every few days, but other than that, it was OK.
Last week, I went to work early and the lights got left on. (Buzzer isnt working)
I got the car jumpstarted and right after, the check lamp went on solid and charging voltage dropped to 11 volts.
Ive been on foot since last Wed.

Its 2 miles from home to EC Plaza BART.
Its 2 mi from work to Dublin Pleasanton BART.
I can walk it, but in the morning, it would help if I could use SOME vehicle.
I dont have a working bike (Have several that need repair)
I tried using a Razor kick scooter that I found in the basement.

Home is 300ft higher than BART.
1st time last week, I melted part of the sole of my shoe because I rode the brake on the hill.
Ive since learned to stop every 50 yards to let the brake cool.
My legs are burning by the time I get to work (flat there) but it almost cuts my time in half.

Im able to scoot more than halfway home from BART.

This morning, I was running late.
Ive been riding in the street rather than sidewalk because the street is smoother.
When the car count started getting high, and I was pretty much on the flats, I switched to sidewalk.
A block later, I hit a bump in the sidewalk and took a spill.
Tore knee in my trousers, skinned a knee, Im pretty sure I did a full flip before I landed.

Now Im REALLY sore!

I think the tear in my trousers hurt more than the abraision in my knee.

Mechanic has the failed ignition module fixed.
Replaced leaky trans cooler line.
But his outside electrical consultant, cant figure out why I keep blowing alternators.
In the mean time, I have some evening shopping that MUST be done before opening day of CDF.
I have to pick up a hydraulic equipment mover before the end of the week.
I really DO want to go to EB Linux this week.

The Print Shoppe (Elite Printing) at Fair usually prints the shopping bags for Cuthberts Tea Shoppe.
It causes some havoc if we do it during Fair, so we had planned on doing it evenings this week.
Unless I get car back in time, we will have to finish the bags on opening day.

They dont call it "Hell Week" for NOTHING!

2015 July

2015-Aug-10, Monday 17:05
texxgadget: (Default)
Im no longer sure how many "friends" are still on LJ.
Its been a while since I was on here and I only see 2 still posting.

I guess last time i was on was around March just as Facebook project was wrapping up.
I really LOVED that place and i still miss it, BTW.

After that, I went into a 3 month contract to perm with Lyris, a digital marketing company.
The company is in Emeryville, but has a small strip mall office in the south bay where the data centre ops guys site.
What was cool was that I could spend half the week in EV.

What was not cool was that the team i was joining was dysfunctional with a capital D.
Nobody showed up till after 10:30 and the office didnt function before noon, and then took off for a 2 hr lunch.
They had been allowed to run wild for too long.
I used to be a "10:30" guy but Facebook broke me of that, making me an early morning person.
Id be given a project to do and told to work with the team lead who would push it out to the end of the day and then say it was too late, put it off another day and do it again.

I was told to install skype and work with the southbay guys when i was in EV, but they always said "Well work with you next time you are in the southbay"
Then WHY did I install skype in the FIRST PLACE?

I had a funny feeling about my prospective manager but it took it anyway, because i was trying to get out of "temping".
He had a habit of asking you if you had 2 minutes just as you were on the way out the door and then that went 2 hours.
One time, after an hour and a half, I mentioned that I was late for something and he had the GAUL to tell me
that I shouldnt be late. (HE was the reason i was going to be late!)

After almost 2 months, we were bought. I knew they were for sale.
The new company does EVERYTHING "in the cloud" and I mean EVERYTHING.
They have no offices, as the whole company works from their homes.
They have no datacentres, as everything is in Amazon Cloud.
Temp to perm conversions were on hold until after my contract was due to expire.
This meant I had no future there, so I knew it was time to work on an exit strategy.

I managed to eventually adjust my schedule to only spend Wednesday down there and managed to be more productive when in EV.
I loved the short commute and the ability to start days at 7am if I wanted to.

My 1st day, I was shown the EV machine room and the 40kw UPS was pointed out, that had an "issue" that we would need to eventually look at.
I think they went looking for the clean underwear dispenser when I looked at the UPS and told them that it was completely offline and probably had been for a while.
The entire battery string was shot.
I would later learn that 2 years ago someone tried to get batteries replaced only to be told that it was too expensive.

I had been there a month whjen the new battery string arrived.
My manager wanted APC to install them, but APC really didnt want to schedule field support just for that.
So, at 6am I installed 2 tons of batteries, and brought it back online.

It was interesting in that this was the 1st place that I interviewed with the CEO.
He was trying to turn the company around.
It would also be the first place where the CEO on Friday nights would call down from the mezzanine to get them up to play pool & drink beer.
I will miss that.

As acquisition time and the end of my contract approached my manager managed to get a 1 month extension for me, since someone needed to do a full server room audit and start planning the move to Amazon.
Meanwhile, bad news went out to the usual depts, HR, Legal, Finance that they were redundant and would be dropped at the end of the summer.

Then I heard that Marketing & QA were no longer needed. QA was totally automated, and they didnt market since they bought enough other companies to get new customer lists.
I also found out that because the database servers were so big and ran 24x7, that the Amazon cost would be higher than keeping the data centres we had.

I realized, they weren't buying us and had no intention of moving us to the cloud.
They were buying our customer base and the rest of us were expendable.
Then I KNEW I was doing the right thing in getting out.
Unfortunately, some people I cared about, didnt realize how bad it would get.

In the meantime...
I had realized that the reason the bike was running too lean might be that I was testing it without an air cleaner and I should try again.
The engine was frozen! It was time to stop fooling around and send it to the experts.
Most cycle shops wont rebuild an engine, but I found one who would. I had the bike shipped out
to a shop. It turns out it wasn't as severe as I thought, although parts for a 1983 Seca 900 are a bit scarce.
The project is progressing along slowly and I'm not in a hurry, as long as we keep moving forward.

The project that fizzled was acquiring an old communication site. It was hardened to take a 25 meg blast from 10 miles and had a HUGE tower, over 100ft high and 20ft square at the top.
He strung me along 5 or 6 years, before selling it to the park district, to be demolished for $20k less than i offered. My plans to get out of leases space are on hold.

In the mid 80s, my bud Doug & I got some industrial space out in West Oakland.
Doug died in 2003. In the early days, there were a few small companies there and a number of people illegally living there. Those spaces evolved into "live work". About 10 years ago, a number of "Burning Man" people started moving in and security of the neighborhood improved.
I loved popping by to work in my workshop or pich something up and encountering people spinning fire in the middle of Peralta in Oakland.

San Francisco is becoming increasingly residential. Oakland is starting down the same path.
Businesses are competing with residential for space. A number of real estate people have banded together to declare war on live work space because they view it as the 1st step of industrial turning into residential.
This spring The boom fell on the Bay Bridge Commercial Centre. They are emptying the building to gut the whole inside. While Im not live work, Im not commercial either, so i got swept out too.

From mid May to the end of the July 4 weekend, 1 pickup at a time, I moved 1000sqft out of 2nd floor with help from a friend.
I found a warehouse cage. I cant live there, no power to work, but it is space I can store and I can consolidate and finally sort.

The move out was sad & bittersweet. The neighborhood was spread to the 4 winds.

A lot of giveaways happened.
I got some cool stuff and I gave away some stuff.
I remember what Steve said about Starport closing down, and that it was fun watching where stuff went rather that just dumping it.
I didnt have time to sort much, but it was nice to give some stuff away.
I gave away a bunch of dark room supplies, paper, chemicals etc.
I got a Shark steam mop and an espresso machine.
I will be disposing of more from the new location.
I already sent a pickup of Old TVs & Radios to the radio museum in Alameda.
Im working on a bunch of stuff for the Computer History Museum.

Im also coming to grips with the number of projects that are not going to happen, and the futility of saving material for said projects.
I think Im looking at a bit over half a ton of steel alone.

Ive just got word that they are now emptying the back of the building except the mechanic back there.
This means another almost 1000sqft but this time its drive up to the door.
Im still working on lining up help for this one.
With these 2 consolidated into 1 cage, Ill be getting a better price per sqft.
After that, Ill start working on bringing the public storage lockers in and further decreasing my costs.

The large cage I need wont be ready for a couple more weeks, so the upstairs unit is in 2 smaller cages that will be consolidated into the big cage when its ready.
The move out of the lower back unit in WO will also require staging in smaller cages before final consolidation.

Back in June, "LD" graduated and headed back to Mich.
LD (Little Dave) was taken in by his grandparents when his Mom was about to hand him off to social services.
His grandparents are Lodemas downstairs tenants. Hes headed for a vocational school (boarding) that specializes
in kids like him. Im praying that he will make it. His mom made a mess of him, and he only made marginal progress in the 4 years he was out here.
I turned out in "Highland Black Tie" for the occasion and dinner after.
This is only the 2nd time Ive done full Highland black tie.

I dont think Im more active than i was before, but Ive lost weight, like 30 lbs since Jan.
Im down at least 1 trouser size (Having trouble keeping kilt pulled up)
I went from 190 to 160, but I think Im up to 165 again.

In the meantime, I have several projects to do in time for Dickens Fair, Scottish games, Pacificon as well.

Last time at Wierd Stuff, I noticed several pieces of AV equipment previously owned by Further Confusion which surprised me.

Months back, maybe a year ago, I drove by the old Starport, noticed new people moving in.
I know that Steve finally sold the house, so I guess those were the new people.

More later.

2015 March

2015-Jun-11, Thursday 11:04
texxgadget: (Default)
Its been crazy lately. More than usual.

I moss the old "spiral notepad style on LJ.
I really liked it and I dont like any of the replacement styles.

The Facebook project wrapped up at the end of Feb.
I am still mourning the end of that gig.

By late Mar I was in Emeryville with a competitor to Responsys.
The learning curve for the infrastructure was much easier even though both are in the same digital marketing niche.
Its the only time I had to interview with the CEO It was a 3 month contract to perm, and I had a funny feeling that something was slightly amiss.
I would eventually find out I was right.

At the start of April, Steve who I worked with at Responsys, had a barbecue and invited Peter who started at Responsys just before I left and me.
3 of us left our group over a period of 5 weeks.
Apparently my old manager started micromanaging Peter as soon as I was out of there and after a year they were close to replacing me and Peter was hoping my old boss would concentrate on micromanaging the new guy, leaving Peter alone.

I spend part off the week in Santa Clara at a small satellite office where we manage data centre operations out of and the rest of the week in Emeryville HQ.
I love the short EV commute.

For the last couple years I was involved in the attempt to purchase a communications site.
2000sqft building with tower and generator built to take a 25meg nuke at 10 miles.
Unfortunately, the guy was just yanking my chain for several years and totally wasted my time.
The building was big enough it would have replaced all my rented storage and given me space to do microwave radio and still rent out some tower and rack space.

At this point, I really need to find an industrial building somewhere, use that for storage & workshop and rent out the rest to "Burning Man" type projects.

Im back in jobsearch mode because the company Im on temp to perm with has been bought, and all conversions are on hold and the plan is to close the office and what few people retained will work from home.
Being a temp, Im not in a secure place.

At the same time, the space Ive been renting for 25 years in West Oakland, has been sold and they are emptying the front part of the building.
They are converting the front from industrial to office.
My space upstairs is on the front and I have to be out by the end of the month.
Im OK on the downstairs unit in the back for now.
The new space is enough to absorb both West Oakland units for less money, So once out of the upstairs, Ill pull out of the downstairs too.
I work in the day time and every night get 1 truckload out a night.
It takes 3 hrs to load a pickup load with the stairs and all, but only 1 hr to unload at the new place.
Bummer is the new place is storage only, with no power to be workshop too.

Ill miss all the "Burners" in the building who are mostly live-work people who are also getting the boot.

I remember the dismantling of "Grand Central Starport" and how Steve commented about the fun of giving stuff away.
I gave away a whole bunch of darkroom supplies that were nearing expiration.
The rolls of roofing felt are going to the Marin Radio Club tio fix their roof.
And the list continues.
Steves posting of the lyrics of "Bigger on the Inside" brought back bittersweet memories.

There is an awful lot of sorting that will have to be done at the new place.
Over the last few years I intended to sort through some stuff thats been there 20 years, but there wasnt room.
The new place will have sorting space.
Ive still got stuff from Dougs house that needs to be sorted through.

The CA Historical Radio museum got a half dozen TVs from late 50s.
Most Will be projects for members, with the only real display piece being the Capehart.
As I moved it, I would the adapter to my electric impact wrench that Ive been looking for for over 25 years!

Im trying to get the Computer History Museum to take a pair of "Intecolor" color workstation from the early 80s.
There is more that is getting moved to the new place but eventually needs to go to the museum.

A couple Zilog machines from the Starport that a friend wanted to shoot photos of will surface soon and get a thorough cleaning before
heading to CHM.

Towards the end of the Facebook project in late Feb, I was close to 190 lbs.
This morning I was just under 165.
Most of that loss has been in the last month.

The new place is oriented towards forklift pallets.
The cages are supported with pallet rack and there is free use of forklift.
This speeds unloading of the truck if i keep scavenging forklift pallets.
I found 4 last night and used 2.

I also ran out of propane in the doorway of my unit.
We used a chain and put the lift in N and pulled it back down to its parking place when we left for the night.
I got home at 2am.

Know anyone who wants a SUN 3/50 ?
I have several aof them, free to good home and Ill help gett them working.
CHM is maxed out on Sun 3/50s.

I found a huge stash of 2in wide magnetic tape, again free to a good home if you know anyone who wants it.


2015-Mar-08, Sunday 18:56
texxgadget: (Default)
Lots has happened since my last post.
Im not sure where to start.

I spent more time at the print shoppe at Dickens than I did working for Lodema.

Her downstairs tenants worked in her shop part of the time,
and their grandson "LD" worked for another vendor. "LD" has some issues.
He came out from Mich in Mar 2011 to live with his grandparents.
"Mommy dearest (whom Ive never met) seems like a real "prize".
Hes gotten fired a couple times from vendors at the fairs since.
He really managed to do a number on himself this time.
I dont know anyone whos managed to get a lifetime ban from Dickens.

We had a number of production problems at the print shop that were finally remedied
3rd weekend by throwing a number of tubes of ink in the trash.

I learned a little about printing in Jr High print shop.
I am relearning a lot and Im learning some that I was never taught before.
Last year, I REALLY good good at justifying type and shimming it to lock tight.
This year was all about setting the registration pins that hold the stock as the impression
is made.

I got a little too full of myself telling our proprietress that Id been cleaning
presses for her for 5 years in a white shirt with no mishap.
Thats when my cuff brushed the ink plate. (ARGH!!!)

3 times this season, I managed to eyeball the positioning of the reg pins within a fraction of a point.
"Hey Sharon, take a look at this proof and tell me how far off you think it is?"
Sharon grabbed a line gauge.
"You are DAMN close, Id say about a quarter of a point. If you keep doing this Im going to have to kill you!"
A point is 1/72 in so half a point is 1/144 inch and a quarter is 1/288 of an inch.
I got to a fraction of a point, by eye, 1st try about 3 or 4 times.

1st weekend, you may remember part of my kilt went between the drive dears on the small press and needed repair.
Sunday night, I went to the only people who could help, "Holtzer & Combes" one of the clothing shoppes.
I brought my long coat and left my kilt with one of her seamstresses.
I got back to Lodemas booth only to find out we were heading to dinner after, so here I am in a long coat looking like "Uncle Harry the flasher" and I gotta go to dinner.
I was able to borrow a pair of trousers.

Friday of Thanksgiving weekend was 2nd weekend and my kilt was repaired.
The hem on the kilt was about 3in and the damage was confined to the hem,
so Yuli opened the hem, inserted some fusible fabric on each side of a strip of black twill,
closed the hem again and the damage barely shows.

I was originally planning on steering the work to Jeanie, but Freds remaining parent had died
and they were busy with estate stuff.

I had been driving down to Menlo Park from near El Cerrito, daily to work.
I needed car work done in Sept and tried the company shuttle.
This meant leaving the house on foot at 5am, walking 2 mi to El Cerrito Plaza BART,
riding BART to Ashby and transferring to the company shuttle.
This had me on the shuttle a few mins after 6 and on wifi.
Soon, I realized I could close several trouble tickets before getting to work.
I was hooked. After the end of Sept, I only drove a couple more times.
Once I had the car, I could drive to BART at 530 which meant that if I had everything
laid out the night before, I didnt have to get up till 5.

The net result is that I have become one of those morning people I used to despise.
The guys from the morning radio net I used to talk on during my commute have been wondering where I went.

Im going to leave it here for now.
texxgadget: (Default)
Its been a weird week even by my standards.
I was doing so well at staving off the Seasonal Attitude Depression (SAD) until this afternoon.
It his me late this afternoon, hard.
This one is a crushing one.

This week theyve had a veggie scramble that I love at breakfast.
Besides the eggs, there olives, mushroom, pepper, onion and lots more.
The "Crazy Dana Truckstop" potatoes are back, cayenne seasoning and all.
As usuall, tall glass fresh squashed OJ.
Suddenly last week, I developed a craving for pineapple and grapefruit.
Breakfast has been heavy lately.
Strong sudden cravings are usually the body telling you that its short of some mineral.

I was better prepared this time with my outfit inb a garment bag.
Since I added the long wool coat to the outfit, I needed a long garment bag.
I couldnt find a long one so everything went in the short one I had and the coat was rolled up in the duffle.
My overnight bag was better organized, with a laundry bag, clean clothes bag for each day etc.

They photographed me so that next years costume approval will be fast tracked.
Fair opened with no warning so many of us werent quite ready when the thongs arrived.
We were still loading type cases into cabinets.

The presses in the print shop had been rained on.
It took a while to get the flash rust buffed off.
We got orders from several cast members for cards and some booths for handbills.
We got the 1st order typeset when we realized the chases were back at Sharons place.
Her 30 mi round trip lasted 4.5 hrs because she injured a knee loading the truck.
We got the call when she arrived back at Cow Palace upper parking lot.
Except handicap parking, there is no lower parking this year.

We got registration set for the 1st card order and decided to print on Sunday.
It was late.
I joked about cleaning presses for 4 years in a white shirt and staying clean and then I got ink on the shirt.

Since LS is now 18, I took him to his 1st French Postcards Revue.

Sunday, I realized I had fringe on my kilt in the wrong place.
Saturday, my kilt hem on 1 side had gone through the press gears without me knowing about it.
At the end of the day, I was going to drop off the kilt at the Lyn Combes and have Jeanie make repairs this week and wear the overcoat "Flasher Style" back to Lodemas.
Then it was decided we would go to dinner on the way home. I had to borrow trousers.
Monday morning, I went from Lodemas to Castro Valley and caught the work shuttle.
I would drive home Monday night.

To be continued...

2014 DCF approaches

2014-Nov-20, Thursday 18:59
texxgadget: (Default)
Its hard to believe, but its that time of year again.
Tomorrow, Mr HG Wells will be popping by with his time machine and we will again
be off exploring mid 1800s London.

First weekend, Ill be working with the printers, doing foot powered letter press.

My spirits are up, so far.
This is the part of the year I dislike intensely.
It was suggested that I lay out in the sun at lunch and soak up as much sun as possible during the shortening of days.
So far its working.
Since Im arriving a bit after 7 in the morning at work, and leaving on the 1730, 1810 or 1920 shuttle,
I do have time for a long lunch.
I can sense when its 2pm and time to return to my desk.
Its funny when I sit up and realize that a group on tour of the campus has been shooting my pic.
They are almost embarrassed to be caught shooting my pic, but I think its funny.

Youve been waiting to hear this for a while, but Ive had to simplify meals to keep weight down.
The food is fabulous and abundant, and thats just the problem.
In early Aug I was finally down to 170. Id love to get under 165 and stay. Now Im fighting to stay under 190.
Going into winter makes it worse as the body is programmed to lay on a few during winter.

To avoid gaining too much weight, Im tending toward the sandwich bar rather than some of the other fabulous fares.
Lunch for me is usually a tuna on rye with some cheeses and a lemonade.
Today, mushroom & gorgonzola risotto was too much to pass up.
Because it was raining, they didnt have lemonade, so I had a cherry coke.

Breakfast is usually scrambled eggs with salsa, 1 chicken sausage patty and a tall glass of fresh squeezed OJ.
Sometimes oatmeal with fruit.

The 1 exception is the Wed special at the burger shack. They stuff the patties with onion, blue cheese & soracha.
The buns are plain and you add your own condiments.
I choose grilled onion & grilled mushrooms, and top it off with a shake.
Ive given up the fries & onion rings, for beltline reasons.

Ive been exchanging email with someone in the company radio club and it turns out we sit 100ft apart.
Were going to formally meet and do lunch tomorrow.
My 3rd week here, I ran into someone Ive been talking to on the radio a few years.
And 2 weeks ago, I ran into an old friend from my SGI days.
Its funny how things like that work out.

On 4th of July, I found someone Ive been looking for 30 years.
Someone else, Brian, Ive been searching for almost 15 years, I found last week online.

Hes just digging himself out of a tough patch, and hes accomplished so much in the last year.
Im thrilled for him that hes been able to turn things around.

Back to Dickens Faire ( http://www.dickensfair.com )
Im mostly packed. Still need to do laundry for street clothes.

My white shirt for the fair needs washing.
It was clean when I put it in the closet in Jan, but I guess its just dust that has made it look yellow.

Ive been wearing a dummy sgian dhub in my sock but this year Ill be wearing live steel.
I wasnt sure about fair rules when I got it and I dint get a real one till last year.

While I now have a formal argyle jacket, it looks a tad formal for a "working gent", so Ill leave it home.
I got a long black wool coat at Scottish games and Ill use that at fair.
When Im in the shoppe, Ill be in waistcoat (vest), but for deliveries to businesses in old London,
Ill bundle up in the long coat.

Ive switched from my 1st sporran which was rather dressy to a plain black leather one.
Its really more apropos anyway for the era.
I didnt have time to deal with the cobbler, so Im holding the shoes together with barge cement for now.

On the next 5 weekends of Fair, Il be based out of Hayward.
Since Im going to work on a shuttle, Ill leave the house at 530 by car and park at the shuttle stop in Castro Valley and ride that shuttle to and from work Friday & Monday.
Then friday night, Ill only be a couple miles from Lodemas and on Monday morning Ill go from
Lodemas to the shuttle and then drive home Monday night from the shuttle stop.

Ive packed plenty of teabags, and Ill have my Lodema mug there, so Ill look proper.
When I was working on her shop 2 years ago, she almost clobbered me for using a stainless mug in her pottery shop.
I have learned that lesson the hard way.

Undoubtedly, Ive forgotten SOMETHING. I never get it perfect.
Now if I can keep getting sun to stave off SAD, and keep my mind off holidays with DCF & work,
I just might make it through another holiday.

I will see a number of the old Starport gang. Certainly Ross, Freyja, and others.

For a while, the Dickens Fair was using the old Oakland Fox theatre. It had been partially stripped.
Now its been totally restored and one of its main tenants is the Oakland HS for performing arts.
Beside the HS, they have other events a few a week.
Ill have to find something to go to so I can see it again, this time in restored shape.
A lot of the old movie palaces included a block of office space, retail etc.
As i ride the shuttle home, I see the Oakland Fox lit brilliantly, open again for the 1st time in 50 years.
Its a thrill to see it live again.

2014 Halloween

2014-Nov-04, Tuesday 09:52
texxgadget: (Default)
Earlier in the week, I took the last bus so I could catch the last movie night of the year.
It was a double feature of Disneys "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Room on the Broom"
I hadnt seen "Sleepy Hollow" in over 40 years.
I had forgotten the amount of music and Bing Crosby in it.

I had also never realized that Ichabod Crane was a "schnorer".
You probably remember that word coming up in "Hooray For Captain Spaulding..."
The word schnorer is a Yiddish word for a man who marries a woman for her money.
Yiddish is an amazing language for its vocabulary for complicated relationships between people.

Ive been threatening for a couple years to get a set of goggles, a long sleeve yellow shirt and a set of overalls and go to work as a "minion".
After all, its what I do anyway.
I couldnt find a set of goggles that were a close enough match that didnt look like crap.
I ALMOST gave up on halloween, AGAIN. (Cue: Scary music)
I havent dressed for Halloween in years.
My present client is pretty open minded, YES! I KNOW what Ill do THIS YEAR! (Cue: music hits crescendo)

At 4 am, Halloween morning, I was hand setting the pleats in my great kilt on the kitchen floor.
I cant remember trying to drive in a great kilt.
It was only 2 miles to BART but its wasnt fun with all the fabric behind me, pushing me to the edge of my seat.
Keeping a straight face as I walked into the BART, great kilt, old style sporran, sgian dubh tucked in my hose (live steel!), etc was hard.
I just marched from the car, into the station up to the platform and realized that there were seats, but I would stand for the 3 station trip.

The Giants parade and the foul weather caused many to either not come in or if they did, costume plans were scrubbed.
I did sit on the shuttle uncomfortably, but I got work done.
Being Friday, and many off the road because they were going to take BART to the parade in SF, we made Ashby Bart to Menlo Dark in an hour.
We got to work before breakfast was really ready.
It wasnt raining, yet.
The oat meal & fruit bar were ready even though the main serving line wasnt.
I was dressed as a Scot from the 1600s, why NOT?

The great kilt, one sets pleats by hand, slides a belt under and rolls up in it.
when you stand up, it goes from knees to belt to ankle again.
You grab a handful from the back, bring it up over your left shoulder and tie the end to your belt with a thong.
Next you gather the rest and tuck in in behind the sash you now have.
This gives you a built in backpack and unfolded it also becomes a built in cape.
This despite that fact that I had a real backpack hidden in the folds.

Meanwhile back at breakfast...
I decided to make the most of it.
There I was sitting at one of the gas fired firepits in front of the cafe, eating oatmeal & fruit, banging away on my laptop and taking calls on the cell.
If the history police had been there, they would have had a fit.
Its a bummer I dont have a pic of it.
Its was truly a mind tweak.

I stayed out there until it was time for the staph meeting.
They usually have a pot of Vietnamese iced coffee there.
I hauled out my 32 oz (we measured it) tankard I got at Scottish Games this year.
Silly me, I didnt read.
I ended up with 32oz of thai iced tea instead.
Its not bad but it was a surprise.
Its basically iced green tea with sweetened condensed milk added.

Into the meeting I marched (I really did march), just as the guys in europe & asia came up on the teleconferencing system.
A few people were already there with little paper cups of coffee and I park that monster tankard on the table, again trying to keep a straight face.
More minds were whisked off into wonderland.

Actually, the Indians loved the outfit more than anyone.
My manager really loved it.
Many people wanted to have their pic taken with me, including the incredible hulk.
That was after the hulk posed for someone else with the kids playhouse on the central openspace
(the one next to the yellow brick road and the witches feet sticking out from under)

I should add that maintenance found a doll that looks remarkably like Dorothy (braids & all) and
attached her so shes always looking out the window of the playhouse.
That was the week after the giant spider web with the 4ft dia fuzzy spider was hung from the B16 - B17 troll bridge.

During the middle of the day it rained and at lunch, I used the "cape" feature of the kilt.

There was a group or rather bunch dressed as bananas.
During a brief break in the rain, they ran the quarter mile path down the middle of the open space.
They were being chased by a gorilla.

I cranked my desk up all the way and worked standing all day.
I wish Id been able to borrow a 45" claymore, but then again, the weight might have been an issue anyway.

By the end of the day, I was wiped and I was in bed before 9PM.
texxgadget: (Default)
I got the car back at the end of the weekend.
In the meantime, my schedule has me adjusted that I still drive but only as far as BART.
Then from Ashby, I catch the 630 shuttle.

Well, Wed & Thursday, we had 0700 meetings so I drove.
Hit the road at 6am and make it 40 miles by 7 right?


6am departure got me to the meeting at 745.
Thursday, I left earlier, figuring that 530 should get me there.


The accident at A st made a mess but then I heard about the stall on Dumbarton, so I made the mistake of trying to shortcut over Hayward bridge.
Travel time 3 hours...

Todays meeting was 0830, So I was back to the shuttle.
There was a catch, we were to watch a youtube vid and be ready to discuss it.
One of the admirals gave commencement at U of Texas and this was a vid of it.
Truth be told, I loved all 20 mins of it. He let us in on a few terms used in the navy seals. Its going to change our vocabulary, Im sure.

Its true, "Im a sugar cookie" today.

The modern office fad is "open seating". This means no cubes. I expect it also means spreading of more germs but we will see. Everyone has a desk with motorized height control.
They encourage us to stand part of the day for our health.

The group of desks I sit in, all but 2 of us are graduates of various military academies.
The guy next to me didnt go to a military academy per se, we went to the merchant marine academy. After a conversation about propulsion systems, they are batting around the possibility that I might be ex merchant marine too and unwilling to admit it.

Im happy in my routine, tuna on rye with a bit of cheese and tall lemonade for lunch and then 45min lie out in the sun. The other day I sat up just as a group of asian businessmen were snapping pics of me enjoying the sun. I did vary from tuna a few times. The wed special with the blue cheese stuffed hamburger pattie and a chocolate shake, the barbecue shack had barbecue meat loaf 1 day and I HAD to try THAT, with a side of baked mac & cheese.
Today, chicken cordon bleu and I HAD to try THAT, with a side of garlic shrimp in cream sauce.

This week, they have had an egg white scramble with spinach, onions, peppers, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and a few other things. I top that off with fresh OJ and then prepare a mocha for the trip back to my building.

Infra lockdown is still in progress. The emphasis is to get the work queues caught up.
My queue has slipped from 20 to 40 and just as I left tonight, it broke 100! (WTF?)
Anyway 1 night a week, in addition to the usual dinner service, they have tried to make it fun with gourmet food trucks in the main square, music, lots of umbrella tables and beer.
The yellow jumpsuits and the "Breaking Bad" theme added to the party atmosphere with people closing trouble tickets on laptops in the ensuing chaos. I popped through, got a beer but kept going to the main cafe because they had mac & cheese and I was "in the mood".

On the weekend, Dad & I went to an ATOS meeting up at Clear Lake. Bert has a NICE electronic theatre organ in his home on the lake. Its ALMOST good enough to fool my ears into thinking real pipes. They guys were razzing me because Dad drove. He turned 80 last week. I had to tell them that hes in better shape and hes a better driver at 80 than I am in my 50s.

I keep telling myself that Ill nap on the shuttle, but I end up logging in and working.
I think thats part of the plot...

The campus is 2 rows of buildings with 1 across the cap at each end. The path the long was is 1/4 mi. Its lined with sycamore trees, benches, bike racks, grassy areas, a large open square for events with a jumbo tron, and another square between one of the large cafes and the barbecue shack. Along the way are glass overhead garage doors that allow labs to open into the open space. There are shops along the way, in addition. There s a barber/beauty shop, bike repair, transit info hub several walk up it helpdesks (no helpdesk tickets, you just tap your id card and the ticket generates automatically) 1 walkup cellphone helpdesk, 2 large cafes, burger shack, barbecue shack, noodle cafe, mexican cafe, sushi cafe, ice cream & cookie shop, pizza shop, sitdown coffee house, burito & nachos shop, band rehearsal studio,
and the list goes on. At night some of the places have neon. In the middle of the day, everyone is out and about or banging along on their laptop out in the fresh air and the place has the vibe of an amusement park.

We call ourselves internally "The Hacker Company". And one of the old timers let the cat out of the bag. When they overhauled the campus, they hired the Disney Co to do the design.

Im continuing to discover new things daily and it makes things fun.
Several buildings fly the jolly roger.

Fun posters:

Think Wrong

A mind is like a parachute, it only works when its open

Move fast & break things

Fortune favors the bold

And the list goes on.

This week a giant spider web appeared on the side of the bridge between 16 & 17 with a huge hairy spider. I need to shoot a pic of it next week when the moon is full. The web is woven out of 3/8 cotton cord.

Ive been following the whole Facebook debacle with amusement.
Some points that I have not heard brought up:
Why would ANYONE who did not want their birth name made public go out on a social networking site at all?
Considering that Lexus Nexus was able to do for the Whitehouse what the CIA couldnt,
am I the only one seeing govt sponsored intelligence gathering agencies as on the way out?

The future of intelligence is in free sites on the net. You dont have to gather information, just be prepared to catch it when it is THROWN at you. And people will gladly tell do it.
Things that people would be horrified to find the government researching about them, people are willing to prattle it off on the net.

Hey look at me blathering on....

Its a gold mine, Yahoo, Google, Facebook and all the rest wouldnt be out there if it wasnt.

My stop is coming up, I gtg.

End of the week.

2014-Sep-26, Friday 20:17
texxgadget: (Default)
I tend to giggle at the people who take social networking so seriously that they post pics of their meals.
Im in grave danger of becoming one of them.

Im on the last shuttle of the night to Berkeley.
I had a beer at happy hour before boarding.
The coach has wifi.

The last 2 days have been "infrastructure lockdown".
This means groups leave their usual areas, find some space like a conference room or something and kind of camp out together and clean up work queues.

3 in out group now ride the same shuttle and we start doing our thing just after 6 when we board the coach and the wifi comes up.
Some of the seatc face each other with table between.
This is helpful.
2 of us have the whole coach to ourselves tonight.
I feel like Onassis. (smirk)

Normally my edge network server queue sits around 2 dozen tickets.
Thursday AM I logged in to find it near 60.
Yesterday was hard. This afternoon, a conversation with Bulgaria sorted out a problem in Cairo (Well Giza actually) thats been bugging me for 2 weeks.

When I started, I tried all the food options.
Over the last week Ive settled on a good old tuna on rye, with a side of cheese and either sweet ice tea or lemonade.
After busing dishes, I get a sweet ice coffee, go out in the quad, and lay in the sun on a redwood bench for a half hour.
With headphones and 90 minutes of "The Ventures" loaded on the company supplied Android phone,
I just about float back to my desk. It puts the re in recharge.

Something is happening inside me, I dont know what, but it is.
Ive ALMOST become a "morning person" (Perish the thought!)

Wednesdays, I hit the burger shack.
The Wed special is a burger with a patty stuffed with bleu cheese & soroicha sauce.
Its amazing.

A few weeks ago, the Schoenstein Organ Co had its annual open house.
While they only made Theatre organs for about 15 years, classical & church organs have been made for centuries and are still made.
Schoenstein is the last pipe organ factory in the bay area.
After over 100 years, the company almost died, was rescued, left San Francisco for Benicia, and has gotten into markets its never been able to enter before.
The New York City church market is very hard to get into, and Schoenstein finally did.

They usually have at least 2 organs on the erection floor, and they have open keyboard, & refreshments. You can listen to people play, sip a soda and wander among the power tools.
Its a hoot!

The Schoenstein family turned a room into an archives/museum.
Among other things, they have samples of old parts.

They also unearthed some ancient office equipment that had been packed away since the factory left San Francisco.
Funny thing, I have a few boxes of stuff like that too.
What am I ever going to do with a belt type Dictaphone ?
My offer was accepted, so next open house, Im going bearing gifts!

I realized that this week Im walking down the street in t shirt & jeans, leaving the hoodie in backpack and Im comfortable at 5am.

Sherlock Holmes made the "Inverness" cape famous.
Thats going on is that this is a sleeveless long coat, which then has a short cape at the top to keep your shoulders warm, block heat from escaping up the neck and covers your arms.
Normally, you would wear the inverness cape over your proper jacket anyway.
I have a nylon one from a bagpipe band supply.

Thursday morning, we had what was promised to be a light drizzle, less than a tenth.
It was poring at 5 am when I left the house.
I tested the inverness cape. It worked better than expected.
I did wear the hoodie under it. Being sleveless, I flipped up the cape, put on the backpack and had the cape protect the backpack.
Other than arriving at BART with wet feet, I was fine.

After this, I would argue that the inverness cape is far more relevant that the theatrical niche it presently occupies.

At Scottish games, there is a vendor who sells coats of various types.
I should have stopped in on Sat because Sunday selection was down.
I did get a long coat, perfect for Dickens Faire thats a bit large for me.
Lynne Combes was in the next booth over and pointed out that 2 coats for $25, I couldnt go wrong.
Maybe Ill have it tailored, maybe Ill keep it big. I also got a modern Calvin Klein jacket as part of the deal and that one fits perfectly now.

The only bad thing is that both feet hurt at all the joints.
I love the walking Im doing despite the pain.

As promised, the orange juicer...

The problem is how to make LOTS of fresh squeezed OJ for several thousand people every morning and make it fast.
Rube Goldberg would have loved this machine (Google Rube Goldberg)
Oranges are dumped into the wire basket at the top a case at a time.
A rotating arm sweeps oranges into a wire chute.
The oranges come down the chute and drop into a recess on a wheel.
Another wheel with arms with bals on the end mesh with the recesses on the centre wheel.
The result is 1 orange completely juiced per second.
Very coarse pulp gets caught in a strainer that self cleans.
The juiced orange rhinds drop into a compost bin.
The juice still ends up pretty high pulp.
I have 2 tall glasses every morning.
Dunno what those machines cost, but Im certain they are worth every penny.

Wow, I posted twice in a week!

Autumn equinox

2014-Sep-24, Wednesday 12:13
texxgadget: (Default)
Hopefully Flower Cat still follows my posts.
Later on in this post will be something more interesting to her than my previous postings.

In Early August I came out at the top on a gig with a government contractor.
The pay rate was a tad low, but they wanted someone to start late in the morning and into evening.
Its what I know as a "stagger shift".
This was good except that I couldnt start until the clearance was done.

I went through this with the same end government agency once before, but with a different gov contractor.
It took forever, and I passed up a really good contract for this because it was a year and a half long. After 2 months, they had to refile my papers because the paperwork changed.
After the 2nd refiling, I was not out of work 6 months and it wasnt done and I started looking elsewhere.
The gig a few years ago at the US Forest service wasnt so bad because they let me start before the clearance was complete.

This time, they assured me it would be less than 2 weeks. I told them that i would continue looking and if the clearance went over 2 weeks, and something else came up, I would take it.
Sure enough, it took over 2 weeks and something much better popped up.
Back to this in a few.

Meanwhile Marin Double Century bike ride and Holstein Hundred bike ride both took place.
I worked for Lodema at the Scottish Games and took a shift in my clan tent as well.

Good kilt hose (long socks) can get close to $100 a pair.
Ive gotten a couple pairs of budget kilt hose only to find out it was just long athletic socks.
This time I got 1 pair of nice hose, the last pair they had that fit me, and some good advice on finishing off my outfit.

I also found a nice cast tankard, safe alloy and 32oz capacity.

Ive been working on banishing a negative "thing".
I refuse to dignify it with a name.
Its a negative entity and thats all I will use to describe it.
Its nasty enough that it scares some people who would be best described as "witches".
It doesnt scare me, but I tired of it hanging around, so Im going to make it go away, if I cant make it disintegrate.

Please enjoy this (extra points if you can identify it) :

"The Sunrise"

"I seek refuge in the Lord of daybreak
From the evil of that which He created
And from the evil of darkness when it settles
And from the evil of the blowers in knots
And from the evil of an envier when he envies."

Soothsayers in the past would tie a know loosely, place a curse on someone,
and then spit into the middle of the knot before drawing it tight to "commit" the curse.
It had also been translated "the spitters of knots"

One of my "science faire projects" is progressing along.
"Little David" is grandson of Lodemas downstairs tenants.
"LD" was taken in by his grand parents almost 4 years ago.
When he first came, I wasnt sure hed live to 18.
I actually think hes going to make it.
Hes got a hard painful path ahead, but I think hes going to make it.
Sometimes you get dealt a rotten hand when you are born as he was,
but if you get a rotten hand, the resources are all there to fix what went wrong.
The trick is to utilize those resources correctly.

I have landed a nice contract. They take good care of us.
They work us hard, but they take good care of us.
They feed us 3 meals a day, provide shuttle service etc.
I know the campus from its previous occupant.
The path down the middle is 1/4 mi long.
There are funny things out there is you look for them.
The word "HACK" is set into the concrete in the main quad.
It appears again on one of the cross paths.
There is a childs play house in the middle of one of the lawns.
The kids visiting their parents dont notice the feet sticking out from under it, with ruby slippers, nor do they notice the yellow brick path next to it.

I am definitely not in Kansas anymore...

The car conked out in Menlo Park a few days ago.
Right in front of "Penseys" which Flower Cat has spoken of often.
It took 3 hrs for the tow truck to get me, and in the meantime, I had a chat with some LDS missionaries who were "working the street".
I think they were blown away at my knowledge of multiple holy books.
It was a great way to kill time, and besides, they were sooo CUTE!

This morning started with a phone call from HP in Sofia Bulgaria at 4am.
I had to be up then anyway so it was cool.
I left the house on foot at 5:15 for the BART.
I rode 3 stations down and then connected with the shuttle.
At 6am I was checking the morning report and by the time we departed at 6:25 I was already
diagnosing failures.
I closed 4 trouble tickets before I arrived at work.

Breakfast for me was:
1 chicken sausage patty, scrambled eggs with salsa & cheese, a waffle with blackberry compote, and a tall glass of fresh squeezed OJ.
I enjoyed it at the edge of a gas fired fire pit as I scheduled field service people in europe.

In another post Ill talk about the orange juicer.
Its an amazing machine.

I started out trying out many of the food options, but Im gravitating towards a tuna sandwich on rye and a glass of lemonade.
The hardest thing is not gaining weight.

If Im not on the shuttle, I do dinner here.
I usually opt for something like chilli or something.

Ill post more later.
texxgadget: (Default)
July 4th at Cerrito Vista Park in El Cerrito went well.
We did a live broadcast over KECG FM (The station I helped build in HS)
We took a feed off the main mix board and fed it to the studio back haul transmitter.
I brought a portable 25ft radio tower to support the antenna back to the school and
we were ready.

We will do it again in Sept for the Solano Stroll in Albany.

The highlight was being reunited with some one Ive been searching for over 20 years.
Jim & his bro were a couple years behind me in primary school and in middle & HS
we were in the same scout troop.
We filled each other in on everything thats happened since 1980.
Turns out he married the sister of one of the co producers of the event 3 years ago.
He was backstage the last 2 years too but if he hadnt worn the McCAulay Foundry tshirt
I wouldnt have placed him.

Marin Double Century (200 mi) bike ride went well.
The Holstein Hundred is this weekend (100 Mi).
Things are busy.

This week I finished reinstalling the carbs in the bike.
I was about to connect the test fuel tank (Need to work on the main one) when I realized,
it had been so long since I test fired the engine, it was stuck.

This means I need to drop the engine and tear it down from the top down.
Its probably stuck piston rings.
Considering its age, the bottom end (crank shaft & bearings) need to be checked.
Im am NOT equipped to do a bottom end job.

Its time to quit screwing around and either get rid of it or hire an overhaul.
Its going to run me a couple grand, but being a classic, Im going to send it out.
Ill do that just as soon as I find a shop willing to do the job....
Most shops equipped to do engine lower end jobs are reluctant to take on a 30 yr old
bike engine. SIGH

Back in June I was dreading the smogging of the car. It didnt turn out so bad.
A year and a half ago, the engine was running very rough and I was unable to get the
car home.
I spent the night in the parking area of a gas station in Union City in temperatures
below 40f.
I was certain I was not running on all cylinders, but the mechanic was convinced I
needed a fuel pump and new fuel line.
I paid $150 for a pump I didnt need and he assured me it was running on all cyls.
He swore that a 4 cyl engine wont run at all if any cyl is out.
I got the car in to work (barely running) and when the traffic was clear,
I left early and made a run for my home mechanic.
Sure enough, I had a dead cyl.
That jerk in Union City by not checking that cyl caused me to log close to 200 mi
on an engine with a dead cyl.
That means I was pumping gas vapor down the exhaust and poisoning the cat converter.
After that you could smell that the car had a bad cat.
I had just replaced it for the previous smog ($400).
I wish there was a way to cause him trouble on his smog license because his stupidity
CAUSED MORE SMOG when his job is to eliminate it.

The previous smog turned up a dubious EGR valve that just barely passed.
Id been unable to find a replacement for it because I had no way to test a used one
and the parts houses kept shipping me one that wouldnt fit.
I also became aware of a possible exhaust leak.
I had a muffler shop replace the bad section of line, replace the cat.
While they were at it, they also welded a bar around the cat to make it harder to steal. Because I drove directly from the muffler shop to the smog shop, I hoped that a brand
new cat would cover for the EGR valve.
Something has happened in the egr valve, maybe crud got bounced loose.
That car got its cleanest smog in years and the smog shop says the EGR is now fine.

In the internal combustion world, I won some and I lost some.

June, already...

2014-Jun-27, Friday 13:04
texxgadget: (Default)
Please forgive me, its been 5 months since my last post...

I was unable to thrive at Responsys.
I realized in March that I needed to hang on til my 1st anniversary and then get out of there.

Oracle bought us in Jan.
Over 5 weeks in April & May, 3 of us left.
1 guy got what he thought was his dream job.
The guy I was closest to had just plain had it and was leaving with no idea where he was going next.
And I left on my 1 year anniversary, had 3 days to run errands and started my new gig.
I ended up going back to contracting from full time, but at least I like it here.

For the holiday party, I got an Argyle jacket to go with one the kilts.
This gives me the equivalent of "black tie" dress from 1800 to present.
I wore the solid black kilt, dress sporran, black hose, red flashes, black vest, and the jacket.
The formal shirt I ordered to go with it didnt arrive in time,
but I wore a regular white dress shirt with red bow tie and it all looked great.
I coupled this with a crewcut (my 1st hair cut in months) and a full facial shave.
Im not sure how long its been since i was full shaven.
The reactions from people were spectacular.
The theme was "International Festival Attire"

The other kilt there was in Gordon tartan, but a less formal.

BTW, my kilt count includes a great kilt, a solid black formal, a Utilikilt regular in orange camo,
a Utilikilt Workman in black, and a Utilikilt Mocker in black pinstripe with vest.
The mocker & vest look great with a short sleeve dress shirt.

In early May, I had a mishap with the car.
I was enroute to work at start finish for the Miwok 100km foot race.
Going out highway1 towards Stinson Beach, I was hugging the hill side of the road.
Front passenger wheel hit a rock and the car went up on the 2 driverside wheels and then slammed down.
Witnesses thought I was going to roll.
I had the car towed home while i worked the event.
A week later, they had replaced a control arm and 2 tie rods and it seems to be ok now.

Im prepping up for working the El Cerrito 4th of July festival.
I will be attached to main stage and to KECG-FM

I got back to work on "Blue Tango" my red motorcycle. (I cant explain, it is what it is)
Last time I tried to get it going, it would not run without the choke engaged.
Ive been through the carbs several times and cant find the fault.
A month or 2 back, I realized I was test firing the engine with out the air cleaners and that might be
causing the mixture to have too much air.
Im ready to try again.

I bought this bike partially disassembled as it was in the middle of an overhaul.
The previous owner had rebuilt the front fork but hadnt put in fluid.
It took a while to figure out what size wrench was required to unscrew the plug in the top of each fork.
Then it took a while to get a 17mm hex allen key by itself (I didnt need a $100 set)

Tuesday this week I got into it.
I was warned that there is a strong spring under the plug, so when it came loose, I didnt get an extra hole in my head.
I added around 280cc of fork fluid. I now think I used too light a viscosity, but we will see.

I went to put the spring back in and realized 1 end was coiled tighter than the other and I didnt remember which end was up.
I removed the other plug to check the other tube and the bike settled all the way down and there was more spring than ever to be compressed.
That other fork tube had been holding the bike up. Well... that was a pretty stupid move....
I wedged a jack between the front fender and the under side of the instrument cluster and pumped things up.

The clamps on the upper & lower triple tree were loose and I didnt notice that id pumped the upper triple tree right off the top of the for tubes and it was getting dark. REALLY REALLY DUMB!

I pulled the springs & wrapped them for storage and got the plugs in to keep junk out of the insides of the forks & packed up for the night.

Thursday, I took a pipe cap and put a 17mm bolt through it.
I put the cap on a ft of pipe and put a tee on the end and a couple stups into the tee.
This gave me a huge tee shaped 17mm allen wrench.
I tried the jack under the engine and lifted the bike till the front wheel left the ground.
Now I had the leverage to compress the plugs on top of the springs and work through the clamps of the triple tree.
Now that there springs in the fork tubes, the forks telescoped back to normal length.
Removing the jack, I tightened the plugs in the tubes till the tubes started to rotate.
That was enough to get the tubes back up through the triple tree and then I tightened the triple tree clamp.
I was picked up by dark.

Now its time to try again on the carbs. I MIGHT get this going by end of summer.

Future tasks for this bike:
Have fuel tank flushed
Replace the "Bikini" fairing with a Vetter "Pacifico"
Touch up paint chips
Additions to electrical system to support radio.
Cargo shelf on back
Antenna mounts
Additional lighting
Have seat recovered
Cargo boxes

Ill try to post more after July4


2014-Jan-20, Monday 19:52
texxgadget: (Default)
Dickens Fair got me through the holidays.
I saw Freyjaw there.
Fred & Jeannie and even Chris from FLARE were there.

I think I spent more time with the printers than with Lodema Pottery (the people my gate pass was under)
but it all worked out OK.

I finally got the hang of getting the shims in to keep the type from coming loose.
We had adventures with a bad batch of ink that would set up on the press in about 2hrs flat.
We also printed 1500 shopping bags for Cuthberts Tea Shoppe (twice normal)

This was a year of building relationships with other Dickens Fair folk.
I had held off for years from doing fair for fear of "fair politics".
I saw some ugliness at Northern Ren Fair in the late 70s and been scared off since.
So far, so good, here though.

This year they are using sawdust in place of plastic snow on the floor.
This meant that when I took the tarps off of Lodemas,
I ended up with sawdust all over me unless *I* was the one to have put them up the night before.
I was not trying to be temperamental, I just didnt want to get my outfit dirty 1th thing in the morning.

The costume dept in the back area loved it when Id come in
"Im here for a 'brush off'", "OK, get lost!"

The usual "Christmas Crud" came through with a vengeance.
Between my flu shot in Oct and my early departure from Thanksgiving, I seem to have been spared.

I also often popped down to "Holtzer & Combs Haberdashery" to use their mirror for finishing touches & to see if I had any more saw dust on me.
Unfortunately, Lynes crew including Jeanie & Fred were struggling with the croup for the last 3 weekends.
I got some great reactions "Hey Fred! I need to borrow your wife for a few!"
I needed Jeanie to measure me for some future upgrades to the outfit, I got a great reaction anyway.

Ive been invited to do "Old Sacramento" this summer but Im not sure if time allows.
This came about in an interesting way.
I believe I am the only "scot" whos is a "working man".
All others in kilts are either military or royal household.
I figured out how many shopping bags a day Cuthberts was using and spaced out thgeir deliveries so that I could make multiple deliveries a day.
This led to cast on the street calling out "Make way for the deliveryman" and that got noticed.
I hadnt set out to be this noticable, but it worked out.
Now if only I could get the accent right....

The outfit has been upgraded since then.
When I started out, I decided that it would be versatile enough to take me from 1800 to present in both casual and "black tie".
Im finally there.
For Dickens, my waistcoat is a bit formal for a working man.
Im going to have Jeanie repair one of Grandads old vests.
In the mean time, the company holiday party was on Jan 10.
I kid you not! "Cultural festival attire if possible"
The Indians were all decked out and many from China.
And there was me.
Black Argyle jacket, red pocket square, black vest, dress white shirt, red bow tie,
my kilt (the REAL one NOT the Utilikilt!) Kilt hose, red flashes, fur sporran and dress shoes.
Topping this off, was the fact that I came in on that morning fully shaved and a marine short crew cut.
They didnt recognize me and there were several funny moments.

At this point, my "Highland Formal" is "Black tie" the highland equivalent of a tuxedo.
To pull off "White tie" I need to upgrade the jacket to either the "Prince Charlie" jacket,
which I dont care for, or the "Regulation Doublet" which is what people in highland dress wear to Buckingham Palace.
I far prefer the look of the latter and if its good enough for the palace, its good enough for me.
Besides, the Prince Charlie jacket was invented by "lowlanders" who basically shortened a tuxedo.

I spend Christmas in bed and slept my way through the whole mess.
I handed Dad the gifts I bought for everyone and had him deliver them to the family gathering.
I did the right thing and didnt have to put up with the whole hassle.

One more funny thing from Dickens Fair, final weekend:
I was "On-call" for work. I had my laptop set up in the back room at Lodemas.
I got an alert and rushed over from the printers.
I had NO idea how to cope, and neither did my "second".
As we were IMing, about what to do, Lodema came back to tell me I had people looking for me in the front.
I came out, to find my team lead from work, my older neice and her roomate.
It was funny watching my team lead explain to my second that I had handed him the keyboard.

In the mean time I got a chance to chat older neice (who was not there Thanksgiving) and explain whats going on with me.
With luck she will find a way to explain things to the rest of the family.
Perhaps they will dig the wax out of their ears and listen to her.

Ill try and post more later.
I commented to a few at Dickens that its the only thing thats keeping my from jumping off a roof.
They told me thats true of about half the people working Dickens.
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