All posts by htodd

Testing, 1, 2, 3.

Sometimes technology is a pain in my ass. I have a program I like to post my blogs with, MarsEdit, and it’s no longer agreeing with my blogging program, WordPress. So if you see weird characters in my postings, it’s because I had to go and fix things and feed aggregators sometimes grab the broken copy of the posting. Yeah, broken geekery.

So tomorrow I have another business trip to the Bay Area. The airlines have cut down on flights from here to there, so I have to get up extra-early. And since I don’t know when I’ll be done, I’ll be getting back into town after 10PM. I’d much rather sit around in the Bay Area than be late to a customer meeting. I know it’s kind of a waste of my time, but no customers means no job and no job means the contractors are coming after me with their hammers. (And there I go, talking about hammers again.)

If I’m lucky, I’ll have everything done early and I’ll be able to find some spectacular hamburger place in San Francisco. Or maybe the soul food restaurant on Clement. I mean, really, what’s a better excuse for eating poorly than travel?

Yep, I had to fix this post. Stupid computers.

Day off.

Tomorrow (and the next day) I have the days off of works because I’ll be moving things around the house for the furnace replacement. Usually I stay up until close to midnight on school nights, but I may have to go to bed early tonight. Is it the weather? Is it the workouts at the gym? I dunno.

I did win another race at the gym. It was me against a trainer two decades younger than me, pulling tires down the driveway and back. I suppose it was kind of an uneven race: I was at the end of my workout and tired. But a fourth of the way into the race the eyelet pulled out of the tire I was using and the harness I was using to pull the tire detached. My opponent kept going but the “judges” decided the race had to be re-run because of equipment failure. I won because my opponent blew the turn-around and stopped too early. The trick with the tire drag is momentum. Once you stop it’s kind of hard to get started again. (Did I mention my opponent was Tiffany the 24YO nurse? At least I had a heavier tire than she did.)

Really, I’m lucky to have even finished the race. After the post-workout stretching I barely made it up off the floor to walk outside to drag the tire around.

My mom and friends from Japan are planning parts of our trip. One of the places we’re going is Sado Island in the Japan sea near Niigata. It’s a large island where people were exiled in the past. I was stuck there the last time I went because of a storm that suddenly came up and I almost missed my friend’s wedding! They were joking that I was exiled and luckily one of the proprietors of the inns found me waiting for my canceled ferry and I had a nice stay with a dinner of more fish than a normal person should eat. My mom has wanted to go there for years, so this should be fun.

Slacking at a rapid pace.

I wish I were slacking at a much higher pace because I had a bunch more work show up in my inbox. However I didn’t do any packing today. My back kind of hurts and I’m fairly sure it’s because I have to drag boxes out of a crowded room and that requires me to pick up heavy things while standing in strange positions. I’m still scheduled to take off Thursday and Friday so I can pack up more crap, and I hope I can still do that. The email I just got makes it sound unlikely, but I suppose I could work every day of the week if I wanted to.

Just thinking about the multiple customers and the multiple rooms to pack and the cutting of the shrubs for the heat exchanger and the waiting for the gas company to install a gas meter and it just makes me kind of anxious. I figure the packing shouldn’t be THAT bad. At some point I can stop sorting through stuff and just buy a lot of cardboard boxes and just start pitching shit in. The problem with that is that the boxes often stay packed full of crap forever. I still have some things in the boxes that I moved back from Japan. I keep thinking that was just a couple of years ago, but that was November of 1991. Some of the yoots at the gym probably can’t remember 1991 because they were too little.

Crap, that reminds me I have to install an electrical outlet and also order contacts. And it’s way past my bedtime already and my day’s so packed tomorrow that I only have 1/2 an hour for lunch. Hooray.

Nighttime is not always the right time.

After I go to the gym I’d rather just sit around. But, because of the impending demolition, I had to do some more moving around of boxes. Tired at night is not the way to get me to do the sort of sorting and heavy lifting that moving requires.

And now I’ve breathed in enough dust that I can’t think of whatever else it was I was supposed to be doing. That is besides sneezing.

I am so screwed.

I didn’t get all that far on packing up my bedroom because there’s A LOT OF SHIT packed in there. I can’t believe some of the crap my dad was saving in there. Old sleeping pads, three Boy Scout Handbooks, old copies of a magazine called, California Bonsai, congressional transcripts of the Japanese internment, books on Asian religions, books on gardening, and books on prejudice. I’m recycling a lot of paper, including old paintings my dad did for a correspondence art course. I’m not halfway done at this point.

My sister was here but is very little help. She was going through stuff to take, but she didn’t take much and really just got in the way. I asked her to take a carload of stuff to Goodwill since her husband was talking about going later today, and she flat out told me no. Our friend Megan was here as well and she took more stuff and also distracted me with beer.

I also called the contractor and asked him just how much I had to clear out of the room and he didn’t call me back. His wife told me that his usual mantra is, “Throw everything away.” At least that’s what he tells her all the time and she doesn’t listen to that advice. If I’m lucky I’m already close to getting enough stuff out of the room and I can start to work on the basement. If I’m unlucky then I have to move a lot of furniture.

Oh, and the second least favorite thing about the bird people: their garbage.

Trash left by the birdwatchers of 9/20.

Genius plans for the weekend.

I went and bought some boxes for packing up my crap, moving it out of the way for the chimney demolition. I really need to get a move on, because not only do I have to empty out a bedroom that was used as a storage space but most of my basement as well. I should have gotten started earlier.

Today I walked a mile-and-a-half to buy some cardboard boxes under the mistaken theory that I’d be helping to save the environment, etc, etc, when really it was all about not trying to find a parking space in the Pearl District. After I walked the 15 boxes all the way back home, it turned out that I didn’t have any packing tape. It was too late to drive back down to buy some tape because the bird people had started to arrive and if I’d left I’d have never found a parking space.

Birdwatchers 9/20.

So I’m a bit behind.

Was there something I was supposed to do tonight?

Because of the birds, I’ve had to leave work on the early side to get a parking spot in front of the house. It’s the weekend now, so I got home around 4:30 and I almost was too late. I just have to hope it all ends soon.

I think I have my tickets for Japan now. I have to figure out what to do about being in cell phone range again. Last year we rented a cell phone because what kind of Neanderthal doesn’t have a cell phone? We even had a US number you could call that would ring through to Japan. As I recall, the only real phone calls we got were from my brother-in-law, but I’m sure there were other calls as well. I wish there was a way to just get my iPhone to work in Japan for an amount of money that didn’t rival replacing my furnace, but I don’t think that’s an option.

Since my sister isn’t coming along, I have to stock up on paperbacks and I probably have to shop for lip balm for her. I don’t know why, but it’s an obsession for her. I’ll probably end up text messaging her about her lip balm enough times that it would have just made sense to buy her a ticket so she could buy her own lip balm. I offered to buy her a ticket already and she declined, so I’m destined to be her personal shopper. Oh, well.

Workity work.

I seem to be on my work laptop a lot at night. I’ll remember I have to do something or I’ll just check my email. There’s the old “work smarter, not harder” adage that would only work for me if I dealt with people in a particular time zone. The sad part is that it’s not that big a stretch for me because I don’t really have that much going on. I suppose I could pick another hobby or get back to reading some of the books I have stacked up, but work will be there tomorrow and it won’t be any less. It’s almost like I got a job with the postal service.

Besides, I need to keep my job so I pay for exciting things. While the yoots at the gym are drinking or going to Mexico or buying motorcycles, I’m doing much flashier things like asbestos abatement, drain plumbing, and dry-rot containment. Life in the fast lane, baby.


I bought a wireless mouse back in May, I think, and it’s great. No cable to get in the way and so it’s much nicer to use than the one I had before. My buddy bought one and his co-worker hasn’t had to replace his batteries in the year he had his. Unfortunately for me, I guess I’m a much bigger geek. My batteries are dead already.

I’ve been tired at the gym all week, and everything just looks hard to me. I’m guessing it’s mental fatigue after the hard weekend. Usually I’m way too distracted by thinking about work and the remodel and the huge crowds that are attracted to the hill pretending to watch the birds but who are really just here to hang out in a big crowd to be very worried about the workouts at the gym. But this week I’m just plain tired. It could just be the weather, too.

(This is just me holding myself off the ground for 45 seconds. Don’t think I was in that position the whole time.)

Ring hold.

I’m still toying with the idea of going back to Japan this fall and I’m still not sure if I’m going to do it. My boss suggested that if I didn’t, then I should take a “staycation” and just stay away from work for a while. Just sitting around sounds a little boring, but it could also be an awful lot of fun for a lazy guy like me.

The countdown continues.

The people who owned this house before us were incredibly cheap, or so we think. They were a Catholic family with a bunch of kids and made some odd choices when they added the second story to the house. The bathroom is a narrow dormer that looks quite funny outside. Tearing out the sheetrock and the floors shows some fairly shoddy workmanship. Today my contractor called me because the drain line for the toilet was going uphill instead of downhill. Seriously. Getting rid of the poo in the toilet is probably one of the more important things my bathroom can do for me, so downhill is the way to go with it. I’m not sure why he even thought he had to call me about this.

Today at the gym the workout was hard enough that I was babbling. Not that I don’t babble in general, but I came up with another formula. I’m twice as old as some of the women there, so I thought, what if I had the mojo to go out with two women that are half my age? Does that mean I also have to follow the conservation of mass and go out with two 22-year-olds that weigh 82.5 pounds each? Maybe they’d have to only be 45″ tall. I’m not real comfortable with these calculations.

Fortunately, I’m much more theoretical about these social situations than my engineering background would suggest. I’m not about to put any of this into practice. It’s kind of like buying my yearly lottery ticket and thinking about what I’d do with the money. Pay a lot of tax is the only thing I know for certain about what I’d do.

Maintaining consciousness took more coffee than usual.

I was tired at work today and it didn’t help that my laptop was dead. They fixed it first thing in the morning, but they found “oddities” in the IT backdoors. They kept trying to fix it and they told me it would take half-an-hour at 10:30AM but I didn’t get it back until about 4PM. They never thought it would take that long so I didn’t get a loaner laptop until just before I got my real laptop back. What a mess.

I had a mixtape (which is no longer on a tape) from a friend with mystery songs on it. I finally figured out I could use Shazam on my iPhone to figure out what some of the songs were. After I was through, I bought 2 more CDs (Rasa: Exotica and Rasa: Exotica II), a DVD (Comfort and Joy) and a wallet. Not that I can afford any of this after deciding on remodeling, but whatever. I think I’ve bought a dozen CDs since I got my iPhone. Funny how that works.

I’m still trying to decide whether to go to Japan this fall. I’m feeling broke, but that never stopped me. The only question is whether the contractors will be around while I’m screwing around in another country. My sister doesn’t think she can make it (too much work, probably) so I’m really on the fence. I’ll probably end up flipping a coin in the end.

The evil of Qwest seeps into my bill.

OK, so it’s not all Qwest’s fault, but they’re adding charges from other companies to the bill now. My phone bill has a new monthly $14.95 charge from a voicemail company, “Voicemail Direct USA”, my mom’s has a $8.43 monthly charge from some random telecom company, “Info Billing”. I was only able to get in touch with the voicemail company and they told me the charge had be approved by a Mr. Bai-tem-ee. My conversation with the company was odd:

The charge was approved on August XX by Mr. James Bai-tem-ee. Do you know Mr. Bai-tem-ee?

I’ve never heard of a James Bai-tem-ee. How do you spell that? I may be mishearing you.


Mr. BITE ME? Is this some kind of a joke?

So my guess is that there’s some sort of scam, just like spam, where a scammer is adding these small charges to a lot of people’s bills and is just figuring that a few people won’t notice.

I was sore the last half of last week because of Cindy and now I’m expecting to be sore from the workouts from the past two days. I attended the Mountain Athlete seminar and if I actually had my CSCS from the NCSA I would have 1.6CEU. What does this really mean? Well, I figure that if THMFIC and the Brains Behind the Gym win the lottery, I’ll have some more idea of how to structure my own workouts without having to immediately find a new trainer. Or, if I won the lottery and wanted to lose it all quickly, I could open my own gym. I understand the money would diminish at a rapid rate, approaching but not reaching the rate that I’d lose money if I opened a restaurant.