Monday, October 31, 2005

This Wasn't Mentioned in the Lease 

My apartment building, one unit over. (Click on the picture for a larger version).Posted by Picasa

I see the neighbors communicate and cooperate here in my new place. Pretty neat!

Happy Halloween everybody! I must go; I need to go buy some Raid.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Now I Can Catch My Breath 


It is Sunday night Thursday morning, and I am happy but pooped. I spent the week moving piles of possessions around in my new apartment. The place started as just being rooms holding piles of stuff. Now it feels more comfortable, more familiar. The switch happened for me when I set up and turned on the first lamp. It's really something what a simple thing like lighting can do for a room. When that lamp went on, the feeling was like a key fitting into a lock.

Now it feels like home...

October has gone by so fast; I've been out of the loop for so long. A partial list of things I've missed since the beginning of the month:

* Former 49er starting QB Tim Rattay traded.

* The USC-Notre Dame football game.

* Caltechgirl's new job.

* Hurricane Wilma and VW's experiences with said hurricane.

* A frozen body, likely a World War II airman, found in the High Sierra mountains near Fresno.

* Two disgusting, high-profile murder cases here in the Bay Area.

* California politics: It's proposition season again in California. Too many commercials, too much confusion, and most California voters will likely end up voting "No" on everything. I'll elaborate on this soon.

* I missed two and one half weeks of The Amazing Race! (I caught the last half of the show this week. Team In-Laws royally blew it when the failed to grab a ticket for the NASA centrifuge ride, and eventually got eliminated. The next week, Team Stepfamily blew it, and was eliminated in their own hometown of New Orleans. Finally, this last episode saw the annoying Team Doublemint Twins Squared come in last, but avoid elimination due to the stage being a non-elimination stage. Nuts! I can't stand them or Team NASCAR (the Weaver Family).

* The start of hockey season. Unfortunately, the Sharks are pretty far removed from first place.

* The LA Galaxy won the US Open Cup, the oldest major soccer tournament in the country.

* A surfer was bitten by a shark, not far from the Bodega Marine Lab where I assisted earlier this year.

* The Discovery Channel show Dirty Jobs, had a great segment on being a volunteer at The Marine Mammal Center. Host Mike Rowe even tried to taste the fish mash fed to the elephant seals. Yuck!

* The Chicago White Sox' World Series victory, which included the longest World Series game ever. Cubs fans are less than thrilled, and now alone in being cursed.

* GMT (AKA Caltechgirl's DH), and his experiences catching cheaters in his class.

* Harriet Miers has come and gone. I sided with the conservatives on this one. She was completely unqualified to sit on the Supreme Court and I will not miss her.

I did however miss blogging, I missed checking the site meter to see who visited, and I missed the comments left here. All the best to my bloggy buddies, I will write more soon.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Hur-ray! I set up in my new place in Alameda. Naturally, I had to do a great deal of hand-holding and cajoling of the old and new rental offices in order to finally get the keys. I spent the weekend in Fresno to visit my mom for her birthday. Before I left, I called the Alameda place to double-check that all was well for the move-in on Tuesday. No answer, so I leave a message.

Fast forward to Sunday evening. I come home and see I have a message on the machine. "Great," I think, "the Alameda place left a message saying all is well."

Wrong. They had a question regarding my credit score (an old dentist bill that the office sent to the wrong address, which lead to a collection). Also, they said the Fremont place never sent back the verification sheet! I wasn't pissed at Fremont; I was pissed at Alameda for waiting until the weekend before the move to let me know. Grrrrr!!!

OK, so on Monday I call the Alameda place. I have them re-fax the sheet. I call the Fremont place and ask them to send it back when they get it. Tuesday, the day of the move comes, and I call Alameda. They still haven't received the form. By this point, I'm not very surprised by this. I go in person to the Fremont office, and the lady says their fax was down all Monday and is still down. Oh goody, I get to drive the 20-some miles to Alameda, get the form, return to Fremont to have it signed, then go back to get my keys.

Then as I'm about to leave, the original completed form is found in the inbox. Half of me is relieved, the other half wants to curse up a blue streak. I did manage to get the keys as scheduled on Tuesday. And neither office lady at either place will be on my Christmas card list.

OK, so now it's Thursday. So far I have the phone hooked up; the cable and (most importantly) internet were just hooked up. I'm sleeping in my sleeping bag until I bring up the big furniture this weekend. And I've managed to handle all thus while working swing hours (12-8pm) this week. But I'm happy the place is finally mine. Much more about basically everything soon. Plus some pics of both apartments.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Amazing Race: DC Edition 

Week two of this season's Amazing Race was decent. Most of the show revolved around the Nation's Capital. After starting off in Pennsylvania Amish Country, the teams headed off to DC. After finding their clue at the Capitol Reflecting Pool (not the other Reflecting Pool!), tams had to play a silly spy game. They walked around the Tidal Pool with a briefcase, telling "spies" with briefcases "The sky is blue." The correct spy answered "The sea is green." Yawn. Didn't get into that one.

Next, the teams had to drive to a Civil War reenactment in Northern Virginia. Cool! Here the faced a Detour: Heat of the Battle or Heat of the Night. That meant teams either had to carry woulded soldiers off the battlefield on a stretcher, or the had to fill up and light twenty kerosene lamps. Once done, the teams received a battle flag and headed off to the Pit Stop.

It certainly seems that this Family Edition of The Amazing Race will be much more sedate than past seasons. Which is to be expected since many teams have kids in tow. Speaking of the kids, one of the more amusing parts of this episode was the footage of the Team Marathon (the Gaghans) kids goofing in back of the car like any family roadtrip.

As for the standings, Team Nascar (the Weavers) finished first. I really liked their reaction to winning a vacation; they seemed to really appreciate it. Team Bayou (the Rogers) can in last and was eliminated. They performed the TAR cardinal sin, they got lost during the drive.

Other than Team New Yawk's (the Paolos) constant bickering, that's about all the action. I suspect they will last about another New Yawk minute.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Programming Notes 

I've mentioned previously that I occasionally volunteer at The Marine Mammal Center on Tuesdays, when work hours and my laziness allow.

If you're interested what a day volunteering there is like, watch the next episode of Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel. Along with a visit to an ostrich farm and an Hawai'ian organic coffee plantation, the show will feature host Mike Rowe doing tasks like tube feeding and cleaning up seal poop. Good times!

This Tuesday on Discovery Channel, 9pm.

Heavy Moving 

My big move to Alameda is now only nine days away. I have to get all the utilities transferred, change the address on my mail, plus disassemble what furniture I can. This weekend has been like two more workdays. Since I'll be in Fresno next weekend for my mom's birthday, it was this weekend or bust.

Fortunately, there are resources that make moving slightly less intimidating. The US Postal Service has complied some tips on how to properly pack a wide variety of household items. Someone (with a sense of humor) even added useful tips for how to move the family hippopotamus. For the USPS site:

You'll need:

* 1,000-gallon tank per hippo
* 1,000 gallons of water
* Crane
* 1-pound sedative
* Soothing hippo music
* 2 Aspirin (for you)

How to pack:

1. Fill your tank with 800 gallons of water. Start yesterday. Remember, a medium-sized hippo takes up at least 200 gallons. (Just out of curiosity, why do you have a hippo, anyway?)

2. Apply sedative. Take two Aspirin.

3. Hold it, hold it - put the hippo in the tank, first. Start with soothing hippo music, followed by a large winch and crane.

4. Now go relax in a hot bath before the forklift arrives.

WAIVER: We in no way advocate moving a hippo or any animal without the express advice and consent of your local vet or zoo keeper. If you'd like advice from a veterinarian on moving with pets click here .

My hippo is all set to move. I've been keeping him under the bed. Unfortunately, he's kind of hard to hide from company.

There's a Hippopotamus Under My Bed by Mark Thaler (1977)Posted by Picasa

At least my hippopotamus didn't eat the teacher, like this one did.

...oh yeah, the move. I can't wait until it happens and is done. I'll keep you all informed.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Bali II 

Here we go again:

At least 23 people dead in the same Bali resort town that was hit in 2003.

We can dabate about the War in Iraq: its legitamacy (I believe it was), and its subsequent management (I believe negligent bordering on criminal). However, people like these will never understand the central tenant in the War on Terror: We may have evil ones on our side, but we are basically good. We and the terrorists do share something: we see civilians as a unique group that deserve special treatment. The difference is while we seek to minimize civilian casualties, they target their military activities to kill as many civilians as possible. Indeed, some of them see literally everyone, Muslim and not, who is not a member of their group as someone who God has instructed they kill. Talk about your population control.

Of course, they don't have the power to install a world-wide Caliphite, but they can go on killing tourists, artists, food shoppers, children and other such enemies of God. And people like Cindy Sheehan say we should have never invaded Afghanistan to remove the Taliban and attack al-Qaida? I guess we just throw our hands up in the air and give up. Oh wait, they would probably kill us anyway.