gridlore: One of the "Madagascar" penguins with a checklist: [x] cute [x] cuddly [x] psychotic (Penguin - Checklist)
It's about 1800 on Saturday, and already it's been a long weekend. Coming off a long week, I am pretty smoked. But we're getting shit done around here. Which is good, activity keeps my brain and body working. Anything I do to force my brain to keep making connections, and anything that works the decaying nerves in my legs a little harder equals a longer and better life for me.

Spring-like weather has arrived here in the Santa Clara Valley, and that means that sleeping in was possible due to it not being under 40 degrees in the apartment. All of you who live in places where frozen water falls from the skies can roll your eye all you like, I no longer handle cold well. So it was a good morning to snuggle with my Kiri and the mountain of teddy bears.

Firs thing on my agenda was the bi-weekly D&D game. We play on Roll20.com, and use Skype for communication. It's a fun group, with my friend Allen Shock running things. We're on to a new campaign after the Total Party Kill we experienced in Ravenloft a few weeks back. I'm playing a half-elf barbarian named Digenis Akirtas. The name comes from an epic tale written in the 8th century about a hero born of a Byzantine father and an Arab mother. The name literally means "Two Blood Border Lord", and I figured it was a good for a man born of two races. We're starting at 7th level. This time we remembered to bring some clerics along! Fought and killed a Frost Giant, squeezed through some gates, and found treasure. We start exploring this abandoned Dwarfhold in two weeks. Really happy to be gaming again after such a long break.

After that, a nap. Kirsten had gone out for a blood draw, and wanted to lie down for a bit. I joined her. Because bed. I sleep a lot more than I did before the stroke. It's kind of disturbing because it is one of the more subtle changes I've noticed. It's all related to my mental endurance, I'm sure.

But we rose, because we had to go work on the Free Trailer Beowulf! It was still parked inside Kirsten's warehouse. We had a couple of goals for the day: Remove the back pieces of the platform that made up the bed area, inspect for more mold, install two leveling bubbles (little carpenter's levels screwed into the frame of the trailer, so you can adjust for a level interior when you're camping), and mark out where a really nice window we were gifted was going to go.

Well, we found mold. It was pretty dead, due to our leaving a dehumidifier in the trailer for the past few weeks, but it was there. The awesome man who runs the door and window shop next door to Kiri's work told us the best way to get rid of it. Which meant yet another trip to Home Depot. Luckily, it's not far. We found what we needed, along with one of their job buckets. Back to the warehouse.

I mixed the TSP (Trisodium phosphate) in our new bucket, put on some thick rubber gloves, and went to work with a shop towel. Dear gods, you could almost hear the mold shrieking "I'm melting! What a world!" as I swiped.Where has this stuff been all my life? Hopefully, this is the last we'll see of the mold, as Chris, the door guys, has offered to stain and seal the raw wood parts of the interior. And install the window. He's kind of awesome. Even if he is an A's fan.

After some drama with a stuck drill bit, we got the levels installed in a "close enough for rock and roll and Burning Man" way. RVs need to be leveled for pumps and drains to work properly. We just don't want the inside to look like a villains lair in the 1966 Batman TV show. Most;y level works. This was also the day we tested out two of our leveling jacks. We have four, one for each corner, and their rated for far greater loads than we could possibly get into that small space. They are a good thing.

Tomorrow, we're going to do some exterior work. We have red reflective tape that's going down both sides for that "Little Black Book" Traveller feel. We'll also look for signs of more mold, and clean up a little. Nice thing is, we don't have to tow it back to storage tomorrow, it can wait until Monday, as Tony needs to double check the electrical hook ups again.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
Let's look at my desk.

It's an older Ikea desk, same model as the bookcases. I want to say Laska, but I don't think that's right. all I know is they've stopped making them. I'm glad I got this so the room looks at least mostly cohesive. We have the 4x4 bookcase and the TV shelving unit, all big black cubes, all stuffed to the gills.

The desk itself is just a work area attached to a vertical 4x2 bookcase, which gives me four cubes above the desk and four under. One guess which set of cubes become junk repositories. The black paint is starting to show wear in the places where my right arm rests when I'm using my mouse. I really should get a forearm rest.

The bookcase is up against the wall, and immediately to the left is s smaller cubical storage unit we got at Orchard Supply, this one a 3x2. So I have 14 cubes here, and I still don't have enough room.

On my right, we have my computer tower with two glass penguins and a stack of black DVDs perched on top. In front of the computer is the FATE rule book, the touristy pictures we had done at La Brea tar pits, my medicine box, and a coupon for getting Kirsten's car serviced. Just to the left of that is my phone stand, with the cord waiting forlornly for me to plug the phone it, my copy of Windows 10 For Dummies and the gorgeous hardback compilation edition of "The Illustrated Brief History of Time" and "The Universe in a Nutshell", both help up by one of my speakers.

Directly in front of me is my keyboard, a bottle of nasal medicine I use twice a day, an empty Coke can, the coaster the can should be on, two rolls of quarters and a spare phone charging cord, this one covered in Giants orange fabric. That cord is under my fairly new wire mesh monitor stand. That has a nice slide out draw that holds a lot of junk and two side bins where I keep business cards from various doctors and spare office supplies.

The stand holds my monitor, festooned with voting stickers from multiple elections, along with the cup where I keep my laundry tokens, my 4518th Lift Infantry Regiment challenge coin, the roll of Life Savers I was gifted at my first Burning Man, and little stone bear.

Moving ever farther to the left, we find chaos. My desk lamp, my landline, and the other computer speaker crowd the space behind a desk organizer, which is itself jammed with pens and pencils, a nail clipper, two small flashlights, and some other bric-a-brac. The Chinese ink stone I got as a gift after my dad went to China in the 70s shares spaces with two boxes of Altoids Artic, my Giants Zippo, and a Burning Man shot glass.

Behind this mess rise my books. The top left cube is filled with my writing books, and plays host to several penguins. The other three are filled with histories and science books. My two autographed Judas Priest CDs sit next to my ticket to the Military Museum in Istanbul. On top, there is an old photo of me, my father, and my brother Craig taken decades ago, my Mixie Award, and a photo of Kirsten and Me at AT&T Park.

The smaller storage space is home to my personal medicine shelf, when I store all the damn things I've been told to use along with every day things like band-aids and Pepto. That takes up the upper left cube. The next three are filled with my RPG collection, which is down to the point it actually all fits here. There's junk taking up space here as well, with empty cans and bottle and a compressed air can balanced where ever they fit.

On top of this storage space is my row of impressive books. The cultures of the Ancient Near East collection (Babylonians, Egyptians, Persians, and Hittites) followed by the truly impressive Byzantium trilogy by John Jules Norwich. Then come two Ottoman histories, The Odessey, and a few selections from the Penguin Classics imprint.

On top of all that is a copy of the Koran I picked up at the Süleymaniye Mosque held in place by bobbleheas. One is the Giants' Matt Duffy, the other is the San Jose Sabercats' Jame Roe. Neither play for those teams anymore. Hell, the Sabercats don't even exist anymore. Finally, that shelf holds my little radio.

That's my desk, and my 750 words.
gridlore: The word "Done!" in bold red letters. (Done!)
I'm typing this on my new computer. Which I needed because I got Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home Edition for a Winter Gift.

That's when we learned that my old computer was no longer seeing the CD/DVD drive. Thinking the problem was with the drive, we bought a new DVD drive. Same problem. A friend of Kirsten's who was helping us diagnosed the problem as being the motherboard. Which, being ancient would be hard and expensive to replace.

Kiri found a great deal on a HP Pavilion on Woot. We also got an awesome external drive. This first plan was just to copy the contents of my C drive to the new computer. That didn't work, as there was "hardware incompatibility."

Next plan was to identify the things I absolutely had to move and just download replacements of the others things. I was able to slash and burn through my accumulated years of odd gaming bits and pictures to reduce things to a manageable size. Very few actual programs needed transfer. Over the last week Kiri has done the work of making the moves and setting things up. She also spent a few hours cleaning up my iTunes library.

Right now I'm downloading a bunch of games off Steam and double checking to see if there's anything I forgot. Luckily, transferring both my Firefox and iTunes data was easy.

All for a new program which is going to help me write. I'll start playing with that next week.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Gaming - EatRads)
And sadly, it doesn't involve robotic killing machine from the future.

I am just having no luck with technology. Today alone..
  • The Facebook ap on my phone kept freezing as I was trying to post. Had to do a power cycle to get it back.

  • My Xbox 360 froze while loading a skills drill in Madden 15. Powered that off.

  • Just now when I tried to start Windows 10, I got a "Start Menu and Cortina (Clippy's evil daughter) cannot be found" error message.

  • Google Docs has been down most of the day. That's where I write. I mean, it's not like I don't owe a couple of articles and just started my NaNoWriMo project. Yes, I start early. I'm brain damaged!

  • The toilet is whistling. It's some weird valve problem. I need to clean in there so we can get the landlord in to fix it.

  • Not to mention that yesterday we found that one of the battery connectors on Kirsten's car had decided on a new career as a pile of rust.

Thank Halford I'm not on the O2 compressor. Or a pacemaker.

I think I need a Tech-Priest from the Adeptus Mechanicus to visit. Obviously, I have failed to properly appease the machine spirits in my cognitators and plumbing. Omnissiah, forgive me!
gridlore: (Burning_Man)
Conversation at Offhand Manor last night while watching old Law&Order episodes:

Me: "OK, step one, win the lottery."

Kiri: "And then?"

Me: "We build a big teddy bear on the Playa, and inside there are hammocks with bears in them so people can climb in and have a cuddle."

Kiri: "That's awesome!"

Me: "Then we set it on fire."

Kiri: "At the end of the week, right?"

Me: ". . . I suppose that would work as well."
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)

  • Completely fallen off the habit of writing here.

  • The "Goals & Accomplishments" thing has been stopped because it was just making me angry.

  • Too many Fails, not enough being done.

  • Plus, bronchitis really kicked me in the ass.

  • But life does move on.

  • Seeing new doctors.

  • Back to the Y on a regular basis.

  • Been trying to write more.

  • Gearing for upcoming events.

  • It's that wonderful time of the year here in Santa Clara where you can put almost anything out to the curb for pick-up.

  • As a result, our street looks like a disaster area.

  • We also have pickers coming through in advance of the official pick-up.

  • Normally an annoyance (They double park, block our narrow street, and drive at 5mph while scanning the piles) this year they worked in our favor.

  • We had a few things to put out. All the old dishes and glasses we're dumping, an old stereo, some other stuff.

  • I was really worried what would happen with all the breakable stuff in the street.

  • But yesterday [personal profile] kshandra was shaving my head in the carport (easier to clean up) and we saw a nice older gentleman looking over the pile across the street.

  • Got his attention, and he happily took all our crap.

  • Got to watch lifeguard training at the YMCA today. Really interesting.

  • Now I need lunch.

  • The Giants are struggling. We've dealt with a lot of injuries early in the season.

  • Today's game was rained out. Boo!

  • But we did sweep the hated Dodgers in SF, and our next three are against LA in Chavez Gulch.

  • BEAT L.A.!

gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Penguin - Exploding)
We are much older than both our neighbors. The young lady in apartment 3 is a 20-something that we rarely see. The people in #1 are even younger, and, frankly, not qualified to live on their own. I'll start with the garbage situation. For a long time, I'd take out all the bins on Monday night for the early Tuesday collection. However, between the stroke recovery and the pain and numbness caused by the PN, I can barely handle taking our can out.

Rather than taking responsibility, they just dumped their trash in my bin, and into the recycling bins. Call to the landlord, because suddenly we have flies everywhere.

But then the girlfriend (who isn't on the lease) shows up with an adorable 6 week old husky puppy. Her birthday present, she tells us.

They leave it alone, in a crate, for ten hours a day. I have to listen to it cry for ten hours a day. And the last few days have been ones where I didn't feel safe to drive. By the time [personal profile] kshandra got home yesterday, I was a wreck. Seriously, if I had a sledge hammer I would have broken down the door. That puppy was terrified! Animal Control was called, as were the police for the noise complaint. Several calls to the landlord, who didn't know that they had a dog. Dogs aren't allowed.

I really don't need this stress.

But in happier news, the Giants are one win from the World Series.
gridlore: The word "Done!" in bold red letters. (Done!)
With the Giants in Spring Training, we're in Spring Cleaning mode here at Offhand Manor. Today, we tackled the amazing amount of clothing we own.

We're both packrats, we freely admit it, but things had gotten ridiculous. So [personal profile] kshandra and I sat down and began culling the herd without mercy. I got rid of a lot of old t-shirts, Kiri dumped a lot of stuff that didn't fit right. We're about halfway through and we already have three bags of stuff for Goodwill and a pretty decent load to take to Oasis (our "we do it all" laundry of choice.) We've also thrown out a ton of garbage.

More to be done, but we've made impressive headway. Now, where did I put that flamethrower?
gridlore: The word "Done!" in bold red letters. (Done!)
Everyone knows that [personal profile] kshandra and I aren't the best at keeping a clean house. It's not garbage, but clutter, that is our personal demon. But now that we have some nicer furniture, and have dealt with a lot of the clutter issues, I really want to work on the cleaning side.

In the past, the trouble was we both worked long hours. But now that I'm on the shelf, I really want to clean if only because it will give me a daily goal and something to do. Since we live so close to the railroad tracks, dust is a big issue. Those trains rumbling by shake things out. With my lungs, this is bad. Getting air cleaners is on the agenda, but cleaning comes first. I also want to have a clean place to reduce my fall risk. To that end, I've made a schedule for cleaning.

  • Monday - The living room. Everything from the futon to the far wall. This includes Kiri's workstation, most of the bookshelves, and the TV unit. Dust, clean the ceiling fan, straighten things up, take out any trash, vacuum.

  • Tuesday - My workstation and the kitchen. Dust, clean the ceiling fan, straighten things up, take out any trash, vacuum. Wipe down the stove, clean the sink, sweep the floor, mop if necessary.

  • Wednesday - Hallway and bathroom. Vacuum hallway, clean bathroom sink, toilet and shower. sweep up, mop if necessary, take out trash.

  • Thursday - The bedroom. Dust, change sheets, all laundry into bags, tidy things up, vacuum. Re-arrange all the critters.

  • Friday - Laundry day! Usually this will be 2-3 loads.


I figure this will take an hour or so a day on cleaning days. Fridays will take longer, but most of that is me playing Civilization IV or Madden 11 while waiting for my timer to tell me it's time to switch loads. Having a beer will be my reward for finishing.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
I'm doing some Spring Cleaning, and it's going well. But there's one thing I do not feel safe doing.

Hanging our artwork.

We have some really nice things, but with my balance issues I wouldn't feel safe on the stepstool doing the work to get it up. Also, I have the design sense of a wombat, so I need help putting things in the right place.

Also, we have a lot of stuff that needs to be framed. I'll measure out what needs to be done and see if I can get a good price at Cost Plus or something. But again, I'd need help getting it all done.

So what I'm asking for is a good old-fashioned hanging party. We'll provide pizza and sodas, you provide artistic sensibilities and hanging skills. Power tools would help, though I do have a cool laser level and stud finder. Offhand Manor is in Santa Clara close by Scott and Monroe.

There's no rush on this. But reply with a way to contact you (all replies will be hidden) if you'd be available some weekend in the next several weeks.

This also gives me more drive to clean the place.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
Candle

Now we need to replace the blue holder in Kiri's rainbow stack, and we'll be ready for cold winter nights.
gridlore: Doug with Kirsten, both in nice clothes for a wedding. (Me - with Kirsten)
Kirsten: "I'm going to go drive around half-naked for a few minutes."

Me. "It's good that you have a hobby."
gridlore: The word "Done!" in bold red letters. (Done!)
Yesterday we went out with two main goals: pick up my meds and get me a trekking pole at REI. The cane I had been using was too short and heavy. The therapists suggest a lighter trekking pole and had me work with with one. Much better feel. At REI, a very helpful young lady showed us the options and I ended up with a Leki Wanderfreund AS.

Walking stick

Made in the Czech Republic. Cool!

What made this fun was the guy checking us out used to work at Lord & Sons as a machinist. There was a line, so we didn't really have a chance to chat, but I'd love to learn why he left a good position at a skilled trade to work retail.

The plan was to hit Pizza My Heart so Kiri could have lunch. Alas, it was still a while before they opened and I could feel myself fading, so we went to RiteAid, got my pills, and headed home. The only other big thing was making a big order from Safeway and clearing out all the things in the fridge that had died in the past month.

After a night that led to us calling to cops on our normally quiet-if-not-gone neighbor, I felt the need to do something. I took out some garbage, straightened up around my desk and the back of the futon, vacuumed, cleaned out Vera the Vacuum, did some dishes, and was then order by Kirsten to stop now so I wouldn't burn out.

I obey those kind of orders now.

Just waiting for the Safeway order to arrive, and then the Niners' game tonight. Tomorrow I have OT.

Next weekend we're going to try to make the Santa Clara Art & Wine Festival for as long as I can hold out. Any locals who want to meet up there, just let us know!
gridlore: Doug with Kirsten, both in nice clothes for a wedding. (Me - with Kirsten)
What a week.

Along with the Saturday trip to Ikea, and Sunday assembling Ikea, I had to work a full schedule. Work got interesting at points. But I had one of those backaches that just wandered around from muscle group to muscle group like an irritating tourist.

But the new TV stand is up, and looks good. We have plans to continue the transformation of the place, but that can wait until some more pressing needs are met. Speaking of that, boosting signal for my lovely wife: Give her money. She's awesome. Why should you give her money? Because for the past 18 years she has taken care of me. She literally saved my life the first time I had pneumonia by making me go to the ER, then practically carrying me down three flights of steep stairs and pouring me into the car. Now it's her turn to be taken care of. I'd donate, but she already gets my money.

Anyway, now that you've thrown cash towards my Kiri, back to me. Today I'm taking it easy. Currently watching the Giants beat up on the Rockies (up 10-0, end of 8) and contemplating food. Got a little done today, a few dishes and some tidying. Tomorrow, I need to do recycling, pick up a couple of things at the Auto Parts Store Formally Known As Kragens. After that, since we're having beautiful weather, wash Darby and start sorting out winter clothes for storage.

But for now, sloth. Sloth and baseball.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
Actually got in and out with pretty much what we were there for, and only a few impulse buys, all of which were needed around the place. Some new forks, food containers, kitchenware, and a picture hanging kit. Along with the Expedit TV unit.

Before leaving this morning, we consigned the old cursed shelving unit to the pile of trash out front, along with all the old plastic storage bins (they had become overly brittle after a few years). This picture shows the pile from just our little triplex. I don't think the young lady in #3 has added anything to the pile. And we're pikers compared to some of the apartment buildings down the street. Small hills of mattresses, box springs, construction debris, broken toys.. funny thing is the same buildings had similar piles last year. Kirsten is of the opinion that, given the neighborhood, the buildings experience a high turn-over of people who leave in the night abandoning everything they can't carry.

Junk

Imagine our shock when we got home to discover that the scavengers has already taken it, along with all the boxes. Damn, those guys work fast.

Now enjoying a rest. I have to work today, so need to recharge to face eight hours of dispatching.

Tomorrow we assemble the new thing, and try to bring a little more order to our chaos.
gridlore: The word "Done!" in bold red letters. (Done!)
Done today, even after a late start.


  • The last crappy old bookcase has been hauled to the curb. I'm making a bet with myself that even the scavengers who prowl the area in the week leading up to the neighborhood clean-up day will reject it.

  • Books that were on that shelf have been boxed. Already see some potentials for giveaways.

  • Cleaned up the area between the bookcase and [personal profile] kshandra's desk.

  • Posted my box of old National Geographics on Freecycle.



After lunch I'm going to clean a few more storage boxes and start cleaning off the horrid TV shelf for it's eventual demise. Assuming I have energy, I'll vacuum the living room.

Along with the new furniture, I'd really like to get a small safe to hold our vital documents. Birth certificates, marriage certificate, our passports, the title to Barnum, etc. Right now those things are kept in a basic metal filing box. But that can wait.

Tomorrow I'm taking in recycling, picking up meds, and clearing a path so Saturday Kiri and I can get the shelving unit out of our lives. Ikea run Saturday or Sunday.

In other news, the Giants picked up their first win of the season, 3-0, over the Blue Menance. 161-1, here we come!
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Penguin - Wobble)
Coming home from work my dentures were killing me. Wanting them out of my head, I walked in and said to Kirsten as I strode to the bathroom:

"Be right back. Teeth bad, Fire pretty, Tree went 2 for 4 with a walk."
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
I was going to use the money from the Great Sale 2 for a new bike. However, a new opportunity has arisen, and I must strike! Strike now!

Saddle my horse, for we ride to Ikea!

In short, we have been stuck with an ugly, awkward shelving unit since we lived in San Francisco. The thing is over eight feet long and looks like crap. Next week begins the annual neighborhood clean-up effort here in Santa Clara, when you can throw away anything.

So I'm taking advantage of this fact to ditch the shelving unit and get one of these. Ideally, I'd also like another smaller shelving unit. This, along with some more culling of the book and game shelves, will give the living room a ton of storage space and a better look. This would also allow me to lose the second ugly, broken bookcase.

Now I just need to devote part of my weekend to clearing off the shelves, and doing a major book-sorting. We also need to figure out when Kiri and I can get over to the store, as I'm not allowed in Ikea or game stores alone.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Me - Thoughtful)
We live in a noisy place. About 100' from the CalTrain tracks, close by Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC), and we're close enough to Moffett Federal Airfield to get occasional low passes when the C-130s of the 129th Rescue Wing practice touch-and-go landings. (I love those days, ahh.. the sound of those engines..)

But today was something very different. I was sitting here, net-surfing when what sounded and felt like a heavy freight train began rumbling. Way too early for a freight, and it quickly got way too loud for a train. Plus, it was coming from above. Ran outside and saw at least eight police helicopters at about 600' AGL flying in formation. Today was the memorial service for two slain Santa Cruz police officers. Due to overwhelming interest, the service was moved over the hill to the Shark Tank, and thousands were expected. Kiri had called me to ask about traffic, as she had heard that the service was just about to let out. Guess this was the final tribute.

The guy who shot the officers was later killed by police. I hope they threw his worthless carcass to the Great Whites that live off the coast.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Me - Glare of Sarcasm)
Kirsten is making chicken for her dinners this week.

[personal profile] kshandra: "Why does the chicken suddenly smell like pot?"

Me: "Because.. dude, chicken.. wait! That's where I hid my stash!"

[personal profile] kshandra: "So it's a really baked chicken?"

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gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
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