gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
Photos are up, as are the videos we took.

More in the next few days as I process this.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)

Now we need to replace the blue holder in Kiri's rainbow stack, and we'll be ready for cold winter nights.
gridlore: The Imperial Sunburst from the Traveller role-playing game (Gaming - Sunburst)
OK, this is too much fun. Thanks to [community profile] papersky for the link.

Thrilling Twilight's Peak
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Me - Glare of Sarcasm)
Yes, we went to Reno for our anniversary, and yes we had a great time, but I had to jump right back into work when we got home. So I haven't had time or energy to do a proper trip post. I will tell you we spent $150 on a dinner and felt we underpaid, and Kiri took me to see the Black Rock Playa, home of Burning Man. Which led to this shot:

Burning Doug

I'll eventually get to the details, like how the trip almost ended up being a hospital run instead of a vacation and how I honored my father with booze.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
Currently blooming right outside our office.

Spring has Sprung

I'm still alive, just haven't had much to talk about recently. It does look like a major change is coming here at Offhand Manor. More details when we nail down how this is going to happen.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
My first foray into "cellphone camera in the bathroom mirror" art. Dressed up for tonight's nom-fest at La Fondue.

As cleaned up as I get.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Me - Smiling)
Found the photo of me doing a pledge break. I think this was during my senior year of high school.

Yes, I'll take you money!

Also a found a few other fun shots. First, we have me, Kirsten, and The Master from Timecon '90

We obeyed him.

And two of me at Dead shows, first at Laguna Seca Raceway, May 9-10, 1987 (I really loved that hat)

Laguna Seca Dead Show

and from later that year, at Dylan & the Dead at the Anaheim Stadium, July 26th, 1987

Dylan, the Dead, and Doug
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
The past two days I've done eight hour shifts, 0930 to 1800. The initial idea was I'd ride the reservation desk and learn that while the regular morning dispatcher did her thing, cover the time between when she went home and the even lady came in, and then do both dispatch learnings and reservation learnings. However, morning dispatcher has been sick for two days, so I've been right into the barrel. Still not dealing with actual customers beyond saying "Classic Limousine, this is Doug, would you mind holding?" So someone more experienced can take the call. But I am getting good at handling the system, and learning some of the more prominent special cases. For example, Company A gets $10 off the base fare, and if booked through Booking Company, we don't charge the usual fee unless the job is in certain areas of San Jose. Some companies are Direct Bill unless the particular account notes for that person say otherwise.

It's a lot to learn, and I'm still double and triple checking myself. Today we did some fake calls, with Boss number One calling me from his office and testing how I take calls. Still a ways to go on that. The key is to get the name and if they've traveled with us before. Then it's likely we have them in they system for things like piuck-up address, phone number, method of payment and I just need to get trip details: which airport, which airline, departure time, and will you be needing a return trip?

Getting to know the drivers, who are a cool bunch (as drivers are wont to be.) They are being extremely patient with my fumbling attempt to help them. One of the big duties for the dispatcher is to update flight arrival times. We want our drivers there at the luggage carousel or at the exit from customs with a smile and a greeting sign. So if, as happened tonighyt, a flight from Japan rides the jet stream and comes in a half-hour early, we need to let the driver know well in advance.

One odd thing... I mentioned when I first got hired that there was another new hire, a woman who had also worked the board at ShuperShuttle. She seems to have vanished. Last week we were doing alternating morning and evening blocks, so we didn't see each other. But this week I'm there for much of the day, and you'd think they'd have her in as well for the training. This is not an easily absorbed system! You need lots of practice. Who knows, I'm too busy learning and grinding to ask, and if she did flame out early, I expect once I'm trained they'll hire another person. to fill in the gaps.

But here's the other Office Dog, Coal:

Coal, the office dog
gridlore: One of the penguins from "Madagascar," captioned "It's all some kind of whacked-out conspiracy." (Penguin - Conspiracy)
and you don't.


I have a penguin hat
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Army - Infantry)
But here I am in all my martial glory. Taken in the company area of Delta Company (Delta Dawgs), 3rd Battalion, 7th United States Infantry (Mechanized), 197th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized) (Separate).

The picture was taken sometime in October, 1985. No idea why there's an arms rack in the CQ area. My best guess is that there was a funeral detail the next morning and rather than go through the whole headache of opening the arms room it was decided to pull the required weapons on one rack.

Yes, my eyes are closed. If I knew photoshop, I'd fix that.

Delta Dawg
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Wine & cheese)
Well, technically. We were actually out on Treasure Island to enjoy Fleet Week's Parade of Ships and the air show. How we came to be there requires something of an explanation. We're on the mailing lists of several wineries and wine distributors. I got an offer for VIP tickets from one of the distributors through the SFGate. A bit too pricey, and [ profile] kshandra had plans for today with [ profile] murphymom. A few days later, those plans were canceled, and Kiri grabbed us regular tickets. Still very cheap.

Fleet Week is one of those events that overwhelms San Francisco. The traffic jams and lack of parking, especially down on the Marina Green and Crissy Field are legendary. I expected the same problem on T.I., so we got an early start. Upon arriving, we were shocked to find almost no one there. I think the incredibly tricky nature of getting on and off the island might scare people away. (One lane exit from the bay bridge that immediate goes into a tight turn then a blind merge, getting back on the bridge means coming to a complete stop then trying to get right into a freeway traffic lane. Not for the faint of heart.) We stop to admire Bliss Dance, an amazing statue that was first shown at Burning Man last year, then went in search of our party.

Their building is in the middle of the island. No line of sight to where the events were happening. Evidently, they advertised that the planes fly right over their building. Yes, when they pull out from performance runs, but that's not what we came to see! I cam to see ships, and Blue Angels zipping along at 300knts 15 feet above the bay, inverted, with the pilot playing the violin. Filed with despair and disgust, we went back to the seawall and waited. The parade of ships did not disappoint. Seeing a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier appear out of the fog was impressive as hell. Sadly I hadn't printed the list of ships so I was stuck on identifying them. But still, seeing the USS Carl Vinson bearing down on you is not something anyone would soon forget.

After about two hours up there on the rocks, I was starting to react badly to the weather. It had been predicted to be much warmer with less winds, so I had dressed accordingly. When I started getting chill cramps in my legs, I knew I was done. Walked back to the car (where Kiri had wisely retreated to long before) and we decided to at least get a glass of wine before leaving. Drove back to Treasure Island Wines got in, got a glass of a really nice white. While at one of the standing tables I got in a great conversation with a fellow disabled guy who worked for a company Lord&Sons has heavy business with, and he was shocked to learn that Benicia branch had closed. Kiri wanted a grilled cheese from her new church and I needed to sit down. Here's the first suck. There were about 40-50 plastic chairs, all of them reserved for "VIP" ticket holders. I sat down because I really had to at that point, and immediately got scolded. I told this officious woman I was disabled. No budging. So I told her that telling a disabled man that he can't sit on an empty chair when over half the chairs were empty made it almost certain I wouldn't be giving them my business any time soon. I saw a lot of that, people coming in, drinking a glass, getting told off, and leaving. The second suck was you could not see anything. A B-2 Spirit did a low, slow, pass over the island and we had to run around the corner to get any sort of look at all. When they said "wine-tasting and viewing" I expected what other groups were doing, setting up on the island's west side so people could see!

But we did get some pictures.

It's either a frigate or a Cylon raider. Bloody fog!
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Cobra Commander)

All the photos I'm taking at Worldcon can be seen here.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Me - Glare of Sarcasm)
Sign at my local recyclers. This is the same place that has an annual Tet celebration, so that might explain the wording. They're fast, courteous, and professional, so I'll let this pass.

Ominous warning or Bad English?
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Penguin - Eat you)
500 Hippie Points to anyone who identifies the song I used for the title of this post.

We ordered pizza last night. One pizza, some Parmesan twists, and Kiri got some pasta and a salad. This is the pile of red pepper and grated cheese packets they brought. 15 packets of cheese and 19 of the crushed red peppers. That's not counting about five different dipping sauces for my twists and about 40 paper napkins. I strongly suspect that everyone involved in baking the pizza was totally baked themselves.

Moderation is for monks.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (San Francisco)
It's late June, right? Less than a week to my birthday? Summertime in California, meaning sun, beaches, and tall cool drinks, right?

I laugh.

It's April showers, damnit!

A winter style cold front out of the Gulf of Alaska is hitting the entire Bay Area today. Lots of rain, some thunder. Best part? It's going to drop fresh snow on the Sierra Nevadas just in time for the July 4th weekend. Most of the ski resorts are still open! Many of them still have 40 feet of snow, and they're getting more!

Global climate change is real.
gridlore: A pile of a dozen hardback books (Books)
Mentioned yesterday that we had got a lot of cleaning done.

The living area and an over-stuffed bookcase.

I took seven pictures of the work in progress.

I'm really tired of our old crappy bookcases. I'd really like to get at least one, prefarbly two, of the Expedit bookcase from Ikea. I really like that the bookcase works with the Lekman box or the Branäs basket. This is also quite cool. But I'd be happy with the basic bookcase at this point.

I'm really at the point of throwing a "framing and hanging" party. I'd happily provide pizza and drinks for folks willing to help us get all this crap framed and up on the walls.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Civ 4)
From my latest CivIV game. Look at the upper right portion of the map, and you'll see two purple (Roman) cities on the first turn. How'd that happen? My initial Warrior was generated right next to a village. As my first move, I sent the Warrior into the village, which gave me a Settler. It was well-placed, so I created my second city right there still on the first turn. There is a small bug when this happens. The game charges city maintenance based on what exists at the end of the turn. You don't get charged for your first city. But since I had two cities at the end of turn one, the game saw them both as my first city, and failed to charge maintenance.

CivIV Two City Start

A little more detail for the non-Civ addicts. You begin each game with one Settler (used to found cities) and either a Warrior or a Scout (for civilizations that start with the Hunting technology.) Scattered about the map are little villages. Entering one of these villages will give one of several results. The villagers can give you gold, teach you a new technology, give you a map, or provide you with a Warrior, Worker, Scout, or Settler. As time goes by it becomes increasingly likely that the villagers will be hostile and generate 1-3 Barbarian Warriors. Racing around searching for villages is an important part of the early game.

Also in this game, with their final fate:

  • Saladin of the Arabian Empire (light green) Asked for protection as a Vassal state early in the game. Remained Rome's vassal until the end.

  • Kublai Khan of the Mongolian Empire (dark brown) Conquered by Rome after he declared war on me despite my having riflemen and cannon, and him having swordsmen and Keshiks.

  • Mr. Big of America, Inc. (light blue) One of the special characters for the Next War scernario, shown as George Washington. Stomped into the ground after I got sick of his spies causing problems.

  • Ragnar of the Viking Empire (lavender) Thankfully that psycho was confined to his own continent. Still declared multiple wars against Isabella and Sitting Bull. He didn't bug me, so I didn't bug him... except for grabbing two colonies he had planted on my coast.

  • Isabella of the Spanish Empire (peach) Spent most of the game fighting petty wars with Ragnar and Sitting Bull and demanding that everyone convert to.. Judaism. Yes, this made me laugh.

  • Sitting Bull of the Native American Empire (dark brown) He was never a threat, mainly because the NAN spent the entire game fighting off the Spanish and the Vikings. I encouraged the hijinks by feeding him technologies to help him fight.

Ended up with a Cultural Victory. My starship was within turns of launching and I was building a force to invade the Vikings for a Domination win.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Kirsten and Me)
Details tomorrow. Photos are up, but haven't been completely tagged or mapped yet. We had a great time.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Me - Drama)
Yesterday was my upper GI endoscopy. I had been experiencing some pain when swallowing, and the most recent PET scan showed some oddities in my throat and lungs. So my doctors decided to see what was going on in my throat. The hardest part of this was getting an IV started. Once they started the sedatives, I was gone. I don't remember anything. I don't remember getting dressed, or leaving the hospital. Good drugs.

But for once the problem was clear from the start. I have Candida esophagitis. This yeast infection isn't uncommon in people who use steroid-based inhalers. Now have new meds to deal with it.

Because I'm a sick puppy, I asked for photos. So here's my esophagus. The yellow stuff is actually the yeast infection. )
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
The Glare of Disdain

I have found a new barber shop. Well, it's a hair place, run by the ubiquitous nice Asian ladies. Why I'm going back is that after I asked for an all over cut with the #1 guide, she made very sure I understood just how short this was going to be. I could also understand her despite her accent, which helps. Shave, trim the bear, and I'll look and feel more human.

We had gone out to make use of a Chili's coupon for free queso, and ended up being the first customers of the day. This had advantages and drawbacks. The skillet queso was great, but some of the chips had spent not quite enough time in the firer and were still soft and nearly translucent with oil that hadn't boiled out. When my fajitas came, the tortillas had the exact opposite problem. The top few on the stack had dried out and had become stiff. Not big problems, there were enough good chips for Kiri and me to devour the cheesey, tomatoy goodness, and our server quickly replaced my tortillas with fresher ones from deeper in the stack. I was making Kitchen Nightmares jokes as I dissected my food. One nice surprise was seeing [ profile] collie13 at the restaurant. She just had time to say hi and give quick hugs, but nice seeing her again.

Enough excitement for the day.


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

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