Texx (sometimes denizen of Grand Central Starport)


I hurt, therefore I am
The good news is that I have regained feeling in all of my face.
The bad news is that 2 months after the assault, it hurts like hell.

Some of the scarring is going away, but I have a few raised bumps where keloid material has changed the contour.
Remaining damage is in the vicinity where the eyebrow, top of the nose and the left eye socket cometogether.
The rest of the line across the top of the eyebrows is pretty much gone.

The mid knuckle of the left middle finger is inflamed the whole hand hurts.

The S-I joint where the spine connects to the pelvis, is out of alignment and I dont have time to get it looked at.
The latest, a few weeks ago, I shifted my weight and suddenly the pain was unbearable.

Not helping things is my weekend activities.
Doug & I had several containers for storage.
The storage place shut down and we had to move a bunch of stuff.
Some from my childhood home in Eml Cerrito, and some from Dougs parents place in San Leandro.
We got a huge unit at public storage in Oakland nearby with plans to sort it.

The containers were packed in 1985.
We moved stuff into public storage in 2002 and Doug died in 2003.
Over that year, I managed to get things from 2 units down to one huge one.
Now the unit with its annual increases is around 750, but a new one is 260.
I can get the new price IF I move out of the one Im in.
The plan is to get out of PS anyway, and get everything consolidated at the warehouse cage I rented when they gutted the place in West Oakland.

Despite the back problems, I have started the move within the property, hopefully done by the end of the month.
After that, split the one in Santa Clara into 2 cheaper units (Im paying premium for a huge one)
The goal is to be down to 1 cheaper unit at each site by the start of fall.
Over the next year, have everything at the new place.

That is, if my body survives.

Im finally digging down to stuff for the Computer History Museum.
When the deal for the site out at Clayton fell through, a lot of things got buried in storage.
To ensure that it gets a good reception, Im cleaning years of grime off some old things.
Theres some stuff that got sawdust in it somehow, and I really want to clean that out before it goes to the museum.

In the meantime, I am working on refining the workflow in the print shop at Dickens.
We dont do orders for the public there, but we do jobs for the cast and businesses at fair and we print fun stuff to give away to the public at faire.

It seems, this year is the first year that we got everything in the order book done before the end of faire, since Sully died. In fact we continued taking card orders a week later than he did and we STILL got everything done.
Im honored to have been given the credit for making things work.

Im still up to my butt in CERT, but I finally had to tell them that I cant do much for them until they get their heads out of fantasyland.
I told them to call me when they decide to embrace reality.
The sobering moment came when I had to tell the Fire Chief that HE was not being realistic either.
We are still on good terms, (I think) but hes having to go back and rethink his emergency plan, which I respectfully shot full of holes.
He blushed as he told me I was right.

Ive started dabbling in buying, selling and repairing small printing presses.
I still love doing IT for a living, but Im finding that printing presses are likely to become a weekend business.
Im searching for someone capable of sand casting steel.
I actually have a chance to acquire really cheap all the IP, mold, tooling of a press manufacturer of letterpresses.
Im not quite ready for that yet.

First, I need to get everything under one roof.

DCF 2016 Its a WRAP!
New word to my vocabulary:
" Polymath "

Weekend #5 of fair turned out pretty well.
We finished every order in the book before the end of Faire for the first time since BEFORE Sully died.

We printed a number of silly things to give away next year including something the size of a 2x3.5in calling card that thats people for being kind enough to "bugger off".
Those will be QUITE popular.

In an earlier post I mentioned that someone used our postcards director as the model for the Fairy Godmother in Shrek-2. I ran off about 75 cards with her name in 18pt Park Ave font and the title "Fairy Godmother" in Park Ave 12pt.
Considering the nature of "Postcards", delivery needed to be in a "plain brown wrapper"
Saturday of final weekend, we had the Solstice Party after hours.
Unfortunately, I blunted my own prank by choosing the Solstice party for the presentation.
Most of the people didnt get the joke.
Afterwards, I realized the RIGHT place for the prank was in the Postcards Green Room at the end of the show.
I totally ruined my own prank.

Originally, we were (Printing crew) going to make a quick visit to the party and then head back to Pacifica.
It turned out Margie had a dinner ticket so Sharon and I headed across the street for chinese (from the same place that catered the party)
I had 4 bowls of Hot & Sour and it helped. We were all a mess.
We just about all passed out as soon as heads hit pillows.

The first of the stitches in my face have started to dissolve, so now I need to start working on scar control. Half of the forehead is no longer numb, I think this is good.
The flipside is that Im now feeling pain.

Im most of the way through x-mas shopping, luckily.
I hit the book store at the local mall. For my family history is usually a safe bet.
I hit the history section. How quaint, it was all about Hitler Stalin and a basket of other deplorables.

I saw a Terry Ptatchett Discworld book called "Truth" with a printing press on the front.
Im in the mood for another tale from the series, although I gather that Moist VonLipwig does not star in this one.
Being that printing presses have taken a major spot in my life, any book with a press on the cover gets my attention.

It was not obvious to me, but several have suggested that Lord Vetinari is preparing Von Lipwig to eventually take over as Lord Patrician. Im still not sure.

Last week, I visited a community clinic to have stitches checked.
Result of that is that I am now a patient of record of that clinic, thus they will serve as my physician for now.
There are some things that I should deal with and have put off until I had a physician.
I guess Ill have to now.

X-mas eve plans include the Svengoolie horror movie show.

I really hate this time of year. Its come closest to being fatal than any year yet.
My "Sun" treatment cant be used to ease my mood as Im supposed to avoid sun for the next
1-2 years.

To describe me as miserable is an understatement.

At the moment, I seem to "be there" for a couple people, and I do have couple things that I really Do need to get done while Im still.

Scrooge wasnt a bad guy, nor was the Grinch.
This time of year just plain sucks.

Misheard lyrics:
"HARK! The Hairlipped Angels Sing"

Dickens Faire 2016 closing weekend approaches.
A week ago (Dec 6) I had an encounter with what I THINK was a rock and a shouted homophobic slur.
In my last post, I told the story about spending the night in the ER.

I actually had a pleasant visit with the ER Nurse, Physician and Tech, and had to stifle laughter as the Physician ripped some jackass a new one for smoking in the ER bathroom.
"I cant *BELIEVE* you smoked in * MY ER *!!....." and so on.

They gave me a scrip for industrial strength ibuprofin.
The next morning I slept late and then drove in, planning on filling said scrip on the way home at Costco.
I didnt know the pharmacy closed at 7.
I wasnt in too much pain, it turns out because most of my face was still numb.
I realized that I still needed it to keep the swelling under control, as I did NOT want to
have the swelling pop any stitches.
The next morning, I hit Costco at opening and found out it would be an hour and a half to get it filled.
I dropped the scrip there and went to work, planning to retrieve it in the evening.
Traffic made me late so it was Friday before I actually got it.

Ive been cleaning it twice a day per instructions and keeping it moist with triple antibiotic ointment. At this point, its all about minimizing scars.

Having forewarned the rest of my crew at DCF, I arrived in Pacifica Friday night.
I stopped off on the way for gas at Costco, and decided to celebrate my birthday with a hot dog.
I didnt feel like ice cream.
Its been over 10 years since I had a FUN birthday.
I was feeling sorry for myself.

We got the weekly "Bulletin" finalized and turned the laserprinter loose and went to bed.
I got up in the middle of the night to feed the printer.
Morning was a bit more complicated due to wound cleaning, but we got out of the house nearly on time.

Imagine a compact pickup truck with camper shall on the back.
Imaging Sharon driving with Margie in the front seat.
Don and I ride in the "jump seats" in the back facing the centre of the truck.
Now, Imagine Don, in this moving vehicle, attaching his collar to his shirt and tying a
10 ft long cravat.
When we arrived at Faire, it was like a clown car with all of us crawling out of it.

Young Tom was with us weekend #3 and was expected weekend #4.
He hadnt slept much the night before after an altercation with his moms current boy friend.
At the end of Saturday he turned up, but in better spirits than I could remember.
He was also quite upbeat Sunday.
Ive tried to arrange a chance for him to experience everything we do in the shop, from greasing bearings, typesetting, running proofs, inking machines, cleaning them, sending type back to the cases.
He actually has quite an instinct for it.
He also has a sharp eye for proofing and caught several typos before we had to reprint a job.

We need an extra body or two, preferably younger.
Each DCF booth is a family in itself.
One seldom gets a chance to choose ones family.
Tom was born into the candle shop. They love him, to be sure.
The print shop family, who is not related to him, has chosen Tom.
This is starting to sink in.
As it stands, we are expecting Tom full time next year.

The printshop started with a newspaper typesetter nicknamed "Sully".
As he transitioned to digital systems, he missed cold type, and had a love for history.
He started collecing equipment at a time when the old presses were going to scrap.
(Thankfully, this has eased with the resurgence of letterpress)
His kids got into it and joined him on historical re enactments.
When he passed, his daughter took over the shop.
Productivity in the shop has slowed a great deal since Sullys passing.
Sharon has a love of the shop, but every piece of type in the shop reminds of her dad.
A couple of us have joined the shop since Sullys passing.
From year to year, Sharon is recovering from the loss.

Most years, the shop starts coming together about a month before faire.
Over the last year, via email, we have been keeping things moving and working on small projects during the off season.
Between the development of the adaptation of "Flexography" to 1800s presses and other initiatives, we are on track to print everything in the prder book for the 1st time since Sullys passing.

We have created standardized procedures for most things and it has paid off.
Day #2, I was able to keep the small press running nonstop and printed 5 jobs in one day.
This was all due to having all 5 jobs already typeset, ready to lock into the form, and a standardized setup. Since all were set up the same and used the same stock, there was almost no make-ready needed between jobs.

We werent always able to keep this "pipeline" running, but we know that when we do it, it works. Its not just about effiency, its about keeping the presses running. People are horribly disappointed when they come by and the presses are standing still. After all, they ARE the stars...

This constant work in the shop and the offseason activities, have helped me mostly stay upbeat.
Ive had some dark episodes despite the shop including a nearly fatal one the week before rehearsal, but it has helped.

The week before last weekend wasnt a picnic either with a dozen stitches in my face.
They ruined my birthday plans, but they DID NOT take my Dickens Fair away from me.

We have more engineering tasks for the offseason in the shop.
The small press is due an extensive overhaul, possibly its 1st since the late 1800s.
We need to fabricate several replacement parts (Blacksmiths are your friends)
Some new fixtures for the shop are in order.

We need a method to control rain in the shop.
The roof leaks keep moving.
We have to work on that.

We are not so much a merchant so much as we are a living history stage.
I had someone tell me that I should be teaching a class in college.
I blushed and didnt take it seriously.
That is, until someone sent me links to several videos shot at Greenfield Village, Historical Williamsburg and a few other places.
I was horrified at the false data the docents were sprewing.
Maybe I SHOULD teach?

I am dreading the coming xmas & new years.
I havent had time to dread the inauguration of the Tweeter Of The United States of America (TOTUS) and the Closet Case Of The United States of America CCOTUS), but I will.

Final weekend of DCF 2016 approaches and we are planning pranks.

Faire is underway.
Weve had days like Sunday of opening weekend when we had everything lined up and I managed to print 6 card orders in a row on a foot powered printing press.
We have also had days like Sunday of week 3 (Last Sunday) when it took me 3 hrs to get the "Make-ready" right.
We are getting it together, albeit slowly.

I have not seen Freyjaw yet.

First weekend, my cousins whom I didnt know were coming, dropped by.
I was chatting this guy with 2 kids and damn his voice sounded familiar.
"Wahts your name?"
Paul is like a completely different person from when he was in HS.

Second weekend, my sister and her family came.
Also that weekend, some people from the radio club came.
Third weekend, Tony & Tracey, I went to HS with came.

Lodema asked me if I was having fun in the print shop. Several times Ive been soloing in the shop when the rest of the crew is gone. Once doors open, the next time I end up checking the clock is usually around 2pm. Somewhere around 3 or 4 I realize I havent had lunch and if Im lucky, I get to it by 5. So, yeah I guess I AM having fun. The print shop isnt really a vendor, although we do jobs for DCF cast and other businesses. We are really more of a living history stage and in conversation we get into printing topics well outside of Dickens time.

Especially after my dark week before rehearsal weekend, I know that DCF is what keeps me alive in the winter.

Once faire got underway, my life stopped circling the drain, well until last night.
I spent the night in the ER.
I had a misadventure, got home holding a rag to my face, cleaned up, got it to mostly stop bleeding, took an aspirin and tried to go to sleep.
At 1am, I knew this was not going to work, as bleeding into the eye kept waking me up.
I got dressed with 1 hand, and drove into Berkeley to the ER, again driving 1 handed.
(MEMO to self: remember to clean blood off steering wheel)
Fortunately, there was little in the queue ahead of me.
They were impressed at how well Id cleaned and treated myself.
I explained that Id gotten as far as I could and realized it was time to see the professionals.
More amazing was that I was well into shock doing this.
BP was 180/110 and pulse 120.
Just before dawn, I was discharged with a dozen stitches in my face where my left eyebrow connects to the bridge of the nose.
After work tonight, Ill fill the scrip for pain meds.
There is light bleeding into the sinuses so between that and the beginnings of a cold I got at the Cow Palace, blowing my nose is a bit messy.
Time will tell the severity of the scar.

On the political arena, things are starting to get interesting.
I broke the staff up in the ER when I made reference to "The Blowhard Elect", although I should REALLY call him the "Tweeter Elect".
Im waiting to see if its only MY GAYDAR thats going off about Pence.
Me thinks Miz Thang be one of the GURLZZZ!
Just wait till the good Christians of the US realize that they put the "Tweeter of the US" and the "Closetcase of the US" into power.
In govt circles, the President is known as "POTUS" and the veep as "VPOTUS".
So now we have the "TOTUS" and the CCOTS".

I said it before, the next 4 years wont be a picnic, but it wont be the huge tragedy either.
It WILL be quite a ride, however, with a few funny moments such as this.

I got a cryptic email from the mechanic that has had my motorcycle for nearly 2 years.
It MIGHT be done, although Im not really ready for it.

Enroute to Pacifica to start my DCF weekend, last Friday, I caught news of a large warehouse fire.
It was Monday before I learned that the warehouse in question was "The Ghostship".
I dont THINK I know anyone who was lost, but I know the developers who are trying to get rid of these collectives, such as the one I was in that closed a little over a year ago, will use this as an excuse to pressure the city of Oakland to shut them down. I fear for the people who survived.

DCF Opening weekend looms
The run of back luck continued.
I was due in Pacifica to load type cabinets for the print shop on Saturday morning.

Flat tire

The hydraulic floor jack that usually lives in the trunk was not there.

Set up the screw-scissor jack that I bought after the original in the car died.
Just as I eased the tire off, the jack rolled over.

The cell was dead. Hiking got me to a friend who loaned me a hydraulic floor jack.
It got part way up, and died. Back to friend. (Glad I wore sneakers)

He gave me the original screw-scissor jack that used to live in his last car.
This time, it all worked.

I knew I needed it all done same day, and I really wanted to use Americas Tire.
Once back on the road, detour via Millbrae to drop off dead tire.
I needed to get back there later in the day to pick it up and it wasnt too far from Cow Palace.

Off to Pacifica! It was noon and they had given up on me and left.
Back in the car and off to Daly City.

I arrived at the Cow Palace. A long counseling session with Lodema was helpful.
I finally got to the printshop before 1.
At this point, I was hopeful that the string of bad luck had finally played out.
Besides, a bad rehearsal gives you a good show?

I REALLY got to the heart of the mysterious KLUNK at the bottom of the small press.
Z! noticed that a linkage went into another linkage that was supposed to be in the shape of a 2 prong fork. 1 of the tines was missing so the connecting pin was flopping all over.
This was nothing a stack of washers and a cotter pin couldnt fix.

While we were at it, replacing that piece of bailing wire on the other pin with a proper cotter pin, of and that nail that was being used as another cotter pin, perhaps that could be replaced ?

Sharon suggested that we use her truck to pick up my tire and then make a run to Pacifica to bring a load in. I emptied the small type cabinet and got the cabinet and a few other things under the camper shell. Actually I crammed it full. This was a good load.
In the meantime Z! & Don were at French Postcards rehearsal.

After that, I was talked into crashing on their couch in Pacifica. The Papa Murphys pizzas we picked up were augmented before baking and one of the was spectacular. It already had pineapple on it, but Don added pineapple salsa and it ended up one of the most memorable pizzas I can remember.

Its been a long time since I slept the whole night in one shot.
Hot coffee and cold pizza and I was off to the basement to unload the BIG type cabinet.
By the time the rest were down, I had all the type cases stacked on the pallet jack and I was ready to lift the cabinet into the back of the big truck.
Thats when I discovered that the top of the cabinet was loose and weighed more than the rest of the cabinet.

We loaded the cases from the small cabinet into the small truck and we loaded everything else into the big truck, using my new tire as a spacer.

It didnt take long to get it all into the booth and we even were smart enough to diagram which type case went into which slot of which cabinet BEFORE we started moving things around.

The previous week, we had pretty much deglazed the rollers from the small press.
Now it was time to tackle the rollers from the big press.
While the rollers had been cleaned after most sessions, no serious deglazing had been done in over 10 years.

Z! improved the process from the small rollers by trying "wet sanding" with 400 grit and a citrus cleanser. He got 1 really well done.
In the meantime, I "inked the big press with "Easy Street" roller cleaner and loaded 1 roller on the press and just let it run for a few hours. In the meantime, I gave the machine a thorough lubrication, getting some lithium grease into places I dont know how long they had been running dry.
Easy Street did not pull the gunk off the roller but it sure sped up the process I copied from Z! and I got my roller even cleaner.

In many ways, we are vastly ahead of where we usually are, although we arent going to be able to get a head start on printing those shopping bags before opening.

Don & Z! were back in rehearsal and things were looking better.
Sharon suggest that we finally install the new tire.

Beneath the moonlight, in the parking lot of the Cow Palace, the hydraulic jack she loaned me, FAILED!!!
It was back to that screw-scissor jack that Brian gave me.

On the way home, one of the headlights failed and a cop from Albany pulled me over to tell me about it.
He was nice enough, however to make it a warning rather than a ticket.

The bad luck is not gone, but its not as bad as it was and I will have to take my victories where I can find them.

DCF 2016 Rehearsal weekend approaching
This has been a MISERABLE week.
Even for ME its been bad.

Later, when Ive had time to think, (If I ever get a chance to do that again) Ill go through the election in detail.
I think peoples reaction to the election is a bit premature.
This is not to say that his election was good thing, but if we are going to hang him, PLEASE hang him for the RIGHT reason!

In the run up to Dickens, we have made incredible strides in pre-season prep.
Seriously, we have gotten things done that weve kicked down the road for years.
I should be thrilled. At least Sharon, who owns the booth is thrilled, so thats a good thing.

Reorganization efforts of our local Community Emergency Response Team have been complicated by the outgoing CERT director sticking his nose in and possibly wasting 3 years of my work.

Wednesday, I got all the way to work, before having to make another round trip home to pick up my forgotten laptop.
A mile out from the house I had to return yet again for my glasses.

Wednesday night, after the CERT meeting, my glasses frame fell apart.
If I can chase down some screws, I cen get them functional again.

I suppose the straw that broke the camels back is not a single straw.
Its more like a bale.

"Chessie", our cat was pulled from a storm drain by Dad, in summer 1998.
She was a mess, to say the least, and we werent sure she was going to make it.
She was hungry, flea bitten, filthy, and had worn her claws all the way down.
Not only make it, but she proved to be the brightest cat we ever had.
I remember the time she faced down a fox and drove him all the way to the bottom of the canyon.

The last 2 year shes not been walking well, particularly her hips.
A few days ago, she stopped eating, but continued drinking.
We knew what was coming.
Thursday morning, she came downstairs but was unable to go back up.
I carried her back up.
For the last few years, shes adopted one of Moms old flannel shirts as a preferred nesting spot on the foot of Dads bed.
I took off my glasses and looked into her eyes and told her "Yeah, I know"
I gave her ear skritches and headed off to work.

Around 1:22 PM Thursday, I sensed something was wrong.
I was pretty sure Chessie has passed.
I dont usually cry. I get crushing depressive episodes, but I dont all out cry much.
I had to keep leaving the building to recover. (Like several an hour)
This shot my work productivity all to hell.

Ive been visited in the past by people "on their way out".
As far as I know, all of these "visitations" have been from people I know.
This is not a bad thing.
In fact Im honored that I rate enough on their list to "check out" with me.
They are a little unnerving when they happen, but Im not in any hurry for them to stop either.
I suppose I have the makings of a rather mediocre "medium".
This was, however, one of the longest visits I can remember.

I worked late.
I got home and asked Dad whether we still had a cat.
He said we still barely had one.
By this point, Chessie was not moving other than breathing and opening eyes when I gave her more ear skritchies.

2 years ago, during Dickens, we lost one of the century old oaks in front.
I finally got most of the stump out over this summer, but had not backfilled the hole yet.

During the night, she did indeed pass.
This morning, she was wrapped with one of her toys in Moms shirt that had been her nest for so long and we backfilled the stump.

The crying jags are still coming, and Im trying to avoid notice by the rest of the staff at work.

The mystery remains, just WTF is going on.
Was yesterday just a warning? Or did I lose someone else that I havent heard about?
I shared a birthday with Kirk Douglas who went last night but we didnt know each other, so I dont see him having visited me.
Im just not sure who it really was.

I think Ive cried more in the last 24 hrs than I have in the last 40 years.
As I head into rehearsal weekend for Dickens, Im going to be just about as much fun as a turd in the punch bowl.

Dickens in 3 weeks
At the moment, Im TRYING to "sit" at my desk at work.
Im in the "Great Kilt", so with all the fabric behind me, there isnt much room on the chair for ME.
I learned after wearing it to work at FaceBook a few years ago to drive with the outer part down and not to pull the sash over the shoulder until arrival.

The Monthly First Wed lunch is today with a theme of Diwali, and they scheduled the Halloween party for this afternoon, costumes encouraged.
Having Diwali and Halloween parties the same day, Im not sure is a good idea but it is what it is.

This past weekend was the 1st weekend of workshops for Dickens Christmas Fair.
We use the HS at Pacifica, and despite the storm, the view of the Pacific was spectacular.

Saturday night after workshops was spent with the local FD Battalion Chief and the Captain of #65, planning out communications for the CERT teams of El Cerrito & Kensington.

Sunday night after workshops, I attended the readthrough of the DCF French Postcards Revue of this year.
The script is great! Its always a hassle to get booth time off to catch "Postcards" and since half our booth is lost to the cast of Postcards each afternoon, it made sense to catch the rehearsals instead.

Then the other shoe dropped. I just found out that I am running the shop at least one day, possible more.

After that, we attended to "The Exciting World of Printshop Maintenance (tm)".
Printing the bags for the tea shoppe is always difficult.
When we print a calling card for a cast member, its a single layer.
Shopping bags are multiple layer and not uniformly the same number of layers across the bag.
The "make-ready" process takes hours and sometimes days before we get a good image.
We have decided to adapt the "flexography" process to 1800s equipment.

Call the paramedics! It actually worked!

Since we are working with multiple sheets of rubber, the block of wood the plate is attached to needs to be much thinner.
We had to find a piece of 1/2in ply,
cut a block of it,
Varathane it,
glue a layer of rubber to it,
peel the old poly plate off the old block of wood,
glue it to the top of the rubber on the new block of wood,
install a new tympan sheet on the press,
add packing,
improvise a new type of registration pin out of foam tape and pressboard.
All this before we got our 1st proof.
By laying a sheet of bond paper over the bag we were able to fine tune the registration.
This included pulling the chase and moving the blocks around to move the image up about 20 picas.
Of course the bond tended to stick to the plate and get pulled into the machine.
A rubber band across the "gripper bars" solved that.
This left us with an otherwise good image but this odd blank spot across the top of the image.
Then we realized there was ink on the rubber band!
Moving the rubber band solved the problem.

So all this took far less time than make ready from a plate that was already done via the old method.
DAMN! We are GOOD!

We also realized that a poly plate used for 3000 plus impressions in a year should not be used the next year.

This coming Sat night, we will try again with a new poly plate and possibly print a few hundred bags to "shake down" the process.

Most of the 1 & 5lb cans of ink from the suitcase have been triaged and the good ones transferred to very small canning jars.

Before we could set up the press last Sunday, I had to remove the previous job from the chase frame.
I managed to transfer it to an empty galley and then went looking for galley magnets to hold it still so the type wouldnt "pie" (fall apart and jumble).
Then the magnets didnt work. The galley wasnt ferrous, DOH!
I finally wedged a couple of 10pt slugs and used tape to hold it.

For the last few weeks, we have been at work de-glazing the rollers.
They have years of dried ink on them.
We are down to actual rubber in places and lots of remaining glaze in others.
So far the uneven texture isnt hurting us.
Citrus based cleansers seem to be the trick.
We are trying to be as gentle as we can as these presses are pushing 150 years old.

You can be assured that we will be pushing the art of Yellow Journalism to new lows as we publish "The Bulletin".
We do hope that Penelope Dreadful will turn up like the proverbial "bad penny" to further rile the good citizens of "Olde London".

We have 5 jobs left in the book from last season and I picked up 5 more jobs 1st weekend of Workshops.

This does not count the job for the tea shoppe.
Ive nicknamed the tea shoppe commission the "Bag Job".
Someone commented that it sounded "dirty" when I said that.
I asked "So whats wrong with 'dirty' ?"
I think thats how I got the smudge of ink on my nose...

Autumn already
To start, this morning was interesting.
I was passed in traffic by an auto transport with only 1 car on it.
The logo on the side said "Detroit Police"
The rear bumper said "001" on 1 side and "Police" on the other.
The license plate was a non govt personalized plate and I couldnt make out the state.
Across the edge of the trunk lid was "Robocop"
Im wondering if its going to or from some "Con" or something.

At a week shy of July 4, I managed to get people from our local CERT communications team to FINALLY show up to the CERT tent at July4.
Thats when I found out that CERT had totally dropped the ball for the 3rd year running and the Fire Dept didnt have manpower to man it themselves.
We kind of vindicated ourselves by bailing out CERT.

I logged some time over there in addition to my duties at main stage and looking after the KECG-FM studio backhaul. We are coming to grips that we need to spread out the work load as the whole crew is aging.
As usual, load out continued after dark and we ended up at Coreys for lasagna at midnight.

I worked for Lodema at Scottish games. I got a pair of historically accurate "ghillies".
I spent a chunk of time out with the re enactors and saw a "spring pole lathe"
Its human powered with a foot pedal and a small pole used as a spring.
The guy was turning a bowl with it.

The usual run of radio support for public events has been running since April.
The final was this last weekend.

As a kid, our family hiked the Dipsea trail at least once a year between Mill Valley & Stinson Beach.
In college I stopped doing so and in the early 2000 through public events, I began to relearn portions of the trail. Ive relearned the trail from Santos Meadow to the beach.

I dont even remember the part coming out of Mill Valley, well until this weekend.
In the past, Ive been a radio operator usually somewhat stationary, or perhaps assigned to a medic team but the range was rather close. Some events use the while Dipsea Trail and others only use parts of it.

Theres a website dedicated to the Dipsea race ( www.dipsea.org ) with pictures of portions of the trail.

Last year was my 1st event actually walking, tied to a trail sweep.
I did Santos Meadow to Cardiac and back. This year I did that one again.
This past weekend, I did Mill Valley to Windy Gap, then parallel to Panoramic Hwy, back across it, down pipeline and back to "the stairs" and back to Old Mill Park in Mill Valley.

I dont remember the stairs as a kid, and since 2000 Ive only heard about them.
This weekend changed that.

The event was a benefit for Breast Cancer.
I was assigned to a group of fitness trainers midway in the pack.
Another radio operator was assigned to the sweep.
There were 2 routes, 1 a mile longer than the other.

I got "dusted" part way up the 1st course of stairs.
Theres only 700 of them, BTW.
At Windy Gap, I was reunited with the group, but at that point, they were hooking up with the other group of trainers and had decided to hike all the way to Stinson Beach.
This meant they would not be giving aid along the trail.
I was not up to Stinson Beach and back, plus my ride home was out of Mill Valley.

A brief chat on the radio and I was reassigned to the trail sweeps.
It was a great trip back.
Most of the crowd had gone when we got back, but there was a great jazz quartet and lunch.
This all women quartet call themselves "Dandelion".

I rode with Stanton & Judy so on the way home we stopped off at this cafe in Mill Valley.
Its called "Mamas Royal Cafe".
It has the ambiance of a dive with a mix of Hawaii Caribbean & Mexico vibe.
Its a "must-visit".

This coming weekend is the Pacificon ham radio convention.

After that, I go into "Dickens Faire" mode for the rest of the year.

In early September was my HS class reunion.

This is not to be confused with the all class "fine arts dept" reunion every July.
The fine arts reunion is everyone from music and theatre all class years from our school.

About 10 years ago, we ditched the dinner dance format and just started renting the city community centre,
with a no host bar. In the past, there was usually an after party, but in 2011 & this year, it didnt happen.
I think the aging process is catching up with us.
A couple of us hit one of the local bars for another drink and that made US the ones who stayed out the longest.

Like the last one, the dress code was supposed to be casual, but in 2011, I wore a suit.
This time, I went formal. 2 of us actually did. One of my classmates runs a Limo service, so he was in a tux.
I went "Highland Formal" I was the highland equivalent of "black tie". Argyle jacket & vest, wing collar shirt, formal fur sporran etc. A number of people wanted their picture taken with me, despite the fact that they wouldnt speak to me in HS. ( Ill take victories where I can find them )

I picked up green flashes, bow tie & pocket square at Scottish Games.
Being that I usually wear black or grey hose, I wore cream because school colors are green & white.

In HS, I helped build an 10 watt FM radio station.
110,000 watt KQED FM spent 6 years of listener donations trying to quash, so go ahead and listen to them but DONT send them any money!
A few years back, I met the current broadcasting instructor and got pulled back into KECG.

I decided it would be fun to have to business cards made with the KECG name.
Green ink and an ivory card stock.
I made a couple trips to Pacifica to access one of the presses we bring to Dickens Faire.
Don & I took a shot at a type setting technique neither of us had ever done before.
We ran the KECG FM across the short side of the card and my name & contact info the long length of the card.
It took us an evening to get the type to lock up because we were setting in 2 different axis.

I was having trouble with the registration pins, so some of them printed at a slight angle, but I got enough that looked good enough to use at the reunion.
I "tied up" the type after (wondered where the term came from?) so I can print more at Dickens without having to set it again.

In the process of all of this, we had a chance to do a bit of maintenance.
We are exploring methods to de glaze the rollers without dissolving them.
We have over the past few weeks generated a rather intimidating "To Do" list for Faire prep.
Not helping is that Northern Fair is running right now and half the print shop staff is at "Ren".
We really need to readjust the presses to make sure the machine closes "true"
(IE: the type contact the paper exactly the same distance across the page)
A wee bit of steam cleaning would help.

We are also fine tuning the process of making harder photopolymer plates.
The new material is a bit tricky to get right.

The bags have arrived that we will print on for "Cuthberts Tea Shoppe" at faire.
The "make-ready" to ensure that the image is uniform across the bag is quite fiddly.
Shopping bags vary in thickness across them so this complicates the "packing"portion of the "make-ready" process.
We are going to experiment with "flexography" to see if it speeds things along.

Across from Cuthberts Tea Shoppe at DCF, "Elite Printing" will be for the 2nd year.
Its at the far end of "Olde London" so some people miss seeing us, but its convenient when we need a "cuppa" tea.

When they set up the tea shoppe, they have a whole kitchen operation set up and the wall between the shoppe and the kitchen is supported by stacks of these huge crates that the shop is stored in during off season.
Kids of the staff play in these stacks of crates.
It seems Cuthberts has "Brats in the Belfries".

We have been calling it the "Cuthys" job for a while, but some people took umbrage at our shortening the name.
Ive recently started calling it "The Bag Job" which REALLY raises eyebrows.
Sharon said that calling it that "sounded dirty".
I asked "Whats wrong with THAT?"

(no subject)
I decided to check out SF pride in June.
It took an hour to clear the security checkpoint.
Whats interesting to note that the whole Pride thing was a battle between a bunch of drag queens and cops, and now the homeland security goons are being welcomed with open arms.

Totally un real.

We spread the setup of the El Cerrito July 4th festival over about a week.
This made things a lot easier. I was working in the day and popping by the park in evenings to aid in the setup.
In fact, we managed to do a day and a half of stage programming.

Because Ive been laying out in the sun over lunch recently, I had a nice base tan so I didnt get burnt for once.

As usual, I managed the studio link so that KECG-FM could broadcast the stage programming both days, managed the golf cart crew to get the performers from their parking lot to the stage and back, and managed all the radios for the festival crew, scattered over a half dozen channels.

I also organized the Tent for Community Emergency Response Team.
The fire dept had given up on it, but I managed to get it staffed at the last minute and even did a shift there.

Tear down went a lot easier and by 10:30, we were in Coreys living room having lasagna.

In the last week of June, there was a bombing at the Istanbul airport. My father flew through there the next day. Since then there has been an incident on the french riviera. Hes on the way back, via Istanbul.
He was going to do some sightseeing there before coming home. I think he arrived just before todays coup.
I dont know if hes going to be home early or late. Its proving to be quite a summer.

Im still consolidating the stuff from my workshop. At the new place I traded 3 dead 1 speeds for a 20 speed mountain bike. I found someone who deals with used shelving & pallet rack, so that will help. Last year i fished 2 dead pallet jacks out of the trash, and I got 1 of them fully functional. I still need another wheel for the other. I really need to get rid of 1 of the cages there because Im underwater at the moment. Plastic can only float me so far.

The fine arts reunion was last weekend. Anyone from any year at our HS who was in music or theatre comes.
I spent most of the time with a couple guys that I didnt get along with well in HS but now we are best buds.

My class reunion is in Sept, and Im getting ready for it.
Im going "Highland Black Tie" just for grins.
I also need to find time to chase down some people who dont usually come and get them to come this time.
I still want to lose another 10 lbs for it.
I dont know if there is time to get the dental work done in time though.

Its proving an exhausting summer.

Im already in "Dickens Faire Prep" mode.

June is coming
They say that the best way to learn a subject is to teach it.
Ive found this to be true.

I note that California being one of the most populous, votes so late that we have no say in the primaries.
It will be set in stone before we vote.

The primaries, this year have been baffling to the international sector.
Its been an adventure to answer questions about the system to my colleagues from overseas.

First of all, the election in November belongs to the people of the US and is governed by the constitution.

The primaries are a convenience added in later for benefit of the parties.
The conventions are the property of the parties and not the fed govt.
As a result, the conventions & primaries, being property of the parties, can make their own rules as they see fit.
Most people dont seem to get this.

A supposedly successful & savvy businessman from New York seems to have gotten into the race without fully researching the rules he was going to have to abide by.
Now he cries like a spoilt brat.

Keep in mind, in full disclosure, this guy is running for the nomination from MY party.

This guy from NYC wants to champion private enterprise and get govt off everyones back, but he is going to FORCE Apple to build their product in the USA?
Me think Trump speak with forked tongue!

While there is a lot of screaming about what Trump is going to do, Im pretty sure its all talk.

Neither Trump nor Fiorina have been in charge of organizations where they couldnt fire people who failed to do their bidding.

Im guessing Trump presidency would be an uneventful one.
He would spout his rhetoric, but be powerless to do anything if congress didnt let him.
In fact this is how its supposed to work.
Congress pretty much muzzled Carter because he didnt play their game.
Trump is headed for the same.

Aside from a few platitudes thrown out to the right wing religious, I never heard Kucinich speak until after he suspended his campaign.
Actually, some of what he said actually made sense.
I couldnt tell how much he was pandering to the religious right wing and how much of their agenda he bought into.
He was probably the most rational guy my party has had in the running in a long time.

The interesting thing is that both sides of the family are deeply republican and they are ALL looking at Bernie.
Orange County bankers backing a "Socialist"? Ranchers from OR & WA doing the same ?
This is weird.

Unfortunately, Bernie seems a 1 issue candidate, and foreign policy questions are answered with answers to the "1% issue".

I dont mind voting for a woman for president, but cant we have a more honest woman for a candidate?
Such ineptitude from both parties is unbelievable.
All I can think of is that the parties are trying to keep women out of the whitehouse by parading the worst female candidates they can find (Rep: Trailer Trash, Dems: Bad choice in advisors and possibly corrupt)
Im also not wild about family political dynasties.
Founding fathers actually worked to prevent political dynasties.

I want to reward my party for having a moderate in their midst, even though they buried him, but I thing Wall St needs a punch in the nose from Bernie.


1906 -110th anniversary
Monday morning at 3am I got up and headed to SF for the 1906 quake remembrance.
It was the 100th anniversary of the quake.
It was also bittersweet being the 1st one since the last of the survivors had died a few months ago.
Bill had worked until he was 105

We gathered at Lottas Fountain on Market, Willie Brown talked far too long.

Then we were off to 22nd & Church to paint the fire hydrant.
Rather than head off to Leftie ODouls for breakfast & Bloody Marys, I went on to work in my whole disaster
gear (jumpsuit, boots, webbing, radios etc)
I did change after the morning meeting.

As time progresses, my suspicion that I am undiagnosed bi-polar increases.
As I write this Im in a particularly deep cycle.
Im trying to understand it.

It hit HARD on Tuesday with no warning during the drive into work.
As far as I can tell, it seems to have been triggered by a piece of music,
Carlos Santana's "I Love You Too Much".
It was recorded during an interview at a practice session where it starts with Bill Graham singing
and then Carlos Taking over.
There I was coming down the Dublin grade eastbound on 580 in full tears.
Arriving in the parking lot, it took a while to compose myself for the day of work.
I havent figured out what all happened yet.

In my early years, I showed an innate understanding of machines which people perceived as superior intellect.
This, of course, masked my social difficulties which border on the Autism Spectrum.
I am brighter than average, but Id stop short of considering myself the "genius" that some people think I am.

Nobody knew it back in HS, but I might as well have been one of the Columbine Kids.
Its been said that you cant do a psych profile of a teenager because most of them profile as sociopaths.
What broke me out of that was a combination of getting dragged into college theatre and the meeting of a
computer field service engineer who looked after the large mainframes at UC Berkeley and at Lawrence Lab.

I developed a coping tactic that MOSTLY keeps me functional.
I maintain in my head, the biggest "Tech Manual of People" you could imagine.
Because no 2 people are alike (AKA Built from different sets of blueprints)
I have to devote a separate chapter to every person I have ever met.
This also means that I have to "reverse engineer" every person I meet.
Being that I have to actively study people, seeking social cues and the in depth study that i do on each person probably creeps them out just a bit.
This reverse engineering of people and constant revision continues for years after I meet someone.

I view human interaction through a machine model.
The unanticipated result of this is that I now become unhinged when I recognize that 2 other people are
"not on the same page"
This mechanical model enabled me to cope with Moms decline into dementia.
Having done some search and rescue and my background in bio-medical engineering helped me maintain a "clinical"
Base. My "logical" sister was really unable to cope at all.

One of the more bizarre aspects of walking this razor thin line on the edge of insanity are these brief moments
of insight to the universe.
You hear of these moments when people in the middle of a drug trip when they get these incredible insights to the universe.
I get them, but they are not drug induced and there is no warning when they hit.
Im the last month, Ive had 3 of these episodes.
Unfortunately, they are far too brief.
I know that for that short moment I had all the answers, but Im unable to recall EVERYTHING that I knew during that brief episode.

One of them dealt in depth as to why color works, and for that short time, I knew so much about it,
and how it related to sound and radio, but now, I cant remember much of the insight.

A number of stations are using their additional virtual channels for alternate programming.
I have my choice of several chances to watch TV programming from the past.
Our CBS station has decided to mix news, history and programming, usually pairing them up by theme.
Last weekend was a whole weekend of Get Smart. It was fun, but it was alarming.
It lampooned far more than I had remembered. I noticed something disturbing.
All the villains were Germans.

This was the cold war, people were still smarting from WW2.
Right now the villains are all Eastern European and Middle Eastern.
Noticing that when its a Christian shooting up a shopping mall hes a "gunman" but a middle Easterner,
they are a "Terrorist" and presumed to be Muslim.

Now I find out that most of what we were told about Islam is false.
Wasnt this the same way that Hitler convinced people that it was OK to kill Jews ?

Its one of those times when the American flag becomes an embarrassment.

Now, we come to the title of the post.

In the late 1980s, some areas realized they needed to organize neighborhoods to become self sufficient
during emergencies such as quakes etc.
After Sept 11, FEMA decided they needed a national program to do that.
They were quite surprised that in some areas, such a thing was already under way.
FEMA studied these programs and standardized the curriculum into CERT.
The Community Emergency Response Team program is underway in most town in the US.

Our local program in El Cerrito has had its ups and downs and is being rebuilt.
I joined a radio team in 2000 whos mission was to support the neighborhood teams.
Unfortunately, its model was completely botched and I think Im the only one who realized it.

The only thing the team managed to do in 15 years was check batteries twice a year.
Theres a LOT more to building out a comms infrastructure than that.

I noticed that the relationship between the comms team and the Fire Dept had cooled and i finally asked the
Chief about this.
I asked if they were waiting for us to go away or what.
I was left reaching for the proverbial "clean underwear dispenser" when he told me that I was the only one who
"Got it" and they were waiting to see if I was going to eventually take control of the comms team.

I didnt want to take over, but there were things that needed to be done that werent happening.
I couldnt get them to happen (Like recruiting)

Finally, last Summer we had our 1st large scale drill in over 10 years that included the comms people and the neighborhood teams.
A lot of the bugs in the system that Id been chafing over were exposed.

Meanwhile the chief was not happy that we werent building out the system.
I pointed out to the team that they were about to be replaced and someone asked what could be done about it.
I answered that we needed to start actually building out the system and that having a thursday night "net" wasnt enough.
Somebody mentioned that they didnt know how to build out the system.
I pointed out that all these things I had been shot down on, were things that Chief needed us to do.

Next I knew, I had appointed myself the training officer for the team known as "KARO-ECHO", and much to my
pleasant surprise, they took to it.
I no longer had a "flock of sheep" I had people actually asking questions about how everything works, and asking for yet more training.
As they say "Be careful what you ask for, because you might get it".
Now, its a mad dash to keep developing curriculum.

It gets more complex.
As I architected and re architected the communications system, I started looking at the neighborhood teams.
There were almost none.
We have Area Coordinators, 17 of them, but almost no block captains.
The Area Coordinators are supposed to be setting up block level organizations, but instead are busy designing Area Command Posts.
You cant manage response on an area level with our level of training & resources.

I took the training back when we were "NEAT", so this year, I decided to take the free "CERT" training to both brush up and see what we are teaching the teams.
Our final is Sat at the Fire Training Facility.

My local area is "Kensington Six".
They are bungling the job, as are the other areas.

Someone recently expressed concern that Islamic Terrorists might attack the Golden Gate bridge.
Here I was, raised in a protestant family, barely functional on a social level, and I had learned more from the Holocaust than this Jewish psychologist.
This juxtaposition gave me chills.

Funny that he doesnt refer to the guy who blew up the Fed Bldg in Oklahoma as a "Christian Terrorist"
Its time to retire the "Tee word" and replace it with something more accurate.
People who kill people are just plain criminals, period.

So, this pretty much connects all the topics in this post.

The years at Grand Central Starport and now Dickens Faire are probably the only reasons that Christmas has not
proven fatal to me.

The whole reason I started this page was to give people I know a glimpse of what makes me tick.

I have one last thought on the depression thing.
Im hoping it doesnt mean someone Im separated from is in trouble.
Ive had a couple people let me know on the "mental plane" as they passed.
Its creepy, but I still appreciate them taking time on the way out to give me the "heads up"
I suppose that having this ability makes me some kind of witch or something.

Musings on printing
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
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?)

2016 Mid Jan & HALTED is moving!
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
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
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.

Dec 1, DCF weekend 2 is in the can
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....

Dickens Fair weekend 2 approaches
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.

Dickens Fair 2015 hell week
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
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.


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