texxgadget


Texx (sometimes denizen of Grand Central Starport)

Texx


Start of June
texxgadget
Theoretically, the project at work is extended through the end of the year.
Since the acquisition of the company happens in Sept, there is a possibility that we might get cut short then,
but I dont have to start worrying until Sept.
At the moment, Im not building up any real reserve, so any job search will have to happen fast.

Over the last 2 weeks, I scored on some tall shelving.
Its hard to find 12ft tall "rivet rack".
Usually, when people find it, the 1st thing they do is cut the verticals in half to get twice as much to sell.

The first batch turned out to be single rivet rather than double, but I can always fix that later, as horizontals are pretty easy to find cheap.

The second batch turned out to be a variation on rivet rack, so its not interchangeable with anything I have.
It becomes a pain when you have too many mismatched shelving systems.
I went ahead with it, because I really need to go UP and decrease my square footage.
He was also still in the process of moving off of the shelves, so we had to wait a bit.

This guy was really difficult during the interaction on Craigs List.
When Don & I met him on the evening we were to pick up the shelving, I confirmed that hed been screwed a number of times on CL.
I asked him about his last name Hay, and if he was a Scot.
He answered yes and asked why. I explained that Im part of Clan Hay.
Suddenly everything was cool and he relaxed.
The night went MUCH later than planned and Don & I didnt get out of my place after unloading till nearly one am.

The next thing I need is several pallet rack vertical pairs, 12ft or taller at a decent price.
With that, Ill be able to do some serious consolidation.
I put the word out to a couple of the other tenants who clean out commercial operations.
At the moment nothing is coming up, but this changes rapidly.

Right now, one of them has a truckload of plotters hes trying to unload.
These are the ones that are ten feet long.

No word on the 900 yet, but thats just as well.
I cant afford to insure it right now anyway.

I did a public service stint on the weekend and I have a day out of each weekend through June coming.

Prep is underway for the El Cerrito July 4th festival.
On the weekend, we started pulling things out of storage.
Right now, its evenings but come next to last weekend of June it becomes daily.
Ill help evenings but cant do mid day.

Its time to retrieve contents of storage in Santa Clara.
That unit has been rising in cost to 2.50/sq ft.
Its time to retrieve it to the new place and do some needed sorting.

Getting rid of the monthly on Santa Clara will put me back into the black and enable me to both start saving again and pay down some balances.
Ultimately, I need to resume my search for a permanent building that I own.
I cant get a bank to listen, but Im paying more in rental than i would on a mortgage.

Im hunting for my copy of 2001, as its time to re read it with understanding Ive gotten from 2010.
Im holding off on reading 3001 that i got from Grand Central Starport until I read the rest of the series.
Im pretty sure I also got a copy of 2065 and I need to find that one.

Im still fighting a battle with rodents at the house.
I baited traps with peanut butter and they keep tripping them but dont get caught.
Ive tried bait, but they ignore it and seem to prefer chewing cardboard boxes over bait.
Without a cat, Im quite willing to use bait.
The old formula used Warfarin, which messes up coagulation and killed them.
Rodents are becoming immune to Warfarin.
There are a couple of neuro types that seem to work for all, but only if you can get them to eat the stuff.
I even tried smearing peanut butter on the bait.
They licked off the peanut butter but didnt lick the bait enough to be affected.

After July 4th, Ill be in Dickens Fair prep mode.

Post Maker Faire
texxgadget
I am relieved to find out that apparently, my log here is indeed being read by someone.
I was worried for a while that I was posting to nowhere.

Im recovering from Maker Faire.
I was only mistaken for "Sully" twice this time.
Its eerie, because Sully died in Sept 2008 and I joined the Dickens Fair "Elite Printing" printshop in Dec 2011.
The running joke is that Sully is managing my apprenticeship from the grave.
How many people are apprenticed to a ghost?

You can check out the pics on the kineticsteamworks.org website.
If you wonder what i look like these days, Im the one in the blue wide brimmed hat and printers apron.
I look OLD dont I ?

There were some cool things there.
I could only walk briskly by and only stopped a few times.
The free yogurt from Clover Dairies was most welcome.
Also welcome were the number of people I had not seen in years.

Notable was "Peter" the networking guy and sometimes visitor to Grand Central Starport.
I tipped him off to Steves move to Whidbey Isl.

We blew the whistle on the hour.

The steam powered pencil sharpener was a hit.
It was originally hand cranked and a tad bigger than a softball.
Someone mounted it to an old end table and added a pulley & bearing block, and "Rube Goldberg" took it from there.
At one point, another booth was poking holes in cardboard with pencils and needed them sharpened.
They brought over this HUGE bucket of pencils and we ran them through.

It took till mid day Sat before we had the presses properly running.
The setup that was supposed to happen on Wed, didnt happen till Fri and was bungled at that.
We were doing the whole 4 color cmyk process to print color bar coasters.
Being much thicker than paper, there are a lot of adjustments to be made.
A couple of them, someone had half-assed the platen adjustment and jammed the presses up solid.

We won 8 ribbons and I think that made us the overall winner.
Of course, now, we have to figure out how to top that.

I think I finally found someone to take the DC Arc Mass Spectrometer off my hands,
thus freeing up floor space in storage.

At the moment, I dont have space to clean up the things that are going to the Computer History Museum, but Im hoping to get a bench set up to do that cleaning, this fall.

In the meantime, Im searching for used rivet rack & used pallet rack shelving to further consolidate things in one place so that I can sort.

I recently realized that that weird air calliope I have in storage is probably the engineering prototype for a patent for an improved keyboard action.
Realizing what a piece of history this is, I also now realize that I can not modernize it the way I had planned.

I havent heard back on the Seca 900 yet, but Im not ready to get it back either, so thats OK with me.

Maker Faire Eve
texxgadget
Over lunch, I managed to weed a bunch of SPAM out of my old USENET mail account.
Yep, I have an address on one of the last USENET nodes.

Its a TTY based mail account, so attachments and links come through in Martian.
Its pretty much a text only situation.

About 2 years ago, I managed to trim it down from over 50k messages down to about 10k and then over the last 2 years it crept back up to 15k.
Now that I have remebered the password, Ive been able to get it down to 700 pretty quickly.
Im finding recruiters are STILL trying to reach me there and i have to send them mail asking them to update their address list.
That done, I am able to sometimes remove 100 old job reqs from them from the mailbox and further clean things up.

I showed off a mutt mail session to a couple of the younger guys at work just to watch the look on their faces.
It was pretty funny. "The mouse doesnt work ?"

I got a couple subscribes on my Dreamwidth account, so I know SOMEONE out there is reading what I post.
For a while, I was in doubt.

Everyone is familiar with 2001: A space Oddyssey.
What most dont know is that there were several sequels.
Among the treasures from Starport were copies of 2010, 2065 and 3001.
I had seen the movie 2010, and I now know they butchered it horribly.
I know this because about a month ago, I dug out the copy of 2010 from Starport and read a chapter each night before bed.
I limited myself to 1 chapter a night because I wanted it to last.
It also explains a lot from 2001 that wasnt obvious from the movie and when I read 2001 as a kid, I didnt understand a lot of it.
I think I need to dig out 2001 and read it again.

I am starting to understand this vicious time delay in my life.
I hear something, think i understand, but weeks later I realize that I didnt really and either I have to go get it clarified or I have to spend another several weeks actually understanding it.
This is one of the thinks in my personality that people dont realize, but its effects manifest themselves in my seeming to be a bigger jerk than I really am.

At Dickens Faire, we are realizing that Sully is managing my apprenticeship from the grave.
I joined the shop 3 years after his passing.
The recent Wayzgoose printers gathering, I got to know Sully more by talking to the other people there who knew, loved and now miss him.

Grand Central Starport was a major anchor in my life keeping me sane.
I knew it then. I feel it more than ever now.
While it was sad how it all ended, it was not going to go on forever.
People dont last forever and I vaguely realized even before it ended that they were thinking about retirement out of state, so this meant it would come to an end eventually.
It was just sad that it had to happen the way it did.

As it was winding down, I thought I had scored the coolest place for myself.
I found an old communications facility with lots of space, a monster tower (24ft square at the top),
standby diesel power, line of sight to several internet sources.
They guy who had it yanked me around another 2 years and finally sold it for 20k less than I offered him.
I later found out he had found it immensely funny yanking me around.

This, of course loops back to the whole "time delay " thing.
It also makes the Arthur Clarke books more precious.

The Santa Clara Storage locker contains my apartment from SC that I packed back in 2002.
Im working on getting it all moved up to the main on in San Leandro where I can do some much needed sorting.
The goal is to be out of Santa Clara by end of summer.

At the moment, Im looking for used rivetrack shelving.
I need to go up 12ft, but most of what turns up is 7ft and splicing is kind of dangerous, especially the loads I have.

The weekend is Maker Faire, and we will be running 4 printing presses and a pencil sharpener off a steam engine.

Im trying to keep my chin up if it kills me (I should be so lucky)

2017 Mid May
texxgadget
Im not sure how to describe it.
Much is likely pressure but there is some sadness creeping in.

Its that "I want to cry" vibe that usually sits on me in Dec & Nov.

My current project is coming up on 2 years and due to hit its limit at the end of June.
It appears that despite the rules, we have been extended through the summer.

This comes as a relief to me as I can take my time in job searching.
I had already started my search, not expecting this extension.

I still have an account on one of the last of the UseNet machines and I finally remembered my password.
The mail tool I knew so well "elm" is no longer there.
I had to give myself a crash course on "mutt".
Around 2 years ago, I spent a day cleaning out spam and got my mailbox down from 50k messages to around 10k.
Spam filtering was finally available on the machine, so I set up some filters.

Yesterday, I took it from 15k messages to 7k.
I noted a feeling of sadness as I deleted spam 100 messages at a time.
I dont know why, it was just spam, but I felt the loss anyway.

In mid Jan, email and web stopped working on my phone.
Voice & IM were fine.
Off and on again tech support calls with Boost were no help.
Ive known for a while that I needed to move off Blackberry.
I bought an Android last fall and have been using it as a PDA learning the Android ecosystem.
I finally found out that Boost decommissioned their Blackberry server farm in Jan and THAT was the problem.
Last week, I made the jump. I still have files to move over from the Blackberry, however.
Turning off the Blackberry gave me a further sense of emptiness.

Im thrilled that Steve & Colleen found a home on Whidbey Island.
Im told that Im related to Whidbey.
Having Steve & Colleen succeed and "land" has been one of the few bright spots.

I looked at the webpage for the house in West Seattle, and understand the sadness at having to let it go.
While I never made it there, it looks like it it was perfect for them.
Im hoping Whidbey Island grows into something that works the same.

In the meantime, the incredibly expensive public 30 storage unit in Oakland was divided into 2 units 20ft long each at the same facility now with the bill dropping to 2/3 of what it was before.
Ive had a chance to get rid of some real trash in the process.

Next is to do the same with the 30ft unit in Santa Clara and immediately start moving that material to the main warehouse cage in San Leandro. With everything in 1 place with a less volatile rent increase schedule, Ill have a chance to do some real sorting.

Im shopping for 12ft high pallet rack and boltless shelving at decent prices so I can "go up" in the unit in San Leandro, further reducing square footage.
At some point, I have some things in real need of cleaning before they go off to the Computer History Museum.

Ive been meaning to go hang out with the kineticsteamworks.org guys.
I ran into one of the guys at the San Jose Printers Faire & Wayzgoose a few weeks ago.
This year, KSW is going to run a steam powered pencil sharpener and qty4 printing presses off a common drive shaft from a stationary engine.
The presses will be inked in yellow magenta cyan & black so we can do full color printing of bar coasters.
Since Im a steam enthusiast, but more knowledgeable about printing than steam, I got sucked in quickly.

In my panic over the upcoming end of project and being stuck by being short of shelving, KSW has proven
a refreshing distraction.
Besides getting presses working, Ive gotten to do a bit of aluminum casting and metal shaping.

The presses will have to com apart again soon as they will get repainted after Makerfaire this weekend.
Last night, I was "wet lapping" the aluminum plates cast and shaped over the weekend to get them to the right thickness for the photopolymer plates that we will be printing with this weekend.
This involves laying a sheet of emory paper on a "sueface plate" dampening the aluminum with WD-40 and rubbing. A 6x9 aluminum plate weighs more than you think! I had to do 4.

The Seca 900 has risen to the top of the queue at the shop and they have started on it.
Among other things they are converting it from "airbox" to "pods" which involves rejetting carbs and resetting valves.
It turns out it was pretty cheap to have them strip the peeling chrome off the top domes of the carbs and send them out to be powder coated black.

This past weekend, I finally found the boxes with the missing parts from the Seca 750.
The 900 project has been going since 2008, the 750 since the late 90s.
Last I test fired the 750, it still idled.
The 900 is possibly going to hit the road end summer.
I MIGHT get the 750 (time permitting) back on the road in spring 2018.

Further complicating things is the need to start ramping up for Dickens.
The common press hasnt been to Ren Faire since Sully died, and Don and I are toying with starting that again.
This means I need to do one weekend at this years Ren Fair to do a re-con.

The year is full and Im not half through it!

Perhaps I should slow down and "take it easy" but Im afraid that if I slow down the depression will get the upper hand.

I miss all the crazy people from the Grand Central Starport.
For those who havent seen me since 2012, when the hair grows out, I bear a resemblance to a skinny Santa.
My weight is staying down around 170 now. The beard is white.
Being after the first of April and before the first of Sept, its a very short crew cut.
After 1 Sept, Ill let it grow out for Dickens and to stay warm in winter.

This was going to be the year I fixed the dentalwork, but not having gotten out of storage in Santa Clara yet, its being delayed.

Its time for a haircut
texxgadget
OK, looks like the crossposting thing is working, so Ill proceed from here.
As I said, much is going on in my life.

In July, I will hit my 2 year limit on my current contract.
They have been saying for the last year that they were going to convert the whole team to perm as it will take too long to spin up another team of temps.
We are told the conversion is in the budget, but nothing is happening and we are about 2.5mo from "d-day".
If I dont hear anything, Ill be reactivating my DICE at the end of April.

I think I covered the tale of the motorcycle I got back in 2008.
In 2015, it was STILL not up and running and I realized I had to send it out to the experts of Id TOTALLY screw it up.
I made the deal that they would work on it during the non busy times in the shop.

What had precipitated this was the fact that when i test fired it, it wouldnt run without the choke set.
I kept pulling the carbs and going through them but couldnt find the problem.
The last time I pulled the carbs, I took a bit of rain in one of the cylinders and got a bit of rust in there.
Thats when I knew I had to send it out. After that, I realized WHY I was running so lean.
I was testing it without an air filter! DOH!

Last spring, I tracked down a NEW set of intake boots, but they were starting into racing season.
They have now tracked down all the rest of the gaskets etc to put it all back together.
The latest is that they have pulled the dolly with the bike and the parts out and have started working on it.
The other set of boots between the air filter box and the carbs are still unobtainable, so we are removing the air box and going with individual "pods" on each carb.
This means the carbs need re jetting.

Each of the 4 carbs has a chrome "dome" on top, and Im sure it looked cool when it was new, but the chrome is kaput and looks like hell. Yesterday the estimate to strip and powder coat them in gloss black came back. $65 for the set. WOW! I had feared that much each. So while the carbs are off the bike, the domes will be powdercoated.

At this rate, Im likely to have the bike back by summer.

The facial scars are fading. One has completely disappeared back into the eyebrow to where I cant feel it at all. Another is disappearing into the same eyebrows and it becoming harder to feel.
There is still some swelling above the eyebrows above the nose, but no scar.
I have full feeling in the face now.
There is still one between the tear duct on my left eye and where the nose connects to the eyebrows.
Its fading, but that bump will be there a while.

Meanwhile, Ive been avoiding the sun like a vampire, since early Dec, so Ive totally lost my California tan.
Im looking QUITE pale.

At Dickens Faire, the Print Shoppe was founded by Sully, Sharons dad. Sully passed in 2008, (right after I got the Seca-900). I joined in 2011. Sully's portrait hangs in the booth and he watches over us.
Having to catch up with the rest of the crew knowledgewise, I have studied hard.

This past year, a visitor commented that I should teach a college course.
After, I scoffed about it to Sharon (the printers daughter), "Im still a ROOKIE! I cant teach yet!".
She told me that actually I had learned alot and probably was ready to teach a begginning printing class.
I was gobsmacked, to say the least.

Each year, there is some facet that I get into in great depth, unintentionally.
It just happens. Ive joked that Sully is managing my aprenticeship from the grave.
Ive been told by the crew that I have actually gotten more INTO printing than anyone else in the shop besides Sully.
Sharon told me that if I had joined the shop while Sully was alive, probably *I* would be running the shop.
Im honored, but slightly uncomfortable at the same time.

The scary thing is when people look at me and at the portrait of Sully on the wall.
Some think thats ME up there and a few people, not knowing that Sully died, are starting to call ME "Sully".

The Dickens Faire Print Shop has kept me alive, literally.
Now as I have begun getting set up with tabletop press of my own, and taking on offseason maintenance of Sully's collection, I have an anchor point. Ive also started dabbling in servicing presses for other people as a side business.

Not only do I resemble Sully with growing and unruly white hair and a white beard, someone recently pointed out that I now bear a resemblance to a slim Santa.

Its starting to get warm out here in the tri valley area where Im working.
I think its time to go out and get a flattop again.

Testing crossposting from Dreamwidth
texxgadget
A lot has been going on.
I realize Im a difficult person to understand, and started my journal to give people close to me a view into what makes me tick.

It looks like Ive been at this since May 2003.
There have been long gaps.
I dont do alot in the "social networking" area.
Im too busy to post.
In the past, Ive gone like 6mo between posts and then flurries of dailies.

I knew that some of the LJ people went to DW.
I didnt see a point then.

In the meantime, one of the more important places to me for human contact is no more.
The passing of Grand Central Starport and its weekly gatherings have left a hole in me.

People disappearing from LJ have enlarged this hole.

I was hopeful as Steve & Colleen started anew up in Seattle.
Now they are going through upheaval yet again.
Im bothered that 2 very nice & patient people (they must be, they put up with me) are having to go through this all over again.
There isnt a damn thing I can do about it, which further depresses me.

Logging into LJ this morning, to post and catch up, slapped me in the face with reality.
I realized that the people I was desperate to keep up with were all moving.

I went to DW to open an account.
My username was already in use!
Could there be ANOTHER texxgadget?
It turned out OK.
Apparently, I had created the user on DW some years ago, but never did anything with it.

The Russians already have the data.
I dont THINK there is anything Ive posted that could get me censored, so Im not going to delete my LJ.

I dont have the copious time to do social networking, juggling multiple accounts, so I am going to do my posting from here and crosspost to LJ and see how that works.

So far, the only user Ive been able to find here is Steve/Mandelbear but Im hoping I can find all the people Ive lost touch with.

If this works, Ill post tomorrow with whats going on in my life and what I had originally planned to post this AM.

Face down, 9 edge first, roadkill on the information super data highway...

Lets make America HATE again! (Our "alternative president")
texxgadget
A slogan has value to the people who use it. Parody of this slogan can destroy its value. It is time to have red and white baseball caps made, reading "Make America Hate Again".

While it is not my primary occupation, I have joined the fifth estate. I am a printer who understands that printing presses topple as many governments as armies do.

I have been watching my party set the US up for another 2008 economic meltdown. Next time it happens, I hope a message that even Trump can't silence gets sent.

I suppose I'll have to donate to defense funds if protesters start throwing Wall St execs off rooftops.

As a Republican, I had high hopes for the Occupy Movement, but all they wanted to do was mkle trouble and not really DO anything. I wanted some of those morons of Wall Street strung up by their thumbs or worse.

I am NOT a NEOCON, I am a REAL conservative. Crashing the economy is not a conservative or even a Republican thing, it's radical right wing. A real conservative supports healthcare for all because a healthy workforce is a profitable one. A true conservative pays staff a decent wage, because a well compensated staff is more productive than one that is preoccupied with financial problems.

What we have in power are not true Republicans. We have NEOCONS.
Anyone who views Sarah Palin as a good American should have sense flogged into them. Sarah Palin is what my grandparents would call trailer trash.

I suppose she represents good Christian values, her son is a wife beater and her daughter cant be bothered to get married before having kids. And while Palin was so worries that Pbama might "cut and run" it was PALIN HERSELF who "cut and run".

I recall the Ferengi from Star Trek who took business quite seriously, as in war. On their home world, the penalty for severe financial misdeeds was to be thrown from the roof of the great tower of commerce.

It's probably time that we also purge the business world of the MBA attitude where every quarter must be bigger than the last. It's unsustainable. You eventually have to either sell or break up the company to keep it up. Since when is destroying a company conservative?

At first, I thought the Archie Bunkers who elected Trump would rebel when they realize they have been suckered. Now I think they will give him a pass because he actually engaged them. Meanwhile repubs traditionally ignored Archie Bunker because he was lower class. Dems took Archie Bunker for granted as he was blue collar and then dissed him for being male and not PC enough. Because Trump has publicly acknowledged this demographic, they love him, despite the fact that he will screw them in the end. Whats sad is that after hes has screwed them, they will still love him.

Im really wondering if we have placed a criminal enterprise into power.
I note the presidential staff is littered with representatives of the folks who brought us the 2008 meltdown and a good portion of experts at creating dis information.

Now that we have "alternative facts" I would like to suggest that we have an "alternative president".

I hurt, therefore I am
texxgadget
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!
texxgadget
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.
Sigh...

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.
texxgadget
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.

DCF Dec
texxgadget
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"
DOH!
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
texxgadget
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
texxgadget
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
texxgadget
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
texxgadget
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)
texxgadget
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
texxgadget
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.

UGH!

1906 -110th anniversary
texxgadget
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
texxgadget
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
texxgadget
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?)

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