Couplea weeks since my last post? Must’ve been busy …

No Gravatar

Yeah, I was busy. I decided to work on rewriting/revising my dBASE Reports Book. Oof. Word doesn’t like large WordPerfect files. Small ones it can handle, but … figures somehow. The last time I worked on that book (2007) I was using WordPerfect, it was before I got hired at Heald. I’ve been copying the text out of the PDF for each chapter, and formatting it over again. Fixing text. Re-doing code and reports. Re-doing screen captures. Crashing the software. (Gad …)

It needs help, so that’s sucking up a lot of time.

Other things: My iPhone’s hard buttons (the on/off button and the “Home” button) were giving me trouble, the on/off switch didn’t work at all (luckily the “Home” button will turn it on, and it auto-shuts off after some amount of time). I decided “The hell with it” and went to buy a new one. Went to the Apple store in downtown Walnut Creek, figuring that would be the best option — it’s an Apple Store, surely they’d have one of the latest models (the SE — the same physical size as my dying phone) in various configurations in stock. Nope. The only one that met my needs was PINK. Seriously? Shit. So I wandered to the AT&T store around the corner at the suggestion of the clerk at the Apple store. The AT&T store doesn’t carry that model in house. WTF? I was very unamused. I ended up going online and buying direct from the Apple store. That worked out better than expected, it arrived only a few days later (better than the two weeks they said online). I also ordered a new case via Amazon, because the old one was worn, but it would have worked. Now, the problematic part is I wanted 64GB of memory in the phone, if I had wanted 16GB that wouldn’t have been an issue, I gather. But, since my wife’s iPod was dying, I gave her mine, and I wanted to be able to carry at least a lot of the music I like to have handy around, so put it in my phone.

The software transfer was a nightmare. In theory you can back up the old phone to your desktop using iTunes, plug the new phone in, and in the setup process tell it to use the backup from your old phone. I’ve done this before for both herself and my phones — a couple or three times now. This process went into a loop (literally). Start, go through a few stages (1 of 8 steps), restart the phone and restart the process. After an hour or two of that, I gave up. I told the phone to act as a new phone, but I probably should have done a factory reset or something first. It got confused and things got weirder … I tried various places to get info, and eventually worked through a chat session with Apple support. Had to uninstall iTunes completely (and they have special instructions online, because iTunes is actually 6 different programs, and they have to be uninstalled in a specific sequence — which is ABSURD — if it’s that picky, why doesn’t the uninstall routine do things in that sequence?). Then reinstall it. Because I had done the “new phone” bit, I ended up just installing software, and trying to copy music over. However, that still gave me grief. I found that I had a TON of playlists on the phone (some of which I hadn’t selected for the phone), and so went and deleted them and deleted a bunch of individual clips … then was able to copy the music over. Copied or downloaded the apps. Reset passwords, email info, all that fun stuff. argh Not an easy process. When they sent me a survey, I think they got more information than they really wanted, but they asked. :) However, after all that, and two days later, everything was working (and still is).

Herself is on vacation, and was planning on going to West/An Tir War (big SCA event in S. Oregon) with a friend. Unfortunately said friend’s work threw a big wrench in and she has to work this weekend. That figures. So herself is home and that’s kinda messing me up a bit. I am used to having my days mostly to myself. We’ve spent a lot of time in other rooms just so she has the downtime she needs. Work has been stressy.

The Brexit vote in England didn’t help much, although it seems the plans the bank she works for were pretty good and no major disasters have occurred. She brought her laptop from work home, in case they needed her to log in, but so far, so good (knock on silicon).

Sunday night I started feeling a weird sharp pain in my stomach but not really strong. I ignored it and went to bed. It was stronger in the morning. Hmm. Went to the gym and didn’t experience any weird effects, was able to do my thing (this is week 16 at the gym by the way). However, as the day progressed the pains got stronger and more frequent and worse and worse. Was able to eat lunch, and spent most of the the day collapsed in my chair reading and dozing and feeling lousy. Dinner ended up being 6 cherries and a dry piece of bread. Lots of water. Went to bed early, didn’t sleep well. It was still giving me trouble yesterday (Tuesday), so went in to Kaiser and saw a doctor. She couldn’t find the problem so I had lab work done, but the lab tech screwed up — I was supposed to have a urine test, when I asked about it she checked and said it wasn’t on the list. Hmmm. Okay, went home. Started slowly to feel a bit better. Not great, and I did more reading/sleeping (mostly on the sofa so herself could do some hand sewing and watch PBS documentaries or whatever …). By evening it wasn’t horrible, but still happening. This morning less pain, but a little bit. We went to lunch with Don and BJ, saw Finding Dory, hung out a bit, and then they went home. During the movie the phone buzzed (because it was on silent of course), and when I checked the message it was Kaiser, the doctor wondered why the urine test hadn’t happened. I called back, explained to the person who answered who put my info into the report. I should hear something back tomorrow if I need to do a test (seems silly at this point, but …). I still have a small amount of pain in my stomach but not bad. I am hoping it was a virus that is going away, but I don’t know.

And I found out yesterday that Evernote, a company whose software I’ve been using for many years, is going to charge “free” users if they use their software on more than two devices. Argh. However, today I found out that Microsoft has created a conversion tool (that works quite well) that converts Evernote notes (and notebooks) over to OneNote, which is free (well, part of Office, but still … the app for the iPad and iPhone are free). Nice. So … buh-bye, Evernote. Sorry to see you go, but … (I will have to do some reformatting of some of my recipes which came through weird, but overall the conversion was pretty good.)

Tonight is apprentice night. It’s supposed to start at 7. They (apprentice and husband — as apprentice doesn’t drive) arrived at SIX tonight. That’s a bit rude, don’t you think? Sigh.

Ah well. That’s about it for catching up really. Most of my life has been focused on the book update, reformatting text, re-doing code samples, making sure everything works, documenting bug reports for dBASE (sigh). I’ll be back at it tomorrow, I guess. Eventually I’ll get to cover design …

Insult to Injury …

No Gravatar

So, on top of everything else, I got a rejection email from the company I interviewed with a couple weeks ago. I didn’t really feel I had that much of a chance, but it had to come today.

So, I said to myself, f*** it, and I ordered the phone from Apple, and will get a case via Amazon shortly. Turns out that the 2 week thing on shipping is a guess, and they will be shipping it early next week. So not as bad. Still … Grumble, mutter.

What a lousy day (as a whole).

Are you sure it’s not Friday 13th?

No Gravatar

Today has been rough.

Gym went okay, I was able to do everything. I was even feeling like all was well with the world. Got home, did a few things while cooling down, showered, all that.

Reheated some coffee in the microwave. Opened the door, got the cup and my hand got caught on the damn door somehow. Boom! Coffee everywhere! Shit. Spent 20 minutes cleaning up (and the place still smells like coffee, big surprise). Grumble, mutter.

Later: Trying to concentrate and the garbage trucks are being EXTRA loud and obnoxious (and they still haven’t picked up the landfill trash). AAARGGHH!

Things finally settle. Able to get some more things done. Decide to go out and take care of something: my iPhone is getting old, the main switch on top doesn’t work, the other button requires a bit more pressure most of the time than it should. Figured I would see about getting a new phone. Decided to try the Apple store first, because, well, they’re a store front for Apple, they should have things in stock, right? So I went in they had one of the model I was interested in with the memory I wanted (choice is simple, 16GB or 64GB, wanted 64), in the wrong color, and unlocked (which is usually more expensive). NOPE. But the AT&T store nearby might have it. So I went there. They had NONE of the model I wanted in stock at all. Well, shit. So … I left. I got some lunch at California Pizza Kitchen — a mediocre bbq salad (seriously, not that great, guys). Went to the parking garage, called the elevator, and several minutes later it was still on the third floor. F***! So, I walked up the stairs on the other side, by which time it decided to arrive, I guess. Screw it. Walked up the stairs to the fourth floor, and tried to leave.

Some moron decided in her SUV to TURN AROUND in a parking garage. That was a great start. Finally got out. It decided to start drizzling a little (as in water from the sky). Some woman with a convertable on Main had the top down, went to go put it up. She got in the car so someone a couple cars in front of me vultured (waiting for the parking spot). She got back out after the top was up and went back to lunch. ARGH. Several minutes that we could have been moving! Idiot. So same idiot goes to the next intersection and decides to turn left. In a place where there’s a HUGE amount of traffic coming the other way. SHIT SHIT SHIT!

So … not feeling all that happy with the world today.

Decided to look online at the Apple store to see about ordering a new phone. IT WILL TAKE TWO FREAKING WEEKS TO ARRIVE. WTF Apple??? I should probably go do it anyway. Geez. What a pain. I am feeling like I should have just stayed in bed today.

SCA: Officer discussion …

No Gravatar

Yesterday I got into a certain mindset, and started writing, and posted the following on Facebook on the West Kingdom page. I’m putting here to save it for posterity … I must have hit a chord or two, it got shared 31 times (as of this morning), and the number of likes, loves, etc. is pretty high:

Officers and Volunteers in the SCA

A discussion (long) …

The other day a friend bemoaned the fact that when her husband stepped up to take on a major office in the Kingdom, no photos were taken. I would venture to guess that the photographers at court didn’t think about it — it wasn’t an award or presentation in Court, so why bother taking a photo? While this is certainly true, it points up a bigger issue: appreciation of the folk who keep the SCA going. This rant isn’t about photographers or photographs — that’s just what sparked it …

Many officers do things that no one ever sees (I can’t mention each and every officer, this is a general rant … :) If I didn’t mention your office in this, I’m not ignoring the work you do.). I think this is part of the problem. We all know about the heralds who run around making announcements (often — and this warms the cockles of my heart — those heralds get a “Thank you, herald!” after the announcements), we know about the heralds and marshals who run tournaments — we see them, we know about the heralds who run courts, we know about the constable we interact with at gate … but how much do you know about what all the other officers do?

Did you know that about a year and a half ago (maybe two) the SCA was audited by the IRS, and our Kingdom Exchequer had to put in extra hours to deal with the West Kingdom’s end of it? Do you know how much effort an autocrat has to put in just to procure a site we can afford, and then deal with all the outrageous things that site owners try to do to them? Do you know what the marshals do *besides* run tournaments? What about all those other offices you don’t hear anything about? Have you ever watched the folk at the Lists tables scrambling to get the tournament sorted out and the fights paired off?

Do you know what the constable does before and after an event? The paperwork handling and such?

Do you know how many hours our officers put in at home, dealing with phone calls, emails, handling all the paperwork, getting newsletters to the publisher, etc.?

The amount of things the Seneschal gets to deal with is pretty astounding. The Kingdom Exchequer spends huge amounts of time making sure that all the books balance, and when I say “all” I mean for all the Kingdom stuff, the Principality stuff (because they have to work with the Principality Exchequers) and the local branches … it all has to balance out, and not just once a year, but constantly.

Did you know that the King and Queen (and Princes and Princesses) are part of the regalia committee, the finance committee and more? They do a lot more stuff off-site than you might realize. The same for Landed Barons and Baronesses …

What I am getting at is that I honestly believe that in today’s SCA everyone has gotten really comfortable with showing up at the event, signing in, and then just having a great event. No one really knows, understands (and it often feels like) or even cares how much work went into making this happen.

What I would like to ask members of the populace to do is to talk to your local, Principality, and Kingdom officers. Get to know them. Find out what they do. Buy them a drink and let them unload some of the frustrations they deal with (if they can talk about them … let’s not even get into the things that officers aren’t allowed legally to talk about). Give them a hug. Let them know that you understand that without them, this organization would fall over.

Because it is true. No one who does any work for the SCA (except a couple at the Corporate level) gets paid. We’re ALL volunteers. Our real-world lives sometimes suffer greatly because of the jobs we taken on for this group.

You know what else would be good? Volunteer. Don’t leave an officer hanging — someone shouldn’t have to serve for four years because after two, they couldn’t find a successor. Two years is a long time to do something like this.

When an office changes hands, don’t say “I’m sorry” to the person taking the job — THANK THEM! Be glad for them, make them know that you appreciate them. When an officer steps down from a job, thank them as well, but don’t make it sound like the new person’s life is over when they take the job on. I have heard, more than once, when a volunteer takes on a new job in the SCA “I’m so sorry for you …”. Don’t — really — not even in jest. They know they’re taking on a task, they may not realize how much yet, but they know. You might, instead, offer to help them if they are your friend — even if they’re not.

But more than anything else — thank these people. I am not asking for me — people tell me that the things I do must be “thankless tasks”, but I actually get a lot of “thank yous” both in person and in private email, but many of the things I do people see regularly (awards list, history site …). The other officers, the other volunteers who keep us going don’t get enough recognition from the populace (and I’m not thinking about awards). A simple “Thank you” can make an officer’s day. Let them know you care, and that you see the work they do.

Don’t just do it today. Do it at every event. Find the folk who make things happen and thank them.

And again, consider volunteering yourself. Of course, some people’s lives are crazy and they can’t take on a job right now. But at an event you might be able to take half an hour or an hour and work with someone — ease their burden a bit.

Thank you.

Just a bit of catchup

No Gravatar

no, not ketchup

So … still doing the gym, into week 13 of going three days a week. Have been slowly improving weights, and hit 20 minutes on the elliptical a while back, but continue to do that. I can feel a huge difference in the way I feel and the way my body feels.

Job interview the other day, haven’t heard anything back yet, but they had several people they were interviewing. I have a feeling I probably didn’t get it. It’s the way my life seems to be going.

Figured out that I just still seem to have a block about the one one CMS I was trying to build because it’s overwhelming. It is bigger than I thought it would be. I am thinking about trying to turn my autobiography (including the stuff in plain HTML as well as what I’ve put here in WordPress) into a full CMS of my own design. It would be (hopefully) simpler than what I was trying and would get me feeling better about my skills. Completing a project like that would give me some confidence.

Also thinking about revising The dBASE Reports book, which is the only one that is not being published via Amazon, but is still being done by AuthorHouse. It hasn’t been updated in a long time. Been mulling that over a bit.

Still doing SCA History site updates. Golden Beltane brought out a bunch of the old-timers, some of whom weren’t that active, some who were at least a bit active in other parts of the country, and that’s producing various interesting bits. I got a collection of newsletters from one person, and may get another soon … am hoping to have *all* originals at some point.

CJ is almost done (finally) with being exchequer. Saturday is the day (two days!!) … I am hoping we can start having more of a social life after that. She’s still going to be helping out her successor, but with a task that will be less onerous. Her real job is tough enough, and they’re sending her to Charlotte for a few days in August. She’s worried that they may force us to move there. Ugh. That would suck. Seriously. (Her brain tends to hit the worst-case-scenario first …) She’s hoping that instead they’ll move her offices out to Concord, which would be an easier commute. They’re probably moving some offices from San Francisco out there because of cost, so … here’s hoping.

I am hitting a depressed state again, which is not good. Not getting all that much accomplished, not feeling all that useful. Sigh. Maybe I need to bump the gym up to five days a week. It’s paid for and doesn’t matter how many days I go in a month.

We got the go-ahead from our Home Owner’s Association to have the front door replaced (they don’t make that stuff easy), but when the contractor came out to remove the inside molding to get exact measurements for the framework, he found termite damage. Did not find any live ones, but … when the door and framework arrive, he is going to remove more of the drywall to see how bad the damage is, and how much structure needs to be replaced, if any. It looks like they hit a certain point and stopped. No clue why. Figures.

Not sleeping well, which may be part of my feeling a bit down today. There seems to be a general state of ennui among some of my friends, I don’t know what’s in the air right now. I wish it would just go away.

The primary elections are done, things are still weird right now. The only thing I can say is that I sure hope we don’t end up with Trump in the White House. He’s a big blow-hard know-nothing and would be a horrible President of the US. It’s scary that he’s even this close.

Don’t know if I’ve mentioned this lately …

No Gravatar

… but I hate job interviews. Sigh.

In a bit over half an hour I have a phone interview with a company I’ve never heard of until I applied for a tech writing job there. I applied a week ago last Friday (so a week+), and heard on Friday (which was a surprise) that they wanted a phone interview. It’s happening today.

“Startup” although they’ve been around for 9 years, they have offices all over the place (9 of them), the primary one is in SF, which I can deal with (BART and all that). I have some of the skills that are listed, I can learn others, so I guess we’ll see.

Feeling scared? Yeah, a bit. But I always do before an interview. So I’ve been going out online and looking at what I can find that isn’t on the company website (which I find is a bit too high-level, and not much detail …).

To get my brain clear of some of the nervous:

This weekend was rough on CJ. She had a deployment Friday night (left work early, but then was online until 9 or so …); and another Saturday morning, but that one wasn’t as tough. We ran some errands, got groceries, all that. She was so stressy that when I came downstairs to make lunch she snapped at me, and stormed off upstairs (even though I had told her I would be making lunch …). Made me feel pretty crappy, and I am still not thrilled. I know it’s the stress from both work and the SCA stuff (thank goodness she’s giving up the worst of that job on Saturday …). Argh. I’ll be okay, we’ll be okay.

I’ve been focused heavily on SCA history again, because of all those newsletters. I have them mostly under control, but … still want to get better copies of some things, and replace the photocopies of some others that I still have. But I’ve made some serious headway on that. Then it’s scanning time for the mimeographed stuff. A bit at a time, though.

Added some functionality to the Who’s Who on the History site last week, as well. Got lots of interest right away but that’s tapered off again (it’s a feature that’s been there, but I created a routine that generates a report from the info).

Just feeling wiped. I was wide awake at 4 this morning, had some odd dreams all night, and while exercise this morning helped a bit, I am still not feeling my best, and I have an interview. Sigh.

Oh, the Home Owner’s Association came through and we’re approved for the door replacement. So the contractor will be here Wednesday, get the check to order the door and sidelight panel (includes the frames and all), and then … well, more waiting. They have to manufacture it, and ship it to him. 5 weeks give or take. When it arrives then the door can go in. But, we finally got that part done. One step at a time, I guess.

Probably enough, need to get some water, do something about some of this nervous energy, get ready for the interview …

Weird week …

No Gravatar

So to start, one of my friends over on Facebook had posted something the other day about while in France, making her fiance buy her some food at McDonald’s. The thread of responses at that point was pretty amusing. She felt a bit ill after, and we mocked her as friends do. She decided today to kill the thread because some of the comments sounded to her as classist snobbery. Seriously? Since when has this person had any care about snobbery? Sorry, she’s rather classist herself on a regular basis. Sigh. Oh well.

Spent most of the day yesterday working through old newsletters for the SCA, replacing photocopies in my collection with originals, and so on. Was planning on doing more of that, but may do a side project for a bit, before coming back to it. Need to compare what I have against the stack of mimeographed issues. Ultimately need to find a home for the ones I’m not keeping (some I already have taken care of).

Last night’s annoyance with my wife was of course stupid, but it’s been so frustrating … which I know I’ve harped on a lot. The weekend after next cannot come soon enough. Sigh.

Exercise fun … because we got home so late from the wedding Sunday, I didn’t exercise on Monday. So I did Tuesday and Wednesday back-to-back. Strangely my muscles didn’t complain about it. I think all that exercising is working … ;) I’m generally feeling a bit stronger, I don’t get winded as easily doing things, and so on. All good, despite the fact that it isn’t something I exactly look forward to doing.

Winey MacWinerson …

No Gravatar

Grr. So this evening we’re having a nice evening, dinner, watching a miniseries, and herself has to deal with an exchequer thing. She gets up to deal with it 10 minutes before the episode is over, and never comes back. She came downstairs and did some stuff and then sat their on her phone checking Pintrest or something. I am getting to HATE this. Luckily it’s over in a bit over a week, or I’d shoot myself. We haven’t had a normal life for 2 and a half years. I’m sick of it. Done whining … sigh.