Considering how busy Vegas' airport and roads usually are, I think we may have set a record! ( at least a personal best. )
Friday, March 28, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
This afternoon, Dick, Graham, Tiffie and I went across the street to Planet Hollywood, our favorite casino. Bruce turned us onto this place last year. (and I still thinks it's funny that it was my cousin, the pastor, who not only turned us onto the Planet Hollywood Casino, but also got the whole Chow Clan hooked on Pai Gow!)
We love Planet Hollywood's casino: they play great music (mostly 80s) have a nice atmosphere (bright, clean, and not trying too hard) and really friendly dealers. It was where we played (and won!) at Craps (Trina) and Poker (Dick) yesterday.
There were four Pai Gow Tables open when we arrived: two with $10 limits, and two with $25 limits. We managed to find 3 empty seats at the $10 table (My sister opted not to play).
We went through 3 different dealers while we played for just under an hour and a half. When the third dealer sat down, she looked at Dick and me, and asked if we were from New York. We said, "No, San Francisco", and she said, "Oh, that's right. I remember you two. You haven't been here in a few months."
What does that mean when the dealer remembers you from your last trip to Vegas?
Now granted, we do tend to get chatty with the dealers at P.H., but still, the last time we came to Vegas was 6 months ago!
Perhaps that's our clue that we've been coming to Vegas too often in the past year.
Did I mention that Dick is coming back with Martin in a couple of weeks?
(but we're not addicted..)
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
The tournament started at 2:00pm. Dick and Graham both played, while my sister and I went out to lunch. We figured it was a good sign when neither of the guys called us within the first hour.
Graham called us after about 1 hour, 45 minutes. We thought that was pretty good for his first time!
Then the three of us (me, Sis and Graham) wandered around the casino and the adjoining mall for a while. We still hadn't heard from Dick.
We went back to the Casino Poker room after around 3 hours into the tournament. Dick was still there! At this point, he had made it to the final table, and there were about 7 players left. (The last 6 players would receive winnings of various amounts.)
Graham went into the poker room and watched the last few rounds, while my sister and I watched from afar. I was totally afraid of jinxing Dick with my presence!
One by one, we watched the players stand up, shake hands with the others, and leave the table, yet Dick was still there!
Dick ended up in third place!!! We were all very excited for him, and couldn't believe he did so well on his first tournament.
Today was a good day in Vegas. :)
(but, we're not addicted.)
machine. I put in $5, played for a few minutes, somehow won the Flying Monkey Bonus, and eventually walked of winning just over $30!! Not quite sure how it all really happened, but it was super fun!
On a sidenote, I also had a really GREAT roll at Craps this morning!
I heart Vegas! (but I will still claim that I'm not addicted!) ;)
I'm here in our hotel room - the Signature at MGM Grand. (it's our third time staying here - we obviously love it.)
We just got back from breakfast, and I thought I'd treat myself to a nice hot cup of tea. Our rooms are actually condos - complete with a mini-kitchen: stove, microwave, fridge, pots, pans, silverware and china.
So, I popped a tea cup in the microwave to heat my water, and opened up the tea bag to put in it.
That's when I read the directions on the oh-so-shi-shi tea brand:
For the Perfect Cup:
Bring the freshest of waters to a boil. Cascade over a sachet of Rainforest Green and steep 4-6 minutes. Due to the delicacy of green tea, careful attention is needed to capture the full taste.
Can't you just see me rolling my eyes?
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
We're back at the airport!
We're going back go Vegas! (Vegas, baby, Vegas!)
Yes, we did plan things this way: We decided to squeeze two vacations into one this time around. We got in late last night from North Carolina, and left the house again early this afternoon. We're going to Vegas with my sister and her boyfriend to celebrate her (belated) birthday.
Our flight has been delayed twice so far. We were originally supposed to leave around 3:00ish, but it's been bumped back to 4:00, then to 4:30ish. No biggie. Short flight, no layover connection, etc.,
We had lunch at the little airport food court, and now we're just hanging out in the Red Carpet Club lounge. I'm charging my laptop and my phone, and I'm connected to the internet via Dick's new phone.
We should get into Vegas in time for some cocktails.
I really love vacations.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Carolina was slow-cook Grits from Southern Season - a Southern
We didn't think to go on Thursday or Friday, were too busy on
Saturday, and figured the store would be closed for Easter on Sunday.
We decided to make a small detour on our way to the airport this
afternoon. We sucessfully picked up a couple of bags of Crooks Grits.
That should last us a while.
We came immediately to the airport, checked in, and went through
security. The first store we saw when we entered the terminal:
Well, that'll be handy to know in the future! : )
Sunday, March 23, 2008
This morning, I attended Easter Sunday Church service with Dick and his family.
Most of you probably know that I'm not a Church-goer. I wasn't raised with any kind of religion in my life, and have hardly ever attended church services. I do respect everyone's right to their own beliefs, just as I have some spiritual beliefs of my own.
That being said, I've never been to Church on Easter Sunday. Going to Church has always made me a little uncomfortable, to say the least. I just try to do my best to keep my my mind open, and mouth shut (I don't sing or recite prayers). I always saw Church as a very "serious" matter - out of respect that this is something very important to so many people, and that it is something that I simply don't know much about.
This morning's service was very nice - It's a lovely Church, nice sermon, and a great organ, accompanied by a choir. Since it was Easter Sunday, most people in the congregation went up for communion. I stayed in the pew while the rest of the family went up.
As they were coming back into our pew, Dick's sister, Meg, passed by me, and whispered, (just loud enough for me to hear):
"Bones of the father, unwillingly given....."
OMG. Once it set in what she had said, I had to try really, really hard not to bust out laughing!!
For those of you who don't know, that's a line from the Harry Potter series. Actually, it's part of the spell that was cast in Book 4 to resurrect the Dark Lord. Again, wrong, but oh-so-funny!
Meg had sent me a message a few months ago that she had been one of the people chosen to hand out communion, during which you say "The body of Christ, given for you" (when offering the bread) then "The blood of Christ, shed for you" (when offering the wine). Anyhow, she told me later that in the middle of being up there handing out the bread, or offering the wine, suddenly, that line from Harry Potter popped into her mind. She told me had to concentrate really hard to make sure she was reciting the appropriate line when offering communion, rather than accidentally slipping into Harry Potter mode. It was all she could do not to laugh during the rest of communion.
Oh, I just love my sister-in-law. (both of them, actually, but Meg gets credit for this morning's chuckle.)
So, that's my Easter Sunday Morning Story.
Apologies if I've offended anyone. Certainly didn't intend to. :)
Friday, March 21, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Dick got a new cell phone a couple of weeks ago. It's a BlackJack II by Samsung. While I may be biased, it doesn't do many of the cool things that my iPhone does, but even I admit that it has a few features that are uber-cool that my phone doesn't have.
The coolest is that it can connect to your computer (either via a cable or through bluetooth) to connect you to a PAN (Personal Area Network) via AT&T's 3G Network (which is much faster than my Edge network.). This allows Dick to connect to the internet even when he's on the CalTrain to and from work. Really amazing.
We're here at the Washington Dulles airport (again) sitting in the very comfortable United Airlines Red Carpet Club. Dick asked me if I wanted to connect to the internet. We turned on Bluetooth on my Mac, then connected to his phone wirelessly. A couple of set-up wizards later, and voila: I'm connected to the internet!
We tried to see if we could connect both of our computers to his phone at one time, but alas, only one computer at a time. :)
I hate it when I wake up in the middle of the night, and can't fall
I hate it when i wake up in the middle of the night, and can't fall
back asleep when I'm in a strange place, like, say, a random hotel
outside a of Waahington DC. I feel trapped because all I can do is lay
here(and possibly type out a blog) hoping that sleep will overcome me
I especially hate it when it's 3:30am, and I can't sleep, and I know I
have to wake up in two hours to go back to the airport to catch a
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
line at customer service to make arrangements for tonight. Dick called
the airline earlier and had already arranged for seats on a flight to
Raleigh tomorrow morning.
Let's see what happens next!
the mechanical or computer problem.
We're on our way to visit Dick's (and my!) family in North Carolina
for March Madness! We're flying to Raleigh through Washington Dulles.
At this point, it's unclear whether or not we'll make our connection
tonight. We may end up spending the night in DC - who knows! Let's see
where this adventure leads us. :)
I'll keep you posted.
I love my iPhone.
Thanks to Graham for staying at out place go watch the kitties!!
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Dragon Roll to bring home.
I love this place! I sit down, place my order, they bring me a glass
of water, a bowl of miso soup, then they bring me a (large) shot of
warm saki! My waiter brought one for himself, too, so we could toast
and drunk together. :)
All Seasons Sushi makes me happy! :)
I replied back, "Nope. that's just the Noon Siren."
Dick: "The What?!
Trina: "The Noon Siren. Everyday it goes off at Noon."
Trina: "Yeah. Every day. Siren. Noon. It's been going on for years."
(This is what happens when you work from home for several years.)
So, I decided to look it up on the net. Here's what I found:
The Tuesday Noon Siren
Every Tuesday at noon, San Francisco tests the Outdoor Warning System. During the test the siren emits a 15 second alert tone. In an actual emergency, the siren tone will cycle repeatedly for 5 minutes. Should you hear the sirens at any time other than Tuesday at noon, go indoors and immediately tune to a news source such as KCBS 740 AM, or other local media stations.
Learn more about the siren system at www.72hours.org, the San Francisco Office of Emergency Services & Homeland Security's new website. Here you'll find information on how to respond to specific types of emergencies, such as an Earthquake or a Tsunami, and easy steps to help you develop your own emergency plan.
In a major disaster it might be 3 days before vital services are restored.
When you hear the Tuesday Noon Siren, it's your weekly reminder to make an emergency plan, build an emergency supply kit and be prepared to be self sufficient for 72 hours.
Turns out it only goes off at Tuesday at Noon. Who knew? Either I'm hearing things on those other days, or I just assumed that I only heard it every once-in-a-while. Turns out the only days I heard it was on Tuesdays!
Monday, March 17, 2008
It's a wrap - San Franciscans go back in time once more for 'Milk'
I know I've said it before, but I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to participate in a very minor way in this production. Diana and I were just two of hundreds of extras helping to recreate Gay Freedom Day, 1978, in front of City Hall. My sister and her boyfriend, Graham, participated in the recreation of the candle light vigil down Market Street for Harvey Milk.
What a great and unique experience to be part of something so historically important to our community and our city. The movie is scheduled to be released in the Fall. Can't wait to see it.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Kristi has already posted her first entry. She’s going to try to write at least a couple of entries a week while she’s on Dancing with the Stars. It should be a fun way for her to share her latest adventures with everyone.
Friday, March 14, 2008
I'm Grumpy McGrumpster today.
Here's the thing. Dick and I both "rule followers". We follow the rules, we obey the laws - enough so that we actually joke about it. We won't cross the street if the little red hand is up. We don't jaywalk. We are good, law-abiding citizens!
Unless you talk to the SF D.P.T. that is. (Department of Parking and Transportation for you non-urbanites.) Apparently, Dick has been breaking the law for almost 4 years now.
Dick has had his trusty Vespa Scooter for almost 4 years now. He always parks it in the same place: on the sidewalk between two trees, in front of our house.
Yes, that italicized part up there is your clue. It is, indeed, parked on the sidewalk. We've always felt that as long as it wasn't actually blocking the access of the sidewalk, that it should be fine. It's in between two trees. Unless someone is intentionally walking from one tree to the other, it's really not in the way at all.
Over the past 3 years, we've received about a ticket per year for parking it on the sidewalk. Dick took this in stride, figuring that a car on our block was actually blocking the sidewalk by parking across their driveway, and that they then have to do a full sweep of the block. That's okay. We knew we weren't being targeted.
Well, today, I noticed a meter maid writing up a ticket in front of our house. I went out to discuss the matter with her. She was very nice about it, and explained that "they" really started to crack down about a year ago. Any vehicle parked on any part of the sidewalk was to be ticketed - no matter if it's actually blocking the sidewalk or not.
Now believe me, I started to argue my case, as did a few people who walked by, but she explained it wasn't up to her, and that she was "just doing her job". She actually agreed that we weren't blocking anyone, and she had let it slide by several times, but she has started to get in trouble for such things.
The ridiculous part was that she told me that I "technically" could park it within 2 feet of my front property line, and that she wouldn't ticket it. So I argued that I could park it in front of my window, or in front of my stairs, clearly blocking part of the sidewalk, and that would be okay? She said yes, that she couldn't ticket us if we did this, but that we should use our common sense. Whatever. That's just stupid, and it goes completely against any kind of common sense.
You can see the left-most line in the sidewalk in the picture above - the one closest to the front of the house. She says we technically could park within that line, and that she couldn't ticket us. This is crazy stupid, because that blocks the side walk a whole lot more than parking between the two trees.
I tried really hard not to get angry at her. It's not her fault, and she's just doing her job, and she was actually being very sensible when trying to explain the "rules" to me that she had to follow. It also clearly wasn't going to help my case if I got upset.
But the thing is, I see this all the time: people flat-out blocking the path of the sidewalk with their big enormous cars parking across their driveways because they're too lazy to actually go out and find a spot on the street. I've seen people pushing baby strollers, and worse: people in wheel chairs who have to go into the street to go around the car across the driveway and sidewalk. This infuriates me.
I also raised the point that not only are we not blocking the sidewalk, but we're also not taking up an actual parking spot on the street, which apparently, is what we'll have to do, now. This is really brain-damaged (which seems to be my expression of the day).
I decided to leave the ticket on the scooter until Dick comes home today (he drove to the train station, because it was supposed to rain today) so we won't chance getting another ticket from another meter maid. When Dick comes home, I'll ask him to move it to a spot on the street. Or, maybe we'll just park it in front of our front steps. (that would be the bitter person in me coming out.)
This is ridiculous.
Oh, and by the way, the penalty for parking on the sidewalk:
A couple of months ago, I made the switch to Quickbooks Pro 2007 for the Mac.
My assessment so far:
Quickbooks for the Mac totally blows.
(how's that for a professional assessment?)
I just spent about 2 hours sending out invoices. It should have taken me about 45 minutes.
It's amazing to me how different the two iterations of the program are. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I know how these things go: each iteration is written by a completely different group: like Office for the Mac versus the PC.
But really, this is really brain-damaged.
Sending out invoices was always very easy and fast of the PC version. I'd write out the invoices, and send them out in batches. I could even have a standard "email body" that went onto each email, with correct customer name placed in the appropriate field. It was all very fast and simple. After writing the invoices out, sending as a batch took less than a couple of minutes.
Not on the Mac.
I have to send out each invoice individually, and send it as a large monster-sized PDF file. The PDF file is 1.7 MB, versus the size of the PDF files that I sent on the PC, which was 35 K. That's a HUGE difference. If I were a client of mine, I'd be wondering why the file has to be so large. That's ridiculous, and I look like a Lame-O.
There are a bunch of other features that don't exist in the Mac version. There are a bunch of things that just don't "work". There are so many things that I've come across that just take so much more time than they should.
Considering I only use this program to generate and send out invoices, and to record payments, I'm really amazed at how much I'm missing from the PC version. I feel lucky that I don't rely on this program for more. I'm so very unimpressed.
Boo on you, Intuit.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Mapjack.com showcases a new level of mapping technology. What others have done with NASA budgets and Star Wars-like equipment, we've done on a shoestring budget, along with a few trips to Radio Shack. Specifically, we developed an array of proprietary electronics, hardware and software tools that enable us to capture an entire city’s streets with relative ease and excellent image quality. We have a complete low-cost scalable system encompassing the entire work-flow process needed for Immersive Street-Side Imagery, from picture gathering to post-processing to assembling on a Website.
Jack’s on a mission, on foot, by car, and by boat. Our coverage area doesn’t stop street-side, we also include walking areas such as Parks, Universities and famous walking streets. San Francisco is only our starting point, more coverage and more cities coming soon.
The picture quality, and even the ease of use seem much better to me than google maps.
This is wild. I just went through my neighborhood, and can tell from the marquis at the Castro theater that they took these photos in June of 2007.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
My Mom spent the night at our house last night. She's working at the gallery for a few days this week, helping them prepare for the big move.
She hadn't had a chance to have a Morning Bun from Tartine Bakery until today. Every time she had come up before, we'd get to the bakery too late - they'd already be sold out.
Since she spent the night, we were able to get to the bakery by 9:00 - plenty of Morning Buns available! We sat outside at the cafe tables, and enjoyed our urban breakfast experience together. :)
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Harvey Milk is back at San Francisco City Hall.
Diana and I are in there somewhere! :)
Monday, March 10, 2008
It was very cool - we arrived at 11:00am, and stayed until 1:30 or so. (They were still filming when we left.) I just found this blog from someone else who was there saying he left after 5 hours, and they were still filming. He took some good photos.
While Diana and I were there, they were filming a scene where Harvey Milk (played by Sean Penn) came out to the front of City Hall to deliver a Speech. This day in June, 1978 was also the first day that the Gay Pride / Rainbow Flag was unveiled for the first time.
It was a gorgeous day yesterday - in the high 60s or low 70s. This was great because we were recreating a sunny, warm day in June, 1978. People who participated were asked to wear clothing from that era. I didn't have time to plan much, so I wore a rather generic white polo shirt with jeans, but many people really got into the spirit of the era. It was a lot of fun.
They filmed the same scene while we were there about 8-10 times - getting different angles, and trying different things each time. We all cheered for Harvey Milk when he came out to speak, and cheered during his speech. It was a bit surreal.
I'm really looking forward to seeing how the final product of this film turns out. I hear they are planning to release it in November, in time for the 30th anniversary of Harvey Milk's assassination.
I'm very pleased that I had a chance to participate in this film. It's been so interesting watching the different stages of filming over the past two months, and I love how much they are filming in, and involving our local community.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
with my best friend from fourth grade! We hadn't seen each other in
over 25 years, and just reconnected a few months ago after she found
Friday, March 07, 2008
for lunch and a visit.
Here's a picture of her two cockatiels. Bonsai, who is well into her
20s, and Crissy, who just turned 28! We got Crissy when she was only 6
weeks old. That was a really long time ago!
picking up my MINI in Pleasanton which is in for service. The folks at
the MINI dealership were nice enough to arrange a free rental car from
Avis for me. It's brand spankin new - it only had 55 miles when I
picked it up, and only 96 now that it came to SF. As much as I love my
MINI, it was kind of fun to drive a new car for a day. :)
Now, it's back to Pleasanton to pick up MINI Driver! :)
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Apple tweaks iPhone for business uses
Next software update will enable device to work with Microsoft’s Exchange
Looks like the full version won't be available 'til June.
the new MINI Clubman. It's really cool! If I remember right, there's an extra 2 inches in the rear seats, and and extra 8 inches in the trunk. Personally, I don't need a larger MINI (I like to be able to fit in the small parking spots in SF!) but my parents are considering getting one. They're really nice. I especially like many of the new interior features in the '08 MINIs - Leather Piping trim on the seats, better glove compartment, remote key, etc., I took a bunch of photos and will post more later. (Once I get MacDreamy back)
Monday, March 03, 2008
He told me that I was probably right in thinking it was the logic board. He said the quickest way for him to have it repaired was to send it out to their repair facility (rather than in-store - not sure why). He sent it out today, and hopes to get it back to the store by Friday or Saturday.
I'm kind of surprising myself that I'm not more freaked-out about this than I am.
The truth is, it could be a lot worse! I'm very lucky in that:
I completed several projects in the last 4 weeks, and this week should be slower than last month. Good timing!
Dick and I have an extra PowerBook (there's a story in there somewhere). It's about 4 years old, but still works well. I was able to install my important apps to it, so I can continue working.
Here's the biggie: I was able to access my MacDreamy's hard drive via our network. This means that not only is my drive probably okay, but I was also able to copy all of my important files onto my temporary laptop so I still have access to all my work.
I do have my entire hard drive backed up on an external drive, in case the worst-case scenario happens. (knock wood)
I'm really counting my lucky stars here. This week could've been completely unproductive work-wise, and probably would've driven me bonkers.
I might invest in some extra RAM for this old PowerBook. It has 512MB. I think it has the capacity for 1GB, maybe 2GB. MacDreamy runs on 4GB, so I'm really noticing a speed issue here, but still - no complaints!
Here's hoping MacDreamy comes back at the end of the week, files intact, and good as new!
Saturday, March 01, 2008
I usually put my computer to sleep whenever I'm away for any length of time.
Yesterday, I left the house right before 4:00, and went out for the evening. (Happy Birthday, Jud!)
When we came home late last night, I went to my computer to check my email. (no, I'm not addicted) Much to my chagrin, it wouldn't wake up! It didn't seem to respond at all.
So, I did what any good trouble-shooter would do: I restarted my computer (hard restart by keeping the power button down, then pressing it again to start).
Again - nothing.
Although, it sounded like it was restarting. I could hear the disc spin, but nothing came up on the screen at all - just a blank, black screen.
Then I did the next step that any good trouble-shooter would do: try starting it with the system disk. Still nothing. (though I could hear the drive reading the CD, and it sure sounded like it was booting from the CD!)
When I work at home, I always connect my laptop to an external monitor, and even that was completely black. Tried unplugging it, replugging, unplugging.... (I had also since removed all other peripheral, so I was working on my laptop alone.)
I hoped that this meant that it was a monitor problem, or a board problem, and hopefully NOT a drive problem.
...and then I went to play golf....
Came back, did some research, and eventually, found this: Topic : Blank Screen - even when booted from the CD - Weird Sleep Cycle perhaps?
No good answers here: sounds like it's a logic board problem.
I've made an appt. with The Genius Bar at the Apple Store for tomorrow. Let's see what they say.
So, how come it doesn't sound like I'm completely freaking out?!
Oh, I am, believe me, but I've also realized that it could be much worse.
Here's the good news:
I have a backup: I'm using Time Machine, and haven't had to use it for anything big yet, but it has been backing up my hard drive for the past few months. I trust it's doing something good for me.
I also keep full backups of my most important files in full on my external drive.
But that's certainly not enough to keep me calm.
The real reason I'm not totally freaking out is because I just figured out that I can access my computer's drive through our network. I'm copying over all of my super-important files to our extra PowerBook right now. At least I know I have access to it! (and I know that my drive is okay, even if I can see anything on my computer right now.)
I'm installing all of my regular apps onto our second laptop so I can use it as a backup computer in case mine needs to go into the shop for a while. Certainly not ideal, but much, much better than the alternative.