Saturday, May 31, 2008


Oh, yeah.

Mark this day. It's the day got a birdie on the 9th Hole at Fleming.

I had a great tee shot that put me about 4 feet from the tee hole, then tried really hard not to psych myself out.

Consistency is the name of the game, though, and seeing as I got a 10 on the 7th hole, I still have a long way to go. :)

But still: a birdie!
That was a great way to end my game!


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Costco Gas

You know that gas prices are high, and that Costco Gas prices are low(er) when the lines look like this on a Thursday afternoon.

For the record:
Regular Unleaded: $4.05
Premium Unleaded: $4.26

The Costco that I went to was in South San Francisco. I took 280 home, and passed by this Shell Station and took a picture of their prices.

Regular Unleaded: $4.22
Premium Unleaded: $4.46

That's pretty significant. I heart Costco.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Less is More

When web design goes very, very bad.

‹rant› changed their design format again today. It's the second time they've done that within the last couple of months.

Here's the thing: I love sfgate. I visit it frequently each day. I like it because I'm able to skim the headlines easily - which are both local news as well as world news. It's easy and concise, and I can quickly decide which stories/headlines interest me the most.

Bad news: Change is Bad.

Over the course of the last two design changes, they've somehow managed to go from a site that was unique because it was quick, and easy to navigate site with local and world news to a news site that looks a whole lot like everyone else. They've gone from having one feature story with one photo and one column with headlines of mixed stories, and quick blurb about the story, to becoming just another news site with multiple feature stories, multiple sections and multiple headlines.

I liked it because it was a "local site". It focused on local things. It always included the important World News Events, and had a small column for 4 or 5 AP stories, but the rest of it was local news. I have a routine of going to sfgate for my local news, and for World/AP news.

Now, it looks like sfgate is trying to compete with all of the big news sites. It's going in a direction that goes against the very reason why I was such a fan to begin with.

They have a little "Give us feedback" link which is already filled with dozens of readers bashing the new design.

I've been a web designer for 11 years. My first rule of thumb when designing a site has always been: "Less is More". Keep it simple. Don't over design. Let the user find what they want easily. Don't muck up the site with too much content.

Why is that so hard?
(or maybe it's just me, because goodness knows there are a lot of over-designed web sites out there that make my eyes bleed.)

I'm hoping that the design staff at will read the feedback and take it to heart. Hopefully, they'll go back to (one of their) old design that set them apart from the other news sites.


Okay, I know that this is totally over the top, but I've just found two screen shots of the from - an old one from 2007, and the new version as it debuted today. I thought it would be interesting to compare them side-by-side.

sfgate: then and now

Look how much more content this new design has packed into it, and how much harder it is to read. Seeing them side by side like this really makes me wish they'd just go back to the old design.

Is there enough crap in that site for you?
Seriously, my eyes hurt just looking at it.

Get a clue, guys. This is bad design.


One step closer

Well, we're getting there.

The sheet rock is up, and it's been taped and mudded. Gotta give it at least a day to dry, then they'll come back to sand it.

Looking almost back to normal!

now it's time for me to go clean the kitchen.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fully Redundant

Kitchen #2

Sometimes, living in two (connected) condos comes in very handy! Dick and I joke that with our two condos, we are "fully redundant": two kitchens, two hot water heaters, (two utility bills), two cats, three X-Box 360s (oops! looks like we went a little overboard there!), etc.,

It's been two weeks since the pipes from the upstairs kitchen busted and caused a hull breach on the downstairs kitchen. The plumbers came last week to redo the plumbing, and the contractors are back today to patch up the gaping hole in the kitchen ceiling.

I'm guessing that this job will take (at least) all day. They'll need to put the plastic barrier back up, put up the sheet rock, tape the sheet rock, mud it, let it dry, reapply..... (rinse, and repeat).

I got smart this time around. Right before the came this morning, I cleared out the downstairs kitchen, and brought anything that I'd need for breakfast and lunch to the upstairs kitchen: my toaster, biscuits and jelly for breakfast (and a glass of juice) and a leftover sandwich for lunch. If I get snacky, I even thought to bring up some cheese and crackers. Also remembered silverware and plates. I'm set!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Indiana Jones!

Indy at The Castro!

We're seeing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is showing at The Castro Theater!!

I'm so excited! I haven't seen a movie in this theater in a long time. It's such an amazing theater. It's an historic landmark. They even have an organist playing "San Francisco" before the show begins. So fantastic.


This is the first time that I can remember them showing a first-run film. Plus, it's been 19 years since the last Indiana Jones movie!

Color Guard Trivia:
Which WGI finalist did an Indiana Jones show in 1986?
Bonus: Who instructed their rifle line?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Congratulations, Graham!

Tiffie & Graham

Today, Graham graduated from San Francisco State University with a BA in Psychology! We celebrated with both families at Roy's this evening.

Congratulations, Paco!!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

For Sale: Historic Fire House ONLY $6.4 MILLION!

I exaggerate. It's only $6,375,000...

This baffles me.

There's a house in our neighborhood listed for nearly $6.4 Million.
Who's spending 6.4 Million on a house in Noe Valley/Castro?

The premise is cool: it's an old, historic Fire House.
I'm all for that.

The pictures look very nice - very modern.
It has 4 bedrooms and 4.5 baths, plus it's over 6,000 sq ft. That's huge.

But still, $6 Million?

You know I'll be checking this place out when they have an open house. :)

Here's the MLS Listing.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pedestrian Flags

Paula took me around Downtown Kirkland (Home of Costco!) yesterday
afternoon. She pointed out these pedestrian flags that are kept in baskets on every intersection. The idea is that pedestrians should pick up a flag, hold it high and walk with it across the crosswalk every time they cross the street.


I only grabbed this one for a photo op, and didn't use it as it was intended. Now that I think about it, I really should've busted out into a double swing-flag routine (a la Skylarks 1983) all the way across the crosswalk!

Take It to Make it, Baby

Just found this link from the Seattle Times. It discusses the Pedestrian Flag program, it's moderate success (8.6 percent of the pedestrians participate in the program) and the new(er) flag design: a yellow flag with picture of a person carrying a flag.

No Smoking at the Smoke Shop

I was out and about with Paula this morning, and couldn't resist
taking this photo. Oh, the irony!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Flying the most friendly skies

Flying over San Francisco

Flying Virgin America completely ROCKS!

Really, this whole flight has been amazing. First of all, I'm in the
emergency exit row with extra leg room. BONUS: I have the entire row
to myself!!

Each seat has a video monitor for movies, TV, music, etc. BONUS: it
even has text messaging so I can send a message to Dick (who is
sitting in first class doing work with Schack).

I have some work to do on my laptop. My MacDreamy is being weird, and
lost power when my battery was still at 60%. (I need to look into
that.) But, no worries! As the ads say, Virgin Air has power ports for
each seat! (Love that!)

This has been the BEST domestic flight EVER!!

Try it.
You'll like it.

Flying on Virgin

..for the very first time!

I'm on a flight from SFO to SEA (Seattle). So far, I'm very impressed!

This plane is so cool. As Omar says, if Apple made an airplane, this
is what it would look like.

Dancing Queen

photo credit: AP

Congratulations, Kristi!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

We have HOT Water!!! opposed to "being in hot water"...

Yay!!! The plumbers came today and put in new copper pipes!! It's been a week since the old galvanized pipes busted above our kitchen, but we finally have hot water again!

Actually, we never lost the hot water in the downstairs condo, since we have two hot water heaters, but it'll be really nice to have hot water in the upstairs condo again so we can take a shower in the newly remodeled bathroom. I can also do laundry again!

BTW: these guys rocked. The plumber brought his entire team (3 guys) at 3:00, and they had the job finished by 5:00.

I'm laughing at myself right now.

I cleaned up the house a bit after the plumbers left, then thought I should take a shower (in the upstairs bathroom where we now have hot water). I went into the shower, and turned on the hot water (which usually comes out quickly because we have a recirculator). The water became warm after a few seconds, and eventually hot enough to use for a shower. But then it occurred to me: I really needed to give the hot water heater enough time to thoroughly heat up the water - especially if I wanted to take a nice, long shower!

Luckily, the thought occurred to me before got my hair wet, so it was easy enough to dry off.

Not one of my brightest moments...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Congratulations, Kenneth!

This afternoon, my cousin, Kenneth, graduated from The University of
California, San Francisco's School of Medicine.

Congratulations, Dr. Kenneth!!
We're all so proud of you!

Where Harry Potter buys jewelry?

Am I the only person who thinks that this should be the name of a
store in the Harry Potter Universe?

Friday, May 16, 2008

It's HOT!

To be fair, I should make the disclaimer that I took this picture in Pleasanton when I was picking up my MINI from the dealership. But, it was 94 degrees in San Francisco yesterday, which I believe set a new record. It's slightly "cooler" today - high 80s. Still for those of us who are weather wimps and don't have air conditioning (pretty much everyone in SF) that's just too hot!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Gay Marriage Ban Overturned in CA

This is a sign that was on the store front of "Under One Roof" on Castro Street today

I'm so proud and happy to live in San Francisco and in CA today!

Calif. Supreme Court rejects gay marriage ban.

We're one step closer....

We just got back from having dinner in the Castro. As we left the restaurant, we saw that the city had just blocked off Castro Street for an impromptu celebration party! This was the very early stages of it (around 7:45pm). I expect it'll be going on for a long while. I love this town. :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The week of unusual mishaps

This has been a pretty strange week.
All the plans that I originally had have been thrown out the window.

First, there was the leak in the pipes in the kitchen. Besides the immediate and major issues this has brought about (the plumber can't come out to fix it until sometime next week, so no hot water upstairs, plus there's the gaping hole in my kitchen ceiling downstairs), I also had to cancel two appointments (one personal, one job-related) that I had for that day.

It's been nearly impossible for me to reschedule either one of them, because I don't know for certain which days I need to keep clear for the plumber to return, and for the contractor to patch up the ceiling.

I knew that today was clear, so I kept my appointment to bring my MINI into the Pleasanton dealership. I somehow managed to get a large (and growing) crack in my windshield, and my passenger side window isn't rolling down/up. I brought my car in this morning, knowing that I'd have to leave it overnight for the new windshield to cure. I got a call from my service advisor telling me that they're really backed up, and that they won't be able to have my car ready for me until Friday. (and don't get me started on how much these repairs are going to cost!) Thankfully, they arranged for a courtesy rental car for me, (a Jetta) and I won't have to pay anything for the extra day.

However, this means that I had to rearrange my schedule for the next two days as well. I was really hoping to schedule one of my missed appointments for Friday, but won't be able to do that now.

In the meantime, my parents met me in Pleasanton (about 45 minutes away) to join me for lunch (aren't they great?). We then drove separate cars to San Francisco. They had intended to pick up their VISAs for their trip to China that they dropped off last week. They both thought that they were supposed to be ready today, but as it turns out, they both somehow got the day wrong, and they won't be ready until tomorrow. That means that they have to drive back to San Francisco tomorrow (about an hour drive from their house) and that today's trek was all for not. Poor Mom and Dad.

The good news was that they joined me in picking up my 7 year-old niece from school, and bring her to hip hop class with me. That was great fun, and put us all in better spirits after the somewhat disappointing day.

When I brought my niece back home, Dick called me from Seattle telling me that his flight back home tonight was canceled, and that he'd have to spend another night up there, and catch another flight home tomorrow.

Again, none of these things are very bad (okay, the kitchen pipe thing is pretty bad) but they've all made this a really odd week of mishaps and have made it impossible for me to plan anything for at least a week.

I don't like not being able to plan.
I'm a planner.

This one's for you, Bruce

My cousin is on the road for work this week, so I pitched in to help
by taking one of his daughters to her hip hop class today.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Kitchen Follow Up

I'm tired

It's been a long morning. Oh, wait, it's the middle of the afternoon now! yikes.

Let's see, where did I leave off?

Oh, right - our contractor sent his guy to buy some tarp to block out the space. He did, he came back, he taped up the plastic barrier in the kitchen. Then, he started to tear down the ceiling.

By this time, the plumber came, and they discovered that the pipes underneath the upstairs condo's kitchen (the one that leaked onto our downstairs kitchen) were very old galvanized steel pipes that had indeed sprung a leak (a small hole) (bad). When he went down to the basement, he discovered that some of the pipes down there had been replaced with newer copper pipes (good). He suggested that rather than trying to replace the galvanized pipes between the floors, he could run new copper pipes outside the house to connect the copper pipes in the upstairs kitchen and laundry room to the newer copper pipes in the basement. This would enable us to disconnect the old galvanized pipes altogether.

We plan to remodel our kitchen(s) someday in the next few years, so it doesn't seem to make sense to tear through the floors/ceilings/beams now until we're ready to do something more permanent in the near future.

Unfortunately, the plumber is booked this week, and he won't be able to do the work until sometime next week.

This means that we won't have any hot water upstairs, and that downstairs looks like a minor disaster with pieces of the kitchen temporarily in every room. (not to mention that I have a hole in the ceiling of my kitchen that is roughly 6' x 6'.)

The beams in the ceiling above the downstairs kitchen are still quite wet, so we need to give them several days to dry out thoroughly. The contractor did a decent job of cleaning up the kitchen once he was done with the ceiling, but I spent another hour cleaning it further so that it would be in good enough shape to use over the next few days. I also took the plastic down so that the room will get more circulation, and will hopefully dry out faster.

Luckily, we do have two hot water heaters, so we will still have hot water (and a full bathroom) downstairs.

So, that's the scoop. It's a bit of a mess, but I do realize that it could have been much worse.

We've got a Hull Breach on Deck 2, Captain!

Oy. This was not the way I was planning to start my day.

I woke up around 6:30 this morning to the sound of water running. In my sleepy state, I had assumed that my neighbor was taking a shower and that I'd simply never heard it before.

But something told me that I'd better wake up...

And when I did, I realized that the sound was coming from downstairs in our house.

I walked into the kitchen, and that's when I saw it...

Water gushing from the ceiling onto the floor.

I ran upstairs, got a couple of large tubs to catch the water, and some towels to mop up the water on the floor.

I'm not sure how long this had been going on, but there was a lot of water on the floor, and the pergo floor that we have in that part of the kitchen had already buckled up where the water was.

Dick was supposed to wake up at 7:00 this morning, to leave at 7:15 to catch a flight out of SFO. I woke him up a little early, hoping he could help me out a bit before he had to leave.

We realized that the water was warm/hot, so we turned off the hot water heater for the upstairs unit and also drained the hot water heater with a hose. This stopped the water flow.

We're assuming that a pipe burst between the floors. It seems as if the hot water pipes go along the floorboard (upstairs) in that part of the house, and down the side walls to the basement. (where there was also a reasonable amount of water.)

I put in a call to our contractor who worked on our bathroom remodel. We figured he'd have all the resources to help us out, and we have a nice relationship with him and his crew. He came over 10 minutes after I called (bless him) to assess the situation. He was just as baffled as we were as to what had happened. (Ah, the joys of old houses...)

He just sent one of his guys to the hardware store to get some drop clothes and tape to block off the area, then they're going to cut through the ceiling to get a better idea of what's going on. He also put a call into his plumber who should be here in the next hour or two.

So, that's the situation so far. What a wacky way to start the day. Marcel is happy because I was supposed to bring him into the vet for a check-up this morning. I had to cancel that, as well as a work meeting that I had for the afternoon.

Silver lining:
(because you always have to think about those...)

It certainly could have been worse. The ceiling and the floor will have to be repaired, but nothing else was underneath the leak. No electronics, furniture, etc., that could have been ruined by the water. Since we live in two condos, we also have the luxury of having two hot water heaters. If we need to keep the hot water off for a while in the upstairs unit, I still have hot water if I need it downstairs. Likewise, I have an extra kitchen upstairs complete with a refrigerator, stove, microwave, etc., If we're out of the downstairs kitchen for a few days, we've got the backup kitchen. :)

So, that's the report from His 'n Her Condos for now. (and it's still only 8:30am)
I'll report back later in the day...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all of the Moms out there!

A very special "Happy Mother's Day" to my Mom - one of the most amazing people I've ever known. Her capacity to love unconditionally, to give selflessly, her positive spirit, and her abundant amount of energy have always set a great example for me, and anyone who knows her.

I couldn't imagine having a better Mom.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

I love you!

Barb with her girls at Disneyland, 1972, Disneyland, 2007, and with her family at ILM in 2007

Friday, May 09, 2008

A new look for the e-commerce site

One of my clients has an e-commerce store hosted by Yahoo's merchant services. We've had it up for a couple of years now, and I believe that they have had great success with it so far.

This week, we switched to their upgraded software which enabled us to have a few new options as far as design goes. I'm pretty happy with that, because the design options are fairly limited when you use their tools. (we use their online tools so that my clients can make as many changes/additions to their site as possible without having to go through me.)

Anyhow, here's the new look:

Unveiled's e-commerce store

They are a great store in Walnut Creek. If you're getting married, throwing a baby shower, etc., they have all kinds of stuff that you might want or need.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

The 8's

Ayumi and Paul

Last night, we spent a wonderfully fun evening with my friend, Ayumi, and her boyfriend, Paul.

Ayumi's birthday was on April 24th, and mine was on April 28th. This was a belated birthday celebration of sorts. I realize that I have several friends who are Tauruses (born between April 20th and May 20th). We must all be drawn to each other.

I turned 38 this year, and Ayumi turned 30. At some point in the evening, Dick mentioned that he was born in the Tiger (in Chinese Astrology). Paul said that he was, too.

That's when Dick started to put all the pieces together: People who are born under the same Chinese Astrological sign are separated by increments of 12 years. (there are 12 signs/animals in total.) We had made the assumption that Paul was not yet in his mid-30s yet, so that meant that he must be..... 24 years younger than Dick! (gulp!)

Ayumi and Paul acknowledged that Dick was correct, with Ayumi stating that she was dating "a younger man". He is 8 years younger than her.

Dick said, "Oh, well, Trina is 8 years younger than me!"

...and then we remembered that Ayumi is 8 years younger than me...

So, that means that each of us were born 8 years apart.

The coincidence boggles the mind.

BTW: both Ayumi and Paul are musicians and singer/song writers. We intended for them to come over afterwards to sing some jazz with Dick. However, we got sidetracked with Rock Band! OMG - so much fun. And, by the way, as someone who is not a musician, and who does not sing at all, it was SO cool to play with 3 other people who could all sing really well!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Cousins Golf - a new tradition?

First there was Cousins Dinner - a tradition I have withe my sister and 3 cousins (and an occasional spouse, significant other, or gay boyfriend) where we get together every few months (or at least once a year) for dinner.

Today, was the first of (hopefully) many "Cousins Golf" days. Well, not all of the cousins play golf, and Kenneth was out of town, but since it was my cousin, Bruce, and I who organized it, I'm just going to call it "Cousins Golf"!

Dick and Graham (My sister's boyfriend) joined Bruce and me for a rousing 9-hole game of golf this morning. I personally didn't have a very good game, but that's okay - it was a really, really fun time.

Bruce used to play regularly, but hasn't played in the last 3 years. Graham hasn't played at all this year, so it was a really great way for everyone to get back into it, and to spend some quality time with each other.

I'm hoping we can make this a semi-regular thing!
(and maybe, just maybe we can get Tiffie and Cheri to join us, too!)

PS: I seem to be golfing a lot lately, and I've started to blog about it more. I'm officially starting the "golf" label for my blog, now. I think that means I may be addicted. It's probably a healthier addiction than Vegas. ;)