Thursday, February 26, 2009

Stop. Rewind.

let's try this again...

Ugh. This day has not started out so well so far.

The day actually started at 3:30am, when I woke up, and couldn't fall back asleep. This hasn't happened in a while, which is actually quite good for me, so I rolled with it. I was up 'til 5:30 or so, then went back to bed and slept until 7:00 when our alarm when off.

I thought I was doing pretty well - I got the garbage cans out to the front, and brought out the garbage, recycling, etc., then started to make breakfast.

This is where the trouble started.

My usual breakfast is steel cut oatmeal, which takes 30 minutes to cook. I took out my regular pot, put in the water, brought it to a boil, added the oatmeal, and set the timer. Usually, this means that I can leave the kitchen for the next half hour to do other things, while my oatmeal cooks. However, 25 minutes later, I started to smell something burning. I knew exactly what it was: in my sleepy stupor, I had forgotten to turn the stove down to low, and the oatmeal was burning. Bummer. I soaked the pot and the burnt oatmeal, and somehow managed not to ruin my poor pot.

I the meantime, I decided to have a left-over waffle for breakfast. I had made waffles last weekend, and Reeves taught me a trick to freeze leftover waffles, then pop them in a toaster (a la "L'Eggo") to reheat them and keep them crisp. So, I popped the waffle in the toaster while I was scrubbing my pot clean.

...and then the all-too-familiar smell of burnt breakfast happened all over again!

I had the toaster on too high of a setting, and the waffle had burnt, too!

What a loser I am. Two burnt breakfasts in one morning.

This was probably my cue to just crawl back into bed for the remainder of the day.
(still a possibility)

I did manage to make yet another breakfast (eggs in a basket) without burning anything, but my house still smells of burnt oatmeal and waffles.

Here's hoping the day goes a little more smoothly now...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Apparently, Prime Rib is Recession-Proof!

Dick and I are long-overdue to taking our friends Pete & Richard out to celebrate Richard's Birthday. (his birthday was in January, which was the month that Dick and I were each sick 2 times.)

Last night, we both had a craving for House of Prime Rib and thought that it would be a great place for the four of us to go this weekend for a belated celebration. On a side note, Dick and I were supposed to go in late January, while his sister was here. Unfortunately, we were both sick that night, and had to miss out, while the rest of the family went.

I checked Open Table for reservations for HoPR for Saturday evening. Now, I realize that it's already the Wednesday before, and it's only 3 days out, but I was hoping that they might still have a table. No go. Only available time was 9:00pm, which is simply too late for us, since we're usually getting ready to go to bed around that time. ;)

I thought I'd give the restaurant a call to see if they happen to have any extra seats that they don't allot to Open Table. Nope. Still 9:00.

Bummer.

So again, I know I tried to make this reservation fairly late in the week, and I know that, although it's still a treat, House of Prime Rib isn't as pricey as other a la cart-type Steak Houses, but still....

It's good to know that even in this economy, the House of Prime Rib is doing just fine. :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Online Opinion Surveys

A few months ago, I decided to start participating in online surveys. The way they work is that you sign up with a company, they sent you emails to surveys to take online, you spend a few minutes answering their questions about your shopping habits, you earn points for each survey you take, and you eventually cash your points out in the form of a check.

I think I came across the company that I signed up for through facebook. I figured it could be kind of fun to do during my downtime. why not?

As I said, most of the surveys are conducted online. It may be about your grocery shopping habits, electronics, marketing opinion, etc., Today, I received a package in the mail from the survey company. Inside the box were two rolls of paper towels, and instructions to please replace my current paper towels with these, and to use them exclusively for the next two weeks. At the end of the two weeks, I'll receive another online survey specifically about the paper towels.

The funny thing is: it's the exact same brand of paper towels that we already use.

Even funnier: a few months ago, they sent me 8 rolls of toilet paper, which again, was the same brand as I already buy.

So, it's kind of cool. I get some cash, and some free products and get to be opinionated. How bad could that be?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Happy Birthday , Christopher!

We went out to dinner tonight with Christipher, David and Miguel to celebrate Bro's Bday (officially on Monday). We had a great evening at Cafe Claude. Yum.

"Happy Birthday, Brother."
(we all discussed that Desmond was all of our favorite character on "Lost". )

Friday, February 20, 2009

They're Back!

My sister has an out-of-town gig for a while, so my parents and I are splitting "bird-duty" while she's away.

My parents dropped Crissy and Bonsai off this morning. They seem to have adjusted to the semi-familiar room pretty well. They are both out and about in their room, whistling, and hanging out in the 'ol bag. :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mary Ann in Autumn

One of my favorite authors is working on a new novel for the Tales of the City series!

Here's a nice article on sfgate.com about Armistead Maupin. He's writing the eighth novel in the Tales of the City series, titled Mary Ann in Autumn!

I LOVED reading Michael Tolliver Lives a couple of years ago. It was the first new installment in the Tales of the City series in several years. (a couple of decades?) Michael Mouse was always my favorite character in the series (imagine that!), and before Michael Tolliver Lives, we had last left him in the mid-80s, having been recently diagnosed with HIV. What a joy it was to learn that he was still alive and well in San Francisco 20 years later!

Mary Ann Singleton, (played by the fabulous Laura Linney in the mini-series) was another favorite character of mine in the earlier books. By the sixth book of the series, however, I found her more and more unlikeable, and in the end, she left her husband and child, and moved away from San Francisco to pursue her career on the East Coast.

According to this article, Mary Ann is now 57 (it's been 20 years!) and she's experiencing a life crisis that takes her back to San Francisco. I can't wait to see what she has to say for herself!

Not sure when the new book will be out, but you can be sure that there will be a lot of excitement in SF when it is!

oh, and by the way, the Tales of the City Broadway Musical is going to be Fab-u-lous!!!

is it me, or did the flamboyant gay man in me just make a splashy appearance?

for those of you who may be interested, here's a link to an old blog post from when I first met Armistead Maupin at a book signing in July, 2006, and another from the day when Michael Tolliver Lives was released in June, 2007.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Happy 29th Hatchday, Crissy!

Today, my sister's cockatiel, Crissy, turns 29 years old!

Twenty-Nine! That's remarkable!

We got her in March, 1980, when she/he (we used to call it a "she" but "she" never laid eggs, which means that "she" is actually a "he" which has made the pronoun game very confusing for the rest of us) was only 6 weeks old. We got him/her from a bird aviary, and the owner was able to tell us the exact day that Crissy was born/hatched.


Crissy's first day at home. March, 1980.

Here's a video that I took in November while the birds were staying with me. Crissy is the one in the front - being serenaded to. :)



Happy Hatchday, Crissy!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Reeves & Paula are here!

Reeves and Paula flew in from Seattle this morning to celebrate
Reeve's 40th Birthday in the Bay Area.

We had a really nice brunch/lunch at The Cliff House. We were lucky
that we were able to enjoy the sunny weather this morning before the
rain started this afternoon.

Happy Birthday, Reeves! So Happy to spend the day with you!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Art of Coraline

What a great afternoon!

Andrew, Barry and I met for lunch at the Metreon, had carrot cake at Just Desserts (yum!), then went to watch Coraline in 3D at the theater.

The movie was fantastic. I really enjoyed it. I certainly enjoyed the story well enough, but what really kept me compelled was the artistry of the animation and the quality of the 3D.

For those who may not know: Coraline is not a computer animated film. Nope - this is old-school stop-motion animation. The kind with models and armatures. Like those old holiday specials (Rudolph, Frosty, etc., ) from the 70s, or more recently, like Nightmare Before Christmas.

The animation is simply superb. As a former animation student, I know what can go into the simplest of stop-motion animation projects, so this really blew my mind.

Seeing it in 3D was also fantastic. Digital 3D. I guess it's becoming a popular thing, as we saw 2 other movie previews for films coming out this year also in Digital 3D.

After the movie, Andrew and I walked over to the Cartoon Art Museum. I had seen that they have a "Art of Coraline" exhibit that is only running through this Sunday, February 15th.

The exhibit was also fantastic. They had a lot of pre-production art (character model sheets, story boards, etc.,) as well as several models. One of my favorite parts of the exhibit was a section that showed Coraline's tiny hand-knit clothing, her wigs, and several interchangeable eyebrow and mouth expressions. Great stuff for animation geeks!

If you have a chance to see the movie, I highly recommend seeing it in 3D.
If you happen to be in SF this weekend, try to drop by the Cartoon Art Museum to see the exhibit.

Coraline in 3D

I'm at the theater with Andrew and Barry. We're very excited to see Coraline in 3D with each other!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sizes at Starbucks

Most people who know me know that I don't drink coffee. With this in
mind, you'll hardly ever me utter the words, "do you mind if we go to
Starbucks?"..

I took Dick to his dentist appointment in Union Square this afternoon.
We got here early, and I had a craving for a hot chocolate. (plus, I
have a giftcard for Starbucks.)

When we walked in, there wasn't a line, so I walked directly to the
cashier. I didn't have time to read the menu, so I just ordered:
"I'll have a non-fat hot chocolate in whatever size your medium is."

Now, I do know enough about Starbucks to know that they have wacky
names for their drink sizes, that I suppose everyone else in the
universe knows but me.

As we waited for my hot chocolate, Dick and I examined their coffee
size names: Tall, Grande, and Venti.

Dick laughed, recalling a movie he had seen that joked about the
Starbucks naming convention:

Tall = Large
Grande = Large in Spanish
The only size that doesn't translate into "large" is Vendi! Which, by
the way, IS the large size!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Geek Day!


Firefox on Mac (Top Left) Safari on Mac (top right)
Firefox on PC (bottom left) IE 6 on PC (bottom right)


It was a long day, but SO well worth it!

I had bought a copy of Parallels about a year ago. This software would enable me to have a Virtual PC environment on my Mac, where I could test my web pages cross-platform (ie: on both the Mac, as well as PC) and cross-browser (ie: Internet Explorer (both on Mac and PC), Safari (Mac) and Firefox (PC and Mac).

As a web designer, one of the most frustrating part of the process is making sure that the site works and looks the same on all browsers and on all platforms. You'd be surprised how different a site can look.

My previous solution was that I had one of Dick's old PCs, and used a switch between my Mac to the PC, so that the two computers could share the same monitor, keyboard and mouse - I'd just have to switch between the two.

This method worked fine for several years, but I started having problems with the switch reading my mouse and keyboard. I was going to buy a new switch, but the inexpensive version I was looking at didn't support my new monitor.

That's when I remembered that I still had a copy of Parallels that I had bought last year. I had tried to install it, but ran into several difficulties. It was pretty frustrating, so I kind of tucked it away for awhile, until I knew that we'd have some time to dedicate to it.

So, that day turned out to be today! It was chilly and wet out today, so Dick and I stayed in our pajamas all day, and holed up in the office, working on this all day.

Why did it take so long? The installation of the actual program wasn't a problem. Actually, it was made easier by the fact that an upgrade had just become available, so we upgraded to that, and were able to get rid of the old version that had given me problems.

The problem happened with the installation of the Windows OS. I decided to install Windows XP versus Vista - I really needed easy access to IE 6 on Windows. It seems to be the browser that causes the most problems for me. We installed XP, but then tried to install the service packs which contain many security updates. Long story short, we had to reinstall XP a couple of times, as well as reinstall Service Packs 1, 2 and eventually, 3.

After 6-7 hours, we finally got everything I wanted up and running! I'm now running Windows XP, Internet Explorer 6, Firefox and (bonus) Windows Live Messenger (PC version - It's so much better than the version available for the Mac).

The bottom line:

I'm able to test all of my web sites on 5 browsers all on the same computer (my Mac) at the same time! (Firefox, Safari and IE on the Mac, as well as IE 6 and Firefox on the PC) I can hop over to Dick's PC to test IE 7 - I'm running low on space on my Mac to install another Virtual Machine Version to add it.

It's super cool! I'm very excited about this. I'm working on 4 new projects at the moment, and have been having a hard time checking them out on all versions of all browsers. This is going to make my job SO much easier!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Friday, February 06, 2009

Best. Pastrami. Sandwhich. Ever.

Moishe's Pippic Chicago Style Deli iin Hayes Valley. Mmmmmmm....

15 Bags of Mulch!!

The Wonder Parents are at it again. We met at Home Depot to buy some
mulch, loaded it in their car, then we'll distribute it around our
yard this afternoon. (after I treat them to a pastrami sandwich!)

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Job Perks

Well, I may not get benefits with my job, but occasionally, I get some really nice perks!

I had a meeting this afternoon with a new client - a seafood restaurant located in the San Francisco Ferry Building.

Our meeting was around 3:00 this afternoon, so I had already eaten lunch.

When I arrived, my client asked if I was hungry (which I wasn't) and
offered me a drink and some of their most popular dishes to try! How could I say no?!

The clam chowder was quite possibly the best I've ever had. Same goes for the crab cake. They also served me another amazing dish with fresh crab, avacado and grapefruit.

I wasn't hungry enough to finish it all while I was there, so they wrapped everything up (and even gave me more soup!) so I could bring it home for dinner tonight.

Super yummy. I also got some great ideas while we met for their web site. (good food must inspire me!)This will be a fun project!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen...

Presenting Trina's first-ever Roasted Chicken! (I know, it's about time, but better late than never!)

Special thanks to my sister-in-law, Kathy, for all the helpful tips! It was delicious!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

A conversation this evening at His 'n Her Condos

Dick needs a new computer. He has spent the last hour online, trying to figure out what he wants to get.

Trina: How's the computer shopping going?

Dick: It's so confusing. There are so many options. So many things to think about...

Trina: So, get a Mac.

;)

Today's Open House Adventures around SF

It was sunny and beautiful this weekend, so Dick and I decided to take one of our nice, long urban hikes around the city today.

We did our usual Sunday-walking-thing of stopping at interesting looking open houses along the way.

We saw 4 properties in total today. All were really great in their own way. We don't usually like every house that we see in one day.

It's an interesting time to watch the housing market. Prices are certainly lower than they have been in the last couple of years, and places are staying on the market longer. The listing agent at the first house we went to literally said, "Tell all your friends!" to us at least 4 times while we were there.

The first house we saw is just a couple of blocks from our house. It's a single family home that was remodeled within the last two years. They did a really nice job. It's a nice, but smaller size for a single family home - around 1500 sq. feet, but has a nice layout and good size rooms. (Tell all your friends!)

The second house we walked to was all the way past Alamo Square Park. We had actually seen this article featuring the house on sfgate.com this morning. Dick not only loves old, Victorian houses, but he also loves the old Victorian style of decorating. This house was totally up his alley. If he had full-say in the matter, I think this would be how he would want to decorate our home. (It's a little too much for me, personally, but I totally appreciate the attention to detail, and the antique furnishings). The bones of this house are really pretty great - they managed to keep most of the original floor plan, which I always love to see. This house has a very similar floor plan to the house that Dick used to own in the Mission. The owners that had it before Dick had gutted the entire back half of the house, though, to make larger rooms. They had removed the servants stairs in the back of the house, which this house still had.

The third house we say today was a gorgeous and HUGE Queen Anne near Alamo Square. When I say huge, I'm talking 4,200 sq ft, and on an over sized lot (almost 5,200 sq. ft.) We actually spoke with the owner as we were leaving. He said that he/they had bought it 5 years ago, and had been working on renovating it ever since. It's quite the house. Really nice floor plan, really nice, large rooms, and good quality choices and craftsmanship. I'm wondering who has the $$ to pay $3 Million on a house outside of Alamo Square, though.

The last place we saw was a nice condo near Duboce Park. I can't find a website for the listing. Nice place, though. :)

We really enjoyed our walk around town today. It felt great to get some exercise and some sunshine!