Day 1322

Monday, August 29, 2016

Racquetball, work, home to continue updating computer stuff, connect wireless printer, FitBit, Quicken.  Helped Bonnie with her new iPhone for an hour.  Before I knew it, it was time for bed.

Almost through Slate House and really enjoying it!

Day 1321

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Up at 6 to help Alice and Austin pack for Austin's return to school at Saint Mary's.  Alice and I went to Devil's Teeth for breakfast sandwiches (no line at 7!).  We left the city at 9 and arrived at Austin's dorm around 9:45.  He has a spacious single on the fourth floor of his dorm.  It's nice.  We unloaded the car, then said our goodbyes and set off for a nursery Alice wanted to check out.  We hung out in Oakland for a few hours while I set up a new desktop.  My old one wasn't working anymore and it was time for an upgrade.  I got another HP with Windows 10.  I still have my two monitors which I love.  I cleaned the entire work area, then started assembling everything.  In an instant it was 2:40 and time to visit Alice's bike gang at Chester and Rose's new condo in Alameda.  We hung out for a few hours, then had dinner.  Alice's gang is a lot like my gang, life long friends who are so much fun to be with.

At Chester and Rose's condo in Alameda

On the Deck

Looking out at the geese

Alice Wu on the deck

Day 1320

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Bought a new desk top today at Staples, another HP with Windows 10.  I'll set it up tomorrow.  Austin leaves for school tomorrow.  Today, it's writing, reading, and hanging out with Alice.

Day 1319

Friday, August 25, 2016

Racquetball, work, home with Alice after 5.  I'm cleaning up what are called IPD documents at work, a collection of agreements and exhibits used in construction contracts that allow everyone to work together in a shared enterprise.  The main guy involved with the documents is coming out with a textbook on IPDs next year, a 500-page brick that will be the standard on the subject.

During my off time, I also looked at new desktop computers.  I haven't researched computers since 2009.  Do I go with a Pentium Core i7 or is i5 better?  Do I go with one of the cheaper AMD chips?  Do I need 8 gigs of RAM or 16?  Do I get something small or big or slim?  I'll keep my two monitors and my keyboards are fine.  Lots of choices to consider.  I've used my HP Slimline since 2009.  It's been a decent enough computer, even though it uses Vista.  Beyond Word, Quicken and email, I don't really use my computer for much, but it would be nice to get something that will stay relevant for the next five years or so.

Day 1318

Thursday, August 25, 2016

I woke up early to do some computer stuff and editing, but my computer wouldn't start up again.  Not sure what the issue is.  It may be time for a new desktop.  I took care of a few things before work, then faced a grueling 8-hour day that was constantly busy.  After work, I went to dinner at Shakewell with Howard V., my jury consultant boss.  We talked about Trump, Clinton, The Night of, and other shows he's watching.  His business has picked up a lot this summer.  There's a new assistant helping him who has two focus groups in September.  It's going to be another hectic month for sure.

Shakewell has such an inviting, beautiful interior

Day 1317

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Racquetball was tough this morning.  Dorian was back and we played horribly, losing every game. The rest of the day took on an anguished, defeated feel.  I have days like this every so often, a gripping feeling of despair and lack of hope.  It usually only lasts a day and when I'm aware of it, I take things real slow and only focus on the day at hand.  I refuse to feel overwhelmed, even though that's the feeling that always comes up, a wave of helpless defeat I have no control over.  The trick is to spin the negative words so that the perspective is different.  It takes so much energy to remove myself from this negative state. I survived the day and look forward to tomorrow.

Day 1316

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

My computer didn't turn on after work.  I'm not sure what's wrong.  That's two computers out in three days.  Not good.  I have all my papers, all my links to the outside world on those computers.  I have my backup usb drives and Drop Box, but a few things I don't have.  I hope I can get into them.  It may be time to do an overhaul of my computer system.  It's been seven years.  That's a pretty long run.

I made a coconut curry chicken dish tonight that was good.  I liked it.  I had little time for anything else, however.  I went to bed around 9:30 or so. 

Day 1315

Monday, August 22, 2016

Up at 4:30, racquetball, home to change, work, home for dinner, helping Bonnie with her technology, then one episode of The Night Of before bed at 10:15.  Work was slow, so I was able to finish reading a few pieces and edit a few pages.  Rossana had her interview with Michelle this morning at Hanson Bridgett.  I think she would make a great addition.  Fingers crossed that she gets the job!

Day 1314

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Alice and I woke up around 6 and got ready for our drive back to SF.  We said our goodbyes to Leo and Louanne, stopped at Starbuck's along the way, then reached Emeryville where I worked for three hours while Alice went to Costco, Ranch 99, and Target.  I finished the latest focus group report, then we headed back home.  My Toshiba laptop has a black screen so I'll need to troubleshoot the issues this week at home.  That's a drag.  Alice and I watched travel programs on Singapore and Hong Kong.  We're going on another cruise in May 2017 to Singapore, Bangkok, two cities in Vietnam, and Hong Kong, 8 days with Royal Caribbean.  It's a great itinerary. 

Day 1313

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Up at 6.  Alice and I drove back to SF in the morning, but first I had to finish work at Varinsky for three hours.  Alice went shopping at Costco, Ranch 99 and Home Depot while I completed my seating charts and finished assembling the reports.  With Cheryl gone, my days with the jury consultants are numbered.  I'm not sure how things will get done efficiently.  We'll see.

I spent the rest of the day troubleshooting our laptop which is not working properly.  I may have to reload Windows, which is a pain.  We had a great dinner and watched a couple Netflix videos on Singapore and Hong Kong.  We're going on a cruise in May 2017 for eight days.  It's a wonderful itinerary and Alice still has family in Hong Kong.  I like looking forward to cruises in the future. 

The Middle East piece I read last week is still with me. 

Day 1312

Friday, August 19, 2016

After work, Alice and I took AC Transbay to Grand Ave. and had dinner at Grand Fare Market, my first time back since its reopening.  We shared a couple of small plates, a salad and also shared a pork chop.  After dinner, we had lattes and a small chocolate pastry.  It's such a great place to hang out.

We drove back to San Francisco at 9 and went right to bed.  I'm usually so tired by Friday evening.

Day 1311

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Another busy day at work in which I'm missing my former life as a full-time writer.  I do enjoy what I do in the city and am making the most of my situation.  It's not where I wanted to be, but it's still very nice.  My work environment is so pleasant.  I enjoy using DocXTools and OmniPage.  I like getting problems and trying to fix them.  

Day 1310

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

I jotted down a few story ideas today while at work, but mainly I worked.  Work, work, work.  

Day 1309

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Today was much the same as yesterday, non-stop work at Hanson and Varinsky.  I came home at 9:45 and went right to bed. 

Day 1308

Monday, August 15, 2016

Up at 3:45 a.m., got ready, packed up, and left Gwen's at 4:15.  Drove to SeaTac, stopping for gas along the way, dropped off the rental, took the shuttle, then printed out my boarding pass and went through security.  I waited for Jill, who was about ten minutes behind.  She was at A Gate, heading to N/S Gates.  I was at D Gate, so I hurried the 500 yards or so to reach her.  We said our goodbyes, then I headed back to Gate D1 and boarded my flight to Oakland.  I slept much of the way and arrived in Oakland at 8:02.  I took BART to work and got in around 9.  Luckily, work was busy, preventing me from any sleep, even though I was tired.  I came home at 5:30, had a quick bite to eat, then headed over to Varinsky Associates for three hours of focus group data entry for the focus group they had in Florida on Saturday.  I finished at 10 and came home exhausted. 

Day 1307

Sunday, August 14, 2016

I woke up at 3:45 a.m. and had a Lyft driver pick me up at 4:15.  Oakland airport was quiet as I boarded my plane to Seattle for the day.  I arrived at SeaTac around 8:10.  I picked up my rental car, then picked up Kevin, who was waiting at arrivals (he took a shuttle from B'ham).  We went to Denny's just beside the airport and met Susan, Neal and Kathryn for breakfast.  We hung out for 2-3 hours. It's always a thrill hanging out with my original Bellingham gang, talking about life, politics, the world and our place in it.  I never tire of their company.

Afterward, I drove to Gwen's to attend Nicole's baby shower.  Lots of family were there.  Jill, mom and Craig, dad and Sue, Mathew and Rathna, plus most of Mike's family.  Nicole's Grandma Kay was there.  Greg was there.  Gwen had the house looking fantastic.  They remodeled the kitchen and it really has opened up their living space.  There was endless food and cute decorations on every stand and kitchen corner.  Chris and Elizabeth were there.  I enjoyed hanging out at the backyard gazebo. It's probably the coolest part of the property with a mild breeze cutting through.  The party lasted from 1-5.  Mom, Craig, Chris, Elizabeth, Jill and I left for their hotel at 6ish and I hung out with them for a few hours before returning to Gwen's at 8:15.  Nicole, Mike, Mathew, Rathna, G wen, Greg and Courtney were still there.  We talked and ate pizza until 10 or so, then everyone left and Greg went to bed.  Gwen and I stayed up and talked for another one.  I went to back around 11:30, then had to get up at 3:45 for another week of work, including jury consulting stuff.  It's going to be a brutal week.

Nicole, Me, Jill

Courtney and Nicole
Mom and Nicole
The Party

Day 1306

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Reading Fractured Lands in New York Times Magazine, a sweeping article about the Middle East, jihad, ISIS, and five of the heartbreaking stories that accompany this turbulent, broken region.  It's an amazing piece of journalism. 

Day 1305

Friday, August 12, 2016

I have a busy weekend ahead of me.  I have jury consulting work to do Saturday, then fly to Seattle Sunday morning, have breakfast with Kevin, Susan, Neal and Kathryn, then spend the day at Gwen's for Nicole's baby shower with everyone there, then fly back to Oakland Monday morning, hop on Bart and work a full day before returning to Howard's office for a few more hours of jury work.  Ugh.  That's too much, but I knew it would be brutal.

I think Donald Trump's candidacy is doomed.  I don't see how he recovers from so many errors and missteps.  I know there's three months left and anything can happen; however, he's his own worst enemy and simply doesn't know how to be statesmanlike.  He can't help saying the stupid things he says.  Even though Hillary is flawed and not the most candid candidate, she will win big.  It is her time.  This is what it looks like to elect our first female president.  She was lucky to have run against such a novice.  We'll see what happens between now and November, but as far as I'm concerned, this election is over. 

Day 1304

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Honestly, I'm surprised the Donald has been such a disastrous general election candidate.  I was expecting a far better performance, but one thing the general election always seems to uncover is the true essence of someone.  Though our process is way too long, in the end it does seem to expose candidates for who they ultimately are.  Never has this been more apparent than with this blowhard.  At the end of the day, he's an ADD-addled talking head who loves the sound of his own voice and hates educating himself on the issues, and even on how to properly play the game.  He can't do it.  He can't play general election politics and act like a statesman.  All he can do is go hyperbolic with the shallow tactics of the primaries, throwing more red meat to his frenzied base and trust his instincts, which are so completely failing him now.  What a spectacle.  What a story.  What a bullet we're all about to dodge in November.  Can you imagine this guy running this country?  Only in a third-world dictatorship.  Anything can happen in the next 90 days, but one thing that won't happen is the Donald suddenly figuring out how to play general election politics.  He can't do it and I think that's hilarious.  

Day 1303

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Racquetball, work, home to make dinner, with pockets of time to revise and read.  Had lunch with the Wendel gang and Alice today, which was wonderful.  It's so nice to get together with old friends.  Work was extremely busy.  I made one of the dishes from the Ten-Day Challenge, then cleaned up and went right to bed.  I didn't even watch the Olympics tonight.

Day 1302

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Work was busy again today, but managed to edit for an hour and read the first 12 chapters of Treasure Island, a book I've never read.  It holds up so well.

Day 1301

Monday, August 8, 2016

Racquetball, work, home after six and not much else today. 

Day 1300

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Alice and I relaxed at home today.  We watched Bill Maher.  I went to the library.  I was hoping to wash my car but ran out of time.  Sundays are usually the only days I have to relax and catch up.  All my freetime is spent editing, which isn't much time at all. 

Day 1299

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Up at 5 to clean and iron shirts and pants for next week, then to SF with Alice and Austin and on to Los Gatos to spend the day with Alice's cousin Elaine.  We took a 5-mile hike along a great trail that had a small working farm and plenty of wildlife (we saw at least 10 deer during our walk).  Afterward, we went to Gen Korean BBQ, a very popular new restaurant in San Jose that has 37 different items to choose from.  It's all you-can-eat and for $25 it we ate so much meat I might have negated my 10-day Health Eating of the past two weeks.  To make matters worse, we then went to Paris Baguette across the street and has a pastry and latte.  I felt I was about to explode I was so full.  We went back to Elaine's and watched Spotlight.  It was my second time viewing it and I found it just as satisfying as the first time.  So many good decisions in the film.  We watched about an hour's worth of Olympics, then headed home around 10:15.  I fell asleep around midnight after watching our Women's Beach Volleyball team win their first match of the Olympics.

Day 1298

Friday, August 5, 2016

Racquetball was fine, work was quiet, and once at home I prepared for the following week.  Richard called and we hung out for a few hours, walking 10,000 steps to the food trucks by the Oakland Library.  I had a Southern Chicken Sandwich (so good) while talking with Richard about Trump, Clinton, the state of the country and world at large.  It was so satisfying hanging out with Richard for a few hours.  I came home around 10 and went right to sleep.

Day 1297

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Busy at work, but had some time to plow through a large non-fiction book I'm really enjoying:

I like books like these that include lists of novels, plays, poems, memoirs, histories and science books I should read.  There's a great section on reading challenging books and a nice outline of history in the history chapter.  Good stuff. 

Day 1296

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

First day back playing racquetball since last weekend's tournament.  I need to restring my 175 racquets.  I'm playing with my 190 and I just don't like it anymore. 

Work was busy today, but I managed to read The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin, which has been on my list for a while.  It's an easy read.  So much of Zombie Cookies comes from the premise of this book.  I was curious to see what the details looked like and how well the material holds up.  I'm glad I read it.

Day 1295

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Work was quiet today, which allowed me an hour or so to revise at my desk.  Nice!  I'm going through Zombies with a fine-tooth comb, hitting the themes a little harder, sharpening the scenes, changing the atmosphere from kids playing spy to kids in crisis.  It's fun. 

The Trump spectacle never ends.  I can't stop watching this unreal train wreck.  No one's seen anything like it.  I watch Morning Joe daily, just to get the latest from all the Washington insiders.  We're living in crazy times. 

I had lunch with Alice at a pretty good sushi place beside the Hyatt Regency at Embarcadero One.  Day 9 of my 10-Day Challenge.  I'm glad I did it.  It was fun! 

Day 1294

Monday, August 1, 2016

Another week of work.  Work was reasonable, not too busy, allowing me time to catch up on all the things I've fallen behind on, including my E-Force stuff.  Today is day 8 of the 10-day health challenge.  For dinner I made a big bowl of tabbouleh.  It was good.  Lisa came over at 9 to watch the latest episode of The Night Of.  I write in small pieces.  I miss my large chunks of writing time.  Donald Trump continues to outdo himself.  He is such a disaster as a general election candidate, though Hillary does not help herself with her email denials.  Why she can't admit mistakes were made and say nothing more is beyond me.  She undermines herself when she hedges.  Her Fox News interview didn't help her, but thankfully, her MVP had a disastrous interview when he took on the Khan family.  He can't help himself.  He's like a cyborg, wired a specific way.  He has no sympathy.