Starry Wisdom

Entropic Words from Neilathotep

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Oops missed a month – anyone want to buy my car?

Oops, here we are a month later, on Tax Day Eve, I filed my taxes and had my refund before my last post, so tomorrow doesn’t mean much to me. If you’re waiting until the zero hour to file, good luck to you!

Anyway, the biggest thing of note from the past month is that I have decided to sell my car. Mackenzie and I each own a car, but we only have one reserved parking spot, and parking is not getting any easier in our neighborhood. Plus, I only put a few thousand miles on my car in the past 16 months, and that was mostly from doing summer trips in it, where I just decided we should take my car, even though it is less fuel efficient. Basically my car is less practical, so it’s going to be the one that is sold. I joined Zipcar to cover the few times when we each need a separate car.

I did the first step of the process, smogging my car, yesterday, and I am going to get it detailed Wednesday. After that it’ll be time to take a few photos and post on CL. And then the scary fun shall begin.

posted by neil at 9:03 pm
under daily tribulations  

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cold Shower

I thought I was going to have to take a cold shower today, because the water was ice cold even after running for a minute or two. Contractors were over yesterday to do the minor code work that needs to be done for the condo conversion – more about this in a later post, I think – and one of the things they did is replace the first bit of pipe coming off my gas meter, before it splits out to upstairs and the basement (water heater and furnace). Well, I was worried they busted something for a moment, then I decided to see if they had just turned the water heater off. And they had. Thankfully it’s a tankless heater, so a very short time later I was able to take a shower.

posted by neil at 9:21 am
under daily tribulations,home ownership  

Friday, December 2, 2011

Weird Day

Today was my last day at the Job that I’ve had for the past 8 years. Well sort of, in that the company name was different (as we were acquired by Cisco 4 and a half years ago), and my position was slightly different – but things were probably more similar than not, even to this day. But sometimes, one needs a change, and I guess it was that time for me.

I’m starting a new job, at a small place – the smallest place I’ve ever worked at – on Monday. There will only be three of us here in the Bay Area, but there are more in Portland and elsewhere. IronPort was fairly small at around 100 people when I joined in 2003, and grew many times over before we were bought by Cisco, which was two orders of magnitude bigger. I miss working for a small company.

Still, leaving today – handing in my badge and laptop was weird. Saying farewell (not goodbye, I hope) to my coworkers of eight years was, well, awkward and sad. But, like I said, I guess it was time for me, so I’ll get over it. And I’m really excited to get started at the new place on Monday (which, for the near future, will be located in my dining room, as they are still negotiating a lease for a SF office).

posted by neil at 9:22 pm
under daily tribulations  

Monday, May 30, 2011

Chicago Trip and Etc.

Mackenzie and I went to Chicago earlier this month for my friend Nancy’s wedding, and also to see my family. It was planned for a pretty short trip – fly out on Thursday evening, and return to San Francisco Sunday Afternoon – but more on the travel schedule later. We met my friend Erin at the airport, as we were flying out on the same flight, and sharing a rental car for the first day or so.

We were flying American, which meant we went to the newly reopened Terminal 2 at SFO. The new terminal is fancy, and it seems fairly upscale in the concessions. We decided to grab some food and a drink at the Cat Cora lounge, as it was something new and different that we heard about. The cocktails were good, albeit pricey (but hey, it’s in an airport) and the food was OK. Definitely better than the last few restaurant meals I’ve had, but that’s not saying much. I’ll probably try one of the other venues next time I fly from Terminal 2 after work and need food, however.
The 6:30PM flight got us in to ORD around 12:30AM, and it took about an hour more for us to get our luggage, pickup the rental car, and drive to the hotel.

The next day the three of us met up with my old friend Scott and his fiance Kira for lunch. They were staying at the Hyatt Lodge at Hamburger University, which was couple of miles from our hotel. We met them there, so we could check out the McDonald’s campus area and the unique hotel. It was interesting, but I haven’t had a chance to post pictures yet. I am a slacker… After we decided that lunch choices at the hotel were not sufficient, we went over to the Oakbrook Mall, which was about midway between our two hotels, to find food. We ended up at a place called the Clubhouse, which was basically like a Friday’s dressed up as a fine dining restaurant. Well, that is not exactly fair, since the food was pretty good. Also, the portions were astounding – my lunch portion of Chicken Pot Pie was the size of a dinner portion out here.

Yadda, Yadda, Yadda, it was time to get ready for the wedding. I wore a suit for the first time in well over a decade (I actually bought a suit for the wedding), and took the occasion to go all snazy, and wearing a pocket square. Since, as I said I was too lazy to post my pictures from the trip, here is a photographic proof, from Facebook:

The wedding was a delightful affair – low key, because that’s how Nancy rolls. My friend Scott was her ‘Man of Honor’! It took place at the Mayslake Peabody Estate an Tudor revival mansion from around the turn of the Twentieth Century.

While there was a breakfast planned for the next day, related to the wedding, we could sadly not attend. We had to get Erin to the airport for her flight, and then we planned to go to my Parents house to spend the day with them and my nephew Milo. I feel that was a pretty good win, since he’s super cute. And there are no pictures, not because I didn’t post any, but because I didn’t take any. But we had a good time going out to my parent’s local hot dog/gyros place for lunch with him, and then running around the mall. While he napped in the afternoon, Mackenzie and I went to visit my 94 year old grandma, who recently fell and hurt herself and was in a rehab facility. It was great seeing her, and I love her dearly, but I wish we were able to visit her at her house.

For dinner on Saturday my parents took Mackenzie and I out to Wildfire, which is a steak/seafood restaurant that I had been to a couple of times before and enjoyed. Even though it is a chain, and part of a giant restaurant group (Lettuce Entertain You), I can recommend it as a place for a tasty, not terribly expensive dinner. I will say that they definitely know how to cook a steak in the midwest!

So far, everything was going as planned, but a snag was about to enter the story. at around 4:20AM on Sunday my phone rang. I picked it up and there was an automated message from American Airlines telling me that my flight was cancelled and we were rebooked on a flight that sounded like it was about half hour earlier – but instead of going nonstop ORD-SFO, it was to have a stop at DFW. That sounded like a drag, but, the only other choice I had was an earlier flight that same day, also through DFW, but at least it was a more convenient time for my Dad to take us to the airport.

When I woke up, I confirmed when the flight actually was, and it was the next day (Monday), not the same day. I called the airline and saw if there was anything we could do, but we were screwed. So not only did we have to fly with a connection, we had to burn another vacation day. It’s a good thing that we were staying at my parents and didn’t have to worry about accommodations!

And there were some bright sides to this, too – we would be able to spend some extra time with Milo and my brother and sister-in-law! We had already planned to have brunch with them, but we got to have dinner with them too, and be with Milo until his bedtime – which was super cute, as he showed us his artistic renditions of his family with crayons! (he is only 22 months old, so they were very abstract). For tracking purposes, I’ll say that we had brunch at The Portage in Portage Park, Chicago. It was a good brunch, and they had an all you can drink Bloody Mary bar – my parents were there so I could only drink two, but still not bad! And we did carry-out pizza and salad from perennial favorite Lou Malnati’s. So yes, our extra day was put to good use – we also saw Bridesmaids in the afternoon, during Milo’s nap time, which we enjoyed quite a bit.

So now we get to Monday, the day we were supposed to be back to normal – and we leaft for ORD at around 8am. Our flight was at 11, but a bit of extra time isn’t so bad. We ended up taking off about 20 minutes late due to some service issue, but we had enough time between flights in DFW that we weren’t worried. We got to DFW, took the train between the terminals of our two flights, and grabbed a sandwich to take on the plane with us – and then we got to the gate and found out the flight was delayed. And the delay kept going up – it turns out that someone had flushed a coke can down the toilet, causing a vacuum leak. But it took them something over 3 hours to figure this out. Well, eventually we took off, and got back to our flat around 9PM, pacific time. That’s a 15 hour travel day – to something that should have been about 6 or so hours, if we had been able to take our original flight, or the NONSTOP flight that I payed for. Oh yeah, we also weren’t able to sit together on our flights. Needless to say, I sort of hate American Airlines a lot right now.

In other news, we went strawberry picking at our CSA’s farm in Dixon, CA yesterday and it was deliciously fun.

posted by neil at 9:13 pm
under daily tribulations,food,Milo,travel  

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Furnace, Part 2

Still out of operation. Furnace people coming monday. Until then, space heaters. Also, we did a lot of cooking today (made cookies, and chicken stock). At least that room was warm!

posted by neil at 11:38 pm
under daily tribulations,home ownership  

Thursday, February 24, 2011


It may snow, but probably won’t in San Francisco this weekend. Either way, I doubt there will be freakish rain like there was the other day to get water in the basement.

So the guy who didn’t make it out Saturday came out today and talked to my downstairs neighbor. My suspicious is likely correct, and it’s a caulk job that’s needed, something I am sure I can tackle, once it gets a bit drier out.

posted by neil at 9:39 pm
under daily tribulations  

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Case of the Leaky Basement

Doesn’t this sound like an Encyclopedia Brown mystery. Well, I bet the smartest boy in the world could solve this problem lickety split, but I’m currently waiting on the guy who did some ‘pest work’ when we bought this old house in July (rebuilt a side deck, capped the foundation to rise over grade in one corner, bolted rear of frame to foundation) to come take a look at a minor leak situation in the basement.

This happened once before in my tenure living here (but I was out of town, and only heard about it from the downstairs neighbor), but this time I can see from myself. There is a good half cup of water accumulated in the front of the basement, suspiciously close to where there are cutouts in the siding and where the electric boxes are. This second time there was also a second, smaller intrusion in the back part of the basement, also near some cutouts.

Hopefully it correlates to my suspicion and it’s a leak around a cutout, so it will be easy to fix. Hopefully…

posted by neil at 12:09 pm
under daily tribulations  

Monday, February 14, 2011

You know it’s a good day at the office when…

Both the AC and Heat are on at the same time. And even though the AC vent is right over my desk, and the heat vent is about 10 feet away, it’s way too warm in here. And I wore a long sleeve shirt over a tshirt. Good day!

Basically, I am posting to get a post in, since I doubt I will have time to later today. Up next on my planned agenda is a book review!

posted by neil at 2:28 pm
under daily tribulations  

Monday, February 7, 2011

Grocery Shopping Rules of Thumb

They say you should wait until later at night to shop, because it will be less busy. Well, we went at 9PM, and it was still busy. Also, they were out of bananas :(.

They also say to not shop hungry, because you’ll buy too much stuff. Well I was stuffed from dinner and still got 2 boxes of microwave popcorn, and a 20 pack of bags of sunchips and…

Basically, grocery shopping rules of thumb are BOGUS.

posted by neil at 11:30 pm
under daily tribulations  

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Back

I’ll ease in to this blog-a-day with a quit bit of kvetching.

On my drive in to work today, my midback decided to spasm on me. This did not, and does not feel good! I helped Mackenzie move into my flat on Saturday, and maybe this is some 3 day delayed outcome from that? Or maybe it’s related to spending a total of 2 hours on airplanes yesterday flying back and forth from Burnbank – that dirty air is no good for you. Shrug.

Either way, I want a new back ASAP.

posted by neil at 6:27 pm
under daily tribulations  
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