Monday, December 30, 2002

Back at work. Lots of annoying paper work to take care of today. I have to fill out correction time sheets, help Lily with her current time sheet, start Lily's performance evaluation, and write the December monthly. Ug. I was happy to discover when I got in today that even though I was on vacation on Dec. 24th I still get to charge four hours to my task instead of PTO because President Bush gave the word that folks were to be let out early. He is doing the same for tomorrow so I only have to come in for half a day. That's nice. It means I get to carry over 11 hours instead of 7 hours to next year's PTO pot. I'm debating whether to sleep in tomorrow and work from 10 to 2 or work from 7:30 to 11:30 and have the whole afternoon free. Hmmmmmmm.

Like to read about stupid people? See The Darwin Awards web page. I especially like the "Rock Climbing Priorities" story.

Saw an awesome Stanford women's basketball game yesterday. Stanford was playing Arizona. Arizona was ahead the whole first half and about half of the second half until Stanford started its come back late in the game. Maples Pavilon was rocking! It was very exciting and fun that Stanford came out the winner! I also got to visit with Wen, Ki, and Kim before the game.

I didn't get bumped or anything on my plane ride home. I did get a voucher for $5.00 worth of long distance calls, $35.00 off a Northwest flight that costs more than $200.00 and is taken before June 30, 2003, and 250 addition miles for the Northwest flying club thingy. I got all this because my first flight was an hour late. This caused me absolutely no concern as my connecting flight didn't leave till 8:53 p.m. I had scads of hours to kill: so might as well kill one at the Houghton airport instead of the MSP airport. I don't think I'll be using the $35 off coupon. I don't have any great plans to fly before June 30th. Hey wait a minute, I wonder if Northwest goes to Philadelphia. Maybe I could fly out for Sarah Kate's graduation from Swarthmore in May. I'll have to look into that.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

Happy Boxing day. I have been having a ball in Houghton, Michigan. We have been cross country skiing everyday. I think Wen and Ki would really like it as its been very easy cross country skiing and then you get to come home to a nice warm comfortable house, a hot shower, and have Mom and Dad Roberts take care of you :-) I have also enjoyed getting 10 hours of sleep a night for 6 days in a row. I think I can finally say definitively that I'm not tired. We took a long slow drive out on the Keneewaa peninsula and I got to see Lake Superior. There were really cool ice formations on the rocks close to shore but the water has not frozen over yet so we saw waves lapping over the rocks adding more layers of ice probably. We thought the roads would be clear of snow but they were not so we had to crawl along at 30 mph. What we thought would take an hour took about 2 hours. Oh well. We were in no rush and we saw some beautiful views of the Michigan woods with tree branches covered in snow and Lake Superior harbors.

We had a tradition turkey dinner yesterday on Christmas day. I enjoyed the turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. Although my favorite food of Christmas day was the chocolate chip muffins we had a breakfast! After breakfast we opened presents. I got lots of nice gifts and I enjoyed watching my folks open their presents. After lunch my Dad and I went cross country skiing. We went on an intermediate trail which my Dad said was at the top of his skill limits. I felt bad for leading him on the harder route. I thought he could handle it and he could but only just barely. Oh well. I enjoyed it. There were about 2 very steep scary hills that I enjoyed zooming down but my Father did not. Today we went back to the same ski area but did only green easy trails and Mom came with us this time. She passed on Christmas day as she was busy cooking turkey and the rest of Christmas dinner.

My Mom's Christmas present never arrived. Grrrr! I ordered her Nevada Barr's Superior Death since its set on Isle Royale and Anna Pidgeon even comes to Houhgton, MI once in the story. I got on the internet and printed out a picture of the cover of the book and told her I hoped it would come soon and to look for a book from The Book Garden. I also got my Mom some software for her Mac called Ortograf which basically is Scrabble. I still haven't got the registration for the game though so at this point she can only play the demo version which takes away 20 letters so the games are pretty short. I'm crossing my fingers that the registration info arrives soon so I can get her set up before I leave.

I leave this Saturday at 2 p.m. If all goes well I get to San Jose near midnight. Since I'm just taking a taxi home I'm rather hoping all does not go well and I can volunteer to be bumped and get a free airplane ticket. I don't have any plans for Sunday so I'll have time to recover from a late arrival before I have to go back to work on Monday. I will really miss having Mom cook for me, skiing every day, and sleeping in everyday!

Monday, December 16, 2002

I went hiking at Windy Hill yesterday with Bob. We started on top and hiked down Hamm's Gulch trail. It was all downhill on switch backs in the woods. We saw lots of debris on the trail that the huge winds of yesterday blew down. We saw a California newt. We were surprised that we didn't see any Banana slugs. We descended about 1000 feet. At the bottom of the hill we did a short flat hike to Spring Ridge trail. Then we hiked back up the 1000 feet on Spring Ridge. It was a fire road trail and was quite exposed. The higher we got the harder the wind blew and the rain came down heavily. We were both glad we brought warm cloths and rain gear. Another hiker said she saw a Coyote but we were never able to spot it. When we got to the top of Spring Ridge we took a nice short trail that wound around the hills back to the cars. The wind was blowing hard and it was cold but we knew we would be back soon so we just hiked faster instead of stopping to put on another layer.

My brother took a picture of me on the trip. Click here to take a look at it.

I skipped the GLS holiday party yesterday. I was cold and wet from the hike and sleepy from getting up at 7:00 a.m., and I didn't have anything to contribute for the potluck, so I made a last minute decision to bag it. Instead I stayed home and took a nap, watched some TV, played on my computer, and listened to the rain. I hope the party was a success. I'm afraid the stormy weather may have kept other folks from going to the party too.

I told a friend (perhaps ex-friend) I wasn't interested in having coffee with her before Christmas. She sent me an email asking me out for coffee. I just didn't want to go have coffee with her and I was tired of responding to her invites with sorry I can't make it because I'm too busy when that's not the real reason. I'm glad I was honest and listened to my own needs, but I feel like a cad for turning her down. Her response was "fine, whatever." I hope she doesn't feel too hurt. Its hard to tell from her response. From my point of view the big problem with our friendship is I felt more like a therapist to her than a friend and that wore me out. We'll see whether or not she asks me to do anything again. I will not ask her. Oh man ... I feel like such a meanie. Geez. I'll have to talk about this with my therapist at tomorrow weekly appointment.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Evolution of Cathy's understanding of the main chorus in Tori Amos's song, "A Sorta Fairy Tale"

  1. It's so definitive

  2. It's a sordid fairy tale

  3. It's a sorta fantasy

  4. It's a sorta fairy tale

FYI: I can't even figure out the rest of the song. I'll have to pull the lyrics off the internet to see what she is saying for the whole song. But the crazy thing is, I do like the song. When I sing along I tend to put in nonsense words but I like the tune and the emotion in the song. Sometimes I like going back to what I first heard ... it's so definitive. If you ever catch me asking you over and over again what you are saying its because I have something like this going on. I'm hearing one thing and can't get torn away from it enough to understand what you are really saying.

I almost finished cleaning the living room on Sunday. I got the forest of paper off of the dining room table and took all the sweatshirts and coats I had thrown willy nilly all over the living room furniture up to my room and hung them up. Now the living room is neat if not clean. Dusting and vacuuming is still left to be done.

I released three books into the wilderness last night (see For some reason I felt very furtive leaving the books in the locations I chose as if I was doing something wrong. I left one in the post office lobby, one in the Red Rock Coffee shop, and one on top of the phone at the bus stop near the Caltrain station. I tried to find some books at the Safeway but someone else must have already picked them up as I couldn't find any there. I don't know that I am going to find any books as so far the ones released near me are not ones I want to read. Just for grins I would like to find one book I want to read, read it on the airplane on the way to Houghton, MI, and then release it in Houghton! I'll have to see if anyone has released a book in Houghton yet. This is all still new and exciting to me. I wonder if I will tire of it eventually.

I had to sit through a four hour presentation for managers on how to give feedback and receive feedback this morning. It was mostly free form lecturing where you had the freedom to interupt whenever you wanted to ask questions or make comments. I enjoyed the first couple of hours but grew restless and bored the last two hours. I'm not sure if I know how to give or receive feedback any better than I did before but I do have interesting ideas percolating in my head. The lecturer talked a bunch about filters people have when they listen to you and that 80% of the time they don't really hear you the first time so you need to repeat it more than once before the feedback will sink in. The main gist of the lecture was giving feedback is hard and makes people uncomfortable in the short run but in the long run it helps people grow.

Sunday, December 08, 2002

OK, Sunday is almost over and I still haven't cleaned the living room like I thought I would this weekend. I got up at 9:30 a.m. today. I ate some breakfast and then sat down at the computer to do my Christmas shopping. Before I knew it, it was 3:30 p.m. I didn't think Christmas shopping on line would take that much time. I guess I spent a bit of time surfing for just the right present. It was easier than facing the malls. Yesterday I did my library book selecting, went to OSH and bought a extension chord rated for 1875 watts so I can move my space heater around the room when I move around the room, watched TV, and went to the Stanford Volleyball's team second round NCAA tournament match. It was a great game and Stanford won. That means I get to see more volleyball as Stanford is hosting the next two rounds. Stanford will be playing Ohio State. I'm thinking of buying a Stanford sweatshirt and wearing my OSU cap just to confuse people. Its going to be a very red night that night with Stanford cardinal (bright red) and Ohio State's scarlet and gray. With all these activities and a bit of couch potato'ing on my part I never got around to cleaning the living room. I have about 5 hours left today to get it done.

What is truly amazing about this weekend is I haven't gone hiking. That feels wierd. Both hikes I considered started too early in the morning and were not at my favorite parks. I'm still feeling really tired in the mornings and I feel better if I get tons of sleep so I chose that route this weekend. I got 10 and 9 hours of sleep. Ah! Next Saturday I have to be up early to get to Woodside park-n-ride at 8:30 a.m. to lead my GLS hike at Marin Headlands.

I swapped my Macintosh computer at work for a Compaq PC running Windows 2000 last Friday. I finally got tired of not having the proper equipment to run the software we are using in my office. I had to trot to the computer lab to use the graphics viewing program to look at my aircraft models. That was getting old. Now I can both develop software, view it, and test it all on the PC. And I'll be able to more easily use the Model Center program on the PC. I'll miss my Mac but I happen to know that it just went to an empty office and if I really miss it, I can go visit! I had fun all day getting the Compaq set up just the way I wanted. I still haven't figured out how to transfer my Eudora Mac mail to the PC. The PC doesn't seem to like the format of the Mac Eudora mailboxes. I may just not transfer the mail. I burned a CD of all my files on the Mac before it got swapped so my old mail is sitting there for me to look at if I need to. I believe I can look at it by just opening the mailbox with the Notepad program. Tomorrow I will start learning how to set up C++ programs on the computer and start transfering my linux C++ code to the PC. I feel a bit like a kid in the candy store about this new computer.

I feel a lack of knowledge about what's up with Wen. I'm still dying of curiosity as to what the complicated reasons were for cancelling the Fall Creek hike last Sunday. And I would like to hear all the nittty gritty details about the Nebraska situation.

Click here to look at two new Big Sur pictures

Monday, December 02, 2002

Got this off of my depression support list

Here are some unhelpful Microsoft error messages replaced with Haiku poetry messages. Haiku poetry has strict construction rules - each poem has only 17 syllables; 5 syllables in the first, 7 in the second, 5 in the third. They are used to communicate a timeless message, often achieving a wistful, yearning and powerful insight through extreme brevity. Aren't these better than "your computer has performed an illegal operation?

The Web site you seek

Cannot be located,

but Countless more exist.

Chaos reigns within.

Reflect, repent, and reboot..

Order shall return.

Windows NT crashed.

I am the Blue Screen of Death.

No one hears your screams.

Yesterday it worked.

Today it is not working.

Windows is like that.

Your file was so big.

It might be very useful.

But now it is gone.

Stay the patient course.

Of little worth is your ire.

The network is down.

Three things are certain

Death, taxes and lost data.

Guess which has occurred.

You step in the stream,

But the water has moved on.

This page is not here.

Out of memory.

We wish to hold the whole sky,

But we never will.

Having been erased,

The document you're seeking

Must now be retyped.

Serious error.

All shortcuts have disappeared.

Screen. Mind. Both are blank

Program Aborting.

Close all that you have worked on.

You ask far too much.

A crash reduces

Your expensive computer

To a simple stone.

I ate your Web page.

Forgive me; it was tasty

And tart on my tongue