Yeninko of the Umlaut

Monday, February 27, 2006

What a Difference a Day Makes

Tamrindo, Costa Rica - Today Hi: 91° Lo: 73° Mostly Sunny
San Francisco, CA - Today Hi: 58° Lo: 53° Rain/Thunder/Wind

Unlike the last ten days where I'd bike down to the beach with surfboard in hand, today I slogged through the rain to get to work.

Pictures will follow as will more posts but at this point I'm trudging through a backlog of email and phone messages.

Friday, February 17, 2006

I Wonder If This Works

Blogger lets one edit the posting date and time of one's posts. So I was wondering if I could set a posting to a date in the future and have it not appear until that future date. This is a test of that.

Nope. Doesn't work like that. It posts it immediately and just has the wrong date on it. Now both you and I have learned a lesson.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Gone to Costa Rica

A while back, as the winter progressed, Dave observed that surfing in the frigid waters of the north coast sort of sucks big time. He proposed that we take a trip to Costa Rica and try this whole surfing things sans the wetsuits. And as amazing as it is to you and I, we are actually doing it. Tomorrow morning. Dave, Shawn, Jason, Karen, Katrina and I will all meet up down in Costa Rica. Dave, Shawn and I will be sharing a flight to and fro.

I will of course finally get to try my water proof camera case in more ideal conditions and upon my return will be providing pictures galore. I'll miss you and try to update as I can while down there...that is a lie. I will miss you but I'm probably not going to even try to find an internet connection.

I love you and I'll be back in twelve days!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A Valentine's Day Cop Out

Rather than actually writing a meaningful post about Valentine's day I will instead simply link to last years post, which is actually a discussion about something someone else said about love, so it's a double cop out but I feel that since I actually get traffic now (as opposed to last year) this should be new to most of you.

You Are Not a Beautiful Unique Snowflake

Friday, February 10, 2006

Two Beers

So after a month or so of not drinking, I met up with Scott and had a couple of beers down at Edinburgh castle. It’s odd how much nostalgia I have for the Tenderloin. All those games of Scrabble with Travis and Jessie and all those homebrews and potatoes wedges, dear god. Hey Jessie, I looked for the tranny over by the store we would get ice cream from but no luck. Other than that the TL looked like it probably has for the last 100 years. Prostitutes, drug dealers, and hipsters looking for a good time.

Anyway, Scott and I had a couple of beers which was nice since I missed him in Portland last time I went. And while we were talking I suggested that we have a local holiday when he comes. After some further (sober) thought I’ve refined the idea. I think we should have Scott Day once year on a fixed date here in SF. It would work something like this. Lots of beer and hanging out waiting for Scott to make his appearance. When he did there would be great rejoicing and people would cover him in lei’s.

I like the idea of it being mostly people he doesn’t know (though those who know him are welcome), sort of one of those odd SF traditions. A sort of anti-celebrity worship. And it’ll be like the groundhog’s day, some times he’ll show and sometimes he won’t, who can predict such things?

Okay. See this happens a lot. I am completely serious and everyone else thinks I’m an more than slightly odd.

In any case as you all know I’m a lightweight, and after no drinking for 30 days, my condition was not improved. One final observation. I wonder what it means when talking about your friends kid is actually on of the high points of the evening?

Also, Hi Wendy, thanks for reading, now I feel like less of a Logan stalker. Less, mind you.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

What city has the cleanest drinking water?

From the little advert tabby thing in gmail:

Reader's Digest recently conducted a survey entitled "The Fifty Cleanest Cities in America." Here are the cities that scored a perfect 50 points for water quality:

Portland, San Jose, Buffalo, Columbus, San Francisco, Denver, San Diego, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, and Riverside (CA).

Meanwhile the world spends 100 billion on bottled water per year (30% of which is just bottled tap water) while it would only cost 30 billion to provide every human on the planet with a supply of clean drinking water.

This is why the only think I drink in bottles is beer. Boycott water!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

"Always Look on the Bright Side of Life"

As so often happens when reading wikipedia, one thing lead to another and I found my self reading about the HMS Sheffield, when I found the bit below.

HMS Sheffield (D80) was the second Royal Navy ship to bear the name Sheffield, after the city of Sheffield in Yorkshire...The ship was part of the Task Force sent to the Falkland Islands during the Falklands War. She was struck by an Exocet cruise missile fired by a French-made Dassault Super Étendard belonging to the Argentine Navy on 4 May 1982. Although the Exocet reportedly failed to explode, the impact of the missile travelling at 315 m/s and laden with unburnt rocket fuel was enough to set the ship ablaze...dooming the ship to be consumed by the raging fire.

While the ship was sinking, her crew, waiting to be rescued, sang "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from Monty Python's Life of Brian.

Gotta love those Brits.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Once Again, the Internet to the Rescue.

So here I am sitting my office, minding my own business when I hear a page over the intercom system. Now we get pages all the time, primarily about people parking in the loading zone in front of the building. But today the page went like this, "Code blue, code blue. There is a code blue at 2200 O’Farrell, in front of the lobby, code blue. Code blue."

I’ll be honest, I memorized two codes here at the hospital. Code black, which is usually a page for 'Dr. Leslie' and generally indicates that there is someone violent around. This I recall for my own safety. The second is Code Lindberg which is a child abduction. This one I memorized cuz I know too much useless trivial (such as Charles Lindbergh's son Charles Augustus, 20 months old, was was abducted from the family home. Ten days later the infant was found dead, hence the code)

In any case, I’m trying to figure out what I should be doing. Could it be a bomb scare, a fire, a woman having a baby? So I did what is instinctive to me when I am required to use my brain. I searched Google. Turns out a Code Blue is 'a medical emergency in which a team of medical personnel work to revive an individual in cardiac arrest'.

In other words someone was aparently dying, literally, outside of my window. I ran down there to see what I could do. Two people with some sort of medical skilz were there as well as a group of gawkers. Someone was on the phone with the ER, someone else had 911 on the phone (You can see the entrance of the ER from where the man was lying).

It turns out he man was conscious and talking and seemed fit. He didn’t seem to be in pain and ultimately it seemed that he had passed out and fell down. Then ambulances arrived.

What is with people trying to die around me?

Bookflix Or Netbooks?

Several of you have seperately mentioned in various conversation how cool it would be to have a subscription model like Netflix but with books. And I agree. Obviously the cost of mailing is prohibitive or else book-rate mail takes too long. Both issues I don’t think will ever be overcome.

However, while emailing back and forth with the Canadian also known as Patrick Star (Reuben) he mentioned Freakonomics, a book I have been recommend so many times I decided to just order it. Amazon had it used at $13 plus shipping. Borders had copies for $30. The library’s 12 copies (six on Audio CD) were all checked out. Having the option of either spending money or waiting patently waiting for the book to become available I opted for the latter and requested it online using my library card. When the book is available it will sent to the local library branch, (a fifteen minute walk) I will be emailed that it is available and have a week or two to pick it up.

And then, in the way that things usually occur to me, I was shocked by the realization that the Public Library system is effectively the above yearned for book subscription model and it cost nothing!

I have to say the public library system is truly fantastic. Combined with the inter-library loan system you can pretty much guarantee that a book you want will be available (okay maybe not if you like limited run, out of print, or otherwise rare books like Gen).

I love Library.

Three cheers to the librarian in the posse, Kate Fa-Fa-Farley. Hip-hip-Hooray! Hip-hip-Hooray! Hip-hip-Hooray!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Death and Taxes

I did my taxes today. I was cruising around my employer’s web site when I found a link that would allow me to print my W-2. I printed that, cruised over to the IRS website, picked a company that provides free tax returns, used it, went over to the California Franchise Tax Board’s web site and used CalFile and viola in less than an hour I’m done.

Obviously I am enthusiastic about doing taxes because I nearly always get a refund though there was a moment of panic when I calculated that I owed $1500 to California. After a quick correction they owe me $58. Sweet!

In any case, since I’m sure there are a bunch of you, like me with one or two W-2’s and who make less than $50,000 and are getting some money back I thought I’d write a little primer.

You need this years W-2 and last years tax return form.

Click here for a list of all the firms that do free federal tax returns. Note that at some point, and probably several points, they are going to try to sell you extra services, you can just decline them. I chose HR Block because I used them last year and they were pretty easy. Fill in all you info. Make sure at the end to save or print off that PDF file. eFile and yer done. Now mine timed out the first time I tried to eFile (the last step) but all my info was saved up to that point so I just went back in and hit submit again and it went through fine.

For those of you living out of CA you are on you own (though I do recall MA having a similar online tax system). CA residents can use CalFile for free. You need to get a CSN first (takes five seconds). Calfile takes about 1/10th of the time as the federal form did.

As a matter of fact typing this up probably took long than it did to do my taxes.