No Work Saturday

Its Saturday morning here. I’ve been on the new project for a week now. Feels more like a month. I always wonder what the predecessor did/did not do but one factor is that he was let go after I was on the account for a week. After seeing some of the work I can understand. It seems like some people are great at the mechanics of doing the PM thing. They can compile meeting minutes, build obtuse and complicated project plans, host never-ending and no purpose meetings. Anyways, a friend from my other account remarked that’s the reason they brought me on the account. I guess that makes me feel better.

I’ve been reviewing all my online accounts for any bleeding and whether they need password changes. Google got it after reading that they had patched their services. I also changed a bunch of others. I use LastPass to help manage things and this was ideal to create new passwords with the characters and types required.

I heard that some friends from Chennai and the Cel India days have gotten their Visas and will be heading this way. My friend Dinesh has not and will be delayed some months. Hopefully his Singapore work visa will correspond. He is here now working in the Fremont office so we get together every so often for dinner. My daughter really enjoys meeting the folks I worked with. I still regard the years at Celestix to be among the best and then the worst. That’s the way work is though.

Now its my Saturday and I have no OT approved for the project so I don’t work at all over my assigned 40 per week. I ended walking here yesterday for my long walk day. Fitbit says I walked 11,757 steps and tracked 5.24 miles and I was gone for 104 minutes. Now this is what I’m talking about gang! Finally back after moving to my walking. My legs are still tired today. In a new neighborhood, my Google Nexus 5 and Google Maps rule! I can make changes en route and figure what if scenarios for the walk with the real-time GPS tracking.

I’ve been living in the house for a few months now and its good. The house where the kids live is not good. I was slowly being driven crazy and the level of happiness was down in the gutter. I felt taken advantage of, used up. Now I wake up with my bubble of a room, my Chromecast, my chromebook. I have what I want each day. I can have solitude and its respected. I can go out with a friend here and that’s good. The lesson I learned in all this is that the final etcha sketch lines take much more enthusiastic erasing to get rid of or at least deal with.

Go forth and make it a good day. I will be going for donuts this morning I think. Krispy Kreme is callin’ my name!

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1291

In the year 1291. No. This is the 1291st post on this thing. Mark your calendars. That’s a lot of drivel to build up since I started this thing back in some other year.

The thing has no claim to fame. It has not endearing or enduring quality. Its been my BS and stress reliever mechanism. Hitting the Publish button always seems to temporarily ease the aches and pains since I can publish and you can only comment.

I’ll continue to publish here until I don’t. I’ve wondered what the end game of the blog would be and I cannot see it. I’ve reached a few milestones and felt that the blog did not address something or other but I bring it back after putting it to sleep for awhile. I get tired of it every so often and wonder why.

There is no “why” to things folks. It is what it is. Like Popeye the Sailor…

popeye

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There you have it.  There is no reason for this blog. It simply is. Like what Mr. Twain said,

Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.

Welcome to 1291. Enjoy your stay. Keep your arms inside the ride at all times. The management is not responsible for injuries incurred when reading the archives of this blog.

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Last Day of the Trip

Today we put everything back together and do a few final things for our trip before boarding the Coast Starlight Amtrak and head North and back to our realities. First off, we will try to do breakfast at Sambos by the beach.

sambos

Everyone thinks they know how the name came around; but the website link discussed the real way. The reality is that the name is a play on both the original owners names. They “constricted” Sam and Bo into the name. It used to be in my way back machine that Sambo’s was a chain of thousands of restaurants but they fell on hard times and shrunk down to the single one on the beach which still serves breakfast all day every day. I think that’s a good thing ™.

We’ll do the last bit of driving from our Hotel winding down State Street which is a fun and historic drive all by itself.  We managed to accomplish quite a bit for Arry’s first real visit. We did some great dinners here, traveled to a few interesting places like the Zoo and the Botanic Garden, did a road trip up to Solvang and ate at the Pea Soup Andersen’s in Buellton. We had 4.5 days all told here to get stuff done and I think we did pretty good at mixing a fast-paced vacation with a relaxing room thing with good wifi, decent television in the room, and a good location. If you want a decent place to stay and don’t mind a bit of noise, I’d suggest the Sandpiper Lodge unless you want to be down where the action is closer to the beach. Also consider renting a car here. It makes things much better if you do get a room a bit away from the mainline activities.

There are a few things which we did not get to do this time. I had really wanted to walk more in the city down the blocks of State Street where the shops, restaurants, and bars are. Arry is not a big time walker so we took it easy there. I also wanted to visit a few more historic sites like the presidio.

The nice thing is that there is always a next time and Santa Barbara is close enough. Whether the daughter force would agree to the train trip again remains to be seen :-).

Back to…

Work. Back to bringing some order from a new project which seems descended to chaos. I’ll start dreaming about the next trip to Japan later this year. I’ll probably go in late August after a key deliverable is reached. It will be a 10 day thing like I planned before and will include the Shinkansen to Hiroshima and other stuff. I just know I need to go.

Relatively soon, the daughter force and I return and go back to our respective realities. We had a few good talks here but I have to admit there is a boundary around certain things which seems hard to breach. We don’t talk about the divorce at all and never have. I have wanted to discuss it because there is this perception about what happened (or did not happen) and who caused what. I will never accept that the other party is the victim but I don’t want to be the victim either. Divorce is a silent killer of time, emotion, feelings and families; but sometimes its the best thing. I’m free from a lot of BS and I can travel again and taste the wind on my face.

That’s a good thing to be back to as well.

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Solvang Beckons

This is our last full day on vacation here in lovely Santa Barbara. Today we take off on a mini road trip to Solvang. Arry has never been there before I don’t think and my last memories need to be replaced. In fact all the previous memories of the places around here need to have these take their place. The ex-wife and I camped, hoteled, drove all over the area many times but recalling them leads to discomfort by the daughter force. Now I’m after new memories of the places we have been and stuff we have seen.

Solvang

The history of Solvang can be had by heading over to wikipedia. I’ll let others find the place. The reason we will go are a few. One is its an excellent trip to do from Santa Barbara for the food; but the fudge really rules. The second is the shopping there and seeing the local goods mixed with a variety of fun stuff for travelers. The spice of the place makes it fun for the younger set since its a storybook type of place where I always felt offered a mix of both levels of entertainment.

Situated in the Santa Ynez Valley, it also offers a great landscape view when getting there. One of the famous Pea Soup Andersen’s restaurants is almost there too.

Finally, Solvang has a certain olde worlde charm to it that lets a person time scape into another world for just a bit. The departure means an escape and sometimes that is a valued thing.

When we get back, we’ll get ready for a last dinner trip to Stearns Wharf to a highly acclaimed seafood restaurant and then tomorrow if we can, breakfast at the last and original Sambos on the beachfront before returning the car and boarding the train home.

More photos will be had with my rather ancient and cheap digital camera.  Soon the photos will find their way to my Google Photo stream. I’ll start thinking about the next trip which hopefully is back to Japan later this year.

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Amtrak to Santa Barbara and On

Great first two days with the daughter force engaged in vacation. We visited the Santa Barbara Zoo yesterday for some hours. Its a great zoo known as a compact zoo. Situated right by the ocean and easily accessible, the zoo is a wonderful stop for hours. The best exhibits for us were the giraffes, lions, and primates. Arry enjoyed the reptiles and aviary as well.

Today we will take off this morning to the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and then end the day at Stearns Wharf for dinner. Last night we did the Santa Barbara FisHouse and had a great seafood dinner outside.

Tomorrow brings a small road trip up to Solvang. A place of great fun and food which is about 40 miles from us! I can’t wait to show Arry the place.

sb

As you can see in the map, things are all close to each other so doing short day trips throughout the area are pretty easy. With a rental car,  Arry and I can jet around and see the sights pretty easily.

This location is a great destination on the Amtrak Coast Starlight train and it will give you great vista the last half of the trip as the rail goes along the pacific coast and you can see the US Highway One do its on articulations along the coast as well.

I think Arry only does the train trips to humor me and kids basically want an instant arrival but she soon relaxed  into the mood of the trip on the train and we discussed the wonderful places we traveled through and matching them up with memories. Unfortunately, many of my memories of the places included those trip with the ex-wife which we did so many times throughout the area. The sensitivity level with the kids is pretty high with this kind of thing.

Trip Planning it

To make things work easier on this trip, I used Evernote to capture all the places I wanted to visit. I copied webpages or their links to a notebook. Sent the emails that Expedia sent me with the reservations to my Evernote account’s email ID. PDF files that Amtrak includes are included so clicking on the Note will allow me to then open the attached PDF. The nice thing about all this is that things are editable.

I’ve reached the zen of packing the last years with my RedOxx AirBoss and how to really pack light and only carry the things I need instead of going wild. The AirBoss is the best travel bag I have ever owned and it fits into economy sections of airlines overhead, into amtrak overhead and under seats easily. The actual room in the “boss” is way over what you see when you just view the bag.

Few Days of Conclusions

Arry and I travel well together. If it would have been just me, I would have been on the walking path each day for 5 hours to see things but when I invited her, I realized this would not likely happen. So, enter the rental car era :-).  I have already taken 40 some photos on my digital cheapo camera which has been with me since the days in Chennai in 2009. It still does what I want but its starting to exhibit this behavior where the lens does not open and tells me to power off and on.

Now its coffee time in the hotel and Arry sleeps on. I will attempt update the blog tomorrow evening and definitely on Saturday when we depart for home.

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Vacation time!

Finally! My first vacation in months or longer. The daughter force and I depart today on the Coast Starlight for Santa Barbara. We are gonna tour around a great coastal destination spot with Zoos, Botanic Gardens, and great eateries. The ocean is right there and we may jet off to Solvang so Arry can see that place. Been awhile since I have been there.

Thanks to IBM for working this for me and letting my new project start next week. Already though things need attention there so I have to do a call on Thursday to address issues. Nothing ever changes in the life of PM.

On the bright side, we’ll board the train this morning and take off at a sedate 55 mph or so for a cruise down the coast on the Cadillac of Amtrak Coastal routes. First off though some breakfast and then a drive up to Jack London Square to catch the train.

The category is Travel. The time is now.

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Streaming and Dreaming

I use my new Chromecast and Samsung 22-inch TV every day. Its a great combination for a room shared type thing. I can cast my shows from my Nexus 7 or from my Acer chromebook. Some things work better on the tablet and others only work on the Chromebook. I can stream Amazon prime video on the Chromebook and switch to fullscreen. I can almost cast Xfinity TV but it gets all jittery and the translation is not smooth. So far, my casting accounts include Netflix, HuluPlus, Google Play Movies, and Amazon Prime video. Most of things can be done from my Nexus 7 and the output is really good. I just wish that Comcast would just provide the Xfinity 2 go app with chromecast support.

I tend to watch a lot of movies on Netflix and television shows on HuluPlus and it works out well. Each one costs the same but its not really the cost that I want. Its the service and the fun. I don’t have cable in the room so the things I do have to be streamed or played on a laptop. This has worked out fine for me over most of the times. I do miss sometimes the “ever on” TV which offered its own sense and mind numbing experiences.

I started thinking about my room mates of late. Each one is a unique thing. We tend to gather in the kitchen because one of the gang is a chef so we often get foods like BBQ port, spiced chicken, potato salad, bakes beans. All kinds of stuff he likes to cook. It creates interesting times for us to gather together. In the end though; we all depart and move to our own rooms and you can hear the sound of filtered phone conversations, music, movies going. There are not many knocks at the door here but usually its the landlord wanting another trip to Starbucks.

Dreaming

There are dreams too. A person never really stops dreaming. I think each of us has a set of things we can stare out the window and wonder at. One friend that lives farther north now dreams of understanding the bible and its teachings better. He can already quote scripture to me. It seems he wants some acceptance or something there or it comforts him. If the dream works for him, who can say he’s wrong. As long as you don’t enforce the dream all around by getting rid of my demons I’m good. I want my demons to stay around. Its like the two figures on the shoulders of Kronk.

Kronk

Do I listen to the left or right? Do I blend them together and get a path? I’m never sure. I check both shoulders and I think mine are invisible. Poor Kronk always wondered what shoulder to listen to.

The truth is listen to both and that’s what we humans do. Seems to me we blend the voices and we often know that the thing we do may not fit both shoulders.

I may have to watch Emperor’s New Groove again tonight. There are lessons to be learned and a lot of laughs. I always love to see the transitions in the show. Clearly one of the best situational comedy shows ever done with its satire and blend of events, people, animals, and how each event builds on the next. If you have not seen, don’t just dream about it. Go check it out. Its worth watching (over and over again).

My daughter laughs when she hears I want to watch it again but there are things each time I learn from it. Small things, pieces of humor which maybe I heard before but appreciate again.

Streaming is good with the devices I own. I can borrow the movies or even buy them from Google Play. I may buy the latest Hobbit movie tonight and watch along. I know I can return to my room with its assortment of “roomies” and find what I cherish or what I desire or even dream. Maybe one day I shall write an anthropology of the room mates and how we all come together and then divide into our pieces.

 

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