Tuesday, October 28, 2014

More Rain Coming

Monday: (10/27) A breakfast burrito at La Victoria to start. I was busy digging more trench today. I got a good start on the next section toward the fireplace in the driveway. At 1400, I decided to call it quits and haul the load of concrete debris and dirt I collected up to Palo Alto. Not too productive today. Lou made French fried potatoes with broiled cauliflower, and sausage for dinner. Courtney stopped by for a visit and brought a nice bunt cake. Then I returned to San Jose.

Tuesday: (10/28) I finished the trench to the proper depth, installed the pipe and dumped the base-rock I had into the trench. I needed more rock so I went for another load. I should be able to pour some concrete tomorrow. This Friday, on my hike day, we have another rain storm predicted. It'll be nice to get most of the trench finished since I'm taking next week off. Sliced apple with peanut butter and a chicken pot pie for lunch. Sausage, ramen noodles, and corn for dinner.

Wednesday: (10/29) After my breakfast burrito from La Victoria I got to work. I finished tamping and installed the forms to replace the driveway concrete. I then got to work filling my buckets with dirt. and placed them out front to load tomorrow. I also moved the rest of my dirt pile from the driveway to the flowerbed in the front yard so it will be out of the way. Chili for lunch. I finally got to pouring concrete about 1400, rather late. I went back to Home Depot for some more concrete to finish pouring a small strip of driveway tomorrow.  I did the final brush finish about 2200.

Thursday: (10/30) Another breakfast burrito day. I began by stripping my forms from yesterday and installing a form for today. I also removed the lemon tree next to it. I've been debating whether to remove it and have decided it needs to go. it just can't be contained, being a full size lemon tree. Since I pruned it last year in preparation to paint the house, I had already grown up past the roof. Maybe a dwarf can be planted later? I have been digging and hauling for several weeks now and no blisters. While sawing out the lemon tree with the sawsall, I wore a really nice blister on the fight hand. They can sneak up on you when you don't wear gloves.  I then poured the small strip of driveway between the two pours done yesterday.I was finished about 1030 and the rest of the day was rather easy just cleaning up and waiting to finish the concrete. I finally headed home about 1600. I emptied the buckets of dirt from the Jeep into my growing dirt pile / raised bed to be. I then cleaned up the Jeep. We're leaving town and it will need to be civilized again. Lou will drive it tomorrow for her errands and I'll meet her in the motorhome. Dim Sum for dinner.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

My First Hackathon

VTA Hachathon4

Saturday: (10/25) I was up early and walked down to the San Jose Tech Museum. I was there to attend my first Hackathon. A hackathon is a bunch of programmers getting together to program solutions, in this case mobile applications using some of the open data sources provided by government agencies and others. This event was sponsored by the Valley Transportation Agency looking for apps that improve services for their users. I was there because I was invited shortly after Dawn had a bad day with her rides on the VTA's para-transit service, Outreach. Normally, I just consider such messages as wrong numbers but this time I decided to join in and participate in the hackathon and make a submittal. The day started with a nice breakfast provided by Microsoft. That was followed by one minute pitches for app ideas so that attendees could have an idea of what was proposed for development. Those attendees without projects of their own could join into teams. I pitched an app to improve para transit rider services that provided a means of scheduling rides and providing notifications to the customers about the ride status.  Sounds simple but it is quite important to the customers. The data needed for this is not available as open data if it even exists so my app collected all the necessary data. I didn't want any team members mostly because I know they would be using what I was developing with and I didn't want to use anything else. So, I got to work on the app I had proposed. Lunch and dinner were provided as well. While the museum closed at 1700 we could stay until 2100  to work but I decided to return the the San Jose apartment and work there, thus not having to move at closing time. I worked until 0100 and and finished the first draft of the app, enough to submit. I just needed to publish it to my server. Of course, the development software crashed in the process, then my laptop crashed. I couldn't get either to start working so I called it a night. I feared I hadn't saved the app recently enough so though I might have to reinvent the wheel tomorrow.

Sunday: (10/26) Up early again. Another breakfast at the Tech museum. Fortunately, my laptop felt better in the morning and was working again. And, fortunately I had saved the app just before the crash. Lucky me! I didn't do too much more to the app just got it working on the server so it could be used by the judges. It doesn't look good nor work well nor do much of what is proposed but was enough to participate. I finished up the documentation for the submittal and submitted the app about an hour before the deadline. It turns out mine was the first submittal. That turned out to be both good and bad. The application presentations to the judges were to be done in the order received so that meant I was first. I didn't get an opportunity to learn from others mistakes nor to see what should be done. But, it also meant I didn't have to grow progressively more anxious waiting to make my presentation. All went well. I had called Lou and Dawn to come down for the presentation since it got them into the museum for free. Needless to say, I didn't win one of the prizes but did have fun and learn a lot. Here is a link to the submittal and the app link.

VTA Hachathon1 VTA Hachathon2
Above left I'm in the front row, so I can see. Lots of interested hackers attended.

VTA Hachathon3  VTA Hackathon Don's Presentation
Above left the Valley Transportation (VTA) CEO thanked us for our efforts as Dawn and I look on. On the right I'm giving my presentation.

Lunch was up on the roof patio at the Tech Museum. Lou, Dawn and I went out to dinner at Habanna Cuba Restaurant. Dawn was wanting some Cuban food.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Foothills Park, Los Trancos Trail

Friday: (10/24) I was up early and unloaded the Jeep then cleaned it of for carpooling. Then after morning tea in the yard, i was off to breakfast at Jack In The Box before going to my hike meeting location. This hike is special because in in the Palo Alto city residents only Foothills Park. I'm allowed to bring up to 14 guests in up to three cars for the hike. Fortunately there is another Palo Alto resident in our group which allowed us to bring in  total of 24 on the hike. After that quantity, permits are needed. We did the 6.5 mile hike  finishing by 1330 on a nice day. The Los Trancos trail gave us a good workout climbing 1500 feet. Wieners and beans for lunch. In the afternoon, I dumped my buckets and collected some things for San Jose. Dawn made a wonderful pot roast for dinner. After dinner, I collected my things and headed back down to San Jose. I'll be busy there on Saturday and Sunday at a hackathon programming event.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Let's Start With Rain?

Monday: (10/20) Leftover peach blintzes for breakfast. lou was off to the market. Our weekend shopping didn't occur because we were too busy Saturday. I completed collecting things for my work in San Jose and on my way about 0830. I stopped at Home Depot for some bags of concrete and at Payless Rockery for some more base rock before getting to the San Jose house. Just unloading was a major task. After an early ham and cheese sandwich lunch I got to work. I poured the concrete for the patches in the sidewalk where i trenched for the drain lines. It was sprinkling slightly at 1330 when I was ready to pour so I checked the weather report on Google. It said there was a chance of rain at 1400 but just clouds at 1700. This mornings TV forecasts didn't show any rain for San Jose with the storm passing further North. Well, It didn't. We got a pretty good sprinkling, enough that I had to cover my concrete so it would dry. My afternoon was spend waiting for the concrete to dry and doing the finishing. Easy enough. An early dinner of leftover french onion soup and cheese toast. I did a little grocery shopping after dinner. I've noticed the Jeep growling when I turn the wheel. I finally checked the power steering fluid and it was empty. There was lots of fluid, but it wasn't in the reservoir. It was all over in the engine compartment. I stopped ant the only nearby place, Walgreen's and got some fluid and added some to quit things down.

Tuesday: (10/21) Leftover corned beef hash and pancakes for breakfast. I stripped the forms from the sidewalk patches. I then broke out the driveway by the gate and started digging the trench. I filled all my buckets so I quit about 1530. With the Jeep loaded, I headed back up to Palo Alto. Normally I only make one trip a week but today there were three reasons to go midweek. Full buckets, the Jeep needing repairs, and I have a TSA meeting tomorrow morning in Cupertino. We checked with our mechanic and he'll check the Jeep tomorrow morning. I emptied my buckets. All the good dirt will be used in raised planters in our back yard. The concrete goes into a collecting pile and will go out in the garbage a little at a time or into a dumpster when I get enough.Dinner was leftovers. Enchiladas for Lou and chili beans for me.

Wednesday: (10/22) We started by delivering the Jeep to A1 Auto for get the power steering leak repaired. The we all had breakfast at A good Morning. Then I dropped Lou and Dawn off at the house and loaded my bucket collection into the little car and headed off to Cupertino Public Works yard for a Traffic Signal Association meeting. Nothing special, just demoed some LED signal lams and assemblies and a radar speed sign but the real reason to go is to see people i used to work with. After the meeting I returned to San Jose. Fortunately, the tenant had moved their non working car and I was able to saw the rest of the driveway, break out more of the concrete and dig the trench a bit deeper. Not a really productive day but tomorrow looks promising. For lunch I had my usual ham and cheese sandwich. Sausage, corn and tater tots for dinner. Lou and Dawn picked up the Jeep and brought it down to San Jose and swapped with the little car so now I can haul more debris home. I've evidently been a bad boy. The Jeep was 3 quarts low on oil and needed brake fluid as well. I haven't been checking things. On the way to the shop, I had checked the mileage since the last oil change and noted it needed an oil change being 6500 miles since the last one. I planned on having it done this weekend. Now, with half the oil new, should I wait? I think "Mac" in my middle name is showing?

Thursday: (10/23) I installed some more drain line and filled some trench then secured the open part of the trench with plywood covers. I then loaded up the Jeep with  more broken concrete and dirt for disposal. Rain was forecast for this weekend. I didn't head home until late and stopped on the way for dim sum as dinner.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I Hate Traffic

Saturday: (10/18) Lou made corned beef hash for breakfast then we were off to NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View to attend their open house. Traffic was a mess I dropped Lou  And Dawn off at the main gate and then had to head off  miles away to another gate where there was supposedly some parking. I just turned on to the Freeway and then immediately was stopped in traffic on the ramp. About 40 minutes later I finally escaped the queue onto the middle lane of the freeway passed the stopped right lane and decided I wouldn't be going to the event. Fortunately the tickets were free. I did stop at the Light Rail Station and considered riding it to the base but my back was bothering me so i just did a little shopping instead. I stopped at REI and they were having returned goods sale. I didn't find anything I needed, in my size or in good enough condition so I just looked around. I had lunch at Sprout's Market then returned home. I tinkered on the computer watching training videos. When Lou called, I returned and picked them up. Leftover Lou soup for dinner.

Sunday: (10/19) Tea in the yard to start the day. Lou and Dawn made peach blintzes for breakfast. I spent some time tinkering in the shop. Lou's scooter needed some attention. It fell apart last week when she crossed a bumpy bridge in Half Moon Bay. She collected the parts and brought it home. I looked at it today. The coupler that connects the rear chair and wheals to the motor and handlebar section fell apart. I tried to assemble it but couldn't get enough threads to engage for it to stay together. I ended up leaving out the lower bearing and then it fit together and she can use it without much harm. Now I'll see if I can find a thinner bearing or find a Teflon washer to replace it. I also disassembled the leftover drawers from the chest of drawers I shrunk a couple of weeks ago. It's good hardwood for a future project. Lou made some wonderful French onion soup with cheese bread for lunch. Dinner was cheese and crackers.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Lots Of Space and a Moth

Friday: (10/17) I met my hiking group at the Russian Ridge Open Space and led a loop hike around the top of the mountains through Russian Ridge, Coal Creek, Monte Bello Ridge and Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserves. The hike was 7.7 miles long with nice weather, overcast for shade and a light breeze to keep us cool. 21 fellow hikers and not one was lost along the way. This is one of my favorite hikes because it doesn't change too much in elevation but does go up and down several times making the overall route a good workout. It passes through grass land, oak forests, past lakes and by streams though the stream was dry this time and one lake (pond) was almost dry. I was back down the mountain by 1430. Breakfast was my usual hikers start, Jack In The Boxes Loaded Breakfast Sandwich. Chili for lunch. Lou's soup for dinner. After dinner we went over to Stanford University Dinkelspiel Auditorium and attended An Evening Of Storytelling With The Moth

Monday, October 13, 2014

Great Pumpkin Time

Monday: (10/13) Oatmeal for breakfast. Lou and Dawn were off to Half Moon Bay for the giant pumpkin weigh in. Today's winner was 2058 pounds. While she was there her scooter fell apart. She collected the parts and it will need to be put together when I get home. On the way to San Jose I stopped at the rockery for some more base rock.  I also stopped by home depot and got some lids for my buckets. Rain is forecast for this Friday so any buckets left outside could use lids. I broke out another section ov concrete for the drain pipe and dug another 15 feet of trench. I had to dodge sprinkler pipes, one of which ran parallel to the sidewalk edge with barely enough room for my trench shovel to fit. Lunch was dim sum. Dinner pizza at House of pizza. I managed to leave Palo Alto without my groceries. I transported bread, lunch meat, milk etc back and forth but forgot them this time. So, I stopped at the market on the way home from dinner.

Tuesday: (10/14) Granola and sausage for breakfast. I've tried oatmeal and granola for breakfast and neither lasts so I added some protein like I did on the trail. I went to the hardware store and bought some PVC pipe and fittings to move some sprinkler pipes that need to go over the drain line I'm installing. Dumb me, i bought 1/2" instead of 3/4" so had to return to the store a second time. By then it was lunch time so i met Lou and Dawn at Super Taqueria. After lunch I finally got to work. I dug more trench, which is always fun, and installed another twenty feet of line turning the corner of the house. All back-filled as well. Dinner was leftover pizza. A small pizza goes a long way.

Wednesday: (10/15) Busy digging more trench, installing drain line, and backfilling the trench. Eggs, hash browns and sausage for breakfast. Pizza for lunch, Ham and cheese sandwich for dinner. After dinner I visited Orchard Hardware's (OSH) new original location store for some more drain pipe fittings. One of the good things about OSH has always been that they load the big and heavy items for you. They now don't do it at their new store. Don't even have a customer pickup area. Interesting effect Lowe's has had on them since they recently purchased the chain.

Thursday: (10/16) I tidied up the back yard finished the back filling, sprinkler pipe repairs, relandscaping the flower beds, and disposing of all the excess dirt and concrete rubble, When i got home i unloaded the dirt and rubble. Lou and I then went out shopping for some geo fabric and potting soil.  Breakfast at La Victoria. Lunch at Dim Sum King. Lou's home made Swedish meatballs for dinner.



Sunday, October 12, 2014

Code Camp 2014

Saturday: (10/11) I'm busy all this weekend at the the Silicon Valley Code Camp. It is a free get together of programmers each year at Foothill College in Los Altos, California. There are about 4500 attendees including a kids program. The speakers are leaders in the computer programming areas. I attend for brain exercise and always find the talks I attend interesting. I attended seminars on advanced map displays, bringing web contact to the big screen, proximity API for Windows phones, and building apps with office 365, Windows phone sensors and near field communications. A very interesting part of the event is that it is all free. What a community. I enjoyed a breakfast burrito from A Good Morning on the way to the event. I did avoid the several block long line for the free lunch of pizza or sandwiches. It was warm out and i decided to just drive down to the local Safeway for some soup and a sandwich. It took about the same time and was less tiring but didn't have the typical in line conversation. Leftover corn chip casserole for dinner.

Sunday: (10/12) More time at camp today. Lou fixed a nice breakfast and I was off to more seminars at Foothill College. Today there were only four sessions. I attended three and decided to skip the last one. The seminars I attended were about Search Engine Optimization for blogs, UI/UX design principles, and how to win a hackathon. I did enjoy the free pizza lunch. I was home early enough to do a little work. I brought a lot of dirt and concrete rubble with me Thursday. I found places to dump them. The dirt will become another raised bed in the back yard, eventually. Right now it's a pile of dirt. The concrete will eventually go out through the garbage barrel, a little at a time. Dawn made a nice minestrone soup for dinner.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Fall Creek Hike

Friday: (10/10) I was off to Felton, California for a hike at Fall Creek, Part of Henry Cowell State park. I met my fellow San Jose Mid Week Hikers there, 25 of us went on the hike. We hiked  5.05 miles in 2 hrs 47 minutes. Here is some more data. Min Altitude: 507 feet, Max Altitude: 1105 feet, Altitude Loss 1243 feet, Altitude gain: 1247 feet. The trail is through some nice redwood forest beside a creek that miraculously had water flowing. Wonderful hike.

After  the hike I had lunch at the Salsa Mexican restaurant in Scotts Valley. Then I stopped by a sprinkler supply shop i saw on the way into town. They have the sumps and pipe I may need to make my sump pump basin for the San Jose house. Lou made a corn chip casserole for dinner.  They had started a binge watch of the show Warehouse 13 which I joined them doing.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

In The Trenches

Monday: (10/06) Oatmeal for breakfast then I off to San Jose. I never got to work because my back was bugging me. I spent the morning cooking, working on letters, making phone calls and working on websites. I then enjoyed a nice long afternoon nap. A tough life! Lunch was a sausage and cheese sandwich. Dinner was leftover potatoes, asparagus, and ?

Tuesday: (10/07) A nice sausage, egg and cheese sandwich for breakfast. Then i was off to Payless Rockery to get a few buckets of baserock. Since I was in the area, I stopped in at work and said hi. I have to admit, I wanted to show off the slimmer me. When i got home, i did some more concrete sawing cutting the front walkway for the drain crossing and where I'll be replacing a bad section of walkway. I also finished all but 15 feet of the drive way where a car is parked. It's not drive-able so I hope to only have to have it moved twice, once out of the way and then back where it is. I then cleaned up from all the dust that I created. When i arrived here yesterday, i noticed that the City had marked a section of sidewalk to be ground where the cedar tree had been. the City replaced the concrete about five years ago and ground the sidewalk about three years ago, both which i had to pay for. Now they want me to grind it again. Fortunately, i had already planned on replacing it, properly while i was here doing other concrete work already. i also need to route the sump pump discharge out to the street through that section  so it all works out OK. Lunch was chili beans. I made a shopping run to Target for a couple of towels, which i had forgotten to bring with me and also a few groceries. Dinner was a chicken pot pie.

 Wednesday: (10/08) A banana and apple fritter for breakfast. I started trenching for the drain lines at the back of the house. There were a couple of pipes and a concrete base to dodge then I broke out some sidewalk and some a concrete step for a drain by Dawn's apartment door. I installed and back-filled about 20 feet of pipe. Productive enough. A ham and cheese sandwich for lunch, Pea soup for dinner.