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Day 143: Tuesday-Wednesday

I worked until 2AM this morning. I then was up again at 6AM with my first Zoom meeting at 7AM. When one has little sleep for a few days, it is hard to recall much. This will be a short story.

We had a few miscommunications, but we did manage to get through them and make the fixes and get the software upgrades going. We have to do back-to-back upgrades as the software was initially installed in 2018. It is sort of like upgrading your phone six times–it is complicated and error-prone and very dull.

Lunch was reheated Happy Panada cashew chicken. I did take a nap for 30 minutes a couple of times between Zoom meetings.

I was finally free at about 3PM. Evan was here, so we went to get coffee at Insomnia Coffee. I had a muffin and coffee, as did Evan. We also stopped by Rainy-Day Games, and I picked up Scooby-Do! Betrayal at Mystery Mansion board game. It is for the kids’ version, 8+, of the Betrayal at Haunted House on the Hill game. I think Susie would play and it just looked fun. I found the regular game a bit dark for me, and I don’t like being the ghost. I suspect I won’t mind says, “if it wasn’t for you meddling kids.”

Evan headed out as I started to cook dinner. Steaks with BBQ beans and canned really good peaches. I managed to get the steaks, from Ponderosa Provisioners, medium-rare, and not set the house on fire as they were ribeye steaks (fat-content sent flames quite high).

I then wait for the next step in the software build. Again, likely about midnight. One last set of upgrades. I slip in a few naps and reading.

I am really enjoying Lovecraft County with the writing having me laugh-out-loud a few times.

Yesterday I received a Call of Cthulhu Role-Playing Game (RPG) campaign from a Kickstarter: A Time for Sacrifice. I ordered the version, 40 of only 100 that they offered, with all the props premade and it is scary good. A leather book holder. All the books are aged and stained. The news clippings look like they are from newsprint—six sets of items for the six episodes, plus maps, and signed hardcover book. I already received the PDF of the book. The episodes can be stand-alone or played in a long campaign.

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I can’t wait to get this virus things over and play these!

I was not paying attention to the market today as I was too tired to do too many things at once.

More than thirteen-hundred people in the USA were reported to have passed because of the infection.

This is an Easter song, but I liked this, and it seems to fit today and the events: Were You There.

 

Day 142: Sunday-Monday-Tuesday Day

I am working in India and USA time on a critical path software install and upgrade. I nap with the phone under my pillow, and it beeps when I get a text from a co-worker who needs me to wake up and do something. It also beeps for some meetings and other notes from CNN. So I get to sleep in between beeps.

Susie gets worried when I work so many hours and has to put up with grumpy Michael.

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(my working space–the rum is just there for comfort along with Fauci Bobblehead)

I am right now between on-shore and off-shore times, and the systems have database upgrades and back-ups that will take hours. I expect about midnight to 2AM I will be back in action and ride the clock all the way around to Tuesday morning.

It is a difficult mission, but we are building staging for the go-live in October. This is the preliminaries to cut-over, and I have worked for more than three years to get here. I will give up a few nights to check-off one more big step.

So found breakfast around 7ish and got cleaned up and dressed by the first meeting. I continued to attend the Zoom meeting while also working issues and fixing processes. I was confused at one point and called a time-out until we call communicated what was happening. We got aligned and moved on.

It is Monday, so Susie has various hair, nails, toenails, plus appointment with Zerida. We managed to be ready by 10:45ish when her driver got here. I have to stop what I am doing on Zoom and mask-up and get Susie to her driver. Often I forget to turn off the video. My colleagues are then watching me suddenly running all over and masked up. I get a lot of comments.

Turning to lunch, I purchased pastrami from the local butcher, Ponderosa Provisioners, and today I made a sandwich for lunch. This kind of meat, however, requires thought. I take four slices of the peppery beef and lay it on a microwavable plate and microwave just enough that it is not cold anymore and just starting warm-up (twenty seconds or less). I take some bread, one slice I carefully spread a smear of olive oil on the bread–very light. I then scoop a 1/4 inches layer of coleslaw trying to avoid excessive liquid on the oiled bread–the oil will protect the bread for a while. I then quickly spread a small layer of Thousand Island dressing on the other slice. I then layer the pastrami overlapping over the dressing. Switching sides for each slice creating that look you see at a deli of loosely folded meat. Then, with some dexterity, I quickly flip the meat and bread over the coleslaw. You then take out the big knife and cut the sandwich with flair in half while imaging yourself at some deli. Service quickly before the coleslaw melts the bread. Perfect! Pickle and chips if you have them should go with the sandwich. I had sweet canned peaches in a bowl.

I continued to work and take a nap and read a bit. I am really enjoying Lovecraft Country and its mixture of Lovecraft style horror mixed with American black life experience in the 1950s.

Our diner is Happy Panda delivered. I order Susie’s favorites and appetizers. Susie never got passed the appetizers. It re-heats well. But, I have deli-style roast beef from Ponderosa Provisioners for another sandwich. It will be a hard choice Wednesday.

The market was up some today. Technology, which was out last week, is back in. One of my guilty pleasures is Virgin Galactic, which managed to release pictures of a plane they might build and announced $0 earnings this quarter, and still, the stock goes up. I have only 180 shares, but it is a fun ride! My other guilty stock pleasure is losing money on Ford.

Today more than five-hundred sixty people who had the infection and reside in the USA closed their eyes forever.

I went with a country version of a hymn, Methodist Hymnal #701 When We All Get to Heaven.

 

 

Day 141: Sunday Unplanned

It is hard for me to imagine that it has been as long as one-hundred and forty-one days and that it has only been a bit over a quarter of a year. We knew it would be a long wait, but a few quarters did not appear that hard until you live them. Now, there are so many people and businesses without any means of support as their part of the economy is just turned-off. I am not talking about the switch of purchasing to digital sources from brick-and-mortar stores, but things like the medieval re-actors and artisan making all those craft makers that are now missing all those festivals. How about the horse barns not able to give riding lessons, they are missing their summer. We have lost the plays and musicals that would be starting rehearsals now in the heat of August to be ready in the Fall. Again, it is a small amount of time to be lost, but let us hope that it is not as Shakespeare said, “it is enough.”

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Let us hope for a better second act instead! Indeed, I am hoping for Midsummer Night’s Dream, as it is that time of year, and we do not need any more tragedies. With the election coming and all of the protesting and all the angry people (masks, no masks) and folks losing their jobs, it is time for maybe a note from the author. Let’s recall what Puck has for us on the Midsummer Night:

PUCK
If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.

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Returning to today, I slept in this morning. I watched the church service video once I was up, it was better today. I did skip the hymns and readings.

Mariah sent me a text, but I was asleep. We connected later in the morning. Susie was up and dressed before 11AM! So we headed off to Cedar Hills McMenamins for lunch. We watched the splashdown of the Dragon capsule on my iPhone. It was fun to join the world watching. We had a friendly chat sitting outside and having a few beers.

Mariah went off to go tubing in a river.

We headed back to the house. I did some more Python coding and reading about how neural networks are now implemented in Python routines. I also did some writing for “Howard’s Lockdown.”

I have to admit I took a few naps too, and I have been reading Lovecraft Country. I understand it is an HBO series also. The last book I read like this was American Gods, and I only sort of liked it and I never saw the show. But, I love these new takes on the Lovecraft Mythos. This new book, Lovecraft Country, is from the 1950s point of view of black men and women. This new book includes an interesting take on what it was like to travel in the USA as a black person in the 1950s. So far, I like the story. I am just getting to the Mythos part. More to follow.

So today was the classics, Python, and beer.

I have been watching Paul Hollywood bake show, they are great. Michelle Smith suggested it to help get through all of this: Paul Hollywood City Bakes.

More than four-hundred sixty people living in the USA are reported to have died today from the virus.

There was an Islamic event this Friday, and so we will go with O Allah, I stood before You (Eng Subs).

 

Day 140: Saturday Slow

It often happens that sleep is hard to come by on Friday night for me. And this Friday was no exception, and I was late getting going this morning. As usual, I awoke before my alarm at 6AM and then woke up enough to know that it was Saturday and re-awoke at 9ish.

I got up and started my day. A text from work at 5:30AM from India was replied to, but no response as it is Saturday night India time when I answered.

I got dressed and headed out to Portland with my wallet, hat, sunglasses, book, pen, pencils, and laptop. This time I was prepared!

Driving was better today and soon, I was walking into Mox Boarding House in Portland. The manager and others were painting 28mm scale (Dungeons and Dragon and Warhammer scale) terrain parts. There were not that many customers. Mox has tables to play at, but phase 1 is still in place, so no gaming. Actually, Oregon’s Governer Browne is sending some counties back to phase 1 lockdown as the rate of virus infection is nearly explosive out in the high desert towns. So instead of demos and fresh gameplay, they get to talk to us customers about how great such and such game is.

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We talked about Scythe, Twilight Imperium, Dune, Vindication, and Wingspan as games we will play at the store once we get this virus over.

I headed into the restaurant part of Mox. I was the only customer eating and drinking. Sydney and Tatayana, who waited on me last week, were excited to see me. I had the Humus and soup of the day. I took a picture of it and posted it, and Apple spelling correction had its way with me. My note got many comments (I edited in the SB later).

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The lunch was excellent. The soup was some sort of Asian Bone Broth soup. Nobody had a name for it: A rib, poached egg, veggies, and sesame oil in bone broth! The hummus was fine with fresh vegetables. A stout beer went well with everything. The alcohol percentage of the beer was high enough to make it seem like a beer and a shot.

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I had their pudding and coffee for dessert. It was fantastic and rich with flavors of chocolate, ginger, and chili and three hot, slightly torched marshmallows on top. Skip lunch and go to dessert with a hot coffee drink is a good plan too!

I returned home after finding the new Wingspan scoring board add-on and purchasing it.

I returned to laundry, dishes, dinner (pasta with Sock-it-to-me sauce from a jar and locally made Italian sausage), and the regular home tasks.

I returned to editing my “Howard’s Lockdown” story and was laughing as I wrote. I was really enjoying the funky path I went with. The story is just so fun to write; I literally laugh out loud when writing. A short extract:

“What about Dream Portland,” says Howard between bites—his face red from the heat of both the food and the spices?

“Not to worry, Richelieu, likes the job,” says Alistair as he scans a credit card and delivers a plate without violating any health or social distancing rules. Howard watches Crowley deliver food with dexterity, and it dawns on Howard that running a taco truck and the precision to summon unspeakable powers is an overlapping skill. Mr. Crowley keeps talking while working. “The Cardinal is a natural at plots and sub-plots. I expect we will see him any day here,” explains the newly minted taco maker.

More tacos are purchased. “And Portland needs a taco cart by me. This town is just so me,” says Mr. Alistair Crowley laughing a made-up evil laugh, slightly muffled through the mask, and letting his British accent highlight the fake evil. He sells more food.

“Maybe he is already here,” says Crowley looking up from the food with a wicked smile just hinted by the covering mask and one eyebrow cocked. “That might explain how Mr. Biden got so far this time in the election. I understand in the last American Presidential election his candidacy just wilted. Just imagine an American democrat candidate with Richelieu as his campaign adviser. Yes, maybe the Cardinal is here,” says Crowley looking thoughtful. Howard just keeps eating, trying to ignore the possibility.

(My apologies to anyone who is offended by the idea that Mr. Biden would need supernatural powers to do so well this time–it is just for fun. And for you who think I have some arcane insider knowledge, no, really it is just a story)

I have also looked into an idea I had before, and that is to teach Calculus online to help people. I have a great textbook, and I read through some of it at Mox. Tatyana nearly screamed in fear when I showed her what I was reading. Math is like wolfbane to some bartenders! I will think about it and see if there is a way I can help people. I will try not to scare any more people by showing them a Calculus textbook!

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Today more than eleven-hundred American lives were cut short by the virus.

So we repeat a hymn, Methodist Hymnal #474, Precious Lord, Take my Hand to remember Black Live Matter today.

 

Day 139: Friday with mistakes

When you get out of your car in the parking garage and notice that no wallet is in your pocket and your wallet is not sitting in the car, there is a moment of just unbelievable shame. How could I be that distracted to get in the car and drive to Portland and park the car without any money, ID, or credit cards? Yup, completely empty. Back in the car, out of the garage, $0.00, and back home. I was not that upset, just totally surprised.

That is the middle of my day. I decided that I should at least enjoy the ride back. I turn up the music and take Burnside back over the hill instead of the highway and tunnel. It is a wonderful day.

I see the traffic out of Beaverton on TV highway. It is so backed-up on this lovely Friday that lanes are full all the way to the traffic lights. It is likely an hour or more to get through Beaverton headed to Portland. My direction, the opposite, is mostly clear and, with few exceptions, are running 10 over the speed limit–never happens.

I stop by the house to get my wallet. I get lunch at Taco Bell. The car line is long. I connect to wifi and do my email while I wait and read the news. Very relaxing wait and I order my favorite listening to public radio stories. I park in the lot and eat, listen, and use my laptop. I look over and there are multiple cars filled with folks enjoying tacos. We all wave to each other.

I drive to Hillsboro and park easy. I walk over to the local gaming store, Rune and Board, and now with my wallet and discover a physically smaller copy of some rules I always wanted, are only $20. I get that, Starfinder.

I then walked over to Insomnia Coffee. There I purchased a coffee and write for a few hours. I worked on my “Howard’s Lockdown” story and finally find an ending for the story that worked. I also purchased a cinnamon roll that I had split and brought Susie the other half.

So a nice relaxing afternoon. I took a nap, got up, made tacos, and started some more writing revising my work from the afternoon.

Writing the blog now.

Returning to the very morning, I started at 6ish and immediately found India based folks looking for me. I worked then on upgrades all morning. I barely had time to take a shower and dress. I had a few meetings that I did while working on all the issues that started popping up. Some very frustrating.

I also had to scare away a huge raccoon in the backyard.

I was happy with the morning finishing and decided to head to Portland to see the new gaming store Mox Board House. I forgot my wallet.

I did not watch the market again.

More than fourteen-hundred people in American died from the virus today.

I went with this hymn as it is from 1544, Christain People, Raise Your Song, Methodist Hymnal # 636, sorry only instrumental versions showed today.