progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)

Opening of the New Republican Café

by Joseph Keppler (1889)

opening of the new republican cafe (1889)

Proprietor Harrison.—Wait till the clock strikes, boys, and I’ll give you all a show.

Lazy Curator™ sez: Benjamin Harrison stands before a banquet table laden with food items marked as office appointment positions (as Vice-President Levi Morton mans the bar). James Blaine holds the hungry horde at bay, among them including Jeptha Dudley New, Matthew Quay, Carlton Foster, Jay Abel Hubbell, William Wade Dudley, Stephen Dorsey, Thomas Brady, J. Warren Keifer, Thomas Platt, William Chandler, William Mahone and (hilariously being trampled) George Robeson.

If nothing else, this cartoon allowed me to learn the name “Jeptha Dudley New,” the most absurd and unlikely name to pop up in The Weekly Puck since Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)
Self-portrait from Kaleidoscope Café in Point Richmond:

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I caught a bit of a cold this past week, so have been feeling a little under the weather. On the plus side, [personal profile] albadger took me out for Chinese food (including some much-needed hot & sour soup), then I got him caught up on Steven Universe.

Annoying non-illness thing that happened this week: I thought my Nexus 5 had bricked. It got stuck in a kind of loop trying to power up but would keep resetting itself. I found that the solution was just to hammer on the power button over and over until it rebooted properly. Nice to know there’s a cure, just hoping I don’t have to do it again. The half-hour of using the Optimus L9 was virtually torture.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)
Self-portrait from a new favorite hang-out spot, Point Richmond’s Kaleidoscope Coffee:

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Didn’t really feel like venturing far this weekend, for various reasons, so I was pretty hermit-y. [profile] bigjohnsf and Harvey (not on Social Media™) lured me into Berkeley for a dinner at Saturn Café, but that was about it. Haven’t done a lot of hiking on account of the weather.

Still in Expectation Mode on that full-time position with the State. Had another interview on Wednesday at the Franchise Tax Board in Rancho Cordova, but I’m not holding my breath on that one. It sounds like a pretty undemanding job, but it requires a Class B license. I’m pretty sure one of their other interviewees already has one. Oh well, looks like there’s another interview coming up in the coming weeks at least.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)
Self-portrait from Oakland’s Leona Canyon:

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Nothing as cool happened to me this week as finding that free dual cassette deck. Still on the lookout for a vintage solid-state receiver to replace the much-missed Pioneer SX-1000TW. The ones I saw recently at Urban Ore (an overpriced Kenwood) and Hayward EcoThrift (an even more overpriced Toshiba with missing knobs and an early digital Hitachi, also with missing knobs) didn’t cut it.

Sunday was a long day in San Francisco, hiking around Mountain Lake again, a trip to Amoeba, then a brief stop at Maxfield’s (café) before dinner at Ken’s Kitchen (Chinese restaurant) with [personal profile] albadger, [profile] hardybear, [profile] scottasf, [profile] bigjohnsf and Jim Billy (not on Social Media™). Afterwards, John, JB and I went to Green Apple Books in the West part of town, then for dessert at the doughnut place down the street.

There’s another job interview coming up at the Franchise Tax Board in Sacramento on Wednesday. I’m not expecting much, but I figure someone’s eventually got to take the bait.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from my Xmas Eve walk along Bayside Park in San Rafael:

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I suppose you could call it A Tale of Two Christmases. My first was after work. J__, my co-worker, bought a whole mess of food and cooked it on his little Weber grill outside the maintenance shop. We spent the time waiting for things to cook telling off-color stories from our pasts. I had made a spice cake for dessert and brought that for the cookout.

The second was in San Francisco with John ([ profile] bigjohnsf), Peter ([ profile] hardybear) and Jim Billy (not on LJ). We went to Star India for Indian buffet and then went on a whirlwind tour of San Francisco Christmas light displays. It’s always a pleasure to see Peter, since I do so rarely these days.

Counting the grains of sand while I’m still at China Camp. It’s been kind of a rough and rocky season but in the end, I’m going to miss the place. What lies ahead is uncertain, but I trust something good is on the way. I do have an interview coming up, and a few “contingency” applications out there, so cross your fingers for me.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from Empire Mine State Park, adjacent to Grass Valley:

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Well, I kind of blew the interview, but I had a nice (if chilly) day up in the foothills. Grass Valley is a quaint little town, and a nice place to spend the day. Had dinner in Sacramento with [ profile] 2ndbanana and [ profile] bobobear12, and it was good to catch up with them. Wound up talking about variety shows and specials of the 1970s, of all things.

On the plus side, I have another interview in Half Moon Bay coming up on Thursday. I need to make this one count, as I really want this job! I’m cramming like a college student in preparation for it.

It looks like I’ll be spending the Christmas holiday with my co-worker, J__. He suggested a cookout, and I told him I’d bake something and bring it. Maybe my “famous” tomato soup spice cake.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Since my time here is winding down, this week’s self-portrait hails from China Camp, just outside of park housing:

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Changes are coming fast and furious. My co-worker M_______ is now my former co-worker. Our boss R______ called and said he needed him out at Samuel P. Taylor. I had assumed “in a week or two,” not “Wednesday,” so Monday was our last day working together. Gonna kind of miss the little guy, since we’ve been working together all season long.

I am on the work schedule until the end of December, so there is that. No idea if I’ll be working in January; if so it’ll only be the first two weeks. I definitely want to move out of the housing by the 31st of this month, so I’m going to request a couple of days off to make that easier (working and moving is a b*&%# and a half).

Oh, and hello from Grass Valley. My interview is in another hour and a half after I post this, so wish me luck! Composing this post from the public library, where I’m boning up on tools and whatnot in preparation for the interview. Later, I’ll be passing through Sacramento where I’ll be dining with [ profile] 2ndbanana and [ profile] bobobear12.

But that’s the future. Hopefully it holds something good.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from Richmond’s Kaleidoscope Café. They have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!

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Strange, strange week. I think I have had more bizarre occurrences at this park than anywhere else in the world. My week began with an English woman blatantly flirting with me (“I love your moo-stache!” Trust me, the tone in her voice was unable to be interpreted as anything else!) and ended with a French lady ranting that the campers in a neighboring tent were “high” and were yelling “It’s so cold!” all night long.

Harvey (not on LJ) made dinner for [ profile] bigjohnsf and I last night. It was nice to just have a relaxing evening of dinner and conversation.

I also wound up walking out of Amoeba Music earlier this week with a stack of laserdiscs. You can see what I got in this video. So far, The Palm Beach Story is the only one I’ve watched. I’m considering taking my laserdisc player to the park residence with me, as I don’t really have a lot of time on my days off to watch movies.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from China Camp park housing:

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The chief purpose of this image is to show off the new sleeping bag (Well, new to me, I’ll get to that). The old one, which I believe was a cheap one my dad bought (it wasn’t mine, it was just one I picked up for an emergency situation), had a critical zipper failure. And it was nylon and there is no coming back from a broken nylon zipper! I actually got stuck in it once last season, and wound up tearing a big section of the fabric trying to free myself. So, good riddance to bad rubbish!

The new one isn’t anything great, it’s all polyester, but I found it at the thrift store for cheap. And it does have a zippered pocket. I haven’t found a use for said pocket yet, but I may in the future.

It would be lovely to use said sleeping bag at some campsite. I’m planning on taking some time off in September and would like to go camping for a couple of days. Seeing happy campers every day has me thinking, “I want to do that, too!” Thinking I might need to go into more preparation. My plans for Cave Lake are definitely not happening, not until they repair the water system!

Wound up in Fairfax again doing laundry. I had to wash the new sleeping bag in addition to my usual load of laundry. As I’ve previously stated, it’s worth the slightly longer drive for cheaper washing/drying and a better class of laundromat-mates. That didn’t sound too snobby, did it?

I had to do laundry a bit early because [ profile] hardybear was available for dinner on Saturday (my usual laundry day), and that’s a rarity. Little did I know that [ profile] albadger would be arriving with Carol (his friend, not my stepmother) in tow, another rarity. We dined with [ profile] bigjohnsf at the Fuddrucker’s in Emeryville.

Getting new tires for Chester in the morning. The front tires are all worn down and didn’t pass the “penny test.” I wanted to get new tires today, but the place I go for tires didn’t have them in stock and had to order them. I’m not driving all the way to Folsom (remember that State test I told you about?) on two worn-down tires!

My soundtrack for this posting. This song came on just before I started to compose it, and it’s one of those tunes where I just have to let it play through from beginning to end, basking in the musical bliss. The piano playing especially just moves me.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from Berkeley’s El Burro Picante:

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Smiling on the outside but frustrated on the inside. Had to miss Dore Alley this year on account of work. Not like it’s a super-big deal or anything—I’m a little over events like that—but there’s people I would like to have caught up with that were going to be there, and I had to miss them. I have to miss a lot of things these days, and I regret that.

I do want to make plans for early September for a brief vacation, maybe a camping trip if I can find anyone who wants to go with. Was considering Cave Lake even though it looks like a torturously long drive, but since the water system is under repair, it looks like it’s out of the question. Maybe South Yuba River if I can score a campsite.

Next week we’ll finally be repairing a section of split-rail fence in the park that was rammed by an idiot motorist. Looks like the Visitors’ Services guys will be helping us out on that one. There’s a new VS guy working in the park that I just met, and like I said, G______ returns on Saturday.

Enjoying the new Steven Universe episodes but I’m extremely frustrated by the impatient people who insist on downloading leaked episodes and posting spoilers everywhere. Why can’t you just let us enjoy this in real time?
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from Berkeley’s Urban Ore. I generally disapprove of mirror photos—especially with such an ugly, marred-up mirror—but I wanted to show off the new Nexus 5 and its snazzy new orange case:

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There’s a new employment opportunity coming up, and I’m going for it. It requires travelling to Folsom. That’s, like, three weeks away, though. Two weeks and I have a new co-worker; G______, who is returning to the park after a seasonal break. I still have yet to meet him, but he’s the brother of M_______.

Definitely taking advantage of any advancement, though. I like working in the park, but this work is getting a bit repetitious. I feel like I’ve done all I can as a seasonal maintenance aide, and the time has come to move on to more challenging work.

I forgot to link you to my recent cooking videos!

Mike Makes Macaroni & Cheese Pizza
Mike Makes Thrifty Tetrazzini (the [ profile] vintage_ads community gets a shout out)
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from Berkeley Espresso. I think this is as close to a decent self-portrait as I’m going to manage this week. That’ll teach me to wait till the last second:

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Unusual week. Wound up travelling to Fairfax to do my laundry instead of the miserable laundromat in Santa Venetia next to the 7-11. And am I glad I did! Not only is there a much nicer clientele (no powdered goop in the machines’ drawers, no gaggles of screaming kids scurrying around like rats) but it’s far cheaper! 75¢ to dry a load of clothes! And free wi-fi! And I don’t have to worry about that horrible parking lot where I nearly always have an accident! Sure, it’s a slightly longer drive, but it’s so totally worth it. I’ll be back.

[ profile] albadger and [ profile] bigjohnsf chose to meet me at the laundromat of all places. We wound up dining at the pizza place a few doors down. It was like Improv Comedy pizza as we all shouted out random toppings:

  • Applewood bacon!

  • Roasted leeks!

  • Avocado!

  • As it turns out, it was the best pizza I’d had in a very long time. I’ll be back here, too!

    Replaced the needle on the MCS 6603 record player Al gave me and it sounds great. Through headphones or speakers, anyway. For whatever reason, when I attempt a digital transfer, it comes through sounding saturated and thin. I don’t know what I can do about this, as it seems to be an issue with my laptop’s crappy sound card. I’ll keep fiddling with it and hope I can find a cure. In the meantime, the old Realistic turntable got dumped at Goodwill. It’s served me well these past *ahem!* years, but really, good riddance.

    Maybe exciting news on the Confirmed Bachelors front, but it’s still too early to say. Maybe exciting news on the video front in general, but I’m a bit antsy about talking about it until I’ve really done something. We’ll see...
    progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
    Self-portrait from Berkeley’s Bangkok Thai:

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    Here’s something I couldn’t do last season: take off in the middle of the week to dine with friends in Berkeley! The new job is quite nice, I get along with my co-workers, have fabulous Bay views all day long and have a more varied selection of tasks than just cleaning restrooms.

    I was dreading Sunday morning because there was a marathon scheduled to close the main road until noon. Meaning we couldn’t go out and do the clean until after it was done. Meaning we needed to find other tasks to do until then. I was worried that that would mean “sit around the shop and be bored.” What it actually meant was “hike to the other end of the park to chop down the tree that fell across the trail.”

    Have I mentioned that I love this job. Maybe another marathon will happen soon! Or something else that will allow me to do something cool like that again, like a parade.

    Don’t worry, I promise not to make all my future weekly postings work-related. Now that I’m a bit settled in, I want to start back up on writing and making videos. I’ll find a way to make it happen!

    Sahara 2301

    Oct. 5th, 2015 07:02 pm
    progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
    Self-portrait from Sobrante Ridge:

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    I think I’ve found my new favourite place ever: Empire Grade! It’s funny that I never tried the back road from Big Basin to Santa Cruz until a month from the end of my season, but there you are. In any case, it’s a BEAUTIFUL drive and drops you in the back door of Santa Cruz via UCSC. The only dodgy part is the connection from 236 via Jamison Creek Road, and I’ve been on way worse roads (Lodge Road and China Grade immediately spring to mind).

    A rather stressful week at work. A rather troubled co-worker quit in a huff on the same day a court referral had a medical emergency. Why do these things have to happen all at the same time? In any case, I really need to step up the job search as the sands are running out on this one. Cross your fingers for me.

    A new Confirmed Bachelors promotional mini-sode is in the pipeline. Half of it is already shot. In the meantime, my latest Vlog:

    progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
    So...I don’t know if anyone has been following my Vlog series on Youtube, but here’s the latest news:

    I don’t know, maybe I can only concentrate on one creative project at a time. But I know that Confirmed Bachelors is the way to the future, not more tired internet movie reviews.
    progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
    Self-portrait outside of Val’s in Hayward, with [ profile] ednixon:

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    As you can see, sort of, Thursday afternoon going back down to Big Basin turned into a sort of large lunchtime gathering at Val’s, with visiting-from-out-of-town Frank plus [ profile] albadger, [ profile] bigjohnsf, Jim Billy & Harvey (both not on LJ). That was a nice surprise, and unexpected.

    Had to take a half-day on Tuesday as I fell victim to the dreaded “barometric pressure headache.” Chugging my morning coffee didn’t help, eating a banana and popping an Advil didn’t help, the only cure was to leave work and lie down for a few hours. Ugh! At least I have some sick leave stashed away.

    Had to skip hiking on Wednesday as weather did not permit. The rain (blown up from a tropical storm over the Gulf of California, it seems, accounting for the North Carolina-esque weather) came as a total surprise. It seems to have been a week of surprises. I made up for the lack of hiking on my day off by going on an early evening hike up Slippery Rock on my way back to my park housing after doing laundry.

    Oddest thing I’ve said this week: “Tonight’s meal may contain trace amounts of fried moth.”
    progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
    Self-portrait from the shores of Lake Chabot:

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    Well, I couldn’t help but notice on my way to the library today that the temperature plummeted the more I drove away from Big Basin. Usually, the opposite is the case. I don’t know if it’s just cooler out here, or if the temperature in general is going down. Hope it’s the latter, as another workday in heat like this I can’t take (when I got back up to the shop at the end of the day, the temperature read 92°F. And that was in the shade!).

    Had the worst lunch in many a day today. I’d planned on making an avocado and cheese sandwich for lunch last night, but I found big patches of mould on the bread. Yuck! Had to throw it out. I thought I might be able to at least have the avocado au naturel, but it was having none of it. It was so un-ripe and rock hard I practically chipped a tooth trying to bite into it. At least I had some chips and some (delicious, incidentally) fresh pineapple, so I didn’t go hungry. Still, I was reminded of this exchange:

    What are you eating?
    —Macaroni and nothing!

    Strangest search term I entered into Google™ in a while: “Robespierre duck cartoon.”
    progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
    Self-portrait from the Mel’s Diner on Geary in S.F.:

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    Incidentally, the cap is not mine. It belongs to [ profile] scottasf, who lent it to me for dinner. We were dining (along with [ profile] albadger) after a production of the original play of Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Momma’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feeling So Sad. It’s a really messed-up, yet captivating, play. I’d previously only seen the film with Rosalind Russell, Robert Morse, Hugh Jeffries and Barbara Harris, and it (rather predictably) completely misses the point of the original text. Really, it strikes me as an unfilmable play, especially considering fully one-fourth of it consists of an extended monologue.

    I also tried on Scott’s straw boater, but it didn’t go with the clothes I was wearing, so it stayed in the car.

    Other events this week: [ profile] 2ndbanana’s birthday party. A new dining experience: fondue! I copied Fol-de-Rol (weird Sid & Marty Krofft variety special from 1972 with a sort of Renaissance Faire theme) and the aforementioned Goin’ Coconuts for him. Lots of fun was had. It’s a shame that, with my current schedule, I tend to only see him once a year these days.

    [ profile] albadger and I got together additionally to watch a couple of films. One is my new favourite thing ever, and will be discussed in an adjoining post. The other was Dünyayı kurtaran adam, popularly-known as Turkish Star Wars (on account of stealing tons of footage, and some of its music, from the original Star Wars). In it, a couple of astronauts crash-land on a desert planet run by a tyrant who resembles Rasputin with an empty box of Quaker Oats on his head. They battle his army of carpet monsters using cardboard swords, trampolines and clumsy amateur martial arts. That’s pretty much it. Additional music on loan from Raiders of the Lost Ark, Flash Gordon and The Black Hole.

    The bad news: the Toshiba laptop I bought back in September completely bricked. The good news: it’s still under the manufacturer’s warranty, so it’s currently at the Toshiba service center. Hopefully I won’t need to wait too long; someone else told me that his has been “waiting for parts” for three weeks. In the meantime, I have the old Lappytron 2000 (MSI), which I’ve renamed the Craptop, on account of the unwieldy bulk, the broken shift key, the piddly-sized hard drive, the noisy fan, the fact that it gives off lots of heat, the power-cord connection is wonky and sensitive and the battery is circling the drain and won’t retain a charge. It was also filthy from months of neglect. Like I said, I can’t wait for the Toshiba to be back in my possession. I only hope there was no data loss.

    I guess things are looking up, though. I found two four-leaf clovers while out hiking today. That has to count for something, right?

    Lucky Seven

    Mar. 2nd, 2015 07:17 pm
    progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
    Self-portrait right outside of my house. There’s supposed to be a rainbow off to the left, but the shot is framed incorrectly. Oh well:

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    Getting some last minute stuff done before returning to work. Including some DVD transfers, so I have lots and lots of viewing material for the work season. A couple of ’em are pretty self-indulgent: the 1997 3-hour Rough Riders mini-series and Blackie the Pirate (1971) starring Bud Spencer in particular. Saving up the original 1948 Vice-Versa for viewing with [ profile] albadger and the previously-mentioned Goin’ Coconuts for soon-to-be birthday boy [ profile] 2ndbanana, both of whom I’ll be seeing this weekend.

    My great new discovery of the past week was Simply Bowl, on University in Berkeley. After the grievous loss of Yaki Ichiban at the Emery Bay Public Market, I’ve been looking for someplace to get my curry tonkatsu fix, and I think I may have found it. They serve it in a rice bowl with a side of...crunchy red stuff. I guess it’s some kind of radish. Whatever it is, it’s good! I’ll be back here!
    progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
    Self-portrait from Chamberlain Creek Falls in Jackson State Forest.

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    What a switch last week has been from the norm! I spent the weekend with [ profile] snousle and Ray (not on LJ) at their country home in the mountains of Mendocino County. Mostly it was a relaxing weekend, starting with a social evening at the town bar in Ukiah but it was mainly very mellow, with home-prepared meals every night (well, take-out pizza on Thursday, but other than that...).

    Chester went through his paces on Saturday as I went out on a long car trip out to the coast. I stopped off half-way to take a detour on the forest roads to see Chamberlain Creek Falls. This is really one of my most-liked California waterfalls of the ones I have visited. It has one of those features I really love in that you can actually walk right up to the falls. The daring could strip down and drench themselves in the spray. There were too many other people visiting to be daring.

    Stopped off in Fort Bragg for lunch, but elected not to visit the beach there, as while the town was nice, the beach looked pretty scuzzy. So I drove up to the town of Cleone and went to the beach at MacKerricher State Park instead. There were some very dramatic rock formations, perfect for watching waves crash.

    I also visited some thrift stores in Ukiah and Fort Bragg but came back empty-handed. The selection was disappointing; contrary to my expectations, I tend to find more interesting junk in Hayward and at the El Sobrante Thrift Town in my own backyard. The fact that one of them was called Paul Bunyan Thrift Store just made it all the more disappointing.

    Saturday night was Movie Night! So we watched my favourite episode of Electra Woman and Dyna Girl as a short subject and a prelude to the main feature. Which was Twinsanity, the video title of the 1970 film Goodbye Gemini. Two mentally disturbed fraternal twins (Judy Geeson and Martin Potter) find debauchery and tragedy in swinging London. It’s very 1970, has strong acting performances all-round and, best of all, has a plot that subverts almost every expectation you have. Just when you think you know where this movie is going, it yanks the rug out from under you. Gripping from beginning to end. I had a hunch about this film when I picked up the VHS tape mere weeks ago at Half Price Books, despite never having even heard of it before. What a find!

    I definitely have to thank Tony for being such a gracious host. What a cool guy! What a cool home!

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