progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)
Self-portrait from Crockett Hills, displaying my hair fresh with henna:

 photo IMG_20170403_131806_zpspdo3394i.jpg

Well, it’s finally over. Livejournal, I mean. I gave them fourteen years of my life, but that appears to be all in the past. Doing all my journaling here from now on, and no longer cross-posting. I’ll be deleting my LJ ere long, or at least “sensitive” posts. Don’t know if I’ll keep up with the weekly self-portraits thing. The Weekly Puck, which I just updated, is still going strong.

I have to say, I don’t feel that Dreamwidth has the community that LJ did. I mean, people do this “granting access” thing, but I can’t find a way to read their posts apart from actually clicking on their name to read all their posts at once. Am I missing something? I know that DW is not LJ, but I feel there must be something obvious I’m overlooking. Apart from that, it kind of feels like shouting into Outer Space. There’s something disappointingly lacking in communication about DW, at least that I have seen so far. Writing with no audience isn’t terribly satisfying.
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Self-portrait from Tilden Regional Park, basking in the orange glow of my new shirt:

 photo IMG_20170331_134624_zpsfigprdge.jpg

Speaking of “orange,” I applied henna to my hair over the past 24 hours. This is the first time I have used it in many a year. I was hoping for something more auburn, and fearing something more Here’s Lucy. I think I got something a little between the two extremes, but it’s still a little Tangy Citrus™ for my liking. Likely, it will mellow with time.

You don’t see it in the above image. That’s pre-henna. You’ll see the results soon enough. Meanwhile, my hair is super soft and exudes that henna smell (think really, really strong black tea).

The Beard & Moustache Contest is coming up this Friday. I was hoping to get a little cheering section going for my first ever competition.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)
Self-portrait from the Marin Headlands, between Sausalito and Tennessee Valley:

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So it’s officially official: I will be working at Mt. Tamalpais State Park this season. Met up with M___ and we did the “walkthrough” of the place where I’ll be living. I say “walkthrough” in quotes because it’s just a small RV, with barely enough room for walking. There also seems to be an issue with the water, so there’s even more of a reminder of my years at Big Basin. It’s OK, I have a few other irons in the fire right now, and am hoping that I’ll finally get a full-time position this year.

Crossed the straits over to the surplus store in Vallejo to get a new pair of uniform pants. My uniform allowance finally showed up, and I used the sunny weather today as an excuse to make the trip. Also combed the thrift stores there, wound up coming back empty handed on that front.

Did I tell you I found a CED player? The store I bought it at, surprisingly, didn’t have any discs* so I had no way of testing it. I found a disc of Semi-Tough elsewhere, but the test is still...inconclusive. The disc emerged from the player BROKEN, so whether it was the player’s fault or the disc was that way to begin with (it was in pretty sad shape!) is yet to be determined. I need to find a way to get into this thing all the way; the compartment on top (to replace the stylus) opens, but it looks like the actual lid is held on with hex bolts on the underside. I’m guessing RCA really didn’t want users trying to service these things!

*I say “surprisingly” because usually when people unload these things, they also drop off their entire video collection, which means a huge stack of CED video discs.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)
Self-portrait from the bayshore near Rodeo:

 photo IMG_20170320_152335_zpsoxprophv.jpg

So it’s confirmed. I start up working again at Mt. Tamalpais State Park...soon. I talked with M___ on Friday over the phone and we’ll be doing a little walkthrough of the park and a visit to the trailer where I’ll be living on Wednesday. More info as it develops.

Also confirmed: my ticket for the Moustache & Beard Contest in Sacramento in April. I’ll be competing for the first time ever! Wish me luck!
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Self-portrait from the innovatively-named Coffee Shop in Lafayette. I swear to you, I do things other than drink coffee!

 photo IMG_20170312_154934_zpsztbgjitn.jpg

Took advantage of the sunny weather and went hiking out to Briones on Sunday. I was down at the Lafayette Ridge entrance. It was popular in spite of the heavy storm damage to the trail. I found that if I’d just gone and taken the gravel service road I could have avoided all the landslides and junk. Duh!

Cutting this short, but I have an interesting announcement regarding the Weekly Puck which will come up later this week. Watch out for it!

Body Party

Mar. 7th, 2017 06:28 pm
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)
Self-portrait from Sacramento’s Tupelo Coffeehouse:

 photo WIN_20170304_15_46_47_Pro_zpsnqz1d1py.jpg

Since me moving to the Sacramento area looks to be a distinct future possibility, I’m still on the lookout for that indie coffeehouse I’ll fall in love with. And...Old Soul @ 40 Acres is still the winner for me, despite being in a rather sketchy neighborhood. Tupelo is in a much nicer area, but I’m not sold on it despite the Yelp raves. The coffee’s fine, but the “plenty of seating and outlets” I found rather wanting. Of course, showing up on “rush hour” on Saturday at a place right next to the College probably didn’t help, but the seating is a little more “communal” than I generally like. I guess it’s a generational thing, younger people don’t seem to mind sitting at tables next to a bunch of strangers.

Also: I was in town for a reason other than the job search; it was [personal profile] 2ndbanana’s [observed] birthday, so we had a big pizza and sundae party at his house. A delightful bear-y attendance; an extremely cute guy gave me a hug and complimented me on how “warm” I was. I thanked him, then began to worry if I was running a fever! Obviously not, considering I feel just fine!

Something new happened to me on Sunday: it was the first time I got hailed on when it was raining! Fortunately, I had the foresight to bring my hooded jacket, which did a fine job of protecting me from hailstones. I’m lucky to be in California, where we don’t get the proverbial “golf-ball-sized hail.” Tends to be about the size of rice grains whenever we get it. In any case, I lived. It was over at the Hillside Nature Area, and I concluded my hike with a visit to the El Cerrito Recycling Center’s Exchange Zone. Picked up some USB cables (mini/micro); not as glamourous as a Tascam dual tape deck, but better than nothing at all.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)
Self-portrait from Pinole’s East Bay Coffee, holding 12 ounces of the Elixir of Life:

 photo IMG_20170223_094710_zpsw8g89jqw.jpg

This has been a strange week. The whole interview thing was odd. It’s for a place I don’t even remember sending an application for, there was a mix-up with the scheduling, and it’s at the State Parks office near McClellan Field. That said, I have a better feeling about this interview compared to the others I’ve had. We’ll see. If not, I understand that they’re having another test coming up soon, so I have that to fall back on if this doesn’t come through.

In the meantime, I should call M___ and/or R_______ to see where I stand regarding working seasonally again. It’s looking like Mt. Tamalpais and not China Camp this year. Which is going to require some adjustment, but it looks fine for the present.

Didn’t get as much hiking done as I wanted to this week. The unsettled weather kind of threw a wet blanket on my plans.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)
Self-portrait from Kaleidoscope Café in Point Richmond:

 photo WIN_20170219_18_24_56_Pro_zpsapikbwqq.jpg

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.
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Self-portrait from the shores of San Pablo Reservoir:

 photo IMG_20170211_135249_zpskfct4y5k.jpg

Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather! I thought I’d seen the last of my job interviews from this last batch of State testing, but I received a phone call from McClellan Park up in (you guessed it!) Sacramento only this morning. So next (not this) Thursday, I have yet another interview. Wish me luck.

Exploiting the break in the weather to get some hiking done. Not only the reservoir, though that was my first destination. The main access road to the parking area at Kennedy Grove was closed off from flooding. The waters had receded when I’d got there, but it was still closed off and had to use the alternate entrance over on Hillside Dr. You could definitely tell where the flooding had occurred, right below the spillway. If the fresh water marks weren’t enough of a tip-off, the dead fish in the road (sticklebacks?) sure were.

I’ve mentioned Kaleidoscope Coffee and their peanut butter sandwiches in previous posts, but (on account of the weather) I hadn’t used a trip out there as a pretext to hike in the Point Richmond area before. That changed this weekend. I went out to Miller-Knox before my jaunt to the café. Photographed Richmond’s poorly-publicized “badlands” (funny, even the park pamphlet doesn’t mention them). Hopefully they show up better in this photo than the last time I tried to take a snapshot of them, with the crappy Kodak digital camera:

 photo IMG_20170212_153716_zps17ydcp8q.jpg
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)
Self-portrait from the Hercules library:

 photo WIN_20170207_18_23_15_Pro_zps61cm0map.jpg

A.k.a.: The Tale of the $160 Sleeping Bag...

Went to a get-together at a food-court hoard in San Francisco this Saturday. When I got back to my car, I found the rear passenger-side window smashed. The good news, really the only good news, was that the only thing that was taken was a $5 sleeping bag I was using while I was out at China Camp. Insurance won’t pay for something as trivial as a broken window, so I’m forced to fend for myself. I get it replaced Wednesday afternoon. In the meantime, I’ve taped a trash bag and cardboard boxes over the gaping hole in my door, and still incurred water damage from the rain. So much for that new-car smell!

Watched Savage Intruder from 1970. I guess you could say this was another one of those “hag-sploitation” cash-in films, starring Miriam Hopkins as a faded Hollywood star desperately clinging to the last tendrils of her fame. Enter David Garfield as a drug-addicted psycho who turns her household inside out. This is the kind of guy who thinks it’s a good idea to romance caretaker Virginia Wing with a bunch of racist jokes, so we immediately know something’s up even before he’s knocked her up. I anticipated campy entertainment when I started this and got...something that was more thoughtful and well-made than I anticipated. There’s some effectively creepy shots here, in particular the opening credits showing close-ups of the dilapidated Hollywood sign to the desolate sound of wind blowing. And there’s lots of eerie shots of Hopkins’ wardrobe mannequins. The acting is also very good, in particular Hopkins, who really nails the pathos in her character. Also fine is another old pro, Gale Sondergaard as Hopkins’ waspish, suspicious secretary. It’s from 1970, so expect some psychedelic freak-out scenes (mostly Garfield’s flashbacks to his sluttish, alcoholic mother, but also a scene where he nabs Wing, drags her to a bar and turns her on to drugs). More worth watching than I had anticipated.


Jan. 30th, 2017 07:20 pm
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)
Self-portrait from Point Pinole:

 photo IMG_20170124_151825_zpsffyh7j98.jpg

I haven’t been here in a while, and I’m impressed by the progress they’ve made with the “new” entrance! Looks like restrooms, picnic tables and a new parking lot have all already been installed! Haven’t checked it out from the other side to see if it’s open yet, but it looked great from the trail!

Kind of a light activity week. Mostly just tedious stuff like automotive maintenance: oil change and fuel additive. You know, spend a little now to avoid spending a lot later, that sort of thing.

Haven’t had any new job interviews yet, but I hope to hear from the people at the Franchise Tax Board this week. In the meantime, I keep haunting the State site to see if any new examinations have come up. Nothing. Spinning the wheels, in other words.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)
Self-portrait from a new favorite hang-out spot, Point Richmond’s Kaleidoscope Coffee:

 photo IMG_20170121_152607_zpsu5lvqwfs.jpg

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:

 photo IMG_20170114_161219_zpszclunylo.jpg

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 (Default)
Self-portrait taken during the annual New Year’s General Shafter pilgrimage at the National Cemetery. I didn’t exactly miss it last year, but it was terribly delayed on account of construction. So I’m glad to have made it in timely fashion this year:

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Rather disappointed by my performance at the Half Moon Bay interview. I don’t think I did very well. I get the feeling I’m perceived as this clever B.S. artist who’s book smart but doesn’t have a lot of practical experience. Oh well, it was a nice trip out there, even if it was gray and drizzly.

I have another interview at the Franchise Tax Board (again!) in Sacramento next week. I was supposed to go down to Lake Perris for an interview this Wednesday, but that is so totally not happening for myriad reasons. We’ll see if Henry Cowell calls me back.

I did have the most remarkable thing happen to me this week. I went to the El Cerrito Recycling Center and wandered around their Exchange Zone. This used to be the Book Exchange, but people began dropping off more than just books (records, videotapes, toys, etc.). Anyway, I was just standing there, minding my own business, when someone who I insist must have been at least part ninja dropped something down right at my feet and ran off.

Tascam 302

That, my friends, is a Tascam 302 dual cassette deck. Now, I’ve been combing the thrift stores for a replacement for my ailing Pioneer CT-W300 for a while now, but I absolutely never expected to find something so high-end for free! I tested it at the test plug using a L’oiseau Lyre Bach cassette someone had left, and all the functions seemed to check out (though I was unable to check out the sound, lacking headphones). In the meantime, a guy was hovering over me, forced to wipe the drool from his chin.

Took it home and tested it out, this time with headphones. And yes, it really works! The sacrificial cassette was You’re All I Need, a 1988 EMI Manhattan release from former Labelle vocalist Sarah Dash. In fact, the title song is a duet with her ex-groupmate Patti LaBelle. Rather appropriately, I found this cassette as a freebie a couple of years back at the exact same location!
progbear: Major-General Progbear (my handlebar)
Self-portrait from lovely Cascade Falls, west of Fairfax:

 photo IMG_20161230_101419_zpsxbqdqh0x.jpg

So, a few changes happening in my blogging habits. You may have noticed this has been cross-posted from Dreamwidth. That’s #1 in my change. I’m migrating The Weekly Puck over here, too, which is why the last 2016 entry and the 2016 index have been delayed. They’ll be up presently, as well as the first 2017 entry.

Said bye to all my China Camp co-workers. Seems like everyone’s leaving there, at least all of their seasonal staff, as D___ (one of their visitors’ services guys) got another job and D___ (their other VS guy) had his last day on the 31st, the day I was moving out. Most of my stuff fit into only four Bankers Boxes, three of them were kitchen items.

As you can see above, one of my last Marin County hiking goals was achieved: Cascade Falls, which I think was the last Marin County waterfall I visited. I wanted to go back to Carson Falls, which I hadn’t visited in some years (probably on account of the drought in the intervening years), but since this place was new to me, I came here instead. The falls? They were OK. The area as a whole was more impressive, with the gorgeous, rocky creek canyon being the standout. I felt more like I was in Gold Country than in suburban Marin County. A nice cap-off to my work season.

Glad to say that 2017 has already been productive. Submitted virtual “paperwork” to the EDD to get the ball rolling on unemployment to cover my off-season, and also started on cleaning out my living space. Junked a pile of old electronics today, donating them to Thrift Town, including Blackbeard, my old home-brew workhorse Pentium III PC. Took out the hard drive (and floppy drive, who knows when or where I’ll find another one of those) and dumped the resulting skeleton. The original plan was to upgrade some of the components and reboot the OS, but that turned out to be more trouble than it was worth. When I am more financially solvent, I’ll build a top-of-the-line PC from the ground up. In the meantime, the General Miles laptop and my “silent*” secondhand Windows XP desktop will have to do. Cross your fingers that they stay working for the time being.

Also cross your fingers for me regarding my upcoming job interview on the 4th. This one’s in Half Moon Bay, and will be very good for me if I get it!

*I say “silent” because the video card audio drivers and the actual sound card drivers are in conflict, and I can’t figure out how to fix the problem. Again, turned out to be more trouble than it’s worth, especially since I intend to completely replace this PC.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from my Xmas Eve walk along Bayside Park in San Rafael:

 photo IMG_20161224_164803_zpscnjrtog0.jpg

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.


Dec. 19th, 2016 07:03 pm
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
As I’m now counting down the days that I still have it: self-portrait from just outside park housing again:

 photo IMG_20161217_161608_zps5vabzqm7.jpg

What an adventure the past week has been! First of all, good news and bad news. They’re actually the same news: my interview at Half Moon Bay has been postponed. Since I botched the interview for the Sierra district, it’s good that I have extra time to study. I need to make this count!

And I get the distinct feeling that the people who scheduled the interview looked at the weather forecast and thought, “we can’t have prospective employees driving around in that!” So I went to work in the pounding rain instead! Fun! And L___, a park aide from S. P. Taylor, was along for the ride. I was to show her around to familiarize her with the park and the cleaning routine. But we got pummeled by rain the whole time. Eventually, J__ sought us out and told us to come back to the shop, where he’d built a fire. She and I played games of hangman until it was time for her to drive back.

And on Friday, I got stuck in the campground. I somehow didn’t notice the fallen tree on the downhill slope between the upper and lower portions of the campground until it was too late, and I was unable to back my work truck back up the hill. D___ was the only other person on duty, and since neither he nor I were signed out on the chainsaw, we had to go back to the shop and bring back handsaws to deal with the tree. So what should have taken ten minutes wound up taking an hour. Oh well, at least it’s done.

One more week of work and my season is over. Technically, the 30th and 31st are work days for me, but I’ve requested days off so I can move out of my residence. I’m going to kind of miss the place.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (My handlebar)
Self-portrait from Empire Mine State Park, adjacent to Grass Valley:

 photo IMG_20161206_153455_zps5ukpoucn.jpg

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:

 photo IMG_20161205_161959_zps3mqlczcx.jpg

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 the laundromat in Fairfax:

 photo IMG_20161112_171519_zpswyufpjax.jpg

[ profile] albadger and I watched more episodes of Stranger Things last week. I really like the way this series is progressing. They did a very good job with this, and I can’t wait to see the rest of the series, which should be tomorrow. In other good TV-related news, there’s a new episode of Steven Universe coming up this week!

I was inspired to write some more Confirmed Bachelors dialogue this week. I’ve also put out feelers to an artistically talented net-buddy of mine for concept/poster art for promotional purposes. And a very nice lady complimented one of the promotional videos I posted last year, and suggested I audition for local theater. It’s something to consider.

Still waiting on that job interview. Hopefully my sending out applications will result in one. In the meantime, I have another job offer waiting for me, so it’s likely I’ll be sending out another in the near future (like: tomorrow or Wednesday). Also: Wednesday is First Aid training up at Olompali, so I’ll be attending that. I don’t know if I mentioned it, but East Bay Regional Parks wanted someone with First Aid training, so this is definitely a good career move for me.

I’m finally on my own phone line. Carol and I had been on a family plan since 2012, and just this week I went down to T-Mobile to finalize the process. Another step in my continuing march towards complete independence...

I flaked out on The Weekly Puck last week. Super-sorry about that. I’ll present you with two this week, I swear!

***sigh*** Did anything else happen this week?

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