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Happy 2008 Winter Solstice!

Happy Winter Solstice!

Here is my latest contact information:

our-San-Jose-phone-number (voicemail)
our-Oakland-cell-phone-number (cell)



My solstice update is below.


  * Home
    * No slouch potato.  I finally executed my plan to move the bulk of
      our boxed stuff in our dining room/computers area into the basement
      to make room for a couch.  (As it turns out, we found a couch on the
      sidewalk a few days within my completion, which was convenient.  Yet
      more used furniture.)
  * Pets
    * Not a drop to drink.  A meeting was had between my backpack and the
      cat's drinking water.  The result of this union was a very wet
      appointment book with a number of entries forever lost to history.
      Thus, this year's solstice message may be missing important details.
  * Transportation
    * Car
      * Quiet, shiny, and red.  Since the VW Jetta was dying, Noelle bought a
        new Toyota Prius this year.  She used some of her inheritance to buy
        it.  Since she has had to give up riding her bicycle due to a neck
        problem she developed this year, it has turned out to be a useful
        form of transportation.  See
      * No help at all.  I was contacted by someone to try carpooling.  (I
        had forgotten that I had signed up for this.)  The experiment lasted
        only one week.  It turned out that, besides getting almost no
        exercise, it saved me very little time in getting to work, and ended
        up slowing down the driver.
  * Property
    * Be prepared.  I attended a 5-week CERT (Community Emergency Response
      Team -- SJ Prepared!) course in September and October.  I only
      signed up to know how to deal with a major earthquake, but they
      provide you with a whole lot more training -- probably more than I
      can ever use or will want to use.
    * Utter non-cooperation.  Our efforts to assemble some people for a
      where-I-live-based cohousing project have thus far fallen on deaf ears.
      Our monthly meetings are woefully underattended.  It's probably
      partially the economy, but I think there are motivational problems
      within the city limits of where-I-live.
  * Travel
    * The medium is the massage.  We went to a massage workshop in Esalen in
      April.  'Though we learned a lot, I really think it was an excuse for
      Noelle to relax in the hot tubs.  Lots of relaxing and lots of yummy
      vegetarian food.  See
    * Not so fast times.  Noelle and I went down to Santa Barbara in early
      August for Noelle's high school reunion.  It was the first long
      drive in Noelle's car.  Although the reunion was a bit dull for me,
      the car performed adequately.  See
    * The low road.  We boarded the Coast Starlight Amtrak train in San
       for the 18 hour trip to Portland.  Noelle wanted to experience
      the train.  She elected to book a Superliner Bedroom, which includes
      2 twin-sized (or sub-twin-sized, IMHO) beds, a shower (which we
      never tried), and a bathroom (which was useful).  There were 3
      motivating factors for the trip: Noelle's friend Liza, Noelle's
      cousin, and Evergreen.  Our plan was to (1) stay at Liza's place for
      a few days and visit Noelle's cousin, (2) drive up to Olympia to see
      Evergreen, and then (3) return to Portland for more futzing around.
      There were a few kinks in the plan.  The first part was fine ('tho
      not having a car in the 'burbs was a bit stifling).  The second part
      started out well (we visited Mt. St. Helens on the way to Oly), but,
      after visiting Evergreen, we soon ran out of things to do with in
      Olympia (we drove to the Pacific coast in desperation).  The third
      part had a surprising twist; we had to find a hotel to stay at since
      Liza had an unexpected visitor.  And visits to her cousin and
      his family were complicated by medical issues.  Anyway, the pictures
      can be found at
  * People
    * Missing persons.  Last solstice message, some messages bounced.  I no
      longer have email addresses for these people:

        Louis Dunne
        Clayton Glad
        Jin Young
        Dave Parker
        Louise Zivnuska
        Bruce Moreland
      If you're in contact with any of these people, please tell them that
      I am missing their email addresses.
  * Health
    * What's up?  My benign positional vertigo (BPV) came back with a
      vengeance earlier this year.  It was a challenge to ride my bike but
      I forced myself to do it.  Eventually, I had the canalith
      repositioning procedure in April which I think fixed it (it wasn't
      clear at first and I have trepidations declaring myself "cured").
  * Clothing
    * More Birkenstock woes.  I found out that Birkenstock now makes no
      vegetarian (non-leather) sandals.  I broke down and bought some
      Tevas (one of the few brand-name vegan sandals).  (They are
      surprisingly comfortable, as it turns out.  So, the choice wasn't
      too bad.)

  * Movies
    * Web, too, point oh.  As with last year, movies not in MovieLens
      (http://movielens.umn.edu) are available via


      And, my Movielens ratings of recent movies continue to be at
      http://tinyurl.com/3xxea .
    * DVDs by mail.  If you'd like to be my Netflix friend, please click on


      And my Netflix queue is always available from http://tinyurl.com/qu8lj
      or via RSS feed from
    * More Michael J Nelson.  Noelle and I are continuing to do Rifftrax
      movies (http://rifftrax.com ).  For those who don't know, Rifftrax is
      Mike Nelson and friends making snide comments during the viewing of a
      movie (like Mystery Science Theater 3000).  My favorites so far are
      still Star Wars Episode II, Eragon, and Spider Man, but also
      Star Wars Holiday Special.
  * Television
    * Not in Movielens.  We've been watching some shows via Netflix, but
      I was most impressed by "30 Days: Season 2".  Other shows we've been
      watching have been "Foyle's War", "The Wire", and "MI-5".  We've stopped
      watching "Scrubs" since there were too many children.
  * Spoken word
    * The third Reich.  We saw Robert Reich.  It was the third time I saw
      him (once in Boston, once in , and this time in Cupertino).
      This time, he debated Newt Gingrich.  Of course, Robert Reich was
      very funny and good.  Newt...well...
  * Music
    * We've got the funk.  Michael Franti finally came to the south bay
      (Santa Clara University).  The auditorium was a little funky and,
      despite wearing earplugs, I still had ringing in my ears.  It was
      during the week and was too tired to really enjoy it, but I'm glad
      we went.
  * Theater
    * The lack of silence was deafening.  We got to see the San Francisco
      Mime Troupe this year after a failed attempt last year.  We saw them
      in a park in Santa Cruz.  It was enjoyable and thought-provoking,
      as usual.
    * Why split hairs?  Along with a couple of other childfree couples, we
      saw our first where-I-live Repertory play: Splitting Infinity.  Needless
      to say, it concerned physics, but was also about religion.
  * Social
    * A positive pollution contribution.  We had 2 BBQ parties over the
      summer.  Some people I hadn't seen in a very long time.  Others I may
      never see again.  I think everyone enjoyed themselves.  See

  * Politics
    * Never a wasted vote.  My gal, Cynthia McKinney, didn't win the
      presidential election, needless to say.  And a lot of my Green Party
      candidates didn't win, unfortunately.  I was happy that Prop 4
      (Parental Notification Initiative) was defeated.  I was sad that
      Prop 8 was passed (Same-Sex Marriage), not because it denies
      marriage to gays/lesbians, but because it reveals how difficult it
      will be to end marriage as a government-sanctioned benefit.

  * Internet
    * It's like being there.  I signed up for a virtual private service
      (VPS) to host my domain (it's more of a virtual domain)
      dummy.us.eu.org in an effort to conserve the electricity my home
      server was using.  (Actually, my home server is still running and
      probably won't get rid of it until next year.)  The provider is
      quantact.com (in Santa Rosa) and I decided upon Debian 4.0 (etch).
      I use key-based-only ssh for remote access, lokkit for the firewall,
      thttpd for the web server, exim for the mail server, and dovecot for
      POP3 access (CRAM-MD5 is used to prevent password sniffing).

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