21 August 2011


Worked on homework Saturday morning and made a good start on the two programming assignments, but still need to answer the review questions part.

When I had had enough, I left the computer and my wife immediately jumped on it. We need a second computer. I looked into some used or refurbished ones. They are a lot cheaper than a new one and the new ones have Windows 7. Bloatware. I use a W7 machine at work and like XP better. Could do a linux one, but at least for the class, the programs need to run under Windows and either XP or 7 should be okay for that.

Saturday afternoon we drove to San Francisco to visit a guy who makes shelves for chinchilla cages. He didn't mention that he lives in the Tenderloin. Lots of street people but surprisingly there was some parking. We bought a few (wooden) shelves and talked with him some about chinchilla care. He's a nice guy. The shelves are because we apparently are keeping the chin we have been fostering and they like to hop, so like multiple levels in their cages. They are wood because they like to chew.

In the evening we three went to a murder mystery dinner on a river boat in Sacramento and stayed the night in a hotel there. The dinner was a comedy thing, which is not what we expected and it wasn't that good. Actually it was kind of annoying and we weren't the only ones that thought so. It was not off to a good start when nothing happened for an hour and a half after we/the entire group were/was seated. We drove back this morning, caught up on pet care from the morning and continued with home weekend stuff.

first class

Thursday night was the first class. It was mostly a review of the course guidelines and requirements, then a review of some material related to the course.

Most of the students are traditional students, recently out of high school. There was one guy who was about my age, but through a dialog with the teacher, he is not ready for the course. He pointed out that when he started programming classes, punch read machines were used. My first class must have been the year after him, because they were being removed that year.

Maybe half of them took the prerequisite class over the summer, so the material and the teacher are very familiar to them.

After this one class, it seems easy enough, but she assured us that the work will get more complicated and time consuming.

Before the class started two students were in the hall waiting for the door to be unlocked and talking about their history of programming classes. I thought they were annoying. Not sure why. Maybe they just reminded me of how out of touch I am with modern methods.

I hope work doesn't interfere with the class schedule. If any travel comes up, then I could potentially miss a class. They have an attendance policy that factors into the grade, so I don't want to miss a class due to a travel conflict.

Now that I know the schedule, I can let people at work know and hopefully the projects can fit in around it.

11 August 2011


I forgot to write about the class I'm planning to take. Because it's been a long time since I've taken a programming class and I've been writing C since then, I thought it was about time that I took formal training in modern programming methods and a modern language. The local community college has an introduction to object-oriented programming in java class, but when I looked at the textbook, it was obvious that was too beginner for me. The next course, programming methods in java, is much more my speed, but they have caveats with that course that it's not a beginner class and students are expected to know the fundamentals of programming and programming in java. Toward that end I have been working through the textbook for the intro class, so hopefully I'm prepared. The other issue with the methods class is the time. Apparently many people drop it due to the time requirement for completing homework. I have arranged to drop my work hours to 32 instead of 40/w, so I'll see how that goes.

An additional concern is our one computer at home. There are three of us and only one desktop. My wife does some browsing and email and our daughter is starting seventh grade in a few weeks. I assume that more of her homework (aside from math) will be done on the computer. We are potentially going to have computer-time conflicts. I had bought a tablet (7inch Samsung) to help with the computer conflict, but the thing is not that useful because it's annoying to type on it. Laptop? Used laptop?

Oh, and of course, because the methods class has two prerequisites, there was bureaucratic foolishness I had to go through to register for the class.

In the end, I hope the class makes me more useful in the programming job market, since I can't find any positions in my current field, where programming is just a side line.

09 August 2011


For a while now, our daughter has wanted a chinchilla. We talked about it and came up with a plan that she would save up the money for the critter and we would buy the cage, etc. for it. However, she and my wife went to the local chin rescue center over the weekend, so...

We are currently fostering a 5-yr male chin named Carlos. She would like to name him Fig. Chins are nocturnal animals. That was something that became quite clear to me because his cage is off to the side in the living room and I have been (mostly) sleeping on the couch since the surgery, because I can't sleep flat. The sleeping flat thing is getting better and instead of moving the cage upstairs last night, I tried sleeping in the bed. It worked out okay, but when I tried it once last week, the ache in the night bothered me more. I guess it comes and goes now, but soon I'll be ready.

The girls were out of town last night. Our daughter doesn't have a summer camp this week, so they are vacationing.

The chin makes a mess during the night: bedding and his little poop pellets out of the cage and everything moved around inside.

I don't know what we're going to do about this. We need to try the cage in her room one night with her trying to sleep with the racket, so she can experience it, but that means the cage has to be elsewhere and I'd rather not have it in the living room.

They didn't say how long this foster period was. Apparently it's open ended.


In the past week or so I've pulled out the crochet tools and managed to get some work done. Enough to finish a scarf I started a year ago for my wife. Actually, she and our daughter are going to share it. It was the yarn I dyed at a yarn-dying "party" last July. It was an on-and-off project while doing other projects, but I haven't done much since the skiing accident and none, until now, since the surgery.

I was supposed to make a scarf for my mother-in-law for her birthday. It was originally our daughter's idea to knit one for her, but she gave up on the project and I volunteered to crochet one. I had plenty of time, but after being idle for months, don't have much time now.

getting attention

Yesterday morning I had to work to get the PT's attention. After doing the exercises in a PT session, the chief PT stretches my shoulder (then comes the ice and electrostim). Yesterday the guy on the table next to me was wanting to talk with him about the golf developments over the weekend. Hello, he's stretching me, it's my time to talk with him. I wanted to ask about the latest estimate of my timeline for being able to put a barbell across my back, do overhead presses, etc., so I butted into their conversation to take care of business.

The answer was another two months for doing back squats, in the mean time use DBs. Which means I'll continue doing front squats with a 45-lb plate and keep doing leg extensions and curls with the iron boots. Over the weekend a clerk at vitamin store suggested doing squats with a Smith machine because then I could hold on with only one arm. That was a good idea, but I would have to join a gym to do it.

He also said that even though I can't do overhead press yet, I could do incline press. They went okay with light DBs. I'll have to try front raises and lateral raises for shoulders. I forgot to do them at yesterday evening's garage session.

Deadlift and biceps curls are progressing faster than I expected. Anything shoulder-related is slow.

05 August 2011

more PT

I went to the ortho a month ago and Wed this week. Each time he looked over my shoulder and moved it around and said to continue with physical therapy (PT) and come back to see him in a month.

Wed I tried to put a bar across my back to see if squats are an option yet. No joy.

In the mean time, I bought some "iron boots" and have been using them for (standing) leg extensions and curls. Been doing deadlifts with a barbell. Did 3sets x 10 x 95lbs this week. (Prior to surgery I was doing around 250.) Front squats 3sets x 10 with a 45-lb plate. Even vertically, holding the plate is the hard part.

Have been struggling with things like normal lat pulldowns and floor press. I can floor press 12-lb DBs, but a barbell is too heavy to attempt. Next week I'll try 16-lb DBs. Doing them on the floor, because it's not worth it to unfold the bench and it keeps my elbow from moving too far back. Two of my PT exercises are triceps pushdowns and lat front pulldowns and those are okay. On overhead (normal) lat pulldowns, the muscles in my shoulder grind, but I can do the movement if the bar is kind of out in front, far enough so I won't hit my nose. Still can't do something like a shoulder press, because the arm doesn't move like that. That also means hanging leg raises are out. Prior to surgery I was doing them with arm straps, but I tried getting in those the other day. No way. For the last month or so I've been doing leg lifts and crunches.