Thursday, 31 May 2012

MrGrumpyLobster and the Internet

After almost no sleep MrGrumpyLobster was feeling less than enthusiastic at returning to the SunBedFarm today. He sat on the terrace and tried to check his email and update his blog, nothing... he could connect to the WiFi but there was no internet connection behind it.
He tried various geeky things, pinging, changing DNS servers etc, but there was nothing accessible other than the WiFi access point.
"Great" he thought, not only was he unable to use the internet anywhere off the terrace but even the rubbish connection he had yesterday was now gone.
He decided to head for reception,  that used to be the only place he could get access anyway and if nothing else he could complain about the lack of WiFi from their room.
They first tried GanAnfi reception, this has a really nice view, but he could not seem to find an available WiFi with internet access, so the went on to the main MonteAnfi reception.

This was more convenient as LittleMissNaughty could go up the stairs and sit by the pool while MrGrumpyLobster hid from the sun in the reception using the internet (which this time worked fine).  He was now able to check his emails and update the blog, he starts to get the shakes if he is off the grid for more than 12 hours.

Pre Sneezing drink
In the evening they went to visit LittleMissNaughty's favorite MrBellaPasta. Just as they were finishing off the nice meal there was a MrWakoJacko tribute act playing on the stage area, he was obviously miming but a good look-alike and dancer.
Back at the apartment, the 1 ltr of Canarian wine was taking its toll on LittleMissNaughty, she got the sneezes followed by the giggles, then out for the count.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

MrGrumpy says Relax

MrGrumpy is still not quite on the right timezone, he is currently somewhere mid atlantic, but closing in on the Canaries quickly, especially with the assistance on Beer, Sunshine and LittleMissNaughty.
Even though MrGrumpy has woken to sunshine for the last 6+ weeks, he finds it even better when he has replaced the CubeFarm with the SunBedFarm.

They spent the morning relaxing and slowly baking by the pool and when it got too hot, dipping into the pool to cool down.

After a little lunch back at the room, they went for a walk around, on the island there was a new bar/restaurant, where LittleMissNaughty decided it was a good place to get a cocktail, MrGrumpy stuck with a beer.

They decided to go out for some food, after some negotiation they decided to go to the MemSaab and have a curry, the food was good (but MrGrumpy thinks it is a tad pricy, which is not helped by the Euro/GBP rate). MrGrumpy had to help out LittleMissNaughty to finish off hers, so he was feeling pretty stuffed when they left.

By the end of the evening MrGrumpy had worked out the recipe for marking the perfect MrGrumpyLobster.
  1. Take a part baked MrGrumpy
  2. Place on pre-heated sunbed (35+ Degrees C)
  3. turn over regularly to ensure cooking
  4. dunk in pool every 2 - 3 turns
  5. repeat steps 3 and 4 until fully cooked
  6. leave to hurt for 12-24 hours 

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

MrGrumpy goes on Holiday

This morning MrGrumpy and LittleMissNaughty were getting ready to go on holiday.
Firstly MrBarneyDog went to his 5* destination with Mr and MrsDangerous, then MrGrumpy loaded up the car and they headed to the airport.
Parking went smoothly, they found the long stay parking and went to get the shuttle bus to the terminal This time they remembered to write down the car park and row, which makes it much easier to find the car on return.
It was easy for them to find the MrRyanAir queues, they were the ones with lots of grumpy looking people waiting.
The queues moved at a glacial pace, how can it take so long just to check peoples bags in,  it was a good job they had left plenty of time. Once the bag was checked in, the next challenge was ensuring that they got through security without a problem, they were well prepared, belts off, all pockets empty, no liquids, laptop out... no problems.
The flight was due out at 2:15pm, they had time for some lunch, off to MrFrankyAndBennys. After lunch LittleMissNaughty required some retail therapy and MrGrumpy found some iPad cases at a good price.
MrGrumpy had put his watch (which was still on PST) into his rucksack and was not aware that is was now 1:50pm, the gate for MrRyanAir opened at 1:30pm and was now on Final Call as they strolled towards the gate. Lucky they were not quite the last to get on the plane, but late enough to give them little choices on seating. They found two asile seats, but a row apart, not bad given how late they had boarded.
The flight on MrRyanAir was better than they expected, yes very basic and a bit chaotic but not that bad really. The approach and landing was quite bumpy, this made Little MissNaughty look a little green, but it was better then the last time when they landed with thunderstorms all around.
The transfer and check-in was quick and efficient, it was not long before they were in their apartment, LittleMissNaughty unpacked and MrGrumpy attempted to get all the technology online. This proved a little more of a challenge, the visible network from inside was not the correct one, the correct one was only visible from the terrace and even then a little hit a miss, there would be no streaming video on this WIFI.
They then realised that it was almost 9pm, they needed to rush or they would not make it to the Spar in time to get some supplies, without Wine, Beer and crisps how would they survive... They were just in time, the doors were being closed only moments after they arrived.
Now it was time for them to relax and start enjoying their time together. (Even if LittleMissNaughty wanted to watch the UK soap).

Sunday, 27 May 2012

MrGrumpy goes to town

The nap in the afternoon was not a great idea, it ment MrGrumpy woke just after midnight and did not get back to sleep.
By 8:00am he was cleaning all the bird messages and what appeared to be half a bag of sand from the Porsche, before MrGrumpy and Little MissNaughty went (roof down) to Cambridge in the hot sunshine.

Blue Skies over Cambridge
MrGrumpy managed to remember which side of the road he should be on switched back to the UK driving mode easily.

When they got back home, MrGrumpy started to watch the F1, this was not a great idea, he soon nodded off and felt much the worse when he awoke an hour or two later.

Little MissNaughty spent the time while he was asleep cramming more and more into the suitcase they were taking on holiday tomorrow.

When MrGrumpy weighed the case, it was 15+KG and felt like it was lead filled, they are only going for a week, but there was no point in asking her to remove stuff, it was all "essential"

After he work and they were going out for the first BBQ of the year, good food, friends and beer MrGrumpy really felt at home now.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

MrGrumpy's Back...

MrGrumpy did not manage to sleep on the flight home, he flew back on MustangSally, quite appropriate really given his vehicle in the US.
He watched a couple of movies, and listened to his iPod, no sleep really, he did close his eyes but did not manage to sleep.
After quite a short flight (9:15) flight and best part of an hour stacking over heathrow, MrGrumpy arrived to sunshine back in the UK, at least there was no luggage to wait for, but the plane did seem to be as far as possible from passport control.

He was back home by lunch time, the sun seems to have come back with him, he was very happy to be home for a little while.

After a quick nap while watching the golf (after watching the F1 qualifying), MrGrumpy and Little MissNaughty went out to see friends and have a takeaway.

Friday, 25 May 2012

MrGrumpy has left the building...

MrGrumpy arrived at the CubeFarm bright and early. This morning was a little cooler and quite a breeze outside, but the sun was still shining.

He parked the Mustang oposite the CubeFarm main entrance, that way it will be visible to the CCTV and MrSecurity while he is gone.

Hopefully MrGrumpy has everything he needs to exit and return to the country, he is only taking hand luggage so it should be quick and easy at the airport (if such a thing is possible).

It is almost time for MrGrumpy to leave for the AirPort, he is getting a lift off LittleMissLightRay (formally known as LittleMissUSFAE) this makes getting there much easier. On the way back he will try using the BART and CalTrain (and getting off at the right station).

At the airport the queue for security was quite light, still took a little while for MrGrumpy to get through (the metal detector was not working, so everybody had to go through the full body scanner).

MrGrumpy had plenty of time for a pint and pizza (he decided on pizza after the disappointment of last nights poor excuse for food), then only a two hour wait before getting on the plane for another ten and a half. MrGrumpy really enjoys international travel... Not...

Little MissNaughty told MrGrumpy that he was flying home on MustangSally, quite appropriate given his   US vehicle choice.

MrGrumpy's sends home the Sunshine

Another early start, MrGrumpy was in the office by 6:45 this morning and he had to fill up with gas on the way.

MrGrumpy has noticed that the weather in Sunnyvale is cooling down a little (about 21-22 deg C) as the UK is hotting up 28 deg C max today (ready for his return), looking at the forecast it will have evened out by the weekend 21-22 at both.

It was another Donut Thursday, he was so busy with his work that he forgot, it was only when somebody walked past his cube and reminded him, that he remembered. He knew there was a reason why he did not have breakfast this morning.

MrGrumpy has had a run in with his technology today, his laptop got very confused with it's mouse and wireless connections, requiring several reboots, fiddling with various settings, turning it off and on again... Finally it seems to be working again. One of the side effects of mixing multiple operating systems on a single device, MrGrumpy thinks. Maybe he was just having a bad technology day!

As the afternoon draws on, MrGrumpy is getting quite hungry, does he wait for the very last free meal in the canteen at 7:00pm or does he head home and treat himself to a pizza at the local near home. Maybe it is time for a snack and see how he feels later. He checked what tonights option of free food is, it is Korean BBQ, that is OK but he is still tempted by a pizza and to quote MrHomer, "Hot Pizza, the food of Kings!".

Today is the end of The Prisoner (staring MrGrumpy) - Season 1 - his last full day in the CubeFarm, tomorrow he will be heading for the airport at lunchtime (so only a 5 hour working day), the morning will just be like the end credits, time to tidy up some loose ends and ensure MrZee is busy for the next couple of weeks.

MrGrumpy intends on maintaining some updates during his vacation, they may not be uploaded daily - depending on wifi availability. Most entries could be "sitting by pool in the sun, drinking beer or eating out" so don't expect too much classic MrGrumpy. But then he will be in a foreign country and there is a general tendency for things to annoy him.

On his way home, MrGrumpy's scrooge gene kicked in,  having spent quite a lot of money last weekend, he decided to use the emergency frozen microwave food instead of going out. The Pizza slice was more like a pizza coaster, so he also nuked up the pasta stuff as well. Between the two there was just enough for a snack. What did he expect given they were only $0.99 each. Washed down with a couple of beers and some chips (crisps) while watching mythbusters, that will have to do him for tonight.

MrGrumpy is not sure why this post did not publish last night, it was still showing as draft this morning, even though he had told it to publish.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

T - 2

Only two more days before MrGrumpy gets to fly home for two weeks. He expects to be very busy right until he has to put his phone into flight mode.

MrGrumpy has learnt how much harder it is to be working long term away from the office, it is much harder to find out info by talking to the right people or have access to equipment when you need it.

At some stage MrGrumpy needs to decide what he needs to take back home, Laptop, iPad etc. He is thinking of going carry-on only to save having to check in luggage.

Little MissNaughty has informed MrGrumpy that MrBaggageHandler is planning on striking when they are flying out and back to GranCanaria next week, "typical" thought MrGrumpy, not only does he have a 10+ hour flight back to the UK but the 4.5 hour flight to the Canaries may well be extended by having to wait for luggage.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

MrGrumpy needs a haircut

MrGrumpy was at work by 6:45am, the usual Tuesday morning full off calls and stuff, generally he is not able to get onto anything until about lunch time.

Everything is becoming urgent as his return to the UK / Holiday week gets closer, one urgent thing is he needs another haircut.

MrGrumpy found a local barbers using MrGoogle and MrYelp. Just 3.3 miles away, so while he was rebuilding some code on his PC, he headed off. A simple and quick haircut, $10 + $2 tip and he was back almost before the code had rebuilt. (and he thought it was only women who can multitask).

Monday, 21 May 2012

MrGrumpy takes his driving test

Beep Beep Beep went MrIPod at 5:45am and MrGrumpy hit the snooze option at least twice before climbing out of bed.

After getting ready he realised that he had no milk or orange juice, so it was either a yogurt or bottle of beer for breakfast today, as he was about to take is driving test, yogurt it was.

MrGrumpy arrived at MrDMV in good time, there was already quite a queue and it was only 7:20am. At 8:00am the doors opened and the queue for tests goes in first. MrGrumpy was second in line, it was not long before he headed out to get the Mustang and start the test.

MrsMammyTwoShoes was to be his examiner, the test did not start too well when MrGrumpy used English hand signals and not the US ones... MrGrumpy put this behind him and concentrated on the test, about 20 mins later he returned to the DMV and parked. He was then informed that he should leave more space all around the car and needed to look over his shoulder to ensure there was nothing in his blind spot. MrGrumpy did not argue with any of this and was please to find he had passed (with the 4 minor errors, 15 or less is a pass).

Sunday, 20 May 2012

MrGrumpy's long day in Nevada

MrGrumpy woke just before sunrise, it reminded him of being in Vegas.
His plan was to go and find some breakfast, he headed out of the hotel about 7:30am.
A quick walk around the local area did not result in many options, MrMacDonalds would be a very last resort. A check on google showed somewhere about 3 blocks away, unfortunately when MrGrumpy manager to orient himself and go in the right direction, it did not exist.
There was a MrStarbucks, MrSubway and a MrSushi, but they were all closed (or at least looked that way).
MrGrumpy's backup plan would be to go back to the hotel, he really wanted just to find a simple diner. He failed and finally ended up in the Sienna Hotel / Resort (which is one that Little MissNaughty had asked him to check out while he was in Reno). Now decision time, what did he want...

The Special was eggs, bacon or sausage with biscuits & gravy for $7 and coffee $2 and that just about fitted what he wanted to pay. He went with the special, not actually really knowing what "biscuits and gravy" were. Well he was quite surprised when it arrived, eggs, bacon and a sloppy gloop.

Luckily for MrGrumpy it tastes better than it looks.

After breakfast he returned to the hotel and got his stuff together and then checked out.

So his vague plan for today was to see Lake Tahoe and other stuff in the area, but he wanted to be close to Reno by the time the Eclipse happens (about 6pm).
He searched MrSatNav for local attractions, he found victory and tahoe railroad, not too far away, so off he headed.

It was not long before he was driving up the twisty mountain roads, there were several "Vista points" to stop and admire the views. While he at one of these points, there were hundreds of Harleys going past, not just 10 or 20 at a time but 50-60 in several waves. He did not think too much off it and carried on his way.

He ended up following some of the Harleys towards Victoria City, somewhere a MrLocal has told him was worth a visit (when he was at one of the vista points). He parked and started walking up the hill into town, there were still lots of Harleys and they all seemed to be stopping here.

MrGrumpy spoke to one of the Harley riders and asked what the occasion was, it was a charity run in aid of Breast Cancer organised by one of the bars in Reno and they were expecting 1000+ bikes during the day. From what MrGrumpy could see they would be pretty close to that number.

Virginia City looks like a movie set, but without the film crew. MrGrumpy spent a little while here walking about and taking photos, before heading on towards Lake Tahoe.

As he continued along the ever climbing and winding roads, he came across another car park / vista area, this was at the base of trails leading to the summit of MountRose, he stopped and decided that he would go up the trail.
As usual MrGrumpy was not prepared for hiking, no water, no food, just a camera, iPhone and tshirt, shorts and trainers. The side of the mountain where the trail started was clear of snow, as he walked up the trail the was still some areas of snow but most were easy to get over, a few times he did find his foot sinking into the snow up above his ankle. The trail provided some breathtaking views over Lake Tahoe.
The trail stated to become difficult to follow (and steeper) and as MrGrumpy is not very fit and really not used to walking up hills at 9000-10000ft,  he was finding it quite hard. He carried on until the he lost the trail due to the snow. Now all he had to do was find his way back down.

To his amazement he did have full 3G coverage up there, which did enable him to FaceBook and send messages back to Little MissNaughty. (when he looked around, he could see several mobile masts on a nearby mountain top).

MrGrumpy resumed his journey to Lake Tahoe, he was heading to the northern area as that was the closest, he found the views on the way were again stunning.
He stopped for a badly needed drink (soda) and some skittles in one of the numerous 7-Eleven stores on the way to Tahoe City where he stopped for a while.

What was left for today was to get some food and return to a Vista point to try and see the Eclipse. He wanted to try and get back to one of the vista points outside of Reno, so headed back to Virginia City to get some food first.

For once Lens Flare is handy!
As with the hiking, MrGrumpy was not prepared for the Eclipse, no solar filter for his camera, he did have a tripod and sunglasses but that was not going to help. As he drove back towards the vista point he found quite a few people had the same idea, the parking spots were all full. He drove on and parked where the road turned into a track heading to someones house. He was resigning himself to the fact he would just be able to experience the event and not get photos, when two 4x4 turned in across the road from him. These people were more prepared than MrGrumpy they had a home make pin-hole viewing tube, MrGrumpy went across and asked if they would not mind him taking a look, they were very friendly and MrGrumpy observed the event with them.

As soon as the Eclipse was passed full, MrGrumpy thanked them and started the journey back to San Jose. He had already filled up with fuel this morning, but the 100+ miles up and down the mountains had used about a 1/4 of the tank, so time to fill up again. It took another 3.8 gallons and MrGrumpy also given the 4.5 hour drive ahead decide a 5-hour energy boost may be a good idea (and it was as he did not feel sleepy on the way back).

It was gone 11pm when MrGrumpy finally got back to San Jose, 265 miles non stop, the end to an full weekend.

All he had to do now was get to sleep ready for the week ahead.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

MrGrumpy's leaves the state.

MrGrumpy's Blog now has 50 posts, the first half century!

On the radio he had heard there was a eclipse going to be visible from the west coast on the 20th about 6pm. MrGrumpy expected it would be nowhere near where he was. Turns out that Reno is directly in line, little MissNaughty suggested he went and stay in Reno the night. After a bit of thought MrGrumpy decided to go.
He booked a night in CircusCircus and left San Jose at 10am. By 3:30pm he had arrived in Reno and booked into the hotel.
Reno is quite compact compared to LasVegas so he was able to take a stroll around downtown in a couple of hours.

MrGrumpy had already decided he wanted a steak, he found the elderado had steak and crab for $18, it was not going to be the best in the world, but it was good enough. He had forgot how fiddly getting the nice bits out of the claws is.

After eating he took a walk around the casino's, in the Silver Legacy he saw a $35 poker tournament, it was about to start in ten mins, so he decided to play.
It was a video based poker room, everything you expect except from a dealer and chips.
Still it was poker... He started off slowly, then got hooked by a pocket pair of jacks, with a third on the flop... He bet quite heavy, but was beaten with a straight on the flop...
He was down from 2500 chips to 450.. Caution was now the order of the day, a 100 big blind and a pocket pair of nines provided a short fight back. Especially when another two nines dropped on the flop. Four Nines, all in...
But he was still small stack and the blinds soon killed him off.

He walked around the casinos and found a Microbrewery, A couple of beers later and MrGrumpy was transforming into MrSleepy...

Friday, 18 May 2012

MrGrumpy returns to see MrDMV

After failing to book a driving test yesterday, MrGrumpy decided to go to see MrDMV before heading to work this morning. At 7:15am when he arrived, he was still 4th in line. MrDMV does not start until 8:00am, but somebody does come out about 7:45 to handout a card with a letter on it. This card is exchanged for a ticket once you get inside the office. It was at this point he found out that they don't do same day, behind the wheel tests. So he waited and booked an appointment, for next Monday at 8:00am.
Having the first appointment on a Monday will either be a good or bad idea. He is hoping that MrDMVTester has a good weekend and not a bad one.
Getting back to the office was not very quick, the traffic in US101 was crawling, he was still in the office by 8:45am, time for a coffee and catchup on what emails have arrived in the last 20mins.

The morning passed quickly and it was soon lunchtime. Today was the monthly company free lunch, which was handy as that has saved MrGrumpy from eating later. It was BBQ day, not that they seem to have fired up the BBQ's there was chicken, shrimps, beef and some veggie stuff, followed by fruit and a strawberry desert.

Before long it was time for MrGrumpy to head off to see MrIMax again, this time he was going to see DarkShadows. The movie passed a couple of hours, he thought it was OK but not a patch on the Avengers. By the time MrGrumpy goes to MrIMax again Prometheus will be out, that will be his next movie Friday.

Before heading home for the evening MrGrumpy took a little look around the shops around the area, most were places to eat or juice bars, then he found a PC store, so took a look round, there was nothing he needed or wanted so it was just to have a look. He did see some of his relations had been relegated to the bargin software bin.

MrGrumpy took one last photo as he walked back to the car, just to remind people in the UK that is is not dull or raining everywhere in the world. He was told this morning while waiting in line at MrDMV that it is unusual to get any rain at all in the this area from mid April to late October at least. MrGrumpy can get used to not having to wear a jacket or wonder how bad the weather will be like at the weekend.

Evening Sun

Thursday, 17 May 2012

MrGrumpy's wakeup call

This morning MrGrumpy had an appointment with MrDMV to apply for his driving licence.
At 5:45am he tapped the snooze option on the iPod alarm as he was not keeping to his normal schedule this morning. Just gone 6:00am he heard his phone rattling on the desk, it was obviously not just an email alert, it was ringing... he answered the phone... it was MrA asking if he could dial back into a conference call in a few minutes.

MrGrumpy quickly got ready and dialed into the call, he would have joined sooner had he been able to read the conference id and see the keypad on his phone at the same time, but the technology was working against him.

The call had MrA, MrWhiteSox, MrGrumpy, MrHyperTonic and MrVimto on. Thanks to MrVimto the issue was resolved with a simple config change.

MrGrumpy arrived at MrDMV in good time, this time there was plenty of parking, so he was hopeful that he would be able make some progress this time. There was already a queue, as MrGrumpy had made an appointment he was able to join the short queue.
It was not a long wait inside, he paid his $31, completed his eye-test, got his photo taken, now the written test...

The test is 36 multiple choice questions, these had to be answered with less than 6 errors. He had not really studied, he did have a quick go on a free iPad app, so he started the test... there were a few questions he was not sure on. He returned to the desk where they checked his answers, 4 wrong on the first 18, and 3 wrong on the second side... So close, 7 wrong, only allowed 6.
They allow 3 attempts to pass the test. So try #2, he got another sheet, this time he felt a little more confident.

Back at the desk, they checked the first side, 5 wrong..., second side, 2 wrong... MrGrumpy was now starting to worry, he did not want to have to start the whole process of applying for a licence again.
Try #3, he took a little longer on each question, carefully reading before choosing his answer.

He returned to the desk with his final attempt, how many would it be?
First side, 2 wrong (a better start), second side, only 1 wrong...
MrGrumpy was very relieved, he had passed!

He still has the actual driving test to do, he has tried logging on to MrDMV's website to arrange one, but it does not recognise his details.

MrGrumpy and MrWhiteSox went on to visit a customer before MrWhiteSox headed off for his flight.
He arrived back at the cube farm just after lunch, he then realised he had missed "Donut Thursday", what a disaster.

This was turning into a busy day, by 3:30pm he had only been in the office for about 30mins, not had breakfast and missed lunch, but he had passed part of his driving test.

Having failed to arrange the actual test online, MrGrumpy later rang the telephone number supplied on MrDMV's web site. This is an automated call that accepts voice commands, quite good but was unable to understand MrGrumpy's date of birth, he resorted to using the keypad for this. The call went on and he selected his local MrDMV, just to be told there was a system error and then abruptly cut off... you can imaging how much MrGrumpy enjoyed that.

MrGrumpy continued to work until it was time for food (while it is still served), after he had eaten, it was time to head home via MrBevMo to buy some more beer (and a bottle of CokeZero).

For MrGrumpy it is time to relax with tonights beer.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

MrGrumpy's second day out of solitary

MrWhiteSox and MrGrumpy were out at customers again today, they met at the cube farm and went off in "DustyBin".

MrGrumpy just had a seafood salad for lunch, knowing that later he was likely to have food and a beer.

In this mornings email MrGrumpy saw an email that informed him that the free dinner that was making his life easier is about the be stopped, from the end of next week there it will be no more... He expects there will not be as many people in the cube farm at 7:00pm for much longer.

MrGrumpy and MrWhiteSox returned to the cube farm late afternoon, after working another few hours doing power consumption tests they decided it was time for consumption of beer and food, it was almost 7:00pm. They went to the local BrewPub, the Faultline, as normal (at least the last twice MrGrumpy has been there) the car park was full to overflowing. He did however find a spot right in the corner (hidden behind a 4x4). Here MrGrumpy and MrWhiteSox discussed life, the universe and everything (well generally they moaned about most things) but the time went quickly and it was time to go home.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Is MrGrumpy Number Six?

MrGrumpy allegedly had a conference call at 7:00am this morning, so to make sure he was in the cube farm in time, he got up at 5:45am.
By 7:00am he had a cup of coffee and dialed in... 7:05, 7:10, 7:15 nobody online, also no reply to his email.
Had the Titanic building been struck by an iceberg and sunk without trace?

7:25, still no reply to emails or anybody on the call... he double checked it was Tuesday and the call should have been at 7:00.

As he suspected the meeting was going on, but as he was unable to call from his end (via MrFaceTime) they had the meeting between them, not a problem, but an email would have helped.

After the meeting, MrA did call MrGrumpy and gave him a quick summary of progress.

This was not going to help alleviate MrGrumpy's feeling that he was generally in the dark and that he was only ever able to see about 4-6 tiny pieces of the 10,000 piece jigsaw he was expected to complete in a year.

Thinking about it, he was more like The Prisoner.  Being watched from afar, but little idea on how or what is needed to complete his mission and move on to the next level.

In general MrGrumpy feels the isolation is getting to him a bit. Without MrFaceTime helping him to keep in touch with Little MissNaughty, he would really be finding it tough.

He will find a week on Friday how much like Number Six he is, as it closes in on the Season 1 finale.
  • Can he escape back to the UK and have a weeks R&R in the Canaries? 
  • Can he can regain his optimism? 
  • Will he return for Season 2?
MrWhiteSox was back in town, he and MrGrumpy have customer meetings for the next couple of days. This time MrWhiteSox had got the rental car equivalent of "DustyBin" a Kia Soul.

The rest of the day went well and working with MrWhiteSox and the customers was returning some of MrGrumpy's optimism, especially as they would be going for a pint after work.

"I am not a number, I am a Grumpy man"

Monday, 14 May 2012

Another Dilbert day at the Cube Farm

Another Monday, MrGrumpy woke to the sound of the iPod alarm, he has found that getting up at about 6:10am he can get ready and be in the office by 7:00am (+ or - 5mins depending on traffic).
Unusually it was grey and overcast, but not cold, the forecast shows it should be sunny and pretty warm later. 
MrGrumpy has already seen so much sun in the last month, he does not mind it being a little cooler or even cloudy. This is especially true during the week, when he is lucky to see daylight. 
He has not climbed high enough up the greasy pole to qualify for a "cube with a view".

On a Monday morning MrGrumpy heads into Alcatraz1 to check his emails and check what actions are needed for the week. On his way to his cube he saw a familiar face, so stopped to say "hello", it was MrFinance followed closely by MrElPresidente, who are over for meetings.

MrGrumpy has sort of gained a minion in a Dilbert sort of way, MrZee is a new developer who he is tasked with getting up to speed. Ref: Mentoring

As if MrGrumpy's life did not already resemble that of Dilbert, the cube farm and US culture it is more like his daily life every day.  Although thinking about it, MrGrumpy has more in common with Wally than Dilbert, does that make him a Walbert? Ref: Cube Farming

MrElPresidente visited MrGrumpy's cube today, MrGrumpy then introduced him to MrZee as he had expressed an interest in meeting the various minions under his leadership.

MrGrumpy upgrades his TV choices

After a busy Friday and Saturday MrGrumpy was planning to do very little today. In the morning he spoke to Little MissNaughty to check how her and MrBarneyDog were getting on without him. MrBarneyDog is still having some problems which is not good, at least he is still happy and eating fine.

The Mustang needed a clean, so MrGrumpy decided that was his first job of the day, it did not take long which was good, as it was starting to warm up outside.
With that done he decided to just sit an surf the net for a while, what he actually did was nod off for a little Sunday morning nap (well it was an F1 weekend even if he can't watch it). He woke to iMessages from Little MissNaughty, once they he exchanged several messages it was time to go out shopping.

MrGrumpy was having intermittent wifi issues, it would just drop sometimes, mainly on the iPad (the new one does not seem to be as good as the original one, maybe because it is a dual 2.4/5GHz device. So he headed off towards BestBuy, he was going to try and navigate without putting the route into MrSatNav.
As you would expect, this did not go perfectly, he ended up on the wrong side of I85, so walked around the other shops including CostCo before driving to the other side of I85 where BestBuy is.

He had been thinking for a week or two about getting a wifi extender, so now it was time to choose, he decided to get the basic 2.4GHz Netgear with 4 wired ports. While he was in BestBuy he also brought a Roku2 XS video streaming box, this will give him access to NetFlix, Pandora etc. on the TV.  I'm sure you are all wondering why MrGrumpy did not buy an AppleTV, well he would have done, but it only supports HDMI and the antique 4x3 Sanyo set only has composite inputs, therefore the Roku was a better choice as it supports both.

MrGrumpy returned to home and expected to run into issues setting up the items, to his surprise it went smoothly. In fact very smoothly, he was able to connect to the wifi extender (via wifi) and configure it to connect to the existing wifi/internet. So MrGrumpy now has Somersham2 local wifi to connect to. Additionally he plugged the AirPort express into the wired port and configured that for 5Ghz only to use on the iPad and MacBook.
Now onto the Roku2, that also JustWorked (tm),  "wow, I am amazed" MrGrumpy thought. He normally expects something to go wrong, because it generally does.

He watched an episode of TheWalkingDead on NetFlix, then he tried out some of the other channels. On Crackle he found the original GhostBusters, what better way to spend a Sunday afternoon (if F1 is not available).

It's food Jim, but not as
we know it.
It was mid evening and MrGrumpy was quite peckish, he did not want to go out, so had a limited choice of items he could microwave. He had brought a HungryMan chicken, mash and sweetcorn meal from WallMart a few weeks ago, so now it was time to try it... Several minutes later, the ping of the microwave signaled time to eat.
It was edible, nothing wonderful, but he was expecting that, pretty much like airline food really.
It did come complete with a chocolate brownie (which he had to remember to rescue half way through the process).

So now at the end of another weekend, time to fill in the blog and then sleep. It has been two days in a row he has posted the blog just after midnight.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

A Day at the Races

MrGrumpy got up quite early for a Saturday and headed down to the Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca (near Monterey). Today was the American Le Mans race there.
It was sunny when he left San Jose, but as he got closer, the fog was thick.
More like an english race day
At the circuit (about 8:30am) it was quite chilly, MrGrumpy was regretting the t-shirt and shorts combo, anyway he paid his $70 to get in the hoped it would burn off during the day.
He parked the Mustang and headed over the bridge and towards the paddock area, picking up on the way his race programme (which was included in the ticket price).
To his surprise, it was an open paddock giving very close access to the cars and pit areas.
He walked around getting his bearings and trying to keep walm, he had a cup of coffee, that helped. Just about when he was considering buying a jacket or hoodie, the sun started to break through. It went from about 8-10 deg C to 25+ in minutes.
Fog, what fog
 From now on he would be looking for shade not warmth, there were several warm up races, Mazda MX5's (in the fog) and Porsche GT Cup, then the LeMans cars went out for a practice session.

MrGrumpy was able to stand in between the cars lined up ready to join the track, only a few minutes before they went did the marshalls move everybody back a couple of feet.

With the racing in progress he walked up the hill to find the famous "Corkscrew" curve. MrGrumpy was quite impressed at the drop, more impressive to see in reality than it looks on the PS3 or XBox.

The race started at 1:30pm and it was 6 Hours long, MrGrumpy did intend staying and watching it all, but even with a mid afternoon sit down and even a refreshing beer. By 5:30pm he was ready to head home.
Refreshes the Racing
other beers can't 
Only on slight technical issue, he could not remember where he had left the car...

He headed out of the track, back over he bridge and backtracked where he thought the car was. The parking was in colours, Red, Blue, Brown, Purple etc. He seemed to think Brown was about he right area, so headed that way. As he walked across the field, he could see a green mustang, tan roof. "Great" he thought and continued walking, "Hang on, that mustang has a spoiler and different alloy wheels, Damn...not mine" he said as he realised this was the wrong car park.

Off to the Purple parking area, this also did not look very familiar, as when he had arrived it was total fog, now in the clear hot sun it looked different. He could see a couple of tan roofs and headed towards them, nope, first one was a BMW Z3, the next a newer mustang. But then he could see the green nose and a mustang badge, over another row and he found the car.

Heading back to San Jose, the traffic was quite slow anyway, so it was a good idea not to leave at the end of the race with every one else. By just gone 7:00pm MrGrumpy arrived back home after a long day out.

Tomorrow will be a quiet day for MrGrumpy, he may clean the Mustang but has no plans to do much.

Friday, 11 May 2012

MrGrumpy goes to the movies

It was quite late when MrGrumpy went to sleep last night (past midnight), but he did not really want to get up when the iPod alarm went off. He hit the snooze option to delay the inevitable and got up about 6:10am.

Little MissNaughty has been challenged with her technology this week. The TV needed a re-tune, she had to fight with the various remote controls,  menu system  and terminology to initiate a re-tune of the DTV channels.
MrGrumpy's usage over a month
Not long after she had completed that but there was a system update for her iOS devices, this the first time  there has been an update that she has done.
Lucky it all went smoothly and she is now much happier as the iPad switched to 3G better when she is at work. Not that either MrGrumpy or her are heavy cellular data users.
Little MissNaughty's usage today

MrGrumpy spotted that MrsQueenOfPop was playing in San Jose the day Little MissNaughty is planning on visiting the US, lucky she is playing two days as MrGrumpy suspects LMN would not be able to stay awake to goto a concert on the day she arrives. So MrGrumpy has booked tickets for them to go on the 7th October 2012.

Just like "Groundhog Day" his daily routine and journey to the cube farm went as expected except the most unlikely event of the day,  a call from MrPointyHairedBoss, the Blog and weekly reports had kept him up to date with MrGrumpy's progress but the office must be far to cheerful without MrGrumpy there to dampen any happiness that might exist. 

Next weeks diary is already filling up, MrWhiteSox is back in the area and they are scheduled to visit customers on Tuesday (and maybe Wednesday if needed).

MrGrumpy decided to go that today he would go and see the Avengers Movie, he searched to find a suitable time, the AMC about 10 miles away was showing it in IMAX 3D, so that sounded like a plan, go get food, watch movie, go home.
MrGrumpy did get caught up in sorting out a couple of last minute customer issues, but he did manage to leave the office just after 3:00pm.

Outside it was pretty hot, MrGrumpy thought about activating MrAirCon, but then decided it was California, so Top Down time...
Sorry UK, more Blue Skies.

MrGrumpy tried to find some shade for the car, but it was not much use, he went into the mall and brought tickets for "The Avengers" in IMAX 3D then went to get some food (this would save looking later).

This was the first experience of IMAX 3D for MrGrumpy, he sat about middle and half way up so it was an ideal spot. The 3D effect is very impressive, if only he did not have to wear the annoying glasses.

There are a few movies coming up that he will be using his late friday afternoons to enjoy, he is especially looking forward to the new BatMan movie on July 20th.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

MrGrumpy gets more mail

In MrGrumpy's mail box this morning was not 1 but 3 envelopes, 2 from the bank and one from Bupa, one from the bank was some form about US TAX and his Foreign Status, he will have to work out what needs to be done with that, the other was informing him of the expenses payment made to his account.
He did see the payment arrive but had not checked the exact amount, it turns out the bank deducts $35 for the receipt of the wire transfer... "uhm" thought MrGrumpy, he knew it was too good that the money arrived in the correct account. When he checked what he had submitted, sure enough it was $35 more than arrived.
As it was "Donut Day" MrGrumpy headed off to the canteen to pick todays tasty treat. A fitting day as today it is 1 month since he arrived in the USA. (Only two more weeks and he goes back for a couple of weeks). MrGrumpy will continue to update his blog while on holiday and back in the UK office, it may not get uploaded on the day depending upon his connectivity status, but there will surely be enough happening to make him Grumpy enough to blog on.

The rest of his day went as usual, answering questions and emails. He did get a call from MrWhiteSox who was having a Bad Technology day, where everything seemed to be against him, MrGrumpy knows that feeling.

MrGrumpy was not in a great mood today, he did get a good nights sleep so it should not be that.
Maybe the feeling that his efforts and sacrifices are not actually going to have any effect upon his future prospects,  may be playing upon his mind. If he had some clue as to how this year would pan out, maybe he would not be thinking about it so much.
He is concentrating upon work, as that stops him thinking too much about the solitude and lack of interaction or conversation, making the weeks go past quicker. It is now the weekends that he is finding it hard to deal with, this is not unexpected, he did think this would be the hardest bit to handle.
At least Little MissNaughty was managing to keep busy and coping very well, especially given that things seem to be going wrong more often now MrGrumpy is away.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

MrGrumpy heads back to the bay

MrGrumpy did not sleep very well, his room was next to the lifts, he could not specifically head the lifts but there was a constant noise that was either them or some other mechanical noise that just kept him from dropping off. He did get a couple of hours solid sleep, so was just about OK at 6:30 when he got up and started to email the UK.

not representative of actual product
as purchaced
MrGrumpy and MissUSFae met in the lobby at 8:30am, checked out and headed to a coffee shop for breakfast (crossant and medium latte) while waiting for MrRockSquare to collect us and chauffeur us to and from the client.

The morning at the customer just flew past, we made some progress and explained what could be causing some of the issues they seemed to be seeing, then it was time to leave for the airport.

There is still the inconvenience of security checks at the airport, but no immigration so MrGrumpy and MissUSFae were through and waiting for the plane in plenty of time.

This time is was not a turboprop plane but a proper jet, which also flew higher and faster reducing the flight time to just 90 minutes. The flightpath came in over SanFran giving MrGrumpy his first ariel view of the Golden Gate and SF bay.

Back to the office for MrGrumpy tomorrow, off to meet MrNewDev (MrGrumpy reserves the right to change this name).

Today was Rent day, so tomorrow has been in the bay area for 1 month. He has survived so far, he is finding the experience interesting, he is looking forward to the real challenges to come, so far he has basically been doing the same as he was in the UK but over here.

Only a couple of weeks now and MrGrumpy gets to head home to see Little Miss Naughty and go relax for a week on Holiday. Then back to the UK office for a few days before returning to the US for USA Part II.  

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Hi Ho off to the Airport MrGrumpy goes

It was an early start for MrGrumpy, 4am seemed to arrive only seconds after he had closed his eyes. At least the roads were not congested on the way to the airport.
Bombardier Q400
No queues for checkin, or security it was very straightforward and quick to get through to the gate, MrGrumpy sat down and logged onto the free Wifi available at the San Jose airport.

The flight was not long, just two hours, in about the smallest plane MrGrumpy has ever flown in (except for a micro-light). MrGrumpy was not really able to get a nap but did relax a little on the way.
There were some nice views of the mountains while the sun was low on the way, which he was able to get one shot on his phone.

Mount Shasta (14,179 ft, California)
The rest of the day was taken up working with the customer and a break for lunch, pretty much non stop.

Once back at the hotel in Portland, MrGrumpy and MissUSFae, went out on search for the local apple store. In Oregon there is no sales tax and therefore apple products are 8.75% cheaper than in California. The online application said the local store did not have any 64GB iPad3 (4G LTE) in stock, but he thought it was worth working a few blocks to check.
MissiSalesAssistent said she did not think they had any but would go and check, upon return she ask was he after black or white?, MrGrumpy asked which they had, she said both, so he decided on Black as Little Miss Naughty already has a white one. With the exchange rate it works out over £100 cheaper than the UK price.

After the little (expensive) trip to the Apple store, it was time to find food, using a recommendation from MissiSalesAssistent as MissUSFae wanted a seafood restaurant, after some misdirection from the iPhones waking directions, they found the restaurant (well same name but not actually the one they were looking for, the one they were aiming for was 2 blocks across and 2 block up).

MrGrumpy choose IPA beer battered fish and chips (and a couple of pints of IPA), MissUSFae had Salmon, when finished then they headed back to the hotel (more directly without the detour via apple or 1st avenue) and agreed to meet at 8:30am to head to Starbucks for breakfast prior to returning for the morning at the the customer.

Monday, 7 May 2012

MrGrumpy goes to get a driving licence

MrGrumpy was feeling under the weather when he woke late (after 7am), it was his own fault and expects no sympathy.

This morning at 8:30am he had an appointment at the DMV (department of motor vehicles) to apply for a driving licence, so he got ready, had a little breakfast and headed to San Jose.

At the DMV office there was quite a large car park, but all the spots were taken, he had to wait for someone to leave to get a spot. Once inside he found out why it was so busy, the computer systems were down and they were unable to process anybody. The place was full to busting with lots of happy people.
MrGrumpy filled in the form and waited for a little while before deciding to come back another day, when hopefully the systems would be working.

Travelling back to the office he hit the commuter congestion, so it took him a little while to get across town to the cube farm, he was still in just after 9:00am.

Mid afternoon MrGrumpy had to go to the bank to get a cheque for next months rent, only a few more days and he has been in the US for a month. He stepped out of the fridge like cube farm to be hit by the heat, it was almost 31 Deg C outside, inside the mustang was even hotter, air conditioning on max soon made the couple of miles a bit more bearable.

Tomorrow MrGrumpy has to get up really early for a 6:15am flight to Oregon, it is only a 2 hour flight so he will arrive in good time for two days with a customer. He is not looking forward to getting up at 4:00am, he will not be drinking any beer tonight, food and some decent sleep is what he needs.

MrGrumpy goes around the bay

MrGrumpy was not sure what to do today, in the morning he talked to Little MissNaughty and Mr&MrsDangerous on facetime.
He then needed a little shopping, the usual stuff, Orange Juice, Milk and more clothes, so off to WallMart via BestBuy (just in case there were any gadgets to buy).

Back by lunchtime, he was still not sure what to do, he thought about a country park but he feet were still tender from the blisters, so lots of walking was not a good idea.

So he headed off to the gas station to fill up, $48 later, he was off... but where...

As he had been south several times, he headed north, up towards SanFran. He passed MrCrazyRunners place and then he was almost in SanFran and may as well go over the bridge.
Traffic was pretty slow towards the bridge, the freeway just evaporates and turns into downtown without warning, anyway he continued.
Once he got to the bridge, it was just like any other bridge he had been over, except is was red and famous (
He stopped at the vista point to take the obligatory photo, parking was not easy, he had to go round a few times before he caught somebody else leaving and was able to park.

After the photos MrGrumpy did not want to simply return the way he had come (no not just because there was a toll going the other way), so he headed north and assumed he should be able to go around the bay.

He was correct, he went over the richmond bridge and then saw highway 880 which showed San Jose as a destination. To make sure he tapped MrSatNav and requested the "guest house" as the destination, it showed just over an hour to get back. As MrGrumpy had come to expect MrSatNav stopped playing at a crucial point when the highways split into two or three, he kept on 880 hoping it was correct.
He then attempted to resurrect MrSatNav who was out for the count, not a peep, refusing to wake up... Eventually after several resurrection attempts MrSatNav finally reset and came back into life. Luckily MrGrumpy was still on the correct route to circumnavigate the bay.

Mr Grumpy had plans to get food at the Nowhere Bar and Grill which he had spotted the other day, this was the only bar he had found in walking distance. It seems a reasonable "Biker Bar", usual pool tables and tv screens showing sports. Unfortunately they don't serve food on a Sunday, which was not good as MrGrumpy found drinking three or four beers without food makes him pass out as soon as he got home, and feel quite rough the next morning. Passing out when he got home was not good, not least because MrGrumpy had not called home and Little MissNaughty was very worried because he had not been in touch. MrGrumpy really does need to keep in touch as she is the only person who knows he OK. This also was made worse by MrGrumpy's iPhone getting stuck in a strange mode, it thought the headphones were plugged in when they were clearly not, this was not good as he was unable to tell when a new message or email had arrived, so he did not notice the worried messages had arrived.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

MrGrumpy goes to the Laundromat

Today was the day MrGrumpy had to do his laundry, he was almost out of shirts and had a visit to Oregon for two days coming up. Now this should be easy but it filled MrGrumpy with dread, he could tell before leaving home that something would be difficult or go wrong.
MrGrumpy decided it would be a better use of his time to simply drop of the Laundry and pay to get it washed, dried and folded, sub $25, so less than a haircut and less could go wrong.

While his washing was being done, it was also time for him to treat the Mustang to some new fluids, off to see MrJiffyLube. As MrGrumpy did not know much about the history of the Mustang and it was now at 160,600 miles, he decided to get pretty much everything changed, oil & filter, Auto Transmission oil, rear differential oil, Air filter and Fuel Filter. When MrJiffyLube changed the fuel filter, he told MrGrumpy that it was pretty old and would recommend a fuel system clean / flush, MrGrumpy only intended to do such a major service once, so got it done. Just over an hour later and it was all done and MrGrumpy's wallet felt quite a bit lighter. Still he had saved on his budget buying the car, there was no point in him not servicing it well.

MrGrumpy felt this was going to be quite an expensive saturday morning. On the way back from the service, he called in at GPSports, a local motorcycle dealer, just to take a look at how much bikes in the US. He resisted looking too close, the cheapest bike he saw was $8500 for a Suzuki M109R with 8000 miles on it...  MrGrumpy could be tempted if he were over here for more than a year.

Capitola Beach
It was about midday and MrGrumpy was not sure what to do for the afternoon, he thought about going down to Monterey or Big Basin, while heading down highway 17 towards Santa Cruz he decided to stop at Capitola beach and take a wander around. Capitola was another little Californian town with a beach and pier.  MrGrumpy paid for a couple of hours parking as he was lucky to find a parking spot near the beach and off he went, camera in hand. He wandered around taking photos, it was a little cooler near the coast, but still hot enough for MrGrumpy.

He was glad he now had a hat, except it did get in the way of taking photos, so quite often he had to turn it round backwards so he could use the viewfinder (Photos link has been updated). While chatting to some Harley owners MrGrumpy was asked if he wanted a photo of himself, this would be the first photo of MrGrumpy in California (not taken by himself).

MrGrumpy was now getting quite thirsty, "must be beer o'clock" he thought, there were plenty of places to eat, but he really just wanted a refreshing pint and to sit down and rest his still hurting feet. He found the Britania Arms, did not look anything like an English pub on the outside, but had beer and various UK items on the walls. MrGrumpy sat at the bar and ordered a pint of IPA, which went down really nicely. He sat for a while watching the  TVs which were showing various sports.

MrGrumpy received a call telling him is laundry was ready to collect, so as he was about out of parking time, he decided to head back and collect it.

To his surprise, all the trousers and shirts were on hangers and everything else was shrink wrapped. This made MrGrumpy quite happy as it looked like he would not need to buy an iron and board after all.

So all that was left for today was for him to find somewhere to eat, this is always quite difficult as MrGrumpy's middle name is indecisive and he really dislikes choosing what to eat.

It was 7:25pm and MrGrumpy had heard on the radio that today there was a "Super Moon", the day when the moon is at it's closest and will appear 14% bigger and 30% brighter, he decided a good spot to try and get photos may be Santa Cruz, so he got in the mustang and drove down to the beach. He arrive at 7:55, the sun was just setting and there was no moon yet. He waited and walked along the boardwalk, taking some general shots as he went. Around 8:15 he could see the moon rising above the  cliffs, it was a little larger than normal and quite bright, but as he was by the beach it was difficult to really get anything in the shot that showed scale, he took a few photos but was not really happy with them, he really needed a longer lens and a better view point. Anyway he had made the effort to get some shots, so he did not feel the trip was wasted.
Time for a some food before heading home, MrPizza it was to be, unfortunately it was not the best, just overcooked and the base was a bit too much like a biscuit like for his taste. MrGrumpy boxed up 1/2, just incase he was hungry later and drove back up Highway 17 home.