Archive for 2005

Don’t use All Temp Service of Hackettstown NJ

I would dissuade you from using All Temp Service of Hackettstown NJ for your plumbing and HVAC needs. I wrote the letter below to All Temp and called several times for a followup. I received no response whatsoever, though their answering service knows me well now.

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A big lug

Today I was called a big lug. As in “Ya big lug.”

I got all mushy over it.

Insane Customer Service Calls

Can you believe the kinds of Customer Service emails I get?

From: André Sala
To: support
Subject: big probleem with TonicTV
Created: 12/19/2005 11:20:07

I am Borat and I having technical difficult with your tonicsTV software package.

I am running most up to date versions of Windows 95, and I have absolutely most top of line computer laptop.

I have to like very many channels, and will looking forward to many video blog channels.

I have checked all connections and even try fresh new battery. Will you fix?

Thank you.


Back from NJ

My flight got in from EWR at 4:30am EST. There was an electrical problem on the plane so they had to turn around and get us another one. We suspected something was wrong when they had a lot of trouble playing the “seat cushion as floatation device” video. They had to close and open the TVs from the ceiling 3 or 4 times and the sound kept not working. We knew there was a problem when the captain came on and said, “We’re probably going to be turning around. We’ve just about finished troubleshooting the electrical problem…” People shouldn’t be “troubleshooting” at 10,000 feet! A flight attendant came on a couple times with an unsure note in her voice. That didn’t help things any.

We landed a bit heavy (I’m guessing because we were heavy with fuel). I wasn’t really unnerved until I saw the 2 fire trucks and assorted support vehicles at the end of the runway. Getting off the plane, the right side of the cabin was dark and the left side had emergency lights on. I’m guessing that if both generators had failed, we might have had Trouble.

We got off and found another plane at the opposite side of the terminal. I watched our new flight crew read some sheets of paper very intently. I’m guessing it was what they should do on this new plane in case of a water landing or somesuch. Joy.

We got in the air at 10pm, 4 hrs late. Got in at 1:30am. The baggage carousel broke after spitting out 1/2 the bags so we switched to another one. Joy. I found a van service (we don’t have these in NJ). For $15 they took me right to my door. A cab would have been $30. After me, they dropped off a few other folks in SF.

I dropped into blissful San Franciscan sleep on my matressless floor at 2:45am (that’s 5:45am for you east coasters)

After all that rigormoral…. I’m back! Yeah!

Plumbing Question

My flight leaves for San Francisco in 16 hours. My parents will be away from their house for a while so I suggested they turn off the water main while they are away. Last winter the heat went out; I got it fixed but if no one had been there, the pipes would have frozen and the downstairs would have become a small frozen lake (like my neighbor’s was last winter!)

So I went over to shut off the water main in the basement with my dad to try things out. I found the pressure reducing valve and a shutoff valve between it and the outside. As I turned it off, I noticed that it was starting to leak. By the time it was mostly off, the water was a mostly constant stream. Once off, it was down to a once every 2 seconds drip. I tried opening a turn and closing it to clear debris but each of the three times I did it, the water leaked a little faster while it was open.

Now there is a problem! It’s possible that if I open the valve all the way, it will seat itself and stop leaking. (that’s not the problem). It’s also possible that if I open the valve all the way, the valve will break completely, leaving me with an unstoppable torrent of 75 PSI water!

Since it’s 1 am, I figured it was best to shut off the valve and put a bucket under it til morning. Tomorrow I will call the property owner’s association to see if there is a shutoff valve outside the house. After that, I may call a plumber or (dare I?) try opening the valve all the way.

I heartily welcome any suggestions!

update Before I woke up, my dad turned the water on full, guessing it would be alright (a wild guess, seeing as we both agreed to leave it off last night). I’m glad I didn’t get a morning swim. Now the high pressure valve only drips once a second. Now what? Follow the same plan?

A Christmas Chronicle

Christmas eve morning, my dad’s organization, The Twelve Santas delivered toys12 Santas and food coupons to 37 needy families in the area. All of the money for gifts and gifts themselves were collected by the members of the group, which now number more than 12. I got the tremendous privilege of playing Santa. I’ll try to write more about it later but it was incredible seeing the expression on kids faces. Even the older kids that didn’t “believe” would look at the huge bag of toys I had just handed them and then back at me…. and then to the bag again and then to me waving goodbye without asking for a thing in return. The possibility of Santa became real again.

I had dinner with my dad’s side of the family on Christmas eve. C, a friend of mine from SF joined us since she was spending Christmas in New York with a friend. She hasn’t really told me why she didn’t spend it with family but that’s ok.

My uncle Frank “Sglick” (pronounced sss-click) Cavagnaro died Christmas morning in his bar at age 77. The thought I can’t get out of my mind is how much he loved owning his bar. He had regulars that came in at 10am just about every day. It wasn’t big, it wasn’t ostentatious, it didn’t have a big sign, the only special drink I know of was local beer he served on draft in tiny 6 oz glasses for about $0.50. I imagine that his was the kind of place that he’d pour your drink as you walked in the door and it’d be ready for you before you finished your hellos and sat down. I’ll be at the viewing Wednesday.

I wrote 175 personal holiday cards over the last 2 weeks. If I missed you, please forgive me and send me your email address. The responses I’ve gotten back have universally been touching. It’s good to have friends.

Christmas Day dinner was at Bean’s house with much of my mother’s side of the family. It was dinner for 16 or so.

Tonight was dinner and Barry & DeAnn’s. More of my mom’s side. There were 18 places at dinner! What a family!

Christmas Greeting

This Christmas, I sent greetings to most all of my friends. (if I missed you, I do apologize!) Along with it, I sent the most adorable card from

Here is a local archive of it.

Merry Christmas

Really, I mean it.

Merry Christmas and all that jazz!

(By the First Intent Doctrine of the Constitution, I have apparenelty just violated the law. Well, tough!)

Returned the bed

The Macy’s Sterns and Foster bed that has given me 2 back aches in the past 1 1/2 weeks has been returned. I was very nervous about the propect because I bought an “as-is” floor model. $900 instead of $2400. But when 2 people told me, “hey your bed feels funny. there’s like a hole over in this spot”, I knew that going against the “as-is” contract was perfectly fine.

Kathy, the manager on the 7th floor at the Union Square Macys (literally) didn’t bat an eye at me wanting to return the bed. I told her my problem, that I hated the bed and she said, “Well you have two options… … exchange… or … return with a $65 delivery fee to get it back to the store”.

Carmen graciously around for the delivery guy at 11 this morning.

Tonight, I’m sleeping on the floor again. But that’s ok.