Archive for February 2011

Upgraded My AT&T Captivate SGH-i897 to Froyo

Froyo is available for the Captivate now. You have to do a few steps but here are some really good instructions from Samsung:

Froyo Captivate installation instructions from Samsung

It took like 20 minutes and wasn’t frustrating (except for the part where the phone was saying “DO NOT UNPLUG ME UNTIL I’M DONE!!!” and it seemed to never finish, so I unplugged it… and it was fine.)

My Apartment Almost Burned Down

I write the following in a low-emotion writing style because that is pretty much how I remember it. I immediately kicked into “work” mode when I realized what was going on.

Monday morning December 14th, 2009 at about 11:20 the fire alarm in my building started ringing. I went to the door, felt it to make sure it wasn’t hot and opened it. My upstairs neighbor Samantha was walking down, she said in an elevated voice “There is smoke upstairs!” I went back inside, put my shoes on and went upstairs. I saw a whiff of smoke coming from the top of my upstairs neighbor’s door. It wasn’t much, may be one lungfull of cigarette smoke, but it smelled wrong. It smelled like pine and something else. I knocked loudly on the door and then felt the door. The top was not warm and all but the bottom was a tiny bit too hot. I thought for a second that may be it was just the sun shining in on the door warming it up. But no it was a fire.

I ran downstairs and called 911. “There is a fire inside the top floor apartment in my building. I am at [address redacted]. I saw smoke coming from the top of the door and the door was hot.” The dispatcher said that the fire department would be on the way. I sat down and thought for a minute. Should I rescued anything is in my apartment? Maybe I should grab my computer. Nah, I just finished backing it up and I don’t think the building will burn down, water damage probably won’t kill my computer. Is there anything else I should grab? Nah. I grabbed my cell phone, my home phone (it works within one block of the building) and a jacket. I went upstairs to the door again I went over, grabbed the water hose in the back stairwell and set it where it could be seen. I considered forcing the door open to fight the fire, knowing how fast fires spread (they double in size every 18 seconds!). But I thought how the fire department would be here very soon and it could easily get out of hand if I opened the door to give the fire air.

I went to different apartments knocking loudly. I ran into S. and told her in a forceful voice “There is a fire in the building, it might burn down. You should leave.” I went down one floor and knocked on all of those doors loudly, shouting how there are was a fire in the building. I then heard fire sirens and thought to run downstairs to prop open the doors. I heard later that they would have ripped it from it’s hinges if I hadn’t. I walked up with 3 fire fighters and showed them where the fire was. It’s good that I walked up with them so they could find the fire quickly, no smoke was coming out of her door at all. The fire fighters broke the glass window, reached around and unlocked the door in a remarkable 3 seconds. When the door opened, a wall of thick very dark gray smoke from 3′ off the ground to the top of the door started to inch out the doorway. It seemed a bit odd how slow the smoke moved. I watched them bust into another neighbors apartment in 2 seconds: a swift shove broke the glass and the plexiglass burglar-proofing insert was ripped all its screws.

Things were starting to look better. The firefighters brought up a water hose and were barnstorming the burning apartment. Initially the hose was leaking all over the stairwell but they shoved the leaking union out the 1st story window. I went downstairs and out. I called the landlord, building manager, and neighbors.

Later, I saw S. sticking her head out the window of her apartment, slightly surprised to see fire trucks. All I could think was, “Idiot.”

Over an hour or so, neighbors trickled in from the places I called them from. The contents of the burnt apartment were thrown in a soggy pile in front of the apartment, and things began to calm down. All in all, there wasn’t that much damage to the building. The fire department ripped a hole in the ceiling of the flaming apartment to make sure fire wasn’t eating through the rafters. The water damage people put holes in the wall-ceiling joinery so they could set up fans and dry out the bones of the building. It completely sucks if mold takes hold of a building after a fire! The rugs were dried out and brought back after a few weeks.

As a thank you, the landlord gave me a gift certificate to the House of Prime Rib in San Francisco. I haven’t gone yet but will soon!

Friendship – None of that Sissy Shit

Are you tired of those sissy ‘friendship’ poems that always sound good, but never actually come close to reality? Well, here is a series of promises that actually speak of true friendship. You will see no cute little smiley faces on this, just the stone cold truth of our great friendship.

  1. When you are sad ~ I will help you get drunk and plot revenge against the sorry bastard who made you sad.
  2. When you are blue ~ I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.
  3. When you smile ~ I will know you are thinking of something that I would probably want to be involved in.
  4. When you are scared ~ I will rag on you about it every chance I get until you’re NOT.
  5. When you are worried ~ I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be until you quit whining.
  6. When you are confused ~ I will try to use only little words.
  7. When you are sick ~ Stay the hell away from me until you are well again. I don’t want whatever you have.
  8. When you fall ~ I will laugh at your clumsy ass, but I’ll help you up.
  9. This is my oath ….. I pledge it to the end. ‘Why?’ you may ask ~ because you are my friend.

Friendship is like peeing your pants, everyone can see it, but only you can feel the true warmth.

Hawaii Followup

My trip to Hawaii a few weeks was terribly short… Took off Saturday 8am, landed at noon. Saturday night I went to a birthday party at with an old friend that now lives in Hawaii, hi Heidi! It’s interesting that Heidi had friended me on Facebook after 10 years at exactly that moment. Just the next morning, I was on my way to fly to her in Honolulu!

Dinner Saturday night was fun.

Ala Moana park at sunset

Just a few moments before I took this, a surfer passed by that tiny gap in the break below the sun. It would have been a perfect picture. I get to keep that image in my mind. All you get is this awesome photo.

Long boats near Ala Moana park

Sunday was work. Man it was hot, humid, and sunny in Honolulu! Sunday night,

Monday night we hiked at night partway up to Mānoa Falls. It was pretty rad! Walking along, I saw a fallen flower at my feet, oo pretty. then I scanned with my flashlight to find a few more next to me… and a whole lot more! Wow, I walked right into this thing! Another spot, I was walking along and saw “something big” away to my right. I scanned with my flashlight and saw a wall of sorts about 50 yards away. And then I scanned up with the flashlight… hmm, it’s big… it’s flat… it has vines on it… scan up some more, it’s really big, and bumpy or something, 30 feet wide and scan up some more, 40 feet tall, 50, 60, what is it, 80 feet tall with branches at the top! It’s a 100 ft tall wall of a tree with multiple trunks completely covered with vines!

Hiking toward Manoa Falls at night

At the mention of me going hiking at night, my host told me that was a terrible idea, I’d get killed, fall off a cliff, get mugged, or worse. I asked him what I should do instead to see Honolulu, and after 3 times of prodding, the best he could come up with was “Sit down and have a drink at a bar in Waikiki. That’s the real Hawaii.” Needless to say, I went hiking instead.

Greetings from Honolulu. That's Diamondhead behind me :-)

How I spent my Valentines Day. University of Hawaii beat Nevada in overtime. A good, tight game, if you like basketball.

On Monday and Tuesday I trained our clients staff how to put together the rig. It was fun from a teaching perspective, though awfully awfully hot in that parking lot.


My last meal was at this Japanese restaurant with my client, finishing with a tasty toast ice cream thing covered in honey, cinnamon and sugar :-)

There wasn’t enough time to do what I wanted to, but there never is.

The Greatest Text I Have Ever Received

In November I visited a very good friend in Virginia. At one point she mentioned how she was unhappy that her ex made off with the waffle iron. I thought pensively and sadly to myself how the utter lack of home made waffles in her life was only multiplied by the loss of the iron itself. Thus began a search for a great waffle iron. It was a surprisingly long road.

I had bought a Villaware model 2001 from Williams Sonoma in 2001 that I am very happy with. But it’s a Belgian iron and she said she didn’t like such big crusty waffles. Besides, they don’t make the model any more, the replacement isn’t that well rated.

I stood in the San Francisco Williams Sonoma googling their waffle irons; starting at $180, you would think the All-Clad machines would be well rated, but “eh”. Surly Table was about the same. Standing in the basement at Macy’s, the Cuisinart $30 iron got good recommendations; and then I realized it would cost almost as much to ship it as it cost. Finally, I got a trial subscription to Cooks Illustrated online to look at reviews. They liked the M840 Wafflepro Express. I read a gazillion reviews. Many love, some hate. It was good to see that most of the hates were things like “It doesn’t make my mom’s traditional recipe the way I want it to!”

So here’s what I got her from Amazon: Chef’s Choice M840 WafflePro Express Waffle Maker, Traditional Five of Hearts

Is it a good waffle maker? Late one evening, about 2 weeks after mailing the machine, I got the following text:

Im drunk and i have been eating waffles all night. You are amazing

This is about the greatest text I have ever received.

I’m a Published Author

Each month AAA’s magazine “Via” has segment where they ask readers to contribute tips. Here’s one I submitted and they published in the west coast March 2011 edition, with great help from Charlotte! It’s neat that they illustrated the idea as well :-) Illustration by Michael Klein.

They sent me a AAA T-Shirt and a $25 check :-)