Quote Able

30 11 2007

Snow is a magical blanket – it hides what’s ugly and makes everything beautiful.


Airline Secrets

29 11 2007

Some obvious airline tips:

  1. You get better deals and schedules without directly buying from the airlines. Check with a travel agent or the discounted special fares in the Sunday paper. Package deals are not always worth it.
  2. Coach tickets booked under codes YUPP, QUPP or Z can award you automatic mileage based upgrades to first class. YUPP fares are to matchlow cost carriers in specific markets. They are not easily available.
  3. Cheaper fares and greater seat availability if you fly out on Saturday after 0900 and return on a Tuesday.
  4. Ryanair, Easyjet, Jetstar, Air Asia and Malaysia airlines have great fares but are often ignored. Use these to fly around once you’re overseas. They are safe but they have restrictions, of course.
  5. Check with the foreign airlines based on your destination’s airlines rather than relying on only American ones. But check your exchange rate.
  6. Always fly into the cheapest cities. Fly into Dublin rather than Heathrow. Connections are also a lesser nightmare.
  7. Check refund policies before you confirm your purchase.
  8. If you live near a larger city, drive to it to save US$ and avoid having to connect/miss a chartered tiny flight.
  9. If you fly in Japan within 7 days of you birthday, you and 3 coflyers get discounts

Buda Pest

27 11 2007

Google Chat

26 11 2007


Finally you can chat with multiple people without multiple windows. I only ask why Vivek is going camping with Todd in this example.

Jersey Boys

25 11 2007

V and I caught a special festive encore of the Jersey Boys at the Curran today. Festive and special.

Jersey Boys is a shrink wrapped documentary style musical based on the lives of the Four Seasons, a rather successful rock and roll group from the sixties; it plays like an overlong episode of VH1 Behind The Music. The musical opened on Broadway on November 6, 2005 and is part concert, part jukebox musical (like Mamma Mia) and an inexplicable hit among women of a certain age. Its national tour began on December 10, 2006 at the Curran and is back for a festive special holiday run until December 30 when the new cast moves to  Chicago. Jeff Liebow who plays Nick Massi is a Pleasanton native. Rick Faugno is no John Lloyd Young (start turn originating the role of lead singer Frankie Valli) whose after-shave soaked lounge ballad “Can’t Take My Eyes off Of You” hits the stage around a quarter hour before the musical ends, but he has the karaoke voice between effigy impersonation and exact mimicry. The package is curiously a mix between Dreamgirls and Goodfellas, enhanced by an invisible technologically enhanced electronic band that approximates vocals and instrumentals to an inordinate degree. The musical works where Good Vibrations (Beach Boys), All Shook Up (Billy Joel) and Lennon (guess – this one premiered in SF) did not, by using the clunky storyline inspires soundtrack fantasy made innovatively insane by Mamma Mia (Abba). Except for the expectation-thwarting opening French rap single (Ces Soirees La), the sound is remarkably clean in the standard-issue industrial set arch.

Frozen Pipes

24 11 2007

Night time temperatures are routinely approaching freezing. This increases the chance that your water pipes will burst as water expands to freeze. The expansion pressurizes whatever (metal or plastic) contains it, no matter its strength, and outdoor hose bibs, swimmng pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas (basement, crawl space, attic, garage, kitchen cabinet), pipes running against exterior walls with minimal/no insulation.

How to prevent in-pipe freezing:

  • drain water from pool and water sprinkler supply lines following installer’s manual
  • do not put anti-freeze in these lines unless explicitly directed
  • remove, drain and store hoses used outdoors
  • close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs
  • open outside hose bibs to allow water to drain
  • keep outside valve open so water remaining in the pipe can expand without breaking the pipe
  • insulate water pipes with a pipe sleeve or use UL-listed heat tape, heat cable or similar materials on exposed water pipes, butting ends tightly and taping down shut
  • even 1/4″ newspaper padding provides more insulation than nothing at all
  • keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines therein
  • open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to let warmer air circulate
  • when it is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes – even a trickle prevents freezing as water temperature running through it is above freezing
  • keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night – by suspending the use of lower night time temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill but you could prevent a more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst
  • if going on holiday during the winter, leave the heat on in the home set to a temperature of no lower than 55*F

To Thaw a Frozen Pipe

  • suspect it if only a trickle exits a faucet turned on
  • locate the suspected area – pipes running against exterior walls or where the water service enters your house through the foundation
  • keep the faucet open and apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater, or wrapping pipes in towels soaked in hot water from the neighbor’s home
  • do not use a blow torch, kerosene/propane heater, charcoal stove or other open flame device
  • apply heat until full water pressure is restored
  • check all other faucets for flow – if one freezes, others might also
  • add insulation to prevent a recurrence
  • call a license plumber if basic measures fail – do not try to be a hero

Stay warm tonight!

Go West

23 11 2007