Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Staying At the Moana Hotel in Waikiki in January

The Moana Surfrider Hotel in Waikiki - Hawaii. You may recall this hotel from the Elvis's movie Blue Hawaii in 1961. Hawaii was just a state 2 years ands this was one of the only places on the beach. 

The open air lobby allows ocean breezes to flow through

Lulu is making a presentation at a conference in Hawaii. Usually we stay at our friend Doris's condo in Waikiki. When Lulu was a professor at the University of Hawaii - we loved the condo life on the beach - but would always love to the crash the facilities at the Moana Hotel. I used to enjoy sitting on their verandah and read the newspapers from all over the world. Later on- I would squat on their wifi while Lulu enjoyed the beach.

I remember one young lady using a beach lounge by the pool under the Banyan tree - when the life guard came and routed her from her squat. She replied to him in perfect German - got up and hopped into the pool.

Lulu used to teach a course for the University of Hawaii every summer. We would have  a lot of guests come over to spend some time in our condo.

From January 5th to the 9th - no one will be chased from the pool - unless Lulu points them out to the life guard. She reserved a room in the historic section of this Hawaiian landmark. Now she will have the right color of towel to prove she is legit.

One time I surprised Lulu with an anniversary dinner on the veranda. Drew - Keith - and Robin were along for the party. They witnessed a pigeon bomb Lulu's pretty white dress. To my joy - the hotel paid the bill for the meal and the dress cleaning.

It was off the coast of this hotel where Lulu and Harry learned to surf - see video here -

Harry Surfing Video

At one time it was the only hotel on the beach

Just like Seek is the Capital of Coaldale - Waikiki is the Capital of Honolulu. On the map you can see how close the beach is to the airport. You can also see Pearl Harbor - Tora! Tora! Tora!

To the east of the Moana Hotel is Diamond Head - an extinct volcano.

In the day time I sit on those porch rockers and watch the people and cars go by.

This Banyan tree has a pool - restaurant - and bar - under its boughs.
This photo shows the Moana Hotel before there were cars.

Iphone Theft Lock Down Law - Good California Law

California on Monday became the first state to require that antitheft security features come enabled by default for every smartphone sold in the state.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed the so-called "kill switch" bill -- introduced in February by State Sen. Mark Leno and sponsored by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon -- on Monday, after it passed the state legislature earlier this month. A smartphone kill switch enables an owner to lock down a phone if it is stolen, rendering it inoperable. A spokesperson from Brown's office said the governor was not available for comment.
In May, Minnesota became the first state to pass a kill switch bill, but that law does not require the feature come turned on as the default setting, when a consumer initially sets up his or her new smartphone -- a distinction supporters of the California bill deem very important.
"Opt-in does not end the problem. Because it will not be ubiquitous," said Leno on the Senate floor in April, the first time the bill was presented. The idea is that if thieves expect the software to be enabled on all phones, they won't bother stealing them in the first place. After a heated debate, the legislation narrowly failed its first go-around but passed after a second try two weeks later.
"California has just put smartphone thieves on notice," Leno said Monday, in a statement.
The law aims to address what government officials have called an "epidemic." One in 10 smartphone owners in the US has had a phone stolen, according to the mobile security firm Lookout. In 2013, more than 3 million Americans were the victims of smartphone theft -- nearly twice as many as the year before, according to Consumer Reports. In San Francisco, which Leno represents and over which Gascon presides, thefts of mobile devices made up 65 percent of robberies in 2013. In Oakland, it was 75 percent.
"Seldom can a public safety crisis be addressed by a technological solution, but today wireless consumers everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief," said Gascon, in a statement.
The law will apply to smartphones -- not tablets or other devices -- sold in the state after July 1, 2015. There will be a penalty of $500 to $2,500 for the "knowing retail sale" of every phone not in compliance.
The bill has received some pushback from the wireless industry, which believes a kill switch could be exploited by hackers. But supporters of the law have questioned the motivations of mobile carriers, which have lucrative deals with insurance partners.
The CITA, a trade organization representing the wireless industry, derided Brown's decision. "Today's action was unnecessary given the breadth of action the industry has taken," Jaime Hastings, vice president of external and state affairs for the CTIA, said in a statement.
"State by state technology mandates, such as this one, stifle those benefits and are detrimental to wireless consumers."
The law requires the security software to come enabled by default, but other than that, not much will change for most smartphone holders. Apple and Samsung, the No. 1 and 2 smartphone makers in the world, already have antitheft software available on their phones.
Last September, Apple added "activation lock," a feature that makes it harder for someone to use a stolen iPhone. The program requires a user's Apple ID and password before they can turn off the phone's location tracking or reactivate a locked phone. In April, Samsung, maker of the popular Galaxy smartphone line, launched "reactivation lock," which prevents a locked phone from being made operable again, even through a factory reset

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Things You Find Rooting Thru Grandma's Attic

Lulu in her wedding dress from 1971. 

Lulu in her THS prom dress of 1972. 

It's almost 100 degrees in Tallahassee outside - so we decided to do a little organizing in Lulu's attic. Even though the attic is not heated nor air conditioned - we wanted to prove that thanks to the one foot of SucraSeal insulation - it stays a relatively cool 80 degrees. 

We have shelves and 60 plastic bins that we use to sort our junk. Each bin has a letter or letters on it. We have a computer spreadsheet with all our junk listed on it and the bin it can be found. 

Today Lulu looked up wedding dress and prom dress. It has been 43 years since Lulu wore these dresses - the wedding dress in 1971 - and the prom dress in 1972. If I were allowed to take pictures from the rear - you would notice about a 4 inch gap going up the back. They reminded me of the dresses that undertakers use - no back. Lulu was a good sport and allowed me to use these pictures to tell the story about our super insulated roof. 

The Comedy Zone Had Grand Opening At The Moon Last Night

Al Ernst - iphone video

Ryan Van Genderen - iphone video

One of the nicest assets to our neighborhood is The Moon. Everyone in town knows about The Moon and where it is. When anyone wants to find our place - I just say "go to The Moon - that red light is Seminole Drive - go south 1/2 mile and that is our place."

The Moon used to be an A & P Store - it would be nice if that were there too :-)

The Comedy Store is a national chain of small comedy clubs. Simply - you pay a small admission - buy a few drinks and snacks - and laugh your butt off. Last night was the grand opening for The Comedy Store At The Moon. It used to be across town - but closed last year. We are delighted it chose The Moon to reopen. 

We can walk 1/2 mile from our home - drink in complete safety - and not worry about who is driving home. We can be in bed before the room is fully cleared. 

They offer two shows on Friday and Saturday night at 8 PM and 10 PM. The room holds maybe 100 tops. 

Last night at 7 - I asked Lulu if she wanted to go - we got showered and dressed - we bought tickets at the door. They offered $12 and $20 - the $20 was for the VIP reserved front tables. We sprung for the extra close seats - I wanted to test my new eye. The room filled pretty quickly.

There were 4 comics. First Johnny Ray - a local from Quincy was the emcee. He has always been good - a nice warmup - but I'll bet he could feature elsewhere. Next - it went so fast - I did not catch her name. A pretty young lady did a short set. We later learned that she was the wife of Ryan the opening act. I wish I had my camera ready for her - she did some very animated humor.

The two features were really good - Ryan Van Genderen and Al Ernst. You can read their bios at the end. 

During the show - I realized the people next to me and behind me were there on the $12 tickets - the ticket I will buy next weekend. :-)

Drinks were reasonable - in the $4 and $5 range. Snack was also hot and tasty. Even in the exclusive front row we got out of there for $55 total - drinks - snacks - tickets. 

After the show - we got home quickly - even with a buzz on. 

The Moon is a nice club - we have seen Willie Nelson there - and the Fab Four (Beatles Replica Ban).  We are looking forward to many more Comedy Store nights. 

Main Projects


Carnival Cruise Lines "Entertainer of the Year," which is saying something when Carnival fills more than 5,000 entertainment gigs a year. Al has performed hundreds of corporate gigs in the last few years, because of his ability to combine rudimentary motivational speaking with non-confrontational humor. He has been a Professional Wrestling announcer and hosted of his own show , "A View from the Cheap Seats." His TV credits include all major networks and cable from CNN, TNN, ESPN, A&E, Comedy Central and HBO.
He has presented both entertaining and inspiring speeches, seminars and training to over 300 groups, and is a favorite guest on over 150 radio shows including the nationally syndicated “Bob and Sheri Morning Show.
Al was also featured prominently in a Wall Street Journal article with about clean comedy. With over 15 years on his way to “Destination: E-man Nation”, the audience is in store for one of the most memorable times of their lives. Al has a library filled with video and audio titles and has participated in over 30 television shows most recently MTV’s “TRL” and the SPEED network’s, “Victory Lane”.

Main Projects


Ryan Van Genderen is patiently waiting to get famous so other people can write his bio but until then...
Ryan hails from Patterson, New Jersey.  He's been writing and performing comedy for almost 9 years.  Based out of Charlotte, NC he now tours the country as both a feature and headlining act delivering the funny ( Jesus really?) one city at a time.  His unorthodox style will sneak up on you with a laugh you never see coming (wait is that a good thing?). Voted "Class Clown" by his peers in 2000, Ryan has managed to make a career out of making people laugh. A true force on stage he mixes self deprecation with a witty point of view on life... in fact he might just change yours. 
In September 2013 he was selected as a finalist in the Comedy Central Up Next competition in Charlotte, NC.  Ryan has headlined at West Virginia University and featured at both the Hard Rock Casino in Cleveland as well as the Atlantis resort in Nassau, Bahamas.  He can do it all! ( ok rap it up)
He has opened up for some of the best including Nikki Glaser, Neal Brennan, Jaime Kennedy, Keith Alberstadt, Mike Birbiglia, Charlie Murphy, Margaret Cho, Aries Spears, Natasha Leggero, Jon Lovitz,  and Bill Burr.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Tallahassee to New Orleans to Tallahassee - All In One Day - I am Home Now

This is a double decker Megabus. I went from Tallahassee to New Orleans in 6 hours - about 400 miles. Add an hour for time zones.

Bourbon Street looks like this at 6 am. I was driving north on Canal Street

The day was one big blur. Just after midnight Lulu dropped me off at the Tallahassee Bus Terminal. Minutes later the Megabus pulled in. Lulu had found me a one way ticket to New Orleans for $25. By 6 am I would be in the Crescent City. 

The Megabus was pretty cool - cold really. Good thing I took a sweater and a blanket - because they kept the air conditioner turned down really cool. Also the lights were completely out for the most of the trip. I took a seat in the upper deck. The seats do not adjust much and I was squirming most of the night finding a good position. I used our FSU blanket to make like a tent for both warmth and privacy. I sleep using a CPAP - and it looks like I am in intensive care in a hospital. Without it - I would have kept everyone awake with my catching of my breath. Each seat had two 110 volt outlets for computers - phones - and I guess CPAP machines. 

On the lower deck there was a bath room. They also had free wifi - but honestly I was so tired I never really got set up. The bus stopped a few minutes in Luxley Alabama and Mobile Alabama. Some people go on and off at each stop. 

Around 6 AM and sunrise we pulled into New Orleans. It did not seem like the bus was moving fast - but we made great time. The bus dumped us off downtown and there was a pile of people waiting to get on to go to the next stop. Lulu said if you buy early enough you can get seats for as low as $1. I bought my seat yesterday. I bought it online - and all the driver wanted to hear was a 5 digit code. At the 5th digit he said get in. 

Megabus uses discount bus stops  :-) People were waiting for the next bus. 

My ride picked me up to take me to Rainbow Luxury Imports in Covington LA. I never crossed the 26 mile bridge over Lake Ponchetrain before - it was pretty neat. 

When we got to the dealer - our car was in the showroom. Simply - I took the car for a test ride - looked it over - signed some papers - had a break for breakfast - then hopped in the car and drove home. 

I stopped a couple times for stretch breaks along the way. I drove to the beach at Gulf Shore and Biloxi - and went into the Beau Rivages Casino. It was not busy - looked a little runned down like Atlantic City. There were still tons of empty building lots along the beach from Katrina. 

From Biloxi - it was pretty well non-stop home except for the bathroom. When I got home - Lulu was waiting in the yard - and we went for a ride. She seemed pleased - my job was done - except for selling two of our old cars.

The seller filled the tank with 16 gallons of premium fuel - more than enough to cover the 400 miles trip home. I doubt that it will rival our 51 MPG Prius. 

I spent time at the bus stop waiting for my porter to arrive. It was about 8 blocks from Cafe Du Monde.

It will be home in 400 miles.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Working Man's Segway - The Zap Pro-Flex 500

I love electric vehicles mainly because they are so quiet and cheap to run. Too bad they are not cheap to buy. 

A Segway - the computer driven 2 wheeled stand up vehicle costs around $5000. For Father's Day last year - Drew bought me a Segway tour in Richmond. It was a lot of fun - but $5000 prevents me from investing. 

I visited Camping World in Panama City last week. They had a cool little vehicle called the Zap Pro-Flex 500. It is a simple little electric tricycle that you can ride standing up or sitting down. It has snappy performance. Lulu and I both rode one. 

It has a 500 watt / 48 volt electric motor in the front wheel that provides snappy performance. It goes 15 miles per hour for 20 miles. Then you plug it in at night for 4 hours for a full recharge. It does not require a license plate- nor a driver's license. 

It comes with a horn - a headlight - and a electric gauge to tell you how much power you have left. The price of $850. 

If you ride it standing up - it looks much less like a handicap scooter. I wonder if Medicare would fund one of these. :-)

It also folds up to store it in your car - but it weighs 100 pounds - I would not want to lift it. 

My 220 Volt London Tea Kettle

2 quarts of boiling hot water in 1 minute.

Note the plug and outlet with funny prongs. One prong is turned sideways.

Lowes has a nice assortment of plugs and outlets.

This is a 220 volt outlet.

Lulu is a coffee girl - but I like my tea. Lipton is just fine - no fancy flavors or colors - just the cheap stuff. A little lemon and Splenda rounds it all out. 

In London they power their outlets with 220 volts. Over there my tea kettle can boil 2 quarts in 1 minute. I am not just talking steam - I am talking a rolling boil. We usually go there every summer - and I usually bring home a new kettle. In Scotland - a derogatory term for a man that stays home while his wife works is a "kettle boiler." His job is to keep the home fires burning - and have hot water available for his working wife. I am a kettle boiler. 

when we built our new home - we had an extra circuit put on the kitchen counter for our tea kettle. Today I bought and American 220 volt outlet and plug. Note the different prongs so that you do not accidentally inert a 110 volt plug into the outlet - or plug the 220 volt appliance in to a 110 volt outlet.