Tuesday, January 15, 2013

GoPro vs Fisher-Price

All I want... is for shit to work!

I don't own a smart phone, I don't want a smart phone, I don't need a smart phone and most of all a smart phone doesn't need me. 
I have a dumb phone and I like it, in fact I love it. 
I can make calls and I can text, I can receive calls and I can receive texts. 
That's it! 
Other than storing names and phone numbers, it doesn't have to do anything else.
I can drop it on the floor and it doesn't send me into an insurance claim tizzy, praying that I won't be playing roundy round with a cell phone service provider that has me locked into an multi-year contract requiring more of a commitment than a sign here, press hard, 3 copies, 30 year fixed rate mortgage. 

My Canon camera has all kinds of menu settings and programmable features that I have no idea how to use, nor do I care to. I has an easy feature and that's how I like it. I don't fuss with shutter speed, I don't know what an f-stop is and as far as I'm concerned aperture is a state of mind.
I like the pictures it takes on easy mode. I'm happy.

My GoPro camera on the other hand, there are no dials so you have to use the electronic menu and program it. I thought it would be good to have it charged and ready for our trip to San Francisco so I downloaded the videos from the card and went to charge both batteries. The videos downloaded fine, but then I discovered that this little, innocent looking, electronic demon spawn has a mind of its own and wouldn't charge or turn on.

What the f-stop?


So I turn to Google and search "GoPro won't turn on"

Evidently, this is a common problem with GoPro cameras, so much so that there are pages of tricks and cheats on how to override this glitch, not to mention Andy had this same problem with his GoPro.

Turn off camera
Remove battery
Plug camera into computer
Hold button X and Y simultaneously for 23.49 seconds
Chant ominous demonic chants in Latin
Reinstall battery
Prepare for the arrival of Gozar 

Or there is my much, much simpler method. Fetch original box, find receipt of purchase and return to store for a full refund. Gozar is now trapped in a tiny box in the return pile of the REI store in Eugene, waiting to be released on some poor unsuspecting soul at their next used equipment sale event.

I really appreciate reading stories and watching other blogger's videos and photos and bloopers taken with their GoPro cameras. I certainly wish my life was half as exciting as GoPro portray on the box.

But I'm not going to triple back flip, hang ten, extreme base jump or half pipe anything anytime soon.

Trust me, I wanted to and I even inquired about kite boarding the other day, but Rogey turned me around and escorted me out of the kite shop before I did something foolish.

Maybe I should stick with something more my speed...

I'm looking into the Hero 3 and hopefully it is more idiot proof user friendly than its predecessor. Otherwise, I may just buy a cheap camera and mount it like I used to... before GoPro was cool.

Kodak Easy Share mounted on my America

Come on Fisher Price you're missing out on a niche market.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Monday, Monday...

Monday morning in San Francisco promised to be a little warmer and sunny than the weekend had been. It didn't matter as everyday is sunny with Rogey.

We met at the same cafe that we'd been meeting all weekend for our morning coffee. A gentlemen sitting beside us picked up on Rogey's pleasant demeanor and asked us all where we were from and chatted for a bit. We slowly finished breakfast and made plans for our last day together as our plane didn't leave until that evening. Brandy and I went back to our hotel to grab our bags, check out then met Rogey at his room to store our things.

It was warm, the sun was shining but we weren't up for walking so we hailed a cab and rode down to the geographical center of SF, a colorful and inviting neighborhood known as the Castro. We strolled up and down the streets visiting the little shops and cafes.

We had to stop for a photo of...

Brandy and Rogey in front of Brandy Ho's
We made our way through more shops then to Harvey Milk's famous camera shop.

The current store owner told us a bit about the history of the store, the filming of the movie, the bronze plaques out front and the shop today.

Front door of Harvey Milk's camera shop

Memorial Plaque 

If you haven't seen the movie, I highly recommend it. Sean Penn does a fantastic job as "MILK" .

We hopped across the street to Castro Tarts for coffee and a bite to eat. Then we wandered around some more and did some shopping before calling it quits. We were tired so hailing another cab we headed back to the hotel to fetch our things. We chatted for a bit more and sadly said our goodbyes to Rogey with promises to see him again.  It was still early but I don't like big cities and with nothing more to see in SF it was good to be going home. Brandy and I walked down to the Powell Street Station and boarded the BART back to the Oakland Airport to relax and wait for our departure time.

It was a great weekend, good to meet everyone in Alameda for Sunday brunch and make new friends. Thank you Rogey for making the lay over in San Francisco, it was a pleasure to...... laugh with you.

Cheers mate.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

It was all just a dream...

Saturday morning Trobairitz and I were on a plane to Oakland to meet a famous Kiwi blogger.

Arriving in Oakland, Bobskoot picked us up in a rental car before driving us into San Francisco. Our hotel room wasn't ready and we couldn't check in quite yet so we decided to meet Rogey then go somewhere for lunch instead. We knew about the Golden Era Restaurant from the last time we were in SF and we were eager for some soup to warm up as it was a bit chilly. Introductions were made and we all hit it off instantly. I must say Rogey is an interesting character, quite likable right from the start and very cheerful but he has this look about him that I can't quite place... I'm not so sure he can be trusted. We chatted, laughed and opened unexpected prezzies, thank you Roger, you are very generous with fantastic taste, of course. And thank you too Lori.
Sorry we didn't get many photos, Bob is the shutterbug so you can check out his photos here.

To really experience the SF touristy stuff someone suggested Chinatown, so off we went.

We wandered the shops, I bought a man bag, a tiger hat and a few small trinkets. 

Borrowed photo from Bob @ Wet Coast Skootin'

It was nice to have the rental car and much more convenient than the bus or taxi to carry on to Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf.

It doesn't rain in California does it? I've never seen so many umbrellas and we're from Oregon. Bob and I walked back to fetch the car so Rogey and Brandy wouldn't get wet. We drove back to our hotel and went in search of refreshment then dinner, then of course... more refreshment. I just know that Kiwi is up to something, I just know it, I don't trust him...

We had been up since 3 am to catch our flight and we were pooped so we retired early.

So on Sunday morning we all gathered at a mexican restaurant in Alameda for brunch to meet up with other bloggers. We got to meet Ms. M, her friend KT Did as well as Guido and Andrea. It was wonderful to put faces and people to the blogs and form stronger friendships, thanks everyone. We had a great time chatting, it's like we already knew each other.

The fruit buffet was great and I must say I've never had a margarita for breakfast before... before I met the Kiwi. I'm starting to notice a pattern here, you could have warned me Geoff.

A short 3 hours later we said our goodbyes and the four of us Bob, Rogey, Brandy and I were off to see the Hornet aircraft carrier that Brandy wrote about. It was great to take the tour again because each docent tells a different story.

It was getting late and Bob had to get settled for the night for his early flight home Monday. Without the rental car the 3 of us enjoyed the BART experience back to SF. I'm not sure how Rogey felt about the train ride because he mentioned hiring an airport shuttle next time. All this waking was killing the poor guy. It was a bit of a walk from Powell Station to our hotels and we needed a little rest so we decided to meet in an hour for dinner.

I must have fallen asleep because the rest of the evening is all a little bit fuzzy...

 <dream sequence>

There is no truth to the rumors...

Stella is a scooter...

and what's this about Sake? 

And why did we need screwdrivers? Screwdrivers won't fix this. 

Singing? Laughing? A phone call? 

What a weird dream.

 </dream sequence>

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Polar Bear Ride Fail

Well... 2013 didn't start off so good, my beloved Tiger just doesn't like the New Year, evidently she's a bit temperamental if I don't pay her attention.

We don't go out as often as we used to so our relationship has suffered. We went out for the first time in weeks for the Throw Up Christmas Ride and we hadn't been out together since, until this morning.

The last time we were out my heated jacket liner was only working intermittently and when I got home I noticed the wires at the base of the controller were broken, no problem right? I checked online for warranty information, checked my purchase date and sure enough I was past the 3 year warranty date. So with nothing to lose I think to myself, self, cut the wires, solder them back together and we're good to go... except if it wasn't for bad luck, well you know the rest. I cut the wires to find one wire was loose from the circuit board inside the controller. I took apart the controller and I knew immediately this was way beyond my patience level. You don't want me anywhere near a circuit board with a soldering iron, it ain't pretty. Fortunately my good friend Andy offered to solder it for me, Andy is a great guy and has saved me from myself more than once, thanks Andy.

In the meantime I thought what the heck, why not email Tour Master and find out if they can offer a solution? I explained what I did and they replied back within hours offering an updated dual rheostat controller for the Synergy 2.0 and adapter to work with my first generation Synergy 1.0 liner. WOW!

Andy had the original controller fixed and he even delivered it Sunday so I'd have it for the Polar Bear Ride, Andy is a great guy, thanks Andy. We hooked up the liner, plugged it into my bike and it started to warm, it works and I'm good to go.

Trobairitz came home from work Monday with a package from Tour Master, the updated controller arrived in the mail. Now I have a backup controller. I say backup because it is a dual controller which means it has 3 extra wires of tangled mess that I don't need. I figured out which wires went where and which wires were extra then hooked everything up to test it. I hooked it up to my bike and got it heating. Now if either Brandy or I need a backup controller we have it and I know how to wire it.

We got up this morning, dressed in layers and suited up to meet everyone for coffee before the ride. It was cold, icy and 26º F but sunny, I knew if we were careful we would make it to coffee and it would warm up considerably by the ride departure time of 11:00.

However, we both needed gas. I pulled up to the pump and my debit card didn't work, okaaay, then my credit card didn't work, fine I'll pay with cash. Then the pump didn't work, ffffine. I backed up to the pump that Brandy was using and topped up. I thumbed the starter and it was then I realized that when you test your heated liner, you're asking a lot from your battery and you should really plug it into a charger the night before heading out on a ride.

Alright let's see, ignition on and second gear, clutch in, push, push, push, run, run and in one graceful fluid motion.... jump, engage clutch aaaaand nothing. Second attempt my lovely assistant helped push while I push, push, push, run, run and in one graceful fluid motion.... jump, engage clutch aaaaand nothing. Gasp, huff, puff, gasp, wheeze, huff, puff, gasp, wheeze push, push, push, run, run and in one graceful fluid motion.... jump, engage clutch aaaaand nothing... but this time I lose my balance and Lucy is napping in the middle of the street. Curse, curse, huff, curse, puff, gasp, curse, wheeze, curse, curse, huff, puff, curse, gasp, wheeze... did I mention we were wearing our Sena communicators?
Off comes the gear and somehow the temperature is no longer a concern, now I have to pick up my 560 pound bike with a full tank of gas. Upsy daisy, then park her until I can get some jumper cables.

I'm in pretty good shape for a guy not in very good shape.

We hopped on Max and rode home to get the car so we could at least meet for coffee and have some breakfast. We were able to visit, explain why we couldn't make the ride and saw the group off before acquiring jumper cables and rescuing Lucy.

Of course, after being left alone in a time out, Lucy fired right up without a jump... of course.
I rode home, plugged her into a battery tender and tomorrow I will tend to her wounds.

Not letting such a beautiful sunshiny day go to waste, Brandy and I enjoyed a hike. Evidently I need to get back into better shape.

Hope your New Year's Day was as adventurous. Happy 2013 all!