San Diego and San Francisco, California – 2016

San Diego

Elek and I arrived at the airport and went to baggage claim where we met Jim, Elaine, and Allison. This is the first time I have met Allison, my biological half-sister. She seems very put together and is very sweet. Elek and I went by Jim’s mom’s house and I met Jim’s brother, Craig. We spent a little time with Craig and Jim’s mom, Ruth and I took a tour of Jim’s childhood home, which reminded me of my Grandmother’s home. Elek and I were exhausted so we went to bed pretty soon.

The next morning we started packing for Campland. Check in was at 1 PM. We got one jet ski working, however, the other one was pretty much dead. Once we got to Campland Elek and I almost immediately took the jet ski out which was one of Elek’s favorite parts! Later we set up camp and the sleeping arrangements were a little tight but definitely doable. Elek and I shared a tent with Allison’s boyfriend, Chris. One really cool thing we saw each night was the fireworks from Sea World across the bay.

By the third night we were ready to go, though we got to do a lot of cool things there like rent a boat for half a day, ride our bikes around the place, eat some good food, etc. We played a lot of frisbee, football, and badminton.

After we left we went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner and my other sister Emily spent some quality time with us. What was really cool is that my sisters had a DVD of Dr. Horrible’s Sing A-Long Blog and we watched it the last night we were there. I’m a big fan of that.

It made me feel good that my sisters referred to me as their brother even though I’m their biological half brother.

Jim dropped Elek and me off at the airport where we took Virgin Airlines to San Francisco.

San Francisco

Monday Elek and I arrived in San Francisco and Nick picked us, Ben, and Luz up from the airport. We went back to Nick’s place and ordered Indian food which was delicious as usual. Elek is a fan.

Tuesday we walked through China Town and the Cable Car museum, which was awesome as it showed exactly how the cable cars work. We managed to go up to the 31st floor of the Westin in Union Square. A new Apple store was near by so we stopped in to take a look. We walked through Embarcadero, stopped in the Ferry building, and walked by the AT&T park. We took an Uber home and rested. That night we went to an awesome Thai restaurant called Hawker Fare which was very flavorful and spicy. We ate some ice cream afterward to counteract the spice.

Wednesday we ate breakfast and headed to an Afghan restaurant called Kamdesh to meet a highschool friend Mahendra. The food was spicy and very tasty. It’s the first time I’ve eaten that type of food. Next, we went to the Pacific Pinball Museum which was amazing! We spent an hour in there but could have easily spent 3 or more. We were planning on going to tour Berkeley but we were so tired we went back to Nick’s place and took a nap. Wed. night we went over to Jeremy Brown’s place in Castro, ate pizza, Elek played Portal 2, and we had some drinks.

Thursday morning we took the car to Twin Peaks which had a phenomenal view of the city! Afterward we found a parking place in Haight-Ashbury and wandered the streets where we got some good Cuban food at Cha Cha Cha. Next, we took a short walk through Golden Gate Park where normal park activities were occurring. We then drove down the twisty Lombard Street, which was cool to see again, another great view of the city!

Thursday night was a 21+ night. Luz was kind enough to watch Elek that night. We started out at Trick Dog who had a menu of presidential related drinks. Their drinks were pretty good. We met Chantelle there and then headed to dinner at El Techo. There was a wait so we went to a cash only bar, Doc’s Clock, across the street which reminded me of the P&H in Memphis. It also had a Ghostbuster’s pinball game. I think it was rigged and ate balls so fast. At El Techo we got a little bit of everything, but the carnitas were amazing! The restaurant is actually on the roof of a 4 story building so the view was really cool, especially at sunset. Once we finished dinner, we headed to another cash only bar called Make Out Room which had a pretty good DJ there. People were dancing and it seemed like it had a neat atmosphere. Chantelle had to get up for work in the morning so she left in an Uber and we made one last stop on the way home at Mission Bar. There are so many unique spots in San Francisco all within walking distance of each other! This was just one small part of the city.

Friday Nick took us to the airport where Elek and I barely made it on our plane because it was overbooked by 40 people. We finally made it home at about 11:30 PM Fri night and crashed. Overall it was a great trip!

Miami 2015

Miami 2015

So Allegiant is a relatively new airline which offers cheap flights to a few destinations from Memphis including Miami. My friend Ruth is living down there so I thought I would try out Allegiant air and visit June 26-29. Turns out the airline is totally a la carte. Everything cost more. It also seems that they’re consistently running late as well. My flight on the way back was delayed 6 hours.

Anyway while in Miami we went to one of the many beaches. I actually managed to get some sun and we saw a 3 foot long iguana in the wild which was unexpected. We also saw some needle fish and I managed to step on some creature (we both freaked out). We visited the Wynwood district that is currently being gentrified. The graffiti on the walls was excellent! We went to a few places including one called “Shots”. This place had various things including hookah rental, two women dressed as unicorns selling jello shots, and about 3 separate bars with a live DJ who felt the need to ruin the music by constantly speaking into the microphone.

Ruth has a relatively new, very cute dog named Phoebe whom I got along well with. I met a bunch of Ruth’s friends who were all cool. Speaking of that, I need to check with Liz to find out the best dates to try to go to Disney.

Trip to South Carolina 2014

Elek and I took a trip to see my dad in South Carolina over part of spring break. We got to go to the beach and climb to the top of an awesome and old lighthouse. I thought I would share some pictures.

Setting Up HTC One Google Play Edition with WalMart’s StraightTalk

So I couldn’t find this information ANYWHERE else on the internet so I thought I would share my experience.
First of all, I hear that WalMart / StraightTalk has stopped selling AT&T SIM cards. I purchased my HTC One GE online on the Google Play store.

When purchasing a SIM from Straight Talk, I chose the Bring Your Own Phone plan and chose option GSM. Next, I chose the “T-Mobile Compatible Phone” option at the “Please choose the type of phone you have:” dialog. Keep in mind, this is a full sized SIM card and the HTC One Google Edition takes a MicroSIM card. I used these directions/template to cut my SIM card into a Micro SIM card. I didn’t get it right first, so the phone said something like “No SIM Card Detected” when I turned it on. The gold contacts should be closest to the TOP of the tray/TOP of the phone. Once I sanded it down and got contact, I had to factory reset my phone in order for it to recognize the voice portion. Now I can make calls!

Next, on to the data portion. You have to set up (or edit) a new Access Point Name (APN). Below are my settings and I chose to edit the APN called TracFone (Settings->More->Mobile Networks->Access Point Names).

APN Name. straight talk
APN. wap.tracfone
proxy. blank
port. 8080
mmsc. http://mms.tracfone.com
mms proxy. blank
mms port. 8080

I tested the phone, internet (web browser), SMS, and MMS successfully.

[Update]
So NOW StraightTalk offers micro SIMs. Ugh. Also apparently they have to install equipment on the Tmobile or AT&T towers in order to get their phones to work with them. The speed is not that good and my phone kept switching from Edge to 3G to HSPA and back to 3G over and over. I read an article that says that unlocked phones do that and switch because they don’t always need the fastest speeds when they are updating. It also said that branded phones from AT&T, Tmobile do the same thing, but it just hides it from the user. Anyway I switched to TMobile and I am much happier. Faster speeds and better coverage!

google supporting network neutrality

comcast5.jpgI really hope that Google moves forward with this quickly seeing as how the American people were duped into paying for it already back during the Clinton administration. It was a good idea with no follow through and definitely no ass kicking from the government. I don’t want money back or the telecoms to have to pay anything. I just want them to do what they said and NOW. Not to mention lower my stupid internet bill and give me decent speed. How is it we’re lacking in that department when compared to places like Japan? Oh yeah, it’s because you can go to Japan and basically see our future.

Google Inc on Wednesday unveiled a plan aimed at eventually letting computer users determine whether providers like Comcast Corp are inappropriately blocking or slowing their work online.

The scheme is the latest bid in the debate over network neutrality, which pits content companies like Google against some Internet service providers.

via Reuters: Google begins effort to find Internet blockers.

It’s ridiculous to think that the telecoms were given monetary incentives from the government to improve their infrastructure, but the telecoms didn’t do anything at all. I remember reading about this a long time ago and thanks to the nice people at Reddit, we now have another article to share.

Starting in the early 1990’s, the Clinton-Gore Administration had aggressive plans to create the “National Infrastructure Initiative” to rewire ALL of America with fiber optic wiring, replacing the 100 year old copper wire. The Bell companies – SBC, Verizon, BellSouth and Qwest, claimed that they would step up to the plate and rewire homes, schools, libraries, government agencies, businesses and hospitals, etc. if they received financial incentives.

Kushnick’s “$200 Billion Broadband Scandal” says the government was promised 86 million households with fiber wiring delivering bi-directional 45 Mbps speeds, capable of handling 500 channels by 2006. He calls it a fraud case, with deft omission in the annals of the FCC, that cost households at least $2000 a piece but got nothing in return.

“Customers paid for a fiber optic wire and got DSL over the old copper wiring – it’s like ordering a Ferrari and getting a bicycle,” he writes in the “Bait and Switch” bullet.

via Web Pro News: Telcos Lay $200 Billion Goose Egg.

SNL Short

You guys sure have come a long way since The Lonely Island and your Fox pilot Awesometown!

Tags: , , ,