Author Archives: jamesandrewflood

About jamesandrewflood

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Traveling again.

We just flew from Victoria to Ottawa and generally speaking, we  had a very good trip. Actually, any trip that you leave and arrive at your destination successfully should be considered a good trip!
In this case, it was a good trip because we succeeded in arriving at our destination. There really weren’t that many things that went wrong, but, when they were going wrong, they seem like a big deal.

Let me give you an example of the first one: when we were sitting in the airport in Victoria, I called the hotel in Calgary to confirm the reservation, and to find out where we needed to go in the airport to pick up the shuffle. He confirmed that we indeed had a reservation, and we need to go to gate number 10 to pick up the shuffle. He suggested that once we pick up our bags we should call him to arrange for the shuttle, as it naturally doesn’t wait there all the time. So, once we arrived, and picked up on bags, we diligently called the hotel to arrange for the shuttle. He informed me that the shuttle just left the airport, and would be back in 45 minutes to pick us up. I asked if the shuttle could turn around and come back, but, no, that wasn’t possible. I asked why was it going to take so long since the reason we chose that hotel was firstly since it was inexpensive, and secondly because it was only 8 minutes away from the airport. He said something about construction and said that the driver would be there in 45 minutes, goodbye. About 20 minutes later I called back and asked him if he could have the driver come into the airport and meet us as we were sitting on some comfortable lounge chairs inside the airport as opposed to sitting on the hard wooden benches outside. He called the driver who confirmed that would be okay.

So, actually, the driver showed up and took us to the hotel turned out to be in a woman who arrived in Canada 8 years ago from Afghanistan. She talked a lot about the importance of education. She said ‘yes love’ alot in agreement.  She said that her and her brother wanted to open a franchise shop, McDonalds, Tim Hortons, or something like that. It very nice transition from what I was expecting.  The hotel wasn’t  ‘super’ nor was it 8 minutes away.

The flight from Calgary to Ottawa was interesting in that there were three babies around us at the back of the airplane. What was really interesting was at the babies almost didn’t cry at all on the entire flight. The people around had concerned looks about number babies on the flight, but when the babies didn’t cry at all for the entire flight there was quite a lot of amazement going on especially when we landed people were almost congratulating parents! I actually thought the babies should have congratulated! The baby beside me, was 6 months old, her name is Caitlin. Dressed in pink. Cute as a button, as they say.

The woman sitting in front of us had a 9 month old baby, and her husband and it two year old son sat on the two seats on the aisle to the right. Beside her, was a man who was traveling alone. The flight attendant tried to make a deal with a man who was sitting alone in the back row to have this other man join him so that the woman would have the space to put her baby. The man in the back row was uncooperative and wouldn’t have anything to do with it. I was able to hear the flight attendant call her superior asking what to do about this. They decided that the man who was sitting in front of us would transfer to the flight attendant’s seat at the back on the other side and leave the grumpy man alone.

We arrived nicely, got our bags and rented a car and went off to Mary Ann’s, the connected with son Jamie who flew in from Japan.

Oh yes, we are here for my daughter Leah’s wedding!



I saw a youtube about Jason Becker, a guitarist from the ’80s. Shredder style. I’m not into that style of music, so I’d never heard of him before. But the story is amazing. Check out the wiki story here Or his own website here

The real short version of Jason’s story is this: insane guitarist as a kid/teenager, gets ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) at 20, should have died a few years later later, but didn’t.

I’m not going to retell the whole story, but I gotta tell you, it’s an amazing story. They made a movie about his life, Not Dead Yet.

Throughout the movie he is a very positive guy. Before he discovered he had ALS, and was playing gigs, he had a one liner he said all the time whenever anything was copacetic … Dang.

Try to check out the movie or the links …

Traveling, dead MacBook pro, and pin 5 and pin 29

My daughter and her fiancé, Sean, having finished several years teaching English in South Korea, are traveling around various parts of the world. That is their story, so it won’t impinge on that. Leah has been writing quite a bit on it here.
A few years ago, Sean was having some difficulties doing good video editing with his older and tired laptop. Knowing what he wanted to do, I recommend he get a MacBook pro. This he did in South Korea. Then, they started traveling.
The problems with his MacBook were slow to develop. Once in awhile, the power button would require an extra push as well as possibly a magical push and turn, or possibly a magical push the button while squeezing the bottom while standing on 1 foot. However, eventually, the MacBook pro would simply not start.
They were in Thailand when this first occurred. As they were going through Bangkok, they went to an “authorized apple repair shop” and discovered that the entire keyboard top of the laptop would need to be replaced. So, they left it for repairs, and went on to one of the islands for few weeks. Upon return, the Mac was working correctly, with a shiny new keyboard cover. And $250 poorer to boot.
Fast forward a few months, they are now in Uganda, and the keyboard is behaving exactly the same. It will not start.
Leah mentioned this to me on a telephone call as a sideline hassle to their traveling. They were going to ship the laptop Ontario where Sean’s mother was going to pick it up, get it into a repair shop, and probably just hold onto until they arrived in Canada in May. Seemed like a lot of hassle for a simple power button problem. [My brother in law, Dave, and I (mostly Dave) had just recently taken apart two older [dead] (yes Macs do die too) Mac book pros and combined them into one functioning MacBook pro. So basically I looked at this as a mechanical problem with a lot of screws that needed to be undone.]
While I was talking to Leah on the phone, I did some searching on the Internet, and discovered that they were not alone in this issue, and that while getting the keyboard cover fixed, if under warranty, was the ideal solution, the first repair was not under warranty, and neither the second. I did find a few curious posts from some “geeks” who discovered that if you were to briefly short together pin 5 and pin 29 on a very small connector that looks like a miniature piano on the bottom side of the motherboard, the computer “should” start. I guess the operative word there is “should”. Since the computer was already off warranty, and not functioning, Sean decided to go ahead and try.
They found a small screwdriver, remove the ” millions” of screws from the bottom, located the connector that looks like a miniature piano, identified, based on my descriptions, which would be pin 5, and which would be 29, and decided to go ahead and short end of the two contacts. Leah located a piece of wire somewhere in their hotel room, and as she possibly had a calmer hand, they decided she would do the surgery.
Carefully, she touched one side of the wire to pin 29, which the brief description on the Internet indicated was the positive pin, and then touched pin 5.
The MacBook pro sprang to life!
All they needed to do now was reset the time to sleep on the laptop so it would not shut down, but only sleep when the top was closed, and test how long the battery would last in sleep mode. So that night, with a fully charged battery, and not plugged in, they put the computer to sleep. If in the morning, after 10 hours, the battery was only discharged charged 5%. This meant that they would be able to safely put the computer to sleep on long flights, as they would be doing in May, and not need to worry about doing this type of surgery on a regular basis.
When they get back to Canada, Dave and I might take an opportunity to see if we can repair the original cover, or, at least attach two the wires to pin 5 and pin 29 so they can jumpstart the computer without having to take bottom off!
The real question is this: why would the power button fails so easily?

Breakfast with the guys

Saturday mornings a bunch of us guys, sometimes gals will join, have breakfast at a location determined by a combination of proximity to where the 905 Walking Group starts their walk and by feedback garnered from the folks at the previous Saturday’s breakfast. There are certain objectives we aim for:

  • Free parking
  • Bottomless coffee [not today, see first proximity issue above]
  • Good food in copious amounts [ideally something with a lot of garlic for one of the regulars]
  • Not too noisy [folks with hearing aids and noisy locations don’t go well]
  • One guy likes cloth napkins and table cloths [a bit to highbrow for this group, in general]

Discussions are wide ranging for a group of divers guys. There aren’t any rules around subject matters, but the garlic lover has a certain disdain for “geeky” topics, unless he needs help with a “thingy” he is interested in buying.

Jokes are frequent and one-liners are plentiful. Today’s one-liner:

You know there is something wrong with society when you can shoot a guy in public but not make love in public … I won’t say why he brought that topic up!

We tell our wives we discuss our feelings. We know they know better.

Deal with reality the best you can and try not to upset other humans in the process

Gandhi allegedly said “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  That sounds way to cutesy, so if anyone can find a source of it, please provide. My guess it is this

We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.

VOL 13, Ch 153, General Knowledge About Health; Page 241, Printed in the Indian Opinion on 9/8/1913 From The Collected Works of M.K.Gandhi; published by The Publications Division, New Delhi, India.”

That being the likely source, the shortened version doesn’t cut it for me. Seriously, some people wish for stupid things to happen in the world. How about, deal with reality the best you can and try not to upset other humans in the process. Not as cute, but more realistic, I’d say. Or what Gandhi said above.


Don’t forget the 011 if calling international

Yesterday had the hankering to chat with Leah [daughter of mine], who is somewhere in Uganda. I looked for her number in Skype messages, txt messages, email, but no luck. Finally I decided to look at the call log for my home phone. My home phone is with Vonage, and I can go back and look at all my calls. That’s copacetic.

I found her number 256**** and called. “That number is no longer in service” was the reply. Not copacetic. So, a brief moment of sadness washed over me, then I went about my work.

This morning there was an email from Leah with recent news, location, and the plans for the next few days. It included her mobile number. The one I had was correct. Then I realized I had forgotten the 011.

Had a great, albeit short – lousy connection, chat.

Don’t forget the 011.

One thing leads to another

Have you ever started down a particular path and was pretty sure how it was going to end, being quite confident that everything was quite copacetic. Somewhere down that path, things went sideways, askew, not as expected, and left you surprised about the outcome. I have an expression that I often use: surprise equals expectations minus reality. It is the expectations that somehow need to be reset. Maybe the outcome was better than planned for, maybe worse. There’s nothing wrong with keeping the same objective in mind, but the expectations about how you’re going to get there may need to be adjusted as you are moving towards that objective. As goal posts move, so can the outcome. Expectations are that kind of thing that needs to be reset all the way down a path.
Have you ever started down at a particular path with a very clear objective in mind, and totally out of nowhere everything went sideways? But, by the time everything was all over, it ended up the way you wanted, or even better.
Tell us about it!