Website: Mizuho High Quality Koi Feed is the most recent website I designed for Reed Mariculture, the world’s largest producer of marine microalgae concentrates.  The website includes a quick order form and shopping cart as well as a store locator using google maps.

American Airlines and GoGo Inflight Can’t Be Trusted (updated)

On the day before my American Airlines flight yesterday (Flt 16 from SFO to JFK), I received an email from American Airlines with a link to check-in online.  I followed the link and received an email with my boarding pass…

The email also contained a link to find out if my plane would have in-flight wifi.  I clicked the link and it said my plane was equipped with in-flight wifi provided by GoGo.  There was a link on that page, offering a “The Summer Fun 3-Pack” special with GoGo which it promised would save me money on the fee for in-flight wifi if I purchased it before the flight so I purchased it for $19.50.

I was excited that I would have the opportunity to finish up some work I was doing for a client during my flight and I sent an email informing the client that I would be completing my work for them next day.  Now I wouldn’t have to stay up late that night completing the work before my flight the following morning – or so I thought!

The next day, once we were in the air, I turned on the wifi and started my browser only to be greeted with this message:

When I asked the flight attendant about it, she told me that the wifi in the plane we were using “has been broken for quite some time” and there would be no wifi available on this flight.  So, not only did I pre-purchase wifi access from GoGo for no reason at all, I also lost several hundered dollars worth of billable hours and upon landing, I was forced to inform my client that I was unable to complete my work for him that day as I had promised.

I guess the moral of the story is that American Airlines and GoGo can not be trusted to live up to their promise of in-flight wifi and I won’t be falling for their “bait and switch” advertising tactics in the future.

Update: American Airlines contacted me via twitter with the following message only a few hours after posting this story with this message:

@skipregan Skip, please follow and DM your flight information. We’re very sorry to hear that the Wi-Fi wasn’t working on your flight.

I was very impressed with American Airline’s quick response to my complaint and I sent them my flight information the following day.  A few days later, I received an email from Deanna L. Mudd from American Airlines Customer Relations reiterating that they were sorry about the difficulties I had with my Gogo® Inflight Internet session and that they had “taken the liberty of forwarding your concerns to the Customer Care specialists at Gogo® who should be in contact with you soon”.

A little over a week later, I received an email from Gogo Customer Care:

We would like to send our deepest apologies in regards to your service not being available on your last flight. We have gone ahead and placed a refund request on your account in the amount of $19.50 for your purchase that was made on 07/16/2012. This request will take 7 to 10 business days to process.

On 8/11/12 I received the refund on my credit card.

Lassen Volcanic Area National Park

In August of 2011, Marcy and I camped and hiked in Lassen Volcanic Area National Park (map). We began our adventures with a hike to Bumpass Hell which was named for a former property named Bumpass. It was said that he lost a leg walking around this area (pictured to the left) when he broke through a thin crust of earth and into the boiling water below.

There was quite a bit of snow no the trail leading to Bumpass Hell because there had been heavy snows in the late Spring and the rangers had not yet taken down the warning sign which read “Trail Hazardous – Travel Not Recommended”. We made our way over the hills and down into the Bumpass Hell basin.

We were careful to stay on the boardwalk and well travelled paths as we didn’t want to end up like Bumpass. There was a strong smell of sulphur although it was not particularly unpleasant. There were many different colors in the rocks and clay-like soil surrounding the area which made the experience somewhat psychedelic.

Next up was a hike to Mill Creek Falls which was a fairly long hike with a lot walking up and down hills.  The falls are quite high and there is an overlook point where you can see the whole falls as well as a wooden foot bridge that crosses the top so allowing you to look down at the water rushing below you.

After that, we made our way to the northern section of the park to hike up and around the cinder cone. The hike up is pretty steep and you are walking on gravel so the footing is not the best.  We got an early start and managed to get to the top before anyone  else so we had the place to ourselves for an hour or so.

The view from the top is breath-taking – and very windy – as you can hear in the video below. There are some trees growning on the top of the cinder cone which provide some shelter from the wind. From the top you can see Mount Lassen, the painted hills, the (so-called) fantastic lava beds and Butte Lake.

From the rim, we hiked down into the basin. There is a steep gravel trail that spirals down to the bottom where a large pile of rocks has been gathered by hikers over the years.

After leaving the Cinder Cone, we made our way down the east side of the park and did some hiking and camping. We were able to manage driving on the logging roads in our Prius which has very low-clearance.

At one point, we stopped in Susanville for some groceries and came out to find that one of our tires was completely flat. We were lucky it didn’t happen when we were camping on the east side of the park since we had no cellphone access there. Between AAA and the help of a local tire repair place, we were able to get back on the road without too much difficulty.

Our last stop in Lassen was the Devil’s Kitchen which is another “local hot spot” with steam vents and bubbling mud pots.

We started out our hike to the Devil’s Kitchen from our campsite near the Drakesbad Guest Ranch. There is a creek running through the meadow behind the ranch that the trail to the Devil’s Kitchen passes through and we discovered several water wheels that someone had created out of what looked like dental floss, bark and wood.

All in all, we really enjoyed our trip to Lassen and would highly recommend it to anyone who’s into hiking, camping and exploring the natural world. One especially nice aspect of visiting Lassen National Volcanic Park is that it’s not as well known as many of the other big parks (like Yosemite) and so even in the height of the season (when we visited) we had no problem finding campsites and none of the trails we hiked on were very crowded. You can view a slidehow of photos from our trip below…

Lassen Volcanic Area National Park

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Jam: Who Knew

Excerpt from a Jam with Marty and Chill Schleich (on bass and drums) from Thursday, February 2, 2012.  We’re jamming on the riff from Who Knows by Jimi Hendrix from the Band of Gypsys Album.  I’m playing my Fender Stratocaster through an Catalinbread Ocatvia Magus II which is responsible for that weird trippy strangled guitar sound and an MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay into my Micro-Plexi Stack.

Great Pacific Northwest Volcano Tour of 2010

During the summer of 2010, Marcy and I went on a Volcano Tour of the Pacific Northwest.  Here are some photos from the places we visited…

Ape Cave

The Ape Cave is a lava tube located in Gifford Pinchot National Forest just to the south of Mount St. Helens in Washington. It’s the longest continuous lava tube in the United States and runs for 13,042 feet.picasaView plugin: Could not load data from picasaweb.

Mount Saint Helens

Mount St. Helens is an active volcano located about 100 miles south of Seattle, WA and 50 miles north of Portland, OR. It is famous for its catastrophic eruption on May 18, 1980 which was the deadliest and economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States. 57 people, 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles of railways, and 185 miles of highway were destroyed in the blast.picasaView plugin: Could not load data from picasaweb.

Painted Hills

Painted Hills is part of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, located in Wheeler County, Oregon. It’s is named after the colorful layers of its hills corresponding to various geological eras, formed when the area was an ancient river floodplain.

Painted Hills

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Big Obsidian Flow

Big Obsidian Flow was created around 1400 years ago during the most recent eruption of Newberry Volcano in the High Lava Plains of central Oregon. This particular flow erupted from a vent or fissure near the southern wall of the caldera and partially engulfed the Lost Lake pumice ring.

Big Obsidian Flow

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Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park, established in 1902, is the sixth oldest national park in the United States and the only one in the state of Oregon. The park encompasses the caldera of Crater Lake, a remnant of a destroyed volcano, Mount Mazama, and the surrounding hills and forests. At 1,949 feet deep at its deepest point, it the deepest lake in the United States and the ninth deepest in the world.

Crater Lake

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Hoodoo Spires

The Hoodoo Spires are an outcrop of spires:that have been sculptured by erosion from ash-flow deposits left by the great Mazama eruption.  As the ash flows cooled, steam escaped upward along intersecting vertical fractures forming thousands of fuming gas vents. During the many years it took to cool the hot avalanche deposits, these rising vapors cemented the pumice and ash into more solid rock. Erosion by streams, rain, wind and gravity on the canyon walls has etched out these once-underground steam pipes into steep pinnacles.

Hoodoo Spires

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