As I was pretending to walk through a LEGO medieval village, I happened upon this fiery scene at BrickCon 2010:
I kinda feel sorry for them. Here, they’re laying witness to a local building going up in LEGO flames, and all they can do is raise their little LEGO arms in tiny terror.
But you wouldn’t know they were upset since all of them have smiles painted on their respective faces. Such is the plight of a LEGO minifigure – forever cast to a single expression until you swap or spin their head brick.
One of ’em is even carrying a LEGO pitchfork – like that’s going to do him any good! I hope they all have LEGO insurance.
We often hear about accidents involving fireworks at this time of year. Inevitably, we’ll read about someone losing a home due to the many exploding rockets landing in places where they shouldn’t. However, we tend to think that it can’t happen to us. We’re cautious, right? We follow proper safety procedures. We don’t shoot them towards homes or businesses. The problem is, though, that not everyone cares enough to even think about these things. Such was the case two years ago when my Community Manager Kat nearly lost her home.
Kat was inside working on some things for me late that night just before the holiday when she heard a lot of popping noises outside. She sighed and went to check… seeing the kids from down the block once again shooting off various fireworks in the parking lot of the strip mall across the street. Sadly, Indiana doesn’t have a law against this. The police refused to do anything about it. About a half an hour later, she heard sirens that sounded awfully close. She opened the door to be greeted by smoke pouring from the roof of the buildings across the street. The pet store, fireworks store and tax service office were on fire.
As you can see from that video footage, this was a devastating fire. It was quite dangerous since there are houses (including hers) so close to where those stores stood. It was horrible due to the fact that there were more than a hundred animals in that pet store waiting to be adopted into loving homes… including new baby kittens. None of the animals survived. Since there was a fireworks store attached to the pet store, the fire chief felt it was too dangerous to send men inside to attempt a rescue.
In this next short video clip, you can hear the sheer terror and panic in her voice as the fire finally made its way inside the fireworks store. You can hear her yell that the windows are about to blow. Just a few seconds before that, she saw what she described as a “huge fireball” come from the back of the store… right out through the window she was facing. She saw fiery debris landing on her home, and was about to have a panic attack.
Thankfully, no one was injured and all homes in the area were spared – including Kat’s. It was later determined by investigators that the fireworks the kids were shooting off in the parking lot did, indeed, cause this massive fire. One of the rockets landed on the roof of the pet store, smoldering there and quickly sparking.
It CAN happen to you, no matter how careful you or anyone around you is. I urge you to use extreme caution and care when playing with fireworks. The next unnecessary explosion could be your home.
Without a source of heat and light, you will have a difficult time surviving the night. Cavemen used to rub sticks together, creating fiction, and thereby creating fire. For thousands of years, mankind (and women too!!) have relied on fire for heat, cooking abilities, and much more. Fire is essential to our lives, and every Great Indoorsman needs to know how to properly start one!
Normally, I use a night light at the end of the hallway because I’m scared of the dark, but… yeah. The Great Indoorsman strikes again!
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I’ve taken to holding a few of my own tweetups at the Pyramid Brewhouse in Seattle – they have the space for small groups, they have good beer, free parking for customers, and a killer reuben. Staff is always friendly, and it’s easily accessible (no matter how you’re coming into downtown Seattle). I’m very glad that Travis recommended them to me a few months ago. After I started tweetups there, seems that every other local outfit followed suit. Hey, for all that free publicity – why aren’t they letting me drink for free!?
James Bayliss is an active community member of ours. He was the creator of the “bouncing Chris heads”. I got an email from him with a picture attached of a burned-up laptop! It actually happened to his Macbook Pro today. He was on a Skype call with me for this video. James is now having to use Vista on his Windows machine, and it won’t recognize his web cam.
James says that he was sitting at his desk and reading Digg. He heard a pop, and suddenly the MBP started sparking and smoking… and his desk started catching on fire, too! He was slapping at the small flames to get them put out, and burned his hand. He then called Apple, and started explaining the problem. He had to answer nearly 100 questions on the phone. They even asked if he had to call the fire department, or if they needed to send out an adjuster to check for damage to his house.
They don’t want him even touching the machine, due to potential danger. He’s not sure exactly what happened. He feels it was likely a processor or something. He says it is so melted, it’s impossible to tell. James also noted that a flame literally shot OUT of the MBP! We’re really hoping this is an isolated freak incident, and won’t lead to any kind of recall. From the picture, it looks like the melted area is on the back, towards the bottom of the machine.
At the time it happened, James wasn’t even doing anything processor intensive. He was simply browsing on Digg, and checking his email. He heard the pop and picked up the machine… only to have flames start shooting out while it was in his hands!! The machine was less than a year old. Apple was extremely cordial to this point, and are willing to do whatever they can to take care of this properly. They are even willing to check for damage to his desk, and anything else in his room at the time. It’s wonderful to see that Apple is so far ready to jump in to make this right. The actual Head of Apple Europe gave James his email and private home phone number.
James plans to keep me informed as this unfolds, and let me know how things go. While this was an unfortunate incident… all of us in the community are really glad you’re ok.
After posting this, I received several follow-up emails from other readers who have unfortunately encountered similar problems. This email comes from Patrick:
I had a similar situation with my MacBook two months ago. I was in a room adjacent to the room where the MacBook was, playing my 360. I paused the game to use the restroom, and I smelled something extremely hot. I started walking around the house to see what was hot. As I walked into the room where the MacBook was, I saw the connection between the Magsafe power adapter and the power port on the MacBook was glowing red! I immediately unplugged the power adapter. This happened about 3:00 AM in the morning. I called apple only to find out they were closed.
POST UPDATE A few weeks after posting this, I received the following email from Tom.
I have heard something that you might be interested to know. A friend of mine who bought a Mac Pro awhile back was experiencing problems with his battery charge running down faster than it should. For instance, a full battery charge would be run down in under a half hour! He contacted Apple, who advised him to take it in to a local Apple store. He did that, and the tech who looked it over kept trying to get the laptop away from my friend, saying he was very lucky. Apparently, they have been going through problems with batteries overheating, and in some cases even exploding. He talked to my friend about it, telling him a number of people had reported their Macbooks expanding over time. He demonstrated this by putting the laptop down on the counter, and spinning it around. Low and behold, it was lifted slightly from the counter by the bulging battery!! The tech told my friend he was lucky, due to the severity of his particular case. Most others had exploded before reaching such a point! Needless to say, they replaced his battery free of charge, and gave his Macbook a thorough testing. All has been well since then.
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There’s nothing like a crackling fire to warm you inside and out during the holiday season. And now… you can even have that “fire” on your desktop.
At iYule.tv, you can purchase 30-minutes of crackling fire and a beautiful original score by Geoff Smith formated for wide or standard screen portable players, your computer or Apple TV. This was filmed in high definition, and can come with or without music.
This is a collaborative effort between Geoff, Paul Cullgian, and Cali and Neal. The cost for the Yule Log is anywhere from $5.00 to $10.00, depending on what you need. Why should you pay for this? Well, a portion of the proceeds is going to charity. ‘Tis the Season for giving, after all. In Cali’s own words:
This is something we’ve worked on nights and weekends for almost a month and we hope it’s something that will warm your heart and bring smiles to the faces of friends you share it with.
If you’re giving someone an iPod that plays video this year, load it up with the iYule Log.
If you’re taking that special someone in your life out for a nice holiday dinner, load iYule Log on your iPod and put it on the table for a touch of whimsical romance.
Proceeds will be split by the producers and a percentage will go to three of our favorite charities. Geoff chose the Songs of Love Foundation, a charity that provides personalized songs for chronically and terminally ill children and young adults. Paul has chosen LitLiberation, the largest online literacy experiment in history. Neal and I have chosen Heifer International, a non-profit that helps families in poverty by giving them valuable live animals to provide eggs, milk and farming help.
The video we’ve produced is a cozy multi-sensory experience that pulls me into the romantic essence of a fireplace, every time I turn it on to watch.