Tag Archives: fire
February 28, 2012

Thoughts on Cambodia

We only had about five weeks left to go in our travels when we started planning what we’d see in Southeast Asia.  We’d had more than enough time in Thailand, but that still left Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Singapore on our to-do list.  Five weeks isn’t a lot of time even when you don’t have to factor in long hours of travel between points of interest.  Ultimately, we had removed most of Cambodia from consideration before we’d even arrived in the country.

Still, you can’t travel Southeast Asia without going to see Angkor Wat, right?  Although it meant passing up the capital, Phnom Penh, we made sure our bus from Saigon took us straight to Siem Reap so we could spend as many days as possible exploring the ruins in the area. (more…)

February 11, 2008

Fisherman’s Bend Tesoro Fire

When I saw this scene developing, I scrambled to frame it tight with the identifying Tesoro sign.

Friday, February 9th, was the day that the social group I’ve been a part of for almost five years sort of imploded. But that was the same night that the gas station next to our apartment almost exploded, so I don’t think my brain will dwell much on the former memory.

It was midnight and the last two people were just about to head out when we heard the sirens. Someone remarked, “Weird. I can’t tell which direction they’re going.” Turns out that was because they started up at the fire station across the street and drove all of 100 feet before stopping alongside the gas station.

It was cold out, hovering around 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Our landlord had left a note on the door earlier that evening warning of the 80mph gusts and -30 degree wind chill factor. Inside, we set both sinks to run with their requested “pencil-width” streams to prevent the pipes from freezing.

We crowded out on the deck, watching the fire crews set up. They couldn’t find the fire hydrant that was almost beneath us, because some asshat had parked his car directly in front of it. Only after we got the fireman’s attention were they able to find it, hook up their hose, and snake it around the car. Out in front, they had the street cordoned off, turning back traffic from both directions.

It was far too cold to stay outside, so I placed my video camera on the railing and went back inside. We pulled the sofa out, swiveling it around to face the windows, and watched the show while pointedly disregarding the implications of sitting in front of a plate-glass window while a gas station burned 100 yards away.


August 16, 2004

Subway Fire

Deserted Streets of JuneauLast night, as Oksana and I were finishing up dinner, we received a call from her niece. She was staying the night with her friend and was just calling to spread some gossip. “Did you hear? The downtown Subway has been burning since 2:30pm!”

When Oksana relayed this news to me, my first thought was, “Wait a minute… Juneau doesn’t have a subway system!” Oh, but yeah… They do have a sandwich shop franchise down there. Well, at least that explained the hazy smoke we’d been seeing all day.

When Oksana hung up the phone, it was still only about 8:30pm and she wanted to go check it out. I thought it might be interesting to see the damage before the results of the inevitable cleanup. I know firsthand how tragic a fire can be, but there’s no denying that there’s a certain allure to observing the scene of an accident.

We grabbed her camera and headed in to town.

June 19, 2003

The Best Garage Sale I'll Ever Have

usaa-check (17k image)Just slightly over a year ago, I had probably half of my worldly possessions go up in flames. I posted an account of it on my web site, but I always meant to follow that up with the (mostly) happy ending.

Barely two months before the fire caught us by surprise, my fiancée and I were engaged in engagement ring shopping. Throwing that whole “two month’s salary” thing right out the window, I had decided (without the DeBeer’s corporations input, thankyouverymuch) that a $1500 to $2000 ring would adequately demonstrate my love for her. We looked at Costco. We looked at over-priced jewelry stores downtown that typically cater to tourists with more money than I. Some rings were cheap, some we wanted to buy, but unfortunately, none of the ones we wanted to buy were cheap.

One day, Oksana was going through her old jewelry and pulled out a gaudy ring that could almost fit on my thumb. It had a gigantic, eight-pronged CLAW holding a diamond that was large enough and clear enough that we decided it just had to be fake. Long story short: It had been a gift her dad had given her mom way back in communist Russia and a $20 appraisal revealed that we really shouldn’t carelessly misplace it.

The choice was obvious: The ring had to go and the diamond had to stay. We laser-inscribed a single facet of the stone with her family name; created a custom, Oksana-original band; and promptly called USAA, my auto insurance company. They informed me that: 1) Yes, they’d insure the ring, 2) but it would be a “rider policy” hence we would first need to pay for renter’s insurance, and 3) we could save a lot of money by switching Oksana’s car insurance — but that’s beside the point.