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Wow. I have never received so many search hits:

  • when i run fitbit doesn’t catch all my steps
  • do fitbits break
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  • how many people are using fitbit
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  • fitbit waterproof
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  • 2 fitbits in house
  • washed my fitbit
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  • how to dry out a fitbit that went through washer

Clearly I hit on a topic that people were interested in when I posted about my positive experience with Fitbit Customer service and with the device itself. I am overjoyed to have provided information to those who were in need.

I am also overjoyed at the sheer amount of people who have also managed to wash their fitbits. It makes me feel a little less lame to know that I am in good company…

This post, however, is not about my Fitbit. It is about something else entirely.

My co-worker, Curtis, and I, love musicals and shows. It is something that out of an entire office of employees, only we share. Due to this, we see a lot of musicals together. We’ve seen RENT, In the Heights, Avenue Q, Next to Normal, Rock of Ages, An evening with Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp, Beach Blanket Babylon (twice) and we have tickets to see Tales of the City in June. We may have seen other shows as well, but these are all I can think of right now.

Last night was another fun night out, though instead of a musical, we went to see one of our favorite authors, David Sedaris, do a reading at War Memorial Opera House.

Before the reading we had to go to dinner, of course. We have a long history of hitting up a favorite restaurant of ours and overdoing it before shows. It’s always a bad decision. We end up spending the first act of the show focussed on how bloated we feel. Fortunately for us, I happened to spy a Groupon  for 2G Japanese Brasserie a couple of weeks ago. I had never heard of it before, but it was located super close to the opera house and although it happened to share an address with a Max’s location, I thought it might be a welcome change.

And it was!

The food was spectacular. Just extremely flavorful and delicious. My photos are a little off, as I took them with my iPhone, but trust me, the food was anything but.

We each started with a salad. The endive salad had red grapes, apples, caramelized walnuts, blue cheese and a maple cider vinaigrette. Holy yum!

After this, we each decided to order a couple of small plates.

I ordered some kabocha tempura, which was so delicious that I forgot to take a picture before eating one of the two slices that came in the order. Curtis ordered some kind of roll, a Kobe Beef Tsukune (meatball) and both of us ordered that beauty on the left. The asparagus bacon skewer.

OMG.

It was one of the best things I ever ate.

It should be on the Food Network Show.

Seriously.

Although I was getting full, I couldn’t stop myself. We also ordered some gyoza and some edamame to share. The gyoza were excellent, but the edamame were out of this world…sauteed with garlic, truffle oil and butter. So. Delicious.

We enjoyed their food so much that we overspent our Groupon by a little. So worth it though. The food and staff were just phenomenal. We left completely full, but not dying. A great triumph for us.

Then it was on to see David Sedaris.

David Sedaris is sort of my literary hero. His way of telling the everyday in a voice that leaves his audience rolling in the aisles laughing is unbelievable. I’ve read all of his books and there has yet to be even one during which I didn’t find myself laughing out loud. I’ve lost many a bus seat companion due to his wit.

I should send him a Thank You card for that alone.

Sedaris read the title story from his most recent publication, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, as well as several other stories. He also read a few entries from his diaries and did a small question and answer at the end of his reading. Curtis and I had never laughed so hard. As a matter of fact, Curtis was still laughing when I came into work this afternoon, playing clips off of YouTube for his office mates and retelling the jokes from the reading.

Afterwards, there was a book signing. I really wanted to get in line, as I had my copy of Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk in my purse. The line, however, was overwhelming, as you would imagine it would be at a venue like War Memorial. I sensed that Curtis didn’t want to wait, so we didn’t. A little sad, but those are the breaks.

Now I leave you with a little bit of Sedaris fun:

 Who is your favorite author?

Last month, I invested in a Fitbit.

A Fitbit is a pedometer….but oh so much more than that. It’s a small device that clips onto your person (preferably somewhere on your torso) and it monitors how much you move using the same type of technology that is used in a Wii-mote. When worn properly, the Fitbit can keep track of how many steps you’ve taken, how many miles you’ve walked and give you an approximation on the amount of calories you’ve burned in a day. In addition, it comes with a wristband that you can wear at night so that you can track how much restful sleep you get. To make it all that much cooler, it comes with a docking station that you can keep plugged into your computer. It syncs your information with the fitbit website wirelessly every fifteen minutes, or whenever you are in range of the station.

Once your information is on the website, you can start to visually see what your activity looks like:

Don’t be alarmed by the crazy amount of calories burned here. I chose my most active day recorded. I mean, think about it: A day when I sat around watching Gilmore Girls re-runs would not be very interesting to look at!

As you can see in this picture, the website shows the calories I burned and ate on March 23rd. It also shows a graph of my active minutes throughout the day. The blue color indicates when I was “lightly active”, the yellow indicates “fairly active” and then the pink lines are when I was “very active”. On 3/23, I went for my “Unofficial 10K” during the afternoon, so that is why I was so active. Following my run, I did laundry, which would be the yellow lines. The blue lines were when I was puttering around the house, watching TV or cooking meals.

There is also a section of the fitbit website where you can track calories. I prefer the nutrition tracker at SparkPeople, however, so I track there, then just enter the amount of calories on Fitbit, so I can see the graphic comparisons against my activity.

Here is another graph for activity. When you look at my activity as a pie chart it doesn’t look so scary. Sure, I burned over 3,000 calories, but I was sitting on my butt in front of the television for over 8 hours as well.

Here is the sleep graph. As you can see, I actually got a lot of sleep that night. This is pretty unusual for me. I typically only get about 6-7 hours of sleep a night, if I’m lucky. Often it is less. This is something I am working on and I enjoy looking at my sleep report the next day. It kind of gives me an idea of what is going on at night.

I had been planning to do this review after a month or two of using the Fitbit, but unfortunately, my own stupidity stood in my way of letting you in on my product review.

Yep. I washed it. Take note everyone: Fitbits are NOT waterproof.

I packed my fitbit in rice and left it there for several days, hoping I could get the moisture out. When I plugged it back in, all I got was the message mentioned above. At first, I was hopeful, as many users report nothing but a blank screen. A couple of days went by, however, and I never got more than that flashing message. I tried resetting the device. Nothing. I was super bummed….$100 investment down the drain after only 2.5 weeks!

But then a couple of days later, someone responded to my tweet!

Could there be hope?

I e-mailed the Fitbit support team. They at first advised me to try the rice trick and then attempt to reset the device. I explained that I had already given this a try. Then they said the nicest thing any support team has ever said to me:

“Hi Alexa,

Ok, sorry that didn’t work for you. We would like to accommodate you with a replacement.

A replacement? Seriously? I am an idiot and I throw your device into the washing machine (accidentally, of course) and you will replace it?! You people are my new best friends!

The Fitbit support team did take the time to let me know that if I am an idiot and break it again, I will have to pay for a new device myself:

“Hi Alexa,

We really appreciate your business and are going to accommodate you with a replacement Fitbit. In the future, should a Fitbit tracker get lost or damaged because of exposure to water, you will need to purchase a new Fitbit tracker and base station. In exchange for our accommodation, we may ask you to tell us a bit about your experience with Fitbit. We are trying to understand how people use and interact with Fitbit so that we can create a better product. We would also like to hear any other feedback you might have, both positive, negative, and feature requests.”

Seems fair to me!

They were also incredibly quick with replacing it. We e-mailed on Saturday, it was mailed out on Monday and was at my apartment by Tuesday. Admittedly, they are based here in San Francsico, but still, I appreciate the prompt execution.

The new fitbit.

And it charges! Yay!

So I am going to resume my testing out of the fitbit. Based on the couple of weeks I’ve used the product, I would say that I am enjoying it. I like to be able to look down throughout the day and see how active (or inactive) I’ve been. I find that it encourages me to get up and get in a few extra steps and to not skip out on workouts…I mean, as I said above, it’s way more fun to look at graphs that show how awesome you are vs. how lazy you are!

The fitbit is also now teamed up with RunKeeper. I’m not sure of all of the details of that yet, as my fitbit broke right around the time they partnered up. I noticed from my RunKeeper account that my steps are being noted over there. I don’t, however, see my runs that I log with RK on the Fitbit site. Either I am missing something, or that is a feature that hasn’t been enabled yet. In a way, it doesn’t matter, as if I am wearing the fitbit, the calories/steps/miles are being calculated, which is all that matters. Even so, it might be nice to see the run logged as an activity automatically.

Another feature I’d like to see incorporated would be partnerships with SparkPeople and other nutrition tracking sites. Many of us who began our weightloss/healthy living journeys elsewhere are set in our ways as far as what sites we like to use. I would really like it if I could enter my food in at SparkPeople and have it automatically show up on the Fitbit site.

At any rate, the new ‘bit is alive and well, clipped to my pants as I type. I will let you all know how it goes in the future!

Note: In case you missed it, I purchased the initial fitbit with my own money. The replacement fitbit was sent to me for free by the company. I did not ask for them to do this and I cannot promise you that they will send you a free fitbit if you break yours, so please don’t test this theory! All opinions in this review are my own and based on the usage during the life of my original Fitbit.

Do you use any kind of device (Heart Rate Monitor, BodyBugg, Fitbit, Garmin) to help you in your healthy living routines?

Yesterday I went on a run. To be honest, I hadn’t exactly wanted to go, but I was trying to stick to schedule again, and my schedule said I had to.

It was actually a pretty smart thing to do, given the fact that Bay to Breakers is in 3 weeks and I’ve only run over 3 miles 3 times in my life. I need some more quality time with my Brooks and the pavement for sure.

I didn’t have any interest in running my panhandle loop or heading to the Embarcadero, so I decided to do the beach run again. You remember last time, right? Positive experience for sure, so I decided to replicate it.

First I had to walk from my house up to Kezar/the beginning of Lincoln Way.

Despite the gray skies, it was still pretty out. I actually like the winter, but spring is always a welcomed season. Everything feels fresh and new.

And pink. I like pink.

I started running at the corner where Lincoln begins and I ran towards the beach. I was much less satisfied with my run to the beach this time. I felt like I was mentally struggling with it a little bit. As soon as I hit the “30s” avenues, however, it picked up. For some reason, seeing the ocean just makes me so excited that I forget all about how much my legs hurt and I just keep going.

The downward slope at that part of the route doesn’t hurt either.

Once I got to the beach, I paused RunKeeper and took a seat. I can’t ever turn down an opportunity to look at the ocean.

That drop from my feet to sand is a lot longer than you would think. Maybe 7 feet or more. Probably not that big of a deal to jump down into sand, but I am kinda wimpy when it comes to heights…..I climbed down from the other side onto the pavement instead.

There were lots of crazy people out at the beach yesterday, which I found weird given how dreary that day was.

No, no, no. Not me. I’m not that crazy. I’m talking about them….

Um. Guys? It’s like, cold outside. Why on God’s green earth would you want to go out into the ocean?

You couldn’t have paid me to get into that water.

Of course, aside from dipping my feet in, you couldn’t pay me to go out into that water during a heat wave.

***

I postponed heading back home for two reasons:

1) I really like looking at the ocean.

2) Home is slightly uphill. Me no likee. Maybe I should take the N-Judah home instead….

Of course, I didn’t end up taking the bus home. After about 15 minutes of people watching, I started to consider leaving. I went over to the 76 Station to buy a new bottle of water. The guy in there is always really…stern. I took my headphones off when I got to the counter and embarrassingly enough, the silence between me and the mini mart proprietor was being broken by the Jackson 5 singing “ABC”. Awkward. I apologized and said, “Sorry…I can tell you don’t want to be forced into listening to the Jacksons…hahaha..” and paused iTunes. The guy never said anything. Or smiled.

Okay. Whatever. Thanks for the water, guy…

Once I got outside, I dug into my spibelt and realized that I was an idiot. I hadn’t wanted to bring the entire tube of Nuun. I also hadn’t wanted to waste plastic wrap or a baggie on one electrolyte tablet.

Fail.

My speibelt is not waterproof, and apparently, that is a problem.

And yes. I used the sweaty tab anyway. Gross, yet refreshing.

The run home was so much easier than it was the first time I did this route. This really surprised me, given how I struggled during what should’ve been the easy leg of the run. Although I was going uphill, and my legs were on fire (I did a strength training workout on Monday), my mind was clear. I felt reasonably cheerful, glad I had forced myself to get out of my apartment and happy that I had missed stomping on this little lady:

I moved the snail over to the side of the road so she wouldn’t be in the danger zone for any other runners/walkers passing by.

I essentially saved her 3 hours of commute time.

(If you’re wondering about the Russian, it’s an inside joke from high school. I’d like to get into it, including teaching all of you how to properly ask the question, “Do you like snails in your toilet?” по-русский, but really, we’re getting off track…)

I ran back to Haight and Stanyan, slowly but surely, feeling strong and in a good mood. I stopped off at Whole Foods for more chocolate peanut butter, which I think may be the best thing ever invented. Unfortunately, as is Whole Foods’ way, I left with a bag of stuff. I attempted to run home carrying the bag, but after a block or two, I gave up. Running with a bag of groceries isn’t very comfortable.

All in all, an excellent run.

Oh! I forgot to show you something.

I saw these signs at the beach today. I have no recollection of ever having seen them before, but obviously, given the rust, they’ve probably been there for some time.


They’re incredibly helpful. After all, I’d never be smart enough to run AWAY from the ocean when I’ve been alerted to an incoming tsunami. Nope. Without this sign, I’d be a goner….

When you start a workout, is your mental strength to push through best at the start? Or does it improve after you find your groove?

I feel incredibly lame admitting this, but frankly, as of late, I just haven’t had very much to say. Well, that’s not really true. I’ve had things to say but have been struck with a gigantic case of writer’s block.

I think about telling you all about my workouts, but to be honest, they’ve been a little sketchy.

That is my way of telling you that although I’ve been working out, it hasn’t been according to schedule. A schedule that I laid out for myself.

Um.

I should, you know, follow it.

Speaking of schedules, I have been thinking that I should tell you all how my Google Calendar and Sleep Routines have been going.

I keep ignoring my “GO TO BED” alarm.

Um.

I set it, so I should, you know, go to sleep when it goes off.

I have wanted to tell you all about how my teeth are doing since my wisdom teeth extraction.

I went to the dentist last week for a check-up.

In addition to owing $1,366 for the extractions, I need $600 worth of dental work done.

Um.

My wallet weeps.

I have been wanting to show you all the hand towels I bought at IKEA…..oh WAIT!

That I have done.

Both here and in my last post.

Thank goodness.

I was beginning to feel quite remiss!

What is your best writer’s block busting technique?

Since Monday, my mood has somewhat improved.

Any dip in it, however, is unrelated to what that bum said.

The weather has been gloomy and I’ve been droopy and tired. It happens.

On Tuesday I did, however, force myself to do Rachel Cosgrove’s “Basal Phase Workout A”. I skipped the warm up, as I felt a little self-conscious about hopping around all silly like. I did all of the exercises though. I stuck to only 2 sets, did the fewest amounts of reps suggested and only used dumbbells for the Three-Point Dumbbell Row, as I wanted to get the right forms down for the other exercises.

And because I was in pain. Lots of pain.

Apparently, I am weaker than I thought. And trust me, my expectations were low!

I found it impossibly difficult to not push up with the opposite foot during the “Stepup” exercise. The Partial Co-contraction Lunges were brutal. The Hip-Thigh Extensions were hard too. Rachel Cosgrove suggests syncing up your workout schedule with your “cycle”, but given how weak I am from the start, I’m glad I didn’t. It’ll give me more time to build up before I move on!

I felt a little awkward on the weight floor with all of the hardcore lifters, but I’m glad I started. If I am that weak, it is something that needs to be remedied! I’ll be pushing those big, grunting guys out of my way in no time.

Well. Eventually.

For now, two days later, my thighs are on fire and my body is asking what I’ve done to myself….

I leave you with last night’s dinner:

Two fried eggs, bagel thin, roasted parsnips, broccoli and asparagus.

I was full enough without the bagel thin…but I love bread. Bread rules.

Do you have a strength training routine you follow? Are you confident enough to lift with the big boys?

My morning started off pretty well, with me finishing off Rachel Cosgrove’s “The Female Body Breakthrough“. If you recall, Maya sent it to me as a surprise gift last month. I had been reading something else at the time, but this past week I was finally able to get to it. I really enjoyed parts of the book, including Cosgrove’s discussions of the female hormones (and how to use your cycle to your workout benefit) and overcoming unhealthy relationships with food.

While I probably won’t adhere to everything just as written (running may be an advanced exercise that I haven’t “earned the right” to do at this point, but I’m signed up for a 12K next month, so I’m going to run!), I was completely excited about the idea of starting the strength program. While I used to strength train when I first joined the Y in 2007/2008, I didn’t keep up with it. Plus, I only used weight machines. I was always envious of those on the weight floor, working with free weights and just body weight, but the trainer who prescribed my weight circuit plans told me he wanted me to build up a little before he introduced me to free weights. I sorta never built up and made another appointment. My bad.

After finishing up my reading I did something that I think makes me either totally badass, or perhaps slightly out of my mind: I registered for the lottery entry for the 2011 Nike Women’s Half Marathon. I’m not sure why I’ve recently become inspired to try a half marathon, especially given my difficulties with running just a 5K sometimes. Nevertheless, I just decided that I wanted to try.

(Source)

Plus, I’m a sucker for bling that comes in a blue box.

One of the questions in the registration for the lotto was the following: I RUN TO BE ______.

Your job was to fill in the blank with one word. I spent a lot of time thinking about this. I know most people would just say the first thing that popped into their head, but not me. I stopped to really think about why I run. After a lot of time and consideration, I declared:

I RUN TO BE FEARLESS.

I know. A weird thing to say.

I guess that because of my past and various things that have gone on in my life, I am always afraid. Of failure. I could never run as a kid, so I think part of me just associates the act of becoming a runner (or at least completing a substantial race distance, such as a half marathon) with reinforcing the idea in my brain that I can do anything I want to. I just need to commit and do it. All of the doubts, worries and silliness is all in my head. I want to conquer this running thing so that in the future, when I think I can’t, I can remind myself of what I have achieved and that if I can haul my butt 13.1 miles, I can do anything.

With thoughts of my new mantra ringing in my brain, I closed my laptop, changed into my workout clothes and headed towards the Y. I figured I’d drop off my clothes in a locker and do the AT&T loop. I needed to get in a run as my wisdom teeth extractions had put me behind in my Bay to Breakers preparations. Just as I was about to hit Market and Van Ness, I approached a large (maybe 10 or so) group of homeless/street people sitting on the sidewalk. As I started to walk past them, one of them yelled out something at me.

I don’t want to get into what he said specifically. Essentially, he made a comment about how a part of my body looked in my workout clothes. A nasty, rude, offensive and frankly, mean comment.

I flipped him off and kept walking.

But the damage was done. I hadn’t even looked back to see which guy said it or who was laughing. I was looking at the ground, feeling my face turn bright red and tears welling up in my eyes. I kept walking. I used to have strangers publicly humiliate me due to my size on a daily basis, but it has probably been a couple of years since it has happened and frankly, it hurt a lot more than I remembered it hurting.

I briefly toyed with the idea of skipping my run. I felt fairly demoralized, all of the joy from the morning’s fitness related activities drained from me. I thought about just going to the Y, showering, changing into my street clothes and then going to work early. However, when I got to the locker room, I just shoved my backpack in a locker, grabbed a runner’s stamp from the front desk and went out to the Embarcadero.

The first mile hurt. I ran against the wind as fast as I could and I made myself promise that I wouldn’t stop until I reached the turn around point near AT&T Park’s Giants retail store. I was pushing myself so hard I couldn’t even think about anything. I just ran. When I hit the turn around I felt spent. It may’ve only been 1.25 miles, but I was huffing and puffing as if I had just ran a marathon. I walked for the rest of the distance around the park, catching my breath and drinking my Nuun. I thought about what had happened and how I felt.

Crappy.

But I realized it wasn’t because of how I looked in my work out clothes. I had already noticed the way my body looked in this outfit. I hadn’t been too bothered by it. I mean, if I am in my work out clothes, that means I’m working out! No shame there. I realized that it just hurt because I was ashamed of the fact that I haven’t been giving things my all in life. Even my recent plans. Though I’ve been doing so much better, I’m still not doing my best. That is the only thing in the world that a person should ever be ashamed of.

If you are doing your best, what more can you do?

So what I put to myself was the following question: Every time someone teases you or gives you a hard time, are you going to cry? Or are you going to be fearless because you’ve done your best?

There is only one choice worth making.

Once I hit the Embarcadero I took a leisurely pace back to the Y and finished up my 2.5 mile loop.

While I felt much better after my run, I’ve still felt pretty low today. I am making consistent efforts to not “be the fat girl” anymore, but sometimes it is just hard to be convinced when others have the nerve to tell you to your face, whether it is true or not, that you still are.

I graduated from college in May of 2005, which sadly, is getting to be a long time ago. I can’t even believe that SIX years have flown by since my days of all night paper-a-thons and exam cram sessions came to an end.

Despite being a Creative Writing major in college, I didn’t keep up with my writing after graduation. My major wasn’t exactly geared in a way that would’ve prepared me for the kind of writing I wanted to do. I am primarily a creative nonfiction writer, and unfortunately, we only had the standard poetry, fiction and playwriting focusses at SFSU.

Since I wasn’t writing (aside from small assignments related to my job), I saw no reason to invest in a desk when I moved into my apartment 2 years ago. Mostly my laptop was just for watching DVDs, checking Facebook, e-mailing people and reading the news. All things I could do with my computer in my lap while lounging on the futon. Then last September when I started the blog, I realized that not having a workspace made blogging exceptionally difficult. I mean, do you really do your best writing when laying on your bed, propped up by pillows, laptop against your knees with the television in the background?

I’m guessing not.

I also realized that by not having a desk, I was spending a LOT of time online. More than I ever had before. When I was awake, I’d be surfing the net, with the TV on in the background. I wouldn’t actually be paying attention to either thing. Then I was online right until the second I went to sleep, sometimes even starting to doze with my MacBook pro on the bed beside me. It all just seemed really unhealthy and dysfunctional. I mean, no wonder I couldn’t fall asleep…Sally so and so is no longer “in a relationship”, my strawberries are wilting in Farmville and someone just tagged me in a God awful picture that was taken in 1996!

Who can sleep with all of that going on?!

So in my continuing efforts to make my life my organized, healthful and less stressful, I decided I needed to get a desk. I finally got to IKEA on Tuesday and decided on the Leksvik Desk. I toyed with the idea of the Linnarp, but in the end went with the Leksvik because it was deeper (I need the desk to double as a nightstand, so I wanted to have as much surface space as possible), it has more character than the Linnarp (pretty curved legs and a decorative drawer pull) and lastly because the Linnarp has that weird space in between the drawers. What would I put in there? Nothing but dust…and since I never dust (gross, but true), I certainly didn’t need another place for it to roost.

Overall, I think I made an excellent choice.

We’ll just ignore the unmade bed, right? Right.

I also bought a laptop stand for the MacBook Pro, as well as an Apple wireless keyboard and mouse. I picked them up at the Apple store on Wednesday, despite knowing I could’ve accessorized for much less online. Apparently, I thought I was a Rockefeller. I have just been informed by VISA that I am in fact, not.

Ouch.

As you can see, the desk is plenty big to serve my workspace/nightstand needs. My alarm clock and emergency nighttime allergy kit (read: box of Kleenex) fit perfectly on the end next to my bed.

I think the desk looks great in my room and I am so happy with my choice. There was one part of the desk experience I wasn’t keen on though. The assembly. Two of my other pieces of furniture are also from IKEA, but I clearly had forgotten “The Great Assembly Nightmare of 2009” when I decided to once again head there for desk options. You see, in 2009 I bought a Hemnes 6-drawer chest to use for DVD and CD storage as well as a TV stand. I also bought a Vallvik bookcase. It took me well over 9 HOURS to put both of these pieces together by myself. Granted, in both cases, you were supposed to have two people put it together, so a lot of my problems were related to that.

But seriously, 9 hours?

With that entire experience blacked out in my brain, I got home at 7:30pm on Tuesday and thought to myself, “Well, I put the dresser and bookcase together…I should have this desk together in a snap!” I set to work….and finished in 3.5 hours. The main problem with construction was that the pictures weren’t clear enough. I kept putting things together backwards, then having to take it all apart again. Step #16 was especially vexing for me. It took a long time to realize that the screws were actually counter sunk, so when the washer and screw dropped into the huge hole of blackness, it was actually correct.

I’m with Ashley, I think they could use a few words thrown in there!

Oh well. I got it done eventually, right?

I’m not the only one who loves it, either:

Yes, Cosie. I did this ALL for you.

Have you ever put together something from IKEA? Did you have better luck?