3rd Annual Honey Badger Holiday Party

While the official Honey Badger Holiday Party was a bit later this year, it was still quite an amazing bit of fun! Since it fell at the end of January, we worked in a Chinese New Year theme in some bits. The turn out was pretty amazing, with a steady 18-20 Badgers throughout the entire night.

I was a bit worried since I was hosting this year at my home, but all seemed to go well. I wasn’t sure if there’d be enough room, I still hadn’t purchased a couch, and frankly I’m not the most domesticated guy out there. Once again the team stepped up and chipped in just like during a game and brought folding chairs and countless yummy dishes to contribute to the great time.

We had a games challenge similar to last years, with numerous random activities.

  • chopsticks challenge
  • sticker stalker
  • Chinese Zodiac match
  • Mario Kart
  • push ups
  • drawing a picture
  • dart gun (sadly the gun broke?)
  • Wii Fit luge
  • sudoku

All the games with the exception of the dart gun game went extremely well. Sadly the dart gun broke early on, but not before the Shepherd put on a clinic in accuracy. It was kind of frightening to see, but impressive.

The majority of the guests stayed up until the end when Caitlin and Allen/Scott were crowned champions!

My only regret on the night is that I didn’t take photos! I was so busy keeping track of the events and keeping things going that I didn’t take the time to take any photos.

Overall I’d say it was another tremendous Badger success. I had a great deal of fun and will have to have the Badgers over more often!

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Influenza

Last weekend I was soundly defeated by the influenza virus. It locked me to my bed for at least 3 days (literally didn’t leave my bed for a 30 hour stretch at one point), and knocked me out for longer than that.

I’m not sure exactly where I’d gotten it, but have narrowed it down to the gym or a wedding I attended on New Year’s Eve. I don’t recall being around anyone with the flu or flu-like symptoms, but given the time I had become ill and the amount of people at each, that’s what makes the most sense to me.

I began feeling ill on Friday. Initially thought I was coming down with a cold, as the early symptoms are similar. Saturday morning I had the body aches. It was a bit funny, I found myself grunting with each and every little movement I would make.

It quickly apparent that I was in store for some type of major illness by morning, and decided to make one last drugstore visit should it continue to escalate (which it certainly did).

I got myself some supplies, notably a thermometer to verify if I had a fever. Turns out I did in fact have a fever. So I assembled all my essentials by my bed, and fell in for what would be an extended stay.

I don’t really recall much of Saturday or Sunday. I was in bed tossing and turning, sweating and freezing, and just riding out the flu and my fever. At some point later in the day on Sunday I realized that well over 24 hours had passed and I had not left my bed and supplies were dwindling.

So I caved and called my Mom in for reinforcements. Good old Mom came through, and it was important to have someone know of my condition at this point as I was in pretty bad shape.

On Monday I had to use my first ever sick day from work. My 15 year streak of never having used a sick day came to a halt. Oh well, it was an impressive streak. I was still running a fever and was much too contagious to be around others even if I thought I could will myself through the day.

Wow, it’s amazing just how much the flu can knock you around. It’s about a week later and while I no longer feel ill, I’m still pretty exhausted and it looks like that’s not going away for at least a few more days.

I’m not a fan of influenza.

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A Spy Among Friends

A Spy Among FriendsAs a fan of history I figured I’d give A Spy Among Friends a read when I noticed it at the library. With a bunch of days off of work for the Winter break, I went through it fairly quickly.

It was a really interesting. I had no idea that the Soviets had a spy to deep into  the British and US spying agencies. It was really amazing how long he kept it going. I couldn’t imagine going that far and for that long without getting caught.

Who knows just how much he had tipped off over the years. Kinda crazy to think about that.

So many of the characters seemed larger than life and straight out of a James Bond movie. I guess it was a lot different back then during the Cold War. Very interesting.

Currently 4/5 Stars.

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2014 Holidays

Had an interesting holiday season. Just bought a house not too long ago, so I woke up someplace new for Christmas, then drove a block over to my parents. Ha, so that really didn’t change too much.

Christmas went well. Everyone was around and while there were some tense and unnecessary drama, it didn’t get quite as bad as some years past. But still a bit too much for taste.

We exchanged gifts, ate food, and just hung out. It wasn’t too bad, and the weather turned out to be super nice. It was freakishly warm.

I did miss the old Holiday Gift Exchange that we used to hold over at Atlantic Cape, but I was glad to see that they did keep with the traditional and held a version of it. Way to go guys, hope if was fun.

An unusual surprise this holiday was meeting up with former co-workers at Ventura’s, which was organized by the Rat. She really did a solid job, and it was really great to see so many old friends. It’s nice that everyone stays in touch. I really had a good time!

For New Years I found myself at Chris’s wedding at the Ram’s Head. This was quite an extravagant event, and it was a lot of fine to attend. The food was outstanding (I ate way too much), and it was nice to see old friends whom I don’t see enough of anymore.

Amazingly the Shepherd had an amazing time, and I still cannot believe just how much that guy was dancing. He would later go on to proclaim in the “Year of the Shepherd” probably well over a hundred or so times. It was quite entertaining to behold.

So all in all, a pretty festive and fun holiday. Good times.

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Lost for Words

Lost for WordsContinuing my new reading streak, I was a bit stumped as to what to try next. Nothing in the new arrivals section stood out, and I’ve read much the past few years so most popular options are now gone. So I ventured to where the library will put out some featured books on the end of the aisles. I’m not sure who put them there or the rhyme or reason, but decided to give it a look.

I randomly went with Lost for Words. No particular reason at all, just picked it. Cover didn’t stand out, didn’t recognize the author, etc. A true random selection.

The book turned our to be alright. It seemed ok, but really wasn’t my type. Though it seemed to mock pretentious writers/reviewers of literature, I just found it to be a bit too pretentious for my overall tastes. I suppose I’m just a bit too simple.

Overall it wasn’t too bad, and I’d probably recommend it to others. Just not so much for myself.

 

Currently 2/5 Stars.

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Horrible Comcast Customer Service

I needed to sign up for Internet and perhaps some Cable TV services, so I contacted Comcast Xfinity. A sales person helped me select a reasonable package for my needs. They had a decent package for new customers that included Interent and basic cable with HBO included for a year.

I had specifically asked the sales rep if it included HD channels probably 5-6 times. He confirmed that it did all 5-6 times. I agreed and a self-install kit was shipped to my home.

When this magical kit had arrived I began the set up and activation process. Though I had requested just a modem with no router built in, they did ship me a modem/router combo. I really prefer to use my Apple Time Capsule for my routing needs, so I’m still working on getting around their setup. Haven’t seen a way to disable their router just yet.

Activating the Internet took close to an hour on the phone with someone with a very heavy accent and poor grasp of the English language. While she was polite, the language barrier did make the task a lot more difficult than it probably should have been. It took them numerous attempts and resets to get it working, but after an hour I did have Internet. Yay.

Cable TV was a bit more of a mess. Despite me asking and the sales rep confirming multiple times that I was getting an HD box, I had received an old analog box. Which of course took another hour or so on the phone to get activated. The tech support really didn’t seem to have any idea of what they were doing.

I was then transferred to another department regarding the lack of digital cable box for the HD channels. I was told it would take 3-5 days for a new box to arrive or I could swap it at a Comcast Service Center. I was told that there was a Comcast Service Center in Northfield and that they were open until 6:00 pm on weekdays.

So after work the next day I headed their on my way home. Much to my surprise the Comcast Service Center has not been in Northfield for quite some time. This was pretty frustrating, and it was too late to go to any other one’s at this time. I’m still a bit puzzled as to how they got that one wrong, you’d think they just had to read off a location from a computer.

So the next day after work I went to the Comcast Service Center in Absecon. There were probably 20 or so angry people in line when I arrived. These people were miserable and it was a fairly uncomfortable situation. I work hard so that I can afford to not be around such unhappy folk, but every now and then find myself amongst them. I can’t imagine being that unhappy and spending that much on their monthly bill if they are as broke as they proclaimed. Read a book, get outside or do something else instead of watching hundreds of channels!

So, I waited to exchange my cable box for well over an hour. When I finally did get help, the woman at the center was extremely helpful. She did her best to fix my account and also went out of her way to see if she could find me a better deal. She was really great and the only positive experience I had with Comcast to date.

I did learn that HD was not included in the package and would cost more. I’m still bummed that the sales rep misinformed me regarding this, but it was still a reasonable deal for me with the added expense.

When I got home with the new cable box I had to have it activated. This took at least 45 minutes on the phone to get done. For reasons unknown to me, they had to continually reset and reattempt to get my service activated. It was a real pain, and I was more than tired of dealing with Comcast at this point.

All said and done I do believe I have spent over 6 hours dealing with Comcast just to become a new customer. I’d say that was quite unsuccessful and I can’t imagine I’m much of a long term customer with them. Very, very poor customer service and I’m not one who typically complains much.

 

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