My Guest Hutch

I was asked out of the blue if I could dog sit Hutch, a quite active young dog. Of course I said sure and figured it’d be quite the adventure and a good experiment to see if I was ready to perhaps get a pet of my own sometime soon.

Hutch is pretty crazy and energetic, this I had already known. However, there was no preparing me for that first night. The poor guy was just overloaded with change, and had probably the worst case of gas that I had ever endured. I didn’t think something so small could produce such a horrible smell for that long of a time. It was constant and at times I thought I would be stained of that smell for life. He was completely nuts that first night and I would wind up sleeping a tad over an hour and a half that night. I wasn’t too happy at that point.

At around 5:30 am I realized that I can’t leave him just roaming around my house by himself while I was at work. There was just no way this little gas bomb wouldn’t explode at some point in my house and let’s be honest most likely on my new couch. So I went straight to my parents to find a dog cage to borrow. Luckily they still had a very large cage as we’ve had some big dogs. He was fine getting in there and luckily he lasted the day ok.

We walked, and walked a lot. Probably walked 6-8 miles every day. I was determined to wear the little guy out.

Apparently his was of communicating with me would be to hump me. Most dogs bark, sit, whine, not Hutch. He has to hump me. I wasn’t a big fan of this one bit and believe he attempted to hump me well over several hundred times during his stay.

I’m not sure exactly when it occurred but he finally settled down by day 3. We kinda became buddies by then and he would nap next time me as I watched TV. Mind you, I really didn’t want to watch TV, but if it gave him a change to rest and act sane I would find something to watch.

I’d say our favorite thing was going to the Arboretum across the street from me and sit in the center on the benches. He could take in thousands of different smells and watch so many people and other dogs on the bike path go by. It was very calming for us both, and he seemed very grateful during our stops there.

A close second would be watching him run like a madman with his buddy Pip. Clearly we had the two most foolish dogs on Dog Beach, but they sure seemed to have a great time. I do believe Hutch was more obedient than Pip on that adventure.

A big lesson learned was never give your dog Seafood Chowder snacks. They came with the Hutch care kit, but apparently they were something new. Poor Hutch had the most disgusting diarrhea and gas until I would solve the Seafood Chowder mystery by the fourth day. God I wish I had known that sooner.

Though we got off to a rocky and very smelly start, in the end I’d say we become good friends. We had some excellent walks and really got to understand one another pretty well. Though a bit on the crazy side, Hutch was a good dog and it was a lot of fun having him stay for a few days.

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The Art of the Brick

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I can’t begin to count how many people took the time to let me know that The Art of the Brick exhibit was at the nearby Franklin Institute. Apparently my interest in Legos has grown to a near legendary status. So when I heard that NGM was moving out of the area (but not too far away) I knew it was time to check it out.

So I took the voyage to NGM’s house. It wasn’t too bad of a drive, I’ve got it down by now. Didn’t even need to use GPS or look at a map the night before.

Perhaps the most eventful part of the day would be NGM’s road rage (well it wasn’t really that bad). We were cut off my BOBAH, and it enraged him! Then we drove around the parking garage for quite a big. There was no parking and we had no idea that we were driving in a circle for quite a bit. It was funny.

Once we got inside NGM completely BOBAH’d me and cut in front of me to get his bracelet. I was a bit disappointed by the display of aggression.

The exhibit was really cool. There was quite an impressive variety of works. Famous works redone in brick as well as original creations too. All very impressive.

Afterwards we got some good pizza at Bricco’s. It was really good too, they always know fine places to eat.

It was another great NGM trip.

 

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High School Reunion

It’s truly hard to believe, but my high school’s 20th reunion was this weekend. So hard to believe how fast 20 years could go by. Pretty much all my friends whom I keep in touch were attending, but I was really looking forward to seeing all the other great people whom I don’t get to see much of any more.

The reunion was held at the Linwood Country Club which is conveniently close to me, so that was pretty great. I think it turned out to be a bit too big for the amount of people, but it was a nice spot overall.

I saw so many old friends, it was great. It’s amazing how easy it was to talk to everyone and at times it felt like no time had passed. We really had a great class, and I’m so glad to see how well everyone is doing. Especially proud of my Linwood classmates, they are still the best!

I did my best not to talk to my friends whom I still keep in touch with, as I already talk to them all the time anyway. I probably should have practiced on what else to say besides, “hi, so how are you?”, but luckily most the the responders had excellent follow up questions.

It turned out to be a pretty great time, and the only drawback is that we only do this every 10 years. I’d be down for a something a bit more frequent. A great time!

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Drupalcamp NJ 2015

Though I’ve registered for Drupalcamp NJ for 3 years now, this was the first year that I was able to actually attend. The past 2 years were just some unfortunate luck that had me cancel my plans.

Hosted at Princeton, this was my first visit there. The ride there wasn’t too bad and I didn’t get lost. Once I arrived in Princeton it was a bit tricky as it was like a city that was a school. Plus there was snow everywhere, but I eventually found the parking lot and the building.

The keynote speaker did a great job. He talked about ways that you can manage yourself/career. It was very interesting and he was a very great speaker.

I attended the following sessions:

  • Using Media, Picture, and Focal Point modules – this was a pretty bad presentation. It just seemed to rushed and unorganized. I do look forward to checking the mentioned modules and workflow out.
  • 5 Top Drupal Innovations You Can’t Live Without – a solid presentation. Didn’t learn too much new from it, but was enjoyable though.
  • Acquia Workflows for Drupal Developers, Site Builders – I was interested to learn more about Acquia’s offerings. I was impressed by their tools offered and look forward to playing around with them a bit in the future.
  • SEO Awesome for Drupal Sites – good and useful presentation. The speaker was very well organized and pointed out some great tips.
  • View Demystified – a great presenter. While it was a bit more for beginners than I’d of hoped, it was a great presentation.

All in all it turned out to be a pretty great day. Learned a lot and explored a new place. The Drupal community continues to impress me.

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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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