Christmas 2016

Christmas was fairly quiet again this year. Nothing too fancy, just went over to my parents. There seemed to be less drama this year than in years past, so that is always a good thing.

Exchanged some gifts and had some dinner. Everyone seems to enjoy what I had gotten them, so that’s always a good thing. I did receive a Google Home and a He-Man and She-Ra book. It will be fun to play around with the Google Home, and the book is really well done so that will be funny to go through.

An added bonus to the day was that there were football games on this year. This gave us something common to watch on TV.

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Elvis the Dog

Elvis the DogElvis the dog passed away this morning. It was rather sudden and unexpected. He will be missed tremendously by all that knew him.

I have many, many fond memories of Elvis. He was a very gentle, kind, obedient, and probably the most loyal dog I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. His loyalty to my brother Frank was absolute and never wavered through the highs and lows of his life.

I’ll never forget just how tiny Elvis was when we picked up from the Philadelphia Airport. Though he’d grow up to be quite a large American Bulldog, he was barely larger than a shoe when we first met. I took him out of his little crate in the car and he just slept by my feet the whole ride home. His gentle behavior wasn’t just in that first car ride, but would persist for the entirety of his life. He was just a calm guy, who rarely if ever got himself into any trouble. He never ever took a piece of food that wasn’t given to him, he’d always make sure it was alright for him to do so first.

What would probably stand out to most were his looks. He had the American Bulldog face that was both gross and slobbery yet very handsome at the same time. He was instantly liked by all. He really didn’t bark too much until later in life (and when he did bark it was almost guaranteed that it was at nothing), but would communicate with whines and cries. He was easily the biggest baby I’d ever known. Scared of his own shadow, yet could pull a hole through a wall if he got too excited and misjudged his speed while turning a corner.

He loved his stuffed animal toys and would carry them with him at all times. Rarely could he be found without a stuffed animal nearby, even well into adulthood.

Elvis made it through two major knee surgeries a few years back. While by no means an ideal patient, he did eventually make an excellent recovery and we were all glad that he could resume his regular dog duties (sleeping, drooling, etc.).

He wasn’t much of a licker, which was fantastic considering how dirty his jowls were. Always full of slobber, a shake of his head was known to send it several feet and landing quite high up on walls. So high in fact it was difficult to fathom at times. He was so filthy and stinky, but so likable that it didn’t matter. Becoming drenched in slobber was easily worth the risk of getting close to such a fine dog.

I spent many hours protecting him from thunderstorms, lighting, stressful situations, etc. He would just sit pretty much on top of my feet (not that comfy for me) and I’d pet him until we rode out whatever scary situation was affecting him.

Our walks around Linwood were always a pleasure. While he was known to want to call it quits after only a block on many occasions, we did get around 2 miles or so for a bit. He always attracted quite the audience, with people constantly stopping to ask more about him, or waving from their cars at him. He was quite the popular walker.

I have so many great and wonderful memories of Elvis the Dog. While my family and I will be deeply saddened by his loss, I do know that we gave him the best life we possibly could and that he knew that. He was so happy to be a part of our family and to look after and protect my brother Frank while he was with us. He will be missed a great deal.

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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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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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Logan

I’m not sure what led me to visit Twitter the other morning, I hadn’t really for well over a year. Not sure if I had some weird dream, but something told me to just visit and check in and see if all was well. Much to my utter shock I learned that Logan the Wolverine had passed away last month.

My stomach had completely dropped and I had to read and refresh the screen several times, each hoping that it was somehow an error or I had just read it incorrectly. He was such a nice dog, and not nearly old enough to leave this world. Even though I hadn’t seen him in a very long time, I was still deeply saddened to learn of his passing.

I do consider myself very fortunate to of been able to meet and spend a great deal of time with such a fine dog. He really was great in so many ways, and as sad as I am, I do know that he was alway given the highest treatment a dog could have ever asked for. He was as loved as a stinky, grumpy, loyal dog could have ever been, and truly had been given such a great life.

I have so many excellent memories of him:

  • the numerous times he growled at me when I unknowingly crossed into his territory (apparently this was quite often)
  • the time he sprayed diarrhea all over dog beach narrowly missing another dog’s face (still one of the grossest things I’ve witnessed to this day)
  • taking him for walks (a couple of surprise day visits really stand out)
  • having numerous deep chats with him when nobody was around or in listening distance
  • the time he ate poop and had to have his teeth brushed and face washed to take away the smell
  • faking him out numerous times while playing fetch
  • excellent games of tug-o-war
  • the times I entered without Mr. Guard dog detecting me
  • his uncanny ability at his tiny size to take up an entire bed/couch

He truly was a great guy and am so sad that he is gone. I’m so very glad I got to know him and know that while his life was much, much too short he did really luck out with the amazing life that he wound up with. He will truly be missed, but never forgotten.

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Christmas 2013

While Christmas isn’t nearly what it was to me growing up, it’s still a pretty fun time of year. While the presents received doesn’t live up to the days of old, getting people really cool and thoughtful stuff is a lot of fun to me.

Apparently I really hit a home run with the Marvel Unlimited subscription I got my younger brother. He now has one year unlimited access to over 13,000+ issues of Marvel comics on his iPad. While I knew he would appreciate this a great deal, I was surprised at just how excited he was to receive it.

I did notice my Dad complaining to my Mom a few weeks back that these things he uses on the stove burners were well past broken. My Mom thought that the things were no longer made, as she hasn’t seen them in ages. Using the power of the internet I found out that they were called heat diffusers and in fact can still be bought. God bless the internet and a very glad father.

As for my older brother, he tends to be a really worrisome about his dog (Lady) when he has to leave her at home alone. So I got him a Belkin NetCam HD that he can setup wirelessly at home and check in on Lady when he is at work in full HD from his iPad (or any internet connected device). I was glad to be able to put him at ease and he was very thankful for the gift.

While my Mom’s wasn’t quite as exciting to me to think of, I did get her a fine gift card to Macy’s so she can go out and spend a day shopping and frankly getting away from the above mentioned guys in my family for a bit of sanity. She really likes to do that, and giving her a gift card to use up means that she will surely put aside time for a day to get away from those guys.

All in all a pretty successful gift giving for my family.

I was also the recipient of some cool stuff from them too:

  • The Wonderful 101 for the Wii U
  • a talking plush Honey Badger (very cool!)
  • some rare Guardians of the Galaxy comic (I’ll have to look that one up)
  • a re-gifted sweater that I immediately recognized, but acted like I hadn’t realized just to be nice
  • Sports Authority gift card so I can be sporty
  • and and assortment of other fine stuff too

While not at fun as it was many years ago, still a pretty cool time and nice to be around everyone in relative peace.

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