Escaped the Hellevator

I’m a big fan of Escape Rooms and any puzzle really, and had a blast successfully completing the Hellevator at Escape at the Shore.

Stacey and I took on the challenge. The room was very small and shook and simulated like an old elevator. It was really impressive. Don’t want to give away any secrets, so I’ll keep it vague.

The beginning was great. Everything in the room was setup perfectly for experience. There was a pay phone that could be used, all sorts of combinations, locks, and drawers to open. Pretty nice.

A creative twist is that we did have to interact/combat zombies at some point, but again will keep it vague on the exact details.

I did have a piece of the room break or malfunction on me, but I shared it with the game master through the camera in the room and they promptly remedied the situation. Ha, always my luck!

The end got pretty intense as we saw the time ticking down. We knew we had to hustle with only seconds remaining, but I ran to save every last precious second and we wound up beating the room with a scant 13 seconds to spare. We really cut it close!

Lots of fun, good teamwork and highly recommended!



Capybaras eating bamboo at the Cape May County Zoo
Capybaras eating bamboo at the Cape May County Zoo

For my birthday I was treated to a Capybara encounter at the Cape May County Zoo! Capybaras have been my favorites at my local zoo for as long as I can remember, even for the few years when they were absent. I got to go into the enclosure, get fairly up close and feed my friends some bamboo.

We got there a little extra early as it was forecast to rain most of the day, but not until around our start time. Luckily the super friendly zoo staff showed up early as well, also hoping to beat out the showers (which we ultimately did).

The staff was great, very friendly and began sharing all sorts of facts about the capybaras. They let us into the enclosure and reminded us that we could get close, but don’t make too sudden of a motion as it will likely scare them off.

There were 3 adults and 2 tiny babies. If we made the slightest move the babies would retreat, most of the time I think they just ran away because someone else had run. It was pretty awesome and hilarious at the same time.

So I just sat there fairly still and offered up some bamboo for the capybaras to feast on. Budette was the hungriest with the other 3 joining early on too. Mikey stayed back, apparently he’s been dealing with some stomach issue as of late.

I eventually got him to come over and eat up as well. Within minutes his stomach issues were on full display as here ripped an extremely loud fart accompanies with a decent poop. While it was pretty gross, we couldn’t stop laughing. He just kept munching along like nothing that epic has just taken place.

This was a pretty amazing experience and one I’m very glad I got to take!


New England Road Trip

mountain view from Flume Gorge in New Hampshire

Took a nice road trip up to the New England area for the first time. We took Stacey’s fancy new Prius up there. The hybrid made amazing and most importantly efficient work the whole trip. I came away very much impressed with the vehicle.

On the first day we visited Boston. Took a short train ride in early in the morning, and got some advice (both directional and political) from a construction worker. He was really nice and made sure we were on the right train, as well as let us know not to vote too progressive in our upcoming election.

Once we got into Boston we waled the Freedom Trail. It’s a 16 stop trail throughout the city that involved a lot of walking, which is great as I do enjoy moving around. It was incredibly warm out for the time of year, I’d say it was perfect walking/touring weather.

We walked the entire tour, stopping for food and treats along the way. Also were fortunate enough to see a street performer put on a nice show atop a unicorn unicycle. He really gave it his all and did a great job working the audience.

Perhaps the most interesting thing for me was the size of the squirrels in Boston. They all were massive, much larger than the squirrels in my yard. They were huge and fearless of humans.

The next day we drove over to the Blue Hill Reservation park. This was pretty scenic with the hills, foliage starting to kick in, etc. We hiked the Skyline Loop, which was justly ranked as a challenging hike.

The hike was intense! Right off the bat you’re going straight up a very stony hill. It was so steep. Then the trickier part to me is descending a stony hill. It’s just a bit more slippery going down for me than going up. After completing that, I pretty thought much we were done. We went up a steep hill and down, right? Nope, this had 5 big hills to climb.

It was very exhausting, but a really great hike. I’d highly advise for those seeking a challenging hike.

After that hike we stopped at Wegmans to pick up a quick bite. They were conveniently right next to the hotel, so we would make many refueling stops there.

After the refuel, we headed out to Salem to check out all the Halloween stuff. When we arrived we realized that most of the world had a similar plan, it was packed beyond comprehension. Rows and rows of people. All parking was full, and the only available was a lot asking for $60. We aborted the mission and headed back to home base, hanging out at the Natick Mall (largest in New England).

Got the check out their Lego store, Peloton store, tried on a winter coat (kinda looking to replace this season), and just enjoyed walking on level ground for a bit after the extensive hike/climb earlier. The did have a cool place of indoor activity called Level 99, but I didn’t partake. I was still a bit tired and honestly it looked a bit packed and I’m still being a bit cautious with crowds with the Coivd-19 and all.

The last day we drove up to New Hampshire and check our the Flume Gorge. This was awesome and I’d highly recommend it to anyone to check it out. It was so scenic and massive, not something that I’m used to seeing on the east coast (or anywhere really).

Everything was so scenic and fall like, it was pretty great. Another great hike outdoors, this time the temperature was a bit closer to what I’d expect this time of near up north. Again, a very much recommended place to go.

This as a pretty awesome and active trip. A great time.


Replaced the Fill Valve on My Toilet

The dreaded occurred just a few days ago, my toilet stopped working. Luckily I do have more than one bathroom, so it wasn’t the worst, but still not a good feeling. It was draining just fine, it’s just the tank wasn’t filling back up.

So I did some tinkering. It seemed that if I shut the line off then back on, then the tank would fill. I thought that a bit strange, but after doing some research figured that the fill valve maybe had some sort of block in it. I followed some hardly videos and tutorials to try flushing the fill valve

Flushing it was pretty easy, you shut off the line, then remove remove the fill valve cap (which I’m always terrified of breaking things). Inspecting the cap, it was surely dirty, but didn’t see anything that would be causing a block or anything wrong with the washer. So I held a cup over the open fill valve and turned the water on from the line and let it run for a bit, hoping that it might flush anything out.

Unfortunately that didn’t seem to do the trick, so my next option was to just replace the fill valve. It was clearly quite old and dirty, and at under $10 why not. Picked one up at Lowes and got to work.

Replacing the previous fill valve only took probably 20 minutes in total. That was with me double checking each and every step! When I was all done, I turned the line on and watched the tank fill up. It was beautiful to behold.

Gave the toilet a few flushes, and made some minor height adjustments to the water level and do believe I have a working toilet again. I know it isn’t the most complex plumbing task, but it still felt pretty good to be able to fix something on my own (with a lot of help from the internet of course).

Adventure Books Development Projects Uncategorized

Recent Hobbies

I’ve found a few new hobbies/projects to learn during the recent pandemic. Some tech, some around the house, and others just random.


I’ve really gotten into the vue.js JavaScript framework. Recently I’ve been aiming to get stronger with JavaScript, and eventually found my way to Vue.

Thus far I’m using the framework to develop a degree/program finder at work, and another single page app for another project. I’ll have to write up a post on both projects when I launch them. Very excited.


A bit tied together with my Vue interest, I’ve really been having fun with Firebase. Firestore and Authentication are what I’m mostly toying with at the moment. I am really excited to deploy into some final projects. The documentation is great.

Baseboard Trim

I finally put my miter saw to use and fixed the baseboard trim in my bathroom. Getting the trim to match at a corner was the biggest challenge.

Since some of the previous trim had gotten wet and moldy, I was able to salvage a piece of the clean original to match my corner, with a completely new piece of baseboard for the side with no corners. Very difficult to see the trim isn’t a perfect match on that piece.

Sprinkler Heads

Not too difficult, but I also dig up and replaced a few sprinkler heads. Installing and adjusting to get them just right wasn’t too hard. Just some trial and error, and digging.

RingFit Adventure

I have been playing RingFit Adventure for 90+ straight days now. While not a replacement for the gym, it’s been a pretty solid source of activity. It has me doing more core and balance work now, which is nice. Great idea making an exercise rpg, I think I’m up to level 106 now.

Kindle PaperWhite

One of the first (and few purchases) of the pandemic for me was a Kindle. It’s been awesome! Screen and battery are amazing, I’ve been borrowing books online through my local library. Probably have read 8 or so on it.


My Pandemic Birthday

So this birthday was a bit different as it took place during a pandemic. So that ruled out adventuring somewhere, getting something to eat out, etc.

The day started with with my kind co-workers all putting up custom birthday themed backgrounds for our Microsoft Teams meeting. That was a very nice of them, it was funny. I also received some pretty amazing videos and greetings on social media.

Of note was an amazing happy birthday song by Michale Bolton and the most epic happy birthday video I’ve ever seen. I still chuckle at both while typing this.

After work I stopped over to my parents. Had dinner with them and we had some ice cream cake. The cake was great, it was from Dairy Queen and I have to admit it tasted much better than in the past. I think I was told they’re under new ownership, not sure.

Stacey stopped over the next day and brought some gifts with her. Got some nice dumbbells (couldn’t of been too fun for her to carry them up my steps), The OuterWorlds for PS4, an Escape the Crate escape room in a box, and The Master Theorem book.

The dumbbells are great. Not able to go to the gym, they’ll really come in handy. They’re nice ones too, not something you get at a yard sale. The Escape the Crate was great. It comes with 2 escape rooms, and we went through one of them that night. It was challenging, but very fun. A great idea.

The Master Theorem book has been quite the hit thus far. It’s full of really complex and unique puzzles. They’re tough, but it is very satisfying when you solve one. Highly recommended.

As well as a Lego mini-figure I also got an ice cream pie and a pint from Springer’s in Stone Harbor. Amazing ice cream, and a big surprise. Several days later I would begin to regret so much ice cream at once, but it was fine to have such treats!

So while it was a bit different without being able to go places, I was still quite happy. Definitely a memorable b-day!