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.

Vue.js

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.

Firebase

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.

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1st Week Working from Home

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic I started to work from home beginning last Wednesday. Work had been extremely busy and at times stressful dealing with the unique and trying situation, so social distancing is being put to the test.

Working on the web, my role translate favorably to a work at home schedule. My trusty MacBook Pro can handle any task I would have done in the office. So technology isn’t much of a concern. How things go without being able to interact directly with humans will be the true challenge.

The first few days were extremely busy. This in uncharted territory and our team is very busy and doing as best a job as we can given the circumstances. so even though I’m home, I’m still very much occupied.

I’m been able to communicate with the rest of my team via email and with our latest addition to our toolset, Microsoft Teams. When we found out late on Tuesday we would be working from home beginning the next name, I immediately had us setup some Teams and we gave ourselves a quick 10 minute run-through of how we may be able to use it from.

All things considering, it’s been working extremely well thus far. Everyone at our institution is available in the chat (assuming they’re using it), so that’s a huge plus for us. The video chat quality and ease of use has been most impressive. We have 14 users, with probably 10 or 11 using the video chat and the rest on audio chat with no issues. As clear as can be.

Microsoft Teams will officially be a part of my daily work going forward, even when we do return to the office. It’s been a great friend.

Work from Home Tools:

  • MacBook Pro 13″
  • Office 365
  • OneDrive
  • Google Drive
  • Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Visual Studio Code
  • Microsoft Teams
  • GitHub
  • A chair and table (it’s not a very comfy chair)
  • A place to stand and work (using an exercise mat to stand on really helps)

Supervising looks to be interesting. Teams has really done a solid job of making it not too awkward. We can have meetings without too much issue, sharing our screens when necessary, and just using old fashioned chat and link/file sharing to get the job done. Thus far not losing too much of a step.

The first week we were so busy in crisis mode, we didn’t have to get too creative in coming up with projects and managing folks. I’m sure the next days will be similar, but it will be interesting to see how it goes should things slow down. I’ve always been a self starter, but I’d like to see how everyone else adapts as well.

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Lipoma

I noticed a little lump around my temple a couple of years ago, and made an appointment with my doctor to take a look. He set me up with a CT skull scan and they scotch taped a tums to my lump and ran the scan (apparently a 5 cent calcium taped to my head helps a very expensive machine give a more accurate result).

The scans at the time said the lump was a lipoma. A lipoma is just a growth of fatty tissue (guess I had a fat head), and are almost always benign. Which was a relief to hear.

The next step was to go to a plastic surgeon to have him take a look at it. For some reason going to a plastic surgeon spooked me a bit. Not sure exactly why, but I think I was just afraid I’d leave looking like Michael Jackson or something like that.

I nervously went to my appointment, and he confirmed he suspected it to be a lipoma and said he could easily remove it. I opted at the time to just leave it alone, nobody had yet to notice it beside myself and keep an eye on it in case it continued to grow or change.

A year later I’m pretty sure it grew a little bit and got it checked out again, but again opted to just leave it alone. I wanted to get rid of it, but was just too chickened out at to have it removed. I still feared looking like Michael Jackson.

Two years later I finally made up my mind to get this guy removed. I think it’d grow quite a bit more, though still nobody ever mentions it to me. But once I’d point it out to someone, they then saw it. I just didn’t want to wait until it got much bigger. It’s around my temple and I the larger it got then the trickier the procedure could be to remove it.

I made my appointment with Dr. Rayfiend (who was great) and got my jitters out of my system before going over. I was fine once I got there. I didn’t have to go to sleep for the procedure and it probably took a half hour total.

It was interesting in that I couldn’t feel anything being cut, etc. but being around my temple I could hear every cut, tug, etc. very loudly as it was so close to my skull.

Once he was in there, I knew pretty soon that it was giving a bit more trouble than was originally expected. When the doc asked for the cautery, I knew it must be in there pretty good (I watched a lot if not all YouTube videos on the procedure beforehand as if it would make a difference). He said it was in pretty deep and likely in there for over ten years.

He finally got it out and stitched me up. It wasn’t too many stitches and he did a great job in making the incision in an area where any possible scarring wouldn’t be too bad (around my hairline). He showed the lipoma to me when we were all done. I didn’t bring my camera with me, but it was a fairly gross yet smooth yellowish mass.

I went to work the next day, I think only 2 people bothered to notice the excision and stitches the following week. Either they are blind or don’t pay attention to me, or felt uncomfortable to ask what had happened. It probably just looked like I got into a little fight or hit my head on something, it wasn’t too bad considering how much came out.

Stitches came out a week later, and they were happy with how it was healing up. Results came up benign, with again was great as there is a tiny percentage where they can come up to be bad.

So now I’m just waiting for my little scar to fade away and my head to finish healing up. Outside it looks fine, but inside I can tell that it’s still healing up a bit. Should be all good in another week or 2.

Dr. Rayfield did an amazing job and made the process and easy and relaxing as could be. I’m finally glad I got that stupid bump/lump removed and am glad it wasn’t anything too dangerous.

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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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