Friday, July 20, 2007

Technology, back on track

Thing's are begining to get back to normal on the technology front.

The router was replaced. The X-box arrives on Monday and I was refunded all my money for the computer repairs. My desktop computer is still broken, but I think I've given up on it. Maybe someday I'll get it fixed, but I don't feel like I need it anymore. I really love my laptop and prefer using it.

As far as the Tivo goes, it was quite frustrating getting it repaired. For some reason they kept hanging up on me when I called customer service. I was already annoyed by the whole process and constantly getting hung up on made it worse.

To further exasperate the situation, Tivo lost the Tivo unit I sent them.

It had vanished into thin air.

I had the UPS confirmation numbers that showed it arrived to the Tivo home office, but they had no idea where it had gone. When I called to try to sort out the situation, the operators hung up on me another 8 times. By the time I talked to a supervisor, I was livid.

I was polite and professional, but explained to them that I was very, very unhappy.

On Wednesday, my Tivo unit finally arrived. To my surprise, in the box was not my repaired Tivo, but a brand new 80 hour dual tuner Tivo! My previous unit was a single tuner, 40 hour edition.

That eased some of the pain and anguish I had suffered as a result of all the disconnected phone calls and sleepless nights I had incurred wondering where my poor Tivo had gone.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Busy days and Birthdays...

Busy. Busy. Busy.

It's been a little chaotic this last week.

The Cubs are winning.

Sports Action Team is racing along.

And, Jeannie had a birthday!!!Her parents and my parents came into town to celebrate the blessed event.
After dinner on Saturday night, we walked down to the river and watched some scenes from the new Batman movie being filmed.Sunday, Jeannie, my family and her family took a riverboat tour.Unfortunately, I missed her "official" birthday dinner on Monday. I got hung up at a shoot for Sports Action Team and didn't get back to the city until well after the dinner was over. She wasn't upset (at least she said she wasn't).

I'd already given her the gifts that I bought her, so she seemed to be a pretty happy girl.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Bar Harbor, final days...

I'm back in Chicago now and the events and happenings of the last few days all seem a blur.

I have pictures on my phone and on Jeannie's camera, but they all seem to mesh together.

Let's see if I can sort them out.

We had planned to go play golf on Thursday and Friday, but it rained both days. On Friday, the rain forced us to go see Ratatouille instead. After the movie, we drove over to the driving range and hit a couple of buckets of balls.

You can see the rain clouds moving in again behind Jeannie and Brett. It rained twice a day, every day we were there. It really screwed up a lot of our plans.

On Saturday, we went hiking. It was easily the best weather we'd had all week. It still rained twice on Saturday, but it waited until we were finished.

We began a little before noon and climbed up South Bubble Mountain. It was so easy that we decided to keep going and climb North Bubble Mountain. North Bubble was a little more of a challenge, which is exactly what we were looking for. The view atop both mountains were great and we took lots of photos. In fact, we attempted to take one too many. Jeannie wanted Brett to take a picture of her and I looking over Eagle Lake, but the transfer of the camera from my hand to Brett's hand proved fatal to the camera. Brett thought I was handing him the camera, but I was attempting to remove the safety strap from around my wrist. Brett pulled on the camera, but it was still partially around my wrist. Brett let go and the strap slipped down from around my arm and dropped to the ground. It then proceeded to roll down the mountain.

It didn't go all the way down, but it rolled pretty far. I retrieved the camera, but it was a goner. All the pictures were saved, but the camera was destroyed. We are not having good luck with electronic equipment lately.

To make matters worse, we went down the wrong side of the mountain. We did it on purpose, thinking it would take us back around to where we started. Several of the hikes we had taken had "climb up/climb down" paths that started and ended in the same place. North Bubble Mountain had no such path.

The path we took led us down, but then led us right back up a third mountain, Conner's Nub. We were shocked. We looked around and could see that we were 3 or 4 miles away from where we had parked the car and we had no idea how to get there.

Jeannie was not happy. We had broken her camera and got her lost in the middle of the wilderness. It wouldn't have been such a big deal, but we had to be at ImprovAcadia by 7:00. We had to be back at our car by 4:00 or we weren't going to be able to go home, take a shower and get back to the theater in time.

We took out our map and Brett and I figured out a way to cut in between the mountains to get to where we needed to go. Brett gets most of the credit for finding the path that got us back to our car. All I did was insist that we go back down the mountain the way we came and cut down to the lake through a path that we'd discovered earlier.

We got back to our car by 3:18. Plenty of time to spare. We got back home, took showers and headed to ImprovAcadia for mine and Jeannie's last shows.

On Sunday, Jeannie and I had to drive to the Boston area for our flights back to Chicago. Jeannie's flight was at 12:30 so we got up at 6:00am to get there in time. There was hardly any traffic on a Sunday morning so we get there without any problems.

My flight was taking off at 8:30pm in Manchester, New Hampshire so I had 8 hours to kill before I had to get to the airport. So...

I went to the horsetrack. Suffolk Downs is famous for being the racecourse where Seabiscuit was discovered. Cigar, War Admiral, Whirlaway and Assault raced there as well. The Beatles performed their last show in Boston at the track. It's a great, old racecourse.

I loved it. I watched 6 races and won $68. After that, I drove to the airport and flew home. I arrived home at 11:30. Long, fun week.

It's nice to be home.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

4th of July...

For the second year in row, we ventured onto the island and enjoyed a nice independence Day lunch at Steven Raab's historic home. It was a nice relaxing afternoon and it enabled us to mingle with the rest of the cast and as well as some of the Bar Harbor natives.

Afterward, we managed to fulfill one of Jeannie's greatest wishes.

Every afternoon as we drive to ImprovAcadia to do our shows we pass by a cute sign that reads "Pie Lady". Each time we zip by it, Jeannie clasps her hands together and begs us to stop. On Wednesday, we finally stopped and Jeannie was finally able to meet the pie lady and buy a homemade blueberry and rasberry pie.

I'm not exagerrating when I say it was the best pie I've ever had in my life.

Since it was 4th of July and the entire state of Maine was in Bar Harbor to watch the fireworks, we had the night off. We used the time to go to Timber Tina's Great Maine Lumberjack Show.

Timber Tina Scheer is a "Lumber Jill" who was on Survivor a few years ago. I took my parents to see the show last year on one of my nights off and wanted Brett and Jeannie to see the show this year. Once again, it was one of those things that we pass by everyday and always want to explore.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Lobster and Candlesticks...

We ate at our favorite lobster place and marveled at how inexpensive it is. Brett had a large lobster, two drinks and corn on the cob for just a little over $20.00. In Chicago, that same meal would have been over $40.00.

Afterward, we drove over to the bowling alley and got in 3 rounds of Candlestick Bowling. Candlestick bowling is very different from normal bowling.
  • The pins are not curved. They're straight.
  • You get three rolls per turn.
  • The fallen pins are not swept away after each roll. You can use the fallen pins to knock down the pins that are still standing.
  • The bowling ball is tiny.

I won the first game.

Jeannie won the second game.

After that we started taking off our shoes, but Brett insisted we play one more round so he had a chance to win a round as well. He's finished in last place the first two games. We played another round and...

Brett finished in second place.I won the third round.

Brett was not happy.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Whales

We went Whale watching!

All three of us!

We didn't go last year because Jeannie has a very weak stomach. She gets nauseous if she sit in a chair and the seat reclines! Somehow...someway, Brett and I talked her into taking a schooner out to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean to look for whales.

It was amazing for several reasons.

#1- We saw whales. Several of them. Hunchbacks, Fin's, Mienkie's. Lots and lots.
#2- It was a gorgeous day. A little chilly, but not too bad at all.
#3- Jeannie didn't get sick at all. Her stomach didn't feel the least bit queasy. We saw several people who were pretty sick, but Jeannie wasn't one of them.
I'm not that big of a wildlife person, but I was really moved at seeing those whales. They were 30 and 40 feet long. They were incredible.

We also saw an island full of Puffin's. They were pretty cool. Brett got a few pictures of them, but I didn't. I'll post Brett's pictures later. I did, however, get a picture of the lighthouse on the Puffin Island.
I didn't take my camera because Jeannie brought hers. Unfortunately, she forgot to charge the battery so her camera died after one photo. I used my cell phone to take a few pictures...
...and managed to get a video of the whales off the port side of the boat. If you squint and you're patient, you'll be able to see the whales come up for air, blow water out of the blowholes and dive back down.

The video makes it look like they were pretty far away, but they were right beside the boat.

It was a very cool day.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Bar Harbor...

Jeannie, Brett and I are once again in Bar Harbor, Maine.

I was supposed to be here for two trips. One for 3 weeks and another for 10 days at the end of the summer. However, getting hired to work on Sports Action Team complicated all that. I had to cancel both trips.

I was pretty disappointed. I love Bar Harbor and I love performing at ImprovAcadia.

Luckily, in a surprising turn of events, the executive producer of Sports Action Team informed me that the first phase of my job ended the last week of June and I wouldn't begin the second phase until the second week of July. That gave me time to come up here to Maine with Jeannie and Brett.

We flew up on Saturday.
Our goal this trip is to do all the things that we didn't do last year. Jeannie and I are only here for 10 days so we've got a lot to squeeze in.