Thursday, December 31, 2015

Thoughts as 2015 Ends



Here we are at the end of another year.  And what a year it has been for me.  Remember last February 18th?  That was the day I slipped and fell on the ice as I was leaving work, thus severing the quadricep muscle in my left leg.  That little "slip" put me out of commission for twelve weeks.  

I couldn't walk. I was totally dependent on Bill to just exist.  If it wasn't for Bill I would have been placed in a rehab facility.  Thank goodness for Bill!

I'm walking again, not quite the same as I was before but I.AM.WALKING for which I am totally grateful.

It seems as if each year brings on new health challenges for me.  I hope I get a pass this new year.  I'm ready to coast for a few years.  Enjoy what time I have left (there he goes with the "I'm dying" theme again). 

I am working at the hotel tonight but I do have tomorrow off which I am looking forward too.  Again, like the Christmas holiday, the first time in years I've had off for New Year's and I plan to totally enjoy my day off.

Yesterday as Bill and I were going out for our daily ride, we encountered our neighbor (and fellow former Downingtown resident) Jane J. She just had the interior of her house repainted and insisted that we come up and see the finished product.  You all know me, I always like house tours so that will be my activity tomorrow. 

I don't have anything else planned.  I don't "do" football games anymore.  I see enough TV commercials already with the few TV shows I watch.  

I plan to play more online Scrabble, catch up on my e-mail and will definitely take in a movie at the Tipton Cinema tomorrow night.  And of course Bill and I will go out for our Daily Drive.  We always get out of the house at least once a day.  

For any of you going out this New Year's Eve, drive safely and if you're indulging (drinking), make sure you have a designated driver!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

There Comes a Time in Your Life



Life is full of pain, sadness, loss, and frustrations. It's taken me a long time to realize and accept this basic fact of life.  But you know what folks? I don't let those aspects of life drag me down.  I just don't.  

Maybe it's an inherent part of my DNA but I absolutely refuse to succumb to that deep well of sadness.  I do not give up.  

Like many of you, my faithful blog followers (and you new ones too), I have had those "friends" who belittle and criticize me, attempting to drag me down to their level of hopelessness. 

I have had (some) family members who have taken me for granted.  Who have disapproved of me and my "lifestyle" (gay) and treat me like a defective human being who must seek forgiveness for simply being who I am (gay).  

A few years ago I cut loose those people.  And you know what folks?  My life is oh so much better.  

I harbor no hate or malice in my heart for those people.  They just "are."  I wish them nothing but the best but they will not ever again drag me down.

A good blogger friend of mine said not too long ago (and I am paraphrasing here) "If anyone says he has no regrets in life, he is lying."  

At one time I thought I had no regrets in my past life.  But you know what folks?  I DO have regrets. Actually, many of them from that time I stood up Vivian B., in 1958 for her Senior Prom.  I couldn't borrow my father's car so I stood her up.  To this day I regret that stupid and selfish move. I am sorry Vivian and I have never forgiven myself.  I hope you can.




Vivian to the far left

Do I have other regrets?  More than I wish or can post here.  But one of the biggest regrets I have in life is that I didn't cut myself loose from all those people who tried to drag me down either because of envy, jealousy or just because they didn't approve of me just existing. 

These days, in my senior years I have found the true path to happiness. 

It's not fame and fortune but having friends who truly appreciate me for who I am and who in turn accept my love without reservation. 

I am a good person, I've always known that.  

In spite of all my flaws (and I have plenty, believe me), I know I am a good person.  I've always known that fact even though I must admit that at times I have doubted it because I was lonely and wanted acceptance at any price. 

Those days are over folks.  History. 

I don't believe in prayer folks but I do believe in wishing well those who don't wish me well.  

So to those folks, take your drama elsewhere.  I don't need that in my world. 

I am one of the fortunate few.  Even though I wake up every morning in arthritic pain and need a daily nap to get through the day, these days are the happiest of my life and that is because I have chosen the path to surround myself with those who enhance my life and allow me to enhance their lives. 

One of my favorite paintings is of a ship that hangs over my bed. Bill gave me that painting on our first Christmas in 1964.  That painting to me folks represents my ship of hope and happiness. 

That ship will take me Home to everlasting peace and contentment one day.  That I know.



P. S.
That would be me at the far right, sitting with my Sousaphone wrapped around me playing in my high school concert band, circa 1958 in today's banner photo.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Customer Service - Comcast Style

Standing in line this morning at the Comcast Customer Service Center in Lewes, DE
(yes, I know using "Comcast" and "Customer Service" in the same sentence is a classic oxymoron)



Well that's an hour and a half I'll never get back.  

I choose this morning to return my old Comcast modem.  You know, the one that I'm renting for $8.00 a month that gave out last week during their outage.  The one that triggered two very boring blog rants posts by me about our local Internet service provider, Comcast.  

I knew I was in for a long wait this morning to just return my old modem. I was prepared.  Or I thought I was.  I guess one is never prepared to wait (standing the whole time) in line for almost an hour and a half to complete a transaction that takes less than two minutes.  

Now admiringly I had the option of boxing up my old (now useless) modem and sending it back via UPS to Comcast.  But I figured that since I would have to go to the UPS store on Route One anyway why not just stop at the Comcast Customer Service Store (now there is an oxymoron if I ever heard one - "Comcast Customer Service") and drop off my old equipment.  I would literally be going by the Comcast Customer Service center (does me repeating "Customer Service" in the same sentence with Comcast make me a liar?) on my way to the UPS store on Route One.  Oh sure, I've been to the aforementioned Comcast place before.  How bad could it be?  Well, pretty bad as it turned out. 

At least two disgruntled customers bolted out the door while I was there.  One of the Comcast customer service employees shouted out "Anyone here returning equipment you can return it at the United Parcel store at the Rt. 24 turnoff of Rt. 1". 

Oh NOW you tell me.  Well, I had already been in line for about a half an hour and had bonded with the guy behind me in line (I asked him if he would like to be the executor of my will) and I wasn't about to go out on the rain slicked Route One, make a U-turn and go the opposite direction of my home JUST.TO.RETURN EQUIPMENT.


As I was standing in line, in renewed amazement at how Comcast is so consistently insistent on maintaining their well deserved reputation for atrocious customer service,



I noted that they could do a FEW things to improve our little corner of the customer service world this morning.

For one thing they could have one of those number dispensing machines so everyone could take a slip of paper with their number instead of standing in line anonymously eyeing each new entrant into the Customer Service Cave of Frustration that is their local Customer Service Center.  I'm telling you folks, I'm feeling like a Republican candidate for president with all these lies I'm telling but I digress (again).  

Another suggestion would be to, now get this Comcast in case any of you are trolling the Internet for negative comments about your We Have No Competition in Lower Slower Delaware So We Can Do Anything We like company.  Now write down this revolutionary idea:

How about having more customer service representatives?  Of course you would have to pay for that, paying employees is going to take some of your precious millions (if not billions) away from your bottom line.  We all know that Comcast puts their money into sales.  MORE SALES! MORE PROFIT.  There is no profit in hiring more employees to provide . . . . what?  Customer service.  What's that?

See the photo at the top of this post?  I took that this morning as I stood at the end of the line which literally DID.NOT.MOVE for a solid 45 minutes.  See the customer service guy on the right?  After he was finished with his customer (which, he left unsatisfactorily, he told them to call Comcast on the phone to resolve their problem)

HE NEVER CAME BACK.

That's right folks.  By the time I got to the young black lady on the left, that other guy was STILL GONE.  I assume we went on lunch break.  Initially I thought he took a bathroom break but he was gone so long, it HAD TO BE lunch or else he was constipated. 

So that's how I spent my morning folks, literally standing in line for one hour and forty-five minutes to complete a transaction that took less than two minutes.  

Hey, here's another idea.  When they hire that other service person, how about have one who handles nothing but returns?  But hey, then if Comcast took that suggestion of mine, how would they continue to maintain their reputation as one of the worst service companies in the United States.




There were times this morning folks I felt like I was in the Russia of the 50's standing in a long queue for bread.  

Quite frankly folks, I do not know of another company that so relentlessly is so deficient on even basic customer service.  




Brian Roberts (Comcast CEO, who just happens to be the SON of the founder Ralph Roberts), do you hear that?  Probably not, he's in another meeting figuring out how to take over another company and become even a bigger monopoly.  

Yes folks, this is how a monopoly operations.  Remember Ma Bell before that wise judge broke her up into seven separate telephone companies?  

It's time someone took a long hard look at Comcast. And the Comcast bigwigs wonder why their merger with Time-Warner was turned down. 

Comcast needs competition.  Come one Verizon and bring FIOS into Lower Slower Delaware.  Surely there is at least one politician that Comcast doesn't own in Lower Slower. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Jango!



"What's he up to now?" you may (rightfully ask).  

Folks, I've always loved music.  Just about all types of music.  Perhaps with the possible exception of folk music and way out jazz that doesn't make sense.  But I've always liked music with a beat.

Remember the old American Bandstand show and the new record reviews?  No matter how bad or good the record, the consensus was usually the same: "It has a good beat and you can dane to it."

One of my great regrets in life was that I never learned to play a musical instrument. Oh sure, I played the Sousaphone in high school and was in the marching and concert bands but all that required was spitting into the big mouth piece and basically playing C and F, then emptying the spit out at the bottom of my instrument, ending with a stinky wet pants uniform on my right side after a parade.  Oh I did like the parades though and marching on the football field.  But I digress (again). 


That's me folks! The really good-looking (and young!) guy in the back row on the left with the massive "H" Sousaphone wrapped around me - 1958
I think in one of my previous lives I must have been an Indian.  I LOVE Indian music.  The whole "Sitar" thing with the constant beat in the background.  When I listen to that music I am transported folks.  Transported to another realm, another life, another galaxy.  I do not exaggerate folks.  I am one with the universe when I hear this music.

Many thanks to my good friend Pat of Toronto.  He clued me into Jango radio this morning. 

"Thanks Pat!"


Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Day After Christmas



 Well, we got through another Christmas
didn't we folks? 

Tis the day after Christmas and nary a . . . . what? Mouse was scurrying through the house?  I hope not.  Something like that anyway.

I for one am glad all this Christmas excess is over with.  Oh for sure, I like some aspects of Christmas but don't you think "the holidays" start way too early?  I don't know about you but I saw my first Christmas displays at the END OF AUGUST.  Excuse the blasphemy but "for Chrissakes" (pun intended).  

I'm always relieved when I don't have to hear Santa actors faux laughing"HO! HO!" ing on the TV commercials and car salesmen dressed as elves shouting "GUARANTEED!" as they spew their lies about giving you big bucks for your trade in.

Yesterday I took Bill and myself down to the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk.  I have my own little tradition of cleaning out my freezer and giving the largess to the sea gulls on the beach.  Bill says "Isn't it illegal to feed the birds?"  I answer "Of course it is what what isn't illegal at Rehoboth Beach?"  Rehoboth Beach has so many rules and regulations



that I gave up on trying to be a good little boy and obeying all of them.  It's not going to be the end of the world if I throw out those lousy seasoned frozen Ore Ida French Fries.  What was I thinking when I bought those? 

So we drove down a foggy and occasional rain showered Route One to Rehoboth.  I parked by the Henlopen Hotel where I usually park those rare times I go into Rehoboth these days.  I parked right up near the boardwalk entrance.  I could hear a squawking kid on the beach.  Always someone on the beach.  Squawking kids are my favorites.  NOT.

I did a quick 180, looking for the Beach Patrol.  Seeing none, I opened the hatchback of my Subaru and retrieved the plastic Walmart back of the aforementioned lousy Ore Ida Seasoned French Fries and two big packed of wraps.  I no longer do hummus wraps for lunch, I each my hummus with pita chips now.  More information that you needed to know perhaps but this is my blog.  All info, all the time.

The sand was went beneath my shoes as I big footed it to the beach to dump my Christmas Treat for the sea gulls.  Sand in my car!  

With the squawking kid providing beach ambiance in the background, I dump my freezer rejects on the wet sand. 

Before I got back to the boardwalk I heard the Lookout Seagull drown out the Squawking Kid to let his or her flock know that there were goodies on the beach for them this Christmas morning. 

I returned to our car and a waiting Bill.  I killed two birds yesterday morning.  I fed the birds and took Bill for his ride.  

Thus Christmas 2015 is ended.  We had a good day folks.  I hope you did too.





Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Day 2015

My Christmas card to Bill this year - photo doesn't show the true sparkle but trust me, it's there!


Good morning folks and a very Merry Christmas to you all!

This is the first time in years I've had off Christmas Day.  Actually, I do not remember the last time I had off Christmas Day but I'm liking this.  

Bill and I don't "do" Christmas in the traditional sense.  However, we do like Christmas and all the pagan pageantry (Christmas cards and colored lights).  We stopped exchanging gifts years ago, more years ago than some of my blog readers were alive.  Whoops!  I'll take that last statement back.  I don't believe I have any blog readers under fifty years of age.  If I do, I challenge them to leave a comment stating their age. But I don't believe anyone, especially young gay man or  woman would read a blog of a 74 year old retired gay man.  Why would they?  But I digress.

So Bill and I don't exchange presents (we have everything) but we do exchange Christmas cards.  The sparklier the better.  And this year I outdid myself with a real sparkler ($6.99 worth)!

Later on this morning I'll take Bill for a ride down to Rehoboth Beach and the boardwalk.  Christmas Day is a wonderful day to get on the road because NOBODY IS ON THE ROADS!  I LOVE IT!

So to one and all, I hope you're all enjoying this peaceful, loving, and happy day.


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Happy Birthday Mom!

Mom with the Christmas Teddy Bear I gave her December 2001

Today would have been my Mom's 92nd birthday. 


Mom loved flowers. You could never go wrong giving her flowers

Yes, my Mom was a Christmas Eve Baby. 


Mom with her "November Baby" - ME! - 1942
She died September 10, 2010.  


Me with my Mom at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, Philadelphia, PA - her last years were a constant series of doctor's appointments - here she is filling out a questionnaire before a procedure 

Six years ago.  


Mom and me - 1946 - I was a heavy thinker at an early age

I miss her every day.


Mom with her sister-in-law and best friend (both worked at Pepperidge Farm), Mabel
Mom had the best smile

One of the comforts I am looking forward to when I die is that this pain will no longer be with me.


Mom with Pop - the love of her (and his) life - married 62 years

Happy birthday Mom!


Mom with Tiger (Pop's dog) and her cat (and guardian) Rusty - Rusty died shortly after my Mom of a broken heart
Mom (far right) with Bill and my brother John and his family - dinner at our Philadelphia house 1968

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

No Sandals or Flip Flops, Tiaras Allowed

Our "Price is Right!" tickets


Yesterday I requested and got my two tickets to attend a live "The Price is Right!" TV show taping for January 12th, 2016.

As regular followers of this blog know my Canadian buddy Pat and I will be making our annual visit to Los Angeles from January 11th through the 20th.

Last year, during our visit to The Grove, our California friend Nadege pointed out to us the TV studio nearby (we saw it from our parking garage) where TV shows were taped, including "The Price is Right!"  


Where I'm going to be (I hope!) next month

I haven't watched "The Price is Right!" for years but I always liked the show.  I've only attended one of these TV taped shows before.  That was "To Tell the Truth" which was taped in New York City.  I attended that show with Bill and my Mom back in the 80's sometime.  I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

I am very much looking forward to attending "The Price is Right!" not so much for the chance of winning any prizes (which is highly unlikely because first I have to be chosen then win - lots of hurdles there folks) but I do so enjoy these different experiences.  

I was reading over the small print in the e-mail that sent my tickets and I read this which is interesting:


IMPORTANT NOTICE TO ALL POTENTIAL AUDIENCE MEMBERS

Socially Awesome Week!

We ask that you please wear your social media usernames on your shirts or that you decorate your shirts with hashtag tag lines.



Follow us on Twitter/Instagram @TVFansrock and tell us about your experience at the show!



Please be aware that the taping will take approximately 5 hours from the time printed on this ticket.



If your ticket says 'Priority Ticket' your admission is guaranteed. If your ticket says 'Line Voucher' admission is first-come, first-served. Having said that, as long as you arrive 60 minutes early with a line voucher you should be admitted. TICKETS ARE NOT FOR SALE. If you have purchased this ticket, please contact us at 818-295-2700.



We will notify you via email of any last-minute time changes. If you are traveling from out of town or if you DO NOT have an email address, please call us the day before the taping to confirm your ticket information. Again, this is ONLY necessary if you do not have email access OR are traveling from out of state. If you need to cancel this ticket it is NOT necessary to contact us. If you would like to reschedule for a new date, please simply visit our website at www.on-camera-audiences.com

MINIMUM AGE: 18

DRESS CODE:

Dress Code: No costumes are allowed. For safety reasons, ABSOLUTELY NO OPEN-TOED SHOES, NO HIGH HEELS, NO PLATFORMS, AND NO SANDALS OR FLIP FLOPS OF ANY KIND WILL BE ALLOWED INSIDE THE STUDIO. YOU WILL BE TURNED AWAY IF YOU WEAR THEM. PLEASE WEAR CLOSE-TOED FLATS. We suggest you wear tennis shoes. There is to be no national advertising or logo displayed on any garments or hats. We suggest that you bring a jacket or sweater as the Studio is kept cool. Because everyone will be on camera at some point throughout the entire taping, it is important to adhere to these guidelines. Please be aware that the producer has the right to deny entrance to anyone dressed inappropriately in the Shows sole discretion. Jeans are fine. Please do not dress in white colored clothing. Props are allowed if they are worn, such as a tiara, but do not bring items that are separate from your wardrobe.

Folks, as you know Pat ALWAYS wears sandals.  Hmmm, looks like I'm going to have to talk to Pat to bring along a pair of shoes with him.  But the good news is that I can bring my tiara. 

Pat with Patrick walking in his sandals on a rainy Philadelphia street
My tiara is prettier than Sean's

Christmas Eve Eve



Well folks, it is now 12:05 AM, the Day Before Christmas Eve.  

I've had quite a week but everything is just about settled down here at Casa Tipton-Kelly. Oh, my wireless printer isn't working again even though I have the new network setup on it.  I'll call Hewlett-Packard tomorrow about that tomorrow.  But that's a minor problem (annoying yes) that I hope will be resolved tomorrow.

But today I want to bask in the very mild weather we're having here on the East Coast.  Oh yes, white Christmases are wonderful but in reality I would rather see a white Christmas on TV or in the movies than experience one in person.  

Tomorrow, with the temperature in the low 70's, I plan to do some yard work.  Specifically I want to prepare my compost pile garden by putting my spare flagstone around it.  Exciting activity for sure which I'm sure fascinates all of my readers.  But hey, not many people are reading my blog now, they busy with their Christmas activities.

Bill will be at the Wilmington VAMC tomorrow for the first in a eight week series of tests on his heart arrhythmia issue. Tomorrow will be one of those rare days that I'll be by myself.  Ah yes.  Not that I don't love Bill but sometimes, it's nice just to be ALONE.

Christmas Eve I work at the hotel but I'm not working Christmas Day.  What a treat.  I can't remember the last time I didn't work Christmas Day.  We don't have anything planned here at Casa Tipton-Kelly.  Christmas to us is just another day, albeit a quiet one without much traffic on the roads.  That's one thing I really like about Christmas, the traffic is very light. Maybe we'll take a ride down to Rehoboth Beach and enjoy the solitude of the boardwalk.  I feel like just walking on "the boards" with a gentle salt air breeze in my face and the sound of seaside sound of sea gulls.  

That will be my Christmas.  I think I'll like that.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Up and Running!



Finally, satisfaction!  I'm up and running with my network.  Not that it didn't take a lot of effort on my part.  

Today was the day that the Comcast service person was supposed to stop by, one week to the day since I lost service.  

So here I am this morning, sitting at my computer with my screwed up network, on a rainy day (usually when Comcast comes, when it rains), thinking "I better check to see if he/she is really coming."

So I make a call to Comcast.  Guess what?  They DIDN'T have a record of a service call scheduled today for me!

EXCUSE ME?!?!?!?


UNBELIVEABLE!


I immediately asked to speak to someone "higher up".  If I didn't get this problem resolved (my network straightened out that was caused by Comcast's power outage last Tuesday) I was going to close my account.  Yes, I would do that and go back to Verizon's SLOW and frequently dropped Internet connection.  Big choice huh?  

After being told that their records indicated I was receiving their service. Well, I am but my network is still screwed up.  And no one told me that they cancelled my service call.  Some "service" huh?  Comcast continues to live up to it's reputation as one of the worst service companies in America.

Well, enough of slamming Comcast because I think I'm bordering on being boring now.  I made my point. So here is what happened.

So I was immediately connected to one of their  technicians. She apologized for my inconvenience and walked me through the routine for correcting my network.  DONE!  


However, I still had a problem with my Apple Time Capsule so I called Apple to help me with that situation.  DONE!  

Then I had a problem with my wireless HP printer.  Guess what?  I figured that out myself as I did my Wave Bose Radio Internet connection.

So folks, cross your fingers and toes, I am back to normal. Exactly one week after Comcast went down.  And I had to go through yet another Comcast Service Frustration.  Make those sales Comcast, minimize the service.

I just hope Comcast doesn't take over the country. That would be worse than the Republicans taking over the country.




More Frustations!



Folks, more frustration and angst in Casa Tipton-Kelly Land.  On Sunday I lost my Discover credit card.  

I. AM. LOST. WITHOUT. THAT. CARD

I used it at Lowe's, Best Ace Hardware (two of their stores) and on the Internet (Amazon, when we couldn't find what we were looking for at Lowe's or Best Ace, should've started with Amazon in the first place).

I've called both Ace hardware stores and Lowe's.  NO. CARD.

I called Discover yesterday and killed the card.  A new one will be in the mail in a few days.

Thank goodness there were no unauthorized charges on it.  

Now the pain is going on the Internet and changing my credit card number for at least ten companies which charge me automatically.  This is the second time I've done this in two years.  A real pain.  The last time I had to change everything was when my previous credit card number (also Discover) was stolen when I made a purchase in Buffalo, New York on my way to Canada to visit Pat.  

So in addition to my home computer network still screwed up, I now have this to contend with.  Bill is convinced that I am LOSING IT.  

Today (one week to the day), my Comcast service person is scheduled to arrive.  Of course it is raining as it always does when I have a Comcast serviceperson entering Casa Tipton-Kelly.  

SHOES OFF or were the booties please.

What else can go wrong?  

I'm looking forward to a few weeks of just coasting.  Playing online Scrabble, writing and reading blogs, listening to my new Bose Wave radio, follow the political clown show, etc. 

Oh, and Christmas is a few days away.

Wait a minute!  I almost forgot.  I had another disaster yesterday.  I was supposed to go into work in the morning at the hotel.  I was switching shifts with my co-worker Monica who had a doctor's appointment at 9:00 AM.



At 7:17 AM, as I was turning over in my bed for "another twenty minutes of sleepy time slumber",  I am rudely awaken by the ringtone of my iPhone on the bed stand next to my bed.  I look and see Monica's face on the display of my big iPhone 6S plus.  OMIGOD!  I was supposed to go into work this morning!  

I answered the phone.  Monica said "Where are you?  You were supposed to be in this morning." 

Uh, that's right.  I apologized and said I would be in about twenty minutes as soon as I got dressed and put my day face on.  

I arrived at work at about 8:00 AM, only about an hour and a half when I should have arrived at work.  No wonder Bill thinks I'm losing IT.

And then last night we went out to Bill's favorite "family restaurant" (mostly old folk like us who prefer cheap eats).  Not a good meal folks plus I had to drive home in the dark which is difficult for me these days with my growing cataracts.  And I didn't get that meal (Chicken Ceasar wrap without the Ceasar dressing) settled in my stomach until I made and downed a banana smoothie before I went to bed.  

And here I am on this rainy morning, waiting for The Cable Guy Comcast service person.

Let's hope this day goes better. Things could be worse.  I could have been named Miss Universe only to have my crown ripped off my head because Steve Harvey, the emcee MADE A MISTAKE!  God, can you imagine?


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Tangerine - The Movie



For the first time in several weeks I went to the Tipton Cinema.  That folks is the "cinema" in my bedroom.  A 60-inch flat screen TV with surround sound.  My home theater is better, WAY BETTER than any movie house I have ever attended with the possible exception of that movie theater at The Grove in West Hollywood during our visit last January.  Now THAT was an impressive movie theater. Expensive too but plus, magnificent, and old time grandeur. My bedroom movie theater?  Not so much but comfortable?  Oh yes.  


Nadege and Pat (Nadege in red jacket and Pat to her right) in the lobby of the Pacific movie theater, The Grove, Los Angeles - this is NOT the Midway in Rehoboth Beach folks!
Oh I do like me some luxury and my bedroom/home movie theater is every bit as comfortable as the Pacific movie theater at The Grove in Los Angeles was.  Plus, I can pause the movie anytime I want to and take just a few steps to the bathroom or kitchen as need be.

But back to the subject at hand.  Last night I choose to watch "Tangerine."  One of those independent Magnolia productions, that I am usually very disappointed in.  However, I was not disappointed last night.  Folks, this movie was great!  Different?  Oh yeah but really, REALLY good.  And to think they made the whole film with an iPhone camera.





Usually these types of movies are for shit crap.  I can't get through more than five minutes before I have to push the Eject button on my DVD remote control.  But this movie?  I was transfixed.

Was there great acting?  Well . . . not really.  Production values?  Are you kidding?  No way.  This movie was "filmed" with an iPhone camera.  Heck, Pat and I will be in the very area this movie was made (West Hollywood, Los Angeles) in a few weeks.  We could do our own movie.  Hey, maybe we will!  Regular followers of this blog know how successful the "Pat and Ron" mini-movies are.  We could extend those five minute gems into an hour or so and put titles.  But that's another whole subject that I won't get into here.




If I had any complaint about this movie is that I do grow tired of the faggy "you girl!" and "hey girl!" language.  But this movie is about transsexuals. Specifically one transsexual "Sin-Dee", who just got out of prison and discovered through her friend that her pimp boyfriend now has a new girl-friend.  A REAL girl friend, with a pussy and all.  Basically the whole movie takes place one late afternoon into the night as "Sin-Dee" traipses through the familiar streets (to Pat and me anyway, last year we walked on those very same streets).  But that is the way of transsexuals, black or white.  Lots of what I call "laggy" talk which I think they think is "girlie" talk.  I find it offensive but hey, what do I know?  

But I did find all the characters believable, even the dog who belongs to the Armenian cab driver who has exotic sexual tastes.  Now how many movies have you seen a dog acting naturally?  Not many I daresay.  All the movies I've seen you can tell the dog trainer is just off camera prompting the dog, who is looking at the trainer, to do his whimpering which I assume they think is dog-acting.  But I digress (again). I am easily swayed off subject. Sorry!

But back to the movie.  I like movies with what I call human drama.  Pat likes his action movies.  I think they're alright but I am a "Downton Abbey" fan.  But I do have to warn you folks, this movie isn't "Downton Abbey" (as a matter of fact it's about a far away from "Downtown Abby" as you can get) but the human drama is just the same.  Social pecking order; love, hate, betrayal, loyalty and finally redemption.  

This movie won't receive any Academy Awards but folks, I guarantee you will be riveted.  Especially the car wash scene. (Note: this ISN'T the car wash scene from "Tangerine" but "Bad Teacher" with Cameron Diaz)


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Night Driving

The glare of oncoming headlights


This evening Bill wanted me to take him for a drive to see the Christmas light decorations in our neighborhood. As I was driving through our neighboring development, I almost missed the exit.  I couldn't see! 

Folks, I have come to the realization that I can't drive at night anymore.  I can't see.  Unless the street is clearly lit, which in this neighborhood it wasn't,  I. CANNOT. SEE.  

For several years know I know I've been having a problem with the glare of oncoming headlights when driving at night. This I attribute to my slowly but surely oncoming cataracts.  My eye doctor every year informs me that I'm only a few years away from THAT operation.  This year he said "You have some time yet but they ARE there and will grow."  Thanks doc.

It was only a few years ago that I used to drive the ten miles one way to Rehoboth Beach down Route One (our main artery here in LSD) to meet friends for a festive dinner gathering at the Purple Parrot.  No more folks. Those days are past.  Not only because several of my friends have died passed on but because I wouldn't chance driving on Route One with all those glaring headlights.

I do drive home in the dark from my evening shift twice a week at the hotel but the traffic is light and I know the route.  But any other times, I fear I'm going that Old Person League and restricting myself to not driving at night. 

As Bette Davis said:

"Getting old isn't for sissies." Tell me about it.




FaceTime Friends

Me in front of my computer where you'll usually find me when I'm home at Casa Tipton-Kelly


Well folks, things have finally settled down (somewhat) here at Casa Tipton-Kelly after the Computer/Internet Connection Disruption of the past few days.  I have the new modem-router hooked up but it's not perfect.  At least I have WIFI, even though it keeps defaulting to my previous, now defunct WIFI, thus screwing up my Bose Wave radio Internet settings.

But folks, life has returned to somewhat normal. The Comcast Service Guy is schedule to pay me a visit this Tuesday.  Hopefully we'll resolve the remaining connection issues and life can get back to normal here at Casa Tipton-Kelly so we can enjoy our usual quiet Christmas sans Christmas tree.

This morning I had three FaceTime calls.  One (as usual) to my Friend to the North (Toronto, Canada) Mr. Pat.  Always a joy talking to Pat and his little bear friends.


Pat and "Jimmy"
I didn't talk to my very first FaceTime Buddy Larry today but I am including him on this list because he was The First One.  Larry and I used to have much more FaceTime before I met Pat.  Both good friends and both enjoyable to talk to but just not enough time in the day (I'm ashamed to admit).  


Larry on FaceTime at his home (taking a quick nap)
A few weeks ago I was in Philly (as regular followers of this blog know). The day I left Philly Larry took me to his hometown of Claymont Delaware for their annual "Blessing of the Christmas Twig" Christmas parade.  I took loads of photos and videos which I have yet (be patient) to share with all of you.  Below is a selfie I took of myself and Lar at said parade.  Most enjoyable was the parade and Lar, I WILL post those videos . . . . I promise.


Larry and I, friends since 1951 and of course you see who is the Star. 

We actually were in the parade.  The last time I was in a parade was when I was playing the Sousaphone in my high school marching band.  Most enjoyable!  I LOVE being in a parade, as long as I'm not paraded naked.

This morning my Blogger Friend Dr. Spo called.  Always a delight to hear from wise, witty and wonderful Dr. Spo.  Unfortunately he and Someone won't be joining us (Pat and I) during our vacation in Los Angels in a few weeks (so soon?).  Much to both of our regret.  Maybe next year.


Dr. Spo breaking the bad news to me this morning.  Isn't he a handsome chap?


This is Harper, the Main Pet in the Spo Household. Spo is the Other Pet. The last time we were on FaceTime Harper wanted to see me. She wasn't impressed.

I called my longtime friend Don McK. in Philly to see how he was doing with his new iMac.  He's coming along.  A few bumps in the road to acquiring massive knowledge of how to operate an Apple device but he's coming along just fine.  Don's a smart guy.  Methodical, deliberative and smart unlike me; manic, go to fast a easy to frustrate. I'm glad Don is one of my new regular FaceTime friends in addition to being a real life friend in person.

Lately I've been wondering what my life would have been like now if I had all this digital treasure at my disposal when I was a young man. Can you imagine?  I would have literally millions of photos and videos and TONS of friends.  As it is, I am quite happy these days as I enter the Final Phase.  I am content knowing that I won't be forgotten because I will leave this digital trail behind, manic as it may be.


Moi in a rare reflective moment. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Computer Frustrations



 Well, this is a day I'll never get back.  But I did learn a bit more about being a computer technician.  Since Comcast service won't be out here until next week (Tuesday), I decided to take the bull by the horns and set up the new combination modem-router that I received via UPS from them yesterday in the rain as I was leaving for work.  How do you like THAT for a LONG sentence?  

I have to confess folks, I am a bit frazzled right now so bear with me.


As the above video indicates I played computer tech service guy this morning by setting up the new modem-router that Comcast sent to me.  Yes, I was the one crawling around on the floor, getting behind that computer cabinet, amidst years of dust cover wires to connect the new piece of equipment.

Again, in my never ending quest not to post a long and boring tech filled post, I will state that after several frustrating hours I did get everything hooked up.  Now bear with me.  I can now get WIFI with my new modem-router but I still cannot hookup the ethernet cable.  I put the ethernet cable in the back of my iMac and nada.  No Internet connection.  

I called Apple.  They walked me through several time consuming steps ending with me putting my computer in a Safe Mode and completely reinstalling the El Capitan OS operating system.  

This took some time (hours), resulting in call backs from Apple from different techs (of course) to try and make my ethernet connection work.  It didn't work.  

By this time I figured out that I didn't have a software problem with my almost new iMac Apple computer.  What I surmised (process of elimination) was when Comcast's had the power outage this last Tuesday that caused me to be disconnected from their Internet service.  

I called Comcast back and this time got a very nice woman ("Judy") from Manila (yes, the Philippines). I asked her "Do you have to activate my connection?"  She said "Yes" and she did.  Oh wait, I'm getting the cart before the horse.  Disregard my previous paragraph when I said I got an Internet connection RIGHT after hooking up my new modem-router.  I didn't get it until "Judy" activated it.  But still, I don't have an Ethernet connection.  She suggested that I call Apple back again.

Tech service center Manila, Phillipines

That I did and after another hour and a half in which two very help Apple employees walked me through several steps, and still no ethernet Internet connection, we figured out that I will wait until the Cable Guy Comcast service technician arrives NEXT Tuesday.  Yes folks, I'm almost there.

Another frustration.  I lost my Internet connection to my new Bose Wave radio but I was able figure out how to hookup to my new home WIFI signal.  Which, by the way, doesn't have my favorite home network name nor password.  Instead it has a password of 78 alpha characters and numbers which I am anxious to change but I don't want to mess around anymore with screwing up what I have working now.

Does this make any sense?  Folks, I have an Internet connection, albeit WIFI and I'm not using my good neighbor Barb's WIFI signal thus I am an honest if frustrated Old Gay Man (there he goes with the "gay thing" again).

So now I'm listening to some really cool sound my Pandora Internet radio station ("Beyond Ragi" DJ Krush) and going to have some dinner, catch up on my online Scrabble games (before I - God forbid - forfeit any of them) and who knows?  Maybe even a Netlix movie.  It's been awhile hasn't it Ron since you've had a relaxing night at the Tipton Cinema?

The "Tipton Cinema" or facsimile thereof

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Comcast Service Outage



Yesterday morning I woke up to be confronted by Bill with his iPad in hand. Even before I poured my bran flakes into my cereal bowl, he said "I can't get on the Internet."  

"Oh here we go again" I thought.  Losing Internet service was almost a weekly feature when we have Verizon DSL Internet service.  Finally, back in 2011 I gave up on Verizon ever getting FIOS in our development in my lifetime and against my better judgement and because I had no other choice, I went with Comcast. Of course the service cost more than twice as much as my Verizon ($75 a month versus Verizon's $30 a month), at least I would have dependable service.  

Another reason I was reluctant to go with Comast in addition to the high cost was because of my past history with Comcast.  I'm not going to bore you with all my past dealings with Comcast when we first moved into the development where we now live but suffice it to say Comcast more than lived up to it's reputation for having one of the worst customer services records in the industry.  Quite literally they are awful. 




Now I'll know I'll get a comment on this blog posting from a Comcast representative because they obviously spend a lot of money to monitor anything negative said about Comcast on the Internet.  The comment is always the same, from a customer representative who is willing to help me to assuage my bad experience.  My question is:  Why don't they spend the money on good customer service up front (like Apple for instance) than spend so much money on the end after the bad experience.  




So I made the call to Comcast yesterday.  After going through the usual automated menu options I got a live person, who I could only understand about 70% of the time (I couldn't determine if he had an accent or was just bored) and who was obviously reading from a script instead of actually listening to what I had to say.

I told him that I didn't have an Internet connect.  He did the usual apologies then proceeded to walk me through the usual "checking the connections."  He asked about my Wifi "connector".  I told him that I only have a modem, which was supplied by Comcast (now at $10 a month - up from the original $8.00 a month then $9.00 a month and now, viola! $10. 00 a month).  He said "Then you don't have Wifi.  Uh.......I DO have wifi.  In fact I have my own network.  He said again "No, you don't have Wifi, you probably have a hotspot."  Here we go again folks, reminds me of the time when I moved in here in 2006 and I was being billed by Comcast for service that I wasn't receiving.  I called Comcast and told them I wasn't receiving service only to be told "Our records indicate that you are receiving service."  I told them again, "I'm not receiving service."  Again, the Comcast service person told me "But you are."  They were arguing with me! 




I told them to come out and check for themselves to see what I was telling them was the truth.  The next day, in the pouring rain (of course), a sullen service person came out and did indeed confirm that I WAS NOT RECEIVING SERVICE.  Of course no apology, or anything.  He did set me up for service and left his wet footprints on my wall to wall carpet in my office (oh why did I ever opt for wall to wall carpet when I had this house built)?



I had several other interactions with Comcast, including their TV service with similar results.  An employee with an attitude that they were doing me a favor and argumentative and not at all customer orientated.




Back to my call yesterday.  The service tech that I was talking to yesterday transferred me to someone else (of course he did).  This was a young lady named "Shantel" (hope I got the spelling right).  She was nicer and DIDN'T have an accent (thank goodness).  She actually listened to me and thought that I needed a new modem-router combination.  She also scheduled an appointment to have a service tech stop by the house here at Casa Tipton-Kelly to see why I still don't have an Internet connection. But the earliest she could make the call was NEXT TUESDAY.  Wow.  Can you believe it?  Even she thought that was too long, so after a long hold on the phone she said a service tech would stop by today between 2 and 5 pm.  She said he would "try to squeeze me in" but could make no promises that he would actually be here.  Ah yes, Comcast continues to amaze with their customer service.  You know folks, when I call DirecTV, they would send me the equipment overnight and have a service guy (or gal) here the NEXT day.  But we're dealing with Comcast here, who apparently wants to maintain their reputation as one of worst customer service companies today.  Total time on the phone yesterday one hour and forty-six minutes of guy life which I will never have back again.

The time now is 3:43 PM.  No service man (or gal) yet.  No phone call either.  Do you think anyone will actually come today?  I don't.  And tomorrow I work so they can't come.  And what are the odds of them coming Friday or God forbid, on the weekend?  Not likely.  But folks, I am prepared to be amazed.  

So how am I managing this write this blog and post it on the Internet now?  Simple, I'm using my neighbor's Wifi.  Thank you Barbara. 

P.S.
And by the way, those of you who use Comcast and are tempted to tell me "Why I don't have a problem with Comcast" . . . all I have to say to you is "Well, aren't you special?"

I would use another Internet service company but there ARE NO OTHER INTERNET SERVICE COMPANIES IN MY AREA.  And Comcast knows it and it shows in their attitude towards their customers.  Believe me, I know.




Come one Verizon, get FIOS in here!

Update 4:29 PM

Of course the Comcast service person did not arrive.  No phone call.  I'm on Hold now with Comcast.  They said the next available time for a service call is NEXT TUESDAY, DECEMBER 22.  Yes folks, a WEEK since my Internet service went out.  

Now get this, they said they would give a $20 credit on my SERVICE CALL BILL because no one showed up today.  Uh, I am not supposed to be  charged AT ALL BECAUSE I RENT THE EQUIPMENT.  They checked and viola!  I was right.  No served charge because the call is equipment related.  

Folks, it take a lot of patience.  I blasted the person I was talking to on the phone a little bit but I understand how it is to be a lowly munchkin on the other end of the line being paid by an unfeeling corporate giant to be a punching bag for customer's frustrations.  

Ah Comcast, your reputation continues to grow.