Saturday, July 26, 2008

ABBA Anyone?

Tomorrow Sharkey and I are taking my Mom to see Mamma Mia at the Academy of Music. The real Mamma Mia. Not that movie that just came out with James Bond belting, screaming, um, yelling, um, sort of singing ABBA. Hopefully the weather will hold up for us. They are calling for possible thunderstorms in the city. We saw Mamma Mia already, but my Mom has been wanting to see it for a while, so for her birthday I purchased tickets. I do admit I love live Broadway shows, and I am comfortable enough in my masculinity to admit it. I have seen Phantom (2x), Les Miserables (3x), Miss Saigon, Mamma Mia, Singing In the Rain, and The Boy From Oz. So tomorrow we'll be basking in the ABBA goodness:

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

iCommitted, iCrazy, iWaited

For those of you who wondered, did JP and Sharkey get iPhones or didn't they? Here's the answer:


I "convinced" Sharkey to go with me last Friday to get an iPhone. Granted she wanted one too, but she's less committed to the hunt than I am. But as you know I am all about the hunt. I prepare. I read. I plan. I research the product. I make sure all my ducks are lined up in order. I am the Tech Hunter. We woke up at 6AM last Friday to go to the local AT&T store to wait in line for the 8am store opening and subsequent launch of the iPhone. We arrived in line at about 6:50am. We were about the 45th in line. So the store opened at 8am and the nice AT&T people came out and announced they were all out of iPhones by the 40th person in line.

So I wanted to go to King of Prussia to "see" how the line was there. I again "convinced" Sharkey to go with me. OK, I pretty much kidnapped her, held her hostage, but she loves me and she allows me a great deal of lattitude from time to time. So we get to the Apple store around 8:20am and we waited in this line (blue "x" is the start, green "x" is the finish):

apple iphone line

The wait was long. We didn't get into the Apple store until about 1:00pm. If you didn't know, Apple and AT&T had major issues on iPhone launch day. These issues caused us to have the long wait. But that's just part of it. It seems both companies didn't really fully test the upgrade process for current AT&T clients so once we hit the store at 1PM we were at the Genius Bar until about 3:50pm. They use these handheld devices to look up your AT&T account and activate the iPhone. Unfortunately because of the system issues, they could not locate our account and therefore we were not permitted to purchase the two iPhones that were a mere 6inches away from us on the counter. The Genius Bar guy, John who was working with us was awesome. He was working our issue every way he could and he found a resolution and called AT&T to implement it. After it was done, AT&T told him it would take 24 hours to take effect. UGH!! At the end of that time, we were still iPhone-less and we were tired, hungry, and a bit ticked off. The wonderful Store Manager at the Apple store had a really pissy attitude and he had the customer service skills of a 5 year old playground bully. He told us if we were not able to activate by midnight the iPhones would go back into circulation (actually he said any iPhone not activated by 12AM which they scanned for us would have to go back to the warehouse for reprocessing, which I think is BS) and he was not willing to bypass his handheld billing things or give us anything for waiting all that time. I was getting ready to bag the entire thing, but the Assistant Manager at the Apple store stopped us on our way out of the store, listened to our whole ordeal and really took the time to do everything he could to accomodate us. He gave us the option to try again later that night or come back the next morning and we could go to the front of the line. But he couldn't guarantee that they'd have iPhones the next day.

So we left there at 3:50pm and I had an Apple pass that the Assistant Manager signed to let us back in the store without waiting. I had to take Sharkey home because she was going out with her friend to dinner. I was beat. I got home. Took a little nap, grabbed a bite to eat and by then it was 9PM. The Apple store was open until 11pm that night for launch, so I decided to head back and see if we could get those Apple handheld's to look up our account. I got to the store, the Assistant Manager was there (thank God he was and not the jerkoff Store Manager who I wanted to back slap and verbally berate), thanked me for coming back, and immediately hooked me up with a Genius Bar person. The line outside the store even at 9:30PM was still insane. The accounts worked and I walked out with 2 iPhones at 10:00pm. I was beat, but mission accomplished!

PS. I know you think nothing is worth that hassle, and I do totally agree. I would do it different next time. But that being said, the iPhone is AWESOME!! It is a great all in one device. I haven't seen anything that really comes close to it. And now that I have it, well, I'm lovin' my technology something fierce!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Rock On!

While Sharkey was in Minnesota staying with Character Builder and family she played Guitar Hero. She told me on the phone how much fun it was. So we were at Best Buy yesterday and Sharkey was showing me the game in the store. It looked like so much fun, we bought it. Yesterday and today we were rockin' it out! Sharkey was jammin to some Stevie Ray Vaughn, Pride and Joy. Notice the similarities?

Sharkey Rockin It Out

And look at the finger work:

30 Years of Clarinet

Her parents would be happy to know that the 30 years of clarinet come into good use playing Guitar Hero. Seriously you should see her play. She's money on that game and kicks my ASS!! I am still playing the EASY mode with 3 frets and she moved on to the INTERMEDIATE mode with 4 frets and faster notes. My hands feel like I'm mashing the frets sometimes and she's moving along like it's a walk in the park. I need to step up a bit I think! Rock ON!!!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Tension and Wound Too Tight

Plates on sticks spinning. Don't let them fall. Keep them spinning. Keep an eye on all of them and focus. Don't lose your focus or one of those plates will fall and break. Everyone's watching. Everyone wants to see the show, see your skill. Don't let them down. This show has been going on for 2 weeks straight. It's exhausting. I'm getting tired. But I only have to keep the plates spinning for the act and the show must go on.

That's exactly how I feel. It's what I've been living at work. Sharkey tells me tonight I'm too intense and I'm hanging on too tight and quickly heading to burnout city. Sharkey's right. God what would I do without her? Hope I never find out. But I pour everything I got into what I'm doing. It's what I do. It's what I've always done. But I think I need to back off a bit, take the edge off and find a pace that's more balanced.

I realized just how tightly wound I've been when I went to Sharkey's concert at Longwood Gardens tonight. She had to go warm up with the band, so I walked around the grounds. It did me a world of good. Lush gardens, fountains, and rolling meadows as far as the eye can see. And in one of the gardens I sat down at an elevated patio in a rocking chair. At that moment I took a huge, deep breath and the spinning plates were all gone. Relaxation is good.