1/25/10 - Me and my wife had an awesome date.

Here's the funny part about this: we went to Playtime Pizza. It's basically the same concept as places such as Chuck E. Cheese, and what use to be Showbiz (man, that place rocked).

Anyways, we decided it would be fun to have a date where we were kids again, and what better place that a big ol' arcade. Of course, there were other things such as go-karts, lazer tag, and rock climbing, but we were interested in the mini-golf and some of the arcade games. Plus, they had mini-bowling which we were looking for.

I had not intended on putting up a review of the joint, but that is probably how it is going to work out. First of all, they had a "100 foot pizza buffet". This is quite misleading, because although it probably is 100 feet long, they only use about 20 feet of it. leaving a gap of about 80 feet between the pizza and the rest of the food such as mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, and a reasonable salad bar. The food is about what I would expect for a free all you can eat pizza buffet (free with the price of admission = $9). We ate when we first got there and had a wonderful conversation about bedroom furniture for our little girl.

After a quick walkthrough of the joint, we decided on mini-golf. They had an indoor 9-hole black light mini golf course. Completely flat, limited obstacles, horrible visibility and poor hole design. Otherwise, it was fun. The art in the rooms were very impressive, especially with the black light. Since we had a coupon for a free attraction, I guess the mini-golf was worth what we paid, but barely.

The lazer tag looked pretty cool, but I've been told by others that the area is too small for the amount of people they allow in each game. The walk climbing wall was very impressive although we didn't actually participate in that activity. They had a go-kart track which looked respectable, but it was just a simple oval track and some of the karts looked severly underpowered.

Once we got into the arcade games, we started with air hockey...which I won. 6-4 was the final I think, but I was afraid I was going to lose at several moments of the match. We were going to compete at the mini-bowling, but due to some confusion on how the thing worked, we decided to share the responsibility of the bowling so we traded frames. We bowled a 77 :(

I played a shooter simulator, but did pretty poorly. I think the sites were out of alignment. After seeing my subpar performance, Cristi decided she would pass. They had a couple other really cool games, but none that were priced where we thought it would be worth it. Either that, or we didn't want to look like a fool. Two almost thirty year olds dancing on the ground might look a bit strange.

That brings us to the ticket earning games. I remembered myself to be a pretty good skee-ball player (I'm friggin' awesome on the iPhone). So that's where we started. Cristi went first because she got really excited when she saw these. Apparently she was a big "gamer" in her younger years. This is somewhat hard to swallow, but I'll say it anyways: Cristi is better than me. and not just better, I mean a whole lot better. Good enough that after my first two rounds, I didn't want to play anymore. She got us a ton of tickets, and I'm pretty sure she had a lot of fun too. (As a side note, Playtime Pizza does not have actual skee-ball, they have Fire-Ball and Ice-Ball. I think that was their names. They were a little different, but the same idea and layout).

To break up our playtime, we alternated between Cristi playing skee-ball and me playing the basketball aracde. Let me say, I'm really good at the basketball arcade. I've got a pure shot and I've played enough aracde bball to know that you have to bank every shot to be good. I actually set the high score on one of the machines at 102, followed by an 88 with my free game. Here's where things went downhill. When I put up that score, the ticket dispenser jammed, so someone came over to fix it. Well, he fixed it and then handed me like 20 tickets. I was not happy because I was getting 25 tickets for putting up 140 point rounds, and I just set the high score with a total of 190. I should have gotten close to 35 tickets for my performance.

I'm not going to lie, I'm still a little bitter about it. I've gone back to 10 year old DJ, but I still want to be recognized for the score. I made sure one of the kids playing next to me knew that I put up the high score that was being displayed, but by golly, I want my tickets.

So, anyways, after we added up all our tickets, we bought a few rings and bracelets for our beautiful daughter and headed on home. Total tally, we spent $20 admission, and then added $13 for the arcade games and attractions for a total of $33. This resulted in two all you can eat pizza buffets, two rounds of mini-golf, some air hockey, bowling and probably way too many rounds of skee-ball and basketball. With our 250 tickets we got 3 rings and 3 bracelets that Makenna has loved, so I'd say that it was worth every single penny and then some (even though I got jipped out of about 20 tickets).

I wouldn't be surprised if we go back sometime, just for the skee-ball and basketball.

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1/13/10 - DISH, Dish, dish.....

Yes, it's that time again. Although there is no set schedule, I can't seem to go too long without having an awesome story about Dish customer service. This time around, it started right after we had our roof replaced. In fact, I roughly documented the origination in a previous post.

Just a quick summary, the roof got replaced which required the roofers to remove the satellite and put it back. We lost signal to our Local HD Channels. Immediately my wife and I knew that the dish was slightly off and needed to be adjusted to point in the right direction.

We called and they walked us through a process that would supposedly fix the issue which resulted in us completely losing the HD channels. They wouldn't even show up on our channel guide. We didn't catch this for a day or two as we rarely watch those channels. During this first call, we specifically said that we would like a technician to come out and take a look, but they of course had to walk through a process over the phone first.

After a week or two, Cristi had enough and called Dish back. This time, we again insisted that a technician come out and check our signal. This time, the support person on the phone informed Cristi that our receiver was bad that it was blocking the channels. Of course, they said this even after running tests (just like the first call), and seeing that one of the satellites was not showing up correctly. At this point, you would think something would trigger in them that the dish is just out of line. Cristi was also told that we could hook up an external hard drive to copy off our DVRed programs so we wouldn't lose them when switching receivers.

Instead of fighting with them at that point, I decided to actually give it a shot so that I could then state with proof that they had no idea what they were doing. When the receiver came in, the first thing I did was hook up the hard drive to copy over our shows. At that point, a message popped up letting me know that this had to be activated. No big deal I thought, so I called the number.

This is where things really went downhill. I explained to the guy what I needed and he explained that there was a onetime service charge to unlock the USB transfer feature....$39.99. That's right, nearly 40 dollars, even though the first support person told my wife that all we had to do was hook up the hard drive. At that very moment, I flipped. Without using any profanity, I began insulting him and his coworkers simply because I had had enough of dealing with unintelligent individuals. During this process, I also explained to him the process I had gone through and what I was trying to get accomplished.

Once he experienced my frustration, he apologized profusely, and recognized what I had been saying since day one...THE SATELLITE WAS OUT OF LINE!!!! In fact, he stated this very thing and then told me that we could get this resolved over the phone. Although I didn't believe him for a second, in order to get the technician out to my house, I had to go through the steps one more time. While the steps were going on though, I brought up a few things including the process to return the receiver that Dish had incorrectly sent me and getting the shipping charge removed from my account. After this guy couldn't get it done, he sent me over to an "advanced" technician who promptly said, "Yup, looks like we'll have to send someone out to your house..."

*ANGELS BEGIN SINGING*

At that point, all was right in the world. The guy came out, and fixed in about 45 minutes. He said the dish was off by about 4 inches or so which is why we couldn't even pick up the satellite we needed to get the channels we wanted.

After three phone calls (the last of which took over an hour) and a 45 minute technician visit, the end result was the very thing that cristi and I both new needed to be done. The dish needed to be realigned. The technician visit was free, except that I had to add a 5.99 package to my plan to get that so all that was lost in this go around was high blood pressure, close to 2 hours of my time and about the same for my wife and a $5.99 charge. I guess it could have been worse, but we will see how my next few bills show up considering the issues I've had previously.

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1/4/10 - New Year's Resolution review

So, I just remembered that I made some new year's resolutions last year. As documented in this post on January 2nd of last year. I followed up as recently as the end of February, but nothing after that.

Here is the final update of how I did last year.

1) Working out again. This did happen. Me and my brothers have been going for close to 3 months now I think. We are actually starting a new routine tonight, so there are no real signs of slowing down. In fact, I think we have missed 2 workouts and they were both due to the Christmas holiday.

2) Getting up better and going to bed earlier. This is a joke, if anything it has gotten worse. I noted that I was getting up at 7:30 last year. To end the year, my average wake up time was around 8:00 and getting to work just a little after 9:00. Going to bed earlier...hahaha...I usually crawl under the covers between midnight and 2:00 and midnight is very rare.

3) I can't see that I was really eating horribly, although eating could have been better. The holidays, especially with Cristi's mom in town for 2 weeks (and us still eating leftovers) was not a good thing for eating healthy. Considering in 2 weeks we went through 3 boxes of butter, I think I was on the Paula Dean diet. Almost all the leftovers are gone, so I'm going to give myself a passing grade on this resolution.

4) Grass Guys is in good shape. I could have ended the year with a bit more preparation, but a combination of laziness and being satisfied left me with a broken mower, blower and trimmer, still no uniforms that I'm happy with and a lack of marketing material. All these things will be purchased/fixed hopefully in the next two months so they can be written off for the 2010 tax year and before the season starts. I did decide on the insurance bit (with just a tad more research needed) which will help greatly in the commercial expansion. This didn't go so well in 2009.

There you have it. My resolutions last year were pretty vague, but I thought I did pretty well, some of them almost unintentional. The only resolutions I'm making this year is to not shave or cut my hair for a year (I actually plan on breaking this one next weekend) and to play a lot more Call of Duty. I'm pretty sure I can stick with that one.

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