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It is a sad time for our family as Cathie’s mom Edna passed away on Saturday May 14, 2011. Edna was 91 years old and is now reunited with your true love Bill Skelley. I really believe that both Edna and Bill are happy to be together again and are looking down at us with a big smile.

 

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Edna, we love you and will miss you.

Say hello to Boo for me.

I wanted to follow-up on my previous post concerning Comcast Support. Comcast sent out a nice young man who resolved our tiling problems by replacing the junction box on the pole outside our home and also by removing  two coax splitters and replacing each connection with straight runs back to each box. This change reduced the interference on the cable within my home and helped to resolved our issue. Al (the Comcast Tech) also replaced our older and kludgy phone modem and cable modem configuration with just one box that did both. I was glad to see the older phone-modem box go as we have had the same box for the last 5 years.

I appreciate the extra effort on the part of Comcast to resolve our issue however I wish that I did not have to escalate to get this resolved and would be in favor of a support plan with a “guarantee” that Comcast will resolve your issue on their first visit to our home. I would pay extra for that guarantee.

I realize the blogging and tweeting about my problem may have helped bring attention to my problem, and this is an area where Comcast should be commended, because they were listening in the digital space and they reacted to my concerns. Two different individuals reached out to me on twitter and two different individuals reached out to us at home. Thank-you to all who helped to resolve our tiling issue.

Photo Credit to Comcast.com

I am a long time customer of Comcast and was one of the broadband beta testers back in 1995. Since then our Comcast package has grown significantly as we have the Triple Play of voice, internet and cable along with most of the cable stations. We have been living in the same home for the past 5 years and for the most part have had good service with Comcast, however we have had two separate incidents that required escalation past the initial tech visit to our home, and now it looks like we need another escalation.

During the summer, our son left for college and we disconnected and returned two of our four cable boxes. After disconnecting the second box I notice a lot of tiling while recording shows and then while watching a New England Patriots game I realized that the tiling and pausing was really bad and called Comcast. At half time I found a cable terminator and terminated one of the two boxes that I had disconnected and the tiling appeared to improve. We canceled the Comcast visit however the tiling was still occurring on a second TV so we rescheduled Comcast and they came out today. As soon as I saw the Comcast Tech I had a fear that our problem would not be resolved, as he had been here before and had not resolved our previous issue. He told us that he found a problem with 2010-11-13_22-57-03_9the amplifier/booster and he swapped out a 3 prong splitter for a two prong splitter. When pressed he shared with me the Cable – Power – OK feature on the remote that displays control status and reference the Signal to Noise (SNR) ratio which according to the tech should be in the 18 – 20 range. It was, however I questioned why the SNR was Fair and not Good however he said that was ok so I check our second TV and it appeared fine. The Tech left, however, later that evening I notice our main TV tiling2010-11-13_23-04-34_459 again and when my wife went upstairs our second TV was tiling badly. 

I have multiple frustrations related to this issue and overall support from Comcast. This is not the first time that this has happened to us however I am sure that Comcast has no record of that, and I understand support methodologies however why do all customers have to go thru phone support #1, Tech #2 to get to escalated Tech #3 ? It is obvious that Comcast did not record that last issue that we had with this tech that had to be escalated, or if they did the support individual on the did not see that or has no control over who gets dispatched to our home.  I would pay more to be on a special support list that only sends the Level 3 guys out to your house when we call. Both my wife and I work during the day so we rely on Saturdays for all appointments, and now I have to wait another week to get this resolved.

My wife has been after me to dump Comcast and move to Verizon FIOS however I have no confidence that the FIOS product and service will be any better than Comcast. For now, I am escalating this issue and want to make sure that Comcast never sends this tech back to my home.

This is an update post that includes four different topics concerning Kevin, Molly and myself.

Our son Kevin was accepted in the Carnegie Mellon University Graduate program and will start in the kevin-tabfall. Kevin will be working towards a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Kevin and I are planning a trip to Pittsburg at the end of April to visit the University and to try and find an apartment for Kevin. Kevin was recently featured on the front page of the local Watertown paper the Watertown Tab for his new play and his Theater Company called FlatEarth Theatre. Kevin wrote “On This Moon” which just opened at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown.

One of our two Jack Russell terriers became very sick and almost died. Molly developed pancreatitis and diabetes and was in the hospital for a week. She could not hold down water and became extremely dehydrated and did not turn a corner until the vet realized that she was a diabetic. Once we put her on insulin and started watching her blood sugar, she really came back to life. Now she is back to normal, chasing her brother Rocky around the house.

I went on a reading/listening spree finishing 3 books in the last 4 weeks thanks to iTunes and Audible.com. The books that I read were The Big Short by Michael Lewis, 13 Bankers by Simon Johnson and James Kwak and The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown.

  • The Big Short explained how the Financial Securities Industry and bond traders created and sold unsecured bonds based on CDO’s and then started betting against those securities by taking a large position against the same securities. They were selling these securities to Municipal Offices and folks like you and me, while at the same time all the insiders were betting against those securities. Then when it all came tumbling down the a handful of individuals and companies made billions while many others when out of business.
  • 13 Bankers was slow and dry and if I had to read and not listen to this book, I would have stopped half way thru. However, it was more about the history of banking and the politics and lack of regulation that led to the financial crisis. This book drew a line between the largest banks, their contributions to many high level government officials and their efforts to lobby for deregulation of their industry which enabled the securities industry to create questionable securities like CDO’s (collateralized debt obligations) and fed the bond market with unsecured bonds that eventually failed.
  • The Lost Symbol was good but not Dan Browns best. After reading the book my impression was that he was trying to make up with the Catholic Church by writing a book about God. This book started slow, got really good throughout most of the book and then fizzled at the end.

After reading both The Big Short and 13 Bankers I was really glad to read about “Goldman Sachs Sued by SEC for Fraud Tied to CDO’s” because from my perspective the Obama Administration appeared to be favoring Goldman Sachs. Time will tell if something comes from this like people going to jail, however it may just be a warning shot for all securities firms to not cross the fraud line or risk prosecution. 

Finally, I was recently accepted into the MBA program at the University of Phoenix where I will be taking University-of-Phoenix-logo[1]classes online and hope to graduate with an MBA in 3 years. My motivation for this came from conversations with four different individuals all over the age of 50 who went back to school and got an advanced degree. I chose the University of Phoenix because their program waived the GMAT requirement and I wanted the  flexibility of taking classes online. I also considered Babson and Northeastern but the flexibility and price really convinced me to apply to the University of Phoenix.

Kevin’s Photo Credits go to Kate Flock and the Wicked Local staff photo

I wanted to let you know that the next production by the Flat Earth Theatre will start on April 16th and run through April 24th at the Arsenal Center for the Arts Black Box Theatre in Watertown MA. The next production is a sci-fi drama called “On This Moon” which was written by my son Kevin.

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Living on a remote moon, Dr. Paulson seeks a better life for his daughter, Mary. To that end, he tasks his android servant, Ariel, with sabotaging a passing ship n273169809130_3726[1]containing a potential suitor for Mary, Freddy–who later reveals that he is gay. Ariel, who desires freedom above all, performs Paulson’s bidding in the hopes that he will release her. Events are complicated by Mary’s secret relationship with Caden, an alien also living on the moon. Caden, meanwhile, wants only to remove Paulson from the moon which he feels is rightfully his. Drawing inspiration from The Tempest, On This Moon blends the conventions of a Shakespearean comedy with a contemporary tale of greed and betrayal, love and acceptance, posing the question: what does it really mean to be human?

Performances are to be held April 16th, 17th, 22nd, 23rd, and 24th at 8 PM with matinées presented April 18th and 24th at 2 PM. All shows will be performed at the The Arsenal Center for the Arts Black Box, conveniently located on the MBTA 70 and 70A bus routes at 321 Arsenal Street in Watertown. Tickets are priced BuyOnline[1]at $15 in advance, $18 at the door. Students and seniors receive a $5 discount.

Recent Flat Earth productions have been selling out so it is recommend that you purchase tickets in advance via Brown Paper Tickets

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Over the past year I have connected with a dozen old friends from high school via Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter and over the past few months we have had a multiple opportunities to get together.

Bill Vacca, Kevin Torpey and I got together on a weekly basis and watched many of the Patriots games. We all came together for a special service for John Tucker’s Dad who passed away earlier this month and although it was a sad day for the Tucker family it was a nice day for all of us old friends.

Mark Henderson and I recently spoke about planning some sort of PGMC reunion that would bring us together on a regular basis. I have just started thinking about it and have a couple of different ideas, however I want to make sure that whatever we identify is affordable and I want to make sure that we work in some of the fun, excitement and adventure from our trips and events from our youth. I hope this brings back a few memories ….

 

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We do not have a date or a location and for now I want to start small by getting together for dinner some night to talk about this. I would like to start getting together on a regular basis just for dinner to keep the conversation and the planning moving forward. I am also looking for thoughts and ideas from everyone including those in other states and those who cannot meet for dinner with us.

We have started using email and facebook to connect and I would recommend that anyone that wants to connect with us get on facebook or send me or others in our group a note.  My email address is kevin@kmmm.net and I will create an email distribution list that we all can share.

There are a few folks missing so I want some help getting contact information for the following missing folks …

Jay Hallet – Michael Long – Stephen Valcour

along with anyone else that you would like to pull in from our past.

Besides my email you can find me here on Facebook, here on Linkedin, and here on Twitter.

Would you ever like to take a trip on the Space Shuttle to the Space Station. Now that would be cool however, if like me you can not afford to do that then here is a great view of the inside of the Space Station.

Check it out …..

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