I’M BACK!!!!  Okay, so I’m sure all of you who read my blog were floored to suddenly see a message saying that all operations of my blog and STAR Productions were officially suspended until further notice.  Well, trust me, I was floored to have the situation happen to me, but I guess in some ways, it’s been a long time coming.  There is no doubt now, that I am completely addicted to technology and specifically my computer.  I have seriously learned that the hard way with the omission of my laptop over the last month.  So, I’m sure you’re all asking (like Scott was), what happened that wiped out both of your computers?  First, I had a jerk on the web decide to attack both of my computers with a worm that he imbedded in my wireless network.  Didn’t think that was possible unless you were connected to my wireless network, but evidently, it is possible.  Well, both computers crashed.  I was able to get the laptop cleared, but as it was running the program to erase the worm off the laptop, the computer crashed and the hard drive (I found out later) was fried.  The desktop did not fair as well.  The worm on my desktop offered up other problems.  A virus that does not permit me to use the Internet and a complete power shut down of the system (don’t know how a virus can do that either, but it happened).  So, the laptop was unfixable.  At least by my expertise and I’ll get to what I did with that in a minute.  The desktop I knew I could fix, at least the hardware problem and I was pretty confident with the software problem as well.

 The laptop was a different issue.  I took the laptop to Red Barn Computers.  Now, my wife and I took it to Red Barn thinking it would be much faster to have the laptop at a local distributor than having to send it to Heather’s uncle in Iowa.  Especially considering the laptop died so close to Christmas and the high volume of mail that goes out around Christmas time.  You would think this logic would work, don’t you?  Well, it did not.  The laptop sat at Red Barn Computers for seven days and NO ONE looked at it.  That’ right, no one even looked at it to see what was wrong with the computer.  To make matters worse, the receptionist at the desk told my wife that they have a “turnaround” of five days at a minimum.  Now, I don’t know about you, but “turnaround” has a pretty specific meaning to me.  That means the laptop has been diagnosed then fixed in a matter of five days minimum.  Well, we came to find out that their definition of “turnaround” means that they’ve looked at the computer within a minimum of five days.  Which, by the way, they still did not accomplish!!  What a farce and a hoax this all was.  I’m actually encouraging anyone and everyone in the Binghamton area to boycott Red Barn Computers.  That’s right, I’m saying BLACK LIST RED BARN COMPUTERS!!!!  They suck and I refuse to go to them EVER again!  Anyway, Heather got so mad at the situation, that she took the laptop off their desk and immediately walked it over to UPS and sent it to Iowa.

The laptop took about a week to get to Iowa, which isn’t bad considering it’s now the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.  Funny thing, Muscatine Computers got the computer and within two days were able to tell Heather and I that the hard drive is going on the computer.  Huh, two days, compared to a whole week by Red Barn!  Anyway, we told them to “ghost” the drive if they can and save as much information as possible.  We got lucky.  They were able to save quite a bit.  We then talked to Muscatine about updating the network and making some additions to the network.

In the meantime, I had the desktop at home.  Apparently, my desktop is no longer fast enough to run most of the Internet.  Haven’t used it in a while for that purpose, but that’s why I couldn’t blog on it.  I couldn’t blog, but I could get into and post on most of the fourms from time to time.  So, that brings me back to now,  at least on the technology front.  I suppose I should talk about the personal side of things.

Christmas for the Crissman’s was a typical “Santa crashed his sleigh” event.  My kids got a chance to experience Christmas four different times yet again.  We experienced Christmas at our house on the 20th by opening gifts from/to each of us and then having a wonderful ham dinner prepared by my wife (which was absolutely amazing!!).  We then went to Rochester and then spent Christmas Eve and Christmas day with my parents and my kid got gifts Christmas morning along with Heather and I.  Then, we went to Uncle Mike and Aunt Trish’s and had more Christmas with them in the afternoon on Christmas day.  Wait, I’m not done yet!  Heather and I were able to pack everything in the car (miraculously) and then headed home and literally dumped everything off in Binghamton.  We then repacked and headed for Heather’s parents’ place.  That night, we had a holiday meal and celebrated Christmas there and we all got gifts yet again!!  Oi, I’m not sure if my kids celebrated Christmas enough!  Heather and I have agreed that we need to change all of this traveling next year.  We can’t keep affording to be on the road all the time at Christmas with a “new/used” car and all the gas, especially at the price that gas is at nowadays.  We all got some great gifts for Christmas.  Austin and Tara each got a lightsaber (Austin-Darth Vader and Tara-Mace Windu) and Austin also got two packs of Star Wars Unleashed, which he loves.  He also got a remote controlled car which he’s already worn the batteries down on, a G.I. Joe that he plays with quite a bit, and a whole bunch of other toys.  Ruth is my intellectual.  So, she was happy with some of the books she got and plays with some of the Barbie toys she got occasionally.  Tara doesn’t know what to do with herself.  She now has so many toys, she doesn’t know where to put them all.  The two biggest ones for her were a Hello Kitty stuffed animal from “Build A Bear” and a dog that eats food and drinks water (or at least it looks and sounds like it).  Then there was Heather who got quite a few nice looking outfits and got some Lowes Gift Cards towards her new washer, which she desperately needs because the other one sounds like it’s going to vibrate right out of the wall, through the floor, and all the way to China.  Me?  Well, let’s just say that I’m starting to get closer to starting my Mando costume!  I got a jumpsuit from my parents which will be the beginning, and Heather got me some drill bits and a rotary tool to start working on my helmet.  I also got some LOTR miniatures and a St. Louis Rams wall hanging to go with my other Rams stuff in the basement behind our bar.  I got the miniatures painted within a week and I am now starting work on my Mando costume.

My Mando costume is now starting to become more and more reality.  I plan on getting some Bond-O in the next week to fill in the hole and then I plan on starting to repaint my helmet.  The whole idea of the costume is to make it look like I have flames going all the way up my costume.  The inspiration of the costume is “The Human Torch”.  I plan on making a “mock sketch” of it up sometime soon, and when I do, I’ll post it on my blog.  This means I will be able to have flames on all of my armor.  It should look pretty cool.  Now, I will be pretty close by the end of this year to the completion of the first part of it.  I’ll have the helmet, the Sintra plates, a vest, and the jumpsuit.  Which means I’ll have to put together my weapon, girth belt, leather belt, voice box, gauntlets, and boots.

Anyway, we’ve had quite the time since Christmas.  I performed at “First Night” here in Binghamton to packed crowds on New Year’s Night.  The crowd loved us and the students performed well.  We’re trying to get ourselves together for a trip South sometime in May.  We’ll have to see how schedules work out.  Austin and I have been hard at work on his Pine Wood derby car and have had to restart twice, including the scrapping we had to do last night.  It has something to do with my drill and it not being able to cut straight.  So, I guess I’ll have to bring it to school and cut it.  It’s going to be based on a Jedi Starfighter and unfortunately will be light as air when it’s done, so I’ll have to figure out a way to add some serious weight to it.  Everyone else has been fine.  Heather is working her tail off and getting little pay for it as always.  To make matters worse, now with the “improvements” in minimum wage, her wage as a manager means even less.  She’s now only making about a dollar more than the “kids” she’s leading on the floor.  Way to go U.S. government!!

Well, I should keep updating you all, but I have a lot to do in the next few weeks, including trying to get out my next episode of TJCS.  I’m still deciphering what materials I have lost.  From what I can gather it’s pretty much everything except the second half of Robbie Chastain’s interview.  So, TJCS is pretty much back at square one where we will have to re-record the entire episode.  So, please have some patience with my blog and my podcast as we catch-up with all the work that needs to be done.  I promise, we’ll be back on track sometime in the very NEAR future.  Since I had so much to write today, we won’t do a book review and we’ll start up with “Republic Commandos” tomorrow where we left off from last time.  Till tomorrow, May The Force Be With You All!!!

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