This past Saturday,’T’ and I where fortunate enough to preview National Mechanic’s soon to be announced Brunch Menu, in a word, delicious - if you’re the type of person who like’s their brunch ‘classic’ you’ll love NM’s choices - the brunch preview featured, Bloody Mary’s, Mimosa’s, Filet and Eggs, Eggs Benedict, and French Toast, all well prepared and presented, if you prefer you fare a bit lighter the ‘Tofu Omelet’ and my personal favorite a light strawberry and greens salad with a light vinaigrette where also real good.

I’m not sure what menu items will, or will not make it onto the final brunch menu, or if any of these new dishes might sneak onto the main NM menu, but I am sure we’ll be visiting fairly often, we do love brunch.

National Mechanics Brunch begins May 10th, check their website for details.

colormanip nevermoreA while back I was contacted regarding a commissioned portrait of Edgar Allen Poe, I was pretty psyched because EAP was a tragically dark guy - and it’s pretty uncommon for a Creative Director to pick an illustrator like me (I typically draw kids, animals and general cuteness) to draw someone like POE - no sooner had I done a bit of research when, I was told the project was on hold, and to stay tuned.. last week, I was told the project went a different way, and the illustration was no longer necessary. But they threw me a design bone, they wanted a graphic manipulation of a raven photograph. I hated doing it, I’d much rather have done the portrait, but at least I got this post out of it.

b52 I Was No Fool!I bought the new B-52s album ‘FunPlex’, and it’s great, Kate and company never disappoint, I can’t think of too many other bands that are as consistent as the B-52s, Pretty good album to workout too, which was an added bonus. 

I’ve been a fan since ‘85 when Kate joined the band, oddly I knew of Kate from her work with ‘The Ramones’, how’s that for an odd combination the b-52’s and ‘The Ramones’.

This is ‘Dancing Now’, one of the four standout tracks in the 11 track / 48 minute ‘FunPlex’ 

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monkey PrimitiveTrying to get back on the Illustration Friday habit, A few years ago, we stood and watched the Primates interact at the San Diego Wildlife park, it was fascinating. Their (the apes) social hierarchy was VERY apparent among our hirsute ancestors   - meanwhile, all around us other park-goers children where running and screaming out of control. And we cage the apes, ha!

Amazingly ‘T’ and I are approaching our twentieth wedding anniversary, it’s exciting, we’ve been together over half our lives, and I’m proud to say - I would do it all over again, as a matter of fact I am (actually I should say WE ARE) We’ve decided that since our first wedding is a distant memory, we’ll refresh our vows in the ‘City of Sin’ ala The King and Pricilla.

More details as they become available.

So after all the drama, the complaints, the satisfaction, the shirts - we’re straight back to complaint - seems I no longer get hi-def channels on my upstairs TV, at least on one of the two Cable Cards, because it was checked  before they left, but obviously NOT that well. More on this after my call to comcast in the morning.

Lest you think customer service is dead, Shortly after I posted this I received a call from Comcast, they where aware of my dissatisfaction and wanted to take steps to solve my issue - and asking if I would be available for a service call that afternoon, 3 days earlier than my originally service date, and let me know that they would follow-up the following day to make sure I was happy. That afternoon, I met Scott & Mark, a supervisor and a service tech respectively, nice guys, who where highly professional, polite, and forthcoming every step of the way;

they quickly accessed the situation - made changes [they eliminated all those problematic splitters], checked their work and cleaned up as they went along. It was a very positive experience, Upon leaving both Scott & Mark made sure that I knew how to reach them if I should need further help. The follow-up call from Comcast arrived like clockwork, and I let them know that YES, I’m pleased.

It’s a shame that every tech that’s dispatched isn’t as patient and as thorough as Mark was, or that every customer doesn’t get the 2 on 1 technical service call experience of having a supervisor on-site, I’m sure they (Comcast) would if they could, Why I got that level of service? hell if I know.

So ultimately it was a positive experience - what started on Twitter as a series of bitchy tweets with @Comcastcares ended with some (assumably) special technical attention and this blog post.

So stop me if you’ve heard this one before, Everynight at 5:45 — 6:30 my Comcast Broadband internet connection drops, it doesn’t just drop a little, it doesn’t just drop now and then – it drops to 0kbps [I suppose it doesn’t matter what unit of measure I use to communicate zero does it], it drops everyday - after a handful of laughable calls to tech support [unplug modem, reset router, die a little more inside] and troubleshooting on my own I’m fairly certain the issue is twofold:

  1. The splitter in my backyard is dead/dying, this isn’t a difficult assumption because it’s been replaced 6 times in 2 years [more on this later]
  2. The added traffic/strain of everyone on my block surfing online, talking on the phone and
    watching TV diminishes my already splittered-weakened signal to a whisper

Reach out and tweet someone

I’ve been twittering with a gentleman named frank [@comcastcares] who works for customer relations for Comcast, he has a thankless job - he’s basically doing damage control to the twittering community - but the interesting side effect of following frank on twitter is that I can read the issues everyone else is having - and my issue is fairly typical, lots of folks with a near identical problem. That being the case, you would think Comcast would have some type of handle on the issue, or at the very least their techs would acknowledge it.

IMHO if Comcast would public admit they have a problem would be an excellent first step, but to help them along I may print a few 1000 [unplug modem, reset router, die a little more inside] t-shirts, let me know what size you need.

My Spin on the Underlying problem

This is purely conjecture, but 800lb Gorilla Comcast has been pushing their ‘triple pack’ very hard in the northeast, it’s success is putting additional strain on their network, and that strain is exposing flaws in the coaxial/splitter networking that’s been in most of their customers homes for 15 years - how do they react, they announce a ‘wiring protection plan’ only $3.95 a month - and pimp it heavy on every tech call - lovely, aren’t I already paying for service I’m not getting? Wasn’t it your technicians who originally wired this crap originally? Isn’t my/our continued patronage worth 50 feet of coaxial and a two dollar splitter? Needless to say, Hearing service plan offers when I’m not getting service is not an effective sales technique, at least on me.

Possible Solutions

Obviously the first thing that comes to mind as a solution is switch providers, FIOS is readily available in my area, and the pricing even without bundles is fairly competitive. I could just go to Radio Shack and buy myself a handful of splitters, and replace them one by one as needed, Honestly they are $1.49 this is costing me 1000 times that in lost productivity and found aggravation.

I think it’s significant to mention that I have chosen to use what little bandwidth I currently have to write this post, so are you having issues with Comcast and your broadband connection? let me hear about it.

Update here

So last week ‘T’ and I took a few days off to relax, get away from our daily grind, and to travel up to Lancaster to see Mike Doughty at the Chameleon Club, (rectifying a previous mistake), It was a great show, It was the first time I’d seem Mike live, although I’ve been listening to fan recorded live shows for years. I was pleasant suprised that he played tons of old stuff, as well as some select Soul Coughing hits, as always he rocks hard, and in typical Doughty fashion - the dialog was flowing freely. If you ever have the opportunity to see Mike Doughty you really should, it’s relaxed, fun and musically delicious.

(really the only disappointment of the evening is the noise in the pic above - ya gotta love how much the iphone camera sucks in low light)