Category: Life


I just saw that Polaroid announced that they will be discontinuing almost all of their legacy analog products. That’s big words for no more cameras that use film. That means no more film. Not that I’m surprised by the move, but it is the end of an era. We’ll no longer be able to “shake it like a Polaroid picture!” So for any of you out there who still have the once popular instant cameras (yes Appy, I’m talking to you!) stock up now. Looks like we’ll have until early ’09 to take pictures retro style.

For those who might have known him, Clive Sweeney, a local Flash Developer and friend of Heather and I, died in a bicycling accident this week. The accident happened just before 8am on Tuesday near the Ebenezer Church Road intersection.

I met Clive through his wife, Brenda who worked with Heather at Watts Elementary School in Durham. Clive was a teacher, an educator in energy conservation, an actor, a graphic designer, a website designer, and a Flash developer. I knew he was into cycling, but we hadn’t seen Clive and Brenda in a while, so I didn’t realize that he had gotten as serious about riding as he had.

His funeral will be at 11am Saturday June 7 at the Chapel of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that people donate to the Animal Protection Society of Durham, 2117 E. Club Blvd. Durham 27704.

I know we will all miss Clive.

Video of the News Story: http://abclocal.go.com/wtvd/story?section=news/local&id=6183036

Follow up, driver charged: http://www.wral.com/news/news_briefs/story/2992175/

This Saturday, I spent the morning at the North Carolina State Fair Grounds volunteering for the American Kennel Club’s Education Event. As many of you know I am currently working in the IS department at the AKC, and I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to get some actual dog show experience.

The Event started at 9 am inside Dorton Arena, although eager dog owners started showing up as early as 8:00 am for the event. The goal of the event is to provide dog owners a chance to learn more about showing their dogs at events. The AKC sets up multiple “rings” and allows new dog owners to bring their dogs in to “practice” being shown and judged. AKC employees educate owners on dog handling, grooming, AKC Dog Show procedures, show entry assistance, equipment advice, canine good citizen information, obedience/rally/agility demonstrations, and local club information. This year’s event had a really good turn out, especially in the Juniors area. I snapped a lot of pix of the event and some really nice looking dogs. Those are posted on my Flicker page.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel PuppiesAfghan Hound

Johnson Happens!

I purchased my Chrysler PT Cruiser a few years ago from Elkin’s Chrysler on Jackie Robinson Drive in Durham. I had a very good experience. I found the car I wanted for a good price. I received no pressure from the sales guy and at the end the owner’s son or nephew handled our final paperwork. After purchasing the car I continued to take it back there for oil changes. This is not something I typically do as car dealers usually overcharge for service work, but this was different. Elkins charged $22! $22! For an oil change by the dealer with certified dealer replacement parts, I thought it was worth it. They even gave me a little repeat customer punch card. Every 5th oil change was free. And to make it even better, they usually did the work in 30 to 45 minutes. Oh and good, free coffee, too. Can you tell I liked Elkins a bit??

About 3 months ago I took my car in for the oil change and realized that the name changed. It is now “Johnson Chrysler KIA”. I just assumed they merged with Johnson Automotive Group and now offered more cars. As I found out the name wasn’t the only change. This time, there was no coffee in the waiting room. Ok, I assumed they were just out. Then I received my bill. $40! $40! Almost twice what I was paying. So I’m generally a nice guy about stuff like this, so I just paid my bill, had them punch my card and left thinking that would be my last oil change there. Then on the way out to my car I noticed that that my punch card was full and my next oil change would be free. So I figured I would go one last time and get my free oil change. That would at least make up for the $40 I just paid.

So this past weekend I took the car back for its last Elkins, oh sorry Johnson, oil change. I made my appointment a week in advance on a Saturday. When I arrived there were only 3 other cars there. I also noticed that the usual guy wasn’t there either. I figured it was his day off. It still took them an hour and twenty minutes. There was still no coffee in the waiting room (I took my own this time). So when my car was finally ready, I handed the lady my punch card and showed her that it was time for my free oil change. She replies “Sorry sir, we stopped taking those as of January 1st.” Are you freaking kidding me?!?!? I tried to explain that it was a 10th oil change with them, that nobody told me back in late November when I got number 9 punched that this policy would be in affect. She felt bad about it, but said it was policy. At this point I asked her about the double in pricing and the fact that I was not seeing the usual service or people there anymore. I asked her if that was a a result of Johnson taking over. She smiled and nodded but couldn’t answer.

I will not be taking my car back there for routine service. I will no longer be recommending them to others for car sales, nor will I purchase there again. In the long run, big business may have made a good deal taking over the lot, but for me they lost out on a lot more. They lost my loyalty. The lost the faith that I and I’m sure others had that there are still good businesses out there that care about their customers. This has been a big disappointment to me. If you read this I hope it will be a warning to you before shopping there. Buyer beware. Johnson happens!