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Jeremy Leff

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A little holiday cheer... [Dec. 3rd, 2012|09:29 pm]

Here we are again, Christmas time. I used to say this was my favorite time of year, and I suppose to a degree it still is, but it certainly has changed in meaning over the years. When I was a little kid, I used to look forward to putting up our Christmas tree more than anything else. The whole family would go out to the farm then eagerly and impatiently wait around while Mom picked out the one that didn’t have any huge holes or general lopsidedness. Dad would cut it down, then he and I would hall it back to our little Chevy blazer where it would be strapped on top for the awkward ride home. Once there he’d bolt the stand on so that it was just perfect, and we’d haul it inside and start decorating. I can still smell those pine needles and see my three foot-self standing in the middle of our den looking up at it. It seemed to come to life as Mom strung it with lights, and then one-by-one we would add ornaments and decorations, careful to make sure they were perfectly and evenly spaced. Meanwhile Dad was breaking into the eggnog, and by then someone had cued up Bing Crosby singing Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. Finally the angel would emerge from the box, and Mom would have to use a ladder to place or on top.

I’d look at the completed tree, with all the colorful lights and ornaments, and it was like looking into a dreamland. The lights reflected off the ceiling in all sorts of crazy patterns. Some blinked, others faded. Sometimes I’d make a pallet on the floor and while others were watching TV I’d just stare at it for hours. I’d imagine it filling up with presents beneath, then lying in bed sleepless on Christmas Eve, eagerly awaiting the moment when we could run downstairs through the cold morning air, still in pajamas, to see what Santa had brought. Would I finally get that new, must-have He-man or G.I. Joe toy I’d been wanting? Or better yet, how about a new bike to cruise around the neighborhood and show off to my friends?

As I got a little older I learned that Christmas was a little less about Rudolph and a little more about Silent Night.  Not so much about eggnog, but about the person pouring it.  A little less G.I. Joe, and a little more joy from seeing what everyone else got.  As time went on, the less structured and more difficult it got, seemingly less than the perfect version I remembered from the old days. Parent split up and re-married, new siblings were born and we were spread across states, eventually siblings went off to college and got married themselves, and the general chaos around life seemed to escalate year after year. The simplicity of a childhood Christmas seemed to fade away a little more each year.

Now, I actually have to stop and ask myself if I want to go to the trouble of even putting a tree up. After all, I do live alone, so it would be there for little more than my own personal enjoyment. But could I really enjoy it without family around, without someone important to share it with, without children of my own?

And still for some reason, I find myself searching, asking…is there a void in my heart where Christmas used to live? If so, what can fill it? Will I continue to long for those pure childhood Christmases? Is there some fundamental version of Christmas waiting in the future that will surpass everything I think I already know? I don’t know. But what I do know is that there is no sense in waiting for it to come, this utopia for my emotions. I am surrounded by family, friends, and caring people in a way that I know many people would give anything to have. Christmas is not about tomorrow, and although in many ways it is about the past…about what Christ gave, about family memories…more than anything it’s about now. So I’m dedicating this Christmas to all of you. For each and every person who is a part of my life, I am thankful. This year, I will put up a Christmas tree, and every time I look at it I will think about the true decorations, lights, and angels in my life.

What were some of your favorite Christmas memories and traditions as a child? How are they different now?

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(no subject) [Jun. 17th, 2012|02:40 pm]
Somehow through a Google search for something unrelated I stumbled upon my own long, lost blog.

That led me to posting this first entry in over two years.

I suppose most of what time I previously spent blogging so many years ago is now spent on Facebook, and occasionally Twitter. You might say I've become a micro-blogger, posting miscellaneous updates, thoughts, musings, and life observations. I also occasionally offend or piss some people off. So be it. It keeps things interesting.

For those of you who are new, welcome. You will find that what I write here sometimes seems in-congruent with the me you know in person. That's okay, but not always true. It could be that you don't know me as well as you thought. Or, it could be that I have an easier time expressing certain things in this medium. It runs in the family. I assure you that, good or bad, I am one and the same.

Today is Father's Day. I know that someday it will be a day that has new meaning to me, but for now it's just a day of remembering. As most anyone reading this would know, I lost my dad almost 8 years ago. I know there are lots of people out there who have lost or for whatever reason don't have fathers in their lives, and so I am not alone and lucky to have had what I did. The loss of my dad was difficult for me for a number of reasons. He was taken very suddenly and unexpectedly. He was much too young (44), and I was young too. I got 24 great years with him, which I know is a lot more than some got with their dads, but it's particularly difficult to think that each of my four siblings got even less time, my youngest brother being only 5 at the time of his death. I feel like we were all robbed of 20, 30, or maybe even more years.

It's hard to think about the missed opportunities to grill Conecah sausage, spending the afternoon on the boat, or a day miles out in the Gulf fishing, listening to Jerry Clower and Jimmy Buffett tapes. There'll be no more time spent on deer stands, or just calling to ask how to fix that problem with my car, or for plain ole advice. No more beers at the American Legion or Flora-Bama, or playing air guitar along with a great blues solo. The grief of the loss of my favorite person to do these things fades over time, but will never really ever go away.

Now 8 years have gone by and, in some ways it feels like it has been forever, and in some it was just yesterday. Sometimes I have to think for a second to remember what his voice sounded like. Other times I'll have a vivid and detailed memory of something he did or would do, almost as if he were standing in the very room with me. His memory can be somewhat haunting in that I never know when or where it will pop up, yet it's comforting at the same time.

I try to live my life with a way of doing things that I know would make him proud. Every now and then I find myself doing something where he would say "son", and then give me that look of disapproval. His wisdom has stayed with me, and his voice still rings out inside my head, sometimes as my own conscience. But I know he would be proud of me. I've accomplished and overcome a lot, some things that only few if any know of. In some ways he might be disappointed too, but that's okay. He taught me that our shortcomings are what drive us to do better. I'll never forget that.

Happy Father's Day to everyone. If you are lucky enough to still have your dad in your life, make sure you call him and he knows you love and appreciate him, even if you don't say it with words. There's not a day that goes by that I don't wish I could.
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(no subject) [Jun. 6th, 2010|12:03 am]
[Current Mood |amusedamused]

I just got this email. Seriously?
 

Hello
 
This is the only way I could contact you for now,I want you to be very careful about this and keep this secret with you until I make out space for us to see. You have no need of knowing who I am or where I am from.I know this may sound very surprising to you but it’s the situation.I have been paid some ransom in advance to terminate you with some reasons listed to me by my employer.It’s someone I beleive you call a friend, I have followed you closely for a while now and have seen that you are innocent of the
accusations he leveled against you. Do not contact the police or try to send a copy of this to them,because if you do, I will know,and I might be pushed to do what I have been paid to do.Besides, this is the first time I turn out to be a betrayer in my job.I took pity on you,that is why I have made up my mind to help you if you are willing to help yourself.
 
Now listen,I will arrange for us to see face to face,but before that, I need $30,000. I will come to your home or you determine where you wish we meet; I repeat, do not arrange for the cops and if you play hard to get, it will be extended to your family.Do not set any camera to cover us or set up any tape to record our conversation, my employer is in my control now. Payment details will be provided for you to make a part payment of $15,000
first,which will serve as gurantee that you are ready to you co-orperate,then i will post a copy of the video tape that contains his request for me to terminate you which will be enough evidence for you to take any legal action against him before he employs another person for the job. You will pay the balance of $15,000 once you receive the tape.
 
Warning; do not contact the police, make sure you stay indoors once it is 7.30pm until this whole thing is sorted out,if you neglect any of these warnimgs, you will have yourself to blame. You do not have much time, so get back to me immediately.
 
Note:I will advise you keep this to yourself alone, not even a friend or a family member should know about it because it could be one of them.

Kashif

 
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(no subject) [Nov. 6th, 2009|06:56 pm]

This was fun on Facebook so why not here too?


HOW DID WE MEET??? Everyone play the game! Copy and paste this phrase in your profile. You will find it amusing to see how you met and know each of your friends.. Before you do that please express yourself below!
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Under Armour [Nov. 5th, 2009|09:09 am]
Has anyone tried Under Armour shoes?

I've been wearing Nike all my life, usually Pegasus. Anytime I stray to something else (New Balance, Adidas, Reebok) I always come back to Nike because nothing feels better on my feet. I have "brand insistence" as they say in the marketing world. But I've noticed a lot of people wearing UA shoes lately, particularly athletes. How do they stack up? Any other hard core Nike users out there?
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(no subject) [Sep. 27th, 2009|09:36 pm]
Let me tell you what is currently driving me insane...when people act like an organizational name is plural. For example: "Green Day are about to launch a new tour."

Green Day is not plural. There is just one Green Day. Singular.
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(no subject) [Aug. 22nd, 2009|10:22 pm]


There are 999 happy "friends" on Jeremy's Facebook page, but there's room for a thousand. Any volunteers? Hmm?




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Lovely [Aug. 20th, 2009|03:18 pm]
Current Radar in GA - Columbus region
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(no subject) [May. 15th, 2009|04:11 pm]
I am in search of some audio playback software and am looking for suggestions. Here are the capabilities I need and/or would like to have:

1) Creation of cue and playlists (pretty basic)
2) Auto Cross-Fading
3) Playback multiple files at once
4) No gap betweeen back to back files
5) Spacebar "Go" Button
6) Assignment of Hotkeys to Fire Off Specific Files
7) Manual, Timed, and Automatic Advance to the Next File or Cue

So far it looks like MediaShout does all of this except for the hot keys and it puts a small gap in between back to back files. The gap is an absolute deal breaker. I guess what I am looking for is a software version of somethjing similar to the Instant Replay by 360 Systems.

Thanks in advance!
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Disney Trip Report [Mar. 18th, 2009|09:03 pm]
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I'm back from a Spring Break trip to Disney. Here are a few highlights:

1) Wishes and Dinner at the California Grill - This was not my first time watching Wishes from atop the Contemporary, although now they have such privileges reserved only for guests who are dining. Since I had never eaten there before, I decided we'd give it a try. The meal was definitely not disappointing, although I still think the Yachtsman Steakhouse may be better. The sushi was the best I've ever had, and the fireworks didn't disappoint either.

2) The Hilton on Hotel Plaza Boulevard - Wow...what a nice joint. It's every bit as nice as any of the deluxe Disney resorts, and offers most of the same amenities (except of course monorail or boat access to the parks). I would definitely stay here again. The rate was cheaper than Disney, we were still able to do Extra Magic Hours, it was walking distance to Downtown Disney, and our 10th floor room offered a great view of the shuttle launch on Sunday evening.

3) The Caribbean Beach Resort - Really nice, with a spacious room, but here is my problem with moderate level resorts: for the extra money, you really ought to get valet and bell services. But it's still a step up from the value resorts. Here's what you get that you don't at the All-Star: all 2 story buildings, slightly better parking, closer bus stops, a table service restaurant, nicer/less-cheesy decor and theme-ing, and more recreation options. The hot tub was a nice way to end the day until it got taken over by teenagers acting like they had never seen the opposite sex in swimwear.

One other comment here not related to any class of resort. I have all but written off Disney's bus service as a do not do. Too many times I have waited 45 minutes or an hour for a bus to a park, only to have to combat thousands of people trying to fight over the same bus back to the hotel at park close. Just not worth it when it is so easy to drive. My new favorite for Epcot is to use valet at the Boardwalk then ride the Friendship boats or walk over. Usually the Boardwalk is bustling with activity after Epcot closes, so it's a good way to get a two-for-one.

4) Surrey Bikes at the Boardwalk - Definitely fun, but more work than you would think. Make sure you do it with someone who can pull their own weight.  ;-) My guess is it gets easier with the more people you have.

5) Disney's Guest Relations - Just awesome as always, and I'll leave it at that.

6) Soarin' - Will the "new attraction" popularity from this ever where off? I swear between it and Mission: Space, Epcot is no longer the escape from crowds that it used to be. I think they should build another one at DAK and call it Soarin' Over Africa to alleviate some of the demand. Anyway, if you don't get over there by noon when they usually run out of Fast Passes, plan on waiting in the 2 hour stand-by line. It may be worth it.

7) The American Idol Experience - Seriously one of the coolest set designs I have ever seen, and the light show was great too. I have to admit I was entertained. Job well done.

8) Illuminations from Future World - Okay, I know I mentioned this after the last trip, but it's worthy of doing so again. As many times as I have seen Illuminations, watching it from the seating area on the north end of the lagoon for the second time has only reiterated that I don't ever want to watch it from anywhere else. It was clearly designed to be viewed from this angle. In case you are wondering where I am talking about, at the end of the long path between Future World and the World Showcase, just between the two gift shops, there is an inclined area where you can sit and watch the show. As if it wasn't great always, it is SO much better from here. You can see ALL of the countries as they light up, and...well you just have to take my word for it and try it yourself. It's a popular spot so get there by 8:30.

9) The Land Food Court (Sunshine Seasons) - If you are ever in Epcot and looking for a healthy but tasty counter service burger alternative, this is the place to visit. The food is very high quality and it's not terribly busy...mostly just people holding a Soarin' Fast Pass. I don't know if they serve the veggies that are actually grown there like the Garden Grill does, but they tasted very fresh. We actually ate breakfast AND lunch there. This place has a selection as varied as what you would find at most of the resort food courts.

10) Space Mountain - I only mention it because it's about to close for almost an entire year, and when it re-opens it will supposedly be like a brand new attraction, although I'm told the track will have the same layout. I'm anxious to see the improvements, but thought it worth mentioning that I took one last ride on the original. I think the most significant changes will be new ride vehicles and a new queue that takes advantage of more of the interior space...similar to how it was before Fast Pass. I would also expect to see some kind of automatic gate on the load platform, similar to Coaster or Everest.

11) The American Adventure - I had never done this, so was glad to get to finally. It was cool...some of the best animatronics I have seen, but like the Hall of Presidents, half the audience was snoring. Getting to hear the acapella group Voices of Liberty before the show was a nice treat.

12) Extra Magic Hours - Fun, but not the same as E-Ride nights. Just too crowded, but again worth it because it does offer shorter wait times, and gives you more time in the midldle of the day to hang out by the pool.

Anyway I think that's about it. I'll post some pics soon.

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