30 October, 2006

"In his final words I found an ace that I could keep"

Tony Luke Jr. was on Throwdown with Bobby Flay this month cooking cheesesteaks. Pretty good episode, but honestly, they both went way overboard on their steaks? Broccoli? Homemade provolone sauce? Come on, please. Tony Luke won (of course. You don't eff with this man), but he didn't come off as some sort of South Philly rube as I had expected.

I really like Throwdown, but it always comes off as incredibly cheesy and fake. I mean it is cheesy and kind of fake, but still. I would love to see someone say no to his challenge.
Flay: "I'm challenging you to a throwdown, Tony Luke."
Luke: "I don't need no New Yorker challenging me. Get outta here with your broccoli rabe bullshit."
::Luke shoves a visibly frustrated / surprised Flay back into the crowd::
That is how it played out in my mind, anyhow.

Not to harp on the Kenny Rogers thing, but I have been listening to Mike Doughty's cover of "The Gambler" almost constantly lately. There's something about Doughty in general that I just love. His are songs I can listen to at any given time, unlike, say, Radiohead or American Nightmare, for which I have to be in the mood. Thanks to James for turning me on to him last year, and whose blog is also named after a Doughty song.

The new Regina Spektor album "Begin to Hope" makes me feel full and warm inside. The song "Samson" is fantastic.

If anyone has a larger-sized Crock Pot they're willing to part with (like, big enough to make a sizeable stew or roast), or knows where to get one, I would definitely appreciate it. I want to make a stew, a roast, and pulled beef/pork BBQ sometime in the next month, and a crock pot would really help out with that process.

I just jumped on the Blogrolling bandwagon, so I apologize if the links to your immediate right get a little unwieldy. In general, the only thing that will change frequently is the 'Recently Stumbled' list, which I will add things too as I browse the internet aimlessly during the darker of the A.M. hours.

Check out Insurance Runs for some baseball musings in general.

I need to start reading the news again. I haven't in a couple weeks and I feel completely disconnected from everything. I suppose that's what the baseball postseason does, though.

25 October, 2006

Putting my faith in ABC

Lost had better be good tonight, what with last week's awful show. Apologies to those who enjoyed it, but I nearly fell asleep.

From the previews, it promises to be a decent show with at least some action that doesn't come from a Polar Bear. Seriously, I'm with the producers, and there isn't much that I won't go along with, but a Polar Bear on a tropical island is a bit much for me, especially since they are aquatic animals, not cave dwellers.

I'm assuming it's an albino bear or something. Maybe I missed something in the first couple episodes or something, but I feel a bit 'lost' (cue Danny the Deer/Jim the Moose) in why there is a bear on the island in the first place.

The new season of 24 looks really violent. Going along with that, I am really excited for the next season of 24. I wish Jack would go with the whole un-kept Allman Brother look, but I already know from the preview that he doesn't. Oh well. Jack Bauer is the business.

I'm curious to see how the whole "Jack is going to die by sacrificing himself for his country" angle pans out. I mean, he can't literally die (I hope) because that would, in theory, mean there would be no subsequent seasons. I know he "died" in the end of season 4, but that wasn't real and everyone knew it.

23 October, 2006

Bucks County Coffee is, coincidentally, across the street from my place of work

I (depicted on the left) generally do not wear a tie to work.

I had a disturbing thought this morning: If it were not for coffee, the past 5 years of my life would not have been possible. Not a joke.

Through college I worked at a coffee bar two or three days a week, which meant that I could get free coffee there anytime I wanted. This led to my affinity for straight espresso (with the occasional syrup additive). I would generally get at least one coffee there aday, coupled with my morning brew (from home or the lunch truck), and another in the evening.

When I needed to stay up late working on the Collegian, an assignment, or my MVP points, coffee was my constant, my guiding light in the dark seas of the A.M. I generally take it with cream only, but I do enjoy a good, black coffee from the French Press.

Over the summer it so happened that I was around the dining hall at camp much of the time. It didn't really help that there was generally a pot of fresh coffee brewed, brewing, or able to be brewed in minutes. Yeah, I wore out Seth's French Press too (which I still have. Thanks buddy!)

While I do not particularly have a desire to stop drinking coffee, as I really do enjoy the taste (probably more so than beer), I do concede that I may, perhaps, drink a little too much. Coffee, not beer.

I've been making an effort to cut down lately, and it seems to be working out quite well. I have a single cup in the morning now, and perhaps one when I get home from work during the mid-afternoon doldrums.

Other funny coffee comics here, here,here, here, here, and my particular favorite, this one.

21 October, 2006

Here are a few pictures from the past week on the occasions that I had Gwen's camera with me at work. Nothing fancy, just some stuff that looked interesting at the time.

Looking through the window from one of the student lounges into the central courtyard
A squirrel digging for seeds in the ivy surrounding the courtyard


Looking down one of the railings in the Gittis building

Also, eff nostalgia. Seriously. Longer update sometime this weekend, along with a slightly re-done layout (if I feel at all productive).

18 October, 2006

This is what a nutcase looks like; also 24

Mike Tyson may fight women (read: Mike Tyson is out of his fucking mind). As if his little stint as a Muy Thai boxer a year and a half ago didn't learn him. Yeah, that's right. Now he's willing to fight women. If anyone wants to go in on the through-the-roof pay-per-view cost with me, let me know. I'll bring the wings, you bring the beer, and let Tyson bring the PAIN. Tyson couldn't sink any lower if he tried. I take that back. He's clearly trying, so I don't want to jump to conclusions. Word is that the plan to honor Tyson as a citizen in China is being rescinded because he has "been involved in too many legal and sporting scandals." Bummer.

If you click this, the answer is 'yes, you have a problem.' Sites like MySpace are doing this to the web, because they present an endless loop of things to click on and 'stuff to do.'

This is a site worth a short look. Odd visuals. I found it while searching for the picture of Tyson you see above.

New episode of Lost tonight. I want to know what's going on with the rest of the people on the island, though, not just the three that have been kidnapped. I think they'll expand this season's plot a little more tonight and go back to the rest of the group. It seems that Jack and his crew are stuck for the moment, so why not.

Also, I am going to go insane waiting for the new season of 24 to come on in January. I'm more than halfway through the fifth season at the moment, and I know it's going to have some insane twist at the end. I'm sure some of you know it, but I'll get there soon enough. A-freaking-mazing show.

I think that, for the good of sportswriters everywhere, the Pistons be re-named the Bears. Then the witty commentary can really take off. I bet they would form a heated rivalry (or congenial camaraderie) with Washington. Just a thought. Now staring Jon Kitna as the cowardly Lion (sorry Jon). Now, who gets to be Toto...

17 October, 2006

No Matter Where you go in Center City... A $25 fine ain't far behind

So lately I have been riding my bike much more than driving, because it's easier and I don't have to find parking. This slower but more convnient mode of transportation has given me the freedom to observe people more closely, namely the fine officials of the Philadelphia Parking Authority.

Now my friend Drew has a well-documented battle he waged with the PPA a little over a year ago, but my observation is more in passing as I have yet to be antagonized since moving to Center City. There was an incident of about two years ago in which an officer was writing a ticket for my car as I returned to it, only to find that there was a minute left on the meter. He still gave me the ticket. What a bastard, I still detest that guy.

Anyhow, It seems that the job of monitoring the city's parking is pretty much a breeze. You walk around, check for expired meters or illegally parked cars, and write a ticket. Simple. But I suppose it could get boring, so you've got to create your own kind of fun on occasion. Like, say, ticketing a vehicle for a violation when the driver is still in/around the vehicle.

Here's the scene: I was leaving Penn about a week ago, and the PPA tag-team that comes by at 4 every afternoon on Sansom was roving the block as I unlocked my bike. A Penn maintenance van, doors open and piping spilling out the side door, was parked directly in front of the door to the Penn Law building. A maintenance man was on the sidewalk with a manhole cover open, threading pipe through the open hole. He was clearly using the van for work. But wait, his van was parked in the no parking zone. The two officers not only avoided talking to the guy, but they went as far as to walk into the street to ticket the van. Where else was the guy supposed to park it? He was clearly using the vehicle, and if they thought his parking locale warranted a ticket, maybe they could have approached him about it since he was 5 feet away. Seriously though, the walking to the other side of the van out of sight was the best.

Yesterday, as I was riding around the city doing not much really, I found myself behind a PPA patrol car. I tailed the car, waiting for the hilarity to begin, and boy did it. After following the car for three blocks, I had to slam on the brakes in response to a sudden direction change. The PPA car, operated by another surely stellar duo, swerved into a bus-only zone and parked. No hazards. Across the street, in a loading only zone, was a bright red Nissan, trunk open, hazards blinking. The door to the apartment a few houses up the block was ajar, and a couple exited, heading toward the Nissan. They removed a few small boxes from the trunk, and entered the apartment again, leaving the trunk ajar and the hazards on.

It was at this point that a PPA officer exited from the passenger side of the vehicle, placed a ticket under the windshield wiper of the Nissan, and returned to the car. The team drove off. I waited, and sure enough, less than a minute later, the same couple exited the apartment again and found the ticket.

The PPA car had parked in a no parking zone to ticket a car, which was clearly in active use, parked in a loading zone. They even had the gall to wait until the couple went inside, instead of handing them the ticket personally. What a faceless grou, I tell you.

This makes me glad I ride my bike everywhere, even in the rain. I may get a little wet, and it may take a little longer but not only do I get to observe the PPA at their work, but I also free myself from the worry of their sneaky goings-on.

Also last week I observed, as I was driving on 20th on my way to Kelly Dr., a PPA agent, operating along (24 style). I was stopped at a light, and in my rearview mirror I caught his suspicious movement. He looked left. He looked right. He looked down, at the sewer grate below him. He deposited his Pepsi can into the grate. He sauntered back onto the sidewalk, content that nobody had seen his littering. Oh, I saw you buddy. I saw it all...

Two all-freshman dorm buildings at NYU created a giant game of Connect Four using their windows and red/black paper. Kind of like the chess game in Harry Potter, but more inocuous.

So I've been reading a lot from Ubersite, it's my favorite pastime as of late. It's basically a site to submit any kind of writing, real, false, or funny. The essays Tainted Love: My Date with a Vegetarian and Fat People Don't Like Being Called 'Waddles' are two of my particular favorites. Following, though, is an excerpt from this essay:

That's why I should not have been surprised when I came bouncing in one afternoon to ask him if I could get my ear pierced. Hell, everyone else was doing it, right? Why couldn't I? My father had been reclining and reading the paper, and I noticed an amused look in his eye as he put the paper down.
"Well, Tony," he said, "I'll ask you two questions. If you answer yes to either one, you can have an earring."
Sweet! I was so getting an earring that afternoon!
"Are you a faggot?" he asked. I was stunned into silence.
"NO!" I finally got out.
"Are you a pirate?"
".......no?"
"Then you don't need one." And with that he went back to his paper, leaving me without so much as a scintilla of an argument to stand on.

God, I so cannot wait to do that to my kids.
So good.

Business cards and snarky, self-indulgent humor. Worth a minute of time.

This photographer named James Abbott worked on several sets of the Ben Franklin Bridge over many years, and takes some pretty awesome pictures. Some of his stuff can be seen here. I interviewed him as part of a really small online piece for the CP.

10 October, 2006

Hmmm...

Today has been suspiciously quiet on the e-mail front. I think I am forgetting something. But what?

I haven't had any kind of inspiration to do things lately. I feel lazy, but I know I'm not actually lazy.

I know what I need. This. And coffee.

I was out with Karl of Debate Klub on Saturday night. Haven't seen him in about 7 years or so, I think. Either way, it was great to catch up with someone from pre-college, as I never really talk to anyone who knew me before then (save for Drew and a few camp people). Check out the comics he (and friends of his) make. They're pretty hilarious, in a sometimes not-so-subtle way.

Coming soon: an entry which I like to call 'The silly antics of the PPA as observed by me.' Stay tuned.

09 October, 2006

Slow afternoon

Fall is such an odd season. It's cold sometimes, it's so hot it makes you sweat through a t-shirt others. I love it though, because of the days like today that are right there in the middle. I rode my bike around for a bit this afternoon after getting off of work at Penn, and took a few pictures (with Gwen's camera).

As I was coming home from work, some people beginning their Cityear were crowded onto the large swath of sidewalk behind the Marketplace Design Center Building. They were working on a team-building activity like the ones the C.O.P.E. kids go through at camp. A heavyset blonde girl, mopping her forehead with a napkin she pulled from her bookbag told me that "This [activity] is a waste of my time." The girl facilitating the activity rolled her eyes.

I picked up a cookbook for an article I'm working on for the Local, and when I came out of the building, 5 police cars had converged on a silver Nissan, blocking off 19th St. The police had pulled a man in a white T-Shirt from the car and had his hands on the roof while they searched his trunk. I would have liked to see him run, but today I had no such luck. The police seem to have lapsed into boredom before I did, and taking a cue from them, I left.



Heading East on South St. instead of riding further up 16th to get to the heart of the city, I came out to a section of Broad from South to Lombard that was sectioned off from traffic. A group of three opportunistic skaters had set up shop with a small box that they had pulled from a nearby skate-friendly house.

They all go to U-Arts, and live right in the area, and I've seen them skating around the neighborhood before. As I was taking some pictures, a guy with a sleeveless t-shirt and baggy jeans came by and yelled at the kid in the picture.

"I wished I'dve had a whole friggin block to myself when I used to ride those things. Youse are lucky," he said as he walked, predictably, toward South Philly.

I saw a PPA officer picking his nose this afternoon as well. More on the PPA later. I've had some funny intersctions with them lately (not like Drew's debacle of a year ago, though).

Anthill Mob v. Vulture Squadron

I was thinking about that show Wacky Races today and how completely insane it is. Then I was thinking about the Amazing Race, and I guess it doesn't seem so far fetched. I definitely think the Anthill Mob was the best; they could definitely go toe-to-toe with the Corleones. Also, Penelope Pitstop sucked. She was the Smurfette of the Wacky Race circuit. I'm sure she had all manner of foul diseases.

This site is really awesome. If this was a real catalog I would be broke. Also, I would have no room in my apartment, what with the ridiculous Acme productry.

I don't particularly know what this thing is (I didn't make it to the FAQ's) but it seems to reduce anything you can throw in it to tiny pieces.

Holiday Inn has the funniest commercials on television, save the ones with that relatively useless commentator Joe Buck.

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I wonder if Drew Bledsoe is just going to retire in shame after that last game. He didn't seem to happy at the press conference. Poor Drew. At least he got his 9th career rushing TD. Not that it's a silver lining, but it helps.

05 October, 2006

Sorry Dog, rules are rules

Here's hoping the one whose name shall not be spoken here runs all over the Eagles on Sunday. I'm talking career numbers kind of day. Also, here's hoping he rolls his ankle on the final play of the game and is sidelined for the season.

I love Thursdays, because I don't have to be at Penn for too long, and I have Friday to myself. I think this afternoon I'll watch some baseball, go to the last drop and check some e-mail, and generally lay around. Man what a stressful day.

Did anyone else watch the Season 3 premier of Lost last night? I know Drew did. I think this season is going to be insane. So far what we've learned is that bears are smarter than Sawyer, and Jack won't let up on his father, even at an AA meeting. That island village looked pretty sweet, too. Except the Steven King book, that sucked.

Also, I'm really pissed at Project Runway. I thought the finale was last week, and it wasn't. I thought it was this week, and it was the 'effing reunion episode. I hope it's next week, because I think if it isn't I'm going to snap. Edit: DAMNIT. The finale is OCT. 18. At least next week there's a new episode that isn't the reunion, though. That's good.

Verizon is, collectively, the biggest group of bastards I have ever come across. However, some dude named Lee who works in the Technical Support Department has hooked it up (not literally. I wish) and gotten some technicians scheduled for a time that isn't inconvenient for everyone. Also, he called me last night to confirm the ticket had been put in, and called again this morning to confirm that it had gone through, and that I will be the last call on Friday, and if they can't make it, he told me he wrote on the ticket they'll call. Now that right there is some customer service. However the three shitty weeks prior to that do not make up for things.

Is it just me or does Nick Swisher look like a mix between Hulk Hogan and Luke Perry? Not entirely like either one, but he's doing his best.

I missed Bill Simmons' live chat yesterday. That makes me a sad panda, especially because his chats are archived for 'ESPN Insiders Only' immediately after they're finished, so if I miss it, I really miss it. I need to get an Insider account like now.

04 October, 2006

The internet is really really great...

I wait for Tuesday afternoons all week during football season, simply to read Gregg Easterbrook's Tuesday Morning Quarterback Column. His little tidbit musings are really great for a here-and-there read while you're trying to get other things done, and his column is long enough to spend a good chunk of time reading. Seriously, read his column this week. If not the whole thing, scroll down to the fake T.O. headlines. They're the ones next to the picture of the alien. I really do agree with much of what Easterbrook says, especially when he asserts that coaches should never punt on 4th and short yardage (1-4) outside of field goal range, unless backed up.

I love that the Sports Gal has a better record than Simmons, and she doesn't follow football. I should ask Gwen if she wants to make Drew's picks from now on, since he always tells me how poorly he's doing.

As well, I've discovered the wonder that is RSS and Atom feeds, which I constantly scroll in my gmail account. I add new feeds to watch all the time, I must have hundreds by now, so It's like a constant news updater. Kind of sweet if you get bored and are looking for something to do in your idle time.

So, Verizon sucks, it's official. I've been trying to get internet for like three weeks now to no avail. Yesterday I find out they don't even have the phone line running in to the house hooked up, so it's not really possible to set up DSL. I need to get into the basement so the servicemen (with whom I have to now make a second appointment) can hook it up, but can't get in touch with the landlord to do so. It's so frustrating, because I really want to be able to do all of this during the day, like tell the servicemen to come over and talk to my landlord and get this all straightened out, but I can't since I'm kind of at work during the day. I could have had Comcast by now. I called them last night to see if they'd match Verizon's DSL price, and they won't, not at all. Comcast is a full $12 a month more than Verizon, so I guess it's worth the hassle.

Anyone who's into hardcore should check out the new album from One Dead Three Wounded. It's called Moving Units, and it's freaking awesome.

02 October, 2006

::Yawn:: Well hey blog, is that you?

It's been some time. I've come out of the woods and moved to an apartment on Fitzwater St. in Philly with Gwen, which is going well.

The first month back here has been pretty insane, in general. From getting stuck in an elevator with three drunk beer dudes to the tires repeatedly failing miserably on my rickety bike, I really haven't been at a loss when it comes to things going on. I started working at the University of Pennsylvania in the Law School, working for their bi-annual publication the Penn Law Journal. It's an alright job, and affords me the liberty of setting my own schedule, so if I finish my required 25 hours before Friday, I don't have to come in on Friday. Which rules.

I'm also trying to get more freelance work, from the Citypaper, Chestnut Hill Local, Wonkavision, etc. Hopefully I can make rent, bills, student loans, and take out an independent health insurance policy.

I'm going to try and start updating my blog more often (read: ever) because we are getting the internet today eff Verizon. Seriously.

Speaking of things that are good, like getting internet, the Ravens are 4-0 on the season. Who knew? Ed Reed and Ray Lewis are kind of good, and McNair has shaken the embalming fluid from his veins for one more season.

Too bad whoever runs the Philly cable market puts the Jets, Bills, Giants, Steelers, Redskins, Cowboys and the Eagles in priority over the Ravens, so Drew and I are forced to watch the NFL Gamecast instead of the actual game.

Here's hoping the Eagles fo 0-fer the season from here on out. Eh, whatever, the AFC is still clearly a far superior league.

I've gotten in to reading the Wisdom section on the Esquire website. There's some pretty funny, ridiculous stuff in there along with the more poignant. Take, for example, this bit with Conrad Dobler. I like the part where he says that Doug Sutherland's fingers weren't there to "stroke his moustache." Trebek's is pretty good, too.