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July 31, 2007

8 Random Things About Me

It is always an honor to be tagged for some meme or other (this time by Scott—thanks, man!), although it puts me even farther behind posting some Really Great Stuff™ I have in the works. (There’s a bunch of half-written posts lying about the house, written using the reverse side of Declaration of Independence reproductions and a quill. Very analog not to mention patriotic.)

Note to self: Must be careful not to repeat any random things from the last time a similar meme went around.



  1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
  2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  3. People who are tagged write their own blog post about their eight things and include these rules.
  4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names [um, rules are made to be broken]. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged and that they should read your blog.

OK, let's call tony.random() 8 times and see what we get.

  1. The tendon behind the first knuckle of my fifth finger is too short, so I am unable to straighten them fully—just the most unusual of a number of physical defects. A perfect specimen, I’m not. We won’t go into the mental defects. Let’s see, I forgot what I was doing...
  2. Despite my physical defects, I have a resting heart rate in the low 50s, supposedly the same as a “well-conditioned athlete.” As if. What's that about?
  3. A corollary to number 2: My patented “half-hearted” diet, on which I succeeded in losing 15 pounds and counting, included no exercise other than, you know, the usual elbow bending. The book will be out in time for Christmas.
  4. Brussels sprouts are one of my favorite vegetables, although I’m not a big fan of other members of the cabbage family. Plus the plant looks so cool.
  5. I hear people complain all the time about how much email they get. I get almost none (two or three a week). I am just so popular.
  6. A corollary to number 5: I wish I were better at keeping in touch with people. The one exception is my first college roomate who tracked me down after 30 years. I Googled him a number of times myself, but never found him, and it’s a miracle he found me, since there are a million Tony Greens on the Internets. Which one am I? I’ll never tell!
  7. After experiencing some pain in my right hand back in the mid-Nineties, I started mousing with my left hand and now rarely use my right hand except to sign autographs.
  8. Unlike most people, I really wish that [IndexOutOfRangeException!]

Aaack. I guess you can only call tony.random seven times. Sorry, guess I’ve got some debugging to do.

July 28, 2007

Firefly Photos

I didn't think it was practical to take pictures of fireflies (what I called “lightning bugs” growing up). I was wrong. Photographer Gregory Crewdson published a book of firefly pictures taken over a two-month period at his family's cabin in Becket, Massachusetts. (Samples at the Skarstedt Gallery.) Of course, now I want to try it. Maybe next year. Via Alec Soth, whom I found via the Magnum blog.

July 27, 2007

Got My YSlow Grades

YSlow is a new Firefox extension for an extension (the awesome Firebug) that gives your site a report card on its performance. I pulled down a few A’s, but my overall score was a disappointing D. So now I’m like grounded like totally until I can get my grades back up.

July 24, 2007

Visit to Springfield

See for yourself what living in Springfield is like by creating your own Simpsons avatar at the Simpsons Movie site. It’s a pity you couldn’t add spectacles, but in most respects, it’s a faithful likeness. I picked a Duff shirt, of course. Via Ned Batchelder, who did his whole family. [Update: Added glasses to my avatar; much better. Thanks, Yoko!]

Simpsons avatars


My friends were able to add glasses to their avatar.

D'oh! How did I miss that?

July 18, 2007

What a Week, Part the First

I will have to re-read this post come Thanksgiving to remind myself how much I have to be thankful for. It was a great week. (Last week, I mean. I know it's Wednesday already. Being busy is just another thing I have to be thankful for. Really, it wasn't until Sunday that I realized how much fun I had all in one week and theeeen every post on mere cat has to be approved by a team of picky, picky editors. It’s ridiculous.)

Me at BlogPhiladelphia

C’est moi! Caught in a rare moment when I wasn’t smiling. Toonerized in living Toonamation by Toonerstan (Stan Schwartz). Not sure he took this or just processed it.

The work week itself was short, because I took Thursday and Friday off to attend BlogPhiladelphia. I had no business attending this, really, because it was aimed toward professionals, or at the very least amateurs with higher aspirations. It seemed as if I was the only blogger there who just had a dinky little blog without a professional interest or work-related agenda. But who cares? It was just so much fun—and I didn't even go to the parties, which judging by the pictures was where the serious fun was.

The sessions were great and gave me some reassuring perspective on the blogging gestalt, so much of which is conducted in relative isolation. Scott McNulty’s two sessions were particularly entertaining. He’s funny enough to have his own TV show. (Oh, wait, he already does.) I was laughing out loud. I really enjoyed meeting some new people, seeing some familiar faces, and definitely feel a lot less isolated for the experience. A couple of bloggers that I read who attended but didn't run into were The 14th Windiest State and Akkam’s Razor. As Colin Devroe wrote, “The value of these events is in the relationships you build while attending them.” Not to mention the beer you drink in the process. I couldn’t agree more. About the relationships, I mean.

The turnout was fantastic, so I feel confident it will happen again next year. I sure hope so. There are a host of people to thank for putting it all together and keeping it running smoothly as well as the sponsors who stepped up and kept the conference free. That’s right, free. All that fellowship, all that good food, all that information—for nothing! We'll be talking about this one for year to come. :-) I love Philly.



I couldn't agree more that Blog Philadelphia was a lot of fun and Colin is right on. The beers (and cheeseburgers) don't hurt either...

I hope to catch up with you sometime soon.

What an excellent recap, and not just because you quoted mine. ;)

I hope it happens again next year too!

Awesome - glad you made it. It wasn't just for professionals at all!

In this case I was building on the excellent photography of bartmroz. Here's the original:

David Amram Down on the Farm [nanoblog]

I heard on American Routes that jazz legend David Amram grew up on a farm. Not so unusual, except that the farm was in Feasterville, Pennsylvania where I lived for 16 years. That was a surprise. It’s hard to believe that Feasterville was once farmland, although of course it once was. There is still a lot of green space there as well as the remains of a farm, but it was rapidly developed after World War II. A kid in grade school lived on a farm, and we visited his home as a class once. I didn’t appreciate farms much in those days.


thank you for the nice mention. just got it on goole alert our farm was 160 acres from somerton springs swimming pool LONG BUSTELETON PIKE before pennsylvania turnpoike was nbuilt my father and uncle and aunt got it in late 1920s

all condoc now

cheers to another feasterville alumni

david amram

July 11, 2007

Do You Want Fries ON That?

I had heard that PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, had begun serving lobster rolls this year, and Anne was interested in the Pirates anyway, since they were her home team growing up in western Pennsylvania. We were able to go to a game on Sunday, the third game of a series against the Chicago Cubs. Not only would it be fun, but we thought we could count on the Pirates winning. (Kidding, of course, and it’s not even funny: Although the Cubs only won one game of this series, they are way ahead of the Pirates.)

I hadn’t been to a major league game since I was a kid (almost *mumble* years ago) and didn’t know what to expect, but I had an all-around terrific time—I even enjoyed watching the game. Tickets were cheaper than I expected ($27) and concession prices seemed reasonable. We sat just to the first-base side of home plate behind the foul-ball net. That meant there was virtually no chance a foul ball would land in our section of the stands, although a kid in the row in front of us was wearing his glove. Hope springs eternal.

After a thorough search of the concessions for the lobster roll, I found an Aramark employee who looked knowledgeable. He told me he thought the lobster roll was only served on the “club” level where the luxury boxes were and thus off limits to members of the hoi polloi like myself. With my crest appropriately fallen, I spent the remainder of the game gorging myself. For some reason, we ended up with an empty row all to ourselves, so it was easy to pop up and grab something.

Being in Pittsburgh, I naturally looked for something quintessentially Pittsburghian to eat. Since the Pirates feature Racing Pierogies, I thought something Polish might be appropriate, so I started with kielbasa from Federal Street Grille with peppers and onions. Mmm. I had heard about something even more local that sounded intriguing—Primanti Brothers sandwiches. Their trademark gimmick is to add French fries and cole slaw ON the sandwich instead of on the side. In fact, Anne’s salad at the Holiday Inn had come that way. I tried the roast beef and cheese and have to admit about all I could really taste was French fries and cole slaw. Pub 475 has a decent selection of better beers. I had a Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA and Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat. I really should have tried an Iron City.

PNC Park, July 8, 2007

PNC Park, July 8, 2007. (Photo by Anne.)

One final note about the game itself. Baseball players are supposedly a superstitious lot, and someone in the Pirates organization should listen up, because I am convinced I bring good luck to the Pirates. The first time I left my seat to get food, a Pirate hit a home run (the only one of the game) and drove in three runs. Just my luck, I thought, to have missed all the action. I didn’t think anything of the coincidence until the next time I made a trip for food when the Pirates drove in three more runs. If the Pirates have an important game coming up, I would be happy to make as many trips to the concession stand as necessary for them to win. For a nominal fee, of course.


I *love* Primanti Bros. sandwiches! The bread, fries, and cole slaw are all made in-house. The deli meats are quite good (I particularly like pastrami).

If Citizens Bank Park ever have a lobster roll, that would be pretty awesome.

I lived in "the Burgh" for about a year and 9 months, which was about a year and 9 months too long. (Oops, did I say that?) Anyway, I never totally understood the Primanti Bros. thing. I think it had something to do with the slaw, I prefer mine creamy (more like a Corned Beef Special) while they make theirs more vinegary.

On the other hand, I love the fact that Pittsburghers put french fries on everything. The steak salad will always have a special place in my heart. I never had one before I lived in Pittsburgh and I haven't had one since.

July 10, 2007

Adobe, How Do I Hate Thee?

Let me count the ways.

I wasn’t going to say anything when I upgraded to Adobe Reader 8.1 on my PC at work when I had to restart. (What’s that about? Grr.) Even though this insult came after the “Download Manager” on Adobe’s site crashed Firefox1 over and over again—until I threw in the towel and switched to Internet Explorer.

But just now I was wondering why my Mac laptop was so warm. Could it be because Adobe Updater launched in the background, couldn’t find an Internet connection (Hellooooo! I'm on the train!) and is now “Waiting for Connection” (apparently forever?), meanwhile using about 50-plus percent CPU doing almost nothing. Which is worse, the apparent lack of a timeout while waiting for a connection, or the radical CPU usage? Decisions, decisions. Obviously Adobe makes some great software, which makes this lapse all the more inexplicable and frustrating.


1 Steps to reproduce:

  1. On the home page, click the Get Adobe Reader button.
  2. Click Download Adobe Reader button (you might have to add to the list of sites allowed popups).
  3. Watch Firefox crash. Works On My Machine™ at least.

July 3, 2007

Do They Call Them “Buellers”?

Even though the cornerstone of my retirement plan depends on me winning the lottery, I don’t hold out much hope of retiring early, because I’ve never won anything substantial. I have a theory that the reason why may be more subtle than just not being “lucky” and may have to do with maintaining karmic balance. Maybe I never win because I don’t care enough about the prize. In short, I don’t have enough skin in the game.

Using that logic, people who do care about winning should always win, right? Well, not everyone can win, of course. I’m just saying that winners have a higher-than-normal psychic investment in the prize which causes the odds to tip in their favor. Makes perfect sense, right? (Just play along, please.) And I just happen to have a perfect example.

Anne works with someone (Hi, Keith!) who is a big Harley-Davidson fan. He not only owns one, but also makes the occasional pilgrimage to breathe the same air (and drink the same beer, I presume) as other Harley enthusiasts. Recently he attended the 22nd anniversary celebration of a local Harley-Davidson dealer, Brian’s in Langhorne, and he won the grand prize—a Buell Blast* motorcycle. Clearly, Keith’s karmic investment paid off handsomely. Congratulations!

So people who ride Buells—do they call them Buellers? Anyone? Bueller?

* Buell is an American manufacturer of “sport” motorcycles, founded by ex-Harley-Davidson engineer Erik Buell. The Blast is a single-cylinder design with 492 cc displacement.

July 1, 2007

O Canada, Thanks for the Weather [nanoblog]

Today is Canada Day and our weather here in the Philadelphia is how I imagine it to be in Canada: warm with cool breezes and very low humidity. In short, beyond merely perfect and well into glorious territory. Thanks, Canada!