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Posts in “Misc 2006”

December 13, 2006

A Litany of Woe

December is the cruelest month. What a month it’s been so far. Let’s start with the prosaic annoyances, the petty inconveniences. I dropped my PowerBook (it’s dented, but works fine), I got a flat tire (and the spare was flat, too), and last night we discovered a leak in the water line coming in from the street (nothing a few thousand dollars can’t fix). But all that’s nothing, really.

Tragedy struck two bloggers I read regularly. Amy Wohl lost her husband in early December. Michael’s partner suffered a stroke, although he is recovering. The shocker was the sudden death of Star Foster. I never met Star, but I always enjoyed reading her blog, Sarcasmo’s Corner. There’s an email in my out box with a link to something silly I wanted to share with her that I was about to send. Much more about her life and many accomplishments at Philly Future. I will miss her very much. So much sad news.

Closer to home, my beloved sister-in-law died a week ago after a long fight with cancer. After Thanksgiving she started to decline and was unconscious for most of her final week. Fortunately (if that’s the right word), we were all with her when she passed away. Hundreds came to her memorial service on Monday. She touched so many lives in such a positive way and was an unforgettable person. Later that day, about thirty of us took a long walk down Forbidden Drive along the Wissahickon she loved so much. We were quite a sight, all those people dressed in black.

Posting will resume someday...


Whoa. I had seen stuff online about Star dying but a) I didn't out two and two together to see she was Sarcasmo, who I read every once in a while, and b) that she was only 33.

Also sorry to hear about your sister-in-law. It sounds like she had a nice send-off, and it's good you were all there with her. The fact so many of you took a walk in the area she loved is very touching.

November 9, 2006

Negative Ad Voiceover Artistry

One more election-related post before we get back to the lobster rolls. On election-eve, NPR aired an interview with two of the voiceover artists who have been working overtime producing negative ads. Melissa Block turned them loose on Mother Goose. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.

November 8, 2006

Election Day

Wait, that was yesterday. Sorry, I couldn't post about it until the last of my precincts reported—and at my age some of my precincts are moving a little slow.

Anyway, Howard talks about his tradition of naming his election day post after his voter number. I’m thinking, What’s a “voter number?” You’d think I lived in Mayberry or something by the way things went yesterday...

*harp glissandi*

It was about 7:20 as I collected sample ballots from the well-wishers outside the polling place and entered. “Mornin’ Herb.” Herb crossed me off the list, and I ambled over to sign the register. I really didn’t need to show any ID. I also knew one of the people at the sign-in table because he is out walking his dog at all hours. After signing in, I got a slip of paper that said “Voter Ready.” Was I ever, oh boy! More ambling, this time over to the booths (there were two). “Mornin’ Ed,” I said as I handed Ed the slip. And so it went.

I’m sure they tally the total number of voters, but I have no idea what number I was. Next time I’ll find out.

As for the results, well, well, well. I don’t want to use words like mandate or referendum, but it seems to me that at the very least we’re kinda sorta back to a two-party system. Just tickled about that, I am.

UPDATE: I don't know how reliable voter turnout statistics are (because of the way potential voters might be miscounted), but in Montgomery County, Norristown had the lowest turnout (34.47%), while Bryn Athyn had the highest with 62.9%. Eight municipalities boasted over 60% turnout; we were at the bottom of that list. (Source: Times Herald)


In my neck of the woods, we're still pretty informal, but not quite as much as you guys seem to be.

People almost never seem to show ID at my precinct. I think what they do instead is ask your name. As you give your name, two people are working simultaneously; one is checking an up-to-date print out to see if you're completely able to vote, based on that name, and the other person is opening a big ledger to locate what appears to be a signature card corresponding with your name.

With the poll worker covering your file signature, you sign a blank space. Maybe if that were to not match your signature on file, they might ask for ID. Whatever the case, I think that's how they verify your identity.

After having signed, the poll worker manning the ledger then tells you "__ is your number" (in my case this year, it was 984). Then you move on to the next person who hands you a card displaying the words "Valid Voter."

Having received a little validation, you then feel the slight surge in morale necessary to propel you into the booth.

I don't know if you needed the detailed account, but reading your post was the first time I realized other people don't have the same exact electoral experience as I do.

Howard, thanks for the details. It confirms how similar the process is, actually. Without the folksy narrative sugar, I went through the same steps. The first step involves the big printout. If they clear you to continue, you sign the big ledger. The only difference is they've never covered up the signature card. I think that's a good idea.

November 6, 2006

Cognitive Dissonance

Pictured is a Democratic campaign headquarters housed in a recently vacated store front. Over the weekend, I noticed the addition of the Santorum sign at the top of the building. Either the landlord’s support is not with the Democrats, or the Republicans made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Whatever the story, it just struck me as odd.

It’s easy for me to say, as my polling place is right on my way to work, but please, vote tomorrow.


The photo isn't showing up. The path shows /merecat/img, not / Even with the path corrected, I don't see an image.

Doh! Thanks, Jim.

October 12, 2006

Star Trek Auction

I learned about the Star Trek auction from Dave Luna a while ago, but the mental note was assigned a low priority and didn’t pop up in my queue until Saturday night. By then it was too late.

No tears here, however. While it was cool that folks would have a chance to own actual stuff from the 23rd century, to me that stuff was mostly meaningless without the actors and the story to bring it to life. More importantly, I didn’t want to see for myself how cheesy it really was. I prefer to imagine that the Enterprise is a real ship and not some conglomeration of plywood, plastic and paint. Most of all, Star Trek simply wasn’t one of my favorite shows. As a big science-fiction fan, I watched most of the episodes of The Original Series, but it never captured my imagination the way Outer Limits did. Now that would be an auction. I wouldn’t mind having one of those bugs from “The Zanti Misfits” sitting on my desk.

Still, I’m sorry I missed the auction. Anybody get anything?

October 11, 2006

So You Say There’s a Race of Men in the Trees

They’re called botanists, and they are not just male, of course, but I had to use that quote. Anyway, this week’s New Yorker includes the story of the discovery of the world’s tallest tree (trees actually) this summer. The tree, a redwood, is 379.1 feet tall, and its lowest branches are two hundred feet up. It is fifteen wide at its base, which is pretty skinny. Imagine a 35-story building only 15 feet wide.

The article was written by Richard Preston, who last year had written a profile of botanist Stephen Sillett of Humboldt State University, who studies the biology of redwood canopies. The story fascinated me not just because of the challenge of climbing these giants, but because of the teeming life that thrives hundreds of feet above the forest floor. From last year’s article: “Sillett has discovered small trees—wild bonsai—in the canopies. The species include California bay laurel trees, western hemlocks, Douglas firs, and tan oaks. Sillett once found an eight-foot Sitka spruce growing on the limb of a giant redwood.” The canopy soil to support this growth collects on branches and in crotches and is up to three feet deep. Not just birds’ nests and squirrels, that’s for sure.


Rather interesting, but not too out of the ordinary.

Preston uses superlatives.

Actually "bonsai" means plant in a pot, as in man-made pot. Trees or plants growing in other trees is not all that hard to find in forests.

And with redwoods being larger and older sometimes, it's logical - not magical - that more of that would exist.

Either way, it's fun to look at.

Here's some images of the groves:

As you see, Preston is incorrect about only a handful of botanists knowing the locations.

I'm aware of others too.

There are several things that Preston wrote in the book, that could be construed as fiction.

Most of the forest facts are true.

Easy for you to say now that I have seen your page—amazing. Thanks for sharing. We were in San Francisco in June and while we didn’t see any big trees, we did enjoy walking among the toothpicks of Muir Woods. :-)

October 10, 2006

Crap Blog 101 [nanoblog]

“Slow trickle of useless content, annoyingly large RSS icon, lame blogroll...” The brilliant Hugh MacLeod must have seen my blog. How else to explain the inspiration for his cartoon, crap blog 101. I am honored. Via Karl.

October 5, 2006

An Alpaca Cap

I... I think I’ve forgotten how to do this blogging thing.

Let’s see, where was I? In my defense, I’ve been hard at work on my “photoblog” template, adding new places to my lobster-roll map (I stuck 16 pins in Manhattan alone. Ouch!), and importing the Dead Sea Posts (pre-2004) into Movable Type. But no actual blogging.

In other news, I got a new cap. Exciting, huh? It’s alpaca, bought when we visited an alpaca farm while on vacation in Maine. We were both interested in seeing the alpaca garments more than the alpacas, but the owner insisted on giving us a full tour. They breed alpacas primarily for show, but they also shear them, offering fleece and roving for spinning as well as yarn. The garments they sell (sweaters, hats, and even socks) are not made there, however, yet they are soft and toasty nonetheless.

I might get a chance to wear the cap soon, since yesterday may have been the last really warm day of the year. I’m especially looking forward to wearing this toasty topper seeing as how I have lost my natural fleece long ago.

September 26, 2006

Prescription for Change

Ah, another lovely fall day, fulfilling the promise of early autumn and with it the chance of several more weeks of perfect weather before things turn raw and nasty. It’s also that time of year when any vacant storefronts in the neighborhood are temporarily converted into campaign headquarters or Halloween stores.

One prominent store on the busiest corner in town closed forever a few months ago. I noted the closing with mixed feelings. The store was an independent pharmacy that no doubt finally succumbed to the competition from two nearby chains. On the one hand, it’s always sad to see an independent go under, especially since I knew someone who worked there. On the other hand, while the store was practically an historic landmark, it hadn’t changed in literally about 50 years and looked every day its age.

The store sat vacant for a few months until it was suddenly transformed into a campaign headquarters. The only remnant of the original interior was a large sign at the back over the old pharmacy counter: “Prescriptions.” Hmm, I thought, that could mean “Prescription for Change,” except all the candidates are incumbents.

September 22, 2006

Vending Machines That Keep the Change

Anne reports a new trend in vending machines. If they owe you change, they keep it unless you press the coin return. Then they’re all like “Oh, right, your change. Sorry, I forgot.” Hoping you wouldn’t notice, I guess. Are these machines just broken, or is this a sneaky new profit center in the making? I’m inclined to think so, and some bright spark probably got a nice fat bonus out of the idea. Well, it’s really nothing new. Vending machines have been stealing money from us for years. I mean who hasn’t lost money to one?

September 2, 2006

Live from Beaver Stadium!

Greetings sports fans! Live blogging from Beaver Stadium for my first-ever Penn State football game. Let’s go right to the pictures.

. State College sign

We’d like to thank some of our sponsors... Weather brought to you by Ernesto.

Penn State Tailgate

Parking lot. Considering the amount of rain, the field wasn’t all that soggy.

Penn State Tailgate

Tailgating is a big part of the games, and the main (OK, only) reason I’m here. It’s still raining hard, so we’re stuck in the back of the car. Cheers!

Penn State Tailgate

We had shrimp cocktail, Boursin cheese on a baguette, and of course beer.


We’ve finished eating and are listening to the pre-game show on “Rocky 104.9.” Frankly, it's incomprehensible to me, although Anne is helping me decode the language. I just don’t have the sports gene. We’ve finished eating and despite what the announcer admits are “lousy conditions” are heading in to the stadium for a few minutes at least. Wait... Morelli to Butler... Touchdown Penn State!!! Can you feel the excitement?! We are outa here.

UPDATE (next day): We got to the stadium during the first quarter, sat in the rain (which wasn’t that bad actually) and lasted until half-time.

Beaver Stadium, Penn State vs. Akron

The weather didn’t seem to affect attendance much. It may have been raining steadily, but at least it wasn’t cold.

In wandering around looking for our seats, we passed a room labeled “Associated Press Darkroom.” I’m sure it’s still in use, although not for its original purpose, of course.

Walking back to the car

At half-time we walked back to our car, as did a lot of people. I felt like I had the only non-SUV in the parking lot. For once, I wished I had one, because I almost got stuck in the mud.

Final score: Penn State 34, Akron 16.

August 20, 2006


I’m watching a cat-hair tumbleweed swirl around like the trash bag in American Beauty. We’ve been away for a week on vacation, and the mere cats have been working overtime shedding, the implication being that cat-hair tumbleweeds only appear when we’re on vacation, which would be a blatant misrepresentation of our housekeeping, not to mention a run-on sentence.

I mention American Beauty for no other reason than to segue into the news that we signed up with Netflix. Why is this news? For one thing, we spend almost no time in front of the TV, maybe 20 hours a year. An Inconvenient Truth was the first movie we’ve seen in years, yet we both like movies a lot. It’s just that we never carve out any couch time.

We’ve thought about Netflix as a solution for our movie-less ways, but despite its advantages (selection and convenience), it seemed to only promise a treadmill of movies we’d never get around to watching. By treadmill I mean one movie a week; if we didn’t watch that many, it stopped making economic sense at the $17.99/month rate I had heard about. Then we learned they have a “lite” option with a limit of two movies a month for only $5.99. We might be able to keep up with that. We already had a “queue” of sorts—a list of movies we both wanted to see, but of course had no way to watch. Our first two movies will be Ulee’s Gold (1997) and Amelie (2001).


Amelie! One of my all time favs.

I just "resaw" Amelie a couple of nights ago. Hope you like it too!

August 15, 2006

Deep Thoughts 2 [nanoblog]

In Jack Handey mode: Yesterday whilst idly watching the clouds scudding across the sky, I realized that they looked painted on to a blue backdrop that scrolled by. In other words, I wondered how they stay intact and why the wind doesn't just break them up. When you see clouds up close (in an airplane), they look fragile and amorphous. My only thought (without actually just looking up the answer, for crying out loud) is that the cloud vapor and the wind are all moving along at the same speed; the wind isn’t “pushing” the clouds along. Deep. Or wrong. I’ll take Meteorology for 200, Alex.

July 10, 2006

Hello, World!

It’s positively unnerving to visit Philly Future as I so often do and see my name up there in lights, as it were, as the Featured Blogger. In real life, I pretty much shun the spotlight, yet at the same have a web site for all the world to see. Yeah, that’s consistent. I like to think I’m a complicated person of many contradictions, but the reality is I’m a simple person who’s really confused.

You’re probably wondering what it’s like. Well, the roses were very nice, and the statuette is quite impressive—that thing is heavy. Too bad I only get to keep it for two weeks. Seriously, I would like to thank Howard for his tireless efforts producing the Featured Blog poll, Karl for all his work keeping Philly Future so vibrant, and especially thanks to Yoko, who nominated me. To all who voted for my blog, I don’t know what you were thinking, but thanks to you as well.

If you’re new here, you’re probably wondering just who I think I am to have my own website. That’s a good question, and one I ask myself almost every week. If I ever have a good answer, y’all will be the first to know. That’s how this blog thing works. Anyway, what’s here: Other than the blog, the most up-to-date and somewhat worthwhile sections of this site are devoted to photography (newest stuff is in “projects”) and lobster rolls. And even though the Internet is supposedly awash in cat pictures, don’t miss the ones at the top of the home page (as if you could miss the adorable little rascals). Click on the picture to see the next one and hover the mouse to see the cat's name. Please have a look around, and thanks for visiting. If you want me, I’ll be in my trailer.


Now that I have read your lobster roll observations (is that the right word to use?), I'm now obsessed with trying one myself. I'm planning to go to New England and points northwest this fall, so perhaps I'll get my chance then.

That's the first time I ever realized the pictures changed just by clicking. I knew they changed, but here I was hitting F5 all that time!

“Observations” makes my work sound more scholarly; that’s a good thing. Obsessed is a good thing, too. I should know. :-) Please be advised that many places (in Maine at least) close down for the winter in October. I wouldn’t want you to miss having a lobster roll!
Earlier versions of mere cat used a script by Dan Benjamin that only worked on refresh. I wanted it to work by clicking as well, so I rolled my own script.

July 6, 2006

My Porn Star Name [nanoblog]

There are a few formulae for deriving your “porn star” name, the most common of which is the combination of your first pet’s name and the street you grew up on. That works for most people, I guess, although Fido 48th Street doesn’t have much marquee appeal. By that formula, my name would be Woody Price (Anne’s is Misty Bouquin). Over the weekend, we were talking about the Café Carlyle, where so many great cabaret singers have performed. I suddenly realized that the best-known of these artists would make a great porn star name for me: Bobby Short.


Ha! Mine would be Rocky Hidden Valley.

I don't know Tony, if I were a man, I wouldn't want the word "short" anywhere near my porn star name. But maybe that's just me.

Anyway, my porn star name is the very excellent, "Pepper Mills".

Yeah, that's just my warped sense of humor. I love Pepper Mills because it sounds so made-up and also suggests something hot and spicy.

June 22, 2006

Kick Ball, Get Check

Can't say I've been afflicted with World Cup fever. A mild headache and some chafing, but no fever. That’s not to say I don’t like soccer. I was first exposed to the game in high school, which only had a soccer team, no football. I admit I was fascinated by the magical ball-handling skills of the players. Not enough to try playing myself or even watch a game, but fascinated nevertheless.

I am reminded of a scene in Annie Hall when Alvy (Woody Allen) and Robin (Janet Margolin) are at a party chockablock with intellectuals, and a bored Alvy sneaks off to watch the Knicks on TV. Robin confronts him and demands, “What is so fascinating about a bunch of pituitary cases trying to stuff a ball through a hoop?” Alvy answers, “What is fascinating is that it's physical.” I have to agree, and sports don't get much more exciting than soccer. I almost got caught up in it, but I just don’t have that sports gene. Good luck today, USA.

June 13, 2006

Earthquake Strikes Upper Dublin Township

A violent earthquake struck the heart of peaceful Upper Dublin Township in Montgomery County last night during commencement exercises at the high school. I think I was able to capture the tremors very well (see picture below).

Thanks to the abundant optimism in the air, no one was injured. (It’s what air bags are filled with.)

Earthquake rocks Upper Dublin Township

So it's a little blurry. You try taking a picture at a shutter speed of 1/20 second while hanging on to the back of a speeding golf cart with one hand. Of course, the paparazzi do this sort of thing all the time.

What really happened is that my niece graduated from high school; she is headed to Boston University in the fall. As for the blurry picture, two members of our party have trouble walking, so after the ceremony we were all given rides back to the parking lot in golf carts. Naturally I risked my life to get a picture, if you can call it that.

June 8, 2006


By now, most everyone has seen the video of the Mentos and Diet Coke homage to the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas. (See it here; read how it was done here.)

What I learned yesterday is that the two Mentotechnicians, Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz, are from Maine. (I heard them interviewed on NPR, reminding me simultaneously that my membership dollars aren’t going to waste, and that they aren’t afraid to take on the tough stories of the day.) The fact that these two guys are from Maine just warmed my cockles. They possessed not only the epic vision to see the artistic possibilities in the humble Mentos parlor trick, but also the (perhaps disturbing) intensity of focus it takes to master the delicate balance between creativity and engineering it took to pull the whole thing off. That’s not the first thing I think of when I think of Maine—but it works for me.


I too heard the interview about the Mentos fountain display. What's more, I recall hearing an earlier NPR interview with one of these guys before the whole fountains stunt was performed. The were explaining how exactly Mentos and Diet Coke achieve the desired effect.

The just had a VH1/Webjunk clip showing a variation of this - I found it here:

May 17, 2006

Hot for Commencement Speaker

Jodie Foster delivered the commencement speech at Penn (my alma mater) on Monday. Kyle Cassidy took a great shot of her and recalled an adolescent crush—surpassed only by his crush on Kristy McNichol. I admit Kristy was my main reason for watching Family, which was otherwise ponderous, but I didn’t have a crush on her (or Jodie Foster for that matter).

I never had a crush on Hillary Clinton either, who was commencement speaker at my graduation. (Ally Sheedy is a different story, but I’m over her.) Funny thing about Hillary’s speech was I didn’t hear a word she said. Down on the field where I was sitting, her voice arrived from widely-separated speakers at slightly different times. It was plenty loud but the overlapping echoes rendered it utterly unintelligible. Maybe no one heard Jodie Foster’s speech either...

May 16, 2006

Primary Day [nanoblog]

I guess some people have excuses for not voting, but I sure don’t. The polling place is literally on my way to work, and it was such a beautiful day (amend that to say “It wasn't raining”), and it only takes a minute. So I did.

May 15, 2006

Rainbow Connection [nanoblog]

I was in a colleague’s office on a conference call late this afternoon. I got tired staring at the phone and let my eyes wander to the landscape outside. I was stunned to see the biggest, brightest rainbow I have ever seen. It lasted at least ten minutes and then took another ten to fade away. The memory of it still lingers vividly. I’m taking it as a good omen, although of what I’m not sure. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket...

May 4, 2006

Sesame Mucho

While some folks have posted links to their favorite Sesame Street videos hosted on YouTube, maybe not everyone knows they’re there. You can search YouTube, of course, but J.D. Roth saved you the trouble by posting a really big list of videos fully annotated for your convenience (via BeatnikPad: Bagatelle). Go ahead. You know you want to go. I’ll wait for you.

*drums fingers*

Oh, well. I see I’ll be talking to myself from here on out. I was in high school when Sesame Street debuted, and I clearly remember heading home after school to watch it at 4:00 PM almost every day. At that age, I had already mastered the alphabet and integers, and, under the iron-fisted tutelage of the Sisters of Saint Joseph (“Corporal Punishment reporting for duty!”), I had even developed the ability to write complete sentences (and then diagram them!). I watched Sesame Street purely for entertainment—and entertaining it was. The videos brought back a lot of memories, and in case you’re wondering, my knuckles have healed nicely, thank you.


I survived Catholic School too (Sisters of "Mercy", man was that a misnomer, not that geekgirl got into trouble much), and Sesame Street is good therapy for it

April 27, 2006

Little Dog Lost [nanoblog]

A friend at work was telling us about taking a stray dog to the vet and asked us how the vet learned the dog’s name. I said, “Chip?” He gasped, “How did you know?” I meant that the dog was chipped, not that his name was Chip, but that was one of the “common” names the vet tried, and the dog clearly responded. When the dog was finally reunited with his owners, we learned his actual name was Chippy. Smart vet.

April 20, 2006

Deep Thoughts [nanoblog]

There’s an ATM at work that’s broken so often that today when it appeared to be operating normally I quipped, “They should put a sign on it: Temporarily in service.” Come to think of it, you could probably hang that sign on a lot of things as a reminder that permanence is illusory, everything is transitory, and all that we know and love will succumb to the call of entropy and devolve into a puddle of atoms. Except for the roaches, of course. Deep thoughts indeed. Now I have to go do some cleaning. I’m hoping it will improve my writing. It sure worked for David Sedaris.


It would also be a good tagline for a blog.

April 19, 2006

Flipping Out [nanoblog]

Got a new cell phone last night, which normally wouldn’t be worth a mention, ’cause I don’t use the phone much. We’ve always had the plan with the fewest minutes and never use them all. This phone reminds me that cell phones are really computers with complicated operating systems and, of course, bugs. In the one day I’ve had this phone, I had one glitch that forced a reboot, and found a reproducible bug. Neither glitch had any effect on the phone’s performance as a phone, though. Even though this phone doesn’t do video or MP3s or anything too fancy, it’s still the nicest phone I’ve ever had. I consulted HowardForums, alt.cellular.verizon, Mobiledia, and especially Phone Scoop to narrow down my choices to the Motorola v325, my first flip phone.

April 18, 2006

Calling All Artists

I could probably devote an entire blog to SEPTA much like the Frankford Terminal Blog, but I don’t have the heart for it. Talk about mixed feelings, it’s a real love/hate relationship. “Would you like to talk about it?” Sure, doc, sure.

This post started with a discussion at dinner about the Route 23 trolley that runs along Germantown Avenue. Or ran, rather, as the trolleys were replaced in 1992 with buses. Not that I even noticed, since I’m rarely on that stretch of Germantown Avenue. I grew up with trains and trolleys, though, so my interest was piqued. I found Where’s the Trolley? a site devoted to tweaking SEPTA over their broken promise to restore trolley service on some North Philadelphia routes, including the 23. (Sadly, they had to go all the way to Prague to get a picture of a modern trolley car.) Then on PoliticsPhilly, there was a piece on the Route 15 trolley which is one line that actually was updated (btw, all three of the links in that piece are broken for me; not their fault).

But enough about the dearly departed trolleys. From the notices posted at the train station, I learned that the capital budget hearings are in a couple of weeks. I was reading the notice online at SEPTA (<rant>Why oh why do they publicize their web address as There is no</rant>), and I noticed a Call for Artists [pdf]. Here’s the background:

SEPTA has embarked on an Art in Transit Program designed to incorporate art elements into renovation and construction projects for selected stations and public transportation facilities. The program allocates up to one percent of the construction budget of capitally funded projects for the design, fabrication and installation of permanent artwork.

This competition is for the chance to transform two 50-foot box beams at the station at 60th and Market, part of the El renovation. The budget is $140,000. Maybe I should be upset that SEPTA is not spending every cent on more practical improvements, but I’m not. One thing missing from the SEPTA system is beauty and aesthetics, and this program will go a long way toward changing that.


I'd enter, but stickmen are worth far more than 140k. :)

I'm torn. On the one hand the money could go to other, more practical improvements that are sorely needed to the system. On the other hand, as you said, beauty and aesthetics are missing from the SEPTA system, so it will probably be a good thing. Especially at 60th and Market.

I've been adding SEPTA hearing to my calendar, but unfortunately I can't attend most of them.

SEPTA owns both and, and I usually use the .org address. Can't you get to it?

Andrea, I swear every time I used, it redirected immediately to It’s working fine now. I’m sure they read my post. Yeah, that’s the ticket. :-)

April 17, 2006

Flash! I Am Not a Geek [nanoblog]

That’s right. According to this test on OK Cupid, I am only 8% geek. How embarrassing. All these years I’ve been telling people “I’m a geek” just to save them the trouble of pigeonholing me. Now what? The test claims I am Tri-Lamb Material: 52% Nerd, 8% Geek, 52% Dork. So I’m actually a nerd, not a geek. (The dork score I have no quibble with.) One thing, though. Only a true geek would believe some random test on the Internet, don’t you think? Maybe there’s hope...


a) what's the deal with the non-adding up percentages? it's annoying.
b) i'm 52% Nerd, 65% Geek, 26% Dork making me 143% human.

Maybe it's like the SATs. Just like you can score 800 on math, you can score 100% in geek. 300% would be a "perfect" score. Probably rarer than a 1600 SAT, but if it's possible, my money's on one of these guys.

April 15, 2006

Anniversary [nanoblog]

April 15 not only marks the tax deadline (hope your taxes are finished), it’s also the anniversary of mere cat—two years. Yay me.


Happy Anniversary!!

April 11, 2006

What Is Hip?

I found out last night at Body Worlds, an exhibit of real human bodies preserved by “plastination.” And not just hips, but bones of all sorts, organs (both normal and diseased), entire bodies, and even some chickens. Although the bodies are posed in lifelike situations, their stiffness reminds me of the way I usually feel in the morning. While browsing the body parts, I was particularly surprised at the size of the liver, which I learned is the largest gland in the body. I know I like to give my liver a workout from time to time, but that kind of exercise doesn’t really improve it. Overall, a great show and highly recommended. I was much less weirded-out than I thought I would be; it was fascinating. Next stop: the Mutter Museum. That should weird me out but good. To paraphrase Jonathan Winters, “Don’t touch that cadaver, baby Elizabeth, you don’t know where it’s been.”

On our way out of the Franklin Institute, we chanced by the Foucault pendulum, which reminded me of a short paper I wrote for an English class way back in 1989. If I can find it, I might even post it.


I haven't been to the Mutter in years, but it was strangely fascinating last I visited. I'm sure the Soap Lady still reigns supreme.

I wish they still made the Mutter calendar. That was quite the annual treat.

That looks pretty gross. I don't know...I'm curious, but I don't know if I would be able to visit the entire exhibit.

I went to the Mutter a few years ago with my wife and my family. I had to excuse myself. I was shocked at my reaction but attributed it to "getting older"...lame. So, needless to say, in the weeks prior to our trip to see Body Worlds, I was envisioning spending all of my time in the gift shop browsing through the Ben Frankilin kitsch. I am happy to say I lasted throuugh the whole exhibit and never felt the need to excuse myself at all. I really enjoyed it. I attribute that to becoming "calloused".

Mrs. H, I can't believe I've never been to the Mutter, and I had no idea about the calendar.
Kathryn, it wasn't as gross as you might imagine in that everything is turned to dry plastic. Sure, it's bizarre, but my primary and still-lingering reaction was awe at the marvelous complexity of the human body.
Jim, I've heard the Mutter is more shocking than something like Body Worlds, so I don't think you've become calloused. I've always been leery of going to the Mutter. Each one of those specimens represents a life cut short or a deformity endured. Body Worlds is quite different - if anything a celebration of the "normal."

I was afraid I'd be too squeamish for Body Worlds, too--which was especially tough since I didn't have the option to avoid it! Turns out I was entirely fascinated and not at all disturbed.

The exhibit closes on the 23rd, so if anyone's still wanting to go, there aren't many days left...

April 4, 2006

YAWOMD [nanoblog]

Yet Another Weapon of Mass Distraction. This one’s called Reddit. Kind of a digg clone, but I’m especially diggin’ Joel Spolsky’s personalized subdomain, which is more tightly focused on shiny things for software developers. The Myers-Bricks Recruitment Method tickled me. I see a future in Strategic Planning.

April 1, 2006

Feeling Foolish

I always look forward to April 1 to find out what subtly outrageous story NPR will be reporting on. They always do such an incredible, credible job. Now they have released a collection of ten of these stories: “Stranger Than Fact: Unbelievable News from NPR.” Unfortunately, the CD doesn’t contain my favorite story about the Starbucks coffee pipeline, which aired April 1, 1996. The story was always listed in their archive, but there was no link to the audio. Finally I wrote to them about two years ago and begged them to make it available. Not that I had anything to do with it, but they finally did. It’s as funny as I remembered it, but it may not be your cup of, um, tea. For more entertainment, Wikipedia has a long list of famous April Fool’s hoaxes. Enjoy.

March 30, 2006

Can You Dig It?

I knew that you could. Last Saturday we went to the Kingsessing Recreation Center in West Philly to help out with a tree planting organized by UC Green and TreeVitalize. 150 balled-and-burlapped trees arrived the day before from a number of nurseries (the trees were selected by staff at the Morris Arboretum). Each one weighed about 300 pounds, so a forklift was kept busy moving the trees into position. An army of volunteers, mostly students from nearby Penn and Drexel, were there to dig holes and wrestle the trees into position. Most crews were able to plant two trees and virtually all of the trees were in the ground within two hours.

I did my bit and worked very hard taking pictures (he said defensively). We missed the main photo op when the VIPs arrived to make their presentation. They were late, and we had to leave. Far worse, we also missed the barbecue.



Please, please let us know when you are doing something really cool in UC again!!!

March 28, 2006

Rx for Blog Block

Scott McNulty is suffering from a blog block and is looking for inspiration. My first reaction is borrowed from Wayne’s World, a font of wisdom I often turn to for philosophy and guidance. “You’re blogged out, man! You need coffee and crullers, stat!!!” Scott has, what, four personal sites not to mention TUAW.

Maybe Scott just needs some slack time. (He’d be in good company taking some time off—Drunkenbatman hasn’t posted in a solid month.) Slack time allows stale thoughts to drain out of your brain (ew...), leaving room for fresh inspiration. Cut yourself some slack by getting away from the computer and other stimulants and engage in some light physical activity. Go out for a walk or do something mindless like vacuuming (useful, too!). I often solve a knotty problem while I’m taking a shower. When I’m working on a big project, I have to take three or four showers a day.

Procrastination can be a powerful muse. For example, right now I’m supposed to be writing to meet a real deadline, so all of a sudden I’ve started posting like, every day. Besides, who says you need inspiration to blog? The lack of it never stopped me. If all else fails (and it won’t), consider lowering your standards as to what qualifies as “inspired.”

I’ve sent a ping to Scott’s site to see how trackbacks work. Still getting the hang of Movable Type, you see. Next thing you know, I’ll be turning trackbacks on here at mere cat.


You know, you really deserve a break to decompress and clear your mind. So before you vacuum (don't forget the stairs), I suggest you reward yourself with a soothing aromatherapy session. The citrus scent of Lemon Pledge comes highly recommended. If you prefer "April fresh," you'll find the detergent in the cabinet next to the washer. Enjoy!

Keep up the great work on your blog. Best wishes WaltDe

March 21, 2006

Rage Against the Machine

When I was a kid and started reading sections of the newspaper other than the comics, I would come across the term “machine” in articles about politics. Fascinated as I was by science and engineering, this image appealed to me, but I had no appreciation for the subtlety of the metaphor. I was trying to picture an actual machine.

I haven’t had any direct experience with the machine, but after reading Albert’s post (“Democratic Committeeperson Challenges”) it’s clear how very real it is. I think the machine metaphor may be inadequate, though. I’m picturing something more organic, perhaps even parasitic (the lamprey comes to mind), something with a hyper-sensitive immune system that reacts to any attack, real or imaginary. With self-preservation seemingly as its primary goal, it’s a life form that isn’t interested in evolving, that’s for sure.


lampreys. good one.

March of the Penguins [nanoblog]

To work we go, across the frozen wastes, bent over to resist the driving wind. Today seems even colder than yesterday. There’s even a dusting of snow here at work. Ah, Spring is here at last! Riiiight.

March 17, 2006

The Madness of Crowds

No, this post isn’t about speculative bubbles, but it is about the madness of crowds.

I do most of my blog reading during my commute, so I missed the excitement last weekend at Philly Future when the site was shut down. I was glad to hear that Karl was able to move Philly Future to a new host in such a short time. In the aftermath, I was surprised to learn that the host that cut Philly Future off so unceremoniously was DreamHost. Up until this happened, I had heard nothing but good things about DreamHost. Their hosting plans are generous, and I have a friend who uses them and never had a problem. Shutting down a site seemed drastic to me, so I was curious why it happened and how common this was.

Scott Yang explains some reasons very well, but basically, DreamHost is too popular. Herd mentality led to a stampede that has taxed their capacity. So on the one hand, while they continue to entice users with seemingly limitless disk space and bandwidth, to control usage, they have imposed a rather restrictive “CPU minutes limit.” I think this is the limit that Philly Future ran into.

It’s a natural tendency to go where the crowds go. They must know something, right? But popularity has its drawbacks. Yogi Berra famously said, “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” A place gets a good reputation, everybody goes there, and it’s ruined. It can pay to seek out the undiscovered and wherever you see a crowd, head in the other direction. In that spirit, I came across two “anti-social networks” on TechCrunch the other day. Isolatr promises to “help you find where other people aren’t.” It’s just a joke, but a funny one at that.

When I sat down to write I was just going to talk about the Philadelphia Flower Show. Talk about crowds. We have experimented going at different times in a quest to avoid shuffling shoulder to shoulder around the show. Preview Day: forget it. Weekends: impossible. Weekday afternoons: nope. This year we went on a Wednesday night from 7 to 9, which was by the far the least crowded in our experience (please don’t tell anybody, OK?)

It was an unusually good show. There were the usual hideous designs done by overenthusiastic floral decorators (just not my taste at all), but other than that it was a beautiful show. I think my favorite exhibit was Styer’s with the simulated snow and inspired lighting. Sad that all those nice trees were sacrificed, but the show must go on, I guess.

The theme this year was “Enchanted Spring... A Tribute to Mother Nature.” Mother Nature herself put in an appearance in the form of a giant sculpted head. I thought they missed an opportunity here. It would have been cool to model the face less literally by using natural materials in the manner of Giuseppe Archimboldo, but that would have been sheer madness, I’m sure.


Dreamhost has a decent reputation, and deservedly so, I'm sure. I think we were all (at least those of us struggling with it) a little taken aback by the shutdown.

It may have been a mix of wanting the business and not recognizing how much the usage was going to hurt them until it was too late. Dedicated servers were probably the best way to go from the start anyway. That's my take on it.

Glad you like the flower show. I didn't make it this year, but I hear good things from several family members who would have otherwise compelled my attendance. And don't worry, your ideal time to go to the show should be safe right? It's not like anyone posted it online where it could be readily Googled or anything like that...

I had to move Keystone Politics off of Dreamhost as well! I missed this controversy with Philly Future but it's interesting that we both ran into this problem at the same time.

I had the same problem last January with ... thank Heaven I had make backups and was able to remove my sites to bluehost.

March 13, 2006


It goes without saying that styles of humor change over the years (although I just said it, didn’t I?). But it’s also true that peoples’ taste in humor changes, even when the humor doesn’t. For example, I get the impression that a lot of people feel that Saturday Night Live was funny when they first discovered the show—and that the current show sucks. I haven’t watched it for a long time (’cause it sucks! *wink*), but it probably hasn’t changed much over the decades. The point is that some things used to be funny while other things are still funny.

An example came up just the other day. Once in a while at home I burst out with “They’re everywhere! They’re everywhere!” No, I don’t have Tourettes, but Anne wondered what that was all about. It’s inspired by the Chickenman radio series, which first aired in the late Sixties. Chickenman was the creation of Dick Orkin, a person who has employed his considerable talents to create funny ads to sell products, much as Stan Freberg did before him, and John Cleese (of Monty Python) did later with his industrial training films. The Chickenman style of humor was alternately broad and dry, but always silly. The entire series is available on 14 CDs for $129. That’s more Chickenman than I can handle, so I’ll have to content myself with the two sample shows that are available on this page. I know my tastes have changed in the last 35 years, but I still think Chickenman is funny.


Bawk, bawk, bawk, Superchicken. I love the Chicken Man. I can even imagine that "They're everywhere" voice. That is so funny. On a parallel note, I can't get a new phone book without yelping "The new phone books are here, the new phones books are here, now I'm finally someone!"

SNL sucks!

and this talk of "Chickenman" reminds me of the Kids in the Hall sketch "Chicken Lady" which, without ever hearing of "Chickenman" before, I'm assuming is some sort of spoof?

I guess it is sort of a spoof, just not sure of what. In the late Sixties, America was awash in secret agents (four or five James Bond films had been made) and a number of spyploitation TV shows. Chickenman isn't a secret agent, more of a super hero, and all there was at the time of that ilk was Batman, which was kind of a spoof itself. I had to read up on the Chicken Lady. She sounds like a strange bird.

Thanks for mentioning the Chickenman collector's package.

If anyone's interested, they'll find it at

As Frank pointed out, Dan’s link in the comment above might lead to a 404 error page, although an amusing one at that. Try And Frank, thanks for the catch.

Chickenman was my favorite show on the radio.I loved the series the Dick Orking did,like The Tooth Fairy and the later Chickenman shows(Chickenman vs. the Earth-Pollutters,Chickenman Returns for the Last Time Again).I met Dick Orkin years ago and got his autograph,which I treasure.The White-Winged Warrior was the natural response to mid-60s superhero binge...much as Cervantes' Don Quixote was the response to the 1500s-Knightly Romance books.I will always recall his sterling words;
"Here I am once again to strike terrific terror into the hearts of criminals everywhere,for I will seek them out no matter where they lurk,in dark alleys and places like that and prove with one blow from my mighty fist that crimes does not pay and that vicious criminals cannot escape the wrath of the Feathered Fighter!"
(Sure he flopped more often than not,but he always tried.No matter how often he failed,he never stopped trying to achieve his goals-and that is a lesson for everyone.)

I have the Chickenman episodes than ran in the 60's, via Dan O'Day. But I first discovered Chickenman in 1977, but none of those episodes are part of the 60's version. I had at least 2 on cassette (neither of which I can locate), so I know they exist in somebody's vault. Radio Ranch won't confirm or deny they exist. Does anyone remember or have copies of these????

Mark, I didn't even know about the 1977 series, but according to the Wikipedia article about Chickenman, the 1977 episodes are supposed to be included in the set sold by Dan O'Day. Wikipedia also mentions some outlets that are still playing the episodes (mostly satellite radio). I hope you can track them down!

Hi Tony,

The package released by Dick Orkin and sold by Dan O'Day does not have these episodes. I wrote to Sandy Orkin and told him I had a couple of the episodes in question on cassette, but being 30 years old now, I can't find them. Sandy has written back, but has not confirmed that these shows ever existed. But I keep looking...

Mark, Sorry to hear that. I still have all my old cassettes (not of Chickenman, though). They’re around here somewhere... Hope you find yours. :-)

OK, I see the last post here was in 2008, so hoping someone is still watching, but...I seem to remember a Television show about a crime fighter that turned in to a chicken...may have been an adaptation of the radio series, but i was only 5 or 6, so it is hard to tell. Anybody have any ideas?

That show isn't ringing any bells for me, so I did some Googling and came up with nothing. Sorry. If you remember any other details, please leave another comment.

March 9, 2006

Comments Back On

I started using MarsEdit recently for posting instead of the Movable Type interface. It’s a desktop app that is quite an improvement over the browser-based interface, but I must have missed a checkbox somewhere, because the last three entries have not had comments enabled. Doh!

March 3, 2006

The Heat Is On

Rowhouse Logic has been without heat for seven days up until yesterday. So glad to hear the heat is back. I can't imagine what that must have been like. Well, actually, I can, now that I think about it. Like an idiot I ran out of heating oil once. No, wait. Twice. That was no fun, especially since I didn't have hot water, either, but the deprivation didn't last seven days.

The gas was turned off because of a mixup of account numbers. Anybody can make a mistake, but it takes real bureaucracy to make an outage last seven days. I’m sure they're very proud. Reminds me of the Bouvier sisters on The Simpsons: “On some days we don't let the line move at all.” Beat. “Yeah, we call those ‘weekdays’.”

February 21, 2006

Food for Thought

Over the weekend I was visited by Josie who took an instant dislike to me and ripped me a new one in the comments. She said some very perceptive and thought-provoking things, however, that are worth discussing, given this unexpected opportunity.

In a comment that I impulsively deleted, she observed that I have this kind of perfect life with nothing out of place and no real feelings.

Judging from my site, that is very true! Woody Allen once said, “You’re always trying to get things perfect in art because it’s real difficult in life.” Not that this blog is art, but it is “artistic” in that it is a constructed fiction that I created to represent me. I call it “fiction” not because what I write isn’t true, but because by leaving things out, it doesn’t tell the whole story. That’s my choice. Pain and conflict can be the basis of great literature; I’m just not enough of a writer to pull that off.

That said, I’ve had my share of insecurity, frustration, loss, and depression, but that gets swept under the rug when I sit down to write. I’d probably have a much larger audience if it didn’t, but again that’s my call. You can’t please everybody, and I write mainly to please myself. That is all.


Illegitimi non carborundum, or some other manufactured Latin phrase. Ah, the joys of comments. I do think it's completly unfair of your commentor to go negative. It's not in the spirit of what you write, and what you write doesn't smack of "look how goo I have it, sucks to be you." Strange how people get with their reading.

Well, I say keep on keeping on. It's good authentic writing. If someone's miserable, I hope they get better. If not, you could use a variation on what I say to the knuckleheads: Too bad, but in the morning you still have to wake up and be you.


     Reading your blog inspired me to blog. I love reading what you decide to share. I was never under the impression that you blog for traffic.

     People...people. My blog is a collection of asinine dreck. What to do?

     You don't seem like the kind of person who would be impacted by a negative comment (I hope not). I appreciate that criticism can be valuable, but if you are already fulfilling your vision, then people can read, like (or dislike) and become a fan (or move along). Your audience is yourself. Right?

     I mean, come on - its a blog for cryin' out loud (a blog that I happen to enjoy very much).

I'm glad that episode, rude as it was, didn't discourage the comments. And please delete if you must; it's your castle.

February 17, 2006

I Think This is Two Degrees of Separation

Following up on last month’s post about my unexpected and admittedly remote connection to Bumrunner, here’s another one where you should be imagining “It’s a Small World After All” playing in your head over and over. Now try to get it out of your head. Sorry. That was mean.

My old house, which I dubbed the Fortress of Solitude, was an odd place in that it really wanted to be an office of some kind. It was on a busy street and had a parking lot instead of a front yard. The previous owners ran a business out of it, which explains the parking lot. After sitting unoccupied for a couple of years, it was finally sold to an optometrist for his office. Last Saturday, I was talking to my sister-in-law who told me that a daughter of one of her closest friends was dating an optometrist. You guessed it. What are the odds?

It’s kind of like Casablanca, you know? “Of all the optometrists in all the towns in all the world, she had to date this one.” On second thought, it’s nothing like Casablanca, but at least there’s that unforgettable song:

You must remember this.
It’s a small world after all.


That's weird. Reminds me of one of my mother's friends, who lived in this old stone house when I was a kid. Fast forward about twenty years and I ended up going back to this same house (for the first time since my childhood) because it was my Chiropractor's house/alternate office location.

Well, I guess it's not quite the same, but it was weird to end up getting my spine adjusted in the same room where I once played with Legos...

I'm afraid you can't just gloss over ME, dear sir. I know how to use a proxy. But nice try in whitewashing things and pretending things don't happen. I guess that's how you stay so unflappably calm and emotionless, eh? Ah, but I repeat myself.
All I wanted was acknowledgement, a reply. Even a "Fuck you, get off my site" would be something. But you did the one thing I cannot accept: you pretended it didn't happen.
And now, my friend, I must attempt to destroy you.

So predictable...
Leaving the comments up as record of my "threats" now, are we? Sending warning emails so if it comes to court you can show the jury how reasonable you tried to be?
I'm afraid it won't ever come to that, though the excitement would probably be more than you'd ever had, rivaling the first time you porked Anne. I'm quite done with you now, sir.
And no, it's not because you threatened to have my FREE EMAIL ACCOUNT DELETED (laughable! And why would they delete me? Sending email threats, viruses, spam? No, I posted it on your page as a means to replying to me, which I don't think is in any way violating their terms or even frowned upon), or to have my ISP ban me (poor library)... but because I simply wanted to see if you were as horribly boring and soulless as I thought you were.
Silly me, I always think the best of people. I thought somewhere in there, deep down in places you don't like to talk about at parties, there was a spark of life, a sense of humor.
You can go back to your vanilla life, just the way you like it; in a cup not a cone. And don't worry. I don't think Anne will ever cheat on you with the pool boy. I don't think sex matters to someone like her. Just money and security.

Tony, I don't want to start a comment war on your site, so I'll just say that you might want to consider two things: 1) collapsing the comments so that they only show when a person clicks on them (more prominence to your writing and much less to the comments), and 2) banning ISPs is as simple as 1-2-3. That kind of abuse is unwarranted, and that's comment spam. Buh-bye with it.

February 12, 2006

Think Snow [nanoblog]

NOAA Reports Record Warm January Across The U.S. and New York gets 26 inches of snow. We got about 18 here. Oh, wait, it's February.

February 10, 2006

By Their Pens Ye Shall Know Them

Marisa writes frankly about her recovery from a crippling addiction to pens. Don’t get me started.

Oops, too late.

I am not worthy to discuss this subject; my addiction isn’t epic. I must admit, however, that when I was young and most people my age were hanging out at the mall, I was hanging out in stationery stores, my nose pressed against the glass, leering at the Watermans. “Hey, kid! Either buy something or get out of here. Yer smudgin’ the glass.” As I scuttled away, I noted that my nose prints weren’t the first on the showcase glass.

I never fulfilled those early dreams of owning a fine fountain pen, although in a moment of weakness I ordered an inexpensive one from Levenger. (By the way, I always felt that Steve Leveen founded Levenger to finance his pen addiction.) One of my favorite pens was a Rapidograph, a technical-drawing pen that drew extremely fine lines. It was a lot of fun to use. Most of the time, however, I have used plain old ballpoints. My favorite over many, many years is the classic Parker Jotter. It fits my hand better than any other pen; not too big, not too small. I use one every day. I wonder what that pen says about my personality? Hmm. I was afraid of that.

I think the reason I never became a serious pen collector is because my handwriting is so ugly, and getting uglier all the time as I write less and less. The Palmer method never stuck with me. For some pens that might inspire you to practice your handwriting, check out some of Kyle Cassidy’s gorgeous instruments here and here. That’s some hot, hot pen pr0n action.


I suggest you post a photo of your beloved Parker Jotter so that everyone can draw their own conclusions about your particular pen preference. I remember how upset you were the time you left one in your pocket and it got washed. You disassembled the leaking pen and used Q-tips and rubbing alcohol to clean the gooey ink blobs from all of its interior and exterior surfaces. All for the love of a five-dollar pen.

pens! i love writing with my parker fountain pen. wonderfully balanced. i sign things at work all day and it makes me feel like a big important person as i uncap my fountain pen and sign away.

but for everyday stuff, i love my pigma micron pens. i think i have a .25 and a .35 in black.

My dad is a Rapidograph devotee, and I spent some time with one during college. It's a good pen. I have a Waterman fountain pen somewhere out there, it was my very first "grown up" fountain pen and I still love it!

Okay, I am weirded out. I was here yesterday and saw the changes and also noticed that I could comment. I didn't comment because I needed to digest that you changed your site. Pitiful OCD lady, I know.

I love reading [your site], and I love your talk on lobster rolls. That's how I found you in the first place, don't you know. I was planning a vacation to Maine to visit Red's and was Googling information when I came upon your site. I read your review and decided that Red's was not for me after all. I'd been looking at Hancock's for the longest, and immediately after I read that you'd ordered from them and like it so much, I placed my own order and liked it so much myself. I was actually pretty bummed when you didn't write about lobster rolls on your last trip. What gives?

Oh, and I love, love, LOVE the pics of your cats in your header. Sometimes, I'll refresh a few times simply to scroll through.

I'm glad to be able to finally tell you how much I like your site! Thanks!

February 5, 2006

Telegram Service Ends

After 145 years, Western Union has discontinued telegram service. What is this world coming to? Thank goodness candygram service continues uninterrupted.

January 19, 2006

It’s Meetup Time Again

This Saturday, the Philly Blogger meetup group will meet up for grub, grog, and scintillating conversation (except for me saying “What?” a lot; I don’t hear well in bars). We are sneaking up on a one-year anniversary for this, the “active” meetup group (there is, or was, an earlier group that languished itself right out of existence).

I originally discovered when I was looking for opportunities to speak French with real, live people. Sure enough, there is a French meetup group in town, but they meet at some odd French time that is inconvenient. (Truthfully, I’m just too scared to go.) Then I discovered the Philly Blogger Meetup. I was still scared, not being much of a blogger, but I went anyway and had a terrific time.

Philly isn’t the only city with a blogger meetup. There are 16 others, 10 of which have synchronized meetings on the third Wednesday of the month, branded as United Weblogger Meetup Day. The Philly meetup doesn’t do that because somebody’s got to be blogging on those Wednesdays. I tell ya. What were they thinking?

I’ll keep this short, because blogging about blogging is kind of boring, I think, but blogging about drinking, hey, that’s another story. This Saturday, I will try to fit a month’s worth of drinking in one day. Maybe the Irish dancers from last month will favor us with a repeat performance. If I have enough to drink, maybe I’ll join them.

Details here.

January 12, 2006

Meme of Five

Sure, I’m up for the odd meme now and then (Mrs. Harridan tagged me two weeks ago for the meme of five).

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Working at my first day job, getting hooked on programming, and paying off my student loan.
What were you doing a year ago?
Same old, same old: formulating my plans for world domination, a work that continues unabated to this day.
5 snacks you enjoy?
Not much of a snacker, but here goes.
  1. Wine and cheese
  2. Combos (cheddar-cheese pretzel)
  3. Peanut butter toast
  4. Anything salty, especially pretzels
  5. Popcorn, Smart Food, Screaming Yellow Zonkers
5 songs you know all the lyrics to:
All the lyrics? That’s easy: “Happy Birthday” and the first verse of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” I know, pathetic.
5 things you would do if you were a millionaire:
I think the purpose of this question is to entertain you all with all the frivolous, self-indulgent crap I would buy. In reality, I would invest some of the money for retirement, help out some friends, and make some donations. Fantasizing for the purpose of this meme, however, is more difficult. Since I don’t anticipate ever having much disposable income, I don’t have much of a wish list, but here’s what I would buy:
  1. Land Rover Series III long-wheelbase with the Fairey overdrive.
  2. Helicopter flying lessons. A million dollars isn’t enough for my own helicopter.
  3. Antiques, especially American pieces made between 1750 and 1850 or so (Chippendale and Duncan Phyfe especially).
  4. I would make a start collecting art and photography, mostly 20th century.
  5. A ton of cameras, mostly film. The ways things are going, I can have all the film cameras I want for pennies on the dollar, and I want them all.
5 bad habits:
I am riddled with bad habits, I just won’t admit to any of them. Hey, that’s a bad habit right there! OK, here’s two more.
  1. Not flossing regularly
  2. Leaving things lying around, not closing doors, general sloppiness
5 things I like doing:
  1. Living with Anne
  2. Cooking and eating
  3. Photography and all that it entails
  4. Visiting Maine and having a lobster roll (or ten)
  5. I guess I must like blogging, too.