Living next to Philly.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Exhibit B: The television. As you can see in this picture, the grainy, jumpy picture on the screen of this awfully small (no more than 13") television is provided by none other than an old-fashioned, god-fearing antenna. If I'm not mistaken, these things won't even work about six months from now. We dug deeper into this mystery while we were drinking at the Indian Rock Inn, where the bartender (who, I should mention, did improve her demeanor considerably once everyone had a drink and she realized how much money she was making) informed us that Comcast cable is not available in these here parts. Verizon FIOS is available about three miles away, but that's three miles away. So satellite is the only way to go, and apparently the Plumsteadville Inn had not utilized this option.
I just had to mention this because I haven't used an antenna to get TV reception in probably ten years. And the only thing it picked up was Chris Wallace interviewing the "master" political strategist Karl Rove on FOX, which made me want to drink gasoline.
Exhibit C: The beds. We had originally planned to have three occupants - Bern, Shar and myself. So twin beds, rather than a larger bed and a cot, made more sense for fairness's sake. Then we talked Erin into staying, so we figured we could stash two of us on each of the "twin beds" we'd been promised.
This turned out to be just barely possible. These were comfortable beds but were hardly more than two feet wide. Granted, we probably shouldn't have expected for four people to be comfortable in one room, but jeez, those beds were small.
Exhibit D: The closet. This is easily the most convenient place to get murdered that I've ever seen. This closet, mere feet from Exhibit C, reached back a good five feet and enjoyed enough room to store an entire wardrobe. It stayed dark no matter how light the room was, because the light switch for this particular closet was, well, a dead end. And beyond this big, creepy closet, there was a second closet about half its size (much less creepy, though) in the bathroom, as well as a giant bureau with about ten drawers. Whoever thought all this was necessary is a complete lunatic.
Exhibit E: The sink. What the fuck. Look at this goddamn thing. I can understand that this place might be going for the "charming" or "antiquated" effect. Fine. But there was a point in time when people realized that they can make their water pour not just hot or cold, independent of each other (as was the case with this ridiculous device). The sinks we have today can make all kinds of water - warm, tepid, cool, you name it.
These devices make our lives much easier, and allow us to wash our hands comfortably, rather than alternating from uncomfortably cold to blisteringly hot.
There's a point at which we need to embrace change for its most basic reason - intelligence. But whoever had the great idea of leaving this stupid sink installed is probably not too big on the whole "intelligence" thing.
If the bar had been open at any point during our visit, I might have had better things to say, because the bar looked like a very cool place to throw some back. Alas...
All in all, a fun way to spend the bulk of the weekend. Congratulations to Mon & John, and thanks to them for giving me something to write about.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Pretty sweet, don't you think? Thanks to Joey's deep Phi Sigma Kappa roots, his good friend and fraternity brother Eric Perinotti (also my friend, as confirmed by Facebook) whipped up this pretty little icon for our trip. Hats off to him for being the man.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
This is Dogfish Head, a beer brewed out of Rehobeth Beach, Delaware - the least famous of all 50 states, including South Dakota. Dogfish Head is probably best known for their IPA - specifically, their 60-Minute and 90-Minute IPA's, both of which will set the wallet back a pretty penny but make up for it and more on the palate. And for those of you who don't know (including me, until just now when I looked it up on Wikipedia), the 60-Minute and 90-Minute monikers are based on the length of time during which the wort is boiled, and as the time is extended, the hops being added to the wort lend more flavor to the final product. Makes sense.
This batch is one I'd never seen before the other day, when I sauntered into A. Piermani & Sons (my friendly local beer distributor) and saw this delicious, unique box sitting unassumingly on the shelf. It had no price tag, but shit, this is September - and to my knowledge, just about as early as you can hope to find a case of Pumpkin or Octoberfest beer on the shelves. Granted, I had enjoyed a case of delicious Sam Adams Octoberfest the weekend prior. But Sam Adams and a small craft brewery like Dogfish Head are two very different things. After all, Sam Adams is the largest American-owned brewery in the country (with Yuengling a close second).
This was not a cheap case, as I should have guessed by the absence of a price tag on the side. That is not a point that I allow to play into my decision-making process, however, when I shop at Piermani's. I live a fairly frugal life, rarely tossing any money away on buying new electronics, expensive clothes, etc. I have more t-shirts than I'll ever need, most of which are relics from college. But I love beer. And thus far, I've never balked at a beer purchase unless it's unreasonably expensive - as in over $50 or so.
This case came to $46.75. That's almost two dollars a bottle. And handing over my debit card, I remembered the only other time I'd paid that much for beer: about two months ago, when I bought a case of Weyerbacher Merry Monk's, a 9% ABV belgian wheat beer that took me more than three weeks to finish.
This one won't take so long. It's 7% ABV, a deep amber color with a fresh, roasty malt flavor, a reminder of Autumn on the way. It's stronger (smarter) than your average beer, but very well balanced - unlike the far-too-overwhelming flavor of the Merry Monk. It bears a strong resemblance to the Sam Adams Octoberfest, but with a richer flavor and obviously more alcohol.
Only problem is, you're gonna have to be within spitting distance of this small Delaware brewery in order to get your hands on it. If you can, and you've got nearly fifty dollars to spare, don't hesitate for a second.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Anyway, part 2 of my super fun vacation weekend takes us to the 26th and 27th of July, Saturday and Sunday. Remember, this weekend was my summer break from work, in lieu of the otherwise standard trip to Ohio for Gratefulfest that I've ruled out for this year. Hence, I stayed around home and did fun stuff all weekend.
Saturday brought me over to my friend and fraternity brother Mark Armstrong's house, who lives just over the bridge in West Conshohocken. I picked him up along with his younger brother Tom, and Tom's girlfriend, whose name eludes me at this stage in the game. And the four of us, accompanied by melodious tunes from Jerry Garcia's guitar, made the treacherous drive down 76 to Citizens Bank Park for a good ol' Phightin' Phils game. This was an afternoon game, starting at 4:05 against the Atlanta Braves, giving us enough time (but not too much time) to spend preparing ourselves in the K Lot. There, after buying some of the last standing room tickets available (at about 1:15) we met up with a handful of old friends, many from my fraternity at school, Phi Mu Delta, which we got closed down for three years thanks to our unquenchable thirst for sweet, sweet Mama Alcohol.
We drank, ate food courtesy of my big (frat) brother Erik's girlfriend Karen's very friendly parents, played buckets, and drank some more before oozing our way through the gates.
I was looking forward to this game particularly for the fact that Cole Hamels was starting. Hamels was, at the beginning of the year, considered to be the Phils' ace, though nowadays it's looking more and more like Jamie Moyer is...but anyhow, this was the first time I'd be seeing Hamels pitch in person. And unlike at the beginning of most games, my stomach was completely full of hot dogs and a hamburger from the parking lot. So I didn't waste my usual $15 or so on food that, inevitably, comes from the first vendor I see rather than walking all the way to Chickie's & Pete's or something. There are good places to get food in Citizens Bank, but I'm an impatient man, and usually I'll settle for whatever makes me walk the least.
Anyway, we were standing room only, so we got a spot out in left center field, pretty close to Harry the K's, which wasn't so bad thanks to the 'sauce'. The Phils broke out a 3-0 lead after a few innings, but without a whole lot of commotion. It wasn't really the most exhilarating game I'd ever seen, but at least we were winning.
All that changed in the top of the 4th, as Hamels began to fall apart. Baserunner after baserunner got on and came across, and after a gut-wrenchingly long inning, Cole had been pulled and the Phils were down 9-3. It was so bad that a few people we'd come with took off completely, before the game was even halfway through.
Not me, motherfucker. I stayed, and for what turned out to be a really good reason. Once the bottom of the 5th rolled around, the Phils' bats exploded for a 7-run inning capped by a 3-run home run by...shit, Greg Dobbs, maybe? I don't remember, to be honest. But it made for a great scoreboard shot.
Anyway, the Phils won by that same score, and we piled into the car and drove back to Erik's house to continue drinking. And we did, and caught up with people we hadn't seen for a long time, and so on, and so forth. Granted, I'd been drinking all day, but with my health and safety in mind - always following the drink-per-hour rule. Once I started to feel like I might be approaching that .08 level, I hopped into the car and called it a night, bearing in mind that I had to be up relatively early the next day.
To go here. A handful of my coworkers and I showed up at our restaurant bright and early at 10 am, and took a leisurely drive up the Northeast Extension to Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown. Only about an hour drive, during which I discussed politics and Socrates with our busboy, Kevin, while his girlfriend sat quietly in the backseat, no doubt bored out of her skull.
When we arrived there were about eight of us or something, and we slowly made our way into the park. This place, let me tell you, this place was a stark reminder of America as a melting pot of cultures and races. Never in recent memory have I seen such a mix of white people, black people, Indian people, Asian people, Hispanic people, everybody but albinos. I didn't see one albino, or for that matter, one Amish person the whole time I was there. Quite an eye-opener, on one level or another.
Well, we sat down on a ride, and I got prepared to clench my insides and hope for the best. But alas, before the ride took off, the straps popped open and voice came over the loudspeaker saying, "Sorry, we have to shut down the ride for the weather." Sure enough, it had begun raining steadily, to the point that within minutes the clouds were really letting loose, and we retreated into a tacky joint that was trying to be a sports restaurant. The food was pretty terrible and equally overpriced, but very filling, and took long enough for us to wait out the storm and come outside to improving skies.
We hit a few rides, the ones that opened first - a sort of tilt-a-whirl thing, and then the Dominator, which brought us up about 300-400 feet and dropped us into a brief state of weightlessness. Pretty cool, as your stomach isn't full of nachos and cheeseburger. Mine was, which made the ride considerably less fun.
Then came the demon hellride, Voodoo. It's apparently one of their newer roller coasters, this abominable thing shaped kind of like a U with a really long bottom part. We started in the middle, with out legs dangling out beneath us, and after a "3...2...1" countdown over the speaker, we were violently shot backwards at, immediately, no less than 50 mph up one side of the ride. It bent us forward, while still travelling backward, and took us up a good 125 feet in the air so that we could stare helplessly at the ground beneath us before shooting us forward to do the same thing on the other end. Only on the other end, it fucking twisted us around in loops to further add to the nausea. It did this three times, but the last time we got held facing toward the ground, those motherfuckers made it pause for a split second at the top, so that our bodies slumped against our chest coverings and we all really felt like we were going to die. It was a goddamn nightmare. This ride was the kind of thing that someone who enjoys roller coasters would probably love. But fuck you if you're one of those people. I was not amused in any way, shape or form. It reminded me of why I never go to see horror movies: if I'm gonna be paying $10 for a ticket, and $12 for soda and popcorn, and not be able to drink alcohol, then I better be able to have a really good, amusing time, filled with laughs and enjoyment aplenty. I have a very stressful life and I don't see the appeal in paying money to enter into a private environment, only to get freaked out and come close to an anxiety attack. Fuck horror movies, and fuck roller coasters. It'd been a long time since my last visit to a theme park, and guess what? I don't enjoy roller coasters on any level, period, and I felt like a real asshole for paying 40 fucking dollars to ride them.
Thankfully, I was with a fun little group of people, all of whom were committed to having a good time. So we kinda seperated into three or four groups, and mine made our way into the water park. This was my kind of park, frought with leisurely attractions like a pool that people floated along underneath waterfalls and stuff. This part was doubtlessly more fun, but the lines were brutally long, and I couldn't escape the feeling that I was swimming in half super-chlorinated water, half child urine.
And at 5:00, I jumped into my car and drove home to call it a weekend. Definately a nice three days off, and since then I've been right back into the fray, working like a bee to save up money so that Joey and Sarah and I can make up for the fact that this year, I just don't get to have a vacation. Next year, however, will be very, very different.