Wednesday, February 28, 2007

This morning, I saw a commuter on the regional rail train who had his bicycle with him. There's nothing unusual about that; I see people with bicycles on the subway and on the regional rail line all the time.

But THIS bike was out-of-the-ordinary because of one particular accessory that it bore. Dangling from its rear reflector, which was just under the back of the bike seat, was a green pine-tree shaped car deodorizer.

Anyone who knows how punchy I am in the morning, before the caffeine really starts to kick in, will appreciate how quickly my mind started going off on various tangents. For example, "Why would someone need to install an air freshener right behind their bike seat? Does he eat beans prior to riding?"

Upon mulling this over, however, I realized that there could be some practical applications of this idea. "Boost your bike's speed: use compressed air!" Or "Jet propulsion: coming soon to a bicycle near you!"

Hey, what if THAT was Lance Armstrong's secret weapon all along? There's no need for doping or other illegal, dangerous methods of boosting performance; just consume broccoli, beans, and a glass of milk with every meal. Perfectly safe, legal, ethical, and healthy to boot.

Then again, it'd take an awful lot of those air fresheners to conceal that particular method of performance enhancement from the rest of the competition, particularly when they're all trailing the rider in question. So I presume that he made no attempt to skew the odds in his favor by harnessing the power of wind.

See what I mean about being punchy and going off on tangents first thing in the morning? This is all my fellow commuter's fault. Him and his air freshener! Blame all this rambling on him. ;o)

Hey, the post I emailed on Sunday morning finally appeared! The one I sent on Friday, however, appears to have gone to the ozone. Here's what I had to say in the missing post:

On Thursday, I got a call from Sr. K., who coordinates the interpreted Masses for the Archdiocese. She asked if I was willing to cover the Masses on the fourth Sunday of the month for a while, at the church where I already work on the second Sundays. The interpreter who normally takes care of the fourth Sundays has requested a brief break, tentatively until the end of the summer.

I agreed to fill in on the fourth Sundays. I don't mind. I like interpreting Masses. Plus, this temp assignment in Fort Washington is likely to continue only through the end of March. This could be God's way of sending a little extra work my way, to help pick up the slack if I don't get another lengthy temp assignment right away.

Which reminds me. I need to update my resume to reflect my current assignment. I'd rather have that taken care of before this assignment's over, so I can start presenting an up-to-date resume immediately.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

It took them a few days, but Blogger has updated their status site to include a mention of their posting-by-email problems. I'll have to keep an eye on that and see when it's labeled "resolved".

In other news, I forgot my %$&#* TrailPass this morning. File this under "mistakes I won't repeat". Thank goodness I hit the ATM a few days ago, so I actually have enough cash to pay my fare with.

Today's the NHL trading deadline. I have a personal short list of players I absolutely want to remain in Philly, no matter what. I told Mark to set some bail money aside, just in case an unwanted transaction causes the urge for this blogger to commit GM-ocide. It's happened before -- the urge, that is. Let's hope I have no reason to think such thoughts today. ;o)
Testing post-by-email: is it working yet? ;o)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Mark and I are at the "will call", picking up Flyers Wives Carnival tickets.

We just ordered them by phone a half hour ago. I was a bit surprised that there were any left, and also by this sign.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Blogger is acting up again. I emailed it a post on Friday morning, but it has yet to show up.

This is aggravating. Time to report a tech problem to them.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I'm going to re-route my commute home. I just saw this on KYW's website:
----
SEPTA police and Philadelphia police were investigating an accident Wednesday afternoon at the Olney station of the Broad Street subway.

A Philadelphia police spokesperson says a 25-year-old man tried to jump onto a moving train but fell underneath. He was pronounced dead at the scene, at 2:40pm.

Septa officials say they were using shuttle buses to provide service between Erie and Fern Rock stations. Septa spokesman Gary Fairfax says the shuttle buses would be marked "Broad Street" or "Shuttle."

The shuttle buses were stopping at every stop along the Broad Street line.
----

That's sad. It would have been bad enough if the poor person had intended to take his life. But it seems, according to this report, that it was an accident. Poor guy and his poor family. :o(

I'm not getting off the train at Fern Rock tonight. If I stay on for a few more stations, and get off at a station in Center City, I can connect with the Subway at a point where the service is running normally. It'll be slower than my usual commute, but it's sure to be faster than dealing with shuttle buses. Been there, done that (though never for a terrible reason like this).

Oh, here we go. One oif my un-favorite weather hazards us out in force this morning. Every inch of the ground looks wet.That's not surprising, as we still have most of last week's dose of snow and ice.

But the vast majority of that "wet" street and pavement is actually glazed with ice.

Cars are no better. I thought my windows were covered with droplets of condensation, which often happens. But when I switched on the windshield wipers, the blades rasped across the "droplets" to no avail. Aah, phooey. I had to apply the ice scraper to the collection of looks-like-water.

By the time I exit the subway (where there's no cellular signal) and post this, the sun should be up and melting the black ice. But be careful out there anyway.

Friday, February 16, 2007

ARGH.

My car won't start. It's trying mightily, when I turn the key, to get going and stay that way. If cars could talk, mine would be saying, "I think I can! I think I can!" But the only real result is the production of some ragged engine noises, before it shudders into silence and stalls, lighting all the alert signals on the dashboard.

I just called out from work, because it's going to take AAA a while to arrive.

I think I have frostbite of the everything. There's soon to be a mug of hot tea with my name on it. Or hot chocolate. Shoot, I'd drink a mug of hot *water* at this point. Brrrrr.
Aaaaah... Blogger made some changes to their system and upgraded everything.

I seem to have lost the option of listing multiple posts within the same day with the *oldest* one first. Now, it appears that the newest post will be on top, whether it's on a new day or on the same day as the previous post.

Rats. Time to email their tech support. I want that option back.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Once again, I feel compelled to point out that if you're sitting five feet away from me on a subway train, and I can determine that the singer you're listening to on your headphones is a woman, you're playing the music at a dangerously loud level. Turn it the heck down while you still CAN hear it at lower volumes.

And stop abusing your ears before you end up with a permanent case of tinnitus, like me. In the late 80s, I dated a person whose family friend was in a (pretty darned good) band. So we went to see them perform at various places. The trouble was, most of these venues were tiny little bar/tavern-sized locations, but their sound systems were designed for a place the size of the Spectrum. After a few of these concerts, I noticed my ears were ringing even the next morning and thought, "I should wear earplugs to these shows." I did get earplugs, but too late. The ringing never really went away. And the sad part is, I really didn't attend all that many performances before tinnitus kicked in for keeps; it was maybe five or six concerts before the ringing converted from "it goes away by late the next morning"" to "I'm still waiting for it to stop". Obviously, not everyone will be affected as soon as that, but I can attest that it's possible. Nobody knows that they've drawn the genetic short straw for noise-sensitive ears until *after* the damage is done.

Anyway, it's a pet peeve of mine to see people abusing their ears. Blasting loud music into your ears is the auditory equivalent of staring at the sun: something that's not worth the risk of the injury it a cause.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

We have an ice storm warning.

I just called out from work. I learned the hard way in 1994 to STAY INDOORS during ice storms.

Today's weather is Evil with a capital E. If you're experiencing the weather pattern that's passing through the Philly area right now, stay the heck home until Mother Nature stops pitching her tantrum.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Sheesh! We have what amounts to a dusting of snow and ice on the ground, but even *that* is enough to cause a hazard!

PennDOT, in their infinite wisdom (ha ha), opted NOT to salt or plow the southbound left-turn lane that leads to the Park-and-Ride entrance.

When I moved from the cleared center lane to the snow-covered turning lane, I could see I had a red light at the intersection prior to where the actual turn takes place. So I applied the brakes.

And did a slow-motion 180 degree fishtail.

I *do* mean S-L-O-W motion, too, as in, "a person could have walked faster than the car was moving". But it's still creepy to be in a car that's in motion when you don't intend it to be.

Fortunately, the nearest oncoming headlights were about a block away. Thank God that even on Broad Street, the traffic is extremely light prior to 7 AM. Also, thank God I was driving slowly to begin with. That made the difference between having a super-slow-mo unintended turn and an "Oh, *%&$#!!! Hang on for dear life!" moment.

I'm lucky. Though my guardian angel surely has a few new grey hairs, I was none the worse for wear. I just righted the car and went on my way as though nothing unusual had happened. Still, whoever thought that neglecting the turning lane, when South Broad Street was being cleared, needs to be thumped soundly on the noggin with a bag of rock salt. If you see "accident on South Broad Street" on today's traffic report, you'll know that some speed demon attempted to use that left-turn lane, with decidedly worse results than mine.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

P.S. OMG, I'm laughing my head off!

The Roomba finished vacuuming and was sitting quietly, charging on its base. After a few minutes, Captain and Stanley decided that now that the Trilobite Monster seemed to be safely asleep and quiet, it was time to give it a closer examination.

Picture two Stripey Critters cautiously circling around a Roomba, sniffing it warily. Now picture one of them, I'm not sure which because I didn't see it, deciding to get a closer look and trying to step on the device.

Whichever kitty did that had the misfortune of standing right ON the big "clean" button that activates the robot. All I knew is suddenly I heard the little electronic happy-music that precedes the Roomba's embarking on a vacuuming mission. The motor whirred to life, and the Roomba started moving.

Captain and Stanley might have set a new Feline Land Speed Record just now, trying to get as far away from the now-awakened Trilobite Monster as their little paws could carry them.

We shut the device off and returned it to its charging base, since it was nowhere near recharged when the cats accidentally activated it. It's been a while since I've laughed this hard. :o) Poor kitties... but maybe they'll let the Trilobite Monster nap undisturbed from now on.

The cats are decidedly NOT elated about the new Roomba. As the whirring silver horseshoe-crab crosses the dining room, Stanley keeps a wary eye on the monster from a safe distance, and Captain breaks cover from his hideaway behind the box.

Presuming all goes well, it'll be set to run while Mark and I are at work and the cats are in the basement. But I want to actually SEE it in action, before we let it run unattended.

I'm doing my best to convince the Kitty Committee that I'm laughing *with* them. ;o) I don't think they're buying it, however.

Friday, February 02, 2007

There's a raffle going on in the cafeteria at work. I got a kick out of the Eagles *baseball* jersey. The sight of a football team's logo on a baseball jersey gave me a few moments of cognitive dissonance, until I figured out why I was having feelings of "What's wrong with this picture?" while looking at it.

I'm reminded of our Group of Friends (tm) annual brunch, which we have around Christmas every year in lieu of buying one another gifts. We got together last New Year's Eve at the Rittenhouse Hotel, and got a chuckle out of hearing the resident live musician play "Piano Man" on an acoustic guitar. :o)

What's next? A Phillies hockey jersey? A rendition of "Mr. Tambourine Man" played on a pipe organ? The world's gone topsy-turvy, I tell you!