Monday, February 28, 2011


The Flyers Wives Fight for Lives Carnival was yesterday, and as usual, it rocked! I brought Phil E. Phan again this year, and he was a big hit with other fans. I encountered Flyers color guy Steve Coates on the ice level of the carnival, and HE asked to pose for a pic with Phil and me. Now that's a compliment, for someone who's actually working for the Carnival to want a photo! :-) Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get someone to take another pic with my camera, too, as Coatesy was actually on his way from Point A to Point B when I met him. But here a couple other pics from yesterday, instead.

Phil proudly sports the wig from Scott Hartnell Hair Night, so here he is with a picture of his hero!

Here we are with a couple of other highly-enthused Flyers fans!

Sunday, February 27, 2011


I had to restore my cell phone's address book from a backup a little while ago. Fortunately, I had a current one I could use. Otherwise, you'd all have heard the shriek, regardless of which time zone you're currently in. I've been compiling my address book since I got my first PDA in 2001, and i have been migrating it to new devices as i upgrade. Losing that data would be too brutal to contemplate, so I'm paranoid about backing it up. File this event under, "Sometimes, paranoia pays off."

Friday, February 25, 2011

Meet Tulip. Power to the Puppets!

Meet Tulip. Power to the Puppets!

EPX cabaret

EPX Cabaret

Mother Nature strikes again

A thunderstorm in February is an unusual animal indeed. Even rarer is one that's potent enough to trigger a few warning alerts from the weather radio at this time of year.

At least all we're getting is rain. In January we lived up to the prediction the weather services gave us for thunderSNOW. *THAT* phenomenon is something I've only witnessed a few times. I've had enough snow, thank you very much -- I'll take this rain instead.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Watch This Space!

I'm prepping my camera for a couple of major events that will take place in the near future. First, I will be taking video for JFM at his upcoming performance at his civic association's fundraiser/cabaret/revue. I have already discovered that the only way to share videos is via YouTube as there is no email program that will send such a jumbo-sized attachment.

Then, of course, the Flyers Carnival is an event that practically requires the use of a camera. There's always something interesting going on to take pictures of.

Pics and YouTube links will be forthcoming, so Watch This Space!

In other news, I'm sorry to report that this is all that remains of The Spectrum. America's Showplace has all but succumbed to the wrecking ball. But if it's possible to find something comforting in this forlorn sight, for me, it's this: the last remnant of the framework includes the area where my Phantoms season ticket seats were located for 13 seasons. I'm not entirely ready to lose that last tangible link to the past, so this turn of events will keep that final, vestigial thread alive for just a while longer.

Unfortunately, even this will be gone all too soon, and then all that will remain will be the memories. :-( I will reckon that to be a sad day.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Checking in

I just got a voice mail from a person from Darby, at the number associated with the link on the left-hand side of the screen. It was garbled and only lasted a couple seconds. If you are reading this and meant to leave a message, please try again.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Whew. My project, over the past few days, has been the attempt to synchronize my cell phone's calendar with my iPod touch calendar. When I am at home, I can use my PC and Outlook to accomplish this. But what if I'm away from my home computer? I am hoping to take a trip later in the year. I'll want to keep both devices up-to-date, so I will have an accurate schedule to refer to on either device.

The short answer is, it can be done. Set both devices up to talk to Google Calendar. That involves installing a free app on the WinMo phone, and an app called Pocket Informant on the iPod. Then when one calendar is updated, do a Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance trick to send the update out to Google Calendar, and from there to the other device.

As an added bonus, there is a freebie program that can be installed on a PC, to let it talk to Google Calendar, too. Running that will allow your PC's calendar to be updated with whatever you sent to Google Calendar.

I know some of my friends have smartphones, so this is just an FYI that these things are possible.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Fun at the Mall

We're back from an afternoon run to the Deptford Mall. I seem to be having a "not enough caffeine in the time zone" kind of day. I went to order a sandwich at the Subway. One part of my brain wanted to order a footlong sandwich. Another part of my brain wanted to say, "12 inch sandwich". What did I actually order? "I'd like a 12 foot sandwich..." Um, no, even I wasn't THAT hungry! LOL!

The good news is that after lunch, I had an hour or so to kill, so I spent most of that time walking in the mall. the doc didn't say HOW to get that daily walking in, so mall walking is as good as anything else.

I did include a few side trips into stores to do a little window-shopping. That when I was surprised at how very small some of the department stores' electronics departments have gotten. WOW. Maybe they shrank their inventory and selection of small-ticket items and accessories as a result of people turning to online shopping for electronic gear. But now, they almost leave consumers with no other option but to shop online, because if a person is looking for accessories, they will find very little to choose from on department store shelves.

Then again, department stores don't tend to help their own case much with their pricing policies. I actually saw one item I might have been interested in, till I saw the price tag. Then I decided I could probably get the item online for less, and that ended the possibility of an in-store purchase. In short, they are pricing themselves out of the market for the consumer group that's MOST likely to do an online price check, by setting the prices for their tech accessories too high. I suppose the underwhelming electronics departments I saw today are a sign that more than one department store has decided to concede victory to online retailers. Either way, I'm glad I was only window-shopping and not in need of buying anything, because the end result is I came home empty-handed.

Woo hoo!

Rejoice and be glad! I just saw several instances of growing, green grass while I was out walking the dog!

Spring is TRYING to get here. All we have to do is be patient. Which is good, because I am SO over winter weather. Heeeeere, Spring Spring Spring! Come on, Spring!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Jury Duty. Maybe.

Philly has an interesting twist to its jury duty summons process. We are supposed to call in the night before, enter our ID number, and find out whether we will be needed to report the following day. In the years since they have adopted this formula, sometimes I have been needed to come in, sometimes not. Once, when I was going through a particularly hellish job situation, I learned I didn't need to report but I went in anyhow. I preferred having a day away from the miserable, nasty excuses for people that populated that workplace.

Maybe I should thank those ex-coworkers for driving me to seek, for the first time, an anti-migraine prescription. That's the only med I have ever found to be truly effective in relieving migraines. However, leaving the job turned out to be even more effective, as that meant I wasn't getting the stress-induced migraines in the first place.

But I digress. I have some plans later this week that will remain in limbo until I discover whether I need to report for jury duty.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mubarak steps down

Wow. Mubarak has stepped down from power in Egypt. I remember the day his predecessor was assassinated. I was out sick from college classes with the worst case of gastroenteritis I ever remember having. It was a real knock-down, drag-out bout of illness that involved a collapse from dehydration at one point.

So I was home, wilted on the sofa with the TV on, and the news stories broke in about Anwar Sadat's assassination. There was significant coverage of that event, and I remember it well.

And now Mubarak has handed over power to the military and stepped down after weeks of protests. I'm glad the power transfer had seen only limited bloodshed given the persistence of the protesting. It could have turned into a massacre at many different points, but it never did. Thank God for a peaceful transition.

Monday, February 07, 2011

He's baaaaack

After a weekend without a call from the Pakistani phone number, I stopped turning off my ringer overnight. I thought that when this morning passed and still no call came in, maybe "Filippe" had gotten the message and was taking his attentions elsewhere.

But then he called again ten minutes ago. At least he didn't call at the crack of dawn this time. But the fact that he called at all tells me he hasn't given up hope that I will answer the phone for my as-yet-unknown, self-described "friend". I am resolved to hit "Ignore" and send him to voice mail every time I see his number, until he gets the hint and states his case in a message, or gives up calling. He has yet to avail himself of my voice mail, and my "friend" is apparently unaware of the fact that he is not going to outlast my resolve. My *real* friends could line up to testify to the fact that he shouldn't hold his breath waiting for me to budge, once I'm flat-out determined to do something. That facet of my personality has been described alternately as persistence or stubbornness, depending on whether the describer agrees or disagrees with my course of action. Label it as you see fit here, but I am not wasting my phone plan minutes on these bogus calls.

Since he's still calling, I'll resume turning off the ringer overnight. As before, if a call to my cell phone goes unanswered, try the land line. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

What the heck, Nike?

There is a feature present on current models of iPhone and iPod Touch that permits logging workout data with a little sensor made by Nike and sold separately. I picked up an extremely inexpensive sensor from eBay. I sure am glad I didn't spend a lot. It turns out that the battery is neither rechargeable nor replaceable. While there is a "sleep/wake" button on the device, there is no way to actually tell if your device is, in fact, asleep or awake.

The device, per the instruction manual, defaults to being on and active. Yes, let's use up that battery ASAP so the person has to replace their sensor repeatedly. Way to beat up on the environment, Nike. I hit the sleep button to put the device to sleep. I think. I can't tell if it's off or on, because instead of being a switch, it's an on/off toggle button and nothing changes visually to tell me what state the device is in.

Since all these design flaws translate into more frequent replacement of devices for Nike, I don't foresee their being rectified anytime soon. So I will experiment with the sensor I just got, but don't look for me to be replacing it when it's battery dies unless I find the cheapest possible deal. I am not going to be a lifetime subscriber to buying sensors.

Edit to add: HA! Two seconds of searching on the internet, and I have found battery replacement instructions for the sensor. Since the alternative is to discard the sensor and buy a new one, I wouldn't feel bad about attempting to open the device up once the battery dies. It's not like I'd be voiding a warranty or anything. So take THAT, Nike. I won't beat up on the environment and fill your pockets repeatedly.

Friday, February 04, 2011

AGAIN with the guy from Pakistan.

Heh. And I thought the calls from Pakistan came in early *yesterday* morning. Today, half an hour earlier than that, I awoke to the sound of my cell phone. The caller ID displayed the same Pakistani phone number I dealt with yesterday. I hit Ignore to send it straight to voice mail, then shut off the phone. As with yesterday, no message was left.

Tonight, I will turn off the ringer before I go to sleep. If he calls again, I want to see how many times he calls and lands in voice mail before he quits.

In the event that anyone reading this needs to call me during the AM hours, if my cell phone doesn't get answered, please use my land line. My cell phone is going to be on silent, or shut off outright, in the mornings until my new Pakistani alarm clock stops calling.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

I have a friend in Pakistan?

Early this morning, my cell phone rang, waking me up. I looked to see who was calling, as it was an hour that most people I know wouldn't be dialing my number without good reason. I thought it was odd that my cell phone was unable to parse the string of digits into a normal-looking telephone number. The caller ID displayed it as a long, unbroken string of digits, beginning with 92.

I had no clue what the Sam Hill would cause a caller ID display like that, so I hit the Ignore button to send it to voice mail.

Seconds later, the phone rang again. I figured I'd probably be better off answering it and dealing with it, if I was going to be faced with a persistent caller. The voice on the other end of the line belonged to a man who sounded like he had an Indian accent.

In response to my greeting, he said, "This is your friend."

"Who's calling, please?"

"This is your friend."

"I'm sorry, I don't know who you are. Who's calling, please?"

"This is your friend."

I thought to myself that if he really were my friend, he'd know better than to call me at that hour of the morning for anything less than a crisis. But I bit my tongue and said, "Sir, I don't know you. Who's calling?"

"This is Filippe from Pakistan. I am your friend."

"Sir, I really don't know who you are." and I hung up.

Instantly, the phone rang again. I hit Ignore. He called back immediately. I not only hit Ignore, I shut the phone off and left if off for half an hour.

When I turned the telephone back on, I took another look at that caller ID number. I wondered what the telephone code for Pakistan was, and I looked it up. Sure enough, the country code for Pakistan is 92. So Filippe quite literally was from Pakistan, and apparently that's where he was calling from.

I still have no idea who he is or why he was dialing my number, particularly since he never did leave a message when I directed his calls to my voice mail.

But no freaking WONDER I deal with insomnia. When I finally do get to sleep, I get woken up at the freaking crack of dawn by prank calls from Pakistan. ARRRRGH... :headdesk:

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

ICE is everywhere!

If you're reading this early in the morning and are in the Philly area, be warned: when I walked the dog about an hour ago, the front steps AND the RAILING were coated with solid ice! Yours might be, too.

Which means if you slip on the steps and grab the rail, you might still fall because your hand WILL slip on the iced-over railing.

I don't want to see a bunch of Facebook/Twitter statuses of friends posting that they fell on the ice and damaged themselves. So I offer this advice: don't risk spending the day in the ER, as I did several years ago. I went out in an ice storm, jacked up my knee, and lived to regret it. Leave the ER to other people and STAY HOME. As the website says, "Learn from my fail".

Tuesday, February 01, 2011


So I've been reading about the Cyclone that's about to hit Australia. I wondered what the difference was between a cyclone and a hurricane, and it turns out the difference in nomenclature boils down to geographic location.

Hurricanes, Typhoons, and Cyclones, oh my!

And that particular weather pattern, regardless of its name, is something that no one wants to deal with. So thoughts and prayers to our frends Down Under who are dealing with it.

Cold-brewing Coffee even as I type

Cold-brewed coffee, anyone? I'm making some, even as I type. :-)