Smoke-free Restaurants in Pennsylvania

[Note: scroll to the end of this post to see the restaurant list.]

The Allentown location of Carrabba’s Italian Grill has gone completely smoke-free!  Kim and I went there for dinner the other night, and when I asked (as I always do) to be seated as far from the smoking section as possible, the hostess replied that there’s no longer a smoking section!  Tears of joy streamed down my face.  And just when I thought that the day couldn’t get any better, they had swordfish on the specials menu.  It was amazing, as swordfish tends to be.

Carrabba’s has been one of my favorite restaurants for almost 10 years, and the only bad thing about it was the cigarette smoke.  With that issue resolved, I intend to visit Carrabba’s much more often.  I called the manager the next day to express my support for the decision, and to ask what made them do it; he said that more and more people were complaining about the smoke, and the majority of their patrons are non-smokers, so it was a good business decision for them to make.

Indeed, nearly 80% of Pennsylvanians are non-smokers.  It’s always been absurd that smokers were allowed to foul the air with toxins in public places, but it’s especially absurd in light of how outnumbered they are.  That being the case, the Pennsylvania legislature had better get their act together and pass a statewide smoking ban this fall.  Not only is it obviously the correct thing to do since second-hand smoke kills people by the thousands, but it’s also what the vast majority of the population wants.

If the government fails to take responsibility in this area, then I sure hope that more restaurants will do it themselves.  Carrabba’s is currently the only real restaurant to have gone smoke-free in our area.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, all the other restaurants that we visit still allow smoking: Applebee’s, Chili’s, Grotto Pizza, the Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse, Red Lobster, Ruby Tuesday’s, TGI Friday’s.  (The website has a list of smoke-free restaurants, but the vast majority of them are McDonald’s, Burger King, etc -- not real restaurants.)

Smoke-Free Restaurant List:

These are restaurants that I know are totally non-smoking from first-hand experience.  Note that "restaurants" like McDonald’s, Burger King, etc, will not be listed here.

Carrabba’s on Cedar Crest Boulevard in Allentown; smoke-free as of Sept 2007.

Bravo at the Lehigh Valley Mall in Whitehall; smoke-free since its opening in Sept 2007.

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iPhone Photos

I’ve posted a set of miscellaneous photos taken this past July.  Well, they’re not that miscellaneous; mostly they’re of Cheshire.  But they were all taken with the iPhone.

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60-Cycle Hum in Your Stereo? Check Your Cable TV Line for Ground Loop

The traditional solution to "mains buzz" or "mains hum" is to make sure that all of the components in your audio/video setup are plugged into the same outlet, thus ensuring that all grounds are at the same electrical potential.  As long as there’s no potential difference between grounds, then by definition there’s no voltage, so via Ohm’s Law there can be no current flow, and thus no unwanted hum caused by the current flow.

I just finally got around to setting up my receiver here, and got some pretty nasty hum right away, which I figured was due to the computers being plugged into different outlets than the TV and receiver.  So I ran an extension cord from the computers’ power outlet over to the TV/receiver, but it made no difference.

After a little bit of searching I found out that the coaxial cable line can cause a ground loop with the other components in the system, because it’s actually only grounded at the cable company (!) and not at your house.  Sure enough, unplugging the coax resulted in beautiful silence through the stereo speakers.

To fix the problem, you need to break the ground loop, which can be done with an old 75-ohm to 300-ohm matching transformer (Radio Shack Cat. No. 15-1140).  Of course, you need a 75-ohm signal for any modern TV equipment, so the solution is to buy 2 of these transformers and hook them together: the second one reverses the transformation done by the first, so the output signal is (theoretically) the same as the input signal, except that the ground loop is broken.

Radio Shack’s Cat. No. 15-1253 is pretty much the same thing except in the opposite gender, so I bought one of each to make it simple to hook the two transformers together.  But note that item 15-1253 does not break continuity between the input and output grounds (outer shield), so using two of those won’t break the ground loop; you need at least one 15-1140.

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Posted by Anthony on 4 replies

New Cheshire Photos

Here are some more kitten pictures from March.  The set contains a few funny movie clips too, of Cheshire attacking his orange ball.

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Apparently the people who lived here before us had DirecTV.  We’ve never had it, and we sure don’t now.  A few days ago I heard what sounded like a metal trash can blowing around in the parking lot, but, no, it’s just a satellite dish hanging from the roof and banging against the siding.  I told the landlord about it a few days ago, but nothing’s come of that yet.

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Housefly Hunter

Cheshire has been running around here chasing a fly that was buzzing along the wall.  He finally caught the fly while it was hanging around a small table lamp.  He batted at the fly with his paws until it mostly stopped moving, and then he ate it.  Now he’s running around crying because he can’t find the fly.

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Dilbert and Email Etiquette

The past couple of Daily Dilbert comics have been near and dear to my heart:

May 7th:

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May 8th:

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Posted by Anthony on 2 replies

Your Cat is a Carnivore; Don't Feed Him Dry Food

When we got Cheshire a few weeks ago, we were required to purchase a bag of the same food that he was eating at the pet store.  This was to make sure that he continued to eat during the stressful and scary transition to a new environment without his feline siblings that he’d grown up with to that point.

But for the first 2 days, he didn’t eat (though he had no problem drinking water).  And I didn’t want to give him wet food, because I thought once he had that, he’d definitely never want to eat the dry food.  But Kim was worried and just wanted him to eat something, so we eventually gave him some wet food, which he fangoriously devoured in about 3 seconds and promptly threw up again.  And I think he might have thrown up one more time, but after that, he was fine.

Meanwhile I started doing some research into the wet food vs. dry food issue.  I had never really thought about it before, but I’d always heard that cats need dry food, one of the reasons being that it’s good for keeping their teeth clean.  But in my research I read that that’s hogwash, because cats don’t even chew their food up; they just crunch it one time and swallow the pieces, so there is very little friction with the teeth which would be required for the "keep the teeth clean" theory.  And furthermore, dry food is something like 40% carbohydrates, so it eventually just turns to sugar on their teeth, which means it’s actually worse for their teeth.

This brings me to the second and bigger issue: cats shouldn’t be eating dry food period.  Cats are carnivores; their bodies are designed to eat and digest meat, and they never naturally eat vegetables or grains.  When I think about this now, it’s entirely obvious, and the only reason I can figure for why it never occurred to me before is that I never had a kitten before and thus never had to worry about what to feed it.

In the wild, big cats eat big animals (deer, zebras, etc) and small cats eat small animals like mice.  From what I’ve read, this natural diet gives them something like 5% carbs, and wet cat food is similarly proportioned, plus wet cat food being mostly meat has all the stuff that a carnivore needs.  Contrast that to dry food, which is around 40% carbs, and is mostly grains and vegetables, which a cat would never naturally eat.

As cats get older and many of them have diet-related diseases, often the first thing the vet does is switch them to a lower-carb (i.e. wet food) diet.  From what I’ve read, vets are coming around to the realization that cats should have been eating that kind of diet all along.

Of course, you need to take a grain of salt with the things you read online, but I’ve found quite a few different sites recommending an all-wet-food diet.  And today I had to take Cheshire to the vet for shots, and she actually said the same thing.  That, coupled with the fact that it’s common sense to feed a carnivore meat, makes it pretty clear to me that it’s the right way to go.

(And we were pretty terrified to discover that the food we’ve been feeding Cheshire is one of the dozens of brands that are part of a massive pet-food recall, but fortunately it looks like none of our cans/pouches are in the recalled batches, and Cheshire seems perfectly healthy in any case.  I asked the vet today and she pointed out that Friskies and Fancy Feast are two of the (few) brands not part of the recall, so we’re going to stock up on them for now.)

Posted by Anthony on 2 replies

New Kitten, New California, New Photos!

OK, so California isn’t new.  But I did finally just post a set of photos from our trip to California: Redwood Trees at Muir Woods National Monument.

In even more exciting news, Kim and I got a kitten last night!  He doesn’t have a name yet, but he is already an internet superstar with his own kitten photos online.

Posted by Anthony on 7 replies

I Love Colorado

We just got back from an awesome trip to Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  I went snow-skiing for the first time ever and had tons of fun.  We got a few inches of snow every day, and 10" on one of the days, and it was cold enough that at times we were up to our knees in "fresh powder" as they say.  People were saying this was the best week for skiing that they had all year.

We had also gone to Steamboat in the summer of 2005, and it was equally awesome during that time of year.  We did lots of hiking, some biking, and almost did some white-water rafting.  (I took photos at Fish Creek Falls and Rabbit Ears Pass.)

In any season, Colorado is a beautiful and amazing place.  Steamboat Springs in particular is a nice and quaint little town that just feels like home.  I’m having a hard time understanding why anyone would want to live anywhere other than Colorado.

I didn’t take many photos on this trip since we mostly just skied, but Kim took some, and I’m sure she’ll post them soon.  The few photos that I took were from the plane and I’ll post them if there are any decent ones.

Posted by Anthony on 4 replies

Happy Birthday 'Honey Bunny' !

First of all, don’t you hate when your Mom does this to you? :)  Second, Happy 26th Birthday to my first born son!  Mom’s get to do this ’cause we were there going through it all so that gives us priority over all.

It’s very weird to process that you breathed your first minutes 26 years ago.  But it was amazing and awesome then as it is today.  I am so blessed because of it.

Enjoy your day.

lvu always...


Posted by Mom on 1 reply


Kim recently had a business meeting in Utah, and despite the fact that airfare to go out west is astronomical, I went along for the trip.  Her ticket was on the company dime, of course.

The farthest west I’d ever been before this trip was Colorado, and Utah is the next state to the west, so it was a new record for me.

Utah is beautiful.  We only had 3 and a half days there, 1 and a half of which were work days, so we didn’t have too much time to explore; we saw Salt Lake City, Alta, and Antelope Island (briefly).  But even just in Salt Lake City, it’s so clean, and there are mountains everywhere; it’s a lovely city.

We took lots of photos.  Here are the ones I’ve posted so far:

Downtown Salt Lake City Sugarloaf Road Hike (Alta)

Update 2006-12-17: here are the final 2 sets:

Night Shots of Air Products in Bountiful, Utah, and Oil Refineries in Salt Lake City The Great Salt Lake and Antelope Island in Utah

Some random interesting things about Utah or the Salt Lake area in particular:

The highways are really wide.  Route 15 is 6 lanes in both directions at some points.

Every shopping center has a pawn shop and/or a payday-loan shop.  Literally every one.  There must be hundreds of them in and around Salt Lake alone.  It’s weird because those kinds of places are so tacky, and there were other tacky/gaudy shops, but then the next block would be really nice.

All restaurants in UT are non-smoking.  That alone is nearly enough reason to move there.

They have this great little restaurant called Noodles & Company.  We went there twice in 3 days if that tells you anything.  I had the mushroom stroganoff and the penne rosa, and both were amazing, for $5.  It is a chain, so I can only hope that one comes to PA soon.

And finally, not really about Utah, but about the flight out there: it was non-stop, which I always figured (you always hear) is ideal, but 2 hours into the 4.5 hour flight I started getting really claustrophobic and fidgety.  And the seat next to me was empty.  I don’t know what my problem was, but Kim also was really claustrophobic on the flight back (due to the huge guy next to her).  So from now on I think I prefer that longish flights like this have a layover.  And I would certainly always rather drive 8 hours in my own car than fly any amount of time.  Of course to go this far west, driving isn’t usually a viable option, but I’m just saying.

Also, they tricked us when we got our seats: they were like, you’re in an exit row, are you willing and able to assist others in the event of an emergency?  And we’re like of course, no problem.  What they DON’T tell you is that the exit row seats don’t recline!!  On a 4.5 hour flight, that’s something they ought to tell you.

Posted by Anthony on 1 reply

Humanity Getting Smarter

Kim and I were in Utah last weekend, and I’ll be posting about that soon, but one of the really cool things about Utah is that smoking is prohibited in all public places including restaurants and bars.  It was so nice to go out to eat and not be bothered by the smoke that never fails to infiltrate the "non-smoking section" in Pennsylvania restaurants.

When I learned about Utah’s public smoking ban, I looked it up and found lots of other good news on the subject:

On September 25th, a public-smoking ban went into effect in Philadelphia.  And Allentown is making noises along the same lines:

On Sept. 20, Allentown City Council approved a resolution urging the state of Pennsylvania to enact a statewide ban on smoking in public places.
This is not an issue of choice.  Those directly affected by second-hand smoke did not choose to bear the negative effects of someone else’s habit.  Taxpayers do not choose to shoulder the financial burden of those who require regular, costly treatment for lung disease.  In fact, most consumers are in favor of indoor bans.  According to a national Zagat Survey of more that 110,000 restaurant patrons in the United States, 80 percent of respondents said that all restaurants should be smokefree.  In California, 70 percent of respondents said they would eat out less if smoking were permitted again in restaurants.

Earlier this month, Philadelphia became the latest major U.S. city to go smoke-free indoors.  This continues a trend at the state and municipal level that is spreading across the United States.  According to Americans for Non-smokers’ Rights, a California-based lobbying organization, 17 states and 474 municipalities have enacted smoking bans in restaurants, bars and other workplaces.  Hawaii begins a ban in this November, and Washington, D.C., is going smokeless in January.

Even those crazy Europeans are on board with this:

Four fifths of EU citizens support a ban on smoking in offices, shops and other indoor public spaces, according to a poll marking World No Tobacco Day.

However, they are less sure when asked specifically if they support a ban in bars - in this case, 61% are in favour.
The world’s first nationwide smoking ban in public places was imposed in Ireland in 2004.

Italy and Scotland have outlawed smoking in enclosed public places and the rest of the UK is following suit in 2007.
"More and more of us don’t smoke and don’t want to be anywhere near smokers either."

The poll suggests that young people are the most likely to find smoke unpleasant, for reasons such as its smell.


This is January 2005, and even Italy, where it is not unusual to see doctors smoking in hospitals and pupils lighting up in school corridors, has moved with the times by introducing a harsh new law banning smoking in public places, including bars and restaurants.


France is to ban smoking in all public places from next February, the prime minister has announced.

Cafes, nightclubs and restaurants are to be given until January 2008 to adapt, said Dominique de Villepin.
Smoking kills more than 13 people a day in France, said Mr de Villepin - calling it an "unacceptable reality".
Opinion polls in France - often considered a nation of smokers - suggest 70% of the people support the ban.

And the BBC has this roundup of smoking bans around the world.

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About a month ago, on August 8th, my family was shocked by the sudden loss of Kim’s father.  In addition to being extremely busy with moving and helping Kim’s mom take care of the many, many things that Warner always took care of for us, I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to post about this.  It’s very hard and very personal, but I think that not saying anything about it here would be worse.

Lots of great things have been said about Warner and his very full life.  It is true that he lived a happy and full life -- probably more full than anyone else I know -- and we know that because he was born again, he is now with the Lord.  We also know that God’s timing is correct.  Still, right now it’s hard to focus on anything but the fact that he’s not here with us, and it’s hard not to think that his life was cut short.  I always unconsciously assumed that there would be many more long hikes and fun trips with my father-in-law.

I only knew Warner for about 2 years, and I am hurting a lot now, so I can only imagine what Kim, her mom, and Travis are going through.  You didn’t have to spend much time with Warner to see that he was a great dad and a great husband.  But if you did spend any considerable amount of time with him, you realized that he was just a great person period.  He was unquestionably one of the greatest men I have ever known, and quite possibly the single greatest.  He was a role model, an inspiration, and a friend to me, and I miss him.

Posted by Anthony on 4 replies

Groove Salad, Business, and The Secret to Charcoal Grilling

Wow, quiet times around here, no?  I know it’s time to make a new post when I get one of those "are you still alive??" emails from my mom.

I’ve been extremely busy with work, which I’m extremely thankful for.  July was my most profitable month to date, and business -- both sales and custom work -- seems to be steadily picking up.  Don’t get me wrong: my income is still no match for my student loan bills, but I’m making way more money doing web programming than I was making as a PC technician.

A couple weeks ago, Dan imparted unto me the secret to grilling with charcoal.  My problem has been that the coals are always too cool to put a nice charred exterior on meats, yet ironically I still can’t avoid making things more dry and well-done than I’d like.  Dan’s tip was to spread the coals out unevenly (after they turn gray, of course), so that they are just a single layer deep on one side of the grill, but stacked up on the other side.  That way one side of the grill is extremely hot and puts those nice grill-lines on your steaks, but you can move them off to the other cooler side after that.

To wrap things up, I’d like to say that Groove Salad on SomaFM is a great internet radio station.  They call it: "A nicely chilled plate of ambient beats and grooves."  It’s largely instrumental, and on the occasional vocal track, I usually enjoy the vocals too.  I listen to it pretty much all day every day.

Posted by Anthony on 2 replies

The End

Just as I feared, the end has come:

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Crest Icy Mint Striped Toothpaste has been discontinued.

Why me?

Posted by Anthony on 4 replies

Lug Nuts

On Sunday I got a flat tire.  My car has a full-size spare, which I was quite glad for on this, my first flat tire in 7 years with the Golf.

But Golfy’s tire wrench isn’t one of those huge plus-sign-shaped ones that’s 18 inches long on both bars.  Instead it’s shaped like an allen wrench, and is only about 10 inches long.  I never thought this would have been a problem until I had to use it to loosen the lug nuts.

It was virtually impossible to get them loose.  Of course they’re tightened with pneumatic drills at the garage that installs them, and they also appeared to have a slight amount of rust on them.  I pulled with all my might and they didn’t budge even slightly.  Kim and I both tried standing on the wrench, to no avail.

I started thinking about opening my phone and getting our GPS coordinates, and calling my parents or one of my siblings, asking them to bring us some stronger arms and/or a different tire wrench, when I had one last idea.  I stood on the wrench again, then jumped up off it, and slammed my heel back down on it.  Finally the nut gave way!

The interesting thing is that it made a terrible screeching noise when it first loosened, and upon tightening the nuts they made the same noise at the very end of the tightening process.  I’ve heard the noise before, of course, at any number of auto repair shops throughout my life, but I always figured it was the sound of the drill hitting its past-my-current-torque-setting level of tightness.

So why and how do the lug nuts make that noise?

(OK, technically, they are lug bolts on my car, but I’ve never actually heard anyone call them anything but "lug nuts.")

Posted by Anthony on 4 replies


When I was younger, we had this toy called knickerbockers, or maybe nickerbockers (no "k").  It was just two hard plastic balls connected by a string that was about 12-18 inches long.  The balls were about the size of a golf ball and were brightly colored (orange?).

This strange device also came with one other piece, a small flat plastic stick with a hole in one end, which was the handle for the device.  You pulled the center of the string (as a loop) through the hole in the handle, and then put the balls through the loop in the string so that the string was then locked onto the handle.

The idea was, you would hold the handle out in front of you, so the two halves of the string both hung straight down below the handle, with the balls at the bottom.  You’d then rapidly move the handle up and down, causing the balls to swing apart, out to the sides, and up to the top above the handle, each one forming a half-circle, where they’d then slam together.

I think the point of the toy was the cool sound that the balls made when they clicked together.  Or, the cool sound they made when you separated them from the handle and threw them really hard into the air across your yard.

Anyway, I haven’t seen this toy anywhere for years, and I can’t seem to find it online.  Does anybody else remember this toy, or better yet, know where it could be bought today?

Posted by Anthony on 13 replies

Goodbye Shadycrest

Well we’ve moved out of our first home together and back to the eastern side of Pennsylvania.

There was a brown boxer that lived across the street from us, who was tied on a 4-foot leash on the tiny concrete stoop in front of his house for what seemed like 24 hours a day.  Even though he had 4 feet of leash, he only ever stood in one spot: directly in front of the door, wanting to be let inside.  Whenever we’d leave the house he would turn his head away from the door to look over at us, and it was the saddest thing.  I so wish we had gotten a photo of him, but I guess this will have to do:

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I’m going to miss Pittsburgh a lot.  There is so much to love about that city: it’s cozy and inviting, yet big enough to have lots of separate districts and a real skyline.  The downtown ("dahntahn") area is situated at the meeting-point of 3 big rivers, and on the other sides of the rivers are small mountains, so leaving downtown you often cross a really cool bridge and then go through a really cool tunnel.

That’s what you had to do to get to our house: you crossed the Liberty Bridge and then went through the Liberty Tunnel and then came out on the South Side.  Another awesome thing about where we lived in Beechview was that it was totally residential/suburban: we lived in a nice little neighborhood with trees and a (small) yard and kids who played baseball in the streets, yet it was only a 7-minute drive to downtown.

One thing I’m really going to miss is Molly’s Cheese Sticks from Adrian’s Pizza.  They’re not unlike cheese sticks from other pizza places: basically a 12-inch pizza with some garlic, no sauce, and cut into rectangular strips.  But something about them was different and just perfect.

And I couldn’t believe the letter we got from Verizon the week before we moved out: they are now rolling out their FIOS (sickeningly fast fiber-optic) internet service in Pittsburgh.  Doh!

Of course I’m waxing sentimental here; it wasn’t all rosy out in the ’burgh.  Sure, we lived there during Superbowl XL which the Pittsburgh Steelers won, which was cool... but we also had to put up with insanely obnoxious fans.  The tunnels are really cool, but whenever people approach them, for no good reason they cut their speed in half.  It’s so bad that they actually have to roll out these big blinking construction signs that say "MAINTAIN SPEED THRU TUNNEL."  Pittsburgh is probably the only city in the world where the road signs encourage you to go faster.

Another thing I won’t miss is the rarity of Turkey Hill Iced Tea in Pittsburgh.  You could get it at some Shop ’n Save locations, but no where else, and even there they often failed to store it cold; for anyone who knows anything about real iced tea -- or anyone who can read the label on the container -- you know that if you let it get warm at any point, it goes bad.  But the thing is, it doesn’t go so bad that it’s like rotten milk (unless you let it get warm for a really long time, which I’ve only ever experienced one time); it only goes bad enough that it tastes gross, and if you didn’t normally drink it, you’d just think it was a crappy brand of iced tea.  The bottom line is that the dairy managers at these grocery stores seem to be clueless about this so it’s really hard to find unspoiled Turkey Hill Iced Tea.

And that’s one more thing I won’t miss about Pgh: the crappy grocery stores.  Basically your only choices are Shop ’n Save or Giant Eagle, both of which are pretty sad.  OK, they are getting better, but still sad; nothing like a Wegmans or a Giant.

To close this marathon post, I want to thank everyone who helped in our colossal moving effort.  Rolly flew out to help us load the truck load the truck and to drive the truck across the state; Brian helped with the unloading; Tasha and Dan let us use their basement to store some lots of stuff for a few months; and the parents Allen helped with the unloading, driving the truck for the last leg, and providing a place for us to stay for a while.

No thanks to U-Haul for selling us a reservation for a 19-foot truck, then telling us there is no such thing as a 19-foot U-Haul when we tried to pick it up; for not renting their vans for one-way moves; and for refusing to rent trailers to anyone who drives a Ford Explorer.  Also for just being generally annoying and shady, like claiming that a truck with a 14-foot bed is a 17-foot truck because of the tiny "Mom’s Attic" space above the cab, and then simultaneously referring to the Mom’s Attic as "Extra Space!!1!" in their advertising.

Posted by Anthony on 4 replies

Honeymoon Photos

Photos from Honeymoon Day 1: The Day That Wasn’t Day 2 are now online.

There are lots more photos from the other days; this set is pretty light.

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Oh, Hello

Over the past couple weeks, Kim and I have been a little busy, what with getting married and going honeymooning and all that  : )

We have a lot of wedding photos to sort through, and we’ll be posting some of them on soon.

Back here at the NoDivisions ranch, posting will be sporadically unavailable over the next week or so, as I’m doing some pretty serious code refactoring to make way for a couple new features.

In the meantime, my mom got her picture taken with Emeril Lagasse in Florida last week!!  She also has a few movie clips of him in the kitchen of one of his restaurants.  Go see!

Posted by Anthony on 3 replies

The Value of a Picture Never Taken

On the way home tonight as I drove across the Liberty Bridge, I saw a coal barge in the river.  They carry what look like open-topped railroad car containers full of coal, and they sit really low in the water.  The engine is in the back -- if it’s even attached at all, that is; I think the little boat just pushes the huge raft of coal-cars from behind.

It’s fairly common to see one of these barges during the day, but I’ve never seen one moving at night before.  It was really cool to see, because it was coming towards the bridge I was on, and it had two very bright spotlights on the top of the boat (at the rear of the whole operation) and they were shooting light forward, but not straight forward, rather off to the sides a little.  I guess the combination of its extremely slow speed and massive capacity and the lights beaming through the fog made it seem really neat.

I then saw two teenage girls walking down the dark street, and this is around 1 AM.  I thought that that doesn’t seem like a very good idea, but it’s actually fairly common around here.  I wondered about where Pittsburgh stands in those "safest cities" surveys that you hear about every once in a while.  And then I thought, releasing those surveys is actually pretty dumb, because what better way for a criminal to decide where to set up his operations than the cities whose citizens aren’t careful because their city is ranked very safe?

As I typed that last line, one of those freakish zillion-leggers zipped through my peripheral vision.  I smashed him to bits though, don’t worry.

Posted by Anthony on reply

The Downfall of Western Civilization

What do you get when you take a person with no patience, cross him with someone with no manners, throw in a dash of probably-didn’t-graduate-high-school, and top it off with having eaten mostly Twinkies for about 30 years?

You get this:

On Monday night I’m driving home, it’s about midnight, and I stop for gas.  The BP that I frequent isn’t open at this hour, so I have to go to 7-11 where there are only 4 pumps, one of which is diesel.  I have to wait a few minutes while the person currently at the pump finishes up.

As I pull up and begin fueling, a little sea-green Geo Metro (or equivalent) comes up behind me, waiting for me to finish.  When I do, I get into my car and then write my mileage down on the receipt, as I always do.  This takes 30 seconds tops; the pen is in my center console, the receipt is already in my hand, and the light from the gas station is enough that I don’t have to turn on my lights or anything like that.

I put the receipt into my wallet, and as I’m putting my wallet into my pocket, I see the little Metro is now approaching me from the front, and it comes up right next to my door, so the driver is right next to me.  He seems to want to say something to me so I roll down my window.

Me: (rolling down window, about 25% complete)

The jerk: what the f--- is your problem?  You see I’m f---in’ waiting for you!

Me: I was... (here the jerk instantly cuts me off; my statement was going to be "I was writing down my mileage on my receipt")

The jerk: you want to go?  (from the jerk’s tone it’s clear that this means, "do you want to fight?")

Me: (flabbergasted and trying to stifle a laugh along with my disbelief) No.

The jerk: you want to go right now?

Me: No?  (I begin to drive away)

The jerk: yeah, mother f---er, you’re a f---in’ a--hole.

This guy was seriously angry.  He was yelling, and he cut me off literally every time I tried to respond to his idiotic statements, including my two terse "no" responses.  The first time he asked me if I wanted "to go," he seemed to be starting to open his car door, but he had pulled up in the tiny space between my car and the street so there was maybe 18" between our cars -- not nearly enough for a normal person to open a car door and fit through, let alone this beastly lunatic.

In retrospect the whole episode was pretty funny, but at the time, he was making me really angry.  That anyone could be so freaking stupid and impatient and rude made me mad, but the fact that he kept cutting me off REALLY frustrated me.  I didn’t have 3 seconds to even attempt to say anything.

Posted by Anthony on 11 replies

Good Times

I spent a bunch of today playing Mario Kart on the Gamecube with Maria and Sam.  Me and my friends used to play the original Super Nintendo version all the time, and the Gamecube version is just as fun.  (Actually, I think it was Mario Kart for the SNES that me and John Paul bought with $40 in change at KayBee toy store in the Coventry Mall back in high school.)

It seems unfair that Maria beat me every time, considering that I’m much bigger than her and twice as old.  At least I was able to beat Samantha once.

Posted by Anthony on reply

The Man, Always Holdin' You Down

Living in the city is a fun new adventure, but I’m definitely missing some things about country living.  Like cold tap water for example.  City water doesn’t get cold at all (except in the winter of course).  Growing up, I always lived in places that had water wells and thus cold (and clean and tasty) water; I never knew anything different.

Posted by Anthony on reply
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