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August 2008

Buy a condo in an ugly building, get an ugly car for free

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The Symphony House in Philadelphia is a fairly new luxury condo building. It also happens to be hideous. This isn't stopping the developer from charging lots of money for condos (which I hope look much better on the inside than they do on the outside). It would seem that the condos aren't selling fast enough, so Dranoff (that's the developer behind the building) had a great idea: give away a Smart car with every purchase.

The thinking must be: live in an ugly building and drive an ugly car. Brilliant!


Neil Diamond concert report

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Or how I became 'that guy'

As you might recall, Marisa and I went to a Neil Diamond concert on Sunday. Through the magic of technology I was able to file a report live from the concert itself showing off my swanky new t-shirt. That post inspired both Geoff and Glenn to opine that I shouldn't be 'that guy,' you know... the guy that wears the t-shirt of the band to said band's concert.

There is one big assumption in that line of thinking though: that I wore said Neil Diamond t-shirt to the concert (which also assumes that I owned that shirt before the concert). Now, I'm a fan of Neil Diamond, I'm not ashamed to admit that. His music is catchy, upbeat, and entertaining. He enjoys being himself (no matter how schlocky or uncool his persona might be, which has had the effect of making him kind of cool once more. I like to call this the 'Shatner effect'). All of this is to say that Mr. Diamond is aces in my book. However, I never felt the need to own a Neil Diamond t-shirt and didn't own one before that fateful Sunday.

How then, you wonder, did I end up wearing a Neil Diamond t-shirt at his concert? I'll tell you:

Marisa and I are two very different people. I'm a bit neurotic about being on time and feel the need to leave for various events (movies, concerts, flights) several hours early. Marisa doesn't mind being a little late so she tends to leave later than I would like (a lot later, actually). Since this concert was my idea (though Marisa made it possible) we left when I wanted to leave (that's how we handle our incompatible time tables: if we are doing something that Marisa planned we leave when she wants, and if is something I planned we leave when I want to). That meant that we had to hurry out of the apartment (evidence to this fact: Marisa wore two different shoes). While we were leaving we noticed there was some light rain so we brought along Marisa's tiny umbrella.

We hopped onto public transit (because we're cool like that) and emerged to find that the area of Philadelphia in which the stadiums are situated, and in which the concert was being held, was being buffeted by some sort of monsoon. Rain, rain, and more rain was everywhere. We waited for a bit in hopes that the rain would slacken (we were 30 minutes early thanks to my mania) and we dashed out when it looked like the rain was letting up. As we walked across a large parking lot, huddled under a tiny cocktail umbrella, the skies opened up. Half of my Hawaiian shirt (washable silk, luckily) was soaked, as was my t-shirt underneath. Marisa also got a little damp, but thankfully she was better shielded than I.

We arrived at the concert venue (the Wachovia Center, for those in the know) and I had a choice to make as Marisa used the lady's room: I could sit through the whole concert wearing a very wet shirt and not have any fun or I could buy a new shirt. Luckily, when you're at a concert there are plenty of shirts to be had that are both concert appropriate and dry! I headed over to the t-shirt hut and looked at the offerings. I thought the 'So good. So good.' shirt was hilarious and my choice was made (though really, I think the t-shirt should say 'So good.' three times, but who am I to tell the Diamond people how to make their t-shirts). $35 later I was wearing a dry shirt, and letting the world know that Neil Diamond is, in fact, so good, so good.

I hope this clears up the matter of the t-shirt, and that this incident hasn't caused anyone undue stress.

How was the concert?

The concert itself was a hoot. Marisa had snagged some free tickets that happened to be in the last row of the upper deck. We were pretty far from the stage, but I figured you only really need to hear the music, and they had large screens set up so I wasn't concerned. The place wasn't sold out (though the concert on Saturday was) so there were lots of empty seat around us, which was nice too.

A few minutes before the concert was about to start some dude walked up to Marisa and myself and asked me, 'Is it just you two?' I said, 'umm.. yes.' and he said, 'Well, today's your lucky day!' And he handed us two tickets for seats in the 7th row of a section right off the side of the stage! It was pretty darned cool, and we had a great view (and you can't beat the price).

Marisa had fun too, though she told me that she didn't really get the rabid fanbase that Neil Diamond has. Oh, the unbelievers.

I did feel a little sorry for Neil Diamond though. Sure, he gets to sing his songs in front of lots of people and make a good living doing it which is great. That being said you go to a Neil Diamond concert wanting to hear songs that he wrote, and sang, for the first time 30 years ago. I am sure he's aware of this, and the concert was full of all the hits you would expect (and they sounded very good) but I got the sense that he enjoyed playing his new material more (though the crowd certainly didn't enjoy his new stuff as much as say... 'Cherry, Cherry').

I actually like his new album, and I enjoyed the 3 songs he played off of it... but I can't deny that the highlight of the evening was Sweet Caroline (which you haven't heard until you've heard it in a big stadium with 10,000 people singing along).


Airs Appliances in Philadelphia: good people, better prices

AIRS.jpgI'm generally of the opinion that you can almost always find things cheaper on the internet than you can in a brick and mortar store, and forget about finding good deals at small local places. This goes double for large appliances.

Airs Appliances in Philadelphia (1119 Chestnut Street for those of you in the area) has proven me wrong. Not only did we get a great deal, we got great service as well. If you're looking to buy an appliance in the Philly area you are doing yourself a disservice by not stopping by and chatting with the good folks at Air.

Why was I in Airs?

L_LFC20760SW.jpgMarisa and I have been talking about getting a new refrigerator for a little bit. It would seem the success of the washer/dry combo unit has emboldened Marisa's zeal for gussying up the kitchen (which I approve of, mind you).

Our current refrigerator irks me to no end. I think it is pretty ugly, and since Marisa is a world class foodie it is often packed to the gills with all sorts of food. That's not a bad thing, but I can never find anything! And with all that hippy food in there there is hardly any room for 'Scott approved' foodstuffs (mostly Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper, and yes I am well aware of the dangers of diet soda). We were both in favor of getting a new fridge.

The world of refrigerators is a wild and varied place. There are awesome professional fridges, very cool retro fridges (which are super tiny), and many more in-between. The space that we have to work with is pretty narrow, in fridge terms. It would seem that manufacturers are making fridges that are about 35 inches wide, which works well for most people. We have a space that, at most, can take a fridge 33 inches wide. We thought we would be stuck with some bottom of the barrel fridge, but we were wrong.

Helen at Airs steered us towards the LG LFC20760, which has everything we wanted:

  • French doors
  • Freezer on the bottom
  • Comes in plain white (the floor model was stainless steel, but you can't put magnets on a stainless steel refrigerator, which is about 50% of the purpose of a fridge, if you ask me).

We were in fridge heaven!

We had no plans to actually buy a fridge while we were in Airs' lovely Center City showroom, mind you. We just wanted to get our hands on some fridges before we ordered one from the web. However, the price ($1139.95) was better than anything we saw on the internet for the same class of refrigerator and it even included delivery (which none of the places on the web did). Marisa looked at me and said, "Are we going to buy a refrigerator today?" I said, "It sure looks like it!" And so we did.

It'll be delivered on the 18th, and Marisa can't wait. My only question is: what do we buy next?


Two elevator encounters

ElevatorBefore I moved in with Marisa I lived in small apartment buildings for most of my life (outside of college, where I lived in a house for 2 years, the only time I lived in a house for my entire life). All of my previous apartments have been walk ups, but when you live on the 20th floor in an unintended retirement community the elevator is the way to go.

Elevators are odd spaces. You're in a metal box for a few minutes with people who are your neighbors... so some people feel the need for small talk. I am not one of those people. If I'm standing in the elevator without Marisa I just stare at the floor indicator for the entire ride, in hopes that none of my fellow elevator takers engage me in inane small talk. Here are two tales from the elevators:

  1. I get into the elevator with an elderly couple. I press the '20' button, and I notice that they are going to the 28th floor (for some reason I get odd satisfaction when I'm going to a higher floor than my fellow elevator patrons. These old folks bested me this time). I stare at the floor indicator as the elderly couple, who seem to be hard of hearing, have a fairly loud conversation. Their conversation dies down as we approach the 20th floor. As soon as I step off the elevator, and am out of the elderly folks' sight, I hear the wife say, 'That guy was pretty big, huh? What do you think he weighs? 250?' Since that is at least 30 pounds less than what I actually weigh, I'm flattered.

  2. As detailed previously on Blankbaby, I really like Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper. Sadly, it is a scarce resource in Philadelphia, so whenever I can get my hands on it I buy lots of the stuff. Marisa tracked some down at the Super Fresh on Columbus Boulevard, and bought 6 cases of it for me. I then managed to talk Marisa into taking me to Super Fresh so I could buy 3 more cases. We came home and toted 5 cases of the stuff into the elevator. A very slender woman entered the elevator and looked at all the soda. Just by looking at her I could tell she was one of those people who freely, and willingly, gives her opinion to anyone within earshot. I'm sure she loves riding in elevators just so she can pontificate to a captive audience. She remarked about all our soda, and Marisa said, 'Oh, this is all for him!' and pointed at me. This was the invitation to comment that the slender lady was waiting for and she pounced. It would seem that diet soda causes cancer, and I shouldn't drink it. On and on she went. Now, I know I drink more diet soda than I should but I don't drink alcohol, I've never smoked in my life, and I have never done any kind of drugs in my life (other than those a doctor prescribed to me) so I think I am allowed to drink all the frickin' diet soda I want (plus the other option is guzzling lots and lots of regular soda, and we all know that means I'll be back at 383 pounds in no time). Being the polite person that I am I simply responded by saying, "Well, everything causes cancer these days, so..." The woman didn't like that answer, and I'm sure I would have heard more about the evils of diet soda if only we hadn't arrived at our floor.

I think I might start taking the stairs.


MacUser or bust!

scott-1.jpgAs readers of this blog know I left TUAW a little while ago and speculation as rampant as to where I would go. Would I start my own site? Would I retire (lots of people really wanted this one to happen)? Would I switch to a PC? 44pounds.jpgOK, so no one really gives two figs what I'm doing on the internet (and really, no one should care. There are lots of more important things to worry about, like 44 pound cats) but since my mom asked me about it, here we go: I've signed on with MacUser as a Senior Contributor (I do believe this title was given to me solely based on the fact that I am the oldest member of the team). MacUser, for those who don't know, is a blog that is owned by Macworld, the number one Mac magazine around. I'm excited to be part of the team (and with an intro post like this written by Dan Moren, how could you not be excited?) and I'm looking forward to concentrating on writing (something I didn't get too much of a chance to do at TUAW in recent months). Sorry, Mac web, you aren't rid of me yet!

Neil Diamond, for a second time

neil_diamond.gifAlmost 3 years ago to the day, Julie made me a very happy boy by supplying me with both Neil Diamonds tickets (which were free) and a willing concert buddy (Becky and Eric went with us too but this was way back when Becky was blogging). Ah, Neil truly did rock my socks off.

Neil is making his way to Philly once more, but I forgot to buy tickets when I had the chance. I figured I would just forgo the Neil this time around, and just listen to his new album while other people were enjoying him live and in concert.

I was sitting at my desk at work today, trying to forget that I wouldn't be seeing Neil Diamond's concert this week when Barry asked me if I was going to the Neil Diamond concert. Sadly, I said, I would be Diamond-less this year. I was crestfallen, but determined to live my life to the fullest. Not an hour later I got an IM from a lovely young lady (with whom I happen to live). Marisa had some news to share: she managed to get two free tickets to the Neil Diamond concert this Sunday.

Clearly, the universe loves me.

Below you can see where we will be seated:

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Sure, we'll be a little far from the stage, but these tickets are free and hearing the music is the important thing. I can hardly wait!


No more Scott McNulty for TUAW

scoot_macworld_1997.jpgThat's right, I've left TUAW. The reasons are varied, and I'll have a longer post about it coming later (though I doubt anyone cares!). The real purpose of this post is to point out how awesome the graphic that accompanied by farewell post is. The very talented Robert Palmer (no, not that one) whipped it up for me. Thanks! Now, I must sleep and dream of our new washer/dryer combo thingie.