As seen from the boardwalk.
Marisa and I visited Philadelphia's newest park, The Rail Park, yesterday. And I took my newest camera, the GoPro Hero 6, along with me and filmed a silly little video.
The Rail Park is great, and the GoPro is a fun little device. I'm still figuring it out, but I think I like it!
We tried to buy a house in West Philadelphia this week. After nearly three years of looking and we finally found a dwelling that we both liked enough to offer vast sums of borrowed money for. But it didn’t work out. Another offer was accepted and the reason given was the terms.
Finding a house is a difficult process, even more so when one person involved doesn't really want a house.
I've lived in apartments my entire life with one exception: 2 years in an off campus house during college.
I'm familiar with apartment living. I like apartment living. I like not being responsible for the vast number of things that could go wrong with an apartment.
And, like many people, I fear the unknown. Homeownership is a big unknown for me, but over the course the last 3 years we've looked at many houses (in fact, the very first house we looked at was the only one we both liked.... until the house we saw last week) and I've come to accept that there are some upsides to homeownership.
Here's to us finding the right place!
But isn't the right to protest things a big part of why this country was founded? I am very hopeful that the Philly DNC protests will be peaceful and that both protesters and police a like make sure everyone is safe and heard.
This bit from the NY Times makes me think this will be the case:
Last month, Mayor Jim Kenney signed a bill decriminalizing nuisance offenses in the city, including disorderly conduct, failure to disperse and public drunkenness. The policy was part of a larger effort to decrease the incarceration rate in the city, but the mayor has also said that no one will be arrested solely for protesting without a permit during the convention.
I've been asked to speak at the Wharton Web Conference (I also happen to be on the content committee of said conference, funny how that works out!) about WordPress.
I've been struggling with writing a bio for the Web site, but now I think I've got it. What do you all think of this:
Scott McNulty has been blogging for over 10 years. Over the course of that time he’s taken countless pictures of cats, met his wife at a blogger meetup, and written a couple of blogging books (“Building a WordPress Blog People Want to Read” and “Building a TypePad Blog People Want to Read”).
In addition to being crazy about blogging, Scott has an unhealthy interest in eReaders, Hawaiian shirts, Macs, and Diet Pepsi.
When not hard at work as a member of Wharton Computing, Scott pounds the keyboard stringing words together for his next tech book (coming soon to a bookstore near you).
Today wasn't an ordinary day. I didn't spend my day working hard at my day job. Nope, I spent the day thinking hard at TEDxPhilly.
If you aren't familiar with the TED conference check out their website. Basically, TED consists of a number of short presentations by people who do amazing things, think astounding thoughts, change the world, or a combination there of.
The TED conference is super fancy, super expensive, and invite only. They do, however, put most of the talks up on the web for free which is cool.
TEDx is an offshoot of TED... think of it as TEDlocal. The thing to keep in mind that all the TEDx conferences are run and organized by volunteers.
Today marked the first TEDxPhilly and by the good graces of Wharton Computing I went to see what all the fuss was about.
I had a fantastic time, and the event went off with nary a hitch. Congrats to all involved, with a special Blankbaby shoutout to my friend Roz Duffy who was the main motivator behind TEDxPhilly. Great job, Stellar Girl!
Oh, and Chris Bartlett (@harveymilk on the Twitter) did a bang up job hosting event.
My mind is brimming with thoughts, and I'll be writing up some more impressions of the event tomorrow on my work blog (hey, they paid for my ticket so they get my thoughts!).
Last weekend I was fortunate enough to take part in Hidden City Philadelphia, an arts festival with a twist. Art installations are setup in buildings and places in the city where normal folks usually aren't allowed. It is a neat way to see some things that are 'hidden' and take in some art at the same time.
I was armed with a camera (of course) and took a bunch of pictures (some of which don't suck!).
I'm not one to complain about restaurants. It is true that I've never worked in the service industry (or retail for that matter), but I understand those jobs aren't easy. Dealing with hungry people like me can't possibly be pleasant for anyone. I get it.
That being said, when I'm spending pretty good money for a lunch I expect a certain level of service. Especially when I'm taking my mom out to lunch (as you know, she was in town for Thanksgiving) on one of her few visits to Philly.
The afternoon started out well as the very friendly hostess showed us to a table with a great view of the Square. The table was set, and it had two empty water glasses. My mother and I say down, chatted, looked over the menus.
Five minutes pass. Our water glasses are still empty but we have decided what we are going to order.
10 minutes pass. Our water glasses remain empty. I fail to make eye contact with the 2 waiters who walk past our table a few times (though they serve the ladies seated next to us).
15 minutes pass. Still no water in our glasses. Still no eye contact with any waiters. Still no service.
20 minutes pass. Our glasses are decidedly empty, but our coats are back on as we decide to leave.
On the way out I tell the hostess, 'You might not want to seat anyone else at that table.'
'Oh, was there a draft?'
I shake my head and say, 'Nope, but we sat there for 20 minutes while 3 different waiters ignored us.'
The manager of Parc was there, and he did apologize to us. He seemed genuinely upset and wanted us to sit back down, but at that point we just wanted to eat, we weren't interested in drama.
We ended up going to Rouge where our water glasses were filled within 2 minutes of us sitting down, and we had ordered within 5 minutes (we both got the famous Rouge burger, because that's just what you get at Rouge!).
Ah, Thanksgiving is winding down in the best way possible: sitting on the couch next to Marisa watching the latest episode of Dexter (who, I bet, can carve a mean turkey).
I took the week off, as I usually do, in order to entertain my mother in Philadelphia. Every year for the last few years Mom has spent Thanksgiving in Philly. For the last three years (here are some pics from 2006 and 2005, it seems like 2007 was the Thanksgiving Flickr forgot) I've ordered dinner from DiBruno's and it was fantastic. I was prepared to do the same thing this year, but Marisa would have none of it. She whipped up a fantastic Thanksgiving feast from scratch and it was very good.
All in all, 2008's Thanksgiving was one for the ages.
I'm continued to be impressed by the results of our new Canon G10. I took this picture of 30th Street Station and the Cira Center without a tripod. I just steadied the camera for a second and snapped away.
Another video for your viewing pleasure. This time took the Flip MinoHD along to lunch at Ants Pants with Marisa and Shay. Then Marisa and I headed to the Italian Market for some wondering around (and to buy the cookies that were featured in my Flip vs. Zi6 video).
Watch. Laugh. Enjoy.
Oh, and if you're in Philly you should check out Ants Pants Cafe. It was very good.
Philadelphia is going wild at the moment since the Phillies just won the World Series (their second title in 28 years). Macy's, ready to cash in, sent out a mass email to, I assume, anyone on their email lists with a Philly address pointing us to the perfect way to celebrate: Waterford Philadelphia Phillies 2008 World Series Commemorative Crystal Baseball.
Having lived in Philadelphia for 5 years I know that Philadelphians always celebrate with expensive crystal (though usually we're breaking it).
Good job, Macy's. Now, were did I put that $170?
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!
I'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?
Marisa 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?
I started working at my current place of employment on April 14th, 2003 but I am pretty sure I moved to Philly the week before that (just to get a sense of the place. I hadn't been to Philadelphia more than twice before I picked everything up and moved here).
When I first moved from NYC to Philly I figured I'd be here for a couple of years and then move back to New York. That idea solidified when Elisa and I broke up, since she was the major reason I left my beloved Yonkers in the first place. Five years later and here I am. Why? A funny thing happened along the way: I started liking Philadelphia.
On occasion I would sally forth to NYC, and I couldn't wait to get back to Philly. What the heck was going on? I'm a New Yorker, damn it, I didn't want to like Philadelphia! Try as I might, Philadelphia grew on me.
Philadelphia is my home, and I can't imagine living anywhere else. My fantastic girlfriend lives here (and I live with her, so that makes it nice), lots of my friends are here, and most of my stuff is here!
I am willing to wager that 5 years from now I'll be writing a '10 years in Philadelphia' post. I can't wait.
Hey, Fork You fans that live in and around Philadelphia, make sure you have no plans this Saturday. Why? Because we're getting the gang together to do yet another Fork You Live at Fosters. This time around we'll be making Mac and cheese (a couple varieties), and you'll get to have some at the end of the show (free food and entertainment? How can you lose?).
Feel free to RSVP via Upcoming, or just show up. Here are the details:
Fork You Live
Saturday, Feb. 23, 2008
2pm to 3pm
399 Market Street
We'll be in Apartment 399, their demo area, cooking up a storm (and we'll be filming the whole thing to make an episode).
I hope to see you there!
Ahh, it is snowing here in Philadelphia. Sadly, I'm stuck at work, slaving over a hot iMac for the man! I would like to be out and about frolicking in the snow, laughing gleefully, building snowmen, and making snow angels.
There seems to be a new Philly blog on the scene: Geekadelphia. Dedicated to all things geeky, and vaguely Philadelphia related, this blog has earned an automatic place in NNW for me.
My only gripes (and you knew there had to be some) are:
- I didn't think of it first
- I am not listed in their blogroll as a Philly geek. WTF? Don't make me show you my thousands of Star Trek cards!
Update: My geekiness has been recognized by Geekadelphia. All is right in the world.
Looky here, another episode of Fork You, and this time we're talking coffee. Peet's was kind enough to send Erica Hess to talk with us about the ins and outs of making a good cup of coffee.
This episode also marks the debut of our fancy new camera, and our second season! If you do watch this episode, bigger is better... so instead of watching it here watch it over here (or click this link for the QuickTime version).
I am sure Robert Scoble is a very nice guy. He's smart, affable, and very passionate about technology. Plus he was once a Blankbaby reader, he stopped reading a while ago, but something tells me he'll see this post.
The problem with Robert is one that many of the A list tech bloggers have: the geographical echo chamber. Sure, most of the A Listers know each other in real life, and of course they are going to link to one another. However, there is this propensity for West Coasters in, or near, the Silicon Valley to think that all tech happens there (the same geographical echo chamber can be seen in many residents of Manhattan. Many simply refuse to leave Manhattan because they see no reason. If it matters, it happens in Manhattan, right?).
This idea crystallized when I read this passage on Scoble's blog, which oddly enough is about Web 2.0 stuff gaining traction outside of the Valley:
The thing is I’m getting reports from around the world that people are talking about Facebook in weird places like Moscow and Paris and Cape Town.
Now, I'm not sure what makes these places 'weird,' but it isn't like they are small little backwaters. According to Wikipedia Moscow is the world's 20th largest city by population, followed by Paris which takes slot number 21 (Philadelphia clocks in at 45th, which makes it SUPER weird, while San Fran-Oakland takes the 87th spot beating out Cape Town which is 98th).
My point is that urban centers are always places where art, commerce, and technology have historically intermingled. It is the height of arrogance to think that people outside of Silicon Valley aren't doing cool stuff (or using Facebook for goodness sake!). Lots of cool stuff is even happening right here in good old Philadelphia (Ban Franklin, by the way, certainly didn't think Paris was weird. He was a noted Francophone and America's ambassador to France for a spell).
Another Fork You! is available for your viewing. This time we made salsa and guacamole on Jen's deck (thanks again, Jen!). Watch it, you know you want to! Oh, and if you want to sponsor Fork You, or know someone who might, email me (my email address is really easy to find).
The first time I heard about BlogPhiladelphia I was doubtful. This had nothing to do with the people behind it, rather I am just naturally a stick in the mud (which might explain why I am not an entrepreneur. I would have been the one friend of Henry Ford’s who would have said, ‘Eh. Who wants a mass assembled car?! The people want something hand man, sir!’). Luckily, despite my reservations and thanks to the charms of Alex and Annie I signed on to not only attend but to lead two sessions (give me a roomful of people and a microphone and I’m a happy man. I’m the most extroverted introvert you have ever met, I tells ya!).
As with most things in my life, it turned out to be a very good decision (I should always do the exact opposite of what I think I should do, but that’s another post entirely, and a Seinfeld episode to boot!).
Simply put: BlogPhiladelphia was a kick ass time, and I hope to do it again soon.
Annie, Alex, and the whole Uwishunu and the Philly Tourism Board did a fantastic job putting on this great unconference. The unconference format really highlights the best part of conferences: the conversations you have in the hallways. Instead of making people whisper during panels, the people in the audience are the real experts and they get fools (like me) to facilitate the conversation and try and keep it on point.
The thing that really surprised me was that people wanted to meet me. Me?! Why are these people interested in meeting me? Strikes me as a little odd, but hey I’m an egomaniac so I’ll take what I can get.
Rob Sandie, President of Viddler, has a great post up recapping all the reasons that BlogPhilly rocked (and I am not just saying that because he starts off with me and calls me the funniest person imaginable… though that doesn’t hurt. Thanks, Rob!). Check it out, and I’ll be posting another thing or two about BlogPhiladelphia in the coming days.