Dec 27, 2008

My Buddy And Me


Little Sammy has been quite a cuddlebug over the holidays.

Dec 26, 2008

Sweet Stocking Stuffer


This box of yummy Phillies cookies was given to me as a Christmas present.

Dec 25, 2008

Dec 24, 2008

Puppy Present


Sammy loves his Christmas present, but he had a difficult time carrying it through the doorway.

Dec 23, 2008

Christmas Gifts For The Crapper


One of my grandmother's friends gave this to her for Christmas.  It's a roll of toilet paper dipped in wax, with a cloth ribbon with a seashell glued to it tied in a bow.  I am quite disturbed by this.

Dec 11, 2008

A Christmas Cockapoo


Little Sammy is lounging on the recliner in his Santa hat.

Dec 10, 2008

If Marilyn Monroe Owned A PSP



Sony Playstation Portable advertisement
TBWA Madrid (2008)
This scan of a Sony PSP ad was recently shared by The Arab Aquarius.  I haven't come across it in a gaming magazine, and I'm pretty sure I would have noticed it if I had.  The idea is that she's so fascinated by game that she is completely oblivious to the gust of air coming up from the subway grating.

Nov 28, 2008

Turkey Day With The Pup


Sammy and I at my grandparent's on Thanksgiving.  He's being very calm and patient considering all the food in the kitchen.

Nov 27, 2008

Can I Refill Your Eggnog For You?


Happy Thanksgiving
Grandpa is very fond of eggnog during the holiday season.

Nov 3, 2008

Take Me Down To The Value City



Value City
Church Hill Mall - Hazleton, PA
This is one of my favorite stores.  They get a lot of irregular clothes from expensive brand names.  Usually the flaws are insignificant and definitely worth getting for the bargain you're getting - like a new pair of Levi's jeans for about five bucks.  They also had a huge shipment of Playstation and N64 games for $19.99 when I worked here in the late 90's.  They were the newest consoles on the market at the time and most stores sold them for $40 - $50 each, so I stocked up.

Nov 2, 2008

Eat Fresh



Check out the great big nerd behind the hoagie counter working his way through college.

Oct 25, 2008

From Hazleton to the World Series


It's very cool to see Joe Maddon reach the World Series, but this Hazletonian is strictly a Phillies fan.
Source: ESPN

Oct 12, 2008

Pumpkin Patch Saturday


Burger's Farm Market
St Johns Road - Drums, PA

Oct 11, 2008

Sad Pumpkin


Burger's Farm Market
St Johns Road - Drums, PA

Oct 10, 2008

God Damn Right, It's A Beautiful Day



Charlie Bartlett
MGM (2008)
Somehow, the team Charlie Bartlett managed to take a screenplay about a rich kid who partners with a bully to sell drugs and counseling services from a high school bathroom and turn it into a sweet and heartwarming story.  Anton Yelchin plays the title character with warmth and speaks with a cadence that reminded me of Ferris Bueller comforting Cameron, and the soundtrack is a perfect match for tone of the film, including two incredible Eels tracks: Mr. E's Beautiful Blues and Hey Man Now You're Really Living.

Sep 23, 2008

Pumpkin Waffles


Bloomsburg Fair
These things are very addictive!

Sep 21, 2008

The Bloomsburg Fair Midway


Bloomsburg Fair
I haven't been on any of the rides at the fair since I was sixteen, but I always enjoy taking some time to walk around the midway, have some food, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the carnival.  This truly is one of my favorite places to be in the world.

Aug 16, 2008

The Retaking Of Iolani Palace


Iolani Palace
Honolulu, HI
For the second time this year, a Hawaiian independence group staged a takeover of Iolani Palace in protest of the 1893 illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom.  The group of approximately 20 members of the Kingdom Of Hawaii Nation Ministry Trust held the grounds for a few hours before they were arrested.

I visited Iolani Palace when I was eight years old.  It was the home of six Hawaiian monarchs: King Kamehameha III, King Kamehameha IV, King Kamehameha V, King Lunalilo, King Kalākaua and finally Queen Liliʻuokalani before the fall of the House of Kalākaua.  Afterward, it was used as the capitol building for the territory, and later the state of Hawaii until 1969.  In 1978, the building was restored and opened to the public as a museum.

As a man with native Hawaiian ancestry, I am firmly in support of Hawaiian sovereignty. It's going to take a little more than good intentions and security t-shirt to get the job done, but I respect the effort and the message.

Honolulu Star Bulletin - August 16th, 2008

Aug 14, 2008

Future Aces And The Chicken




Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pitching: Carlos Carrasco vs. Ian Kennedy
Results: Yankees defeated Iron Pigs, 2-1

One of my happiest memories of going to a ballgame was when I was 12 years old and my dad took me to a West Palm Beach Expos game in which The Famous Chicken.  I knew who he was from old blooper videos, and from the '82 Donruss baseball card that was released back when he was still called the San Diego Chicken, but I didn't fully appreciate his act until I got to see it live.  It's a totally unique form of comedy that has the power to instantly turn everyone in the audience into children.  When I saw that he was doing an appearance at a SWB Yankees game and that they were playing the Iron Pigs, I knew I couldn't miss it.



The Chicken was funny as always.  After the game, he had a table set up to meet the fans and sign autographs.  I was probably the oldest person in that line without a kid, but I didn't care.  I wanted to meet the dude.  He was very nice, and he signed my game program.


The game turned out to be a pitchers dual between two of the best prospects in the Yankees and Phillies organizations.  The Yankees struck early in the bottom of the 1st.  Brett Gardner singled off of Carlos Carrasco, followed by an RBI double off the bat of Chris Basak.  The Iron Pigs tied the game in the top of the 4th when Jon Knott hit his 27th double of the season, followed by a Chris Snelling RBI single. 

Carlos Carrasco had a rough 6th inning that saw the Yankees regain the lead.  Cody Ransom hit a one out single, then advanced to second on a balk, and advanced to third on a wild pitch.  Finally, Jason Jaramillo let a passed ball get through which allowed Ransom to score what would end up being the winning run for the Yankees.

The Iron Pigs made it interesting in the bottom of the 9th when second baseman Oscar Robles hit a double to deep right field off of Scott Strickland that fell just inches short of being a game tying home run.  Shortstop Mike Rouse followed this up with a line drive, but Yankees first baseman Juan Miranda made an incredible diving play to record the final out of the game.

Aug 9, 2008

STP By The Lehigh River


Black Rebel Motorcycle Club / Stone Temple Pilots
Musikfest - Straub Riverplace - Bethlehem, PA
Stone Temple Pilots has been one of my favorite bands since I was in middle school.  Last night's show was a part of their reunion tour, and they performed an excellent set.  Black Rebel Motorcycle Club was also very good, but I was a bit disappointed in the venue.  It may have been the quietest rock concert I've ever been to.  In fairness, it was an outdoor stage and we had lawn seats, so I'm sure it was better closer to the stage.

Aug 7, 2008

Do The Day, And Let The Day Do You


Duma Key
Stephen King (2008)
I can't recommend this highly enough - one of the most interesting and creative stories that I've read in a long time.  Jerome Wireman might be favorite Stephen King character ever.

Jul 24, 2008

The Rain Seat



I took this picture of my Grandpa when we got back from the Transfiguration Church Picnic on Sunday.  Sometimes he likes to sit on the front porch and watch the rain.

Jul 23, 2008

Try Throwing A Two-Seam Fastball With This


Dollar City
Terrace Plaza - Hazleton, PA
This gave me the strangest visual.

Jul 22, 2008

Sense of Right Alliance


Dollar City
Terrace Plaza - Hazleton, PA
I want to see a superhero movie starring this group.  Imagine Batman teaming up with Superman, Symbiote Spider-Man, the Green Power Ranger, Shrek and Lightning McQueen (with a yellow paint job) teaming up to form the Sense Of Right Alliance to save the world.

Jul 21, 2008

Movies Under The Rainbow



The Dark Knight / Journey To The Center Of The Earth
Laurel Drive-In - Hazleton, PA
I'm not sure if it's was my actual first movie, but my earliest memory of seeing a movie out with my family was at the Laurel Drive-In.  Dad brought me here to see The Karate Kid: Part 2 when I was five years old.  Back then, the Drive-In still had the little speakers hooked up to poles that you would park next to so that you could hear the movie.

This place has been in operation since the 50's and it's still going strong.  Most nights, it's ten bucks per car to see two movies.  They have a great selection of food and snacks, all of which are inexpensive, and it's just a few miles from my house.



It rained last night when we were at the Transfiguration Church picnic.  Thankfully, it stopped before we got to the Drive-In, and we got to see a beautiful rainbow that arched over the entire parking lot.



This is the inside of the orange building in the photo with the rainbow.  It's where they project the movie from.  It's also the snack bar with a few arcade games.  I think I've played this Ms. Pac-Man machine every time I've seen a movie here for over 20 years.
 


The movies that were playing last night were The Dark Knight and Journey To The Center Of The EarthThe Dark Knight is the sequel to Batman Begins, and with the exception of The Crow, I think it's my favorite movie based on a comic book that I've ever seen.  I didn't think anyone could ever outdo Jack Nicholson as The Joker, but the late Heath Ledger delivered a performance that is second to none.

Journey To The Center Of The Earth was a good family adventure film.  It's not the kind of thing I'm likely to want to watch again, but I'm glad to have seen it.  Brendan Fraser was solid, as always.  I've never read the book, so I don't know how far it strays from the source material, but it was enjoyable.  I will say that even watching this on a 2-D drive-in screen, it was pretty obvious which scenes were shot entirely for the purpose of showing off the 3-D special effects.  It didn't ruin the experience or anything, but it was very noticeable.

Jul 16, 2008

Farmers Market Superheroes



Super Heroes action figure set
Hometown Farmers Market - Tamaqua, PA
You can find some pretty crazy bootleg toys at the Hometown Farmers Market.  Take, for example, this team of super heroes.  Wouldn't you love to see these six guys get together with swords to fight crime?



The graphics and phrases on the package are pretty amusing, but the real star of the show here are the toys themselves.

First, there is a very smug looking Superman hanging out with a silver gloved Batman.

Then we move from DC to Marvel Comics.  There's Spider Man with an odd peanut-shaped head, and a very constipated looking Thing from The Fantastic Four.

Finally, there's Disney/Pixar's Mr. Incredible, and last but not least, the White Power Ranger.

At six bucks, it works out to a dollar per figure.  In all likelihood, these things fall apart seconds after being taken out of the package, and I wouldn't rule out lead-based paints, but those are the chances you take with the Farmers Market Superheroes.

Jul 8, 2008

For Radio, Take Maximum



I haven't fit in this t-shirt since I was 15 years old.  My dad was dating a girl whose sister worked for a record company in Russia.  When she came back to South Florida, she brought a few of these t-shirts and gave one to me.  It's from Maximum 103.7 FM, a rock station on the radio in Moscow.  Their slogan on the back of the shirt translates to "For Radio, Take Maximum".

Jul 7, 2008

McPanda


Kung Fu Panda Arch Card
McDonald's (2008)
Stopped for a late ice cream last night and found that they've got these awesome Kung Fu Panda gift cards.  The minimum to load on a card is $5, so I did that first and then used it to pay for the ice cream.

Jul 5, 2008

Three Generations


Mom is on the left.  Pop Pop is on the right.  I am the goober in the middle.  Spending time with them always makes me feel tall.

Jul 1, 2008

A Ticket To Win Tickets


Philadelphia Phillies Instant Lottery Ticket
Pennsylvania Lottery (2008)
My grandparents put one of these tickets in my birthday card.  I didn't win, but they have a Second Chance Drawing to win Phillies season tickets, a trip to Spring Training, and other baseball prizes that would make for a pretty awesome birthday surprise!

Jun 29, 2008

Wall-E and The Incredible Hulk


Wall-E and The Incredible Hulk
Garden Drive In - Hunlock Creek, PA
I grew up going to the Laurel Drive-In in Hazleton.  It's still in operation, and we still go to it from time to time, but the Garden Drive-In has two screens, so there's more of a selection to choose from.  Last night, we went to see a double feature of Pixar's latest animated feature, Wall-E, and Edward Norton starring in The Incredible Hulk.

If I'm being honest, I went mostly for Wall-E and stayed for The Incredible Hulk because it didn't cost anything extra.  Don't get me wrong, it was alright, but my fandom of comic books is a passing interest at best.  I didn't read them too often when I was growing up.  In fact, most of my experience with comics is from the 1990 Marvel Universe tradings cards.  But enough about comics for now.  We have a masterpiece to talk about.

Wall-E isn't just good - it's absolutely incredible.  If it's not the greatest animated film I have ever seen, it's definitely in the running.  I think the majority of the viewing audience will come out of this thinking that it's a grim prediction of humanity's future, with the environmental destruction of Earth and humans living their entire lives on a hoverchair in a spaceship with their faces in front of a screen.  Frankly, I thought it was an optimistic look at the future.  I'm not saying the world that humans are coming back to in Wall-E is good.  In fact, I have no doubt that this is exactly what we're doing to the planet.  I just strongly doubt that humans will still be around to sift through the garbage, and if they are, I doubt they'd be peaceful adult babies in space, but warlike animals scraping out whatever life they can.  Regardless, Wall-E is a fantastic animated film that everyone, of all ages, should see.

Jun 24, 2008

The Match That Didn't Happen


ECW World Championship Match preview
WWE.com (2007)
This match was scheduled to take place this time last year at the WWE Vengeance: Night Of Champions pay-per-view.  It didn't happen as a result of the Chris Benoit murder/suicide.  Benoit wrestled for over 20 years and he worked a style that was particularly abusive to his head.  An autopsy revealed that Benoit had severe CTE and damage to his brain stem and all four lobes of his brain.  This damage was so severe that his brain resembled that of an 85 year old Alzheimer's patient.  It has been speculated by doctors and other experts in the field that the severity of his brain damage was enough to cause dementia, which may have been behind this horrible tragedy.

I hope that World Wrestling Entertainment and the industry work harder to protect the health and well-being of the performers.  No diving headbutt or chair shot is important enough to put a human being's health and safety at risk.  It can never be known for sure if brain damage was the sole cause of the violent behavior that led to the death of three people, but it's something that must be taken seriously.  Things cannot continue as they've always been.