Dec 31, 2009

Best Buy-2k

Y2K Warning Sticker
Best Buy (1999)
Ten years ago, much of the world had fallen into a mild mass hysteria over the fear of the Y2K Bug.  The panic was born out of the idea that many computers only used the last two digits of the year in their coding.  This meant that when the clock rolling over from December 31, 1999 to January 1, 2000, the computer would misunderstand the two digit "00" year as 1900 and crash the system.

This story made the media rounds throughout 1999 with "experts" predicting all manner of things, from airplanes dropping out of the sky to a power grid shutdown that would cause citywide blackouts at the stroke of midnight in the dawn of the new millennium.  Stores like Best Buy advised their customers to turn off, and in some cases even unplug their electronic devices on New Year's Eve before midnight.

I thought it was all a lot of nonsense at the time.  The vast majority of computers had switched to a four digit year long ago, and I couldn't imagine it would take a Bill Gates or Steve Jobs to write a code to patch whatever machines or programs that were still in use that operated with a two digit year.  Still, my grandparents fell for the panic and insisted that I remember to turn off the computer, just in case.

I worked third shift at Turkey Hill on Rt. 93 and Airport Road in Hazleton at the time, so my shift that night started at 11 pm on December 31st and ended at 7 am in the new millennium.  After my shift, I came home and turned on the computer.  Sure enough, everything worked normally.  From my understanding, the biggest impact the Y2K Bug had in the United States was a brief shutdown of about 150 slot machines at a race track in Delaware.

Dec 21, 2009

Black Diamond

Black Diamond Antiques & Collectibles
Schuylkill Mall - Frackville, PA
Angie and I took a trip to Black Diamond to buy some vintage toys and collectibles as an early Christmas present to ourselves.  This is an almost 20 minute walk-through of the store.

Black Diamond is an incredible place to walk around and spend a few hours.  If you get tired, the other side of the mall has a movie theater to spend a few hours relaxing.

Dec 19, 2009

A Festive Hockey Tradition

Wilkes Barre Scranton Penguins vs Toronto Marlies
Wachovia Arena - Wilkes Barre, PA
Over the past several years, it has become a tradition to go to the last Baby Pens game of the year before Christmas.  It didn't go the Penguins way this year, with the Marlies winning 4-3 on the strength of the first career hat trick by Troy Bodie.

The Penguins briefly held the lead during the second period, but the Marlies quickly tied up the game and then took the lead shortly afterward when former Philadelphia Flyers defenseman  Nate Guenin fell to an injury.

Even though the Penguins lost, the game was a lot of fun.  Tux spent the game wandering around the crowd with his female counterpart.  I'm not sure if she was supposed to be his mom or his wife, but either way, they spiced up the game.

One of the traditions the Baby Pens have every year in the game before Christmas is the Teddy Bear Toss.  Fans bring new stuffed toys to the arena, and when Santa comes out on the ice in his sleigh between periods, everyone tosses their bears onto the ice where they are collected to be given to children.  It's a pretty cool sight to see hundreds of teddy bears flying through the air toward the ice.

We bought one souvenir at the game - an autographed Christmas hockey puck.  They were wrapped in red tissue paper, and you didn't know what player you would get until you bought one and opened it up.  My puck was signed by goalie Adam Berkhoel.  The 28 year old is an NHL veteran who played for the Atlanta Thrashers in the 2005-06 season.

Dec 15, 2009

A Day In The Life

My final for Digital Photography was a "day in the life" project in which I was to capture a typical day in a series of images that show some of the techniques taught by Professor Sedor.  I used my grandfather as the subject.  These are my favorite photos from the set.

Nov 19, 2009

Vincent Van Moose

Fifty years ago today, Rocky & His Friends aired for the first time.  It was broadcast on ABC after American Bandstand, and it was the highest rated daytime show.  It helped to establish Jay Ward as one of the most creative and hysterically funny creators in the history of animation, and it led to Bullwinkle's rise from a sock puppet to a household name everywhere that cartoons are shown.

This picture came from a t-shirt that was used to promote the VHS release of The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle.  Each tape in the series was a parody of a famous work of art.  To those of us who love animation, the works of Jay Ward are valuable works of art in their own right.

Nov 18, 2009

Greinkamole Wins The Cy Young

Zack Greinke is my favorite non-Phillies player in baseball.  He's one of the most dominant pitchers in the game today who just won his first Cy Young Award.  In addition to his performance on the mound, he has a very interesting personality that make his interviews among the most enjoyable I've ever heard.  Take, for example, his reaction to learning that Chipotle was raising the price on their guacamole by 30 cents:
"I like the guacamole.  Now, I don't really love the guacamole, so I get it when I feel like it.  They changed their guacamole from $1.50 to $1.80. I mean, $1.50 is already pretty darn high.  So they changed it to $1.80 and I'll never again get guacamole.  It's not about the guacamole itself.  I just don't want to let them win."
I'm not sure how this topic came up in a baseball interview, but he's right, paying almost two bucks for a small side of guacamole is ridiculous.

Nov 16, 2009

Theyyy're Adequate

Frosty Corn Flakes
Forrelli Foods
I want to meet the person who drew the Dollar Store knockoff of Tony the Tiger.  The lightning bolts on the jacket are a nice touch.

Nov 12, 2009

November To Remember

ECW: The Aftermath of November To Remember
Kingston Armory - November 12, 1999
Wilkes-Barre, PA
Ten years ago today, a friend and I went to an ECW house show at the Kingston Armory in Wilkes-Barre.  This show took place five days after the November To Remember pay-per-view, and about a year and a half before the original ECW closed its doors.

Earlier in 1999, I had been hit by a pick-up truck that ran a red light.  The truck t-boned my vehicle and sent my car in a direction that knocked down a stop sign.  A few months later, I noticed that the stop sign was still laying abandoned on the side of the road, so I tossed it in my trunk.  I was 18 years old at the time and thought it was cool, and I justified this to myself because the sign was in such horrible condition that it would never be used again.  As luck would have it, the stop sign was still in my trunk, and a bunch of folks from the ECW roster were kind enough to autograph it for me.

The show itself was a lot of fun.  The golden age of Shane Douglas, Al Snow and Taz had passed, but Raven had recently returned from his time in WCW.  The roster at the time was a mix of iconic ECW wrestlers and young talent who would go on to find greater stardom in WWE.


Nov 1, 2009

Rule 32: Enjoy The Little Things

Zombieland (2009)
Cinemark - Moosic, PA
Horror comedies have a habit of being overly cheesy.  Sometimes it works, but far too often, it's not genuinely funny enough to be a good comedy or scary enough to be a good horror flick.  I'm happy to say that Zombieland doesn't fall into these traps.  This may be the most creative and well-written horror comedies I've ever seen, and Woody Harrelson delivers an absolutely flawless performance.

Oct 4, 2009

You've Got A Friend In 3-D

Toy Story / Toy Story 2 Double Feature
Cinemark - Moosic, PA
These are two of the best animated feature films of all time, and Disney did an excellent job with the transformation to 3-D.

Every time I hear You Got A Friend In Me in the first Toy Story, it reminds me of when I worked at Wal-Mart during the 1996 Christmas season.  They had a wheel cart with a television and a VCR set up at both of the store entrances, and they would play Toy Story, which had just recently come out on VHS at the time.  If I was working in the "10 items or less" lanes, or on register 29 or 30 near the GM entrance, I would hear the song play a few times a day during my shift when they rewound and restarted the movie.

Oct 1, 2009

Be A Colonel. Steal The Wallpaper.

Why yes, I did save a copy of my school's computer desktop wallpaper.  No, I don't have a good reason why.

Thank you for asking.

Sep 25, 2009

A Beautiful Day On The Greenway

The Greenway
Wilkes University - Wilkes-Barre, PA

Sep 23, 2009

Brad Lidge In The Ninth

Brad Lidge In The Ninth
Conklin Classic
WIP Philadelphia
After having a perfect 2008 and helping the Phillies to win their second championship in franchise history, closer Brad Lidge has just blown his 11th save of the season. WIP Philadelphia has commemorated this with their parody of Frank Sinatra's Strangers In The Night.

Sep 20, 2009

The Apocalypse Never Looked So Beautiful

9 (2009)
Cinemark - Moosic, PA
This is one of the most stunning animated films I've ever seen.  I truly cannot recommend it highly enough.

Sep 5, 2009

Taking The Fun Out Of Woodstock

Taking Woodstock (2009)
Cinemark - Moosic, PA
This film is evidently based on the the true story of Elliot Tiber.  This is the man who was responsible for getting the permit to bring the 1969 Woodstock festival to Max Yasgur's farm in Bethel, New York.  If the film is to be believed, he's also the man who wasted his opportunity to take part in the most iconic moment in the history of rock & roll.

As for the movie, it somehow manages to make Woodstock feel dull and boring, and it tops off a disappointing story with a cringe-worthy scene that borders on antisemitism.  I can't think of anyone that this movie would appeal to on any level.

Aug 21, 2009

Can Your Heart Stand The Shocking Facts...

RiffTrax Live: Plan 9 From Outer Space
Cinemark - Moosic, PA
This was a hell of a lot of fun.   How can you go wrong with Mike, Crow and Tom Servo from the MST3K crew riffing on an iconic Ed Wood cheesefest?  As an bonus surprise, Jonathan Coulton performed his ode to undead office politics, Re: Your Brains.

Aug 20, 2009

Best Pancakes On The Planet

The Abbey Gourmet Coffee House
Winters Avenue - West Hazleton, PA
The banana walnut pancakes at The Abbey are EPIC.  This easily makes my top ten list of favorite things to eat.

Aug 19, 2009

Exciting Socks

Hometown Farmers Market
Tamaqua, PA
Surely they can't be 1st quality and best price?  Wow!

Aug 8, 2009

Now In Donkey Kong Yellow

Tommy Hilfiger ad
Nintendo Game Boy Color (1999)
Ten years ago, Nintendo had a deal with Tommy Hilfiger where you could get a special yellow Game Boy Color with the Tommy Hilfiger logo in the center.  Like the ad says, it cost $57.50 with any $50 purchase of clothes.

I never had one of these, but I had some of the clothes when I was a teenager in the 90's.  My grandparents always thought it was called Tommy Heffelfinger for some reason.

Aug 6, 2009

Reading's Greatest Pitcher

Pedro Martinez
Reading Phillies (2009)
Ruben Amaro Jr. was in attendance at FirstEnergy Stadium last night to watch Pedro Martinez pitch for the Reading Phillies against the Trenton Thunder.  Pedro struck out 11 in his rehab appearance, and the Phillies Double A affiliate won 8-4.  The three time Cy Young Award winner should be in Philadelphia very soon.

Jul 31, 2009

Freakier Friday

Cinemark - Moosic, PA
I don't know if this technically qualifies as a horror flick, but it's definitely a freaky movie.  I figured out the twist about ten or fifteen minutes before the reveal, but it was still satisfying all the same.

Jul 20, 2009

The Hunt For The Horcruxes

Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince (2009)
Regal Cinema - Laurel Mall - Hazleton, PA
No spoilers here for anyone who didn't read the book, but if you've been a fan up to this point, you're really going to want to see this.  This is, in many ways, the equivalent of The Empire Strikes Back in the Harry Potter universe.

Jul 13, 2009

Co-Starring Ron Paul

BrĂ¼no (2009)
Cinemark - Moosic, PA
Well, that was a movie.  I guess this one will fall under the category of "I laughed, I had a good time, I don't think I'm going to watch it again after today".

Jul 10, 2009

Crystal Pepsi Soda Machine

Crystal Pepsi soda machine
Greenville, OH
I'm remember seeing a few of these back in the day, but I haven't seen one in a long time.  This machine is still in operation dispensing modern beverages.  Shared by The Upstairs Room on Flickr.

Jul 9, 2009

Flyin' Hawaiian All-Star

Today is the last day to vote for Shane Victorino to make the National League All-Star Team.

Jul 8, 2009

Numerology Memories

A mathematical rarity will be taking place today.  For just a second in the afternoon, it will be 12:34:56 on 7/8/9.

I'll never forget how excited my grandfather was when something like this happened just after my tenth birthday.  He very happily told me "At 12:34 and 56 seconds today, the date will be 7/8/90".

Jun 13, 2009

Gabriel Iglesias

Gabriel Iglesias
Live at The Music Box
The Borgata - Atlantic City, NJ
I've been a fan of since I first saw him on Comedy Central Presents a few years ago.  The show was hysterically funny.  He stuck around after the show to meet his fans and was genuinely a very cool and nice dude.  Thank you, Gabriel!

Jun 12, 2009

Smiling Scallops

The Reserve: Seafood and Steak
Bally's Casino - Atlantic City, NJ
The steak was tempting, but I haven't had scallops in a long time.  Delicious!

After dinner, we managed to catch the bottom of the 9th between the Phillies and Red Sox on the tv at the bar.  Ryan Howard hit a moonshot off of Ramon Ramirez to tie the game, but we lost in extra innings.

Jun 11, 2009

Late Night Sushi Dinner

China Cafe and Sushi Bar
Trump Plaza - Atlantic City, NJ
There wasn't much open by the time we got to Atlantic City, but this was pretty good.

Jun 7, 2009

...On A Routine Expedition

Land Of The Lost (2009)
Regal Cinema - Schuylkill Mall - Frackville, PA
No one is ever going to accuse me of being a card carrying member of the Will Ferrell fan club.  I think he was great as Buddy The Elf, but I didn't really enjoy AnchormanTalladega Nights, Step Brothers, or any of his scenes in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.  I didn't hate Land Of The Lost, but it didn't do much to improve my opinion of Mr. Ferrell.

May 29, 2009

How To Pay Your Mortgage With A Gypsy Curse

Drag Me To Hell (2009)
Cinemark - Moosic, PA
This is one of the best horror flicks I've seen in a while.  The gypsy curse theme reminded me a little bit of Thinner, but Drag Me To Hell is a much better film overall.

Two Thumbs Up

Up (2009)
Cinemark - Moosic, PA
When Pixar released an animated feature film, you can pretty much bank on the fact that it's going to be excellent.  I went to see this on opening day without even knowing what it was about, and I wasn't disappointed one bit.  It's an absolutely beautiful adventure from start to finish.

May 21, 2009

Flea Market Oddities

Hometown Farmers Market
Tamaqua, PA
Where else can you find a Backstreet Boys photo album filled with pictures of Hitler and a skull with salt and pepper shakers in the eyes?

May 19, 2009

The Saga Begins

Ten years ago, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was released in theaters nationwide.  At the time, it was marketed like crazy, including in store circulars, like this one from Sears.

It's far from a perfect movie.  I think the saga should have started with Anakin Skywalker as a 15 year old angst-filled teenager.  It would have made his relationship with Padme a lot more believable.  I also think Darth Maul was an excellent villain, and I was disappointed when Episode I killed him off before fully developing his character.

I remember that I enjoyed the movie when I first saw it in the theater, but I grew to dislike it shortly thereafter.  I don't know if the marketing blitz made me sick of it or if I was disappointed by its unrealized potential.  However, when I watch it now, I can more fully appreciate it for what it is.  The plot is centered heavily on three things: the pod race on Tatooine, the battle of Naboo, and the fight between Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan and Darth Maul, but my favorite scene happens before any of these.  It's the part where Qui-Gon is sitting outside of the Skywalker's home at night - when he tests Anakin's blood and talks with Obi-Wan on the communicator.  I can't put my finger on why, but I lose myself in the atmosphere of that scene.  It makes me feel like I'm there on Tatooine, with the cool desert night air and the entire Star Wars saga waiting to unfold.

Apr 27, 2009

Drive In Announcements

Laurel Drive In
South Church Street - Hazleton, PA
I saw my very first movie in theaters at the Laurel Drive In when I was a little kid.  It was before my sixth birthday, and the movie was The Karate Kid Part 2.  Since then, I've always made it a point to see at least a few movies every summer when I was in town.

One of the best parts of the Laurel Drive In is the food.  They have a huge variety and all of it is tasty and reasonably priced.  Where else can you relax in your car and watch two movies with a dish of pierogies and homemade pizza?

These radio announcements were made during the preview opening weekend.  They were showing Paul-Blart: Mall Cop and Fired Up.

Apr 26, 2009

Victory Never Tasted So Sweet

Phillies Butterscotch Krimpets
Tastykake (2009)
The official iced sponge cakes of the 2008 World Champions.  Accept no substitute.

Apr 24, 2009

World Series Trophy

2008 World Series Trophy
Citizen's Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA
Before the game, we had an opportunity to see and take a photo with the 2008 World Series Championship banner and trophy.

Apr 19, 2009

Did James Bond Fight Zombies In Space?

Rivoli Theater (1979)
Broadway and 49th St - New York, NY
The iconic Dawn Of The Dead premiered in the United States 30 years ago today.  This photo was taken at the Rivoli Theater on Broadway in the Spring of 1979 during the film's first run.  An ad for the upcoming Moonraker can be seen above marquee.  The eleventh James Bond flick was the next feature to show at the Rivoli starting in late June.

The Rivoli Theater was built in 1917 and did not survive for long after this photo was taken.  The theater closed in 1987 and was demolished to make room for office towers.