Friday, December 30, 2005


As you all might have guessed, I have a love/hate relationship with Harrisburg. I like my job. I hate the "Strip." I love the architecture. I hate having everything worth shopping at in the 'burbs. And so on.

However, this place is starting to grow on me. Oh no, I said something nice!

To make a long story short, because I really don't know where this post is going, I'm starting to sniff out whether I want to buy a house. I'm pre-qualified (though they want me to fill out more forms than my FAFSA, an experience neither I or my mother enjoyed doing) up to an obscene amount that I could never possibly afford.

I of course know next to nothing about buying anything bigger than a cheese sandwich, which is why I tend not to buy large expensive things like laptops and cars and houses and such. So I'm glad I found Jonathan, who has recently gone through the process himself.

Other things about Hburg---I plan on writing Mayor Reed's office a letter about my idea for a real shopping district(meaning NON restaurant, lets try a different type of economic development)for 3rd Street. Dick (from WITF) wrote me that such a district existed in the corridor I described, but suburbanization more or less wiped it out.

However such a shopping district would appeal to people like me, even though I hate to admit it, I'm a Yuppie. (yes I did gag thinking about that). I'm the worst kind of Yuppie too: I'm from a planning background.

And it's Yuppies buying those expensive townhouses in the Capitol Heights development, and in the MarketPlace Townhouse development slated to go in, and it'll probably end up being Yuppies that buy the Towns at Governors Square (which I think is at 5th and MacClay, but Streuver Rouse is vague on this on their website). It's going to be Yuppies buying houses in the city and spreading the gentrification east from 3rd Street and north to Division. Why, maybe even someday, Allison Hill will be a nice neighborhood to live in!

Harrisburg could become a New Urbanist dream, borrowing a concept from my very work field. Places people could walk to, work at, and live at without cars. And with much of the city's largest employer's workforce retireing in the next 15 years, the time to get this started is pretty much right now. It'll be younger people taking those jobs and some of them, (hopefully most of them) will choose not to crowd out more lots in the suburbs. Did you know that Pennsylvania's population will probably not grow at all, yet the state will lose more and more farmland in this 15 year period? Sprawl folks. It costs us money. The traffic issues around Harrisburg are only going to get worse with less money to pay for it. Think about it. Redevelopment in the city is probably cheaper in the long run.

That is all I have for now.
ID Plants

These plants are growing in the woods across from my parents house. They've been there for decades.

I snapped some poor pictures with my cell phone, thus the poor quality.

I think they are needle palms, a species of palm native to the Southeast and very cold hardy.

Plant experts? can ya help? thanks.

Thursday, December 29, 2005


In life you're permitted a certain amount of really stupid mistakes. What follows is mine:

In March I signed up with this online marketing firm. The pitch: dropsell stuff on Ebay. Long story short, I got scammed. It really was a stupid thing to do.

So, if you ever get emails from or get something that points you to this site, avoid. They are not only a scam, they hit you up with hidden fees INCLUDING a $350.00 cancellation fee when you decide they are useless, which they are. This is probably how they make their money.

Now, if they had withdrawn the $350.00 two weeks ago WHEN I SENT THEM THE CANCELLATION LETTER---AND TOLD ME THAT THEY WERE GOING TO DO SUCH A THING, I would not be as pissed as I am now. At the end of the month I have a shitton of bills to get paid, and now I'm writting rubber. I've NEVER written rubber before, even when I was eating ramen and baking powder paste for food those last months in college. I'm set back a good two weeks on planned purchases and account transfers to various savings things I have set up for my future. Irked I am, Irked.

Lesson learned. I got scammed. Reporting to the BBB, maybe try to get my money back. And everyone else, AVOID THESE PEOPLE LIKE THE PLAGUE.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


I've turned comment moderation off. I keep missing comments, and I really did feel bad about that, so we'll just put up with the porn spam. It is more amusing than annoying anyway.


was quite nice.


This town is an enigma. One moment I hate it. The next, I want to buy a house. The architecture around here is awesome. Even those who absolutely hate Harrisburg have to admit to the uniqueness of the neighborhoods in this small city.

I also think that Upper Darby's 69th Street could be a great model for revitalizing the Third Street Corridor from Forester to Reily. 69th Street is about five blocks of stores. It's very much like an open air mall. At the southern end at 69th and Walnut is Sears. At the northern end is the Tower Theatre. Marshalls and Staples are also represented, along with a United Artist Movie theater. In addition, at 69th and Market, is the western hub for SEPTA's suburban service.

There used to be a website for the shopping district, but I can't locate it on Google.

(Oh Upper Darby is also my hometown.)

3rd Street already has one anchor: the Midtown Theatre. In a way it already has another with Broad Street Market at 3rd and Verbeke. Now it needs the infill.

I think this is a good idea. Attract *something* to get people shopping in the city. Restaurant Row is okay but in all seriousness, watching other people get fat really isn't all that appealing to me. I'd like places to shop in walking distance...but I'm used to that from growing up 5 mins walking distance from 69th Street.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

from the PBeM I play

This was just too funny to pass up.

For context, our alien bad guys remove "irrational species" from their homeworlds.

*Report forwarded us from the Species self identified -intercoursers- subject species self identified -humans-*

*Subject custom/cultural activity indicating irrational behaviour*

*Activity process on annual cycle, coinciding with annual daylight minimums at homeworld major population centers*

*Activity involves mass acquisition of material goods, followed by mass ceremonial redistribution of goods acquired.*

*Biological/environmental source rejected as phenomenon occurs in all environments. Note population centers identified -Australia- -Argentina- -South Africa- show similar patterns, yet local daylight is at annual maximum.*

*Mating Ritual rejected as phenomenon appears focused on redistribution of goods to juvenile members*

*Review Evidence- Image recording of ceremonial goods acquisition at population center identified -New York-. Note extreme stress/conflict associated with goods acquisition, despite ready availability of same goods during remaining 90% of annual Human activity cycle.

*Conclusion: Human Activity Process identified -Christmas- 88% likely to be ritualized combat behaviour.

*Warning Species Likely Highly Irrational.*

Well, I thought it was funny.

Saturday, December 17, 2005


Parabola Magazine, a magazine I had never heard of until I went to the B.Dalton in Strawberry Square this evening, is running a nice series of articles on religious fundamentalisms of all kinds. It's $7.50 and a good read. On bookstands until the end of January.


Harrisburg apparently doesn't believe in clearing streets. I'm somewhat spoiled I guess. The side street I grew up on in Upper Darby usually got cleared fairly well. Then again, Upper Darby has about 40,000 more people than Harrisburg does.

Winter sucks. I'm already sick of it. And meteorological winter does not end until March 1st. That damn groundhog better see an early spring.

War on Holiday Christmas

Much has already been said. I think Bill O'Reilly has completely missed the point of the season. May he get coal in his stocking. And Happy Holidays.


I'm new to this whole autocratic mayor thing. Is Mayor Reed always so combative toward the press? And does he always bash the City Council?

suggestions and things heard on the bus this week

"Mayor Reed should sell back those Wild West artifacts and use the money to clear my goddamn street!!"

"The Republicans were better with the state workers which is really weird." (in reference to last nights ever so fun commute. There should have been a 2 hour early release according to some. Buses did not run at all. 2 hours to get home--in hindsight, I should have walked. It's only 20 blocks.)

"That Governor is just pushing my buttons."

"Damn Judges!" (in reference to the judges fighting the pay raise repeal.)


I need to find a doctor. Who's good? (I have Blue Cross, if that helps.)


That punk needs to stop whining.

domestic spying

I'll make it easy for them so they don't have to harass my neighbors (who I don't know, by the way), or my friends (whom I haven't seen in 6 months or more) or my family (who will just slam the door in your face.) Here goes:

I wear size 28 waist. I drink tea, not coffee. With 2 sugars. Sometimes with creame. I leave the house at 750 and get home at 430. I don't drive. I read sci-fi. I do not like George W. Bush.

Easy enough? Good, that should keep you spooks busy.

next up

I'm going to make a mead next. Any beekeeprs in the area?

domestic spying part two

Even though my outrage meter is long broken, I'm really quite disturbed by this "Bush personally ordered spying on American citizens" thing weaving its way through the press.

You know, I could go into a rant about the Constitution of this great land, and how I personally feel this current crew of "leaders" (yes I'm looking at you too Congress and Judicial Branch) has more or less used it as asswipe paper. But you know what? I'm just too tired to do it anymore.

I will continue to exercise my 1st Amendment Rights. And I'm really starting to like the 2nd.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


I have turned the comments back on. While I found the porn spam rather amusing, from now on the comments are moderated. That means, if you make a comment, it might be a bit before I approve it so that it's seen, especially if you comment during the Eastern standard work day since I'm not supposed to be blogging at work.

war on christmas

Not much to say about this except bah-humbug. Bill O'Reilly needs to 1.) Grow up. and 2.) read some history. People have been turning Xmas into a "war" for at least a century. Henry Ford complained about it himself nearly a century ago.


I still really dislike Hburg, but I really enjoy my job. So I'm here for the long haul. And since Hburg isn't making me happy, my job can, and at least I get paid so I can then go out and buy said happiness.


My job is cooler than your job. ;-)


My first batch of beer was a stout. It is a bit on the bitter side for my liking, and a bit alcoholic, nearly 10% by my estimation. It needs a name. And---I need some ideas on what to brew up next. I'm thinking something for Valentines Day.

sci-fi friday

One more month. I'm suffering.


I think a Borders or Barnes and Nobles would go great downtown. I think I'll write Mayor Reed and tell him just that. I hope I at least get a form letter back. Still waiting for the one I wrote post-Katrina about the city's disaster plans.

That's all the updates I have for now.