Jan. 30, 2006

Last week, my friend Kel e-mailed me about taking part in a meme (pronounced “meem” — basically, an open-ended topic that’s passed along from blog to blog) entitled “Four Things.”

I resisted at first, since the concept bears a strong resemblance to a chain letter (one of my pet peeves). But I found that I enjoyed reading everyone else’s responses, so I figured I’d join the party. So, here’s my entry:

Four Things

Four jobs I’ve had:

  1. Supermarket bagger/shopping cart jockey (Acme, 1990)
  2. Bookseller (Waldenbooks, 1991–93)
  3. Monorail driver (Walt Disney World, 1995)
  4. Web site developer (various, 2000– )

Four movies I can watch over and over again:

  1. Back to the Future
  2. The Shawshank Redemption
  3. Office Space
  4. It’s a Wonderful Life

Four places I’ve lived:

  1. West Chester, Pa.
  2. State College, Pa.
  3. Schenectady, N.Y.
  4. Fort Myers, Fla.

Four TV shows I love:

  1. 24
  2. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
  3. Friends
  4. The Simpsons

Four places I’ve vacationed:

  1. Stone Harbor, N.J.
  2. Orlando, Fla.
  3. Hyannis, Mass.
  4. Las Vegas, Nev.

Four of my favorite dishes:

  1. My mom’s lasagna
  2. Pizza from the Pepper Mill
  3. Buffalo chicken sandwich at Flanigan’s Boathouse
  4. Broiled lobster tail

Four sites I visit daily:

  1. My Yahoo!
  2. CNN
  3. Slate
  4. Fresh Pepper?

Four places I’d rather be right now:

  1. Sitting on my recliner next to a roaring fire
  2. Talking a walk through Valley Forge Park
  3. Bowling a few games at Facenda-Whitaker Lanes
  4. Back in college, knowing what I know now

Four bloggers I’m tagging:

  1. Life of Steve
  2. Citizen Mom
  3. The Splitter
  4. Pop Cesspool

[ No. 228 ]

Jan. 27–29, 2006

Since last year’s ski trip went so well, we collectively decided to organize a second weekend trip to Jack Frost Mountain in the Poconos. The idea proved to be quite popular — a total of 18 (!) past and present Avalon shore housemates made the trip.

After a low-key gathering at one of our two rented condos on Friday night, we spent most of Saturday on the slopes. I was a little worried that the forecasted mild weather would turn the trails into slush, but the conditions were nearly perfect all day. And I usually don’t toot my own horn when it comes to skiing, but I skied well all day and managed to cover almost every beginner and intermediate trail with relative ease. (I’m sure that dropping 15 pounds since last January was a major reason for the improvement.)

After I had returned my rented skis and poles, I trudged back outside with my cell phone to take some pictures of a few trails after they had closed at 4 p.m.:

Jack Frost Mountain (1 of 2) Jack Frost Mountain (2 of 2)

We capped off the day with a happy hour at the lodge, and I’m convinced that cold beer has never tasted better. After returning to the condo, we relaxed in the hot tub for a while and later enjoyed a huge potluck dinner comprised largely of cheese (baked ziti, macaroni, fondue, and cheesecake).

Given our exhaustion from Saturday and a steady rain early on Sunday, we wrapped up the weekend with a large brunch and an early drive home. But we’re already talking about making plans for a third pilgrimage to Jack Frost in ’07.

[ No. 227 ]

Jan. 22, 2006

I don’t follow show business all that closely — I only watch E! for the hilarious clip show The Soup, and I only read magazines like People and Us Weekly during extreme fits of boredom in the waiting room at the dentist’s office.

Having said that, I can’t help but notice that Hollywood has lost its collective mind (or maybe the town didn’t have much upstairs to begin with):

[ No. 226 ]

Jan. 19, 2006

The fifth season of 24 kicked off earlier this week with a pair of two-hour episodes, and there’s little doubt that I’ll be just as hooked on the show as I had been last year. In fact, over the next 20 weeks, it’s inevitable that I will be glued to the TV each Monday night from 9 to 10 p.m., repeatedly asking aloud from my recliner, “What in God’s name is Jack Bauer going to do now?”

Upon hearing of my relapse into real-time TV, my friend Brian summed up the situation quite well:

“Ah, the long-lost 11th Commandment: Thou shalt not call Mike when 24 is on.”

[ No. 225 ]

Jan. 11, 2006

A few theories I’ve been working on:

  1. My laundry basket is actually a fertile breeding environment that causes my dirty clothes to reproduce while I’m asleep.
  2. At least 70% of the turn signals on vehicles in the Philly area are broken.*
  3. Now that Pat Robertson has attributed Ariel Sharon’s stroke to divine punishment, even God Himself is growing impatient with the televangelist.

* Update: My sister Meg offered a similar observation:

I have my own little driving theory to add to that — if you’re in traffic on a two-lane road and decide to let somebody in (e.g., coming out of a driveway or cross street), said person will almost always take the very next left, thereby making you even later than you already were. Seriously…it rarely fails.

Meg makes a good point — when it comes to driving, a good deed rarely goes unpunished.

[ No. 224 ]

Jan. 3, 2006

The Nittany Lions’ first BCS bowl game appearance was certainly a memorable one — over the course of four quarters, three overtimes, nearly five hours, and countless mistakes by both teams, No. 3 Penn State defeated No. 22 Florida State, 26–23, in the FedEx Orange Bowl.

This was a much closer game than I had expected, and the Seminoles’ defense was among the toughest Penn State had faced all year. But I have a big problem with the way FSU played the game — the Seminoles were penalized 13 times for 129 yards, and seemed to take cheap shots at Penn State all night. Bobby Bowden might have more wins than Joe Paterno, but he desperately needs to follow Joe’s lead in teaching his players some sportsmanship.

Surprisingly, the kicking game was crucial to this contest, and it was pretty lousy on both sides of the ball. The Lions and Seminoles combined for four missed field goals and an extra point, in fact. But PSU kicker Kevin Kelly, after almost giving me a heart attack by blowing two previous chances to seal the game, redeemed himself by kicking the game winner in the third overtime.

Less than eight months until Penn State’s 2006 home opener on Sept. 2!

[ No. 223 ]