Philadelphia Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of my half-assed trip coverage.

We also did the historical museum (obviously) and all the historical tourist things. I will be the first to admit that my U.S. history is pretty weak. For my senior year of high school I wanted to do a program called 4/4 and take 4 classes in the morning and work in the afternoons. In order to do this I had to take a summer school class so I took my U.S. history in the summer. And summer U.S. history class is remedial class. I think I was the only person who didn’t sneak off to smoke by the automotive lab during the break. Everything else I know about early American history (that isn’t directly related to Indians), I learned from reading John Jakes.

Regardless, I could still appreciate the historical stuff. I loved Independence Hall and the graveyard where Benjamin Franklin is buried. I was underwhelmed by the Liberty Bell. There was a giant long line and the lady doing security clearly hated people and her job. Then of course everyone needed a selfie with the bell, which looked exactly like the pictures, and also like a movie prop.

One night there was a huge thunder and lightning storm with heavy rain. My phone gave me a flash flood alert. We were on the 17th floor and full from dinner and with our snacks and adult beverages handy so we pulled our chairs up to the window and watched. You could see the gusts of rain sweeping by. Very dramatic.

What is up with the liquor laws in Pennsylvania? We went to Trader Joe’s and there was no booze. We went to the wine and spirits shop and there was no beer. Then there was a separate market that Bob went to to get beer. The clerk there didn’t clarify but agreed the laws were complicated. There’s another twist that I’ll talk about in Part 3.

Bob finally got his Philly Cheesesteak the last day. I was urged to try this local delight numerous times, but if I’m going to destroy my digestive system eating something like that, I’d like to be closer to my home bathroom. I enjoyed a fruit cup while Bob enjoyed his sandwich. It smelled good.

On Sunday we visited the library and there was something called Hip Hop Fundamentals going on in the auditorium. The only reason we were by the auditorium is because that’s where the bathrooms were. Bob insisted we peek in and we ended up staying for the whole thing. It is a “diverse team of Philadelphia B-Boys dedicated to spreading true Hip Hop as an inspiration and academic tool.” And it was amazing. Tons of people and their kids learning hip hop. The B-Boys were great. I think everyone in the world should know about this group.

As of today the project of mid-August:

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Philadelphia Part 1

And now for part 1 of your single butt-cheeked coverage of our trip to Philadelphia.

First of all, in keeping with the theme, I did my trip clothing shopping in 15 minutes on the day we were leaving. There should be a prize for that.

There is a Columbia store across the street from the office. I ran over there with my wallet. Tried on 6 things to determine my size, and then selected a pair of shorts, a pair of pants and a short sleeved shirt – all made of this modern magical material called something like OmNiRron or Tu2vaFibre. It’s like wearing clothes made out of FedEx envelopes. They weren’t super flattering but they had tons of pockets and ended up being terrific when we were wandering up down the hot and humid boulevards.

We took a red eye out, even though every time I do one I swear it’s the last time, because cheap and *direct* flights showed up on my fare alert so we snatched them up. If you fly out of Portland, it is generally not cheap or nonstop to fly anywhere outside of the region. I once had a work trip to Reno and I had to fly through San Francisco.

Luckily, our hotel could check us in when we arrived so I was able to have my first nap followed by a food finding mission and then my second nap. Then I was good to go.

Our first day we went to the Rosenbach Museum and Library which Bob picked mostly because it was close to where we ate.

It turned out amazing. It’s a collection of rare books and manuscripts, plus some other items like furniture and we saw some miniature paintings. We took the guided tour, which was just the two of us, and we’re such literature nerds we asked millions of question. Our guide seemed happy to have us. It gets our highest recommendation. We would go back in a hot second.

The other brilliant museum we went to was the Barnes Foundation. According to the website, the Barnes holds one of the finest collections of Post-Impressionist and early Modern paintings. It’s a gorgeous building and the works are displayed in ensembles rather than by artist or time period. It’s explained here. I had no idea the collection was so extensive when we started. It was worth it but by the end I was short-changing my experience, because my brain was saturated. Another 1000 star recommendation.

And speaking of the project of mid-August. As of today:

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Here is the first pumpkin.

Didn’t get to the Philly photos yet because I’m catching up on the Project of Mid-August. Made decent progress this weekend plus I realized I had been counting words from some deleted scenes (you know, for the DVD blue ray) but I’m still only a tiny bit behind schedule even with subtracting those words out.

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At The Office

Colleague: Did you take care of X?

Me: No. You said you were doing X.

Colleague: Did you give me the documents?

Me: Yes. I brought them into your office and said: here are the documents.

Colleague: Oh. Well, I wasn’t listening.

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Philadelphia Freedom

I think I have been setting my IMG photo sizes slightly different than I’ve been cropping the photos. Sounds like me but not a project I want to deal with right now. I had to cut off the bottom of this photo so it looks weird.

Just wanted to say we are back from Philadelphia. What a great city to visit! I feel like it’s going to be my personal mission to tell people to visit there because we had a great time. And I will post more details and photos later.

My body hates me and decided to sleep and relax and love vacation and then get home last night and crawl in bed at 10:30pm (1:30am Philly time!) and refuse to go to sleep. It’s been a long day. I’m going to go to bed early and hope for the best tonight.

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Who Wants My Customer Feedback?

We get these legal books where they want you to buy a subscription and every year they send you an “update” that’s about 15 pages stapled together and costs $75. They are having a hard time making money since you can get all this stuff online for free. They also republish the entire book every few years and charged you $450 for a new one. I can’t find the post but last time we had to buy this book they forgot to publish part of it so they sent me some pages and told me to glue them in.

I cancelled the subscription for this one book and we received a notice that the 2015 update was available for $82.75 including shipping. I sneered but colleague told me to get it.

The notice said I could go online to get the book. First I had create an online profile. And pick some security questions. One of the questions was about partners at our firm and I gave the name of one of the Portland Timbers. I also said my grandmother’s name is Futty. Then I had to log in again using my new profile. Then when I tried to find where to order my book it told me that I took too long and had to log in again.

I said a lot of bad words during this entire process.

Then I logged back in and I could find my subscription but not how to actually get it. If I clicked on one thing a new window would pop open to say that that was my subscription. If I clicked on the other thing a new window would open and tell me what a subscription was.

I finally gave up and tried to call. The office was not open but please listen to the NINE (9) items on our menu. I made it through three.

This company does something called “risk assessment” and told me they produce accurate law books.


I’m still swearing this entire time. So then I decided to take my form and fax it to them — it said I could. And since it’s 2015 and NO ONE uses fax machines anymore except old people who don’t know any better, and risk assessment geniuses, I couldn’t remember how our fax machine worked so I had to input the phone number a couple of times because my session kept timing out.

Colleague grew tired of my exclamations to terrible people who fornicate with their mothers and shouted from behind the protection of his desk: “No update is worth this!” but I was DETERMINED to get him his damn $82.75 book (actually stapled together pages).

The fax went through. I’m sure we’ll never get our dumb stapled pages. But I bet we’ll get the bill.

I also gave them feedback on their website and the image above comes from their reply, letting me know my message was received.

Going to be offline for at least a week. Stay cool!

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The Back Report

This morning we had 2 raccoons in the backyard. I couldn’t tell what they were up to but they did a lot of digging around the compost bin and the apple tree. I thought maybe they were looking for water but if that’s the best they could come up with, they aren’t very smart. They finally ran around the side and fiddled around at the side of the neighbor’s house before wandering off in the front. It was getting late, past 7am. Maybe they were weird because of the fireworks last night.

The good news is I’m at a solid 85% recovery on my back, maybe even better. I can bend at the waist and stand back up as long as I go slowly. There is one specific range of motion in my back that’s still only about 40% but it gets better every day. I’m still taking it easy but not despairing about the future.

Well not the future of my back.

The project of August is turning out to be more challenging that I expected. It may be be the project of Mid-August at the rate things are going.

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A film by Cameron Crowe. Released September 1992. According to the wiki the film was completed in early 1991.

I’ve had these notes sitting here for months. I am a huge Cameron Crowe fan but I only saw this movie one time. I did not love it. I didn’t love Jerry Maguire the first time I saw it but it has grown on me since.

I saw that this was on cable and decided to re-visit to see what I thought watching it now.

I still did not love it.

The movie is set in Seattle and there’s a grunge scene plot thread and several bands including Pearl Jam and Soundgarden are in it (Or their members). As you can see from the photo above, I still own the soundtrack. I must have listened to it a million times because I remember all those songs. It includes Paul Westerberg songs that are probably among my least 2 favorite PW songs.

First, some historical tidbits since it’s hard to remember the chronology way out here in the future.

Pearl Jam released Ten in August 1991. Nevermind was released in September 1991. I always thought Nevermind came out first. It maybe be that Nevermind sold better first — I’m sure this is a researchable fact but I’m not doing any extra credit for this assignment.

It’s a single people finding love story and I didn’t like any of the people or care if they liked each other. I’m not sure if it was the performances or the characters but possibly a little of both. I kinda liked Matt Dillon – hasn’t he had an interesting career?

Here’s what I did like the second time through. Paul Giamatti. He’s in it for 10 seconds as “Kissing Man.” If you look at his bio it’s his third part after “Heckler #2″ and “Larry Canipe.” Victor Garber and Tim Burton make brief appearances, too.

There’s also a bit where this woman is getting a video done for a dating service (who remembers video dating!?) and someone refers to Martin Scorsese as “Martin Score-seeze” and I sometimes use this pronunciation as a joke and I didn’t remember this is where it was from.

Finally, there is a subplot involving Seattle traffic. Crowe was so ahead of his time.

My next Cameron Crowe rewatch is Elizabethtown. I only saw that one once, too.

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Ma’am This *Is* Serious

I know what I’m about to tell you will strain reader credibility but for the third time since the beginning of the year, I have had an infirmity that kept me in bed for a few days.

I keep having issues with my back. I want to say all my clean living is for nothing but perhaps I would be a complete wreck if I didn’t do everything I’m doing.

My backpack was super heavy and I did something as I got on the bus — some combination of awkward bag holding, and awkward getting into the seat. When it was time to get off the bus I could barely walk. I hobbled up to the office and assumed I would shake it off.

I did not. I had to use the restroom which is down a long hallway and there was a point where I thought I wouldn’t make it. I felt okay sitting and that was about it.

Bob came and picked me up and I have spent the last few days in my bed desk, working from my laptop and hobbling around as needed. It’s terrible when I wake up but tolerable in the afternoon.

This morning I was in tears when I got up because I was all hunched over and unable to walk without hugging the furniture going on Day 4. I figured I was permanently broken and would have to quit work and cancel our vacation and never be able to clean my floors again.

I did what normally you should never do when you don’t feel right and I did a thorough online research project and learned that I was mostly approaching it right except I needed more patience and I needed more activity.

I did a 60 minute exercise class for tight low backs which was amazing. So I’m going to assume I’m on the mend and try to power through and move around more.

Other than cropping this is intentionally zero Photoshop.

One thing I’ve learned from being at home during the day more than usual the past several months, is that the strongly accented callers who want to warn you about your computer virus, call almost every day. No point in telling them to put you on the no call list. They don’t have one.

The last time I said to the woman: Seriously? There is no better way that you can make a living?

She said: Ma’am, this is serious.

The good thing about being trapped in a bed desk is I’m making steady progress on the Project of August. I’m slightly ahead of schedule but we’re out of town one weekend and I will take that weekend off rather than stress about writing on vacation.

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Lucia Falls Regional Park & Non-Related Tidbits

A couple of weeks ago we had dinner with some friends who live practically in the middle of Lucia Falls park. I had never been there before or anywhere in the vicinity for that matter. I’ve lived here for almost 20 years and my knowledge of areas beyond the paths I’ve worn for myself is pitiful. The park was lovely. Shady and green on a hot day. We had a delicious dinner outside on the deck. Wonderful way to spend the evening.

This is all that is left of a dance club that was there a long time ago. This is what our hosts told us.

In other news, my grocery store no longer has the prunes I like. It has some generic brand and then a fancy organic brand which is cleverly packaged so it looks like it’s a decent amount but you can tell when you open the package there will only be about 5 prunes in there that you paid about $1 each for. I thought about asking someone but I didn’t want to be that old lady asking about prunes.

You also might have noticed that I haven’t said a peep about Women’s World Cup. It’s a tragedy. I managed to watch one half of one game with the USA. There are numerous contributing factors but the biggest one is this writing project. But also a bunch of miserable commutes stacked together and the timing of the matches is during my commute home. I’m going to try to watch USA tomorrow.

Another weird thing about the writing project is that my brain is so wrung out even if I do read or watch something, I need it to be simple or something I’ve already seen or read. I just got out my ancient copy of the The White Mountains, by John Christopher to read again. And last week I watched The Lake House for at least the fifth time.

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