Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Central Ave Lake

So you may have noticed that we have been having seriously bipolar weather lately. Now it’s sunny! Now it’s torrential downpouring with accompanying thunder and lightning! Now it’s sunny! Now it’s torrential downpouring with a tornado watch! Let’s see what the next 10 minutes are like!

The past two days have been especially nuts.

Have a look at the following 3 videos of Central Avenue Lake taken from my window at work. (The view from my window at work is frequently a source of entertainment, and has been featured in this blog before.)

Central Avenue Lake 2
A good shot of the waves washing over the sidewalk. If this weather keeps up we are going to have serious curb erosion.

Central Avenue Lake 3
Good audio on this one.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Back from balloon festival AM launch. Helped on panda balloon ground crew! Excellent fun. Am gonna need nap later.

Lumpy and friends know Mark S who owns a balloon, and went to help out. Lumpy was going to see if my Pi and I could get in to launch area too.

So up ridiculously early, then waited to try to get word if weather would permit launches. Saw some blue sky and decided to go.

Got there, many balloons up, many still launching.

By Mark S's trailer.

The panda was up when we got there, our job to help put him (her?) away after he came down.

We need to hold open a vent in the balloon for the air to come out. The air is warm and smells from propane. Yuep. Makes sense, but I wasn't expecting it.

This is like folding up a tent on steroids.

After air is out, fabric is rolled up, carried snakelike by over a dozen people, and deposited in carrying bag. Like some wierd kind of simcha dance.
It all fits into here.

Panda stats: 611 lbs, 100ft tall, 112,000 cu ft.
More info on Panda.

More from the festival:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Stakeout at the Highland Park Library

So I'm walking towards the HP library and see this at the bike rack: You all know that Lumpy's bike was stolen recently, and I just happened to know that it was a Diamondback Maravista DB.

Could this be his bike? I decide to do a stakeout. The plan is to pretend to be taking pictures of the flowers, and capture the criminal in the act of unlocking the bike. I position myself strategically.

I also call for backup.

And while I am waiting for backup to arrive, or someone to come out of the library and unlock the bike, I figure, what the heck, might as well take pictures of the flowers.

Backup shows up. He scopes out the library to see if he recognizes anyone who might have been lurking around at Rutgers. Then comes out and observes everyone who leaves. I'm sad to admit that maybe we do some racial profiling. Amazing how many people look suspicious! The library closes at 5:00. It is 5:00. Everyone has left the building. No one has come to claim the bike. Ah ha! It appears that one of the suspicious looking people saw Lumpy hanging around and got scared off!

And then! One more person comes out of the library! This is the very last person to come out of the building. Even all the librarians have already come out. And in a flash, the suspect is off on the bike!

He looks familiar. I suspect he works at the library. This is confirmed by the 5 librarians still standing in front of the library chatting. Who all know me, of course. And who all want to know why I took a picture of the guy. And who will all vouch for his sterling character. And is there anyone who you would rather have vouch for your sterling character than a bunch of librarians???

And anyway, Lumpy thinks it looks a little different from his bike. And when we compare the pictures at home we see the differences.

So I got some very nice pictures of some flowers. And I will have to tell that kid in the library to always lock his bike up very carefully.

If I am not too embarrassed to go back.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Extended Celebration

I think I set a record this year for maximum use of a birthday as an excuse for celebration. Past weekend was Surprise Birthday Party #3. And because this one was so far past my birthday's "use by" date, it really was a surprise. Thank you Sharon & Mendy! Your hospitality is way over the top.

This was the best birthday cake ever (not that I didn't enjoy the watermelon, Eli and Stacy, Surprise Party #2.)

Also, finally got to see the Barnes Foundation. And enjoy this georgeous garden by world famous Philly landscape architect Thomas W. Sears.

You know me and flowers.

fyi Surprise Party #1 was on July 6th, at work, with a Carvel ice cream cake (which is what I said I wanted for my surprise party.)

Any more celebrations after this time will be in honor of The Poot's birthday.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Parentals Go To Baltimore, Part 3: History

Interesting stuff about The Star Spangled Banner.

Fort McHenry

I have a Patton moment at the Flag house.

On shabbos we davened at a lovely minyan in a building that is part of the Baltimore Jewish Museum. The shul is within easy walking distance from the Inner Harbor and I highly recommend it. Bnai Israel If you go, make sure to get introduced the the charming woman who spearheaded the effort to get the building restored to the excellent condition it is in now.

I took these pictures when we went on the Heritage Walk on Friday.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Parentals Go To Baltimore, Part 2: Architecture

The old houses are very narrow. (You pay taxes based on the width of your house.)

I have lots of pictures of beautiful buildings. If anyone is interested, ask for the link.

There were some interesting examples of buildings trying to be taller than other buildings.
For example, the Shot Tower was, at one, time the tallest structure in the US at 215 ft. 9 inches.

But when taller building started going up, amazingly, the shot tower also "grew". 20 ft in this plaque:

and another 12 feet in this article.

The moral of this story is: Don't believe everything you read. If you want to know how tall a building/structure really is, bring your trig tables and a ruler. By the way, google Shot Tower. Interesting stuff.

Here was another interesting effect of a building trying to be tall. It looked like an optical illusion.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Parentals Go To Baltimore, Part 1: Fire

First of all, I would like to set the record straight. It wasn't us who set off the fire alarm at 5:00am Friday morning. Really. And to the guy who came down to the lobby in his underwear: come on - how long would it have taken you to put on a pair of pants? Even if it wasn't a false alarm.

The hotel staff provided coffee and an odd assortment of pastries to make up for having woken us up practically in the middle of the night and for not being able to turn the alarm off for hours.

I think the danish on the bottom shelf were Pesachdick.

So maybe we wouldn't have gotten such an early start otherwise, but we now we know how picturesque Baltimore is at dawn.

An interesting Baltimore Fact: After the 1904 fire (nothing to do with us) , many bricks were reused. You can see many blackened bricks in buildings all over downtown.

This was hanging out near Fort McHenry while we were there.

The 4th of July fireworks display in the Inner Harbor was very nice. No pictures however, since we staked out a spot while it was still shabbos. So if you want to get your fireworks fix, go to this site:

July 6th, Thought of the Day

Saw this in a museum in Baltimore, said about Arthur C. Clarke:

He never grew up; but he never stopped growing.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Welcome Elizabeth Ashley

Welcome Elizabeth Ashley, 8lbs 10oz 21.5 inches!

Mazal Tov Amanda, Frank, Julia, and everyone else.