Monthly Archives: May 2012

Anthracite Heritage Festival: Day 2

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Categories: coal region, entertainment, festivals, photography, transportation | Leave a comment

Photos: Anthracite Heritage Parade 2

Categories: coal region, entertainment, festivals, holidays, photography, scouting | Leave a comment

Photos: Anthracite Heritage Parade

Categories: coal region, entertainment, festivals, holidays, photography, scouting | Leave a comment

Anthracite Heritage Festival: Day 1

I woke up around 10:30am (though with the humidity, I doubt I got more than 3-4 hours’ sleep). I showered, got dressed and immediately began my first task of the day: setting up my mom’s printer.

Sliding the pre-assembled unit out of the box was simple enough. While removing the plastic\cardboard from the edges was a hassle, the real problem was getting the cords from the printer through the impenetrable mass of other cords coming out of her tower and snaking around her power strip without disconnecting anything important. Thankfully, the software practically installed itself.

After just over an hour of set up, I came downstairs and had a quick lunch. Just as I’m finishing, my dad pulls up the spare seat at the counter.

“Have you seen the thing you put in the sleeve to hold the flag when you’re walking?” Dad asked (or not, I wasn’t paying attention). Mom said she hadn’t, and thus he turns to his left and says “So Jonathan, you know what I’m looking for. I’m not sure if it’s on the 1st or 2nd level, but you can look for it.”

He then goes into the living room, sits in his recliner and turns on the TV.

I have no idea what he – sorry, I – was supposedly looking for, but I was pretty sure if it’s in the garage he won’t run across it in the living room watching television. If some stupid TV movie was more important to him than finding this precious item, then it probably wasn’t important to begin with.

Besides, my digital crops were withering…

But they were just going to have to wait a little longer as mom entered the room almost immediately after I did. She wanted to install the A\C in the window while she had someone to help her. I asked her if dad could help her, and she glares at me as if I just asked the world’s dumbest question.

If you know what you are doing, installing a window A\C isn’t all that difficult. We didn’t, but half an hour later we managed to get it as close to installed as we were probably going to get.

That finally out of the way, I log onto Facebook. I harvest crops, collect taxes and destroy a few gems. No-one cursed me out, threatened my life or otherwise bullied me. I had to check that I was signed into the right site.

Finally, I come downstairs again to get a Frappuccino from the fridge, and dad comes up to the counter with his legal pad. Before I could escape, he began lecturing me on the fundamentals of the effects of PE Ratios to dividend yields, a detailed explanation of the differences between “energy” and “utility” stocks and why tech stocks have a good yield despite not paying a dividend.

Or not, I wasn’t nearly as interested in his speech as he was, and I resent having to sit through these sessions. I know he likes this financial stuff, but frankly these lectures make me want to gouge my eyes out with a dirty spork.

“PAY ATTENTION! Or am I competing with your TV watching. Fuck, until you can find someone willing to PAY for your work, this is your ONLY source of income, but, fuck, I can’t compete with ‘the ultimate Chicago cheesesteak,’ so why do I fucking bother? I make [redacted] per year off MY portfolio, but nooo you would rather watch someone make a fucking cheesesteak than learn how to make money!”

That’s when mom, rather wisely, choses to tell me that the A\C in the other bedroom needs to be installed as well. Fortunately, this was a newer model, and was not only smaller, but lighter and easier to install. Fifteen minutes later, I was back to trying adventure games on Facebook.

Around 4:30pm, my dad yells for me from the bottom of the steps (still bitter from the stock thing earlier). I put my game on hold, and went to see what he wanted. He was wearing his dress uniform and wanted to know if I found his flag thing for him.

I didn’t get to answer him, before he fumed: “That’s a ‘no…’ Also, we have to leave NOW so tell me are you marching with the scouts or not?”

“I’m not in scouts anymore, remember? Besides, my uniform is back in my closet.”

“We’ve got uniforms here.” He then throws his hands up in the air and storms off:  “Fine, sorry for asking; be an asshole about it.”

An hour later (after she dropped dad off downtown), my mom comes up to my room and tells me it’s time to go to the Heritage Parade…

Categories: coal region, family, festivals, holidays, scouting | Leave a comment

First World Problems: Part 1

Today was an interesting day – not good, not bad…just interesting.

It started like every other day this week – two hours before it needed to. But I had an e-mail interview I needed to finish, and it wasn’t worth fighting to get back to sleep. Finally, I posted it and decided to get outside and do something instead of staying inside and being bored.

The so-called “Boundary Block Party” was immediately outside my apartment, but I’ve done that before, and, besides, I could hit that on my way back. There was a “food festival” on Charles St, but I figured the food there would be more expensive than it was worth.

So what to do?

They’re still replacing tracks in Hunt Valley so that’s out. I love Canton, but two buses and a pair of water Taxis for a simple lunch was out of the question (yes, I know I can take the #11 directly to O’Donnell Square, but that’s not free). That leaves Hollins or Cross Street Markets – I went with the latter as that didn’t involve a transfer.

The Circulator dropped me off almost directly in from of said market, and I took some time to wander through the various stalls before emerging unfed through the bar on the far side of the building.

I didn’t feel like having a sit down meal, so I went into the Quizno’s on the opposite side of the street. I couldn’t read the signs for what was in the sandwiches so I took a step closer.

“Hi, what can get for you?” I hate when I have order when I don’t know what I want to order because then I have to order the item with the largest print. So I did, and when I got to the register the cashier asked if I wanted a drink with that and I said yes. She hands me a huge plastic cup and tells me it comes out to $10 with the meal.

Yep, she just upsold my upsell without the formality of asking me first!

What the hell was I going to do with a drink that big? Unfortunately, I can’t argue about this because a) it’s my word versus hers, and b) she already had my money. This was a shame since the actual sandwich wasn’t that bad (though I wouldn’t get it again).

Yes, this story is going somewhere, just hang in a little longer.

I was sitting on the Circulator on my way back to the Inner Harbor, when the driver announced that he was going to have to refuel and that we needed to get off at the visitors’ center which, conveniently enough, was where is I was planning on getting off anyway.

They didn’t have what I was looking for at Barnes & Noble so I just grabbed a copy of Baltimore magazine and made my way toward the registers. There was a table along the line filled with “Bargain Books for Mom’s,” and some bored teenagers behind me picked up a copy of The Happiness Pig and started reading it aloud with their own current commentary.

“What the fuck is he HIGH?”

“I dunno, maybe it’s a POT farm.”

“How the hell does shit like this get past an editor? Do they want kids to smoke pot like our little ‘pig of happiness’?”

“Well are getting it or not?“

I never found out, as I was called to the register before he could answer. I put my magazine on the counter along with my BN card, and the cashier happily took my money and returned my card.

I left the store at 1:50pm, almost forgetting that the northbound Circulator would be rerouted because of the festival so I had to backtrack to the Metro at Power Plant Live. I made my way down the steps, and pressed my Smartcard against the fare gate. Nothing happened, I tried again, but nothing happened. I tried a third time and suddenly the gate opened, and I was on my way home.

Categories: adventures, Baltimore, Charm CityCirculator, Federal Hill, festivals, metro subway, theatre | Leave a comment

First World Problems: Part 2

I got back to the apartment around 2:30pm, sat down on my sofa and opened up my laptop. Surprisingly, for being gone “6 hours” my RSS feeds were nearly dead, so I logged onto Facebook.

One of my friends posted a video of a man leaping out of a moving car to save a 4-year old who had wandered into 4 lanes of oncoming traffic. The caption was “OMG!! Only in China!”

I made a comment that anyone would do that if their kid was in danger. Then I realized it was insulting to the person in the video and as I tried to edit my comment so people wouldn’t be offended. As I was almost finished, I got a message of a new response from one of the previous commenters (which I hadn’t read through before posting).

“You better not be talking be talking about ME!!!! Yes, I said it was ‘scary, and insane’ but YOU are taking what I said completely OUT OF CONTEXT, you FUCKING IDIOT!!!! YOU DON’T KNOW ME so DON’T YOU DARE JUDGE ME, ASSHOLE!!! BTW, DROP THE FUCKING ATTITUDE TOO, cuz I DON”T put up with shit from ANYONE – ESPECIALLY from a DUMB BITCH like YOU!!! NO-ONE DISRESPECTS ME LIKE THAT – NO-ONE!!!!!”

Why do all my conversations (real or online) seem to end like this?

As I close Facebook in absolute disgust, I hear a loud knock on my door causing me to nearly jolt my notebook off my lap. I check the keyhole, and there are two teenagers standing there, one with a clipboard and one with a large stack of yellow envelopes.

“We’re here to survey the area on behalf of the (redacted) Foundation,” the one on the left said earnestly. “We want to know if you or any of your household is Jewish.”

“No, I’m not.”

Their faces lit up children on Christmas morning. “Good, because we have Good News for YOU, there was a man in Israel who was killed for his belief that all people are God’s children…”

“His name was Jesus, wasn’t it?” I said nearly shutting the door in their faces…but then thought neither He nor the person quoted above would approve of that.

“WOW! You’re already ahead of the game. We’re just here to spread our love of Him because we feel it is important to let ALL the peoples of the world – especially in the Jewish community – about the wonders that Jesus performs in our lives and YOURS.”

“…But if you’ve already opened your heart to Him,” her companion said. “We will find reaching out to other people in your community who are not as fortunate as you. Thank you for listening, and may God bless you.”

Now with God’s blessing, this “dumb bitch” went downstairs to get a shower and get ready for his day job.

I left around 4:30 because I knew it would take a while to get to Fell’s Point on a Saturday evening. What I didn’t know, was there was an Orioles game tonight so while the Inner Harbor was jumping with people, Fell’s Point was completely deserted.

I got off the Circulator at 5:30, and walked right into the nearest restaurant. Even with an appetizer and entrée, it was still only 6:21pm when I got my check. It appears as if I had some time to kill before my show at 8pm.

I walk around Broadway Market and then head back to the Circulator stop at Aliceanna Street. I waited there for about 10 minutes before deciding I could probably just walk there as it was only one stop away.

I get to Broadway and Gough Streets when I see the Circulator pull into the curb, but it was too late. I was already two blocks from my destination, and at 7:15pm I finally walked into the tiny, wood paneled lobby of Fells Point Corner Theatre.

I bought a ticket, and spent the next half hour waiting for the doors to open. When they did, I was surprised how small the space actually was (slightly smaller than Mobtown, but with better seats).

I won’t get into the details of the show as this post is already longer than I intended to write, but I will say that a show about war, rape and genocide in East Africa certainly puts a new perspective on unwanted plastic cups or hurting someone’s feeling on Facebook. You can read the rest of my thoughts on said play here.

I got back to the bus stop at 10:45pm, and made my way two stops north hoping not to miss my stop in an unfamiliar neighborhood. Fortunately, the only other passenger on the bus with me was also heading to the subway so I followed him across the narrow street to the station.

I walked around the edge of the pocket park, down the stairs and eventually to the fare gate where once again my Smartcard wouldn’t work…

Categories: adventures, Baltimore, Charm CityCirculator, festivals, metro subway, theatre | 1 Comment

Finally, some non-movie news

MICA is planning an expansion of its Commons dormitory.

Baltimore magazine is reporting that Chesapeake Shakespeare Company is expanding into downtown Baltimore. The move is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2014 season.

Apparently, the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium (scheduled to open this summer) has hired a high wire walker to walk the length of a football field suspended over the Inner Harbor.

The Baltimore Brew reports on North Baltimore’s Circlovia, and more protests against the BDC.

Categories: Baltimore | Leave a comment

Maryland Film Festival: Day 3

I spent the entire morning writing. Finishing reviews, writing recaps and when all that was done, it was almost time to head to my first movie.

But first I had to get something quick to eat so I stopped at the McDonalds on North Avenue, and, in a remarkable change from previous experiences there, I actually got what I ordered within a reasonable time frame. Seriously, I got it in 90 seconds; last two times I was there it took them about 15 minutes (no, that’s not an exaggeration)!

I got to the theater in time to find a seat in the expansive 1st theater. Believe me, I am more than happy I chose this film. I feel like I am selling out just writing this, but it was honestly one of the best movies I’ve seen in a very long time.

I spent the next fifteen minutes trying to figure out how to write a review that good without sounding like a shill. I don’t know if I succeeded or not, but you can read my full review here.

The second film I saw wasn’t quite as good. It wasn’t horrible, it just wasn’t good either. My complete review is posted on my other blog.

I left the theater at 6:45pm, and made my way down Charles Street towards my apartment so I could finish my reviews and put the festival behind me.

Categories: adventures, Baltimore, festivals, movies | Leave a comment

Maryland Film Festival: Day 2

The day started out with the biggest, most exciting race of man-powered art through downtown that the city had ever seen, pity I was stuck inside doing laundry all morning.

I finished putting away clothes just in time to head out to my first movie. Fortunately, it was only at MICA so I had plenty of time to get there. As soon as I entered the door, I was immediately cornered by a woman with a clipboard asking me about a survey.

I made my way past people a large group of people milling around on the mezzanine, and took the stairs down to the lobby where I found the line to get into the theater already snaked around the bottom of the staircase almost to the restrooms. When I got to the head of the line, the girl looked at my ticket, and said:

“Oh, you have a paper ticket. This is the e-ticket line, you have to wait in the other line,” she said pointing to the large line snaking up the staircase.

“Th-THAT line?” I said nearly fainting.

“Yep,” she said almost too cheerfully.

I reluctantly make my way back up the steps, following the line across the mezzanine almost to the door I came in just fifteen prior. Fortunately, once they opened the doors, the line moved relatively quickly until the same girl who sent me upstairs ripped the stub off my ticket at the bottom of them.

As with the previous post, I’ve posted a review on my other blog. It was an excellent film, and the feedback that followed was largely positive. The problem was staying for it meant I only had about 20 minutes to write notes before heading off to my next film.

My next movie started well, but then just imploded. Pity since it was one of the most hyped of the festival, but you can read my full review here.

I came out of the theater at 6:04pm, and realized that I hadn’t eaten anything since the previous day. I strongly considered going back to the tent village, buying a ticket to Gayby (8pm, Theater 2) and simply having popcorn for dinner. However, I decided that food was more important.

I walked past McDonalds, and decided to go into Joe Squared instead. The service was decent, but I didn’t get out of there until 7:45. I had officially missed Gayby, but it was okay since I’d already seen Friends with Kids.

Categories: adventures, Baltimore, festivals, movies | Leave a comment

Maryland Film Festival: Day 1

I left the apartment at 11:09am and made my way over to the Ticket Tent at the Maryland Film Festival. It looked like there was a long line of people waiting to get in, but it was simply festival crew handing out programs. Once I got one, I walked right up to the table, gave the woman behind the counter my list and bought my tickets for the weekend – all of them (I was shocked by this, considering how much pre-festival publicity some of these films got).

I left the festival and made my way to the Circulator bus parked one block south of the theater. I boarded, the driver looks up at me, makes a check on his clipboard and then announces that he’ll be back in five minutes.

I wasn’t really timing him as I was working on this post, but we pulled out of Penn Station at 11:47am and ten minutes later, I was walking past the barriers into Flowermart. Like all the other events at the Washington Monument, this event wasn’t very big, but I was able to chat briefly with people at both the CCC and Centerstage tents (both giving away Frisbees with their respective logos on them).

I couldn’t get anywhere near either of the food tents so I walked one block north to the Subway on Madison St. Most of the tables were already taken, but there was no real line to speak of. However, the radio station did break in with a “breaking news alert” about a line of thunderstorms in southern Maryland.

Baltimore City wasn’t specifically mentioned, so I was safe to wander around Flowermart for another hour if I wanted to. But I didn’t, I had to get ready for. I got back to my apt at 1:11pm, and 45 minutes later I left it. I didn’t have to run, but I was walking as quickly as possible, arriving just 2 minutes before the movie was scheduled to start.

The introduction took two minutes, but for some reason the film didn’t start right away. The director got up and started waving his hand at the projection booth, and then finally a festival volunteer came out and said the show would start…and it did.

The first film in this set was Undergrowth, a set of pretty pictures that eventually disintegrate into ugly montage and then when you think something – anything – would actually happen the credits came up.

I’ve already posted a review of the featured film on my other blog, but I will say that it ran longer than I anticipated. In fact, I had a little less than ten minutes to get from the back of the Charles Theater to my next show over at the Wind-Up Space just a block to the north.

I wanted to sit more towards the front, but I ended up taking a seat in the back row. I could barely see the screen through the rows and rows of people in front of me. I have a full review posted here, but it’s beautifully shot hour long documentary…that goes on for about 80 minutes.

The movie got out at 6:04pm, and I made my across the Howard Street Bridge to the Starbucks at the University of Baltimore. It wasn’t raining, but it cloudy and dark nonetheless. I ordered a coffee and a brownie and made my way over to a table in the far corner to start writing my reviews. I considered going back and seeing a third movie, but I figured it probably wasn’t worth it the trouble.

Categories: adventures, Baltimore, festivals, movies | Leave a comment

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