Thursday, October 26, 2006

Philly Wit Cheese

I went to Philadelphia last week for training with work, I went alone, but it was fun anyway. After I checked into the hotel I was looking for the elevator when my girlfriend surprised me by asking in a yell down the hallway where I was going. I was so shocked I wasn't able to tell her I was lost. We only had time for a brief dinner before she had to make the drive back to NYC, but it was one of the sweetest things she has done for me, and on a work night no less!

I got out into the city one night, it was fun to get out. There was a train station a little under a half mile from the hotel, so I hopped on a train there. The trains operate much differently than I had expected. While many cities offer such systems (NYC's subway, Chicago's L, San Fran's BART), I've never been on one like this. The trains operated with only two cars, arriving at stations every 1/2 hour. Tickets were purchased on the train with cash from an employee walking the aisle, then at each stop the employee would shout out the name of the stop. Not surprisingly, the man shouting out the stop had a very scratchy voice, it was obviously not his first day on the job.

Liberty Bell

Although it was after dark and everything was closed, I was able to at least walk by a few historical sites, even if I couldn't go inside. These included the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and City Hall. I also walked around on South Street to check out what living large was all about in Philly. Apparently it has a lot to do with cheese steak. Similar to Maine's obsession with lobster, Philly seems to be obsessed with the cheese steak. I couldn't escape restaurants that were selling the famous sandwich, and I did indeed succumb to it myself. I bit into one at Jim's Steaks. The authentic way to prepare a Philly cheese steak is to use Cheese Wiz and "steak" (I use quotes because it was far from lean) that has been cooking too long. It wasn't a favorite of mine, but it was still worth doing. Not that it was expensive, but it also helped that my company foot the bill.

One Wiz Wit Onions (half eaten)

Market Street Stop

South Street

To ducktail on my previous post, I actually set my watch to eastern time while I was there, something I rarely do while traveling just because I don't want to mess with resting it for the return trip. I figured since I was out there for a week it was worth it. You may be asking yourself "aren't you lying to yourself about the time if you don't change your watch?" Good question. The answer of course is no. In that case the watch is still accurate, within a second, of the true time, just not the time zone I'm in. Location doesn't change its correctness (since it still matches one time zone), only changes how it is interpreted. Time is location independent, interpretation of time is location dependent.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Truth In Timing

I was just thinking about time. More accurately, I was thinking about my fascination with time. For some reason, I find pleasure in knowing what time it is. Not approximately what the time is, but exactly what time it is, at least to the best of my ability to know. All my clocks are set accordingly: my microwave, my wall clock, my watch, my computer, heck, even my XBox.

Call me crazy, but there is something that seems inherently wrong about owning a high precision device that can keep time within a few thousandths of a second, such as any $5 clock/watch produced today, and casually setting it 30 seconds to a minute or two off. Then you have a very precise device which is precisely wrong.

Would people care if the pistons in their car fired at precisely the wrong time? Would anyone mind if a traffic light always turned green at exactly 30 seconds too early? Then why don't more people find a clock which is consistently wrong a problem?

I don't think this is so weird, but a few people I've talked to about this think I'm overly anal about this. When did it become anal to seek truth?

So...Am I alone on this one?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Welcome To The Maine Event!

Another weekend on the road! I went out to visit my girlfriend last weekend and we drove from NYC to Portland, ME, making a few stops along the way. I have a feeling that when the typical person thinks of Maine, they get a picture in their head of quaint little villages, lobster, the ocean, and lighthouses. And they couldn't be more correct. I was shocked as to learn how similar Maine is to what all the stereotypes are.

First of all, there is lobster advertised everywhere. You can buy it at any store, including many small ma & pop convienence stores, steak houses, and I even saw it advertised at a small town gas station. I also couldn't believe all the ways it was prepared. They have "lobster roll" which is a sandwich of lobster meat with mayo, kind of like a ultra expensive tuna sandwich. They also offer what is known as "lobster pie", which is something that us Minnesotan's would label as a "Hot Dish." Why on earth anyone would do such a thing to $20 a pound meat is beyond me, but they certainly like their lobster.

We visited two lighthouses while we were their, the "Head Light" lighthouse (top) and the Nubble light house (bottom). You have undoubtedly seen photos of Head Light lighthouse on the cover of any book you have ever seen discussing Maine. It puzzles me why so many people are fascinated with lighthouses, so much so that they decorate their houses with pictures, figurines, and paintings of them. I don't decorate my house in GPS receivers (also used so ships don't run aground), actually I don't decorate my house at all, but if I did people would think I was crazy. I can appreciate the aesthetics of them, but I still find it amusing.

All the towns we visited had that typical Maine feel to them, right down to the alleys. Below are a few pictures of them. I could say more about them, but I'll let you fill in the details.

If you enjoy hiking, there are some amazing trails you can do with fantastic views. We did one which was a cliff hike along the ocean in which you follow a winding trail along the edge of the rock, through the openings carved out of the thicket growing around the trail, and could watch the waves crash against the rock. Here is a little bit of what it looked like.

Sunday we spent in NYC, and just by chance happen to catch a movie crew shooting a scene with Will Smith for the upcoming movie, "I am Ledgend", a film about vampire like creatures that have taken over the world and the only human left, Will Smith, must stop them. They were shooting just outside my girlfriend's apartment building which was pretty cool. The scene was of a red Ford Mustang driving the wrong way down a one way street. Even though I know very little about the movie, I'm now anxious to see it.