31 October, 2007

Oh, Shoot! More violence in the city of Brothely Love

3 shootings in one week. All I hear are sirens this morning as a police officer at a Dunkin' Donuts on 6620 N Broad St was shot a little earlier today. A shoot-out is about to occur with over 30 cop cars and 2 helicopters, according to the observations of fellow Temple students. Personally I have counted at least 10 cop cars heading up Broad Street just while walking back from class, and the sirens aren't stopping. I'd say ballpark 50 cars. According to CBS3, cops are coming all the way from South Philadelphia, and from the footage on TV a little after 10:30, most of them were still on their way. I guess it's goin' down right about now. I just hope no more good guys get hurt.

26 October, 2007

I See Hooters

In trying to find the location of the Bensalem Hooters for a roommate dinner we are planning for tonight, I came across this interesting new technology... "Bird's Eye View" of the map, an improvement on the aerial maps now used by Google and MapQuest. An even more interestingly is the fact that this map was on Windows Live Search, which I was using by accident through the toolbar at the Tech Center, thinking it was Google. Imagine that - a Microsoft product beating out Google in technology? I had to investigate. Here is the bird's eye view from "Microsoft Virtual Earth." If you zoom in, you can even see the Hooters sign!

So of course I had to go to Google and see if maybe I was missing something in the mapping world. Apparently I was... but a different technology called "Street View." Different from Birds Eye View? Let's see.

There it is, in all its wonderful glory. The only problem with Street view is that it's harder to navigate, these funny yellow lines are always following the road, it's slightly counter-intuitive, and it's VERY limited. Mostly major cities and some major highways. My area in NJ had none although I explored 287 a bit to see if I would get hit by a virtual car. Somehow Google doesn't let that happen - your lane changes or the car does, it's kind of weird technologically speaking. Nevermind philosophically speaking. This bring up some new Second-Life-esque issues. Even creepier, I found this image near Temple...

Note the Temple vs. Navy banner, which from my deductive reasoning tells me this must be sometime in August. Which also explains why the campus isn't poppin. I wonder who that guy is, and if he knows that he is now online for all the world to see, because at that very instant he happened to begin crossing the street and a satellite somewhere was taking his picture. Is someone watching me.... or you?

When aerial images first came out, it was cool to see a mini-pic of your house, your neighborhood, your friend's house. Your enemy's house, even? Now it's like, "aerial" images are not enough. We have to have "bird's eye" or even "street" view. Of course. So here is my hood:

Let the creepiness continue!

A real bird's eye view...

Bird's eye image
© Astra Ravenscroft Used with permission.


25 October, 2007

Nice Package

What the heck is the point of designing a package that doesn't work? I mean, what are these "easy open" pulltabs doing if you have to rip the whole thing apart anyway? I just bought some Energizer batteries to re-power my ever-needy wireless mouse and would have loved if the little plastic holder piece could have opened when I used the perforated opening thing on the back. But, no, I had to rip up the whole darn thing and make a messy looking holder case for my remaining 2 batteries. Which I will have to use for my ever-needy digital camera now. So I will be throwing it all away regardless. But, if I had been able to save the extra batteries, where would I have put them? Surely not back into the ugly packaging remnants.

Consumer Packaging

I mind ripping open batteries. I don't mind opening up Christmas presents, birthday presents, gifts, or Halloween candy. Or Halloween presents!

An example of good packaging by UPS!

Thanks, ma!

24 October, 2007

Things Done

  • Computer configuration assignment for CIS - And learned something about hardware. Might even build my own computer one day, if I'm feeling ambitious.
  • Meet with CIS group - Thursday Oct 11 - Accomplished something, plus wrote my part of the outline, and the introduction. Still to do: Prepare debate and wiki.
  • Erin's going away party - Met some of her fabulous friends who came from all over the country to see her off!
  • Return Verizon phone to store only after getting a third replacement device because the second one was so screwed up. Unfortunately none of my ringtones or custom T9 words or any other settings like that transfered :-(
  • Blog assignment on intellectual property for CIS - FINALLY did this, along with one other blog and two comments on other students' blogs, which means I still have 3 blogs and 3 comments left for the semester haha.
  • Get curtains for my room and downstairs - Kinda done, but still a wip because one of the shades didn't fit so we have to go back to Home Depot, and I would still like some valences. But since I'll be leaving the country in just over a *month* I might leave it for later. Maybe my sub-leaser will get sick of living with dusty blinds and take care of it.
Not to mention vast amounts of updates to all my websites! *g*

19 October, 2007

Shades as Censorship?

The other day, as I'm hanging up my new shades, sprawled out across my window with one hand clinging to the molding for dear life and another clasping the awkwardly long roller shade - not to mention one foot desperately balanced on the top of my radiator, hoping it can support me while the other precariously situated on the bottom molding of the window - anyway, as I'm situated quite comedically for all of North Philly to see, dozens of kids start marching up our block. I freeze for a moment like a deer in headlights, hoping they don't notice me splattered like a fly up against the window.

They definitely don't notice, and I dismount. They have a mission of their own, which I am now very curious about. My curiosity is soon satisfied, and my only regret is that I didn't grab my camera to capture the action sooner. An all-out fist fight breaks out between two of the youngsters, complete with cheering, screaming, and some vehicle interaction, which -thank goodness I wasn't parked on our street that afternoon- fortunately did not result in any damage, and finally the sound of a police siren which causes them all to scatter. Here is that part of the episode for your sadistic delight.

And to think, if my shades had been up I might have missed it all.

14 October, 2007

Fly Away

I went home this weekend, for my dear mentor Erin's going away party. Not that I see her very much anyway, but she is moving to Hong Kong for 8 months and that is quite a trip. The song "Only One Call Away" by Chingy comes to mind, as an antithesis to the situation.

I got a lot accomplished at home. A lot of which has to do with my life here in Philly. Bought shades for my apartment to replace the dirty broken blinds which are probably causing my immune system a lot of distress. Toothbrush holders for both bathrooms. A dish drainer. A switchplate for my bedroom light. And more useless comfort items that make our lives in America so wonderful. Plus my Aunt Leslie brought me a battery-powered drill, asserting "Every girl needs power tools!" as she handed it to me on Saturday. Power to the feminists!

Came back to my apartment and installed aforementioned switchplate, toothbrush holders, dish drainer. Shades still TBI: one is a hair too wide and must be taken back to Home Depot.

And now there is a fly buzzing around my room. Fly away, fly! Safe flight tomorrow, Erin :-(

12 October, 2007

Exploding Bananas

We've had a banana sitting on top of our microwave for a few weeks now. No one claimed it and, in retrospect, it was probably mine, but Anna and I had both bought bananas the other week so there was a general lack of communication on the matter. Until now.

This morning I went downstairs and found Anna cleaning up a huge mess which she described so succinctly: "the banana exploded." Lucy added that she had seen it last night and it "hadn't exploded yet." Unfortunately, an army of ants had found it before we did, and were thoroughly enjoying all the juicy gooeyness of it before we came and wiped them up. Moral of the story: don't leave your bananas out for too long - they WILL explode!

10 October, 2007

You know you're a design major when...

You get excited about Adobe products.

Even though I'm not technically a design major anymore.

Ah yes... Updates

Things from my "To Do" list on the right side of the screen that I've actually done in the past week.

  • "Accounting chapter 5 this week" - Not only that, but it would seem that we have just finished chapter 7, and have a midterm this Thursday!
  • "Pay / dispute my first parking ticket of the semester" - Not only that, but I have gotten another one for parking so impossibly close to the curb that it makes it difficult for one to "turn onto the highway" as the officer so kindly noted. Sure, 15th street is quite the intersection...
  • "Get magenta ink for HP Photosmart printer" - Strategically found a spot to pick it up at a CompUSA in Mt Laurel after my internship dinner meeting in the eponymous town last week. Online ordering for in-store pickup, sweet!
  • "Drop off book for return at post office in the SAC" - And even got the confirmation of my reimbursement from Amazon, unfortunately not for the original costs to ship it here.
  • "Speech homework" - Although this elusive topic will stay posted along with "Random Italian homework," I did manage to present a kick-ass informative speech last week, and had to sit through 3 more hours of them tonight.
  • "Readings for Advertising - next quiz Friday on chapters 4-8" - Ah yes, and I got a 92, because it was weighted, or else it would have been an 86. Not half bad considering I was enjoying some sweet Mojitos that Thursday night with Greek Steve and Dems.
  • "Schedule a lunch with my mentee Meghan" - A compromise, actually, in that we had brunch / coffee. It was nice to finally meet her but I don't know when we'll be able to meet again. Speaking of mentors, I haven't been keeping in touch with mine although I am going to see Erin on Friday for her going away party before she runs off to Hong Kong! Crazy girl.
  • "Return blank VHS to Rite Aid" - Along with the blank DVD-RWs that I didn't need to dub my speech tape after all. Yes, I dubbed it and all by myself! But no I will not post it until the embarrassment of hearing myself speak wears off.
And furthermore...

I completed my Visa application for Rome! What a hassle. I had to get a new passport photo taken, get my actual passport, an Express mail envelope which no-they-don't-sell-at-the-campus-post-office so I had to go all the way to the (truly ghetto, slightly unnerving) north Philly post office branch and the darn thing cost like 16 bucks! Luckily I knew where the post office was because of the time I escorted Anna there on foot, and luckily I have my car because I would NEVER want to do that again. I think the two parking tickets this semester were worth it just for that, haha.

Oh yeah and, the weekend... Michael came up for [his] 3-day Columbus Day weekend. We went to my homecoming game (we won!), South Street, the Gym Class Heroes concert, a club party at the YMCA, the art museum, and Pat's & Geno's. I feel like a real Philly kid :-)

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