Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Some leftover thoughts from the week that was. I promise, this will be the last I speak of it. I should warn you I am not a man of my word.

Honor is for pussies.

Off we go.

- I had the distinct displeasure of staying for 3 nights at the Embassy Suites in downtown Philadelphia. It was right next to our building, so the commute was sweet. However, the place itself seemed like a section 8 housing unit. Reasons I will never stay there again:

1: It smelled moldy. Like there had been a flood and never completely dried out.

2: They had a happy hour between 5:30 – 7 pm every day in the lobby. Normally this would have been a big check in the PLUS column, but the staff never checked if the people getting drinks were actually hotel guests. Basically it was happy hour for everyone in the area. Construction workers (who were probably supposed to be working on the front entrance which was a mess the entire stay) were hanging out drinking beers. Scruffy looking guys off the street were lounging in the lobby chairs drinking away. What the holy hell? Is it too hard to ask to see the room keys for verification?

3: The elevators stopped working for three entire days. This would have been perfectly fine (shit happens, after all) except I was on the 27th floor. The elevators themselves were working ok, but the call buttons were not. This meant every time you had to use the elevators you had to call the front desk and tell them you needed someone to come up to get you. You can imagine the amount of people calling at 7:30 in the morning when it was breakfast time. Ugly. I wound up taking the stairs down two mornings in a row because it was faster.

4: Despite all that, I would have been fine. I basically just need a place to shower and sleep when I’m on a project. I do like to unwind before I fall asleep by channel flipping or watching SportsCenter or Baseball Tonight. The first night all was well. I get back the second night (the same night the elevators went out) and the channels were all fucked up. ESPN was snow, HBO was all squiggly, and the local channels were black. I called down and was told ‘Yes, we’re having trouble with the signal at the moment’.

That ‘moment’ lasted for two days. Between the cable signal and the call buttons, that building is wired to blow. Or would be if the wiring worked at all.

After I checked out and had to call down to get an elevator to get me the hell out of there, I asked the guy operating the elevator how long it would take to get the call buttons fixed. I quote: ‘Well, they can’t find the short so they’re talking about rewiring the entire elevator system.’

‘How long will that take?’

‘At least a month.’

Embassy Suites. 1717 Benjamin Franklin Drive, Philadelphia. Stay away for at least a month. I’m staying away for the rest of my life.

- What started out as a simple Amber Alert (if there can be such a thing) regarding a father kidnapping his own daughter has turned into the next Lifetime movie and a legitimate international incident. Clark Rockefeller grabbed his own daughter off the streets of Boston and took off in a yacht to Baltimore to ‘start a new life’.

Turns out Rockefeller isn’t his real name and he’s from Germany and may have killed two people in California back in 1985. Well, hell, I don’t have time to go into the details. Check this insane timeline of his life. Makes you dizzy, huh?

What isn’t being addressed is something that intrigues me. Namely the devotion of a father to his daughter. This is a guy that cultivated a detailed persona for over a decade and so completely took on the character that even his best friends and ex-wife had no idea he was nothing close to what they thought. He was a con man. And such a good one, people that know him are still reeling.

Now, I’m not condoning kidnapping by any means, but I want to point out that Rockefeller (or whoever the hell he is) risked – and blew apart – his carefully constructed lie of a life because he wanted to be with his child. Granted his love is misguided, deranged and slightly dangerous, but it says a lot about what he was willing to risk in order to be with his daughter. Rockefeller is going to jail for a very long time (possibly the rest of his life) because he missed his little girl.

- I’ve been watching Michael Phelps this past week (hell, how can avoid him?) and my teeny little mind is still trying to grasp the utter dominance I am witnessing. This isn’t a high school swim meet; he is competing against the best swimmers in the world and he’s crushing them with an ease I have never seen before. The best swimmers in the world! These guys are the best of the best and they have no chance. I am watching him the rest of the way, too. We may never see an Olympic performance like this again in our life time. Hell, it may NEVER happen again in history.

- While we’re talking about the Olympics, one of the events flying under the network radar is our softball team. The adorable Cat Osterman pitched a no hitter yesterday that extended Team USA’s Olympic winning streak to 16 games. What’s confusing is the Olympic committee voting to remove both baseball and softball as an official sport. While at the same time synchronized diving is sticking around. What the fuck?

- I saw ‘The Dark Knight’ in IMAX and while I’ll wait to review the actual film (Hint: it was really good) I must admit I didn’t like the IMAX experience. I’ve been to them before, of course, but they were films designed for IMAX. ‘The Dark Knight’ was basically just stretched to fit the huge dimensions of the screen. This made the tops and sides of the film distort with the curved screen and made close ups of the actors nearly unbearable to watch. I don’t need to feel like I’m kissing close to The Joker, thank you very much. More problematic for me were the action scenes, which were tough to follow on such an enormous screen. I’m going to see this again in a standard theater.

- Part of the misery of business travel is making sure you have everything you need before you go. On this trip I forgot my belt. You know, so my pants stay up? Fortunately I was in downtown Philly with plenty of options all around me. I went with my coworker and spotted a men’s shop. I made straight for it and stumbled across the owner as he was locking up for lunch. He sees me and immediately opens it up again. ‘Sorry,’ I say, ‘I just need a brown belt real quick.’

‘Absolutely, sir, not a problem,’ he replies as he unlocks the door and ushers us in. That should have been a warning sign.

He shows me three possibilities and I select one. As I’m trying it on I ask ‘How much for this one?’

‘That is four fifty’

I stop and look at him. ‘Four hundred and fifty dollars?’

‘Yes, sir. It’s genuine ostrich skin.’

Very carefully I take off the belt, wrap it up and hand it back to him. ‘Sorry for wasting your time.’

‘You know, that’s the real mccoy

‘I’m sure it is,’ I say as I back out of the store.

Coworker took me to a discount place around the corner where I picked up a standard brown belt for $9.99.

- I’m familiar with most of the people in the Philly office as I have worked with them before. The head of our office there is a likable guy who is always stuck in overdrive. One of those guys that thinks he’s much funnier than he really is (like me) and thinks it’s a good idea to be as loud as possible about it. Good guy, but man alive, tone it down a bit, will ya?

- The gas companies have finally reached the saturation point with the prices. Apparently, anything over $4 is the tipping point for drivers. This past June driving took a nose dive. On what I’m sure is a completely unrelated note, prices have been decreasing since July 1st. Go figure. I noticed a gas station across from my gym that was down to $3.57.

- Lastly, did anyone catch the Red Sox – Rangers game last night? 19-17 with the Sox finally winning, but this was after blowing a 10-0 lead after the first inning. While Papi looks like he’s getting back into form, our bullpen is quickly becoming a concern. What a disaster last night was. Let’s hope it was a one game aberration.

By the way, I like the Byrd pickup for basically nothing, but we’ll see how much help he turns out to be. Can't be any worse than Bucholz lately. What the hell is up with that kid?

Today’s distraction: Draw and play your own golf course. Much harder than it sounds.


Hammen said...

I was watching the Sox via gamecast while playing Madden last night, just freaking out, until about the 6th. At that point I just said fuck it, whatever happens happens, no more getting angry. I couldn't take much more of that game. Crazy.

I refuse to wear any belt that isn't made of genuine ostrich skin, but that's just me.

A Tribute: deer a train and basketball said...

That Rockefeller case is going to be crazy. I've kind of been following it since I first read the article and I must say he is impressive as a con man and is probable a little insane.

I refuse to wear a belt priced over $20.

BeachBum said...

I kept flipping back and forth between the Olympics and the Sox and every time I went back to the Sox the score had changed again. It was chaos!

The Rockefeller case is one of the more bizarre stories I can remember. The more you learn the more confusing things get.

I would love to know what kind of guy spends $450 on a friggin' belt. I wouldn't spend $450 on an entire suit.

Which is why I generally look like shit.

A Tribute: deer a train and basketball said...

welcome to the club. If you actually cared about your clothes and or style I would have to call you a homo, not that there's anything wrong with that.