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Been seeing these popping up in Center City Philadelphia over the last few weeks:

I'm guessing there must be some benefit to these, as regular trashcans have been replaced by these units. There are solar cells on top (the top is transparent, even if it doesn't look it from this picture), which I'm assuming powers a trash compactor inside.
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Yes, I know. I used to be such a big fanboy of PhillyCarShare. But, things changed over the last few months in a very negative way. Rates went up. And now with the sudden and unannounced closing of the Ardmore pod, there are no longer any pods within walking distance of my home.

Rather than reproduce the entire post here, I'll just point folks to where it lives on the Save Ardmore Coalition website:

It's also been pointed out to me that local real estate developers in Ardmore were selling the town as being "walkable", and how car ownership was not required. Apparently the PhillyCarShare pod was cited as an example of such. Said developers might not be too happy at hearing of PCS's quiet departure. Whoops.

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Wore one of my tails into the office today. Strangely enough, nobody seems to have paid much attention.

I also learned today that work is having a costume contest and giving away $250 to the winner. Had I known earlier, I would have seen about borrowing a fursuit or something. Oh well, there's always next year!

Earlier this week, the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team won the 2008 World Series. For those of you not from the USA, it is pretty much our equivalent of The World Cup. This win is our first sports championship in over 20 years, and effectively breaks The Curse of William Penn, which was blamed for our city not winning any championships.

One possible explanation for the curse being lifted was the addition of a 4-inch high statue of William Penn to the top of the Comcast Center when it was completed earlier in the year:

Later today there will be a ticker-tape parade down Broad Street to celebrate the World Series Championship. It will be the first such parade since 1985.

The public transit system is totally packed, too. My train had something like 8 cars on it this morning, when it usually has 4-5 cars. Many people were wearing red on the train. It also took my train nearly twice as long to make it into the city today.

Heading out to the theater later tonight to celebrate my birthday by way of seeing Zack and Miri Make a Porno.
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SEPTA decided to close Market East Station at 7 PM tonight for "police activity". This stranded myself and several thousand commuters both in the city, and in trains on their way to the city. Market East was completely evacuated. At the time I spoke to a SEPTA employee at Suburban Station around 8 PM, he stated that they were waiting on the "all clear" from the police before they could re-open the station.

Despite what the employee told me in the customer service office, he was almost immediately contradicted by a female employee there who stated that it was a "bomb scare" to another passenger.

These were not real times for the trains, but rather estimates on when SEPTA thought they would reopen the station.

A crowd of commuters gather at the closed station. SEPTA really dropped the ball here. They had NO signage or personal on hand. There were a few police officers inside of the station that were completely unhelpful in answering queries from stranded passengers. No announcements were made over the PA at Market East nor Suburban Station. Basically, we were left in the dark as to why the station was closed.

A crowd gathers inside of the customer service office.

I eventually got home with the help of a subway, light rail, and a 1.5 mile walk across town.

Just to underscore my comments above, I'm no security expert--there may have been a very good reason for closing down Market East. SEPTA themselves may have not even had a say in the matter, they might have just been told to close the station by police. What SEPTA could control is how they reacted to this crisis. They could have made announcements. They could have made signs. They could have put notices on the train status boards. And they could have drawn up some emergency action plan in advance, that provided alternate subway/rail/bus paths for passengers to take to their destination.

Did I mention I'm paying $116/month for this? You're doing a heck of a job, SEPTA.
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
I took another picture of an advertisement at SEPTA's Market East station today. But first I have to mention that SEPTA has been on this "green" kick all month. They have these "green" advertisements all over the station about how using public transit saves on fossil fuels and whatnot. And I think that's good--I'm all for conversation.

But some of their signs make my eyes bleed. Like this one:

SEPTA: Like a nun falling down the stairs

So... what's wrong with this picture? Well, if you look closely, there is green and blue lettering, right next to each other on a white background. Can't see it? Look closer, I assure you it's there. But yeah... putting similar colors like that next to each really doesn't work out that well.

Keep in mind that no flash was used on that picture, so there is no "washing out" of the colors. What you see in the pic is pretty much what I saw when looking at it from a distance of 3 feet.

My inner graphic designer is crying.
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Those who are new here might have missed my previous entry about the guy who flashed a TV reporter. Well, should anyone have concerns that it might have been a photoshop job, here is the video of that incident:

Relax, the naughty bits are blanked out. It's just a short clip of the actual scene. Still somewhat odd, though.
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
Seen on a local news site:

And yeah, that's a TV news reporter in the foreground. She attempted to interview the guy, and he flashed her. Clearly he's not all there.

The whole story can be found on KYW1060's website.
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
On my way into work this morning, I noticed that both the streets and the R5 were practically empty. I didn't think much of it until I went down to street level for lunch. As soon as I arrived in the lobby, I saw a horde of... what I can only describe as living, bleeding, and mangled corpses banging on the glass and shoving themselves against the doors. I ran back up 6 flights of stairs and let my co-workers know ASAP! I got some help and we were able to shut down the elevators and block off the stairs with office furniture.

We don't have much in the way of food here, other than a few vending machines. There is a deli across the street, but that might as well be a million miles away right now. Electricity isn't a problem, as we have a backup generator on the roof and about 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on site. We're kinda screwed as far as weapons go, however. As I write this, some of the other guys are scouring the utility closets and taking note of anything that can be improvised into a stabbing or bludgeoning weapon.

Last time I checked the view from the roof, there were a number of burglar alarms going off and some smoke rising from the direction of City Hall. There is NO police or military presence at this time. I also happened to have my HT with me and have been talking to other hams over what repeaters I can reach. The reports are all the same as here in the city.

For now, I'm going to stay put and hope that this is just a local outbreak that can be contained. As far as I can tell, Internet traffic has not been significantly affected. I'll keep updating as long as we have connectivity here and try to post some pictures later.
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
It looks like the Main Line's own Susan Tepper has been charged with assaulting another nanny. She was charged with two counts of assault and one count of harassment for allegedly leaving scratches on the nanny's face and bruises on her body, as well shoving the nanny's 9-year old daughter to the ground.

This charge comes just three months after Susan was sentenced to a year's probation for assaulting her previous nanny with a bag of carrots. I don't think the judge is going to be too happy to see her the second time around...
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Someone asked over on [ profile] pa_furry if there was a community for furries in SE Pennsylvania. There was not, so I went and fixed that. :-)

This community is for furries living in southeast Pennsylvania. That would include the following counties: Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia and its suburbs.

Have fun!
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Early in the afternoon, our building was hit with a blackout. (The generators were still powering the webservers and network. Don't get nervous!) Since there was no power to the main office space though, they let us out early.

With such awesome weather today, I walked around the city for a bit, and saw this guy begging for money in the PATCO Station at 8th and Market:

Now, the guy was supposedly blind. He said so when I walked by him. So, can someone please explain to me how he managed to get halfway up the stairs? Could someone explain to me why he positioned himself on a staircase, of all places?

In case I didn't mention it, we're having really awesome weather in Philly right now. :-)
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Earlier tonight, around 8 PM I was on my way to the train station in Center City Philadelphia. Imagine my surprise when after one fire engine races by me, so did another, and another after that, and then stopped at the end of the street. It turned out that there was quite a bit of fire department activity at the 1600 Lofts on Chestnut Street.

The units stayed there for about half an hour, and then some of them began departing. I left at that point and went to catch my train. I did not see any evidence of injuries or fatalities.

[ profile] omnibahumut reports from his blog that the 1600 lofts is occupied by AIPH students and received reports that the "second floor was filled with smoke". It is unclear at this time whether any AIPH students were involved. (He also ventured closer than I did has pictures taken of the actual building)

7 more pictures behind the cut )
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Store 'Employee of the Year' Charged with Trying to Rob It
A man who was shot while allegedly trying to rob an armored car guard at a Pathmark supermarket in Cedarbrook Plaza on Saturday has been identified as an assistant manager who recently was honored as employee of the year.

Cheltenham Township police say the store's assistant manager, Curtis Sanders, is alleged to have attempted a robbery by spraying the guard with pepper spray as he was exiting the rear of the store with a money bag.

The guard thwarted the robbery attempt by shooting the suspect twice.

Also, it looks like we have another group of people who are taking their religion where it doesn't belong: school board meetings - Prayer at Coatesville Council Meetings Comes Under Fire

The article goes on to mention that religion was being "mixed in with business" during the meetings. We're not talking something in the opening of the meeting (which is somewhat customary), but religious stuff taking place in the meeting itself. A quote from the Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia in the article had this to say:
"I was appalled at the intermixing of religion and business. I was also quite concerned that the city counci members wear their religion on their sleeve."

Yikes. Also, I just love the name. "Freethought Society". Their website is at Things have even gone so far as for the ACLU to send a "please desist" letter to the school board.

Of course, I suppose there would be an innocent explanation to that. The article noted that calls to council members had not yet been returned, so I'd be interested in hearing what they have to say about the whole thing.
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
If there's one good thing about Philadelphia cabbies, when you need to get somewhere fast, they'll do their best to get you there as quickly as possible! In this case, the fare apparently was hungry and wanted to get to Old Nelson's Deli at 7th and Chestnut in Center City.

Unfortunately for him, a local street gang consisting of a street lamp, bike rack, two bicycles, and 3 newspaper machines had other ideas:

Man, those Philly cabbies don't screw around.

I guess if there's a moral to this story, it is this: when a Philadelphia cab driver asks you to pass the salt, pass the salt!

(Or something.)
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
This picture was taken at a Mexican restaurant in downtown Philadephia earlier today:

Well, at least they have a sense of humor. I guess that's good.


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Douglas Muth

April 2012



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