Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Going Gothic



We're heading to Iowa in the morning. Iowa Gothic is distinctly different from Philadelphia Gothic.

Back to Reality

Another Christmas has come and gone. Wahoo! It was a good one, and the iFliFlop Family has post-Xmas lethargy today from lots of good food, shoot-em-up video games, and cheering on the victorious Philadelphia Eagles (um, those of you in Philly know the cheer...I'm too tired to even type it today). We leave for Iowa early tomorrow morning to spend a few days with Mrs. iFlipFlop's clan. Back here on the 31st. New Year's Eve party at some friends' house. And then...even more reality. But slowly. Gravity and reality are not our friends.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Ho-Ho-Ho



Well, Santa came Chez iFlipFlop today, and the Youngest iFlipFlop was up bright and early to discover what the Jolly Old Elf had left. (Truth be told, it wasn't quite "bright," in fact it was dark, but it was early...like 6 am. His older brother was less-than-charmed that it was so early -- that's what being 15 will do to you.) It was a good morning. Now Gears of War is playing on the XBox360, I'm in my new sweater, and Mrs. iFlipFlop is being a short-order cook (Egg Muffins a la iFlipFlop are in my future). And Snickers the Wonder Dog has already had her walk and is now gnawing on a juicy bone that Santa knew would be just perfect. Ah, the joys of Christmas.

Regardless of your religious affiliation (or lack thereof), I wish you all a Merry Christmas in the Rodney King, "Why can't we all just get along?" kind of way. Cheers!

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

5 Things You Don't Know About Me (and Maybe Didn't Want To)

Scott's not only a handsome man, but a persuasive man, as well. He tagged me with the "5 Things You Don't Know About Me" meme. And I'm playing along. So, here goes:

  1. I've never gotten a traffic ticket in all the 31 years that I've had a driver's license. I only got pulled over one time and it was because I had a broken headlight. The officer saw that I had a replacement and I told him about the gravel trucks that broke at least a dozen of my headlights in a two-year stretch. The fact that I said out loud that I never got a ticket probably dooms me to a ticket tomorrow. The fact that I'm ticket-free has more to do with luck than compliance with all posted speed limits and traffic directions.
  2. I fell from a second-story outdoor balcony into a cement cellar entrance, landed on my chin, and lived. When I was a five years old we lived in a house in Chicago that had "back stairs," which were outside stairs that connected the various levels of the house. Back then, there weren't many building codes regulating home safety, especially in the Irish ghetto. I was playing on the outdoor landing and thought I would climb up a support pole for a better look around. I lost my grip and crash landed on the landing below. 30 feet below. I don't know how I lived through that one. I smashed my jaw into a million little pieces and had my mouth wired closed for a long time. I still have a scar that traces my jawline. I don't have the little plastic toy I got at the hospital. But I have a healthy dose of acrophobia to keep me away from the edges.
  3. I had my left eye popped out of my head. Yes, this is rapidly descending into "Frank shows us his scars." Oh well, I have a few more, but I need a longer meme to tell you about them. My eye ended up dangling by its optical nerve because when I was in high school this kid named Danny raised his hockey stick at the same time that I was going for the puck and it plucked my eye out as clean as Chuck Norris reaching in someone's chest, yanking out their heart, and showing it to them before they died. So, there I was, one eye hanging out like one of those bad "eyes on springs" things you can buy at 5 Below, and my dad zooms up in his squad car. (They called him and said I might need to see a doctor. "See a doctor!" Heh.) My Dad runs up to me, takes one look...and pukes. I knew at that moment that I might be in trouble. He flung me in the squad car and zoomed 100 mph while my eye flopped around on my cheek. At the hospital they popped my eye back in. Just like that. They did a little surgery, and I could see again after about two months. The following year they made helmets and face masks mandatory in high school hockey.
  4. I almost pushed 300 people down the stairs of Notre Dame de Paris. (Yes, that Notre Dame.) I'm beginning to realize that I'm a bit of a freak, but I really do have claustrophobia when I can't move. And one time on the stairs winding up to the towers of the Cathedral, there were way too many people, me being among them. People were going up and down the same staircase. Eventually, the staircase narrowed to only about one person wide. And people started pushing up while others were pushing down. Total standstill with me smashed against an outer wall with only a tiny window giving me air. No movement and bodies crushing. Then I felt it well up. I tried to remain calm. But I got some claustrophobia-induced Tourette's or something and roared, "If somebody doesn't f***ing move right this very f***ing second I'm going to push every f***ing Frenchie right into Quasimodo's dungeon." Or something like that. Everyone moved out of my way. Look out for the crazy guy. It wasn't one of my proudest moments.
  5. I have the world's best flying dreams. In fact, just a few weeks ago I had the best-of-the-best flying dream. As in flying like in Second Life. I've always been able to fly in my dreams by just moving my hands a tiny bit - tilt my hands up and I go forward, tilt them back and I go back. I can't fly very high, usually about at the height of what we used to call "the telephone poles" when I was a kid. My SL flying dream had me going faster and higher than I'd ever gone before. And I wasn't even wearing PF Flyers or Red Ball Jets. I guess it's a sign of age that I look forward to flying dreams more than, well, you know.
Okay, that's some about me. There's a lot more bottled up inside. I could show you my hernia scar, but that's not nice to do in polite company. I could tell you about the time that my brother Michael decided to mow his foot instead of the grass. Or the time we were playing in a tree in Chicago and a kid I was with grabbed a high voltage line. Or the time when I was eight and Richard accidentally gutshot Frankie (another Frankie, not me) with a pistol we were screwing around with that was Frankie's brother's who was in the Night Sinners. That kind of crap. But enough about me, I'm tagging Ubermensch, Ms. LiquidTreats, Merci (we'd like to hear from her), Moni, and Pax. Five easy pieces, my friends.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Last Day for Grownup Clothes in 2006

One of the real beauties of owning a company is setting the dress code. Ours requires jeans and t-shirts. Flip-flops are de rigeur in the summertime. But every once in a while we have to put on grownup clothes and visit clients. I'm wearing a version of grownup clothes today (black suit, purple-on-purple shirt, no tie). These are really grownup clients we're visiting, so I may even pull my hair back in a ponytail. And then, in the words of William Wallace in Braveheart: FREEDOM!

Today is our last client on-site for the year. After that, it's back to black t-shirts and jeans. (Well, at least for me. Ms. LiquidTreats is a snazzy dresser, so for her it's back to cashmere mini-dresses and knee-high boots) It's been a good year. I might even be able to afford a few new black t-shirts.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

One Lonely Earring



I found this lonely earring on the Track 1 platform at Suburban Station this morning at 8:50...right after the R5 arrived. It looks like a nice one and has a purity stamp on it (I think from Tiffany's). I wonder if there's another lonely earring out there in Philadelphia that would like to be matched up with this one. (This is a bit of an experiment...what are the odds that this earring gets back to its owner? Probably pretty small.) The oval silver earring has a gold hoop inside. Anyone know a person who lost this little gem? Leave a comment below. I'd love to return it.

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Wii Bit Early

I set my alarm for 6am on Sunday. And I hopped out of bed a few minutes before it went off. Mrs. iFlipFlop said, "Want me to go?" I said, "Nah, I'll go over there."

It was in the wee of the morning, and I was seeking a Wii at Circuit City. A clerk at Circuit City had whispered to Mrs. iFlipFlop that 20 Wii units would be up for sale first thing Sunday morning. "Don't tell anyone." I guess we weren't the only ones she told.

I popped by Starbucks (did you know they open at 6am on Sunday mornings?), got a skimmed latte, and was ready to be first in line at Circuit City. I was prepared - hat, gloves, warm coat, Sunday paper, smiling attitude. Then I rounded the corner into the parking lot. Wii-Mania!

I was 47th in line at 6:20am. Plus, there were pros in line - people with down sleeping bags and pup tents and even more little scumbags waiting in cars. It was a nightmare. I talked to a few people for a while, even the contingent who swooped over from Best Buy that morning after finding out that they were woefully short of Wii-z. (Okay, I don't like the look of the plural of Wii, which is Wiis.) A buzz was going through the crowd. And it wasn't a good buzz. More like, "They don't even have 20 of them here." And that fact was sadly affirmed about 10 minutes later, at about 6:45. A store employee put up a sign in the front window saying, "Sorry, but we didn't even get the 20 we advertised that would be here." They should have just written SUCKERS and sent us on our way.

There was some good to come out of all that, though. I took the picture below at 7:09am that morning when I came home and took Snickers the Wonder Dog out for a walk. We saw a beautiful sunrise. Wii like sunrises.

Sunrise Sunday Morning

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Planning for A Movable Feast



I've been in a pensive mood for a week now. (Startling, I'm sure, for those of you who know me.) When I heard about Star, that sent me into a bit of a spin and pressed me into action. I didn't feel like being glib this week, so I did a little research about going on a movable feast. You could think of it as Zen and the Art of Lifestyle Maintenance.

The Weather Channel and Following Your Bliss
A while ago, Pax and I joked about how cool it would be to pick up and follow the seasons. To have a year in which not a single day would be anything but exactly the weather you wanted. Follow the sunshine. Follow your bliss. Commence in Key West in January. Segue to Savannah by February. Move to Charleston by March. Revel in the Southland in springtime - a little Asheville in April. Wander through the cherry blossoms in D.C. Splash and sail around the Adirondacks in mid-summer. Watch the leaves turn in Vermont in October. Or go to the Perigord. Or Tuscany. Seville. Barcelona. Naxos. County Kerry. Kauai.

Oh, the Places You'll Go!
I've written before about other places I'd like to go and places I'd like to see. But this is more of a movable feast idea. I proposed to my business partners that we pick up our consulting and technology business and move it out of Philadelphia in the summer, for at least a month (preferably two), to somewhere fabulous. Somewhere that has water and fresh air and a reason to wake up in the morning and go "Aaaahhhhhhhhh!". Here's a list of places I found on first blush. My early-on criteria include a place to sleep 12-18 people, water (or mountains), warm, interesting, relaxing, pet friendly, and a place where clients and friends might want to pop in for a day or two, or stay a week. Oh, I need to have access to an airport. And broadband internet.

Heaven Is Just a Click Away

A villa in Provence

A maison in Bordeaux

A chateau in the Perigord

VRBOs in France

Downtown in Sonoma


Wine Country estates

Tuscany farmhouse

Santi Terzi

Key West



A Guy Can Dream, Can't He?

I'm going to keep looking. A lot. I'd love to hear from anyone with a cool suggestion. And yes, please come visit. It's A Movable Feast.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

What Would Scooby Do?



I drove out of my neighborhood behind my next door neighbor today. I like her already, but when I saw that she had a What Would Scooby Do? bumper sticker on her car, she immediately got a million cool points from me.

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Star Bright


Star Foster died yesterday. It's a shock, and everyone who knew her, even peripherally like I did, has a story of Star. Here's mine:

About a year ago I sent a sort of hot-tempered note to someone else on my e-mail list whose name started with "S." Well, thanks to autofill, I ended up sending the note to Star. And in good Star fashion, I got the e-mail back from her with a note that said, "I don't think this is for me. But it was fun to read." Chagrined, I wrote back with an apology and told her that I saw her across 19th Street near La Colombe one day. "Why didn't you stop me and say hi?" she asked. I told her I would, and did a few times on Rittenhouse. Which reminds me that I should do that more with everyone I know.

I'm sorry to Star's friends and family. Really sorry. She was a bright star here, if only far too short.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Little GOTV for KnowHR Blog

The 2006 Weblog Awards

KnowHR Blog, something near and dear to my heart, has been nominated for the 2006 Weblog Awards as Best Business Blog. And I'm thinking that the 1,000 people a day who visit this site to look at a Pamela Anderson picture could launch KnowHR Blog into the stratosphere if they clicked over and spent 10 seconds voting. And if you're not here to look at Pamela Anderson pictures, would you still consider a quick vote?

Vote for KnowHR Blog here. Thank you. And if you're really good, I'll post another picture of the ex-Mrs. Kid Rock someday.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

Clinton Got a Blowjob



Okay, I gotta say that this one made me laugh. And I watched it twice. As Hugh says on gapingvoid, "this guy HATES Bush." LOL.

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10:20 Grand Central Station

10:20 in Grand Central Station. I've had a busses, trains, and taxis day. And now I'm heading home. Out into the winter chill.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Off to NYC...Again

$539 for a Marriott tonight. Ugh. They gouge the tourists going to the city to buy overpriced presents...and nick the business traveler. Oh well. Business was great this year, so I should be cheering.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Copyright 2006 - All Rights Reserved

Check out Matt's pic on The Tattered Coat. It's stunning. And I thought that the description that came across on my Google Reader was cool: Copyright 2006 - All Rights Reserved. (It's because he didn't title the post, and that's the only copy below the pic. LOL.)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Lunatic! Lunatic! Lunatic!

Last night a perfectly normal looking businessman was standing on the entry stairs to Suburban Station and screaming, "Lunatic! Lunatic! Lunatic!" at the top of his lungs. His briefcase was cracked open and papers were askance. I guess I should have helped, but I'm usually pretty wary of people who are screaming like that. Besides, I couldn't help but smirk, knowing that it was a full moon last night.

Photo credit.

Monday, December 04, 2006

I'm Sick of YouTube Scam Artists

Lately there has been a rash of YouTube scammers who post patently misleading descriptions to get people to watch their crappy vids. They suck. And no, I'm not trolling YouTube for "Britney without panties" and the like. I get an RSS feed of most viewed vids each day, and lately 3-out-of5 of them are purposely false. YouTube needs to come down like a ton of bricks on those suckweeds or they will have audience problems. Ugh.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Richard Simmons Gets Steamed, Then Flamed



Goddam, this is one of the funniest videos I've ever seen. This is Richard Simmons's steamer going up in flames on David Letterman's show.

"Dave, this is my steamer. And, Dave, this is my product going down in flames." LOL.