Month: August 2003

The Last Week of Summer Vacation

It’s been only a week since my last entry, but it’s been a busy week. Last Monday, Annie and I finally were able to head out to Rickett’s Glen State Park, a place that we had talked about visiting for at least a year. We headed out a bit later than planned, but we weren’t planning on hiking for 12 hours anyway. It was simple enough to get to the park, just drive 30 miles from Bloomsburg on Route 487; once we arrived at the park, it was a different story. We should have known it was a bad sign when there were road signs pointing us to the Falls Trail in two different directions. We finally found the trail that we wanted, a 2.8 mile trail that passed by the largest falls and was not too difficult. That trail should have connected to another trail that was 1.3 miles long. The park map lied. Repeatedly. The trail began smoothly enough, despite the fact that we accidentally went ten-minutes down a non-marked service trail. OK, minor setback. We saw the largest fall, the 94-foot-high Ganoga Falls which was a cool, stepped waterfall.

After that, the trail went downhill, and then uphill, and then downhill again. Turns out that the trail was barely blazed. We’re talking knee-high grass and mud that forced us to hike along the side of trail through thick forest for hundreds of feet. It also took us about five hours to go a supposedly five miles, so the path was definitely longer than the map said it was. Not fun. We were very happy to get back to the parking lot and have some dinner. There were about a dozen geese and ducks around the lake (about ten feet from our picnic table) and we fed them with croutons from our salad. Unlike the two little kids who were throwing sand at them, or the high school kids throwing Frisbee’s at the birds. I’m sure they’ll all turn out to be responsible members of society.

Tuesday was my last full day of work (I worked a few hours on Wednesday morning). After work, my dad and I tried to update my computer with more RAM and a new 30 GB 7200 RPM hard drive; it didn’t work after we were done. Thank you, HP, for your wonderful computers, lovingly crafted with easy updates out of sight and out of mind. As of this writing, I still don’t have my computer back up and running; hopefully it’ll be done by Friday.

On Thursday, Annie and I went back to King of Prussia, mostly so we could see The Matrix Reloaded on IMAX. We went there about two weeks earlier, but we missed the 7:00 PM show and we didn’t want to wait for the next show at 10 PM. Anyway, the movie rocked! Not that it surprised me, but it was just amazing to feel every kick, punch, and gunshot from the vibrations of 12,000 watts of surround sound. Oh, that and the fact that great action scenes deserve a five-story movie screen. The seats were also of the quite comfy, high-backed, rocking variety; I thought it was worth the $11.50 a ticket.

After the movie, we were hungry and craving Pizza Hut pan pizza so we drove around for a while, but King of Prussia only has an abandoned and boarded-up Pizza Hut. So we went to get on the Northeast Extension of the PA Turnpike and I accidentally pulled into the EZ-Pass Only lane (I don’t have one) to get a ticket. That may have something to do with the fact that the “EZ-Pass Only and Tickets” sign is the same color and style as the “EZ-Pass Only” sign. Stupid Penn-DOT. So I push the button to talk and then I realize that there’s nobody in the booth. After waiting a minute or two—to the annoyance of all the EZ-Passers behind me, I pull away quite pissed that I’m going to be forced to pay the highest toll because I don’t have a ticket. Thank God that the toll-booth guy at the next exit was extremely nice and let me go with only paying the normal toll for the exit. We found a Pizza Hut on the way home and had some delicious cheese-lover’s pan pizza and breadsticks.

Yesterday, our last day of summer vacation, Annie and I went to Beltsville State Park. We made a small mistake in going on one of the last Saturdays of summer in that the park was packed with people. The park is usually not that crowded, especially in early summer, but on Saturday the parking lot was nearly full. However, we still had a great time, just like we always do at the park. Annie and I both went back to school today; she went back to Baltimore and I’m in Scranton for the first time in nine months. It’s a little strange being back in school after such a long break, but hopefully everything will go well this year.

Finally! Tax Relief for the Über Rich

A while back when the details of the Bush tax cuts were coming into focus, Time Magazine ran an article that explained how the average American’s cut was disproportionately smaller than the fat cat’s slice. Like most people who read the article, I was upset that the nation was going to be thrown a huge deficit in order to pad the bankrolls of the wealthy, while the average American, suffering from lay-offs and pay-cuts, was going to receive a paltry check or none at all.

Time just ran another article detailing some of the dividends that CEO’s are going to receive thanks to Bush’s dividend tax cut. In figures that are nothing but obscene, CEO’s are issuing increased dividends—or creating them in some cases—for what can only be described as self-interest. For instance: Citigroup CEO (and billionaire) Sandy Weill will receive $27 million in after-tax income, up from his previous $11 million. Bill Gates will receive $82 million after taxes, thanks to a newly created eight cents-a-share dividend. I find it very hard to believe that any of the über-rich CEO’s either upped the dividend value or created one solely to satisfy the “demands” of the shareholders. I can think of another reason. Can you?

Nothing Nice to Say is Back!

In June, I was bummed to find out that Nothing Nice to Say, my favorite web comic, was going the way of the dodo. However, I noticed that The Offset linked to Mitch Clem’s comic recently. Thinking that they were a little behind on their linkage, I checked it out and it was true: Mitch has un-quit NN2S! The comic will no longer be a regular Monday, Wednesday, and Friday staple, but the author promises to upload at least one comic per week. NN2S is billed as the “World’s First Online Punk Comic” but it is definitely one of the best online comics in general. Intelligently written and nicely drawn, it’s definitely worth a look.