LA Fitness – Warrington, PA

Howdy RKDeemers! 

Jack and I joined LA Fitness this week.  I’ve wanted to join the gym for awhile, but my wacky work schedule and Winston made attending a gym nearly impossible.  LA Fitness provides an awesome childcare facility and I’ve been going before work.  This gym has everything, pool, basketball, volleyball, raquetball, cardio, free weights, and anything else you could want.  Actually, one thing I would like that this gym doesn’t have is a personal locker.  There’s locker rooms which are very nice with tons of lockers, bathrooms, showers, and sauna, but you can’t keep your stuff in a locker over night.  I would like an overnight locker.  That’s my only complaint though, otherwise the place is perfect.  

In addition to the gym, I have added a new day of softball into my schedule.  This fall you can find me on the softball diamond on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights.  The new team is a coed team which should be a little more laid back.  

RKDeem’s Rivalry #5
The County Theater in Doylestown vs. Regal Cinemas – I am a huge fan of the County Theater, it’s an vibrant blue and yellow expression of art deco and it instantly makes you happy to be in Doylestown, even if you don’t step inside.  I’ve seen some great movies in there and some really lame movies in there too, but I think you could say that about any movie theater.  So what we’re talking about it the experience.  What gives you the better experience, Regal or County?  For my money, I’d rather go to Regal, better sound, stadium seating that’s plush and reclines, and lots more options for snacks.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the County, but there’s a reason those theaters are going extinct.  I think the County would be my favorite theater in the world if they cleaned out the current seating, put in fancy leather couches and served alcholic beverages and better food.  Like a martini lounge movie theater, that would be cool.  

RKDeem’s #5 Band
The Velvet Underground – I am going to throw Lou Reed’s solo stuff in here too.  The Velvet Underground is just awesome.  I can’t do them justice, they defy labels and description, bands can only be compared to them, you can’t compare them to anyone else.  Start out with their greatest hits, Sweet Jane, Rock N’ Roll, Heroin, and I’m Waiting for the Man, but my standout track goes to “Oh Sweet Nothing”.    

Raggamuffins!

It was my sister’s birthday on Friday and we were at my parent’s house for some birthday tacos and ice cream cake (that sounds pretty gross when I type it, but it was excellent).  We started talking about what bars we were going to hit up and Jaclyn jokingly suggested the Amber Inn.  My grandparents said they used to love the Amber Inn, they used to go there when it was called the Rascal’s Roost.  I just think that is the greatest name for a bar, I recommend that the Amber Inn revert back to their former name. 

After the birthday celebration at my parents, we made our way to Stephanie’s to check out Tube Top Mama.  It was super loud in Stephanie’s, Tube Top was a pretty ridiculous cover band, I was just so bummed out about the last minute cancellation of the Raggamuffins, I wasn’t in the mindset to enjoy their replacement. Stephanie’s has a big bar and multiple bartenders so we were able to get drinks quickly and often.  After firing up a healthy buzz thanks to some shots of Southern Comfort & Lime, we were ready to move on to Bobby Simone’s. 

As I walked into Bobby Simone’s the greatest miracle of miracles happened.  The Raggamuffins were playing!  I parked myself on a barstool right in front of the stage and had a wonderful time listening to the greatest band on earth.  Someone told me they play there every Thursday night, it’s too good to be true. 

Poetry Grafiti Behind Stephanie’s, Ladies, & RKRaptor

Damn I look good! I should be in commercials

The Motha Effin Raggamuffins!

The babes – Jaclyn is smokin’ hot as usual

New Activity:  I am not sure if people will think this is lame, but I think that I’ll watch a bunch of high school football games this Fall.  Cheap tickets, local, and a fun environment.  I feel like I’m old enough that people won’t think I am trying to salvage glory days, I’m just looking for local competition in a great atmosphere.  If anyone wants to go, let me know.

Rivalry #6
Best Cereal When You Were A Kid – There were 2 cereals that I absolutely loved when I was a kid.  They were too good though, and a lot of times, my parents just refused to get them for me.  These cereals were Cookie Crisp and CoCo Puffs.  Coco Puffs were good because they would turn your milk into chocolate milk.  Cookie Crisp was good on its own, but combined with milk, it was the tastiest treat ever, and it was breakfast.  It’s funny to think about, waking up and pouring yourself a bowl full of cookies, filling it up with milk and starting off day with about 100 cookies and milk, it’s like an adult having a case of mini-beers for breakfast.

RKDeem’s 6th Favorite Band
Jimi Hendrix – What do I have to say, he could play the guitar behind his back or with his teeth better than Eric Clapton.  I love when I find live concert footage of him, he’s so provocative and extreme, he’s constantly humping his guitar, speakers, and whatever gets in his way.  Can you imagine being so talented?  He played the guitar with his freaking teeth?  He was left handed and played a right handed guitar upside down.  He played behind his back.  He played on LSD…christ, I have a couple of beers and I start stinking up the joint on Guitar Hero for the Xbox 360.  Standout Track – You’ve heard his greatest hits, so I will steer clear of Voodoo Child, check out the 7 minute Hear My Train A Comin’, it’s filled with blues and insane guitar solos. 

20.  Postal Service
19.  White Stripes
18.  Regina Spektor
17.  Louis Prima
16.  Otis Redding
15.  Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs
14.  Jack Johnson
13.  Led Zeppelin
12.  Kanye West
11.  Wilco
10.  Weezer
9.  The Strokes
8.  The Who
7.  Radiohead
6.  Jimi Hendrix

It’s My Blog’s Birthday – Celebration Time

My blog is officially 1 year old, actually, it turned 1 on August 7th, 2008, but this is close enough. 

Looking back at my first entry, I started this blog with hopes to create a place where people could express their ideas and opinions on life, politics, morals, and leisure.  It’s not like high school or college, now all my friends are no longer right down the hallway, they are now spread out all over Bucks County, Pennsylvania, New York, DC, San Diego, and New Jersey.  I missed the constant dialogue, it sucks being in a cubicle or office in a vacuum, this was my spot to bring people together.  I think it’s working too.  I remember when just 3 or 4 people would check this blog, now we have approximately 300 people checking it every week.  It’s not huge, it’s a community and I like it that way, somehow, we know everyone that visits this site, a 2 degrees of separation from the RKDeemReport. 

Sometimes I’ll be walking down the street or get a phone call from an old friend and they’ll ask, “How was Atlanta?” and I say, “How did you know I was in Atlanta?” and they respond, “I read your blog.”  It is hard to describe, but I think I like it because it is really nice knowing that my friends check in on me from time to time. 

So Happy Birthday Blog!  Let’s celebrate this Friday!  I do have some bad news about Stephanie’s on Friday, the Raggamuffins are no longer scheduled to perform there.  I called Stephanie’s to verify the bad news and they confirmed that Tube Top Mama (Tube Top Mama’s website)will be performing instead.  It’s my sister’s birthday and Stephanie’s has the amazing Blueberry Beer, so I hope that all of you come out anyways, plus Tube Top Mama looks like they’ll be plenty awesome when we’re all crunk.  If anyone needs to, feel free to walk back to my apartment with me so you don’t have to drive home at the end of the evening.

One last note – San Diego Dave has launched a new blog and the first entry is very promising, check it out at www.destroyedbymadness.com , he’s neither destroyed or mad, but he’s a fan of Ginsberg and that’s good enough for me!

Ithaca, New York – Hippies, Gorges, & Dead Groundhog

It’s a little after 11PM on a Sunday night, we just got back from Ithaca, New York.  If you don’t plan on attending Ithaca College or Cornell University, you’ll probably never end up in this neck of the woods.  It would be a shame if you never got to see Ithaca, it’s in a beautiful setting with ubiquitous waterfalls and gorges, but what I really love about the town is it’s absolute devotion to being a far left, tree-hugging, grass-smoking, oasis for hippies, liberals, and intellectuals.  Residents preach composting, bongs are in plain sight in the front window of many retailers, recycling bins outnumber trash cans, and a strong micro economy built around local farms, co-ops, and even it’s own currency (see Ithaca Hours).  It’s a town trying really hard to achieve utopia, but ends up settling for a beer instead.  It does a better job of being Woodstock, than Woodstock, seeing both, I’d take Ithaca any day.

Here are some of the highlights from our visit to Ithaca:

Ithaca Farmer’s Market – An open air market housed in a big wooden pavilion.  The sun shines through the rafters and hits the tomatoes, peppers, corn, and blueberries, making every vendor’s offering look like a perfect photo opportunity.  The smells really bring the place to life, not just the fresh fruit and vegetables, but bakers making fresh crepes, pies, and breakfast burritos, really have the place attacking all your senses.  A couple farmers were selling their own wines, I sampled several varieties and ended up bringing three different bottles of blueberry wine home with me. 

In the Farmer’s Market (Jack, me with my new Che wearing Che shirt, and Winston with the hat he picked out from Old Navy)

Sun coming up, shining on the fresh veggies!

This is what it’s all about.


Buttermilk Falls – There’s a bunch of breathtaking waterfalls and gorges in Ithaca, all of them bring a unique experience.  Most of them are accompanied by a well carved out trail complete with hundreds of steps carved from the stone next to the falls, allowing you to appreciate them from every angle.  At the base of most waterfalls, they have a deep swimming area to cool off in, even in the height of August, the water was at a chilly 63 degrees.  We had to drag Winston out once he started shivering. 

Two natural beauties!  Jack & Buttermilk Falls

The Che shirt is working with the babes!

The Town – It was Jaclyn’s brother’s birthday so it was celebration time.  We ended up at a tapas joint (Just a Taste).  One of the best reasons to go to Just a Taste is their flights of wine.  What is a flight of wine you ask?  Well, it’s a sampling of six different wines in a category, for example they offered an Italian flight of wines where you get to try 6 different Italian wines.  People were trying white wine flights, local flights, and red flights, I just grabbed a whole bottle of local Riesling and got a healthy buzz.  I think we ordered close to 20 items, they were all meant to be shared and they tasted wonderful, I think this is a must do if you make your way up to Ithaca. 

Laurie (Jack’s sister) is on the right and her wingwoman Meghan on the left, sampling one of the many platters at Just a Taste

Jack’s brother Matt, wife Shanna, and their gorgeous baby girl Iona at Just a Taste.

On Sunday, I was craving a burger and ended up at a place called Mustard.  The burger was juicy, made from fresh ground beef, and the fries came with a great mustard sauce.  I give this place a thumbs up too, but it seemed to lack the festive atmosphere of Just a Taste. 

Jaclyn trying to seduce me in front of Mustard

Ithaca Beer Company (Apricot Wheat) – One of the best beers I’ve ever had.  Smooth, flavorful, and a pleasant after taste, it’s like a Lay’s Potato Chip, you can’t have just one. 

Some Side Notes:
We found this groundhog in a doorway, some people think it’s Gus the second most famous groundhog of Pennsylvania.  We concluded that he was hit by a car moments earlier and spent his last moments alive tucked away on this doorstep.  Matt notified the police who were later seen with a noose like device headed in the direction of the groundhog.  Not sure if it was related, but we later heard firetrucks too. 

I have heard several students mention the high suicide rate at Cornell University.  I think this generally comes from the access to high ledges along the gorges and the tremendous pressure they put on themselves to succeed at a level of excellence.  Dr. Morton Silverman (Director of University of Chicago’s Student Counseling & Resource Services) conducted a study to determine suicide rates at different universities.  Cornell was at 4.3 suicides per 100,000 student years (below the national average) vs. MIT’s 14.6 suicides per 100,000 student years.  Cornell is an elite school in a magnificent setting, the suicide thing doesn’t happen as much as people think (thank god!).

Let’s end this on a positive note!

An example of the amazing gorges, I’m taking this picture from a bridge looking straight down (I’m guessing I am 150 feet up).

We attempted to take a family picture with the auto timer feature on the camera, Matt and Shanna’s dog Ernie wanted to be in the picture too (he totally photobombed us!)

Thank you Matt, Shanna, and Iona for a lovely weekend in Ithaca, it was a great vacation with family.  Love you all!  Go Ithaca!

Best Place for Coffee In Doylestown

This will have to be a quick entry, I need to get to work early today.  I’m leaving for a long weekend in Ithaca tomorrow morning, so I wanted to get something up. 

Here’s a hysterical first line from an article in yesterday’s Intelligencer:
Running a red light is a bad idea. Particularly if
you have more than $1,000 worth of stolen porn movies and sex toys in
your truck”

Here’s the link to the article:
http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/news/113-08132008-1576121.html

Rivalry #7
Best Place for Coffee in Doylestown – There’s no shortage of coffee houses in Doylestown, so it can be tough to choose.  Starbucks offers a premium location right in the center of town in a very cool old building that used to be called William Doyle’s Tavern (Doylestown is named after the Doyle family) and it later became known as the Fountainhouse.  I have no beef with Starbucks except for their decision to partner with T-Mobile to offer wireless that costs about $10 to use for a 24 hour period.  I usually only buy something from a coffeehouse if I am trying to pirate wireless.  Coffee and Cream is a tiny shop really close to the County Theatre, it has a small selection of Ice Cream along with it’s variety of coffee.  They grind up all kinds of coffee beans and offer premium blends for the coffee snobs out there.  My favorite place and winner of the rivalry is Bucks County Coffee Company next to the Cigar Shop in Doylestown.  Free wi-fi, plenty of space, local art on display, and a much better selection of ice cream.  To push them over the top, when I asked for a tiny Ice Cream cone for Winston, they gave it to me for free. 

RKDeem’s 7th Favorite Band
Radiohead – For some reason, I felt like I could only go with Radiohead or Talking Heads in this spot.  Unfortunately for the Talking Heads, they were edged out and won’t be making it onto the list.  I really like the Talking Heads, they have some of my favorite songs, but their overall catalog of music never made me a rabid fan.  Radiohead hasn’t been 100% perfect with all of their records, but they did put out two perfect albums, Kid A and OK Computer.  Those two albums are just incredible, from start to finish, they blend in horns, guitars, a paranoid bass, intense vocals, and the best entire albums since Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon (Sorry Pink Floyd, you’re not on the list either).  Stand out track – I have two:  National Anthem (no lyrics, but great display of raucous jazz) and Exit Music (was my favorite song for a couple of years, best if listened to at high level of volume). 

Sorry for the lack of formatting, I am in big hurry to get out the door. 

Love – RKDeem

Madden 09 Review

What’s Up Peeps?

What’s up with me?  I’ll tell you, I just picked up my copy of Madden 09 from Gamestop at the midnight launch event.  I am exhausted, so I will keep it brief and let the pictures do the talking. 

My initial review of the game is as follows:

When you load up the game, a holographic John Madden appears and asks you to take some virtual skills test to assess your Madden skills.  I am the reigning Madden champion so I figured that I would be the Ken Jennings of Madden and ace the test.  I was sort of confused and initially scored a 468, which is below the baseline level of 500 that they start you at.  I tried the test again and bumped up to 538.  I was ready to move on and experience some real live gameplay. 

I did an exhibition game, I was the Eagles and played the New York Giants.  As a default, they set the computer’s skill level to match your abilities on the Madden test.  This made the game really challenging, challenging to the point that I could not generate any offense or defense.  The computer made me it’s biz-nitch!  I turned the skill level to All-Pro to give myself a better shot at a decent competition, no dice, I still could not generate yardage. I would typically start out with a 8 yard run up the gut, but then I couldn’t find a play to my fullback, and I would end up getting a delay of game penalty.  I would also try passing plays that worked well in the past, nothing worked, I am going to have to start from scratch in order to defend my title as Madden champion. 

Here’s some observations:

  • The field seems bigger, I think if you make people miss, you will break some big plays, especially on running plays and special teams
  • The players seemed a tad slower
  • Pass protection was inadequate (maybe because I was playing the fearsome Giants with their outstanding defensive line
  • Commentators!  We finally have commentators and I’ve never been so happy to hear Chris Collinsworth
  • For the first time in years, running the ball seems easier than passing 
  • Lots of dropped passes for my Eagles
  • Less blitzing plays in the defensive playbook, I doubt this year’s online league will turn into a blitz fest, the defensive line seems to get plenty of pressure without it though

Here’s some photos from tonight.

Bobby Simone’s in Doylestown

We had a baby sitter on Saturday night (thanks Mom & Dad!) and Jaclyn and I decided to go on a date.  We hit up Ooka for a great dinner (review is now posted in the forum page myforum.rkdeemreport.com – please sign up and post your own reviews, start up your own discussions, maybe I’ll set up a Combo’s category for Ed) and then went into town for some conversation and drinks.  I just love being able to walk into town, especially after eating a nice meal, it feels good to breath, talk, and get the blood flowing, sending the nutrients all over the body. 

We ended up a Bobby Simone’s – formerly Blue 52, and ran into a bunch of old friends.  I think I knew 85% of the people hanging out there and it was great to see them all.  People just overflowed out of the indoor bar and spilled into the tables and alley outside.  The band was great, the bartenders were friendly, and it was nice to run into some old friends.  Around 11PM we had to get home and relieve our babysitters and as we were leaving, my sister was just showing up, it is important that we have constant Deem representation at Billy Simone’s! 

On Friday night we watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.  I got really annoyed because the broadcasters kept infusing politics and this whole bit about China being a young country and volatile country and they almost seemed surprised when things went accordingly.  It was a little long, but overall, it was one of the most impressive displays I have ever witnessed, I was humbled and I think the broadcasters were too, an amazing show of scale, precision, beauty, and honor. 

Rivalry #8
Best of the Best Bars in Doylestown
I think this comes down to what you’re looking to do, what your goals are, and how many people you’re with. 
Stephanie’s – Pros – Nice bar, decent amount of room, good location, it’s dark, it’s loud, usually good music, and the prices are fairly reasonable.  Cons – it’s underground (that irks me for some reason), it’s dark, it’s loud. 
Summary – It’s a place I’d go to see the world’s greatest band, The Raggamuffins, or a place I’d go when I’m already drunk.  Not a place for a first date.

Puck –  Pros – Nice bar, fancy, awesome outdoor seating with a laid back feel.  Good location, the outdoor area has no cover charge, and you can actually have a conversation there without shouting.  Cons – What’s the deal with their ridiculous cover charges for concerts.  They typically charge $20 to $25 to see no name bands.  I guess people are paying because they haven’t lowered the cover charge in a couple of years, but I’ll stay outside until they do. 
Summary – Best place to go if you want to have a relaxing drink outside, maybe a first date place or a place to hang with some well behaved co-workers. 

The Other Side – Pros – This place gets jam packed with all walks of life.  The music is thumping, they have an auxillary bar on packed nights where you can grab Coor’s Lights out of a tub filled with ice, and they have specials when the Phillies are on.  Cons – They only have 1 bathroom.  Similar cons as Stephanie’s.  It’s above ground so a little more welcoming.  To get to the bathroom, you have to slink along a bunch of occupied bar stools that are so close to the wall, the skinniest person alive would still inadvertantly rub up against every seated patron on their journey to the stall. 

Bobby Simone’s – It’s basically a combination of The Other Side & Puck – Not quite a fancy bar (although it has an upscale menu) and not quite the wild party scene found at The Other Side. 

Overall, I think the best place to go is Stephanie’s.  If you want to party it up and dance, you can certainly do it, but it’s dark enough and big enough to escape on some chair away from everyone and hold a private conversation, plus I saw the Raggamuffins there and just thinking about it makes me happy!

RKDeem’s #8 Band
The Who –
I don’t really listen to the Beatles or the Rolling Stones very much anymore.  I still listen to the Who.  I really owe my obsession of them to one song, “A Quick One While He’s Away”.  It’s a real long song that goes through a bunch of different styles and genres.  It’s actually a pretty weird and sloppy song, but for whatever reason, it is so pure, it is so ambitious, it breaks into such a wonderful climax, I feel like this song justifies their other music.  You know these guys are rock stars.  They were broke when they wrote this song and there was a part where they wanted to add cellos, they couldn’t afford cellos, so they just repeatedly sing, “cello, cello, cello, cello, etc.” (at 4:57 on the video clip).  Watch the clip to see Peter Townsend’s windmill guitar playing, watch this clip to see Roger Daultry swing his microphone, watch Keith Moon make Animal look like a tame drummer (Keith died by overdosing on horse tranquilizers), watch this clip to see the perfect rock band climax.  The song is from their rock opera Tommy, this particular song is about a wife who’s husband is away at war.  She thinks he is dead because he’s been away for years without correspondence.  She has an affair with Ivor the Engine Driver because she thinks her husband is dead.  Husband returns, there’s a confrontation, then the husband forgives her.  “You are forgiven, forgiven, forgiven, forgiven, forgiven”  It takes awhile to get there, but it’s incredible when it does.  The climax of this song was used in the movie, Rushmore. 

The Who is a great band with about a CD’s worth of incredible music, but you know the standards.  Look this song up and be patient, it’s worth it.  This a rock band playing like they are having the time of their lives.