Relay Foods

I’ve looked at grocery delivery services like Peapod in the past, but I’ve never used them. My take on it has always been that if I’m going to pay a service charge or delivery fee, I might as well just rent a Zipcar for an hour, and go pick out the stuff myself. That way I can get exactly what I want, and if they’re out of something I can adjust my menu on the fly.

This summer I heard about a new service called Relay Foods, which wasn’t affiliated with any of the big chains. Their angle is that they do grocery delivery for local food producers. I remember looking at the website over the summer, but dismissing it. I’m not sure if I just didn’t dig deep enough, or if they’ve expanded in the last few months, but I’ve wound up using them twice recently and so far I’m happy with it. Continue reading

The Nutcracker

As some of you may have already seen, Danielle and I went to see the Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker today at the Lyric. It’d been a very, very long time since I’d seen this, and I really enjoyed it. The strength, agility and grace of the dancers just astounded me. The costumes were beautiful, and of course there was a corps of kids from a local ballet school involved in the performance. There’s another show on Sunday at 1pm, so if you’re interested, check it out. Our matinee today was not sold out, so I imagine there are probably some seats available at tomorrow’s show.

What really stood out for me, as I imagine is the case for many people, were the dancers who performed the Arabian Dance. They’re a duo who are trained in acrobatics as well as ballet, and they did amazing things that just looked like no big deal. Here’s their performance from The Nutcracker today, enjoy!

Thrift Crawl

Last Saturday, my friend Catherine and I went on a thrift store crawl of Baltimore. (We had invited several other people to join us, but apparently picked a bad day.) We hit up five stores and had a blast, and we each got some great stuff. We started off by meeting for breakfast at The Metropolitan (which I really like, and I was very happy to recently discover that getting to Federal Hill without a car–at least some parts of it–is not as impossible as I had thought for the past year). Then we hit five thrift/consignment/vintage stores. Here’s the Google Map I made for the crawl, and I’ve put up photos of some of what I got, but if you’re interested in the play-by-play, that’s below.

Overall, we had a really fun time and will definitely do this again (hopefully with a few more people in tow). I think if we do this with more than three or four people, we’ll need to be a bit more organized and set time limits at some of the stores so we can make sure that we get to all of the different places, with enough time for lunch at some point. We may also need to drop a place from the crawl, but each had a different idea — Catherine thought we should drop Value Village, as she found it overwhelming; I thought we should drop DeBois Textiles as I felt that they didn’t have as much to offer as the other places we visited.

Continue reading

High speed photography

One of the things that I was really excited to do with my D40 was start taking it to roller derby bouts and see if I can’t get some halfway decent shots. I brought it with me when Gotham Girls Roller Derby and Pike’s Peak Derby Dames came to town last weekend for a double-header with the Charm City Roller Girls All Stars.

Still.

It was super fun, but as I said to a friend later in the week, it was definitely an exercise in not having any idea what I’m doing (and possibly not having good enough equipment). I did play around with a bunch of different settings and it was interesting to see how the resulting photos changed, but only a few of them fell into the “well, I guess it’s not awful” category. If you click through, you may note that those photos share a theme of . . . derby girls not moving. Right. Because it’s such a stationary game.

The bout against Gotham was hands-down the most intense bout I have ever seen, and I have seen many. There was so much screaming and cheering, it was amazing. As fits the current #1 team in the East, the Gotham women are hard. core. skaters. The strategy and the speed was amazing, and CCRG (#4) put up a good fight. We lost in the end, but somehow still managed to have enough energy left to defeat Pikes Peak (#3 in the West). A lot of the bouts I’ve been to recently have just been blowouts where CCRG just skates the opposing team into a sweaty, uncoordinated mess. (Which is not surprising when you’re pitting our all stars against an emerging or smaller league’s B team.) It was nice to see a couple of games where the matchup was better and there was a bit more of a competition. Yes, past a certain point it was clear we were not going to win against Gotham, but that didn’t mean that it was any less exciting.

The Pike’s Peak game was interesting. It was clear that if we hadn’t just played Gotham it would have been a very uneven matchup, so I think it was good that we played Pike’s Peak second. That game was less exciting (and in fact people started leaving in the middle of it), but I was just amazed that CCRG could play another bout immediately. Just goes to show you why everyone should love their local roller girl.

Sprint WiMax in Baltimore

After I moved, I decided to set myself up with Sprint’s new WiMax service (Xohm or Clear, depending on which marketing materials you see — shortly after they rolled it out there was a name change). There’s not much out there about the service beyond some random tech blog entries from around the launch, so I thought I’d post on my experiences. (Long story short, it didn’t work out for me.)

Anyway, here’s how it went for me. I decided to go with the WiMax for several reasons: There’s no installation appointment necessary, which is always a good thing. The price was in the range of what I’m willing to pay, and on top of that they have a promotional rate for your first six months. There’s also no contract, so you can cancel at any time. All very good things.

I checked out their coverage map and my new apartment was several blocks within the coverage zone. So far, so good. On to the hardware options, where there was a bit of a disappointment. Currently, only three options are given: a standalone modem, a USB dongle, and an express card (which comes with an adapter for PC card slots). And currently, only one of those is listed as officially being Mac compatible – the standalone modem. I wasn’t really interested in the modem, because I wasn’t sure if my wireless router would work with it (it’s something like three years old at this point, so who knows). In addition the standalone modem is $20 more expensive than the other two options. Continue reading

Yes

Is it asking too much that there be a reasonably-priced and reasonably-located transportation option between Baltimore and NYC?

I can either take Amtrak for $200 from the easy-to-get-to Baltimore Penn Station, or MegaBus for $40 from the difficult-to-get-to-without-a-car White Marsh Park & Ride. Oh, or I can take Amtrak for $100, but in order to do that I get less than 24 hours with my friends. I have checked Amtrak’s prices to Newark and New Rochelle but they’re the same as going to NYC. EKW suggested trying SEPTA to Trenton, and then NJ Transit into the city, but a train round-trip to Philly at a reasonable hour is $100 (at the moment, at least). So then to add on SEPTA and NJ Transit fares, I’m not sure the savings would be worth the hassle. I have even gone so far as to check one-way car rentals and flights.

I just don’t understand why Amtrak is so expensive. If it weren’t for a couple of other upcoming trips involving flights, hotels and rental cars (split with others, but still), plus the flight home for Christmas which I need to buy soon, I wouldn’t be agonizing about this so much.

Red Sox Nation takes over Bawlmer

Photo op
Superfuntimes! The weekend was awesome — click through for more photos of the Sox game on Saturday night (yes, the one at which Manny hit his 500th career home run) — and eventually for more photos from the rest of the weekend.

We had a super fun time at Camden Yards, which is just a fantastic place to see a ballgame. I look forward to going back, and I hope that it can be more than once a year — even the cheap seats have good sight lines, and so many Sox fans come that it’s like being at Fenway, except cleaner.

For a while during the day, Kristen and I were afraid that the rain wouldn’t stop, and the game would get delayed and/or postponed. But luckily it stopped, and once Angela and Wendy arrived the four of us headed out to the block party outside the park. We hung out there until everyone else arrived (I had 10 tickets) and then we went in to the game. Unfortunately, things were already underway by the time we got to our seats, but we didn’t miss anything major. (That happened later, when Wendy and I were in line at the concessions when Manny hit #500. We were gone for way longer than we had meant to be, on a silly quest for ice cream in collectible helmets, which Camden Yards doesn’t even have anymore). But aside from being chagrined at missing that (though I tell myself that I had to be in line in order for the universe to be properly aligned for this historic moment to take place) I had a blast. I hope that I can make this outing a yearly event, so all my out-of-town Sox fan friends can come down and take in a game with me.