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Just got done listening to Cindy and John DJ a fun mix of classic and modern rock with a focus on indies.  Great stuff.  Go check out  They’re on Saturday evenings at 8-11pm.  There are several other shows there as well.  I’ll be back!

[Full disclosure: I’m a member of St. Catherine Laboure Parish in Harrisburg, PA. We have two boys that we intend to send to Bishop McDevitt High School in the future. Our residence’s property borders Spring Creek Road on the south side, opposite of and in view of the proposed site of the new McD HS.]

This week saw the release of a statement by Bishop Kevin Rhoades regarding the selection of a location for the building of a new facility for Bishop McDevitt High School (McD) in Lower Paxton Township. My first reaction was surprise; the proposed location is in some of the green fields that are in my backyard’s view, at least in the winter months. Then I was pleased that the school would potentially be in a very convenient location for my sons, the oldest of whom should be going into ninth grade in 2014. And then I thought about the infrastructure that would be required to support the school’s traffic. Now I’m concerned.

The proposed location (see the Conceptual Land Use Sketch) is along the north side of Spring Creek Road between Harvest Drive and Page Road. Tall trees border the road, yielding to open fields further back. I don’t think the fields (at least the ones I can see) have been farmed in recent years. The only activity I’m aware over there is the occasional noisy off-road antics of unknown people using dirt bikes and 4x4s. There is a residence at the northwest corner of the Spring Creek/Page intersection, and it looks like the proposed site borders their west side. The west border of the proposed location appears to be just north of our residence.

Using nearby Central Dauphin East High School for comparison, the roads that service the proposed location are nowhere near ready to support a new McD. Page Road (called N 61st Street south of the Spring Creek intersection) is a two-lane road with very little berm. So is Spring Creek, a road that’s been maintained very little by Lower Paxton Township in the seven years I’ve lived near it. The S-curve on Spring Creek that’s shown on the proposed location’s map looks minor on paper, but because of elevation changes and the tight road it has to be navigated carefully. Pedestrian and bicycle traffic is not given its own space on either road, and there are no sidewalks. The Location Map on the Diocese’s page shows a route from I-83 to the proposed location that uses Union Deposit Road, Newside Road, and Page Road to get to Spring Creek, but once McD families figured out that Dowhower Road connects Union Deposit and Spring Creek I expect it would be more heavily used.

I propose the following improvements if the new McD plan goes forward:

  • Widen (and repave as necessary) Spring Creek Road from East Park Drive to Page Road and Page Road/N 61st Street from Newside Road to Derry Street to increase safety and promote biking/walking on the roads.
  • Rebuild the bridge that takes Spring Creek Road over Spring Creek in a way that reduces the sharpness of the existing S-curve and accomodates the proposed widening of the road.
  • Enforce the 25mph speed limit on Spring Creek Road from Dowhower Road to Page Road. That would increase safety and cut down on traffic noise.

I received plenty of heads-up notices from the mailing list about ticket pre-sales for the upcoming leg of Rush’s 2008 US tour, so I was plenty ready to purchase tickets for Scott, Mark, and me to go see them at Hersheypark Stadium on 7/17.  What I didn’t expect was to get 3rd row center section seats!  MusicToday might be finally getting the best tickets in the hands of fans and not scalpers!  I think they added a CAPTCHA prior to ticket assignment since the last time I used them — I think that helped.

We are psyched for the show, that’s for sure!  Now the wait begins.

Haven’t blogged much about my bass playing or gear lately, so here’s a brain dump.

eBay is a great place to get used gear.  I’ve bought the majority of my effects (most used) from eBay auctions.  Of my current effects setup, I bought all but one pedal from eBay.  The used ones came in excellent shape.  I can usually tell from the item photos if the condition of the item is what I’ll like, but the seller’s description and reputation count a lot.

My current setup:

“Righteous” config (the one I play with at church):
– BOSS Chromatic Tuner TU-2 (purchased new from eBay)
– BOSS Bass Limiter LMB-3 (purchased used (like new) from eBay)
– BOSS Bass Chorus CE-2B (purchased back when I was in Buffalo)
– Tech 21 Sansamp Bass Driver DI (purchased used (like new) from eBay)

“Raucous” config (playing rock):
– BOSS Chromatic Tuner TU-2
– BOSS Bass Limiter LMB-3
– BOSS Octave OC-2 (borrowed John‘s last Friday night, bought a used one from eBay the day after;  can’t wait for it to arrive)
– BOSS Bass Chorus CE-2B
– BOSS Flanger BF-3 (traded for used (like new) from another TalkBass member)
– Tech 21 Sansamp Bass Driver DI

My GLJB is great after almost a year of regular use.  Last week I decided to get adventurous; I wanted to adjust the neck relief down a bit by tightening the truss rod.  I knew the truss rod adjustment was at the body end of the neck, but what I didn’t know what that there wasn’t full access to the truss rod nut without loosening the neck joint.  I did just that and tightened the rod by a quarter turn.  The results were slight, but noticeable.  I may give it another quarter turn the next time I change the strings (which should be in about six months).

I’ve been playing with John, Joreen, and others outside of church more regularly, doing some of John’s material as well as covers from the Dead and other bands.  We are hoping to play out somewhere in the next few months.  Details will be revealed when relevant!

We went and saw Bee Movie at the newly opened Great Escape Theatres Harrisburg Mall 14 earlier today. Their $6.50 matinée and $9.00 adult prices aren’t great, but several aspects of the experience were. Firstly, concessions were not as highly priced as our local Regal Theater. Secondly, the roughly 90-seat theater (#6) we were in had rocker-style seats with foldable armrests and plenty of legroom for this 6’3″ frame. Also notable was room to comfortably accomodate at least four, if not six, patrons in wheelchairs. Thirdly, there was no advertising shown prior to the stated start time. At the start time, 8 minutes of pre-feature advertising, consisting of three movie previews and a Coke commercial were shown. No “Great Escape tells you to turn off your cell phones… please, silence your cell phones” message, no “go back to the lobby and buy some concessions” message. Finally, about a minute into the movie I realized there was no projection artifacts (dust, etc.) in what was being shown and the images were perfectly clear; I think everything was being presented digitally. It blew me away.

Add all this up and you have a superior moviegoing experience than what I’m used to from any other theater in the area. Go check them out.

By the way, Bee Movie was enjoyable, and Ryan loved it. The animation was fantastic and greatly rendered in this fine theater.

Update:  I thought I should mention that the West Shore Theatre is our favorite in the area.  We recently went there to see The Bourne Ultimatum, and I noticed that they had cleaned or replaced the screen.  Mainly due to price and coziness, I have to recommend it most highly.

This is Ryan’s second season playing in the Capital Area Soccer Association, and my first time coaching.  We’ve just completed our third game of the season and are having a lot of fun.  I didn’t know whether I’d like this or not when I volunteered (under duress, I might add), but it’s been very rewarding.  Even when you think 7- and 8-year-olds aren’t listening to you, they are.  It shows on the field.  Go Red Rockets!

I just read an article in the Patriot-News about the new Wegmans grocery store on the Carlisle Pike that will be opening in a week. We’ve been by there, when test-driving our Outlook that we ended up buying from the Saturn dealership near there. Having lived in Western New York for the better part of 14 years, I’m quite familiar with the chain and when I struck out on my own, they were my preferred grocer.

While I don’t think we’ll be making the trek out to the new store for weekly shopping, we’ll probably go out to visit once the inevitable initial business surge is done. Giant and Weis could both learn a lot from Wegmans. Giant should widen their aisles, most immediately by abolishing the stupid displays that sit in front of the shelves and make an aisle less than two carts wide.  Weis could greatly improve its produce and deli departments.  In the end, we currently go to a Weis store because it’s usually not too busy and it meets a standard of quality we can deal with.  We have a Giant store that’s closer to us but is quite busy and is not laid out in a way that makes navigation pleasing or easy.

I hope Wegmans on the Carlisle Pike does well, because I’d certainly like to see more of them around here.

Scott hosted another great BDFL draft in his basement last night.  Thanks to Scott and Julie for their hospitality.  Here is the drafted lineup for the 2007 edition of my fantasy football team, Cyg’s Calorie Outlets:

QB    Donovan McNabb PHI (keeper from 2006)
RB    Jamal Lewis CLE (keeper from 2006)
RB    Marshawn Lynch BUF
WR    Deion Branch SEA
WR    Hines Ward PIT
TE    Dallas Clark IND
K    Shayne Graham CIN
D/ST    Bears CHI
RB    Ahman Green HOU
WR    Devery Henderson NO
QB    J.P. Losman BUF
RB    Ladell Betts WAS
D/ST    49ers SFO
WR    Muhsin Muhammad CHI

I was called a “homer” for my first-round pick of Marshawn Lynch, and, rightfully so, seeing as I had former Buffalo Bill Travis Henry (now the starter at Denver) available.  I wanted to draft at least one of the promising rookies this year since we have two keepers per year, so Lynch was my guy.

2006 Outlets QB J.P. Losman,  kicker Shayne Graham, and the Chicago defense/special teams found their way back to the team for this season.  I’m very pleased with my revamped receiving corps, and we’ll see what kind of noise my RBs will make.  I’m hoping Donovan has an injury-free season this year.

We’ve traded in my 1998 Dodge Stratus ES towards a 2007 Saturn Outlook XE AWD. We just drove it home tonight. It’s a nice car! Pictures on Flickr (and linkage) as I get to them.

Update: The old car (doesn’t look too bad…):

We’re looking for a new SUV that’s bigger than our 2000 Honda CR-V (3150 lbs curb weight), particularly in back seat room and cargo capacity, without being too big, gaudy, and expensive.  We looked at the Honda Pilot, the Toyota Highlander, and the new Saturn Outlook this afternoon; we came away very impressed with the Outlook.  Both the Pilot and the Highlander are awaiting redesigns that are coming on the market later this year, and the Outlook came out just a few months ago.  Would anyone like to recommend other mid- to large SUVs that we might like?  Anything over 5000 lbs curb weight or getting less than 20mpg on the highway probably won’t be considered.