Sunday, February 24, 2013

Excited About Silver Linings Oscar Party

I don't watch sports much. I usually only get excited about a local sports team when it makes it to the final series.  I don't go to the cinema much either. I do get excited when a TV show or movie is recorded in or around my home town, Philadelphia. In the past I was so preoccupied with figuring out at which location a scene was filmed in Philadelphia that I didn't get the clues in "The Sixth Sense" that the character, Dr. Malcolm Crowe, Bruce Willis played was dead.

Scene from the movie "The Shooter" filmed before Independence Hall, Philadelphia, PA with my son playing a Secret Service Agent, as an extra.
I also get excited when someone close to me is involved in a movie, show or performance. My son has appeared in a few films staged here in Philadelphia and that excited me. When we sat down and watch any of those movies together, I am unable to pick him out unless the movie is paused and my son actually places his finger on the screen next to his image. No matter how trivial his appearance, I was excited.

My son now works at The Movie Tavern. As a perk he is able to bring two guests to see a movie, free. I have not seen as many movies in one year as I have in the last two months. One of those movies was "Silver Linings Playbook" which was mostly filmed just outside of Philadelphia, in and around Drexel Hill, PA.

I first became aware of the filming of "Silver Linings ..." in October of 2011 through a blog by a Philadelphia movie fan, who has been an extra in several movies. On her blog PhillyFilmGirl she had self shot photographs and video of Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro in and around Drexel Hill and the Llanerch Diner on US 1, 95 E. Township Line Rd during filming.

I know these locations. I ate at the Llanerch Diner. I worked in and around these locations when I built, demolished, maintained and changed billboards for some 34 years. I feel like I own part of this place. So when I go to a movie that is set in my town, I go with a critical eye. I go holding a magnifying glass to the screen with my thinking cap on, in acute mode. I want to figure out where each scene was filmed. I get excited.

Tonight is Oscar night 2013. In the Delaware County Daily Times I read there will be two Oscar parties relating to "Silver Linings Playbook" near the filming locations in Drexel Hill. I got excited.

At this time, there is no local sports team in any finals. There is no one I personally know in any kind of show. There is, however, a movie filmed in the Philadelphia area that relates, a little, to sports that is up for several Oscars. I am excited.

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sunsets, Third Week of February in Oaks

As the sunset on 20 February, I grabbed a few images of the construction at the corner of Egypt and Black Rock Roads.

The two photographs above are on the Chicago Grill / Pizzeria Uno site. 
Is it just me or does that roller remind you of the Flintstones?

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Persephone Crowning

The myth of Persephone is the story of rebirth. Plants pushing up from the underworld were they spent the dark days of winter. I saw a bit of Persephone in my garden on Valentine's Day.
Common Daylillies
Then there were signs of budding on trees and bushes.

Budding Redbud
New wood on a Hydrangea
Budding Rhododendren

As Persephone said in Latin,
Tempus Fugit!

It is time I get my new square foot garden ready for peas in Mid-March.

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Oaks Shopping Center - Second Week of February

Groundhog's Day has come and gone and I didn't even take notice. Did he see his shadow? I guess I could Google it. No matter. I don't need no stinking groundhog to tell me spring is near. Evidence of spring can be seen if you just are observant.

I stopped by the Oaks Shopping Center construction site on Sunday, eight days after the groundhog's big day. The snow was melting. Puddles and mud covered the ground. Spring conditions if you ask me.

I stayed close to the intersection of Egypt and Mill Rds. The farther I walked the heavier my shoes became with the accumulating mud. I grabbed a few photographs of the construction progress.

The view from the site of the intersection of Egypt and Mill Roads shows a depression created for a large drainage pipe that will run from the back of the site to Egypt Road.

Two manholes, or is it person holes, in the back of the site along that drainage pipe are already underground.

More drainage pipe sits off to the side near the western limit of the site. The stone structure once supported the train tracks above several alcoves that probably held coal dropped from cars above.

Then I set to create some personal images.

I created a few images I liked. I found more evidence of spring. Even amidst the construction.

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Oaks Construction - First Week of February

The rate of construction in Oaks, PA has increased in the first week of February. 

There is work being done at the SE corner of the Oaks Shopping Center site. 

Earth moving at the Chicago Grill / Pizzeria Uno site.

As well as at the eastbound exit of US 422.

There is quite a bit of activity near the western end of the Oaks Shopping Center site, at the intersection with Mill Road.

A grader and bulldozer with GPS units at each end of its blade are digging down below the street level.

Lots of earth is being moved. More than a half dozen pieces of equipment are doing the moving.
More drainage pipes have been buried under gravel.

The weather has been cooperative.

 No deep freezes.

 Very little precipitation.

 No storms or high winds.

Before you know it you will be able to smell the Wawa coffee at Egypt and Black Rock Roads.

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Max & Erma's Burger Platter

After my visit during opening week at Cheeburger Cheeburger of Oaks, I decided I needed to visit Max & Erma's for comparison.

At Max & Erma's, I ordered an Erma size (6oz burger) Tortilla Burger platter. That comes with french fries and a soufflé cup of their signature tortilla soup, for dipping. I have to admit there was no cole slaw as at Cheeburger Cheeburger. There were more fries, however. I asked for sriracha sauce in case the jalapeños didn't deliver enough heat. Max & Erma's doesn't have sriracha sauce. They do have Tabasco sauce. I ordered unsweetened iced tea. The glass was 16oz. and tapered like a pint beer glass not a mason jar with threads near the lip, as at CC. The price of a soft drink includes free refills.

Now for the food review. The burger was cooked as I requested. The toppings that came with the Tortilla Burger made it downright tasty. The fries were a bit thicker than those at CC and as at CC, cooked correctly. The dipping portion of the soup was great with both the fries or poured over the burger. But I do have a fondness for a bowl of tortilla soup at M&E's. Overall, I liked the platter better than at CC.

Apart from the food, one difference between the two is that M&E's has a rewards card they call Good Neighbors. CC doesn't. If you ask for a Good Neighbors card, you immediately receive a 5% discount on every order. If you visit M&E's 27 times within a calendar year, the following year you receive a 10% discount with every purchase. Register your card with an email address and you will receive special offers via email.

I have a Good Neighbor card. The night before I stopped in for this meal I was offered $3.00 off any burger platter, plus the 10% discount. So for this meal I spent a grand total of $8.21 including 6% PA sales tax.

Now maybe I entered this contest between Cheeburger Cheeburger and Max & Erma's with some bias. However, I believe I made a rational decision. I still think CC is too expensive for a cheeseburger platter and the decor and comfort of seating doesn't come near that of M&E's.

As for the ambiance, there is quite a difference. M&E's is all artificial light in the bar, where I usually eat for speed of service, compared with mostly daylight streaming through the entire glass exterior at CC.  There are no tables near the vestibule door, as compared to CC. There are two big screen TVs, which only show sports or news networks without sound, as compared to CC which has one larger screen TV.

I did hear the bartender/server at M&E's say that CC is pricing their menu to compete with M&E's. So, when I return to CC, after a period of time when I think they have worked out the kinks, I will test the burger platter again for taste and to see if there is any price competition for burgers in Oaks. For now, I will continue to go to Max & Erma's when I want a burger, comfortable seating and tortilla soup.

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

Monday, February 4, 2013

Oaks Shopping Center Layout

Source:Audubon Land Development

I found a drawing of the planned Oaks Shopping Center. I thought you might be interested in seeing the layout. I have it here for you to study.

The four large buildings close to Egypt Road are from right to left - Penn Liberty Bank, Wawa, Wendy's and the 8,500 sqft building on the left is rumored to be a Buffalo Wild Wings. There are 22 retail spaces located at the back of the lot. The size of the retail spaces range from 1160 sq ft to 3865 sq ft. 

I'm just going to throw out some possible retail establishments that might move into those spaces.

  • All night hot dog grill
  • Cupcake bakery
  • Chinese restaurant
  • Mexican restaurant
  • Indian restaurant
  • Thai restaurant
  • Turkish restaurant
  • Afghan restaurant
  • Persian restaurant
  • Iranian restaurant
  • Brazilian steak house
  • Pho restaurant
  • Mongolian hot pot
  • Pizzeria
  • Bagel shop
  • Coffee shop
  • Bakery outlet
  • Donut shop
  • Ice cream shop
  • Payday money store
  • Craft distillery
  • Cheese and wine making supplies
  • Diagnostic lab
  • Physical therapy
  • Tattoo shop
  • Fortune teller
  • Occult shop
  • Cosplay shop
  • Video games
  • Dollar store
  • Five dollar store
  • Pet shop
  • Hair cutter
  • Phone store
  • Martial arts studio
  • Dance studio
  • Wild bird store

What kind of stores do you think might move into these locations?

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Oaks Shopping Center Site Dusted with Snow

Early Friday morning on the first day of February, the Oaks Shopping Center construction site was lightly dusted with snow.

The snow had little effect on the actual construction work. The storm sewer work continued.

Across Black Rock Road was the Chicago Grill / Pizzeria Uno site.

Infrastructure is also the focus of work on that site. 

With the sun being so bright, I dont' think the snow dusting will be around very long. 

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved