Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Years in Baltimore

If you're tired of watching over-hyped celebrities like Carson Daily and Ryan Seacrest, try tuning into WJZ (Channel 13) tonight to see the Baltimore Harbor Fireworks kick off the new year.  The three sets of fireworks spread out over the inner and outer harbor are timed perfectly...and look amazing.  Check it out!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

It's a Waterfront Life Show

Didn't make it down to the harbor to see the light show?  No problem...we've got you covered.  Here's the whole show minus the fireworks (only used on the weekend shows).  My favorite effect is at the 5:10 mark...enjoy!

If you want to see it live, the show will be running a few times every night until the 31st of December.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

50% off Papa Johns tomorrow!

With tonight's CAPS win over the Rangers (4-1), Papa Johns offers %50 off your entire online order tomorrow, December 29th (remember not to call the order).  To get this deal, just put in CAPS50 in the promotion code spot when you put your order in.

So go get that lunch or dinner 50% off:

Monday, December 26, 2011

Light Street Roundabout

Relief is coming to a terrible intersection in South Baltimore.  The Key Highway and Light Street intersection next to the science center is currently a source of confusion to motorists and pedestrians alike.  The Baltimore Sun just ran a great article mentioning the benefits of the proposed $7 Million circle project, such as a great reduction of accidents...

"A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety of 24 intersections where a roundabout replaced traffic lights or stop signs found that overall crashes decreased by 75 percent while pedestrian injuries dropped by 40 percent."
There are a few points that the article does seem to miss. For us "greenies", the new circle will provide slightly more greenspace (if only for looks) and plantings than the current design.  My hope is that the center of the circle itself will provide a great space for some work of art or a statue.  This could be driven by the Federal Hill neighborhood association, as it is the gateway to the neighborhood.  Speaking of neighbors, the circle's reduced speeds and increased greening should work to support home prices in the homes in that block.

One of the numbers that I found surprising in the article, was that only 8,000 cars use the intersection currently.  Considering how terrible the lights are, it's possible that could grow considerably when the circle goes in.

There was also talk of two more circles for the downtown, but I'm not sure the status of those.  The first is where President Street meets Pratt Street and the second is the other side of Pratt Street at MLK blvd.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wind Power For Your Home

A lot of us want to go green for any number of reasons (do our part to fight climate change, energy security, etc), but don't want the hassle of actually having to install solar or wind power on our homes.  There's a simple solution though.  If you live in or around Baltimore, wind power options are available to you.  I recently decided to switch to 100% wind power for my home...and you can too.

The Washington, Gas, And Electric Wind Porgram allows you to choose 50% or 100% wind power for your home.  All you have to do is sign up for a 1 or 2 year contract.

How does it work?  You still pay the same amount of fees for distribution of energy to BGE you have always, but the energy itself is bought from WGES.  WGES then puts the money to their network of wind farms to produce the amount of energy you consume.

What's it cost?  Right now, WGES charges 9.3¢/kWh for 50% wind, and 9.6¢/kWh for 100% wind.  

How does that compare with BGE?  Currently BGE is at 9.037¢/kWh, but will be raising to 9.462¢/kWh starting on June 1st, 2012.  That means that you will then be paying MORE than if you had switched to wind power.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

50% off Papa Johns Today

Of course you already know from watching yourself, but the Washington Capitals won 4-1 last night against the Nashville Predators.  Because they won and scored 4 goals, Papa Johns offers %50 off your entire online order (remember not to call the order).  To get this deal, just put in CAPS50 in the promotion code spot when you put your order in.

So go get that lunch or dinner 50% off:

Monday, December 19, 2011

National Pinball Museum!

The National Pinball Museum in Baltimore will be opening on January 14th right next to the Power Plant Live complex downtown.  Tickets are available online now for %50 off, and prices range from $5 for the museum and 2 hours of play to $10 for all day play (Not bad pricing at all for a day of entertainment).  The discount tickets expire in September, so you have plenty of time to make it down if you buy early.

Check out the link for more info:

Harlem Globetrotters in Baltimore

The Harlem Globetrotters are coming to Baltimore to take on the Washington Generals at the 1st Mariner Arena downtown on December 30th (at 2 and 7PM).  My money is on the Generals for this one...they're due for a big win.

Here's where you can pick up tickets to the event/

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy 50th to the JFX!

The JFX as we know it turns 50 today...but what could have been?  We all know the road as the quick way to get downtown from the North, or vice versa.  I think just about everyone notices how it comes to a screeching halt when you get down to President street (and the highway ends).  Did you know that the original plan was for the road to continue right over the harbor?

Thankfully this didn't come about, otherwise we would have witnessed the destruction of the Inner Harbor, Federal Hill, Fells Point, and Canton.  All those neighborhoods would have had an elevated highway going right through them, destroying the neighborhoods which have become the bedrock for the revival of the city in recent years.

There was one part of the design that should have been done though.  For almost a dozen blocks around Penn Station, a park system was to be built over the road.  Ever notice that the road is so low around that area?  Someday hopefully we'll be able to revive this idea to give the area some much-needed green space. At the very least, the block in front of Penn Station should be done (UB, are you listening?).

Baltimore Sun's story today on the JFX:,0,2093752.story

And here's a nice little photo gallery by the Sun:,0,5272190.photogallery

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Balti-Odd Event: John Waters X-mas

One of the things Baltimore has been synonymous with over the years is John Waters (and who's more Balti-Odd than him?).  On December 21st, he brings his one-man comedic Xmas show to the Lyric Opera House.  From everything I hear, it's hilarious and edgy...not necessarily your normal Christmas show.

Here's where you can find more info and buy tickets:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Swimmable, Fishable Inner Harbor?

Articles in the Baltimore Sun and Baltimore Business Journal came out today on a $221 Million effort to clean up the inner harbor, and I'm excited.  While the picture above is corny and a little unrealistic (fishing isn't even allowed there),  I really think that an improvement in water quality will spark a nice boom in Baltimore.  Surrounding housing prices will climb, slip rates will move up for the marinas (boat bottoms get dirty here more quickly than in the county), sailing programs we have will boom, and kayak rentals will probably go crazy.  In addition to making the harbor better, the changes being enacted will work to improve the entire watershed (which is the entire city).  Vacant lots and unused paved areas will be addressed throughout the city, creating new green spaces that can be used by all residents.

Part of the process has already started.  Trash collection along the Jones Falls, Floating wetlands, and rain gardens have already started popping up.  Here's to more progress and some results!

Floating Wetland in place, May 2011

Harbor East Holiday Celebration

Be sure to stop by Harbor East this Sunday afternoon for their first (I think) Let it Snow Celebration.  Music, Ice Carving, and other stuff should be going on.  Not a whole lot of details have been released on this, so not entirely sure what to expect.  They do decorate the area pretty well, so I'm sure it's worth a stroll around.  Oh, and if you haven't been...check out the Landmark Theaters for a movie.  A full bar (you can bring the drinks into the movie with you) makes it easy to warm up.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Charlie Brown Jazz Concert

With a paid admission to the Science Center on Friday night and Sunday afternoon, you can enjoy the Peanuts Christmas music you grew up with.  This complements the Peanuts exhibit already going on at the Science Center right now.  Don't forget that Friday prices take a dive after 5PM!

Click Here for more info on the event

Monday, December 12, 2011

Lights on the Bay

Just outside of Annapolis (and 45 mins outside of Baltimore) are the Lights on the bay, hosted by Sandy Point State Park.  For $14 per vehicle, you can drive through over 60 lighted displays (all while staying warm).  The display is open every night until the new year from 5PM-10PM with the exception of Christmas and NYE.  Check out the official site for more info.

Baltimore Blast

The indoor soccer league's season is underway.  The Baltimore Blast have started 5-3 (1st Place in the Eastern conference) so far, and it's definately worth going to see a game here in Baltimore at the 1st Mariner Arena downtown.  If you're unfamiliar with MISL rules, check out this page for a run-down.

Here's their schedule of upcoming games (9 of which are still to be played at home over the next 3 months) along with links to get tickets.  Tickets themselves are only $16-30, and get even cheaper with partial or full season plans.

The Blast have won 5 MISL Championships (03, 04, 06, 08, 09), and could be on their way to a 6th!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Tour of the Bromo Seltzer Tower

Haven't made it over for a tour of the tower?  No problem.  Built in 1911, and standing at 288.7 ft tall, the Bromo Seltzer tower is probably THE iconic building of Baltimore.  Click Here for a bit of info on Bromo Seltzer (the Product).  The building was designed after the Palazzo Vecchio building in Florence, Italy...what do you think?

Palazzo Vecchio building in Florence, Italy

The lobby of the building has been turned into a bit of a shop for the Arts Program inside.  The interesting thing here is the elevators.  One is an original with windows facing outside (so you can see outside as you go up) and the other is a 1970's nightmare elevator.  Can you guess which one breaks all the time?

Notice anything missing?
If you're lucky enough to make it to the top floor in the nightmare elevator, the views are pretty good.  One neat thing is if you look in the original elevator with the door open, you can see straight down the tower in the 2 inch gap (and yet I still find this one more comforting for some reason).

Mind the gap
Now the really interesting part of the tower is just a 2 story ladder climb away!  While the clock itself is two levels down from the roof, it's the best part of the tower.  The level above the clock room used to be a radio room of some kind, and is apparently the best location for an evil lair in the city...if you can shoo away all the birds.

Hill Valley?  Great Scott!

Modern Electronics.  They jump out of position with a loud crack every few seconds.

The Light boxes (see below) provide the clock faces with their glow at night.  When the color needs to be changed to Orange or Purple for different events in town, all that's needed is to duck tape some gels to the front (not a joke...that's really all they do).

The clock mechanism is fairly straightforward (and smaller than I thought it would be).  The part here that has been taken out of action is the weight that usually rocks back and forth to keep time.  You can see the rod going through the floor that used to do this.  Apparently the building sway would throw this off and cause the clock to go out of sync.

Every day the clock must be "wound", causing the hands to move around backwards.  Apparently the Orioles had someone call the tower when it would happen during warmups in previous players are very superstitious, and everyone thought it was a bad omen.

And the views from the top:

If you're interested in taking a tour yourself, the tower is open once a month.  The next open house is January 7th, 2012...Click Here for more info.  Make sure to show up early to sign up for a tour of the clock tower.  The rest of the building can be toured by yourself by taking the elevator up to the top and walking down through each floor.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Drinking Made Easy does Baltimore

A day late and a dollar short.  The Baltimore episode of Drinking Made Easy aired last night.  For all of you that remember the host Zane Lamprey from Three Sheets (how is he still alive?), this show will be right up your alley. If you have HDNet, keep an eye out for reruns.  Here's the HDNet show site

He stopped by Abbey Burger Bistro in Federal Hill, Bad Decisions and Horse you came in on in Fells, Mr Rain's Funhouse at the AVAM, and a few other spots (check out the HDNet link above for more info).

And here's the chug contest at Bad Decisions:

Two Apps You Should Have

If you live/work/play in Baltimore City, then these two apps are a must-have for your smartphone!

1.  Baltimore City 311 App
If you see anything from a street light out to a neighbor dumping trash, this app streamlines the process of reporting it.  You can take a picture of the issue, provide a good description, pinpoint it on a map, and easily follow up to see if it's been resolved yet.  If you're just interested in what's going on around town, check out the "Recents" option to see what other people are submitting.  One other thing I love is that you can praise a city employee if you see something good.  Android Marketplace or Apple

2.  Charm City Circulator App
The only feature you need in this app is the bus tracker.  As you can see, it lets you see what buses are coming at a specific stop.  No, no update to include the Green route...and don't even think about trying to use the super low-res map.  Android Marketplace or Apple or the CCC page (for browser use).

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Harris Teeter now open

The Harris Teeter in McHenry Row is now officially open!  Plenty of parking, really good pricing and sales, and an amazing atmosphere should easily make this a hit.  Here are a few more pics from last night's open house:

Holiday Craft Market Downtown

The beautiful Center Plaza (near the corner of Charles and E Fayette streets) will play host next week to the Holiday Craft Market.  From 11AM-2PM on Tuesday and Wednesday (13th and 14th) you can find over 30 vendors, free hot drinks, local food, and Santa (he sure does seem to be making his rounds around town).

Here's the site for more info and here's where the park is on Google Maps.

For this and many other local events, check out the local events calendar on the right hand side of the page (below the blog archive).

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Canton Square Lighting tonight

Sort of a last minute notification (since it wasn't on my radar until just now).  Canton will be doing a lamp lighting party/event tonight at 5:30-8PM at O'donnell sqaure.  Check out this site for more info.

Downtown today for lunch?

If you're downtown today at noon, make a point to stop in the lobbies of participating buildings for some free fare!

From the Downtown Partnership email:
Celebrate the joy of the season with fellow Downtown employees. Visit participating office lobbies to sample complimentary fare from some of Downtown Baltimore's finest restaurants. 
  1. Transamerica Tower, 100 Light St.
    B&O American Brasserie, Beef Brothers Deli Stop, Corks,The Point
  2. 100 E. Pratt St.
    Lebanese Taverna, Lenny's Deli - Harborplace, Mark's Kettle-Korn, Sullivan's Steak House
  3. Wells Fargo Tower, 7 Saint Paul
    Cosi Inc., Luna del Sea Steak & Seafood Bistro, Noodles & Company Harborplace
  4. Harborplace Office Tower,
    111 S. Calvert St.

    Cazbar, Freshii Light Street, The Oceanaire Seafood Room, Tír na nÓg
  5. Lockwood Place, 500 E.Pratt St.
    Dick's Last Resort, Hard Rock Café, Phillips Seafood Baltimore
  6. The Candler Building, 111 Market Place
    James Joyce Irish Pub & Restaurant, RA Sushi Bar Restaurant, Talara, TEN TEN

Balti-Odd Event: Sock Puppets

If you're looking to do something fun with kids, come down to the American Visionary Art Museum this Saturday (the 10th of December) at 10AM for a free sock puppet workshop.  Everything will be provided except the socks themselves...I'd suggest bringing clean ones.

Here's more info

Monday, December 5, 2011

Power Plant Light Show Pictures

Can't make it to the harbor for the light show?  No problem.  Here are some great shots for your viewing pleasure.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Annapolis Holiday Events

Looking to get out of Baltimore for a quick day trip?  Annapolis just might be the right place for you.  Coming up on Saturday, December 10th, the Eastport Yacht Club parade of lighted boats is the must-do holiday event of the town.  The boat parade starts at 6PM, and goes until around 8PM.  Make sure to get there early though...the best viewing spots (around Ego Alley) fill up fast.  Click Here for more info on the event.

I also recommend ice skating at the Naval Academy, but I can't seem to find any information if it is open to the public anymore...which would be sad if it isn't.  Here's a picture of the amazing (and historic) facility:

If you're out for holiday shopping, Midnight Madness on December 8th and 13th might be more enticing.  Stores along main street stay open late with great sales and a festive atmosphere.

For more Annapolis holiday events check out the Visit Annapolis page.