Victoria: September 2005 Archives

Wouldn't it be great if your brain was like a computer, and you could choose what to save and what to delete? Memories are popping into my head that I would like to throw into the Trash Bin.

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The Country Club Diner is located in Voorhees. Although it is conveniently located near the Ritz (the best movie theater in South Jersey), we almost never go there.

Country Club Sign

(What's up with that guy on the sign??)

Close Up of Guy on the Sign

I have only been to the Country Club Diner twice. The first time was mid-afternoon. My friend and I ordered mozzarella sticks, and they came with some kind of cold, ketchup-like substance as a sauce, instead of the tomato sauce I was expecting. That was gross.

Country Club Diner

The next time I went must have been after a movie at the Ritz. The Country Club Diner closes (a bad sign I should have mentioned earlier), I think at midnight, and by 10:30pm, the waitress was hovering over our table, trying to get us to leave so they could close up. Now, the whole point of going to a diner is to hang out, talk, and socialize. Eating is almost secondary. So diners that crowd me definitely get a negative vote.

Country Club Windows

On the other hand, Mike has been there more recently, and says they have a great coconut cream pie. So I guess they get 1 Coffee Cup


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Magnolia Diner

The Magnolia Diner is located in (guess!) Magnolia, NJ. It doesn't look much like the other diners, what with the absence of shiny and neon. It looks like it might have been a Moose Lodge or VFW hall at one point, but ever since I have been here, it has been a diner.

Magnolia Diner

For a while when I used to have to work on weekends, I met my mom here for breakfast Saturday mornings before work. They have good food, and it's inexpensive, even by diner standards. I have only been back a few times in recent years, including once with Mike when no one ever came to wait on us after we were seated, and we got up and left. But that was an isolated incident in overall good memories.

Magnolia Diner

The Magnolia Diner is also the only diner so far that asked me what I was doing there taking pictures. A young manager came out after I'd only taken two, and asked me why I was there. I smiled brightly, and answered that I was a student and I was doing a project about diners, two statements that are true separately, but somehow less than true when combined. He seemed a little unsure how to respond. I then added, "Don't worry, I don't plan on selling them," but even when I said it, I wondered if maybe he wasn't more concerned that I might be the harbinger of a law suit.

Rating: 3.5 Coffee Cups

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We are starting to go to the Stratford Diner more now, because it is in a convenient location. Also, it is open 24 hours, like all good diners should be. In fact, we were there this weekend, sitting in a corner booth and talking politics, as usual. I think this weekend makes the third time I have been there.

Stratford Sign

The reason we didn't go to it before is that, until recently, there was no Stratford Diner. I think it has been there less than a year. I'm pretty sure it used to be a Denny's, and there used to be a Ponderosa next to it. Then both went under around the same time - the Ponderosa is now a Burger King.

Stratford Diner

So far I have liked everything I've had there, but I will say this: if you order salad, get the dressing on the side. Also, Mike says their fries suck. I don't think we've had dessert there yet, so we're not qualified to judge on that. Guess we'll have to go back.

Stratford Diner

The service has been very prompt and friendly every time we went. They also have some old-school arcade games in the lobby that have received quite a few quarters from the pop5 crew. All in all, I think I can give it 4 Coffee Cups

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I was driving around today taking pictures for the Diner Project, and I ran across this gentleman:

George W. Bush?

At first this guy had me a little confused. Now, I think he means "succumb" to be equivalent to "died." But is the guy supposed to be George W. Bush?? (He looks more like Nixon to me.) Who put him there?

Regardless, I support the sentiment...at least I think I do, if I am interpreting the sentiment correctly.

pop5 crew and anyone else in South Jersey: I saw this guy on the White Horse Pike in Audubon. Any clues??

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Over Labor Day weekend, Mike and I went to the Delaware Water Gap.

Waterfall

The park, part of the National Parks System, spans over New Jersey and Pennsylvania (and maybe New York?). It's big, and also confusing; it was hard to figure out where we wanted to go and how to get there. As the designated navigator, I have to admit that I got us lost twice. In the interests of full disclosure, I will further admit that one of those times, Mike figured out the right way to go, and I didn't believe him.

Fallen Trees

We went to the three "scenic overlooks" in the south of the park, which were supposed to offer the best views of the river and the gap. I was a little disappointed, since I didn't find them very scenic. I took pictures, but they didn't come out well.

Another Waterfall

Then we got lost trying to go to Bushkill Falls, and ended up on the New Jersey side. We went hiking on a little waterfall trail, since I prefer my hiking with waterfalls.

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In case you don't know, American Express is allowing its cardmembers to cash in those stupid membership rewards points and give the money to Hurricane Katrina relief. They are matching the money donated, as well, and you can choose from a list of charities which one you would like to donate to. I cashed in all of mine, since I never use them; I'm glad there's finally something worthwhile to use them for.

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An illustrative fairy tale by Victoria

Once upon a time, I had (well, still have) a G5 iMac that lives in my bedroom, on a small desk opposite my bed. Macs are supposed to be able to stay on and "asleep" for long periods of time; it isn't necessary to shut them down. It is in fact helpful to keep them on overnight, since they perform maintenance tasks then. The problem was that my iMac's sleeping would keep me awake! By FLASH---FLASH---FLASHing its little sleep light onto the wall over my bed. So I had to shut it down at night.

Now that could have been the end of the story. But it's not.

Last week, I sat down to my iMac to do some software updates, when lo and behold, there is a firmware update for my Mac that fixes this problem! It automatically dims the sleep light at night, but keeps it bright during the day! I was overjoyed. I had not complained to Apple about it, but they somehow knew and fixed the problem.

Of course, they probably knew because other people complained about the same problem.

But I prefer to think that my iMac took the initiative and made my wishes known to Apple Inc. all by itself.

And you can bet we will both live happily ever after...

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Marlton Diner

The Marlton Diner is also in Marlton - big surprise, I know. It is open 24 hours, but they serve a limited menu late-nights, I think after 11pm. They are a fairly recent diner, and have only been around a few years. I think before that the space was a chain restaurant - Ponderosa? Ground Round? Something like that. As you can see, they spruced it up with shiny, diner-appropriate architecture.

Marlton Diner Sign

The good thing about the Marlton Diner is that they have very large booths in the smoking section, which is oh so necessary when three of the "Population Five" are smokers. [Yes, Rob, you count!] This means we can all fit into one booth instead of having to split up when we saunter in for a late-night snack.

Marlton Diner

Familiarity: I guess I've been there more than twenty times.
Rating: 3 Coffee Cups It's a nice place to hang out late at night. The waitstaff doesn't crowd you and try to get you to leave. The food is pretty good - I've never gone out of my way to go there, but I'm never sorry I've gone.

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I know that everyone here is going to make fun of me, but my current must-visit-all-the-time website is the PandaCam at the San Diego Zoo. There is a baby panda! Oh the cuteness!

Panda Mommy and Baby

The baby panda is a girl, and she is a little over a month old. She won't be named until her 100th day, in accordance with Chinese tradition.

Mommy and Baby

Who can resist this much cuteness?

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Olga's Diner

Olga's Diner is something of a landmark. It is located in Marlton, NJ, and if you are asking for directions in its vicinity, they will usually start with, "Well, you know where Olga's Diner is?" It has been around for as long as anyone can remember. Rumor has it that it is up for sale now, for $10 million. You wouldn't think it from looking at it, would you? Location, location.

Olga's Diner

Despite its history, Olga's is a pretty crappy place to eat. I think it is open 24 hours, at least - we used to go there late nights after getting out of work. I can't remember having one thing there that was decent. Apparently it used to be good, but has been declining for years.

Olga's Parking Only

Still, I will be sad to see it go.

Familiarity: I guess I've there between 10 and 20 times.
Rating: 2 Coffee Cups, just for sentimental value.

Coffee cups ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5: 5 is "excellent," and 1 is "you call this a diner!?!" Mike did the coffee cup illustrations, and I can safely say that any illustrations you see on this site will be his. I don't think the rest of us can draw - I know I can't.

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They say New Jersey has more than 7,000 diners. It is known as the Diner Capital of the World. So what is the Diner Project? We visit as many of them as humanly possible, and report back the results.

Now, not every restaurant with the word "diner" on the sign really deserves the title. For our money, a diner must:

* not be part of a chain.
* be open 24 hours a day (and serve breakfast 24 hours a day).
* be reasonably priced, have a wide selection, and have decent food.

Let the culinary tour begin.

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This is only a test.

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Special guest Evan joins us for Podcasts 7 and 8!