Friday, December 17, 2010

#48 - Local Celebrities

That whole 15 minutes of fame was a load of horseshit, at least in Pittsburgh. We don't become famous - we become local celebrities for 15 minutes.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

#47 - Forgotten groceries

We picked up some lunch meat at our local Giant Eagle this afternoon, and as we were walking out a woman (it's Sunday so it goes without saying she was wearing a Steelers jersey) briskly walked by us calling out 'sir' to catch the attention of a gentleman who had forgotten a bag of groceries. The man said thank-you, took the bag, and we entered the cold.

I took this for granted today. It's a small gesture but one that should be acknowledged as grand not ignored as trivial.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

#45 - tunnel love

I guess this is more of a love/hate kinda thing - fairly unique to Pittsburgh is the speed (or lack thereof) at which people enter tunnels.

Which is why I propose the following:
At the entrance of each tunnel in Pittsburgh (or, at a minimum, the Squirrel Hill, Ft Pitt, and Liberty Tunnels) put up one of those big orange construction signs that says "Free Jeff Reed autographs at the next exit." Halfway through the tunnel, put a sign that says "Homeland security reports there may be a bomb in the tunnel" because we all know by the halfway point, everyone would have forgotten about the allure of a Jeff Reed autograph, realized they were in a tunnel, and slowed the F down. At the exit of the tunnel, a sign will be placed that says "Due to Jeff Reed killing the terrorists, he has blood on his hands and is unable to sign autographs."

I feel this would greatly improve the flow of traffic in and out of Pittsburgh Tunnels.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

#44 - Aiding and abetting a potential felon

I got lost with my new camera (Canon G12, stoked!*) in an industrial park in Hazelwood. Well, more accurately, I ignored a bunch of no trespassing signs to check out some cool decaying buildings. After cruising around for a bit, I realized the only way out was the way I came in - 1.5 miles in the opposite direction of my final destination. I found a gate, chainlink, barbed wire on the top, with just enough of a gap I could potentially squeeze my skinny pierogi ass through. As I stood and contemplated the gap in the fence, an SUV on the other (free!) side of the fence stopped, and with a smile, a passenger said "Need a hand there buddy?" I was obviously where I wasn't supposed to be, with a 5 o clock shadow, a little hungover, and these random yinzers were willing to help me navigate over a barbed wire fence.

I thanked them, sent them on their way, and hopped the fence with a bit more lightness.

*98% of the photos on this site are 35mm (Canon AE-1, older than I am) With the acquisition of the G12, I will be interspersing digital and analog - I'll always note which is which from here on aht.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

#43 - Ft. Pitt Tunnels

Blazing through Ft. Pitt Tunnels on a Wednesday night, seeing the Pittsburgh skyline, and hearing Weezer El Scorcho replace static as stereo reception returns.

Monday, September 6, 2010

#42 - Uphill courtesy

A little something something I learned while Mountain Biking is simple trail etiquette - one of the most important ones being if you are on single track and encounter another rider, the one going uphill has the right-of-way. This is unfortunately not always followed on the roads, but what the hell, d-bags are shooting bouncers in front of Town Tavern.

I was riding solo across Ft. Pitt bridges narrow ass sidewalk, and on the Mt Worshington side I encountered a group of half-dozen cyclist, varying in age and ability. I stopped to allow them to pass (they were going uphill, duh) and leaned against a fence which nearly gave way, causing me to comically almost fall and tumble to my death. I secured my footing and the group passed me, each with a huge smile and an authentic 'thank-you'

#41 - Dee's Cafe

Friday, August 20, 2010

#40 - pass

The scene: Pedaling up a steep, gravely road construction sidewalk. A woman walks down towards me. She sees me, my sweat soaked shirt, and steps aside with a smile. "Thank you." I say with a sweaty smile. "You're welcome." She returns the smile, and we cross paths.

Two weeks later, I saw the same woman. Same smile. Same pass. Warm welcome deja-vu.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

#39 - Photo Oppotunity

I was pedaling up the northshore trails slight grade toward the Science Center when I noticed a young couple trying to catch the beautiful backdrop with the locked elbow outstretched facebook arm. 'Do you want me to take your picture?' I asked slightly out of breath. The boyfriend obliged readily while the girlfriend looked perplexed. I believe I caught the incline in mid-travel which is always a nice touch. I handed the camera back accepted my thanks and headed on my way, with each pedal stroke reminding me how in a lesser city a cyclist in a similar situation could have quickly sprinted away with a digi cam but in Pittsburgh we don't think twice about random acts of kindness.

#38 - Weekend Backpacking

A quick 1.5hr drive from Pittsburgh lies Ohiopyle, home of whitewater rafting, cycling, the falls, and one end of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail (LHHT) a 70ishmile long hiking trail through the beautiful Laurel Highlands (duh). It has primitive campsites along the way, making it must-hit for backpackers in the region.

My father and I recently spent 3 nights and 3 days hiking about 36 miles on it, and since I did not have cell phone reception most of the time, and don't even have a twitter account, I twittered in my notebook.

Hike in was hot.

Air was thick I was dehydrated at the start but still could have used a starting beer at Falls City.

Alone and humid in campground. Clothes soaked to skin.

Wearing a wet bandanna around my neck I feel like John Waters or a lesser talented better known Hollywood type.

A mouse crawled across my back while I was sleeping last night. I want to keep him and call him Stuart although that might be a little weird.

Fleet Foxes S/T is the best thing to have stuck in your head where there is no sound but trees.

Whenever I hear music the next time I'm going to grunt and jump around like the boomerang monkey boy did in Road Warrior.

I hate Starbucks but I'm going to love the shit out of this coffee.

Flaming Lips - also not a bad thing to have stuck in your head.

Holy shit! It's Bruce Springsteen.

Hiking near a gun club is like hiking in Colombia.

Saw two wild orchids before they were eaten.

Harold was divine bovine.

MRE was spam.

Grundies = less chafing.

Frog the size of a Homie just ran away from me.

Third night sleeping on wood floor is the toughest. I actually miss soft mattress at home.

I can't believe I missed Father Flamethrower and Pittsburgh Policy at Excuses!

It's best to break long hikes into sections, like .7 miles to the rest area - same distance as my house to Dee's.

Diner food!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

#37 - Beer is a massage from the inside

Went on the MS150 ride this year with my dad, uncle and a few friends. It's an epic, two day, 150ish mile ride for a good cause. For the first year, they had a beer garden on campus saturday night (it's a two-day ride from north of Pittsburgh to Conneuat, Ohio, on lake erie) The beer tent was freaking mobbed - two free beers for a each participant. I don't think the organizers anticipated how much a bunch of athletic cyclist types dig the hooch. But in Western PA, the athletic cyclist types definitely enjoy finishing a ride with a few suds.

Friday, June 4, 2010

#36 - Crooklyn

I wrote an article for my webzine, working class zero, making fun of Brooklyn Heights hipsters and how they look like Muammar al-Gaddafi, and in the first draft I wrote 'Brookline' instead of Brooklyn half the time because I'm such a goddamn yinzer.

#35 - out of town clothing selection

I didn't realize it until after I packed, but for a weekend away in upstate NY, I packed no less than (3) Pittsburgh related T-shirts, and am wearing one for the drive - Polish Hill Strangler, Rustbelt Homewreckers, Head Board Shop, Black Star Tattoo. My 'Jesus Loves the Steelers' stayed on the hanger since it's not season.

Friday, May 28, 2010

#34 - churches

Churches as places of worship, as bars, as restaurants, as brew pubs, condos, decrepit, falling, selling pirogi, welcoming saints and sinners, dominating our skyline.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

#33 - proximity

Living in Pittsburgh means having 3 grandparents (1 recently passed), 2 parents, 8 aunts and uncles, 5 cousins, and 196 friends from high school living less than 45 minutes away.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

#32 - The Pittsburgh Wave

Went cycling with the wife tonight. Stopped at a 4-way stop signed intersection. My wife wasn't sure which way we were headed so I gave the SUV to our left the obligatory Pittsburgh wave. The woman driving responded with a wave. It became the classic Pittsburgh wave showdown, each wave becoming a little more flamboyant until finally I was defeated, and my wife and I cruised through the intersection.

An occurrence that seems everyday normal, nay, boring to the average Pittsburgher is something that would never occur in another city of this size.

(Note: I was going to mention how when I first moved to upstate NY I tried the Pittsburgh wave a few times, and people looked at me like I was insane or possibly waving a gun at them - however, I swore this blog is going to be positive)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

#30 - Pittsburgh Bands

I don't know if it's been tabulated but Pittsburgh has to hold the record for most bands named after / with reference to the city.

Off the top of my head:
Polish Hill Strangler (gotta represent)
Steel Drunk
Enemies of Yinz
Commonwealth Conspiracy (OK..sorta)
Le Cachot
Dawn Cannon

Please add more in the comments! I know I missed a ton.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

#29 - Pittsburgh Left

"Is he going to make a Pittsburgh Left?" - My wife, been here for almost three years, about the cop car facing us at the light.
"Probably. He's just going to go for it." - Me
"What's the protocol?"
"He's a cop. You let him go. I hope he waves." - Me

Light turns red. I flash my lights to let the cop go. He makes the left and motions WITH HIS COFFEE thanks.

I love this town.

Friday, April 23, 2010

#28 - Random Acts of Kindness

My dad swung by the other night. Fortunately I was doing some work outside the house, not sitting on the patio slamming beers. My wife was inside. It was a very domestic, tranquil evening, the complete opposite of the following evening.

The green Ranger I first learned stick on pulled up, my dad jumped out, and told a story that you would only be told in small town America, or small city Pittsburgh - he was about to leave costco when he noticed a young couple struggling to fit flooring into their Toyota Yaris. (tiny) The hatch wouldn't shut, and the driver couldn't put the seat back. It was a cluster and probably could have wound up on the internet as one of those 'oh shit' photos.

After some chuckles, my dad approached the couple and offered to help. He loaded the truck up, and followed them up the southside slopes (getting to the slopes means traveling up roads as steep as the hills of san francisco). Upon arriving at their home, he asked 'did either of you think to get my license?' Of course they hadn't. They shared a laugh, and offered money, but we all know that money is no good as long as we all keep performing random acts of kindness.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

#27 - Stoked on Pittsburgh

Those who truly 'get' Pittsburgh, be they locals, transplants, or expats, have a certain glint in their eyes when talking about the burgh that is truly amazing.

The people who see Pittsburgh as more than a city - a home, a friend, a family member. It transcends geography and is a part of us.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

#26 - Local Celebrities

Without blue bloods, movie stars, worldly famous writers, playwrights, or artists, we elevate the celebrities we have to almost mythical standing. The athlete, the evening news anchor, the transplants made it big.

However, when they prove themselves an ass, on the field, on the screen, or off, we as Pittsburghers don't take kindly to half-hearted apologies and insincere promises of changed behavior. The grumblings may get quieter if the football is thrown well, but we'll all realize talent doesn't make the person.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

#25 - Bike Rides

I love bike rides that unfold like a well written short story. The protagonist (me, my bike, as one character) the antagonist (fucking cars), setting (the city), plot (bike ride, duh) setting (Pittsburgh) climax (Schenley overlook or maybe the cool down beer at Ruggers). The story might sound basic but it writes itself a little different each and every time.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

#24 - Steelers Audi 5000

Driving home tonight from work, inbound on East Carson street, I saw the creepy crawling rushhour outbound traffic smoking its way home. My light turned green, I hit the gas, and in the sudden flurry of white, red, gold, gold, anonymity of working class stiffs I caught a glimpse of black and gold fury, a black audi, gold hood, gold trim. 'A Steelers Audi?' I thought, hopingly. The IX, X, XII, XIV, XL, XLIII in gold along the fenders. A steelers Audi, indeed!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

#23 - YAA

After a record snowfall, the city of Pittsburgh was crippled. Our beloved boy mayor was stuck (skiing) in the Laurel Mountains for his birthday. Median snow drifts locked up cars up and down streets primary, secondary and tertiary. Every time I saw a car stuck, the Yinzer Automobile Association would leap into action - there were always 4+ people walking up, pushing, shoveling, cars stopping offering shovels. It was really amazing. Zero bad vibes from the Yinzer Automobile Association.

Monday, February 15, 2010

#21 - Unicyclists

Pittsburgh has a unicyclist so hardcore he was cruising down the sidewalk through 6" of snow.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

#19 - security deposit

Our landlord waived our last months rent and called it even-steven since we put a deposit down. Site unseen of our apartment (which is in decent shape, I might add). Amazing. First time receiving a full deposit back.

Then again, we always paid our rent on time. Didn't bitch too much. And we weren't drug dealing fetish hookers. (yeah, we had a whorehouse two doors down)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

#18 - Common Courtesy Hit N Run Follow-through

I talked to the dude who hit my car.

The phone number was legit.

He offered me $100.

The damage was minimal.

I agreed.

A check for $100 arrived today.

I love Pittsburgh