Archive for January, 2009

Countdown to XLIII: 13

I headed to the Steelers Store in Monroeville Mall today to pick up a tie.  There’s a big story involved (story and picture to come a bit later), but needless to say, I had to pick up a tie because the Steelers are advancing to the Super Bowl.
Anyway, it was decently crowded, especially for a Monday morning (albeit Martin Luther King Jr. Day, assuming a good number of people have the day off).  The long table seen in the front was filled with AFC champion shirts, with an employee ready to help anyone find their size.
Moving on (as I felt I’ve rambled on too long already), If you’re looking to stop by an official store, you can head to Monroeville Mall, Pittsburgh Mills, South Hill Village or the Outlets at Grove City.  But really, you can head to The Strip, most grocery stores, most convenience stores, probably a lot of bookstores…you get the idea.
Any good items or deals out there?

Inauguration Day activities

David, from LA Metblogs passed along some helpful links to find inauguration day events.

  • Doing a quick search here at (by zip code) listed a whole lot of events, mostly house-type parties
  • The official inauguration site also has their own listings, so you can search there as well (also by zip code)
  • Word has been spreading that some Starbucks will be airing the inauguration, but I can’t seem to find an official list of which ones will.  I have a feeling most stores and news outlets will be showing it, so I don’t foresee that being an issue.
  • Also, rumor has it that Krispy Kreme will be giving away free doughnuts.  With their mass exodus out of the area though, might make it a bit harder to get your free sugar.

I will be working, and unable to watch the ceremony (thank goodness for televised news programs and youtube), so no fun event for me.

The Countdown to XVIII will be back later today, so look for that in a bit.

Countdown to XLIII: 14

Countdown to XLIII: 14

Got this cookie a few days ago, snapped a picture just in case.  Smilie is happy, and so is Pittsburgh!

How I learned to stop worrying and love the bus

“Why do you ride the bus when you have a car?”

It’s a question I get asked.  A lot.  I’ve been riding the bus since the middle of August.  I had wanted to actually start taking public transportation before then, but a couple hurdles stood in my way.  I guess I take the bus for most of the normal reasons, although topping that list is the fact that someone else does the driving for me.  That is much better than fighting the traffic on the Parkway East twice every day.


And yes, I save money on gas, but I also have free parking at work.  Not that they balance each other really, the savings is still substantial, but others save even more.  But as I said above, I was more interested in not driving, and the extra time napping helps a lot too.


So what made me wait until just this August to start riding the bus?  Well a lot of it had to do with figuring out the bus system.  And even now, I feel I’m competent enough to ride the bus, I’m still by no means an expert.  Let’s face it, the PAT website isn’t exactly the easiest to navigate, and quickly finding bus schedules is usually not possible.  Truth be told, google maps has helped me plan routes more than PAT’s own website.


The other big hurdle was the actual logistics of riding the bus.  I know, it sounds silly, but I didn’t want to be that guy who holds up the bus because he doesn’t know how to pay or how to signal for it to stop.  I seem to recall a PAT bus coming to my elementary school to teach us about riding the bus, but probably by this point those vehicles are no longer in service, and I don’t remember much of that day anyway.


So I bravely waited at the bus stop that first day back in August.  I double checked with the operator that I had the right bus line, paid my toll and took a seat.  After that, the rest was easy.  I got to see the East Busway for the first time, and eventually made it into downtown.  The strangest (read: scariest) part was when literally I was the last one left on the bus, thinking I missed my stop.  I didn’t, I just was (and still am) the only one who gets off at my stop.  The operator once again helped me out, and also gave me some good advice for the trip home.


I work up near the Mellon Arena, and no bus really goes exactly where I need to go.  And I could transfer to a second bus and get closer, but I take another perk of riding the bus the chance to get some fresh air and a little bit of exercise walking up the hill every morning, it also helps to wake me up.  And on days like we’ve been having this week, it’s not glamorous by any means, I still enjoy the freedom of taking some time to walk up the hill.  Walking down in weather like this is another story altogether, but one for another day as well.


Throughout my time riding the bus, I’ve seen a lot more of downtown than I ever had (even more so thanks to detours), and I’m starting to find more and more that I love about Pittsburgh, and feel more comfortable finding my way around.  This doesn’t surprise me a whole lot.  One thing I know about myself is that I get freaked about when I need to travel to some destination that I haven’t been to before.  Which is one of the reasons I did so much research before riding the bus for the first time, so this new found bit of confidence about downtown travel and destinations is a very strange sensation indeed, but one that I’m welcoming.


I’m in a comfortable groove with the bus.  It gets me to work early, but that’s ok.  And everyone on the bus knows the other riders.  Maybe not by name in every case, but where we get on and off, and it’s nice to see the familiar faces each morning.  The days when I do need to drive due to some event at work which keeps me past five, it feels very strange to not be on the bus.  So yes, I have a car, which runs very well most of the time, but I’m happily a bus rider, and will probably remain for a long time to come.



End note: I [still] consider myself one of PittGirl’s minions, and I wish her the best in all her endeavors.  One of my favorite aspects of her blog was her stories from the bus and T.  And while the T doesn’t do me a whole lot of good at the moment (maybe the Port Authority can take the hint…), I hope to share more of my crazy stories from PAT through this space.  I was also reading Peak Direction, but the author has moved, so hopefully I can help fill some kind of gap in the blogsphere about Pittsburgh public transportation.  If I’m missing a good blog, let me know!

The next day

Update to yesterday’s post, thoughts and reactions really.  The situation reminded me of a shooting that happened in Latrobe, my senior year at St. Vincent.  Most people would go out during the week to Nopalitos, a club/restaurant/bar.  I would head elsewhere, since usually my time off campus was in order to not be around a majority of those people, plus a night at the bar was not for dancing…but I digress.


Anyway, there was a shooting at Nopalitos, either inside or near it, at the moment I can’t recall; and for a time, people vowed to not return as they did not feel safe.  I actually didn’t have a problem with it, it was an isolated incident, and had it been an establishment I frequented, I would have returned with no reservations.


Now, one shooting is much different than an extended bombing campaign.  And I think that in that situation, I would have made alternate plans or at the very least, delayed my plans to visit, fiancé or not.  And yes, there was no indication that the bombing would travel that far, but still, common sense starts throwing off all kinds of warning lights when looking at the current hostilities.


But who knows, we all do crazy and strange things for love.  And what says love more than throwing yourself headfirst into a country in turmoil?

Report from Israel

An acquaintance from high school, Maura Linzer, happened to be visiting her fiancé in Israel this week, and ended up about 40 yards away from rockets launched into Be’er Sheva.


This time you could not only hear the boom, but you could feel the whole building shake.  It’s [this] unbelievable fear of ‘Where did that missile land and did it hurt anyone?’


Linzer and her fiancé left Be’er Sheva safely and she expects to return home on Friday


Check out the story and any updates at

Speaking of Superman…

Lindsay posted yesterday about the return of Superman, which coincides with a couple links I’ve stumbled across in the last few days.  The first was passed on by a fellow metblog author, discussing a recent increase of “reals”

They must stand for unambiguous and unsponsored good. They must create their own Spandex and rubber costumes without infringing Marvel or DC Comics copyrights, but match them with exotic names – Green Scorpion in Arizona, Terrifica in New York, Mr Xtreme in San Diego and Mr Silent in Indianapolis

The second is a post at io9, discussing the superheros of MySpace.

So combine the fact that there are Reals out there, and MySpace is helping them find and protect their legal rights, it begs the question: where is Pittsburgh’s superhero?  And no, Steely McBeam most certainly does not count!

On a side note, I don’t know if Spoon River Metblogs is finishing up, or just changing into another form.  It’s worth a look if you haven’t seen it (or in my case, read it in about a month) , maybe one of the citizens there is a Real and we never realized it.

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