Tag Archives: Pittsburgh

Photo: Point State Park Fountain

The fountain at Point State Park, the point (heh) at which the Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela rivers meet in Pittsburgh.

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Public Service Announcement: Yes, Virgin Mobile Soiled Its Drawers

Virgin Mobile towers are down. I heard that things won’t be back up for another 72 hours…so no calls or texts if you’re on their network. VM’s site doesn’t mention it at all.

Here’s a screenshot of the outages, from Down Detector. Notice the large red monstrosity over my area, Pittsburgh. Regardless, the outage looks pretty widespread:

UPDATE, 6/3/17 – 12:32 PM: I’m able to text and call now, but the outage map is getting worse.

UPDATE, 6/4/17 – 8:23 AM: Things seem back to normal on my end. Down Detector areas are mostly yellow now—I’m not sure what it’s supposed to look like when systems are nominal, though.

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Links of Possible Relevance, Part 17

Mind-Altering Quantum Experiment Shows Time Has Never Existed As We Think It Does – “You totally can’t trust anything about the universe, except the results of my experiment. Trust me! Science.”

Study warns that science as we know it is evolving into something shoddy and unreliable – Bring back natural philosophy and engineering-as-research!

How to talk to aliens.

Queryfeed – For us non-Twitter users who want to follow an account on there but deal with all the hashtags and shortened URLs sell your soul don’t want to actually sign up.

Youtube Heroes – Crass video, but enlightening. I can’t think of a worse idea than YouTube giving normal users the power to mommy everyone when they see something they don’t like.

Listen to the Surprisingly Goofy Voice of a Neanderthal

Darwin Unhinged: The Bugs in Evolution – “In sum: If we don’t know what conditions existed, or what conditions would be necessary, and can’t reproduce the event in the laboratory, and can’t show it to be statistically probable, and can’t construct something that might have evolved—why are we so very sure that it happened? Would you hang a man on such evidence?”

Read a sample résumé for Marissa Mayer – “please no one do this” – a friend’s comment on LinkedIn. Please note he’s a graphic designer.

The App Store Renders Government Irrelevant – As if more rendering were needed.

The Student-Loan Scam Killed ITT Tech – “Neither students nor their parents could possibly pay out-of-pocket for college at these prices, nor would private lenders see these loans, which have no collateral, as feasible. In the absence of government created credit, colleges would be forced to charge prices that are in line with reality.”

Bike Night Cycling Heart Shaped Tail Light – Uh…

Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival program – Warning! This is a pdf. Another warning! This references the Medieval Period as the “Dark Ages.” Final warning! It’s not really a Renaissance festival.

Is this the most convincing video of the loch ness Monster ever – No. It’s not.

How Long to Write Famous Books – Geez, take your time, Salinger.

Majority of Americans Are Still Reading Print Books – Time to finally get that “Print 4 Lyfe” tattoo.

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Pale Blue Scratch Now Available in Oakmont, PA

If you’re ever in the Pittsburgh area, you can now buy a real, genuine, dead tree version of Pale Blue Scratch at the Mystery Lovers Bookshop in scenic, famous golf-coursey, Oakmont, PA.

* Unnecessary side bar: is there a name for this linguistic phenomenon, where two causally unrelated things are grammatically linked together? The fact that a book is available in a bookstore isn’t ontologically dependent on the royal “you” being present in the area. It’s implied that “hey, this information may be relevant to you,” but a non-native English speaker might receive the thrust of the sentence too literally.

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Photo: Pittsburgh Protest, July 2016

Taken from the USX Tower on Grant Street.

A photo of a protest in Pittsburgh, taken from the USX tower

There was a protest against violence or jobs or birds. Something or other. I don’t know—just take your pick of Marxoid causes and it would fit right in. It wasn’t terribly large; what you see in the photo is the whole thing. It was very noisy and mobile, however.

There were a few props and nicely-printed signs (I have binoculars at my desk). You can kinda tell that from the photograph, which made me think the whole thing was well-funded.

Someone was yelling into a megaphone. The fact that I was a few hundred feet up made it mostly unclear, but if I heard his actual words I’d still be confused.

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Photo: Strawberry Way Street Mural


Under construction. The brown building in the background is the USX Tower.

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How Not to Do a Convention Center Website

Don’t mind me here. It’s part of my mortgage-paying job to notice and fix the things I’m gassing on about below, so none of this post is necessary. It’s all sidebar observations. Is anything on here that necessary to begin with?

It’s not that Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center website is bad, per se, but that it has an information gap problem. I went there to find a way to get updates about their upcoming events, for no real reason other than curiosity, since the center is down the street from work and happenings there can affect my commute, etc.

The front page doesn’t have much in the way of their event calendar; that’s a separate page. But, more importantly, there’s no RSS feed or a mailing list that would provide updates. Nothing. Schlepping to that events page every so often to see what’s coming up is the only way, and there’s nothing there that denotes anything as a newly-organized event*. You’d have to go to their Facebook or Twitter page for that, but even then you’d need to subscribe or follow them, assuming you are signed up for either (I am not).

I’m probably not the typical user that accesses their site. It’s most likely designed for potential convention organizers, or attendees who are already planning to go to an event and need information on parking or lodging.

* Not to mention, the events page is in a table format, not a calendar, which would convey date information much more quickly.

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The Staycation Dad Chronicles

A cut and paste post while I’m busy finishing up Pale Blue Scratch.

I recently finished a staycation and was busy annoying everyone on Facebook with my humdrum, activities in the dense suburbs of Pittsburgh. Here they are, serialized for your pleasure—because what’s more entertaining than what an average white American male does in his spare time?

Staycation Dad Achievement unlocked: charmed all the moms at the bus stop this morning. But not *too* much.

Staycation Dad Achievement unlocked: helping wife find me in the bookstore by the smell of my burps.

Staycation Dad Achievement unlocked: resisted the urge to buy a middle-grade Star Wars book.

Staycation Dad Achievement unlocked: ground (grinded?) the out-of-code stroller into smaller parts to make it easier on the garbage man.

Staycation Dad Achievement unlocked: successfully reminisced about when this was the raciest thing on MTV.

Staycation Dad Achievement unlocked: substituted coffee for soda for Chick-fil-A meal deal.

Staycation Dad Achievement unlocked: installed vise with minimal injuries.

Staycation Dad Achievement unlocked: painted garage door with “assistance” from son.

Staycation Dad Achievement unlocked: moved rocks.

Staycation Dad Achievement unlocked: drank a cigar and smoked sherry while video chatting with an old friend.

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Photos: Allegheny Valley Bike Ride

Inspired both by Ed’s posts about riding out in Oklahoma County and by the fact that I finally took Functional out on a non-commuting ride this season, here’s a very photo-heavy post of the route I did with some friends/in-laws.

For the Pittsburgh area, it was a very flat ride with some nice views along the Allegheny River. It wasn’t quite an official cycling route with proper lanes, etc., but it wasn’t hostile. The tightest spot was probably going over the bridge, and even that wasn’t too bad. Even the car-heavy parts on Freeport Road had plenty of room to make it comfortable. I was able to really enjoy the ride instead of dreading the next hill, when I wasn’t trying to hold on to . I felt like a modern Sagittarius, but with a bicycle instead of hooves and a cell phone instead of a bow and arrow (but there’s an app for that).

The area, being a remnant of the Rust Belt, had plenty of places along the way to stop and check out if you’re an industrial history buff. Or like to break windows in abandoned buildings…not that we did that (really, we didn’t).


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Photo: Jay

I’m not too keen on photos of myself, but Hot Metal Studio did a great job of making me appeal to…myself. The session was for the new book’s author photo, but this isn’t the one I’m going to use.


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