Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

In the Middle of G-20

Today I rode my bik e Downtown to check things out.  Since the roads in Schenley Park were closed I had to go down Forbes through Oakland.  They even had the statues at the Carnegie Museum covered!


From Oakland, I went down the "jail trail" to Downtown.  There were no issues there, I made it right in to town without any trouble.  I did see the military barricade of the Grant Street exit on the way  When I got on to Grant, it was really strange, here I am on Downtown Pittsburgh's "Main Street" at rush hour and there are no cars.  The only thing around were busses and a lot of them.  I was basically able to ride down the middle of any road, stop my bike in the middle and take pictures.  We are talking on roads like Grant, Boulevard of the Allies. and Liberty Ave!  Here you can see there is no mad rush to leave the city:



Next I headed down towards PPG which looked like a military zone.  It was by far one of the most blocked of buildings (besides the convention center itself) in the city.  There was a fence the entire way around the complex complete with barbed wire on top, this was the only barbed wire I saw anywhere including at the secure checkpoints.  Also notice the military vehicle passing by:


At this point I started to notice that there was horse shit everywhere all around Downtown but no horses to be found.  Next I headed to Liberty...talk about deserted:



I noticed a bunch of cops protecting the Starbucks.  Haha, I know how much protesters hate Startbucks!



I thought this sign was pretty creative:



Here was a small peaceful protest...nothing interesting here really:



Here you can see me riding down Liberty behind two bike cops.  Also notice the army of cops.  You will see towards the end of the video I am approaching a protest at the blocked off convention center:



Next there were these crazy 4/20 people, sorry the video is not longer:


There was this one dude on one of those really tall bikes and the one 4/20 guy was like "This dude is higher than all of us!"

These were all the cops that were lined up and marching out every so often.  People kept walking up and taking their pictures right in front of them:



This was pretty funny, this crazy guy was preaching about abortion to a bunch of people them some radome dude with a Terrible Towel says "Let's go Steelers" and everyone forgot about the abortion guy:





Here is me in front of the cops:


This did not look very welcoming to me:



Here were the barricades that surrounded the convention center...there were a lot of these all over:



Next I headed into Market Square.  My favorite place to buy coffee beans was boarded up like a lot of places were...again, not very welcoming at all.  I was surprised though by the number of businesses that were open, good for them!



Also, I'm not sure why Port Authority kept saying busses were good, just look at this line of non-moving busses.  I would be so pissed if I was on one of these busses:



Grant Street was in total lockdown:


Looks like the Hilton finally did get that banner up this was also the first point in the night were I got rained on:



At this point I was pretty much done Downtown, but I wanted to go back through Lawrenceville because of the huge protest I saw on the news earlier.   Getting through Strip was not easy though.  I had to take the Clemente Bridge to the North Side and then the 16th Street bridge back over to the Strip.  Look at Smallman Street!!



I finally did make it to Lawrenceville and saw the tail end of the protest, things were wrapping up:



That was pretty much it, I started raining again once I passed Children's but didn't last too long.  After a long uphill trip back home that was it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

G-20 so far

Well yesterday was a pretty eventful day for my team since everyone at GO was working from home.  The day turned out to be better than I thought it would.  Having lunch in Squirrel Hill is also great.  I went to the bank, bought a cupcake, got lunch, and bought eggs and was back home in less than my hour lunch break.  I could get used to getting all that done on my lunch break!

I went to the gym at 5 yesterday thinking driving Downtown at that time would be a little crazy but not too bad considering the circumstances...well There was no traffic at all.  I got Downtown in 5 minutes and when I went to park, I was almost the only car on the whole 4th floor of the garage!  It was pretty nice!  Downtown was all boarded up and there were armies of cops everywhere as well as big fences put up.  This is so stupid.  Then on my way home on Panther Hollow Road in Schenly Park, they put up these black fences all over the place and on both sides of the road.  I was in the right land and all of a sudden the fence starts moving in on me forcing two lanes of traffic into one.  There was no sign warning me of this, and there was another car to my left!  Luckily, I avoided the car and merged over, but WTF?

Last night we had a practice kickball game against our sister team at Arsenal Field we only got to play 4 innings because it was getting dark, but it was still fun.  Wednesday lost :-(  After that we went to Mario's for trivia night.  I must say even though I hate that place, it was not bad at all during the week.  I had a good time and got to meet a lot of people.  While we were there, there were these huge police motorcades that kept going up and down Carson that were, no lie, 20 SUVs long...what a fucking waste...  I'm glad I knew about the black fence being on Panther Hollow on the way home because now that it was dark, you could not see the fence.  I bet there were some people who either crashed into or scrapped their car on the fence last night.  Way to go Secret Service...

Today I will be riding my bike into Downtown.  Hopefully it will be worth it.  I will have my camera with me so check back for pictures later tonight or tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

PPG on Lockdown

There were a bunch of coppers marching behind the fence as I drove by
as well.

G-20 Parking

Wish it was like this all the time!

Breakfast G-20 Style


I could get used to being able to make breakfast in the morning.  Today I had fresh raspberry pancakes with 100% pure maple syrup.  Mmmmm.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy G-20!

and update since last Wednesday!

Last Wednesday night was our second kickball game. We did not do nearly as good as we did the week before, as a matter of fact, we lost 0-10! They even cut the game off early because we lost so bad. I got to kick once and my kick was crappy. The infamous kickball blogger had this to say about us:
6. Gray (3) 1-1 Down 3. If this league were the mighty ducks, you'd be Charlie Conway. You know what you're supposed to do, you recognize the importance of situations, yet you continually blow it when it counts. Just like they called him Spazzway, maybe we will call the Gray team the Spazzgrays.

Thursday I went house hunting with Gary. We went all over the place. The houses I liked best were in Lawrenceville and Friendship. The ones in Friendship were brand new but only had one bedroom and were pretty expensive. They were however right on Penn Avenue. This part of Penn is kinda run down right now but I have a feeling it will be getting better shortly due to Children's being so close. The Lawrenceville house was right on Liberty not far from Church Brew Works. The house had a detached large garage, a new addition that is all kitchen with new stainless appliances, and had a crazy shower in the bathroom that was huge. It even had one of those rain things where water "rains" out of the ceiling. I still ahve to go look at more houses but that is on hold until next week do to G-20. This week, I need to get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Friday I had dinner with Meg and Justin at Green Mango in Monroeville. It was pretty good and lived up to the hype. After that I hung out at there place for a while then came home to watch a movie.

Saturday, Shawn was in town so I hung out with him a little during the early part of the day. After he went home I did a little shopping and that was about it.

Sunday I went to Ben's for the Steelers game. They looked terrible and we lost.

That brings us to this week. I went to work yesterday and worked in Monroeville today. I do not have to go in for the rest of the week due to G-20. The entire PPG GO (almost) will be working from home! I plan on going Downtown sometime on Thursday maybe to check things out. I can't pass it up, just too curious.

Friday, September 18, 2009

George Aiken's

I pass this place every day and never think to try it. I decided to go
in this morning. They made me a bacon egg and cheese sandwich with
eggs they cracked right in front of me. This is how things should be
done everywhere.

WTF?

Not sure what's going on with this car.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Promise Camp

Today was United Way's Day of Caring and a group of us from the YPO volunteered at Promise Camp. It is a camp in the middle of nowhere where they take at risk kids (likely ones who have a parent or two in jail) and mentor them. Since summer is pretty much over, the camp needed to be winterized so that was our job. We started out by putting the cover on the pool which was nowhere near as hard as they made it sound. After that we took all of the mattresses out of the cabins and moved them into one cabin that had real walls and not just screens. After that we had to seal the amphitheater (a deck with wooden benches around it) with Pittsburgh Paints sealant. That did not really go over so well since no of us ever did anything like that before... Finally it was time for lunch, we had fried chicken, pasta salad, and corn bread. After lunch we watched a movie about the camp and then I slit some wood with an axe. That was probably my favorite job of the day. It was a good day and the people at the camp seemed really appreciative.

Tonight I went to go see Meem and took her to Charlie's Ice Cream in Monroeville. She liked it. Check it out if you are ever around...good place.

Fresh

Fresh basil from Meem's.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pepsi Natural

Today I tried a Pepsi Natural from Market District Giant Eagle. It was pretty good and had no HFCS. Notice the color is also much lighter due to no artificial coloring.

Steelers and Maryland

Thursday night was the first Steelers (and NFL) game of the season. Me and Erin went to Point State Park to see the free concert where Tim McGraw and the Black Eyed Peas played. Both were pretty good, but I liked the Black Eyed Peas better. The only bad thing about the concert was this group of really annoying girls behind us, the one kept swinging her terrible towel into my head and jumping up and down into Erin. They even had the fountain on for the first time this year:

As we were leaving we saw a big banner on the Hilton:


The next day Erin and I left for Towson Maryland to visit my brother. The ride was pretty good for the most part until two miles before the Baltimore Beltway. We ended up in traffic for an extra 40 minutes or so, that really sucked because I had to pee pretty bad! Once we finally made it there, we headed over to Glory Days for happy hour, then went back to Mike's and hung out before meeting Varsha and Uncle David at The Green Turtle in Columbia. We had a good time there and then went out around Towson after that. I can't believe how few people were in the bars there just because it rained a little bit!
Saturday, Mike took us to this Pennsylvania Dutch market. It was pretty good, but no Green Dragon! haha. They did have this really good "chicken and swiss log" which was chick and cheese wrapped in a soft pretzel. It reminded me of the place I loved on the Boardwalk in Ocean City during senior week. After that we did a little shopping then went back to Mike's to rest. People came over and we pre-gammed there before going to another apartment and pregamming some more for a girl's birthday. Finally, we headed to Baltimore and went to Power Plant Live! Once in there we decided on going to Mex. They played a really good variety of music there. It was a good time.
Sunday, Mike took us to this reservoir and we walked around for a while. I liked this little island:
and Erin found a grasshopper.

After taking a nap we went back home. After getting to Breezwood, we decided to take the scenic route and go back on route 30. I like driving that way even though it takes a little longer, there is more to look at and the drive does not seam as long. That's all that matters to me and since Erin did not care, that is what we did.

It was a fun weekend all around.

Lots to do this week:
  • Day of Caring tomorrow
  • Kickball Wednesday
  • Looking at houses Thursday in:
Squirrel Hill
Lawrenceville
Bloomfield
Friendship
Observatory Hill
Northside
Highland Park
  • The Office also starts on Thursday!
  • Tentative Green Mango on Friday

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Feeding the Birds

At PPG

Teats n' Cleats

Erin's Lineup

Tonight was my first kick ball game. It was a lot of fun. It ended up being at a field that I saw last week during my random adventure in Mt. Washington. Erin drove me to Dilworth field in Mt. Washington Park. Once we got there I met some people on our team and started drinking some beer. So far so good! :-) I saw that we were playing a team that had someone on it that also works for PPG. We decided that our team name (at least for now) would be Teats n' Cleats. We have a lot of players with the same names. And also, something that is really weird, there were two Erins on the team and they both brought someone names Nick to play on the team this season.

I was a little nervous about playing first base for my first time playing kickball, but it was not too bad. I even had a good kick too. There were a lot of good plays including a few awesome catches, great kicks, and Erin making all three outs in one inning! We ended up winning the game 6-5.

After the game we went out for a few more beers on Shiloh Street and I was able to talk to a bunch of people from the team. Everyone seems real chill so I think I'm going to get along with these people just fine. Also on a random note, for some reason Red Beard's (the bar we went to) had a Coors Light special for $1.85...kinda random.

I'm glad I asked Erin to play on her team. I had a lot of fun, and am looking forward to an awesome season, we are going to kick some ass!

Looking forward to tomorrow being my last day of work, the concert at Point State Park, the first Steelers game, and vacation at Mike's with Erin (not the same Erin as the rest of this post...guess I'm gonna have to specify now who is who.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hangin' with the Fam

This weekend we had the Ferrara family reunion. There were about 40 people there this year and it was a pretty good time. There were people from around here, Maryland, Virgina, and Canada. The picture on the right is a small subset of some of the people in attendance.

Friday, Marleen told me she liked my hair, she said it went with my glasses and sideburns and that I looked like I was from New York. haha. That night I went to Southside with Erin. We started the night out at Red and Irene's. Kathy was mad that I brought a girl in with me. She was staring Erin down the whole time. But, before we left Kathy asked Erin for a kiss and Erin gave it to her!

Saturday the Canadians came in to town and I went to Pap's house to meet up with them. Later that night Mike and I went to the Pirates game with his old teacher.

Sunday was the reunion.

Yesterday I went to the gym and forgot that it was also the Labor Day Parade. Ugh, it took a while to get threw the traffic but I made it and had a pretty good workout. I did laundry after that...kinda sucks now that I'm back at work and I have to iron my work shirts again. At that point I did not feel like making dinner so I walked around to find something to eat. Everywhere I wanted to go was closed for the holiday so I ended up and Eat n' Park and had a better meal than I would have expected. Chicken Fajita Salad.

This is going to be a short week because I had yesterday off and I am taking Friday off because Erin and I are going to Maryland for the weekend to see Mike. I already have a lot of plans for this week:
  • Dads picking me up from work today for dinner and grabbing bobble heads at PNC Park
  • Tomorrow is my first day of kick ball!
  • Thursday is the first real Steelers game of the year as well as a free pre-game concert in Point State Park. The Black Eyed Peas and Tim McGraw are playing

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Pirates

It ended up being fireworks night but Mike made me leave early.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

First Niagara

Squirrel Hill National City changes to First Niagara. Also, I noticed
Panera is gone too.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mt. Washington Parks Suck

Yesterday I decided to go check out the Grand View Scenic Byway Park that I've been hearing a lot about lately. There are three main parks on Mt. Washington, Grand View Park, Olympia Park, and Mt. Washington Park. I guess eventually these are all going to be one big park but that is not the case now, they are scattered all over and not really that great.

I did get to see Chatham Village which I learned about in the Urban Studies class I took at Pitt. It was really cool and hard to believe a place like this was developed in the 1930s! Here is a picture of on of the courtyards:

and here is a picture of a light with a street sign attached.

In Grand View Park, they were building a new overlook so that part to the park was roped off. This was probably my favorite (loosely speaking) park on Mt. Washington.

Here is a set of the ever famous Pittsburgh stairs.

I thought this picture provided a nice contrast:

More on the parks:
It took me about 10 minutes to check out Grand View Park so I looked at the map and realized I should probably drive to the next park. I was trying to get to Mt. Washington Park but ended up in Olympia Park. There is not much to say about this park, a bunch of stuff for kids and a couple sports fields. According to Google Maps it looked like it was possible to walk to Mt. Washington Park from there (which is was but not the way it took me.) I specifically asked for walking directions and it took me down to route 51 and wanted me to walk along the road where there were no side walks. I turned around and tried again by just looking at the map. I ended up finding the park and all it ended up being was this old abandoned looking path through the woods.

After that I decided to go to Foodland and pickup a few things that I needed. Then I went to see Angela. I picked up some beer for us at this place called Packs and Dogs. It was one of those places I've hear about that let your create your own six packs. They had over 90 different kinds of beer to pick from. Unfortunately, I just got Miller Lite but am looking forward to trying this place out some time soon for better beer. I also got a hot dog there (that was like a Chicago Dog) and it was pretty good.

Also yesterday I got an email confirming the start of fall kick ball through Pittsburgh Sports League that I am going to play this year with Erin from downstairs. I'm looking forward to playing and meeting some new people. Looks like I'll be playing on Wednesday evenings in Mt. Washington at Dilworth Field in Mt. Washington Park! haha.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Qdoba

Free lunch because I am awesome.

Low Key Weekend, Interesting Monday

This weekend was rather low key. I did not really go out. Friday I went to the mall after work, came home, watched a movie, and was asleep by 11:30. Saturday I went to the rents to help my mom make bow-ties for the Ferrara family reunion next weekend. I stopped to see Jackie while I was in Irwin too. After that I went to check out the big hole in Norwin Hills Shopping Center...crazy! After that I headed to the Ville to watch the Steelers game at Megan and Justin's. There were a bunch of people there and it was cool but for some crazy reason I was tired. After the game and came home and was pretty much in bed by 11:30 again!

Yesterday mom and dad came over to my place to continue making cookies. We made pizzelles, lemon biscotti and chocolate-orange biscotti. Here is a picture of the chocolate-orange:

After they left I went to the gym, came home, took care of a few things, and that was about it for my weekend.

Today I went to work. This is the second week in a row that Jason is not there...must be nice. After work I decided to go check out the new Allegheny branch of the Carnegie Library. It was okay and I ended up getting a DVD:

After the library, I took a little walk around the neighborhood to take some pictures before reading in Allegheny Commons by Lake Elizabeth:
The Garden Theater is an old porno theater taken over by the Urban Redevelopment Authority a few years ago.

Cool ceiling in the vestibule of Allegheny General


Painted Building

View of Downtown (and my work) from Arch Street

I also saw the condo (that I previously saw online) that I really liked. The place is called Palo Alto North Condominiums. It is right on North Avenue in the Mexican War Streets section, right across from Allegheny Commons! The only thing that is keeping me from jumping on that place is there is no garage, and trust me, there is no way I could leave my car parked on the street in that neighborhood...o well. The search goes on for my perfect place...