Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mid-Semester Break

So last Friday was my "Mid Semester Break." Basically I did not have Ethnography.

So I started off my day with a trip down to the Strip District. For those of you who are not aware of Pittsburgh land marks, let me fill you in. The Strip is a commercial district just north of downtown Pittsburgh, along the Allegheny river. This area had become known of a rather diverse array of shops that cater to any and every type of ethnicity that resides in Pittsburgh. This is where the famous Primanti Brothers opened their first shop that targeted the workers of the food distribution centers. This is also where the famous "Altar Bar" is located, yep, it is a church that has been made in to a bar. I have yet to go, but the next person who visits me will expect to go there.

So I wondered around the area for a while, enjoying the scene and watching the fair amount of people for early in the day on a Friday. I made it in to Wholey's (pronounced Holies... they are weird here....) a rather interesting grocer that seemed to focus on sea food and everything that went with it. However I did find some Spetzle, I got some to try later on. I checked out Salmon, I could only find one type of "Pacific" salmon, it was $25 a pound, good thing that is not something I miss from home. Gramps you would have enjoyed the fact that they had a little train that ran around the entire meat section.

There was a large spattering of Steelers and "Yinzers" shops, I didn't really go in at all, they were all rather intimidating. I did make it to Reyna's, which is a Mexican Grocer, with a Taco stand outside. They were an excellent reminder of the find food the the Tri.
Notice the Black and Gold, Steelers Chips.
They also had all of the things I needed to make Enchiladas later that evening, even Lizanos!

With fresh tortillas, enchilada sauce, rice, and beans, I headed down to "The Leaf and Bean" a locally owned Tobacco and Coffee shop. The only reason I know about this place is because of Jeff (the young adult minister at Shadyside). The leaf and bean has a rather unique decor ("We wanted it to be like the living representation of a Jimmy Buffet song"), and amusing staff. Turns out Jeff was there, and Jeff was planning on heading over to Oakland to meet up with a new Young Adult. That means that I could get a ride!

From Oakland I made it home via bus and some walking. I then started the process of making my famous enchiladas!

So for dinner I invited over: Jeff (the Young Adult pastor at Shadyside), Matt (a fellow student from church, he is in prosthesis at Pitt), Bart (a PH.D student at Pitt) and some others who could not end up making it. Larry also joined us; I was a little worried that Larry was not going to like the Enchiladas, and I told him that he was 'invited' but that I would not be offended if he did not join us. But to both of our surprises he really did enjoy them! Yay! I can make Enchiladas whenever I want to! Everyone else also enjoyed them, but I knew they would...

Holly, you came up in conversation at dinner. Bart made a reference to work with RNA, I mentioned that you were recently working in a lab that focused on RNA (don't worry, I didn't try to remember more than that, I didn't want to get it wrong). Bart got really excited. Apparently RNA is his favorite thing in the world. Seeing him get all excited about it was rather funny. In addition, if you ever get really desperate, you could come out here and he would be willing to take you out on a date (based solely on your educational background, the fact that you are a friend of mine, and I may or may not have been asked if you were attractive (I couldn't lie...)).

I lost track of the subtle point that Pittsburgh is not Richland, and therefore the culture surrounding nuclear weapons is not quite the same. There is a long standing tension between Bart and Jeff over the virtues of their respective fields. Jeff has a masters degree in literature and is (I am fairly sure) ordained. Bart is working in Bio-Chemistry. So they go back and forth about how the liberal arts is better because of this, and science will always be better because of this... I side with Bart, science is way cooler and far more practical than the liberal arts. (I am not trying to offend anyone, I am just picking a side on the issue). Anyway, Jeff said (pointing to Bart): "You make A-bombs, I write poetry." Without thinking about it at all, I shot back: "Yeah, but poetry did not win the war."

There was all of a sudden a very uncomfortable silence. Bart was smiling, I don't know if Larry was paying attention, Matt was just observing (he did not really care either way) and Jeff may have had his mouth open... About the time Jeff started to talk, Bart was chuckling... Jeff asked me if I really did just say that. I went on to explain to all of them the culture of the Tri Cities, including "The Bombers."

All in all it was a very enjoyable Friday! Good Food, good company, and a nice break.


  1. Lesson #371... Note to self: be careful on A-Bomb comments. (I can just see this scene playing out!!! I am still smiling) Give them all a homework assignment to research Hanford and the Tri-cities ;-)

  2. Nice baggage car from Durango. Loved it.