Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Get my hooligan on

In response to my latest (well not quite) Flogging Molly shirt, my dear father decided that he could pick out a shirt better than I could. Turns out he was right:
I feel like I need some Doc Martin Boots...
I apologize that you can not see the whole shirt. It is quite the apparel, and full of Flogging Molly symbolism. Thank you dad! It is great! I love it! And it fits perfectly!

School has been going interestingly. It seems very different from last semester, I have been dealing a lot with one single group project this time. We have been working on this Elevator sense the term began.. and it is just getting worse. Last night Sam asked me how I was doing, I then realized that I am kind of burned out in regard to school. This semester has just been weird, it has left a funky taste in my mouth. I have certainly learned a lot (tons in fact) from this Embedded project, but it is getting stale, and we still have a month left on it, and lots more work to do (and my teammates and I are struggling). My Power class (the one that I got in to to save me from Kinematics) is just odd. I don't really know what I think about the course, the closest thing I can think of is that I am taking to get it over with. This sort of thing is not something I enjoy and is not something I am happy about, but it is making out to be a harsh reality.

But don't worry, there is silver lining. First Robot Ethics is amazing. For those of you who are creepy and are also following me on Posterous, you might see what we have been dealing with. We sit around and have 'Big Dog' talk (philosophical discourse). We read a lot of interesting articles (you can read them too... some are rather nice reads). And we hear some crazy ideas. It has been and still is a great class. And secondly, next semester is going to be amazing! I will only be taking two classes, and one does not need to be a grad course (possibly, don't get too excited yet, bagpiping!).

Lets see... I have not posted for a while. Here is a short recap of the past few days:

Pierogie Night last week! Sam, Andrew and Tracey. It was amazing as always! And I got to learn how to tie a fishing fly... sorry Sam!
The office last week was amazing. I hope you all watched it. I may or may not have yelled when the sprinklers came on.
Went out on my first 'official' date in Pittsburgh. It was great.
Saturday, big day! Skanda and I went to look at an apartment. Turned out to be amazing, but the managment was not going to work out. After I got to be with Skanda as he broke in to the realm of Hot Dogs. He had his first ever hot dog at D's, it was a Mac and Cheese Dog, he said he was rather impressed.
Got to hang out with Tracey and Gwyn afterward, went to a mall. I did not realize that I had not been to a mall in quite some time... then Lazer Storm
Sunday was a good day, nice and relaxing. YouthGroup activity: Get in a car, with a deck of cards and a sense of adventure. At every intersection, draw a card the determines where to go next. It was so much fun! Only went down two one way streets on accident ;).
The Monday Night Movie group convened last night for Sucker Punch. I thought it was great. I would see it again. Mother, I don't think you would like it. It is just an absurdly awesome movie. I found it rather thought provoking, but I can also see how some would find it lame and shallow.

I know that is a lot of happenings, and not a lot of depth. If you are interested in any one thing let me know, and I can expound.

I need to go clean up stuff around here for Chelsea and Caleb. And get some laundry done... ugg laundry day. But Bangers and Mash for Dinner!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Disclaimer: Tonight's event made it all the more clear to me that Spokane is blessed with a true gem. That LaserQuest is truly a one-of-a-kind establishment of glorious fun. Don't worry, I still have my LQ members key chain holding my house key.

Tracey, Sam, Gwyn and myself ventured out to LAZER STORM a local laser tag place. A little bit of a twist from what I am used to. Everyone divided in to two teams (red and green) and then ran out in to the playing field. It was segmented in such a way that the teams would never interact directly, but still had ample opportunity to shoot each other. Most of the game was oriented around bases... bla... and everyone had head phones that would tell you when you got hit.

We all had fun. It was great. I personally did ok, not like my glory days with Russ and Drew. But certainly had fun.

Earlier today I hung out with Skanda as we looked for a new place to live. It was not overly fruitful. The place that I was really excited about would still be perfect except for the rental agency are hard to work with especially with students. Afterward I was with Skanda as he broke his Hot Dog bubble. He has recently started eating meat (apparently after a life changing experience with some wings) and I have been around for a lot of his new ventures in to the grand arena of meat. So we went to D's six pac (someplace that I am finding I really enjoy...  and they have punch cards!). He got a Mac and Cheese hot dog and said it was great. He made sure to tell the waitress four or five times.

Great Saturday. Now I just need to get some work done before next Friday....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sad Fence

On Monday some students attacked the fence. Lame.

Apparently they saw the pealing paint from the rain and wanted to see what was underneath. So they started cutting away at the fence with a saw until other students got pissed and stopped it.

Fence picture taken on Monday morning
Fence on Tuesday morning.
The fence reads: 'Don't Mess With Out Fence.' Off to the right you can see a little black fence that reads: 'I <3 you mommy fence/Get well soon!/-Baby Fence.'

For more information here is an article published by the Tartan (the school news paper). And here is a photo album of a student (AlanvDotOrg).

After the Fun

I had the super blessing of having three of my closest friends come and visit me this past weekend! Bill and Dannica got here Thursday evening, and Jamie got in late Friday night. We had a great time! I will wait to post until I get some pictures (I surprisingly did not take any... Dannica and Jamie had that covered).

Part of the fun included:
St. Patricks Day @ Murphy's Tap Room (not as cool as The Town Crier in the Tri)
Gonzaga Game I
The Quiet Storm
The Natural History Museum
Cathedral of Learning
Driving tour of South Side
Taza Dora Coffee
YadGrad Movie Night
Airport Run
D's Six Pack and Dogs with Gwyn and Tracey
Strip District
Driving tour of Downtown/North Side/Zoo
Walking Tour of CMU
The Church Brew Works with Skanda, Sam, Tracey and Gwyn
Gonzaga Game II (sad face...)

It was awesome! They were awesome! Thank you Bill! Thank you Dannica! Thank you Jamie!

So after they were gone, sadly my week had to go on. I took the entire day of Sunday off from work, I didn't want to do anything. It was great. Got a new belt. For those of you who know about me and my belts, you know that I get attached to my belt. My trust black weave belt went from 9 straps of leather in the weave to two straps. I am learning to like this one I got.

Monday from 8:30AM-6:00PM was long. But after that I was pleasantly surprised, buy a number of things. I was trying to get home, so I took the first bus that would get me in the general direction (the 61B). I ended up in Squirrel Hill, where I started waiting for the 61A. I waited for a long time. A really long time. I was there for a good hour. Anyway, while I was waiting something awesome happened. A guy was asking people for change, as I did not have any, I offered if I could buy him some pizza (I was standing next to a pizza place). He took me up on my offer and we walked in to the establishment. The gentleman ordered his pizza, and as I was paying, the guy working figured out what I was doing and covered half of the cost, and offered me some pizza or a drink on the house. It caught me off guard. It was awesome. Italian Village Pizza in Squirrel Hill just got a new patron. All the more reason why I like local businesses, with real people working in them.

The second surprise was getting a call from Gwyn, who after hearing that I was waiting, came and collected me. As it was glorious weather, we took advantage of the sunshine and took slight detour to the Phipps gardens next to the Center for the Arts. I wish I could tell you more of the significance of this place, but it is a large garden in a medium sized park in Shadyside. The gardens are not very pretty at the moment as it is transitioning from winter to spring, but it was still awesome. We walked around the park for a while, enjoyed the garden, played with some other people's dogs, but then something really really cool happened.
LOOK! Lights!
The sun was setting (don't worry Chelsea, there was no spectacular sunset... it was far to cloudy), and the light was getting dim. We could start to make out little lights in the grass.We then realized that there was an art piece embedded in the main grassy area in the gardens. The space was about 60 feet by 200 feet, and every so often there was a little metal plate with a 'star' shining on it. Turns out they took the astrological 'picture' of the sky at a certain time over the garden and re-created it in the grass. So each light represented a star, forming the constellations. Each metal plate had the name of the star an a very short factoid (like 'Shoulder of the man' or '6 billion Years old' ). It was sooooo cool! Mother, Father... I know what you need to do this summer. There were more pictures taken, but with the low light settings, none of them really turned out.

Today was also filled with excitement and fun. Andrew called me as I was just getting frustrated with the drive controller. He was in need of assistance moving a kitchen cabinet he acquired on craigslist. He picked me up from school, from there we headed over to the u-haul place to get a van (Our cars are too small...). After getting a van, picked up the cabinet. It is really cool! He could tell you all of the things that are awesome about it... it is really old (60-70 years (could be wrong...)), it has a flour sifter/box built in, still has original tin bread box, porcelain counter top... and light! Not that hard to move at all. As the place he picked it up was close to Regent Square, we had to stop by D's Six Pack and Dogs. We decided that it is going to be a dangerous staple from now on. This place is great.

After consuming a great hot dog, and helping move the cabinet in to his kitchen, and getting a ride back home, I dived in to Embedded Systems. I get to take a test tomorrow. I am stoked about it. These tests are awesome tests to take, the professor lets you know everything that is on them, and lets you have a study sheet. Great!

In other news: 
 I made the perfect split. Gents at LM, I finally did it!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Back to the Lab again...

Yes... that is my attempt to quote Eminem.

So this week is shaping up to be awesome. But before it can be awesome I have to put forth a lot of work. Thus the past two days have been spent in the lab (or staying up late to finish reading... )

With the exception of two breaks:
Last night the Scary Movie Club convened for 'Red Riding Hood.' It is a horrible movie. And you don't hear that from me all that often. But it is just plain bad. It is certainly worth watching to laugh at... which was amusing sitting next to Andrew and Gwyn (they are both witty people).

Then tonight there might be an excursion/study break to Harris Grille to partake in Bacon night with a cool girl. Ill let you know how it goes.

Later this week, I am having the distinct pleasure of hosting 3 of my dearest friends here in Pittsburgh. Bill and Dannica are heading up here tomorrow and getting in Thursday, and Jamie is getting in Friday. I am so very excited to spend time with all of them! But it does mean that I most likely will not be posting until next week... but I will be posting with good stories, don't worry.

Spring Break: Day 8 (I less-than 3 the Irish)

My last Saturday of Spring break. I was in dire need of fresh laundry. That was number one on the list. In the process of running up and down the stairs, I talked to Larry about the festivities of St. Patrick's day in Pittsburgh. Here in PGH they start early. There is a parade that is apparently quite a sight, that takes over downtown. I sadly did get to go to the parade. This was a good choice, seeing as I realized I had quite a lot of homework that I still needed to get done.

While working on some power distribution problems, Jessica (from Shadyside) sent me a text suggesting that I head down to the North Shore for a festival. I looked in to it a little more, and after figuring out what it was, I threw on my kilt and headed out. The Pittsburgh Irish Festival (same one I went to in the fall) put on 'Shamrockin' with a tag line "THE place to be after the parade." It was a huge event with two stages, lots of vendors selling all sorts of Irish gear and food. And what day could not be complete without Bagpipes and Dancing. The Pittsburgh Police Pipe Band put on quite a show. The whole thing was great! Other than getting slightly molested by a drunk middle aged woman...

Around 6 ish, Sam, Gwyn and Andrew picked me up and we headed out to dinner at Burgertory. I don't remember if I have talked about this place... (it is not Brgr) I have been there once before. It is quite spectacular. First: you can order off of a menu, but you really need to order via the Burger Sheet. You select your medium (Beef, Sausage, Buffalo, Veggie, Steak, Chicken) your bun (5 or 6 options), your Rub (I got PepperCorn, Amazing!), your Sauce (Guac!) and toppings (a good 20 or so options). The resulting creation is significantly noteworthy. I would have to say that I have now had 3 amazing burgers in PGH, and I am a little worried that The Onion does not stack up (but They will always win when it comes to Huckleberry Milk Shakes). Oh! Nice Segway in to the milkshakes at burgertory! The first time I went I got the 'Campfire Smores' I think they just throw a few smores in to the blender with some ice cream, legit. This past Saturday I went for the Shamrock Shake (minus the Bailey's). Also a good choice. Another note worthy shake is the Apple Pancake and Bacon shake. I have never experienced quite so many layers of flavor in a drink in my life. It is truly an experience. 

Afterward I wanted to head to the South Side (where there was sure to be a good Irish party), to which my friends responded: "Didn't you get enough of that earlier?" referring to the festival. Alas... I will just have to go have some fun before Bill and Dannica get here on Thursday!

But still a great and relaxing Saturday, and a great end to spring break.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spring Break: Day 7 (Snowy Spring)

Friday I woke up to a good 3.5 inches of super wet snow. Really Pittsburgh? Snow over my spring break? The snow would hinder my hair, but it would not hinder the day of fun planned ahead of me. And I even got to have a friend join me on my adventures! Gwyn works for University of Pittsburgh, and got the last day of the Students Spring Break off as well, and as I was going to one of her favorite places, she gladfully joined me.

First stop was 'Quiet Storm,' a vegan friendly establishment known for taking what most people think is gross food, and making it amazing! I was blown away, everything was super tasty. Gwyn got the Apple Panini (Granny Smith apples, cheddar & cream cheese, housemade seisage & apple butter), which was amazing. And I got the QHF (an interesting mix of eggs (I know.. I derivated from the vegan mind set), seisage, cheddar & mozzarella, pickled onions & aioli all on top of smashed taters). I was greatly and pleseantly surprised. It was great food.
Gwyn is jealous of my pile of goodness, you can see it in her eyes.
Because what is better than breakfast with a star on it?
From here we headed to The Mattress Factory, a epicenter for non-traditional art (I am learning that this statement is short sighted and just wrong... but there were no pieces of art hanging on the walls, it was much different than that). I would describe it to be filled with installations as opposed to galleries...example:
I could have stayed in there all day.
Unfortunately they were in between 'shows' and thus there were only 4 or 5 things open to the public. It was rather interesting, and very fun. We did get to see the traveling Craft-o-Matic, a mobile local craft vending machine.
If you look there on the lower left side there is a crocheted pierogi
That is how much fun I had....
This was outside, next to the parking lot, I could swear it looks like the Death Star
After feeling rather cultured, I had some cooking to do (Gwyn helped too). That evening Mitch was hosting a Chili Night at his house. Seeing as I invited 4 or 5 more people than he was planning on, I felt a little obliged to make some of my famous gun powder chili. It turned out great! Sam, Tracey, Gwyn and myself headed over there to enjoy a nice evening of chili and cool people.

Chelsea, you should know that there was some Carcassone played last night as well. Sam is getting a little sure of herself, she cleaned up last night... I think she is ready to face you.

Great Friday nearing the end of a great spring break.

For Father

I was going to go take a picture of my new Flogging Molly shirt, but it is in the laundry... yay laundry day!

So here is the best I can do: last Sunday (in proper tradition) I wore my shirt to church. At SPYS (Shadyside Pres Youth Sunday (aka youth group)) we were sent on a little photo scavenger hunt. I will not bore you with the other pictures, but I did make it in to one of them... with my shirt:

I will try to remember to take a picture of it next time I wear it, just for you dad :-)

Friday, March 11, 2011

My dear brother.

This post goes out to Mr. Caleb Kennison. You, sir, get the prize for: 'Dedication to my blog, second only to my Mother' award.

This is in response to what Chelsea told me last night about your first response last night. I was a little surprised but highly amused. Remember keep it to yourself.

I made it! My Internet Fame Awaits!

This post is only going to stay on here for about a day, as it will become irrelevant in less than 24 hours.

I mentioned in my post about day 6 that a photographer took a picture of me while I was walking to school. Well I made it on to the front page of the Pittsburgh Tribune Website! Scroll down to the Top regional pictures... and there I am!

EDIT (3/12/2011):
Seeing as the day has past, here is a screen shot from that glorious day.
And here is a link to the screen shot of the front page of the trib site. You might also be able to get to it online here.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Spring Break: Day 6 (A day of Study)

So my day 6 was lack luster in regard to my staycation. However I am simply offsetting my spring break to include Bill and Dannica and Jamie! Who are all visiting next week! So I decided to get a little work done now so that I could spend more time with them later.

So I went in to school around 9 ish... it was raining, but I decided to put the hair up anyway. But I did use an umbrella to stay dry. I was able to pound out some work on the elevator (I am making it go fast!) and really get my mind in to it. I did take a little break from lunch at LuLu's with a friend.

On the way back from lunch, I was walking up some stairs at CMU, when I heard this guy calling 'SIR! SIR!! Wait up!' Apparently this guy took a picture of me as I was walking across one of the bridges, and was trying to catch up to me.... I guess I walk fast. He was a photographer for the Pittsburgh Tribune (the paper). He said something about it being a slow news day... and I had the whole red umbrella thing... (I do have a rather obnoxious polka dot red umbrella that was a hand-me-down from a guy at church). As he was saying this, he was looking at my hair, but I think he felt uncomfortable saying anything about it. So he asked if he could get my name and some info, which I gladly gave. He then had me do this whole photo shoot thing, where I was walking up and down these steps so he could get a shot. It was all highly amusing. So I might end up in the paper tomorrow! Or online! I will let you know either way.

I then went back to work... and worked with Skanda for 5 hours straight. It was great. Got a ton done.

Overall a great day. Lots accomplished, and rather relaxing. I know it is not exciting as the science center or the zoo...

Tomorrow I am headed to The Mattress Factory!

Spring Break: Day 5 (Science and Pierogies)

Day 5. A glorious day, a soft day.

First a definition of 'soft day.' I learned this from Dr. Christopher Smith at Gonzaga, while taking him AI course. My understanding a soft day is a day that is overcast, slightly cold, slightly windy, and slightly rainy (more of heavy misting.) Wednesday was a soft day in Pittsburgh.
I started of the day in relax mode. I got caught up on blog posting (well not really... I am still missing days 2-3), took my time getting ready... because of the wetness of outside, I didn't put my hair up.

I then headed out to the Carnegie Science Center. Which is located on the North Shore (near the Stadiums, and Stage AE (where the Flogging Molly show was)). I would like all of you to know that I got there all by myself! I didn't have to use G2-N2 (my GPS). Anyway, the Science center is part of the Carnegie Museum collection in Pittsburgh that consists of the Natural History Museum, the Art Museum, and The Warhol. I am going to throw it out there right now, I took lame pictures. None of them really turned out well. Sorry. This whole hanging out by yourself is taxing...

Apparently I chose to go during their 'Science Days' celebration; where a whole buch of local groups (like CMU, Pitt, Bechtle, Bayer.... I don't know all of them...) come in and set up shop in the center and have extra stuff to do aimed at middle school-ish aged kids. This meant that the museum was full of obnoxious middle schoolers... most of them were only there because it was a field trip, and most of them were just running around destroying everything. Ugg! it was lame... but I pulled out my big guns: Patience. I just had to wait for the packs to move on, then I could enjoy the awesome stuff.

The center reminded me a lot of the Exploratorium in San Francisco and the Science Center in Balboa Park in San Diego. Lots and lots of hands on, play-with-me type things. There was a section on Medical technology, One on Air Power, Underwater Ecosystems... lots of cool stuff.

The three that I am going to point out are sooooo cool!

So up first was the RobotWorld. Yep, because this city is that cool. The entire floor was dedicated to robots. Everything from what is a robot, to what can robots do, to how they can do it (sensors and motors), to the history of robots (both Science Fiction and Real Science) and a gigantic basketball shooting arm. Overall it was a great space, lost of information, lots of videos, lots of interaction... great!
The Robot Thespian greeter!
You could control the Robot Thespian... he was looking at me!
BasketBall Throwing Arm (if enough of you want video, I will post it)
This is what I look like to a infrared seeing 'bot.
On the top floor they had a really cool earth quake area. There were two things that made it so cool. 1) A room that simulated 3 different earthquakes based on the historic seismic readings. So I sat at a table and experienced one of the California Quakes in the 70s. Very cool. And the Second activity was earth quake tables! I felt a little bit like James Bronder as I built a three level structure on this table, then hit the button as it simulated a earth quake! Don't worry, my structure survived:
In this area there may or may not have been a water table too....
At one point this little kid came up and just stared at me... again, I felt like James Bronder.
And the third, I was saving this for the end. This one is for you Gramps. They had a TRAIN ROOM! It was amazing! The whole display was based on Pennslvania around the 20's I think (could be wrong). But it was not just trains (there were a lot of those...) but it was everything! Everything was moving, and animated, there were kids swinging in trees, there was a lady beating a rug, there was a guy welding a train part. There was so much detail. It was great!
What Pittsburgh model would not be complete with out some Inclines!
Yeah... that is Falling Water.... and the waterfalls were actual water... falling.. image that.
That boat is floating in the water... and moving... amazing!
Gramps, you would have loved it. Certainly thought of you.

After I had enough Science for a day, I headed to Carson Street (aka South Side) for some late lunch/early supper (not to be confused with dinner (which is coming later)). I stopped by South Side Steaks, Pittsburgh's attempt at Philly cheese steaks. As I had not had one since I was in Philly with Mom and Dad, I was really looking forward to it. And I was not disappointed:
Hey Look! Letters to Malcom!
Across the street from this fine establishment is CommonWealth Press (this would be the print shop that created the Hogle family shirts this year, and my Pittsburgh Map shirt...), they had a bunch of their St. Paties day Shirts up... I had to get one, but I will tell you all about it later.

After lunch was a little down time at home, then Ash Wednesday Vespers.

Then the real fun began. Andrew has been getting me all excited about these mysterious 15 cent pierogies. Well after Vespers, Sam, Gwyn, Andrew and myself headed out to Polish Hill (a neighborhood right above the strip) to the 'Rock Room' bar. That place is a total dive. But a great dive at that. We walked in, and headed to the back room where there was some more light, and room, and Andrew said: 'I got this one, on me. Ill be right back.' He placed his order, and returned with a beer for himself and a rum and coke for Gwyn. He then told us that he paid $10 for everything with a huge grin on his face.
Sam, and our awesome corner of flames. Yes, all night we all looked like we had a strange red glow....
 A few minutes later our empty table turned quite the opposite with 3 dozen pierogies and 3 pizza boats. If you are like me and were thinking: 'what the heck is a pizza boat?' Just think french bread pizza from elementary school. It was a feast. The pierogies were amazing! The pizza boats were not... we really did not want them, but we wanted to try them (and at 50 cents a piece, why not?).  
Pre Pizza Boats...
The feast!
It was amazing. As always good company. I would like to say it now. I love the fact that when Sam and I hang out, Spokane (most of the time) is the most represented home city of the group. This evening was no different with Andrew being from little town in New York and Gwyn being from Pittsburgh. We all decided that we might have to make this a re-occurring Wednesday night ritual.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spring Break: Day 4 (Lions, Tigers, and Pancakes oh my!)

Seeing as my mother is pestering me about old news, I will have to back fill later. Yesterday was a great day. I went to the zoo. I love the zoo.

But first I went to a famous bagel shop in Squirrel Hill, The Bagel Factory. It reminds me of a very successful mom and pop shop (but much larger than mom and pop). I have been in there twice now, one of the ladies behind the counter knows me (might be the mohawk...). I decided to try a prepared treat this time:
Mmmmm... Bacon.
After a great breakfast, I headed to the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium.
 I was reminded how much I love the zoo. And Pittsburgh has a decent Zoo (it is no San Diego, or Berlin). It should also be noted, that it is still winter-ish here... there is still snow on the ground, thus there were a number of exhibits that were closed (or like the bears, still hibernating). I can't wait to come back in the summer.

First off was the Snow Leopard, which was super exciting. This requires explaining a little story. The Zoo's property is bifurcated by a major thoroughfare 'One Wild Place.' This road connects Highland Park and the North Side. I have friends in Highland Park (Sam) and I have friends on the North Side (Gwyn and Tracey), thus I have driven this 'One Wild Place' a number of times, specifically with Gwyn. From the road you can see in to the Zoo, and every time we drive past, there is a great amount of excitement about this Snow Leopard (because you can see its enclosure). I never really did understand this, as I didn't know the dimentions of the part, and did not know where to be looking while driving past at 35 mph. But being on the ground, and walking around... I understand. And now, I know exactly where to look to see this awesome cat.
We bonded...
Right next to the Leopard is the Tiger enclosure, there were 3 not-quite-young-but-not-quite-mature tiger cubs (as Jackie put it, Teenager Tigers). With this youth, they were super playful, and super curious. But moving on to the big pachyderms: 
Do you know how hard it is to take a picture of yourself looking at animals?
Mama and baby!
I talked to him for a while, he liked me.
After being outside for a while, I got to head to the monkey house. You all know how much I love monkeys. Thus I was very excited. For the record, I still really do love monkeys, and if they ever find (or create I guess) a monkey that would be able to be domesticated, I would get one on the spot. Sadly the monkey house was not that cool. It could have been because all of the monkeys were sleepy, and not moving, but it just seemed lacking. There were some primates that were active:
Of course right next to the window.
Yes, I did get to see some orangutans getting a little fresh. I don't know what was more amusing the actual act of nature occurring in front of us, or the comments from the crowd.

After the monkey house, I got to go in to the Aquarium. I think this was recently upgraded, it was a super nice building, and a really cool space.

I seem to have quite a few people in my life who hold penguins in a special place in their heart. So for all of you (Auntie Donna, Bill, Gwyn, Skanda) I made sure to spend extra time with the penguins.
Kind of reminded me of Batman
Proof I was there.
One of the tanks was huge! It was large enough that there was a viewing platform on the second floor, and on the first. I approached from the second level and was a little interested in a submersible robot that was hanging out in the tank:
Then I saw that you could control it! OH MY GOODNESS! YOU CAN DRIVE A ROBOT AROUND A AQUARIUM TANK! I LOVE THIS PLACE! That was about how excited I got... sorry about the caps... I had to keep my time to a minimum, there were little kids all over the place.
That is a picture from inside the tank, of me controlling the robot!!
Then out to the Otters (who were really playful) and the Polar Bears!

That is right, watching Polar Bears from a tube underneath their exhibit.

It was a great time! I really enjoyed the trip! There were a ton of little kids though (I guess that is normal for a Zoo) and there were plenty of 'Mommy, What is wrong with they guys hair?' I am already stoked to go back.

As you all should know, The day before Ash Wednesday is Pancake Day! You should all know this because of how excited I got about it last year. I direct you here, if you don't know what I am talking about. So as a fundraiser the ShadySide youth (who I have been working with for the past 3 months) put on a giant Pancake dinner! It was a lot of fun! The leaders ended up doing most of the work, but it was fun to serve. I think the most anyone ate was Mike, with 7 or 8 plates (that is 4 ish pancakes a plate and 2 ish sausages). It was impressive. There was also King's Cake! Something that I had only heard of before! I wore my Pirate apron, thanks Kirsten!
Our awesome Center Pieces.
A Giant King's Cake!
After cleaning up all of the festivities, I headed over to Gwyn's place for a little viewing of 'Catfish' a rather interesting documentary/story of social networking. I don't know if I liked it, but it was certainly worth watching. It is a hard movie to watch (it deals with some hard social interactions).

Other than my throat and nose feeling like the gulf coast last year, It was a great day! Sneak peak: Day 5 off to the Science Center!

oh! and if you want to see more pictures of my spring break go here!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spring Break: The Prolouge

My glorious Spring Break started Thursday at 3:15 PM after my Embedded group turned in our mid-semester project. With a big sigh of relief, I headed home. It was time to have fun.

Andrew mentioned to me a mysterious bar that served 15 cent piergies and dollar Yuengling (a local beer). I don't really care about the later, but the former... all in. There was an attempt to make it to this establishment, but things fell through... I (and some others) really wanted Pierogies. So I headed over to the Rohrer residence and made dinner for Tracey, Gwyn and Mrs. Rohrer (Gwyn's mom). Dinner consisted of my Thanksgiving Pierogies, with some Mrs. T's Potato ones (Tracey, being Polish, refuses to eat non-traditional pierogies), some Kielbasa (pronounced Kielbasi here), and Green beans (Gwyn, way to go with the bacon and onions!). Turned out great, because I know you were all worried. The real reason for meeting at a house for dinner was for The Office... alas it was not on, they were showing re-runs. However, as an alternative, we watched 'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.' This movie was made for my generation. It is amazing! Taking subtle references to gaming culture, rock music, comic books and a hint of apathy it was able to create a glorious adventure in a pseudo-real, but epic world. I would highly suggest it to anyone born in the 80s. For the rest of you, I would still watch it, but it will not have the same effect.

On to the pre-Spring Break day, Friday. As I already said, I took it easy in the morning, I was getting in to relaxation mode. In the afternoon I ventured out to 'The Frick.' This guy, Frick, was a major coke (coal) man. Frick fueled the furnaces of Pittsburgh Industry (in particular Carnegie's Steel Mills). He had a huge amount of money, and a large property just east of Shadyside. When he died, his daughter shut up the house, and left everything where it was. Somewhere in there a historical group was formed, and The Frick Center was formed around this house (which still has all of its original stuff in it). You had to pay to get in the house... I didn't really want to see it, so I checked out the Museum of Art and the Car and Carriage House (both free and open to the public). The art was interesting, the were focusing on drawings from France in the 17th and 18th century. I felt a little more cultured... but the sweet thing was the Car and Carriage house. The first room had all of Frick's carriages, all 9 or 10 of them. All very impressive. Then I walked in the the next room. It was the car garage. So stinking cool. There was a collection of 14 to 16 cars from early in the century. It was amazing! Everything from 1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost to 1931 Lincoln Touring beast. They even had some cars that were locally made in Pittsburgh. You all know that I am not that in to cars, but it was sweet!

As I was heading to the bus stop to go home, two things happened, I heard news of a dinner group forming, and it started to rain. I had my Mohawk up at this point. I tried to keep it dry... but ended up with this:

  I quickly washed my head, and re-did my hair (but in Liberty Spikes (they tend to be the most resilient to wear and tear)) and headed out for dinner. I met Tracey and Gwyn at Diminco's Place, a rather authentic looking and tasting Italian place in Bloomfield (known for its Italian Immigrants). I loaded up on much needed carbs for the show, and enjoyed good company.

From there I set out to find 'Stage AE' where Flogging Molly was playing. If you were wondering, AE stands for American Eagle (yes the clothing company) they have a very strong presence in town as their corporate headquarters are on the SouthSide. So I found the place, it was right next to Heinz Field... found some parking (don't worry Chris, it was free) and got pumped for the greatest band ever. I intentionally got there late (doors opened at 7, I got there around 9) as to avoid standing around for the opening bands. The venue was great, lots of room, lots of people, surprisingly good sound. Of course FM was great. They have a new album coming out in a month or so, they played some new stuff, I liked it. At one point in the show, Nathan Maxwell (the bass player) got on his mic, pointed at me, and said: 'Look at that guys Mohawk, it looks so sad! Rock on man!' Made my night. Even without people with me, I had a good time, still having someone like Chris, James, Drew or 'The Boys' would have been awesome! I also sort of missed the traditional unveiling of the shirt to my parents... Mom, Dad, don't worry, it is awesome.

So yes, it was a good start to the break!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Spring Break Day 1

Today was the first unofficial day of spring break. Filled with 4 things: sleeping in (you know... until 8), watching some Wonderfalls (great TV show, thanks Gwyn!), The Frick, and Flogging Molly!! (the last part being the greatest)

but alas, the last one sort of took up my evening... dang punk band. And now I have a slight headache, and my hair doo is doing what I would really like to be: laying down.

So I will fill you in tomorrow. I have a single picture. You will like it. I have plenty of stories too..

"Swing a little more, little more-er, the merry-o...."