Thursday, March 10, 2011

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.


  1. The train exhibit is BOSS. That is a place that I could spend a lot of time at. It sounds like they have done it right. Running water, moving people, and the like. Great.

  2. $10 for the food and drink??? wow. eat there every day and save big bucks!

  3. i want more video...

    nice pic of you via the welcomer,

  4. 1) Point of order ... there is NOTHING "cool" about earthquakes ... just saying!

    2) The train room ... the only thing I was thinking while reading your post was ... ah oh ... I feel additions to "the" Hogle train village coming :)

    3) Rock Room Wednesdays sound like a must!!