Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Four Way Stops

This may seem a little odd as a topic, but it is another Pittsburgh traffic thing.

I pose an open question to all of you: What are the rules of the road concerning four way stops? In particular when there are multiple cars at all points of entry (high traffic).

This topic was brought up when I was driving shotgun in Gwyn's car and observed odd behavior at a 4 way stop, I asked Gwyn what she learned, and what was common practice. She said that the right of way goes in a circle around the intersection, if the person to the right of you goes, then the person across from you, then the person to the left, then you, and so on. This 'Rotating Right of Way' is different than how I learned, where the right of way alternates between streets, so if the person to the right of you goes (and/or the person to the left of you) then you and the person in front of you go. If they are turning (or you are) the person who is going straight or turning right gets the right of way, then the right of way goes back to the 'cross' traffic (left and right cars).

I have been polling my friends here, and have been getting unsure and mixed results. I find it interesting, so I am wondering what you were all trained.

Best response so far, from Bart: "I stop, then kind of inch forward until I get the balls to go."

So Mr. K, I don't remember the exact situation, but this might explain a number of your less than happy PGH driving situations...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Shot Gun Bow Tie

For those of you who read everything on here, I apologize for not posting the panorama of PNC park. It was taking to long, and I lost interest. If you really had your heart set on seeing it, I can keep working on it, let me know.

In other news, that I did not get to in that last post, last week was amusing. Seeing as I have been lackadaisical in keeping you updated this is going to be a shot gun post, I am going to be all over the place, if you wish to know more, let me know.

On Saturday for the game, we all car pooled from the church. This acts as a good meeting place where we can leave cars, as it is safe and free. Well when we got back around 11, we arrived to a river flowing down the street. Well that is a bit of an exaggeration, but there was a lot of water. There was a good foot and a half to three foot wide stream of water flowing down the Church side of Amberson, and the about a block down, there was a mini stream flowing on the other side too. This required some investigation, as it was not raining, and there was no obvious reason for this water.
Taking a picture of this was hard...
A wider angle
So after putting our detective skills to use (walking upstream to the source) we figured that a water main broke, as water was seeping out of the ground. As it was the 21 of May someone mockingly mis quoted a Bible verse citing that the rapture was going to be signaled by the Earth sweating is pain or something like that... anyway, a the top of the stream there was a little geyser shooting out of someones grassy strip next to the road. We then made boats out of the programs we had from the game, and raced boats down the river. My boat one, as it did not get stuck and traveled a whole 4 blocks to a receiving storm drain that was taking the excess water like a champ.

Last Sunday was the last SPYS (Shadyside Pres Youth Sundays) event. This would be the youth group that I have been helping out with. Apparently I am the unofficial partner to Jackie in ministry. I only say apparently in the sense that I didn't know how much I was involved until parents started coming up to me and thanking me for helping out. Looking back it has been a good semester working with them, they are fun kids, and working with Jackie is great, she is a good Youth Minister.

But before that! Oh man... There is a long story behind this next part, and I don't even know all of it. It comes down to southern influence in fashion. It may or may not be widely known that a good southern man wears a bow tie far more often than anyone else. There are a significantly more southern men at Shadyside than there were at Colbert (most notably Rev. Jim Tinnemeyer who, when not wearing his pastoral collar, is wearing a bow tie). So Bart and I wanted to join in the fun. Last Wednesday, we headed down town to pick up our bow tie, it was a great male bonding time. Then on Sunday we met early at Pamela's for a pump up breakfast and retired to his apartment for a champion bow tie tie-ing session. The results are as follows:
Does it surprise anyone that my bow tie is black?
I was really tempted to make this my profile picture on FB.... and for those that know about me and my profile picture, you know that is a big deal.
Other happenings:
Last Thursday I got to experience a new dining place with Gwyn, and by proximity Jackie. The Similling Banana Leaf! It is a small, quaint Thai place in Highland, quite literally across the street from where Jackie's apartment is (which is why she went with us, she was home, so we knocked on her door and asked her to join us). There I realized that I have moved out of the 'I am interested, but hesitant' mode of my feelings towards Thai, Chinese and Japanese food and in to the 'I am Ok with this' phase. I realized that I knew what I was getting (Massman Curry), I had a preconceived notion of how it would taste, and I greatly enjoyed it. For those who grew up with me (aka my family) they had to deal with me putting my nose up to this type of food, and would get Mr. Wok for themselves and get me something else, or I would eat left-overs. This has changed. Family, I will now eat whatever you want. On a grander scale, this means that there are only a select few things that I don't enjoy eating: Broccoli Casserole and Ham and Egg Pie. I am moving up world.

I have convinced people that games are still cool. After said dinner, Jackie, Gwyn and I played a round of Carcassone. I have been playing a lot of Carcassone lately. Gwyn really likes it, so we tent to play it a lot ;). Last night, Tracey, Brian, Gwyn and myself played a round of Carcassone, and I was able to introduce Bohnanza to them. It was interesting that when I suggested it, they all moaned and complained about learning a new game... bla bla... and then nearing the end, with Gwyn and Tracey dominating the game, they loved it. I have also started a tradition that I picked up the last time I played Settlers. We played at Sam's house, the family she lives with had the game. When I opened the box, I realized that the lid had a running list of who had won the game. Basically a list of dates and names. I thought this was an awesome idea and have started this with Bohnanza and Carcassone, who ever wins, gets eternal glory and a line on the box lid.

I have also started my internship! It is going great so far. I am in an old conference room that is filled with animal heads (the owner is a big game hunter) and I have lots of space and lots of privacy. So far all I have really done is familiarized myself with the project I will be working on, and made up a tool list and part list. They don't do electrical engineering there, so they did not have any tools (like O-scopes, Mulitmeters, Power Supplies...) So I got to do some shopping. They are apparently really lax about working times, I just have to get in 29 hours a week. This means fridays off! :)

In the near future: Chicken Sausage and Apple Pizza!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Life filled with Sports

So last weekend (as in the 14th and 15th) you may have heard there was a little marathon here in Pittsburgh. You all know how big of a runner I am... so you all should not be surprised that I did not run.

As the race route is a block away from the Church, and the roads are closed from 7:30 in the morning to 11, there was no 11 service. Instead various members of the church set up cheering sections all over the race course. The main and central station was at the intersection of Amberson and 5th Ave (for those of you keeping score at home, this would be a block away from the church, and a block away from where I am going to be living next semester). There was another cheering squad at Jackie's house in Highland park (apparently that is where all of the cool kids were...) and there was other groups downtown and in the south side. The race course really is a nice tour of Pittsburgh, it starts downtown, goes over the river towards the incline, down Carson street (Common Wealth Press, the Primanti's dad and I first went to), takes a left on to the Birmingham Bridge (near Haufbrau Haus, Cheesecake Factory, $5 Movie Night Theater), up a huge hill in to Oakland, past the Cathedral of Learning, up 5th past the church (this would be the half way point) through Shadyside, up to Braddock (near D's Six pac and Dog) back to East Liberty (Brgr and Mad Mex) on to Highland Park (Tazza Dora Coffee, The Zoo) then back to Bloomfield (Tassaro's) past ChurchBrew Works, then through the strip and back in to down town, then across the bridges to North Shore (PNC Park, Heinz Field, The Warhol) ending near Stage AE. Wow... I was not planning on mapping out the whole race... it just started flowing.

Anyway, at the church, we set up a tent the housed a large sound system (Mike and I were in charge, and needed for this), and we had lots and lots of orange slices.

Yes, imagine that... it was raining a little in PGH
I saw a lot of this...
Orange Passerouters and Mike on the left.
The Carnage.

It was a great time. My hands were certianly tender and pink from clapping so much, and my voice was shot from all of the yelling. I got to run with Caitlin and Sam for a little bit as they ran. Sam said that she felt rather acomplished, but that she was glad that it was over. Other runners included the two relay teams for the church, The Shady Pastors (the 4 pastors of the church and Will the intern) and the Pres 'B' Terians (Yeah Jeff!! and some other Church Staff).

Later that evening, there was a late service, accompanied with a church pot luck to commemorate the day. Jeff enlisted my help to pass out the awards that we created (I think I mentioned this before... Gwyn and Bart also helped). I was a lot of fun. With great food. Below is one of the example certificates that Gwyn and I made:
Marathon Jesus is my favorite. I am thinking he would look awesome as a tattoo...

Then, in proper health spirit, Jeff had a birthday party right after the pot luck. This party was, surprise, at the Leaf and Bean (where he works) a Tobacco and Coffee shop. So there was lots of Cigar smoking and beer drinking (neither of which by me). It was a great day, certainly a memorable Sunday.

Then fast forward to Saturday (the 21st). Jackie's brother and sister in law were in town, and they were going to a Pirates game. Jackie had a left over ticket that she offered to a number of people, a sub set of that number were Sam, Gwyn and I. We all wanted to go, but there was only one ticket. Then we found out that someone else had already claimed the ticket. Well we all still wanted to go, so we did anyway. Sam, Gwyn, Tracey, Andrew, Christina and myself enjoyed a great evening and a great game. The weather was perfect, the seats, while cheap ($9) were still great. We were in the upper most right field section about ten rows from the last, and about 5 seats from the fence the marked the end of the stadium.

I apparently did not yell loud enough for Andrew and Christina.

At the moment I am in the process of stitching together a panorama of the baseball field.... it is taking a bit to dust the cobwebs off of the old computational photo tool set.... when I get that done I will finish this post!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Marathon Mac and Bacon and Hot Dog and Cheese Crock Pot Glory

I was asked to make an entree for the marathon pot luck at church after the late service. As the service was at 4 and the pot luck was at 5, I was a little worried about making something that needed to be hot, and then letting it sit for a while. Turns out, the kitchen was expecting this, and had warming ovens available, but I did not know this. So I decided to make something in a crock pot. My experience with a crock pot has all been in soups/chilis and Corned Beef and cabbage both of these options did not seem like a good choice for a late in the afternoon summer time meal...

So I decided to do some Mac and Cheese! I did some looking around on line and came across this to start with, and then modified it. A lot. I completely filled Larry's Crock pot with this, he has a medium sized pot, I think it is bigger than mine back home, but smaller than Mother's gigantic one. It is very easy to half the recipe to fit in a smaller one. This recipe as it stands makes a lot. Approximately, making 12 servings.

Marathon Mac and Cheese
16 oz (1 pound) of uncooked Pasta (Elbows, Ditalini, Spirals, Shells... small, bit sized pieces)
4 cups Shredded Sharp Cheddar
4 cups Shredded Mild Cheddar
2 eggs
2 cans (24 oz) Evaporated Milk
3 cups Milk
2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Pepper
2 teaspoons Ground Mustard
3/4 cup Bread Crumbs
1 pound of Bacon
1 Large Onion
8 Hot Dogs (really any type of sausage)
5-7 Mushrooms

Things to try out: Olives, Peppers, Different types of Cheese (Velveeta!), Lizano, Spinach...

First, prepare the additives. Fry the bacon, pat dry, crumble and set aside. Cut up onion in to medium sized slices, saute in pan with oil or butter (I used grease from bacon, it was great! I also added some garlic powder), set aside. Wash and cut up mushrooms, set aside. If necessary, cook hot dogs or sausage, cut in to very small slices (prevent small children from choking...), set aside. I did all of this the night before the pot luck, and put it all in individual containers in the fridge.

Due to the amount and size of ingredients, it my behoove you to mix half of it at a time. Half the entire recipe, and combine in two stages. 

In a large mixing bowl, mix eggs, Evaporated Milk, and milk. Add Salt, pepper, and mustard, mix well. Add 3/4 of the cheese and bread crumbs, mix well. Add pasta uncooked, mix well. Add bacon, sauteed onion, mushrooms, and hot dog pieces, mix well. Liberally cover the sides of the crock pot with cooking spray. Pour mixture in to pot.

When it is all in, add the remaining cheese to the top of the pile.

When researching this, there was a lot of debate as to how to cook this. I used uncooked pasta, and cooked it on low for 3 ish hours (I say 3 ish because there was moving it from my house, to Jeff's house, then to the church. That was over the course of 4 hours, but there was 30 minutes of driving time where the pot was unplugged). When I took it to the church (so at the 2 hour mark) all of the cheese on top was melted, and it smelled glorious. There were a lot of comments about if you let it cook for too long, the pasta gets mushy. Needless to say, I am sticking to the 3 - 4 hour mark on low.

It turned out great. Everyone loved it. Mr. and Mrs. Rohrer were able to pick it out of the pot luck crowd as mine, apparently the hot dogs gave it away. I highly recommend this, it was easy and great. It was very easy to make enough for a large number of people. Depending on what you put in it, it can be a side or a main dish. Future iteration will use different cheeses, and things added. Hmmm... I think this needs to get paired with a pot of chili!     

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Oh... and before I forget

I almost hit a deer on Thursday night. It was a block away from my house. I just laughed.



I feel like a little kid standing on the dock, looking out over the water of a lake. I know that it will be fun to swim around in the water, but I also know that the water is going to be cold. I don't really know what to think of this conundrum. I know that the discomfort of the coldness is potentially temporary, that eventually my body will acclimate to the water temperature. But, it could also be too cold to swim in, and eventually I would have to get out.

The past week-ish has been an interesting seasonal transition for someone who grew up with a 'Spokane' spring. The last few days have been beautiful and sunny in the morning, raising the temperature to a balmy 83 degrees but the mid afternoon. Along with this, you can reach out and grab the water out of the air it is so humid. But 4ish 5ish the clouds get really dark, and the rest of the evening is a mixture of heavy rain and amazing lightning and roaring (lol I almost said thunderous as an adjective, but that would be silly) thunder. This wet evening is accompanied with continuing humidity.

This brings me to a number of interesting musings.

1) Air Conditioning back home is child's play. I remember in Spokane, you turned on the AC when things got too hot. Here AC prevents you from feeling like a sticky mess 24/7. The stair way to my room is its own enclosure, at the top of the flight, there are two doors, one leading to my room and another leading to a storage room. The bottom of the stairs also has a door. This stair hallway is by far the hottest and nastiest climate in the house. I am not complaining in this regard, as I never spend any amount of time in the stair way, but it does make the feeling of walking in to my aptly climate controlled room very refreshing.

2) As I have mentioned to some people, on of the things I really enjoy about Spokane summers is the dusk and evening. I love the cool refreshment of the night. This is why I love porches, star gazing and wet grass. Last night I was outside at midnight, and it felt like it was the middle of the day, only darker. The temperature was still around the high 70s, and I felt sticky. Gross.

3) There are some benefits to this climate. For instance, I was walking around the church last night, when I realized that not only was I walking in to a wall of moisture, but the wall was holding a glorious mixture of fragrances from the trees and flowers around. This was not a fleeting scent, it was intense and in-your-face, and not brief either, it lasted a good block as I made my way to my car. It was great. For a moment, I ignored the fact that there was moisture forming on my forearm, and it was not my sweat glands working, and I just took it in. Mother, you most likely would have had an asthma attack.

4) For those of you who have been here, and remember the picture at the top of the incline that was taken at 4 in the afternoon... and it looks like it is pitch black, this does not surprise me now. I was driving to Gwyn's house on Thursday around 6:30 at night. On a normal day, it would be sunny for another hour or so before dusk set in. On Thursday, there was a nasty storm coming in, and the sky was as close to black as I have seen in a while. Along with this, the humidity in the air was causing a misty haze over everything. Given only a slight amount of pollution, I am sure it would have looked like midnight. It was crazy. At this point I also realized another thing. I felt like I was in a jungle. All of the foliage that had been brown and dead looking a month ago was lush and overgrown. For whatever reason I did not notice the transformation until just then. And it was awesome! The drive was like a totally different trip than what I was used to. Then I got out of my car, forgetting about the suspended pool I was about to step in to, and remembered why I don't like humidity.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Post Semester Happenings

You would think with all of this time, I would keep you more informed... I am going to blame it on the lack of schedule.

The past few days have been great. Really, truly living up the 'summer' time.

Saturday was a relaxing day, mostly spent up in my room cleaning (really just putting things away) and getting things back to normal. In the afternoon, Sam and Gwyn came over. Sam had not ever seen Arrested Development, and thus, needed to be indoctrinated. It had been a long while since I watched that glorious show. I highly suggested it to most people (Dad, Caleb you should be able to find it in your Media Centers). After getting Sam hooked both on it and Big Bang Theory, I was invited to join Gwyn's family for dinner. It was her two parents, Caitlin (her sister and fellow YadGrad), her Aunt and Uncle, and two cousins Will and Tom. Her Aunt and Uncle live in Olympia! It was great to talk yet again to people from my great state. Tom is a recent graduate of WSU as well. The whole evening was great. After dinner, the group retired to the hotel the out-of-towers were staying in for some 'Loaded Questions.' And from that point on, Gwyn's Uncle called me 'Fuchsia.'

Sunday was Confirmation Sunday! As I have been working with the youth group, I knew most of the 'Confirmands' thus making it a great day. I don't know if I have mentioned this, but I am (I guess 'was' now...) a Confirmation Mentor for one of the students (I feel a little weird using their name here... so I will just refer to them as My Confirmand). It was exciting to get to see them recognized, including a reception at the church after the service. After Church I was invited over to My Confirmands house for a Confirmation/Mothers Day luncheon that was crazy good. The house was great, the food was great, the company was great. It was exciting to get to see all of these people who were excited and supportive of My Confirmand. I was glad that I got to be there.

Another cool thing about this house, is that it is less than a block away from Gwyn's house. So getting there afterwards was easy! Because baseball is amazing, her family went out to the Pirates game, and Gwyn and I were able to join them for a lovely (and sunny) baseball game. And guess what! The Pirates actually won! Don't worry Dad, I thought of you the whole time, and kept telling everyone, that the last time I was there was with you! Mom, if you would have gone with us (which you were invited to) you would have received a commemorative pair of Pirates Earrings! :)
That is a failed 'bunny ears'
I do enjoy that park.
On Monday I got to hang out with Skanda and some of his friends. We had lunch at D's, where I enjoyed a Hot Dog covered in Grilled Onions and Mushrooms, with Marinara all topped with Cheese. I love that place. After lunch we went and saw Thor. As I told someone, I did not have any great expectations, and none of them were broken. It was fine, nothing super great, nothing super bad. As for a recommendation, if you want to see it, go for it, but if you don't you are not missing anything.

Yesterday was spent making Dessert Pierogies and brainstorming with Jeff, Bri, Gwyn and Bart. Jeff is more or less inc charge of the potluck after church on sunday. Oh, I guess I should back up. This Sunday is the Pittsburgh Marathon. The race is all around Pittsburgh. As with most races, they close the streets to prevent the runners from competing for space with cars. Because it is a marathon, they need a lot of space for it, and because it is Pittsburgh, the course is all over the place and a 'tour' of the city. So Shadyside Pres, is right in the middle of the 'loop.' So you cannot get to the Church while the race is going. Traditionally this has been a point of contention from the churches of Pittsburgh, as the majority of Churches in town cannot have a normal Sunday service (I know just around Shadyside Pres there are at least 10 churches, and that is just within walking distance...) some get very angry. Shadyside however, gets really excited. They set up a water station on the race route, there is going to be speakers (which I was put in charge of with another 'techie' guy Mike), there are going to be orange slices (apparently this is a big thing), there are going to be signs and cheerers. 

Ok, now where was I going with this... oh! So the service is moved back to 4:00 (i think... it could be 5....) and there is a church wide potluck afterwards. Jeff is in charge of the speaking parts of this, and has solicited my help to back him up. So we will be presenting awards to the people who we know are running. Thus the meeting last night to discuss these awards and the evening in general. I am super excited, it is going to be great.

Well, I need to go take a shower. I am meeting My Confirmand for lunch. They are doing State Testing, and thus they have a half day, and you know what half days mean??? LUNCH!

Dessert Pierogies (S'Mores, Reeses, and Berries and Cream)

Jeff and Bri invited me over for dinner and a brainstorming with Gwyn and Bart. I offered to cover dessert mainly as an excuse to try this idea out.

We all know Pierogies are great. And some of us are getting the feeling that un-traditional pierogies are also worth looking in to. Thus, the Dessert Pierogie was born. I don't claim to be the 'first' to do this, there are a number of people around the intertubes that have dabbled in this; however, this is still fairly uncharted territory for Pierogies. I think Mrs. T's should start making these... or The ChurchBrew Works! Anyway, on to the good stuff:

Pie Dough, Pierogie Dough

2 1/2 Cups Flour
1 tsp Sugar
1 tsp salt
1 Cup Unsalted Butter (or two sticks for those counting at home)
6-8 tbs cold water

My mamma taught me that the best thing to do with pie dough is to not touch it. The basic premise behind super flaky dough is keeping the butter in solid chunks, while still mixing it in. So make sure the butter is cold, even frozen, and avoid excessive touching of the dough. Keep the dough out of sunlight, put it in the fridge when not working with it... whatever it takes to keep it cold.

I did not have a food processor (that is a lie... I have a great one, but it is in Spokane :( ), so I did this in a large bowl. Because of the above mentioned temperature requirements, a food processor is really nice, as it can chop up the butter without adding heat to it. So if you have a food processor, use that. So first mix the flour salt and sugar. Then add the butter. Because I was hand mixing, without a pastry knife, I cut the butter in to small chunks before mixing to aid in mixing it in. I then used a fork to further chop up and mix in the butter chunks. This whole process is a learned experience, you want the butter to be in small chunks, but not so small... It is also really easy with a food processor. So once you are happy with the butter mixing, add 6-8 tbs of cold water (again, keeping the butter cold). Add slowly, while mixing until a nice dough ball had formed.

At this point it is not a bad idea to place the entire bowl you were just using in the fridge, to chill the dough again. If you need to prepare the filling, this is a good idea.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface, make it relatively thin (1/8 inch ish...). Using a circle (a cup or a lid or what ever else is around) cut out circles of dough. As common sense points out, the bigger you make them, the more filling you can fit in, but the less you will have, the smaller you make them, the harder it is to fill them, but the more you will have.

All ready to go
Put whatever filling you want inside of said circles. Fold the dough in half, and pinch the edges together with a fork. You just made a pierogie.

I am still messing around with the cooking time and temperature. But the last environment that worked well was baking at 400 degrees for 12-17 minutes. This depends on the filling and on how large they are. You could also pan fry them (I think this would turn out really good, but have not tried it).

Throw an appropriate topping on them, possibly serve with ice cream, and you are good to go.

Now the exciting part, the fillings.

S'Mores (or as someone called them online S'Morogies!)

Marsh mellow Fluff
Graham Cracker Crumbs
Chocolate Chips (small one preferably)

Fairly self explanatory. Spread some fluff on a shell (this is harder than it seems... marsh mellow is sticky), sprinkle some of the Graham Cracker on top, add chocolate chips.
Marsh mellow Fluff might be the greatest food item that I never knew about...

Turns out Marsh mellow expands when heated (who knew?), so when baking, these pierogies opened up, not all that different than clams. There is nothing, wrong with it, it just makes for an interesting looking thing.

Suggested topping (you know... presentation is everything): Chocolate Syrup with Graham Cracker Crumbs sprinkled on top

Proper credit is due to Gwyn for this idea

Peanut Butter
Chocolate Chips

On one side of the shell, spread some Peanut Butter, on the other spread some Nuttella, sprinkle chocolate chips on some side, then fold the pierogie in to a pocket of gooey goodness.

A glorious combination.

Suggested Topping: Drizzled Melted Peanut Butter and Chocolate Syrup or Cinnamon Sugar

Berries and Cream

Fresh or Frozen Berries (Strawberries, Blue Berries, Raspberries, .... oooohhh!!! Huckleberries!)
Cream Cheese
Powdered Sugar
Lemon Juice

Put the cream cheese in a mixing bowl, add a few squirts of lemon juice (not too much), and a proper amount of powdered sugar (may be 1/3 amount of cream cheese) and mix. Spread cream cheese mix over the whole shell. Add berries. This can be tricky with the small space requirements for the pierogie, I was using frozen berries, so I could just cut them in to smaller pieces.

Frozen berries can get messy...
It just looks cute.
These ones turned out a little messy. The juice from the fruit likes to come out. Both when closing the pierogie (making for a gooey, fruit juice and flour mess), and when baking. It is not really in issue, just fair warning that you will get berry juice everywhere.

Suggested Toppings: Powdered Sugar

I only have pictures of the trial run, the actual 'served' deserts looked super fancy...
On the left: Reeses, Right: Berries and Cream

Friday, May 6, 2011

Today, A Great Day

Last night at 5:15 PM I turned in the last item of the Spring 2011 semester. It was great. As soon as I e-mailed my paper to the professor, I hurried downstairs to make Enchiladas for Cinco De Mayo!

Today, I was in full relax mode. I got up a little late. I cleaned up my room (which was fairly bad). Played a little FarmVille (thanks to Chelsea and Gwyn) and then headed in to Oakland. Skanda and I had a meeting with the people who we will be subletting from next year. After a farily pointless meeting, as the lease was not fully printed out, and there was no working printer in the apartment, we headed down to a Greek Food festival in Oakland. It was great! I had my first Gyro in Pittsburgh. To be fair it was served to me by someone who very much looked Greek

I guess I should explain that last comment. There are a lot of shops that sell Gyros, but I am always hesitant as they are sold next to Philly Cheeseteaks and Pizza. I have, previously not tried a Gyro here for the fear of ruining my wonderful image of Athenian Glory. So today was a safe place to re-discover how good pitta and souvlaki is. It was good, not great.

After lunch, I spent some time practicing my juggling. It has been a long time, but I still have the skills! :) Oh, this does remind me that earlier in the day I was wasting time at the church (my bus got me to the apartment early). As I was standing there, a whole group of pre-school kids came out to watch me. It was great. Don't worry, the adults were there too... I didn't get mistaken for a child molester again.

Anyway. After hanging out for a bit, I met up with Gwyn. She had a break in her day. We took a quick trip to the main Carnegie Library. It is a really cool and huge library! It was fun!

No, after having some leftover Enchiladas, I am going to go hang out with Sam, Gwyn and some of Gwyn's extended family at Sharp Edge. Should be the perfect end to a great Friday. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Yeah, that is right... (Star Wars reference for this auspicious of days).

Today at 7:35PM Skanda and myself heard great news: "Yep, you guys are good." This marked the end of our CMU 15-649 Distributed Embedded Systems Course. And it was a great one. Today and yesterday, we spent most of the day in lab working on things. At one point I had the simulator running continuously on 3 different machines. Turns out our design was good, and we got the final portfolio done as we were getting the code tested. All is well.

So we then had to celebrate. There is a little bit of a back story. A local bakery (Dozen) teamed up with Burgartory for a epic creation called the Chocolate Stout Cupcake Shake. Something about beer and cupcakes in a milkshake. This being made for a short time (and in honor of Mother's day) we had to go check it out. Skanda and I met up with Gwyn and headed over. I finished off the list with a Milk and Cereal shake (yes, I have had 6 different shakes there.... Favorites are the Coffee and Donut and the PBandJ) and Gwyn got the Cupcake monster. Both were great. Afterwards what else would we do on a Wednesday night? PIEROGIE NIGHT! We collected Sam and the four of us headed over to the Rock Room and enjoyed ourselves some tasty goodness.

So Distributed Systems: Done. Robot Ethics: Complete. All I have left is a paper for Power class and I am good to go! I also have an interview tomorrow. The interview on Tuesday went really well, they practically hired me before I walked in. So I have a job, but I still want to see what is going on with this other one, Ill keep you posted. Now it is time for bed... :)