Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sarah and the Geese

(No, this does not end up like Leda and the Swan, thank goodness)
Geese and I are not on as friendly of terms as pigeons and I, we are.

Pigeon Handling

People sure do look at you funny when you're carrying a pigeon down 6th avenue in downtown Pittsburgh. Regular readers of my blog know my bizarre connection to pigeons (totem animal?). This morning I found a hurt pigeon on the side of the road with a car about to run over her. I'm assuming she's a her because she was all grey, with no spots of color, but I don't really know. Anyways, I scooped her up and held her close to my body as I carried her to the spot where I met Jimmy feeding the pigeons up above the parking garage. Jimmy had told me that there was one lady who took the hurt pigeons home to mend, and I was hoping she would show up. I stood there with her in my arms for a while, but she was obviously scared of me, chest all puffed up, so I set her under a bush where I'm hoping she can hide from predators for a bit. One lady who helps feed the pigeons, Therese, showed up, but she only feeds them. She said that she had the lady's phone number who knows more about what to do when they are hurt and would try to call her. We tried to get the hurt pigeon to eat some seeds, but no luck. We left some for her. There was another pigeon with a big piece of bread with a whole in the middle stuck around it's neck, but it was still able to fly and wouldn't let us get close enough to remove it. The life of a pigeon is apparently not that safe. Pigeons are so dependent on humans. There are only pigeons where humans are. So do we treat them as dirty pests to be at best ignored, or do we show them kindness and charity? Even the Koran offers a suggestion:
"He who takes pity on a sparrow and spares his life, Allah (God) will be merciful to him on the day of judgement. Do you not see how Allah is praised by those in heaven and earth? The very birds praise Him as they wing their flight"- The Koran (24.36):

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

On Thin Ice

Geese standing on thin ice on a pond at Allegheny Commons Park, North Side, Pittsburgh.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Marketing Design

Since I've began my foray into the graphic design world (i.e. trying to improve my web design skills, doing some copy writing, trying to teach myself photoshop and freehand, etc.), I have started noticing design everywhere. Sometimes commercial design simply astounds me.

Take Wrigley's 5 Gum for instance. I, too, fell prey to the clever packaging. It's about the size of a carton of cigarettes, and done in black with a different brilliant color for each flavor. Here is my flavor choice, cobalt.

Since anyone can get free condoms at any Planned Parenthood and various other locations, I guess the condom industry has had to step up to the marketing design plate. Meet ONE, the condom that comes in a shiny tin (aka sleek metal case with a plastic hinged back for easy dispensing!)
Even the individually wrapped condoms have a design--a graphic illustration, along with a witty sound byte...See samples HERE

And look-- you too can design a condom! (AKA be the "Rembrandt of Rubber, the Leonardo of Latex, the Picasso of Prophylactics")

What WILL they think of next?

Why, clever instructions that are still informative of course!

Methods's airfreshner (aka pluggable aroma pill) maintains a witty sense of humour whilst instructing users in its preparation (italics are mine added to the parts i found particularly apropos):
1. Holding fragrance bottle upright, remove cap. Do not remove wick. It's pretty important.
2. Keeping fragrance bottle upright, insert into bottom of aroma pill.
3. Rotate bottle clockwise until tight. You know, righty-tighty.
Rotate plug of aroma pill to accomodate vertical or horizontal wall outlet. Insert aroma pill into wall outlet with glass bottle pointing down. Do not turn sideways or else fragrance oil will spill. Gravity is mean like that.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My Reading at MWFA Gallery

My Poetry Workshop had their end of term reading in conjunction with the Non-Fiction workshop at the Most Wanted Fine Art Gallery in Garfield. My friends Rachel and Vijay came out to show their support.


My Grandma Charlotte died almost a year ago now. I wrote this poem recently about how it takes the brain a while to catch up, at least the subconscious part that still wants to call her and tell her things, but how also...we don't always want it to catch up...


I just absentmindedly drew
an angry clown smoking
a stogie. Read that
Rorschach inkblot.

You used to draw
a clown for me on paper placemats.
I remember some of the parts
looked like sausage links or balloons,
but I can’t remember the order.

I want chocolate milk with a bendy straw
and blueberry pancakes from Pappan’s Restaurant.
There’s a Wendy’s now where Pappan’s used to be.

I want to call and ask you if you think Stabler and Olivia
should hook up on Law and Order: SVU
and how do you spell Mariska’s last name?
It is hard to remember again and again
that you have died.

Hargitay sounds like hard to say.
What was that song you sang
to me that went paddy raddy bumsteay?
I’m trying to say I don’t want
even my memories
to die.

Monday, December 10, 2007

More Photos from Jalsah VI

The Phat Man Dee graced us with her lovely singing voice.... "I'm just a Jewish girl singing Turkish..."

The view at one point from the stage. The crowd got even larger than this, then dwindled down to a few stalwart souls lounging on the pillows. Phat Man Dee may have invented horizontal karaoke....

Carmine took a break from the Oud for the doumbek to accompany Jeff on the sitar.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


I ATTENDED JALSAH 6 PITTSBURGH at Your Inner Vagabond in Lawrenceville. Nancy played her clarinet, and I played middle eastern beats with a bodhran! It was fantabulous. My arm is toooo sore from playing my drum to say much more. But thanks CARMINE, MELISSA, MARK, BETH, and everyone else for a great night and for letting me jam with you. Here are some pics I took, more later.

Snowy Walk

On Wednesday I decided to walk to work again. This time I made it. 27 minutes in the snow, not bad! (and it was uphill both ways haha) The Rachel Carson bridge was a bit slickery, but not too bad!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Morning Walk in Allegheny Commons

This morning I was diverted from work to a walk in the Allegheny Commons park in the North Side. This is why I love that the spanish word "divertido" means "fun." Because when I get diverted from what I intended to do, the diversion often ends up being quite fun, and probably more fun than what I intended to do... Anyways, I got a little turned around in the park as I was probably too busy looking at everything, so it took me much longer than it should have to make my way through. However, the fruit of this is I have some neat pictures to share with you. I took them on my cell phone, so they are not the best quality, but I just really loved the yellow yellow leaves on the ground and the wrought iron fencing above the railroad tracks. I also liked all the juxtapositions of old buildings with newer downtown buildings in the distance and natural elements like the trees. Without further ado...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Geçmiş Olsun

I was feeling a little under the weather yet, so I had some red lentil soup at the Istanbul Grille on Center & Craig. But I added some Frank's hot sauce....

Friday, November 16, 2007

First Snow of the Season in Pittsburgh

park in the north side from north ave this am as the first snow fell, 16 november 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Gray Skies of Pittsburgh

When I was walking to my car in the Strip District this evening I was overcome by the heaviness of the air and the sheer depth of the sky. It had been gray all day, but now it was so complex and had a beauty of its own to rival a sunny sky. I only had my cell, so these pictures aren't the best, but...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Letter Writing

It's like Tom Brokaw said. Was it Tom Brokaw? Well, lots of people have said it anyways: Letter writing is a lost art. I mean, when's the last time you sat down and wrote a letter? I mean a pen and paper kind of letter. The kind of letter that goes on to backs of pages and more pages and you lick the envelope to seal it and put a stamp on it and physically walk it to a mail receptacle.....? I had been in the habit of writing letters to various pen pals throughout my life. There was Niall, my friend in N. Ireland, but that communication has evolved to e-mail. I kind of miss those Aerograms. Then there was my San Juan Pueblo, NM friend, whom I wrote to in NM and when he was with the Army Reserves in Iraq, but he stopped writing real letters to, and succumbed to the e-mail trend. Now I am trying to write letters to my friend, also named Sarah. She is basically me, so I think she enjoys this process as well.

I went to a letter writing event at Beleza Community Coffeehouse in the North Side (mex war streets part) of Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon. I didn't write any super long letters, but I did make this card for my friend Sarah. I hope she'll like it!

Finally, as a bonus for reading all of these posts tonight (ha, I'm in da zone or something) here is an interesting and related link to how a letter took 64 years to be delivered:

Japanese Soldier's Postcard Reaches Friend After 64 Years - Yahoo! News

What's an Adventure Without Friends?

They were in some of the previous South Side Slopes pictures, but this post is more specifically about my travelling companions in this journey, Vijay and Rachel. Vijay introduced me to the spot on the South Side Slopes, then we just drove randomly up narrow winding hills where you even have to go up steps to get to the sidewalks and there are tunnels through houses to get to the backyard. Here's one of the two of them:

Good thing they were there too, they picked me up when I fell down:

And they humoured my love of trees:

Here are two pictures that Rachel took-- I think she has a good eye for photo composition, don't you?:

Where does this road go?

Onto other places to explore:

South Side Slopes Photos 2

More Steps

Here is a staircase. I *think* I took this in the South Side Slopes, but I can't remember *for sure*...

I mentioned a book about Pittsburgh steps before, and here are some quick facts from it:

Step by step
Some facts about Pittsburgh’s steps:

Number of staircases: 737

Total number of steps: 44,770

Total number of feet: 24,176, or about 4.5 miles

Number of staircases that are legal “paper” streets: 334

Number of staircases with more than 300 steps: 5

Number of staircases with fewer than 25 steps: 189

Number of wooden staircases: 80

Number of brick steps: 1

Neighborhoods with the most staircases: South Side, 70; Beechview, 39

Number of neighborhoods with no staircases: 24

Decades in which most staircases were built: 1940s, 204; 1950s, 137

Longest staircase no longer in existence: Indian Trail steps, more than 1,000 wooden steps up Mt. Washington from Carson Street to the intersection of Shaler Street and Grandview Avenue, Duquesne Heights

For more information about Pittsburgh’s steps, visit:

Source: Bob Regan, author of “The Steps of Pittsburgh: Portrait of a City”

South Side Slopes Photos 1

There are still too many photos to post from my adventure in the South Side Slopes, but here are a few more. From a quick google search, I'm pretty sure this was at the South Side Park. The Getting Outdoors Website says it's:
reached from Quarry Street (18th Street to St. Patrick to Quarry). The park features 65 acres of ballfields, walking trails, a playground, and a former ice arena. South Side Local Development Company and South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association recently convened a task force to plan park improvements.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Views Around Pittsburgh

From South Side Slopes and Mount Oliver, mostly. Exploring the higher parts of the city. Perhaps found the highest point? At the peak of Climax Street in Mt. Oliver???