Monday, September 24, 2007

Saturday in Braddock

I spent the first half of my Saturday in Braddock, PA. I was there for a Service Project with Literacy*AmeriCorps Pittsburgh. We weeded the gardens started by Braddock Youth, and waterproofed a basement. Here are some pictures of the scene.
Mayor John Fetterman, himself
Mayor John's Doppleganger Sticker
Deputy Mayor Jeb Feldman's dog, Liberty "Libby"

Pittsburgh Play Date 2 (Sarah and Mariza at Dan Marino Field)

Like I said in Kate & Sarah's Playdate at Frick Park, twenty-five is definitely not too old to play at playgrounds. Mariza helps me prove it at Dan Marino Field's playground in South Oakland.
Now I know my ABC's

I wonder if I can slide down backwards...
The aftermath of sliding down backwards
Mariza climbs the bigger sliding board
Who's in there?

Pigeon Trivia Top Ten (Mostly Untrue)

from The Mechanical Contrivium

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Pigeons!

  1. Medieval knights put the skin of pigeons on their sword handles to improve the grip.
  2. Some hotels in Las Vegas have pigeons floating in their swimming pools.
  3. Pigeons once lost a Dolly Parton lookalike contest!
  4. Pigeons are the oldest playable musical instrument in the world.
  5. The risk of being struck by pigeons is one occurence every 9,300 years!
  6. Julius Caesar wore a laurel wreath to cover up pigeons.
  7. Pigeons can last longer without water than a camel can!
  8. Pigeons can sleep for three and a half years!
  9. Research indicates that pigeons will be attracted to people who have recently eaten bananas!
  10. Pigeonolatry is the mindless worship of pigeons.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Totem: Pigeon

From Animal Totems:

The Pigeon
Pigeons originally lived on the wild cliff faces of the European
and Asian seacoasts. Used by the Chinese for hundreds of years to send
messages they also carried money exchange rates between banks in Canton and Hong
Kong. Pigeons have been used extensively for delivering messages in times of
war. Early navigators took pigeons to sea in hopes that, if they became lost the
pigeon would show them the way to land. Pigeons can fly for 550 miles in
one day and can travel in bursts of speed up to 60 knots. They teach us
how to preserver and keep our focus on the goal at hand.
This amazing bird
holds the qualities of home, security and maternal instincts. Those with
this totem often experience unsettling childhood's and will be challenged
continually to acquire a solid secure foundation in all areas of their lives.
The pigeon assists us in finding the stability of home that has been lost.
No matter where pigeon ends up or how it gets there, it knows the way
home. The Pigeons gift to us is the ability to accomplish. They do
not get lost because they are in tune with the natural ways of earth, and are
always aware of their goals. They use all their senses equally and navigate
their lives in a balanced way. If Pigeon comes to you, it is asking you to
keep your sights and sensitivities clearly set on where you want to be, and
start moving. Even if you don’t know exactly how to get there, by
following your inner guidance you can find your way.

Pigeons (Again?)

I was on my way to where I work downtown, was running a bit early, so I decided to pop up to the parklet above the parking garage on 6th Ave for a breath of smog-filled air and a time out. There is a fountain there, and lots of benches. When I arrived, there was a man feeding the pigeons. I sat nearby and watched the pigeons congregate and eat. When he noticed me there, he came over and asked me if I would like to feed the pigeons. I thought about it for a second: "Okay!" He let me disperse the honey roasted peanuts (not the pigeons' favorite, too sweet) and the pigeons seem to take to me. One the man called an albino pigeon, due to it's predominance of white coloring, landed on my hand. "Wow," he said, "That one has never approached me before. The albino ones are usually more scared of people." It sat on my hand for a while, then again on my arm, then landed on my hand again and let me transfer it to my leg, and even stroke under its neck with my index and middle fingers. Is it possible pigeons are my totem animal? Anyways, this guy's name is Jimmy, and he has a website, so be sure to check it out:

Later that weekend, I was buying a birthday present for a 3 yr old at Barnes & Noble. I wanted to get my favorite book for that age range, not one I grew up with, but one I learned about at a Beginning with Books training. I bought the first and one sequel. It wasn't until I got home that I realized the coincidental (or not?) main character of these stories was a pigeon. Don't Let the Pigeon Ride the Bus, and The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog, by Mo Willems.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Walking in Pittsburgh...

...usually involves stairs or hills. For some inexplicable reason, I decided to walk from the Dan Marino Baseball Field in South Oakland to the Eliza Furnace Trail access point off of 2nd Ave. Okay, there wasn't an actual decision process in there, it was more of I wandered there for no particular reason. I had it in my mind to walk to the river, but never quite made it there. I walked down a curvy hill on Swinburne, almost getting hit by cars 4.75 times, then accross the Swinburne bridge, down Greenfield Ave., under the bridge to 2nd ave, then up a bike trail to the Eliza Furnace trail. The way I went didn't seem particularly safe or expedient, due to the low visibility for cars to see me on the winding hills. ^^My path ^^

If I had actually planned to go where I went, I might have thought to use Google Transit for walking directions. This shouldn't surprise anyone who is from or has evern been to Pittsburgh, but there are apparently stairs that will take me there. Steps in Pittsburgh are as common as the saying "You can't get there from here" when giving directions in Pittsburgh. There has even been an entire book written about them! Here is how I should have gone (if I were, again, actually intending to go there), and some close ups of the steps from Google Transit.

looks like a more direct path too... Still, maybe next time I'll actually go to a river...

A (not so) Pleasant Thought...


Monday, September 10, 2007

My Favorite Music Videos...EVER in the HISTORY of Music Videos (well...maybe not)

My Favorite Music Videos that I have seen in my lifetime are:

  1. Fat Boy Slim, "Weapon of Choice," featuring Christopher Walken
  2. Korn, "Twisted Transitor," featuring Lil Jon, Xzibit, David Banner, and Snoop Dogg as Korn.
  3. Ok Go, "Here it Goes Again" (treadmills)
  4. Gorillaz, "Dare" or pretty much any Gorillaz music vid ever...

Kate and Sarah's Play Date at Frick Park

Whoooo playgrounds are still fun when you are 25 years old!!!

Highland Park is Cool (cause they have SnoCones!)

I found some interesting (and some not so interesting obviously created by seventh graders) grafitti around the resovoir at Highland Park. Nancy said I should make postcards from the pics. Here are two of my favorite.

After the picnic and another lap around the resovoir I spotted an old fashioned SnoCone vendor. I had the dollar size cone. I was so thrilled at the possibilities of combining flavors. The man said I could have as many as I wanted, but that he didn't guarantee that would taste good. I got all the flavors EXCEPT banana, grape, and cotton candy. I mentioned to them about the sweetened condensed milk they put on top of the snocones in Trinidad. He said they have some marshmallow cream sauce they like to put on. It was awesome. And didn't cost a penny extra. Oh, sweet gooey goodness. He said if he didn't make another sale he'd still be happy because I (in my ebullience) had made his day.
Here is the ARTIST who created this MASTERPIECE, along with a comparison of the Highland Park cone and the San Juan Hill, Trinidad cone.

The multi-flavored-marshmallow-cream-topped-Highland Park cone

^^Trini cone *a mixture of only TWO flavors* with sweetened condensed milk ^^

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Never Ending Weekend of Service Extravaganza (but it wasn't all work and no fun!)

Rachel and Sarah before the GED Graduation Ceremony

It has been a long weekend. I am almost astounded that I made it to this Sunday night. Friday I had the GPLC GED Graduation Ceremony to attend and take pictures at (in addition to two appts, and Moshe's art opening at Beleza), Saturday I did the Story Walk at Frick Park then the Jazz/Poetry Concert by City of Asylum in the North Side--was at Frick from 7:30 am until 1:30, was setting up for the concert at 2:30pm, there til after 9:30, then today was the GPLC Run/Walk for Literacy followed by the GPLC Anniversary Picnic with a special performance by Machete. I had my trusty camera with me all weekend (much to everyone's chagrin). I'm posting some of the better pictures here now, and there are more up at my flickr site.
Vijay and Rachel have an animated discussion

Moshe and Ron guard Sampsonia Avenue on the North Side

Nancy's third eye

Machete performs

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Tree as Lovely as a Poem

This past weekend, my Grandfather moved into his new house. The first thing I noticed about the new house was the tree in the front yard. "That looks like a climbing tree," I thought to myself. "Can I climb your tree?" I asked my grandfather. "As long as you don't break any limbs" (mine or the trees?). My Dad assisted and documented the adventure. I tried another tree in the backyard, but the bark was rougher and I was in shorts, and after I started bleeding, I decided to discontinue the attempt for the time being. Next time, pants, and...the tree!
Dad ("i've been climbing trees since before you were born") couldn't resist taking a turn!



I have a hard time putting things into boxes.
When I move I have full garbage bags labeled DO NOT THROW AWAY.
I have as hard a time with mental boxes-->categories-->gestalts.
I can put dog in a small furry animal that barks box,
but what can I do with 16 yr old kills my 28 yr old Syrian student, Jamal?
28- Not old enough to have been his father, but at least a brother
an uncle a mentor a teacher if life made sense
If 57 choices were made that weren't
and 3 that were, weren't.
I hope he gets tried as an adult
because I'm trying to believe
children are too innocent to kill
or die.
God, it's true
I just realized
I have a stuffed camel called Jamal.
Clarence, my friend stationed in Iraq, sent me 3 yrs ago.
Now Clarence's son is in Iraq
training Iraqi soldiers
how not to get killed.
The son's name is Tony. He's 29.
The killer's name is Eric.
He is somebody's son,
probably somebody's brother,
maybe somebody's nephewunclecousin friend student
He's a child.
I have 2 stuffed camels, Jamal,
and one from Camel Rock Casino on Tesuque Pueblo,
where I met Clarence,
who taught me how to say I love you
in Tewa,
where I learned that I can understand
that I need to understand
what I don't understand
that I can't understand.
Is there a word for this plurality
in Tewa?
in English?
in Arabic?