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Pittsburgh, Part Three

Posted on June 9th, 2014

Dave!Today was a Pirates night game, so I decided to work in the morning.

Well, that's a lie... I decided I had to work in the morning.

But I did escape into the city early enough that I could finally... finally... visit Point State Park. Something I've been meaning to do for years, but never seem to get around to. It's called "Point State Park" because this is the point at which the Ohio River, the Allegheny River, and the Monongahela River converge...

Point State Park Medallion

Apparently the area has quite a history, because the comemmorative medallion for the park says "Point of Conflict... Point of Renewal... Point of Confluence."

At the very tip of the park is a giant fountain...

Point State Park

Point State Park

Prior to being a State Park, the French had built a fort here called Fort Duquesne...

Fort Duquesne Marker

The French ended up destroying their own fort rather than let the English Army take it back in 1758.

After visiting the park, I wandered around the city a bit because art is everywhere...

Pittsburgh Mural

This "future city" is one of my favorites because it's as if Mary Blair were channeling The Jetsons!

Even trash is an art opportunity for Pittsburgh... like with this awesome RecycleBot...

Pittsburgh RecycleBot

One of the best pieces of art I saw all day was on a construction screen for a new taco restaurant that's going in downtown. Absolutely beautiful...

Tacos!

Tacos!

Tacos!

Oooh... Chaka Khan is in town next week for Pride!

Chaka!

And now? Time to get excited for the Bucs!

Beat 'em Bucs!

As usual, Pittsburgh closes down the Roberto Clemente Bridge so people can park downtown and walk across to PNC Park for the game...

Clemente Bridge Walk

There are statues of famous Pirates from days past scattered around the ballpark. Here's Becky posing with Willie Stargell's...

Clemente Bridge Walk

Willie Stargell Statue

The weather wasn't as glorious as it was for Saturday's game, but it's a night game and it didn't rain, so we couldn't complain...

PNC Park Pittsburgh

I, of course, had to have my $5 Cracker Jack. Which somehow tastes better than it does when you buy them for 99¢ at the supermarket...

PNC Park Pittsburgh

The Pirates have a lot of activities scattered between innings. The first major non-baseball event is a giant bird shooting hot dogs out of a gun into the crowd...

PNC Park Pittsburgh

Which is almost as entertaining as Andrew McCutchen hitting a home run. Which happened just seconds after this photo was taken...

McCutchen at Bat

The next non-baseball event of note is the Pierogi Race... where people run around the outfield dressed as giant pierogis...

Pierogi Race Bucs

While nothing compares to how beautiful PNC Park is in daylight hours... I have to admit it's a great-looking ballpark at night too...

Pierogi Race Bucs

After the Pirates beat the Cubs 6-2, we headed back over the Roberto Clemente Bridge and downtown... where I saw that I missed a piece of the fantastic taco shop construction stand. Around the corner is Holy Mary, Mother of Taco!

Holy Mary Mother of Taco

Genius.

And that was that. So sad to be leaving Pittsburgh so soon... but oh so happy that I had such a fantastic visit!

   

Bullet Sunday 384

Posted on June 8th, 2014

Dave!Take time to be kind... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Window. My first time visiting Pittsburgh... back in 2002... I flew into the airport, rented a car, then headed into the city. Unlike most cities where you can see the buildings in the distance and know what you're getting into, Pittsburgh is hidden. Mt. Washington obscures the skyline so you have no idea what to expect until you drive through a tunnel that leads to the city. And for somebody like me who was expecting a run-down, dirty, old steel town, it's a spectacular surprise. Which I've finally managed to film on my fourth try...

Pittsburgh is a beautiful city filled with terrific architecture and lots of green spaces. That it has one of the most amazing reveals of any city on earth is just the icing on the cake.

   
• Hard Rock. The bulk of my Sunday was spent kidnapping Becky and driving to Ohio so we could visit the new Hard Rock Casino and Hard Rock Cafe in Northfield Park, Ohio. Sadly, it's a franchise property, so it's not in the same league as other Hard Rock properties, but they still did a very nice job...

Hard Rock Northfield Park

Hard Rock Northfield Park

Hard Rock Northfield Park

Hard Rock Northfield Park

Hard Rock Northfield Park

Hard Rock Northfield Park

Hard Rock Northfield Park

I ended up winning $40 on my first pull in a slot machine, so that pretty much paid for the cost of getting here... how cool is that?

   
• Bridge. On the way back to Pittsburgh, Becky navigated us to Banks Covered Bridge, which is near Wilmington Township, Western Pennsylvania...

Banks Covered Bridge

Banks Covered Bridge

It's a nice old bridge that's in really good shape... having been "rehabilitated in 1999, 110 years after it was built in 1889.

   
• Bridge Deux. Not far from Banks Covered Bridge is McConnell's Mill Covered Bridge, which has a state park built around it...

McConnell's Mill Covered Bridge

McConnell's Mill Covered Bridge

McConnell's Mill Covered Bridge

McConnell's Mill Covered Bridge

McConnell's Mill Covered Bridge

The bridge is unique in that it uses something called a "Howe's Truss" in its construction... something that's apparently rare for Pennsylvania bridges.

   
• Meal. After an afternoon of excitement, it was back to Pittsburgh for dinner. This time to the Squirrel Hill neighborhood, where even the hipster mannequins are battling receding hairlines...

HIPSTER MANNEQUIN!!!

Killer goatee though. Apparently that's the default facial hair configuration in the greater Pittsburgh arean.

   
And now? Time to lapse into a coma of relaxation...

   

Pittsburgh, Part Two

Posted on June 7th, 2014

Dave!Today was all about the Pittsburgh Pirates.

But first it was all about tailgating in the parking lot, which seemed to be a great excuse for people to eat a lot of cheese...

A Pittsburgh Cheeseburger
I promise there's a burger under there somewhere.

If nothing else, it turned out to be a beautiful day to stand in line for the toilet...

Porta Potty Line
It's only a matter of time before tailgaters start bringing their own toilets.

And then? LET'S GO BUCS!

Raise the Jolly Roger!
Today I am tattoo appropriate!

The game was against the #goddamnbrewers. Last night the Pirates slaughtered Milwaukee 15 to 5, so everybody knew that the Brewers would be out for blood. And though my heart will forever belong to the Boston Red Sox, there's nothing quite watching a home-game and rooting for the Bucs, because PNC Park is easily one of the most beautiful ballparks in the country with some of the most devoted fans in baseball. I love it here...

Beautiful PNC Park
Lovely weather for a bloodbath, I think.

Oh... and if you look up, the moon was out again...

Beautiful PNC Park
Why is it that the moon always photographs smaller than it looks in Real Life?

And here's the obligatory panorama shot...

Beautiful PNC Park
Yes, you can totally click on the photo to embiggen the image.

Seats directly behind home plate? Yes please...

Beautiful PNC Park
Hoping for another run from Neil Walker.

The game may have been a bust for the Bucs since they lost 3 to 9 (I overheard the term "shit the bed" more times in the last hour of the game than I've heard in the past year), but I got to spend time with one of my favorite people on earth, so it was all good...

Becky and Dave2
That's right... bask in our adorableness!

After the game was a concert by the Goo Goo Dolls. I pretty much lost track of them after Dizzy Up The Girl, but they played a lot of their older (i.e. more popular) stuff, so it ended up being a pretty great set...

The Goo Goo Dolls at PNC Park
"PLAY IRIS! PLAY IRIS!"

The Goo Goo Dolls at PNC Park
"SERIOUSLY, DUDE, PLAY IRIS! PLAY IRIS! PLAY IRIS! PLAY IRIS!"

After a terrific day at the ballpark, Becky took us to the original Primanti Brothers, which is a Pittsburgh dining institution...

Primanti Bros. Diner
How about a sandwich at Primanti Bros.?

Primanti Bros. Diner
Now THAT'S what a greasy spoon diner looks like!

The eatery has been featured on television several times, mostly due to their unique sandwiches. They use this amazing thick-cut French bread, pile it high with a number of different meat choices, and always top everything with a scoop of coleslaw, French fries, and tomatoes. I had a Double-Egg & Cheese, skip the coleslaw, which was delicious. But it looked a little boring compared to everybody else's sandwiches... like Becky's, which is the kind of thing you're supposed to order here...

Primanti Bros. Sandwiches!
Mine Egg & Cheese Sammy on top. Becky's Monster Sammy on the bottom.

And... that's the end to one fantastic Saturday in Pittsburgh.

   

Pittsburgh, Part One

Posted on June 6th, 2014

Dave!A short trip to Pittsburgh and one of my favorite people on earth!

Usually I stay at the Sheraton, which is across the river to the South side of the city. It's next door to the Hard Rock Cafe, which is usually the reason I'm here (like the pin event I attended last year). But this time I stayed at the Westin downtown, which is an older hotel... but still a nice one. And my favorite part of the hotel is the lobby where they have a mosaic of Pittsburgh in the floor that's just fantastic...

Westin Pittsburgh Mosaic
Despite the low resolution, it's surprisingly recognizable.

Westin Pittsburgh Mosaic
It's PNC Baseball Park! LET'S GO BUCS!

But anyway...

Becky and my first stop was for lunch at Market Square... and margaritas...

Top Shelf Margaritas
That'll be $46 please!

One time I got incredibly sick off of tequila and had to stop drinking it. Ever since then, I've hated even the smell of it. Recently I discovered it's not tequila I hate... it's cheap tequila I can't stand. Spend $10 a shot on the good stuff, and a margarita is about one of the most refreshing and delicious drinks on earth. The bad news is that a tall margarita with two shots costs $23 each. But it's money well-spent, because it tastes amazing. So now I'm going through kind of a tequila renaissance.

The weather was so beautiful that we walked down to the Three Rivers Arts Festival to see what was going on...

Moon Through the Trees
Smack dab in the middle there... it's THE MOON! Don't believe me?

Moon Through the Trees
HOW ABOUT NOW?!?

Market Square is directly across from PPG Place, "The Crown Jewel of the Pittsburgh skyline"...

PPG Place Pittsburgh Building
It's like a castle or Camelot or something... if it were made of glass.

There's a LOT of glass around. Nearly 1 million square feet, in fact...

PPG Place Plaza
Click the photo to embiggen the image...

It's very shiny...

Dave2 and Becky Reflected
The glass is so shiny you can see yourself in it.

PPG Place also has Ketchup Dinosaur...

Ketchup Dino

And a Disco Dinosaur...

Disco Dino

Eventually we met up with The Verdant Dude himself, B.E. Earl, for a crawl down Carson Street in the South Side. Starting with Jack's...

Jack's Bar
So many signs... I don't know where to look!

Have you had a Dude in your mouth?
Ah, there you go then.

Then we stopped at the Rowdy Buck, where I was tempted by a Pickleback, but the combination of whiskey and pickle juice sounds like it could be toxic...

Pickleback Rider
Ride 'em Cowgirl.

After dinner at Piper's Pub, Becky took us up Mt. Washington for a view of the city...

Pittsburgh at Night
Shiny!

Annnd... I'm going to drop into a beer-induced coma now.

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Randyland

Posted on June 4th, 2013

Dave!Back home, safe and sound.

Yesterday Becky took me to Randyland, which is a photographer's dream come true in Pittsburgh. From the minute I saw all the bright colors and craziness that is so beautifully splashed across everything, I knew I wanted to play around with some HDR photos to see what I could capture.

Welcome to Randy's head...

Randyland Corner Street

Randyland Pigs

Randyland Bistro

Randyland Heads

Randy Dinosaurs

Randyland and Becky

Randyland Gator and Snake

Randyland Garden

Randyland Imp

Randyland Doors

Randyland Signpost

If you're ever in the Pittsburgh area, Randyland is well worth checking out!

   

Church

Posted on June 3rd, 2013

Dave!I didn't know what could possibly top the Ke$ha concert last night, but darn if we didn't try!

After packing up all my crap and stowing my luggage, Becky picked me up for a day of fun and excitement that only Pittsburgh can offer.

Breakfast was at a cool, old-fashioned diner and consisted of crepe-pancakes, scrambled eggs, and Lyonnaise potatoes. If you're hungry in the morning, then Pamela's Diner is the place to go...

Pamela's Diner Pittsburgh
You just know that if there's a pink door it's gotta be good, right?

   
I could have spent an hour wandering around looking at all the knick-knacks and photos that cover the walls...

Pamela's Pittsburgh Vintage
There may be two packs of smokes on the counter, but you still can't smoke in the restaurant!

   
After stuffing our faces, we wandered around the corner to The Strip District, which is an eclectic neighborhood packed with lots of cool shops, restaurants, and other wonders...

DeLuca's Diner Pittsburgh
Who can resist taking a photo of a building with a giant chicken on it? Not me!

Park Here!
Just about everything in The Strip is interesting in one way or another.

Improvement of the Poor Sign
A remnant of a time when helping the poor was considered a good thing.

Wholey's Singing Pigs!
At Wholey's Market, which is much like Disneyland with it's animatronic cows and pigs and such.

Becky and The Wholey's Bear
Becky takes her life in her hands when she gets friendly with the ferocious Wholey's Market Bear!

Piñata Market
Happy piñatas at the Mexican market want you to beat them with a stick until their guts fall out. Sick!

Becky is a Cowgirl
Becky searches for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Hat at the Mexican market.

   
As we were walking back to Becky's car, I was compelled to stop at a mini-donut shop. Like most people, I don't possess the will-power to resist a freshly-made, warm, mini-donut that's straight from the hot oil...

Peace, Love, and Little Donuts!
If forced to choose between peace, love, or mini-donuts, I'd take the fucking donut.

Little Donuts Maker
If I had this job, I would weigh 700 pounds and have oil for blood.

   
As punishment for giving in to mini-donut temptation, Becky thought I needed to go to Church...

The Church Brew Works
Surprise! It's The Church Brew Works, built in an actual old church building!

The Church Brewery
Yes, they are totally brewing beer where the church's altar once stood.

The Church Brewery Glass
Mmmmm... beer! Becky came up with this great shot idea, I just copied her.

Sleepy Moth
Becky spotted this sleepy moth hanging on for dear life in a flower bed outside The Church. He's scary-cute.

   
From there Becky decided to run out to Randyland, which is so interesting on its own that I'm saving the details from THAT visit for tomorrow's entry...

Randyland!
It's pretty remarkable in a photo, but really needs to be seen in person to be truly appreciated.

   
From here it was off to see Star Trek Into Darkness in IMAX OMNIMAX at the Carnegie Science Center.

Then it was time to get me out to the airport. But we simply couldn't say goodbye until we had one last beer. This time at Sharp Edge Creekhouse...

Sharp Edge Creekhouse
Yeah, that goose tap handle is pretty much the ultimate tap handle.

   
Earlier it was pointed out to me that I was hanging out with Princess Merida (from the Pixar movie Brave) all weekend. I had always thought of Becky as a QUEEN, but darn if it wasn't true...

Princess Becky meet Princess Merida

   
And thus ends my perfect four days in Pittsburgh with the coolest of Disney's princesses.

Going back to Real Life ain't gonna be easy after this.

   

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