Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Knitting the Bridge

I'm happy to report that I completed my #funaday2013 project! I'll have details about where and when you can view the final product - along with other amazing #funaday2013 projects - in an upcoming post. Today, we cover the next project I'm set to tackle. Another involving knitting. I'm making a panel for Knit the Bridge!

The very beginning of my panel.

This is a larger undertaking than I initially realized, but I am determined to get it done. The deadline for panels is listed as Spring/Summer 2013. Let's hope it's more summer than spring. I've got a lot of knitting to do!

One good thing about winter: lots of nights with The West Wing and a big ol' ball of yarn.
Just how much larger of an undertaking? Let's do the math. The finished panel will be 34 in x 72 in - and that's a total of 2,448 sq in. As you can see below, I've finished one stripe in my panel already. I've got a second stripe in the works. The knitting I've completed so far totals 309 sq in.

Only 2,139 sq in to go... Wish me luck. I am definitely going to need it!

Monday, February 18, 2013

EvBetPGH Instagram: February 2013

We've passed the halfway-through-February point! We're less than a month away from Daylight Savings! It's continually staying lighter later! Sure, out my window Gross Street may have a coating of snow right now, meaning getting groceries today may take walking instead of biking (considerably more annoying of a task when it takes three times as long to walk). But! We're nearing the end of the long, gray, dark tunnel of winter in Pittsburgh. Soon more outdoor adventures will happen. Soon long bike rides will be possible. Soon leisurely walks of discovery will return.

The older I get, the grumpier I get about winter. I'm okay with that. This year I've enjoyed a bit of a hibernation, which causes fewer posts here, but more time daydreaming about all the awesome things to come in 2013 when it doesn't hurt to be outside. [NOTE: I love hot weather, so summer does not really bother me much.]

In lieu of anything actually happening of PGH-related note in my life the past couple weeks, here's a smattering of the things I found myself doing in the first half of February. 

Working on my first PGH Filmmakers assignment! More to come from this later. The pictures and negatives are currently in the teacher's hands for grading. Grading! Getting learned is weird!

This is a legitimate t-shirt you could purchase. At the Army-Navy store on Liberty downtown. I am doing everything in my power to keep this from ending up in my dresser drawer, but I can't promise anything.

Tyler Kennedy was my Valentine. I'm okay with that.

PHIL COLLINS DAY HAPPENED! There are few days during the year when I wake up feeling pointedly excited. Phil Collins Day is one of them. I celebrated with friends who love me enough to indulge my weird obsession. For them, I am grateful.

When things in my life just make sense: dinos in the Land of Confusion video, something watched countless times during my youth. 

On Saturday a bunch of us caravanned out to Greensburg where we helped one friend's parents move. I have never moved a whole house before! Only ever apartments. It was an exhausting and fun day. It made the excitement about potential homebuying in the not-too-distant future return to my brain in full force. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Saturdays with Jerry: A Trip to Jerry's Records

This afternoon Corey and I worked on our first assignment for our Filmmakers course. Carrie and Allie were our willing photography subjects. I ran Allie around and up and down the Hillman Library for mine. Corey's took us to Jerry's Records in Squirrel Hill. It's been a while since I'd been there. I don't have a record player (I live in 2013 and there is Spotify and that's just easier), so record shopping is not a high priority. Though, I do buy records. Specifically Phil Collins records. They're scattered throughout my apartment. Which is creepy, I know.

I'm sure it's news to no one that Jerry's is the place for anyone with any interest in buying records to enjoy. The place is almost cave-like, with a near claustrophobic stairway into the main space. When explored further, there are more rooms and cramped hallways with records packed onto shelves. Here are some photos I took while wandering.  

Ah, yes. The Belly Dancing records.

I would buy a record player to be able to play ridiculous records solely from the Horror section.

Oh, and I'd play all the Phil Collins records.

Only found two "Canada" records. O, America.

Enjoy? I'm on Instagram as everythingbetterpgh. Feel free to follow for more peeks into what catches my eye around town.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Take a Walk: In the Snow

Last Sunday I had a lot of walking to do. I had to return something to Filmmakers. And then I had to trek from Bloomfield to Regent Square to meet up with Zack and Kate for an afternoon adventure. I didn't get past East Liberty though, as our exciting plans were sadly cancelled. I intended to take pictures throughout my snowy Sunday walk, but as I didn't get very far before turning back home, I only have a couple photos to share. Fortunately, they're both excellent.

Taken on Melwood, down the road from Filmmakers.

Robot on the Millvale Ave bridge into North Oakland.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Pittsburgh Moment: February 6, 2013

Who: Me & Allie, walking to the bus stop after work.
Where: Route is PPG One through Market Square past the Fairmont and down Liberty. Event takes place in front of the Fairmont.
When: This evening, while it was still light out at 5:30 p.m.

Today during lunch, Allie and I had just discussed how we always run into celebrities when we're together. Willem Dafoe in Market Square. Gus Van Sant at the Brillobox. Charlie Batch outside of the Fairmont. Well, we were walking past the Fairmont after work when I saw a man. He was becoming quickly surrounded by people holding objects (a broken hockey stick, a large piece of cardboard) and pens looking for autographs. I looked a little closer and recognized him immediately. But I was flustered, cause - I know who this is and it is exciting! And I couldn't for the life of me get the to come to my lips. "Allie - look! It's... It's..." Allie looks. I continue looking like a stumbling fool. "Chuck? Chuck...?" I say, knowing it's not at all right.

"That's Bill Cowher."

Of course it was. We high-fived and kept walking toward Wood Street. We were excited to see Bill Cowher, but we were more excited that it was staying lighter later.

Birthday Astronomer: A Night at the Observatory

The Allegheny Observatory sits atop appropriately named Observatory Hill in Riverview Park. My first visit there was for Stars, Galaxies, and the Cosmos, a class I took because it was supposedly an "easy" A. Quickly I would learn that the study of astronomy and I are not compatible. Something - no - everything about astronomy simply dumbfounds me. That isn't to say I wasn't fascinated by it. I just could not figure it out for the life of me. And somehow - still managed to get B.

I returned to the Observatory two weeks ago to celebrate the 30th birthday of a dear friend, the supremely talented Eric Lidji. We were treated to a unique tour of the place provided by a friend who has been running around the observatory since he was a kid. His family's involvement with the historical landmark led to a the knowledge of every cool nook and cranny throughout the building. And I do mean throughout. We adventured through the stacks of journals, we entered the crypt in complete dark, and - this was a birthday celebration after all - we ate cake in the amazing tiered library.

Here are some photos from our night at the observatory:

Birthday Astronomer.

The view from above.

Dusty, approaching ancient volumes.

Love the spine of Baker's Astronomy.

Maps to...something? Maybe the moon?

Of course, I found an Allison-interest-appropriate box of astronomy journals.

Unlike whoever that Rowland may be, this Rowland did not fare well studying the sky.

The city.
We got to see Jupiter in one of the telescopes. It was oddly comforting to see it up there in the sky, inconceivably far away. It looked just like it does in all the astronomy books I sold when I was a salesrep for Pearson up in Boston. I may never understand it, but the stars, galaxies and cosmos will always be a fascinating thing.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Born in PGH: Duane Michals

I've been taking a class at Pittsburgh Filmmakers. I'll have much more to say on that in upcoming posts. The point of telling you that now is to explain how I came to know of Duane Michals. In the first part of the class we are learning some basic photography, something I have always been interested in, but never schooled in. The other night, during the second half of class, we watched Duaneland, a documentary on photographer Duane Michals. It was my first time encountering him or his work, but I was immediately charmed.

Michals was born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, on February 18, 1932. McKeesport is just down the river from Pittsburgh, and during Michals' childhood a trolley ride away. So we're counting Michals under the Born in PGH designation. He is absolutely fascinating. He became interested in art while attending art classes at the Carnegie Institute (Carnegie Museum of Art). He left Pittsburgh and went to college in Denver and then to New York to study briefly at Parsons School of Design. During a holiday in the USSR (sounds like my kind of guy, taking holidays in non-holiday-esque places!), he realized his interest in photography, which set his career in motion.

Michals' major contribution: series of photos. 

Throughout the documentary, Michals is speaking to a group of students from his high school in McKeesport. He is being incredibly frank with them. His approach seems so no-holds-barred that I was cringing a bit thinking of the anxiety attacks the supervising teachers must have been having. He speaks about God, about being gay, and begs the students many times "ask me anything." I was instantly jealous that these high school students had this experience with him at that time in their lives.

One of Michals' portraits of Andy Warhol, another Slovak from Pittsburgh making a name for himself in the arts.

A portrait of Magritte.
The last part of the documentary features one of Michals' later-life projects, one that found him again in McKeesport. He took photos of his childhood home in complete disrepair and unfortunate early ruin. He double-exposed the photos and ended up with The House I Once Called Home: A Photographic Memoir with Verse.

A Post-Gazette article from 2004 gives details of Michals' life and his views on the subject. Apparently, he has promised his archive and art collection to the Carnegie, which endears him to me even more. He is a lovely person, a creative spirit, and he is Born in PGH.