Rinse and Repeat
September 17, 2008, 12:37 pm
Filed under: daily, Pittsburgh | Tags: , , , , ,

So I started writing an entry about how service workers judge patrons/customers. If you are sweet and charming you are far more likely to get what you want, have rules bent for you, etc, than if you are an ass. In most situations, we are willing to give you what you want already, and you remove that opportunity by treating us like a stinking pile of poo.

Then I realized that that’s kind of like writing about how adorable puppies are, and how roses smell good. Nobody gives a crap. It’s boring.

And then! Then I realized that I’m boring! I have absolutely nothing interesting to say at the moment. Life is good, school is chugging along, and that’s all she wrote. I am officially sick of the election. Me! I know, right? I would be happy if we could all vote today and call it a day. Nothing much is going to change in the next 6 weeks, and we all know it. The swing voters who will decide the election will do so by choosing almost arbitrarily the morning of.

So, I got nothing.

SO! I thought I would regale you with my totally boring life! Welcome to a day in the life of KATRINA.

6:00 am: Bear’s alarm goes off. The dog jumps to her feet, ecstatic to finally be starting the day. PLAY! PLAY PLAY PLAY! Bear eventually rolls out of bed after much nudging and goes downstairs to do whatever he does in the morning with the dog. I go back to sleep.

6:45 am: Bear comes back upstairs and gets dressed. Katie pounces on me and licks me until I wake up.

7:00 am: Bear leaves for work. I take Katie out in the back yard. She used to need this time to say good bye to him and accept that he’s leaving for the day. Now she ignores him in her pursuit for bunnies. And then she poops, next to the fence. Always next to the fence.

7:05 am- 7:30 am: Breakfast eating time! I have a cup of Twinings English Breakfast Tea with cream and sugar, and a bowl of cereal. Katie spends this time either terrorizing me by barking, getting into things, chewing things, and making me chase her around, or by sleeping soundly on the sofa. Lately, she’s more likely to do the latter rather than the former, PRAISE BE TO JESUS. I also watch the Today show and read The Internets.

7:30 am: Katie and I go upstairs so I can get dressed and she can watch me (pervert!) while laying on the bed. She exceeds her normal cuteness, and I spend at least 5 minutes fussing over her on the bed. Nom noms.

7:45 am: I get my things together for the day, make sure I have my keys, ID, and lunch.

7:50 am: I put a swipe of peanut butter in Katie’s hollow bone, and put it in her crate. She then goes into her crate willingly. Long gone are the days of fighting her! PRAISE BE TO JESUS.

7:55 am: I head out the door, and walk 2 blocks to the T station. I won’t tell you which one, because then it would be pretty obvious where in the Bustling Urban Metropolis of Dormont I live.

8:00 am: I arrive at the T station, show the nice T station lady my ID and wait.

Between 8:01 am and 8:06 am: The T arrives and I board it.

Around 8:30 am: I arrive in downtown and head to my bus stop. I pick up the next bus going to Oakland, usually one of the 61s or 71s.

Around 8:50 am: I arrive in Oakland. I then do one of a few things:

1. I go to class. This always occurs in the SIS building because I am a library student, and that is where we reside. That picture makes it look SO MUCH cooler than it actually is. It’s actually hideous, and sitting in it for class reminds one of being in a prison bunker. Only colder, with desks.

2. I go to work at Hillman Library lending desk. It is there that I slave for 25 hours a week, checking in and out books, retrieving reserve books, and loaning laptops. I also read The Internets, eat some food, and people watch. Oh, and homework.

3. I do school work some place on campus that is not class or work. This is rare.

Then, I go home. This happens one of two ways.

1. I take the 44U bus directly to Dormont. I do not take the bus/T backward to go home for a few reasons. They all boil down to IT IS TORTUROUSLY SLOW AND AWFUL to do that. The whole city of Pittsburgh is constantly under construction, including the new entrance into Oakland of Blvd of the Allies/Forbes/Fifth. That messes up traffic big time. Also, Fifth Avenue is the only way from Oakland to Downtown. Fifth Avenue is a one way street to Downtown with 1 bus line going in the opposite direction of traffic. Being on a bus in the bus lane going from Downtown to Oakland is awesome because there is no traffic. Being in a bus in traffic going downtown sucks because, well, there is traffic. It has taken me over an hour to go from Oakland to downtown via Fifth Ave in rush hour hours all day. Oakland and Downtown are about 2 miles apart. Yuck.

However, the 44 U bypasses all of that by hopping onto Blvd of the Allies and taking the Liberty Bridge/Tube combination and going straight to Dormont. Yay!

2. Bear picks me up. This happens rarely, but always on Tuesdays because I work till 9 and he is in Oakland anyways teaching the drumline. We then take 376 W to the Fort Pitt Bridge/Tunnels and head to Dormont.

Once at home, I cook, clean and serve my man like a good housewife always should. This usually occurs while watching mindless TV (Jon and Kate + 8, Scrubs, That 70’s Show, etc). Sometimes video games are played. The dog is usually chased around. I read The Internets. Fun videos like this are viewed and laughed at. Insert grocery shopping, doggie walking, financial adviser meetings, dog washing, gas buying and bill paying at random and you have a normal day.

Around 9 or 10, I take a shower. I use Tresemme shampoo and conditioner and whatever liquid soap I have around. I sometimes dry my hair. Then I sit around in my bathrobe until it’s time to go to bed, which is usually sometime after 11 pm. I pee one last time, brush my teeth, floss and put hand lotion on. If Bear is not ready to go to bed when I am, he and Katie come up with me and we all cuddle for a few minutes until I kick them out. They come up to bed later, after Katie pees for the final time. I have no memory of this, and can only surmise that they do in fact come to bed, since I find them there in the morning. By this time, Katie is usually completed exhausted and adorable.

“And when the morning light comes streaming in
I’ll get up and do it again

Jackson Browne, ‘The Pretender’


Substance (Abuse) for The Weekend
July 18, 2008, 8:53 am
Filed under: Pittsburgh | Tags: , ,

Ok, “Math Major” (HA! He’s actually a ‘Music Recording Technology’ major or some such nonsense), I’ll give you substance.

I have come to the startling conclusion that Pittsburgh is one of the most conservative cities, anywhere.

Shocking, right? I know! I was totally dumbfounded when I thought of it. Considering that about 80% of residents are Democrats, we haven’t had a non-Democrat mayor since before World War II, and the exceedingly liberal Post-Gazette is the only newspaper I see on the T in the morning, you would think that Pittsburgh wouldn’t be conservative, right?

You would be wrong.

What does it mean to be conservative? Merriam-Webster defines it as such:

1: preservative 2 a: of or relating to a philosophy of conservatism bcapitalized : of or constituting a political party professing the principles of conservatism: as (1): of or constituting a party of the United Kingdom advocating support of established institutions (2): progressive conservative 3 a: tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions : traditional b: marked by moderation or caution <a conservative estimate> c: marked by or relating to traditional norms of taste, elegance, style, or manners 4: of, relating to, or practicing Conservative Judaism”

We can ignore 4, for obvious reasons, even though we do have a large conservative and Orthodox Jewish population. I bolded the definitions that I feel are the best descriptors. Conservatives are cautious about change. This is why I maintain that housepets and children (I might be redundant there) are absolutely conservative. Conservatives do not trust change for change’s sake. If change needs to happen, it needs to be careful, deliberate and not to be rushed into heedlessly. Conservatives are reactionary: that is why they wait until change NEEDS to happen before instigating it, because unnecessary change can cause more problems than it fixes (Carter overthrowing the Shah of Iran is an example of this. We got rid of a moderately corrupt government and replaced it with a crazy, radical corrupt government. Hello, Ahmadinejad!)

Conservatives? They like things to stay the way they are unless they have to change. If the status quo works, why mess with it. Don’t fix what ain’t broke! Even then, they will probably dislike it, and will probably resist change despite all evidence that it needs to happen. If you’re really honest with yourself, you’ll realize you’re the same way in your day to day life. I know that if someone takes your parking space or disrupts your morning schedule, your whole day is thrown off. YOU KNOW IT’S TRUE. I’M LOOKING AT YOU, ROOMMATE.

Gee, does that sound like anyone in Pittsburgh?

Guess what. It’s not a giant taco stand. In fact, NOTHING HAS CHANGED. Potato Patch fries are still there, the rides are just as awesome, and I bet everyone has forgotten that it’s not owned by the original families.

  • Remember when the Rooney brothers started talking about selling the Steelers? Remember how Pittsburghers near and far reacted the same way they did to Kennywood being sold? Oh wait, that’s happening RIGHT NOW. Hair being pulled, clothes being rent. Doom, gloom, blah-di-blah.

Guess what. The Steelers will still be just as awesome. If they aren’t awesome, it won’t be the owners fault. Frankly, not having ownership become a battle between the many, MANY grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the prolific Rooneys is better for the organization. Less in-fighting, more Super Bowl rings. I think all Pittsburghers can support that idea.

  • Remember how Pittsburgh hasn’t elected a Republican since 1926?** Let’s be straight here. Pittsburgh city government is hopelessly corrupt. The finances are awful, the debt is huge, and the services are non-existent despite all that money. Lord Lukey Pants likes to do fun things like use police SUVs acquired via Homeland Security funds for his own personal use, use public funds to pay for his entertainment, and then play the hero when he ‘chooses’ to go to the Stanley cup games on his own buck. They supposedly consolidated the Row offices 2 years ago but nothing has changed. We would be better off standing at the Point, throwing twenties into the Ohio. Why is it so corrupt? Because the Democrats know they have no competition. They can get in there, do whatever they want, steal Pittsburghers blind and STILL GET REELECTED.

This is not a dis on Democrats, per se. If the Republicans had been in office for that long, the same situation would be here. Hell, if the Anarchists were in office for that long, NOTHING WOULD BE DIFFERENT. Governments work best when you don’t allow it to do anything. That can only happen when you have an equal amount of opposition on every side. Pittsburgh does not have that.

Why, you ask, does Pittsburgh not have any political opposition? Because Pittsburghers are conservative to a fault! (Yes, I did just say that). They vote Democrat because thats what their daddies did. Their daddies voted Democrat, because thats what their daddies did. Despite all evidence showing that the Pittsburgh Democratic party is hampering this city, and may in fact, have been part of the decline in the past 40 years, Pittsburghers still vote for them, because change is evil and to be avoided at any cost. The real election happens in the primaries; the actual election is a mere coronation of the Chosen Democrat.

The next time I hear a Pittsburgher try to tell me he’s a liberal, I’m going to laugh my skinny ass off. I’m more liberal than all of you, and I read the Trib! ON THE T! IN FRONT OF OTHER PEOPLE!

**Seriously, click that link to the list of Pittsburgh mayors. Go look at Joseph Barker, mayor from 1850-1851. He ran as an Anti-Catholic (in Pittsburgh? Really? He would be startled and horrified by the number of Catholic churches all over Western PA now): “elected while serving a year in jail after protesting the Catholic Church, he was illiterate but popular during a xenophobic time in the nation. Uniquely he is probably the only mayor in history to meet his death by “train decapitation”.”

That, my friends, is hilarious. And I wish they would provide a schematic to explain what exactly that means.

Reading Material for the Weekend:

You might not find this funny. But you would be wrong.

If by ‘depression’ she means ‘Munchausen’s By Proxy’, she would be right.

A Weekend of Discoveries
June 2, 2008, 10:50 am
Filed under: Pittsburgh | Tags: , ,

This weekend was a fruitful one. I feel morally obligated to share my finds with all of you.

1. Mekong Restaurant: Potomac Ave, Dormont. Bear and I decided we didn’t feel like cooking on Friday night, so we wandered around Dormont until we found something appetizing. What we found was Mekong restaurant. It is a small, hole-in-the-wall Chinese place that does not advertise. They have, hands-down the greatest Chinese food I have ever had. Recognizable chicken in my lemon chicken, whole shrimp in the spring roll, lots of pork in the won-ton soup. I didn’t feel as though I was drowning in salt and grease. Everything tasted fresh. They say that “Mom” (the old Chinese lady who runs the place and cooks the food) makes each dish individually, so you can make requests and know that they will be honored. Because of this, vegans and vegetarians are big fans of the place. I highly recommend it.

2. Did you know that hell is in Pittsburgh? Well, not quite in Pittsburgh. Halfway between the city and the airport is a place called Robinson Towne Center. It is the center of hell. If you go there, it sucks huge chunks of your time and gas that you never see again. You can see where you want to go, but they make it impossible to get there, so you drive around in circles for eternity. And you end up not buying what you came for because you couldn’t figure out how to get there. You want to go to Wal-Mart? TOO BAD. HERE IS A JOANN’S FABRIC AND A RED LOBSTER. HELL, I tell you. I am going to start calling it Robinson Towne Center of Hell.

Because I hate it so much, I wanted to find another Wal-Mart that doesn’t involve going to hell. Now, I’m sure many people consider Wal-Mart itself to be Hell, but whatever. Sometimes you need a cheap standing fan because you live in the 3rd floor of a non airconditioned house, and sleep next to a boyfriend who suspiciously resembles a furnace. Hence, I needed to go to Wal-Mart.

So I used google! And google is my friend because it told me that there is a Wal-Mart that is even closer to Dormont, that doesn’t involve going to hell! It is in Bethel Park! So we went there, and I bought a stand fan and a basil plant and some tomato fertilizer and all was right in the world.

We also discovered a Shop’N’Save next door to the Wal-Mart, for the times we need something totally crazy and bizarre (LIKE SOY SAUCE!) that our walkable Kuhn’s doesn’t have, but don’t feel like paying through the nose at Gian’ Iggle.


3. And just when I thought life couldn’t get any more sweet and successful, we drove passed an unfinished furniture store! Vitte’s! I KNOW! I LOVE UNFINISHED FURNITURE, TOO! Actually, I bet you’re wondering why the hell I would want unfinished furniture. Isn’t the whole point of buying furniture is having furniture that is complete and usable? Not so much. It’s cheaper and usually of higher quality if you get it whole, minus sanding and staining. Then you can stain it to your exact preferred color, and all is right in the world.

We’ll be making our FIRST FURNITURE PURCHASE together sometime this week: a pair of rubberwood night stands. Bear will then sand and stain them and voila! We will have a place to put our books and lamps and glasses that isn’t just a pile on the floor!

Unfortunately, once we have nightstands, we will have to go get lampshades for the free lamps we got from Bear’s parents. They are Ikea lamps. That means we will have to go to Ikea.

Which is in Robinson Towne Center of Hell.


If we’re the sootiest, I’m happy
May 5, 2008, 1:18 pm
Filed under: Pittsburgh | Tags: , ,

Last week, while home, Fox News reported gleefully that Los Angeles is no longer the nation’s sootiest city, as measured by the American Lung Association. Instead, that honor goes to Pittsburgh. I found the written AP article here. Specifically, Pittsburgh is number one in short-term soot.

Now, to be clear, it’s not that Pittsburgh has gotten sootier, but that Los Angeles has improved it’s soot output. Also, Los Angeles still wins in year-round soot pollution and smog, as well as being named the number one all-around polluted city. So what does this report mean to us? Not a whole lot. I’m a little pissed that the 20 second blurb didn’t go into any of these details. Instead, all they say is that we’re the sootiest, and Los Angeles is the second sootiest. They don’t discern between short term and year round (however, I can’t figure out the difference, either), nor do they mention that Los Angeles is still the worst polluted.

Furthermore, let’s talk about where Pittsburgh has come in the past decades. I watched the Cathedral of Learning being pressure-washed (sand-blasted, really) this past summer. Decades of soot literally poured right off the side of the building, and the building went from being streaked with black to bright and shiny again. Other area buildings have done the same: the Carnegie Museums, St. Paul’s Cathedral, other buildings downtown that I can’t remember right now. Naysayers might argue that we’re scrubbing off the history of the city for the sake of vanity, but really, that soot is just as bad for the building as it is for our lungs. Everytime it rained, the soot produced a weak acid in the rain water, giving the building an acid bath. Given enough time, and the building would have disintegrated. So, deal with it.

That soot IS our history, though. When my mom went to Pitt, businessmen didn’t wear their white shirts exposed when going to work. Nurses in their old-fashioned white uniforms had to carry them to work, and change there. Weather inversions trapped the soot and smog in the city for days in miserable summer heat.

Then, the steel mills left. The nature of the city was irreparably changed. We lost a lot of folks who had to go elsewhere for jobs. In recent years, we’ve built up a substantial medical and biotech industry that has energized the city and the local economy. Without the steel mills belching out pollution, the city’s atmosphere has cleaned up substantially.

We don’t have weather inversions anymore, and wearing white isn’t a fashion risk. Yes, it’s still dirty. I washed my old apartment’s windows, so this I know without a doubt.

But if Pittsburgh is the nation’s sootiest (short term soot! whatever that means) city, then I would argue that we’re in pretty good shape as a country. It would be nice if national news reports could include the other sides of the story. Or even any details! Slandering Pittsburgh is not necessary.

March 26, 2008, 8:56 am
Filed under: Pittsburgh | Tags: ,

I haven’t bitched about the weather for a while!

I won’t bitch today, either! You know why? It is currently 47 degrees outside. It will go up to 51, according to weather.com. Now I know that’s not record breaking. BUT! It is SEASONAL. Praise be! We’re above freezing! AND! It’s sunny!

I am going to go sacrifice a virginal pigeon or something. Maybe that will keep spring on the way. HALLELUJAH.

Grocery Store Antics
February 21, 2008, 3:03 pm
Filed under: daily, Food, Pittsburgh | Tags: , ,

On Thursdays, I normally have class from 9-10ish, 12-1, and 2:30-3:45. My last class was canceled due to The Plague, so I was finished at 1. While in my noon class, I realized that not only do i have HUGE TRACTS of time but I also can go to the grocery store! Which is great, because I had NO FOOD. None. I was basically living on cereal, peanut butter sandwiches, and heisting tea from Roommate!. (Sorry…). I would also drink milk a lot. It was time for grocery shopping.

Just to clarify: I do not have a car. I live in Oakland, about 15 minutes from campus. Campus is about a 10-15 minute bus ride from The Awesome Grocery Store (I love you Shadyside Market District Giant Eagle, you are my best friend). Grocery shopping normally requires large amounts of planning and preparation. I usually don’t have time to just devote up to 2 hours to get there and back with all my crap IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY. This was very exciting.

Then, as I waited patiently in line to buy sandwich meat, I hear a possibly real, but more likely fake Italian accent behind me: lo and behold, it is a Giant Eagle worker wandering around the store with a tray of CHEESE! I knew there was a reason I loved this store so much.

Even if I didn’t love cheese, I would have taken cheese from him anyways because his method of marketing? The best ever:

“Here we go, Giant Eagle shoppers, try some cheese. It is spicy cheese. Spicy cheese for spicy people! Get your spicy cheese, you spicy people, you!”

Make sure you read that in an Italian accent. Love it.

Good morning, Pittsburgh
February 19, 2008, 9:48 am
Filed under: daily, Pittsburgh | Tags: ,

I woke up this morning at my usual time, 7:30 am. My alarm doesn’t go off until 7:55 am, but, by golly, my body will wake up at 7:30am without fail. Damn me having an anal retentive internal clock. And once I’m awake, I’m wide awake, and probably not happy about it.

Some of us, like Bear, don’t have such cruel, dictatorial internal clocks. Some of us, like Bear, DO have cruel, dictatorial girlfriends with cruel dictatorial internal clocks. When he tells me to make sure he’s awake so he can leave for campus with me, BY GOD IT WILL BE DONE. By any means necessary, including methods not sanctioned by the Geneva Convention.

I have control issues sometimes.

After 20 minutes of harassing him out of slumber and bed, and 6 minutes of staring at him intently while he gets all his stuff together, we leave the house 1 minute after I would have preferred to have left (Having children is going to be hard for me. What with the control issues. And the anal-retentiveness. And the cruel, dictatorial clock.)

The sun was shimmering through the bare trees in Schenley Park, and snow was sifting down from the sky. Sunlight hit the snowflakes as they sauntered past me, flaunting their crisp crystalline forms. Sunlight on a snowy day is a rare pleasure, especially since now, an hour later, the sun has gone away, and the snow is swirling down faster.

I’m glad the sun and the snow ganged up on me to force me out of my morning forced march and into an early morning reverie. I really hope that The Grand Mayor O’Pittsburgh doesn’t go through with his war on snow. What else is weather in Pittsburgh except a lesson in cognitive dissonance?