Category Archives: Road Trips

So, they call it a Babymoon…


Apparently the newest annoying word for some time away is Babymoon.  It’s better than Daycation or Staycation, but still annoying.  The word is annoying, but the actual time away isn’t.  With the impending arrival getting closer and closer, many online pregnancy-related websites & email lists suggest taking a babymoon.  This goes especially for first time parents, as a nice little last fling before all of your apparent freedoms disappear.

We decided a while ago that a nice little getaway to a cabin would be the way to go.  We have been tent camping at Forest Ridge Cabins and Campgrounds before, but had never tried out the cabins.  They always looked quite inviting.  The campground itself is always clean, and the owners are quite hospitable.  The prices are competitive with other places that we checked out online, and really quite affordable.  Important for the babymoon aspect, it’s not that far away.  Cabins are our thing now I guess… since we honeymooned in one in Gatlinburg, TN.  It all just seemed to make sense.

We booked the date a while ago, assuming that since it was spring we’d have a nice warm weekend.  It was a nice weekend, but there was about 5 inches of snow on the ground, and the temperature never got much above freezing.

We stayed in the Allegheny cabin, and it was warm & cozy inside.  We brought along some DVD‘s, cooked some s’mores (with peanut butter cups) around the campfire, and just had a nice relaxing weekend.  The kitchen was stocked with all kinds of cookware and utensils, we made a nice steak dinner on Saturday.  I also made a friend in Oliver, one of the campground cats.  He strolled up as I was waiting for the last log to burn out on the campfire, then followed me up on the porch to hang out a but on top of the hot tub cover.  He liked to look in the window at us, then look away when he saw that we were looking at him.

I think we’ve decided that Forest Ridge is “our place” as far as camping when we’re not going camping at Living Waters.

Check out Forest Ridge on Facebook, Twitter, & Yelp, and check out some of our photos…

Go ahead, push the button… I dare you.


You know I hate public restrooms.  This sign may be a wave of the future.  Think it’s a good idea?  Think it will work?  Is it too easy to abuse?

Cleanliness is important to all of us...

Intimidating button…

I saw a full garbage can, & thought about pressing the button…but thought it may only be for emergencies not maintenance.  I didn’t want to be the guy that whined about the garbage can being full.  Then again, I’d rather empty a trash bag than pick it up off of the floor if I were an employee there.

Is a button the way to solve all of your bathroom problems? This reminded me of the pull-strings in hospital bathrooms.  Ha ha.  If you find one of these buttons, I dare you to push it & yell “I need someone to wipe!”

Muck Stuck Truck


Heh.  So, I got stuck in the mud today.  I found it amusing, thought you might too.  Without revealing what I do exactly or my employer, I can say I drive around a lot for a living.  I pulled off of a narrow country road to make way for a larger pickup with double-wide tires towing a trailer…  on to what I thought was a solid piece of land.  Turns out it was soggy muddy ground, sort of like quick sand.  I could feel the truck slowly tipping as soon as I pulled over.  I tried to rock back & forth in 4WD to get out, but didn’t want to bang the underside of the truck off of the edge of the road.  Luckily some other guys I work with were just a phone call & a few minutes away, and towed me out without incident.  A local also stopped to see if I was OK, and another guy working in the area did the same & even let me use his cell phone booster to make a call where my signal was weak.

So, if you’re ever in a bind, don’t panic.  People who are generally willing to help out are out there.

Dear Hotel Architects…


I’m not an architect, or a contractor, or even a toilet salesman… but I think I’ve found a flaw in a certain type of hotel room / bathroom setup.  I’m no germaphobe, but I believe this design to be quite unsanitary.

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What design?  The sink outside of the bathroom design.

Sure, it’s convenient to shave or brush your teeth while someone else is pooping or showering… But at what cost do we purchase this convenience?  The cost of a bazillion tiny germs all over the inside of the door handle after you wipe and before you wash your hands.  Sure, you can grab an extra wad of toilet paper for your journey outside.  How many people do that though?  How much microscopic fecal matter is already on that door handle?  Did the maid think to wipe it down?  What if you forget after you get out of the shower?  You just washed yourself, and now your hand may venture into a feculent festival of filth.

Am I doing something wrong here?  Am I missing something?  Let’s get this right so I don’t have to touch poop-encrusted (albeit microbial poop) door handles.

New BBQ Joints?


Pittsbugh BBQ Co. - Brisket Sandwich

Good BBQ helps to grow healthy sideburns.

Well, you probably know I like barbecue.  I’m a big fan, and I’m always willing to try out new places.  Well, new places that don’t have shrimp or other deathfish on the menu.  I’ve scoped out the web sites three places I haven’t tried… perhaps they’re rather new?  Can anyone tell me if they’ve been to any of these places & what they think?  (Or if they have any stuff on site that’s not listed on the online menu?)

Perhaps, like movie nights, I can organize a Pittsburgh (& surrounding area) BBQ tour?  Would anyone be interested?

I’d like to check out the following BBQ restaurants…

Of course we’d have to hit my favorites… Brentwood Express Rowdy BBQ, Pittsburgh Barbecue Co., & Clem’s Cafe!

Were else are the deathfish-free BBQ joints in in & around the ‘Burgh?

A wing tour has been suggested, but 95% of the places that fry wings also fry deathfish, so I’ll stick with Gooski’s.

Aside

Check out Omawarisan’s tales… Continue reading

So, is Taco Bell in on the joke, or not?


The other day I made a Facebook post about Taco Bell‘s commercials.  It got people excited, and it got me thinking.  Are Taco Bell’s commercials purposely aiming at stoners?  I would say yes, but maybe I’m over-thinking it.  Maybe it’s a humorous accident.  Maybe I just really want to try that Dorito taco shell.

Eric Carroll | Why doesn't Taco Bell just give up on "4th meal" and "late night munchies" and this Doritos shell business and just say "Taco Bell, get high and come to the border!" That "bawww" in their commercials might as well say "bong". Cheech & Chong would probably do their commercials. They reunited & probably could use some cash.  _____  Guy Montag | i have no idea what you're talking about  Jocelyn Sunder | double like!  Eric Carroll | I may have to blog about this.  Mike Copen | When are we getting the taco bell breakfast that cali gets?  Eric Carroll | When our stoners learn to stay up that late?  Jocelyn Sunder | will never happen dude, they're too tired  Jocelyn Sunder | stoners are anti-morning  Eric Carroll | Damn dirty hippies.  Jocelyn Sunder | hey man that's racist.  Jocelyn Sunder | you don't have to be a dirty hippie to be a stoner and the anti-pot dirty hippies probably don't appreciate your stereotypes lol  Eric Carroll | Wait, what?  Jocelyn Sunder | has anyone actually tried the dorito shell taco? just out of curiosity cause it looks gross to me but... you never know.  Eric Carroll | Ha ha. Pot smokers don't have any reading comprehension unless they're high... so they won't care when they're able to understand my statements, and won't understand my statements when they'd care.  Eric Carroll | The Dorito shell kind of scares me.  Eric Carroll ‎| ...And Taco Bell is starting to have the Pizza Hut effect on me.  Eric Carroll | http://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com/2010/12/19/wald-maze-letter-for-pizza-hut/  Eric Yanyo | I dunno but I'm getting awful sick of that stupid commercial where the dude drove 900 miles to get a stupid dorito taco. More like, he drove 900 seconds to the local 7-11 to get a bag of taco flavored doritoes and then take a nap.  Eric Carroll | Ha. He drove 3 miles and forgot where he was going. That's how he ended up 900 miles away.  Chuck Adams | They should stop marketing their laxatives as food...  Eric Carroll | Late night trotskis...  Kyle Healy | That's my bronco berry you're hating on pal  Andrew Welsh | The Doritos shell is amazing. I love them and wish I could eat one every day.  Eric Carroll | I'm not hating on it, I'm just saying stop hinting... and just say it.

♫♬ Late night munchies... ♫♬

I (of course) decided to write to Taco Bell and ask them about it.  Here’s what I sent…

⌓⌓⌓

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
To: Rob.Poetsch@yum.com
Cc: Brittany.Hunsaker@yum.com
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2012
Subject:
⌓ Taco Bell’s Drug Culture Advertising?

¡Hola, hombres from the border!

I’ve been wondering about your advertising for quite some time.  With phrases like “late night munchies” and “fourth meal”, are you actively trying to evoke a connection to pot smokers?  That “baaaawww” yell in you jingle might as well be the word “bong”.  Now with this Dorito taco shell and the kid that drove 900 miles to get one, it’s just pushing it over the edge.  Are you planning a film for it in the vein of Harold & Kumar go to White Castle?  If not, maybe you should.

I just can’t tell if you’re aware of it or not.  It’s genius either way.

If you are aware of it, wow.  Way to straddle the subculture line while subliminally (or not so) appealing to what has to be a core makeup of your consumer base.  If you’re not aware of it, then… well, maybe you ought to talk to your advertising agency or marketing department or whoever handles such campaigns.  They are the true geniuses to behold here.

Maybe I’m just hyper-aware of nonsense or trying to make correlations where there are none… and you really see no connection or intend one with your commercials and stoner culture.  I mean, I don’t partake… but consider myself well informed as I have seen Friday, Half Baked, and several Cheech & Chong movies.  I refuse to think I’m the only one that sees it.

If I see it, surely you see it too?  Why don’t you just come out & say it?  I have some possible new slogans for you…

“Cure the munchies with our crunchies!”
“Get baked at the Bell!”
“Fishbowl then drive thru!”
“Open late with a well lit parking lot for shady deals!”

Well, that last one needs some work.  I’m anxious to hear your thoughts on the whole thing.  Thank you for your time.

Inquisitively,
-Waldo
world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com

⌓⌓⌓

TACO BELL | LEGALIZE POT OUR MENU IS FOR STONERS

At least the employees here agree (if this is indeed real).

I’m anxious to see what they send back.  Will they acknowledge it?  Will they be shocked?  Will they act surprised?

Did they give that kid enough coupons to equal 55½¢ per mile?  That’s $500 in Taco Bell Bucks… and depending on the year of that Volvo, he might not be getting that good of a deal on the gas milage.

I know, I’m over-analyzing the thing… but that’s what makes my blog fun.

I feel like they know exactly what they’re doing, but I guess there’s a fine line between finding your market & making overt marijuana references.  Perhaps the latter would get some people up in arms.  Has weed not become that acceptable yet?  I know functioning contributing members of society that smoke… but then again I have seen some people that are consumed by it.

TACO BELL | WE SUPPORT PROPOSITION 19 ~LOL~

They don't really make tilde characters for those signs, do they?

I guess it’s still illegal… so they can’t tell you to bake up & amble slowly to the border.  Actually, a string of “get high responsibly & feed yourself at Taco Bell” ads would be really really funny… or a play on the medical/medicinal angle.  Health food to go with your special green medicine & help with that nasty glaucoma?

Do you feel like Taco Bell knows what they’re doing, or do you think it’s a string of coincidence?

Are they advertising to stoners and dirty pot smoking hippies (I use that term with affection), or am I thinking too much?

Would you drive 900 miles for a Dorito shell taco?  Would you do it if Taco Bell footed the bill?  Have you tried one?  Did you like it?

Do you get late night munchies?  Do you enjoy a fourth meal?  Are you a dirty pot smoking hippie?  Do you work at Taco Bell’s ad agency?

Tunnel Monster ☠ Artist Renderings


So, I had some Tunnel Monster submissions, but I’d like some more.  These hail from Josh, Joel, & Ian. Thanks to those guys for being awesome and taking the time to create these artist renderings.  These men are true believers in the Tunnel Monster.

No replies from anyone at History or Discovery either.  Poo, I say.  Poo.  Poo indeed.

Get on it, people!  We need more!  Aren’t you curious as to what the Tunnel Monster may look like?  No one put a Sarlacc in a tunnel hole?  I find your lack of participation disturbing.

Not submissions, but fun recommendations from Zemanta…

Tunnel monster.jpg

Tunnel monster.jpg (Photo credit: Oyvind Solstad)

monster in the tunnel

monster in the tunnel (Photo credit: danielle_blue)

The Special Edition version of the sarlacc wit...

Image via Wikipedia

Inspiration from Hoke·E·Geez (My new ‘New York Pro’ Strat copy)


So, I bought a guitar this past Saturday.  I wasn’t looking for a guitar.  This guitar was looking for me.

Hoke·E·Geez | INDOOR FLEA MARKET · CRAFTS

...and SO MUCH MORE.

Some of my extended family had rented out the lodge at our church camp for the weekend.  My cousin & I were out killing time and exploring while the ladies stayed in for their main objective; scrapbooking.  When in the area with time on my hands, a trip to Hoke·E·Geez is an absolute must.  It’s located right on Route 30 in Bedford PA by the Sheetz(Sheetz is a good bright red & yellow landmark, right?)

In what was once (perhaps obviously for people my age and older) an Ames department store, rests the one of the craziest/coolest places I have ever been.  My first trip there was in search of antiques… I collect old Coca~Cola & other glass bottles.  I had no idea what I was in for.  Hoke·E·Geez is full of …Everything. 

Stuffed Squirrel on display (& for sale!) at Hoke·E·Geez (Bedford, PA)

"Help! I'm not dead! Some redneck just stapled my nuts to this driftwood!"

It’s got crafts, antiques (from old pop bottles to the machines), furniture, a weird leather biker-jacket section, a hardware section like someone emptied a Harbor Freight in 1978 and dumped it there, of records, new stuff made to look old (think the store in Cracker Barrel), toys, tools, books, records, a section chock full of cassette tapes (mostly hair metal), musical instruments of all varieties, a stuffed squirrel that my cousin photographed with his phone, nunchucks, swords, toilets, knives, flooring, gun parts, cabinetry, pistol crossbows, stuff you’d see in a thrift store or at a garage sale, a Weinermobile pedal car, … and other scattered oddities/treasures.

Yeah, I said musical instruments.  Of course, I flock nearly immediately to the old guitars.  Hoke-E-Geez also serves as an aged acoustic graveyard.  They have several dried out yet beautiful acoustics ravaged by time & strings that pull the neck past the point of no return. They would be great as decorations, or for this…

Guiar Fail | Acoustic Guitar Recycling

Guiar Fail | Acoustic Guitar Recycling

There I Fixed It | First Smash, Then Season

There I Fixed It | First Smash, Then Season

In fact, if I ever find one for the right price, it might make a cool antique bottle shelf… with some glass shelves & a light or 2.

Back to the story at hand though…  There we are strolling through the wonderland that is Hoke·E·Geez, like a bee doing its “tell the others where the honey is” dance. We were exclaiming “Woah!”, “Look at that!”, or “What is that?” with each erratic hop to the next section.

Toy Accordion (or Button Box?)

I can already play "Iron Man" and "Happy Birthday" (very poorly).

The first beauty I spied was this toy accordion for $12 and change.  It seems ridiculous and awesome.  Maybe I’ve seen The Bloody Seamen one too many times lately.  Looking online, it seems to be a fair price… and not difficult to master. I’m not sure of the name brand.  I have no idea if it’s a Hohner, Schylling, Barcelona, First Act, or something else.  I have found a bunch online that look similar.  This doesn’t match the colors of any others exactly, and of course it has no brand/name/logo in it.  Also, it appears that I have been shorted a book.  Also, is this really an accordion, or is it just a button box?  What’s the difference?  Are the butterfly-like designs up top too girly?

The next thing of interest that I saw was this beautiful New York Pro Strat knockoff…

New York Pro - Natural Finish Strat Copy
“Psst… you, yeah you… buy me. Yeah. I know I’m not a goofy guitar, but you need me. Look at my woodgrain. It’s not fancy or elegant, it’s just ‘there’. Buy me. I probably have really crappy electronics and hardware. Buy me. I bet no one has ever heard of ‘New York Pro’ or knows where we’re made. Buy me!
New York Pro - Strat Copy

New York Pro - Strat Copy

Well, the photo to the left is the photo that I sent to my wife along with the price, asking (only half kidding) if I should buy it.  There was some other black no-name Strat copy behind it.  The body on that black POS wasn’t nearly as solid, hefty,  or well-cut.

My cousin pointed it out I believe, & remarked on the natural finish.  I was stuck drooling over the $95 price tag since the neck was straight, there were no cracks, and it was nice solid body.  This was about the time we got into a conversation with a local cat who was into weird guitars and punk rock… and actually in a punk rock band up that way.  I can’t remember the name of the band.  I need to pop stuff like that into my phone.  The guy stopped & asked if I really had an accordion in the box marked “Accordion”.  I showed it to him & he’s the one that remarked that it was a button box & not an accordion.  After talking forever about weird guitars, rocking out, and goofy venues… we moved on.  He mentioned that there were other guitars “over there” pointing to a little music store-like area within the hallowed walls of Hoke·E·Geez.

This is where we happened upon some beast, made by a local cat that goes by Merle Kegg or Merle R. Kegg.  One of his custom-built axes had the letters “M R K” on the headstock.  The first one I spotted was a doubleneck… one 6 string guitar & one mandolin neck.  Yeah.  You read that right.

Merle R. Kegg - Guitar/Mandolin Doubleneck

Merle R. Kegg - Guitar/Mandolin Doubleneck

I apologize for the horrible quality cell phone photos, but I’m sure you get the point.  I find it an odd placement for the pickups… but then again some people like that neck pickup sound.  I generally stick as close to the bridge as possible.  The custom cases are pretty cool.  Then I came upon this one…

Merle R. Kegg - White Guitar

Merle R. Kegg - White Guitar

It caught my eye, and I believe the price was only $64 or $65… but I didn’t even take it out of the case once I got a closer look.  If there was a Regretsy-like site for homemade guitars, this may top them all.  I mean, I love the shape… and I respect the intent and the labor that went into this beast, but… wow.  The placement of the bridge directly up the neck’s ass is crazy.  The pickguard looks like flooring or wall tile.  I’m hoping this cat is Amish or 97 years old or has 7 fingers total or something.  I hate to be so harsh, but when I think a guitar is ugly, we have a problem on our hands.  There was no attempt to smooth out the edges or anything… the paint is applied like it’s the side of an outdoor shed… not a guitar.  Wow.  I’d like to see more of his work, maybe these were the odd ones out.  If you know anything more about his work, please post in the comments!  There were some other cool guitars (not made by Merle), ukuleles, mandolins & other stuff in that section.

I still hadn’t received a reply from the wife.  I got the accordion, my cousin picked up a few things, and off we went.

When we got back to camp, I asked my wife if she had seen the text with the photo.  She hadn’t.  She checked it out & liked it.  She asked that if I got it I could place it on the stand in the living room instead of my Batman Logo guitar.  She liked the wood (which I have since come to learn is mahogany).  We talked it over and she suggested that I go get it.  I told her it would need new guts, but she was still behind the idea.  After lunch, my cousin went to a nearby farm to hunt coyotes, and I went back to Hoke·E·Geez to hunt that guitar.

I came back with my prize:

New York Pro - Stratocaster Copy

New York Pro - Stratocaster Copy

I also managed to stop by the Bedford Banjo Shop.  It was small but very cool and reasonably priced in there.  They had banjos, guitars, ukuleles, mandolins, & more.  They were also very friendly and quite busy.  I tried to stop by another store nearby, but they were closed as it was after 2:00pm.

I have plans for this guitar… GFS Lil Killer rail pickups, some wooden knobs, a leopard-print pickguard, black hardware (& bridge & tuners), and I guess a leopard-print strap.  As soon as I put away some money, I hope to get all this stuff & have it all set up nice & pretty.  My go-to guitar guy has been Aaron at Lawrence Music lately.  He helped set up the Batman Logo guitar… and dropped in my Seymour Duncans.

Oh what I'm gonna do to this guitar...

Oh what I'm gonna do to this guitar...

You didn’t think I’d leave it alone did you?  It needs something in order to fit in with my other guitars.

I’m still at a loss with any concrete information about the New York Pro brand.  I’m not sure if it’s pumped out of a Chinese factory that puts many different brands on the same guitars?  They do have an odd cut in the top of the headstock that seems to be on every NY Pro guitar I’ve seen online.  I’ve seen them as kit guitars, for $99, for $149.99 and for $279.95.  Maybe they’re made by Galaxy Guitars and the same as their Starfire line?  It looks like they might call it the “Galaxy New York Pro Star Gazer”.  They may be distributed by Lou Capece.  I may have to write to them for more information.

If you have any comments/stories about Hoke·E·Geez, any information about the accordion/button box, any info on that other guitar store in Bedford, any information about the New York Pro brand, or any comments/suggestions about my plans for the guitar… I’d love to hear ‘em!  Please share in the comments below!

Zero8


Zero8 | Resto-Bar

Restaurant sans allergène

I’m going to need to get my passport, a long weekend, and maybe even a French/English dictionary so I can drive to Montreal and have several meals at my new ideal vacation destination: Zero8

I just learned of the wonderful existence of Zero8 thanks to the ever informative Allergy Eats Blog.  Paul at Allergy Eats is always on top of current allergy issues with restaurants (like recent fast-food menu changes), and it’s great to see that a restaurant like this even exists in the first place.  What’s their deal?

Well, they are free of the top 8 allergens, plus a few other things… and seem to be extremely sensitive to the needs of those with food allergies, food intolerances, and celiac disease.  This quote alone from their “Learn More” page is really incredibly comforting:

As everyone suffering from food allergies knows, going to the restaurant with family, friends or colleagues is not always enjoyable: limited knowledge of the ingredients used in dishes, fear of cross-contamination, lack of confidence in the staff are some of the worries that can come with ordering a simple meal!

A food allergy cannot be taken lightly. Difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, inflammation and vomiting are some of the extreme reactions that the immune system can have when confronted with a food protein. The consequences can be dramatic. Serious allergies can cause an anaphylactic shock, a violent reaction that can cause loss of consciousness and sometimes death.

At Zero8 we offer a secure environment where you can eat with confidence. We guarantee a worry-free meal!

…And something more restaurants ought to understand, express, & practice.  Or at least this could translate to other restaurants:

Since most food allergies are caused by the 9 priority allergens, you may be allergic to other foods. That is why we identify all of the ingredients in our dishes on our menu and that the list of our kitchen’s authorized ingredients is available upon request at any time. Whenever possible, we try to accommodate our clients’ requests in adapting dishes to their particular needs.

Zero8 pays attention to your needs!

Is that too much to ask?

I have no idea why Canada seems to be light-years ahead of the United States where food allergies are concerned.  They have better legislation, tolerance for epi-pens, and awareness.

Chefs in the US need to get behind this!  If there was a place like this in Pittsburgh, you could bet I’d be there all the time and I’d tell all my friends & family about the place.  There were a ton of Pittsburghers at the Food Allergy Walk last year, you have your clientele ready!

Click the Allergy Eats Blog logo to read about Paul’s experience there!

Allergy Eats Blog