So, in the spring I want to build an outdoor Matchbox car race track… 🚗


How cool is this?

Since the bean house was a bit of a bust, maybe this will be a hit.  It looks like it can get as complicated or remain as simple as you’d like.  I have pinned a bunch of ideas.  I’d like to include an area for construction vehicles… maybe tiny pebbles, not sand.  I hate sand.  I like the use of the tire in the one… and the dirt road, and tunnels.

 

 

 

 

 

I hope to snag a bunch of ideas online, specifically Pinterest I guess. Looks super fun for both kids, and me!

Have you done anything like this?

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Pittsburgh to me; “Slow down.”


So this morning when trying to get to church, we had an adventure.  We cross the city to go there, because it feels like home when we do make it, and it is where I grew up going.  Generally, it’s not a bad drive on a Sunday morning.

This morning, we left a little later than we like to because… we have two small children.

I knew that there was some sort of work in the Fort Pitt Tunnel this weekend, so I decided to take the Liberty Tubes instead.  Why?  No respectful yinzer takes the posted detour, and it was going west when I wanted to go east.

No work in the tubes, or even on the Liberty Bridge… except when we got to the ramp for the Blvd. of the Allies and we couldn’t go towards Monroeville.

Up Bigelow Blvd. to Craig St. through Oakland to try to get to Forbes Ave. and get on the Parkway in Squirrel Hill, and we ran into this along the way:

Lady Pittsburgh

Lady Pittsburgh

I have no idea what this was.  She was oblivious to the world around her, happily rolling down the middle of the street on her scooter with absolutely no regard for safety or traffic laws.  She eventually got on to the sidewalk, but she was rolling along at about a ½ mile per hour when I pulled up behind her.  All I could do was start a “What the…” phrase that I couldn’t finish with children in the car and laugh.  We laughed for the rest of the ride to church, and we weren’t done with the obstacles.

Apparently, Forbes was closed off right after the CMU campus for a race today.  Out & around to the Edgewood/Swissvale on-ramp to the parkway it was.

Seriously though, I know I’m not a resident of Pittsburgh proper, but I am a resident of Allegheny County.  Can we pass some sort of local ordinance that you can’t work on or around two major through-ways to the city at the same damn time?

We got there, and were only a little bit late.  The universe was testing my patience today.  I hope I passed.

 

Parenting Tact.


I’m certainly far from a perfect parent, and I realize everyone learns on the go, but I may have found something specific to work on over the weekend.

The wife and I have always said from the time the first one was in the womb that we would strive to answer questions with real answers, no baby talk, and to not unnecessarily dumb things down.  Certainly some situations call for a simplified answer, but we feel no reason to squash an inquisitive nature with short answers.

You may know I can be a little sarcasic and opnionated.  You may know that two-and-a-half year olds are great with absorb > imitate > repeat.

So, it may have not been my best moment when I provided an answer to a perfectly innocent question that was probably tinged a little too heavily with personal opinion and social commentary.

We were sitting in unusually heavy traffic headed into the Liberty tubes when my daughter asked her 493rd question for the car ride; “What’s that… what’s that white thing hanging from that lady’s mouth?” (She’s got a pretty damn good vocabulary for a 2yo if I do say so myself.)

My answer was “That’s a cigarette, she’s white trash.”  Immidately I got the “Eric!” along with an arm smack from the wife.

I did follow it up with an “Oh, that’s not nice.  I’m sorry.  We shouldn’t call people things like that, but cigarettes are bad for you.  Daddy doesn’t like them.  People are silly for smoking, it makes them sick.”

I find it hard to temper my opinions on such things.  Look, smoking is fine if you’re an adult and make your own decisions and are curteous of where you choose to partake.  I just have my own reasons for not being a fan and I never once needed the “don’t smoke” presentations in elementary school or Jr. High health class.

I want both of my kids to eventually make their own informed decisions about things.  I get that it’s part of my deal to help inform them.  They’ll get my opinions over time, no doubt.  I don’t want my opinions to be forced on to them, or so strong that they get a case of “wow, dad’s an asshole.” 

I just need to pace myself.  Temper the quick observation and judgement.  I’m still learning.

I have another idea for a TV show… #YouDriveLikeAnAss!


OK, so TLC never got back to me about Missionaries Impossible (where Mormons & Jehovah’s Witnesses try to convert each other), but I will not let complete and total failure or lack of any interest in actually following up on these sorts of things keep me from writing a blog about my newest idea.

It’s called: You Drive Like an Ass!

(Hey, Shit My Dad Says made it to TV.)

All I’d need would be a car with cameras all over it.  I could drive it around for a week and have enough footage for an entire season of shows.  All I would have to do is drive the speed limit, and obey all traffic laws… then watch everyone around be driven completely insane by that type of apparently abnormal behavior.

I see things several times a day where people are breaking traffic laws that we all read in the book from driver’s ed, things that are unsafe, or just plain aggravating; Like flags on cars, or even worse… eyelashes-on-healights aggravating.  Don’t even get me started on bicycles.

Get some people to edit it, you have a super low-cost hit.  You wouldn’t even need a narrator.  Just get some clips of Samuel L. Jackson swearing & we can edit them all in.

If we were in the movie Idiocracy (and don’t think we aren’treally.), this would rival Ow My Balls!

Someone get on this, and send me the car and a royalty check.

#YouDriveLikeAnAss!

#YouDriveLikeAnAss!

Decoding the car horn honk. (So, can you help this PA n00b out?) #beep ⚠


Recently, I was contacted by a non-native PA resident as a sort of last ditch effort in providing an answer behind the reason to the local-ish custom of horn honking.  I believe a Google led to my blog on horn honking traffic trolls (or maybe one of many road rage posts).  As much as I’d like to proclaim myself an authority on all things ridiculous in Southwestern & Central PA, I must confess that I’d only be guessing here.  So, I’d like to ask you to help this southern transplant understand the ways of us nothern-ish-ers here in Pennsyltucky.

Here’s the email:

Name: Victoria

Email: XXXX####@gmail.com

Website: http://victoriasviewpoint.wordpress.com

Message / Comment:

Hi,

I really hope you can help me, and answer my question before I either lose my mind, or go running out into the street to flag down a driver and ask him/her.

A bit of background: I moved to Central PA 5 years ago from Memphis, TN.  It’s a very long and stupid story but, suffice to say, I am stuck in Hollidaysburg for now.  It’s not a bad little town.  And, compared to Memphis, it’s safety personified.

Anyway, I have noticed over the years that people honk their horns here.  A lot.  And not (seemingly) to acknowledge a friend they see on the street, as I have noticed this happen when there is NO one on the street (my street, in particular).

It always bugged me, and no one seemed to know why people do this (or it’s a stupid reason and they are ashamed to tell me), but today I really got in a snit.

From around 2:30 this afternoon for a good 5 minutes, people were honking their horns.  A lot of people, honking a lot of horns.  It annoyed me.

I looked on the internet, which is where I found your blog about horn-honking, and since you are in Pittsburgh, I thought you might be able to explain to me what in hell is with all this honking!  I didn’t see anything on the internet that it’s, say, “Hollidaysburg Annual Honk-Your-Horn Day” at 2:30 PM or anything.

It’s snowing a bit, the first time this season.  Is this some kind of weird weather ritual I never noticed until today?  “Honk if you like snow”?

To me, it just seemed like an exaggerated example of something I hear on an all-too-often basis.  And it’s, as we say in Memphis, getting on my last nerve!

Do you know what’s going on with this behavior??

Thank you in advance,
Victoria

How’d you find my blog?: searching for “Pennsylvania horn honking”

Time: November 13, 2014 at 2:50 pm
IP Address: ##.###.###.#
Contact Form URL: https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com/contact/

Sent by a verified WordPress.com user.

And here are my thoughts:

Other than that, I’m stuck.  What say you, people of Pennsylvania?  Please comment below.  Victoria and I would appreciate it!

DON'T HONK | $350 PENALTY 🚌🚍🚙🚘🚗🚕🚖🚛🚚🚓🚔🚒🚑🚐

The Fort Pitt Friggin’ Bridge.


A quick look at Wikipedia shows that some guy in the late 1950s named George S. Richardson was actually a computer that designed the Fort Pitt Bridge. Well, maybe he used a computer. The Wikipedia article is surprisingly unclear.  It says that Richardson designed it, but it also says “It was the world’s first computer designed bowstring arch bridge.”

The bridge opened in 1959. It’s 2013. I’m not sure how many revisions (if any) have occurred since 1959. I get that in combination with the Fort Pitt Tunnel it’s quite popular, but certainly there should have been changes over the years. I haven’t checked census data, but it’s a safe bet that the region’s population & the number of people who own cars has risen quite dramatically since then.  I believe it’s time for an overhaul.

Did this ever make sense?

Did this ever make sense?  (From Bing)

The Fort Pitt Bridge - Chaos by Bing Maps

The green arrow shows where Jagoffs come from.

There are several problems, but the biggest one that drives me crazy is Yinzer drivers coming out of the city making their own lanes.  It’s bad enough that you have to sometimes cross 3 lanes in a short distance to make sure you’re in the correct lane to get where you’re going.  Check out the green arrow in the picture to the right.  This is the ramp coming from Liberty Ave. downtown.  Apparently during the afternoon commute out of the city, people coming up these two lanes decide to not merge into one lane as suggested by those funny little white dashed lines.  They also choose not to obey the only traffic sign on the bridge, a STOP sign.  Well, there’s 2 of them…  but both for the same lane.  These images from Google’s street view might show what I mean:

It’s pretty clear how one is supposed to merge in such a situation.  The STOP sign here is ridiculous.  It ought to be illegal to pull out from a full stop while traffic is whizzing by at a high speed.  It’s there nonetheless… and should be obeyed.  Like I said, there are many problems.  Let me get back to focusing on the crazy extra lane-making Yinzer drivers.  Look at this…

2 cars, 1 lane

2 cars, 1 lane

Those dingleberries are side-by-side in one lane.  So are these dingleberries behind them:

These guys are both dingleberries.

Following the lead…

Buses are the Devil.

Buses are the Devil.

Now, is this really helping the traffic situation?  No.  It does slow down everyone in my lane.  No one seems to want to stop, they pull out & to the left to go into the tunnel, or out & right to go to the West End.  I took those photos of these numb-nuts a while ago… but on a very special day a while ago, I saw a bus doing it.  Yes, a PAT bus was beside a car in a single lane, and trying to cut across into the lane to my right if I were to stay in the lane I was in & simply go forward.

Just typing all of this out & trying to explain it rationally hurts my head.  Why aren’t there cops there?  You could triple the city or count’s monthly revenue in about 2 hours at that spot.

Clearly something needs done at this intersection.  Traffic lights?  A camera that captures your license plate when you break a law or 10 merging lanes?  It’s absolutely ridiculous.  Who started this?  Obviously others have seen people get away with it, so they are trying it too.  What part of your brain rationalizes that this is somehow acceptable behavior?

Have you run into this insanity?  Please, share your hate for the Fort Pitt Bridge in the comments.

If I owned a department store chain…


Every time I go to a Walmart, Target, Kmart, etc. I’m driven slightly mad. Sure, part of it is because of the stores themselves or the employees who seem to be rather uninterested in working… But most of the problem is the other shoppers. I was going to put a percentage on it, but I’m not sure I can. I think is a small percentage of idiots with a largely negative impact. Well, idiot just implies that they’re stupid. I think it’s more inconsiderate than stupid. I’m talking about people who are generally unaware of the needs, thoughts, and feelings of everyone around them. The best word that I can think of (even though I generally try to avoid being vulgar in print) is asshole. We all know what kind of person that describes. If I owned/ran a department store, I would try to prevent the behavior that goes with this type of personality.

Parking Lot

Parking Lot

Curbing unacceptable behavior would start in the parking lot (pun intended). One of my favorite blogs calls these people “Peter Parkers.”  They’re where the problem begins.  If your jackass behavior can’t make it through the parking lot, we’ll hope you don’t even bother to come in to the store.  Whether we’re talking about people driving & parking the wrong way in one way lanes, people who park over the lines, people who don’t slow down/stop at cross-walks, or people who park in handicapped spaces or on the line-covered spaces near the handicapped spaces.  That’s just the drivers…  Don’t forget that people need to learn how to walk to their car in a parking lot too.

Crossing Guard

Crossing Guard

To curtail all of this inconsiderate conduct we’d have meter maids, crossing guards, and cameras.  I guess the meter maids wouldn’t have meters to read, they’d just be parking enforcers.  Cars parked over painted lines, at curbs, or in handicapped spaces without proper tags will be towed.  Immediately.  I’m saying we’d go after them mere seconds after it happens, perhaps as their door is being shut.  The parking enforcers wouldn’t be like the people on that TV show where they argue.  They’d just do their job.  I’d have a tow truck or two on site at all times.  I have no tolerance for people who think that rules somehow don’t apply to themselves.  (I’m talking about inconsequential rules here like how to conduct yourself in society.  I think it’s always good to question authority & what not… but that doesn’t apply here where you’re just being a self-indulgent dolt.) 

People entering & exiting the store wouldn’t have the free reign to walk out into oncoming traffic.  Somehow (here in PA at least) people have taken “pedestrians have the right of way” to the extreme, where the actual law is that they have the right of way in crosswalks.  Everywhere else, you’re fair game.  A crossing-guard would facilitate safe passage and at the same prevent a traffic jam like you get in the front of every Walmart or Giant Eagle when an endless stream of lackadaisical shoppers lumber slowly in front of you without glancing in your direction as you sit in your auto waiting for a break in the action.  If the people who like to park wherever they please or run into oncoming traffic with faith in an imaginary no-fault law somehow don’t feel welcome in my department store, then good.  We’ve successfully weeded out the first wave of assholes.  If they have learned to conduct themselves in a respectful manner while spending time in my controlled outdoor environment, then let ’em in!

Amish parking, Cashton, 29 June 2012

Amish parking

(Oh yeah, bicycles would have their own parking lot… they’d share it with buggies & horses in Amish country, and buses would roll to the edge of the parking lot, not right to the front door causing endless amounts of chaos.)

Inside the store, we’d have checkout lines like the bank, Wendy’s, or Best Buy.  People can be incredibly ignorant when it comes to getting in line.  It’s certainly not everyone, but there are a select few who ruin it for everyone else.  See any McDonalds or Sheetz without the rope at lunch time.  It’s absolute chaos.

Queue Area

Queue Area

I know they’re not department stores… but it’s easier to see the same behavior there as it’s more concentrated.  It would eliminate getting into line behind the people who want to put things back, use expired coupons, write checks, talk on their phones, shop for everything in the impulse-buy section, or search for their method of payment long after everything is rung up.

In fact, no checks.  All it does is slow things down.  It’s 2012.  It’s almost 2013.  If you have a bank account, you have a debt card or credit card, some of them are even called check cards now.  Use it.  Don’t use that antiquated paper log-book that does nothing but slow things down for everyone.

No Checks Accepted

In my store, there would be no greeter that avoids eye contact completely or looks at you like you’re the grim reaper come to take them to hell.  Maybe there would be a robot there to say hello.  At least a robot could fake sincerity more efficiently.

Even though it doesn’t have to do with behavior exactly, the restrooms would have faucets in the sinks (with hot water) that you can fit your hands under, paper towels that are actually stocked regularly, hand dryers that actually dry your hands, and soap.  No foam soap, no hand sanitizer, no bathroom attendants to do it for you.  It might put people in a better mood if they can be comfortable.

I’m sure there are many other things I’d have to put in place, and many other bad customer behavior… but these are the ones I can think of now.

What would you do to make a trip to a department store more tolerable?  Would you enjoy it if stores weeded out the a-holes?  Are you one of the people who behaves like an a-hole by parking in the wrong spots, jumping to lines in front of people, and walking like an idiot in the parking lot?  Please, share your thoughts in the comments section below!

last minute shoppers.

last minute shoppers. (Photo credit: the idealist)