The Pittsburgh Tunnel Monster gets national attention?


Well, sort of.  The buzz around town on the news & radio lately has been about a survey by a GPS data company called INRIX that calls the sweet spot from Greentree to the Fort Pitt tunnels on the Parkway West here in the ‘Burgh the worst traffic outside of New York or Los Angeles.  Read the Post-Gazette article for all the juicy details.  Here’s an excerpt…

According to INRIX, it takes an average of 13 minutes — nine more than it should — to traverse that stretch. That doesn’t count the time it takes to get there, as morning backups now routinely spill well down the back side of Green Tree Hill and sometimes past Carnegie.

At a delay of nine minutes a day, for a regular commuter that works out to about 36 hours a year down the rat hole, just for the morning rush. According to INRIX, drivers on the 10 worst U.S. corridors may squander up to 60 hours a year stuck in traffic.

Those who while away their mornings in the daily tangle might be inclined to dream of a wider Parkway West or new tunnels drilled through Mount Washington, but financial and topographic realities make that a bit like yearning for world peace.

105.9 WXDX-FM

105.9 WXDX-FM

The guys on the X were talking about it yesterday morning, so I sent Bob a link to my Tunnel Monster blog.  Bob posted it on their morning show blog & I’ve been getting mad hits today because if it.  Ha ha.  Thanks guys!

I do have to say though that the Steely McBeam tunnel monster image isn’t mine.  Someone named Angry Mongo posted it first.

I have one more “artist rendering” from Eric Yano (I’d still like to see more!):

Flying Tunnel Monster

Flying Tunnel Monster (by Eric Yano / Valley of Steel)

And here was the letter to MythBusters & Dirty Jobs, that didn’t get a reply from anyone…

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Feb 27, 2012
Subject: The Pittsburgh Tunnel Monster (Mythbusters & Dirty Jobs team-up?)
To: jamie@m5industries.com, mythbusters@m5industries.com, adam@adamsavage.com, info@mikeroweworks.com, torybelleci@gmail.com, swift@buchwald.com
Cc: info@beyondaction.com.au

Dear Duke of Dirt and Sultans of Science (or Emperors of Explosions?),

I’m a big fan of both of your shows, I believe that I have been watching since the first season of each, and have seen almost all (if not all) of the collective episodes.  My wife & I enjoy the Saturday morning/afternoon marathon runs of each, sometimes they prevent us for doing anything productive (except learning while being entertained of course) for most of the day.  My favorite Dirty Jobs moment has to be an early one… where Mike was at the charcoal factory & asking the guy how you can burn it after it has already been burned and the guy either didn’t know the answer or comprehend the question and started to get irate.  It set the tone for the rest of the series!  Of course I love all the dirty gross stuff like expressing the anal glands during pet grooming… who knew?  Having worked an assembly line myself, I really appreciate that you manage to shed light on jobs that most people never even think about (or know existed).  With Mythbusters, I don’t know how to pick a favorite… I loved the ninja & pirate myths, the ancient mirror laser thing, all of the movie scene recreations (or attempted recreations), the many abuses of Buster, and for some odd reason… the car filled entirely with A/B foam.

If I’m not watching the Discovery Network, I’m over on the History Channel.  My wife likes to remind me that we have about 200 other channels.  I don’t need them, really.

I first attempted this (intentionally humorous) pitch to the people over at history with MonsterQuest or MysteryQuest in my sights.  I had assumed I’d receive some sort of “Yeah, whatever goofball” type of reply.  Sadly I have not received any reply at all.

The more I thought about it, I feel that this is a serious subject.  It would work for Mythbusters… not sure how you could word the myth… but basically your task would be to get to the bottom of seemingly inexplicable tunnel traffic/congestion.  You could look at how people slow down when approaching, how throwing a roadside distraction (like a car accident) in there would effect things?

As for Mr. Rowe, I’m sure that working in a tunnel is a dirty job.  There are nightly cleanings/work in the Liberty tubes some times… and someone sets out traffic cones every day for the changing of a lane’s direction when going into/coming out of the tunnel.  I’m also guessing that being a Mythbuster (or one of their crew) is a dirty job.  Pittsburgh is a little Hollywood lately, why not capitalize on it by coming to check out our little town?  I know Grant & Tori were at the Zabmelli firework factory in New Castle once!

Did you see the incredibly forced Pawn Stars/American Pickers/American Restoration crossover?  You guys could do way better than that, and it would be unscripted.

Here’s the meat of my original email…

I believe that we have a monster in the Pittsburgh area that you may want to check out.  It’s affectionately referred to as the Tunnel Monster.  People in the southwestern Pennsylvania area live in a great fear of the Tunnel Monster.  Many yinzer drivers slow down as they approach any area tunnel… but most especially the Fort Pitt Tunnels, Liberty “Tubes”, and the Squirrel Hill Tunnels.  I’ve heard theories that the tunnel monster also perhaps takes shelter in one or all of the three rivers when not lurking in the tunnel.

Fear seems to increase in times of rain, snow, and (perhaps strangely) before sporting events, holiday festivities, and large concerts.  I believe we have weekday tunnel anxiety between 7:00am & 9:00am, and again from 2:00pm to 7:00pm at all tunnels.  I’ve never heard a first-hand account of an actual sighting, but it’s clear that there is something strange happening at these locations.  There are also spikes of Tunnel Monster fear when traffic accidents happen nearby.  Perhaps the tunnel monster feeds on broken down cars, flat tires, or the corpses left in the wake of fatal accidents?  Rubberneckers seem to be ripe for the picking also.

I have personally seen 18-wheelers get to the entrance of a tunnel and turn completely around, most likely out of fear of the tunnel monster perhaps lurking within the yellow-hued florescent-lit man made caverns.  Some people go through the entire length of a tunnel holding their breath so the tunnel monster doesn’t steal it, or honking their horn the entire way to scare it off.  I’ve seen motorcycles and ambulances go right down the center line at accelerated speeds, no doubt trying to avoid a tragic end.  I’ve even heard of people tapping the roof of their car when spotting a Padiddle to ward off the evil tunnel monster.  The theory perhaps being that the tunnel monster is on the hood of the other car, and its webbed fin (a paddle or “padiddle”) is blocking one headlight.

I have seen strange markings on the inside of they Liberty Tunnels, but they have since been covered-over.  They were strange numbers and hieroglyphic-like symbols that appeared right before a construction project.  Do you think the crews working in the tunnel are in any danger?  Perhaps it’s a conspiracy?  Are they in there hunting for the tunnel monster under the guise of construction efforts while they cover up the monster’s cave paintings?  Could the monster be some sort of Neanderthal, or perhaps a supernatural being, or some sort of demon?

There are countless videos on YouTube documenting fearless drives through the Fort Pitt Tunnels, but I don’t believe that any concrete video evidence has been recorded.  I have attached some artist renderings of the Tunnel Monster that I have found on the internet.  Perhaps you would like your experts to interview the area residents and come up with your own?

I really would like someone to get to the bottom of this Tunnel Monster thing, and I believe that Monster Quest is perfectly suited for the job!  Thank you for your time, I hope to hear from you soon!

So, now you know where my thought process has gone, & how it has developed.  I’d love your consideration for this idea.  Please don’t make me turn to TV shows that I don’t watch like Billy the Exterminator or Dog the Bounty Hunter.

Thank you for your time, I look forward to hearing from you!

Not afraid of the Tunnel Monster,
-Waldo Lunar

I tried message boards, email addresses, all kinds of outlets… all to no avail.  Party poopers.

Maybe this will get a reply:

Should I try PennDOT or the city of Pittburgh next?

Fort Pitt Tunnel

The Monster’s Lair | Fort Pitt Tunnel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ernie and the Berts, The Steel City Slingers, & Look Out Loretta! – Friday the 13th at Howler’s!


I stole this post from Ernie and the Berts.  One week from tonight!

FRIDAY THE 13th AT HOWLER’S!

We’ll be rocking with the shockingly scandalous Steel City Slingers and whoever’s brave enough to step up to the plate!  Here are the details so far, with an incredible flyer by the Slingers’ own Zach.

FRIDAY THE 13TH!

Here are the details so far…

The Bands:

The Place:

The Details:

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

Bob Evans Follow-Up Bob Evans Follow-Up Bob Evans Follow-Up


Jelly! Jelly! Jelly!

Jelly! Jelly! Jelly!

You read about the Bob Evans fallout and follow-up, right?  In the interest of fully full disclosure, we went back, got a free meal, and had a nice normal dining out experience.  It went well.  LeAnn from Bob Evans wrote to check on me, and I thought I’d share the dialogue.

From: “Purdy, Leann D”
To: [Me]
Sent: Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Subject: RE: Bob Evans – Reference # 720520 / Blog post about Bob Evans

Hi Eric!

 I wanted to follow up with you to see if you had been back, if not I understand.  I do hope that you do at least use your gift certificates to get some of our amazing Wildfire BBQ sauce!

I know you had concerns with what action was taken after your call/email, I can assure you that all of your feedback is used for training purposes, we did forward your comments to the area coach and general manager so that we can ensure that we are providing excellent service.

Have a great day!

Jelly Jelly Jelly!

bef.gif

LeAnn Purdy
Representative, Guest and Consumer Relations

Supporting Bob Evans Restaurants, Bob Evans Food Products & Mimi’s Café Restaurants
3776 South High Street
Columbus, OH 43207
Bob Evans Guest and Consumer Relations: (800) 939-2338
Mimi’s Café Guest Relations: (866) 616-6464
Fax: (614) 492-4971
Bobevans.com

And, my response:

From: [-mE.]
To: “Purdy, Leann D” ; Riggs A.
Cc: [The Wife]
Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Subject: Re: Bob Evans – Reference # 720520 / Blog post about Bob Evans

Hello LeAnn,

Thank you very much for the follow up!  We actually did get the opportunity to take advantage of a free meal last Thursday night, at the same Bridgeville location.  It was a wonderful experience.  It wasn’t too busy when we arrived… and we seemed to get there right at a shift change, but the service was smooth nonetheless, and we only had to ask once for jelly!

Asking once for jelly & receiving it struck me as a possible bad omen.  Upon arrival, the first thing we heard as we were seated was the waitress at the table next to us (oddly not our waitress) telling her customers that something had been comped or removed from their bill… and the customer was spouting off about something unintelligible.

We had an excellent waitress then waiter, there was no shouting from the kitchen, the food was prepared well.  Some of the carrots with my turkey dinner were dry/cracked, but you’ll get that anywhere.  I didn’t see a manager on duty or patrolling the dining room, but things were running quite smoothly without their presence.

If you talk to the area coach/general manager/managers/team there again, please pass on our thanks for another great meal that was back to what we would call a normal Bob Evans experience.  I didn’t present my BE gift money until the end of the meal, but it didn’t produce any speed bumps and we still have one left!

Thank you for the gift, and both you & Nate for your time, and sincere follow-up!  (Follow-ups?  Follows-up?)

“Jelly! Jelly! Jelly!” may be a good ad campaign.  “Pizza! Pizza!” worked for Little Caesar’s.

Thanks again,
-Eric

Bob Evans Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Can I have jelly? Can I have jelly? Can I have jelly?


Bob Evans Restaurant on UrbanspoonI submitted this to Bob Evans’ contact form:

Last night we had a ridiculous visit to what is normally a decent restaurant.

We arrived shortly after 5:00pm, were seated quite quickly, and were alone in our section (the farthest away from the entrance).  The waitress came to us right away, seemed a little frazzled, and brought us drinks.  By this time another table had been seated in our section.  Our order was taken, a Rise & Shine breakfast for me, BBQ chicken for the wife.

We had actually just dined at this location on Friday evening and had discussed how despite otherwise excellent service & great food, generally my wife has to ask 3 times for jelly.  The standard procedure is that when we order and she gets biscuits, she asks for jelly.  When the biscuits come, with honey and butter but no jelly… she again asks for jelly.  When the meal comes, it’s the 3rd time that she asks for jelly… and usually we get jelly with the check.  It’s like you have it under lock & key or there’s only 1 magical jelly carrier.  I actually suggested that perhaps it’s like the movie Beetlejuice.  One must say “Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse!” to get the title character to appear.  Perhaps one must break the Bob Evans jelly code and ask for jelly three times at once.

No matter how much I wanted her to, she wouldn’t try it last night.  She asked for jelly just one time, and surprisingly, it came with the biscuits.

At this point, the manager walked by and asked if all was OK.  Truthfully, at this point, it was!  We nodded in satisfaction as we said “yes”.

Eventually, shortly before 6:00pm (yes, an hour later) after several other customers had been seated, had ordered, and been served, our waitress apologized for the wait and offered us more biscuits and a free dessert.  We told her the wait wasn’t her fault as she seemed to indicate it was due to a problem in the kitchen.

About the time where I was ready to get up, pay for our drinks, biscuits, jelly, and then leave to go to the nearby Sonic… our food arrived.  I understand that breakfast foods are greasy but my eggs & home fries were sitting in a pool of some oily or buttery liquid, and one of my over-easy yolks was already broken.  The bacon was fantastic.  The potatoes had so much grease on the outside, that when I dipped them into a pool of delicious Heinz ketchup they came out absolutely clean & ketchup free.  I managed to get the yolk out of one of the eggs with the biscuit that had sat there daring me to eat it for an hour.  I left the second egg and most of my potatoes out of disgust for the food and the service.  It had been a particularly trying couple of days and we chose Bob Evans because of the general consistency of the quality & service.  My wife indicated that other than the chicken being slightly over-done, her meal was excellent.  It’s crazy to believe that Bob Evans (the breakfast-food people) messed up such an incredibly simple breakfast.

Bob Evans

Bob Evans

The waitress had indicated some problems in the kitchen without any specifics, but we could hear arguments in & around the kitchen area for our entire visit.  I have no idea why we didn’t just get up & leave after the first 2 tables seated after us had received their food.  Perhaps we were in awe at the chaos.

I declined my free dessert, and my wife decided to get an apple pie to go just because it had been offered as compensation for our wait.  I was too disheartened for dessert, my friends… free or not.  Our waitress offered to refill my iced tea.  I said “no, thanks.”  She came back 10 minutes later & filled my iced tea anyway.  Still no pie.  I just wanted to go.  I was on the verge of just freaking out at the ridiculousness of it all.  We sat for another few minutes as the waitress took care of others around our section, before standing up to just finally go.  My wife just asked for the check as I was exasperated.  The other customers couldn’t wait for 2 minutes while she put a pie in the to-go container, since we had waited over an hour for a simple simple meal?

The waitress had apparently just placed my wife’s apple pie on a plate as we stood to make our escape… my wife said, “Never mind, we just need to get out of here.”  The waitress insisted on sliding the now decimated piece of pie into the Styrofoam box.  We went to pay, and for the first time ever were not asked something to the effect of “how was everything tonight?”  I believe there was small talk about my wife & I coincidentally wearing the same color green.  I think I remained silent for fear of just snapping.  We left a 15% tip, & took home a comment card.  (As a person with a severe allergy to shellfish, I have a small circle of places where I feel safe…  Bob Evans currently has no deathfish on the menu, so we frequent there and I generally tip 20% or more as I’m confident we’ll be returning soon & often.  I have even received excellent communication from your corporate level regarding food allergies & where things are prepared in the kitchen.)

This rant is obviously too long for a comment card.  I may blog it.  I may just leave it in the contact form at the Bob Evans site.  I may print & mail it.

Something was going on last night at Bob Evans in Bridgeville that was not good.  It was a comedy of errors.  The kitchen apparently had trouble producing eggs & home fries in a timely manner, keeping yolks whole, and draining grease/oil/butter from the fried meal.  The waitress was visibly and audibly frazzled as she complained to the customers that she was excessively busy even as most of the section was empty… at dinner time.  Perhaps she was covering two sections?  I’m not sure.  We saw her quite often… just not with our food.  How many others were seated after us & served before us that we couldn’t see?  We heard her arguing with a mysterious voice yelling out from the kitchen.  The manager did not appear to intervene or even suggest that perhaps they not argue so loudly within earshot of the guests… or even to step in, assert her role as a manager and solve the problem.  There was a waiter who appeared to be training a new waitress, happily ignoring all the chaos around them.

We did, however, receive jelly after asking only once.

[Funny note… upon posting this & grabbing a link to UrbanSpoon, I saw an old somewhat bad review that I posted… but we’ve had perfectly reasonable service there since that visit in ’08.]

Videos, Contest , Kickstarter, T-Shirts, & more chaos… (via Ernie and the Berts)


There’s all kinds of stuff going on in the Ernie and the Berts world You ought to check it out…

Videos, Contest , Kickstarter, T-Shirts, & more chaos... A while ago we played at a crazy show in Sheffield Lanes, above the Fallout Shelter.  It was all ages, it was madness, it was beautiful.  This is some of what you missed: “Toybox”: A lot of screwing around, then “Ikea”: Video by Ernie’s mom, Terrie Cobb. This is just a sample of the awesomeness that you can get full-on by supporting our Kicks … Read More

via Ernie and the Berts

Yinz still ain’t drivin’ right.


Last night, it took me two hours to get home… it’s normally a 35 minute drive.  The industrial park in which I work was in chaos.  The roads weren’t that bad, but tires were spinning because of people flooring the gas… and the local cops stopped a bunch of cars… close together… on a slush-covered hill.

Local Police "helping"...Yinz still ain't driovin' right...

I took these photos while sitting still for quite some time, not while moving.  Yinz are ridiculous.

 

Ernie and the Berts


So, I’m in a band again.  We’ve only been jamming for a short while now, but the chaos is already well underway.  We decided to play an open stage night before we were ready, just because we could.  I dig this momentum/vibe.  Plus, I got to break out the FlipOut guitar for its first show!  I didn’t realize how much I miss gigging out.  It’s addictive.

As far as a style, it’s still taking shape… but right now it’s stripped down punk/rock/pop, and it’s sloppy.  We’ll have some covers, some originals, whatever we feel like as time goes on, I guess.  Most importantly, we’re having fun.  If you’ve seen a handful of local ‘Burgh bands in the past 10 years, chances are you’ll recognize all the players here.

For more about E&tB in the future, keep watching…

To see what you missed, here’s almost our entire 3-song set thanks to Bethany.  Watch your speakers… her camera didn’t like our volume, I guess.

Ernie and the Berts “Suffragette City” (Live) Mon. June 28th, 2010 @ the Thunderbird Cafe

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHX_H9bg4uA

Ernie and the Berts “Radio, Radio”/”Hot N Cold” (Live) Mon. June 28th, 2010 @ the Thunderbird Cafe

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzbwYG0Sa0I

And, there are a few photos (thanks again to Bethany)…

Ernie and the Berts @ the Thunderbird Cafe - Mon. June 28th, 2010 - Lawrenceville (Pittsburgh), PA

Ernie and the Berts @ the Thunderbird Cafe - Mon. June 28th, 2010 - Lawrenceville (Pittsburgh), PA

I also have to say that I also learned that the Thunderbird Cafe in Lawrenceville is awesome.  It’s a great room, it has a menu devoid of shellfish, and the crowd was a nice mellow mix form all walks of life.  While I’m at it, host band Craig King & CBG Connection were awesome dudes.  They were very welcoming, and they rocked the place out with some funk/blues/rock/jazz insanity.

If for some reason you want both videos, you can get a zip of both of them in mp4 format here:  http://drop.io/EatB_06282010_TBC

Blowin’ in the wind.


If you live in the ‘Burgh, you know we got some serious storm winds & some damage on Friday afternoon.  The storm hit one of my favorite places to take photos, Dormont Park.  So, of course I got some pictures of some trees knocked over and a utility pole down.

To see the whole album, check it out in slideshow or grid form.  We were without power for about a day and a half… and no damage was done to our place, so it could have been a lot worse.  I just thought the twisted broken trees made for some good photo subjects.

I reported the downed utility pole to Duquesne Light on Saturday right after I saw it… went back to look around today, it was still down… no caution tape or anything up, so I called the Dormont police.  Hopefully they send someone in to clean up, there’s usually a decent amount of people in the park, hope no one would come across the stuff & get hurt.

Also, in the same set of photos… nothing really to do with the storm, we hit up Chick-fil-A for breakfast & the use of a power outlet to charge our phones on Saturday morning as our power was out, I happened to have my camera in the car… I saw some kind of hawk or falcon on a light pole near the Chick-fil-A in South Hills.  At first I thought it was an owl, upon a second glance I really wasn’t sure at all.

Anyone know what it is?

Some kind of bird of prey outside Chick-fil-A in the South Hills...

3 shots of the Chick-fil-A Bird...

Confused about Pizza Hut & Taco Bell?


The last post was going to have some explanation, but my dumb ass hit the “Publish” button instead of the “Save Draft” button.  Perhaps because the Publish button is blue and shiny, or perhaps because I have a problem actually reading the screen.

Some of you may have seen my blogs posts, and think I’m a little “off”.  Well, you’re right.  But, I do post these things with an odd sense of humor.  Sometimes I write serious complaint letters, sometimes I write ridiculous letters just to be ridiculous.  More often than not, the lines get blurred.  My guess is that you either get it, or you don’t.  If I have to remind you that I really don’t expect every restaurant out there to cater to my special dietary needs, it ceases being funny.  (If it ever was in the first place.)

If you’re not quite sure, or new to my insanity, I’m going to try to recap the latest ongoing saga involving Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.  I hope to intertwine this with some other chaos soon.

So, that brings us to our “what’s happening now is happening now” moment.