The Stickermobile…


I saw this the other day at the Giant Eagle in Bridgeville.  It blew my mind.  All of the stickers/magnets were on the driver’s side of the vehicle… there were none on the back or the other side.  I had to take some photos.

The Stickermobile!

Is this what happened when Pimp My Ride went off of the air?

I tried to get a few angles…

Insanity.  You get all that? Let’s analyze some of these stickers and magnets, ignoring the fact that they’re all on one side of the vehicle.  Here we go…

The Stickermobile roundup...

What exactly is going on here?

I’ll try to tackle these dozen highlights one at a time:

  1. Support BP Music, NC State, and they love their dog.  Call me sexist, but I’m assuming this is a woman’s car.  She loves her dog.  BP is Bethel Park, right?  A lot of colleges are represented on this car.
  2. Here we have some refrigerator magnet letters, a penguins sticker, and something unidentifiable.  We can only guess as to what GH, VA, & UP mean.  Go Home?  Virginia?  UP what?  Why are the letters faded to clear?  Did they start out clear, or did UV rays suck out all the pigment?
  3. Here we have two giant Penguin bottle-cap refrigerator magnets, which can only mean twice the support for your hockey team and twice the alcohol problem.
  4. She really loves her dog.  She doesn’t love her van.  Magnets get tiny rocks stuck behind them, and they scratch the paint on your car.  Paint also discolors behind them.
  5. Here we have the troop support ribbon, a probably non licensed Steelers football, and a pink Baby on Board sign.  I say if you have a troop support ribbon on your car with any other ribbons… it negates the gravity of your sentiment.  There’s another ribbon somewhere among all this chaos.  By buying generic “go black and gold” sticker, you are stealing money from the poor underprivileged team that you support.  If your car looks like with all the stickers, I hope you didn’t tattoo one side of the baby you supposedly have on board.
  6. It wouldn't shock me if this dog was in that van.

    It wouldn’t shock me if this dog was in that van.

    West Virginia and Penn State on the same vehicle?  Pitt is in there too.  You are a rather conflicted individual… assuring you’re going to get keyed no matter what school you visit.  I bet college kids love getting picked up in this van.  Also, you love your Pomeranian a little too much.  You’re not into bestiality, are you?  I sure hope you didn’t dye it purple.  Wait.  Is Baby the dog?

  7. Here’s that devotion to Pitt, a faded Pens sticker, a blue Steelers football, a Penn State paw, and a secret coded message with the ‘fridge magnets.  JFLE S ON.  What is Jfle on?  Crack?
  8. Only the best fans have super faded stickers.  Was this a Steelers one, or one for one of the colleges… or high school?
  9. XK? XK.
  10. A Steelers cap, but there’s only one.  Not as devoted as the Pens?  You only drink half as much during football?  There’s something unidentifiable, an M (I think), and something saying something about how you roll.  I think we know how you roll.
  11. Is this a Nascar sticker, or a Sunoco one?
  12. Protesting construction in Pittsburgh?  That’s actually funny.  Perhaps the construction workers would be amused by it when you pass… if they could pick it out of the madness.  This ribbon apparently supports ninjas.

So, what’s your take?  What is this all about?  Is it a statement?  Is it kitsch?  Is it art?  Is it madness?  Is it super fandom?  Is it hoarding?  Is is someone who is banned from putting magnets on the refrigerator at home or a girl that was ever allowed to hang teen heart-throb photos on the wall while growing up?  Is it covering bird poop?  Is it a message for the aliens when they finally arrive?  Hoarders: Sticker And Magnets Edition?  Where is your OBX-like “PGH”, “N@”, “N’at” or “Yinz” sticker?

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)

Moving my CD’s to a full-out digitial collection. It is time.


I need to step into the 00s.  I know it’s already the 10s, but I’m obviously already behind.  Yesterday I filled 4 giant under-bed storage containers (& one little one) with CD’s.  I need to rip this veritable mountain of plastic to a more easily & instantly accessible medium.

Enrico Caruso with a "Victrola" bran...

Where is the USB port on this thing...?

I also have a pile of vinyl that I believe I’m set up to rip… I just have to plug everything together.  Maybe after that, I’ll do my the last few of my cassette tapes.

For the younger readers:

Any advice?

First one to say iTunes gets a stinkpalm.  I don’t like programs that “take over” and are meant for people who don’t know what they’re doing.  I also dislike anything that asks me to “synch” anything.  NO.  I DO NOT WANT TO SYNCH ANYTHING.

I have a Google Music account that’s awesome, I might use it to store a bunch of the stuff I like to listen to.  Google has a 20,000 song limit.  I’m over that, no doubt.

I’ll most likely keep the CD’s so I have something to listen to when the grid crashes.

Winamp 1

WinAmp (Old School)

I will most likely use CDex and Mp3Tag to get everything in order.  I have experience with them and like them.  They’re free.  I also like WinAmp as a player.  Yes, I still like WinAmp.

I’ll probably need a 1TB (or bigger) external hard drive.  Where can I get an inexpensive yet reliable one?  My usual spots are TigerDirect or NewEgg.  Is there somewhere else I should try?

The compact disc

There are 1s and 0s on here? I don't see any.

It will make accessing the music any time I want much easier.  I’ll be able to control the genres & tags, add artwork, and if I get crazy I can hook up something so I can play all of my stuff from any computer in the house.  I also have an FM transmitter somewhere so I can further destroy the sound quality broadcast to any & all radios in the house.

Re-buying probably isn’t an option for at least a quarter if not half of my collection.  I have a lot of local D.I.Y. stuff and stuff from touring bands that I’ve never heard from again.  Also; I’m cheap.  I bought it once.  I’m not buying it again.  I think I’ve bought Appetite for Destruction at least 6 times.  Two cassettes, 3 CD’s, & a vinyl.  Does Axl really need another dollar out of me?

I’d try a service like Ripshark, but why if I can do it myself?  Also; I’m cheap.

Sadly, my Insignia can’t handle any SDHC cards over 4GB, and it freaks out once you hit over 2000 songs.  Maybe I can put a backup drive in my car & hook it to my stereo, to play my entire music catalog at will?  I’m getting ahead of myself.

Have you done this yourself?  Are you thinking it’s time to do this too?  Do they make a 2TB iPod yet?  Should I go with mp3‘s or rip to something else?  AAC? FLAC?

So many options.  I suppose I’ll finish the entire project some time in 2015.  I’ll still be quicker than PennDOT.  If the world ends before I finish this, I’m going to be really upset.

I’m pretty sure this is illegal. (Driving advice for horn-honking traffic trolls.)


I’m pretty sure this is illegal, but I see it happen all the time.  Can someone of authority weigh in on this?  Opinions are of course welcome, but if you’re going to claim why it’s legal/illegal… you have to give me some kind of backup.

Let me describe the scenario with the help of an illustration thanks to Paint.NET, Google Maps, & a Google image search

This is a dick-move.

This is a dick-move.

We’ll pretend I’m the blue car, behind the white truck, and in front of the little yellow bastard.

The white truck is trying to make a left at the light, only problem being (use your imagination here) a flurry of automobiles in the other 2 oncoming lanes coming forth with less than a car-length in between them, and at a speed well over the posted 25MPH limit.  (Never-mind that here the middle lane switches traffic directions depending on the time of day – that’s a whole different ridiculous issue.)

Of course, the truck is forced to stop in what I would like to consider the middle of the intersection, causing frustration to rise exponentially for each halted vehicle behind the pale horse of immobilization.

As the truck plays the waiting game, and I hone my skills with the Force trying to will a break in traffic to allow him (or her) to turn and more importantly get out of my way… the impatient arrogant bastard behind me decides to honk the horn.

Honking the horn when one is stuck in traffic is the action of a self-absorbed angry little person.  A honk is expected & appropriate if someone cuts you off, someone’s sitting at a green light, or backing into you.  A honk is inappropriate when everyone is stuck, & no one can go anywhere.

Now, I know this indignant troll of a human being wanted me to take the path of the green arrow above… which is a common Pittsburgh driving move.  I’m sure it happens elsewhere too, but it’s quite common around here.  I believe said move is not only illegal, but also quite dangerous.  I know passing on the shoulder is discouraged if not illegal, and doing it in the middle of an intersection isn’t the best idea.

It’s dangerous for the following reasons if you must know, traffic troll:

  • Someone in the inside oncoming lane could also be making a left, not see me coming around the side of the truck, and we plow right into each other.
  • The truck decides he’s (or she’s) had it with waiting to make a turn, and plows ahead in frustration as I move around & try to merge into that lane.
  • Someone from the road on the right may be coming to the intersection to make a legal right on red while it’s obvious that oncoming traffic is at a stand-still.
  • A final sequence, however unlikely… the light changes while I’m going around, and someone comes from the left straight through their way, and smacks into the side of me.

If you think of any other reasons why it’s a bad idea, please let me know.  If you can show me a link where the laws concerning such vehicular interactions reside online (especially for PA), I’d love to pass the link along to the honking trolls out there.

If you’re a traffic troll, I’d like to express to you that all you’re doing is putting the person in front of you in danger, as well as potentially yourself, and adding to the aggravation levels of everyone around you… when they’re already sufficiently aggravated.

This has been brought to you as a public service announcement warning against the dangers of traffic trolls.  I’m sure PennDOT and the State Police would get behind this if they read my blog.

You’re not a traffic troll, are you?

How to walk to your car in a parking lot: A public service announcement


There’s a problem I’ve noticed over the years since I first got my driver’s license.  It’s ridiculous, rampant, and totally uncalled for.  It doesn’t have as much to do with driving as it does walking, but I consider it a road-related  issue.

People don’t know how to walk in parking lots.  They have this “pedestrian has the right of way” mentality that has inexplicably warped into a strange sense of entitlement and devilish pleasure in making you the motorist yield to their ambling nonchalance.

Below, I have an illustration (thanks to Google Maps) of the new Market District parking lot in Robinson.  Please take a moment to study & understand before you move on to the next paragraph.

How to walk across a parking lot.
WALK IN A STRAIGHT LINE, NOT AT AN ANGLE.

I get worked up about this quite easily (obviously I guess), and my thoughts are all over the place…  so I’ll try to make my points concise with the aid of a bulleted list.  (I have blogged about this before too, if you find that you need further reading.) I really would like to start a discussion on this in the comments if you’re so inclined.

  • When there’s a cross-walk on the ground, use it. I understand that the crosswalk isn’t a magical safe-zone, and that jaywalking laws are rarely enforced in Southwestern PA… but it’s there for a reason;  So you can move across the road in an organized and quick fashion in a designated spot.   Yes, the parking lot is a potential mine-field of car vs. person vs. shopping cart accidents, but you can help minimize the danger by using cross-walks… and drivers will know exactly where and when to have a heightened awareness.
  • Walk in a 90° angle (or close to it if at all possible) when crossing the road. This may seem stupid, but if you look at my beautiful illustration above… you can see that a person walking a green path would move across the road much more quickly than the same person walking at the same speed using a red path.  Using the green path reduces wait time (and thus aggravation) for the driver trying to get into or out of the store.
  • Walk one one side or the other of each row. The beauty of this one is that you have a choice.  You can walk on the left or the right.  JUST. DON’T. WALK. DOWN. THE. MIDDLE. These are the  most annoying people.  There’s typically room for two cars to pass each other when moving in opposite directions, and a little extra walking room in most parking lots.  When you walk right down the middle of the aisle, you make all of this room disappear.

Focusing mostly on the middle-of-the-lane walkers, but also on the anglers, and the “too cool for the crosswalk”-ers, I’d just like to comment on the types of people that I believe they may be.

First, there are the truly oblivious.  I believe this to be the smallest sect of the parking lot meanderites.  I think some people are just really not all that aware of their surroundings, and have no comprehension of the havoc that they wreak around themselves.  (Arguably,  stopping time in a parking lot is not exactly “wreaking havoc”, but it sure bites my ass.) These people are just like Mr. Bean, and since Mr. Bean is somewhat of a lovable character, I can forgive these people.  If you know one of them, please tell them about parking lot urgency.  If you don’t know one of them… walk more quickly, in straight angles, in designated areas, and close to the cars in parking lots.  (Because you are one of them.)

Then we have category #2.  The entitled. They’re a pedestrian.  They always have the right of way, and that’s it.  In their minds, anyway.  I’d like these people to see what Pennsylvania law has to say

Title 75 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, contains the laws which govern the operation of vehicles on Pennsylvania roads.

Chapter 35: SPECIAL VEHICLES AND PEDESTRIANS
Subchapter C: Rights and Duties of Pedestrians

Section 3541. Obedience of pedestrians to traffic-control devices and regulations
(a) Traffic control devices.—A pedestrian shall obey the instructions of a police officer or other appropriately attired person authorized to direct, control or regulate traffic.

(b) Traffic and pedestrian-control signals.—Local authorities by ordinance may require pedestrians to obey traffic and pedestrian-control signals as provided in sections 3112 (relating to traffic-control signals) and 3113 (relating to pedestrian-control signals).

Section 3542. Right-of-way of pedestrians in crosswalks.
(a) General rule.—When traffic-control signals are not in place or not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.

(b) Exercise of care by pedestrian.—No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close as to constitute a hazard.

and…

Section 3543. Pedestrians crossing at other than crosswalks.
(a) General rule.—Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a crosswalk at an intersection or any marked crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.

(b) At pedestrian tunnel or overhead crossing.—Any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.

(c) Between controlled intersections in urban district.—Between adjacent intersections in urban districts at which traffic-control signals are in operation pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.

(d) Crossing intersection diagonally.—No pedestrian shall cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless authorized by official traffic-control devices or at the discretion of a police officer or other appropriately attired person authorized to direct, control or regulate traffic. When authorized to cross diagonally, pedestrians shall cross only in accordance with the signal pertaining to the crossing movements.

And the best part…

Section 3552. Penalty for violation of subchapter.
Any pedestrian violating any provision of this subchapter is guilty of a summary offense and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of $5.

Interesting, no?  I’m not sure if these apply any differently in a parking lot, as it’s probably private property… but I’d love to see an officer out there passing out $5 tickets for every butthole who steps boldly out in front of a moving car with the incorrect assumption that “pedestrians always have the right of way”.  Why not?  I mean, they’re cracking down on parking in the South Side after years of chaos.  Is this any less ridiculous?

The third and last group?  The spiteful. They know you’re anxious to get by, but they don’t care.  They derive pleasure in knowing that you’re most likely impatiently waiting to move forward at a speed that actually registers on your speedometer, but that they alone have the power to prevent that from happening.  Maybe they had a bad day and want to pass along the crappy karma.  Maybe they have a controlling spouse, boss, or family member, and this is how they lash out.  This is the group that turns to look at you, but continues to walk down the middle of a driving lane instead of moving to one side so you can get by.  This is the woman that stops mid-stride and mid-lane to dig through her purse for her car keys while you idle and boil.  This is the group of teenage boys that walks 4 wide and dresses “hard” like they from the streets thanks to mom’s credit card and Journey’s or Hot Topic.  This is the wide-angle walker who sees you approaching, but instead of walking straight across the lane quickly looks straight ahead in their “5 rows over from where they started” path.  They’re also the ones who let you follow them down the echelon of filled  of parking spaces during the holiday shopping season, and cut over to the next row or put bags in their car and proceed to walk right back where they came from without giving you the courtesy wave-off or  the universally understood over-exaggerated mouthing of “I’m not leaving” while shaking their head and pointing or waving their arms.  I suspect that they’re also the people who double-dip, don’t flush public toilets, and kick puppies.

That should just about cover it.  So please, pass this along so we can all get on the same page.