Reflective Retrospective Recollective


AiXeLsyD 🎸 Gasoline Dion 🎸 Ernie and the BertsSo, recently turning 40 has me reflecting on life in general (which is pretty damn great) & on my accomplishments as a “musician” even though I’m not actively gigging right now.

I’m pretty self-deprecating of my musical talents, but I am proud of the major part of the aural art that I helped create.  I compiled and uploaded a few of my favorites after using Audacity to clip out some silence and mp3Gain to try to get all the volume levels somewhat similar.

If you’ll indulge me I’d like to give my thoughts & memories on each of these songs that I was proud to be a part of with AiXeLsyD, Gasoline Dion, & Ernie and the Berts.  If I have any of the stories, names, etc. wrong, please correct me in the comments.  Being that these are punk rock(ish) bands, you may find the content explicit and/or objectionable.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

🎸

  1. Gasoline Dion – “Shameless Plug”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Tommy came up with this cool shuffling progression and I played a super easy solo over it.  I believe we kept the first take of the solo even though at the time I thought I could do better.  It’s not perfect, but it’s fun.  It was cool to open shows with this then rip into something completely different. It was called “Tommy’s Jam” until an inside joke on a local message board inspired the new name.

  2. AiXeLsyD – “Wait”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Probably the first song that I wrote that I liked, and probably the first original that we worked on in the band.  We dug on this & recorded it a million times.  It morphed a bit, but was basically the same simple jam.  Ben doubling the vocals an octave lower and the guitar part at the end really fills it out.

  3. Gasoline Dion – “Pickle Farm”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Tommy had recorded this song solo, and it contributed to the itch that I needed to scratch when we formed Gasoline Dion.  I really liked the melody.  I think he stole the lyrics from Space Ghost or Brak.  This song to me is about not being a square peg that’s forced into a round hole.  I liked singing background vocals & playing guitar.

  4. Ernie and the Berts – “Toybox”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Erin wanted to start a band to play rocked-out Willy Wonka covers.  That never happened.  This did.  It was the first original that stuck, and an early recording became the soundtrack to a friend’s video project.  Dave learned to play drums in/for this band.  This is a nice simple driving groove and is the perfect vehicle for the introduction of Erin’s gnarly gravelly voice.

  5. AiXeLsyD – “Hopeless & Heartless”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | I wrote this on the outside of seeing someone with a broken heart.  I thought it was pretty catchy.  The “whoa-oh’s” are overkill but oddly necessary in my humble opinion. I think An-Die, Ben, & I are all singing on multiple tracks here.

  6. Gasoline Dion – “Cold”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | This riff was a leftover AiXeLsyD riff that almost became part of two songs but never really went anywhere.  Mike had some leftover Who’s.Keeping.Score? lyrics that Dave & I re-arranged.  Dave & I work really well on arranging musical parts & lyrics. I really really dig Tommy & I singing together on this one.

  7. Ernie and the Berts – “Fred Rogers”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Erin supposed that a local hero may not really be a hero on this one.  Maybe he read that weird urban legend.  I really like the guitar part here, although it’s missing some kind of effect in my head.  Wah?  Phaser?  Not sure.  Erin let me just go goofy with background vocals here.  I felt like Danzig or that Not-Danzig guy in the Cult.  I love how this song builds into chaos.

  8. AiXeLsyD – “Stand Up”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | This is where it all pulled together, and it was the last proper thing we recorded.  Ha ha. An-Die wrote the riff & lyrics, I arranged them.  Ben came up with the guitar noodling& octaves riff. I think I came up with the stupid  guitar part for the verse. I really dig my guitar solo here,even though I went too long.  (Oddly, this sounds a lot like “Anything, Anything (I’ll Give You)” by Dramarama as played by Buckcherry.)

  9. Gasoline Dion – “Political Songs (With Deep Meaning)”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | I was listening to a lot of the Unseen, I think.  I don’t really write political stuff that often.  This was taking the piss out of that genre.  Dave sounded better on it with vocals.  I scream “feet” in the background and give the creepy laugh at the end.  We lost the original lyrics, so Dave used what he remembered and made the rest up on the fly.  I don’t really think any one ever tried to intemperate a deeper meaning. If they did, they didn’t tell us.

  10. Ernie and the Berts – “Don’t Fuck With Ernie”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | It was hard to tell if Erin was serious or joking a lot of the time. He had a deadpan delivery, and it was hilarious. To deliver this ridiculousness so seriously is hilarious to me.  I think I sort of came up with this riff over top of his bass line.

  11. AiXeLsyD – “Dave Ugly’s Girlfriend”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | It’s “Dave Ugly’s Girlfriend”, not “Dave’s Ugly Girlfriend.”  People always seemed to get that wrong.  Dave Ugly played bass & sang for one of our favorite local bands, Useless Torment.  I don’t tell the story as well as An-Die, but Dave was apparently saying he loved him, and An-Die was playing the “even if…” game, and arrived at this.  I remember being “mad” when Sum 41 came out as a punk band rapping.  I think Boner played guitar on this one and Ben played Drums?

  12. Gasoline Dion – “Bitch Pants Opera”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | I don’t know if we could do this one today.  People seem so easily offended.  It’s just a joke.  We don’t really care if you wear girl pants.  We’re not insinuating or implying anything.  We look ridiculous too.  Another Dave vocals song, I am screaming the high parts.  All of us are in the beginning. I think the breakdown was inspired by hardcore /screamo kids in skinny jeans doing the windmill and Peelander-Z’s “S.T.E.A.K.”

  13. Ernie and the Berts – “Ikea”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Dave suggested I try a little more dynamics with space and clean.  Dave is usually right.  You can do a lot with the same 3 chords over & over. This was a slice of Erin’s life, full of his observations.  We almost got permission to go in & shoot a video there.  Somebody must have really listened to the lyrics.  He had “nicer” ones prepared just in case we needed to sell out.

  14. AiXeLsyD – “Love, Hopes, Dreams, & Smiles”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] |I think An-Die hated this one.  I liked the noodling& the melody.  The lyrics are super dumb & trite.  The song was made infinitely cooler when Ben put in that volume swell in the final mix.  That was never there, then we started doing it live after he did that to the recording.  This could probably be punched-up a little bit more.

  15. Gasoline Dion – “Two of a Kind”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Tommy sings like an angel.  I have no idea what in the hell he’s talking about here.  I think Dave & Mike made this honky-tonk-ish.  I played a little solo under Tommy’s vocals at the end because nobody ever told me not to.  The end sounds like the Misfits’ “NY Ranger.”

  16. Ernie and the Berts – “I Don’t Wanna”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Erin stole this one from a band called Suck-Your-Brains-A-Go-Go.  I don’t know if they ever recorded it.  I should ask the man who wrote it some time.  We made it ours. I think Bengt punched-up some of the guitar & added a bit of harmonies during the recording process.

  17. Gasoline Dion – “Shameless Plug (Reprise)”

    [SoundCloud/YouTube] | Same thing as the first track, second solo take by me with a wah pedal this time. Dave is also on guitar making crazy noises and soloing in between all of my notes.  Ha ha.  If you don’t “get” the speaking part, watch the Josie and the Pussycats movie some time.

I’d love to know what you think, or to read/see/hear your own memories about these bands or in any bands or projects in which you have participated.   Did I miss a song or two that you may have remembered or liked?  Comments (or likes or whatever is deemed social-media-appropriate) on the songs on SoundCloud or YouTube would be awesome and greatly appreciated, too.

🎸

Check out the playlist on SoundCloud:

🎸

Check out the playlist on YouTube:

Can you Dig it?

I think you should be able to download a zip of the collection on Google Drive or SendSpace if you’re so inclined.  If you can’t get it there, let me know and I can email it to you.

🎸

The AiXeLsyD stuff:

The Gasoline Dion stuff:

The Ernie and the Berts Stuff:

🎸

Check out some related posts:

NOTE:  Edited to correct links to YouTube videos, made new ones for some slideshows that were too short.  Also, check the comments!
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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 🚌🚍🚙🚘🚗🚕🚖🚛🚚🚓🚔🚒🚑🚐

Do(ugh)nut Despot Docility


Well, Krispy Kreme wrote back.  No doubt they believe that I’m absolutely undeniably insane at this point, but they thankfully decided to humor me anyway.  Here’s what I sent them…

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Feb 15, 2012
Subject: Re: Case #1099627
To: krispykreme@casupport.com

Aloha Lyndon,

Thank you for your swift reply!  Hopefully Krispy Kreme is able to rebound to the Pittsburgh area, and stay a little longer this time.  It’s curious that you blamed the franchisees for wanting to get into other business ventures, yet I read an article on CFO.com from 2005, detailing corporate buybacks.  I’m not sure, but was that around the time when Krispy Kreme left the area?

I have used the store locator at KrispyKreme.com to determine that the Krispy Kreme closest to me is all the way down in Washington County.  This is too far away from me to take a chance on making a run hoping to get hot fresh donuts.

I’d like to resubmit my earlier message, with unanswered questions highlighted, and perhaps I’ll add some more that have cropped up after that.  I hope that you (or someone at Krispy Kreme) has the time someday to come up with some responses.

Greetings Doughnut Despots,

I’m writing to ask you what happened.  Occasionally I get an email reminding me to visit a Krispy Kreme, and I think to myself “yeah, that’s a good idea.”  Sadly, there are no Krispy Kremes around any more.  I remember the stir of excitement when you first came to the area many years ago.  I believe it was even a news story… “Pittsburgh is getting Krispy Kreme!”  The fervor for hot fresh donuts was palpable.  The neon sign beckoning me in for a visit worked on several occasions when I wasn’t even craving donuts.  I’d generally come in to buy a Boston cream donut & an iced tea or chocolate milk… all because of that glowing invitation.  I always loved the retro decor, the smell, and the ability to see the magical doughnut making process.  You quickly dispatched with local competition.  Dunkin Donuts most decidedly took a hit, and you wiped out some of the local weird places like Donut Connetcion and Mister Donut.

Then, you pulled out like an occupying force ordered home.  There’s hardly a trace of Krispy Kreme left in Southwestern Pennsylvania.  I’ve noticed a lot of area locations like Greensburg, Pleasant Hills, and Monroeville are now Chick-fil-A restaurants, and a still-empty Krispy Kreme building sits as a shell of sadness in Robinson Township.  I remember the “remodeling / be back soon” sign hung for years before someone just gave up.  I mean, I absolutely love all the full service Chick-fil-A locations, but I also like hot fresh donuts every once in a while.  You used to be in several Sheetz locations, but now I think they mostly receive their donuts from somewhere else.  Plus, they’re not exactly hot n’ fresh there.

Remaining on your email list has become simply receiving an occasional taunt for something I can’t have.  Perhaps I should unsubscribe?

Dunkin Donuts seems to be making a rebound, and I must confess that I find their Boston cream (Boston creme?) offering to be a much fuller, larger, and more satisfying confectionery treat.  But, they don’t lure me in with a hot fresh free delicious donut, and I can’t watch them being made.  (Is it doughnut, or donut?) There’s also a killer “mom n’ pop” donut shop that’s a bit of a hike for me, but worth the trip… Big Daddy’s Donuts.

The truth is… I miss you, Krispy Kreme.  Do you have plans to come back to the area with hot fresh goodness?  Are you going to make me drive all the way to Washington county to get a doughnut & take a chance on the hot light being on?  Why did all of the area locations shut down?  Were you muscled out by local donut barons?  Did too many yinzers line up for free doughnuts and not actually buy anything?  Did Sheetz want too much too soon?  Did people go on diets or realize that too many donuts are a bad thing?  Was you plan all along to wipe out local donut shops and leave the area starved of donuts because of the high geographical rate of diabetes, thus ensuring better health for the population of the Pittsburgh area?  I need (and feel that I deserve) some answers, my friends.  What happened?  Please don’t brush me off with the standard, “it’s not you, it’s us.”  I need some concrete reasons.

Thank you for your time, I hope you’re doing well.  I’m sure you’re as hot n’ fresh as always… just not for me.

Hungrily Yours,
-Waldo Lunar

Well, there it is.  And here are more that I have thought of since…

  • Why do you spell Krispy Kreme with K’s?  Why not Crispy Creme or even Crispy Cream?
  • What’s the difference between Cream and Creme?
  • Why don’t you call a Boston Cream doughnut Boston Creme?  Why is it Custard-filled?  Is the Custard just pudding?
  • Is it “donut” or “doughnut”?
  • Why spell “doughnut” in long form, yet blatantly disregard spelling in Krispy Kreme?
  • What’s your favorite doughnut?

Thank you once again for your time & assistance in satisfying my inquisitive nature.

Aloha,
-Waldo Lunar

Here’s what they sent back…

From: <krispykreme@casupport.com>
Date: Wed, Feb 15, 2012
Subject: Case #1099627
To: world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com

Dear Mr. Lunar,

Thank you for your email regarding your questions about Krispy Kreme. We appreciate the opportunity to assist you. I have provided the answers to the questions that you have asked, I hope you find this information helpful.

– Why do you spell Krispy Kreme with K’s?  Why not Crispy Creme or even Crispy Cream? Krispy Kreme is spelled with the K’s simply to be different and stand out.

   – What’s the difference between Cream and Creme? There is no difference between the two words, “cream” is the American pronunciation and “crème” is the French pronunciation.

   – Why don’t you call a Boston Cream doughnut Boston Creme?  Why is it Custard-filled?  Is the Custard just pudding? It’s just the spelling we used for that doughnut. It can be filled with chocolate frosting, creamy vanilla, or custard filling. The custard filling is the same as the Bavarian crème filled, it’s just a different name.

   – Is it “donut” or “doughnut”? Either way is fine, “donut” is just the shortened form of “doughnut”.

   – Why spell “doughnut” in long form, yet blatantly disregard spelling in Krispy Kreme? Again, you can spell “doughnut” either way you would like. We just choose to spell it the old-fashioned way.

   – What’s your favorite doughnut? My favorite is the Original Glazed doughnut.

Pertaining to the inquiry of the 2005 article that you have provided us, we have no privy to this information here at Krispy Kreme Customer experience. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause you.

Best regards,

Lyndon Palmer
Krispy Kreme Customer Experience
www.krispykreme.com

Insanity.  Absolute insanity.  But, they did answer all of my questions.  Well, all of the new ones anyway.  They artfully dodged the highlighted paragraph o’ questions for a second time.  Should I send a follow-up?  Maybe I will drive to Washington to get a doughnut one of these days.

English: Krispy Kreme delivery truck.

Unless I can get them to deliver...

Downfall from Do(ugh)nut Domination


I’ve been getting emails from Krispy Kreme reminding me to come buy & eat some doughnuts.  The only problem is that there aren’t any Krispy Kremes around where I can go buy said doughnuts.  Much like Quiznos, they seem to have parted ways with our area.  I decided to write to them and see what happened.

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Feb 10, 2012
Subject: So, what happened?
To: JBryant@krispykreme.com; hotlight@krispykreme.com; contact@krispykreme.com; lwatson@krispykreme.com; webmaster@krispykreme.com; jmorgan@krispykreme.com; friends@krispykreme.com; krispykreme@casupport.com

Greetings Doughnut Despots,

I’m writing to ask you what happened.  Occasionally I get an email reminding me to visit a Krispy Kreme, and I think to myself “yeah, that’s a good idea.”  Sadly, there are no Krispy Kremes around any more.  I remember the stir of excitement when you first came to the area many years ago.  I believe it was even a news story… “Pittsburgh is getting Krispy Kreme!”  The fervor for hot fresh donuts was palpable.  The neon sign beckoning me in for a visit worked on several occasions when I wasn’t even craving donuts.  I’d generally come in to buy a Boston cream donut & an iced tea or chocolate milk… all because of that glowing invitation.  I always loved the retro decor, the smell, and the ability to see the magical doughnut making process.  You quickly dispatched with local competition.  Dunkin Donuts most decidedly took a hit, and you wiped out some of the local weird places like Donut Connetcion and Mister Donut.

Then, you pulled out like an occupying force ordered home.  There’s hardly a trace of Krispy Kreme left in Southwestern Pennsylvania.  I’ve noticed a lot of area locations like Greensburg, Pleasant Hills, and Monroeville are now Chick-fil-A restaurants, and a still-empty Krispy Kreme building sits as a shell of sadness in Robinson Township.  I remember the “remodeling / be back soon” sign hung for years before someone just gave up.  I mean, I absolutely love all the full service Chick-fil-A locations, but I also like hot fresh donuts every once in a while.  You used to be in several Sheetz locations, but now I think they mostly receive their donuts from somewhere else.  Plus, they’re not exactly hot n’ fresh there.

Remaining on your email list has become simply receiving an occasional taunt for something I can’t have.  Perhaps I should unsubscribe?

Dunkin Donuts seems to be making a rebound, and I must confess that I find their Boston cream (Boston creme?) offering to be a much fuller, larger, and more satisfying confectionery treat.  But, they don’t lure me in with a hot fresh free delicious donut, and I can’t watch them being made.  (Is it doughnut, or donut?)  There’s also a killer “mom n’ pop” donut shop that’s a bit of a hike for me, but worth the trip… Big Daddy’s Donuts.

The truth is… I miss you, Krispy Kreme.  Do you have plans to come back to the area with hot fresh goodness?  Are you going to make me drive all the way to Washington county to get a doughnut & take a chance on the hot light being on?  Why did all of the area locations shut down?  Were you muscled out by local donut barons?  Did too many yinzers line up for free doughnuts and not actually buy anything?  Did Sheetz want too much too soon?  Did people go on diets or realize that too many donuts are a bad thing?  Was you plan all along to wipe out local donut shops and leave the area starved of donuts because of the high geographical rate of diabetes, thus ensuring better health for the population of the Pittsburgh area?  I need (and feel that I deserve) some answers, my friends.  What happened?  Please don’t brush me off with the standard, “it’s not you, it’s us.”  I need some concrete reasons.

Thank you for your time, I hope you’re doing well.  I’m sure you’re as hot n’ fresh as always… just not for me.

Hungrily Yours,
-Waldo Lunar

I also had a Twitter exchange of sorts, but it was all DM’s on their end…

https://twitter.com/#!/W_a_L_D/status/169099779022921729

https://twitter.com/#!/W_a_L_D/status/169100223275208704

They said:

@krispykreme | Please send us your email address and we’ll contact you.

https://twitter.com/#!/W_a_L_D/status/169127252334878722

They said:

@krispykreme | Thanks again for passing along your email address. You can also email us hotlight@krispykreme.com.

Then I DM’ed

@W_a_L_D | Thank you! Rock n’ roll! Looking forward to a reply.

And tweeted…

https://twitter.com/#!/W_a_L_D/status/169135815472070656

Heh.

Eventually, I received an emailed reply…

From: <krispykreme@casupport.com>
Date: Mon, Feb 13, 2012
Subject: Case #1099627
To: world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com

Dear Mr. Lunar,

Thank you for your email regarding wanting a Krispy Kreme in the southwestern Pennsylvania area. We appreciate the opportunity to assist you. We, here at Krispy Kreme, always love to hear from our customers and it is great to hear that you enjoy our products!  We would like to take this time to thank you for taking the time to share your comments.

There are many reasons why stores close. Generally speaking, the franchisee decides to pursue other business ventures. We have shared your concerns and requests with our operations department for review.

Please be assured that we are working hard to open new stores and continue expanding throughout the United States and Canada. For your convenience, new store locations and details are also available on our website at www.KrispyKreme.com.  The site is regularly updated with information as soon as it becomes available.

Best regards,
Lyndon Palmer
Krispy Kreme Customer Experience
www.krispykreme.com

Krispy Kreme glazed donuts.

Doughnuts or Donuts?

I’m still left wondering if “Donut” is a bastardization, like “Late Nite” instead of “Late Night” or “Drive-Thru” instead of “Drive-Through.  If so, why spell doughnut correctly while blatantly (and borderline offensively) misspelling Crispy and Cream with K’s?  (I mean, add one more K in there…)  While we’re at it, is it Creme or Cream?  Are they the same, or different things?  And, isn’t the filling just pudding or is it custard? 

They declined to comment on the wiping out & eventual rebound of their spelling-handicapped competition.  Perhaps a classy move.  Dunkin’ Donuts never replied to that tweet, either.

HOT NOW

You know you want some doughnuts. Come get them. Eat the free one, then buy some more. It's hot, well... warm, and fresh... and you can see some being made. Man, you're hungry for doughnuts.

I don’t believe that Franchisees simply chose to “pursue other business ventures.”  You don’t quit if you’re making money.  You don’t all dry up if there is demand for your product and you’re selling it at a reasonable price.  I find it funny (odd funny not “ha ha” funny) that a lot of the old Krispy Kreme buildings became Chick-fil-A’s.

In fact, I’m not sure if they answered any of my questions directly.  Should I perhaps write back?

Also, tell me in the comments where you get your donuts!  Am I missing some great local shops?  Who has the best donuts?  What’s your favorite donut?  Is it “donut” or “doughnut”?  Let’s talk all things do(ugh)nuts in the comments!

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.