What’s Up? (4/14/16)

Squirrel Hill
It’s been three weeks since I wrote something here. What’s the short? Work’s ramped up, which is great; more hours, more pay, more challenges, more experience. I saw Kate Bornstein, she was great. Formula 1 is back, and is still great. Great, great, great.

But I’ve also been thinking a lot about my neighborhood. As one friend considers moving into town, I’ve started weighing the pros and cons of being here. I think by far one of the bigger cons is just the effect being away from Oakland has on the amount of club activities I used to do. I’m not a student anymore, but if I were in Oakland I’d probably still go to a few club meetings here and there because I have a lot of friends and acquaintances there, and obviously I still care about their causes. But has being in Squirrel Hill been the thing that keeps me away? I think it’s only one part of it, the others being factors like having a job, and being a graduate – naturally I’m just on a different rhythm than my friends who are still students.

But let’s say loneliness is a con of being in Squirrel Hill. What then? What are the pros? Well by far and away the biggest pro is the nature here. There’s a bunch of experiences, and places to eat, and places to drink, and they all factor into a good time – but it’s the nature here that sustains me more than anything. I went outside for a jog, something I’ve done fairly regularly since March, and something I never would have done in Oakland, and saw some deer tonight. Deer! I know that’s not such a big deal to people in Pennsylvania, but as someone who grew up on Long Island, then spent four years in Oakland, deer are a big deal. They’re so tranquil to watch. Squirrel Hill has also provided me the chance to see rabbits, chipmunks, stray cats, hawks, woodpeckers, cardinals and blue jays, and who knows what else will come next? I haven’t even been here a full year.

There’s no doubt that being in Oakland would have presented some conveniences, but it’s a very transient town, no apartment could have felt as cozy as my current place. And the conveniences it provides aren’t permanent either. Staying in a college town, staying friends with the same college people – I mean, those are all people leaving Oakland eventually too.

The parallel universe version of me that stayed in Oakland is a happy Ken, no doubt. He gets to keep eating Milanos, going to CWO and Secular Alliance, all of those good things, right? But I’m confident he’d be a 22-year-old version of who I was as 21. Not forced to figure out how to be happy in relative isolation. Not forced to explore the woods and parks. Happy, but worse for wear down the road. Less experiences. Oakland is where I went to school to learn lessons and life skills, but Squirrel Hill is where I think I’m learning myself.

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What’s Up? (12/7/15)

Bow
I was completely prepared for a normal Monday. Bus to Lawrenceville, cappuccino at Espresso a Mano, start work; in that order, nothing different.

And then a Border Collie ran up to me in front of Piccolo Forno. Dumbfounded, I greeted the dog, but didn’t know what else to do. He was a little mangy looking. Some leaves, grass, or dirt around his paws. He jumped up on me to say Hi, and while it was cute, I was also apprehensive.

And then this Border Collie ran into the street full of oncoming traffic, and I suddenly became very protective of this dog. I got it back onto the sidewalk, where it ran to Espresso a Mano, after greeting several citizens of Lawrenceville in passing. At Espresso a Mano, as luck would have it, the dog was stopped by a man named Paul. I talked to Paul, suggesting that I knew a place where we could get a collar and leash around the dog. Paul picked up the dog, who we now know was named Bow, and got him into his car.

We drove to the office where I work, put a leash on Bow, and I said my farewells, thanking Paul and wishing him good luck. Everything turned out okay for Bow and Paul, and it turns out that Paul is a really chill dude, and a folk musician.

That’s what a runaway dog will do though. Throw your day in a mix, and introduce you to some cool people, because the people who stop to take care of a dog are going to be interesting in one way or another.

Cachaça
While I’m on interesting things, lets talk Cachaca. The Brazilian liquor I couldn’t get my hands on for the Brazilian Grand Prix, even when I asked my local store about it. Turns out, my store carries Cachaca, they just didn’t know it.

So what the hell is it, and why is it interesting? My short pitch for Cachaca is this: It’s the middle ground between Rum and Tequila. Not as harsh as Tequila, but more complicated tasting then Rum. And it goes great with freshly squeezed limes and two sugar cubes. Caipirinhas they’re called. I’m not following the recipe to a T, but it’s good, damn good!

What’s Up? (8/26/14)

Life has been so different since August 21st, 2014, and I’m so happy for it. As I wished, it appears this last year of college really will be a reward and test of all the lessons I’ve learned since say, Senior year of High School. In short, hell yes I’m totally doing fine and I love how drastically different things have been in Pittsburgh so far. 

I’ve got to watch the Belgium Grand Prix somewhere, since I only saw the last 10 laps an apparently, the first 34 were the ones you want to watch. I’m also dealing with a wicked stuffy nose right now, not fun. I just walked away from the keyboard for 3 minutes sneezing and just feeling miserable. 

I need to get over this now, I have almost three hours of night class and then CWO tonight. I’m rapid-fire sneezing, what the hell? …15 minutes later, blew my nose, sneezes gone. Bitter about allergies. Wondering if I should do my laundry now, though I’d be cutting it close to class. 40 Minutes ago I could have… shit now I’ve got to wait until tomorrow. 

Laundry bums me out so much; so instead lets just remember that we have some cool new things in life, like Japanese Vinyl Records and naked e-hookah sessions. Feminist literature classes and quirky artisan shops. Bike-powered booze-mobiles and new faux-hawk haircuts. Teachers who remember that your hair was longer, and lettuces on Pittsburgh buses for some reason. 

What’s Up? (8/11/14)

So I got this bike in the apartment now, and I just was on it for an hour while watching Giant Bomb’s “Unprofessional Friday” series. It feels really great to be able to do enough exercise to make your knees wobbly, in the comfort of your own bedroom. It was a great feeling, yet, only one of many today!

Among the other great feelings: friends from Long Island showing an increased interest in what life in Pittsburgh is like. A pair of orange pants I bought on the internet arrived today, and thank god they fit! 36×30’s, woo. Also, finding fellow Beck fans, that’s always a positive force.

The best feeling of all though, that I think I felt today, is just feeling yourself progress and move forward with life.