Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pittsburgh Mills

I took a day off work yesterday to burn some remaining vacation days, shop for a few remaining Christmas gifts, and have the tires rotated on my car. I bought my tires about two years ago from Sears, and tire rotations were included in the price. I usually go to the Sears at Ross Park Mall for my tire rotations, but I decided to try out the Sears at the Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills. Someone that used to work with me mentioned that Pittsburgh Mills is not that busy, so that is why I decided to try the Sears there. I arrived at the Sears around 9:00AM and to my delight, there were no vehicles in any of the service bays. Quite different from Ross Park mall, which is usually busy. Maybe because it was a weekday instead of the weekend. It only took them about one hour to rotate my tires and change the oil, very quick.

The Galleria Mall was designed differently that other malls I have been to. Ross Park Mall, The Mall at Robinson, South Hills Village, Century III, Monroeville Mall, all have the same look to them. (Yes, I actually have shopped at all of these malls. Strange for a guy, right?) The Galleria is a one story mall, so it was difficult to compare the size to a two story mall. It had many of the same anchor stores like Sears, JCPenney, and Macy's. Inside, there were alternating areas of carpeted floor, and wood flooring. Benches and sitting areas were artistic, colorful and geometric at the same time. Outside of the mall had a lot of restaurants and big box stores like Lowes, Walmart, etc. It reminded me of the whole Robinson shopping area without the traffic. If you live in the area, everything that you could possibly need is there, all in one place. I am not sure if I will visit again, but it was a nice change of pace.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Janelle Hall Dance Video

I have to thank Janelle Hall for getting me out of my writer's block with this blog. Sure, I have a couple of excuses: the Thanksgiving Holiday, a business trip out of town for a week, and a sprained ankle. Or me just being lazy.

A charity event called "Dancing With The Celebrities of Pittsburgh" took place this weekend. The 3 major TV stations each had a few of their TV news anchors participating. To my delight and viewing pleasure, WTAE posted a video clip of Janelle Hall's dance. As I have mentioned before in previous posts, Janelle Hall is my favorite female TV news anchor in Pittsburgh. She is tall, attractive, and I absolutely love her bubbly on-air personality. Janelle sometimes will guest news anchor on WDVE in the morning and here she shows more of her appealing personality on the radio. Some will argue that KDKA's Sonni Abatta is hotter, but not me.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Trib Writer Bashes Blogging

Mike Seate, Columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribrune Review, wrote a column in Tuesday's edition titled "Mourn not for end of pointless blogging". Mr. Seate tries to explain the difference between a paid writer like himself versus an average "Joe the Blogger". I blog, but not everyday, so I am not obsessed with blogging. I disagree with Mr. Seate. I will not bash him here, but simply say he really does not understand what blogging is all about.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Goodbye and Best Wishes to PittGirl and TheBurghBlog

Today is one of the saddest days in Pittsburgh, the Blogosphere, and the Pittsburgh Blogosphere. Anonymous blogger PittGirl, has shutdown her popular blog, TheBurghBlog. Both the PostGazette and PopCityMedia reveal in e-mails from PittGirl, that her identity had been compromised, which could have resulted in her losing her job. Sadly, PittGirl had no choice but to shut down her blog.

I will definitely miss TheBurghBlog. PittGirl's posts always put a smile on my face. She has done so much for Pittsburgh, bloggers, and Pittsburgh Bloggers. Although PittGirl joked about everything Pittsburgh, she did it because she truly loves everything Pittsburgh. She inspired everyday Joe/Joe-ette The Plumbers to blog, and unknowingly united people as minions/fans. PittGirl, Thank You and Best Wishes.

Winter Weather Hyping

We had snow flurries since Sunday, and it looks like the local TV stations are doing their best to hype up the Winter Weather forecasts. Here are some tricks I saw this evening watching TV and the local news:

  • Multi-day accumulation totals - if the accumulation amount for one day is too small, provide an accumulation today for more than one day. This increases the accumulation total, but you have to remember it is spread over several days, not one day.
  • 30 second commercial teasers - always play 30 second teaser commercials hinting at impending doom, school closings, etc, but don't really tell the whole story yet. Tell the viewer they have to wait for the next scheduled newscast.
  • Live report from the snowiest place in the area outside of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh is located in Allegheny County. If the snow forecast for Allegheny County is too small, have a reporter travel outside of Allegheny County (at least an hour drive) and broadcast a live report of the "horrible" conditions.
  • Report accumulation totals from an untreated surface like an empty parking lot - To make it look worse than it really is, have the live broadcast with a reporter showing the accumulation total from an untreated surface like an empty parking lot. An untreated surface will have more snow that a treated, well traveled road.

Hyping up the winter weather is one of my pet peeves with the local media. Just think how bad it will be when a real snow storm hits.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mark Cuban Charged with Insider Trading

Mark Cuban, Pittsburgh native from Mt. Lebanon, entrepreneur millionaire, and owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA basketball team has been charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with insider trading. Pittsburgh sports fans will remember that Mark Cuban was supposedly interested in buying the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Pittsburgh Pirates. You will also remember that Cuban was a lot of talk and no action. Everyone has a blog these days, and Mark Cuban responds to the allegations on his blog.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hello Old Man Winter

The average temperature this time of year is still supposed to be in the 50's, but here we are in the mid 30's. I have been slowing introducing winter clothes out of storage - long sleeve shirts, sweats, gloves, hats, etc. Another sure sign of winter is breaking out my Under Armour Coldgear for workouts in the basement.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

OneCare is One Mess

I have had enough of Microsoft Windows Live OneCare. It is supposed to be an all in one suite for PC maintenance - security updates, virus software, firewall software, backup software, etc. OneCare is supposed to start automatically after the PC is rebooted and an icon should appear in the taskbar to indicate that it is active and working. Yesterday was the third time where OneCare would not start automatically on startup. The previous two times, I had to un-install and re-install to get it working again. For this third time, I just un-installed and did not reinstall. Sure, I like fixing PC problems since it is my chosen profession, but after 3 strikes, and one late night trying to fix it, enough is enough. I am going to call Microsoft to cancel my OneCare subscription. As an interim solution for my antivirus software, I installed AVG Anti Virus Free Edition. Damn you Bill Gates!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

LLBean Open at Ross Park Mall

I took a day off from work to burn some of my remaining vacation days and made a stop at the Ross Park Mall. It has been advertised that an LLBean store would be opening on 11/21/2008, so I thought I would walk by to see where it was located in the Mall. It is located across from the Cheesecake Factory, and to my surprise they were actually open. One of the employees indicated that it was a "soft" opening. The official grand opening celebration will be 11/21/2008. The employees were very friendly. Almost everyone greeted me and asked if I needed assistance. Of course, there were very few customers in the store, so this could explain the enthusiasm of the employees. The store is actually two floors high, and is quite spacious. The employees seemed familiar with their primary area of responsibility, but were a little unfamiliar with other areas of the store. I was told that they have not received all of their merchandise yet. I have purchased products in the past from LLBean online, and have been very satisfied with the quality of their products, even if they are little more expensive. I am glad to see an LLBean store in Pittsburgh now.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Patch Tuesday

Patch Tuesday is the second Tuesday of each month, the day on which Microsoft releases security patches. For November 2008, there will only be 2 patches released by Microsoft.

Monday, November 10, 2008

PittGirl Interview

PittGirl, from theburghblog.com was recently "interviewed" for Pittsburghmagazine.com. Check it out. If you are a Pittsburgh blogger, then you know about theburghblog.com and PittGirl. If you have not heard of theburghblog.com, then start reading, you will be hooked.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Hood Happenings

One of my neighbors in the block had his annual 29th birthday party this Saturday. Yes, he celebrates his 29th birthday every November and he invites everyone in the neighborhood to attend. He does not ask for gifts and even provides all the food, beverage, and entertainment. What a great neighbor. I missed posting yesterday due to the festivities.

Friday, November 07, 2008


I usually do not talk about work in my posts, but tonight I will. My employer is a national company with locations in several states. Over the past several years my company has been downsizing as many others have. The downsizing usually occurs a few months before the end of the year - the end of October/early November. One of my fellow employees was notified today that his job is being eliminated. His supervisor from out of state (which is common with my company) drove in today and delivered the news personally. He has two weeks left and will receive a severance package. I am saddened because this employee is very friendly, works long hours, is liked by everyone, and has a family to support. He is around my age, mid 40's. I am a little shocked because there are much older employees near retirement age still working at my company. Life is just not fair.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Lady Heather

When I got home from work today, I was wondering what my daily blog post would be for today. TV and CSI to the rescue. Lady Heather, one of the most memorable recurring characters, returned to tonight's episode of CSI. The end of the show leaves the impression that Grissom and Lady Heather finally hook up. I have lost some interest in CSI since a few of the major characters/actors have left the show. However, the trailers with Lady Heather coaxed me into watching.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Pittsburgh Penguins Introduce Third Jersey

The Pittsburgh Penguins will introduce a third team jersey today. The jersey and uniform are the same light blue color pattern that the Penguins wore in last season’s NHL Winter Classic against the Buffalo Sabres on New Year’s Day. Here is a link to the history of the team uniform. I think the jersey is pretty cool.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day

I took the advice from most of the news outlets and avoided voting before work and after work. I left work around high noon and arrived at my designated polling location around 12:30 PM. I did not have to wait at all, I was in and out in about 10 minutes. The Ivotronic voting machines where a new experience for me. Pressing the big red button at the top of the screen is supposed to officially cast your ballot. It flashed for what seemed like an eternity and then finally the flashing red VOTE button went out and the screen changed with a confirmation message saying I was done. I was hungry so I went to a nearby Wendy's and encountered a line that was longer than the non existent line to vote. The Wendy's was understaffed, at the registers and the food prep area, and the employee's main focus was the drive thru line. I avoided waiting in one line, but then ran into another, oh well.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Election Eve

Tonight is Election Eve. I am glad Election Day is tomorrow. I am getting a little tired of the negative TV advertising, the flyers in the mail, and numerous messages left on my answering machine. Even though the election tactics can be annoying, be glad that you live in a country where there is an election process. If you are registered to vote, exercise your right. If you want more information on where to vote or how to use the new voting machines, go the Votespa.com.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


November is National Blog Posting Month, NaBloPoMo. Silly me, I missed posting yesterday. I was going to talk about Pitt's quadruple overtime win over Notre Dam, but it is old news today. The Cincinnati Bungle's (as the late Myron Cope would say) won their first game of this season. I watched the highlights and it was painfully obvious how ugly their uniforms are. I looked up their uniform on Wikipedia, and they wore their alternate uniform, which was bright orange with black tiger stripes. The orange is just too annoying. I think their helmets are cool though.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

October Snow

Here is a picture this morning from my deck.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

WTAE Decreases My Janelle Time

WTAE TV Channel 4 recently re-shuffled their weekday anchors. I did not realize until this morning that it also affected the weekend morning newscasts. Janelle Hall previously anchored the morning weekend newscasts solo. Now she is co-anchoring with Sheldon Ingram. I am bummed, my "Janelle Time" has been decreased. Saturday is the day after Friday high school football games, so more "Janelle Time" was cut out due to High School Football highlights. Nothing against Sheldon Ingram, but I am not in favor of this move.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Mark Madden Returns to Radio 10/13/2008

Anyone who follows sports talk radio in Pittsburgh has been asking "When is Mark Madden returning?". Well, the answer is Monday, 10/13/20008, on 105.9 FM, WXDX, from 3 to 6 PM. See the screenshot from WXDX's website.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Pittsburgh Penguins 2008-2009 Info

The Pittsburgh Penguins season opening game will be this Saturday, 10/4, against the Ottawa Senators in the great country of Sweden. Here is a link to the official Pittsburgh Penguins website where you will find the 2008-2009 schedule, and TV/Radio info. Here are two of the best blogs that cover the Penguins: 1) The Pensblog - this blog is run by a group of young Pens Fans. They are known for their reader submitted Photoshops, humorous game analysis, and are the originators of the WWGRD phenomena; and 2) Faceoff Factor - this blog is more cerebral with their game analysis. Let's Go Pens!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Like Biker Girls

There is just something about a Biker Girl that sparks my interest. No, I am not talking about motorcycles, but human powered bicycles with 2 pedals. Ever since I bought my bicycle last fall and started riding my bike, I pay more attention to news articles about biking. The Pittsburgh Tribune Review had an article about a female bike messenger in Pittsburgh. There is also a short video online that you can watch, check it out.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mark Madden Returns to Radio in October

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette is reporting that Mark Madden, former sports talk show host on 1250 ESPN, will be released from this contract with ESPN, and will start a new show on WXDX 105.9 FM in early October. He will most likely return to the air on October 6, with the 3-7 PM time slot. He will complete with the "Paulsen, Logan, and Crow Show" on 1250 ESPN and Joe Bendel on 970 Fox Sports Radio.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pirate Parrot Being Manny Ramirez

My friend and fellow Pitt Grad Jim is in town this week, so we attended our annual Pirates game with his brother Tom and good friend Gerry. It was a great night for baseball: It was Dollar Dog Night (Hot Dogs for $1), the weather was perfect, there was an absolutely cute girl sitting in the row below us, we had prime seats in Section 5 near the 1st base line, and the Pirates actually won the game. One of the more entertaining parts of the evening was seeing the Pirate Parrot wear a Do-Rag and Dreadlocks in honor of LA Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez. It was a great evening to unwind and connect with friends.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lights Out

So the burning question at work has been "Do you have power yet?" The power at my house went out around half time of the Steeler game, approximately 10:00PM Sunday. My house has always been more likely to have a power outage than say my neighbor one block away. My next door neighbor told me once that my house and her's are on a different "grid", and we always get more outages. I was well prepared, I have candles, matches, flashlights, batteries. However, I did not have enough batteries for either one of my two boom boxes, so I could not listen to the Steeler game. I am a night owl, so I had not done the dishes or ironed any clothes for Monday. I even had a load of laundry in the washer which was just about to run through the rinse cycle. I still did not have any power when I woke up for work on Monday. During work, I called my home to see if my answering machine would answer. Finally, around 3:00PM, I had power. I feel very fortunate, I was only without power for about 15 hours.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Max Payne Movie, 10/17/2008

As I watched the Steelers game this past Sunday, I was surprised to see a trailer for the new Max Payne Movie. Mark Wahlberg has the lead role as Max Payne and Mila Kunis from "That 70's Show" will play Mona Sax. For a video game, I thought Max Payne had a very good story. We will see how well it works on the big screen.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

2009 Gary Fisher and Trek Bikes

Both Gary Fisher and Trek have updated their websites with their 2009 models. For 2009, Gary Fisher is introducing a line of road bikes. I already have a mountain bike and it would be nice to have a road bike too. However, I have other financial priorities. I can dream though.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Pitt Panther Football Info

The Pitt Panther Football Team will begin the 2008-2009 season tomorrow at Heinz Field against Bowling Green. Here are two links to keep you up to date on what is happening this year:
Here is a list of radio stations that will air the football games:
Go Panthers!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tool Time

As a homeowner, my collection of power tools has grown steadily. This past weekend, I applied a second coat of driveway sealer. The sealer comes in 5 gallon buckets, and I used a large paint stirrer attached to a corded electric drill to mix the sealant. The keyless chuck on the drill got stuck, and I had to use two pipe wrenches to loosen the chuck, which eventually broke the keyless chuck. My backup plan was to use my cordless drill, which I hardly use, so I had to wait about one hour for the battery to charge before I could use it. Later, I discovered that my second battery was dead and would not recharge. So, now I have a broken corded electric drill and a cordless drill with only one battery. I checked for a replacement battery on Sears’ website and found out that a replacement battery costs $60. For $60 I can buy two new corded drills or a whole new cordless drill. I have started to look online and my local Lowes and Home Depot. Decisions, Decisions.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Random Reps

It has been a few weeks since I posted. I am trying something new here called "Random Reps". Random for random thoughts. Reps (repetitions) to keep with a fitness theme. Sometimes there are times when I do not have enough material to post about one topic, so I do not post. "Random Reps" will help me post when I have a number of small items to talk about. So here goes my first "Random Reps":
  • I spent the last 2 weekends applying driveway sealer to my driveway. IMHO, my driveway is the best looking one in my development. The weather has been perfect for this as there has been very little rain.
  • Over the past month, I have gained five pounds, but my body fat has also increased two percent. I noticed last week that I had to loosen my belt one notch. My plan is to watch my diet more closely and increase my cardio.
  • Between my last post on 8/7 and now, I celebrated my 45th birthday. WooHoo!
  • I replaced the standard handlebar grips on my mountain bike with Ergon GC2 grips. I tried them out on 8/3. They seem to help some with the handlebar palsy, but not entirely. I have not been biking because I have been working on my driveway the last two weekends

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Happy Birthday to Sidney Crosby

Happy Birthday to Sidney Crosby, who is 21 today. Sidney wears the number 87 on his jersey, and his birthday is 8/7/1987. It is very easy to remember. Thank the Hockey Gods for letting the Pittsburgh Penguins win the NHL 2005 Draft Lottery. In honor of Sidney's birthday, I have set Blogger to publish this post at 8:07 AM.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

ESPN Radio 1250 Announces Line Up

Today, ESPN Radio 1250 officially announced their radio show line up after Mark Madden was let go several months ago. The 10AM to 1PM time slot will now be hosted by Guy Junker and Stan Savarn. They will also be joined by Chris Mack. The 3PM to 7PM time slot will be hosted by Eddy Crow and Scott Paulsen, with Mike Logan joining the mix. During the football season, Jerome Bettis will appear on the afternoon drive time show on Fridays from 5:30PM to 6:30PM. The Post Gazette originally broke this story before it was officially announced. I think the tag team hosting works very well.

TR2N, Tron 2

Disney showed a 3 minute proof of concept video of Tron 2 (TR2N) at the Comic Con last weekend. The video was an updated version of the famous Light Cycle duel. Here is a link to a video that was captured on someone's cell phone. A lot of the bootleg videos have been removed from the Internet, but I was glad to find this one, even if the video is small and not the best quality. The release of the video was a total surprise, and the audience went nuts. I remember when Tron was originally released. Some people just did not get it. At that time, I thought it was a ground breaking movie. This was only test footage, so I am really looking forward to seeing TR2N when it is officially released.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Randy Pausch, 1960-2008

Randy Pausch, Carnegie Mellon University professor, lost his battle with terminal pancreatic cancer today. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, he decided to celebrate his life. He presented a speech called “The Last Lecture”. It was recorded on video for colleagues/friends who could not attend the presentation. But, with the help of the Internet, his inspirational video has been viewed by literally millions.

I will admit that before his death, I did not follow his story that closely. Today, I finally had a chance to watch the whole 76 minute video “The Last Lecture”. Wow, it was truly inspirational. Watch for yourself.

My thoughts and prayers go to his family and friends.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hard To Recycle Event, Sat, 7/26, Mall At Robinson

The Allegheny Health Department and the Pennsylvania Resources Council will be conducting a “Hard To Recycle” Drop Off Collection Event this Saturday, 7/26/2008, at the Mall at Robinson, from 10AM to 2PM. Items being collected include old TVs, tires, computers, etc. There is a recycling fee for each item. For more information, please click on this link. There will be two more events in 2008 after this one: 1) Saturday, 9/20/2008 at the North Park Pool parking lot and 2) Saturday, 11/15/2008 at the Mall at Robinson. I have an old dehumidifier (with Freon), computer, and CRT monitor that I would like to dispose of properly. Even though I live North of Pittsburgh, I plan on going to this event in case I can not go to one of the later events in 2008. Be Green.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

KDKA TV Weather Staff Changes

Last Friday, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette first reported that KDKA TV had fired meteorologist Valerie Abati and hired freelance, veteran meteorologist Dennis Bowman to replace her. I check my blog stats from time to time with Statcounter, and I was amazed to see the number of page loads on my blog was well over 100 last Friday and yesterday, Monday. My normal daily page load is somewhere between 25 and 35. The most visited post on those 100 plus page load days was a post from last October when KDKA first hired Abati. I did not realize how much Pittsburghers were interested in who presents the local TV weather forecast. The article in the Post Gazette does not state a specific reason why Abati was fired, but it does mention that viewers were critical of her coverage of thunderstorms on the 11:00PM June 29 newscast. Also, some viewers on a local TV chat board complained about her voice. Pittsburgh is a tough media market for TV personalities. When KDKA TV announced the hiring of Abati in October, I always wondered why they did not hire Dennis Bowman instead. Bowman has a lot of experience, is well respected, and his voice is clear and crisp.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

4 Year Mugshot

Yesterday I went and got my new 4 year mugshot - my new Pennsylvania Photo ID Drivers License. I took a late lunch and strolled into the Driver License Center around 1:00PM. A greeter met me and asked me what service was I there for. He then gave me a numbered ticket - it was like I was at the deli in Giant Eagle. There was no waiting at all and my number was called almost instantly. The signature capture pad device which captures your John Hancock was pretty bad, I opted not to try it again. The photographer then took one head shot. He asked if I wanted to try again and I said not really, but he insisted, so I took another one. The photog even encouraged me to flash my pearly whites. The second photo looked better than the first one, so I went with the second one. Compared to my previous license, the older license had more of my upper body in the pic. My new photo license is more of a head shot. My signature is so small, I am not sure why it is on there. Can I live with this for the next 4 years? Yeah, it is not too bad, not too good.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Return of Mark Madden ?

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported yesterday that former ESPN 1250 sports talk host Mark Madden may join WXDX FM. Madden was fired from ESPN 1250 after making derogatory remarks about Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

If Madden returns to WXDX, he would most likely be on the afternoon drive time slot from 3PM to 6/7 PM. The format of the show would probably be a mixture of music, talk, and sports.

What about the time slot that was vacated on ESPN 1250 when Madden was fired? No decision has been made yet, but it seems like ESPN 1250 would like to have a permanent solution for their afternoon drive time slot near the opening of Steelers training camp.

Even though Madden was let go in late May, I still listen to ESPN 1250 on my way home from work. To me the content of the afternoon sports talk show is more important than the host of the show. Since Madden was released, ESPN 1250 has used a variety of hosts. It has actually been refreshing listening to different opinions and analyses.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Love Hate

I am in a Love/Hate relationship right now - with summer insects. I was mowing the lawn Tuesday evening later than normal because of the humid weather and the bugs were out in force. There must be something about my body chemistry, bugs love to bite me. I prefer the quick bites where the bug just bites you quickly and gets it over with. I particularly dislike the long, drawn out bites, where you feel the bug penetrate your skin but it does not want to let go. My insect repellent of choice is Off Family Care Unscented. It is unscented and not as powerful as some of Off's other products, so it works well enough for me to finish mowing the lawn.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Let's Fat Finger The Dog Kennel

When I got home from work today I had a message on my answering machine inquiring about making a reservation for a dog at a dog kennel. I have received messages in the past about dogs, maybe twice a year max and never thought about it. My curiosity got the best of me, so I looked up dog kennels near my zip code on Yahoo's Yellow Pages. The results showed a dog kennel near me with a telephone number only one digit different than my home telephone number. My home telephone number has a "9" in it while the dog kennel has a "3" in it. If you look at a telephone keypad, you will see that there is one entire row of keys between the 9 and the 3. Someone must have really fat fingered it. As I said, I only get maybe 2 calls a year like this, so it is no big deal to me.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


I got up early this AM so I could ride my bike at North Park. I left my house around 9:45AM and it started to drizzle. As I arrived at North Park, the rain became more steady to the point where I did not want to ride. I decided to tough it out and waited until about 10:10AM, then the rain finally stopped. The rain had scared away the usual amount of walkers and bikers, so I took advantage of this and knew I would be riding with very little traffic. Another biker said a friendly "Good Morning" to me as I unloaded my bike from my car. I could sense she was happy as I was about the light traffic. I forgot how many loops I completed, but each loop was 1.4 miles, maybe 4 loops at the minimum, meaning 5.6 miles minimum. I felt pretty good except at the end of each loop, my right elbow tingled like I had hit my funny bone. I think part of it is the "death grip" I use on my handlebars. I have to learn to relax more, meaning ease up on the grips. I am thinking of replacing my standard bike grips with some grips from Ergon, which are supposed to be ergonomic and rated/reviewed very positively. I am tired now, not so much from riding, but from the combination of waking up early and doing physical activity in the AM. I am more used to working out late in the PM. Happy Trails!

Monday, June 23, 2008

I Want My DTV, Maybe Later

I do not have cable or satellite TV, so I will need to buy a DTV converter box before February 17, 2009. I applied for the government sponsored coupons the first week you could apply in early January 2008. My coupons actually expired on 6/17/2008, and I did not buy a DTV converter box yet. Why you ask? There are several reasons:

  • I am hoping the government either 1) allows consumers to re-apply for the coupons or 2) extend the expiration date for the coupons.

  • There is not a large variety of options to choose from to buy in store. There are plenty of choices on line, but they are more expensive. The choices in store are as follows: 1) Wal Mart – Magnavox; 2) Radio Shack – Digital Stream; 3) Best Buy and Circuit City – LG model branded as Insignia at Best Buy, and Zenith at Circuit City. Wal Mart is supposed to have an RCA model, which I have read is the best of the bunch so far, but I have not seen them in any of the 3 Wal Marts I checked. There are also reports that some stores have shortages of the DTV converter boxes.

  • A $40 model is supposed to be released this summer from Dish Network called Echostar. All models currently available in store are either $50 or $60.

I took the suggestion of a writer who wrote about problems with the DTV converter box coupon program and asked a relative, my brother, who does not need a converter box, to go ahead and apply for the coupons.

I do not watch a lot of TV, so I do not need cable TV or satellite TV. I am happy with watching the free major television networks. Signing off.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sunday AM Bike Ride

This past Sunday, I decided I have had enough of learning to ride my Trek 4300 mountain bike in an empty parking lot at a local community park, and ventured out to North Park. I have not been to North Park since I was a little kid. All I can remember is the paddle boats at the Lake. I originally thought that I would try out the 5 mile paved bike/walk loop around the lake, but it was very crowded with both walkers and bikers. I am not that confident yet with my biking skills, and I was afraid I would run over someone.

I read that there was a bike/hike trail near the Pool and the Pie Traynor baseball field, so I headed there to discover that a charity event called “Ride and Stride” was in progress. More crowds of people, but not was crowded as the loop around the Lake. I could not find the trail, so I opted for the one way, paved S. Ridge Rd. The loop was about 1.0 miles long, and I completed at least 3 loops.

I am still a novice. I was easily spooked by cars and other bikers passing me. I still need practice shifting gears at the right time and gaining confidence while riding. So, how is my elbow tendonitis doing? I may have tweaked it a little, so I am going to rest it for a few days. It was a great day for a Sunday ride!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

WVU President Will Resign September 1

WVU President Michael Garrison announced that he will resign on September 1. His announcement comes after pressure from faculty, students, and alumni over the bogus MBA degree that was awarded to Heather Bresch, the daughter of West Virginia governor Joe Manchin. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette has followed this story since they first reported it in December 2007. Here is a list of articles about the controversy.

An Anonymous reader posted a comment about this on one of my previous posts: "I'm sure all of you have cheated in one form or another." Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but having 22 credits added to your transcript for a 48 credit degree requirement is not a simple case of cheating.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Penguins Win Game 5, 4-3 in Triple OT, Stay Alive

The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Detroit Redwings 4-3 in triple OT to win Game 5 and stay alive to play Game 6 in Pittsburgh on Wednesday 6/4 at the Mellon Arena. Detroit leads the series 3-2. Marc Andre Fleury was spectatular, especially in the OT periods, and stopped 55 of 58 shots on goal. Let's Go Pens !

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mark Madden Removed from 1250 ESPN

The Post Gazette is reporting that Sports Shock Jock Mark Madden has been removed permanently from the air at 1250 ESPN radio. On his radio show last Wednesday, Madden said the following about Sen. Kennedy, who days earlier had been diagnosed with brain cancer: "I'm very disappointed to hear Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts is near death because of a brain tumor. I always hoped Senator Kennedy would live long enough to be assassinated."

I have to admit, I listened to Madden's radio show from 3PM to 7PM while driving home from work every week day. He offered some interesting analyses, especially of the Penguins. However, he had a huge ego, was rude to callers (and just about everyone who disagreed with him), and ultimately had to go.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

XP SP3 Killed My PC or Not?

Microsoft released Service Pack 3 for Windows XP on 5/6/2008. I decided to install it on my 7 and a half year old Dell GX110 desktop PC and it literally killed my PC. Or did it? After completing the installation, shutting down, and forcing a restart, my PC would not boot or even start the POST process. No output on the monitor, I could not access the BIOS. The power light was solid amber, pointing to a hardware, not software problem. The fan on the power supply was running and I even swapped out a spare power supply, but no success. The problem is either the motherboard or the processor. I bought this PC refurbished from Dell to use a my backup PC, and my primary PC is working great. I know it is a hardware issue, but it seems too coincidental that my PC croaked after installing XP SP3. There are tons of articles out there documenting problems with HP PC's that have AMD processors. I had a working Dell with an Intel processor, so it really does not explain my situation.

I have been procrastinating about building a new PC for myself. I have most of the less expensive parts already - case, power supply, video card, and SATA hard drive. It looks like I will be using part of my Economic Stimulus Payment for the more expensive parts - processor, motherboard, and RAM. Thank You Bill Gates!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Hop in the Cordoba baby, we're going dancing with Lord Stanley!

The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers today 6-0 to advance to the NHL Stanley Cup Finals. WOO-HOO ! Mike Lange, Pittsburgh Penguins radio broadcaster, proudly proclaimed "Hop in the Cordoba baby, we're going dancing with Lord Stanley!"

Thursday, May 15, 2008

WVU Faculty Votes for President Resignation

Yesterday, WVU faculty members voted 563-35 to demand that President Mike Garrison resign over his administration’s decision to award a bogus MBA degree to the governor’s daughter, Heather Bresch. Last week, the Faculty Senate passed a similar motion of no confidence.

A new group at WVU, called the Mountaineers for Integrity and Responsibility (MIR), has an online petition that you can sign requesting the resignation of Garrison. MIR is made up of faculty, students and alumni at the university.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

WVU Faculty Votes to Oust the Prez

The WVU Faculty board voted Monday that President Mike Garrison should resign because of the controversy of awarding a mythical MBA degree to Mylan Inc executive Heather Bresch, who is the daughter of West Virginia governor Joe Manchin. A motion of no confidence passed in a vote of 77-19. The motion demands that Garrison step down, or the that the WVU Board of Governors can require his resignation. There are so many political connections involved with this controversy, it is just unbelievable. Here are just a few:
  • Mylan Inc. Executive Heather Bresch is the daughter of West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin.
  • WVU President Mike Garrison is a longtime friend of Heather Bresch.
  • Mike Garrison once worked as a Mylan lobbyist.
  • Mylan's chairman, Milan "Mike" Puskar, has given tens of millions to the university, which named its football stadium for him.

Garrison has stated previously that he will not resign. Last week Provost Gerald Lang and business school Dean R. Stephen Sears resigned from their administrative posts. Both intend to continue teaching at WVU. Will Garrison step down gracefully or will he be forced to resign? He seems more interested in his own personal reputation (which is already tarnished) instead of WVU's reputation.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Workout Rewind

I have not posted about any of my workouts because I was out of commission due to my four week Easter cold which was also my worst cold of the past decade. I have actually been working out the past two weeks, cardio and weightlifting. I am fine doing cardio. However, when I am weightlifting, I suffer from exercise induced asthma. This has happened to me in the past when I have had a very long break from working out. For now, I am using a Primatene Mist inhaler before I work out. From past experience, the amount of time I have taken off from working out is usually the same amount of time it takes me to get back in shape. So, in another two weeks, I should be good again.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

WVU Panel Reports Poor Judgment in Awarding MBA to Heather Bresch

Today, a WVU Investigative Panel released a 95 page report to the public detailing its decision that Mylan Inc Executive Heather Bresch, the daughter of West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin, did not earn an M.B.A degree from West Virginia University.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette highlighted key findings from the 95 page report. Phrases like “poor judgment”, “failures of processes”, and “failures of leadership” are included in the report. The 95 page (4.4 MB) report can be downloaded from the Post Gazette here. Course titles, grades, and credits have been un-highlighted with black marker.

When I first heard about this story, I thought there would be a cover up. I am glad that the investigative panel did not try to cover this up. I am disappointed that a major university gave in to political pressure. I, like most people, am very proud to say that I worked very hard to earn my college degree.

Heather Bresch’s WVU MBA Was BS

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette is reporting from a source that a five member panel has unanimously concluded that Mylan Inc chief operating officer Heather Bresch, daughter of West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin, did not earn an M.B.A degree from West Virginia University and that administrators acted improperly in granting her the degree retroactively in October. Ms. Bresch is a family friend and former business associate of WVU President Michael Garrison.

The panel was formed after a Dec. 21 Post Gazette article that questioned how university officials granted the degree in October, almost 10 years after Ms. Bresch left the program, even though official records showed she was 22 credits short. University records show that 22 credits were added to Ms. Bresch’s transcript, almost half of the 48 credits required for the degree. Changes including adding six courses with grades that previously were not on her record and changing two incomplete courses to letter grades.

Ms. Bresch stated to several media outlets that she made arrangements in September 1998 with WVU finance professor Paul Speaker, the head of the M.B.A program at the time, to substitute work experience for 10 credits she needed to graduate.

I do not know Ms. Bresch or have a grudge against Mylan Inc or WVU. I am a proud Pitt M.B.A. graduate who earned my degree the honest way, with hard work. I grew up in a two bedroom apartment with my two brothers and my parents. My parents combined income was so low in high school that I qualified for free school lunches. I lived off campus at home to save money when I attended Pitt for my B.S. degree. I went back to Pitt for my M.B.A. degree because I could not find a job after earning my B.S. degree. My family did not have any business or political connections to help me. I worked hard to earn both of my degrees. Shame on Ms. Bresch and WVU.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Penguins Sweep Senators, Move to Round 2 of NHL Playoffs

The Pittsburgh Penguins completed their first postseason sweep since 1992 by defeating the Ottawa Senators 3-1 tonight. The Penguins Round 2 opponent has not been determined yet. Since the Penguins were able to sweep the Senators in 4 games, they will get a well deserved rest before Round 2 begins. Let Go Pens!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Terrible Two

My blog is officially 2 years old today, Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary! So, how do I feel? I am proud that I have been able to keep this blog going. My goal was not to gain a large number of readers. I simply just wanted to express myself and let others know me a little better. I have also improved my writing skills. Blogging has helped me become more of a local Pittsburgh news junkie. I am more in touch with what is happening in Pittsburgh. Blogging has been a very good growth experience for me.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Penguins Clinch Atlantic Division Title

The Pittsburgh Penguins clinched the Atlantic Division title by beating the Philadelphia Flyers, 4-2, tonight. It is their first division title since 1997-98. Sidney Crosby scored two goals. Whoo Hoo !!!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

On the Shelf

I am still recovering from the cold I picked up from my younger brother over Easter weekend. This is probably the worst cold I have had in the last 6 years. Worse meaning duration and intensity. I have been so healthy the last 6 years, I have not had to use my prescription drug plan health benefits. I could not even find my prescription drug plan ID card. I was able to log on to my prescription drug plan website and asked them to send me a new ID card. Time for another shot of Nyquil before I go to bed.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


The CRT monitor attached to my second PC died this weekend. It lived for 7 years, so I am pleased with how long it lasted. I do not use my second PC that much. I use it primarily as a file server to backup my data on my primary PC. I took a quick peek at websites like BestBuy, NewEgg, Staples, and Sam's Club, and it is hard to find a CRT monitor. Most monitors sold these days are LCD monitors. How technology has changed and improved for the better! I have a keyboard-video-mouse (KVM) switch somewhere in my basement pile of old PC parts, so I will hold off on purchasing a new LCD monitor until after I get my tax refund.