Obsurophile’s Peter in Crazy Mocha

Hey yinz,

On Saturday, I was walking in Lawrenceville with my usual comrades when nature called. I scurried over to the Crazy Mocha coffee shop, which was almost empty at about 5:30 p.m. As I purchased an Italian soda and some biscotti to justify my visit, I noticed a large, intriguing contraption over my shoulder. There was Peter Pawlowski with his Graflex Pacemaker Speed Graphic camera on a tripod, ready to capture pictures of his girlfriend, Jenny Jo, at work.

Here’s Peter. Notice the sweet Polaroid jacket.

Peter Pawlowski in Crazy Mocha

We got to talking and bonded over the magic of photography. Though I was already impressed with the one photo he took of my exchange with Jenny Jo, I really got to appreciate his skill when I got home and checked out Peter’s Flickr page.

This is my favorite from the evening:

Crazy Mocha barista photo by Peter Pawlowski

I asked him in an e-mail how he got this effect without it being just one big blur. Peter explained, “The photo was taken with Fuji FP3000B instant film, which is ISO 3000, very fast! This means that I could take indoor photos with available light at f4.7 and 1/100s shutter speed. The triple exposure was more like f11 for each exposure.”  I’m always so impressed by the technical skills photographers who shoot with film possess.

As I alluded earlier, here’s the picture of Jenny Jo and me.  The original is smaller than a regular 4×6 print. Yes, this will be my first appearance in Pixburgh N’at.

Jenny Jo and me trying to not look pose-y Photo: Peter Pawlowski

He even mentioned Pixburgh N’at on his blog, obscurophile. Hooray for networking. It was great to meet you, Peter, and Jenny Jo. Keep up the good work. It was a pleasure meeting you both.



Welcome back, Sidney Crosby!

Hey yinz,

Sidney Crosby returned to the Penguins’ lineup yesterday in perfect fashion. Crosby could have joined his teammates on their recent Pacific tour, as many people speculated. But instead, Crosby lead his team to a 5-0 triumph over the New York Islanders on home ice with no fights, disputed goals, and no answered goals from the opponent (way to go Fleury!).

Probably the best part was seeing Crosby score about 5 minutes into the game. It was his first goal in nearly 11 months. When that siren blared, he lifted his knee, pumped his arm and gave a “f*ck yeah” that signaled to the world that he was back again. Oh captain, my captain! (The Walt Whitman irony is understood because obviously, he’s kickin’. I just have to respond to the #ohcaptainmycaptain Twitter hashtag.)

The crowd was awesome to behold. The Penguins gave all of the fans “Welcome Back Sid” signs. (I assume that’s “Welcome Back, Sid” and not an order to welcome back Sid. 😛 ) The chants for Crosby boomed, especially in the final minutes, as we all hoped for Crosby to get a third. Though the hats stayed on, no Pens fan left the arena disappointed.

Unfortunately but understandably, cameras with detachable lenses are forbidden in for the Average Joe/Jane in the Consol Energy Center.  I took these photos with my boyfriend’s Lumix camera, but I think the photos are worth sharing.

Oh, how we missed seeing number 87!

Kris Letang's hair was prominent, as usual. 😉

Guess who took the first faceoff of the night.

Crosby is a beast!

Congratulations on the shutout, Fleury! There was a lot of competition for stars in this game.

Sidney Crosby gets a well-deserved first star with two goals and two assists on the night.

Great job, Crosby! We’re all glad to see you’re doing well.


Handmade Arcade starts holiday shopping early

Hey yinz,

Handmade Arcade, which calls itself “Pittsburgh’s Largest Indie Craft Fair,” gave a preview of the frenzied holiday shopping season with its annual pre-holiday craft show in David Lawrence Convention Center on Saturday.   There were so many vendors selling jewelry, homemade soaps, recycled/reused/upcycled notebooks, screen-print T-shirts and my favorite, plushies!  Most of the items are reasonably priced for gifts, which I think is one of the goals of the event. The pre-holiday shopping extravaganza for handmade wares began in 2004 with 32 vendors, and this year, the event had more than 150 vendors. My favorite part about this event is that most of the craftsmen and artists are Pittsburgh-based.

Here are some pictures from the day. I asked all of these vendors for permission before photographing their work. Some asked for me to send them my photos. I also decided to add their websites if available. The Handmade Arcade website has a complete list of the vendors with their websites.

On a side note, you’ll notice that I played around with my photo presentation. It actually was not that easy, so if you don’t like it, I’ll happily go back to the usual format.

Wade Caruso woodwork’s Picasa album   

Rebound Designs

Rebound Designs

Rag Trader: Vintage Reborn
Friend or Foe plushies made in Pittsburgh and sold at Divertido in Lawrenceville
Narwhal plushie by Zooguu

Pittsburgh-based Green Bubble Gorgeous

Pampering treats from Green Bubble Gorgeous

I can personally vouch for Green Bubble Gorgeous because I’ve purchased Krystal Doring’s expertly crafted, organic cupcake bath bombs, and Popsicle- and donut-shaped soaps for myself and for gifts. 🙂

There was also a great interactive area for the kids, where they could make silk screened wrapping paper (I got bison wrapping paper!), create a cardboard tube city and dress up like monsters.

Congratulations to the organizers on another successful Handmade Arcade!


Penguins’ ice skating rink coming to the South Side

Hey yinz,

How ’bout them Pens?  Yinz Luv Da Guins. Am I right? The Penguins are looking good at the top of the Atlantic division. What’s looking almost as promising is the ice rink that’s being constructed in the South Side.

Did I ever mention that I work in the South Side? Not only do I work in the South Side, but my office is perched three stories above where the Penguins Pond will be: the corner of 26th and Sidney (coincidence?) streets.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been documenting the construction of the rink. The construction workers have been working long days to reconstruct the ice rink for the Pittsburgh Winter Classic game. It’s been exciting to see workers put up the boards, lay down dirt and tubing. My efforts culminated in this panoramic photo that I made tonight at my photography class at Pittsburgh Filmmakers:

Panorama of the Penguins Pond in the South Side

Make sure to click on the image to see more detail.  To the left, you can see a man spraying water on the rink. This is the first panorama I’ve made in Photoshop, and I’m quite pleased with the result.

You can come down and get your own pictures, as the ice rink will be open to public skating next Friday, November 18 and will be open through January 8.


Monday-Thursday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Friday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Saturday 1 p.m. – 11 p.m.

Sunday 1 p.m. – 8 p.m.

The rink will also host hockey games for the Pittsburgh Amateur Hockey League and Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League. So, maybe I’ll get to see Shaler Area’s hockey team play.

Here are a few more photos from the rink’s construction. I took most of the photos from inside the office. I’ll have to get back to you about whether we’ll be selling executive box seats for the various games. 😉

Ice rink construction progress on November 2
Laying down the dirt on November 2
Rolling out the tubing on November 7
Daylight savings and a long work day are to thank for this picture on November 7
Setting up the bleachers on November 8
This was taken on November 8. It was another late night in the office. The lights will not turn off because of the motion sensor, so please excuse the glare.

Well, I hope yinz like the pictures. The rink is open for private skating parties n’at. Maybe I’ll see yinz at the pond.


Teenie Harris, a Pittsburgh story

Hey yinz,

Pittsburghers love our own. We love our backup-backup QB Charlie Batch and Jackie Evancho. We even love claiming Jeff Goldblum for the Steel City. No one has anything bad to say about Jeff Goldblum. We even secretly love that when Christina Aguilera was buzzing online for going on a date pants-less that she was rocking an Andy Warhol shirt. Double points on that one!

Anyway, I wanted to spread the word about an exciting, super-Pittsburghy exhibit that’s on display at the Carnegie Museum of Art.  Teenie Harris, Photographer: An American Story is not just an American story — it’s a Pittsburgh one. Teenie Harris lived from 1908 to 1998 (amazing), and he photos ranging from the everyday to the extraordinary for the “Pittsburgh Courier” during the 1930s through the 1970s, according to Teenie’s biography on the Carnegie Museum’s website.  (Note: The prominent black newspaper,  the “Pittsburgh Courier,” is now the “New Pittsburgh Courier.”)

This is the sign outside of the Carnegie Museum of Art.

Teenie Harris exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Art

The Carnegie Museum of Art acquired nearly 80,000 of Teenie Harris’ negatives in 2001, and since then the museum has scanned and cataloged about 60,000 of those negatives. There are pictures of jazz musicians playing upright or double basses, weddings, funerals, and babies.

I also love this photo of a demonstration outside of the US Steel building because of the story it tells.  Most of Teenie’s photos are not composed in a particularly artistic way. He actually took a lot of group portraits of people sitting in chairs and photos that have the society-page or standing-around-the-backyard-barbeque feel. But this is an exhibit I definitely want to check out. The exhibit opened last week and will run until April 7, 2012. I’ll try to get out to the exhibit sooner than later though.

On a side note, the museum has a job opening for a part-time special projects assistant job position dedicated to this exhibit. It would be a great job for someone knowledgeable about African-American history, Pittsburgh history and/or photography. Good luck if you’re applying!


You know where you are? You’re in a bowling alley!

Hey yinz,

Happy Halloween! This weekend was pretty eventful. On Friday, my good friend Kate celebrated her birthday at Arsenal Lanes in Lawrenceville, where Fridays are all-you-can-bowl and karaoke nights.

The title of this blog is in reference to the karaoke part. Kate’s husband, Paul, and friend sang Guns N’ Roses‘ “Welcome to the Jungle” together, and at about 3:42 in the video, the part where Axl Rose taunts, “You know where you are? You’re in the jungle, baby! You’re going to die,” Paul replaced “jungle, baby” with “bowling alley.” Quite clever. However, we suspect that the DJ turned his mic down after that…

Aside from that diss, it was a great night. Arsenal Lanes is a cool, retro-looking bowling alley with a spread out floor plan. There are two rooms with lanes and a separate room with a bar, where a nurse lady and Homer Simpson snuggled up on the couch.

Here are a couple pix from the night. A lot of my photos were grainy because the bowling alley was dark, and obviously my targets were moving.

I would definitely like to go bowling again soon. It’s one of those activities that people don’t seek out often but are really happy when they do.


Urban Hike sends us on a scavenger hunt in Squirrel Hill

Hey yinz,

As a native Pittsburgher and Pitt aluma, I’ve become well acquainted with Squirrel Hill. It’s home to kosher Giant Eagle thumbprint cookies, a sweet movie theater that plays less mainstream movies (the Manor Theatre), and a few of my favorite restaurants, including the recently reopened Bangkok Balcony, Rose Tea Cafe and New Dumpling House.

But on Saturday, I discovered how little I actually knew. My sister, brother-in-law, nephew, boyfriend and I all participated in the Urban Hike scavenger hunt in Squirrel Hill. The scavenger hunt sent us running around the neighborhood for about two and a half hours. It got us looking at murals, second-floor businesses, signs and cars.

There were some general challenges, like taking a picture in front of a business with a name that’s not English or finding a rare Raja supporting lawn sign. We also took a picture of a popular in Squirrel Hill because it “fits” anywhere (Answer: a Honda Fit) and a help wanted sign.

We took a neighborhood-specific pictures next to an Elvis mannequin playing the ukelele, the place where a lady of the realm could have her cleaning done (Lord Duncan Cleaners), and an art store on Beacon Street. Here’s a picture in front of the store.  The team is wearing balloon hats created at one of the challenges.

I'm making this picture small because I'm not sure how much the people in the picture would like having a photo with their balloon crowns on the world wide web.

The challenges were my favorite. At Allderdice High School, we had to name Allderdice alumni using video clues. In addition to Wiz Khalifa and Myron Cope, we learned that the Jet’s Curtis Martin attended Allderdice.  At the JCC challenge site, we played Yiddish charades, and at another challenge, we answered trivia while making balloon hats, as you can see in the photo.

At 2:30, we regrouped in Gullifty’s and had a late lunch while we waited for the scores to be tallied:

We didn’t win – or come close – but we had a lot of fun learning about the neighborhood, which is the point of  Urban Hike.  It’s a neat Pittsburgh organization that encourages people to go out and explore the various neighborhoods. The organizers said they would host another scavenger hunt in May. Most likely it’ll be in a neighborhood less familiar to me than Squirrel Hill, but I welcome the challenge!