Thursday, October 06, 2005

"Steeltown is clean/Steeltown's a real town..."

"...we don't need a union in Steeeeeeltooooowwwwn..."

Here it is, back by no demand whatsoever, the blog summary of the Pittsburgh trip:

1) Leaving on a Jet Plane/Settling In.

Got to the airport around 9:30 on Thursday morning. Said goodbye to the madre, checked in, checked the duffel bag, did the Security Dance ("We can frisk if we want to/We can feel up your behind..."). Grabbed some grub and hit the newsstand where I picked up LAST MONTH's Spin Magazine (thank you, Kelly). I don't usually read the mag, but i saw the mix CD included. I was not disappointed, as I noted.

I was flying up on a Continental ExpressJet. If you've never ridden on one before, believe me, they're small. Disconcertingly so, at first. The engines are on the back of the plane instead of on the wings. You have to walk out onto the tarmac and board the plane via a small metal staircase. The rows inside are split: one seat on one side, two on the other. I was assigned to the single seats for both trips. Here's the problem: the arms of these seats don't lift up or move. So it's uncomfortable, to say the least, for bears of considerable hip, such as myself.

But I was blessed, and a guy with no one next to him agreed to switch with me on the way up. The flight up was easy. I listened to the mix CD and the new Audio Adrenaline album (which is really good) alternatingly, finished reading the magazine, and went back to The Brothers Karamazov (I am currently almost halfway through it).

As we swooped down over Pittsburgh (I'm calling it Pitt from now on, because i'm tired of having to remember how to spell it), I was struck by two things right away.

First: it was a lot more mountainous than I expected. (At this point, I'll beg the indulgence of my Rocky Mountain readers, who would scoff at the large hills that I'm calling mountains. Please understand, I'm from Houston. On a clear day, you could stand on the bed of my truck and see Dallas.) I guess it's the upper arms of the Appalachians, but it's incredibly hilly/mountainous in western Pennsylvania. I thought that was wicked cool.

Second: as we flew over some of the suburban areas and small towns surrounding Pitt, I couldn't help but be reminded of the "establishing shots" of Mister Roger's Neighborhood (which was filmed there). Seriously. All the little houses, all different colors and shapes. That's exactly how it looked, as we flew it. That was rad.

Airport was big, but pretty standard. Took a shuttle from the airport to the hotel. Down the highway, over hill and dale, until we came to the tunnel. This tunnel is cut through one of the mountains surrounding downtown Pitt, and was more than a half-mile long. Finally we come out the other side and rocket over Fort Pitt Bridge, one of the many mustard-yellow bridges, and into the Golden Triangle. We passed by Heinz Field and PNC Park.

Finally the shuttle stopped at my hotel. In a word: posh.

After getting settled, I walked around and explored the town. Very cool. Lots of pedestrians. Ate dinner at Max and Erma's. Good tortilla soup. So-so Cajun Shrimp pasta. (It occured to me later that there was an M&E's in St. Louis, and we ate there during my last business trip.)

After a good meal, I went back to the hotel and settled in to watch the season premiere of my favorite show on television.

Which reminds me--it's on in 95 minutes (7p). Heck yes.

So that's Day 1. Mostly.

[From this point on, the entries will be more topical and less-detailed. Maybe.]

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