Small Streams


Chocolate Ecstasy Tour
November 10, 2013, 4:30 am
Filed under: art, awareness, food, observer, Tourism, walking | Tags: ,

Yesterday Liz, Piper, and I took a chocolate tour of London courtesy of the American School of London. The tour was an amazing brief for the senses. Our guide was well versed in chocolate knowledge. After convening for a cup of cocoa we visited four chocolate shops. Believe me, four is plenty. My senses were overstimulated by the end.

We visited Roald Dahl’s favorite chocolate shop, the oldest chocolate shop in London, a cool artisanal shop, and a shop known for its mixtures of chocolate with nuts and spices.

Two of the shops were in arcades. Which makes me think, “What’s the difference between a mall and an arcade?” To find out, I suggest going to Pittsburgh’s Fifth Avenue Place and imagine you’re standing in Jenkin’s Arcade. If you don’t cry then and there, your heart is made of stone.

All of the chocolate shops were in the Mayfair and Soho parts of London. I’ll attach some pictures. Not pictured is the fantastic moment when I first glimpsed the white terra cotta grand avenue of Regent Street through the highly articulated channel of Soho.

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Subterraneans
January 2, 2011, 10:08 am
Filed under: awareness, cities, ecology, railbelt, technology, thinking, Tourism, walking | Tags:

This story in the NYTimes caught my fancy. It’s about urban adventurers, sewers, media, the wilderness, and the unconscious. Two or three men and a media entourage take a trip through the sewers and tunnels below New York.

Futurama and others have already explored NYC’s underground as metaphor, but these earnest explorers — one of them a climber of Mt. Everest — show the satisfactions of life in the urban wild.

When you’re not worried about getting caught or dying, . . . it’s really nice being underground.

Wilderness is, indeed, our refuge, though I would hope for one less smeared in feces. I also think of the brook corralled into a sewer and think that maybe it will see daylight again, someday.

I must also mention that writer Alan Feuer’s scene setting, commentary, and picaresque detail (cough drops and whisky for breakfast, anyone?) turns the travelog inside out in a delightful manner.



Low-Hanging Fruit
June 13, 2010, 8:18 am
Filed under: awareness, community, ecology, food, gardening, networking, walking | Tags:

I haven’t written anything here in four months and have felt bad about not dedicating myself to long form writing, that is, anything longer than a sentence. Why feel bad, though? Why not just write?

One thing I’d like to write about is free food, not freegan food, like you find in a dumpster, but all the nuts and berries you can find all over.

Anyway, I’m going to start documenting this with a Twitter tag: #lhfpgh.

Gotta go. so much for long form.



Another Pittsburgh Diaspora
September 7, 2009, 9:05 am
Filed under: business, community, education, eutechnics, railbelt, walking | Tags: , ,

We are wealthy in direct proportion to the ability we have to act on our dreams, to make what we only imagine.

Recently, our city has lost the capacity to make a million barrels of beer — not that the Iron City Brewery has made that much beer in a while. Sales have been below 200,000 barrels for years. Much of that capacity was used to make crappy beer, malt liquor and light beers. I for one found myself a lone defender of Iron City beer, though it could give you both a headache and a stomach ache after two beers (which probably had to do with how much adjunct grains they used).

The big loss is not the beer. There is no lack of beer. The loss of the skills, talents, and connections that were part of the workforce of the brewery, the nearly hundred workers who knew how to run a boiler, create a valve, maintain the flow of thousands of gallons of water, or fill thousand of cans a minute will be lost. A shop full of artisans is a hard thing to create, but in deciding to close shop, the owners of the brewery have undone what had taken years to do.

The oldest parts of the brewery buildings will remain, maintained perhaps by the mechanisms of preservation law. What mechanisms do we have to preserve the artisanal and craft abilities of a hundred workers?



Secret Places
July 24, 2009, 4:30 am
Filed under: awareness, cities, photography, Pittsburgh, Tourism, walking

This book about Boston’s secret places had me thinking about the secret places in my own neighborhood and city.

There’s this tunnel in Highland Park that I’ve always wanted to share with people. Of course once a secret is shared or published it doesn’t become a secret anymore. The secret becomes familiar, even banal.

Then again, there are some things that are so encased in shadow and rumor that no amount of light and perspective will change our opinion of them as secret.

But if you want success in life or photojournalism, go with the obvious.



Movin’ Kinda Slow
July 22, 2009, 9:26 am
Filed under: awareness, thinking, walking

Yesterday’s Boston Globe had a decently-sized article on slow movements. The article mentions a slow math movement and a slow physics movement. I think he was just figuratively piling it on. I do, however, think that there should be a course of study for those of us who are slower at math and physics. How about spending a year on Newton’s Laws of Motion or your thirties on trigonometry.



Eliza Trail
December 28, 2008, 12:51 pm
Filed under: railbelt, Tourism, walking | Tags:

Yesterday was a beautiful day for a walk. Saw many bicyclists and a couple of wheel chair riders and at least two groups of street hockey players. I stopped briefly to admire this decrepit bridge that links Oakland to Second Avenue. The concrete is flaking off but the iron retains its integrity. I also like the unique nature of its design.