Today's Mighty Oak


Isn’t it great in the winter!  Truth be told, I expected it to be worse, so I guess there’s that…



Video Games Live is returning to Heinz Hall, for their Bonus Round concert (due to demand, they were asked to return less than nine months after their last show).  This time, the set list includes Final Fantasy VIII, Sonic, Assassin’s Creed II, Shadow of the Colossus, BioShock, Mass Effect, StarCraft II, Mega Man, an interactive Frogger segment as well as the world premier of a new Guitar Hero segment.

Thursday’s show has been cancelled, but ticket holders can call the PSO to get a refund or move the tickets to the Friday performance:

We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause people.  This is the first time in our 5 years of touring that anything like this has happened but unfortunately it is something completely out of everyone’s control.

I highly recommend the concert, if you want more information, check out their website here.



Chris Potter over at Pittsburgh City Paper has a great article about how the Port Authority is communicating during the the snow storms:

Over the weekend, I found myself hooked on the Port Authority’s Twitter account, which I’ve never really noticed before.

Potter brings ups a lot of points I’ve thought about, but never really found myself articulate to put down on the screen (page?), including the idea bouncing around my head about a giant LED screen at Penn Station telling me which bus is about to come around the corner, and how that idea is almost possible!  It’s a great read just for that!

But, the main focus is about PAT’s use of twitter and their (I think even more under-promoted) blog.  It boggles my mind to realize that the Twitter account is staffed by only two persons.  And for that, I have to hand it to PAT, that has been the most reliable way to get in touch with them, and the interactions have always been awesome, if not completely transparent, but really, hats off to PAT!

Check out the latest route updates on their twitter feed, scheduled (awesome by the way) updates on their blog and through their continuously updated press release.

Stay safe out there, be warm!



If you’re stuck at home (and I hope you are, or at least someplace warm and safe), check out Mike Woycheck’s Twitter feed as he live blogs the Snowmaggedon in truly Carbolic Smoke Ball fashion.  Some gems include:

To avert Pittsburgh drivers from using major roadways, PennDOT erecting banners from recent Pittsburgh Pirates mktg. campaigns at roadside.

TERROR IN SHADYSIDE: Women are forced to shield their bronzed skin and styled hair from falling snow using Louis Vuitton handbags.

You can also watch the real Liveblogging, going on at WTAE (a combination of twitter feeds and user and reporter comments), but it is not nearly as entertaining.  Except in some kind of Schadenfreude way.

Stay warm and stay safe!  I can’t wait to see all the pictures tomorrow!

Update to add this thought: I typically hit the publish button, swear, then go back and spell check.  After the obligatory cursing, I went back to see what I misspelled, and had put a double ‘e’ instead of a double ‘g’ in ’snowmaggedon.’  I’m going to assume that since it’s the title, that is why, but the correct spelling came up in spell check.  Awesome!



This will be more of an open thread.  We’re on the third day of new routes, and bus operators changed as well.  How’s everything out there?  My routes haven’t been affected yet, but what was the 33X is now G1, West Busway (Green – West Busway, go west young ma- it’s a pun!).  Let me know in the comments!



A favorite web series of mine is coming back for a second season:

If you can see this, then you might need a Flash Player upgrade or you need to install Flash Player if it’s missing. Get Flash Player from Adobe.



Flying above Flag Plaza on Thursday (the morning after Canada beat Russia), the flag in the monthly rotation was Russian American Company.  Oh the irony.  Also it’s taken me about 10 minutes to add this sentence.  The WiFi here at Barnes and Noble is soooooo slow.  Probably going home to work, which is the opposite of what I wanted to do.  Oh well.



I’m calling this The Wedding edition, make sure to read while listening to Pachelbel’s cannon.  The TDP changes finally his my routes, and all kinds of upheaval followed.

  • Something Old

Old buses!  The changes may have happened, but we have the same buses we always have.  It does seem though, that with this round of changes, the signs have been up to date.  When the first two rounds of bus changes went through, it was more common to see the old route names than the new, so it is nice to see this working in the rider’s favors.

  • Something New

The routes of course.  I’ve lost service to my neighborhood, but I’m adjusting to the Park ‘n Ride live (more on that in the next section as well).  Part of me likes it, I have more options to get home (now that the buses are showing up when they are supposed to, thanks @PGHtransit) and if I need to run out after work, I’m more prone to get things done since I’m at my car already.

The new routes however, came at a time which has really messed some things up downtown.  With the construction at Penn Station, riders who normally use those stops are now crowded onto Grant Street.  This minor change has created some big problems.  I don’t know if it is a combination of the displaced riders, or a change in the EBO/EBA/EBS schedule, but I feel for those riders.  They need more buses, badly.  We’ll watch three buses in a row go past on their way out of town, filled to the brim and unable to pick anyone else up.  And just in case PAT is reading, from my unscientific observations, we need more G buses as well.

  • Something Borrowed

Information.  Not was I was expecting to write for this section at all.  Before my bus route disappeared I tried to find out about the Park ‘n Ride I would be using.  It was already pretty full to begin with, and then with the consolidation of three routes, including one very popular, but very unofficial Park ‘N Ride, I knew we would be spilling out of the spaces marked for us.

I tried contacting PAT, which offered up no response, although one of my drivers said to park wherever, it didn’t really matter (he was fairly accurate).  So instead, I called the mall, where, completely unexpected, I received a call back from the General Manager.  He was curious about the changes and I explained what was going to happen, and he very calmly suggested that we use the rows nearby, stating the only time we should have a problem was Christmas.  Having worked at Monroeville Mall through 7 years (and Christmas seasons) in high school and college breaks, I knew to expect that though.

So a huge thank you to the staff and management of Monroeville Mall, you came through when PAT didn’t!

  • Something Blue

Stranded riders.  The first couple days, driving back from the Park ‘n Ride, seeing passengers waiting at bus stop signs for buses that will never come, it was sad.  The only phrase I could think of is “The bus doesn’t come here any more.”  I guess I never realized how many stops people used.

I’ve seen some of the people from my old route on the bus now, some I know take a different route altogether.  It’s nice to see a familiar face, and we can smile knowingly at each other, understanding that this isn’t the best outcome, but at least it’s something.  It’s nice that the “Survivors” can still find each other.

Two Park ‘n Rides closed in Monroeville, and that is sad as well.  I don’t have much to add, but felt it should be mentioned.

Have the changes been all bad?  No, but they have been far from perfect.  I still find it hard to believe that the company that did the research for the new routes really did much work.  The outcry from the lack of service on the West Busway turned out to be a foreshadow to what would happen to the East Busway.  My route is overflowing, I normally stand on my way home now.  Whoever PAT hired, they spent too much money, guess that doesn’t help their current financial situation either.

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