Spelunking

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Took the family to Laurel Caverns on Saturday. Initially, I tried to muster ups the votes to democratically initiate the trip, but kids and wife were not enthusiastic about the prospects of this subterranean recreational experience. Fortunately, I yield executive power and overruled them and told them to get in the car because we’re heading for the cave…and dress warm because its cold down in that hole (the cave stays at 52 degrees year round).

The cave tour is about an hour and goes 17 stories below ground. If you’re super adventurous and over 12 years old, you can go on a much longer tour that goes beyond the beaten/lighted path and go down 43 stories below ground level. To take that tour, you need to have two sources of light and wear clothing that can rip and covers your entire body because you will have to crawl through some tight spots in the complete darkness. I will definitely do that at some point (let me know if you’re interested).

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The kids and wife had a lot of fun in the caves, if you back in the Fall or Winter, the tour guide said you’ll see tons of bats as they go into the caves to hibernate. On Sunday we went to the zoo for a work related event, the zoo has recently undergone several renovations and is becoming a star attraction in Pittsburgh.

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After the zoo, Jac and I went on a date in Pittsburgh (we got a babysitter) and I took her to the art museum to see an exhibit that I was very excited to see. The Carnegie Museum of Art advertised that they were showcasing all of their Edward Hopper paintings/etchings in a single location for the first time ever, I was very excited because he is my favorite artist and because I was unaware that they had a big collection. We got to the exhibit and I was definitely expecting more, it was just one room with about a 18 pieces and many of them were just etchings. Anyways, it was still fun to get out and about, plus they had one painting that I really liked called Rocky Pedestal.

After touring the “exhibit” for 15 minutes, we went around the Natural Museum of History. We walked down a hall on the third floor which featured about 1,000 dead birds and then came out to a balcony that looked down on a couple of diplodocuses (diplodoci? pictured above). We finished off the date at Mad Mex in Oakland (Pittsburgh, near U of Pitt/Carnegie Mellon) and I ordered the habanero salsa, a jalapeno margarita, and a quesadilla, it was pure heaven.

With all my driving and hiking through the wilds of west virginia, I’ve been getting into John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads. It is a guilty pleasure. Toots and the Maytals do an amazing reggae version of it too.

I rented a cabin for mid October in Coudersport, PA. It is supposedly the darkest place on this side of the Mississippi and you can see the Milky Way with the naked eye. The cabin we rented also mentioned that black bear are known to visit, so it should be quite the experience.

Work is heating up, next month should be a brutal amount of activity/presentations/travel/late nights/early mornings/etc.

Here are a couple of my favorite Hopper paintings:

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