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Review: Intel ISEF (International Science and Engineering Fair) Public Day

May 17, 2018 Leave a comment

 

ISEF Public Day 2018

(c)2018 Intel ISEF

Review: Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

Us knowing ISEF was in Pittsburgh started out by attending a tour of CCAC. The one professor my step-daughter talked to strongly suggested that she check out ISEF on the public day (as he would be judging one of the areas). We’d like to thank Abiraman Srinivasan for that.

Keep in min my step-daughter goes to one of the most highly rated public school districts in the area. Nobody informed her of this opportunity, nobody knew about it when asked for permission to miss part of the school day. It took one professor that did not even have my step-daughter as a possible student yet to take interest enough in that student to alert them to what was really out there.

The event was completely and unbelievably impressive. When you see a student’s eyes light up when they realize what opportunities are really out there – it makes you overjoyed that you took the time to act on a suggestion.

Half way through the event, I asked my step-daughter if she would have handled high school differently if she knew what opportunities were out there she said “yes”.

The problem is when events like this happen very few schools get their students to them. Sadly this does create a lack of inspiration in our young to have any ambition for higher education. You have to know about the goals to have ambitions towards them.  Kudos to Intel for making this possible … even if you don’t like their processors. This is truly a company giving back to the community.

The only bad side to the event was the realization of how far behind the US is in education. A family member works for a very well-known tech college in Pittsburgh and many times you rumors of them only seeking out international students. After talking to many of these students at this event – I now know why. I spent half of my day having conversations with high school students from other countries and felt like I was speaking to seasoned scientists and researchers. When I talked to the students there from the US they were smart … but it seemed like I as speaking to high school students. Got back to the 60s, 70s, and 80s and this situation would have been flipped. I’m not bad-mouthing the US students, just indicating that we may need to get rid of the entitlement thing big time in this country so we can do some catching up.

In an unexpected and enlightening realization – this even also proved one thing. When there is a very strong common interest or goal people from all walks of life have absolutely nothing against each other. In this even where people of persuasion that the news depicts as absolutely hating each other.  Not a sign of any discomfort between any students, their parents, volunteers, or attendees. None. All of then had one common goal – advance science. We need to learn from this.

In summary – this was an amazing even from a multitude of viewpoints. If ISEF is happening and it’s not in your area and you have a student trying to figure out what to do with their higher education that may give them a real opportunity to actually pay for that education and still have enough left over for a real life – fly them to it.  It’s worth the cost of plane ticket. ISEF if an immense opportunity to simply expose students to the information about careers and opportunities that exist in current times and the future.

Give people opportunities and peace will happen automatically by giving the ability to have food,shelfter, and quality of life.

Big Kudos to Intel for sponsoring this event!

-SWB

 

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Wiener World (A Pittsburgh Icon)

May 15, 2018 Leave a comment
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“Hot Dog King” (c)Lawrence A Capozzolo

No … this is not a blog posting on a less than family friendly movie.

Get you head out of the gutter.

No, really – stop thinking that!!!! It’s REALLY embarassing.

To the food …

Wiener World is probably one of the last established long time food icons left in the city that almost brings visions of a New York scene in an episode of Seinfeld. We did try the soup guy thing, but that didn’t stick.

I guess hot dogs are easier —- everyone loves a hot dog. I mean, what’s better than something that contains 2% of stuff that should never be in your daily intake. Just kidding.

WW has been around in the city ever since I can remember – sort of like S.W. Randall Toys and Gifts. It’s one of those things that’s never not been there. It’s also one of those things you easily forget to visit occasionally.

Don’t miss out on this one …. it’s a treat.

Tradition, taste, and hot stuff on a bun … perfect!

Our rating … we skip on this one. You just can’t rate tradition. Kudos to Wiener World for keeping it alive.

-SWB

PS – don’t forget the chili.

Big Truck Rant (Maybe)

May 14, 2018 Leave a comment
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Really?

Earlier this week I was picking up lawn mower parts at a big box hardware store. While I was there and going up the road that accesses the store a truck basically pushed myself and one or two other cars behind me almost or into the lane of opposing traffic.

Typical scenario – right? Typical action on a truck driver, right?

I don’t believe so – I have too many friends that professionally drive, so I don’t believe this in any way is typical. I believe a truck driver doing this is the minority.

Having said that, I beeped simply because I didn’t think the driver noticed me. At the angle he was going there was a strong possibility of a big blind spot. I finally got past him and proceeded to park and go into the store to purchase the parts I needed.

When I was in the store, the truck driver sought me out and confronted me.

He started with “Thanks for the beep – I was in the truck”.

I replied with “I beeped because I didn’t think you noticed me already half was up your rig since you only turn your turn signals on half into the turn”.

He replied with “That’s BS” and proceeded to harass me in the store. When I walked away he aggressively followed me until I got to  customer service desk. I alerted the rep of the situation and quickly checked out to make sure thy driver did not go back out to damage my car.

Later I alerted the big box hardware co via their customer service email of the harassment and fear that the driver may have also taken down my license plate to harass me or my family later.

The big box hardware co replied back with a letter that basically said “unfortunately they’re just a vendor to us, so we really don’t care”. In other words “we have better lawyers than you could ever get ….. so don’t worry about trying to take legal action to protect yourself”.

Now … this is a rant post if the driver was wrong in finding a harassing a customer of a business they were supplying it.

So, knowing other professional drivers and having their opinions … what do SWB’s readers think?  do I pursue or drop?

I still award a clueless trophy to the driver for being dumb enough to harass a customer of a business you want to remain a vendor for.

-SWB

Screaming Weasel

May 9, 2018 Leave a comment
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Yep … that’s us!

A bit about “us” – since many have only been introduced to us recently, and nobody ever reads the “about” tab – and honestly, some time we just put things in it to be goofballs.

Most of the time it’s me, the author, Lawrence Capozzolo (signed SWB). An American, or Italian/German American, or mutt, or one of the people that’s paying a mortgage to house my step-daughter’s four furry critters (two dogs, a cat, and a rat). We’re pretty sure the animals had their lawyer get their names on the deed for the house too. They may have taken ours off at this point.

SWB started originally started in 2006 when I purchased my G4 iBook and it had iWeb on it. I made my first posting after I noticed a blog called That’s Church (I’m pretty sure that was still its title back then – but I’m getting old, and memories fade fast now … so I could be incorrect.) The person writing “That’s Church” eventually went on to write for Pittsburgh Magazine.  Although my blog become popular in about fifteen countries doing about 1.2 million hits a year, I chose getting back into I.T. work (I could have been smarter and went back to school for carpentry or plumbing or HVAC …. but NO, I stuck with I.T.) therefore still writing but not keeping it up eventually doing it professionally.

The blog was started, like others at the time as a rant blog (humorous rant). I figured people would find humor in the annoying blabberings of us tech types, and I was right. Now that I’m close to 50 (ok …. REALLY close) I’m getting back into writing for it and doing photography for it again (unless otherwise stated – those photos are really mine) basically because of ageism (tech is becoming like the NFL … if you didn’t get your first Ferrari right in the beginning, the youngin’s aren’t going to give you a chance to get one now … you’re too old to work in tech) I’m back to writing. I like doing it anyway.

I don’t know if I’ll get my numbers back up or if I’ll ever get a donation (but although I’m not a non-profit, please keep in mind I have to replace two cars, a furnace, and put a kid through university – so have a heart, consider donating).  Right now I do a little sound engineering work, etc – waiting to get back into tech if I ever do.  If I just end up writing, better yet.

Back to SWB. It will continue to be a showcase for humorous rant, really bad poetry, attempts at legitimate poetry, and whatever gets thrown into it. Some others may write for it (if they do you will know). If you like the writing, please like the posts or blog – if you really like it – follow, if you think I should put it into a book – donate. Remember, books still do things like enabling me to generate enough money to donate to others that love to do what writers love to do.

The photography is also part of the showcasing in SWB, I’ve been doing this since the age of 13 …. so 36 years. You’ll notice various formats (slide, digital, modified, etc). The other site I write for Pittsburgh By Mini Cam is designed to be for low-res photography.

Yes … we do on purpose write badly, strangely, and horrendously (this is different from “badly” as it indicates a “graduate” level of “bad”). We try to make you think by readings that make you feel that Scotty forgot to but a few brain atoms back into you after beaming you up.

We just have fun.

… and we do consider padded rooms to be ultra comfy posh places. The straight jackets are slightly annoying though – especially when you have to type with your teeth.

We are the late show, art gallery, literary short, stand up comedian, sitcom, political humorist, poetm, life loving, opinionated schmucked (buggered for the British folks) up oxygen breathing carbon based units that you will hopefully learn to as least like. If not, click the “like” button anyway – people lie all the time.

-Lawrence A Capozzolo

SWB – “making legimate writer groan in agony”

City overshadowed

May 5, 2018 Leave a comment
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“Forgotten” (c)Lawrence A Capozzolo

SWB Series: Nonsense and Such

Do you live in a place that people seemed to have forgotten about?

Do you remember when you were young you lived in the hottest, coolest place on the earth?

Now, your pretty sure you live in a retirement community … overshadowed by the latest and greatest cool cities.

… or you live in Silicon Valley and you just traded your $3 million house for a 1970s custom van so you can  buy groceries this week.

Maybe not … if you’ve living near me you didn’t create a start-up that good.

So, one day you take the telescope you bought your kid because you thought it was ultra-cool (you’re a parent now, so you were really wrong about that which is why it’s in your closet and not their room), and point it across the river and see someone on the other side taking a picture of your city.

You figure out where they are and contact them (Big Brother Google makes this easy these days). You ask them what they are doing (you are curious, but vigilant too – so you want to make sure your city doesn’t have a stalker … remember there WERE children here once).

They tell you they are taking pictures and video clips for their YouTube series.

You ask, “What series is that?”

“Abandoned cities in Pennsylvania”, they reply.

… and then reality quickly sets in, and the truth comes out – ur just old, so is your city.

Welcome to middle age … it’s the new ancient.

-SWB

 

Da Roof – a copy

May 1, 2018 Leave a comment
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“Da Roof Pittsburgh” (c)Lawrence A Capozzolo

Da roof
Da roof
Da roof in on …

yea …. I can’t do it – plagiarise that bad even for a cool crappy poem.

Love this pic … I did as soon as I reviewed it on my camera. It just makes for a cool skyline shot and begs one question: How do you tell which one is yours? Are the locks the same too? Is each home a true copy of the one next to it? I mean, what happens if that’s true and you walk in on the couple a few doors down on their day off and having a little fun? Embarrassing.

Ok … maybe not as embarrassing as the fact that you pulled into the wrong drive-way because you can count that high (I mean … there is only about ten houses there).

Kind of reminds me of Apple products … you can’t tell the difference until you get your credit card bill.

Ahh … you thought this was going to be an Apple rant? Nope …. to easy, besides everyone else is doing that right now so I have to wait a few weeks until it’s interesting again.

Is there any purpose to this at all?

No really … the basic fact of most whining these days.

This is SWB just being tired of everything looking like an outright copy of something that existed previously (movies, people, pigeon poop). It’s tiresome …. no originality anymore. I mean, the pigeons could at least poop in different shapes.

I even make each posting look consistent … it confuses my readers less (not to mention myself).

Oh, originality … where art thou? About the 15th century, I think.

… as my dog would say {{groooooooaaaaaan}}.

The world gets an SWB Clueless award for originality.

-SWB

Thinking up more crap faster than you can erase it from your brain.

Review: DUST Movies on YouTube

April 30, 2018 Leave a comment
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Logo (c)DUST

Two links you need to know if you like SciFi and/or good production in general:

I remember the old days of good SciFi paperbacks … and publications like Analog, that showcased some of the greatest SciFi shorts of the time. BTW … Analog is still around. Many things like that just dissolve into memories you cherish in your rocking chair (or perpetual motion glider chair). The great thing is DUST, being one of the better online venues, became the modern upgrade for lovers of great fiction … in video form.

I have yet to see a single short on their YouTube channel or site that I would not want to see as a full feature motion picture. Many of these talented film makers work production for many of the commercial length movies you watch at the theaters … some are independents. Regardless of the situation … curating on DUST is outstanding. Check them out … you won’t be disappointed.

swbkudosKudos from SWB!

Keep it up and keep us entertained.

Experience the future …. watch DUST!

-SWB