It turns out that a colleague and friend of mine, Matt Walker, interviewed me years ago when I was playing guitar in The Las Vegas. We never realized in the years working together at sunKING. It wasn’t until he was digging through an old hard drive that he came across it. The interview was posted at PittsburghRock.com.
If you’re interested you can download the MP3s from the CD mentioned.
Ryan Sprake plays complex guitar melodies and lends vocals to the las vegas, a Pittsburgh indie rock band. During the day, he is a web designer for Soleil Technologies. PittsburghRock.com’s Matt Walker asked him a few questions.
Matt: How long has the las vegas been around?
Ryan: We have been playing shows since January of 99. [Our first show] was PittspurghRock’s first attempt at broacasting live over the internet but somebody wouldnt let him. [Editor's note: The show was at Chatham College's REA Coffeehouse. The basement Venue didn't have a phone line!] I dont know if that broadcast is still around. It was bad. The other bands, Creta Bourzia and Camber, were great,
Matt: Do you know the story of the name the las vegas?
Ryan: Yes, I believe Grant was watching a show about Las Vegas and it just clicked for him and I.
Matt: Did any of the previous bands that make up the lineup of the las vegas influence your current sound?
Ryan: Grant was in Sunday Driver. No matter how much Grant denies it, Sunday Driver was a great band, and they were an influence to me at least, but I think we all didnt want to be the “ex” Sunday Driver band.
Matt: For those new to the music of the las vegas, tell PittsburghRock.com what have you released on your own?
Ryan: The 5 song ep “we remain patient” (visit http://www.eightdotthree.net/thelasvegas/songs.htm to download the MP3s.) Also, if we find another drummer soon, I know we will want to record again, a longer CD this time–one that will actually be distributed better. [For compilations,] we are going to be on the Pittsburgh compilation that is coming out soon. On Joey and Joel’s label, I forget the web-site address.
Matt: Can you describe your sound in only one word:
Matt: Where is your place in the Pittsburgh rock scene?
Ryan: We play the part of scaring people away by making their ears bleed and coming just a bit too close to hitting them with our guitars. Matt: So what’s going on with your drummer situation?
Ryan:Mike played the drums [and has left]. His presence will be missed behind the drum kit. He was definately a big part of this band’s sound and he wil lbe missed. We are [now] searching for a new drummer. If you play the drums, give us a call at (412) 422-9747, or send an email to email@example.com
Matt: What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you “on the road”?
Ryan: I know there must something funnier than this, but when we were in Baltimore, the venue we played at had us on the flyers as the lost vegas. Ok that isnt funny, but it is annoying. We are changing our name probably.
Matt: What is planned for the future?
Ryan: Travelling, a new CD–a new drummer would help too.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford admits he was “probably” reading while driving on the city’s busy Gardiner Expressway.
The admission came in reaction to a photo that was circulating on Twitter that showed the mayor reading a document while sitting in the driver’s seat of his black Cadillac Escalade.
Toronto Mayor Ford was ‘probably’ reading while driving — CBC New
This comes from the man who said that “cyclists are a pain the ass to motorists.”
“And what I compare bike lanes to is swimming with the sharks. Sooner or later you’re going to get bitten,” said Ford speaking in 2010 as a Toronto city council-member.
“And every year we have dozens of people that get hit by cars or trucks. Well, no wonder: roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks, not for people on bikes.
“My heart bleeds for them when I hear someone gets killed, but it’s their own fault at the end of the day.”
Cyclists accuse Toronto mayor Ford of ‘war on bikes’ — BBC News
It’s their own fault, not the fault of the man driving the only truck large enough to fit him who likes to read while driving. The sad thing is that he’s not even the least bit embarrassed to have been caught reading while driving. He considers it normal acceptable behavior because he’s a busy man.
I was tagged in this photo by my friend Sayf who recently started bike commuting. Someone commented and said “I would seriously mow you down if you were in front of my car,” someone else then liked it and said “That thing gives new meaning to ‘self-righteous bike riders’ it is certainly not how to win friends and influence people.”
When did it become ok to make comments like these in public?
Since the previous August, there have been three pedestrian deaths within the same neighborhood. One was the collision between Bucchere and Hui, another involved a bus driver who didn’t see a pedestrian in a crosswalk, and the third involved a motorist who struck a pedestrian while driving with a cast on his right foot.
And yet, while San Francisco’s bicycle foes pointed to the death of Sutchi Hui as an example of reckless cyclists run amok, there was not a peep of public outrage about reckless drivers when Emily Dunn or William Cox was run down. Why? — Bicycling magazine, Getting The Story Straight
Indeed. Why is there only public outrage when it involves a cyclist?
To bring this back to Pittsburgh when Donald Parker was hit from behind and killed by a teenager who admitted to untangling his flip-flop from the gas pedal there was no outrage. Charges weren’t even filed despite the admission. He is still driving today.
When a 12 year old girl was hit by a driver who ran a red light then drove away after first getting out of his car to see what he did there was no outrage.
When a cyclist was critically injured by a man who hit him with his Jeep and drove away only to be turned in by his own mother there was no public outrage. In fact people even found it in their hearts to critique cyclist behavior in the comments.
I try to keep track of all the carnage in Pittsburgh on my Tumblr page but it’s hard to keep up with. Drivers cause property damage, injuries and death on a daily basis and we accept it as a fact of life. But when it comes to a cyclist we are outraged!
I have a situation where I need a dead simple way of embedding a Google Map that displays a Google Calendar of events. This post from 2008 explains how to do it using Yahoo Pipes. It’s exactly what I needed.
View Larger Map
Busch Gardens is a spring tradition for my wife and I. We normally go in the first couple of weeks of operation to escape the cold of Pittsburgh but didn’t have a chance until this weekend. We picked a great weekend again as Pittsburgh was hot compared to the sunny upper 70s in Williamsburg. We got there at 10 and left at 10 which is a record for us. No idea how we did it.
4 rides on Appolo’s Chariot, two on Verbolten, two on Griffon and two on Alpengeist. Lines we short except for Verbolten and Griffon which were both around 45 minutes.
Biggest surprise: $64.99 for an entire summer and fall at Busch Gardens with the “Fun Pass.” What a ridiculous price.
Best new attraction: Beer and pretzel stand outside of Mach Tower and Verbolten. The pretzels are fresh and delicious and they have a few great beer choices. Krombacher Pils and two options from St George Brewing Company (Black Forest Ale which I would describe as a mild porter and an Octoberfest) round out the draft selection in addition to the craft bottles. I wish Universal would get on the beer bandwagon as their boring domestic and import options get tiresome.
Second best new attraction: Verbolten. It’s more forceful than I expected and the experience is exciting and fun. The “surprise” was still a surprise to me even though I knew it was coming and it was pretty damn cool. Most of the ride takes place in the dark with some black lit forest elements. We took two rides, one in the day and one at night and the night ride was ridiculously dark. The line spilled out on to the bridge but only lasted a quick 45 minutes. Two thumbs up. The last drop in the back row is great! http://instagr.am/p/K0vzOegl3j/
Worst attraction: Europe in the Air. Terrible projection, silly premise. It would love to be Soarin but can’t compare. And I hate Soarin…
Biggest disappointment: No more big baked potatoes at Grogan’s Grill. Busch Gardens is getting an email about this one.
Biggest surprise: Getting bit by a bird in Lorikeet Glen. Little bastard broke the skin on my finger, neck and ear lobe. http://instagr.am/p/K0USs3lHnT/
We have a big summer planned with visits to Canada’s Wonderland and Kings Island in addition to the annual Cedar Point Halloweekends trip with friends so we sprung for the Platinum Pass. Sticker shock almost prevented me from pulling the trigger but we will get our money’s worth and it will force us to get out and enjoy the summer a little more.
Kings dominion is a really beautiful park but their landscaping doesn’t come close to that of Busch Gardens’. I have a feeling a lot of that is due to the square footage.
Intimidator 305: This is the main reason I wanted to stop here. A huge Intamin giga coaster! The laughably tiny queue says a lot about this ride to me. B&M takes a lot of criticism for “over engineering” rides but I feel like Intimidator 305 is under engineered. There seems to be no regard for the well being of the rider. I struggled with greying out and felt like I could never catch my breath with all the quick changes in direction and violent airtime. Between the restraints and shaking of the trains there wasn’t much fun to be had. One lap was enough for Monica and I took another ride in the back. I would ride it again but don’t think it will even make my top ten.
Backlot Stunt Coaster: Still a fun ride but in dire need of some TLC. The trains are beat up and look terrible compared to Verbolten’s design and the effects aren’t working so well anymore.
Volcano: Pretty long line but it moved pretty quickly. Neat ride but leaves me wanting a lot more. After the launch it’s pretty lackluster.
Dominator: My favorite ride from Geauga Lake looks great in its new setting. Still the same great ride but I think it could use some new wheels.
Boo Blasters on Boo Hill: Fun ride but can’t hold a candle to Kennywood’s Ghostwood Estate.
We didn’t have much time as we had to get back to Pittsburgh at a reasonable hour but we enjoyed our time at the park. I would have no problem spending my summers there as my home park.
Biggest annoyance: Not getting the parking refunded after shelling out all that money for a Platinum Pass.
This is the fifth or so terrible accident I’ve seen near my office not including the one where I was taken to the hospital on a stretcher. But lets all whine that we have to pass a bicyclist with a safe buffer and not objectively look at how dangerously people are allowed to drive with no consequence.
Whole lane buffer for cyclists? Sheesh! — Nafari Vanaski
Yes, your article did come off the wrong way.
And who doesn’t love bicyclists? You know when spring has arrived when you see your first group riding together, all dressed like Lance Armstrong and his Tour de France team.
Same old boring stereotype.
Also, bicyclists are allowed to ride on sidewalks outside of business districts. Those are commonly occupied by pedestrians, and there’s no minimum passing width required there, although those on bikes must yield to those on foot.
§ 3508. Pedalcycles on sidewalks and pedalcycle paths
(a) Right-of-way to pedestrians.–A person riding a pedalcycle upon a sidewalk or pedalcycle path used by pedestrians shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian.
(b) Business districts.–A person shall not ride a pedalcycle upon a sidewalk in a business district unless permitted by official traffic-control devices, nor when a usable pedalcycle-only lane has been provided adjacent to the sidewalk.
There is already a law that you must yield to a pedestrian on a sidewalk. There was no such law on the books for how to deal with a bicycle in the road. Now there is.
Know what else would be nice? Witnessing a bicyclist get a ticket for running a red light — as a motorist would — just one time.
You know what else would be nice? If I once saw a driver get a ticket for doing the same. I watched three drivers run red lights this morning. No tickets. In all my years driving and cycling in Pittsburgh I can’t remember a time where I’ve seen anyone pulled over for a traffic violation. It’s as if she lives in a bubble where people don’t speed, actually yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and don’t roll through stop signs. I would love to live in a world like that. Where are my blinders?
Then there’s this “right hook” business. It’s now illegal to turn right in front of a bicyclist traveling to your right and proceeding straight. Here’s another approach. Perhaps bicyclists should be the ones to proceed with caution at any intersection.
I don’t think she really understands what a right hook is. This is a right hook. Who’s duty is it here to proceed with caution in that situation?
Why should drivers take on penalties when the rules of bicycling are so murky? If you drove around with your headlights out, you’d get pulled over. No reflective lights? No problem.
Where does she get this information from? Was it pulled from police record or out of thin air? I’ve drive around for months with a dead headlight and see numerous vehicles a night without a brake or head light. It happens so often that it even has it’s own Urban Dictionary definition!