I’ve been in Pittsburgh for exactly three weeks now and it’s been interesting trying to navigate a whole new city and culture. Granted, it’s not like it’s in another country, but given the size here of these States, it can definitely feel like it. I always joke when traveling domestically that one shouldn’t pack too much and can always get what you need where you find yourself (“it’s not like you’re going to a Third World country or anything!”), but it’s funny how the small differences can add up to make it seem like it’s an entire universe away.

Take the grocery store situation: Giant Eagle is the Pittsburgh version of Safeway in California. The ubiquitous cyan blue plastic shopping bags also double as recycling bags (for some reason one must place all their recyclables into NEW blue plastic shopping bags. Don’t ask me why, it’s rather strange. I guess it completes the logical circle of “one must consume in order to recycle”?). The nice thing is all the pretty blue bags you see everywhere, however. A small color shot in the arm all over town.

Then one day someone joked about having to shop at the “Giant Evil” which I found pretty funny. It really seems there are very few other places than standard grocery stores to buy anything around here — not many mom and pop food stores, bodegas, produce stands, etc. It’s all one Giant Evil I guess.

So these here recycled shoes I saw on flickr by mleak are cute:

I’ve been oddly fascinated with these blue bags and have some thoughts on making a scrappy limited edition work using found material dyed bright blue and stenciled with the logo (only wrong, of course). I’d give ’em away to friends and locals so they kind of mix in with the “real” bags. Handmade crappy (non-plastic) bags.