What I learned from a night in the BEV Lounge

July 19th, 2014 No comments

Veronica (V-rock) left Pittsburgh for Cali awhile ago and this was the first time I’ve seen her since the move.  We met through Podcamp Pittsburgh and the Wrestling Mayhem guys back in the early days and found out we had 2 big things in common. A love of good beer and we’re both from Erie.

Men Of BEV Lounge

The BEV Lounge is named after my friend Hutch’s former podcast “Burgh’s Eye View” and is located in his basement. It’s 1/2 man cave with a bar and several taps, and 1/2 recording studio for his podcasts. Ideally it’s how I want my place set up when we buy our next house.

Friday night after a grueling game of 6-on-5 Yinz Team softball, I headed south to the BEV Lounge in Brookline for a party in her honor. It was this night that I came to realize a few things.

My friends know how to make good food and drink excellent beer.
Actually most of this I already knew. Uncle Crappy is the king of tailgating and posts pics all the time of food his making at home. Last night I finally had the chance to try some and WOW he makes the best sauerkraut balls. V-rock brought a Nelson by Alpine Beer CompanyFortunate Islands by Modern Times Beer and a 2011/12 Deliverance by The Lost Abbey. Oh and she also gave me a Pliny the Elder for home. I really need to do a beer tour of the west coast.

If you don’t watch the clock, the lounge will suck you in.
I arrived around 9:30pm, talked to a few people on the porch and then made my to the Lounge to say hi. Next thing I knew it was midnight and people were getting ready to leave but to me it felt like 20 minutes. This is a sign of not only a great place to hang out but great company also.

Most of my friends are from social networking.
I’ve been married for 8 years and the people I talk with daily now (the YinzTeamers) I didn’t know back then. It just isn’t an online thing either. I play sports with them. Our kids play together. We have fundraisers and we hang out. We’ve gone beyond tweets to personal relationships and that’s something I love about the Pittsburgh social community. There are some really great people out there and this platform is bringing us together.

Awesome content and I’m missing out on it.
Hutch had a show called Burgh’s Eye View that was about all things Pittsburgh. The good, the bad, the complete WTF IS THAT and everything in between. That spawned Steel City Resistance and, as I found out last night, he is working on shows 4 nights a week. Sorg (pronounced to Sorj in YinzTeam-ese) has a “podcast day” every Tuesday where he cranks out multiple shows in row for Sorgatron Media. No doubt the hardest working podcaster I know.

These guys are making shows and I can’t make time in my day to sit down and enjoy what others are doing let alone try to figure out what I’m going to do with “Should I Drink That?”. Then again the way I consume media now has changed. I listen to Marc Maron’s WTFpodcast on my phone when I work out. I try to watch the live stream of Awesomecast on Tuesday nights via Chromecast to my TV. I’d love to say that I listen to shows in my car but the trips are short and usually filled with kids screaming.

I would love to be able to turn out content like these guys but reality is that our current house won’t support a full time studio setup and dedicating a set time every week to record without being interrupted is next to impossible. I’d like to do more than just beer shows so who knows, maybe once the meatheads get a little older it will.

I need a nap.
After softball and hanging out for a few hours I was exhausted but wasn’t ready for bed. Does that make sense? In my head it does so let’s roll with it. I made it home around 12:30a and jumped online quick to check a few things that popped up on my phone. I picked up the house and sat down with a slice of left over pizza and a Golden Monkey to watch Netflix. Fell asleep around 2-3 and woke up at 6am to my wife leaving for work and kids in full blown jagoff mode. Great way to start a day after 4 hours of sleep eh?

One common thing that everyone last night talked about was taking time for themselves. That’s something I’ve been bad at and need to work on. Even if its a couple hours a week geeking out or reading, I need to sneak in some time for myself and for getting together with friends. It has been way too long since I’ve seen some of them.

The day I nuked 8 years of work by mistake

July 16th, 2014 No comments

I was already having a really rough morning with the kids when the unthinkable happened. Somehow I deleted my website and wiped out 8 years of work… without a backup I thought.

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(Watch video on YouTube)

Check out the video for everything that happened. I never told my co-host that our podcast was in internet heaven but he’s about to find out.

Wiped out Website

What a day.

 

Categories: Craft Beer, Fatherhood, Misc.

The quesadilla showdown: Little Thor vs Daddy

July 11th, 2014 No comments

The following even happened moments ago. Names have not been changed because my kids are meat heads but just a refresher, Little Thor is 3 and Teaspoon is 5.

A pantless Little Thor comes running into the dining room where I’m getting caught up on news and yells “I want pepperoni quesadilla for breakfast!”.

Little Thor SmileMe: OK, anything else?
Little Thor: No cook, I eat like that.

I start making it

Little Thor: NO! I said CHEESE!
Me: No you didn’t. You said pepperoni.
Little Thor: NO I DIDN’T I SAID CHEEEESSSEEEEE! MAKE ME CHEEEEEEEESE!
Me: Fine. I’ll make cheese.

I start making cheese and turn on the stove.

Little Thor: NOOOOOOOO! NO COOK! I WANT IT LIKE DAT DADDY!
Me: You want it uncooked? Seriously?
Little Thor: Yes.

I grab a red Elmo plate out of the cabinet

Little Thor: NOOOO! I NO WANT DAT PLATE! I WANT ORANGE!
Me: We don’t have orange.
Little Thor: FINE! I TAKE BWUE!

At this point Little Thor goes into the living room and gets a TV tray.

Me: Here you go buddy!
Little Thor: NOOOOO! I no want this. I want BOLOGNA! *shoves plate*

I bring in a piece of bologna

Little Thor: NOOO! I NO WANT THIS! I WANT BOLOGNA!
Me: This IS bologna
Little Thor: No, little bologna!
Me: You mean pepperoni?
Little Thor: YES! I SAID THAT!

At this point Teaspoon waked up and says he’ll take the quesadilla.

Teaspoon: It’s not cooked? Who eats that?
Me: Your brother
Teaspoon: Little Thor is a butt head. Hey daddy…
Me: What’s up?
Teaspoon: Don’t forget the ranch.

After all was said and done, here’s that damn quesadilla.

Cheese Pepperoni Quesadilla

Categories: Fatherhood, Food

Growing up with a geek dad

June 27th, 2014 No comments

My dad was a radio and gadget geek. He obsessed over different types of phones, radios (even owned a few CBs) and most cameras and I can thank him for passing that gene on to me. Now, I get to take it to a new level with my boys.

Teaspoon on the mic

Both of my kids know how to work the video game units, tablets are a breeze and Teaspoon can figure out how to work anything that plugs in. Right now he loves recording audio and playing with the mixer I use for podcasting. I have a multimedia background (someone also gave me a degree in it, suckas!) and seeing him take interest gives me the joy I’m sure my father had also. I used to reverse engineer my toys when I was younger and while my dad was never pleased when I’d rip a toy apart, he always did get a kick when I’d get the toy together or working better. My kids though, they’re learning that I control the internet.

A few weeks ago WQED got a hold of me to review an episode of iQ Smartparent: iDad and the book “The Geek Dad Book for Aspiring Mad Scientists“. Wow were my eyes opened. I’ve been home with my boys for almost 7 months and heard of the Smartparent series but it took me until now to check it out. I’m really glad I did! The site has been excellent to find resources, especially local ones, to help raise the kiddos and meet parents like myself.

The iDad episode showcases the first generation to really embrace comic books and video games who are now parents passing down their passions to their kids.

Here is the video. Check it out and let me know what you think. Is there a passion you’ve passed on to your kids?

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Categories: Fatherhood

Luke Bryan fans trash Heinz Field lots. Here’s how we fix it.

June 23rd, 2014 2 comments

I don’t know why this is bothering me more this year than before, but it is. Another summer mega concert and more media coverage of the trash storm left over by people who act like the garbage they left behind. I think that what started to anger me was the reaction on Twitter late Saturday from people saying that if you have a problem with the trash that you “hate fun”.

There’s a difference.

Luke Bryan Trash

There’s having a good time and then there’s thinking you’re entitled to act like pigs because you paid a lot of money to park in a lot and get tanked.

Tailgating
A ban on tailgating won’t solve much. There are other lots that were able to have tailgating just fine, it was the lot next to the stadium that was the big issue. If you ban tailgating the people will go elsewhere. Steelers fans party all day and leave the lot respectable. Pitt fans do the same thing. Heck even Pirates fans deserve to get loaded the way the team has played this year and they’re still respectful. There might be garbage bags laying around but no one is asking you to scrub the lot, just pick your trash up and put it in a bag. There are people who will collect it.

Types of Fans
We don’t hear about problems of this magnitude with tailgating at First Niagara when Jimmy Buffett is in town and those people party HARD. For some reason though it’s THIS show. It’s the mega country music crowd or, as I saw in one comment, “Hick Hop”. I’ve worked many events focused around alcohol thanks to “Should I Drink That?” and EVERY SINGLE BEER FEST has the same problem. Early session is the responsible fans and the late session is the drunk fest with knuckleheads looking to get tanked fast.

It’s not the alcohol, its the traits of the people drinking it. If you’re already a slobbish jag, you’re going to be like that no matter what.

What can be done?
I honestly don’t see the purpose of opening gates 8 hours before a show but also I have better things to do than sit in a parking lot that long. Yeah you can tell me its all about the experience but EIGHT HOURS? Even 4 hours is a bit much. Pace yourselves people!

Here are a few ideas

  • Sell garbage bags - Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said that something needs to be done and handing out a couple of garbage bags to every car obviously isn’t cutting it. I’ve heard that places to put the garbage once bagged by fans was a problem also. Maybe this is your chance to buy a few cases of bags from Costco and sell them cheap at various spots.
  • Shriner go cart garbage pick up service - I love these guys in every parade. They drive their go-cart cars and trucks in patterns and perform tricks. Grab a few of those and have people put their trash in it. Better yet, have a recycling bin open for people to toss empties. Even better, ask for a donation and you’ll pick up their trash.
  • Recycle for discounted parking  - Have a big collection site in the parking lot for people to drop off their bottles/cans/plastics. The container(s) are on a scale. If the scale meets a certain goal weight, your parking stub is good for 1/2 off parking at another event. They can find out if they met the goal by going to the website on the back of the ticket which… you can also sell ad space on. WHAT? Oh yeah. Get sponsors. WAIT! They have the option to opt into a texting service for updates. If at any point you thought “Well you’re encouraging them to drink more!” I ask that you relax and have a local beer.
  • Stop being pigs – That’s an obvious one that I’m sure someone will say “You can save money and stop being idiots!” so this bullet was for you.

Granted there a lot of logistics behind everything but this is just a brain storming session after my morning run and Special K breakfast.

So what am I getting at? These shows bring A LOT of money into the city (parking, hotel, tourism and patronizing local businesses) and no matter how you try to spin it, that’s what it comes down to. They’re not going away so instead of complaining yet again about the same degenerates ruining it, let’s work towards a solution. That’s what Pittsburghers do, we fix what people say is impossible.