Growing up with a geek dad

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?

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

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.

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.


The pain of Yinz

Yesterday was Opening Day for Yinz Team Softball, the greatest collection of yinz where social media skills out weigh athletic ability and last night we didn’t fail to meet expectations. The night was filled with the worst bug/gnat invasion in the history of softball and, in the style of true champions, we played until we couldn’t see. That doesn’t mean we didn’t complain while doing it but some found comfort in PBR. Me, I was busy picking bugs out of my teeth like someone smiling while riding a Harley.

Yinz Team 2014 Opener

The difference from previous years is that for the first time, since it’s inception in 2007, I’m actually in shape. Well, better shape than previous years and we’ll talk about that sometime soon. Based on that alone I figured the first game would be an all star performance. Based on the fact that I haven’t spent a summer ball free since I was 5 I should know better. That’s a lot of bases.

Yinz NPLAt the end of the game I was 2-4, had a few glorious throwing errors and headed to our traditional hangout for post-game beverages and grub. I was feeling amazing. Stretched out, ready to run more and crack some hits. Came home and crashed into an amazing sleep.

Then it happened.

This morning I woke up and felt the throbbing. My right knee was screaming “YOU FOOL! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO YOURSELF?”. My back was shouting “YOU NEED TO STRETCH MORE OLD MAN!”. I basically screwed up any plans for working out today.

Things are popping and cracking where they haven’t before or at least in a very long time. I asked a few friends online and since this is the first real activity I’ve done outside of yard work and jogging this is to be expected since I was bending and twisting. All it means is that I need to change up a few things.

One thing is for sure, I am playing with the greatest group of people you will ever meet and that makes any day after injury worth it.

Hey kid, I am the internet.

What happens when you’ve spent the day tormenting your little brother and dad while making demands of what WILL happen?

Daddy logs into the router and blocks you from all internet access.

Teaspoon Pouting No Internet


I give the 5yr old credit, he is pretty tech savvy for his age. He can handle a tablet, laptop and most electronic devices with no problem. He can get to PBS Kids and play games, he watches videos on YouTube, he loves to watch things with Chromecast and is learning how to work the mixer. Every once in awhile though you have to give the little buggers a reminder of who’s boss and when your daddy comes from a very long IT background, that reminder will only be fun for your parents.

Teaspoon, have a nice day.


Answering the call from Brooklyn Brewery. It’s Pittsburgh Mash

A few weeks ago I was contacted by The Brooklyn Brewery asking if I would be the moderator for a discussion with their co-founder Steve Hindy and other Pittsburgh brewers.  I don’t think I even finished reading before I was replying YES YES YES!


MASH is a showcase of what’s next in food, film, comedy, music, books, and beer. Last October the 2013 tour passed through town and I swear that not only are there better events but there are more. This is going to be a unique experience I think craft beer fans need to check out and most events are going to be free. Free is good!

I will be heading up the discussion on “Craft Beer Revolution with Church Brew Works, Hop Farm and Brooklyn Brewery” at the Church Brew on June 24th at 6pm. We’ll sit down with Steve Hindy (The Brooklyn Brewery) to discuss his new book “Craft Beer Revolution” which tells the story of hundreds of groundbreaking breweries and how they fundamentally changed humanity’s favorite beverage and also chat with , Sean Casey (Church Brew Works) and Matt Gouwens (Hop Farm) about the state of craft beer.

Tickets are only $6, or the price of a pint at most places, so come and have some beverages with me.

We’ll talk beer n’at.