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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.

Pittsburgh’s 2014 St. Patrick’s Day celebration

March 17th, 2014 No comments

BTTF Delorian Pgh Parade

The only way this day could have happened was with everything in the universe being aligned. Not only did my family go out of town but it was St Patrick’s Day parade weekend.

If you’re thinking this ended in a glorious night of drunken debauchery, well, not really. Wait, I just lost you didn’t I? Ummmm ummmmm I was all painted green running down Carson street and getting all WOOOOOOOO with some dudebros and… and… yeah I got nothing.

You’d think it would with a stay-at-home-dad set free on the world for the first time in months and on the biggest party weekend but reality is I stayed pretty mellow, spent some time with friends and flew solo for a bit.

Parade
First off was the parade in downtown Pittsburgh. I can say that it has been 10 years since I ventured to town for the parade and a lot has changed from the days when we’d meet my mom, dad and bro in market square for beers and cigars. Now Market Square has family friendly times, camping out in front of the William Penn is best for dealing with families and the Boulevard of the Allies is for the tailgaters.

Highlight, besides catching up with Dudders and Ginger on the Blvd, was the random ticket I scored for the Pittsburgh Power arena football game later that afternoon.

Lunch – Proper Brick Oven and Tap Room
I jumped between overcrowded bars praying to find someplace to eat and finally have a beer. Skies opened and the craft beer gods shined on Proper. I’ll have a full review coming up on “Should I Drink That?” but a quick review – They make their own bacon, DAMN GOOD BACON! Plenty of taps featuring some hard to find local beers and pizza that was downright sinful. I also got to enjoy it with the Crappies :)

Pittsburgh Power Arena Football
I’m still trying to figure out the rules to this game but for my first experience I loved it and MUST take Teaspoon to a game soon. Even better, free ticket scored me THIS SEAT!  Yeah not bad at all.

I was starting to get in a funk, kinda been in one for a while but something hit during the game and instead of hanging around for a concert later that night I decided to call it a day and catch the T home. I put out on Twitter I was looking to do something closer to home and that’s when social media came through and my bud Eamon said we had to meet up at a South Hills establishment I’ve passed many times but never again.

Jamisons
I think this is my new favorite place to go when I need to unwind. 1) Their scotch eggs are the best I’ve had in the city 2) They have Sweet Baby Jesus on tab 3) Everything we had that night was excellent. It felt like I was back at Jimmy Z’s in Wesleyville. Very friendly staff and none of the obnoxious falling down wrecks from the parade. Mixed with the regulars getting their green on it was a much needed break from the usual picking Cheerios and gummies out of my hair while one kid beats up the other.

Great time capped off with Sunday breakfast with the Sorg’s and Dudders at the Original Pancake House. I couldn’t have planned a more perfect weekend and that’s probably why it did happen. I didn’t plan it, I just went with the flow and that’s a major change from my structured stay-at-home-dad days.

thirty eight.

February 21st, 2014 No comments

Doug 18th Birthday

“Unbelievable, that old Biff could have chosen that particular date. It could mean that that point in time inherently contains some sort of cosmic significance. Almost as if it were the temporal junction point for the entire space-time continuum. On the other hand, it could just be an amazing coincidence.” – Doc Brown, BTTF2

Today is the 20th anniversary of my 18th birthday and it didn’t hit me until I found the picture above.  This was taken inside my new ride, a 1981 Monte Carlo, with a fresh hair cut and visions of playing baseball for a living as my future. Reality is that now I’m a stay-at-home dad trying to write a post while a pant-less potty training 3yr old boy is running around shooting his Fart Blaster and my soon-to-be 5yr old is playing Sonic Colors on his tablet next to me on the couch while I watch the news.

This is not what I pictured back then for turning 38 but you know what, I’m not complaining. What I thought was success in 1994 was based on what parents and teachers said it should be. Truth is, success and happiness is unique to everyone. While I can’t wait to be back to work, I have loved every minute I’ve been able to enjoy with these knuckleheads. I’ve had career success with developing award winning web sites, social media campaigns and a podcast which still blows my mind at it’s popularity. Now I’m enjoying it as a father.

Today my wife and kids decorated the house and gave me the Back to the Future trilogy on blu ray and the Back to the Future LEGO kit during breakfast. This afternoon I’m watching the USA v Canada Men’s Hockey game with the kids. Tonight we’ll probably have pizza from my favorite place, pick up a few bomber bottles of my favorite craft beer and finish it with some friends in a video chat.

This is what I call a perfect day.

Categories: Erie, Family, Fatherhood, Friends

I’m gonna Voodoo-U

April 7th, 2013 No comments

I’ve had this CD in my possession since 1999 when I was a new kid in the Burgh working at a tech company. Over the years the owner of the CD and I joked about me giving it back and quite honestly I just forgot.

Many, MANY moves, getting married, kids and 14 years later I decided it was time to return the disk — Lords of Acid “Voodoo-U

Back in the late 90’s/early 2000’s the place I worked at had a glorious mp3 server along side a Quake server (ah the days when Napster was still legal). I loaded it up with all of the grunge music I could rip and the old guys (to me 30 was old) were cramming it with 70s rock and Jimmy Buffett.

Looking back I had no idea that my internship would not only shape my professional career but mold me into the person I am today. “Baptism by fire” was a common phrase thrown at me as IT guys were constantly testing to see if I could hack it in the corporate world. Not only could I take the pressure I also learned more than any university could ever teach me. The 3 month internship turned into an 11 year run before we finally shut down.

I shipped the CD back to my buddy Mike on Valentine’s Day after a discussion with his wife were she stressed “Whatever you’re sending, remember we have kids.” Whaaaaaaat? Meeeeeeeee? Oh I’m an innocent catholic boy.

When he opened the package he was greeted with an autographed full size photo you see above. Who wouldn’t want to see that beautiful face on the most romantic day of the year?

 

Categories: Friends, Music

I gave that basketball thing a try

January 20th, 2013 2 comments

Pictured above is the greatest basketball team ever to grace the three rivers, The Pittsburgh Pisces. That is how we were going to rule the court last Friday night. Instead it turned out to be a bunch of mid 30 -40 yr olds (mostly dads) gasping for air and wanting a nap.

The last time I played any organized basketball was in 1996 because I had intermurals at Pitt. A friend of mine playing swears I played when we worked together, and I probably did, but it would have been for 1 pick up game. Friday night was the start of a new weekly workout that I need to get ready for.

I was amazed that I made it the full hour with a couple breaks instead of dying after 5 minutes. My wife reminded me before I left and even the following day that I don’t like basketball but when you’re playing with friends it seems to have a certain appeal to it. I have been asked to join some games at work also so an upgrade from my chucks might be in order.

I woke up Saturday morning with minimal soreness in my body. Once I got into a rhythm, playing continuous wasn’t too bad. Thankfully 95% of the others are playing at the same pace as myself so that was a huge help.

Probably by the time we’re done I’ll be able to fly like Jordan. HA! as long as I score 1 basket a night I’m a happy man. A very old feeling and tired but happy man.

 

Categories: Friends, South Hills