Discovering Pittsburgh through my kids

When I write on the topic of cool things I discover about Pittsburgh I’ll always get a few “I can’t believe you’ve never been there before!” comments. Funny coming from people afraid to cross a bridge or go through a tunnel but it’s true.

Teaspoon with Mr. Rogers
Teaspoon with Mr. Rogers

I moved here in my early 20’s for work and, while I knew attractions were around, I had little interest in Pittsburgh besides sports and beer. I was a closet history nerd but my friends at the time were all about the bar scene. Social media wasn’t even a star in Zuck’s eye yet for people socializing online as we know it and I fell into the pattern I had in Erie. You go to the same bar, with the same people and do it all over again the next day. “It’s taco night and $.25 drafts. Why wouldn’t you go there? We always go there!” It’s not crazy to think that I could still be working at Staples and going to Andy’s Pub on Saturday nights for billiards and then midnight bowling. Not that I didn’t enjoy it when I was 21, I really did, it’s just that’s what you do.

My brother and his family would get me out to explore Pittsburgh after my move but the thought of returning never crossed my mind for a lot of these places. I wasn’t programmed to think of finding the best burger, pizza or best anything like we are now. There was no passion to have a “best” place like so many Pittsburghers boast. We didn’t have that local pride or attachment in Erie.

My world was my work for years and it wasn’t until I had kids that I started to look at Pittsburgh, and my life, in a new way. Since last summer we’ve been on a mission to find out what makes Pittsburgh great and this year we went all in with memberships to the zoo, children’s museum and anything with the name Carnegie in it. We’ve been hitting up parks I never knew existed and have taken advantage of whatever cool things I can find on blogs such as The Pittsburgh Mommy Blog and WQED’s Smartparent.

I’m kicking off a small series later today “Discovering Pittsburgh through my Kids”. Maybe it’s with my kids? Eh we’ll see.

We’ll start today with museums, move to libraries on Friday and then parks the following week. Those are 3 categories I feel best sum up why I love Pittsburgh and raising my family here. The people and traditions will come later this year once festival season wraps up. If you have any suggestions please let me know!

Cheers n’at!


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.


Facebook’s new Graph Search is going to pop the stupid bubble

Facebook’s big announcement is going to make or break the future of the social media culture. Pretty bold statement but when you think of the impact on showing more details to your life to the world it could get ugly. Either it will finally force people to think about what they post online or add to the ugly popular trend of publicly ridiculing everyone.

When it is launched you will be able to ask the search questions such as “friends who like Pearl Jam and hotdogs” “Who has been to Erie, PA” “Friends photos before 1995” and “Friends who went to Cleveland and like Oprah”. The downside of that is you can also search the public for pretty much anything and come up with some horrifying results.

The ugly truth of stupidity will come to the forefront and kids already unable to handle society will be outed.

People, it’s time to grow up and realize the novelty is wearing off. All of those things you “liked” because you might have been a bad ass 20 years ago in high school and need to cling on to that last shred of youth are making you the creepy old dude.

I deal with the eye rolling traffic that is the “i’m pissed off at everything because that’s cool now and I’m entitled to do and say what I want because I’m internet important” on a regular basis so the once less searchable Facebook jagoffs will be all over.

I’m sure there will be some good uses of the graph but as someone who has seriously scaled back his personal use of Facebook for more business reasons, the upgrade will have little impact on me. If you keep most of your information private this will have little to do with you. The graph will succeed though because of the need to over share. As a business it could help me start targeting or get a better read on who likes my product without having to pay a marketing firm to do it for me.

It’s about to get really creepy out there folks. Make sure you have control over what you share.

2012 Year In Review

I wasn’t going to write one of these until a few people asked where my yearly recap was so what the heck. Its 8 a.m. on 1/1/13 so better late than never right?

2012 was an interesting for me in terms of realizing what was really important for a happy life and that researching the past generations can put today into perspective.

This is probably the shortest one I’ve ever written since 2012 was not the year of blogging for me. Family and work were in overdrive this year so all of my online writings took a hit. Let’s get to it.

January – I decided it was time to start streamlining everything I do online and phase out those negative people in my life that thrive on bringing you down. This was a success and life has been much better after cutting those ties. My youngest started teething and we saw an incredible heatwave I’d love to kick back in again.

February – Groundhog obsession. Cleaned out my closet of over 25 tshirts and still had way too many clothes left. Teaspoon saw his first hockey game (RMU Women) and first basketball game (RMU Men). Birthdays of myself (36) and Teaspoon (3).

March – Bachelor week with delicious craft beers and steaks. Celebrated ST Patrick’s day with a Beer-Braised Corned Beef I made with Troegenator. Finally ate at an iHop. Lushie burned her hand really bad and Roberto Clemente made me drink cheap whiskey.

April – Pirates opened what would be another losing season. Pens scored 10 goals in 1 game against the Flyers which I called the Pearl Jam Goal. The 1st annual Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week happened.

May – Took a much needed break and spent time in Baltimore for my cousin’s wedding where we had blue crab for the first time. QR codes are not difficult to use and, while some think are hideous, can be very beneficial.

June – Arby’s 5-Strip Ultimate BLT was an insult to bacon and sandwiches. 9 years and 150,838 miles later I finally bought a new car. Teaspoon gave Father’s day a new meeting when we visited my dad’s grave site.  One of my beer articles was featured on Examiner.

July – Church festival season and a 1.5 yr old’s addiction to Jeopardy

August – My streak of 573 days for not drinking a macro beer ended and realized how much I had a dislike for craft beer snobbery. Hot water tank blew in my basement and made one heck of a mess. My beautiful face graced the pages of Zymurgy magazine for homebrewing.

September – President announced he was home brewing and a lot of us were anxious to try the recipe. Finding a decent pizza joint we can all agree on finally happened as we fell in love with Antonio’s in Brookline. My kid loves his GameBoy  more than anything. Needing a mancation and dealing with a sick kid.

October – Ate taco soup which broke a tooth and finally got the crown. Brewing a pumpkin porter and pumpkin carving.

November – I shaved off my goatee for the first time in 8 years and grew a mustache for charity. Had our 7th anniversary dinner at P.F. Changs. Trying to understand the Voter I.D. debacle. Twitter name calling reaches new low and Teaspoon thinks he’s Picasso.

December – We started using DVD players for trips. Remembering dad. Google+ releases “communities” and I LOVE it. That 12-12-12 thing happened. No, we don’t have polio. My alma mater, Erie Cathedral Prep, won the PIAA AAA football title. End of the world comes and goes. Remembering Roberto.

There you have it, 2012 year in review. Many cool things happened that I didn’t blog about so I need to be more diligent about that in 2013. The family just got back from the in-laws so I’ll have a Christmas recap coming.

Thanks to all for a fun 2012 and cheers to everyone! Hope you have a safe & happy new year!


When the 2012 election is over will you call everyone stupid?

I can’t wait until this election is over. No matter which candidate you’re a fan-boy for, every one is guilty of mudslinging and running over the top sensationalized ads which really looks like every single person running for office is a whiny brat.

That aside remember one thing, keep your freaking cool when posting online. Facebook has been unbearable to deal with the last few days but Twitter has turned into a wasteland of loudmouths spewing off and calling people stupid if you don’t agree with their political views.  Once this election is over will you still be calling me stupid if I voted differently?

If you follow me online you’ll know I’m politically neutral because I choose not to deal with the bull in public. My vote is my own personal choice and what you think is your own business. I’m going to vote for the candidate that I believe is the best for me and my family and that doesn’t involve you. You do what’s best for YOU.

It has been unfortunate. People don’t realize where to draw the line before being over the top and twitter gives anyone the chance to get on a soap box and vent any stance they have, no matter how absurd it may be. It has made me rethink the people I associate and do business with. I’m all for freedom of expression but once you point fingers at me or slam me because I don’t believe the same things you do, well you’re not someone I need in my life.

After you vote on Tuesday be proud of your decision. We share the same rights to vote and frankly your obsessiveness has been not only a turn off but another reason why I can’t take you seriously anymore.

Wednesday morning when you wake up and the winner has been announced will you be able to live with all of the bridges you burned to get your own way? You might not think it’s a big deal but everyone you called names won’t forget.