Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Orphan Black Season Two

In my list of the best and worst of 2013, I gave Orphan Black an honorable mention for best television show, only because the last season of Breaking Bad was amazing. If you're not aware of Orphan Black, here's the premise from Rotten Tomatoes

Small-time grifter Sarah Manning (Tatiana Maslany) discovers that she's one of a number of clones. While searching desperately for the others, Sarah finds herself pursued by sinister forces that may hold the key to her existence.

I don't think this premise really does this show justice. Here's the description from IMDB:

Orphan Black follows outsider, orphan and street-wise chameleon Sarah. After witnessing a woman's suicide, Sarah assumes the strangers identity - who happens to look just like her. Expecting to solve all her problems by cleaning out the dead woman's savings, Sarah is instead thrust headlong into a kaleidoscopic mystery as she realizes the dizzying truth - she and the dead woman are clones. As Sarah searches for answers, she discovers the chilling fact that there are more people like her out there - genetically identical individuals who were planted in unsuspecting birth parents and nurtured in completely different circumstances. With no idea who created the clones, she'll need to discover the reason in a hurry as an assassin is killing them one by one.

Much better! Season two begins on April 19th on BBC America. This is the brand new trailer:



I'm really excited for this show's return. If you haven't seen the first season, it won't take long to get caught up. Season one was only 10 episodes, and that Rotten Tomatoes link above will give you all the information on how to see them. It also looks like BBC America will have an Orphan Black marathon on April 18th and 19th. Enjoy!

Are you also an Orphan Black fan?

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Trivia Tuesday

Remember when Trivia Tuesday was a weekly feature? No, me neither. Your challenge is to answer the 10 questions in the pictures below. Good luck!


As always, do not use the internet for assistance, and leave your answers in the comments section below.

This quiz is courtesy of the fine folks at Pub Stumpers.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Cheeteau By Chester

While this is probably an April Fools' joke/promotion, I wish it was true. The incredibly gifted and talented people who make Cheetos (and who deserve a Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts) released a perfume on April 1st. This is the description of the product:

Cheeteau, the inaugural fragrance by famed Cheetos brand spokes-cheetah, Chester Cheetah, will be available to fans in Los Angeles and New York City for a limited time only. Inspired by the popular snack, the scent boasts buttery notes, accents of sharp cheddar and a touch of lemon for balance, perfect for evening or day wear.

And the ad:



They really did give samples in New York and LA, so this could still happen, right? Please? Mmmmm...Cheetos.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Damon Thibodeaux on 48 Hours

I wrote a brief post back in 2012 about Damon Thibodeaux, a man on Louisiana's Death Row who served 15 years before being exonerated by DNA evidence. Just this weekend, CBS' 48 Hours devoted an episode titled Last Chance to Thibodeaux and the case involving the death of Crystal Champagne. I've embedded the video below, but if that doesn't work, you can check out the episode on the CBS News website.



You can learn more about Thibodeaux at DamonThibodeaux.com. He also recently testified in Congress about solitary confinement.

This really is a fascinating case, and fortunately, Damon is doing well today as a free man.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Pittsburgh Guest Blogger Event 2014

Today’s post comes from Tyler of YinZSTER, and is part of a special day of shenanigans from other Pittsburgh Bloggers. You can see my post over on Small-Town Dad, where I write about preparing to be a new father again.

Guest blogger in the house.

There are actually 29 guest bloggers in 29 different houses today, and even one in my house at YinZSTER (what has happened to the moral fabric of our e-society?). But of all the featured blogs, I would be willing to bet that my random insertion at Sean’s Ramblings is the toughest to detect because dude is all over the map and I love it! We’ve got sports, we’ve got anecdotes, we’ve got cats, we’ve got politics, we’ve got things out of the basement, we’ve got EVERYTHING in NO PARTICULAR ORDER at Sean’s Ramblings. My eyes nearly popped out of my head when I realized that this page has been producing more than one post a day for over the past nine years. That’s incredible, and very different from my approach at YinZSTER (because I’m very lazy), so I’m super excited to be featured on here. It’s a privilege.

But wtf am I supposed to write about, when I can clearly just write about whatever I want? That is, as they say, a lot of rope to hang yourself on. Should I write about how orcas are the scariest living thing on the planet? How I always perspire when I write posts (Sean, am I the only one who sweats while he writes? Or is this how you know you’re doing it wrong...)? Should I write about a cool new development in Pittsburgh, like rideshare services? Should I write about how I woke up this morning with all the lights on in my apartment, still wearing every garment of clothes from the night before while lying on top of the covers on my bed? No, right?

I fretted over this, but when it came down to it I wanted to represent for Sean, so I scoured his posts and found what I think I might be best capable of replicating with a little flair: interpretations of song lyrics. I chose three of the Top 10 songs from Billboard’s Mainstream Top 40, which is kind of fun because I don’t listen to much music that humans like. I’m just going straight lyrics here, people, as if these words were found within the pages of a poetry notebook (and, dear God, I’m glad they weren’t). I don’t recognize any of the three songs I chose, which kind of makes me question my lifestyle since these are three of the ten most popular songs in western civilization or whatever it is that Billboard represents. But oh well, that’s for another time and place.

I chose:

• “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. Last week, my good friend Emily scolded me when her coworkers at Branding Brand made a music video that mimicked the video for this song, because she could tell I had never heard the song, or of it, or seen the video. But I do know the guy has a weird hat.
• “Dark Horse” by Katy Perry. Katy Perry is pretty hot, and some of her older songs are guilty pleasures of mine. She has done a lot to surmount the obstacle of being one of those Katy’s who ends her name with a “y” instead of an “ie”.
• “Counting Stars” by One Republic. This is the only one that Sean didn’t touch in his recent post. I had a really great night in February that ended with One Republic songs being played on repeat at The Livermore in East Liberty (lovely place). I don’t know if this was one of them or not, but it doesn’t really matter though because I’m glad to be reminded of that night.

Ahem

“Happy”


Verse 1
Pharrell: It might seem crazy what I’m about to say
Tyler: *braces himself for the craziest thing ever*
Pharrell: Sunshine she’s here, you can take a break
Tyler: *slumps in chair*
Pharrell: I’m a hot air balloon that could go to space
Pharrell: With the air, like I don’t care baby by the way
Tyler: Holy sh*t, none of this is going to make any sense, is it?

Hook
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do

Tyler: I put some serious thought into “if you feel like a room without a roof” and I’m really struggling with what he’s going for here. It sounds like a terrible thing to be missing the most critical component of your design, but that doesn’t fit into the context with the rest of the lyrics. Put another way, I take this as “clap along if you feel super insufficient to serve the only task you are capable of doing – because I’m happy”. Right? Clap along if you feel like a skateboard without wheels, clap along if you feel like a television with no screen, clap along if you feel like a toothbrush with no little brushy things part. These should be lyrics to an R.E.M. song. It’s actually totally sad, if you think about an image of someone who feels this level of despair and is clapping their hands to this song with a long face…

Verse 2
Pharrell: Here come bad news talking this and that, yeah,
Pharrell: Well, give me all you got, and don’t hold back, yeah,
Pharrell: Well, I should probably warn you I’ll be just fine, yeah,
Pharrell: No offense to you, don’t waste your time here’s why:
Tyler: Really? Nothing can bring you down from this temporary mood? Mr. Williams, your entire family was killed in a horrific accident.

Bridge
Pharrell: Hey, come on
Pharrell: Bring me down can’t nothing bring me down
Pharrell: My level’s too high
Tyler: The other vehicle was full of puppies.
Pharrell: Bring me down can’t nothing bring me down
Pharrell: I said (let me tell you now)
Tyler: The lone survivor was a serial killer driving the puppy car
Pharrell: Bring me down can’t nothing bring me down
Pharrell: My level’s too high
Tyler: Mr. Williams the serial killer is en route to your last known address
Pharrell: Bring me down can’t nothing bring me down
Pharrell: I said

And then he goes on with more of the same incoherent babbling. Conclusion: I suppose if I had the Number 1 song in the world with this style of writing, it’d be hard to bring me down too.

“Dark Horse”


I’m just gonna skip the Juicy J. lead-up stuff, but he does finish that part with “Let’s rage” which I like.

Katy: I knew you were, you were gonna come to me
Katy: And here you are but you better choose carefully
Katy: Cause I, I’m capable of anything
Katy: Of anything and everything
Tyler: Where’s the like button?

Katy: Make me your Aphrodite, make me your one and only
Katy: But don’t make me your enemy, your enemy, your enemy
Tyler: What if this was some chick’s online dating profile?

Katy: So you wanna play with magic. Boy, you should know what you’re falling for.
Katy: Baby do you dare to do this? Cause I’m coming at you like a dark horse.
Katy: Are you ready for, ready for a perfect storm, perfect storm?
Katy: Cause once you’re mine, once you’re mine there’s no going back
Tyler: Dear bro who this song was meant for, you’re courting a praying mantis.

Katy: Mark my words, this love will make you levitate
Katy: Like a bird, like a bird without a cage
Tyler: Caw-caw!
Katy: But down to earth, if you choose to walk away, don’t walk away
Katy: It’s in the palm of your hand now baby
Katy: It’s a yes or no, no maybe
Katy: So just be sure to give it all to me.
Tyler: Where can I sign up? You don’t sound crazy at all.

And speaking of not crazy, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Juicy J!

Juicy J: She’s a beast, I call her Karma, she eats your heart out like Jeffrey Dahmer
Tyler: Wow, little intense there brother. But at least you left out the part where she tries to zombify you by injecting acid and hot water into your skull, like Jeffrey Dahmer.
Juicy J: That fairy tale ending with a knight in shining armor, she can be my Sleeping Beauty I’m gon’ put her in a coma (woo!)
Tyler: WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?!
Juicy J: Her love is like a drug, I was tryna hit it and quit it, but lil mama so dope I messed around and got addicted.
Tyler: So romantic. Maybe if I applied more cannibalism, coma-induction and drug abuse into my courtship practices I wouldn’t be blogging on Friday nights.

I’m done. Get me out of this song.

“Counting Stars”


This post is already too long for me to write about “Counting Stars”, which is just another way for me to say, “Mannnn these lyrics are terrible.” All you need to know is the lyric “No more counting dollars, we’ll be counting stars”. Ugggghhhhhh. Alright, One Republic, how many stars did you count? I have a nephew who can count to 100 – can you get to that many? There is absolutely no point to this song. It’s trying to do the whole, man I got all this money but it isn’t fulfilling at all so let’s just marvel at nature thing, but it fails miserably. Moving on.

Anyway, this is as good a place as any for me to thank Sean for the spot on his page. I look forward to checking out the posts on here in the future, as should you Mr./Ms. Sean’s Ramblings Reader. Like I said at the beginning, I chose the writing style of his that I thought would be the most fun, but there’s lots of cool day-to-day stuff on here and the guy really shoots from the hip. I enjoyed the opportunity, and also have to thank Alexander FIV for hooking us all up. See you around the block, Pittsburgh bloggers!


I hoped that you enjoyed this special April Fool's Day post as part of the 2nd annual Pittsburgh Guest Blogger event. You can also find plenty of other special guest blog posts by checking out #PghGBE on Twitter.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Opening Day 1988 (Found in My Basement)

Since today is opening day for most of Major League Baseball, I thought now would be the perfect time to share this 1988 Pittsburgh Pirates Official Magazine and Scorecard from the Pirates home opener against the Philadelphia Phillies that I attended on April 11, 1988.


Why yes that is 1987 National League Rookie Pitcher-of-the-Year Mike Dunne on the cover.

The Pirates starting line-up on this day was:

LF Barry Bonds
2B Jose Lind
CF Andy Van Slyke
3B Bobby Bonilla
1B Sid Bream
RF R.J. Reynolds
C Mike LaValliere
SS Al Pedrique
P Doug Drabek

While Bonds hit a home run and the Pirates won, what I remember most about the game (box score here) was the incredible performance by the legendary Vicente Palacios. In the top of the 6th, the Phillies loaded the bases with no outs against Drabek. Jim Leyland brought in Palacios who retired the next three batters without allowing a run. Three Rivers Stadium was rocking!

Now, the fun part. Check out some of the pictures and ads from the scorebook.


I wish I owned that Starter jacket.


I really liked John Saunders.


A car phone for less than $20 a month? What a deal!


I'm pretty sure I have the exact same sweater today that Mike Diaz wore more than 15 years ago.


Are Quinn and Banana selling popcorn at PNC Park today? (Sorry, that was mean. I spent many, many mornings listening to B-94 and regularly tried to win cases of pop on Thirsty Thursdays.)

Let's Go Bucs!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rap On The Radio

There's a radio station in DC with the tag line, Today's best hits, without the rap. My question is, in 2014, what is the problem with playing rap on the radio? Look, no one expects this station to abandon its current play list of Katy Perry, Maroon 5, OneRepublic, Bruno Mars and Lorde and start playing Wu-Tang Clan and Odd Future. (You didn't expect an Odd Future reference from me, did you?) However, would the audience revolt and the universe explode if the station included the Juicy J portion of Katy Perry's Dark Horse? Are they worried about losing sponsors if they played Same Love by Macklemore?

Meanwhile, one of this station's competitors (who plays virtually the exact same songs) recently changed its tag line to All the Hits and are slowly figuring out this rap thing. Although they also seem to be against Juicy J too, this station is okay playing the T.I. portion of Blurred Lines and Ludacris' rap in an Enrique Iglesias song. They also play Drake's Hold On We're Going Home since Drake sings rather than raps on this song, so I guess that makes it okay.

Any thoughts on this or am I simply listening to the radio too much during the day?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Happy 3rd Birthday

My son turns three this week, so I thought I would write him a message in case he reads this blog when he gets older and wants to know what he was like as a toddler.


Happy 3rd Birthday, (name redacted)! It's been quite an exciting three years! It seems like only yesterday when you were 2 and 364 days. Now you are 3.

You are loving, give great hugs and have an amazing smile.

You are Daddy's little boy and share many of my mannerisms and demeanor.

You are quiet, shy and very cautious in large groups or when you are around unfamiliar people. That's not a bad thing. However, when you are home or at school, you are generally happy, social, and talkative, even if I don't understand half of what you say.

You like your new big boy bed though you have not entirely grasped sleeping under the covers and prefer to lay on top of the covers. You also haven't mastered sleeping through the night or sleeping in to a reasonable time in the morning like you did in the crib.


You are persistent. I'm not sure if this is testing boundaries, or you just want to get what you want and don't want to wait for it. For example, you will ask for milk and even if we reply that we'll get it soon, you will continue to ask for milk. On a related topic, your favorite words seem to be again, more and sit. (Yes, I'm going to sit next to your bed when you go to sleep just like I did the night before. And yes, there's a good chance that I will also fall asleep on your floor.)

You are obsessed with Thomas & Friends. Yes, I've written this before, but this hasn't changed.

You enjoy school and particularly adore one of your teachers.

You also love your "girlfriend" who you have been together at daycare or preschool since you were only five months old.

While you get a diverse menu at school, your favorite foods are pasta, pizza, french fries, hummus and applesauce. Cheerios (or "Cheetos") are also a big hit. Passover could be tough in a few weeks.

You enjoy hearing Mommy and Daddy sing (even if Daddy sings rather poorly) and you'll often sing your own songs. When you learn a new song a school, it's often fun trying to figure out what song you're singing. (Miss Mary Mack was the latest tune.)

You also still like books. I hope you always do since reading is great.

You're not really into sports yet as you would much ride your car when you go outside than play with a ball.

Most importantly, even though you have no idea how your life is going to change in the next few weeks, you are going to be a terrific big brother.

Happy Birthday! We love you!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

My DVR

Back in the early days of Sean's Ramblings, I wrote several posts complaining about good television shows or sporting events featuring Pittsburgh teams airing at the same time. Each time I wrote one of these posts, I received comments that I should get a DVR. They were right. Besides electricity, the DVR may be the greatest invention of all time. These days, with the exception of sports, it's rare that I ever watch live television. Unfortunately, I'm way behind in my DVR-viewing, and it shows that the DVR is only 14% free. I need to remedy this quickly, although the pending arrival of a new child will make this difficult. Challenge accepted! Let's take a look at what's filling up my DVR.

- Season 2 (12 episodes) of Homeland

I recorded this during a free preview of Showtime. I haven't seen season 1 yet, so these episodes just sit on the DVR until I get Netflix or hope that there's another Showtime preview that airs the entire first season of Homeland.

- 24 episodes of The Middle

I saved all these episodes since this is a show that my wife and I used to watch together. She is no longer interested in watching this show. I'm so far behind, that a recent episode I watched showed commercials for future ABC shows Zero Hour and How to Live With Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life. Both of these shows have been cancelled for nearly a year!

- 8 episodes of Modern Family
- 5 episodes of Archer

- Season 1 of Game of Thrones

I had a recent conversation with a friend where he said that he watched the first season thanks to a free preview of HBO. I replied that I missed out on recording the shows. Guess what? I didn't miss out. I just completely forgot they were there.


- Nancy & Tonya

I wonder if in this version of the retelling of the figure skating drama, Nancy Kerrigan arranges to have someone attack Tonya Harding.

- The Bro Mitzvah episode of How I Met Your Mother and a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode with Bill Buckner. Two excellent episodes that I didn't want to delete.

- A Jeopardy! episode featuring a good friend of mine. I should probably delete this, but how often do I get to see Alex Trebek giving my friend a nickname?

- Multiple episodes of Little Einsteins, Thomas & Friends and Dinosaur Train.

Best used during snow days. Plus, I'm so happy that there are now shows other than Little Einsteins that my son will watch.

During every free preview of HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, etc., I record movies. For example, I recorded the Academy Award-winning The King's Speech...in January 2012! Maybe it's time to watch it.

Other movies on the to-see list include:

Zero Dark Thirty
Looper
Wreck-It Ralph
Life of Pi


I've got work to do!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Checkout Lanes Are Evil

Did you hear about the recent altercation that occurred outside of a Wichita Walmart?

Wichita police say a 36-year-old man became frustrated with the self checkout and began cussing at the machine.

It angered another man inside, and it turned into a verbal argument.

The fight spilled out into the parking lot where another man joined and some derogatory names were used.

“When they left the store, the upset individual struck the cussing individual in the face,” said Capt. Doug Nolte, Wichita Police Department.

The 36-year-old man suffered a broken tooth.

Police are still looking for the two suspects who left the scene.


You may find this outrageous, but there's something about checkout lines, particularly self checkouts, that stir people's emotions.

While I usually shop at Wegmans, I occasionally go to a grocery store that rhymes with Mafepay to pick up a few sale items. Despite going to this store on Friday evening or Saturday morning, times when there are plenty of customers, Safeway Mafepay usually only has two checkout lanes open. It seems that the store really wants people to use one of the 6 self checkout lanes. This is a problem. There always seems to be at least one broken scanner. Plus, there is rarely a consensus about whether there is one line for all self checkout lanes or three separate lines for the three separate rows. There's usually someone buying alcohol or medicine, so you have to wait for the one employee to check IDs.

Once you get to the register, an item won't always scan. You might stand there attempting to scan an item three or four times. Then, the machine wants you to place the item in the "baggage area." No, I don't want to put the 20-pound container of cat litter in the miniature baggage area.

Of course, the worst people in the world are those that have 15 items for the 7 items or less aisles. I don't think I've ever shared this story before, but on the night that I proposed, I went to Target to pick up a few items including votive candles. My plan was to light candles around the apartment and place rose petals on the floor. Maybe I was inspired by Coming To America.


Anyway, I was running later than I planned and found myself in what I thought was the express checkout lane. I quickly discovered that the people in front of me had significantly more items than 7 or less. I was livid. Fortunately, I didn't do anything, or you may have heard about an altercation that occurred at a Fairfax Target involving a single guy.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Return of Sean Analyzing Song Lyrics

Since I refuse to write about snow, I thought I would share some thoughts about current songs. Enjoy!

Aloe Blacc - The Man

You can tell everybody
Yeah you can tell everybody
Go ahead and tell everybody
I'm the man, I'm the man, I'm the man


That's a little arrogant, now isn't it, Aloe? And what makes you think people want to go around telling people you're the man? What would happen if Aloe approached you about this at a party?

Aloe: Hey Sean.
Sean: Hello.
Aloe: Go ahead and tell everybody I'm the man.
Sean: Um, yeah, I'll get right on that.

Katy Perry - Roar

I've got the eye of the tiger.

Katy Perry - Dark Horse

Cause I'm coming at you like a dark horse.

Someone visited the farm and zoo while writing their latest album. Either that or read a lot of kids books.

The Juicy J portion of Dark Horse

She's a beast.
I call her Karma.
She eats your heart out
Like Jeffrey Dahmer.


I'll take 20 year-old references that most fans of this song won't understand for $400, Alex.

Pharrell Williams - Happy

Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof.

This is a good thing? Won't you get wet when it rains and cold when it snows?

That concludes the latest edition of Sean analyzing song lyrics.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Ziggy Goes To Jacksonville

It is a sad day here at Ramblings headquarters. After five years, Ziggy is taking his talents to North Florida. We had really high hopes for Ziggy as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but unfortunately, he didn't live up to expectations. Despite signing a 4-year contract in Jacksonville, it looks like I'm not going to get a cent (just like when he was first drafted). Oh well.

At least this Ziggy is taking everything is stride.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Penguins Fans' Smithsonian Celebration

Living in the Washington DC area, it's always enjoyable when the Pittsburgh Penguins defeat the Washington Capitals. I've written about this several times over the years, but I've had great experiences going to Pens-Caps games at the Verizon Center where the crowd has been evenly split between fans of both teams. As the Caps became a regular playoff team over the past 6-7 years, tickets to these games became more expensive and difficult to get. Even though I personally haven't been to one of these games recently, plenty of Penguins fans still go. Here's a video from Monday night in what has become a really cool tradition, Penguins fans storming the stairs of the Smithsonian American Art Museum after a victory.



Now, check out the guy in the Pens' Fleury jersey around the :25 second mark. Why does he remove the jersey to reveal a Capitals sweatshirt? Did he lose a bet? Who is he? What's his story?

Here are some recaps of the back-to-back Penguins wins over the Caps.

h/t The Pensblog

Friday, March 07, 2014

The Next Edgar Snyder? (Friday Video)

Edgar Snyder is arguably the best known lawyer in Pittsburgh. I remember seeing his commercials constantly growing up (391-2101. 391-2101!), and when I visited Pittsburgh last summer, I saw his billboards everywhere. Daniel Muessig seems like he wants to be the next Edgar Snyder. Although Muessing is a criminal defense attorney while Snyder focuses on personal injuries, they both know the power of media. Check out Muessig's video:



He actually reminds me of Breaking Bad's Saul Goodman. Not sure he really needed the Jewish thing at the end, but I guess some people really want to have a Jewish lawyer.

Muessig appears to be a young, rather new lawyer and is trying to make a splash. However, Edgar Snyder is a friend of mine,* but Dan Muessig, you are no Edgar Snyder.




* This is not true although I once held a contest run by Edgar Snyder, and I know that he has visited my blog.


h/t Deadspin