Wednesday, January 30, 2013

NFL Fans Map

Sean Taylor at Facebook took the approximate 35 million users who have "Liked" a National Football League team's fan page, and put it into this awesome map.

Taking this from a Steelers fan perspective, this map is particularly interesting. As expected, Steelers fans dominate Western and Central Pennsylvania, all of West Virginia and significant parts of Ohio. Perhaps not as expected is that the Steelers appear to be the most popular team in Hawaii, large parts of North Carolina and South Carolina, and areas of Alaska, Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Nebraska, New York, Kentucky, North Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Alabama and Florida. Since I love maps, I really can look at this map for hours.

Facebook also went a step further. As Barry Petchesky of Deadspin writes, "If you're a fan of one team, who are your friends most likely to be fans of? Here are the top five most common allegiances for Facebook friends of fans of each team. Once again, geography rules—except for the large numbers of Cowboys, Steelers, and Patriots fans on everybody's list."

I hate to admit it, but based on this information, it appears that the Cowboys truly are the most popular team (at least according to people on Facebook) in the United States.

h/t Deadspin

Update: I really can't stop looking at this map. Maybe it's because I am part of the Steelers diaspora, but I am fascinated by teams that have little to no support in places outside of its own vicinity. (I'm looking at you Jacksonville, San Diego, Tampa Bay, and yes, even Baltimore and Philadelphia.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Trivia Tuesday

It seems like only two years ago when I searched for baby names. Apparently, I inspired this week's Trivia Tuesday. Given the clues below, identify the top 10 names for male babies born in 2011 according to the US Social Security Administration.

1. Biblical father of the Twelve Tribes of Israel

2. Last name of an 18th century astronomer who helped mark the boundries between Pennsylvania/Maryland and Maryland/Delaware

3. Only first name shared by three different US Presidents who served in the 20th century

4. Alternate spelling of the first name of an actor who made his film debut in "The Pursuit of Happyness"

5. Last name of the 1983 French Open champion whose son is currently on the Chicago Bulls

6. 1996 movie starring John Travolta as an archangel

7. First name of a Revolutionary War hero, leader of the Green Mountain Boys

8. First name of a Founding Father killed by a sitting Vice President in 1804

9. Alternate spelling of the first name of an actor known for films such as "Benny and Joon," "Legends of the Fall" and "Michael Collins"

10. First name of the star of a franchise whose 8 films have grossed almost $2.5 billion at the domestic box office since 2001.

As always please leave your answers in the comments section below and do not use the internet for assistance. Good luck!

This quiz is courtesy of the fine folks at Stump Trivia.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Addicted To SongPop

I'd like to thank the creators of SongPop for making a game just for me. Sure, several million other people play, but I'm sure they designed the game with me in mind. If you're not familiar with SongPop, you challenge a friend/random person to guess the song titles and/or artists of five songs. While I still don't completely understand the scoring system, essentially, whoever guesses the answers correctly in the shortest amount of time wins. Whoever has the most wins in these match-ups wins for the week. Therefore, if someone challenges me in a category that's clearly not my strength like House or Musicals,* I could lose that individual match-up but still win the week.

Here is my record since I started playing:

Week 1: 14-2
Week 2: 10-4
Week 3: 12-5
Week 4: 8-5
Week 5: 11-3
Week 6: 10-3
Week 7: 12-1
Week 8: 9-4
Week 9: 12-2
Week 10: 13-3
Week 11: 11-3

I dominate this game. Basically, I'm the 1970s Steelers. Sure, I have some very competitive matches (especially against Kenny, Nichole & Deborah), but otherwise I'm accustomed to winning. However, I do have a nemesis. A person who is my kryptonite. His name is James. Not only is James a Jeopardy champion and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Hall of Fame, but he also knows his music. My individual match record against James is a pathetic 15-51. At this point, I think this might be mental. I feel like I need to have a perfect game to defeat James. One mistake and it's over.

While I struggle to find a way to beat James, if you're on Facebook, feel free to challenge me on SongPop. Of course, I'll probably need to upgrade to VIP status, so maybe SongPop will see this blog post and grant me free VIP status for a year!

* I love when I win in Musicals. Folks challenge me thinking that they will have an easy win, but surprise, I know the music from Phantom of the Opera. Take that!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sean On Fashion: How Do You Wear a Scarf?

Temperatures reached the teens in DC yesterday, the coldest it has been here in two years. In other words, it is freaking freezing! (Now I wait for comments from people in Minnesota and Canada telling me that 17 degrees isn't cold.) Despite growing up in Pittsburgh, going to school in upstate New York and spending the past 12+ years in Columbus and DC, places not to be confused with tropical islands, I never owned a scarf before purchasing one last year. When I brought out my scarf yesterday, I simply put it around my neck with the sides hanging equally outside my jacket. When it got windy, I took one end and threw it around my neck meaning that the scarf was extremely uneven - one side ended around my waste, the other just past my shoulder. While I'm probably doing a terrible job describing this, I feel like this is not the proper way to wear a scarf. Although my main priority is to try to not freeze or to drop or lose the scarf. do you have any suggestions as to how to wear a scarf?

Please tell me that this isn't the expected scarf look.

In case your wondering, I wrote about scarves nearly six years ago. I am on the cutting edge of fashion!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Trivia Tuesday: Celebrity Couples Edition

Welcome to the first Trivia Tuesday of 2013! This week, we're taking a look at celebrity couples. They are just like us except they're famous, have more money and (at least a few of them) have some talent. Your challenge is to identify the people in the pictures below.

As always please leave your answers in the comments section below and do not use the internet for assistance. Good luck!

This quiz is courtesy of the fine folks at Stump Trivia.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Keepin' It Kosher Fo' Sure

We may be entering a golden era of Jewish references in pop music. It started in 2009 when the Black Eyed Peas incorporated "L'Chaim" and "Mazel Tov" in their #1 hit I Gotta Feeling. Just a few months ago, Train included the random line "How could you leave on Yom Kippur" in 50 Ways To Say Goodbye. Now, let's welcome Ke$ha to the party for her latest song, C'Mon, with this line:

We been keepin' it Kosher / But I wanna get it on fo' sure

You can also hear the line yourself at the 2:50 mark of one of the strangest videos you'll ever see.

While I'm sure that the word Kosher has been used in numerous songs before (though I can only think of The Clash's Rock the Casbah), Ke$ha is probably the first and only performer to rhyme Kosher with fo' sure.

You're move, Adele!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How I Spend My Money (2012 Credit Card Spending)

Although there are multiple credit cards in my household, we tend to use one credit card significantly more than the rest. This credit card company also provides a year-end statement showing how we spent our money which you can sort by individual retailers or category (groceries, travel, etc.). I shared the places where we spent the most money in 2011, so I thought I would bring this back for 2012.

1. Wegmans - I'm generally at Wegmans at least once a week. We also tend to take friends and family from out of town here so they can enjoy the Wegmans experience. I'm not kidding.

2. Target - Kids are expensive. We like the Target diapers, and Target sells Ziggy's cat food for cheaper than anywhere else.

3. Amazon - Kids are expensive especially if you don't want to leave the house to buy stuff for them.

4. Sun Refining & Marketing (better known as Sunoco) - Remember when gas at $2 a gallon was high?

5. Costco - Call me if you need toilet paper.

6. Metro - There's just no way to avoid this expense. I guess I could drive to work, but then you would see Sunoco move up the list and a parking garage reach the top 10.

7. DirecTV - This is the only bill that is paid directly through the credit card as opposed to the bank account. I need to do some serious thinking next year (again) as to whether it makes sense to keep Sunday Ticket.

8. USAir

9. JetBlue - It looks like I did a lot of exotic traveling but the reality is that these are all trips to visit family. I'm scared to see where USAir and JetBlue fall in 2013 when we have to start buying a ticket for my child (kids under 2 fly free).

10. Old Navy - It was close, but Old Navy barely edged New Burgundy for the 10th spot.

Obviously things like rent, gas and electric would make this list, but as I mentioned under DirecTV, we don't use our credit card to pay those bills. Overall, this is a fairly boring list. It would be nice to have some excitement and show international travel, luxury hotels, fancy restaurants, or sports or theater tickets, but that's not where I am in my life. I tend to think that eight, nine or even all 10 of these companies stay on this list in 2013.

Where did you use your credit card the most in 2012?

Monday, January 14, 2013

2013 State of the Ramblings

Sean's Ramblings celebrated its 8th anniversary last week. When I first started writing Sean's Ramblings, Twitter wasn't around yet and Facebook was less than a year old and only available on college campuses, so if you wanted to share your thoughts online, you had to do it through a blog. Of course, less and less people want so spend time writing blog posts now when you can share immediate thoughts in 140 characters or less instantly. Therefore, I am a dinosaur in the blog world.

When I started Sean's Ramblings, I was in my very late 20s and newly married. Now, I'm in my mid-30s (though some people would say late 30s) and have a child. Having a kid has been an amazing experience (see my fatherhood updates here and here). The only downside is that I don't write nearly as much as I did in the past. Although 203 posts in 2012 seems like a significant number, this is the least amount of posts I wrote in a year since this blog's inception by far. While I can't promise that I'll write more in 2013, I have no plans of retiring. I still enjoy sharing my thoughts on a wide variety of topics, and I hope that you enjoy reading this blog.

So what happened in the past year? I was introduced to an amazing and supportive Pittsburgh Bloggers community. I just wish that I was able to attend some of the events, which is difficult seeing that I live in Northern Virginia. Staying with the Pittsburgh blog topic, I think I'll continue the Best Pittsburgh Sports Blog Tournament in 2013 making it the 5th annual event. It's a lot of work, but I like being part of the Pittsburgh sports blog community, even if I don't write much about Pittsburgh sports anymore.

In case you missed it, here are some of my favorite/best posts of 2012:

- Since it was an election year, here is my political platform.

- I looked back at a shooting at my high school 20 years ago.

- I interviewed Laurie Koozer, author of What Happens on Sunday

- My escape from South Florida before Tropical Storm Isaac

- The best London Olympics preview.

- I tried to revisit my 1997 road trip, but I didn't get very far.

- I had my first Twitter battle.

- I ran a 5K without trying.

- I saw Van Halen in concert so naturally, I wrote a concert review of the opening act, Kool & The Gang.

- I applied to be on MTV's The Real World.

- I shared my memories of Pittsburgh's Civic Arena.

Thanks again to everyone for reading and commenting. I really appreciate your support!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Notes From Pitt-Georgetown

On Tuesday night, I attended probably my final Pitt-Georgetown game at the Verizon Center. Although Pitt may face Maryland in College Park next year when the teams overlap in the ACC for one season, unless George Washington, George Mason or American join the ACC, I may not see Pitt basketball in the DC area for many years. Therefore, let’s focus on the positive: Pitt-73 Georgetown-45

You can read all about the game on The Washington Post, ESPN, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pitt Blather, Cardiac Hill, Casual Hoya and probably dozens of other places. Instead, I’m going to focus on some of the off the court stuff.

- A 9:00 game on a Tuesday night is a terrible time for a college basketball game, especially when the game takes place at an off-campus facility. I think I’ve attended five Pitt-Georgetown games at the Verizon Center, and this game had the smallest attendance by far.

- Speaking of the Verizon Center, what are the logistics for Georgetown students and staff getting from campus to the arena? It seems like there would always be traffic and it takes a significant effort to attend most games. How long does it take to get back to campus if you want to leave early? (For example, the student section cleared out with about 5-6 minutes left in the game.)

- Alexander Ovechkin was in attendance apparently waiting until the game was over so he could skate at the Verizon Center ice again. Unfortunately, Maria Kirilenko was not there. (There are much more provocative photos of Kirilenko on the internet, but this is a family-friendly blog - at least today - so enjoy this picture of the tennis star.)

- Washington Wizards rookie Bradley Beal was also in attendance. He is younger than just about every player on Pitt and Georgetown.

- At halftime, a female student hit a three-pointer to win free Lasik surgery. That may have been the loudest noise from the Georgetown crowd all night. After making the shot, the excited announcer screamed that "there was no doubt about it." I hope he had to pay royalties to Lanny Frattare.

- Living Social had an amazing deal where upper-deck tickets were only $12. Unfortunately, I'm now receiving three e-mails a day from Living Social.

- Being in the arena, I had no idea what happened at the end of the first half. I saw Tray Woodall lying on his back on the court and another Pitt player clearly fouled in what appeared to be just before the buzzer. Both teams went to the locker rooms while the refs looked at the video monitors for several minutes. I didn’t find out what happened until the day after the game.

- With about 5 minutes left in the first half, I noticed that Talib Zanna had no points. He scored 8 points over the next 4+ minutes. I need to notice stuff like this more often.

- Dante Taylor provided a huge spark (at least in my mind and based on this picture used on every website) for Pitt with an impressive dunk and then a bucket and a made foul shot fairly early in the game. I really feel like Taylor is going to play an important role in some Pitt victories at some point this season.

Always nice to celebrate a Pitt win in DC with plenty of Pitt fans! Go Pitt!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Sean On Twitter

I'm going to let you in on a secret. I'm on Twitter. Not only do I follow people on Twitter, but people follow me. Apparently, over 300 people think I have something interesting to say. Of course, maybe they are just patiently waiting for another giveaway, the annual Pittsburgh Sports Blog Tournament or are not actual people. I still have no idea why U.S. House Speaker John Boehner follows me.

Actually, the real reason why people follow me on Twitter must be because of my quick wit and humor in 140 characters or less. Here are some of my favorite recent Tweets here for your reading pleasure:

You can always follow me on Twitter by clicking here.

Plus, on a somewhat related topic, check out Everybody Loves You for the always entertaining Week In Tweets. (Yes, I really, really want to make the Week In Tweets!)

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Good Night Pittsburgh

I started reading to my son almost as soon as we got home from the hospital. Sure, he had no idea what I was reading, but I felt like it was a good way to bond with him and so that he would learn my voice. He'll turn two in a few months, and I still read to him every day. One of the first books I remember reading to him was Good Night Ocean. The book introduces various ocean animals and ocean-related items throughout the course of a day. I find that I use different voices for certain pages (Hello hammerhead shark is said in the "Hello" voice from a Seinfeld episode) with varying degrees of success in making my child smile. We later received Good Night Washington DC as a gift and now own several other books from the Good Night Our World series. I like the books, but noticed that there was no book about Pittsburgh. I felt like this was an injustice, and I wanted to make this happen. Therefore, I contacted the publishers via this e-mail sent on September 11, 2011.

Dear Our World of Books,

I am a big fan of your series of books as my wife and I read them regularly to our child. As a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I wanted to know if there were plans to create a Good Night Pittsburgh. If not, what is the process to create one? I'd be happy to assist you if needed and even help you promote the book.

Thanks for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.

In hindsight, it was probably not a good idea to send this e-mail on the ten year anniversary of one of the most tragic events in American history. Therefore, after I didn't receive a reply, I sent this e-mail on September 19, 2011:

Dear Our World of Books,

I recently contacted you about whether there were any plans in creating a Good Night Pittsburgh book. If there is not (or even if there is), I am writing to inquire as to whether I could write such a book.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

I again didn't hear from Our World of Books and didn't think much of it...until recently. Good Night Pittsburgh was published on September 26, 2012.

Were the publishers already planning this book or did I give them the idea? I didn't get any credit for the book, and I wonder if I should. Do I need to contact Attorney Edgar Snyder or Jackie Chiles?

Monday, January 07, 2013

Sean on Pop Culture

I like to think that I am not only aware of but knowledgeable about pop culture. For example, Jessica Simpson let me know that she is pregnant (again!) before announcing it to the world. I also subscribe to Entertainment Weekly which I enjoy for the pictures, I mean, interesting articles. However, based on EW's recent Best & Worst of 2012 edition, there are a few things that seem to be missing from my pop culture world.

- Channing Tatum appeared in approximately 129 movies in 2012. I saw none of them.

- Carly Rae Jepsen is 27. 27! She doesn't look like she can drink legally, even in Canada with a lower drinking age. In case you're wondering, Jepsen is older than Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Robert Pattinson and Lindsay Lohan.

- Frank Ocean may have been the top musical artist in 2012 and he's nominated for 6 Grammy Awards. I don't think I have heard one of his songs.

- The Master and Zero Dark Thirty are both strong contenders for Best Picture at The Oscars. I don't know anyone that has seen either of these movies. (Yes, I realize that Zero Dark Thirty just got released nationwide recently.)

- The Lumineers are from Denver. My guess was that they were from Ireland or the UK.

- I have not seen The Avengers or any movie featuring any character from the movie including the Iron Man films.

- Calvin Harris is from Scotland. My guess was that he was from Denver.

- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn was one of the biggest books of 2012. Again, I don't think I know anyone that has read this.

- Finally, it took me a long time to realize that Downton Abbey was not Downtown Abbey. Maybe I'll start watching this show in 2013.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Jeopardy Contestant Search 2013

I have three friends that appeared on Jeopardy! over the past few years including Nichole (you may know her from regularly answering Trivia Tuesday questions correctly) who was a one-day champion just last month. Could you be the next person I know to be a Jeopardy! Contestant?

Jeopardy's online test is set for next week (January 8-10), but you should register now to participate. Good luck, and if you're able to advance and go the next round of the contestant search, please keep us posted.

On a completely different topic, while I have slowed down on the number of posts recently, make sure to stop by regularly next week as I have some good posts planned.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

2012 Sean’s Ramblings Visitors

Have you ever wondered who visits Sean's Ramblings and how they found this blog? No? Really, it's just me? Well, here is 2012 data of Sean's Ramblings visitors and how people find this blog through internet searches.

1. Pittsburgh, PA

2. New York, NY

3. Washington, DC

4. London, United Kingdom

5. Chicago, IL

6. Chantilly, VA

7. Philadelphia, PA

8. Elizabeth, NJ

9. Bethesda, MD

10. (tie) Baltimore, MD & Arlington, VA

Pittsburgh-New York-Washington earn the top three spots for the third consecutive year. London finished in fourth which is the highest ranking for a non-United States City since San-Ch’Ung, Taiwan finished third in 2009. I expect London to fight for one of the top spots next year as a result of my coverage of the Steelers game there. Maybe I'll even go to London to cover the game live!

Now for the top referrals of 2012:

1. Seans Ramblings

2. Ricardo Blas Jr

3. LeBron James

4. Ben Roethlisberger house

5. Erica Blasberg

6. Corduroys

7. Jaromir Jagr

8. Songs with alcohol in the title

9. Songs with beer in the title

10. Why do people hate Hillary Clinton

"Pittsburgh Steelers Mascot," which was #1 last year fell out of the top ten. Steely McBeam is not happy. Meanwhile, congratulations to Ric Blas for being #2 on this list. Good guy who performed very well at the London Olympics. I need to catch up with him soon for a return appearance here.

Thanks again to everyone for visiting this blog in 2012! I hope to see you here in 2013 too!

If you’re interested in seeing the search and location statistics for the previous three years, click here.