Tuesday, June 30, 2009

DC Gas Prices (Trivia Tuesday)

There is an Exxon station at the corner of Virginia Avenue and Rock Creek Parkway in Washington right next to The Watergate. Perhaps you have heard of it (Watergate, not the gas station. Actually, you have probably heard of Exxon as well). Anyway, when we drove by this station on Sunday, we noticed that the cost of regular unleaded was $3.49 per gallon. Although gas prices have steadily increased over the past few months, that amount seems really high. This is especially the case since a Chevron (I think) station almost directly across the street sells regular unleaded gasoline for $2.79 a gallon, or 70 cents less than the Exxon.

Today’s question is why is there such a disparity between the two gas stations? In addition, why would anyone go to the Exxon when they can get gas for significantly cheaper across the street?

I don’t know the answer to the first question, so if anyone who works or lives in the area can shed some light on this, they will become a Sean’s Ramblings Superstar.*

A traditional Trivia Tuesday will return next Tuesday and look for more Vegas stories soon.

* Trademark pending.

Separated At Birth?

So I convinced myself that soccer/futbol player Lucio of Brazil and Kurt Warner of the Arizona Cardinals look alike. Although these pictures may not support my belief, take a look and decide for yourself.

It's possible that someone already came up with this comparison, but I had over 700 blog entries on Google Reader when I returned on vacation, and sadly selected the "Mark All as Read" button.

OK, maybe this picture of Lucio helps prove my point.

He looks like Kurt Warner, right? (Just nod your head and agree with me. Please?)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Vegas Vacation - Part I

The first question many people ask when you return from Vegas is how did you do? Well, I lost playing blackjack. I lost playing craps. I lost playing Pai Gow. I lost playing three-card poker. I also lost $2 playing slots. (I hate slots, but I couldn’t pass up the Press Your Luck slot machine. I really, really, really wanted to yell big bucks, no whammies, stop! I didn't have that opportunity.) My gambling victories were minor. I bet $2 on a horse named Baseball Card Kid racing at Charles Town Races & Slots. Yes, I traveled thousands of miles to bet on a horse race that took place about 50 miles from my home. When I made the wager, the horse was at 7-1 but by race time, he/she was 3-1. Therefore, when the horse finished second, I won a whopping 80 cents.

My other victory was courtesy of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Knowing that the Pirates usually play well against excellent starting pitchers (though usually terribly against below average pitching), I put $5 on the Bucs and Ross Ohlendorf against the Cleveland Indians and reigning Cy Young winner Cliff Lee. When the Pirates won, I earned $7.25! The sports book was clearly the highlight of my personal gambling week.

However, my wife represented the family proudly. In her blackjack debut, she was dealt an 8-8 with the dealer showing an ace. The dealer did not have a blackjack, so after splitting the eights, she received a third 8. On that 8, she got a 7 and then a 5 for a 20. On the second 8, she was dealt a 2. We contemplated doubling down, but decided just to hit. She got a 10. On the third 8, she was dealt a 3. We did double-down this time, meaning that there were four separate bets on the table. The dealer handed her a 9. I don’t remember the dealer's cards, but I know that she busted meaning that my wife won all four bets. Greatest blackjack hand ever!

I promise to have much more about my Las Vegas vacation including the joys of a timeshare presentation, seeing Alexander Ovechkin, meeting Angel, and I'll present one of the greatest names in local news history over the next few days. Please click here for part 2.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Banking Center

I’m home from Vegas and will share many stories over the next few days. As a preview, I want to start with one observation from Harrah’s (or at least I think it was Harrah’s). The casino shows a responsible side by having a “Banking Center” sign. I was impressed by their initiative to have representatives right there in the heart of the casino. If you win some money, you can talk to someone about opening a CD or savings account. Perhaps you could discuss mortgage options as well. Of course, when I got to the banking center, there was nothing there except an ATM. So much for the responsible side.

(When I typed banking center into Google images, this was one of the options. Looks nice. If you want a "banking center" visit this Gardner Bank in Gardner, Kansas. It's only a 1345 mile drive from Las Vegas!)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Shut Up and Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

I saw The Hangover last week, watched Ocean's 11 last night and saw the video for Katy Perry's Waking Up in Vegas this morning, so I'm all set for
my Vegas vacation. While I'm sure that you want hour-by-hour details of my trip, I am taking a brief vacation from Sean's Ramblings. To translate: I'm not taking a computer with me to Las Vegas; I will write about my vacation, but not until I return.* Have a great week!

* Unless Mike Tyson and/or a tiger show up in my hotel room.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday Links

The filming of The Real World: DC and a movie starring Jack Nicholson and Paul Rudd has started across the street from Captain Easychord's place. (Corsairs' Affairs)

One for the Other Thumb has a new look. Plus, I was part of this week's Meeting People is Easy.

Behind the Steel Curtain is in the championship round of the Tomlinism Super Bowl. Voting ends Monday, and here are your choices:

#6-Seed: "I don't care how my players evaluate me. I evaluate them. How's your editor?" (Bristled after a reporter asked him how his players evaluated their coach)

#2-Seed: "Every day I walk by five Lombardi Trophies, not five rushing titles." (In response to Willie Parker publicly stating that the Steelers needed to run the ball more)

DCist interviewed Hip-Hop Violinist Miri Ben-Ari.

Pitt's men's basketball team will face Indiana on December 8th at Madison Square Garden. Pitt has done well in New York over the years. (Pitt Blather)

Finally Jim Shearer and the folks at Yinz Luv 'Da Guins did an amazing job posting videos after every single postseason game. Here is their final video after last week's game seven:

Friday, June 19, 2009

Erica Blasberg Videos

It's been a while since we caught up with my favorite LPGA golfer, Erica Blasberg. She's promoting something called the Puma Open by starring in videos with athletes that are not golfers.

In this first video, she appears with NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne. Would it be too much to have Blasberg speak one line? It's not like Kahne will be playing in the Puma Open, is he?

At least she got a few lines in this video with New York Yankees' outfielder Johnny Damon.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Travel Advice Needed

Once again, I am using my blog to ask for travel advice. I am heading to Annapolis, Maryland and Las Vegas, Nevada in the very near future (though not on the same trip; that would be a very long drive), and am looking for advice on things to do in each city. Any suggestions, including places to eat, are greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mario Lemieux's Desk

Pictures of the Penguins' Stanley Cup party at Mario Lemieux's house have been the talk of the internet (at least in my world). They were posted and then pulled from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website, and I know a lot of blogs are refusing to post them since they may not have been for public consumption. While I agree with this, especially of the pictures of kids, I feel like it is OK to post this picture, supposedly of Mario Lemieux's desk:

So if this really is Mario Lemieux's home desk, why does he need the nameplate? Are people coming to his home office but are unsure who they are meeting with? The chair does look comfortable!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Question for Penguins Fans

To all Pittsburgh Penguins fans including the amazing Penguins blogs such as The Pensblog, Empty Netters, Mondesi’s House, PensBurgh and the others listed on the Pittsburgh Sports links to the right:

During the team picture portion of the Stanley Cup celebration, one man stood out to me more than anyone else. It wasn't Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin or even Mario Lemieux. It is the man with long blond hair all the way on the left side of the picture below directly in front of the gentleman wearing a gray suit. Does anyone know who this is? Is he a player, coach, staff member or just someone lucky enough to receive the Stanley Cup Champion T-shirt and hat and be a part of Penguins history?

Yes, this counts as my Trivia Tuesday this week.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Are Pittsburgh Sports Fans Spoiled?

It’s been an incredible past six months for Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh sports fans. The Steelers became the first team in NFL history with six Super Bowl titles by defeating the Arizona Cardinals in February. The Penguins capped off an amazing postseason by winning the Stanley Cup on Friday night at Detroit. The University of Pittsburgh men’s basketball team earned the #1 ranking for the first time in school history and reached the the Elite Eight. Even the Pittsburgh Passion made the playoffs! Therefore, I think it is a fair question to ask if Pittsburgh sports fans are spoiled.

Before I answer this question, I want to refer you to the other city that also had great sports success recently: Boston. The Red Sox won the 2004 and 2007 World Series; the Celtics won the NBA Championship last year; and the Patriots won three Super Bowls in four years before going 18-0 during the 2007 season. I think it is fair to write that at best the Boston sports fans have been overexposed and at worst can be referred to as annoying (actually there probably is worse than annoying, but let's go with that). The movie Fever Pitch showed us that the Red Sox are more important than everything else in life. Red Sox Nation had an actual election for its first president which featured a debate moderated by Tim Russert. We also learned that Tom Brady is the biggest star in the NFL. Seriously, how many stories did we see last year after his knee injury plus all of the Gisele coverage? Boston sports also receive significant coverage on ESPN, particularly by Bill Simmons.

On behalf of Pittsburgh fans, I think it's accurate to write that we don't want to be viewed like Boston sports fans. To go back to my original question of whether or not Pittsburgh sports fans are spoiled, the answer is no, or at least, not yet. Why? The Pirates keep us grounded. 16 straight seasons with a losing record will do that. We also don't have the same type of national voice that Boston has. While Boston has Bill Simmons, I guess Pittsburgh has Dave Dameshek. However, Dameshek may have taken the Metro with me this morning, and I would have no idea who he is. In addition, while there is a Steeler Nation, I don't think we'll see any type of election for a president.

I should probably have some epic closing here, but all I've got is this: enjoy today's Penguins victory parade!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Stanley Cup Pictures

Sean with the Stanley Cup = Cool

The Penguins with the Stanley Cup = Even better

Photos courtesy of Peter Diana/Post-Gazette, AP & Getty. Well, except for the first one.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Max Talbot = Superstar

After scoring two goals in the Penguins' game seven 2-1 victory and winning the Stanley Cup, the woman in the video would definitely go on a date with "superstar" Max Talbot.

Even with (especially with?) the playoff beard!

Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the 2008-2009 Stanley Cup Champions! (I like the sound of that!)

Photo courtesy of AP as part of a terrific Yahoo photo gallery.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Game Seven

Well, tonight’s the night we’re going to make it happen. I can’t believe that I just quoted The Pointer Sisters to start a post about game seven of the Stanley Cup finals between the Penguins and Red Wings. I don’t have much to add except that I’m waiting for tonight, oh. Now a J-Lo quote? 8:00 can’t get here soon enough!

Anyway, I’m wearing my lucky Heinz pickle watch and plan on viewing tonight’s game at the same place where I watched the Steelers win the Super Bowl, so I’m set. Plus, Dan Bylsma has his lucky burrito, so the team is good to go!

If you need more to prepare for tonight, I’m here to help.

- China Jack toasts game 7 (courtesty of PSAMP)

- Benstonium has a new video

- The latest Yinz Luv 'Da Guins video:

Plus for more leading up to the game (as well as during and after the game) make sure that you visit The Pensblog, Empty Netters, Mondesi’s House (who will have motivational videos throughout the day) and just about any other blog listed under the Pittsburgh Sports Blogs list on the right side of this page.

Finally, here are some interesting Facts for Today

The last major pro sports team to win a Game 7 on the road? The "We are Family" Pittsburgh Pirates, beating the Baltimore Orioles to claim the 1979 World Series Championship

That same year, 1979, the Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl

In 2009, the Pittsburgh Steelers also won the Super Bowl.....

Exactly 100 years ago, the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Detroit Tigers in Game 7 to win the 1909 World Series

And on the same night, at the exact same time that the Penguins will square off against the Red Wings in Detroit for the cup, the Pirates will play the Tigers in Pittsburgh.

Also, today in Sports (courtesy of Steve Is Alive) – On June 12, 1990, "Badger" Bob Johnson was introduced as the Pittsburgh Penguins new head coach.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

TMI Thursday: Find a Kid Next Time

Yesterday was Kids Eat Free Day at California Tortilla where you received a free kid's meal for each adult entree purchased. What a great deal as kid's meals are $4 or $5. So my friend visited a friendly neighborhood CalTort and ordered a Honey Lime burrito and a "Make Your Own Platter" off of the kids menu consisting of grilled chicken strips with shredded cheese and two 6" tortilla shells plus chips and queso, a brownie and a drink. When asked if I (I mean, my friend) had the child with him, the reply was that, no, he was at home. The employee then stated that the child must be present for this deal. This bit of information was not included on the California Tortilla website or the CalTort e-mail. However, I (sorry, my friend) did not want to argue since there was not a child at home, only a kitten. The nerve of my friend for even trying to get a free kid's meal even though there was no child!

Make sure to visit LiLu for more of your TMI Thursday needs. Plus, you can click here to see all of my TMI Thursday archives.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Buy Dan a Burrito and Get His Dog One Too

This is the quote Mike Lange should use if the Penguins win the Stanley Cup on Friday night. If you haven’t heard or read about this, Pittsburgh’s Head Coach Dan Bylsma eats an Ancho Chile Pork BBQ Burrito at Qdoba before Penguins home games. Qdoba franchise owner Chad Brooks believes Bylsma is 20-1 when eating his lucky burrito (not including Tuesday night’s game six victory). Yahoo's Puck Daddy has much more about the burrito superstition, but someone needs to make sure that HCDB gets his burrito in Detroit on Friday!

Hooray for Adam Lambert

When I first started Sean’s Ramblings, I thought most of my entries would be pop culture related. It’s turned out to be more about personal stories, Pittsburgh sports and trivia, but I do write about television, music, movies, etc. on occasion. Since I am anxiously waiting for game six of the Penguins-Red Wings series to begin (I’m obviously writing this on Tuesday evening), I thought I would occupy my time by writing about the big news on Yahoo: American Idol’s Adam Lambert announced that he was gay. Here were my immediate reactions:

1. I am shocked! I can’t believe that he is gay! Next you’re going to tell me that Clay Aiken and Elton John are gay.

2. Honestly, who really cares? I’m happy that Lambert is comfortable with himself and his sexuality. While I'm sure this is a big step for him, I am hopeful that we’re getting closer to the point where someone announcing that they are gay becomes less and less of an issue.

3. So long Jon & Kate!

I went to CVS on Tuesday morning to buy an anniversary card (yes, Mom & Dad, it is for you and will get to you on time) and noticed about four or five magazines at the register. People, US Weekly, OK Magazine, and the other ones all had Jon and/or Kate on the cover. Lambert’s announcement will finally rid us of any Jon & Kate news. Right?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Trivia Tuesday: Name That City

I'm still recovering from the weekend, but I hope to share some fun anecdotes from the festival in the next few days. In the meantime, today is Tuesday, so you know what that means! Your challenge today is to name the city based on the descriptions below. Good luck!

1. 1990 Sydney Pollack film starring Robert Redford

2. 1975 and 1996 musical adapted into 2002's Best Picture Oscar winner.

3. Popular 70s/80s band known for its hit "More Than a Feeling."

4. 1993 Jonathan Demme film, nominated for 5 Oscars.

5. 2003-2008 NBC drama starring James Caan and Josh Duhamel

6. Emmy and Golden Globe-winning HBO historical drama airing for two seasons between 2005-2007

7. 2005 historical fiction film directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Eric Bana

8. 1942 classic film starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman

9. (town) 2004-2006 western-drama television series created, produced and almost entirely written by David Milch. (I also enjoyed playing blackjack at their $3 tables in 1999.)

10. 1975 Oscar-nominated Robert Altman film about music and politics.

As always, please leave your answers in the comments section and do not use the internet. In case you are wondering, we scored 9 out of 10 and are still kicking ourselves for missing #4.

This quiz is courtesy of Stump Trivia!

Go Pens!

Monday, June 08, 2009

I Wanna Rock Right Now

Think of your favorite song or songs. Are they by artists that have multiple hits? Is it by an artist or group that you can see live in concert fairly regularly like Aerosmith, Prince or the Dave Matthews Band? Well, what happens when one of your favorite songs is by an artist that is only truly known for this one song and only has a handful of hits? Plus, since this song is over 20 years old, you figure that you would never see it performed live and probably wouldn’t pay much (if anything) to attend a concert just to see a few songs. You probably figured that you would never see the song performed live and didn’t even think about it as a possibility since you didn’t even know that this performer even toured anymore, So imagine my surprise when I learned on Friday that Tone Loc had to pull out of the Old Skool All-Stars concert at Celebrate Fairfax only to be replaced by Rob Base. Now, I like Wild Thing and Funky Cold Medina, but It Takes Two has to be among my top-five favorite songs.

On Saturday night, after arriving to the main stage area near the end of the Sugar Hill Gang set (they put on a good show), I eagerly awaited Rob Base performing his legendary hit. He performed a few other songs including Joy and Pain (an EKC favorite – only three people might get this), before closing with It Takes Two. Naturally, just as he was about to begin the song, I noticed someone passing out flyers to the crowd, which is a no-no at the festival. In my volunteer role, I chased the guy away (actually, I never caught up to him), so I heard Rob Base telling us that he’s internationally known, but didn’t actually see him saying it. Oh well. At least I can now say that I saw the original artist (even if DJ E-Z Rock wasn’t there) perform one of my favorite songs.

Now what is Harvey Danger up to?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

This Weekend: Celebrate Fairfax

For those of you that live in the DC area (or elsewhere), it's time for my annual post about why you should attend Celebrate Fairfax . If you are unfamiliar with the festival, here are the basics: Celebrate Fairfax, Northern Virginia’s largest community-wide celebration, takes place this weekend, June 5-7, 2009, at the Fairfax County Government Center in Fairfax, Virginia. The festival features dozens of live concerts on five stages, an interactive SciTech Center and Children’s Avenue, fireworks Friday and Saturday night, hundreds of exhibitors and crafters and more. This year’s headliners (which I mentioned in March) include Blues Traveler, The Fixx, Phil Vassar and The Old Skool All-Stars (Tone Loc, Naughty by Nature and The Sugar Hill Gang). Plus, there’s lots of great food options (mmmm; funnel cake!).

I wrote about this when the discounted tickets went on sale, but I think it is worth repeating. If you are 11 or older, you will pay $12 at the gate for admission to the festival. How much do you spend on tickets alone when you go to a concert anywhere else (ex. 9:30 Club or The Birchmere)? Please also factor in the cost for all of the convenience and venue fees. The answer is more than $12. Plus, for $12, you get access to all of the other stages and activities. While, naturally, you will pay more if you want food, beer or pop (yes I wrote pop) or ride on the carnival rides, I've never been to a concert that distributes free alcohol or food (or carnival rides for that matter).

This will be my eighth year involved with the festival, and I enjoy it every year. I know that I'm going to hear some great music, eat free samples of (and later buy) kettle corn and see familiar faces. It is comforting that there are parts of the festival that I like that doesn't change much from year to year, yet, there are always new activities and exhibits.

For more information about the event, please visit the Celebrate Fairfax website. I’ll be at the festival as a volunteer the entire weekend, so if you happen to see a guy wearing a nametag that says Sean, a Celebrate Fairfax T-shirt and possibly carrying a walkie-talkie, please say hi.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Thank You Taiwan

I love numbers and statistics. I spend hours each week reviewing sports statistics and have become addicted to ESPN's Streak for Cash game. Before I had access to my checking account online, I used to scour my account to make sure the total was exactly correct. If I was off by even 1 cent, I would have to figure out where I was off.

Naturally, I also like seeing how many people visit my blog each day. Google Analytics is a great program for all of my number geeky-ness (is this a word?) in that I can compare the number of visitors from one month to the next and see where visitors came from. Someone from Burundi visited my blog on Monday. I had to look at a map to even see where Burundi is located. (It's in Africa bordering Rwanda, Congo and Tanzania.)

So yesterday, the number of visitors to Sean's Ramblings was fairly normal through the morning, and then something happened. Take a look at this chart copied just after 11pm on Tuesday night:

Holy crap! A huge day for Trivia Tuesday! Actually, according to a commenter, a "Bulleting Board in Taiwan called PTT" posted a link to this blog to the video of Charlie Brown throwing the first pitch at a recent Pittsburgh Pirates game. This cause a record-setting day here at Sean's Ramblings.

Let's go to the numbers, shall we.

The total number of visitors yesterday according to Sitemeter: 2,648
The total number of visits from Taiwan yesterday according to Google Analytics: 2,271
The total number of visitors from Taiwan from February 1, 2008 (when I signed up for Google Analytics) to June 1, 2009: 28

Plus, the Penguins and Pirates both won, so it was a good day for everyone!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Trivia Tuesday: Name That Tune

Today's challenge is to name the song title and artist for the five songs listed below. Each of these songs are from the 80s and early 90s, although one song may be from the very late 1970s (like 1979).

1. You know what I'm sayin?
I got every dog in my neighborhood breakin down my door
I got Spuds McKenzie
Alex from Stroh's

2. Oh I like coffee and I like tea.

3. See I am Wonder Mike and I like to say hello
to the black, to the white, the red, and the brown, the purple and yellow

4. Do what they say, say what you mean

5. I had a girl and she knew that matter-of-fact my girl was partner's that
Had a fall out, disagreement, yeah an argument
She tried to do me so we did it in my apartment, bust it

There's also a theme to this week's Trivia Tuesday which is very easy if you know where I will be this weekend (and where I have been during the 1st weekend of June every year since 2002). I'll have much more about this soon.

As always, please do not use the internet for your answers. Good luck!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Charlie Brown Throws Out the First Pitch

This didn't go well.

(The original video is gone from YouTube, so you'll have to settle for seeing Charlie Brown's pitch as #1 on this video.)

My favorite part is the Pirate Parrot not following the ball but continuing to stare (glare?) at Charlie after the pitch.

Case of the Sundays

I was awake earlier Sunday than I am during the work week since I was scheduled to referee several adult co-ed soccer games. There were thunderstorms in the middle of the night, but the phone lines and websites of the referee assigner, soccer league and county all indicated that the field was open. So, of course, I arrive at the field around 7:35am only to find that it was unplayable and unsafe due to standing water throughout the field.

Since I was already awake and had a few hours to kill, I went to Wegmans...dressed in my soccer referee uniform.

(This is just some random picture I found from Google images; however, this is what the uniform looks like without that silly green thing on the guy's wrist. Plus, I have a little more hair than this guy.)

I received several strange looks (I think it was the high socks), but otherwise, it was quiet at the grocery store that early in the morning. However, at the register, the guy in front of me asked if my game got rained out. What I said was yes. What I wanted to say was no, I’m actually "refing" the game right now.

The guy ended up being cool, but by last night, I was exhausted. I fell asleep on the couch just after the Red Wings scored their 3rd goal and didn't wake up until there was 10 seconds left and for some reason, the Wings were on a 5-on-3 power play. (I later learned that I missed the Malkin-Zetterberg fight. By the way, is Zetterberg going to cover the puck in the crease during every game of this series? So far, he's 2 for 2.)

Now I wait and see if I receive any money for not working the soccer games.