Friday, June 29, 2012

Sean On Fashion: You Decide

While I've shared my opinions on fashion multiple times over the years, I haven't actually written about what I wear. Since it's supposed to be around 100 degrees in the DC area today, I plan on wearing shorts. My shorts closet* contains your standard selection of khaki, navy, green and blue solid colored shorts. To shake things up a little, I purchased the shorts pictured below. While they fit fine, I'm not sure if I like the look, or equally important, what I would wear with them.

So what do you think of the shorts? Should they stay or go back to the store?

In addition, please click here for more Sean On Fashion posts.

* You don't think I have a closet just for shorts?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Revisiting My 1997 Road Trip: Chicago (Part I)

I mentioned last week that to celebrate the 15-year anniversary of my 1997 cross-country road trip, I wanted to share stories from the journal I kept during the trip. After a lengthy search, I found the journal! As a surprise to probably no one that reads this blog, my journal entries appear to be much longer than needed (you know, like most of my blog posts). Therefore, instead of sharing entire journal entries, I’m going to use some excerpts and provide a few comments from today. I’m also not including specific names except when I do!

6/17/97 (Journal entry date)

After an exciting time packing and loading the car, my brother and I left Pittsburgh in route to Chicago. We drove through miles of Ohio and Indiana farmland and arrived at Northwestern after 9 hours.

Besides that and some dinner at the St. Louis Bread Company, I was so tired that I was asleep by 11.

Sean's Note: 15 years later, I regularly fall asleep before 11 even on weekends. I also fall asleep on the couch watching TV at least 2-3 times per week.


Following the party, a group of seven crammed into a car and headed down to the Northwestern Senior Week site. However, when we drove by the place, it was packed and there was a long line outside. Therefore, we went down to Wrigleyville. After finding two bars almost completely empty (what did we expect with the Cubs not playing at home and it being a Monday night). (Sean’s note: This is not a sentence!) Finally, we went to a bar and Laurie was able my brother in.

I have no idea who Laurie is. It has to be a friend of a friend.

She told the drunk bouncer Billy that my brother was the designated driver. Drunk Billy started praising my brother for being such a great guy to take responsibility of the group. My brother was encouraged to have free pop and coffee and anything else non-alcoholic. Billy told my brother that it was very admirable to be the DD, but if he drank anything, he would literally kick him out the door. My brother complied. My highlight of the evening was seeing the outside of Wrigley Field and getting a cup from the bar (although the cup says The Cubby Bear, which is another bar down the street).

My brother was 19 during the trip. As someone who rarely goes to bars anymore, I mention this since Billy the Bouncer let him into the bar despite being underage. Would this happen at most bars? Does the fact that he served as the designated driver make a difference?

6/20/97 (Writing about Tuesday, June 17)

My brother, my friend and I got lunch at a really good Chicago pizza place. Their deep dish pizza is incredible and very filing. Somehow my brother and I were able to finish our portions.

I added this just to prove that I ate Chicago pizza during the trip.

The only unfortunate part of the conversation with [a different friend] was that we left for the Cubs-White Sox game later than we wanted. We left Northwestern at around 5:15 and didn’t park the car until almost 8. The traffic was ridiculous and circling Comiskey Park was also dreadful. Finally, we paid $15 (about the same as the tickets) to park in a big driveway a few blocks from the stadium.

1997 was the first year of interleague baseball, and this was the second game of the Cubs-White Sox series. This was obviously a huge deal in Chicago. Regardless of the importance of the game, I hate being late to a sporting event, especially at a stadium I never visited previously. I really enjoy checking out stadiums and arenas and seeing what makes them unique from other ballparks. Finally, since we had limited funds for the road trip, spending $15 for parking didn’t make me happy. This was by far the most I had ever paid to park, and I still pay less than $15 when I attend Pirates games in Pittsburgh.

When we finally got to our upper-level 2rd base seats, it was the top of the 4th inning. The Sox were already up 2-0 and the fans were really into the game. The great thing about this game was that Cubs and Sox fans were in the same section, cheering for their teams, but most importantly, having a great time. A huge peanut fight broke out in front of us (I guess this was a food fight?) and two guys were battling with inflatable Cubs and Sox bats. A few sections over, a Cubs fan with red and blue body paint and a Go Cubs sign was parading up and down the aisle mooning and the Sox fans and having a great time. He was quickly ejected. The Sox ended up winning 5-3 but all the fans (at least that we were with) really enjoyed the game.

Even 15 years later, I’m amazed by how well the fans behaved. There were probably equal numbers of Cubs and Sox fans and there is (and was) a rivalry between the two franchises and fan bases. I think the uniqueness of the teams facing each other made it a game people wanted to see. Of course, at that point, both teams also went 80+ years without a World Series title.

Just for fun, I found the box score from the game. I have no recollection of Doug Drabek pitching for the White Sox that day or one of my favorite Pirates, Dave Clark, serving as the Designated Hitter for the Cubs.

More from Chicago and St. Louis during my next update of the 1997 Road Trip.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Question for Cat Owners

I had a recent conversation with a friend who has two cats. I’m not sure how the topic came up, but she shared that she cleans out the cats’ litter box every day. Apparently, she used to clean out the litter box multiple times per day, but decided to cut back. As someone who cleans out Ziggy’s litter box twice a week, I think the daily cleaning, even though it’s for multiple cats, is crazy. Personally, I think she should have a one litter box for each cat, but that’s beside the point of this blog post.

My question is how often should you clean out a cat’s litter box? Is twice a week sufficient or am I crazy in not cleaning it out daily like my friend?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Trivia Tuesday: Celebrity Edition

Based on the pictures below, your challenge is to name the celebrity dressed in drag. Amazingly, Tyler Perry was not included in any of these pictures.

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, June 25, 2012

Random Ramblings

- Ziggy has clearly been the breakout star of Sean’s Ramblings. I try not to overexpose him, but folks have been clamoring for Ziggy news. Here’s a brief story that I hope appeases his fan club. The other night, Ziggy and I saw a bug fly into our home. While I went to grab a paper towel to take care of the situation, Ziggy had other ideas and ate the bug. I was and am both mortified and proud.

- In other Ziggy-related news, I went to a local grocery store not named Wegmans (it’s rare but this does happen occasionally) since they had a buy one, get one free deal on cat litter. Unfortunately, they were out so I went home with only Klondike bars that were also on sale. When asked if I got a rain check from the customer service desk, I didn’t have an answer. I figure that if a store is out of a product, they are out. Do you get rain checks? This didn’t occur to me probably since I never feel like standing in a customer service (or any other type of) line.

- This is not Ziggy, but perhaps I could teach him to hug.

- When the Pirates first faced Justin Verlander this season, the Tigers pitcher threw a no-hitter through 8+ innings and finished giving up just one hit in a shutout victory. Yesterday, the Pirates scored two runs on five hits against last year’s American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner. I look forward to the next time the Pirates face Verlander where I expect the Bucs to score 4 runs on 9 hits!

- When a child turns 15 months, is appropriate to say that he or she is 1 & 1/4 or just better to go with 15 months?

- I’m convinced that Stephen Baldwin was the top Baldwin brother after the release of Usual Suspects. Of course, now, Alec is clearly the top Baldwin. Has Stephen do anything worthwhile as an actor over the past 15 years (besides guest-starring on his brother’s show 30 Rock earlier this season)?

- You may have noticed that I finally updated the “What I’m Reading” portion of my blog’s sidebar. Unfortunately, it’s already out of date as I completed Taft 2012: A Novel and started reading The Art of Racing in the Rain. I have a feeling that there will be a few moments of the latter book where it gets a little dusty in the room.

- How often do you think people approach actor Eriq La Salle and ask him about or make a reference to Soul Glo?

Trivia Tuesday tomorrow!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Found In My Basement: Bobby Bonilla

This might be my favorite title of any posts over the 7+ years of this blog's existence. In case you're wondering, however, former Pittsburgh Pirate Bobby Bonilla is not in my basement.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m trying to find a journal containing my deepest thoughts and feelings from the road trip I took 15 years ago. Sure, deepest thoughts and feeling might be a stretch, but at least I can see how I felt about the song The Freshmen by Verve Pipe in 1997. While the search for the journal continues, I found this autographed picture of Bobby Bonilla from 1987.

I have no idea when or if I met Bobby Bonilla or if my Dad got this autograph for me from a Bonilla appearance at somewhere like Giant Eagle. In case you can’t read Bobby Bo’s message, he wrote “Sean, Keep hitting those homers.” While that was a very kind message from the 6-time All-Star, I never hit a home run in my baseball career which ended after Little League where I probably led the league in walks and strikeouts. (I had a good eye including watching pitches get called for strikes; for the record, the pitches were always low.)

If you’re wondering where Bonilla is these days, I have no idea. You’ll be happy to know that he’s doing just fine though as the Mets are paying Bonilla $1,193,248.20 every July 1 from 2011 to 2035! In addition, his son Brandon Bonilla, a left-handed pitcher, just finished his first year at Arizona State and has a Twitter account!

Please click here for more in the Found In My Basement series.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

1997 Road Trip

Fifteen years ago this summer, after I graduated from college and prior to moving to San Diego for a new job, my brother and I embarked on a 5-6 week, 4000+ mile road trip across part of the United States. The journey started in Pittsburgh taking us to Chicago, St. Louis, Houston, New Orleans, Atlanta, North Carolina, Washington, Philadelphia and eastern Pennsylvania. We didn’t have much money, so we managed to stay with family or friends for all but four nights when we stayed in youth hostels in St. Louis and New Orleans. We saw several baseball games, including the Pirates at the Astrodome, discovered Waffle House, and heard Hanson’s MMMBop on the radio a few too many times.

The trip took place in the days before cell phones and internet maps, so we relied on our AAA maps and called people from the road for directions and updates. During the trip, which did not include posting Facebook or Twitter updates (I don’t think I even checked the internet once during the trip since my college deleted my e-mail account about two days after graduation), I kept a journal of the adventure. This was essentially Sean’s Ramblings before Sean’s Ramblings.

Anyway, my plan is to share some of the journal entries with you to celebrate the 15-year anniversary of the road trip. I’m also curious to see what my writing looked like 15 years ago. There’s just one minor problem with this plan...I can’t find the journal. While I found the AAA TripTik showing us the route across America, I can’t find the journal. My goal for the next few days is to find the journal, but I’ve been unsuccessful thus far. On the positive side, I should be able to restart the Found In My Basement series!

To be continued (hopefully).

Monday, June 18, 2012

My First Twitter Battle

Meet Cory Bolt, or @corybolt, courtesy of his Twitter description:

I love sports for starters, I'm an eagle scout and I love Life. I always look on the bright side and I have the best gf in the world!

Cory contacted me on Twitter during last week's Pirates-Orioles since I mentioned the Orioles. Enjoy a hearty discussion.

Clearly, Cory always looks on the bright side! Of course, I learned, once again, not to argue with a teenager.

In case you're wondering, here is the history of how and where Key wrote the national anthem.

The Star-Spangled Banner, was written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key. Key was sent to the British fleet in Chesapeake Bay during the War of 1812 to secure the release of Dr. William Beanes on September 13, 1814. Beanes was captured by the British during their raid on Washington D.C. Beanes, a local official in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, had arrested two drunken British soldiers. When one escaped, a small force came to release the second, and arrested Beanes. Key was enlisted by the residents of Upper Marlboro to retrieve Beanes, who, as a non-combatant, had no reason for military arrest.

Key was able to retrieve Beanes, but because the British were preparing to bombard Baltimore's Fort McHenry, his ship was detained. The commander of Fort McHenry, Major George Armistead, knew his fort would be a big and welcoming target for the British warships. He had a special, oversized flag made for the fort (which at the time had fifteen stars and fifteen stripes), and it flew for over a year before the night of the bombardment that inspired Key.

Anchored eight miles from the Fort, Key waited for the British to wage and finish their attack on the Fort. The ships used long-range, high-trajectory guns to fire at the fort. Though it tried to return fire, the Fort's cannon were too small to reach the attackers. The attack proceeded through the night and the Americans waited on the detained ship to see if the fort had been captured. As dawn broke, Key watched the fort through a telescope. There he saw the large flag Armistead had had made, flying in the breeze. Key jotted some notes on the back of a letter he had in his pocket, and later in his hotel room in Baltimore, completed a poem, an ode to the sights he'd seen.

Am I wrong on this one? According to the article, Key wrote the National Anthem on a ship (though the article doesn't state specifically where) and completed at a hotel.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Falling Asleep on the Couch

Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative, or NOVEC, "is a locally based and locally owned electric distribution system headquartered in Manassas, Virginia" according to its website. NOVEC also aired the following commercial that I saw recently:

While most people probably find this commercial cute, I'm offended. The commercial begins by the woman stating, "I think you can do a little more to save energy and money." The guy replies by showing all that he did during the day to save energy. Based on all of this work, he's tired and falls asleep on the couch. For this, the woman criticizes him. Maybe this guy also worked hard at his job all day. He spent time with his child or children and then just wanted to watch television and relax. Maybe he also needed some time to write a new blog post. I'm not sure why the guy needs popcorn to feed an entire movie theatre, but I guess he deserves a break.

Meanwhile, I'm going to continue falling asleep on the couch in front of the TV at least 2-3 nights per week regardless of what the NOVEC woman says. To all of the people like me that regularly fall asleep in front of the TV, let's join together. People who fall asleep on the couch, unite! Don't feel bad. Do not feel ashamed for falling asleep in front of the TV. It's okay. Know that you're not alone!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Trivia Tuesday

It's time to visit our friends at Sporcle for this week's trivia. We have three quizzes today in television, sports and geography.

1. Name the TV shows pictured here that debuted in 2003? (4 minutes)

I scored a 15 out of 20.

2. Name the geographic names that appear in the full names of the teams in the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA? (8 minutes)

I got 57 of 61 on this one.

3. Name the countries beginning with S? (5 minutes)

An embarrassing 12 of 27.

As always, please do not use the internet for assistance though the judges will allow you to use Google to double-check the spelling of your answers. In addition, please leave your results in the comment section below. Good luck!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Quick Celebrate Fairfax 2012 Recap

Welcome to your brief recap of the 31st annual Celebrate Fairfax even though Flavor Flav constantly referred to this being the 19th annual Celebrate Fairfax. Flavor Flav also decided to narrate Friday night's fireworks.

The 41 seconds of Flav describing the fireworks was entertaining. Of course, there's another video on YouTube appropriately titled (even if the name is incorrect) "Flava Flav narrates fireworks, and then it gets weird." It's a 17 minute video with a few swear words in the 11-12 minute mark or so, meaning that you probably don't want to play this at work. Regardless, I doubt that you'll make it that long.

Meanwhile, I was extremely excited to share an exclusive picture of Young MC wearing a Bryce Harper jersey until Dan Steinberg of the DC Sports Bog scooped me. Oh well. This is a better picture of Young MC than anything on The Post’s website, though the comments there are much better.

Otherwise, Pat Benatar and The Legwarmers were both great; I think that carnival workers keep the cigarette companies in business; I did not have funnel cake, but the gyros were terrific; and I think a passionate (and/or slightly crazy) woman hit on me. Just your typical weekend!

Photo via @bkhuna16

Friday, June 08, 2012

FLAVOR FLAV (2012 Celebrate Fairfax Begins Today)

The following text is from one of my first posts when I started this blog:

I recently watched the first episode of Strange Love featuring Brigitte Nielsen and Flavor Flav on VH1. Flavor Flav is just fun to watch. He traveled to Milan to visit Brigitte, and the reactions of the people of Italy to Flavor Flav with his Viking hat and giant watch around his neck is priceless.

I hope that you didn’t click on the link above since my writing during the early days of this blog was terrible. Anyway, 7+ years after I wrote that post, I will see Flavor Flav live in person as he serves as the host of Legends of Hip Hop tonight. While I’m excited to see Digital Underground, Rob Base, DJ Kool and Young MC, I’m equally excited to see Flavor Flav. As VH1’s Jim Shearer wrote during my interview with him a few years back, “I remember him as an all-time great hypeman in hip-hop, but his series of reality shows has opened him up to a whole other audience.”

Now that I’m done linking to old blog posts, let’s get to Celebrate Fairfax. Everything you need to know is on the festival website. The website has the ticket information, entertainment line-up, directions and more for the 31st annual event running today through Sunday.

Want more? has a great preview. Northern Virginia Magazine has a write-up and a chance to win 4 tickets (you must enter by noon today).

Finally, check out my thoughts about this year's headliners (including Pat Benatar & The Legwarmers) and my pitch on why you should attend Celebrate Fairfax if you live in the DC area. And yes, now I really am done with linking to old blog posts.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

(Not Your Typical) Pittsburgh Pirates Draft Recap

Welcome to my second annual (possibly) recap of the Pittsburgh Pirates draft. We’ll start at the beginning where the Pirates selected pitcher Mark Appel from Stanford University in the first round. The Pirates management was clearly inspired by Steve Jobs and the two pending movies about his life. Why else would the team select a guy named Appel from Silicon Valley? Let’s take a look at some of the other picks:

Supplemental round: Barrett Barnes (OF, Texas Tech University) - I can’t wait to see the Pirates put Barnes next to Clint Barmes in the batting order. The Barmes-Barnes combo will be bigger than the Killer B’s in the early 1990s.

2nd round - Wyatt Mathisen (C, Calallen High School in Texas) - The Pirates management team are big fans of Kevin Costner. Want proof? The History Channel recently aired the extremely successful Hatfields & McCoys starring Kevin Costner. Of course, Costner also starred as Wyatt Earp in the 1994 film, Wyatt Earp. See where I’m going here? I don’t think Wyatt Mathisen would be a Pittsburgh Pirate draftee if not for the success of the Hatfields & McCoys and Kevin Costner.

3rd round: Jonathan Sandfort (P, Winter Springs High School in Florida) – Sand fort! What a great name for a pitcher. Plus think of all of the possible promotional tie-ins with Pittsburgh’s Sand Castle!

10th round: Pat Ludwig (P, Yale University) – Ludwig was the Pirates’ second favorite Harry Potter owl.

12th round: Dalton Friend (P, Jefferson College in Missouri) – The Pirates desperately hope that he’s somehow related to legendary Pirates’ pitcher Bob Friend. If he doesn’t work out though, you can expect many people singing Biz Markie’s song about Dalton.

21st round: Jordan Steranka (INF, Penn State & Mt. Lebanon High School) & 26th round: Jimmy Rider (INF, Kent State University and Peters Township HS) – They are exactly like Neil Walker except that they both went to college and were drafted in 21st and 26th rounds instead of the first and will receive a significantly lower signing bonus. Otherwise, exactly the same.

23rd round: Lance Breedlove (P, Purdue University) – It’s no Sandfort, but Breedlove isn’t bad.

34th round: Ryan Rand (OF, Langham Creek HS in TX) – Sadly, the Pirates didn’t realize until after this pick that there was no player named McNally available in the draft.

35th round: Jackson McClelland (P, Redlands E. Valley HS in California) & 36th round: Brody Russell (INF, Centennial HS in CA) – It’s time to draft players with names similar to recent Pirates managers. (McClelland and McClendon are close enough.)

37th round: Jacob Waguespack (P, Dutchtown High School in Louisiana) – Waguespack is right there with Sandfort and Breedlove.

38th round: Matthew Pope (P, Science Hill HS in TN) – If the Pirates want to reach .500 for the first time in 20 years, it probably doesn’t hurt to draft a Pope. (Meanwhile, does Matthew Pope attending Science Hill High School help bridge the gap between religion and science?)

40th round: Zarley Zalewski (INF, Valley High School in PA) – This pick was made in the tradition of Pittsburgh Penguin, Zarley Zalapski. Your move, Steelers!

For more serious information about the Pirates’ draft, visit the Pittsburgh Pirates website and the terrific Pirates Prospects blog. You can also view my recap of last year’s draft here.

Finally, relatives (generally children) of former major league players such as Cal Ripken Jr., Jose Oquendo, Gregg Jefferies, Jose Mesa, and Lee Mazzilli were selected in the draft. According to this article from, the Pirates didn't select any of these relatives.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Trivia Tuesday

I think it’s fun when I create my own trivia questions, so I hope that you enjoy this week’s Trivia Tuesday.

1. Besides Robert De Niro and Jodie Foster, name another actor in the 1976 film, Taxi Driver.

2. Name the best song by the band Cake.

3. Who won the 2012 Australian Open women’s title?

4. The MTV movie awards declared Project X as a cult classic. Did you see this movie? (Please note that this is not the Matthew Broderick movie.)

5. How did the late Richard Dawson meet his second wife?

6. In what year did current Queen Elizabeth become queen?

7. What rap star filmed part of his new video at my high school? (The video also includes a cameo of NFL wide receiver Steve Breaston.)

8. Name one of the hosts on the ABC talk show, The Revolution.

9. There is a hip hop artist named Flo Rida. What is the best potential name of a future hip hop artist based on the name of a state? (My suggestions are Virg Inya or I Daho.)

10. In what state is the Patuxent River located?

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

Monday, June 04, 2012

What Would Bruce Springsteen Do?

We recently visited New Jersey for the Memorial Day weekend and had a great time. That’s not of the point of this post, though. New Jersey is one of the last places (along with Oregon, I believe) that requires full service when you get gasoline. Besides New Jersey, I actually don’t even remember the last time I had the option of getting full service when filling up the car.

Anyway, my question regards the protocol of tipping the gas station attendant. I didn’t tip the guy since all he did was take my credit card, swipe it in the machine, fill up my car (while walking away to do the same to another car) and hand me back the card. I didn’t even need to sign a credit card receipt. Back in the Stone Age, the gas station attendant minimally washed off your car windows and often checked your fluids. If that occurred in New Jersey last weekend, I definitely would have tipped the attendant a dollar or two.

When I mentioned my New Jersey experience to a friend, she said that I should have tipped the attendant. Since I disagree, I pose this question to you. Should you tip the gas station attendant when full service is required?