Thursday, August 29, 2013

Social Attitude Test

There was a time earlier in this blog's history where I regularly shared fun tests and quizzes. For example, there was the Mensa Quiz, the 8th grade science quiz, the select a Presidential candidate quiz and a quiz aimed to test your innate intelligence by posing a series of questions involving tricky travel situations. I miss those days.

Anyway, I found this social attitude test and thought I would share this today. Please note that according to the website, "unlike many other political tests found on the Internet which base themselves on untested (and usually ideologically motivated) ideas, this inventory is adapted from Hans Eysenck's own political inventory which was developed after extensive empirical investigations in the 20th Century." With that, here are my results:

These scores indicate that you are a tender-minded progressive; this is the political profile one might associate with an animal rights activist. It appears that you are moderate towards religion, and have a balanced attitude towards humanity in general.

Your attitudes towards economics appear capitalist, and combined with your social attitudes this creates the picture of someone who would generally be described as a political centrist.

To round out the picture you appear to be, political preference aside, a centrist with few strong opinions.

First, I'm not sure that I consider being associate with an animal rights activist as a good thing. Sure, I'm against dog-fighting and support ethical treatment of animals, but I really enjoy a good burger. While religion is important to me, I find it personal and don't like people preaching their views and proselytizing. I think a political centrist with few strong opinions is fairly accurate. I'm generally for compromise and want people to get along though I feel that I lean towards being socially liberal.

Feel free to take the quiz and share your results in the comments section below.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

2013 Pittsburgh Steelers Predictions

While I’ve spent the summer following the Pittsburgh Pirates and plan to continue to do so as the team fights for the National League Central division, with the NFL season only a week away, it’s time to share some thoughts about the Pittsburgh Steelers. First, according to where you can make football game picks all season, the Steelers are +3000 on the moneyline to win the Super Bowl. I have no idea what this means since I’m used to seeing odds like 10-to-1, but the Steelers are tied for 11th with Cincinnati for the best odds to win the Super Bowl. I’ve struggled with whether I think this is appropriate. On one hand, I’m used to seeing the Steelers regularly make the playoffs and compete for the Super Bowl, so this may seem low. However, the team went 8-8 last season and has some serious question marks.

On offense, the Steelers finished near the bottom of the league in rushing in 2012. The team looked to upgrade the running back position by drafting Le’Veon Bell out of Michigan State in the 2nd round. Unfortunately, Bell has a foot injury and will likely miss, minimally, the first few weeks of the season. The offensive line is young and has struggled during the preseason. With Mike Wallace gone, there are some questions about whether Emmanuel Sanders is ready to step up and the depth at the wide receiver position. Additionally, Heath Miller, arguably the most underrated tight end in the NFL, is recovering from a torn ACL with his return unknown.

Defensively, the Steelers have led the NFL in total net yards allowed in both the 2011 and 2012 seasons. The problem is that the team finished -10 in the takeaway/giveaway ratio last season. I know this sounds elementary, but the Steelers must cause more turnovers (and have less turnovers) if they want to compete for the playoffs. A healthy Troy Polamalu will certainly help. I also think this is a make or break season for defensive ends Ziggy Hood (Ziggy!) and Cameron Heyward, and they’re finally going to live up to their 1st round draft pick selections.

Going back to the odds, being 11th best team will likely get you either into the playoffs or in playoff contention. That’s where I see the Steelers this year at 9-7 or 10-6. Actually, I’ll split the difference and go with 9-6-1 and look forward to everyone freaking out during the tie game. While I don’t think the defense will be #1 in the league for a third consecutive year, I think they’re going to cause more turnovers. Additionally, the running game can’t be as bad as last year, right? So my prediction is that the Steelers will finish the season with a 9-6-1 record and barely earn the second AFC Wild Card.

How do you think the Steelers will finish this season?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Please Cancel Oh Sit (Ted Marshall Open)

I may have mentioned once or twice that I participate in the Ted Marshall Open Television Death Pool. I won the pool in 2011 and wrote that it was “one of the greatest achievements of my life.” I’m primed to win the Ted Marshall Open for the second time in three years which would silence my critics and prove that 2011 wasn’t a fluke. There’s only one thing keeping me from immortality: the CW Network and its show Oh Sit.

We’re now in late-August, and the networks set their Fall 2013 line-ups months ago. However, CW still hasn’t made a decision about the status of Oh Sit. So why do I care about Oh Sit? It’s very simple. If Oh Sit does not make it to the next season, I win. If Oh Sit makes it to the next season, I don’t win. Therefore, let me make my case to CW as to why they should cancel this show.

If you’re not familiar with Oh Sit, you’re not alone. From the CW’s website, “OH SIT! is a fun, high-stakes, high-octane musical chairs competition” hosted by Jamie Kennedy. Yes, a musical chairs competition. Anyway, according to Deadline Hollywood, Oh Sit was the 149th ranked show of the 2012-2013 season out of 152 shows. Yes, most if not all of the lowest ranked shows air on CW, but 149th is not good.

While the ratings are horrible, to me, Oh Sit’s Twitter following is the biggest reason why this show should be cancelled. As of August 24th, Oh Sit has 1,005 followers. This is pathetic for a nationally televised show. I’m sure that there are local cable access shows with more followers. As a comparison, ABC’s cancelled Bet On Your Baby which hasn’t had a Tweet since June 3rd has approximately 1,750 followers. CW’s Cult which finished 148th in the rankings and hasn’t had a Tweet since early April has 2,323 followers. CW shows that haven’t even premiered yet like The Reign (2,869) and The Tomorrow People (4,612) even have significantly more followers than Oh Sit.

So why is CW even considering keeping Oh Sit? I’m sure it doesn’t cost much to produce (it’s musical chairs!), but maybe the bigger reason is Jamie Kennedy. Does the network want to keep him happy since perhaps Kennedy is huge for the CW’s audience? I don’t see it though. Kennedy is 43 years old and peaked with the Scream films in late 90s. Actually, he probably peaked by his role on the TV show, Ghost Whisperer which resulted in him dating the show’s star, Jennifer Love Hewitt. Is Kennedy really big among CW’s target audience of teenagers and folks in their early 20s?

While we’re all anxiously awaiting CW’s decision to determine the outcomes of the 2012-2013 season, the 2013-2014 Ted Marshall Open contest is now open. Up until September 8th, pick ten shows that you fell will not air the following season. Please let me know if you enter, and we can track the results as networks cancel shows throughout the season.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

My Good Deed Is Your Gain

I did a good thing today by donating blood. Fortunately, this was through a neighborhood blood drive administered by Inova Blood Donor Services and not some type of vampire blood drive. (By the way, if you search "vampire blood drive" in YouTube, you get the GEICO commercial and then a bunch of videos from something called "My Babysitter's a Vampire.")

Anyway, for giving blood, I received two tickets for the Wednesday, August 28th Washington Nationals game against the Florida Miami Marlins. I don't think the tickets are very good (section 409, row M), but they're free. The problem is that I'm not available to attend this 7:05 game. Therefore, I'm giving the tickets away as part of a Brand New Contest!

To enter, simply submit a comment in the comments section between now and 8:30 9:00 PM tonight (Sunday. 8/25). You can comment on what you think My Babysitter's a Vampire is about or provide some critical plot point about the movie (TV show?). Have fun with it! Please also leave a way for me to contact you if I don't already know you. One entry per person, and I will use to select the winner.

Depending on the timing and where you live, perhaps I can meet you to give you the tickets. More likely is that I can mail the tickets first thing Monday morning and hope that you receive the tickets prior to the game. Good luck!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Links

It's Friday, so there must be links. Enjoy some sports and non-sports stuff.

If you happen to be in Australia, make sure you see Sarah at the Melbourne Writers Festival. [Smart Bitches, Trashy Books]

If you happen to be a single Christian woman who likes kids and is also a Pittsburgh sports fan (or at least would tolerate a Pittsburgh sports fan), this could be the guy for you. If it works out, I'd like credit for being a matchmaker. [Away From the Things Of Man]

A belated Happy Birthday to Lisa. My dream is to be as good a writer as she is. [Lemon Gloria]

Dan took some great pictures from Steelers training camp. [Blog 'N Gold]

Great interview with Chris Fuamatu-Ma Ľafala [Pittsburgh Sports Daily Bulletin

Want to teach kids about money at Target? I have a feeling I'm going to have a story just like this in a few years. [Leah's Thoughts]

I've always ready liked Pittsburgh Pirate Pedro Alvarez. I like him even more after reading this article. [New York Daily News]

Finally, if you remember the Tyson-Holyfield fight from 1997, this video is extremely surreal. [Deadspin]

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Blog Log Express Fail

When I posed the question earlier this year asking if the DC Blogging community is dead, I received some excellent and thoughtful responses about the difference between the blogging community now compared to several years ago. What I did not mention in the post and none of the commenters mentioned was the role Express played in the blogging community. Specifically, for many years now, Express features a daily "Blog Log" highlighting some of the best posts around the web. It was an awesome experience seeing one of your blog posts in print or seeing one of the blogs you read receive extra attention.

Over the past few years, the Blog Log incorporated various Tweets. While sending Tweets on Twitter is completely different than writing a blog post and takes away from the Blog Log name, I understand including Tweets in Express since it's 2013. However, today's Blog Log is just a little ridiculous.

Yes, the Blog Log features two Tweets and two comments on posts. Essentially, there is no content in the Blog Log written by actual bloggers. I don't know what the mission or purpose of Blog Log is supposed to be, but I think Express is doing it wrong. At a minimum, it's time to change the name.

Please click here for all of your Express Fail needs.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Random Driving Question

Have you ever thought about how many miles you have driven in your life or is this another of my random questions? I started driving at 16, meaning that I've had a license for 22 years. Most car companies offer warranties based on driving 12,000 miles per year, so the rough estimate is that my lifetime driving total is about 264,000 miles. I didn't have my own car for the first four years of having a license, so I'm sure I drove well below 12,000 miles in those years. However, for the two years I lived in San Diego, I definitely exceeded 12,000 miles per year not including the miles I drove as part of my 1997 summer road trip and the drive to and from San Diego and Pittsburgh. Although my commute from my apartment to Ohio State wasn't far, I feel like I put on a significant amount of miles during my two years in Columbus including a road trip to Charlotte and drives to Pittsburgh.

Therefore, in my mind, 264,000 miles seems low. While I rely on the bus and Metro these days, I tend to drive whenever the entire family goes somewhere. So to go back to my original question: have you ever thought about miles you have driven in your life? Please note that I'm not counting the miles where you have been a passenger in a car or bus; simply those where you are behind the wheel.

Stay tuned for my next post where I consider how many miles I have walked/ran while working as a soccer referee!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Baby You're A Firework

Even if you try to avoid pop music, you know Katy Perry. Her songs appear everywhere and she starred in her own film Katy Perry: Part of Me last summer. She has also been a regular tabloid feature for her relationship with John Mayer and her brief marriage and subsequent divorce to Russell Brand. You may also remember her from her appearance at the 2013 Grammys for her, um, dress.

So let's say that you're a Katy Perry fanatic. You follow Katy Perry on Twitter, attend her concerts, download all of her music and even see Smurfs 2 since she is the voice of Smurfette. But that's not enough. How do you stand out among the rest of the Katy Perry fans? One way is to get a personalized license plate like the one I saw in Northern Virginia last week. While I wasn't able to take a picture since I was driving, the license plate read KTY PRRY.

For the sake of the person who has this license plate, I certainly hope Perry doesn't turn into Amanda Bynes because that would be embarrassing to drive around with KTY PRRY on his/her car!

Of course, maybe this car owner is a cat owner who loves his/her kitten named Purry.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Ziggy Turns Five

Ziggy officially turns five today, so Happy Birthday Ziggy! To celebrate, our plan is to take him out for a nice dinner and then to Chuck E. Cheese!

Of course, since this is Ziggy's birthday, we'll let him do what he wants to do today which will largely consist of this:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Return To The 'Burgh

The Taylor Allderdice High School Class of 1993 held its 20-year reunion this past weekend, so this seemed like a good excuse to visit Pittsburgh. Of course, I didn't attend Allderdice and wasn't invited to the reunion, so I just returned home to see family and friends and be a tour guide/tourist. Here are some notes from the trip:

- Attorney Edgar Snyder is everywhere! You can't drive two miles without seeing his picture on a billboard. I think he could win an election to become the next Pittsburgh mayor but that position would probably be a significant pay cut.

- While there probably isn't any type of statistical data on this, my guess is that more people wear professional sports merchandise in Pittsburgh than anywhere else in America. Most of these people wear Steelers gear including the LaMarr Woodley and two Troy Polamalu jerseys I saw at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. Sure, the people wearing the jerseys could have been going to the Steelers pre-season game later than evening, but my guess is that they just wore the jerseys because it was Saturday.

- The Children's Museum was a huge hit for my son. There were numerous interactive games and exhibits including a Clifford exhibit that he really enjoyed. The only downside was that we visited the museum on the same day as the Kindergarten Here I Come program where incoming kindergarten students could visit the museum for free. Although he held his own, my son was a little overmatched by all of the bigger kids. On the plus side, there was a school bus outside the museum that kids could enter, so that went well. Mr. McFeely of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was there too, but my son didn't notice him or know who this was.

- Is it bad that I said my son was under two so that he could get free admission into the museum? The cost for kids two and over is $11 (with the AAA discount).

- It's amazing how lost I got driving around downtown and the North Side. Despite growing up in Pittsburgh, I relied on a GPS to navigate through these areas. While I can blame construction for part of my difficulties, the reality is that I struggle with all of the one-way streets.

- We stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites in the Strip District directly across the street from the Heinz History Center. The hotel was nice, the free breakfast was an added bonus, and the staff was friendly and accommodating. I wanted to get my son milk during one afternoon, but there was none for sale. Fortunately, one of the staff members got him a cup of milk from the kitchen for no cost. I’d be very happy if the Hampton Inn and Suites Pittsburgh – Downtown became the official hotel of Sean’s Ramblings. How can we make this happen?

- Sharing a hotel room with a kid can be tricky. On the first night at the hotel, we put out son in his pack-and-play, and I went into the hall until he fell asleep. About 20 minutes later, I thought it was safe to go back into the room. Unfortunately, I realized that I left my room key and cell phone in the room. I didn’t want to knock on the door on the chance that I could wake up my son, but I had my Kindle, so I tried to e-mail my wife. After about 10 minutes without a reply, I figured she already fell asleep. Naturally, I tweeted live updates about the experience.

When I went to the lobby, the staff hooked me up with a new room key. Again, amazing staff at the hopefully official hotel of Sean’s Ramblings.

- I haven’t been to Market Square in several years, but it looks really nice now.

- To the store in the Strip blasting the “Here We Go” song on a constant loop – Please mix in some other songs. Play “We Are Family,” “Pittsburgh Steelers Polka” or even “Call Me Maybe.” The 19th incarnation of Here We Go shouldn’t be played over and over again particularly in August. (Playing it once in January after the Steelers win the AFC Championship game is acceptable.)

I really wanted to show my son some of my favorite parts of Pittsburgh, but I was only able to hit a few of these spots. Of course, he’s only two, won’t remember anything about the trip and he’ll have plenty of opportunities to make it back to Pittsburgh. More importantly, my family and friends got to spend time with him, so even if he won’t necessarily remember them, they will remember seeing him.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tuesday Links (OFTOT's Back. All Right!)

I've written Sean's Ramblings for over eight years and read blogs for even longer. I tend to read blogs that have been around for a significant period of time, so even the "new" blogs that I read are new to me even though they may have been around for several years. Over the years, many of my favorite blogs have gone away. While I'm often saddened when blogs go away, I understand that bloggers get busy with life or get burned out and that's the end of their blogs. Therefore, I am extremely excited that one of my favorite blogs, One For The Other Thumb, returned after an 18+ month absence. I don't recall another blog coming back after this long of a hiatus, so welcome back Cotter!

This is Cotter's first post announcing his return. [OFTOT]

I couldn't figure out why Deadspin showed this video. Then, I noticed the guys on the left in the Minnesota Twins bullpen and couldn't stop smiling. [Deadspin]

Mazel Tov to Josh on his engagement! [Ngewo's World]

Captain Wild Bill of the Discovery Channel’s "Deadliest Catch" hijacked a Just Ducky Tour Boat. [YaJagoff!]

Want to see people dressed up like Godzilla at G-Fest? You got it. [Away From The Things Of Man]

The cool story behind Behind The Steel Curtain's "The Renegade." [BTSC]

Debbie Gibson is playing in Youngstown, but she still hasn't done a show in DC. [Debbie Gibson]

Finally, despite this great catch, why does the a Wiffle Ball tournament need an announcer? [Deadspin]

Monday, August 12, 2013

Another Reason I Love Wegmans

This was spotted during a recent trip to the Wegmans grocery store in Fairfax, Virginia:

Notice that I wrote Fairfax, Virginia. Fairfax is four hours from Pittsburgh (or five hours if you hit the traffic that I did yesterday) and is part of the Washington Redskins territory. In addition, the Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and New York Jets are all closer than Heinz Field is to Wegmans Fairfax. Regardless, I need to commend Wegmans in carrying any type of Steelers products. Excellent decision!

P.S. Has anyone tried this ice cream, and if so, is it any good?

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Ziggy & My Son

It has to be difficult being a cat living in the same home as a toddler. You used to get all the attention, and then this little crying "thing" appears. You're not #1 anymore. This crying child gets bigger and becomes mobile, so you have to keep alert at all times. There's this really comfortable mattress with a blanket and stuffed animals, but you're not allowed in there. All you want is some time alone with your "dad," but that only happens in the evening when everyone else is asleep. (This last sentence sounds really creepy. Basically, a few times a week, Ziggy curls up next to me or sits on my lap when I'm sitting on the couch.)

So this is the life of Ziggy. He definitely doesn't get the attention that he used to receive, but he handles it well. He knows that he's still loved. My son loves Ziggy and tries to give him hugs. We constantly use the words soft and gentle when he approaches Ziggy and hopefully these messages are getting through. Unfortunately, my son has hit Ziggy on several occasions. While I let him get away with a lot, there is zero tolerance for hitting Ziggy. This is automatic time-out offense. To Ziggy's credit, he has never retaliated.

I guess living with a toddler does have its advantages. Ziggy does sleep in the crib at times (never when my son is in there) and he particularly enjoys sleeping on the changing table. Plus, he seems to like the rug in my son's room.

(Yes, this entire post was an excuse to share these pictures.)

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Interview With Nicholas of PSAMP

You're in for a treat today. For the fourth installment of my Pittsburgh Sports Blogger Interview Series, Nicholas, aka, Tecmo, of Pittsburgh Sports & Mini Ponies ("PSAMP") agreed to share his thoughts about mini ponies, his terrific blog, and much, much more. Enjoy!

How did you start Pittsburgh Sports and Mini Ponies and why mini ponies?

I figured I'd give a ton of detail, cos I might as well have these stories saved somewhere. Sorry for the long answers, but indulge me.

I started PSAMP my final semester of college at St. Vincent. As a history major, I could choose to finish my Senior Research Thesis fall or spring semester of my 4th and final year, I chose fall so I could get it out of the way. During my final semester, I was spending a ton of time in the library computer lab for reasons I'll maybe finally disclose in the future, and eventually got to thinking I needed a place to house my writing and humor.

An adjunct professor in some English class had once asked us to write a paper on whatever topic we wanted, and I chose the Steelers. This was like Junior year or something. This paper was incredible, better than any of the lazy junk topics English professors normally force you to write. And she accused me of plagiarism based solely on the fact this paper was better than anything I had previously written. She assumed I had lifted it. I could've accepted an F for the course or fight it at the Dean's. I know my strengths, sports, and stood behind my work. I prevailed.

As for the ponies, they've always been the OTHER thing I love in life. I mean, I love dogs and pets and any animal really, but dog-sized horses always made me all pumped in my younger days. It probably begins from the 80s, we took a vacation to like Tennessee where my Great-Uncle Mike had horses, and kid-me rode a mini horse named Buttons. I actually have it on tape, thanks Dad!

When I started PSAMP, lolcats and cheezburgers were starting to dominate the Internet, and frankly I was scared that someone would scoop my love for mini ponies and I'd look like a biter if I finally put my love of the critters to digital ink and someone else already had a site of similar ilk. Deadspin was starting the sports blog boom, the Schrutebag incident happened...and then Mario announced the Pens were staying in Pittsburgh, and I felt it was time to start something. My first post was about the Pens staying.

Like a few months after starting the site, MTV's "Rob and Big" premiered their own mini horse, so my foresight was strong enough to get in there before it looked like I was copying someone else.

I'm a simple man, not one to create some catchy, pun site name. I listed the two things I wanted to combine, and left it. Well, the original url was pittsburghsportsandminiponies.blogspot before I changed it to the easier acronym like 2 days later. My original banner was Church Sign Generator with the blog name. Had that for like a month or two. That was the best.

Whenever I see a mini pony or any pony or small horse, I immediately think of you. I'm sure that I'm not alone in this. How does it feel to be the go to mini pony guy?

It goes back to my original point of wanting to combine the 2 things I loved, and also wanting to not get burnt and beat to the mini pony punch. Cos this is the Internet, and someone at some point was gonna have a mini pony site of some kind.

Now, I'm incredibly blasé about my site and humor style, I write what makes me laugh, and keep doing it because why not? But the mini pony thing is actually a bit more businesslike. I strictly set out to become the authority in a field, and that's a hard thing to do. Basically any idea has been done before on the Internet. And with starting a site right around the time of the sportsblog boom, you needed to stand out or get burnt out in a month writing the same thing as everyone else and trying to get noticed without Twitter and the ease of access to readers we have now. So it was trying not to be that biter in getting to the mini pony parade before anyone else, while also establishing a voice and style of presenting it so it readers felt the need to participate.

So it's pretty awesome to constantly have people interacting and taking my love of mini ponies and making it their own as well.

Have you ever been approached by any mini pony groups?

Rarely. I've had a few people trying to sell their ponies. And I've helped several history centers or museums get together information on where or who to contact, but with being a humor site, there's a limit on what I can do. When I said I set out to become an authority on a subject, it's more about the pictures and written love of the ponies, not really the health and upkeep and social/civic aspects of the ponies.

Is it a challenge getting new mini pony pictures?

Nope. nopenopenopenopeetcetcetcetc.

I started the Mini Pony of the Day feature as a joke and to stand out from the jillion other bloggers starting sites every day. I thought I'd run out of pictures in Google Image Search in like a month or two. This is without every researching the depth of the Internet and how many mini pony pictures are out there.

As an aside, I use the term "mini pony" as my own summary of every small horse. Some people get pissed if it's a mini horse or a pony, and don't like the term "mini pony" like I'm purposely misnaming a certain species or something. No, I use the term independently because we feature ponies, full-sized horse baby foals, dwarf ponies with medical conditions, Shetland ponies, mini horses...basically anything that looks like a horse and can pass as a dog.

And as I said, I wanted to create an atmosphere where people could discover their own love of the animals while wanting to contribute. For the first year or so while I wrote for like 20 people, and spent the first couple months of year 2 rehashing the mini pony pictures that I used the year prior since I was gaining new readers and I wanted them to experience the stuff they missed.

Now it is nearly impossible for me to run out of reader submissions. Twitter and smartphones have helped have people everywhere with an easy way to upload a picture and send it directly to me without fiddling with digital cameras and email. The Internet is vast and real life is even bigger, these awesome dog-horses are everywhere in both places and people immediately think to get them to me. I couldn't be happier with each submission.

Let's switch gears to the first part of your blog's name. I think we have a similar blog sensibility. What I mean by this is that while other blogs will focus on the games, stats, players, etc. (and we do this sometimes too), we also write about the other stuff. For example, you have the Pittsburgh Sports Stuff in Hip Hop series and Great Moments in Unlicensed Pittsburgh Sports Merchandise series. I guess I should have a question here. Um, how did you come up with these ideas?

Thank Internet trolls first and foremost. At first, I focused a lot on recaps and strong opinion pieces. And you get the commenters and emailers who think your opinion is bunk and think you should burn in hell and whatnot. And those things help burn out newer and inexperienced writers and bloggers.

So I decided that if I wanted to really explore my humor and not hate everything, I'd scrap the script that most bloggers use. Yeah, you'll get readers who want the game previews, and game recaps and highlights of every local game and all, but how many sources do you really need doing that? Much love to all my bloggers buds that put in the hours to do that, but that just didn't vibe with my style and presentation and mini ponies and all that.

The Hip Hop/Music/Hollywood series helped, as did Unlicensed Merch.

With the former, it is a reflection on me, personally. As a Pittsburgher living in NYC now, I get pumped every time I see a Pirates hat even though it's probably some Latin King or someone who doesn't care about the Pirates. So spotting team logos and gear in the wild among celebs or musicians or actors or anyone is a bit of a thrill.

With the latter, it is also a reflection on me, but also the flip side to the Hip Hop/Music/Hollywood series. I grew up rather poor, and most of what I wore to support the teams were bootlegs from Big Lots or the Strip District. When you're an insecure kid, you hate it, cos all your friends have officially-licensed gear and you stick out like the poor kid. But as an adult, I learned to love my history, as well as the dedication of the generic merchandise hawkers. This series started because I was leaving for a trip to hike Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina for a few days, and needed some auto-publish posts while I was away that didn't really deal with timely issues. So I photographed every generic thing I could find in my apartment. And then readers took off with that too and I still have an intense backlog of generic merch in my inboxes.

China Jack provided toasts for the Penguins playoffs this year and several years ago. How did you start your relationship with China Jack?

Jack is the best. I love that guy. Easily the reason the Pens won the Cup in 09.

About, I don't know, 6-8 months before the Cup I was going through Youtube to see if anything new with a connection to Pittsburgh sports had been uploaded, for a post or something. I came across this new video of a classroom full of Chinese kids doing some sort of taunts at Pittsburgh sports opponents, or chanting Here We Go Steelers. I posted it with my usual commentary.

A few days later, the uploader emails me. His name is Gavin, and he's teaching English in China, using his affinity for his local teams to help the kids learn new words. It turns out he's from an area not far from where I grew up in SW PA, and he says he'll gladly send more videos. There were a few more in the series with his students, until he introduced me to his drinking buddy in Shenzhen, China, Jack. Using the moniker China Jack, he hung out with Gavin and created a toast for the most recent NFL season. And he made a few more toasts to like Pitt basketball and Sally Wiggin. But the ones that stuck were his Pens videos. They started to take off as the Pens got rid of Therrien and brought up Dan Bylsma, with the team winning an in incredible rate to make the playoffs. Jack started toasting every series as the Pens fought through the Flyers, Capitals, Hurricanes and eventually the Red Wings. So it was the perfect storm that Pens fans could use a bit of a laugh after stressful playoff series.

I try to present it without the subtle racism that would be apparent if we were merely mocking Jack's translations or Engrish or whatever. Jack is a legitimate friend...Gavin has been back in the states, I believe, but I correspond with Jack as if he's an old friend. You cannot believe the incredible emails I get on holidays from Jack. At PSAMP, I try to focus on Jack's odd foreign passion for the Pens, and Jack loves doing whatever he can to support the team and show the fans that passion extends everywhere. I'll say it again, Jack is the best.

Any chance for a Steelers Unauthorized Pre-game reunion with Cotter?

HAHA man we totally should! You cannot believe how fun it was back in the early days of the sports blogosphere (which doesn't even really exist anymore in any recognizable form) to watch games and then try and tape our on-air inexperience while trying to remain funny, before throwing unlimited clips into iMovie or Windows Movie Maker and crapping it out to Youtube. Those videos were horrible, but Cotter and I had a blast. And we got better as they went along, but you know, life gets in the way. We don't always have time to devote to intense video editing on minimal video taping/editing knowledge. So it's easy to get lazy and let it fall off. But heck yeah it should probably come back at some point. I'm gonna go call Cotter about this.

You use Twitter as much if not more than anyone I know. Do you feel that this takes time away from your blog or enhances your blog (or both)?

Both. Twitter is so easy, easy enough that a lot of the old blogs that shut down back in the day just switched over to Twitter. People want that immediacy, and blogs start to look a bit stale and old by comparison. So you have to be that guy that stands out, on either platform.

Back in our blog infancy, and I'm sure you can agree, we had to hustle to get noticed. You had to know how to write, well and interesting, to get any sort of attention. Or you had to create actual relationships with your blogger contemporaries and hope they would read and share links or whatever. And even if you accomplished that and increased your readership, the next day there was 30 new local sports blogs trying to recreate what you just did, with more cunning and want to just email-blast their stories to everyone to bypass the work it took to establish something real. And now, anyone can start a site, reply to everyone on Twitter until they get some followers, and they're basically "noticed."

So I try to use both platforms to my own benefit. I have that old-school mentality where my site is my own hard work, the blood and sweat, because that's always been the deal since day one. Write well, be funny, and eventually they'll read. But with Twitter, I can explore the id, and let it run wild. There's more freedom to talk about other topics, or just say anything that doesn't fall within the typical constructs of a blog post.

Actually when I started PSAMP, it was more of a Twitter-like entity than the "sports and animals" staple it is today. Like for the first week or two I would rant about gas prices, or one-sentence punchlines about whatever popped into my head at the moment. I had blogspot linked up to a phone number on my old flip phone, and would publish dumb one-off stuff like that. But I decided to get away from that and structure it more how it is today, getting a daily mini pony picture/caption, and also having sports stories.

Then Twitter came along and I was able to get back to that absurd place. And it helped me weave more humor into my longer blog posts.

Finally, is this the year for the Pirates not only reach .500 but also make the playoffs?

Full disclosure Sean sent me this question like a month ago and I started answering these questions and never finished, now it's a month later, the Cards and Reds keep losing and the Buccos keep winning. So yes to both question, but this is clearly with less worry than a month ago. Love you Sean.

Thanks again to Nicholas for providing a thorough and outstanding response. Make sure you visit PSAMP at least once a day and follow Tecmo on Twitter.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Random Pirates Bobbleheads

I was in a Rockville, Maryland store recently that randomly featured hundreds of bobbleheads. The bobbleheads were just for display and not for sale and had nothing to do with the other items in the store, so I didn't feel bad for taking this picture:

It's former Pittsburgh Pirates Craig Wilson and Freddy Sanchez! On display! In 2013 in suburban Washington DC? I remember that certain Pirates fans thought Craig Wilson was going to be an All-Star and that he just needed to more playing time. Sanchez was an All-Star who had a 200-hit season where he led the National League in batting average. They were both traded for little return, but apparently this guy wants to remember and celebrate their time as Pirates.

It's okay to look up Freddy!

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Let's Go Bucs

Although I've followed the Pittsburgh Pirates as closely as ever, I've avoided writing this blog post for many weeks. After collapses in both 2011 and 2012, my fear is that the Pirates will collapse again as soon as I write about the team's success. Yes, this is completely irrational, and I know that my writing has no impact on Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, Francisco Liriano, Mark Melancon and the rest of the team. Sean's Ramblings is no Sports Illustrated! However, I couldn't take it any more. I'm just too excited by this Pirates team. Take a look at the National League Central standings.

WOOOOOOO! It's August 1st, and the Pirates lead the division! Take a look at the overall record.

WOOOOOOO! It's August 1st, and the Pirates have the best record in baseball!

I'd like to think that I can still look at the Pirates objectively. While the pitching has been amazing, I'd still like to see a healthy Wandy Rodriguez and especially Jason Grilli for September and October. The team also needs another bat or two particularly someone who can play right field and potentially win a game as a pinch hitter.

In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the Pirates run. And if the Pirates don't make the playoffs, you can blame me for writing this post.