Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Sean's Best & Worst of 2014

Many television shows, magazines, websites and newspapers have best and worst of 2014 lists. Well, I do too!

Best Movie I Saw In The Theater: Gone Girl. A well-made film with a huge twist. Great acting by Neil Patrick Harris, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry & Emily Ratajkowski too.

Worst Movie I Saw In The Theater: Gone Girl. I liked the book much better. Yes, I only saw one movie in the theater in 2014.

If you think my list so far is a bit ridiculous, I encourage you to stay here. It gets better. Possibly.

Best Song: My rule is that the best song must be from a video that I posted on my blog. I actually didn't post many videos this year, but I'll take The Walker by Fitz and the Tantrums slightly over Vance Joy's Riptide. And yes, I realize that the video for The Walker was posted on YouTube in October 2013, but I don't think I first heard the song until 2014.

Worst Song: I think I'll go with Anaconda by Nicki Minaj solely for her desecrating Sir Mix-a-Lot's Baby Got Back. I just hope that Sir Mix-a-Lot got paid well for this. (I don't even want to share this probably NSFW video here.)

Best Sports Moment: The Pirates reaching the playoffs for the second consecutive year, highlighted by Josh Harrison excelling in rundowns.

Worst Sports Moment: The Penguins leading the Rangers 3 games to 1 in the Eastern Conference Finals only to lose the next three games and scoring only 3 goals in these games.

Best TV Show: Game of Thrones. HBO had a free preview this spring, and I was able to record the entire first three seasons. It took me a few (okay, more than a few) episodes to figure out who was who, but what a show. Now I need to watch season four. Honorable mention to Brooklyn Nine-Nine, a consistently funny show.

Worst TV Show: Anything on Bravo. I can't stand any of the people on that network especially any housewives or Vanderplumps or people that work on a boat or sell houses. Bring back West Wing reruns!

Best Book I Read: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. This is the summary: "Unbroken is a biography of World War II hero Louis Zamperini, a former Olympic track star who survived a plane crash in the Pacific theater, spent 47 days drifting on a raft, and then survived more than two and a half years as a prisoner of war in several brutal Japanese prisoner-of-war camps." Any of these could be its own story, yet all of this happened to Zamperini. All of this is just unbelievable. I'm hesitant to see the movie since I don't know how it will work. To fully tell Zamperini's story, I don't know how the movie can be less than 5 hours. Honorable Mention: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. A fun Forrest Gump-esque book.

Worst Book I Read: I didn't read nearly as many books as I would have liked in 2014, so I'm the worst for this category.

Best Blog Post: My post on becoming a dad for the second time along with the 6-month update. I still like my idea of bringing a Pittsburgh festival to DC too.

Worst Blog Post: My post congratulating someone named William Tell on marrying Laura Conrad. Exactly.

Have a Happy (and safe) New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 Sean's Ramblings Year In Review

Welcome to my 10th annual (yes, 10th! More on this in a few weeks) year in review, where I take the first few lines of the first entry of each month in order to produce a random and (hopefully) interesting summary of 2014. Please note that this is not my last post of 2015. I'll have another entry or two to close out 2014.

January - Happy New Year everyone! Anytime that a picture of someone wearing a Pittsburgh sports logo or discussion of Pittsburgh appears in a major magazine, I'm going to blog about it (see Emma Watson and the New Girl cast).

February - It's the Monday after the Super Bowl and Groundhog Day, so I'll keep today's post short and simple.

March - As I'm typing this on Sunday evening, the Federal Government and every school in the DC area announced that they are closed on Monday even though it is calm outside right now.

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

May - With a new child, it's time to find a bigger home for the family. While I'm not really looking to leave the DC area, there are two job openings in Los Angeles that interest me: the head coaching job for the Los Angeles Lakers and being the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.

June - Did you realize that it is now June? That means Celebrate Fairfax!, Northern Virginia’s largest community-wide celebration, is set to take place THIS WEEKEND (June 6-8, 2014) at the Fairfax County Government Center.

July - As a global national social-media influencer, I was invited to attend Gifford's Good Times Ice Cream Tour Ice Cream Social at Dulles Golf Center & Sports Park.

August - Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez is struggling. Actually, that may be an understatement. Alvarez seems to have lost the ability to accurately throw the ball to first base.

September - Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison officially retired over the weekend. While I have never been an NFL quarterback or even played one on the internet, I would think that Harrison would be at the top of the list of defensive players I didn't want to play against.*

October - As a soccer referee (and probably every other type of referee), you are required to dress professionally. There is no room for individuality when you put on your yellow shirt and pull up your black socks with white stripes by your knees.

November - Did you vote today? If so, good for you. If not, there's still time to read this and go to your local polling station.

December - One of my son's favorite books these days is Dr. Seuss' One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. When he wants us to read this book, he simply asks for Green Fish. I don't know why.

I hope that you enjoyed Sean's Ramblings in 2014 (though I'm not done yet)! Thanks again for your support.

* This post is particularly funny since Harrison came out of retirement and will start against the Ravens in the playoffs on Saturday.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Oh The Places I've Been

Last month, it seemed like everyone posted a United States map on Facebook showing the states they visited. Since I'm always up on current trends, I'm happy to share my map only 4-6 weeks late.

41 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico (not pictured) isn't bad. Plus, with the exception of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and Iowa, I've actually spent time in all of these states rather than just driving through. With that written, if missing the exit for the Cincinnati Bengals and Reds stadiums and driving into Kentucky multiple times counts as spending time in Kentucky, then remove the Bluegrass State from the list of exceptions.

Meanwhile, twice during my 1997 road trip, I drove on Interstate 44 and entered Oklahoma from Missouri yet somehow missed Arkansas and especially Kansas.

As for the remaining states, I still have no idea how I've never been to Maine, New Hampshire & Vermont. That's a trip that needs to happen sometime soon. I'll visit North Dakota during a future hockey road trip to Winnipeg to see a University of North Dakota game. I have no idea when I'll hit Idaho, Kansas, Arkansas, Montana and particularly Hawaii.

I really want to travel now!

Thanks to Maploco for the map and thanks to Ngewo for doing this first.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Trivia Monday: Literature Edition

While I'd much rather have trivia on Tuesday, this is a strange week with Christmas and people off work and schools closed. As a result, you get trivia on Monday. If you prefer to have your trivia on Tuesday, simply come back tomorrow. Enjoy!

Your challenge is to answer the questions below about these classic novels.

1. A Tale of Two Cities: What are the two cities?

2. The Scarlet Letter:* What does the letter stand for?

3. The Lord of the Flies: What is the Lord of the Flies?

4. The Lord of the Rings: Who is the Lord of the Rings?

5. Slaughterhouse-Five: In what city is Slaughterhouse five?

6. Moby Dick: What kind of whale is Moby Dick?

7. Harry Potter: Who is the prisoner of Azkaban?

8. Crime and Punishment: What was the crime?

9. It: What is "It"?**

10. Catcher in the Rye: What does Holden Caulfield imagine himself catching?

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 District Trivia.

* I can't see this title without thinking of one the greatest names in fantasy baseball history. Yes, only 10-15 people will get this & only 2-3 may actually read this post.

** Lyrics from Faith No More's Epic is not the correct answer.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Joe Manganiello's Dream

Actor Joe Manganiello is a huge Steelers fan and (likely) a huge fan of his girlfriend, Sofia Vergara. Therefore, I figure this Head & Shoulders ad in the recent Sunday coupon section must be Manganiello's fantasy:

Vergara and Troy Polamalu together? Merry Christmas to Joe! Plus, Manganiello has luxurious hair so perhaps he can use the $3 coupon on the shampoo.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


I often joke that I'm addicted to fantasy sports. I'm currently in 5 fantasy football leagues, 3 baseball leagues (though I only truly care about one) and a hockey league. While I spend time scouring the free agent list, reading box scores and creating detailed draft plans (this last one is pretty funny in that my draft preparation is minimal, at best), fantasy sports don't take over my life like a true addiction. It's a hobby and something I do to stay in touch with friends. If you want to see a real addiction, this is an incredible story about my former friend/acquaintance Mike.

Mike is one of those people I knew growing up, but I don't remember how we met.* We didn't go to the same school or live in the same neighborhood. However, we attended several camps together and worked together as counselors at one. Mike went to Penn State and I had not heard about him in close to 20 years...until last week.

On Thursday, Deadspin had a story about Mike getting arrested at Charlotte International Airport "accused of attempting to scam at least five different passengers by giving them fake stories, and asking for $200 from each." Although I thought the spelling of his last name was incorrect in the story, the picture looked like how I thought Mike would look today. Soon, I found myself reading as much about Mike as I could find. It turns out that Mike is an addicted gambler with an insane, and extremely sad, story.

Back in June, Mike shared his story on the Two Plus Two poker message board. You really can spend hours here. Start on page 14 to hear from Mike himself.

I just now read through the whole thread and let me state this emphatically: Everything the initial op has stated is 100% true. I am not going to come on here and try to minimize anything or justify anything. I have a serious compulsive gambling addiction which i think it is safe to say, has ruined my life in so many ways. I really did graduate from Penn State in 1999 with a degree in Chemical Engineering and had the whole world at my feet. Instead of working hard at my job and doing things the right way, i chose to use any excuse to gamble and gamble and gamble and gamble. I became so compulsively addicted that not only did I get fired from various jobs as an engineer and a sales engineer, I also started getting a nice welcome to the criminal justice system because I was a degen who needed and wanted money to play.

I would also like to state that I am actually relieved that this thread was started because in all likelihood it would have happened eventually anyways. I promise to be open and answer any questions any of you 2+2ers have for me because since I have been an active participant in NVG for over 2 1/2 years, it is only right to do so.

I will now write a brief summary of what led up to me "hustling money" at airports(which will be in my next post soon) and if any good can come out of this thread I am hoping that I can eventually be forgiven and hope to turn my life around.

Unfortunately, we know that he's still hustling money at airports five months later.

Here's more:

I started getting really heavy into gambling right after I graduated from Penn State in 1999. I took a job with Dupont as a chem eng in Clinton Iowa(the middle of nowhere) and I absolutely hated it. I was super depressed and realized right away that there were 3 riverboat casinos within a 10 minute drive from my apartment. Before long I was calling in sick to work, gambling at these boats almost every hour of the day. I soon lost all my money, maxed out my new credit card and had to take out a loan from the credit union to pay my rent. Within 2 months I was fired and given a $7500 severance check(I was shocked, $7500 for 2 months of not showing up for work??) I told my parents what happened and they didn't understand any of this. They are both hard working people, how could they understand gambling/instant gratification lifestyles ,etc... My parents actually hired some financial planner for me in Iowa to manage the $7500 and told me to go to Gamblers Anonymous immediately. I did and at the same time was looking on for a new job in a better city. I was telling myself that I only went off the deep end gambling because I was in a boring place with a boring job. I wish that was why.

Found a new job around March 2000 with an industrial gas company in Irvine California. It was a sales job and they gave you a car and base salary was $50,000 plus 20-25k in commission. I also was given a gas credit card, laptop, cellphone and $5000 relocation bonus check. I thought my troubles were over. Well before I left Iowa I was told by GA members that I had to go to meetings in California or I would relapse. I wish I would have listened. I didn't go to any meetings and within 1 month I spotted all the LA card clubs and visited them all. Of course it was only a matter of time before I lost all of my money again and started writing bad checks. I learned a game called paigow at these places and it became my game of choice. Soon I had no money at all and I called my father begging him for a loan. I told him California was an expensive place to live and that I didn't have enough money to cover my rent. My father trusted me, wanted to believe me and wired me $6000. That money was gone in 2 hours. Soon after I was fired once again, the car taken away and was left with no job, no money and I didn't know what to do.

After I was fired, I was basically living in these casinos. Hollywood Park had at the time an upstairs "sleeping room" and if you played enough they would let you sleep upstairs. That place became my 2nd home and it was awful. I was desperate for money and after getting fired from my 2nd job, my parents and any other family members cut me off. I started calling a few of my good college friends, giving them any story I could think of and begging them for some money. They western unioned me a few thousand and all I did was gamble it away. My apartment complex in Irvine then told me they were starting eviction proceedings so I was so stressed I couldn't even think straight.

Around the end of September I was just walking around Hawaiian Gardens Casino when I was approached by these 2 black guys(not being racist, just mentioning they were black). They told me that they have seen me around a lot and asked me if I needed money. Needed money??? I heard that and I perked up real fast. Of course I needed money I told them. The 1 guy told me that he knew a guy who worked for a company and that he could get his hands on a few "big" checks made out to the company from certain vendors or something. He told me that his buddy could change the paid out name on the check to my name and that we could deposit the checks and split the money 3 ways. He asked me if I had a checking account and I told him yes. Basically he wanted me to deposit "altered" checks made payable to me in my bank account and withdraw money every day. Me being in total despair, desperate and not thinking clearly told him okay. He said even if they eventually catch on it would be years and that nothing would really happen to me. I don't know if I even thought of the consequences of all of this - all I thought of was how I could get my hands on thousands of dollars to play paigow with. So, within a few days I deposited $24,000 approximately of 4 altered checks into my bank account and started withdrawing the money. The 1st time I withdrew $6000 I believe and the next day I withdrew $4400. The 3rd day however, the bank got suspicious and stalled me while they called the police. When the police showed up those 2 guys who were always waiting in their car outside the bank were gone and I was arrested for 1 count(initially) of defrauding a financial institution. Welcome to my introduction to the criminal justice system.

There's just so much more. Mike won six figures on multiple occasions and lost it all, sometimes in just a matter of hours.

Oh, apparently he also knew Eric Garner:

On a much more somber note: when I was locked up in Rikers Island in March 2008 after not being able to pay my hotel bill for 3 weeks when I blew $150,000 at the pai-gow tiles table at Mohegan Sun Casino - I met a guy nicknamed BIG ERIC or Big E. He was 6 ft. 4" and weighed 280 at the time. He was an intimidating guy to look at but he was a gentle giant. He looked out for me in that hellhole, played poker with me and a few guys and was just a real nice guy.

Fast forward to 2009-2010 when I was in the 3rd and final program in Staten Island before I ran away and got sentenced to prison. Eric would hang out in this park by a bodega selling cigarettes. I ran into him and we chatted for a while. After that I would see him often and he was still as nice as ever, always with a smile on his face.

This morning I was reading the NY Daily News online and there he was, Big E, on the front page - 6 Staten Island cops tried to arrest him for selling cigarettes and 1 officer put him in a choke hold and killed him. They have the video online which I linked with his confrontation with the officers. It's just sad, he didn't deserve to be killed and there is a big investigation now.

RIP Big E. - puts this gambling, airport thing in a whole other perspective.

There's also a podcast about all of this.

This entire situation is sad. It's unlikely that he can turn to family or friends for support or help. It seems like he's burned those bridges years ago. There were a lot of folks on the message board encouraging Mike to stop gambling. Apparently, he can't. You hope he can turn his life around, but as of now, a happy ending doesn't seem likely.

* Update! It's always nice that my mom reads my blog. She let me know that Mike and I attended the same nursery school and even had play dates together as toddlers.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Happy Hanukkah, Chanukah, Chattanooga!

Although the holiday completely snuck up on me this year, Hanukkah begins this evening. While you light the Menorah and eat potato latkes, don't forget to celebrate the Hanukkah tradition of pickle tasting. This tradition of eating pickles is now 16 years old! I think this counts as multiple generations!

Here are some videos to celebrate the holiday:

Six13 - Chanukah (Shake It Off)

There are way too many Hanukkah songs based on Taylor Swift lyrics this year (though this one is probably the best).

Maccabeats - All About That Neis

Is there some type of rivalry between Six13 and the Maccabeats? I envision this like the Hatfields-McCoys or the Sharks-Jets.

Hanukkah Song Mashup - Dance Spectacular! - Elliot Dvorin | Key Tov Orchestra

Finally, these are kittens celebrating.

Happy Hanukah, Hanukkah, Chanukah, Chanukkah!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My Life

You may (or may not) have noticed that I don't write as much as I used to. Part of the reason is because I don't have much time, but I also don't have as much to write about these days.

So Sean (you may ask), what's going on?

Well, we have worked with our 3 year old on potty training for months, yet there still tends to be an accident most days. His teacher considers him to be potty trained, but that he chooses not to use the toilet. Great. When he has an accident, the doctor told us to simply tell him that "big boys use the potty" and to leave it at that. After, I don't know, 20 accidents, it's not easy to say 5 words and be done. I could write so much more about this, but I don't want to. So frustrating.

Meanwhile, our 8 month old still does not sleep through the night. He goes to sleep around 8:00 and usually wakes up anywhere between 3:30 and 4:30. He's made it past 5:00 the past few days, so maybe this is a positive trend.

Oh, both kids seem to like getting ear infections, so we've had antibiotics in the house regularly this fall.

So that's my life. I'm fortunate to have two happy and healthy kids, but is it too much to ask for a full night's sleep and a potty-trained kid?

By the way, this exact scenario was the original version of this Bon Jovi song:

Friday, December 05, 2014

Friday Video: Riptide

For your Friday video, this is Riptide by Vance Joy, possibly my favorite song out right now. Although Riptide is fairly new to me, it appears that this song is over a year old. Does it really take that long for music to get from Australia to the United States or I am way behind the times? Actually, I probably don't want to know the answer to this question.

This is a bonus video of the song where you can actually see Vance Joy.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Peter Pan 1993 & 2014

NBC is airing a live version of Peter Pan tonight, and I plan on watching it...eventually.* You may not know that I starred in an award-winning musical production of Peter Pan 21 years ago. I played Twin #2, one of the Lost Boys (some may say that I'm still a Lost Boy). I probably had a dozen lines and even had a solo in the song "I Won't Grow Up." Sure, I earned the solo because my voice was so far off from how well Twin #1 could sing, but a solo is a solo. Since the kids seem to like throwing things back on Thursdays, here are some pictures from the 1993 production of Peter Pan. Yes, I'm in there somewhere.

I have no recollection of those animals in the middle being in the show.

Anyway, I'm interested in seeing how NBC pulls off the live musical version of Peter Pan. Christopher Walken as Captain Hook is a brilliant casting move. I'm not sure about Allison Williams as Peter Pan, but if it ensures a cameo from her father, I'm all for it!

* I rarely watch anything live these days, and there is a 0% chance that I can commit three hours on a Thursday night to watch Peter Pan. I'll still be putting the kids to bed when the musical begins at 8:00. Thank goodness for the DVR. I love you, DVR (though we still have some catching up to do)!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Push It Real Good

Today, I'm giving credit to GEICO for having the best commercial currently on television. If you haven't seen this commercial yet, well, here's your chance.

Nicely done to everyone involved with this commercial. On a semi-related note, we had a "dance party" at our home over the weekend. Salt-N-Pepa's Push It was part of the playlist along with C+C Music Factory's Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) and Groove Is in the Heart by Deee-Lite. However, as a NFL referee might say, upon further review, perhaps The Humpty Dance is not an appropriate song for a three year old (though the video is more tame than you'd think).

Monday, December 01, 2014

Dr. Seuss Meets Antonio Alfonseca

One of my son's favorite books these days is Dr. Seuss' One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. When he wants us to read this book, he simply asks for Green Fish. I don't know why. Anyway, this part of the book reminds me of the former major league baseball player Antonio Alfonseca.

For those of you not familiar with the former Florida Marlins, Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher, Alfonseca has a condition called polydactyly where he has six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot.

Aren't you glad that you read Sean's Ramblings for all of these timely references?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Message 2014

On this Thanksgiving, I wanted to share this message for you and your family:

Eat that turkey all night long
Fifty million Elvis fans can't be wrong.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Help Get “Jagoff” Into Webster’s Dictionary

While there's a decent chance that you're completely focused on Thanksgiving and may already be in transit to your holiday destination, take a minute today to sign a petition to get the word "jagoff" into Webster's dictionary. I'll let Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto explain.

Not only is signing the petition the right thing to do, for every signature, 3 Guys Optical Center will make a donation to the Pittsburgh Emergency Medicine Foundation. Still not convinced?

Let's hear from Pittsburgh Steelers great Rocky Bleier.

I understand that you might want to see what the mainstream media thinks about the petition. Well, check out this Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article.

So go to Ya Jagoff! to learn more about the petition and actually sign it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ziggy Vs. My New Clothes

Although I desperately need new clothes, I rarely go shopping. By rarely, I mean maybe 2-3 times per year. Last weekend, though, I had 20 free minutes, so I stopped by Kohl's to look for some long-sleeved shirts. Although I didn't have time to try things on, I was successful in finding 3 new shirts to bring home.

Ziggy loves plastic bags. While Target bags are his favorite, he has no objections to chewing other plastic bags. Therefore, I smartly put the clothes, still in the plastic bag, in my closet. On Monday morning, I noticed Ziggy in the closet near the bag, so I moved everything to the dresser while Ziggy remained in the closet for a morning nap.

Fast-forward about 14 hours and my wife said that she saw Ziggy chewing the bag, so she moved everything back into the closet. Sure enough, Ziggy did more than chew the bag.

The holes aren't noticeable, are they?

I'm not sure how or if I can return this to Kohl's. My wife suggested that I should just tell the store that the shirt has a hole. Um, it has more than "a" hole. If Kohl's doesn't take back the shirt, it might be okay. A shirt with the holes could still be in fashion!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Two Metro Stories

Those of you living outside of the Washington DC area may not be aware that bloggers living in the DC area are required to write at least two posts a year about Metro, the public transit system that can be great some days and not so great on others.

On Wednesday, trains were packed due to a disabled train causing delays for riders on three separate lines. As a result of the overcrowding, one of the doors on my train was unable to close. The driver made an announcement warning passengers that he would unload the train if the door could not be closed. No one likes to be offloaded. Sure enough, 30 seconds later, the driver sent us to our rooms, I mean, announced that the train was out of service. As we offloaded the train, the driver reversed course and announced doors closing. Some people rushed back on the train while others (like me) were stuck on the platform. Essentially, the driver eased the overcrowding by pretending that everyone had to get off the train. I'd never seen this before. Pretty sneaky (and surprisingly effective).

When you go through the Metro gate, you are able to see the amount of money on the person's fare card that went through the gate before you. I always look at this to ensure that my card actually worked (you can see the balance change from their card to your card meaning that the system successfully read the card). However, I rarely notice the actual amount of money on someone's card...until Monday. The person in front of me had a balance of $896 on her card. That is insane! Why so much? Put that money in a bank or invest these funds in gold or stocks or something. Please note that I'm sure that this amount was automatically added over months or years from the employer. I guess that means this person rarely if ever uses Metro. She really should sell her card and get a new one.

Don't forget to "Like" Sean's Ramblings on Facebook!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mark Melancon Serenades Japanese Women

Although I missed Talk Like a Pittsburgh Pirate Day, which occurs annually on November 16th, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Mark Melancon didn't miss the opportunity to reenact a scene from Top Gun.

I guess you could consider singing this song during next year's Talk Like a Pittsburgh Pirate Day.

Melancon is currently on (or just completed) a tour of Japan where Major League Baseball players faced Japanese teams. According to the YouTube description, Mark Melancon responded to a "dare" from Hector Santiago (LA Angels) to serenade an unsuspecting woman waiting outside a buffet in Sapporo, Japan. I don't think she wanted any part of Melancon's hug at the end.

h/t DC Sports Bog

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sean's Gamblings

You may have noticed a new banner ad on my blog for a sports betting site, MyBookie. As part of our deal, the company gave me some free play money to bet. I've made sports bets with friends over the years and even knew a bookie at college. This bookie, who I made one bet with for the Steelers-Cowboys Super Bowl (I won thanks to the Steelers keeping the game rather close) was also the announcer for the football team and had a weekly radio show where would make statements like "not that I would bet on that." However, I've never used a sports betting site before, so I thought I would share some early thoughts about this venture.

Friday - The Penguins lost against the Rangers on Tuesday 5-0. I figured that they would be rather humiliated by their effort and motivated to defeat the Maple Leafs in Toronto. I was right as the Penguins won 2-1. This betting thing is easy!

Saturday - While I don't follow college football as much as I used to, it seems like LSU never loses consecutive games. They lost a close game against Alabama and were 1-point favorites at a 5-loss Arkansas. I thought this was a good bet. Arkansas won 17-0.

Sunday - I've always wanted to try a parlay bet. In this case, I put up $10 for a chance to win $26 if both the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints covered the spread. The Carolina Panthers have been awful lately, and Cam Newton is not 100%. I liked Atlanta in this match-up. Meanwhile, the Saints are generally really good at home, and I certainly wasn't sold on Cincinnati particularly since they lost badly against the Browns. Apparently, Vegas agreed with me as New Orleans was favored by 7. While the Falcons did their part by defeating the Panthers in Charlotte, the Saints played horribly (or the Bengals played well). Another loss. Maybe this gambling thing isn't so easy.

Monday - The Steelers are 6-point favorites at Tennessee. They can't play as bad as they did against the Jets, right? Right?

If you want to try your luck, click on the banner ad on the right. The folks from MyBookie even called me when I first registered to welcome me and to answer any questions. Good customer service!

Update: There's a line in Rocky 2 (I believe) where Apollo Creed says that he won, but he didn't beat him. The reference was that he defeated Rocky Balboa in the first Rocky film, but it was by decision and not a knockout. Well, that line also summarizes the Monday Night Football game. The Steelers won (thanks to a 4th quarter comeback), but they didn't cover the 6-point spread. Three straight losses for me.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Videos: New Zealand Cricket Edition

You really get everything here at Sean's Ramblings. Stories about me getting free burritos and paninis, my tale of taking Ziggy to the vet, trivia and so much more. Today I'm going to the land (well, island) next to the land down under for Friday videos. Enjoy!

h/t Deadspin & Deadspin

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Free Burritos! Free Burritos! (Take Two)

Seven years ago, when I was still in my early 30s and without kids, I waited in line for over 5 hours to earn free burritos for a year. Now, approaching 40 and with two kids, I decided to try for free burritos again. Here's my story:

- When California Tortilla opens a new restaurant, the first 20 customers in line get a “Burrito Elito” loyalty card with free burritos for a year. Back in my day (meaning 7 years ago), only the first 10 people in line earned the free burritos for a year. Even though the grand re-opening of a California Tortilla occurred at a location very close to me, I didn't plan on waiting in line. I had too much to do and already have free paninis for a year. However, a friend wanted to be one of the first 20 people, so on the morning of the grand opening, I considered joining him

- I arrived outside California Tortilla at 8:00 AM, saw that there were about 8 people in line and left. My friend wasn't there yet, and, as I mentioned above, I had stuff to do. After several texts with my friend and others encouraging me to get burritos, I came back to the line at 8:30 and was rewarded by being #17 in line. Minutes later, my friend arrived to be #19 in line.

- The woman next to me (#16) planned on surprising her husband with an early Christmas gift. Cal Tort is his favorite restaurant, and he had no idea his wife was in line. She deserves a wife of the year nomination!

- The 18th person in line was on a morning run preparing for a half marathon taking place two days later. He noticed the line and stopped his run. It turns out that the guy is from Pittsburgh, and we overlapped being at Ohio State. I really don't make any new friends these days, and while it would have been awkward, I probably should have asked for his contact information. I would definitely watch a Steelers game with him. Of course, I'm not sure when we would have ever got together. We're in different stages in our lives and live about 30 minutes away from each other so I wouldn't want to start a long distance relationship.

- The 21st person in line was really upset at himself for not getting there earlier. He complained for a few minutes and openly hoped that someone would leave the line. When he realized that wasn't going to happen, the negotiations started. Apparently, the 8th person in line was open to this and accepted a mere $60 for his spot in line. Those of us in the back in the line questioned this decision. With tax, a large burrito is about $8. Over 52 weeks, that's over $400 in free burritos. Even if you miss several weeks, that is still worth way more than $60. We decided that it would take around $200 to "sell" our spot in line. Fascinating philosophical discussions when you're standing in line for burritos!

- Meanwhile, the first person in line arrived at 7:00 AM. This was significantly later than the first person arrived in line in 2007. I'll let Milli Vanilli explain:

Oops. Wrong video, though I appreciate the prominence of a rotary phone in the video.

Hopefully that makes more sense. It rained all night and early morning until dusk. I think the rain and threat of rain dissuaded people from waiting in line.

- Back in 2007, I brought my Walkman and a book. In 2014, I brought an umbrella and a laptop computer. When the sun appeared, I actually did some work holding the computer in one hand and typing with the other. California Tortilla staff brought out chairs around 10:00 which made it significantly easier to use the computer.

- I was probably the only person in line without a Smartphone.

- Despite there being about 40 people in line, someone showed up at 10:25 incredulous that he wasn't one of the first 20. For free burritos for a year, you have to do better than arriving only 35 minutes before opening.

- I should probably mention that everyone received a free burrito and drink from 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM. That's why there was easily 100 people in line when I exited the restaurant.

- Although the rules clearly state that you can't save a spot for someone in line, no one was going to argue with the woman with three kids. Her husband was one of the first people in line, and she took his spot with their children around 10. Now, if the husband stayed in line with her, there could have been a major problem. Since he left, Cal Tort took the opportunity to highlight the family.

- A few smart people decided to take advantage of this captive audience. One guy passed out flyers for Comedy for a Cause , an All Veteran Show to help the homeless. Plus, a realtor gave out coffee & Munchkins from Dunkin' Donuts to help promote himself.

- Cal Tort distributed T-shirts to the first 25-30 people in line. I was just excited about getting the T-shirt as I was for the burritos.

- After two and a half hours of waiting in line, I was rewarded with free burritos for a year. If a California Tortilla opens near you, I suggest waiting in line too. (I'm looking at you State College, PA.) Everyone was really friendly, and well, how can you argue against free burritos?

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Trivia Tuesday

Trivia Tuesday hasn't gone very well recently, but hopefully this week is different. Pictured below are logos of 10 defunct professional American sports teams. Your challenge is to name those teams.

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 District Trivia.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Ziggy & The Vets*

When I called to schedule a vet appointment for Ziggy last month, the office explained its new wellness program. This is the Active Adult Package:

• Unlimited exams all year
• All core vaccinations recommended/offered by DAH
• 1 fecal test a year
• 4 toe nail trims a year
• 1 ear cytology a year
• 2 laser therapy sessions a year
• 1 Chemistry 10/CBC blood screening a year
• 1 set of 2 view radiographs a year
• 50% off 1 routine spay or neuter a year
• 20% off 1 dental cleaning a year
• Additional 10% off the entire invoice at every visit

Although the plan is a bit pricey (a one-time $70 registration fee then $35 per month), going to the vet just once a year can be expensive. While this sounded nice, I explained that Ziggy hated going to the vet, so taking him more than absolutely necessary was not good for his wellness.

Fast-forward to the morning of his appointment. Forget Zumba or Jazzercise. if you want a really good workout, try getting a cat into a carrier. You get cardio by chasing the cat up and down stairs and you can really stretch by reaching under the bed to try to flush the cat out. This year, I discovered a new way to successfully get Ziggy into his carrier. I picked him up and carried him to the car. Once on the car seat, he quickly walked directly into the carrier.

Although he cried during most of the car ride, Ziggy seemed no worse than previous trips. We probably waited in the waiting room longer than normal, but I didn't notice Ziggy shaking like he has done in the past with big dogs in the waiting area.

Finally, we were called back and the vet tech took Ziggy out of his carrier. Shortly after the examination began, Ziggy started to growl. This continued after the first of three shots and turned into hissing rather quickly. After the second shot, Ziggy decided he was done. His eyes got huge, and he was ready to fight.

No one was going to touch him as he continued to hiss and put up his claws. He fell off of the table to the floor where he ran into the corner behind a small refrigerator. The vet tech brought out the oversize oven mitts to try to pick up Ziggy, but Ziggy wasn't having it. He urinated and defecated on the floor and himself and let out some piercing screams. Basically, he freaked out...again.

After a few minutes, the vet tech with two vets watching successfully got him back on the table. Ziggy was given a third shot and put back into the carrier. Exam over! As I paid at the front desk on the way out, no one mentioned the wellness plan.

In case you were wondering, Ziggy was fine when we got home and even during the car ride. He wasn't thrilled about me trying to clean him, so that had to be done in several stages throughout the day. He seems just as loving as ever since the appointment and is still great with the kids. It's funny that every night when I read with my three year-old before bed, Ziggy joins us and rubs his head against us and the book. He's really a great cat; except at the vet's office.

* This was the original title of the Elton John hit.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

2014 Election Day Food

Did you vote today? If so, good for you. If not, there's still time to read this and go to your local polling station. Unless, of course, you're reading this after the polls close, are under 18 or don't live in the United States.

Regardless, to thank you for doing your civic duty, several restaurants in the DC area (and probably nationally) are offering free or discounted food.

California Tortilla - Free Chips and Queso to anyone who either wears their "I Voted!" sticker, or says "I Voted!" to the cashier -- no strings attached

Glory Days & Fanfare Eatery – 10% off with coupon (sign up for their e-mail list)

The Greene Turtle – Children receive a free meal with paying adult.

Red Robin - Free Tavern Double Burger with Bottomless Steak Fries with purchase of 2 beverages and an entrĂ©e. (I’m not sure that makes this deal free). Offer available to everyone. Just mention “Tavern Double Tuesday” to receive the offer.

Do you know of other discounts? If so, let me know and/or leave them in the comments section. Go America!

Update...The Washington City Paper created their own list which is better than mine. I wish I saw this before I wrote my blog post.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Video (Sort Of, Not Really)

Happy Halloween! To celebrate, here's Oingo Boingo performing Dead Man's Party in the legendary film, Back to School. This is the perfect video for Halloween, right?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Gay Celebration

Earlier this week, Good Morning America showed the video below of China's Zhang Jike celebrating his victory at the Table Tennis World Cup in Germany. The video also included notable athletic celebrations among American athletes. About 15 seconds into the video, between the Ickey Shuffle and Brandi Chastain's iconic World Cup celebration, you'll notice Pittsburgh Steeler William Gay dancing after scoring a touchdown on Sunday against the Colts. I guess someone at ABC is a Steelers fan. (I'll go with George Stephanopoulos.)

More ABC US news | ABC Health News

Go Steelers!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Trivia Tuesday: Sexy Song Edition

Listed below are 10 songs and year of the songs' release from Paste magazine's 2013 list of "the 50 Sexiest Songs of All Time." Yes, this is the first time I have ever heard of Paste magazine. I know "Cut and Paste" magazine, but not Paste. Anyway, your challenge is to name the artists.

1. "Stir It Up" (1973)

2. "You Really Got Me" (1964)

3. "Electric Feel" (2007)

4. "Fade Into You" (1994)

5. "Bang a Gong (Get It On)" (1971)

6. "When a Man Loves a Woman" (1966)

7. "Use Me" (1972)

8. "Wicked Game" (1989)

9. "Darling Nikki" (1984)

10. "Let's Get It On" (1973)

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, October 27, 2014

Steelers-Colts Recap

Sunday's Pittsburgh Steelers-Indianapolis Colts game was really frustrating. You're probably thinking, Sean, you're a Steelers fan, what the heck are you smoking? The Steelers scored 51 points and defeated one of the best teams in the NFL rather handily. Sure, the defense gave up 34 points, but the Steelers constantly pressured and hit Andrew Luck, had two interceptions and overall, seemed to play well (outside of Cortez Allen). Plus, the offensive line allowed zero sacks despite Ben Roethlisberger attempting 49 passes and Le'Veon Bell rushed for more than 90 yards. So why frustrating? Well, how can a team that lost at home to a now 1-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers team, got crushed 31-10 at Cleveland and barely defeated a now 1-7 Jacksonville Jaguars team play so well? While we didn't expect the Steelers to play this well for the entire season, we certainly felt like they could particularly with so much talent on offense and more speed on defense. Frustrating.

Here are my quick thoughts about the game:

- Just before kickoff, I posted this on Twitter:

I received exactly zero replies. Sure, it's possible (okay, likely) that no one reads my tweets, but I think the mindset of most Steelers fans was that they would lose.

- So why didn't Steelers rookie WR Martavis Bryant play during the first six games? He looks like a legitimate NFL receiver. As I wrote back in May, he is the most successful Martavis in Steelers history!

- This Pick-6 was Gay.

- Andrew Luck is really hard to get down. It seemed like there were at least 5 times when a Steelers defensive player was in the process of tackling the Colts QB, but Luck was still able to throw the ball away or amazingly to a receiver.

- In the previous four games, the Colts defense gave up four 3rd down conversions. The Steelers were 8 for 13 in 3rd down efficiency on Sunday.

- Is there anyone who doesn't think Antonio Brown is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL? He currently leads the league in catches, is second in receiving yards and is tied for 4th (and alone in 2nd among wide receivers) in receiving touchdowns.

- Early in the 4th quarter, the Steelers were winning 42-34 when the Colts forced and recovered a LeGarrette Blount fumble. This truly could have been a turning point with the Colts poised to tie the game, but instead this happened:

While Benstonium went with the YMCA comparison, I prefer Men Without Hats.

Steelers-Ravens next week. Man, the AFC North is tough this year.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Video: All Cried Out

In the mid-1980s, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam with Full Force had a string of hits. One such song was All Cried Out.

I have no idea why, but I really like this song. Perhaps it was the back and forth vocals between Lisa Lisa and the male singer, who I always thought was Cult Jam. According to Wikipedia, Cult Jam was the band name and not the guy.

Lisa Lisa (born Lisa Velez, January 15, 1966) and her band Cult Jam are an urban contemporary band and one of first freestyle music groups to emerge from New York City in the 1980s. Cult Jam consisted of guitarist/bassist Alex "Spanador" Moseley, and drummer and keyboardist Mike Hughes. They were assembled and produced by Full Force.

So I guess we're left with an extra from Karate Kid singing that he's so sorry only for Lisa Lisa to reply apology not accepted.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fatherhood Update

You may remember back in April that I wrote about my second child arriving into this world. (This sentence makes it sound like Superman coming to Earth from Krypton. I'm okay with this!) Of course, you may not remember this since I've barely mentioned him on the blog. Now that "Pedro Tulowitzki" is 6 months old, let's take a look back on the past half year.

For the first month or two, I was convinced that my son hated me. Much of this was because I was not his mother and could only provide so much assistance and support. Apparently, he didn't value my ability to change diapers or rock him to sleep.

Ever since he could smile, things changed. I just love making him smile and laugh, and I have been rather successful in accomplishing this (well, at least the smiling part).

As much as I think that Pedro Tulo loves me, I'm no match for his older brother. Pedro Tulo LOVES his brother and thinks he is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Actually, he doesn't know anything about sliced bread, so the greatest thing since his own hands which he enjoys putting in his mouth.

I know I shouldn't do this, but occasionally, I'll let Pedro Tulo sleep on me. He should probably nap in his crib, but it's a nice feeling.

In the early months, I often gave Pedro Tulo the "last" bottle before bed and watched Game of Thrones during this time. I clearly deserve Father of the Year for letting my infant watch Game of Thrones.

I'm really looking forward to the days of sleeping in past 6:00. Yes, Pedro Tulo still does not sleep through the night.

On a related topic, sleeping like a baby is a stupid statement unless the individual means that he/she woke up once or twice during the night and didn't sleep well.

Pedro Tulo now has 5 first cousins (plus his brother) all under 3 & 1/2. He's going to have a lot of fun with them as he gets older. I sense some mischief in the future.

In 6 months, he has had 2 or 3 ear infections. I write 2 or 3 since the last one was either a 3rd ear infection or the 2nd one never fully went away despite the antibiotic.

Pedro Tulo - If you're reading this in the future (or even now), you have no idea why I'm referring to you as PT, but don't worry about that. You certainly let us know when you need something and are quite loud in letting us know this. However, when you are happy, you are truly very happy and have an infectious smile. You are loved so much. Now please sleep until 6:30 or 7:00 this weekend!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Peyton Manning Dresses Terribly

While much of the sports world is praising Peyton Manning today for breaking the NFL record for most career touchdown passes and for leading the Denver Broncos in an impressive win over the San Francisco 49ers, I find it necessary to bring up something no one wants to discuss. Why is Manning wearing a jersey tucked into jeans?

Is this how Peyton Manning dresses or was this the idea of someone at Papa John's? I also question wearing a black belt with an orange jersey and jeans. A brown belt may be more appropriate, though it might depend on the type of shoes he is wearing. A tucked in football jersey, jeans and black shoes doesn't seem like a good outfit.

This has been another edition of Sean on Fashion!

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Update: The video above doesn't seem to work anymore, so here's another Papa John's commercial showing Manning with his jersey tucked in.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Hacked Text Message?

Can someone hack into your cell phone and send text messages? I feel like the answer is probably yes, but I thought I would ask. The reason for this question is because I received the following text message from my wife last night:

Fico yep Kipp sorry physio tic i/o PO etc. Room do chi PC loo st by USK KY Kb boo PO Poll me see Dr deer VB NJ hi g hi TX zit shh sax fix h UK loo herb Kerri org fun NBA mi Ursa I

Just last week, I also received the following message from her:

Jjjkkmmmnyujnol N

Now the second one was definitely(?) from my older son. It's possible that the first one was also from one of my kids, but the spacing and the use of capital and lower-case letters makes this seem unlikely.

So should I be worried that someone hacked into my wife's cell phone?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Sweatpants

Picture it. Pittsburgh. 1992. I was a star player on my high school soccer team. On a late October evening, we had a rare match under the lights instead of the usual afternoon start time. With the temperatures dropping into the low 40s, either my school wanted us to look more like a team traveling to an away game or they actually worried about us freezing in our thin long-sleeve jerseys and shorts (or both). Therefore, they issued us sweatpants and sweatshirts from the track team. As a substitute, I wore these clothes on the bench for the entire game. Although we were supposed to return these cloths, I kept the sweatpants and still have them today.

Despite weighing about 125 pounds in high school, I received this pair of XL sweatpants. There was a drawstring inside that allowed me to tighten the waist, and they were slightly long. I took the sweatpants to college, with me when I moved to San Diego, to Columbus for grad school, and they stayed with me during each move in Northern Virginia. The drawstring is now long gone and there is a hole on the right leg, but they have always been dependable. Of course, I primarily wear pajama pants in the house during winter now, so I rarely if ever wear sweatpants. In addition, while the days of being 125 pounds are long gone, I've lost about 35 pounds from my all time high about 10 years ago, so the pants truly don't fit anymore. I basically keep them up through will power.

So after 22 years, it's time to say goodbye to these sweatpants. It's time to retire the old 109er. Thank you for making me feel like a superstar athlete and for keeping me warm.

This could be the first in a series tentatively titled "Goodbye Old Clothes." Once my infant clears the "spit-up" stage, I have a lot of T-shirts to go through.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fantasy Football Update

I know that you don't care about my fantasy football teams, but I wanted to share this anyway. Going into Monday night's San Francisco-St. Louis game, I needed a good night from the 49ers defense to win. When I fell asleep on the couch sometime during the 3rd quarter, things didn't look very good. With about 1 minute remaining in the game, Yahoo declared my opponent a 100% favorite.

Then, Dontae Johnson of the 49ers intercepted a pass, returned it for a touchdown, and made Yahoo change its mind.

While I'm very happy with the result, I would have been ecstatic if I was awake and watching this live.

Meanwhile, in the Pittsburgh Bloggers Fantasy Football League, I had a chance to avenge my championship tie defeat from last season in the craziest ending in fantasy football history. The result, another freakin' tie!

In my five leagues (that's less than last year!), I'm now 5-1, 4-2, 3-3, 2-3-1 & 0-6. I don't want to talk about that last league.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Urinating In The Shower For The Environment?

If you are one of those unusual people that follows higher education (like me), there are two places to go for news: The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed. Last week, Inside Higher Ed featured this amazing story: Is Urinating in the Shower the Next Big Green Idea? I was not expecting this in my higher education coverage. Anyway, here's the news:

Students at the University of East Anglia are encouraging their fellow students to skip their first trip to the toilet in the morning and to, instead, urinate in the shower, the BBC reported. The idea is to save water by avoiding the first flush of the day, and student materials (see below) suggest significant water savings could be achieved. Students are being encouraged to pledge their participation with the #gowiththeflow hashtag on Twitter.

Get these students a Nobel Prize! Unfortunately, not everyone is on board with this idea. The comments section, likely consisting of academic elite or at the very least better educated folks than your typical message board crowd, is incredible. Skip the California politics stuff and you get some wonderful opinions about urinating outside and washing yourself in the toilet to help the environment.

Personally, I think we need further study about this. Thoughts?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Taking Kids To High Holy Day Services

Yom Kippur ended nearly a week ago and Rosh Hashanah is now two weeks behind us. So, of course, I'm writing about the High Holy Days/High Holidays today. I'm all about timing.

Anyway, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are days of reflection, prayer, celebration (in the case of Rosh Hashanah) and atonement (in the case of Yom Kippur). Going to synagogue for these holidays/holy days is a bit more challenging with two children. Fortunately, the synagogue we attended included many families and services specifically geared towards kids. Unfortunately, if you (and by you I mean me) wanted some individual time for prayer, that wasn't going to happen.

This isn't going to be a religious post, so please don't leave just because of the topic. It's more about the experience going to synagogue for the high holidays with kids rather than, well, something else.

On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, we got to synagogue early compared to when the preschool service started. Almost immediately after we got our seats in the main sanctuary, our five-month old started crying. He exited the sanctuary leaving me alone with my 3 year-old son. Naturally, the 3-year old was a little restless though he enjoying playing with my tallit. (That line could sound dirty. A tallit, or tallis, is a prayer shawl. I'm not sure that makes it sound better. How about a picture of a Steelers tallis instead?)

It didn't take long until we exited the sanctuary to find the preschool service. The preschool service was outstanding with an energetic and patient teacher, and after a successful trip to the potty (for my 3 year-old, not me), we went back to the grown-up service. We entered during the Torah service and saw them carry the Torah around the room. Unfortunately, I quickly realized we came in during the end of the Torah service. We arrived just in time for...the Rabbi's sermon! While my kids might be fascinated by some prayers/songs, they weren't going go get anything out of the likely 15-minute sermon. It was more likely that they would distract others. We quickly left.

During the morning Yom Kippur service, we went straight to the kids' service. After that ended and with both kids occupied, I wanted to go into the main service for a few minutes. The room was packed, so I managed to squeeze into the middle of a row. About 2 minutes after I entered, the Rabbi called up two members of the present the annual appeal asking the congregation to give money to the synagogue! I was stuck. There was no way I could discretely sneak out, so I stayed and listened and hoped it would end quickly. When it did, I pushed (not literally) my way out.

I guess the morale of this story is that I'm not ready to take my kids to the main Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services. Maybe next year?

Friday, October 03, 2014

Fall For Fairfax 2014

One of my favorite events, the 22nd annual Fall for Fairfax, takes place this weekend at the Fairfax County Government Center. If you have young children (like me) through elementary school-aged kids, this is the event for you. First, it's free. Yes, there are some activities that cost money (ex. carnival rides, scarecrow making and pumpkin painting), but most of the event including kid-friendly entertainment on three stages is free. Personally, I'm excited to see my oldest son with the animals at the petting zoo and getting to climb on and see the fire and rescue vehicles.

Several years ago, the festival made the decision to extend this event from Saturday to an all-weekend event. With Yom Kippur on Saturday this year, the organizers made an excellent call. Otherwise, we would have had to miss Fall for Fairfax this year.

For more information about Fall for Fairfax, click here to visit the festival website.

In addition, feel free to go up to any of the festival staff and volunteers and tell them that you learned about the event through Sean's Ramblings!

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Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Pirates-Giants Wild Card Liveblog

This might be the first baseball live blog ever on Sean's Ramblings. Join us, and make sure that you are wearing black.

Live Blog Pirates-Giants Wild Card LiveBlog

Merchandising Merchandising

As a soccer referee (and probably every other type of referee), you are required to dress professionally. There is no room for individuality when you put on your yellow shirt and pull up your black socks with white stripes by your knees. Therefore, I was a little surprised when I received the October e-mail from the U.S. Soccer Federation ("USSF") Referee program including a link to Official Sports' Breast Cancer Awareness apparel page. The company is selling various products like wristbands and whistles so that referees can show support of Breast Cancer Awareness month with proceeds to be donated to Stand Up To Cancer.

While I applaud Official Sports for their efforts, I'm a little skeptical about how much will go to Stand Up To Cancer. For example, the wristbands below cost $3.95. Does the entire $3.95 get donated to Stand Up To Cancer or is it a certain percentage? I contacted Official Sports about this and will post the company's reply if I receive one.

I just hope this isn't a case of Official Sports promoting more merchandise!

Please note that I think USSF wouldn't be pleased if referees used a pink whistle or wore pink wristbands once Breast Cancer Awareness month ends. That wouldn't look professional.

Update! I received the following message back from Official Sports

Thank you for your email and inquiry. Official Sports donates 40% of the retail price to Stand Up 2 Cancer.

Is that an appropriate percentage?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Trivia Tuesday

Happy Tuesday everyone! I understand that you don't want a fancy introduction today; you just want your trivia. Here you go:

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

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

Monday, September 29, 2014


In the spring of 1992, George Herbert Walker Bush was President, the Pittsburgh Pirates were coming off of back-to-back National League East division championships and the Pittsburgh Penguins were about to win their second Stanley Cup title. Meanwhile, I was a high school junior and joined a NL-only/auction/keeper rotisserie baseball league with some friends. Please note that I wrote rotisserie baseball since there was no such thing as fantasy baseball back then.

At the time, we (and be we I mean someone else in the league that was not me) calculated stats by hand by looking through baseball box scores in the newspaper. I think we called the league Commissioner each week to make transactions. The entire league spread out for college but we still returned to Pittsburgh for live auction drafts and maintained correspondence by e-mail. We even hired a guy to do stats for us. It truly was exciting to get weekly e-mails with the standings.

After college, I moved to San Diego but stayed in the league. I wasn't able to attend the drafts, so I must have drafted by phone or via Instant Messenger.

Over the years, the league moved online to and then Sportsline until the company was bought out by CBS Sports (who still thinks Vance Worley pitches for the Minnesota Twins). With much of the league starting families, live drafts became more and more difficult. Now everything is online, and we can see stats updated live.

In my 23 years in this league, I never won. There were some near misses including losing on the final day of the season one year. I also made arguably the worst trade in league history when I traded Gary Sheffield at the beginning of a MVP-caliber season for Deion Sanders and an ancient Dale Murphy. Yes, this league has been around a long time. I also traded Benito Santiago for a can of Coke. Dave Clark was a regular fixture on my team during the 90s, and I once drafted Roberto Meija who I nicknamed Meija & fries since I thought fajita and Meija sounded similar and why wouldn't you want fries with a fajita?

Now, in the 23rd year, I can finally write that I've won the league. I'd like to thank Russell Martin, Freddie Freeman, Doug Fister, Jordan Zimmermann, Kyle Lohse, Miguel Montero, Eric Young (who the Mets never seemed to want to play), Matt Garza, Luis Valbuena, Addison Reed and even the injured Troy Tulowitzki and Pedro Alvarez for being on my team all season. Maybe the addition of Pedro Tulo to my family was the good luck charm.

I also mortgaged any type of future by trading cheap keepers (ex. Tanner Roark & Alfredo Simon), super prospects (ex. Andrew Heaney & Kris Bryant) and nearly all of my minor league draft picks (yes, this is a super-geeky league) for players like Ryan Howard, Ben Revere (who was awesome), Aroldis Chapman, Adam Wainwright, Kenley Jansen, Adrian Gonzalez and Madison Bumgarner (who I hope pitches horribly in the Wednesday wild card game against the Pirates).

If I created a bucket list, winning this league would certainly be on it. Well, I can now cross this off the list. Now, I'm going to go out and buy Yoo-Hoo just so I can pour it over my head to celebrate! And yes, I have no problem including this song to end this post.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Party Like Its 5774 (Happy Rosh Hashanah!)

With Rosh Hashanah and year 5775 starting Wednesday evening, party today by, um, watching these Rosh Hashanah related videos (and a bonus non-Rosh Hashanah video at the end).

This has to be the only Rosh Hashanah video featuring a guy wearing a Kelcie McCray Kansas City Chiefs jersey. Unless of course Kelcie McCray has his own video singing "All About That Rosh."

Ready to try the Honey Bucket Challenge?

Here's British Prime Minister David Cameron's Rosh Hashanah message. I noticed that he didn't thank the Jews in Scotland for voting against independence.

I see that President Barack Obama plays the friends with Elie Weisel card.

Not only does one of the guys in this video have a great voice, but he can also juggle apples. Now that's talent! He's like the Andrew McCutchen of acapella!

Finally, congratulations to the Pittsburgh Pirates on reaching the playoffs for a second consecutive year! Benstonium put together the Pirates radio call with the final outs. Let's Go Bucs!

Update: Here's one more video courtesy of Dejan Kovacevic, live in Atlanta last night.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Weekend Questions

1. Why would the Original Hot Dog on the University of Pittsburgh's campus show the Los Angeles Dodgers-Chicago Cubs baseball game on its televisions instead of the Pitt-Iowa football game?

2. Why would the Pitt book store not play the Pitt-Iowa game on the store's radio?

3. Why don't more Pennsylvania turnpike drivers have E-Z Pass?

4. Is it absurd that someone would refuse to have 2% milk with Lucky Charms cereal instead preferring to have skim milk with the cereal?

5. Is the sign "Want a job? Let's "Taco" 'bout it" at the Breezewood Taco Bell a clever way to attract potential new employees?

6. If Pedro Alvarez is healthy, would you put him on the Pirates postseason roster?

7. Is an advertisement on the PA turnpike featuring a picture of Yoko Ono with the question "Would you take energy advice from the woman that broke up The Beatles" effective?

While this isn't trivia, feel free to answer any of these questions in the comments section below.

Don't forget that you can always like Sean's Ramblings on Facebook.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Videos

This may be the first time in months (maybe this year?) where I posted five separate blog posts in five days. To celebrate, I have not one, not two, not four, but three videos for your Friday.

While a baby bear on a golf course playing with a flag is cool, I'd worry that Mama Bear isn't far away, so I'd get out of the area quickly.

A dog running into the water? Sure.

Finally, I always liked this Cake song (and video).