Friday, March 29, 2019

Walking Luigi

Luigi recently turned 18 months, and he celebrated this milestone (a few weeks later) by deciding that he was comfortable walking consistently on his own. Before this, he walked while holding someone’s hand, the couch, or by pushing his music cart around the house. Here is Luigi in action:

Both of his brothers didn’t start walking until around the 18-month mark, so there was no concern about him not walking until now. (There was concern among The Moose’s (the first child) parents when he wasn’t walking at this point.) As you can tell by the video, Luigi loves throwing things. Unfortunately, one of his favorite things to throw is food and his milk/water cups when he’s done with them. Otherwise, Luigi enjoys going to daycare and can easily nap 2+ hours there. On weekends at home, he may or may not nap at all, generally since he doesn’t seem to want to sleep while his brothers are also home playing (or making noise to ensure that Luigi won’t sleep).

Luigi’s favorite word is ball, and he often points at and says “Gee” when he sees Ziggy. He loves Ziggy.

The Moose (now 8!) loves making Luigi laugh, and Pedro Tulo (almost 5) can be really sweet like this morning when he gave Luigi multiple hugs before they left. Now that Luigi is on the move, I can see the three of them causing trouble together very soon.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Interview with Sean Leahy

Over 10 years ago, I wrote a post highlighting other blogs with "Sean" in the title. I'm sure that you're shocked that many are no longer in existence. With that written, I thought it would be fun to come back to this topic and turn Sean's Ramblings into Seans' Ramblings. How cool would it be to hear from other people named Sean like Sean "Diddy" Combs, Sean Connery, former Pittsburgh Pirate Sean Rodriguez, and others?

First up: Sean Leahy, NHL writer for NBC Sports. I've been a big fan of Sean's work from his time writing the Going Five Hole blog and then when he jumped to Yahoo's Puck Daddy. Here we go:

I guess my first question is how did you become a hockey writer? Did it start with Going Five Hole (one of my favorite hockey blogs and how I first saw your writing)? What is your background? Were you a hockey fan growing up? (Yes, I realize that this is more than one question.)

I originally had started a blog with a few friends with the idea we'd cover sports, pop culture, technology, and wrestling. Quickly my buddy and I realized our other friends who were going to take care of the non-sports stuff weren't going to contribute as much as they originally promised, so PopJocks became a sports blog. Eventually, my partner was going through grad school and preparing for his wedding, so his time was limited to work on the blog. More and more I started writing strictly hockey and then decided to create my own hockey-only blog, and that's how Going Five Hole was born in the fall of 2007.

I was always a hockey fan. With two older brothers, we played a lot of street hockey growing up on Long Island. I've always wanted to work in sports, but just didn't know what specific job I wanted to do. When I was getting Going Five Hole going, I was working a full-time job with a USL soccer team. Within a year, I was laid off from the soccer team and started writing more and more with Puck Daddy, which I started contributing to in its second day of existence in April 2008.

In my opinion, Yahoo’s Puck Daddy with Greg Wyshynski, you, and others was the preeminent place for hockey over a several year period. Can you share your experience at Yahoo?

Writing for Puck Daddy was such a fun time. Our editors let us do our thing and be creative and have fun while also covering the sport from all angles. It was cool to watch the site's popularity grow over the years and then explode really after Twitter became a huge part of our daily lives. The interaction with readers and doors being opened for us (ex: getting press credentials) really helped us make the site grow.

What happened to cause Puck Daddy to no longer exist? As I mentioned before, I thought it was one of the best places for hockey coverage anywhere.

Verizon purchased Yahoo in 2017 and they basically laid off thousands of people, including me and two others on the Puck Daddy staff after the 2016-17 NHL season. Wysh was only there another few months before leaving for ESPN. Puck Daddy wasn't going to be the same and he didn't have the desire to try and recreate it.

You’re now at NBC. What has been your role there?

I've been with NBC since October 2018 and I oversee four writers -- Joey Alfieri, Scott Billeck, Adam Gretz, and James O'Brien. I also do a lot of the behind the scenes stuff in regards to planning and scheduling and being a liaison to NBC HQ. I still write often each week, trying to find unique angles to stories like I did at Yahoo.

Since you’re with NBC, do you get to watch the filming of "The Good Place" or hang out with Hoda and Kathie Lee?

My requests to appear on "Men in Blazers" and "Law & Order SVU" have not been approved yet, but my fingers are still crossed.

What is the coolest thing you’ve been able to do or experience through your work as a hockey writer?

I've been able to play NHL2K11 against Ryan Kesler, hang out with Jim Craig and his "Miracle" gold medal, spend an hour chatting with Willie O'Ree, and drink water out of a giant Stanley Cup fountain in Times Square. There's been so many cool things I've been fortunate enough to experience over the last decade. I definitely feel lucky.

When not writing and covering hockey, what does Sean Leahy do for fun?

I love watching other sports like football, soccer and baseball. They're a good outlet for me to get away from the game for a bit. I also spend a lot of my summer reading books, catching up on plenty of non-fiction and biographies. Fishing is also a nice thing to do to get away. Grab a 12-pack and hope the fish are biting that day.

Finally, who do you think will win the Cup this year? Actually, a better question may be: Tampa or the field?

I had Tampa vs. Nashville before the season and I'm sticking to that. And even though picking the field might be the smarter bet, it's so hard to think of anyone beating the Lightning four times in seven games. They've only lost back-to-back games twice this season. They've come up short three times in the last four years. I think they finally get it done this June.

Thanks to Sean for taking the time to answer my questions. Please follow Sean on Twitter and read his work on NBC Sports.

Tampa Bay Lightning photo by Chris O'Meara of AP. Picture of Sean from his Twitter page.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Sexual Harassment Story

On Facebook last week (yes, I still use Facebook), two friends from different parts of my life shared a New York Times article about philanthropist and retired hedge fund founder Michael Steinhardt and accusations of a pattern of sexual harassment by him. Steinhardt denies the allegations. This story hits close to home for several reasons. My first job out of college was partially funded by Steinhardt's generosity, and his name was formally listed as part of the position title. I actually met Steinhardt briefly once when he visited San Diego State, and I played a quick game of foosball against him in a two-on-two match.

Meanwhile, one of the people prominently mentioned in the New York Times story is someone that I don't personally know, but we have several mutual Facebook friends. It turns out that we also went to the same college (nearly a decade apart) with the same major. She works for a non-profit organization, and has no reason to make up a story which could jeopardize her career and the relationship between the organization and a big donor. I believe her 100%. She bravely shared her story and has my support and the support of so many others.

I don't really have an ending to this post or anything else to add. I was shocked to see this story come across my timeline but maybe I shouldn't have been. Steinhardt has given millions of dollars to causes and organizations I support, but I and most others know nothing or little about him. It's just sad all around.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Sean's Ramblings Giveaway

Glasses and young children can be a dangerous mix. I don't know what it is, but all of my kids have grabbed my glasses off of my face as infants or toddlers. I guess it's a fun toy that they can reach pretty easily. While I've been fortunate that they have never broken my glasses (though they have bent my frames), my brother and brother-in-law weren't so lucky with my nieces and nephews. In each case, they had to take their glasses to an eye doctor to repair them. But what if there's an easier way to fix them?

Enter the Snapit EyeGlass Repair Kit, the easiest and quickest way to repair your spectacles. Simply drop the screw in the hinge, screw it down and snap the end off. Plus, it's much simpler and less expensive than giving up, throwing your glasses away, and buying a new pair!

I recently received the Snapit Eyeglass Repair Kit, and I hope that I never need it. However, with my kids, particularly 18-month old Luigi, it's nice to know that I have the kit since I'll probably need to use it sooner than later. You can also win your own repair kit by entering below. More information about this product is available on Amazon. Good luck!

Win A Snapit Glasses Repair Kit #7

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

2019 Celebrate Fairfax Headliners

I moved to Northern Virginia in August 2001 and got involved with the Celebrate Fairfax festival almost immediately. My first experience at Celebrate Fairfax was in 2002 as CHIP, the short-lived festival mascot.

I worked as a staff member in 2003 and 2004 before becoming a volunteer again in 2005. The 2005 festival was, um, interesting. Although I only helped out at an admissions gate for a 3-hour shift, many long-time volunteers, exhibitors, and even sponsors approached me while I walked around the site (as a civilian not a volunteer) to share their frustrations about the event. Fortunately, most of the people in attendance didn’t realize the chaos going on behind the scenes. One part of that year that everyone did notice was the inexplicable decision to have two headliners perform at the same time on two separate stages about 1500 feet away from each other. However, this poor decision led to one of my favorite Celebrate Fairfax moments. While Blue Oyster Cult performed on one stage, Better Than Ezra got a guy from the audience to come on stage to play a cowbell. Then, with the guy hitting the cowbell, the band performed a cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s (Don't Fear) The Reaper.

I mention this because Celebrate Fairfax announced its 2019 headliners featuring Better Than Ezra performing on Friday, June 7. I enjoyed seeing them perform in 2005, and imagine that the band is even better now having more years on stage. Here are a few Better Than Ezra songs that you may know.

Then, Smash Mouth will take the stage on Saturday, June 8. Smash Mouth is an interesting band. They had several massive hits in the late 1990s, but they seem best known lately for getting in Twitter fights with trolls and the Oakland A’s. The band also had this fun exchange with current Washington Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle last year. Anyway, I'm excited to see them, so count me in!

Sunday, June 9th features the third annual Sunday Brew!

More information about Celebrate Fairfax is available on the festival website. Tickets go on sale on April 1st.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Friday Video: Johnny Cash

When I went to Nashville as part of my hockey road trip a few years ago, I visited the Johnny Cash Museum. Even though I'm not much of a country fan, I highly recommend going if you're in Nashville. It's a very cool place. I've also shared before that I'm a Neil Diamond fan and even wrote about my extremely odd experience getting tickets for one of his concerts.

Despite visiting the Johnny Cash Museum and being a Neil Diamond fan, I never knew that Cash covered a Neil Diamond song. Enjoy his version of Solitary Man. (I also believe that Tom Petty is singing back-up on this.)

Thursday, March 07, 2019

My Luke Perry Story

Actor Luke Perry passed away earlier this week at the way-to-young age of 52. Perry is best known for his role as Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills 90210. The show debuted in October 1990 when I was in high school. I don't remember watching Beverly Hills 90210 very much, but the show was unavoidable, and the cast were seemingly everywhere.

While the show had high ratings, there was definitely some 90210 fatigue by the mid to late-90s. Sometime during the end of my college career, I saw the move The Fifth Element starring Bruce Willis in the theater. I believe that these were the opening credits.

At the sight of "and Luke Perry," there was a collective groan throughout the theater, followed by some laughter at the fact that so many people groaned. (This was at a time before IMDB where you didn't know the entire cast before the movie came out.) I think there was definitely some relief among much of the audience that Perry wasn't in the movie after the opening sequence.


Photo of Luke Perry in 2001 by Leslie Hassler/AP

(Of course since this blog is old, and apparently I have few blog ideas, I already wrote about this in 2010.)