Seven more #mazes.


Yeah.  I did 7 more.  They’re on Instagram.

1.

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I was in a #maze mood again. #1of7

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2.

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#Maze time again. ⌚ #2of7

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3.

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Gonna do a #maze? #3of7

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4.

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➡️ This #maze is #4of7.

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5.

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Can you complete #maze #5of7? ❔

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6.

7.

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This is #maze #7of7. ✍

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Hit me up with solutions in the comments, via email, or via social media.

☘ Flogging Molly, fights, fiddles, friends, family, folk, & fools… ☘


Had a great time last night at Stage AE for the Flogging Molly show!  It was a nice evening out, much closer to home than the last Flogging Molly show that we had to drive to Cleveland for, and we didn’t wait too long to buy tickets this time.  (Last time, we waited too long & it sold out!)  After arriving home from work, Bethany & I headed to Dormont Dogs for a nice quick meal.  (I had the Connecticut Ave. dog minus the onions, it was fantastic!)  We then battled and easily defeated the tunnel monster on the way to the north shore.

We got there early, because I’m generally OCD about getting to shows early.  We lined up outside behind the mob of green & black T-shirts peppered with the occasional tartan patterned kilt or someone who didn’t get the memo about wearing green to a Celtic punk rock show.  There were more people than I had expected.  It was windy, but not unbearable.  We were entertained by the 3 or 4 scalpers passing by asking for extra tickets.  One guy had his leg in some sort of brace or cast, and one guy was on a bike.  They mustn’t have scored any, because I didn’t see anyone selling them.

This was sadly the first time I’ve seen a show with the big room opened up.  I need to get to more shows down there.  (The 1st time I was there was to see Dethlehem and they were on the smaller bar stage.)  It’s a fantastic venue.  You have a nice view all around.  The only thing I’d change is having the floor slightly sloped… but then again I’m just short.  After getting a superficial pat-down at the door, we stopped & said hi to Jeff who was working & not setting any fires.  Then we made our way to the bar where I got a Killian’s Irish Red because I can’t really take too much Guinness.  The wife opted for water.  At a Flogging Molly show?  Water?  She must be the more responsible half.

We joined the pack of Yinzers crowding the merch table as we tried to get a look and get up front.  It was easy to see that the dude wasn’t taking orders from any other dudes… so my wife ordered our shirts and a patch once we squeezed our way to the front.  As I was getting a dollar out of my wallet to pop into the tip bucket, it fell into my beer.  So, dude got a soggy dollar & a dry dollar.  Sorry.  Not that sorry though.  You can still spend it.  I picked up a Devil Makes Three CD too.  I saw them online & liked what I heard.  I asked the merch guy which one he suggested.  He showed me the 1st album & the live one.  He seemed to indicate that the live one was a nice cross-section, so I went with that.

To the floor!  It was still relatively easy to make our way to the center & almost front of the floor.  Things were starting to pack in as we got there, it was pretty good timing & placement. We thought.  Bethany thought she smelled a skunk, and we were too far away from the obligatory dreadlock kid for it to be Patchouli & BO, so it was most likely the extremely pungent weed that we were smelling burning much later. (I bet area Taco Bell locations had a surge of customers after the show.) Our friend Laurel made a last-minute decision to come to the show, so she joined us right as the lights went down…

Brothers of Brazil | Stage AE (Pittsburgh, PA) 05/10/2012

Brothers of Brazil | Stage AE (Pittsburgh, PA) 05/10/2012

The Brothers of Brazil were up first.  Imagine a young Fred Schneider (or Michale Ian Black) on guitar and Billy Idol (or maybe even Johnny Rotten) on drums.  These dudes were quite interesting.  The guitar-work was amazing, & the drummer was quite the showman & very entertaining.  They had this weird samba punk rock vibe… it was odd.  I’d see them again.  I dunno if I’d buy an album.  It was fantastic that they opened & closed with a theme song.  I believe these dudes will do well for themselves.  I don’t think Bethany & Laurel were as amused as I was.

The Devil Makes Three | Stage AE (Pittsburgh, PA) 05/10/2012

The Devil Makes Three | Stage AE (Pittsburgh, PA) 05/10/2012

Up next was The Devil Makes Three.  The crowd stated getting a little more packed in, and a drunken kid beside me ruined the first 2 songs by slurredly “singing” loudly & off-key directly into my ear, until he decided that the crowd wasn’t as into it as he was, and muttered something about us being lame & pushing forward.  These dudes rocked quietly, but they play really well.  They have great melodies & harmonies… even though they were minus their regular bass player.  I have no idea what to call it. Is it folk? Alt country? Blues? Punk? It’s close-to-but-not bluegrass or rockabilly.  All I know is that I like it.  I’m gonna say if you like punk rock, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, or old folk or blues stuff… you ought to check these cats out.  They win the award for coolest guitars too.  Cooper McBean played a mean-looking old archtop with what I think was a P-90 mounted in it.  it looked like it had been left out in a sandstorm after someone dumped some paint-thinner on it.  I wanted it.  He mainly rocked the banjo & a tenor banjo.  The lyrics are great.  Check out this comic set to the lyrics of the song “The Bullet”.  I will see this band next time they’re in town!  Bethany really dug them too, being a country fan and all.  I think Laurel was trying to figure them out.

Well, we enjoyed the part of the set that wasn’t ruined by belligerent drunken meat-heads.  Starting at about the same time as The Devil Makes Three, the crowd directly behind us was swaying & getting rowdy.  Oh well, it’s a concert. We’re in the middle of the floor. That’s what happens. Until these testoster-tools behind us start arguing about something.  I heard something about touching or talking to a sister. I’m not sure. Maybe they were bumping into each other, maybe someone was trying to bump uglies. I was trying to pay attention to the blisteringly talented  band on stage. There was arguing, shoving, and a guy getting in the middle. Somebody’s “bro” got in the middle and then calmed things down.  Security was eying them and pointing flashlights from the ramps on the side, but apparently not responding.  Then everything was “cool” and it remained calm, for a song or two anyway.  All of a sudden I hear “oh my god!” and my wife is on the floor on her ass.  I pulled her up and swung around and yelled something to the effect of “Who the [expletive] knocked my wife on to the [expletive] floor?”  Two dudes larger than me in height and girth (one in a kilt as well as a drunken stupor) looked at me with an expression that can only be descried as “oh shit”.  I turned around to ask Bethany if she was OK.  She nodded.  I swung back around to the now large gap in the crowd surrounding the two sweaty ass-clowns and demanded that they apologize to Bethany. They did, looking like a dog that just took a dump on the living room floor, as security arrived to further scold them and ask me if Bethany was OK. Next time how about responding before a bystander gets knocked over?  I guess she saw one dingleberry trying to choke the other dingleberry as she got knocked down.  I would expect this kind of crap at a metal show, but for folk punk?  Way to uphold drunken Irish fighting stereotypes, McPotatoheads.  I don’t know if I would have punched those guys, or what… but apparently my tone of voice or the look on my face told them not to mess with me.  I thought security was going to drag me into it too as he was asking if Bethany was OK.  Later Laurel laughed as she said she thought I was going to swing & she’d end up jumping on the fat guy & throwing punches too.  Maybe we’re all a little too violent?

Finally, it was time for Flogging Molly!  Despite all of the drunken violence, the smell of burning leaves in the non-smoking venue, the guy in front of me repeatedly backing himself into my junk, getting sweat on me from the shirtless guy, and paying $12 for parking, we were having one hell of a great time!

Flogging Molly | Stage AE (Pittsburgh, PA) 05/10/2012

Flogging Molly | Stage AE (Pittsburgh, PA) 05/10/2012

If you’ve never seen Flogging Molly in action, I’m not sure how to describe it.  Seven people come on to the stage and sound like 70.  The crowd really started moving so I pushed Bethany & myself forward & off to the side as we lost Laurel with the first wave.  She found us not too long after that.  Dave King & company ripped through a bunch of hits & some stuff that they don’t regularly do live.  I remember it being a long set & how I liked every selection.  I could have watched them go for many more songs, even after the encore.  I can’t pick a favorite track, I like so many of them.  I really enjoyed “What’s Left of the Flag”, “If I Ever Leave This World Alive”, “Float”, & “The Son Never Shines (on Closed Doors)”, & of course “7 Deadly Sins”.  The inter-song banter keeps things light with songs that can have such heavy lyrical matter all the while to a happy beat.  You get the feeling that they’re all playing right from the heart.  You have this killer group of musicians that can probably between them master any instrument you might have lying around.  Dennis Casey has his hands full trying to compete with & leave room for all of the other instruments.  I was glad he got a spot for a guitar solo of sorts, in with the Guinness chug.  Every time I see a Celtic punk band, I get the urge to buy a Telecaster.  At any rate, Flogging Molly did not disappoint.  We’ll see them next time they’re in the ‘Burgh, Cleveland, or anywhere else nearby.  I know Bethany loved it, I think Laurel did too.  After the show, we ran into my cousin Patience.  Taste in awesome Irish music must run in the family.

☘☘☘☘☘☘

This is why we need epi-pens in schools!


Finally, some good food allergy related news from a school surrounding the use of epinephrine auto-injectors…

English: Adult (0.3mg) and pediatric (0.15mg) ...

Epi-Pens to the rescue!

I for one was growing tired of the tragic stories.  Jared Smyth and his school had an action plan, and it saved his life.  This is how all these types of stories should end!  Congratulations to all involved!  The kid himself, the school nurse, the parents, the administration, the hospital, and the media for covering good news.

Sadly, I can only find one source for the article, while there were a plethora for Ammaria Johnson & Katelyn Carlson.  More media outlets need to pick this up & run with it!  Get the word out there that having epi-pens in schools is a great thing!  Of course, it always helps to educate your child on not taking any food from others… but as evidenced, it’s not always that easy, and accidents do happen.

Another Food Allergy Tragedy: Ammaria Johnson


There are many posts out there already in the Food Allergy community about a tragedy involving a peanut allergy that happened only yesterday in Richmond Virginia.  I won’t rehash the details, but I would like to provide some links to articles that are worth reading:

I felt the need to post because we obviously need to reach beyond the Food Allergy community.  If you’re reading this, I ask you to reblog, repost, tweet, +1, post your thoughts about the situation, repost one or all of the above articles, tell your friends and neighbors… use social media and good old fashioned word of mouth to spread the word.

This issue is bigger than the bullying, bigger than the politics, bigger than “my kid needs his peanut butter sandwich”.

SCHOOLS NEED TO HAVE EPI-PENS ON SITE, AND NURSES, TEACHERS, STAFF MUST BE PERMITTED TO ADMINISTER THEM.

There is no longer an excuse for anything getting in the way of this.  This is not a single isolated incident kind of thing any longer.

From WTVR:

“She has an allergy action plan at the school,” said Pendleton, which authorizes the school to give her Benadryl during a reaction. “They didn’t do that,” she said.

At the beginning of this school year, the mother said she tried to give the clinical aid an Epipen for emergencies, but she was declined and told to keep it at home.

According to Chesterfield County School policy parents are supposed to provide the school medication for children with allergies.

This is unacceptable.

Write to your senator now.  Write all of your elected officials frequently.  Ask them to endorse a bill like this, or any bill that comes up on the issue.

Administering a dose of epinephrine is not a 100% guaranteed life-saver, but imagine if lifeguards in school pools were asked not to administer CPR for drowning children?  We sure as hell need to do something.

If it’s your thing, please pray for the family, the teachers, students, emergency responders, and medical staff involved.

What are you waiting for?  Read those articles, & re-post now!

EpiPens are portable epinephrine-dispensing de...

Epi-Pen

LIES ABOUT POTATO CHIPS


Today, I checked out a link on the Yahoo! site because it was simply titled “The Best Potato Chips“.  Well, I like potato chips… so I had to see what was up.  Well, the first annoying thing was that it said that there’s a list of 21 chips… but there are only 7 listen on the page… then the “Continue Reading…” link takes you to a slide show.  I hate slide show lists.  I want to see it all, right there in front of me, right away.  This isn’t a meeting, I don’t need a power point presentation.  These aren’t your vacation photos, I don’t need a slide show.

Turner Dairy | Chip DipThey did manage to recognize the awesome that is plain old ordinary Ruffles.  When I want to eat Turner’s chip dip, this is the chip that I must have.  Just ask anyone who works at the Rite Aid by my house.  I’m always there buying ruffles & Turner’s dip.  Really.  Just ask them…  “Is there a weird guy in here with crazy sideburns buying Turner’s Dip and Ruffles all the time?”  They’ll totally, be like “Yeah!”  I’m telling you.

As for the rest of this list though, it’s a lie.  Don’t believe it.  If the list had any credibility beyond being able to recognize the top of the line “ordinary” chip, it would have included Beer Chips or Snyder (of Berlin) Honey BBQ Chips.  There is just no excuse for these glaring omissions.  Shame on you, Shine From Yahoo!.  Shame on you.

BEER CHIPSI’ve written of Beer Chips before, here in my blog and at PittsburghBeat.com.  Why?  Because they’re awesome.  They’re next to impossible to put down.  I’m sure I could eat an entire bag without thinking about it, and probably have.  If we break them out when people are over, the bag disappears.  Kudos to the Beer Chips people on distribution, as I’ve seen them in places from Giant Eagle and Market District to Aldi.  You may have guessed that Beer Chips are chips somehow cooked with beer.  If you haven’t guessed this, then just stop reading, as all of this will be most likely lost on you anyway.  They’re sweet, they’re salty, and they do have a hint of a beer taste… but it’s ever so slight.  Of course, they also go great with a nice bottle of Yuengling, Straub, or Penn Pilsner in my experience.  Just writing this, I may have to stop at the store to get these next time I’m out.  They are that powerful.  I mean, I have beer in the ‘fridge, but how can I enjoy it now without Beer Chips?  I can’t.  That’s how.

Snyder of Berlin | Honey BBQ ChipsOn to the Snyder of Berlin Honey Bar-B-Q Potato Chips.  First off, I love honey BBQ in general.  Gooski’s Honey BBQ wings are one of my favorite foods ever.  You just  generally can’t go wrong with Honey BBQ.  I think my first experience with these was at camp.  They were out as a snack one night and I think I ate most of the bag.  I couldn’t stop.  Again, these have that incredible sweet/salty combination that is a win every time.  I know you can generally get them at most Sheetz locations, but it’s hit or miss if they’re there in Giant Eagle or wherever I happen to be grocery shopping.  If I see them, I just unconsciously grab them and only realize they’re in my hand or the grocery cart when I go to check out.  Now, one must beware of the Herr’s and Wise imitations.  Well, I don’t know who was really first… but for my own personal tastes, Snyder of Berlin is the standard Honey BBQ chip to which all others ought to be measured.  Actually, the Herr’s is an acceptable substitute if necessary, but the Wise ones are just inferior chips altogether.

Speaking of imitations, one of these days I need to get down to the Snyder of Berlin vs. Snyder’s of Hanover thing.  (There’s even a creepy Facebook group about the rift…) They each have that ominous and almost vindictive disclaimer on their packaging that they’re not associated with the other. Too weird.

Herr's | Ketchup ChipsThere are, of course, a few others worth mentioning…  Herr’s makes some bad-ass Ketchup flavored chips, some Salt & Pepper ones, and a bunch of other cool/weird flavors.  Utz makes a bunch of flavors and are quite decent chips.  (Is it “uhtz” or “ootz”?) Although, I see a “crab” flavor, and that scares me a little.  I may have to write to them about that.  Snyder of Berlin also has a ton of interesting varieties, another of my favorites being the kettle-cooked Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper chips.

You may thank me that you’re now more informed on the subject of the best potato chips than the average Shine From Yahoo! reader.  I’d be interested to see if you agree with me or if you’re just wrong.  Please feel free to talk about your favorites in the comments section!

Snowpocalypse / Snowmageddon / snOMG 2010 Photos


I got some photos from around the neighborhood Friday, yesterday, & this morning (Feb. 5th, 6th, & 7th 2010), so I thought I’d share.  Click the thumbnail to see the full size image, thanks to PhotoBucket.

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra @ Mellon Arena (Review)


You may have read my earlier posts about the seats for Star Wars: In Concert, and how complaining about them eventually translated into two free seats for yesterday afternoon’s Trans-Siberian Orchestra show.

Our seats were in the EI-2 section, row L.  We were ridiculously close to the stage and not so far up & to the side that we couldn’t appreciate the view.  I need to write to Mr. Scalzott again for providing the free tickets and hospitality of the arena.

I’ve got to say, this was an excellent show… and I’d love to go back if I can afford to next time they’re in town.  The TSO really knows how to put on an event.  The Star Wars: In Concert crew could learn a lesson from them in lighting, lasers, fog machines,  floating remote stages, hydraulics, and pyrotechnics.  Actually, they could learn a few lessons.  I can imagine a hybrid of the two that would be absolutely ridiculous.  Maybe I need to write to the TSO, John Williams, and George Lucas.  Ha ha ha.

A few things surprised me about the show…  I had no idea that there were vocals & power-ballady type songs, and that there  was a cohesive story for the most part.  I feel like it kept it entertaining for all types of people.  The narrator & vocalists were awesome.  Sadly my prior knowledge of the TSO consisted of an mp3 with an incorrect ID3 tag, mislabeling “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24” for “Carol of the Bells” (which it arguably is… along with “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”).

I had no idea that Alex Skolnick or the other guys from Savatage were associated with this.  Skolnick wrote articles for just about every guitar magazine that I ever picked up back when I was learning to play & read tab.  They made the show like a metal concert at times… I thought one guy in the front was going to have a heart attack and die when he threw metal with both hands as Alex was molesting the fretboard in front of him.  When the show reached it’s second half, they introduced some stuff from the new album, Night Castle.  I swear they snuck some Sabbath & Metallica riffs in there.  There was even an old-school 80’s-rock drum solo… and I think I loved the fact that old ladies were watching the solo in abject horror as much as I liked the spectacle itself.  They also had a girl playing the electric violin… I saw it more than I heard it… but it was visually pretty cool element, like the spinning keyboard.

I didn’t know that it had heavy religious overtones.  I mean, I knew it was a holiday concert… and I’m certainly not opposed to religious ideals.  I just didn’t know, and found it surprising… especially with tightly clothed women dancing like strippers in front of fire.  I think it’s cool that they can integrate the stuff, maybe some overzealous idiot out there got the message to loosen up a bit.  While they played a medley that included the melody of “Canon in D”, the girls were dancing scantily-clad on the stage… and I asked my wife Bethany if we had to call t “Canon in Double-D”.

Like I mentioned before, it being entertaining to everybody…  I mean everybody.  There were all kinds of people there… classes, ages, stereotypes, whatever group  you want to name, they were there (except maybe race… it was all crackers up in there).  I did see an extraordinarily high amount of mullets though.  I’m talking prize-winning specimens like the comb-over on top/hair down to my ass & the trimmed up top/pony tail in the back.

I can’t say anything negative about the show itself, the seats, or the arena… except (you knew it was coming) that I found the parking rate to be amusing.  By looking on the Arena website, it listed parking in the lot where we parked as $7, but it does note “Event parking rates differ for each Mellon Arena event. Check your event’s information page on this website for specific parking rates”.  The funny part is that it said nothing about parking on the event page other than the fact that no pre-sold parking would be available.  Parking was $15… more than double the normal rate, which is fine, but there was no prior indication.  I paid in mostly $1’s and even some quarters.

I hope the TSO and the Mellon Arena don’t mind if I share some crappy quality cell phone photos…