Sunday, July 31, 2011

Change of Address

Let it be known that I am moving out of my room this coming Friday. For all of you, this really means that my address is different. Please do not send anything to Larry's place. (Yes, he would most likely let me know, and I could stop buy to pick it up, but I don't really want to do that.).

In few weeks if you need to send me anything let me know and I can give you a new address.


I finally made it to the legendary Kennywood Amusement Park. After hearing a lot of great things about it, I am glad to report that it is a great place.

Around 10:30 yesterday Gwyn pulled up to the house, with her windows open yelling (which is unusual for her) "WE ARE GOING TO KENNYWOOD!!!!!!!!!" AAAAHHHHH!!!! KENNYWOOD!!!!!!" I knew I was in for a good day. We hit every major ride, and enjoyed all of them. We were expecting it to be really crowded given that it was a Saturday in the middle of the summer, but it was surprisingly calm. The longest we waited in line was 20 minutes.

Sorry I don't have any pictures. We knew that we were going to go on 'wet rides' so we were prepared. I only had my wallet, in a ziplock bag in my back pocket. Needless to say, I went under a waterfall and was thoroughly soaked. Given that it was hotter than I would have liked it, the water felt nice.

Over all I would place this park way above Silverwood, but don't worry Auntie Donna, nothing can touch the happiest place on earth. One of the surprising things about Kennywood was how relatively inexpensive it was. Especially the food. It is a great place to relax and enjoy the fun.

Favorite Ride: Phantom's Revenge or the Sky Rocket (the two steel roller coasters in the park, both were great)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I present to you: The Maple Long John

During the summer my lunch time options have revolved around simple sandwiches. 2 or 3 slices of meat (most of the time seasoned turkey), 1 or 2 slices of cheese (Colby Jack!), some mustard, on a piece of bread broken in half to form the two sides. This has been working great, honestly it has been working for the last year. Inspired by Brian at LM, I went out and got a sandwich Tupperware. It is exactly what you think it is. It is a plastic container in the shape of a piece of bread. Brian pointed out that you waste a lot of money and trash on plastic sandwich bags. I got my sandwich holder for about a dollar or two at Walmart.

Ok, I am digressing from my story. Most of the time I use Larry's bread, seeing as I only use 4 or 5 slices of bread every week. And Larry normally buys a bag every week, and only uses half of it. At one point we had 3 half loves of bread in our kitchen. This has become the one single thing that I eat of Larry's, everything else is separate. But for whatever reason he has stopped buying bread. So on Tuesday I realized that I had used the last piece of decent bread. Then I forgot to stop by the store... and I found myself Wednesday morning breadless. So I packed my lunch meat, cheese and mustard in to my bag and headed off to work. I stopped by a Giant Eagle in Greensburg to pick up the bread I needed.

I realized while I was there that this was the very first time I had been in a Giant Eagle before noon. Ever. And I walked past the bakery section, and out of curiosity I had to stop and look at the Donut options....

Their so called "Maple Long John"
... And there it was. The closest thing to a Maple Bar I have seen outside of the west coast. On the donut rack there was a prominent display of Chocolate Long Johns, and 4 or 5 'maple' ones underneath. For the sake of science I had to get one.

For those of you who think this is a silly thing to be posting about, it is not. This is amazing. This cultural distinction of the Pacific Northwest fascinates me. Even more than how people get their panties in a wad about Pop or Soda (we called it both... or as Chelsea taught me 'bolth'), Even more than 5 Guys vs In-n-Out. Even more than Creek and Creek (it is creek, not crick). This anomaly gets me. I became aware of this when I was describing Donut Parade to Bill in college. I was telling him that Russ, one of his friends and I polished off a dozen super fresh Maple Bars. For you people in Spokane, if you have not been here, you should make it a point sometime soon, it as amazing. Back to the story, Bill looked at me funny and said: "What is a Maple Bar?" This question seemed so out of place. That was like asking what is a snickers bar? Or what is a Banana Split? Maple Bars are ubiquitous in Spokane. I would argue that 1/3 of Donut sales in Spokane are Maple Bars. Bill really had no idea of what I was talking about. Through an amusing discussion for both of us, we determined that in Kansas City, a donut most similar to a Maple Bar was a Long John. It was distinctly different in that Long Johns have Chocolate Frosting, and are often filled with cream. When I told him that what he was describing would be called a Chocolate Maple bar in Spokane, and that it would never be filled, he laughed at me. Eventually Bill did go to Donut Parade with his parents (who had never had a maple bar before either) and it became a family tradition from then on out: whenever Bill's parents were in town they would all go to Donut Parade.

So this factoid subsided. I just assumed that Kansas City was weird. But then one day, 3 years later at Lockheed, Jordan and I were talking about Spudnuts a local donut shop in Richland, when Mike over heard us talking about how good their Maple Bars were. Mike, a Michigan native, asked what a Maple bar was, and honestly thought we were pulling his leg. At that point I did a little research, aka a Wikipedia search, and found out that Maple Bars are unique to the Pacific Northwest. Yes, Yes, they have flooded in to California, but they just copy everything we do anyway.... This blew my mind. I had no idea that we were so special! I don't know how the rest of the US lives with themselves without the glorious Maple Bar. It is always great when describing what a Maple Bar is to someone to let them know that they can be served with Chili according to the Spokane School lunch system for the past 50 years.

Note: If you search for Maple Bars on Wikipedia now, you will get a very short 2 line page saying they are a donut. It used to have a lot more information about the Maple Bar, including a reference to Voodoo Donut in Portland, but since the WikiNazis have cleansed the page of anything interesting.

Oh! And as for the actual donut that I ate yesterday. It was fine. It was a little weird that it had filling inside of it. This kind of over powered the maple taste. Thinking back, I don't really remember eating that many donuts... I would say once a month or so I would end up eating one. Like at coffee after church, or vendors would bring them to LM when trying to sell us something.... But I did not expect that I would miss a Maple Bar as much as I did. It was a good substitute, but nothing can beat Donut Parade's Maple Bars. The rest of the world does not know what they are missing.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday Top Five: T-Shirt Designs

Thanks to my mother again, this weeks Tuesday Top Five will be covering my favorite shirt designs that I have made. Possibly next week, Ill do my favorite shirts... You all know how much I love my shirts.

"Scott's Top 5 Favorite T-Shirt Creations"
1) I Support James Bronder and His Cause. (47 shirts)

What started out as a joke, lead to one of the most iconic images of the graduating class of 2009 from the Gonzaga School of Engineering. While standing around one day, James made a self-defacing comment to the affect of: "Fine, why don't you all go around wearing shirts that say: 'I support James and his cause.' " So we did. It started as a joke among the 6 of us (Alana, Jamie, Dannica, Bill, Jake and myself), but then Jamie asked if we should tell the other engineers about it. To which I said 'Heck Yes!' So All in all 47 of us got shirts with James' image emblazoned on the back. We all wore them on the same day. He never saw it coming. From our senior year, there have been a number of 'I still Support James Bronder and His Cause' photo albums on face book, mostly supported by Jason (on of James' old roommates). The best is when wearing this shirt, and you are around James, and someone asks you about it. That is the best.

2) Hogle Clan, Christmas 2010 (12 shirts)

I guess due to secrecy, I never did talk about this around Christmas time. While doing my Christmas shopping, I headed down to CommonWealth Press, possibly my single favorite, non food business local to PGH. When I was there, I was standing around waiting for a shirt to be printed (yep, if you want a shirt, and they are out of stock, they will just print it, right there for you...) and Chris, one of the guys in charge of the shop started talking to be about a shirt design. Well I hung around for a while and talked with him about the whole process, from Photoshop to Screen burning to washing to the actual printing. It was one of the coolest unplanned events of December. Anyway, Chris made the comment that they live on word of mouth and custom orders... that got me thinking.... hhhmmmm... I like shirts. I like designing shirts... I should talk to Grandma about this. So Gummi and I planned and schemed and came up with an idea as a gift for the whole family. So this design was born. There is something for everyone of the Hogle-Tomlinson-Griffith clan in this crest, everyone is represented at least once. Even Cassie and Caleb. I really do like how it turned out, and I think there may have to be more in the future.

3) CJM Recycle Shirt (20-30 shirts.... I don't know)

I was 'commissioned' to make this shirt by Grandma or Gramps, I don't really remember, but we were looking for a design for the California Junior Miss (CJM) production shirts. The theme was 'Going Green' or something like that, so we wanted a good recycle image... and being production we had to include Earl! It should be noted that my design was hijacked by Gramps. The actual print of the shirt also includes a 'SG' on the bumper of the truck, something about giving credit where credit is due... I don't know what he was talking about.  

4) Twohy Hall (40-60 Sweatshirts)
This was my first mass produced shirt design. There was a little competition to see who could come up with the best design for our hall Freshman year. Alex (my roommate) and I brainstormed and based off of one of my Flogging Molly shirts, that was based off of a Guinness logo, I came up with this. Jake did the signature for me. I ended up winning... but I don't really think anyone else tried, so that is not really all that impressive. What is interesting to me is that the administration either didn't care, or didn't notice that there was a blatant alcohol reference.

5) GU Whitewater Club
I don't know if this was ever made in to a shirt, but it could have been. I made this freshman year as well as the above Twohy Hall shirt. Alex, my roommate, was setting up the newly created Gonzaga Whitewater Club. He asked if I could make a logo for him. This was my first jump in to the 'crest' idea (one that I really like.... but need to develop a little). I am not really overly attached to this, but I was impressed with how it turned out, a little surprising for me. I don't know if it was ever made in to a shirt, but it was used by Alex a lot for the Club.

Come back next week, same time, for more top 5 picks from yours truly. If you want to contribute, let me know what top 5 things you want to know!

Super Hero Movies: Comic Books for a New Age

When I was a little kid, I didn't have that much exposure to comic books. I did have a few of my dad's old books, and I remember a Comic Shop on Division where Dad and I would go before Scout Meetings. But needless to say I did not really get in to comics.

I don't know if it is a result of my lack of exposure, or if everyone likes them, but I love super hero movies. I love the notion that a simple person can be imbued with great power. I love the moral struggles. I love the predictable love story. I love the action, the suspense. It is all great. This enjoyment, I think, is rooted in the old notion of a 'hero.' We love them, everything about them. These re-hashing of old stories, and use of characters who have been around for 60+ years, is bringing the romantic vision of the 'Super Hero' to the modern age, for people like me. Those of us who knew who Wolverine and Batman were, but only because they were pop culture icons. We might have seen them on Saturday morning cartoons, but really were not steeped in the medium at a young age. Now we get to see their story, we get to experience the genesis and we get to watch them battle their nemesis.

In my family, it has often been noted that my source of love for cinematic adventure was not from my parents. They both enjoy a movie every once in a while, but rarely will they ever watch a movie twice (something I started early on as a kid, watching every rented movie at least twice before we returned it). I think this points to the above idea of a shift in narrative medium. My father had models of Nazi tanks he would blow up, I had video games where I would blow up Nazi tanks (well, I guess my father had... well still has games like this). My father would watch variety shows on the one station they got, I surf around on YouTube. He had comic books, I have Super Hero Movies.

You may be wondering why I am writing about this. I saw Captain America: The First Avenger last night. First off: it was great. I highly suggest it. I think that going in to the show, I knew more about why Captain America existed, than actually anything about Captain America. The idea of the quintessential American Hero, the benign propaganda against Axis forces, the do-gooder. I was expecting that. And they captured it perfectly. It is a part time-period piece, part super hero science fiction, part war movie and part super hero narrative. The general feeling of the film was that of an old black and white mixed with a comic, similar to that of Watchmen and 300. With a number of parts reminding me of Band of Brothers. The science fiction aspect of the story was a little absurd looking back, but it reminded me of the alternate history in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and more recently Sucker Punch, a wildly romanticized technological steam-punk-esque world where you can have lasers and jet propulsion in the 1940's. Other than one particular spot (the lame romantic kiss right before Cap. Amer. saves the entire world) I thought the acting was spot on. Again, great movie.

I think one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much was because it reminded me of my Dad (man, I am talking a lot about you in this post ;). The general setting, the style, it just reminded me of all of the war movies that I have watched with him.

And now I find myself super excited about the up coming Avengers film. Marvel studios have done a great job in introducing us to the main characters. They have set the scene, and given 'creation accounts.' And now they are free to do what Stan Lee did, just have fun with the Characters. I am stoked. I don't care what people say about the movie industry, and their lack of original material, I am looking forward to this ride.

Oh, and a side note: I can't be too great full to the movie industry. I found out today, reading through the IMDB page for Captain America that they wanted to have a cameo of Wolverine and Magneto (as they were around in the late 40s), and they would have been in the 'Marvel Universe.' But turns out there were 'Rights Issues.' LAME. Really guys? You are not going to play along with each other?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hot, Hot Heat (And some new places...)

You may remember Jimmy McMillan from last fall. I saw this picture online last week, and could not help but laughing:
Yes, Pittsburgh is part of the many cities on the East Coast that is affected by this ridiculous heat wave. More things to note about this: Sweaty Walls. Gross. Sticky Furniture. Gross Gross.

If you are a Honda Civic driver (Jamie!) you may have received a notice that there is a recall on the air bags in Honda Civics from 2001-2008 (or something like that). I received one of these notices, and took my car in to the service shop on Friday. When I dropped it off, the car was not in 100% tip-top shape. The Maintenance light was one (I have a feeling that the oil change people did something to it). The front, passenger head light was out. And the Mini Spaceship was dirty. I told the guy there, that I knew about the head light, and that he should not worry about it, and I told him about the maintenance light and asked if he could look at it. I also asked about how long it would take. He told me 2-4 hours. So I headed out for breakfast (more about that later). I was then walking to a coffee place to hang out, when I got a call from them. My car was done. And it was only 45 minutes after I walked out of the shop. Nice! Then when I got back to the shop, he told me that the air bag was good to go, the light was nothing to worry about and reset, and that the head light was replaced. This last point I rolled my eyes ( not actually, but in my head), as I had expected they would try to do this, and had attempted to clarify that I didn't want them to do it. The mechanic then told me that it would be $20, and that he knew that I asked them not to fix it, and if it was a problem, that he would take it off my bill. Turns out headlights for my car run around $15-$20 and the headlight assembly on the passenger's side requires you to take the battery out to replace it. So it was a deal for me in the end. They also washed my car. I was highly impressed, and rather happy as I went about my friday.

So this weekend was a great weekend for new food for me. It started with Friday morning brunch/breakfast while waiting for the car. I walked down to Ritter's Diner, a dinner noted by Pittsburghers for being an always open, greasy, sketch place, that was well worth visiting. And turns out all of the above were correct. Well, it was not that sketchy... but it was really solid diner food. I enjoyed a mushroom Omelet. It was a great way to start a Friday.

That night, the YadGrad group went to Presbyterian Night At PNC park! I was kind of expecting it to be a bigger deal than it was, there was not really any acknowledgement at all... but it was still a lot of fun. I finally brought my Jolly Roger to a game. Next time I am bringing a stick to tie it to, as to aid in waving it. Our seats were in the outfield box, all the way in the back. It was perfect. We were out of the rain (which it did the whole game), but we still had a good view, and the food was right behind us. Chicken Nachos are becoming my favorite baseball food. To rally for support, as we were entering the 9th inning, and behind by two, they played this (paraphrased) clip from Pirates of the Caribbean:

Man, what an epic way to enter the end of a game. The crowd went nuts. It was great. And then we lost. So no amount of Keira Knightley and epic overture will save a baseball game But it was still a lot of fun. And I got a free shirt!

Saturday, in the food realm, I had dinner with Jackie at La Feria an amazing Peruvian restaurant. I think it was my first 'Peruvian' experience, I don't really know... but it was great! I would certainly go there again. I had some Pollo dish, a pile of homemade cheese (resembled cottage cheese, but not as lumpy) with a super tasty grilled chicken breast, covered in a pesto-like sauce with rice and house salad (which was amazing). All of it was very good. And the company was wonderful as well.

Then after church on Sunday, Gwyn, Jackie and myself went to Pittsburgh Deli Company, a sandwich shop in Shadyside (aka where I will be living in a month or so). Jackie called it the land of $8 sandwiches. Basically all of their menu items are $8. And what I had (a jerk chicken pannini) was amazing. I am certainly going back there with Skanda to finally break him in to Reuben land.

We also happened to break in Gwyn's new Carcassone... she got the newer 10th anniversary edition (like the one my parents have). It was a great afternoon, lots of laughing. Lots of Sandwiches. Lots of Diet Pepsi.

Other than that, I have been working hard on the Bohnanza game. Yesterday I think I finished the Host/Client game set up negotiation. I am now a socket master, and have started to work on my SwingWorker.doInBackground skills. All of it is going well, and I am learning a ton!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I am a broken record: Humidity

I know. I know... you have all heard this complaint from me, and I am sure you are tired of hearing it...

But this is ridiculous. I walked outside of the house today, at 6:40, to have my glasses fog up. Those who wear glasses are used to this. In the Winter. When walking Inside. You know when you are outside, in the cold (freezing, which with it comes dryness), for an extended amount of time and walk in to a warm, potentially humid place, your glasses fog up for about 10-15 seconds. In this time, you have to worry about walking in to something, so most of the time you just stop moving, kind of freeze in place (to the amusement of those without glasses around you). This would always happen to me walking in to the Starbucks on Forbes Ave in Oakland. Always. Without fail.

Well today it is humid enough, and hot enough that this happened to me going outside. Larry does keep it really cold inside of the house, almost uncomfortably cold... like ice box cold. And this morning was no different. But the fog on my glasses surprised me enough to think that it was really really fogy, like southern-California-can't-see-more-than-a-few-inches-in-front-of-you fog. Then I realized that it was just my glasses... and then I audibly said: "You have got to be kidding me..."

Today's high is supposed to be 95. I remember hearing 95 back home and thinking: "Ok, well I will just stay away from direct sun light, and keep outdoor activity to a low." Here that means that as soon as you walk outside you start sweating, instantly. And the thing that kills me, and really messes with my senses, is that the shade does nothing here. You can be standing in the sun or you can be standing in the shade and it is still crazy hot. The 'heat index' today is said to be between 105 and 114. Gross.

Another really interesting thing is the haze. It is not quite fog. Fog normally does not happen in the middle of the day. It is kind of like you want to take a towel and wipe down the air so that you can see better. (Oh, wait... that might just be my glasses...). It makes for a surreal drive to and from work, where the layers of trees are very pronounced, they are almost like flats in a stage production, where you can see in three dimensions, but everything looks like two dimensional planes.

I can't wait for a nice, cool summer evening on out back porch back in Spokane.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Shadyside YadGrad Shirt

I was commissioned by Jeff a few weeks ago to design a shirt for the YadGrad group. I wanted to do a Pittsburgh themed shirt, some thing that was iconic and local. We toyed around with bridges, we looked at sports teams... all of this seemed a little too clique. But then somewhere (I don't remember who suggested this) the idea of tipping a hat to the Church Brew Works logo was put forward. For those of you who do not know what it looks like, or have nor seen it in a while, here you are:

Courtesy of The Church Brew Works.
I am rather pleased with how this one turned out:

Imagine that, smack dab on your chest...
So if you want one of these fancy shirts, I can get you one. But you have to let me know soon (like in the next week, as we will be printing them soon). We are going to print these on ringspun cotton, and are even going to include ladies fitted shirts!

Many of you have seen my past T shirt designs (I think I am up to 7 or 8... I don't remember), but really my first widely used one was for my freshman door, Twohy Hall. That one was also inspired by a beer company, that time Guinness. I think I may have a niche.

Also a side note, I have officially run out of space in my picasa web album. This is where I upload pictures to post on my blog. I know there are some pictures in there that I have not posted, and thus should get rid of them, but I need to find a better solution, and soon! So sorry for the poor quality images for the next little bit, Picasa does not care if the uploaded images are less than 800 x 800 pixels.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuesday Top Five: Fashion Trends

Thanks to my mother, this weeks Double Feature (With Pictures!) Tuesday Top Five:

"Scott's Top 5 Worst and Best Current Fashion Trends"

I think that I should preface this with something that most of you know... I don't do fashion very well. My wardrobe consists of three primary items: 1st Keens (or more and more my Finger Shoes), 2nd Dickies (either Charcoal, Black, Khaki, Red, or Navy) and a T Shirt (if you are going by probability, most likely black). I don't branch out for a number of reasons, mainly I think it is silly to buy clothes if you already have a closet full of them. And the clothes that I wear happen to last for a long time. This all being said, I give the following as my personal opinion that I think is essentially flawed, so don't take this too seriously. Oh... and don't even get me started on my view of hair.

Also, the photos are not mine. They are the parties who they belong to.

"The Worst (aka Don't do this)"

1) Uggs and Short Skirts/Short Shorts
Never a good idea.
I just threw up a little in my mouth writing that title. I don't think this is as big of a thing now, but I still see it occasionally. For those of you who do not know: Uggs are soft sheepskin 'boots' that became popular in the 2000's. Women occasionally would pair these boots with short skirts, or short shorts. I understand that Uggs are hard shoes to dress with... just like clown shoes are. But you can not seriously think that looks attractive, and I know it is not comfortable. The combination of a liberal covering of the ankles and bottom of the shin, put up against the bare skin from there to the upper thigh is just wrong. On a matter of practicality it is off as well, you are going to have sweaty feet, or have really cold legs.

2) Low Pants.
Stop the Sag.
This is a two-fer. First: baggy pants, most notably associated with the 'urban youth.' This epidemic is raging fiercely in Pittsburgh. Apparently this is called sagging. My favorite sighting: A guy with pants really low, wearing boxers that were also a little low, with something else (briefs? other boxers? b-briefs?) under those. He was wearing underwear for his underwear. This is a fashion I just don't get, it looks uncomfortable, you always have to hold your pants up... I feel as though if I ever get mugged I am just going to pants the guy and run away. On a side note, I am a little amazed at the gravity defying nature of the fashion. When I see a guy crossing the street with pants closer to his knees than his waist, I am kind of expecting them to fall, and am always amazed when they do not.

*I want to keep my blog free of trashy pictures.*
*Thus I am not posting a picture of this...*

Second: Tight Pants. I am making a point on this one to clarify: I am not being gender specific, this goes for both guys and girls. If the rest of the world can see what color your underwear is... from their peripheral vision, it is time to buy either bigger pants, or better cut pants. Also, if you have to keep hiking them up, that is just drawing attention to your situation. Girls, if you think it is attractive to show off your bum, we already have a name for that, it has been around for a while: Plumbers Butt.
3) Fashion Frames
That is not a real pipe either...
Cory, yes, you Cory, are the first person to introduce me to the horrible thing that you called 'fashion frames.' This 'accessory' has become very popular with the Hippster culture and other alternative 'fashion.' All of a sudden it became cool to have glasses, especially big, black, rimmed ones. People will get prescription-less glasses as accessories to their 'ironic' outfits. Hey, Jerks! There are some of us who have to wear glasses. We don't have a choice in the matter. It is not like we can decide that we are going to go with a different prevailing trend that rejects glasses... we are still going to be wearing glasses. Because we have to. If your body is messed up, and you cannot see without glasses sure, go for it, you can accessorize with your glasses. But if you don't need glasses... that is just slapping the rest of us in the face. Occasionally I don't like walking, but that does not mean I am going to start using a wheelchair to get around because it is convenient.

4) Socks with Keens (or Tevas)
You are doing it wrong.
Dad, I am sorry but you occasionally fall in to this category. I see this the most with middle aged and up men, who are trying to be outdoors-y but need to keep it classy due to monkey-suit culture. Church is great for seeing these guys. Polo. Check. Dockers. Check. Brown Belt. Check. Brown Socks. Check. Brown Keens. ..... No... not ok. Put on brown loafers. Sandals we meant to be worn without socks, let your feet be free. Socks are meant to be worn inside of shoes, they don't like being looked at.

5) Fauxhawks
Even though this is one of my favorite actors... not ok.
I know some would argue that this is not 'fashion' but style, but I am going to group it in. For the record, a Fauxhawk would be styling medium length hair in to a fan on the top of the head. This looks similar to a Mohawk, but the shaving, or cutting of the hair on the side of the head is not required. Having a fauxhawk does not make you cool. It makes you look like you are trying to be cool, but are failing at it. If you want a Mohawk, get a Mohawk. Anything less just makes you look like a poser that is not willing to make the commitment to the hair style. This falls in line with tattoo sleeves (I mean the cloth ones... not real tattoos), clip on piercings and the dreaded hair extension.

"The Best (aka. We Need More of This)"
1) Suspenders
Pretty much what I look like in suspenders... all tan and skinny.
Belts are useful, but suspenders are one of the greatest clothing inventions known to man. And it makes me sad that they have fallen out of fashion. Don't worry, I now have two pairs (serious ones... not my Santa ones or my Red Lumber Jack ones) and I wear them as often as I can find a reason to. I have keep them very strictly to the 'dress' clothes. I have not attempted to wear them casually... yet. There really are two types of men in the world, Men who wear suspenders because they know they are great, and Men who will eventually find out this truth.
2) Bow Ties
Ok, this is mine.
As has been recently posted about, I have entered the bow tie world headfirst. There is something refined about a bow tie. I know that in the south this is far more commonplace, but the rest of America needs to get with the program. You you have to wear a tie, you always have the option of a bow tie. Don't get me wrong, I love normal neck ties, but a Bow tie, there is something else. Yes, it takes significantly more skill to tie, but hey, you will stand out.

3) Comfortable Shorts
It should be noted that a shirt can be worn...
I have already stated that I enjoy shorts. This is not a call to action for that... I would like to point out a fashion for women that is often over looked, possibly just on the grounds that it is counter to the normal: Comfortable shorts. I have heard a lot of girls say that shorts are uncomfortable because they are too short... Mine are not too short, and I know that they make girls shorts that fit well, yet are knee length. I don't really have anything against short-shorts and I don't have anything against Capris or longer-than-shorts-but-not-pants pants. But normal, knee length shorts can look good, and be comfortable for girls too!

4) Bright Colors
That is orange...
I remember on Super Bowl Sunday I saw Randy wearing a very bright yellow dress shirt with a black tie. I thought to myself... "Hey, I could do that..." I think that the next time I have to go buy shirts, I am going to invest in a few brighter colored ones. Especially ones that can go with my vast array of red and blue ties (at the moment I don't really have any shirts to wear with them. This may be due to the general darkness of my clothes, either black or gray... or it could be inspired by Andy from The Office... 
5) Modern Interpretations of Traditional Clothing
Also what I look like when I wear my kilt...
I think we need to have more modern interpretations of traditional clothing. The utilikilt is simply the start of what I am thinking of. There are so many styles and outfits that are great, but people shy away from them because they seem out of place. I think we need modern twists on great and iconic garments. I would totally wear lederhosen (to be honest traditional or modern...), kimonos, corsets, buckles and breaches, tri-point hats... These things are so impressive, yes have fallen to antiquity. Instead of making new fashions, I think we should start re-interpreting old fashion.

Pizza Mac

On Saturday, Gwyn and I were discussing what we should do for dinner, when she threw out the option of Mac and Cheese. We then decided that we needed to dress it up a bit to make it a full fledged dinner. And Pizza Mac was born:

Pizza Mac

Prep time: Aprox 10 minutes
Cook time: Aprox 30 minutes

Serves 2-3

1 box of Mac and Cheese (any verity will do)
1 Bell Pepper
4-6 White Mushrooms
1 Package of Pepperoni
1 can pizza sauce
2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese (you can splurge and get the Mozzarella/Provolone mix if you want)

Pre Heat oven to 375

Prepare the Mac and Cheese as it says on the box. Due to the baking process, cook the pasta a little less than you normally would.

While making Mac and Cheese, chop up Pepper and Mushrooms. Saute in oil and whatever spices you want.

In the pot you made the Mac and Cheese in, add the peppers and mushrooms, then some pepperoni. You may want to cut up the pepperoni at this point as it tends to clump if just thrown in in slices. Add a little less than half of the cheese. Stir this until everything is distributed.

In a pam-ed (greased) large casserole dish, pour in Mac and Cheese mixture. Pour some pizza sauce over mixture. We used about a half of the can (so guessing, 6-10 oz). Cover sauce with a layer of pepperoni, and cover with the rest of the cheese.

Bake for 10-20 minutes, until cheese just starts to brown and juice bubbles.
See... Browning and Bubbling.
Soupy, cheesy goodness...
Chelsea, I am aware that this is similar to Nacheeto... but this is better.

Hey! This is a great one for people who are not the most experienced... Chris... Caleb.. I am looking at you. Also this can easily be made vegetarian by leaving out the pepperoni.

The Monster that Almost ate Pittsburgh

This really is not Pittsburgh. Well, not Pittsburgh as I knew it.

The summer has brought two main weather patterns: Heat and Rainy Thunderstorms. The heat is crazy, it has been between 85 and 95 for the past few days. In Spokane, 85 sounds like an ok summer day. Here you never stop sweating... I really miss that awesome cooling feeling when you walk in to the shade. And evenings will never be the same. But this is me being a broken record.

Yesterday there were thunderstorm warnings all across West Moreland and Allegheny counties. On my way home (around 4:00) I got to about 10 minutes away from home, when the sky turned black, and the rain started. The rain here is something else. I am sure there are other places in the world where it rains more, but this was still ridiculous. Traffic was slowed to 10 mph everywhere. I was worried that if I stopped, my little car would get washed away. I was going up hill, like a legit hill, and still splashing water to the sides of my car at least as high as my window. When I got home, I was not going to wait in my car for the storm to stop, so I loaded with my groceries and my bag, and made a run for it (a whole 20 feet). There was no chance, I was drenched when I got inside.

Then this morning, I awoke to a deep red haze all around the house. The high humidity with even moisture in the air and early morning fog mad the sun rise eerie. It was something else... The when I thought I had experienced all of the effects of this weird place, as I was driving to work this morning something else happened. There was fog building up inside my car, so I flipped on my de-fogger. As you may know, the AC kicks on to equalize the temperature of the glass, so the water stops condensing. It was hot, so I also had the 'temperature' set to cold. A few moments later, there was abundant visible fog coming out of all of the vents. Like the 'cold fog' you see when you open the freezer... but this was billowing out in to my car. I got really excited, then remembered I needed to drive.

Yesterday morning, I got up really early to take Andrew to the airport. When  I walked in to my bathroom without my glasses on, I noticed a dark spot on the floor. My first thought was that there was a cockroach chilling in my bathroom. This was not a good thought.... so I decided to reach for my glasses to inspect this dark thing. Just as I was reaching over, the thing started to move. By the time I put my glasses on the thing had made it across the floor, and was going for the dark space behind the toilet. There I saw the largest centipede/millipede/long bug with lots of legs I have ever seen. The body had to be at least 3 inches, with half inch legs rapidly moving, and antenna flailing around. I very quickly reached up for a cup, and captured the beast before it could get anywhere. Looking back, I am a little impressed with my reaction time, as I had only been up for, maybe 30 seconds....

I took a shower and left. I didn't really want to deal with it, so I figure it would not get out. When I got home I knew that I needed to take care of it. I started by trying to get a piece of toilet paper slid under the cup. I lifted a little high, and the beast shot out, making a run for my room (with the carpet in there, I didn't want to deal with that...). I was able to re-capture, and eventually get a piece of graph paper under the cup.  Of course, I needed to get a picture, but I was a little afraid that it could climb out of the cup, so you have to deal with a low quality cell phone picture of it in the cup I caught it in.
The beast...
It then, very quickly was transferred to the toilet, where it almost escaped. A fair amount of TP was thrown on top of it, and it was flushed. Do worry... Pittsburgh is safe.

To answer your question Dad: West Otterman Street. Overly Door Company.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Time Fun

This morning I took Andrew to the Airport. His destination: Spokane. I was super jealous, but also excited for him. He is going on a 3 week vacation that is going to take him all over, mainly to Spokane to hangout with Sam (and to their CDA Lake Cabin), to Portland and then his parents and sister are driving out to Spokane to hangout for a little bit, and they are taking a family road trip back to the East stopping in a bunch of parks and museums. Due to the early morning nature of the flight, I got to deal with traffic coming in to Pittsburgh. I have no idea why people put up with that. It added another 15 minutes of sitting in traffic. Ugg...  Give me my bus back.

Due to a lack of excitement and planning on my part I have not gone grocery shopping this week, so I had no food this morning to make lunch. I decided to check out, for the first time, the local fare of Greensburg PA. I walked to Pizza Italliano, the closest shop, where I was greeted by two very Asian looking men, I chuckled inside. I did enjoy a great Pittsburgh Salad (Chef Salad... but with Fries on top, with melted cheese) for lunch.

Right next to the building I work in is this old house, well maybe it is a duplex, I don't really know, where these old guys are always sitting out. Without fail when I walk out to my car around 3, they are sitting on the porch, and most of the time, at least one of them is out in the morning when I get in. I am guessing that they are in their 60s or 70s, retired... they have a big black dog, often they are seen with beer bottles. Anyway, their porch looks out over the parking lot where I park, about a week in to working here, I would smile and wave at them whenever I saw them (which was like 98% of the time). They would wave back, sometimes yelling out something. Anyway, where I am going with this.... When I was walking to the Pizza place, I walked right past their steps. I was not able to directly say Hi to them, because they were busy heckling another older gent walking on the other side of the street: "HEY *name that I could not make out*! WANNA BEER?!" "HEY! HAVE A BEER!" So I chuckled, and kept on walking. On my way back, with salad in hand, I walked past the porch with 4 guys (including the apparently persuaded pedestrian) enjoying cold beers on this particularly hot day. I did get in a "How are you Gentlemen doing?" to which I received a "Just fine, how are you, Buddy?" Mission accomplished.

In other news, this weekend Gwyn and I visited the Highland Park Community Pool. Which first off, you had to pay for. Secondly, I saw more Black woman skin being held in by as little fabric as I have ever seen. There were a ton of people there (I am guessing 60-80, but I don't guess very well). But, It was a lot of fun to relax and cool off.

Apparently Larry has started advertising my room, as I got a text on Saturday morning along the lines of: "Someone would like to look at the room. Please make the bathroom presentable." In living with myself for the past 2 years, I have realized that most of the time I am using the bathroom, I don't have glasses on. Because of this, I don't notice how bad it gets. I need Jake and Bill around to set the cleaning schedule. I spent a large portion of my Saturday morning breathing in some bleach and scrubbing. Now my room is sparkly! 

On Friday there was a YadGrad outing to the movies to watch the latest Harry Potter film. It was wonderful, and a lot of fun. But apparently not as fun as my old small group guys had. They all went to the midnight premiere, where Cory dressed up as Darth Vader... aka The Dark Lord.

Just for everyone's benefit, and because I was told to tell everyone (so far I have...). Gramps (my Maternal Grandfather) after suffering for 35 years without Chocolate due to a heart condition that was in opposition to caffeine, now has the all clear to eat Chocolate. Isn't that great?!

Family: Just to let you know. I have been practicing Carcassone (Gwyn really likes it). I almost broke 150 in a two person game. Prepare to be dominated. Someone should bring it to SoCal.

For all of you to get excited and come back, Tomorrow: Pizza Mac and Tuesday Top 5.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Not-so-Philly CheeseSteaks

On par with my love of regional food, here is my version of a CheeseSteak. I am sure that people from Philly would throw up all sorts of protests to the effect of "That is nothing like Pat's!" and "WHIZ CHEEZE!" I am not saying this is an authentic CheeseSteak, I am simply presenting this as my interpretation of CheeseSteak.

This is easy to make, and easy to make bigger for more people. It also allows for an experimental platform for spices. As the flavor can come through very easily. And I have to say, when I made this last night, I got it done in 20 minutes (including clean up).

Not-so-Philly CheeseSteaks

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 10 mins

Servings: 2 normal sandwiches, or 4 small ones

2/3 pound of Steak, cut in to thin, short strips
1/2 of an onion
1/2 of a bell pepper
Black Pepper
Garlic Powder
A little bit of Oil

4-8 slices of Meltable Cheese (I used a Pepper Jack, American or Provalone are also accepted, and CheezeWhiz is 'traditional')
2 Hard Rolls (or 4 small ones, like I did)

Note about the Meat: I try to cut back on cost as much as I can. Here is a perfect example. I could have bought an expensive Steak, and then sliced it up in to smaller strips, but at $7 or $8 per pound (even for the cheap ones) that was a little much. I use the 'Steak for Stewing' cut. I am guessing that it is the left overs from the other steak cuts, but as they are already small chunks of meat, and they are cheap ($4 per pound) they are perfect for me! If you want you can buy the more expensive stuff, and I am sure that it tastes better, but the cheap stuff works too.

Note about the Spices: I like this dish with a lot of black pepper. I don't really know why, but I think it tastes great. I also like Garlic powder. This last time I made it I tried something new, some cinnamon! And it turned out great. You can use BBQ seasoning, you can use Seasoning Salt. You can use those spice mixes that you have, but don't really know what to use them on... this is the perfect opportunity. Be creative.

And Finlay a note about the bread: Anyone who has had a Sandwich like this fall apart on them (Tracey... I am looking at you...) You want a really hard roll or bread. The cooked stuff ends up being really juicy and runny. This mixed with a soft bread just creates a gooey mess. I used Kaiser Rolls that were really hard. A hoagie or sausage roll is another good option. Ciabatta bread would be another great option.

So prepare: You can do this whole thing with one cutting board, one knife, and one fry pan. Cut the onion and pepper in to bite sized pieces. Transfer to plate. Cut your Steak in to thin strips. This is important. You want them super thin. Like as thin as you are comfortable cutting without slicing a finger.

All of the basic ingredients
Cook: Put a little oil in the fry pan. This is to start cooking the onions and peppers, if you have fatty meat, it will also give off some oil as it cooks. Just be sure that while cooking there is some liquid at the bottom of the pan for the onions and peppers to cook in. Add the onions and peppers, then the steak on top of that. Then throw in some spices. 1 tablespoon Black Pepper (a liberal dusting). Add maybe a teaspoon of garlic powder (not as much as the Black Pepper, lets say a conservative powdering). Then 1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon.
Cook on medium heat constantly mixing and turning over until the onions and peppers are done, and the meat is browned. Depending on pan/heat/amount of food about 6-10 minutes.
Yummm... and it smells soooooo good!

If you want to be pro, you can reduce the heat a little as the mixture is nearing completion, and add a few slices of your cheese to the top. This can be messy and gooey, but that is also a good thing. You can conserve on the potential to get cheese everywhere buy adding a slice to the bottom 'bun' before transferring.

Slice rolls, and open up. Scoop out a generous portion of cooked goodness on to the roll. If desired, add another slice of cheese, add top of roll. And there you have a CheeseSteak. Enjoy!
With and Without Cheese
Just like my Mamma taught me: Remember your Green And Leafies!
It should be pointed out that I only used half of what was in the fry pan. I was cooking for myself, and now I have sandwich material for another day!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tuesday Top Five: Spokane or Bust

I am already running out of ideas for topics. I need you guys to help. Taking a hint from Golden Eye: "Use the comment box! That is what it is for!" (High five if you get the reference!)

This week's Top Five:

"Scott's Top 5 Things He is looking forward to in Spokane"

I am about a month away from being back in Spokane. Currently Sam is in Spokane, and Andrew is going out to visit her. She asked if I had any ideas of things they needed to do while there. This got my mind thinking....

1) My Family
Really this is a nice way of saying that I really want to meet Murphy! I have seen super cute pictures and video (if you have not, Ill post some on here at special request). I have video chatted with him. I have heard about his exploits. He is carrying around my Aladdin towel, which means that we are going to be best friends. Also I just miss having an awesome dog around. Mocha and Chino, you are dearly missed. I don't really see that many dogs around here. I am not counting Benny, we don't really get along.

Oh... and my actual family. Yeah... well I will be spending the weekend before that with them, so I am sure that I will have gotten my fill by the time I get to Spokane. (I am joking family! I am really excited to see you!)

2) Appointments (Dentist, Optometrist and Melanoma Screening (Thanks mom... ;) ) )
I know that sounds lame. And at first I was not going to add this to the list. But then I realized that this is more or less free stuff. At the expense of the Mead School District and my Parents, which I will take the opportunity to thank right now: Thank you. But this means that I will have clean teeth. I will have new glasses. And I will have a lady scan over my entire body looking for abnormal skin spots (oh wait... that is not that fun...).

3) Food
I know that I could put all of these in to separate categories, but I will lump them in to one. So we will have a sub list: Rocky Rococo's, Downriver Grille (just the fries), Tacos Tumbras, Fat Daddys, El Sombrero, Zips (I didn't realize that I would miss Zips... but I do), A Maple Bar (preferably from Donut parade) and most importantly My Mother's Cooking. I do miss that a lot. I think everyone who reads this knows that that is really where it is at, at the kitchen table in Schloss Griffith.

4) A Changed Spokane
I know this is weird. But I am looking forward to seeing how Spokane has changed in the last 6 months. I think that it is really cool to be able to get glimpses every so often to really see the change. When you are living in it, the change seems gradual (except when they moved HW2 at Hawthorne RD... that happened overnight, and then my mind was blown), but when you are away for a bit, the change is profound. Part of me does not like that, the fact that Spokane now has a 5 Guys bothers me (I think there may even be two). That is going to seem out of place to me (they are all over the place here). But other things are exciting, seeing new developments and roads, new businesses. And more importantly, seeing what has changed in my friends lives. Chris is engaged, the small goup guys are graduated from HS, Drew is graduated from Whitworth. And then the things that don't change, Ryan is still at Chucky Cheese's (sorry Ryan...). MY MOM'S NEW HAIR STYLE! What has the world come to... Either way, I am looking forward to seeing them.

5) Summer Nights
I am really looking forward to sitting outside at dusk, and not sweating. Sitting on the deck, playing games, getting mom to stay up past her bed time. That is summer to me. Let it be known that there is going to be quite a lot of Gameplay in August. Chelsea, you should be excited about your Bday gift... ;)

Come back next week, same time, for more top 5 picks from yours truly. If you want to contribute, let me know what top 5 things you want to know!

Monday, July 11, 2011

A weekend of relaxing

The past three days have been great. There has been lots of time spent at my computer, but for good and some-what productive efforts.

I extended my Birthday all the way up to last Thursday. Right after work I set out for REI to get some new shoes! I had mentioned this earlier, but I have had some interest in getting some 'Finger Shoes,' and with some Birthday money in my pocket and some research in to this weird shoe style, I knew what I wanted. I had a delightful time at REI with a very nice lady who was helping me try them on. I eventually settled on some of these:
Photo from
Just a brief description of the first days of wearing these: These shoes are designed to have no support. The best way to describe the feeling is like gloves for your feet. Walking around feels very similar to being barefoot. You can feel everything you are standing on, like cracks, or branches. You can feel the difference between carpet and asphalt (but asphalt does not hurt at all, like it normally does). They are super comfortable, but they offer little protection from pointy or hard objects (similar to wearing converse and stepping on a acorn). I have been told by a number of people to be careful wearing them, as your legs are not used to using all of the muscles required, and to ease in to them. I can tell you right now, that on Saturday I wore them while going hardware/craft shopping with Gwyn, doing a fair amount of walking, and the front ball on both of my feet are a little sore (where your 'index' toe meets your foot). Another interesting thing: driving. I was not expecting this to be different, but it is significantly more difficult. But I already knew that driving barefoot is difficult, so I guess this is no surprise.

On the topic of driving, I was coming home last night, rocking out to 'Behind Closed Doors' by Rise Against while waiting for a red, when I heard from my left an very enthusiastic "GO GONZAGA!" I turned off my radio, and looked to my left to see a guy hanging out the passenger window of the car next to me. He said: "You are a long way from home, brother!" Turns out he was from Orange County, and the he hated the humidity as much as I do, and that he missed the ocean. I find it amusing that this is not the first time I have been approached about my GU stuff (my bag, my patch, my car), and it is not the first time I have had a more-than-200-word conversation between two cars.

I know I am jumping around, but back to Thursday. After dawning my new shoes, I walked over to a coffee shop to finish my book that I got for my birthday: "Logicomix." Chelsea and Caleb, you are going to love this. This book that I got from Mr. Rohrer, is a graphic novel outlining the life of Bertrand Russel and his search of truth and logic. There are appearances from some of the Mid 20th century greats like Von Neumann, Godel, Moore, Boole, Wittgenstein and many more. It was both highly entertaining and enlightening. Ill bring it with me to California.

After finishing up, I met up with Gwyn and Andrew at the Rock Room for Pierogie night. I do love Pierogie night. The Rock Room is far from a fancy establishment. The place almost lacks adequate bathrooms, it is always filled with smoke and loud music (and Hipsters). But you cannot beat 15 cent Pierogies. It is a Polish feast! (I should not say that, I am sure Polish cuisine is far more elaborate and interesting than the simple pierogies that are less and traditionally prepared) For $7.50 we got 3 dozen pierogies and two Iron City Beers (yeah, every night they have different Beer specials, Wednesdays they are $1 Yuengling, and Thursdays are $1 Iron City). I know I have talked about this before, but I really do love Pierogie Night.

Friday I helped Jeff enter the world of video editing. In the past he had asked for me to make some montages to intro a talk or as a side note to a discussion. He wanted to learn how to do it himself. This did require both of us to figure out iMovie as I had never used it before, and Jeff has a Mac. I know that it is free, and that I should not complain, but really? All you Mac users who use the "Macs are for video, photo and sound editing" argument have apparently never used a decent piece of software. Jumping from Vegas to iMovie was difficult to say the least. Anyway, it was a fun afternoon hanging out at the Leaf and Bean. I felt very Bohemian. I was sitting in a coffee/tabacco shop in the middle of a normal work day, really just sitting around talking. The fans were on, the garage doors were open, the lights in the shop are always dim... it was a great atmosphere. Besides the occasional walk I had to take to get some fresh air.

As I mentioned before, I spent most of my weekend working on some computer projects:
1) Shadyside YadGrad shirt design. It is almost done! And it is looking great. Another Alcohol inspired logo. I hope that by the end of the week I can post a semi-finished product.
2) Designing a Media Center PC. I love building new systems. I love picking out parts! However Moore's law is less than accurate.
3) Jeff recently gave me two computers (one laptop, one desktop). The laptop has a broken screen, and I don't know why he got rid of the desktop... But I whipped it and installed Win7 on it. I think it is going to get re-purposed as a Media Center for the new apartment.
4) I am have started to think about my next project. I think I am going to start developing an online based Bohnanza game. I am thinking that it will be a Java based server/client application, with the use of Skype to aid in the trading dialogue. If any of you want to be testers (i.e. play Bohnanza with me!) down the line, let me know!
5) Oh... and some fishing in Ironforge. Old Crafty! I will get you eventually!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Back From Boise Pasta

I credit the name to Gwyn. I wanted to BBQ some chicken and incorporate some pasta, but did not want to go to all of the effort of making a sauce or cooking a lot. This turned out to be really easy and tasty.

Prep Time: 5 Mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Serving Size: 2-4 (easily scaled)

Approx. 1 pound Chicken (Either Chicken Breasts, or Chicken Tenders)
Seasoning and Spices for the Chicken (optional)
14 oz of your Favorite Pasta (one box)
Grated Parmasean Cheese
1/2 to 1 cup Creamy Caesar Dressing (could use light if you wanted)

Put a pot of water on the stove to heat up, add a little salt. Fire up the BBQ, start getting it warm.

The chicken does not need to be fancy, you are just going for bite sized pieces. When I was in the store, I had to buy 3 chicken breasts (which was too many) or a bunch of Chicken Tenders (cutlets, pieces... I don't know the technical term). Cut and/or clean the chicken as desired. As you will be grilling the chicken, try to get all of the pieces to be the same size to help with even cooking time. Season appropriately, I used a roasted garlic blend that was in the spice section at the store.
Mmmm... Chicken.
 Grill the chicken on medium heat for 8-20 minutes (depending on size and heat, and grilling skill).
Mmmm... Cooked Chicken.
While the chicken is grilling, put pasta in boiling water, cook as directed on package.
Mmmm... Pasta.
Take the cooked chicken off of the grill. Something about juice running clear, and firm feel, and white meat... Cut in to strips, roughly bite sized. When pasta is done cooking, drain well, and return to pot. Pour in Ceasr dressing and cheese. Stir so that all of the pasta is coated. Add chicken, stir if you want, or you can leave the chicken on top when serving.
So simple, so good.

I used whole wheat pasta, and served it with zucchini and Birch Beer! It was a great meal, esspecially the effort involved was minimal.
Final Product
 In the case you cannot or don't want to grill, you can cook the chicken in a fry pan just as easily.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Targeted just for people like me

I was looking for a good chicken/pasta recipe today, and I came across this:

I am a particular fan of the diagrams and work flow charts at the bottom of the recipes.

A Few Days Late, but not a Dollar Short

On Wednesday of last week a number of awesome things happened.

During the past week, I have seen a number of Firework tents set up along the road between where I work and where I live. So on Wednesday, knowing that I was leaving the next day, decided to stop by one. I felt like a little kid again. A flood of memories from Santa Rosa filled my head, and I got all giddy looking at the possibilities in front of me. When we were little, there was one 4th of July that Chelsea and I spent in Santa Rosa California with my grandparents and cousins. Any form of fireworks are outlawed in Spokane, so these were a foreign concept to us. That 4th was awesome. From then on, I have always had a special place in my heart for ground blossoms. So that is what I was looking for in this tent. All I wanted were some blossoms. But then the lady said "These bags are buy one, get one free..." AH!!

So of course I had to get them.
They are all the cheap novelty fireworks. They are awesome. As it was only the 29th, I could not light off all of them at once... and it was in the middle of the day, so I just took one blossom.
So excited.
So I was deprived as a child by the county of Spokane. I can see why they did it (and why Pittsburgh does not care... everything here is super green right now, there is no dry grass to be seen).

Gwyn told me to be at her house around 6:30 for the start of festivities (it was the day before my birthday, but I was going to be traveling the next day). I got to her house and was surprised by her parents! Mrs. Rohrer made a lovely Brown Sugar cake, and there was much singing.
Cake and Presents!
After this, Gwyn took me to The Penn Brewery. I had not been there before, and was very impressed with the establishment.
See. we are excited!

They aimed for the prototypical German Brewery feel and nailed it. As you can see in the picture above, you walk in to this alley of sorts, on the left is the brewery and to the right is an open courtyard with tables and chairs. The inside very much reminded me of a bier hall in Germany, lots of dark wood, lots of long tables with benches. It was very fun. We sat outside and enjoyed what was turning out to be a great evening.
Both of us ordered the Schnitzel, satisfying one of my greatest birthday traditions. With mine, I also got fries to make it more like Pittsburgh. This Schnitzel was not the best. It was third, first is Max's Allegheny Tavern, then Hauffbrau Haus then Penn Brewery. But it was very goon none-the-less.
So after destroying our food, I was whisked away to Lawrenceville. We arrived at Arsenal Bowling, just in time to secure a lane for Rock and Bowl night. This place was great. It looks like an old time bowling alley, that is well used, but lovingly taken care of.
Gwyn knew that I was going to be wearing my Keen's so she brought me socks!
So while we were bowling, there was a band in the last lane, playing. I don't remember the name of the band, but they were great to watch/listen to. Kind of a upbeat Alternative Rock, with great vocals and happy tunes. I think the final score ended up being Gwyn 2, Scott 1.

I think I would like bowling more if this always was the set up...

After all of this, we headed back to Gwyn's house where I was presented with a Birthday Peanut Butter Cupcake from Dozen. And of course with it being night time, we lit off a few fireworks...

It was a great day-before celebration, and a great way to start my 4th of July Wedding Extravaganza weekend.

Tuesday Top Five: Wedding Quotes

This week's Top Five (a little late...):

"Scott's Top 5 Wedding Weekend Quotes"

As most of you know (most of you were there), I was in Boise ID over the weekend for Jake and Brianna's wedding. It was amazing. I am going to post more about it later, but for now here is a little precursor. My top favorite quotes from the weekend. I am going to give them without any commentary (sorry).

1) "AAAHHHH!!! Who left the safety on?!"
2) "Billy, If there are naked girls at the party, you get out of there."
3) (preemptively) "Please don't laugh at me."
4) "The TSA stole my socks!"
5) "Good bye Stink Beans...."

Come back next week, on Tuesday, for more top 5 picks from yours truly. If you want to contribute, let me know what top 5 things you want to know!