YouTube, you have failed me…

Pittsburgh Penguins…for not providing the video I so desperately need.

Did anyone else watch the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Montreal Canadians game last night?

Please tell me you got to witness the drunken hilarity of Bob Errey.

First, he writes “ass” on the screen while trying to describe Kunitz’s assist record during the second period break. Then, later in the third, he proceeds to make that Hannibal Lecter noise (you know what I’m talkin’ about) while describing old school hockey masks.

Oh, that would have been internet glory. I love you, drunk Bob Errey.

Anyway, have some videos!

In case you didn’t know “that noise”:

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand…getting stoned with dinosaurs!

YOU’RE WELCOME INTERNET!

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Why I Now Need A Nintendo DS

ScribblenautsOne word: Scribblenauts.
No, let me rephrase that in two words: Fucking. Scribblenauts.

Have you seen this game yet? It’s utterly amazing and absolutely revolutionary in every sense of the word. Scribblenauts is an emergent puzzle game (AND SIDESCROLLER!!11!!!!one!) developed by 5th Cell for the Nintendo DS released last month. It’s real life vs. mad lib according to creator, Jeremiah Slacza. Organized around the Objectnaut database engine, ingeniously created by Marius Fahlbusch, Scribblenauts allows you to conjure up just about anything to help you solve the puzzle at hand. Really.

You’re playing as Maxwell, a cute, round-headed little boy (the rooster hat doesn’t help), who needs to rescue “Starites” to complete each level. These Starites really seem to get themselves into some compromising positions. You find them in trees, on top of buildings, all over the damn place really, and you need to find a way to get to them.

You dip into your dictionary to find whatever you could possibly think could help you in this endeavor…pogo stick, ladder,  trampoline, kite, ham sandwich, Cthulhu, whatever! You have almost limitless (more than 22,800) possibilities here! The dictionary of objects ranges from animals to weapons to forces of nature to people to vehicles to household objects and more. The only things that you WON’T find in Scribblenauts are the trademarked and the profane (which is still up for debate, considering the sambo/watermelon issue).

Check this shit out:

Seriously, this game is amazing and just so…innovative. I haven’t bought a new console specifically for a certain game since the PS2 and Kingdom Hearts. I think that may change very, very shortly, folks. Even though I, personally, have not played this (yet), it still get’s an A!

I’m sorry folks…

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks around here! I was down and out with the flu last week and this week, it’s all the preparations for our annual Halloween bash!

We do it every year, I love it, but it drives me crazy sometimes. So many things to do and so little time.

On the plus side, the blog is STILL growing like crazy, despite the lack of posts. So, thanks everyone, for continuing to visit! And hey! The new Weezer album comes out tomorrow! There will most likely be a review at some point this week.

In the meantime, have some things to keep you entertained.

Armand Van Helden – “Hybridz”
God, I miss Armand Van Helden doing dirty, sloppy, nasty booty.

Lionrock (my newest addiction) – “Rude Boy Rock”

My Top 10 Favorite Albums of All Time

So, I was listening to a particular album on this list yesterday and realized that it’s one of those albums that never gets old. So, in homage, here are my top favorite albums of all time. Now that it’s done, it’s weird how difficult this post became. I have a lot of favorite albums in a lot of favorite genres, so I tried to keep it simple. Most of these albums are ones that I heard that drastically changed my views on music and introduced me to that certain genre. I’ll always be thankful for that, so here are those albums.

Brand New - Your Favorite WeaponBrand New – Your Favorite Weapon
I know…I am a ridiculous, hopeless emo kid. This album is seriously awesome though. I believe I’ve said before, “It remains the sound track to summer teenage love and broken hearts.” Jesse Lacey’s vocals and awkward yet relevant, angsty lyrics get me every time. I really do hope that the next boy that you kiss has something terribly contagious on his lips. At least I did when I was eighteen. A lot of the lyrics and themes of this album are juvenile and downright silly, but it comes off far more endearing than annoying. And hell, haven’t we all been there before? The heart-on-the-sleeve trick really works for these guys, and this album. It makes me all warm on the insides when I hear it.

EvercleEverclear - So Much For the Afterglowar – So Much for the Afterglow
Oh 90’s alternative rock, how I love thee. And this album truly epitomizes it. This power-pop, radio ready album still gets played from time to time, despite being over a decade old. Once again, the lyrics are so poignant and catchy on this album. For any kid, holed up in their bedroom, listening to this album and dreaming of far away places, Art Alexakis is just so right. Everything is perfect in that fucked up way.

Green Day - DookieGreen Day – Dookie
This was the very first CD that I ever bought with my own money. I went down to Sun Electronics (remember them!?) with my brother, and he helped me make my first music purchase. I still throw on this album from time to time just for shits and giggles. It’s so funny to see what Green Day has become and the situations that lead them there. This was before the eyeliner and glitter, before the arena shows and thousands of screaming fans. Before they made that song that’s played at every graduation or talked about boulevards and broken dreams. This was pure, unadulterated Green Day.

Less Than Jake - Hello RockviewLess Than Jake – Hello Rockview
This album makes me get all nostalgic just thinking about it. So many times I wanted to take the west bound signs and just leave town. This is the soundtrack to running away, to escapism and beginning a new life, even it it’s right where you are. This is an album of growing up, decision making, and yet a drunken, punk rock mentality all at the same time. It’s also another one of those albums that I simply adore Every. Single. Track. It was also one of the first albums that got me into the punk/ska scene and it really peaked my interest, which lead to me diving headfirst into that scene for a few years. Sometimes it’s amazing how you can look at times of your life and the music that you were listening to and just be like, “Ah, that makes sense”. This is one of those albums.

Morcheeba - Big CalmMorcheeba – Big Calm
This album is what made me love trip-hop, and Skye Edwards. It is the epitome of all that is trip-hop, even if they’re old, dirty men. It seamlessly blends electronic music with the lush female vocals of Edwards. It spurned a great love for trip-hop for me, which has only grown since then. It an endless sea of ambient beats and I love it. It’s funny, this is probably one of the very few albums that compromise this list that I don’t have some silly memory to, yet it still make it on here. Props to Morcheeba.

Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the SeaNeutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Thank you Jim Platania, wherever you are, for introducing me to these guys in high school art class. They opened my eyes to what is now known to my friends as “Amanda’s Weird Hippie Music“. They spurned a love for odd, experimental indie…rock? Is that what you would call it? They veered me the way of Modest Mouse and The Decemberists. They gave me a whole new genre to explore, and that’s always a good thing. This album reminds me of the ocean and hallucinogens. Also, always a good thing. And this video is just fucking hysterical. Thanks YouTube.

Nine Inch Nails - Pretty Hate MachineNine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine
Any time you see Nine Inch Nails on a list like this, it’s always Downward Spiral. Yes, that was a magnificent album, as well, but I’ll always have a soft spot for Pretty Hate Machine. Recorded almost entirely by Trent Reznor, it’s a rip-off of so many other things yet almost something entirely new. I have to admit that Nine Inch Nails has lost their luster for me. I got out of that stage somewhere briefly after the “Perfect Drug” days, but oh, how I yearn for ’89 Trent Reznor with the dreads and the leather and all that baby powder. And Cheerios and enemas. This album was another one to introduce me to a whole new genre of music. After this I dived headfirst into this goth subculture…which honestly kind of sucks when you’re 12. There’s really not a lot of goth kids to share your eyeliner or black clothes with. Meh, perhaps I was just a revolutionary.

Soul CoughingSoul Coughing – Ruby Vroom
Who needs heroin when you have this album? It just kinda does it for you. I wonder if Mike Doughty ever knew that would be said? This was the first Soul Coughing album I heard and its lead to my incredible fascination with Mike Doughty and all that he does. They were just plain weird, experimental, trippy guys. They were doing something totally unheard of the in the 90’s. They weren’t grunge, thank god. They were such and eclectic mix of fantastic musicians doing something out of the ordinary. And you know, they’re the only ones that I can classify in a category of their own. They didn’t turn me on to anything, they didn’t alter my perception of music. They just were. And I loved them for it.

Sublime - 40 Oz. to FreedomSublime – 40 Oz. to Freedom
Yes, I started smoking a lot of pot around that time. This album still does it for me every time, though. Especially, after a long hard Pittsburgh winter, when the thermostat hits 40, I put on this album in celebration of summer. In celebration of being able to hang out outside and be in the sunshine. In celebration of no more pollution ridden snow lining the sidewalks and making the bottom of my pants gross. This was another one that didn’t turn me on to anything. It just was, and is, a fantastic album.

Tori Amos - Boys for PeleTori Amos – Boys for Pele
This album was the first to alert me to the driving, vocal force that is Tori Amos. This also started a life-long love affair with female vocalists. Oh that piano. I never knew that a piano could do that! Or that a voice so large could come from someone so tiny! Many years, albums, and shows later, I still love me some Tori. She’s just such a genuine artist. She goes some weird fucking places in her music sometimes, but then you just come to realize that that’s Tori. You can’t expect any different.

As you can see, a lot of these albums are older, and that’s a great thing. Perhaps in a few years, I can do another one of these with more albums that have withstood time and still haunt my music collection from now. Who knows!?

CJ’s Bistro – Carnegie, PA

So another new business has opened in Carnegie! That’s always such an exciting time. In the lot that used to be Pizza Hut on Washington Avenue, now sits CJ’s Bistro.

Honestly, this place is so new and so small, I have no pictures for you, no website, no anything!

From the outside, it looks much the same, and even on the inside as well. It looks just like the dilapidated Pizza Hut that once was, down to the very same recycled, mismatched booths, tables, and chairs on the inside. It’s not uncomfortable really, it’s just…odd. The layout is just so strange and for the lack of a better term, lame. This place really has nothing to draw you in aesthetically…

…but the food is fucking spectacular!!!

Holy shit. We went there last night with Casey. They have a rather large menu actually, but it’s specifically broken down into breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with the times that those choices are available. It was a bummer that they didn’t have the full menu (there’s a scrumptious looking Italian press sandwich on the lunch menu), but I got the chicken parm, a salad, and roasted red potatoes. Adam got the pork chops, a salad, and the mixed vegetables. And Casey got the pistachio encrusted bass, a salad and roasted red potatoes. We also got the quesadillas for an appetizer and the creme brulee for dessert.

Everything was spectacular! The quesadillas were simple, just cheese but it came with fresh pico, sour cream, and lettuce. The boys dinners looked great, but my chicken parm kicked some serious ass. Just the right amount of seasonings and fantastic sauce. Not too thin, either! Usually, I’m rather wary of other people’s sauce. The roasted red potatoes were perfect, and slathered in some sort of cheesy sauce. I’m totally not that into cheese, but these were spectacular!

This place just adds something special to everything and it’s all just so fresh. The guys had their homemade honey lime dressing (while I copped out and had ranch), apparently it was delicious. Their mixed vegetables include green and red peppers, onions, and zucchini. A far cry from the carrots, corn, and green beans that you find in most standard mixed vegetables. And even the salads…just your basic dinner salads, but when they’re that fresh, it really makes a difference.

The creme brulee was magnificent, and plenty enough to split with three people! The custard part was the perfect consistency…just sturdy enough, not too runny. And so, so very rich.

The service was great. It’s also not like they were busy, but our waitress was attentive without hovering over us, drinks were filled promptly, and the price! Perfect! For three people, including an appetizer and dessert, it was just over $40! You really can’t beat that, especially considering everything else.

This is one place that I can seriously say that I’m excited about. It’s always nice to see new businesses in the neighborhood, especially ones that you can see thriving. My only reccomendations for them would be the spruce the place up a little. And perhaps, allow BYOB. For the brief time that Carnegie had a Nicaraguan restaurant, they were BYOB, so perhaps CJ’s could, too. And hell, at least it’s easier than getting a liquor license. On the other hand, I kinda want to have the place all to myself, you know? Another little hidden gem of Carnegie. Some place that looks like a complete shit hole outside, but you know the secret of all the delicious goodness waiting for you inside.

Through the past few years, Talotta’s has been my not-so-hidden gem of Carnegie, but the quality has dropped and the prices have risen. I could easily see CJ’s becoming my new, local, good food staple.

And you know what? I did decide that I don’t give a shit what the place looks like. A!

And since I had no images for you…have this:

Boycott Ticketmaster

Boycott Ticketmaster!!!So it’s been quite a while since I’ve actually purchased concert tickets…or tickets to anything for that matter, online. I always just got them at the door. What the fuck did I miss!? When we went to see Mike Doughty last Thursday, I went to the Ticketmaster website to see how much they were. Only $16! How affordable! Especially for a concert that I want to see so badly! Wrong. Oh so very, very wrong. $9 of charges per ticket. That’s more than half the fucking ticket price!

This is beyond ridiculous. Thankfully, I’ve found some other resources for concert tickets in the Pittsburgh area:

Dave’s Music Mine
Mr. Small’s Funhouse
Club Cafe
Garfield Artworks
The Rex
31st St. Pub
…and possibly more, those are just the one’s currently listed on their website.

The Exchange
Has tickets to most of the venues listed above, plus possibly more.

The Benedum
I know you =can buy tickets directly through their box office, as I did when we saw Tori Amos last year. I think you can do this with Heinz Hall as well.

The shame of it is, it’s not Ticketmaster’s fault that they’re a monopoly…it’s the fault of the venues and their exclusive contracts. Ticketmaster also gets no part of ticket sales, so here come the charges!

Service Charge – For the general service they provide.
Building Facility Charge – Determined by the venue, still raked in by Ticketmaster.
Processing Charge – ‘Cause we all know how expensive it is to send an email.
Shipping/E-Ticket/Will Call – Just because they can!

Often these fees are 30% to even 50% of the actual ticket price. What the fuck, Ticketmaster? And they get away with this by giving away million dollar sign-on bonuses to large venues. And it’s not even just music! Ticketmaster is the primary ticket seller for TWENTY SEVEN of thirty NHL teams and TWENTY EIGHT of thirty NBA teams. At least the MLB has gone with competitor, Tickets.com. From now on, I’m going to try my best to not support this monopoly any longer, or their subsidiaries:

Ticketmaster Ventures, Inc.
Ticketmaster Corp.
TMC Realty Holdings, Inc.
Ticketmaster Publications, Inc.
Ticketmaster Travel Corp.
TM/Video International, Inc.
Ticketmaster Advertising, Inc.
TMC Consultants, Inc.
Ticketmaster Tell Ltd.
Ticketmaster-Direct, Inc.
Cinema Acquisition Corp.
Ticketmaster Cinema Group, Ltd.
TM Movie Tix Holdings, Inc.
TM Marketing, Inc.
Ticketmaster Merchandising Corp.
Ticketmaster-Golf, Inc.
MFG Management Corp.
TM Flowers
TM National Flora LLC.

Instead, I’ll be going with the competitors:

LM Loyalty Management
Neighborhood Box Office
NEXT Ticketing
Prologue Systems
Tickets.com, Inc.

Further steps can also be taken. Urge your favorite artists/sports teams to not use Ticketmaster, along with your local venues. The less people who use them, the less power they’ll have to overcharge the masses.

In addition to monopolizing the ticket market and charging these ridiculous fees, Ticketmaster also has no regard for customer privacy. Directly from their website:

“By completing this registration form you indicate that you consent to Ticketmaster sharing your email address and other information with those who provide the event, and that you consent to those who provide the event using your information to contact you by email or other means to send you marketing or other messages or using or disclosing your information in other ways. By completing this registration form, you also indicate that you consent to Ticketmaster contacting you by email or other means to send you marketing or other messages and using and disclosing the information you submit, as described in the Ticketmaster Privacy.”

Why do we let them get away with shit like this!? Fuck Ticketmaster. I’m going with Tickets.com!

Domestic Violence Awareness Month – October 2009

Domestic Violence Awareness MonthNot only is October Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but it’s also the unfortunately lesser known Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Silence hides violence and it needs to end now. Below are some statistics of just how rampant this problem really is. Granted, through the hard work of the people spearheading this campaign, the amount of domestic violence related homicides have decreased in number in the past few years, but until that number is zero, we haven’t done enough to raise awareness and stop the cycle of domestic violence.

From Barack Obama:

“Domestic violence touches the lives of Americans of all ages, leaving a devastating impact on women, men, and children of every background and circumstance. A family’s home becomes a place of fear, hopelessness, and desperation when a woman is battered by her partner, a child witnesses the abuse of a loved one, or a senior is victimized by family members. Since the 1994 passage of the landmark Violence Against Women Act, championed by then Senator Joe Biden, our Nation has strengthened its response to this crime and increased services for victims. Still, far too many women and families in this country and around the world are affected by domestic violence. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we recommit ourselves to ending violence within our homes, our communities, and our country.

To effectively respond to domestic violence, we must provide assistance and support that meets the immediate needs of victims. Facing social isolation, victims can find it difficult to protect themselves and their children. They require safe shelter and housing, medical care, access to justice, culturally specific services, and economic opportunity. The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act supports emergency shelters, crisis intervention programs, and community education about domestic violence.

In the best of economic times, victims worry about finding a job and housing, and providing for their children; these problems only intensify during periods of financial stress. That is why the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides $325 million for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). This funding will supplement the Federal VAWA and VOCA dollars that flow to communities every year, and enable States, local governments, tribes, and victim service providers to retain and hire personnel that can serve victims and hold offenders accountable. These funds will also bring relief to victims seeking a safe place to live for themselves and their children.

Victims of violence often suffer in silence, not knowing where to turn, with little or no guidance and support. Sadly, this tragedy does not just affect adults. Even when children are not directly injured by violence, exposure to violence in the home can contribute to behavioral, social, and emotional problems. High school students who report having experienced physical violence in a dating relationship are more likely to use drugs and alcohol, are at greater risk of suicide, and may carry patterns of abuse into future relationships. Our efforts to address domestic violence must include these young victims.

During this month, we rededicate ourselves to breaking the cycle of violence. By providing young people with education about healthy relationships, and by changing attitudes that support violence, we recognize that domestic violence can be prevented. We must build the capacity of our Nation’s victim service providers to reach and serve those in need. We urge community leaders to raise awareness and bring attention to this quiet crisis. And across America, we encourage victims and their families to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. Together, we must ensure that, in America, no victim of domestic violence ever struggles alone.”

Some of the shocking statistics:

One quarter of women nationally have been victims of domestic violence. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The National Institute of Justice, Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence, July     2000. The Commonwealth Fund, Health Concerns Across a Woman’s Lifespan: 1998 Survey of Women’s Health, 1999)

– Between 600,000 and 6 million women are victims of domestic violence each year, and between 100,000 and 6 million men, depending on the type of survey used to obtain the data. (Rennison, C. (2003, Feb).  Intimate partner violence.  Us. Dpt. of Justice/Office of Justice Programs.  NXJ 197838. Straus, M. & Gelles, R. (1990).  Physical violence in American families.  New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers. Tjaden, P., & Thoennes, N. (2000).  Extent, nature, and consequences of intimate partner violence.  National Institute of Justice, NCJ 181867.)

– Nearly 2.2 million people called a domestic violence crisis or hot line in 2004 to escape crisis situations, seek advice, or assist someone they thought might be victims (National Network to End Domestic Violence)

Studies show that access to shelter services leads to a 60-70% reduction in incidence and severity of re-assault during the 3-12 months’ follow up period compared to women who did not access shelter. Shelter services led to greater reduction in severe re-assault than did seeking court or law enforcement protection, or moving to a new location. (Campbell, JC, PhD, RN, FAAN. Anna D. Wolf, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Protective Action and Re-assault: Findings from the RAVE study.)

Nearly three out of four (74%) of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. 30% of Americans say they know a woman who has been physically abused by her husband or boyfriend in the past year. (Allstate Foundation National Poll on Domestic Violence, 2006. Lieberman Research Inc., Tracking Survey conducted for The Advertising Council and the Family Violence Prevention Fund, July – October 1996)

Studies suggest that between 3.3 – 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually. (Carlson, Bonnie E. (1984). Children’s observations of interpersonal violence. Pp. 147-167 in A.R. Roberts (Ed.) Battered women and their families (pp. 147-167). NY: Springer. Straus, M.A. (1992). Children as witnesses to marital violence: A risk factor for lifelong problems among a nationally representative sample of American men and women. Report of the Twenty-Third Ross Roundtable. Columbus, OH: Ross Laboratories.)

These statistics are simply ridiculous and it’s time to stop the cycle of domestic violence.

Here’s what you can do to help:

– Join the Women’s Resource Center. They provide assistance to women and children in the way of counseling, career placement, legal aide, and more.

– Demonstrate your support of victims by joining the Purple Ribbon Project.

– Become acquainted with the Silent Witness Initiative in your state. They promote hope, help, and healing for victims of domestic violence.

– Start a Clothesline Project or find one in your neighborhood. Give every woman the chance to be heard.

Also, you can visit these sites for more resources:

Domestic Violence Awareness Month
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
National Domestic Violence Hot Line