Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Zone, The Anthem, & More (Random Ramblings)

To celebrate Presidents' Day, I had the opportunity to take The Moose (age 6) and Pedro Tulo (age 3) to The Zone in Ashburn. I saw that The Zone tweeted this prior to the event:

I truly am honored to be part of the area's top MOM BLOGGERS!

Anyway, The Zone is like Dave & Busters but on a smaller scale. They have plenty of video games and good food (more on this momentarily), but unlike Dave and Busters, The Zone has four bowling lanes, laser tag, and a virtual reality area. My kids were a little young for these activities (though the staff was gracious enough to let them try on the VR gear), so we mostly played air hockey, Space Invaders, and Skee-Ball. This is Pedro Tulo from when he was about 1 & 1/2.

This is Pedro Tulo from Monday at almost 4.

I hope I don't take another picture like this when he's 6 or 7.

The food was definitely a highlight for the boys. The Moose went to town enjoying pizza, chicken fingers, sliders, fries, and a cookie. Pedro Tulo only seemed to want fruit (and a cookie, of course).

I'll go back, though it may be when they are a little older when they can enjoy all of the games and activities available.

Thanks to The Zone and Andrea of Northern Virginia Housewives for hosting us!

- While The Moose seems to doing well reading at school, he has little interest in doing this at home. It's been a battle the last few weeks trying to get him to read to us. Any suggestions on how to make this situation better for everyone? It has been really frustrating for all of us.

- On Sunday, I visited The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in DC and saw the flag which inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Star-Spangled Banner. On Sunday night nearly 200 years after he wrote the famous lyrics, Fergie had a, well, interesting version of the tune.

U-S-A! U-S-A!

- Your TMI for the day. After getting a vasectomy a few months ago, it's now official. My boys can, um, no longer swim.

- Ziggy knocked the Brita off of the counter causing the water pitcher to crack. I guess it's time to get a new one.

- Finally, one of the worst things about my dislocated wrist is that I can't bite the fingernails on my right hand. I know that biting your nails is a terrible habit, but there a way worse vices. (I'll stick with this as a rationale.)

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Interview With Shannon Gregg

Writing a book is tough. I mean, I don't know from experience, but this is something I would love to do someday. Therefore, anytime a friend writes a book, I want to support them (see below).

Shannon Gregg and I graduated together from high school, um, several years ago and also performed together in Lil' Abner. Shannon is a Trainer, Speaker, and Sales Productivity Expert and recently wrote It's About Time: How to Do More of What Matters in the Time You Have for professionals of all career levels with Shawn McBride. As Shannon wrote on her website, "This book will benefit you and dramatically transform your approach to productivity and time management.  Written based off of years of experience at hustling time, the information in this book was provided by absolute experts who have launched businesses, had full-time families and careers, and have found ways to achieve and surpassed their goals by focusing on total time management."

Shannon was gracious enough to take some time (see what I did there?) to answer a few questions.

Can you tell me (and everyone reading this) about the book?

For sure!  For starters - it's short.  Intentionally.  If you're reading a book about time management, it's not because you have leisurely time to spend on things like reading!  I co-authored the book with R. Shawn McBride, whom I met when we were booked to speak at a large radio convention together.  We brought our perspectives on managing time, based on running full time jobs and side hustles, together to give a simple, based-on-you approach to time management. 

While I'm sure this is in the book, what is the best way you have found for yourself to manage your time?

The book is really you-based, so it's not prescriptive on how to manage time based on mine or Shawn's best practices - but man, I could NOT live without Google calendar!  Everything goes in it - dinner with friends, Luke's bike trips, mom jazz dance class on Sunday nights - so I know at all times where I am supposed to be.  Those blank spaces, I fill them on up (I've got a blank space, baby, and I'll write...something to do in it).  Denis Waitley has a quote that basically asks you to consider whether your activities are tension-relieving or goal-achieving, and I mentally categorize those things to make sure that they are in some sort of balance for me.

What advice and best practices do you have regarding time management and productivity for someone (um, like me) with a new child?

Sean, it's almost as if I asked you to ask this question (I didn't!).  This is the number one issue that people are asking Shawn and I about: time management as a working parent.  We are working on a publication for 2018 to address exactly that!  But, my advice to parents is first psychological:  lose the guilt.  Lose it.  We live in an era of insta-fabulousness, where all parents seem to have it together and are pinteresting the best memories for their kids and making Tate Museum-quality art sandwiches, and the "mompetition" of it all will make you lose your mind.  Stop it.  Give yourself permission to spend some time on yourself!  That seems to be the toughest part for parents trying to juggle their personal and professional time.   

How did our time at Junior Achievement in high school help you with the book?

YES!  I refer to JA all of the time, Sean!  In working with salespeople, I am always looking for ways for them to be efficient so that they can sell more in less time by being process-driven and scalable, and that is DEFINITELY thanks to those assembly line cookie sheets we made.  No joke.  When I first learned Six Sigma, I was the only one in the room laughing when I said, "Ohhhhh, so JA for working adults."  YES.  I think I need to actually write a check to Junior Achievement right now.  BRB. 

Are you concerned that people will confuse your book with the 2005 book, It's About Time?

Well, it was definitely something we considered when we were finalizing the name of the book.  It's a pretty common combination of words - which can be good, as someone might stumble upon the book accidentally.  I was masterminding with my friend Jason Anthony, and I told him that we had everything settled but the title:  content, illustrations, cover designer, foreword.  He said, "Well, it's about time."  So, it stuck.  (Thanks, Jason!)

Your website shows an offer of a "Creativity Session" with you or your co-author. What does this entail?

I'll tell you in exchange for a few drops of blood or some bitcoin, your choice!  :)  It's highly interactive, and again, you-driven, where we apply a Five-Whys exercise to get to the root of your challenges, to help you to identify precisely what the cause is to help you decide how to solve it.  It's fun, and typically people walk away with some new and fresh ideas on what their issues actually are (and not the surface ones that they first suspected).  We are launching a new website based on this system, www.timemagicment.com - which will have assessments and resources to help continue to drive the exploration. 

Thanks again to Shannon for answering my questions. You can learn more about Shannon's book and work at ShannonGregg.com.

You can also check out some other interviews with friends/writers:

- Sarah Wendell (here and here).
- Laurie Koozer (here)
- Ron Lippock (here)

Monday, February 12, 2018

Annyeong Haseyo! (That's Hello in Korean)

As you may have read (and read again), I'm not quite 100% right now. Therefore, I'm excited that several friends have been willing to write some guest posts. I've known Christine since our first year in college, um, several years ago, and over about an 18-month period, she chronicled her experience living in South Korea. You see where I'm going here with the Winter Olympics being in Pyeongchang, right? Here's Christine:

With the start of the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, I’ve found myself feeling a bit “homesick” for Seoul. For one military assignment, our family spent a great year and a half exploring South Korea, enjoying the food, and falling in love with the culture. I visited museums and palaces, attended markets and festivals, and attended many different concerts (who’s up for some K-Pop, Pansori, or Korean heavy metal?). It is a country that embraces tradition while moving full steam into the future, having rebuilt itself after the horrible conflict with the north. We are always asked if we felt safe there - my answer: it’s the safest place I’ve ever lived, with little crime and welcoming people.

When Sean asked me to write a guest blog post, I happily dusted off my keyboard and revisited my Korea blog for some inspiration. One post that immediately came to mind was our visit to the 1998 Summer Olympics site in Seoul - you can check out all of the pictures here (there are a bunch).

Knowing how the Koreans have revamped that space into a bustling part of the city and event venue, I’m sure they will make great use of the new site in the future. I did actually get to visit Pyeongchang for a snow tubing festival ahead of the games - even in 2015, preparations were well underway and the Koreans were gearing up for the games. If they ever add a snow tubing event at the Olympics, I am ready to represent!

Watching the opening ceremonies brought back many memories, including my classes in Korean drumming. The large opening number featured women dressed in white playing in unison on the janggu. It is a Korean, hourglass-shaped drum, and I brought one back to the states with me. As a music teacher, it was fun learning a new instrument and we got to wear the traditional colored dress for our concert. The five children featured throughout the opening ceremony wore those colors: red for fire, blue for wood, yellow for earth, white for metal, and black for water.

Nostalgia also had me visiting the local Korean market to stock up on some favorite items. We LOVE eating Korean food, although we tend toward the less spicy end of the spectrum. If it’s red - beware! If I could have my own Korean BBQ grill inside the house at all times, I’d be a happy girl. One website I use for Korean recipes is written by Maangchi:  www.maangchi.com

Some of our favorites for you to consider trying:

Bibimbap (비빔밥) - rice mixed with vegetables, meat, egg, and chili pepper paste
Jjajangmyeon (짜장면) - noodles with black bean sauce
Samgyetang (삼계탕) - ginseng chicken soup
Hotteok (호떡) - sweet pancakes filled with brown sugar (Sean's note: This sounds delicious!)

So for the next few weeks, you can most likely find me watching all of the events in Pyeongchang with a milkis in hand (yes, milk flavored soda - so good!), cheering on our US athletes and smiling at all of the things that make Korea….well, Korea!

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Baby Bird

As a first-grader, The Moose brings home several books from school each night to read, and he brought this particular book home earlier this week:

Full disclosure: I did not read this book. I only know what my wife told me and the following summary:

Derek finds a wounded baby bird. He brings it home and gives it water and food. Grandpa cautions him that the baby bird probably won't live, but Derek is hopeful. When the bird dies during the night, Grandpa assures Derek he did his best and comforts him with a big hug.

My first response is what the heck kind of book is this for a first grader? Oh what a cute book about a boy caring for an injured bird. I'm sure this will have a happy ending. Wait, the bird died!?!?

Let me go back here. When my son was about to get his adenoids out, we got several kids books about going to the hospital. Therefore, I'm sure there are plenty of books about death geared towards kids, particularly about the loss of a pet. In the case of the hospital books, that was something we sought out to read to him. Maybe my issue here is that this book seems really sad and not all that appropriate as a general reading book. Actually, maybe it is appropriate. What do I know? My outrage has certainly decreased significantly since I started writing this post!

So with all of this written, um, if you're looking for a book about a dead bird to read to your kid or have him/her read to you, Baby Bird by Beth Johnson is it!

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Wrist and Blog Updates

As of Friday, I am in this brand new black cast.

Unfortunately, a black and yellow/gold cast was not an option. I will now wear this cast until early March, and then the doctor will remove the two pins currently in my wrist. (I've included the complete medical information below if you're truly interested in the specifics about the procedure.) I'll start physical therapy two days after getting the pins out, but it will still be some time until my wrist is back to normal.

I'm sure that you're all concerned about the status of this blog while I'm on the DL (and my wrist too!). I can still type with one hand, so I plan on continuing to write. However, I'm looking for people who are interested in writing a guest blog post. I'm also hoping to have some interviews since it's much easier to type a few questions and let the responses be the centerpiece of the post. If you're interested in writing a guest post or know someone who would be available for an interview about an interesting topic, please let me know.


Pre and Post-Operative Diagnosis: Volar dislocation, distal ulna, right wrist.

Procedure: Closed reduction and percutaneous pinning of closed volar dislocation, distal ulna, right wrist.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Emotional Support Needed

Using only one hand has been quite difficult. While I can type and drive with only my left hand, it's the little things that are bothering me. I cut myself shaving four times yesterday. I can't tie my shoes or put in my contact lenses. Opening Ziploc bags are also tough. Putting toothpaste on a toothbrush is impossible. And of course, I'm not going to be able to pick up 4 month-old Luigi for many weeks.

Through this all, I've decided that I need an emotional support animal. Ziggy is great, but he can't be with me outside the house, especially on the Metro. Therefore, I'm going to get a peacock. Seems like this shouldn't be a problem as long as I'm not taking the peacock on an airplane!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

We've All Got Places To Go

While my blogging may be limited at the moment, I thought I could still share a video of my current favorite commercial.

From my experiences driving in Delaware, I'm surprised that Washington isn't crossing in front of a toll booth and being asked to pay a toll!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

My New Look

Due to my recent fall, this is the current state of my wrist/arm:

Looks nice, right? Despite playing sports all the time as a kid, my only injury was a sprained ankle where I was on crutches for a few days. This is the first time I've ever had a cast. So far, I'm not a fan.

Of course, my opinion might change if I get all the cool kids to sign my cast!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Going On The Disabled List

This is my right arm in a splint.

I slipped on my steps, and this is the result. I'm sure you're thinking, with the snow and cold weather, Sean, you need to be more careful walking outside. Of course, this actually happened when I fell on steps inside my home.

Let's set the scene. It was about 6:20 AM on Thursday morning, and I was on our main floor getting The Moose (age 6) breakfast. Meanwhile, Pedro Tulo wasn't making any effort to start the day, so I went upstairs to get him. As I was carrying the three year old down the hardwood steps wearing my old slippers with little tread, I slipped and slid down about four steps. I fell on my wrist and had the additional weight of Pedro Tulo landing on top of it. Pedro Tulo started crying but we quickly determined that he was just shaken up by the fall and was completely fine. Meanwhile, I figured that my pain would wear off in a few minutes and I would be fine. The pain did not wear off, so I went to the ER.

I have no good stories from the ER, only that they did X-rays and found that there was no break. They gave me a splint, the name and number for an orthopedic doctor, and sent me on my way.

Despite taking ibuprofen, I was still in pain throughout Thursday. On Thursday night/Friday morning, I don't think I slept for more than a 30-minute stretch because I just couldn't get comfortable. My right hand was basically useless. Therefore, for my Friday morning doctor's appointment, I decided not to drive and took a Lyft for the first time, and I have to admit that I enjoyed the experience.

The orthopedic doctor did several exercises with my wrist, mostly causing even more pain, but also gave me some type of shot so he could twist my wrist even more. He then gave me an order to get a CT scan/MRI. 

Fast forward to Monday and my wrist felt better. I still couldn't rotate it, but I was (barely) able to tie my shoes. I got the MRI done, and when the doctor's office received the results, they called me to schedule an appointment to come in. My thought was: This can't be good. And it wasn't. In talking with this doctor on Monday and a hand specialist on Tuesday, I learned that I have a complete dislocation of the radial ulnar joint. Basically, it's a broken joint in my wrist. This is going to seriously hurt my chances of becoming a hand model!

The big issue is that I cannot rotate my wrist. Who knew that rotating your wrist is so important? The only way to fix this for adults is surgery, and my right wrist/arm is going to be useless for some time (I'll explain more below). Right now, I can't pick up my 4 month old, Luigi, because I have no strength in my wrist. This has been particularly devastating since we really bonded over the last few weeks as I had been home with him. I can't get him in and out of his crib or his clothing. I'm not sure how to feed and burp him with only one hand either.

Here are other things I can't do:

- Open most food packages, most notably the applesauce packets Pedro Tulo eats every morning.
- Type with my right hand
- Put in my contact lenses

I've shaved twice since the accident and while not awful, the results haven't been great.

The doctor also said that I should get slip on shoes since I won't be able to tie them.

I need to figure out how to do things with only my left hand and quickly. 

I'll get surgery over the next few days and will likely wear a cast for 4-6 weeks. That will be followed by physical therapy. The doctor said it would be 3-6 months to get back to using my wrist normally. That's a long time. I mean, the Pittsburgh Pirates could trade most of their veteran players before my wrist heals completely.

Wish me luck...and for clothes and shoes that are easy get on and off!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Pittsburgh Pirates

After trading Gerrit Cole to the Houston Astros, I decided to ask several friends, who have been Pittsburgh Pirates fans for many years, their thoughts on the trade and the state of the Pirates. In the middle of this conversation, the Pirates traded former National League MVP Andrew McCutchen to the San Francisco Giants.

Nick: I think it will take a few years before we can accurately assess the trade-- that's how long it took for Robbie Grossman to become a semi-useful player. I mean, who would have predicted that Wade Davis would be the most valuable piece in the James Shields-Wil Myers trade? Ultimately, it's a decent haul, even without a headliner. I don't see Musgrove's future as a starter, but both arms are nice bullpen pieces and can be flipped in a year or two to reload further. 7th and 8th inning guys have never been more valuable. Moran could be OK, he has some pop. The Pirates have no pop and no ability to score runs. I love that his most direct comp is... David Freese.

Gobo: I think, without the context of who runs the Pirates (including Nutting and Huntington), the trade makes sense. Cole was never going to sign with the Pirates once he became a free agent, and frankly, he never quite lived up to the hype after Game 2 against the Cardinals in 2013. So I don't have a problem with trading him now. I don't have a problem with the return in theory. I think an important thing about Moran specifically is that he bats lefty, and the Pirates, even in their good years, have had a righty-heavy lineup. Even now, assuming Moran is the starting 3B, there are only 2 lefties plus one switch in the lineup.

The real problem is that nobody in the fan base trusts this management group. They had chances, particularly in 2014 and 2015, to go all-in, and they refused. This trade, even if the correct move, appears as just another emblem of that, and it pisses people off. If Theo Epstein made this trade, people would be singing its praises, or at least evaluating it from a balanced perspective. But with Nutting/Huntington, the default view is that winning a championship isn't goal #1, and this reinforces that view.

Sean: Gobo and Nick - How dare you have reasonable responses that make sense!

And then news started coming out of an Andrew McCutchen trade.

Nick: I’m sure I’ll say something nasty about the Cutch Trade when they announce the return.

Marc: Looks like we won’t have to wait long to find out...


Jamie: Looks like Cutch was traded for a relief pitcher.

Gobo nailed it. Management lost the fan base's trust. And it's well deserved. Until we can go into an offseason confident that they'll add $30 million in free agents and any salary dump will be of the Mark Melancon variety, we shouldn't trust these guys. There's no stud prospects on the horizon and no reason to assume 2018 won't be a flirtation with 500. Cole wasn't the ace we needed, so instead of getting the ace we've needed since Doug Drabek left town, they just dumped $21 million in salary and have zero intention to spend it on anyone who could help. This team doesn't need a Musgrove, Moran or Crick to get them to October. It doesn't need another bullpen arm to reach the playoffs. It's not a few pieces away. The offense has evolved into Josh Bell and 7 guys who hit 10-15 HR and a rotation of #3 and #4 starters. We're looking at a $70+ million payroll I'm 2018, which I believe places us last in the division by a lot. The only upside to all this is at least we're not the Marlins.

Sean: Did the Pirates really just trade Cutch for Burt Reynolds and a guy we can call Crick? Good for Cutch. Sad day for Pirates fans.

Nick: Kyle Crick throws gas and was touted as the next starter in line to ascend after Cain, Lincecum, Mad Bum. The other guy they got was the #4 prospect in a heinous farm season. They got more than they would get from a sandwich pick if they extended a QO. Sadly, this is Cutch’s value right now, he’s not exactly cheap and the Giants took the whole contract.

I only feel bad for Cutch in that there’s a very real chance the Pirates win more games than the Giants this year?

Harrison to the Mets?

Sean: (slightly out of order but in response to Nick) I know Longoria isn't what he was from a few years ago on the Rays, but I'll take the Giants having more wins than the Pirates in 2018.

Jamie: Reynolds is another 4th of on a good team, 15 hr guy. Ugh. Giants aren't even covering all of Cutch, we're eating 2.5 million. Total cost savings between Cole and Cutch is around 19 million with 500,000 in international bonus money. A sad day. Ya, I'd say JHay is out the door next.

Gobo: Yeah, the only thing that matters at this point is that everyone in greater Pittsburgh immediately start calling Kyle Crick "Turtle."

Dan: I'm not a Nutting apologist, exactly, but......here's my take.

Despite some fan delusions to the contrary, this team was not going to be very good. Better than last year if everything went right, but that's about all you can say. It's time for the next "window," much as people don't like to hear that term. It's just the reality.

The only question was whether they could get more now or at the deadline, and I'm not privy to that sort of info.

On free agency and ownership: If there are Russell Martins to be had, let's get one. Although it's the same problem of the last few years -- they had solid, if unspectacular guys at every position. There was never a blatant upgrade area.

Jamie, If you mean really *big* free agents, I can't fault an owner for not going that route in a horribly broken system. Most big signings you can name were wastes of money overall, and the teams signing them simply don't care. They get a crack or two at a World Series before they flush the remaining $50-$100 down the toilet.

Do I wish we had someone who was willing to flush huge amounts of money down the toilet because he really wants a title? Sure. Mark Cuban would be nice. But I'm not going to sit here and torch Nutting because he's not willing to give up a vast personal fortune so a bunch of yinzers he doesn't know can celebrate a championship they had nothing to do with.

Also, for what it's worth, I assume Crick will be a starter again. Post-hype top prospect + Searage = why not? And I like the look of Reynolds. He's exactly the kind of guy I target in the farm draft.

"Also Also": It's easy to say the Pirates didn't go "all in" in those good years. But neither did many other teams. It's not like that actually *works* most of the time. The math is always overwhelmingly against you. If they go all in, they have, what, maybe an 8% chance at a WS instead of 6%? And a far, far higher probability of making it the only shot they have.

Most teams simply aren't doing that anymore, are they?

Jamie:I don't disagree with you at all about the team's upside. That's the problem. The only free agent I want is a #1 starter. I've always maintained that guys like Cole will never reach their potential until they're a #2 or #3 starter behind a great veteran who knows what they're doing. Is that veteran always "worth" their contract on the back end? Probably not, but it's a cost of doing business and not my problem. Cole was immediately pushed into the #1 role and only thrived when Liriano was briefly pitching like a #1. Had we added a #1 starter to the roster we had, we'd have a $110 million payroll and a good shot at the postseason. Now we have a $70 million dollar payroll and zero shot. Crick as a starter has the upside of 15 good starts before he blows out his arm.

Sorry, just not feeling it now. I liked Cutch. Turtle Crick is a damn good nickname, but I'm just not feeling it for this team. My boys were starting to become big Pirates fans, so it's really a double whammy for me.

Why play the season at all?

It's sports. Going all in is kind of the point.

Dan: Regarding pitchers: it's not a smart -- or winning -- strategy.


And no, it's certainly not our problem. But Nutting's what we're stuck with, and his strategy is reasonably sound based on current statistical and financial realities. No matter how much fans bang their heads against a wall, it's not going to make him spend $100 million on an arm destined for someone's operating table or a 4.00 ERA. I wouldn't do it, either. I'd keep trying until I developed one myself.

Now if you want to torch this organization, you torch them for the unreal Cleveland Browns-like track record of putrid player selection and development for 20+ years. The jury is still out on whether they really know what they're doing now, or if the McCutchen/Cole/Marte era is just the proverbial blind squirrel getting the nut.

Sean: I agree with the idea of starting over. If you're not going to make the playoffs, why not trade your best players instead of simply treading water and being mediocre? The problem, as mentioned before, is the scouting and development. When was the last time the Pirates drafted an elite player? (The answer is Cutch and that was before the NH era.) The Rivero trade was great, but how many other trades have worked out well over the last few years?

I guess we have to hope that some of the players acquired for Cole and Cutch (and maybe Harrison and/or Freese) turn into all-star caliber players and that the Pirates, with likely a top-5 draft pick, get someone on the level of Cutch. That's a long wait though, and again, there's not a great track record from the current front office.

Nick: The Pirates always win when Melancon is in a trade.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

2018 State of the Ramblings (L'Chaim!)

Sean's Ramblings turned 13 on Monday and as customary in Jewish tradition, I'm considering this to be the blog's Bar Mitzvah. Yes, today is the day that this blog became a man! Feel free to send fountain pens as gifts!

Looking back over the past year, 2017 contained the fewest posts I've written since this blog's inception in 2005. 90 posts still seems like a lot of writing, but I used to crank out 250-300 posts per year. I guess it's quality over quantity now. Anyway, the biggest reason for my decreased amount of writing was something that wasn't on my radar when I wrote the 2017 State of the Ramblings: Luigi.

Luigi arrived in early September approximately five weeks early and spent a week in the NICU. I wrote all about my fears and concerns about being a new dad again in October, and three months later, Luigi is by far the easiest of the three boys right now. I'm sure that I'm jinxing this, but he has slept through the night the past five nights. He has a wonderful smile (particularly when getting his diaper changed) and is generally happy unless he's really hungry or really tired. Actually, this describes most people I know.

Besides Luigi, the biggest thing to happen on Sean's Ramblings this year was my two-part (part 1; part 2) interview with Chris Wright, former General Manager of the Pittsburgh Spirit and now former President of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx. He's now the CEO of Minnesota United. Did his interview with me lead to the new job? Can you prove it didn't?

While I keep some things private, I probably share too much information sometimes like when I got a vasectomy and took Pedro Tulo to the ER. I also posted videos of me from high school where I performed in Lil' Abner.

I saw U2,I saw the eclipse (sort of) with my kids, and said goodbye to my car.

I called out Jerry Falwell Jr. and actually used much of the post in a letter to the editor of a local Northern Virginia newspaper. Really I did.

So what will 2018 bring on Sean's Ramblings? I have no idea. I'd like to write more, but three little boys may prevent that. There are many talented people who used to write blogs that don't anymore. Perhaps they might want to write a guest post here. Maybe I'll continue with my campaign to bring back Press Your Luck. Or start a campaign. I'd like to do more interviews. I'd also still like to cover a sporting event or awards show.

Thanks to all of you who have read any or all of my posts over the last 13 years. I truly appreciate the support!

Monday, January 08, 2018

Random Ramblings 2018

Happy New Year! Even though we're now into the second week of 2018, since this is my first post of the year, I find it completely appropriate to include a Happy New Year message. Here are some things that have occurred recently:

* The Moose is 6 years old, and I was really excited to show him Star Wars. Unfortunately, he wasn't really into the movie, and we only made it through about 35 minutes. I probably didn't sell the movie enough to him, but I'm putting some of the blame on TNT. The station had the film available for free via On Demand, which was great, but you're not able to fast-forward during the broadcast. Every 15 minutes or so, TNT interrupted the movie to show commercials of TNT shows. Every single TNT show, with the exception of the NBA on TNT, features characters with guns. While I know there are lightsabers and phasers in Star Wars, the TNT shows/commercials are definitely not geared for 6 year olds.

* Recently, as I was changing the diaper of three month old Luigi, he had a major spit up when I started to pick him up. Based on the position of his face, the spit up started going right towards one of his eyes. My natural reaction was to warn Luigi to close his eyes. Of course, since he is still an infant, he had no concept of what I was frantically screaming about and was completely unfazed by any of this as I had to go into clean up mode.

* I've written about my love of Wegmans many times over the years. For some dumb reason, I decided to go grocery shopping on both Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Although I had trouble finding parking on both occasions and the store was as crowded as I've seen it, all 23 check out lines were open and moved very quickly.

* Meanwhile, I went to Safeway recently since they had several great deals. On a weekend morning, the store had 1 register open. One!?!!? Unless I'm in a hurry or only have one item, I try to avoid the self-checkout lines. I find that I often have trouble scanning items or am buying items (medicine or alcohol) that require assistance. Plus, I want to go to aisles with cashiers to help preserve these jobs. So at Safeway, with one aisle open, the staff actually told me to go to self-checkout because there was a line. I don't understand how that store operates.

* I've also started to go to Aldi (or Aldi's in my mind) on occasion since they have ridiculous prices on their brand items. Recently, I purchased dishwasher detergent that said "compare to Cascade" on the packaging. It went poorly. All of the glasses, plates, silverware, etc. had a filmy finish. I ran the dishwasher again with the same detergent with the same result. Then, I ran the dishwasher on a rinse cycle. Then, I bought our normal detergent, but the filmy finish remained.

Finally, I got vinegar and that seemed to solve the problem. I compared Aldi's dishwasher detergent to Cascade and learned that there really is no comparison. Oh, I've also discovered that one of the ways that Aldi's has inexpensive products is because they don't seem to use heat in their stores. It was single digit temperatures over the weekend in Northern Virginia, and the store couldn't have been much warmer than that.

* I'll end with this. Pedro Tulo (age 3) has a catchphrase. He says "Everybody knows that" several times per day with no context and with nothing to do with any type of conversation. I have no idea where he got this.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Sean's Ramblings 2017 Year In Review

Welcome to my 13th (yes, 13th!) annual year in review, where I take the first few lines of the first entry of each month in order to produce a random and (hopefully) interesting summary of 2017. Please note that this is not my picks for best of/worst of 2017 since I posted that last week. This is simply a summary of 2017.

January: Happy New Year! Today, you're going to get three rants for the price of one (assuming that you're paying for this blog...which you're not, so you're just getting three rants).

February: Welcome to a brand new edition of Sean analyzing current song lyrics. The songs below are all near the top of the charts and all used lyrics that are inspired by 80s movies.

March: Over the weekend, President Trump sent out the following tweet.

April: We've established that I'm often out of touch, one of the last people to adjust to new technology, and basically, unhip. (Unless it's hip to be square, and then I think I'm okay. If you don't understand this reference, go to Google and search for Huey Lewis and The News greatest hits.)

May: Although my sports focus right now is on the Penguins-Capitals series, the NFL draft took place last week, so I thought I would share my thoughts about the Steelers draft picks. Please note that this isn't exactly an in-depth, analytic blog post. It's slightly different.

June: Twenty years ago last month, the Spice Girls were proclaiming Girl Power (while also telling us what they want, what they really, really want) and Hanson's MMMBop was about to take over the country. Meanwhile, I graduated from college. I nearly missed this anniversary except for a former mentor/supervisor posting something on Facebook about Ithaca College's Senior Splash.

July: In the early 90s, it was impossible to avoid Boyz II Men. They performed ballads such as "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday," "End of the Road," and "I'll Make Love To You" that was played at every wedding, graduation ceremony, and prom.

August: This is Halsey. (It sounds cooler if you say it like "This is Jeopardy.")

September: In the Taylor Swift-Katy Perry rivalry, I'm Team Katy. Despite the fact that she was awful hosting Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards (we can blame the writers, right?), I think we can all agree that it would be much more fun to hang out with Perry over Swift

October: These are depressing times. In the past month, hurricanes Harvey and Irma devastated Texas and Florida respectively. Then, Hurricane Maria absolutely destroyed much of Puerto Rico.

November: When you write over 2,800 blog posts in nearly 13 years, you tend to have some overlapping topics. Therefore, some of this post expands on previous posts though I have some thoughts/notes on fatherhood, Pittsburgh sports media, and Ithaca College too.

December: Woodland Hills High School, just outside the Pittsburgh's city limits, is probably best known for two things: football where the team has been to the WPIAL playoffs for 22 consecutive years and produced nearly a dozen NFL players including Jason Taylor, Rob Gronkowski, and Steve Breaston and musical theater where the school has won countless Gene Kelly Awards for Excellence in High School Musical Theater.

And that's basically my blog for 2017. Well, except for the part about having a new son. That was pretty significant.

Have a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Caps For Sale Comes to Life

Caps For Sale is a well known children's book by Esphyr Slobodkina. If you're not familiar with the story, a peddler wanders around a town unsuccessfully attempting to sell caps. During a break, the peddler takes a nap and wakes up to discover the monkeys took all of his caps. Hilarity ensues!

Meanwhile, hilarity did not ensue when one monkey took a Pittsburgh Steelers cap.

From WPXI:

A former Erie man now living in Bali who fell from a roof while chasing a monkey that had stolen his favorite Pittsburgh Steelers cap will have surgery.

Jeff "Swede" Swedenhjelm, who moved to Florida 17 years ago before relocating to Bali, fell 33 feet on Monday.

"He's like, 'That's my hat, I need it,'" his daughter, Lyric, told Channel 11 in an interview. "And you know Steelers Nation is everywhere, but in Bali, it's a lot harder to come by, to buy a new hat, so he wasn't going to let it go very easily.

Villagers took him to a local hospital, where he was diagnosed with severe damage to his spinal cord. He currently is paralyzed from the chest down.

I really don't want to make light of this situation, but it seems like a bad idea to have caps around monkeys.