Monday, June 30, 2014

Corner Bakery Free Paninis Journal

I'm getting back to my blogging roots. Last week, I made a reference to Sean's Ramblings favorite, Kevin Pittsnogle. Today, I'm sharing my experience of attempting to win free paninis for a year.

Long-time readers might remember a simpler time when I earned free burritos for a year from California Tortilla. Over the 52 weeks, I ate $278.09 worth of free food just for being one of the first 10 people in line at the Cal Tort grand opening. Therefore, when I learned that Corner Bakery was opening a new restaurant in my neighborhood with the first 100 people in line receiving free paninis for a year, I started planning. By planning, I mean that I mentioned this to my wife a few days ago and I woke up around 5:00 instead of the usual 5:40.

I started the day by shaving, getting dressed and feeding Ziggy. I said good bye to my wife and she gave me an "Are you serious? I can't believe you're leaving since both kids will probably wake up as soon as you leave" look and rolled back over.

I arrived at Corner Bakery just after 5:30, and there was already a significant line. While I expected much of the line to be teenagers, I was surprised of the age diversity among the group. It seemed like about 40% already qualified for AARP membership and there were many families in the group (though no young children). After standing in the back of the line for a minute a two, a woman that works at the Corner Bakery corporate office handed me #56. I was in! Hooray for LaMarr Woodley! (Actually, since Woodley is no longer a Steeler, hooray for, um, Jordan Zumwalt!)

Here are some notes from the morning:

- This was the first time in Corner Bakery history that they gave away free paninis to open a restaurant. Previously, the first 100 people received free coffee. I participated in an historic event!

June 30, 1936 - Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind is published.
June 30, 1950 - US enters the Korean War.
June 30, 2014 - Free paninis at a Northern Virginia Corner Bakery

- The first person in line arrived at 2:00 AM. Rookie! It was the first 100 people in line, not the first 10.

- While I brought a chair, book & Walkman (yes, a Walkman!) to the Cal Tort opening, all I took for the Corner Bakery opening was an Entertainment Weekly magazine and a piece of paper and a pen to write some notes.

- I got a little concerned when a guy in a Sherriff's officer uniform came to the end of the line. I worried that he was going to shut everything down. Turns out he joined the line for free paninis too.

- I asked if we got tired of paninis during week 35 if we could switch to a less expensive item on the menu. I was told that I wouldn't get tired of paninis. Then, I was told that the coupons were for paninis only but staff might work with me.

The doors opened promptly at 6:00 AM and everyone received a wrapped stack of 52 cards good for one panini a week for a year from week 1 (7/6/14 to 7/12/14) to week 52 (6/28/15 to 7/4/15). July 4, 2015 seems like a really, really, really long time from now!

After nearly 10 minutes waiting in line to order food (and discovering that the first free panini coupon isn't good until next week), I decided to leave. I felt a little bad for getting the free cards and rolling out, but there were 55 people in front of me (though the line moved quickly) and I needed to go home and get ready for work. I'm sure that I'll make it up to Corner Bakery over the next year!

Don't forget to like Sean's Ramblings on Facebook.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Video (Sing)

Here are Ed Sheeran, Pharrell Williams and a drunk puppet ready to get you ready for the weekend.

None of this will happen as part of my weekend, but this is still a good song!

By the way, how does Ed Sheeran sing the second verse without passing out or needing to take a long break to breathe? What a pro!

Don't forget to like Sean's Ramblings on Facebook.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

2009 Called

Despite being in existence since 2005, Sean's Ramblings has never had its own Facebook page...until now. That's right, you can read Sean's Ramblings here and like the blog on Facebook for exclusive behind the scenes content. Right now, that content consists of links back here and an adorable picture of Ziggy with a soccer ball, but who knows what will be on that Facebook page. (Seriously, I have no idea what will be on that page. Probably not Farmville requests.)

So like Sean's Ramblings on Facebook and if you have suggestions about what should be on the Facebook page, share them here and/or on Facebook.

Now, what is this Wikipedia thing?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sean's US-Portugal Recap

While it is likely that you already read detailed analysis about Sunday's US-Portugal game and the scenarios for the US to advance to the knockout round, you haven't read my thoughts about the game and World Cup (unless you're reading this multiple times). Like my recaps of Steelers games, and, well, just about everything else on Sean's Ramblings, enjoy items and thoughts that you won't see anywhere but here.

- Like every other World Cup match, the festivities began with the starting players entering the field holding hands with Brazilian children. While this is probably a huge honor for the kids who can tell their children that they were on the field during the 2014 World Cup, I wonder if all the kids are truly happy. For example, if you learned that you were going to go on the field for the Brazil-Cameroon game only to discover that you're walking out with a Cameroon player rather than Neymar or another Brazilian player, you might not be that excited.

- I didn't realize that Cristiano Ronaldo and Tim Howard were roommates when they played together for Manchester United. Now that is a reality show I would have watched. Did they have a Felix-Oscar relationship? Did they argue about leaving dirty dishes in the sink? Did they split the bills evenly? I need to know more about this!

- Now that there has been a water break in a World Cup match, I can't wait to use this as a ref as an example when Under-14 coaches complain about having one.

- It was nice of Wonder Woman, Superman & Batman to attend the World Cup match. However, while Wonder Woman and Superman dressed for the hot, humid climate, Batman must have been really uncomfortable.

- There were several times in the match where the announcers stated that, essentially, Ronaldo doesn't play defense. He's basically Alex Ovechkin except that he has won titles. Of course, it helps when you have teammates like Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scoles. Edwin van der Sar, Ryan Giggs, Kaka, Mesut Ozil, & Iker Casillas rather than Martin Erat, Jeff Schultz and Jay Beagle.

- Yes, another Ronaldo thought. Announcer Ian Darke mentioned that Ronaldo was greeted at the hotel by a topless model, a guy in a Donald Duck costume and hundreds of other spectators. Why isn't ABC/ESPN showing this?

- Like Troy Polamalu's hair or Brett Keisel's beard, Portugal's Raul Meireles looked to get major attention due to his beard, mohawk and tattoos. He could easily be a bad guy on Sons of Anarchy. Unfortunately, it doesn't help your reputation as a scary, tough guy when you lay on the ground for approximately 15 minutes after Kyle Beckerman slide tackle. (It really wasn't that bad but some people disagree.)

- Meanwhile Clint Dempsey gets beat up nearly every match and always gets up. He is basically Chumbawamba without the whiskey drink, vodka drink, lager drink and cider drink. Oh, Dempsey also scored a goal off his tummy.

- West Virginia University's Geoff Cameron had a terrible clearance that led directly to Portugal's first goal. Kevin Pittsnogle or Amos Zereoue could have a better job on that ball. (I miss making Kevin Pittsnogle references.)

- Does get mad at Portugal's William because of his name?

- Chris Wondolowski is half Native American. Based on all the discussion here in DC last week, I'm surprised no one asked for Wondo's thoughts on the Washington football team name after the game.

- Finally, while the Ronaldo to Varelo goal was impressive (though disheartening), these are the best goals from this weekend.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

What The H-E-Double Hockey Sticks, NHL?

The National Hockey League releases the 2014-2015 schedule on Sunday afternoon. This is a significant event for hockey fans, particularly those that plan their (nearly) annual hockey road trip. However, I am puzzled by the timing of the NHL's announcement. The NHL should release the schedule at a time when they would get the maximum amount of coverage in the sports world. A summer Sunday afternoon is not that time. Here is what is happening today:

The World Cup. Perhaps you have heard of the planet's biggest sporting event. I guess I should give Commissioner Gary Bettman credit for making the announcement during the Algeria-South Korea game rather than in the middle of the US-Portugal match. Of course, on Sunday evening and Monday, I'm sure that everyone will be discussing the hockey schedule and not America's performance, right?

The NASCAR Toyota-Save Mart 350 race. Actually, nevermind. I don't think there is a lot of overlap between Jimmie Johnson and Jack Johnson fans.

Baseball. Sure, there would be baseball games opposite the NHL's release anytime during the summer, but scheduling the release on Sunday at 4:00 PM Eastern ensures that nearly every baseball team in all time zones will be playing at this time.

Golf. Yes, I looked up the name of the NASCAR race, but I'm too lazy to look up the name of the golf tournament occurring this weekend. The NHL wouldn't have to worry about people watching a golf tournament instead of seeing the schedule if the schedule was announced on a Monday-Wednesday.

It's the first Sunday of the summer! People go outside. There are BBQs and festivals and trips to the playground and simply people being out of their homes and away from the TV. Have the announcement on a weekday night at 8:00 when these things aren't happening (and when the World Cup games are done for the day).

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


- A friend wrote on Facebook that celebrity passings normally don't get to him, but Tony Gwynn's did. I completely agree with him. I wrote a post about Tony Gwynn seven years ago (this blog is way too old) and wanted to share it again today. I had the privilege of seeing Gwynn play probably two dozen times when I lived in San Diego. What's funny is that there's not a specific game or moment that I remember of him and that sort of matches his career. He just consistently got hits. Off the field, he was loved in San Diego and did so much in the community and at San Diego State. He passed away way too soon.

This is Keith Olbermann on Gwynn:

- Here's something I never thought I would say: Dude, you are dominating that prune juice.

- Dejan Kovacevic has an awesome piece about the late Steelers head coach, Chuck Noll.

- There is a sign on 95 North just south of Baltimore that indicates that 695 West is in 1.5 miles. It is wrong and always bothers me. The exit is about 1.25 miles from that sign and nearly .75 miles after the 2 miles sign.

- I'm not sure if anyone tracks this, but I'm convinced there are more tattoos among World Cup players this year than in any other year. Italy is my unofficial top seed for the team with the most players with tattoos. Greece ranks fairly high too.

- Adenoids would be cooler if they were called asteroids. Seriously, wouldn't it be more fun to tell people that you had your asteroids taken out?

- Finally, go to Puck Daddy to see a video of Vin Scully with the Stanley Cup.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Monday Links

Here are some great reads to start your week.

My friend Christine moved to South Korea and started writing about her family experiences. Of course, if she moved to North Korea, you wouldn't be able to read about her experiences. [The Adventures of ChrisMichRob in Korea]

On Fathers Day, Josh wrote about his dad, who recently passed away. [Ngewo's World]

On the lighter side, Josh spent all of May posting about his favorite comedians. There are plenty of videos including some that are likely NSFW. [Ngewo's World]

The Travel Channel ranked Pittsburgh in its Top-10 Best All-American Vacations 2014 [Travel Channel]

Ginny had an awesome 40th birthday party that including a celebration with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto & David Conrad. [That's Church]

Valentine wrote an ebook called Achieving Mediocrity. Count me in! [Small-Town Dad]

Your latest first-world problems. I may have added some of the items to this list. [The Steel Trap]

Enjoy this video from last month's Lithuanian A Lyga league game. This is how to celebrate a goal. And yes, the black and gold uniforms are a nice touch. [Deadspin]

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Greatest 2014 World Cup Preview

Since U.S. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann said that the Americans can't win this World Cup, welcome to the greatest 2014 World Cup preview you will read that has zero analysis of any games or teams. I've included random facts and interesting tidbits about players, and stay tuned for a never-before-seen picture of the best soccer team to ever play and me!

- The youngest player at the World Cup is Fabrice Olinga of Cameroon born on May 12, 1996. (Thanks to Grantland for this nugget.)

- The oldest player at the World Cup is Pele born on October 23, 1940. He might not actually play for Brazil during the World Cup, but I guarantee that you'll see him everywhere.

- Landon Donovan will not be on the US team. Instead, you might see him at a local bar near you assuming that you live in Los Angeles. Personally, I'd love to see him serve as a studio analyst for ABC/ESPN. What amazing awkwardness there would be after the US loses a game ("Well, Alexi, if I was playing...") or wins a game ("I'm happy for all of my teammates though the coach is a dick."). UPDATE: ESPN listened to me.

- Jose Cholevas of Greece is the only member of the team with a first name that doesn't end with a s.

- Meanwhile, Gabriel Paletta is the only member of the Italian team with a first name that doesn't end with a vowel.

We interrupt this preview for a picture of Ziggy with a soccer ball.

- I hope that Eden Hazard, midfielder for Belgium and Chelsea, becomes a duke.

- Korea has five players named Kim, four players named Lee and three players named Park. Does that make it easier or harder for the announcers?

- While Fosters is Australian for beer, Ben Foster is English for back-up goalie.

- I challenge you to accurately pronounce the name of Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka.

- The Washington Post created an article of the 10 most-eye catching wives and girlfriends at Brazil's World Cup. This makes me proud to be a Sunday-subscriber. What a list!

- Congrats to Italy's Mario Balotelli on his engagement! Just to show you how strong the Washington Post list is, Fanny Neguesha didn't make it. There may need to be a recount.

- Shakira is #1 on the Post's list and she and her husband, Gerard Pique, recently visited the National Zoo here in DC. [DC Sports Bog]

- Koke is a midfielder for Spain. K is for Koke, that's good enough for me.

- Sammir and Eduardo don't sound like traditional Croatian names.

- Although Memphis Depay is a forward for the Netherlands, this could be the name of a blues artist or BBQ restaurant.

Time for this incredible video by John Oliver about FIFA's corruption. There's a few bad words here, so it could be NSFW.

- It's nice to see that Dante has a new hobby being a defender for Brazil after writing his Inferno.

- Australian midfielder Tommy Oar is such a big fan of the group O.A.R. that he changed his last name. Of course, his previous last name was Minogue.

- I'd like to congratulate defender Francisco Rodriguez and midfielder Carlos Pena for making the Mexican team. They also both have had successful baseball careers.

- Shlomo Cohen barely missed making the Iranian World Cup team.

- Landry Nguemo & Edgar Salli are both midfielders for Cameroon. I cannot confirm or deny that they are named for Pittsburgh Steelers QB Landry Jones or Pittsburgh Attorney Edgar Snyder.

- Gotoku Sakai made Japan's 23-man roster. I'm trying to put this delicately, but Sakai doesn't quite look Japanese. He looks more American which makes some sense since he was born in New York. I need to learn more about his journey.

- I saw Honduras midfielder Andy Najar play on DC United. Um, that's all I've got.

Time for another picture of Ziggy with a soccer ball!

- Fresh off his 9th French Open title, Rafa is playing forward for Portugal. I can't see Spain being okay with this.

- Former University of Pittsburgh basketball player and current member of the Oklahoma City Thunder Steven Adams plays goalie for Ghana. To make everyone believe that he is not playing soccer during the basketball off-season, he changed the spelling of his name for soccer to Stephen.

- I hope every American player and fan constantly says "Good night, John Boye" to Ghana's defender before and during the game. I think John Boye would be really confused.

Finally, thank you very much for making it this far. As a reward, here is a picture of me with the Pittsburgh Spirit. I can't identify the players but I really hope that Paul Child and Stan Terlecki are in here.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Pittsburgh Festival In Washington

Perhaps it's because Celebrate Fairfax is only days away, but I'm getting into the festival mood. I also realize that it's unlikely I'll be able to visit Pittsburgh this summer (this year?) and that makes me a little sad. Therefore, why not put the two together. That's right. I want to create a Pittsburgh festival in the Washington, DC area.

I could worry about the details like location (Dulles Expo Center?), insurance, security, etc., but today, I'm going to be an ideas man. There are thousands of Pittsburgh transplants that live in the Washington area (see the 2008 Steelers game at FedEx Field and the Post-Gazette series detailing Pittsburghers that moved away) and even more if you expand this to Baltimore. Why not celebrate our Pittsburgh-ness and expose the city to the greater Washington DC area?

The first step would be to partner with Visit Pittsburgh, the official tourism office for Pittsburgh. They are the experts on all the great things to do and see in Pittsburgh.

Here is what else this festival should have (some of this is unrealistic but others could definitely work):

- Food: You can't have a Pittsburgh festival without Pittsburgh food. Primanti's sandwiches, Quaker Steak & Lube wings, hot dogs from The O, Potato Patch fries, Peppi's Roethlisburger, pierogies, Eat 'N Park Smiley Cookies, anything from the Oakmont Bakery, Prantl's Burnt Almond Torte, Vincent's pizza, Sarris Candies, Dave & Andy's ice cream and lots of Heinz condiments. Yes, there will be Iron City beer too. I'm getting hungry!

- Some type of presence from current or former Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. Heck, we can have some Riverhounds or Maulers too. Yes, I'll even allow a visit from Steely McBeam.

- We need to have some type of Kennywood exhibit. Maybe they can build The Racer or Thunderbolt for this festival.

- Music: Let's get Wiz Khalifa, Rusted Root, The Clarks and Mac Miller, who recently wrote "I am Pittsburgh" on Twitter.

- Admissions officers from Pitt, Duquesne, CMU, Robert Morris, Chatham, Point Park, and Carlow to help recruit high school students.

- Bring a dinosaur from Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum. With the dinosaur hall at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History closed until 2019, folks in DC will want to see a real dinosaur skeleton.

- An exhibit from the Andy Warhol Museum.

- A Mister Rogers and/or Daniel Tiger exhibit. Mr. McFeely could make the trip to DC again.

- Birds from the National Aviary.

- Have a giant poster showing the view of Mt. Washington where people can take a picture standing in front of it.

- Booths from some of Pittsburgh's biggest employers such as UPMC, Giant Eagle, Highmark, US Steel, and PNC Financial Services to recruit potential employees.

What else would you want to see at a Pittsburgh festival? Do you think this could happen?

Monday, June 02, 2014

Celebrate Fairfax Ticket Giveaway

Did you realize that it is now June? That means Celebrate Fairfax!, Northern Virginia’s largest community-wide celebration, is set to take place THIS WEEKEND (June 6-8, 2014) at the Fairfax County Government Center. The 33rd annual festival features 25 acres of amazing concerts, family programs, green living, thrilling carnival rides and nightly fireworks on Friday and Saturday! Among the festival's highlights are the more than 120 concerts and performances on eight stages, with an exceptional line-up of national, regional and local artists including headliners: The All American Rejects, Cheap Trick and The Hunts. There are also more than 300 exhibitors, food vendors, crafters and interactive activities such as ExxonMobil Children’s Avenue, a petting zoo, the Fairfax County Karaoke Championship, great festival foods, Greenology, the Fairfax is Beautiful Photo Contest, the Craft Beer Garden & Silent Disco, and the DockDogs Championship (a personal favorite from last year's event).

You can find out more about Celebrate Fairfax on the festival website, and today, I'm excited to give away two adult general admission tickets to this year's event. To enter, please answer what you most want to see at this year's festival in the comments section below. One comment/entry per person. Please enter by 10:00 PM Eastern time Tuesday, June 3rd, and I will use to choose a winner. Please also make sure there is a way for me to reach you if you win. (You may also send me an e-mail at seanramblings at yahoo[dot]com with your e-mail address if you don't want to include it in the comments section. For example, my e-mail address is, and I entered comment #5.) Good luck!

Plus, you can purchase discounted tickets at the Celebrate Fairfax website or at Northern Virginia Wegmans stores.

Update: Congratulations to drinkyourmilkshake for being the winner of the Celebrate Fairfax tickets! I will be in touch with the ticket information.