My Mixtape Monday – October 5, 2015

First Name: Goob
Twitter: @Goob
Sex: Goob
Age: Goob

Occupation: Goob

Mixtape Name: Mashup Mixtape Momento Monday

Side One

1) A Stroke of Genius produced by Freelance Hellraiser with work by Christina Aguilera, The Strokes
A good place to start: this was the first mashup I ever heard, delivered to me by the Internet, back is the mean days of 2001. The point can be argued (by Negativland, Peter Schickele, and others), but this was the first track that woke up a small part of the world to mashups, and just what one could do with a computer, pop music, and a staggering amount of free time. This track has been part of my musical mental furniture for so long now, I can’t remember how strange it was on first listen.
2) Gaye Air Roses produced by CCC with work by Marvin Gaye, Air, and The Stone Roses [Link Unavailable]
There is a second version of this track released under the name La Fool D’Argent – it’s a good mix, but it’s faster, and easier. This version is the earlier version, and CCC s t r e t c h e d these songs to within a moment of being silly: instead, they found a place of smoke and wild heat out there on the edge. This is the one to look for.
3) Brimful of Buffalo Stance produced by DJ Crook Air with work by Cornershop and Neneh Cherry [Link Unavailable]
I have a friend who, for a period in our lives, would call me up while waiting for his food at the drive through and mash the keypad on his phone when he was cranky about something. He’s a big New Order fan; at one point I sent him DJ Crook Air’s track Crystal Shack, and he beep-dialed me for a week. That’s a great track. This one is, too.
4) The Roof is on Fire produced by Lenlow with work by Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick, Joseph Stein, and Dog Ruff
I apologize for the video. And this is just goofy, but fun. When he released it on GYBO (now in it’s fifth incarnation at GYBO5) I remember Lenlow writing something like “this is pretty silly, and I wasn’t going to release this, but I found myself listening to it on repeat while riding the bus on the way to work, bobbing my head like a fool and grinning like an idiot, so here you go.”
5) Einstein On The Beast produced by DJ BC with work by Philip Glass and Beastie Boys
A move into stranger territory, here. In the wake of the critical success of Danger Mouse’s The Grey Album, many artists started to try their hand at album length work. DJ BC is known for his efforts at putting together the great holiday-themed Santastic collections (and at least one collection for Halloween, if that’s your thing) and the Nifty Beatles/Beastie Boys record The Beastles, but I’ve always been partial to this effort.
6) Beautiful Prudence produced by Autopilot with work by Christina Aguilera and The Beatles [Link Unavailable]
One of the things that repeatedly amazes me about A/B mashups is how often disperate music and vocals fit together so well. I can’t tell if it means that there is something wrong with western popular music, or something very, very, right with western popular music. This track does something wonderful to McCartney’s looping bass line, and makes it make a new, deep sense. (There are several other mixes of this floating around out there, but I haven’t heard anything as good as Autopilot’s effort.)

Side Two

07) Cero Uno / Sudden Rush produced by Bumtschak with work by Leandro Fresco and Erlend Øye [Link Unavailable]
One of the great things about mashups is discovery; when I first heard this track, I had no idea who either of the contributing artists were. It took some work to find the originals in the less connected days before YouTube, but it was worth doing. And, who knew: Norway and Argentina, folded together to make new music.
08) With or Without Glycerine produced by DJ Tripp with work by U2 and Bush
Every once in a while, somebody figures out how to get two songs to shuffle cleanly, music and vocals, vocals and music. There’s a little pitch fiddling going on here, but who cares: each song steps aside just in time.
09) Casbah Wonder produced by Dunproofin’ with work by Stevie Wonder and The Clash
I like the efforts that span the years. For a little while, Rock the Casbah was one of those instrumentals that folks were putting next to anything and everything (the bass line there is too good not to try it, really) – there were lots of good efforts, but this was a standout. So: here we have a young Stevie Wonder singing from 1966, backed up by a fine group of angry young Englishmen from 1982. And it works! (And if you liked this one, try Party Ben’s Somebody Rock Me.
10) Wrapped Detective produced by Go Home Productions with work by Elvis Costello, Lionel Richie, The Police, Peggy Lee, Bob Marley & the Wailers
At a time when most of the mashup artists were trying to figure out how to make the latest pop hit interesting, GHP kept going back into the crates to find ways of piecing together past classics. I could have included four or five of his tracks in this list (Shannon Stone is a personal favorite) but this one wins for the way the decades hang together here, and for that lovely horn stab that floats in behind Ms. Lee.
11) Untitled produced by Andrew with work by New Order and Gwen Stefani [Link Unavailable]
Blue Monday is one of those tracks that everyone tries to mix with everything. Kylie Minogue has a mashup credit using the Blue Monday instrumental; as far as I know, right now, someone is somewhere dropping a Morton Subotnick or Conlon Nancarrow piece on top of Blue Monday so they can see if it will be good (it will probably be good). Here, the welcome and familiar thump of the under track transforms Stefani’s vocal at the refrain of What You Waiting For into a giant, powerful howl. As far as I know, this track doesn’t have an official title, and I’ve never been able to figure out who put it together. I have no idea how to find it, but it’s worth looking.
12) A Day in Tracy’s Life produced by Soundhog with work by the Beatles, Mogwai, and Kid Loco [Link Unavailable]
There is a knack, a trick to this, to take a thing so known and familiar and then twist it into something elegant. I cannot remember the first time I heard this track; I think I had already known about Soundhog at that point, so when it popped that he had a new work out I grabbed it. I think he put this out in one of the waves of Beatle interpretations, and I was utterly unprepared for the pairing he found here. If I remember right, no one was. I don’t know where this track is available now, but if you can find it, find it: there is a moment there (and you will know it) when the bottom drops out and everything fits like it was always supposed to be that way. It’s a moment so good that I wish I could hear it again for the first time, and it’s a moment so good I usually do.

Liner Notes: A lifetime ago, I used to listen to a lot of mashups: music tracks stitched together from the vocals of one song and the instrumental of another. This is a sampling of some of the better efforts (to my mind, anyway) of those early days from 2001-2005, when small communities of DJs and producers in Britain, France, Germany and the US found each other on the internet for support while trying to fit popular music together like some demented puzzle. A friend of mine likes these because he finds it an incredibly efficient way to listen to pop music. I tend to like ’em because they usually bring out something extra in the synergy.

(I’ve included Producer information from when the mp3s first came out – many have moved on to different names, now, but I’ve preserved the original credits here. One good way to seek this stuff on our modern internet is by Producer name.)


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My Mixtape Monday – September 28, 2015

First Name: Kate
Twitter: @chromaticjones
Sex: Female
Age: 24

Occupation: Administrative Assistant

Mixtape Name: Transfer

Side A
1) Steal Smoked Fish by The Mountain Goats
2) Waiting in the Station by Ed Askew
3) Gimmie Something by FIDLAR
4) Hoist That Rag by Tom Waits
5) Santa Maria de Feira by Devendra Banhart
6) Vietnam by Jimmy Cliff

Side B
1) Sword of Damocles by Joseph Arthur
2) Dread Effigy by Wooden Wand & the Vanishing Voice
3) Suicide Policeman by Yuck
4) I Don’t Want Love by The Antlers
5) Pause by Nils Frahm
6) Apreludes (in C Sharp Major) by Stars of the Lid

Liner Notes: I take the bus.

A lot.

At this point, I’m probably pretty close to being dubbed the patron saint of Port Authority. It’s second nature to me — slouch against a wall or a telephone pole (watch out for errant staples), keep an eye on the bend in the road upon which the lumbering chariot approaches and crank up the tunes.

The rules: Have your bus pass out, and for God’s sake, don’t pay with cash. Board quickly and quietly. Keep your headphones in and your eyes on the floor or out the window. Don’t be too disappointed if your favorite seat (halfway up the right aisle next to the second set of doors, left-hand cushion) is occupied. Adjust your headphones. Let yourself drift along the cracked asphalt Möbius strip and press play.

Side A is for the first bus; probably the dreaded 51 Carrick. I’ve left my house brimming with nervous energy, as usual, so I’ll walk the long way to the furthest bus stop. The journey begins with my favorite band, the inimitable Mountain Goats, and the lyrics knock around in my head like pebbles as I make my way along the sidewalk. I move through a few more of my favorite sunny-day, avoiding-eye-contact, humming-to-myself songs, ending with Jimmy Cliff’s oddly upbeat takedown of the Vietnam War.

By the time I’ve gotten downtown and position myself at the next stop, an irritated sentry, the pace slows. What do you mean the next bus isn’t for 17 minutes? Who has 17 minutes to kill? Fortunately, me. It’s time for Side B.

It’s slower, sadder, a carbon copy of the iridescent shimmer of broken glass on the corner of Fifth and Smithfield. It begins with Sword of Damocles, my favorite Lou Reed cover, then cycles through wistful lo-fi (Yuck), soaring freak folk (Wooden Wand & the Vanishing Voice), finally finishing with some dreamy ambient (Stars of the Lid).

Perfect timing.

My bus is here.


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Worst Places to Run in Pittsburgh…Part II

From the unforgiving hills of Mount Lebanon in the summer to the unshoveled sidewalks of Squirrel Hill in the winter, it’s no wonder that many Pittsburghers have bestowed the moniker “Runner of Steel” on themselves due to our regions unforgiving topography.

I recently wrote a guest post for my buddy’s Sarah’s blog listing some of the more arduous jogging paths in Pittsburgh (Part I), and I also asked my friends to share their favorite “least favorite” routes and daunting running stories. Please enjoy!

Jennifer (@jlo_oneill)

Asking a runner who has run several streets in Pittsburgh which one is the worse is like asking a kid to only pick only one M&M up…very funny and challenging.  We live in Pittsburgh – hills and hills and then you throw in potholes and construction.  It seems to never end.  But here are the streets that will always cause me to sigh when I see them on the map about to run…

Serpentine Drive in Schenley Park – the road is unforgivable – winds up and the occasional speeding car coming towards you always help ease the pain of the climb.  

5th Ave climbing up into Oakland – this is an adventure between building construction that block off the sidewalk so you have to run in the street – to the climb from hell that is about a mile long…this one always gives me heart palpitations.  BUT you may get lucky and be running when the local group home are kicking their people out for the day and they are nice enough to cheer you on..

Another favorite is Penn Ave.  It is subtle but brutal climb.  I think I was breathing too hard to notice if the sidewalks were even or not.

Running around the city Pittsburgh as much as I have – there are no prefect streets.  Cobblestone sucks, high curbs kill the knees… but potholes are great – especially the ones that are so big they swallow up a runner in a split second.  But I love running around the city, you always see places that were hidden before.  

J.J. Hensley (@JJHensleyauthor)…Part I

When asked me about the worst place to run in Pittsburgh, I thought it would be an easy question to answer. It turns out it’s not. I’m one of those weirdos that thinks pretty much every part of the city has it’s “charm” and distinct characteristics that make this place special.

So, I’m going to have to pick one simple stretch of road that has become hated by plenty of runners in the Pittsburgh Marathon events. The Fifth Avenue Hill. The good news is I’m probably not ticking anybody off by saying this, because nobody lives on most of that ridiculously steep stretch.

Except Satan.

Satan lives there.

Now I’m a transplant to the area, so I’m not exactly sure where “Cardiac Hill” begins and ends. However, if that stretch rising up from the Birmingham Bridge isn’t Cardiac Hill, then it’s certainly Coronary Mountain.

Shannon (@shannonplush)

1. Centre Avenue in Shadyside/N. Oakland – so much traffic noise and car emissions, the construction that always seems to be happening, and all the stop lights!

2. Carson Street in the South Side, coming off the 10th Street bridge – broken glass, a few empty buildings, just not the best place to run. Luckily you’re just a few blocks from the Three Rivers Heritage Trail.

3. Negley Avenue between Baum and Stanton (Friendship/East Liberty) – I’ve run all over the city, but this seems to be a high traffic area for cat callers and creepy dudes telling me they like my shorts/my sports bra/the way I run/the way my ponytail bounces. Yuck.

4. Bates Street coming up from 376 into Oakland – because why did I decide to run up that hill after already running 18 miles? Will forever be the worst running decision I ever made and therefore I have an aversion to Bates.

5. Universally throughout the city, any sidewalks that are now just haphazard chunks of concrete or any cobblestone roads (though I love their charm when not running on them!).

Elizabeth (@beezuskiddo)

When Alex suggested I share the “worst” spots for running in Pittsburgh, I had to think. I spend a lot of time thinking about what makes a particular running route great, that I haven’t spent time on a list of things I don’t want in a running route. After some thought, the qualities that make a route a “no go” for me are:

1. Unsafe terrain– uneven pavement, lots of rocks, lots of dips and angles in the road surface, and especially in the winter: UNSHOVELED, UNSALTED SIDEWALKS.

2. Bad lighting. If you only run during the day, you won’t notice lighting much. My schedule isn’t free enough for me to limit running time to daylight hours, and lighting is a huge factor for me in deciding where to run. In general, busy streets with lots businesses tend to be excellent. Residential areas in the city are OK. Forget running in parks, on trails or in the suburbs when twilight approaches.

3. Lots of smells. Strong smells feel about 900% more potent while running. Things that normally smell delicious (see: fried chicken) will make you want to throw up everywhere. I usually don’t even notice cigarette smoke while walking casually, but while running it will make me gag. Even the smell of fresh laundry, which is usually lovely, is terrible when you are running (stay away from laundry exhaust vents from apartment buildings).

4. Lots of pedestrians. Having some foot traffic is good motivation for me, because I’m more likely to run harder and longer when I know the shame of quitting will be witnessed by many. But when the sidewalks are crowded by sheep-people staring at their phones, don’t even bother trying to run. Relatedly, distraction is the enemy of runners. Do not try to run near outdoor events like sporting events or concerts, the over-stimulated wandering masses have a tendency to stop in the middle of the sidewalk.

5. Anywhere where people do not understand appropriate running etiquette. And by that I mean, places where people RUN MORE THAN TWO ACROSS AND DO NOT FOLD BACK INTO SINGLE FILE WHEN THERE IS AN ONCOMING RUNNER. I really don’t know any place geographically where this is more common than any other particular place, but I really really really hate it, so it was worth a mention.

Applying these factors, and my experience generally, the absolute worst places to run in Pittsburgh are:

1. In any park or trail from dusk onward. I once made the mistake of poorly timing my run on the South Side Riverfront rail, and the sun set when I was still a mile from my car. You can barely see your feet, much less the ground. I do NOT like the dark. Also, there are plenty of homeless people living on and around the trails in good weather. So yeah, bad idea.

2. Oakland during Pitt’s Arrival Survival and Move Out weekends; Oakland/CMU/Schenley Park during CMU’s Carnival Weekend and the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix; the South Side any Thursday, Friday or Saturday after 6pm; Downtown on the date of any sporting event or the Kenny Chesney Concert.

3. Cemeteries at or near closing time. Pittsburgh cemeteries are amongst the absolute best to go for a run, they are huge, they have no traffic, they are tranquil, they are beautiful, and running in them is generally not considered a desecration. But once I got lost in the Homewood Cemetery near dark. NOT A GOOD THING. Another time I didn’t pay attention to the closing time at the Allegheny Cemetery, got locked in, and had to resort to begging the Twitter brain trust for ideas on how to escape. ALSO NOT A GOOD THING.

4. Pretty much anywhere in the entire City when there’s been a lot of snow. Pittsburghers suck at salting and shoveling their sidewalks, especially those Pittsburghers who don’t ride the bus or have to walk in their neighborhoods and therefore have no earthly concept that hey, PEOPLE USE THESE SIDEWALKS. Also, the City sucks at plowing, and Pittsburgh drivers are pretty aggressive, so running in the street is not a workable solution.

All this negativity is KILLING me. So I have to finish things up on a positive note, by sharing my favorite long run routes:

1. Parking downtown and running down to Point State Park, then over the Fort Duquesne Bridge, going around the stadiums and out on the trail, either down toward SCI Pittsburgh, or up toward Washington’s Landing and MIllvale. You end up seeing plenty of people but it is not overwhelmingly crowded, and there are no traffic concerns because your on a trail most of the time.

2. Parking at the South Side Riverfront parking lot (under the 18th Street Bridge) and running either up toward South Side Works and the Waterfront, or down toward Station Square.

Hope you enjoyed all those lists, see you out on the pavement!

Elizabeth (@epagelhogan)

Brighton Heights wasn’t the first place I lived in Pittsburgh, but as of now, it’s the place I’ve lived the longest. And I’ve yet to find a view that rivals the one from the hilltop next to the Observatory. The main road through Riverview represents the best and worst of Pittsburgh running.

It’s a one way loop without a sidewalk but plenty of hills. If you want a short break from the asphalt, midway up the left hand loop look for the sign for the Bob Harvey trail that offers a break from the asphalt and cuts across the hillside.

If you want to challenge yourself, abandon the asphalt all together and tackle the insanely hilly Archery Trail off to the left.  There is a smoother flatter trail called Old Kilbuck Road that branches off from the top of the park.  

Lots of people worry Riverview isn’t safe but the only dangers I’ve faced are my own clumsiness and nature. On one run, a very large antlered buck was not impressed as I shouted at him to move off the trail so I could scoot by.

And once on a family hike a tree split in half and came crashing down on a stream our family had just crossed. Like a lot of the Northside, there’s a history hidden here and you can find remnants of one of Pittsburgh’s old zoos and a very old log cabin that belonged to the Watson family. The trails here hold so many memories for me, they will always be some of my favorite places to run.

J.J. Hensley (@JJHensleyauthor)…Part II

A church (I won’t say which one) in the North Hills decided to have a 10K. Unfortunately, they decided to have it at their church which happened to be in one of the steepest areas of the city.

The morning temps reached 80 degrees and as people started collapsing from exhaustion the huge inclines, I began to wonder if the church hadn’t decided this was a fabulous way to get people to pray.

At one point, the runners were so spread out on the course, I found myself in the odd position of being totally alone with nobody else in sight. For the first time in a race, I wondered if I was lost. But I was found. (cue Amazing Grace).

And I finally won a raffle prize after the race. It was for a free Eat and Park Smiley Cookie. The coupon had expired.

Kailey (@quaileyrevi)

I was running along the trail that you access once you hop off the Roberto Clemente bridge, past an apartment complex (I think it was Heinz lofts maybe, something Heinz) and kept running along the road and found some weird trail.

Annnyywayy, the urge for # 2 struck and there was nowhere to go. Aside from an 10 wheeler loading dock. I ran past the guards and men loading the trucks and made myself very at home with their portajohn.

In terms of toilet access, that place was just no good.

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My Mixtape Monday – September 21, 2015

First Names: Alex B. & Alex F.
Twitter: @fakeplsticmango & @alexanderFIV
Sex: girl & boy
Age: 22 (Alex B.) and 38 (Alex F.)

Occupations: Blogger, Health Coach, Dog-Walker, Multi-tasker (Alex B.); metallurgical engineer n’at (Alex F.)

Mixtape Name: Forlorn Fall Feelings

Side A – #SadGirlMusic by Alex B.
1) I Always Fall Apart by Sharon Van Etten
Oh, it was so difficult to choose the right Sharon Van Etten song to encompass the sadgirlmusic vibe. There is no comic relief in her discography. There is hardly a ray of sunshine. This is why it’s so brilliant. Her 2015 EP featuring my final decision is no exception. There’s something about a song that utilizes the words, “I” and “you” that makes it just a little more heart wrenching in a personal way.

2) I Know by Fiona Apple
Fiona is the pioneer of sadgirlmusic, at least in my book. Like Sharon, her entire collective is work is on the somber side. Her stunning vocal range has a very distinct way of capturing every emotion of every word perfectly. When the Pawn… is easily my favorite album of hers and arguably the best album for a brisk autumn walk or a severe case of heartbreak (or both…).

3) Slow Song by Sleater-Kinney
Sadgirlmusic isn’t all about forlorn piano music. It can get a little punk rock, too. The lyrics in this song are straightforward and simple which feels like one of the most important qualifications of what comprises a sad song – it’s all on the table. While SK is generally more on the upbeat spectrum, this hidden gem from their first release will always be one of my favorites.

4) Metal Heart by Cat Power
This is just one of those songs that gets me every single time. It feels very introspective rather than being directed at someone else which goes against the grain of the general themes in sadgirlmusic. The vocals and the guitar do the song such justice, too. While lyrics are the most essential aspect on this list, the entire vibe of this song is just stellar.

5) Dark Come Soon by Tegan and Sara
I couldn’t leave Tegan and Sara out of this one. “The Con” was the album to my first breakup, and I still feel all the feels when I listen to certain songs. Tegan wrote this song about long-distance phone calls which became free at a certain time of night. A simple, not-incredibly-depressing concept turned into a pretty heart wrenching tune.

6) Bill Murray by Phantogram
I remember when I first heard this song, it went on repeat for DAYS. Yeah, it was one of those weeks. It’s sad, but it’s also kinda dreamy making it a suitable contender for even a moderately upbeat chilly weather playlist. The sadgirlmusic factor is also diminished slightly by the fact that the song is called “Bill Murray.” How can you not smile at the thought of Bill Murray?

Side B – #SadBoyMusic by Alex F.
7) Omaha by Counting Crows
The first song off of the seasonably named August & Everything After transports me back to my early teenage years when I spent a lot of time wondering if I was ever going to move away and know any place other than the one I grew up in. Based on the fact that I’m damned near forty and have yet to live outside of an 8-mile radius of Pittsburgh, the answer is a resounding “no”.

8) Wait Wait Wait by Hanni El Khatib
Just a great example of plaintive, acoustic heartbreak.

9) It Was a Very Good Year by Frank Sinatra
This 1960’s classic features Ol’ Blue Eyes waxing nostalgic over a sweeping D minor composition. In addition to its native wistfulness, Frank Sinatra reminds me of my dearly departed grandfather since he would frequently have his music playing whenever I visited.

10) Comfortable by John Mayer
A post-breakup paean by John Mayer that focuses on the good memories of a failed relationship.

11) I Will Follow You into the Dark by Death Cab for Cutie
The best case scenario of any loving relationship is that a couple spends decades and decades growing closer together until ultimately one gets to watch the other one die. This song beautifully captures that profound sadness, and whenever I listen to it, I’m reminded that our time is short on this Earth and I really need to cherish every passing moment that I have with my loved ones.

12) Where Did You Sleep Last Night by Nirvana
The final song from Nirvana’s seminal 1993 Unplugged set, it’s impossible to bear witness to this performance and not get a visceral sense of Kurt Cobain’s overwhelming sadness.

Liner Notes: To commemorate autumn and its inherent despondency, I collaborated with my friend and fellow music lover Alex B. to highlight some of our favorite sad songs. Despite their relative cheerlessness, these songs also have a poignant beauty that the fall season shares as well. This bittersweet sentiment is eruditely expressed in the following poem by Andrea Gibson:

 “Autumn is the hardest season. The leaves are all falling and they’re falling like they’re falling in love with the ground. And the trees are naked and lonely. I keep trying to tell them new leaves will come around in the spring, but you can’t tell trees those things they’re like me they just stand there and don’t listen. I wish you were here.”


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The Week in Tweets – September 18, 2015

It’s Friday! That means it’s time to snuggle up with your bae and watch Netflix and chill, which when you’re married actually means to “watch Netflix and chill”. But before we start a chaste evening of binge-watching Narcos and binge-eating nachos, let’s get onto an all-new, all-different Week in Tweets!

6) larry mcdonalds (@laceymicallef)

so hormonal I started crying about how cute R2-D2 is

I think that’s perfectly normal. I would only start to worry if you start getting any feels for Admiral Ackbar…

5) Mike McNeil (@MikeMcNeil_)

My dog ate a piece of sushi and now she’s ordered a knockoff Prada clutch and tickets to Cannes.

My cat ate a piece of beef jerky and now he watches NASCAR and stuck a “Calvin peeing on the Chevy decal” sticker on his litter box.

4) America’s Henchman (@TheDailySchmuck)

Sorry, guy wearing a t-shirt in the pool.

The only time it’s acceptable to wear a shirt in the pool is when that’s the only thing you’re wearing.

3) Federico (@amorequietplace)

I like tattoos, but I also like changing my mind

I take back what I just said. If you have a tramp stamp tattoo illustrating “Calvin peeing on the Chevy decal”, then it’s perfectly acceptable to wear a t-shirt in the pool.

2) Abby Denton (@mizabitha)

Actually, my favorite food name pun I ever wrote was Garlic! at the Bistro

Mine is Fall Out Bok Choy!

1) David Stassen (@davidstassen)

Just ate a 17,000 calorie burrito.

Hopefully you balanced that out with a Diet Coke!

Below is a sleepy-selfie of Oscar. Have a wonderful weekend everybody!!


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My Mixtape Monday – September 14, 2015

First Name: Bree
Twitter: @StarkRavingChic
Sex: Female
Age: 22

Occupation: Fashion writer, photographer, and blogger

Mixtape Name: Work Hard and then Chill Out

Side A
1) Tighten Up by The Black Keys
2) Talking Body by Tove Lo
3) Bangarang by Skrillex
4) Miss Jackson by Panic! At The Disco
5) Let’s Go by Matt & Kim
6) MakeDamnSure by Taking Back Sunday

Side B
7) 400 Lux by Lorde
8) Photobooth by Death Cab for Cutie
9) Hello, I’m in Delaware by City and Colour
10) First Day Of My Life by Bright Eyes
11) Sweater Weather by The Neighbourhood
12) Old Money by Lana Del Rey

Liner Notes: The reasons I picked these song are because all of them are on my playlists that I listen to everyday. Side A being the playlist I work and exercise too and Side B being the one I cool out to in the evenings while I am writing, blogging, or enjoying a glass of Cabernet.

Lastly I am also a singer though it’s more of a hobby and not a passion like my writing or photography, but these are all songs that I love to sing… Except for Skrillex, I just like to dance (poorly) to that one!
Hope you all enjoy :)!


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The Week in Tweets – September 11, 2015

Alright, I’m heading to a pool party tonight so let’s hurry through this surprisingly political, all-new Week in Tweets so I can get back to doing crunches before I’m shirtless in front of strangers.

6) bittercup (@SMA5EY)

What do dreams about your teeth falling out mean

Sigmund Freud thought that dreaming about your teeth falling out was caused by sexual repression and the desire to be nurtured. I personally think it’s just another disturbing result caused by reckless rollout of Obamacare. #ThanksObama

5) Gian D’oh (@GianDoh)

Straight Outta Toilet Paper

I always preferred this album to the follow-up, Wiperz4Life.

4) Ötto von Gulosch (@Ottogulosch)

If a first date involves food, it should always be pizza. Someone that doesn’t want pizza is someone you don’t want. It’s just that simple.

Just try not to order a large pepperoni because that may be setting expectations too high…

3) Amanzig (@MediaWaltz)

The Knot’s brilliant tip to ensure a fun wedding reception: Play danceable music! Wow, thanks. I was just gonna play dirges all night.

Another brilliant reception tip recommendation – try not to include any poems by Sylvia Plath in the Maid of Honor speech.

2) meatshirt (@prettysadmostly)

tired of waiting to be kidnapped then trained to become the ultimate assassin


1) lauren ashley bishop (@sbellelauren)

in my fantasy football my husband throws the ball to my kid who magically came out of my body without wrecking my vagina

The Vagina Wreckers now joins One Wipe Sh*t, Pumpkin Spice Davante, Gronk’s Badonkadonk (shout-out @BrassyLibrarian) and Wiperz4Life on my list of favorite fantasy football team names for 2015.

Below is a pic of Rachel and Oscar snuggling. Have a wonderful weekend everybody!


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Marty’s Market – Strip District

Restaurant: Marty’s Market (and Café and Coffeebar).

Atmosphere: Despite the fact that it’s basically an unadorned cafeteria that’s located inside of a grocery store, Marty’s Market still achieves the adequate amount of pretentious “hipster-foodie” coolness that I require as a card-carrying pretentious hipster-foodie.

Menu: Sumptuous cuisine with an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients – which I’ve found to be much more preferable to rancid, alien ingredients.

Food: I stuck to the -unch side of the weekend brunch menu and ordered a crab cake sandwich during a recent Sunday afternoon visit. The sandwich consisted of a buttery brioche bun laden with crab meat and a creamy corn rémoulade.

I was apprehensive about the remoulade when I first saw it mentioned on the menu because I’m not a huge fan of dumping corn onto my sandwiches (unlike my son), but it turned out to be an agreeably spicy topping for the crispy crab goodness.

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The accompanying fries were amazeballs and instantly joined Hello Bistro and Point Brugge in a three-way tie for my second favorite fries in Pittsburgh*.

* Winghart’s are still holding down the top spot, with the Arby’s in Oakland coming in last.

Service: Not great. Our waitress was nice enough, but my wife and son’s meals came out missing the correct side items and the replacements took waaaaay too long to appear and actually be enjoyed along with their entrées. The manager did apologize and comp’d the items in question so I’m not going to complain too much*, but I will say that there’s definitely some room for improvement.

* I lied, here’s some more complaining! I ordered a beer as soon as we sat down because I’ve found that imbibing alcohol is a necessity when dining with a toddler in public. I told the waitress that I wanted a North Country Rye-PA (American Pale Ale, 6.3% ABV), and she ended up bringing me a Headhunter IPA. I told her about the mistake, which was quite understandable because I can easily see how she could have misheard me.

I watched as she took the Headhunter back to the bartender/barista and explained the issue. The bartender/barista then came over and asked me “What beer did you order?”, and I responded with “The North Country Rye-PA”. He then asked me where I saw it listed, and I answered “Um…it’s on the beer menu”.

He walked away and ended up coming back a few minutes later with the correct beer. He didn’t offer up any explanation for the confusion, but by that point I finally had alcohol in front of me so I didn’t really care anymore.

Unfortunately my #firstworldproblem reared its head again whenever the check arrived. The waitress had charged me for the original Headhunter, which turned out to cost nearly twice as much as the Rye-PA.

After bringing it to her attention, she corrected the mistake and gave us a new bill, but it was a helluva lot to go through just to get a beer. Thankfully the Rye-PA was delightful and totally worth the annoyance!

Final Call: I’d rather have great food and lackluster service than vice versa so I still highly recommend Marty’s Market as an excellent place to grab some grub in the Strip.
Marty's Market Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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My Mixtape Mondays – September 7, 2015

Since most of pop culture currently focuses on his fashion endeavors, controversial comments and celebrity wife, it’s easy to forget just how great of a rapper Kayne West is. A clear example of this is his many guest verses that saw him either adding gasoline to a fiyah R&B joint or Eminem’ing other rappers on a posse cut.

Below are some choice selections from his guest spot catalog, along with some of the lines that you can’t help but nod ya head at.

Mixtape Name: Best of Kanye West Guest Spots

Side A
1) Run This Town by Jay-Z featuring Kanye West and Rihanna
Police escorts, everybody passports
This is the life that everybody ask for
This is a fast life, we are on a crash course
What you think I rap for? To push a f*cking Rav 4?
2) Forever by Drake featuring Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Eminem
3) Put On by Young Jeezy featuring Kanye West
4) This Way by Dilated Peoples featuring Kanye West
I don’t know what’s better, getting laid or getting paid
I just know when I’m getting one, the other’s getting away
5) Ego (Remix) by Beyoncé featuring Kanye West
Welcome to the world of gold plated earl
‘Cause everything I throw up, blow up
6) Make Her Say by Kid Cudi featuring Kanye West and Common

Side B
7) Maybach Music 2 by Rick Ross featuring T-Pain, Kanye West and Lil Wayne
8) Diamonds (Remix) by Rihanna featuring Kanye West
Maxin’, relaxin’, shootin’ some pool and
Playing some b-ball outside of the school and
Girls with they top off outside of the pool and
Whips with the drop off outside of the Louvre
9) Glenwood by Big Sean featuring Kanye West
10) Kinda Like a Big Deal by The Clipse featuring Kanye West
11) American Boy by Estelle featuring Kanye West
Dressed smart like a London bloke
Before he speak, his suit bespoke
And you thought he was cute before
Look at this pea coat, tell me he’s broke
12) Swagga Like Us by Jay-Z and T.I. featuring Kanye West and Lil Wayne

Liner Notes: Good music…


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The Month in Tweets – April through August 2015

Welcome to a long overdue Month in Tweets! I’ve been as busy as a one-legged cat in a litter box so this post doesn’t just collect my best tweets from the past month, but also covers the highlights back through April.

Sandwiching my reveries are a couple of photos (front & rear) of my buddy Jaci’s canine companion Isadora. This adorable four year old French bulldog loves short walks, chewing on deer antlers, and barking out of the window during car rides to Gram and Pap’s. Squirrels are the primary target of her barking, which she absolutely hates along with having her ears cleaned. I can only imagine how she’d feel if she saw a squirrel holding a q-tip…


caprese salads are my favorite salads because they’re not really salads, they’re just f*ckin’ cheese…

Coco Chanel said “before you leave the house, remove one accessory” so i’m taking off my pants…

current status: planning my lunch while eating my breakfast…

everything my cat does is driven by laziness or hunger and i really respect that…

going to a kid’s birthday party that doesn’t have booze is like going to a swimming pool that doesn’t have water…

i ate a big burrito right before bed and then had a nightmare that i ate a little burrito…

i really hope that “yelling at old people who are holding up traffic to turn into church” isn’t a sin…

if texting while driving is illegal then a two year old throwing Cheerios at your head while your driving should be illegal too…

if this coffee doesn’t start working i may need an exorcism to get through the morning…

i’m all for supporting small business but my cats opening up a vape shop in the laundry room is a little too close for comfort…

in high school, i put more thought into deciding what outfit to wear to Kennywood than i did what colleges to apply to…

it’s not even 9am and my frustration has already reached “Danny Aiello in the Papa Don’t Preach video” level…

just guzzled a 5-hour Lethargy…

just pressed Left-Right-Left-Right B, A, Start on my Keurig and now i have unlimited coffee…

most bumper stickers make me cringe but i just saw a one that said “I Love My Grandcat” and i’ve never felt happier to be alive…

my Beachbody got swept out to sea…

new Smurfs for 2015 – Selfie Smurf, Vaping Smurf, Gluten-Free Smurf & Millennial Smurf (has 2 degrees but still lives with her parents)…

Outlook Auto-Reply: I’m in the office today but slightly hungover and extremely uninterested…unless there’s donuts in the break room…

“pooping” is really the only weight loss plan that i’ve been able to stick with…

sings “Jaaay-son DeruuulooOoOo” prior to starting Powerpoint presentation…

that’s not a tattoo it’s eczema…

the next episode of “Naked and Afraid” is just me stepping in the scale this morning…

today’s the day i shove a pop-tart into the keurig and pray for magic to happen…

updating my resume…does anyone know if there should be a hyphen between world and class in the phrase “world class ass”?

“waiting for the liquor store to open while wearing a swimsuit” means you’re either having a great day or your life has gone miserably wrong

waking up early but remaining unproductive all morning is the struggle i endure…

watching Cake Wars and wondering how we can expect humans to live peacefully when delicious desserts can’t even get along…

we bought a zoo…then i changed my mind and returned it but since i lost the receipt they could only give me Kohl’s cash…

yells “REMIX!” at your second wedding…


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