Category Archives: David Conrad

It was MY day, bitches.

I probably shouldn’t write this post, but I honestly don’t give a shit.

And that’s a weird way to start a post about my 40th birthday, but seriously, I in no way want to seem as if I am bragging (My sisters will testify that I HATE doing anything that even resembles bragging. They even have a recent example to prove it.), but I have shared almost a decade of my Pittsburgh journey with you guys, and I don’t want to withhold from you this latest, interesting leg of the trip.

So suck it up and read this and feel free to comment about how I’m bragging and a bitch and also how fabulous I look for 40 because 40 … WAH!

Anyway …

I turned 40 last Friday. I’ve already written about how I am not too happy about turning 40. Yes, it’s better than the alternative, but these gray hairs and these wrinkles and these failing eyes and this flabby butt are not endearing me much to 40. Of course, I’ve known my flabby butt since my twenties, but still … 40, you are not welcome here.

40 started out great. Breakfast in bed. Two sets of flowers. Two balloons, one of which informed me that I had crested the proverbial “hill “and was indeed on my way down it. Screaming. In terror. Like a three-year-old approaching the Jack Rabbit’s double dip.

My husband had spent the better part of the previous week being blatantly, intentionally mysterious. Dropped hints about trips. Suitcases. His parents in Mexico.

Were we taking a trip? I secretly hoped not because while if YOUR husband handed YOU two tickets to Greece and an already packed suitcase, you’d probably jump into his arms and try to rip his pants off in ecstasy, that’s pretty much my worst nightmare. Not the sex. The travel.

I need to prepare for travel. I need to take care of shit. I need to get my affairs in order. I need to mentally prepare myself for getting on an airplane.  For possible burny death.

I know. I need drugs or something.

Anyway, my husband headed for the restaurant for the day and left me to be nervous about whatever the hell he had planned. I knew we were going to dinner, but that was it.

Fast forward to about 4:00 p.m. when my mother arrived to pick up my children so that we could have our date night. And she said, “Gin, since you’re going away for a few days, why don’t I –”

And I said, “WHAT?! AM I GOING AWAY?! AM I GOING TO DIE IN A PLANE CRASH TOMORROW?! INTO WHICH OCEAN WILL I BE PLUNGING?!” Internally, I hit my knees in prayer.

Mom looked aghast. Threw her hands over her mouth and quickly ushered the kids out the front door without saying another word to me.

A while later, my husband drove us to the South Side. I was sure we were heading for my favorite South Side spot Dish Osteria for dinner, but he pulled into Nakama valet. “For a drink.”

Ugh.

I sucked down a cosmopolitan like it was a tequila shooter and demanded to know where we were going. What were we doing. I AM 40 AND YOU ARE GOING TO GIVE ME A FRICKING HEART ATTACK.

Maybe that was the plan. Kill me at 40 so I can’t complain about 50.

Drinks imbibed, we retrieved my filthy momdorkmobile from valet.

“We need to swing into the Pirates offices to pick up my tickets for next week and then we’ll go on from there.”

Huh?

His cell phone rings. “Yeah? Hi, Jordan [our sales rep]. We’re almost there. Where will you be? Okay. See you in a few.”

Huh?

At PNC Park, I started to get it when we headed inside and suddenly there were employees directing us to the 3000 Club.

SURPRISE, GINNY!

Look who is here! All of your family! Many of your friends!

But wait. Look who is also here. Your nutty OCD sister who had a mental breakdown just a few months ago. She got on an airplane for the first time in more than a decade to be here.

And that got me. Because she got on an airplane. For me. If you’ve ever read her blog, you understand what a huge, huge, huge deal that it. Inconceivable six months ago. Completely inconceivable. She didn’t attend our sisters weekend last fall because she couldn’t get on a plane.

So I cried. Because it meant she was really well. Finally, she was whole again. Here’s my ugly-cry face. Memorize it. You won’t see it again until the Bucs win the World Series:

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 10.18.08 AM

But that’s not all, Ginny. Close your eyes because we have another surprise!

I opened my already teary eyes to find myself staring into the face of my best friend from college who I had not seen since 1996 on account of the fact that I live in Pittsburgh and she lives in Newfoundland, Canada.

I was stunned that my husband was actually listening to me when I talked about her. That he contacted her and managed to get her there. Can you imagine how creepy that would have seemed? “Hi! I don’t know you. You don’t know me. Can I get you a hotel room in Pittsburgh?”

So I cried some more. Who knew 40 makes you so damn weepy all the damn time. And sweary. Really sweary.

Damn.

Shit.

Hi, dad.

As the evening progressed, someone special swung by.

Mayor Bill Peduto. And here’s why I had to write this. Because he walked in and took control of the room like a badass, asked for quiet and then boom.

Proclamation. That he wrote. Himself.

proclamation

peduto

I almost cried. Especially at the part about all my faults.

Hah! Kidding.

Remember how much I’ve made fun of people with proclamations? About ridiculous days named after people we’ve never heard of? Remember that?

I’m one of those people now.

A hundred years from now they’ll be looking through old books in city hall all, “Wow. Books. Haven’t seen one of these in 20 years,” and they’ll find the proclamation copy and say, “WHO THE FRACK IS VIRGINIA MONTANEZ?!”

So I had a day. It was proclaimed. Virginia Montanez Day. And I didn’t know about it until 8:00 p.m.

And I was like, shit (sweary!), I have only four hours TO RULE. THIS. CITY.

I wanted to run yellow lights with the proclamation held up to the windshield. Suck it, traffic light camera. It’s my day. I would make duck lips and the peace sign. Ticket THIS.

I wanted to jaywalk while holding it in the air like Lloyd Dobler and a boombox. (If you don’t know who Lloyd Dobler is, you must leave now on account of your disgusting youth. Gross.)

I wanted to kick down Dunkin Donuts’ doors and demand free pastries.

Park for 30 minutes in a 15-minute loading zone.

Find Lukey and do the running man dance in front of him.

runningman

Punt pigeons all, “It’s MY CITY, VERMIN BITCHES (all the swears!). POW!”

But I stayed at the party and had a blast.

Look at my gorgeous sisters, including the crazy one who got on a plane:

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 9.57.57 AM(Left to right: Princess Aurora, Ta-Ta, the 40-year-old Virginia, Tina Fey, and Pens Fan)

 

Look at my mom and dad:

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Look at me showing them how I was going to cross every street, outside of the crosswalk, until midnight:

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 9.59.16 AM

Haters gonna hate.

And look who else showed up:

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That’s David Conrad surrounded by my nieces and nephews who are all big “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” fans. He is the bad guy on that show, but he is truly a good Burgher.

(I am six episodes behind. If he is no longer the bad guy, DO NOT TELL ME.)

My sister Marcia (OCD Tina Fey) gave out a scream when she saw him. And then I realized that 60% of the reason she got on an airplane and risked burny death was because there was a 50% chance she was going to meet him.

Bitch. (Swears!)

So many more wonderful friends I’ve made since I started this blog arrived. It was touching. Unexpected. Sally Wiggin gave me a shirt that says “Ohio.”

I turned 40, and it didn’t suck.

Also, if you got a parking ticket in the City of Pittsburgh on May 30, 2014, get at me.

I think I can cancel those for you.

[awkward kung fu moves]

 





I am dork; hear me snort

Do you know that I am a big giant socially awkward dork? Do you? Do you need me to count the ways?

Perhaps the time I gave David Conrad a ride in my filthy momdorkmobile?

The time I met Mario Lemieux and talked for three minutes straight without inhaling once and then possibly proposed marriage to him like a hopelessly romantic Tourette’s sufferer?

The time this Saturday when I walked around the Children’s Home Shake Your Booties event at Heinz Field for twenty minutes with my blouse awkwardly tucked into my Spanx?

The time I walked around downtown all day with a size sticker strip stuck to the back of my new jeans?

The time I met Sean Casey and he said, “You have leaves in your hair.”

The time I accepted an award from Light of Life with Kennywood wide open?

I am dork. Hear me snort when I laugh.

I’ve got another one to add to the list.

Last night was the Zoo’s first ever Fashion for the Wild event, a fundraiser and fashion show and I was fortunate enough to be invited to check it out. Kiya Tomlin was there showing off her designs. She’s gorgeous. Really.

I got to meet some animals. This is Mr. Cuddlemuffins, as I named him.

porky

This is Sir Back-The-F–k-Up:

snake

Snakes. What was God thinking?

Also there were hosts Sally Wiggin and David Conrad, my BFFs:

sallydavid

There was also fashion, not  modeled just by professional models, but also regular women with interesting stories.

When my sister and I arrived, we were asked if we were guests or models (we said models, of course) and we felt very flattered that we were asked that. We must look super hot and thin, we thought. Then the fashion show started and we understood. Regular Pittsburgh women.

fashion

fashion2

I took my sister Pens Fan as my plus one because she’s a big David Conrad fan and wanted to meet him.

tammydavid

Then Dork struck. (That’s the title of my future autobiography, yes?)

A bit later my sister and I were walking up the circular walkway that winds up to the top floor of the aquarium while David happened to be walking down it. We met in the middle to chat at which point I stepped my new skinny heel into a floor grate and got stuck. Not just a little. REALLY stuck. Wedged.

I yelped, “Oh, my God. I’m stuck!”

I tried to yank my shoe out but the entire grate started coming out of the floor. Not even joking. I started to tip over as the totality of my weight was now balancing on a one centimeter-thick heel and I have that inner ear thing that gives me a shit sense of balance.

David was forced to prop me up while my sister reached down and helped me OUT OF MY SHOE at which time she forcibly yanked it out of the grate and handed it to me.

Ta-daaaaaaa!

tada

[takes a bow]

For my next trick …

Only me, guys. Only. Me.

I bought some cool stuff too! Check out my new coasters featuring three sports stadiums no longer around:

coasters

And I grabbed this too. Would you believe it mentions the Penguins and the Steelers but not the Pirates? I’m kind of aghast.

book

At my sister’s insistence, I took a photo with David. But before we took the picture, I said, “You know for as many times as we’ve met, there does not exist a photo of the two of us together and I feel like we should keep it that way.”

He agreed, so we mostly did:

medavid

Honestly, I’m just thankful there’s no Target price-tag hanging down my back.

You should check it out next year. I hope to be there. I’ll be the curly-haired girl wearing WEDGE SHOES.

 





Long overdue Random n’at

russellcrowe

1. [taps microphone] Is this thing on?

Whew! It’s been a hell of a January. I mean, it was New Year’s Eve, I blinked at midnight and BOOM. January 17.

I’m still here. Still writing. Still wishing Portland to suck it.

Lots to cover, so get your clicky finger ready.

2. Russell Crowe is reportedly returning to the Burgh to film a new movie. As you recall, when Mr. Crowe last filmed in Pittsburgh, he loved it so much he would take miles and miles of bike rides through the city.

Stalk-o-meter calibrated to “Stun and Throw Your Body In Front of His Bike Forcing Him to Render Aid Unto You While Speaking With an Adorable Aussie Accent.”

Amanda Seyfried and Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul will co-star.

I’ve never seen a single episode of Breaking Bad and it’s very rude how judgy you’re looking at me right now.

3. Fourteen minutes of goalies flipping out. 

Hee. Apparently these guys missed the first part of the “carry a big stick” saying.

4. David Conrad. Still loves Pittsburgh. 

“I love how sweet my homeland is. Sweet eyes. Sweet beer. Sweet hills and valleys stuffed with trees. Walking out of the airport and into a summer night, breathing in the green, sodden air for the first time in months…it’s practically pornographic. I want to drink it, lap it. I want it on me.  I love her, love her Pittsburgh.”

5. National Geographic Traveller. Still loves Pittsburgh.

(h/t PopCity)

6. Speaking of dinosaurs, did I tell you that I finally met my self-united husband Matt Lamanna? He is awesome, adorable, smart, and we are best friends forever.

I’ll be writing that story up for the magazine soon. It’s a good one.

7. Bill Cowher claimed to 93.7 The Fan that all NFL coaches try to steal signals, not just Bill Belichick, who he says simply got overly arrogant by filming it.

Colin Dunlap has feels about this.

8. Is this the best episode of Pittsburgh Dad ever?

Joe DeNardo gets the Chuck Norris treatment. Genius.

YouTube Preview Image

9. Thanks to Fukuda (NOT pronounced “f–k you da”) for finding these sweatshirts at Walgreens.

sweatshirt

Gotta love that at no point from design to production to delivery to store stocking did anyone notice that independent was misspelled.

Also, someone oughta tell the sweatshirt designer that that bell is in Philadelphia, not Pittsburgh.

[golf clap]

10.  Luke Ravenstahl, NOT “Taking Care of Business” anymore.

Mr. Peduto said his name will not be “printed, painted or engraved on any long-term city property.”

“City property should not be used to campaign for political office,” he said in a statement issued with the order on Thursday. “The City’s physical assets are owned by the taxpayers. Under my administration, these assets will be marked only with basic identifying information and the City seal.”

You guys. We MAY actually have a real mayor.

Bbt_celebration-gif_medium

 

Somewhere, Luke Ravenstahl wakes up:

lukeycrying





Frankenstorm reading

Did you batten down your hatches yet, Pittsburgh? I would if I knew what the hell that meant.

I’m mostly worried about my Halloween decorations becoming missiles that pierce the siding of my neighbors’ homes. Or a random pumpkin crashing into my living room. I’ve heard we might have up to 70 mph wind gusts. In Pittsburgh?! What in the crap even?!  This feels like a SyFy movie where somehow a category five hurricane of snow forms over a midwest state. They’d call it Hurricaginormous Rex or something. It would star Lorenzo Lamas and Pamela Anderson as hurricane chasers. It would have dialogue like:

Pamela: “We’ve got to get out of this storm before we both die!”

Lorenzo: “There’s a storm in my pants, girl.”

Why doesn’t SyFy hire me?

Where was I?

While you’re waiting to find out just how destructive this “unprecedented weather event” is going to be, here’s a few things for you to read:

1. Me versus David Conrad.

I’ve loved his love of Pittsburgh forever, ever since he was on Relativity (My sisters still call him Leo) and still showed up at Burghy events to support good causes. Then in the past few years we’ve become acquaintances which is exactly how I envisioned my ten-year plan to become his best friend would unfold.

David has been vocal about the St. Nick’s church’s demise, so he and I decided to have a little chat about it. This interview is a result of my chat over breakfast at the Square Cafe with the star of the newly announced Lifetime series “The Secret Lives of Wives.”

We talk about the church, the Civic Arena, why he moved to Braddock, unions, Henry Clay Frick, and more. A snippet:

David sees the colorful Twitter interface on my laptop screen and immediately shields his eyes as if we’re in an Indiana Jones movie and I’m opening the Ark of the Covenant. He has clearly eschewed social media and here I am trying to show him the light. As I close my laptop, I make a mental note to one day convert him to the Church of Social Media, but for now, I need a carb-loaded apple maple crepe and a healthy dose of decaf.

and

Henry Clay Frick leads us down a path toward the merit of unions, and I tell David what makes me angry. For instance, when turnpike toll takers are fighting for astronomical wages considering the struggle of the average American worker in this recession. Or when a unionized worker who has done something vile is suspended with pay.

But David is a strong union supporter, and I know that about him. He fights back, defending the unions as a whole, contrasting their wages to the salaries of the management that own and run the companies. He defends the people in the unions, calling most of them good people who work hard and who deserve to be at the table when decisions about their jobs are made.  

“People died to bring us unions,” he says. “They died.” Each syllable pronounced. They. Died.

I can’t not look that in the eye.

And by “astronomical wages” I mean for what their job entails. I’ve complained about this on here before. You know that about me.

Go have a read and to see his answer to my question of, “Why do you care?”

And I can tell you this … with his ability to quote books on Pittsburgh’s history, to name exact years of obscure Pittsburgh events, and the things he does behind the scenes here … he really does care.

2. AND!

My column about Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and on whether or not it’s doing a good job of staying true to the legacy of Fred Rogers.

A snippet:

“Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” is not about collecting dancing stars from bridge trolls or flying on a hastily crafted-together boat made of marker caps and popsicle sticks in order to rescue a half-witted pigeon that got stuck on the Statue of Liberty’s nose. Instead, Daniel learns about going to the doctor, having a picnic, being nervous about school, getting mad and, most importantly, how crayons are made.

Have a read!

And batten down the hatches!

Do we need to stock up on milk and toiletpaper for hurricanes?

I DON’T EVEN KNOW!





My hug wish list

This is not satire. This is not a fake news story. This is not The Onion. This is REAL:

Pittsburgh, the World’s Most Huggable City

The City of Pittsburgh has  been voted the most liveable (sic) city, the top ten Best in the World for tourism among many awards  and now PositivelyPittsburghLiveMagzine.com (sic) and Pittsburgh City Council have teamed up to prove that Pittsburgh is the Most Loveable, Most Huggable City!  Using the model of the international phenomenon of the “Free Hug Campaign” PPLMag.com plans to create a spectacular event on September 6, 2012 with preview events leading up to it.   The goal is to create an event that brings attention and prominence to “Pittsburgh’s best asset, the friendliness of its citizens.”

What’s Happening When and Where!

  • February 14th Proclamation declaring September 6th as Hug-A-Thon Pittsburgh Day.  There will also be a group hug with City Council Members.
  • Hug Ambassador Events are open auditions to be huggers at the Hug-A-Thon Events of September 6th.
  • Hug Ambassador Auditions will be held in the City Council Districts of Darlene Harris, William Peduto, and Theresa Smith.
  • Hug Auditions scheduled during the months of March, May, July and August
  • Hug Ambassador Categories will include, but aren’t limited to: Best Granny Hugger, Best EMS Hugger, Best Sports Hugger, Best Entertainment and Media Hugger
The Hug Ambassador Event Winners will be determined by Facebook contributions and donations raised at the event for four area charities.  Hug Auditions are scheduled during the months of March, May, July and August.  These will be preview events to the September 6,  Hug-A-Thon Pittsburgh™
September 6, 2012 Outdoor Hug-A-Thon Pittsburgh Event and Gala

  • The outdoor event will be held in five locations in downtown Pittsburgh.  These Hug locations are the City County Building, Market Square, Katz Plaza, underneath Macy’s Clock, and the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown.
  • Times to get a “free” hug and make your optional donations:  2:30 PM to 5:30 PM at these locations
  • There will be signage and entertainment to draw attention to the Huggers.
  • The hugs will be free.  Donations will be accepted and the donations will benefit four local charities.
  • The Presenting Sponsor is Wyndham Grand Downtown and the first official Hug-A-Thon Pittsburgh Gala will be held in the Wyndham Grand Ballroom. Celebrity Hug Stations will be set up around the room.  Celebrities will include local sports figures, media personalities, and entertainers. Local musical and variety entertainment has been engaged for both the lobby of the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown and the ballroom from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM.

“I am proud to be a part of this great campaign and to show how much Pittsburgh cares about its local charities.  Pittsburgh is hands-down the World’s Most Lovable City!” Bill Peduto.

Thoughts:

1. I can find the minutes to the meeting, but I cannot find any pictures of the February 14th City Council group hug session! THIS IS A FIRST-WORLD TRAVESTY! What if there is a picture of Lukey hugging Bill Peduto?!

2. I’m happy it’s for charity because otherwise this would be the most ridiculous thing since Gus the Groundhog’s birth.

3. How does one judge a hug audition? Too much squeeze? Limp squeeze? Too much breast pressure? Not enough breast pressure? Too handsy? Not handsy enough? Too much butt grabbage? Would it be like American Idol auditions? “I’ve had five-week old lettuce firmer than your hugs.” Would it be like Dirty Dancing with Johnny? “Look at your arms — Spaghetti arms. You gotta hold your frame.”

4. I miss Patrick Swayze.

5. This event is BurghBaby‘s worst nightmare. That girl HATES hugs.

6. My celebrity wish list for hugs … David Conrad, Mike Wallace, Randy Baumann, Jim Krenn, Daniel Sepulveda, AJ Burnett, Wendy Bell, Sally Wiggin, Matt Lamanna, Mike Tomlin, DAN BYLSMA, DAN BYLSMA, DAN BYLSMA, Sexhair, Sexgoal, Gina Cerilli, Elena LaQuatra, Patrick Jordan, Mario, Fort McKenry, Troysus and DAN BYLSMA.

What? Tell me you don’t believe Dan Bylsma would give the best hugs ever.

We won’t know until we try. To grab his butt.

(h/t Summer)