Category Archives: Downtown happenings

The night I ninja-jumped Sulu

Last Friday night was one of those nights you think back on even a few years later and say, “That night was perfect.”

Perfect friends. Perfect experience. Perfect weather. Perfect beer.


It started with me draining the battery on my husband’s new used Mazda CX-7, which I drove around the entire day not realizing I never actually turned the car completely off. It has one of those newfangled gosh-darn tootin’ keyless starter thingamajiggies and how was I to know that the reason the navigation wasn’t turning off after I shut the car off and the reason the car was beeping and hooting and hollerin’ at me every time I walked away from it was because I had to turn the keyless non-key thingamajiggie even further back than I was?

Technology can kiss my grits so hard.

Having to wait for a jump from my brother-in-law Muchacho put me behind schedule fifteen minutes to meet my friends for the game.

No matter. I didn’t let it phase me.

I met up with besties Mike Woycheck AKA The Butler AKA Woy and Jonathan Wander to enjoy the Buccos taking on the Tigers at beautiful PNC Park.

We drank beer. We ate Crab Fries AKA Crack in a Cup with a side of Liquid Crack in a Littler Cup. We laughed as Rod Barajas slid into home where “slid” means “plopped.” It registered 1.5 on the Richter Scale.

The Buccos won.


After the game Mike and I bid farewell to Jonathan at the end of the Roberto Clemente bridge and then the two of us continued on. On past the Byham. On past the Renaissance. On past Bally’s, we walked. Chatting and laughing and wait.


I made eye contact with a man — a wee man of Asian descent as he and another man rushed past us in the opposite direction. They held playbills in their hands. For that split second that we made eye contact, it registered in his eyes that I recognized him and also because I said, “Waaaaaaaait. Is that..?” just as he passed by.

I grabbed Woy’s arm, my eyes as big as your grandma’s pierogies and for a second we simply spoke telepathically via mindmeld.

Then Woy, once a huge Star Trek fan, said breathlessly, “Was that … George Takei?”

“It was.”

We stood motionless, staring at each other for one long moment and then I said, “Mike! GO!”

We were off, chasing George Takei down like snarling dogs after a Snausage-covered cat.

We dodged the oncoming onslaught of foot traffic like the Starship Enterprise avoiding an asteroid storm.

We jumped this way and hopped that way, spun out of the way of a garbage can, possibly hurdled a flower cart — I can’t be sure. We were Riggs and Murtaugh getting closer and closer to our perp until finally he was right in front of me and had made the terrible mistake of slowing his pace down just one tiny bit.

That was all I needed.

Have you ever waited around the corner to scare someone and you leap out from behind the wall, land in front of them while ever so slightly hunched over, your hands held up like the claws of an angry bear? As Woy is my witness, that’s what I did to George Takei. I leaped in front of him from behind, spinning 180 degrees while in air, landed directly in his path like a lethal ninja and said, “Hi! Can I PLEASE PLEASE get a picture? [SCARY DESPERATE TEETHY SMILE]”

And he smiled widely and said, “Sure!”

Woy snapped the photo and then George continued on his way probably all, “Red alert! Batshit crazy yinzer-ninja!”

Whatever. I’m a delight.

P.S. You too might spot George in town. He’s here in the New Hollywood filming a Nickelodeon series called Supah Ninjas. I can’t believe he didn’t just cast me on the spot. [awkward kung fu moves]

Oreo killed the flash mob star

Such a beautiful Burgh day and so many things to talk about like the Mario statue, n’at. More on that later.

Yesterday was the flash mob at Market Square rumored to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Oreo cookie, and that’s what it ended up being, so basically it was the worst kept secret ever.

Zachary over at PMI was good enough to put this on YouTube for me, and I gotta say, this might be the video that finally has me convinced flash mobs have jumped the proverbial shark:

I don’t know. Flash mobs aren’t novel anymore and it seems that there’s a flash mob every week now.  New product launch? Flash mob. Proposal? Flash mob. You pooped normal today? FLASH MOB.

With the market so saturated, if you want a flash mob to be impactful (not a word) and viral, it’s  got to be in a league of its own and it’s got to be WELL DONE. Remember how you felt when you first saw that G20 Point Park flash mob? Let me remind you:

YouTube Preview Image

THAT’S how you do a flash mob, Internet.

So, please. For the love of Nutella, the next time you’re in a marketing meeting and someone comes up with the genius idea of a flash mob, shoot a hellstorm of gumbands at that guy, because the year of the boring flash mob is hereby concluded.


For those of you who haven’t seen it yet or who no longer live around these parts, Paul K. sent over these pictures of the Igloo with its aluminum steel roofing sheets stripped off:


I understand why it’s coming down, but it’s still a sad sight.



Did I just criticize the mayor? YES! Shocker.

Am I about to praise the mayor? YOU BETCHA!

Because it directly affects me, you see, and I’m all about ME! Mememememememe!

What’s got two thumbs and is me? ME!


The Pittsburgh Parking Authority agreed Thursday to provide free weekend parking at all 11 of its garages during the holiday season.

Garages in Downtown, Oakland and Shadyside will offer free parking after 4 p.m. Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday.

This is fantastic news for us downtown business owners! I could high-five the shit out of some politicians right now.

And second and most important!

In another incentive to bring more people Downtown, the mayor’s office, in conjunction with the Market Square Association and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, will begin offering valet parking to visitors starting Wednesday.

The parking will be available in Market Square from 5 p.m. until 1 a.m. The cost will be $5.

“This is an exciting new service to be tested Downtown to see if there’s a demand,” said Nick Nicholas, a restaurateur and merchant who serves as spokesman for the Market Square Association.

While the drop-off point is in Market Square, Mr. Nicholas said the service is available to anyone who comes Downtown to eat, to go to a show or for some other purpose. He said the $5 fee covers the entire evening.

This is a big deal and Nick has been talking about doing this for a while now. We looked into having valet parking for our restaurant but then we were crushed by a dollar sign the size of your car.

So take advantage, Burghers, so that we can keep this service around. Go and support all of us downtown merchants!

And if you see Lukey, shake your head sadly at him and then give him a high-five and hand that man a juice box in his favorite flavor.


suspicious package

A look inside my brain as I read this article about a suspicious package that was detonated downtown today.

A suspicious package…

Brain: “Why isn’t Suspicious Package a band name yet?”

… was blown up Wednesday morning in downtown Pittsburgh.

Brain: Please let it be ravioli. Please let it be ravioli. Please let it be ravioli.

“Once we arrived on scene we x-rayed the suitcase, determined we had a lot of circuitry and wires in the package. We decided to disrupt the package.

Brain: Disrupt? They call it “disrupting” when they blow something up? Can I suggest a better word?


“We decided to KABLOOEY! the package” sounds much truer than “disrupt” which sounds like you walked up to the package all, “Ahem. Excuse me. I hate to break the ravioli party up–”

Once we disrupted …

Brain: You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

… the package, we determined it was safe of any explosives and the contents of the package happened to be a bunch of electronic equipment such as laptops, DVDs…

Brain: Oh, man. Somebody is going to be pissed when he learns his laptops and DVDs were disrupted in KABLOOEY fashion.

…and VCR players.”

Brain: [falls down laughing] Hide yo’ 8-Tracks, hide yo’ record players, hide yo’ walkmans.

They disruptin’ errybody up in here.