Category Archives: Random

Wouldst sir or madam desire some lower-level Pens/Flyers tickets?

We are buzzing along here quite nicely, raising funds for Make Room for Kids so that we can give some much-needed gaming to sick children in the dialysis, infusion, and cancer units at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, as well as to update the gaming we’ve already provided for a bunch of other units at the hospital.

As I write this, we’re only $1,250 from the halfway mark.

As I promised you, MORE GIVEAWAYS …

Let’s recap what we already have to give away to celebrate this phase of Make Room For Kids! YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DONATE TO WIN. Anyone who donates via the “Donate” button under the thermometer on the left side there is automatically entered to win, and anyone who comments on the original post here is also entered to win, so make sure you comment with a real email address that I can reach you at should you win. However, I sure would appreciate any amount you could throw in the pot to help the sick kids. 

Pirates Home Opener tickets

Let me repeat that — PIRATES HOME OPENER TICKETS.

And now I can tell you where those tickets are: section 116, Row Z, seats 1/2

Which puts you right here about:

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You almost can’t handle it. But there’s more!

The Penguins Foundation/Mario Lemieux Foundation Charity Gift Bag that I bought with my own money because I love you all very much and I want you to have these things:

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Yes, that’s a Bortuzzo-autographed puck. Bortuzzo who was just traded away today. Let’s call it a collector’s item. Also four fantastic bobbleheads, a Rick Tocchet-autographed puck and lots of other cool items.

But wait! There’s more!

– The Penguins are giving me a prize-pack to give away that includes …

  • Two lower-level tickets to the April 1 Pens/Flyers game at the CONSOL (Section 120 Row S)
  • A Kris Letang game-used hockey stick
  • An autographed Hornqvist jersey
  • And a Sidney Crosby-autographed 8 x 10 photo

And that’s not all!

– This INSANE 24 x 36 metal print from Pittsburgh photographer Dave DiCello. Look at it. You can own it!

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But wait! There’s more!

– And finally, I’m still waiting to hear back from the Pirates. I think they’re hiding from me. I will be relentless and hopefully succeed in getting a gift bag from them too.

There’s also one other option for giving! Until Friday of this week, the incredibly generous Dave DiCello is donating 100% of his photography profits to Make Room For Kids. Go here to purchase some gifts for yourself or your loved ones and know that you’re also helping sick kids at the same time.

Or go here to comment.

Or click on that Donate button up there and spread some goodwill and positive karma.

Group hug for sick kids.





UPPITY. HEARTLESS. WENCH.

Well, it’s a good day when it starts out with me being called awesome names like UPPITY HEARTLESS WENCH, which I believe is Shakespeare, no?

Forsooth.

Yeah, I pissed off a bunch of people again. This time because I wrote a slightly humorous piece in support of the Mt. Lebanon deer cull plan because I don’t see what’s so awful about trying to control the population of deer and offering the meat up to the food banks.

I mean, these protestors DO know where their steaks come from, right? And their chicken? I mean, IT’S GOT THE WORD CHICKEN RIGHT IN IT. It’s an animal. That was killed.

Bawk.

Anyway, their general reaction to my piece was this:

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If you want to get pissed off at me and call me names too, then go read what I wrote about the overreaction of some residents, one who called the cull “cruel fascism” perpetrated by “elite elitist people.”

A snippet:

Mt. Lebanon in particular is being overrun by deer, with increasing encounters and accidents, so the community’s leaders decided to do something about it. They are implementing a plan to reduce the local deer population. Because they don’t want to call it “OPERATION BAMBI EXECUTION,” they’ve simply called it a “deer cull.” Sounds lovely and not at all bloody and deathy. 

Guys, look. I know I joke, but I am not an animal hater. I am a pigeon hater and a cat TOLERATOR. I don’t kill animals for sport and I honestly never could. That’s just me.  If you’re a hunter, fine. You do you. Meat is delicious.

But I understand the damage deer can do, especially if their population isn’t controlled in residential and highly populous areas, and if we can control the deer population and provide the meat to local food banks, I see that as a win-win.

I’m just being logical — or an UPPITY HEARTLESS WENCH.

Which is my new rapper name.

Go read and leave me nasty comments. I can take it.

Oh, and donate to sick kids! Please? PLEASE?! PLEASSEEEEEEE?!

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Make Room for Kids 2015 and a HOME OPENER GIVEAWAY

A doctor utters the word dialysis to an adult, and the trepidation sets in.

Hours upon hours sitting in a chair getting treatment for a life-threatening illness. Four hours or more at a time. Up to three days a week.

Oh, you have a life you need to live? That’s too bad. This is your new life for a while.

Say the word dialysis to a child, and they don’t know.

At first.

But soon, they’ll know, just like cancer kids learn to say the name of their 24-letter cancer type.

Sit still in this chair for HOURS ON END. With a NEEDLE IN YOUR BODY.

Want to see what it’s like? I found this video. Try not to cry at this bubbly little girl who very matter-of-factly tells you what it’s like …

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How would you like to tell your little child they have to experience that? For weeks, months, or maybe years?

I can’t fathom it. I had trouble informing my son there was a chance he would need a scoliosis back brace (he didn’t). I had trouble informing my little girl she might need to wear hearing aids one day (probably not).

Telling them they would undergo dialysis treatments? Nope. Then actually watching them go THROUGH IT? Nope nope nope.

Well, Burghers, this year with Make Room for Kids, we are going to show the dialysis patients at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh some love. And like the billboard on Route 30 says, we are going to use love to turn them from patients, back into children.

We are going to give them lots of entertainment options to take their minds off of treatment while they are sitting in the dialysis chairs at CHP. We’re going to give them gaming, movies, and more. They will not be bored or focusing on their treatment. They will be distracted, smiling, forgetting.

We’re also going to be taking care of the nearby infusion unit, where, again, children must remain still while undergoing HOURS-LONG TREATMENTS. They need tablets, games, and more.

And we aren’t going to stop there. We are going to do some needed maintenance on other units we’ve already outfitted. Replace some broken XBOXs. Give them new games and controllers. We’ll be paying special attention to the epilepsy unit and we will be outfitting four additional patient rooms in the cancer unit.

Our goal is also to take care of those we’ve already taken care of. Keep their games and movies fresh.

It’s ambitious.

And I need your help. Microsoft’s regional employees, along with a corporate match, are doing their part to donate a good chunk of funds, but you and I? We have to take care of the other chunk.

A $10,000 chunk. Every penny will go directly to the Mario Lemieux Foundation and we’ll use it to buy what we need for our April installation at the hospital.

But I’m going to reward you. You don’t need to see a dorky picture of me; you’ve seen me at my worst.

But perhaps you might want to win …

– The Penguins Charity Gift bag I bought WITH MY OWN COLD HARD CASH. It should be arriving any day and I’ll let you know all the good stuff I get in it. It will all be yours.

– I’m begging the Pirates for a gift bag as well. I will have news on that shortly.

– The grand prize. One lucky winner will get TWO TICKETS TO THE PIRATES HOME OPENER WUT. I’m serious. The Home Opener. SQUEEEEEE.

Do you have to donate to win? No. Because that would run afoul of lottery laws. You can simply comment on this post to win, but if you have one single extra dollar to donate in love to these sick children, please use the donate button up there on the left under the thermometer. All donors to the drive are automatically entered into the drawing for the three prizes, and their email addresses will be combined with those who simply comment below to win, into one big prize-eligible pool.

I will award the prizes the MOMENT we hit $10,000.

Please help me help these kids and come April, you’re going to be so happy you did.

Group hug!





Pittsburgh Parking Wars

It was revealed on Wednesday evening that the 2015 Pittsburgh budget called for not only an increase in some parking rates, despite the fact that parking costs are already a bowl full of ridiculous with a side of bizonkers, but also extended meter enforcement hours until 10:00 p.m.

Currently, the meters are enforced in downtown until 6:00 p.m., and that’s great news for restaurant owners and business owners like me and my husband. Park at a meter at 5:30 or so, feed a few quarters, and once that puppy realizes it’s six o’clock, it’s all, “Yeah. Whatever. Bye.”

I was angry when this same policy was put in place a few years back, only to eventually be repealed.  Had I more time and inclination, I would hunt down my posts about it, but, yeah. Whatever. No.

I was angry yesterday, when I heard they were trying it again. So I did what I do … I ranted on Twitter.

Read from the bottom up. If I had the time to flip these around, I would, but, yeah. Whatever. No.

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I didn’t crop out my Apple Store tweet because, seriously, that happened. I think they’re wizards and I don’t mean computer wizards; I mean wizard wizards. Magic wand wizards. Eye of newt wizards. Of Oz wizards. Either that or Jedis.

Where was I? Right. Suck it, all you who have whined at me and complained that I was going to be super easy on Bill Peduto, because I’m a fan. No, I was pissed and I said it and he saw it and bloop-blip-bleep goes my phone telling me that I’ve got some direct messages on Twitter from the Mayor.

Uh-oh.

I’m about to get yelled at by the mayor, aren’t I?

Have a look, and you can read these from top to bottom. Lucky you.

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Well then.

First, do you know that when you park at the Cleveland airport, you don’t drive around the garage looking for a spot while shouting at your children that YOU’LL TURN THIS CAR AROUND AND WE WON’T GO TO DISNEY IF YOU DON’T ALL STOP INTENTIONALLY BREATHING ON ONE ANOThER? It is all automated. Electronic signs at each row tell you how many regular spaces, if any, are open, and how many handicapped are open in that particular row. Every space in the garage has a red or green indicator light, so when you turn into a row with an empty space or spaces, you just look down the row for the green light and there’s your open spot. IT IS SUPER AWESOME and it taught me that Pittsburgh was in the dark ages, parking technology wise. I mean. Cleveland. Come on.

Second, when I heard that Bill Peduto was proposing this change after he was against this very thing back when Lukey did it, I imagined he was sitting in a conference room being told there was a budget shortfall and he simply said, “Eh, whatever. Raise the parking rates and enforce those suckers until 10:00 at night. Boom. [drops mic and walks out].” That made me angry. I don’t want the people to pay more just because the politicians couldn’t be bothered to address waste or put any real thought into the budget or into actually making things better.

Having read what the Mayor is saying, I’m intrigued. Data-driven. Technology. Dynamic pricing. I want to see what happens with this. I think Pittsburgh needs this type of technology, and if we really do get it, it could completely change the efficiency, usefulness, and general “I WILL PUNCH A PUPPY IF I DON’T FIND A SPACE SOON” frustration of downtown parking.

All of this is in the ordinance, which you can read here.  (p.s. This took me 15 minutes to find which is 12 minutes longer than it takes me to find just about anything on the web on account of I am a web-sleuthing genius. Fix that, City.)

The Mayor mentioned in a later direct Twitter message that they would be better explaining what they mean by “dynamic pricing” at some point next week. However, reading the ordinance, it appears dynamic pricing will only be implemented in certain areas.

In addition to dynamic pricing, there’s something called dynamic HOURS. It looks like everywhere in the city will end meter enforcement at 6:00 p.m., except the North Shore, Downtown, and the South Side who will have dynamic hours from 6 to 10 p.m., meaning within that timeframe hours of enforcement will be adjusted according to supply and demand.

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I’m curious to see how that will work and what kind of pricing we will see. (p.s. There is a typo that says 10 a.m. instead of 10 p.m. Fix that, City.)

Sundays will still be free.

So for now, as it seems we’re going to get something in return for paying more, I’m going to quash my anger, even as a downtown business owner, and I’m going to see where this takes us. I hope it takes us into the future ahead of other cities, rather than us doing what Pittsburgh always used to do: do, acquire, adopt, accept, realize, and become things five to ten years after everyone else.

This might catch us up with other cities who are incorporating technology into their parking systems, and maybe even catapult us ahead of them.

However, if these promises don’t come to fruition and in 2016 we’re all being taxed to death, driving around town thinking of punching puppies as we hunt down a meter that will only let us park for an hour for ten dollars so we don’t have to pull into a $30 garage, so help me Nutella, I will become a bowl full of LIVID with a side of LOOK HOW MANY SWEAR WORDS I CAN INCORPORATE INTO ONE BLOG POST.

Amen.





Random n’at

1. A text from my mom after I replied “LOL” to the preceding text from her telling me I am to design her new kitchen:

“No LOL unless you mean Lots Of Love because I am DEAD SERIOUS. And so is YOUR FATHER.”

Of course I responded LOL to that and then her head exploded.

2. Russell Martin reportedly wants AT LEAST $75 million over five years.  Choose one of these reaction gifs. All are appropriate.

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Maybe not the last one; I just love that gif.

3. I solved the mystery of why we’re slowing down at the mouths of tunnels in Pittsburgh and wrote about it for the November edition of Pittsburgh Magazine. 

A snippet:

You’ve slowed down. You’ve read the 40 signs. You’re prepared to stop, foot hovering over the brake. You’ve ensured you’re not hauling any flammable liquids, as four signs have warned against. You’re not over-height, as three signs have warned. You’ve included a bibliography and page numbers. You’ve now slowed to 35 miles per hour.

You jerk! Don’t you see the signs next to the “Pedestrians Prohibited” signs and the “No U-Turn” sign? Don’t you realize they want you to “MAINTAIN YOUR SPEED?” But you’re slowing down because you still haven’t read the four “Stay in lane” signs. (The actual hellmouth will open, unleashing the tunnel monster if you change lanes within a Pittsburgh tunnel.)

Go have a read and see how I managed to talk about helicopter parents in Upper St. Clair.

4. I’m in the final stages of compiling this year’s Burghy Holiday Gift Guide for the magazine, so if you’ve got an awesome idea for a gift made or developed right here in the Burgh, hit me up at virginia [at] thatschurch.com.

Immediately. Right now. Go.

5. County controller Chelsa Wagner held a press conference, an actual real live press conference with news cameras and press releases and a lectern and microphones and VISUALS on an EASEL to announce that Rich Fitzgerald hasn’t been logging his miles appropriately for his county-issued 2007 Jeep Cherokee.

She used his Twitter account and made screencaps of it and cross referenced it and then blew them up and put them on easels and blasted it to the city and then blasted him and then never bothered to send him the report.

Chelsa, seriously. Yes, please do your job and watch out for the taxpayers, but there’s no need for the press conference because we all know you and Rich Fitzgerald have a personal beef and therefore you just look ridiculous and petty and immature standing up there with your charts and lectern placard.

Gawd.

Screenshot:

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Rich, log your miles correctly.

Chelsa, do your job without the unnecessary public fanfare to call out a person you very publicly hate.

As if I don’t already have enough people who hate me on Grant Street. Meh.

And please do not bother trying to draw a comparison to Lukey taking the brand new police-assigned Homeland Security SUV to the Toby Keith concert. He never should have even TOUCHED that car. This is Rich’s county-issued car. We’re just talking about miles here. So just shhhhhh.

6. I tried watching a bit of the Steelers game last week, but felt gross about it in light of my quitting the NFL and turned it off.  I turned it on this week for about two minutes to see the Steelers looking like Rod Barajas running through three inches of mud.

High-five if you get that joke. Little Pirates throwback there.

7. Finally, on a personal note, which, LOL (NOT Lots of Love, Mom) because everything I write in this space is personal, I have decided that in 2015 I will read one book a week. Fiction, nonfiction, pop-up book about dinosaurs, recipe book, doesn’t matter. One book a week.

What should I read? What’s good? What changed your life? What made you a better person. What made you get to the last page and whip that book at the wall in anger like I did when I got to the end of Gone Girl?

Leave some suggestions in the comments, please.

8. I’m out of time and have to end this post now!

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