Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tiffany's Tuesday Tunes: F is for Fifteen

Last night the Pittsburgh Pirates secured their spot in the playoffs for the first time in over 20 years.  This season has been a dream for the Pirates, breaking a losing season streak, and making the city of Pittsburgh tremendously proud.


When the Pirates began their journey to this moment, dealing with 20 years of losing seasons,  I was just 15 years old.  Fifteen seems like it was a lifetime ago. Some things about me were so drastically different from how I am now (like the fact that I still had my natural hair color).  And some things about me were uncannily the same (even then I always had a book in my hands).  But one thing that has remained a constant over those years is Bucco baseball.  My entire life has been filled with Pirates games, many of them losses.  Because I have 3 cousins who have played major league baseball, the game is in my blood.  And because Pittsburgh was the closest city to where I grew up, the Pirates were the hometown favorite.  

I have incredibly fond memories of games with my childhood friend and her family, my college and grad school friends, and of course my own family.  I remember taking my nephew to his first game.  I remember the first game Hubby and I went to when we were dating.  I remember the highs, the lows, the strikes, the homers, the cotton candy, the hot dogs, the bobbleheads, the 7th inning stretches, the fireworks, and most of all the tremendous excitement I felt watching a major league team play.  It never really bothered me when the Bucs lost.  Sure I preferred a win, but I loved them just the same.  They were my team, and have remained my team.

In honor of the tremendous journey this team has taken over the last 20 years, today I compiled a playlist of some of the top songs from 1993, when I was just 15, and the Pirates began their journey to where they are now.

Raise the Jolly Roger.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tiffany's Tuesday Tunes: Baby You Can Drive My Car

Today's post will be short.  Why?  Because I have to drive Hubby to work.  You see, he hit a deer a couple of weeks ago, so this week his car is in the shop for body work.  Normally, this would be no big deal; he can just drive my car to work.

Not my car, but still pretty cool
Except this morning I have an important meeting.  Which means I have to drive him to work.  An hour away.  At 6 am.  And turn around and drive right back to go straight to my meeting.  Then go back and get him in a few hours.  Needless to say, it will be a long day.  And we get to do it again on Thursday for the same reason, I have a meeting.  I foresee lots of coffee in my future.

To help get me through a logistically challenging week, I made a playlist that is fitting for our situation.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tiffany's Tuesday Tunes: E is for Earworm

It has probably happened to you.  You notice that you are humming, whistling, or singing a song, and wonder, "where did that song come from, why is it stuck in my head?".  Maybe you heard it in the grocery store, maybe it was playing on a television commercial, perhaps a memory triggered it.  Regardless of the cause, the song is lodged deep in the grey matter of your brain, and it will not come out.  Sure, you can try listening to something else, but in the moments of stillness, the original song creeps back in.  It lurks in the shadows and around the corners.  It will find you, my friend, because you are being stalked.  By an earworm.


Last weekend I saw a wonderful live performance by John Hodgman, and he closed the show by singing the Mr. Rogers song "It's Such a Good Feeling".  That song is so sweet, the moment was so real and touching, and we all sang along.  I, however, continued singing the song the next day.  And the next day.  And the next.  4 days later, my cerebrum is now a junkie, waiting for its next hit of of this song.  Eventually, my brain will detox, but until then, I will just enjoy the ride.

As far as earworm songs go, this one is not too bad; the song is sweet, easy to sing, and the person most likely to catch me singing it (Hubby) already knows why I am singing it, so no embarrassing questions about why I am on a Mr. Rogers kick.  But some earworms are pervasive and annoying and totally inappropriate.  I polled a few of my friends on social media, recalled my own past earworm adventures, and talked to Hubby about his own battles with earworms, and came up with what may be the most annoying playlist ever.  I apologize in advance.

"It's such a good feeling, to know you're alive. It's such a happy feeling, a feeling inside that when you wake up ready to say, I think I'll make a snappy new day *snap snap*."



Monday, September 9, 2013

In The Big City: John Hodgman at the Rex Theater

Ever since Hubby and I have been together, we have been big fans of John Hodgman.  In fact, as we were driving to our honeymoon in New York, Hubby read excerpts of one of Hodgman's books aloud to me.  Because that is what nerds do to show their love.  They share nerd culture.

As we have gotten older, and more comfortably entrenched in nerd culture, we have come to an even deeper appreciation of Hodgman's genius, through his books, his recently released Netflix special "Ragnarok", and his amazing podcast, Judge John Hodgman.  About a year ago, I vowed that the next time he came within a reasonable driving distance, I was going to see his live show.  That item got checked off the bucket list this past weekend.

The minute I learned Hodgman was coming to Pittsburgh, I bought tickets.  I then spent 3 months fretting about Hubby's work schedule to insure that he could attend with me (it all worked out).  By the time the big day arrived, I was so excited I could not shut up about it.  I was tweeting and facebooking like a maniac.


We got to the show about 30 minutes before the door opened, and already a line had formed.  This was going to be amazing.  When we got inside, our diligence paid off with second row seats on the right aisle.  Sweet.  The show opened with a 30 minute set by local comedienne Gab Bonesso.  Hubby was familiar with her work, but this was my introduction to Gab.  She did a great job, and it was wonderful to be able to support a local artist.  If you have a chance to see her live, take it, you will not be disappointed.


Then, the big event.  Hodgman took the stage, and for the next hour and a half, I was in heaven.  I knew the show was going to be good, but it totally blew away all my expectations.  I saw a whole new side to Hodgman, and I do not just mean the part where he stripped to his skivvies (more on that in a bit).  I saw a much more relaxed, casual side to him, and I have to say, my love and admiration for him grew.  He talked a little bit about Pittsburgh, some outdated cultural references, a very amusing tale of his recent speaking engagement on April 20th (my birthday woot woot), some amazing stories about his "cats" and even a song or two.

  During his set, I was consciously aware that I was experiencing pure joy.  This is not an exaggeration, I literally paused and realized how happy this show was making me, and said a silent word of thanks, just for being alive to experience it.


The highlight of the show was when Hodgman stripped down to his boxer briefs, donned a dress, and did a bit in character as Ayn Rand.  It was so amazing, and given the fact that one of our dogs' middle name is Rand after this same woman, I suspect it was the highlight of the night for Hubby.  He laughed so hard, and it made me so happy to hear him having a great time.


There were two moments of the night that melted my Pittsburgh loving, media nerd, fangirl heart.  The first moment was when Hodgman ended the show by singing the classic Mr. Rogers closing song, "It's Such a Good Feeling".  The ENTIRE audience sang (and snapped when appropriate) along with him, and it was one of those moments of perfection you only experience when seeing a live performance.  I was kicking myself for not recording it, still am.


After the show, I snuck up to the stage and asked Hodgman if I could have the paper he used for the cultural references bit, and he graciously obliged.  I clutched it in my hand, and we waited in line for the meet and greet, so that I could get it autographed.  When we finally got up to him, Hodgman said "Oh, hello again.  I am John".  I responded "Hi, I am Tiffany, and this is my husband, Steve".  Then the second heart melting moment happened.  Hodgman responded with "Oh, the Harkleroads."

::blink blink::

HOLY CRAP HE KNEW WHO WE WERE.   Turns out he had seen all the support we were both throwing his way on Twitter.  And then, he thanked us for said support.  I was so blown away and flustered that we forgot to get a photo with him.  He proceeded to sign the paper he had given me, and chatted for a few minutes.

Not only was John Hodgman a hilarious and engaging performer, he was humble and gracious.  If I could sum up the entire night in one word, it would be, without a doubt, "magical".

Go support live shows by both local and nationally touring artists.  It is an experience unlike any other.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tiffany's Tuesday Tunes: Happy Birthday Hubby

Today is Hubby's birthday.  So my entry will be short, because I want to go spend the day with him.  He already opened his presents, and we had cake for breakfast.  Now we will go do something fun together.

I always try to make Hubby's birthday special, and personal.  When I asked him what kind of cake he wanted, he said he would rather have a birthday burger than a birthday cake.  So, I made him a cake that looks like a burger, and we will have actual burgers for dinner.  It is a double win!


Happy Birthday Hubby.  I love you more than anything in this world.