Sunday, November 29, 2009

Wooden Escalators

The wooden escalators at Macys Downtown Pittsburgh. I wish they still worked. I remember riding these in Kaufmanns.

The Bat Phone

Antoon's has a Bat Phone!

Bullshit Charge

I hate it when places like Fuddruckers place hidden charges on your
meal. The girl asked me if I wanted cheese I said okay. She never told
me there was an extra charge. That is bullshit. If someone asks you if
you want something that you did not order, they should have to specify
there is an extra charge. I did not find out until I looked at my
check. Not cool Fuddruckers. You fail in customer service!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Deer Park

Deer Park cost $3.50 at Sheraton Station Square? WTF? They need to
have Figi if they are going to charge that shit!

Aiello's

Best pizza in Squirrel Hill.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone (even though it is now Black Friday.) This year for Thanksgiving I told my mom I would help her since she is the only person that cooks for holidays. I made the stuffing, the cornbread, and the pie.

The stuffing was a sausage cornbread stuffing from Anne Burrell on the Food Network.  This was my favorite thing that I made I think:


The cornbread was a cheddar dill cornbread from Ina Garten.  This was also pretty good:



Finally I made a pumpkin banana pie from Tyler Florence and was a little disappointed with it because it was a little too bananay and the meringue shrunk.  It was still decent though.

I was glad Aunt Tama, Uncle Vince, Matt, DJ, and Amanda came home too.  It was a nice Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"Not cool..."



True story about Priority Club Rewards hotel points program (Holiday Inn's loyalty program.)

I stayed at the Holiday Inn in Leeds/Bradford when I was in the UK a couple weeks ago.  I forgot to sign up for the membership program before I went so I decided to sign up after the fact when I got home.  (I did this before with other airlines/hotels with no problem.)

After I signed up for Rewards Club and turned in my stay, I got the following response:
Priority Club credit can only be issued if your enrollment date is during or prior to your stay. Our records show that your account was opened on 18 November 2009. As the stay in question was prior to this date, we are unfortunately unable to award credit to your account.
To which I replied:
not cool...
The very next day, I got another email from them stating:
As a courtesy, we have made a one-time exception to the retroactive credit rule and have issued points for the stay in question. The adjustment should be available for immediate viewing in your online account
How crazy is that?  All I had to say was "not cool..." (which was literally all I wrote in the email) and I got credit for my stay.   Goes to show you that corporate policy can be broken without even trying very hard.  It also shows that Holiday Inn is sensitive about being called un-cool, when I called them out on it, they immediately reversed their decision ;-)

Either way, thanks Holiday Inn!  :-)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Be careful of naNo Vapor

Today before I went to the gym, I tried naNo Vapor which is a pre-workout drink mix from MuscleTech.  I got a free sample sized bag from when GNC had their grand opening at Ross Park Mall.  USE THIS PRODUCT WITH CAUTION!!

The bag said that you could take between 1 and 3 serving and since the sample size bag was three servings, I just took the three servings.  Now maybe this is where I went wrong but man...  First of all the product tasted a little intense which, whatever, I expected it to.  It took me a while to drink the whole 12 ounces.  I then started to walk to my car and I could feel the stuff churning around in my stomach.

As I was driving to the gym, I started to get really hot...when I parked and got out of my car, I noticed my elbows were really sensitive when they rubbed against my hoodie, it almost felt like they were burnt or cut.

When I got into the gym and took my hoodie off, I noticed my skin was turning bright red everywhere, but mostly around my joints especially my elbows.  Here is what it looked like:


This stuff was supposed to make me really want to work out, but when I got there, I did not feel like it at all.  I was hot, my skin felt weird, and I just over all did not feel like lifting.  I started with shoulders and felt a little better part way through, but did not feel like continuing to do legs too.

I came home and decided that I will do legs tomorrow, WITHOUT taking any kind of pre-workout drink!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

PPG Birstall and the UK

Wednesday night, we flew into Leeds, England and took a cab to our hotel that was listed as being in a "rural area."  (When we woke up, there were cows right next door!)  When Jason, Jeroen, and I got there, the others were already in their rooms, so we decided to have a few beers ourselves and call it a night.

Thursday we headed to the PPG Birstall plant where Chuck Bunch (PPG CEO) gave his CEO webcast the week before.  The place is really big!  We took a cab from the hotel and it dropped us off at the main building but we had to walk a mile (just about) to where we had our meetings.  The first day, my team did not do much but listen during the meetings, our presentation was the next day.  We did go on a plant tour that was two hours long and had to wear steel toe boots for it, it was very long but it was cool to see some of the things that PPG actually does.  The Birstall cafeteria has nothing on Uithoorn...gross!
That night we went to a pretty good pub and had traditional English pub food (this is not at all like American bar food, the food was really good and not just things like hamburgers and wings.)
After that a small group of us went into Leeds for the night for drinking and dancing.  The first place we went was a salsa bar since LaNita thought it looked good.  It was okay but none of us wanted to try to salsa since some of the people were pretty good.  We stayed there for a little while and then the group split up, some went back, I and others went to a club.  The club was pretty fun but it is crazy to see such young kids there.  We left around 3 AM...

Friday we were back at work bright and early...thank God our hotel had an espresso machine at the breakfast bar.  We gave our presentation, and I had my first fish and chips in England for lunch.  Finally we took an hour long cab ride to Manchester where we stayed for the night.  I was smashed in between Jeramy and Wouter.  None of us are small guys and I had to sit with my arms together the whole ride, my back and shoulders were killing me when we got there.  After some much needed rest, we found another English pub to eat at.  I did not feel like going out again because of all the flying we had to do the next day so I called it a night.

The next day I had to fly from Manchester to Heathrow, Heathrow to D.C., and finally, D.C. to Pittsburgh...long day!

I miss Europe already!  Can't wait for my next trip.

Monday, November 16, 2009

PPG Uithoorn and Amsterdam

The first part of my trip to Europe was in the Netherlands.  We got to Schiphol airport around 7 AM and from there we took a cab straight to the office in Uithoorn (a suburb of Amsterdam.)  From there we worked a full day at the office.  The people there all were pretty cool and everyone in IT was pretty young (or at least the ones I met.)  The best part about the office was they have free espresso all day long!!  Of course I took advantage of that a lot.  We worked a full day and Jeroen, my new manager, drove Jason and I to our hotel.  The hotel was not that great but we were only staying there for one night.  We were not going to meet for dinner until 6 so I took a little walk and did not find much and it started to rain so I headed back to the hotel and took a 20 minute nap.  Kavin and Erik picked Jason and I up for dinner and we ate at an old train station.  We had this chicken that was awesome!  It was my favorite meal of the trip by far!  After that Kavin and I went into Amsterdam.  We did not have much time since it was about 8 when we got there and had to work the next day, but I did get to see some of the city on the bus and we walked around the Red Light District.  I was surprised that they had so many casinos, but when you think about it, it makes sense that they do.  There were plenty of hot girls in the windows but there were also some old and some fat ones.  It was kinda sad to see the old men that were going in to have sex with these young girls.  We stopped by a coffee shop before we caught a bus back to the hotel. Apparently they do not heat their busses!  When I got back, I passed out, I was awake for about 35 hours!!

The next day I had another full day of work then Jason and I headed to the airport with Jeroen to go to the UK for the second part of our trip.  Some how American Express Business Travel messed up and got Jason and I first class and our manager was in coach!  The dinner and the free beer was good though :-)

More on the UK in my next post.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Swaffelen

New Dutch word I learned last night: swaffelen.  I learned this word during my business trip in the UK and apparently it was voted the Dutch word of the year last year.  It was funny to watch everyone's face as they were reading the definition form Urban Dictionary on an iPhone being passed around the table.  Check it out for yourself: swaffelen

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pigeon

Saw this at a pub in Manchester, UK and thought of Pitt Girl. (check
out the first starter)

First Class!


Somehow, American Express Business Travel booked Jason and I in "Select Class" on our KLM flight from Amsterdam to Leeds, UK.  Since the plane was small, the seats were not any different since it was a smaller plane, but the service was great.  I had two Heinekens both in Red Bull style 250ml cans.  They even poured it in a real glass.  Also, even though the flight was less than one hour, I got a great meal.  It was Sesame crusted tilapia and falafel skewer offered with choriatiki, and Spanish "Chorro" complemented by Swiss cream.  Good stuff, not sure how we got first class, but it was nice after being crushed in economy on the way to Europe.

Clubbin' in the UK

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Heineken

A Red Bull shaped can of Heineken on my "Select Class" KLM flight from
Amsterdam to Leeds.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pitt Ticket Office


The Pitt Ticket Office pisses me off.  Pitt is always catering to their rich old alumni.  I called the ticket office to see if they had tickets to the last Pitt-Duquesne game at the Civic Arena, and they did.  I told them that I would stop by to by them because I did not what to pay the $15 charge for the "convenience" of buying them over the phone or online.  First of all, that is a bullshit charge but that is not the reason for this post.  I get to the ticket office and say I want to buy two tickets to that game.  The girl asks me "Are you a student?" I say no, then she asks, "Are you a basketball season ticket holder?" I say no, Then she asks me if I am a member of some other thing, I say no, finally she asks, "Are you a football season ticket holder?"  I said no.  Then she said o, I'm sorry, you are going to have to go to Duquesne to buy your tickets.  I was like WTF!!??  She said we only get so many tickets and we need to make sure there is enough for all of our season ticket holders (AKA, rich old people.)  I said well I called and told the person on the phone that I was going to come in and I made a special trip here.  The girl was like, who did you talk to?  I had no idea.  Then she asked me, "Are you an alumni?  Finally a question I could say yes to!!  I said yes.  Then she said well, let me go ask if I can sell them to you.  I was pissed at this point because I figured they were just going to give me some BS answer about not being able to buy them.  Luckily when she came back she ended up selling them to me.  It should not be that hard for a fan to buy a ticket to watch a game whenever they are willing to pay money for tickets that are available.  This kind of shit pisses me off and Pitt is notorious for doing shit like this.  Stop catering to these stupid old people, I am just as much of a Pitt fan than them.  WTF Pitt?

JAX

Meditation room at Jacksonville Airport.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

iSchool Networking Dinner


Tonight I was invited by Pitt with some other alumni to have dinner with some undergrads in the School of Information Sciences at Pitt (apparently they are now calling it the iSchool.)  Bob Perkoski my old teacher and chair of the undergraduate program along with the director of constituent relations was also there.  We met for dinner at Joe Mamas in Oakland.  I used to hate this place, but the pesto gnocchi I had were pretty good.  Some of the other people there were working for companies like Google, Del Monte, and Universal SmartComp.  The idea was just to have the alums talk to the undergrads about working and let the undergrads ask questions.  I also found out some things about the program like how well some people are doing and the vast amounts of different kinds of jobs people are getting with a BSIS degree.  Apparently one of our grads is now an insanely famous singer in Japan!  His name is Jero.  Interesting... Overall, I had a good time and was glad that I got asked to participate in this.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Are you Jewish?

Yesterday I was walking down Murray when some kid said to me, "Excuse me sir, are you Jewish?"  I said no, and he said "oh, okay, have a nice day."  WTF?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hello Sunshine

The only good thing about going back to standard time. it's light when I leave for work again!

Halloween

Halloween was cool this year, I was a pirate and went out with Erin, Kelsey, and Bobby Friday and Saturday.  Here is a picture of our group:



Friday I took a 1/2 day from work to rest up.  Everyone came over here arround 6:30 to quickly pre-game before going to the Gateway clipper.  We were going for the 96.1 Kiss Sean Kingston concert.  It was the perfect night to be on the boat.  It was not too cold at all.  We started out up on the roof and took in some of the beautiful city views that I still do not get tired of.  After the ride was half way over, Sean still had not preformed!  We decided to go inside and dance for a little bit, finally Sean came out, did two songs, took a long ass break where they played no music, came back on and only did two more songs!!  WTF?  It was cool though because we still had a good time.
After that, we headed to Mad Mex where I had a pumpkin margarita and a burito.  Then as we were coming back to my place, there was a party going on at the apartment building next door that we got invited to.  Me and Bobby were having a good time, but Erin and Kelsey felt "weird" becasue they didn't know anyone, so we didn't stay long.  It was a good thing because I definatly had enough to drink...

Saturday we had a very late start.  We got to Southside somewhere between 12:30 and 1:00.  Town Tavern was charging $10 to get in (you got to be kidding me) and Tiki Lounge just closed (WTF)  Instead we sent to Smokin' Joe's.  We only got to drink two beers becasue for some reason they did not say open the extra hour for daylight savings time ending.  O well, probably better that way anyway.