Saturday, April 28, 2007

Pittsburgh numero uno?

So I love Pittsburgh, but something about this ranking seems a little fishy.

According to the article, we didn't do anything well, but we did everything pretty average. From crime to real estate to uh, whatever else they ranked (I haven't looked all the closely... if you can't tell) we were pretty much middle of the pack (our highest ranking: recreation, was 21st), and that, in the end, put us on top. I say that's lame.

While we couldn't compete with New York for cultural diversity or Portland, Ore., for the greatest use of libraries, our total score was enough to put the city ahead of Philadelphia, San Francisco and Boston.

"Some people call Pittsburgh's showing as the triumph of the mildly good," said Savageau, recalling the skeptics who questioned Pittsburgh's No. 1 ranking in 1985.

"It's mildly good all across the categories," he said. "Even the climate is kind of dead center. But for people who are looking for low stress, for normalcy, for affordability, for four-season climate change, for a modest crime rate, for big city amenities, that's Pittsburgh."

So, how many Pittsburghers really love living here? And if they love it here, why are they leaving?

I could tell you the reasons why I do indeed love it here (the rivers, the bridges, the museums, the Thai food, the streets, the neighborhoods, fries on sammitches and salads, the sports teams... which most of which, I suppose, would count as "ambiance"?) but the biggest reason why I'll always love Pittsburgh is because I'm just the sort of guy that gives his heart to whatever he

Friday, April 27, 2007

Uh, go Bucs?

I'm heading down to the game tonight with Adrian, and I'm wondering if I'll hear this. Obviously that's not the whole thing (it's $4 to download) and even more obviously it doesn't hold a candle to A New Pirate Generation--the real Pirates theme song. You probably already know that I'm obsessed with the Buzz Poets Pirates anthem, so much so that my name is all over the Internet in connection to it, including one of my adventures in Wiki-hacking. But apparently this new challenger is gaining some steam in the Pittsburgh area... I'm curious to see (when the Pirates beat the Reds tonight) what song plays following. And if it's not ANPG, Dejan will here from me for sure.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Worst enemy

I've said for a long time that time is my worst enemy. I just don't get it. How can it be that before you know it it's midnight and you didn't do anything all day, or that your gallon of milk is spoiled when you only drank a glass-full?

I'm so confused right now

I really don't know what to make of this. Really I don't. Two basic tenets of my adult life are these: I heart beards. I don't heart Albert Pujols. Heart beards; opposite of heart Pujols.

So, Albert Pujols with a beard? I guess we'll see which one wins out. My guess is it won't matter if he keeps up the grooming, because, also a tenet: groomed beard = doesn't really count.

So, in conclusion:


Opposite of heart.

Friday, April 20, 2007

There's still time

(I'm pretty sure that) all 18 episodes are still available online, so you have absolutely no excuse to not be ready for Monday, the return of NBC's hit show Heroes, and, on a personal note, the return of the show that I actually like more than LOST. (Sorry, Kate.)

If you don't think there's time, just try concentrating.

As NBC is billing it, it's time to save the world. I'll try not to include any spoilers, in case you're cramming as I suggested, but here are the main reasons why I heart Heroes.

1. Hiro. The lovable Japanese time-bender had me from "yattaa." Although he always reminds us of what it means to be a true superhero, Hiro's really a nerd at heart (with lines like "I come in peace" and "great Scott!") and, even better, he doesn't, as of yet, speak English "berry good." It's Hiro's destiny/quest to save the world that's fueled most of season one, and we've gotten a peak at what future seasons might look like... as in:

2. Future Hiro. Episode 5, entitled "Hiros," is the episode that officially hooked me on the series. Before then I liked it, since then I've loved it. Future Hiro is a picture of what the show could be. As all these hero newbs, particularly those with crazy potential like Hiro and Peter, learn to use their powers, it'll be cool to see what lies ahead (for good... or bad), especially when the future we've already seen wears a soul patch, ponytail and carries a katana sword. Sweet.

3. Peter vs. Sylar. As of now (meaning Peter pinned against a wall with his head being sliced open) we're looking at this as good vs. evil, light/dark dichotomy of the same idea, borrowing/stealing powers from other heroes... in one way or the other. Both are awesome characters and, lucky for us, maybe not for them, their story-lines are clearly coming to a point. When the series comes back (Monday!), they will fight, and it will be awesome.

4. It's still the first season. Critics of LOST will say that we never get any answers, and Heroes is giving us answers. To that I say, go back and watch the first season of LOST again. I think too many people jumped on the LOST bandwagon too far in (or too quickly, or with too much information) to really remember what it was like at the beginning when we didn't know anything about Kate, Locke, Sawyer or Smokie. To that effect Heroes hasn't had as many surprises/reveals, I'd say. However, the storyline we're privy to is progressing, and I get the impression that the makers of Heroes have chosen to pursue a season-long story arc (like 24) rather than a series-long story arc (like LOST). I say that's a good thing. Likewise, the pacing has been solid. There hasn't been a Battlestar Galactica second half of season 2 or the first six episodes of Lost season 3 to slow down the action (except, you could argue, for any Niki/Jessica stuff and Matt Parkman's love life). The Peter, Sylar, Hiro, Claire, Mr. Bennet and the Haitian stories, however, have been awesome.

I forget what list I was originally making at this point (and hope, in general, I made worthwhile points at all at almost 3 in the morning), but the point is, watch Heroes. It's awesome. Save the world.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


We have the LG "Chocolate" cell phone in America now, too, but it came out in China long before (as LG, I'm pretty sure, is a Korean company). "Everybody loves chocolate" is the slogan for the phone in the US of A, and at first in China it was, "I chocolate you" which sounds somewhat similar to "love chocolate" in Chinese. Anyway, I think that's all really interesting (and funny), but the best thing about the Chinese version of the phone was that it said when you opened it up, "I chocolate you!" in a really bad Chinese accent. It was seriously amazing.

I'm using this all as a set-up to

Monday, April 16, 2007

Best baseball memories

Giles 8-run comeback
Ryan Howards “hits it here”
Freddy Sanchez White Sox game
Oliver Perez strikes out a ton

Word or not a word?

Actually, this time a phrase:

"As per usual."

I guess the better question is, can I say this? Used in a sentence: "Jon did something awesome, as per usual." (We're not commenting on the truthfulness of the sentence example. It's true.)

Official final ruling on "agreeance..." [see the comments].

Thursday, April 12, 2007


For anyone interested in baseball and/or blogs, you should definitely be reading Curt Schilling's 38 Pitches. I can't speak for all the content (because I haven't read it), but his Q+As provide really interesting access into the mind of a professional athlete I'd say I've never heard anywhere else. The post-game blurbs on FSN or in the Post-Gazette just don't hold a candle to the candid insight Schilling is dishing out. Say what you want about Curt Schilling, but don't say it until you've read 38 Pitches.

Speaking of, I do realize the Pirates are playing, are 4-5, and I've been watching them and paying attention--I just haven't mentioned it. My thoughts now: it's early, and we're 4-5. I'll have more to say in a couple of weeks, when Adam LaRoche will be hitting above .100, Salomon Torres will be somewhere in between perfect (vs. Houston) and perfectly awful (vs. St. Louis), and the Buccos, if they're still right around .500 and in the top half of the division standings, will merit some discussion beyond Dejan's great work and the work of far superior bloggers like Pat, Cory, Rowdy, and Bones.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Missin' Beijing

Seems like China's been on my mind a lot lately, and as I've been telling anyone who'll listen, I really miss my China-home. It's seriously been almost a year since I left Beijing. (Really, this time last year was the "home stretch.") Look back at my April 2006 blog and see for yourself--how is it even possible that a whole year has passed since I taught my kiddos Go Fish, (or 10 months since I) had a bite of gong bao at the White Restaurant, played Settlers with Sue Perdue, drank yogurt from a straw, hung with Janice at Be For Time, caught the 609 to Wan shou lu (that was the number, right?) for a night out with the guys--probably Pete's or Dai minority food, drank flower tea, practiced my Chinese with a taxi driver, bargained hard for an awesome Chinglish t-shirt, taught my students, breathed China air, walked Real China Street, or rode on Ling Long Lu on the way to worship at BICF? All those amazing memories--but for some I have to think to remember now--where was that exactly, when was that, who was I with, and how do you say that again? I'm really itching--wishing, hoping--to go back, but at the same time I feel called to my church and to be home... BUT, there's another home I miss--and that's China. Something about that place and the people make me sure I'll be back there someday, and honestly I hope it's someday soon, before everything I recognize in Beijing is torn down and built over (though honestly, that could be already). But really, whether I never see the Beijing I remember again, I'll still be back in the place I loved and love--that crazy place called China with all those Chinese people and all the craziness. And when I'm there again, no matter where or when I am, I'll see a Chinglish t-shirt and I'll smile and I'll talk to a Chinese person and make a friend and hopefully before too long I'll smell stinky dofu, and then (and only then?) I'll be back home.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Word or not a word?

The "word" up for debate today is:


My knowledge of the use of this word is that it is synonymous with the actual word "agreement." In a sentence: "The committee, despite much heated debate, seemed to find itself in agreeance."

I'd love to get your opinions on this, because I hear this word said a lot, and have for a while, often by people whose use of the English language I otherwise respect. I am under the impression that it is not a word, and would seem to back me up. However, I am all for the fluidity and adaptability of the English language, so let me know where you're at with "agreeance," and I'll make an official ruling after enough of us have weighed in.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Falcons are cool

In 2003:

In 2007:

81 to go

Pirates win, and you know what that means. First place, a winning record, and the kind of optimism Pirate fans had only felt in previous years until Opening Day. This could all be crushed tomorrow, but for tonight we're right in the middle of the pennant race, playing for October, and, for the first time in a long time, we're 1-0.

If you're diehard enough to have "A New Pirate Generation" in your iTunes library, play it loud tonight. (Unfortunately, Dejan's link to the song no longer works. But if you can find the song somewhere else online, point it out in the comments or something.)

1-0, 0-1, 82-80 or 0-162: Let's go Bucs!

Spring has sprung

So last night I watched a baseball game (Mets beat the Cards) and listened to a genu-ine thunder storm outside my window. You really can't beat the month of April.