uh-oh.

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What I did: Post a pic of Cookie the kitten reaching up between the slats of our coffee table and playfully grabbing at my dinner.

What I expected: A whole bunch of AWWWW SHE’S SOOOOO CUUUUTE comments.

What I got instead: A fairly judgemental discussion of my dinner choice, which happened to be Spaghettios.

First: One serving of Spaghettios with Meatballs has 31 grams of carbs, about half of my limit for a meal.

Second: Y’all can bite me. I will always have Spaghettios in the house.

Third: I am certain the Judgey McFood people who commented on my dinner have their own skeletons in their pantries, whether it’s something left over from childhood or a bad habit left over from college days. So let’s hear it: What’s your culinary guilty pleasure?

Finally: I found this as I was looking for a Spaghettios pic to serve as the new header on my Facebook profile. Think there’s no way I’d try making a Spaghettios pizza? You. Are. Mistaken.

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a day.

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This is the only photo I took during the day today. (And Mrs. Crappy won’t be happy to see this one.)

It wasn’t for a lack of opportunities. On the surface, this was an amazing day, mostly because Mrs. Crappy had a rare Sunday off and I was able to spend the entire day with her: outdoor yoga, outdoor lunch, pool time and a party on the Mon Wharf with friends, cold beer and a few of our favorite food trucks.

But life is rarely that simple, right?

I know I’m not the only person who got really angry yesterday as I took in everything that happened in Virginia (I’m confident that I’m not betraying any standards of journalism ethics when I say I find white supremacists of any variety abhorrent). And although Mrs. Crappy and I had a terrific night by a backyard campfire last night, I woke up under the same dark clouds I allowed to build the day before.

And when I let those clouds to gather, they tend to hang around. I can’t say my shitty mood this morning was responsible for everything that happened today, but I think it’s probably tough to separate all of these things from the negative energy I was oozing this morning:

  • Charlie knocking over a giant cup of cold brew coffee — full of sticky half and half — on the living room floor.
  • Noticing a mouse that seemed to be in distress lying in our driveway.
  • Noticing that the mouse had died in the same spot by the time we returned.
  • Sort of losing my wallet as we tried to depart for the pool.
  • Mrs. Crappy getting stung on the toe by a bee as we walked back to our umbrella after our first dip in the pool.

Was any of this a direct consequence of my shitty mood this morning? No. But:

Ashley, one of my two favorite yoga teachers, has been touching on the four yamas in the last month; they’re at the start of Patanjali’s eight limbs of the broader Yoga, and they serve as a guide for ethical conduct for those following the yogic path. The fourth yama is Brahmacharya, literally, behavior that leads to Brahman, or the highest divinity. Patanjali’s definition of Brahmacharya is pretty narrow and pretty specific to his time: Celibacy.

Yes, that’s since been reinterpreted. Ashley has talked about tailoring our actions towards the divine — definitely a goal worth pursuing. But an interpretation that is perhaps more accessible is this: The right use of energy.

And wow, that goes a long way towards explaining how today unfolded. I am a news guy; I was that way before I chose this as a profession. I’ll never be able to step away completely from what I see, read and cover — it’s part of who I am, and it always will be. And this weekend was tough. I’m a veteran and I think I’m pretty patriotic … and seeing this garbage happen in my country is deeply offensive, to the point where it feels like a physical wound.

But here’s the thing: it feels that way because I let it feel that way. When something like this happens — and, I’m afraid, it’s going to happen a lot in the next couple years — I’m always going to feel the way I felt this weekend, at least initially. After that impulse, though, I can control my reaction … and I didn’t do that today.

Not at first, anyway. When Kelly got stung, she shouted — and that sort of snapped me out of all of the other crap that had been cluttering my brain all day. We got her some ice (thanks to the kids at the Avonworth pool for their help) and pretty quickly she felt better enough to take a nap in the warm, late afternoon sun.

I knew later that my mental clouds had passed, when I realized that I had to walk back to my car to grab my regular glasses that I forgot to bring to the wharf party. If I’m in a bad mood, that’s the kind of dumb little thing that can spoil a day for me; this afternoon, it did not. I recognized that I was in a cool space, among friends, and the walk back to the parking garage was insignificant.

I need to find that more, because that’s the right use of energy.

I’m now at home. I’ve had a stunning bottle of beer.

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I’ve hung out a bit with my cat.

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And, thankfully, I didn’t let at shitty start to the day — and all of the weirdness that followed — get in the way of a great Sunday.

feeling thirsty?

Some of you — mostly the ones who are running in the Pittsburgh Marathon or the half on May 7 — know this drill already: When you get to the fluid station at Mile 6+, look for the guy with the beard and the silly red Ohio State bucket hat for hugs, high fives and a cup of the best water on the course.

The guy in the red hat is me, by the way. See?

redhatcrop

For those of you who aren’t running but might not be completely averse to waking up at 4:30 a.m. and handing off hundreds of cups of water to people as they walk by … you should join me. Yes, the hours are rough, but we’ve done this for several years in a row now, and it’s my favorite annual event in Pittsburgh. And it’s a truly gratifying experience; even if you don’t see people you know running the course, everyone is grateful that you’re there and helping out. Seriously — it’s the most fun five hours you can have on an early Sunday morning on the North Side.

How do you sign up? Get to the Marathon’s volunteer page (I filtered this link to make the course water stations easy to find in the list), and scroll down to “COURSE Fluid Station at Fulton Street between Ridge Avenue and Western Avenue (North Side; Approx. Mile 6.2).” Click the button, fill out the info and you’re ready to go. And of course while we’d be happy to have company, if you’d rather volunteer at a station closer to you, that’s perfectly acceptable. We hope we see you there.

course

And if you’re running this year, keep in mind that the North Side part of the course is a little different, so you won’t see us on Western Avenue. We’ll be on Fulton between Ridge and Western, just before you guys make a hard left turn to head over the West End Bridge. Just look for the hat, people — I’m easy to find.

one down. one to go.

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That’s me. At Piper’s. I’m not hard to find.

A thing I should have done last night: Take a photo of the wings-and-beer spread we brought over to AJ’s house. It was … impressive. And delicious.

I don’t think four dozen wings will be part of the second AUCNFFC payoff Thursday night, but it could be fun regardless. As a reminder: Two seasons ago, winner Kewyson opted to donate his winnings to a night out for Pittsburgh AUCNFFC players … and we’re going to make good on that Thursday.

As I said before, if you’ve ever been an AUCNFFC contestant, show up at Piper’s Pub Thursday night — I’ll be there around 7:45 or 8 — and I’ll buy you a beer. I can’t imagine we’ll get there, but I’ll buy one beer per person until I hit $50 … or until it’s time for me to go home.

And if you want to stay for another, and maybe watch some basketball … or not … please do. I hope I see you there.

blutarskies, with distinction.

deflated

It seems that I write at least one post every year explaining just how ugly that season’s AUCNFFC (BTYBB) has turned out.

But this year, the Eleventh Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Bocktown) seems to be, uh, extra special.

How special? Only one of us — one, of the 28 who entered — has a chance of picking the correct title game. Twenty of us have earned all the points we’re going to earn.

And 12 of us — 42 percent, by the way — who make up this year’s class of Blutarsky Award winners.

Your standings, with current point totals and potential for additional points next weekend:

Four points (and many more):

  • AJ

Four points (plus four):

  • Curl Girl Michelle
  • Fred
  • The Wee Lad
  • Scooter
  • Noted Television Personality Jim Lokay

Two points (plus four):

  • Uncle Crappy
  • Juan

Four points (and done):

  • Joe Cernelli
  • Dana Bee
  • JD
  • The Bitch Desk
  • Susan

Two points (and done):

  • Mr. Burns
  • Starts With Dish
  • Carla

And now, the moment we all await each March: The naming (and shaming) of our Blutarsky Award Winners.

  • Jenn Strang
  • Sara
  • Enzo
  • Otimemore
  • HP
  • The Sports Chump
  • Ethel
  • Tedwards
  • PghRugbyRef
  • Father Spoon
  • Work Kelly
  • Birdshit

For those still alive, I’ll take a look at the possibilities for future scoring and post something later this week. And for the rest of you: thanks for playing. I hope you got your money’s worth.

crashed and burned.

izzo loses
WHY, TOM — WHYYYYYYY!?!?

The hoopage — and the Eleventh Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Bocktown) — resumes tonight, so this is a good time to take a quick look at how we’re all doing.

And how are we doing? Overall, not as bad as it probably felt last weekend, as we watched upset after upset after upset.

Remember, AUCNFFC (BTYBB) contestants don’t start getting points until teams start making the Final Four. Even so, we can still get a pretty good sense of who’s struggling (Ethel) and who isn’t (Curl Girl Michelle).

Holy crap: All. Four. Teams. In. (Team Statistical Anomaly)

  • Curl Girl Michelle

Title game, champion and third team in (Big point totals could still be in the future)

  • Jenn Strang
  • The Wee Lad
  • Work Kelly
  • HP

Three teams and champion still in (They didn’t pick the title game correctly, but could still rack up some big points)

  • Mr. Burns
  • Dana Bee
  • JD
  • Tedwards

Three teams in, champion out (If things go to hell, these guys could still score enough to win)

  • Joe Cernelli
  • Fred
  • Scooter
  • The Bitch Desk
  • Father Spoon
  • Noted Television Personality Jim Lokay

Title game and champion in (Gotta be perfect to have a chance)

  • Uncle Crappy
  • Otimemore
  • PghRugbyRef

Two teams and champion in (Not ruling them out, but it’s looking tough)

  • Dish
  • Sports Chump
  • Birdshit

Two teams in, not champion (Thank you for playing)

  • Sara
  • Enzo
  • Carla
  • Susan

One team left, but it ain’t the champion (Nice going, Phil’s Mom)

  • Juan

We’re not going to use the term yet, but you probably know what’s coming:

  • Ethel

Good luck this weekend, everyone. I have some family stuff to take care of Sunday and Monday, so look for actual standings — with actual point totals — on Tuesday.