69. blown.

For as long as I can remember, Mrs. Crappy has pointed out the Pittsburgh Glass Center whenever we drove by. She’s wanted to stop and look; occasionally, she’s also mentioned taking classes there.

A couple weeks ago, I was wondering what to do about Mrs. Crappy’s approaching birthday. And I saw someone mention on Twitter they had just taken a short course there, one that took you though making a blown-glass Christmas ornament.

I couldn’t find open slots a few days within her birthday — which is Dec. 15, for all those keeping track — so we went last night.

How was it?

It was a great night. Our instructors were personable, and took time to answer all the questions we had. The class was hands on; we picked our colors and did our own twisting and blowing. We even lucked out with our fellow students, who were all interested and engaging.

And this weekend, we’ll stop by the center and pick up our one-of-a-kind ornaments. Made by us. For Mrs. Crappy’s birthday.

61. what i meant.

I kind of stomped on someone’s head a little while ago; I probably shouldn’t have, but I came across something on Twitter that struck a nerve.

I don’t follow this person, so I was watching the discussion through comments and re-tweets of those who do. I was curious about a couple of those — all marked with the #thiscityneeds hash tag — and took a look at his (?) stream.

And that was probably a mistake.

I found a long line of comments; some were funny, but most just came off as griping. And there was this one:

#thiscityneeds something to do after 6pm.

I hoping this guy was kidding (a possiblity, because he later tweeted that #thiscityneeds a better sense of humor. He also said #thiscityneeds fewer douchebags, which probably means I’m not getting Burgh Verified anytime soon). If he’s not, he couldn’t be more wrong.

You guys all know by now that Mrs. Crappy and I tend to travel a bunch during football season. We wouldn’t change our football weekends for anything, but without fail, there are always things here we’re missing because we’re in Columbus.

And now that the football travel is over for the year, we’re faced with dilemmas of a different kind — there’s too much stuff to do. If I had unlimited time, money and energy — and that last one is probably the biggest factor; my 44-year-old self needs more sleep than my 34-year-old self did — I would have gone to movie-slash-wing night last night and Bocktown’s birthday tonight. I would have figured out something — Dinner? Drinks with friends? — for Wednesday and Thursday. Friday?Brewfest. Saturday? Christmas beer tweetup and Girl Talk.

Don’t have time? I understand. Money’s tight? Believe me, I get it. But nothing to do? My friend, you’re not trying.

I’ve said this before — we love it here. One of the big reasons we bought a house in the city was to live in the city, close to everything we love to do and the people we love to spend time with. There are plenty of nights when we’re the ones going home early or maybe staying in — the old folks know their limitations — I can promise you one thing: We’re never bored.

This post wraps up two months of daily Uncle Crappy. If you look back, you’ll see that a pretty good number of the October and November posts were about the stuff we’ve done and the people that have made those experiences a pleasure. I’m going to keep going through December, because there will be no shortage of Pittsburgh things to write about.

And if at any point in the next four weeks you’re in danger of becoming bored, try asking someone what’s going on. You’ll get more suggestions than you know what to do with.

49. getting local.

Monday’s Get Local With Lew dinner at Bocktown was spectacular. You can take a look at the full menu here; my highlights foll0w.



Our hostess with the mostest. This was right before she smacked me upside the head for asking about the progress on B2.




Lew Bryson, our guest of honor. Lew spoke in between courses, reminding us again and again how thankful we should be to be living, drinking and eating in Pennsylvania.




Sweet Ricci's sausage stuffed inside a beautiful heirloom pepper. The beer is the most recent Four Season IPA from Voodoo. Perfect pairing.




The credit for the IPA goes to Matt Allyn, Voodoo's owner. He's telling us about the impending return of Black Magick, and I am drooling.



This might have been my favorite course of the night, a surprise for a guy who's not a big fan of fish -- chipotle pesto blackened trout, with apple and asparagus rice. The trout was fabulous; the fish itself was mild and the smoky flavors of the chipotle were an unexpected compliment to the pesto. The beer? East End's Weisse This Beer So Sour?




And there's East End's Scott Smith, telling us about the Festival of Darkness. Homewood Reserve!




That's Andy Rich, the brewmaster at Penn. They have some fabulous stuff coming out; I had a glass of a very good rye IPA at the brewery on Thursday, and it's almost time for St. Nicholas Bock...




I didn't take pictures of a couple courses, but I couldn't miss this one: a pecan waffle with a cranberry sweet cream and a reduction of Erie's Ol' Red Cease and Desist. Which also happens to be what's in the glass. A perfect finish.




Yeah, that was a good night. (Photo stolen from Becky's Facebook album.)


Once again — thanks to Mrs. Crappy for surprising me with the ticket. I had a great night, honey!

37. falling back.

1) Last night, I was out late (silly-good time at the Rocky Horror Show).

2) We had a great time today, while working hard at the Redd Up Thread Up.

3) Beer and sammiches for dinner at Fat Head’s.

4) We’re getting up early to go running and walking with a group of friends whom we hope will be understanding when we’re not keeping up.

Sum:  I’m going to be awfully happy to set those clocks back an hour just before we go to bed tonight. Which isn’t going to be long from now.


I got to the Cabaret at Theater Square a little after 5 Tuesday — or about an hour before we were to start our Craft Beer School session. I was relieved to see familiar faces immediately — Father Spoon honked at me as he drove by in the parking garage, and Andrea was looking at the taps in the Backstage Bar when I walked in.

They were followed by others — Sickpuppy, Michelle, Norm, AAA, Dr. Yohe, Abby, AJ, Jenn, Christian and, just before showtime, Mrs. Crappy — enough friends that I was able to feel a little more comfortable than I did on the way downtown.

I was excited for the night, but I nervous about it as well. Talking in front of a room full of people generally isn’t a problem for me — if we’re talking about a couple dozen people. Two hundred and fifty is something else, and I could see every last one of them from the stage.

But Susan, one of the managers for the Cultural Trust and the other host of the series, really put me at ease as the room was filling up. And then BANG we got started, and I actually don’t recall a whole lot about what we did. I know I made a couple of decent jokes, and helped to answer a couple of questions — including one about beer at Penn, which might not be Tony’s favorite subject. I could have spoken up more than I did, but Tony said he was well prepared for this show, and it was a little hard to find a place to jump in.

And then we were done. We had a great crowd, good food, good beer — actually ranging from great (the Kulmbacher and the Small Craft Warning) to kinda just OK (the Schell’s) — and it seemed like everyone had a great time.

And then I had to drive back to work and type election results. Hanging out at the Backstage Bar for a little while would have been good, but I’m happy no one had a problem with me working a split shift on Tuesday.

Thanks to Tony, to everyone at the Trust and to everyone who came out to see me. It made the night much better.

A click on the pic will take you to a WPXI slideshow of the session. There are a lot of familiar faces in there…