Saturday, August 20, 2016

20

Twenty thoughts and ideas on the twentieth of August...

Lake Erie | August 2016 | photo by me, taken on an old iPhone 5s | no filter

  1. There are few instances that provide more solace and peace than taking the time to watch a beautiful sunset.
  2. It's been eleven days since I wrote anything that wasn't work-related. Clearly that's too long, which brings us to this post. 
  3. I added a spicy hot pepper jam from a farmers' market to Isaly's Original Barbecue sauce and used it to make a chipped chopped ham bbq sandwich. Goodness gracious. I licked my plate. 
  4. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware is a well-written novel, and a quick "beach" read. If you're going away on a late-summer trip, I recommend checking it out.  
  5. Speaking of The Woman in Cabin 10, Ware uses the word avuncular twice, which I now know means "of or relating to an uncle." Finally I have a word for all of those instances when I want to describe someone as an uncle. Ha. 
  6. The Sonia Kashuk Brow Definer (Target, $5.99) is the best that I've found for a rather reasonable price. Thanks to LKM for the recommendation!  
  7. I am two episodes into Stranger Things (Netflix) and I am on the bandwagon, which is significant only because y'all know I don't tolerate suspense ever. Winona Ryder is perfect. The opening credits are brilliant. 
  8. Bad Moms was hilarious; it was also perfectly cast. SPOILER ALERT: the whole bit about the bake sales is funny because it's true. 
  9. I love naps.  
  10. Whatchamacallit candy bars are underrated and my favorite.  
  11. Sour Patch Kids have come out with bags of ALL red strawberry sour candies. THIS IS AMAZING.  
  12. The Run Around the Square is next Saturday (08/27). I expect to see fans cheering for Mojito and myself in the 1.5 mile run! Not sure if my hips will cooperate, but we will finish for sure!
  13. Ryan Lochte is an asshat.  
  14. So is the Donald.  
  15. So are all of the people who say hateful things about Gabby Douglas. 
  16. I watched Anchorman 2 again and it didn't get any better. I think it actually got worse. BUT, I still lost my mind over the scene where Champ refers to bats as "chicken of the cave." 
  17. I am going to say this even though it shouldn't have to be said. Please do not send me unwarranted facebook messages that suggest we go on a date. Also, however I choose to handle your message, whether it's directly replying or indirectly replying through a mutual friend, is my call. You put me on the spot. You get what you get.   
  18. This is a great (albeit short) opinion piece from The Washington Post, "Teachers are not the problem, poverty is." It is in response to the Post's August 12 piece "Gates Foundation to 'stay the course' as it seeks to help shape education policies." 
  19. Also, I love The Washington Post. I would sweep their floors just to say I worked for the Post.  
  20. This song. Is everything. Just listen. Ruth B is a goddess. She speaks my language. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

August 9, 1990

In this life of uncertainty, my sister is one person that's certain in my life.

She's certain to share her first world problems with me... every single day.

She's certain to look adorable in all of her snapchat and instagram pictures.

She's certain to give me [warranted] constructive criticism on all things HGB.

She's certain to say "NO!" to our annual holiday card, but she's certain to indulge me eventually.

She's certain to freak out when I try to warm my perpetually cold feet under her thighs when we are sitting on the couch.

She's certain to roll her eyes after reading that.

She's certain to introduce me to all sorts of relevant things from books to music to trends to super important information about super cool stuff that we mutually appreciate.

She's certain to be better behaved in more situations than I am.

She's certain to inspire me (and so many others) in every aspect of life.

She's certain to light up any room upon entering, even one that's very well lit.

She's certain to live her life with integrity, even on the hardest of days.

She's certain to be my forever friend.


Happy 26th Birthday MAB! You are certainly loved.
-HGB


Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Post-it Note Killer!

Once upon a time a single, thirtysomething woman lived in a secure building of a nice and quiet dog-friendly apartment complex. She liked her apartment. She felt comfortable and safe.

A man moved two doors down from her in the spring. Over time, he became friendly and courteous although he tended to appear out of nowhere a little too coincidentally, most often when she was taking out her dog. In one instance, she thought that he may have mumbled "you're beautiful" in passing, but she wasn't sure and didn't think anything of it.

Then one day she found this Post-it note on her front door.

... because capital letters suggest yelling and two exclamation points express double enthusiasm.

Cryptic and using the same sentence construction pattern as Yoda, this note was everything that she never wanted. She immediately deemed the "unsub" (unknown subject) the "Post-it Note Killer," just in case her life story was quickly becoming material for an episode of Criminal Minds or Law & Order: SVU.

Two days later, the man appeared when she was taking out her dog, and asked if she could come outside so he could talk about something with her. Thinking quickly, she looked at her fitbit like it was a watch, claimed that she had to hurry up and get ready because her [very imaginary] boyfriend was coming to pick her up, and tried to make a joke while steadily heading toward her apartment.

Her life has been without incident since that encounter, but not without consequence.

She's annoyed. She's looking over her shoulder and is on edge every time she walks in, out of, and around her building. She feels like she is being watched.

And so she goes to her blog and presents her story. She reminds folks that this is no way to treat a neighbor. She waits by the phone for her mother to call in response to this post.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Housekeeping

I am not thrilled about August; so much so that I procrastinated on writing this post because I am just not ready for what's to come. And I don't even feel like elaborating on that so don't ask. 

July brought some bright spots like quality visits with quality people, along with some field trips to places the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, the Carnegie Museum(s) of Natural History and Art, the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, the Cathedral of Learning, Bethlehem (PA), and Ripepi Winery. It also brought back the "Boy Who Lived" to me and every other Harry Potter person out there; thus, at the moment I am trying to finish Harry Potter and the Cursed Child before someone who had the time to read it in the first forty-eight hours ruins it for me. 

August brings a few noteworthy events that I should mention (at least in my mind): 
  • Birthdays (MAB, SAA, and RRM)! 
  • Savor Pittsburgh (I am a judge!): VIP tickets are still available for Savor Pittsburgh, a fundraiser featuring the city’s finest chefs competing for “Dish of the Year,” with proceeds benefiting the life-saving research of Magee-Womens Research Institute and Foundation (MWRIF). Savor Pittsburgh’s VIP experience begins at 5:30 p.m., Aug. 25 at Stage AE, located at 400 N. Shore Dr., Pittsburgh, Pa. 15212. VIP guests will enjoy a one-hour private party prior to the event’s general admission, featuring delicious appetizers from McCormick & Schmick’s, Morton’s Steakhouse, Mitchell’s Fish Market and The Grand Concourse, along with top-shelf cocktails and entertainment. Tickets can be purchased here. Savor Pittsburgh benefits MWRIF, which continues to fight the number one killer of newborns: premature birth. At Magee, dedicated physician-scientists are working tirelessly to find answers to reduce premature births and give babies and mothers a healthy start in life. It benefits people like Erin Dunn, a young girl who was born at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC on Feb. 9, 2008, weighing just a single pound. Erin spent 88 days in the hospital, fighting multiple infections and receiving nutrients through a feeding tube. Erin is now six years old and stronger than ever, thanks to the life-saving care and work provided by Magee. Though she has some development delays related to her prematurity and receives services in occupational, physical and speech therapy, her mother describes her as “the hardest, most determined worker I know!” Savor Pittsburgh is filled with appealing appetizers, entrees, delightful desserts and cocktails. A sprawling outdoor landscape with a special indoor VIP area will be constructed at the venue for an elegant evening of food, drinks and dancing, all to support the cause of ending premature births. For more information, visit www.savorpgh.com.
  • Diner en Blanc is on August 27. It was one of my favorite nights of 2015, and if you get the chance to go, GO! 
  • Pittsburgh Restaurant Week

As I have always said when ending one of these "Housekeeping" posts, thank you for reading and continuing to read The Steel Trap. July was another successful month regarding our number of hits; we surpassed 470K hits overall. We remain in the top 10 on zomato (formerly urbanspoon)! As always, thank you for "liking" The Steel Trap on facebook, following @The_Steel_Trap on Twitter, and @The_Steel_Trap on Instagram. Lastly, if anyone has anything that they would like me to cover, or a restaurant for me to review, please send me a message. I am always open to suggestions! Wait. No. I will not go to Golden Corral or to the Olive Garden to write a review. You'll meet Jesus before that happens. 


Helloooo August!
-HGB

Monday, July 25, 2016

25

Twenty-five thoughts and ideas on the twenty-fifth of July (or on "Christmas in July" if you are one of those people)...
  1. Dear everyone who comes to my pool, You are not fish. You are seemingly potty trained humans. You are not swimming in a lake, an ocean, a river, a stream, or an aquarium. You are IN FACT swimming in a delicately balanced body of water and chemicals that are monitored to keep patrons safe. Thus, please, please, PLEASE, for the love of all things aquatic and summer and for my mental stability and overall well-being, STOP using my pool as your toilet. Sincerely, Management 
  2. I thought I may have just lost this post because Mojito jumped on the laptop and the screen went black. Honestly, who raised that kid? 
  3. Why is everyone selling leggings? It was much easier to ignore you when everyone was selling Mary Kay.   
  4. I am finally going to make it to Everything But The Book (Club) tonight for the first time in many months. And I even managed to read the book (Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld). 
  5. I recently learned about the issues surrounding palm oil and I am now trying to avoid products that contain it, which is actually harder than one might think. This information from the World Wildlife Federation is helpful: Which Everyday Products Contain Palm Oil? 
  6. I have discovered that I spend less money at Target if I get a hot dog in the snack bar before doing my food shopping. 
  7. Today is my Aunt and Uncle's eighteenth wedding anniversary, and it remains one of the best weddings I've ever attended (and trust me, I know weddings better than most). Check out Linden Hall if you're on the hunt for a great venue. 
  8. All of the back-to-school merchandise is only depressing to me because I know that once it's gone, it will be all things prematurely pumpkin. 
  9. Dear instagram users, Please discover the art of making photo collages; or better yet, please learn to select one great photograph that captures the moment effectively. AND POST ONLY THAT. My feed is inundated with your barrage of overzealous sharing. Less is more. Sincerely, Your Follower (for now)
  10. I watched Tombstone for the first time and I am all, "How have I never seen this movie?" #VeryCosmopolitan 
  11. Am I the only one who couldn't care any less about Woody Allen movies?  
  12. I binge-watched Animal Kingdom (TNT) last night and I am hooked. Ellen Barkin is fierce.  
  13. I am also totally into American Gothic (CBS). Seriously, who is the damn Silver Bells Killer? Everyone knows I cannot handle suspense.  
  14. Aida is playing at the Pittsburgh CLO this week. Billy Mason is in it. Go.  
  15. Dear Parents, Please stop posting information about your child's potty training progress. Furthermore, do not post a picture of your child naked on the toilet with a heart emoji on their [insert whatever you call private parts here]. You're ridiculous and you should have your internet privileges revoked. Sincerely, Yours Truly  
  16. I have come to the realization that as much as I do not like cucumbers, I do love pickles and cucumbers infused into adult beverages.  
  17. If I get one more email from a random dude that tells me how I am so "intriguing," I am going do something really, really not intriguing just to prove them wrong. Suggestions are welcome. 
  18. Who wants to help me experience some fleeting moments of truth? Because those my friends, are everything I'm looking for these days.  
  19. Recently I witnessed a battle between two people (strangers) in a bar overriding each other's plays on a juke box from their phones. There needs to be a reality show about this called Juke Box Wars or Homie Don't Play That or 800 Ways to Waste Money In Bars Besides Buying Shots
  20. Skinny jeans do not make for good cut-off jorts.  
  21. Pittsburgh Restaurant Week is coming up. I'll be away. This might actually benefit my waistline.  
  22. I will be on the judging panel again this year at Savor Pittsburgh! Get your tickets here for this amazing event at Stage AE on August 25. Join me and Parmesan Princess! We are pretty fun. 
  23. There are eight days until Harry Potter and the Cursed Child arrives on my doorstep. When that happens, prepare for me to be as unreachable as a prisoner in Azkaban.  
  24. Have I really been able to make a list this long? If you made it to here, congratulations!  
  25. Last weekend, I witnessed a woman taking a serious REM-level nap in the middle of the Children's Museum. I monitored her sleeping for over a half an hour. Yes, she was breathing. I checked. After I took her picture. But really? REALLY?!?!?!