Some people go to Vegas, the Bahamas, or even Australia for a road trip. I'm not the world traveler most of you are, so my "road trips" consist of me going to Pittsburgh, PA on a regular basis. I know I need to get out more, but that's how it goes for a small town guy. If I can find this many things to write about living here, why move? Yep, I'm considering for this space, a 2 hour trip, into something that's even bigger. These blogs are always the easiest to write, but end up being very long. Then again, a lot of people say they enjoy the reads on those as their favorites, so we'll keep the style going.
Last Saturday is the time frame that most of this blog will cover. Along for the trip was Spank and it was just a 2-man trip. I know what you're thinking. It can't be much of a road trip filled with fun stories with just two people, but I'm here to prove you all wrong on that thought. We wanted to make a day of it instead of arriving at the game right when it started. To me, that's not getting my money's worth. I want to be around the city and see what's happening through the day. Before that though, we began the day by getting in a 3-mile run. We normally run on our own, but when we run together, there's the extra push and competition level, so you always get more out of it. We set a good pace and that got our blood flowing for the trip. A quick shower and then Spank comes to pick me up afterwards to start the journey. With me as the passenger, the ride should be much safer.
We pull out of scenic Shinnston around 11:10 or so after downing a quality protein shake. I've hyped up the Pro-NOS before, but it's worthy as being the best tasting protein I've had along with 44 grams of protein per serving, that's getting it done. Since I didn't have to drive this time, I could just kick back and have less responsibility. Musically, Spank is one of very few people I know who has the same tastes that I do when it comes to that. We got to rock the Sirius satellite radio and that's another must for every car. The entire trip as far as the radio was concerned dealt with Hip Hop Nation, Backspin (old school rap), and ESPN Radio. I could write a whole blog on the rap of the road trip, but I know that'd bore 90% of the people reading, so I'll keep that to myself. You'll get more rap with some new CD additions towards the end of this blog anyways. I can't leave my rap supporters in the dark.
The locals know the normal route to Pittsburgh. Instead of taking 79 the entire way, we got off the Washington exit for something different. We planned to hit up the mall, but never got around that. We kept driving and after a while we saw signs that said Pittsburgh was near, so we kept following Route 19 up there (not to be confused with Route 19 near my town, nice). We started to get hungry and I'm the type to try new things. We saw this place called StonePepper's Grill and another that was called Linguini's. They were near each other, so we pull the U-turn and need to decide. We pull out a coin to flip and StonePepper's it was. Boy did we make one excellent choice. We ended up getting filet, a side of spaghetti, and a salad. By far some of the best filet I've ever had and you have to get it no more than medium rare, I won't argue that. The great thing to us is that they cut it up. We always joke around the house that we wish we had someone just to cut up our steak to take the work away from us. StonePepper's must've known we were coming. That's always an inside joke with us since we were little because way back in the day we had steak at his Dad's. We both looked at it and didn't have a clue how to cut it. Cork's idea for those type of things is to hire a midget to do odds jobs around the house and it be somewhat like a butler. Probably degrading, but Cork says it'd be a hit. It ain't a hit unless Nate Dogg spit.
We finally get to Pittsburgh. Route 19 takes you right into the city out of nowhere. We arrive around 2:00 or so and have time to kill, just as we planned. It was 90 that day and smoking hot, but we weren't dripping like most others were for some reason. After walking around, Spank had a new idea he wanted to try. We're random guys to begin with, but he then strips down to his boxers in Downtown Pittsburgh and jumps into the river. People in the boats were already swimming in the water, so why can't randoms like us just do our thing? Point well taken. The people around got a kick out of it and when he got out and back into his clothes, with it being 90, he dried off in no time. Spank says if you can have that kind of time sober, what's the point of drinking? I've been saying that all my life.
All in all, we walked 3½ hours straight without sitting down. Most would be miserable doing that, but I can't stay still to begin with and I like to just see bums and talk to whoever out of nowhere. Pittsburgh isn't nearly what it is farther up north, but as I always say, the farther south you go, the more friendly people are. As an older blog would back me up, people in New Jersey for the most part are punks. Some of these people we talked to had to be shocked we even started a conversation or asked how they were doing. Nobody else is going to talk to some of these characters, so we might as well brighten their day. Plus, we can usually get some good stories out of it too. They must dig the hick accents we bring along. 75% of life is being able to talk some game and have fun with it, whether that be for a job or going up to some dirty girl, it works out. As far as the randoms outside the stadium, we saw Spank's boy Jamal riding around in his garbage cart around PNC Park. He was thrilled that we had the old pic still on my cam and that we wanted another. Then Spank found Street Sweeper Guy and got a pic with him as well. These people are barely getting by in life, making a few pennies a day, so we try to pump them up just because. You have to respect that, they grind it out. Most people feel they are too good to even talk to the working class. I can get along with just about anyone, so it's tough for me when I'm around worthless stuck up people who think they're better than the world. We also saw two kids rolling around on the hot concrete with no shirts on when it was 90. I couldn't figure that out, so I had to get pic of that too.
Speaking of dirty girls as mentioned a bit ago, Pittsburgh needs major work in that department. I'm serious. Spank gave a stat that day which I have to agree with him on. He said that 80% of the girls in Pittsburgh are beyond terrible. 15% are just ok and 5% are good. You don't see great. I mean, do they hide the decent girls there in closets or do they just not exist? There was one chick out of everyone else's league in town and that was this girl who was running on the river. Well, she's not Jesus and actually was on the water, but you know. Anyways, in crazy good shape, long dark hair, and stacked. Sign me up. Other than that, it was brutal. Per capita, Shinnston has them rocked and that's not saying much at all because our town doesn't have many to brag about. There's some, but they're few and far between of course. And if they do look good, they're probably strung out on meth or with 8 kids from 6 guys, some kind of nutzo baggage. Hey, we just call them how we see em. You don't have to like it, just state your opinion and have fun with it.
We got our tickets early that afternoon and go after our favorites. I've sat mostly everywhere in PNC Park, but if it's up to me to pick, I always go with the left field homerun bleacher seats. Also, they're just $14, that's a steal of a deal, for real. All of that even rhymed, not too shabby. You end up with some characters out there who just tell things how it is. It was also Bucs Beach Towel Day, so we walk out with freebies. A bonus in that I used the towel for my seat to give it cushion because it's rough without something. As an added trivia note, the Pirates have the most promotions of anyone in the league. They still can't get anyone to go to the majority of the games. Then again, when you field a group of guys who are below average (even if their guys really fight hard and battle it out), you're not going to be high in the standings ever.
I've written this much and I still haven't even gotten inside the stadium yet, ouch. I'm going there right now. We were inside around 5:00 or a bit after and the game didn't start till 7:05. We just chilled out and ate a bit near the food areas. Obviously I guess that's where you'd eat, but who knows. Anyways, we were at a table that had 4 seats. Every other table in the area was taken up and here come these two older ladies and they asked us if we minded them sitting with us. Of course we don't care, we'll at least talk to them and see what kind of stories they have. We got to talking and it we find out they're from the mean streets of West Virginia. As an added incentive, they were also hardcore Notre Dame football fans. From that point, we knew they had to be good people. They asked where we were from and all of that and Spank figured he'd try something. Usually when people from out of the area ask where we are at, we name cities around us they might know instead of our actual since we're in a tiny town. He told them what city and one woman knew instantly all about it. We were shocked and then she went into this story of how she used to dominate the Shinnston girls in fast pitch softball back in the day. One lady also asked what our jobs were. I said I was a teacher and she looks at me like I was weird and says, "You're just a kid!" It's coming, one day I'll look way old I'm sure, but I don't mind the kid comments every now and then. It was time to go to our seats, but the old ladies were laid back and did their thing. I knew I had to get a random pic since that's our m.o., so I asked if they would oblige. They then come back and say only if we can get a pic with their cam too. We found a lady walking by and had her take pics of the four of us with each camera, good times indeed.
Guess what? We're finally ready to watch the game. We saw some insanity. 10 innings of madness as the Bucs love extra innings. They were getting smacked by the Cards for most of the game. As usual with teams who have tradition, there were a ton of Cards fans in the house. It reminded me of the Cubbies fans last year, these teams travel all over. Late in the game, it started to rain, but we just stayed put and let it pour. The comeback starts up and those bums who ran away are back in the seats, so we had to heckle them for that. Bucs were down 10-4 and they started bringing it. Still, it was way out of hand, yet the crowd was going nuts. I say it all the time, but if this team ever put some actual money into the team instead of having a softball level squad that they have now, the city would support it like no other. For the past almost 20 years, they've been the laughingstock of the league, get with it Bucs. We were sitting beside this guy that was about 25 or so and his chick (she was about a 6.8 for those keeping track). We got to talking and I asked where they were from and all of that. He said they were about 20 minutes away from Pittsburgh and I told him we were WV boys. He figured we were from there since we had the big accents. That always cracks me up, 2 hours north of me. It's not like I went to Canada, but I know we sound like hicks. A lot of people around WV don't think they have an accent, but they're just as much of a hick in sound as the rest of us, they need to realize.
We end the trip of course to a filthy Waffle House, the only way to do it. I figure out that we tried all of our creativity at Waffle House for now and need to move on with other random pics. We'll get more there, but for this one, we kept the camera off and sat there in a coma after all of the walking and action of the day. I ended up getting a ham and cheese omelette, some of the best bacon man can buy, great sweet tea, covered hash browns, and toast and jelly. Tear that stuff up. Spank had about 4 cups of coffee with his food. Now that I spent 90% of this space talking about just one little trip, it's time to go to something else. That would be the new CDs and the usual ending we like to do around here. I haven't listened to all of these CDs yet, but we still mention them as usual until doing so. I've been through Banner and Nas so far.
David Banner: The Greatest Story Ever Told. I've always liked Banner's style a lot. In this one, he didn't come across as hard as I would've liked (no homo), but if you like Banner, it's good. Tons of people on this one, which I always like it with less, but he brings along UGK, Akon, Lil Wayne, Snoop, Yung Joc, Chris Brown, Carl Thomas, Jim Jones, Chamillionaire, and Jazze Pha. My favorite of the album would be I Get By featuring Carl Thomas.
C-Murder: Screamin' 4 Vengenance. C-Murder is doing his thing right now while on house arrest. He has another murder trial set in the fall to see if he has to be behind bars for life. Reviews of this one say it comes from the heart, so we'll see how rough this one gets. Along for the ride is Krayzie Bone, Mia X, Papoose (whose chick Remy Ma is now locked up for supposedly shooting her best friend that is still alive), Slim Thug, and C-Loc.
G-Unit: T.O.S. - Terminate On Sight. I heard the other day that the sales of this CD were terrible. They were arguing on the radio whether this was the downfall of G-Unit or not. Sales are going to be down these days due to the internet, so I don't look a ton into that. I don't think Yayo, Buck, and Banks are huge sellers though, but are good guys to have in the background while 50 handles the work.
Killer Mike: I Pledge Allegiance To The Grind II. Mike brings some heat to this one with the names of Ice Cube, Shawty Lo, Messy Marv, Chamillionaire, 8Ball, and MJG. URB Magazine gives this quote: "4 stars out of 5 -- Killer Mike's rhetoric is really something fierce. His fire and brimstone isn't just smoke and mirrors either, as Mike's bars pack an intellectually angry punch reminiscent of Ice Cube in his prime."
Lootenant: Lil Flip Presents Second In Command. If Flip is involved, I'm probably interested. He's been around since he was a kid and is all about the business, yet keeps it true at the same time. As noted in a blog a while back, if you haven't heard any of it yet, pick up the Flip and Young Noble CD, one of the best of the past few years if you ask me. I'm going on scratch here as I haven't heard a lot from the Lootenant of the Clover G's, but I'm willing to give most kinds of rap a try.
Nas: N. This is the CD that created all of the controversy due to the previous name. Nas still sticks by his reasoning, but it has people talking. Most places have it as an untitled name. On the front of the CD it has Nas with a big N cut into him. As far as what this album brings, it's true Nas. He again shows why he's a legendary rhyme slayer, one of he best there is when it comes to lyrics. One of the best rap albums of the year right here.
Bird's Dirty Thug Ho of the Week: http://www.myspace.com/jenny36
Bird's Video Moment of the Week: Dude busts his head after a front flip attempt. Listen to the sound as he hits, it's messed up:
3 Quick Thangs:
1. Birthdays for Friday, July 18th. We start out with Dodgers manager Joe Torre, 68. Vin Diesel goes for 41, getting old. One time basketball sensation, Penny Hardaway, 36. I never like going with total bums, but we were only able to pull out three that were worthy on this day. Ones that missed the cut include Steve Forbes, Ricky Skaggs, Dan O'Brien of Dan & Dave fame of the Olympics, and Ryan Cabrera.
2. Today's little fact? At birth, a panda bear is smaller than a mouse.
3. A new season of Run's House has begun. Now that Real World ended last week (doh), this will be my Wednesday night action at 10:00 on MTV. You can't go wrong with one of rap's pioneers in Run who can still get it done along with the cast of characters in his house. It's recommended if you've never seen it before. Rap, hot legal daughters, funny kids, and cameos from all sorts. It'll hold you down till the next season of Real World begins, straight from Brooklyn for the 21st season.