Sunday, December 19, 2010


Hi Everyone!

On Wednesday some crazy stuff went down on Pittsburgh's South Side.  I attended a live airing of 'Black and Gold Uncensored', a sports radio talk show hosted by James Farrior and Larry Foote.  My friend Amy and I have been planning to attend for several weeks now, and the stars must have been in alignment because this turned out to be their last show ever.

Both Farrior and Foote are sweet guys with great senses of humor.  Foote had some very complimentary things to say about women sports fans in Pittsburgh..."There's no other place in the world where you can go and have a conversation with a woman about football except Pittsburgh.  Women outside of Pittsburgh do not have a clue about football.  They might be a fan, but you can't get on the barstool and have a conversation about the game."  Damn straight, Larry!

I was BEYOND EXCITED to meet two linebackers who I have watched for so many years!  INTENSE!!!  I have watched countless Steelers games in my life and have spent the majority of my years in Pittsburgh, yet before Wednesday, I had never encountered the line that separates the fans from the players.  When you think about it, watching football and being watched playing football are two entirely separate but parallel experiences, never to converge.  I will never play football professionally, and not until the players retire will they know what it's like to be a spectator and perhaps a fan.  The way in which we fans know the bodies and movements of our players is very intimate.  You know them in a sense, but they sure as hell don't know you.

I gave both Farrior and Foote Yinz Yang shirts and I hope they will enjoy them!  I was so excited to meet them that I wasn't able to muster a photogenic camera face, but Luca (Amy's baby and Yinz Yang model) was able as always to pull off a casual look.

The people at Black and Gold Uncensored raffled off a pair of tickets to today's game against the Jets.  We narrowly missed winning those tickets.  Having not eaten at BnG Uncensored out of pure excitement, we meandered to a nearby restaurant that was--get this--also hosting a sports radio talk show and also raffling off two tickets to the Jets game.  I ordered a whiskey to calm my nerves and we all ordered food.  When Amy submitted her raffle entry for the tickets, the guy asked her if she was going to stay until the end (9pm) when they were drawing the raffle winner (he was doubtful on account of her having a baby with her).  She said yes and we waited.  We were both sure that one of us was going to win, it being a bizarre and magical night.  I felt sure that my emotional unrest at having met a few linebackers would be repaid in the form of tickets to the game.  Sure enough, Amy was the winner of the tickets !!!  She and I are attending the game today to watch our Steelers cream those Jets!  Here's the proud winner flashing her tickets.  Probably the only time in his life that Luca has not been the foremost figure in the picture!

Thanks Amy for having me as your guest today, I can't wait!!!
xo Ms. Pittsburgh

Friday, December 17, 2010

Tender Moments between Troy and LeBeau

Did anyone notice this scene after Troy's second interception off the arm of Palmer last week?  It was really intense from where I was sitting.

You can tell that Dick is pissed that Troy handled the ball so riskily, almost turning it over; at the same time there is a sort of paternal pride and bewilderment at 'TROY EN GENERAL' in his expressions.  Troy seems humbled by both his incredible feat and his own near destruction of that same feat.  Yinz Yang!  Where would the Steelers Defense be if not right on a razor's edge between glory and defeat?   It was nice to have some off the field coverage of our Steelers D at work.  To my recollection it was the most in depth sideline coverage Dick has ever received!

Michelle Michaels on DVE just reported that Troy is most likely out of this Sunday's game against the Jets; let's wish him a speedy recovery and hope that his wizardry will be in effect on a spiritual level, should his powers be limited to the sideline come Sunday.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thanksgiving Rewind: Black (n' Gold) Friday at Consol Energy Center

On Black Friday 2010 I was fortunate enough to unexpectedly receive a ticket to the Pens game against the Ottawa Senators. Supremely pumped to visit the Consol Energy Center for the first time and to see the Pens (and our beloved and recently departed Gonchar) up close from my amazing seat in the First Niagara Club Level, I felt a level of status I had only dreamt of previously.

Black (n' Gold) Friday 2009 was spent at the lovely Nassau Coliseum watching the Pens play the Islanders.  Here's hoping for a third consecutive Black (n' Gold) Friday in 2011!!!

The Hill District area to the rear of the CEC is beautiful.  There are many old buildings that have been interestingly adapted over the decades, surrounded by flat, empty, terrace-like yards that used to have houses on them.  As seen in the above shot, the CEC makes for a nice transition between such relatively small neighborhood buildings in the foreground and the city's notable skyscrapers in the back ground.

I was pretty impressed with this translucent, digital-print "brick-wall" privacy tarp that covers the chain link fences that enclose the CEC's loading zone in the rear of the building.  If you look closely at the second picture, you can see the fence through the bricks.  Awesome! and definitely not dorky, right!?  Now you know why I'm a painter.

On the way in I stopped for one of those obligatory portraits with the larger-than-life digital representation of Sidney Crosby... (note that 'Destiny' flows from his hockey stick and down the side of the building in the form of a golden rod of electricity!)

...and a life-sized Malkin who stared lovingly into my eyes, if only for an imaginary moment 

Since it was Black Friday, people were getting their shop on big time.  

Traipsing through the pro shop felt like more of a dazed, tryptophan-induced herding than an active pursuit.  I spotted these officially licensed hats which looked MEGA bootleg:

The food at the CEC is upscale for a sports arena.   There's sushi and better than average sandwich offerings, including a Philly cheese steak disguised as an egg roll.  Even the unbranded food was presented in a very particular, classed-up manner.  The cheese steak egg roll is the bottom-most food item in the below picture.

General fashion impression: I've never seen so many licensed Pens jerseys in my life!  It was as if someone was handing them out at the door.  It was kind of like being in New York because everyone was wearing black.  Astounding contrast to the marked absence of official hockey gear I remember from childhood.  People generally wore whatever Steelers or Pirates gear they already had.  A lot has changed in 20 years.  

Quite noticeably, there were zero Pens jerseys queuing for Tim Hortons, the arena's only Canadian establishment, which I took as proof positive that there were lots of Canadians in attendance, all of whom were in line and hungry for donuts.  Makes sense, Eh?, given that they must have been much hungrier than all the Americans still nursing their Thanksgiving indulgences.  Yoi!

Our seats were about 15 rows up from the visitor's bench, so we were fortunate enough to witness a verbal incursion between Chris Neil and a member of the crowd.  The guy (wearing the red-billed Pirates hat in the image below) must have really gotten under Neil's skin because they furiously yelled back and forth for several minutes.  I was too astounded to document the fight (apologies!).  Soon after his inappropriate verbal fight, Neil picked a fight with Fleury, who played a hell of a game.  To make a long story short: Pens 2, Ottawa 1, final score.

Thank you and congratulations to Blanca and Ignacio!  Here's to 33 more happy years!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Nose Jobbin

Truly, you gotta love those 'markers' that the announcers use to draw play routes on still images and what not.  I remember being genuinely dazzled by their power to 'draw' directly to TV when I was a kid.  We captured two screen images from last Sunday night's Ravens game which inspired this little animation...

...which I believe leaves my audience with one question.  Has Ben, with his many, many facial/head injuries, gone MJ on us?

The Steelers announced today that as of this Sunday, Ben will be wearing a face shield to protect his nose from re-injury.

Thank you Amy for the screen grabs!  I love watching games on your new-fangled computer-TV!