Is Twitter Still a Thing?

As a person-who-gets-paid-to-put-things-on-the-internet (I like to call it show business, much to the chagrin of my fiancé), I think I have a pretty good handle (PUN) on social media. But I have never gotten into Twitter. It’s just too much.

I look at Facebook every day — it’s open constantly at work (see above re that whole put-things-on-the-internet thing), as we/The Drive are part of its brand -infiltrated ecosystem. Personally, I use it to showcase work things and to post pictures I want my mom to see. Instagram feels much more naturally appealing to me, for both work and play. Maybe it’s because I communicate there via visual terms, but I buy into what it’s offering me. I peruse, I like, I post, I comment. And I never feel overwhelmed.

Ahhhh!

But Twitter? I hesitate to open it. To me, Twitter is a menacing, swirling 24-hour everything cycle, threatening to drown me in a massive wave of constant updates. Mere seconds after loading, I see that I have already missed 15 new tweets. That little-but-constantly-growing number yells at me and makes me sweat.

YOU ARE MISSING THINGS! YOU ARE ALREADY BEHIND ON THE LATEST TWITTER HAS TO OFFER. MY GOD, WOMAN, REFRESH! SCROLL! NOW YOU’RE 40 TWEETS BEHIND! YOU ARE VERY BAD AT TWITTER.  

To be fair, Twitter was incredibly helpful for injury updates during my time at MLB.com, but I had to filter what I was looking for in order to avoid bombardment. And I certainly have never figured out what I am supposed to be writing on there. More aggressive versions of the (now fairly defunct) Facebook status updates? My quoted comments on someone else’s tweets? Sometimes I’ll go on a little retweet spree, but the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze.

Twitter has reportedly been going through growing pains, or usage pains, or it’s dying — it really depends on who you ask. But because it still has a robust user network and the potential to make money, of course it is still technically a thing. I’d just really like it to be less of a thing so I can stop feeling guilty about not wanting to participate.

Look Mom, I Can Fly

At my day job, we have been tapping into the world of drones — filming drones, racing drones, micro drones…pretty much all the drones except the military ones. Part of it for us, is accessibility. And being a video producer, I felt that meant understanding the barrier to entry when it comes to filming drones.

Below, watch my maiden flight with the DJI Mavic Pro, a portable drone capable of 4K at 30fps. It seems like when we shot this I was both cold (holy layers) and had a cold (holy voice), but super fun to see it all put together. And it kind of makes me want to fly again…

**Special thanks to my work husband, Andrew, for teaching me about the dronez.

Cars on the Radio

People have been commenting on my deep voice for as long as I can remember. It was once something I was made fun of for (ah, middle school memories), but over time, it became something considered unique, even desirable. Recently, members of The Drive were asked to voice automotive quotes for a podcast on the “Horseless Carriage”:

When the car began replacing the horse, pessimists didn’t treat it like a great new tool. They called it “the devil wagon,” and said its mission was to destroy the world. We explore understand why the horseless carriage was so scary—and what it took to to finally put horse-lovers behind a wheel.

A bit of my voice made the cut (be sure to perk up around 24:58), but take a listen to the whole thing.

Polishing a Turd

We need to laugh to keep from crying, right? With that in mind, I present GQ‘s presidential makeover video. The men’s fashion mag assesses The Donald’s rich-frumpy-white-man style with Joan Rivers-esque sharpness (RIP), while providing him with tips on how to update his look. But as the video description notes, unfortunately they “can’t help with anything Donald Trump says or anything he does.”

 

Take It Down a Notch For America

On October 30, 2010, I attended the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in Washington DC. The rally was satirical in nature (a brainchild of fake political nemeses John Stewart and Stephen Colbert) but very real in its ability to draw people together. Well over 200,000 frustrated humans made their way to Washington to protest politics in general and the surging tide of in-fighting and ineptitude in Congress. To quote an attendee, “the absurdity of the rhetoric has just gotten out of line.” To quote another, “screaming about death panels, screaming that they’re going to take $500 billion out of Medicare. To be screaming like you’re a bunch of kindergarten children having tantrums is ridiculous.”

On this 2017 Inauguration Day, with rhetoric once again ramped up, I found it fitting to look back at some of the choice signs I came across at that rally seven years ago.

 

 

Road-tripping with an Independent Doggo

I co-parent a six-year-old black lab named Oscar. He’s an incredibly lovable, dopey dog almost one hundred percent of the time. But sometimes he presents as an animal with selective hearing. On a recent road trip from Brooklyn to Pittsburgh, Oscar refused to sit or lay down, despite repeated pleading from his mother. This may have been due to a (tiny) nudge-in-the-sleepy-direction dose of Benadryl distributed prior to departure, or it could’ve been because he doesn’t especially love riding in a car for six plus hours. Either way, I am pleased to present the joys of road-tripping with Oscar.

 

2014: WHAT I’VE LEARNED (ABOUT LIFE, LOVE, LOSS, AND LIVING IN A BIG CITY).

As my birthday looms, I’ve been reflecting on all kinds of shit, and I realized I needed to completely jump into 2015 before I was ready to write about 2014. It was one hell of a year, and I’m still not over it. 2015 feels like a made-up number. It’s the future, and yet it’s here.

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I started 2014 in the dark. After a summer of baseball-fueled night shifts, I continued to make my winter money after the sun went to sleep. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise — your social life can feel like a pipe dream when you are on a completely different schedule than all of your friends (and potential persons-of-significance). The melancholy that seems to come standard with sleepless nights tangled with other aches of mine in the chill of winter. I struggled mightily to understand how an unbelievably sweet person (who happens to be my aunt) could be diagnosed with cancer. I learned, heartbroken, I was to be grandparent-less when my Nana, whose presence and love was a constant in my life, passed away in March.

The sun started shining again, though. As the weather warmed, I took in visits from friends and family. I went dancing. I learned how ridiculously lucky I am to have parents who are willing to embrace this city, embrace new things, and (attempt to) stay out late. And dance.

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As lovely as the spring was, nothing compares to the magic of last summer. Friends of mine started to get married, and I traveled to Pennsylvania and New Jersey to witness their commitments. My sister said yes to making a commitment of her own and in the process, gifted me a brother (in-law). I moved (back) in with my best friend and practiced the joy of drinking a beer on a balcony with a view. I played softball with a ridiculously great group of women (a season only slightly marred by our lack of winning prowess and my torn meniscus). And one night after a particularly fun set of games, I learned that it’s possible to meet someone in a bar who will change your life.

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I traveled to Ireland (my first transatlantic journey) at the end of August for a Penn State football game and left that country with a set of memories so fantastic and pictures so green they don’t look real. I drove on the left (wrong) side of the rode, experienced the thrill of sharp rainbows and misty cliffs, and felt how important traveling is to me. Potentially most importantly, I learned that I have friends willing to trespass with me for the chance to stand in front of a relic of my ancestors (Hurley Castle below: Aunt Eileen/Pappy/Nana in 1987; me in 2014).

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The fall blew in its sweater weather, and my sleepless nights grew longer, synchronized with the growing intensity of the MLB playoffs. I clung to brunches with my chosen family, saw more live music than I should’ve been able to, made a trip back to State College, and savored time (and wine) with my family in Pittsburgh. As the chill in the air sharpened, I hosted family in an apartment finally big enough to host, and I cried when I saw my sister in what will be her wedding dress. I breathed in the smell of Christmas trees on the sidewalk and cherished their lingering scent long after they left their posts. I learned how important it is to invest in those that never leave you. And I learned that somehow my heart is more patient than I thought.

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Teach me something, 2015.

Well, this is awkward.

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I realize I haven’t written on this thing in over a year. It’s like we were dating and then I got weird and stopped being in touch. Sorry about that.

There were so many things I wanted to talk about… Jason Collins and then Michael Sam, the Ray Rice firestorm, anything/everything baseball in 2014… but for some reason, I couldn’t find my words. Also I was exhausted (working at night — thanks, baseball — will do that to you).

And so, as 2015 looms, I want to say that I’ll be better. I’ll be in touch. I won’t let it get weird.

Stay tuned for a meatier entry — next up: What I Learned in 2014

Buctober – Still in Shock

I didn’t write immediately before or after the NL Wild Card game (in which the Pirates defeated the Reds 6-2), because simply, I was in shock. I think that I am still in shock. I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, a town that expects its teams to win and is often rewarded (by the Steelers of years past and the Penguins) – but never by the Pirates. And when I say “never” I mean to say that over two decades of crushed expectations, bar-lowering, pity, and pain feels like forever. Sure, the franchise has multiple World Series wins! But that was a lifetime ago.

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This year, I felt in my bones the Buccos would finish above .500, and that is truly all I wanted to take away from this season. The fact that they not only finished well above .500 and clinched a postseason berth for the first time since 1992 but WON the Wild Card game to stay alive and advance to the NLDS is all icing.

I root like hell for the Black and Gold (or Black and Yellow per Wiz Khalifa), but I haven’t felt connected to a season or a team like this in a very long time, possibly ever. This has been an incredibly special year to be a Pirates fan.

Tonight kicks off the NLDS – the Pirates at the Cardinals (5 PM ET), and the Dodgers at the Braves (8:30 PM ET).

Let’s go Bucs.

A few thoughts mid-MLB Draft.

As news broke this week that Major League Baseball will likely suspend approximately 20 players in connection to a looming PED scandal (which would be the largest in American sports history… you’re welcome, Lance?), I find it interesting that the timing coincides with this week’s MLB Draft. Many of those implicated in the Biogenesis controversy are lauded as some of the best in the game; one of the biggest names a former number-one draft pick (Alex Rodriguez in 1993). I see pictures of these young men being drafted, many fresh out of high school, incredible young athletes with youthful builds — no bloated muscles or the tree-trunks-for-necks we see on of some of those implicated, who we have to assume had some help along the way. I wonder what kinds of temptations these draftees will face not so very far from now, the pressure to live up to their billing.

I have hope that this controversy and subsequent bringing-to-justice spurs a change in mindset, a change in the culture of baseball — something I thought the PED scandal of the last decade would have done. But as Lance Armstrong showed us, the science and technology has only become better, the ability to hide what one is doing more advanced. But the part that really irks me, the part that gets me really pissed off on behalf of a sport I love, is that seasons upon seasons, records upon records, are affected by the play of those who have been cheating along the way.

I suppose I look at this Draft as a new beginning, a chance to do it right with the new crop of baseball hopefuls. Of course these young men get to choose what does or does not going into their bodies. But we, as fans, get to choose what we are willing to accept in sports, who we are willing to hold up as role models and heroes. And we need to demand better than drug-fueled greatness.