- Concert Venues (Stadiums) – AT&T (Dallas) / T-Swift in Houston / Heinz in Pburgh (Kenny Chesney Pre-game) / Longhorns Arena
- Concert Venues (Reggae) – Emos, Stubbs, Altar Bar, Stage AE
- Lunch Breaks as a Software QA onsite at Apple
- Random finds at the bookstore + Freshly Roasted Coffee Beans delivered to my door
- Chess…still haven’t mastered it yet..gonna keep on trying though!
- Brunching at Sawyer and Co in ATX
- Brunching on Vacation outside Denver on my 29th
- Brunching at Joe Mama’s with the Groovy Love Pittsburgh Cruuu //honorable mention if you’ve ever brunched with me at the Kennedy Street Cafe in Bradford
- Cheese Boards and Lazy Lake Days ft Clams and Chicken Wings with Mom and Dan
- Sports: I saw the Pirates win at least a few baseball games, and am gonna make it back to Buffalo for my first Bills gameday since about 2002 real soon!
- Inflatable Kayaking /days on the greenbelt
- KOOL AD and his ART
- Phone Calls and Reminiscing with Mom
- Dante, the bestest best friend in the whole world
- Spring Skiing at Nederland / Vacations in Holiday Valley
- Successful Whitetail Trophy Hunting Adventure in Montana with Dad
- Exhausting Elk Hunting Adventure in Arizona with Dad
- PA Bear Season / Spring Turkey Season circa 2004 (Dad+Sis)
- Ice Fishing on Kinzua Circa 2005 (Dad)
- Hiking Medicine Bow Peak in Wyoming – 2014(H2P) + 2021(HeyTayKay)
- Concert Venues (HipHop) – The Parish, Stubbs, Emos, Empire Control Room
- Festivals – ACL 2021-2018-2017-2016 / Houston 2018?
- Chess Coaching with the Young Prodigies at the Knight School
- Leveling up Virtual Education for all ages as a Synthesis Teaching Assistant
- Concert Venues (Theatres) – ACL Live,
- Comedy Shows – Tom Segura, Austin 2022
- Cousin Pictures from any and all family reunions
- Desserts–all of them, never had a bad one, but really my Grandma Sal makes the best ones!!
- Musical Creations: RIP MAC MILLER — UNDRGRND ALWAYS on my Radio Station
- Found Love with Hey Tay Kay and She Said Yes
30. It’s truly incredible how many fans can be hosted in stadiums..even more incredible how many fans any single person can attract…like the packed house for a Benefit Show at AT&T Stadium in Dallas / an absolute masterpiece of T-Swift filling the stadium in Houston / and who can forget the carnage outside Heinz Field in Pittsburgh after a Kenny Chesney Show / but in a few weeks, we’re gonna check in on Kid Cudi at the brand new Longhorns Arena in Austin…and I expect to be blown away!
29. My favorite concerts tend to be more moderately sized to suit the up and coming stars a little better — where the speakers and vibes are all just perfect and everyone can find their own space…although..thinking on it more..maybe assigned stadium seats are easier…nah…GA all day!
28. Desk jobs amiright..but honestly, during my time at Apple, the routine was flawless, they had the perfect accommodations for employees and man…I need to start getting a mid-day walk in again…if the weather would just chilllll for a minute, jahhh feel!
27. I still don’t read as much as I should but I keep adding books to the shelves because I know that I have more lessons to learn from them..and also..to inspire myself to someday write some things that others will add to their shelves too! Never running out of coffee beans is the ultimate goal for any true novelist..IYKYK..stay Ambitious..
26. Check my highlights and archives over in The Chess Zone!
25. Look — Southern Brunch is just the best and let me tell ya, don’t even ask for a menu, just order the Breux Bridge Benedict and get ready to feast — boudin patties and crispy potatoes are the perfect reservoir for those pristinely poached eggs!
24. My frens in Denver, y’all got the good bacon at Bacon Social House with all these wild bacon flavors and a bunch of other good stuff, grab a menu, I forget all that they had..i think there was bacon though..and drinks!
23. Is Joe Mama’s Brunch still rolling out the Weekend Buffet..i sure hope so..it quite literally saved my life a few times..as we all know that those Pittsburgh weekends can get rather rough..if you’ve been..you know…it was epic! — update: RIP, Joe Mama’s Brunch is no longer
22. How about getting away to relax though…my Mom hacked the game on this and figured out that pretty much everything works out if you just can make it onto the boat in time! I can’t wait to get back for another getaway at the Lake…soooon!
21. I couldn’t make a list about my favorite things without mentioning sports…and as a fan of both the Buffalo Bills and the Pittsburgh Pirates..i’ve had to a follow a tortured path…but I still love it..and I love them..and they got the best jersey’s, flyest hats, and all the Swagger..let’s goo Buccos..will ya just raise the Jolly Roger one time for me….and soon..Josh Allen is gonna really remind the world that Buffalo is best..just wait for it!!
20. 1 Fact I’ve learned over 3o years is that you can’t survive without water..and in Texas..the best swimming holes get a lil too close for comfort sometimes…luckily..my lovely Fiancé thought ahead and grabbed a deal of all deals on an inflatable Kayak so now we can getaway and cool off on the lake or river whenever we want and its portable and let’s celebrate that…go get yourself something like that and join the inflatable kayak brigade!
19. ART…my life changed hugely when I heard a Kool AD track and went on to discovered how many albums that he had already released..I had my work cut out for me..and have been digging at it ever since…but not only is he a mastermind hip-hop genius..dude also wrote a few novels, and sells all the best Arts on his IG so you too can be like me and keep your house decorated with swaggy abstract creations!
18. Sometimes a conversation with Mom is the perfect thing in life…a place reserved for total honesty and understanding..a safe space to vent..a place to reminisce..something that always makes me smile! I can’t pick just one convo, but all of them come together to help me be the person I’ve become over these 30 years, thanks Mom!
17. I’ve got some of the best friends in the world, and I can’t thank them enough for always being at my side with a kind word, or a big ole hug, or even a few shots lined up on the bar for me…but above all of those friends…there is Dante, the best Border Collie/Husky/Lab Mix on the planet..when I am grumpy..he cheers me up..when I am lazy..he makes me move around…when he needs something..he lets me know..and I can only be so thankful that my girlfriend and now Fiancé couldn’t resist bringing him into her life about 4 or so years ago..Dante — thank you for always making me feel needed and loved..Love you always!!
16. Speaking of my girlfriend who is now also my Fiancé, we’ve figured out some of the best vacation spots and I’m ready to let you in on a lil secret (please don’t blow up our spot ;)) but dang, fly out to denver, grab a rental and drive out past boulder and you find this little resort and might need to book an airbnb near the dispensary in town, but dang they got some premier spring skiing in Nederland // also..have you heard of this place called Holiday Valley in Ellicottville NY — good spot…made lot’s of memories there…literally too many to share…it ain’t easy bein steezy tho…iykyk
(..phew..halfway there…cracking into the top 15 now..)
15. Since I was a young boy, my dad took me to the forest to hunt whitetail etc, and all the time we would wonder what it might be like to hunt trophy bucks in Montana instead of “dinky-PA-scrub-bucks” — and just this past fall, we made it happen, and it was beyond expectations! Trophy hunting is interesting, it’s kinda like a vacation, but you still have to put work in, and it sure ain’t easy…but like most things of value…the work pays off, and I have a trophy on my wall, pictures to match, and some memories to last a lifetime!
14. I was lucky to be able to join my dad during one of his trophy hunts — in the mountains of Arizona — with him & one of his best friends! Elk hunting involved a whole new level of strategic coordination, and patience as our guides scoured the distant slopes for a trophy for my dad! We struggled and searched, and in the end, didn’t have the luck we hoped, but the journey, views, and overall “experience” were unforgettable!
13. Nature boy is really starting to sink in now as I describe my memories, some of the earliest were just hiking with my dad and sister…I tried to bring the story together a while back in a short story “Within the Oak Forest” — that day, plus a few other select adventures around Thanksgiving of our early teenage years provided some jarring memories of successful hunts. The moments of harvest are intense, but special, and cherished in my family — we keep the trophies symbolically but in honor of the great wild forest on the edge of my hometown — Allegheny National Forest…such a treasure…the birthplace of Nature Boys and Girls!
12. Speaking of the Allegheny, long before I was born, some engineers decided to build a Dam on the river far north of Pittsburgh…gave us a nice little lake to enjoy now-a-days..although…maybe we lost some Native Culture along the way…nevertheless, my Dad taught me a way to enjoy the lake during all seasons, and we have some particularly fond memories in the deep icy winters — ice fishing, sled riding, carrying a bunch of heavy gear down a wretched path, my dad cursing at the ice auger, all worth it and essential the skill of ice fishing…but the joy when you pull a whole school of walleyes out is untouchable..there’s just something about fishing man..I love my memories from the Allegheny Reservoir!
11. This one time I went out to Wyoming, and learned all the cool spots out there, and it was quite epic, so last summer I had to return, and with my lover at my side, we enjoyed the epic views and spectacular hikes that Wyoming had to offer, but none of the views can rival the route up to Medicine Bow Peak. Get out there if you can, yellowstone is cool too!
10. Over my first 30 years, I visited a ton of concert venues, and I gotta say, hip hop shows can hit or miss, but the ones that I go to always hit..idk..maybe something with the vibes or the atmosphere..or the water..but especially at the Parish and few at Emos and most at Empire Control are just top notch vibing rhyme flow
9. Festivals have been a huge part of my young adult life..it probably should be a more common rite of passage into adulthood, but honestly music festivals give fascinating insights into human behaviors but also about network effects, logistics and the human condition at-large. I have seen Austin City Limits iterate and continuously improve their yearly festival to accommodate more and more fans and bigger and better artists and we are spiraling upwards towards infinity with these types of events! Festival is the natural human state, unless you are born in the forest..i guess it’s debatable!
8. Life surely began to sync into place for me when I found the drive to become a youth chess coach. Infinite energy can be gained from surrounding yourself with young minds…but also…infinite energy can become an even larger level of infinity if you recycle the energy and continuously teach younger people everything you know…so as a chess coach, I save up all the best strategic chess energy and recirculate it with my students at The Knight School and one day, they’ll all move on and find their own set of students and their own set of ways to recycle the path of infinite energy onwards again to the next generation!
7. Pandemics got crazzzyy towards the end of my first 30 years, and they even forced schools to adapt, and some to upgrade…but other ways of learning also just happened to emerge, and as-if it were pre-destined, I was quick to join the team at Synthesis to help spread Virtual Learning across the globe. It’s beyond inspiring to work with students from all different backgrounds as they come together to solve abstract problems together. Cheers to the next generation of Super Collaborators at Synthesis..we are all gonna make it!
6. Over the years, I realized that sometimes I can be a bit of snob, and particularly for shows and food, it’s kinda necessary. And I’ll get pithy if anyone wants to fight about it..but the best place in the whole world to see live music is on 2nd Street in Austin Texas at Austin City Limits Moody Theatre — its perfect, and just park nearby for like 10 bucks..or Uber..but don’t be late…those shows, ya don’t wanna miss a single minute!
5. I’m almost embarrassed to say that I only recall 1 comedy show during my first 30 years, but dang I still remember some of the jokes, and definitely all the laughter when Tom Segura roasted the entire state of Texas on stage..dude is just hilarious..comedy is the best!
4. Family photoshoots have come along way since my days as a toddler. I can still remember the framed portraits from the house my Mom grew up in, and the “vintage haircuts” and etc..and I can’t wait to laugh at the family photos a few decades from now! Of course, let’s give a quick shoutout to the iPhone and the self-timer feature, but also, thanks to all the photographers out there who are ready to grab a family photo when the group all comes together! I love my fam, and all my cousins spreading out all over the world..keep going!!
3. I think it was in 3rd grade or so when I learned that Dessert is spelled with 2 – S’s because you always want more dessert and desert only has 1 – S because no one wants more desert. And it’s true..Texas feels like a desert, but I want some cake..and maybe Grandma Sal’s no-bake cookies too! Best dessert in the world is at grandma’s house and you’ll always want some more of that!
2. Somehow I’ve managed to keep my top 30 memories all happy ones so far, but for this one, I gotta say RIP to the musical mastermind of Mac Miller. I’ve honestly been dazed and confused since he left our realm. He was one of those icons that was just on the verge of showing a new version of excellent with every single creation..had the Midas touch or whatnot..turning things into Gold…but now I listen to music differently…I listen as if maybe Mac were listening too…and I listen to old stuff too, like the stuff my grandpa maybe would’ve dreamed up…and dang I try to share my favorite songs, but I’m alot like my mom and when the radio is tuned right, all the songs are my favorite….so for the 2nd from the top spot on the best of my 30s, I just wanted to give a shout out to : MUSIC
1. And finally, the number one spot, the number on memory, the absolute best memory of my first 30 years goes out the active feeling and persistent memory of being fully, deeply, and intensely in love with my Fiancé, Taylor — thank you for celebrating my birthday (week) with me and may we celebrate our birthday weeks together forever and ever and ever, pretty please, with sugar on top??!
…ps, honorable mention to all my Leo Brothers, Chuck, Mitch, C-Bo, Jonny, and even the honorable Leos, JD and Focker, be well my brethren, Happy Birthday, our 30’s are gonna be Lit…….erally the best times of our lives!