Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Bag'O Fish Fry Bloggers Bash

Great weekend!  Big wedding fun, lots to eat and drink with family, and hmmm, what else? 

Oh yeah, the Darwinfish Fry II – The Bag’O Fish BBQ (a Darwinfish2 and Carpetbaggery Production.)

I’ll get into my trip overall and the wedding stuff with the next post, so I’m going to jump ahead to Monday’s affair.

All I can say is I thank my lucky stars (and my Dad) for that damned GPS.  I had to find my way from Moon Twp. to the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh.  On Google Maps it looks all nice and easy.  And it might have been, if once again, the goddamned bridge I wanted to cross wasn’t closed!  If not for the GPS, I probably would have just pulled over and cried until someone told me where to go.  But my little GPS calmly took me further up the road to the next bridge where I crossed and came back down into Lawrenceville and successfully found the Chateau de Carpetbaggere

Naturally, once inside, Cassie started ragging me about being late.  So sue me for not being a native, AND for not knowing that that bridge was actually open, despite all the signs saying it was closed.

Freakin’ Pittsburgh…

Anyway, Carpet and Mrs. Bagger were there with Casse, then Rich and Cher showed up almost immediately after me.  Cassie had her little tiny baby Maelie, who did a great job of keeping everyone occupied.
Cher with little tiny baby Maelie.  Sorry, it was hard to get a wiggly baby in focus.

The Baggers’ residence was amazing!  You could totally tell that it used to be a bar, mostly because of the big freakin’ bar built in to the front of the room!
The front of the Bagger Bar.

Their place used to be the Polish Falcon Social Club, Nest #176.  And that’s not all!  They took us down in the cellar and what do you know, it used to be a speakeasy!
This mural is in the style of the early 1900s and the other touches around the room indicate that it had been finished and decorated.  And the only cellars that got decorated back then were speakeasies.

So the mural wall was one thing… the rest?  OMG…
Total dungeon!  Dirt floors, block walls, low ceilings… Amazingly creepy!

That’s a coal chute on the right.  The coal-burning furnace was behind the camera.

You know, if the Carpetbaggers ever decide to move, I’m giving their number to Sitcom Kelly.  That is THE perfect room for her Pit.  She’d be right there in the city too which would be all the better for Penguin stalking.  And if she caught one before her Pit was ready, she could chain him up in the coal chute.
I can practically see "Letang" carved into the wall, right now.

Back upstairs, we had more arrivals.  Hot Mama, Hot Papa and their boys, and CC & Chilla (of Bitchburgh) rolled in, as did Red Pen Mama.  This was my first time meeting RPM so I was way excited.  It was she and I that dreamed up the original Darwinfish Fry but sadly, she had a scheduling conflict and couldn’t come.  So this was way overdue.

Cassie, Hot Mama and Red Pen Mama dish on smartphones.

Meanwhile, CC minds the baby.

Out back, Mr. Carpetbagger was tending the grill.  I suggested we try to make a Turtleburger.  Remember those?
I talked about these in a post from last September.

What better time than now?  So he gave it a shot…
Hmmm.  Maybe it will be better once it’s cooked.

OK, maybe not.  Proof of concept test: FAIL! 

Perhaps it would be better without pre-formed patties.  Maybe next time...

By the way... Most Amazing Sandals, Evah!

Some other nice touches around the Baggers’ place:

Blue bottles behind the bar, in front of the glass-block wall.

Only the finest in paper hand towels at the Carpetbagger Estate!  (the sign really cracked me up.)

Later on, who should show up but Bluz Mama and Bluz Papa!  Yes, the very two that spawned so many of my stories, plus, you know, me.
Lil Mother explains to Cassie and Maelie that Bluz wasn’t reeeeeally deprived just because he couldn’t have Pop Tarts, sugared cereal, grapes, head lettuce, a seat belt or toys.

Shortly after my folks arrived, so did Angie of Ranting in Pittsburgh.  I’m totally kicking myself for not getting her in a picture.  This was my first time meeting her after a couple years of reading her blog, so it was way overdue.

As people started to filter out, we adjourned to the back yard to yak under the gazebo.  But before long, I had to make a break for it.  I wanted to try to get out of town and into familiar territory before the sun went down.

Again, I was thankful for the GPS, because even though I was able to go back over the closed bridge that was really open, the Google Map that showed a nice smooth journey curving through town is actually a route loaded with ramps and overpasses crisscrossing every which way so that any time you’re caught in a wrong lane it will send you careening in some direction you don’t want to go and quite possibly never to return again.

Nevertheless, I made it home none the worse for wear, just in time for a nightcap.

So that’s another Pittsburgh bloggers get-together in the books.  I have to say a huge thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Carpetbagger, for opening their doors to us and putting out a great spread of high-quality food and drink.  (Turtleburgers aside.)

It makes me so happy to be able to sit face to face and talk with such amazing people, who labor day after day to put their thoughts down and throw them out to the world.  Whether it’s sports or politics or family stuff or fitness, you’re all such great blogging role models.  And it’s so satisfying to know that behind each brilliant blog is a brilliant writer, character or raconteur.  (And often, all three.)  To all of you, I bow and thank you for letting me into your world.  Yinz are the greatest!

And next time… we storm Cassie’s house!

Late Update!
Annoyed at the poor quality of the "people" shots I posted, respected blogger Red Pen Mama volunteered some of her actual "good" pictures from last Monday:

Red Pen Mama with Bluz

Red Pen Mama with Cassie.  Now there's the glamor shot.

Bluz with Cassie and Maelie.  The Circle of Pictures is now complete.


bluzdude said...

Director's DVD Commentary: I thought I had so many more pictures of people to use, but now that I put this together, I really don't. Sorry folks. I guess I'm better at taking pictures of scenery than I am of people.

OK, I can say that all those IC Lights didn't help either.

Unknown said...

I feel so special ... I got a mention !!!! It was awesome to finally meet you! :-)

bluzdude said...

Of course you're special... you're one of the family now! I'm just pissed at myself for not getting a picture. I try to get one of everyone that attends.

Stupid beers...

Anonymous said...

You did better than I did. I totally blanked on the picture taking. I was too busy hosting and grilling and sweating and drinking. Hmmm.

The whole basement thing is just something I try to avoid until a fuse is blown. Never considered its Silence of the Lambs potential.

Oh well, we had a great time with a great group of people.

Judie said...

Oh, you guys!! You were having so much fun while I was wandering around with A white cane! Maybe next year I can join you! Keep your fingers crossed for me!! Waaaa!

CristyThoughts said...

Our basement looks almost exactly like that except that we have a concrete (very uneven) floor and two 50s-era furnaces hanging into the space that the hubs had to make corner safe with dangling duct tape streamers.

The turtle burgers are missing bacon - that's what made them not work. Bacon is the solution to all problems. Obviously.

Glad you guys had fun!

red pen mama said...

Dude, I sent you nice pictures, and that's the one you use?

I kid. It was a fun outing, and I wish I could have stayed longer... and had more sangria. That was good. So much fun to meet those I hadn't yet met IRL. Can't wait until #3. Maybe our space will be ready in time for #4.

Jessica R. said...

Sounds like so much fun! I said this last year, but we seriously need to do a southern take on this. Maybe one year we can have a big crawfish boil and entice you northerners to come down for a visit. :)

One of the GUys said...

Looks like a great time. I'm inspired to try to make one of those Turtle Burgers. Not sure if I'll actually be eating it, but I'd like to see if I can actually make one.

Mary Ann said...

Thank you for including us in the Bag-O-Fish Fry Bloggers Bash. Enjoyed so many interesting, intelligent people with a passion in common in one place at the same time. World saving energy and focus!
Loved holding little Maelie who mistook my hand for a turtle burger. No bacon.
And the SANDALS! Spectacular Feet. (Feat)?
Third time is the Charm. Go for it.

Mrs. Bachelor Girl said...

What a great time! SO wish I could've been there!

bluzdude said...

Again, I thank you for being the Host with the Most. You did all the hard work; you can leave it to me to chronicle the event. I just regret not being better at getting pictures of people. I am King of Getting Eyes Closed, Mouths Open and Looking the Other Way.

But the food was excellent, (the turtleburgers experiment not withstanding) and we had everything we could have wanted, including terrific people to hand out with.

Oh, and word from Sitcom Kelly on the cellar: “Ewww... creepy. Even for me...”

I guess you had to be there to see the charm.

Thanks again to you and Mrs. Bagger for stepping in to host this big shebang!

Oh man, we could have had so much fun. We could have had you walk around and try to identify us all by touch! We will definitely give you the opportunity to come out the next time!

Perhaps we were saving the bacon until the Proof of Concept Test was successful. To waste the bacon would have been a crime, or at least a sin. (Against the Book of Bluz, that is…)

Red Pen Mama,
Well, you sent me “a” nice picture. I can use that? OK, I’ll insert it into the post tonight. I wanted to, but it wasn’t mine. Weird, huh? I use all kinds of shots that aren’t mine, except in this post. And hell, I took it!

Was great meeting you, at long last. Now I just need a reason to come back again, so we can get rolling on #3. You may have to thumb-wrestle CC and Chilla for #4.

Well, let’s see, we can either have a whole dozen of us come down to the Bayou, OR… you and Mrs. Bachelor Girl can come up here!

I was trying to get my family to go to the Steelers/Texans game in Houston this year, but it fell on my brother’s anniversary. No way he gets permission to travel that weekend. But that would have put us in hollerin’ distance…

Making it is half the challenge, as we found out. It’s probably better if you use your own ground beef and make’em fat. The hot dogs will stick better that way.

Mary Ann,
I was so glad you and Dad came. I was hoping that everyone could meet the source material for so many of my posts.

If your finger had been wrapped in bacon, you probably wouldn’t have gotten your finger back without a fight.

Notice that I didn’t say whose sandals they were… that was to spare her the foot fetishists tracking her down. But we who were there know.

As for D-Fish Fry 3, like I told (the other) Red Pen Mama, I just need a reason to come back to Pittsburgh!

Mrs. Bachelor Girl,
We would have loved to have you here. It would have been a good chance for one last adventure before Baby Powell shows up to keep you close to home.

On the other hand, you may need an escape, so we’ll keep you on the list of “potentials.”

DG said...

OK, so I seriously need to know where those sandals were obtained, if not whose they are. My suspect list (which I mean with the utmost Stacy & Clinton respect) is shrinking.

Looks like you all had a blast!!!

Cher Duncombe said...

Bluz! When did you take that photo of my sandals! Ha! Love it, and the day was such amazing fun. Along with spending quality time with you and the others, one of the greatest treats was meeting your parents. They are both so interesting and so much fun. And that photo you took of the painting (fresco?)in the basement turned out beautifully!

Thank so much to the Baggers for hosting the event. They were awesome! Bluz, you are simply the greatest. Thanks so much for bringing us all together. Just love ya!

bluzdude said...

Looks like Cher gave up her anonymity and gave it up. So it’s not my fault if all the Footies start stalking AskCherlock.

Yes, we had a great time and missed you bunches. But there will be more to come.

That’s the beauty of my new camera… it has a great zoom. I took that shot when we were sitting outside. I was over by the house.

Now, I don’t know beans about shoes, but I know enough to think that those were amazing. They looked like something that was worn by the Greek Goddesses.

I knew my folks and you & Rich would get on famously, I just needed the opportunity to get you all together.

The Baggers’ fresco was really something else. My original photo didn’t do it justice, so I amped it up a little bit with Paintshop.

I’m still amazed that anyone shows up just because I make the call, so I give my thanks to all my wonderful blogging (and reading) friends who make these get-togethers the success that they are. And thank you to you and Rich, for always being there for me. You two are The Goods.

Anonymous said...

So...you use a photo of me looking in shock and awe, eh? I guess I did bitch at you as soon as you got there, so we're even.

Mae said that she had a great time, too. She totally told me. She's talented 'n shit.

Cassie said...

Oh, and it looks like you forgot the bacon on the turtle burger! BLASPHEMY!

red pen mama said...

hm. I thought I sent two. I'll try to resend. And yes you have permission! I mean if it's okay with Cassie...

bluzdude said...

Who’s My Daddy/Cassie,
Geez, everybody’s complaining about their pictures… Just be thankful I didn’t use that one I showed you that you told me to delete but I totally didn’t. (You, holding Maelie, both of you looking pained.)

And hey, the vegetarians don’t get to complain about the meat.

I’m sure it will be OK w/ Cassie… she’s whining about her picture too. OK, I’ll look for the other one… but I only got the one of you and Cassie the first time.

Cassie said...

YOU JERK FACE! DELETE THAT PHOTO! I can just see you using that in the future. So perhaps I shouldn't call you a jerk face....

oooh, but the picture of us is so nice!

bluzdude said...

I'll promise right here in public, I'll never use that pic. But you totally should, under the right circumstances.

And yes, we look great. OK, you do. And Maelie looks bored. Maybe I should have given her my beer to play with.

CristyThoughts said...

Maybe everybody should meet in the middle in WV (okay, sort of in the middle)? :) I'm not promising there'll be anywhere for people to sleep... we are a small town, after all. Hee hee. :) JK.

bluzdude said...

Sure, try to lure us all to the wilds of West Virginia... Then we all know what happens...

Banjo music and creepy dancing.