31 Jul

Kards Unlimited Calendar of Events: August!

sidewalksalebitches 640x711 Kards Unlimited Calendar of Events: August! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

Yes, we are really this excited for the Sidewalk Sale. It’s awesome, ok?!

Well, friends, we got through the hectic, crazy fun that was July and now it’s time to settle in for the long, hot haul that is August.  Just kidding, it’s still summer and that means more fun!  Sure, it feels like you’re swimming through molten lava each time you walk outside, but that’s part of summer’s charm!  Or whatever.  Anyway, there’s plenty of great stuff happening at KU during August, so click READ MORE to find out what!


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29 Jul

Dearest J.K./H.P

J.K. Rowling is my hero. For the matter, she is probably your hero too, and if not she should be. But why is she so special? In celebration of her birthday, here are five reasons J.K. Rowling is the queen.

5. Rowling began writing Harry Potter during the lowest time of her life: struggling to make ends meet, a single mother with no support, and clinically depressed. Imagine trying to hold onto any semblance of hope while struggling to provide for your baby. Scary right?

4. Dementors. The pure essence of evil and one of the most feared characters in the “Harry Potter” series, Dementors were an allegory for Rowlings’ depression during her life as a struggling single mother. Dementors themselves are a cool concept, but what really makes this so special is the Rowling created something that we can all relate to. Depression sucks the happiness and life right out of you, removing any will to keep living. While many of us know what that feeling is like, few authors have ever been able to visualize it with such vivid terror.

3. J.K. has not stopped working, even after the wild success of “Harry Potter” made her one of the richest women in the world. Rowling continues to work, as she has often said, to be a good role model for her children. Her first entry into the literary world post-Potter was “A Casual Vacancy.” A lovely investigation into small village life in rural England, many criticized the book as being droll and slow.  This was mainly because the title did not include “Harry Potter.” Some believed it was a huge smear on her career, until Rowling tricked all of us when she assumed the name:

2. Robert Galbraith. In one of the great “holy shit” moments of the year, the world opened up the new crime novel,”The Cuckoo’s Calling” by a seemingly unknown author, to find out that it was in fact written by J.K. Rowling. Even before the reveal, the book was a smash hit and instantly became a bestseller. Finding out that the person behind the curtain was Rowling just about made the literary worlds’ collective head burst. There was no doubt about her writing chops now, and it is most definitely a great read. The sequel, “The Silkworm”, was just released this year to more acclaim.

All of these things are great reasons to love J.K. Rowling, but in truth there is one massive reason that J.K. Rowling is the best:

1.Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived. I mean this one in the literal sense, as in Harry Potter the person. We meet Harry as a young baby, taken from the rubble of his former home and his dead parents, made to live with his horrible aunt and uncle. It is on his eleventh birthday that Harry discovers that he is a wizard, and is plunged into a world of magic and epic adventure. But let us look at the boy himself. All throughout the series, Harry is as selfless as he possibly can. Sure, there are the usual teenager moments but he never puts himself before any of his friends and loved ones. Harry is essentially an outcast, having not grown up with other children like himself and always feeling worthless. He has suffered great tragedy in his life, never knowing his parents and entering the magical world knowing that someone perpetually wants to kill him. He faces these terrors with his head high, never taking the cowards way out and showing how love overcomes all. There are an extraordinary amount of themes that play into Harry’s life, many of which are relatable to those who read about it. I remember reading Harry Potter and feeling a connection to that poor kid who started out life not having friends and never feeling like he belonged. But he overcame these obstacles and more, and set an example for us to follow. I think I can speak for everyone in that Harry helped all of us in one way or another, whether it was in providing literary enjoyment or literally saving our lives. For this, a happy birthday to Ms. J.K. Rowling, and to our beloved Harry Potter, The Boy Who Lived.

26 Jul

If Peter Rabbit is wrong, I don’t want to be right. An appreciation of Beatrix Potter.

peterrab 286x300 If Peter Rabbit is wrong, I dont want to be right.  An appreciation of Beatrix Potter. Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

Peter Rabbit, as you may know, is the most famous character of the wonderful children’s author Beatrix Potter.  (Whose birthday is July 28th!)  When I was a kid, there were several film adaptations of Beatrix Potter’s works that I loved to watch over and over and over.  They, along with the Disney movie Dumbo and the cartoon Charlotte’s Web, were a hugely formative part of my childhood.  They were instrumental in giving me a love of nature and animals that endures to this day.

Peter Rabbit was a rebel.  His mom was all, “Don’t go in Mr. McGregor’s garden or he will literally eat you like some sort of fairy tale monster only he’s real.”  But Peter was like, “Yeah, whatever!”  And he raided that garden righteously.  It was so metal.  Then he had to escape the garden when Mr. McGregor happened to see and chase him and he barely got away!  AND, having lost his waistcoat (a rabbit in a waistcoat?!) and shoes and contracted a cold from hiding in a watering can, Peter was sent to bed with no supper and just a dose of Chamomile tea.  Whew.

So yes, Peter probably could have avoided all that unpleasantness by simply listening to his mother, but sometimes you just have to let people make their own mistakes.  And eat delicious carrots.

beatrix potter hill top 218x300 If Peter Rabbit is wrong, I dont want to be right.  An appreciation of Beatrix Potter. Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

Beatrix Potter was pretty rad too.  She was a shrewd businesswoman, patenting a Peter Rabbit doll shortly after the book became such a huge hit and buying a ton of farmland in the north of England over the course of her life (which she donated to the National Trust and later much of it became the Lake District National Park) and just generally being a boss.  Plus her name was Beatrix which rules.  So happy birthday, Beatrix!  <3!

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22 Jul

Merry Go Round Day!

July 25th is Merry Go Round Day!

I don’t know about you guys, but I LOVE merry go rounds. Be they beautiful and intricately designed, like everything you hoped that your My Little Pony collection would grow up to be

mgr1 Merry Go Round Day! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards


or creepy ones that you see in abandoned wings of old malls!

MGR7 Merry Go Round Day! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards


America’s first Merry Go Round is still up and running in Rhode Island. Made in 1876, The Flying Horse Merry Go Round is named as such because the horses are only attached from the top of the carousel and not at the bottom, so they swing out when the ride is in motion.

mgr4 300x225 Merry Go Round Day! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

It is the only flying horse carousel left in the country and is detailed with real horse hair in the tail and mane, because nobody cared about that sort of thing in 1876.

If you can’t make it to Kennywood for Merry Go Round Day,

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take some time to enjoy the best Merry Go Round Moment in Movie History in the best movie ever, Mary Poppins!

mgr2 Merry Go Round Day! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards


Aren’t you nostalgic for the good old days?!?

mgr8 Merry Go Round Day! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

BRB I’m going to go re-watch Mad Men for the 7th time….


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21 Jul

Uno Mas for Tequila Day!

July 24th is National Tequila Day, you guys! Instead of boring you with facts about the liquor (like how it’s made from the blue agave plant, how it is often between 76-80 proof but in some instances can be as high as 110 proof, etc), I’m going to try a little experiment. You see, it’s been a few years since I’ve actually had tequila. I don’t remember much of the night (as is the case with most people who drink too much tequila), though I’m pretty sure I made quite an ass of myself (again, common side effect). In the interest of science, I have selflessly volunteered to do a little research in the true effects of tequila. Mainly, I’ll just be quaffing the liquor and texting about it. FOR SCIENCE!  Uno Mas for Tequila Day! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

8:20 pm  Shot #1 : This shot was straight up. Ugh. I won’t be making that mistake again. Like I said, it’s been a while, totally got the tequila shivers. Why do people drink this stuff? I think my next one, I’ll do that whole salt/lime thing.

8:22 pm : My tummy does feel nice and warm, however.

8:42 pm  Shot#2 : Ok, I’m really not feeling anything, besides the whole warm tum-tum. Time for another shot. This time I’ll do the salt/tequila/lime thing.

8:43 pm : Ok, that wasn’t as bad as the first go.

8:55 pm  Shot #3 : Wait a sec, or was I supposed to do it salt/lime/tequila? Guess I’ll just have to have another.

9:03 pm : Hold on… or is it that you put the lime in the coconut and drink it all up? Wait, do I need a coconut? Do I even HAVE a coconut? I think the cornerr store has them. I’ll be right back.

9:21 pm : Coconuts are hard to open, you guys. My floor is all sticky.

9:28 pm : Hey, remember in Monthy Python’s Holy Grail when they used coconuts to make horse hoof sounds?

 Uno Mas for Tequila Day! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

9:36 pm : Ok, the neighbors complained about my imaginary horse. I named him Fred, btw. The horse, not the neighbor. Neigbors name is Adam, noice guy. HEY, I WORK WITH AN ADAM! I’M GOING TO TEXT WORK ADAM TO SEE IF HE KNOWS MY NEIGHBOR!!!

9:38 pm : He does not

9:42 pm Shot #4 : In memory of Fred, I think it’s time to do another shot! I miss you Fred, you were a good horse.

9:52 pm : You know what I love, you guys? Potato chips. BEST. THING. EVER.

10:03 pm : My face is numb.

10:08 pm : You know what’s a really great idea? Imma gonna text my ex, I’m sure he’d want to hear from me!

 Uno Mas for Tequila Day! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

10:10 pm : No responze. Im going text him again.

10:13 pm : Maybe my texts arent working. I’m going to call him.

10:16 pm Shot #5 : Boy, some people can be quite rude. Screw em, time for another shot.

10:27 pm : Whay is me floor sticky and why do i have a coconut?

10:43 pm Shot #6 : U know what, guys? i <3 u , you r teh bestest. DA BESSSST! I raize my glass to u.

10:59 pm : U knw wht fealz gud, u guyz? The carpet. ON MY FACE. I waz sitting in da chair & sum how ended up of teh flooor. Itz soooooo soft, u guyz!!!!!

11:06 pm : Roomz all spinnyz.

11:13 pm : I hate u, tequiala. I hatez u sew much.

11:22 pm : Im sorry, teqwuila, Idonthateu. pleasemakeroomstopspin.

11:31 pm : Izsosleepyses. florfealzsogudsssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss




*editors note: At this point it Jessi was found asleep, cuddling a coconut.

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18 Jul

It’s National Ice Cream Month, Guys! Wooo!

July is National Ice Cream Month, and to celebrate I’ve created a well considered top ten list of the best ice cream novelties to enjoy this month (or whenever you want, you nonconformist, you!).



Flintstones Push Up

1 ic 300x237 Its National Ice Cream Month, Guys! Wooo! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

So much better than Flintstones vitamins


Hands down most fun (messy) thing to eat from the ice cream truck!  The best flavor was blue but for some reason they always only had orange, which was also really great.


#9 Strawberry Shortcake

straw1 Its National Ice Cream Month, Guys! Wooo! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards



#8 Creamsicles

creamsicle 300x199 Its National Ice Cream Month, Guys! Wooo! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards



Perfect if you could never decide whether to get ice cream or a popsicle and were sent in to a panic every time the familiar ice cream truck music twinkled faintly in the breeze.

#7 Generic Ice Cream Sandwiches

IceCreamSandwich 300x190 Its National Ice Cream Month, Guys! Wooo! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards


Seriously, the more plain the better! The ones from my elementary school pizza day were the BEST! Who knows where they came from?!? I remember them being wrapped in plain white paper. Honorable  mention to generic tubs of  ice cream with the little wooden spoons attached on top.


#6 Rocket Pops

download 2 Its National Ice Cream Month, Guys! Wooo! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

*humming national anthem*

rp Its National Ice Cream Month, Guys! Wooo! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

Rocket pop jersey!!!



#5  Glove with Gumball Baseball

1 Its National Ice Cream Month, Guys! Wooo! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

Delicious! Great way for kids to sneak gum into the house! Most of the time looked like this when you took it out of the package…

2 Its National Ice Cream Month, Guys! Wooo! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

Still good!

#4 (#1 best thing from the ice cream truck) Mickey with “Chocolate” Covered Ears


3 Its National Ice Cream Month, Guys! Wooo! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

Look how cute!

I think the ears were actually coated with whatever Swiss Rolls are coated with… but they are still so good due to a smushy ice cream texture and vague chocolate/vanilla flavors.


OK! The top three are comprised of  TREATS FROM AN ICE CREAM SHOP  (because sometimes you just can’t find enough quarters rolling around in the couch in time to catch the ice cream truck)

#3 Clown Cones from Baskin Robbins

clowns Its National Ice Cream Month, Guys! Wooo! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

” Yes, I’d like twelve clown cones, please”


I love these because they are the best parts of an ice cream cake,  the frozen icing and ice cream. Mint chocolate chip was my favorite flavor. I requested these for my sixteenth birthday. No shame, best party ever!

#2 Root Beer Float

RBF Its National Ice Cream Month, Guys! Wooo! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards


The ice cream foam at the top !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


#1 DQ Cherry Dip

cherry dip Its National Ice Cream Month, Guys! Wooo! Pittsburgh Gifts CardsTHIS IS THE BEST!!! NO ARGUING !




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16 Jul

A Gonzo Birthday

The ashes formerly known as Hunter S. Thompson are turning 77 today (July 18th)! What a guy, what a guy, such an honest soul, and a prolific honest man of truth. TRUTH. What is that anyway? An enduring concept or is it just reality slapping you you in the face. The latter of which is how Gonzo filtered into the world circa 1960’s-1970’s Hunter S. Thompson. DELETE DELETE DELETE, have you ever tried to write something perfectly the first time and failed like nobody’s business? Ya, that just happened. Gonzo is not for the weak at heart, batteries not included. I love the bastard’s writing. I am reading “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” currently, and spend my evenings either reconsidering my stance on drug and alcohol usage, laughing in a perverse shrill that haunts my apartment, or pondering my navel. Shush, nobody has to know. No navels were hurt in the making of this blog. And back to our inflight movie. Thompson! An incredible writer, truth in satire, wit without compromise. God, how it must have felt to experience the world through those eyes.
fear and loathing in las vegas3 300x168 A Gonzo Birthday Pittsburgh Gifts Cards
Yes, these eyes.
Thompson (forget the first name and middle initial, I can’t be held responsible when twisted into a slinky) was a journalist and writer from the 1960′s until his death in 2005. He would regularly contribute to many magazines and newspapers, none more so than Rolling Stone (before it was hip and then really hip and then blithely unhip again in the Bieber days). In Rolling Stone, Thompson was one of the only non-musical writers on staff, and would regularly contribute his on personal style of journalism while exploring politics and counter cultures in America. The name of his war cry would be called “Gonzo”, a style of writing that is similar to a stream of consciousness, placing the author in the center of the action rather than writing from above in an invisible hot air balloon. Also, the author was often the instigator of the action, writing about the happenings as they would occur. A great and bizarre example is “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”, in which our hero of the day, Raoul Duke (Thompson) and his lawyer Dr. Gonzo (some Samoan lawyer), drive to Vegas to find the American Dream while covering the Mint 400 race. So of course, they completely blow off the race and experiment with mind bending drugs like LSD (hello pink lemon lizards), ether (can you feel your face, I highly doubt it), cocaine (snort hard, snort far, and your dreams will smell like blood) and booze (also known as breakfast). This is a drawing made for the occasion of the publishing of Fear Vegas (again, not responsible for things like titles when there is a SQUID ON THE WALL CAPS LOCK WHY YOU SO ANGRY) by Thompson’s close friend and partner in crime in his article “The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved”, Ralph Steadman.
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Steadman was one trippy ballsack. Don’t you just feel the drugs settling in?
You may have noticed that the previous two paragraphs are pretty out there. In honor of Mr. Thompson, I wanted to experiment with writing in the Gonzo style. Admittedly, no one can be as perverse or oddly charming as Thompson was. Even with the drugs and booze, he was a prolific writer of politics, following many campaign trails throughout the seventies. He would also explore culture and counter culture, ranging from the psychedelic drug scene on the west coast to sports to the new generations versus the old to riding with the Hells Angels. Thompson is brutally honest in his writing, not sparing anyone in his path. Famously, he absolutely hated Richard Nixon. Really, hate is a soft word for the absolute disgust this man had for Nixon, as can be seen in his book “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72. Nixon’s one redeeming quality for Thompson? Football. Go figure. Other interesting occurrences were travels in Puerto Rico (which produced the Rum Diaries) and in South America. Rather horrifyingly, Thompson took a job reporting on the war in Vietnam, and arrived in Saigon to find that the job had been scrubbed just as American troops were evacuating the country. Rough right?
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After a failed trip to report on a boxing match in Africa, our intrepid writer began reducing  his output during the 80′s up through his death. Fame itself seemed to get to Thompson, who did not want to write just because it was expected of him. Never wanting to live to an age of dullness and infirmity (amongst other reasons), Thompson committed suicide on his ranch in February 2005. To commemorate his life, friends and family gathered to give him a proper send off in the form of Thompson’s last wish: his ashes were shot out of a canon on top of a massive monument of a double thumbed fist (the symbol for Gonzo) with red, white, blue, and green fireworks, all to the tune of Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky” and Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man.” It is in the honor of this bizarre, brutally intelligent and incredible writer that we say happy birthday to Hunter S. Thompson. Cheers.
15 Jul

KU Summer Reading: Comics You Should Read Right Away

The life of a comic book nerd is not easy.  Misunderstood, dismissed, and much maligned, the graphic novel/comic medium is in reality just as complex and varied as is traditional fiction, it just happens to include freakin’ awesome illustrations.  If you’re someone who has, in the past, dismissed comics because you thought they were all about superheroes with onomatopoetic sound effects like ‘biff’ or if you’re someone who’s never even considered diving into the rich and wonderful world of the graphic novel, give these books a try.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Batman RIP 202x300 KU Summer Reading: Comics You Should Read Right Away Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

Batman, R.I.P.: What it’s about: Batman, obviously.  He dies in this one! (Maybe…)

Why you should read it:  Batman R.I.P. is pretty much the culmination of Grant Morrison’s (aka, the Leo Tolstoy of graphic novels) work with the Batman character.  It’s huge, complex, and challenging.  Not your run of the mill superhero comic.



Lucifer Vol 1 1 193x300 KU Summer Reading: Comics You Should Read Right Away Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

Lucifer:  What it’s about:  Yes, that Lucifer.  In the DC universe, the character of Lucifer appears in many stories, most notably in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series, which is where the stand alone Lucifer series got its start.

Why you should read it:  Sorry, did I not mention the part where it’s about the devil and that the stand alone series is a spin-off from Sandman.  Additionally, because re-vamps of the traditional devil character are fascinating.  And finally because Lucifer is just an incredibly cool character.  He’s got it going on, is what I’m saying.

filth 190x300 KU Summer Reading: Comics You Should Read Right Away Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

The Filth:  What it’s about: A weird, crazy romp through post-modern interpretations of the status quo!

Why you should read it:  Another piece from the genius mind of Grant Morrison, The Filth is one of those things that you just have to see to believe.  If you’re into media that looks at the line between appropriate and inappropriate and then promptly obliterates it, The Filth is for you.



hellblazer 192x300 KU Summer Reading: Comics You Should Read Right Away Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

John Constantine: Hellblazer:  What it’s about: One of DC’s longest running characters, antihero magician, chain-smoker, and pro-level snark factory John Constantine and all his supernatural adventures.

Why you should read it:  It’s a fantastic exploration of the humanist antihero.  If misanthropes who are committed to doing something good are your thing, look up my man John.


Swamp Thing Book One Cover 200x300 KU Summer Reading: Comics You Should Read Right Away Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

Saga of the Swamp Thing:  What it’s about:  Pretty self-explanatory, actually.  He’s a Thing.  That lives in a Swamp.  Loves plants and the environment and stuff.

Why you should read it:  Self-explanatorability notwithstanding, it’s actually really cool!  A global environmentally aware comic book character is a fabulous protagonist.  For real.


GoTv1HC Cov 200x300 KU Summer Reading: Comics You Should Read Right Away Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

A Game of Thrones:  I don’t need to tell you what it’s about because you’ve probably seen the show.  I hope.

Why you should read it:  Again, feel like I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but I will say that the graphic novelization of ASOIAF is like a really incredible mash-up of the show and the books, which is baller.


100Bullets vol1 200x300 KU Summer Reading: Comics You Should Read Right Away Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

100 Bullets:  What it’s about: It’s basically everything fantastic about noir, pulp, and revenge thrillers all rolled into one stylized, metaphor-rich creation.

Why you should read it:  See above.  It’s like the breakfast burrito of the crime story world.

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