Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Checking it twice

Okay, as we all know I have a tendency of posting a Christmas list on the blog. As we also know, after the holiday we take a look back and see just how the goodies all panned out. Some end up being hits, some misses, and it usually depends on the stupidity of the request on my part. With that disclaimer out of the way, time to take a look at the list and see what did and didn't pan out this year.


Chistmas list 2009

My own radio show, heck even a radio gig will do at this point - No radio gig as of yet, but at least a lead about one was uncovered online just before the holiday. The only problem is that they didn't allow you to attach a resume, so I have to go in and type in all of my information into their system, which means I have to get a copy of my resume and then copy it. In this technological day and age, the idea of a major company not having a simple attach file option on their application side just seems moronic to me.

Notebooks - I got a few note pads, not the big books per se, but they will be quite functional for what I do at work.

Pens - I also got a few of these, I just hope they are the semi decent ones. I had bought some from Office Depot, because they had the cheapy ones on sale a while back, but they are a pain to get to write consistently. That being said, I lose pens so often that I am wary of making a big financial investment in them, Bics are about as far as I am willing to let my wallet go.

Boxcutters - I actually ordered these at work before the holiday, so it turns out I didn't need them. I had no idea our vendor had them, but they did and snagging a box of 12 for around $5 just meant I could bill them to my place of employment and hand them out to the entire stock crew with no complaints from management.

A massage - The first thing on the list I can say I did not get. I am getting somewhat desperate in this regard too, I may just have to plunk down some cash for one of those reach around places or something.

Light bulbs - Starting a streak here as I didn't get any light bulbs either.

Garbage bags - Lo and behold I did in fact get garbage bags, a much needed gift even if the request itself sounds a little foolish. As an added bonus they are the good Hefty bags and not some cheapy generic ones that break as soon as you put something in them. If I am going to pollute the enviroment, then I damn well want to make sure my plastic doesn't break down before its time.

Diablo 3 (if Blizzard ever gets around to releasing it) - To my knowledge this game has yet to be released, I am not even sure if they have a release date planned, I haven't checked recently so this is along the lines of an impossible gift since it doesn't exist yet.

Washington Post subscription - No and so another year will go by with me picking up the occasional WashPo at work and reading the paper online more often than not.

Money - I did get money, scratch is always good and to my own personal credit I haven't spent any of it yet. I am hoping that the cash helps to get me into the New Year, I want to go grocery shopping for some hot dogs and sauerkraut and what not, though I doubt I will be up all night New Years Eve, I have to work New Years Day. So far this year I have worked Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and coming up, New Years. I should really get myself a government job or something, where people don't work those days.

Groceries - I didn't go on one of those shopping extravaganzas like previous years, then again I was home for all of about 25 hours, not a lot of time to go shopping there, but I did get plenty of leftovers from our post Christmas Christmas dinner and my mom did throw together the requisite care package that she always does whenever I go home, bagels, cream cheese, canned veggies, Pepsi, Oreos, etc., so I got a fair amount of food.

A haircut - No but again I wasn't home long enough for this to be an option. Aren't too many places open Christmas Day cutting hair, though we did find a diner open Christmas Day and we took advantage of it. Show of hands for all of you out there who had a meatloaf sandwich, mashed potatoes and gravy in a truck stop on Christmas Day. Let me guess, I am the only one, right?

A quiet breakfast of an bagel with cream cheese and coffee - While this was an option, the coffee was made, the bagels and cream cheese were there but I opted just for the coffee and a cigarette on the back porch while contemplating my lot in the universe.

DVDs (TV - TV show, M - Movie) - Rather than bore you with details, I got nothing in this category so let's move along shall we.

Some motivation - I am not sure if I have this or not. On one hand I have a specific plan for what I want to accomplish, but after a day at work like today the idea of getting all fired up to do more work at home just isn't quite there yet.

Pogo stuff (membership, albums or gems) - No one purchased these items for me, but I did manage to accumulate enough Coke reward points through various means that I bought myself an entire year of Pogo for free.

A Philly Cheesesteak - This is almost a dream gift of mine, I know I will never get it, but I will always want it.

Books - Most of these I didn't get because my family doesn't frequent bookstores all that often. And when they do I doubt they are browsing the same sections I am. That being said, from the two gift cards listed below for Barnes & Noble and the fact their Squirrel Hill location is closing in less than a week, I was able to change the gift card money into 5 books, only one of which I paid full price for, the rest were originally discounted and further discounted by an additional half off. The four I picked up that weren't on the list were "Extra Innings Baseball: All Star Stories, Stats, Lore & Legends", "Florida Roadkill" by Tim Dorsey, "The Hardcore Diaries" by Mick Foley and "Ghost Plane: The True Story of the CIA Torture Program" by Stephen Grey.

Rather than go through the list and say which books I did and didn't get on the list, since there weren't many, I will save some time and just deal with the three off of the list I did get.

Another Life by Andrew Vachss - This technically wasn't a Christmas present, unless I consider it a gift to myself. Instead it was a purchase from Amazon with my collection of Swagbucks and E certificates that I had saved up on Amazon. It wiped out almost half of my online cash at $16, but since it was the last in the series I thought it was worth it.

I, Alex Cross by James Patterson - This is the only book on the list that anyone got me, which is courtesy of my mom. I will admit the commercials of the book are a bit off putting, with Mr. Patterson telling people to buy his book otherwise he will kill off the main character, Alex Cross. First, most poeple haven't read his book, therefore really wouldn't give a flying fuck if he killed off a character they don't even remotely care about and second, if that is the best pitch you can make for your book, a buy it or else proclamation, it doesn't speak well for the story inside the book. Still, I have read enough of the series that if someone were going to buy it for me, I wasn't going to complain.

More Than a Game: The Glorious Present and the Uncertain Future of the NFL by Brian Billick - This would be the one book I got with the B&N cards that I actually paid full price for. When I got to the store and saw all of the half off goodies, I couldn't help but start rummaging through the stacks and after having four books in my hands decided I better go and see if I can find something that was on my list to begin with. All told I spent a little over $40 of the $50 I had and got 4 hardbacks and one paperback for my efforts, so I am not complaining in the least.

Pants (38X30) - Yes and no. I did get two pair of jeans, whcih is well and good, but one of which the Asain kid that stitched them together has some explaining to do. I was getting ready for work Monday morning and I had put away my socks and underwear I got for Christmas the night before but I left the drawer slightly open. As luck would have it, in my hurried pace to get to work on time I ended up running into the handle on said drawer and rip, a hole appeared in said jeans right around the pocket. Thinking that I am only going to work and the hole wasn't that bad I went ahead and wore them anyway. But through the course of the day the hole got bigger and bigger and while I would like to attribute it to my Hulk-like leg muscles bulging through my jeans more than likely it was just poor quality craftsmanship. This is what happens when you don't keep you eyes on those kids that are working 20 hours in the sweatshop, shoddy stuff just gets through.

Socks - I did get a pack of tube socks, which is clutch because it means I get to toss out some rather questionable socks that I currently own and some that I can't find the match to.

Shirts (including T shirts, sweatshirts and turtlenecks, preferably XL or larger, I like them droopy) - I did get a couple of shirts (none of which I have ripped yet) and a pack of T shirts which currently reside in my clothes destroying dresser.

Sleep - I didn't get much sleep at home, being home for only a day was tough enough, but I was up semi late watching TV on the satellite dish and then ended up falling asleep in a chair in the living room. If the choice is sleep in a chair or get up early and have coffee, coffee ends up winning out, so I was back up by 8am the day after Christmas.

PAT bus pass - No, I had to trek out and get me one of these Sunday morning. Oh well, I managed to get in a breakfast and some book shopping while I was at it, so it wasn't a wasted trip.

A maid - As I look around at my ever more cluttered apartment all I can say is "Nope."

A pliable female - Move along, nothing to see here.

Gift cards (Barnes & Noble, Target, Walmart, Giant Eagle, Amazon) - A couple of gift cards, 2 $25 gift cards for Barnes & Noble from my cousin Brandi, who had my name in the family grab gift exchange this year and a $100 gift card for WalMart from my mom, which I plan on putting to use here shortly to get some of the fixins for New Years Eve, and maybe a present or two for myself while I am at it.

Chad Vader DVD - Since I already answered this in the DVD section I have little need to repeat myself here.

Hockey tickets - No new tickets so I will have to settle for the pair of freebies I got at work for the time being.

A homemade pie - I didn't get any homemade pie, but part of the leftovers that were sent home with me included half of an apple pie and half of a pumpkin pie (with Cool Whip in a separate container) though I believe both pies were store bought.

Better results for my fantasy hockey team and a playoff spot for my fantasy football team - Well the fantasy hockey team just stinks, no other way to describe it right now. The football team is in the playoffs, I won my semi final game by three points, 100-97, so I will have a chance to defend the league title I won last year.

Postage stamps - I did get some of these and I am already planning on using a few of them. I need to use them before my stamps I do have because these are regular old stmaps, not the forever stamps I usually purchase, so I have to make sure I use them before the Post Office, in their infinite wisdom, decides to raise the psotal rate again. I'll be honest, other than stamp collectors, I can't see why everyone doesn't just buy forever stamps, they cost the same amount and are good forever. What is not to like about that?

And that is a wrap. Maybe later I will add a real Christmas blog, given the brief amount of time I was home it shouldn't be all that long, and I do have a picture or two from Christmas that I have to add to the page as well but for now this is all anyone gets.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Neverending Thread 2010

Yes it is about that time where I reserve a spot in the blogosphere for books that I read during the course of the year.  While I may still get one finished for the 2009 thread (I am reading two different ones right now) I have four brand new books that are waiting to be cracked open so the potential for additions to this years thread look promising from the outset.  As always for those that don't pay attention, new books will be added to the comments section as well as a link to their respective webpages (usually Amazon) where they can be found.  I don't do reviews, those are usually done quite well on the linked pages, far better than I could do.  I am not one that spends a lot of time wondering about the hidden meaning in texts or the metaphor that a character may or may not represent, if I like it, I read it.  That is all the endorsement you will get from me.  Unless I specifically say otherwise, like a book really wow-ed me or a book sucked like a vaccuum cleaner it is safe to say that most postings here come with a solid if unspectacular reccommendation from me.  Of course my tastes may not be yours,  I tend to read roughly equal amounts of fiction and non fiction, which I am sure already makes me different than most. 

Anyway consider this spot saved for the coming year, it's my reading material screaming "shotgun" in the travels of my blog.  Now time to see just what I can bury my nose in this year.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sometimes I do stand up at work

Okay I saw this story on Fox News the other day at work.  I am sure many people saw it, after all Fox is a national network and all, but why do I have the feeling that the following thoughts only crossed the mind of yours truly.

1)  If they aren't American puppies and they are being smuggled across the border, why don't we send them back?

2)  Will they be taking dog food from American dogs if they stay?

3)  Are they entitled to the same veternarian care that American puppies receive? What happens if they receive treatment and then refuse to pay the bill?

4)  And last, could this have been prevented if we had only built that border fence already?

Sick puppies rescued at the border


Tuesday, December 15, 2009 at 12:01 a.m.

EAST COUNTY — A driver was caught trying to smuggle 15 sick puppies into the United States at the Tecate Port of Entry Monday night, the county Department of Animal Services said.

The mixed breed miniature poodles were taken to an emergency animal hospital to be treated for parvo, a highly contagious virus that can cause digestive problems in dogs and can be fatal if left untreated.

The driver declared a bottle of tequila to U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at the border crossing, but they quickly noticed the puppies moving under a blanket in the back seat. The man told authorities he had planned to sell the dogs in Los Angeles as Christmas gifts.

The man has been caught twice before at the border for the same thing, officials said. In 2006, county Animal Services rescued 27 puppies after a smuggling attempt, and in 2007 they seized 11 puppies.

Authorities are working to determine what charges to pursue against the man.

County officials said many of the puppies being smuggled across the border and sold around the holidays are sick. The unsuspecting new owners end up spending a great deal of money trying to save their new pets’. People wishing to adopt pets are encouraged to visit local animal shelters or rescue groups.

Visit sddac.com for a list of shelters or rescue groups.


Asshat - "But we were on a break!"

Indeed hell must hath froze over if I am quoting "Friends" in the title of a blog post, but I just couldn't help myself.  As to why, I will leave that story to the trained professionals and to this week's Asshat winners, Jason Green and Melissa Jackson.  Take it away kids....

Dec 21, 2009 8:35 pm US/Eastern

Left To Die: Did Off-Duty NYC EMTs Refuse To Help?

Witnesses Tell CBS 2 HD 2 Techs Got Coffee, Bagels And Left Bakery, Pregnant Woman And Baby Later Died

Mom: "They Were Told, Call It In (To 911) Because They Were On A Break"

In Brooklyn the FDNY is investigating two emergency medical technicians for allegedly not rendering aid to a woman who ended up dying. Witnesses said the two EMTs didn't help because they were off duty.

Cynthia Rennix wants to know why the two off-duty emergency medical technicians walked away from her daughter and allowed her to die.

"I think it was unfair and unjust and very heartless," Rennix said.

Dead is 25-year-old Eutisha Rennix, who was six months pregnant. She was a cashier at a bakery in downtown Brooklyn, near the fire department's headquarters.

The victim's family said Eutisha Rennix suffered shortness of breath and collapsed with two off-duty EMTs in the store buying breakfast.

"After she collapsed they asked for help. They were told, call it in … because they were on a break. They got their bagels and coffee and left," Cynthia Rennix said.

Records show the first 911 call resulted in an ambulance from Long Island College Hospital dispatched at 9:13 a.m. and arriving at 9:24. But with Eutisha Rennix's condition worsening a fire department ambulance was also dispatched at 9:22, arriving at 9:28. At an area hospital she was declared dead at 10:17. Her baby was delivered, but died two hours later.

A source close to the investigation said the two EMTs were Jason Green and Melissa Jackson, who are dispatchers but were trained as EMTs.

Union spokesman Bob Unger said this about the conduct:

"We never condone activity by our members that could harm the public. If these members are found to have violated department protocols, the FDNY has a process to deal with that."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's reaction was swift.

"There's no excuse whatsoever," he said. "Just normal human beings. Drop your coffee and go help somebody if they're dying. Come on."

A source within the union said, "If the charges are true, why should we go out on a limb to defend these two and hurt our own good reputation?"

Eutisha Rennix and her baby were buried on Friday. The family is considering legal action against the two EMTs.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Since I didn't glog the game

You are left with this, the last play of the Steelers game that ended the losing streak.  Link



Toys for twats and walking but going nowhere

Sunday morning.  Uusally this would be the time where I would be getting all settled in for today's Steeler game with a second eye focused on how the fantasy football team is doing.  But the Steelers have lost 5 straight games, including the last three to some of the worst teams in the NFL in Kansas City, Oakland and Cleveland, and the defending Superbowl champions are sitting at a 6-7 mark with thre games to play.  Even if Pittsburgh wins their last three to get to 9-7, 4 or 5 other scenarios which I refuse to get into here would have to play out just to get a wild card playoff spot.  Needless to say, I doubt very much that will happen so while I will watch today's game, I am not going to be all rah, rah, rah about it.  I'd almost prefer they lose their last three and get a higher draft pick  than win out and fall down in draft status while still missing the post season.

The fantasy team is on a bye this week, having secured the #2 seed in the playoffs after a win and a loss by Howling Manslayers last week,  Three teams finished with 9-5 records, but since my team scored the most points of any of them (or any team in the league I might add) I have the tie breaker and the higher seed.  No scoreboard watching for me, which is fine, I can always use a break from that stuff.

That being said, since I had nothing planned I figured I might as well enjoy breakfast this morning.  After all, I had an errand to run anyway, I needed a weekly bus pass and it wasn't going to appear in my household magically, I was going to have to fetch it, so might as well take in some greasy spoon food to make the trip more tolerable.  You know what else might be cool?  If the trip turned into a walking tour.  After all, we did get snow yesterday, though not nearly in the amounts those east of us received.  While they are shoveling out of feet of snow, we got a couple of inches, enough to look all Christmas-y without the headaches that go with being trapped indoors.  So quick, grab your cameras and come along, its a walking (and bus riding) we will go.

That would be the view as I stepped out the door this morning.  You'll note the driveway isn't shoveled because a) I don't drive and b) the college students finished their finals for the fall semester this past week so the population and the noise in the neighborhood have decreased substantially.  Not that I have a problem with that.  Still, all we have done to this point is make it to the door and last I checked the places to go and things to do involved going a little bit further than this.

So right turn Clyde and we head out the driveway.  As expected the dreaded storm team coverage that all the news outlets were spewing forth yesterday left a lot to be desired.  More sound and fury signifying nothing.  The only bad part about the snow was that there was some ice underneath those areas that were tamped down from people walking on it, but nothing all that unmanageable. 

At the end of the driveway we make another right turn, as today's adventure is taking us into the heart of the beast known as Oakland, and eventually, Squirrell Hill.  While there is snow on the ground I should note that it really isn't that cold out, probably low 30s or so and an almost clear blue sky and no wind that would make it feel even colder.  Dare I say that this is almost comfortable, not too bad at all. 

Another right turn at the crack alley, and of course it isn't shovelled, it never is and this is probably the most treacherous part of the journey.  Not that there are crack dealers waiting to jump me as I walk by, but this particular pathway is usually the iciest because of the amount of foot traffic it receives and the fact that since it isn't an actual road or anything, it never gets treated, or shovelled or anything of the sort.  Luckily there is enough snow on the sides that walking through the snow is always an option for having some semblance of traction.  Mind you, I don't fall down much but I have been known to slide and what happens is alot like Elaine's dance steps on Seinfeld, a sort of herky jerky motion that has a better chance of hurting me by pulling something than if I just fell flat on my face in the first place.

Be right back, need to fetch more coffee.

There, that is much better.

Finally a left turn on Semple Street.  Now I could go and make a bunch of turns on side streets to get into Oakland but Semple will take me to Forbes Avenue and breakfast, so I will just stick with this street for a couple of blocks if it is okay with everyone.



And so we make it to Forbes Avenue, where another right turn is made.  The first destination is just a couple of blocks up the stret and on the other side.  So far the main drag looks to be pretty clear, which is far better than last night when I ran to the corner store and Blvd of the Allies, which is a four lane road running from downtown to Schenley Park was pretty much untouched.  That doesn't seem to be the case here, though I don't know how much of that is attributed to road crews, of which I didn't see any in my neighborhood, versus just the amount of traffic that is funnelled through this area.  The Oakland area in Pittsburgh has the third highest traffic volume in the state of Pennsylvania, behind only downtown Pittsburgh and downtown Philadelphia, and that doesn't include all of the Lifeflight helicopters that constantly come in and out of the area, messing with my digital TV reception.

And here is the first stop, Pamela's diner in Oakland.  I was going to get the chocolate chip and banana pancakes but I was Tastycake-d at work on Thursday, getting a free box of donuts and something cake-y like pancakes just didn't seem all that enticing, so I opted for greasy instead, getting two eggs over easy, lyonnaise potatoes, chorizo sausage and coffee.  Later today whoever is standing behind me is going to regret the fact I had the sausage, which is spicy but also very tasty.  As an added bonus I brought my book on Albert Einstein with me, I love to have a relaxing meal where I can sit and read and eat at a leisurely pace.  That isn't always the case at Pamela's, usually during the school year you have to get here relatively early because they open at 7:30 am and on weekends by about 8:30 am they have a line out the door of people waiting to get a seat.  Another of the advantages of having the students out of Oakland for a couple of weeks, no line, no waiting and plenty of time for reading.

I'll admit, I didn't enter into this blog thinking I was going to add a bunch of links, but now that I have started I might as well continue as needed.

And across the street from Pamela's is the bus stop.  I can take any of the 61s on the sign and they will leave me off at the corner of Forbes and Murray Avenues, which is hopefully the next stop.  If I catch any of the 67s I will get off at the corner of Wilkins and Murray, which means I will have an extra couple of blocks to walk, as Wilkins Avenue is a more residential area of Squirrell Hill, whereas Forbes runs through the business district and since I am going to Giant Eagle to pick up a bus pass I would prefer to be closer to the business district.  That being said, beggars can't be chosers and while it isn't bitterly cold outside I alays view movement as preferable to standing still, so whichever bus shows up first is the one I am taking.

As luck would have it the first bus was a 61 B, which means Forbes and Murray is our winner.  Of course after hopping off of the bus I see that the streets in Squirrell Hill haven't been taken care of yet.  No surprise there, the Public Works in the city of Pittsburgh leave a lot to be desired.  Well that is unless you live on the street of a local politician, then your street will be one of the first to be taken care of, the rest of the city be damned.  It is far more important that the local politicos are out spending your tax dollars than it is that you are out buying things like bread and milk.  I would say it is a "Let them eat cake" mentality, but they really don't care if you can get to the store to buy the ingredients for the cake.

Speaking of the store, here it is.  Most of you are unfamiliar, though a semi frequent commenter on this page and good friend, Rich, works here.  This is probably a photo he really doesn't want to see, bad enough to go to work, let alone have to see your place of employment on someone elses blog.  I should note that there is a Barnes and Noble just a block or so from here that I really need to visit in the very near future, just because it is getting ready to close, the last day there is Dec 31st and nothing brings out the shopping vulture in me quite like a clearance sale. 

I mentioned that I had to stop by Giant Eagle for my bus pass and while that is correct it isn't the only reason.  Amazingly I have food in my apartment, so it wasn't for grocery shopping, but rather for use of the Coinstar machine.  For those unfamiliar with the little green machines, they are usually found in grocery stores and places like WalMart and basically what you do is dump your coins into a tray and the machine counts your change and prints you a voucher for the amount you have.  This coin sorting thing is both good and bad,  It is good because you don't have to go through the hassle of counting your change yourself, but bad because if you go for the cash option then then you get charged roughly 9 cents for every dollar the machine sorts.  That being said, you can also cash in your coins for gift cards and certificates at no cost, which was my plan.  I had some coins laying around my apartment and was hoping to turn it into Amazon cash so I was going to dump my coins there rather than have them lay around the apartment.  As luck would have it, I left some of my change at home, I had grabbed the quarters on my desk and had a little bit of change in my pockets, but I forgot to grab the pennies nickels and dimes in my Red Hot jar on my dresser.  Not that it would have made a difference, maybe another 4 or 5 dollars and it wasn't like I had a ton of change, but I just wanted rid of it and after having a good experience with Amazon when buying the new Andrew Vachss novel and knowing I had $15 already saved up there from Swagbucks, adding my change to my account just seemed like a common sense thing to do.  Turns out I still had like $13 and change which I went ahead and cashed in and all of a sudden I have modest $28 there and might be able to get myself something off of my Christmas list since the odd selection of books there aren't ones that I expect anyone in my family to ferret out.  Or I could just save up for the Kindle, who knows.  But that would take a lot more nickels and dimes or Swagbucks. 

Since I am talking money a quick break here while I say that another 47 cents gets added to the change meter and the new total is $137.48.  Okay, back to our journey. 

So I leave the store and head back down Murray to Forbes where I will catch the next bus back to Oakland.  I could have went and taken a picture of the bus stop sign, but the stop is literally right in front of this church and with the snow the quality of picture dictated that I take the shot from a little farther away.  Really, how can you not feel all Christmas-y when everything is snow covered like that?

So I hop a 61 A back into Oakland and get off at Children's Hospital along Fifth Avenue, which is right next to the next street I have to walk down, Oakland Avenue.  Technically this street takes me about a block or two out of my way when walking home, but I remembered seeing a one liter Coke bottle with the cap still on it down this way on Thursday when I was going to the UPS Store.  I had to make that trip because of the fact I am working on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  That means I miss the big family getogether on Christmas Eve where we exchange names and do all of that good stuff.  I have my aunt Valerie's name and I wanted to make sure that even if I couldn't be there her gift could be, so I sat down on Thursday and wrapped it and packed it in a box from work and took it up to be mailed out.  It really wasn't a bad deal, I got free insurance on it and while I didn't sign up for overnight delivery most of my family only lives about an hour away by car so it ended up getting delivered in about 15 hours after I shipped it.  All for roughly $13.  A big thumbs up to UPS for that one.

Anyway, my plan was to walk back down this way and if I could spot the Coke bottle again I would take the cap and add it to my collection.  I have been adding a decent amount to the account recently, I maxed out my points for two straight weeks, 120 each week, and I have over another 100 added this week which puts me over 500 Coke points now.  I am probably pretty close to the point where I could cash them in for an entire free year of Pogo, if I so choose, but I haven't decided just what I want yet.  I may just keep adding points and see what kind of big prizes I can get.  Okay, I piqued my own curiosity, a year of Pogo is 550 points, I have 501 right now and other than the 4 GB video MP3 player at 2000 points, I can't see anything that I am dying for, a couple of things are nice, like the salt and pepper grinders, but not something I am all jump for joy over.

Again I distract myself.  As it turns out I didn't see the bottle, either someone picked it up, or it is covered with snow, in any event it is no more points for me. 

And so we come to the end of our jaunt on Oakland Avenue and hang a right onto Bates Street and we are pratically home.  Just a couple of blocks down this way and we are to the street where the trip began, McKee Place.  And that is a wrap as to what I did this morning.

But that is not an end to the blog however, I still have the first half of the title to get to.  And that would involve Friday at work.  I have mentioned before that Friday is our busy day at work, we get three deliveries, Coke, Pepsi and a grocery order.  That was made worse because since next Friday is Christmas, Coke and Pepsi both bumped up their orders considerably to cover for the week in which they will not be sending anything.  All told in ended up being 250 cases of product.  When I went outside for my first cigarette after the Coke delivery I noticed a throng of people across the street on the sidewalk.  I didn't know what to make of it, at first I thought maybe the Art Institute dorms were having a fire drill or something, though the last school day of the year would seem to be an odd day for something like that.  Then the Pepsi truck shows up and 170 cases of product later I come upstairs and the crowd outside hasn't dispersed, it has gotten bigger.  It now extends from the Art Institute down to the corner across from us, down Smithfied Street and almost to the Smithfield Street Bridge.  The line is almost two blocks long from what I can tell, though it may be even longer.  I still have no idea what is going on, if it isn't a fire drill then maybe it is a bomb threat or something.  It wasn't until about an hour or so later, when our grocery order arrived that I found out that it was a line for a Toys for Tots giveaway.  Apparently the plan was to give away some of the toys that were collected, starting at 11am and going on until 2pm, yet the line started forming as early as 8am.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the notion of a charity collecting toys to giveaway to underpriviledged kids at Chritsmas time, ideally the idea seems to be a noble one, but this crowd was every bit the stereotype of people who think that rather than be thankful someone is making this kind of gesture, that instead this was some sort of entitlement that the world owed them something.  Not only were they standing in line outside for free stuff, but they assumed that since we were open, apparently we were handing out free stuff as well.  People were literally coming in our store and rooting through our storage cupboards looking for things to take.  It was so bad that when the grocery order arrived, rather than have Wayne and I both put it away I had Wayne just work security to make sure stuff wasn't stolen.  While this is going on, outside there were fights breaking out among those that were standing in line over just who was where and who should get their toys first.  Even better, still others were coming into the store and buying garbage bags, just so they could turn around and sell them to the people standing in line.  Nothing is quite as impressive as watching allegedly poor people act like a bunch of parasites trying to feed off of each other.  I coined a new term to describe the events, "ghettotastic".

Apparently another giveaway was to take place on Saturday, I said I will make sure my phone is off the hook.  Seeing that once was more than enough, I didn't need to relive it the very next day. 

That being said it is looking like it should be an easy week at work, no students from the Art Institute or Point Park so our business should be slower.  Not that I can't find things to do, there is always something that can be done, I know some shelves that need wiped down, and I have invoices I have to make copies of and some more shelf tags that need ordered and some more stuff from the basement than needs brought up.  Plenty of stuff that needs done and maybe if business is slower I will get a chance to get it done.  I still have a few deliveries coming in, a grocery order on Monday, since we are completely out of trash bags now, a 7 Up order and one from Everfresh on Wednesday,  But Thursday, Christmas Eve, we will have literally little to nothing to do, yet we have a full compliment of people on the schedule, so a few of us are going to go across the street after work, to The 110, for a holiday drink or three.  Not how I had envisioned my holiday a year ago,  but I guess a lot of things have changed in the last 12 months.

Okay, I think that is a wrap.  I have the football game on (some of you may have noticed my note on said game) and it is getting close to halftime and I want to start dinner if possible when that time arrives.




Sunday, December 13, 2009

10 Players I Hate - The Update

Since we are coming up on the last game of the fantasy football season and since the Steelers already played (and lost again, that's 5 in a row now, three to some of the worst teams in the NFL), it is time to join Peabody and Sherman in the Wayback machine and see how the predictions I made before the season started actually panned out. For a refresher course, there is this link

http://mattpritt.multiply.com/journal/item/685/10_Players_I_ Hate_More_Than_You

but I will be doing plenty of copy and pasting so you don't need to go back unless you are just nostalgic or something.

In reverse order, we start with this nugget that concluded my entry


10) Plaxico Burress – average draft position 145th – Gee, last I checked he was going to jail. This is the absolute epitome of a wasted picked, unless you count the catches he is going to be making in his jail cell, which do not count for fantasy purposes.

No word on the number of prison catches he made, but being in the clink made him absolutely useless for fantasy purposes. I will give myself a thumbs up here, though honestly this was a layup as far as prognositicating is concerned.


9) Stephen Gostkowski – average draft position 91st – I am all for drafting a kicker on a team that scores lots of points, just nowhere near this high. At best you should probably be snagging your kicker in your league's next to last, if not, last round. There will always be plenty of options to choose from, either drafting a kicker from a high scoring team, or one that has a career of being highly accurate. The drop off on actual kicker points is usually very slim, so taking one this early is little more than a wasted draft pick.

Gostkowski has been decent, 21 of 26 on field goal attempts, but this is where draft position come into play. In a standard 12 team league, Gostkowski was being taken in the 8th round, thebfirst kicker off of most draft boards, but I argued that better deals could be had far later in the draft than taking a kicker that early and I would argue I was right, 5 other kickers had more field goals than him, and another 6 finished within two field goals, making drafting Gostkowski that early instead of skill position players a reach at best. Yes I am givinhg myself another thumbs up on that call.


8) Cedric Benson – average draft position 78th – A former first round pick of the Bears, it shows how poorly his career has gone when his 747 rushing yards were a career high. Tack on an underwhelming yards per carry (3.5) and the fact he scored only 2 touchdowns all of last year and while you might not find another starting running back at this position in the draft (technically Ray Rice is getting drafted later), you can certainly find better value at other positions, or running backs that have a better upside coming of their team's bench (Darren Sproles, Leon Washington, Fred Jackson, Ahmad Bradshaw).

This was a swing and a miss on my part. Despite missing time with an injury, Benson has been a pleasant surprise to those that did not follow my advice. 969 yards rushing, a 4.0 yards per carry average, 5 rushing touchdowns and it is safe to say that Benson was a steal for those that got him, especially as late as the 78th pick. The only downside is that he missed two games due to injury but this still qualifies as a miss on my part.


7) Greg Olsen – average draft position 65th – This is not a matter of me coming down on Olsen's ability, as a matter of fact with Jay Cutler as the new Bears quarterback, chances are good this will be Olsen's best year yet. This is simply a matter of tight ends with similar talent getting taken after Olsen. Draft averages have the following coming after Olsen, Chris Cooley (75th), Kellen Winslow (80th), Dustin Keller (94th), Owen Daniels (96th), John Carlson (100th), and any one of them will probably post similar numbers to the ones you will get out of Olsen this year.

Olsen has 6 TD catches, so like I originally stated my posting wasn't based on a lack of ability, but 8 other tight ends have more catches, and thre who were drafted later than him have as many if not more TD catches (Davis 10, Shiancoe 9, Celek 6). I am giving myself my third thumbs up for this call.

6) Braylon Edwards – average draft position 63rd – Let's see, he plays on a team that can't score on offense, plays with two very unproven commodities at quarterback (Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn) and led the league in dropped passes last year. What is it I am supposed to like about this guy anyway?

Edwards managed to get traded out of Cleveland and found himself a new home with the New York Jets. Not that it helped all that much, he still has only 23 catches for 366 yards, absolutely awful numbers for a starting wide receiver, especially one that should be a primary target in an offense. I can comfortably say that I am 4-1 on my players that I don't like.


Santonio Holmes – average draft position 60th – This is an example of a player getting a boost from his performance in the playoffs and Super Bowl, which doesn't help you during the fantasy football season. He has yet to go over 1000 yards receiving in a season, and had just 5 touchdowns last season. This isn't a case of Holmes being a bad player, or that his numbers couldn't be better than the last couple of years, just that he is going far higher than need be. Better value at this position can be found around this point in the draft (late 5th, early 6th), like Anthony Gonzalez and Eddie Royal, who are both going about a round later in most drafts.

Lots of things have gone wrong for the Steelers this year, but Holmes isn't one of them. 1080 yards receiving, 70 catches and as of this typing he leads the league in receiving yards. The better value I spoke of didn't materialize, 16 catches of 20 or more yards and it is apparent I will eat crow on this one. Big thumbs down for me here.

4) Willie Parker – average draft position 55th – The Steelers running game was not very good last year, and Parker can lose touches on both third down (to Mewelde Moore) and in goal line situations (to Rashard Mendenhall). Add to that Parker failed to rush for 1000 yards last year, averaged under 4 yards a carry (3.8) and was even worse in the red zone by a full yard (2.8 per carry) and better value can be had elsewhere.

Everything I got wrong about Holmes I got right about his Steeler teammate Parker. He lost his starting job to Mendenhall and Moore is entrenched as the third down back, leaving Parker just a handful of carries a game. 259 yards rushing, no touchdowns and his yards per carry fell from last year's 3.8 to just 3.3 this year. He has become Mr. Irrelevant in the Steeler offense, just look at his last 7 games (1 rush, 2 yds; 0 rush, 0 yds; 1 rush, 7yds; 6 rush, 24 yds; 5 rush, 14 yds; 3 rush, 15 yds; 3 rush, 12 yards). Yes kids, I will pat myself on the back for this call.

3) Brandon Marshall – average draft position 44th – Contract and behavior issues abound with this pick. Marshall wants out of Denver, so much so that he has thrown tantrums in practice. The Broncos show no sign of wanting to deal him. A marriage made in hell to be sure. Add to that fact that Kyle Orton has looked less than spectacular in the preseason, and that Denver has a few other quality wider receivers in Eddie Royal and Brandon Stokley and a pass catching tight end in Tony Scheffler and taking Marshall in the 4th round of a draft (assuming a 12 team league) is a bit of a reach.

Mixed bag, but I will take a loss on this one. Marshall has had moments, both good and bad with Orton and his Denver teammates. He is clearly the number one option in the passing game, with 808 yards receiving and 7 touchdown catches. But for Marshall owners he has been feast or famine, in only 4 of 10 games was he able to eclipse 90 yards receiving and better than half of his touchdowns (4) have come in just two games. This is the maddening thing from a fantasy perspective, you get glimmers of greatness followed by bouts of mediocrity. With two players left I am 5-3 on my projections.

2) Roy E. Williams – average draft position 43rd – I am on the outside looking in on this one, people seem to like the fact he will be the number one receiver in Dallas, as evidenced by the fact that he is getting drafted on average in the fourth round, I am just not one of them. This is a guy that couldn't get open last season when he had Terrell Owens on the other side of him and Jason Witten at tight end, I can't see how he is now magically going to start beating the double teams that #1 receivers frequently see. Not that we haven't seen Roy Williams as the primary receiver before, he was in Detroit and that worked out so well that the Lions were willing to part with him, when Calvin Johnson passed him as the Lions primamry receiver.

Hate to say I told you so, but I told you so. Other than his 6 TD catches Williams has had little value, certainly not 4th round value. He is third in his team in catches and yards and could by the end of the year end up behind Patrick Crayton for fourth in both categories. He has lost the #1 role to Miles Austin. Only once this season has he surpassed 100 yards receiving, Austin has done it 4 times, Witten twice and even Crayton has done it once.

1) Clinton Portis – average draft position 23rd – This is a running back that has seen an extensive number of carries the last few years, and the second half of last year father time seemed to be rearing his ugly head. Over the last 8 games last year, Portis averaged only 3.5 yards per carry and scored only twice. Add to that Coach Jim Zorn is looking to use Ladell Betts more on third down situations, and better value can be found farther down the draft board than this.

Before his season was sidelined by a concussion, Portis was okay but not spectacular, 494 yards, one touchdown and a 4.0 average per carry in 7 complete games, so he could have posted decent numbers for a full year, but projections don't earn you fantasy points, results do and being on injured reserve means no results. It is a win for me, albeit a tainted one but at the end of the year nobody remembers how you won, only that you did.

For the record that puts me at 7-3 on the guys I offered my opinion on. I didn't hit them all, but that is the type of record that makes me think I just might know what I am doing on draft day.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


So we enter the last week of our fantasy football regular season. Anyone who follows the fantasy sport knows this is odd, most leagues finish up last week so that the championship game isn't played during week 17, due to the number of NFL starters that end up not playing because their respective teams have already clinched a playoff spot and refuse to risk potentially injuring their starters in what is in essence a meaningless game. Our league, whether rightly or wrongly, doesn't adopt such a philosophy, we play our final game the last week of the regular season, so as important as it is to have quality players on your roster, it is also important that you have guys that are actually playing for something during the last week of the season.

As for my team, I am trying to defend my league title that I won last year. We have six playoff slots, with the first and second place teams getting a bye in the first round of the playoffs and as we enter the last week of regular season play I could finish anywhere from 2nd place to out of the playoffs. A quick look at our standings

Team      Record      Points

The U      10-3      1041

Howling Manslayers      9-4      986

*Argonauts      8-5      1205

Teabag?      8-5      1133

Champs      7-6      1184

Jim Beam Black Outs      7-6      1171

The Jameson's      7-6      1142

Youngstown Stooges      6-7      1055

Dangerous D      6-7      1023

Nobody Told Me      4-9      1007

Americas Team      4-9      916

Alaska Mud Hens      2-11      994

You'll note that I lead the league in points scored, which is important as it is the first tiebreaker when determining playoff position. That being said, two teams have clinched a playoff spot, The U and Howling Manslayers, with The U guaranteed one of the two first round byes. Similarly, Nobody Told Me, Americas Team and Alaska Mud Hens have all been eliminated, leaving 4 spots for the remaining 8 teams.

The schedule for the final week is Argonauts/Champs, Americas Team/Dangerous D, Nobody Told Me/Alaska Mud Hens, The Jamesons/Youngstown Stooges, The U/Teabag?, and Jim Beam Blackouts/Howling Manslayers, so there isn't a lot of head to head jockeying for position in the last week of the season, only two matchups feature two teams trying to get one oif the four remaining spots so much of it is going to be scoreboard watching of other games to see where teams will fall in the final standings.

Since this is my blog as opposed to any of the other teams in the league, I will try to extrapolate how my team can reach playoff glory.

First, I could qualify for a first round bye if Argonauts win and Howling Manslayers lose and Teabags? lose and Howling Manslayers do not outscore Argonauts by 219 points or Teabags? win but do not outscore Argonauts by 73. Confused yet? It gets better.

I can qualify for a playoff spots (seeds 3 through 6) via any of the following combinations.

The easiest is simply an Argonauts win, or a loss by Champs, Jim Beam Blackouts or The Jameson's. I could still get in with a loss and wins by all three teams if any of the three fail to pass me in points scored, Champs (-21), Jim Beam Blackouts (-34) or The Jameson's (-63). Or I could get in with a loss and a Teabag? loss, provided Teabag doesn't pass me in points (-72).

In a nutshell, lots of things would have to go incredibly wrong for me to miss the playoffs, but a few things would also have to go right for me to get a first round bye, but at the end of the day with one game remaining I could end up anywhere from 2nd to 7th place. Now if you will excuse me, I need an aspirin after figuring all of that out.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Asshat - Take that, and that, and that

This week winner comes from my favorite sport, hockey, though thankfully it doesn't involve anyone from my favorite team the Penguins.  Instead we take a peek at the Florida/Atlanta contest the other night.  Florida is dominating play in the Atlanta zone when the puck gets shuffled forward to Ilya Kovalchuk, who gets a breakaway on Florida goaltender Thomas Vokoun.  After making the initial save, Kovalchuk easily pokes in the rebound for an Atlanta goal.  That is where our Asshat, Keith Ballard comes in.  In a display of frustration at not stopping the breakaway, Ballard goes to swing his stick at the goalpost and this happens.  Yes kids, that's an Asshat....



If size matters then I am king

Monday night

Hey kids, what's news? Not much here, just doing some late nite internet crap while I wait for the Monday night football game to end. And there is lots to do. Between watching my fantasy fooball team, doing surveys, catching up on posts from friends, and entering Coke caps, I have plenty here to keep me occupied.

As I type my football team is up 15 points. I would take comfort in that if my opponent didn't have Randy Moss. Thankfully he has been pretty quiet so far, 67 yards receiving (4 points), whereas I have John Carney, the kicker for New Orleans, and he has a field goal and 5 extra points (8 points total) but I can't see my kicker outscoring Moss for an entire game. Thankfully I started the night with an 11 point lead, so I have a little bit of a cushion to work with. As it stands my chances for making the playoffs are okay, I am 6-5 with three games left (including today's) and the top 6 teams make the post season. Out of a twelve team league, two spots have been clinched and two teams have been eliminated, meaning it is 8 teams vying for 4 spots, of which I am second place of those 4 teams (4th place overall) so the easiest way to make the playoffs would seem to be just to win games and not rely on the outcomes of other games looking for help. As I type that Carney just missed a field goal that would have extended my lead, but thankfully there is only 5 minutes and change left in tonight's contest.

As you may have noticed, I did put some of my notifications for Swag Bucks on my blog. Technically I could do this any time I win one, but usually I just go with the automatic update to my Facebook page. I continue to tinker with the service, I am up to $95 in Swagbucks, I just bought my second $5 Amazon gift card yesterday and thankfully we can stack those in our account, to my knowledge there is no limit to the number of Amazon gift cards one can redeem per order, so I just add the volume to my account there and when something strikes my fancy I will use that money instead of cash. If I am lucky, really, really lucky, maybe I will get to add a gift card from Scratchix as well. One of the prizes in Scratchix is a $30 Amazon gift card, provided one collects 10 tokens. I finally won my first one for the gift card the other day. I have done well in the last month, picking up four tokens, but three of them were for prizes that were only available for the month of November, two for the DVD of the month and one for the Game of the month. You have to collect 10 of each of those to win those particular prizes, unlike the other prizes that can be collected over time, each month those prizes change and the tokens for them reset bac to zero.

And its a final, New Orleans beats New England 38-17 so Randy Moss didn't beat me. A 78-63 win puts me at 7-5 with two games left in our regular season. The win also moves me into third place, first amongst the teams vying for the last 4 playoff spots. One more team got eliminated so we are down to 7 teams in competition for the last 4 spots. Doing some very quick math and I am thinking one win in my final two games and I will qualify, now I just hope I can pull it off.

Lots of other things to update on however. Anyone who pays remote attention to the updated threads will know that I have been adding to the Neverending Thread semi regularly. I have been taking a book most everywhere I go these days which has allowed me to add some titles to the list of reading material. That will probably slow down a bit, not because I have stopped reading but because I am in the early stages of reading Walter Issacson's biography of Albert Einstein, which is a tome of a book. So far it has been relatively easy reading, which was a concern given the amount of science that could be involved in such a work, but it still just long with a capital L.

I have added to the change meter again as well. Another $2.24 have been found by yours truly, making the total now a respectable $137.01. I almost don't feel like a fool for starting that quest now, though I would still like to pull $100 in a year to be justified in doing it. Right now I think I am just a couple of dollars off of that happening.

I even managed more Coke Reward goodness. Turns out we had three cases of 20 oz. bottles at work that went out of date. Our Coke distributor gives us credit for those purchases, and unlike Pepsi who requires that you return all unused product, Coke simply is content to have the rep verify it and then we can throw it away. So after getting the store credit for those cases I got to pour them down the drain and keep the caps on them for my on personal Coke reward usage. Not sure how many points I will end up with, there were a few loose bottles involved as well, but at 72 points a case that is 216 points that will get added to my account right there, not including any other points I find through the course of my daily activities. The problem is that Coke only allows you to enter 120 points on any given week, they seem to go back and forth on that, sometimes they impose a limit, other times they do not, right now they have a limit. I managed to max out my points last week and will probably do so again this week, if I can keep from being so lazy as to not enter the codes. I am currently halfway done, 60 in this week, so I am on my way.

I even managed to snag 6 Pogo badges this week, something I haven't done in a long time. I completed the two weekly challenges, as well as the special challenge, my personal (though it was a repeat of a badge I had already done) and picked up the level 10 badge in Boggle and another badge for completing 30 word search puzzles. I tend to make the word search harder than it has to be by putting it on insane level and then hiding the word list to start. Finding words without a list grants double tokens for each word, then once I have found all I can find that way I unhide the list and pick up the rest of them. Depending on the theme of the puzzle I can usually get about half of them without the list.

I continue to tinker with the Mysurvey site as well. As you may remember I cashed out of there in October for a coffee pot worth $35.50. Since that time I have started building up my kitty again, my account balance is back to $3.35. Not that I can get anything for that amount of money, but it is the beginning of hopefully another cool prize or maybe I will just take the cash this time around. I really haven't decided yet.

Tuesday night

I would like to say that I plan on finishing this blog entry up tonight, but I know for a fact that will not happen. Just too sleepy because I took an afternoon nap yesterday then when I woke up last night, around 10pm, I couldn't get back to sleep till after 4am, and when the alarm rings at 5am that makes for a very tired me.

I did do some more online goodness tonight, managed to get some more of my Coke reward points in, I think I have about twenty points left that I can enter this week before hitting the cut off point for one 7 day period. As an added bonus, the caps I had from the caffiene free Diet Coke were also good for a free entry in a $10,000 drawing. Technically I could buy entries for 3 points a piece, but since I do not expect to win I just took the free entries rather than spend hard earned reward points.

I alos went about trying to add even more Scratchix friends on Facebook. Seeing my Game and DVD of the month tokens disappear again was enough for me to think about increasing my chances of winning. Currently I have 99 friends that use that application. Well friends is a little bit of an overstatement, more like 99 people with which I have a common interest. And it paid off again today, I did win another token, my first for the Belgian Chocolate prize, where you need 25 to claim it. That is a prize that I might just opt out for the cash value instead, I still have chocolate Easter bunnies in my apartment, the last thing I need is more chocolate. Of course I am a long way from cashing out on anything, so maybe I shouldn't put the cart before the horse just yet.

I did get my new Amazon gift card today from Swagbucks. The thing I like is that they are free money, just 45 swagbucks to claim one and they are stackable, that is, you can continue to add to your gift card total, you are not limited to one gift card per order. The bad thing is, even if you win one, they only issue them twice a month, on the 16th and the last day, so while you may have the bucks to claim one, you don't necessarily get the gift card code right away. I lucked out in that I cashed out at the end of a month and everything was pushed back a day due to Thanksgiving, so I got my code in pretty short order, but I can see where if I had cashed out today instead I might get a little antsy waiting around until the 16th to get my new gift card.


Saturday afternoon

Yes I took some time off putting this thing together, hopefully I will finish sometime today. Right now I am typing while watching the Pitt/Cincinnati game with a BCS berth at stake for the winner. The winner of the game gets the BCS bid by finishing the year as Big East Champion. If Cincinnati wins they finish the year undefeated and have a long shot chance at playing for the national title (they would need Texas to lose to Nebraska and the pollsters to move them ahead of TCU and the loser of the Florida/Alabam game). Pitt has no such national title aspirations but a win here still gets them into a New Year's Day BCS bowl (or whatever day they play those games now) but a loss could drop them all the way from a BCS game to something as inconsequential as the International Bowl in Toronto.

While the game is on, rather than turn this into a glog, which I have little to no desire to do, I might as well pick up where I left off on the blog. Now where exactly was that anyway?

I guess I was babbling about Swagbucks, well I am up to 24 in my account again, halfway to my next Amazon card. Pretty soon I might be able to get some free junk from them. That would be cool.

Pitt just scored on their opening possession, a drive that consisted of all running plays and it is an early 7-0 Pittsburgh lead.

I also knocked down a couple more surveys on mysurvey.com. I racked up another $3.10 so I am better than halfway to receiving a $10 check, if that is the prize I opt for. I haven't really decided yet, but there aren't many prizes that I am all that interested in, leaving cash as the best option. There is a movie night out package where you get two free movie tickets and a $50 dinner gift certificate, but as I was looking at the participating restaurants and the stipulations on the gift card are not reasonable enough. Some want you to have a dinner party of 4 or more, others want you to spend $100 or more, obligations that I have no desire to meet in order to get a $50 credit. More hassle than the free movie is worth. And really, how many movies are even worth the free price of admission these days? All of the trailers I have seen I wouldn't even want to see on DVD at a later date, let alone making a trip to the theater for it.

It looks like I will be getting more free stuff at work. Pepsi is running a contest for its vendors where if they buy 10 or more cases of Muscle Milk over the course of three months they qualify for free prizes. There are also prizes for those that buy 20 or 30 cases of Muscle Milk, but it isn't big enough of a seller for us to think we will get to those levels. We did pass the ten case threshhold, so there is something coming our way.

Cincinnati just scored and we have a tie game in the first quarter, 7-7.

As I was a mere sentence ago, I brought it to Brian's attention that we had a prize coming to us, he said that I could pick it out and keep it. I am leaning toward the director's chair, but haven't completely decided yet. It will be a ton of paperwork to fill out, I have the entry form plus I have to make copies of each entire invoice in which we received Muscle Milk, which will be a time consuming process to be sure. But it is free stuff and who am I to pass up free stuff?

Work has been okay recently. Brian actually appreciates that I have taken up the cigarette ordering with Ed gone, one less thing for him to worry about.

Scoring update, a Pittsburgh touchdown and we are at 14-7 in the second quarter.

That being said, things haven't been all wine and roses at work. Curtis has been pretty much an idiot recently. We have a closet on the sales floor, it houses two furnace units. We keep nothing in there because those units need to be accessible for fire code reasons. When I first started my stocking gig I brought it to Ed's attention that people had been storing junk in there, and he made it clear at that time that he wanted the area cleaned out and nothing was to be put in there. Well I find out this week that Curtis is again throwing stuff in there, trying to save a trip to the stockroom by leaving stuff upstairs. I brought this to Brian's attention and he had me clean out the room again and post a note on the door to not put anything in there again. So what happens the very next shift? Curtis is working and puts stuff in there again. It is stupid shit like that that makes me want to see him fired or at least slap the taste out of his mouth. After all, if we are paid to go to the stockroom and bring stuff to the sales floor and coolers and that process is too demanding for you, then might I suggest you picked the wrong fucking line of work.

Another score, a field goal by Cincinnati and it is Pitt with a 14-10 lead now.

Almost as quickly as I typed the last score Pitt runs a flea flicker and Baldwin makes his second touchdown catch and the score is now Pitt 21-10. Still just the second quarter though and neither defense has been all that impressive.

I should note that today is the first snowfall in Pittsburgh for the year. Yes I am making hot chocolate to celebrate.

An interception by Pitt sets up a field goal and the lead increases to 24-10.

Another problem at work is we are once again having a pissing contest with our Coke vendor. Basically it comes down to pricing, we are quoted certain prices for Coke products then the prices change with little to no notice. This of course upsets Brian, so much so that he cancels all Coke deliveries until the situation is resolved. That isn't bad for me in the short term, one less truck to catch on Friday, but long term it blows because I know eventually all will be resolved and forgiven and the longer this little melodrama plays out the more crap I will have to do once it is completed. Instead of catching a weekly order, I will be catching a month or more of orders all at once to make up for it.

Pitt blocks a punt and three plays later we have another touchdown, Pitt 31-10 now and it is still in the second quarter.

Since I woke up early this morning I went about checking some sports news. I always go to check on my fantasy teams and maybe to get some scores I missed on late games. As I was checking out the ESPN site I saw that they had the draw for the World Cup and the talking heads on there seem to think the United States got a favorable draw, with England, Algeria and Slovenia in their pool.

Cincinnati just returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown and the score is now 31-17 and we still haven't reached halftime yet.

As I was saying, while the talking heads were saying England would present the biggest challenge in the bracket, the US should be able to win against the other two pool entries and move on to the second round of the World Cup. I really hope not. I don't need another round of bullshit stories about how this will finally be what makes soccer popular here, it will never be popular here and to type otherwise is to live in a fantasy world of one's own creating. It will be a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. Far better for the US to go 0-3 in their pool and soccer to climb back under a rock for another 4 years. Soccer may be popular elsewhere, but it just isn't here.

Halftime and Pitt leads 31-17.

Speaking of sports, can we now take golf off of the list of hobbies that are called a sport? Let's review, Tiger Woods is the best golfer in the world. Hundreds of golfers can't beat him yet one woman kicks his ass? Check please, that isn't a sport.

I realize that right now I might have put together the most convoluted blog entry of my many years of blogging. I should get a trophy for this or something.

Second half of the game started, I am playing boggle. I have come to like the game a little bit on Pogo and since I have all of my badges done for the week I have nothing to do over there but play games I like.

Well we have our first score of the second half and it belongs to Cincinnati and the score is now 31-24 Pitt.

If I seem a little distracted I am watching the game a lot more than I am typing.

Pittsburgh finally scores in the second half and once again it is a two touchdown lead, 38-24.

And following another big kickoff return Cincinnati gets another touchdown but misses the extra point so it is 38-30.

Tie game at 38 as Cincinnati scores again and converts on the two point conversion. Pitt has been outscored 21-7 so far in the second half.

1:36 left in the game and we have another touchdown by Pitt, but they fail on the extra point so the lead is just 6, 44-38.

1 minute and three seconds later and Cincinnati scores and they take the lead 45-44.

And that is that, Cincinnati wins 45-44 and will go to a BCS game and Pitt will get sent to Northeast Siberia for their bowl game.

Okay I took a little break, after a game and a disappointment like that one needs a few moments to catch their breath. And trust me it was a disappointment. How the hell do you blow a 21 point lead? And who came up with that last play call for Pitt? A play action pass? Who the hell do they think they were fooling? It was 4th down and 50 yards just to get into field goal range, nobody but nobody was playing run there, the fake just ate up time, aiding in getting the quarterback sacked. The scenario does present itself where Pitt goes from playing on New Years Day now to, if they lose whatever bowl game they end up in, a 9-4 record with three straight losses that may leave the season as being viewed as a failure. Had they not lost to West Virginia the previous week, Pitt would have probably still went to the Gator Bowl with today's loss, not a BCS bowl, but one of the better non BCS bowls. Now who knows?

I also used the time to once again hop over to mysurvey.com. Not to do another survey (I did check, they didn't have any) but to see if I could link this page to theirs. There will be a 7 to 10 day review process of my page (so by all means lob your insults now), and if my page is found worthy they will send me the linkage material so that I can slide an ad right underneath my swagbucks ad.

I am sitting here listening to The Spy right now, something I have been doing on almost a daily basis since they came back on the air. How I missed listening to good music with the radio offerings here in Pittsburgh. It is so bad that I went out and puchased a radio/cd player for the basement at work just so I could bring my own stuff in to listen to.

I actually picked the radio/cd player up last Sunday on my trip that eventually saw me collect all of those Coke caps. I was in the mood to try a new breakfast place and couldn't think of where, then I remembered from my old days at 1360 that the first bus that went out past the station left downtown at 7:10am and ran out to a Walmart in that area. As an added bonus it also went by both a Denny's and a King's. Obviously for most readers I need not get into the breakfast goodies that can be found at Denny's, but if I went there I would have a brisk walk to get back to WalMart and my bus stop, whereas King's was right in the same shopping center. For those unfamilair King's is just your standard fare restaurant, nothing overly fancy. The thing they are best known for, or at least were known for, was their desserts (I say was because I didn't see the old offerings on the menu, but then I was looking for breakfast food, not dessert). They used to have a thing called The Castle, which was basically a bucket of ice cream with a bunch of toppings. I remember my friend Rich and I took our girlfriends there one time and we all ordered dinner, when they couldn't finish theirs we did that for them and then ate Castles on top of it. I don't think my stomach ever felt quite so bad (nor so full) in my life. But we did get the pins that said "I ate The Castle at King's" which we wore proudly out of the restaurant. Anyway I got a decent breakfast there, better than some places, worse than others, but I could tell that many of the people there were regulars and it was interesting to just kind of sit there and observe between bites of food and reading my book.

The trip to WalMart was worth it too. I needed a few things, some groceries, the radio, a USB flash drive and what not and I figured if I got out there early enough I could be back home at a decent time and not have to deal with a bunch of shoppers. It worked out to, I was at King's by 7:30 and out of breakfast and WalMart and headed back into town by 9:30. Had I not stopped by work I could have proudly said I had gotten a huge amount of stuff done by 10am, but the detour at work, unpacking and setting up the radio, dealing with returns to Coke and working on a couple of small projects that I had on my plate and I didn't make it back till after 11am.

Just snagged another Swagbuck, this one off of a code and my account is at 25. And as I type this Alabama just helped out Cincinnati in its national; title aspirations, beating Florida 32-13. When I did the pregame description of the Pitt/Cincinnati game I mentioned that Cicinnati has slim national title hopes. First they had to win, which they did and then they had to possibly vault three teams:TCU, Texas and the loser of the Alabama/Florida game. Florida, as the loser of the Florida/Alabama game will not be in contention. the argument for the loser of that game would be if the game was so close or competitive that it might merit a rematch for the national title, but a 32-13 loss will not stoke the fires of anyone to ask to see that again. Now Cincinnati would need Texas to lose to Nebraska tonight and for the pollsters to move them ahead of an undefeated TCU squad, which they may do since Pitt was ranked (13th) and the game was a road game for Cincinnati, it may bolster Cincinnati's strength of schedule enough to pass TCU.

I am watching the players being interviewed after the game and the running back for Alabama is being asked about the game and he is going on about how first he has to thank god spiel. Really, did God have money on the game? Does he hate Florida? If God is picking football favorites then I want the phone number to his bookie. Once I find out where he is putting his money then I will do the same. A few bets riding God's coattails and I could be set for life.

I just saw a commercial for the PGA Tour where a bunch of golfers come on, one at a time, spouting the premise "I believe..." and then some rather noble cause like educational funding or disaster relief. I would have died if one of them had said "I believe Tiger can't keep his dick in his pants." That, my friends, would have been priceless.

Sunday morning

So much for finishing this on Saturday, but I got caught up in the late football game and then just decided to be all sleepy and stuff. Sleep has been problematic recently. Obviously in my first entry I was up most of the night typing, but even when I go to be at a semi reasonable time anymore I sleep for about two hours and then wake back up and find myself puttering around the apartment until I can get back to sleep at whatever god forsaken time my eyes want to close again. Usually it will involve a bad dream of some sort, not the kind that is all gory and stuff, just what I would call angry and I have no desire to fall directly back to sleep and start up that thought process again so I end up reading or making a sandwich or checking my email, anything to eat up a little bit of time and clear my troubled mind.

I did say that I stayed up for the late football game, that was the Texas/Nebraska game. I mentioned the bowl implications in yesterday's entry so I will not revisit them here, but lets just say that as good a game as the Pitt/Cincinnati game was from an entertainment standpoint, Texas/Nebraska was ugly. The final was Texas 13 Nebraska 12 on a last second field goal that crushed the BCS hopes of Nebraska and the national title aspirations of both Cincinnati and TCU.

Now it is on to fantasy football this afternoon as well as a Steeler game. My fantasy hockey team has little going on today, just one guy has the chance of playing so I will pay little to no attention to it for the day.

My landlord emailed me this weekend about renewing my lease. The thing is my lease runs until the end of August, but because I live on campus many students end up moving out in April, they either sublet their apartment for the remaining months or just eat the money and end up paying rent on a place that they don't live in. But still that means that in order to guarantee occupancy for the following school year he is already seeing who is staying and who is going so he can determine how many apartments he has to rent. I like proactivity like that, so I asked to stay, it has been years for me in this place and I have grown comfortable in my place, enough so that I have no desire to pack up and leave and go through that hassle if I can help it. I doubt there will be a problem with me staying but I just want to make sure so I fired off an email back that said I was going to be here. Most of the places around me will end up turning over, students graduate or find different living arrangements, so having at least one person stick around is probably a slight bit of comfort for him.

Tomorrow starts my Christmas shopping. It will be the earliest I have started shopping in ages, but it needs to be done. My family does its normal getogether on Christmas Eve, which is cool, it gives me a chance to hang out with members of the family I don't see nearly enough and then Christmas Day my mom, her husband and I do the the normal Christmas stuff amongst ourselves and try to sneak in some visiting to see what the kids all got. It is one of my favorite times of the year but because my job is open all year round I will end up missing Christmas Eve this year. It is a Thursday and since I work weekdays from 7am-3pm that all but leaves me out of the festivities. I could in theory run home, but I workl Christmas Day as well, again 7am-3pm, so for me to go home for Christmas Eve, come back for work the next day and then head home again Christmas Day after work would be the equivalent of about 150 miles travelled and that wouldn't include my trip back Sunday after Christmas to work on Monday morning. That being said, I will have to buy my gift for the gift exchange Christmas Eve and then mail it up for the family getogether, which means I have to get cracking to make sure it arrives on time. My plan is to find the gift tomorrow after work, come home and wrap it and hopefully mail it out on Tuesday. I am hoping to find a box big enough for it, whatever it turns out to be, at work so I don't have to go box shopping of all things as well.

You know, I said that this wasn't going to turn this into a glog, but I think that was a lie. The more I think about it, the more convinced I am going to glog the Steelers/Raiders game coming up at 1pm. After all, this game on the schedule didn't look like all that much, the Raiders are just downright awful and the Steelers are the defending Super Bowl champions, but Pittsburgh has lost their last three games to fall to 6-5 and all of a sudden the game has taken on more meaning, a loss and Pittsburgh will be lucky to make the post season to defend their title. Add to that the controversy surrounding Hines Ward's comments about Ben Roethlisberger sitting out last week's game with a concussion from the previous week and now the game has taken on a meaning that heretofore wasn't expected. The defense has been less than special this years as well. While the Steelers have lost 5 games, in 4 of those games they held the lead in the fourth quarter only to give it away, in the fifth they were tied in the fourth quarter, so there have been defensive lapse of note. Add to that injuries to Troy Polamalu and Aaron Smith and a season that had started with so much promise is now in danger of spiralling downward out of control. The Raiders could provide a panacea for all of that, if only for a week. They are only 3-8, have no realistic shot at the playoffs and are on their second quarterback, Bruce Gradkowski after Jamarcus Russell proved to be incredibly ineffective earlier in the season. Offensive weapons for the Raiders are few and far between, the two best are probably tight end Zach MIller and kicker Sebastian Janikowski. Still the Steelers have had a habit of playing down to their competition, look no further than the Kansas City game where they thoroughly dominated in yardage and time of possession yet still found a way to lose in overtime. Special teams have been less than special this year for Pittsburgh, they have allowed 5 kick returns for touchdowns, a problem that continues to rear its ugly head, regardless of who is on the kick coverage unit. For the record I have no fantasy players in the game, so I will get to watch just for the sake of watching, unlike last week when I had Ray Rice of the Ravens, which pulled my loyalties in both directions, to root for the home team or to root for my team.

First things first, time to fire up the oven and pop in some french fries. Lunch today will be hot dogs, french fries and iced tea. Yum and double yum. It takes little to please me on the food front, as long as it is semi tasty I will eat it.

Two more Swagbucks today for those keeping track at home, I am up to 27 now and just 18 away from Amazon card #3.

Okay, it looks like we are just about underway here from Pittsburgh. I had best go and fire up my sportsline window for the game, just to make sure I get most of the stats right.

Opening kickoff and Pittsburgh receives and Stefan Logan returns the kick 83 yards and Pittsburgh starts in great field position.

A quick wide receiver screen from Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes gets 5 yards.

Third down and 6 after a one yard loss by Rashard Mendenhall and Santonio Holmes drops a pass and Pittsburgh will try a field goal and the 33 yard attempt is up and good, Pittsburgh leads 3-0.

I am starting to smell the french fries baking in the oven. Cook faster, cook faster.

Pittsburgh kicks off to Oakland and the problems on kick coverage continue, a 34 yard return by former Steeler Gary Russell and Oakland starts 1st and ten from their own 42.

Two plays net zero yards and on 3rd and ten Justin Fargas nearly gets all ten yards on a carry, coming up just about a foot short of a first down, and Oakland looks like they will go for it on 4th down, or at least try to draw Pittsburgh offside here.

A roll out pass by Gradkowski to Fargas is good for 10 yards, easily converting the first down.

Two more runs by Darren McFadden get nine yards and we are sitting on a 3rd down and 1 here, but McFadden's third straight running attempt gets nothing creating and other 4th and 1 and on comes Sebastian Janikowski to try a 48 yard field goal. It is good and we have a tie game, 3-3.

Okay, back from the kitchen and grabbing my lunch, all I missed was Pittsburgh's kickoff return, which wasn't nearly as successful as their first one, just a 13 yard return by Carey Davis to the 28 yard line.

Most likely Oakland opted not to kick it to Logan again after the last return.

A quick three and out for Pittsburgh, two runs which netted a total of -1 yard and an incomplete pass and here comes the game's first punt.

A 37 yard punt by Daniel Sepulveda and Oakland will take over possession on their own 36 yard line.So far Pittsburgh has run 6 offensive plays and gained a total of 3 yards, not a particularly good start for the offense.

Yum, french fries with seasoned salt. Always a tasty treat.

First down and Gradkowski goes up top to Johnny Lee Higgins for 19 yards and a first down.

First down Fargas runs for -4 yards and to add insult to injury slams the ball to the turf earning a delay of game penalty as well. Third down and another penalty, this for intentional grounding on Gradkowski and Oakland will punt it away back to Pittsburgh. The punt rolls into the endzone for a touchback and Pittsburgh will take over 1st and 10 from their own 20 yard line.

First down and Pittsburgh goes back to the play that has worked best so far, the wide receiver screen pass, this time to Hines Ward and again for about 6 yards.

Second and 4 and the give is to Rashard Mendenhall and he breaks loose for 60 yrads and a first down.

Two more carries by Mendenhall net 9 yards and Pittsburgh is facing a 3rd and 1 yard to go, once again inside the redzone. Mendenhall comes up short and Pittsburgh opts to go for it on 4th down. A Roethlisberger quarterback sneak does not do the job and Pittsburgh comes away from the drive with no points and we remain tied 3-3.

Two runs by Justin Fargas and Oakland will face a 3rd down and 3 to go when we come back, but that is the end of the 1st quarter with the game tied, 3-3.

As an added bonus to today's coverage I just found out my fantasy quarterback left his game with a shoulder injury. His return is questionable. That doesn't help my chances this week in the least.

Gradkowski goes deep on 3rd down and he has Louis Murphy open but just overthrows him to bring up 4th down.

48 yard punt and no return for Pittsburgh so they start on their own 39 yard line.

First down and Roethlisberger passes to Hines Ward, good for 27 yards. And just one play later it is Roethlisberger again deep to Santonio Holmes from 34 yards out for a Pittsburgh touchdown. With the extra point Pittsburgh again takes the lead, 10-3.

Oakland gets the ball back and will start their next drive from their own 21 yard line.

First down and Gradkowski throws again, this time to Zach Miller, good for 16 yards and a first down.

Pittsburgh gets flagged for a facemasking call and that is 15 free yards for Oakland and another first down.

A designed quaterback keeper on a roll out for Gradkowski good for 20 yards but it comes back on a holding call on the Raiders, negating the Raiders biggest play in the game thus far and creating a 1st and 20 situation.

3rd down and 14 yards to go and Oakland takes their first time out to talk over what they plan to do here.

The defensive problems continue for Pittsburgh, 3rd and 14 and they give up a a 22 yard pass from Gradkowski to Higgins and the drive continues.

3rd down and 8 yards to go and Oakland tries a halfback option pass which is overthrown creating a 4th down and 8 and here comes Sebastian Janikowski to attempt a 43 yard field goal and he is now two for two on field goal attempts and Oakland cuts into the lead, 10-6.

Pittsburgh gets the ball back on the ensuing kickoff and will start from their own 26 yard line.

Willie Parker gets his first carry of the game and he rushes for 5 yards.

Parker again with the ball and gains another 9 yards or so, plus an additional 5 yards are tacked on for an Oakland penalty.

Two plays, including a holding call later and Pittsburgh has a 3rd and 19 to go for a first down.

Tack on another 5 for a false start by Pittsburgh and it is now 3rd and 24. A short pass to Santonio Holmes gets some of the yardage back but not nearly enough for the first down and Pittsburgh is forced to punt.

Sepulveda's punt is a good one, covering 53 yrads and going out of bound at the Oakland 5 yard line.

I got my first fantasy touchdown today, a Chad Ochocinco pass reception. Woohoo! Of course I keep checking on my quarterback and he still isn't in yet.

Oakland goes three and out and Pittsburgh gets the ball back off of a punt.

Roethlisberger finds rookie Mike Wallace for 13 yards and another Pittsburgh first down.

Another pass and another completion, Holmes with the grab, good for 10 yards and another Pittsburgh first down as we reach the two minute warning.

Commercial break and good news. No, not a good commercial, just that Matt Schaub is back in for my fantasy team. Yay for the Argonauts, I need all of the help I can get.

Mewelde Moore gets his first carry today, good for 7 yards.

Another pass to Wallace and another first down, needing 3 yards the pass is good for 6.

First down and a pass into the end zone is picked off, a bad decision by Roethlisberger and a scoring opportunity is lost as Oakland takes over on their own 20 yard line on the touchback.

First down and Gradkowski goes back to his favorite target Zach Miller and gets 11 yards.

A holding call costs Oakland 10 yards, so it becomes first and 20 and Darren McFadden gets the carry, good for 4 yards. It looks like the Raiders may be content to go to the locker room down 4 points. Another carry by McFadden and Pittsburgh calls time out, perhaps in hope of getting the ball back again.

3rd and 15 and Fargas rips off a nice run, good for 14 yards but bringing up 4th down so Pittsburgh again calls time out so they will get the ball back on an Oakland punt, but with few seconds to work with.

7 seconds left and Pittsburgh is on their own 21 after the punt. I can't see them doing anything stupid here. And they don't, a quick kneel down and that is the end of the first half with Pittsburgh leading 10-6.

A quick fantasy update, I currently trail 29-17.

Okay, second half is underway. Pittsburgh will kick to the Raiders to start the third quarter.

Oakland will have a first and ten from their own 26 yard line. Two plays net 1 yard but on third down Gradkowski finds Zach Miller once again for 10 yards and a first down.

Gradkowski eldues the rush on first down and again looks deep and just overthrows Higgins who was open down the sideline.

A gimmick play by Oakland on a first and 10 from the Pittsburgh 39, a pitch to Darren McFadden with a throwback to Gradkowski who looks to throw deep but is sacked before he gets the chance resulting in a 16 yard loss. Lamar Woodley gets credit foir the sack but it was James Harrison who effectively blew that play up, not being fooled by the original pitch.

Two more incomplete passes and on 4th and 26 the Raiders are forced to punt, Pittsburgh will get their first possession of the second half. A 55 yard punt that rolls into the endzone resulting in a touchback and Pittsburgh will take over 1st and 10 from their own 20. Shane Lechler has now punted 5 times for an average of 48 yards per kick, with a long of 58. He may very well be the Raiders best weapon to this point.

Three straight running plays by Mendenhall get 13 yards and gives Pittsburgh another first down.

Two more Mendenhall runs and Pittsburgh is looking at a 3rd down and 7. Roethlisberger will probably pass here, his first attempt since the interception. A dump off to Mewelde Moore gets 6 and on 4th down Pittsburgh will punt the ball back to Oakland, still nursing a 4 point lead.

Oakland has the ball 1st and 10 from their own 18 and on first down Lamar Woodley gets his second sack of the game.

The drive quickly stalls and Oakland punts is again, Pittsburgh gets the ball back on their own 42 yard line after a 41 yard punt.

I just realize that I have a hell of a lot of spell checking to do. Bad enough what I had typed before today, but now this, I will be here for hours fixing the numerous mistakes I am sure to have made. Maybe I better save this just in case my computer crashes or something.

Pittsburgh gets a first down on a third and short by giving the ball to Mendenhall again. He currently has 87 yards rushing on 14 carries, though 60 of it came on one carrry, so the rest of the time he has been relatively ineffective, 13 carries for 27 yards.

3rd down and 6 to go and Roethlisberger finds Hines Ward for a 14 yard gain.

Mendenhall again on first down for all of two yards. Maybe it is just me but is anyone else tired of him trying to spin his way out of trouble only to find him going back first into the line of scrimmage.

Guess what, it is Mendenhall again and again it is 2 yards. Third down and 6 and Oakland comes up with a sack, leaving Pittsburgh with a decision here, it is 4th and 15, a field goal attempt would be 53 yards, but a punt would probably end up in the end zone, so do you opt for the long field goal attempt or play field position?

The Steelers try the field goal and it is no good, so the score remains 10-6.

Technically we are now in the 4th quarter and again Pittsburgh has a lead, but they have lost leads in the 4th quarter in 4 of their 5 losses this year.

3rd down and 7 yards but it looks like Oakland is just short. The referees will bring out the chains to measure but it is inches short. Quarterback sneak and that is easily enough for the first down. First down.

Third down and three and again it is Gradkowski using his legs to pick up a first down, this time on a 8 yard scramble when nothing was available downfield.

Oakland is driving here, 3rd down again and 2 yards for a first down after a 5 yard pass to Higgins.

An option pitch to McFadden gets 6 yards and another first down.

Gradkowski finds Chad Schilens in the end zone and it is a 17 yard touchdown pass. The extra point makes it Oakland 13-10. The Steeler defense has once again given away a fourth quarter lead.

Stefan Logan with a good kickoff return out to the  Pittsburgh 40 yard line to start the next Pittsburgh drive.

First down and Roethlisberger finds Santonio Holmes who breaks free and goes all the way to the Oakland 3 yard line for 57 yards. One play later and Mendenhall goes in from 3 yards out and Pittsburgh has the lead back at 17-13. The defense will have a chance to redeem itself here as they have once again been spotted a fourth quarter lead.

Goiod coverage by Pittsburgh on the kickoff and Oakland will take over possession on their own 16 yard line.

Two plays get 8 yards for Oakland, a Fargas run and a Gradkowski pass and it is third and 2 for a first down and Gradkowski looks deep for Louis Murphy and finds him for 75 yards and a touchdown. Yes, the defense has given up a fourth quarter lead twice in this game. Oakland leads 20-17.

The kickoff goes through the endzone, Pittsburgh will take over on their own 20 yard line looking again to find a way to get the lead back.

First down and Roethlisberger eludes the rush and finds Heath Miller for a first down and 27 yards.

Mendenhall gets the handoff and picks up 8 yards leaving Pittsburgh with second and short, which is easily converted when Roethlisberger finds Hines Ward on a second down pass.

Roethlisberger again finds Holmes on first down, 20 yards and yet another first down. Where was this offense in the first three quarters?

2nd down and 9 and Roethlisberger keeps it on what looks like a busted play and still comes close to a first down. It will either be third and inches or another Steeler first down. It looks like they gave him the first down and the game has reached the 2 minute warning.

One play later and it is Roethlisberger throwing to Hines Ward for the Pittsburgh touchdown. Pittsburgh has the lead again, 24-20 with 1:56 left to play. The question is did Pittsburgh leave too much time on the clock given the way the defense has played in the 4th quarter.

A short return on the kickoff, made worse by a holding call and Oakland will start the drive from their own 12 yard line.

First down and Gradkowski finds Higgins for 17 yards and a first down.

Two incomplete passes and it is 3rd and 10. Gradkowski finds Todd Watkins for a first down to keep the drive alive. 1st and ten from the Oakland 41.

Again Gradkowski finds an open man downfield, it is Louis Murphy for 19 yards and on the play defensive back William Gay is hurt, which actually benefits Oakland as it is a free timeout for them when the clock is definitely an issue. First and ten Oakland from the Pittsburgh 40 yard line.

Gradkowski throws the ball right into the hands of Joe Burnett of the Steelers and he drops the potential interception.

Louis Murphy again makes a grab on a Gradkowski pass on second down and he gets out of bounds at the Pittsburgh 17 yard line.

A stupid penalty by Ryan Mundy, leading with the helmut and it is 15 free yards for Oakland and another first down at the 11 yard line.

Touchdown Louis Murphy with 9 seconds left and the defense has blown three leads here in the fourth quarter, it is Oakland 27-24.

Bruce Gradkowski is looking like Joe Montana against the Steeler defense, he is 20 of 33 for 308 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Pittsburgh has the ball 1st and 10 on their own 35 yard line. A pass to Hines Ward gets 14 yards but leaves Pittsburgh 51 yards away. A hail mary pass falls incomplete and the losing streak reaches four for Pittsburgh as they lose to Oakland 27-24.

Well that is that and maybe, just maybe I will stop typing now. I have a lot of spell checking to do.

Well before I go I guess I can give you another fantasy update, I now trail by a 48-47 score with the 4pm games waiting to kickoff.

And on that note I conclude the latest line of babbling. Goodnight from Pittsburgh.

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