I don't know if this counts as multi tasking, but technically the TV is on while I start this, not that I am paying all that much attention to it, it is just background noise more than anything else. I am closer to the multi part by saying that I am smoking while I type this, which, on my day off, is about all the multi-ing that I prefer to do.
The fall out from the firings continued last week at work, as while my crew was chopped in half, no effort was made to replace the people that were let go. For the most part I was able to “man up” as it were, and get what needed done done, even if it meant it wasn't quite to the standards that I would have liked. Everything was more of a triage approach, just enough to make sure it was functional and move to the next task. I am hoping that things go a little better this week, but I am not getting my hopes up.
The pinnacle of sucktitude (a need to add to the dictionary word if ever there was one) was Friday. Friday is usually a busy day for me anyway, what with three orders coming in and me also being responsible for the cigarette inventory for Friday's order, as well as placing the Friday grocery order for Monday. It is a day where a crew is a nice thing to have, so not having one really blows. Literally I was the only guy on the schedule, Rob (s) (see the last blog for the s thing) was scheduled to be with me, and Gray usually started Friday at our store and then would go to the other downtown store later on. Of course neither was replaced, so that meant for all three orders I was flying solo, plus I had the stocking duties on top of that. To make things even worse, Ed was checked into the hospital late Thursday, early Friday with chest pains. After being examined by doctors, it was determined that he had a 40% blockage in a couple of his arteries. The thing is, they will not put a stent in said arteries unless they are 70% or more blocked, so they held him for a while and then was sent home to rest and recuperate. Ed called in to see how the shop was doing, but obviously he didn't come in, following doctor's orders. But that meant the cigarette order that Ed normally places had to be done. You can guess who was drafted for that. Tack it onto my list, I didn't have enough to do. Actually I did have more than enough to do, but if I would have left it to someone else, chances are it would have been done half assed, so better I did it than someone else. Plus the grocery order that came in Friday had cigarette orders for three other places (we will sometimes place orders for them and then they come and pick them up), which meant I had to parcel out stuff for four different locations. More headaches, no whammys and STOP!!!!! I was afforded some help for a couple of hours, they brought one person in to help out for two hours before putting him on the register. I can't even tell if he did a good job or not, because I didn't have time to check and see what he did or how he did it. I just had him work on stocking the coolers, since I barely had time to fill two of them before the trucks started arriving. First was the Coke truck, a little unusual as usually Pepsi shows up first but I was glad they didn't, theirs is usually the bigger order and I doubt I would have been able to put it away before the Coke order arrived, which would have created a mess of a backlog in the basement. Instead I was able to get the Coke order put away (60 cases), and stock the Arizona and Pepsi coolers before the Pepsi truck and its 120 cases arrived. I just caught it, didn't bother putting it away right away, because while the Pepsi order was arriving, the grocery order arrived, and that needed checked in and put away before I could consider making an order for Monday. I managed to get that started, sorting out the stuff that was going to the other places, checking our stuff in and starting to put it away as well as adding our cigarettes that came in to our inventory when my help arrived at 11am. I had him from 11-1, so I used that time to finish putting our order away, putting the 120 cases of Pepsi up, doing the cigarette inventory and putting together Monday's cigarette order. I still had our order to do, as well as gathering up the garbage that accrued from cardboard boxes that were removed from the shelves to make room for the new inventory. All in all, it was a completely tiring day, made moreso because business has picked up with the return of the Point Park students to the dorms, meaning now all of the students are back. The Art Institute is pretty much year round, with a couple of weeks off here and there for holidays, but Point Park takes the summer off like most colleges and this was the week the students moved back in.
Not just downtown either. The Pitt students have moved back into my Oakland neighborhood, so much for the summer peace and quiet. For the next couple of weeks, while freshmen seek out parties and nobody really pays attention to classes, it will be quite noisy. It will temper off a little as some students actually take their classes seriously, but for the time being I get to deal with parties at all hours and all days. I could move, but I am quite content in my little abode, I think I have been in this apartment for like 7 years now, and despise the prospect of moving. I remember the last time I moved, and it was only a block and it was a pain in the ass. The fact I had no help and basically carried all of my worldly possessions from one place to the next helped foster that mood, but even with help I just hate moving in general so I avoid it if I can.
I did take a loaner mag out of work Friday, my first since I started there in Jan. I may or may not have explained this little job perk before, but we are afforded the luxury of taking home magazines to read, and we can do one of two things, we can either buy them, by placing them on our charge sheet, in which case they just come out of our paycheck, at cost as opposed to cover price, or we can return them as loaners, in which case they just go in our return pile for us to get credit on them. Since my fantasy football draft was coming up on Saturday, a draft guide seemed to be in order. Not that I didn't have an idea of who I wanted to draft and when, but some of the rookies that were signed during the NFL draft I didn't have a handle on, and sometimes it helps to get an extra opinion or two on players I have questions about.
Sorry, it is just about Scratchix time. While I might not scratch my cards right away, I need to log in early to make sure I send out all of my cards to increase my chances of winning on friends tickets. If I don't do it early enough people tend to max out on their friend allotment and I lose chances. I can send 53 if I hurry up.
Cool, got 53 of 53 friends, and so far one of them was good for 25 free tickets and another was good for a Kindle token, I now have 6 of the 70 needed to claim the Amazon Kindle prize. I'll be honest, I think a Kindle would rock. If I got the Wii or the Iphone, I would probably just prefer the cash. My PS2 is good enough for gaming purposes, and I have a severe dislike of all things cell phony, but the Kindle would be cool for my reading pleasure.
Okay, let's get back to it shall we. Saturday was draft day for the fantasy football league. As many of you were most likely annoyed by my quickie notes, I at least warned you ahead of time to be prepared to be annoyed. For those that weren't, thanks I guess. I will be honest, I had a plan going into the draft, I had about 4 running backs that I was targeting in the first round (Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte, Michael Turner, and Maurice Jones Drew), and if I could get any of them, they would obviously be my first round pick. If that didn't occur, all bets were off, though I did have an idea of what I wanted to do. Anyway I logged into Yahoo prior to the draft and found out that I was to pick 7th (draft order is randomly determined by Yahoo), so there was a chance one of the guys I wanted could fall, though it wasn't likely. I'll be honest, my hopes actually went up when Adrian Peterson, which was almost a unanimous #1 selection amongst fantasy prognosticators actually fell to #2 in our draft, as Michael Turner was selected first overall. As I mentioned in my fantasy primer blog, some leagues offer a point per reception (PPR) and in those formats a few publications put Maurice Jones Drew first (he had 40 or more catches in each of the last three years) but since that rule doesn't apply in our league, my choice for #1 would have been Peterson, when he fell to #2 I had hope, but it was quickly dashed when all 4 of my guys were taken in the top 4. Two more running backs were taken in the next two picks (Ladanian Tomlinson, DeAngelo Williams), meaning all 6 picks ahead of me were running backs, so I was left with a choice, either take the 7th best running back, or adopt a different strategy. I went the different strategy route. Rather than take another running back, and there was still talent on the board (Steve Slaton, Chris Johnson to name two), I opted to take what I thought was the best receiver on the board and went Larry Fitzgerald. 5 more running backs and two quarterbacks (Drew Brees, Tom Brady)were taken before I got to pick again, but the plan was in full effect now, as by forgoing a running back in the first round, my plan was two snag what I believed to be the two best wide receivers instead and I got that chance with the 18th pick, snagging Andre Johnson to be paired with Fitzgerald. The pair combined for 3000 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns last year, so while my plan may or may not work, it was rooted in a certain analysis and not just some willy nilly picking pattern.
As for some brief analysis for my remaining picking pattern, it went something like this,
3rd round (31st overall) – Ryan Grant, RB, Green Bay – I was a little surprised to get him here, a starting running back that, unlike many backs, really isn't tied into a platoon situation.
4th round (42) – Jason Witten, TE, Dallas – Probably a little early to be drafting a tight end, but I viewed him as the best on the board at his position, and with Terrell Owens no longer in Dallas clamoring for the ball, he should have ample opportunity to increase his numbers from last year.
5th round (55) – Matt Schaub, QB, Houston – Quarterbacks are actually a big source of points in our league, which makes drafting one somewhat early an important move. The only difference between them and running backs is that while a QB tends to get more points in our format, you only play one per week (as opposed to 2 RB, 2 WR, and 1 player that can be either RB or WR) and usually the drop off isn't as great between the top tier and second tier of players at that position. Plus, having Andre Johnson means I get double points when they hook up on a scoring play. I used this philosophy the last time I won our league when we played for cash, having Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson and TJ Houshmanzadeh on the same roster, so it has proven successful for me in the past.
6th round (66) – Chad Ochocinco, WR, Cincinnati – The aforementioned Chad Johnson after the name change, he provides a little depth at my receiver position, and unlike last year when Ryan Fitzpatrick was the QB, Palmer is back for Cincy this year and he has Laverneaus Coles opposite him, so I didn't view this as as much of a reach pick as some.
7th round (79) – Darren Sproles, RB, San Diego – He is the handcuff to Ladanian Tomlinson, but when given a chance to play last year, showed some real talent at running back. Add to that, LT is 30 this year, an age where a player at that position starts to break down, add to that Sproles was given the franchise tag by SD in the off season, so I think his touches and numbers will increase.
8th round (90) – Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore – This was a need pick, technically at this point in the draft I had only one starting running back (we have to start two), and Rice looks to be the starter in Baltimore, though he comes with the problem of being in a backfield by committee, and will lose touches to both Willis McGahee and LaRod McClain. Still I needed a starter, and he was the best on the board at this point.
9th round (103) – Torry Holt, WR, Jacksonville – Simply a depth pick, his numbers were off last year in St Louis, though everything was off last year in St Louis, he is the #1 target in Jacksonville for David Garrard, and getting a starter just for depth in the ninth round didn't seem like much of a reach for me.
Wow, this blog is way longer than I thought it would be, but since I have jumped into the blog pool, I guess it is sink or swim time, so might as well bust out my best dog paddle and try not to drown.
10th round (114) – Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Seattle – After last season, this may be a reach pick, but truth be told, I plan on only using him during Schaub's bye week. Plus there is a chance his numbers will improve over last year when his receiving corp was decimated with injuries. Plus the Seahawks added TJ Houshmanzadeh in the off season, arguably the best receiver Hasselbeck has had in his entire time in Seattle, so there is a potential upside to this pick.
11th round (127) – Laurence Maroney, RB, New England – This is the definition of a reach pick. New England has probably 5 guys that could get touches at running back, Maroney has the most upside of the 5, but his potential hasn't lived up to actual game performance, and he has found himself in Coach Belechick's doghouse on more than one occasion.
12th round (138) – Green Bay (defense) – We play team defenses, though I personally like individual defensive player leagues better (IDPs in fantasy vernacular). That being said, Green Bay's defense did score 7 touchdowns last year, and while that probably will not happen again, they do draw some rather uninspiring offensive teams on their schedule, Detroit (twice), San Francisco, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Cleveland, and I am one that likes the fact that they are switching from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 scheme to get more out of their linebacking corp.
13th round (151) – Percy Harvin, WR, Minnesota – Rookie wide receivers tend to not fare well in the NFL, so this pick was a hunch and little more. He was the first round pick of the Vikings in the NFL draft, but receivers tend to progress a little slower than running backs. If I had to pick a player that will not be on my roster at the end of the year, this would be it. Still, a relatively safe gamble coming in the 13th round.
14th round (162) – Leon Washington, RB, New York Jets – Much like Darren Sproles, Washington is a handcuff to a 30 year old running back, in this case Thomas Jones. Washington has averaged over 5 yards a carry the past two seasons, so there is upside here as well, though again he isn't a starter, so something will have to happen in New York for him to see extensive playing time for me this year.
15th round (175) – Alge Crumpler, TE, Tennessee – Crumpler's best years are definitely behind him, but this is simply a pick to cover Witten's bye week, nothing more.
16th round (186) – Seattle (team defense) – Again a pick to cover a bye week, and should another defense emerge as playing better that is available, I would have no problem showing this unit the door.
17th round (199) – Garrett Hartley, K, New Orleans – This is proof of why you can't rely on fantasy guides. Far too often they are published before any useful information comes out. Hartley is a prime example, my book suggested taking him as a sleeper at kicker, he plays for a high scoring team (New Orleans) and didn't miss a kick last year after being acquired by the Saints. What the book failed to mention and I didn't know (hey, I only have so much cranial space, I can't be following the misadventures of NFL kickers for cripes sake) was that Hartley violated the league's substance abuse policy and will start the season on a 4 game suspension. As much as I loathe kickers to begin with (I only drafted one, and in the last round) zero points is still zero points, and for four weeks that is just unacceptable. I have already cut him and put in a waiver claim for John Carney, the current kicker for the Saints.
There, that should just about cover Saturday in a little more than a nutshell. Sure, I watched some of the Kennedy funeral coverage, and I did sit through the Steelers preseason game on Saturday night, but by and large the draft was the big happening around my household.
Sunday, and I was stuck back at the newsstand, in charge no less. I will be the first to admit that I hate being in charge on Sunday, I would rather be a stock person than in charge of the entire place, where if something goes wrong, it falls on my shoulders. Plus, Sundays tend to be slow, so while I could be doing something I view as productive, such as straightening up the basement stock room, because I am in charge, I am stuck behind a register all day, balancing banks and lottery accounts instead. I think I am going to put in a request to be removed from that shift, even if I have to work an extra day in the basement instead, I would rather be there than touching money. Plus there is just so much that I either don't know or that doesn't work that having me in charge is kind of a waste. For instance, we sell phone cards, but the thing is our phone cards are based on a website, so we actually have to log into the website and print them up on the premises. The problem is my password for the site doesn't work, so I can't sell them. Likewise, we have a Western Union setup to wire money, a setup that I haven't even been trained on, let alone have a password to, so it too is all but useless when I am there. As an added bonus, sometime last week they changed the paperwork that we do, making a lot of what we do redundant, two sets of paperwork for cigarette counts, two sets for the bank, etc. It is just a bigger pain in the ass than it needs to be, and one that I would be happy to be rid of.
That being said, I had hope for this Sunday. Once again Rob (s) was scheduled to work, but since he was fired, he obviously wasn't, and better still, he wasn't replaced. I was going to be working with Whitney, who I will admit is quite attractive, but is way young for me (20) and has a boyfriend. She lives in the dorms across the street, so she used to be a regular at the store before being hired last week. I wasn't sure what to expect, I hoped she would do okay, and for the most part she did. I find it a little troubling that she can't add 50 cents to a total in her head (we add a .50 cent fee on debit purchases under $15 to cover bank costs of the transaction) and every time it came up, she needed a calculator. Other than that though she did okay, was willing to work and did look for things to do when we weren't busy, which I have come to accept as something that isn't trainable, people either have that quality or they don't. They may fake it for a couple of weeks, but before long they go back to cutting corners and avoiding any work but the bare minimum.
That being said, Curtis was our stock person, and his issues are different. He has a problem prioritizing that which needs done, often putting off essential tasks for mundane, useless ones. And he is inconsistent, one day he works really well, the next it takes an hour and a half to stock one cooler (we've timed him). This is half of the crew I was left with after the great purge last week.. Well Sunday while we were slow, Whitney wanted to wipe down some of the counter, a fine project when we are slow, we have plenty of impulse items on it that could certainly be cleaned under from time to time. She is down cleaning under the far register when Curtis offers to give her a hand. Our registers are touch screens, they have a drawer and a monitor that sits on top of them and a printer that sits beside it for printing receipts when we need them. None of the items are connected to the other, save through a series of cables. Well Curtis gets it in his mind that he is going to help Whitney, so from the other side of the counter, he lifts the register and proceeds to dump the monitor and printer right over the counter and onto the floor. Hopefully none of the equipment broke, the register seemed to be working when I tested it, but he did manage to rip the printer cable out, making the printer useless until it is replaced. All I could think was “why can't I just work in the basement”. Really, these are headaches I just don't need.
I should note there has been a change to the homepage. I am tinkering with Playlist.com for my music needs. I am growing disenchanted with Imeem, songs cut to 30 second samples, and most of the video collection has been wiped out. Shame too, because I really liked that service and there for a while, when 360 first closed, Imeem was in the running as the place that was going to host this blog. Eventually I chose Multiply, ease of use and all that jazz, but at the time it had nothing to do with me disliking Imeem, this was just easier. Now I am starting to dislike it and I am gladder by the day that I opted to be here and not there.
I've been meaning to get to something that I am sure you all haven't been clamoring for, a Joe Random update, and since I have the time, now seems as good as any. For those that don't know, Joe Random is the create a character option in MLB 2K6 The Show that I tinker with on the PS2. I have been playing it for a while now, just not much until recently. Anyway, the create a character option allows you to take a guy you create and try to first get him to the major leagues (you start in AA ball) and from there hopefully to the Baseball Hall of Fame. I created a first baseman for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, my thinking at the time (which was long before their run to World Series last year) was that since Tampa sucked, it would be easier to crack the starting roster. Still for 3 seasons I bounced between AAA and the majors, before getting my first extensive time in the majors in 2009, 111 games worth to be exact. It was 2010 campaign were I left off on my updates, a season where I would spend 121 games at the major league level, after winning Rookie of the Year in 2009, 2010 I would lead the league in slugging, OPS, RBIs, and batting average on my way to winning the AL MVP award. That being said, I was demoted prior to the World Series, so while the Devil Rays would win the title, they did so without Joe Random. It was one of the reasons I quit playing, I was just irked by that decision, as a player, you have no control over the managerial decisions, just how the team performs when you are playing. Even game decisions, like position switches, pitcher changes, etc. are made by the game, your focus is just on your guy. There is an option where you can ask for more playing time, talk to the media, hold closed door team meetings, etc, and I though seriously about complaining to the point where I would be cut, and then re-sign elsewhere as a free agent. I thought about it, but eventually didn't, and so I finally started the 2011 campaign. So far all goes well, after 32 games I am hitting .492 with 10 HRs, 38 RBIs, 31 runs scored and 15 stolen bases. A repeat of my MVP campaign could be afoot, but if I get demoted again come post season I am packing it in and moving my guy to another team. I only can be frustrated for so long by a game.
Since I am on updates, moving back to the basement after my week of overnights certainly didn't help the change meter, only .23 to add to it last week, the new total is $112.81. Thank goodness I did get a few points from Mysurvey, credit for a mail in survey (.50 cents) plus a couple more surveys to do, so I continue to inch closer to the coffee pot I want so much. Over halfway there now.
I still haven't taken the new computer out of the box yet, showing just how lazy I can be. Proof positive that all my scribbling aside, I am still officially a slacker.
On that note I am going to do a proofread, I would say a quick one, but this is 6 pages long already, and call it a night.