Monday, May 31, 2010

Asshat - Walk it off (honorable mention)

Rarely do I offer honorable mentions when it comes to Asshat-dom, but this week I will make an exception.  Briefly allow me to set the scene in the upcoming video, the Seattle Mariners and Anaheim Angels are tied 1-1 in the bottom of the 10th inning, with the Angels having runners on first and second.  The first batter in the video reaches base on an error, loading the bases for Kendry Morales.  On the first pitch he sees, Morales tags the ball, launching it for a game winning grand slam and a 5-1 Angels win.  That is not Asshat worthy, what is is what happens when Morales, after rounding the bases, leaps in the air to stomp on home plate.  He breaks his leg on the maneuver and will be out 10-12 weeks.  By all means, we have some video



Sunday, May 30, 2010

Asshat - Possession is not 9/10th of the law

Back for another Asshat entry, we take ourselves to the lovely state of California for today's rather grisly proceedings and our newest winner Jarrod Wyatt.  As for what would make Jarrod our most recent Asshat winner, read on, but only if you are not reading on a full stomach.


Jarrod Wyatt

Arrested: Jarrod Wyatt was allegedly found standing naked over his dead friend's body in a room bathed in blood

A U.S. cage fighter ripped out the heart of his training partner while he was still alive after becoming convinced he was possessed by the devil, it was alleged today.

Jarrod Wyatt also cut out Taylor Powell's tongue and ripped off most of his face in a brutal assault that police said looked like a scene from a horror film, officers said.

They claim they found the 26-year-old standing naked over his friend's body with parts, including an eyeball, strewn around the blood splattered room in Klamath, California.

Wyatt allegedly told police he had drunk a cup of tea spiked with hallucinogenic mushrooms and became convinced Powell was possessed.

According to an autopsy Powell, 21, bled to death after his heart was ripped out.

The coroner said Powell had been alive when the organ was ripped out after his chest had been sliced open with a knife.

Wyatt told the police he thrown the heart into a fire along with other organs that he had removed from the body, it was claimed.

He allegedly told investigators he cooked the body parts because he was fearful Powell was still alive and he ‘needed to stop the Devil’.

Police had been called to the grisly scene after a third friend had witnessed a sudden mood change in Wyatt after they had all ingested wild mushroom tea.

Justin Davis told police he returned to the flat to find Wyatt naked and covered from head to toe in blood.

He noticed an eyeball lying in the middle of the floor and saw Powell's mutilated body.

A lawyer representing Wyatt has claimed the wild mushrooms caused him to act in such a violent way and had not control over his actions.

‘My client was trying to silence the devil,’ said James Fallman.

‘I think he was having a psychotic fit based on the mushrooms he had.’  

Wyatt has been charged with first degree murder and torture.

Prosecutors added the torture charge as Powell was still alive when his heart was removed.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Proud to Be Patriotic


Amazing, my small hometown makes national news.  Well not news per se, but a nice national fluff piece anyway.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Video tribute

The video tribute for the Civic Arena (I still do not recognize corporate naming rights here in this blog) after the regular season finale


The empire strikes back

Saturday, May 22, 2010

7:30:57 AM

Good morning and welcome to my weekend. I have come to cherish weekends recently, if only because it seems my job does a pretty good job beating me down through the course of the week.  Yet here it is, Saturday morning, and I am up all bright and early.  Well skip the bright part, it is raining out as I type this, though that is a relatively recent development and I am sure it is in no small part because I was outside.

My plan was a relatively simple one, I was going to walk to the corner store and grab a cup of coffee to help kick off the day, and maybe a sandwich for later so I am not in my kitchen foraging for lunch.  The problem with this relatively simple plan was that I didn't realize that because it was Saturday the store opened at 7am as opposed to 6 am during the week.  Having ventured forth around a quarter till 7am and given the proximity of the store I arrived well before they opened.  At this point I could either go home and come back in 15-20 minutes, stand there by the front of the store and wait or just take a quick stroll around the neighborhood.  I went with option three, figuring worst case scenario I get to stretch my legs, best case is I might find a Coke cap or two (I ended up finding one) and while the skies were gray, it was very comfortable out and a walk might do me good.  So I make this sort of looping walk, covering a couple blocks and approaching the store from a different direction as I get to the intersection I see the guy who runs the store in the mornings is on the opposite street corner, waiting to cross, so I know the store isn't open yet.  No problem, I am enjoying my morning stroll, and given how close he is I know the store will be open in another 5 minutes or so, as soon as he gets the newspapers inside and gets everything squared away cash wise.  So I tack a couple more blocks onto my walk when it happens, by it I mean rain.  Not torrential downpour rain, but just good old "I am going to soak your ass" rain.  I meander my way back to the store, and as I reach it I have to stop under the front overhang, to both wipe the rain from my glasses and from my face on my shirt, giving everyone a brief glimpse of my semi bloated stomach, not so much water weight as it is wait I can get another sandwich in there weight. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

10:46:15 AM

Sorry, but after coming back from my trip to the store the plan was I was going to go out and do some laundry and work on this entry on my laptop while doing so, so I added what I had to my media locker and planned on expounding on it while there.  Of course that didn't happen, the rain that I mentioned fired up again, keeping me from lugging clothes out to be washed, unless I wanted them to get wet on the way back.  Plus the corner store hadn't made any coffee yet, which is a must have when it comes to me staying awake in the morning, so I came back and after a little typing and some putzing around on Facebook I went ahead and climbed back into bed for a quick nap. 

  By the time I actually got up, I had to make something for lunch and find some clothes for the baseball game later that night.  See, I am not the only one at work who gets glories as I call them.  Apparently Wayne was offered Ed's baseball tickets for Saturday night, a matchup against the Atlanta Braves.  There were 4 of them and Wayne asked if I would like to go.  Far be it from me to pass up a free game, especially when I had nothing else on the social calendar.  The only stipulation was that Wayne and two of his sons, who were also going, were going to wear super hero shirts, so I had to wear one as well.  Well, sort of.  I opted for a super villian shirt instead, one Doctor Doom, as seen below. 



So I eat some lunch, hop in the shower and, after watching the first period of the Montreal-Philadelphia hockey game on TV, headed out for the game, in hopes that it wouldn't be cancelled by rain.  Technically Wayne wanted me to meet him on the Clemente Bridge between 5 and 5:30 for the 7:05 game.  I left my apartment at 4pm, figuring that would give me time to run some errands, I needed a new bus pass and had to grab some cash for the game, and an hour should give me time enough to do that.  The first stop was the bus pass, which I usually pick up at a check cashing place here in Oakland.  The trick is that many times you get stuck in line there on Saturday, with one cashier working and a line of people.  Of course they don't just want to cash a check either, it ends up being cash a check, get three money orders, hey, how about I send a Western Union and while you are at it grab me some cigarettes, a process that gets repeated by just about everyone..  At least that is usually my luck there, so imagine my surprise when I go in the shop and lo and behold we have two cashiers, I am the very first person in line and one of the people at the window was just buying a pack of smokes.  Bing, bang, boom and I am in and out in relatively short order, so I get my pass and walk up to Fifth Avenue to catch a bus into town.  My bus arrives within a minute of me getting there, so I am off and running and from the time I left my apartment, 4pm, until I actually get downtown only about 20 minutes have passed. 

Knowing I am making good time I decide to stop over at work and grab some cigarettes for myself and talk to my coworkers while killing time until I am to meet up with Wayne.  I end up talking to Alex for a bit and then heading out, though I am still very much ahead of schedule, so I grab some cash from ye olde ATM and a coffee from 7-11 and keep holding out hope that it will not rain, though the skies remain threatening.  It didn't help that I was on the website prior to leaving and the radar projections had scattered showers throughout the region up until game time, possibly beyond, but the radar projector only goes 3-4 hours into the future.  Still for the time being the rain was holding off, so I walk over to the bridge and sit and wait.  The Clemente Bridge is closed to traffic prior to games, open only to pedestrian traffic, so I sat on one of the railings and drank my coffee, had a couple of cigarettes and read some of my book (see the Neverending Thread, it is the most recently completed one) and broke out the camera to test fire a couple of pictures





After sitting on the bridge for about 20 minutes, I thought maybe Wayne was at the other end, so I walked down toward the stadium and as I was about to turn around and walk back I hear him calling me on the other side of the street, so we meet up and he sees that I brought my camera, as evidenced by you seeing the pictures above and wants to get a camera for himself before his sons come into town to meet us, so back across the bridge we go to Smithfield News (damn am I lucky downtown is small for the number of trips I made across it) and on the way back to the store it starts to rain, at first just a drizzle but eventually it starts coming down pretty good, forcing us to see shelter before continuing our journey.  After about a cigarette's worth of time the rain lets up and we make it back to the store, he gets a camera to put on his charge sheet and we leave to go meet up with his sons over by the Kaufmann's clock (Pittsburghers will recognize that landmark as a meeting place more so than the casual blog reader, but I digress).  The plan was to meet his sons, two of them anyway, and grab them something to eat from McDonald's then walk over to the game. 

All works according to plan, which in my life is becoming more the exception and not the rule, and we grab them some food and head over to the game.  Just as we are nearing the stadium the rains start again, and while we are a few minutes late getting to the ballpark, the game was scheduled at 7:05, we got there about 7:10, it was in a rain delay. 



Since we were in a delay I took the opportunity to bust out the camera and take more pics, such as those above as well as getting a picture of Wayne and his two sons

After a little more than an hour and a half wait the game does start, so we head to our seats where I find that our usher is Joe, one of the guys that hangs out in my local watering hole, Uncle Jimmy's, the establishment formerly run by James Regis Connors and now by his grandson Michael.  I knew Joe worked at PNC Park, but didn't know what section as usually when I went I was sitting on the other side of the field, on the first base side and the tickets we had were for section 125 (bonus to this link, you can get the view from the seats in any section of the park) on the third base side.  Turns out that Joe is the usher for section 125 so I got to talk to him for a bit as well.

The game gets underway, the Pirates pitcher of choice this evening is Chad Morton, the same Chad Morton that I berated in an earlier blog entry, when his record was 1-7 and his ERA near 10, so I didn't like the Pirates chances from the word go.  After three innings I still didn't like their chances, they were down 3-0 and Morton had served up two homeruns, one to Melky Cabrera and one to Eric Hinske.  I posited the notion that maybe Kennywood Park could have as a new attraction the Chad Morton experience, where people could come in off the street and see if they too could get a hit off of him.  Then an odd thing happened, he settled down and picthed well for the rest of his outing, and the Pirates scored twice in the fourth inning to make it a 3-2 game, where it stayed through the 7th inning.  At that point Wayne had to leave, with two young sons with him and it being after 11pm due to the rain delay and still needing to catch a trolley to get back home, I understood why he couldn't stay for the whole game.  So he left and after another half inning I got up from my seat and went to the top of the section and talked to Joe for another half inning.  He was waiting for the game to end as well, with an afternmoon game the following day he had to be back at the ballpark at 11am and here we were approaching midnight.  No scoring in the eighth inning either and I decided I too had seen enough.  After almost two games against the Braves, the Pirates had managed to score runs in exactly one inning (of the 17 played, the previous night they lost 7-0) and figured that while they only needed one run, chances were against that happening, so I exited stage right.  Turns out it was a smart move, the Braves scored again in the top of the 9th, the Pirates did not score (as I expected) and the final was Braves 4 Pirates 2.

After a quick stop by work because I had to pee and peeing on the bus is not cool for two reasons, 1) you end up soaked in urine and 2) they kick you off of the bus and make you walk to your destination, I did manage to catch a bus and make it back home around 12:30am.

And you know what, none of this has anything to do with the title of this blog.  How's that for long winded?  That, of course, means there is more to come, and more ye shall have.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

10:49:26 AM

Damn, if I don't finish this entry soon it is going to get lost in the land of irrelevance. But time has been most uncooperative recently, and yes that is due in large part to the very title I had posted to start this whole blog off.  You see, I often joke when at work that I am "serving the empire" a turn of phrase that I have used at many of my jobs in the past and that I continue to use today from time to time. In my last entry I had mentioned some of the goodies I had gotten at work for basically busting my ass. And even the baseball game that I had mentioned above was at least an indirect work benefit, Wayne was given the tickets from Ed and he had an extra seat which he offered to me, so if it wasn't for my job I wouldn't have had the opportunity to go.

All of that being said, it has not been all about gimme, gimme, gimme for me at work. If anything, I am finding that there just aren't enough hours in the day anymore for all of the things that I have to do. As well as all of my normal duties that I have, more crap has fallen on my lap. As I mentioned before, as well as the location that I currently work for, we own three other locations, two more in downtown Pittsburgh and one in Oakland. One of the stores downtown, Weissmart, recently sent us a bunch of cigarettes that they couldn't sell. The problem is that many of them are not what you would call major sellers, that is, they are almost niche cigarettes versus our more popular brands, like say Newport, Marlboro or Camel. Instead they are cartons of things like More Light 120s, Virginia Superslims, L&Ms and the like. Cigarettes that when I place an order for us, I don't even bother with because I know that they have absolutely no chance of selling. Nonetheless Weissmart had purchased some of them, to the tune of 20+ cartons of these off name brands, and when they couldn't sell them, they sent them to us. This irked Ed to no end, with smokes running in the ballpark of $50-$60 a carton, this was a couple thousand dollar screwup, so now I am nominated to go to Weissmart for a few hours each week and try to get their cigarette ordering under control, complete with coming up with inventory sheets and the whole nine yards. Even if that were the only thing that has fallen on my plate I suppose I could have found time here and there to get that project done, but while I mentioned that we have other locations in downtown Pittsburgh, one of the things I never understood when they first opened Weissmart (the other location is Universal News) is that the stores are literally maybe 4 doors apart on 5th Avenue. Universal is more just your typical news stand, mostly cigarettes, lottery and newpapers were the major sellers there, whereas Weissmart was a little more like us, offering a larger variety in the food/snack department and they have the room to add some things that we already have, like a coffee bar and fresh pizza, which we just added but it is space that for the most part has went unused to this point. Well the decision has been made that we are going to combine the two stores, closing Universal and hoping those customers will walk the extra few feet to go to Weissmart instead, and go about the business of getting Weissmart to look and act like our location. I don't know if it will work or not, some of the advantages we have are that we are open 24 hours and are located betwen the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and Point Park University, so we have become the defacto grocery store for many college kids who stay in the residence halls for both schools, whereas Weissmart closes each night around 6pm and relies more on commuter traffic than those that reside downtown. Still, if we were going to close one location, that meant all of the product that was currently in that store had to be moved, and you can guess who drew that short straw. I spent the better part of a week emptying shelves of candy and cigarettes, and coolers of soda to be sold at our other two remaining locations. Some of it wasn't bad, because it just meant I had to drop it off at Weissmart a couple of doors down, but other things that don't move as well at Weissmart had to be lugged four or five blocks to our store in hopes that we might be able to sell it. It was a project, that on top of my other responsibilities, took a large portion of this week and technically I am still not done, I still have a Red Bull cooler to empty, but the rest of the coolers and shelves are either empty or just need to be taken to Weissmart after they get their dollar section up and running. So suffice it to say, work had more than filled my plate recently, so much so that by the time I was done Friday I didn't even bother with the employee trip to the 110, I was just too tired and more than content to come home and relax rather than spend time drinking.

It doesn't help from a time perspective for this blog that as well as work I find that I am back into reading again. While I knocked off two books recently and should probably have continued to cut into the pile of books I have started, instead while I was out the other day after work I stopped by a little outlet type dollar store downtown that I like, they usually have things like loaves of bread on sale and some recently out of date magazines that are marked down to $1, I figured I needed some bread for my apartment and I know they have potato chips on sale too (large bags go for like $1.49) I thought maybe I would get a few cheap things and maybe a cheapie mag to read on the bus to and from work for a few days. While I was able to get some things (bread, chips, pasta) they were out of magazines, at least ones I would read. They had a few gossip rags and some comic books, but nothing for me per se, so instead I checked out their incredibly small selection of books and found something there that looked interesting and was only $1.99 so I grabbed it and have been engrossed in it ever since.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

5:57:28 PM

Okay, time for a marathon like sprint in order to get this done. I say marathon because I know my proclivity to get all wordy and stuff and while I could say this will be short (as if what was above wasn't enough) I can no more realistically make that promise than I can believe I will be sleeping with a supermodel this evening. But I would like to get this done just to show that I can and because I don't want this looming over me when the Stanley Cup Final begins this evening.

I did duck out for a bit but dare I say I was semi-productive. I needed to get my bus pass for next week, and groceries are always a good option, so I put that on the agenda as well. I had earlier in the morning took some scratch off tickets over to my corner store and cashed them in and got myself a cup of coffee and some smokes. Well, I really didn't cash them in so much as trade them in, I had $14 in winnings and I just bought 7 more $2 tickets and it turned out one was a $50 winner, all told I won $52, which I figured I would cash in for real money while I was out. Plus I still had my coupon from the baseball game on my desk, $3 off my next visit to Eat n Park, so I thought I might put lunch on the docket as well.

Lunch was first, a turkey sandwich with fries and gravy over the whole thing, iced tea and an Oreo sundae for dessert. Ice cream is always a good call when it is warm outside, and for the most part it has been unseasonably warm recently. Here we are, technically still in spring, and when I first got to the bus stop the temperature was already 82 and it was barely noon outside, still plenty of time for that to go up even further. Then I ran into Giant Eagle, first I cashed in the tickets, then went to the next window and bought my bus pass and then I grabbed a basket and did some light grocery shopping. I say light because I probably spent less that $20, but still managed to grab some hot dogs and hot dog chili, some steaks, pasta, pasta sauce, bread and hot dog buns, and french fries. Just enough to get me through a couple of days. I aslo took my book to lunch with me and got some more reading done, I have had my book less than a week now and have plowed through 300 pages. Mind you, even when I finish this one I still have two more to finish, plus I picked up another one from Amazon the other day that I got for free with my gift cards. It has been a good month in that regard, $20 so far from Swagbucks with an additional $5 pending that should be approved within the next couple of days (rewards are issued approx. the 16th and last day of every month) and I picked up another $10 from my Mysurvey account, which recently added gift cards to their prize selection. So $35 free dollars in a thirty one day span, not too shabby if I do say so myself. I also tacked on another $1.22 to my change meter total, now sitting at $166.97. Even the Coke rewards are bumping up ever so slightly. While I haven't had any killer weeks, I have managed to get my current total over 1200 points, meaning less than 800 more until we have a blog giveaway. I haven't talked to Phil recently either, I am sure he will have more Coke caps for me if I run into him, but free time is something that is proving more and more elusive these days, and on those days where I am off I am all but content to do nothing at all, or at least as little as is humanly possible.

Technically I am off on weekends, though that is more because of my job requirements than me having a preference for being off on Saturday and Sunday. Nobody delivers on weekends, so there is no need for me to be there catching trucks, though I have had to go in twice now on Saturday and place the order for Monday just because I have too much on my plate to get done in my normal Monday through Friday routine, meaning some of my weeks are now turning into 6 day ones. And we can forget about holidays as well. While Monday is technically a holiday, Memorial Day as it were, I am scheduled to work, and better still, run the place as a couple of people have requested off, meaning I get to do the one job I dispise there the most. Ed asked if I minded working on Monday, which I said I didn't but then asked why I looked so disappointed and I said that, being a holiday and all, I was hoping that I could get some of my workload knocked down, but instead I am going in to be a glorified babysitter instead and none of the work that he wants me to get done will have a snowball's chance in getting done. It is just a missed opportunity for me, and I know the week is just going to spiral downhill from there. Already on Tuesday I have two trucks I have to catch, put an order in, and go to the other store to monitor their tobacco order, plus my normal work that goes with my job.

I know, I gripe too much, but I am just not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel right now, just lots and lots of more tunnel. But for the time being I am going to wrap this up and settle in for the hockey game coming up in about an hour, maybe try spell checking all of this junk and make sure all of the i s are dotted and t s crossed.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Things I think I think

A bunch of thoughts that lead to nowhere in particular -

I have been watching the hole hullabaloo regarding the Arizona immigration law, not with great interest, but with some interest simply because this strikes me as more along the lines of politicking than actual law making. On its face I can't see how the law stands a constitutional challenge, that being it would appear to be a clear violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution, you can't require a specific class of people to carry papers that establish their right to be here unless you require it of everyone. I have yet to see the document that requires whites or blacks to carry papers on their person that establishes their right to be here legally. That being said, of course the law is good for drawing out votes during primary season, when the more die hard and radical people show up to vote and Arizona has a governor (Jan Brewer) and a Senator (John McCain) who both are facing primary challenges from Republicans that for the most part are more conservative than they are. But by signing this law, or in the case of McCain, tepidly supporting it, it buys time since the law isn't to be enacted until August, so you put your stamp on it now to show how hard hard you are on illegal immigration, then stand back and let the legal challenges roll in over the next few months that will in all likelihood shoot it down, but at the same time you garner the votes from supporting it to help keep you in office.

Hockey season is over and while there is a certain amount of disappointment with the Penguins losing to the Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Semifinal, especially when it appeared that from a strictly talent perspective the Penguins had the stronger roster from top to bottom, in the land of my big picture thinking I am not going to complain. Over the last three years the hometown team has won one Stanley Cup, made another Stanley Cup Final and made the conference semifinals. There are plenty of teams out there that would be happy with those results. That being said, this off season will prove to be an important one if the Penguins wish to remain Stanley Cup contenders. Certainly with talents like Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal and Evgeni Malkin the Penguins will be almost a lock for one of the Eastern Conference's 8 playoff spots, but this team has holes on defense and on the wing that if left unaddressed in the off season will surely limit the chances of the Penguins winning a second Stanley Cup next year. Despite all of the talent at the center position, only one winger was able to tally more than 20 goals, Bill Geurin (21) and he is 38 years old, hardly a spring chicken. For all of the talk that Kris Letang would be the guy to eventually replace Sergei Gonchar at quarterbacking the power play, he had 0 goals and 4 assists in such situations this past year and his shooting percentage was abysmal (.017). Yes, the roster needs a lot of work to get back to where it needs to be.

I made note previously that the old radio station where I worked was not doing oh so well in its new incarnation as business talk and that the major player in having me removed was, Ron Morris, was relegated to asking for contributions to keep his project, Pittsburgh Business Radio, afloat. Well you can put away your wallets kids, the show is dead. And yes, that warmth that you are feeling is coming from the cockles of my heart.

If you are going to see Iron Man 2 a quick piece of advice, sit through the credits. There is a tease at the very end that depending on you comic book geekdom, may prove to be very well worth it. Which is more than I can say for the two hours of the movie. While not bad, the fight scenes were almost anticlimactic compared to the first movie.

I also had the opportunity to see KIck Ass this spring. I know, I am spoiling myself by actually taking in movies but I digress. A couple of things about the movie, first it was very good. Second would be that despite the title of Kick Ass, the movie was all but stolen by Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz), and dare I say this might have been Nicholas Cage's best movie in ages, which I realize is almost damning with faint praise at this point.

If I had to pick between the two movies, I would say Kick Ass was the better of the two, not that my recommendation means anything, but if you are of limited shekels or time and could only see one of the two movies, Kick Ass would be the better choice.

The smoke and mirrors act of the Pittsburgh Pirates season continues. Consider that the team is currently in fourth place in the National League Central (6 teams) and is only 6 games under .500 at 16-22 and hope might spring eternal that they could somehow find a way to end their consecutive losing season streak (18) and counting but allow me to see the glass here as half empty. While they are within shouting distance of a .500 record, so far this season they have been outscored by 103 runs, the next worst team in that category, the Houston Astros, are at a -64. And lets take an honest look at the product they put on the field on a daily basis, like today for instance, a 12-2 loss to Philadelphia. Of the guys in the lineup today only one, Andrew McCutcheon, had a batting average over .275 (.331). The starting pitcher, Chad Morton, was making his 8th start of the year and after today's effort is a resounding 1-7 with an ERA approaching 10 (9.68). Of the 8 pitchers that have made the Pirates 38 starts this year, their ERAs look like this; 9.68, 4.40, 5.56, 5.00, 5.59, 3.00, 13.50 and 27.00. Not that the hitting is any better, two guys (McCutcheon, Garrett Jones) are tied for the team lead in homeruns with 5, which would tie them for 34th in the National League and the team batting average stands at .235, good for 15th place out of 16 teams in the National League. This team may look to be near .500 right now but trust me, there is no way they will reach that plateau this season.

So, Miss Michigan, Rika Fakih wins the MIss USA title and almost immediately photos appear on the web of her pole dancing at a radio station contest. Anyone want to guess what hoops the pageant's owner, Donald Trump, will make her jump through to keep her crown?

Coming soon to a theater near you, MacGruber, another movie based on an Saturday Night Live skit. Anyone remember the last SNL skit made into a movie that was even remotely funny? Wayne's World perhaps? Gee, that was only 18 years ago. Since then you could have had a kid, put them through school and sent them off to college. That is a long time to not be funny.

I managed to finish off a book yesterday for the first time in ages. Piece of advice, don't try reading 5 books at the same time.

Okay, time for bed, more musings later.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

There will be glories

Saturday, 15 May, 2010

10:33:02 PM

I am sitting here on my laptop, well not sitting on the laptop but you get the idea, enjoying a Royal Jamacian. The cigars of course, I am not entertaining royalty. Heck about the only chance I would have of entertaining royalty in my apartment is if it was accompanied by a firing squad, and since I am not up for execution tonight (at least I don't think I am but one never knows) let's just all agree it is a cigar and nothing more. As for where the cigar came from, well we will get into that.

First off, this isn't my first attempt at blogging this week, I was actually going to glog game 7 of the Penguins/Canadiens series (see the video section for how that game turned out) on Thursday night. I was all set up in front of my computer, I had done significant pregame rambling and was about to get all excited to posit was would be considered my uninformed musings of the game's progression. Since I don 't have cable I was going to use a website that has proven to be both a blessing and a curse for me, that being A blessing because it has allowed me to watch live sports feeds without having cable but also a curse because it has proven to be a troublesome website at times. For instance, prior to game 6 of that very same series I was talking to my friend Rich, who recently acquired a laptop and was looking to see if he could watch the game on his computer as well. I directed him to the site and wouldn't you know it, the site was down. I couldn't get into it to save my life, though if my life ever reaches the point that it is reliant on reaching a specific website just pull the plug on it and me and put us both out of our misery. Game 7 wasn't nearly as bad, I had managed to get access with no problem and started watching the game as well as adding my own brand of witticisms, Then the feed goes offline. Luckily the website had links to 4 different sites for the game, so I pulled up another one and it is working for a while, then the picture starts getting all stupid. You all know the problems with some digital feeds, the picture starts getting all blocky and frozen and at this point I just gave up. I didn't want to have to glog and bounce from feed to feed all game long, all the while trying to monitor a couple other sites to make sure my stats were correct for the game, so I just stopped. Funny thing was I ended up on a third feed that brought back some really cool memories for me, even if the majority of people who were watching it would not have felt the same way. Seems I had picked uip a version of the Versus feed, but meant for a foreign audience and when the network was supposed to go to commercial here in the states, with the alternate feed they stayed with the game. Not that anything of worth was happening during those breaks, the commercials are generally scheduled during breaks in the action so no real game action is missed, but you could hear the play by play guys talking to each other about what they wanted to bring up during the next segment of the game. It was very much like when I used to have a press pass to cover the games, people in the box making note of certain things to bring up in their newspaper stories, or questions for the post game press conference, the inside baseball stuff that would have no interest to the general viewer of the telecast but was fascinating to myself.

Anyway, if you haven't watched the video the Penguins ended up losing 5-2 and that puts a wrap on hockey season here in Pittsburgh for another year. And with the Pirates being the Pirates baseball isn't much of a sell here, so we are sportsless until football season and then we get to relive more of the Ben Roethlisberger drama all over again. The outpouring of disdain for him is quite telling, but we will see just how long it actually lasts. On one hand you now have Facebook groups for people who wish to send their Ben Roethlisberger jerseys back to the Steelers; I actually joined the "I wasn't raped by Ben Roethlisberger" group, other people are hawking their wares such as Dumb and Dumber t shirts with Tiger Woods and Ben on them, still others selling Ben Rapelisberger jerseys and even Sports Illustrated got in on the act, running a cover story that was basically 6 pages of people saying that Ben is just an entitled jackass. I can't complain, we sold out of our first batch of those mags in one day at work. Ben being an ass is good for business. That being said, sports fans are a fickle bunch, and all it would take is a good performance or two and all would be forgiven. Think I am kidding? Look at Michael Vick, who did real prison time for dog fighting, and for all of the talk of PETA organizing protests of his games and blah, blah, freaking blah, by week #2 of the NFL season all was forgiven.

Speaking of work, I believe in my last real entry I had mentioned that Ed was coming back from Florida and I expected an ass reaming, just because he and his son have very different ways of doing things, and I have been doing things Brian's way recently, trying to keep costs under control, weeding out product that wasn't moving, keeping vendors from getting too upset with us and what not. Costs aren't as big a concern for Ed, so I got chewed out for not having some products, which I argued didn't sell, but that fell on deaf ears, and how some of the stuff on the floor was laid out, why I didn't have more of this, or why didn't I have that type stuff. Also I got caught, and I readily admit I was wrong in this regard, in that I have been late to work a little too much. Not that I wasn't working 40 hours a week, usually I was working more than that, but my 7-3 would turn into a 7:30-3:30 type of thing. It was something I expected to be lectured about and Ed lived up to my expectations. And all of this was within his first hour back that we worked together. I have to admit I was thinking to myself that this could be a helluva long summer.

Things started to turn around a little bit in that first meeting however. I was told that I could pick my schedule, but whatever I picked I had to stick to, I basically have first dibs on when I want to work and everybody gets scheduled around me. I stuck with my 7-3 shift, ideally it is the best, I go in when I otherwise would be doing nothing and usually still get off with plenty of time to do the things I like to do.

Excuse me one second, I have a couple of things I need to take care of and I will be right back.

Okay that is all squared away. I figured while I am doing this my desktop should be doing something, so I opened up the Scratchix app on Facebook and fired up my autoclicker so it can automatically scratch tickets for me, even if I am not sitting there. I rolled up over 1200 tickets and burnt a few of them off earlier (about 800) and and now just looking to get rid of the rest of them. I actually won $2 with the earlier ones, doubt I will be as lucky with these. I also had to fetch my iced tea and my lighter since my cigar went out. Plus I had my little note to myself on my desk that I figured I had better pick up, it is just my tally of money since the last change meter update. I have to keep track because otherwise I would forget, there are only so many numbers I can keep in my head at any one time, so the quicker I write these down the better it is on my cranium. As for the change meter, it continues to go up, ever so slowly. Another $1.57 puts it to $165.75 and while I don't expect a year like last year I am pretty confident I can at least get $30 out of it this year.

Back to the story, after the initial ass reaming things went very well with Ed that first week, though it seems like there is never enough hours in the day to get everything done that he wants done plus do the things that my job mandates. For instance, the very same Monday that I got chewed out we received a grocery order, which meant there were plenty of totes lying on the floor of the store waiting to be checked in and put away. This is one of my more important tasks, something that I certainly wouldn't leave to anyone else. Usually my attitude about doing things at work and delegating tasks is that I would just rather do it myself, that way I am sure it gets done. So here I am getting ready to start checking in an order and putting it away and all of a sudden Ed wants me to start doing an inventory of some out of date product in the basement. One would think that since it is out of date and not going anywhere, after all we can't sell it, this would be a project that could have waited versus the more pressing concerns of getting the new stuff put away, but then if I do that first I am almost disobeying an order. So off I go to do what I would have called side work versus the more pressing matter at hand.

That being said, the first week went okay, at least until Friday when I was called into the office again. This time it wasn't to be yelled at but to be asked if I would work register on the following Monday, since apparently a couple of people requested off the same day. Since I know the registers somewhat I was asked to fill in instead of my usually stockroom duty. I am not by nature a people person, finding me with people skills is harder than finding Waldo on the back of a box of cereal, but I took to the request as sort of a day off for me, usually the weekends see the coolers get neglected and I end up busting my ass to compensate for it, plus we have two orders that come in that day that I don't have to do if I am on register and not on the floor. So instead of the woe is me attitude I usually have, I opted to celebrate the occasion by telling the crew that I would buy pizza on Monday. And I did. One of the places I sometimes order from when I am at home, Giovanni's, is actually downtown and closer to my work place than my apartment, so I figured I would give them a ring on Monday and just have them deliver over to us. Plus they run a special where if you by a large specialty pizza you get a free medium cheese pizza. So I sprung for a large Hawaiian (I love ham and pineapple on pizza) and we got the freebie to boot. Little did I realize that I would start a trend. The very next day Amber decides to order for everyone, she gets the seafood pizza and the freebie, Wednesday Wayne orders the large meat lovers pizza and the freebie. Later that day, Rick, who works our coffee bar and does the ordering for our paper goods and frozen food stuffs finds out that his lottery ticket he bought for the afternoon drawing hit for $2500, so he is buying lunch for Thursday, a sandwich ring from the Boulevard Deli (see the links section kids, that stuff is there for a reason) and now we have went from rarely ordering to having lunch for 4 straight days. To make matters even better Thursday, one of the guys from Fat Tommy's stopped by, as Ed is looking to expand some of the things we carry and Fat Tommy's is a place downtown that we may end up doing business with. They ended up sending free samples of sandwiches and pizza as well, and now I can say after 4 straight days, I am all pizza-ed out.

Not all of the news was good on Thursday however. About a half hour before my day was scheduled to end I get called to the office. This normally doesn't mean much, almost any task I am asked to do outside of my normal stuff begins with a call to the office, but as I got there I could tell this was different. Ed was sitting at his desk while John and Dee were watching film from the security cameras. From where I was standing I couldn't see what they were watching, nor did I really want to, that type of stuff is well above my pay grade and unless they want me to look out for a specific person or persons coming in the store then there is no need for me to see anything on it. Ed begins by asking if I can do a favor for him, if it would be possible to stay till 11pm. Mind you my day starts at 7am so it was going to be a 16 hour day if I agreed to it. Ed said that I may not be needed, and if I wanted I could leave for an hour and go get something to eat, he would buy me lunch but with all of the food that was floating around the shop that day eating was out of the question. Instead I just grabbed a chair in the basement and read some of my book while I waited to see what was actually happening.

Jen, who normally runs the second shift, called and said she was going to be late, she wasn't feeling well but was still coing in. When she arrives she gets called to the office, and it turns out that she gets fired and that is why they need me to stay. Apparently what had happened was that a couple of people that used to work for us, Dana and Destiny who now work downtown with a cleaning crew in one of the office buildings, had come in the night before. Since everyone pretty much gets along, it isn't unusual for former employees to sometimes stop by so there is nothing out of the ordinary by their presence in the store. But what happened later was the kicker, as apparently Jen let them have some merchandise for free. Now on one hand I have sympathy for Jen, she is a single mom with kids at home to worry about and by and large was a good employee but on the other I understand the position Ed was in. If he caught this happening once, how many other times did it happen without his knowledge. And I really have issues with why Dana and Destiny would ever put Jen in such a position to begin with. They had worked for us long enough to know better, but they literally had nothing to lose, they were getting free stuff and really nothing bad could happen to them, since they were no longer employees of ours.

The end result was that I ended up pulling a 16 hour day, and after leaving at 11pm, had to turn around and be back for 7am on Friday. I couldn't really come in late either, obviously first and foremost because of the lecture I had gotten the previous week and also because we have a Coke delivery on Friday and they usually come very early in the morning, so I can't be coming in later and miss the truck entirely. And to make matters better, or worse depending on how you look at it, we were supposed to all go out after work on Friday, to the 110 Bar, and my first employee related outing since my evening I still can't remember.

All goes according to plan for the most part, though I was pretty tired, but trudge on I did when I got another call to the office, this one a little different, Ed handed me an extra $100 for filling in the night before. I didn't expect that, but I figured I at least had some drinking money for later. Later in the same shift, after getting the Coke order put away and Friday's grocery delivery checked in and put away, and breaking down another section that Ed wanted to rebuild I was called into the office once again at which time I was asked to go through a new order that came in and price the items in it. Ed has a tendency to order from a bunch of suppliers, lots of odd and ends and quirky type things that we probably don't need but aren't neccessarily bad to have. Like last week a UPS delivery came in and inside it was a bunch of things including lighters shaped like fishing poles. They are the type of lighter you might use to start a grill or something, but they weren't an item that we needed per se, just sort of a novelty gimmick that may or may not sell in the long run.

I am unpacking one of these type shipments, it has everything from deodorant to waiter's corkscrews in it, I read off the item number and how many we got, Ed verifies it on the invoice and then gives me a price to put on it. As we are working our way through the invoice we are interrupted a few times, various vendors and work related issues when Ed asks me if I smoke cigars. Now I am not connisseur by any stretch of the imagination, but a good cigar every once in a while is a nice change of pace so I say yes, I smoke them from time to time. I was hoping that he was going to offer me one of the cigars I had brought downstairs from the humidor the other day, we received a box of Olivias and I was part of the reason for that. We had a customer come in and ask if we carried the Olivia Series V, which we didn't but upon reading up on it I found out it had won Cigar of the Year is some magazine or other so I emailed the company about carrying their product. This was months ago, and apparently a rep came in and talked to Brian but I never followed up on it, the cigars cases are usually handled by either Brian or Ed. As it turns out we did get a box of cigars from Olivia, sort of like a trial pack, 6 cigars in it of different types and it was laying in the bottom of the humidor, unopened and unpriced. I noticed this when Ed had me do a cigar inventory a few days before, so I brought the box downstairs and asked if we had prices for them and if no one wanted it, I would buy the Series V cigar that was in the box, just to try it. When Ed asked me if I smoked cigars I figured he had a price on that cigar and was going to sell it to me, but I was mistaken, instead he tosses me an entire box of Royal Jamacians and says that is for filling in Thursday night. This on top of the $100 he already gave me. We have those cigars priced at $4.50 a pop and the box has 27 in it, which brings the total we could have gotten had we actually sold them to $121.50. Not too shabby for pulling a 16 hour shift, I got paid for the extra time plus and additional $221.50 in cash and prizes, far better than the departing contestant who gets a year's supply of Rice A Roni.

I managed to get out of work on time, but all of the side work I had to do for Ed meant that I didn't get the order for Monday placed, so my 5 day week became a 6 day week, albeit the Saturday shift was about two hours and I could come in at my leisure, which is good because I ended up going to the 110 after work Friday and while I didn't get all kind of stupid drunk, I had a nice buzz going and managed to do fairly well on the dart board. I am not sure if I even lost a game. At first we were shooting singles, then teams, but it didn't matter. I wasn't throwing great, but making enough shots when it mattered that I was winning. We stuck to playing cricket, which is probably my favorite dart game. The object is relatively simple, close everything out and have the most points at the end in order to win. You shoot for the numbers 15 through 20 on the board as well as the bullseye and in order to close out a number you must hit it three times. The outer thin ring on the dart board counts as a double (two hits), the inner thin ring is a triple (three hits) and the rest of the wedge for a number counts as a single (one hit). You score points by closing out a number and when at least one other person hasn't closed it yet hitting that same number again. So if four people are playing, all four have to close a number out in order for no one to be able to score points off of it, if three people have closed it and one hasn't yet, those three can score points off of the number. Usually I try to close everything first and then go back and see if I need any points and if so, what numbers I can use to get them. I have played people that do the opposite, they try to roll up a bunch of points and then go about closing things, to each their own I guess, but my strategy seemed to work for me on this occasion, because I kept winning. Which is better than the stories I was getting from my last trip there, apparently one of my blackout periods included playing darts and I was so wobbly that eventually they put a chair at the throwing line for me. Me being Mr. Cool decided to turn the chair around so the back was facing the board, sit on the chair on my knees and brace myself against the back of the chair while throwing and proceeded to tip the chair over in my drunken stupor. Someone want to again remind me why I drink? This trip wasn't nearly as bad, I had two Bloody Mary's and then cut myself off and went to Heineken instead. Not quite sobriety, but not parting the Red Sea type miracle to get home either. The more I hear about that night and don't remember the more I get creeped out by it. The only plus to it all, is that when I am drunk I am far from a sexual Olympian, hell I wouldn't even be a sexual Special Olympain at that point, so at least no one can call me all Maury Povich like screaming "You are the father" into the phone from my escapades that night.

Well, again I better put a wrap on this. It has creeped into Sunday and then some and I have a project I would liek to work on, plus I feel the need to enjoy a nice long shower on my only day off before returning to the grind come Monday. Toodles.

Nazi Tourettes

Possibly the funniest thing I have seen Lewis Black do.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Swagbucks - The tutorial

Some of you have noticed that from time to time I will post a link because I won Swagbucks, a little internet thingy (don't you just love the scientific terms I use) that I have been using for a few months now to get free junk, usually I opt for the $5 Amazon gift card, because they are stackable (you can use more than one) and that you can add them to your account to use at a later date, thus building an actual account balance with Amazon, though there are many prizes and sweepstakes entries that can be gotten from the Swagstore.

There are tricks that can be done to earn more Swagbucks, and thereby, more prizes, and since I just picked up a new referral the other day, I figured it would be a good time to explain some of them.

Swagbucks come from four major sources; searches, codes, referrals and special offers.  I will try to break them down to the best of my ability so you too may be able to join in the fun (if you so wish).

Searches - Sometimes you will earn Swagbucks simply by searching for something on the internet, provided that you use the Swagbucks search engine.  This is probably the most profitable way to gain bucks.  The easiest method is to install the Swagbucks toolbar, which has a search feature right on it.  On the minus side it is not as good as a regular search engine, and I admit that when doing specific reasearch at my computer I am more than likely going to use something like Google, but when I am looking to visit a website, say Facebook or even Multiply, rather than use the address bar I will just type in the word into the toolbar and usually the link I want is within the first couple of hits, plus I have the chance of winning bucks as well, so I am having a chance at being rewarded for a website that I was going to visit anyway.  Sure, but how much have I really won?  To date that would be 4725 bucks, just from searches.

Codes - This is sort of a scavenger hunt that Swagbucks does from time to time, they will issue a code someplace on their page and if you find it and enter it in on the home page you are rewarded with more bucks.  Codes are usually found in the Swagstore, on the blog, on the Facebook page or on the Twitter feed, though when they are issued there are usually clues about how to gte them, and the clues are usually found in either the inbox on the toolbar (another reason to have the tool bar) or in the Swidget, a tool that can be installed on most social networking platforms (though not Myspace, suck it Myspace lackeys) and with a simple click of the mouse can tell you if there is a code currently available and how to get it.  While not as profitable as searches, they too can add up, I have pulled an additional 1624 bucks from codes to this point.

Referrals - Another trick to earning Swagbucks is by collecting referrals, that is people who start using the service because you got the to sign up.  Anyone who joins is given a referral link that they can use to gte others to sign up, like mine here ( or by adding a banner to their page (I have one to the right of my blog entries) and for every person that signs up you receive a buck for every buck they earn, up to 1000 bucks.  I admit my referrals aren't very good, I have 6 now and only one started earning bucks but I know plenty of people that have dozens of referrals and their accounts have exploded accordingly. 

Special Offers (and some other junk) - Of course one of the ways that a site like this stays open is that they pitch potential clients to advertisers, it is the way of the world.  Not that you have to buy anything in order to win bucks, but there are plenty of offers there and one of them may catch your eye.  For me, it was Mother's Day.  I knew I was going to buy flowers for my mom, turns out there was a special offer from on the website, I used it and picked up an additional 700 bucks.  There are plenty of offers to choose from, from the simple (watch a video, get three bucks) to the more expensive and rewarding offers (sign up for a year of Direct TV at 50% off, get 9975 bucks).  There are also some freebies thrown in daily, such as vote in the daily poll for a buck, refresh the toolbar once a day (1-3 bucks, resets at 1am EDT), skip through the no obligation offers (1-3 bucks daily, also resets at 1am EDT).

On average I managed to earn about 40 or so bucks a day, not great, there are others that do much better than me, but it means roughly every two weeks I am cashing out for at least another $5 on Amazon, though the Amazon gift card is just my personal preferred gift, there are certainly others like the Wii w/Wii Sports (48.900 bucks) for those that like to say up for bigger and better prizes. 

Anyway, I thought and explanation was in order to help elaborate on what it is all of those annoying posts were about and now you know, and knowing is half the battle.  GI Joe.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Stolen Content - The Sunday update

For those of you that read the running Sunday commentary and the whole microwave/pipe bomb thing that was going on during the Pittsburgh Marathon, we can now state as accepted fact that after detonating the microwave by the police what was found was called by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette as "remnants of ravioli".  No word on whether Chef Boyardee was seen fleeing the scene.



Monday, May 3, 2010

Asshat - United we fall

Well since I have been on an almost blogging kick these last few days no need to stop now, not when there is such an easy target out there, this week's Asshat winner, the United Nations, which selected as a member to its Commission on the Status of Women the nation of Iran, which believes that stonings and lashings of women are pretty cool, especially if they do something really crazy, like get a sun tan or something.  Apparently you can beat them (women) and then join them (United Nations).  I think I will go back to having my head in the sand now.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Two blogs in a week? Am I sick?

Sunday, May 02, 2010

10:50:57 AM

Welcome to the day where everyone is trapped. There is sort of a harmoniuc convergence of suck taking place in Pittsburgh today that pretty much leaves everyone homebound, unless they want to detour miles out of their way to get from point A to point B.

First and most detrimental to travel is the Pittsburgh Marathon, a race that all but cuts the city in half with its course. Those looking to get from the northern parts of the city to the southern can all but forget it and if you tend to live in the city's central and eastern sections, the course is all but a noose that chokes off traffic entirely. Add to that that the Penguins are playing host to Montreal in game two of their Eastern Conference semifinal and you have about 20,000 people trying to puncture the numerous street closings that the marathon has created. It is very much a lab rat/cheese experiment, with the cheese being the Civic Arena where the game is being played and the lab rats being hockey fans. Third is the fact that today is commencement for the University of Pittsburgh, so you have a constituency that is trying to get into town to watch their offspring grab a diploma, but it also signifies the end of the school year, so many of the people that live here part time during the school year are in the process of pakcing and moving out in the midst of the clusterfuck that is going on. Don't get me wrong, I am happy they are moving out, the fewer of them that are here the happier by and large I am, but for the day it is keeping me homebound.

Not that I would have had a huge amount of plans today anyway, after all I would most likely be spending he better part of the afternoon watching the hockey game anyway, since I am not nearly fortunate enough, nor wealthy enough to afford playoff hockey tickets. I will be content to just watching on my TV, but sadly that will have to wait a bit, as it is too early for the game yet.

And let me be the first to say that there is absolutely nothing on TV on Sunday morning. Luckily I was able to get in a little early morning web surfing, my new Amazon gift card was posted to my Swagbucks account, which I added meaning I now have $19 in there to spend. I also had a good day swagbucking so far, 2 for the toolbar refresh, 2 for the daily special offers and searches which got me 10 and 11 bucks respectively. So I start my next two week period in trying to get prizes with 324 of the 450 needed for my next gift card. Now if only all of my apps worked this well. I checked my Mysurvey account the other day, I got my bonus 500 points for a survey I did a couple of weeks back. The survey was 4 weeks long, each week you got 125 points, plus 500 bonus upon completion. This would normally be a $10 survey, as the exchange rate was basically a penny a point, with you needing 1000 points ($10) to cash out. Plus they would cut you a check for the money, no paypal nonsense or anything of the like, just a simple check in the mail. It was the route I usually went, save for when I got my coffee pot because the prizes in there are mediocre at best. at least they used to be, but now tyhe prize catalog has been expanded, but the prices have went up as well. The charitable donations remained the same, but everything else has been increased, so s $10 check actually costs $11.50, but there are numerous gift cards for $10 that can be had for $11, like CVS, Amazon, Red Robin, iTunes, Outback, all prizes that weren't available before and places that I sometimes find myself going to. Most likely I will stick with the Amazon gift cards, I have become a pretty big fan of the site and have gotten plenty of goodies from them since the start of the year. Most recently I got Mark Morford's book, he of the columnist for that shows up here in stolen content from time to time. I am about halfway done, but my favorite part of the book would have to be the Mullet Haiku segments, which are small but incredibly funny.

I don't know if I am looking forward to work on Monday, Ed is going to be back from Florida and I made the mistake of coming in on Saturday to place the order for Monday morning when Ed called. He wanted me to order more school supplies, even though we have most everything in the store already and we can get orders three times a week. Apparently I didn't have enough for him, and now we are getting into the mess that I haven't been looking forward to, where Ed will want too much backstock, while Brian will want me to keep the billing down. Add to that I just pulled one of Ed pet products from the shelves the other day, and I am sure I will be in for an ass reaming. See Ed had this idea last spring of ordering a product called Isopure, a protein type drink that failed miserably as a sellable product, so much so that of the 6 or 7 cases he ordered I have already pulled 5 of them for running past their expiration date. To make matters worse, the cooler he put them in was space that apparently was contracturally obligated to Gatorade. One of the things that I am getting to learn about this ordering business is that many of the vendors pay for space in the store, including cooler space, so anytime a product from one company ends up in another company's cooler it tends to piss off their reps. In the case of Gatorade, while they don't have a cooler for themselves, apparently the contract we signed with them grants them one of our coolers, as well as an additional shelf in a second cooler. Now Ed has the authority to bully the vendors to get what he wants, I do not, so when a vendor comes in as says I owe them such and such space Ed may argue with them, I am just stuck saying "Yes massa". So to make way for the Gatorade I went ahead and pulled the last of the Isopure, which wasn't selling anyway. It wasn't like I was pulling a Pepsi or Mountain Dew, stuff that we can push better than a case a day, rather I was pulling stuff that I couldn't sell a case in two months.

Now I don't think the Gatorade is going to sell all that well, it will do better than Isopure and we are getting a discount on it, but I am not expecting us to become a giant retailer of the beverage, but I didn't sign the contract. I have to play by the rules I am given, even if I don't like the rules per se. We could easily have gotten away with awarding them half of that space, though it would cut into the amount they pay us for the space, but any time we are in vioation of the contract technically they don't have to pay us anything.

Sorry, just hopped over to Facebook for a second and there was a code out for Swagbucks, 9 more for me. Thats 34 so far this morning, much better than yesterday when I coudn't get anything.

Just checked the Post Gazette website to see if the marathon was over, and it seems to be, though they found a pipe bomb in a microwave oven along the course and had to detour the ending of the race. Let's see how big of a story that turns out to be as the day progresses.

1:57:16 PM

Okay, getting settled in for the hockey game, and yes it seems like I will be glogging this one. Quick recap on how we got to our current state, Pittsburgh, the 4th seed in the East, advanced to the conference semifinals after defeating the 5th seeded Ottawa Senators 4 games to 2, while the 8th seeded Montreal Canadiens advanced by defeating the #1 seeded Washington Capitals, coming back from a 3-1 series deficit to win 4 games to 3. Pittsburgh is now the highest remaining seed in the East, after #1 Washington, #2 New Jersey and #3 Buffalo all fell in the first round. This is the second game of this series, Pittsburgh won game 1 by a 6-3 count, going 4 for 4 on the power play, after Montreal held Washington to just one power play goal on 34 attempts in the first round. Both teams suffered a significant injury in game 1, Montreal lost Andre Markov and Pittsburgh lost Jordan Staal. Markov's injury to this point is being called an "upper body injury" which is hockey speak for saying that the Canadiens aren't telling, while Staal suffered a severed tendon in his foot and underwent surgery, though again because of the vagueness of hockey injuries the team is calling him "day to day". Chances are it will be plenty of days.

I know that my hockey glogs and posting of hockey game highlights may annoy some readers of this here blog, but I have been doing this for two years now (at least the videos, the glogging has been hit and miss) and in those two years the Penguins made the Stanley Cup final one year and won the Stanley Cup the next. last I checked you don't mess with success, so the tradition will continue. Perhaps some other poeple that read this blog might want to do the same thing, if it helped my team, perhaps it can help yours as well. I better shut up before the Pittsburgh Pirates try to employ me to help their woeful franchise. Hey, I am not a miracle worker here. After all, they have a streak of their own to maintain, most consecutive losing seasons by a North American sports franchise, and they are well on their way, starting the season 10-14. Worse still, they are 28th (out of 30 teams) in batting average, and 30th in earned run average, a recipe for disaster if ever there was one. In 24 games now they have been outscored by 83 runs. That my friends is a skill set you just can't teach, you either have that inability or you don't.

Let me say that I am loving the Stanley Cup commercials "History will be made" series. Sadly they tend to appeal to people that already follow hockey rather than those that are new to the game.

Okay, we are just about underway from the Civic Arena here in Pittsburgh.

Early on, just a minute or so into the game the Pengfuins have the games first good scoring chance but Halak is up to the test and makes the save.

Icing called on the Penguins 3 and a half minutes in, the faceoff will come back to the Penguins end and Montreal gets their first shot of the game. Pittsburgh seems to have the territorial advantage in the early going and it pays off, a goal by Matt Cooke and the Penguins lead 1-0. Pascal Dupuis and Max Talbot get the assists. I have to wonder if Max getting an assist is "superstar treatment".

It is early on, but it is almost like Pittsburgh is playing on a power play here early on. And it shows in the shot total, Pittsburgh leads 9-2. First commercial break. Just what we needed, commercials for me to mock.

Damn, nothing mockable to this point. I must be losing my touch.

Man I am watching Montreal and I can't help but wonder just how the hell they got out of the first round. I guess a goaltender can steal a series, because I have seen nothing so far in this series that leads me to believe the Canadiens had any business beating Washington.

First penalty, interference on Ruslan Fedetenko and Montreal gets the game's first power play opportunity. Maybe this will be the spark that Montreal needs to get on track. A real good scoring chance by Montreal on a redirected shot by Brian Gionta but Fluery makes the save and it remains 1-0.

Mointreal is getting some shots on this power play, but nothing to show for it yet. And with that the Penguins kill off the power play, back to even strength hockey for the time being.

The aggressive pace that started this game, especially by the Penguins, has slowed a bit and the play has evened out some but as a result there aren't many scoring chances for either team.

A ad, where sex apparently sells, except it doesn't. All is does is ask perverts to get their web domains from GoDaddy, only when they go there they are vastly disappointed.

A defensive miscue by Pittsburgh leaves Brian Gionta alone in front of the Penguins goal and a pass by Scott Gomez to him results in a tie game, 1-1. Benoit Pouliot gets the second assist on the goal and Montreal is strating to play like they belong here, taking the lead is shots as well, 11-9.

End of the first period, the score is tied 1-1 and not much happened since I last wrote something, one more shot by Montreal to bring the totals for the period to 12-9. While we are in the first intermission I am thinking some food my be in order.

Well the bomb during the Pittsburgh Marathon has been picked up by the Drudgereport. I figured it wouldn't stay local for long.

A couple of fried egg sandwiches later and I am ready for period number two.

Second period underway and like the first the Penguins earn the first shot on goal, though nothing comes of it and the score remains tied.

Still only one penalty called in the game to this point, very much unlike game one in that regard, where Pittsburgh had 4 power plays and Montreal had a handful of them as well.

A flurry of acitivity in front of the Montreal netminder but Halak was up to the task to keep the game tied. The second period continues to reflect the first, Pittsburgh is dictating the momentum early on, they have 8 shots this period in less than 7 minutes after getting 9 in the first 20 minutes, meanwhile Montreal is still looking for their first shot here in the second.

And agaim the mirroring of the first period continues, Pittsburgh gets called for a penalty, Brooks Orpik gets two minutes for holding. Last period it was the penalty that seemed to change the momentum, and the same happens here as it takes all of maybe 10 seconds and they score on the powerplay to take the their first lead, Mike Cammalleri getting his 7th goal of the playoffs, with PK Subban and Scott Gomez getting the assists.

Another flurry of activity by the Penguins, perhaps going down a goal woke them up a bit, but again there is nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. The opportunities are there for Pittsburgh, it is the conversions that seem to be problematic.

15 minutes into the second period and still no change in the score. Montreal leads 2-1, scoring on one of only two shots they have managed this period, while Pittsburgh is now 0 for 12 in the shooting department.

A three on two break for the Penguins, with Crosby and Malkin leading the charge, but Crosby's pass to Malkin is on the mark but the shot is denied.

Another break in with less than 15 seconds left, and the Penguins, while not scoring do manage to draw a penalty on Hal Gill forn interference and Pittsburgh will start the third period with the man advantage, but for now we have two periods in the book and Montreal leads 2-1. Shots in the second were Pittsburgh 18, Montreal 3.

2nd intermission and while some people will say that I spend too much time on this blog talking sports, especially of the fantasy variety that I like to partake in, I was bored last night and popped over to Hulu where I watched "Fantasyland". I guess technically it is supposed to be a documentary about fantasy sports, but it tends to focus almost solely on baseball when in reality there are a variety of fantasy games for a number of sports, so it seemed to be very narrowly focused to say the least. the major story in it invloved something called Tout Wars, a fantasy baseball league that is comprised of nothing but "experts" in the field of fantasy baseball, the people who work for sports publications or those who author their own fantasy guides for the upcoming season. Except in ths particular season they were inviting an amateur to play in the league as well, Jed Latkin, and while he did okay in the league (he finished 6th out of 12 teams) the movie made him look like a dork of the highest order. I get that there are people who follow fantasy sports more closely than I and can recite statistics at the drop of a hat and will even spend their waking moments with faces buried in fantasy sports publications, looking for a little extra something but this guy was over the top. He literally went to spring training and regular season games harasssing players and coaches about what they thought, as though a coach is going to tell anyone, let alone a fantasy geek, what his plans are for his lineup on a day to day basis. He also went about having T shirts made and handing him out to the baseball players he drafted, as if they give a rat's ass how his team is doing or the fact that he drafted them. As the season progresses, Jed is literally bombarding other team owners with trade offers, to the point he is sending them hundreds of emails on an almost daily basis. When that doesn't work he climbs in his car and drives to see them, not a simple hop across town either, but literally hundreds of miles to show up on their doorstep unannounced. I will say that they were more tolerable than I, I would have kicked his ass. While his wife is giving birth to their first kids (she had twins), Jed is in the lobby of the hospital trying to make another trade for his fantasy team. It is all just too much, by the time Jed gets hit with a baseball while watching a game at Wrigley Field, you only hope it kills him to end his moronic existence.

Third period, movie review will have to wait.

Pittsburgh starts the 3rd period with the power play, a power play that registers 3 shots but no goals, so Montreal kills it off, something they couldn't do in game 1. But no sooner do they kill off the penalty than Mike Cammalleri is sent to the penalty box, 2 minutes for high sticking and again Pittsburgh has the man advantage.

Another penalty kill by Montreal keeps the score at 2-1 and with less than 15 minutes left it will be interesting to see if Pittsburgh starts taking chances to get the tying goal. On one hand they seem to be generating shots, but still they trail by one.

8 minutes gone in the third, Pittsburgh again domination in shots, 7-2 but just can't get the equalizing goal.

Pascal Dupuis makes a nice move that results in a backhand shot that is saved, but earns the Penguins their third straight powerplay, as Marc-Andre Bergeron gets called for holding Dupuis on the move.

Montreal kills off the penalty, they don't even allow a shot to the Penguins during the power play that time, which is probably the easiest way to protect a one goal lead, don't allow shots.

Halak just continues to make big saves here, 6 minutes and change left and he has kept the Canadiens in the lead with some stellar play in net, including denying Matt Cooke on a rebound chance.

4:15 left, Montreal leads 2-1 and Pittsburgh continues to be frustrated, they have thrown 12 more shots at Halak this period and have nothing to show for it. An odd stat, in games where Halak has faced 40 or more shots he is 12-0. Pittsburgh has 39 right now.

Well it happened, too many players pinched in which reults in a breakaway the other direction and Michael Cammalleri scores to make it 3-1. The goal was Cammalleri's second of the game and 8th of the post season. Tomas Plekanec gets the lone assist.

Craig Adams gets called for a major penalty, 5 minutes for checking from behind and this game is all but over at this point. I can't see Pittsburgh coming up with two short handed goals here.

And that is a wrap, Montreal wins 3-1 to even the series at one game each. Halak ends up stopping 38 of 39 shots, certainly the best player on the ice this afternoon, and without him the result may very well be different. Next stop is game 3 in Montreal. I don't know whether I will glog that one or not, really haven't checked my social calendar yet to see what is on the agenda.

09:17:12 PM

Okay, I will try not to make this a week long blog and confine it to just one day. As it is I still need to run out and and do some laundry tonight and while I could take my laptop and blog from there, they do have WiFi after all, I will probably just take my book and get some light reading in instead.

I should give an update, it turns out that the bomb during the Pittsburgh marathon actually wasn't, but you will be happy to know that the streets of Pittsburgh are safe because the police department detonated a microwave oven. Now if they could just get about detonating those chairs people use to save parking spaces the city would be completely safe.

And I still have to add some links to this entry, something I haven't done in a while but when I do it just makes the blog feel more complete, like you the reader can actually understand what it is I am talking about when I get all reference-y at times (like the max talbot reference).

By the way, in my last entry I mentioned how I was close to winning a prize on the Scratchix facebook app, well it turns out I didn't win. I got 9 of the 10 needed tokens but couldn't get the tenth, and the system reset so I am prizeless. Of course it didn't help that the app was down an entire day, and there is a side of me that wonders if they didn't do that intentionally.

Oh well, time to spell check and add some links and call it a night, since, well, it is night.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Weakly, or is it weekly?

Monday, April 26, 2010

10:56:37 AM

I'm coming home. Well, as much as Pittsburgh can be considered my home anyway. Not that that is a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination, and since I say I am coming home that means by definition that I must have went some place, and truth be told I did. Not any sort of fancy resort or spa, or some amusement park hundreds of miles away to spend my dinero on overpriced knickknacks and photos of cotton candy being shoved in my face, but just a simple trip home to see the family and get what can best be described as a recharging of the spiritual batteries that I need from time to time. Mind you, had there not been an excuse to take such a trip, I most certainly wouldn't have, not for a lack of love for my family or anything of the sort, but just that without an excuse to change my behavior I just have a tendency to continue to plug forward day after day and hope that something breaks the relative monotony. Thankfully my grandmother's birthday provided the requisite excuse for me to break with the everyday nonsense that doesn't really break my spirit so much as it just slowly erodes it away. After all, when was the last time I considered even attacking a page in this here blog with any sort of zeal? Sure I have posted a few things here and there, but by and large there has been a lack of creative fire that has not only left me with little to no desire to contribute anything new, but rather content in not doing so.

Now here I am, on a Greyhound bus, okay technically it is a Fullington Trailways bus, but you get the idea, my laptop open and functional and me with a desire to write something. For the recored, my laptop being functional is an issue in its own right, but after some dreaded BSOD issues this weekend and a costly expenditure of a brand new operating system (say hello to Windows 7 kids), here I am if not rip raring and ready to go, at least content in the knowledge that I am writing not out of some obligation to entertain the masses (or given the few people that stop by this page, the anti-masses might be more appropriate) but because I genuinely want to. Not sure when that last occured, but I think there have been a handful of celebrity deaths since then and Jay Leno was being unfunny at 10pm as opposed to being unfunny at 11:35 pm again.

But just because a spiritual battery is recharged doesn't mean that 90% of what I am typing is going to make a lick of sense, certainly not at the rate I am currently going. This is starting off much like trying to write in a moving vehicle, everything is all jumpy and all over the place, the only real difference is that my typing is a tad bit more legible. So I guess I have to find a starting point for this here blog, a jumping off point where everyone can get involved in the story. I guess we will go back to sometime late last week, I can't remember which exact day, but I was informed of a coming surprise birthday party for my grandmother. I was asked if I could come home for it, and I have been trying to do better on the whole family occasion thing, though I admit I am far from perfect and if I were home and present for each and every family birthday, anniversary, etc. , the size of my family alone would have me taking more days off than the federal government. So I tend to pick and choose, and the arbitrariness of my deciding is hard to describe here. Certainly one doesn't want to dismiss a day as unimportant that is obviously important to someone but by the same token, I do create a certain mental heirarchy where some events are just more important than others. So when asked about my grandmother's birthday and whether or not I could come home, I made certain that I could, because in my heirarchical standards I am aware that I am currently 40 years old and I still have a grandmother, a situation that even the most optimistic of person would have to admit probably isn't going to happen much longer. I don't want to sound fatalistic here, just realistic. I am blessed at my age to still have a grandparent and don't know just how much longer that will be the case.

9:59:58 PM

Sorry about that, some things happened that completely ruined my train of thought. For starters the laptop battery died on the bus, so it would seem my laptop issues haven't completely gone away. I say that only because when I fired this bad boy up it was reading that I had over three hours of computing time left, yet 20-25 minutes later there I was getting low battery readings. Not that I didn't have other things to occupy my time on the bus, I had two books that I am currently reading in my bag and I was close enough to Pittsburgh that I knew I wouldn't be stuck for too long doing nothing but reading, but still the battery dropping a charge like that is another issue that I need to look into. It hasn't been the best of days for ye olde laptop, but that is an issue we will explore later in the blog.

As if I needed further confirmation about the questionable number of birthdays I may get to spend with my grandmother, a mere day after being informed of the upcoming party and getting the all clear from work to take the time off, my grandmother gets admitted to the hospital with some type of blood disorder. For some reason her nose started bleeding and wouldn't stop and so she ended up in the hospital for a number of days while doctors tried to determine the cause and whether it was or wasn't something far more serious. I am far too much the layman in the realm of medical maladies to know what might or might not be, so rather than occupy space here with equally non medically trained family members opinions of what it may or may not have been, I will just say that she was in for about 5 days before being released last Wednesday, so the surprise party for Sunday was still a go.

I made my trip home Friday after work. Thankfully downtown Pittsburgh really isn't all that big a place, so I took some stuff to work with me that I wanted to take home, my laptop and some deodorant and what not and just went from work right to the bus station, since the bus was leaving 40 minutes after my shift ended. I didn't even bother to pack clothes, for two reasons, one being that I didn't want to lug a bunch of stuff into work with me, I figured I would just pick up a couple of things at Wal Mart when I got back to Indiana PA to wear for they few days I was there and the second being that even if I wanted to lug all that stuff with me, I got sucked into the hockey game Thursday night, a game that ended up going three overtimes and didn't conclude until around 12:30 am, and by then I was too tired to even consider doing anything but going to bed.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

9:25:09 PM

Sorry about that but I was getting sleepy after a long Monday that started with a bus ride and ended up with me spending far too many of my waking hours sitting in a bar drinking. Playing pool as well, which is always nice especially since I wasn't shooting all that poorly, I basically was winning some games with some decent shooting and the ones I lost were ones I most certainly had a chance at winning but it was more my mistakes than anything else that cost me in those outings. Maybe I will get into some more of that later, but we have a long way to go here and a relative short time to get there.

Before I forget, I would like to add to the change meter. I slight increase, I have only found $1.59 since my last posting, the new total is now $164.18.

One of the disadvantages of blogging on my laptop is that I don't have a home network per se, so I have to either add my DSL connection to the laptop, or opt to finish writing this then flash drive it over to the desktop so I can actually post it on the web. I am going to go the USB route for now, but at some point in the near future I may just throw some money at a wireless router, since I now have some experience with such things. But that too is further along in my story, I need to get back to where we last left off on my voyage home.

So I didn't pack much and I went to work Friday with the intention of just leaving work and walking across town to the bus station, roughly a 10 minute walk, tops. By going home I was missing out on what is becoming sort of a tradition around the newsstand, that being every couple of weeks we all get together after work at 110, a bar across the street from us, where we drink Long Island Iced Teas and throw darts and just carry on having a good time. Actually is started as a Strong Island Iced Teas, the difference being twofold; 1) all of the licquor used in a Strong Island is top shelf versus the well stuff, and 2) the price is significantly higher, $12 for a Strong versus $6 for a Long. After having a couple of the more expensive variety on our first outing, I have cut back to the cheaper ones. Not that they are any less effective, quite the contrary, the last time I went out I had 6 of them (served in a 22 oz. glass) and can honestly say that I have actual spots to that evening that I just don't remember, including paying my bar tab. Thankfully someone was sober enough to let me know I didn't fail in that obligation, but I did wake up the next day actually wondering if I did or not, and if I didn't just what the hell did I do with my money. I was apparently a happy drunk, but by the same token there is a certain scariness factor in not being able to remember things. So while I was going to miss a staff outing, it was a mixed blessing of sorts, I like hanging out with them, but I am not real good at shutting myself off so it was probably better that I had other plans.

I make it to the bus station with plenty of time to spare, and the bus station was recently remodeled so I actually didn't mind waiting, as opposed to before when it smelled an awful lot like too much urine and too little of anything else. My bus arrives on time and I realize that I am in for a two hour ride. Mind you the distance between Pittsburgh and my mom's house in Indiana PA can be covered by car in about an hour, but by bus it turns into a two hour tour, one in which you only hope the tiny bus isn't tossed, because I imagine we would indeed be lost. I climb onto the bus, two bags in tow, my backpack that has my work stuff, my personal care stuff and two books, and my laptop bag. I get on the bus and figure that maybe I will start my blog entry on the way home, but alas the battery was dead. No harm, no foul, I pulled out my new Mark Morford book (which I got for free from Amazon, compliments of Swagbucks) and began reading one of my favorite liberal columnists.

The bus no more than gets out of downtown and we get stuck in traffic. One of the quirks about Pittsburgh driving for those of you not in the know is that by and large Pittsburghers suck at driving through tunnels, and with three major tunnels in and around Pittsburgh (Squirrel Hill, LIberty and Fort Pitt) what ends up happening is traffic slows to a crawl. One would think that if someone were so worried about claustrophobia or the tunnel just collapsing the smart thing to do would be speed up, but not here, where rhyme and reason never shall meet. Instead they slow down, creating bottlenecks and traffic jams. Sure enough I got stuck in one.

By the time we got out of the tunnel and made our first of two stops between Pittsburgh and Indiana, in Monroeville, we had already been on the road better than an hour. This was looking like a bleak ride, potentially three hours at current rate if not more, as the second stop in Vandergrift actually takes the bus about ten miles out of its way and that was still ahead. Thankfully the bus driver called ahead and found out there was no one and nothing to pick up at the second stop so we just blew it off and managed to make it to Indiana only about ten minutes behind schedule.

My mom and her husband were there, so I threw my stuff in the car and we proceeded to Spaghetti Benders, a local Italian place on Philadelphia Street, the main drag in Indiana. I must have been giving off an alcoholic vibe, because they asked me if I wanted a beer with dinner and usually dinner is a time when I do not drink. I prefer a simple glass of iced tea (brewed, not that prepackaged Nestea crap) and Sweet N Low. I know Sweet N Low may cause cancer in rats or something, but last I checked I wasn't a rat and it dissolves in cold beverages much better than sugar does, which just lays in the bottom of the glass like some dysfunctional pyramid constructed by a drunken Aztec. A tasty dinner (I opted for the buffalo chicken pasta) and then it was off to the homestead where I could actually dump my packages off.

Time out while I grab my flash drive and see if it will work. I know that shouldn't be an issue, but these days I take nothing for granted with my laptop. It has been testy lately, so I want to make sure all is running as it should.

Anyway, after making back to the house Mike wanted to take me for a ride in his new toy. Technically it isn't a new toy, he has had it for a while, he bought it last year, but it has been in storage most of the winter to protect it from the elements and what not, but with it being a fairly sunny day he felt the urge to bust out the Corvette and take me for a spin in it. So out we went, just to dust the cobwebs out of it so to speak on some of the freeways around Indiana, and we did, running it up to between 150-160 mph at times. I have to admit I am not easily impressed, but I was impressed with how well it handled and how easily it picked up speed. I have no doubt we probably could have went even faster given how smoothly the car rode but we backed off of that and then took the car through town, checking out some of the downtown sites as well as those sites on the IUP campus.

After we took the car back to storage we drove over to Wal Mart, Mike was interested in getting a wireless router for the house, and that was fine with me, I needed to pick up some clothes anyway if I wanted to have something to wear. So we checked out routers, got one for about $35, and I managed to buy underwear, socks, a pair of shorts, a pair of jeans and two shirts for $50, so it was a productive trip.

We made it back and were putzing around the house when my mom got a phone call corcerning the plans for Grandma's birthday party, as well as a birthday party for my second cousin the day before, who was turning 1. During the phone call she found out that earlier that day one of my uncles on my dad's side of the family was killed in an auto accident. Before everyone gets all teary eyed and offering condolences in the comments section, relax a bit. I can honestly say that I barely knew him and probably never spoke to him. I have few dealings with my dad's side of the family since he and I just aren't that close. This was my aunt Patty's second husband and was probably best know for being the owner of the convenience store in my hometown of Elderton. Many of the local folk know him, he worked there most every day, but since I haven't spent a significant amount of time there since about 1987, i knew of him but really didn't know him. Apparently what happened was he was driving and went across the road and hit the guard rail on the opposite sideand came back onto the road and was hit by a coal truck coming in the opposite direction.

Apparently I am supposed to be the resident computer expert in my family, which is akin to saying that Rush Limbaugh is a political expert, rather there is just as much chance that i could do harm as do good, but the job of installing the router was left to me. Thankfully is was all pretty easy, and I had it up and running in about 15 minutes. , which was cool because that meant I now had internet access on my laptop. I know, I am an addict, I use my computer here in my apartment for just about everything, from simple web browsing to actually a significant amount of TV viewing. Recently I have been watching hockey games online, I found a site that streams sporting events (as well as other things) live so I am at a point where I would be all but lost without access to the world wide web.

I managed to get my computer online and hopped onto Facebook, where I tinkered with some apps that I play every day. I am not caught up in any of the more time consuming ones, no mafias or farms or anything like that for me, just some simple ones that I can complete a days commitments in rather minimal time. One of which, Scratchix, I have mentioned here previously, and I mention it now because for a change I have an outside shot at winning something. I picked up my eighth token out of the ten needed for the DVD of the month prize. Of course it is one of those Twilight movies that I have absolutely no desire to see, so even if I win it I doubt I will keep it, probably just give it to one of my friends. I would give it away on here as a blog prize, but I wouldn't know how to go about that since they mail the prize directly to the winner.

I have decided that a prize will be coming to the blog again, just not sure when. I said that i want to get my Coke Reward points to 2000 before I cash out again, and I am thinking that will be when the prize comes forth. That gives me plenty of time to come up with good ideas for a giveaway, since I haven't even reached the halfway point yet, though I did have a nice run where for 4 straight weeks I maxed out on the number of points that could be redeemed (120) and even this past week I logged almost 90 and I know I have another case of out of date stuff at work that I can get the caps from as soon as the rep gives us credit for them.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

9:47:31 PM

I guess I should apologize for all of the interruptions to this blog entry but I have to assume that by now most readers to the blog are all but accustomed to it. Still, the sad fact of the matter is that life and work have conspired to keep me from working on this entry more regularly that I would like. Of course on Tuesday I was back on my regular 7am-3pm grind and within a day there I had three different people tell me I wasn't allowed to take another day off. Guess they will be extremely disappointed when I take my week's paid vacation then, this past Monday was just one of my bonus days I got for working both Christmas day and New Years day. And today when I asked if I could grab my paycheck while in the office (I tend to wait until late in the shift, after all I am working, I really don't need to be lugging cash arfound while I am on duty) I was told that I am the only person whop deserves to be paid. I tried to be humble about that comment, saying I really doubt that is true (which I do, there are quite a few people who I think are worthy of their checks, though there are some that paying them is just flushing cash down a toilet) but it was just bone of those comments that makes me wonder just how low the bar is set if I am the example for others to follow. Hell I wouldn't follow me into a public restroom let alone my example as a model employee.

Friday, April 30, 2010

9:50:02 PM

Okay, I keep putting off this entry. Not that that was the original plan, but life just gets in the way sometimes. That being said I need to finish this and now seems like as good a time as any, though the longer I keep putting this off the more likely I am to forget details. So without further adieu, let's get back to our story shall we.

Anyway, when I last left off I had just connected the wireless router to my mom's computer. Mike had also purchased a flight simulator game, which he was trying to install on his laptop but was having little success. I didn't follow him step for step through the installation process, so I don't know what he did wrong but the game wouldn't run properly. Maybe it was a problem with the game, maybe it was something he did, I can't be sure all I know is that it didn't run right. I made a couple of suggestions, based on what I had read out of the game's handbook, but it was of little to no help. It may simply be that it was too sophisticated for his laptop, or maybe there was a glitch in the game itself, but it wouldn't run. Anyway, after doing a little web surfing of my own and watching some satellite TV I called it a night. Memo to self, never get satellite TV, I could easily turn into a couch potato. I found myself watching some of the odder things out there, stuff I would never normally watch but because I had access to it I let it pollute my brain.

Saturday morning arrived and I managed to put down about three cups of coffee to get myself started and went to check my email and do my early morning facebook apps when after a little bit of surfing up came BSOD (Blue Screen of Death for those not in the know). This had happened before with my laptop, and I couldn't locate the version of XP that came with my computer, so I had to use the version that came with my old desktop. I think that part of the problem stemmed from trying to get Windows XP updates, since Windows no longer supports that format and I was using a borrowed copy. I don't know if I just misplaced the copy that originally came with the laptop or if they had used part of the hard drive as the backup (a process that my mom's old desktop, a HP, did rather than issue a boatload of disks everything was kept on a separate section of the hard drive) but during the last BSOD episode I couldn't even access that to check and see if that was the case. So instead I reinstalled XP with my borrowed backup. Now here comes BSOD 2 (Electric Boogaloo) and me without a copy to reinstall everything. A mere day after acquiring the router and having access I was once again Internetless. Tell me that wouldn't be a cool name for a band. They could play a bunch of music from the 20s and 30s to audiences of the elderly who still think the World Wide Web is just a fad that is going to go away any day now. I couldn't escape BSOD either, though I tried everything I could think of, using last good configuration, safe mode, all of the tools my limited mindset could bring to bear on the problem with about as much success as Tiger Woods leading a life of celibicy.

Luckily I had some activities planned for nthe day, so being without my computer wasn't going to be much of a problem for the time being, I had a birthday party to attend for my cousin's husband (his 30th) and their daughter (her first) that was being held in my hometown of Elderton, at what used to be the old American Legion hall where I would sometimes go to play bingo with my grandparents but was now sort of a rental hall for special occasions and I guess this qualified because they rented it. It was nice, I got to spend some time with some family members that I haven't seen in months, but there were a lot of people from Adam's family and friends who I just didn't know. I spent most of my time talking to my cousin Scott, who I was happy to find out had gotten called back to work after being laid off for a while. Maybe that is a sign that the economy is starting to turn around a little bit, or maybe it is just nothing more than a blip on the radar screen of life, I have no real idea. Of course one of the topics of conversation was the car accident from the previous day. Those things tend to happen in a small town, the accident is the big news, whereas here in the city, even if Pittsburgh isn't that big of a city, accidents are just par for the course, not really noteworthy unless someone of note was involved. Back there, since everyone knows everyone, everyone is of note I guess.

When the party broke up and we all headed our separate ways I still had some things to do. After all, grandma's surprise party was the very next day and I hadn't even made my dish for the occasion. My mom was just bringing pies, not homemade, just store bought ones, but that meant we had to go to the store, so off to WalMart we go. I get the idea in my head that I am going to make chicken salad, so I had to get all of the ingredients, three pounts of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, some celery, mayo and some lemon juice. I assumed that my mom would have some black pepper, which she did. I also picked up a couple of loaves of bread, wheat and italian and while in the store inspiration hit me. I might be able to get my computer back if I was willing to splurge on a new operating system. So $120 later I am the proud owner of Windows 7, and truth be told I wasn't even sure it was going to work. My laptop is certainly not a top of the line model per se, so it was going to be a coin flip as to whether or not it would actually install. I wasn't too worried about memory, with nothing on the laptop thanks to BSOD, I had little to worry about in that regard.

We get home and I start the process of installing 7, and while that is going on I head off to the kitchen to start making the chicken salad. Since I couldn't find any large skillets for the chicken I was stuck making them two at a time, and worse I wasn't using my stainless steel cookware, so it was taking even longer for the skillet to heat up. Thankfully there was an episode of South Park on (The Facebook epsiode, which is priceless btw) so I officially multitasked, watching TV, installing a new operating system and cooking chicken all at the same time. And people wonder how I can remain single.

Whatever problems Mike had with his flight simulator game, no such problems for me as I kicked ass and took names on the new operating system. The only problem was that I had no sound, I had to go to the Dell website and download the sound card and drivers for that, but once you get used to the site, it is actually pretty easy to navigate, so I got all god like and on the seventh day there was sound ( at least in Jewish fashion, I realize the Sabbath is Sunday for most everybody else, but this is my god like story and I am sticking to it) and if that wasn't enough of showing off on my part, I also diced some celery and starting pulling the first of the cooked chicken out and chopping that up as well. Really ladies, you have to wonder just what it is you are missing. Well, you don't have to wonder too much, I already told you, chicken salad and South Park, pay attention will ya?

I managed to get everything and as an added bonus a Penguins game came on, Game 6 of the series against Ottawa and again I fell in love with satellite TV all over again. Usually if I am in my apartment I have to find a feed online, and while that isn't too difficult it can be problematic just the same, Some times there are too many people watching the feed and a lag problem ensues, other times, like when I watched game seven between Washington and Montreal, you just can't understand the announcers. I think it had to do with the fact I was watching the Russian feed, and if you are wondering if I speak Russian let me say nyet.

The Penguins won, clinching the series and leaving me happy that they will be moving on in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the chicken salad turned out pretty good, good enough that I almost starting eating it that night, and the installation of the operating system was a success. As I sometimes like to say at work, "All I do is dominate." Then again I am full of crazy vernacular like that, that unless you know me on a day to day basis, you just wouldn't understand.

All things being done and my god like status firmly established I went ahead and did the next thing in the god book and rested.

I realize I am probably offending my Christian readers with all of this god talk but rest assured I mock because I don't care. It's not like all that many people come to this page, those of you that do should know by now that pretty much anything is fair game here.

Sunday arrives and more coffee ensues. Odd little tidbit is that I didn't have any bagels this time. Usually when I am at home I will have a bagel or two with my coffee, my mom will normally buy some just because I am home, this time I don't know if she even had any. Not that I was complaining, I was just happy to be off of work for a few days, though technically I was only taking one day off, Monday, which was a travel day for me, back on the bus by 9:30 am and in Pittsburgh by 11:30 am. Not that I couldn't have stayed longer, but I wanted to get a little quiet time in without all of the hustle and bustle that comes with a trip home before I had to go back to the daily grind. After all, I was home for about 2 and half days and ended up going to two parties, so it wasn't like I really stopped being on the go all that much.

Back to Sunday, I get up, the computer works fine, as if evidence of that wouldn't be obvious from the fact I am putting together this entry on it, so we back up the pies and the chicken salad and what not and head out to the party. The forecast called for rain, but other than a couple of sprinkles here and there it was a pretty pleasant day. And my grandmother was surprised when everyone starting showing up at her place with food (and chairs and all of the things to pull off a picnic type party). I'll admit that the chicken salad wasn't a big hit, not because it was bad, but people were more into the grilled meat (burgers, hot dogs) but those few that had some, myself included, thought it turned out pretty good. It wasn't the success of my last dish, when I made spinach dip, but I didn't want to be that guy that always brings the dip. Once you get typecast like that, you just can't escape it. Look at Bob Saget, he used to be incredibly funny and one of the foulest mouthed comedians I know, yet "Full House" killed him. He can never be funny again. He is always going to be that nice guy stuck on mediocre shows with no real personality of his own. He is the dip guy. You know he is always going to bring the same bland thing time and time again.

The party was a success, there are photos around here that cover that so I will not spend more time on details. The rest of my time home was pretty uneventful, we had roast and baked potatoes for dinner Sunday night, followed by a drive out for ice cream for dessert (I got the chocolate chip cookie dough flurry) and then it was just more of me killing brain cells in front of the TV and computer. Mike still couldn't figure out what was wrong with his game, he was threateneing to take it back to the store because he thought there was a glitch in it, I doubt that, I imagine if there was there would be a patch for it online or they would have pulled it from the shelves, but what do I know.

Monday I wake up, not a lot of time before I have to be at the bus stop, but enough that I turned on the TV and one of the History Channel type stations has a show on called "Monster Quest". The title gives away what the show is, people go looking for monsters, today's victim was Sasquatch. They started off with a little history of the creature and they said something that automatically proves that either Sasquatch doesn't exist, or he is an abject failure sitting around his parent's basement smoking pot and playing XBox. Apparently Sasquatch was the protector of the Native Americans. Let's see, they go from having a continent to call their own to having a fucking casino in upstate New York. Sasquatch better hope he is in a union, because that type of shoddy work would get most of us fired from our jobs.

All that was left to do was the packing, which was going to be as little more complicated since I did buy clothes while at home, but nothing I couldn't manage, until my mom started coming up with stuff I needed to take bnack with me. I talked her off of the ledge and escaped only with an extra two 2 liter bottles of Pepsi in tow, but it was enough that I ended up being stuck with another entire bag to carry on the bus, to go with my backback and my laptop.

I have already detailed what happened on the bus, no need to revisit it here, the laptop died, at least the battery portion of it. I got in to Pittsburgh on schedule, so I walked over to work, just to make sure the order wasn't getting screwed up, and all seemed to be runni9ng smoothly. Litrtle did I realize how unsmoothly things were until I got there for my first shift on Tuesday, where things that should have been done on a daily basis were all but ignored in my absense, and it seemed like I spent the better part of the week just trying to catch up on everything and never really getting there. I am stuck going in on Saturday again to put the order in just to get that caught up. Not only that but I have people complaining about the hours they are getting but when hours are available they don't want to work. Sure they would like to come in and be paid for being there, just as long as their actual job doesn't get in the way. It is enough that I am wondering if I wouldn't be better off by myself, working 16 hour days and just doing everything, that way I know it will get done. Prime example, we found out this week that Ed is coming back from Florida a week early, he will be back on Monday, so ideally we would like to have the store nice enough that when he comes in he doesn't complain. As a result there were extra hours to be had for those that wanted them, yet when it came time to take advantage of that fact no one wanted to stick around. At some point I can't be sympathetic to anyone's hardships if on those occasions they can address the issue they can't be bothered.

I suppose I can leave the bitching about my job for another entry, I think we can all agree this has gone on long enough. I need to get some sleep if I am going to be punching the clock again in a couple of hours.

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