Saturday, December 31, 2011

Yeah, I'm playing

Just sitting around the house all bored and decided to post this, just because it beats actually cleaning and stuff.

Multiply 365 Day 329 - Post draft analysis, with an emphasis on the anal part

Tonight is the last night of my fantasy football season. Of the three leagues I am in, I am it the championship game in one, the 5th place game in a second and the 11th place game in a third. Sadly the one where I am in the 11th place game is the one where I actually spent money. Before that league's season kicked off, I did an pre draft analysis of who I picked and why and how those picks panned out. Now is as good a time as any to repost that preseason analysis and see just how good or bad I really did do. Here to start is what I wrote then (I will not make you go back and look it up, lol.)

  1. Ray Rice RB, Baltimore – I would argue the best pick available at the #3 spot. It should be noted that I might not have been the only one with such reservations on the available running backs as the 4th pick ended up being Aaron Rodgers, leaving Johnson and Charles to fall to 5 and 6 respectively.

  2. Felix Jones RB, Dallas – This may be a reach on my part, but his primary competition at running back is gone, and Jones, despite limited touches last year, still had 1300 yards from scrimmage in a back up role (850 rushing, 450 receiving). The only bad thing here is that my 1st and 2nd round picks have a bye on the same exact week.

  3. Vincent Jackson WR, San Diego – Again a reach, but Jackson's problem last year was that he held out and didn't play most of the year in San Diego. Those contract issues have since been dealt with, his previous two full seasons he had over 120 catches and over 2200 receiving yards. So a 60 catch, 1000 yard season is certainly within his wheelhouse.

  4. Brandon Lloyd WR, Denver – If ever there were a case to be made on how bad of a QB Alex Smith in San Francisco really is, it would be that he couldn't do anything with this guy. In his first year in Denver, with capable if not great wide receivers around him, he easily emerged as the best of the bunch, with 1448 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. The idea that this guy was available 10 picks into the 4th round boggles my mind. Again though I have a bye issue, as my first two wide recivers will also be sharing the same bye week. Our standard lineup is QB, RB, RB, TE, WR, WR, (RB/WR/TE), K, DEF, so there will definitely be weeks where I am rolling three running backs and weeks where I am rolling three wide receivers or even two tight ends, depending on how the season plays out.

  5. Matt Schaub QB, Houston – By this time, 8 quarterbacks had come off the board (though Peyton Manning was still available) but I took what looked to be the safest bet of the remainder of them, a starter good for 4000 yards, throwing to some of the best players in the league at their position, including Andre Johnson, Arian Foster and Owen Daniels.

  6. Fred Jackson RB, Buffalo – I was happy he was here, I still have the bye week issue to confront from my first two picks and I end up getting a starting running back who had over 1000 yards from scrimmage last year (927 rushing, 215 receiving). It should be noted that this was the round that the early adopters start hopping on picks that aren't all that important, as someone went out and drafted the Steeler defense in the 6th round. Please, do pick defenses and I will continue to scoop up value while you do so. While your at it, get yourself a kicker so I can get another good running back or wide receiver.

  7. Owen Daniels TE, Houston – Not in love with this pick, but with Matt Schaub at QB I now double the points these two ring up. If I am going to get a second tier tight end like this, then far worse fates could happen than being able to double up on points. And the panic continued among the league owners, another two defenses get drafted in the 7th round (the draft is 15 rounds long) as well as the first kicker. A kicker, in the 7th round? All I can say to that is thank you.

  8. Mike Thomas WR, Jacksonville – Again the odd picks among my league mates, 4 more defenses disappear as well as another kicker, meanwhile I am out getting a guy like Thomas, who has a very good chance to help me, not just once or twice but on a weekly basis. He had 820 yards receiving last year, which isn't phenomenal but for those of you playing in PPR leagues (points per reception, mine isn't but I am trying to help other people here) he was targeted 99 times last season, finished at #30 in receptions and his primary competition for catches, Mike Sims-Walker, is gone. You can do far worse at pick #80 in a draft than this, like a freaking kicker.

  9. Kevin Kolb QB, Arizona – I'll admit I am not in love with this guy, he was drafted primarily to cover for Schaub during a bye week, but should Schaub get injured (and I am certainly not rooting for that) he is a starter with a top tier wide receiver to throw to in Larry Fitzgerald and Arizona has one of the easiest schedules in the NFL this year. While there are some publications putting Kolb in as a top 12 QB, I wouldn't go that far but as far as a serviceable backup, yes please.

  10. Lee Evans WR, Baltimore – This is where I am definitely filling out bench spots, so I have no problems taking potential over strictly numbers here. Evans can still be a deep threat, even if his numbers in Buffalo do not necessarily show that. This is still a guy that just two years ago had 1000 yards receiving and while he isn't the youngest guy in the NFL, it is still only his 8th season in the league, far from a washed up point for wide receivers. And having Anquan Boldin opposite him is only going to help him get more single coverage this year. If he gets 800 yards receiving and 5-7 touchdowns then I think I have done good work here, if not than I vastly overrated him.

  11. Danny Amendola WR, St Louis – My Lee Evans insurance policy, Amendola emerged as Sam Bradford's #1 option last year in his first year as the quarterback of the Rams. The 689 yards receiving aren't great, but again for you PPR kids out there, he did pull 89 catches, that is 89 points right there without even gaining a yard. Worse fates have befallen far greater franchises in the 11th round. As an added bonus, he also returns kicks and punts (for leagues that score in those categories), so his 2364 all purpose yards led the entire NFL last season.

  12. Rashad Jennings RB, Jacksonville – All I can say is if you are reading this thinking I am the smartest guy in the room, this pick should give you pause as proof I didn't do all of my homework, Jennings is on the IR and will not be playing any time soon. I have already IR ed him and picked up Montario Hardesty to fill his roster spot.

  13. Brandon Pettigrew TE, Detroit – A backup to Owens, Pettigrew had a good season last year, getting over 700 yards receiving. And let's not kid anyone, Daniels isn't a sure thing to keep from being injured, he was on the shelf for a significant portion of last season. Should both stay healthy then I might even be able to run two tight ends on weeks where I need to cover for players on byes. Not an ideal situation, but at least it gives me the option.

  14. Shaun Suisham K, Pittsburgh – I told you I save my kickers and defenses for late. Suisham's numbers when stacked up against other kickers will not look all that impressive but remember he joined the Steelers half way through the season last year, before that he was sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring. If you are buying into the notion that the Steelers have an explosive offense (I am, they led the league in plays of 20+ yards last season), then getting the kicker that is part of this offense isn't out of the question. As far as leg strength goes, he did nail a 52 yarder in the Steelers last preseason game and is 14-15 from 40-49 yards over the last three seasons.

  15. St Louis Rams defense – This was based on three reasons, 1) the Rams made quite a few moves in the off season to improve this unit. It may not be the Bears circa 1995, but it will not be the Rams circa 2010 either, 2) The Rams offense is not the explosive sort that will put together three and four play scoring drives, most drives are going to be of the longer play variety which means the defense will not be on the field. The easiest way for your defense to not give up points is to not be on the field, and 3) the Rams play in the worst division in football. That right there means you have 5 games where they are guaranteed to play some shitty competition (they play San Francisco in Week 17, but most leagues have finished play by then), which can only help. Throw in dates with Washington, Cleveland and Cincinnati and half of there schedule (8 of the 16 fantasy weeks) is against very beatable competition.

And now the lowdown on how those picks panned out

  1. This turned out to be the safest pick of the early ones, Rice lived up to his billing for the most part, Charles ended up with a season ending injury early on and Johnson was far from spectacular this season. Maybe I would have been better with Rodgers, who looks like he will win MVP of the league, but Rice was more than adequate as the third overall pick.

  2. Let the disaster begin. I figured with Marion Barber and Tashard Choice out of the picture in Dallas, the running back job would be Jones's to lose. Well guess what? He lost it. His yards from scrimmage fell from 1250 to 719 and his touchdowns from 2 to 1.

  3. I projected 60 catches and 1000 yards for Jackson. After 15 games he has 58 catches and 1077 yards.

  4. Okay, well now I know why he was available in the 4th round, his numbers were roughly half that of last year. In fact he was so mediocre that he ended p getting traded to the St. Louis Rams, a black hole of offensive talent if ever there was one.

  5. His numbers were good when he played, but the problem was that he didn't play enough, suffering a season ending injury and limiting the amount of time he was in my starting lineup (10 weeks). Add to that that my backup QB on draft day (Kevin Kolb, round 9) also got injured and I had two other replacements for Schaub also suffer season ending injuries (Jay Cutler (1 week), Matt Leinart (one week)) and the QB position was just awful this year.

  6. Another guy that was playing well, just not long enough. Season ending injury (broken leg)cut short what would have been a very productive year (934 yards rushing, 442 yards receiving, 6 TDs in 10 games).

  7. An okay selection that was made a tad less useful when Schaub went down with a season ending injury, thus ending my dreams of double points.

  8. His numbers look far more like his rookie season than they look like from last year. Part of the problem would be that he ended up playing with a rookie quarterback at least part of the year, but when a #1 wide receiver is averaging slightly over just 3 catches a game (14 games, 43 catches) then this has to be labeled a bust pick.

  9. See #5, Kolb got injured before I even had a chance to play him for the one week where he was going to be a bye week replacement.

  10. Another bust pick, I didn't expect much from him at least, which is good because I didn't get much from him either. But did anyone expect just 4 catches for the year? Wow, that my friends, is the very definition of suck.

  11. Another in a list of walking wounded, Amendola played just 4 games before suffering a season ending injury. If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all.

  12. Well at least he was hurt before I drafted him. I still hoped he might be able to contribute at some point, that point never came. Thanks for playing, we have some lovely parting gifts.

  13. One of the few picks late that was actually decent, Pettigrew put up numbers comparable to last season.

  14. It's a kicker, what do you expect. Ideally he could have been a little more accurate (21-28) or had a stronger leg (only one over 50 yards), but picking a kicker is always a crap shoot. Don't believe me? Consider this, the four best kickers in the league in terms of field goals came from the following teams, San Francisco, Dallas, Cincinnati and Washington.

  15. On this one I admittedly dropped the ball, I thought the defense would be better and the team would have an easy time with their division opponents (6 games). I was wrong on both counts.

And that is post draft wrap kids. Some times it would seem I just don't know what the hell it is I am talking about.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 327 - The end of an era

With less than 48 hours to go, I guess it is about time to close the book on the Multiply 365 project.  I ended up a little less than 40 blogs short, though with all of the stolen content, karaoke fridays, asshats and videos thrown in, I imagine the actual count to the blog was closer to 500 entries for the year.  All in all not a bad years work, but short of the target goal.  As I sit here I am still not sure whether I want to continue this into a second straight year.  Just because I was wine for about 9 por 10 months before the grind of trying to blog every day just hit me.  And I am not sure that grind will be lifted simply by the changing of the calendar year.  Plus, when I blog I like to have something to write about, and there were too many times where I was blogging not because I had something to write, but simply because I was filling the page with nonsense.

Not that all of the entries were bad, truth be told I liked more than I didn't but I don't want to just throw stuff on the page and hope it reads okay.  And really, if it wasn't for me actually paying attention to the page, I never would have met Jen so something far greater than reading enjoyment came out of this project for me. 

But that doesn't mean I have the energy to try to attempt this again, it is somthing that I am still mulling around in my cranium.  Maybe I will go ahead and do it, maybe not, maybe it will come back in a different form, like once a week versus once a day, I really haven't decided yet. 

I guess we all will find out in a couple of days.  Until then.....

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 326 - The results are in

Final results for all three of my fantasy football league teams this season

League                Regular Season        Playoff Bracket          Playoff  Record          Result

State of Champs   5-9                          Consolation               1-1 (57-67, 63-53)      11th place

Celtic Warriors      10-3-1                     Championship            2-0 (268-160, 216-188)  1st place

Madden All Star Friends  10-3              Championship            1-1 (99.2-102.08, 111.76-104.14)  5th

Multiply 365 Day 325 - Sloth like

That sound you hear is my brain cells screaming, as I am killing them off. It is almost noon here and so far I have subject myself to two cups of coffee, and Steve Wilkos with Maury Povich yet to come. This is literally about as unproductive as I can possibly, at least without lying completely motionless in a puddle of my own drool.

I do have some things that I plan on doing today, a little post holiday visiting and dinner out tonight at the Train Station restaurant here in Indiana, but for now I am trying to do as little as is humanly possible, for no other reason than because I can.

I would post a link to the restaurant, but they don't seem to have a webpage, so I guess that will just have to wait until I get back to Pittsburgh and upload some pics for everyone, but it is a pretty neat place, a restored train station near the heart of downtown Indiana, PA. I have been there once so far and the food was pretty good, and the restoration of the old train station was very nice. But before any of that can happen, I guess I should shower and pretend like I am useful or something. Toodles!

Multiply 365 Day 324 - Invisible ink

Well, barring a flurry of writing on my part, it doesn't look like I will be getting the 365 blog entries I had planned on back in January. It hasn't been for lack of writing, just lack of writing for public consumption. I continue to write on a nightly basis, usually for hours on end and I am sure some of it is quite funny and or entertaining, but it is for an audience of one, not many.

Since I started talking to Jen online over three months ago, I can honestly say that I would be hard pressed to find a day where we did not write to each other. Sometimes it will just be once or twice, other times it will consist of a plethora of messages over different mediums, but the writing has been there. Most nights it can be anywhere from 2 to 8 or more hours in length, and really after putting in a long day of writing I just haven't been inclined to turn around, stare at a computer screen and start writing all over again.

So I guess in the most basic of terms the 365 project is a failure. There wasn't a blog every day, nor was there a total of 365 blogs throughout the year, but from a strictly content perspective, I am quite certain I have never written so much in my entire life, let alone written so much that I am happy with overall. If the 365 project is labeled a failure, but at the end of the day I am with someone that I care deeply about, then I will take that over 365 entries and ending the year as lonely as I started it. It is a trade off I would make any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 323 - Island of misfit or broken toys

So here I am, fully ensconced in my yearly vacation, having just had dinner (steak, french fries, green beans) and figured I would write about some things that happened before I was sent on my merry vacationing way.

My last day of work before taking a week off was on Thursday, and while the day started okay, it didn't quite end that way. Around noon I started the countdown, that is, I kept announcing how much time was left before I went on vacation, so I started with the whole 'T minus 3 hours and counting....” that I do when something is about to happen. I do that sometimes when Sammy and I are planning a Deluca's run on Saturday, with my countdown starting as early as two days before we actually go, so the fact I waited until 3 hours were left to start the personal clock on my vacation countdown was what I would argue was a considerable amount of restraint on my part.

But the thing was, as soon as I opened my mouth was when things all started spiraling downhill. My first announcement that I had 3 hours left was met with some disappointment from Clare, who apparently was going to be doing some baking for the staff Thursday night and bring in the confectionery goodness on Friday, with me leaving I guess that means I was going to miss out on whatever she had planned on baking for me.

That was just the small disappointment for far greater disappointments to come however. By the time I had made my first time announcement, the Coke order had already been delivered and I had placed the grocery order for Friday for our other store, Universal News, and given how slow things were with the students at the Art Institute and Point Park University already gone for the holidays, business was incredibly slow, so getting things done on time didn't seem like it would be much of an issue.

I started putting together the order for our store to be delivered on Friday, I did the deli order at my desk, as well as the tobacco order and then ventured off to our cigarette room, where I did a quick inventory for us and then put together our cigarette order.

The device I used for ordering is call a Telxon, it is a handheld device with a wand and a keypad and a speaker on the back. What you do is basically enter the items into the device one of two ways, either by using the wand and running it over the shelf tag and then inputting the quantity of the item you would like, or you can manually input the 6 digit item number and then inputting the quantity that you need. After you have everything you need in the device, you then go to a telephone, call the appropriate 1-800 number, hold the speaker of the unit against the phone's receiver and press send. And electronic signal is then sent down the phone line and received on the other end which is all of the items you ordered.

As I am on the floor doing the grocery order, the last piece I need to do before sending the order in, I was joking with the staff, I was down to like one and a half hours before I was done for a week and Sammy and I were joking about something when one of us said something funny. What it was, I don't even remember, so I guess it couldn't have been that funny after all, but I was laughing hard enough that I had stomped my left foot on the floor as a point of emphasis. That was a mistake.

Long time readers of the blog know that earlier this year I had a problem with my foot, what that problem was I really do not know, but for a few months it was incredibly hard to walk on, so a day at work was pretty much an agonizing thing. But that issue seemed to have healed up, I haven't had an issue with my foot in months. Until Thursday. As soon as I stomped my foot, a pain shot right through my heel, sharp enough that I spent the rest of the day (and a couple of days afterward) literally hobbling around. Once again it was hard to walk.

Still I mustered on, at that point I had no idea that I would suffer for a few days for what was an apparent stupid move on my part. I continued putting the order in when I noticed that the volume on the Telxon got considerably lower. Usually when you scan or input an item, there is a beeping sound that goes with the pressing of the keys, now I couldn't hear it unless I held the unit very close to my ear. Again I didn't think too much of it, if the unit could still send an order and have it received at the other end, then all was good, I don't need to hear anything, I just have to make sure I am careful in putting the order in.

So I finish the order and head down to my desk to go ahead and send the order in. The phone on my desk is apiece of work. Usually it will work, but if I have to hang up and place another call there are problems with getting the dial tone to come back. So I call the 1-800 number to place the order and the line is busy, so I have to try again, but when I go to call them a second time I can't get a dial tone. I spend a good 5 minutes fighting with the phone before I manage to get a dial tone and get through so I can send the order. I hold the unit up to the receiver and press send and I can faintly hear the tone being sent down the line. When it is complete I bring the receiver back to my ear where I get the message “Excessive phone line errors, please hang up and call again”. So now I am worried that I may have a problem with the unit itself, so I call our grocery provider to see if there isn't a way I can amplify the volume so the audio will get through. If ever you want to see why we outsource customer service jobs, call customer service for Sledd some time, there suggested solution was to place a piece of tissue paper between the unit and the receiver and send the order again, because obviously when the sound isn't loud enough the first thing you want to do is place more items between the two devices. Their proposed solution was one generation removed from the two cups and string solution.

So I continue fighting with a defective phone and a defective Telxon unit, trying another 5 or so times to get the order in. With my vacation coming up, I couldn't just blow the order off, I had to put something in before I went away. And so I was going to just called them and read the order in, which would have taken quite a bit of time, but even that option was taken from me when the Telxon quit working entirely.

Instead I had to go to our other store, grab their Telxon unit, come back to our store and redo the entire order. So for the last hour of work I ended up doing that which I had already done, then hobbled off to start my vacation. So while I am all kinds of relaxed and stuff now, it didn't start off that way.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 322 - Actual Christmas

Just sitting here drinking my second cup of coffee trying to be functional this Christmas afternoon.  Yes, afternoon, because we didn't really start doing the present thing till well after 11am, due in large part to the fact that some of us (me) were up very late wrapping presents, because I am working on my Procrastination Boy Scout merit badge.  It didn't help that the presents I needed to wrap for for the people here, and they weren't exactly going to be at a normal time either.  Thankfully I had Jen online keeping me company while I was in all kinds of stealth wrapping mode, talking to her early Christmas morning just was the best present I could ask for.  Everything after that was gravy. 

But because I didn't finish until around 5am I was not going to be one of those people poking around under the tree at 6am.  Even now I am thinking a nap may be called for, because I only got a few hours of sleep.  Thus the two cups of coffee so far, and an extended forecast would say there is probably a 50% chance of more coffee as the day progresses. 

Anyway, just wanted to do a quick Christmas check in.  I will be posting Christmas pics at some point, though probably not for a week or so, that is when I will be back in the friendly confines of Pittsburgh and reunited (and it feels so good, credit to Peaches and Herb ) with my Kodak software.  For now I best get back to the family.   Toodles!!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Asshat - The Christmas edition

Yes, it has been a while since I added an Asshat to the page, but really this has to be here.  After all, it embodies that which is Asshat worthy, a combination of the requisite amounts of tragedy and stupidity.  So your Christmas nominee for Asshat is one Wayne Mitchell, who died after eating cocaine out of his brother's ass.  No word on what killed him, the coke or the ass.  But here with the highlights, ........

Man Eats Cocaine From Brother's Butt, Dies

Police: Man Trying To Hide Drug Evidence In Squad Car

POSTED: 9:13 am CST December 20, 2011
UPDATED: 9:18 am CST December 20, 2011
A South Carolina man's brother died after police said he was forced to eat cocaine hidden in his brother's backside.Both brothers were taken into custody on allegations they had drugs in their car.But police told Charleston, S.C., TV station WCIV there were additional drugs hidden in 23-year-old Deangelo Mitchell's backside.Officers said Deangelo Mitchell convinced his brother, 20-year-old Wayne Mitchell, to swallow the ounce of cocaine to hide the evidence. He died soon afterward."It's sickening," North Charleston Police Chief Jon Zumalt told WCIV. "I got upset when I saw the thing. I was pretty shocked on it."Deangelo Mitchell already bonded out of jail on the drug charge, but now police are looking for him again on charges of involuntary manslaughter.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 321 - Early Christmas

Season's greetings everyone. Hopefully everyone is having a good December thus far. Me, well I celebrated Christmas on Friday. It wasn't a regularly scheduled Christmas, it was more of an impromptu one.

The thing is, I decided about a week or so ago I was going to send Jen her Christmas present because I wanted to make sure it had reached her before the holiday rather than after. So sometime around the middle of last week I went ahead and wrapped her gifts, filled out the required customs forms and shipped them off to her. In the box I had sent her a movie (“Better Off Dead”, which unbelievably she had never seen), a CD (The Best of Etta James, we both love the song “At Last”) an Amazon Kindle, a stocking with lots of sugary treats and some hopefully useful items like pens, a mini stapler and the like.

Now I knew from previous experience that if I send something to her, especially a box, it will take 5 or 6 business days to reach her under normal Priority Mail shipping (all packages leaving the US must go at least as Priority Mail, though you can upgrade to a faster service), so I wanted to make sure her gift arrived on time. I figured it would arrive around Thursday or Friday of this week. Meanwhile, Jen had told me she shipped my gift on Wednesday of this week and I should have it by Monday or Tuesday of next week. Not that she had to get me anything, I already told her that she was a gift enough, but she wanted to send me something anyway.

So Friday I get out of work a little bit early and I decide I am going to go home and just relax a little bit, no need to be anywhere until Saturday. I run a couple of errands downtown, just picking up some things for my apartment and because I took a different bus home I was actually back at my apartment about 15-20 minutes ahead of schedule. Usually the first thing I do when I get home is check my mailbox, even before I unlock my apartment, so I stick the key in the box and turn it and there is two things in there, one was just a sales flier which I ended up throwing away, the other was a parcel card from the post office. Cards are put in boxes when a package to be delivered is too big to be left on the doorstep. So I drop my stuff in my apartment and head over to the Post Office.

As I am walking over to the Post Office I start examining the parcel card. Parcel cards don't tell much, only that there is something to be picked up and what time it will be available and some other very basic information. As I am examining my card I look and where it says from is simply listed as Canada. Now all of a sudden I am nervous. Because I know Jen lives there, but her package isn't due till next week sometime, so why would I be getting a parcel from Canada? Then it hits me, I must have fucked up my customs form, because they ask you to list everything in the box when you send a parcel, and I didn't write each and every thing I put in Jen's Christmas stocking (yes, I sent and actual stocking), I just wrote Christmas stocking on the customs form, and now because I didn't claim each individual item they refused to allow the package into Canada, and instead sent it back to me.

So I am walking to the Post Office in a pretty somber mood, because until I fix everything and send it back out, with holiday mail traffic, there is a very good chance she will not get her Christmas presents till after Christmas. I am just not looking forward to this at all.

I get to the Post Office and stand in line and eventually I am up at the counter where a mail lady (as close to an oxymoron as I will type this evening) takes my parcel card and asks for my ID. I show her that, she goes in the back at typical mail employee speed, which is just short of not moving at all, and proceeds to bring out a white box from the back. Now I am really depressed, because I know Jen's package is also a white box, and when it is set on the counter I have the bottom of the box facing me, with a bar code and I know for a fact that the box I sent Jen also has a bar code on the bottom. Anyway, the mail lady says I have to sign something, then asks for my address and I am thinking, what the fuck do you need my address for, just to return a package I had already sent. But I do as I am told, sign my life away and am given the box so I can go.

As I get outside the Post Office I look at the top of the box and I don't recognize the handwriting. I just know that it isn't mine. That is when I start to read it and see that the package isn't from me at all, but addressed to me. And there is an express mail sticker on it. Jen had apparently sent my Christmas gift express, just to make sure it arrived before I went home on vacation the following week. Needless to say I was shocked.

So I get home and about an hour or so later I see Jen come online, and I tell her what happened, relaying the story much as I have done for you. She tells me to hold on a minute and gets on her laptop so we can talk via voice, rather than typing everything and wants me to open my gifts. Let me just say wow and double wow. I certainly didn't expect that. There are times when you get presents and they are okay and all, I mean you don't return them, but you know that whoever bought them did so more as a guess than because they actually know you. That wasn't an issue here. In the box were 3 different seasons of The West Wing on DVD, Band of Brothers on DVD, a Penguins jersey and a Penguins t shirt. I was just stunned, plain and simple. And as we talked I found out that not only did my package not get sent back by customs, but was apparently waiting for her at home when she got off work, so a few hours later we got to repeat the process in reverse with me listening to her as she opened her Christmas presents as well.

Christmas came early and not in any sort of traditional fashion, certainly not in a manner I had planned on celebrating it, but still it was spent with the woman I love and I really can't complain about that.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Stolen Content - Classic Hitch

Mommie Dearest

The pope beatifies Mother Teresa, a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud.

Mother Teresa: No saint
Mother Teresa: No saint

I think it was Macaulay who said that the Roman Catholic Church deserved great credit for, and owed its longevity to, its ability to handle and contain fanaticism. This rather oblique compliment belongs to a more serious age. What is so striking about the "beatification" of the woman who styled herself "Mother" Teresa is the abject surrender, on the part of the church, to the forces of showbiz, superstition, and populism.


It's the sheer tawdriness that strikes the eye first of all. It used to be that a person could not even be nominated for "beatification," the first step to "sainthood," until five years after his or her death. This was to guard against local or popular enthusiasm in the promotion of dubious characters. The pope nominated MT a year after her death in 1997. It also used to be that an apparatus of inquiry was set in train, including the scrutiny of an advocatus diaboli or "devil's advocate," to test any extraordinary claims. The pope has abolished this office and has created more instant saints than all his predecessors combined as far back as the 16th century.

As for the "miracle" that had to be attested, what can one say? Surely any respectable Catholic cringes with shame at the obviousness of the fakery. A Bengali woman named Monica Besra claims that a beam of light emerged from a picture of MT, which she happened to have in her home, and relieved her of a cancerous tumor. Her physician, Dr. Ranjan Mustafi, says that she didn't have a cancerous tumor in the first place and that the tubercular cyst she did have was cured by a course of prescription medicine. Was he interviewed by the Vatican's investigators? No. (As it happens, I myself was interviewed by them but only in the most perfunctory way. The procedure still does demand a show of consultation with doubters, and a show of consultation was what, in this case, it got.)

According to an uncontradicted report in the Italian paper L'Eco di Bergamo, the Vatican's secretary of state sent a letter to senior cardinals in June, asking on behalf of the pope whether they favored making MT a saint right away. The pope's clear intention has been to speed the process up in order to perform the ceremony in his own lifetime. The response was in the negative, according to Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, the Canadian priest who has acted as postulator or advocate for the "canonization." But the damage, to such integrity as the process possesses, has already been done.

During the deliberations over the Second Vatican Council, under the stewardship of Pope John XXIII, MT was to the fore in opposing all suggestions of reform. What was needed, she maintained, was more work and more faith, not doctrinal revision. Her position was ultra-reactionary and fundamentalist even in orthodox Catholic terms. Believers are indeed enjoined to abhor and eschew abortion, but they are not required to affirm that abortion is "the greatest destroyer of peace," as MT fantastically asserted to a dumbfounded audience when receiving the Nobel Peace Prize *. Believers are likewise enjoined to abhor and eschew divorce, but they are not required to insist that a ban on divorce and remarriage be a part of the state constitution, as MT demanded in a referendum in Ireland (which her side narrowly lost) in 1996. Later in that same year, she told Ladies Home Journal that she was pleased by the divorce of her friend Princess Diana, because the marriage had so obviously been an unhappy one …

This returns us to the medieval corruption of the church, which sold indulgences to the rich while preaching hellfire and continence to the poor. MT was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction. And she was a friend to the worst of the rich, taking misappropriated money from the atrocious Duvalier family in Haiti (whose rule she praised in return) and from Charles Keating of the Lincoln Savings and Loan. Where did that money, and all the other donations, go? The primitive hospice in Calcutta was as run down when she died as it always had been—she preferred California clinics when she got sick herself—and her order always refused to publish any audit. But we have her own claim that she opened 500 convents in more than a hundred countries, all bearing the name of her own order. Excuse me, but this is modesty and humility?

The rich world has a poor conscience, and many people liked to alleviate their own unease by sending money to a woman who seemed like an activist for "the poorest of the poor." People do not like to admit that they have been gulled or conned, so a vested interest in the myth was permitted to arise, and a lazy media never bothered to ask any follow-up questions. Many volunteers who went to Calcutta came back abruptly disillusioned by the stern ideology and poverty-loving practice of the "Missionaries of Charity," but they had no audience for their story. George Orwell's admonition in his essay on Gandhi—that saints should always be presumed guilty until proved innocent—was drowned in a Niagara of soft-hearted, soft-headed, and uninquiring propaganda.

One of the curses of India, as of other poor countries, is the quack medicine man, who fleeces the sufferer by promises of miraculous healing. Sunday was a great day for these parasites, who saw their crummy methods endorsed by his holiness and given a more or less free ride in the international press. Forgotten were the elementary rules of logic, that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and that what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence. More than that, we witnessed the elevation and consecration of extreme dogmatism, blinkered faith, and the cult of a mediocre human personality. Many more people are poor and sick because of the life of MT: Even more will be poor and sick if her example is followed. She was a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud, and a church that officially protects those who violate the innocent has given us another clear sign of where it truly stands on moral and ethical questions.

Correction, Oct. 21, 2003: This piece originally claimed that in her Nobel Peace Prize lecture, Mother Teresa called abortion and contraception the greatest threats to world peace. In that speech Mother Teresa did call abortion "the greatest destroyer of peace." But she did not much discuss contraception, except to praise "natural" family planning.(Return to corrected sentence.)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sad blog news

In Memoriam: Christopher Hitchens, 1949–2011

By Gasper Tringale.

Christopher Hitchens—the incomparable critic, masterful rhetorician, fiery wit, and fearless bon vivant—died today at the age of 62. Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in the spring of 2010, just after the publication of his memoir, Hitch-22, and began chemotherapy soon after. His matchless prose has appeared in Vanity Fair since 1992, when he was named contributing editor.

“Cancer victimhood contains a permanent temptation to be self-centered and even solipsistic,” Hitchens wrote nearly a year ago in Vanity Fair, but his own final labors were anything but: in the last 12 months, he produced for this magazine a piece on U.S.-Pakistani relations in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death, a portrait of Joan Didion, an essay on the Private Eye retrospective at the Victoria and Albert Museum, a prediction about the future of democracy in Egypt, a meditation on the legacy of progressivism in Wisconsin, and a series of frank, graceful, and exquisitely written essays in which he chronicled the physical and spiritual effects of his disease. At the end, Hitchens was more engaged, relentless, hilarious, observant, and intelligent than just about everyone else—just as he had been for the last four decades.

“My chief consolation in this year of living dyingly has been the presence of friends,” he wrote in the June 2011 issue. He died in their presence, too, at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. May his 62 years of living, well, so livingly console the many of us who will miss him dearly.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 320 - The occupation will not be televised

Occupy Pittsburgh, our own little sect of the Occupy movement, has a unique distinction among Occupy groups, that being that rather than set up on public property, they were set up on private land, a park owned by BNY Mellon. For the most part the banking giant has been fairly tolerant of their new neighbors, but this past week they finally decided that it is time for the Occupiers to go. In a press relase saying that the Occupiers had to be out by Sunday, BNY Mellon cited the potential risks that are involved in camping outside in winter, risks that the banking giant would take on if they allowed the protestors to remain on their property.

Of course the Occupiers do not want to leave, in fact they are claiming that they will "seize" the park from BNY Mellon and serve them with an eviction notice.

Okay, I think it is just about that time. When an organization refuses to recognize private property rights and instead opts to trespass and not leave when asked to, there really is only one solution, that being to put the the protestors in a place where they can stay as long as they want, with no fear of ever being rousted or asked to leave. That of course would be a jail cell.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 319 - Dial M for murder (or at least mash this keyboard)

If this were Sesame Street, this blog might be brought to you by the letter M, except that it couldn't be. One of my blogging issues these days is simply the m key. Yes, my laptop is functioning without one of those, first it just would work part of the time, maybe every third or fourth time I would press it I would get an m, but the problem has gotten progressively worse, to the point where now it doesn't work at all.

Mind you, I can always just go over to my desktop and blog from there, all of the keys are functional on that piece of equipment, but there is something to be said for being able to blog from wherever, just by cracking open the laptop and typing away. And I still take the laptop to work with me every day, so not having an m key is a little bit of a pain in the ass. I could just buy a new laptop, or at least a new refurbished one. Checking Ebay the other day, the same company I bought this one from is now selling a newer version of the same model laptop (Dell Latitude) with Windows 7 (I am still running XP on this one) for around the same price as I got this one for. And I don't blame them for my laptop issues, I have had this one for a while now and it literally goes everywhere with me, back home when I visit the family, to work every day; it has definitely logged a couple of miles and plenty of usage in the time I have had it. And technically it is still usable, while the m key is gone, I am using a little workaround where I pull up the virtual keyboard and just point and click on the m whenever I need one. Which it turns out, is quite often.

I guess that is one of the problems with having a name like Matt, any time I write it I need that damn key. And I am pretty much guaranteed to be firing off a few email missives each day just for work. But not having the key just gives me another reason not to blog, it is hard enough to come up ideas on what to blog about, it is more of a pain to have an idea and know that in order to get it down on the page I have to go through some convoluted method to actually take an idea and turn it into a blog entry.

Not that that is the only reason I haven't been blogging as much recently, it isn't even the main reason, but it is just another one.

Multiply 365 Day 318 - Fantasy update

Sitting here watching the Pne - Islanders game and it is time for the first intermission, so I figured this is as good a tile as any to blog.  But what to blog about?   Hmmmm.  Well I haven't talked about my fantasy football teams in a while, so I might as well go ahead and cover that topic this evening.

For the record, I am involved in three leagues this year as well as one survivor pool.  The survivor pool is over for me, the premise o iyt is relatively simple, each week you take a look at the entire schedule of NFL games and pick one team yhou think will win.  If you lose you are done, if you win then you move on to the next week, the only stipulation being you can pick a team you have previously used.  The pool started with 44 people in it, I managed to make the final three before being eliminated.  But because it is like Highlander (there can be only one), technically I didn't win, though I will take a third place finish.

As for football leagues, most are either starting their playoffs or will do so next week.  Of the three leagues I am in, I made the playoffs in two of them.  Of course the one league where I didn't make the playoffs was the one league I actually paid to get in, the bar league that I have been in for around two decades now.  That team, well, let's just say it didn't do too well.  We are playing our last week of the season and my record is 4-9. which eliminates me from any talk of playoff consideration.  Admittedly I didn't have my best draft in that league, but I was killed with injuries as well.  I lost Fred Jackson (who I drafted in all three leagues) when he broke his leg.  Losing a starting running back who is set to rush for 1000 yards (he had 934 yards rushing when he went down with an injury) is a pretty big blow to most fantasy teams, but it was the quarterback carousel that I ended up being on that really killed me.  I started with Matt Schaub, who was decent when I had him, but he fell to the season ending injury bug when he hurt his foot.  That sent me scrambling to the free agent wire, where I picked up Jay Cutler, who lasted one week before he too fell victim to the season ending injury bug.  Back to the free agent wire, I decided to take a flier on Matt Leinart, Schaub's back up in Houston.  That experiment lasted about one quarter of one game before Leinart would end his season with a broken collarbone.  That's right, I lost three quarterbacks in three weeks.  That takes skill right there.  

In the other league I am in on Yahoo, I have clinched a playoff spot with a 10-3 record.  The only real question is what seed I will be in the playoffs, either #1 or #2.  There is one other team wioth an identical 10-3 mark, though they hold the tiebreaker (points scored), so I will need to win and have the other team lose for the #1 spot, otherwise I will enter the playoffs as the #2 seed.

Lastly there is the Madden/Facebook league, where our playoffs start this weekend.  Again I made the playoffs with a 10-3 record, but the league has 12 teams and 10-3 was only good for the #3 seed.  The top two seeds (and first round byes) went to two teams with 11-2 records.  But in that league you needed to be no worse than 8-5 just to get a playoff spot (6 of 12 teams qualify), it was pretty competitive for most of the year.  So I will start the playoffs against the 6th seeded team and go from there.  

Anyway, that is a quick update on the fantasy teams.  And now the hockey game is back on, so I am outta here.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Karaoke Friday - The hockey edition

I know, another feature that has slipped from the blog, but with me having a pair of tickets to Monday night's hockey game (Penguins - Bruins), it seemed like a good time to add this little ditty to the Karaoke list, since it is played every time the Pens score a goal


I got my head checked
By a jumbo jet
It wasn't easy
But nothing is,
No -

When I feel heavy metal WOOHOO!
And I'm pins and I'm needles WOOHOO!
Well I lie and I'm easy
All of the time but I'm never sure why I need you
Pleased to meet you!

I got my head done
When I was young
It's not my problem
It's not my - problem -

When I feel heavy metal WOOHOO!
And I'm pins and I'm needles WOOHOO!
Well I lie and I'm easy
All of the time but I'm never sure why I need you
Pleased to meet you!

Yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah
Oh, yeah

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 316 - Updates? We don't need no stinking updates

     I guess it is about time for my monthly update. Okay, so I don't have a monthly update per se, but it has been a little while since I talked about me here.  Maybe that is a good thing, at times when I talk too much about me I feel I come off as whiny.  But recently I haven't been talking about myself as much, maybe my life isn't whiny enough to be blog worthy.

     Because really life has been okay.  As far as work goes, well, it is work.  By definition it can't be all great, but it's not all bad either.  No real complaints, and hey, I did get another pair of hockey tickets for Monday night's game against the Bruins.  How much bitching can one do when they show up for work and someone hands them two $210 ducats to a Pens game?  Really?

      And my personal life is still moving along pretty swimmingly too.  Jen and I have been together for 2 and half months now, hardly long in the grand scheme of things, but every relationship has to start somewhere, and I would like to think we are starting off pretty darn well.  The biggest problem is the problem that plagues all online relationships I'd imagine, just the desire to want to be there when things aren't going well and knowing you can't be.  Sure, you do the best you can with what you have, but there is something to being able to look someone in the eyes, or take them in your arms when they are upset and online you just can't do that.  Not that we are awash in bad times, just the opposite in fact, she makes me happy everyday.  Sometimes it is just a simple note in my email at work, an evening where we are chatting and the time flows effortlessly by, or going to the mailbox and seeing something in there from her, whatever the means she just makes every day a little more special.  

     And there my friends is the blogging problem.  How can I come here and bitch about my life when there is nothing to bitch about?  If being happy means I don't blog as much, well I can live with that.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 315 - Breaking blog

Okay, I am sitting here, the TV is on and because it is Saturday afternoon, about the only thing I have found worth watching is college football. Not that watching a football game is bad, but I have no real rooting interest in either of the teams that are on right now.

That being said, I was troubled by something I just saw. There was a breaking news item. Now to me, something that is breaking news is of relative import, a national tragedy or crisis, maybe something that the President will be commenting on later in the evening. Instead what the breaking news was was that Herman Cain, whose poll numbers have been floundering of recent because of alleged extramarital affairs and claims of sexual harassment, was dropping his bid to win the Republican nomination to run for President..

Sorry kinds, a candidate whose poll numbers were running in the single digits deciding to up and quit his primary campaign just isn't worth of breaking into regularly scheduled programming. Does it have a place in the newcast in the evening? Sure it does, but it isn't of such great significance that normal programming needs to be interrupted.

I realize that news is now a business, and the more shock and awe a newscast can generate, the more eyeballs it has the potential to attract, the more advertisers will pay to be there. But the more one cries wolf, the less chance people will listen when an actual wolf is at the door.

Multiply 365 Day 314 - Scientologists taste like chicken

It happened again. I had mentioned the strange disappearance of "Jesus on a Stick" guy, how he used to be on the same street corner every Thursday, shouting at all of us sinners and non believers, as if the power of his voice, and his stick could somehow shed light into our utterly dark souls. Then a movie crew came into town, and with it the Grand Poobah of Scientologists, Tom Cruise and before you could know it, "Jesus on a Stick" guy was gone. Now maybe it was just a coincidence that those two events should happen so close together, maybe not, who knows.
But now it has happened again. The master of all things Scientological is still in town, and another of those familiar faces has disappeared, someone that I call "Fucking Chicken Lady". She earned that name from the day I first saw her, she was standing outside our store with a male companion. Nothing unusual about that, there is a bus stop there after all and people do still take buses to all parts of the city. What was unusual was the conversation she was having with her male companion, which basically consisted of her yelling at him. There weren't even any pauses to breathe in her diatribe, nor breaks for punctuation in her speech. It was like something out of "The Exorcist" or something, but instead of channeling anti-Christian words, instead what was coming out of her mouth sounded like this, "Where'smyfuckingchicken?Yousaidyouweregoingtogetsomefuckingchicken.Ididn'tgetnofuckingchicken.Where'smyfuckingchicken?" With that one frenzied, poultry laced diatribe, "Fucking Chicken" lady was born.
The thing is, now she too is gone. She hasn't been seen in better than a month. If one person disappears it is just a coincidence, if two disappear it starts to feel like a trend. But what is the end game? Why are the Scientologists collecting Christians and chicken lovers? Maybe if it were rotisserie chicken it could be explained away as a fascination with sticks. Or maybe there is some diabolical experiment going on to determine which came first, the Christian or the egg.
Whatever the case may be, I am just hoping they don't come looking for French fry lovers, because then I am screwed.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 313 -Coal in your stocking

I like to Christmas shop, I really do.  I like going out and seeing if I can't use my own unique skill set to find something for someone that, even if they didn't ask for that particular item, it turns out it is something they actually like.  Sometimes I hit the nail on the head, like when I picked out the sweater for my aunt last year that I found in a Native American shop.  Other times I am not quite as good.  I am still waiting for my parents to actually connect their HD TV I got them last year or the Blu Ray player I got them the year before.

So while I like to shop, there are some things I will just not do.  Regardless of how great the deals are, I refuse to go out on Black Friday.  I realize that by not doing so I may end up paying a little more for a potential gift for someone, but there is a risk/reward factor involved here.  And I am not putting myself at risk to shop with a pack of hooligans simply to save a couple of shekels on a present.  We have all heard the horror stories, people being trampled on just to get to that item that is on sale.  This year was no different, people were camped out in front of stores days before Black Friday, almost like they were waiting for concert tickets for an act that rarely tours, rather than for an Xbox that they can get someplace else in a couple of days for a few dollars more.

Just this weekend we had stories of a woman who, instead of whipping out a can of whoop ass, instead decided to fire off a can of pepper spray in a crowd, just to guarantee that she got one of the elusive sale items.  Or the guys that waited outside a WalMart at 2am on Friday morning, just so they could rob people who were coming back to their cars, shooting one such customer before being apprehended.  When people ask me if I will be shopping on that day I just look at them and ask, are you fucking crazy?  I would rather being a guard at a high security prison, it would be safer.

So if you were looking for me to get you that special gift on Friday, that laptop that was on sale, or that TV you always wanted, I hate to break it to you, but you are going to be disappointed. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 312 - Or Thanksgiving?

Okay, I did the good portion of the holiday earlier, now comes the shitty part. The reason why I don't usually like Thanksgiving all that much is that for the most part it is the loneliest day of the year for me.

I know, why would anyone pick Thanksgiving for that? The thing is, I miss having all of my family under one roof. As a kid, all of my aunts and uncles, their kids and my grandparents would all be under one roof celebrating the holiday. Sure, the celebrating consisted of just sitting around and getting fat, or in some cases fatter, but it was everyone, under one roof, laughing and carrying on. It was the eagerness of wondering if this would be the year where I wouldn't have to sit at the kid's table, if I had grown up enough to sit with the adults. It was going outside and throwing a football around waiting for dinner to be ready, wondering if we could somehow get control of my grandparent's TV to watch the games that were on, suffering through the fact my grandmother would have the thermostat set too high again and we would be sweating just by being in the house.

But times change, people grow up and move on. Many of the grand kids I shared the kid's table with are now married with children of their own, my grandparent's have since passed away and work has kept me from going home spending time with my family far more often than I would like to count. So Thanksgiving in that regard has become a thankless task, a ritual in loneliness, getting up and going to work and acting like the day is no different than any other day, coming home to an empty apartment and wondering what food like substance will pass for the holiday meal this year. Making a big meal for one person seems so much like a waste, but sitting around eating Cher Boyardee just comes across as pathetic. There is no happy medium in that equation, just suck, no matter which way you turn.

For the most part this year has been really good, at times I would say far better than I deserve, but there are still moments like this, where I am sitting here eating a non holiday, holiday meal, alone in my apartment, wishing like hell I could sit at that kid's table again.

Multiply 365 Day 311 - Thanksgiving?

Well it is Thanksgiving, and that in and of itself doesn't mean much to me. Most years I would just sit here and treat this as a same old kind of day, but recently I have been thinking about what I am thankful for. Yeah, I know, shocks me too. But so much has changed in the last couple of months, that I have just grown to have a greater appreciation of some things more, and a willingness to express that, so without further ado, what I am thankful for.

I guess this list and my desire to write it really doesn't happen without Jennifer. I can't begin to express how thankful I am for her,.how much she means to me and how much my life is better simply because she is in it. Whether it be our long, late nite chats, or a simple note sent out of the blue through the course of the day , her mere presence has changed the way I look and feel about so many things.

My family and friends are also deserving of being on this list, for all of the love and support they have offered over the years. I am not always the most pleasant person to deal with, yet they have stood by me through the best and worst of times. Muchas gracias and all that jazz.

Thanks also to the fine readers of this here blog. It is easier to write knowing someone is reading, even if those people completely disagree with me from time to time. Yes, this page does not exist in a vacuum, even if I sometimes like to pretend it does.

I am also thankful to the people who apparently are blind. Twice in the past week I was asked yet again if I was losing weight. Really? For real? I know I am not on any sort of diet, so if I am losing weight, it is news to me.

I am also thankful that whatever foot pain I seemed to have for the better part of half of this year has seemingly went away. I can't begin to state just how much it hurt to even walk, yet my job requires me to be on my feet most of the day, which meant by the time I actually got home my foot would be throbbing with pain. Whatever that problem was though, it seems to have went away on its own, which is perfectly fine with me.

I am thankful for Burgers and Rice Bowl for introducing me to the wonders of the Cuban sandwich and for Deluca's, where I learned that pancakes and ice cream are perfectly good together for breakfast.

I guess my job should be mentioned on this list as well. I know it isn't the most important job on the planet, nor is it the highest paying, but it provides me enough of a challenge mentally and enough money to keep food in my belly and a roof over my head.

And thanks to all of the free apps I use that allow me to get free junk that I either keep for myself or give away to friends and family. Between Swagbucks, Mycokerewards,, Foodservicerewards and a few others, I have been able to do okay on collecting free stuff.

This would be the part of the show where the music starts playing and I am being escorted off of the stage, so I am sorry if I forgot someone in my little run of things to be thankful for, but if I did, I think you know who you are, so forgive my omission.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Yes I saw this last year and posted it then but it is about that time of year so the video is back... Enjoy!!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 310 - It doesn't happen often but....

I do not consider myself as having much skill with a camera.  I can take an okay picture of something, but when it comes to lighting and how a shot could be positioned and what not, I don't lose a whole lot of sleep over that type of thing.  Which is why I am so happy with the picture here, yes I took it right outside of work the other day.  Because of the way the terrain is laid out, it looks just like the sun is rising right over the sidewalk.  Mind you any other day of the year and the sun's position may be different, but luck would find me, my camera and the sun on a collision course this particular day.  Hope you all like.



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 309 - TITI #16 - Random thoughts

So Michele Duggar is pregnant again.  For those that don't know who she, or the whole Duggar clan are, they are on TLC's 19  "Kids and Counting" because,well, she has given birth to 19 kids.  And it appears that she is pregnant with child #20.  I know we have given this warning out on the blog page before, but in case Michelle missed it the first time, "It's a vagina, not a clown car."

Whoever advised Jerry Sandusky that he should do an interview with Bob Costas about the 40 charges against him relating to having sex with at least 8 different boys should be looking for work right about now.  That was super creepy in a not good for Jerry Sandusky kind of way.  Admitting to showering with boys, horseplay in the shower with them and touching their legs (but in a non sexual way), yeah, he is going to make a nice prison bitch for someone.

Just another reason why I like hockey.

So Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain stumbled when asked a question about President Barack Obama's policy regarding Libya.  Well, it could be worse, he could pick Miss Teen South Carolina as his running mate.  Quick, cue the blog title's music

$1 can't get you much these days.  Unless of course you are the wife of Joe Paterno, in which case it gets you the house.  At least that is what he sold it to her for in a mysterious financial deal. Maybe she really is that good in bed or it could just be to protect family assets in case of pending civil suits in the Sandusky matter.

And lastly on the PSU incident, can Mike McQueary stop with the false bravado already.  Sorry Mike, this case isn't about how good you should look, it's about the 8 kids that Jerry Sandusky raped, so making up stories about your behavior on the night in question after the fact just to make yourself look good is almost as disgusting as what actually took place in the shower between Sandusky and the 10 year old boy he was molesting.

Every time Indianapolis quarterback Curtis Painter drops back to pass, he strengthens the case that Peyton Manning is the most valuable player in the NFL.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 308 - Target goals

As many of you know, I collect some things that other people either have no use for or tend to throw away.  Me, I am all about free, so if I can get something without actually spending my own money on it, well then I will do just that.

Probably the three biggest collections I have going right now are the change meter, a running total of money I find on the ground and what not, Swagbucks, a search engine that awards bucks which can be redeemed later for prizes and Mycokerewards, a point system under the caps of all Coke products. 

The major goal for the change meter is nothing specific, just a cash total.  And in than vein, the next accomplishment will be to reach $400.  Well, we aren't near there yet, though the last month was relatively productive, I found another $5.45 so the new total is now $315.92.

I am closer on the mycokerewards front, where I am trying to get the MP3 player.  That would require me to collect 1500 points, and right now I am getting there, I have over 1320 points, but I still have little ways to go yet.

Lastly would be my Swagbucks, where really the only thing I get is the $5 Amazon gift cards.  Sure, I could save my bucks for bigger prizes, but any of those very same prizes I can buy with the Amazon gift cards anyway.  Plus Amazon lets you bank the gift cards, so you can build up a balance and they also allow you to use the gift cards for shipping and handling also.  Not many places do either one of those things, usually it is just one gift card per order and you are still responsible for shipping charges.  I have in the past used those monies to add to y reading collection, but for now I a trying to save up for a Kindle.  The cheapest one they have is $79, not too expensive but not cheap either.  Anyway, I already have over $70 now saved via Swagbucks and another $5 gift card pending, so I am about one gift card away (450 Swagbucks, I currently have 10) from cashing in on a free Kindle as well.

See, I can get a blog out of just about anything, even free stuff.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 307 - Still on the island

So I figured today was the day I finally lost. The survivor poll I am in was down to 3 people, and I was one of the remaining three. For those not in the know a survivor pool works something like this; each week of the NFL season you have to pick one team on the list of games that you think will win. If you pick correctly, you survive and move on to the next week. The only stipulation is that once you pick a team, you can't pick them again. So 9 weeks into the season, the number of possible teams you think will win is somewhat diminished.

With that In mind I looked at the slate of games for this weekend and decided that I would take the Philadelphia Eagles. The matchup they had looked promising, Arizona was flying across the country to play them, without their starting quarterback and with their starting running back at least banged up. And by taking Philadelphia I was saving a couple of teams that I like for another week, should I need them.

But what is it said about the best laid plans and all that jazz? All of my careful inspection of the schedule and scheming to make sure I took a good team but not too good a team backfired. Philadelphia gives up a touchdown with less than 2 minutes remaining and loses by 4 points.

That would seem to be the end for me, I didn't survive after all. Except it turns out the other two people also lost, both taking Baltimore over Seattle (I would have considered Baltimore had I not used them two weeks earlier) so even though we all lost, we all get to play at least one more week, until a definite winner is decided.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 306 - Quitting time

So I a faced with a perplexing dilemma as I come to you this evening. I think it may be time to quit my job. It's not that I don't like my job, I really enjoy it actually, but anymore I am thinking I can find more money elsewhere. Namely lottery tickets.

I know, the lottery sounds like a really bad idea for a plan for the future, but anymore it is like I can't lose. Last week I hit on three separate occasions for $100. Mind you I did spend some money on those tickets, so it wasn't all profit, but I would bet at least $200 of it was. Then the last few days it has started again. Yesterday at work I had to run an order down to our other store. Because of the Veteran's Day parade the delivery truck couldn't get there, so he dropped the order off at our place and asked me to deliver it. On the way back I bought $20 in tickets, first one was a $50 dollar winner. Today I got up and headed out to work, got my coffee and 2 $5 tickets, first one was a $40 winner. I figure I will hold onto it and just cash it in after I get off of work, so I go to lunch, stop by the grocery store and cash in the ticket, getting 2 more $5 tickets. Both won, another $55. Now I just walked to my corner store, wanted to grab some chip dip and a chicken salad sandwich to snack on (I already had chips, I don't face plant into the dip, thank you very much), cashed in those tickets, keeping $40 and buying 3 more $5 tickets. Two more winners, $50 and $20. I am getting closer and closer to just packing it in and sitting around scratching tickets all day.

Just kidding, I wouldn't be that foolish. After all, I still have a paid vacation that I need to take first.

Multiply 365 Day 305 - Waiting

Waiting. I am not very good at it. Even as I sit here and type this entry, I am at the Squirrel Cage, waiting on a steak sandwich and fries and wondering why they aren't here yet, even though I just ordered them a couple of minutes ago.

As for why the Squirrel Cage? Well, just needed to be out of the apartment for a bit, and I seem to be more inspired to write when I come here than anywhere else. Also there is the fresh cut french fries and the fact this is one of the last places around where I can smoke and eat it the same venue. I wonder sometimes if I am the only person who comes here to be inspired. After all, the place isn't much to look at on the outside, and nobody would mistake the cuisine for that of the 5 star variety, but just the same it has a hominess about it, one that I haven't been able to put my finger on. It is like a comfy pair of sweat pants, each time I visit I know what to expect, a few regulars at the bar, the same barmaid bringing me my glass of iced tea usually without me even asking, and the same quiet feel that allows me to write. I wonder if guys like Michael Chabon ever stopped here to put pen to paper, or cursor to keyboard in order to find that writing muse that is so elusive some of the time.

But before I go off on a tangent about fleeting muses, I better bring this all the way back around to the original premise, that being waiting. I am not good at it. Good thing my food is already here, one less thing to wait on. I think the hardest part about waiting for me isn't the suspense, it is more just wanting to get to the eventuality of it all. Just as I have a pretty good understanding of what my steak sandwich will taste like even before it gets to the table, I am getting a real feel for what my future will hold now (at least I think I am), but that doesn't mean I don't want it here now. Much like Christmas, you know you will get lots of cool presents, yet you still are eager to tear into them and see just what they are. I am so eager to tear into my future, that waiting for my own personal Christmas morning is hard.

So I try to distract myself, taking my mind off of the eagerness that is enveloping me. Maybe that is another reason I find myself at the Squirrel Cage right now, as a way to keep me from sitting around doing nothing but fantasizing about a future to be, a future that just a few short months ago I wouldn't even have considered and now am looking at as an almost certainty. I take comfort in that notion, that it isn't a matter of if but a matter of when, but it doesn't make the waiting any easier.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 304 - What we deserve

Amidst all of the hullabaloo over tea parties and occupiers was a simple message yesterday, that being no one really gives a shit.  When headlines come up with turnouts under 35%, and those are the glowing ones, well then it is hard to take any movement all that seriously.  Yes, I know it was an off year election, but those are the exact times when legitimate movements should be able to make gains, a sizable group voting in a low turn out election, yet it was incumbents across the nation that were yesterday's biggest winners.

I was thoroughly impressed to be hitting my polling place, which opened at 8am, around 3:30 in the afternoon and find that I was voter number #53 for the day.  Yes, they were rocking a big 7 voters an hour.

It becomes hard to take anyone seriously about what is wrong with this country when they can't even be bothered to vote.  We may not get the government we need, but if no one can be bothered to vote, perhaps we get the government we deserve.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 303 - Hearing things

I heard it today, but didn't recognize it for what it was. It was that low, melodious hum that rang through everything, in all places at all times. Maybe it just followed me around, maybe others heard it too, I really do not know. I couldn't even place my finger on it at first, what it was than simply was everywhere I went. Usually I am the type that just tunes such things out, nothing more than background noise, but today I actually listened.

I first realized I was hearing it at my desk, getting ready for another ho hum type day, when a simple note changed my whole frame of mind. It wasn't just who sent it, or what was written, it was the love and conviction behind them that swept over me, lifting my very spirit in a time when I didn't even realize it needed lifting.

It was there again when I went out for a simple cigarette break at work, filling a crystal blue sky with its sound, making a mid fall day in Pittsburgh feel more like something from late spring or early summer.

I heard it again when I went to my favorite pizza shop where I hadn't ordered an actual pizza from from for years. Usually I don't have time for such frivolities at work, and making a special trip just for a pizza isn't something I am prone to doing, yet here I was opening a pizza box from that very shop and realizing that sometimes things are really just as good as you remember them to be.

Still later in the day I heard it again at my desk, this time it was from the mother's love for a son and a simple recognition that sometimes the process works exactly as it should. Fear will never be able to inspire us to great acts the way love will.

Finally I heard it on my ride home, as I took a bus I normally wouldn't and watched as a young man sat down beside me and his daughter beside him and saw the look of adoration in her eyes for her father. Maybe her face will never be called upon to launch a thousand ships, but she can sleep soundly knowing she has one person who will always protect her and keep her safe. And on the same bus, as if the sound wasn't loud enough already, a man just starts singing a Temptations number, slightly off key but absolutely perfect for the moment.

It wasn't until I finally got off the bus that I realized what the sound was that was running through everything today, it was the sound of beauty. Maybe before today I wouldn't have heard it, maybe I would have heard it or not recognized it for what it was or maybe I would have done both, but then turned a deaf ear to it, lest it ruin my cool, snarky persona I have on the page.

Jennifer, the other day you asked me what it is I see in you. While I did answer your question, the answer was somewhat incomplete. Because it isn't simply what I see in you, but what you allow me to hear as well. Thank you!!!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 302 - It's early but.....

This is still nice to look at, by far my best start in a fantasy football league ever.  Truth be told it helps that I have the fewest points against of anyone in the league, but 8-0 is still 8-0.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 301 - He lives, I swear

Coming to you live from, well my apartment where I do most of my blogging, it's me. Somebody quick turn on the applause light. Cue the sheeple and all that jazz.

I sit here with my belly full of grilled chicken taco (I cooked, everybody panic) troubled by something I saw the other day, or rather, didn't see. It would seem Jesus on a Stick Guy is gone. Just gone. Or else the Jesus on a Stick Guy Local 43 has a pretty good contract regarding sick days and the like. Because it is now two straight weeks where there have been no Stick Guy sightings. If this keeps up, those of us remembering him will be treated as lunatics, like those people that actually saw Bigfoot or were abducted by aliens. I can take you to the location where I saw him, but no evidence remains, not even a plaster cast of a footprint he left behind.

Blog readers will start to shun me, I will go from the person that on occasion could turn a funny phrase or two to that guy that mumbles in the corner to himself, occasionally piping up just long enough to say, “Some day you will see!!!” and then set out to devise a not so clever trap to capture me a living Jesus on a Stick Guy to prove I was right. Thoughts of devising a plan similar to the one Peter Griffith used to capture James Woods come to mind. Taking a crucifix and busting it up, then leaving a trail on the sidewalk to an upturned box, in hopes that the Stick Guy sees the trail and bends down to start picking up the parts. '”Piece of Jesus, mmm, Piece of Jesus, mmm, Piece of Jesus, mmm” Then I can show the world just how wrong they were in denouncing the existence of Jesus on a Stick Guy.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 300 - The next 100

I did thjis once before, right around the halfway point of the 365 project.  Given that right now I don't even know how many days I am technically behind I am just going to write until I get to 365 entries this year, then reassess where I want to go after that point.  That being said, I know I am within a day or three of where I should be, so catching up will not be a problem, just means I have to do some two a days here and there over the next couple of months.  And one way to aid that process is to see what I liked out of the last 100 entries of the blog, so this is my personal 10 favorite blogs from 200-299.  No ranking is involved and by all means, feel free to disagree with my assessment, but these are the ones that I liked.

Multiply 365 Day 204 - TITIT #15 That's hot, or maybe not

Multiply 365 Day 207 - Brought to you by the letter "C" (Camcorder, Correctional Facility)

Multiply 365 Day 211 - Lives of quiet desperation

Multiply 365 Day 219 - Dollars and sense

Multiply 365 Day 224 - Batshit breakfasty (w/pics)

Multiply 365 Day 236 - Original or extra crispy?

Multiply 365 Day 249 - 9/11 Fatigue

Multiply 365 Day 256 - Meat Jeebus

Multiply 365 Day 261 - Forecasting for dummies

Multiply 365 Day 279 - You got your zombie in my Jesus

Multiply 365 Day 282 - Anti-blog 

Okay, that's ten and truth be told I think I like more of my writing in that group than at any point of my blogging career.  And before anyone says there are 11 entries in the list, the last one is just for me.

Multiply 365 Day 299 - Where we are at

I guess now is the time I start to spill a few more beans about what is going on round these parts.  I am sure that you all have gathered that I am in a relationship with someone.  If not, the amount of smiling I do on a daily basis would most surely give it away.  And given how long it has been going on now, I feel more comfortable in saying a few things about it, without getting into too many details, there are still some issues that I would like to keep private.

First is that the relationship is an online one at this point.  We live a significant distance apart, so for either of us to just decide to meet would be a pretty big step on either of our parts.  Not that we haven't discussed it, we have, but it isn't something that will happen overnight.  We are both taking the time to get to know each other, exploring each others likes and dislikes, talking about our pasts and presents and exploring our dreams for the future.  Whenever we do decide to meet, it is going to be at a time and place in our relationship where we are both comfortable in taking that step.

There are nights where we just sit up and talk for the longest time laughing, or listening to each others concerns and what seems like just a few minutes is actually a few hours just blowing by.  Whether it be chatting on voice, or just sending a hurried email, I find my days are so much better just by having her in them.  It is a place that I can't believe I am in at times, certainly anyone who has read the blog for longer than a week has to wonder just who the hell is doing the writing around here these days.  It is just the same old me, with a side of happiness thrown in for good measure.

There have been moments to this point where we have both questioned things, in a world full of sham artists it is very hard to take things at face value without a certain critical eye.  It may be the downside of not meeting first in person, but by the same token I find the time we are spending to really learn about each other ahead of time is a bonus in its own right.  Some of the more petty things that go with meeting in person are all but washed aside this way.  We have exchanged photos, so when we do decide to meet we have an idea of who to look for at the airport but we haven't got hung up on initial appearances that can ruin the chance of really getting to know someone.

Not that everything has been all hugs and kisses, there have been bumps along the way, moments where we have both slipped up, but even in those times I find that I want to fix things, make them better and move on, without looking back.  That in and of itself is a place I am not sure I have ever been emotionally before.  Our pasts are just that, the past.  Whether something happened be before or after we met, we provide a shoulder for support for each other, pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and continue forward together.

This has been an eye opening experience for me, after spending literally years on this page talking about how I didn't mind being single, I now look back and wonder why I ever thought that way.  To a certain extent I am glad I did feel that way then, otherwise I might not have ever met her, or if I did, might not have been graced with her presence in my life as anything more than an acquaintance.  Instead, just by her being who she is, she not only found her way into my life, but my heart as well.

There is a downside to all of this, just not for me.  Instead it is for you.  While I have been talking and writing to her on a daily basis, I haven't been here on a daily basis as much.  There is only so much writing I can do in one day, and my best writing these days is saved for her.  Sorry, I guess that is just the way the cookie crumbles some times.  But there is something to be said for going into work and people seeing a change in me, and no it isn't me losing weight or growing an inch taller, it is an actual change in overall outlook and that is due to her.    So if I am making a trade by being more liberal with my blogging to spend time with her, well that is a trade I will make any day and twice on Sunday.

Okay, now you know a little bit more.  Not all of it, but enough.  And enough will have to do for now.

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