Sunday, July 31, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 211 - Lives of quiet desperation


It's weird how some things happen. It would have been very easy this morning to just get up and bitch about day #7 in a row at work (it ended up being a 10am-5:30pm shift). Especially when I overslept and didn't get to do what I wanted to this morning, that being get up early and catch sunrise on Mt Washington. It is one thing that, for all of my years in Pittsburgh, I have never done. Sure I have been up there, some pics of my trips up there have even made the page, but it is one thing to just go up there and click pics, the view is certainly photogenic enough, but it is another to see the sun come up over Pittsburgh, cracking the horizon in the distance. And the weather was more than cooperative, it was almost completely clear out when I headed out to work at 9am, which just made my failure to get up early even greater.

The big reason why I would have had to get up so early is that to get there I most likely would have had to walk, the buses don't run that early and I am not paying for a cab just to take a picture or two. And the length of the walk isn't that bad, it takes about an hour and change, depending on how good my legs feel when it comes time to actually climbing Mt Washington.

But since I woke up too late none of that was an issue. Instead it was just me going to the bus stop (I still missed “Meet the Press”) and riding into town to work on another project that Ed wanted done. He wanted all of the shelves in the basement straightened up, as well as another order tagged and ready to put on the shelves. While our usual supplier, Sledd, has tags for the merchandise they send us, the independent outfits Ed will sometimes order from do not, so before we can put any of their merchandise on the floor we have to using a pricing gun on each and every piece, and during his vacation we got an order of about $500 worth of such merchandise, but before I could begin pricing it I needed to know just what those prices would be, which I learned on Friday.

So I had plenty on my plate as it were, seeing as how Saturday was spent catching up on invoices that Amy failed to do when she worked in the office. I had thought I was all caught up on that nonsense but Friday afternoon came with another stack of twelve that were not done from back in May. Oh joy. By Saturday afternoon I had gotten those done, as well as two more dairy invoices, a Coke invoice, and three more Sledd invoices and had the order done for Monday, but I hadn't tackled the pricing issue yet. So that was the big plan for today. And all went relatively well. There was a surprise visit from Dee, she had said she might come in on Sunday but some events that happened Friday led me to believe that it wasn't a carved in stone sort of thing. But she was there getting a head start on her paperwork for the coming week. Not that we talked a whole lot, we both had plenty on our plates to do so being all social and chummy wasn't part of today's scheduled events.

I think I have most everything ticketed, there are a couple of items that I need prices for, some I will have to call Sledd and get prices, others I will have to run by Ed, the shelving down stairs is reorganized in such a fashion that we have space again because everything is just thrown about the place in a scatter shot manner, and I even got to put a few items into the system. So I would call it a relatively good day on the productivity scale, if nothing else.

But as much as I would like to complain on day 7 of a working 13 days straight (provided another Sunday project doesn't pop up next week), on my walk home I was reminded of how lucky I have it right now. I got off my bus on the corner of 5th Avenue and Atwood Street. Atwood is one of the many streets that run parallel to my street (McKee Place) though the two are separated by about two blocks. The thing about Atwood Street is there are many restaurants and a couple of stores along it, and I wanted to stop by Rite Aid and grab a gallon of tea for when I got home. So I quickly poke my head in there and get my necessities (I also bought toilet paper) and started the walk down Atwood towards my apartment. Along Atwood you will find a couple of Asian grocery stores, and restaurants that serve all of the following; Cuban, Thai, Japanese, Indian, Mexican, Tex Mex, Pizza and Vegetarian. Basically just about anything one could want to eat can be found on that street. But the problem I noticed was when I approached the Mexican restaurant, Mi Ranchito. I have never been inside there, at least in its Mexican incarnation, I visited there once when it was selling French food (Simply French) where I had my first taste of duck and while it was okay, it isn't something I can ever say I craved again after having it. But I have often walked my, checked out the menu on the front and thought to myself this might be a nice place to go with someone, should such an occasion ever occur.

On the sidewalk outside the restaurant was one of those small little A frame signs, this one of the chalkboard variety and written on it were three words “Tacos, Tacos, Tacos”. Now if I am in a Mexican frame of mind (and not the bastardized version of Mexican food offered in the states) I am not sure that pushing tacos is the way to get me. But maybe it is just me, maybe tacos are the way to go. Unless you are making them in the parking lot. That's right, as I passed the A frame sign and walked past the restaurant, in the parking lot were two gentlemen under an awning with a portable flat top grill and some condiment bottles selling tacos. And I just got sad. I couldn't imagine how bad business must be inside that the solution to all of their financial problems would be to sell tacos in the parking lot. At the very best maybe you get some foot traffic that walks by that otherwise wouldn't have given you any money at all, but at worst to are just stealing from the business inside by selling items outside, and no doubt cheaper items to boot, after all how much will you pay for a parking lot taco? Perhaps I am wrong, maybe business is booming so much (though there were no cars in the lot when I went by) that the place is packed and they have to sell food outside just to keep everyone happy, but more than likely business is so bad that this is the best idea they could come up with to make any money at all. I pity the people that work there, that have to rely on the success of a grill in the parking lot in order to get a paycheck, or the owner who has relegated himself to this type of idea just to keep the lights on. Makes my problems seem pale by comparison.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 210 - Routine


I guess on the bright side I am almost halfway done, but that means I still have a second half to go. Not the blog, we passed the halfway point a few weeks ago, but rather I am in the midst of being at work for 13 straight days. Not that they are all 8 hour days, but just the thought that I have to get up and go in for another 7 before seeing a day off next Sunday is something that I am not overly enamored with. I will not even get to do my morning ritual tomorrow of getting up and fetching a cup of coffee from the corner store and coming home to watch another riveting episode of “Meet the Press”. Yes, another reason why I drive the chicks wild with desire (besides referring to women as chicks) is that a Sunday morning with me means really bad TV.

No Deluca's this weekend, no running around the neighborhood, just more come home, get some sleep and go back in nonsense. I just keep reminding myself that I need the money and I was the one who accepted keys, so I have no one to blame for my predicament but me. I need to do something to bust up the monotony, lest it become par for the course around here. I do have an idea, but for it to happen I will have to keep this blog relatively short so I can get enough sleep for what I have planned. I checked the weather online and it seems like it will be a perfect time to attempt what I want to do, now it is just a matter of dragging my ass out of bed early enough. Most likely around 3am or so. That I am not looking forward to at all, but sometimes sacrifices have to be made. Besides I can sleep when I'm dead.

So rather than try to make something from a rather uninteresting day in the life of moi, I am going to catch some zzz's and if all goes according to plan, I may, just may, be able to wow you all tomorrow.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 209 - Teaser

I haven't done one of these in a while, I believe the last one I did was a webcam.  This one will not offer a price of such value (actually since I never actually saw the webcam, it could have been a piece of shit, I really don't know) but the next blog giveaway will be coming up in about two weeks, give or take a day for when I actually have the prize in my grubby little paws (or email box as the case may be).  But the next blog giveaway will be $5 cold, hard Amazon cash.  Now I just have to think of a way to give it away.  At least I have a week or so to do the required mental gymnastics for that one.  So off I go to put on ye olde thinking cap. 

Karaoke Friday - Two weeks in a row?

That's right kids, two straight weeks of this after an elongated hiatus.  That is due in part to, where I have really been digging the alternative channel.  It is far better than what passes for alternative in Pittsburgh, which has to be at least 10 years old before it will be played.  Not that (77 doesn't play some older stuff, they most certainly due, but they play a lot of more contemporary alternative (stuff that doesn't sound like a bad imitation of Pearl Jam) and that is just fine with me.  Anyway, since last week I went with a newer song (at least newer by my standards) I thought I would go for a second straight week in that direction.



I was walking down the street,
When out the corner of my eye
I saw a pretty little thing approaching me.
She said "I've never seen a man
Who looks so all alone,
Could you use a little company?

If you can pay the right price
Your evening will be nice,
And you can go and send me on my way."
I said "You're such a sweet young thing
Why you do this to yourself?"
She looked at me and this is what she said:

"Oh, there ain't no rest for the wicked,
Money don't grow on trees.
I got bills to pay,
I got mouths to feed,
There ain't nothing in this world for free.
I know I can't slow down,
I can't hold back,
Though you know, I wish I could.
No there ain't no rest for the wicked,
Until we close our eyes for good".

Not even fifteen minutes later
I'm still walking down the street,
When I saw a shadow of a man creep out of sight.
And then he sweeps up from behind
And puts a gun up to my head,
He made it clear he wasn't looking for a fight.

He said "Give me all you've got
I want your money not your life,
But if you try to make a move I won't think twice."
I go like "You can have my cash
But first you know I got to ask
What made you want to live this kind of life?"

He said "There ain't no rest for the wicked,
Money don't grow on trees.
I got bills to pay,
I got mouths to feed,
There ain't nothing in this world for free.
I know I can't slow down,
I can't hold back,
Though you know, I wish I could.
No there ain't no rest for the wicked,
Until we close our eyes for good".

Now a couple hours have passed
And I was sitting at my house,
The day was winding down and coming to an end.
So I turned on the TV
And flipped it over to the news,
And what I saw I almost couldn't comprehend.

I saw a preacher man in cuffs he'd taken money from the church,
He stuffed his bank account with righteous dollar bills.
But even still I can't say much
Because I know we're all the same,
oh yes we all seek out to satisfy those thrills

"Oh, there ain't no rest for the wicked,
Money don't grow on trees.
We got bills to pay,
We got mouths to feed,
There ain't nothing in this world for free.
I know we can't slow down,
We can't hold back,
Though you know, we wish we could.
No there ain't no rest for the wicked,
Until we close our eyes for good"

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 208 - I am not on the flow chart

Just got back from week #3 of volleyball, it wasn't too bad. I think I am slowly getting better, though I still am to slow for my tastes and I did manage to catch myself out of position at least once where I got burned by cheating to far in. I could hear my old volleyball coach in my brain, wondering why I didn't drop to my spot and then come in, instead taking a short cut trying to get there and watching a ball go right where I should have been. For the most part though, the two things that bothered me were that I was a half step slow to some balls and my receive of serve still needs lots of work. It is something that would get better with repetition, but given I am only playing one day a week, I am not sure I will get that repetition.

On the plus side, I don't feel nearly as beaten up as I did the first two weeks, though I think tomorrow will be the big determiner for that. I did take a dive for a ball where my leg squeaked across the floor, leaving one of those “this is going to hurt in the morning” type floor burn marks. But my setting was vastly improved, I would argue I was one of the better setters there tonight, which given we had a big turnout (27 people) is saying a little something. And my serve is getting better and better. The dance on the float serve was definitely there, and I was able to hit it with some authority without blowing any. Another cardinal rule from my high school days, never give away your serve, at least put it in play and give yourself a chance. Tonight that wasn't an issue, they were all in.

And all things considered, I am quite happy with how my body feels right now. Considering the day I had at work, the fact I am still relatively functional I think is a good thing. We had two big deliveries today, one for 100 cases from Arizona Tea and another for 228 cases from Pepsi (we ordered 250, but again out of stock issues cut into that). Plus I had my orders to do with Sledd at two of our stores, so my day had the makings of being quite busy.

What messed up the timing was a manager's meeting. And I think I learned something, I am not a manager. Woohoo!!!!! I couldn't be more happy. Actually what happened was Brian came in and gave me a cigarette order he wanted placed. No problem. But as I was getting ready to do that the Arizona order arrived, so I ended up being pulled away from the cigarette order while I caught those cases. When I got back to the office to work on the cigarette order and get my stuff to run down to our other store and start their grocery order for tomorrow I see Ed is conducting a manager's meeting, he has John and Dee around his desk (or Brian's desk, I can never tell who actually claims it) and Brian is sitting at my desk. Ed is talking about how there are some things he isn't happy about, the specifics are not important to the overall story, so we will not delve into them. Anyone who has worked there long enough has had at least one of those meetings with Ed. Just part of the business. Anyway, he starts talking about the synthetic marijuana crap we sell, which may or may not be leaving the store in the near future, depending on how the final law written about it is interpreted. Because of that we need to make sure our ordering is as close to being perfect as is possible. If it becomes illegal we obviously don't want to be caught with thousands of dollars of useless merchandise. By the same token, while I find the stuff repugnant and the class of people it draws to the store to be useless crackheads that serve to prove Darwin wrong, we make some significant coin on the stuff, so it is important to have on site until we get a determination one way or the other on how the law will be enforced.

Anyway, Ed is discussing how we are going to approach the next couple of weeks with these products, how to make sure we are tracking what we sell, getting orders right and what not, when Dee says she has something to say, but in private. Ed asks if she needs him to clear the room, she says no. Then he asks if there is anyone who should be asked to leave and she says, yes, Matt. Thank you. Thank you very much. To be honest, I hate being in meetings like that, ignorance is indeed bliss on such occasions, I was only in the room because I was hoping it would be a short meeting and I could get my stuff done. So the less I know, the less I am personally responsible for and I really do have enough on my plate already. Sometimes I think maybe too much, so keeping me out of the loop on some things is just doing me a favor. Of course the fact they had close to an hour long meeting just fucked with my routine severely, as a result I still have invoices on my desk that I didn't get to (and I hate leaving behind paperwork) and I volunteered myself for additional work this weekend, so it is looking like I will be there both Saturday and Sunday. Which is good, I can use the extra money, though Ed is worried I will burn myself out. But I would rather do what he asked and make sure it is done right than delegate it to someone, have it done half assed and then I get the honor of fixing it. Just let me do it right the first time and be done with it.

Well, we are closing in on the witching hour here on the east coast, 27 minutes until the 365 project becomes a pumpkin yet again, so I will instead call in a night for my ramblings. Be back manana, same Bat time, same Bat channel.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 208 - Resting

This will be brief, I have a lack fof ideas to start with and I have a very long day tomorrow.  Between our Arizona Tea and Pepsi orders, if we get everything we ordered (most likely we will not, something will be missing) then we will be having 345 cases of product drop in on us.  Add to that I will still have two groceries orders to place and the fact that the person who is working on the coolers tonight prwetty much sucks at it, and I am prepared to be quite busy tomorrow.  And lest we forget, it is Thursday so that means another 2 to 3 hours of volleyball tomorrow night as well.  So I am conserving my strength by doing as little as possible, includiong being all creative on the blogging front.  I think my biggest achievement this eveing was microwaving some garlic rice and eating chips and salsa.  The scary thing is I am quite content with that. 


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

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


I guess I better get this underway. The clock is ticking and all that jazz. For the record, this evening I am opting for instead of the normal Pandora offering, so the peeps on Facebook will not be all annoyed with my music updates. Yay for that I guess.

Not really a lot to talk about, not that starting one of these things with no plan is any sort of determiner for how long the final length will be. It usually isn't, if for no other reason than the page can take on a “Seinfeld” like quality, an entire blog about nothing.

So let's see if I can pull a little nothing out of my ass, shall we? (For the record, if I do pull something out of my ass, it is probably something you didn't want to see anyway.)

I guess today was more of an Ed day at work, I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Certainly there was some good to come out of it. It seems Ed became privy to our little camcorder drama from yesterday. I know I didn't say anything to him about it, maybe Dee did (most likely) or maybe he just overheard something (less likely, his hearing isn't that good) but for those not in the know, it was a fine display of the dynamics with which I work almost every day. As some of you know, Brian owns the store, having purchased it from his dad a while back, but over the spring and summer months Ed basically runs the ship, he is there every day, putting in real employee like hours (Brian's hours are far fewer, usually 2 to 3 a day tops), so while it would seem that Brian would be the guy I should answer to, over those 6 months that Ed is around, he ends up being the guy that I deal with most often. But there is also a dynamic between Ed and Brian as well, and usually Brian caves into whatever his dad says (though there have been some interesting blowups in the past, they are not relevant here), so when Ed found out about Brian going through Dee's desk and taking the camcorder out of there, he apparently was none too pleased, because one of the first things I heard today was Ed telling Dee not to worry, Brian was on the way in with her camcorder. The funny thing is, Brian already apparently has one, and this was a freebie from Pepsi, it wasn't exactly a top of the line model we are dealing with, so Brian took it not so much because he needed it or it was significantly better than anything he has currently, but simply because he could. Well that problem is now officially solved.

If that was my only dealing with Ed than it would be a good day, but instead I became office secretary as well, a job that I don't like much but I did help create the situation I was in, so I guess I have to see it through now. Before Ed left for Florida a couple of weeks back, I introduced him to a website that I have joked about in the past, , a site that has profiles of prison chicks looking for pen pals and what not. I should never have mentioned this to Ed, usually I read the site because I find the profiles to be comedy gold, and Ed didn't see it the same way. Instead he had me send in a payment to get three addresses from from prison chicks that he hoped to communicate with. The service is such that you view a profile, add it to your shopping cart and then check out at the end and send a payment for the number of addresses you wish to get. Ed had me send away for three of them. I was almost hoping that the website would turn out to be a scam at this point, it would have cost $18 but it would have been better than the alternative. The alternative of course being the site is legit and they send Ed addresses. Because if they do that, then I am going to be drafted into letter writing duty, Ed doesn't want to actually hand write anything and he is so far down the computer literacy scale that even Wordpad would be a challenge, so typing isn't an option either. And apparently I am good with words from time to time, because anytime Ed wants something written he comes to me to do it. My method is pretty simple, he starts dictating something and I just grab bullet points from it and write around those things that I found were important. Of course I have to get approval of a final draft but by and large I don't get handed many rewrites.

Well, so far the site seems legit, Ed was sent a letter and, sure enough, in it was three addresses of women in prison. So I was told that I was going to have to draft a letter to these women (which I assume means three letters, I am lazy but I will not go the form letter route, even with prison chicks) and today was that lucky day for one of the ladies behind bars. Ed calls me to the office and hands me the letter with the addresses and picks one of the names to be written to. Of course I have to enter into this conversation with my own brand of snark, suggesting I start the letter with “Hi, I'm Troy McClure. You may remember me from such prison letters as “Release Dinner Date and a Movie” and “I Want to Appeal Your Clothes Off”. Sadly my comedy gold was lost on Ed, who apparently doesn't watch The Simpsons. Instead I had to come up with a letter introducing Ed to a prison chick. That isn't as easy as it sounds, on one hand you want to show you are interested without being a pervert about the fact you spent at least part of your time looking at profiles of women that are locked up, while also not giving away too much information about yourself (or Ed in this case) because at the end of the day you are writing to a convicted felon and most likely they are behind bars for a reason, and the reason has nothing to do with a housing shortage. And you thought writing a blog was tough, try doing that. This is simple by comparison. But eventually I think I came up with a brief but serviceable little item that should do the trick at breaking the ice. Of course this is all presupposed on the fact the addresses sent to Ed are legit. It could still be a scam after all.

I guess this means I still have two prison letters to go if none of them write back. If they do write back, well, I am going to need more stamps.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Asshat - No, that's church

Me and religon get along like oil and water most days.  This day isn't any different.  This week's Asshat winner is the Catholic Church, which is using an argument in court that it can't be held accountable for the actions of its priests raping kids because, well, the priests aren't employees.  Excuse me?  That seems quite funny to me, considering how much the church has done to fascillitate raping kids, moving priests from parish to parish rather than having them face their due day in court.  And let's not even mention Bernard Law, the former arch bishop of Boston, who when it was suggested he may have covered up the raping of kids, not only did you not disavow yourself of him and let him face a court of law, you promoted the motherfucker and moved him to Rome.  Oh but wait, it wasn't a promotion because he isn't an employee, I forgot.  Yeah, this just has Asshat written all over it.

Catholic church's plea could rule out damages for priests' abuse

Victims' lawyers condemn 'scandalous' defence that Catholic priests are not legally employees of the church

Mary McAleese
The Irish president, Mary McAleese, has reminded the church of its ‘stated objective of putting children first’. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA

Victims of sexual abuse by priests will no longer be able to sue the Catholic church for damages if a landmark judgment rules that priests should not be considered as employees.

In a little publicised case heard this month at the high court, the church claimed that it is not "vicariously liable" for priests' actions. The church has employed the argument in the past but this was the first time it had been used in open court and a ruling in the church's favour would set a legal precedent.

The use of the defence raises further questions about the church's willingness to accept culpability for abuse. It follows a damning report into abuse at the diocese of Cloyne in Ireland which prompted the Irish president, Mary McAleese, to call on leaders of the church "to urgently reflect on how, by coherent and effective action, it can restore public trust and confidence in its stated objective of putting children first".

Those planning to bring claims in relation to the high court case expressed dismay. "As children, we weren't given an innocent, carefree and safe environment," said one. "We weren't given a peaceful structure in which to grow and develop normally. By some miracle, some of us are still here to voice the words of so many who can't. Only a small number of victims ever come forward. The full potential of who we could have been as adults has been stolen."

The church's defence has been condemned by lawyers. "I think the Catholic church's attempt to avoid responsibility for the abhorrent actions of one of its priests is nothing short of scandalous," said Richard Scorer of the law firm Pannone, which specialises in abuse cases. "The Catholic church would be better served by facing up to its responsibilities rather than trying to hide behind spurious employment law arguments."

The ruling is being made as part of a preliminary hearing into the case of "JGE", who claims to have been sexually abused while a six-year-old resident at The Firs, a children's home in Portsmouth run by an order of nuns, the English Province of Our Lady of Charity. "If we fail, it would mean that no other victims of Catholic priests would be able to be compensated," said Tracey Emmott of Emmott Snell, a specialist in working with sexual abuse claims who is representing JGE.

JGE alleges that she was sexually abused by Father Wilfred Baldwin, a priest of the Roman Catholic diocese of Portsmouth and its "vocations director", who regularly visited The Firs during the 70s. Her legal team claim the nuns were negligent and in breach of duty, and that the diocese was liable for Baldwin's alleged abuse as he was a Catholic priest engaged within the work of the diocese.

Previous hearings in the House of Lords and the court of appeal relating to other church organisations have found that ministers should be treated as employees. But there has been no judgment yet on whether the relationship between a Catholic priest and his bishop is akin to an employment relationship.

"They claim that the relationship between the bishop of the diocese and the parish priest in question does not amount to anything akin to a relationship of employment, and therefore there cannot be any 'vicarious liability' for the priest's acts," Emmott said.

"That is to say, whatever sexual abuse their priests might commit, it is not their responsibility. They are absolved of blame. We need to show that, while Father Baldwin wasn't strictly an employee of the church, he was acting on the bishop's behalf and that the bishop clearly had a degree of control over his activities."

Criminal proceedings against Baldwin, who was the subject of a police investigation, concluded when he died of a heart attack in 2006.

Multiply 365 Day 206 - Welcome back


So it would seem I wasn't quite done with “Indiana Matt and the Curse of the Crack Whore” after all. While I did manage to get the computer up and to a functional state yesterday, I was still being plagued by an issue. It seems that most every time I would click on something on my desktop, rather than simply running it would open the “Open with” dialog box and a list of programs to choose from. It was a pain in the ass workaround, especially last night when I was busy trying to download and run the Amazon downloader so I could burn yesterday's music to CD to take to work today. What should have been a relatively easy sort of thing turned into a giant mess before I finally got the laptop to download and run the program properly.

So today when I got home I went to open Open Office to start typing this particular entry (though not this part, I hadn't planned on a second day of laptop suckage to be honest) and again I got the Open With box and decided enough was enough and went about finding a fix to my problem. Luckily I was able to come across some advice after doing a little Googling, apparently it was a registry related issue to the Crack Whore Virus I got yesterday, so I had to do a little repairing.

The good news is I am back, typing in Open Office again (it is easier to type here and copy/paste than have Multiply eat an entire entry by using their window) and we can begin the real portion of the blog. The bad news is, the real portion isn't all that good.

Friday I received a package at work, one from the Pepsi Prize Fulfillment Center. I knew it could only be one of two things, either an Ipod which was ordered a few months ago, where we let our Pepsi rep submit the paperwork, or a mini digital camcorder, a prize where I had opted to handle the paperwork myself given how slow Pepsi was in kicking up the Ipod. Not that I wanted the prizes for myself, like I have said previously I don't mind having gifts handed out to the employees who are deserving nor do I want to be seen as the guy who gets all of the free stuff that is handed out. I get enough perks, I don't need to get all of them.

So the Ipod is already going to be given away to Steve, he works as a primary on second shift some nights, other nights he gets stuck just stocking shelves or running register, but he is a good worker and has bailed us out on quite a few occasions covering for people who had called off. The digital camcorder could have been mine, I was in the office with Ed while our Pepsi rep was discussing the promotion and Ed asked me if I wanted any of the prizes. I politely declined, so he asked Dee if she wanted anything on the prize list and she picked out the camcorder. I placed the order to qualify for the prize (50 cases of Gatorade and 10 cases of Aquafina, we have already sold out of that order so it really isn't as big as it sounds, at least for the business we do) and did the subsequent paperwork myself.

And Friday one of the prizes arrived. The only question was which prize would it be? Turns out by handling things myself things got done faster and it was the camcorder. So now I am all excited, because I can be the cool guy. Dee will be back from her vacation on Monday and there will be a surprise waiting for her. So I take the camcorder out of the package and place it in the top left drawer of her desk.

Enter Monday. All is going relatively well at work, Dee gets in around 9 ish or so, I ask some general questions about her vacation (she had a good time, in case anyone was wondering) and make some small talk. She gets to the office and sits down at her desk, I am now dealing with a grocery order that is coming in, as well as a new humidor that needs to be brought in as well, so I don't get to see her in the office for a couple of hours. Finally it was around 11 or so, maybe even later, I see her in the office and ask if she found anything in her desk, she says no. So I tell her that the camcorder came in and it should be in the top left hand drawer, she opens the drawer and it isn't there. Huh?

Did I imagine the prize coming in Friday? No, the empty shipping envelope is still in my trash can? Did I misremember where I put it, maybe I put it in my own desk? No again, I did not put it in my desk. Now I am thinking, of all of the places to put the camcorder, the office would seem to be the safest. Only a few people have keys to it, and over the weekend that numbers shrinks even more. Maybe four people tops would be in the office on either Saturday or Sunday; myself, Belinda, John (if he comes in to do paperwork) and Ed (who may or may not be back from vacation by then). I can already rule myself off of the list, and I trust Belinda enough that I would highly doubt she had it, John would do paperwork Saturday morning if he came in at all and I was there and he didn't and Ed wouldn't even know what the camcorder was, let alone have the knowledge ahead of time since he was away to take it out of Dee's desk. So I am stumped. That means that whoever took it would have had to do so on Friday at some point, but again that doesn't really expand the list of names a whole lot, no one would have access to Dee's desk with managers sitting in the office all day, the only name that actually gets added to the list would be the owner Brian.

And that my friends is a good bingo. It was Brian who handed me the package originally when it came in the mail and watched me put it in Dee's desk. Dee called Brian at home today and sure enough, he had in fact taken it from her desk and kept it for himself, at least I assume he did, I doubt it is still wrapped up if he took it home. The thing is, never in my wildest dreams would I have expected Brian to do anything like that. The possibility never crossed my mind, had it I would have put it some place else entirely, or taken it home with me, but I wrongly assumed it would be safe in Dee's desk. Needless to say she was pretty disappointed the rest of the day, can't say as I blame her in that regard. Probably not the welcome back from vacation either her or I expected.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 205 - The best picture I ever saw today

It has been a struggle of a day on my laptop.  I was just putzing around, reading some news stories and what not this when my laptop decided to go all haywire.  For the record it happened while I was reading an article in the Daily Mail (linked through Drudge) on all of the drugs found in Amy Winehouse's apartment, so perhaps this is karma for my clever joke yesterday I do not know.  But all of a sudden I get a warning from Avast, then another from Lavasoft.  At this point I am thinking it is better to just have one antivirus program running, rather than having them trip over each other in detecting this.  So I try to shut one down, opting for Avast and killing lavasoft.  It seems to go okay, Avast does a boot clean on restart as well, so I figure I might as well restart my computer.

Except it doesn't start.  Just a black screen.  The power is on and I can do the F2/F12 thing, but nothing in those menus is helping me here.  So what was supposed to be a Matt lazy day at home kind of thing (I had actually snuck in a nice hour long walk this morning, which was pretty awesome in its simpleness) instead turned into "Indiana Matt and the Curse of the Crack Whore" type of expedition.  It involved reinstalling Windows XP, and Internet Explorer 7, running Lavasoft (while having Avast closed),and rebooting again, but anytime you reinstall IE you now get conflict issues with previous versions, so while I could boot up the computer and get online, none of the buttons in any of the toolbars would work.  I would just get an error message.  I had to now reinstall all of the previous IE updates, some 80+ in all, before it would even allow me to upgrade back to IE 8.  It was only after all of that that I saw the picture I see every day when I crack this bad boy open, one that warms the cockles of my heart......

the wallpaper on my computer.  Let me say, I have never been happier to see an Australian.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

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

As the old saying goes, it's not the heat it's the stupidity. With that we are underway.....

I like watching financial analysts on TV. Pontification on what will make the stock market go up or down, or what is good or bad for business. I just wish they had one for the death of Amy Winehouse. I would pay good money to see a Jim Cramer or Neil Cavuto on TV telling us how her passing will affect the global price of crack. Certainly there will be more supply with one less major buyer out there. Would it have been wise for me to have a put option on cocaine, or should I have sold short? Damn it people, I need answers to these questions.

Here it is, Saturday July 23rd and somehow, some way, the Pirates are still very much relevant. If you had told me at the beginning of the year this would happen I would have laughed right in your face, but with a 51-46 record and sitting just a game out of first place in the division, there is some reason to be optimistic about the Pirates this late in a season for the first times since probably 1992. The first real test for the team will not be how it continues to play on the field, but how the front office approaches the trade deadline. The Pirates do not necessarily have to be buyers at the deadline, that would depend on what is available and what it would cost versus standing pat, but if the front office once again becomes sellers, trading away players for prospects, then you will be able to more accurately gauge management's support of this team.

So it would seem the killer in the Norway rampage, Anders Behring Breivik, is apparently a fundamentalist Christian,, gun aficionado, anti tax and anti immigration kind of guy. Here in the states he would be a Tea Partier. Just sayin.

In case you didn't get the invite, today was the big day for Ben Roethlisberger, who married one Ashley Harlan. Considering at this time last year we were all wondering whether Ben had raped an underage girl in a night club's bathroom, excuse me if I don't run out and buy a toaster for the happy couple. Maybe this will end up being the perfect marriage and I will eventually look like a fool, but I am going to keep my skeptics hat on for the time being.

One of the unreported benefits of a hot summer. Coming home all sweaty and getting naked and standing in front of the fan and the first breeze that blows across my sweaty ball sac and the resulting goosebumps. I know, you didn't need to know that but I share because I care.

At some point this blog is going to need a concession guy walking around with eye bleach. “Get your eye bleach here!! Eye Bleach!!! $2.50 a bottle!!”

So apparently 3 female reporters were asked to remove their bras by security before they would be allowed into the offices of the Israeli Prime Minister. Note to self: The blog needs better security.

And with that I bid you all a fond adieu. I have a whole day off tomorrow and I might just want to enjoy the down time.  When I come back, no bras.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 203 - Afternoon naps


I think my body feels a lot like the Shuttle program at this point, something that should have been retired a decade ago.

Friday is becoming the final determining factor of how my Thursday night volleyball went. Thursday usually starts with a Pepsi delivery, which means catching and putting away 200 cases of product and then usually an Arizona truck which is another 60 or so cases. Add to that volleyball after the fact and by the time I get up Friday morning my body is making some pact with the devil just to be functional. I will say this week wasn't as bad as last, last week my thigh muscles were sore for two days after. This time it was more relegated to my quads, and not quite as painful, though my foot ended up killing me for most of the afternoon. By the end of the day I was just happy to get out of work. The only bad part of leaving work was that I was venturing out from the air conditioned confines into the 95 degree heat (the heat index had it feeling well over 100) so I figured I would just catch the first bus that stopped by my stop, even if it meant I had to walk a little bit after getting off the bus. Anything to get out of the heat. Except no bus was forthcoming. So I decided to catch a different bus a couple of blocks away, but I ended up showing up about a minute too late, the bus was pulling away as I got there, so I decided to just catch my normal bus, which also has a stop over there, albeit across the street from where I was standing.

After about another 5 minutes my bus did arrive and I climbed aboard. And fell asleep. Not for an extended period of time, but long enough that I missed my stop, so I just decided to stay on the bus and get some groceries and my bus pass for next week instead. So the nap wasn't all bad.

But despite the nap on the bus I am still pretty tired. Maybe another nap is called for.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 202 - Not the inaugural ball


Ow and ow again. Back from my second week in playing rec volleyball and it went slightly better than the first. My game still sucks, it would possibly come back quicker if I played more that once a week, but I think I played slightly better than last week. My serve is at least coming back, not that IU have a killer jump serve or anything, but I was able to actually see my float serve dance in the air this week, so I know I was at least putting some movement on it.

My receive of serve still sucks though and my hitting isn't much better. In both cases I think I am just too anxious, trying to do too much too quickly and not actually watching the ball. My old volleyball coach would tell me I am not tagging the ball with my brain, which is probably correct, I am in such a hurry to get to my spots that I am getting to them too soon or taking shortcuts, things that hopefully will be fixed through repetition.

That being said, my body is most certainly going to pay for this in the morning. My foot was already throbbing by the time I left. And my shirt was completely drenched with sweat. At one point I dove for a ball and actually left a sizable wet spot on the floor, and not the good kind of wet spot that says I had some fairly decent sex, but rather they type that says you bare pretty out of shape there dude. After playing for a couple hours, I left and walked to the Rite Aid next door, just to get something to drink while I waited for my bus to catch a ride home. I ended up grabbing some iced tea, nothing too heavy and walked across the street to the bus stop, where I sat down on some steps and had some iced tea and a cigarette. I was fine until my bus arrived and my legs were in serious disagreement with the rest of my body about moving forward. I am sure I did something along the Frankenstein like gait in walking to the bus.

On the bus I made a deal with myself that there was no way I was hobbling around the kitchen tonight, so for the first time in what is probably close to a year I stopped by McDonald's for dinner. I can't say as I had a craving for it, it just seemed the easiest place to go on my way back to my apartment. And the time standing in line actually helped in getting my legs more along the lines of functional. Of course now I am sitting down eating, so functionality is probably all but gone at this point, as is my ability to continue this blog. So I am going to call it a night, rest up and attack the page again tomorrow.

Karaoke Friday - Because I will be getting in late

Not that I have been all that punctual doing these entries anyway, but heard this on's alternative station while sitting at my desk.  I thought the music was catchy enough, but I loved the lyrics.


Robert's got a quick hand
He'll look around the room
He won't tell you his plan
He's got a rolled cigarette hanging out his mouth
He's a cowboy kid
Yeah, he found a six-shooter gun
In his dad's closet hidden in a box of fun things
And I don't even know what
But he's coming for you, yeah, he's coming for you

All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You'd better run, better run, outrun my gun
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You'd better run, better run, faster than my bullet

Daddy works a long day
He be coming home late, yeah, he's coming home late
And he's bringing me a surprise
Because dinner's in the kitchen and it's packed in ice
I've waited for a long time
Yeah, the slight of my hand is now a quick pull trigger
I reason with my cigarette
And say your hair's on fire
You must have lost your wits, yeah

All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You'd better run, better run, outrun my gun
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You'd better run, better run, faster than my bullet

All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You'd better run, better run, outrun my gun
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You'd better run, better run, faster than my bullet

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Multiply 365 day 201 - Vacation, but not for me


I have bemoaned my drinking in the past week, and I would argue for good reason, I have been spending far more time in bars and what not that I normally do and it most certainly has had an adverse affect on my sleep schedule.

But not all of the results of alcohol are bad. One of the things about me being drunk is that I tend not to hold my tongue nearly as much. Yes when I usually blog you do get me, but it is a sober, filtered version. I am not sure that will be the case this evening. I am not sure if that is a good thing or not. People seem to like the filtered me, this is akin to spending your whole life smoking Marlboros and then bumming a smoke from someone who smokes Lucky Strike instead. And I feel a Lucky Strike evening coming on.

All things considered, for as short handed in the management department we are at work, things are still running relatively smoothly. Maybe better than smoothly in some regards, because some people that would normally be coddled haven't been so fortunate this week. My lot has remained relatively the same however, despite being very late on Tuesday (the weather knocked out my alarm clock) I have escaped the the wrath that has been coming forth for some from the office.

Today we had one person get fired, call Ed in Florida begging for her job back, get her job back, proceed to pick up her paycheck and after being confronted by Brian over a few things, turn around and quit the very same day she was fired and rehired. If this had been 6 months ago and I gave a rat's ass about my coworkers maybe I would be more sympathetic, but instead I just considered this to be comedy gold. For all of the shit I have already dealt with this week, this was akin to giving me a brief respite from the day to day suckage.

Part of the issue was Monday, where it just seemed I was working from behind from when the day started, not really catching up to where I needed to be until the very end of the day. That was due in part to some scheduling conflicts over the weekend, Ed had short handed the schedule in a few places so coming in meant catching up on a bunch of things that didn't get done for the previous couple of days, followed by us paying for his mistake.

And the other thing, which I shouldn't admit but am, is Dee. She is off on vacation and while I am sure having her around right now would make all of our lives easier, but I have no problem with her being on vacation. Except when I do of course. She is on vacation with Bill after all, so any illusion I may have had previously is pretty much gone. Now I am spending her vacation reminding myself that everything is exactly as it was two months ago. Now if only could get my brain to believe that.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 200 - We have an app for that


Well, well, well here we are again. And I am just kinda blah. Not that it is a bad blah, I guess my life is slowing down a little bit. No drama of any sorts, no issues of any sort, just some real me time.

These are the best of times and the worst of times for the likes of me. The best because I am one that really enjoys my alone time with no interruptions. Where I can have a few moments and not have to worry about things beyond these four walls. And the worst because these are the times where if I I get too contemplative, I can easily get lost in my own thoughts, which isn't always a good thing.

The result is, while I can sit here right now and type that there is no drama to speak of, if I think about it long enough (perhaps overthink it would be a better term) I start anticipating drama where there currently is none.

Instead I try to get lost in other things, like mindless Facebook apps, things that aren't all that positive in the grand scheme of things, but they keep my mind occupied. Which is probably a good thing at this point. Because I doubt anything good would come from that.

So instead of spending my time here tonight pontificating over the what if's and might be's I think I will go get lost in some more Madden instead.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 199 - Blunt Force Trauma 12.0 - Back because of a soccer like demand


A day like yesterday is a day where you remember that sometimes you change the facts to fit the narrative.

For the past week or so, sports pages in newspapers and online and sports talk radio has been running with the incredible story of the United States women's soccer team, how they had overcome the odds and were poised to become household names like their 1999 counterparts who were the last American team to win the World Cup. Maybe I live under a rock, but I don't think I could name a single player on that team without getting all Googly about it. Their story these days would be found in one of the VH1 documentaries, “Behind the Soccer” or something.

Nonetheless the media was all gripped in soccer fever of a sorts. Even the other night, as I was sitting down watching the nightly news, a chore anymore if ever there was one, one of the news pieces was about how there was an upswing in interest in soccer because of how the women's team was playing. The story was replete with kids playing soccer in a park and somebody yammering into the camera about how the team isn't viewed as a women's soccer players but just soccer players. Lots of nationalistic jingoism tied into a piece about a sport that most Americans couldn't give two shits about. Nary a single piece of evidence was produced in any of the vast amounts of yammering about how soccer was gaining in popularity was ever produced. Instead the story was basically just stock footage stuff, like knowing every 4th of July there will be some jackass who blows his hand off with fireworks, or every Thanksgiving we have the requisite deep fried turkey disaster, every 4 years we get subjected to the nonsense that America is on the verge of becoming a nation that embraces soccer as a sport with extensive interest amongst the populace.

Anyone who reads my page for more than a day or two knows that I am a big hockey fan. I am one of those geeks that, if there is a hockey game on somewhere, regardless of who is playing, I will gladly sit down and watch it. The thing is though, I know I am a geek for doing so. Sure I would like for hockey to be more popular here in the states than it is, but in the back of my mind I am oh so acutely aware that basically I am a niche of a niche when it comes to an audience. The internet allows me to converse with like minded nichers, but we are nichers just the same. The average guy sitting in his home in Ames, Iowa probably couldn't even tell you the two teams that played for the Stanley Cup this year.

The reason I say that is that soccer is in the same boat. By and large the average American just doesn't care, regardless of how much the media would have you believe otherwise. Sure, sometimes a story will transcend the sport and grab national attention, not unlike the 1980 United States hockey team and the “Miracle on Ice”, but after a little bit of buzz everything returns to its status quo. Or the sudden rise of Tiger Woods early in his career in the PGA. But the end result wasn't a huge upswing in interest of the sport, hockey didn't become significantly more popular after 1980, blacks didn't take to the links in droves after Tiger became the first significant golfer of color since Calvin Peete.

But nonetheless, the narrative being written was how great this was for soccer in America. Then the unthinkable happened, the United States lost in the World Cup final to an underdog Japan team. Now I could sit here and argue about how the game ended (Japan won on penalty kicks, something I railed about better than a year ago, again the blog is ahead of the curve) but I will not, because it just doesn't matter. It will have zero impact on the interest Americans have in soccer in general, so why waste my breath on something that is so inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. However, those that had invested so much time and effort into telling us once again why soccer is the next best thing since sliced bread now had to come up with why it was okay the United States lost, lest the real curtain gets pulled back to show that there wasn't an audience there after all. So it was, “well if anyone should beat the United States, at least it was Japan after what their country went through with the tsunami”. Excuse me? So now it is okay to lose if you are the prohibitive favorite as long as the nation of your opponent has went through significant suffering prior to the event. That my friends, is stupidity even I can't wrap my head around. If that were the case, we should all be rooting for Haiti every year. Or any of a handful of other Third World countries where a “dirt nap” doesn't mean you will sleep with the fishes, but instead that your bed in the very ground you are standing on. ““Hey Johnny, it sure is a shame the US lost to Rwanda””Yeah Billy, but hey the Rwandans just learned that the team can afford shoes and a ball next year and maybe in two years they will be able to afford an actual goal on the other half of the field.””

But in another day or two the buzz will quiet down and soccer will take it's rightful place in the family of American sports, it will go back to being that relative that shows up at the family reunion and everyone speaks to only to be polite, while they look at their watch, wondering how much longer before he leaves.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 198 - Sloth

I would like to come by the blog and say I was all productive this weekend, but really I haven't been.  Save for catching up on some online stuff I have done relatively nothing.  Well technically I did work for a few hours Saturday, probably around 4 and half but I only took credit for three.  But really that was about the extent of my grand achievements this weekend.

The biggest thing I had to do on Saturday was to once again do some tweakage on the register system at work.  One of the minor glitches from when we upgraded the software to its current version involved deleted barcodes.  In the old system, while you could delete an item it technically never went away, so what would happen is that when you went to scan the item at checkout the item wouldn't appear, but if you tried to re enter the product information to the system it would say the bar code was already in use.  That isn't a problem with the version that we are currently running, but there were a few items leftover from the upgrade that still functioned under the old rules, since they were deleted before the upgrade took place.  So Friday I placed a call to Shawn at Ultimate Retailer, telling him my problem, and as Shawn is wont to do from time to time, pretty much had my concerns addressed within about thirty minutes, writing a new script for our system that would delete all of the old bar code information that didn't disappear during the upgrade.  He then placed a copy on all of the registers and the back office computer and ran it on the back office, just to show me what needed done.  Then it was up to me to run the same program on all of the upstairs registers, which I did on Saturday since business on the weekends tends to be much slower than during the week.  

Also on my docket, I was supposed to take a look at the new EBT (food stamp) machine the state sent us and see if I could get it hooked up and running.  We are looking to add an EBT and credit card machine to our deli register.  So we called out and had a machine installed that is supposed to take both types of cards, but that is pending approval from the state of PA on whether or not our machine can take an EBT card.  That being said, they did send us two new EBT machines as well and since they were issued by the state as opposed to the credit card/EBT combo machine, those should already work if installed.  So a task Dee left me before she took off for vacation was to see if I couldn't install one of the EBT machines and get it up and running.  I pretty much knew what the problem would be before I started, but I went and took a look anyway.  The thing is, both types of machines require a phone line to be used.  Mind you, they could be tied into the same phone line, given they are at the same checkout only one machine would be in use at any given time, but for that to work you would still need two inputs into the phone line and of course our phone jack only has one.  I think I can get that problem fixed with a quick trip to Radio Shack on Monday, the piece needed to add a second input isn't that hard to find and probably not that expensive.  Heck most homes running a DSL connection have one, but I am not giving up my internet access at home just so the store can take food stamps.  There are some things I will not do for the company, sorry.

Anyway, beyond that I have spent most of the weekend with my foot propped up and playing around on my desktop or laptop.  I snagged another $5 giftcard from Swagbucks, I think I have around $75 in Amazon cash laying around now in my account.  Also I ran into a really neat feature that Amazon is now using, a Cloud Player.  Basically it is a 5 GB storage space for your stuff (you can pay for more storage space, the first 5 GB are free) which I wish Rhapsody would have done years ago.  What it means is if you buy MP3s from Amazon now, you can save them to your cloud and then access them again from any other computer.  So before, unless you had backed up your info from your computer or bought one of those storage type services, once your computer died (and who really plans on a computer dying, even if they almost all do) you lost the work that was on it.  The death of my old desktop probably cost me about $100 in music from Rhapsody, now that isn't an issue with Amazon, I just save the stuff I buy there and can access it from any computer.  Which is good for me, because my burner on my desktop sucks ass, yet there are times when I am on it and listening to music and I think, I could really use that song.  Now I can just go buy it, save it to my cloud and burn it when I crack open the laptop at a later time.  Just another reason for me to like Amazon.

I may be getting some more Amazon cash.  I highly doubt it, but I guess there is a chance, however slight.  I was tinkering with the Scratchix app today on Facebook and I got the last two tokens I needed to win a $30 Amazon gift card.  While that sounds good, it probably isn't, the Scratchix app is notorious for not paying out to winners, so much so that I may tinker with it once or twice a week now.  The only reason I was even using it today was I was running an auto scratcher while doing other things and got the last two of the 25 tokens needed for the prize (I also won $1 in cash).  That being said, they still owe me for my last Amazon gift card, from last September or October, so I am not planning on actually seeing this prize (or the previous one for that matter) though an extra $30 in Amazon cash would be nice, I might even buy another book or two in hardback if I am actually awarded my prize..  

I was actually more excited with my progress on the Madden Facebook app, where I managed to clear out four team collections (Lions, Cardinals, Bears, Giants) and for the first time in a long time I actually feel like I am again making progress on that game.  I got two new starters for my roster out of the deal and am closer to collecting all of the cards, I probably need about 100 or so to have every card in the game, save for the new legends cards they just issued.  Just not as excited about getting them, because right now they cost real cash as opposed to game cash.  Eventually I think they are going to be accessible to game cash, but you have to complete an achievement first,.one that I am nowhere close to completing.  

I even knocked out adding some points to mycokerewards.  I am seriously looking at getting myself the 8 GB Ipod, but that is at 1500 points, so it is a ways off.  Not that I can't get there, I have been beyond that point in the past (back during the great Pogo giveaway on the blog) but right now I think I have about 340 points and even if I were to max out my allotment of points per week (120) it would still take a while and I haven't maxed out points in a week in quite some time, since the great Powerade debacle that Ed signed us up for at work, where he bought a bunch of Powerade that was about to go out of date from a vendor other than Coke, so we couldn't get credit for it once it expired, meaning we were dumping cases of it down the drain, and of course I was keeping the caps all for myself.  

I even managed to bang out a few surveys on mysurvey, I didn't qualify for any of them, but I did add another .15 to my account.  Eventually that too will add up t something, probably another Amazon gift card, though it is still about 9.50 off in the future.  

Well I should probably put a wrap on this.  While I am not tired yet, with Ed and Dee both on vacation this week and Brian making at best token appearances at work, I imagine that just adds to the workload of John and myself.  Or as Dr. Suess might say, "No Ed, No Dee means more work for me."

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mulitply 365 Day 197 - TITIT #14 An unplanned rant


Just sitting down to blog a little because as I am typing some nonsense is on TV once again. “Who Do You Think You Are?” is on, a boring bit of tripe if every there was one. The premise is pretty simple, a celebrity goes in search of their family's past, a past that before was so important to them that they didn't bother with it until TV cameras were involved. Someone wake me when they air my favorite show, “Why Do You Think I Fucking Care?”

Well then, I guess that is as good a way as any to kick off a blog entry. Don't worry there is more, so much more.

Signs of the apocalypse; 4 women in the last three weeks say that I am losing weight, one even compliments the goatee, I kiss a lesbian in my local watering hole and it is July 16th and the Pittsburgh Pirates are not only 4 games above .500 but are in first place to boot. The last time they had a record this good this late in the season was 18 years ago, which was the last time they posted a winning record. Perhaps the Mayans were right, 2012 is just around the corner.

For all of the outrage over the Casey Anthony trial, there has been little detailed analysis over the News of the World/Rupert Murdoch scandal here in the states that may be a far more outrageous story. To break it down in a nutshell here is what happened. The News of the World is a Murdoch owned tabloid style paper in Great Britain. In an effort to scoop their competitors, the NOTW began hacking voicemails of some people. Some of the hackings, despite being illegal, would seem harmless enough in the grand scheme of things, such as finding out minor scuttlebutt among the royals and what not. But the story takes a turn for the far, far worse when it was learned that one of the phone being hacked was that of missing teenager Milly Dowler. Dowler's phone was allegedly hacked and the voicemails removed by people working for the NOTW, which created a false impression that the murdered teenager was in fact still alive and receiving messages when that wasn't the case at all. And the information in the voicemails became more fodder for the paper itself. Other victims of crime, such as family members of the 7/7 subway bombing and families of slain school girls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, as well as phones to family members of dead UK soldiers were also hacked to feed the tabloid beast. While this would seem to be primarily an across the pond type of story, Murdoch has significant media holdings in the United States as well, including the Fox Network, Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post to name a few. If it turns out that some of the phones being hacked were in fact people that were in the United States at the time of the hacking, celebrities here for shooting a movie and what not, we have a brand new ballgame in the realm of spectacle, because now you are violating the laws of two different countries and if there is one thing we can do with aplomb here in the states it is spectacle. In an effort of damage control, the head of the Wall Street Journal has already been fired, but that may be akin to putting a band aid on a bullet hole if this all breaks the wrong way. And I am thinking, couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

And since I mentioned the Casey Anthony bit in the previous paragraph, can we stop with the outrage over the verdict already? I get it, most people believe she killed her daughter (as do I) because having a baby interfered with her party girl lifestyle she wanted to lead. But at the end of the day we lock people up for what they did do, not what we think they did. And the prosecution in this case did an absolute horrendous job in providing any evidence in linking Casey to the death of Caylee. Sure, they did a great job of creating speculation, but that isn't evidence. I could speculate that the moon is made of cheese, that doesn't make it so, at some point I have to go to the moon, grab me a moon rock and bring it back and make a sandwich out of it or something to show that it is in fact cheese, otherwise I am just talking out my ass, which is pretty much how the prosecution played its proverbial hand in this case.

Another miscarriage of justice along the lines of stupid prosecutions would be the Roger Clemens steroid trial that seemed to get thrown out of court almost as fast as it arrived. In pretrial motions submitted to the judge, the judge made it clear that the wife of Andy Pettite, a former teammate of Clemens, could not be a witness for the prosecution in court because what she claims Clemens told Pettite who then relayed it to her would amount to hearsay testimony. So what does the prosecution do in day one of the trail but play a video and in the video are mentions of the very same testimony that the judge already ruled inadmissible. Check please, that's a mistrial and we are done here. When I mock “government work”, sure sometimes it is just a play on words, but when you see federal employees drop the ball this egregiously it sure makes phrases like that stick.

Well hell, if I didn't know better I think I just thought stuff.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 196 - Fini

For those that didn't read yesterday's entry, this is picking up literally right where that left off, so you would best be served to go back and read that one first. For those that did read it, we are starting right where that left off right about now......

The other issue with my left leg is that my knee is still swollen on it. Not swollen in a painful kind of way, heck I didn't even realize it was swollen until one day a couple of months ago when I happened to be sitting in my recliner with the foot rest up and my legs were extended in front of me and I had a "What the hell is that?" type moment. For the most part I have had no reason to pay it any mind, but for a slight moment while playing it did become and issue. While trying to track down a ball and make a play on it that knee buckled slightly, not a full blown collapse or anything, and truth be told I doubt anyone but me even realized anything happened, but I could feel it give ever so slightly before returning to it's previous condition. And it didn't keep me from playing, we ended up with enough people for three teams, so we always had two teams on the court and one off to the side, doing line calls and officiating and what not.

We finished up around 10pm, then I ran to the grocery store which is located about two blocks from the Jewish Community Center, which is where the gym is that we were using.

I just needed a couple of things to work on something else that I had planned, something that almost didn't get done because I literally fell asleep with about 5 minutes of posting yesterday.

Dee had been complaining at work that she hadn't been feeling good recently. Not deathly ill mind you, she still seemed to be relatively functional. I think a lot of it had to do with being run down, because while Ed has been away for a week now, he still calls the store at least 10 times a day, and those calls almost always are to Dee. Sure Brian will get a few, but by and large Dee is the one that is fielding the majority of those calls and the number and frequency with which he calls is enough that again I am glad I don't have a cell phone. Because Brian isn't that much of a hands on kind of guy, much more of the day to day operation burdens have fallen to Dee and John, just making their jobs even more complicated that they usually are.

The thing is though that Dee is on vacation for a week, starting with the end of her shift today at work. I think her and Bill (she refers to him as Bill, Ed refers to him as Billy, the "I wonder why that is" portion of my brain wonders if there isn't some passive aggressive-ly thing going on with Ed) are going to Florida for a week.

So I go to the grocery store and get what needed getting and hopped a bus back to Oakland and was in my apartment by roughly 10:45pm, which is when i started what has become a long winded blog about nothing. And I banged out my entry for yesterday and proceeded to fall asleep. For about two hours, I was back up at 2am getting all functional and stuff and by 3am I was working in the kitchen, a skillet in one corner doing some cooking, a pot with boiling water in another corner, me getting all choppy with some veggies on a cutting board. By about 5am I had finished my little project, so I climbed in the shower and tried to shake some of the soreness and stiffness off (it didn't work, I was useless until about 1pm today from a physical standpoint) and got my laptop and my goodies all gathered up for work and headed out to the bus stop to greet yet another day where I got almost no sleep overnight.

I stopped at my corner store to get my morning coffee, it helped but it didn't. It helped wake me up, but also made me even more aware of how poorly my 42 year old body responded to yesterday's abuse of 305 cases being delivered and 3 hours of volleyball on top of that.

I gte into work, set up my laptop in the office, tuck my goodies away in the office fridge and proceed to get another fine day of serving the empire underway. Three invoices were on my desk by 10am, a Coke order had been delivered and I was stocking coolers when Dee finally made her way to the office. Before she could get there I stopped her and said, "If you look in the fridge you will see homemade chicken noodle soup, because I am not sending you on vacation sick," Then for good measure I tossed in, "because that's the way I roll."

For the rest of the day I tried getting stuff done, though I seemed a step or three slow on most things, eventually everything did get done and by the end of the day Dee and I were alone in the office and she said that she appreciated the soup, it would be dinner this evening and if I needed anything over vacation I could call her, an offer she extended to the other managers as well. I just said, "Look, you aren't getting any calls from me, it's your vacation and I am not bothering you. Go enjoy yourself and don't even think about this place. Trust me, we will all be here when you get back." And after going over a couple of small things that need addressed while she is away I sent her on her merry way. I stuck around the office for just a bit longer, I was working on a minor issue with the register system that needed address and eventually it was. It is just one more thing I will need to finish off on Saturday morning when I make my way in, the hard part is done, I just need access to all of the registers on the floor and it will be easier on a Saturday morning than Friday afternoon when we are busier.

And with that I think I have caught us all up to date, which I would have done sooner but I got a healthy 4 hour nap in after work (please say I can still sleep tonight). I know I am going to try.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 195 - To be continued?

The title is for a simple reason, I don't know if I will be able to finish this entry in the allotted time.  I started playing in a volleyball league this evening, and it was supposed to run from 7pm-9pm, but we managed to get an extra hour of play time in, so I didn't finish until 10pm and then I still had to pick up a couple of things from the grocer store, so as I sit down to type it is closing in on 11pm.  I am stopping wherever I am before midnight, even if I am in mid sentence.  But before that time I will try to get as much done as in humanly or Mattily possible.

First I have to address something about my last entry, and while I doubt I am becoming an alcoholic (yay to that) the problem with me drinking as much as I have is that I find myself coming home and falling right asleep before I can get anything productive done.  Next thing I know I nam waking up at 11pm at night and not getting back to bed before reporting to work at 7am.  So this drinking thing has really crushed my sleep schedule beyond belief. 

This morning was no different, I got about three hours of sleep (8pm - 11pm) then was up all night and reported to work around 20 minutes to 7am.  That in itself would be bad news for me, what made it even worse was we had two big trucks come in, Pepsi with a load of 195 cases and Arizona Tea which brought another 110.  So I had to catch, then check in and finally put away 305 cases of product on three hours sleep.  Plus I still had my normal work to do, break down another 5 invoices that crossed my desk, place orders for us and Universal News for Friday and do another 3 cigarette orders on top of that.  So yea, my day was pretty jam packed. 

Possibly the highlight to my day however came when I was outside, taking some cardboard out for our Thrsday night recycling pick up, when I lady who I don't even know commented on the fact that she thought I lost weight.  Okay, if one person says it, it is nice but they are probably mistaken, but this is the fourth time in the last three weeks or so that I have heard it.  She also complimented me on my goatee (or as I call it, my "Mirror, Mirror" goatee) since apparently the last time she saw me I still had a full beard thing going.  For those not in the know, there is an episode of the original "Star Trek" series called "Mirror, Mirror: where the crew encounters their evil counterparts from another dimension/timeline, the difference between the two Enterprise crews, besides one is good and one is evil is that the evil counterparts all have goatees, so I have latched onto the notion that my goatee gives me the right to be a dick if I want, and if anyone questions it I just tell them they are dealing with "Mirror, Mirror Matt".

And it was cool because life in the office today was actually pretty pleasant, at least for me.  Not that it has been bad the last few days, but today was probably the best it has been since last Friday.  Though Dee is being constantly pestered by Ed, I swear he is calling her at least 10 times a day.  The man takes a two week vacation from the store and you would swear we hear more from him now than when he is actually there.  It is quite frightening.  Hell, he still even ordering stuff while not there, I had a surprise cigarette order show up today.  Of course because Eddie doesn't have all of the books and numbers with him, it ended up being wrong and I snapped on the people that gave it to him while he was away.  Basically I said, the next time a cigarette order doesn't go through my desk, since I do all of the ordering from Sledd anyway, then you are getting whatever mistakes Eddie orders for you, I am not swapping stuff out of my inventory  because you wouldn't let me handle it right the first time.  "Mirror, Mirror Matt".

But that was about the only thing that truly went wrong today, most everything else went okay or right.  And I will admit I was somewhat geeked about the chance of playing volleyball again on a regular basis which probably contributed to my good mood.  And most everyone that plays is around my skill level, maybe a little better, maybe a little worse, but there is a huge chasm in actual ability.  Of course the fact I haven't touched a volleyball in at least three years meant I sucked.  Badly.  On the plus side I did have the last kill of the night, but that might have been my only highlight.  I am certainly not moving up to real game speed yet and was caught flat footed too many times.  And my passing was atrocious. 

Did I mention that my body is sore?  Very, very sore?  The worst is probably my left leg, which I have been having issues with for a while now.  Two main issues really, one the heel of my foot has a pain in it, not  a consistent pain, but one where every now and again when I am walking it feels like somebody just drove a nail into the bottom of my foot.  At first I thought it might have been my shoes at the time, but a few months back I bought a new pair in hopes that would alleviate the suffering.  It didn't, and the shoes would be lucky to say they lasted three months before my feet had split out the sides of them.  And these weren't Payless Shoe Store crappy shoes, or they shouldn't have been, they were a name brand shoe (Avia) that basically couldn't hold up under the stress I put on my feet on a daily basis.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 194 - My desk is cursed


Greetings and salutations all. I hope that the day has treated you well, mine has been about average, not bad by any stretch, but long and tiring nonetheless, which can be blamed on no one but myself.

I blogged pretty late last night even for me (sorry Pam), but I was due in part to my behavior beforehand. And that behavior led to some other things happening and what not. So lets start at the ending of my yesterday and see what happens.

I seem to have a good enough handle on my new found paperwork at work. Of course I still feel like I am doing nothing, sitting at a desk when I should be stocking coolers and shelves and what not. But regardless, most of the work that I am at least responsible for either doing or delegating was done by my checkout time of 3pm. So I gather up my things, John and Brian were already done for the day and Dee seemed to be pretty close to being done so it seemed that most of the management stuff was done. I am thinking, you know, I am goi ng to have a drink after work. Not that I announced it or anything, but if she should happen to see me on the way to her car and decide to stop in, great, if not that is fine too. So I proceed to down to Long Island Iced Teas and fight with my laptop for about 40 minutes, for some reason I can't get it to recognize the WIFI signal in the 110 to save my life which may bode poorly for future raod trip blogs from that particular location. Anyway it is getting close to 4pm, I still haven't seen here or seen her drive by, so I am assuming that I missed her, which is fine and all. I run back across the street just to lay out some newspaper sheets fro Wednesday that have to be delivered to Universal News, and when I get in the store she is on her way out, but if there is one thing I know it is that two Long islands from the 110 are enough to impair my judgment, so I don't do anything but set my stuff up in the office for Wednesday and then come upstairs to catch my bus to go home.

On my way out the door I spend $20 on scratchoff tickets, which actually turns into $35. So I am thinking the day hasn't been a total wash, I just paid for my two Iced Teas right there. Yay me! It is at this point where the “Curse of My Desk” kicks in. See, since I have been there, two other people have sat in that desk, and it is the only desk in the office that has seen any employee turnover. First to sit there was Kathy, who I really like and miss and it so happens she is also the wife of Rick, who runs our newly established deli section. The deal with Kathy was that her mother had a seizure awhile back and now needs constant supervision, which means Kathy now is at home all of the time with her mom rather than working for us. The second person to occupy that chair is Amy, who I have mentioned in the past as someone I would not miss and that assessment has been proven correct. I really don't miss her and her nosiness into what others are talking about combined with her broadcasting her problems to everyone at work like it is something we should or do care about. It isn't and I don't. I would rather sit through a “Fat Camp” marathon on TV than have a 5 minute conversation with Amy. Plus her leaving and my doing part of her job also gets me more money (a raise plus more hours), so cha ching to that.

But as I am waiting at the bus stop for the 65 Squirrel Hill to arrive I see Dee drive by on her way home, I wave and continue waiting for my bus and my mind starts saying, you know, you had planned on spending money on some drinks and you have as much as what you started with (thank you Pennsylvania lottery) so you have money to spend, why not see if anyone (including any dancing lesbians) are in you local watering hole.

So of course I go there and no, there were no dancing lesbians, but unlike last time I was there, the Cherry Master machines were all open, so I sit down and play one while having a few Miller Lites to wash down the other alcohol I had been drinking. And after maybe 4 or so I can say I was feeling no pain, not completely nonfunctional drunk, but I had a nice buzz going on. And to make matters better, I had parlayed the $20 I spent on the Cherry Master into $80, so again I am making more money outside of work than I normally do at work. So I had the drunken celebratory dinner of microwave bbq rib sandwiches and passing out afterward. Thankfully I did not pass out face first into them, or this blog might have required photos of myself that I can assure you I would never take.

And by 10:30 pm I had woke up and was up for the duration. I couldn't get back to sleep and I had extra motivation, my blog entry was due in about an hour and I hadn't even started yet. So I throw together a little something for the page, much of which I have rehashed here, and sit down to realize I have been to the bar like 4 times in the last 7 days, that maybe my “Curse of the Desk” will be becoming an alcoholic. I needed something to break up my bar frequenting routine. Then I remember that I have sometimes looked for a new volleyball league to play in around here, since the last time I played was a few years back in a YMCA league in Homewood (not the safest neighborhood to be in after dark) which eventually shut down. But every time I look, I end up running into links of other leagues that are teams only or touring type leagues and what not, not just a rec league where people meet once or twice a week to smack a ball around with a modicum of sense as to how and why they are doing it. The closest I came to finding anything was a league that was basically for gay people to meet, and while I have no problem playing with gay men (that sentence fragment alone should get at least a chuckle, I'm just sayin') I wasn't sure if they would let non gay people play in their reindeer games and what not.

As luck would have it though, while trying to find something to do to keep my eyes open last night I did come across a league, very near my apartment too, that plays every Thursday night. The cost is just $5 a week, so I signed up and figure I will see what it is like. Worst case scenario is that I don't like it and I lose two hours of my life.

Anyway, besides signing up for volleyball I didn't get much else done last night, including sleeping, so I ended up staying up all night and just going into work this morning.

Work, well it is what it is and all that jazz. Nothing too good or bad, pretty much the same thing, which I guess is a good sign. But I was thinking that maybe after work I wouldn't go drinking for a change, just a quiet evening at home before volleyball Thursday night, but who should be here when I get back from work but Rich. Usually he wouldn't be in my neck of the woods, but when they brought his wife in for her normal dialysis they noticed something that was off, so they were keeping her for a bit yet, meaning Rich was in my neighborhood and usually when Rich and I hang out it is to drink and shoot pool, so the “Curse of the Desk” strikes again as I am once more in a bar drinking .

I am not looking forward to what my desk has planned for me tomorrow. Is it too much to ask for a day away from alcohol? Knowing my luck it will be a day Dee wants to get an after work drink. Nothing against her but I really hope not. I need to get this curse thing under control, lest I have an alcohol induced, Mel Gibson like tirade on some of the morons I have to deal with at work. In which case, the “Curse of the Desk” will indeed claim another victim, me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Multiply 365 Day 193 - That's fine work there Lou


This is probably what I dislike most about drinking. Sure, as I sit here and type I could list lots of thinks that aren't particularly good: the money spent, chance of being hungover/sick, blacking out, possibility of doing something embarrassing while drunk, etc. Now I have been drinking long enough (in general, not just this evening) that I can avoid some of those things, rare is the time that I drink till I puke and almost as rare is the time where I drink and I start losing pieces of the evening. Probably the last time that happened was an employee night out maybe a year ago now. But I do like to have me a drink or two, I seem to be doing that much more the last week or so, and today was no exception.

The drinking was fine, a couple of Long Island Iced Teas at the 110 and a few beers at my neighborhood tavern. Then a trip to the corner store for some microwave goodies, because one of the dead giveaways to a night (or for me afternoon) of drinking is that I get a hankering for food that in reality probably isn't food at all, just lots of chemicals and food dyes and stuff. So I purchased some fine bbq rib sandwiches and got home and threw them in the microwave. I ate them with no problem and by about 6pm my head had hit the pillow and I am sure I was snoring quite loudly.

But then I woke up. Roughly 30 minutes ago, my blog alert system telling me that if I don't get up I most assuredly will miss a 365 entry. And really, that just can't happen. The problem is now, as I sit here and type I am also trying to play Columbo and piece together everything I did before falling asleep, because while I remember everything from a general standpoint, I am unsure of the specifics, like where my keys are. I am sure they are around here someplace, perhaps buried in my recliner or out by my laptop bag in the kitchen, and I am sure if I find my keys I will also find the cigarettes I bought as well. But trying to retrace my drunken footsteps is like trying to catch a housefly with chopsticks. Sure it can be done, but usually by people with far greater skill sets than myself. Wish me luck.

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