Saturday, October 29, 2011
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
When celebrities perform for the world’s tyrants
By Christopher Walker, Published: October 21
Hilary Swank is making news for her warm birthday wishes to one of the world’s most cold-blooded leaders, Chechen tyrant Ramzan Kadyrov.
On Oct. 5, Swank attended the Chechen president’s lavish 35th birthday party, along with actor Jean-Claude Van Damme, singer Seal and British violinist Vanessa-Mae. For this engagement, each of these performers reportedly received hundreds of thousands of dollars in appearance fees. On videos posted to YouTube, Swank can be seen saying to Kadyrov, “Happy birthday, Mr. President.” Van Damme tells him, “I love you.”
Kadyrov’s egregious human rights record makes this affectionate embrace deeply disturbing. Freedom House has consistently found Chechnya to be one of the world’s most violently repressive places.
The Grozny episode of celebrities for sale would be less troubling if it were an isolated case. It isn’t, however. A raft of Western entertainers and celebrities, including Mariah Carey, Usher, Beyoncé and Sharon Stone, have hired themselves out to some of the world’s most odious human rights abusers, their children or close associates.
Carey, for example, performed in 2008 for the family of former Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, receiving a reported $1 million from the Gaddafis for a four-song appearance on the island of St. Barts in the Caribbean. Only after this performance was brought into public view did Carey express regrets: “I was naive and unaware of who I was booked to perform for. I feel horrible and embarrassed to have participated in this mess,” Carey claimed, though her embarrassment apparently was not sufficient to cause her to part with her large paycheck from the event.
In response to reporters’ queries, Swank last week issued a statement similar to Carey’s: “I deeply regret attending this event. If I had a full understanding of what this event was apparently intended to be, I would never have gone.” A spokesperson for Swank said that before the event the actress was not aware of Kadyrov’s alleged role in extrajudicial executions and disappearances in Chechnya.
Other successful entertainers have been unable to resist big paydays from authoritarian sources. Singers Nelly Furtado, Usher and Beyoncé also gave private performances for the Gaddafi family in recent years. Furtado, for her part, quickly decided to donate her $1 million fee (for a 45-minute set in 2007) from the performance to charity. Only following a public outcry did Usher and Beyoncé indicate that they, too, would donate their pay from the private party. Carey has promised that proceeds from a single, “Save the Day,” would be dedicated to the cause of human rights.
Stone has revealed a weakness for the handsome appearance fees for events with political leaders and oligarchs in Russia and other repressive settings throughout the former Soviet Union. In December, at a controversial gala for a children’s charity, the actress sang a duet of “Blueberry Hill” with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin. Stone reportedly receives a quarter-million dollars for each of these appearances.
As for the entertainers who took part in the recent event in Chechnya with Kadyrov, while Swank has been shamed into donating her fee to charity, the others are apparently keeping their checks. Seal has to date vigorously defended his performance for the tyrant Kadyrov.
Pressure is growing for the celebrities who benefited from the shameful Kadyrov debacle to return fees. Given easy access to information on human rights records via the Internet, pleading ignorance in these cases stretches credulity. Anyone doing even basic due diligence would quickly learn that the records of the likes of Kadyrov, Gaddafi and Putin would place them way out of bounds.
Many celebrities distinguish themselves by lending their names to worthwhile humanitarian causes. But in the same way that star power can be used to raise awareness about human rights violations, combat major health-care challenges or protect children, it can also be used to give dictators and their families a veneer of prestige and respectability.
By turning a blind eye to the source of these payments, these entertainers do a grave disservice to themselves as well as to ordinary people who suffer at the hands of despots. Celebrities who want to lend their names to causes should resist the temptation of big, easy money from tyrants and instead follow the lead of those such as Bono and Angelina Jolie. The stars who fail this test deserve no applause.
The writer is vice president for strategy and analysis at Freedom House.
I have often joked in the blog about how my little section of town is like Third World Country. Part of that I am sure is due to the large number of college kids that live here. It is harder to get public services for a population that is made of people who may or may not be paying local taxes. Far better to use those resources on the more affluent, or at least grounded communities, places where people live and work here, thereby at least contributing to the tax base rather than spend a few months here and then moving back home, only to see the process repeat itself once a year.
Today was one such day. I left work around 3pm, caught a bus about 15-20 minutes later and was home somewhere around 3:30 in the afternoon. I hopped online and hit the on button for my TV remote only to see that the converter box was off, apparently the power was out when I was gone, because I never shut off the box. Oh well I think, I doubt there is anything on TV anyway, so I just shut it off and get to working on my laptop. I had a few things I wanted to take care of before I got a chance to talk to that special someone (see yesterday's entry) later in the evening.
Then it happened, the lights went out. At first I wasn't sure if it was my place or everywhere, so I went across the street and tried the lights in the basement of the laundry room. Nothing. This was a definite outage. So I came home and called the electric company, an outage that would be fixed by 6:30pm. No problem I think. Well, okay, maybe a little of a problem, but I can live for two hours without electricity.
I decide to kill the time by taking my camera out and snapping some pics instead. So, ladies and gentlemen I present Third World Oakland.
Yep. lots of darkness. Not the ideal setting for my ancient digital camera, but you work with the tools you have in such a situation. Anyway, what was supposed to come back on at 6:30 didn't. Not at 7:30, when they offered their second assessment. Not at 9:30 when they offered their third. Instead the power didn't come back until 10:06 according to my clock, after doing the math on my clock (it is still set three hours ahead, just to make sure I get out of bed in the morning). And I pretty much missed my window for talking to anyone, which just pisses me off even more. Enough so that here 5 hours after the fact I am still to angry to sleep. Grrr.
Of course there is always one way to deal with my aggression. Go play some Diablo and kill stuff. So beware Diablo, here I come.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
So, it would seem some of you have been asking for details. From what I hear everything is in the details. The thing is, I a wary of getting to detailed, not for me, good God I have thrown enough of me on the page already that the idea that I would be hiding something this good is almost laughable on its face.
Rather, the only reason I a holding back somewhat is because of her, it is a matter or respecting her privacy more than anything I might be hiding. So I am walking a fine line here, saying what I want to share (because I am that happy) and not jumping over that line to that which is too personal for her.
What I will say is that we met a little over a month ago, on this here very page. Because of hockey no less, so all of you that complain about my hockey videos popping up all the time, hate to break it to you, but they seem to work for me.
Well that sucks. I am blogging from breakfast, just ordered two eggs, over easy and they came out over hard. Really, how do you screw up a dippy egg? Is that even possible? By the looks of things, yes, yes it is possible.
Anyway, back to the story. She originally commented on a couple of my hockey videos (turns out she is a hockey fan like me) and me, well I am just nosy. Often times if I don't recognize a name in a comment thread on either my page or a friend's page, I will go ahead and click on the name, just to see where it takes me. Sometimes I will get to a closed page and just turn around and leave, other times I will get on a page, that after poking around and checking things out I will leave a comment or two, or if it is my page that I came from, at least thank them for stopping by. As was the case here, I stopped by to say thanks for the visit (I also commented on her comments on the videos on my page) and what little poking around on her page I did, I liked what I saw. I wouldn't say I was infatuated at that point;, more along the lines of curious; she was someone that I definitely wanted to get to know better.
Apparently she felt the same way, we began to communicate first through the pages themselves, but then our messages became more private. Not because they were sexual in nature, but as I have said before there are some things on this page that you don't get, I do have my lines in the sand I will not cross for your entertainment (what little you can derive from this page), that which is said with an expectation of privacy being one of them. During our exchanges she sent me her email address, I was more than eager to write her. I believe the proper word may be smitten. I don't know if she expected me to write or not, but I am glad I did because I got a wonderful reply, almost as wordy as one of my blogs. Scary isn't it? Someone might write as long as me.
Soon a 4 email exchange became an exchange of ids on messenger, and next thing you know we are talking. Not just talking in the most general of senses either, I think we both ended up talking about things more personal about ourselves that what we would have expected to be saying when we first sat down. And the first time (get you heads out of the gutter kids, or go read my previous blog for that material) everything just clicked. It had to be at least 5 hours before we gave it a break. And pretty much every day since. Anywhere from 5-7 hours is just spent talking to her. And as we got to know more about each other, I admit I was falling in love with her.
Now I know what you guys are thinking, this is a guy who spent the better part of his entire blogging career talking about how comfortable he was being single and firing off fonts of wisdom like “Expect nothing and you will never be disappointed” or “Every day is a day closer to my last day” when describing work. And while I wasn't unhappy at that point in time, I am starting to see how happy I can be, and that is because of her.
This could be the point where I start writing nothing but cliches, but I will refrain and simply say that while we have discussed our feelings for each other, I am not sure she can appreciate the depth of them, because I can't even appreciate it yet. It just seems to keep growing on a daily basis. Sure, I can look back to where I was, say, 6 months ago and appreciate where I am now in that regard, but instead I find myself focusing more on where it is today and just wondering how much better it will be tomorrow.
And there my kids you have it, the whole story or as much as I am willing to tell you. Now if you will excuse me, I seem to have blogged all the way through breakfast (I have a couple of sips of coffee left) and I need to finish up and drag myself into the friendly confines of work for a few hours.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
So I am at work today. Nothing new about that, I am at work most days anyway. But while sitting at my desk I was working on some invoices when I felt something in my pants. You know the sensation, like when you get something in your shoe, and you want to get it out, like a stone maybe. Except this was my pants and well, you can't really take your pants off in the office at work. I am pretty sure that is in the employee handbook someplace. So I do the next best thing, I stand up. And whatever was in my pants started falling. I would say falling and falling and falling, but I'm not that tall. Whatever it was though was falling down my pants leg. And then it fell completely out. It was a dime. Somehow a dime had gotten into my pants and when I stood up, continued its wayward journey right back out the bottom.
For some people,a mysterious dime in the pants would be that, a mystery. To be it was a possibility. If coins were just magically appearing in my pants, just think if I masturbated? I could make it rain. Just move to a private island and play with my privates all day long. New house? That's worth a couple of tugs. A car? Yeah I think I could pull that off, literally. Dinner at a fancy restaurant. Just give me a minute.
Even when I can't function in that capacity anymore, I am sure I could hit the lecture circuit. You've seen the seminars, come to such and such location and learn all of their secrets to wealth. My “Squeeze Yourself to Success” seminar could rake me in additional millions.
But first I guess I have to go test this theory. Be back in a bit and if it works, drinks are on me.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Did you ever feel like you are at a loss for words? Not that there is nothing to talk about, but that whatever words you wish to put forth, they somehow ring hollow in your own ears? Like they aren't enough? That is where I am these days. The problem with grinding a blog out every day is that sometimes there are just too many words involved, thereby diluting their meaning. I think I am at that point right now. Maybe it is a lack of creative verve or a shrinking vocabulary or something, but when I go to write or speak I find myself falling back on the same words or phrases and wonder if the meaning somehow gets diminished.
Maybe that is what is meant by writer's block, but I would think that it wouldn't lapse into my speaking as well. Perhaps it is an early sign of Alzheimers that where before I could pull seven different words, now I can only pull two or three. Whatever it is, it is annoying the hell out of me.
Maybe it is just the sheer volume of posts involved in trying to blog once a day, especially when the best parts of my life I am wary of talking freely about right now and the worst parts make me sound like a chronic complainer. Maybe it is that I am becoming almost content in my ignorance, I can't remember the last time I looked at the paper online and the television news anymore carries almost no interest for me. Whatever this writing funk is that I am in, I need to shake it and pronto, we aren't all the way home yet. Still have a few months to go, but the way I am feeling at this very moment, I would hard pressed to say there will be a second year of it. Then again, I could wake up tomorrow, see something silly or stupid and be flush with material.
But material right now is hard to come by, so I am calling it a night.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
So I am still a full day behind. I actually do have a blog in the hopper, I just can't get the graphics right, which means I will probably have to start from scratch and begin anew, but if that is the only problem I have these days I shouldn't complain too much.
And life is good after all. Some days are harder than others to be sure, but I have just been in a good mood recently. And even the bad parts are parts that I am enjoying working through, which I might not have said a few months ago.
Yeah, it has been that good. In fact it has been a month worth of good. And no, I am still not giving away details. What is taking place is still very much in a nurturing phase, it needs a lot of attention from me in order to succeed, but I am liking how it is starting out.
And that is it for you. No living vicariously through me. Get your own life, lol.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Christmas list 2011
Diablo 3 (if Blizzard ever gets around to releasing it)
Washington Post subscription
A quiet breakfast of an bagel with cream cheese and coffee and the Sunday crossword
DVDs (TV - TV show, M - Movie)
Any season of The West Wing but the first or last (TV)
Homicide: Life on the Street (TV)
Star Trek (the new movie) (M)
X Men Origins: Wolverine (M)
Band of Brothers (TV)
A Midnight Clear (M)
Boondock Saints (M)
The Dark Night (M)
The Wrestler (M)
Pogo stuff (membership, albums or gems)
A Philly Cheesesteak
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America by Douglas Brinkley
Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend by Larry Tye
The Ground Truth: The Untold Story of America Under Attack on 9/11 by John Farmer
The Good Soldiers by David Finkel
Under the Dome by Stephen King
Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet and Threatens Our Lives by Michael Specter
Sweet Thunder: The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson by Wil Haygood
The American Civil War: A Military History by John Keegan
The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons
When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
Ocho Cinco: What Football and Life Have Thrown My Way by Chad Ochocinco and Jason Col
Crazy Horse and Custer: The Epic Clash of Two Great Warriors at Little Big Horn by Stephen Ambrose
LBJ: Architect of American Ambition by Randall B. Woods
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis
Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Malantes
War by Sebastian Junger
Shirts (including T shirts, sweatshirts and turtlenecks, preferably XL or larger, I like them droopy)
PAT bus pass
Gift cards (Barnes & Noble, Target, Walmart, Giant Eagle, Amazon)
Boston Creme donuts
Better results for my fantasy hockey team and a playoff spot for my fantasy football team
Case of Red Stripe
Josh Gibson Homestead Grays jersey
Joe Sakic Quebec Nordiques jersey
Breakfast at DeLuca's
New England Clam Chowder
My grandmother's ham pot pie
Sunday, October 16, 2011
This was a topic I had no intention of addressing on the blog. For the simple reason that for the most part it wasn't a story for me. Sure I had heard about it, and here in ye olde blogosphere there has been plenty of chatter about it, but for the most part the whole “Occupy Wall Street” protests have been a New York City problem, not something for me to worry about or concern myself with. So while they were on my radar, it would be akin to working an air traffic control tower and seeing two blips hundreds of miles apart, hardly worth mention. But that was before the stupidity came here to Pittsburgh.
Yes, I said it, the stupidity. Because at the end of the day, that is pretty much what this is. Maybe I am just missing out on something, but I really don't see the point of this whole “Occupy.....” movement. I get that corporations make lots of money, in a capitalistic society that happens, and if someone were to come to me and want to know about my feelings regarding the divide between the haves and the have nots, I would say that surely the disparity should not be as great as it is, but my complaints would be more along the lines of a tax code that provides so many loopholes that allow for the well to do to escape their civic responsibility than some kind of glorified paycheck envy because the CEO of XY Corporation makes more than I do working at Smithfield News.
So when the “Occupy......” movement came to Pittsburgh, I was less than enthralled. The fact that these protests were congesting things to the point that people who did have to work were now being inconvenienced by a movement that allegedly was there at least in part to protest on their behalf, and you start to get the irony of the situation. The protestors were doing a fascinatingly good job not of being a thorn in the side of over compensated CEOs, but of pissing off the people they claim to represent, at least if the informal poll I was taking outside at the bus stop is to be believed. Far more people were pissed at the fact that while they were trying to get to work, they were instead being made late for work, sometimes waiting as much as an extra hour for their bus to actually show up to take them to their place of employment. Meanwhile the objects of the protestors were enjoying a Saturday afternoon off, not being bothered in the least.
And I can't imagine whey Pittsburgh would even show up on the radar screen of this movement anyway, other than to be a pale copycat of what was taking place in New York, because Pittsburgh hasn't really been a corporate center for a good four decades now. Sure there was a time when many companies actually called Pittsburgh home, at one point in time it was the 5th largest corporate headquarters in the United States, but many of those companies have since moved on to far better financial climates. So protesting here is akin to showing up for a birthday party 5 days late and wondering why there is no cake to eat, because by and large the party is over here.
But let's get to the meat of the matter as it were. Many of the people in these protests are there for one reason and one reason only; they want handed something and it is much easier to just stand around stomping your feet about why you don't have it than it is to actually go out and work for it. It is a glorified temper tantrum, another by product of a generation of spoiled brats for kids who have no appreciation for anything. If they don't get their way they will just sit there and scream at the top of their lungs, because that behavior worked so well when they were kids. Yell loud and long enough and mom or dad will eventually cave in and give them what they want. The result is there is no appreciation for hard work, they complain about being have nots because for the first time in their pampered lives, they are starting to realize that mom or dad's credit card isn't there to be pulled out to buy them what they want. Because if it was and mom and dad could fix their problems with a simple swipe of a magnetic strip, these people wouldn't even be here.
In our lust to make sure that each generation has it better than the last we have come to the crossroads where now we have a generation of lazy fucks. People who expect things for doing nothing. Hell, even in those childhood endeavors like Little League baseball, where the ideas of teamwork, sportsmanship and the idea that at times there are winners and losers we have diluted it to the point that no one keeps score, everyone gets to play regardless of skill level and at the end of the day everybody gets a trophy, just so no one feels bad. It is about as far from reality as one could get.
Now, free from their parents nest, they face a world in which people do keep score, ability matters and not everybody is going to get a trophy. And no amount of stomping ones feet is going to change that. And don't get me started on how this is different because of the way social media is being used. I think we have heard my opinion on this before, but just like blogging the whole “I am tweeting while I am at the protest” nonsense is just an illusion of work. If I tweet it, or stream it, or tell my friends where to meet me, I must have done something. Trust me, you haven't and you are not. A circus isn't significantly better simply because it has 5 bearded ladies as opposed to one. It is just the WalMartification of the protest, everything is now under the same tent and you don't have to go as far to find what you wanted to see.
If things were as bad out there as the protestors would have us believe, I can assure you there would be a lot more businesses out there that would be getting a higher quality of applicant than what they continue to get, because at the end of the day it is work, regardless of how unmeaningful a protestor believes that work to be. The difference between this generation and generations past is many in previous generations realized that their responsibility to their family meant that they would have to take a job to make sure the household had money coming in, and not worry about how much they wanted to work at that particular vocation. Responsibility trumped personal satisfaction. But now we have a generation that is accustomed to no responsibility and bathed in a childhood of personal satisfaction and this is a result.
So let's not call these protestors “Occupiers” as it were, let's call them what they really are, homesteaders, people who want something but without actually paying for it. The problem is for every occupier out there, there are plenty of people who will pay for what an occupier wants for free.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
My body hates me right now. As I type I find I am taking small breaks, just long enough for my eyes to get used to being closed before I again snapping them back awake and wondering just where I left off last time. It makes writing quite a challenge.
And I think I have mentioned how my dreaming process can sometimes work, it is almost like taking a fun house mirror to the last thing on my mind, in this case it would be the last sentence. So if I were to use the last sentence as an example, it would maybe start with the word sentence, then divert off into places with sentences like English class in high school, where we used to diagram sentences, then jump ship[ and start thinking about different diagrams out there, where it might then focus on a diagram I had recently seen. All of this will snap through my head over the course of maybe 10 seconds, and just before falling asleep thinking about diagrams, I would pop back awake to write some more on the page. It is a fascinating frame of mind to be in, aware just enough of what precipitated a thought process which begat a dream.
Far more often though, as I close my eyes to sleep I will not be aware at all, if only because I don't even remember my dream in any way shape or form. That can be a good or a bad thing, on one hand I am sure I miss out on a lot of good dreams that way, but I am sure I miss out on some bad ones as well. I know I would like to have missed out on a few of them in the not to distant past., such as one I had a few weeks ago where I dreamt that I was walking out into a street as as I looked to my left a city bus was coming right at me, then the dream shifted to almost a dream within a dream, a lot of stuff that really didn't mesh together all that well so it is hard to put into words here, but I woke from the dream within the dream only to find myself laying in the street because the bus had hit me, and the second dream was I guess me being in a coma like state from being hit in the first place. So, yes there are some I would rather pass on remembering if I could.
Anyway, I will quit babbling about the goings on in my head, I will save this and post when I get back from breakfast. Then later today I will catch back up to my routine with everyone's favorite, unless it isn't, pictures. Until then...........
Friday, October 14, 2011
Maybe by this weekend I will start to get some things back on track around here, I hope so. I don't want to be lagging all of the time.
Anyway, tonight was the hockey game. As I mentioned before (I think, I forget half of what I say, a sign of Alzheimer's perhaps?) I took Christina, who is the daughter of my friend Rich. Some of you would know him as howletzer1 over in the contact section, though he hasn't hung out here much recently. I have know Rich for a few years now and am friends with everyone in his family.
Now really astute readers of the blog will recognize that I had originally planned to take someone else. I will say that that didn't happen, and I am very glad it didn't. Because what might have been a good thing a few months ago would be a bad thing now. What can I say, fate has been fun these last few days. Of course I was going to go to the game with Dee, she of the secret blog entry fame. But since extending the invitation to her a couple of weeks ago and now, some things have changed. The thing is, once I invite someone somewhere, unless something drastic happens, I am not likely to uninvite them. So I was thinking, the absolute worst thing to happen now would be for her to go. But I didn't want to say that. So I didn't. She said it for me. And the best part was, it was some lame ass excuse she used to get out of going, which made me feel even better if that were possible. I don't know the real reason she couldn't go, Monday she said she didn't want to talk about it but by today she was saying that she had previously made plans with her neice, which would hardly seem to be something you can't talk about. Whatever the case, I really don't care, her not going was the best thing that could have happened.
But it did mean I had to find someone to go with. A couple of people at work had expressed some interest prior to me having an extra ticket, but once I did have one it seemed that they were either already on the schedule working or by that time had other concerns to worry about and couldn't go. So I started going through my mental rolodex of people I haven't done cool stuff for recently when I say something on my Facebook page about Christina's birthday and I thought that this might be cooler than what she had planned (technically her birthday was the day after the game) or maybe not, I hadn't known her to ever even mention hockey in the past. But I fired off a quick message over there and she said she would like to go, which made everything all cool in a “Matt's life is going awesome right now” kind of way.
So we ended up meeting up in town around 5:30 pm and made the walk over to the Pens building in about 15 minutes. The hardest part to finding our seats was, well nothing. We went in the main entrance, went up one escalator and right across the concourse area was our box. And the box was cool, in it was a little TV right between us, our chairs were like comfy office desk chairs as opposed to those plastic chairs the masses get to enjoy. I could wheel around and spin and it was good. At our seats was the concession menu as well as a copy of the pregame notes package. Unlike the program, which is handed out to everyone when they go in the building, pregame notes are pretty much left to just the press. Lots of inside hockey technical statistical stuff.
Since we got there so early I decided that I was going to get something to eat (I hadn't eaten most of the day) and I asked Christina if she wanted anything, but she refused. Okay, well I was hungry, so I ordered a cheesesteak sandwich, fries and a 20oz RC. Since we are dealing with concession food here, we all know it wasn't cheap, it was 18.50 altogether. But I was hungry damn it. So I ate.
We had probably been there maybe 30-35 minutes, just talking and taking in some pregame stuff when the 7 Up guy Phil came in. While I got the tickets from our rep, Phil would be his boss. So he and I talked shop briefly, and next thing out of his mouth is, by the way the concessions are covered on my business account. So if I had waited 30 minutes, I could have had a free dinner. Oh well, Christina did end up getting a diet peach Snapple and Nachos, and I did end up getting a Tim Horton's coffee on the 7 Up account, so it wasn't a total wash in that regard.
The game was good too, I would argue from a strictly game play perspective Pittsburgh seemed to play better more consistently throughout the course of the game, but sometimes the game is simply about luck. So after Pittsburgh scored first, a fluke goal ended up tying it (a Penguins defenseman actually kicked the puck into his own net), an Alex Ovechkin shot that was so hard it had to be reviewed in the league office so they could see it actually went into and right back out of the net bounced off of the back of the net and caromed back out without anyone on the ice actually noticing it. Pittsburgh would get a late goal to tie it and send it to overtime, where Washington would win the game 3-2. It was certainly entertaining enough, sure the result could have been better, but the effort was there. If the Penguins have that type of effort through the season, they will have nothing to worry about for the rest of the regular season.
Okay, my eyes are starting to shut., I guess it is bedtime for now. Nite kids.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
I am late again.. If this keeps up, someone is going to think I am pregnant or something. But I am all kinds of happy about my lateness these days. Without getting into too many details, I can honestly say that the last week or so has been pretty freaking awesome. The reason I will not get into too many details is because things in my life have changed, in what may be a most positive way. If I had one of those magic 8 balls it would say something like “things look promising” or some such nonsense.
And the best part is that I wouldn't have seen this coming at all. It has just happened. And it involves none of the characters familiar to the normal, everyday blog readers. So there is no point trying to guess on anyone's part, as everything unfold I might be inclined to talk about it more, but for now I want to just enjoy what is taking place.
I guess we have reached one of those line in the sand points, things that I will versus will not blog about. Which I guess makes for an almost anti blog, I am here to tell you I am happy but refusing to tell you why. But what else could I say? I guess I could talk about the hockey game tomorrow night. As it turns out I am going with my friend Rich's daughter Christina. I have known her for years, so before anyone gets any sort of crazy notions about it you can stop. I have known her since she was a kid, but as luck would have it her 20th birthday is on Friday, so this almost works out as a cool pre birthday present. I am planning on taking my camera to get some blog pics, just not sure how long it will take to post them . If it is as long as it takes me to blog, it could take a while.
Well, that is tomorrow's problem. Today' s is just posting this.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
The week has been a tad bit hectic, two different vendors have changed their date in which they deliver, so I have been trying to get used to the new schedule. Pepsi moved from a Thursday to a Monday delivery, Coke switched from Friday to Thursday. In the grand scheme of things it doesn't mean all that much, it is just a manner of changing a routine that I was finally comfortable with.
Until that time however, I find myself playing catch up here at 3am on the page. This could end up badly, very very badly. Or I could just get better with managing my time. Who am I kidding, that will not happen. But for now, it looks like I have about 2 hours until the alarm actually goes off, I am going to see if I can't get my eyes to close back up for another minute or two and take another crack at being more responsible in the morning.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
The cool thing about not having much to report on a day like this is that I always have some things I can fall back on for quick blogging material. Like the change meter for instance, which I haven't updated in over a month. So I will go ahead and rectify that situation right about now, another $2.47 is added to the kitty so the new total is $310.47. So there is always that I can use.
I wish I could say there was some good news to report in fantasy football, but in my money league I am dangerously close to becoming a donation. I am now 1-4, two of the losses by 4 and 1 point, bujt they are losses nonetheless.
In one other league I have already won, I am 5-0 there and in the third I still haven't looked yet, I was trailing going into tonight, but it wasn't an insurmountable deficit. I just haven't bothered to get any updates on the Monday night game. I should on that at some point.
As for fantasy hockey, which kicked off this past week, I am off to a very slow start. The kicker is the oft injured Ryan Whitney is injured once again. I swear that man should just wear a dress at this point. I seriously think that any game Ryan Whitney misses can't be called a Man Game lost to Injury at this point.
Oh well, other than that things are pretty much good around these parts. Well, varying between good and very good, something I might get into in a day or so, time permitting. But time doesn't permit right now, so I won't.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
I mentioned last weekend that I spent a good 14 hours at work getting the register system up to snuff so I could begin putting in the items that were missing and also remove all of the items that we either no longer carry or were put in the system wrong to begin with.
The problem with that is, well, it didn't work. Check that, it did work, but it didn't. See, as things turn out, I did all of the changes in the office computer, which is the computer that runs a large chunk of the system, it is where we get reports from and usually it is the one I use when adding new items or adjusting prices. Well, Saturday I had done a bunch of deletes mostly and was just hoping that the registers upstairs would keep up, or eventually catch up.
So I go in Monday morning only to find out that many of the changes I made did not cross over yet, and now some of the keys of the touch screen were also not working. The screen keys are much like items in the system, they have an SKU number, but then they open to a pad where you can enter the price. We use these keys for items that do not scan, or for other things that do not have bar codes (Western Union, Cricket bill pay, etc.) On some of the registers those keys were not working, others they did work. I figured maybe the system was just being incredibly slow, so I did not think anything of it and if all of the changes hadn't taken effect by Tuesday I would give a call to the register people to see what was up.
Tuesday comes and still problems. I go to one of the registers and start looking into the inventory and I am see lots of items that just shouldn't be there, and some of the screen keys still have their old SKU numbers attached to them. This presents a problem because when you go to hit that key, since the old SKU number no longer exists rather than open up[ a price pad, a simple Item Does Not Exist message pops up.
That was it, I made the call to Shawn to see if I could get an assist on what to do next. I explained what I did and the first thing he told me was not much of a surprise given how cheap we can be at times, but that our computers are out of date. The software we are running is a 2 GB program, most of the registers on the floor only have 1 GB of memory. That would explain why the changes were taking so long to take affect originally, but we are 4 days later and still having issues. Shawn suggest that I do an option called a Data Pull, basically go to one of the terminals upstairs, go into the system options and pull all of the correct information from the basement computer. Because of the number of changes it may take a while, so I make sure I get all of the instructions correctly then head upstairs and crack open the deli register (our slowest register business wise) and see if I can pull this whole data thing off. I select all of the proper options, press the pull button and one second later it is done. Damn, that was fast. Given our computers, probably too fast. So I look into the inventory and there are still deleted items and bad SKU numbers everywhere. I try again, same result.
I call Shawn back up and let him know the data pull isn't working, he tries it remotely from his location, again nothing. So he starts poking around in how the system is configured and we found a huge culprit. Remember how I said we were running a 2 GB program on computers with 1 GB of memory available, well as a work around to save memory space, someone decided to basically eliminate record keeping, that is our records were only being kept for one day before the system would delete them, so all of that work I had done on Saturday, the system basically quick doing changes at midnight, because then when an upstairs computer would try to mirror that record of changes, that record no longer existed. The result is I get to do the whole damn thing over again from another terminal upstairs on Saturday, this time saving the records for at least 7 days, so if any issues arise we can actually pull the changes this time.
That means I am due for at least another 14 hour day tomorrow, so I am going to bed right about now.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Just sitting here watching the Penguins first game of the NHL season on line as I type to you this evening. Because the game is in Vancouver that means the start time is 3 hours behind my time, so a 7pm faceoff there is actually 10pm my time. Figure the game going even 2 and a half hours and it will b e on well after midnight my time, so I decided to take a nap earlier to make sure I would be up for all of it.
Gee, in the time it took me to open this window and get it shaped so it wasn't blocking the game and then type that first paragraph it is already 1-0 Pittsburgh, on a James Neal goal. Me likey.
Speaking of hockey, Fred came in today to do his 7 Up order a day early. He also came in because he had my hockey tickets with him and didn't want to lose them. So he handed them to me. They are indeed kick ass seat, face value of $210 a piece. But rather than tell you about them, I will just show you,
The goal in the photo is the end that the Penguins will be shooting at twice during the three periods, and the little TVs on the counter are between the seats, so there will be one between Dee and myself. And the box we will be in only seats 8 people, so it will be quite spacious for us. I am definitely getting all kinds of excited, most Pens games are sold out here in Pittsburgh, so getting any seat, let alone this good of one is a plus. The Pens have sold out all of their home games for a few straight seasons now, there are a few individual game tickets available for most games, but even those get scooped up long before actual game time.
I did finally remember what it was. Lee had mentioned something on his page a couple of weeks, back, about entrance music of all things. It is actually something I have thought about in the past, because while in radio I have thought about what type of music I would want as a show open. So if I were to have some entrance music, I think I would have it down to one of three songs; “Click, Click, Boom” by Saliva, “Firestarter” by The Prodigy or “I Said So” by The Godfathers.
See, I do remember things, it just takes me a few days to remember what it was I wanted to mention. Speaking of mention, I better scoot if I am going to post this by midnight. Besides, I am distracted by the game anyway (pens are winning 3-1 right now) and the witching hour is fast approaching. So I will bid you all a fond adieu.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Well, it looks like the good times may be over for quite a while this time. I have talked about the whole Ed / Brian dynamic before, Ed spends winter in Florida and Brian runs the store, Ed comes back when the weather warms up and Brian stays out of the way. Well, I pretty much figured that Ed had left for Florida when he did not show up in the store last week, but today he comes in the store around 2:30 or so, he was stopping by because he had a meeting with his attorney.
So I had a chance to talk to him for a bit, and then I handed him some invoices we had gotten, because he always gets a copy of our invoices. Even in Florida, he would be mailed a copy of the invoices and would do a decent amount of paperwork while he was on his winter vacation. Well when I handed him the invoices today, which I mark by writing “Ed's copy” on them, he proceeds to tell me to not do that anymore and rips that portion of the invoices off. So whatever is happening between Ed and Brian these days, it is enough that Ed apparently wants nothing to do with the place at all.
I guess this is where I start thinking about myself, I mean Brian has never treated me poorly, but usually the vast majority of my freebies have been because of something Ed has done, so my days of spoilage may soon be coming to an end, save for what I can arrange through the vendors as giveaways. But no more free breakfasts, boohoo. Or free stuff from the store.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
I guess the big news today, at least politically speaking, is that Governor Chris Christie has opted to not run for the Republican nomination for President of the United States. There is much hand wringing over why he would opt not to run. Allow me to make this relatively simple for those of the media persuasion who are spending time trying to figure out why he, or why he wouldn't run.
The Republican field basically stinks. It is a clown car of embarrassment. This is a party that right now is running around, chasing the flavor of the month, only to find out a week later that the flavor of the month is a bigger assclown than the last one. To be sharing a stage with them is akin to sitting in a room of sewage treatment workers, sure you may enter the room all nice and clean, but in the end you still come out smelling like shit. Chris Christie, I think, is smarter than that. Far better to let this sorry lot of hopefuls piss away what little respectability they have this year, while he sits back and waits for four years where he has the opportunity to run minus the baggage of this field and against a Democratic nominee that is not an incumbent.
And who can blame him? Imagine for a moment that you are considering a run as a governor of a sizable state and instead of running on your record and your achievements, instead you find yourself answering questions about Michele Bachmann's counseling clinic that tells homosexuals that they can “pray the gay away”, or being asked to offer your opinion on Governor Perry's Niggerhead hunting camp, or sitting in a debate while a roomful of people boo a gay serviceman and nobody on the stage offering even the slightest amount of praise for the harm that serviceman puts himself in daily, just so they can have the right to have that debate. The prospect of this would make any sane person turn tail and run from this nonsense. Sure, there is lots of minutae that goes into political campaigns, and sound bites made up of relatively nonsensical issues, but this particular field has turned stupidity into an almost Olympic sport.
So in the end, it makes almost perfect sense to me for Governor Christie not to get into this race.
Monday, October 3, 2011
I am watching football yesterday and during the course of the games I am seeing players with pink towels, or pink gloves, or pink mouthpieces. Apparently it was in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I guess my question is, when isn't it Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Really, is it ever off the schedule? I know there are times when here in Pittsburgh they will change the water in the fountains pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness, there are cabs that drive around town that are pink, because it's all about Breast Cancer Awareness. I get it, really I do. Breast Cancer exists. I am aware. Enough already. Or at least grant Dick Cancer Awareness equal time. Let's spend a few years talking about nothing but Dick Cancer. It's only fair.
So without further adieu, this will be your Dick Cancer Awareness Blog. Between little snipptes from me, I will make you aware of Dick Cancer. And really, that would be an awesome porn name. “Anal Invaders” starring Dick Cancer. Okay, I'll stop.
So it seems that Monday Night Football on ESPN has pulled their Hank Williams Jr opening after HW Jr appeared on the Fox News morning show and basically called Barak Obama Adolph Hitler. Now those of us locally know that ESPN can get testy when it comes to their image, as was the case with Mark Madden, a local sports talk host who was working for the local ESPN affiliate at the time and was fired for making the comment upon Ted Kennedy's passing that he figured when Kennedy died it would be from drowning. That was reason enough for management in Bristol to end their association with Mark Madden and he was shown the door, so them pulling the HW Jr opening of Monday Night Football is not that big a stretch for those of us living here in Pittsburgh.
In the United States there are reported between 7500 and 8000 cases of Dick Cancer a year.
The register system at work is still trying to figure out just what it was I did to it. It was still running slow most of Sunday and while it was better today, it still had numbers in the system that I had taken out on Saturday but the deletions haven't crossed the entire system yet. I hope they have rebooted them at least once since I did everything, maybe I should do that tomorrow. Just to make sure that when it reconnects it is connecting to the new improved model I have in the basement and not keeping shadows of its crappy former self hanging around.
Dick Cancer kills roughly 400 men in the United States each year.
Did you ever have one of those moments where you are doing something and remember that you forgot to blog about something, but now that you have remembered you will be sure to get around to it, on,ly to find that now that you are sitting down you have once again forgotten what you previously remembered after you forgot it the first time? Yeah, that's where I am right now. I distinctly remember being at work and through the course of the day I was doing something an the thought that “yeah, I forgot to mention that” popped into my head. Well guess what? Looks like I am going to forget to mention it again, because I forgot what it was.
While I call it Dick Cancer for comedic purposes, technically it is testicular cancer. But I imagine you already knew that.
Well, we are closing in on about 10 days till the hockey game I a supposed to go to but I still don't have the tickets yet. I talked to Fred about them on Friday and he said he would bring them in this week, probably on Wednesday, so I a not in full blown panic mode yet. But I am aware of my luck with women, so it would not be beyond the realm of my karma for the whole thing to blow up in my face since I actually have an attractive female that wants to be seen in public with me. Or will at least tolerate being in public with me if a free hockey game is involved.
You can still have sex even after having Dick Cancer.
Okay, I am done now. Feel free to go forth and tell other about Dick Cancer. Make them aware. Get it a month.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Hello again. Just me being lazy this evening, watching some football and being all warm under a comforter. I sort of slept in today, didn't get up until 8:30am. Then it was me waddling down to the corner store for coffee and chocolate chip coffee cake for breakfast. And that was the extent of me being outside today.
Unlike last week at this time, I am uncomfortable about all three of my fantasy football teams. They all are winning, but none of the games are blowouts and both myself and my opponents have guys playing Sunday and/or Monday night. So I can't really come in here and brag all that much. The only thing I know for certain is I move on in my survivor pool, I had the Atlanta Falcons this week who won 30-28 over Seattle. I know a handful of people fell out again this week, a few mistakenly picked Buffalo this week, so the pool will shrink again. There were 43 entries in the contest, we are down to less that 17 after 4 weeks.
Other than that, not much to report again. Just a very quite day on the home front. I got some cleaning done for a change, no where near enough mind you, but some nonetheless.
Hopefully tomorrow I can begin putting items back into the register system that I removed yesterday. My plan of attack will be to just break the store into sections, and each day try to knock out a section or two if possible. Technically I did start this on Saturday by working on the Pepsi, Coke and Arizona products but that is just a small amount of all of the things we carry.
Well, that was nice. Just saw a Ray Rice TD run, that will help all three of my fantasy teams. He also had a long pass reception earlier, 52 yards I think, so he is off to a nice start this evening. Go me and all that jazz.
Anyway, I guess I will call it a night. I have a few long days ahead of me this week and would like to start the week without being sleep deprived.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
I'll try to be brief, seeing as how the midnight hour is fast approaching. I would have like to have settled in for this entry sooner, but as luck would have it I ended up pulling a 14.5 hour shift at work. I wasn't planning on it being quite that long, but admittedly what I did needed done and it will not hurt the paycheck none.
The plan was to go in and work on getting stuff put into the system, items that previously did not scan. Sammy wanted to do breakfast this morning, it was his turn to buy so I wasn't complaining, though I probably would have went somewhere whether he was going or not. Instead it was a Deluca's run, which was much needed if for no other reason than for the coffee, though the food was quite good and filling. It turned out to be handy given how long my shift turned out to be.
I managed to get a large portion of the bottled sodas into the system, but the main thing I ended up getting done was getting rid of all of the useless items and codes from the system. If I never see a bar code again, I can't say I would miss it at this point. Of my 14.5 hours, probably a good 11 of it was spend in front of a computer just looking at bar codes and deleting items that were put in wrong originally, or items that we don't even carry that were left in there. We literally had items still in the system from a dairy provider that we haven't used in at least 4 years. And cigarettes that I am not even sure are available anymore. Kent? Vantage?
Of course when I have to rip stuff out of the system, it slows down the rest of the system, including the registers because our system is so out of date that they don't have the memory to do updates as fats as I am making them. As a result the registers pause between registers, trying to process all of the information going into them. I am hoping they are done updating by Monday morning, but given how much I changed I can't say for certain that will be the case.
Anyway, I am off for some nap time I think. Getting out the door at 6am and getting in after 11pm makes for a very tired me. And I still haven't checked my email yet. Thankfully I get to sleep in tomorrow.
Where we've been
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