Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 348 - 2014 by the numbers

     And this is how I want to wrap up the year, not with a list of posts or happenings, but simply a numerical recap of the year.  The original plan for this project was to do 365 different writings this year, obviously I fell a little bit short of that goal since I am only on entry 348.  That being said, including this entry I did manage to make 438 entries on to the blog this year, not including the cosmetic entries on the bookshelf to the right.

     Some other interesting numbers from the blog......

     This project has pushed the number of individual page views since it first started to 16,383, with the vast majority of them, 11561 to be precise, coming from the United States (of course) followed by Canada with 793 and then, France(?) with 447.  Filling out the list of the top ten countries to visit are Russia, Germany, Australia, Ukraine, Poland, United Kingdom and Sweden.

    Of those visitors, 73% of them use Windows as their operating system.  Macintosh was the only other operating system to garner double digits (11%).. For browsers the leader is Firefox (49%), followed by Explorer (20%), and Chrome (14%).

     Of all of the posts I have done this year, only 1 of them managed to make the top ten of all time viewed posts, June 18th of this year, which came in 9th all time.  The remaining posts in the top ten either came in late in 2013 or when this blog was located on a previous platform (shout out to you Multiply folks).  Amazingly two of those posts are hockey videos, so maybe by posting them I am not wasting my time after all.

     Anyway, that is a quickie synopsis.  I still haven't decided how I will proceed going forward.  I know for certain I will not be ignoring the page, in the last few days it has felt like I was getting a voice back and I don't know if that is just me hitting a not so dry spell or if it is turning a corner of sorts where I am starting to have more urges to write or if the events of the day are such that the ideas come easier.  Whatever the case, I am not going anywhere, so consider yourself warned, I just haven't established a timetable yet for how often I will be here yet.

Blogger 365 Day 347 - Fantasy wrap up

     As I think you know, I have been using one of these posts every week to update my fantasy sports teams.  Since I am still 18 posts behind for the year (and I will not get to 365, no matter how much I type) I figured I might as well bang out one last one of  these before the calendar year and this particular project closes up shop. 

     This will be smaller than the last blogs of this type simply because there is less to report on, the two fantasy football teams have seen their seasons come to a close, leaving only two hockey teams remaining.  As for how they did.....

Fantasy hockey

My league - I went 7-2-2 last week, the overall record now sits at 60-38-23 which is still good for third place overall.  I am now 29 points ahead of 7th place, so I could have a winless week and still be in the top six.  That's good since the top six qualify for the playoffs.  Of course the playoffs are still a ways off, and this week I take on the 1st place team in the league, so having a bit of a cushion at this point is a good thing, I could get my ass kicked this week.

Radio league - Still in 4th place and honestly my desire to even be in this league is waning.  I can do the Jakub Voracek update again, he still leads the NHL in scoring by 3 points, Yahoo has him ranked as the 5th most valuable fantasy player, this league has him ranked 31st.  It could just be bitching and moaning on my part, but any fantasy scoring system should at least be reflective of what is taking place on the ice, guys that are valuable in the actual game should be of value in fantasy too, and guys who are all but inconsequential shouldn't have their value inflated because of nonsense, yet nonsense rules this league.  It is time to quit swimming upstream in this league, just accept the fact I will never get it and move on.

There that was easy, wasn't it?

Penguins @ Devils 12/29/2014

New Jersey 3  Pittsburgh 1

Sidney Crosby - G

Pittsburgh has lost their last 5 games in New Jersey

Capitals @ Penguins 12/27/2014

Washington 3  Pittsburgh 0

Marc-Andre Fleury - 30 SV

Pittsburgh has lost their last three games, have lost 6 of 12 games in December

Blogger 365 Day 346 - Out with a bang

     I was unsure of what to write today, it is the last day of the ear and all.  Perhaps I will be writing more than one entry, I don't know, I just know my head is filled with ideas at this point, but I have nothing to connect one idea with the other so they would best be served being kept as separate entities.

     This particular entry I hadn't even planned on writing today, until I was at work checking the company email or some such nonsense and on the home page of one of the computers was a story where a woman was shot in WalMart by her 2 year old kid.  I am sure the term tragedy was bandied about in the story. I will say now the exact same thing I said after the shooting that took place at Sandy Hook elementary, this is simply the cost of doing business.  When we as a society said, hey, what would be really cool is if every one could carry a gun in a public place then we set this chain of events in motion.  Veronica Rutledge's death wasn't a tragedy because she herself created the situation by being such an irresponsible gun owner that she allowed her 2 year old son access to a firearm.  Had an innocent bystander been shot, then yes, I would concur that a tragedy had taken place, but when someone opts to carry a gun and then gets shot by that gun because of their own irresponsible behavior, that's not a tragedy, that just Darwinism.  I don't shed tears for stupid people, it's just not in my DNA. 


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 345 - Bugs

     Don't know what is wrong with me these last few days, I just have no energy when I get home from work.  Even moreso (or is that lessso) than normal, I just come home and almost immediately climb under a blanket and either sleep or want to sleep. 

     I thought maybe I was just feeling off in a social way, so after work today I stopped at my local watering hole, but even there all I could think about was getting home.  Sure enough I left, came home and grabbed something to eat and was napping by 7pm.  I just flipped on my laptop, clicked on Hulu and started watching "Life Below Zero" (a new guilty pleasure of mine) and didn't even make it halfway through an episode before I was asleep. 

     Now I am up, though I still have no desire to actually be functional.  Worse I know what happens after I nap, I will be up until 3am or some ungodly hour.  To a degree I have been able to get away with it these past couple of weeks, if I go into work late I know i will make the missed hours back up on the holiday(s) and given how slow it is this time of year, I have been able to cut down on my hours per day, if not the number of days themselves.  Which is good, I can fake feeling well for 5 or 6 hours, then come home and climb back under blankets and nod off again, wake up, be up half the night and have the cycle repeat itself the next day. 

     Anyway, I am going to try to eat something.  I haven't lost my appetite yet, just have little desire to even get up and cook.  Someone want to bring me some chicken noodle soup?  Didn't think so.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 344 - Might as well get this done

     It is much too early on my day off for me to be awake and truthfully I am feeling like I could fall back asleep pretty easily, but since I have been putting off last week's fantasy sports update I might as well go ahead and bang them out here before coming to a decision one way or the other about climbing back under the covers.

     On the bright side for all you blog readers it was the last week of fantasy football season, so even if I decide to continue almost daily bogging after this 365 thing comes to a close, the book on fantasy football closes for at least another 8 months, leaving on hockey left on my radar in the meantime.  For now though, I do have some results to get to.

Fantasy Football

Work league - A 107.9 to 67.52 loss, leaving me with 4th place for the year.  The only upside to the playoffs, where I lost both games, is that the team that beat me last week by less than a point lost in the championship game by less than two points.  I know I shouldn't gloat on others misfortunes, but really, it is just so easy to do so.

Swagbucks league - A 106.84 - 81.02 win, giving me third place in the league, and an additional trophy for my fantasy sports profile on Yahoo.  The matchup was against the highest scoring team during the regular season (I was second highest) so going into the playoffs this looked more like the eventual championship game rather than the consolation game it turned out to be.  The third place trophy makes it my 13th won playing fantasy sports on  Yahoo, though my first since the 2011 hockey season. 

Fantasy Hockey

My league - I went 7-1-3 last week, bringing my overall record to 53-36-21, which is still god enough for 3rd place in the league.  I actually increased my lead on 4th place, it now stands at 5 points in the standings, and I am 14 points ahead of 6th place, which is the last roster spot, so I am starting to feel just a little bit comfortable about finishing the regular season in the top 6 (7th place is 21 points behind me), though the season isn't even half over yet, and I am sure my team could get hit with a rash of injuries, but at least now I have a cushion to work with.

Radio league - Still in 4th place, though 3rd and 4th swap on an almost daily basis now.  Again this is the league where I don't understanding the scoring system at all, so it is time for our Jakub Voracek update.  Voracek had a good week plus, he now leads the NHL in scoring with 46 points (14 G, 32 A), three points ahead of his closest competitor, Tyler Seguin.  Yahoo now lists Voracek as their third most valuable fantasy player, behind only his teammate Claude Giroux (who is also on my team) and Evgeni Malkin.  And just where does our league have Voracek ranked?  27th.  He still trails Brooks Orpik (also on my team) and the 8 points Orpik has contributed this year (all assists), who is ranked 24th, the same Orpik that Yahoo has ranked 467th.  Again I ask you to figure out the riddle, because I don't get it. 

Okay, that closes the book on football season, at least for fantasy purposes  Don't worry, I have no intention of doing fantasy baseball this year.

Blogger 365 Day 343 - Wherever my mind (and the bus) takes me

I don't think this is what The Hollies had in mind when recording "Bus Stop", me standing on 4th Avenue waiting for a bus to take me to The Waterfront so I can transfer buses and go to WalMart.  Actually while I used to make this sojourn back in my radio days, when needing a second job was par for the course in order to pay the bills, it has been a while since I have made this trip solely for my own enjoyment, or at least my own selfish wants and needs.

     That is not to say I haven't been to WalMart, I was just there on Sunday buying Christmas presents, and it is in part because of that trip that I have to make this one.

     I guess I can let the cat out of the bag now, it is post Christmas and I no longer need to keep my mouth shut about presents that have already arrived at their destination.  I made the trip to WalMart at The Waterworks (always with the water themed malls) because I had a plan to go and pick up at least one of those "together" presents for my mom and her husband, a 40" flat screen TV.  My hope was I could pay for it in the store and have them send the order to a closer store, who in turn could deliver it.  By checking online the night before I saw that they could get things to their destination before Christmas, so I figured I would get the big item, then spend my time there and in a couple other stores out that way and buy smaller gifts.

     So I am walking around the electronics department and I see the TV I want, so I explain to one of the associates what I wanted to do and was told it couldn't be done, in order for me to get delivery I would have to go online and make my purchase.  While I could have bought the TV and taken it with me, one of the disadvantages to riding public transit is no trunk space.  And trust me when I say I had no desire to try to navigate getting a large TV on a city bus.  Square peg meet round hole and all that jazz.

      Since I had my Christmas money with me (I am still old school in rather using cash than a credit or debit card), instead of buying the TV there I got a gift card for the amount of the TV (and then some) and went home and used the gift card to buy the TV online just so it could be delivered.

      Now buy it online wasn't all bad, I did get to use the Swagbucks portal into, thereby securing myself 3 swagbucks for every dollar spent.  All in all I probably got enough in the transaction to get 2 more $5 Amazon gift cards.

      How does that relate to this scenario you may ask?  Or you may not, who knows, but now I have a gift card with extra money on it and an apartment that is in need of groceries.  By making this trek to my old place of employment I will end up at one of the Supercenters, as opposed to the one I was shopping at Sunday which was just a regular old WalMart, and from there I will get food stuffs, rather than going to a grocery store and spending greenbacks.

     The problem with this trip is it will take two buses to and fro, with layovers inbetween both buses, kind of like the airport, but the airport is probably faster.  By the time I get to my destination I probably could have flown to Chicago.

      I didn't stay at work as long as I could have today, after doing a 12 hour day on Christmas (at time and a half of course) my need for extra hours isn't all that great.  Plus I just saw the new schedule Friday and Ed has me on a register shift on New Years Day too, another long day for me, but again at the time and a half rate.  Plus I pick up at least one additional vacation day for working each of them, so it is almost like 2.5x the pay, just some if it is deferred.

     Well my bus finally arrived, only 40 minutes late.  I am already screwed on my first transfer of buses, so we will see how long I have to wait now between them.  My original plan, had the Port Authority held up its end of the bargain, would have had me leaving downtown and giving me 50 minutes to get to my transfer point.  The first bus eating up 40 of those minutes means I now know what it feels like to be fucked with a Ron Jeremy sized penis.  Not a snowballs chance this bus gets there in 10 minutes, hell, you would be hard pressed to do it with a car and a straight line route, so it will not happen here.

     I will give the bus driver this, she is trying to make up for lost time, but barring a Star Trek like rift in the space time continuum it just isn't going to happen.  More likely you will find that I will be on the news as a dead passenger after my bus rolls down an embankment or some such nonsense.

     While I worked on Christmas Day, when I got home I did check out my feed on Facebook to see the photos of my friends and contacts.  Also I was looking for something, I wasn't expecting to find it but I was looking nonetheless.  I was checking to see if there were any pictures of birthday cakes.  Of course there wasn't every one of those sorry ass motherfuckers who were bitching about the alleged War on Christmas couldn't be bothered to bake a cake for their savior again this year.  Next year why don't all of you ass clowns just shut the hell up.

     Must say I am impressed, this bus is pushing that space time thing pretty hard, 14 minutes in and I see the lights of my destination down over the hillside and across the river,  Not too shabby.  Doesn't mean I will hit my connecting bus, probably just means I will have to stand around even longer for the next one.

     I am now on the bridge above The Waterfront, my connection is at 6:50, it's currently 6:47.  If my other bus is running late this may work, though being on the bridge and actually getting into the shopping center with this post holiday traffic, as well as movie going peoples isn't the same as actually being there.

     So, did everyone like the publicity stunt for "The Interview"?  You know, the one where they say that there are threats against the theaters who will show it, so for a minute there the release was delayed, only to be undelayed as well.  Nice gimmick to get people to go see a movie, not because it is good, or funny (honestly the trailers looked dreadful, but what do I know), but because it is now their patriotic duty to do so.  Hell, even the President chimed in on the issue and the amount of free publicity the movie got was better than any money they could have spent promoting that film.  And sure enough, like lemmings (you can find some right here), people went out to see it, simply because they were going to stick it to big bad North Korea.  You know North Korea right, the nation where they are still rubbing sticks together to make fire.  That's the big bad ominous threat.

Photo: The Korean peninsula from space (NASA)

     But wait, didn't North Korea hack Sony?  Doesn't that make them a potential threat?  Well, no, not really.  The only thing the media loves more than a good tragedy for ratings is to talk about the failings of other forms of media, so for them the hack was a gold mine.  They could trickle out nonsense information like state secrets were involved, all the while exaggerating a rather pointless story.  My life would be just as worthwhile not knowing Alex Trebek almost walked off the set of "Jeopardy" once, and my life has no more profound meaning with the knowledge someone thought it would be a good idea for a black actor to play James Bond.  Are there some people at Sony who are worried about the hack?  Sure, I imagine somebody of their employ slept with the babysitter once or sexted with an office colleague, but in the grand scheme of things who really gives a shit.  Besides the media that is, because now they get to talk about each other for a while.  And I am sure there are some in Hollywood who seem to think that whatever was hacked is somehow important, but these are the same people who are waiting for baby raper Roman Polanski to be allowed back in the United States and view Woody Allen as a hero when his claim to fame is fucking his daughter.

     Yikes, I might be coming off a tad venomous there, though that might be the best non selfish paragraph I have written in months.

     It looks like I was right, the bus connection was missed, so I get to stand here probably another 30 minutes or so, and put the whole time table off by a good hour.  Luckily the last bus leaving WalMart is at 10 pm, and I am not in a rush to get anywhere.  As long as I catch that one, if not an earlier one, I am good.  I am in no hurry to be anywhere, my only issue whether or not the iPad battery runs out on me.   It is hanging in there at 79% right now.  If it dies run out I always have a book to read in my bag.

     I have a bad habit, sometimes when I am standing around I will listen in on other people's conversations.  I can't say anything of value ever comes out of the information I collect, in that regard I guess my eavesdropping is like an off the grid Sony hack, but just by standing here waiting for the bus I learned that "Target has got them bitches".  Which bitches I do not know, nor do I know what qualifies them as bitches, perhaps Target is trying to cut into Petland's sales and are now selling female dogs, perhaps they hired my last girlfriend, I have no idea but this information is not something that requires any sort of follow up on my part.  I just know that if ever I am in the need of bitches apparently Target is the place to go.

     I am well aware that I did not blog yesterday, though I did get my hockey videos caught up (that should count for something at least) but yesterday I just didn't have a long jibberish like blog bottled up inside me like I apparently do now.  The best you could have hoped for last night would have been me talking about my fantasy sports teams again, and I think we all needed a night off from that.

     Well we are closing in on the time the next bus to WalMart will arrive, and I guess part of the reason I want to go to this particular location is that I used to work there and I am curious how many of the faces I will recognize.  I am certain I will not remember their names, it wasn't a job where I did any socialization outside of work, nor did I meet any acquaintances that I formed long lasting friendships with.  That doesn't mean I disliked the people I worked with, just that they were simply coworkers and nothing more.

     I will say I do not miss working in retail this time of year.  Now is the time when every ungrateful little prick is trying to return Christmas gifts they got because their present wasn't good enough this year.  I hate those fucking people with a passion.  In my entire life on this planet, 45+ years now, I can honestly say I only ever returned one gift, and that wasn't even a return.  Rather what happened was my mom got me a digital camera back in the day, and when I opened the box the camera wasn't in it.  Apparently my mom had bought the one they used as the show model, so they sold her an empty box.  Yes, it happened at WalMart in case you were guessing, but they realized their mistake and actually had the camera put away for me, waiting for our return.  When we got there not only did I get the camera but they threw in a free camera bag as well for our trouble.   Come to think of it, that wasn't a gift return at all, was it?

     Okay, on the second bus and again the driver is trying that space time thing, though this bus wasn't late to begin with.  Methinks the driver is just trying to get home as fast as possible.  Aren't we all though?

     I really shouldn't be singling out one retailer though, this time of year I am sure it sucks to work in most any of them, and having been offered jobs at more than one in the past I can say it isn't like one pays an huge amount more than the other.  In fact of the three places in retail that offered me jobs back in my radio days (KMart and Target were the others), WalMart (at least the one I worked at) paid better than both of them.  But people always cheer for the underdog, so WalMart will take the brunt of criticism for underpaid employees, even if their wage is pretty much the norm in that field.

     Well the bus ride has now gone through the town of Braddock, or as the sign says "Welcome to Majestic Braddock".   If boarded up businesses and pawn shops qualifies as majestic, then my apartment is a palace.  You could plunk down Braddock in North Korea and it would probably fit right in.  I am sure this is where some of my Pittsburgh friends will chime in about the hip mayor of Braddock and how things are changing and money is being invested, blah blah freaking blah.  Here is a little hip reply to that #eyeballtest.

      So I escaped WalMart, spent about $40 on the gift card so I still have some dinero left on it, probably another $40 or so and now I am just standing here waiting for the bus to take me back to The Waterfront where I can change over buses and hopefully make it home around 11pm or so.  Just standing here checking out the scenery and the things that have changed since I worked here, like the fact that the abandoned Popeye's restaurant across the street is now a Mexican place, El Patron.  Apparently someone did not press 1 for English when they named the place.  Que sera, sera.

     Didn't recognize anyone who was working either, though I will say my cashier was gorgeous in a hidden kind of way.  You know how they do it in the movies, the sexy scientist is supposed to look all plain and stuff in her lab coat and glasses but you can just see the relative hotness, that was her but in a smock and standard cashier attire.  Long, straight brown hair, impeccable curves, great smile.  It almost called for the requisite, what is a girl like you doing in a place like line.

      Okay, we or at least I am back on the bus.  Of course I ended up catching the last bus at 10pm so chances are I will not get in until well after 11pm.  Worse I think the bus driver has the air conditioner on.  Not sure why, it isn't exactly warm outside.

       Sadly I have to report that I am once again back on the grid from a cell phone perspective.  My brief hiatus of being rid of my electronic dog collar was much to brief for my tastes, because my phone died on Christmas Eve and by the morning of the 26th I had a new phone in my hands.  Those damn Verizon people being all competent and shit messed with what was a pretty good thing I had going, that being not having my cell ring for all kinds of work related nonsense.

      Wait, I think I feel warm air coming from the blowers.  That is nice.  Better than the conversation taking place behind me, where some girl is fighting with her ex boyfriend on her cell phone.  It is lots of fuck this and fuck that, which fits right in with my blog this evening.  Of course the difference being that no matter how bad that conversation is going at the end of the day I get the sense she will end up sleeping with him, getting pregnant and having a kid while he will just disappear.  Trust me, I will not get this blog pregnant.  Honestly, I don't even find my blog slightly sexually attractive.  We are just friends.

     I did get myself a couple of Christmas presents while at the store, a new comic book t shirt and some cargo shorts because nothing screams winter like me running around in shorts.  I also got one of those plastic candy canes filled with Rolos, which I am current popping like, well, candy.  Hey, when your nourishment for the day consists of a bagel with cream cheese and a jalapeƱo hot dog then Rolos would constitute dessert on that menu.

      I should get bonus points for typing right now, the bus driver is literally hitting every pothole he possibly can, it is taking cirque de sole type dexterity just to bang out a sentence or three. He did slow down for a minute, only because there was a police car stopped in front of him.  The officer was crossing the street to assist in an arrest in Majestic Braddock.

      Well, the girl who was arguing with her boyfriend just got off the bus. Things are a bit more peaceful now.  It's a post Christmas miracle.

      The battery on the iPad is down to 61% now, so either I am typing a lot or playing a lot of Candy Crush, or both.

     Thank god that's over, only one bus to go.  You know how sometimes you will shake a ketchup bottle, usually in and up and down motion, in order to get the last of the potential ketchup from it?  I swear the bus driver was trying to do that to my bladder, between the hot and cold temps from the blower ( it went back to cold after I bragged about warm), hitting literally dozens of potholes and running the bus up onto at least two different curbs, I am surprised I didn't piss myself with the jostling my bladder just took.

      Thankfully there is only one bus to go, though it is already 11pm. Even if he showed up right now I would be lucky to get home at 11:30 as the bus route from here home involves more traffic lights and stoppages than the ride from here to downtown.

       While I wait for my last bus I guess I should take some time to address a video I saw the other day on Facebook.  It was titled "The World's Biggest Booger" and while I can not testify to the authenticity of said snot footage, I will nonetheless describe what I saw.  It was a man who looked to be in some type of medical setting, perhaps a doctor's office and another person  wearing what appeared to be surgical gloves and using something that resembled tweezers.  The doctor (admittedly an assumption on my part, it could have been anyone really) was poking around in the man's nostril until latching onto what appears to be a giant piece of snot which is then pulled out.  The man who now no longer has a nostril full of booger talks about how much better he feels, like some giant pressure was relived on half of his face.  Excuse me for being blunt, but had he ever tried just blowing his nose?  I would say that normally works for 99% of the human population.  If that didn't work, what about picking his nose.  Not in a social setting mind you, I am not saying the man should have been knuckle deep in his nostril at the dinner table, but the removal of snot is, by and large, not a medical procedure and more along the lines of a do-it-yourself project and if the accumulation of snot was so great that it was actually causing pain then perhaps some quiet time alone digging out the large mass may have been called for.  Certainly it would have been more called for than wasting the valuable time of a health care professional and then posting said video online.

      See, I know how to kill time with a good story, my last bus has arrived and with it I think I am going to call it a night for this particular entry.  I would type more but when I get home I still have some pee that has been bounced around that needs taken care of.  I know, just how you wanted me to close a blog entry, with piss and snot.  Could be worse though. Could be zits and gnorrorea.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Penguins @ Lightning 12/23/2014

Tampa Bay 4  Pittsburgh 3

Evgeni Malkin - 2 A

Pittsburgh had 13 players out of the lineup due to illness or injury

Penguins @ Panthers 12/22/2014

Florida 4  Pittsburgh 3  SO

Simon Depres - 2 A

Penguins lost in shootout after seven shooters failed to score

Blogger 365 Day 342 - Almost repeatable Christmas

     What can I say about Christmas this year?  Well it was almost like last year, again I worked on Christmas day, not quite the 16 hours that I did 365 days ago, but a solid 12 hour day.  And while there was no great teachable moments this year (for last year's teachable moment check out ye olde Wayback Machine here) it wasn't bad either.  Some times you just have to put yourself in the place where you will do the least harm and for me this year that place was work. 

     And for the most part it was a productive day, I got more items in the register system because we are constantly adding new items all the time, did some price changes, got my invoices done so I will not have that hanging over my head on Saturday and still managed to bang out a decent amount of sales on the register.  Certainly better than Thanksgiving where it took me most of the night just to pay my initial bank back. 

     Now I am just up way past when I should be since I have to be back to work in a few hours, but I did need to make dinner (sorry, a convenience store hot dog does not qualify as dinner) and sit down and bang out a few things on the laptop and now the clock is nearing 3am.  I guess that means I should be turning in.  Till manana or whenever I get back here. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 341 - A wireless Christmas

     So I am at work today, which is nothing unusual, I am at work most days, but today being Christmas Eve there was a certain amount of imperativeness to my day.  While the store itself was slow, I had deadline to meet, as both my grocery order and the bank run had to be done by noon, because the bank was closing early.

     Running around wasn't the highlight of my day however, rather it was what happened while I was at the bank.  I was playing with my phone while our deposits were were being counted when all of a sudden my phone shut off.  Now I have had problems with my phone before, nothing major, just things like the screen freezing when I am checking Facebook.  Because I never really wanted a cell phone to begin with, when the boss finally forced me to get one, I got the cheapest one I could find, a little flip phone from Verizon, so I never thought much when the screen would freeze up, which would happen maybe once a month.  And while this looked to be a new problem, I hoped I could resolve the problem the same way, taking the battery out, waiting a minute and putting it back in.  So I tried that, but the phone wouldn't get past the initial Verizon screen before shutting off again. 

     The next thought was maybe the battery just died.  While I had charged my phone earlier this week and it usually holds a charge for at least 3 days (I rarely use it, save for work calls mostly) I do now that sometimes I will here beeping when the phone is in my pocket, usually from my keys or something bumping into the side of it, so I thought maybe something was nestled against the phone in my pocket that had kept it on since I had spoke to Ed earlier that day.  The only way to know that though would be to try and charge my phone and I couldn't do that until I got home. 

     I get home early, at least early for me these days meaning I got home around 4pm, I come in the door and try plugging the phone in but still nothing, the phone will not even take a charge.  Now I admit that my phone is a crappy phone, but I did buy insurance with it so if anything happened to it from a damage standpoint it could be replaced for free.  Ed hated that part of my cell phone package, and given the store pays my bill (part of my deal in getting a phone in the first place) but now I was thinking it just might come in handy.  First though I wanted to see if it could be fixed, luckily there is a Verizon store just up the street from my apartment, so I walked up there, explained my problem.  They tested it with one of their chargers, it still didn't work and proceeded to tell me I would have to come home and call Verizon customer service.  I am sure if I would have had one of those tricked out phones with all kinds of bling or was looking to buy a $200 tablet, then they could have helped me, but since I was looking to fix or replace a $40 crap phone, then I would be treated like a black man looking for a fair shake from a cop. 

     So I come home and do a quick search on my iPad and find a chat window with Verizon customer service.  I explain my problem, and the fact I was just at the store and after about a 10  minute chat I was told I had to call a certain number, select option 4 and they could help me.  So after jumping through some menus I finally get a human, explain my problem and the fact I am pretty sure I have insurance on my phone and they tell me I have to speak to someone else, someone on the tech support end of things.  Those keeping score, I am now on my fifth person trying to solve this problem, two in the store, one online chat and one on the phone so far.  Lucky me, 5 was the magic number as he told me the phone could be replaced at no charge, it would be sent out after our call and I should have it on Friday (though I am supposed to be home to sign for it and I work Friday so we shall see).  Of course I have to send back the broken one so it can be poked and prodded and have nasty things done to it, but the new phone is in transit.

     All this means is that I will not have a cell phone for Christmas, which is fine, I didn't want one to begin with, so while other can indulge in virgin births and saviors being born and what not, this is my Christmas miracle, a holiday without my cell phone ringing.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 340 - Papa John's roofied my pizza

     Islamabad, hello!!!!  Sorry but I had to channel my inner Larry King for a moment because I was looking on my website tracker the other day and I got my first ever (at least since this blog relocated to Blogger) visit from Pakistan.  So again I say, Islamabad, hello!!!  All the right wingers in the crowd will now complain that I typed a word with the letters Islam in it, to which I say go have a seat with Michelle Bachmann on the crazy bus while the rest of us adults actually chat.

     So I am sitting at home last night, minding my own business and fuming as only I can (see yesterday's entry for more on that particular incident) when I decided to play on the iPad a little bit.  As I am sure I have mentioned, I am spending probably way too much personal time playing a little app on there called Marvel Puzzle Quest.  Last night one of the in game events was winding down time wise I I decided I was going to make a late push to get one of the top awards in it.  The reward I was shooting for was a Loki card and the way to get it was to register over 100,000 points in the event.  When I started yesterday I was a little over 70,000 so I played for a bit, used up my health packs, played some more and waited for health packs to return.  I repeated this process a couple of times and during one of my hiati (the scientific plural of hiatus, ask long time readers, they know) I decided I would place an order for dinner with Papa John's.

     The motivation behind this was an email I received saying that on Monday all large pizzas were half off with the promo code in the email.  Now I am am not a huge fan of Papa John's but I still find them to be the best chain pizza out there and with a deal like that, hell, why not.  So I go to the website and I start thinking that once I start adding toppings to this pizza it will probably get a little more pricey, but in the offers section was another special, only good for Mondays and it was any large pizza (up to 5 toppings) or any specialty pizza for 8.99.  That sounded pretty good, so I ordered one (John's favorite I think) and an order of breadsticks and waited for my food to arrive.

     The delivery arrived, I started snacking on the breadsticks and continued my puzzle questing and all of a sudden I started getting sleepy.  The event still had a few hours left so I thought maybe my eyes were just tired from focusing on the iPad screen for so long, so I hopped onto the laptop and looked at a few things online before listening to Fox Sports Radio on and laying down for a minute.  The minute turned into about an hour and when I woke up there was less than two hours to finish the event, so I hopped back n the iPad but I just couldn't get my eyes to focus, I would play, my head would nod off, then snap back up, so after just a couple of games I thought I would lay back down and try again later, I needed less that 5000 points by now, I could knock that off with just a few more rounds so I put my head back down and when I woke up again there was 15 minutes left.

     Now I am rushing and I clear off two more rounds, getting me within a round or two of being done and getting the card I wanted when the timer on the event ran out, right in the middle of another round.  I swear that the pizza had to be drug laced, because I was fine until I started eating it, or maybe it was the breadsticks but whatever the case I just couldn't stay awake.  Someone could have came in and molested me and I don't know if I could have fought them off.  So naturally I am eating leftover pizza tonight because sometimes I just live life on the edge like that.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 339 - Trying to prevent a BIll Bixby moment

          Yes, I am starting off the blog with an old (or is that olde) fashioned 1970's reference.  The problem is I am the Bill Bixby in question.  Right now I am borderline furious and if this were 70s television and I were Bill Bixby I am not sure what would keep me from going all Lou Ferrigno (Incredible Hulk) right about now.

      A couple of months before Ed left for Florida he tasked me with the job of getting rid of some tickets to sporting events for him, two hockey games and one football game.  The football game was for the Steelers - Kansas City game and when he handed me the tickets to hold on to I noticed the date, Dec 21st.  That got me to thinking that my mom doesn't get out much and the game is kind of close to Christmas, so I might be able to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.  I asked Ed if I could buy two of the tickets myself, then I would use them as a little bit of an early Christmas present by giving them to my mom and her husband. 

     So I get me two tickets and mail them home with plenty of time for them to get there and included a little note with them saying that they were an early Christmas present.  A few days later I even call home and confirm with my mom that the tickets got there and they had.  Cool, I usually try to get them one or two big "together" presents as well as a few smaller individual gifts each Christmas, I figured this would be one of those bigger "together" gifts since the tickets face value was $97 each.

     Well yesterday was the day of the game, and realistically if you are a Steelers fan (and they both are), it really couldn't have gone much better.  The Steelers won, and by winning they also clinched a playoff spot so the game ended up being a little more special than I would have originally thought when I first got the tickets.

     Tonight I called home, in part because I wanted to see how m mom was doing health wise, and in part to give her a heads up that another big "together" gift I got them would be arriving on Christmas Eve.  I might be working Christmas Day but at least the big present I wanted to get them would be there, even if I couldn't be.  So we start talking and as the conversation went I asked my mom how she liked the football game, to which she asked what game.  I said the game I sent you tickets for as one of your Christmas presents, to which she informed me that she didn't go, she didn't even know there were two tickets.  Instead her husband took the tickets and took one of his friends instead.  I can't begin to tell you how pissed I am to hear that.  Not just because he took something that was hers and just gave it to one of his friends, but because with all of her health issues he still felt it was perfectly okay to leave her home alone for hours.  Literally anything could have happened, she could have had another stroke, she could have tried cooking something and forgot the stove was on (she is still having memory lapses) just to name but a couple of the list of many reasons why she shouldn't be left alone for that length of time. 

     Yes, I am furious and I can honestly say that at this very moment I am glad I am working a double shift on Christmas Day, because in my current frame of mind being at home isn't in anyone's best interest.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 338 - Be honest, did you really miss me?

     Yes, I haven't been on the page in a couple of days but things have been hectic around here.  Friday I had to work (of course) but later on Friday night I got to spend some time with a very good friend of mine, Debbie. 

     I had put an ad on Craigslist, we had two tickets to the Steelers game that we were trying to get rid of, but as of Friday afternoon I hadn't heard anything and I didn't want to be sitting around the office on Saturday hoping to find someone who might be interested in buying them, so I threw a quick status update on Facebook about them and Debbie said she wanted them, which was cool an all.  She decided to come down to Pittsburgh Friday night to get them, so after work I came home, ate a sandwich and grabbed a shower and headed back out the door to go meet her back at Smithfield News, since I was keeping the tickets in my desk there.  I suppose I could have brought hem home but my apartment is a mess and Debbie had suggested getting a coffee and talking for a bit as well, or doing adult stuff as she put it.  Getting a coffee downtown seemed like a good idea because all of the Christmas decorations are up, so we could walk and taalk and check out some of the displays, like the Santas from Around the World at PPG Place.

     She ended up running a little behind, but that was okay, I used the time to review some security footage at work.  I knew someone was stealing things from the freezer in the back and I was hoping I could catch them on camera.  While I didn't catch them while waiting for Debbie to arrive, I did catch someone dealing drugs in the back of the store, an older lady was selling prescription pills to a guy she came in with.  Not cool, or kosher since our owners are Jewish.  In any event the lady is a regular in the store so by Saturday afternoon we had already spoke to both of them and said they were no longer welcome on the premises.

     Getting back to our story, Debbie arrives and we walk down to check out some of the decorations and grab a coffee.  I knew (because I am the keeper of the great knowledge) that not only was there a Santa display at PPG Place, but a Crazy Mocha booth as well, so I got a caramel latte, she got a cinnamon tea and we walked around, first the display but then really all over downtown, just chatting and catching up.  See the thing is, I have known Debbie since I was like 15 or 16, back then she was dating one of my friends in high school and from original interaction came our friendship, but there was gap, a rather lengthy one at that, where we lost touch with each other.  I knew she had moved to Virginia at one point but that was really all I knew for the longest time.  We reconnected on Facebook, in part to my superior sleuthing skills and that was when I learned she had moved back this way, she lives about an hour away from Pittsburgh an now has two kids, so while we talked on Facebook we hadn't had a grown up conversation in a face to face manner in probably 25 years. 

      So what started out as just a trip to maybe get a coffee and pick up some football tickets ended up being a 3+ hour gab fest between us, just catching up on some of the things we had been doing for the last two and half decades.  It was wonderful and fun and I don't know, I good get all caught up in just writing positive things about how awesome the evening was.  I don't know if either of us really wanted the evening to end, but she did have an hour drive back home and I had to go back to the store and get my bag that I lokced up in the office before we left, so a little after midnight we called it an evening.

     Saturday was not nearly as enjoyable, but it turned out to be productive at least.  I worked for about 7 hours, doing invoices, getting orders in for Tuesday and reviewing more camera footage.  And on Saturday I did catch the thief that was stealing out of our freezers, he came in around 6:30 Thursday morning and proceeded to the back of the store, literally laid his bookbag on the ground, unzipped it and just started pulling stuff out of the freezer and putting it in his bag.  Mystery solved, now it is just a matter of the next time he comes in, and I am sure he will.  After all if you can easily rip off a place once why not go back and do it again? 

    I came home after work and went and had a couple of beers, just trying to wash the week away and ended up drnking more than I should have.  Not that I got sickly drunk or anything, but I really was only going to have one or two and maybe play the poker machines for a minute, but I started winning and one or two became 5 or 6 and the $30 I spend on the machine I cashed out for $100, so by the time I came home I just wanted to eat and sleep.  While I didn't do any drunken blogging, some people did get drunken Facebook messages.  I know because I called myself fantabulous in one of them.

     Today was me getting up and taking advantage of my day of to get most of my Christmas shopping done.  I can't say what all I bought because the people who are getting stuff could read this, but one of the items I couldn't buy in the store.  I asked if I could pay for the item there and then have it shipped elsewhere, but they said no.  The only way I could do it would be to buy it online and since most of my dinero was in my wallet, that meant I had to buy a gift card in the store, so I could go home and order online from the very same story and use the recently purchased gift card to pay for it.  Silly I know, but at least I got to but the smaller gifts while there and ordering online I did get the delivery set for Dec 24th, so it will arrive at its destination before Christmas. 

     Now I am just laying here, part of me is hungry and thinks I should make something to eat, part of me is lazy and is thinking I could just get up early and go to breakfast before work.  I know if I eat now I will not do breakfast, but if I wait I will still just nosh on crap all night long.  Even as I type there is a bag of Reese Peanut Butter cups beside me, just calling my name. 

     So for now, I 'll just say that's a wrap.  Not sure what the coming week will look like blogging wise.  I will try to be here, but I am pulling a double Christmas Day, so chances are if I am here I will be late.  Anyway, toodles are in order so, toodles.

Panthers @ Penguins 12/20/2014

Pittsburgh 3  Florida 1

Marc-Andre Fleury - 45 SV

Derrick Pouliot scored his first NHL goal on his NHL shot in the win

Avalanche @ Penguins 12/18/2014

Pittsburgh 1  Colorado 0  OT

Marc-Andre Fleury - 29 SV

Pittsburgh has 21 wins on the season, 6 of them are shutouts by Fleury

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 337 - Two little, two late

     I am not sure I have ever had a weekend like I had this weekend when it came to fantasy football.  It would be easy to just say I lost two games, but that would be an understatement.  These were the types of losses that are just soul crushing.  But since I have been parlaying my fantasy results into blog entries I guess I have to get about the business of explaining what happened.

Fantasy Football

Work league

I was down almost 40 points going into the Monday night football game between the Bears and the Saints, but I still had three players left to play, a quaarterback (Drew Brees), running back (Matt Forte) and kicker (Shayne Graham) while my opponent only had a tight end (Martellus Bennett).  Admittedly I wasn't sure that my team could come back from as far down as they were, but come back they did.  Drew Brees had 3 TDs, Forte had over 100 all purpose yards, Graham chipped in with 7 points at the kicker spot.  So how did I lose?  Bennett catches a two point conversion pass in the 4th quarter, and as you see I lost by .14 points.

Swagbucks league

Again I lost on Monday night football, this time I had a 7 point lead going in and my opponent had a tight end (Jimmy Graham) playing while my scoring was complete.  And once again I was screwed by a tight end, Graham scored just enough points that I lost by 1.08 points.

So in two fantasy football games I lost both by a combined 1.22 points.  Now I have lost games before, and I have lost playoff games before, but never have I lost two playoffs games on the same day, because of the same game by such close margins.  Hollywood couldn't script disappointment like that.  Technically I have one game left in both leagues, the consolation game for 3rd place, but if 2nd place is the first loser then third is the second one.

Fantasy hockey

My league - I went 6-3-2 last week, which was good enough to vault me into 3rd place with an overall record of 46-35-18.  I am way back of second in the standings, 22 points to be exact,  and I am only holding onto third place by a single point, 110 to 109, but I at least have enough of a cushion on 7th place (10 points), the first spot that doesn't make the playoffs, that even if I have a bad week I should be able to survive it.  9 weeks down, 15 to go.

Radio league - I reside in 4th place, I keep bouncing between 3rd and 4th, consistently losing more ground on first in the process.  Since I have been doing Jakub Voracek updates in this spot, I might as well do another one.  He is still tied for second in the NHL in scoring with 37 points (11 G, 26 A) and while Yahoo has him ranked as the 7th best player in fantasy hockey right now, where does this league have him ranked?  44th.  Again you figure it out, I can't.

With that my fantasy updates for the weekend are done, only one more week of fantasy football, even though they will only be consolation games and then it is just hockey and Voracek updates.  Sounds compelling, doesn't it?

Blogger 365 Day 336 - The 2014 Christmas list

Christmas list

For my mom's health to get better than it has been the last handful of times I have seen and/or talked to her

Female companionship - This year I think I would like a Russian mail order bride, I have some Cold War fantasies that I would like to play out

Gift cards (Walmart, Amazon, IHOP, Barnes & Noble, Target, Giant Eagle, etc.)

Hulu plus subscription



Money - Really, who can't use money?

Jeans - 36x30 (subject to change depending on how many times I go out to breakfast)


Shoes - 9 1/2

Trash bags

Floor lamp

TV antenna - Yes I am still a rabbit ears kind of guy

Hockey tickets



Washington Post subscription

Haircut (provided I don't do this before Christmas)


DVDs - The League (Season 6), Homicide: Life on the Street, West Wing (seasons 3 - 6), Sin City 2,  DDP Yoga,

Toasted bagel with cream cheese

Philly cheesesteak

Bus pass (Port Authority Transit)

A stress free day at work

Food rewards points or Swagbucks

Sheets (especially if I get the mail order wife from the top of the list)

Books – This is where the list will get complicated with a sublist
    1. Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living Hardcover by Nick Offerman
    2. Johnny Carson by Henry Bushkin

Belt (36 waist)

Some delicious soft shell tacos

Case of Red Stripe

Bottle of Sutter Home White Zinfandell (a good bottle of Merlot would suffice in a pinch)

Cigarettes (Marlboro Gold Box, Camel Blue Box, Dunhill)

Lottery tickets (winners only please)

Breakfast at Kelly O's 

Shampoo (you can never have enough shampoo)

Blankets (either fleece or comforters)

Okay, that should be enough to get you started and enough to keep you reading for a couple of minutes as well.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Lightning @ Penguins 12/15/2014

Pittsburgh 4  Tampa Bay 2

Steve Downie  - G, A

Bryan Rust and Brian Dumoulin both scored their first NHL goals for Pittsburgh in the win

Monday, December 15, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 335 - Fast and furious

     Recently I have been coming up with ideas/topics that I would like to blog about but as is usually the case with my work schedule, by the time I sit down and try to write most of the ideas are forgotten or whatever grand plan I had from getting from point A to point B in what I wanted to write is what escapes my mind. 

     I suppose it is a good thing that I am still thinking in blogging terms, just wish I had better retention skills. I guess I could hash tag that #alzheimersaintgotshitonme or some such nonsense, I hear that is what all the kids are doing these days.  As long as they stay off my lawn I really don't care what they do. 

     I do know that I do have to get around blogging this years Christmas list so everyone can run out and buy me presents.  You know you want to, don't try to deny it.  Personally I have barely started my Christmas shopping, just two presents so far, one for my mom and one for someone who I am sure is not expecting a present from me at all.  And no, it isn't anyone I am dating and I certainly am not handing out presents to people I used to date.  My friends have taken to calling the last one "The Crazy Canadian" and the moniker has pretty much stuck.  Just another reason along with Celene Dion and Barenaked Ladies for me to dislike our neighbor to the north.  By the way Canada, it's just ham, not bacon.  Sorry, had to get that off my chest.

     One good thing about my promotion at work is that I haven't had to bust into my change jar in the last few months.  Not that I am making a boatload more money than I used to, but I did get a raise back then and I haven't found myself wrapping coins just to buy a bus pass in a few months now, so I guess I do have a couple more shekels than I used to.

     Speaking of shekels, I do have more to add to the change meter total, another $5.92 to bring the grand total to $515.91.  Good thing I do not rely on the changer meter to pay my rent, after years of doing that I still haven't even hit the one month mark ($600), though I am still a guy who likes free things and if I can find over $500 for free just by picking stuff up off the ground then it is all kinds of goodness in my book.

    Anyway it's bedtime, I have work in the morning and because it is Monday I am sure there will be plenty of it.  Toodles.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Penguins @ Blue Jackets 12/13/2014

Columbus 4  Pittsburgh 3  SO

Kris Letang - 2 G

Team combined for 88 minutes in penalties

Flames @ Penguins 12/12/2014

Pittsburgh 3  Calgary 1

Evgeni Malkin - 2 A

Rob Klinkhammer scored his first goal as a Penguin since being acquired from Arizona

Blogger 365 Day 334 - Catching up on my fantasies

     Yes it is another fantasy sports update.  As expected I finished 2nd and 4th in my fantasy football leagues, thereby qualifying for the playoffs in both league.  Rather than spend lots of time with an intro then, I think I will just get down to business.

Fantasy Football

Work league - A 81.70 - 61.28 win.  I finish the regular season with an 8-6 record and the 4th seed in the playoffs.  The plus to this win is that I did not have to rely on any tiebreakers to qualify for the playoffs, I earned my spot fair and square.  Up next is the #1 seed and apparently the defending league champion, though I wasn't in the league last year it looks like my first task is to upend a pending fantasy football dynasty.  Hope my shoulders are strong enough to handle that burden.

Swagbucks league - A 72.22 - 68.6 win.  I was already guaranteed either the first or second seed in the playoffs, I got the 2nd spot after finishing the regular season 11-3.  Up next is the #3 seed, a team I beat twice in the regular season and a team that as of this typing still has Cam Newton at quarterback.  Of course Newton was in an automobile accident earlier this week and will not play, so we will see if he makes the necessary adjustments to his roster, he has Tom Brady on his bench, but the fact he hadn't been playing Tom Brady already makes me think he hasn't been paying all that much attention to his team anyway.

Fantasy Hockey

Radio league - Back to 4th place, honestly I pretty much don't care about this league anymore.  I will just do the Jakub Voracek update and be on my way.  Currently 2nd in scoring in the NHL with 37 points (11 G, 26 A), fantasy rank?  35th.  He is still behind 4 spots behind Brooks Orpik, he of all of 6 assists says all it needs to say about this league.  Let's just move on.

My league - A 5-5-1 week, overall record is 40-32-16, good for 5th place.  An average week, and as a result everything pretty much stays the same.  3rd through 6th place are separated by 4 points in the standings, 6th is 95 points and 3rd is 99points.  I sit in there at 96 points overall.  

And that should just about be a fantasy wrap. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 332 - Mistitled

     I don't know why, but for some reason last night I looked at the title of these blog entries and something didn't seem right.  I knew that I had missed some entries the last few weeks, but for whatever reason the titles didn't reflect that.  In fact, the numbers on them, day such and such, suggested that I was in fact way ahead.  There obviously was something wrong, while I know this will be my most productive year ever in blogging based on actual posts made to the page, this project of mine is going to come up short of the 365 entries I expected unless I start double posting on certain days.

    So I went back and noticed that my numbering was all kinds of messed up.  Maybe I just wasn't paying attention, maybe I was just being stupid, either of which falls into the realm of possibility, but I think that I managed to fix that and get things back on course.  Now if only I could get the actual entries caught up.

Penguins @ NY Rangers 12/08/2014

NY Rangers 4  Pittsburgh 3  OT

Nick Spaling, Steve Downie - G, A each

Evgeni Malkin has 8 pts (5 G, 3 A) in his last 7 games

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 331 - Days off really aren't

     I know, I didn't post again.  Shoot me.  On second thought, don't do me any favors like that.  Work has been time consuming to say the least, I used to get off at 3pm and by 3:45 I would be on the bus home, I can't remember the last time that happened though.  Now 5pm and 6pm departure times are the norm, and even today when I left at 4pm, I still was running errands for work after that and didn't actually get home until almost 6pm. 

     Every time I think I am about to leave work I find something else that needs done.  Monday I had to fix a drain on an open air cooler, then was stuck putting away items from our deliveries that was left undone.  Tuesday was finishing off the paperwork to be filed away from November and addressing some financial issues that occurred in the last 7 days.  Some time this week it will be reprogramming the register system for our new deli menu.  Never a dull moment.

     At least I got my Christmas bonus this week, and without revealing actual numbers I will say I was happy with it, and since I am not going to get to take any vacation time soon, my boss is going to pay me for 5 days they owe me on our next payday.  Our vacations work like this, after you have been with us for a year as a full time employee you get 5 paid days vacation.  On top of that if you work any of the company holidays you get an additional vacation day.  Right now I am owed 8 days plus I am most likely working Christmas and New Years Day, which are two of the 5, so there is two more vacation days coming up.  On top of that, I was hired on Jan 1st, so come January I will get another 5 days.  Rather than be sitting here with 15 vacation days yet to be used I am just going to burn a few off and take the money, which I can use for that Christmas shopping that I haven't even started yet.

     Okay, that's not true, I bought myself two things for Christmas (does that even count?), the new David Thorne book, which is hilarious of course, and Season 5 of The League on DVD, which I haven't even started watching yet.  

     Anyway, that is what I have been up to.  I did manage to score some hockey tickets for Friday night, so I may be late on here that night, I may have pictures if I remember to take my camera to work.  I would have made a clever reference like Picture Pages but I am not sure associating the blog with Bill Cosby is in my best interest these days. 

Oh well, off to bed. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 330 - Doubling down on stupid

     About a week ago I wrote a blog where I criticized the media, at least one member of it for making a story up out of whole cloth, without a single solitary fact or statement from anyone to support it.  The author of the story was Jason La Canfora and he covers the NFL for CBS Sports and in it he claimed the Indianapolis Colts were interested in getting Ray Rice.  Of course that story was quickly discredited by, among others, the Colts themselves and their disinterest was also posted on the same website.

     That right there should be the end of our story, but it isn't.  After being discredited, La Canfora is now doubling down on the stupid juice he has been drinking, again arguing that the Colts should be pursuing Ray Rice.  Admittedly this column is an opinion piece rather than a news story, but at some point a respectable person would just say look I got it wrong, rather than continue to beat the same dead drum time and time again. 

     It is a sad time we live in when we now have to consider whether journalists even give two shits about credibility and instead are all worry more about page views then the truth.  Whether it be La Canfora and his Ray Rice fetish or Rolling Stone doing no fact checking whatsoever before running a rape story in their magazine, the truth is out there and the truth is speculation and innuendo sells far more than actually reporting ever could.

Senators @ Penguins 12/06/2014

Pittsburgh 3  Ottawa 2

Evgeni Malkin - 2 G

Penguins have not lost consecutive games in regulation this season

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 329 - Losing is winning

I did not do my fantasy updates right away this week, I needed to check over a few things, because by most accounts it would seem like it was a bad week, but it wasn't.  I did okay despite by best efforts to not do so, and as a result I am now in the playoffs in both fantasy football leagues and actually my fantasy hockey teams are doing better if the standings are the barometer in which things are measured.,  To wit, here were the goings on last week.

Fantasy Football

Work league - I lost 97.04 - 88.98, and my record fell to 7-6.  Despite the loss I managed to clinch a playoff spot because the one team that could have caught me last week also lost and going into the last week of the regular season I sit alone in the 4th and final playoff spot, while two teams are 6-7.  The league tiebreaker being head to head matchups, I am 3-0 against both of those teams so there is no tiebreaker that I lose.  Likewise the team in third is 8-5 and while I could possible tie his overall record this week, he holds the tiebreaker on me, so I am locked into 4th place no matter what I do.  It is like I am closing the season on a bye week.

Swagbucks league - I won here, 92.96 - 53.30 and my record is now 10-3.  While I have already clinched a playoff spot in this league, it has yet to be determined if I will be the #1 or #2 seed in the playoffs.  Currently my record is good for second place, 1st place is 11-2 so if I win and the first place team loses we would finished tied for first.  Unlike the other league, the first tiebreaker here is points scored, and not only do I trail in record, but in point scored as well, by less than 15 points (14.72 to be precise), so not only would I have to win and the first place team lose, but I would have to outscore the first place team this week as well.  Honestly I don't care whether I get first or second, nobody remembers who came in first in the regular season in fantasy sports, only who comes in first in the playoffs. 

Fantasy hockey

Radio league - While I continue to lose ground to the first place team, there are no playoffs in this league, only season points, I somehow managed to climb from 4th place into third.  Not that it means much, I still ave no idea why the scoring is set in this league the way it is, but it wouldn't be a fantasy update for this league without me bitching about how things are scored here, so let's get about our Jakub Voracek update.  he is still tied for first in the NHL in scoring (33 points) and has the same point line as the man he is tied with, Sidney Crosby (who is also on my team).  They both have 9 goals and 24 assists on the season, yet Crosby is 6th in fantasy points while Voracek is 44th.  Of note is Brooks Orpik, also on my team, who sits in 32 in fantasy points, yet only has 6 assists on the season.  Go ahead, figure that out and when you do, clue me in.

My league - I went 3-4-4 this past week, so the overall record is now 35-27-15, yet I managed to actually go from 6th to 5th place in the overall standings.  There is still a big drop off after 6th place, but spots 3 through 6 are separated by 6 points (89 to 83), first and second have distanced themselves a bit, both have 99 points.  The league is a 12 team league with two divisions of 6 teams, and while I am 5th overall, I am only in 4th in my own division, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams are all in the same group of 6 as myself.

There, I think that should get us up to date, time for me to get a nap in before getting up trying to be productive tomorrow.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Canucks @ Penguins 12/04/2014

Vancouver 3  Pittsburgh 0

Thomas Greiss - 28 SV

With the loss Pittsburgh fell out of first place in the Metropolitan Division

Friday, December 5, 2014

Devils @ Penguins 12/02/2014

Pittsburgh 1  New Jersey 0

Marc-Andre Fleury - 29 SV

Fleury leads the NHL with 5 shutouts this season

Blogger 365 Day 328 - Peace out

     Remember when I said I was getting close to snapping on someone?  Well thankfully someone obliged me.

     It all starts with a product called Peace Tea.  Now I will admit that I have never tried the product, though the people I have spoke too that have all seem to like it.  I have an aversion to canned teas after the dreaded Arizona incident (remind me to tell you about that some time) and as a result I never drink tea out of cans, I need to be able to see the beverage inside when it comes to that liquid.

    Back to our story, Peace Tea is provided locally by Coca Cola bottling.  I do not know if it is a Coke product, or if it is an independent product and Coke has the local bottling rights for it, but whatever the case may be, when it comes to Smithfield News, if we want Peace Tea we would have to order it from Coke.  Now we have a number of tea products and they usually fall into one of two categories, either they carry a higher retail based on taste or name recognition, or they fall into a cheaper variety and get by on price point.  When Coke first pitched us on carrying Peace Tea, it was a tea that was going to get by on price point, it was a pre-priced can retailing for .99 cents, which put in along the same lines as Arizona Tea or our 1 liter Brisk bottles, which retail for .99 or $1.00.  So we started carrying it and Peace Tea did pretty well for us, well enough that we were ordering multiple cases of it on a weekly basis.

     Then Coke decided that they were not making enough on the pre-priced cans, so they got rid of them, and changed the price on them to the retailers, which in turn changed the price to the customer.  What was once a 99 cent product now retailed for $1.39.  Sales plummeted, to the point where I quit buying it altogether because if I would buy a case it would end up sitting in the stockroom for weeks on end with few sales to justify its purchase.

     About a month ago the higher ups from Coke were in the store to talk to Ed, our existing contract with Coke had expired and we spent months trying to get them to come in so we could work out a new deal with them.  Finally they sat down with Ed and came to some agreement, part of which was that they wanted to try a couple of new things to see how well or poorly they would do, so they were going to come in and reset all of their coolers, arranging them so that they would best display some of the new stuff that was coming in.

     That brings us to Tuesday, my new Coke rep comes in to place an order with me, so I do a walk through of the stuff I need and after the order he says that there will be additional cases coming in to facilitate the reset including Peace Tea.  At that point I told him not to even bother with the Peace Tea, we had it already, it doesn't sell.  He agreed but a short time later he said his boss Eric said to send it because it was part of the reset.

    So the order comes in on Thursday, sure enough today when the crew came in to reset the coolers they start putting the Peace Tea out.  I double check the invoice, just in case maybe the pricing had changed on Peace Tea and we could retail it at 99 cents, where it sold.  But alas, it didn't, if I carry it it will still have to sell at the $1.39 price point, which means it will not sell at all.  So I send Eric a message saying that the Peace Tea can be picked up the next time we get a delivery, we had it before and it didn't sell and I see no need in repeating the same mistake twice.  Eric gets back to me and says that we did well with it, then proceed to quote me sales numbers from two years ago, when of course, it was 40 cents a can cheaper. 

     Yes kids at this point I am officially pissed off, so I email him back and say he can either pick up the cases on the next delivery or I will shut off all Coke orders to our store until every last can is sold, regardless of how long that takes or how many other Coke products I run out of in the meantime.  As for how many cases we sold, why don't you ask our last rep how many I bought from her rather than quoting two year old sales numbers to me.  Don't piss on me and tell me it's raining.

    So the first week of me running the regime already sees me picking a fight with Coca Cola.  Let's see who is n my shit list next week.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 327 - The day to day grind

     So we are right around the week milestone of me running the store, though more often than not it feels like the store is running me.  I have yet to leave work this week while the sun is still out, which is just depressing.   I find myself not in full blown blow up mode, but snapping more often and my fuse is shorter which will be a recipe for disaster at some point.  Last night I just blew everything off after work and went and had a few beers, which was nice because when I got home it was so much easier to fall asleep, or pass out or do whatever it is I did.  Usually I am awake till 2 in the morning or later, last night I was probably asleep by 9pm.  Who needs Sominex when alcohol works just as well?

     I am trying to keep it together, part of my agreement in June was that I would get an employee review in 6 months rather than the normal year waiting period, so we are getting closer to that time and me blowing up now would probably be the worst impression to leave at this point, but keeping it together is not all that easy.  There is a lot funneled right at me these days and so far the amount of support I have gotten in handling it has been minimal.  I am basically be asked to handle everything, from fixing screwups in the scheduling to trying to make sense of the numbers, to trying to keep Brian happy by keeping the ordering down, which isn't easy unless I am now tied to every vendor whenever they come in.  It is starting to become a bit much, maybe too much.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 326 - More of the same

     I failed to mention earlier this week that on Sunday I called home.  In part it was because I hadn't called home in a while and the way my schedule turned out at work I didn't get to call on Thanksgiving and also I wanted to check up on how my mom was doing.  I wish I could say there is some change on that front but there really isn't.

     Ideally I would have thought that by now she would have had some sort of improvement since getting out of the hospital and maybe she has.  I don't know how well or poorly she is getting around now or if she is still having accidents or if she is even doing anything at all besides eating and sleeping.  I can only go by what I hear when I am talking to her on the phone, and what I hear isn't promising.  She was talking about my brother being away at Thanksgiving.  Mind you my brother has been dead for like 27 years now.  She was also talking about how her mom (my grandma for those that are family tree challenged) going away for Thanksgiving to a relatives house, but that her dad (my grandfather, more tree stuff) was at home.  Mind you, long time readers of this blog would note that both of them have passed away, because I made reference to it in the blog when it happened.  So clearly her mental faculties just aren't there.  What I was hoping for, that maybe the surgery she had might improve things, just isn't the case. 

     I can't even put her memory loss, or brain dysfunction, or whatever it is, at a chronological point.  There is no point where I can say she only remembers things up to this date or time because she is aware that I work in Pittsburgh, though I don't know if she knows I live here as well.  It is more scattershot in its approach, she remembers some things but not others, almost like a mind made of Swiss cheese and the holes are gaps in her memory of things that have happened, like her parents passing away or my brother committing suicide.

     Honestly, I am at a loss as to what to do.  The help and care she needs is probably beyond my skill set to provide.  Even if I were to drop everything, quit my job, move home and attempt to care for her I am doubtful that I would be of much assistance.  It is just a feeling of helplessness, like the mom I knew is slowly mentally slipping away and there isn't anything I can do about it. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Penguins @ Hurricanes 11/29/2014

Pittsburgh 3  Carolina 2

Thomas Greiss - 32 SV

Christian Ehrhoff scored his first goal with the Penguins

Hurricanes @ Penguins 11/28/2014

Carolina 4  Pittsburgh 2

Sidney Crosby - 2 A

Pittsburgh is 3-3 in their last 6 games

Blogger 365 Day 325 - The blog repeats itself

     Some times I feel like I am repeating myself on here, but then again, sometimes circumstances create a scenario where repeating myself is called for.

     Long time readers know that I used to make an argument in my radio days regarding movements or protests and how good or bad they are.  My argument has always been and continues to be that a movement's credibility and ability to affect change is based not on the numbers of the movement, but the values of its constituent parts.  In making this argument I often referred to Cindy Sheehan, who vigil outside the Crawford Ranch of President Bush would have carried far more weight if it was simply a grieving parent seeking an audience with the President in hopes of learning just what, if anything, it was her son died for.  When her vigil instead became a circus, and anyone with a grievance decided to camp out as well and use the grief of the Sheehan family as a means to piggy back their own pet causes onto.   The movement may have gained numbers, but it lost credibility and thereby lost its effectiveness.

     Not that these causes are the sole propriety of the left, there are plenty of cases where those movements that might have had credibility sacrificed their argument because in an effort to garner numbers they mixed their message with people who did them more harm than good.  Look at the guns' rights activists who were first to rush to George Zimmerman and proclaim him a hero, only later to find he was threatening the women in his life with the very same firearms that he used to kill Treyvon Martin.  Or the people who were quick to rush to Cliven Bundy's side because he was standing up to the federal government, only to find that they were standing next to someone who would make for an ideal member of the KKK, right down to suggesting that blacks were better off on plantations as slave.  Whatever you feel about the federal government's reach into its citizens' lives, standing next to a racist never helps your cause.

     Which brings us to Michael Brown and the happenings in Ferguson, Missouri.  Let's get something straight, blacks are treated unfairly in many instances because of the color of their skin.  They get stopped more often by police, sentences hand down by the courts tend to be longer for blacks for similar crimes (look at the sentencing guidelines for those that use crack versus those that use cocaine as a prime example) are just a couple such instances.  That being said, the pinnacle of this most recent movement is the death of Michael Brown.  Let's not kid anyone, Michael Brown was not a model citizen, only minutes before his death he had committed a robbery.  Chances are his community is going to be better off without him than with him.  And when your movement is focused on treating a thug as a martyr, then your movement loses credibility.  When, in an effort to show how large your movement is, you embrace those who deem destruction of private property as a means to prove a point, including mindlessly destroying businesses in the very community you are trying to help, then again you lose credibility.

     Michael Brown lived a thug's life and ultimately he died a thug's death.  Those that suggest otherwise do the people who do actually suffer injustices a disservice.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 324 - Like a boss

     Friday marked the first day where I ran the store pretty much with no assistance.  Ed stopped by on Thanksgiving for a couple of hours and when he left he said he wasn't certain if he was leaving for Florida on either Friday or Saturday.  Turns out he opted for Friday, leaving the store in my hands for the first of what will be many days, unless I get fired first.

     Brian made a cameo appearance, he showed up somewhere around 11:00am and by 12:30 he was already gone.  Not that he was needed, hell I wasn't needed to be honest, business is always slow on Thanksgiving and the day after.  I know that some places are busy with Black Friday specials, we just aren't one of them.  Our business is based on being a place to stop for people going to and from work (or for lunch while at work) and as the de facto grocery store for both Point Park University and The Art Institute of Pittsburgh.  Well, with both schools off and not many people working, that cut down on business considerably.   In fact I started late on Friday and still had my paperwork done around noon.  Starting late isn't going to affect my paycheck all that much, I got time and half on Thursday (plus an additional vacation day) while pulling an 11.5 hour shift, so a shorter Friday isn't all that bad.

     Just because we were slow doesn't mean I didn't have issues to deal with though.  One person called off, another showed up late and still another asked to go home early; our lottery rep came in, apparently we got a new one and no one bothered to tell me, so I talked to him about some issues we were having such as the fact I had stuff for a lottery promotion and no prizes to give away with it, prizes the lottery is supposed to provide.  Thankfully he had those with him, so that problem was solved relatively easily. 

     By 1:30 I was thinking all I would have to do is go to the bank and that would pretty much put a wrap on Friday.   Silly little boy that I am I should now better.  On Friday as part of the bank run we get the weekend change for the store.  Any additional 1 and 5 dollar bills we may need as well as a box of pennies ($25) and a box of quarters ($500) are always part of the order, sometimes we will add nickels and dimes as well if we think we need them, but the big thing we always get are the pennies and the quarters.  In fact usually the bank has those items pulled for us, knowing we will be in Friday to get them.  I say usually because Friday that wasn't the case, when I go to the bank our coins weren't pulled yet.  No problem normally, if they aren't pulled then they can go back and get them from the safe.  Except nobody had access to the safe.  Apparently the safe at the bank operates on a two key system, each employee is granted a key but not everyone has the same key, so in order to open the safe you need one employee who has one of the keys and one employee who has the other key.  The problem was that everybody who was at the bank Friday had the same key, the employees who had the other key were all off so nobody had access to the safe.

     That forced me to go back to work, sans most of the change I needed for the coming weekend.  Instead of going home, I was stuck calling other branches of our bank (they only have one branch in downtown) to see if I could get change from them instead.  The branch on the South Side said they had the change I needed, and thankfully they were open on Saturdays, so I had them set aside what we needed and picked it up as part of my Saturday shift.

     Monday will be the first real test though, everyone is back and it is business as usual, but with me in charge.  So maybe it is as usual after all.

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