Monday, March 31, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 90 - ETAs

      Today was one of those days that is much like being at the airport, you know what time the flight is supposed to arrive and so you rush to the board only to see that the flight has been delayed and as a result you are just left standing around waiting.  That was it in a nutshell.  I am ready to go, to just get everything underway and no matter which way I turn I am just halted because of others.  I was fully prepared for the series of dominoes to begin to fall bright and early Tuesday morning, only to have such entities as the US Postal Service, Pitt Inventory and the state of Pennsylvania all throw up slight roadblocks, keeping me from where I want to be.

     The delays are not deal breakers mind you, just annoyances that I guess I should have expected but I want to get this show on the road already.  I have no desire to be stuck in a holding pattern, getting this project done allows me to make other moves as well, ones that I am sure will piss some people off, but news flash bulletin, I don't care.  I am tired of being held hostage by others, as if their presence is needed or required in the future.  I will give them the same consideration that they have given me, which is none.  The future is so close I can almost taste it at this point, and yes, it does taste like chicken.  Who knew?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 89 - Not as bad as I thought

     Honestly I was dreading work today.  Not that I dislike my job, only because it was going to be the 7th day in a row, I was actually on the floor running the store which is probably my least favorite position there and because it was Sunday, which is always our slowest day of the week.  Even before I got my promotion to management, there was a time for a while where I was the person running the store on Sundays, so I knew going in what to expect.  Lots of down time, scrambling to find things to do and hoping the time didn't drag too much.  Surprisingly it didn't, which is why it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be.

      I probably helped myself out a bit by going to bed early last night, I knew I would need some sleep if I was going to be able to function, because unlike most days where I don't have a time certain to be at work, only that I get in early enough to get everything done that I need to do, which usually is around 8am, running the store means I have to be in before 7am because the bank and lottery counts both need to be verified and I need to be on the register and ready to go at 7am.  That means getting up even earlier, and making sure I stopped for gas station coffee because I was going to need every bit of artificial alertness I could get my hands on.

     Work was as I expected, dreadfully slow but I managed to find tasks to make the time go quicker, I went through the entire candy section and make sure it was all in the new register system and at the correct prices, mopped the floor, ran the vacuum, cleaned up the go back basket (which no one apparently does), wiped down counters and the coffee bar and just did my best to keep moving.  The time went by relatively quickly, faster than I thought it might and I didn't even come home all exhausted which I thought might happen.  I think part of that is because I am still on this adrenaline kick for Tuesday though.  I really can't wait for it to get here at this point. 

     When I did get home I did have a little bit of work to do yet at the store, but it was stuff I could do remotely.  I had to access the camera system and pull some footage from Thursday night before the hard drive wiped out the previous week.  There were some snippets that we will need for Monday and I wanted to make sure we had them, luckily I can run that computer from home and save the information we needed in the DVR system. 

     I even got to spend some time on the bus ride home reading my new book I got, I am over 280 pages into it now and given the odd times that I read that isn't all that bad for something I have had for a little over a week.  Anyway, the next couple of days are going to be more of the early to bed, early to rise variety for me and if all goes according to plan I think I am either going to cap this week off with the new Captain America movie or catch it some time early next week. Plans, glorious plans. 

Penguins @ Blue Jackets 03/28/2014

Pittsburgh 2  Columbus 1

Marc-Andre Fleury - 35 SV

With the win Pittsburgh secured a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 88 - Second, third and fourth winds

     I woke up early this morning, around 4am and rather than go back to bed I decided just to putz around a bit and grab a shower.  Sammy and I were catching breakfast again at Kelly O's and I know he usually gets downtown early,. so I figured if I get there early too we can get to breakfast early since they open as early as 5am.  The sooner we eat and get the day started I am thinking the sooner my day will be over.

     Once again he and I have taken over doing the coolers on weekends, after seeing them not get stocked on a regular basis I had had enough and decided it would be better for he and I to do in 3 to 4 hours what wasn't getting done previously in 16 hours, so we cut the third person from the schedule bot night and just opted to do it ourselves.  Of course today we not only had tha\t but lots of moving of furniture around because we are getting a brand new touch screen lottery machine in on Monday morning, which resulted in us moving two other pieces of equipment to make that happen.

     After getting that done and sending him on his merry way, I still had my stuff to do, which meant I had to take lottery tickets to Gus Millers to load their machines and take the money out of them, then tend to the ATM there, adding more money to it, then back to Smithfield where I emptied that lottery machine, counted the money downstairs and sorted it so we could buy change if needed, then added a bunch of new items to the register system that Ed had ordered last week, reload some candy items from the basement that needed put on the sales floor, inventory the cigarette room and then set about doing my grocery order for Monday. 

      There is nothing all that unusual about that on a Saturday because Sunday is my day, so if I come home tired or cranky or lazy I can just relax and recharge except I am running the floor tomorrow, so that plan will have to take a back burner until next weekend.    For now I think I will just close my eyes and try to get some rest until the alarm goes off in about 8 hours.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 87 - Karaoke Friday "Lies"

     Today was a day where I basically was setting things up for the big surprise next week, moving things from place to place, setting up appointments and arrangements so that everything will happen in a very clean and concise manner.  Timing of events will be critical but I think I have it all under control at this point, all of the pieces are in place all I can do now is wait for the final moment.  It will make for a great blog on Tuesday, all of the things that I have done over the last few weeks to make everything happen and now I just sit back and relax for a minute. acting as the conductor of the orchestra of chaos that is about to unfold. 

     With that in mind, this song seems oh so appropriate right about now.  Cue my music......

Would I lie to you?
Would I lie to you honey?
Now would I say somethin' that wasn't true?
I'm askin' you sugar would I lie to you?
My friends, know what's in store
I won't be here anymore
I've packed my bags, I've cleaned the floor
Watch me walkin', walkin' out the door
Would I lie to you?
Would I lie to you honey?
Now would I say somethin' that wasn't true?
I'm askin' you sugar would I lie to you?
Tell you straight, no intervention
To your face, no deception
You're the biggest fake that much is true
Had all I can take now I'm leavin' you
Would I lie to you?
Would I lie to you honey?
Now would I say somethin' that wasn't true?
I'm askin' you sugar would I lie to you?
Would I lie to you?
Would I lie to you honey?
Now would I say somethin' that wasn't true?
I'm askin' you sugar would I lie to you?
My friends, know what's in store
I won't be here anymore
I've packed my bags, I've cleaned the floor
Watch me walkin', walkin' out the door
Watch me, watch me, ooo yeah
Watch me, watch me, ooo yeah
Watch me, watch me, ooo yeah
Walkin', walkin', walkin', ooo
Watch me now, yeah
Watch me now

Kings @ Penguins 03/27/2014

Los Angeles 3 Pittsburgh 2

Chris Kunitz, Taylor Pyatt - G each

Pyatt has recorded a goal in the last two games

Coyotes @ Penguins 03/25/2014

Phoenix 3  Pittsburgh 2

Jussi Jokinen, Taylor Pyatt - G each

Evgeni Malkin is out 2-3 weeks after injuring his foot against St Louis in the previous game, Pittsburgh has lost over 400 man games to injury this season

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 86 - Pushing forward

     Another day closer to the day when lots of things change, I spent a good portion of the last couple of days on the phone making that happen.  Between talking to vendors and technicians, things are moving along at a surprisingly fast pace.  I still see problems forthcoming, I do not things will happen quite as fast as others do, if only because I think I am steeped enough in reality to try to anticipate problems that are otherwise being overlooked in favor of expediency. 

     I will say that readers of this blog are not the only ones that I have kept in the dark on this matter, there are plenty of people that literally have no clue as to what is coming, nor how things will affect them.  In some instances it has been easy to do, people who may be directly affected by what is coming but are otherwise clueless are easy to deceive, just say nothing.  The harder test is coming up with top of the head answers and lies to questions from those who see something and ask "what's this about?"  and having a built in story to explain situations and events that is both believable and also 100% not true. 

     4 more days, that is all I ave to survive to keep up this charade and then I can pull back the curtain and unveil the big charade.  It may end up that even more people will dislike me afterward, once they grasp my full knowledge and active participation in the events that have transpired, but people not liking me is not something I have lost sleep over in the past and I have no intent of losing sleep over it in the future. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 85 - So much for Christmas cards

     What can I say in 5 minutes or less.  The day was good in that I saw a friend who I haven't spent time with in years, but also bad because I am pretty much despised at work (which I actually don't mind) and spent more time talking than listening this evening, when in comparison my friend's problems are far larger than my own.  So at the end of the day I feel just small.   Nuff said.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 84 - The clock is still ticking

     Closer we get to the end of the moth and hopefully I will be able to reveal a big surprise but for now mum is still the word.  For those of you that thought grease was the word, back of the line with you.

     I am feeling a bit better, considering how bad I felt last night that really isn't that much of an accomplishment but still.  I did get my new books at work on Monday, two books by David Thorne so I was able to break free of the Robert Parker book that I am sure I already read at some point.  Glad the new books came in too, because they are freaking awesome.  I was reading on the bus on the way home today and I couldn't help but laugh out loud at how funny they are.  I realize that when riding a city bus laughing by one's self it probably a sign of craziness but I was doing it anyway.  I am about 100 pages in to the first book and I can say it might be the funniest book I have read in at least 10 years.  I like to think that I am funny sometimes, but after reading this I can honestly say I am not nearly as funny as David is.  I am glad I splurged and got two books from him, because one will not be enough.

      Once again though, since I ordered from Amazon I was stuck with the free shipping dilemma,  do I just get the books or do I find a way to push the order over $35 and get the free shipping.  I opted for the free shipping again, this time choosing a watch to hit my dollar amount.  Given I haven't worn a watch in years it is still a funny feeling to have one now strapped to my wrist. 

     There was a bad side to me going to bed early last night, that being I woke up way too early this morning.  Mind you I started early on Monday, getting into work at 6:30am as opposed to my normal 8am start time, but because I went to bed early again last night I was at work again early today, getting in the door at Gus Millers before 7am.  Which turned out to be a good thing, there was a lottery order waiting to be checked in and I had to reload the ATM which was sans money, making it just a giant paperweight and little more.  I put $1000 into in, just to get us through the day, but it will probably have to be reloaded in the next day or so, $1000 really isn't what it used to be.

     Anyway, enough chattering from me, I want to catch the end of the hockey game and the next Pens points code.  I started collecting them last week, originally I was giving any codes I found to Amanda at work, but since she just walked out without so much as a phone call I decide I might as well save a few codes and see what happens.  I doubt I will get much for my efforts but it is worth a shot and besides it is free, which is always a favorite thing to me.  There I go yammering again. Surprise!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 83 - Blah

    I will not waste a whole lot of anyone's time this evening.  Right now I am just feeling sick.  Maybe I am just rundown after another long day at work (10 1/2 hours), maybe i was something I ate.  All  know is right now I am struggling to keep warm and I know I have another long day tomorrow and at this point I have no idea how I will get through it.  SO if it is okay with everyone, I am going to try sleep and see how that works.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 82 - Meh

     I really can't put my finger on today, it was just kind of there.  I woke up later than normal, it was almost 9am by the time I decided to move around a bit and near 11am before I decided if I wanted to do anything with today at all.  Eventually I talked myself into going over to the Strip District again, maybe a trip to Kelly O's would cure what seemed to be ailing me. 

     So I pack up my things (I take my pack back everywhere, even when I am not carrying much), a book and my iPad so I could either read or write depending on my mood.  Out the door I went and up the street to get ye olde gas station coffee.  My coffee card was full, so this one was free.  It was full in part because the people at the gas station have been giving me extra punches on the card, usually it is if you buy 7 coffees the 8th one is free, but for me it has been like 4 or 5 until I get a free one.  Often I get them cheaper too, I buy large coffees but am sometimes charged for mediums.  Maybe this is because the cards were missing for a month or so and they are just trying to make up for the coffees I bought and didn't get credit, maybe it is because they are cool and I am a relative nice guy who has become a daily customer, who knows.  Allk I know is I go in expecting to pay full price and anything that happens after that is gravy.

     I get my coffee and head up to the bus stop and today was one of those days that, pardon my language, could best be described as a seasonal cock tease.  The sun was out as sort of the promise of spring, but it was still cold enough to have that winter isn't done fucking with you yet feel.  I get on the bus after a wait that was long enough that I started to feel cold, and decide I will read on the way over to Kelly O's, so I reach into my bag and pull out the book I brought with me.  The book itself should have been good, it was a Robert Parker book aft4er all from his Spenser series, but as I started reading it I was coming to the conclusion that I probably have already read this one.  I bought it off of Amazon on one of my last orders because they offer free shipping on orders over $35 (it used to be $25 but oh well) and I was close enough that it was probably cheaper for me to add the cost of a paperback book and get the free shipping than to leave it off of the order and have to pay for shipping.  So I threw the Spenser book on at the last moment, but the thing with the Spenser series is, while I like them, I was late to the party so I never read them in any sort of chronological order so now I find myself going back into the series trying to find books I missed to fill in the gaps of the larger storyline.  When I bought this one I thought I hadn't read it before but as I was getting involved in it on the bus I was coming to the firm conclusion that in fact I had.   So I read half  heartedly, enough that I could turn the pages but I wasn't really paying that much attention to what I read.

     I got over to the Strip somewhere around noon and made my way to Kelly O's.  Because it was so late I wasn't really in a breakfasty kind of mood so I opted for the hot meatloaf sandwich with fries and gravy and a cup of chili.  The chili was good, topped with diced onions and shredded cheddar cheese.  The meatloaf sandwich was okay.  It was seasoned properly and all that, just not warm enough.  It wasn't stone cold or anything, just was in that luke warmish phase where it seemed like they probably had it premade and just threw it in the microwave to warm it up a little.  Thankfully my new favorite waitress was there an taking care of me, I don't really know her name, just that if I had to guess would say she is probably a little younger than me, I would peg her as mid 30ish, short with long straight blond hair and very attentive to me, which I do take notice of me when there are far bigger tables to wait on that a person flying solo and sitting at the counter.  So I ate my lunch, brunch or whatever you would call this trip, tipped relatively generously (like 33% or so, but who does that math anyway?) and left to walk about the Strip for a bit. 

     I remembered that I still had Italian sausages in my freezer from my last trip to Scratch n Dent so I wanted to get some sausage rolls which meant a trip to Mancini's bakery.  Just walking in the door it smelled so good inside and out, as they had a cart on the sidewalk selling pizza rolls right by the door, and once inside all of the baked bread goodness was filling my nostrils, enough so that not only did I get a package of sausage rolls, but a loaf of cracked pepper, tomato and basil bread too.  It had just come out of the oven so the bread was still warm when they bagged it and handed it to me.  Not sure if they expected a McDonald's hot coffee style lawsuit or not, but they did give me a warning to be careful because it was still hot. 

      I left and made my way to Scratch n Dent next, I had an idea for the sausage sandwiches I wanted to make and they have produce out front.  Now their produce isn't great, it is not supermarket quality, usually anything you buy there in produce you have to use within a day or two or it will go bad.  I didn't need much, just peppers and onions for the sauce for the sandwiches.  I could have bought a whole basket of green peppers for like $3, but I really didn't need that many, so I just picked out one orange pepper and one Spanish onion and then went inside where I decided to buy more frozen sausages, and well as some other snackable things.  I probably spent $20 on things from burgers and sausages to toilet paper (Angel Soft 4pks were .99, but I shop like that).

     I caught a bus back to Oakland after shopping, thankfully my wait was much shorter this time, 5 minutes tops and I was home around 3 ish I guess and ever since then I have just been laying around.  Well from 3pm-9pm anyway when I decided to get up and cook things, anything to just shake the funk I am in.  Maybe I am just over tired, by the end of my shift at work yesterday I had logged 115 hours in two weeks. I have at least another week of this crazy style nonsense to contend with as well, after that I do not know, things could get better, worse or stay exactly the same.  Anyway the timer just went off on my oven, time to be Matty homemaker and pull the pumpkin pie from the oven.  It is smelling like Thanksgiving in my apartment, but it tastes like chicken.  Just kidding.  I am off before I set fire to this place.  Toodles.

Lightning @ Penguins 03/22/2014

Pittsburgh 4  Tampa Bay 3  OT

Evgeni Malkin - 2 G, 2 A

Jeff Zatkoff registered his first NHL point, getting an assist on Pittsburgh's first goal

Penguins @ Red Wings 03/20/2014

Detroit 5  Pittsburgh 4  OT

Evgeni Malkin - 2 G

3 of Detroit's 5 goals went in off of Pittsburgh players

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 81 - Karaoke Friday "Broken Ankles"

     Sometimes when watching a basketball game you will see the person who has the ball make a move that leaves the defender look as if he has broke his ankles.  If the defender is lucky he will not fall over, but it still nonetheless appear to the naked eye as if his legs want to go one way while his ankles are set to go in another direction.  Today's Karaoke Friday actually has something to do with that, if for no other reason than it is the way that Elvis Costello dances in the video.  Cue my music.....

I've been on tenterhooks, ending in dirty looks
List'ning to the Muzak, thinking 'bout this 'n' that
She said, "That's that, I don't wanna chitter chat"
Turn it down a little bit or turn it down flat
Pump it up when you don't really need it
Pump it up until you can feel it
Down in the pleasure center, hell bent or heaven sent
listen to the propaganda, listen to the latest slander
There's nothing underhand that she wouldn't understand
Pump it up until you can feel it
Pump it up when you don't really need it
She's been a bad girl, she's like a chemical
Though you try to stop it, she's like a narcotic
You wanna torture her, you wanna talk to her
All the things you bought for her, puttin' up your temp'rature
Pump it up until you can feel it
Pump it up when you don't really need it
Out in the fashion show, down in the bargain bin
You put your passion out under the pressure pin
Fall into submission, hit and run transmission
No use wishin' now for any other sin
Pump it up until you can feel it
Pump it up when you don't really need it
Pump it up until you can feel it
Pump it up when you don't really need it
Pump it up until you can feel it
Pump it up when you don't really need it
Don't really need it
Don't really need it
Don't really need it

Friday, March 21, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 80 - Threads

     This is another one of those days where I have lots of little things that are here, there and everywhere in my brain, but I can't seem to pull on any one specific one to wrangle out an entire blog entry.  I could easily just focus on numbers, after all this is the 80th entry into this project and I could easily add to my change meter total, the number is in my iPad, all I would have to do is grab it and do a little math.  Then again I could play off of the fact that I was privy to two completely different cell phone conversations today, not because I wanted to be but because the people using the phones apparently felt that everybody in a two block radius should hear their conversation as well, so at one point I heard some woman yelling into her phone "Peanuts and popcorn.........I almost through shit at the TV.  Where was my fucking popcorn?"  Not to be outdone though, on the bus ride home from work I was treated to a man fighting with a woman on the other end of the line about custody of their yet to be born baby.  In the ten minutes that the bus ride takes from downtown to Oakland I was already feeling sorry for the kid, because barring a miracle of some sort, he doesn't stand much of a chance.  Or I could try figuring out what happened on a chance meeting at the bank today, where a police officer that I don't even know asked me about one of our employees, an employee that I would be more than happy to be rid of mind you, so there is a certain amount of hopeful curiosity on my part as to why he was inquiring.

     I just can't seem to get any one particular train of though to play out into a full length blog entry though.   For whatever reason I just can't take the germ of an idea and make it into something more than that.  It's frustrating to be sure.  Perhaps breakfast tomorrow will provide inspiration, because right now it is sorely lacking.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 79 - Endings can't come soon enough

     I have a date certain when I can reveal the big surprise, it will be at the end of the month.  Honestly it can not get here fast enough, because days like today at work are all the more reason that I am looking forward to what may be coming.  Two more call offs leaving us short staffed, it has gotten to the point that if I could just do everything myself I would.

     I keep telling myself each day is a day closer, that is the only thing that keeps me going at this point.  At some point the company just needs to stop repeating the same things and expecting different results.  I have been watching a lot of "The Profit" on CNBC, the show centers around an investor, Marcus Lemonis and he invests in companies that are failing or struggling in order to possibly turn them around.  When he looks at what is wrong with a company he examines the three P's, People, Product and Process and tries to fix whichever things are failing.  I can say for certain we definitely have a People problem, our processes could be better.  About the only thing we have right is the product at this point, but really, people have been selling groceries for how long?  That is a pretty hard product to fuck up.   Process, well I am sure there are things we could do better, but we can't until we get the right People in place, nothing works if those people who want to work and be there are constantly not just trying to focus on their own job, but the jobs of others who are there simply to get a paycheck, if they can be bothered to show up at all.  I would just as soon cut the dead weight loose, but I am put in the position of being a manager who isn't allowed to manage.  Instead I am left just counting days. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 78 - When pranks go wrong

     Earlier this year, during one of my trips to the bank for work, I was inside doing deposits for one of the stores, talking to the teller Denise as I did so.  Sammy was with me and as the three of us were talking I had made mention of the little Pittsburgh Penguins gnomes next to both Denise's and Gillian's teller windows.  Gillian wasn't there that day, I think she was sick (I could be mistaken though) and I said, you know what would be cool, stealing Gillian's gnome and then taking him around Pittsburgh and taking pictures of all of the places he goes.  We all got a good laugh out of it, but I did not end up taking the gnome, I know Gillian but not well enough to be absconding with her personal property, so Sammy and I left the bank and walked back to work, joking more about what could be done with the gnome.

     The next time I did see Gillian at the bank I told her about our conversation and jibed her a little bit, saying that she is lucky her gnome is still there.  Apparently she was cool with the idea, because on subsequent trips to the bank she said I should take the gnome with me.  Of course the whole idea behind the joke is not to do it at someone's prodding, but rather for it to be a surprise and then just have the pictures pop up on Facebook (Gillian and I are friends there) with the gnome at different places in and around the city.  I had all kinds of neat ideas including taking a picture of the gnome and putting it on an Amber alert picture, or taking him to some unused railroad tracks with a picture of him "tied" to the tracks, waiting on his own personal Dudley Doright to save him.  I just left the possibilities ruminate in my head, all the while wondering when I would have the opportunity and the time to take the gnome, because if I was going to pull off this prank it was going to take some time to put together all of the pictures and visit multiple locations throughout the city.  If there is one thing that is not part of my schedule these days it is ample time, I would need a window of some sort in order to pull off everything I needed to do. 

      Two weeks ago I am again at the bank (I am there almost every day) and again I am talking to Denise and she says that both her and Gillian will be off the following week Wednesday through Friday because they had to go to some training course for their jobs.  My mind of course starting racing, if I have Wednesday through Friday to work with and the bank is closed on Saturday and Sunday then I would have a full week to pull this prank off.  Even better is the fact I was getting paid on Wednesday, so the possible places I could go with the gnome were quite numerous.

      So last Wednesday I get into the bank, I am doing the store deposit again, talking to Ashley (who also was aware of this prank) and I go ahead and grab the gnome.  My first though as I am going back to work with the gnome in my backpack is the first place I could take the gnome would be the casino, because then I could get pictures of the gnome on the subway to the casino, sitting at different table games or slot machines throughout the casino and even take him upstairs and get pictures of him at the Grandview Buffet.  

     I get off of work and walk over to the subway station, and after waiting for about 10 minutes a subway comes rolling along, so I board one of the rearmost cars so fewer people can see what I am doing, then I take the gnome out of my bag and snap a picture of him sitting on one of the subway seats.  So far the plan is going swimmingly.

      I get to the casino and am about to go inside and the security guards ask what is in my bag.  I open it for them and tell them what I have, my laptop from work and my iPad and my lucky gnome.  No issues, I get waved right through.  I proceed to play some games, losing money along the way when I decide I will pick a remote slot machine and get a picture of the gnome in front of one of the machines.  I didn't want to be out in the open about it, because I know many businesses have issues with people taking pictures inside their establishments, including the gaming floors of casinos.  But it is a Wednesday afternoon/early evening and the casino isn't too packed and I am able to sneak off to a desolate bank of nickel slot machines and I set the gnome up right next to the spinning wheels and quickly grab the trusty iPad and fire off another quick picture. 

     After spending way too much money I decide that I better head upstairs to the buffet, for both the next picture and for my dinner before the buffet closes.  I get in about an hour before the buffet closes, plenty of time for me to sample a little bit of everything they have, I am noshing on Mongolian beef, grilled chicken breast, mac and cheese, egg drop soup, cheese ravioli, baked potato, etc.  It would not be a stretch to said I pigged out.  I was seated right next to an aisle, so I had a wooden divider between me and the whole next section of the dining room, so I grabbed the gnome again and put him on the divider and clicked off another picture.  The plan is coming along flawlessly, and this is only the first day I have four more days to do this stuff.

     I finish eating and decide I better leave the casino while I still had some money.  I had a fun night gambling and pranking (though only I knew about the prank at that point) and figured I better get home because I did have to work Thursday morning after all.  I head outside and I notice that it has gotten much colder since I went in, the wind is blowing and snow flakes are falling.  Nothing along the lines of accumulation, the snowflakes were just visual proof of how cold it was getting.

     I get back to the subway station to make my way back into the city and then transfer to a bus back to Oakland.  As I am at the station I am thinking, you know, if I could get a picture of the gnome here, that would be cool and it would give me something to do while I wait.  So I am thinking, how do I want to stage this photo and I see a garbage can on the platform and if I situate this picture right I can get the gnome with the Allegheny Station sign in the background, so I set the gnome up on the can and take a few paces back and start to get into position to make the shot happen when I gust of wind blows across the station.  Everything just moved in slow motion as I am watching the gnome fall off of his perch and onto the floor of the station.  Even as he is falling I am thinking to myself that while I can't catch him, at least he isn't ceramic (it was some resin polymer thing) so maybe it will not be that bad.  Then he hits the ground and what happened to him is what would have happened to Joe Theismann if when Lawrence Taylor hit him on Monday Night Football Joe's leg would have been made of some resin polymer thing, the legs and the bottom half of the gnome just shatter.

     Talk about a major buzz kill, I went from being all happy and foolish to distraught in seconds.  The gnome had been in my possession all of maybe 7 hours and already I had broke it.  I had no idea what to do, I wouldn't see Gillian until Monday, so if I could find a place and buy another one I could just replace it.  But I had doubles at work on Thursday and Friday and the St Patrick's Day parade on Saturday so I couldn't even get to a store to try and find a new one until Sunday at the earliest.  Not sure of what to do, I went and picked up the biggest pieces of the gnome I could get my hands on (there were plenty of little shards of gnome on the station floor as well)  and put it in my bag and came home, not sure of what I would do next.

     I got home around 10pm, and I am just sitting here and I decide that maybe I could call up Google on my computer and find places around here that sell Penguin gnomes.  So I type in Pittsburgh Penguin gnome in the search bar and hundreds of hits came up.  I start looking at links and none of these are the gnome I am seeking. So I try a image search, see if that will help.  I see all different types of gnomes, I had no idea there were than many Penguin gnomes out there, but if I was going to replace the gnome I should probably get the one I broke, not just any old gnome, so I am looking at pictures of gnomes, trying to compare the pictures to the parts of the gnome that are in my bag.  I am having some luck, but I can't remember what all the gnome had, he was holding something in his right hand but that apparently broke off when he fell and I don't know what it was.  Was it a wand, a hockey stick, what was there?  I didn't want to get the wrong gnome after all, but I couldn't think of what was missing.

       That was when I realized I was going full blown retard.  I didn't need the gnome to see what he looked like, I fucking had pictures of him.  Idiot!!!  So I take one of the pictures and do a reverse image lookup and sure enough I start seeing the very gnome I seek.  I check a few different links, but nothing is in a store close to Pittsburgh, nothing form the Pens Store, or WalMart, or Bed, Bath and Beyond that was currently in stock that I could go buy as a replacement for the gnome I broke.  But there was a link to a gnome on Amazon, he looked exactly the same and like the gnome parts in my possession, it is made in China and was made of some polymer resin thing.   And even better, I have money in my Amazon account, I can just place the order right now.  

      Well yes and no, I could place the order right now but the store that had the gnome just sells on Amazon, Amazon itself didn't have the gnome, so I could buy it but there would be a wait in delivery time, upwards of a week.  Well, I figure I might as well just do it now, the sooner I order it the sooner it gets here. 

     Monday I go into the bank, Gillian is back and she asks if I brought her gnome back.  Now if I were a liar I could have just said no not admit to anything happening and when the replacement came just swapped it out for the original, but that isn't who I am so I explained everything that happened, apologized profusely and said that I already had one on order to replace the gnome that I broke.  Gillian was very cool about it, she wasn't upset (at least to me) but to be honest I still felt like shit about it.

     Today I am at work and I get a package sent priority delivery which is odd because I didn't order anything in a hurried fashion, so I ope the box and the new gnome is inside.  I had it shipped to work so that I could just take it to the bank the day it arrived.  I set the gnome aside, got most of my work done and proceeded to gather up the deposits to take to the bank and then placed the gnome in my bag.  I get to the bank and give Gillian the deposits and reach into my bag and pull out the new gnome.  She looks at me and say, this one is bigger than the one I had.  I try to deny it, saying that it is probably just the size of the box but she opens it and sure enough, the gnome is like twice the size of the one I broke.  Leave it to me to order the Apache Chief of the gnome world.  Innekchok indeed!!!

    Okay enough of story time for today, I need to get some sleep before work tomorrow morning.  Nite everyone!!!

Stars @ Penguins 03/19/2014

Pittsburgh 5  Dallas 1

Sidney Crosby - 2 G, A

Crosby's line (Crosby, Chris Kunitz, Lee Stempniak) tallied 8 points in the win (4 G, 4 A)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Flyers @ Penguins 03/16/2014

Philadelphia 4  Pittsburgh 3

Brooks Orpik, Matt Niskanen, Jayson Megna - G each

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were held without a point in the home and home series against Philadelphia

Blogger 365 Day 77 - The sun

          Today was a relatively short day at work, only 7 hours so when I left work it was still daylight out, which I think is a good thing.  Save for Sunday when I was scheduled off, the previous 4 days at work were 13 hrs, 12.25 hrs, 10.5 hrs and 11.5 hrs.  A 7 hour day like today is almost a vacation day compared to that.  All told I am at 78 3/4 hours and there are still 4 days left in the pay period for me.  Even if I only work 8 hour days that would put me very much in the ballpark of 120 hours this pay period.

       I wish I could say this has been easy, but it really hasn't been.  I am now popping ibuprofen to deal with back pain, I am hobbling a bit slower than normal and despite all of the hours I feel like I am spinning my wheels, not really getting anything done to move us forward.  Three of those long days have been put in because I was filling someone else's shift, either because they needed time off or they were late getting into work.  As a result seeing the sun, even after the clocks sprung forward an hour (daylight savings time and all that jazz), is not all that normal an occurrence by the time I get done with work.

     Wish I could say that I took advantage of it, but I literally just came home and made something to eat and have been laying down ever since.  Plenty of people at work have come down with some illness or another and while I have avoided that particular fate, I would be lying if I said that my body was sore, very sore actually. 

     I think what is keeping me going is what I blogged about a few days ago that I said I couldn't talk about.  Truth is I still can't, though I am much closer to the big reveal today than I was even a week ago.  If I had to put Vegas odds on it happening right now, I would put them around 90%, which if it comes to pass I will say my life will get much easier.  Of course right now it can't get much harder.  Good thing they make pills for that.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 76 - Faithless

     This blog is going to be inspired by something that happened yesterday on Facebook.  You see, I was on said Facebook yesterday, probably playing Bingo or some other annoying app when I looked on the right hand side of the screen at a relatively new feature they have, "trending", which is basically just a name or story of some sort that is getting a lot of mentions on the web, a feature that I am sure was inspired by Twitter.  In any event, the top story in the trending section was that the son of Fred Phelps had said that his dad was near death.

     For those not in the states and for those that live under a rock in the states, Fred Phelps is the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, a church (using that term very loosely here) that spends their time picketing funerals of some celebrities (in Pittsburgh they picketed the funeral of Mr. Rogers) as well as soldiers who have been killed in action, shouting chants and carrying placards, the most noticeable being signs that state "God Hates Fags", and suggesting that the funeral taking place is God's judgement on the issue.

     Far be it for me to let an opportunity like this go to waste, I posted as my status that maybe God just hates Fred Phelps.  It was snark from me to be sure, but my status did garner a response from one of my friends, Tom, who wrote "What good people need to do is not pay attention to the attention-seeking Fred Phelps. And as you know, Matt, God doesn't hate. Phelps has been listening to the wrong power all this time. His thoughts align with the ruler of the world below."  

     I would agree that Fred Phelps is just an attention seeker and people should pay him as little mind as is possible.   But I am also a non believer, my comment was more snark that religious thought.  I understand that there are many people to whom their faith plays a direct and positive role in their lives, and I would argue Phelps no more speaks on behalf of Christianity than Islamic fundamentalists are the true beacons of that religion.  I tend to think that people should be judged based on who they are and what they do moreso than what they believe, and those that would suggest that non believers have no moral compass speaks more for their need to believe than it does what actually takes place in a non believers head.  I know that I do not need to believe in a higher power to understand simple concepts like murder or stealing is wrong, and I am afraid of those people to whom without religion they would think those ideas are okay or even remotely acceptable.  

      Similarly I find that my time on this earth is  going to be defined  by the type of person I am, not by my belief in a celestial higher power.  If I am going to be eternally damned because of a lack of belief, I will take that judgement over a celestial Stalinism any day of the week and twice on Sunday.  The prisons are full of people who have repented (or claimed to), hoping to play their cosmic "Get Out of Jail Free" card and if that is what it takes in order to be accepted into the kingdom of Heaven, then that is a cult of personality that I want no part of.

      That brings us back to Fred Phelps, who seems to believe in a spiteful God, one who issues judgement in the form of death and destruction for those who stray from his path.  But if Phelps is right and there is a God and he is as spiteful as Phelps believes, then maybe my status wasn't so snarky after all, Phelps just guessed wrong on who God actually hates.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 75 - Me day

    Yes, I had a me day today.  It's silly when you think about it, I am single, live alone, don't really go out with friends all that much, don't get visitors and yet I still have me days.  Of course I also work 6 days a week, and much of my supposed free time is spent at home in case there is trouble in either of our stores, so actually getting out and turning off the computer is always a nice exercise in escapism.  This weekend definitely called for a little escapism too.

     When I went to sleep last night my body was just pretty much exhausted, between doubles on Thursday and Friday and another 10 hour day on Saturday because of the parade I was spent.  I did meet Sammy early Saturday morning and we did go to breakfast at Kelly O's again, I got what can best be described as a ginormous breakfast burrito, but what I saw on the way out the door made my plans for today.  As we were walking out I noticed the specials board, it was something I had never noticed in there before, I just figured what was on the menu was what they had, not that the menu is bad mind you, it's quite good actually but the board caught my eye.   "Pittsburgh Brunch" was what one of the items was called, it's two eggs, kielbasa and pierogis.  Right then and there I knew what I was doing on Sunday.

     The parade yesterday was warm enough, the temperature was in the high 40s to low 50s and pretty sunny, so I figured when I got up for breakfast today I would wear shorts.  Just go and be comfy, eat some breakfast and lounge around the Strip District for a while.  I wake up around 8am and as usually happens on my day off I am hard to get motivated.  I kept thinking about breakfast, but then I would talk myself out of it, then talk myself back into it again, so it was probably after 10am when I finally left the apartment, only to have more hesitations because it was not nearly as warm as yesterday, it wasn't even 30 degrees out and here I am in shorts.  I stopped and started a few times, debating on going to the bus stop or just going home and not going out at all, but I figured if I made it to the gas station and got a coffee in me I would be fine.  And I was, I was chilled mind you, but fine. 

     I get to the bus stop and wait for a bit, thankfully I had my book with me so I read while I waited and then read on the bus ride there (it takes about 20 minutes or so) and got to Kelly O's some time after 11am.  Of course there was a line and I didn't even care, I was in no hurry to be anywhere.  The wait wasn't too long, maybe 15 minutes or so, before I got a seat at the counter and settled in for some eats.  My waitress was awesome and cute, a deadly combination for a single guy like me.  I tried to keep from gawking too much but I doubt I was all that successful.   Breakfast was as good as I imagined it would be when I saw it on the menu the day before, but there was still a line of people trying to get in so I didn't want to hog a seat for too long. 

      I ducked out after paying my tab and finishing my second cup of coffee there and walked around the Strip for a while.  Since our parade was Saturday, everyone had their St Patrick's Day stuff at half off, so I actually picked up an official St Patrick's Day parade sweatshirt for $10 (yes, they apparently had licensed apparel printed up) and then went over to Scratch N Dent grocery, where as part of my $20 extravaganza I got 2 packages of Italian sausages, 1 pack of Tyson chicken patties, 1 box of prepackaged burgers (with cheese and bacon in them), 1 frozen deep dish pumpkin pie, tomato sauce (for the sausages, I have plans, glorious plans), peanut butter, potato chips (snack em if you got em) and a couple other odds and ends. 

      The trip back to my apartment was longer and colder, I waited at the bus stop for almost an hour (still in shorts mind you, I didn't take them off or anything because they kick you out of stores for that type of thing) and got back to Oakland a little after 2pm.  On the walk back to my apartment I was going to splurge and buy a $30 scratch off ticket, but after I put two $20s in the machine I went to the scratch off ticket screen (it is a touch screen terminal) and their were no more $30 tickets, so I opted for a $20 ticket, a $10 ticket and 2 $5 tickets.  The $10 was a loser, but I won $10 on a five, $25 on the other $5 and $40 on the twenty, so the afternoon practically paid for itself right there, $40 bucks in and $75 out basically paid for my groceries and the sweatshirt.

     The rest of the day I have sat around vegetating, so now I should go make something to eat, breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but that was 11 hours ago and I should eat something else before calling it a day.  So I am going to go get my Julia Child on in the kitchen and call this a wrap.  Toodles.

Penguins @ Flyers 03/15/2014

Philadelphia 4  Pittsburgh 0

Marc-Andre Fleury - 36 SV

Pittsburgh lost for the 4th time in 8 games since the Olympic break

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 74 - Inside my head

     I never thought when I started this project that I would end up blogging so much about my dreams, but anymore I find them staying with me long after I have woke up, and they have taken on aspect that up until the last 6 months or so I had never experienced.  Last night was another such occasion.

     I went to bed knowing that I had to get up early, Sammy and I were going to breakfast today after all.  So I closed went to bed early, at least early for me since it was before 12am, and was asleep in relatively short order.  By 2am however I was awake again, wondering if I should even try to go back to sleep.

     I dreamt that I was watching a game show of some sort, I think I was in the studio audience since I do not recall a TV screen or any such thing, but I also didn't actually see anyone around me, it was almost like a laugh track was being piped int the room.  The troubling part was the concept behind the game show.  People were being locked in different containers, such as long boxes or as was the case with the last "contestant" in my dream, in an automobile.  These people were then being buried alive in tons upon tons of sand.  They would win the game if they dug there way out of their potential grave before actually dying.  It was shortly after the person was buried alive in the car and presumably was trying to dig their way out that I woke up (I do not know whether they did or not) and realized I had only been asleep for maybe an hour or so, but I couldn't find it in me to just go back to sleep.  I was troubled by the laugh track that was playing as people were struggling to escape their potential graves.  Part of me was wondering if I went back to sleep if the dream would continue, something I was not looking forward to in the least.  So instead I was up for another two hours before finally dozing off again for another couple of hours and getting up this morning. 

     I suppose I could asked a dream interpreter what my dream may have meant, but I don't know if I would like the answer, so perhaps I am better off not knowing. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 73 - Calm before the storm

     Just finished up the second of two double shifts in a row, now I just have to make it through the St Patrick's Day parade tomorrow.  Thankfully before the parade Sammy and I are going out to breakfast, it will be the first time we have been out together since our Sundae Saturday event the first Saturday after New Year's.  One of the girls from work, Stephanie, may come with us, but we will see on that front.  Experience in the past has shown me that usually these types of things just end up being Sammy and I, but we will see tomorrow morning.

      I think I need the breakfast more for just a get out type of thing before returning to the grind that will be the rest of Saturday.  I have had more of a chance to work with Sammy recently, helping with truck and deliveries and orders, just because we ave been short staffed recently, one primary quit and another is still out sick so some people have been doing a little more to compensate for it.  Dee and I have been staying later most days, or just filling in in general as needed.  It feels like we are juggling a dozen different balls, trying to keep them all in the air, and breakfast with Sammy tomorrow will just be a small sense of normalcy amidst the chaos that has been going on.  

      Things are still moving along on the one thing I can't talk about yet.  Each day brings things closer to a resolution, and most of those things are still pointing in a positive direction.  Well positive may be too strong a word, because it will not be an absolute positive for everyone, but from my own selfish point of view I will say it will probably be better for me. 

       I should have kept my mouth shut, or my blog shut, just as I say good things are happening for me the power goes out in my apartment.  I think I will stop typing before I further curse myself.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 72 - One down, two to go

Today was the first of three very long days for me, two days where I work back to back 13 hour shifts, followed by Saturday when I have to work the St Patrick's Day parade.  All in all I was okay, my legs didn't get tired from standing until late in the day, by starting earlier than usual I managed to get most of my work done at Smithfield way ahead of schedule and  don't think I had any major screwups today while working the register, though I guess I will know more on that when I do the numbers tomorrow morning.  The two thirteen hour shifts are two part shifts, I go and get the paperwork at Gus Millers in the morning, then go to Smithfield to do the books and all of my work that needs done there.  By 1pm I have to be out of Smithfiled because I then pull an evening shift behind the counter back at Gus Miller's.

Saturday will be a different animal, technically it isn't a double though I have no idea how long that shift will actually be.  Instead it is because the St Patrick's Day parade is taking place in downtown Pittsburgh that day, and the parade route once again runs right in front of our store.  The parade itself is one of the longest St Patrick's Day parades in the world, usually people will be marching in front of the store for anywhere between 3 and 4 hours before it finally ends.  The crowd outside is usually at least 8 rows deep along the entire parade route and is filled with what can best be described as drunken idiots.  Seeing people get into fights and being drug off by their friends because they are to drunk to stand is just par for the course.  The parade will start at 10 am, people will start tailgating for it around 6am. 

For my part I will be working with Sammy part of the day, just trying to keep everything stocked and in running order, while constantly telling people that, no, we do not have public restrooms.  After the parade I then get to start on all of the things I usually do on Saturday, so it will make for a long day no matter how you slice it.

Anyway, I am not going to ramble on about what is coming, instead I will just turn in now.  My body is tired so I am going to get to bed early and do this all again tomorrow.

Capitals @ Penguins 03/11/2014

Pittsburgh 2  Washington 0

Marc-Andre Fleury - 32 SV

Fleury tied his career season high with his 5th shutout of the season

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 71 - Retirement planning

     Just got in about 15 minutes ago, so I am not sure how long or shoryt this will be.  Not that I ever go into a blog knowing for certain how long or short any of them will be, but sometimes I have a general idea, tonight not so much.

     Spent the evening at the Rivers casino, spending too much money and eating too much food at the Grandview Buffet, but it was worth it, and so sorely needed.  It might have been the first time in weeks where the first thing I did after work wasn't go straight home in case my phone rang for either of the stores.  And that was perfectly fine with me.  Soon enough the burden of the empire will fall squarely on my shoulders, so if I can sneak out for an evening that has nothing to do with work all the better.

     On the way home I stopped at CVS, I didn't really need to go there, but recently I had hookde up my Extra Care card online and the CVS website went all kind of crazy when I tried to pick my local store location.  It kept giving me offers for two different stores, one in New Hampshire and the other in California as opposed to the store that is three blocks up the street from me.  When I emailed them, to say my online account was having issues linking up with my local store then apologized, fixed the problem and gave me $5 in Extra Care bucks for my issue, so I stopped in tonight on the way home and spent my not so ill gotten booty and bought junk I really didn't need.  I also stopped at the lottery kiosk in the store and spent $5 on tonight's Mega Millions drawing.

     I have a running joke with Ed at work, where I tell him I am just one lottery ticket away from retirement.  Tonight's drawing is for $353 million, so I suppose I could retire on that.  The thing is, if you had asked me 5 or 10 years ago if I would retire, even winning that large a sum of money I would have said no.  Now I don't think the answer would be the same.  Back then, in ye olde radio days, I could take comfort in the notion that if something didn't get done or something didn't run right 99% of the time I had to look no further than the bathroom mirror to find out who was responsible.  Now it is a lot of begging and pleading and coaxing to get the same results because I have to rely on others and that isn't my forte.  I am the type of person who would rather do things myself, that way I know they were done and done properly, instead of hoping that things get done.  I don't want this to sound like I am complaining about everyone I work with, there are plenty of people there that I know intrinsically I can rely on, but I also know intrinsically the ones I can't.  Having the title but not the authority to do something about that issue is why retirement wouldn't be that bad a thing.  When work becomes a Sisyphean task the idea walking away does pop into my head from time to time, and $300+  million would certainly make that decision at least a little more interesting.

     Let's not kid anyone, I am not winning the lottery.  I know that much even after spending $5 on tickets, but if I am going to dream, I should dream big.  I think this puts it best.....


Penguins @ Capitals 03/10/2014

Pittsburgh 3  Washington 2

Sidney Crosby - G, 2 A

Lee Stempniak had his first multiple point game of the seasons with 2 assists

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 70 - The blog that I want to write

     Did you ever sit down an want to write something?  Like really badly? (That question was written like really badly.)   That is where I am this evening, I have something that is just itching to come out but I can't mutter it yet, because there are still hurdles that have to be climbed before everything comes to fruition.  I will say that if the events in motion right now do come to pass then my stress level is going to go waaaaay down. 
     I feel like the cat that has swallowed the canary, but because things aren't finalized I am trying very hard not to put the cart in front of the horse, by the same token I can't help but think of how many of my problems could just go away in a flash if everything turns out the way I want.  Admittedly I am being very selfish for thinking in such a manner, but I can't help myself, from my perspective I see almost all good and very little bad. 
     For now though I am forced to keep things bottled up, not because of any asinine reason like when I stopped blogging in the past, but because I don't want to jinx anything that may be about to happen.  I just know that tonight I will definitely sleep easier than I have in a long time.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 69 - Tedium

     I think I need to do something fun on Wednesday.  Not sure what that thing is yet, but it is my payday and by the looks of things work will get harder after Wednesday than before it.  I am tabled to work doubles on Thursday and Friday and Saturday is the city's St Patrick's Day parade, which is just another excuse for people to get drunk.  The first half of that day will be spent dealing with customers who have been drinking since 6am and come into the store drunk and looking for a place to go to the bathroom.  So my choice is to either bang out the week and do something on Sunday or do something before the hard part of the week begins.  I am leaning toward the latter option, if for no other reason, if the Thursday through Saturday run does wipe me out I may just sleep for a good portion of Sunday. 

     I just haven't figure out what I want to do yet.  Most of the movies I want to see will not start hitting the theaters until April.  I could go to the bookstore and spend some of my ill gotten booty from the previous two weeks, but I really do have a few books to read, so buying more would be a luxury, not a necessity.  I still have three or four at work that I haven't gotten to yet, and I am reading one now, if you call Calvin and Hobbes a book.  I do because it is the authoritative Calvin and Hobbes (it says so in the title) which is fine with me after banging out two non fiction books in a row, time for something a little less mentally challenging. 

    Of course the bad part about going out Wednesday is that I work during the day, so going for breakfast is out (unless I go to IHOP).  I was thinking of maybe doing dinner at the casino, crash the buffet , maybe gamble a little bit, who knows.  Just something to get out of my routine that is starting to feel tedious in its redundancy.  Or maybe go bowling, anything that just isn't what I normally do, which is come home and hope the phone doesn't ring. 

     Oh well, enough griping from me for one evening, we probably all have better things to do than this.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 68 - Finally

     Yes, after working for the last 20 days in a row I finally took a day off.  Technically my phone did ring regarding work today, something about one of the registers not working again, if it is the same problem as last Sunday then I already know how to fix it, but before I do that I am going to look at the cameras in the store just to see what is going on when I am not there.  If I believe the incident merits it, I will burn the footage to DVD and ship it off to Ed to let hm deal with it.  I have just reached a breaking point with some people who seem to believe that the job is more of a social occasion than a reason to actually work. 

Penguins @ Ducks 03/07/2014

Pittsburgh 3  Anaheim 2  SO

Evgeni Malkin - G, A

Marc-Andre Fleury leads all NHL goaltenders with 33 wins

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 67 - Counting backwards

     Finally I am starting to get the feeling that I am almost back to where I was many millennia ago.  I am not quite where I was before but I am starting to see things on this page moving in the right direction. 

     I was looking on the home page (where you are reading this from probably) the other night, shortly after I had posted one of my blogs and I realized just how far off track I had gotten.  I couldn't believe that in 2012 I had only posted 73 entries for the entire year.  Not that I measure a blog's worth by how many entries it has, but for me to only post that many times and knowing that quite a few of those entries were most likely just hockey video posts, well that is just mind boggling to me.  I can't believe I let myself get that far off track.

     Already this year I am sitting at 88 by comparison, not that I am entirely happy with everything I have written (and my typing skills still leave a lot to be desired), but when I look back and see how little I was doing, it starts to make sense that I have struggled at times so far to grind out anything but the most mundane of posts.  Sure, there was an uptick last year, but I am sure most of those were post August (54 of 153 to be precise) when the proverbial shit hit the fan around these parts.  Now it's more of just me being me, rather than me yelling into the internet void.

     I am still not 100% where I want to be with these entries, my creative energies come in spits and spurts.  I have ideas that pop into my head, but I haven't been able to take those ideas and put forth a definitive blog yet.  Take for instance the whole uprising that has taken place in the Ukraine, I think there is a blog there somewhere, but my mind gets stuck on the idea of "Crimea river". 

     Anyway blogging about trying to come up with blog ideas is so passe, I am sure I could ask everyone else what they would like me to blog about, but chances are the suggested topics would be things of which I know little or nothing about, so instead I will press on, and hope that the creative stuff comes with a little more frequency. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Penguins @ Sharks 03/06/2014

San Jose 5  Pittsburgh 3

Olli Maatta - 2 G

Sidney Crosby posted the first -5 game of his NHL career

Blogger 365 Day 66 - Listed

      When it comes to blogging every day some times I take short cuts.  Today is one of those days.  I was meandering around on Facebook the other day and I stopped by a friend's newsfeed (Hi Gillian!) and the tagging game being played was one where you listed your favorite albums and then tagged some friends and had them do the same.  Well I was not tagged, not that tagging would have been some call to action on my part even if I had been so requested, but it seemed like an interesting exercise nonetheless. 

      For my list I will keep the total number of albums to 20, though I am not going to pick any specific order, there are days where I might prefer any one of these over the other depending on my mood so I would be hard pressed to say album A is significantly better than album B. 

      One thing you will probably gather from my list though is that most of my music is older, I have in fact become one of those people who no longer can stand most current music, my radio at home is almost always set to sports talk and my Pandora station on the web would leave most people under 25 wondering just what the hell it is that I am listening to.   

      With that out of the way, here it is, the list than no one actually asked for.......

1) Nine Inch Nails - Pretty Hate Machine
2) Earth, Wind and Fire - Greatest Hits
3) The Hollies - Greatest Hits
4) Sisters of Mercy - Floodland
5) Squeeze - Babylon and on
6) Jane's Addiction - Ritual de lo Habitual
7) Gene Loves Jezebel - The House of Dolls
8) The Housemartins - The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death
9) Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Don't Know How to Party
10) Social Distortion - Social Distortion
11) Depeche Mode - Music for the Masses
12) The Replacements - Pleased to Meet Me
13) The Smiths - Louder than Bombs
14) Midnight Oil - Diesel and Dust
15) Siouxsie and the Banshees - Twice Upon a Time/The Singles
16) Material Issue - International Pop Overthrow
17) Tom Waits - Closing Time
18) Ministry - Land of Rape and Honey
19) Keb' Mo' - Just Like You
20) Big Pig - Bonk

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 65 - Karaoke Friday "Theme Music"

     For those that frequent the page I am sure you have seen the video at the top, Miss Teen South Carolina, who I often refer to as the page's mascot.  I try not to take this page too seriously most days for fear that if I do I would end up sounding like her more often than not. 

      Even though the page has a mascot, I still felt like it needed something more, something that would give the potential reader a better understanding of just what this place was about.  The answer came to me in a moment of quiet reflection, theme music.  Running through my head at potential songs that would best describe this blog and all of its past and future entries, I came up with this.  Feel free to sing along, I might.

Let me take you on a trip
Around the world and back
And you won't have to move
You just sit still

Now let your mind do the walking
And let my body do the talking
Let me show you the world in my eyes

I'll take you to the highest mountain
To the depths of the deepest sea
We won't need a map, believe me

Now let my body do the moving
And let my hands do the soothing
Let me show you the world in my eyes

That's all there is
Nothing more than you can feel now
That's all there is

Let me put you on a ship
On a long, long trip
Your lips close to my lips

All the islands in the ocean
All the heaven's in the motion
Let me show you the world in my eyes

That's all there is
Nothing more than you can touch now
That's all there is

Let me show you the world in my eyes

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Penguins @ Predators 03/04/2014

Pittsburgh 3  Nashville 1

Sidney Crosby - 3 A

Matt Niskanen had two goals in the game, Chris Kunitz tallied the 200th goal o his NHL career

Blogger 365 Day 64 - The dichotomy of books

     I got off of work today and stood at the bus stop for what seemed like a longer while than usual, but the sun was shining and since the wind wasn't blowing I didn't have my hands buried in my pockets, instead I was using the time to read some more of the book that I am currently engrossed in.  Despite any sustained reading time on my part (most of my reading time occurs on the bus to and from work) I am close to finishing my book, probably just a couple of chapters to go.  I am sure if I wanted to I could just plow right through them now as opposed to blogging and then add the book to the collection of works that I have read.

     For me there is a sense of accomplishment in finishing a book, I wouldn't call it pride but maybe satisfaction in making it through an entire novel or work of literature.  Perhaps this stems from the enjoyment I get from some books; one of things about school that I didn't was the forced readings of material that I had absolutely no interest in.  I am sure William Shakespeare was a wonderful playwright, and perhaps he was a decent fellow as well, but there are few things in life I would like to read less than a play, and worse, a play that even though it is written in English, sends me looking for some Rosetta stone like tool to decipher what it is that I have just read.  It took what can be an enjoyable mental exercise, reading, and turned it into some form of punishment.  I realize that when teaching a class there has to be some sort of uniformity and everyone reading the same texts is part of the equation, but being forced to read things that are of no interest to me turned many of those books into my own mental Bataan Death March.  Class discussions about those books were equally useless to me, the only thing I was able to take from forced readings was the notion of "well, that sucked.", regardless of how classic the literature in question was supposed to be.  Now when I finish a book it is quite different, because it was something that I chose and (usually) enjoyed.  It's like going to a restaurant and picking what you want off of the menu rather than being forced to eat brussel sprouts at home by your parents.  By the end of the book I feel smarter, my mind is sharper and my mental retention of the material is better probably because I had a vested interest in the topic or material  beforehand. 

     That being said, there is also a downside to reading and that being than any given book is finite, at some point it does end and the story is finished and there is a sense of loss at that prospect.  The mind that was so actively involved in the process, drawing imaginary images to correspond with the words, is forced to let go and there is the small amount of time immediately thereafter where I feel almost like a junkie being forced to go cold turkey because the drug I was hooked on is no longer available, it disappeared with the turning of the last page.  In its place is a sense of emptiness, at least until another comparable drug or book comes along and then the process repeats itself. 

      So I have just a couple of chapters left until another book appears on the shelf to the right of this blog, and I am not sure whether I am happy about that or not.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 63 - Sympathy for the cause

     I am not a big protest guy. Not that I have anything against protests or rallies in general, depending on the cause behind it, sometimes I find myself agreeing with those in attendance.  So it was interesting on Monday that there was a rally/protest in downtown Pittsburgh for the workers at UPMC.  I am not sure entirely what all they were protesting, but from what I could gather they wanted healthcare from their employer and the right to unionize.  All of that is well and good.

     I did not attend the protest, but like many workers downtown I ran into it anyway.  After stopping by Gus Miller's in the morning I was in the process of making my way into town, a trip that usually takes between 10-15 minutes on the bus.  On Monday it took an hour, and that was with me getting off of the bus before ever getting into downtown and just walking the rest of the way.

     Being in management at my place of employment and the fact that technically I had reported for work as soon as I stepped in the door at Gus Miller's I was on the safe side as it were when it came to my bus ride/walk taking an hour to get into town, but I couldn't help but wonder about others who weren't so lucky.  People who work jobs in retail or the service sector, usually for little more than minimum wage and for whom their job is a necessity now being impeded from reaching their destination or reaching their destination significantly later than they were supposed to because people who do not work downtown were keeping them from doing so, all so we be told about how the workers at UPMC were being mistreated. 

     So let me be the one to say to the workers at UPMC, if you want people to respect you for the work you do, perhaps next time you might show a little respect for those people who are trying to do theirs.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 62 - Writer's block for a non writer

     One of the things I am having a hard time with when it comes to blogging every day isn't the lack of ideas but rather being able to flesh out an idea fully given the time constraints involved.  As I am sitting here typing there were at least 4 different things I had thought about blogging about, but there is a difference between having an idea and getting it from my head to the page.  I just can't seem to beyond that starting point with any one particular thought, I start working through it in my head and like Bugs Bunny making the wrong turn at Albequerque, I find the path I end up taking leads nowhere or to a dead end.

     I am not sure why that is either.  I do not do much fiction writing on this page, so it's not like I have to worry about developing characters, plots or scenes and then making them understandable and interesting to the reader, rather most of my stuff is non fiction, so you would think it would be easier, just here is a topic or a thought and go.   But it never works out that way, it's almost like my head is speaking a foreign language from what I am writing, and I am trying to find the words that best express those ideas, but for some reason the words don't always come out.  It could be a lack of creativity on my part, or perhaps a limited vocabulary, but I start down a path and then stop myself  because because I get sidetracked or find the blog is going in a direction contrary to where I want it to.

    On the bright side of things, after 60+ days of doing this here project I am not out of ideas yet, on the minus side, I am just lacking the means to express them properly. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 61 - The gods must hate me

     Saturday I logged what would probably be considered a long day, I pulled a 12 hour shift and until I left I didn't have time to make it back to Gus Millers with the lottery tickets they needed to reload their machine.  Really though that is a pretty easy task to handle, one that if that is all I am going to do on Sunday I wouldn't even pencil it in to the schedule as time worked.  After all I live just a few blocks from the store anyway and on Sunday I do like to get out and try to stretch my legs, weather permitting of course.  So as I closed my eyes last night I figured just one quick errand for the store, probably while I am out getting a coffee anyway and then see where the day takes me.

     I wake up around 9:30am, walk out to my kitchen and reheat some coffee I had made the night before and I walk to the door and take a peek outside.  Yep, snowing again.  My desire to go out is gone, but because I have the store's tickets in my bag I know sitting at home is not going to work as a plan for the day, so after my coffee and a couple of cigarettes I talk myself into making the quick walk up there and then back home.  All in all it wasn't that bad, I was home in probably an hour or less.

     As quickly as I got dressed to go out, as soon as I got home it was out of my clothes and back into my fuzzy pajama pants.  I had no desire to do anything else outside today.  Still as I was getting all comfy in my pjs I had this feeling that I was forgetting something.  Then it hit me, tomorrow is Sammy's birthday and I wanted to get him a card.  Fuck me, bend me over and fuck me, I could have done that while I was out, now I am all warm and comfy, do I really want to go back outside?

     I needn't worry, that decision was about to be made for me, as my phone rings and it is work.  Apparently one of the registers quick working, so yours truly was called in to investigate the problem.  Since I have to go out now anyway I decide I will go ahead and pick up the card on the way into work, I need it there in the morning anyhow so I might as well pick it up and take it into work with me today.

     I get redressed and traipse back out into the snow and cold, making my way to the CVS a few blocks up the street.  I figure I will get the card there and take a quick peek to see if they have any specials that I might use my Extracare card on.  Sometimes they offer a free candy bar or something when you scan your card at the coupon redemption thing in the store, so my first stop in the store I walk up to the terminal and scan my card to see what offers might get spit out at me on this trip.  The machine starts spitting out this long list of coupon offers I may be interested in and what should be the second coupon I get but "$2 off two Sun Protection products".  Excuse me, it's like 20 degrees outside, we just got a couple new inches of snow and I get some shit talking about the sun as an offer?  What sun is it they speak of?  I have heard rumors of a glowing orb in the sky that warms things, but to my knowledge no such orb actually exists at this point.  Needless to say, I didn't purchase that item.

    I get the card and make my way downtown to Smithfield News.  It took me about 10 minutes to see what the problem was with the register, one of the cables was unplugged on it so I fixed that problem, went down to the office and ran into another problem, the camera system had frozen.  Apparently it locked up and quit recording, so I had to reset that as well, then I decided since I am there I might as well get a few other things done, no sense in me being out in the cold only to turn around and go right back out into it, so I sit down at my desk and finish off the remaining invoices that need broken down for our accountant Monday morning, put together another display of e-cigarettes for the sales counter, pull Dee's reports from Friday so she can get a head start on her paperwork on Monday; Friday being the last day of the month, we have to file two different sets of paperwork on Monday, one set to close out Feb and the other set is for the remaining sales that started off the month of March.

     I ended up logging a couple hours there and then I realized something, I was in last Sunday too, so until next Sunday when I am scheduled off again it will be 20 straight days at work doing something.  I am quickly becoming the anti-social butterfly, not antisocial in that I am hard to get along with (though I have my moments, trust me) but anti-social in that I have no social life whatsoever.  But I do have $2 off of sunscreen, so I guess that's something.

Penguins @ Blackhawks 03/01/2014

Chicago 5  Pittsburgh 1

James Neal - G

Neal extended his points streak to 7 games (5 G, 4 A)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 60 - Onto other stupid things

     This blog ties in somewhat to what I was writing about the other day when talking about The Weather Channel, that being stupid things.  Rather than lambast TWC again however, this is one of those stupid things that I have been hearing at work for the last few months until finally I just started snapping at people.

      The phrase in question, the one that I keep hearing is "that is so unlike him/her".  We had one person a couple of months back show up for work, and then proceed to make repeated trips to the bathroom where she kept a bottle of alcohol for herself and basically got drunk on the job.  Not content to do it once however, about a month later she showed up for work and proceeded to pass out in the stockroom and had to have her parents come and drag her out.  This past week we had someone just not show up, no call, no show, no anything and it wasn't until later that we found out she just up and left and went back home to Youngstown, Ohio.  Events like these happen, as well as others things (I am just pointing out the two that most recently come to mind) and I hear from some of the people  that I work with "that was so unlike him/her".

      The phrase is annoying on its face, because if it was indeed so unlike the person in question, well, then they wouldn't have done it in the first place.  I have now taken to saying, "You are wrong, it was exactly like them, otherwise they wouldn't have been the one to do it."  As I have written about in this space before, I am not much of a "why" person, I don't need to know why things happen, I just need to realize that they have happened and react accordingly.  Answering the question why is akin to making excuses for the behavior in question.

       I'll admit my place of employment is not the best place on earth to work, and most of the people that come through the door are not looking to make it a career but as a waypoint on their life's journey onto bigger and better things but for the time being they could be doing far worse than working there.  In my 5+ years at my job I would be hard pressed to say that Ed has said no to an employee more than a handful of times when it comes to them asking him for favors, whether it be getting specific days off, getting advances on their paycheck, getting paid for their vacation time before they actually take their vacation, etc., the favors that he does for his employees are numerous to say the least, and yet I am just constantly seeing his good nature being taken advantage of.  He and I have talked about this in the past, but little has actually come of it, he still wants to believe in the good naturedness of most people, I just want to judge them based on their actions and how they treat the job they have, because most places wouldn't put up with the shit Ed puts up with.

     As I write this I am aware of the fact that many current and past coworkers could stumble across this entry, after all I am connected to many of them on Facebook and I do cross promote most of my postings on there and Google+ (does anyone really use that?) and after reading the above paragraphs the thought that may cross their minds is, "I cant believe he would do this".  Guess what?  That's exactly the way I am too.

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