Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 120 - Almost

    I will be brief, if only because I am tired and afraid that I will end up falling asleep soon.  I haven't taken my nap yet, which I am sure makes me sound incredibly old, but for whatever reason I have been taking a nap recently after work, sometimes for as much as three hours.  I isn't necessarily the best thing I could do, I end up being awake far later than I would like which makes getting up in the morning a bit of a process, but once you get used to doing something to all of a sudden stop doing is also hard.  I am afraid that if I do not put something on the page I wwill fall asleep and wake up and it will be Thursday before I know it.

     I am looking forward to Thursday, if for no other reason that I am off Friday.  I can get all Annie and sing "Tomorrow" tomorrow if I want.  Trust me, you do not want me singing.  Nobody really wants that.  I did confirm the time of my interview on Friday today, and it is pracftically within walking distance of my apartment, so there is that as well.  It has be a while since I have een able to walk to work.  Technically I could do that now, but it would take about an hour each way and usually the last thing I want to do before or after a work shift is hoof it for an hour. 

    Anyway I am off to the land of slumber, me and shut eye have this thing going on and it is the closest thing to a relationship I have going these days.  Toodles.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Penguins @ Blue Jackets 04/28/2014

Pittsburgh 4  Columbus 3

Evgeni Malkin - Hat Trick (3 G)

First game in the series where the team that scored first won, Matt Niskanen (2 G, 6 A) and Paul Martin (8 A) led the Penguins in scoring in the first round series

Pittsburgh wins best of seven series 4-2

Blogger 365 Day 119 - I will pass on a clever title this evening

     I did no read yesterday's blog after I wrote it,  have a feeling it probably went off on a tangent and some people may have gotten lost in the process.  That happens sometimes.  One of the things about me writing as much as I do is that I start to make sense of what all is going on in my head, even if it isn't making sense to someone who comes along and reads it after the fact.  It is a lot like doing a math problem, if I can spell it out on paper I can get myself closer to a solution than if I just trying working it out inside my own cranium.  Putting things on paper (or screen) gives them a certain tangibility that they otherwise would not have for me.

     Because I was able to kind of map things out yesterday I actually had a more peaceful day at work today.  Brian has been urging me to take time off as well, not because I am burnt out (okay, not entirely) but because he has seen me be sick for the last 2+ weeks (though today was the least sick day so far) and he wants me to take a day or two and just try to get on the mend and come back refreshed and refocused.  While I was originally against the idea, with a potential job interview looming on Friday, I decided what the hell, I will take Friday off.  That way I can just spend the morning getting ready for my interview.

     Other than that it was a pretty typical day, nothing new to report.  The interview is on my schedule, I am taking a day off and my mind and body are about as good as they have been in a few weeks.  I will take that as a win and move on.  

Monday, April 28, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 118 - When things start to become real

     I went in to work today feeling blah.  Nothing against work, at least nothing new per se, but my nap yesterday afternoon left me having trouble getting to sleep and when I did wake up my stomach had that horrid feeling like I had drank too much the night before, not alcohol, just the sound your stomach sometimes makes when there is too much liquid in it.  Worse, a couple of times during the night I had woke up feeling like I was about to throw up, and while I managed to keep that from happening there was that horrid bile taste in my mouth like maybe I would have been better off throwing up to begin with.  Despite all of that fun stuff I did go ahead and get up and make my way into work. 

      Work has taken on this Tennessee Ernie Ford feel ("You move 16 tons and what do you get?  Another day older and deeper in debt.") and if I had to rate my desire to be there on a scale of 1 to 10 it would have been somewhere around a 2 maybe.  I got in the office, settled all of the lottery monies and got them ready for the bank and then hopped upstairs to help Sammy put away the grocery order.  The order was somewhat smaller because the deli didn't bother telling me what they needed for Monday and I had no desire in doing their job for them, so I didn't and they got nothing.  After that there was a new rack to be put up, other things that Ed wanted moved around had to be taken care of and I managed to find some things to do as well, like putting out the cardboard and adding some more items to the register system. 

        Ed called from Florida to see if I had done everything he had asked to be done (of course I did) and for my hours the previous week which were on my laptop in the office, so I had to head back down and get those so I could fax them to him and while I was on the computer I went ahead and checked both the company email and my own personal email.  In my email was a response to one of the applications I had put out yesterday, I am wanted for an interview later on this week, either Thursday or Friday so I guess the ball is rolling on me keeping or leaving my current job.  I am in a position where I do not have to leave, but a good enough offer would certainly push me in that direction so it will be worth my time to listen and see what exactly they have to say. 

     After getting all of my stuff done in the office I decided to get my lottery deposits ready and head off to the bank.  I bagged everything up and headed out the door and no more than got outside and standing at the bus stop right outside the store was Robin, the former receptionist and sales assistant at Renda Broadcasting.  I honestly hadn't seen her in at least 6 years now.  Apparently she was downtown because she had stopped by the Art Institute to apply for a part time job there and was catching a bus home.  Her and I got to talking about old times and she said some of the nicest things about me and my time at the radio station, which brought back a flood of memories.  After working for our stations she had apparently went to work for Clear Channel as well for a number of years (Clear Channel owns at least 6 stations in Pittsburgh) and she said of all of her time in radio I was the best radio show producer she ever knew, because I actually came in prepared and well read so I could crack a mike in a show and actually know what I was talking about.  I'll admit I am not above some flattery every once in a while but it got me to thinking about how much I missed the old me.  Not just the fact that I spent countless hours preparing for shows and trying to verse myself in potential radio show topics, but simply because I had more energy and passion then for what I was doing.  Sure I made less money and far too often being in radio meant working two jobs just to make ends meet, but there was an enjoyment to what I was doing that has been sorely lacking recently.  It was like looking into a mirror and not recognizing the person I was looking at. 

     The thing is, I am not sure how to get that person back.  Maybe it is a simple as switching jobs, maybe it is something more profound that I can't quite put my finger on.  I do know that when I worked in radio, even though I was the talent that people tuned in to hear, there was still a certain level of autonomy and and bottom line responsibility that came with what I did.  If I made a call about what should and shouldn't be on the air, it was my call and I lived with the consequences, whatever they may be but there was a certain level of trust that was put in my judgement.  I don't have that now, even if I am a so called manager, I really do have that say, I am more like a suggestion box than anyone with any authority.  Which is fine, I can live without the authority, but then don't give me the responsibility either, I do not need to be held accountable for decisions that I am not allowed to make.  I can't be asked to fix what's broken and then not be allowed to fix the problems I see.  That is just wasting my time.

      So I will see how the interview goes this week, maybe it will be more along the lines of what I am looking for, maybe it will just be more of the same, who knows but it can't hurt to find out.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Blue Jackets @ Penguins 04/26/2014

Pittsburgh 3  Columbus 1

Chris Kunitz - G, A

Pittsburgh outshot Columbus 51-24; Columbus scored the first goal, marking the fifth time in five games that the losing team has lost a lead

Pittsburgh leads best of seven series 3-2

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 117 - Doing things

     This is one of those days where I probably did not accomplish much from the outside looking in, you would not be able to come into my apartment for instance and say I spent the day cleaning because I did not.  Nonetheless it was a good and productive day for me.  I slept in, a rarity for me to be sure, until 11am, then puttered around the apartment for a couple of hours, getting caught up on emails and what not before going out for a while and spending some time in the park reading my book.  The thing about sitting down and just reading for me is that it provides a nice form of escapism, it focuses my mind on something besides my life, which as anyone who has read this blog in any form over the last couple of weeks would realize I am not all that happy with.  So going to the park and sitting on my bench and reading some from my current book selection (it will show up on the shelf next door as soon as I finish it) was good for me.  The fact is was sunny and somewhat warm probably helped matters in that regard, as while reading is enjoyable for me, it is far less enjoyable if I am outside and it is cold, raining or snowing for obvious reasons.

I got back from my parkish foray and hopped on the computer and did a job application.  I was on again since I have my resume saved there, and unlike than some of my previous submissions on that site which were little more than forwarding my existing resume along, this was one where I actually had to do something resembling an honest to goodness application.  Which was fine with me, I think that brought me up to 6 or 7 jobs I have applied for this week alone. 

Not wanting such a nice Sunday to go to waste, after taking a nap I got up and decided to go for a walk around the neighborhood so I popped on my headphones and just strolled around the streets aimlessly for an hour or so, taking in some more of the sun and what not before deciding to come back home.

I got back in and went back on again, did another application, this one included a 100+ question assessment so I filled it out while I brewed some iced tea and ruminated over what I should make for dinner.  I got the assessment done, so far it says that I have passed that portion of whatever it is their application process is, so now I guess we wait and see what comes of it.  That's okay, I can wait.  Patience is a virtue after all and I should try being virtuous once in a while.

Now I just have to figure this dinner thing out and my day will be complete.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 116 - Spring cleaning

     I like this time of year here in Oakland.  Finals were last week for the university of Pittsburgh so a good chunk of the student population is packing up and heading for home.  Sure some students will stay, life can't be perfect after all, but enough will leave that it will not be nonstop noise all of the time, which I like.  Plus there is the fine art of dumpster diving, and this coming week will be the perfect time for it.  By taking advantage of college students laziness and desire to not pack anything, plenty of goodies can be had simply by walking up and down the streets over the next few days.  I am not sure I am looking for anything in specific, but if something were to cross my path that I find interesting I could be inclined to claim it as my own.   For some the sign of spring is the swallows coming back to Capistrano, for me it is just the students leaving Oakland.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 115 - Karaoke Friday "taking the 5th"

     Since I am getting ready to head back into work and since I haven't done a Karaoke Friday entry in a few Fridays now, this would seem to be as good a time as any.  But rather than goes through a lost of music and try to find something that might be symbolic or appropriate, instead I am just going to take the 5th song that pops up on my Pandora station.  Easy enough.  I can tell you the songs you missed out on as well, starting off with "Proving You Wrong" by Keb Mo.  Honestly, I don't even know if that song has a video, so I guess I should be happy that it did not come up fifth.  Next up, "Sitting On Top of the World" by Tim Easton.  Apparently the Music Genome Project is picking music it thinks I will like this evening, and well, it failed in this regard.  One thumbs down and hopefully I will vanquish this song from my station. #rd song is a little better, "Play Me" by Neil Diamond, or as I call him, The Jewish Elvis.  I have to say if this keeps up then the 5th song to pop up will not be all that upbeat.  Not my favorite Neil Diamond song, that would be "Forever in Blue Jeans", but not a bad song.  Certainly better than that Tim Easton stuff that popped up.  Commercial break, hat does not qualify.  Karaoke Friday will not be a commercial, sorry.  #4, "Leather and Lace" by Stevie Nicks.  Another song that I like but would not have necessarily went out of my way to listen to had it not popped on my station.  We are getting closer to the unveiling of #5.  I know, the suspense is killing you.  You don't have to tell me.

The moment has arrived, and for the record the 5th song to pop up and the winner of Karaoke Friday was another song that Pandora picked for me, that is two out of my first 5 songs.  I think they are trying to broaden my horizons or something.  Truth be told this is an older song and I might have thumbs up a different version at some point, but apparently not this one.  The envelop please......

Billy-Ray was a Preacher's son,
And when his daddy would visit he'd come along,
When they gathered round and started talking,
That's when Billy would take me walking,
Through the back yard we'd go walking,
Then he'd look into my eyes,
Lord knows to my suprise:

The only one who could ever reach me,
Was the son of a preacher man,
The only boy who could ever teach me,
Was the son of a preacher man,
Yes he was, he was, oh yes he was.

Being good isn't always easy,
No matter how hard I tried,
When he started sweet talking to me,
he'd come tell me everything is alright,
he'd kiss and tell me everything is alright,
Can I get away again tonight?.

The only one who could ever reach me,
Was the son of a preacher man,
The only boy who could ever teach me,
Was the son of a preacher man,
Yes he was, he was, oh yes he was.

How well I remember,
The look that was in his eyes,
Stealing kisses from me on the sly,
Taking time to make time,
Telling me that he's all mine,
Learning from each others knowing,
Looking to see how much we'd grown.

The only one who could ever reach me,
Was the son of a preacher man,
The only boy who could ever teach me,
Was the son of a preacher man,
Yes he was, he was, oh yes he was.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Penguins @ Blue Jackets 04/23/2014

Columbus 4  Pittsburgh 3  OT

Paul Martin - 2 A

First time in NHL history that a best of seven series has seen the losing team blow a 2 goal (or more) lead in 4 games;  Sidney Crosby has not scored a goal in his last 9 playoff games, Evgeni Malkin has not scored a goal in his last 8

Best of seven series is tied 2-2

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 114 - #notwinning

I actually had a plan, a relatively simple one.  I was going to work tomorrow, my normal shift, come home and take a nap and then go back tomorrow night on the overnight shift.  I figured that way I could spend some serious time getting stuff into the register system that was not already loaded in.  I have days where I will get a section or two done, but then  something pulls me away and I never really get to just have some time where all I do is work on the registers.  Friday night was going to be that night.  That was until Ed called today and just happened to mention that he wanted me there Saturday afternoon, because that is when he scheduled the ATM guy to come in and move our existing ATM machine.  You know, because I don't have like weekend plans or anything, my life apparently is supposed to revolve around Smithfield News exclusively.  I guess this is my punishment for spending a couple hours with my mom on Easter.  I am at the point now where I go to work and literally just count the minutes until I leave.  I sent out a couple more resumes today and the truth is at least one of them is a job that I am vastly overqualified for, but because it pays slightly more than my current job if they were to call I would probably walk in a heartbeat.

I am still working in two different stores because we can't even sell a store right, the clock is fast approaching June when Dee is leaving and I am like the Queen of England, I have a nice fancy title with which comes no authority whatsoever, I still work in a place where there is a class system; those the boss likes get to play by one set of rules while those he doesn't are held to a completely different set of standards.  It really is just enough already. 

It's a shame that my day ends this way too, when I woke up this morning I wasn't in a bad mood and I had a weird dream last night that was kind of cool, at least by my standards of cool, because I was writing a song in my dream, a creative outlet of which in normal life I would have absolutely no skill whatsoever. While I was still aware of it I had jotted down a couple of notes, thinking that was going to be my blog this evening, but instead it is just more work related bullshit.  I can't have one day of enjoyment anymore, not without it crashing down because of that hell hole.  I am tired of being miserable all the time.  It is not good for my emotional well being in the slightest. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 113 - I'll pay for that

I just woke up.  That can't be good.  I got off of work at a decent enough time, stopped for a few beers on the way home, not too many, I wasn't stupid drunk or anything.  In fact I got off o work at 3:30 and was in my apartment around 5pm, so I couldn't have been out too long.  I made something to eat and laid down around 6:30 and fell asleep and am just now waking up at 10pm.  On one hand I am not complaining, rest is always a good thing but I can tell already my chaces of getting back to sleep tonight are not going to be very good.  Yikes!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 112 - Quiet evenings

     Just hanging out on the homefront tonight, no plans in particular.  I napped after work, got up, sent my resume out to a couple of places on that said they were hiring.  I wasn't all that formal about it, I just sent my resume, no cover letter or anything.  Maybe if I was desperate for a job I would have been more professional about the process, but since I am just nibbling to see if I get any bites I wasn't as concerned about sending a cover letter.  If I hear something back I will pursue it to a degree, see if my level of interest and theirs is the same and go from there.

     I would have went to the park after work but the weather wasn't cooperating and the last thing I want to do is open up my book and get the pages all soggy from the rain.  I am reading a book on the 2012 election season, so I guess I have put the fiction aside for the time being and opted for some political geekiness instead.  On the plus side I like political geekiness and history, but usually I read those types of books slower than I do my "Spenser" books, which I usually blow through in about 2-3 days. 

     I chopped about 5 pounds of hair off of my face too, it was time for some of that stuff to go.  I feel better too, so maybe my beard was playing host to excess cold germs that was keeping me from getting better.  Yes I am still sick but today is the best I have felt in the last 10 days or so which means I could possibly be on the mend (finally!).

     Wish I could say there was a lot more to report but there really isn't.  Life is what it is some days an this is just one of them. 

Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Penguins @ Blue Jackets 04/21/2014

Pittsburgh 4  Columbus 3

Beau Bennett, Paul Martin - 2 A each

Pittsburgh scored 3 goals in a 2:13 span of the third period; in every game of this series thus far the losing team has had a 2 goal lead at some point in the game

Pittsburgh leads the best of seven series 2-1

Monday, April 21, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 111 - A different view

Not that I all kinds of camera savvy or anything, but since I was at the hockey game on Saturday sitting in relatively good seats I thought I would take the opportunity to do a little comparison here.  The first clip is the television network feed of a goal scored by Matt Niskanen, a  power play goal that would stake Pittsburgh to an early 3-1 lead.  Here is the link to that goal  .  Sorry but was being a p[ain when it came to embedding, the bastards, lol.
The second bit of footage is the very same goal, but it is me with my dinky Olympus digital camera, sitting in my seat, hoping that Pittsburgh scores on this powerplay and also hoping nobody stands up in front of me.  Enjoy!!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Blue Jackets @ Penguins 04/19/2014

Columbus 4  Pittsburgh 3  2OT

Brian Gibbons - 2 G

Matt Niskanen - G (2nd goal in two playoff games)

Penguins defensemen have combined for 2 goals and 8 assists in the first two games

Best of seven series is tied 1-1

Blogger 365 Day 110 - Escape from NY

Zombie Jesus Day finds me sitting in the park and watching kids run around on the playground.  The air is comfortable, not too warm or too cold and I am here fully prepared for my park experience, which consists of my iPad for blogging, a book for reading, a half gallon of iced tea for drinking and cigarettes for smoking.   That really should cover just about everything.

The last 24 hours or so have been the best 24 hours I have had in a long time.  Ever since that trip to do laundry yesterday and running into George work has taken a back seat in my mind to just going out and living.  Even though Dee sat next to me at the hockey game last night, work didn't come up much as a topic of conversation.  I am sure part of the reason was that after the first period her and her boyfriend Bill got up and left.  Whether they left because they thought the Penguins would win at that point (they were leading 3-1 and significantly outplaying Columbus to that point) or they wanted to go talk to other friends in the building or they just didn't want to sit by me I really don't know, nor am I all that concerned with their reasoning.

I suppose I could be upset about the outcome of the game, the Pens lost 4-3 in double overtime, but I wasn't simply because my mind wasn't thinking about what needed done the next day or on Monday, or trying to fix the next work related crisis that popped up, instead I was just watching a sport that I enjoy and wasn't interrupted by life in general.

Instead I found myself fascinated by the girl sitting three seats over from me now that the two seats between us were no longer occupied.  Trying to describe her would be hard, because I do not have the requisite vocabulary needed to best put my thoughts to paper.  It is much like when a word is brought up in a foreign language but there is no English counterpart so the result is some half assed description of what the word almost means in English.   To say this girl was cute would be an understatement, but the same token she certainly wouldn't have been what anyone would describe as hot either.  It was just more the way the whole package came together with her, the almond shaped eyes, the short dark hair, the small roundish face with everything in proportion.  I kept thinking to myself if only I was 20 years younger maybe I would try to strike up a conversation with her, but I know what I was like 20 years ago around women, I would have been far too shy.  Instead showing my interest would have been some long drawn out process for which the time span of a single hockey game, even one that went two overtones, would have been far too short a time frame.

Between fleeting glances at her I spent time just daydreaming, wishing that I wasn't two months from being 45 years old (still time to buy birthday presents for those so inclined) and thinking of times and places where the pressures and aggravation so of the present just didn't exist.  When the final horn sounded and the game was over I was more sad about getting up and leaving than I was about Pittsburgh losing.

I managed to get home around midnight, thankfully I had blogged earlier in the day or I would have missed Saturday's entry altogether.  I stayed up way too late after I got home, I had some things I wanted to check online, including some issues with this page and the people that had been stopping by recently.  After that I caught up on a few things on Hulu that I had missed the last couple of days and I ended up falling asleep somewhere around 4:30am.  I woke up a couple of times and was just laying around at 9am when my phone rang, it was my mom calling to say they were getting ready to leave and come see me.  Apparently they had left a message the night before but I was out at the game and didn't check my messages when I got home.  I threw some clothes on, they live an hour away and when they say they are getting ready to leave that process can take an hour or so also, so I had some time.  I did some cleaning in my apartment, went to the corner store and got a coffee to get myself somewhat alert and functional.

They showed up around 12 or so, my mom had went and made me an Easter basket again this year and we all ended up going to Golden Corral for lunch, or as I call in in my Star Trek geekiness, the SmorgasBorg, where the food will be assimilated.  I was just happy to once again be out and about and spending time with my family, which I really should do more of, in moderate doses in can be very therapeutic for me.  Extended doses are another matter that need not be addressed here.

I assimilated a beef filet, some chicken, green beans, chili, potatoes and banana pudding and when we left I felt that while I did not have all if the knowledge of the food pyramid, I had consumed enough of it that the United Federation of Food Sources would have no chance in a space battle.

When I got home I investigated my basket, there was the holiday card with money in it (a standard mom thing), too much candy for me to ever eat and a toy Cadbury bunny that when you press it's belly it clucks like a chicken.  Sometimes my mom just gets me, because people that know me know that I often refer back to the old Cadbury commercial when talking and say "Thanks Easter Bunny, bwack, bwack!"

Now I am sitting here, enjoying what I would call some of the last few hours of freedom and daylight before once again going back to the grind Monday morning.  I am finding that my level of happiness (or lack thereof) is tied into my presence or absence from work.  In science they would call this a direct correlation, I just call it truth.  So I am going to take in some more of my book, smoke another cigarette and call it a day if that is may with everyone.  If not, call me, maybe I will check my messages this time.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 109 - Game night

Getting ready for the hockey game tonight, I am actually doing laundry first because most of my Pittsburgh Penguins apparel needs washed.  I was going to do this last night but a combination of sickness and laziness has me here at the laundrymat today instead.  I have already been into work, I am still doing a good portion of the heavy lifting for Gus Millers even though we don't own that store anymore.  I went in this morning and did the lottery machines again because that license still hasn't transferred yet and while I was there Esam gave me another tobacco order to place for him.  Till I got a list of everything he needed, looked up the item numbers and prices for all of it and then actually sent the order in it was probably 2 hours out of a 4 hour day that I spent on nonsense where we will make no money.

     That wasn't the only reason I went in of course, I had our grocery order to do as well. I did my groceries and Belinda gave me a tobacco order to put in but the deli didn't bother giving me an order so Monday they won't get anything.  I have better things to do with my time than everyone else's jobs.

     I do feel a little better today, perhaps I am on the backside of whatever bug it is I have.  My voice is still very gravely and my nose starts running the minute I blow it, but in the land of Matt this would be a marked improvement over where I was even 24 hours ago.  Maybe it was a good idea to wait to do laundry and just rest last night.

      Well this is an interesting development, my friend George popped in to do laundry as well.  George is the guy with whom I used to take turns running our fantasy football league up until this past year so he and I haven't had much of a chance to talk recently.  Meanwhile I pulled my laundry from the washer to the dryer so I have about 30 minutes left before I can head home, grab a shower and get ready to head out.

     Sorry about that, I got all chatty and stuff.  It actually was good to spend some time talking about things other than work.  Even things I have little interest in, like fantasy baseball, were a welcome respite at this point if for no other reason than it wasn't work.  Now I have a couple of minutes to relax and then go get ready, so I think I am going to take advantage of that and maybe nap for 30 minutes.   After that, well it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh, or so I hear.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 108 - Trade ins

Another day of being sick, though today was different in that instead of waking up and having a stuffed up nose and problems breathing, I was instead cursed with my sore throat being as worse than it has been all week, with the added bonus of waking up all achy and sore.  Now achy and sore are great if the night before you had some incredible sex, but when the only thing you did was sleep, it isn't quite as enjoyable.

I even cut the work day short, I left by 2:30 when usually I am there until 3:30 or 4 o'clock at least.  I just wasn't getting any better, in fact I was feeling worse the longer I was there, sweating a lot and not able to break the trend of being too hot one minute and too cold the next.  I really can't remember the last time I was this sick.

I did see Ed again today, he was in the store before Brian took hm to the airport to catch his flight to Florida.  He was going over some things he wanted done, some vendors that would be coming in with racks and some stuff on the sales floor he wanted moved around.  I nodded along and agreed with everything, if I am there I am sure I will do what needs done, just not sure how much longer I want to be there.  Redoing my resume at this point is probably in my best interest, and it isn't like people haven't asked me previously about wanting me to work for them instead, so there are other options that may need looking into as well.

Pat of me doesn't want to go, I certainly have worked far worse jobs in the past and for the most part I like the description of my job, but the description doesn't match the reality of it where my title holds me up for  certain amount of responsibility but no actual authority to do anything.  The definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thing and expect a different result, so I am not thinking things will ever change, no matter how much I want them do, or how much Brian wants them to for that matter, as long as we have this class system in place where the rules only apply to certain people then I am just wasting my time.  Last I checked I will be 45 in a couple of months, even if I live to a ripe old age 1/2 of my life is over, I don't need to be wasting the second half of it on things that consume my time with no discernible benefit.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Blue Jackets @ Penguins 04/16/2014

Pittsburgh 4  Columbus 3 

Brandon Sutter - GWG

Evgeni Malkin (2 A), Beau Bennett (G, A), Matt Niskanen (G, A), Paul Martin ( 2 A) all recorded multiple points in the win

Pittsburgh leads best of seven series 1-0

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 107 - Never better

     I will say one thing about this week, the more days that pass it would seem the sicker I get.  I hope I will be better by Saturday, I really don't want to miss the hockey game because I am sick, but that might be a possibility at this point if my downward progression continues.

     Our 7 Up rep came in on Wednesday and met with Ed and gave Ed three tickets to the game, Dee got two of them for her and her boyfriend, Ed gave me the other one, though I am not sure why.  I think the only thing I can take from Ed's week back from Florida is that he and I are at a point where we are working at cross purposes and I just don't see how this is going to work for much longer into the future.  Thankfully he will be gone for roughly another month ad a half, I should probably spend that time fixing my resume and looking elsewhere for employment because I can't see me surviving log term in a atmosphere where there are two sets of rules, a set for the people Ed likes and a set for those he doesn't.  I need to be able to go in have a standard that we all have to work by and know that I will have some support when someone deviates from that standard, not stand around with my hands tied knowing I can't do anything.  It just isn't worth that level of aggravation to continue to operate in such a manner.

     All of this came to a head this week when I told Ed as much, and in a not so polite fashion.  I pretty much expected that at some point this week I would end up getting fired, so I don't know why he would give me a ticket to Saturday's playoff game.  It almost feels like one of those parting gifts for a contestant on a game show.  At least a hockey ticket is better than a year's supply of Rice A Roni or Turtle Wax. 

     I am sure being sick this entire week hasn't helped my frame of mind at all, it is like I am fighting a war on two fronts, at work and with my own body just trying to keep myself upright and functional.  I don't know how many times today I was greeted with the phrase "Matt you sound awful." as if I didn't already know that.  I even tried napping when I got home from work, only to wake up and feel even worse than when I went to sleep.  The downward spiral continues.

     I am going to turn in, maybe read my book and drink some more OJ and cough some more.  I have that coughing thing down to a science at this point.



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 106 - A watched pot........

     It is getting late and I am just now starting dinner.  I could have started it earlier, but most of this week I have been struggling with some crazy cold/flu like symptoms and when I got home from work today it was all I could do to keep from falling asleep.  The last few days have been a mix of waking up and feeling better than the night before, getting out the door and usually by the time I get to doing the lottery machines at Gus Miller's the sweating starts.  That continues throughout the day, regardless of where I am, when I am in a cooler place I feel warm, when I am in a warm place I feel hot.  I push through that for about 8 hours and then come home where I feel cold, in part because my heat is off right now (not sure why that is, I may have to call the landlord), so I huddle under blankets and cough and wheeze a lot while trying to keep my nose from being so clogged up that my face hurts.

     I am trying to make a lasagna, not sure if I will be successful or not but given my relative skill at making that dish in the past I like my chances.  I sucked down two bottles of Nantuket Nectars orange juice when I got home, it is probably my favorite OJ when that is what I want to drink.  Not sure why, I think I just like the glass bottles more than anything else, because if I were ever put in a blindfolded taste test I doubt I could tell the difference.  I know with the way I feel now I almost certainly could not. 

     I did get my most recent Amazon order on Monday, 4 more books, two fiction and two non fiction.  Both fiction books are just to add to my Robert Patterson "Spenser" collection, the two non fiction are a recap of the 2012 Presidential election and a book n the lead up to World War I, a time in history that I know very little about so, depending on how it is written, I might find very enjoyable.  There are certain authors in that category tht can take some of the most mundane topics and make them interesting, such as David McCullough who made the Panama Canal an interesting topic to read about.  I should get more of his books, I have only read a handful to this point and there are others like his novel on the Brooklyn Bridge that I wouldn't mind getting into someday. 

     I should note here that while I am trying to blog every day, there may be a chance of a late entry on Saturday.  I will still try to get in here before the midnight hour is upon us, but I have a ticket to go see game 2 of the Penguins - Blue Jackets Stanley Cup playoff game and while I think it will be over in time, the trick will be getting home afterward.  With 17-18,000 in the building and probably another 5000 or so outside watching it on the big screen set up outside the arena, it will be a nightmare to get home afterward, unless the game is a blowout one way or the other, in which case some people will leave early.

     Well I better get back to the kitchen, lasagna does not make itself.  If it did then I might have it more often.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 105 - Not this time

     Well it would seem that once again I have been asked to censor what I do and don't write within the confines of my own page.  The difference this time is that I just don't give a fuck, nobody is going to tell me what I can and can't do with my own free time.  I was down that path once before, trying to cater my page for someone else, only to find that all I was doing was aiding and abetting a liar.  I am not even entertaining the notion of playing those games a second time, if anyone doesn't like me or what I write, well then they know where the door is, by all means, make use of it.  Trust me, your presence will not be missed in the least.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 104 - The ledge

     I really wish I didn't need a job right now, that I had enough cash bankrolled to just take a couple of months off and just do my own thing, because right now I am teetering between doing the smart thing, which would be just to keep my mouth shut and my job or the necessary thing which would be just put my cards on the table, say my piece and quit if need be.  It is just enough already, I am tired of fighting the same battles day after day and making no progress whatsoever, perhaps I should just move on with my life's work already.  

Senators @ Penguins 04/13/2014

Ottawa 3  Pittsburgh 2  SO

Jussi Jokinen, Lee Stempniak - G each

Sidney Crosby won the NHL scoring title, the 15th time a Penguins player has done so in the past 26 years

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 103 - Not now

     I think I am coming down with something, the back of my throat is sore and my nose has been stuffed all day.  I have been telling myself that I am not sick, I even ventured out for quite a bit today, but not sure if I made things better or worse. 

     I ran over to the Waterfront, I had been meaning to buy some light bulbs for my apartment, my lights aren't burnt out yet but I have used all of my replacement bulbs and I like to have them on hand should one burn out and not wait until after the fact.  After some mental gymnastics I decided that I would go to Target and pick them up, rather than run out to WalMart or some place off of the beaten path.  Besides, by being at the Waterfront I could also do a run by Bottom Dollar grocery and knock out some shopping there as well. 

     I get into Target and the first thing I notice is that everything has been moved since the last time I was there.  I don't know when they did the last store reset, I know it was some time after Christmas.  Whatever the case, I had to relearn where everything was in the store.  That was fine, it gave me a chance to walk around and I even picked up a couple of other things, some plastic tupperware containers and a pair of Skull Candy earbuds that were on sale, and eventually I even found the light bulbs I was looking for.  I went through the checkout and stuff everything into my backpack, figuring that I would buy some stuff at Bottom Dollar, so I would probably want to keep my hands free to carry those bags instead of the few paltry items purchased at Target.

     Of course once I got into Bottom Dollar I started running through my head different things I could make for dinner, lasagna seemed like a good starting point.  That was until I got to their first sale bin in the meat department, where they had ham, normally $1.99 a pound, knocked down to .79 a pound.  All of a sudden I got ideas of making ham pot pie in my head too, so I grabbed what would have been roughly an $18 ham for like $7.  Of course to make ham pot pie I would also need potatoes and carrots.  What do you know, Green Giant veggies were on sale for .69 cents a can.  Next thing you know I am just going through the store tossing stuff all willy nilly into my cart; bread - check, meatballs - check, cheese - check, lunch meat - check, burritos - check, etc., etc. etc.  By the time I had gotten to the check out I had spent over $60 (it would have been almost $80 without my membership card) and next I had to bag all of this stuff up and lug it to the bus stop to drag it home.  Very few things in life are less enjoyable than trying to get groceries on a city bus.  First there is the waiting for the bus, then there is the handles on the bags which are starting to give way from the sheer amount of stuff I bought.  The bus runs once an hour on Sunday, so I was waiting at least 30 minutes for the next one to show up.  Finally it arrives and I manage to get everything on the bus and make my way to the very back, where there is a couple of seats so I can sit my bags next to me rather than have them out in the aisle.

      As the bus get to Squirrel Hill, all of a sudden it gets incredibly full.  Why the Port Authority hasn't figured out yet that college students usually go to Sq Hill for their grocery shopping and plan bus schedules accordingly is beyond me, but usually by the time a bus gets to the Forbes and Murray stop on a Sunday there are like 30 people waiting to get on the bus.  So now I am on a bus with all of the bags and packed in like a sardine in a can.

      I am on the bus probably anther 20 minutes before it gets to my stop in Oakland, where i now have to navigate all of these bags through the crowd to get off of the bus, all while seeing that none of the bags breaks and spills it's contents everywhere.  I get off of the bus and walk about half a block down Atwood Street and I see an alley that runs behind some restaurants and shops and amongst the dumpsters that are back there I find a box and pack all of my almost broken bags in one and carry the box of goodies home, a distance of about four to five city blocks.  By the time I got in the door I was a sweaty and nasty feeling, so I hurried up and put the groceries away and sat down for a minute, but it was really way too nice today to be cooped up, so I got up and went for an hour long walk, just to stretch my legs and get some fresh air.   While the exercise was nice, as I am sitting here now I am not feeling any better, if anything I may be feeling worse.  I am hoping I shake this thing by morning, I really don't want to try dragging myself through a work day feeling like this and let's not kid anyone, I am not calling off.  So I going to turn in, there is a live Keb Mo concert on Youtube and maybe that and a little bed rest will cure what ails me.

Flyers @ Penguins 04/13/2014

Philadelphia 4  Pittsburgh 3  OT

James Neal - G, 2 A

Pittsburgh will play Columbus in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 102 - What's next?

      Today marked the 20th day in a row at work, thankfully I managed to get most everything done in relative short order, taking only 5 1/2 hours to do the lottery machines at both locations, a grocery order as well as a tobacco order for our former sore (which is still ordering things through us until they get their own account with Sledd set up) and three different emails of price changes that I needed to catch up on.  Not too shabby for as little as I was there.

     Now comes the fun part, n actual day off and I am not sure what I should do.  I could spend at least part of it running errands, I know there are some things at the store that I need to pick up, groceries would be nice and I am in need of extra light bulbs.  I also have some projects around the house that I need to get to, I have a set of blinds that needs to go up and the handle on my toilet needs replaced.  I have lots of Coke caps that I need to get to as well, not to mention some Pens Points that I need to add to my account if I am going to get any sort of prize out of this contest given how late I started it.  Depending on the weather I could even see me taking a nice long walk in the great outdoors, which would also allow me to go looking for even more caps. 

     I have been mulling over the offer of taking the extra paid day off, I am leaning against it simply because I don't want anyone thinking I am getting preferential treatment at work.  Brian just handed out the memo about calling off and absenteeism a couple of weeks ago, me not being there might create the impression that the rules do not apply to me and that is not the appearance that I want to have out there.  I would rather lead by example, everyone needs to see the that the same rules apply to me as they do to everyone else, so when someone is confronted over something then I am not used as a scapegoat for their own behavior or actions.  It's just the way I roll. 

     I wish my books would have came in the mail, I would have liked to have had them here for my day off but I am sure I have a book or three laying around hat I can crack open in the meantime, maybe I will take one with me in the morning and read on the bus as I start my errands, who knows.  Lots of possibilities, le's see what I can do with the next 24 hours shall we.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 101 - One more day

Just one day left in my streak of 20 straight before I get a day off of work, I have a lot planned, not sure how much I will get accomplished, but I need to get about three weeks worth of price increases caught up, an envelope of shelf tags sorted and put on the floor, some more items into the register system and I would like to get the basement scrubbed and mopped, time permitting.  Not sure yet if I want to start the day with breakfast or not, though the fact I am still waiting on dinner my put a crimp in breakfast plans.  It is almost 10pm after all, even if I eat and fall directly to sleep, I am not sure I will be all that hungry in 6 hours or so.

Well, dinner arrived, yay for that.  I should commence eating and then perhaps sleeping as well.  Yay for that as well.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 100 - 100 down, 265 to go

     Just settling in for a bit, I want to run out and do laundry later but I like to go late at night when nobody is there, less fighting for machines and because they have cable TV there I can pretty much watch what I want , which is also nice.  Not much new to report today, I did finish my second David Thorne books the other day, it is sitting on the bookshelf to the right.  The only thing I can say about his books are you will either find them funny, or you will find hm to be a smart ass, for the record I found him funny, though I do wonder how he kept his job as long as he did.   I have already been on Amazon to order my next batch o' books, four more should arrive sometime this week, then I can get back into a reading routine.

     I also go my free t shirt today.  I have become a pretty big fan of the TV show "The Profit", which airs Tuesday nights on CNBC.  Of course since I do not have cable, I wait until Wednesday and the shows will either pop up on Hulu or I can catch them off of the CNBC website.  After the show airs they give away free t shirts to the first 100 people that sign up for them on his Facebook page.  I waited around a few weeks back and sat here until 11pm (the show starts at 10pm) and made sure I was one of the first ones to try and get one, and sure enough I succeeded.  Today when I got home there was a black padded envelope above my mailbox from CNBC and inside was my brand new "People + Process + Product" t shirt, which I am sure I will be wearing at work tomorrow because I am a geek like that.

     Ed asked me the other day to take a day off of work, he said that he would pay me for it but that he wants me to take a day just so I don't burn out.  I don't know if the issue for me is burning out so much as it is just a level of frustration.  That being said I haven't decided if I will take him up on the offer or not, we are still tied to the other store for the time being and while my paperwork has shrunk considerably for the time being, there are certain tasks which I am probably the only one who knows how to perform, like doing the ordering and adding items and adjusting prices in the register system.  He did get me off this Sunday, which is nice because 20 days in a row is probably enough for anyone, myself included.  Still the extra hours have made for some nice paychecks, if I keep this up I might actually be able to squirrel away a shekel or two.

     Oh well, I better get to some sort of functional state here, I need to start sorting laundry so I have something to wear in the morning.

Red Wings @ Penguins 04/09/2014

Pittsburgh 4  Detroit 3  SO

James Neal - 2 G

Kris Letang played his first game with the Penguins since suffering a stroke

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 99 - I must be doing something right

     Well I managed to get two employees to unfriend me on Facebook, so I guess I must be doing something right these days.  Apparently I am the bad guy because when people are at work I expect them to work, and not spend their time snapping selfies and playing on Facebook.  Imagine that, the idea that people should work when that is what they are getting paid to do.  If that makes me the bad guy, then fuck them I will gladly be the bad guy.  It may be just what the business needs.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 98 - Coming to a close

          Thankfully we are getting to the point where I will only be focusing on one store, one of the licenses needed for finalizing the transfer of ownership has been sent to Gus Miller's, now all I need is for the lottery license to be finalized and my work there will be done.  Most likely our people will be out of there this week, I hope that this will be my last week there as well.  Of course I have already got about the business of pissing people off at Smithfield, not that I necessarily want to, but at some point the business has to be more than simply a social occasion for its employees.  I honestly don't care what the employees do outside of work, never have and never will, but when on the clock it is my responsibility to see things  get done and rules are followed and if people don't like that then fuck them. 

     Ed will be in tomorrow, it will be interesting to see what he has to say about the store and the changes that have taken place since he left, the new lottery machine is now up and running, the register system is getting ever closer to running like a well oiled machine, I have taken the last two Sundays I have been there to get two entire sections of the store priced checked and loaded in, now I just need to stay on top of new items coming in and adding them and continue to trim down the number of items that do not scan until there are none left.  I am almost seeing the light at the end of the tunnel on that project.

    Oh well, I guess I will find out how much I have screwed up the last 6 months come tomorrow.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Penguins @ Avalanche 04/06/2014

Pittsburgh 3  Colorado 2  SO

Brandon Sutter - 2 G

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 39 of 41 shots in the win

Blogger 365 Day 97 - Not enough

     I had hoped that with the closing of Gus Millers some things would have gotten better, and I guess in some ways they have.  I do not have to worry about two stores nearly as much, I still have issues with Gus that need finalized, such as getting the lottery account transferred out of our name and into their control and removing a few more items of ours that are still at that location, but for the most part we are all but done with that location.  The new owners have some ideas about what they want to do with the space and I am more than willing to give them names and numbers of people that I have worked with in the past that may help them on that journey, mostly vendors and what not.

     That leaves me to turning my attention to Smithfield News, and all I can say about that place is that it is a rat's nest of problems.  It was just two weeks ago that Brian handed out memos and met with employees individually about what will and will not be tolerated, and after about a day of actually listening a good chunk of the staff is right back doing what they always did.  Ed is coming back on Tuesday and last year when he came back at this time is when I had my Festivus moment with hm, where I spent a good hour and a half of his time just airing my grievances.  Whether it was that meeting and me filling him on just what was taking place in his absence or larger plans he had in the works that I had no prior knowledge of, that is when things started shifting around and I was first given more responsibility and ultimately my promotion a couple of months later.  I have a feeling that at this rate Festivus is going to be a yearly tradition for me, because to say that I have a certain amount of job dissatisfaction right now would be an incredible understatement. 

     I am just sick of people not listening, thinking that the job is there to service them for some unknown reason, and I am more than content at this point to make massive changes if need be, and he is either going to give me the authority to do that or I am seriously contemplating turning in my keys and just walking away.  I don't need the headaches and aggravation anymore, knowing that I have no support behind me.  We need to start doing things that are best for the business and not really giving a damn if we are liked or not, or we can get about the business of locking the doors, because the business model we are putting out there right now is not one that is due for long term success.  Every move we have made the last year has all been about applying band aids on bullet holes as far as the business goes.  In the vein of "people, product, process" our overwhelming problem is our people, who are more worried about playing on Facebook and chatting on their phones then they are about giving a damn about the customers.  Of course that is when they aren't busy drinking on duty, as I caught another one today doing that.  Ideally we need a house cleaning, we could fire probably 60-70% of our staff right now and I would call it little more than addition by subtraction.

     I am not looking to make enemies at work, but I am not looking to make friends either, the only thing I want to make is money.  If we are good at it, the rest of the stuff just works itself out, it is easier to do things for the employees when business is doing well as opposed to now, when we are bleeding money and everyone is just goofing off like it doesn't matter.  Enough already, we either need to do something about this, or I really need to get off of this ship before it sinks.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Penguins @ Wild 04/05/2014

Minnesota 4  Pittsburgh 0

Jeff Zatkoff - 16 SV

Pittsburgh has lost 5 of their last 8 games

Blogger 365 Day 96 - I didn't realize and no one told me

     I hesitate to do too much thinking if I do not have to, the less I use my brain the happier I am, but I did decide to do a little math this evening and I realized that this project is 1/4 of the way done.  If the goal is simly to post a new entry every day for a year then technically I passed that point on day number #92.  I am not sure that will be the goal of this project mind you, if I like blogging enough then it may just become an everyday thing out of habit.  I will not make any promises yet, we still have almost 75% of the year to go but I can say a couple of things up to this point.

     The blogging isn't tiresome, it isn't always great but it isn't tiresome.  If anything my life makes blogging harder than it should be, ideas I come up with end up getting lost because I think of them and then forget them before I ever get a chance to write anything down.  Let's not kid anyone, there has been a lot on my plate the last few weeks as well, preparing for and executing the transfer of ownership of our one location has seen 60 hour work weeks become the norm and not the exception.  By the time I get home, while blogging isn't the last thing I want to do, it isn't the first either.  Things I want to do become a lot less enjoyable when they are crammed in amongst deadlines for everything else.  I would love a day where I could just sit down and write at my own pace, or do anything at my own pace, rather than be so exhausted  when I get home that even the things that I want to do are either hurried or left by the wayside just because I am too tired to be bothered with them.  I cram my reading into bus rides to and from work, my social activities between work shifts and even the blog usually gets jammed in somewhere between an evening nap and when I should be getting ready for bed. 

     Even now as I typed it is only after I came home from work, made dinner and then napped for an hour, if it weren't for this blog I very well might have just remained in bed and slept straight on through till morning, but because I view this project as something of an obligation I am up, banging away on the keys, trying to make some sense of it all.  I know I genuinely like doing this, sometimes though I just have a lack of mental energy required to do it well, resulting in just going through the motions, much like I am doing right now. 

     Anyway, Act I is complete, with II, III and IV to go.  Hopefully it will get better as it progresses.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 95 - Speechless

     I am really not sure what to say.  I could talk about the Captain America movie that I saw yesterday, but much like books, I don't do movie reviews either.  I am not one to sit down and hash out plot and script and say what worked and what didn't, nor geeky enough to paw through the material and look for Easter eggs or try to explain how this ties into that.  All I will say is that I like comic book movies and as far as that genre goes, Captain America was a pretty good one. 

     Likewise I do not feel that me blabbering on about work would be all that interesting either.  Tomorrow will be day #14 in a row there for me and I do not feel like spending what little time I am away from that place these days reliving my presence there in my free time.

     I just updated the change meter, so no need to go there and I haven't been following the news enough recently to comment on anything happening beyond my little sphere of influence.  Regular season hockey is almost over and the Penguins are just playing out the string at this point until the post season begins, baseball has barely started and with a 162 game season I am sure there will be time enough to get around to whether the Pirates are good or if they suck.

    That really doesn't leave much to talk about, does it?  So maybe I am better off just climbing into bed, the alarm goes off in 6 hours anyway so sleep is probably my best option.  Good night.

Penguins @ Jets 04/03/3014

Pittsburgh 4  Winnipeg 2

Sidney Crosby - 2 A

Pittsburgh clinched the division title earlier in the day when Philadelphia lost

Friday, April 4, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 94 - Back to the grind again

     At work again, hopefully I will not be here for too long but Ed went about adjusting the schedule for this weekend and next week and while I am happy that he brought most of the people from my crew down to Smithfield News, he has one of them down here working overnight who has no experience on our new register system, so I get to spend at least part of my evening training him on it.  I am hoping it will not take too long since I still have to be here on Saturday and Sunday as well.  You would think that by closing a store my schedule would get easier.  Yeah, I am still waiting for that to happen.  I am not scheduled off this week, or currently next week for that matter, so I will be working at least 20 straight days without a day off and if I work next Saturday you can tack another seven on to that (I am tentatively scheduled next Sunday but Ed swears he is getting me that day off, much like he said about this coming Sunday.

      I did manage to sneak in the Captain America movie between shifts today.  It was good, but the only way I could see it was to go to a 3D viewing at 6:30.  I hate 3D movies, they are just a cheap ploy to jack up the price of the movie, while at the same time giving the viewer the experience of watching a movie with one of those toy Viewfinders we had as kids.  I really didn't need to see the cheesy illusion of things not really all that close to me for an additional $5, for that kind of money you should be jumping off of the screen and performing oral sex on me.

     Anyway, hate to cut this short but my public awaits and at some point I think eating something would probably be in my best interest.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 93 - Behind the curtain

     It was at the end of June last year that Ed promoted me at work, I was going to be a manager of Weiss Enterprises which operated two stores, one in the Oakland section of town called Gus Miller's News, the other in downtown Pittsburgh known as Smithfield News.  I say this even though people who frequent this page already know such things, as is my case from time to time, I like to reset the story from the very beginning.

     My promotion came at the expense of another manager, John, who was let go in a cost cutting move by the business, it was viewed by Ed that I could perform what John was doing (as well as other things) and even with an increase in my salary that would be more than offset by taking John's salary off of the books completely.  Because I was stepping into John's spot and because I already live in the Oakland section of town, most of my days would start by first dropping by Gus Miller's and doing the reports, the lottery and grabbing the sales and then heading down to Smithfield News where I would complete all of the daily sales paperwork for Gus Miller's and prepare the bank deposits, then I would do all of the ordering for Smithfield News as well as help out wherever I was needed, whether that be working on the floor, cleaning, catching trucks, etc.  My typical days would end with a trip back to Gus Miller's on the way home, where I would restock the lottery machine, double check to make sure the store was running relatively smoothly and then come home.  On any given ay these tasks could run anywhere from 8 to 11 hours, and for the most part I was doing this on a 6 days a week basis.

      It should be noted that while I was devoting a significant amount of my energies to Gus Miller's, the fact of the matter is that of the two stores, it had the least amount of business.  Not for lack of foot traffic mind you, plenty of people go in and out of that store on a daily basis, but because of the business it does.  While Smithfield News is more along the lines of a full fledged convenience store, Gus Miller's is more of a newsstand, just a few varieties of candy, snacks and beverages can be bought there, as well as newspapers, magazines and an assortment of odds and ends that sell, but not greatly.  The two things that Gus Miller's sells well are cigarettes and lottery tickets, but the problem with those two items is that the cigarettes are sold at state minimum pricing, a mere 9% profit item, and the lottery is even worse, where we only make 5%.  even respectable overall numbers, like the fact Gus Miller's does about $20,000 in lottery business in any given week, is somewhat diminished when we are only make $1000 on those sales.

      What also didn't help when I was first promoted was some of the people we had in place there.  While I will not come right out and call anyone a thief (it could have been incompetence after all) the fact of the matter was that many days I would run the report and on a couple thousand dollars in sales in a day, it was not uncommon to see the store be $20 short here, $30 short there.  That may seem like small potatoes to you, but I g back to my lottery example, if the lottery is short $20, in order for me to pay for that missing $20 I have to sell $400 in tickets.  Don't you just love math?

      So some moves were made, people were let go and the books started making more sense.  It wasn't always perfect, mistakes do happen after all, but more often than not the store went from being noticeably short to being within a couple of dollars of where it should be on a daily basis.  I take no credit for that, that falls on what I will call "my crew", I had 5 really good people there that I could rely on.  And it showed, the numbers for the store got better.  Not gigantic windfall better, but nonetheless sales were up on both the lottery and the general merchandise and shortages were down, way down. 

     There is a rule in business called the 80-20 rule.  The way that it applied to me and Weiss Enterprises was that I was expending 80% of my energy running between both stores for 20% of the revenue (the amount of sales Gus Miller's was generating) and that isn't a formula for success long term.  Ed knows this (though he would not have phrased it that way) and because of that he was looking to sell Gus Miller's.  Not along the lines of hanging a sign in the window saying "Business for Sale" or anything, but if someone were to inquire about the business and make a reasonable offer, he most certainly would have entertained that conversation.

     Meanwhile back at the ranch, Dee had made it known that she was getting ready to leave.  Dee is the manager at Smithfield News on a day to day basis, I assist her when I get done with my work with Gus Miller's but if there were a management flow chart on this page (there is not, and I refuse to draw one) it would have Ed and Brian at the top, Dee would be on the second line and I would put myself on the third line.  Dee made it known that Snithfield News was not her life's work and that at some point in the near future she was going to be leaving.  So late last year she put her house up for sale and found a buyer rather quickly, closing on the sale of her home in Feb so that her and her boyfriend can move to Florida this June to start a life together, a life that will not include Weiss Enterprises. 

     What that meant for me was that I would now be doing not only my work, but hers as well, so while the company could get by with me doing that 80-20 nonsense while she was there, I was already dreading what my life would be like when she was gone, because while Gus Miller's was at the point where it was functioning as a pretty smooth operation, the same could not be said for Smithfield News, where problems are many including excessive calling off/lateness from the crew, theft (by both employees and customers), and employees getting drunk and/or high on duty just to name a few.  It is not a functional atmosphere, and while I can claim to be a manager, I can't just go and hire and fire people without the approval of Ed or Brian (that flow chart thing again).  In essence at Smithfield there is a different 80-20 rule taking place, where 20% of the employees are doing 80% of the work.  It was not a problem that I was looking forward to tackling while at the same time trying to keep the one functioning store afloat financially, I just couldn't see where there would be enough hours in the day to fight all of the battles I would have to just to make things work.  I am already putting in 50 and sometimes 60 hour weeks, what else could I do?

      A few weeks ago fate came calling.  I don't know how or why, but a few gentlemen came into Gus Miller's and started asking questions of the manager there, Bobby.  Things like, who owned the business, would he be willing to sell; things of that nature.  I am sure Bobby made very little of the conversation, but it ended up being a big conversation, because immediately thereafter they contacted Brian and asked him if he would be willing to sell.  While I can not get into specific numbers here (I did not see the final sales agreement) I do know that there offer was over twice what Ed had told me months before he would take to be rid of the business and just focus on Smithfield News.

      Thus began a three week whirlwind of events and planning and phone calls and meetings that resulted in us selling Gus Miller's News, effective April 3rd, 2014.  While these events were taking place, it became my job to keep those who might get slightly suspicious as to what was taking place completely unaware.  So when mail started arriving at Gus Millers with someone else's name on it, I quickly said that it was mail for one of Ed's friends that he wanted delivered there and that I would take it and see he got it, I convinced Bobby to cut back on ordering by creating a lie and saying we were cutting back for tax purposes, the business was going to be audited and extra inventory would raise the value of the business and therefore increase our tax burden, when Western Union money order services were shut off I said it was because of the amount of money we made from them (a mere .75 a money order) versus the paperwork and legal requirements we had to jump through just to carry the service (which is true by the way, Western Union is a big pain in the ass that way), when Gus Miller's sent us a list of things they needed to restock their inventory that we keep as backstock, I would always say it was boxed u and ready to go but Brian must have forgotten to pick it up.

      Meanwhile I am thinking to myself that if I pull this off, it is going to be a huge coup for me.  On one hand, when Dee leaves I will no longer be running two stores, just one.  Plus I will not need to go out and find good people to work at Smithfield, I will already have some that are more than capable, if anything, I might be able to rid myself of the ones that suck at Smithfield and replace them with better ones from Gus Miller's.  And just as I had devised a system to determine where my shortages were coming from at Gus Miller's, I was already thinking in my head how I could bring that system of checks and balances to bear at Smithfield, spending time on our new register system there, learning the ropes and what reports do what things and what types of information I can and should be looking for when doing the paperwork. 

     As an added bonus, whether it be because of the pending sale of Gus Miller's or because Dee is leaving in just a couple of months, I got another added bonus when Brian decided to jump back into the fray and become more actively involved in his business.  Over the last few weeks he has been as hands on as I have ever seen him when it comes to running Weiss Enterprises, including addressing some concerns he had about the way things had been running there and meting with all of the employees individually telling them exactly what he expects in the future.  A couple of people have already tried Brian on that, and they are now looking for work elsewhere. 

     So the last few weeks have been pretty god for me, I have managed to keep the sale of Gus Miller's mum to all of the employees of Weiss Enterprises, my owner is laying down and enforces some basic standards that he expects his employees to follow which is long overdue and we do not have to go hire new employees to solve our existing problems, we have a handful of trained employees who are capable of stepping in so we can cut our dead weight loose without missing a beat.  Yeah, it's been a pretty good day.

Hurricanes @ Penguins 04/01/2014

Carolina 4  Pittsburgh 1

Chris Kunitz - G

With an assist on the Kunitz goal, Sidney Crosby reached 100 points on the season

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 92 - It's here and almost here

     The clock continues to tick down on events that have been unfolding for weeks now, and it is just about time to pull back the curtain and let everything be revealed.  Just mere hours away now and I am trying hard to keep everything in until then.  Not that there haven't been enough clues left strewn about for anyone that has been paying attention, but it would require seeing the whole board and not just parts of it, and not that many people were even privy to the whole board let alone have been paying attention to it.  How things will ultimately play out is anyone's guess, I am sure some people will be pissed, some even at me which I can live with, others may not be bothered at all.  I just know when this wraps up my life will be significantly easier, and that is good enough for me.

      Rather than just talk in circles again though I will add a couple of updates, first there is a new book on the shelf to the right and all I can say about it is that is it funny as hell, one of the funniest books I may have ever read and second a milestone has been reached.  After finding a $20 bill the other day I can now say that the change meter has officially cracked the $500 plateau, it now sits at $504.58.  I guess the next milestone will be $1000.

     Anyway, I am getting some early bed rest this evening, I have to be in very early, like 6:30am early and I want to be alert and focused when I get there, so toodles for now.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Blogger 365 Day 91 - Two different worlds

     What can I say about today?  The sun was shining, it was warm outside, the promise of spring was definitely in the air.  There was no underlying chill that sometimes comes with days like today, like the death grip of winter unwilling to let go of its grasp on the season, it was just warm, sunny and pleasant.  Technically it did at one point get as high as 80 degrees here in Pittsburgh.  Of course if I worked at The Weather Channel, I am sure the forecast would have been more along the lines of

Severe Sun Event!!!!!!!   Sun Event Cicero engulfs Pittsburgh region

People in Pittsburgh should brace themselves for an unusual case of sun over the next 12 hours. Excessive sun can be dangerous, leading to increased chances of windshield glare for motorists, so drivers should use extreme caution when traveling.  Sun events also bring with them the increased possibility of skin cancer with the bombardment of ultraviolet radiation, so while it may seem safe outdoors, it is still best you make sure you are properly attired and your skin is not exposed to the warmth of the sun.  Whatever you do today, do not look directly into the sun, as this can cause severe eye damage and can ultimately result in blindness.  Do not mistake the pleasant conditions as a reason to feel safe, sun events are very dangerous and many people have died while outdoors during sun events.  Only go out if you must and keep exposure to very short time limits to minimize the potential dangers involved in sun events. 

Just saying.....

Blackhawks @ Penguins 03/30/2014

Pittsburgh 4  Chicago 1

Sidney Crosby - 2 G

Pittsburgh managed to win for only the 8th time in 17 games since the Olympic break

Our inspiration (the title for this blog)

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