Thursday, February 26, 2015

Penguins @ Capitals 02/25/2015

Pittsburgh 4  Washington 3

Evgeni Malkin - 3 A

Pittsburgh beat Washington for the first time this season, the three previous times they met Washington outscored them by a combined 10-1

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

B365V2.10 - Bakers' dozen

     Yesterday was my first day off after working 13 days in a row.  To celebrate that awesome achievement (okay, maybe not so awesome) here are 13 non related topics all jammed into one blog entry.

     Starting with something easy, I went 6-3-2 in fantasy hockey last week, my overall record is now 89-53-34 and I remain in third place, 4 points out of second and 9 points ahead of third.

     I actually tried my hand at baking the other day, I saw a recipe on Facebook that looked so simple I figured even I couldn't screw it up.  I messed up a little bit, but overall the product was pretty tasty.  I used a little too much soda (the recipe calls for one can of lemon lime soda, I guesstimated the amount needed because I had a 1.25L bottle of Sprite) and there were some lumps in the cake mix that I probably should have mashed out before pouring it over the fruit, but it still turned out pretty good.  AS for what I was making, well, here it is....

Three Ingredient Fruit Cobbler - Frozen Fruit (I used two 12 oz bags of mixed berries), Cake Mix, and a can of lemon lime soda (i.e. Sprite, 7 Up, etc.)

Place frozen fruit in a baking dish. Add dry cake mix over the top. Pour soda slowly over cake mix. DO NOT stir the cake mix and the soda - this will give you a 'crust'.

Bake 350 for 45-50 min or longer until berries are cooked...that's it...seriously!

      Despite my busy schedule I did get an opportunity to go to the movies and catch "American Sniper".  I actually had a free movie pass from Marlboro which I was going to use to see it, but when I got to the theater I was still granted a matinee price (at 5:30 pm), and since the matinee price was just $5.25 and my free ticket voucher was good for up to $15, I saved the voucher and just bought a ticket.    While I am not much of a movie reviewer I am going to try my hand at it for a moment, if only because after seeing the movie I didn't see what all the fuss was about.  I get that there was noise coming from the political chattering class on TV, but to me it wasn't a political movie, so all of those arguments I pretty much ignored.  The movie wasn't an argument on whether we should or shouldn't have been in Iraq, it was simply one man's story, Chris Kyle, who was there and once you are in a war I would argue that you need guys like Kyle.  That being said, the movie spent a lot of time on Kyle's four tours in Iraq, as well as the reputation that he had while he was there, his skill made him legendary among many of the troops that served there.  My big problems with the movie were twofold; 1) while it was hinted at dung the movie that Kyle suffered from some for of post traumatic stress disorder the issue really was only hinted around during between his tours of duty and after his last tour, when he came home for the last time and instead of telling his wife he was home he went to a bar instead.  Admittedly my bladder was full from Starbucks coffee I had before the movie, so I stepped out for a quick pee and when I came back it was like Kyle never suffered from PTSD at all, either I pissed away Kyle's life of Clint Eastwood spent all of 5 minutes examining that part of story after alluding to it a number of times before then;  and 2) I hate when movies end with a simple line of dialogue.  I understand that Kyle died at a gun range, having been allegedly shot by another veteran (the case is still pending), but if that is part of the story then it needs to be shown as well.  There was no qualm at all about showing Kyle shooting other people, so I don't know what he issue is about showing him also being shot.  If the argument is that couldn't be shown because it may taint a potential future jury pool, I would argue the movie portraying him as a hero (which I do believe him to be) also taints a jury pool.  If that is the argument then the movie shouldn't have been made until all of the legal proceedings had culminated in a verdict of some sort.  Otherwise the story deserves a little more than a "and then he died" type line on the screen to end the picture.   Overall was it a good movie?  Yes.  Was it a great movie?  Not so much.

     While I am on the subject of Iraq, I might as well spend a minute talking about Brian Williams, the lead anchor of NBC Nightly News and the fact a story he has told in the past, one where the helicopter he was in in Iraq was hit and grounded, turned out to be completely false.  Again the political nutties out there are already clamoring to take sides, conservatives yammering about the liberal media making things up and liberals arguing about all of the lies that got us into Iraq in the first place.  Really, none of that matters.  The only thing that matters when it comes to a news organization is credibility, and by passing off this story for years now that turned out to not be true, Williams has effectively lost his.  He needs to go.  This isn't some 2nd year journalism student who happened to get a story wrong, this is someone that sits in the lead anchor chair 5 nights a week on a network broadcast who told a lie and then repeated that lie a number of times to different audiences.  Worse, even his on air apology where he suggests it was another helicopter flying in the formation that was hit, may in fact not be true.  Now people are going to spend their time digging through every story he ever filed, checking the veracity of each report.  It is a blemish that NBC News will never get rid of as long as Williams sits in the anchor chair.

     I talked to my mom tonight, I would like to report that things are better on that front but they aren't.  I made mention of the fact I am taking Wednesday off of work, in part because I have an eye appointment and that I haven't been to the eye doctor in years and she stated telling me how her dad (my grandfather for those that are family tree challenged) just bought her her last pair of glasses.  Yeah, he has been dead nine years come this April, so chances are he didn't run out and get her last pair of eyeglasses.  Needless to say she was getting lots of things wrong on the phone, people who are dead are still alive, people going places that I know they in act haven't gone.  It was enough that perhaps she should be the anchor of NBC Nightly News.

     Might as well add to the change meter while I am grinding this blog out.  Tack on another $1.86 and the new total is $517.77. 


    Turns out this blog really is turning into a baker's dozen, I started it 13 days ago and only now am I getting back into trying to finish it.   Lots of life getting in the way type stuff, as well as some other minutae.  What we missed while I was away....

     I did end up using the movie ticket voucher I mentioned earlier in this entry.  It was only my third attempt, I wanted to go to the movies last Sunday, I had decided that I would take one of my Sunday's off and treat myself to a free screening of "Kingsman", so last Sunday I made the trek to the bus stop at the end of my street, I can catch a bus there that will take me right to The Waterfront, which is where the cinema is located.  But as I am standing at the bus stop I am looking at the rotating clock/thermometer in front of the bank across the street.  The thermometer kept bouncing between 1 and 2 degrees Fahrenheit for those not in the know, if you speak in Celsius you will have to look up the conversion yourself) and take on a pretty brisk wind and the chill made it feel around 20 below zero.  So it didn't take long for me to adopt a "fuck this noise" attitude and come home.  Instead I went last night, when it was about 30 degrees warmer outside and less windy.  Much like my last trip to the movies, I timed my arrival pretty well, I got there at 7:53pm, there was an 8 o'clock showing so after one cigarette I went in, got my ticket, shut off my cell phone and started watching previews.  The movie was good in a popcorn, entertaining, action kind of way.  The type of movie that if it were to come on TV some day, even though I had seen it, I would watch it just because it was on.  Not a cinematic masterpiece, but I wasn't expecting that going in, just a fun little movie that knew what it was and didn't try to be more. 

      I did have a problem with one of the previews though, the trailer for the reboot of "Fantastic 4".  It shouldn't come as a shock to anyone around here that I like comic book movies, much like the above movie they can be good popcorn type entertainment that doesn't take itself too seriously.  Which is why the trailer for this movie makes me not want to go.  First, I am getting tired of rebooting these types of movies every couple of years, as if the viewer is supposed o forget what they saw last time and second it is just coming off as too dark and serious.  It almost looks like the emo kid of the Marvel movie franchise, and that just doesn't play very well with me.

     Another sign that my mom probably isn't doing that well, I didn't receive a Valentine's Day card from her.  Not that I go out of my way begging for that sort of thing, but usually she sends them regardless so for her to just forget is another sign that her mind isn't where it once was.  I really don't even know if she went Christmas shopping this year, I still haven't seen her since November and while I have some gifts still sitting here for her and her husband (besides the TV and Steeler tickets that they already have gotten) ther hasn't even been a mention on her part on picking a day or time for us to get together to celebrate.  Mind you it could be that she didn't get me anything (which is fine but would be so unlike her normally) or it could be that she can't even remember my phone number.  Honestly she hasn't called me since she got home from the hospital in November, it is always me calling her when I can, which probably isn't often enough.

     Well I did this earlier but since two weeks have passed I should redo the hockey thing from above.  I had one good week, going 7-3-1 and once again getting myself in a tie for second place but I followed that up with a head to head matchup with the other team tied for second and went 3-7-1.  Overall I am still in good shape, I am 99-63-36 and in 3rd overall with just three weeks left in the regular season.  With a 39 point lead on 7th place it would take an epic collapse on my part not to make the playoffs, in fact if I could increase that lead by just 5 points I could clinch a spot by the end of this week.

     I think at work we are getting closer to divesting ourselves completely from any dealings with the store formerly known as Gus Millers.  Truth be told it can't happen soon enough.  The people who bought the store owe money right now to everyone, and there financial failings are falling back on us.  Originally when the store was sold we offered to handle some of their ordering for them, having a wholesale cigarette license we can get some tobacco products cheaper than if they by them themselves; we set them up with our vendor for grocery and snack items and even on Pepsi we got them the same pricing we were getting and gave them their share of the rebate money (our contract gets us quarterly rebates on the number of cases we buy) that technically they didn't even qualify for.   Since then they have managed to create issues for us with the people that process our tobacco/cigarette coupons, they have bounced three checks with us and now we are having issues with Pepsi because of their nonpayment.   When we ran that store it didn't make us a ton of money, more often than not it was a break even proposition, but there were things we did there that we did well, like sell lottery tickets.  On a weekly basis we could pull in anywhere for $900-$1300 in lottery commission.  Mind you, here in PA lottery retailers only make a 5% commission on sales, so in order for us to get a $1300 weekly check we would have to do $26,000 in lottery sales.  At the end of the year that is $50,000 in your pocket if you do it right, the only thing you need to make sure of is when the lottery issues the commission amount (usually on Tuesday), you have enough money in your lottery account to cover any existing books of tickets that need to be settled.  Apparently the formerly Gus Millers people couldn't even get that right, because the PA lottery came in and took out their ticket machines and lottery terminal.  So right now I know they owe the grocery people money, over $4000 to Pepsi, over $2000 to us and enough to the PA lottery that they have ceased operations there.  The writing is on the wall for that place, it isn't a matter of if it will fail, but rather when.

     I know I have been neglectful of this page for a little while now, so allow me to apologize for clogging up newsfeeds with an inordinate amount of hockey videos.  Blogging wasn't the only thing I got behind on, I was about a month behind in game recaps too but as of this evening those are caught up as well.

     And for my thirteenth and final thing for this entry, I made a trip a couple of weeks ago to get my eyes checked.  It had been far too long, I found out later on that it was 7 years since my last eye appointment, but I was just noticing things in the distance were a little bit blurrier than normal.  I figured I would go to the same place I went last time, America's Best, and do the whole two pair of eyeglasses and exam thing.  I checked their website and they still had the $69.95 offer, but the devil is in the details as they say.  First they can only be single vision plastic lenses, and they can only be the $59.95 frames (though they do similar deals on more expensive frames).  I go through the routine with the eye doctor, he basically says my eyes haven't changed all that much since my last visit (which is good) and proceeds to put together an eye perscription for my new lenses.  Then comes the picking out of the frames part, I didn't quite go with two $59.95 pairs, but like I said they will alter that deal slightly for the more expensive frames, say you get two pairs of $69.95 frames the deal may be then for $89.95, one of each may be $79.95.  Whatever the case may be, I pick out two frames and then I am asked if I want them trimmed and polished.  Hell, I am getting cheap glasses, go ahead and add on the custom feature what is it going to be, another $10-$20.  I had it with me, might as well spend it.  So I get my frames, agree to the polish and trim and then get my bill, over $300.  Apparently they prescribed me glass lenses, which invalidates the whole two-for offer.  As I like to say to Brian in the office at work, "They fuck you at the drive through."

       Okay kids, that's a wrap.  I got work to do for work in the morning.  Toodles.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Panthers @ Penguins 02/22/2015

Pittsburgh 5  Florida 1

Evgeni Malkin, Patric Hornqvist - 2 G, A each

Marc-Andre Fleury has allowed only 3 even strength goals in the month of Feb.

Penguins @ Blues 02/21/2015

Pittsburgh 4  St. Louis 1

Blake Comeau - 2 G, A

Pittsburgh is 12-4-2 against Western Conference teams

Blue Jackets @ Penguins 02/19/2015

Columbus 2  Pittsburgh 1

Evgeni Malkin - G

Pittsburgh has just 2 wins in their last 7 home games

Capitals @ Penguins 02/17/2015

Washington 3  Pittsburgh 1

Steve Downie - G

Pittsburgh is 0 for their last 18 on the power play

Penguins @ Blackhawks 02/15/2014

Chicago 2  Pittsburgh 1  SO

Marc-Andre Fleury - 31 SV

Pittsburgh lost both of their matchups with Chicago this season in shootouts

Penguins @ Senators 02/12/2015

Pittsburgh 5  Ottawa 4  SO

Sidney Crosby - 2 G

Pittsburgh allowed 4 goals in the third period before winning in the shootout

Red Wings @ Penguins 02/11/2015

Pittsburgh 4  Detroit 1

Patric Hornqvist, Blake Comeau - G, A each

Marc-Andre Fleury's hadn't allowed a goal in his last 165:05 before Detroit's second period tally

Penguins @ Canucks 02/07/2015

Vancouver 5  Pittsburgh 0

Thomas Greiss - 22 SV

In their last three losses Pittsburgh has been outscored 13-0

Penguins @ Flames 02/06/2015

Pittsburgh 4  Calgary 0

Marc-Andre Fleury - 21 SV

Fleury's 8th shutout of the season is a franchise record for a goaltender

Penguins @ Oilers 02/04/2015

Pittsburgh 2  Edmonton 0

Marc-Andre Fleury - 22 SV

Kris Letang has an assist on 8 of Pittsburgh's last 9 goals

Predators @ Penguins 02/01/2015

Nashville 4  Pittsburgh 0

Marc-Andre Fleury - 20 SV

Pittsburgh has scored 2 goals total in their last three games

Penguins @ Devils 01/30/2015

Pittsburgh 2  New Jersey 1  OT

Kris Letang - 2 A

Pittsburgh outshot New Jersey 40-14

Penguins @ Capitals 01/28/2015

Washington 4  Pittsburgh 0

Marc-Andre Fleury - 23 SV

Pittsburgh has lost 5 of their last 6 games

Jets @ Penguins 01/27/2015

Pittsburgh 5  Winnipeg 3

Kris Letang - 5 A

Pittsburgh is 9-0-1 in their last ten games with both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin out of the lineup

Friday, February 6, 2015

B365V2.10 - A week on and a week off

     Yes I have been neglecting the page for a few days.  Work being what work is, my job has commandeered more of my time than usual (if that is even possible), the staff has been trimmed by three people, one layoff, one maternity leave and one firing, so scrambling around to fill holes in the schedule and pick up some of the slack while at the same time trying to balance all of the normal things that I handle and things like this page get lost in the shuffle.  By the time I get home the only things I want to do are eat and sleep. 

     In a way that worked out for my fantasy hockey team, because the All Star break popped up, our normal head to head matchup that lasts for one week usually was extended to two weeks because of the number of days off to due the break.  And it was a good two weeks for me, I managed to go 8-2-1 and pull into third place with a 83-50-32 record overall.  Technically I am tied for second in points (198) but the second place team has more wins than I do (88-55-22), which is the tiebreaker.  Second through fifth place remain all bunched together, 5 points right now is all that separates 4 teams and like I said previously at this rate I would imagine those teams will spend the rest of the season bouncing back and forth amongst each other.  This week I am playing the 4th place team (195 points) so who knows what will happen, by the end of the week I could be in second, I could be in 5th, it's anyone's guess really and chances are the week after that it will all change again.  Al I can do at this point is just continue to focus on my team and hope I don't get ravaged by injuries. 

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