Friday, July 31, 2015

B365V2.66 - Play Misty for me

So, I am sitting at Uncle Jimmy's after another fine, fine day at work, waiting on my winnings on one of the illegal poker machines ( I am rebel bucking the system after all ), but truth be told I am sitting here drinking Coors Light,  as the bar was out of cold Miller Lite and Yuengling, and I am waiting on the owner to bring me my winnings which were decent, albeit not $1000 decent like yesterday's lottery winnings were. Rather I am waiting on $110 on a $20 investment.  Truth be told that wasn't all I spent here, I did lose like $25 on one of the poker machines and I have been drinking, which I guess counts as a net loss in the grand scheme of things.  But all in all it was a relatively good day.

I went to work ( when don't I ) and through the course of the day I managed to pay my phone bill and I went and ran some personal errands while dropping the store deposits off.  That normally wouldn't be a thing I do, but after the lottery ticket yesterday and buying a $5 ticket today that hit for $50, I figured it best if I put some money in my bank account.  So on the way back from the bank I decided to to run by my bank and deposit $400.  I usually do not run personal errands at work but I wanted to kill some time and this trip seemed to be as good as any.

So I go to my bank and I am going through the process of depositing some cash when someone says hello.  I look towards the door, but I do not recognize the person so I turn my attention back to the teller, when I am asked "What,you are to good to say hi?" So I look back and the person in the doorway took off her sunglasses and it was Misty.  Misty works across the street from us and to say I am smitten with her would be a 1950s appropriate description of things.  She is adorable, cute, not to tall for me, 5' 4" versus my 5' 8" frame and blue eyes to die for.  The fact she is funny and cute add to the equation as to why I am attracted to her.  So we start talking at the bank, I ask why I haven't seen her recently ( because I can't have nice things ) and she says her boss has cut down on breaks at work and when she is allowed time off it is just an hour for lunch before she has to go back to her desk.  The only reason I saw her today was that their computer system was down and she begged out for a few minutes to run to the bank, she needed  to get her car out of the parking garage and she left her debit card at home, so she had to write a check to get cash to get her car free from garage lot prison.

Cool with me, whatever the excuse, I was just happy to see her and then she suggested that we walk back to work together.  My heart went all pitter patter at the prospect,  so I waited for her to get her banking done and we left together.  Perhaps it was a moment of great minds thinking alike, though nobody would mistake my mind for being great or even good for that matter, but we looked at each other and came to the same suggestion, we should hold hands and skip down the street.  Not that we did mind you, we just both suggested it to each other.  Besides, last I had heard she had a boyfriend and even if she didn't there must be something wrong with her if she were even slightly attracted to me, as there usually is with women who are attracted to me.  But we walked the two blocks down the street together, which included a nice hug, albeit one of those side hugs as opposed to a full frontal one, and she continued on her way while I crossed the street to my place of business.

There are very few things I find sexier in a female than someone who "gets" me.  You could be a 10 in the looks department, but if you don't grasp 50% of the inside jokes, then I am not sure I want to spend the time catching you up.  So when Misty looked at me and we were both thinking the same thing, it was like my heart ballooned up for a minute.

If there has been a change in tone in this entry, I contribute that to leaving the bar and eating dinner, then making my way back to my bench in the park.  Hopefully the wings have absorbed some of the alcohol, though I have been distracted by two different raccoons and a cat that have frequented the garbage can nearby.  I haven't adopted my Matt Irwin, Raccoon Hunter persona yet, "Oy cricket mate, that is a biggun" rather I am sitting here watching helicopters fly half dead people to and fro, though mostly to.

Anyway as I was saying, the thing I find sexiest about a female is their ability to get me.  Mind you that is much easier for people who have been reading my scribbles here for the last 10 years, but there are women who most likely haven't read my 10 years of scribbles who have "got" me as it were.  Long time readers know that Hope would be at the top of that list, she knew me before my scribbles were even an idea and even though her and I never dated and she is now married to what I would perceive to be one lucky bastard.  But just the same, I wish everyone could have someone pop into their lives who meant as much to them as Hope means to me.

That doesn't mean Misty has reached that plateau, Misty and I barely know each other.  I just know that she is very attractive, we seem to have a good repore when we spend more than two minutes together ( given my job if I see someone @ work and spend more than two minutes with them then they are trying to sell us stuff ), she is funny and has these big blue eyes that just draw me in.

Anyway the time is getting late, I should be getting out of here.  My smittenness can be saved for another time.  Toodles.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

B365V2.65 - I didn't expect this

Back in the backup Batcave to blog again.  I am liking this spot more and more.  As busy as it is downtown, nobody bothers me here.  No drug trucks or missing persons, just me sitting here along the wall typing away.

I haven't seen my hot dog guy out here yet.  Originally I figured by the time I got here he had packed up and went home for the day, but today I took a run by here on the way to dropping deposits off at the bank, and yet at 2 pm there was no cart set up across the street from the William Penn Hotel.  I don't want to think the worst, after all Tom cruise isn't in town, but first there was Fucking Chicken Lady, then it was Jesus on a Stick Guy, now Hot dog man is gone.  The first two I blamed on Scientology since Cruise was in town filming a movie at the time, but Mission Impossible 3 had nothing to do with Pittsburgh.  I am hoping he is just on vacation, he bankrolled enough hot dog money and decided to take a week off.

Oh well, since I have sat down here I managed to finish the Deadpool daily on MPQ.  I didn't do too shabby on it today either, got one Mystique card and two Squirrel Girls for my efforts.  Thanks again Starbucks for the free Wifi, you're coffee still tastes burnt but at least your internet connection is working flawlessly.  Hopefully coffee will not be a problem in the very near future, as the Crazy Mocha store a block from work looks like it is about ready to open.  I have my fingers doubly crossed that Ruby ends up working there.  If she does I will let you know, because she whips up the awesomest caramel mocha lattes.  A delicious blend of caffeine, chocolate and sugary goodness right there.  And no matter how many times I have went back since she left the store just off of Ross street, it hasn't been the same.  Last time they forgot the mocha.  I am not even sure how that is possible, when mocha is part of the order.  It's like Ruby is the Andre McCutheon of baristas and the rest are just hoping to someday be Jose Tabata.

I am still somewhat giddy about guest blogging the other day.  I got a nice comment on it on Erin's page and one of the members of Pittsburgh Bloggers on Facebook read it and was very complimentary. What do you know, after doing this for 10 years now, somebody read something I wrote.  And all it took was writing on someone else's page.

Not to be a chronic complainer, but it's my blog and I'll cry if I want to, yada, yada, yada, but my eye is sore.  Almost like I slept with an eyelash trapped under my eye lid.  Mind you it doesn't hurt nearly as bad as having an ulcer on my cornea, that right there is a new definition of pain boys and girls, this is just mostly irritating.

Well I have sat here long enough, I am being attacked by bugs and I did get my gold coin for 300 points in MPQ in the Iron Fist event, it ended up being a useless 2 star Ms. Marvel card.  Yuck to that.  I am off to see the wizard kids.

Here I thought I was ending this blog entry, but then life gets all " I got some shit for you " and endings become beginnings all over again.  I left the secondary Batcave, walked back to work to pick up something to snack on tonight and on my way out the door I stuck a $20 bill in the instant ticket machine.  A stupid move on my part, I still have a phone bill to pay, my bus pass to buy and very possibly breakfast with the family this weekend.  I had no need to be wasting money.  It turns out I was stupid like a fox.  I scratched off the first ticket ( I bought 2 $10 tickets ) and it was a loser.  The second ticket I scratched off, none of the top row numbers match, the first and last numbers on the second row match ( I am superstitious enough that I never scratch off my prizes until after I see how many potential winners I have ) so I am thinking, great two numbers match, they will both be $5 because as Brian and I like to say, "They fuck you at the drive through."  I could see winning $10 that way on a ten dollar ticket, only because I have done it before.  I go ahead and start scratching the bottom row of numbers, three more matches. Now I am thinking the prizes under each will be like $10, I win $50 and walk away happy.  I scratch off the first prize amount, $200.  Now the most I have ever won on a scratch off ticket was $500, so this is promising.  Turns out all 5 prizes were $200 for a prize package worth $1000.  Sorry, just fell into 70s game show speak for a second.

So now the issue is how or where to cash my newfound wealth.  I figure my normal bus, the 65 would take me to Squirrel Hill, so I could just go to Giant Eagle.  Except my bus is running way late, and I am nervous, standing around with a winning ticket in my hand.  A 67 is coming, it would take me into Oakland and CVS does cash tickets, so I climb aboard the 67 and head to Oakland.    I manage to not drop the ticket ( a never ending fear of mine since I found a $100 winner in the trash can at work ) and I go into CVS.  First I go to their ticket machine in hopes it will issue me a voucher, but it doesn't because on winnings over $600 you have to fill out a prize claim form, so I go to the counter, which is unmanned, and wait.  Finally someone comes to help me, only to say they don't have the money to cash my ticket.  I am starting to think I would have been better off handling this myself at work.

So I exit CVS stage right, and hop aboard a 61 A, which will get me to Squirrel Hill, albeit a different route than the 65.  Thankfully Giant Eagle was able to cash it before I lost the ticket, so I got my money after filling out my claim form, which meant it was cause to celebrate at Uncle Jimmy's with a beer or three.

Now, sufficiently lubricated I can put an end to this entry, provided there isn't something in my mailbox when I get home.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

B365V2.64 - Two for Tuesday

I guess you could call this a two for Tuesday.  I am back on my bench in Schenley, where there are a couple of college age kids goofing on the playground.  So I guess I blogging in front of a live audience.  There is a reason why I am back tonight though and it is bigger than the fact I found 13 coke reward points today.  The unthinkable has happened, I have been published, if by published we mean my work is appearing somewhere besides here.  Instead it is here. Does that make me officially an author?  God I hope not, I have enough on my plate already.

Bad enough I had to avert being the laboratory rat at work today.  We got a new shipment of sexual enhancement pills at work today.  Don't laugh, we sell the shit out of them.  We are in the process of raising an entire generation of guys who can't get an erection without a pill.  With today's shipment they sent a sample, a sexual enhancement gum.  Ed asks me to take it home and try it.  I politely declined the offer, the last thing I need after another day of pulling the McCauley Caulkin ( Hone Alone for those not familiar with the vernacular around these parts ) is to be meandering around my apartment blowing bubbles with a boner.  My problems is the sex department are more along the lines of participation than performance.  If I wanted something in my apartment I couldn't  use I would buy Tampax or something.

I did take some time to visit the soon to be defunct Macy's store today after leaving the backup Batcave.  It was a refresher course as to why I didn't shop there to begin with.  Everything in the store is supposed to be 20-40% off, so I thought I would stop in and see if they had any shorts.  I make my way to the men's department and I start checking out shorts.  $55, you've got to be fucking kidding me.  Even on discount they still would have been $30+ each.  Thanks but I think I will just go to WalMart.  No wonder the store is going out of business.

My original blogging audience has left, but has been replaced by a pack of college kids instead.    Nobody has taken it upon themself to read over my shoulder yet.  They are amusing themselves with the playground, which is fine with me.  Well I should get out of here, my eyes are getting heavy,   And I don't need to be falling asleep on a park bench.

B365V2.63 - Don't call me Ashley

Okay, I am sitting in the backup blogging spot.  It is kind of like Batman having a backup Batcave, except I am cooler.  Especially when compared to the George Clooney Batman.

Anyway, it was a rather eventful day at work, if by eventful I mean doing shit that most people are not asked to do at work.  See, I am not one who I would consider all that technologically savvy.  I am okay with the minor problems but the major ones I leave to the trained professionals.  Yet here I was today fixing Brian's computer because he couldn't get it to get off of a black screen.  A simple restart later and I had it purring like a kitten.  I may not be technologically savvy, but in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king.  At one point today I was asked to reload the money order machine, a simple process where you press two buttons and enter a code, then detach the carriage from the machine, insert a new pack of money orders, making sure the bar code is lined up, reattach the carriage and if it tells you the documents were successfully loaded you are done.  It is just that easy.  So I tell Ed that I am going upstairs to do this and he looks at me and says, "I don't know what we would do without you Matt".  I thought to myself, "Apparently fail miserably, because this is an easy task for me considering everything I usually do."

That wasn't the only thing Ed had me do however.  Apparently through his time watching Fox News the Ashley Madison website came up.  His lack of understanding why this site was in the news in the first place, because they were hacked, he only processed the hooking up portion of the story, as he now wanted a profile on there.  Okay, fine I thought, this can't turn out any worse then when I got him a pen pal from

You want comedy gold kids, go check out that website.  I love the profiles that state they like long walks on the beach and romantic dinners posted by people who have life sentences.  How about a stroll around the moonlit yard while sipping on a Turner Orange Drink, because that is as close as you will get.  How does a woman get a life sentence anyway, besides getting all stabby with their significant other.  Thanks but no thanks.

Anyway, so I start a profile for him and a vendor shows up, so I took it upon myself to fill in the necessary blanks in the profile while Ed was conducting business.  When he finished his meeting he asked what I wrote, I went back to show him and there was a response to his ad.  He proceeds to ask me all kinds of questions about this response, including how do I know if it is real.  I said I didn't, my lesson after two years of the Crazy Canadian has taught me better than that.  Having witnessed my experience with the Canadian first hand, hopefully he got the message but most likely he will hear another Ashley Madison story on Fox tonight and ask me more questions tomorrow.

Well if I want to catch a ride home I better get moving.  The backup Batcave still relies on public transportation after all.

Monday, July 27, 2015

B365V2.62 - Backup plans

Okay, I am testing out the back up blogging location.  It's nice and breezy, which after Schenley Park last night, is a huge improvement.  I walked over there and was just dripping sweat.  I am not supposed to be losing weight while blogging, even if I could stand to lose a few pounds.  It is all hot and muggy out today but this little park is like an oasis, I swear it is 10 degrees cooler here than at work, which is three blocks away.  My favorite hot dog guy isn't here today, he probably was here but closed down already.  He sets up across the street from the William Penn hotel.  Any time I get stuff from him I throw him a couple of extra bucks, just because I like him.  Likewise he usually throws me free soda when I order.  I don't think he knows where I work, getting my hands on beverages in not a problem.

That being said this place does come with some problems, namely people. I was excited to get out of work today and test out my new spot, but someone was in my seat.  If I am going to have  a backup blogging spot, then I will need a seat, much as I have a bench in Schenley.  Worse my seat was occupied by a crying toddler.  I don't mesh well with kids, I was about to suggest a pillowcase to solve the whole crying issue, but the better angels of my nature intervened before the words could come spilling out if my mouth.

Another problem with this spot is that here I am on a time limit, if I want to catch my bus home. Not just any bus either, but the one that leaves me off the closest to my apartment.  The last one of those leaves town @ 5:45, so while today that isn't an issue, in the future if I am really knee deep into a blog, the time thing could be a problem.

My mind has been off sorts recently.  I have a bad problem of overthinking things and getting in my own head too much.

Great, the kid is bawling again.  I am pretty sure pillow cases are now 40% off at Macy's if that will help.  I will even buy one.

Anyway back to over thinking things, the other day when I mentioned I may be popping up on another blog, Erin had mentioned she may use what I sent her while she is on vacation.  We will see about that, but that isn't what I am overthinking.  Rather it was what she wrote afterwards, that she wanted to talk to me about my time in radio.  God forbid, we are now on a topic of which I view myself as an expert, that being me.  But then I started thinking of any questions that may be asked, and then thinking of the answers to said questions.  I am an idiot that way.   I am thinking about questions that haven't even been asked and answering them in my own head.  It's like prepping for a job interview which isn't even scheduled yet.  No wonder I get such a high score on the blood pressure machine at Giant Eagle.

Oh well I should get out of here, the clock is ticking and I have a half hour until I catch my bus.  Toodles.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

B365V2.61 - Back to my routine

Okay, I don't know why I am here, force of habit I guess.  Back to sitting on my park bench and sweat is just rolling off my face.  I suppose this could be a good diet plan, sit outside and write a lot and sweat the pounds away.   Should be doing something productive, like laundry or dumpster diving.  Yes it is that time of year again, landlords are throwing stuff out for the incoming fall tenants. Technically I still don't have a lease, but I did receive an email from the property management company the other day where I would get money for referrals at California University of Pa.  Of course I know no one that goes to school there so I will not be collecting in that program.  If they were looking to fill properties here in Pittsburgh I might have been able to help out, but I got nothing for Cal.

There are more people out tonight than usual, but that is because it is Sunday and there is a movie in the park.  I didn't look to see what it was before I left, the only thing I checked out as far as the park is concerned is pavilion rentals.  I really thought they would be more, but the pavilion nearest where I sit is just $50.  That would include big field beside it, parking in the loop, a sizable playground and being within walking distance of one of the cities lookouts, that being the Schenley overlook.  Of course anyone wanting to use the pool would have to pay for it ($5 for adults) and if rented on Sunday there would be a movie within walking distance.

I think it would be a bargain, but that is just me.  I don't know what the family spends on the places that they currently rent.  Plus there is no electricity here, I know a lot of the family brings crock potted covered dishes.  Not that I couldn't circumvent that with some sternos and some chafing pans.  There are another amenities as well, the pond, Phipps Conservatory being a bridge away, the bike rental station but I am not one to try and impose my will on everyone.  And I have no ideas as to when the city starts taking reservations for next summer.  Methinks I must do more investigating before moving forward.

I am surprised I haven't seen my raccoon friend the last couple of times out here.  The garbage can is full, which I would think would be an awesome raccoon-like dinner.  But then I don't go pawing through my own rubbish looking for food, I shouldn't expect nature's critters to do for my amusement either.

Not sure why I am so devoid of creative ideas this evening, I pretty much have shot my creative load these last couple of weeks, which may have been some if the best writing I have done in quite some time.  I know I felt better about it than I have in ages, save for tonight, where I am just struggling to get something on the page.

My phone went off, it was work texting me about something that I have already done.  Because I have my shit together like that.

I suppose I should add an addendum to my last entry, regarding the graduation party and what not.  When I said afterward I went home and went to sleep, that part is true.  I woke up before coming to my bench and starting that entry,  there was a brief moment of confusion, I am sure we have all had them at one time or another where you fall asleep and when you wake up you think you slept longer than you did.  For me that process usually involves thinking I am late for work.  Or waking up and not realizing what day it is, my mind is getting very good with that trick.  Anyway I fell asleep after the party, the sun was still out since I got home about 7 pm or so.  I briefly remember reading a couple of blogs and then falling asleep with my computer still open to a blog page.  When I woke up, it was completely dark out, I figured it was like 4 am or so.  I checked my laptop for the time and it said 12:30 am.  Then my cell phone rang, I recognized the number, it was my mom's but I was so pissed off that they waited 5 days to call me back and that they blew of the graduation party after saying they would be there that I didn't even pick it up.  If it was important they could leave a voice mail, which they did not to my knowledge.  It was incentive enough to kick me in the ass and at least start that blog entry.

That being said I did like my new blogging spot today, I may head over there after work tomorrow as well.  I know my favorite hot dog vendor sets up shop nearby, so maybe I will have some lunch and bang out a few words.  Just depends on how I feel after work I guess.

B365V2.60 - Graduation day

Excuse me if I wipe the sleep out of my eyes, it is late by most normal human standards, 2:50 am to be precise, but a walk to my blogging bench was much needed and called for.  Today was one of those days that was much needed, but also frustrating as well.  As for why I am here this late, clearing eye snot ( if I ever had a super power, it would involve the large quantities of eye snot I wake up with ), that would involve going back a day, to Friday and the stupid things I do to myself sometimes.  

Today was the day we celebrated my cousin Ethan's graduation from high school.  His family rented a pavilion in this large park in Natrona Heights and invited the whole family down to celebrate.  I chose today to be the day I would take off of work and spend it with the family.  As frustrating as a process as that can be at times, it can also be quite relaxing as well, and a chance to recharge my batteries as it were.  Just being with people you love and shutting off the noise of too many people wanting too much of my time is a good thing for me.  

In order to make that happen on my end of things though, I had to go into work Friday night to do my ordering for Monday, and to do the making of the salads that I have started doing on weekends to help our deli section out.  So in essence I had to work a normal Friday shift, go home and get something to eat, nap and then go rolling back into work 8 hours later and pull a second  8 hour shift, then go from work Saturday morning and hop a 1 Freeport Road for an hour plus bus ride to Natrona Heights.  

When I first found out about the party I asked if I was needed to bring anything.  One thing about my job that is a plus is the ability to get my hands on things through a number of different vendors. Not  that I get things for free, I still pay whatever the store would pay to get those items, but it is much easier for me to order up lemon meringue pie than it is to try making them. I am sure I could, I am a serviceable cook as evidenced by my " get lucky with lasagna" run back in the day, but some things I turn over to trained professionals.  Call it my ability to delegate tasks, I know when people are better at things than I and I let them handle such things, such as making pie.  

Anyway I ordered up a couple of pies as well as plates and napkins, making my presence somewhat mandatory, unless people were going to eat pasta salad with their fingers, or go all face plant into the bowl and eat it that way.  With my family, that is always an option.  I think of myself as somewhat funny at times, but my family is way funnier that I.  If you ever want a career in comedy, there are few things harder than trying to be the funniest person in my family.

Anyway, back to our story. So I have a plan, a plan that would turn out to be quite exhausting, but in the grand scheme of things, weighing the effort versus the ultimate benefit, I figured it would be worth it.  Besides,  I could always catch a nap on the bus ride, which is an hour and 10 minutes from downtown.   

I get through both shifts at work okay, then grab my box of goodies and make my way to my bus stop at the corner of Liberty and 7 th, which is on the complete other side of town from where I work. I make my way to the bus stop, looking like a homeless man with all of his worldly possessions in tow, my box of plates and napkins, a cup of coffee and my + 1 backpack of wholesome goodness with to pies in it, as well as my tablet. 

I tried napping on the bus, but I swear to be a PAT driver, the test you must pass involves slamming into every pothole known to man at a high enough speed as to jostle all of the passengers completely out of their seats.  Just as my eyes were closing and it seemed like I might get a 15 minute nap in, the same thing occurred in Cheswick, a little river town that time obviously forgot.  Think I am kidding, we rode by a paintball store and in the window of said shop was an Andrew Dice Clay movie poster.  Not sure what marketing mind came up with the idea that we could sell more paintball merchandise with that poster in the window.

Sorry, the blog came with a scene change today, if only because I am a retard.  I managed to take the lottery keys home yesterday, not that anyone at the store needs them today, I am the only person who goes into the lottery machines, but I don't want to lose them either and anything in my possession for longer than 5 minutes runs the risk of "socks in the dryer" treatment, never to be seen again.

But I was getting sleepy on my bench last night and decided to go home even though I was nowhere near done with this entry ( consider yourselves warned ), so I opted to go home and sleep off the last couple of days, waking up this morning around 9am.  From there it was just finding the motivation to put one foot in front of the other and..........

So blog location today is Mellon Park I think, it is nice up here because the wind get trapped amongst all the tall buildings around here, making for an almost permanent breeze.  Given it is over 80 degrees out and muggy, sitting in the shade with a nice cool breeze is pretty awesome. I am a couple of slaves, a plantation and some sweet tea away from screaming "southern heritage" and " states rights" at the Yankees that are walking by.  

It should be noted that I just lit up a cigarette, and unlike my normal blogging spot, this one is posted no smoking.  I am relying on the city police not doing their jobs, besides there is a guy next to me smoking as well, and as we told my cousin Emily at the party yesterday, where she would go looking into the woods for Bigfoot.  You don't have to be faster than Bigfoot, you just have to be faster than one of the people you are with.  I think I could take this guy in a foot race, so I am safe for now.

Where were we before I took this train completely off the rails?  The town that time forgot, Cheswick.   After getting jostled  by the bus driver to images of Andrew Dice Clay ( I wonder how many women have suffered that fate, ho ).  I can see part of the standup routine now, " This bitch asks me to go home with her, says she is going to suck my dick.  I wake up the next morning and there are posters of me lining the streets, I ask this bitch where are we and she says Cheswick.  I am thinking of moving there next week, ho."

Anyway Cheswick is most of the way to my destination, so I didn't try to nod off again.  My aunt Amy asked me to call when I got to my bus stop and they would come and pick me up.  There house is about a 15 minute walk from the stop, but that is unencumbered.  Any good D&D person would tell you that being encumbered affects your movement rate.  

Okay, brief break there while I played some MPQ.  I did not know I could steal Starbucks wifi from this spot.  That is freaking awesome.  Back to my story though.

So I get off of the bus, underneath the New Kensington bridge.  With my box of stuff and as much room as there is under the bridge, I briefly thought about setting up my homeless nirvana, instead I called Amy.  She sent her son Christopher down to meet me, which turned out to be quite a good idea,  never would have found the park on my own.  But he drives me over to where the party is and since I am early,  party time set for 12 pm, I am fashionably early at 10 am, I help Amy and Fred set things up, banners, decorations table settings.  Which was all good, keeping me moving prevented me from wanting to fall asleep. 

Eventually Fred and I had to make a WalMart run, to pick up the chicken they ordered for the party as well as some other things when my retail knowledge came in use again.  Amy wanted us to get her some Gold Peak tea, so as we start looking for it in coolers, I chime in, "only check the Coke coolers" as Gold Peak is bottled by Coke in this market, and the vendors are sticklers when it comes to other people's products in their space.  Trust me when I say that Coke and Pepsi are both paying to be in WalMart.

Now part of the reason I was going to the party, though certainly not the only one, was my mother was supposed to be there.  Her husband said on Facebook they were attending, though when I called to confirm this information on Monday last week no one answered the phone.  Also I wanted to catch up on things that happened at the family reunion.  One thing they decided was next year they are changing locations, moving the festivities from the Shelocta Sportmens Club, to the Elderton/Plumcreek Recreation Park.  Something about rental costs going up and what not, to be honest, Shelocta has always sucked as a choice.  Very little for the kids there to do.  I was thinking about just paying for one of the pavilions in one of the city parks here, but I imagine people would get lost trying to find it.  

It turns out I was missed at the reunion, as I have been designated the photographer for family events.  This is more the fact I am the only one that brings a camera then any sort of skill with said camera.  You can see the previous entry to see that I indeed do take a camera to these types of festivities.

Back to our story again, I get sidetracked quite easily.  I was hoping that my mom would be there, it has been about a year since I have been home, I still have their Christmas presents sitting in my apartment, save for the TV that I had shipped to them.  Anyway, as people arrive I am kind of geeked, I don't spend nearly the time with my family that I should ( epic fail on me there ) and it was good catching up, but my mother did not show.  Apparently her husband didn't bother to get his ass up and bring her ( no surprise there ) and my mother is in no mental shape to be driving.  I can see her having a lapse where she forgets which is the break and which is the gas pedal, followed by one of those YouTube videos with her driving through the front of a store.  

What was worse was the stories I was getting about her behavior at the family reunion.  Apparently she would be lucid for a while, then go off the tracks and say something like I was with my brother at Nyle's house.  Those people who know the situation know this isn't remotely a possibility because a) my great uncle Nyle is dead, 2) my brother has been dead for nearly 30 years now and 3) even when all of the listed parties were alive, I rarely hung out at Nyle's house so why her mind would process things in such a way is beyond my ability to comprehend.  Worse still was her husband, who when asked what he was up to by my uncle, answered that he was busy taking care of my uncle's sister.  Which is true, but that same person is also his wife.  Nobody held a gun to his head and forced him to marry my mom.  This is akin to when he messaged me on Facebook, saying all my mom does is sleep and watch TV, and my thought was, " You are fucking there, you aren't working.  I have people whose jobs rely on me doing my job.  You want her out of bed, walk down the fucking hall and get her out of bed."  He keeps sitting around waiting for some magical disability settlement to come raining money down from the sky and solve all of their problems.  I am just the opposite, if I need to make money I am out there hustling and doing whatever I can to make money.  My resume looks  like a " what the fuck are you doing with you life" plan then it resembles some sort of career arc.  But it keeps a roof over my head and keeps me from blogging from under a bridge, so I must be doing something right.

After the party, Fred offered to drive me home.  I was content to go back and check on how my homeless shelter was coming along under the bridge and catch the next bus, but it wasn't something that I was going to stomp my foot to try and get my way, so I got a ride home went to sleep shortly thereafter and woke up in what I thought was the middle of the night, it was only 12:30 which is very early for me on most days, and walked over to my bench to begin this entry.

I think I am relaxed now, my neck popped which is always a good sign.  Now to figure out what to do with the rest of my day off.

B365VG2.59 - Saturday

Thursday, July 23, 2015

B365V2.58 - Hazard pay

I would apologize for not blogging yesterday, but as I said when I opted to do a 365 version 2.0, blogs would not be forthcoming every day, but rather when I felt like it.  There is too much pressure in trying to come up with content on a daily basis, and far too often my entries, such as they were, consisted of me saying " I have nothing to say."

Yesterday was a little different though, I did do my guest blogging thing, as soon as it gets posted I will direct my fan club members that way.  But that will be up to Erin, her and I have exchanged messages on the topic, she is going on vacation and will probably use my stuff as material in her absence one day.  But nothing is carved in stone yet, in part because I don't know if either of us owns a chisel.

So it came to pass yesterday that I did make it back to my bench, and I did do a blog entry, just not for here.  But I am coming to learn something by sitting here, I should be getting hazard pay.  I risk braving the elements when I sit here, though tonight is mostly pleasant, but around these parts this year if it isn't raining we aren't trying hard enough.  Then there is the whole mystery behind the drug truck, it made another appearance Monday night, if only to leave as soon as I sat down, the missing persons jacked that was on the fence behind me for a few days before someone or something claimed it as well, my run in with the local constabulary for doing nothing more than sitting here and typing and smoking a cigarette at the same time.  Wonder what the penalty is around these parts for walking and chewing gum?

Then there was last night, as I was finishing up my as to yet to be revealed blog entry, a car pulled up on the road behind me.  That wasn't shocking, it was daylight and there were plenty of kids on the playground.  Two black females got out of the car, one of which was on a cell phone.  Now I know it is impolite to listen in on people's conversations, but when you are loud enough that the people in the park can clearly hear you, it becomes less about eavesdropping and more about not owning ear plugs.  Anyway, as she is on her phone the conversation goes something like this " You mean he got shot two times and shot back."  "He knew the niggers in the car."  "Well I probably knew them niggers too then."  Now I realize I probably have offended a few readers there, but I am just quoting what was actually said.  I am not going to censor myself to a degree where I change the existing facts as they were at that time.  So save the righteous indignation, it doesn't play here.  My main concern at the time was my own well being and the fact that these ladies obviously consort with people who bust caps in other people.  Not wanting to be any of the people on the receiving end of caps, the bustee as opposed to the buster, I got my ass out of there.

But now I am back here again, no drug truck, nothing crawling out of the woods to leave my clothing behind, no rain and no busting of caps.  It is dare I say, relatively quiet, just cars driving by and the chirping of crickets.  Even the life flight choppers seem to have taken the night off.

Figures just as I type that a helicopter flies overhead.  And the quiet has been interrupted by fireworks from over at PNC Park.  Every now and again one gets high enough that I can see the color through the tree leaves behind me, but mostly it is just a lot of muffled popping.  It odd though because usually the Pirates save fireworks for either Friday or Saturday night games, even though Fireworks Night is almost always a sellout, so perhaps they are trying to boost attendance on a week night.

Wow, I just had one of those happy flash back moments.  The year was probably around 1991, so let's grab us some Peabody and Sherman and hit the Wayback machine kids.  I had gotten some baseball tickets, from whom or how I have no idea, though given I was trying to impress someone  ( it was Hope for you long time readers of the blog, for newbies, get with the program, will ya? ) I most likely bought them, knowing in advance it was Fireworks Night.  I had walked over to her apartment and asked her if she wanted to go and she said yes and me being in my pre - 21 state of mind thought it would be a romantic evening if we went to dinner first.  The thing is, the Gateway Clipper fleet runs a shuttle service to the stadiums on game days, running from Station Square across the Mon and Ohio rivers and up the Allegheny to what was then Three Rivers Stadium.  Me being all Rico Suave, thought we could grab dinner at Station Square, then hop a boat over to the game.  Everything that could go wrong did.  First there was a 40 minute wait for a table for dinner, still we get our table and have dinner, though I don't know what we had, then we walked down to the boat dock, where there was an incredibly long line to get on the boat.  By the time we got on the boat, and made it to the stadium and our seats, the game was already in the third inning and we were losing, of course.  And it was raining, not too hard just an annoying drizzle.  Worse was giant score board was in the upper deck out in center field, so you can guess where our seats ended up being, the upper deck in center field.  In order to see it you would have to to a 180 in your seat and contend with an umbrella.  There were people behind us, they had brought in a giant bag of popcorn ( back in the day kids, you were allowed to bring your own snacks rather than pay concession prices, and you could ride the bus for $1, see I am old ) but unbeknownst to the security people, ( what security people, this is pre 9/11 here), the reason for all of the popcorn was they smuggled beer into the stadium by burying cans of beer in the bag of popcorn.  Which was all clever and good until they open one and poured it down the back of my shirt.  The Pirates would go on to lose, 8-5 I think was the final, adding to the list of things that could go wrong.  At least the rain had let up enough that they could do the fireworks.  So they killed the lights inside the stadium, and Hope grabbed my hand and her eyes just got all big, like a kid seeing the Christmas tree on Christmas morning and dude I was sold.  Everything that led up to that moment was worth it.

Okay, before everyone goes and thinks I am getting soft in my old age I should stop now.  I still have to go make me some dinner. And two cars have pulled up behind me while sitting here, there are girls in them giggling a lot and anyone familiar with a slasher flick knows how that will turn out.  No sense me being a witness to it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

B365V2.57 - Jail me nots

Sorry I didn't make it to my bench yesterday, I made it to the bar and that was it.  I needed an evening of relaxation after kicking the work week off the way I did.  Funny thing being at the bar, I got some pretty kick ass news while I was sitting there, and no it wasn't that the Pirates beat the Kansas City Royals, although that did happen as well.

This is where I start letting some cats out of bags, so to speak.  Remember when I said that I joined a group on Facebook for Pittsburgh bloggers.  Rest assured my social standing has not increased by joining, I still pull the McCauley Caulkin at night ( Home Alone, learn the vernacular kids). But as is my wont, I did check out some of the people that were blogging there.  In Pittsburghese this would be called being nebby.  But I don't speak in Pittsburghese, because in all honesty, it makes the city sound so low rent that I can't be bothered with it.  Anyway, one of the bloggers over there stuck out to me, Erin Kelly, because I just loved her writing style, her sense of humor.  Which is odd for me because when it comes to books I almost never read books by female authors, but blogs tend to be a different animal for me.  Not sure why that is, just that it is.  Anyway, as I am checking her blog out and really digging the place, I happened upon her About Me page (  you will find no such animal here, if after 10 years of doing this you don't have a vibe of who I am then you just haven't been paying attention ) which was when I saw that she would be willing to guest blog on a page, so I asked her to come by here some day and entertain the masses, or the anti masses as it were.  While originally taking me up on the offer, we have never made a date certain for that to happen.  That is all well and good, she has other things going on, as do I.

Sorry, I am being interrupted here.  Some jackass was complaining that I am sitting here smoking a cigarette.  Mind you I am not bothering anyone, I am just sitting here typing to you all and this guy comes up and says I am not allowed to be smoking on the playground.  First off, I am sitting on a bench, I am not on the playground.  So I mentioned to him that there aren't any no smoking signs here, I am perfectly within my rights to be doing what I am doing, then he steps back and holds his camera up like he is going to take my picture.  At which point I tell him if he does, I am going to break his fucking phone.  He walked off, to another part of the park, but really, fuck him.  We really got to see me go from zero to snap the fuck out there in about 10 seconds.  Some people don't know when to leave well enough alone I guess.  Great, now I have three cop cars here.  Nobody has done anything yet, one officer came up to me and talked to me, but that has been it.  So far you will not be seeing me on an episode of Cops.  Sucks to be me I guess, I could have gotten more traffic for the blog that way.  Of course calling work from jail would have been a shock to the bosses, but que sera, sera.

Anyway, where were we, ah yes, the guest blogging thing.  I had mentioned on a Facebook post of hers the other day that reading her page has helped give me a swift kick in the ass regarding my own.  Then what she posted as a reply floored me, as she asked lil ol me to do a guest post on her page.  I wonder if this is what it feels like to be promoted from AAA to the majors.  I am all kinds of nervous and excited and I would say blushing, but that could just be from too much sun on Sunday.

Well I still have two police cars behind me, let's hope they don't go all Eric Garner on me.  Nope, turns out I am in the right again, when am I not.  As long as there are no signs posted I am fine, and there are none.  I should go blow smoke in his face, but I will pass with the glee of a moral victory.  Taa daa.  Watch I will come back here tomorrow and there will be no smoking signs up.  I wish I could get this kind of response when we catch someone stealing at work, 4 squad cars, okay 2 cars and 2 SUVs to show up for a smoking complaint.  If they put that kind of effort into doing something about people who do break the law.  This is starting to feel like a Dr. King speech, "I have a dream, where one day the police will do their jobs and not bother confronting law abiding citizens".

Anyway I haven't said yes to the guest blogging thing just yet.  If there is one thing I learned in radio, it is don't embarrass the name on the door, whether it be Jerry, Doug or Lynn, anytime I cracked a mike and said something I had to remember that it would not be attributed to me, but it would be attributed to the show.  So if I am going to do this ( magic 8 ball says "all signs pointing to yes" ) then I had best bring my A game, whatever the hell that is.

Oh well, the cops have left, the jackass who called them has left, and I need to get home so I can post this with ye olde new laptop.  I have spent time trying to get it to where my old one was, I have downloaded Avast and Swagbucks and I used it to go edit my last two blog entries, relax they aren't significantly better for the effort, just cleaning up some typos and what not.  And my apartment is cooler now that my desktop is not running, it is so old that it just blows hot air, not unlike my blog.

Monday, July 20, 2015

B365v2.56 - Penis flags and other miscellany

What a weekend it has been, if by that I mean not doing anything at all.  The luxury of going in Friday night to get my stuff done left me with almost two whole days to myself, one and a half if you figure in me sleeping till 3 pm on Saturday.  And I did do things, I caught some of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix on Saturday and Sunday, as well as taking in two significant walks this weekend ( by significant I mean 2+ miles ).  I even hit the Schenley Pool for some time on Sunday, where I avoided drowning, though there was a cute brunette there who I would not have minded saving me if it came to that.  I would say Hubba, Hubba, but this isn't 1950 calling asking for its adjectives back.

I did get some sun, my body responded by turning a nice shade of pink.  In meat parlance I would now be medium.  But that is it, other than that I have nothing.  I am coming to admire those people who can grind out a blog a day and have them sound fresh and interesting.  Me, I just don't have that kind of mojo.  My mojo has went all el Chapo and run off.

Facebook friends don't say I didn't warn you about Trump, if he doesn't like you he goes the insult route, most recently with John McCain.  This is who he is and what he does, unless you are b list celebrities ready to be a monkey singing and dancing for his amusement on his reality show otherwise  you are stupid or a dummy. 

I saw "Blossom" by Andrew Vachss pop up on my Facebook news feed the other day.  I could have sworn I read all of the Burke novels by a Vachss, but the description wasn't ringing any bells for me. Absolutely nothing.  Usually if I have read a book, if I go back and read the description of it I get a vague recollection of the book itself but this time I came up with a blank.  Perhaps I will have to purchase it from Amazon to make sure.  Because I am making my way through a book but it is a slog, I get maybe a chapter read and my mind is telling me to stop the torture, but I have invested enough time into it that I want to make it through to the end.  

Do people die more in summer or suffer more severe injuries?  I ask because there is a helipad at Presbyterian Hospital here in Oakland and since I have sat down already four different helicopters have come in.  And it is the same most nights in summer weather permitting of course, so I figure either more people are near death and need flown here this time of year or it is a great way to pad their billing by sending out a chopper as opposed to an ambulance.  

I disconnected my cell phone number from Facebook the other day.  Mind you I have one of those ancient flip phones, one step above the giant cell phones used in Miami Vice, the type where to get the phone into your pocket you have to have a better than average grasp at Tetris.  Anyway I don't play games on my phone, but I will use it sometimes to see if I have any Facebook notifications.   Which was well and good for months now, I flip open the phone, follow the Facebook links and I am in.  But the other day I had posted a comment on something Jerry Bowyer had written, and all of a sudden I start getting text messages.  Literally any time someone else posted something in the same thread my phone would go off.  People who know me know I hate my phone as it is, I don't like talking on it and usually if it goes off at work, the first thing I say is "Now what?".  So you can just imagine how irked I was that my phone was telling me useless shit, like someone else's comment on the same Facebook post.  I don't know why it started doing that, it never had before, but I went in and removed my number just the same.  Rather that then be aggravated all the time.  Next my blood pressure will be over 200 and I don't think I be needing that.

I did see an interesting job post in my email the other day.  I say interesting only because of what the ad said.  Block by Block was looking for coordinators for their downtown teams. They basically run around cleaning up litter and redoing the plants downtown, but the ad said they work closely with the Pittsburgh a Police.  Yes they had work and the Pittsburgh Police in the same sentence.  As I have written about previously, the next time the police do anything for me at work downtown, it will be the first time in 5 1/2 years they have done anything.

My trip to the pool today was a lot like your first school dance.  All of the cute girls would sit on the edge of the pool everyone else would be swimming and diving in.  I did have an embarrassing moment though, I had gotten out of the pool and grabbed my things to go, when I took out my iPad, I took it with me to the pool when I wrote my last blog entry before it started overheating.  No it isn't a common thing for my iPad to do, but my bookbag  is black, the iPad cover is black and I was out in the sun, so there was a reason why it was acting up.  But I had gotten it cooled off enough to where it would work again, and I wanted to walk over and get some pictures of the auto race.  So I leave the pool area and I climbed a small mound to get a better view of the race cars that were whizzing by.  But as I climbed the mound I heard a rip.  The front of my swimsuit ripped.  Now I do not have porn star genitalia that wanted to come bursting through, nor to I have Hulk - like leg muscles that can not be contained by mortal clothing.  Luckily it did not affect the inner lining of my trunks, otherwise I might have caused an accident with cars zipping by and my penis flapping in the breeze.  I could just picture the interview with the race winner now, " Yea some white dude was along the track waving his penis around like a Confederate flag."

See, I told you I didn't have a lot to say.  By the way, here comes helicopter # 5 now.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

B365v2.55 - Because I am a dick, that's why

Okay, this is where I get to tell you how much of a dick I am.  Our story takes place on Friday night, the day I worked, left work and went home, then went to the grocery store followed by going back to work.  Well that night has a story to it, one that I am about to tell.

I arrived at Smithfield News around 11 pm, and one of the overnight shift was late so Brian, ( not to mistaken for Brian the owner) was trying to help this lady out who claimed her boyfriend or husband or whomever hit her.  Truth be told, her face did look a little worse for wear, like someone may have tried using it as a punching bag.  She kept going in and out of the store, with intermittent spats of bawling thrown in for good measure.  Brian was trying to be nice to her, he even gave her a couple of bucks to get home, or someplace besides home, and he let her use his cell phone to call someone.  She said she tried calling domestic abuse services in McKeesport, whether she did or not I do not know, but that was the story she was telling, and they were supposed to send someone to come pick her up.  That was where I thought the story would end as I started my evening. 

Brian's replacement Jarrett showed up, so it was Bobby, Jarrett and myself on duty.  I dropped my stuff in the office, ran a credit card settlement, reloaded the lottery machine, and then started setting up for my cooking I would be doing later.  I got out mayo and tuna from the storage room, cut half of a oven roasted chicken breast when I started hearing what sounded like a conversation coming from back by our bathrooms. Since we don't have public restrooms and I can visually see the rest of the crew on duty, I am wondering just what is happening.  Then I look and I see the door to the back is unlocked and the ladies room door is half open.  So I meander back there and it is the same woman again, now she has a cut on her nose that is bleeding as well.  She asks if she can use the peroxide in the lady's room and I say sure but hurry up.  We have good reason to not let anyone use our restrooms, many years ago we had someone die of a heroin overdose in the bathroom at Gus Millers, and knowing our clientele I am not looking for a repeat performance.
Finally she comes out of the bathroom and now she is asking to use our store phone, and  I had had enough.  Bobby asked if she could use the phone and I said no.  She says she had to call domestic services again, and I say you have already spoke to them once, you need to be outside waiting for them rather than being in here and having them drive on by.  Besides my boss is at the casino ( which may have been true, Ed was going to the casino Friday night, just don't know how late he was staying ), and if he comes back and sees us with strangers in the bathrooms and using the store phone, he is going to fire the entire crew on duty, and I'm sorry but your problems aren't worth the jobs of my crew.  She proceeds to argue this point, saying her life is worth more than all of our jobs and that was when I had enough and just said, "Get the fuck out now, or I will call the police and have you forcibly escorted from the premises."  She lingered around outside the store for a while, I don't know if anyone came to pick her up or not, wasn't my concern.  I just know that we can't be a safe house for anyone who wanders in off the streets with a sob story.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

B365v2.54 - Happy Birthday

Why do I do this to myself.  I am on board ye olde 61A headed to Squirrel Hill.  But this is no Cage run, instead I am making a late night run to Giant Eagle to buy celery, then hopping a bus back downtown to go back to work.  I am going in tonight to bang out my orders as well as make more chicken, tuna and egg salads for the deli.  I have already worked one 8 hour shift today ( or close to it ), why would I want to go back, let alone @ 10:07pm?

The thing is if I do this tonite, then I can have the rest of the weekend off.  Besides it gives me good practice for next week when I have to do this in order to go to my cousin's graduation party.  I did blow off the family reunion, I should try to make it to this family event.  I haven't Ike to my mom recently, so I do not know whether she is going or not, it is a phone call that I have been putting off because any more such calls just leave me depressed.  At some point she will bring up the name of some deceased person and act like they are still alive, not knowing any better.  Speaking of dead people, today would have been my brother's 49 th birthday.  Perhaps today is a day when we peel back the layers on that relationship.

Okay, all kinds of a long hiatus there, and something I need to fix ( Corrections and retractions, circa P&M).  I thought yesterday was the 18th, I was mistaken it is today, so today I would have been my brothers birthday (we will still dive into that hot mess soon enough), but since I last was on the page I went from riding the bus to Giant Eagle to catching a bus from Giant Eagle back into town ( and work ), banging out an 8 hour shift where I got my ordering done and I made my salads, walked to Kelly Os from work and had breakfast with Bobby, I felt a need to crush a breakfast burrito in homage to our soon to be Mexican overlords, then I came home and slept for like 6 hours, woke up a played a little MPQ and now I am back sitting on my park bench, albeit not as quiet as usual with the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix taking place a couple of hundred feet away.  Now where were we, yes I was about to dissect my relationship with my brother.  For those of you who have been here from the beginning, some of this may sound familiar, but as they taught us in radio, don't be afraid to repeat the hot points because the audience is always changing.

The thing about remembering being a kid is that your memory is often like that of a blackout drunk, nothing flows seamlessly in the beginning, instead it is patches of this that are meshed together, like some sort of AIDs quilt of the mind.  Similarly that would be my first memories of my brother as well.  I remember we shared a bedroom as little kids and rather than a door we would have this "childproof" gate in the doorframe.  It would stretch across the frame and created this diamond like pattern when extended.  Presumably it would be latched at night so my brother and I didn't get out of bed and go and fall down the steps.  But like all good resourceful children, we managed to escape our pseudo prison, my brother could climb over the gate and I was small enough to fit through the diamond pattern, thus rendering such a device useless.  So we would sneak out in the wee hours of the morning, and go downstairs, no we didn't fall down the stairs as far as I can recall, and go eat raw hot dogs out of the fridge.  Hey, we were masters of escape, not of the culinary arts.

Enter lots of blank space, and my next memory I had was as us not being much older than that, but sitting on the stair case watching my father sit on top of my mother, choking her.  When she stopped struggling he left, perhaps he thought he killed her, I don't know, but I just know that he left and she was there motionless.  So I grew up with a basic understanding of the capabilities of my own gene pool.  My brother and I went into our kitchen, that was where the phone was (who remembers days where cell phones didn't exist? ) and we called someone for help.  I don't know if we called 911, but it feels like we might have called Chet, who was a friend of the family at the time.  As it turned out my mother had passed out due to lack of oxygen, she would and did recover from my father's assault.  Those were the only two lasting memories from our first house, the next I remember my parents were divorced, my dad remarried ( a process which he became quite adept at ) and I was living with my mom in my grandparents basement.  Not that living in the basement was as bad as it sounds, their basement actually served as their house while they were building it, so it had a kitchen and bathroom and all of the necessary amenities of a normal house, just underground.  Plus with my grandparents right upstairs, as well as my youngest aunt and uncle (Amy was 6 years older than me, Will was my brothers age) so it wasn't like I was a maladjusted kid at that point, lacking of social skills because I had no one I could relate too.  

Meanwhile my dad would remarry Cathy, who was an old school type mom, I could joke that she was a survivalist before it was hip to be a survivalist.  She did lots of things like take us (I say us, because as well as my brother and I she had two kids from a previous marriage as well, Phillip and Jennifer ) to pick berries and help with her garden and she did lots of canning and pickling.  She could cook pretty much anything, so we would often eat stuff that my dad shot while hunting, which means I have eaten rabbit and squirrel and grouse.  

But after my parents divorce, my dad also moved , into a trailer right down the street from my grandparents.  I believe there was a custody hearing, I was required to spend the week with my mom and stay with my dad on weekends.  My brother was in the same boat.  I remember going to a couple of custody hearings where I would be sitting in what I can only assume was the judge's chambers and he would ask me what I wanted, and I would always say I wanted to stay with my mom, the choking incident burnt firmly into my cranium.  I would offer my suggestion and then the judge would do whatever the hell he wanted to anyway.  Each time I was there though I would get my personal visitation requirements reduced, so I must have been somewhat persuasive, going from every weekend to every other weekend to finally going to when I actually wanted to go, which was almost never.  

Now I had a decent relationship with Cathy and my step siblings, there was never an issue where I didn't want to spend time with my dad because of them.  More like just the opposite, I didn't want to spend time with them because it would also involve my dad.  

I get that kids who go through a divorce often pick sides in that process, and for the longest time my brother lived with mom and I but eventually he opted to go live with my dad.  Perhaps that is why we were never that close, more than likely though we are just two completely different people.  My brother had an artistic gift, one that I could never muster, my talents are more with words and numbers. And my brother also fell in with the wrong crowd, or he was just a wrong person sans a crowd, but he would start getting mixed up with drugs and stealing things.  

Anyone who works with me knows how much I can't stand thieves.  Their fucking scumbags and my brother wasn't exception to that rule.  He broke into one of our neighbors houses and stole a watch from their daughter and then gave it to his girlfriend at the time.  I think it was shortly after this incident that my brother opted to live with our dad, which was fine with me, I had had enough of his pilfering.  Because as well as stealing from our neighbors, he would also steal from Phillip, Jennifer and myself, taking our allowance money if we would not keep it secured away.

As we got older the divide between my brother and I just grew wider and wider.  And the crowd that he was affiliating himself with was not my kind of people.  My dad used to have a Cutlass 442 convertible with a black top.  One of my brothers friends cut a hole in the roof of the car to break into it and steal the radio.  Now I don't know what the market was at the time in my little Podunk town for factory installed radios but I can't think it was the smartest crime that his friend ever committed.  

So I went about doing my things primarily with my mom's side of the family and my brother did the same with my dad's side of the family.  My brother hooked up with this pig of a woman, which I say only because it is true.  She was so unimpressive to me and my relationship with my brother had deteriorated to such a degree that when my brother announced he was going to get married, it was met with a ho hum from me.  On his wedding day, I was sitting at the Civic Arena watching Pitt play Georgetown in a college basketball game on a school trip.

Meanwhile on my mom's side of the family, we have my grandparents.  They had a habit of having little cubby holes and lock boxes in their house where they would keeps rainy day monies and some important papers. My grandfather was a truck driver, not in the sense of how you would imagine a truck, or 18 wheeler in the vernacular, he didn't haul long trailers behind his rig,rather his duty was to take his rig,have two or three other rigs attached to it and hail those rigs to drop off points all over the United States.  When I hear people bitch about their commute to work in the morning they really have no fucking idea, his commute was from Elderton, PA to South Bend, Indiana.  Not that he would make that trip back and forth every day, but when he left to go on one of his runs he could be gone for weeks at a time. Now by the time my brother had gotten married he was nearing the end of his trucking career.  30+ years climbing in and out of rigs had done a number on his knees, though I never heard him complain about it and when he was home he was still always on the go until his next load.   He would be taking the grandkids fishing, or out walking dirt roads collecting aluminum cans, or scavenging flea markets, or going to bingo with my grandmother.  There really wasn't an off switch with him.  So my grandmother would often hound him to retire, he had earned a comfortable pension, she was working at the Post Office, so she would have a decent pension to fall back on as well.   She had gone as far as to get the paperwork for his retirement, all he needed to do was fill it out and then they could enjoy a comfortable retirement together.  

Enter my brother, who took it upon himself to break into their house and steal a bunch of those lock boxes and take off with them.  My grandmother came home and immediately realized that she had been robbed, and because of how the place was robbed, the person didn't come in and ransack the place, they knew exactly where to go to get what they wanted, she immediately thought of my brother, as did anyone else with half a brain.  So she went to the place he was staying to confront him.  He was renting a trailer, and right next to his place was a four way intersection.  So as my grandmother is driving down the road to confront him, my brother obviously took the long way home on his escape route, because he was approaching the intersection from another direction.    He spotted my grandmothers car, pulled out in front of her and took off up the road ahead of her.  He got maybe a half mile away when my grandmother saw his car along the side of the road with him climbing back into it, and turning around and heading back to his place.  My grandmother followed him and confronted him at his place where he went all kinds of Egyptian stupid ( de Nile, de Nile, de Nile for those that don't get my sense of humor yet ( really? ).

So my grandmother comes home and calls a bunch of people, mostly my mom and her brothers and sisters  (6 in all plus me, an Algonquin table if ever there was one ) and I am sure the discussion concerned what to do next.  I am not sure whose idea it was by my memory credits Will, when the idea was to go back to where my brother pulled off the road before turning around.  I remember riding along when we got to that spot people began fanning out in the wooded area along the road when the first thing was recovered, it was a sheet of paper.  Apparently my brother had cracked at least one of the lock boxes open, scattering the contents he deemed unnecessary through the woods.  Those unnecessary contents included my grandfather's retirement papers.  At that point my brother was dead to me.  I had told my grandmother she should press charges and throw his ass in jail.  It would be the only way he would learn anything.  

But she relented.  All told, in addition to the retirement papers he took about $700 in cash and my grandfather's coin collection.  I went about two years from that point without even speaking to my brother, until Cathy stepped back into the picture.  By now my ex step mother ( my father has a huge problem with keeping his penis in his pants, another reason he and I don't get along ) but Cathy had an idea of getting the band back together on Christmas Eve, with Phillip, Jennifer, my brother and myself.  It was a good idea in theory but in actuality it may have not been so good.  I went with my girlfriend at the time ( yes I waited until I was 19 years old before having my first serious relationship, or as serious as what would be a failed relationship could be ).  So here is my brother, now with two kids and a marriage to the horrid woman I mentioned above, and here I come strolling in, a college sophomore with what would appear at the time a decent relationship with a cute girl.  Dare I say, by appearances it looked like I had my shit together ( I never have my shit together, I am just good at faking ) and I am there and I don't have two polite words for him.    We get through whatever it was we were supposed to do that day and went to our respective homes. My girlfriend and I crashed at my mom's place on Christmas Eve, Christmas was always a big holiday with my mom and I was looking to waking up Christmas morning there.  It would certainly be better than the day before.

Except I awaken to this wailing noise,not to sound disrespectful but it almost sounded animalistic.   I remember being half awake wondering what that noise could be this early in the morning, it was 5 am on Christmas after all.  I make my way out of my room and into the living room where my mom was sobbing uncontrollably on the couch.  It would be a few minutes before she could collect herself to say what was wrong, between the time I was there the day before and  Christmas morning my brother had hung himself. There was probably a bit of numbness when I heard the news, I do know that I went outside and shovelled snow for the soon to be expected visitors once they heard the news.  But I can't say as there were any tears shed by me.  That part of me didn't exist for him anymore.

I remember viewing the funeral as more of a UN peace keeping mission.  Not that both sides of my family couldn't be cordial when needed, but even bars have bouncers though most nights nothing actually happens.  It was amazing to see some of the people that did show up though, like our second grade teacher.  I wondered if there were some connections there that I missed, or whether people were there to verify the news with their own eyes.  

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