Monday, December 28, 2015

B365V2.168 - Frohliche Weihnachten

Grettings and salutations, sorry if the title shows off both my brilliance and my ignorance, brillance because I retained a little something after four years of high school German (You should hear me sing Rudolph mit rotem Naschen) but ignorance because I couldn't find umlauts on a keyboard to save my life.  Which would make for a funny Japanese game show, killing people who can't find umlauts.  Just sayin.

Anyway, hope everyone had a good holiday.  Mine wasn't great but wasn't awful either.  It just was what it was and we will leave it at that.  I did take some time this holiday season to update my change meter, which I have been neglecting like my father neglects his kids.  Anyway I am adding another $25.88 so the new total as we close the books on 2015 is $660.98.

As for what I did for my holiday, well it started off with me working.  Sorry, but if I am going to ask my crew to work holidays then I am going to do it too.  But rather than make it a sucky kind of experience I thought I would be the nice guy and made a smallish Christmas dinner for those of us that worked, just a turkey, some mashed potatoes,gravy, green bean casserole, corn and some cauliflower/broccoli steamed veggie mix with cheese.  I also picked up a tray of shrimp and cocktail sauce and threw together a quickly devised cheese and cracker tray as an app.

Apparently the turkey turned out okay (actually I know it did, I ate some of it after all) because by Saturday morning it was all gone, as was the corn and mashed potatoes.  I love cooking, I just hate cleaning up afterwards.  And anytime I can flash my rudimentary kitchen skills for someone besides myself  I am up to said task.  If I am cooking for myself, I will get by on PBand J and cereal.  But with a holiday next week I figured I could get my ordering done early, then have the whole weekend off which would be nice.  I could go home for Christmas if I wanted, which would be nice since I still had the gifts for my family in my apartment from last year.  So anyway I finish up at work around 4:30 on Christmas, come back to my apartment and finish wrapping gifts, because I procrastinate like anyone who reads this blog should know.  How long has it been since I blogged, two weeks now?

I go to sleep Christmas night, though I had no visions of sugar plum fairies dancing in my head.  Hell I don't even know what those are so how could I possibly visualize them.  I figure I will run into work Saturday morning then come back to my place and possibly see what the family had planned.  They had offered to come pick me up on Christmas day, but they called while I was at work and I do have a certain dread of staying too long there which I have covered in a previous blog entry and, like your parents when you were a kid, I am not repeating myself.  Suffice it to say visits take on an uneasy ambivalence for me.  So when I got home from work Saturday morning, I kept having a running mental debate with myself about whether or not to call.  Turns out it was good that I didn't call, my phone rang at 11:30pm, one of the over night guys didn't bother to call or show up, so now I am dragging my tired ass back to work to do an overnight shift when I had mapped having the whole weekend off.  That solidified any Christmas plans I had, I wasn't going home and I was going to be stuck with two years of Christmas gifts in my apartment.

I work the overnight, which was incredibly slow, no students downtown, just crack heads and porn shop patrons for the most part until 7am when the next shift came in, I hurried up and dropped my money in the safe and got out of there.  At that point I had been up for 22 hours straight and bed sounded really good.  I got home and fell into bed around 8am and my eyes just started to close when my mom's husband called me.  Would I like to go out to dinner Sunday, I say sure what time and he say 3pm.  I figure that is good, I can get some sleep before they arrive.  I get off the phone and it rings again, it's Ed in Florida asking if I worked all night to which I say yes and then he tells me me all of the things I already know, we need to get some new people, put an ad out, get applications yada, yada, yada.  Nothing I am going to do at 9am on a Sunday morning, but I know I will have to do on Monday.  Finally I get to close my eyes, I wake back up around 1pm, figure I better hop in the shower if I am going to confront the day, so I shower and get dressed and am waiting for my parents to show up.  they get here around 4pm, there was a detour on the Parkway east due to the impending implosion of the Greenfield Bridge on Monday.  They get here, I grab all of the presents I have for them and climb into their truck and we opt to go to IHOP for dinner, Mike has a gift card for there.  Doesn't matter to me, it's food.  Besides it was about my breakfast time anyway.

Turns out they didn't get me anything, not that I am surprised, my mom has been all off kilter since her stroke and Mike is Mike, he isn't going to run out and do Christmas shopping.  Still they are taking me to dinner, beggars can't be choosers right.  Except we get there and Mike doesn't have enough money for dinner, he has two gift cards, an IHOP card and a Visa gift card, I make up the difference.  As a personal note, I would never ask someone to dinner and not have the money to pay for it, it's just the way I roll.  (Wink and a nod to Kat on that line, she will get it.)  So we get back to my place and Mike asks me about working Christmas, I say I got paid time and a half and got an extra vacation day out of the deal, so by January I should have 13 days saved up.  Again long time readers of the blog know that I am planning a vacation, thus my accumulation of days, when Mike spouts out, good, you can take some time off then and help us put in the new carpeting.  Excuse me, but I am calling the shots with my time off, the fact they left their home fall into a state where they need new carpeting isn't my fault, I did not have a pet(s) and let them piss and shit on the rugs, or have a hole in the roof and then wait around to get the insurance company to fix it (the hole was due to a fire at a neighbors place) to the point where they had extensive water damage making the problem far worse than it had to be.

All in all I can say I can wait the 364 days to do this again.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Penguins @ Wild 12/26/2015

Pittsburgh 3  Minnesota 1

Sidney Crosby - G, A

Pittsburgh has won the last two in a row after a five game losing streak

Blue Jackets @ Penguins 12/21/2015

Pittsburgh 5  Columbus 2

Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin - 2 G each

Matt Murray records his first NHL win

Panthers @ Penguins 12/19/2015

Carolina 2  Pittsburgh 1

Evgeni Malkin - G

Matt Murray made his first NHL start in goal for Pittsburgh

Bruins @ Penguins 12/18/2015

Boston 6  Pittsburgh 2

Conor Sheary - G, A

Pittsburgh has lost 4 in a row and 6 of last seven

Penguins @ Bruins 12/16/2015

Boston 3  Pittsburgh 0

Jeff Zatkoff - 24 SV

Pittsburgh's losing streak at three games

Caqpitals @ Penguins 12/14/2015

Washington 4  Pittsburgh 1

Evgeni Malkin - G

First game under new head coach Mike Sullivan

Sunday, December 20, 2015

B365V2.167 - The Inverse Penis Reaction Fun Hour

So this is what two days off in a row feels like.   My mental batteries are starting to recharge, and I am mentally starting to string together ideas that have nothing in common in order to try and be funny.  And it all started with a Saturday morning cartoon.  Go figure.

I was putzing around the apartment Saturday morning, flipping through channels on TV, when I fell upon something I hadn't seen in years.  People at work have heard me sing the theme song before, "Up from the depths, 30 stories high, breathing fire and his head in the sky."  Yes on one of the obscure digital channels  ( no cable for me, as you all know) I found a rerun of the old Godzilla cartoon.  Let me say, it wasn't as good as when I was as a child.  People riding around on a boat, getting into trouble (Johnny Quest rip off anyone) and as soon as they do, one guy presses a button on his belt and Godzilla shows up and defeats the bad guys.  Not exactly Shakespeare is it?

Apparently that got embedded in my head, as well as the idea of Saturday morning cartoons in general as I made my way out the door to do some Christmas shopping. No real plan to my shopping mind you, I just picked a mall and started browsing, if I saw something appropriate, I bought it.  So my sojourn saw me head into Bed, Bath and Beyond.  I found a couple of things there but when I went to check out I saw a pack of Scrub Daddies.  For those not into Shark Tank, it was an idea pitched a couple of years ago, it is a sponge that is a hard scrubber until it gets warmer in water, then it just acts like a sponge.   I had need of such a device in my kitchen so I bought a pack for me, the only thing I bought for myself the entire trip, killing the rumor that I am all about me, even if that rumor is 100% true.

I finished up my Christmas shopping and went home to made dinner.  While making dinner I decided to open my package of Scrub Daddies, and they worked just as advertised.  Wet with cold or cool water they were all kinds of scrubby hard, but as the water got warmer they got softer.

So I get up this morning, and on my way out the door I see the scrub daddy on my counter, I grab it and feel that it has mostly dried out and that it was once again hard.  In science they call this the inverse penis reaction, the warmer something gets the softer it gets.  It also works with snow, so next spring instead of the snow thawing, just look at your kids and tell them to go outside and play in the snow before the coming inverse penis reaction takes place.

I leave my house, doing a Sunday stroll over to the South Side so I could buy stuff to make Christmas dinner at work on Friday, or at least attempt to.   And I started combining my Christmas trip with the Saturday morning cartoons, and I came up with a great idea for a Saturday morning cartoon, The Inverse Penis Reaction Fun Hour.   You could have all of those cold super heroes and villains on it, starring Iceman and Captain Cold.  Anyone who gets weaker as they get warmer.   Don't laugh, you know you will watch.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

B365V2.166 - The case of the hockey ticket

Sitting at Mitchell's, I am looking for the chalk outline on the floor, because it was here last week that my crime of stupidity took place. And it all starts with that hockey ticket I mentioned in the last blog, or at least the last non hockey video or fantasy football blog.

When I least left you faithful readers, I had become stuck with an extra hockey ticket and about a week to find a hockey companion.  In truth I could have asked a few different people at work but I didn't want to appear to be playing favorites so I didn't.  I mean the tickets were $250 a piece, so if I give one to an employee I risk pissing off the others.  So I did not, instead I opted to go outside the confines of Smithfield News to find a partner in crime for the evening.  My first option was our new rep for Full Circle Distributing, Chelsey.  She has been our rep for about a month now and in at time she has done a better job than our previous two reps with them combined.   I thought I would make a nice offer to her, because as a manager I like to take care of the people that take care of us.  So I sent her a message on Facebook (I friend many of the people I do business with, it is like my LinkedIn with Candy Crush requests thrown in.   Anyway, so I sent her a message on there and for days I didn't hear from anything.  Of course you all know I was running up against a semi tight deadline, so I couldn't wait forever for a reply.       But then a funny thing happened, Kat stopped by the store on Friday.  An interesting story that one, I have always been attracted to her, but when she worked for us it would violate one of the Animal Planet Rules of Dating, that being you do not shit where you eat.  Relationships by and large turn out like shit, and your job allows you to eat, so don't mix the two.  Kat left us under less than ideal circumstances, she was busted for drinking on duty twice and I was the idiot after the first time for arguing for her to keep her job.  I was thinking the first time might be a come to Jesus moment, instead it was just a Matt is a dumbass moment, as it obviously happened a second time.  At which point I can't save people from themselves.

Well she stopped by the store on Friday, mind you it was in part because I had got her son a couple of small Christmas presents, because whatever issues she may have the issues of her baby daddy ( using the street vernacular) are far worse.  Being an authority on having a fuck up father, I can guarantee that his father's issues are worse than the issues of his mother.  Let just say the dad has a crowd funding page for people to get his drunk ass home from the bar.  Thank god no one was stupid enough to donate to it, but there are this kids parents ladies and gentlemen, one who can't put down the bottle long enough to complete a shift at work and one who looks online to support his habit of getting drunk.  Honestly the kid is fucked.  I hate to say that but I see it every day,  and God forbid, this is an instance where I can hopefully help if not make a difference, so I got the kid a little something for Halloween earlier this year.  Kat had picked it up from where I where I work (and where she used to work) and sent me a picture of her son and the basket/bucket I had put together for him.  It was cool of her to do so and the pic was also cool.  People on my Facebook can verify the coolness of it, those that aren't need to get with the program.  Anyway, I had got him a train set for Christmas, not one of those cool model set for collectors, but just a cheapie that runs around in a circle.  I figure worst case scenario they can set it up under their Christmas tree and he might get a kick out of it.  I also got a couple of small things for her, simply because having a small understanding of her situation (and admittedly my understanding is very small) I didn't want her to have nothing for Christmas.  I went through that last year, and while I understand why it happened (my moms health issues and what not) it still sucks.  So if I could keep someone else from going through it all the better.

Anyway Kat had stopped by to get the things I picked up for them, but then she realized she would have trouble navigating the trolley home while carrying it, so she asked me if she could pick everything up on Saturday, to which I said fine, it wasn't going anywhere.  I went back to work and she continued to go about her errands downtown.  I was just about finished with my paperwork in the office when someone lets me know that there is someone there to see me.  Here I am thinking I must be all kinds of Mr. Popularity, I come upstairs and it is Kat again.  So I ask what is up and she wants to take me out for a drink after work.  So we go to Mitchell's where we each grab a shot and I grab a beer.  All told I think she had two shots, I have more, but not so much hat I was drunk or anything, rather I was very much aware of my surroundings.  I would like to think we were both having a good time and then inspiration struck me, so I asked her if she would like to go to the hockey game on Monday.  She said yes, so my third attempt at getting someone to go to the game seemed to be off to a good start, which was good as I was running out of time.  We finished our drinks at the bar and Kat said she had 30 minutes to catch her trolley, so I walked with her over to the subway station, where we waited for her ride on the platform.  Once we got there however she suggested we take a walk down along the river.  I politely said no, because we would miss her trolley then.  Besides whatever errands she had to run downtown, she still has her son to get home to.  So instead of walking along the river, she pulls out her phone and tells me to pick a song.  I do and then she hands me an earbud and we slow dance on the trolley platform.  There were a couple of kisses thrown in there as well, not OMG, they swallowed tongues PDA type of kisses, just very short ones while we were dancing. Eventually her trolley arrived, we agreed that we would meet on Saturday at Smithfield News around noon so she could pick up the gifts, so all was cool. I was getting the gifts out of the office at work and I had a date for hockey game, ticket criss averted or do I thought.

I get to work on Saturday around 11:30 and was there for a good 8 hours ( I do do work there after all) no sign of Kat, do not hear from her, nothing.  Now I don't now if something happened to her or what, but I tried calling and sending messages (via Facebook) and she never got back to me.  A bunch of possibilities went through my mind, none of them good.  I thought maybe she had fallen off the wagon again ( provided she was ever on it) and could be on a bender some place, to perhaps her thinking Friday was a complete mistake, she wasn't attracted to me at all in he first place.  Rather it was a bad mixture of time, space and alcohol.

Of course if she was going to pass on seeing me Saturday for whatever reason, chances are very good that she would pass on the hockey game Monday as well.  It would be one thing to just fess up, say Friday was a mistake or accident or what not, but it was quite another to not hear anything.  So I had no idea if she still wanted to go to the game or not.  And I still didn't want to be stuck with s ticket.

That was about the time Debbie and I started talking on Saturday.  Long time blog readers may remember Debbie as the person who dove through the bedroom window the first time I was having relations with a female.  I realize that sounds like one of the make out scenes in an 80 s comedy, perhaps if I were having sex with Molly Ringwald then it would be complete.  Busting up my relations notwithstanding, Debbie and I have been good friends over the years, she is one of the sounding boards that I can turn to when there is generally something of import on my mind.  So I explained the events of Friday in all of their glorious detail, we both came to the same conclusion, that it was pretty fucking inconsiderate that should you have a change of mind or heart about the game you might want to let me know.  Wait, isn't how this whole fucking thing got started, by someone not saying that they changed their mind?  Why yes it is, which is why women as a general rule just suck.  So we continued to talk and Debbie jokingly said she would bug he ticket off of me, which is a no, because I got the seats for free to begin with, I wasn't going to start scalping freebies, least of all to my friends.  Instead I asked her how much of a warning she needed, she does not live in the city unlike yours truly, but I still wanted to give Kat time to say something, anything really.  We basically decided on two hours prior, now of course I am putting a friend's schedule on hold now too for this nonsense, but if something serious did happen it would give Kat ample time to get back to me.  If by ample time I mean all day Saturday, all day Sunday and Monday up until 5 pm.  Of course I did not hear anything and as I write about it, seeing it all spelled out on the page pisses me off all over again.  But I called Debbie and she made it to Pittsburgh (fighting rush hour and game day traffic no less) in about an hour and a half.  We walk over to the arena and slid in the door literally one and a half minutes before face off.

So it only took four tries to get someone to go to a hockey game.  I must suck at that or something.

B365v2.165 - The list

Time once again for the unveiling of the annual Christmas list.  This year's edition is shorter than those in the past, which means you have fewer options if you are going out to buy me something. 

Chocolate peanut butter milk
New wallet
Ceramic knife set
Female companionship
Hulu subscription
Passport application fee
Go Pro
Drone w/ camera
Thug Kitchen cookbook
Hulu subscription
Washington Post subscription
Gift cards
iTunes card
Isos to level up my MPQ charcters

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Kings @ Penguins 12/11/2015

Los Angeles  3  Pittsburgh 2  SO

Eric Fehr, Evgeni Malkin - G each

Penguins fire coach Mike Johnston a day after game

Friday, December 11, 2015

Penguins @ Avalanche 12/09/2015

Pittsburgh 4  Colorado 2

Beau Bennett - 2 G

Third straight game where Olli Maatta scored a goal

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Penguins @ Ducks 12/06/2015

Anaheim 2  Pittsburgh 1

Olli Maatta - G

Maatta has scored a goal in each of his last two games

Penguins @ Kings 12/05/2015

Los Angeles 5  Pittsburgh 3 

Chris Kunitz - G, 2 A

Pittsburgh has lost 4 of their past 6 games

B365V2.164 - Life is just a fantasy (Week #12)

I will keep the pregame chatter to a minimum and just get to the results

Work league - (L)  89.52 - 83.50  Remember when I said I would have to win my last four games to get a playoff spot?  Obviously that isn't going to happen.  Now the best I can hope for this year is a 7-7 record, I am currently 5-7, and I would need a bunch of other things to go my way in order to get a playoff spot.  Make no mistake though, one more loss in this league and it is good night, the party's over time for me.

Bloggers league - (W) 90 - 43  Amazingly I am still alive in this league, though my only path to making the playoffs would seem to be winning my last two games and having the first place team in my division lose his last two.  I play him once, next week, so I will have a slight hand in things, albeit a very slight hand, but it is another one of those situations where I will have to win out to have a chance.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

B365V2.163 - Work related issues

     Just sitting in Crazy Mocha on the South Side, trying to process the sat week or so in my brain.  Have to admit, mentally I am not in a good place.  But really, when am I ever.

     Our story goes back to before Ed left for his winter sojourn to Florida, so we are saying maybe late August.  Before he left he had meetings with all of our reps, nothing unusual about that there, since he would under not be seeing anyone for 6 months or so.  One of those meetings was with 7Up, and through the course of that meeting we were Ted that we hadn't used our allotment of tickets yet.  We get roughly $2000 worth of tickets to Consol Energy Center every year as part of our contract, so Ed had asked me if there was anything I might want to go to.  Of course my thinking was hockey, as it always is when it comes to events at Consol.  But tickets to see hockey are not cheap, especially while sitting in 7up's box.  Those seats run about $225 a piece.  And Ed asked me if I wanted to take someone, so I am being offered $450 worth of merchandise simply because I am a kick ass employee.  So I go through my mental Rolodex of friends and acquaintances that 1) enjoy hockey as much as I do and 2) I hadn't offered stuff like to before.  I know if I asked someone at work everyone else will think I am playing favorites, so I didn't want to go down that road.  Instead I thought of someone you blog Anders should know, that is if you read this blog, that being Erin.  The thing with her is we really aren't friends so much as acquaintances, we know of each other's existence and that is about it.  We had coffee once, and that has been our interaction to this point.  But I did learn that there are some days where she works late, so I shot her a message saying I may be able to get hockey tickets if she wanted to go to a game.  She said to keep her posted, so I put in a request for a game that would work around her schedule, Dec 14th against the Washington Capitals.  Other than that, we hadn't had much back and forth about the game, because I am loathe to promise a game without the tickets in my grubby little paws.

     So we fast forward to last week, Ed and I are have one of our conversations about store related issues (more on that forthcoming) and I mention the game again and that I hadn't heard from anyone at 7up regarding our tickets yet.  A few months out I didn't want to bother anyone, heck I made my ticket request before individual game tickets went on sale to the general public, so there is no saying 7up had their tickets yet but now we are a little more than a week out and there is me, sans tickets.  So I let Ed rattle some cages with the regional manager at 7up and he got word to me earlier this week that the tickets are going to be brought to our store in the coming days.  I send a message to Erin as to what is happening, the keeping her posted she requested.  Then I get the message she can't go, why I couldn't be told this anytime in the prevailing months leading up to this I don't have a fucking clue.  Yes, you can tell I am getting pissed off because my nice guy language is deteriorating.  It is one of those moments when I wish people would just be fucking honest with me rather than leave me twisting in the wind, if someone doesn't want to go, just fucking say so.  I will make other arrangements.  My boss does me a $450 favor and now I am the one who is going to look like an ass.  Excuses aren't going to matter, it is simply going to be you asked for these tickets and now you aren't using them.  Truth be told, I will use at least one of them, and try to find someone else who has Monday night free, but I should have had months to do this, not fucking days.

      If that were the only work thing that happened this week, then I would rack the entire episode up to my own fucking stupidity and move on, but alas it wasn't, not by a long shot.  I am sitting at my desk one day balancing the books when I see I have a message on Facebook.  That is an odd occurrence but not so odd that it never happens, more likely the frequency would coincide with a lunar eclipse.  So I check my message and it is from my half sister, Heather someone who I rarely mention in my blog.  That would be because we rarely speak, since I tend to distance myself from all things related to my father, that includes my half sister as well.  I don't have anything against her or for my fathers side of the family for that matter, just the way circumstances have unfolded in my life.  So I was curious as to what she wanted to get in touch with me about.  Turns out she is somewhat worried, she was wondering if it was safe to send her son to spend time with his grandparents (her mom, my dad) based on some things she had heard our shared father may have done, including threatening her mom.  I said if she should send her son, it should be a supper used visit, then proceeded to recall how one of my first memories of my father was of him choking my mom out in the living room floor when I was 3.  If he has not corrected that type of behavior (and I have no reason to believe he has, though I haven't spoken to him in 23 years so who knows) then what she was worried about could in fact be what has actually taken place.  Save for talking about our dad (turns out she has similar feelings about him) the conversation went fairly well.  It was good to catch up with her, just wish it could have been under better circumstances.

     Lastly I had a hand in letting someone go at work this past week. Brian (not owner Brian, obviously) hD started working for us shortly after I did, in fact I had trained him on some things.   When we got our new register system a couple of years ago, we implemented a new policy regarding over rings.  For those not in the retail world, an over ring occurs when a customer changes their mind regarding a purchase, they don't want something, or they are short on cash, anything that would cause us to void a transaction.  Only a handful of people have cards which allow you to take a transaction off the screen (to keep employees from cancelling transactions after the fact, and then pocketing the money themselves), for everyone else we have created over ring slips, where after cashing out a transaction that was cancelled, you print the receipt and staple it to the slip, right the reason for the over ring and then have a second person on duty sign it as well as the person who is submitting it.  It isn't perfect, but it is the best we can do with the tools we have.  So I am breaking down the paperwork for a day of sales and I get to Brian's paperwork.  In it he has a number of over ring slips, but nothing is filled out on them, no reasons for why they occurred, nor did he sign any of them.  The second person signed them (an issue unto itself, people signing blank slips), but just dropping slips with nothing filled out sets off alarm bells.  So Brian (the owner) had me check the cameras, cross referencing the time on the receipt with what was taking place on the cameras at that time.  The second one I checked wasn't an over ring at all, the customer bought the merchandise and it was cashed out through the register.  That was enough that Brian (owner) and Ed decided to let Brian (non owner) go.  It sucks because I like Brian ( non owner) but nobody said everyday at work would be a pleasant one, and while I didn't see any money being stolen, it doesn't look good from a visual perspective.

      So, anybody want my week?  Anyone

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Penguins @ Sharks 12/01/2015

Pittsburgh 5  San Jose 1

Evgeni Malkin - G, 2 A

Pittsburgh's first win in San Jose since 1997

Our inspiration (the title for this blog)

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