Thursday, February 25, 2016

B365V3.8 - Oh Canada

     So there was a plan afoot, one that would get me to vacation and beyond.  Getting Ed to agree to pay me for my vacation time early, like on payday, was a primary component of taking time off, simply because I figured I would use the vacation money to pay for my trip and by getting paid early it would allow me to go ahead and book it well enough in advance.  I figured the 13 days I had coming to me would be more than enough to pay for it.  Well payday came around but I only got paid for 8 of my 13 days.  Problem right?  Not so much.  Because the day before payday I stopped at Subway to grab a sandwich for dinner, I had maybe $30 in my wallet, I got one of the $6 footlongs and and figured when I got back to work I would buy a $10 scratchoff ticket, leaving me enough spending cash for my coffee the next morning.  Except the $10 scratchoff ended up wining $1000, whch came in handy given the next day when I would be shorted on my vacation pay. 

      I booked the trip Wednesday night (March 21 through March 25 for thos who need to know) it ended up costing $1100 and change.  I guesss that is an okay price for a round trip ticket to Vancouver with a 4 night stay in a dowtown, higher end hotel  (if I am going to take a vacation, I am going to do it up right).  In case you were wondering where I will be staying, or if you thought you might come by for a visit, it is the Hotel Blu (

      I can't begin to explain how giddy I am that my vacation is now booked.  It is my first real vacation since 1987, and that wasn't a vacation so much as it was a trip to the National Student Council Conference in Buffalo, NY.  So this is my first real adult vacation.  It will also be my first time on an aeroplane (I like pleasure spiked with pain and all that jazz).  The only thing that sucks is all of the places I layover on the way to and from Vancouver are places I would also love to visit (Chicago on my way there, Toronto and NY on the way back).  I have been scouring the web for things to do in Vancouver and there are lots of neat little things I want to poke my head into.  The Seawall, Stanley Park, sunset over the Pacific Ocean from the beach, etc.  The fun I will have, I am already rubbing my grubby little paws together.  Facebook friends will note I have been hashtagging 2016 #itsmyyear, this is part of the reason why.

     Off of the topic of vacation for just a moment, the homepage will be changing in the near future (again!).  It seems the bookshelf to the right will no longer be in service, Amazon is shutting it down, merging Shelfari with Goodreads.  I have contacted them to see if there is a similar widget for Goodreads, as I have already exported my reading material over (both apps are run my Amazon so they provided the export goodness to switch to the Goodreads for shelfari peeps).  As soon as I find a workable tool for the page I will make the necessary changes.

     As an added bonus to my vacation, I learned I could book through Swagbucks, as they have connections to Travelocity, Expedia and a couple other travel sites in their shop and earn section, so not only did I book my vacation but I earned 8 SBs for every dollar I spent  (that would be 8800+ SBs for me) which should help in my acquiring Amazon gift cards.  What can I say, I work my bonuses much like a $25 hooker works to pay the rent, lots of fucking around.  Let's hope this isn't the ast blog entry B.V. (Before Vancouver) but as lazy as I have been about blogging recently, it could be. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Penguins @ Panthers 02/06/2016

Pittsburgh 3  Florida 2  OT

Kris Letang - 2 G, A

Pittsburgh scored twice in the final 5:04 to force overtime

Penguins @ Lightning 02/05/2016

Tampa Bay 6  Pittsburgh 3

Patric Hornqvist  - G, A

Pittsburgh is 10-4-4 in their last 18 games

Senators @ Penguins 02/02/2016

Pittsburgh 6  Ottawa 5

Sidney Crosby - 3 G, A

Sidney Crosby has scored a goal in 8 straight home games

Devils @ Penguins 01/26/2016

Pittsburgh 2  New Jersey 0 

Marc-Adre Fleury - 25 SV

With the win Pittsburgh tied New Jersey for 8th place in the Eastern Conference

Monday, February 15, 2016

B365V3.7 - The weekend that was

How is everyone's Valentines weekend coming along?  Not too shabby here, but that is because I am my own Valentine this year, as is the case most years.  This year I made plans though, our payday was the Wednesday before the weekend, so I squirreled away some monies and took myself to see Deadpool (which is way awesome, if you haven't seen it you should) as well as throwing in dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse.  Filling my gullet with good red meat before venturing to the cinema was all kinds of a cool plan.  Plus the movie was going to be free for me (but not you if you go) as I used the underground economy at work and cashed in some foodservicerewards points and got myself a $13 Hollywood movie money voucher.  Usually the $13 is good enough for reserved seating, (the padded leather seat section) and with showings every 30 minutes or so I figure I can slide into the reserve section no problemo.  So I get to the Waterfront around 5 pm, look at the showtimes and pick a7 pm showing, I figure that will give me enough time to eat and for my fat to settle a little bit.  I ask about a reserve seat, reserved is sold out at 7, and 7:30 and 8 and 8:30 and 9 and 9:30.  Wait, they do have openings in the reserve section if I want to wait until 11 pm.  At that point I realized I was not going to get to sit with the beautiful people, instead I would have to cast my lot with the huddled masses.  Okay fine.

 I got to dinner where I crush a 10 oz NY strip, baked potato, side salad and warm pretzel sticks w/beer batter honey mustard dipping sauce.  I rushed through dinner a little bit, I felt bad for my waiter as they seated me at a 4 top table and there is just one of me.  I get the waiting table business, you need to turn tables and covers in order to make cash and here I am taking up 4 seats for little old me.  My bill was $32 and change, I left a $10 tip for the aggravation of dealing with me (just think ladies, $10 just to deal with me for an hour, a deal at half the price), made my way to the theater, enjoyed some cinematic greatness (that is not overstating how good the movie was at all) then walked to Barnes&Noble where I enjoyed some post movie coffee and some free Wifi (all the better to play MPQ with).  After my coffee one would think my day was over, correct.  Not me though, as I got home (I went to the movies straight from work) I cracked open my mailbox and what to my wondering eyes should appear.  None other that my passport, albeit two weeks ahead of schedule.  Government efficiency at it's finest, in an election cycle no doubt.  Someone is working to get my vote.......   If only the post office could work that quickly or the passport office for that matter.  I heard some yammering in my Facebook newsfeed about gravitational waves being discovered, all you need to do to prove that they exist is to go to either the passport or postal offices and you will see things not moving at all.  Proof of gravity right there.

Saturday was more of me just dotting i's and crossing t's for vacation.  I texted Ed to see if I could get paid for my entire vacation time before taking my days, in truth I am only taking 5 but getting paid for 13 but a good chunk of that excess money is going to pay for my trip, so it was good to save up the extra time.  Now I just have a month or so to get someone up to speed on what it is I do before I leave, which should be pretty easy, I gave myself plenty of time on that front.

Sunday was more of my Valentines weekend for myself, I went shopping and picked up a cool Deadpool shirt for $5 at the 5 and Below store.  I also picked up a couple of things for Rocko while I was there, not sure why I did that but I did it anyway.  I also creeped into Barnes & Noble And I bought myself another book.  It is a Robert Parker I haven't read, maybe that will motivate me to start reading again.  I also picked up some household necessities and some new curtains and some food so I can start cooking at home again and put more money away for vacation  rather than eat out all the time. There are methods to my madness.

Well I better put a wrap on this, I got some sleep to catch up on.

Monday, February 1, 2016

B365V3.6 - Take the skinheads bowling

At some point Friday night I was sitting around ye olde apartment and perhaps it was the thought of another weekend with nothing planned, perhaps it was a desire to break from my routine, but while watching something on Hulu (I think it was Legends of Tomorrow) I decided I wanted to go bowling.  So there I am, 9 pm on a Friday, checking out all of the local bowling alleys, figuring which nites/specials would work best in my social calendar.  There were a couple of places that offered cosmic bowling (which I love to do) until 1 am, but then it is a matter of getting home that late and public transportation isn't that reliable kids.  Finally I settled on Arsenal Lanes in Lawrenceville, which was doing a special Sunday nite, all you can bowl for $8 plus they have a DJ and they give away prizes.  I am familiar with how to get from my place there, it is the same bus I take on my breakfast forays into the Strip District and I know that bus runs way late, like until 2 am or some such nonsense.

Once I had ascertained my plans I posed them on Facebook, because you all need to know my every move.  Do try to deny it, it is information that makes your life more complete.  I had a few people comment on my plans, mostly friends that couldn't go because they too already had plans, but they wanted to go.  Not that I was looking for a gang of people to go with me, I have this flying solo shit down to a science.  My one friend Kat said she would like to go if she could get a baby sitter, which I have been down that road before, she is the one who stood me up for a hockey game and two subsequent dinner dates where she picked the day and time.  Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, fool me 6, 7, 8 times and I have to be a fucking moron.  Still I had a plan, so of course I had to continue with my Facebook annoyances by doing a countdown to when I was going bowling in Sunday, usually with a t minus and the amount of time left until 9pm Sunday night.

I get through my workday Saturday uneventfully and wake up Sunday morning, determined to have a fun filled day.  I started by doing some laundry and it felt like a great spring day outside, replete with all of the niceties of spring before spring has actually arrived.  I was even chased off of the bench outside the laundrymat briefly by a bee as I was sitting there reading.  I finished washing my clothes and walked back home and took a nap until about 3 pm or so.  I miss naps, they are so undervalued in the grand scheme of things.  I wake up again and decide to get ready to do the bowling thing.  I decide I better leave early, just to make sure I knew how to get to and fro without getting lost.  I catch a bus an hour earlier than when I should so I am running way early.  It is still nice outside, so as I am walking down Liberty Avenue I see that Crazy Mocha is still open, so I pop in and grab a mocha latte and sit outside at one of their sidewalk tables and use their wifi to play some MPQ to kill some time.  I get a message from my friend Debbie (she of the diving through the window the first time I was having sex fame) telling me to enjoy myself.  I think she saw Kat's message underneath my first post on Facebook regarding the bowling foray and assumed it was going to be a date type thing.  I had to correct the record on that and say I would be going solo, like I do most things.  sure enough I got a message from Kat soon after saying that she couldn't get a babysitter, but maybe we could do something this week.  (I will not hold my breath on that, simply because I like breathing.). I finish my coffee and walk to the bowling alley, which was about a mile from the coffee shop.  I go to the main entrance, it is locked but it turns out there is an entrance on the side of the building which is open, so I climb the stairs and am greeted at the door by a bouncer looking guy.  He asks to see ID (the 9-12 bowling is 21 and over only) so I pull out said ID and he asks if I have a reservation.  What the fuck, this is bowling, not fine dining.  I say no, he asks if there is anyone else in my group I say one other person may be coming, as Steve said at work on Saturday he may show up (I was not banking on it, but technically it was a possibility, I was told I could wait in the bar area and I would be called if a lane opened up.  About 9:30 I am given a lane all by myself (don't wanna be all by myself anymore).  Sorry the singing muse hit me there for a second.

Now I admittedly suck as a bowler, if I break 100 it is a good game for me and it has been nearly 20 years since I had been bowling.  My last attempt at bowling was a celebrity pro am event back when I first got into radio.  We were an all sports station at the time and there was a PBA event coming to Pittsburgh so I had to interview a professional bowler and then cut up the interview so we could run sound bites in our thrice hourly sports updates.  About a year later the PBA was back in town and I received a packet in the mail from them at work.  Not sure what they wanted from little ole me, I open it to find an invite to a celebrity pro am bowling event to take place prior to their tour event.  Of course I said yes, it was the first and possibly only time in my radio career I was mistaken for a celebrity.  Check that, that is untrue, once I was producing a high school basketball game back in the studio and the guys calling the game screwed up my name and called me Matt Damon, but that has nothing to do with my story, now does it?  So I get invited to this event, it is all kinds of cool for guys like me who never go to cool places, it is open bar all night long for the celebs and pros and each lane has one celebrity and one pro bowling on it as well as people who were invited to the event because they had connections.  By the end of the night we had the pro bowler on our lane turnt up as the kids say.  His last game of the night was a 156, which is still way better than I could do, but it was nice that I could cripple a pro bowler with alcohol.

Back to our bowling story from Sunday,  I get my lane and break the magical 100 barrier with my first game.  I end up bowling 5 games, getting better each time closing with a 133 game that saw me end with a strike, spare, spare, spare, strike run.  There was a return balls thing flashing on my electronic scorecard, despite it only being 11:30, which was a little disappointing but also fine as my arm was getting sore and my finger was throbbing.  I think I broke a bone in the middle finger of my right hand (i am right handed) as any time the last few weeks I am writing too much or carrying something too long it feels like a bone wants to come bursting through the middle of my palm.  Stopping was probably in my best interest, so I gathered up my stuff and left, catching a bus almost as soon as I made it back to Liberty Avenue.

Probably the worst part of the night was learning I could pee without hurting myself.  The restroom was almost right behind the lane I was on and after having coffee and a couple of beers at the bowling alley I had the urge to relieve myself.  I go into the restroom, the door opens to an area where it is either very dimly lit or the lightbulb was burnt out, but the door opens to a straightaway walk of about 10 feet before you make a left to the two urinals in there (which thankfully were lit) as well as an out of order toilet.  However the lack of light made me miss a step up about three feet inside the door, which I tripped over, slamming my right arm into a concrete wall.  So now I have a fucked up finger on my dominant hand and a bruised arm as well.

Needless to say I woke up all kinds of sore today, from my arm and hand to my legs from bowling 5 games and walking 2 plus miles getting to and from the alley.  It is enough to give me second thoughts before venturing out again.

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