Thursday, March 31, 2016

B365V3.10 - "Van"tastic

So here it is the day after vacation and I find myself cleaning up the remnants of said vacation, going first to the Verizon store to get a new charger for my phone,  left mine in my hotel room and heading back to the airport to rid myself of my remaining Canadian money.  Seems Pittsburgh, in all of its world classiness and livableness does not have a viable currency exchange downtown, so hi ho, it's back to the airport I go.

                                                                                     When in Canada......

What can I say about vacation?  Did you ever meet that person, or have that particular thing that just clicked with you?  That was Vancouver in a nutshell.  The people were amazing, everything was logical ( at least in my head) with how it was laid out, rarely in my time there did I find I wanted for anything I couldn't get my grubby little paws on.  Even their public transportation made sense in a way that could work here as opposed to the annual budget cuts and reducing of service.


For those in the know of how PAT transit works in Pittsburgh, allow me to explain the Vancouver system.  There is one fare zone, rides in the zone cost 2.75, a single fare is good for an hour and a half, so in essence you are getting a transfer for free with a ticket purchase.  Their system, like ours is carded, so you can add money or passes to your card as needed and then just tappa, tappa, tappa and away you go.  The passes are good on all forms of public transit,  bus, subway, seabus.  They also have an additional option we don't, the all day pass for 9.75, where you can ride anything for the next 24 hours (they have night buses too).  There is a surcharge when taking the subway from the airport to downtown, I think it is 7.50.  But for 7.50 you can be at the city center station in 20 minutes.  Not too shabby, it's a $30 cab ride.  Our subway remains an ass kissing token to our sports franchises.  Pretty please, never say you will leave us.  Let's see, two brand new stadiums,  a half a billion dollar subway tunnel to service the stadiums, what will the next golden calf offering be anyway?

I personally took advantage of the all day fare my last day there, the one day I didn't feel like walking everywhere.  Mind you staying downtown, there was plenty to do within walking distance, well my walking distance anyway, me and you probably ain't the same.  In three days there I probably walked over 30 miles.  Take that people who say I am fat and out of shape.

                                                          Harbour Center Overlook

Let's go to how vacation began though, shall we?  I was scheduled to leave Pittsburgh @ 5:30 on Monday, so I figured I could put in a half day at work, then catch a bus from town to the airport and still have plenty of time to catch my flight.    I needn't have worried, security was a piece of cake, I figured out the boarding pass stuff without any assistance. Given this was my first ever time on a plane, I thought I did very well in that regard.   It should be noted that I am very much afraid of heights, so climbing aboard something that was going to be thousands of feet in the air should have been an issue, but it wasn't.  I was even stuck with the window seat on my way to Chicago ( my first layover) which didn't even raise a slight concern on my part.  A plane is like driving without someone playing shitty music on the radio to ruin the trip.

Landing in Chicago started the temporal vortex thing, where I was in the air and only lost an hour of time, it was 6:30 in Chicago when we landed.  I was spoiled in Chicago, my boarding gate was two gates away from where my arrival gate was.  I had about an hour downtime, so I read some of my book, little did I realize how little reading time I would get on this trip. On the second plane, this one to Vancouver, I slept a good chunk of the flight, I was out late Sunday bowling with some co workers, then went back to my place to pack, then got up early to go to work.  Besides, I had flown before, I was a veteran at this now, sleeping on the plane seemed to make perfect sense.  Before we left the captain announced that there would be turbulence going into Vancouver, so I figured if the plane gets all herky jerky, we must be close.  If things go bad and the plane crashes and I somehow survive the crash, I should be able to figure out the rest if the way there.  Though if the plane crashed in Canada, I imagine some one would have picked me up and drove me to my destination.  Yes, they are that polite, more on that later.

So the plane does its hokey pokey nonsense outside of Vancouver International, I wake up, disappointed that it was dark outside, I had watched some YouTube videos on Vancouver prior to going (any of my Facebook friends know I have been all Vancouver all the time over there) and the scenes of passing by the mountains before landing are gorgeous.  But it was dark, so couldn't see them.

On the flight you are given a declaration card, just stuff you are bringing with you, yada, yada, yada.  You need to fill it out for when you go through security there.  Security there is nothing like security here, pretty much an in and out process.  Lo and behold their process must work as I don't see Canada inundated with terrorist attacks.  If anything Vancouver was more like the CMU campus as they have a large Asian population.  The airport was cool too, it was almost themed.  I would say a Native American theme, showing my American ignorance, but at the same time being technically correct.  It reflected back to the earliest people's that were settled in the Vancouver region, so lots of totem poles, and the shops in the concourse were done up like the earliest houses and what not.  It was was cool.  If I had to rank the airports I visited on the trip it would be 1) Vancouver, 2) Pittsburgh, 3) O Hare, 4) La Guardia and 5) Pearson (Toronto).

Because of that temporal vortex thingy, I left Pittsburgh at 5:30 and was on the ground in Vancouver at 10:30.  Because I did my homework prior, and contacted my hotel for some tips and hints, I knew I could catch a subway at the airport and get off about a ten minute walk from my hotel.  So I meandered through the airport after clearing security and found the subway platform, where they had a terminal much like our connect card terminal here, but standing on the platform was a gentleman to help people who, like me, didn't know what the hell they were doing. It was very Canadian of them.  I say that jokingly, but everyone there was so nice, at least the ones who were trying to be helpful that the kindness almost overwhelms you.  Hell even the buses that have stopped running say "Sorry, out of service" on them, as opposed to here where it has some garage nonsense printed on the top as it blows by you. But he explained how I get a subway ticket from the machine, which stop I was to get off ( City Center) making the whole process anti nerve wracking and saving me $20 in the process.   Hop a subway, 20 minutes later I am downtown on Granville Street.  Now I know my hotel is on Robson, and those two streets intersect, so I am thinking all I have to do is all up this street, hang a turn and I am done.  My local geography wasn't up to snuff though, I realized I was walking the wrong way down Granville, got myself turned around and started walking the wrong way down Robson at that intersection as well.  Both of those streets are very busy, even at night, with businesses bustling with customers and what not.  Nonetheless, I managed to find my hotel, grabbed my key card as it is a hotel/condo, key cards are so you only access the places you are permitted to go.  For me that would be the gym, pool, sauna, and laundry on two and my room (313) on three.
                                                                            The hotel
I found a Tim Hortons near my hotel, it was open 24/7 so I dropped my stuff in my room, walked down the street and went to get a coffee and something to eat, I hadn't eaten since the airport in Pittsburgh.  So I got a chocolate chip muffin and a coffee with two sugars.  Apparently I did not make the coffee order clear enough, because they made me a "double, double", that's two cream, two sugars in Canada speak.  Just as well, it was delicious that way and the "double, double" became my go to beverage for the rest of my stay.  I went back to my hotel room to call it a day, with the time change I had been up for about 20 straight hours and I wanted to hit the ground running on my exploring in the morning.

So Tuesday morning I wake up, the skies start off kind of grayish and I think I will start by walking over to the Telus Science Center, just to take some pictures and get out and about, which is when the first realization hit me.  If you picture downtown Vancouver as a rectangle, the top and bottom of the rectangle would be bodies of water, on top would be Coal Harbour, on bottom would be False Creek which empties into English Bay.  The left end of the rectangle would be where the two meet, so say hello to the Burrard Sound.  That end of the rectangle would be Stanley Park, a huge park that has trails, an aquarium, a couple of beaches and lookouts, a lagoon a trail (the Seawall) which goes all the way around it with a bike and pedestrian trail (two lanes, one for each).  Beyond Cole Harbour is a line of mountains, including Grouse Mountain, so if you are into skiing or snowboarding or what not, it is literally like 10 minutes from downtown.  False Creek, on he bottom of our rectangle, pretty much ends at the end of downtown, and the Telus Center sits right there on the water.  As I am walking toward Telus. I look off to the north beyond Coal Harbour and that is when I realized how close the mountains actually were, they were tall enough that they were being obscured by the clouds.  It is a weird feeling seeing two different climates so close together, in town you have cherry blossoms blooming, off to the north you see snow on the tops of the hills, when they aren't being blocked by clouds.

If definitely left a visual impression on me, again Facebook peeps know this because I must have posted like 100 pics or so from vacation over there.  I might sneak a few in here yet, don't know.

You see, these blogs of mine are an evolving sort of thing, I never know where I am going or what I am going to write.  I did get the trip to the airport done, so I am out of Canadian money, save for some coins I have been giving out as souvenirs.  You see, they don't print one and two dollar bills, those are coins as well.   And forget about pennies.  While you can still use them in Canada, they no longer give them as change, it is all round to the nearest nickel now.

Anyway, back to our geography lesson, when viewing downtown Vancouver like a rectangle, to the north you have the mountains but between them and Coal Harbour is North Vancouver and Londons Quay, a waterfront type shopping area and the home of one of the two Seabus terminals.  The Seabus runs between downtown and North Vancouver.    Off of the upper right corner of the rectangle would be Chinatown, and one of the seedier areas of town along Hastings Street.

Wow did I lose focus there, I started with a morning walk and it turned in a geography lesson.  The geography thing was good for me though, it gave me an idea of where I was all the time.  If I could see something like the Harbor Center overlook, I knew I could find my way back to my hotel, so things like that and BC Place helped keep me oriented whilst I was on my walkabouts.  As I was saying I walked over in the vicinity of the Science Center and thought about going in, but passed on it.  I am an American after all, we frown on all things math and science.  Perhaps if it would have been the Telus Creationism Center I would have been more compelled to give it a look see.  Instead I walked back into town, made my way to the IGA I spotted on my way to the hotel and did some grocery shopping for my hotel room.  You can tell I am not in Pittsburgh because I said downtown and grocery store in the the same breath.  Not that I had a kitchen in my room, but I did have a mini fridge and microwave, and what kind of vacation would it be if I spent my entire time in restaurants.  I finished my shopping and walked back to my hotel for lunch, a pre made rice and chicken dish from IGA that I slapped into ye olde microwave, and to rest my tootsies for a bit, my first walk ended up being over 3 miles.  And I still wanted to go to Stanley Park yet, which was on the other side of downtown.  I wanted to see if I could walk the entire sea wall in the park, little did I realize how much of a challenge that would be.

After eating and resting I slapped on some shoes and went to tackle the Sea wall challenge.  Little did I realize that from my hotel, that walk around the park and back to my hotel would be 12 miles.  Fuck that park is huge.  I didn't even venture into the heart of it to check out the lagoon or the aquarium, just walked around the edge of it.  It was way scenic.  It was the best decision I made on the entire trip there.  I would follow it up with my worst.

Walking back across downtown, I found my street (Robson) and began the 10+ block walk back to my hotel.  Robson is lined with shops from end to end, usually stacked on top of each other as downtown space is so limited everyone builds up as opposed to out.  So places like Red Robin and Best Buy are on the second floor of buildings on Robson.  As I am walking down the street I walked by one of those Estée Lauder type cosmetic boutiques and a female on the street handing out little foil sample packets.  She offered me one, I figured it would make a cute souvenir or something from my trip.  She invited me into the shop, asked my name, what types of products does my wife use ( not married ), she introduced herself as Emma, originally from Ireland (she hadn't lost the accent yet, which was way cool) and we have the following conversation,

Emma: So, what types of products do you use on your skin?
Me: None
Emma: Really, why not?
Me: Because I am a guy.

She proceeds to put some exfoliating stuff on the back of my hand and rubs it in, and it looks like something is coming off, but that could be due to the fact I was sweating, after all I just walked 12 fucking miles.  After rubbing some of this into the back of my hand and seeing some combination of sweat, dead skin and exfoliantor (an under appreciated Depeche Mode album, lol) the conversation continued.....

Emma:  What kind of moisturizer do you use after you shower?
Me: None.
Emma: (looking at me incredulously as if I had broken a commandment).  Why not?
Me: Because I am a guy.

She then rubs some of that on me too and asks how much I thought those products were worth.  I don't know Canadian cosmetic prices ( or American for that matter) so I guessed $75.  I finally caved in and bought some stuff before the sirens' call of her sexy voice kept me in that shop for the rest of vacation, possibly breaking some commandments in the process.  I blew like $150 on something I didn't need and will give away back here at home, but I am a sucker for a sexy voice.

I get back to my hotel room, my makeup in tow, eat some things in my hotel room that I picked up at IGA, watched some curling on TV and called it a night.

Wednesday morning I get up, fairly confident in how I navigated the city on Tuesday that if I went anywhere I could find my way back to the hotel.  And I had another place in town I wanted to check out, Granville Island, which is an island in False Creek, and is a combination art community and shopping district.  Plus they had the coolest houseboats on the water, they were more an actual house than boat.  In fact the only reason they could even be called boats was that they were on the water and tied to shore.  They did not look like the type of watercraft you would take sailing anywhere.    Still it was a neat little area, even if I had some trouble finding my way down to the island itself.  I did see a storefront for Ten Thousand Villages, which used to be a sponsor of the Lynn Cullen show way back in my radio days.  I had no idea they were a chain, let alone in the US and Canada, so I inadvertently learned me something on this walk.  It drizzled rain most of the day, so I didn't want to spend my day shopping and dragging bags back to the hotel in the rain.  So after making a loop around Granville Island, I found my way back up to the Granville Bridge and meandered my way back to my hotel.

                                                       Houseboats?  We don't need no stinking houseboats.

I got back to my room, after stopping for lunch at Japadog (Japanese styled hot dogs), and dried off.  While there I realized that there was a spot in my itinerary that I wanted to check out that I had completely forgotten about, The Storm Crow Tavern.  It is jokingly referred to as a geek bar, in part because it is themed after sci fi movies and  games.  It seemed like the perfect place for me.  So I look up the address on the Internet, find it on a map of Vancouver and jot down some directions for later, get dried off from being out in the rain and make my way to the Harbour Center Overlook, and the Sun Yat-sen Garden.  Plus I stopped to pick up some post cards to mail out.  The Post Office was right around the corner, so mailing them was no problem.  Nor was getting them, the Vancouver Public Library is like a complex, on one half is the library itsel, the other half has a couple of coffee shops, a restaurant, and a gift shop or two.  And the library was a stones throw from my hotel.  So on my way back to the hotel I grabbed a few postcards and a pen, went up to my room and filled them out and realized it was just about dinner time.  I had my directions to the Storm Crow Tavern, my walking legs seemed to be up to snuff, so I figured I would venture out and try to find it.  I knew the street it was on, Commercial, ran perpendicular to Robson, but it was in a easterly direction, in an area of the city I hadn't explored yet, beyond BC Place and Rogers Arena.  I figure if I get around those building and find a street that runs parallel to Robson on the other side of the arenas, as long as I keep the straight line thing going I should walk into Commercial at some point.  So I start walking, next I know it starts raining again, a cold rain, one that is dropping snow in the mountains outside the city.  I am thinking it can't be that far, I will tough it out.  I pass some street names I recognize from looking online at the directions, I pass another Tim Hortons, wondering if I should go in and get a double, double and try to warm up, decide against it, it can't be that far.  I keep walking, I get about three miles from the hotel, when the rain was just too much, so I turned around and headed back to the hotel.  I get back, get out of my wet clothes and open the closet to pull out the complimentary robe I was given.  I look and there leaning against the right wall of the closet was a complimentary umbrella.

To make matters worse, I hop on my computer, to plan the next day, which would involve Vancouver public transit to check out Capilano and Grouse Mountain and how to get to and fro. It looked pretty easy, I could catch a bus right beside the post office which went right to Capilano and I could catch another bus at Capilano that went right to Grouse Mountain.  This was looking easier than I thought.  Next I checked to see how close I was to getting to Storm Crow Tavern before I turned around due to the elements, I was about a block away.  I didn't pass it, I just didn't walk far enough.  Another thing to do now Thursday and my last day in Vancouver was looking to be a pretty busy one.
                                                                                Capilano Suspension Bridge
I get up Thursday morning, make my way to the subway station so I could go to the Translink terminal and get my all day pass for public transit that day.  It ended up being 14.75, 9.75 for the pass and a $5 charge for getting the reloadable card.  I go to the bus stop right near the post office and one of those apologizing buses stopped (Sorry, out of service) which was only on there because he was on a timed layover until the next run, about 5 minutes later I boarded and headed of to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.  It is host to the world's longest suspension bridge, 500 feet long with a 240 drop to the Capilano River below.  And me with a fear of heights.  Walking across the suspension bridge wasn't too bad, on the other side of the canyon was a nature walk and a tree top walk, which is basically tree stand like platforms connected by a series of small suspension bridges.  Coming back out of the park though, recrossing the bridge was a different matter, the bridge was swaying a bit, some idiot was jumping on it and while I was trying to get across as fast as I could with people coming and going both ways, an Asian man decided this would be the perfect time to bust out his selfie stick in the middle of the bridge and take pictures.  I wanted to snatch the stick from his hands, use it as a weapon and impale the jumping moron and toss his body over the side, into the canyon below.  But when in Canada, I can't go being all American and stuff, so I tempered myself and hoped the bridge would collapse with me in the middle of it.  Upon reaching solid ground I went and checked out the gift shop, picked up a couple of things and headed out of the park to the bus stop across the street and waited for the 248 Grouse Mountain.  The thing about Grouse Mountain is that it is like our Mount Washington but much taller.  When you get to the top you should be able to overlook all of Vancouver below.  To get to the top of it, you have to ride cable cars, or you can walk up by taking the hiking trail when it is in season, but given there is still snow on the mountain it wasn't in season.  So the cable car route was the only option, the weather was much like the day before, all gray and drizzly, at least until we got half way up the mountain, where it was snowing, not raining.  The cable cars passed though the cloud layer, meaning when I got to the top I couldn't see the city below.  So I walked around the Chalet at the top for a bit, took some pictures of skiers and snowboarders ( the slopes were still open, they had gotten 2 inches of snow the night before, probably while I was walking around in the rain in the city).  I got a couple of shots of the city on the way back down the mountain from the cable car, before once again returning to solid ground.

                                                            Going up?  Grouse Mountain

                                                               Atop of Grouse Mountain
                                                           The Chalet on Grouse Mountain
                                                Vancouver (coming down Grouse Mountain)

I waited for the bus to return so I could go back down to Capilano and transfer buses and get back into the city.  One of the things Vancouver has in common with Pittsburgh is lots of road construction and as a result the bus was detoured coming back towards town.  This was one of those times where all of my prep vacation planning paid off, because I knew there was a ferry that ran from North Vancouver across Coal Harbour, so I could stay on this bus as long as I knew it was heading down the mountain toward the water, hop off and walk down to Lonsdale Quay, a shopping area on the boardwalk of the north shore, and catch a ferry across the harbor.  Which is exactly what I did, upon crossing the harbor I was able to find my way back to my hotel, which was maybe 6 blocks from the ferry dock. Once I got back to the hotel, with a double double in my hands, I hopped back onto my computer to find which bus would get me to the Storm Crow Tavern.  It ended up being the 20 Victoria, which stopped a block down Robson from my hotel.
                                                                    Storm Crow Tavern

                                                    The decider of my drinking fate

                                             Dining with Cthulhu

So I rested my tootsies for a minute, then went out to catch a bus to the Storm Crow Tavern.  It was as cool as I thought it would be, there were pictures on the walls of different actors that starred in sci fi movies that were signed, there was replica D&D weapons hanging everywhere.  The waitress brought my menu and asked if I knew what I was having yet, I said no but I would need the 20 sided die.  You see, they have a shot menu, all shots are $6 on the menu, or you could roll the die for a random shot for $5.  If you got a auto hit in D&D terms ( a 20) you got a double sized shot and you got to keep the shot glass as a souvenir.   So my iced tea and the die arrived, I opted for a beef stew they were serving ( I was tempted to get the Romulan Bird of Prey wings though)  and I rolled the die and got a 19.  So close.  I had to suffer through a shot of goldschlager and sambuca.  I ate my stew, which was delicious by the way, and finished two iced teas then asked for the die again.  An 11, not even close.  Goldschlager and jägermeister.  I am not a fan of the jägermeister, haven't been since my days working at the Attic, when it was on tap on the counter.  But when in Canada, due as the Canadians, so I fired back the shot, got my check and asked if I could buy a shirt, which I could, they had store merch on sale, and paid for everything and left.  I could have walked back to the hotel, now that I knew where I was compared to the previous day, but my flight was leaving at 6:45 am the next morning, and I didn't want to be slightly buzzed walking about Vancouver hours before I was leaving.  In retrospect it would have been the better choice.  Instead I hopped a 20 Victoria back the way whence I came, I got on the bus and there was somebody sitting on the bus who looked like they were going through a heroin withdrawal, they couldn't keep their head up in the seat.  Then another lady equally strung out got on the bus and I don't know how but the strung out guy smacked into her, even though she sat on the other side of the aisle.  She looked like she was going to burst into tears.  This was enough to creep me out, I pulled the cord to get off the bus, on my way off I asked the bus driver if that guy was going to be okay (how very Canadian of me, I know), the bus driver informed me he was getting off at the next stop.   I was hoping I wasn't going to see strung out Canadian guy walking back to my hotel from there, but that was the least of my concerns as it turned out.  By getting off on East Hastings Street, I picked what appeared to be the homeless and strung out capital of Canada to walk through.  Literally a line of shit bars, boarded up buildings and people milling about with their entire life possessions jammed into available crevices in front of and between the buildings.  It was not the safest neighborhood by any stretch, but it was within walking distance of my hotel.  Then again, after the walk around Stanley Park the other day, pretty much all of Vancouver could be considered with walking distance for me.

I made it back to the hotel, put my things down, then left again and walked down Robson to go shopping.  I didn't need anything per se, but my last hours in Vancouver I didn't want to spend in my hotel room, I wanted to be out amongst people, taking in the energy of the place as much as possible.  What can I say, Vancouver fits my personality like a glove, a downtown that is bustly but not overcrowded, nature, like real nature just minutes away, beaches, and a hint of ocean in the air.  Eventually I made it back to the hotel, packed my things and tried unsuccessfully to sleep, my flight was leaving Vancouver at 6:45 in the morning, so I packed my things, thought about everything I would miss about that place,and called down to the front desk for a cab at 4am.  I got down to checkout as my cab arrived (take that shitty Pittsburgh Yellow cab service), signed my waiver that I didn't break Canada or my hotel room too much, walked outside and climbed into my cab for the trip home.

I get to the Vancouver airport, go to a self serve terminal to get my boarding pass, it printed two of my passes, Vancouver to Toronto, and Toronto to NYC.  Not sure why they could print my third there, NYC to Pittsburgh, guess it was because they can't print domestic boarding passes for the United States in Canada, whatever.  I would just have to find a kiosk in Toronto or NYC and do it.  I  ordered my last Vancouverean double double from Tim Hortons at the airport, thinking I will eat something when I land in Toronto.  Piece of advice, if you can ever avoid Pearson airport in Toronto, do it.  Go any place else.  Really.   I landed and went looking for my gate, the walk to it was as long as some of the walks I took in Vancouver.  I get to the security area which was significant given I was going from one country to another from Toronto.  The security people for the US gates were some of the rudest I encountered on my entire trip.  After finally clearing security and getting to the gate area for departures to the US, it is a cubby hole area, no access to any concourses, just three vending machines.  The plane starts boarding at its scheduled departure time, so fall another half hour behind in the temporal vortex of already losing three hours coming back from the left coast. I figure maybe I will have time to eat in NYC, but no.  I had to get my boarding pass to go from NYC to Pittsburgh, which apparently means you get to go back through security again, or the TSA just likes feeling up my body, so they did it twice, once in Toronto and again in NYC, you know, in case I conjured up some bomb parts while I was on a fucking plane.  Your government hard at work kids.

I clear security a second time, stop and grab a muffin and coffee, and I am told I have to go catch a shuttle by gate D2 or some such nonsense.  So I go stand in a  line and wait for shuttle bus to drive me out across the tarmac to my gate, which is in a completely different building.  It felt like when they were remodeling my high school and some classes were being held in mobile homes alongside the school.  I am dropped off at a new building, I find my gate in there, I get on the Pittsburgh bound plane and wait.  Another plane that has 20 or so of our passengers just landed, we need for them to deplane, get to our gate and replane.  At this point I was ready to leave them behind, it was 8 pm already, though only 5 pm Vancouver time, and how I wished I were still there.  I will say everyone I met in NYC was very nice, far better than what one would be led to believe and certainly nicer than those I left behind in Toronto.

Finally I get back to Pittsburgh around 10 pm or do, go to get rid of my remaining Canadian currency and the exchange place is closed, as is the airport mall so fuck eating. I get home and order some Papa Johns.  All I can say is I can't wait to get back there, I am hoping for next summer, there is still so much I want to do, take a Seaplane and do a  flyover of the city, going on a whale spotting boat, spend some time in the beaches when the weather is more permissible for such a behavior, go visit Eye of the Wind.  I feel like I just scratched the surface.  Vancouver feels more like home to me them home does.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

B365V3.9 - Lasts

Units of measurement, we are presumably all familiar with them. Whether it be years, feet, tablespoons, ounces we all use them to quantitatively analyze things. Such is the case in my life the last few days as well, by my preferred unit of measurement is lasts. What are lasts you may ask, simply put the last time I will do certain things before vacation, such as this is going to be my last blog entry. Not forever, you kids aren't that lucky, but last one before vacation. Likewise I am standing outside Pamela's waiting for breakfast (30-45 minute wait this morning), hoping to partake of my last weekend breakfast before vacation. This quantitative thing is helping me with one of my personal problems, which I will call "initial inertia", ( try typing that three times fast) which you may call lethargy or laziness or what you will, but it is the impetus to go and do things. It should come as very little surprise that I have an anti social butterfly thing going on, a desire to not hang out in group like functions because I don't like most people all that much, but recently in my #itsmyyear mindset I have been a little more social than in years past. As well as booking my trip to Vancouver (starting tomorrow at a blog near you) tonight will be my second social foray into bowling this year, I have went to see Coheed and Cambria play and I have booked myself two more shows, Living Colour in April and Motion City Soundtrack in June (which I call an early birthday present to myself).

Speaking of which, you have less than three months to shower me with gifts for said occasion so get cracking. I have one half day of work left before vacation, or in Matt measurements, one last day of work. Technically I could not go in at all, but my plane doesn't leave until 5:30 or so, so I thought I would be helpful before I left. Look at that, I made it through the Soviet style breadline and got a table, good thing I had my blog to pass the time. I am of course going with the Matt staple at Pamela's, chorizo and eggs. Yummy, my last chorizo and eggs before vacation.

 Back from breakfast, I spent the time reading a book that I got from Amazon the other day, it is a biography on one of my favorite bands The Replacements. How I got the book is a story unto itself. I saw that it was on available the other day on my Facebook newsfeed. Realizing I was going to go shopping for vacation clothes, which for me is more jeans and t shirts, I took my change jar with me and stopped at Giant Eagle, dumped my change into the Coinstar machine, where they count your money at no fee if you purchase a gift card, and opted for the Amazon gift card selection. Then I proceeded to walk down the strip mall and ducked into Barnes & Noble and bought a coffee. I proceeded to sit there and drink my coffee, while adding the gift card to my Amazon account, then purchased my two books from Amazon, in hopes they would arrive prior to vacation. I thus became one of the only people to go to a bookstore to buy books from another bookstore. My luck seemingly ran out when I was notified that I should receive my books between the 22nd of March and the end of the month. That would be unlucky because my flight is on the 21st and I was hoping to have some new reading material for the long flights between Pittsburgh and Vancouver. I say flights because I have one layover on the way there (Chicago) and two on the way back (Toronto, New York City). But Friday my books arrived at work and Amazon's missed estimate works to my benefit. I have started the book on The Replacements, but only like 30 or so pages in. I still haven't fixed the bookshelf app to the right yet, since Shelfari is now gone the way of the dinosaurs, extinct. I will be back here, probably during my vacation, just to annoy you kids a little bit more but for now I am putting a wrap on this.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Penguins @ Devils 03/06/2016

Pittsburgh 6  New Jersey 1

Bryan Rust - G, 2 A

Evgeni Malkin has 4 goals in his last 4 games

Flames @ Penguins 03/05/2016

Calgary 4  Pittsburgh 2

Sidney Crosby - G, A

Crosby has 7 points in his last 4 games

NY Rangers @ Penguins 03/03/2016

Pittsburgh 4  NY Rangers 1

Evgeni Malkin - G, 2 A

Marc-Andre Fleury is one win away from 350 for his career

Penguins @ Capitals 03/01/2016

Washington 3  Pittsburgh 2

Evgeni Malkin, Patric Hornqvist - G each

Pittsburgh blew a 2-0 lead

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Coyotes @ Penguins 02/29/2016

Pittsburgh 6  Arizona 0

Patric Hornqvist - 3 G, A

Pittsburgh's top line had 9 points in the contest

Jets @ Penguins 02/27/2016

Pittsburgh 4  Winnipeg 1

Carl Hagelin - 2 G

Evgeni Malkin returned to the lineup after missing 10 games with an injury

Penguins @ Bruins 02/24/2016

Boston 5  Pittsburgh 1

Tom Kuhnhackl - G

Oscar Sundqvist recorded his first NHL assist in the loss

Penguins @ Sabres 02/21/2016

Pittsburgh 4  Buffalo 3

Kris Letang - 3 A

Scott Wilson has a goal in three straight games

Lightning @ Penguins 02/20/2016

Tampa Bay 4  Pittsburgh 2

Tom Kuhnhackl, Scott Wilson - G each

Kuhnhackl's goal was his first in the NHL

Red Wings @ Penguins 02/18/2016

Pittsburgh 6  Detroit 3 

Phil Kessel - 2 G

5 different Penguins registered 2 points in the win, Kessel, Patric Hornqvist (2A), Matt Cullen (G,A), Chris Kunitz (2A) and Sidney Crosby (G,A)

Penguins @ Panthers 02/15/2016

Florida 2  Pittsburgh 1  SO

Chris Kunitz - G

6th straight game the Penguins have played without Evgeni Malkin

Penguins @ Hurricanes 02/12/2016

Pittsburgh 2  Carolina 1  SO

Marc-Andre Fleury - 29 SV

Pittsburgh has won 8 of their last 10 games

NY Rangers @ Penguins 02/10/2016

NY Rangers 3  Pittsburgh 0 

Marc-Andre Fleury - 19 SV

Pittsburgh outshot NY  34-22

Ducks @ Penguins 02/08/2016

Pittsburgh 6  Anaheim 2

Sidney Crosby - 2 G, 2 A

Crosby has scored a goal in a career best 7 straight games

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