Wednesday, October 29, 2008

There Is Pretty And There Is Great

Being a hardcore hockey fan, I love most everything about the game. Last week I was watching a really good game between the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres. Both teams competed well and there were several good goals. There was one goal that really stood out to me. It wasn't the highlight reel goal by Buffalo forward Drew Stafford that forced O.T, or the shifty S.O. goal scored by his teammate to win it. It was a quick wrist shot from the slot by Boston forward Phil Kessel. Growing up watching hockey in St. Louis, I saw a lot of similar goals by one of the greatest goal scorers in the history of the game, Brett Hull. When I saw Kessel rip off that shot, I thought, "Wow, that was Hull. This kid might be as good as advertised." Most goals that are scored in the league today seem to be off of great passes, highlight reel moves, deflections or rebounds. I never see a great, unscreened wrister from the slot beat a goalie anymore. We have a kid in St. Louis that can do it every so often (Lee Stempniak), but he is not a pure goal scorer. I hope for the sake of every kid growing up watching Boston (or the NHL for that matter) that Phil Kessel can be that guy. It will make watching those simple looking, really hard to score goals, something to be appreciated again.

Today I read this story. I am just glad that other people can appreciate the plays that aren't flashy, but are just pure hockey at it's finest.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wedding Speech

This weekend I have the honor of being one of my friend's best man. I have been wrestling with the speech for a few months. Over the last week of so I have come up with an outline. I just need some opinions before I give this speech, other than the one from his future bride who said, "Just remember his grandma is going to be there." I think she has a bad opinion of my form of tact. That, I guess comes from knowing me for a while. I know there is a time and place...

Anyway, here is my outline so far, let me know what you think.

Introduction
-"In the relatively short time we have known each other, John and I have been through quite a bit..."
-Touch on Yeti in a van. (first time I met him, it was to borrow his work vehicle on a trip to St. Louis when I was living in Philly. Seriously folks, it smelled like I would imagine a yeti smell if they truly exist)
-Touch on next seeing him in Philly. (after the trip home and borrowing his van, the next time I saw him was when he had to come up to Philly to work. I let him into my personal circle and took him out to dinner at one of my favorite places for a true Philly Cheesesteak. I love Pudge's.)
-Touch on Inverted Nipple. (he has one nipple that never comes out to play. I only know this because we spent so much time on work road trips together. I am one of a very, very select few who knows this about him, until I give the speech, of course.)
-Helping me through a tough time @ Hooters in Biloxi, MS
-Our waitress never left the table despite John's best attempts at being "John".
-Before you Charity, John was very much a loner.(seriously, I am one of his best friends. before me it was mainly just his family that he would keep in touch with or care to talk to. I don't know how I managed to get to him. He is a great guy, but a lot of people would write him off because he is very closed off for a while.)

Coconut
-Hard Hairy Outer Shell. (This is a reference to him being so hard to get through to. Also has double meaning. He is a hairy Italian man. I crack myself up.)
-Soft Milky Center. (Once you get through that hard hairy outer shell you get to the good stuff. One of the coolest people I know. He is funny, and very sincere, once you finally do get to that part.)

Poem
-Only Partially Written. (The poem may or may not be part of the speech. I won't throw something at them that is not good by my standards and I have only come up with 2 lines so far. It's less than a week away. We'll see if I can get it done.)

Toast

Monday, October 27, 2008

It's Still Early

I'm having a Garfieldesque Monday morning. I should have stayed in bed. I had a late hockey game last night, did not get home until after midnight and had to be up at 5:30. I never fall asleep right after I get home from hockey, it takes an hour or two. So far, I left my work keys, I.D. and proxy card (allows me into certain areas and elevators) at home. I get to look forward to clearing my parents' main sewage line when I get off work this afternoon. And, in 2 hours at work, it has taken me almost the whole 2 hours to do something that normally takes me about 20 minutes because people have left every area I stock a complete mess and I had to clean them before I could inventory them. I normally have to do a little bit of straightening, but It was ridiculous this morning. Once I was ready to start taking supplies to the floors, I could not track down my cart. There are a finite number of places it can be, and after checking most of them and having my team members help, I am going to have to make due with something else.

I love bad days. They seem to get everything out of the way at once. At least I get to start my Principles of Finance class tomorrow night. It says something, that I am actually looking forward to that occurrence as a "good" thing. Please end, Monday.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Good Ol' Family Fun

I want to live in Sweden. Too funny.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

All Mixed Up

Today, while excepting a delivery from the UPS guy, I received a DHL box. I asked him if he had switched sides. To which he laughed and said he was wondering why someone would use a brand new DHL box to ship something UPS.

When I delivered the package to the lady who it was addressed to, she had trouble opening it. So, being chivalrous, I helped. Once we pryed the poor confused, stubborn box open, we found another package inside...

...A FedEx envelope!

Thank God that when she opened that one it was a golf shirt. If it would have been a U.S. Postal Service envelope I might have had to quit. Because, I don't think there would be anything else to accomplish here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Another Great Quote

Yesterday afternoon, after coaching, I was conversing with one of the other coaches. He is an older man. A pilot in his early 60's and very colorful. He was telling me about an old karate instructor he had while stationed in Hawaii a long time ago. This instructor told his students that confidence was the most important thing to have in any situation. I thought that the way he said it was brilliant and perfect.

"When defeat inevitable, run with confidence. Never lose confidence. Always be confident."
-Unknown Karate Instructor from Hawaii

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Work Wife

I was reading this article at work yesterday morning. When I finished reading it, I realized that of the 7 signs we both exhibited 6. So, I sent the article to her, just so she could be as freaked out by it as I was.

The one sign that we don't exhibit is knowing each others' eating habits. I think we have eaten lunch together once, and that was at a luncheon earlier this week for a co-worker who is leaving for a new job. I mentioned that in my email to her. She called and asked me, "How do I take my coffee?" I was thinking to myself that I don't think you drink coffee and answered, "I've never seen you drink coffee." Turns out it was a trick question. She doesn't drink coffee. Then we started asking more questions about each others' eating habits, just to see if we could guess. We kept guessing right. Kinda eerie.

I have several really close women friends at work, but I figured I'd add another rule to the work spouse signs. You cannot have a relationship outside of work with them. All of my other friendships would qualify, but I spend time with them outside of work. With this one, we have run into each other a few times, and I have met her husband and few of her friends, but only because we have crossed paths while we were all out separately.

The best part about my work wife is that she is brutally honest. I was dating a woman that we both worked with and my work wife did not like her at all (the woman didn't like her either). One of the times that we ran into each other outside of work was when I was on a date with this woman. We were eating dinner at a Brazillian restaraunt and I see this look in my dates eyes that said, "DAMNIT!" I turned around to see my work wife, her husband and two of their friends walking toward us. My work wife, not normally one to stand around and talk forever, took this time to stand at the edge of our table and talk nonstop for 20 minutes about nothing. God bless her, she only did it to bother my date, which over time did not work out anyway.

Do you have a work spouse?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Free Food, Free Beer, Free Game

I went to my first Blues game of the season last night. I got the tickets from one of my best friends who is a season ticket holder and could not go. My friend has been having problems receiving his tickets in a timely fashion over the last few seasons. They normally send them to him in big book of tickets. The last couple of years he has not received them on time and had to wait at will call for his tickets for the first few games. This year he didn't get them until after the home opener last week. When he finally did get them, it was just a huge bunch of tickets in an envelope. He had to go through and separate them and make sure he had every game. He didn't. He didn't have last night or tomorrow night's game. So, he called and raised hell with an account rep. He let them know that he was not going to be at last night's game and to leave the tickets in my name at will call, but that he would be at tomorrow's game.

Now to the good part. When my other friend and I arrived at will call to get our tickets, they handed us very nice upgrades. We ended up in the club section. This section has leather seats, all you can eat free food, all you can drink free beverages (beer, soda, water, hot chocolate) and you never have to leave your seats to get any of this because they deliver it to you. And, the two of us that went got to see the Blues win big. What a good evening. It cost me 75 cents in a parking meter and a gallon or two of gasoline. Doesn't get much better than that.

I love how they are kissing my friend's ass by giving me great seats. I just find myself wondering what sort of treatment I am going to miss out on by turning down his second seat for tomorrow's game. I already had plans that I couldn't cancel.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Still Don't Understand What She Wants

I received a phone call from one of the nurses this morning. She was asking me for several things and told me how she was cursing me under her breath when she realized that she did not have them. Then she asked how she should go about securing said necessary items. Jokingly, I told her that putting it a memo would suffice, since I didn't quite understand what she wanted. This is the "memo" that I received from her:

"F@#$ YOU, YOU F@#$ING F@#$.

This memo was brought to you by your favorite co-worker. You know, the one at the bottom of your list.
Have a great day, DOUCHE BAG."


When she handed it to me, I read it. I then looked at her and replied, "I hope this isn't asking me for what you need. That would be inappropriate at work." Thank God this woman is very pregnant and very slow because of it. I was able to escape the hand that was flying toward my face. She should know that sort of physical violence will not move her up the list (another story for another time) that she mentioned in her memo.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Control

Love Without Hope

Love without hope, as when the young bird-catcher
Swept off his tall hat to the Squire's own daughter,
So let the imprisoned larks escape and fly
Singing about her head, as she rode by.

-- Robert Graves

It is funny how I have run into several situations these last few days, either with my friends or via blog surfing, that have led me to hold even more firmly to one of my beliefs.

You can only control you.

In the poem above, the bird-catcher was willing to give up everything for love while the squire's daughter took it for granted and rode on. Love is not perfect, nor are the people involved. Whether they are your family, friends, or partners, you have no control over how they are going to act or react in any situations. They will only give what they are willing or able to give. Funny too, that even though we may not realize it, we are guilty of the same thing. We will only give what we are willing or able to give. Sometimes we surrender completely, other times they might. Most of the time we keep something for ourselves.

I do also believe that if both people in the relationship (again, it can be any type of relationship) don't give somewhat equally over time, that relationship will suffer for it. Over time, I have become more selfish in my pursuit of happiness and I have been happier for it. I don't know if this is a good thing. But, I have learned that no matter what I give, how much or how little, the situation is not in my control when there is more than just me involved. We are able to influence things, but ultimately, we are at the mercy of circumstance. Give what you can afford to give and the rest will come out in the wash. Over time, you will realize that your good relationships are doing the same things and the bad ones you can let go.

Sometimes it is okay to give everything and watch the squire's daughter ride away. At least then you know...

Monday, October 13, 2008

"My Feet Ten Feet Off Of Beale"...W/ A Kiddie Cup Full Of Beer

Memphis was fantastic. Two of my favorite people got married to each other. I met them both when I moved back to St. Louis, from Philadelphia. Back then they were just out of high school and working for my friend Joe. I really have trouble thinking that they are old enough, or ready to be married. But, they are. I just have to face facts. Everyone gets older and I am too.

After driving down Friday morning and checking in to the hotel, the Steph and I got dressed up and headed over to the chapel on the grounds of Graceland to watch Timmy and Jodie tie the knot. It was awesome...very short. I almost teared up. Those two are good together and I love em both. When we showed up we got to see one of our friends that has been living in Idaho for a few years. He seems happier then he was before he moved up there and he is also in great shape. The northwest is agreeing with him. After the wedding we all dispersed to await the beginning of the reception at the Hard Rock on Beale St.

I have to say, these guys did it right. They had an open bar. And, being on Beale Street, one has to drink. "When in Rome, " you know. Our waitress was awesome and kept me in the Miller Lite. I think I was double-fisting the booze for the whole two plus hours of the reception, and I wasn't the only one doing that at our table. For her troubles, our waitress was getting tipped handsomely, and I stole her a cupcake (the wedding cake was made up of tiers of cupcakes) that she had been eyeballing all night.

After the reception, when we were leaving the Hard Rock, they won't let people leave with glass bottles for safety reasons. So my friend Joe and I ended up with Hard Rock kiddie cups to pour our beer into them to leave the building. We headed over to the Hotel that most of the wedding party was staying at, right off Beale, where they could change. From there we went over to B.B. King's bar and had a drink and listened to some music. The beer I had was a Yuengling. It's from the oldest brewery in the United States. I was very surprised to be able to get one in this part of the country, as the only place I thought they were distributed was in the northeast. I love Yuengling and used to drink it when I lived in Philly. Just one more thing that made this trip even more worth it. By the time we finished our one drink, everyone was pretty much done. Most of us are getting older and just can't party like we used to.

The next morning, some of us headed back to the hotel off Beale to meet up with the newlyweds for lunch. Upon our arrival, we sat outside the front doors at some tables and were talking amongst ourselves, when a film crew started taking exterior shots. Pretty soon, Gene Simmons and his son walked out of the hotel to get filmed entering it. They were filming for an episode of Family Jewels. Turns out, Gene Simmons is pretty much a jerk. However the show's line producer was cool. We talked to her while they were filming.

Once everyone was ready to go, we headed back over to B.B. King's bar and had lunch, which was followed by a trip to Graceland for a tour. That was interesting, but, my God that man had horrible decorative tastes. I know it was the sixties and seventies, but ugh. I did dig the "Jungle Room" though. From there the Steph and I headed back to St. Louis. It was a great time. Pictures to follow, when I actually get them uploaded to my computer.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Crazy Is Fun/Memphis For A Day

Today, I was reminded that I should listen to what is going on around me a bit more than I do. I used to be great at it, but I guess I have just stopped doing it over the past few years. While working on one of the floors I overheard one of our residents asking someone what their name was. I hear, "What is your name?" followed by a pause. I turned around, because I did not know if she was addressing me. She wasn't. She was speaking to no one. That is not so weird where I work. The funny part is while I was turning around to see if she was asking me, she said, "You said it was the square root of what?" Her imaginary friends have weird names. I just wonder what it was the square root of.

After I finish typing this, I am going to bed. When I get up in tomorrow morning my sister and I will hop into the car and head to Memphis for our friends' wedding. They are getting married at Graceland, followed by a reception at the Hard Rock on Beale St. Then when we get up on Saturday, the bride has booked a tour at Graceland. Should be a blast, although I don't know how great a hungover tour of Graceland will be. Hopefully there will be pictures to follow.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

What Color Is Your Parachute

The "Golden Parachute". What a concept. Everyone is getting really pissed off about them. Guess what. We helped put them in place. Just like voting for public officials, when you buy a publicly traded stock, you are putting your confidence in that company. Mainly, you are placing your faith in the company's top officers and board. We knew these companies were overpaying their chief executives, but we bought the stock anyway. It was making us money. Now everything is in free fall, except those executives. They opened those golden chutes. Why didn't we mind that they were getting so much guaranteed money while we were making ours? Those contracts that they signed to get those huge payouts have been in effect before this financial crisis was visible to most of us.

What gets me, and this is an American problem, is how our legislators who are supposed to be "of the people, by the people and for the people" don't have to share in the social security mess that we are also in. I know that my government assisted retirement is not what I should be worrying about at a time like this. I should probably be more concerned with staying employed and making ends meet. But, I was reading an article about American retirement accounts losing a collective $2 trillion dollars, or roughly 20% of their value during the last year and a half.

During Congress's investigation of the financial meltdown, the House Education and Labor Committee got to hear about how our retirement funds lost all this value. There was a quote that really got under my skin. "Unlike Wall Street executives, America's families don't have a golden parachute to fall back on," said Rep. George Miller, the panel chairman. "It's clear that their retirement security may be one of the greatest casualties of this financial crisis." Hey Rep. Asshat, sir, why don't you say, "Unlike Wall Street executives and us (your elected officials)..." Remember, you aren't in the same boat with us American people either. Your parachute may not be golden, but under the separate system you guys set up so as not to rely on Social Security, you do receive an average of $60,972 per year at retirement. That is quite a bit more than Social Security pays out to most people. As of the year 2000 the average individual payout was roughly $10,200 per year. Unfortunately, that is the most recent figure I can find. I doubt it is much higher 8 years later.

My point is, maybe we should stop supporting companies that offer such lucrative payouts without performance. And, maybe just maybe, we should stop voting for people who don't care enough to reform a very broken system that effects those of us who are voting. There are still other problems in this country that need to be addressed. We need to come out of this crisis better than we are going into it. And I don't, for one second, believe that my representatives actually care about my retirement when theirs is assured to be comfortable. And Mr. Miller actually managed to sound indignant about someone else's golden parachute. That's funny.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

This Makes Me Happy And Sad

I love it when I get the e-mail from my ski resort telling me that they got their first snow. It's kinda bittersweet this year, though. I doubt I will get to go skiing at all this season, due to financial reasons. A friend of mine is planning a mini trip in February or March, out to Utah. If I can somehow wrangle up the money, I will go. Anyway, I love seeing it snow in the mountains. That means it's getting close to possible to go skiing.


Look at how deep that powder is. MMMMMMMMMMMM.


This was one of the first times I had gotten into trees with a fresh dump of powder. So much fun.


Taking a break up top, to take in the view, take a few pics with my phone and send them to friends.












This is what I get for making fun of my cousin when he kept falling early in the week. "Say cheese," he said while laughing hysterically.


See the "Sleeping Giant" off to the right of the gondola building. This place is my heaven on earth. There is seriously nothing like a great powder day, spent in the trees.







video

And here is a bit of video of me skiing. I never get much tape of me, since I do most of the shooting, myself. I have watched tape from the time I got back out on the slopes four years ago and then watched tape from every year since. It's amazing what one or two lessons a year has done for my form and ability. I guess I should get back to work on my papers, now.

Procrastination Is A Waste Of Time

But, I'm good at it. I am in the middle of typing up two papers for my two classes. I also have to put together a small presentation on one of the papers to give in class. However, I am blogging.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Weird Science

I had no idea that there was an award for "improbable", yet practical, scientific study. Then I read an article about the Ig Nobel Prize being bestowed on scientists studying things like armadillos changing history, cruchier sounding potato chips taste better, Coca Cola as an effective contraceptive (one study won the Ig Nobel by proving this true and another for proving the same thing false, using seperate methods) and my personal favorite from this year's awrds, strippers make more money while at their most fertile.

Wow, if science were this fun in school, I might have been a lot more involved.

Here are some of my favorite past winners (and a link to the complete list of past winners):

-1991- Education - J. Danforth Quayle, consumer of time and occupier of space (as well as the U.S. Vice President from 1989-93), for demonstrating, better than anyone else, the need for science education.
-1992- Art - Presented jointly to Jim Knowlton, modern Renaissance Man, for his classic anatomy poster "Penises of the Animal Kingdom," and to the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts, for encouraging Mr. Knowlton to extend his work in the form of a pop-up book.
-1993- Mathematics - Presented to Robert W. Faid of Greenville, South Carolina, farsighted and faithful seer of statistics, for calculating the exact odds (860,609,175,188, 282,100 to 1) that Mikhail Gorbachev is the Antichrist.
-1994- Medicine - Two prizes. First, to Patient X, formerly of the US Marine Corps, valiant victim of a venomous bite from his pet rattlesnake, for his determined use of electroshock therapy. At his own insistence, automobile spark plug wires were attached to his lip, and the car engine revved to 3,000 rpm for five minutes. Second, to Dr. Richard C. Dart of the Rocky Mountain Poison Center and Dr. Richard A. Gustafson of The University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, for their well-grounded medical report, "Failure of Electric Shock Treatment for Rattlesnake Envenomation."
-1995- Literature - Presented to David B. Busch and James R. Starling, of Madison, Wisconsin, for their research report, "Rectal Foreign Bodies: Case Reports and a Comprehensive Review of the World's Literature." The citations include reports of, among other items: seven light bulbs; a knife sharpener; two flashlights; a wire spring; a snuff box; an oil can with potato stopper; eleven different forms of fruits, vegetables and other foodstuffs; a jeweler's saw; a frozen pig's tail; a tin cup; a beer glass; and one patient's remarkable ensemble collection consisting of spectacles, a suitcase key, a tobacco pouch and a magazine.
-1996- Public Health - Presented to Ellen Kleist of Nuuk, Greenland and Harald Moi of Oslo, Norway, for their cautionary medical report "Transmission of Gonorrhea Through an Inflatable Doll."
-1997- Meteorology - Presented to Bernard Vonnegut of the State University of New York at Albany, for his report, "Chicken Plucking as Measure of Tornado Wind Speed."
-1998- Statistics - Presented to Jerald Bain of Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto and Kerry Siminoski of the University of Alberta, for their carefully measured report, "The Relationship Among Height, Penile Length, and Foot Size".
-1999- Managed Health Care - Presented to George Blonsky and Charlotte Blonsky of New York City and San Jose, California, for inventing a device (U.S. Patent 3,216,423) to aid women in giving birth: the woman is strapped onto a circular table, and the table is then rotated at high speed.
-2000- Computer Science - Presented to Chris Niswander of Tucson, Arizona, for inventing PawSense, software that detects when a cat is walking across your computer keyboard.
-2001- Astrophysics - Presented to Dr. Jack Van Impe and Rexella Van Impe of Jack Van Impe Ministries, Rochester Hills, Michigan, for their discovery that black holes fulfill all the technical requirements for the location of Hell.
-2002- Interdisciplinary Research - Presented to Karl Kruszelnicki of The University of Sydney, Australia, for performing a comprehensive survey of human belly button fluff - who gets it, when, what color, and how much.
-2003- Interdisciplinary Research - Presented to Stefano Ghirlanda, Liselotte Jansson, and Magnus Enquis of Stockholm University, for their inevitable report, "Chickens Prefer Beautiful Humans."
-2004- Economics - Presented to the Vatican, for outsourcing prayers to India.
-2005- Agricultural History - Presented to James Watson of Massey University, New Zealand, for his scholarly study, "The Significance of Mr. Richard Buckley's Exploding Trousers".
& (because these two were both so good)
-2005- Fluid Dynamics - Presented jointly to Victor Benno Meyer-Rochow of International University Bremen, Germany and the University of Oulu, Finland; and József Gál of Loránd Eötvös University, Hungary, for using basic principles of physics to calculate the pressure that builds up inside a penguin, as detailed in their report "Pressures Produced When Penguins Poo — Calculations on Avian Defecation".
-2006- Nutrition - Wasmia Al-Houty of Kuwait University and Faten Al-Mussalam of the Kuwait Environment Public Authority, for showing that dung beetles are finicky eaters.
And, finally we reach last years winners, of which I could not choose just one or even two:
-2007- Aviation- Patricia V. Agostino, Santiago A. Plano and Diego A. Golombek, for discovering that hamsters recover from jetlag more quickly when given Viagra.
-2007- Linguistics- Juan Manuel Toro, Josep B. Trobalon and Nuria Sebastian-Galles, for determining that rats sometimes can't distinguish between recordings of Japanese and Dutch played backward.
-2007-Peace- The Air Force Wright Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio, for suggesting the research and development of a "gay bomb," which would cause enemy troops to become sexually attracted to each other.
Who knew science was so much fun?