May 30, 2008

Picture Of The Day, 5/30

"Unbelievable! I fall into the goal and Fleury has to rip one. Gross!!"

Training Wheels, Tide, and Trainees

Townsends First Bike Ride: Headed down to Meadville to pick up Townsend for the afternoon today; Amanda couldn't keep him overnight due to her big ol' training class in the morning. So I got dressed for work real early (details later) and rode with her down there like we usually do. We get to her ex-husbands place and Townsend is out in the yard beating around a birdie with a badminton racket (I debated on which sounded worse: him beating a birdie or a shuttlecock. Either way, I think you folks get the point.) I turn on "Green Onions" on the mp3 player, as I always do, and Amanda gets out and talks to John in the front yard for a bit. Sure enough I hear "oh my god!!" and I turn and see Townsend, who only last week was grinding away on training wheels, riding his bike around the yard!! The kid's only five years old!! I don't think I learned that early. And he's got complete mastery of it too; can slow down, speed up, all that. I have video proof on my cell phone, but i don't think I can upload it. Maybe I'll send it over at the enhanced blog site. Completely stunned though.

Has anyone else ever heard of catching on the bike at such a young age?

Subway and Shirts: Today, as I mentioned earlier, I got "work ready" around noonish so I could head down to Meadville with Amanda. I did this same thing a week ago and when I got to work, there was a huge crease across my chest where the seatbelt had sat. If anyone knows me from work, I like to be "date ready" when I go to work at making sure my clothes are pressed and clean is pretty much top priority.

So today, we head down to Mudville and pick up the boy. On the way back, I was hungry for lunch so we stopped by Subway for a quick bite. I decided to go somewhat healthy and get a tuna sub. Amanda suggested (as I was thinking it) to get double meat so at least I was getting filled up. After being charged an extra $2.50 for the double meat on a $5 sub (never do that again!!), we sat down to eat. I ate about half.

Amanda then says "what did you get on your shirt!" Sure enough, I must have leaned into a little row of the oil from the tuna on the sub wrapper. (ever notice that when you eat at subway they wrap it up in that huge paper? and you have to smack your friends in their faces with it just to peel your meal open?)

Anyways, Amanda pulls out her "super" Tide pen and decides to rub out the little stain. I'm sitting there like a little boy having his shirt buttoned, and this nine year old girl is staring at me across the way, almost drooling in her awkwardness. I kept looking away from her but I couldn't help the fact she was mesmerized by this pen process.

Russians Are Coming!: So the hotel is contracting out housekeeping work to a local business that works with young Russian immigrants. Yes, they're legal, and yes, they're paid. Outside of how that works, I don't know. But it was a little funny when they were introducing themselves to my general manager this afternoon. "Whats your name" "Natanial" "Nice to meet you Neetanal. Your name?" "Sergey" "Pleasure is mine, sergee". I read an op-ed piece on the other day by Glenn Beck about corporations still using "slave labor". I don't think this is exactly the same sort of thing. I hope not, anyways. But this is coming from the same company that I just found out is being sold in August and I have to be "re-hired" for my job, pending background checks and drug tests. Not that you couldn't eat a cherry pie off my background checks, but still. I don't like it.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY: "Criticism is nothing more than other people's opinion." Clint Eastwood

The Next Three: "What'd I Say" by Ray Charles, "I'm A Little Kitty" by The Backward Mirror, and "Handshake Drugs" by Wilco

May 29, 2008

Picture Of The Day

"I think my face should be right there to the right of Lincoln's. Yeah, I know, I'm not President yet. Yeah, I understand I'm out of it. But wouldn't the superdelegates think I'm a stronger candidate if my face was up there before the convention?"

Curtains, Ice Cream, and Clothes

Few Days Off: So sue me, I took a few days off from writing. I've noticed that over the past week my blogs have been sort of stale so I guess I decided to take a little bit of time off to forget about the pressures of writing them. Course, there is no pressure, considering noone apparently missed them. Or maybe you did and you didn't say so. Oh well, here goes.

Follow The Gold Medal Ribbon: Last night Amanda and I went "curtain shopping" at JCPenney. She got a flier in the mail saying that there was a certain kind of curtain (funny, i know) on sale. So we went up there to check them out. We get to the department and Amanda starts looking. I flip through a couple of them and overhear a conversation between the two salespeople (TWO!?! We were lucky if we had ONE person working 10-5 in the draperies department!!!) and they were chatting with a customer. By the sounds of it, they knew her from somewhere, if not a former coworker. The conversation was about how much they "really enjoy" working in the department, how much they've "learned about draperies".

So Amanda and I walk around for what seemed like five minutes and BOTH of them completely ignored us. Finally the woman walks away and we waited a little bit longer and...nothing. They started talking between each other. Amanda and I made louder conversation about where they need to go, and measurements, and...nothing. So Amanda says "Yeah can we get a little help here?"

The first girl comes over and says "oh, yes, i can help you." We point out that we'd like this certain one that we'd found that wasn't the sales ad one. She says, "hmm, let me check." She checks, and says, "No, we've only got one. We can order them for you though!" So we decided that we'd put in an order for them. Amanda gets a few more ideas and the girl goes up to the register to put in the order. Of course, her system won't let her do it. She calls the other girl over, and they start talking between themselves about doing a "sens" or something. She doesn't offer this service to us, but mentions that they can't get them anymore. Amanda asks if they could get them from another store, and the second salesperson says, " can..." then asks her friend again who has to lumber back across the department (yes, lumbered...posture was like "leave me alone") and say that 'we'll be lucky to get these in' and tell us that it'll be $10 for shipping.

Oh, and when we asked about the curtain that was on sale, they both were in agreement that they'd never seen those curtains before.

Now I remember when I used to get bitched at at Sears for treating customers like this, and honestly, I had no problem with it then. Just didn't...figured that we didn't have it and that was just the way it was. I can't imagine doing that now. If somethings broken and I might be able to fix it, I fix it. If there's even a slight possibility that something can't be done, I say "I will do my best" so at least the guest knows that I tried. I apologize if I'm caught talking with someone other than a guest. I just can't figure out how I ever functioned like that before. Its hard to believe.

So we head down to get some ice cream at Baskin Robbins for a "pick me up". I got Gold Medal Ribbon and Amanda got some York Peppermint Pattie flavor that I wasn't really all that impressed with. We walked down to Sears to say hi and headed to the hardware department.

We talked to a few former compatriots, and sure enough I run into my old boss, Chris Litz. Chris tells me that apparently they've had to scrub the stores down, thats the new thing. Her hypothesis is that they might be selling off the stores. It wouldn't surprise me. Then she drops on me that Cheryl Sheldon, the Return-To-Vendor person, is having some major surgery again and that she might not be returning to work. How terrible :(

Then she asked me if Fred, the new Home Improvement manager (yeah, the job I almost got), had gotten back to me regarding my application I put in a few months ago for tools sales (yes, I applied again. So what, sue me.) and I told her he hadn't. She asked me if I'd want to do RTV if Cheryl couldn't come back. I told her I'd be all for it. Why wouldn't I be?
You scan boxes and load pallets with returned goods. 18 hours a week. Early mornings, but I'm sure if I couldn't make it due to a scheduling change at the hotel its not a job that would be the end of the world if I couldn't make it. I can turn on my music, have noone to bother me, and get my work done and go home.

I know that the "front desk supervisor" has been mentioned in conversation at the hotel and that I've mentioned it on the blog, but I can't wait for that to get a little more cash flow in, and last I knew, they weren't even looking for anyone to fill it. Besides, every other time I waited for something, I didn't get what I wanted. After all, I didn't wait for Amanda. :o)

"Baby Mama": Speaking of Amanda, her and I took one of her coworkers, Lori, and her friend Sabrina, to the movies to see "Baby Mama", the latest "SNL" flick that was probably taped during the writers strike. It looked hilarious on the previews, so we figured we'd check it out. It took a few weeks, but we finally went to see it Tuesday night. We showed up at Lori's apartment and picked up the girls and went to the theater.

Five minutes into the movie, Sabrina gets a phone call and instead of silencing it or saying "hang on a sec" and walking out, she gets up and tries to answer it while walking, and kicks over Amanda's popcorn. Amanda says "Are you serious?" loud enough, but the girl doesn't even stop and seem sorry about it, just kept walking. Lori gets up and goes out of the movie door. A minute later, she returns, and apologizes. Sabrina returns about five minutes later with a new bag of popcorn. No sorry, just basically shoves it in Amandas lap.

Oh, wait, the movie. Yeah, it wasn't NEARLY as funny as it appeared to be. Honestly, if they had worked it as a 'chick flick' it would have been a lot better in my mind. A few more sappy scenes and it would have been alot better off. Steve Martin steals the show as Tina Fey's boss though. Hilarious. "I'm going to reward you with five minutes of uninterrupted eye contact."

Dirty Duds Done Dirt Cheap: The last few weeks, as you've read, I've been fighting to fix the dryer downstairs. Laundry has been piling up. The neighbor downstairs offered to let us use her dryer, but I always feel weird about using it, since its not our utilities, all that stuff. So we decided to go to the laundromat on Tuesday morning. But not just any laundromat...we'll go to Campus Coin in Edinboro, where the washers are only $1.25 a load. Pretty cheap if you ask me. Then we'd stop by the neighboring Trophy Shop and say hi (For you new people, Amanda worked there for three years before she got the fateful job at Sears). We'd pick up lunch at Subway then head home for a bike ride.

We drop off the laundry, (took five washers to get all of it...I'd been wearing black socks for a week) and head over to the Shop. Mike, the owner, meets us at the door and we chat for a little bit. Tammy, one of their employees, says, "Hey Amanda, can you take a look at this?" and leads her back in the shop. I stayed out front and petted the dog and played around on my cellphone for a bit. Sure enough, Amanda ends up 'working' for an hour. I went over and put the laundry in the dryers, just in time for Amanda to meet up with me for lunch.

Subway $5 footlongs are still a pretty good deal.

So Amanda heads back to "work" and I start folding clothes. I get them folded, Amanda finishes up there, and we load the car back up and head for the Dairy Supreme. Get some ice cream, yummy, and head for Erie.

Sounds like a silly story, right? Sure enough, we realize at the end of the night that I somehow left an entire dryer load of colors at the laundromat. Mostly Amanda's work shirts. WHOOPS!!!! Luckily, the Trophy Shop also owns Campus Coin, and they had found the load of laundry at the end of the evening and have it there waiting for us.
Apparently the SpongeBob SquarePants pajama bottoms are what identified them as ours.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY: "The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom." Henry Mencken

The Next Three Songs On My Mp3 Player: "Say" by John Mayer, "It Hurts Me Too" by Eric Clapton, and "Just Pretend" by The Bens.

NEW: British Phrase Of The Day: "nine bob note" ... Apparently, overseas, they don't have dollars (haha). So our phrase, "Queer as a three dollar bill" is "Queer as a nine bob note".

May 26, 2008

Earlybirds, Sunbirds, and Flipped Birds

Early To Rise: Amanda and I decided to wake up early today, go bike riding, clean the house, do the laundry, wash the car...Yeah, didn't happen. We did, though, get up early.

*dramatic pause*

We ended up going to the mall to check out blinds to match our new "bedroom" that still has yet to arrive from Furniture Row. I think its been six weeks now we've been waiting on that awesome bed we're getting. At JCPenney, we found a couple more pairs of Tony's New Style jeans that I really like and they were on clearance too!! We also stopped by AC Moore to check out some stuff to make the bedroom window "stained glass". Anyone ever do that or know someone that has? I'd really like to do something cool with it that is removable if possible.

Incense and Sunburns: Amanda had been making comments on how white her skin is lately. We went for a bike ride the other day and she got sunburnt on her forearms (of course I didn't get burned at all). She looked pretty pink already, and decided to go tanning this afternoon. Silly girl. But its better to tan now, I remember last year, she gets burned REALLY easily.

Incensed And Burned: I'm back with the guys while they're doing the laundry and I overhear someone saying about how in August we'll be a different company. I come to find out that our management group has been bought out by another management group, so we'll actually be a new company come late summer. I have to re-apply for my job (that the company is legally bound to rehire me) and apparently we get better insurance benefits! I was pretty peeved at first to find out, but once I got all the details, I found out that everything is better! So I'm looking forward to that now. Interesting what happens when you actually find out whats going on...

THOUGHT OF THE DAY: "Good judgement comes from exprience. Experience comes from bad judgement." - Jim Horning

The Next Three Songs On My Mp3 Player: "Us And Them" by Pink Floyd, "Should Not Be Ashamed" by Wilco and "Cry Baby Cry" by The Beatles.

May 25, 2008

Gas, Wind, and Gunpowder

Inspiration On Ethanol: As most of you know, I've been recording songs for about five years now, and have been using the pseudonym The Backward Mirror. Most of the songs were introspective, about my family, and it got lots of great followers and fans. Thanks to everyone who has supported me so far.

I haven't recorded any new music in over a year now, and I think I've kinda had it with writing songs about myself for a bit. Nothing about myself really bothers me enough to be inspired for. So I have been thinking about doing somethign new musically. I've always loved the blues, but always felt my doing blues on record sounded stupid.

On my way to work yesterday, a new "name" hit me: "Edsel's Comeback". I think its a catchy name(Here's a little history of the Ford Edsel). At work it was really slow night at work and all of a sudden, I got the inspiration to write something about the project, whether it be website material or lyrics or some fake news article.

I ended up writing nine songs! I have never had inspiration hit me like this but I'm really excited about the new possibilities. There will be big blues-rock influences, of a couple folkie songs and a surf-style instrumental (called "Tar N Chip" haha). I read my lyrics to Amanda this morning and she was pretty impressed, so I defintely will be working hard to get this project on the move soon.

Early Afternoon Tumbleweeds: Amanda and I capitalized on the awesome day we're having here in Erie by getting up early and going for a bike ride (with a stop at McDonalds and Wal-Mart, of course) down at the Peninsula. Just a little crisp wind was all that stood in our way. Stopped at Perry Monument and rode to The Channel by the Coast Guard Station. Hung around there for a little bit and were lucky enough to see the Brig Niagara float by! I've only seen the thing actually sailing once, back when it was first re-christened in 1990. Very exciting...Amanda got a few pics. We then realized that we were seriously running out of time so we turned around and headed for home. When we pulled up to the house, we noticed that I had left the front door open to the house!! What a numbskull!!! Luckily everything was accounted for. I came busting in the door and and the cats looked up at me with that what in the world is your problem?! look. I'm a dumbass!

Happy Memorial Day: I'd like to wish everyone an extra special Memorial Day. In this age of over-advertisement and crazy politics, remember that there are certain men and women who have fought hard to keep the principles we argue over on a daily basis intact. So a big thank you to them. The world is a changed place; back in my grandfathers day people were lining up to enlist for the services, and now people have trouble even saying thank you to former soldiers. Sad, sad things.

But honestly, Memorial Day sales should be left to an extra special discount for veterans and their immediate families. I don't think that someone who doesn't appreciate what a soldier has done for us should get hot dogs buy one get one free...but thats just me. After all, what would a Happy Memorial Day from me be without a controversial statement regarding our country! Enjoy your day off folks. I'll be working!!

THOUGHT OF THE DAY: "The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly. 'Tis dearness only that gives everything its value." Thomas Paine

The Next Three Songs On My Mp3 Player: "We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister, "Letterbomb" by Green Day, and "Mama You've Got A Daughter" by John Lee Hooker

Creditors, Crap, and Cycling

Good Start To The Day: I lost a letter a few weeks ago that contained a bill from my health care provider, and I guess somewhere in between, it went to collections. I have a weird habit of not answering my cell phone unless I know the phone number, so I've been ignoring a weird phone number for about two weeks now. So my dad calls me this morning right after I missed yet another call from this number. Tells me that he fell over the couch last night at TEN pm trying to field a phone call, and that he also had another phone call at like 7:30 this morning. I lived with my dad for about three months nine years ago and they still pull his number off my old credit report. Pretty crazy. But I called up the company that I had forgotten about and paid the bill this morning.

Nice Day For Riding: Amanda had a chiropractor appointment this morning, so Townsend and I had some time alone. We went for a bike ride down at Irving Park on 23rd and Raspberry. Nice little park there, I must say. Plenty of shade, decent concrete, and I don't notice huge piles of dog poop there. (Never mind the video surveillance notices) A group of thirteen year olds were walking by talking and every loud word out of their mouth was a curse word. I know I never talked like that when I was thirteen, but I am an exception to most rules, I guess. (In some circles, "exceptions" of my type are also known as "nerds")

Toilets + Tony = Not A Good Time: Tonight I am working at the hotel, and sure enough, got a message from a guest that their toilet wasn't working. I head up there, found myself a "new" plunger (piece of crap) and went to work. Luckily there were no presents, but the plunger didn't work for...well, nothing. I spent ten minutes in the room trying to get it to come loose, to no avail. The guest in the room decided that it was best to stand there and watch me work on the toilet, which frustrated me more (I think I got that bug from Bill, honestly. He always hated when he was working and Adam and I were either playing or standing near him. I hate it when people do it to me now. I need to lose that.). As I'm ramming the plunger down, I of course happen to get little drips of water on my shoes, my pant legs, my TIE, and finally, my eye. That effectively ended my efforts. I told them I'd get someone in to fix it. "Thats not going to work," she said. They're in a two bedroom suite, of course, with at least one working toilet (whats a bet noone ever uses their second bathroom at home, but I digress). I told her I'd have it fixed in the morning.

As I'm walking down to the elevator, absolutely disgusted, I get another phone call telling me there is yet another room, ironically down the hallway from that one, that has trouble with their toilet flushing, too. Luckily, there wasn't major problems with this one, but I still am really starting to hate having to plunge toilets.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY: "I broke a mirror the other day. I'm supposed to get seven years of bad luck, but my lawyer thinks he can get me five." Steven Wright

The Next Three Songs On My Mp3 Player: "Walkin' All Night" by Little Feat, "Hey You" by Pink Floyd, and "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen.

PS -- My condolences to Kyle Wisniewski, whose grandmother died yesterday.


"Auntie Ella" said: just wanted to congratulate you on getting some work done around the house. It does give you a good feeling to accomplish something, especially when you can look back at it and think how nice it looks. (If it would only stay that way)... But keep it up, before you know it the project will have to be done again. HAVE A GOOD MEMORIAL DAY!!!!!!

Nick Tompkins said: "Go Elvis" ... I'm pretty sure you meant Costello, but I'll clear it up for my friends that haven't heard of him. This is
Elvis Costello. Not this Elvis.