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The Quick Stop
20 most recent entries

Date:2011-03-09 20:58
Subject:Has it been so long?
Mood: melancholy

Apparently it has been a year and a quarter since I last posted. I blame Facebook. Ironically, I posted of a change in my job and it's location, and this week marks those same events. I now move from Sales to Learning & Development, which really means I'm moving from what I'm really good at to what I really enjoy, and that is education. It starts with some rather dull guides, but eventually will lead to training my Teammates, which is what I look forward to.

The other big change? The Room of Great Adventure will now become my Office. Yes, working from home. Since the Albino Bison burns about $70 of gas a week at this point, I'll treat that like a bonus.

Am I ready to work undisturbed by others? Can I handle being in social solitary? We'll see, won't we. I truly enjoy a constant paycheck, so I am voting yes.

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Date:2009-12-30 02:45
Subject:And so it goes

The year survived, I look ahead to future projects and a new office in St Petersburg. It's hard to describe what we went through in 2009; the mad hours of work, friends lost, great illness fought, careers changed, loyalties extended and tested, situations constantly changeable, and yet perseverance. One can only hope for greater focus, heightened tranquility and prosperity, all without settling into complacency.
In many cases of melancholy, however, I find myself the malefactor, so I will endeavor to take to heart this quote brought to my attention by a wise person, and perhaps in 2010, I shall pay attention:

"Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence."

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Date:2009-03-15 00:02
Subject:Instant Karma

I think my tiki gods were watching yesterday. I was about out of gas on the way to work, so I stopped in St Pete for gas. There was a 20-something guy, pretty clean-cut, with a beat up car with Cali plates wandering around, and he asked me if I had any change, because he lost his wallet. I'm old enough to spot a scan, I think, so I dug some quarters out of my console, and pumped my gas. He was trying to garner some more change from people to fill his tank and I thought to myself "I've been that guy, and it sucks". So I drove up to his car, gave him $5 and said "I've been there". He couldn't thank me enough, said he'd have enough to get to his friends house, and I left. I drove away, thinking about times I've been stuck when on the radio comes the Beatles' "In My Life", but it was a cover by one of my favorites, virtuoso ukulelist Jake Shimabukuro.
Were Kane and Lono watching me? In the immortal words of Johnny Mathis, it's not for me to say.

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Date:2009-01-28 23:48
Subject:Game, blouses.

The other night we relived an episode of the Chappelle show; Lisa picked me up after work, and I was too tired for anything fancy, so we went to IHOP. I got my order, looked up at the waiter's nametag, and said "We just got served pancakes by Prince!"

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Date:2009-01-15 20:32

Sadly, we must bid a fond bon voyage to inimitable Ricardo Montalbán. I did not realize he was Mexican, but I should have been tipped off by his name. He always played men of class, from the pitchman for Corinthian leather to Khan Noonien Singh. His class also shows in the fact that he was married to the same woman for 63 years.
I always aspired to be Mr. Rourke, and possibly the dream of hosting a lush tropical island could be the early inspiration for my love of thing Tiki.
It's nice to see he was respected, as demonstrated by his knighthood in the Order of St Gregory the Great, as granted by the Vatican.

I really like this quote of his, where in several interviews and public speeches, Montalbán described "the five stages of the actor" as follows:

Who is Ricardo Montalbán?
Get me Ricardo Montalbán.
Get me a Ricardo Montalbán type.
Get me a young Ricardo Montalbán.
Who is Ricardo Montalbán?

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Date:2008-11-08 17:20
Subject:wiped out but updating

A hell of a week.

60+ hrs. at work, in 5 days. Probably go in Sunday as well. This job is stressful and sometimes confusing, I am overworked and often under-informed. This job may be the best thing that's happened to me professionally. It could turn into one of those small companies that exploded on a scene, due to a vacuum created by new legislation, that just turns out huge. Or not. But I'm glad I have a chance to be a part of it.

Had a birthday; starting to dislike those. Happy b-day to Godfrey & Troy as well.

American elected Barack Obama. This is astounding and encouraging for many reasons, one of them being that I expected many closet racists to make this impossible. To those of you that dislike Obama, I understand your fears. Imagine, though, if he is as good as his word, if he really is the statesmen he seems to be to his supporters. My religious friends speak of the power of belief; cannot America's belief in his message bring a positive power? I believe in his message, and his message is clear: Yes We Can. Like him or not, that is a positive message.

I love my new house, it's everything I want, and the new 50" plasma TV makes it that much better. This was bought with some of the severance, making it my "Fuck you Citigroup" TV. I do wish, however, I was closer to my friends. They make up much of what I am, and I feel less than complete without them so much. I will try to ensure I am at Crown for that sole reason.

Goodbye to Yma Sumac, Incan Princess and Tiki Goddess. Your haunting sounds will live on.

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Date:2008-09-28 02:04
Subject:Speaking of Don Koharski, Worst Referee In the NHL

Apparently we just passed the 20th anniversary of the fight between Don Koharski and Devil's coach Jim Schoenfeld, when after a 1988 playoff game with the Bruins, when Koharski gave one of his traditionally shitty reff'ing jobs, Schony waited in the hallway, where, when Koharski slipped and fell, he was accused of pushing him. This led to the classic line "That's because you fell, you fat big! Have another doughnut!"
It's a sublime piece of theatre, found here.

Schoenfeld, it should be told, was a great defenseman for the Buffalo Sabres for eleven years, several as their captain. He was famous for blocking shots, and taking no crap. Ironically, as a rookie, he was paired with legendary defenseman and donut mogul, Tim Horton. This fact was not lost on Mike Myers in Wayne's World.

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Date:2008-09-28 01:25
Subject:Brushes with fame, hockey style

Brush with fame #1 - The Legend
The wife scored tickets to her company's suite at the Ice Palace (yes, I still call it that) to see them play the Penguins. Awesome, since we got none last year. Ironically, my boss offered me tickets to a suite for the same game, but we went with Lisa's. Then I find out Dave Andreychuk, a player whose 23-year I've followed since he was drafted by my Sabres in during my sophomore year of high school, is going to be in the other suite. Dangit! I found out when he was going to be there, and crashed the suite. He walked in during the 2nd period, bigger than life (unless life is bigger than 6'4"), and someone tells him "hey, there's guys here from Buffalo". He says "Who?", and we chat about Buffalo for a while. It turns out he owns a house by my old Middle School. He told me he married a woman from Cheektowaga, so I naturally (natural if you're a Buffalonian) asked if she was Polish. He said no, but turned to his buddy and said "This guy does know Buffalo." I told him I followed his career, but didn't like him playing for the stinking Bruins. He said "I totally understand that, but my dad was a huge Bruins fan, and I told him if I was ever a free agent, I'd sign with them." I can't blame a guy for that. We got pictures, signatures - hell of a great guy. Looks like he could play right now. #1 Power-play scorer of all-time, BTW.

Brush with fame #2 - The Rich
The wife then proceeded to score not only tickets to the next game, in the suite, but entrance to the suiteholder's party, to taste the new menu. There were a bunch of suits milling around, execs and suite holders, and a guy in really ratty jeans, a t-shirt, and a spikey haircut, milling around, looking kind-of lost. This, it turns out, is Oren Koules, producer of all the Saw movies, and new owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Naturally, I had to talk to him, so I sidled up to him at the bar, thanked him, and we chatted about an interview he did that morning on the radio, where he expressed his displeasure with the person selling him a house; said the guy better stop dicking around, or he won't buy. Turns out he was listening, he's a lawyer, and e-mailed him to bitch. The best part was the looks from people wondering who the hell I was, talking to this guy worth about a half a billion dollars.

Brush with fame #3 - The Funny
At the same event, they had a couple of players mix with the crowd, established player Michel Oullett, and newcomer Zenon Konopka. Despite his name, Zenon is Canadian, not Russian, Slovak or Czech. Konopka was covered with cuts and bruises, as he was in a couple of fights the night earlier, one of which led to his ejection by the worst referee in the NHL since I've been watching, Don Koharski. Lisa stopped Oullett and his handler, we talked about Jeff Halpern's injury, got pictures, etc. A few minutes later, I spotted Konopka, and went over and chatted with his handler, while he chatted with some patrons. Wisely I started with "Your boy Konopka got robbed last night, by that moron Koharski".
He replied "Thank You! He's been the worst for 20 years."
"I hope he's getting paid off; I'd hate to think he's that bad by accident."
Konopka, listening in, turned to me and said "Yeah, he's not exactly my favorite guy in the world".
So I owned the guy from that point, and they said they'd come by the table in a minute. They come by, we talk about the fight, Koharski, and stuff, and I tell him I met Dave Andreychuk the night before.
"You met Dave Andreychuk!?" He excitedly asks. I'm a little surprised, since Dave works for the Lightning, but again, he's new.
"You've never met him?" I ask.
"Wait, yeah, I did, a couple of years ago, playing for Anaheim. I checked Vinny into the boards by the box, and told him "I'm going to kill you!" Dave hears, and asks me "Where are you from?", (I guess surprised he didn't have a foreign accent)
"I'm from Niagara-on-the-Lake."
"Oh, I love it up there, with all the wineries" Andreychuk responds, like they're sitting down to tea. I would have loved to have seen Vinny's face at that point.

Zenon was sent down to the Norfolk Admirals, so here's hoping he plays himself back into the majors. What this all proves, as always, hockey is the greatest of all sports, with the greatest players.

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Date:2008-09-13 19:20
Subject:Discovered while working late this weekend

While cleaning up file names of 403b plans, I discovered this:

Chisholm Trail Cowboy Church

This is made from awesome. They meet in the Winter Livestock Sale Barn every Thursday night. This is too kickass for even me to make fun of.

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Date:2008-09-03 22:37
Subject:The Guitar Man goes Eastbound

It's a sad day around the Land of Lunchbox, as Jerry Reed has passed away. I've always like some of his stuff, but my brother has got to be his biggest fan on the planet, owning not only all of his albums, but multiple copies. He's even learned his reknowned "Claw" technique of picking. He recorded over 40 albums, and he wrote the song "Guitar Man" that Elvis covered in his '68 comeback special, and "US Male" that The King recorded in the 60's.
10-4, Snowman, over and out.

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Date:2008-08-24 13:50
Subject:Olympic commentary

I love to watch the Olympics, and although I greatly prefer the Winter variety, Summer has quite a few competitions I like to follow. There are quite a few, however, that leave me quite puzzled. Today they aired the "Rhythmic Gymnastics" competition, and it left me completely baffled as to how this is an Olympic sport. What I saw, both individual and team, was basically a combination of ballet and Cirque du Soleil. There's not really any flips, diving rolls, or any of the cool stuff we're used to seeing in gymnastics. What's stranger, and more vexing, is that the Olympic comittee held a secret vote on all 28 sports in the Olympic program, and the only two sports voted out were baseball and softball. These are the first sports removed from the Olympics since Polo in 1936. There's certainly no denying that these are actual sports, with two teams, a winner and loser that's not voted upon, offense, defense, and uniforms. Kind of my definition of a sport. IOC President Jacques Rogge's excuse is that basically since pro ball players don't go to the Olympics, the best of the world are not competing. Apparently he's not paying attention to Soccer, where the same situation exists; the best go to the World Cup, not the Olympics.

Another Olympic comment I have might get me lynched in the USA; I have kind of an issue with calling Michael Phelps the "Greatest Olympian of All-Time". Granted, he's probably the greatest swimmer of all-time, but that's a statement that's not only impossible to qualify, it's downright unfair. How many Olympians compete in sports where there's only one possible gold medal? Wrestlers are in insane condition, have to win multiple competitions to gain the finals, but there's only one possible gold medal. Is it their fault because they picked a sport that doesn't offer 8 chances at a medal in one Olympics? A decathlete has to excel in ten different sports to get a chance to win that one possible medal. Is Michael Phelps a greater athlete than decathlon record-holder Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic, who BTW has such respect for this year's winner, US' Bryan Clay, that he regrets that Clay didn't break his record. Maybe we can just stop with the superlatives for a second, and appreciate the effort itself. I know, madness.

Speaking of both of these issues, I also would much rather see the decathlon, a traditional sport of ironmen on primetime, than the prancing pixies of rhythmic gymnastics, but apparently the demographics of NBC for the Olympics is 14 yr-old girls and pedophiles. What I'd really like to see is the first 3-4 days dedicated entirely to the ancient games; wrestling, running, discus, javelin, etc. Start with the Classic Olympic sports, then, once they're done move into the ping-pong and BMX. I'd also argue that they should always be in Athens, but financially the world would lose their collective minds.

The next time someone bitches about Curling during the Winter Olympics, I'll shove a big bucket of "go watch ping-pong" in their face. Now water polo? That's bad-ass. It should be called water hockey.

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Date:2008-08-23 00:38
Subject:Dignity Regained
Mood: relieved

My wallow through the depths of depression has subsided, I have returned to the ranks of the employed. I now work for a company that acts as an investment vendor for retirement plans, but our focus is nearly entirely on 403(b) plans, due to impending regulation changes. Day one was thirteen hours long, with no time to be the new and uninitiated. From the word go, I had projects all to myself, things I knew nothing about Monday I am now in charge of. It's very exciting, I work for a former hard rocker, and the business is sure as hell going places, hopefully we'll all get our arms around it. The main thing is, I know where my next meal is coming from. My severance pay could've held us until the end of the year, but I think I would've sucked the gas-pipe before then. I was not built for unemployment. What really put me at the brink was learning I am 4 days older than Gordon Ramsey; he of the 10 restaurants, 3 TV shows, countless books, and most impressively, 12 Michelin Stars. Oh, and also The Order of The British Empire (OBE). I don't think I'll catch up.

Leading up to this, at the last minute my services were requested by the old man, Mr Popularity, to help sell shirts at Pennsic. This was twelve hours a day in the booth, hawking shirts (except Weds, that was Midnight Madness), but it was a great time. We haven't been able to spend much time together, especially not 10 days in a row, and I'll always be glad I went. Even the dog learned to like me. I got to see friends from eons past; 20, 25 years ago, and relive some of the old glory days, without the hangover.

I'd like to say that I won't get caught unawares again, that I'll be ready in the future, but that would just be a lie. When you're working hard, doing a good job, and the office is successful, you don't expect the rug to be pulled out. Maybe I'll have better luck in a company with 30 employees, instead of 320,000.

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Date:2008-07-25 12:33
Subject:Fashion faux pas?

This is brilliant.

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Date:2008-07-23 11:47
Subject:Dr. Horrible's love song

For everyone that watched Dr. Horrible (and that's nearly everyone), you should listen to Jonathan Coulton's "Skullcrusher Mountain". If there was ever a love song from Dr. Horrible to Penny, this is it.

BTW, his song "Kenesaw Mountain Landis" is an entirely brilliant take on the grizzled commissioner of baseball, and how he handled the Black Sox scandal. Sort of.

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Date:2008-07-07 13:01
Subject:week 6

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Date:2008-07-02 14:28
Subject:On notice

Thanks to Flummoxicated & Singing Potatoes

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Date:2008-06-20 02:12
Subject:One month

It has now been one month since that day. One month and a day, actually. The day was a Monday, I was on the phone with a very uncooperative annuity company, when I heard some murmuring from the other side of my cube. I stood up, as my cube is tall, and could only see a couple of guys in suits going into the boss' office. The boss came to my cube, and told me we are having a meeting. I tried to put him off temporarily, as this call was nigh impossible to connect, but he insisted. Upon reaching his office, I saw that the suits were his boss' boss, and that guy's boss. They didn't look happy to see us. Understated as I am, I said "This doesn't look like good news", to which bossx3 replied "No, it's not." Apparently Citigroup, a company that drove it's stock price down from $60 to $18 a share needed to cut some corners. We knew it had been happening, but we were safe, of course. The Trust company was only 220 people out of 320,000 Citi employees, and we only deal with High Net Worth clients. Besides that, our office of 5 administered over 700 accts, the fastest growing trust office in the country; in comparison the Palm Beach office with 10 employees only had 600, and complained of being overworked. We were very busy, but in danger of being cut? Impossible.

Possible, apparently. They closed the Sarasota trust office, that day, and sent us away; stunned, baffled, angry, upset and very sad. This was it, I was told. The job that will lead to great advancement, long-term security, and a corner office. Never have I worked with a crew so amiable, nor known a boss so indistinguishable from my friends that we shared our hobbies openly; he too a re-enactor, hockey lover and all-around good guy. All of us dedicated to the clients, to the company that feels no loyalty, kicking my eleven years of service to the curb like an unwelcome guest.

I seek no sympathy; you're my friends so I know you feel badly. I just needed to write it down, as I've spent the past month and one day trying to put aside the feelings of uselessness and fear. I've applied for quite a few jobs; mostly financial institutions, based on my work experience, but I've found something I didn't expect. I knew it would be depressing applying for drab banking jobs, but I saw a few education-related positions; a financial officer here, registrar there, and it brought back all the feelings and ideals I had so long ago, when I still had ideals, and wanted to teach children. I saw a nearby school of the arts, K-12, that needed a registrar, and I was truly excited, just as I felt crushed to receive the e-mail notifying me that the job had been filled already.

I'd always professed that it wasn't for the money, but circumstance put me in a vocation that flies in the very face of that sentiment.

Everyone tells me things happen for a reason. I usually reply that reasons are not inherently good, there are bad reasons for events. One ramification of taking the job last year is that we are in a house that we love completely. Perhaps a repercussion of this might be the recovery of my soul.

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Date:2008-05-08 10:10
Subject:The End of Days
Mood: enraged

I have foreseen the American Apocalypse, and I know now its means. Though the Fool and the Devil hold sway in the Palace, this did not signify the end of Civilization in America. War, floods, pestilence, plague; though these are horrors of biblical proportion, they are events that have occurred throughout all mankind’s history, and Man has withstood. There is a sign, however, The Sign, so that all may know that society as we know is has crumbled.

I have seen the Herald of the Apocalypse; it is Howie Mandel.

Millions of Americans; let me repeat that, millions of Americans came home from their jobs; toiling in factories, waiting on ungrateful patrons, police and firefighters putting their lives at risk every day came home from work, ate their Hamburger Helper, had a Milwaukee’s Finest, and sat in their favorite chair so that they could watch Everyman attempt to gain riches without accessing the least part of his brain. With luck, he didn’t miss the recent two-hour special, wherein our national attention is drawn toward a person either picking, or not picking, a box. All this is accompanied by the former comedian/actor whose most renowned act of humor was to inflate a rubber glove on his head with his nose, although now he is bald and dramatic.
Gone are the days of game shows like Jeopardy, where knowledge and intellect would earn prizes and accolades. Now verbal skills are not even required, a nod or head shake is sufficient to succeed in today’s ‘contest’.

This is even worse than the American Idol obsession, where three no-talent hacks, with whom I wouldn’t waste a conversation, are supposed to be the final judges, along with millions of pre-teen girls (and sadly, pre-teen girl wanna-bes), of what is good enough to be adulated and enjoyed by the American population. No longer will we need to waste the time and energy listening to new music, spending countless brain cells deciding what we like and what we don’t, thankfully now we have this steaming pile of ‘must-see TV’ to do all the thinking for us.

While I rant, hear this; we have come to the point where Harvard University, America’s finest institute of education, an intellectual standard that is supposed to be unparalleled, had as their commencement speaker Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy. Not only did he give his speech in the characters voices, but spent part of the time, a time that should be remarkably precious as incredibly few can claim Harvard as their alma mater, and fewer still achieved graduation, attacking the writers of South Park for making fun of his show. Where are the Nobel Prize winners? Where’s Stephen Hawking? Are you fucking kidding me?

The End of Days will come and not only will it be televised, it will be at the hands of network television. Cry not, as you all deserve it.

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Date:2008-04-10 15:21
Subject:You can mess with Texas,

but don't mess with Buffalo. Or more accurately, Bison. I've always thought Bison were kick-ass animals, with giant heads, wooly fur, and those crazy little eyes. I haven't checked with Tim the butcher yet, but I know there's a lawyer on Manatee ave that sells it.

Some important facts about the Bison,or American Plains Buffalo:

- Bison meat is darker than beef because it contains more iron. It also has about 1/4 the fat of beef.

- Unlike cattle (and me), bison do not overeat if given the chance.

- Bison eat snow.

- On average, bison eat less than cattle.

- Bison are the largest mammals in North America since the end of the Ice Age.

- The westward expansion nearly destroyed the bison population; however, in the 20th century, private ranchers launched a successful program to increase bison herds to more than 400,000 animals.

- Bison can adapt to any environment - they have thrived in Alaska as well as Hawaii.

- Bison are unpredictable and can be very dangerous. They appear slow and docile but really are quite agile and can run as fast as a horse.

- Bison bulls weigh about 2,000 lbs and have heavy horns and a large hump of muscle which supports their enormous head and thick skull.

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Date:2008-04-03 16:21
Subject:Happiness is...

Having your own honest-to-God butcher. Mine's name is Tim. I just called ahead for a 7 lb pork butt to smoke on Saturday. Unfortunately, I'm a day late for him to order me the beef brisket I wanted to try, but when you're working with custom meat, you need lead time. MonaLisa has her family coming over Sunday, so I'm making pulled pork, brisket (probably), ribs, sausage, and hot dogs for her mom. Sort of a Meat-a-Palooza, the home version.
For the record, I've been using mesquite wood for the past year or so, but I need to return to hickory to get the fuller flavor; mesquite is just too mild, especially with the big new clean smoker with the cast-iron wood box. Tim has advised me that all the smoker needs is many more hours of smoke; the clean sides deflect all that yummy smoky flavor.
I'd really like to try fruitwood, but that's really expensive.

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