Sunday, July 31, 2005

Hickory Smoked Flavoring Added

How lazy have we become, culturally speaking? I sit down to write today’s article and two separate instances spring to mind that I believe need to be addressed in the blog before I settle into today’s business. The first is what inspired this, which are the remains of a “Jumbo Push Pop” that one of my sisters presumably finished last night. I’m going to ignore the fact that it’s “Jumbo”, that it’s “TWISTED Berry Blast” and that it’s being advertised by some kind of strange marsupial that can accurately be described as “dapper.” Rather, I’m going to focus on the fact that it seems to have no idea what it means to carry the Push Pop mantle. If you’re reading this and don’t know what these are…stop it. You know. Those little lipstick shaped lollipops that you have to push the bottom in to get to the product, in the proud tradition of reasonably successful popsicles and much less successful push up scrambled eggs (yes, those existed). This “Push Pop” mockery has eliminated the only thing that made it what it once was. It’s eliminated the “push” element by including “Pop-Up-Action”, which is to say it’s spring-loaded.

What, Dr. Samuel J. Phillipsons, is the point? You no longer even get the pleasure of the do-it-yourself nature inherent in the push-pop. The only thing that separates it from the ancient “sweet hard candy on a stick” is that it has a cap (with an odd pen-cap like attachment that implies that executives are wearing jumbo push-pops in their shirt pockets or within their overcoats). You no longer have any control over the amount of pop sticking out of the lip of the pop-cartridge. It’s the Man’s pop.

The second, on a relatively unrelated note, occurred while selecting wine. This’ll be short. Walking around the state store, Jenna and I noticed the “ready-made cocktails” section. Most make sense. The appeal of a properly made White Russian is something that at least seems marketable to the at-home consumer. Smirnoff has decided that’s not enough. They offer a ready-made Screwdriver.

For those of you that are not savvy to mixed drink terminology, a Screwdriver consists of vodka and orange juice. That’s it. Nothing else. The people I’ve told this tale to have tried to rationalize (presumably to preserve their sanity) the product by saying that it probably has the correct proportion. It had better. Still, this doesn’t excuse this. To anyone who has ever purchased this: Get. A. Measuring. Cup.


Ok. On to the day.

I hate Kenny Chesney. If that’s even how you spell his name. Not because of who he is, because the honest truth is that I don’t really know OR because of his music, though his style isn’t one I’m particularly fond of. It’s because his presence in Pittsburgh negatively impacted me by causing an enormous rush at my place of work at about 12am-3am. Which is fine. That’s what we’re there for. But good lord, man. There are only so many Double Quarter Pounders with Cheese I can make without becoming violent, particularly when I’m well aware that without also cleaning the entirety of the store by 5am, the morning crew will act as though I’ve killed a man.

In links:

Occasionally, I like to think myself competent. No. Even downright average when it comes to knowing the world around me. This is not true, and Geosense has shown me the truth, that I’m lucky that I’m able to breathe properly. Nothing more grounding than being told you can’t even get the location of Darwin, Australia down to within 1000 km.

Also, it seems they found two more Kuiper Belt objects, one of which has a moon, while the other is actually larger than Pluto, which either gives us a few more planets or furthers the argument for jettisoning Pluto from mnemonic devices involving pizzas.

I’m going to try to go to bed now.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


I forgot to include this in the last post, but it bears immediate publication. I've been watching my fair share of zombie movies recently, but none of them has anything that amounts to the sheer creepiness and unnerving power of legions of Deep Roy stalking you in the night. Holy mother, that's the scariest actor to ever walk the earth.

News Roundup-July Whatever it is, 2005

Holy Not-Much-To-Post-About-Despite-The-Feeling-of-Obligation-Inherent-In-Not-Having-Posted-For-Nearly-a-Week-Which-Is-Only-Offset-By-The-Fact-That-RJ's-Blog-Seems-To-Have-Slipped-Into-A-Coma, Batman!

I kid. But only halfway. There's very little that's been occurring that evokes a desire to post, but I'm going to do it anyway, because...I have time before I go to work. Let's start with news, shall we?

They got around to launching Discovery, which NASA is hailing as a sort of milestone (which seems remarkably odd, considering its value as such a milestone is tied to the idea that they finally figured things out enough to make the Shuttle safe again) and reports that the intent of the mission is to make deliveries to the ISS and test the safety features of the Shuttle, which again, seems odd in that the safety features (like being able to see the outside of the shuttle) seem like they should have been in place already OR should have come earlier than five years before the entire program is discarded.

In short, NASA=mildly convoluted.

Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France, which appears to be remarkable (aside from the whole overcoming adversity aspect, which I think was proven by the time he'd one the previous six) in that it made America pay attention to it. Slate ran an article a bit ago that seemed to be begging for Lance to not win, as well as the people running the Tour to fix it. I watched exactly zero minutes of the Tour de France, though I will note that yes, it's probably some incredible feat of sport and I couldn't do it.

Again, ...

Police in Britain killed This Guy and then found out he had nothing at all to do with the recent bombings in London, which is why they killed him in the first place. That Guy's brother brings up the good point that the police allowed him to board a bus without saying anything, despite thinking he was a suicide bomber and then shot him because he was running, which is kind of common in a subway. The police have apologized, and the family has rejected it, and it's all a big mess.

The Pirates won 3 of 4 against the Rockies, but they're the Rockies (no matter what their record is after the break in comparison with the rest of the NL West) and they're going up against the Marlins tonight. So...we'll see.

I'll log back in after work if it proves at all interesting to myself (while holding almost no value for you) such as if coworkers break the grill again.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

How to Maintain Ineffectuality

Please choose adjectives and verbs as appropriate.

In today’s (fast-paced/hectic/slow-moving/combustible) world, it’s becoming close to impossible to achieve absolutely nothing of substance. Even in your (low-level/earth-shaking/mind-numbing/apocalyptic) job, you may find that things would move at some rate slower without your input, however small, thus negating your efforts toward having no impact whatever on the world. You could, of course, simply do nothing, but this is too easy and does not warrant publication even on the blog to which this will be appended. You must do something, that much is clear, and the (magical/fruity/boxy/apocalyptic) solution is to confine oneself to doing only that which will have the minimal impact on your surroundings. In this way, you can be assured that not a single person would notice your absence at the two-minutes-hate, and you can relax, knowing that you’ve made no difference whatsoever. Just follow everything I tell you to do, and you’ll be on your way to not accomplishing a damn thing.

  • Play Flash Games

    There’s almost nothing more inconsequential than (increasing your score/completing/passing out during) a poorly drawn game of your choice. Years ago, doing so required us to animate our own game in flipbook fashion or wait for the Powers that Be to release the next iteration of Tetris for us at $50 a pop, but now…oh, now… Tetris clones to infinity, pong clones like there’s no tomorrow and little maze games involving a representation of one’s own hopelessness in beach ball format have assuaged our fear of not being able to press arrow keys without impact on anything at all ever. Never has the age-old problem of confronting inner conflict and the philosophical implications of our own inevitable surrender to the annals of local history become manifest so perfectly in kitty launching as with FLASH.

  • Feign interest in self-improvement

    What’s best for pretending to better oneself without actually improving is the time-tested practice of learning how to manage one’s time. Buy a planner/get a dry-erase board/make sticky-notes like there’s no tomorrow. Read about how other people manage their time and vow to mimic it. Don’t. That’d be productive, and that’s not what we’re going for here. I recommend How to Live by Arnold Bennett. Entertaining in its own right enough to prevent you from doing other things, it also appeared first in 1910 (as a series of articles-the first section), which will help you build the all-important worship of times past that you haven’t lived through but were assuredly better than times are now. Being able to assure yourself there was a Golden Age (there wasn’t) that would return if only these fools would stop screwing it up will be invaluable to you.

  • Write to People

    More specifically, write opinion columns to the local newspaper (the smaller the better) about utterly unimportant things, such as complaining about the size of the television insert included or how they really ought to put a stoplight in any given place. Better yet, write into the sports columnist to enlighten him to the fact that the Pirates aren’t doing so well lately, and insist that the ownership do something to change what’s happening. Do not write about anything substantial or make any kind of move that would initiate anything that would change the status quo (such as not going to the Pirates games, which would register with the ownership).

  • Start A Blog, then Include News Updates In It

    Actually, this one’s questionable. For the most part, the most it will do is let people know where you stand on issues, in which case you could exclude commentary, becoming instead of a voice talking about the news simply a bullhorn through which news that’s already been released and is readily available is relayed. Even in that way, you still might get someone (coughstevehazencough) who actually reads the blog you’ve initiated as a way to get news, rendering you a poor man’s version of an unfunny Daily Show. Thing is, that’s impact, and that slows down your assault on effectiveness.

  • Buy a Metal Detector

I hope you’ve gained nothing by reading this.


[End Transmission]

See? That’s what happens when I don’t have anything to comment on. I write articles like this. So, if you really care about the future of Welcome To Murphy, ignore the article above and go create something for me to comment on. Pass gay marriage laws (like Canada! has just done) or rob something, then claim some political cause. Don’t hurt anyone, though.

I’m going to go do something else.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Waynesboro, PA...Land of the Forgotten

Hey there. Remember when I posted more often than twice a week? We're going to try to do that again, but I actually have excuses (kinda) this time. Let's get on with it then.

Marriage is way too real, as most of us that attended the Cilley-LaRue wedding decided. Don't get me wrong, I'm very glad for both Cilley and Emily, but getting married at this point seems somehow out of place. Maybe because the only marriages I've ever been to are the marriages of my aunts and uncles, who were much older than Cilley and Emily. So it's not the committment aspect, so much, as the aspect that I'm just not used to seeing my friends do things this serious.

Mapquest is the avatar of the beast, and Waynesboro, Pennsylvania is unreasonably hard to get around in. Seriously. What the hell. I can't even think of a way to put this into words. Perhaps I should start with the fact that every single road appears to be a circle, leading back to somewhere where we'd just been. Perhaps I should continue with the fact that Mapquest took us about a mile and a half out of the way before depositing us back onto the "main road" if the place with the carwash and ice cream shop could be called that (it was much more "main" than anything else around). Perhaps I should relay the fact that Mapquest believed we should "turn left" on a road that we were supposed to, instead, drive over. Maybe then to the man who gave us directions to the country club where the wedding was being held, who advised us to "turn right after the church" (he forgot to mention that he meant "eventually, not immediately") and included "You'll go past some horses" in his directions. Here's a tip. If you're giving directions to people that aren't familiar with the area, don't use living things that can move and are not at all guaranteed to be there in your directions.

The Bucs enjoy losing 11-1, and Zach Duke seems to be the only bright spot in the lineup, which doesn't matter if we're not going to help pitchers out by getting more than two hits per game. Craig Wilson's back out after breaking his hand...Ian Snell's starting tonight's double header, and everyone in the world wants Mark Cuban to buy the Pirates despite the fact that he's not going to. I don't know. Let's drop this.

On a related note, despite having just dropped it, I keep seeing the name Pittsburgh Pirates. Unfortunately, it's in one of those books I got for $4.75, specifically "Fair Ball" by Bob Costas as a team that has no chance of winning with the early nineties reforms. This isn't the most optimistic reading experience I've ever had, because while good arguments for league realignment (more accurately, reversing the realignment that's been done) and the important point that baseball is not a free market enterprise (and cannot be), it repeats the message that small market teams aren't going to win.

There's the Karl Rove thing, which...whatever. Before, whenever the Plame leak occured (by that impenetrable mold sculpture of integrity Robert Novak) Bush said he'd fire anyone found to have leaked classified information. So, finding out that the person that did it may be Karl Rove, the argument is whether or not what he did was crime, which is irrelevant because the position of the administration was to fire anyone to have leaked classified information, not anyone that has committed a crime. So we have here another flip-flop, to use the parlance of our times. I can't believe it, but I actually agree with Bill O'Reilly, who chastises the op-ed that claims that Rove is a hero for exposing the wife of someone who he disagreed with politically. Firstly, that implies Rove did expose Plame. If he did, he is not a hero. He endangered national security for personal reasons, which is remarkably petty and an abuse of power. However, until we figure out whether or not he actually did disclose information, he's not guilty. If he did, he should be fired, based on what the president actually said and the fact that abuses of power for personal political gain should not be allowed.

...More importantly than anything else that's been stated thus far in this post. Laurel Aitken died. The Grandfather of Ska has passed away, July 17. If you don't know who Aitken is, please listen to the inspiration for most of the music I listen to.

I'm going to get a shower now. I'll post Before Friday. Promise.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Flurry-A Frozen Creation

Library book sales are quite possibly the best thing ever to occur. It's probably a by-product of having so recently been in college, combining an affinity for both devouring books and spending as little as possible in all facets of life. You can, then, imagine my elation after having returned from a book sale in New Kensington, particularly in the not-quite-right attitude induced by not having slept recently. There's only one way to get this out, and that is to list what $4.75 can buy in New Kensington. In no particular order, of course.

  • Dune Messiah-Frank Herbert

  • Basic Teachings of the Great Philosophers-S.E. Frost, Jr.

  • Invisible Man-Ralph Ellison

  • Survival in Auschwitz-Primo Levi

  • Tropic of Cancer-Henry Miller

  • Tropic of Capricorn-Henry Miller

  • In Cold Blood-Truman Capote

  • Big Mac: The Unauthorized Story of McDonald's-Max Boas and Steve Chain (1976)

  • Four Plays: The Bald Soprano, The Lesson, Jack or The Submission and The Chairs-Eugène Ionesco

  • The Physicists-Freidrich Dürrenmatt

  • Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman-Richard P Feynman

  • For Whom The Bell Tolls-Ernest Hemingway

  • Fair Ball-Bob Costas

  • Phaedrus-Plato

  • Essays in Philisophical Psychology-Donald P. Gustafson

  • Men At Work-George F. Will

  • Vom Glück des Lesens und Gelesenwerdens


For $4.75. Clearly, I have succeeded as a person.

I couldn't help but notice the small oddities at the book sale, what with the children screaming at the top of their lungs in a library, the "Religion" section which was, indeed, one very specific religion, the population of the Non-Fiction section with etiquette books, and the fact that Danielle Steele has written more than the rest of the entirety of literature ever combined.

But, onward and upward.

It's possible (rather, probable) that I can't think of anything that I'd like to put in here about the news because I haven't heard anything really new since getting off work at 5:30 am, and so whatever. I am going to Cilley's wedding tomorrow, which both throws into perspective my own unavoidable latching and the fact that gas is $2.32 right now. I don't think I have to go into how many books I could get for that. I'm currently weighing the options of packing my suit or just going nude, and you'll have to wait to see how that works out. Let's just say I'm very tired right now, and like to put Cilley through as much as he can reasonably be expected to handle.

I don't have to work until Monday, and even then, it's the preferable 6pm-2am shift, rather than the true overnight and maybe I'll be able to read about what the people of 1976 thought of the company I've pledged myself to for the next month or so between now and then.

I'm going to go. I might post again before taking off for Harrisburg, but I wouldn't trust myself to do so. I wouldn't trust myself as far as I can throw me. Which isn't far, I think. Because there are some unavoidable physiology things I think I'd have to break to do that for any appreciable distance.

The title is what's on the Flurry machine, by the way. Which is nice, because it makes me feel like some kind of minor deity whenever I make a flurry for my break.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

12 Big Macs?

Oh dear. Rory has started dreaming about the Pittsburgh Pirates, specifically about Ryan Doumit vs. Humberto Cota, which he then expands into an analysis of their performances and a disagreement with Stats Geek, but I see that this can only lead to some kind of strange Freddy Sanchez/Kreuger vs. Jason Bay/Voorhees post following a similar dream sometime in the near future. Not over a position dispute, but rather a dispute over who has the right to snare more souls. As a member of the blog-reading public, I can only wait patiently. And hope. That Rory loses his mind.

Additionally (and I realize I am not a baseball blog, so will allow those that are to be the ones with the real commentary,) WHYGAVS points out what Dave Littlefield needs to do if the Pirates are going to not have 14 straight losing seasons (presuming this season ends the way we sit at the All-Star Break).

Ok. Now, to other things.

Dispute at work today about two things. Whether Toby Keith is fat and whether or not it is possible to listen to his music without bursting into flame. This dispute occurred between two people that weren’t me, thankfully, and ended without resolution. Not being able to pick Toby Keith out of a lineup with a high belt-buckle width:actual belt width ratio, I can’t comment on the first part. The answer to the second is clearly no.

Moreover, I discovered something I was heretofore unaware of. Those garbage cans outside of fastfood restaurants? They’re concrete. Entirely, except for the lid and bag, and about 1 ½ inches thick throughout. More importantly, if one is so inclined, they can be knocked onto the road, though they are bolted in place. The result is a shattered concrete box sitting on top of a garbage bag in the middle of the street, followed by an awkward attempt to get said garbage can into the dumpster piecewise, followed by a bleeding Amber. Followed by more gauze than would be necessary following open heart surgery.

(Jump to another topic!)

Remember how earlier today I was marveling at the ability of NASA to schedule a 3:51pm event? That didn’t happen, because something went wrong with a fuel gauge (of which there were four, with one malfunctioning). So I take that back. I may only be able to plan things to the appropriate hour, but they’re rarely suddenly shifted to a completely separate day.

Wacky environmentalists are protesting Exxon in an attempt to challenge the company’s criticism of Global Warming theories and drilling in ANWR. The main effect of this seems to be about the same as that of the AFA boycott I posted about earlier, in that it is now in a blog. This one, however, has commentary by conservative talk show hosts in Pittsburgh who pledge to buy more Exxon products out of spite for environmentalists. Again, whatever.

Sarah Vowell writes an Op-Ed in Maureen Dowd’s place that addresses the issue of treating problems as problems and not as nothing with a sort of whimsy that actually says something good about President Jimmy Carter. I bring this up because I believe that a constant hammering of a sunny outlook on the problems facing the world isn’t always the best policy, and because she wrote Assassination Vacation (which certain Jennas have just finished), a commentator on NPR and was the voice of Violet in the Incredibles, which is most likely still playing on the television at the Delt House at Allegheny, and will until the end of time.

Once again, I’m going to go, though I’m off now to try to completely change my sleep pattern in one night, because I work overnight tomorrow, after which I need to drive to Maryland. Rarg.

And as for the title...the Big Mac marketing campaign (which doesn't include a sale, but rather is simply "Hey, remember these?") is the most successful piece of advertising ever to happen to anything.

That IS Journey.

And we've confirmed it. Blogger hates it when I update. Having typed in a post a few minutes ago and clicked on the "Publish" button, Blogger decided I wasn't logged in and that the post I'd written should be completely obliterated. So, I'll have to try to recreate it.

First, though, I'd like to confirm that no, I've not been updating as regularly as is specified by contract. I've got to apologize for that, because I know you've all een in agony while day after day passes without an update. I can offer no excuse other than that I haven't really felt all that much like updating this recently. Last few days have been turbulent (including completely changing my sleep schedule around this Sunday), so...whatever. I return.

In Ryan News

I acted as a pallbearer the second time in my life yesterday, which put an end to the last few days' grieving. I've always had some kind of odd respect for the position of pallbearer, so I was honored to act as such for my grandmother. Lessons learned? The term "pallbearer" refers to the heavy cloth which covers the casket during funeral services, called the "pall", which is also a Y heraldic symbol which is often associated with the clergy. I didn't know that. Now I do. And so do you. And knowing is half the battle.

If you're too young to get that reference, you're being fined $15.


Yesterday also signified my return to my summer job, which means I'll have to make a list. Because there are three separate things that I'll have to comment on, and I enjoy lists, as I'm sure you've noticed if you've read the blog at all.

  • One of the most important skills in working such a thoroughly un-earthshakingly
    important job as one in fast food is how to waste time without really looking like you're doing it. Yesterday presented an opportunity as my 3-8pm shift became a 3-11pm shift after someone called off. It's really amazing how much time one can do nothing without anyone really noticing, including filling up a rubber glove ...for a half hour and playing with suds. I defend my actions by saying that I actually had completed everything I needed to do by about 7pm and as we had 20 people in grill...feh.

  • It's hard to get mad about someone giving you a few seconds of something to do in
    between being remarkably bored. That said, the rage experienced when someone takes a turner (See? I can use correct terminology too.) that I cleaned four hours ago and renders it absolutely filthy through use during a birthday party no one had any idea about and which took away the opportunity of said person to have a break. I had to take five seconds to clean that. Which is unacceptible. :D

  • Evidently they caught Mike, which means nothing to anyone reading this, but which I'll summarize here. Mike gets hired-->Mike somehow makes everyone that works at McDonalds dislike him-->Mike sucks at making burritos (as do I, but that's not the problem here)-->Mike flips out about someone suggesting that he's not able to make burritos and should go home if he can't learn to do it right-->Mike backhands female management-->Grill Employee investigates-->Mike punches GE, knocking her down-->GE becomes T-1000 and gets up-->Mike runs away-->Mike gets arrested a few days later on assault charges-->Angela (GE) earns title "Tyson", despite not getting a punch in.

But enough. On to current events.

Jason Bay got blanked on the HR Derby (following Bobby Abreu going insane) and then didn't play in the All-Star game, and I continue not to care. Whatever. It just caused ESPN to proclaim "Tejada they come, Tejada they fall". Which is dumb. Pat of WHYGAVS has much more on the subject, but right now I can't be bothered.

What I've been wanting to post about but, as I've said before, haven't felt up to, involves Saturday's game (Pit 11, NYM 4). Ignoring the J. Wilson Grand Slam and Dave Williams' remarkably effective start, I'd like to focus on one of the most superficial parts of the game, but which was actually relevant Saturday. The uniforms. They were honoring the teams of the Negro League with Pittsburgh dressing as the Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Mets as the New York Cubans (who were bested by the Crawfords in the 1935 Negro League National Championship). Pittsburgh did a remarkable job, wearing uniforms which compare to those of the Crawfords, even down to the baggier cut. The Mets, however, wore New York Mets uniforms with a single sad "CUBANS" on the sleeve, rather than the actual Cubans uniforms.

In News:

The American Family Association is boycotting Nike on the grounds that their policy of openly supporting homosexual civil unions is a "back door move to legalize homosexual marriage", which appears to be a desperate attempt to use the phrase "back door", as it's rather upfront about the contention that, like most gay marriage proponents, while no church should be forced to recognize marriages which conflict with their own belief systems, legal rights such as power-of-attorney and visitation rights awarded to heterosexual couples upon them deciding they want them should be extended to homosexual couples. You know. In agreement with the concept that in the absence of a theocracy, specific religious ideologies should not control the formation of secular laws. Whatever. I get the feeling Nike doesn't care.

Also, they're launching Discovery today after 2 1/2 years of reworking the shuttle in the wake of the Columbia disaster. They're launching at 3:51pm, which makes me envious of the concept that something can be planned to happen at 3:51pm. I'm lucky if I can narrow things down to the correct hour.

They're putting Jack
on a Scottish Banknote, making him the third living person (the others being the Queen and Queen Mother) to be so honored. They're making 2 million such notes. I have not the words for something as remarkably insane as putting a golfer on money.

I'm going to go now. Expect an update sooner than the last update. So...within a few days.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Ezra Brooks

Well, it's 2am, and I'm once again stuck with the responsibility to kill time. The problem, I think, with Project Gutenberg, is that I the only thing that's there is that which has had its copyright expire, and that leaves classics, which aren't exactly light reading material. But, we move on.

Pirates 6-Mets 5. How the hell did we pull that one off. I had to drive to Oakland to pick up my cousins from the hospital during the middle of it, and so only saw the first four innings and innnings 9 and 10. At first, it seemed as though we were continuing to have decent pitching (disregarding a balk) and Jason Bay came up with a few clutch catches and Rob Mackowiak reminded us why he's an outfielder (and not...say...third baseman), but the bats weren't doing anything. Fast-forward to returning home (my car radio is broken) and it's the bottom of the 9th, 2 outs with the scoreboard reading "Mets 5 Pirates 1". I resigned to another loss, but somehow, they pulled it off. Tike Redman actually GOT the clutch hit. And Cota was a hero for the second night in a row in the 10th. Good. We come up with our biggest comeback of the year against Milwaukee, split a series with the Phillies, and are one game up against the Mets, going up against Ishii tomorrow. We'll see. Hopefully, we can start to pull ourselves out of the recent funk (losing 17 of the last 25) going into the All-Star Break.

Related notes: The Olympics will not contain baseball or softball in 2012, which the IOC claims is a reflection of the lack of popularity worldwide of the sports as well as the fact that the MLB is planning to unveil a worldwide championship of their own. So there's that.

Also, MLBlogs has been revealed, offering those of you out there with baseball blogs the chance to ...have the MLB list them for $5/month. Don't do it.

The recent attacks in London has inspired Pittsburgh's Talk Radio to muse on whether or not Pittsburgh has anything to worry about. I'm going to go with no. We're simply not a big enough player even within our own country (much less the world) to be targeted. It's more reasonable than the people that worried about an attack when they were in Meadville, Pennsylvania, but I still believe the risk of a terrorist attack in Pittsburgh is relatively low. Not non-existant, but relatively low. Hopefully, I'm never proven wrong.

Here. Do the jumble.

I'm...I think I'm going to read something. I've got Ulysses pulled up once again, but that's probably not going to happen.


Friday, July 08, 2005

80 Christmas Dinners- For Helen (Przybyla) Kleya

Well, I've lost a post, because the computer decided to crash. So I'll have to try to reinvent it, because I'd like to have this out of my system, and onto the blog.

I'm not sure how I'm going to handle today. It started off somewhat strangely (considering how most people start off their day) with clocking out, getting a paycheck and depositing it into an ATM, followed by paying way too much for gasoline. $2.29. What the hell is that.

Anyway, I drove home, knowing that my family would probably be getting up soon after I got there. They did. They left at about 8am, I stayed here, and will soon sleep. I can't imagine how they can do what they're about to do, which is more or less to be somewhere. My grandmother's condition has worsened from a few days ago and having exhausted all options that don't directly contradict her wishes not to be given a feeding tube, her ventilator is going to be turned off today, meaning that it is more than likely that she'll pass away in the next day or so. This isn't a completely foreign situation for paternal grandfather passed away in about the same way in 2001, a day or so before my high school graduation. So I'm accustomed to what will happen. I've been told she's being given a morphine drip, so that she'll not be in any pain when she passes. I would like to write here about her life story, about what she did and how she lived, but I honestly don't know that much about what happened before I made the scene almost 22 years ago. From my own experience, I can recall everything, from treating her house (which is adjacent to mine, my parents having built on land that was given by my maternal grandfather) as though it were my own, to her always having a pot of Lipton soup for my sisters and I, on through discovering old porkpie hats and voltimeters in her basement, to shih-tzus and yorkie-mixes, to helping her across the short walk from my house to hers in the winter. When my grandfather passed away, my parents called my sisters and I to St. Margaret (UPMC) to say goodbye, where we stopped in for maybe 10 minutes, said goodbye and gave him one more hug and left. This time, I went alone before work last night. My family was gathered in the room, trying to keep the mood light by discussing whether or not they should boycott Tom Cruise's movies because he's insane. After about half an hour, I had to leave to get ready for work, and my family left me alone, which I hadn't expected. I was left to say my goodbyes to a grandmother that I've known all my life as well as I could know anyone, and all I could do is think of old memories while I held her hand. I talked about the christmases and easters at her house, the afghans and the little nursery rhymes she taught me in Polish that I can't quite remember now. I don't know how long I was there, maybe 10 minutes, before I worked up the courage to head out the door. She really was one of the most influential people I've ever known, and I wish I could express that more eloquently here.

That is done. I've written it, and now I've got to move on, in the blogging sense. I'll probably post something later on an entirely different topic. I'd like to state here that it isn't the case that I've moved on coldheartedly whenever I post again next, but that I've got to discuss something else and am dealing with what's going on beyond what I've said in this post in my own way. I'm sorry this isn't the most lighthearted thing you've read today, and in all likelihood, the last thing you wanted to read is the sad musings of a grandson, but there they are.

I'll definitely post later with something else, either analyzing the recent London attacks or Zach Duke's first home start. Or the progress of Bill C-38. Or my earring. Or something. Maybe a fish.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


So. Hm. What to write about yesterday. I'll go ahead and start with the more serious stuff, then go on into the oddly entertaining things. I've been thinking of a way to completely separate the two, but as they both happened in the same day, I don't think I can.

My grandmother was admitted to the hospital after she fell. That's not cool. She's stabilized, but is in the Surgical ICU. Going to see her yesterday was the most complicated ordeal ever to happen, possibly excepting the Marshall Plan. I can already hear the questions within your minds. "Why?" you ask. Some of you. The others ask "What's the URL to that thing with the kittens?" or "I wonder what's on television tonight?". But let's pretend you're asking why.

  • When you're shocked about something and trying to get somewhere, it tends to become somewhat hard to manage detail. Case in point: My grandmother is in UPMC Presbyterian hospital. UPMC has 18 different hospitals, but the only ones I ever really go to are UPMC Presbyterian, UPMC St. Margaret and UPMC Passavant. Herein lies the problem. I confuse UPMC Passavant (near North Park, adjacent to LaRoche College) with UPMC Presbyterian (in Oakland, adjacent to University of Pittsburgh). Which adds on about 1.5 hours of driving.

  • We get to UPMC Presbyterian and go to the information desk, where the person manning the desk is currently focusing on talking to her friend on the phone. When she gets off and helps the people in front of us, we ask for directions to where my Grandmother is. She proceeds to give us...not really directions, but more a list of things that it would be nice if they existed. Like signs instructing family members to where on earth they should go. Or a nurse's desk that it's required that one visits to make sure they're in the right place. Or some indication that the button to open the door is located across the hall, next to another door.

Anyway, enough with that. We got there, we visited, she's stable, so we decided to move on after being shooed out of the ICU by nurses that were changing shifts.

Earlier in the day, we'd gotten tickets by way of Jenna's dad who got them by way of some relatives I've never met to the Pirates game. Jenna and I though "Hey!", and decided to go after visiting the hospital. So we go. It's about half an hour into the game, but we decide "Hey, free tickets" and continue. We park in the garage on Stanwix and trot over to the game, now in the fourth inning, scoreless. The tickets are evidently luxury box, which is nice, I think, because I've never been in one of the suites at PNC before. We're admitted to that fenced off area that the PNC Park employees guard so that those of us who get the $5 student seats don't bother the elite.

So, once again, I've never been in the suites or club level. I shall start with the club level, as it is where we were directed. The club level, it seems contains about a hundred or so people that don't give a damn whether or not they're at a baseball game. It isn't necessary that this is at the park. The game plays on televisions while everyone there sits at the bar, or eats at the dining tables, or plays pool. Were I someone's boss who's shelling out money so that my employees can enjoy themselves at the park, I'd set up some rouse, shuttle them to a sports bar, and have that be the end of it, because that's all it is.

Having discovered this, we went down to our box. I've had hotel rooms that were less nicely decorated than this. You can actually see the game (!), but there are only ten seats outside, so that four of us were always inside, watching the game through the glass. I cannot overestimate the usefulness of a private bathroom at PNC. I cannot understand the usefulness of the couch. All questions were dismissed, however, when our party, at about the bottom of the seventh, was joined by Dave Littlefield.


Seriously. We've got weird little headshots with his signature to prove it. He was pretty nice (ignoring for a second that he was there in his capacity as a PR man) and joked about needing help with decisions for the upcoming trade deadline. He mentioned needing an "outfielder and maybe a third and first baseman." I somehow restrained myself from taking this opportunity from pinning him to the wall and making it clear with no obstruction my feelings on Slaw-o, because I was pretty sure that'd make things weird. He left, the game continued, and we watched Kip Wells return to being a reasonable pitcher, finishing a complete game with a strikeout, his twelfth of the game.

We sauntered back to our car, which was somewhere in the garage. I say it that way because though we both remembered parking on Gelb (all floors are color coordinated, with the color listed in English, French, German and Spanish, and with the language listed in English under the color. I bring this up because presumably if you're reading "jaune" and recognizing that as the color of the elevators around you, you probably already know that it's in French, and wouldn't be helped anyway by the declaration of the fact in a language that isn't French. I can only assume that the reasoning involves teaching children colors, but that would require you to visit more than one level and that doesn't make sense either. Now, if you'll recall where I was, "...though we remembered parking on Gelb) our car was nowhere to be found. I can't explain what happened. It took us about 15 minutes of searching rojo, grau, verde and braun to discover our car now where we left it on amarillo.

We left.

We returned home.

We considered calling Rory about the Dave Littlefield thing.

We didn't. Sorry, Rory.

We slept.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Satori Lettuce

That's funny. I just completed the away message mambo and found myself startled at a very familiar occurrence. Nearly everyone that was away had some variation of "I'm sleeping now." Which sent me into a kind of deja vu, except that instead of being tired from being up all night analyzing NMR, I'm tired and greasy from being up all night making McEverything. While at work today, I went through several shifts as to whether or not I should do a job inspired blog series. The progression went as follows.

  • The travails of a young student who, having taken the summer off from his life's calling, chooses to discover the other side of the drive through window, mirroring a travel/self-discovery book, except that I don't travel other than between the Nigro Residence in Trafford and the Murphy Residence in beautiful Russellton, land of magic and wonder, as well as pizza shops and tanning salons.

  • Exposé on the grueling fast food industry, where trade secrets and McChicken are constantly teetering on the edge of being safely within their respective cages and falling onto the mayo of public knowledge and the lettuce of personal enlightenment.

  • Daily briefing, in no formal way, in much the way that I do current event posts.

  • Top ten reasons I dislike mustard, except that I could only come up with three and only one (it dissolves less well in water than ketchup, making it harder to clean off of things and has a tendency to harden,) was actualy objective and applicable to people who aren't me. And even then, only applicable to those who have to clean mustard from places, who are generally fewer than everyone.

In the end, I believe the world would be better served if I dropped the idea and continued with the random.

Dammit. I just realized now that I'm in Trafford that I have videos due today, which are resting gently in Russellton. I'll not deal with that now. I'll deal with that later. After a shower and sleep.

Monday, July 04, 2005


Independence Day=McDonald's Overnight shift once again. Which is fine. This summer's job, while causing me to smell like grease after a shift, is actually a nice break. I'm enjoying it, in other words. I think most of that is enveloped in the knowledge that I'm not going to be doing this in a few months.

Today's the second day in a row I will have worked the 9:00pm-5:30am shift. I have but one issue. When I was asking to leave this morning, I was yelled at by the morning manager (who had come in 30 minutes before) about my earring. I wouldn't have a problem with taking it out, except that the McDonald's policy stipulates that only males must take out piercings. And I can't actually take it out for any appreciable time until August, but that's beside the point. I can't see how having an earring in my upper ear that's usually covered by my hair anyway when I'm working a shift during which the lobby is closed and only the drive-through which can't see me is open is in any way imparing my ability to do my job or the professional (which is what McDonald's is shooting for, it seems) image of the organization. I just don't see it. Particularly if the reason I can't wear a modest earring is because of my chromosomes.

I'm going to go do something else now. I think I might start a new Independence Day tradition based on what I did after my shift this morning, which is to watch American Psycho. We'll see.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Don't ask Marilyn

Well, it's Sunday, and I've just watched Ian Snell give up 5 runs to the Brewers, and only that few runs because of two impressive plays by Tike Redman (!) and Jason Bay, but that's not what I'm here to talk about. That's not what I do. What I'm here to talk about is the Sunday Paper, specifically the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and very specifically the Sunday Magazine section, Parade.

And even having narrowed it to one section of the paper, I wish only to discuss one specific column. It's syndicated, so I'm relatively sure that even if for some reason you're reading this and not from the Pittsburgh area, you might have heard of this woman.

Her name is Marilyn vos Savant (well, technically that's her mother's maiden name, but whatever) and she claims the highest IQ ever. As Wikipedia points out, that's not even true anymore. The honor has since gone to a kid named Sho Yano. Anyway the IQ that got her in the Guiness book of Records was from when she was a kid and more modern techniques place it 48 IQ points lower than her record as an adult. But none of that is really the reason I'm writing about her. If she still had the highest IQ ever, that's fine. My problem is with the people that write to her. Some pose logic and math puzzles, which is appropriate as that's how IQ is measured. Some ask scientific questions, which is also somewhat appropriate as at the very least it either demands that she know the information off hand or have reasonable research skills. The problem I have is that people presume that because she's got the highest IQ, a measure of her cognitive ability in relation to others her age, she's qualified to dispense advice. She's not. In the post I've linked, she admits that she doesn't actually know what she's talking about. Yet, every week, she either gives advice, as above, or dispenses personal opinions about Child rearing, etiquette and how the President should act in the face of a future tragedy, namely a collision of something with earth.

Stop it. She's making it up. You guys that are writing in could come up with this stuff if you'd think for yourself rather than having someone that you've heard is smart do it for you. You don't need her to tell you to be polite at a restaurant. Sense should tell you that.

So, again, stop it.

Hey, the Bucs responded with a 5 run top of the 7th, so it's a one run game again. How about that.

Saturday, July 02, 2005


And lo. Like the mighty oak which weathers the mild rainshower, I remain. Kinda. I can't give any real reason that my last post should have been Wednesday, but what can you do.

Things that have happened since then.

  • Luther Vandross died, which is important in that it allows me to bring up a sort of contest as well as the problems existing in said contest. While I'm not one to keep track of the doings of celebrities, including who wears what and who looks sullen in one photo but not in the next (Jenna pointed out such a pair of photos that was being cited as evidence that the subject of the photo is now in a permanent state of depression in comparison to earlier, whereas all it really proved is that when people know they're having their picture taken, they're more prone to pose) I follow more closely celebrity death. It started as me mentioning to my mother that "Hey, so and so passed away, did you hear that yet?" and somehow morphed into a morbid competition to see who can alert the other of the latest death first. Call it creepy. Anyway, the problem that arises is that I've found that I'm not able to count all reports, but only ones concerning celebrities she's heard of. For example, asking her if she's heard of the recent deaths of John DeLorean or Hans Bethe will be met with questions of "who are they?", which completely destroys any shock or grief at their passing. I had to explain who Rick James was. You see my conundrum.

  • A few more days at McDonald's, a few more dollars, though I don't actually have any of that money yet. They have paid me for the orientation I completed in early June, but as it was only for one was less than actually significant. C'est la guerre.

  • The Pirates have continued to skid, resulting in some rants from Pat of Where Have You Gone and Rory of Rory. C'est le jeu.

  • Spain snuck in right before Canada to become the third nation to legalize same-sex marriage following the Netherlands and Belgium. Those sneaky Spanish. Ce sont les droits.

  • I guessed at how to say things in french. Particularly that last one.

That's it, I think. maybe I'll post again later, so as to lower my average time between posts. And then I'll pretend anyone keeps track of how long I don't post. And makes a statistic out of it.