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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Black Friday


                Ok, so maybe it’s just me here, but does anyone else find it incredibly ridiculous that Black Friday sales are starting earlier and earlier every year?  This year has been the worst I have seen to date. 

                Nearly as far back as I can remember, Black Friday has always been a part of my life.  Thanksgivings were always spent the same ways.  Originally it was at my paternal grandparents for lunch, and then on to my maternal grandparents for dinner.  Recently, it has changed to my aunt’s (on my father’s side) house for lunch and then onto my maternal grandparents for dinner.  No matter what way it started, it almost always ended the same way.  After dinner, desserts and coffee were served to the family.  Then the cleanup of dishes, silverware, tables, chairs and such followed suit.  Then, almost instantly, within a blink of an eye, the kitchen dining table was transformed into a war room.  Looking like a scene out of a World War II movie, the generals (my mother, aunt, sister and grandmother) would plan their strategic attacks.  Taking into account, better deals, price matching, fatigue, long lines and capacity of buildings, they went to work, finding what they thought to be the best course of action.  Now, this is the part I remember vividly, because I (yes, believe it or not) have taken part in a few of these excursions myself.  The time would come, almost always 3 AM, the alarms would sound, coffee would be brewed and the attack would commence.

                November, the third Friday of the month, 5 AM………..D-Day.  More commonly known as Black Friday.  They would execute their battle plans, only stopping once during the day for lunch and then at the end of the day to go over their spoils of war.  I can remember once specific occasion where I tagged along.  Our first stop was the destroyer of small business, Wal-Mart.  Upon arrival, we found that none of the specials would be available until exactly 5 AM.  The only part about this that was awkward was the fact that they had almost all the specials out, just covered up with garbage bags and plastic.  People were ripping the plastic open and taking the items ahead of time.  That’s when all hell broke loose.  Employees were telling people to stop, as more and more people cleared out the display.  My goal was to find a specific television.  I found this item on a pallet near the tire and lube center.  When I announced “Hey here are the TVs,” I was promptly ambushed by about 50 customers who gobbled up the merchandise.  That was just the start of my day, that took me to Target (where the police were, in order to make sure no one cut in line), Circuit City, Best Buy, the Wyoming Valley Mall, Boscovs, K-Mart, Wal-Mart again, Toys “R” Us and even Office Max.  When all was said and done, we had done a Tour de Wilkes-Barre, 3 times over.  After eating and stopping at a few other places, the day ended somewhere around 4 or 5 PM.  A very long day and nothing like I had ever seen before, when it came to shopping. 

                Crazy as that story and time frame seemed, it was a tradition in my family.  However, it seems that over the last two years, times for sales have been getting earlier and earlier.  Last year my mother and the crew left the house at 10 PM in order to hit places opening at midnight.  I just talked to my mom on the phone and this year, they are leaving at…………6:30 PM!!!!!!!!   WHAT?  Are you sure you will be finished with dinner at that point?  Jesus H Christ on a cracker, the first words out of my mouth was “Are you crazy?”  There is no way in my right mind I would waste my holiday standing in line.  Thanksgiving has always been about spending time with your family, it’s a lazy holiday.  Wear jeans, watch football, catch up and eat. 

                I truly 100% feel sorry for the poor souls that will be out there this evening, not the shoppers…..the workers.  As a retail veteran I have worked in one outlet or another for over 8 years.  Friends of mine have done the same, or are still working in retail.  They seem to get less and less time to spend with their family and for what?  A job that has ridiculous hours and still doesn't pay enough to make ends meet?  I would say that a good portion of retail workers are made up of college students.  A friend of mine (Sterry) and I had this conversation earlier in the week.  College kids go to school from September till December with little breaks in between.  With assignments and working during school it leaves little free time to do anything, let alone spend time with family and friends.  Now on one of the days that these kids get off to actually do just that, they are being forced to go in and work on a holiday at a insane time.  Let the kids have some time off.  I’m sure a few of you out there are saying, “Hey, it’s their choice to work that job.”  When really I’m not quite sure it is.  In this economy and with the way that a college students schedule can be, how the hell are they supposed to find a different job?  Especially one that can cater to their schedule so well, I mean they are kind of forced into the industry.  Mostly because service and retail are almost the only industries left in America.  This year has truly sickened me on the experience of after Thanksgiving shopping. 

                I’m not going to say that the shoppers are horrible people, or that they are destroying America.  Most of the shoppers will also be parts of my family and friends.  All that I ask is that the shoppers please keep one thing in mind.  Please treat the stores employees with a degree of respect and be grateful for them.  Sure, some of them are probably going to be dickheads, but wouldn't you if you were torn away from your family to come help ring out shoppers you don’t even know?

                With that in mind, I would personally like to wish everyone out there a Happy Thanksgiving.  Some people like to bash holidays saying that they are too commercialized and what not.  I for one will be taking this time and spending it with my family and loved ones.  Maybe we all need to take a moment today and reflect, even if you do it by yourself in your head, for all the things we are grateful for.  Just take a moment.   I hope everyone enjoys their holiday.  No matter what it holds.  Whether it be food, football, family or even………shopping.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Movies or books? Books or movies? You make the call!

For the last 26 plus years I have been around, I can truly say that reading, yes reading, has been one of the banes of my existence.  I have never really liked or enjoyed reading unless it was something that really sparked my interests.  Books about Wars or History I could blow through in hours, or maybe even days.  When it comes to books for recreational reading or that I was assigned to read in school, well they were never really my cup of tea.  Perhaps this comes from my family.  No one in the family was really a reader.  I cannot think of a single grandparent, parent, aunt or uncle who really owned a number of books.  Of course I remember reading books as a child.  I had a few that were my favorites.  One was about a dog named spot and his search for his mother.  The other was a book about Rudolph and was in the format of a Where's Waldo type of book.  In any case, I think that reading is something you either do or you don't.  Which brings me to the choice I have to offer.........books or movies?  Movies or books?  Both?  Can that be a viable option as well?

Maybe reading is an acquired taste and I just had something sour me on it when I was a smaller child.  I think for me this experience came in school.  I remember being forced to read books that I had no interest in and it really made it hard to get into it, and especially learn anything from it.  I do however, recall my 5th grade reading/english class.  Mr. Yoder.  The guy was pretty cool, and more importantly gave us the ability to choose what we wanted to read.  Our school used to get those Scholastic Book Magazines that sell books to students and schools.  He would allow us as a class to browse through it and select a book that we thought sounded good.  Naturally there were different ideas as to what sounded good, so there would be lively discussions (as lively as a discussion could be for 5th graders) and eventually would come to a vote.  I distinctly remember one novel that we chose.  The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.  It was a murder mystery, filled with clues, turns and a big reward for the person who won the game.  It had all the essentials I needed to be interested.  This allowed me to, for the first time in my life, become immersed in a book.  Become the character and see the story.  Feel what the characters were feeling, hate other characters in the novel based on what they said or did.  It was really a great experience.

For the rest of my high school days reading went back to being a monotonous task.  Only done because it had to be.  I remember opening up novels and reading the first few lines.  I would literally toss the book off the wall and it would sit there until I turned it back in.  Perhaps I was lucky in this respect, I would be able to answer most test questions by listening to class discussions, or following context clues.  My high school reading list was probably much the same as anyone else's in America.  To Kill a Mockingbird, The Catcher in the Rye, Old Yeller and of course the typical ten thousand Shakespeare plays.  (Don't get me wrong, Shakespeare can be great, but so boring to read sometimes.  Also one of my favorites was Macbeth )  These books may be interesting to some however, when read in the wrong format, they can become a nightmare.  I feel that if I was to maybe sit down with these books now, with the age and experience I have now, maybe they would have a different feel.

Recently through the urging of a professor I have at school, I have begun reading for recreational purposes!  WHHHATTTTT?  (I know right!)  Me reading books!  Get out of town!  But alas!  It is true.  My first novel to tackle was recommended to me by that very same professor.  The book is titled the Perks of Being a Wallflower.  I went to Barnes and Noble and picked up a copy.  (This experience in itself was weird, I have never really shopped for a book before, so this really was a new experience for me.)  Amazingly enough I found the book on a table and brought it home with me.  Later that night, mostly due to torrential rains and a power outage, I found myself presented with an opportunity.  With no TV and no Internet, it gave me a rare amount of down time with nothing to do.  So I decided, what better time to begin my adventure with this book than right then and there.  The next thing I knew, I looked over at the clock and 1:00 AM was staring back at me.  I had blazed through a hundred pages or more in just one sitting, I didn't think to get up for a snack, or to go to the bathroom.  Nor did I once want to turn on my PC or TV.  I became engaged in the story and could not pull myself away from it.  I wanted nothing more than to find out what happened to the main character "Charlie" and his friends would do next.  Luckily the next night I had just as much free time.  Rather than booting up my PC, turning on the TV, popping in a DVD or flipping on the PS3 (Oddly enough they are all abbreviations.)  I decided it was time to find out what Charlie was up to.  In my second sitting, I blazed through the rest of the novel.  I thought it was quite an accomplishment considering I had not read anything in roughly nine years or so.

Another interesting thing about the book is that it was recently made into a movie and is currently in theaters.  This gave me an even more unique opportunity than I had by just reading the book.  For the first real time in my life I could be one of those people who read the book and then went to see the movie.  One of those people who could go and see the movie, yet tell everyone that the book is better.  This really got me pumped up and I wanted to see this movie as soon as it was available.  I am happy to say that this week, I was able to hit up Cinemark and see this flick.  I always hear those people saying "the book was way better than the movie," so this was my chance to test the theory that books are always better than movies.  One unusual thing about this movie, as I would imagine is not the case with most other films made out of books is that the Author, Stephen Chbosky, not only wrote the screenplay, but he also directed the film.  For the most part the movies I researched had totally different people write the screenplay and all had totally different directors.  Movies like the Green Mile, I am Legend, the Notebook, The Da Vinci Code and even the Hunger Games all fall under this category.  There were only two major things that I noticed about the film that differed from the novel.  One was a poem and the other was an abortion.  Truly only one of those had any real bearing on the plot of the novel.  Naturally it did seem like the novel/screenplay was a little streamlined in order to make it flow better, and they threw in some jokes or more modernized things in order to make it more appealing to the current generation.  All in all I would have to say that the book and the movie were very similar.  The novel and the movie both have a sort of "Teen Angst" feel about them, so if you aren't into that or looking for something like that, you might want to pass it by.  The book does teach a valuable lesson, that you cannot always live life on the sidelines.  Being a wallflower allows you to observe, learn and see things about people others may not.  This works, but you also need to get out there, throw yourself into the mix and see what happens.  Here is the trailer for the film:



I have continued reading and currently am working on another novel.  After that I have On the Road by Jack Kerouac lined up and ready to go.  We will see where this reading thing takes me and if the habit sticks or not.  Maybe I can start recommending books!  Wouldn't that be cool?

So the question is......Movie or book?  Book or movie?  You tell me.  What do you prefer?  Why do you think that is?  I'd love to get some feedback on this, so feel free to drop me a line on here, Facebook, Twitter or even via E-mail.


Monday, September 17, 2012

September 11th, 1950

Headline from The Detroit News

September 11th is a day that most people remember and mourn the events of September 11th, 2001.  Eleven years ago terrorists attacked our country, not our soldiers, not our ships or planes, but our civilians.  This is a tragedy that will undoubtedly never be forgotten. Today, however I’d like to talk about an event from a September 11th a lot longer ago.

To be 100% completely honest with all of you, I never even knew of this event, which being a history buff, kind of bothers me.  For some reason I know a ton of historical facts, but when it comes to local history I find myself at a loss for facts or information.  So earlier today when I saw a Facebook post saying “September 11th 2001 and 1950, dates we will never forget”, I decided it was time to do some research.  A quick search on Google found me the information I needed.  Apparently the local boys of the 109th Field Artillery, out of Wilkes-Barre, were involved in a horrific train crash on the morning of September 11th, 1950. 
It was a thick foggy morning on the day of September 11th, 1950.  The troop transport train known as PX54444 West was heading to Camp Atterbury, Indiana.  The 109th was scheduled to do some training here in preparation for their deployment to Korea.   Early in the morning, a problem with the train was discovered.  From what I understand it was that there was a break and the air brake line that needed to be repaired.  Following procedures the troop train deployed a flagger, who dropped flares and allegedly changed a railway signal in order to let others know the train had been stopped on the tracks.  Many of the servicemen were catching up on sleep while these repairs were taking place.  The train departed Buttonwood Yard (Located in Wilkes-Barre) around 2 PM the day before.  That morning the train was outside of a small town called Coshocton, Ohio.  Little did they know what was about to happen.

The 109th is one of the oldest units in continuous existence in the United States Military.  The original incarnation of the 109th was under the command of Colonel Zebulon Butler in 1775.  They were originally set as an infantry unit, and later (1917) were designated as a Field Artillery Regiment.  They have served the Wyoming Valley for more than 200 years and continue to have men overseas to this day. 

Overhead Picture of the wreck
Ground level view
On that fateful morning, a Pennsylvania Railroads passenger train named “Spirit of St. Louis” was running late on its schedule.  The engineer was later quoted as saying they were traveling “too fast”.  Even with the stop signal engaged, the passenger train flew by it, not even noticing it.  Part of me wonders if this was more due to the reports of heavy fog than the carelessness of the engineer.  Out of the dense fog the passenger train had no chance to stop and slammed into the back of the troop train at 4:42 AM.  The flagger deployed by the troop train was no more than 500 yards from the train when he saw the lights from the oncoming passenger engine.  The tape from a speed recorder put the speed of the passenger train somewhere around 48 miles per hour. In the months that followed it would be determined that the engineer of the “Spirit of St. Louis” failed to follow operating signals and was going too fast, this is what led to the wreck.  The diesel engine that was pushing the troop train was propelled forward into the cars holding the servicemen.  The first car was thrown in the air and landed cross ways onto the second car.  Accounts of this say that the second car was sheared down to the floor.  This caused a domino effect of cars hitting into the back of other cars.  The Diesel engine that was pulling the passenger train was thrown down an embankment and into a creek.  When all said and done, in a matter of minutes, 33 guardsmen were dead and countless others were injured. 


Caskets were unloaded draped in American Flags
In the days that followed it was discovered that all of the dead came out of the 109th out of Wilkes-Barre, PA.  The dead were placed back on a train that was sent back to Pennsylvania.  An unconfirmed amount of people, believed to be numbered in the thousands, came out to honor the dead as the train they were on pulled into a train station in Wilkes-Barre (Some of the Ohio newspapers list them returning to the Lehigh Valley, however then they go on to say they took a mile ride to the armory.  Clearly they had the Wyoming Valley confused with the Lehigh Valley.).  The Caskets of the dead were unloaded, all draped in American flags, at the Market Street Station in downtown Wilkes-Barre.  They were placed on 33 separate transport trucks and taken on a slow ride through downtown Wilkes-Barre en route to the Kingston Armory.  Hundreds lined the streets of WB to witness the procession.  The Public were barred from the armory in order to let the families be with their loved ones, before making arrangements for funerals and burials. /div>
I originally wanted to post this on September 11th, however I wanted to make sure I had all my facts straight.  Plus I was waiting a few days in order to personally interview my grandfather Vince.  He entered into the Korean War in 1953.  He recalled the details almost immediately.  “A lot of my friends were on that transport, just the other day I saw one, his back was all messed up from that and still is to this day.”  He went on to say.  He also mentioned that a kid her grew up with died in the accident.  “Royer, Richard Royer, he was a good kid, he had a bit of a stutter, but we grew up together, hard to believe someone I knew was killed”.  My grandparents collectively recalled the day the troops returned home saying that there were “tons of people” and it was a “really big thing back then”. 

The Wyoming Valley is very rich in history.  Some events are better and happier than others.  In this case it is one of the more terrible stories, but a story that needed to be told.  I for one find it to be interesting that the date is infamous for more than one event, especially one so close to home.  From the people I asked about this, not many knew or had any idea this had ever happened.   So I really felt the need to get this out there, in order to inform people and let them know that history is an important subject that should be learned and more importantly never be forgotten. 

Below you will find a list of the soldiers that died on that day, including my grandfather’s friend Richard A. Royer.  Please take a moment to think of what they and their families lost that day:

LIST OF CASUALTIES:

  • Disbrow, William R. - Service Battery
  • Edwards, Sgt. William C. - Service Battery
  • Fletcher, Cpl. Joseph E. - Service Battery
  • Hornlein, Pfc. Martin - Battery B
  • Jackson, Pfc. Ronald J. - Battery B
  • Kuehn, Lester J. - Battery B
  • Okrasinski, Sgt. Bernard S. - Battery B
  • Ostrazewski, Cpl. Thomas M. - Service Battery
  • Royer, Recruit Richard A. - Battery B
  • Sobers, Recruit William F. - Battery B
  • Tierney, Pvt. William F. - Service Battery
  • Wharton, Sgt. Gilbert B. - Battery B
  • Zieker, Pfc. Donald C. - Battery B
  • Harding, Pfc. Clyde - Battery B
  • Ludwig, Pvt. Wallace R. - Service Battery
  • Thomas, Capt. Arthur J. - Service Battery
  • Wallace, Recruit Thomas W. - Service Battery
  • Wellington, W.O. William M. - Battery B
  • Armbruster, Cpl. Carl - Plains, PA - Service Battery
  • Balonis, Pfc. Leonard - Plains, PA - Battery B
  • Barna, Corp. John L., Plains, PA - Service Battery
  • Carr, Recruit Eugene - Larksville - Battery B
  • Cox, Sgt. John W. - E. Plymouth, PA - Battery B
  • Dougherty, Recruit William J. - Larksville - - Battery B
  • Fargus, Recruit Hugh L. - Plymouth, PA - Battery B
  • Gallagher, Pfc. E.W. - West Wyoming, PA - Service Battery
  • Handlos, Pfc. Harold - Larksville, PA - Battery B
  • Luzinski, Cpl. Larry - Trucksville, PA - Battery B
  • Martinez, Recruit Frank C. - Bronx, NY - Battery B
  • McGinley, James F. - Exeter, PA - Service Battery
  • Norton, Recruit Charles - Hanover Township - Battery B
  • Pudlowski, Pfc. Raymond - Hudson, PA - Battery B
  • Zabicki, Pfc. Edmund F. - Edwardsville - Battery B







Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Current Economy


With the election looming, I’m frankly getting sick and tired of people complaining about policies and conventions.  That or people trying to sway my vote one way or another.  The problem with all this to me isn’t as cut and dry as Republican or Democrat, Left or Right, Black or white.  The Problem here lies with society itself. 

For some odd reason people have decided to start blaming everything on the government.  Now, don’t get me wrong there are some things that the government has 100% of the blame on.  Things like broken Medicare, the Welfare system, and you can go as far as to say some of the wars we are currently waging.  However, people for some reason or another view the current economy as the government’s problem.  It is not, it is a problem created years ago, that are just now finishing the snowball effect that it started decades ago.  This whole issue started with the establishment of credit.  I’ll touch more on that in a bit.  This economic problem also contributes to our current unemployment problem as well.  How can you place the blame on one man, who really has nothing to do with creating jobs for people being out of work?  Sure, maybe the guy can lobby for companies to bring jobs here, or create some project that may need a number of workers.  There is no way that one single man, unless the CEO of a company can single handedly put the entire country to work. 

Day after day I see friends posting statuses on facebook or telling me that they have been laid off, or lost their job, or people I know fresh out of college, with degrees and nowhere to work.  The reason for this is simple………The economy has changed; we as a society have not.  Take a look at the minimum wage….it is currently 7.25 in PA.  When I started working, in 2002 the wage was 5.15 per hour.  In PA the Minimum wage was 5.15 per hour from the years of 1998 until 2006.  That’s 8 years of the same exact wage, in a set of year where some of the biggest economic changes happened.  Gas is the highest it has ever been, I remember back in 2004 I was paying around 1.99 a gallon, gas is now 3.75 a gallon.  If you drive a car with a 12 gallon tank that’s a change of 21.12 a tank of gas! Not to mention all of the new additions in the form of bills, Internet, TV and especially food prices.  Even at 7.25 (for the last three years I might add) is clearly not enough.  The current Job I have pays well over that (More than double the minimum wage).  I still cannot afford to live on my own due to bills I have.  With a car, student loans, phone bill, credit card and car insurance, I’m pretty much at the bare minimum.  Expenses like gas and food are must haves, granted I suppose I could cut back on entertainment, but so can everyone else, plus I really don’t go out that much anyways.  So my question here is, if I had a wife and a kid, how the hell could I afford to support them?  I would need another job in addition to mine and my wives job.  Then, if you are both working and have no one else to watch the kids…….there is a child care expense, which I can tell you from my sister’s experience that is not cheap!

There are no jobs today where a person without a college education can go and get paid well enough to support a family.  Years ago there were tons of opportunities for people to have jobs like this.  Grocery attendants, the auto industry, manufacturing, small store/business owners, apprenticeships and other trades all provided the means to support a family.  My grandfather worked as a glass man for years, this allowed him to provide for himself and his family (Wife and two kids) and allowed my grandmother to be a stay at home mother.  So what has changed?  Why is it harder to support a family?  Because of businesses and corporations, that’s why.  Big business has been putting small business owners out of business and middle class workers out of jobs for years.  Couple that with the vulture like enterprises, like banks and credit card companies and there is your answer.  People cannot find decent jobs, so they take 8.00 an hour at Wal-mart.  They still can’t make due so they get a credit card and slowly max it out.  They rent a place from a guy who’s in the same situation, thus their rent goes up.  They make the minimum payment and are ass raped with a ridiculous, unregulated interest rate.  They need to have the internet so their children can do their homework.  This leads them down a path of perpetual debt they can never get out of, unless they work 15 jobs or die.  This is no way to live your life and there is absolutely no reason for it, what so ever. 
Places like Wal-Mart, Apple, Car Companies and especially clothing companies are slowly killing this country.  Banks and credit card companies are helping them do this.  Companies send away manufacturing jobs, leaving us no work.  Why pay a fellow country man when you can send the job to someone who will take 1.00 an hour and work 20 more hours a week?  This saves the companies millions of dollars a year, boosting their profits and filling their pockets with money.  They bring their products here and sell them at a ridiculous marked up price that most people cannot afford unless they use a credit card, making money for them and keeping the middle class in debt.  Companies are making billions of dollars while the middle class struggles to stay afloat.  If this country was less concerned with money and greed, perhaps we could have an economy that could sustain itself.  Henry Ford (Creator of the Ford Motor Company) employed a lot of Americans. He paid his workers better than any other place in Detroit.  He did this to enable them to buy a Ford and help the economy.  This essentially paid him back for the investment he made in the workers.  Maybe if we had more businessmen that cared about the American people like Henry, we wouldn’t be in this situation.  Today Big business owners are only worried how to buy themselves a yacht or line their pockets further.

Money now has a hold on all the business owners, CEOs and corporate officials out there.  No one will give that up now.  The only way we can do this is to create business for ourselves.  Perhaps the government can help here.  However, I see a major issue with this.  Perhaps we can create legislation that states something like:  If you have your corporate head quarters in America, a certain percentage of your employees must work/reside in America.  If these businesses try to circumvent this rule by moving out of the country, we would simply impose tariffs on their imported products.  If their products are more than others, many people may choose an alternative.  This will intern create lost profits for these companies.  The problem here now lies with lobbying, companies paying politicians money in order for them to vote a certain way.  This leads me to believe there is nothing that we can currently do in order to change our own economy, short of a revolution. 

So please, next time you want to preach about the economy and the upcoming election, just take a look at what really is causing the issue, before you go blaming someone who doesn’t deserve it.  

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Another Time

Over the last few months, dare I say years, I have seemed to find myself not meeting my own potential.  It something that I suppose you could say that is a blessing and a curse.  I always want more from myself, always striving to get myself to be the best at whatever it is that I am doing.  Lately I find myself run down and unable to have that (Sorry for the Rocky reference but,) Eye of the Tiger.  Sometimes I start things with the intention of doing my best, or with a certain goal in mind, however I just don't follow through anymore, I have no drive, no purpose.  It's almost like right now in my life, I'm just flapping in the breeze.  Work has beaten me down to the point where I don't want to succeed in that place.  I don't even have a drive to go out and look for  another job, mostly because I've been fed the BS that I'm apparently not worth anything.  I make bonehead plays and hockey and get really down on myself, but rather than doing what I used to do, practice til I get better (Countless shots, going to open hockey, eating healthy and working out, when I was doing those things I saw a huge jump in my game, now I've kind of leveled off.)  I just whine about how I had a bad game, and next time it will be better.  Relationships with women seem to get me down easily, as if my life depends on it.  I used to do my thing no matter what my relationship status was, now I'm bummed out as if I need to have a girlfriend.

This is what brings me to my idea of........Living in another time.  Have you ever felt that maybe you would be a bigger splash in another time?  Perhaps if you lived earlier in a century you'd be a successful person?  A Game changer?  A leader? I think about this sometimes and I know it's impossible, but I sometimes think that in a different time, people have different views, maybe I would fit in more and people would respect me more for the way I am.

If I were the age I am now in the 80's would I have followed my interest in technology and became a big deal in the computer industry?  Perhaps I'd have created some great software or computer itself and became rich and famous?  Maybe if I followed my music interests I'd have thought of some new styles before anyone else. I'd have been a hit in the night clubs.

Perhaps if I was this age in the 40's I'd have used my hard nose style and managing abilities during the War.  When I have a defined goal and someone pushing me to achieve it I will die before I fail.  Perhaps I'd have been a fast rising soldier in the Army.  Someone who saved many lives, or took many lives, or someone who helped prevent the both of those from happening.  Would I have come home to a girl who missed me and loved me, wrote me letters from home and told me all the things that happened while I was gone?  Returned to a United States that was firing on all cylinders and found a great job and was able to provide for my family?  Would people have looked at me as a war hero?

If I were in the 70's would people shun me for joining the military?  Perhaps I'd be a guy here at home, protesting the war.  Maybe because of this I'd have followed my interests in politics and became a congressman?  Trying to think of creative laws and policies that would help our nation grow, help it keep it's greatness.

Then again there is me now. The current me, living in my current time.  Perhaps if I would have pushed harder in sports, I'd have become a professional athlete.  Maybe if I had applied myself in school more and went to college right out of high school I'd amount to something more than I am now.  Maybe if I didn't choose the hobbies I did as a kid, I wouldn't be as much of an introvert or a loser. If I stuck with my saxophone and other music interests I'd be a musician rather than a C rate player who can play, but not well. Maybe if I didn't screw up countless relationships I wouldn't be single and depressed all the time.  Perhaps I wouldn't be as much of a wussy when I talk to girls I like.  All these are novel ideas, all of these are great purposes that could have ended up in totally different ways.  They are all stories that could have taken me down different paths, maybe I would have ended up a totally different person.  All these statements have one thing in common, the word maybe.  The simple fact of the matter is........I didn't.  I am who I am because of those choices I made, and I'm pretty much stuck with them now, as you can't change the past as much as you want.  You only get one chance at a first impression, it's a bitch to change what someone thinks about you, but you know what?  It can be done......

After getting this out I feel like a Phoenix, rising from the ashes of my former self.  I feel like I can do anything.  I've started working out again and eating health, I've bought training aids to help me practice my hockey skills even when I'm not at the rink.  I've enrolled back in school and plan on following through this time.  My grandfather used to make me do math problems and English work when I was a little kid, he made me do that so that I would grow and use my mind, I'm a smart guy, its just lately I've been so out of things I never apply myself.  I will be more active socially (This blog is an example of that).  I will not let people put me down.  I know I'm a beast when it comes to my work.  I can do the work of multiple people, multitask like a boss, do my bosses job and that's all before lunch.  Clearly I'm valuable, maybe I just need a change of setting and a company that appreciates the quality work that I do. No longer am I going to be a back seat driver in my own life, I'm taking the wheel and for the first time in months I feel empowered, not powerless.  These Root lyrics speak volumes about how I feel now:

"Yeah, and if I'm ever at the crossroads
and start feeling mixed signals like Morse code
My soul start to grow colder than the North Pole
I try to focus on the hole of where the torch goes
In the tradition of these legendary sports pros
As far as I can see, I've made it to the threshold
Lord knows I've waited for this a lifetime
And I'm an icon when I let my light shine
Shine bright as an example of a champion
Taking the advantage, never copping out or cancelling
Burn like a chariot, learn how to carry it
Maverick, always above and beyond average
Fuel to the flame that I train with and travel with
Something in my eyes say I'm so close to having the prize
I realise I'm supposed to reach for the skies
Never let somebody try to tell you otherwise


There's something in your heart
and it's in your eyes
It's the fire, inside you
Let it burn
You don't say good luck
You say don't give up
It's the fire, inside you
Let it burn"




-Russ

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

50 Shades of WTF

Ok, so if I have to see one more post about 50 Shades of Grey I'm going to kill myself.  I understand people like to suggest things to other people that they like, such as restaurants and movies.  I am totally fine with this, but it bothers me when people suggest things that are awkward or completely useless.

My main concern with this is the plot of the story, or should i say what I assume the plot of the story is.  Keep in mind I haven't read the book and am basing most of these facts off of what I've heard or read in reviews.  According to what I've read, its about a female college grad who happens to be a virgin that has never had a boyfriend (Yeah ok, that's going to happen today......soooo realistic).  She takes a job at some company and starts banging the CEO, but I guess the dude is into like all kinds of freaky crap (bondage and crap like that).  First off I don't know the details of how they started banging, nor do I really care.  Secondly, a girl who actually is reading it told me it reminded her exactly of Twilight.  Great so apparently all I need to do now to be a successful author is just start writing books about weird squirrely girls who bang really socially awkward guys.  What ever happened to writing a great story that people want to read?  When did we decide we wanted to read pornography? I'd love nothing more than for a book I write to become famous and for people to actually enjoy it!  Not to mention make some money off of it so I don't have to work at place that doesn't appreciate me.

I know that I'm clearly going to pick a fight with some of my female readers here but like this goes back to my previous blog on love.  Why in god's name do women want some mysterious asshole to come and whisk them away.  Like I thought girls always wanted the white knight to come and rescue them.  All my life I have been raised to be the "nice guy".  Granted I can be an asshole, I can treat people like shit, but deep down inside I always do the right thing.  I was taught to always help out people, friends or not.  There's no reason you should shit on someone for no good reason.  Plus later on down the road you may need help from someone else and I doubt you'd like for them to shit on you.  Perhaps I'm showing my age here, but I was taught to respect people.  Thus why I am so confused when it comes to books like this.  Shouldn't women be like "OMG I WANT TO FIND A NICE GUY WHO TREATS ME WELL"?  The last girl I dated, told me about how "retarded" her ex was. How he treated her like crap and told her how to live her life.  She wanted to have kids some day and get married, he told her he was not doing that and she'd have to deal with it.  So eventually she got fed up with him and left him.  We started dating, I can say this, and with out exaggerating, that I treated her amazing.  I listened to her, took her out, took her to hockey games, movies, parties.  Out to dinner, cooked her dinner, had movies nights, gave her gifts(which i know isn't that important), all the things that should make her feel good, appreciated and dare I say loved.  What was my thanks for this?  She went back to her ex and left me high and dry, blocked my number and deleted me from Facebook almost instantly (Insert "Somebody I used to know" lyrics).  I just don't understand it.  Again not to toot my own horn here, but i'd have to say I was better looking than that jitbag anyways.

I think my main point here is how women constantly underrate themselves.  I don't know why, maybe its the whole supermodel/barbie concept where they don't think they are good looking enough or popular enough.  Why women are never satisfied with themselves I'll never know.  I was once told that this affects their relationships too, and I wasn't sure I believed it, but the more I see, the more I do believe it.  The theory goes as such:  If you treat a woman nicely and the way you should, she will think that she's above you, that clearly you are doing all these things to hang on to her, because she's better than you.  Which will thus lead her to look else where, because she thinks she can do better.  If you treat a woman like shit, degrade her and not do things that make her happy, she will feel as if she can't do any better.  She will think that if this is the way she is being treated, that you must be the upper echelon of men that she can attain.  Thus she will never leave you.  Now I'm not saying I do this, but maybe this is why women are they way they are today.  Perhaps this answers the question of why women have an infatuation with assholes.  They have been grown into a culture where this is normal and thus it is clearly hard to break them from these ways.  Again, not all couples are like this, I know people who are nice to their wives or girlfriends, and they get along just fine.  But for every couple I know like that, there are 20 that are dysfunctional or fit the great girl/total asshat boyfriend category.

Aside from that, I'd just like to say this:

Women, please respect yourselves.  Don't settle for some douche bag who treats you like total garbage.  There are still nice guys out there, I know a few myself, and I don't even mean just myself.  There is no reason why you need to think you are inferior or beneath someone.  Believing in yourself and what you are is the best way to empower yourself.  Don't ever tell yourself you can't do something, there are plenty of assbags out there that will to do that for you.  Stay true to yourself and there is no reason you will ever feel dissatisfied with your life.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Love

OK so today's topic is a legitimate deep topic, coming right from the heart and it makes sense, today's topic ladies and gentlemen is: Love.

So many people are "looking for it" ,allegedly some people have "found it", and honestly too many people complain about it or the lack of having it.  I myself have been guilty of the last one. A few times I thought I found it, only to be ripped apart leaving me in tatters worse than a shitty roll of 2 ply shit wrap (Toilet Paper, haha). Regardless I'm really not the type to put my business out there on the facebook, granted I have done the "In a relationship", "Is now single" BS.  But I'm entirely sick of looking in my stream and seeing women complaining about how some douche bag ripped their heart out and that all men are the same and dickheads, yadda yadda, so on and so forth.  I don't necessarily mind the people that proclaim their love, or say how great their spouse is. You would think that this may annoy me as I'm not in love of whatever.  Wrong, I'm not a bitter person, I really enjoy seeing people being happy, Thus I enjoy seeing my friends and family happy in a relationship and happy.  Good for them and I hope to find something like they have in the future.

My problem lies with the idiots out there.  Guys who have the greatest girlfriend, smart, fun, cute, and they either A. Treat her like shit or B. Complain about her til my ears bleed.  Or the women that complain, as i stated earlier, about how there are no good guys out there and everyone treats me like garbage.  1.  Stop dating douche bags who treat you like shit and that wont happen.  2.  Stop being closed minded and snobby and only dating Brad Pitt and maybe you will get someone who actually respects you.  3.  If you have to constantly hound your boyfriend into hanging out or spending time with you, he probably doesn't care about you enough.

Someone I recently spoke with, was dating a person who lived a decent amount of mileage away. They saw each other here and there due to their work schedules.  Recently they broke up, the dude ended it, my friend is the girl.  He said that it really hurts him to do this, because he likes her and all that. Maybe its me but like......WTF?  Generally if you like someone you don't leave them.  By far the dumbest excuse I have ever heard.  I know a guy who is in a relationship, and the girl lives 11,000 miles away.  So don't ever tell me distance is an excuse.  Also who the hell is he going to find a person who works the same exact schedule? That is whats known as being selfish.  Don't get me wrong I need attention as much as the next person, but I can also use my space as well.  Alone time, time with my hockey team, time with family, or hanging out with friends doing whatever.  What I'm getting at here is "YOU DON'T NEED TO BE GLUED TO EACH OTHER".  I'm quite sure if my father didn't go fishing as much as he did when i was a kid, my parents would have killed each other years ago.  Back to the original point, if you like someone, you would move mountains to be with them, to get to them, there is no reason that you have to hurt them as well as yourself to be more convenient for yourself.

Perhaps this is a shit subject for me because I'm still looking for love.  I've dated a number of girls, some that cheated on me, some that were nice, that i screwed up, some that weren't right for me, and some that were just plain nuts.  Like literally nuts.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm not Brad Pitt, but i'd say I'm like a pretty good looking guy, I'm smart, I'd consider myself funny and fun to be around.  A problem I have is meeting new people, I hate going out sometimes, I get all anxious and stuff.  However for the most part I'm a guy who loves the light, a social butterfly if you will.  I just have a hard time, and always have had a hard time, talking to and meeting girls.  I've tried the whole online dating thing too.  Boy is that a total sham.  I legitimately take the time to read over a cute girls profile, send her a thoughtful email and they read it and delete it.  Like OK I'm not Brad Pitt, but give a dude a chance.  Also from what I've heard women usually get like  "HEY, wanna bang 2nite?",  in their inbox.  So like if I'm taking the time to send a thoughtful email why would they not take the time to say something back, or even "I'm not really interested".  Holy shit a response would be golden.  For Christ's sake you are on an online dating site, why are you being a snob?! Balls.  Anyways, enough about my bullshit.

What I'm getting at here, with this whole topic of love is that people need to be themselves.  People need to care less about what other people feel or tell them to feel.  They need to be more concerned with what they feel.  If you like someone, be with them, if you hate someone or they treat you like shit, tell them, don't string people along, or bullshit them.  I don't care what race or creed you are, if you are an asshole I'm going to tell you that you are, because that's how you deserve to be treated.  If you are in a relationship that sucks, fix it, or end it, don't complain about it on facebook and especially don't categorize all men or women as jerks or whatever just because something didn't go your way.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Love Hate Relationship

My relationship with working out / eating healthy can be described in nothing more than Love / Hate. A few years back I knew a kid whos bicepts were about the size of my head.  He got me into working out and eating healthy.  Now I'm a small dude, not huge or tall by any means.  At 5'7" I'm usually wishing for stilts or debating on whether or not i should lift my leg when i kiss a girl taller than myself.  But i figured it would be nice to get into better shaped and feel good.  Not to mention attract some attention from the ladies! O.o  Anyways, I got into it and bought supplaments and Protien shakes and weights.  I worked out almost every night and felt the best i think ive ever felt.  Eating healthy can really change your mindset and litterally you dont feel like ass (The kind of ass you feel like after eating KFC and a large mac and cheese).  It really can make you into a different person.  I was eating healthier than I ever had.  Yogurts, lean meats, rice cakes and all those sort of healthy fruits and veggies you should eat.

The only problem there was that i sort of tailed off.  I ended up regaining the weight i took off, lost muscle and went back to my old eating styles, which included but are not limited to eating bags of Doritos, ice cream, and fast food.  Even Soda, which is a terrible waste of calories.  Now again a few months ago, before Thanksgiving and the Holidays, i started eating healthy again, not even working out (unless you count hockey like 3 days a week), just eating healthy.  I have to say within two months I felt great.  I was skating faster and playing harder than I ever had on the ice.  I woke up earlier with more energy than I had.  Then again, I slowly slipped back into bad habits, then the holidays hit and I like most Americans pigged out and stuffed my face.  Which lead me back into the blahh stage.  I really want to get back to this.

I have P90X I just have a hard time making time and following it.  I have a membership at Planet Fatass, although I don't use it that often because its so far from my house. I'd eat healthier, but i don't always have time to make a lunch or go shopping.  Those are all bullshit excuses that I use all the time.  This time around it's going to be different.  I plan on holding myself accountable for the things I do now.  Playing in three hockey leagues, and maybe some work outs during the week 1 or 2 times, combined with healthy eating should get me there.  There's no reason why I can't do this.  The only person stopping me is myself.  My job is even physical so this should be easy.  Plus summer is coming and that will have me outside hiking, playing sports, and running around.  Thus I am committed to getting back in shape and wont stop until I am.

College

So, I haven't posted in a while here, mostly because I've been running around like a mad man for the last few weeks.  I had a hockey tournament in Pittsburgh, typically work weeks, Overtime, as well as the fact that I'm now in 3 separate hockey leagues.  That being said, here is my latest entry.

I've officially decided to go back to school this fall.  The hardest part is figuring out what the hell I'm going to do to pay for it.  I never went to college out of high school as i got a job using my computer certification.  It was a decent entry level job, with opportunity to advance.  Around 2 years later I found myself unemployed with no degree and hardly any experience in the field, which landed me back in a retail job.  I jerked around in this field for a few more years, which finally i decided that i need to go back to school to get out of the dungeon known as retail.  I went back for Pharmacy, and quickly learned it was more work than i could handle with a full time job, that combined with the fact that Wilkes was charging me 26k a year.  I was so broke after paying bills I could barely eat.  Those two combined factors is what led me to leave school.  2 years in and I had nothing to show for it.

This time I've changed my major to something I really actually am interested in.....Communications.  I plan on taking Journalism classes as well as Media classes.  I've always been quite good at expressing my self via text and or speaking my mind.  I was a DJ on the radio for a little while and I always found that to be cool.  I got to create comedy sketches for the show, play the music I thought was cool, and even have friends listen to me.  If you cant already tell I'm pretty much 100% obsessed with Ice Hockey, I'd absolutely love to do something in the sports field, sports writing, sports reporting, anything like that.  I have to say I'm really quite excited about this.

The challenge now comes in the small stuff.  "Don't sweat the small stuff" they always say.  I say that's bullshit, at least for me.  Small stuff like funding for college, money for books, class scheduling, electives, figuring out all the paper work.  These are the hardest things for me.  I hate reading monotonous text about loans and such. If its something I'm interested in its no problem, but fine print about loans....I'm going to have to will myself to do this.

The question I have is how the hell do people get all these grants and scholarships.  I've filled out the FAFSA and they always tell me to go blow a dong, thus i get no funding.  I should have payed more attention in high school when they talked about these things.  I dated a girl that went to school essentially on a free ride after all her scholarships and grants, and some how had so much left over she put a down payment on a car with it.  How do things like this happen to everyone else, but not me.  Well not this time, I'm gonna figure this shit out if it kills me, By THE WAY, if anyone has any input or ideas, please let me know.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Pet Peeves.....Grrrrrrr....

Alrighty! First off id like to say i hope everyone had a good holiday.  I for one was working 12 hours, so needless to say it wasn't a totally Happy Easter for myself.

This post is entirely focused on a few things lately that have become my pet peeves.

For starters the work it self.  Why do we call them pet peeves.  Well upon doing research i have realized peeves is another word for something that's annoying.  Pet refers to the fact that its your favorite or favored, Thus Favorite Annoyances. However, i still cannot understand why we don't just call them, things that piss me off.  People in today's society have become too politically correct, if more people spoke what was on their minds, there would undoubtedly be less Red tape and lines of bullshit circulating in today's world. God forbid someone say what they feel. And perhaps people are worried about what people will think about what they say. Mostly because of the aforementioned political correctness.  People shouldn't look so much into other peoples opinions and doubt themselves so much.  There are plenty of people that are willing to put you down, so don't ever do it to yourself.

Another one of my favorite annoyances would defiantly have to be the squiggly letter, confirmation boxes on websites.  I under stand that there is a need to determine if the person is indeed not a computer bot. But for shits sake the robot would have a better chance at typing some of those things that i would.  Not to mention half the time its not even a real word in the box, which i personally think makes it five times harder to figure out.  Or the fact that one word is easily readable like Book then comes the second word and its like quidgibo. Like what the hell does that even say?  and to top it all off they have the balls to make it squiggly as all hell too.  

Recently another thing that has been sighted on my pissed off radar are the pictures on facebook that people put up just so they can get "likes" or what ever.  There is one of a badly burned veteran in his military uniform, looks to be a Marines uniform.  The posting i saw was something to the effect of "Like this if you really respect veterans".  First off, i have a tremendous respect for veterans.  Both my grandfathers served and a few of my friends as well.  They served their country in its time of need.  If the time came i would do the same.  That being said, id imagine that particular veteran didn't want his wedding picture posted all over the internet.  Something like that must have been and may still be a traumatic experience for him.  My one friend served in the marines in a combat zone and rarely says anything about the service, mostly because he doesn't want to talk about it and secondly because i probably wouldn't understand half of the terms he uses.  The second one i saw was a little girl clearly suffering from cancer or something, with no hair, in a Cinderella costume.  "Like this if you think shes beautiful" the post said.  Like i have a hard time dealing with this one.  My grandfather died from cancer. Thus it pains me deeply to see a small child having it at such a young age.  The problem i have is that i don't know this child.  I don't know her parents, and i certainly don't know anything about her.  There are people that i know that have died from cancer or other diseases.  Some of them were complete and total assholes.  I'm not making the case of they got what they deserved, I wouldn't wish that on anyone or anything.  However just because the person died in a certain way or of a certain disease doesn't make them a saint, nor does it take away all the bad things they did in their life.  If Hitler died of cancer, 1.  He would still be a great public speaker. 2.  He would still be a terrible asshat who did unspeakable things.  So please before you go liking pictures make sure its for a good reason.


This one may seem simple and stupid but it really gets under my skin.  You approach a door way, there are two doors, on on the left and one on the right.  You proceed to the one on the right has this is the way traffic usually would flow, and someone comes plowing out of it.  Why is it so hard to use the correct door, when entering and exiting a building?  Or when you open the right door and people coming running out of it, as if they don't know how to use the second door.  Do these people drive on the wrong side of the road? Are these people from Britain and don't know any better? 


I work for Lowe's, i'd rather not get into details as i may say something that will come back to bite me, however, the old Lowe's slogan was "Let's Build Something Together"  which i thought was rather clever.  IT showed a partnership between the company and the customer, working together to accomplish a goal. Now the slogan has changed to "Never Stop Improving", which sounds motivational, however to me its the company saying, "Keep buying things, cause we don't care".  With this new slogan has come a rash of new commercials that make absolutely new sense what so ever.  Around Christmas there was one that showed people rolling a giant ball of lights all over the country, Myself and countless others thought it was an AT&T commercial.  Recently there's one where an awkward green mist comes into your house and makes you float out the window and do yard work.  All of these are accompanied by some sort of lame hipster music.  Most people that shop at Lowe's are from one group, and they don't want to be there, they are called.....Men. As long as i can remember, my father has been home project himself.  Which naturally made me the sidekick / helper.  Many of my childhood weekends were spent fixing things around the house, which is where i learned to curse like a sailor.  Not usually ever went right, which caused more trips the the hardware store, or you'd get home and find out the supposedly knowledgeable staff (actually a 17 year old kid who could care less) sold you the wrong part.  Not to mention the fact that no one likes working around the house, anyone who says they like cutting the grass is a complete dummy.  Its not relaxing, its work.  It's something to do yes, but id much rather be doing something else.  To me a Lowe's commercial should be something like "(Man sitting on couch watching the game) Aww yes the game! (Woman enters the room complaining about how the sink is still leaking) "I thought you said you were gonna fix the sink this weekend?!?! (Man, lets out a long drawn out sigh............)"  And that's where you drop the slogan "Lowe's, Fix things and get back to life",  or "Lowe's get shit done".  


I have a ton more i suppose, but i shall leave it at that for now!  Stay tuned as i plan on explaining the reason for the name change of my blog.  As well as more posts!  For now i'm off to my Hockey game, feel free to come out and support us, admission is free!  Pittston Ice Box (Revolution Ice Center). Game is at 8PM!


-Russ

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

First Blog!

Seeing as I am new to this whole blogging idea. Take it easy on me would ya?

I guess I can blame my sister as well as myself for wanting to start doing this. I find myself to be rather opinionated on most things, so why not type it up and put it out for more people to read and hopefully appreciate.

I figure since this is my first blog i should introduce myself and give you some insight on to what makes me tick and what my background is. I was born in the great city of Wilkes-Barre, PA. Somewhere around age 3 i departed the area and moved to the Poconos, where i still currently reside. The only unfortunate thing about that is that i still do 98 % of my activities in the "Valley". The fact that gas is so expensive caused me to get rid of my truck and buy an economical car, that i have been told would be great for a grandmother or a 16 year old girl. Great..... However it keeps me from vomiting over gas prices and spending my bi-weekly pay checks on it as well.

For hobbies i really enjoy playing/watching Ice hockey, soccer and football. Playing video games, fiddling with radio and computer equipment has always been a talent of mine, as well as cooking. I was a DJ for a small while on the radio, which i found to be tremendous fun.

I'm sure you will see more insight into myself as time goes on, i don't want to beat the drum about myself for 900 paragraphs.

Stay tuned as i plan on updating this a lot. Also, thanks for taking the time to read this!

-Russ