Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Penguins vs Capitals, 3/19/13

When I was growing up, there was a park at the bottom of the hill below my house. It's called Clair Park, and it's still there, as a matter of fact. A few of us spent hundreds, probably thousands of hours there, playing roller hockey in the summers, sledding and having snowball fights in the winters, and making chlorine bombs whenever we had enough bottles, rubbing alcohol, and chlorine pucks. If you're reading this and you're 12, I suggest giving it a try. The hockey and sledding, not the chlorine. I would never EVER suggest that someone does that. Of course, it's fun, scientific, and amusingly dangerous, but seriously kids, DON'T do it.

No, definitely do it. It's awesome.

One day, as we walked toward the park with our hockey stuff, we saw what appeared to be a man sleeping in the grass by the park. He looked to be in a bad way. We assumed he was a homeless person, which doesn't really make sense in Upper St Clair. Four years of college have taught me that he was just hung over.

The point of this story is that this guy was a lot like the Washington Capitals. The night before, around 10 p.m, he thought he was the king of the world. The beer or cheap vodka was coursing through his system, and he could do anything. He could even successfully convince that hot chick in the corner to go home with him. By 11, everything had gone south.

He walked up to the girl, and introduced himself in a slurring voice, and offered her a shot or two. She obliged, and the two hit it off nicely. They probably began making out, oblivious to the fact that everyone else around them was laughing at the guy. They knew something he didn't.

The guy realized that he just couldn't get home that night, so he and the girl slipped off to his friend's room to engage in some "extracurricular activity". At 11:45, he felt something odd, and realized something was wrong. This woman was a transvestite.

The fellow ran out of the room screaming, fell, smacked his head on a table, and vomited uncontrollably on the floor, a cascading flow of partially digested vodka and pizza, coloring the kitchen floor a vibrant shade of reddish gray. He then stumbled out of the house, walked across the street, and fell asleep on the grass at the park, a place that reminded him of an easier, more carefree time.

The Washington Capitals are that guy. Every year, they seem to believe they stand a chance at winning the Stanley Cup. They do well until it counts, as everyone around them laughs, knowing that the inevitable will arrive, and they will fail to achieve success. More often than not, the transvestite from the story ends up being an unbeatable goaltender such as Jaroslav Halak or an overpowering offense led by Sidney Crosby. Rinse, wash, repeat. It happens every year until finally, the Capitals fall asleep on the proverbial grass at the park, or in their case, a golf course in Northern Virginia.

But not this year. This year, they just suck.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Wednesday Rant: Mail Room Edition!

Look at this person, here.

This fine gentleman is a mail room worker. Notice his demeanor. Attentive, friendly, welcoming, likely knowledgeable about his job, and hardworking to the point where he somehow manages to encompass all of these qualities while simultaneously writing and smiling for a picture. This is the face of dedication.

Now look at this face.

 This is an accurate artistic rendering of the manager at the school's mail room. Gaze in awe at the aloof and unhelpful expression on his face. Does he look like the sort of person you would trust when mailing things across the country? I think not.

Actually, he doesn't look much like that, I'm just a great artist and tried to pretty him up a little. The true fellow has that smug "I'm nerdy as hell, and proud of it, and I'm going to look down at you in disgust for not knowing this things that I know" look. Like this:
About the only accurate thing about my drawing was the pony tail. If you're a guy and you have a ponytail, cut it off. There are very few instances in which it is acceptable to have a pony tail as a guy. First, perhaps you don't normally wear it that way, but you have to for work. This is alright. The most acceptable reason to have a pony tail is that you are incredibly badass, and use the pony tail to display this. Maybe you wear the pony tail in defiance, a sort of "come at me, bro," to goad lesser mortals into fights that they will inevitably lose, like a deer with huge antlers as a sign of "not to be messed with". That's alright.

But mail room guy, cut it off. You look ridiculous.

you may ask, "Will, why are you picking on the poor mail room guy?". the answer is simple. It is because I am an asshole. However, when I'm at work, I treat even the most astoundingly whacked-out customer with respect and a smile. Mail room guy, on the other hand, does not. In my four years of experience with him, every conversation has seemed like it is designed to make me feel like I am an inconvenience.

Today, I walked in to send out a book, and asked for a box. "We don't have boxes, you should have brought your own". Alright, I was under the assumption that this is the mail room, and your sole job is to mail stuff in boxes. Also, there's a rack of boxes behind you. Gimme one of those, please. "I guess we have some of these boxes, but the book will move around". As long as it moves to New Jersey, that's all the matters to me. The book's comfort along the ride is not my concern. So he gave me a box, and I got it all together, packing slip inside, on top of the book, and handed it back to him. "What?". Please mail this. "You need to tape it up and put it in the appropriate bin". Sorry dude, I was under the impression that you work in the mail room, and it was your job to do these things.

I realize that I'm coming off as a dickhead who is perhaps expecting too much. But I figured taping my box together was sort of his job. Whatever, I can tape it, and so I did. But my real problem is with him giving me such a hard time and making me feel like an idiot for not knowing everything about something I had only done once (and that time, they took my book, assembled the box WHICH THEY ALREADY HAD, and taped it up for me. I was expecting the same thing).

I guess what I'm saying is that I can't stand people who treat their job and customers like it's the biggest hassle. Some days at Buybacks, I was up to my nose in disgusting used CDs, sorting through them to see if there was one we could buy, and then dealing with the venom spewed my way when I told them I couldn't take any of their crap. And I did it politely.

But at least I don't have a pony tail.

AND ANOTHER THING! As I was taping up the box, there was an art therapy professor in there, trying to figure out a problem she was having with something she was expecting in the mail. Packing tape is loud. When it peels up from the main roll of tape, it makes a horrible noise somewhere in between duct tape and a Sun Chips bag. As I was trying to attach the packing tape, it was making a lot of noise, and the professor turned to me and said "could you PLEASE keep it down, I'm TRYING to sort out an issue".

Well perhaps I wouldn't have this problem if the asshole who lost your mail wasn't too lazy to do his job. Also, art therapy is bullshit, and your students should get a refund. You know what was art therapy for Led Zeppelin? Music and a bag of whatever drug they happened to be into at that time. I bet that worked better for them than ambient music and pastels.

Monday, March 11, 2013

I Have A Lot To Cover And Unlimited Space In Which To Do It.

I should probably start writing again, shouldn't I?

As the months stretched on, November gave way to December, and December passed on into January. There was no NHL season in sight, and people started to expect (or at least heightened their preparation for) the worst. My sister, of all people, told me that the season would begin on January 19th, and I, being a fool who believed I knew everything about anything that was released by the NHL, disregarded her. As it came to pass, I was awoken by my Mom in the early hours of January 12, and told that a deal was reached, the season would begin on the 19th. Abbie, as I've found is almost always the case with most women, was right and I was wrong.

Since then, the NHL has resumed, and a number of incredible things have happened, not the least of which is the current state of the Atlantic division. Immediately after the deal was reached, preseason predictions began pouring in.

The New York Rangers, according to everyone, would be an unstoppable juggernaut, the likes of which would make Genghis Khan shit in his bearskin loincloth and give up his empire. The Vancouver Canucks would run away with the West in more convincing fashion than Reagan beating the hell out of Walter Mondale. Hell, even Adrian Dater said the Oilers would be the third best team in the NHL this season. I'd make a historical comparison, but I can't think of any. Oh wait, yes I can.

Damn, I'm good.

As it turns out, all the king's horses and all the king's men can't make the "experts" right about anything. Every year, the general consensus between all of the so-called experts is that some team will win it all, and every year, they are wrong. I think that the batting average for their predictions would be enough to keep them on the Pittsburgh Pirates, though. Year in and year out, we are treated to "the Canucks will win the Cup," "Jarome Iginla will be traded," and "the Edmonton Oilers will finish atop the Western Conference".

Having passed the halfway point in the season, it's safe to say that Mongolian dry cleaners are without business from Mr. Khan, Mondale is putting up a good fight, and the Oilers will screw the Blue Jackets out of yet another first overall pick, and therefore the right to eventually trade Seth Jones to the Rangers for Stu Bickel and Steve Eminger.

"Did you just make a joke?"
Well now, that's just funny.

Thought you guys might like some pictures.

The Rangers are currently 8th place in the Eastern Conference, only two points ahead of the 9th place Winnipeg Jets, whom I picked to finish 8th, due to what I assumed would be a strong home record. The Jets' home record, for those wondering, is a weak 4-6-0, compared to their 8-5-2 away record. Not as solid as my prediction for where they would be in the standings this season, I suppose. Can't win 'em all. The Canucks are technically 6th in the West, though tied with Los Angeles for 5th in points, with 28. Clearly not the Presidential candidates some thought they would be. Injuries to Ryan Kesler play into this, as does some sort of goalie controversy you might have heard about.

The big story for this season has been covered to death, and I'm going to cover it just a little bit more. The Chicago Blackhawks chased down ol' Genghis and popped him some laxatives. They had some historic start to the season, blah blah blah, that's great. See? I covered it just a little bit more.

But the true story, one that nobody saw coming, and most people still haven't seen, is that of the Anaheim Ducks. The former Disney marketing scheme finished 13th in the West last season, ahead of only Edmonton and Columbus, whose records last season were funnier than a new Louis CK special (premieres Saturday, April 13th. I'm hoping to get some kickback from HBO for spreading the word). This season, the Ducks are 2nd in the West, with an 18-3-3 record, which if it weren't for the Blackhawks, would be front page news. It should have been expected of the Blackhawks, who boast a lineup that includes Patrick Kane, Johnathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, and Duncan Kieth. Of course, the Ducks have their stars in Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan, and Corey Perry, but the three were bested in points last season by aging legend Teemu Selanne. The "Finnish Flash" is having an "off year" by his standards, with 17 points in 24 games. If this is his last season (I don't think it will be), what a career he's had.

The Ducks of the East (who much like the Wicked Witch of the East, should be crushed by a house for the good of all Munchkinkind) are the Montreal Canadiens, who I'm told are "the greatest sports team of all time, the standard by which all clubs should be measured, and spent half of the season in a contractual dispute with their best player and are currently trying their hardest to run him out of town". Maybe I only heard the first two things, but only the third is accurate. I can't take away from them too much, though. They are a dreadful team on paper, and should be out of the playoff picture by this point in the season, but great goaltending from Carey Price and phenomenal coaching from former Penguins Head Coach Michel Therrien have les Habitants sitting atop the Eastern Conference. I'm going to go vomit uncontrollably for having to write that.

When judging who should win the Jack Adams award for best head coach in the NHL, toss out Joel Quenneville of the Blackhawks and give it to Therrien or Boudreau of the Ducks. My choice would be Therrien, for turning shit into steak.

More near and dear to my heart, of course, are the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sidney Crosby is first in the league in points, and it isn't close. Rumor has it, people are willing to sell vital organs on the black market for a chance to swap-spit-with-Sid. I've just come up with a new marketing scheme for Penguins ownership: donate a kidney to UPMC (one of the Penguins' major sponsors) for a chance to go on a date with Sidney Crosby. A guaranteed makeout session is in the contract. So far, I'm expecting kickback from HBO and billionaire Pens owner Ron Burkle, but I can do better...

...and what better way to enjoy dinner than with a delicious, fresh Italian combo or meatball sub from Teresa's Deli, with two convenient Erie area locations?

That should take care of dinner for the next few months.