Saturday, April 1, 2017

Talking and saying nothing, man. It is an art I have not mastered.

I've decided that this will be my last blog post here. There are a number of reasons for this.

It has been obvious to me for a while that I really have nothing interesting to say here. I'm not being dramatic or fishing for compliments, I'm just stating the truth. This blog has always been my release, my journal. I don't want to keep complaining about my personal life. You know that story. I don't want to keep complaining about my job or my financial situation. You know that story, too.

So what topics does that leave? Music? Tried that. I'm too old for the crap you hear on top 40 (except Fall Out Boy, natch) and I'm too young (and too liberal, apparently) to join in the music discussions on the blogosphere. 

Politics? God, no. I'm trying to get away from that shit. We're all too entrenched in our partisanship anyhow. There was a well thought out (and frankly necessary) ESPN article about this issue as it pertains to Colin Kaepernick. Naturally, both sides missed the point.

I've been quite fortunate lately, in that I haven't had to encounter my in-laws (or my own "sister" and her husband).. but that luck will run out soon. Niece's birthday. Easter. Other niece's college graduation. Brother-in-law's birthday. All in the next two months. My only hope is that by then we'll be able to chant "Lock him up!"

I do enjoy talking and writing about sports, as you know. Part of the reason why I feel the need to cast aside this blog is because baseball season is about to start, and the hockey playoffs will soon follow. I'm sure I'll discuss those things on my other blog "The Collector", which was created in large part so that you all wouldn't have to slog through content that doesn't interest you.

I wish I could discuss books I've read or movies I've watched.. but the last movie I saw was Catching Fire last weekend. Yes, it was just as enjoyable the fourth time - and on basic cable with commercial interruption. I watched it while sorting a pile of sports cards and munching on Girl Scout cookies. Good times.

When I was in Connecticut I started reading Confessions of a Dumb, White Guy by Matt Shifley aka Mr. Shife. It's probably the first book I started in two years. I'll read more of it over Easter weekend (and hopefully before then.) Perhaps I'll post again when I finish reading, but I'm just as likely to comment on his blog or leave a review on Goodreads.

A few weeks ago I saw commercials for a movie called Before I Fall. I knew this was based on a YA novel, and I knew I had a copy of said novel.. but nothing about the film looked familiar. How long ago did I read the book? Did I ever finish it? Is the movie drastically different? Or did the story simply not resonate with me enough to recognize it when I saw it? I honestly have no idea.

There are a lot of books in my collection that would probably be better suited for teenage girls - though anything by John Green and possibly even the Divergent series supersedes such classification. Fortunately I have two young daughters who will be teens far too soon and might be interested in what will (by then) be two decade old literature.

I suppose I could share more about how unsatisfying and lonely my family life is, and how I can never get my girls to listen, or put away their toys, or put down the tablet, or eat their dinner. But those difficulties are hardly unique to my life.

The only other subject I enjoy writing about is my crush - whoever it happens to be at the time. But the four of you have heard much more than you ever wanted to about which women interest me, and why. I really should stop publicizing my juvenile thoughts. I don't want to seem like a psycho.

(that's her xbf, btw)

Andso I figured this was the best time to just slink away, while everyone's attention is focused on the alphabet blogging challenge, or the Final Four, or the actual start of spring in this part of the world (forget what the calendar says.)

I'll still comment on blogs as often as I can, and I won't delete this blog or any of the posts. Not yet. But I don't see a reason to continue writing here.

Thanks for reading this, everyone. I'll talk to you again soon.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Custom Card Crush

Sometimes I wish I had learned Photoshop.. or maybe not. 

I've met a couple of sports card collectors on the blogosphere who have a talent for creating custom-made trading cards. Once such blogger is Corky, author of the blog Pack War. He fulfilled nearly my whole wish list of custom cards. Most of them were female athletes who are fairly well known but have few if any actual collectibles (women's sports aren't exactly in high demand in the collectibles market, unfortunately.) 

If you're interested in some of the sports stars Corky customized I shared them on my other blog.  

Because I'm still very much a teenage boy at heart, I had also requested some custom cards of my favorite female celebrities (i.e. non athletes) Corky came through with this gem:

Awww yeah!

I gave the option of this "Color TV" design from the 1955 Bowman baseball card set, or a more modern Hi-Def flatscreen style. Corky opted for the classic look. Excellent choice.

Not sure where he found this pic (edit - it was her video for "Change It Up") but the colors really pop. This is why I'm glad I never learned Photoshop - if I knew how to make things like this, I'd never do anything else.

If I'm ever able to procure a physical copy, I might just send it to Taryn for an autograph. People send her things sometimes (such as SpongeBob undies) and when I first became a fan I stumbled on her Patreon page, in which she offers to send you a signed (and defaced) headshot if you contribute to her creations.

Speaking of creations.. many thanks to Corky for combining two of my favorite things: classic baseball cards and Taryn Southern. This absolutely made my day :-)


Friday, February 10, 2017

Love, Taryn

This isn't going to make much sense if you haven't read my previous post..and I don't usually post on back-to-back days, but...

As a rule, I do not comment on things (other than blog posts). I don't tweet, I don't do Facebook, and I never comment on news articles. I try not to even read other comments because it stresses me out. When I feel like I have something to say, I say it here or I bother D with it because the last thing my life needs is a flame war with a total stranger.

Even when I have something positive to say, I bite my tongue.  I am still the incredibly awkward boy I was in school. Constantly worried about being misunderstood, or ridiculed. When I met a girl I liked, either in real life (Angela) or online (Joy) I tried desperately to be cool, before quickly realizing I don't have the first clue how to do anything but overreact and overthink. I spared myself a great deal of humiliation with one, I completely f*cked up with the other. Andso I keep my mouth shut. 

Except...I didn't follow my rule yesterday. I poured my heart out to a girl I like. 

I commented on Taryn's video.

I really enjoyed this video. It might be an ad, but IMO it's more effective at selling Taryn Southern - and I'm already a loyal consumer. The fun, silly videos are great (and I miss them - please do more!) but this sort of summarizes what you're all about - taking risks, following your own path, being your own boss. Not to mention all of the charitable work you've done, with Tribe of Good and VR-related projects. Keep being that strong, defiant, kind-hearted woman we all love. (And throw us an 80's cover once in a while ;-)

She does reply occasionally, though it's often first-come, first-serve. I was not expecting a reply, nor was I going to worry myself over the lack of one. I had lots of other stuff on my mind.

But while I was opening a package of baseball cards I acquired in a trade with a blogger, this notification popped up.

Taryn Southern replied to your comment

Taryn Southern
1:49 PM
This is the sweetest message Chris!! Thank you so much.

At this time I would like to announce my retirement from the world of YouTube commenting. 

This might just be enough to get me through the awful day that awaits me tomorrow.



Saturday, January 21, 2017

New Job Mojo

Hello! Yes, I'm still here. Not hibernating (as I've been known to do) just really busy. And sick. I caught a pretty nasty cold/sinus infection around the holidays that just started going away this week... and there was some other major distraction that ended up being a non-event (more on that later) so free time has been scarce. But I didn't mean to go away for a whole month. Honest.

Hope you all had an enjoyable holiday season. My holidays were predictably painful, though I did get to sit out one or two family functions due to illness. The girls got a truckload of presents and they don't play with them nearly as much as they should because they're either watching videos on the tablet (which we're trying to limit them on) or they're watching Nickelodeon. Sometime around Christmas, my 7 year old started watching shows with actual human actors - instead of their old animated favorites like SpongeBob and The Loud House. So now my girls watch Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn and School of Rock. I've watched a couple episodes of each and here are my thoughts:

Nicky, Ricky, etc is about 10 year-old quads with very different personalities. Their mother is played by Allison Munn, who played Amanda Bynes' bff on What I Like About You. I was sooo in love with Amanda back in the day. Sigh...I am officially old.  

The parents own a sporting goods store, which is interesting to me, and their dad is as dopey as every other adult male on Nickelodeon. At first I thought it was a Dan Schneider show.. but there's not enough slapstick. 

I don't know how old you were when you started to actively notice and pursue people of the opposite/preferred sex, but I was definitely older than 10. That said, Dicky is my dude cause he's always macking on the ladies and talking about junk food. 

I'm less familiar with School of Rock, which seems to be about kids who attend some type of learning facility that focuses on some type of music. I'm guessing the show is a take-off on the movie of the same name, and I'm also guessing that it would be funnier with Jack Black. 

Pete Wentz appeared on an episode of School Of Rock, and I didn't see it because my daughters weren't watching it at the time. I'd feel silly watching the episode On Demand without them asking for it but if it doesn't re-run soon I might have to YouTube it. 

Also, Jade Pettyjohn is a future cutie. Much too young for me, obviously (my last Nickelodeon "crush" was Victoria Justice) but it's good to know that the Nick pipeline keeps pumping out pretties. nasty cough and congestion caused me to miss two work days - one voluntary and one mandatory, when one of the attorneys sent me home early on a Monday and told me not to come back until I saw a doctor. I was tempted to use that as motivation to never, ever see a doctor and thus never come back to the firm.. but I had another idea instead.

I've been checking job listings on and off for years, and I had planned to apply for jobs on the three-day weekends of Christmas and New Year's. There was only one that I was able to apply for, but it was a good one. And for the past week or two I didn't want to mention it to anyone because I didn't want to mess with the mojo. You see, every time I apply for a job that sounds good, I tell my mother. And I get her all excited like I'm going to get a better job, move up the corporate ladder, make more money, and be less miserable. 

Never happens. I never get a call back, and I almost never even get an e-mail. It gets old telling her that I didn't get the job, andso with this one I simply didn't tell her about it. I haven't talked to her since before I applied because.. mojo.

Sure enough, I got a call back. They wanted me to come in for an interview Friday afternoon. Normally this would not be a problem - my wife has Fridays off, and I get home around 1pm. Except, because my boss made me stay home on a Tuesday, my wife had to stay home and take me to the doctor. Which meant she had to make up the time...on Friday. Which meant that I had to ask them to reschedule the interview for this past Monday. 

The woman I spoke to said her boss wanted to wrap up the interviews that week, but she put me on hold and asked someone (her boss?) if I can come in Monday. He/they agreed. And so I spent the weekend working myself into a frenzy because I absolutely had to nail this interview. It is practically impossible to find a full-time job in my town that I'm actually qualified for - all the want ads are for food service or accounting. 

So I went in for the interview on Monday. I nailed it. There were three people, none of them the big boss (though I think one was the boss's son) and it went really well. I'm never one to feel confident or optimistic, but I did. And sure enough, that evening I got a call back for a second interview. They wanted me to come in at 10am the next day, but I had to ask for yet another reschedule because I work until 2pm on Tuesdays and I don't get home until 3pm (because my office is four towns away and I have to ride the bus for 20 minutes and then walk for 30+ mins - which I would never have to do again if I got this job.)

Interview #2 was with the bossman, in his office (which was basically a shrine to Italian soccer.) He said he wanted to meet "everyone" who got a second interview and get to know them, but it felt like he did a lot more talking than me. He went over compensation, perks, duties, etc... basically if I got the job I'd be directing calls to other people instead of handling issues myself like I do now (yass!) I thought the second interview went well, though I didn't quite have the same positive vibe afterward. Bossman said he'd let me know either way by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, I still had to show up at my current job and do a passable amount of collection calls. It was quite a struggle to prevent myself from acting like I had one foot out the door - especially when our biggest client was getting on my case. I had to take a phone call from this annoying woman when I should have been preparing for interview #2. Really, really wish I could have quit on the spot, Scarface-style (warning:F-bombs)

..especially on Friday when I wandered about the office bored out of my mind and I heard the sounds of a live broadcast emanating from the front of the office. Our receptionist was watching the inauguration. You have got to be f*cking kidding me I muttered. But I soon realized that this made sense --the last time she was listening to a live event at work it was a World Cup soccer match between the US and Germany. I was watching the gamecast on my computer screen (without sound) and the instant that Germany scored I heard her shout and celebrate. Whose side are you on, lady?

Color me shocked that a 60 year-old German woman is supporting Drumpf. Unfortunately she's the one with the knockout figure so #conflicted. (not really!)

Actually I'm more conflicted about my "work mom". She had to deal with the annoying client too, and our boss is a lot harder on her than he is on me (or maybe she's more sensitive?) And when I had to leave early on Tuesday for my interview she was the one left to deal with those MFers.

For the past year or so, she's been quietly complaining to me that she's miserable there, that everyone is miserable, and that the firm isn't nearly what it used to be. The lawyers are more stingy and nasty, the atmosphere is toxic... and she can't leave because she's got a mom with Alzheimer's who needs constant care. More than a few times she's encouraged me to look for another job, a better situation, and I hadn't been looking for quite a while. I can't even remember the last time we had that conversation... before this week

On Wednesday she came in to my office to vent about how our boss was awful to her after I left. I apologized for leaving and said I had an appointment, but after she restarted her speech about how much she hated our office and wanted to leave she asked if I was looking for another job. Don't tell her. Don't say a word. Remember your mojo.

Now you might be thinking that this "mojo" business is silly. Random things don't dictate results that are beyond your control. And that's what I said... on Election night. Every damn poll said Hillary Clinton was going to win. I was cautiously optimistic, but even at her worst she had never been behind in any poll. And when she started losing states everyone assumed she'd win I had an impulse to change the mojo: Sit somewhere else. Take your hat off. Go upstairs. Eat something. Don't use that cup, that's a loser cup. Until I realized how ridiculous that was and common sense told me that nothing I did would influence the results in any way (not even voting!)

And so I sat in the same seat, left my hat on, didn't eat, and didn't go upstairs.

I'm sorry, America.This is all my fault. Whatever happens in the next four years is because I stubbornly defied the mojo.

And I know it works because last Sunday I was watching the Packers-Cowboys game at the in-laws and guzzling cans of Mountain Dew while the Packers were winning. I had finished my fourth when the Cowboys started rolling and eventually tied the game. 

I. Hate. The. Cowboys. Always have. And while I'm a little pissed at Packers fans lately, I still love the team. So when I got the impulse to drink a fifth Mountain Dew - and initially told myself that was too much - I knew I had to take one for the team.

You owe me one, Cheeseheads.

Back to Wednesday. I could have - should have - kept my mouth shut about going on an interview. But for some reason, when she pressed me about applying for jobs I held my index finger to my mouth. You did? She whispered. Is that where you were yesterday? I nodded. Still technically didn't say anything...but then she asked questions, and I had to answer. I gave up the game. I defied the mojo.

I told her that they were going to let me know by the end of the week if I got the job or not. I didn't hear anything on Thursday, and I wasn't expecting to. When I woke up Friday morning I immediately felt sad. I knew it was going to be a shitty day when I realized that Barack Obama was no longer our president. The job thing probably wasn't happening, either.

I left my phone on at work, just in case I got "the call". Work Mom asked me almost immediately if I had heard anything. Not yet. I replied. She asked again three hours later. Still nothing.

It's at that point that she started her sad story about how miserable she is at work and at home, and how she can't take it anymore.. and I nodded sympathetically. But in the background I could hear the coronation of King Donald.. and then I remembered that during the election she co-signed on our bookkeeper's comment that Hillary Clinton should be in jail. 

And as Work Mom continued on about how we have to get out of here and she's praying for me to get this job, blah blah blah... I'm looking at her like You voted for Trump, didn't you?

A short time later I finished off the water in the water cooler. It is customary for the one who empties the water jug to refill it, but in that moment I was thinking you're all self-reliant Republicans, you do it. Besides, receptionist lady and bookkeeper bitch are both in better shape than me, and I don't subscribe to antiquated gender roles. 

But of course, when work mom asked in her sweet, pleading voice if I could please refill the water cooler jug I acquiesced. Because I don't have it in me to be a heartless jerk.

It's bad mojo, after all.

Not that it mattered. Friday came and went without a phone call. I had a faint hope that they might consider Saturday the "end of the week" since their office is open until 1pm.. but no call came Saturday, either. Maybe I'll hear from them on Monday but if not I'll call them to follow up, and to make them tell me the bad news. To confirm what I already suspected.

I'm never going to get a better job, I'm never going to move up the corporate ladder, I'm never going to make more money, and I will always be miserable. 

At least Work Mom is stuck here with me.