Sunday, January 31, 2010

Getting it outta my system: a few reasons for not writing anything new on the Teepee lately

Me, in the office


I've been really busy, and that pretty much sums up why I haven't shared anything on the teepee recently.  Stressed, more like it (more on that later, let’s just say this punching clown we have in the office serves its purpose).  Anyway, it's not like someone’s called or written and asked what’s going on, but when you write a blog, even a self-serving one like mine, you still feel an obligation of sorts to keep things going after a couple weeks or so.  So in the interest of the teepee, and offering more than a one line explanation, this is why I've been too preoccupied to write anything.

The earthquake in Haiti, for starters.  Watching these poor people nightly on the news, the unimaginable loss and suffering--it just makes these blogs feel a little too self-indulgent.  Also, my job (as a pricing specialist for UPMC) has been particularly crushing lately; the company keeps acquiring new lines of business & as the number of daily requests keep growing, I'm working harder, longer & falling more and more behind.  (A couple weeks ago when I swallowed my pride & told our team leader that I'm going to start needing some assistance, I was told "we're not going to go that route, we've decided to automate what you do instead." )

I've been hearing the automation line off & on since 2002, but it still doesn't help NOW and doesn't exactly make me feel too hopeful about the future!  Oh well... I've just been too tired & angry lately to come home & share anything positive here.

On a happier note, another reason for my absence is my new LCD tv.  Since my last blog, I gave away my old set, packed away the VCR, switched to digital cable (complete with hi-definition, a new DVD player and dvr).   So many channels, so little time!

My new TV setup


The Sopranos in HD; the cable guy said it would take a couple weeks to get accustomed to using a dvr; get the eff outta here, it took five minutes!  


I only held off on all this nifty technology as long as I did because I worried I'd fall into the "all tv, all the time" trap.  And I admit it, I've been reeled in--hook, line and sinker.  But for the time being, it's five degrees outside & I've got nothing better to do than watch "The Evil that Women Do" on the Investigation Channel; oh yeah, when did they switch the Sci-Fi Channel to SyFy?  Anyway, it’s nice to have this channel back after several years… bliss!


I’ve also been spending a lot of time in online art galleries.  I've been looking for something different to hang in my livingroom for well over a year now, there’s just so much to choose from out there—abstract?  Photography?

‘Colander Men’ by Lydia Marano—haha, why can’t I stop looking at this? 

I'm partial to less conventional stuff, weird stuff like this sepia photograph here; but is it going to distract me while watching my new tv?   Maybe I should just get something soothing, like a nice boring sunset instead.

And finally, I've also been trying to fit in some nightly exercise.  A group of us at work (and my sister Shawn) are taking part in a weekly weigh-in for 25 weeks in a desperate attempt to slim down by summer.  I've lost 4.5 lbs in the past month but I could be doing a lot better.  (I think the only reason I've lost anything is work related; it's difficult to eat when your stomach is in knots!)  I know, I know--it beats being unemployed like a good 10-15% of this country.  At least that's what I keep telling myself.

Well, I was actually going to make this a 'Top Ten' list of why I haven't been around;  (Reason No. 5 for not writing:  Nobody reads these dumb blogs anyway!)  but I think I've shared enough for the time being.  Thanks for letting me get some things off my chest.


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Resolutions for a Shiny New Year in 2010


When I was a kid, New Years Day had almost the same anticipation & surprise as Christmas.  As Dad was a locally popular country rock artist, he was always in demand on New Years Eve (he claimed it was his best paid gig of the year). 

Mom always went along too, dressed to the nines and looking glamorous.  We never really knew what went on at these annual events, but we'd come downstairs New Years morning--unlike Christmas, Mom and Dad would still be upstairs asleep--and the livingroom would be awash in assorted party hats of all shapes and sizes, noisemakers and horns and party favors and other surprises. 

(God bless Mom, who took the time to gather up the best of that festive junk, come home & redecorate the downstairs before trudging off to bed, knowing she'd have to 're-live the night' the next morning.  I suspect this is one of the reasons she always went along.)


Dad & Mom, early 70s 

While those days of 'after-party merrymaking' are long gone, I admit I still get a small tinge of excitement about the day & what lies ahead for the year.  I've always thought New Years resolutions were a waste of time, and then January 1 rolls around, and it really does seem like you have a fresh new start.


So in the spirit of things, here are my New Year Resolutions for 2010:

1. Buy bigger pants or drop twenty pounds.   I have to stop talking about it and just do it. 

2. Stop hiding from the future.  When I was younger, I embraced technology; Walkmans!  Movies on laserdisc!  DVDs?  Doable!  But right around the time I turned forty, I began to get leery of all the newfangled gadgets out there.  Ipods?  Instant text messaging?  Digital cable?  Plasma TV?  I finally decided to join the 21st century & bought a flat panel tv on Black Friday, but have yet to hook it up.   What am I waiting for?



"Doug, where'd you put your new tv?" " the bedroom"




3.  Shave my head or find a safer place to get a haircut.   This is easier said than done, given my small neighborhood.  But my barber (an Italian guy who fell right out of an episode of 'The Sopranos') is apparently converting his shop into a gambling den and a place for all the local wannabe mobsters to hang out; gold necklaces & leather coats abound, along with plenty of 'dis', 'dat' and 'your mudduh'.


I waited over two hours to get THIS yesterday, & when I sprang up from the chair in shock, my barber said "Aw shit, sorry Doug!  I thought you were Dickie, dat's Dickie's cut--don't he look like Dickie, fellas??"  I look like a dickie, alright.   No more!  


4.  I've got a beef--wth beef.   I wish I could say I was going all the way & becoming a vegetarian, but the simple truth is I am a carniwhore.  However, every year I hear the same thing:  the less red meat you eat, the longer you live.  Okay, I can do this.  As long as there's still pizza, KFC & Hostess Fruit pies--I can do this.

5.  Books and Music.   I don't need to watch so much TV.  Tiger Woods, Jon & Kate and Octomom no longer surprise me, and I could care less about Charlie Sheen or Ugly Betty.  I've also seen every episode of The Andy Griffith Show on TVLand too many times to count, so why is that contraption always on?

6.  Project Tuesdays.  There's a hole in the wall above my toilet, new drapes need shopped for, & new pictures for the walls.  I want a new bookcase.  The smoke alarm should be replaced, my bedroom doorknob is broke.  Gee, it seems like a lot needs done... what if I tackled just ONE thing a week?  I hereby dub Tuesdays as Project Tuesdays.  

7.  Spend more time with loved ones.  I'm looking at the picture at the top of this blog of my sweet niece Sophie.  I miss this squirt already. 

Thank you & Happy New Year, Everyone!