Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hidden Talents

Some of you may or may not know that I have a little bit of a talent for drawing people. It's something that I started when I was around twelve, and my father did it a lot when I was growing up. I think that's where the interest derived from. I just kept working and working at it until I got to where I'm at now. I can't say that my work is anything impressive right now, but it's a lot better than 10-11 years ago.

I started out as most artists do: My parents bought me a sketch pad for Christmas to kick it off. I then bought "teeny-bopper" magazines (or rather Mom did after much prodding from me), and I'd draw several pictures a night of everyone from Brad Renfro and Devon Sawa to Neve Campbell and Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Needless to say, they weren't anything terrific as I only spent about 15-20 minutes on each. I got frustrated because I couldn't draw anyone whose mouths showed teeth as they smiled. Instead of tackling the problem, I'd just draw a closed smile.¹ I always got so frustrated with my drawings (I still do), and I'd have to walk away to keep myself from ripping the paper up.

Through art class in 7th grade, I delved into the wonderful world of shading. While my teacher tried to tell me how you're "supposed to" shade on a drawing, I did my own thing, and to this day, it works for me. I've just tweaked my method here and there along the way. At one point, we had to do a portrait of someone, so I asked my sister if I could draw her. You can always expect brutal honesty out of a twelve-year-old for something like this, so I got plenty of constructive criticism on that one.² I tried my best shading job on that, but it ended up looking choppy.

All through high school, I continued to take art classes, and I had to fight my art teacher my senior year to prove that I was responsible and independent enough to take studio art (you needed the teacher's permission to be enrolled in that class). I finally convinced her on the promise that I would come up with my own projects regularly. It sure seems like I had to do a lot of fighting to prove myself in high school, huh?
Anyway, I was able to come up with several projects to work on, and I liked having the freedom to continue to work on my hobby without someone telling me what to draw. That had to be the best class Iroquois had to offer for me.

Over my teenage years, my drawing skills improved more and more. I began perfecting my shading and drawing different parts of the body. I used to have trouble with noses and mouths, and now I love drawing them because they're challenging each time I draw someone new. People used to ask me if drawing hair was really difficult (you wouldn't believe how many people). Honestly, that's the easiest part to draw. All it is is coloring and shading. As long as you can see the different shades in someone's hair and the direction it's going in on each part of their head, and you can translate that to paper, you'll have no problem drawing hair.

In my senior year of high school, one of my parents' friends bought me an 18X24" sketch pad, which was quite the upgrade from the 11X14" pad I'd been using. I'm still using that pad today, and I'm able to draw much larger pictures. Now everything I draw (that I finish, I might add) eventually ends up in a frame and is hanging up on the walls in my house. I've uploaded a few to Flickr if you want to browse through. They're not the best photos as the drawings are in frames, and they're far too large to scan.

Right now I'm working on a picture of Arnold (as you can see at the top of this post) for my husband. I still need to make quite a few tweaks to his face before I move on because I know I have some proportional mishaps going on in there. Unfortunately, this picture has been sitting dormant for several weeks now. I really need to finish it. I haven't even drawn his huge chest, and that could probably be considered the highlight of the entire drawing.

Now I'm left to decide if this is something that I could go further with or not. The only problem I have is that I can only draw when I feel inspired to. At any other time, I get extremely frustrated. My husband knows because he remembers what happened with my Tom Cruise drawing. I'm not sure if it's something that I can force myself to do anyway and I'd get better or if I'd grow to hate it by forcing myself. I'm not sure I want to take the risk. What do you guys think?

¹I, of course, learned how to draw teeth eventually, and I have a lot of fun with the challenge.
²She didn't like the way I drew the dip between the top of her lips and her nose. She claimed it looked like a mustache. I guess I couldn't disagree with her on that one.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Facts

I find it interesting that about 93-95% of the people who stumble on this blog daily come from Google searches of Kingdom Hearts. That far outweighs the number of people who read this because they enjoy it. Sad but true.

To Whom It May Concern

In case any of you happen to be concerned (maybe you're not, and that's okay too), I went through Fast Track at St. Vincent Hospital last night because the the left side/the back of my neck was hurting, and it was giving me a headache.¹ I didn't really think much of it until I told my mom when I talked to her on the phone, and she got kind of concerned. After looking it up in her medical book, she said I should make sure I don't have meningitis. Eek.
I went to the hospital, and I got checked out. Thankfully, it's not anything at all but a pulled muscle in my neck, so they gave me some Motrin [I can see it: "That'll be $25 for that tablet." Cha-ching!], and I'm not supposed to lift anything heavy and take it easy. It feels a little better today, but I can feel it lingering in the background.
They didn't really say anything about my cold/flu thing I have going on, so I guess I'm safe to assume it's just that. I just wish I were feeling better. I can't say I feel much better than I did on Friday. I'm barely going to make it through the night at work. Just one more night, and then I have two days off.

¹This is purely to satisfy all those who have been pressuring me to get checked out to make sure I don't have anything serious.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

And A Belated Memorial Day To You Too

I know it's been a couple days since I last blogged, and these sabbaticals are becoming more frequent, but I haven't had much to write other than the fact that I've been horribly sick the past few days. It causes one to slow down every part of the body, including the brain. Actually, that's the first thing to go out the window after the protruding parts of my body cease operation. I'm supposed to be going to Rack & Roll on Friday night and possibly sing. I hate to burst anyone's bubbles, but even today, I still can barely talk without losing my voice within five seconds. I don't forsee myself singing a song in three days. It always takes about a week after being sick for my voice to come to. I know from experience, unfortunately.

Anyway, I hope everyone was able to enjoy their Memorial Day. While you all were having hot dogs, hamburgers, and/or whatever else you ate, I was stuck at work for 8 1/2 hours of the day with nothing more to do than check the sales and e-mail on the computer every five minutes as if there would be some drastic change. On top of that, I felt like crap from being sick.
I failed to see the sense of us being open 10-7 on Memorial Day. Who shops at Burlington on a "picnic day"? The only places that should be allowed to be open are strictly grocery stores, convenience stores, and any other type of store that helps you get your picnic on and bumpin' wild...or something.

So who was buying furniture in Baby Depot on Memorial Day? Only one person, but he was in a group of three. He was a middle-aged Pakistani, and he bought a crib. Of course. What American would put buying baby furniture above raising his/her cholesterol? Come on, we're not that foolish. We have our priorities in check.
How did all of you spend your Memorial Day? I hope you at least enjoyed the weather for me.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

But Why Is the Rum Gone?

I saw Jack Sparrow yesterday at work. Not Johnny Depp. Jack Sparrow. He had on the brown, pirate hat; the red hankerchief wrapped around his head; the dark eyeliner around his eyes; the long, brown, unkempt hair, the dangling earrings; the whole she-bang. He wasn't just dressed the part. I overheard him talking to the girl he was with (she was dressed "normally"). He had an authentic Jack Sparrow accent. I had to laugh to myself. I wished I'd had my camera, so I could take a picture with him (or of him).

Now there's something you don't see everyday at Burlington.

Friday, May 25, 2007

This Is Getting Old

I just got done posting last week about my bout with bad allergies. This is just a never-ending cycle for me right now. Just as I started feeling near 100%, I got kicked in the butt yet again.

Jon and I went on a double date with Tam and Matt Wednesday night to Outback, and then we saw Night At the Museum at the dollar theater. During the movie, my throat was starting to get a little dry, but I just pushed it aside, assuming it was just the air in the theater. However, yesterday morning, I woke up to a somewhat sore throat. It wasn't so much that my throat itself was sore, but the muscles in my neck and around my ears hurt whenever I swallowed. I knew it had to be because of my post nasal drip on account of my being sick last week.

I took some aspirin and went work, and I was feeling alright until around 1:00, and I just started going downhill. My head was beginning to hurt, and all my muscles were aching. I felt like I was getting a fever, and the problem with my throat was gradually getting worse. I didn't think I was going to be able to make it until my shift ended at 7:00, so I waited until my coworker, Sue, took her lunch, and then I left at around 3:00.

When I came home, I took some Benadryl in hopes that it would do something for me (usually that knocks me out cold). It didn't seem to be helping because I couldn't even sleep for the next five hours that I was lying down. My body just ached all over. It didn't help that I had gone to the Y the night before, so my chest, shoulders, and arms were sore already. I felt like I was getting a fever, but sometimes I have false alarms, but I decided to take my temperature anyway. It was a brisk 102.4. It makes it even worse that it was so warm out, so I was sweating like crazy. I'm still a little overheated today, as well.

I called in sick to work this morning because there was no way I was going to make it. I was hoping our store manager wouldn't be there because I didn't want to have to explain myself on the phone. My voice should have been enough indication that I needed to stay home. I barely squeaked out that I wasn't going to be into work. Thankfully, it was our third key, Becky, who I spoke with.
I'm just hoping that I'll be better by tomorrow because I can't call in sick at all during a holiday week or else I don't get paid for the holiday. Thankfully, I'll only have to work Saturday, and then I'll have Sunday off to give me an extra day of recovery. I'll just drug myself up with plenty of Tylenol (or aspirin) and possibly Benadryl.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Not Another Gaming Post...

Ok, you non-gamers out there are probably going to get sick of my posts about Kingdom Hearts if you're not already, but I'm going to do one last post (for the moment), so try to bear with me.
I'm thinking of my birthday present (mark June 30th on your calendars). I'm going to be like Ralphie from A Christmas Story and do some incessant bugging to try to get my "mits" on a collectible item. Since I'm on a Kingdom Hearts kick now, I've been really wanting to get both Japanese versions of each KH game. Actually, I've been pining for these for a couple years now, but it's been more pressing the past couple days. One is Kingdom Hearts Final Mix and the other (which just came out) is Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix +. I can wait on the latter since it costs over $60 $70 (if you count the shipping) at the moment. The first one is going for around $35 plus shipping.

I don't necessarily want to play these games even though the content is slightly different from the US versions. I need a Japanese chip put in my PS2 to play them anyway. I just want to keep them in wrapping and maybe someday they'll be worth something. Perhaps I can be like those crazy Star Wars fanatics who have all the old collectibles that have been long gone from toy shelves and homes for 30 years. Actually, I'd prefer not to be so introverted and creepy. On top of that, I would have absolutely no social life. I suppose I should state the difference between that scenario and the one I'm in...but I can't.
I digress...

They're currently selling it on Play-Asia(dot)Com. I feel like a kid in a candy store on that site. It's amazing how many goodies they have on there. My husband is going to be the unfortunate receiver of all the nagging. God bless him.


Most of you guys know that I've been signed up on PayPerPost to make a few extra dollars here and there. I've only been on there for about 2-3 weeks, but it's been really good so far. I've only done two posts (this is my second), but it's ridiculously easy. What other job am I going to get paid to sit at home and blog?
Ok, I've made a measly $10 thus far, but I think I'm going to stick to this. I just need to motivate myself to blog more often and take more opportunities. They've had a lot of interesting topics that I can blog on, but I haven't jumped on them yet. I've been reading over a couple other blogs that participate in this to get some ideas. It's kind of cool to broaden my blogging horizons for once.
I'm trying to get some of the people I know to try it (come on, Tam). Hey, it's money in the bank, so I can't complain. I'd definitely recommend it for anyone that wouldn't mind making a few bucks. Let's be honest, who wouldn't want to?
Click here to do blog reviews.

Monday, May 21, 2007


I beat Kingdom Hearts II today. I'm a happy, relieved camper. That final battle was incessantly long though.
Let the creation of a Kingdom Hearts II music video commence. I feel the train of inspiration hitting me.


I finally watched The Pursuit of Happyness for the first time last night. Ever since the movie had come out, it bothered me--as I'm sure with many other people--when I saw the title. Why in the hell is "happiness" spelled with a 'y'? I was hoping to God that they would have some explanation as to why that was somewhere in the movie. If not, I was going to label the entire movie as a total loss and disappointment (yes, I hold good spelling and grammar that highly). Thankfully, I only had to wait a few minutes to get my clarification. If it had been any longer, I might have put it on my axe list. I make for a tough crowd.

I thought the movie had a lot of good points. I enjoyed heckling his wife through the first half of the movie and making fun of the hippie girl. Beyond that, I'm not sure what the deal was because I was stuck on one point. Now, do they consider true happiness to be a monetary thing? That's what I thought was insinuated. I mean, the storyline was endearing enough, but what are we really supposed to go for in life? Money=happiness? Or is it self-confidence/being comfortable with who you are/appreciation for everything around you=happiness? I'd want to say the latter, but I don't know what the writers were trying to get across.

I'm not attacking the film, but I think the chapter he called "happiness" should have included more than getting the high-paying stock brokerage job that led to his millions. Happiness should have been his son. Happiness should have been his wife (when she did support him). Happiness should have been the people who helped him to get where he did.
Ok, happiness should have been a lot of things in my mind, but I guess everyone's different. However, am I the only one who had trouble ascertaining the message of this film (beyond a monetary standpoint)?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

I Need to Get In-Touch With My Hobbies

So these allergies that I was referring to in my last post were either a really bad case of allergies or just simply a cold. I'm not sure which, but either way, it left me feeling like crap. Thankfully, I feel much better today. I was worried I wouldn't be able to get together with ron and Tam tonight, but thankfully, the symptoms have subsided, and all I'm left with is a moderately runny/stuffy nose and a slight cough. My voice is slowly coming back to normal.

Also, I know I haven't blogged in a few days, but that's due in part to my aforementioned "allergies" and the fact that I've been somewhat busy. I've been in the mood to play some video games, as well. I have the tendency to get a new game and start it, but I don't ever finish it or I have a game, and I get right to the end, and I don't complete it. I recently bought Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, and I've started it, but I got so incredibly frustrated with a couple missions that I haven't started playing it again. I own all the GTA games (aside from Vice City Stories), and I've only ever completed GTA III. My game of GTA: San Andreas has been sitting on the last mission for over a year now. It's been so incredibly hard to beat that Jon and I made it a joint effort. I'm even stuck at the end of Final Fantasy VII, so whenever I do go back to it, I'm not sure where to pick up from because I've lost touch with my game and my characters altogether.

The only game that I know for a fact I've completed, and I enjoy playing it over and over again and beating it is Kingdom Hearts. I own Kingdom Hearts II, as well. In fact, I bought it last year when it came out, but I haven't beaten it yet because--you guessed it--I got frustrated with the battle against Xigbar, so I quit playing for a while. I'm near the end, so it's understandable that I'm not going to be able to win battles as easily as the beginning of the game, but I have one of those minds that craves perfection in whatever I do--video games included.

I decided to start playing KH2 again, so I popped it in only to realize the controller wouldn't work. I had my PS1 analog controller plugged in, but I didn't realize the game wasn't compatible with that (only with a dual-shock 2), so I looked for one of our PS2 controllers only to find out they were both at Jon's parents' house. I was a little disappointed that I didn't get to play, but he's picking up the controllers this afternoon, so I'm going to try to squeeze some playtime in this afternoon.

Along the lines of Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts III is supposed to come out for the PS3 sometime. I really liked the battle concept in KH2, so I'm hoping they keep it the same in the new game. I watched a couple trailers for it last night, and I'm excited for it but disappointed at the same time because I don't have a PS3 nor can I afford one. The only way I'll get to play this when it comes out is if someone buys me a PS3 or I, by some miraculous twist of fate, win one. Of course, by the time this game comes out (I'm speculating 2010), I can probably afford one. We'll see...

Jon really thinks that this third installment will ruin the series (like Final Fantasy X, X-2, and XII), but I'm not sure. From what I hear, it's supposed to be a prequel to Kingdom Hearts, which doesn't say that it's going to be any good, but it doesn't progress the story anymore; it just puts background to an already elaborate storyline, which I thoroughly enjoy if done correctly.
We'll find out, I guess. For now, I just really need to complete KH2. I still have no idea how it ends because I refuse to spoil it for myself by watching the end movies on YouTube.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I'm Ready For Warm Weather And the Disappearance of Allergies

I've been feeling a little sick the past couple days. I was hoping that I didn't catch what my husband has, but I got the reassurance that I needed this morning. I've had a dry throat, and I've been sneezing a lot lately. It led me to believe I had allergies, but Jon has had a sore throat for about a week now, and he's been out of work because of it. I was hoping I didn't catch it. This morning, I woke up to some minor nasal problems, but my dry, sore throat was gone. I am coughing a bit and sneezing off and on, but it's nothing major.

I think it started at work because I spent the majority of my time in the back room on Tuesday, moving furniture and...moving furniture. It's just slightly dusty back there, so I think I kicked up my allergies because I was sneezing like crazy while I was there, and my nose was really itchy. I think it could be that and the fact that the weather in Erie has decided to range from between 80 degrees and 30 the past few days. Can't you pick a temperature range smaller than that? It makes me a little more anxious for our trip out west in a month.

Erie is becoming more unbearable to live in because it seems that every year we have less and less warm days/weeks. The cold air is bad news for me because, in case you haven't noticed, I'm skin and bone. I wear a sweatshirt to bed if it's even a degree below 80 during the night (my husband can attest to this; can't get sexier than that). I don't think I belong in this climate. I could see myself freezing in Hawaii, so perhaps I need to live somewhere in the desert to be climatically happy.
I'll take a thermos of water and a camel, please.

Anyone else think it's ridiculously cold for the middle of May? I shouldn't have to turn my heat on. It's almost June, for crying out loud.

Seduce a Celebrity (That Means You, ron)

Currently, GoFish(dot)Com is running a contest the gives you a chance to win a date with Mirelly Taylor. She has appeared in the movies Kiss Me Again and Serving Sara and television shows including Las Vegas, Punk'd, and Numb3rs. She's not too bad looking either, guys. I remember at one point wanting Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson to break up so I'd have a chance, but it seems fate wouldn't give me that opening, and I got married to a wonderful guy instead.

Anyway, all you have to do for this contest is enter in a video based on what she's looking for in a guy (she posts videos in order for you to know that). There was one submission that truly had me scratching my head. It was certainly creative, but to be honest, the guy scares me a little. He also reminds me of the guy from Beakman's World on some truly bizarre level. Perhaps it's just the hair. Who knows? His video is embedded below. He talks about how she's looking for a guy who is in shape and works out. Did she mention the fact that he should shower at least a couple times a week? If this guy is in the lead, I think almost anyone has a chance.

I'd like to take the time to call ron up to the plate to take on the challenge. I know you're really wanting a girlfriend, and I don't know if she's your type, but she just may be a sucker for soccer players. You never know. I'd vote for you at least 50 times a day, if I could, and I'd even buy you a tux. Ok, the tux is still a maybe, but I would vote for you.

I encourage anyone else that wants to enter in the contest to do so. They'll take anyone. You just have to follow the simple guidelines laid out for the videos, and you're all set. Hope to see some of you on there. Let me know in the comments section if you decide to participate. Just click on the link below to join in.

Free videos at

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Happy Birthday, Tammy!

As some of you may know, it's Tam's birthday today. ron and I already got her a few things, which included Baby Ruth bars, Wegman's brand lemongrass foaming handsoap, and tam tam crackers, but I wanted to be the superior friend, so I made her a video, as well. Ok, I didn't really want to be the superior friend, but--haha--you know how it goes...echm. Here's to many more tratting birthdays and Oregon trails...and bouts of dysentery. Don't you hate inside jokes, guys?

By the way, those are Tam's awesome Sloth impressions.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I'm the Vanna White to Your Pat Sajak

I just got back from the Erie Bloggers meetup at the Fox and the Hound. I'd never been there before, but I had a lot of fun, and we had a huge turnout. I got to meet lots of new people--Shannon Solo being among them. I'm glad we had such a large group, but I wish we could have had more time to get to know the new folks. We don't usually get that many people, but I suppose the venue could account for the turnout.

On another note, I'm pretty excited that my blog finally got accepted by PayPerPost(dot)Com after being rejected initally, so now I can start raking in a few bucks here and there as I blog. I've already been taking a look at the opportunities that I'm qualified for, and I'm happy I get to try some new things. I have five different things I can post on at the moment (I would have had six, but I don't live in the UK or Australia). They add up to about $39 total, which doesn't sound like a whole lot, but it's a start.

I'm kind of interested in writing about the new Ashley Judd movie, Bug. When I first saw the opportunity, I thought I'd end up reviewing the movie itself, but you're actually just giving your opinion on the effectiveness of the two movie posters they have. Hey, it's an easy $5. Cha-ching!

I'm not giving up hope on the $80,000 to blog for a year, but I think it's safe to say that it will be a long shot unless I have a miracle group of voters who are dedicated to pulling me out of my current place of 39 and putting me in 1st. Can you say, "Wishful thinking?"

I should really start "selling myself out" for money tonight, but I think I'm going to push it to tomorrow. I'm not feeling overly creative at the moment, and I'm certainly not awake enough to be a convincing BSer. I'll be dreaming of the benefits of online coupons, why I should win an HDTV, and humbling myself at the feet of Pimpmaster PPPdC. Its pimp hand is mighty strong.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

And the Worst Daughter Award Goes To...

It's now Mother's Day, and I've got to be the worst daughter in the world (or darn near close to it). Not only do I have to work today, I didn't get her a card or anything. I am planning on taking her out to dinner Friday night, as that's the next night I'll be free. For today, however, the most I can do for her is a phone call to say, "Happy Mother's Day," and "I love you."

I don't think I give her enough credit. I used to go on and on and complain about her for the duration of my engagement to Jon. I think I've matured out of that stage, and the verbal bashing was just a part of that adolescence. Now I'm thinking of all the things she has done for me and everything she's put up with. I can understand now, in retrospect, why she got so furious when Jon and I got engaged. She didn't know him at all. I hardly ever brought him around the house. If I were in that situation, I'd probably be freaking out too. So thank you for holding it together that much. Sometimes kids (that's what I refer to myself in that time period as) don't look at it from another perspective, and that's what happened with me.

One day I'll be a mother too, and whether it be to a daughter or a son, I'm sure I'm going to have a heck of a time. I envy the mothers out there that have it together and are raising their kids to be responsible, patient, loving adults. I couldn't imagine being able to pull that off. It makes me smile to sit back and watch some of my friends having kids and watching their kids grow up. It doesn't seem too long ago where I was the kid, and my parents had friends with kids whom I grew up with. Ever since I've been married and as the years pass, it's like a quick switch to being the friend of the parents rather than the friend of the kids.

So for all the responsible, loving, caring, patient mothers out there (including my mother), Happy Mother's Day! You deserve it.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

War Is Art Is Overdone

As some of you may know, I'm a fan of watching vlogs. I find them entertaining, and I watch the likes of SxEPhil, supricky06, KevJumba, and nalts. However, when they start getting into "vlog wars," that's when they become a turn-off. Is there any need to attack the way someone vlogs unless what they've vlogged is completely inappropriate? I think it's a waste of time and bandwidth on YouTube.

Just recently, SxEPhil and battim got into a scuffle (it's still going on, at the moment) over the personal responsibility one holds when they make a video and upload it to YouTube. While I understand that you are responsible for whatever content you put out on the web, I don't think what SxEPhil put out was anything worth getting hyper over. The guy is 21 years old, and he has the humor of a young adult. From the videos I've watched of his, he doesn't say anything overly inappropriate; although there was a video I found to be more sadistic and morbid than need be. battim, on the other hand, is a 30-something ex-Marine with a wife and possibly kids who makes videos making fun of other YouTubers while wearing a Batman costume.

battim went as far as to accuse nalts of perpetuating pedophilia by displaying his children in his videos. I think that's a little over the top considering he doesn't film his kids in inappropriate ways. His videos are the cleanest I've seen on YouTube thus far. He's just a guy who loves his kids and likes filming cute things they do on occasion. Does that make him an accessory to pedophilia? I should hope not. If so, then there's something wrong with your train of thought.

This could all be for the sake of battim getting more views and hits on his site. In that case, I guess it's working out pretty well for him as all of SxEPhil's subscribers are watching his videos now. In fact, some are jumping on board with battim. So if SxEPhil is being accused of using inappropriate methods to gain more hits/comments/traffic on his site, isn't that the same thing you're currently doing only in your own style?
Look at the pot calling the kettle black...

Friday, May 11, 2007

I Loathe Retail

That's not the first time I've said that, and it certainly won't be the last. However, as I've said a million times before, it's a job, and you've just got to stick with it until you find something new. I'm just not so sure I'm in agreement with the new policy that corporate Burlington Coat Factory is setting into place, effective immediately: All employees are to be trained and run the registers for four hours a month. We have to be 90% compliant on this.

Now, four hours a month isn't a lot of time. You could say it's not worth whining over, but for someone who had to be on the registers on a daily basis at her last job (and hated every second of it), it's grounds for complaining. BCF is 1000% worse than Dollar General could ever aspire to be as far as amounts of difficult customers.
When I put in my application, I was going to be hired in receiving, but they found they had a greater need in the baby department. They asked if that was alright with me. I didn't care. So that's where I've remained for the past year (and then some), and I'm content with just staying that way.

Remember how I mentioned that we're to be 90% compliant on this? Yeah, about that...we're not. It's more like 75%. So if 25% of our associates are excluded from running registers instead of the 10% it's supposed to be, then I feel they need to rethink this whole policy. It's not like a difference of 2-5%. That's 15%. To tell you the truth, a lot of them have no reason to be excluded. They have no mental or physical handicaps. I have no problem with people being exempt from doing this, but let it be for valid reasons; otherwise, there's going to be a revolt. I know of a lot of associates who just won't put up with that. Is it so much to ask to be treated fairly?

If you feel the stores need more cashiers, then have them hire more. It's simply put: Corporate America. How much work can we get out of our people without dishing out extra money to hire more help? You see it everywhere; not just in retail. I certainly had my share of this at Dollar General. I was acting as a store manager at points for the wages of an assistant manager. If you're not aware, that's a huge difference. In fact, before I was assistant manager, our AM was doing this for a long time, and as soon as she left, our DM cut her up as if she were no good. To this day, I feel she's one of the hardest workers I've ever met in my life.

I just don't see the need to burn people out. Each deparment has people who were hired to do a specific job. We have our backup cashiers, so I don't feel we need to make every one of us a cashier. I think it's a valid argument; don't you think?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

M.J. Should Be K.O.ed

I've never really been one to watch movies made from comic books, but I have watched a couple in the past: Spider-Man and V for Vendetta. The only one of the two I thoroughly enjoyed was the latter. The story was fitting enough for modern day government; plus, Hugo Weaving's voice wasn't anything horrible to listen to for two hours. I came into it being very critical of Natalie Portman's acting (after having watched the train-wreck-like Star Wars performances), and I left the theater impressed. However, when I rented Spider-Man a few years ago, I was really disappointed, and I didn't even go into it with high hopes (or hopes in general). I felt like I wasted two hours of my life on a mediocre storyline and cliché special effects.

I have absolutely no desire to see the newest installment in the theaters or on DVD. It's for the same reason I never gave the second one the time of day either. From what I hear, Kirsten Dunst's performance was horrid, which I don't know how it could possibly be any worse than it was in the first movie, but I'll take people's word for it. She ranks up there with Katie Holmes, in my book.
If I had to write a positive review on this movie (or the trilogy), I'd so much rather spend my time watching Ishtar or a Quentin Tarantino movie (I hated Kill Bill).

Since you won't be seeing me at Spider-Man 3 at any time, I'll probably be watching Disturbia next Thursday. Tam was interested in seeing it, and I wasn't exactly hating the idea, so we're going to go. I don't normally watch "horror" movies in theaters, but as this one is only rated PG-13, it can't be incredibly gory like--let's say--Saw III, which gave me nightmares for a few nights straight. I've heard mixed reviews about this one on the web (mostly positive), but I don't know anyone who has actually seen it.

If you have, fill me in, and let me know if it was any good.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Movies With A Grindhouse Touch

Wil Wheaton posted this on his blog a couple days ago. Something Awful posted re-creations of movie posters using the Grindhouse theme. They sort of resemble old-school horror movie posters that meet adult film posters. There were some interesting submissions and some weak submissions, but they're cool to look at, nonetheless. They have everything from Schindler's List and E.T. to Groundhog Day and Forrest Gump.

Check them out here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

A Toy?

A woman comes up to me while I'm sitting at the registry desk this afternoon:
"Hi, can I help you?"
"Yeah, toy," she says.
"Ok, a toy. What toy?"
"Off a registry."
"Ok, what's the name?"
"Toy," she says with an attitude implying that she thinks I'm a complete idiot for asking her this.
"Oh...well, what's the first name?"
She told me.

Ok, so I'm supposed to differentiate between the last name, "Toy" and an actual toy when I work in a baby department? How am I supposed to know until you give me the first name?
Pass the common sense, please.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Dreaded Inventory

Ok, so inventory isn't all that bad, but people complain about it enough as if it's a huge burden. The only people it should be a burden for are the managers because their jobs and pay (or lack thereof in some respects and cases) are riding on the results. However, some of the associates get so stressed over it. Why? It's such a waste of energy. All we have to do is count the merchandise. That's incredibly easy to do for eight hours. I actually look forward to it on some unconventional level. Maybe it's because it's the one day that I can show up to work, and I don't have to deal with hundreds of customers. I can just be in my own world. Well, if you don't count the occasional interuptions from the RGIS people yelling, "Sku check!"

One of our associates, in particular, was completely flying off the handle. I counted through some of our 12-24 month clearance before I took my lunch/dinner/midnight snack (I don't know what you call it at 8:15pm). When I came back, I saw one of our guys counting some of the 12-24 boys, and I asked where he'd counted, and he just pointed to the ends of the aisle back to where he was at. Ok, good. He didn't recount what I did. I saw he had initialed where I had already counted even though I'd marked it on the back. I should have really written on the front because only pre-counts are supposed to be written on the back, but I wasn't thinking at the time.
I probably shouldn't have done this, but I came up to him and said, "Just make sure you watch to make sure the stuff hasn't been counted by looking on the back of the sheets for initials."
"Why would you do some dumb s*** like that?"
This wasn't going good already. "Chris wanted us to write what we counted and initial on the backs of the sheets earlier."
"What?!?" He got up and stormed towards the clearance aisle where I had been.
I said, "I actually already counted through the clearance." Big mistake, Rachel.
"What the f***?!? Why didn't you mark it?!?" He checked the back of the sheets to see my initials on there. "F***! I'm sick of this s***! I want someone to f***in' take me home!" He threw his sheet of paper and pen and stormed off.

To be honest, it was only about 10 minutes worth of counting he did over mine, and it really wasn't anything to throw a fit over. Who cares? It's not a big deal.
That put a damper on some of the evening, but I still tried to have fun. I sang in between counting, cracked jokes with some of my coworkers, and ate way too much candy. Sugar rush...sugar rush...sugar rush.

Now I get to go back to regular days at Burlington. That's what I'm really dreading. I really need a new job. You know, something that's not retail.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

New Start

All the blogs that have been posted before this are directly from my MySpace page. I've finally decided to make them public, and from this point on, I'm going to continue to write in the same style as what I've posted here. However, I'm just going to be making some minor changes, and make it even cleaner. The sarcasm and humor will still be there, but I'm looking to write in a slightly more mature way than before. The crude humor in which I used to use a few years ago is long gone, and I've embraced finding the small things that happen in everyday life that people can relate to and laugh at. Retail certainly supplies me with enough stories to write a novel, and there are a few things I enjoy doing like gaming and finding strange folks around Erie (it's quickly becoming a hobby).

I just enjoy writing, and I think I'm expanding on the skills I do have. I don't consider myself the greatest writer, but the more I do it, the more I learn. I certainly learn enough from the great bloggers around the world.
What do you all think of this? Give me your opinion.

Friday, May 4, 2007

The First One Down...Many To Go

I suppose I should finally sit down and tell you guys about my trip to Tennessee this weekend for our first anniversary.  I got a few reactions at work when I got back, which included, "When did you go?"  And, "Oh, I didn't even know you were gone."  I think I can safely come to the conclusion that no one at work cares about my whereabouts.

To get back on track, we arrived in Pigeon Forge at about 7:30 Thursday night, and we made a stop to WalMart to pick up a few things, which included a couple Freschetta pizzas and a couple packages of muffins (Chocolate Mocha Chunk for him and Orange Creamsicle for me).  We couldn't leave without me embarassing myself, as I stumbled in the parking lot in front of several locals.  They all ran over to ask if I was alright with their obligatory southern accents.  I'm still so embarassed, in fact, I'm not so sure I should have even told you guys, as I'll probably regret it for the rest of my life...or you'll make me regret it.

Friday was spent going to Ripley's Aquarium like we did last year on our honeymoon.  Everything looked about the same as when we were there last.  The music was the same, the sawfish were still there, and I could still touch a manta ray with a lot of effort put forth.  However, there was an upset with the obvious disappearance of the Jewfish.  I'm wondering if it had to do with those racist Ripley's employees.  I certainly don't mean to be racist, but the Jewfish needs to return!

On Saturday, we took a trip to Ripley's Museum, which I wanted to try out last year, but we never ended up going.  I'm glad we got to do that for our anniversary.  It had been a little chilly and sprinkling, so we picked a good day to go.  It was really interesting to see the different displays.  They had everything from a shrunken head to the tramp chair to a giant pig hairball.  I've never seen so many creepy/disgusting/interesting things in one museum.  Jon even got a wax mold of his hand in the shape of something that's an inside joke among friends.

As we walked out of the museum, we noticed that it was sunny and much warmer than when we had gone in, so we walked around the strip on the way back to the parking garage.  We stopped in a couple shops along the way.  He wanted to check out their martial arts weapons, and afterwards, we stopped to buy sunglasses.  Mind you, we look really awesome in them.  Chew on that for a while.

On Sunday (our actual anniversary), we played miniature golf at Professor Hacker's Lost Treasure Golf.  I have to tell you that they have really elaborate miniature golf courses in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.  In Erie, all we have are Putt-Putt and a couple other places.  These put those to complete and utter shame.  Although, that's not really hard to do if you think about it.
They had waterfalls and little ponds for ducks to float around in all day long.  They had a huge replica of an old-school airplane and several caves that had you searching for the hole before you took your shot.  We even got our picture taken before we started our game, and when we came to the end, we could buy the photo for $10 and get two free games.  That was a steal since it was $17 for both of us to play one game, so we couldn't pass it up.  We joked that what we didn't know is that they were planning on closing.
Next time, I want to try their Fantasy Mini Golf.  That looks off-the-hook.

After mini golf we drove over to Gatlinburg National Park.  Let me tell you, that's quite a drive.  It took us nearly 40 minutes of driving through the park to get to the walkway to Clingman's Dome.  It was a really beautiful drive, which we happened to document some of it on film.  I spoke ingenious words during that trip:  "I can't see the scenery through all the trees."
I got quite a sunburn walking up that trail to the dome.  They supplied people with benches along the way in case they couldn't make the tread up in one shot.  Jon and I stopped once for a few seconds.  The air is thinner at that elevation, and it's coupled with a steady incline for quite a ways.  Once we made it to the top, we got to enjoy the beautiful, 360 degree view of the mountains.  At the chalet, we only get one view, but at this dome, you're able to look all the way around.  It's really neat, and it's so beautiful up there.  I couldn't even describe it to you.  You have to experience it yourself.

On Monday morning, we left to come back to Erie, but it wasn't before stopping at our old chalet to sit on the swinging chair and briefly reminisce about the time we spent there on our honeymoon.  Even though the chalet we were in was nice, it didn't hold the memories from last year, so I hope next time we can get this chalet again.  The trip just didn't feel complete without it.

We made it home safely in Erie at about 5:30 on Monday, but ever since I've been feeling the post-vacation depression, so I'm hoping I'll snap out of it soon and get back into the swing of things.

If you guys want to take a look at all our photos, I made a set on Flickr, so just click here to see them.