Monday, April 06, 2020

A Request From a Grocery Store Manager

I had a beer in me last night (just one...I'm a cheap date now).  I went on a Twitter Screed.  But, it was a humble request....simply put, it's how to act in the grocery store.

Here it is now, slightly edited, because I can actually type on a keyboard, as opposed to trying to rant on a touchscreen phone.

Hello.  I help manage a grocery store.  I've worked 17 of the last 19 days (and 26 of the last 30).  I'm worn down.  Mentally and physically.  Kicking high but slow.  I've been thinking on it, and I have some thoughts.  Requests?  Yeah.  Requests.  Here are a few requests that I have from the public, when they go shopping:


  • Get back in the habit of shopping just once or twice a week.  Whether you believe in Covid 19 or no (and that's a discussion for another day, but suffice it to say, there are a fair number of you that Still don't think things pertain to you), we're seeing far too many of you every day.  We appreciate the business, but for the sake of cutting down lines in the store, try just shopping once or twice a week.  We're not on spring break here, guys.
  • Make a list.  If you know how the store's laid out, make your list in a logical order.  Also, for your items, try to have a plan B and a plan C for what you're looking for.  Truth be told, 4 weeks in, the supply chain is still trying like hell to recover.  We're at the mercy of the warehouse, which can only receive so much itself, on top of being able to pick and stack a finite amount.  We're likely to be out of something you're coming in for.  Depending on the day between trucks, it might be many somethings.
  • It's just fine to ask if we're out of something.  In fact, that's the best way to phrase it:  "Are you out of French Cut Low Sodium Green Beans?"  It's not insulting.  Just be prepared to get a yes.  Just don't beat around the bush.  It's possible you'll get lucky, and we'll have it in back, especially if a truck's recently arrived.  But chances are, if you don't see it on the shelf, it's not here.  (A minor point...even before this, most stores don't keep a large amount of stuff in back, if they can help it....it ties up dollars).  Don't ask "can you check in the back."  I know it sounds ludicrous, but a few of us have a pretty good idea of what's in the back, especially now since we're somewhat depleted of stock status.  If we think there's a chance it'll be in the back, we'll check.  But there's a good chance we know.
  • No, we didn't forget how to order.  At this point, we don't know if you're serious, or just trying to lighten the mood.  In my store's case?  There's a 99% chance that it's being ordered, and it's either out at the warehouse or it's being time-prioritized behind a more "staple" item.  Anyway, stop joking or thinking that we're just not ordering enough.  We're regularly ordering 5500 case grocery trucks, and receiving 1000 pieces (or less) of that.  While that's a bone of contention I have with the chuckleheads at my warehouse, it is a truth of how things are going right now that All the stores serviced by the warehouse are coping with this, and it's an impossibility to keep up with it all.
  • In some cases (for my store, dairy, produce and most meat categories), the folks at the warehouse ordering have done an amazing job of meeting demand.  In others (beef, dry grocery and frozen), they're struggling.  They're working as many days as I am trying to rectify it.  This is hard, on a lot of levels.
  • I say that to say this:  we know we're out of a lot of stuff.  Please stop being surprised or annoyed by it when you come in.  It's not due to laziness or lack of planning.  In almost every case, it's beyond our control.  And we're even more frustrated by it than you are.  (My manager, and department managers all feel about the same about all this....it's stressful to look at these empty shelves...we're trained from early on that a good looking store is of the utmost importance, and we've gone a month almost without having a good looking store...it's psychologically impactful to the point of being mentally exhausting, believe it or not).
  • Absolutely, you can ask when trucks are coming.  Just know that they give us a window, not an exact time.  It's like a cable repair man...it'll be here between 6:30 and 8 PM, depending on traffic.  I'd say many, if not all, chains are this way.
  • While you're in the store, don't dawdle.  You're not there to visit.  You're not there to browse.  Use your shopping list and get in and out as quickly as possible.  We're not your destination to soothe your cabin fever
  • When you get to the checkout, follow the social distancing requests we have in place.  They're there so we can try to wipe down and sanitize what we can between customers.  Use that time that we're cleaning to do a couple of things:  Find your store loyalty card (if your store has one), and get your payment method ready.  Most times, you've got a couple minutes to do that.  When you fiddle fart around, you're making folks wait, possibly exposing more and more people to this thing.
  • I can't stress this enough:  Get off your phone.  It's rude, even if there's not a pandemic on.  Right now, cashiers will have a couple specific requests or questions.  Get off your phone so you can focus on that conversation.  You're not the great multitasker that you think you are.
  • That said, you can use your smart phone for a couple of things.  If your store has an app, use that app to call up that mentioned store loyalty card.  You can also use your phone to pay in most places without having to touch anything....
  • Don't get annoyed when you have to wait.  I'm sorry.  That's just a reality.  Lots of people shopping at the same time will do that.
  • You don't need to bring the whole family to the store.  Just bring you.  Truth be told, it was kind of annoying pre-pandemic.  It's irresponsible now.  Especially if you have a lot of young children.  Please don't bring them, unless you don't have any other option.
  • No, you can't go in the back room.  We're working back there.  You will be in the way.  It's not a secret space for us to do magical things.  We're just trying to work.
  • Don't park in the fire lane.  Just park in a space.  We're not at Thunderdome yet.  Just park in a space and walk the extra steps.
  • If you see a store employee or vendor pulling a pallet, please don't stop them to ask a question.  Those pallets are heavy (especially the ones with water or soda on them).  They don't stop on a dime.
  • If a stocker, vendor or other worker is working in an area you'd like to shop, don't crowd them.  Either wait until they're done, or say "excuse me."  I prefer the latter.  I want you to shop.  There are only 3.4 million other things I can do in the interim.  You wouldn't think a refresher in manners was required here, but judging by the family of five that crawled over my back on a Saturday to get to the Chef Boyardee, we're lacking a little bit of common sense, courtesy or some combination of the two.
  • We don't always have time to answer phone calls.  We're trying.  But if you're in the habit of calling to find the cheap soda price in town, stop that.  And if you're calling to try to find toilet paper, I understand.  Be patient if the phone keeps ringing.  I know this contradicts an earlier point, but it's probably quicker to just wander in to see yourself, some days.
  • The number of people are seem honestly perplexed and annoyed by seeing the shelves bare rankles me.  "I just don't understand what the problem is," is a variant of a statement that I'm getting a few times a day.  I'm sorry you don't.  I guess that's part of my attempt here, to try to lay a couple things out.  For the time being, you're probably going to have to change your shopping patterns.  I know that's inconvenient, and even difficult.  We're doing our best to make it as easy as possible...you have to have that faith in us.  The truth is, you might have to change these patterns for a while.
  • I wish I knew how long.
  • Be patient.  I say some variant of this around Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Be cool out there.  We're all going through this.  Not just you.  Do not yell.  That's important:  Do Not Yell.  Or cuss.  For any reason.  Be patient with us.  I'm tired.  My crew is tired.  We've all worked our asses off under what's an unusual and difficult set of circumstances.  Truth be told, it wasn't until this week that I really started to understand the anxiety of some in my crew beyond my own.  That's on me, and I own that.  It's easy to get blinders on and just keep trucking for the finish line.  Too easy, especially since I need to keep putting a foot in front of the other, sometimes, to keep from thinking too hard on things....
  • That said, this week will be the first week I've had 2 days off scheduled or taken since the first week of March.  And it's not guaranteed:  if a huge grocery delivery does make it our way, it's likely that I'll end up working my day off again.  
  • A couple small things tangentially related to this:  it's still Service Dogs only inside this store.  You don't need to bring your dog with you.  And there's a special place in Hell for you if you lie about your dog being a service animal.  Also: it's starting to get warm out there (82 yesterday at the Big Stupid Tompound).  That's actually too warm to leave the dog in the car, even with windows cracked.  Just leave the dogs at home.
  • If you've applied for a job with us (and we are looking for help), answer your phone when we call.  Set up your voicemail.  That's how that phone number works.  And be prepared to be interviewed at an odd time.  (I had one balk when I asked him to interview on Sunday.  Sorry chief...we're open Sunday, and that's the only day we're not receiving any deliveries).
  • Last thing:  Thank you.  Most of you, the overwhelming majority of you, have been very cool about this.  Most of you seem to understand this thing without my having to bullet point it.  And that's awesome.  We've been thanked, which is always nice to hear.  A couple folks called us heroes, but I don't think of myself that way.  I'm just doing my job.  It's all good.  Besides, wearing a cape would only be a distraction.  

Thursday, March 26, 2020

A Corona Blog Post

Two weeks ago, today, it exploded at my store.  Not actual Corona.  That we know of.  But it was two weeks ago that it really went insane.  We'd been up all week.  A significant amount.  But it was manageable.  It was doable.  I'd told the departments to order very heavy for the weekend, figuring on an increase of 30 to 40%.  We'd been running 15-20% up to that point.  Thursday blew up, and we were instead up 220%.

Friday was up about 280%.  Saturday was similar.

We stayed crazy until about Sunday of this week.  It was busy, still.  But not insane.  The 10 days from 3/12 to 3/21 or so were like doing a snow scare and the day before Thanksgiving every day for each of those days.

It's wandered back to manageable.  I am unsure if that's because the people of Cleveland are heeding the requests to stay home, or if they're just out of money.  I guess we'll find out as we cross back into April next week.

As far as my health?  I'm fine.  I'm tired.  But I'm ok.  I am worried about the prospects of Corona coming to my hometown or the town I work in.  Because I feel like there's no way to truly avoid it.  Like the best I can hope for is to take a mild case, and hope I get over it.  It's worrisome because though I don't get sick often (like once every three or four years), but when I do, it seems to involve some manner of chest infection.

It is what it is.  I can only hope that this blows over by summertime.....


Saturday, February 29, 2020

Leap Day Marvel Movie Thoughts...

It wasn't planned as a project or anything, but over the past five or six weeks, I've watched the entire MCU in a narrative order that I appreciate, and I have a few thoughts.

First, my narrative order doesn't really deviate too much from the release order, with a couple of exceptions.  I just moved a couple things around so that we don't have two of the same franchise back to back, or to move it closer, relatively, to the events surrounding it (Black Panther close to Civil War, GOTG 2 back aways because their events aren't really that far apart...).

I went:

Iron Man
Incredible Hulk
Iron Man 2
Thor
Captain America: First Avenger
The Avengers
Iron Man 3
Thor: Dark World
Captain America: Winter Soldier
Guardians of the Galaxy
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Ant Man
Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Captain America: Civil War
Black Panther
Spider-Man: Homecoming
Doctor Strange:
Thor: Ragnarok
Avengers: Infinity War
Ant Man and the Wasp
Captain Marvel
Avengers: Endgame
Spider-Man: Far from Home

A few thoughts, about performances:


  • Gwyneth Paltrow should get a lot of credit for being part of the glue that holds the whole Universe together, and for being a fucking professional.  She got a little bit of crap for mentioning that she wasn't a huge fan of the movies, and for not realizing that she and a couple actors had appeared in the same movie.  And that's fine.  They're not her taste.  That's cool.  She still showed up every day and didn't once act like she was slumming it, or doing somebody a favor by just being there.  There are a couple through the 23 flicks that cannot say that (looking right at Natalie Portman, right now....).
  • Don Cheadle is another that just shows up every time.  He's got a handful of the best line deliveries across the whole shebang, and he really deserves his own series on Disney+, if not his own movie.  He's a favorite actor of mine.
  • Let's do the Iron Man Trifecta...Jon Favreau does so much with such little screen time.  Tell me that his staring at the back of the kid's head in Spider-Man Homecoming isn't hilarious.  I held it together during Endgame, but his talking to Morgan at the end of Endgame just broke me up, and got me again this time.
  • Dave Bautista just knocks it out of the park.  It's tough to play clueless for laughs and not seem hammy.  He's just right in the groove in both Guardians movies and Infinity War.
A few wishes:

  • I really wish that we'd found a way to feature the new lineup of Avengers in a flick or as backup before we got from Age of Ultron to Civil War.  There are a couple interactions between War Machine and Black Widow, and Falcon and War Machine, that tell you that this team is a really tight knit unit.  I wish we'd gotten to seem them gel as a unit on-screen, before we get to Civil War.  
  • I don't think Tilda Swinton did a bad job at all.  But that just wasn't good casting.  I mean, Michelle Yeoh's out there.  Jackie Chan is out there.  I feel like there was a better choice out there for Ancient One.  
  • There's a place in the multiverse where Ed Norton and Marvel came to some accord, and he plays in the greater MCU instead of being replaced by Mark Ruffalo.  Ruffalo did a great job, and I still hold that Avengers was probably the best depiction of the interplay between Hulk and Banner on screen, to that date (Ragnarok would later surpass that...).  But I think Norton brought something different to the character.  Maybe not necessarily better, but something different, and I wonder what the stew would taste like were he there.
  • I want more Justin Hammer.  I just love Sam Rockwell.  I hope we get to see more.
A few more thoughts:

  • If Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy flops, I wonder if the whole thing comes to fruition.  I think Gunn gave Feige and the Marvel folks a little more confidence in letting people play in the sandbox.  Similar to the Norton thing above, I'd kinda like to see what a Jenkins Thor or an Edgar Wright Ant Man ends up looking like.....
  • Doctor Strange keeps falling in my esteem.  It's just Iron Man, turned about 10 degrees.  And wasting Mads Mikkelsen and Rachel McAdams.
  • I like both Spider-Man movies more and more every time I see it.  If only for their humanity, and their humor about how superpowers play in the real world.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Favorite Movies A to Z

Just making my brain wake up.  I will not be loyal to these answers.  I have not had coffee.

Favorite movies starting with each letter of the alphabet

A         Amedeus   (Forman)
B         Batman      (Burton)
C         Captain America: Winter Soldier      (Russo)
D         Dr. Strangelove       (Kubrick)
E         Empire Strikes Back    (Kirschner)
F         the French Connection      (Friedkin)
G        Ghostbusters     (Reitman)
H        Harvey            (Koster)
I          Inglourious Basterds       (Tarantino)
J         Jurassic Park          (Spielberg)
K        King of Comedy      (Scorsese)
L        A League of Their Own      (Marshall)
M       Monty Python and the Meaning of Life     (Gilliam/Jones)
N        No Country for Old Men     (Coen)
O        O Brother Where Art Thou?       (Coen)
P         Pulp Fiction        (Tarantino)
Q        the Quick and the Dead     (Raimi)
R         Rashomon         (Kurosawa)
S          Star Wars          (Lucas)
T          This is Spinal Tap      (Reiner)
U          Usual Suspects       (Singer)
V          Vacation      (Ramis)
W         Wizard of Oz        (Fleming/Cukor)
X          X-Men: First Class       (Vaughn)
Y          Yojimbo       (Kurosawa)
Z           Zero Effect       (Kasdan)

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The Lake, and whatnot

Shyam and I took Thesaurus and got out of town for a couple of days.  We found a good deal on a cabin at Fall Creek Falls, a state park about 90 minutes to our west, and jumped on it.  It wasn't a certainty that I'd get to take this vacation...there seems to be a person who revels in jerking the rug out from under my feet, here lately, and I was halfway sure I'd get a call as late as Saturday saying "you can't go on vacation this week."

But I did.  And we went.  A few pics:

The view from our deck.  It was chilly, but not cold this week....

We rented a Fisherman's Cabin, which are built on pontoons out over the lake...


Thesaurus was ready for a vacation....

Checking in was a minor adventure....in years past, you check in at the inn's front desk.  Well, they've torn down the inn to build a new hotel and conference center.  Had to traipse all over creation to find our keys....

Monday, after the rain let up, we wandered out to the actually Fall Creek Falls, which I hadn't looked at for years (if ever).....

It actually turned into a really, really pretty day.

Fog came the next morning.  You couldn't see the other shore.

Compare with above.  The fog stuck around for hours, yet you'd hear construction noises in the mists....


Sunrise this morning.....


Sunday, December 29, 2019

The Reads of 2019

A listing of what I've read in 2019.

I've got a couple going, one of them a re-read of Stephen King's massive It, which unless I decided to lay out of work, I won't finish for a while.  The other is a history of Walt Disney World on the Kindle.  I likewise probably won't finish it until 2020, so I'll count them there.

It breaks down almost half and half as to what were listened to as audiobooks, and what were read either as physical copies or e-books.  

Lots of good, and a couple of stinkers.  Off the top of my head, I can't think of anything that I started but didn't finish this year, though I'm sure there were a couple.  Month by month....

January

Best in Show:  the Films of Christopher Guest and Company, by John Kenneth Muir
One Summer: America, 1927,  by Bill Bryson
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring,    by J.R.R. Tolkien
Dark Tower:  the Gunslinger, by Stephen King
Things We Lost in the Fire,   by Mariana Enriquez
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: a Sortabiography,  by Eric Idle

February

The Troop,  by Nick Cutter
Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson
Hounded, by Kevin Hearne
This Dark Chest of Wonders: 40 Years of The Stand, by Andy Burns
Big Fella:  Babe Ruth and the World he Created, by Jane Leavy

March

The Coen Brothers:  This Book Really Ties the Movies Together, by Adam Nayman
Christine,  by Stephen King
Adrian's Undead Diary: Dark Recollections, by Chris Philbrook
The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
The Elephant of Surprise, by Joe R. Lansdale

April

Kenichi Zenimura:  Japanese American Baseball Pioneer, by Bill Staples, Jr.
Star Wars:  Thrawn,   by Timothy Zahn
The Million Dollar Policeman, by John Swartzwelder
Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin
Wounds:  Six Stories from the Border of Hell,   by Nathan Ballingrud

May

What Stands in a Storm:  Three Days in the Worst Superstorm to Hit the South's Tornado Alley,  by Kim Cross
Ronan Boyle and the Bridge of Riddles, by Thomas Lennon
Pet Sematary, by Stephen King
The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman
The Disaster Artist:  My Life Inside The Room, The Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made, by Greg Sestero
North American Lake Monsters, by Nathan Ballingrud

June

Time's Children, by D.B. Jackson
Lucky Town, by Peter Vonder Haar
The British are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777, by Rick Atkinson
The Friends of Eddie Coyle, by George V. Higgins
The Hum and the Shiver, by Alex Bledsoe

July

Chernobyl:  The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe, by Serhii Plokhy
The Cycle of the Werewolf, by Stephen King
Growing Things, and Other Stories, by Paul Tremblay
The Toll, by Cherie Priest
Wild and Crazy Guys, by Nick de Semlyen

August

Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
The United States of Beer, by Dane Huckelbridge
The Talisman, by Stephen King & Peter Straub
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J.K. Rowling
The Plot Against America, by Philip Roth

September

The Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse
The Godfather, by Mario Puzo
Into the Raging Sea:  33 Mariners, One Megastorm and the Sinking of El Faro, by Rebecca Slade
Thinner, by Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman)
For the Good of the Game, by Bud Selig with Phil Rogers

October

Hinge Factor:  How Chance and Stupidity have Changed History, by Erik Durschmied
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, by Claire North
Star Wars: Black Spire   by Delilah S. Dawson

November

Skeleton Crew, by Stephen King
The Ice Harvest, by Scott Phillips
Where Oblivion Lives, by T. Frohock
Call Me God: The Untold Story of the DC Sniper Investigation, by Jim Clemente, Tim Clemente, et al.

December

Agent to the Stars, by John Scalzi
Still Life, by Louise Penny
A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
No Country for Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Haunted Mansion

I'm no stranger to the idea that amusement park rides take your picture.  In fact, such a thing has been the subject of an internet rabbithole or two.

I mean, just search roller coast puke under Google Images and while away the hours.  The secret is to look at the folks in the row just behind the puker, and delight in the magnitude of the change in disposition they're about to have.

We went to Disney World last week.  It was a long planned trip, and it was one that had started to be threatened a couple weeks beforehand.  But we made it.

And I'll write a little more about it.   But I'm playing on the computer, going through a couple of the pictures, and this one, which was taken on the Haunted Mansion, is my favorite:

I mean, that's practically an advertisement for the Haunted Mansion.

I invite Disney to use it.

In exchange for another day's admission so that we might do Rise of the Resistance.

It's actually not my favorite picture of a ride experience.  We rode Twilight Zone's Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios.  It was my big omission from the trip with my sister.  While riding that, a particularly curvy member of our riding party was having to hold herself into her top.   I think Disney nixed that one.  I would have liked to have had it, if only because the roller coaster and Dinosaur ride pics don't convey much emotion, but the picture from Tower of Terror really did show some anxiety on both our parts.  I'd have liked to have had that one.....

Anyway.  I think we'll be going back in a little while.  I'm not sure how long that while will be.  I really really really really really really really want to do Rise of the Resistance.  

I'd also like to ride the Skyliners.  And eat at Sanaa.  And get a beer at the British pub at Epcot.

I don't think we'll be one of those couples who goes every year, but I think we might see this become a not so unusual destination, either.....

Thursday, December 12, 2019

The Eats

A Cross posting from a Disney Food group.

We took our long-planned trip to WDW this week.  I'd like to thank the group for all the recommendations and ideas, especially for the help finding some great experiences for a vegetarian traveler.  It's easy nowadays to find vegetarian options, but finding a truly great dish can be rare.  She found a couple.

Apologies...this is a read...I didn't take many pictures of food.  Christmas decorations, parades and attractions yes, but food...not many.

Day 1:  We'd planned on getting to Disney about 5 o'clock on Friday, resting up at the hotel for an hour or two, and wandering to Disney Springs to find some dinner, but we hit three separate traffic snarls between home in Tennessee and Orlando.  Our 8.5 hour trip took somewhere around 13 hours, so we made dinner of the stuff we'd brought in the car that night.

Day 2: 

Les Halles Boulangerie and Patisserie:

She was really excited about this one, and we made it our breakfast and coffee on the first day in a park.  She got a beignet, which she probably enjoyed more than any breakfast she's had in ages.  I got a heated up Poulet et Pistou, and enjoyed it very much.

Spice Road Table:

We ate lunch at Spice Road Table.  What a great location for people watching.  We had wonderful weather our whole trip, but Saturday was absolutely beautiful for outdoor dining. This was our only time on the trip we had any service trouble:  we sat with our waters for several minutes before we had to flag down a waiter because nobody had come by to take our order.  Once we had our orders taken, our experience was great.  She the Mediterranean Vegetable Platter, and I got the Lamb Sliders.  We were both blown away by the Hummus Fries, which is something we're going to attempt to replicate at home, really soon.  My Lamb Sliders were also extremely tasty....it was one of the best lunches we've had in a while.

After lunch, we wandered back to our room at French Quarter, and came back for an evening wandering around World Showcase. 

We snacked and grazed our way around the whole evening.  I made a supper of some pork schnitzel from a stand at the German pavilion, while she got a pretzel and a beer.  We also had some coffee with walnut liqueur from a stand near the Morocco pavilion, some wine from France, some "Viking Coffee" and a chocolate pretzel from the Kringla Bakery in Norway.  We finished our night by picking up a couple treats from the bakery in the Germany pavilion, which we ate for breakfast the next morning.

Day 3:

This was our Magic Kingdom day.  we ate breakfast in the room, and got another cup of coffee in the park at the Cheshire Cafe...a treat for her, because Alice in Wonderland is her favorite Disney flick.  Just afterward, we rode the Mad Tea Party, and she got a thrill as Alice rode the ride in the teacup next to ours.  Not food related, but she enjoyed the heck out of that.

Lunch:  We did a quick service lunch during our travels around the park at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn.  I got a Bacon cheeseburger that I fixed up with nacho fixings, and she got the plant based Southwest Burger, and she did the same.  Not a bad sandwich, but our nachos were kinda stale, and we ended up not eating too many.

Supper:  We took a break again at the hotel, and I ate a sandwich there.  We were there for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, and again, we snacked our way through the park over the course of the night.  Pretzels and free cookies don't constitute a healthy diet, but we're on vacation, right?

Day 4:

This was our Hollywood Studios day.  With Rise of the Resistance opening a few days prior, the park was a lot more crowded than Epcot and Magic Kingdom had been. 

We got a quick breakfast of a bagel for her and a croissant sandwich for me at the Trolley Car Cafe. 

Up to the week prior, we'd planned on hitting the Drive-in for lunch, but with our fast pass schedule and the Rise of the Resistance crowd, we decided to drop it in favor of some quick service somewhere.  We ended getting a quick service lunch at Pizzerizzo, since it was on our way from the Indiana Jones show to Galaxy's Edge.  For a quick service pizza, it wasn't bad, though I kinda wish we'd ended up doing something else, as it wasn't anything special, either. 

Hollywood Studios was our only disappointing day, as we couldn't get a boarding pass for Rise of the Resistance.  We ended up leaving the park around 3, after hitting all that we wanted.  We'd planned a break anyway so we could rest and change clothes so we could meet the loose dress code at Jiko.

Jiko:  I say this without exaggeration:  This was one of the best meals I've ever had.  I cannot recommend a place any higher.  She said the same.  We got Inguday Tibs in Brik as our appetizer, which was wonderful.  She was able to upgrade an enhancement dish, Egyptian Kushari, to an entree, and she said it was one of the better dishes she's ever eaten.  I got the Filet Mignon, and cleaned my plate.  The desserts were equally fantastic.  She got the Malva Pudding, which was tremendously light and just a joy.  I got the Braai Brownie, which is just amazing....lightly spicy mixed with dark chocolate, bitter coffee and tart raspberry....We both ate entirely too much, and practically had to be rolled back to the French Quarter.

Day 5:

This was our Animal Kingdom day.  She ate her leftover Kushari for breakfast, and I just had coffee...if possible, I was still stuffed from the day before.  I did grab an apple from the fruit stand just outside the Safari ride and eat it while in line. 

Yak and Yeti was our lunch.  Another very fine meal.  She got the vegetable bowl, and I got Bhaktapur Duck, which was amazingly good, but probably not the best choice for eating right before wandering back out into the hottest part of our day.  I was thankful we did a couple of shows after lunch, just to let my lunch digest.

Dinner:  We went back to the Animal Kingdom lodge to eat dinner at Boma.  I'm not normally a buffet guy, but this was quite good.  There's too much to mention, but I especially enjoyed the Carrot Ginger Stew, the Zulu Cabbage and the Kenyan Coffee Tarts on the dessert bar. 

Day 6:

Our departure day.  We took a breakfast at the Sassagoula Float Works.  I ended up just getting a bacon and eggs breakfast, after the line at the Biscuits and Gravy station ground to a halt when a lady started complaining about her order....even at Disney, you have that person.....

Again, thanks for the recommendations.  There are still things we want to do....Sanaa, for one, and there were a couple or three places over at Disney Springs that seemed really interesting.  I kinda wanted to poke my head into one of the Star Wars eateries at Galaxy's Edge, but couldn't for the crowds.  And I figure we'll hit the Drive-In at some point, as well.  This was her first trip to Disney, and it was a memorable one.  She wants to come back in a year or two, so we'll be looking forward to that......

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Random Thoughts on the 17th Anniversary?

Seventeen?

This blogamathing has been floating around the interweb for 17 years now?

I have employees younger than that.

It's not as regular a hobby as it once was, but I appreciate the twos of you who show up on the semi-regular to see if I've posted some more dimwittery.

A few random thoughts:

The jobplace has been kinda tough here lately.  Lots of turnover, and lots of new faces.  The biggest part of my job lately has been trying to figure out, when something isn't done, whether it's been missed out of ignorance or apathy.

The schedule has not been kind, lately, either.  We lost a manager in October, and have only gotten him replaced this week.  It's meant a lot more closing shifts for Big Stupid here lately.  And I work for somebody who prefers having me close anyway.  It makes life a little more difficult outside the jobplace.  I don't get to see Shyam, family or friends often...and if you're a constant reader lo these 17 years, you know that's a concern even before I become a Second Shifter.  I made it to one local baseball game this past season.  I've made it to only a small handful of movies this year.  And trying to get together with friends?  A rarity.

Eh.  Not trying to be all woe is me about it.  It's an aggravation, though.

Other random thoughts?

Shyam and I did wander to watch Terminator: Dark Fate last week, and we both kinda liked it.  The fight early on between Mackenzie Davis and Gabriel Luna is fantastic.  It's got a nice twist that follows up nicely to Judgment Day.  It's not great, but an enjoyable use of an afternoon, anyway.

Playing with Disney Plus this morning.  Watched a few episodes of the X-Men animated series, and a handful of Donald Duck shorts.  Didn't understand the use of the original ratio aspect for those, but not the Simpsons.  In the first 30 hours or so that it's been available, the "stretching" of The Simpsons was an online complaint of much note.  Currently watching "Homer the Heretic" and it is formatted to fit the widescreen.  The square aspect isn't distracting, and in the case of Simpsons, cuts off a couple of visual gags.....

Currently enjoying a couple days off in a row.  We may wander out to see a flick again this afternoon.  Doctor Sleep, maybe?  Or maybe we'll get a wild hair to wander up to Knoxville for Parasite or The Lighthouse.

Anyway, if' you're still stopping by for inanity, I appreciate it.....

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Random Thoughts

I am 4 days from vacation, or so.

Just about the only perk I have on the job anymore is 6 weeks of vacation.  

It's nice.  Don't get me wrong.  But you have to fight to use them when you want.  And more often than not, you have to use them to make sure you have a specific weekend off.  

Like this one.

Eric, the former blogger, hosts a get together in October.  I have to take a whole week of vacation to be able to attend for one weekend.  I just wish it weren't that way.

Looking forward to it, as always.  Sad that it'll be the first without our friend Steve.  Looking forward to in nonetheless....

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Cubs, and whatnot.

I didn't intend to make a blog post on Ye Olde Facebooke, but this is what this turned into.  It was response into this piece from Bleacher Nation:

My feelings hover somewhere in the same concentric circles as disappointment and disgust. Self-righteous, I know. Entitled, yes. But that's what I feel. Joe, Theo and Jed (if Jed's still with the club and not taking over some team President job next season, and if Joe's employed at all next year) need to go back and read Tom Verducci's book on the build up to the 2016 World Series team.
There are so many stupid and consistent playing decisions. I won't call them mistakes. Because they're consistent. They're decisions. Swing from the heels, even with two strikes on you. Don't try at all to beat a defensive shift. Have absolutely no awareness of the current on base situation. And if you're Addison Russell, don't even bother learning the team's signs, all while being completely unwilling to show any sort of contrition or even ownership of off-the-field issues....that's a completely different bad look, but a part of the bigger ugly picture when you look at it.
A year later, I still tip my cap at the 2018 Red Sox, who had (and have) every bit the same amount of talent on their roster, but did all the small, fundamental things that you HAVE to do, and cake walked their way through both the regular season and postseason. Their relative struggles this year, I acknowledge, and point at with recognition that winning is hard, and there are many factors that play into it.
I try not to be a Go Get Some New Management type (look at Tennessee football over the last 13 years or so to see where that mindset can get you). But I threw my hands up in disgust a couple weeks ago, when Cole Hamels was left in to bat when he was obviously spent on the mound, and then taken out after a couple or three batters the next half inning. I have had the feeling all year that they've told Joe he's not coming back next year, and that he's been phoning it in ever since. I just haven't felt the same energy from him or this team that they had even last season.
Injuries are tough. But they're part of every season. Every team has them. I do not accept that excuse. Losing Kimbrel and Rizzo for games down the stretch sucks, but everybody deals with that. Look at the Brewers who lose MVP candidate Christian Yelich and still school you in September.
We're not even done with the 2019 season, and I bristle at some of the stuff that runs across the boards for 2020. The Cubs want Gerrit Cole? OK. Whatever. I try not to listen too hard to the board-talk, but IF that's the case? You have a bullpen that blew NINE 1-run leads this year. You hold all of these? You're up a game and a half in the Central right now. You hold half of them? You're tied with Washington and Milwaukee for that abhorrent 1-game wild card.
A Loss for a pitcher is bit of a loaded stat, but the Cubs Bullpen has something like 33 or 34 losses on their shoulders this year. You cut that number in half? And you've got a 100 win team right now.
(I say all this, realizing my comment about Hamels three or four paragraphs up....baseball is hard, and I get that).
Regardless, go get bullpen help. Start developing it, too. But if you're so wanting to spend this offseason, you take the 20 or 25 million a year that Gerrit Cole wants and you go find two or three or four quality relievers.
And maybe a leadoff guy. I hate to say this, but we've been missing Dexter Fowler for THREE SEASONS now. I've been screaming "Table-Setters" for the Cubs lineups online for nearly 25 years now. When we had consistent ones in 2015 and 2016, it made that free swinging bunch of kids a lot more palatable because we had guys on base 10 to 15% more of the time. Doesn't seem like much, but if it translates to 10 or 15% more wins? Again, the Cubs are in first in the Central.
Let me also say this: That free-swinging nonsense is a lot less palatable now, because Baez, Schwarber, Rizzo, Bryant, Contreras et al aren't kids anymore...they're 4 and 5 year vets who shouldn't be striking out in 1 of 4 plate appearances. I know that's considered Baseball in 2019, by and large, but if you you strike out a little less, maybe you sacrifice power, but you get on base a little more, and let's just see how that trade balances out. That's about as close to Moneyball as I get (not because I don't believe in it, but because who has that kind of time?).
Sorry for the rant. I haven't talked much about the Cubs this year, because I'm irritated. We're getting to the end of the line for contracts for some of these guys, and who knows what their futures hold? This is a team that was built to win two or three World Series, not just the one. I know that's hard, but when you see this kind of talent not doing the things they need to do, it's disheartening. And now we're staring down the barrel of another postseason filled with Dodgers and Astros and Cardinals and Yankees. (I can say go Braves, and as blasphemous as it is, I could even see myself rooting for the Brewers, should it come to that).
At the end of the day, the dynamic shift in organizational philosophy that was supposed to take hold at the early part of this decade did its job in 2015 and especially 2016....but was whittled away at bit by bit over the next few seasons. And 2019 was just an aggravating continuation of 2018. And as this piece says, it feels much the same as it did ten years ago....

Monday, September 23, 2019

All I Want is a Couple Days Off, Redux

Fifteen Days since that last post. 

I worked 13/15 in that post.
3 Days off.
By the end of tomorrow's shift, I'll have worked 14/15. 

27 of 33.

I just don't understand how this keeps happening in a fully staffed store.

Sunday, September 08, 2019

All I want is a couple days off....

Rough week.  Just worked 13 of 15.  Be nice to the retail people.  They may have worked 120 hours or so over a 14 day span.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Endgame Thoughts

Just a couple thoughts about Endgame.

I've watched it a couple times at home now, and a couple thoughts:

A lot of people are hollering about a couple of Oscar Nominations for the flick, and I think there are areas for consideration (I would champion the screenplay, for sure, and might even listen to an argument for direction, though I'm not in that camp currently).  A lot of folks think Jeremy Renner deserves a nomination for Supporting Actor.  And while I enjoy Renner as a performer, I found his performance...I dunno....uneven?  Quite good in parts, yes...the relief his face shows when he sees his phone ringing after Hulk's snap, especially.  But I felt the only true dip in quality of the movie comes in his and Scarlett Johansson's meeting with Red Skull....it's the only scene that didn't seem to hit home with me, for some reason.

If we're talking performances, we really ought to dig into Chris Evans and Josh Brolin's performances....Evans playing straightlaced across seven flicks and having a bit of nuance there?  That's hard.  And Josh Brolin just knocks it out of the park....and being able to show so much with just his eyes, basically. 

And I wouldn't argue too much if they wanted to throw Robert Downey Jr.'s name into the mix.  As a lifetime achievement sort of thing.  I mean, I don't know that Iron Man would have worked in 2008 without his charisma.  And without that, I don't know that you get the green light for the rest of this whole shebang.

I think I've watched the movie six times now.  And that final battle is truly an awesome bit of moviemaking.  Waiting 22 movies to say "Avengers Assemble" was a nice touch. 

This time around, I was struck and a little moved by having Gwyneth Paltrow's Pepper Potts show up in the Rescue armor.  (A digression about Paltrow, who has admitted to not watching/caring much for the movies, and her performance....I respect the performances a lot because she brought so much to the table....there are a couple of actresses out there who you can almost see "slumming it" in their performances in other genre flicks....and Natalie Portman is highest on that list.  Paltrow shows up, and holds up her end of the bargain without winking at anything or anyone, and she's one of the strongest bits of the flick, and an MVP in the whole 23 movie effort).

I love the relationship between Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch.  Their conversation in Age of Ultron is one of the few highpoints in one of the few Marvel flicks that just has not aged well for me.  Seeing that relationship grow across a couple other flicks, and getting moment of reflection at the end of the flick was a good moment....

Yeah.  I've gotten a little misty-eyed when Peter and Tony meet up again.  A few times.

Just a great flick.  A gratifying one.  My friend Ryan said something really cool:  they made these movies out of stories that we got tolerated for reading, and laughed at sometimes, and made them so that everybody can enjoy them.  And that's an awesome thought.....

Friday, August 02, 2019

Dreams

Had a weird dream last night that I can't shake, which is remarkable in and of itself, as most dreams dissolve like wet cotton candy not long after waking, here lately.

My town lost its K-Mart two or three years back... It's hard to say, as time's gotten funny lately.

In the dream, a few co-workers, past and present, are working at the K-Mart in Athens.  Which is weird, because I've worked customer service off and on over 20 years now, but never for K-Mart.  In the dream, we're open on Christmas Day.  We're closing at 3PM, but can't stem the flow of people wanting to shop at K-Mart on Christmas Day.  And the whole dream involves standing in the doorways, trying to keep people from getting into the store.

I woke up in a panic, as today's my first day of since returning from vacation, and my last until next Thursday.  I realized that I was off, and that I could return to sleep, but I couldn't....