Wednesday, November 29, 2006

3 More Days ...

My days are winding down at Lockheed, and while I won’t miss the monotonous work that I was “in charge of,” I will dearly miss my coworkers/friends who I’ve had the fortune of clowning around with over the past few years. Reverse, Ink, JoeP and –B- always helped to make coming to work worthwhile, even if we didn’t exactly love our jobs. One would never know what was in store – whether it was throwing the football around outside during our “smoke breaks,” or going to the Moorestown mall to catch a movie during a long lunch break. These are the things I’ll miss dearly. My hope is that I’ll find coworkers at Vanguard that are half as fun/funny as these guys, because I know I’ll never be able to replace them.

Another hope of mine is that my new employer, Vanguard, will be my employer for an extended period of time – possibly the rest of my career. I had hoped this was the case with Lockheed as well, but it becomes obvious that if you don’t have a military background, it is darn near impossible to move up in the company, no matter how valued an employee you are.

I am excited, but at the same time nervous about this new opportunity. I know deep down that I’ll be fine, but anytime you go through a change this big, you worry. I’m leaving a position that I had grown accustomed to. I knew what was expected of me, and I knew that I could easily meet those expectations. I knew what I could expect from coworkers, and I knew the “loop-holes” in the department. Now, much like Henry Hudson and Lewis and Clarke, I will be entering a world of unknowns.

I’ve switched jobs a few times before, and each time, I had this uncertainty … but each time, I’ve done pretty well for myself. It has always been a goal of mine, no matter where I was employed, to become a valued and trusted employee – and so far, I’ve done pretty well with that, I think. As I move on to Vanguard, I know that with time, I’ll once again be in that position, but I know that I will have to work hard to get there.

Sorry for the “not funny” blog – just felt I needed to say something about this.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

You're What????

It seems like every Thanksgiving, a bunch of friends of mine – we get together and reminisce about old times, and this past Friday (after our annual “old-guys” turkey bowl football game) was no exception. One particular story got us really cracking up. This diddy involves a good friend of mine, we’ll call him Yon.

It seems about 10 years ago, he began dating this girl, and went out with her on a few occasions. During this one date, they went to a Chris Rock concert. Yon, who was … how can I put this … sheltered as a youth, was quite amazed by the make-up of the audience at this show …. So amazed, that he actually leaned over to his date and said something along the lines of, “Wow, it looks like we are the only two white people here.”

This is kind of funny on its own … however, the story actually gets funnier. What Yon somehow didn’t know was that this girl he was dating was a Mulatto. So, technically, Yon was the only white person at the concert. From what I got out of the story, she didn’t really tell him at this point about her ethnicity. In fact, Yon didn’t really put one-and-one together until a few dates later, when he was over at her place, and he noticed a lot of African art on the walls.

Of course, we spent the rest of the afternoon/evening at the bar cracking up about this and absolutely busting his ball (he only has one – long story) about this. I think we even incorporated some Michael Richards jokes into this. Good times all around.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Another Tradition Bites the Dust???

Interboro is not playing Ridley this year on Thanksgiving Day. Who cares, you may ask? Well … probably not many people outside of Delaware County, but I do, dammit! This football rivalry has been going on since the 1960’s – and while there are many other high school rivalries that have a longer tradition, this was “my” high school rivalry.

I also fear that because of the PIAA (Pennsylvania’s high school athletic association), Thanksgiving day rivalries may become a thing of the past in this state. This is atrocious on many, many levels. For instance, many high schools make a boat-load of money on these Thanksgiving rivalries, that they can put back into athletics. Interboro (my high school) is one of them. How will they be able to recover these funds? I’m afraid I don’t have the answer to this.

Secondly, many kids growing up looked forward to playing in this big game. If it no longer exists, will some of these kids no longer have interest in sports? Maybe I’m being a little too dramatic with this, but with the interest in playing sports decreasing (thanks to other “hobbies” like television, computers, game consoles), this may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for some.

Additionally, may alumni go to these games to reconnect with other alumni – this has happened to me, and it is one of the things I truly enjoy about Thanksgiving. Now what? I’m sure I can go to the local watering holes to reconnect with alumni who have come back to visit family and friends, but it’s not the same.

The PIAA probably has a number of reasons for not allowing playoff teams to play Thanksgiving day games. But, is it really that bad to push back the playoffs one week, so we can keep this tradition? Other states do this? Why is PA different? I guess I’ll just have to spend the day at home, nursing my annual Thanksgiving hangover.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I Don't Like Shopping Malls

I Don’t Think I Like Shopping Malls Much

My wife and I went Christmas shopping on Saturday at the Christiana Mall in Delaware, and I realized something. I hate malls. Maybe it’s just during Christmas season, but I am annoyed with others who are shopping, the ridiculous prices, and trying to find a parking space. For some reason, I’d much rather go to Target, Circuit, City, Best Buy, or any other department store – please don’t hold that against me.

I spent the entire day at the mall, going into stores, looking at price tags, and thinking to myself that I could do so much more better than this. I’ve realized something about myself. I love to find bargains … this is probably a trait that I got from my mom. But additionally, I don’t enjoy shopping in places where I can’t find anything that I would like to have for myself. I understand that Christmas shopping isn’t about me, totally, however, if I’m in a store, like Pottery Barn, and I find nothing that I long for, I have a tough time purchasing something for others. Maybe, it’s just an illness or something.

My wife told me that I can’t go around buying CDs, DVDs, and games for others, just because I like them. I understand that, but sometimes I just can’t put my mind to buying things for others when I’m not inspired.

Perfect example – we were in this store, and my wife found this photo album that she thought was really cute. I shrugged, and told her that if anybody ever bought me a photo album (without any pictures in it), I’d be offended. It’s not that I don’t like photo albums, but this seems like something I could buy on my own if I needed it, much like socks and underwear.

So, I ended up buying a few little things. My wife was probably pissed off that she spent a day shopping with me – she could do so much better on her own.

In a few days, we’ll be swamped with offers and advertisements for Black Friday. I’ve seen some “sneak previews” from some stores, and I’m intrigued. The thing is that I really don’t feel like getting up at 4:00 a.m. to go Christmas shopping.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Stoppage Time

That’s My Boss!
Don’t you hate bosses that never seem to keep their employees informed about anything? Yep, you guessed it. I have a boss like this. For starters, he goes on vacation without telling anybody … that’s right, you heard me … WITHOUT TELLING ANYBODY! Isn’t this something you might want to mention to people you manage, in case they were wondering where you were? I’m not telling you to give out your cellphone number or anything like that, but just inform everybody that you will be out of the office for the week, and that if you need any help with something, either put it aside, or have somebody serving as your “right-hand man” while you are out.

If that was all he did, it wouldn’t be such a big deal. HOWEVER, he shits on his underlings in other fascinating ways. For instance, he apparently is interviewing people for potential openings in our department. I’m not saying he has to give us pages of background information on each candidate, BUT if he brings them around to us, maybe he should give us a little more information than just saying, “Hey, this is Donna.” Yep, that’s it. I don’t know if I should know the person, or who this person really is. It really pisses me off.

Plus, if he is going to be out of the office for the day, maybe on travel to a meeting in Dahlgren or Bloomsburg, he could maybe tell the office, just in case somebody important was looking for him (yep – this happened to me today).

I’m not sure if I’m more upset with the fact that he does this, or that with all of these “qualifications,” he is my boss. I guess that’s a toss-up. Thank goodness it’s Friday.

Should You Really Be Throwing Darts?

A friend of mine was throwing darts whilst inebriated a few nights ago. On more than one occasion, he walked up to the line to throw darts, and realized he didn’t have the darts in his hands. On another occasion, he told another dart thrower to aim for the M … I think this needs some explanation. On a regular dart board, the 11 can resemble an M … WHEN YOU ARE PLASTERED! I think I’m gonna make a shirt up for him that says “Don’t Drink and Dart.”

Random Conversation of the Week
My wife and I were watching the news, and there was a story about severe weather in the Carolinas in which 11 people died. The odd part about this story was that the reporter said something along the lines of “the death toll is at 11.” It got me to thinking – when is it o.k. to use the “death toll” line? My wife and I decided that if more than 99 people die, using “death toll” is justified. However, anything less, and it is wrong to do so.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

This Smells Like Grandma

You’ve probably heard that elephants go off to an elephant cemetery to die when they get old, right? Well, I think we can make that same connection with old people at the Showboat casino in Atlantic City. I have never seen so many elderly people in a single place (I’m sure the Billy Graham concerts have a similar turnout). In a way, it is deeply depressing to me. I felt really bad and really sorry for these octogenarians.

Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time in Atlantic City this weekend – basically broke even, and since the room was free, I feel that I made out pretty well. But man, you could bring a busload of kindergarteners into the place, and I don’t think the average age of casino patrons would drop. Is this all that is left for you when you get old – cashing your social security check and taking the casino bus down to Atlantic City and handing this money over to the casinos?

On a more positive note, the new shopping area at Caesars is phenomenal. Sure, most stores are out of my ballpark, but window shopping there is amazing. Plus, the restaurants/bars they have there are excellent. Two restaurants should be very familiar to Philadelphians – Buddakhan and The Conttinental – catering to upscale and trendy dining and drinking. Additionally, there is a very cool sports bar called Game On, with stadium seating, and countless televisions – I’m guessing it gets really crowded during games, but the atmosphere will probably be great. This shopping area, along with the Borgata, and the French Quarter at the Tropicana are attempts by Atlantic City to compete against Las Vegas … now I’m not saying that they are in the same ballpark as Vegas, but at the very least, they are finally making an effort. And since A.C. is only an hour away from my house, this is a good thing.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

C'Mon Lucky 7's!!!!

As you may know, I am going to A.C. today and tomorrow to celebrate my 3-year wedding anniversary … oh yeah, my wife is going too. You’re probably wondering whether I like the tables or the slots, aren’t you (throw me a bone, and pretend you are interested!). Well, my answer to that is … I like both. And no, it’s not a sellout answer … and no, I’m not gay either.

Seriously, it depends on what kind of mood I’m in, and how crowded the casino floor is (and yes, it depends on the minimum bet amount on the tables). As far as which table games I like, I have a few. I’ll play some black jack here and there, but it’s not one of my favorites – to tell ya the truth, I don’t know all of the “rules” involved with which cards to hit, when to double up, etc. (I know the easy ones). I also play craps every once in a while, but not whilst intoxicated (I end up making far too many bets, and waking up in the morning wondering how the hell my wallet was emptied). I enjoy Pai Gow poker, but you don’t really win a lot of money in this one (or lose a lot of money either). Once in a while, I’ll play Texas Hold-em, but I get stage fright when I’m not at a table with friends, and playing Hold-em when you’re scared is never a good idea.

As far as slots go, I like video poker … especially if the machine is built into a bar with sports going on (which I’m hoping to find today – I know that Bally’s Wild Wild West has this, but if there’s country music playing, I’m not going to be enjoying myself). I’ll also play a little of the Wheel of Fortune game – won quite a bit of money on this out in Vegas … unfortunately, the A.C. slots aren’t nearly as loose as them (great, now I’m sounding like one of those “blue-hairs”).

It may be a little crowded on Sunday, but it should be rather empty on Monday, so we’ll see. All I know is that I gotta be near a tv (Eagles game and fantasy football) on today.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Three Years, Already?

Three years … this week I celebrate three years of being married. It came as a shock to me, as I’m not sure how my wife has done it. I really thought that nobody was capable of putting up with me for that long. And the funny part is, I think she still loves me. How is this possible? Does this seem appealing to anybody – a guy who loves sports, the Rolling Stones, and pro wrestling?

My wife and I originally met on a blind date. I don’t think either of us thought much of it. I know she probably lost interest, when the first topic of conversation that I mustered was political talk – specifically, how I thought John McCain would’ve been a better president than G.W. Now, let me make this clear – I hardly EVER talk politics, mainly because the mere thought of all of the political corruptness on both sides makes me vomit internally. But for some reason, this was what came out of my mouth.

Sure, the date eventually went better, and we ended up having a good time, BUT usually the first impression you give is the one that most people remember. The first impression that I got was, “Wow, this girl is really cute!” This probably explains why I came up with a brainfart of a topic to discuss.

After a few days, I called her, but she didn’t return it. I figured I’d make one last ditch effort to talk to her on a Saturday night, prior to a party I was going to. She ended up picking up, but she sounded tired/sick/uninterested. The call lasted maybe 5 minutes. That’s it, I thought. I went out that night not expecting to ever hear from her again.

To my surprise, she called me the next night, and we had a cool 45-minute talk – she later told me that this convinced her to give me another chance. And we never looked back. I guess I convinced her that outside of the dopey political talk, I am actually fun guy. Another plus is that she loves sarcasm, and she has learned to enjoy the Rolling Stones. Of course, she never did get into pro wrestling … which is probably a good thing. Another good thing is that we have numerous tv’s in the house, so she can watch her reality shows and HGTV, while I can go upstairs and watch my Philadelphia sports teams flounder.

I can’t imagine my life without her. She is my best friend, and she has a knack for making me laugh when I’m in a bad mood, and we ALWAYS have fun together. Plus, she’s a piece of ass.

Sorry for the cheesy blog post. I just wanted to let my cutie know that I love her.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

You Expect Me to Wear That????

I took this story from my old website, because ... well, I thought it was funny:

One of the greater Grieb "legendary stories" involves clothes styles and, more importantly, the brand names of clothes that Inga, my mother, has purchased for her family over the years. Even though I haven't lived with my parents for quite a while now, a recent and timely "incident" reinforced the fact that it wouldn't matter how far I moved away from home, I could rest assured that Inga would still be hard at work scouring the globe for excellent deals on brand-named clothes that I have never heard of.

This recent occurrence happened just a few weeks ago - right before the big storm that dumped about a foot of snow on the Philadelphia area - of course there are probably some pundits out there that think this may have been a sign, but let's ignore them and move on. I received a phone call from the said purchaser who informed me that she had found a fantastic deal on a pair of corduroys and purchased them for me. She also notified me that she had to hem four inches off of these pants so that they would fit my "stocky" body. I must've been away from home for too
long, because I was actually excited by the prospect of getting a new pair of pants, even though my mother was the one who made the final purchase. Plus, these cords would be good to wear when shoveling the large amount of snow that we were bracing for.

The night before the snow-storm, Inga dropped off the pants, and other odds and ends (she knows her son loves chocolate chip cookies, and she continues to provide them to him, as evidenced by the expanding waistline of said son). I found the bag attached to the front door, even though my mother has keys to the house. I took the bag in, found the pants, and inspected them more closely. The cords looked pretty good - a dark blue color - my favorite. As I glanced at the tag, expecting to see
"Levis," or "Lee," or "Gap," I was more than surprised to see a brand name that I wasn't familiar with. I rubbed my eyes to make sure that I wasn't seeing things, and sure enough, I wasn't. The name of the company that produced these cords was called, get ready for this, "Big Yank." Wow, how couldn't I wear a pair of "Big Yanks" in front of my friends? I certainly wouldn't be the butt of any jokes for years and years to come, would I? Of course, I decided to wear them the very next day while shoveling snow, and then when Sue, Lisa, and I scurried to a few of the local bars that had remained open during the snow storm. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that these pants were not the least bit comfortable - in fact, Sue said that the pants made me look like Mick Jagger - I'm not sure if that is a compliment or not.

But, as many of you know, Inga has bought some "interesting" clothes for me in the past. It probably goes back to the lederhosen that she made me wear when I was 3-years old. Quite coincidentally, wearing these lederhosen was one of my very first memories, and it wasn't because these lederhosen were cool - it was because they chafed me more than a pair of sand-paper pants would have. There is a great picture out there somewhere that my parents took of me in those lederhosen. You can actually see the pain in my face in this picture, as I am trying to grab a fist-full of leather out of my ass.

In the past, my mom has bought me sneakers from far away lands - I mean, I think they were from far away lands, because the style was hideous, and the names on these sneakers were unimaginable. They made those Traxx sneakers with the Velcro ties sold at K-Mart look like Air Jordans.

One pair was called "Copa 83," and the sneakers were red. I wore these when I fished because I was planning on falling in the water. As it turned out, one day at Crum Creek, I walked into the creek and the sneakers sunk in the mud.

Another pair of sneakers that she bought, from God knows where, was a pair of brown, that's right, brown sneakers called "Nado Super Primo." These were a pair of high-tops from Italy. My mom was especially surprised and excited about this purchase, because the aforementioned sneakers only set her back 4 dollars. I wasn't exactly
sure what situation would require me to wear these sneakers, as the circus had already left town.

Some of the brand-named clothes that she purchased would've been down-right comical, had Inga not mandated that I wear these to school - obviously this was before high school! One such pair of jeans was made by a company called "Smacks." Now, a girl could probably get away with wearing jeans by this company, but a 6th grade boy, such as me, was lucky not to get shoved in a locker after wearing these beauties. I don't exactly remember the logo from this company, but I think it may have included lips. Lets just say the girls weren't knocking the door down at the Grieb household to get to know me.

My mom also bought a pair of hideous brown pants for me, made by a company known as "Uncle Charlie's." I think she actually bought me two pairs of pants by this company - no doubt that she probably sniffed out a two-for-one sale at the local

There are probably many other brands that I have forgotten, and
most-assuredly for good reason. But, hey, they provided a good story, didn't

Monday, November 06, 2006

Los and Smoke, Episode 5

We finally got around to doing another podcast - this one has to do with "Inga" and all of the "Inga-isms."

Click here to get your own player.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I Guess Times Change

A few old work buddies and I went to Tower Records in Center City this past Saturday – this was normally a post-holiday tradition for us, but since Tower is closing on December 12, we decided to get one more shopping trip in. It’s unfortunate that a record store like this is closing down, but with the popularity of MP3’s (not to mention major record companies opting to promote crap like Kevin Federline and Paris Hilton), this has become a trend.

It’s a sad day for me (I’m sure I’m not the only one), because I have always LOVED the experience of purchasing an album/cassette/cd (I have well over 1000 cds in my collection). Physically holding the album, admiring the album art, and reading the liners, not to mention actually physically putting the cd into the cd player to listen to the tracks – this I lived for (and continue to live for).

Obviously, the record companies (and stores) have to take a lot of the blame, as they have in recent years jacked up the prices of cds to ridiculous amounts. Plus, it doesn’t seem like there are enough cds that have enough good songs on them to merit their purchase. It is much easier to go to I-Tunes and download one or two songs instead of paying the $15-$20 to buy an entire cd in which you may only listen to one or two songs.

Plus, with the purchasing power that stores like Best Buy and Circuit City have, it is usually more beneficial (at least in terms of cost) to buy at these places. But, variety is usually sacrificed (Best Buy actually isn’t too bad). Limited shelf space means only the most “popular” cds are sold. I hate this, because I generally like to experiment with my music purchases. In the past few years, I’ve started acquiring music via MP3 purchases, and I guess there will eventually come a point when I exclusively do this. I’m just going to miss buying cds.

On a side note, Tower’s “going out of business sale” is not really that astounding – in fact, even with the “30-50%” sales, they still are more expensive than the big box stores. Basically, Tower took all of their “special” pricing off of their merchandise, which was probably around 30% off, and jacked the prices up to the $19 range (for their cds) . I guess I’ll have to wait until December 1, until the “real” savings can be reached … but, by that point, I may only have Federline and Hilton to choose from.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Stoppage Time

Let me be the first to wish you a happy Cliché Day – that’s right, probably one of my favorite days of the year. So, in the immortal words of Richie Cunningham, “Sit on it, Potsie!”

You Call THAT a Special?
I went to Iron Hill Brewery a few nights ago with a fellow Penn Stater for dinner, and a funny thing happened. The waiter asked if I wanted to hear the specials, to which I replied, “sure,” and the waiter says the following: “Let me see if I can pull this out … I have the grilled sausage.” Of course, I pounce all over this, and say something to the effect of “Well, that really didn’t sound so good.” Poor waiter guy was flustered for the rest of the night.

Oil Came from What?
You know, I’ve always been under the belief that oil came from dinosaurs. Ink, a coworker, thought it came from plants and foliage of some sort. Surprisingly, after some research, we found out that neither of us are correct. Apparently, it comes from some sort of small life-form (not really a plant, not really an animal) that ends up dying on the bottom of the ocean floor and forming some sort of sludge. Of course, Ink and I got into an argument over this, and Ink claimed I was lying. I responded with “If you don’t know that you are lying, then you aren’t lying.” Not really sure any of this made sense.

Take That Cigar and Shove It!!!!
This past weekend, Red Auerbach, legendary coach and GM of the Boston Celtics passed away. As a Philadelphia sports fan, I wonder if any of our owners will ever reach this legendary status. The only one that comes anywhere near this is Ed Snider, but his teams really haven’t done much since the Flyers won two Stanley Cups in the 1970’s. Auerback’s Celtics won well over a dozen championships, and probably would’ve won more if Len Bias didn’t overdose on coke back in the day. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’m really jealous and I wish we had some competent owners in this city. Please help us!

Office Prank of Sorts
You know what pisses off a lot of people at work? When somebody (me) makes a bag of microwave popcorn in the office. The smell wafts to all corners of the work place and if you listen closely enough, you can hear the collective sound of stomachs growling. Of course, you have to be skilled at popping corn in the microwave – there are some rocket scientists in this building that have caused the fire alarm to go off because (a) they didn’t realize that one can overpop corn, or (b) they decided to go to the bathroom while the corn was popping, and ended up spending too much time in the restroom or forgot about the popcorn altogether. Maybe people should be licensed to pop corn.