Saturday, March 12, 2016

My poor, neglected blog!

Hello, my poor, neglected blog!  I haven't seen you since September when I thought it would be a good idea to chronicle the days leading up to the trip of a lifetime: Seeing the 1989 World Tour in Atlanta, GA, with my cousin Meghan.  Well, let me tell you it was a blast.  Poor girl had a jacked up thumb and still put on the show of the year.  Piano made her pay though, she hit one note and her hand went flying up like birds after hearing a gunshot. It was simultaneously the funniest yet saddest thing to witness. Taylor Swift did a really good job though, and even though we didn't get to meet her, it's always going to be something I remember. ...especially since all of a sudden my clock has decided to start singing Shake It Off again.  I just started noticing it again the other day. STRANGE STUFF!!!!

I also got to see World of Coke. That was pretty fun for me and I think my cousins had a blast as well.  We made several trips to Taco Bell, which I absolutely LOVED! We even went in the middle of watching Escanaba en da Moonlight because how could I be 32 and have never seen it???  Well, I live in the dark no longer! PLUS it was Taco Turrsday. But I think Dia De Los Tacos was my favorite.. Mexican style brunch with the whole family and some of my cousin's friends.  We got a really nice picture.

Overall, I loved everything about the trip...except going home, of course.  Word on the street is Atlanta cried for a WEEK when I left (rain). 

And my life only picked up in a big way from that point.  By November, I had a new shift, which meant I changed from working 3p-11p "I can't believe I'm so tired all day" to working 6:30a-2p "How do people wake up this early" shifts. Plus fill-ins occasionally.  But I've since figured it out, and although the poor folks who have to work with me past 4pm don't get to see much energy from my exhausted shell at least I get them through the busy part of the day, ha.  

So, I'm keeping busy. That's pretty evident in my ability to keep up on blogging, I guess.  Now I'm used to being up and going in the morning and I "sleep in" on Saturdays until 6:30.  

I never thought I would be that person.

*ding* /Georgia/

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Road to 1989: Part 2

Part 2  9/25/2015

Last night I had a strange dream about flying, that has me thinking about how nervous I actually am for this part of my trip.  I had a dream where I forgot what time my flight back was, but I was going back to MI, not to PA, and for whatever reason I guess I was in PA because my mom and sister were there at the airport trying to sabotage my trip. Anyways, I didn't really have a clue where I was in the airport. And I actually saw a drawing of Charles Trippy on the gate I needed to take to get to my flight. Then when I got through, the stairs were absolutely vertical and I was too short to reach well. And when I woke up I was laying on both of my arms so the pain from those stairs was real pain. It took a lot to wake my hands up too haha.   I've been up for over an hour and my shoulders still hurt.

But that's beside the point.

I think I'm getting sick of the song Wildest Dreams, too.  It's nobody's fault, I just have heard it a LOT on YouTube lately and it's just always stuck in my head.  Maybe it will go away for a little bit and grow on me again.

That's all I really have for today, I think.  But it is only 10:30 am.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Road to 1989: Introduction, Part 1

Before I even introduce myself I want to point out that I've got the feeling I need to point out at least for my pride that I put this off until I ran out of lives on Candy Crush Soda Saga. That shouldn't be relevant to anybody aside from my pride, but it's important to me to point it out. As you can tell, it's a matter of stalling.


Hello, all. My name is Kelley. I've always kind of described myself as somebody with a sort of allergy to Taylor Swift. It was primarily due to the period of time that I would go into some type of convulsion whenever I would hear her music, but there was a time before that where I just wasn't all that excited about her music. Would we use a word like "hate?" No, I don't think so, but we wouldn't use anything in the category of "fondness" either.

I like to tell stories of my cat when I think about "early" Taylor Swift.  Well, I put that in quotations because we're not talking /Tim MaGraw/ era, but more like 2010-ish. Maybe?  I don't really know. It was when /You Belong With Me/ was big. I would turn it off every time it came on the radio. Then there was one time I was in the tub and my cat came flying (running, you literalist) into the bathroom. Snarkingly, I go "What, is Taylor Swift on the radio?" so I went to investigate what his issue was, and sure enough, that song was on the radio.  It caused pure entertainment. The other was when we made our big move to Pittsburgh. I had everything packed up and all I had left was taking him in the carrier into the truck so we could hit the road. Obviously cats are not fond of being in carriers, etc. So we're walking out the door and I start singing that song. For whatever reason he didn't make any noise when I sang that. And the funny part is I only knew like 2 lines in the whole song. Naturally, I got sick of this and the novelty wore off with Patrick (my cat) and it was a flurry of me trying to find a way for him to have some TS to listen to, of course to no avail because why would I have that kind of luck?

At that point it became kind of a running joke that Patrick had a crush on Taylor / loved her music / etc and so forth and what have you. Then came the convulsive era when my cousin made me a cd that was a plethora of various Taylor Swift songs. Now, even at this point I want to stress there wasn't necessarily a loathing process going on. The song /Mean/ practically defines my life and I can admit that, I think it was something about voice pitch that just hit a nerve physiologically with me. I don't know. I've had several bouts to deal with what is going on with me in that department (the TS dept, and also the now neurological dept as well) to decide if my problem is her, her songs, her voice, her song topics, her videos, etc. I literally went on an extensive research investigation. I even purchased the CD / RED/ as a prototype.  I went on this rant once about how she is a creative genius with the exception of one single music video that rubbed me the wrong way. As it probably sounds, my results were inconclusive. There's something there, but my "struggle" if you want to call it that has always been a matter of how interesting is it, etc. Then there's the obvious argument of "who am I to judge" and what thought of mine holds water since I've never known her personally or met her or anything to that effect.

So I've kind of just put my feelings of either negative or positive on hold until I have any reasoning that holds water. I recently (sometime this year, not within the last week or two) had a chat with a cousin of mine looking for tickets to the 1989 world tour  at the Georgia Dome in October. I volunteered to go along for several reasons but the top reasons did not include "I want to see TS in concert" ... ultimately started with "I want to go on vacation" "I have plenty of PTO" etc. Anyways, I got a little side tracked.  The bottom line is we are going to see Taylor Swift in the 1989 World Tour stop at the Georgia Dome in ATL this October. I guess that's where this whole blog series comes into play. I've decided to log my experience leading up to the big event and probably some of the experience following. If anything, so I can decide if I will ever define myself as a "Swifty." ...just using that phrase makes me shiver a little bit, so we'll see what happens.

Part 1  9/23/15

At this point I've completed the following actions: Ticket for concert purchased, Plane ticket purchased, 1989 on iTunes purchased. I'm starting to get excited because a long vacation different from my annual vacations to Michigan feels like just what I need. I'm a bit nervous about the flight, the fees, and the best way to get to and from the airport (do I want to park at the airport or get a ride, do I want to have to depend on somebody else, etc.) Now that it's getting to be less than a month away, I'm starting to worry about what to pack, what to leave, do I board Patrick or let him stay home, what would be better to take vs. just buy there, and so on.

I've gotten myself acclimated to the music on the 1989 album. For the most part it's catchy, but my skeptical ear does have its issue. But I have decided that there's more to this whole trip than just the music. There's the theatrics, which I've always been very impressed with in music videos, and the 60 minutes documentary (episode? what would you call it?) said "Taylor isn't a part of Big Machine Records, Taylor Swift IS Big Machine Records" and I've yet to find any fault in that statement. She's a go-getter who sticks to her values and beliefs and (allegedly, I only say that because I haven't read up on it I just heard it from somebody else) fights for the little guy.

I'm also very motivated to get my cousin and I into "Loft 89" which I guess you actually get to meet Taylor and spend time with her or something. I'm going to kind of make this a goal I suppose which means I'll have to start exhausting my creativity for ideas to this experience.

Last year was "Summer of Kelley" and today I'm going to claim that since today is the day of the equinox this year I'm going to celebrate "Autumn of Kelley." Overall, I'm optimistic. Part of me thinks that my conclusion will be that Taylor brings that out in people...but I'm not ready to admit that QUITE yet.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Spitballing: Extra Innings

Here we are, midnight or later, where you can pretty much get Taco Bell or Wendy's if you're out looking for fast food.  ...or how about the concessions at yet another Pittsburgh Pirates extra inning / way into the night game? That's right folks, we're headed to the 14th inning! It's a tight race in the standings to close the gap on the first place St. Louis Cardinals. And I'm not upset at all. It's all about getting the most out of your ticket stub price if you're attending, right?

But, I got to thinking tonight (I know... "oh no, here we go..." Yeah, you're right, this is gonna be a fun stream of consciousness blog) about what would keep the seats filled throughout these late extra inning showdowns.

What if (I know this is a stretch...) MLB decided to adopt some of the overtime rules of other sports?

Take for instance the lesser of my favorite, the NFL rule. If you score a touchdown on your first touch after the kickoff play or including the kickoff play, you win, but if it is on the second play or you score a field goal the other team gets to try. ...but you can end in a tie. No, I would never encourage a baseball game to end in a tie, but if the rule were modified to "if you hit a home run with less than two outs the game is over, but if you score in any other fashion the other team has a chance to retaliate."  I know, that would suck. but you'd have your lead-off hitters swinging to end the game. Not that they aren't already, but the incentive would be even higher, especially since it alleviates the home-field advantage in theory. Especially if a tie game were a threat. BUT I don't like the thought of a tie at all.

I am much more amused considering an NHL adaptation. Imagine a ballgame where after the bottom of the 9th goes into a tie, you drop your Center Fielder and Shortstop and two spots in the lineup that are not necessarily those two players. This would be much more relieving in the National League, as they wouldn't need to hit for the pitcher spot. But it would be interesting if the DH would be dropped in the American League version of this rule and only one position player. Then, in the next inning in the NL drop the entire outfield and two more spots, and the same in the AL, except they would still have their shortstop (or whatever, I'm just spitballing some serious fictitious what-ifs right now).

[PS: McCutchen has ended the game with a 2-run blast to center in the 14th inning #LetsGoBucs ].

An even more amusing turn in the extra innings would be, say, if there's an 11th inning, they go to a "Shoot Out" / "home run derby." Factor in this year's bizarre home run derby outline, the game could get way out of line in terms of seriousness but boy oh boy would it be entertaining. And like I said, for me a lot of the extra innings play is all about it making the ticket stub worth what you paid for it. Everybody likes getting more than they paid for. [Sidebar: I've been to four games this season. Three of them had rain delays and some even had extra innings on top of that. So worth the money for extra baseball / extra time at PNC Park. I tell everybody there isn't a bad seat in the house. Beautiful park.]

Anyways, I appreciate you letting me spitball here. I'm obviously sort of excited about the framework of my idea here, but by no means is it anything more than a plea from a baseball fan solely in terms of entertainment. Plus it's like some sort of sport fantasy type ordeal combining all three of my favorite sports. If I haven't made it clear, ultimately my thought process is solely based on fans getting at least their money's worth [...I don't care if I never get back...]. I love the game, and I am excited for the All-Star events, but even more excited to see if the Buccos can end the first half of the season closing that gap with the Cards.  

Let's Go Bucs, Let's Go Tigers, Let's Go Baseball.

Monday, June 15, 2015

And There We Have It

Well, that's that.

The Chicago Blackhawks have done it. Stanley Cup Champions again. And it wasn't that they were a full offensive force to be reckoned with as was the case for much of their playoff run. They gritted it out, fought their battles, kept their composure to minimize power play opportunities for Tampa, and Corey Crawford played his most solid series of the playoffs.

With a fully charged offense containing Hossa, Saad, Teows, Keith, and many more, they also managed to produce solid defense. There were very few breakaway opportunities and even when the Bolts broke free, Crawford didn't bat an eye but maybe once. He didn't let in very many point blank shots, either. The memorable shots scored on Chicago in the past six games were tap ins, redirects, and the like.

That isn't to say that Tampa didn't try. There was plenty of defensive production and if it weren't for the complications Bishop had in game three, this could have been a completely different series.They also gritted it out and fought their battles but had a lot of problems staying out of the penalty box.

The Blackhawks hoist the Cup to We Are The Champions skating in front of their home crowd. I guess if you're gonna win, that's the place to do it. And I think that's been a downfall to the Bolts this playoff series. They just couldn't win the big home games until they really HAD to. And Game five wasn't a MUST WIN, and they didn't have the charge they needed to power through. They became a team of desperation, which always comes back to bite you eventually. Unfortunately, they came up just short.

But oh boy did they make this a nail biting hard to keep your eyes off series. Congratulations, Chicago on your victory, but also congrats to the Bolts for making this the most exciting two months of hockey for me. I only wish it could've gone seven just to absorb as much hockey as possible before the summer hockey drought.  It still makes me so happy to see Scotty Bowman hoisting the Stanley Cup. Such a wonderful guy, with a lot of Stanley Cup hoists. He made it fun to root for Detroit for so many years.

And now, it's that time... Tomorrow everybody can shave their playoff beards and ask that question we'll all be yearning for over the next 86 days before training camp:  Is It October Yet?

Friday, May 1, 2015

Another Day, Another Dragon

Today marks Year 7. After six years, Charles Trippy hasn't gone a day without recording his life and putting it on YouTube for the world to see. He's just your average guy, I guess. He's about 18 feet tall, has a roar that can be heard from neighboring countries, and he breathes positive energy while soaring through the skies. Did I mention he's a dragon? 

Don't believe me? Let's look at the facts.  What does it take to be a dragon? 

One might say the first requirement is to, well, be a reptile. Well, I can't say that he is, but having never met the guy personally I can't say with 100% certainty that he does not have hard scaly skin. Having SEEN him in person from a distance I can speculate he is not, however, green. Or that dark coal color type reptile, to be fair.  OK, so I'm not starting off very well here, am I? 

Another requirement is fierceness ...ferocity? Can take on anything or anyone. Fact: Haters gonna hate. Fact: CTFxC is for Haters. Fact: Hating that people would hate someone or something in essence makes one a "hater." Fact: Everyone is a hater of something. Fact: CTFxC is for everyone. Charles knew that from the beginning. Way before the CTFxC became even a portion of what it is today (nearly 1.5 million strong). But let's talk about his ability to be fierce. How many people would be able to take on brain cancer? How many people would be able to keep recording every day of their life after finding out they had an oligodendroglioma right frontal lobe, then film the entire surgery [uncensored video]? How many people would be on TOUR with a Warped Tour Performer and still record every single day? And, how many would go through the process of divorce...and still record every day? I say... that's something only a dragon could handle. 

But that's the tough stuff. Maybe we should revisit the idea of him being a reptile... How thick of skin do you suppose he'd have to have to go through all that, plus introducing his new life, plus factoring in that he wasn't just dealing with his life but also the reaction to his life from all viewers, fans, "unfans," the haters, the people hating on the ones who weren't haters. There was a complete mess going on in the comment section of the videos. So, now I guess I can say with some cloudy certainty that Charles Trippy IS, in fact, a tough skinned reptile. 

So let's talk about more dragon requirements: 

Dragons are large.  Well, call me biased but compared to barely pushing 5'2", Charles standing at 5'11" is huge. 

Dragons fly.  If there's one thing Charles has become a pro at, it's flying.

Though he may not breathe fire, he does breathe positive energy. He takes time to see his fans, the CTFxCers, wherever he goes. He wants his That's right, he considers this group of 1.5 million people his family.  He wants them to know that if you believe in yourself and don't let the haters get to you, you can be whatever you want. It will happen for you. Somewhere, Somehow the wheels are going to go in your direction. 

So really, you can tell me all day long that no human could ever be a dragon (unless maybe you're Maleficent, but I see nothing "mal" about this particular man) but in a sense, he is exactly what he wanted to be growing up, which was a dragon. 

So, Charles, if somewhere somehow you happen upon this particular blog, I just want to congratulate you on what you've accomplished. You're something to count on in a world that doesn't always make sense. You're a positive influence on the people around you and the people who watch you. Here's to making the lucky sevens bring you a jackpot year.   See you tomorrow, as always.  TOODLES! 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Clean shaven

Unless you're Sidney Crosby (even if you are, really) and your team is a part of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, chances are you're sporting some noticeable facial hair at this stage in the game. Just over a week into the playoffs, it's becoming clear that not many people shy away from the traditional playoff beard. Nashville predator fans have been spotted with long fake beards. It's a wonderful tradition. Look at it generally: the most competitive part of the season and the combatants are all doing the same thing. It really is a beautiful thing.

It does become short lived for some, though. The Winnipeg Jets have been eliminated from the contest after losing four straight to the Anaheim Ducks. They have a great team, regardless of how it looks on paper during the playoffs. The Jets are a relatively new addition to the NHL, relocating from Atlanta a few years back (I have no sense of time. It could be three, it could be ten) and joining the Western Conference last season. If you're familiar with my hockey preferences, you know how seriously intense I look at a team changing conferences. Last year I anticipated the Detroit Red Wings to get buried and the Columbus Blue Jackets to soar in the Eastern Conference and was pleasantly surprised to see both teams joining the bearded folks come April. But Winnipeg also thrived in their new conference this season.

The Ducks are a rough team and I really only saw part of one game in this series, so it's hard for me to look at the Sweep as either a good try or a rough week.  But from what I understand, the Jets fight hard. They didn't quiver in fear facing the number one seed in the West. I have my own issues with the Ducks, so I really hoped for an upset in this series, I'm sure Jets fans feel the same way but I hope that what they take away most from this experience is that for the first time in 19 years the Jets saw a light in April.

Tonight two other teams are fighting to keep their facial hair.

The Vancouver Canucks are struggling to stay afloat, down 3-1 in their series tonight. The game is currently 1-0 in favor of Calgary and Ryan Miller is getting a chance to prove himself. If Vancouver can pull it off, they'll have to get their first win of the series back in Calgary to bring the series to a decisive game 7 at home. Here's hoping the Sedin Bros won't be shaving quite yet. Make that score 1-1.

In Nashville, the Predators are sporting the yellow jerseys fighting for their playoff lives. They are up 3-1 in the third period at this moment and have seemed to finally come up with the code to crack Darling. Make that 4-1. With any luck, the chinny chin chins of the Preds will be protected for a trip back to Chicago to fight the wind, fight the polar vortex, and send this series to 7.

Tomorrow will be a decisive game for Sidney Crosby's creeper stache. The Penguins are down in their series 3-1 and have really shown some defensive struggles, given the injuries to the team. The offense really hasn't shown up either, and Fleury continues to struggle at home against the Rangers. Good news for Flower: they're one the road, which is the only place he's won a game in this series. With any luck, Sid will exploit is current playoff goal streak, Malkin will snap his skid, and Pittsburgh can chant "fear the beard" for at least one more night in game 6.

Tomorrow will also see about the wild card Ottawa Senators earning their first win in Montreal this series. Ottawa held off the trimmers for one more night at home last night. It's good to see they weren't ready to sweep away their facial hair for the summer. I love all of this Canadian competition this year. And, hey, Edmonton may not have made the playoffs but they did win the lottery. But you don't get a beard for that.

The Washington Capitals have turned their post season around, jumping to a 3-2 series lead against the New York Islanders. It's time to see if Tavares and the Isles can tame Ovechkin's beard run or if New York will only have one chance to be the hairiest team in the Eastern Conference.

Tampa Bay has also prevented putting their hairs in serious danger. After being down 2-0 for a good portion of the game, Hockeytown soon became SloppyTown. Before regulation ended, the score was tied at 2, and the Bolts took the game in OT. That series is now tied at 2, heading to Tampa. The Lightning have home ice advantage. It would strongly behoove the beards in red to make game six the final game for the Bolts. The beach is no place for a beard, is it?

That leaves us with the Blues and Wild. This series is also tied after a flurry of offense for St. Louis last night. The question remains, though, which team will have the chin that runs wild, and which team will be blue? This looks like it could be a seven game series and an intense one, at that.

So, this is where I leave you tonight. My hopes for the second round facial hair.  Clearly some are long shots but I ultimately just want to see those lovely beards stay around for as long as possible.

- Vancouver
- Nashville
- St. Louis
- Pittsburgh
- Detroit
- Ottawa
- New York Islanders

Ultimately, I love the game, I love the beards, and though I have my favorites, this year's playoffs look VERY exciting.