Saturday, September 17, 2011

Odd Bits - The Team Building Edition

Couple of little things to cover today.  Nothing heavy going on...  I just wish I were at Podcamp Pittsburgh 7, which is going on this weekend.  I had such a grand time at Podcamp 6.  I guess someone else is going to have to stalk PittGirl this time.

If It Weren't For Bad Luck I'd Have No Luck at All Dept.
Ever since my buddy Rik, the Detroit Tigers fan, and I went to see the Tigers play in Pittsburgh this year, we’ve been talking about taking a road trip to Wrigley Field in Chicago.  As it turns out, next year’s schedule has been announced and his Tigers are playing in Chi-town next summer.  I’m dying to go… I saw my first baseball game ever at Wrigley, when I was in 3rd grade.  So it’s a no-brainer right?  I’ll just take my usual week’s vacation in Toledo over that week and we’ll go from there.

Then I saw in the paper the announcements for the Orioles 2012 schedule.  Seems that the Pirates are coming here… the very same 3 days that the Tigers will be in Chicago.

Fuck.  I mean, I’m still going to take the trip, but it just pisses me off to miss out on the opportunity to see my Buccos play right here, just a few blocks from where I work.  Stupid schedulers…  "Gloom, despair and agony on me."

Team-Building Dept.
One of the nice things our company does for us is to occasionally provide some fund for us to go out on company time and have an event.  We had one of those yesterday, where we went out to a local Irish pub for lunch and a darts competition.

I was a little worried about that because there’s nothing like the “pub” atmosphere to turn a simple darts tournament into a spirited game of Pin the Tail on the Drunk.  Fortunately, there wasn’t much drinking involved, but we did have a grand time.  And it afforded me an opportunity to take some pictures of my new cube setup.

In case you didn’t know, when I changed jobs (internally) last May, I also moved across the floor to a somewhat roomier cube.  The funny thing is that while I moved directly adjacent to my boss’s corner office, the way the floor is laid out, I’m actually one step farther away from her door than I was when I sat on the other side of the floor.  Go figure.

This is where I sit now.  See the numerical references for interesting details.

1        My MP3 player, plugged into a set of computer speakers.  I can play my music (softly) all day long and never hear a song I don’t like.
2        Two pictures: one of my Dad and I freezing our asses off at the 2005 AFC Championship Game in Pittsburgh versus the Patriots, and one of my brother outside Three River Stadium for a first-round playoff game in 1998, also against the Patriots.  I’ve run both shots here before.
3        Framed picture of Three Rivers Stadium, with the scoreboard welcoming me by name.  No, I didn’t really have that kind of pull or influence; you can buy these for most any stadium through various websites.  Oh, and the inset on the lower right hand corner is a shot of a giant Segnari’s fish sandwich, from a earlier trip to Pittsburgh.  Also in the area, my 6-Time Super Bowl Champion Terrible Towel, a wooden plaque of Steelers jerseys throughout the ages and a small Steelers flag.
4        I always wear my sneakers to and from work and leave my dress shoes at the office.  The dress shoes are to the left.  On the right… a pair of Steelers slippers.  Sometimes I get those hives on my feet and tight dress shoes make them worse.  Since hardly anyone ever comes all the way back to my corner, does it really matter what I wear on my feet?  Why not be comfortable?
5        Terrible Towels commemorating Super Bowls XL and XLIII.  Both have Super Bowl Champion lapel pins attached.
6        Various awards and commendations for service or longevity.  My favorite is the one (from five years ago) that I won for having the cube with the most personality.

Directly outside my cube, I have room enough for a file cabinet, so anytime I have some spare horizontal surfaces, I feel duty-bound to fill them up.  Not everyone had a lobby outside their cube…

1        That’s an adhesive board where I keep cartoons and other reading material for anyone who is waiting for me to get off the phone. 
2        That’s a palm plant I rescued from a co-worker about 10 years ago, when it was only a foot tall and dying rapidly.
3        An aluminum bottle of Iron City beer (empty) with a foam light bulb stuffed inside.
4        An aluminum bottle of Bud Light from Camden Yards.  No, that’s not a Browns helmet on top… that helmet is for my alma mater, the illustrious Bowling Green State University.  (Motto: We’re not the ones in Kentucky.)
5        Steelers beer stein, with a Steelers impact-activated football.  When you bump or catch the ball, it calls out, “Touchdowwwwwn Steelers!”  I can be verrrry annoying with that, especially after the Steelers beat the Ratbirds.  (Obviously I got no use out of it last weekend.)
6        Framed photo of former Steelers coach Bill Cowher lifting the AFC Championship Trophy, from 1995 (I think).  I looked to update it after they won SBXL, but I couldn’t find anything I liked that I could fill an 8x10 frame.
7        Black and white shot from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette archives of Hall of Fame Linebacker Jack Lambert crushing a Browns running back.
8        Above, a towel that says “Knocking on Seven’s Door,” made by Iron City Beer.  Below, a Super Bowl Champions magnet from the 2006 Steelers schedule.

The only thing missing now is a sign I have that says “Steelers Fan Parking Only.”  I’d like to put it on the wall directly over the chair.

As you can see, I don’t shrink from being seen as a Steelers fan, here in Ravens Country.

By the way, just because I have it, here is the view out my window.

The Mojo Boogie
It could have been a really rough week at the office.  But I learned that there is a distinct advantage to sitting in a part of the floor where almost no one goes, surrounded by women that don’t follow sports.  I took almost no guff from anyone.  That could be a cue for me to become much more obnoxious, but then that would be bad karma.

Last week, the hated Ratbirds crushed my boys 35-7 and it didn’t even seem that close.  Unlike most Ratbird fans when their team loses, neither Steelers fans nor players are putting forth any excuses.  To a man, every quote I read from the Steelers players said something like, “They just whupped us.  They played great and we played badly.  End of story.”

No one blamed the refs, no one blamed the league, no one claimed they beat themselves and no one went so far as to criticize their opponents for going after their rookies (like Ray Lewis did after the Steelers beat them up 38-7, in a 2007 Monday night game.)

I thought they looked old and slow.  They were out played, out hit and out coached by a team that had fire in their eyes.

However… it is not time to panic in Steeler Nation.  This was 1 game… you can’t draw legitimate conclusions from a sample of “1”.  This week, the Seattle Seahawks come to town to play the Steelers.  Seattle is not a very good team and the Steelers should handle them fairly easily.  Now if that does NOT happen, there may be trouble.  Then the week after, they play the Colts at Indy.  The Colts, playing without their star quarterback, Peyton Manning, got crushed opening week by the Texans.  If we don’t play well against them either, THEN it’s time to panic.

This week’s game is being played directly opposite the Ratbirds game, so it won’t be on TV here.  That makes it a sports bar game, where I’ll head out to catch it at Jilly’s, my local tavern.  I also anticipate catching a ton of grief from the locals, after last week’s debacle. 

C’est la vie… which I believe is French for “whatevs…”

In checking my Mojo Spreadsheet from last year, I found what I wore to my first Jilly’s game of the year, and the Steelers won.  So that’s where I’ll start this year.
Black Steelers polo, with yellow-fronted hat and the legendary (to Judie) Steelers socks.

Wish me luck!


DG said...

I'm so jealous. The only thing I can see from my window is the office building accross the street. Although it does open. Which is a plus. LOVE the office set up. And I second your hope that the Steelers pull their heads out of their posteriors and actually play football tomorrow.

bluzdude said...

This is the first time I've been by a window since I've been here, and I quite like it, Not only is it better for my plants, I have instant weather updates. My window faces west, which is where most of our weather patterns come from.

Down low, in the center of the picture, is our local food court. It's a frequent stop for pizza. That's a church on the lower left, with the metal roof, and most of the other tall buildings are apartments and condos.

Judie said...

Thank you, Bluz!!!! I've been waiting for those socks to appear! And they're sooooo clean!

That's not a palm in your office--it's a dracena. And it could use a little fertilizer, I think. You can probably take that line and run with it, if you want to.

Your hot Arizona Auntie

bluzdude said...

Thanks for the knowledge! Since I inherited it, I never really knew what it was. I really need to repot it too... it's been in that pot and soil since I first got it.

Judie said...

In exchange for those socks, I will be glad to come up and repot that plant for you. Don't read anything into this. Well, you can if you want to, but I will deny it.

bluzdude said...

Oh, I could never part with The Socks. We've been through so much together. When they finally become thread-bare, in about 30 more years, I plan to have them framed.

You'll just have to come visit for other reason...

Bea said...

OK, I'm jealous. First of all - EVERYONE IS ALWAYS IN MY CUBE AND THAT'S NOT FAIR. *ahem* Second, our team building event is this week at Fort McHenry - which means I can't go with my stupid knee. Which means I'm going to be all alone in my office all by myself while my coworkers are nomming pizza. And we don't get to drink OR throw sharp objects. I wanna come work on 13.

Kernut the Blond said...

Well, since I'm another one of those women who don't follow sports, I can't offer much in the way of comment on your MASSIVE sports memorabilia collection - for the office. Never seen so much in a cube ;)

However, the view is stunning! Lucky you! Looks like nice weather, too. And I also LOVED being in a low-traffic, quiet area.

bluzdude said...

I like this cube so much better than my last on. Not only is this one a little bigger, the old one was directly in line with a hallway. Everyone walking down the hall had a view straight into my cube. I hated that. Spent most of my time skooched up close to my desk, just to stay out of sight.

I hope they at least bring you back some pizza. Or pay for a lunch of your choice.

I’m trying really hard this year not to write too much about hardcore X’s and O’s. There are too many other sports outlets to cover the topic, so why add one more? What I’m trying to do is write more about my reactions and interactions with the games. So that way, you as a reader don’t need to know anything about sports yourself, just that I do really strange things in the course of supporting my Steelers and Penguins.

Yeah, the view isn’t bad, considering it’s out the back end of our building. It’s just nice to have ambient light, so I can feel a little less like a chicken in a climate-controlled henhouse.

Jessica R. said...

You keep slippers at your office? What a fabulous idea!

Also, Mark mentioned that we should go to Pittsburgh and watch the Saints play the Stealers... but Cassie told us there is a good chance that we would lose our lives (or at least one or two limbs) if we showed up in an opponents colors.

Guess we'll have to scrap that idea and just visit Pittsburgh for the company and french fry sandwiches.

Mrs. Bachelor Girl said...

You would love how, if he happens to be out when a Saints game starts, The Guy runs home, sheds his street clothes (as is his custom) and throws on his Brees jersey. Then he sits and intently watches the game wearing his jersey and his boxer shorts.

I have REALLY got to take that man to a game at the Super Dome.

Cher Duncombe said...

Love your office, Bluz and the view! Plus you have a great place for guests waiting to see you where you can inundate them with Steeler propaganda! Gotta love this guy. :)

bluzdude said...

OK, first of all, don’t listen to what Cassie says about football. She doesn’t really pay attention to football, just hockey. Listen to Uncle Bluz…

You and Mark would be fine seeing the Saints in Pittsburgh because there’s no real rivalry between the teams. As long as you don’t act obnoxious to those around you, you won’t face any hostility... nothing more than a little smack-talk. If you act nice, they’ll treat you nice. If you turn around and yell at the crowd and wave your butt in people’s faces, that’s another story. If you want a personal guide and escort, just let me know.

I can’t remember the last time the Saints played in Pittsburgh though… seems that the last couple times they played, it’s been in New Orleans.

Yeah, the slippers in the office are a necessity now, due recurring sore feet. (Which were especially bad this summer.) But the fact that I’m in such a secluded spot helps me pull it off.

Mrs. Bachelor Girl,
Yes, under those circumstances, he might get his ass kicked. Also, depending on the time of year, he might get something frozen off his body that had plans to use at a later time. Uncle Bluz recommends staying fully dressed at the stadium.

Yes, this layout is nice because now when people drop by to talk about Survivor, they can sit down instead of having to stand. Makes wasting time so much more comfortable.

sherry stanfa-stanley said...

I'm all over the slippers in the office and am hell-bent on getting a medical excuse to wear them.

Tough call on the Tigers-Cubs game. I've been a Cubbies fan forever. I feel somewhat obligated to root for the Tigers, since they're generally the underdog in many games and I'm only an hour from Detroit. But the Cubs? Talk about a team that NEEDS a winning season, all the way? Plus, I did live in Chicago, for a year. That justifies an alliance of sorts, right?

bluzdude said...

I'll always have a soft spot for the Cubbies because they were my first (though short-lived) favorite team. When I go out, I'll have to buy a Cubs hat and sport it proudly. The fact that it will chap Rik's ass will just be a bonus.