All Things In Time

Wow. That month went by fast.

Since the last update, and that was late October, business has picked up around these parts. The good news: I have really settled into my job and there’s much less insanity surrounding the day-to-day life. I’m still perpetually behind the 8-ball, but that happens. Contrary to popular belief, teaching does not afford a large amount of free time. The last few weeks have been a non-stop barrage of research paper drafts and workshops and staying at school until 7 p.m. I wish I were joking, but it is common for me to be at school, either grading papers or tutoring, until 7 at night.

I don’t want that to be taken as bitching and moaning, though. I love my job. I absolutely love what I do. I am very, very happy with my life right now. All the things I’ve wanted for years — the things I’ve shown patience and sacrificed for — are all coming about in fair turn. I am looking forward, though, to going back to Pittsburgh for Christmas. I did not make it home for Thanksgiving, as our break from school was shortened (we had school on Wednesday, which was poo), but I plan on being in Pittsburgh for a prolonged time at Christmas (read: 2-3 weeks, depending on travel days). This semester is coming to a close very fast. This week coming up is the last traditional week for my juniors (who are taking senior-level courses) because they all have college finals the following week. I’m proud of the work I’ve been able to do, especially with a shortened time frame. These kids lost out on over 6 weeks of instructional time and (most) have risen to the challenge.

Griggsy, too, has undergone some changes. He’s also found himself amongst the employed. Sadly, his employment is largely keeping him dead to the rest of the world. Hopefully he, too, will get settled in and can find a few minutes to share with us his stories.

So, that Sidney Crosby guy is pretty good, right?

 

 

I will be the first to admit, and many saw, that I was wearing thin on patience with Sid prior to his return. I was conflicted because I’d been willing to give him the time and space needed to recover and didn’t want him rushed back, but at the same time he really needed to get into the game. He either was going to play again or he wasn’t, and he needed to make the choice. Thankfully he chose to get back in the game. I cannot even imagine what it was like for Sid, though. Someone with that level of drive and competition having to sit on the sideline all that time…and then get close to return but always consider if another hit like Steckel’s happens it could be the end of the career. I didn’t envy his position, but at the same time, he needed to get back for numerous reasons.

He needed to get back simply for the moral victory to show that concussions can be recovered from if handled properly (I’m looking at you, Boston). He had to come back for the people of Pittsburgh who waited for his return patiently. He needed to get back for his teammates. He needed to get back to lift the NHL. Like it or not, he is the face of the NHL. It’s nearly impossible to market Ovechkin lately, and there really isn’t a player you associate with the post lock-out NHL more than Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin.

But Sid came back. And he made the whole hockey world sit up straight. Much like Tupac, all eyes were on Sid. And he didn’t disappoint. After not playing in a competitive hockey game for 320 games Sidney Crosby returned, on a relatively calm November night, and scored two goals and registered two assists against the New York Islanders. And the world was back in balance.

Of course, there are some who say he came back too early or that he needed to get a stint in Wilkes-Barre to get up to game speed, but I think everything happened as it needed to for Sid. He came back and scored on his first shot. It couldn’t have happened any other way. Of course, the naysayers and roustabouts all had a field day with the second game vs St. Louis, but the team is more than Sidney Crosby and it was a failure as/of a team that ultimately lost that game. And then things seemed like they should be against the up-and-down Ottawa Senators. Good teams like the Pens should completely manhandle bad teams like the Islanders and the Senators. They should find themselves in solid competition against teams like the Blues.

It all comes down to playing a full game. There needs to be preparation for each game. There need to be smart plays. There needs to be passion, too. Sometimes the Pens go a little light in those areas because they are a gifted team with a LOT of top-tier talent. Sometimes they get the wake-up call, sometimes they don’t. Thankfully it’s a long season and when playoffs roll around it isn’t a one-and-done system.

Tonight the Pens face off against Montreal. Presumably Brent Johnson will be in the cage. The magic is gone from Johnson’s game. Let us hope that he can recapture it and get back to the level we know he can play at, otherwise this could be an incredibly long season for the Flower. All things in time.

9/3: Griggsy’s Gripes

Griggsy is filling the void while I am crotch deep in packing and boxes and insanity. Ol’ Walt is heading off on Wednesday and it’s likely I will not be around until the following weekend at the earliest, but first – Griggsy. Also, thank baby Jesus for football. Here we go.

 

———–

 

I’m finally back. The Gripes have returned. Your long national nightmare is over. OK, maybe you didn’t miss me quite that much. Regardless, I’ve climbed back into the saddle, and the Gripes will come riding out with me.

Before that, though, a word of congratulations to the esteemed head of the site. Very happy to see Walt get the job he’s richly deserved for a long time. I’m very happy for you, man, and I hope all goes well in the next phase.

Alright, enough with the kind words. It’s time for griping:

->I am sick of hearing about Sidney Crosby’s concussion. I am sick of hearing about Sidney Crosby’s recovery from his concussion. I am sick of people speculating about when (if) Sidney Crosby will be healthy enough to come back. I get that it is the 87-ton elephant in the room, if you’re a Penguin (or NHL) fan. But with all the speculation, the non-stories, the non-updates, etc., It’s driving me insane. I don’t want to hear anymore.

Look, it’s clear that no one knows anything about this. The Penguins, the media, the fans, Crosby himself, none of us. We are all clueless about how severe the concussion was. Or was it multiple concussions? None of us know how long it’s going to take for all the symptoms to go away. We sure as hell don’t know how it’s going to effect him when he gets back on the ice to resume his career. Whenever that may be.

Let me repeat that again: No one knows anything about this!

So, everyone needs to stop speculating. Until he’s cleared to be on the ice, practicing, able to take hits, the speculation needs to completely stop. I don’t want to see, hear, or read anything about it anymore. Please. For the love of Mario, just stop!….

->Craig Adams had an appendectomy a couple of weeks back. My best wishes to him. Also, no truth to the rumor that he cut himself open and ripped out the appendix with his bare hands, with only a bottle of whiskey to numb the pain. That’s completely untrue. Craig Adams doesn’t feel pain….

->The faint “beeeeeeeeeeeep” you hear in the distance? That’s the Pirates’ season flat-lining. The viewing will be held this weekend. The funeral? It’s 8 losses away….

->I am fresh off one of the worst vacations possible. Two cars and six people started out of the Pittsburgh area for a trip to the beach for a wedding, originally scheduled for August 27. In order, this is what happened: A tire blowout on Car #1, followed by that car’s battery dying on the side of the highway (3 hours into the trip); My body completely betraying me for the entire trip in multiple ways; Car #2 getting stuck in the sand in the Outer Banks; Car #2 getting pulled over for speeding the next night; Car #2 getting totaled the day after that in Georgia (long story, don’t ask); An earthquake knocking a pipe off-track for one of the sinks in the beach house; The threat of a hurricane looming for a week; That threat eventually leading to the wedding being moved up two nights; Having to strap most of the luggage to the roof of Car #1 because an additional two people had to be fit into said car; Running like crazy to get away from the storm in time on Friday; On said run, Car #1 nearly loses another tire because 4 of the 5 bolts are sheared off without anyone knowing; And finally, after getting back to the starting point, Car #1’s battery dying again when we head out to take me back to my house.

Worst trip ever? Probably not. And I’m sure you could send me stories of your trips from hell. But holy hell, I had to laugh most of the time, just to keep myself from crying….

->So, college football has started this week. And to be honest, I always feel very mixed at the start of college football season. It’s a strange mingling of excitement and disappointment. Excitement because there are always a lot of entertaining games every year. The Big Ten, SEC, Big 12, and Pac-10 (or whatever they’re calling these leagues now) all have high-level teams that lead to entertaining action week in and week out. Lots of future NFL stars coming out of those games, believe that.

However, disappointment creeps in quick, and the reason is obvious. College football never decides a true champion. Never. The BCS is a joke, has always been a joke, and will always be a joke. I refuse to invest my attention into a sport that doesn’t decide who the best team is on the field. So, I will watch a couple of games when there isn’t something better on, which is mostly in September. Once the NHL starts up, college football gets pushed to the side almost completely. I will continue to watch my alma mater (We Are! Penn State!) and have a passing interest in Pitt and West Virginia, but that’s it.

You have so much potential, college football. But until you fix the big problem, you’ll be nothing more than a minor blip on my sports radar….

->Onto big boy football, the NFL is less than a week away from regular season kickoff. It snuck up on us really quick. Peyton Manning isn’t healthy yet, and Colt fans are in panic mode. Arian Foster’s hamstring is causing much consternation (both for Texan fans and fantasy football owners, but don’t tell Arian that). Chris Johnson may or may not report to the Titans before the season begins. And that’s just the AFC South.

So, with that in mind, what follows is the Gripes’ NFL Predictions:

AFC East-

4) Buffalo Bills (4-12): Ryan Fitzpatrick is a better-than-you-think QB, but he can’t do it all himself….

3) Miami Dolphins (8-8): They are going to be a lot better than most people predict. Not good enough for a playoff spot. But .500 for them is an accomplishment….

2) New Jersey Jets (10-6, AFC Wild Card, #6 Seed): Great defense, and a great 1-2 running back punch. But the passing game still isn’t strong. Good AFC team, but not truly elite….

1) New England Patriots (12-4, AFC East Champion, #2 Seed): Tom Brady is one of the best in the league (still), and he has great pieces around him. An elite NFL team, without question….

AFC North-

4) Cincinnati Bengals (1-15): Probably the worst team in the NFL this season. Andy Dalton is basically being fed to the wolves….

3) Cleveland Browns (6-10): The Mistake by the Lake is actually improving quietly. Scary that they may actually contend again in the near future….

2) Baltimore Ravens (11-5, AFC Wild Card, #5 Seed): They’ve lost a few players, and gotten older in some spots, but they have great players, and will contend all season….

1) Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3, AFC North Champion, #1 Seed): They’ll fight off the Super Bowl loser curse. They’ve gotten faster on offense, and the defense is healthy and deep, despite age….

AFC South-

3T) Tennessee Titans (4-12): Chris Johnson’s holdout is portending bad times this season. They look worse than last season on paper….

3T) Jacksonville Jaguars (4-12): Maurice Jones-Drew has health concerns, there is upheaval at QB, and the D isn’t that good. They will struggle….

2) Houston Texans (10-6): So close again to making the playoffs. But close isn’t good enough. Not enough D to match the explosive offensive talent….

1) Indianapolis Colts (12-4, AFC South Champion, #3 Seed): They are ripe for the taking this season, with Manning’s injury. But they’ll just have enough to hold off the Texans….

AFC West-

4) Denver Broncos (6-10): Kyle Orton is good, or at least good enough to fight off Tebow. The D is still too young and full of holes, though. Knowshon Moreno’s a stud….

3) Oakland Raiders (7-9): McFadden’s very talented, Campbell will be better, but the D can’t be as good after losing Nnamdi. Despite that, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make the playoffs….

2) Kansas City Chiefs (8-8): Last year was a perfect storm. This year is the opposite. Bad schedule, inconsistencies all over the field, and luck last year that won’t be there this year….

1) San Diego Chargers (9-7, AFC West Champion, #4 Seed): I am not as high on them as others. But the talent is there on both sides of the ball. A playoff team, but not a champion….

NFC East-

4) Washington Redskins (5-11): Addition by subtraction helps (McNabb, Haynesworth), but I don’ttrust the QB, and they will still give up too many points….

3) Dallas Cowboys (8-8): They have tons of offensive weapons, the defense does a lot of good things. But it’s a tough schedule, and I don’t trust Romo (health) and Jason Garrett (weasel)….

2) New Jersey Giants (9-7): They and the Cowboys are virtually equal.The Giants look extremely average, and Eli turns the ball over a ton. But he keeps them in games….

1) Philadelphia Eagles (11-5, NFC East Champion, #3 Seed): They proclaimed themselves a “dream team”. But Vick is brittle, the front seven is weak, and Andy Reid is still Andy Reid….

NFC North-

4) Chicago Bears (5-11): I still don’t know how they made the playoffs last season. This season? A massive step back. Bad O-Line, turnovers from Cutler, and the defense falls apart….

3) Minnesota Vikings (6-10): Donovan McNabb is washed up at this point. Adrian Peterson will face 23-man fronts. The defense really lacks playmakers….

2) Detroit Lions (10-6, NFC Wild Card, #6 Seed): Yep, you read that right. The Lions are in the playoffs, baby. Playmakers on D, playmakers on O, soft schedule, it all adds up….

1) Green Bay Packers (12-4, NFC North Champion, #2 Seed): The World Champs (and it pains me to type that) will be back in the playoffs again. And they’ll be much healthier this season….

NFC South-

4) Carolina Panthers (4-12): They have a great backfield (Williams, Stewart, Goodson), but Newton is going to struggle, and the defense isn’t good enough….

3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7): Josh Freeman will be a year better, LeGarrette Blount will get a chance to prove he’s no fluke, but I don’t love the defense. This 9-7 record feels right….

2) Atlanta Falcons (12-4, NFC Wild Card, #5 Seed): They might be the second-best team in the league. The offense will be more explosive, and the defense is just plain solid….

1) New Orleans Saints (13-3, NFC South Champion, #1 Seed): The offense has an overwhelming amount of weapons, and the defense still makes huge plays. Very high on them….

NFC West-

3T) Seattle Seahawks (5-11): The fall will be hard for them, despite only losing two more games than 2010. Awful at QB, weaker on defense, especially losing Lofa Tatupu. Not good….

3T) San Francisco 49ers (5-11): Jim Harbaugh has a lot to do to overhaul this team. And he still doesn’t have the QB he wants. He’ll trade up to the #1 spot next season to draft Andrew Luck….

2) Saint Louis Rams (7-9): A lot of tough games on their schedule. They might be the best team in the division by Week 13, but by then, Bradford & Co. will be too far out of it….

1) Arizona Cardinals (10-6, NFC West Champion, #4 Seed): I don’t trust this team a lot, but Larry Fitzgerald will have a huge year, because he finally has a QB who can throw passes within 20 feet of him….

 

2011 Playoff predictions:

Wild Card Week:

NFC) #3 Philadelphia def. #6 Detroit, #5 Atlanta def. #4 Arizona;

AFC) #6 New Jersey Jets def. #3 Indianapolis, #5 Baltimore def. #4 San Diego

Division Round:

NFC) #1 New Orleans def. #5 Atlanta, #2 Green Bay def. #3 Philadelphia;

AFC) #1 Pittsburgh def. #6 New Jersey Jets, #5 Baltimore def. #2 New England

Championship Round:

NFC) #1 New Orleans def. #2 Green Bay

AFC) #1 Pittsburgh def. #5 Baltimore

Super Bowl XLVI: Pittsburgh def. New Orleans, 24-22; MVP- Ben Roethlisberger

->Come on, you couldn’t expect me to pick anyone else, could you?

Back in Town, Back in Time

I got back into town on Friday around 5:30 or so. Since then it has been a complete whirlwind of “Oh, God, what next.”

As today is Sunday (and I worked at my janitorial job last night), I am taking a rare day of rest. To update everyone on the events of the past week…

I drove down to Fayetteville, NC and interviewed for a teaching position on Wednesday. On Thursday I was offered the position. I notified the school that I would let them know on Monday what my decision was. I needed to drive back to Pittsburgh, talk to some people, and sleep on it for a day or two. Having talked to many friends and family and considering all of the ins and outs of the job, I have decided to accept the position. I will speak to the school first thing tomorrow to get some ironclad information regarding benefits and salary and such (more than has been discussed already, which has been ample).

The school year is already underway at this particular school, which makes things complicated. Unless they need me to come down immediately and are willing to put me up in an Extended Stay hotel, I will likely be moving and subsequently starting work in about 2 weeks. I will really hit the ground running (and as Mythbusters proved, likely stumble like a fool from the get go but eventually find my footing). I’m spending the next few days making preparations and plans for the first few days of class as well as some materials for the room so the kids aren’t walking into a barren chasm.

The actual school is…different. It is effectively a junior college. While still a high school, the students are all engaged in Honors/AP programs and earning college credits. The high school is actually housed within the campus grounds (and Education building) of the local university. The school also features a huge selling point for me – a non-traditional schedule. Block scheduling (I’ve only ever worked with period schedules, though I am familiar with block scheduling) allows 90 minutes with your students for half the semester, instead of 45 minutes for the whole year. It certainly makes for an interesting planning and approach. Likewise, I have a different start and end time than what normally happens in a high school. I am to report by 8:30 and the school day begins at 9:15 and runs until 4:15 (I report until 4:30). That schedule alone pays for itself in spades.

While I was in town I did take the opportunity (without having been offered the job) to look at available housing and such. I did find two nice, affordable places. One is clearly the front-runner, but I don’t want to say too much until I officially get the high sign that I was approved and can move in.

It is going to be completely nuts for the next few weeks. I will try to keep updating the blog. Frankly, writing here may be the only thing to keep me sane.

Oh, and 4 of the 5 people I interviewed with are die-hard Steelers fans.

Here we go.

Gone Fishin’

Folks,

 

Sorry things have been a little light lately. Griggsy is on vacation and I’ve been dealing with my own stresses and levels of freaking out. Uncle Walt is going to be away pretty much until Friday, but I will, hopefully, have fantastic news to share then.

On Tuesday I am making the ~10 hour drive to Fayetteville, North Carolina to interview for a teaching job. I am guardedly optimistic about this. I don’t want to say too much or give too much information away, at least not right now, but this could be a fantastic fit for me. It could also be a chance to do what I’ve talked about for some time – hit the reset button on life. Recently I described my life as being “like the old 8-bit NES blinking on and off and someone was furiously pressing the reset button hoping it would catch.” This may be a great opportunity for me to hit the reset button myself and do so with a little stability in my world.

I am excited and terrified and confident and worried and cocksure about everything. I don’t know what to think or how to feel, but I’ll allow it. Hope is better than the alternative.

We’ll see how things go, but there won’t be any blog updates until Friday at the earliest. You can still contact me on Twitter at twitter.com/AvoidingTheClap (@AvoidingTheClap) – I will have access to that via my smartphone (which may get put through a wall). Well wishes, death treats, trolling, and general herp de derp is always welcome.

 

-Walt

Odds and Ends

I feel guilty when I do not write. I cannot thank everyone enough for visiting and actually reading the large amount of stuff I’ve since flung at the wall. More importantly, I am extremely proud of Griggsy and everyone who has read and commented on his post. I’m very fortunate and blessed to have a friend in Griggsy and I look forward to his input on many things.

I try to write every night, but there are just times when it won’t happen. Last night was one of those nights. For those who do not personally know me, this is why I have been somewhat hit and miss both on here and on Twitter:

It may look like an Earthy butthole, but it is actually the basin for a pond.

I am building a pond. The area where I am currently digging used to house a swimming pool, but a little lightning and some falling tree took care of that. As you may have gathered, I am not the most adept at this type of work. I can do it and I understand a theoretical application of said work, but when it actually comes down to doing so, well, that’s a different story. I’m also one of the most stubborn people  in the world and refuse to allow anything to get in my way once I’ve put my mind to it. I’ll show that clay and shale and sand who the boss is around here. All that you see has been dug by hand. I’ve been working on it for a couple of hours per day Monday-Friday for the last while. The current measurements are 15.4’x13.2′. It is a rather large hole. The majority depth is about 16-18 inches, and the deeper section in the middle (I will be adding an in-between depth shelf there, too) is a few inches shy of 3′ deep.

If there are days when I do not get something posted here, the above dirt pit is the likely culprit.

In other news, I did get some good news over the course of the week on my ever-present and long-suffering job searching. I did have an interview with a potential job in North Carolina. I am very hopeful for that. I also received a letter from the Civil Service Commission requesting college transcripts. That, too, is an excellent sign. Even if I end up not getting the jobs, I know how much better I feel mentally about even getting the calls and getting considered. Things were pretty bleak otherwise.

I was unaware of how divided the world would become over the final Harry Potter movie being released this weekend. I, personally, was a fan of the books and the movies. I didn’t go quite so far as others about them, but I was pretty involved in the fandom. That was largely what made them so enjoyable; being part of the fanatical madness of being a fan. The books were average-to-good, with moments of really fantastic writing, but were generally just good fun that touched on important lessons, especially for young people. Being part of the community, though, was as enjoyable as reading the stories. Talking with friends, making predictions, looking into the history and allusions being made. Somewhere along the line so much of that got lost because it became trendy to be an unabashed hater and professional grade assclowns to everyone who even admitted to liking the series.

Ultimately, it is a matter of preference and you can choose to read or watch or not do either of those items. Much like I said on the “rules” page – you can have a different opinion and, frankly, I hope you do, but be prepared to make a case. Don’t just hate on it for the sake of irony or because it became the thing to do. I have no problem with disagreement or differences in opinion. I have MAJOR problems when people cannot explain the reasons for said opinion/difference/whatever. I may be very, very, very wrong about something and haven’t seen the facts or a different side of an argument. Make the case. You’ll be shocked to see what can happen when you actually discuss something with someone.

Watching the internet tough guys on Twitter and Facebook just got me all rankled. Seeing the anonymous sniping at people for being excited about a movie coming out. I’ve yet to see it or the first part of the finale, but I will see them both, and hopefully soon. Some people like Harry Potter. Some people don’t. My friend @GeeLyn said it best: “Getting my Harry Potter on. I don’t give a shit if you judge me. We all have things we like. I don’t hate on you for what you like.” I liked that. It’s no different from people trolling Pirates fans for, oh, 18 years of painful loss, or Caps fans ragging on Pens fans for losing at the WC and for Sid being concussed. I know not exactly a 1:1 type comparison, but I think you get the message. It got under my skin, sure, but I just started ignoring it and was able to slough it off. I looked at as being the better person by not engaging in the tit-for-tat type of snark that exists pretty much solely on the internet. 99% of what was being said would never be said in person, especially to someone like me (the irony is not lost on me that I am, in fact, writing all of this on the internet). I just let the haters hate and went about my business.

As life moved on from one thing to another, I did become less and less involved with the Potter franchise, especially the films. They were still an important part of life for me. Again, this will likely not come as a shock to most everyone, but I am not the most social person. I enjoy things quiet. I don’t like crowds or dealing with a large number of people at a time. I prefer the country to the city. There are a multitude of reasons why these things may be true. Perhaps another time we can get into the ol’ Walt psychology, but for now, just know that I like it quiet in the world. With being as…not socially awkward, but socially unwilling, as I can be, I found a lot of people with common interests on various message boards and fan sites of the Potter universe. I, as many others have done, was going through some unpleasant times in the late 90s/early 2000’s, and I had a decent support system with many fellow Potter fans. For me it happened to be Potter. I got into it and it was good for me. Some people find that playing a team sport. Others find it being in a band. A wise man once said “the truth, like humour, is where you find it.” We all find our personal truths and what we believe to be important everywhere.

Realistically, I probably contradicted myself 40 times in the above passages. I tend to do that when I write without directive or any sort of pre-writing. C’est la vie. As I put it to a friend of mine, who has gone thoroughly under-appreciated for years because I’m a horrible person, “my ass is completely chapped from talking out of it so much” on this blog. I know hockey talk isn’t for everyone, and I do want to have more of these type of posts (or more like the post from earlier about music). When life happens I will try to keep you all on the up-and-up. I’m in the weird position of deciding how much information I want out there about myself (at least to those who do not already know me). Time will tell.

What to expect over the next week on Avoid the Clap – two more Pens Previews (Letang and a wild card), another round of Griggsy’s Gripes (next Saturday), and a little of this and a little of that.

Thanks for reading or completely glossing over the ramblings. Go Earthen butthole. Go Employment. Go Potter. Go Rambling. Go Pens. Go whatever you like and cheer for.

-Walt

Guest: Griggsy’s Gripes

Remember when I said about guest posts? You do? Good, because it is my honor and pleasure to unveil the first in a series of posts from Griggsy (you can follow Griggsy on Twitter – @Griggsy96). Griggsy and I have known one another for a few years through various channels and he approached me about doing a weekly column for AtC. I was only too happy to give him some space to do his thing. There are few better minds out there when it comes to Pittsburgh sports than Griggsy and I like to think he’s got an interesting outlook on many different things in this world. [EN: Griggsy uses an uncanny amount of ellipsis, too.]

Griggsy will be giving us his thoughts on everything ranging from sports to personal life to politics to the ongoing quest for steady employment. I fully expect everyone to treat Griggsy with the same respect, if not more, than you would treat me with. We will be working together on how to tweak the column over the next few weeks, so bear with us when things may look or seem a little different from week to week.

Without further ado, I give you the first installment of “Griggsy’s Gripes.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Griggsy’s Gripes

Lesson #1- I am terrible at starting and ending whatever I write.

I have never had the skill that great writers have. They know how to draw you in right away with a great beginning; usually a sentence, but often a paragraph. And then they have a way of writing a great ending, making their work stick with you long after you’ve moved on.

Don’t expect that from me. It’s a miracle I’ve gotten this far, and likewise a miracle you’ve read it.

Anyways, when Walt allowed me to be involved with AtC, I was thrilled to have the chance. Now, I just have to hope I don’t screw it up. I figure I should be able to handle that, right? Right?

Lesson #2- This is who I am.

My name’s Chris, but everyone knows me as Griggsy. I’m a 28-year old who is (pathetically) unemployed at this point in my life. But before you ask, I don’t live in my mother’s basement.

I have my own room upstairs, thank you.

I was born and raised in a suburb of Pittsburgh, went to Penn State University, got my degree in Economics, and returned to the Pittsburgh area. Foolishly. OK, that’s not true. I love Pittsburgh. I’d just love it more if I had a career at the moment.

I am also very self-deprecating. As if you couldn’t tell at this point. But I digress.

Lesson #3- This is where I am.

Like I said, I was born, was raised, and now live in, the Pittsburgh area. As a male of my age in this area (maybe better said, as a person of my age), I am a massive Pittsburgh sports fan. A lot of my focus is on that, naturally. But, that’s not everything. Where I am, mentally, also causes my focus to be on the economy, the government, music, movies, literature, love, hopes, dreams, etc.

Lesson #4- This is why I’m here.

All of the above leads me to what I’ll be doing here at AtC. I have opinions, strong ones, about what the Pittsburgh Penguins are doing, and how my love life is going, and why the government may be killing my chances to find gainful employment that doesn’t include the phrase “would you like fries with that?”, plus just about everything else under the sun.

So, with Walt’s blessing, I’ll be showing up periodically to get my thoughts out to you. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy it, and maybe learn a new perspective on things. Hell, I’ll just be happy if you make it to the bottom of each post.

Lesson #5- I don’t take myself too seriously.

I say this because I expect, and welcome, criticism of all kinds. If you think I’m a moron, tell me, but tell me why you think it, so I can work at no longer being a moron.

Lesson #6- Avoid the Clap.

Jimmy Dugan was right.

Lesson #7- …

Craig Adams is a god, Finns should be your heroes, hockey is the best sport ever, baseball’s starting to gain on football, relationships are hard work, jobs aren’t that easy to find, non-fiction books are better than fiction ones, Springsteen’s overrated, so is Will Smith, Pink Floyd’s underrated, so is John Cusack…..

Don’t worry, there’s plenty of time to get into each of those.

Until then……

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