Monday, March 30, 2009

2009 World Figure Skating Championships - Ice Dancing

Virtue and Moir

The 2009 World Figure Skating Championships were last week. It was an interesting event, the last big showdown in the figure skating world before next year's Winter Olympics.

Of the four figure skating disciplines, I was most excited about the ice dancing. There are some great competitors in the field and of course my favorite couple (Candians, Virtue and Moir). Last year the French (Delobel and Schonfielder) won the competition, with my Candians (V & M) second and the Russians third.

Right before this competition, the French pulled out (the girl had gotten a major injury). As soon as I heard this I knew the Russians were going to be given the gold, and I mean given, not win. How did I know this, because this season the Candians have not been doing well and that meant that from last year's podium the only one's left were the Russians, even though last year's podium should not factor into this year's results, particularly considering the Americans this year were doing brilliantly. But it doesn't matter what the Russians do, they could just skate around the rink in circles, the Russians always win.

Having just finished watching the competition I was right, the Russians were given the gold, even though the Americans, Belbin and Agosto were MUCH BETTER! The Russians were slower, not as difficult and not as imaginative vs. the Americans but it did not concern the pre-ordained order. See this is the problem with ice dancing, the judging is not done fairly! the ISU, the governing body of the figure skating world, says they have cleaned up judging scandals, but I don't believe it!

I'm predicting it now, (you see it here first in this post) that at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, the Russians will win the gold (even if they fall on their ass and just sit around and do nothing!), with Belbin and Agosto (USA), Virtue and Moir (Canada) and Delobel and Schonfielder (France) fighting for silver and bronze. It is so unfair! I simply do not understand this unmerited Russian dominance! I think Belbin and Agosto should fight the results of this year's competition - though I know they won't. They had the better, harder, more technical program.

Read it all here -,0,5614376.story?track=rss

Friday, March 27, 2009

Frustrating Jo-Ann Fabric Store Experience

I have to tell you all about a recent disappointing experience with the store, Jo-Ann Fabric, which will bar me from going there again.

My mother and I went into one of their new stores near our home, to pick up her framing order. It was Saturday, March 21st, around 9:15am. The store was nearly empty. My mother got behind an old couple at the framing section and waited and waited and waited. The old couple had an extensive set of problems involving refunds and re-ordering of their custom frame jobs. My mother simply wanted to pick up her pre-paid order. After 15 minutes, she asked if if was possible to pick up her order and the man behind the counter, the manager of the store, very curtly told her "no, these people were here first and you'll just have to wait till I am through with them."
She than asked how long that would be and he said, "25 to 30 more minutes." In total my mother was being asked to wait 45 minutes to pick up two pre-paid custom framing orders - is that the average for Jo-Ann?
I asked if we could just pick them up and process at the front register and he raised his voice and said, "no they can't be picked up because they have to be processed and I'm sorry but this couple was here first. When I am done with them than I will deal with you." He was very short and did not offer any further apologies for the delay (which would cause us to be waiting around for 45 minutes) nor any alternatives.

We left the store.

I later went back to the store two days later to pick up the order and again had to wait 10 minutes for someone to even come to the framing department and than the process by which the rude manager was going to make us wait 25 to 30 minutes for, took all of 5 minutes.

My questions that have risen from this situation are:
1. Why even have a framing department if you are not going to regularly staff it? In this economy, when I have choices, why would I go to Jo-Ann and wait around for 45 minutes and get yelled at when I can go to Michaels and get prompt service in one minute?

2. Why couldn't the manager call someone back to the framing department to help check us out, the store was empty and the "process" he so pointedly stated must be done and how we would have to wait 25 to 30 minutes for because the old couple had come first, took only five minutes?

3. Why does Jo-Ann even have this rude guy as the store manager for this new Jo-Ann store, he is abysmal at customer service. The assistant managers at this location are MUCH nicer. I am unclear as to the reasoning behind hiring and retaining him. He lost Jo-Ann two customers permanently because of that day and his clearly unapologetic manner. Isn't Jo-Ann's business about selling, doesn't that involve some level of customer service?? Aam mistaken about that, is customer service is not the store's concern, please let me know.

Either way, I was very disheartened by how my mother and I were treated and for that we are never going back.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

New Kids on the Block Concert!!! Part TWO!!

On Thursday, March 19, 2009, in Baltimore, MD - a long held dream of mine came true....I met New Kids on the Block!!!

For my regular blog friends my adoration/love/obsession for the boy-band of the early 1990's should be no surprise. I have loved them since they appeared on the Disney Fourth of July special back in 1989 (I believe it was 1989??). Even when they broke up in 1995, I still loved them - getting teased mercilessly for this crazy passion through college (cause I had posters of them up in my dorm rooms).

Well on Thursday I got to meet them!! This was all made possible by my childhood friend, who also shares my birthday date, Sonia. She and I have and continue to love the band and she said if she ever got the opportunity to meet them she would bring me along. Well the clouds opened and a chance was provided through this Iloveallaccess company. For a pretty penny they give you front row tickets and a meet and greet before certain concerts and this New Kids on the Block tour was one of those shows. I was all in when Sonia suggested this avenue.

At 4pm we (all those who had bought these expensive tickets) lined up outside of First Mariner's Arena in Baltimore. The doors opened at about 4:45pm and we lined up to get checked in (not shocking that all the fans were around our age and almost all women). On each of our all-access badges a letter was placed. That letter was the group you would be in to meet the boys. The company arranged for groups of ten to go in at a time. Sonia and I were in group C, so pretty close to the top. We went into the holding room with all the other fans and waited for about another hour.

Close to 6pm the magic happened. Group C was ushered into the room and there (cue the heavenly music) were Danny, Joey, Jordan, Donnie and Johnathan. To say I was in shock would be an understatement. I didn't know where to go. The guys looked great and they were real, no more a figment of my imagination. All the other girls were streaming past me. They only give you about 30 seconds to get into the room and get a hug from each of the guys, than they take your pic and your shuffled out. But I have to say in my 30 seconds I did get to talk to each of the guys. I joked with Danny first, saying something about "where was there a line and how us Americans need our lines." And moved onto Joey where I made a fool of myself by just shouting "Joey!" to Joey (my only major gaffe of the evening). I than sort of stood outside of the other girls and Jordan looked right at me, me! He came over and gave me a hug and said something about "hey we gotta hug our fans" or something.

Following that Johnathan came over to give a hug and I said "are you happy about the elections?"
He bent down (cause he is much taller than me and there was a lot of chatter in the room) and said in his Boston accent, "what's that?"
Me, "I saw you in DC, you were wearing the Obama shirt, aren't you happy about the results of the election?"
Him, now bending down close to me and putting his left hand on my shoulder (you know how you do when you are trying to hear someone better) and said "yeah I was happy but not anymore."
Me, "oh me too, don't get me started."
For the time they give you and compared to the same thing everyone else was saying, I think that piece of conversation, albeit very short, was significant and I'm pleased.

Than the picture was posed and we were ushered out of the room. But my friend Sonia has connections in the music industry and she remained in the room talking to Donnie and because of that, I got pulled over to him (instead of being booted). Anyway, than I got to talk to Donnie, just briefly to say that I loved him in the miniseries Band of Brothers (which I did). But the piece de resistance....Donnie gave Sonia after show passes!!!! I was over the moon!!!

After the show we got to meet up with Joey again (and again, surprise, surprise, I said nothing of consequence, this is the third time I have encountered him and this is the third time I am completely inarticulate with my favorite band member of New Kids on the Block, what is up with that?!).

But when all is said and done, this experience now factors in the top ten of my life!! They guys were very nice (and to be honest much kinder than I thought they would be). A dream of mine came true, a tick mark off the bucket list!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Jake Davis

A good friend of mine passed away on Friday.

Jake Davis and I met through the Coles Democratic Committee. An older gentleman, when I first saw him, I though, 'oh boy some good ol'e boy Southern guy.' Jake had a thick West Virginia accent.

But Jake was the exact opposite of the Southern boy stereotype, he was a perfect gentleman with a great sense of humor. He always made me smile, with silly jokes and jabs at our Republican opponents. Plus he always treated me to sweet compliments, like "well hello pretty lady," or "I know you can do graduate school, you are so smart."

Jake was a medium size guy, kinda nerdy looking with slicked back hair and glasses. His wife Sally is gorgeous, so just goes to show you that nice guys do finish first when it comes to winning the pretty girl's hand.

One of my fondest memories of Jake was at a monthly Coles Committee meeting. As a group we were talking about the latest Republican tactic for the upcoming election (this was after the landslide in 2004 using gay marriage). For 2005, for the location elections, it was illegal aliens. All the local Republican candidates were pushing for stricter labor laws, punitive for the illegal aliens, letting the businesses get off scot free. Jake stood up in our committee meeting and made an impassioned plea for these illegal aliens and how they worked hard and this was just a tactic by the Republicans to put fear in locals.

Jake was always fighting for the little guy, the underdog, that is what I loved about him. I am proud to have been considered one of his friends. I was so sad to hear of his sudden passing - he will be missed.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Indy Report

Indianapolis, Indiana - very nice people but I don't think I could live here - too NASCAR country, also not big or diverse enough; currently a very sad feeling pervades, probably because this part of America has been badly affected by all the economic woes.

Heard on The Daily Show last night -

"In California you are an unfit parent if you are gay but if you are single, unwed, unemployed, living with your parents and have an Anglina Jolie fetish, than you can have as many kids as you want,"

Made me stand up and say Amen! Stop the hypocrisy!

Monday, March 09, 2009

March Potporri

I am off to Indianapolis, Indiana tomorrow, for work. Contain my joy. Why oh why couldn't the assignment be, oh say, Miami or San Diego? Why is it always somewhere cold in the dead of winter - oh well, beggars cannot be choosers, no?

My honey, Nathan Fillon's new show, Castle premieres tomorrow night on ABC. I will watch it for sure, though already I am not a huge fan of the female lead (though I suspect any female opposite Fillion, who is not me, will not met with my favor).

With this new job I am traveling a lot on planes, again - which I love. But for God's sake people, stop being idiots on the plane. Do not close the overhead bin if it is not full. And if you get on the plane and find the plane pretty full and your seat is in the back, start opening and checking closed overhead bins, don't wait to get all the way to the back of the airplane and your seat, because 90% of the time there will be no overhead bins left for you to use.

I am ecstatic that America is paving a much nicer road of diplomacy nowadays; I think it is good that we are engaging in talks with Syria and Iran. Clearly not speaking to them for eight years hasn't worked, I say let us give this a try.

World Figure Skating Championships are in two weeks - eeck, I can't wait!!! Fingers crossed my favorite ice dance couple, Virtue and Moir from Canada, place in the top three, though I still would like the Americans of Belbin and Agosto to take the number one slot. Also, I hope Alissa Cziny from Ohio gets into the top five.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The fall of the rich

Every weekday morning I wake up to the television news show "Good Morning America," and each day I hear more bad news about the economy. What strikes me most about these stories is that so much of the fault lies with the executives of these companies, namely banks and insurance giants (hello AIG, I OWN you, you rat bastards - if I have to pay back every dime of my $30,000 student loan and you get interest free $150 billion dollars, that's $15 BILLION tax payer bailout money, no strings attached, than I, a student loan and tax paying citizen, OWN you!).

Ok, back from my tirade on AIG (I OWN you, you rat bastards), I think much of the reason these senior management characters have screwed up so royally is that they have lost touch. To them one million dollars ($1,000,000) is not a lot of money. I saw that happen at non-descript airlines, where I would do reconcilations on my tiny department's budget and when I couldn't find, say $20, I would try to track it down, only to have the larger budget manager say to me, "don't worry about it, they don't care." And by they, she meant, senior management.

I think the only time these top guys care about the money is when it means they won't get theirs, than they have no problem taking from the little guy.

God, how much do I hate these people! How do you sleep at night?!