“Two Girls, One Schmuck” Final Cover & Details!

Ladies and gents, the cover (back & front) of my first book, “Two Girls, One Schmuck”. Available SOON on Amazon for $12. I know I originally said $10, and I apologize for the change. I just wasn’t anticipating just how much of the profit would be taken for production and distribution. I’m hoping this doesn’t discourage any of you from buying it! Many of you have already pledged to pick up a copy, and I’m sincerely grateful for that. I already ordered the proofs of the book, and I should be getting them in the mail any day now! We’re getting closer and closer to getting this thing up for sale, and I couldn’t be more excited. I couldn’t do it without Wesley Attwood and all of his guidance. Thanks everyone for all your support!

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Two Girls, One Schmuck: The (ROUGH) Cover!

Ladies and gents, I know I haven’t been updating as much, but there’s a reason for that. I’ve been focusing on the publication of my first book, “Two Girls, One Schmuck” which will be out real soon! I don’t wanna give an exact time frame because there’s still quite a few things that need to be done. Editing is a bitch, especially when I have to read everything word-for-word over and over and over and over. Since folks will be spending their hard-earned money on this thing, I wanna make sure it’s as great as it can possibly be. I do think the editing is about done, though; on the inside, that is.

The actual text of the book, the “meat” so to speak, is just about done. Now it’s all about putting the finishing touches on the cover and the design for the back of the book. I need to give my tax info over to CreateSpace.com since I’m gunna be making some money on this. Yeah, it’s a bitch the profits from MY work (my first BOOK!) are going to be taxed, but I have to follow the rules like everyone else I guess. I just can’t help but feel like some money is going to be stolen from me in the way of taxes. I still have to go over the details on that with Wesley, but that’s the impression I’m getting and I’m probably going to be right. Unfortunately.

But let’s not let Uncle Sam ruin this party! I bring you the ROUGH cover for “Two Girls, One Schmuck”. The cover was designed by my dear friend and fellow author Wesley Attwood and let me tell you, I think it looks great. Aside from things we’re going to fix like a little blip in the upper-left corner (where you can see double brick walls and double trees) and the jagged nature of the silhouette images themselves, this is pretty much what the cover will look like when it’s all said and done. I love the black and white scheme, and I especially love the silhouettes of the lovely ladies. No, these aren’t actual images of Princess and Cinderella. That would be a lawsuit waiting to happen. They do look pretty damn sexy, though. Whoever thought computer generated images could be so hott?

For those of you who don’t know by now, that’s a photo of yours truly smack dab in the middle. Wesley snapped this photo of me mid-sentence last year while we were sitting outside of Starbucks. Apparently lot of folks on Facebook found this photo to be either strikingly cute, humorously creepy, or both because it’s received over 50 Likes. I hope this book gets over 50 BUYS! That would be incredible. “Two Girls, One Schmuck” will be available SOON on Amazon.com for only $10. Pick up a hard copy or snatch it for your Kindle! You will NOT be disappointed.

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I’m Publishing A Book

That’s right. As the title of this post suggests, I’ll be putting my first book out this year! The book will be called “Two Girls, One Schmuck” and will feature “A Virgin Suicide” and “I’m With You, Kinda Sorta”. The stories were so successful as far as viewership on this site that I couldn’t pass the opportunity up. I’ve been wanting to publish a book for a long time, but never really had the motivation to do so. My good friend Wesley Attwood (aka “The Dark One”) published his first book “Dances with the Kachina” a few months back and that finally lit the fire under my ass that I needed to get this thing done. Wesley has been busting his hump for me through this whole process and I greatly appreciate it. (Check out my interview with “The Dark One” in a recent post). The crux of the book is already finished, so now it’s on to the editing and cover art stage.

The book will be published through CreateSpace.com and sold on Amazon for $10. A lot of you have already expressed interest in purchasing this book, and that means the world to me! I hope to have this thing out within the next month or two. I’m not going to rush it, though. I want it to be as perfect as it can be, especially since y’all are spending your hard-earned cash on it. I’ll keep you folks posted as Wesley get further into the editing and artwork process!

1-on-1 with Andy Hughes of The Pens Nation Radio Show!

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You do a podcast with a few other guys called The Pens Nation, which features guests such as Josh Yohe and Mark Madden. Does the fact that you do a podcast centered around hockey mean that hockey is your favorite sport?
Well, I played baseball for about 13 years and always considered it my favorite sport. But, even as a kid watching the “X Generation” Penguins, I loved hockey. I loved going to the Mellon Arena to watch games and as time went on, I kept learning more and more about the game. I’ve always been a huge fan of hockey, but my interest just kept escalating as time went on. Hockey and baseball are my favorite sports, but it’s hard to pick one over the other.

What exactly got you into sports in the first place?
I’m not exactly sure what got me into sports. I was named after Andy Van Slyke, a former outfielder of the Pittsburgh Pirates. So I guess you could say sports have been in my blood since the very beginning. My parents always took me to sporting events as a kid and had me in the room when they watched events on television. Sports have always been one of my favorite things in life. The competition and its ability to bring people together are two of the things I love most about it.

How did the Pens Nation Radio Show get started?
During my freshman year of college, I decided one day that I wanted to make a blog about the Penguins. I didn’t really have any big goals in mind. I just wanted an outlet where I could post my thoughts about the team and try to bring in some traffic to the blog. Here we are four years later and I can’t believe what has happened. It went from being just a fun thing to do on the side to something I really am passionate about. Because of my heavy workload in college when I started the blog, I needed help running the site.

I basically asked people on Twitter if anyone had interest in writing and I received a decent amount of requests, surprisingly. We brought a few people in and things progressed very well. In December of that year, we decided to take the blog to the next level by adding an online radio show. We were able to do live shows almost every night during the week. That brought in an entire new audience. We really took a huge step with the guests we had on the radio show, such as Josh Yohe, Mike Emrick and Gary Roberts.

Currently, we have an awesome staff that all contribute to the site’s success. They deserve all of the credit in the world. We all are best friends too, which is the cool part. None of us knew each other before the blog. Twitter can be very powerful!

How many subscribers and downloads has the Pens Nation had so far? Guess if you have to.
I’ll be honest. I really don’t have any numbers in front of me, but I can say that our numbers have increased as time has gone on. We continue to look for great guests to bring on the show.

Who do you find yourself agreeing with the most on the podcast? Agreeing with the least? Why?
That’s a really tough question! I cannot really say either way, to be honest. We all have different opinions on different subjects, but I find it pretty even most of the time (for me at least). We enjoy debating different subjects in the hockey world!

The Pens are 40-15-3 heading into the Olympic break, with a great amount of their success coming at home this year. What’s been the key to their success at Consol so far this season?

They have been incredible at home this season. When CONSOL opened, people thought it was cursed because the Penguins struggled in that inaugural season at home. That hasn’t been the case this season. A big difference from this year from previous years is that Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have been relatively healthy. Malkin has missed some games, but they’ve had at least one of those superstars in every single game.

Pittsburgh has dealt with a ton of injuries this year, but the call-ups have done a tremendous job. Dan Bylsma’s positive attitude has made them look confident at home. They’ve played solid defense for most of the year and obviously have some tremendous talent offensively. To answer the question, though, I would say their confidence seems to be higher at home and Bylsma has done a better job matching up with opponents on home ice.

Many people seem to think James Neal should have made Team Canada. Why the snub? Do you think Neal skating into the head of Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand back in December had anything to do with it?
Yes, I think that contributed to him not making it. Honestly, I didn’t think he should make it for that reason. We have seen Neal lose it emotionally many times and you can’t do things like that in the Olympics. His quick release is one of the best in the NHL, but he needs to be smarter on the ice without the puck. Another factor is that Neal is still only 26. He’s going to have a good chance to participate in the Olympics in four years at age 30.

Some of the veterans won’r be in the game at that time and Neal should be even more established. Neal would probably make any other team in the Olympics, but Canada’s depth at forward is unreal. Getting Neal some rest isn’t the worst thing in the world, either. He has been a little banged up this season and will be ready to go when NHL play begins in a couple weeks.

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Do you agree with Team Canada choosing Chris Kunitz? Or do you think another player would have been a better fit?
Yes, I do agree with Kunitz getting selected to Team Canada. His chemistry with Sidney Crosby could turn out to be very valuable in the Olympics. Why force chemistry when you already have it? These Olympic games go quick and there isn’t a lot of time to develop chemistry. That’s one reason why he got picked, but not the biggest one. Kunitz brings some things that some other players on Canada do not. He isn’t the most skilled player, obviously, but his work ethic and ability to open up space is something that will be very valuable in the Olympics. Canada made the right choice by selecting Kunitz.

So far, in my view, Kris Letang has proven his massive contract to be a massive failure. The latest news it that Letang suffered a stroke and will be out at least six weeks. What are your thoughts on Letang and do you agree with the Pens bringing him back? Let’s move on already!
First of all, I want to wish Kris Letang my prayers. He’s dealing with some very tough issues right now and needs all of the support he can get. I would be shocked if he returned in six weeks. A stroke is very serious. He needs to focus on his personal life at this time and put hockey aside. Letang is one of those players that you will love at times and will call out at other times. That’s just the way it goes with his style of play. He can do things with the puck that most defensemen cannot even come close to doing.

His skating is so fun to watch and the Penguins love having him on their team. However, he does make a ton of mistakes defensively, which can be hard to watch in the postseason when every goal against is so crucial. He didn’t start this season very well in that aspect, but I do think he was improving a bit before he went out with the illness. In the offseason, I wanted Ray Shero to at least listen to offers for Letang. He may have done that, but he may not have gotten good offers for him. Therefore, there was no reason to just give him away.

I do think the contract extension is a big risk, but with the salary cap going up next season, it may make the deal look a bit better as time goes on. I just hope Kris is able to get back to 100% and can hit the ice once again to compete in the NHL. If the Penguins do run into some financial issues down the road, Letang may be a trade candidate with his big cap hit. I would be okay with that, but only if Pittsburgh gets a significant return.

What’s been Fleury’s problem in the playoffs since ’09? Being great in the regular season is all well and good, but he hasn’t demonstrated that he’s been able to have any measure of consistency in the postseason. What needs to change this year?

I’m not even sure Fleury knows what happened in the past few postseasons. He’s been bad in them. There is no doubt about that. I think Mike Bales and the sports psychologist really helped him hit the restart button. He does not talk to the media before games now and just seems to be more serious. Sure, he still has fun, but he is a bit different now. Fleury has always been quick and athletic, but he seems a bit calmer in the net this season.

In previous years, he has panicked in big situations and tried to do too much. He seems a bit more focused on his positioning this season, which has contributed to his success this season. His numbers are very good for a team that plays a style like the Penguins do. I would expect the Penguins to do better defensively this postseason. That should help Fleury have a much better postseason this spring.

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Simon Despres has certainly had his ups and downs ever since he was drafted by the Pens in ’09, but it seems to me like he’s had more downs. Do you ever think Simon Despres will be a top-4 defenseman in the Pens organization? Or any NHL team for that matter?
Simon Despres seems to be getting the Eric Tangradi treatment. Despres has a much higher ceiling than Tangradi ever did, but it seems like he has a short leash. If he makes one mistake, he gets sent to the press box the next game. That’s a tough situation to be in, and one I know I would not want to be in. It’s hard to play mistake-free hockey when you are not in a game every night. Despres probably should be in the NHL right now, but he is still stuck in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Before the Letang injury, I thought that he was Pittsburgh’s first trade chip for the trade deadline. Things have changed now with Letang’s condition. What happens if another defenseman goes down? Then the Penguins will need Despres. It’s a really tough situation to be in for Shero.

How do you think Jeff Zatkoff has handled himself in his first season in the NHL? He definitely had a rocky start, there’s no doubt about that. I would still feel more comfortable with Tomas Vokoun in there in a big game (assuming he’s had sufficient practice time), blood thinners or not. If and when Vokoun comes back, what happens with Zatkoff? Has he been playing well enough lately that Vokoun is expendable?
Jeff Zatkoff has been one of the best stories for the Penguins this season, in my opinion. This guy came in to the season thinking that he would play in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. After the Vokoun news, people panicked about the goaltending situation. Marc-Andre Fleury had struggled in the playoffs and Zatkoff had not started a single game in the NHL. Obviously, things have changed quite a bit since then. Fleury is having one of his best seasons and Zatkoff is 9-2-1. He did have a rough start, but this kid is a really good person and understands what it takes to be successful in this league.

Penguins goaltending coach Mike Bales has helped him a lot this season and I don’t think he is going anywhere. Vokoun probably is not coming back until the playoffs, at the earliest. The Penguins are already short on cap space and bringing Vokoun back during the regular season won’t help them. He still needs more time to heal, anyway. If Vokoun does return, Zatkoff would have to go through waivers to go back to the AHL. That will not happen. He already signed an extension and will most likely back up Fleury next season.

Thoughts on the Jacques Martin hiring? What do you think he brings to the bench that maybe Granato and Rierden don’t?
I loved the hiring from the beginning. His defensive strategies have made a big difference this season. During the beginning of the year, we saw the Penguins going to the 1-3-1 in different situations, which was awesome. The more looks you give an opponent, the better. In the past few years, other teams were basically able to predict what the Penguins were going to do. They are having a much tougher time with that this season and Martin is a big reason why.

Deryk Engelland, a big stay-at-home defenseman most of the time, has made a mark this year as a winger, scoring a few goals in the process. Why move him if it’s showing results? You still have Bortuzzo to bring that physical element to the back end.
I laughed when they moved Engelland to the wing because I wasn’t a huge fan of his at the time. But, I have seen him do some good things as a forward with the Penguins. He doesn’t need to cover as much space as he normally would and obviously brings a physical presence. I’m not sure what they’ll do with him in the postseason, but I would keep him at forward. Robert Bortuzzo is a much better option on the blue line than Engelland.

Talk about Olli Maata and the amazing rookie season he’s had thus far. He made Team Finland along with Jussi Jokinen!
It’s been quite a year for the 19-year old. I watched him in Development Camp this summer and he looked so much better than everyone else. There were more experienced defensemen in the camp and he still stood out the most among all of them. I didn’t think he would make the team in camp, but he did and the Penguins made the right choice keeping him. Things may have been much different this season without Maatta. He has scored some big goals and has played some great defense.

His decision making on the ice is something that I have never seen with a player at his age. He looks so comfortable out there. This is a player that should never leave Pittsburgh. In addition to his great play on the ice, he is a really nice guy off the ice too. Believe me; he’s loving every moment of this year. He has probably smiled more this year than he ever has. Maatta has to be considered a candidate for the Calder trophy.

He’s made a big difference with this team as a rookie. It will be fun to watch him on Team Finland too. He never thought he would be on the Olympic team this year, but it happened and he could not be happier. He has been blown away by all of the experiences he has gone though this year, but I think we can all admit he has earned it.

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With Pascal Dupuis lost for the season with a torn ACL, who do you see eventually fitting into that third spot alongside Sid and Kunitz? Do you see Beau Bennett eventually being the guy?
I think Bennett is the only guy the Penguins could put in that slot when he’s healthy. Brian Gibbons has done a solid job, but there is no chance he can play there in the postseason. They’ll need to make a trade for a first line winger or put Bennett in that spot. They still have high hopes for Bennett, but he hasn’t been healthy much since he was called up to the NHL. He had trouble staying healthy in college too. The Penguins hope he can make an impact this year because their depth at forward is very thin after him as far as top six wingers go. I have always envisioned Bennett with Crosby at some point and I’m sure he will at least get a chance to show what he can do. The unfortunate part is that the Penguins do not have much time to let him develop chemistry with Crosby since the trade deadline is so close.

What moves would you like to see Ray Shero make at the deadline? Winger for Sid? Another defenseman? Letang trade?
Kris Letang will not be traded. Let’s get that out of the way first. I think the Penguins’ biggest need is a forward for the third line or fourth line. Players such as Tanner Glass and Craig Adams basically give you nothing offensively. Pittsburgh needs a tough forward who can produce offensively. The Penguins really lack that right now and will get crushed in the playoffs if they do not address it. Pittsburgh is a very top-heavy team at the moment and that needs to change. If teams shut down the Penguins’ top two lines, then Pittsburgh will not have a good chance of winning. As I talked about earlier, another option is trading for a first line winger. That will be hard though with the cap situation. Bennett will probably fill one of these spots, but the Penguins really need someone who will make them tough to play against.

I was always a fan of Michel Therrien’s rough, disciplinarian style. Bylsma isn’t as rough or as much of a disciplinarian, but what is it that he brings to the team, and the league in general, that has made him so successful the past few years? This team has been to the playoffs every year, has been to two Stanley Cup Finals (won one), and now Bylsma is behind the bench for Team USA.
Bylsma brings a very positive attitude to the Penguins and I think all of the players like that about him. He has been very successful as the coach of the Penguins, but there will be a lot of pressure on him again this spring. He is a very smart man in terms of hockey knowledge. His system is very complex and when the players perfect it, it is hard to stop. He does need to be better in making alternate strategies though. For example, if a team is completely destroying the Penguins, he needs to go to a “Plan B” and give the opposing team some new looks.

It seems like the Pens got away from solid defensive play in recent weeks. What do you think is behind that?
We started to really notice this when Malkin and Letang returned to the lineup in that game against the Jets. Those two players want the puck and want to move north. That is going to change some things a bit. The players may feel more comfortable taking some risks than usual because of the talent that is wearing the black and gold. That probably should not happen, but that’s the way these players play the game. I think they should stick to their game plan regardless of who is in the lineup, but that’s another story. Pittsburgh has had to deal with a lot of different players coming in and out of the lineup. That has affected the defense a lot.

How does Team USA do in these Olympics? Do you think any team is a true match for Team Canada? Share some of your Olympic predictions.
We actually just posted our Olympic predictions on The PensNation so check those out! I think the only team that can compete for the gold other than Canada is Sweden. They have some great talent up front and obviously have one of the best goaltenders in Henrik Lundqvist. I picked Canada over Sweden in the gold medal game and chose USA for the bronze. I like the balance of Team USA this year, but it will be tough to keep up with Sweden and Canada. Canada’s roster is simply mind blowing as it always is and I think they will repeat as champions. However, this is probably been the most difficult Olympic tournament to predict in quite some time. It shows how the game of hockey is growing in every country, which is awesome.

The combination of Neal-Malkin-Jokinen really seems to work. However, I’ve heard that when you take Jokinen away from the top two lines, he isn’t as successful. I can see this being the case at times. Thoughts on Jokinen and just how important he is to the team.
Jokinen has been a huge part of the Penguins’ success this season and has really put himself in a nice position for free agency this offseason. He is in line to get a big contract now. It’s hard to believe the Penguins basically got this guy for nothing. A guy as talented as Jokinen is should never hit the waiver wire. But, thank goodness he did. The Penguins always had interest in Jokinen, but never met the price needed for him until last year when he fell out of favor in Carolina. Jokinen is very good at making plays with Malkin and Neal. He seems to know where both of them are on the ice without even looking, which is a clear sign those three have developed some chemistry. His wrist shot is really good too and when he is on, he is on. We have seen him score several multi-goal games this season, which can take over games.

What is it that makes Malkin and Neal work so smoothly together? It’s not like Geno is the easiest guy to play with. You know, Geno’s nickname for Neal is “Lazy.”
Malkin and Neal are fun to watch, on and off the ice. Those two are always joking around with each other. Although both of them want the puck most times, they have done a good job setting up plays. We usually think of Neal as a guy who just wants to shoot the puck as soon as he gets it, but Neal has done a better job of reading the play recently. Malkin can obviously score goals himself, but he loves having a guy who can rip the puck to the net on his line.

He never really had that until Neal arrived. Once Petr Sykora left, he had not had a lethal weapon like Neal on his line, which made his job tougher. Neal takes some pressure off of Malkin and vice-versa. When Neal was acquired by the Penguins, I thought he would play with Crosby eventually, but I’m glad Malkin has a good linemate now. Those two are a lot of fun to watch.

It’s been a revolving door on the third line ever since the Kennedy-Staal-Cooke trio was dissolved. Who do you like to see on that third line and how do you think Brandon Sutter has played this year with all the different faces?
Brandon Sutter obviously will be there on the third line. I love what he brings defensively, but I would like to see some more offensively from him. The Penguins are going to need it in the spring. Pittsburgh was so hard to beat in 2008 and 2009 because of that third line of Cooke-Staal-Kennedy. All three of those guys brought energy and contributed offensively, which made it hard for teams to match up against. The Penguins really lack that now, as I said before. There are not many good options for the third line internally for Pittsburgh other than Sutter. Jayson Megna may work, but I think they need to trade for someone to play on that line.

We’ve seen a lot of Baby Pens up in the big leagues this year. Who has really stood out to you and why? Do you think any of these guys could be big time players for the Pens in the near future? If so, which ones?
Who saw Brian Gibbons even playing in the NHL this year? I certainly didn’t. He made it to the AHL All-Star Game and has played with Crosby a bit this year. Who saw any of this coming? I don’t even think he did. He has done a solid job and has shown his skills on the biggest stage this season. He’s a guy who could blossom into a decent NHL player. He has some speed and skill that could be valuable to Pittsburgh. Megna is the other guy who I like a lot.

He did some great things earlier this year with Malkin, but his injury slowed him down a bit. He is very creative offensively and also brings some speed to the table. We saw a lot of defenseman come up to the NHL from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton earlier this year too. Brian Dumoulin stood out the most among that group. He could be a big contributor up here in a year or two.

Do you consider Tanner Glass to be a big part of the team’s winning ways this year? Talk a little about his season and also Craig Adams’ presence on the fourth line. What an iron man.
As I said before, these two players bring nothing offensively. However, they are good defensively. Last season, Glass was not making much of an impact at all, but he has been different this season. He is talking more on the bench and is hitting everything in sight. The Penguins will need that in the playoffs. Adams is a tough player. He plays with injuries a lot and continues to be solid on the penalty kill. He has struggled a bit this season, but he seems to be getting back to the player we have known since 2009.

Matt Niskanen is such an underrated player, with a helluva shot. I consider Nisky to be a critical part of the Pens defense corps.
He definitely is an important piece to the puzzle. Who thought this “throw-in” player in the Neal trade would turn out to be so valuable. Much like Jokinen, his previous team (Dallas) had given up on him. Niskanen was a first-round pick in the draft for a reason and Pittsburgh gave him a chance. He knows that and appreciates it. Niskanen is now one of the leaders on the team now and does have a great shot. He has been playing solid defense all year and can easily jump to the top-four if needed. That’s why he is so valuable. He can play in any spot and be successful.

He loves Pittsburgh, but he has earned a chance to cash in this offseason, just like Jokinen. It will be interesting to see what he does in the offseason in addition to Jokinen and Brooks Orpik. I like Niskanen on the power play a lot too. He simplifies things up there by setting up the superstars or simply firing a slapshot. There is no need for him to be creative with guys such as Malkin and Crosby out there.

Rob Scuderi, although out for a long stretch with an ankle injury this year, certainly hasn’t made the Pens regret bringing him back.
Scuderi is so solid. You do not hear his name much on television and radio during the game. That usually means he is doing his job: play defense. You are never going to get much from him offensively, but that’s okay. This team has plenty of offense. He was brought back to play solid defense and help the younger guys. He has done a great job and will be very valuable this spring once again just like he was before he left for the Los Angeles Kings.

Would you consider being the play-by-play guy for Sully’s Totally-Not-Winter Classic? We all would be absolutely honored to have a talent like Hughes behind the mic for our summer event!
I love the game of hockey and would absolutely consider it! It sounds like a fun event and I would love to be a part of it.

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The Engine behind Green Machine: Interview with Josh Sebrosky

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There wasn’t a whole lot of winning going on for Green Machine in last year’s Sully’s Totally-Not-Winter Classic games (the team finished the series 0-2), but there sure was a lot of heart from all players involved. Not many better exemplify that effort and commitment than #19 himself, Josh Sebrosky. Leading both teams with 5 goals (including a terrific hat trick in the first game that he admittedly played hungover), Sebrosky has separated himself from the pack as a true star for Green Machine. This year, he’ll be donning the A on his jersey with the same mission in mind: to put pucks on net and get them behind Black Attack goaltender Matt Richert, while putting more focus on the defensive side of things.

I talked with Sebrosky about his stellar offensive  production, the epic battle that was Game 2, what Green needs to do to win this year, Black Attack’s solid goaltending, having his parents in the crowd, and more!

Let’s face it. You’re the engine that makes Green Machine run. You have 5 goals and 2 assists through 2 games, which not only leads Green in the goal department, but Black as well. How do you plan on keeping this going? Seems like the competition is only getting tougher.

By putting as many pucks on the net as possible. Matt Richert is an experienced goaltender and really hard to beat. We just got to stay positive and also concentrate on our defense.

Have you ever played hockey in as much rain as we did during the first game on Father’s Day? It was an absolute downpour and BPTV couldn’t film the first period because of it. Do you think the weather had an effect on the game at all?

I have never played hockey in that much rain to be honest. It was fun and I know it kept me from overheating!

You were named First Star of the first game, with a hat trick to your credit. Considering you had a late party night the night before, was that a surprise to you?

Yeah, sometimes you got to pay for your decisions and I did. I played a rather well game, but may of been sluggish.

Green Machine led the second game by a score of 4-1 in the 2nd period before Black Attack stormed back to win 6-5. What went wrong down the stretch?

We started the game off strong and got power hungry for goals. We started forgetting about our defense and they took advantage of that.

Talk about the overly physical nature of that second game. It was really brutal out there. We had bruised ribs, blown up ankles, dislocated shoulders, paramedics, fire trucks, malfunctioning scoreboards, and just about everything else you could think of.

It was a very brutal game. I don’t think we should play full contact like that unless we have pads. It was a shame having the paramedics show up.

Do you think the fact that Green had a different goalie for each game had any mental effect on the team or was it more about leaky defensive play? Don Ruggery never played goaltender before and Jim Askins hadn’t played in a very long time. Green allowed 12 goals in 2 games.

Goaltender is a very challenging position to play and takes a lot of experience, if you ask me. I think Don and Jim did a pretty good job. It’s hard to be a brick wall like Matt Richert.

It looks as though Green will put yet another man in net for the third game. Ryan Baux, currently a 5-point player for Black Attack with 4 goals and 1 assist, made a big splash when he offered his services in Green’s net as a last resort. Baux says he’s “not bad” and with a little practice, he’ll “get it back.” If that was to happen, what would it mean for both teams? To the game overall?

 I would welcome Baux to the team with open arms. He’s a strong player and I’d be excited to practice with him.

        Imagejosh

You’re now an alternate captain for Green Machine, along with Jeff Guerriero. What are you going to bring to the game, in all facets, while wearing the A?

I’m excited and it’s an honor to be wearing the A. I have a good feeling about next game if we all come healthy and ready.

What do you think made Black Attack so successful in the first 2 games? They started out slow in the second game, and even had a 3-goal deficit during that one, but they still came back and won to sweep the first Sully’s Totally-Not-Winter Classic series.

I think they had better team chemistry with the puck. They played well and had more people contributing with points. The second game, they used their motivation from a wounded teammate to pull themselves together and be victorious. It was actually beautiful.

What are some things you think Green Machine did well in the first 2 games? What are the main things we need to work on going forward to finally beat Black Attack? It’d be nice to spread the points around a little more so we’re not so reliant on Sebrosky scoring.

I think we did a good job getting pucks on net. We have to shoot on Matt a lot if we plan on scoring. I think we should practice a little more if we get the opportunity. Some players are afraid to shoot sometimes and everyone should shoot. Also, getting Baux as much practice as possible [if he took over in net for Green] would be KEY.

Matt Richert is a stud in the Black Attack net. Experienced, quick, skilled, and plays with an edge. Even dropped the gloves with DJ Lafferty in the first game. Talk about Matt’s game and what he brings to the table in between the pipes

Like I stated multiple times, he is talented. Matt Richert was my roommate at California University of Pennsylvania my junior and senior year. When we would play hockey at school, he would always pad up and play well against anyone. He could play on ice, inline, or deck. It’s pretty convenient that I get to shoot on him at games because I know his weaknesses. Matt is very self-disciplined. When he gets scored on, he beats himself up and never gives up until he’s happy with his performance. To be a goalie, I think you need that self- discipline.

josh shooting

Your parents attended the second game, and you certainly didn’t disappoint. How was it playing in front of them, especially with scoring that goal in the 3rd to make it 5-5? You’re such a calm and quiet guy out on the court, and you even let out a yell and a jump on that one!

Having the parents watch my game was awesome. My dad loves hockey and actually wanted to see me play for once. I don’t think my parents or I expected me to do that well. So that’s pretty cool. I think the parents should come to every game if possible.

Ever play in front of TV cameras before? Is that on your mind at all while you’re playing, whether it be more motivation or a sort of distraction?

I haven’t played hockey in front of TV cameras before, but I have played water polo on TV. In my opinion, both sports have so much contact that you really don’t have time to think about the people watching you. I just go out and play my best and get work done.

How’s your overall experience been playing in these games so far? What would you tell those who are thinking of joining, but might not be so sure?

I’ve loved it. I would say it’s worth the experience. Everyone on both teams is easy to get along with, and just love to play the sport of hockey. Everyone on the court has a different skill level and whether you are experienced or not it’s always a good time.

Anything you’d like to see in Sully’s Totally-Not-Winter Classic in the future?

More players. Less contact, but still contact, if that makes sense. The scoreboard [to not malfunction again] when we win the next game against Black Attack.

–Photos courtesy of Facebook–

–Green Machine logo designed by Dave Cable–

Interview with “Dances with the Kachina” author The Dark One

I can’t think of many people that have been there for me as much as Wesley Attwood. Over the past 5 years, Wesley has supported me through my toughest days, stood alongside me during my happiest moments, given me countless hours of his time for advice, and has been the most loyal son of a bitch I know. I could go on for days about the person Wesley is, the things he’s done for me, and the times we’ve shared over the years, but I’d like to spotlight what I believe is his greatest accomplishment to date; his first book, “Dances with the Kachina: A Compendium of Poetic Thoughts” published in August by Createspace.com and available NOW through Amazon.com here: http://www.amazon.com/Dances-With-The-Kachina-Compendium/dp/149127381X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390453700&sr=8-1&keywords=dances+with+the+kachina

Under the pen name “The Dark One”, Wesley has crafted a true masterpiece of raw emotion, covering a wide range of topics that leave the reader both enjoying the simple things in life on its surface and looking at it a little more deeply. I’m proud to present to you my recent interview with The Dark One.

This book covers such a wide range of topics. Everything from love to self reflection to whacky college professors to elder abuse. When you come across these things in life, do you find it therapeutic to write about them? One of the reasons I started blogging so often was because it’s a calming feeling for me to let my thoughts run free on paper, so to speak.

I find it extremely therapeutic to write about things in my daily life. Writing allows me to express my emotions about certain topics or situations.

What got you into writing in the first place? When did you start?

I started writing poetry in middle school. During an English class, I was given an assignment to write five poems about various topics. Before this, I had always admired poetry for the feelings and emotions it can provoke, but I never really thought I had something good enough to write about. So after completing the project I found that poetry came very naturally as long as I had a feeling or subject that I was passionate enough to write about in mind. Also, my father, in his private life, is an excellent artist with a paint brush, a stanza or words, or even with models, so I was very inspired by him and his works over the years. After that middle school class, I didn’t really start writing too much until I met my first girlfriend. That is when I discovered the art of Romance in word form.

How many years worth of material is in this book?

There is three years’ worth of material in this book.

What made you decide to turn this material into a book?

Many of my friends proposed that I put some of my works into a book and publish it. People often see my notes on Facebook with my poems, so a lot of it was my friends’ suggestions, but the rest was a dedication to the Kachina and the inspiration that she is.

You told me when this book was coming out that these aren’t actually all of your works. Why not just publish everything and lay it all out there?

The reason I do not publish all my works is because there are many that are extremely personal to me. Many have a very deep and personal connection and I’d rather keep those to myself.

Where did you come up with the title Dances with Kachina: A Compendium of Poetic Thoughts? Are these really just thoughts of yours that you write down onto paper and make them into a kind of story?

The title is directly taken from one of the poems titled “Dances With the Kachina”. The title refers to my encounters and experiences with the Kachina. The Kachina is not only a person whom which I have experienced a lot with, but the Kachina is also the idea of art and inspiration. You could say that the Kachina is the muse in my life. Some of the poems are just thoughts put down on paper, but most are about actual memories, emotions, dreams, or experiences I have.

What is your relationship like with your real life Kachina? It must be pretty special for you to have her on the cover of the book as well.

The real life Kachina is my best friend. She is the best friend anyone could ever hope for. She has been there with me through many things. We even traveled across the planet together one summer. So the Kachina is someone I truly love and am inspired by every day.

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How would you classify your style of writing? What are the main things you focus on as far as themes, messages, etc.?

For the most part, I would classify my poetry as free verse. There are occasions where I write sonnets or even other forms of poetry, but it all really depends on what I am writing about and how it comes out. In my poetry I focus mainly on life, love, and the state of mind. I enjoy writing about my own and others’ perspectives within life and daily life. Many of the topics recur through simple phrases or words within various poems.

What are some of your favorite pieces by other authors? Any favorite authors?

Some of my favorite authors would be Sara Teasdale, Alexander Pushkin, and of course Sixto Diaz Rodriguez. Many music artists such as Rodriguez, in my opinion, are poets and thus have my admiration as well for not only their music, but their words.

Do those said authors influence the way you write? If so, how?

Sara Teasdale has always inspired me to write about simplicity. Throughout my poems I mention the “cup of tea” or “the hands holding the cup”. This, to me, is a direct reference to the simplicity of life and the beauty within that simplicity. After reading Sara’s work throughout the years, I’ve been able to see and write about the small things in our day-to-day lives and how these small things hold so much beauty. Rodriguez has been a lifelong inspiration for just about everything. Rodriguez wrote and sang about life, poverty, love, injustice, and perspectives. Out of anyone’s words I’ve read in my life, he has to be the biggest inspiration I have. A lot of his work has contributed to my personal feelings about love and romance.

As for your own writing, what are some of your favorite entries in the book and why?

I cannot really pick one I like more than another because, for me, most of the poems I write pertain to my life or experiences/memories. But if I were to choose I would say that my favorite entries are “12:53”, “Absent Earth”, “Fond Memories of Days In Your Bliss”, and “Prison of Melody”. I pick these because they each signify a great or extraordinary experience in my life which has contributed to my development in my life. These instances have given me some kind of feelings or enlightenment which has aided me overall in my opinion.

How did you come up with the titles for each piece?

For each piece I generally use a word that sums up the poem unless I have a title in mind. For a lot of the poems it’s very difficult to give them a title so I often find the title the hardest part.

You mention in the foreword that the poems in the beginning of the book are “simple or silly at times” but as you keep reading the pieces “become deeper and more intense”. You mention that this is the result of a “personal change” in how you expressed yourself or even a change of your writing abilities. Can you elaborate on that?

I believe that over the years I have gained a lot of understanding for the world around me directly and how I perceive it. I believe that my perceptions are captured in my poetry by how simple life can be seen to how deep it can be at times.

Why do you call yourself The Dark One?

I use the Dark One as my pen name because that was the nickname I was always given by the Kachina since we first met. I don’t like to be melodramatic but I do like the idea of darkness and the mystery within it. As I may describe in some of my poems, darkness is a place of solace, reason, and understanding where one can reflect upon life. I feel as if I should be more in touch with any dark label than anything pertaining to light and completely seen.

What should people know about The Dark One and his poetic thoughts?

People should know that the Dark One writes about the things that are important to him. The poetic thoughts aren’t always straightforward and sometimes don’t have a meaning, but the meaning is in the eyes of the reader.

Music is such an important part of your life. You write about it quite a bit in the book and you’re also in a band called Losing Time as the percussionist.

Music is one of my biggest inspirations. I have played percussion and other various instruments for most of my life. I also love to sing. I find great relaxation and expression in music, which essentially is poetry in a different form. Music can define emotions or anything, and I like to reference it in my writings.

Any more books on the horizon? Are you still writing? What’s on your mind these days?

I was thinking about putting together another book if I really had the motivation to do so. I generally write a poem a day or more. I’m always writing and, regardless of any publishing, I believe I will always be writing. I still am writing about love, romance, life, and the mind these days.

You’re one of my best friends in the entire world. We’ve been close buddies for over 5 years now and I feel we just become closer over time. I enjoyed every page of this book and can’t wait for possible future tomes! Thanks for including me in the foreword!

You and I have been very close for the past years and I’m honored to have you as a friend. I really glad you enjoyed my book and I hope you enjoyed the writings within. Thank you for your friendship and for buying a copy.

“Dances with the Kachina: A Compendium of Poetic Thoughts” is AVAILABLE NOW through Amazon for less than $6. I’ll give you the link AGAIN!

http://www.amazon.com/Dances-With-The-Kachina-Compendium/dp/149127381X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390456408&sr=8-1&keywords=dances+with+the+kachina

You all should definitely pick up a copy of The Dark One’s first book. Go ahead and squeak out a couple bucks. You won’t be disappointed! “Dances with the Kachina” is one of the best purchases I’ve made in a long time. I wouldn’t have dedicated an entire blog entry to this if I didn’t have the utmost faith in this man. Wesley is not only a fantastic writer, but a a brilliant, creative, loyal, and kind man with an endless amount of talent and heart.

Follow The Dark One on Twitter @JohanVanRiebeec

Follow me on Twitter @SullyShow17

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Kunitz, Crosby & Company

Since I said I was gunna try my best to do this weekly, I figure now is as good a time as any to start. There’s been a lot of talk over the past few weeks about the hockey rosters for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Seven players from the Pittsburgh Penguins made the Olympics. SEVEN! That’s a number to be proud of certainly and each one of those men richly deserves it. There were a couple players on the Penguins who did not make the Olympic cut, however. I’m gunna break this down for ya real good, and I’m gunna keep it short and simple since I’m running up against the midnight deadline here. Not gunna get into stats and in-depth analysis here. Just a general overview and my initial impressions.

THE LUCKY 7 & WHY THEY MADE IT:

Sidney Crosby (Canada) – He’s only the face of the NHL, the best overall player in the league, and quite possibly the world.

Jussi Jokinen (Finland) - It seems like he makes every goal he scores look phenomenal. It does seem like he isn’t as effective when he plays with third and fourth liners, but when he’s on the top two lines…watch out.

Chris Kunitz (Canada) – “Oh, but he plays on the same line as Crosby. Sid just makes him look good.” I’m here to call bullshit on that one, ladies and gentlemen. Chris Kunitz, aka the Honey Badger, is an outstanding hockey player. When he’s not scoring goals (and trust me, he scores his share) he’s doing all the little things right to not only make himself better, but his teammates too (yes, including Sidney Crosby, who will tell you that Kunitz makes him better too). If he wasn’t chosen for Team Canada, I would have been bummed. Great move by Yzerman and Co. Well earned by Kunitz.

Olli Maata (Finland) - This 19-year-old has just blown me and pretty much everyone else away by his play since moving up to the NHL. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: he is much better than Kris Letang (I’ll get to him later). I can’t wait to see how much better he becomes as he gains more experience at the NHL level. GREAT move by the Pens keeping him out of training camp.

Evgeni Malkin (Russia) - What can I say? Just a monster on the ice. Yes, he has his lapses, but doesn’t every player at times? I can’t see any NHL team ever turning down an opportunity to have this All-Star/Olympian superstar on their team.

Paul Martin (USA) – Remember him? He’s been out awhile due to injury, but he’s really come on strong since joining the Pens. He was pretty bad when he first started out here in the ‘Burgh (I think more than anything he just didn’t pick up the system as quick as people hoped..remember he came from Snooze Jersey), but he’s really turned his game around and consistently shows why he’s paired with Brooks Orpik in the top 4.

Brooks Orpik (USA) - Crazy Eyes himself. The longest tenured Penguin proudly represents Team USA as an at-times physical, shutdown force on the blue line, just like he does here in Pittsburgh. He’s such an honest guy, too. I always love listening to him talk to the media. He never gives you that run-of-the-mill, sports cliche bullshit. He tells it like it is, and backs up his words with his play on the ice.

THE UNLUCKY 4 and WHY THEY DIDN’T

Marc-Andre Fleury (Canada) - We all know he’s an amazing goaltender. He just needs to show that consistently in the playoffs, and let’s face it: he hasn’t. I think that’s why he didn’t make the cut, but if he keeps playing the way he’s playing now (beautifully) and brings that same level in the playoffs to possibly lead the Pens to another Cup, many should think differently.

Kris Letang (Canada) - This is a no brainer. He sucks! Makes countless mistakes on the ice, and the team always seems to play better without him. Bad move by Shero signing him to another deal. That money should have been used on a winger. Thank you, Jussi Jokinen, for seeming to click so well with Malkin and Neal. I love those three together. But Letang? Yeah, not a fan. When he’s injured (and that’s plenty often) I don’t miss him one bit, and I know Team Canada won’t either.

James Neal (Canada) - I’ve read in the papers that he may be having his finest season, but I think there’s some character issues here along with limited space on Team Canada’s star-studded roster. I think he has a better chance of making it next time around, and the suspension earlier this season didn’t help his case either. It’s never a good idea to skate into someone’s head, and it’s an even worse idea to say you didn’t mean to do it afterward. Watch the replay of Neal’s knee to the head on Brad Marchand. You’ll see what I mean. I still think he’s a great hockey player with one of the best shots I’ve ever seen and he should definitely make it next time, assuming he keeps up this high level of play.

Rob Scuderi (USA) – I’m putting him on this list because I think the guy is a great NHL defenseman. Scuds has won 2 Cups already, is steady, consistent, solid, and brilliant defensively. My mind harkens back to Game 6 against Detroit at Mellon Arena during the ’09 Cup Finals when he became Fleury for a second and kept that puck outta the net. HUGE moment. Staal couldn’t have been more right. He’s The Piece!

So there ya have it. Just kind of a brief overview of the Pens that made the cut this year, and the Pens that didn’t. I could get WAAAAAYYYY more in-depth about each player with stats and all that jazz, but I’ll save that for a rainy day. I’m looking forward to rooting for Team USA, although I don’t think they’re a match for Team Canada. Ryan Kesler and David Backes look to contain Crosby? Yeah, about that…

 

2014, Here I Come!

What’s happenin’, y’all? It’s been awhile. I’m attempting this blog entry on my home computer, so wish me luck. If you see any weird spaces and/or your laptop/iPhone/Mac/PC starts to burn up, well…sorry about that. I can’t believe 2013 is history already. Seems like every year goes by so quickly, but 2013 shot by like a ROCKET. I wish everyone a happy, healthy, productive 2014. There were some things I could have done differently, and I still have LOTS to work on (including, but not limited to, updating this website more often and finding a FULL-TIME job!) but one thing won’t change: I’m very grateful for the life I have. Could it be better? Always. Am I in control of it? No question about it. I am the captain of my own ship. I decide where it sails from here on out. Here’s to clearer waters and brighter skies!

Here was the scene at Hard Rock Cafe Pittsburgh when midnight arrived to ring in 2014. Notice the couple at the very bottom of the photo. What a passionate smooch, right? Thing is, this cougar kept looking at me the whole night, so could I have been on her mind at the time? We’ll never know. Her interaction toward him seemed force, but they both had wedding rings on, so I’m going out on a limb to assume they’re married to EACH OTHER. Maybe it was my fantasy with her that was forced. I wouldn’t be lying if I said I wish my tongue was in her mouth rather than Waldo Goes Corporate.

Hard Rock

What I hope will be the last chapter to “I’m With You, Kinda Sorta” will be released this month. The one-year anniversary of this site is January 16, so I may shoot for that as a release date. I’ve always wanted this to be a WEEKLY, entertaining blog about anything and everything. I want people guessing as to what the topic is going to be about. Sometimes the topics are a hit (see any story about my personal life), and sometimes they’re not (see any story that’s NOT about my personal life). It’s just what’s on my mind at the time. It is about anything and everything, but I’m lacking on the weekly part. I hope to at least get somewhat on board with that in 2014.

I have so many ideas floating around in my head it’s disgusting. The challenging part for me is actually carrying out those ideas. I want to start a band (the only thing I could offer is my beautiful shower voice), a podcasting network (to cover the major areas of life in general: politics, sports, movies, music), write a fiction piece (since all my material so far has been non-fiction) and even expand this blog to maybe someday include some other voices besides my own. Notice I said MAYBE. It’s a thought, but since it IS sullyshow.com and titled “Sully Says” and since I pay to maintain the domain name, I might just stick with my words. Not sure yet, but it’s something to think about. I’m in the beginning planning stages of Sully’s Totally-Not-Winter Classic 3. Get ready Black Attack and Green Machine, it’s gunna be another great series! Let’s win at least one this year, Machine. I love you guys.

I’m certainly all over the map with my thoughts and actions and who knows if any of those ideas I rattled off above will come to fruition, but I definitely wanna find at least some direction in 2014. I can’t say I’m unhappy with my life, but I definitely could be a whole lot happier. And more productive. An old friend posted this ancient photo on Facebook recently and it brought a smile to my face:

Childhood

No, I’m not the one in the middle. I’m actually the one on the right. I was around 6 years old and thought I was a ladies man. Okay, maybe I was. Probably the only 6-year-old kid in the entire Catholic school system that wasn’t a virgin when it came to an actual makeout sesh. I swear I was attacked in the backseat on the way to kindergarten (or was it preschool?) one morning by an eager lady friend. So happy, so full of life, so innocent. I want to get back to those days. Well, I guess we can forget about the innocent part, but the happy and full of life part needs to come back. I think it will. It takes time, but each day I try to figure out a tiny bit more about myself and where I’m going.

Growing up sucks, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun every day doing at least one thing that you love. Life is entirely too short to not be happy. If you’re doing something just for the money, but you’re a miserable bitch, you’re doing something wrong. If you’re doing something you love and not making that much money, but you’re entirely happy, who’s to judge that? In this day and age, it’s all about being better than and having more money than the next guy. I hope to have millions one day, but it has to come along with doing something I’m in love with. That’s why I’m taking my time and seeing what’s out there FOR ME. I’m not gunna take a job and make a couple more bucks an hour just to say I have full-time work, and then be miserable. I work part-time right now making decent money at a job I really like and certainly don’t wanna lose it, so I wanna play my cards right.

Don’t worry, I’m not gunna suddenly start charging for this blog…

Follow me on Twitter @SullyShow17

 

Kane Regional Center, Scott Township: Rent-A-Cop Retards & Know-Nothing Nurses

One of the most important people in my life has always been my grandmother. Overall, I think I’ve spent more time with her than any other relative (besides my parents and sister, of course). I’m sorry to write that she isn’t doing very well these days, Not only did she lose my pap last November to cancer (4 days before his 75th birthday), been through at least one knee replacement that I can recall, as well as quintuple heart bypass surgery, she’s now dealing with ovarian cancer. Lots to go through for an ol’ gal, but she’s pulled through it all, albeit with a lot of moaning and groaning. Saying she’s a little fussy would admittedly be an understatement.

Without getting into all of gram’s private health issues, just know that she was admitted to Kane Regional Center in Scott Township, Pennsylvania for “rehab”. She hasn’t been doing much walking at all, and is very weak (no surprise considering her age and the circumstances) so the plan is for her to get some physical therapy at Kane in order to either go back home (God forbid that ever happens) or go back to St. Clair Hospital for more doctor back-and-forth and scheduling of tests and possible surgery. This process has been dragging on for a few weeks now, and is moving along WAY slower than it needs to. The nurses and doctors alike need to get their act together and figure out what to do because let’s face it, someone’s life is at stake here, and that life is the life of my beloved grandmother.

I can remember 2 or 3 years ago when my grandmother was at the same Kane for another health issue. She’s had quite a few, so I can’t remember exactly which one it was.  As soon as I walked into the place, I knew she picked a real loser of a place. Or maybe she didn’t pick it. It was probably ordered that she went there by some guy or gal in a suit who only knew my gram’s name and bank account and really nothing else about her or her situation. Anyway, I quickly realized Kane was one of the most, if not the most, dingy, bland, out-dated, bare bones “nursing home” I had ever been in. My gram had both a different aide and different nurse every night she was there, and she was there for about a week. You’d think they’d at least have a somewhat regular staff, but we all know how the county operates, or more correctly, doesn’t operate.

During her first stay there, one of the nurses tried to give my grandmother one of her pills during an evening med pass. Gram took one look at the pill and told the nurse, “I don’t take this.” The nurse quickly shot back in a dismissive tone, “Yes you do. It’s on your chart.” My gram stood (or rather, laid) firm in her bed, and informed the nurse, “No I don’t. I’ve never taken [whatever the name of the pill was].” I guess the nurse in question gave a quick glance to her charting and realized my gram was in fact….hold your breath…right! “Oh my gosh, you’re right,” the nurse finally admitted. “I’m sorry, I’m just in a hurry.” As I write this, I’m still not certain that the nurse did in fact apologize (remember, this was about 3 years ago) but I definitely remember the nurse using the “I’m just in a hurry” excuse as to why she was going to give my gram a medication she never took, and possibly hinder her health even further.

Kane. Great isn’t it?

The nurse’s excuse for distributing an incorrect medication to a patient (who happens to be both ill and elderly) was the worst thing she possibly could have said. A person who’s supposed to be a licensed professional happens to be an incompetent asshole who’s “in a hurry” to get her meds passed out and most likely go on a cigarette and/or cell phone break. It’s disgusting and is totally polar opposite of everything and anything a nurse should stand for and be. I only hope that one day when one of her relatives is in the same position and some reckless nurse that’s in a hurry tries to give her loved one a wrong medication. I’d like to see how she’d act. My bet is that she’d act the same way my gram did, although probably in a much more rude and rushed fashion.

I was hoping that my gram (or any other one of my relatives, for that matter) would never have to step foot in Kane ever again. But, it didn’t pan out that way. That’s why I’m writing this entry with such anger. There’s pretty much smoke coming out of my ears as I’m writing this, so just be glad you’re not here.

My gram is back in Kane, and I was back to visit her on Saturday, September 21, 2013 between 7-8pm. This was the first time I stepped into Kane since the last time my gram was there, and I wasn’t expecting anything better. It still looked like the same depressing place it was when I last saw it. As I walked into the building, I saw a security guard walking from my right, going into what I assumed was the Security Department office. Just to make getting to my gram’s room a little quicker (it was evening time and I knew she’d be pretty tired and about to go to bed), I asked the guard which way I should go to get to Room 285 (that’s her actual room number, so if you read what follows and are outraged like I am, stop by and give her a visit, because I didn’t mention this story to her).

We’ll call this guard Peece O’Shit. Peece O’Shit is a seemingly middle-aged man (watch, he’s probably 40) with a fat gut, a moustache, glasses, and a cocky attitude.

Peece O’Shit immediately seemed confused when I asked him where to go in order to get to her room. He repeated the room number I gave him to give it some time to soak through his thick skull, then gave a a few “uhhs” and “umms” until he pointed to the right, the same direction he just came from. Then, he changed his mind and pointed up the hall to the left, telling me to go down the hall and around the corner, where there would be elevators to my right and to take it up the 2nd floor (as if I didn’t know to take it to the 2nd floor, when her room number began with 2. Dumbass.)

I thanked him and went on my way, up to the 2nd floor to see my gram, who is currently in very poor health, and who’s someone that we’re not sure is going to be around much longer. That, of course, is worst case scenario, but we’re doing what any family in this situation has to do, and that’s to take things day by day, hour by hour, even minute by minute. All of a sudden, as I’m just about to turn the bend of the hall toward the elevator, I hear a man shout “Hey, excuse me!” It’s Peece O’Shit and he’s walking toward me. Mind you, I’m pretty far up the hall and it had been a good solid 10 seconds AT LEAST before he called out to me. You mean to tell me it took him that long to get the words out? Considering his stupidity and pathetic nature, most likely.

When we finally get close enough to chat, this is what follows:

  • Peece O’Shit: “I can’t let you go upstairs with that shirt on.”
  • Me: “Why?” (Truly not understanding why, as I didn’t think he’d want me to go upstairs naked to see my cancer-stricken gram)
  • Peece O’Shit: “You know why.” (As if he’s known me for years, and knows all my thought processes and can read minds. He had a shitty grin on his face that I wanted to wipe off)

I then assumed he was talking about the back of my t-shirt. I’m a huge fan of the metal band Machine Head, and I was wearing one of their t-shirts. The front has a design of some kind on it and on the back, in all caps it reads “MACHINE FUCKING HEAD”.

  • Me: “So you’re telling me I can’t go upstairs with this shirt on?”
  • Peece O’Shit: “Yeah, I just can’t let you go upstairs wearing that. You know, there’s people..and..You can change and come back in..but I just can’t..” (As if I had a whole wardrobe waiting for me out in the car)
  • Me: “Well this is all I have so could I just turn it inside out?”
  • Peece O’Shit: “Yeah, that’s fine, I just can’t..If you want, there’s a bathroom over here…you know this is a county-”
  • Me: (I finished his sentence for him) “run thing, Yeah I know, I can just change here, it’s no big deal. I’m just saying that I’m going up to see my dying grandmother who isn’t gunna be around much longer, and you’re asking me to change my shirt. Do you understand where I’m coming from?”
  • Peece O’Shit: (putting his hands up in a back away kind of motion) “Hey, I’m not offended by it. It doesn’t bother me, I’m just saying there’s people around…the nurses..I mean, you can ask one of the charge nurses…I mean…Hey, I’m not trying to cause you any problems, I’m just saying, doin’ my job…”

I stare at him coldly for about 5-7 seconds. So many thoughts are running through my mind. Should I really do this? I’m not here to argue with this guy or cause a scene, I’m here to see my sick grandmother and this asshole is holding me up talking about my t-shirt as if he’s some kind of all-knowing moral authority. By the time I get upstairs after having this unnecessary conversation with this stranger who’s forcing me to take off my top, my gram could very well be dead. After those few seconds of staring, Peece O’Shit repeats himself. AGAIN.

  • Peece O’Shit: “Hey, like I said, I’m not trying to cause you any problems, I’m just saying I can’t let you go up there with that on. I just can’t..” (sure you can, asshole, you just won’t because you’re the one who’s offended)
  • Me: “Is there a policy on this? Like a resident visitor dress code? I work in a nursing home over 5 years and I can tell you that we have nothing like this.”
  • Peece O’Shit: (clearly getting nervous and beginning to stutter) “Uh…yeah, uh, yeah..we do. It’s just there’s people around and…you know, they might…it’s just..”
  • Me: (ever the “better person” as I was raised to be) “Well, you’re lucky I’m a nice guy and am cooperating because I can tell you this: if you said that to another 23-year-old, they wouldn’t be as nice. They’d probably say ‘Go fuck yourself,”
  • Peece O’Shit: (chuckling with that same shitty grin still on his face) “Hey, that’s fine. If they said something like that, I’d just call the cops! That’s fine with me, I have no problem doing that.”
  • Me: “I’m just saying I hope you understand where I’m coming from. That’s all I’m asking. It’s not right.”
  • Peece O’Shit: “Hey, I’m just telling you, it’s…”

I can’t even remember how exactly the conversation ended because my blood felt so hot I thought it was going to melt my skin. This wasn’t even 24 hours ago. I think we just kinda started to walk away from each other, and the conversation slowly ended. I wasn’t going to waste any more time talking with this idiot when I could be upstairs spending what very well could be the final days with a woman I can’t see myself living without. I could just cry writing about it.

Going up the elevator, I made the decision not to tell my gram about what happened with Peece O’Shit. The empty look in her eyes and the absence of any kind of emotion in her actions or her voice made it clear to me that she needed me, and I needed to be there. I didn’t need to tell her about some fuck of a security guard, and she didn’t need to hear it. I decided to spend some time with her talking about family, her situation, and her dismal surroundings at Kane Regional Center.

“I shouldn’t have picked this place,” she said. “This place is terrible.”

Simple words that perfectly describe anyone on any length of stay at Kane, Scott Township.

Kane has several other locations, and I can’t speak for any of them because, quite frankly, I’ve never been to any of them. (http://www.alleghenycounty.us/kane/locations.aspx) However, I can speak for Kane, Scott Township because I have been there…several times. Each time was worst than the last. Last night was worst of all, and it had nothing to do with my gram…it had to do with someone coming to visit her! Some dude off the street who just happened to be her only grandson. I could have flown in from California, Australia, or even China, and some security guard treats me like that? It’s uncalled for and unacceptable.

I posed no threat whatsoever to public safety. I threw a shirt on at home without giving it any thought and went to visit my gram in a nursing home. I wouldn’t have dreamed anyone at that place would even look at my shirt, let alone give me shit about it. If I walked in that door naked, completely topless, or pantsless, yes, I could understand Peece O’Shit (or anyone, for that matter) having an issue. I’m just a guy quietly walking into a nursing facility to spend a half hour or so up in my gram’s room. Sure, if someone happened to be offended by my shirt, I’d apologize (even tho I have nothing to apologize for. Freedom of speech and expression is a blessing in this great country). I’d say something like “I’m sorry that offended you, but it is freedom of speech after all, you’ve never seen me in your life, and you’ll never see me again after this, so we can both go our separate ways.”

Even if someone was so offended last night that they reported me, I’d ask to see a written policy drafted BEFORE September 21, 2013 that states that resident family members and friends coming to the facility to visit are not permitted to wear any type of clothing with profanity. Not something that is BELIEVED to be profanity or BELIEVED to be offensive to others, but that is in fact plain and simple profanity. I’m not saying the word “FUCKING” is a pleasant word, but it’s a word nonetheless. We’ve all said it, we’ve all heard it, and we can’t pretend it doesn’t exist. It’s a word, for Christ’s sake. I think cancer is a little more of an important issue than some dude wearing a metal band’s t-shirt.

Tomorrow, I’ll call the Executive Director of Kane Regional Centers and talk with him about what went down.

  • I felt embarrassed and intimidated by the guard (he wasn’t letting me go upstairs without taking my shirt off and changing it)
  • I felt nervous and upset my entire visit with my gram due to the incident (was the guard going to come looking for me? To make sure I still had my shirt inside out?)
  • I feel hesitant to ever go back to Kane Scott Township because I’m afraid this may happen again and I’ll be embarrassed and delayed even further by another staff member. (Will my gram die before I can make it up the stairs? I’m too busy trying clothes on)
  • Most importantly, I felt my civil rights were violated and that I was discriminated against. Plain and simple. My freedom of speech and expression were taken away because some security guard felt it may be offensive to others WITHOUT offering to provide any kind of written bylaw that covered any kind of dress code. For staff, I totally understand a dress code. You need one. You don’t want some nurse coming in to give you meds in a bikini (well, I do, but I’m talking about if you’re some old lady that wants nothing more than to receive the proper care and treatment to get home…kinda like my gram)

Now, to be fair to Kane Regional Centers, if there is in fact a written dress code pertaining to resident visitors, by all means, show it to me. I’d love to see that. So far, I haven’t seen anything. I’ve just seen a security guard force me to change my shirt before going up to see my quite possibly dying grandmother without providing any clear evidence of any kind of policy violation. I want to see it in writing. If there is in fact no such policy/bylaw of the kind (as I suspect there isn’t) then I’ll take it further. And further wouldn’t necessarily be a good thing for Kane Regional Center, Scott Township. Or as I like to call it Kane Regional Civil Rights Violation Center.

But aside from all that noise, I got to do the one thing I went there to do in the first place: to see gram. I love you, Gram. Get well soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIG Announcement!

No, I’m not pregnant. But that would make some headlines, don’t you think?

From January 29 until March 13 of this year, I wrote about a particularly interesting dating experience of mine in “I’m With You, Kinda Sorta”. I was going strong, reaching Part V of the sad saga. However, with all I was dealing with emotionally  at the time, on March 19, I informed you dear readers that I wasn’t going to continue the “Kinda Sorta” series.

I didn’t anticipate the number of people that would voice their opinions about how disappointed they were with my decision. I didn’t realize just how many people were following the story. I was writing it for myself. To vent. Sure, I’d love people to read about my experience, but I didn’t think people cared that much. Turns out, they did. “I’m With You, Kinda Sorta” joined (and I think eventually even eclipsed) “A Virgin Suicide” as the most popular, talked-about, highest-viewed material I’ve ever written…anywhere.

I didn’t anticipate that I would have a clear enough head at this point to continue the story. Back in March when I made that unfortunate announcement, I didn’t think I’d ever be ready to move on. I thought I was done. Well, I am done with that whole experience that consumed a year of my life, but I’m here to tell you that I’m not done with “I’m With You, Kinda Sorta.”

The story must go on. It will go on. It will end.

I owe it to the folks who follow this blog, who read my material, who are genuinely interested in my thoughts and life experiences. More importantly, I believe, I owe it to myself. By finishing this story, I wish to close a chapter of my life that was both extremely memorable and utterly disappointing. I’m not going to rush the ending because I want to get all the details lined up and accurate. I want to finish this story the way it deserves to be finished: with kid gloves. In a way, I’m treating “I’m With You, Kinda Sorta” as the poster child of not only this website, but of my writing ability. Please be patient, but also be aware that it’s in-the-works.

Thank you so much.