Archive for July, 2010

4 Things

1. Guess what?  I’m kinda (just kinda) in the mood to think about the Sabres for some reason. I think it’s because tonight the BPO played a concert down at the harbor and I spent the whole evening looking at the arena and thinking, “I like going to the arena.”

2. I haven’t said boo about Jordan Leopold or Rob Niedermayer yet.

Here goes:

Jordan Leopold

Here’s what I keep thinking about old J-Leo: We as Sabres fans are desperate for something exciting.  We want flash, and romance.  We want a swashbuckler to ride down the sails with his knife and rescue us from the monotony of this ship.  We’re melancholy.  We’re hungry.  We’ve got ants in our pants.  We’re about to start dating the sketchy guy who hangs out behind the 7-11 in the hopes that he’ll throw us on the back of his motorcycle and elevate our heart rate, even if it’s only for a few minutes.  We’re bored and getting bored-er.  We need a hero, but we’re not stupid enough to expect Darcy to fetch us a hero, so now we’d just settle for a bad boy.

Jordan Leopold is not that man.  Thank goodness.  Because bad boys are a-holes.

Jordan Leopold may not be the obviously sexy choice, but usually “obviously sexy” turns out to be “totally lame”.  Furthermore, sometimes those solid, good guys get exponentially sexier when you least expect it.  We’ll give him a chance, if only to please our mother.  You never know.

Rob Niedermayer

First of all, I can’t believe I have to learn how to spell “Niedermayer”.  That’s a hard one (that’s what she said).

I think the most important thing to know about Rob Niedermayer is that he BY FAR the more attractive Niedermayer.  Yes, yes, I know….Scott is one of the best players to ever play the game, and he had one of the best playoff beards of all-time.  Blah blah blah.  Whatevs.  Listen to me.  Rob is better (but not at hockey) for the Sabres.

Rob is a grown-up now, but unlike the other grown-ups on the teams (Grier and Rivet), I suspect that once upon a time Rob was a hot mess, ala Tim Connolly and Derek Roy.   My dream is that Rob can come in here and be a good intermediary personality, kind of like Montador.  Rob’s still kind of cool (he’s definitely not an old fogy like Griersie) but he’s also outgrown his dumbass phase.  He’s a matured dumbass.  Maybe, just maybe, our immature dumbasses will listen to him.

(I totally made all of that up, but in the ten minutes it took me to write it, I completely convinced myself that it’s true.  I love it when that happens.  I also just decided that I’m not going to learn how to spell “Neidarmeyar”.  Instead, I’m just going to call him “Rob” all year.)

Welcome to Buffalo, Rob!

3. Look at this funny marking in our part from “Star Wars”.  I’ve played Star Wars a million times, and this marking still always amuses me.

Nerdy and fun.

(Can we also take a minute to appreciate what a nice picture this is?  I took this picture with my phone.)

4.I have some EXTREMELY important news.  Kevin (who used to write BfloBlog and now just yells at us to get off his lawn via twitter)’s son (SonOne) is writing a food blog.  BuffaloKid (SonOne’s nom de plume) aspires to be a food critic.  He’s ten years old, and his food interests include Mighty Taco, pizza, and fish.

I’m pretty sure that this is going to be one of the greatest blogs of all time, so if you want to be able to say “I was there when BuffaloKid started it all,” you’d better hightail it to Buffalo Kid Food.

If you ask me, there aren’t many things in this world more charming than a child blogging about Mighty Taco.

The Old Reach Around

I love it when the NHL reminds me of Arrested Development.

The gesture that Gob makes when he says “reach around” is super funny to me.

It appears that Gary Bettman has grown tired of slippery GMs signing players to these ridiculous contracts.  He’s not going to take it anymore!

Take THAT, Lou Lamoriello!

_______

So, a couple of hiLARious things happened yesterday:

1. The Devils held a press conference to announce Kovalchuk’s only-sliiiightly-more-ridiculous-than-all-the-other-cap-circumventing-contracts-that-came-before contract.

2. At that press conference Lou Lamoriello basically stuck his tongue out at the league and said, “Na-na-na-na-boo-boo!  You can’t catch me!”  Which is both obnoxious and delightful.

3. The league rejected Kovalchuk’s eleventy-million year contract AFTER the Devil’s press conference.  Which is both petty and amusing.

The whole thing has left me feeling both VERY amused and VERY disgusted.

Amused because, well let’s face it, the situation is funny from almost every angle.  The Devils (and every other team that can attract these types of free agents, and afford their contracts) made a BIG show yesterday out of signing a player to a contact WHILE fully admitting that the contract is a farce.  That’s funny.  The league is behaving like a fed-up babysitter.  After years of letting his babysitting charges get away with murder, Gary Bettman is suddenly yelling in harsh tones, and trying to be all authority-figure-y.  That’s funny too, because like everyone knows who has ever been babysat, the babysitter has no real authority.

I don’t care at all what happens next.  As a fan of a small market team that could never attract this type of player on the free agency market, these long years/low cap hit contracts get on my nerves.   So, I don’t really care when or how fairly the line is drawn, I just want these contracts to stop.  On the other hand, I love how Lou Lameriello basically signed Kovalchuk to a cap-circumventing contract, while simultaneously trying to ensure that no other team will be able to sign a player to one of these contracts again. That takes moxie, and I like moxie.

At this point, the whole thing is a win-win.  As the late great George Carlin once said (I’m paraphrasing something I heard him say on the Tonight Show), “When you’re born, and you get a ticket to the freak show, my advice is to just sit back and enjoy.”  That’s true about life, and it’s true about the NHL.

Garden Update (Because I Know You’re Dying To Know)

Remember the picture of my garden in its in infancy?

Day One. This picture will never not be funny to me.  I was so so proud and distressed on the day I put these plants in the ground.  I checked on them constantly.

Look at it now!

Yay!

Day Something-Much-Bigger-Than-One.

Here are some more pictures of my yard.  As you can see, I still have no grass (only weeds where grass belongs), but…baby steps.  Maybe next year I’ll seriously tackle the grass issue.


right


sidewalk garden left

Sidewalk garden right

Sorry to subject you to this redonkulous post.  I’m feeling very proud of my mud pits today.  One of these days I’ll have something to say about hockey again…..maybe.

5 Things I’ll Miss About the World Cup

In no particular order [AND NOW WITH ONE UPDATED BONUS THING]:

1. Vuvuzelas. Yup, that’s right.  I’m a vuvuzela lover.  Like every non-deaf person in the world, when I first heard the vuvuzalas, I was all, “What in the what?!…Is my TV on the fritz?”  But the vuvuzelas quickly faded to background noise for me.  Sort of like the sound of a fan at night.  I honestly think I could sleep through a vuvuzela chorus now.  Then, against all odds, I began to like vuvuzelas.  I even bought some vuvuzelas.  (I bought three!  So, not only am I part of the vuvuzela solution, I’m part of the problem.)  No, I don’t want them to infiltrate American sports.  Yes, I agree they’d be annoying in person.  But the vuvuzelas were an amusing part of the 2010 World Cup.  I know that for the rest of my life, when I hear a vuvuzela I’ll be instantly transported back to the summer of ’10 in my mind.  I like stuff like that, and I’ve had a good summer so far, so I think I’ll enjoy having an easy way to remember this year.  Vuvuzela as time capsule.

2. The jerseys. Perhaps it’s just because I root for the Sabres, but I wouldn’t call myself a jersey watcher.  (A Sabres fan who is obsessed with jerseys is in for a sad, sad time.)  I have lots of basic opinions about hockey jerseys, but I don’t lose sleep over the bad ones, and I don’t have more than a basic appreciation for the good ones.  Until soccer came along, I was pretty neutral on jerseys.

I’m not sure if it’s the simplicity of the uniform, but MAN did I enjoy noticing every little aspect of their outfits.  And I chose my rooting interests accordingly.

Paraguay is the team that got the most affection from me based on their uniforms alone.  These socks make my heart all fluttery.  Magnificent.


And then there was Germany.  These were BY FAR the worst uniforms in the World Cup.  So many things to hate.  I can forgive the Germans for World War I and II, but will never, ever, ever forgive them for having gold stripes on their shoulders and WHITE stripes on their shorts.  Those mismatched stripes are so disgusting that the red piping in the shirt is nearly acceptable in comparison.  Red piping!  These uniforms make me angry.

3. The thighs. I’ll miss the thighs a lot.

4. Passionately cheering for/against a totally random country. I tend to be a, “Let peace begin with me,” kind of gal, so I actively shy away from issues of nationalism and politics.  I get nervous about any big display of nationalism from any country.  Perhaps this is why it I found it so amusing to be all, “Those filthy, cheating [insert the name of any country]-ians!”  It turns out xenophobia is kind of hilarious when applied completely haphazardly to a sporting event I know almost nothing about.

On the flip side, I rooted VERY passionately for a few countries I’d never really thought much about before.  For example, I cried when Ghana was eliminated.  Actual tears of sadness and frustration slid down my pasty Minnesotan face when Ghana missed that penalty kick.  If you’d told me a month ago that I would be passionately rooting for Ghana I would have said, “I’m, like, 99.99% sure that Ghana is somewhere in Africa.”  And now, after watching the World Cup, I’m thinking that I must be at least half-Ghanaian.  There just HAS to be at least a little Ghanaian blood in my ancestry somewhere.

It’s right there, you fool.  Gha! na!  Gha! na!  Gha! na!

5. Having an excuse to shut down my life and watch sports all day for a month. This perk of the World Cup cannot be overstated.  I didn’t feel even remotely guilty watching up to three soccer games a day.  In fact, I felt like I was becoming a part of the global community.  Not only was I not wasting time, I was being worldly and sophisticated!  I was learning about new cultures (kind of) and shedding my stodgy American sensibilities.  Look.  If 90% of the world thinks the World Cup is important enough to drink beer in the middle of the day over, well, who am I to argue?  It’s my duty as a well-rounded citizen of the world to participate.

_______

So, World Cup, I bid you a fond adieu.  You’ve been a hoot and I’ll miss you very much.

_____

Oh wait!  I can’t believe I forgot this one.  It’s a BONUS thing I’ll miss about the World Cup.

6. Paul the Octopus

He’s an octopus.  Named Paul. (PAUL!)  And he knows what’s up.

Man. Is LeBron James a Douche, Or What?

When I first heard about it, the LeBron James one-hour “DECISION” special didn’t seem like that bad of an idea.  Sure, it was an obnoxious concept from the beginning, but I could also appreciate it for its unabashed hat-tip to show biz.  Sports are, after all, a big silly show.

But as the day wore on yesterday, I began to imagine what it would be like to watch as a Cavs fan, and I got increasingly uneasy.  I should also admit that I believed all along that he was going to choose to return to Cleveland.  I mean, who in their right mind would set up an hour long spectacle in order to shit all over their home town?  It’s one thing to leave for greener pastures, but to go that far out of your way to be a dick on the way out of town?  Surely he had to be picking Cleveland.  Right?

Then I saw the “DECISION SPECIAL,” and it was SO MUCH WORSE than anyone could have possibly predicted.

I mean, that was cold.

I don’t have anything to say that hasn’t already been said better by foxier folks than me, but here are a few thoughts that I can’t stop myself from vocalizing:

- One of the things that reeeeally bothers me about this whole thing is the sneaking suspicion that LeBron James actually thought that the whole world would be excited about this.  I think he thought that we’d all shed our previous allegiances, and become Miami Heat fans.  For some reason, this chills me to the bone.  In addition to being an incredible tool, LeBron James might be bat-shit crazy, you guys.  Crazy like the Joker.  I’m literally afraid of LeBron James now.  The best thing we can assume about him is that he’s empty inside.  The worst is….scarier than empty.

- My favorite point about why his decision is icky is this: Superstars are supposed to compete against each other.  They’re not supposed to call each other on the phone and figure out a way that they can all play on the same team.  It’s just not right.  Imagine if Sidney Crosby and Ovechkin called each other on the phone and were all, “You know, it would be a LOT easier to win Cups if we were playing together instead of competing against one another, don’t you think?”  It’s just. plain. WRONG.

- On the other hand, if LeBron James doesn’t have that crazy competitive drive, that’s fine by me.  Seriously.  That’s okay.  I really think it’s alright to be suuuuuuper good at basketball and also have a normal human disposition.  Surely the same competitiveness that makes Kobe and Jordan and Magic “great” on the court also makes them total dicks in their personal lives.  Normal people have doubts, and not everyone wants to be a leader.  This is perfectly fine.  I actually think it’s kind of sweet.  BUT IF YOU’RE NOT THE GUY, YOU CAN’T TATTOO “CHOSEN 1″ ON YOUR BACK AND REFER TO YOURSELF AS KING JAMES.  Everything about that dumb special was presuming that LeBron James is one of the greatest that ever lived, while simultaneously selling a “decision” that made him seem small and insecure. How dumb do you think we are, LeBron James?

There were a few good things that came out of this though:

1. The Cavs owner is cah-razy, and I love it.  I know, I know, he’s stupid and he’s never going to sign another free agent again, and his letter was ridiculous, and he lost ALL credibility when he guaranteed the Cavs would win before LeBron, but still.  In the aftermath of that creepy display of consumerism, it was incredibly refreshing to get a taste of some unadulterated, genuine emotion.  The sad truth is that Gilbert’s lunatic rant felt like the first taste of sanity in a post-LeBron-ESPN-Decision-Special world.  So, now I’m a Cavs fan.

2. We will now have a new way of identifying the truly depraved people of this world.  They will be those wearing Heat jerseys outside of Miami.  I’ve heard a lot of excuses for rooting for the Yankees in Buffalo (“My father rooted for the Yankees, I grew up with them, Buffalo is a losing town I just want to cheer for a winner blah blah blah blah.”), but NO ONE grew up rooting for the Miami Heat.  There is only ONE reason to cheer for the Miami Heat, and that is that you are a GIANT TURD.

3. That ESPN special was so cold, so gross, so narcissistic, so unbelievably disturbing that it felt like a glass of cold water to the face.  It was a wake-up call.  Do not get me wrong, I have NO DOUBT we will ultimately ignore the wake-up call entirely, but I love that everyone in the country is on the same page (the page simply says, “THAT WAS SO FUCKING WRONG”) today.

The disturbing truth is that if LeBron James had said, “I’m sticking with my hometown team, the team I’ve always loved, the Cleveland Cavaliers.  I want to bring a championship to the city where I grew up,” my heart would have swelled with joy, and I would have forgiven LeBron for all the hubris and the narcissism of “The Decision”.  But it would have been wrong of me to forgive him for “The Decision” just because he said the thing I wanted to hear.

I think the ESPN spectacle was more wrong than any decision could have possibly been right.

That horrible sense of self-loathing everyone who watched the special is feeling today?  That’s the guilt-ridden hangover we earned last night.  It’s important.  That hangover is infinitely better than the alternative.  Without this crushing hangover, we might go on, drunk forever on whatever noxious, truly poisonous brew ESPN decides to serve next.

The Fun Spot

I’m still not in the mood to think about the Sabres (Welcome to Buffalo, Tallinder the 2nd Jordan Leopold!), and I’m scared that if I turn on the television I’ll accidentally get sucked into the Hotdog Eating Contest, so here’s a funny story from Apple Hill.

________

On the day after music camp ended, a little crew of us (Mike, Jesse, Elise, Ealain, and myself) hopped in the car and drove an hour and a half to The Fun Spot.  Now, ordinarily driving many miles to the world’s biggest arcade/video game museum on a beautiful day with my oldest and dearest friends would be pure delight, but on this day….well.

As Jesse would later say of the day, “It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times.”

First, a bit about The Fun Spot.  It’s bonkers.  The Fun Spot is a three-story warehouse full of every arcade video game ever made (possibly literally), plus skee-ball, whack-a-mole, and all the other games where you get tickets and then turn them in for small prizes.   The Fun Spot is awesome because if there was a video game that you used to love playing at the roller rink in 1983, it will be there.  You can find it, and play it, and be magically returned to a different era of your life.  Jesse, Mike and I spent HOURS (and hundreds of dollars) playing Star Trek the Next Generation pinball in college, and IT WAS THERE, at The Fun Spot.  Star Trek pinball!  Just looking at the machine made me feel like a junior in college again, and when I heard the sounds of the game I was absolutely transported back to the Oberlin game room, circa 1996. (In college though, our Star Trek game had a broken tilt mechanism.  This was part of its appeal.  If you were strong enough you could literally hoist the machine into the air to avoid having your ball go down the drain.  Star Trek pinball is why I had huge bruises on my hips [from slamming the machine] for all of 1996.  Sadly, at The Fun Spot the tilt worked, and we weren’t allowed to abuse the machine.)

So, The Fun Spot definitely has its fine qualities.  And let me tell you, we LAUGHED our asses off that day.  We laughed until we couldn’t breath.  Repeatedly.  At one point in the car, Jesse was laughing so hard he pulled the car over to the side of the road so that he wouldn’t crash.  (For my BPO friends- I was telling the story of The “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Fawn” at the time. Heh.)  We laughed until our sides ached and we begged each other to “PLEASE STOP BEING FUNNY, OR I’LL DIE”.  I love those people so much, and it was such a treat to hang out with them all day.  If you ever get the chance to hit the Fun Spot with your BFFs, I highly recommend that you take it.

But there IS bad news about the Fun Spot.  First of all, with all those people playing video games at once, it’s loud.  Like, REAL loud.  Second of all, it’s hot.  Like, ewwww hot.  And smelly.  And THIRD of all, every surface in that building feels grimy.  I have never felt so unclean as I felt in the Fun Spot.  I figure you have at LEAST a 50% chance of catching hepatitis at the Fun Spot.  After every game I played, I felt the strong urge to douse myself in Purell, but I didn’t have any Purell, so I made repeated trips to the scuzzy bathrooms to wash my hands.  The bathroom was its own nightmare of uncleanliness.

Added to the general yuckiness of the Fun Spot was my own personal predicament.  You see, I was more than a little hung over that day.  It wasn’t a DefCon 5 hangover, but it was definitely a hangover that should’ve been treated with lots of Gatorade and possibly a “Law and Order” marathon.  BUT, this was no ordinary situation.  I was in full, “Seize the day” mode because I was at summer camp.  When you’re at summer camp you don’t say, “I’m too tired.”  EVER.  When you’re at summer camp you grab the Fun Spot by the horns, and you play video games until you can’t see straight.  You rally.  Because damnit, time is short and soon you’ll have to go back to real life.  There will be plenty of time for fluids and television in Buffalo.  In New Hampshire, you go for the gold.

So, the whole time we were in the Fun Spot sweating, and laughing, and obsessively washing our hands, I was teetering back and forth between feeling reasonably okay and feeling like I wanted to curl up on the floor of the Fun Spot and die.   One second I would be laughing so hard I couldn’t imagine being happier, and the next second I would be limping to the snack bar (the quietest, yet stickiest area of the Fun Spot) to try to manage my hangover with Rolos and Cheez-Its.  (Rolos and Cheez-Its are not ideal hangover food, but you work with what you’ve got.  They did help.)

I could write a thousand years and still never get done telling you about the adventures (and misadventures) we had in the Fun Spot, but instead, I’ll just leave you with this:

FunSpotBootieThis is Jesse displaying the booty we collected with our tickets after playing about $80 worth of Skee-ball.  A plastic hand clapper, a strange thermos thing, and a dolphin ring.

After squeezing all the fun we could out of the Fun Spot, we got in the car for the long ride home.  We were all a little worse for the wear (practically shell-shocked), but I was in particularly bad shape due to my hangover.  It was nearing dinnertime, but since the Fun Spot is kind of in the middle of nowhere we decided it would be best to eat once we got back to home.  So, the scene at this point was rather sorry.  We were all tired, and feeling disgusting, I was hungover and getting increasingly cranky about it, and we were still hours away from eating dinner.

This is when I began whining in earnest.  I’d like to think that my whining was for comedic effect, but if I’m honest with myself, I’m not so sure.  The Fun Spot had pushed me to the brink.  I was hungry and tired and jammed in the backseat of a Subaru with two other adults, and when I wasn’t whining pitifully, I was slap happy and near delirious.

And so this is how we began our rambling ride home.  We recounted the adventures we’d had at the Fun Spot.  Laughed over some of them, cried over others, and basically tried to keep each other’s spirits up.  But we were definitely flagging.  There is only so much a human body can take, and the Fun Spot had turned out to be the ultimate test of human stamina.

Just when we thought that the day had taken a turn for the permanently cranky, Elise exclaimed, “Oh my gosh!  I still have half a doughnut!”  Then, from under the seat, she produced a wax paper bag containing half of the doughnut she had purchased that morning.  We all cheered and passed the bag around, each taking one bite of the doughnut.  I cannot tell you how rejuvenating a single bite of a doughnut can be when you are in the post-Fun Spot pit of despair.  In that moment, we were reborn.

But five minutes later we came crashing down.  It turns out one bite of doughnut only provides five minutes of rebirth.  After that you feel worse than you felt before you even HAD that bite of doughnut.

That’s when we had this exchange:

Mike: How are you feeling Kate?

Kate:  BAD.  I feel BAD.  I’m hungry and I feel BAD.  That bite of doughnut only made things worse!

Mike: I know.  Me too.  I bet you feel terrible, what with the hangover and all.

Kate: I FEEL TERRIBLE.  The Fun Spot practically killed me.  HOW ARE WE GOING TO GET ALL THE WAY HOME, COVERED IN GERMS FROM THE FUNSPOT AND WITH NO SUSTENANCE?!

Mike: We might die.

Kate: (sadly, dejectedly, with no hint of hope or joy) I think we will die.

(a long, desperate quiet descends upon the car)

Mike:  But wait…

(Mike begins rummaging around in the center console.  We all eye him warily.  All hope is lost.)

And then, in a voice you would use to say, “But guess what!  We have ONE MORE present,” at a child’s birthday party right before you bring in a pony with a bow tied around his neck, Mike triumphantly held up a wax paper bag.

“IT’S ANOTHER DOUGHNUT!”

We were saved!  Mike had been holding out!  He had expertly waited until the car had reached it’s lowest, saddest, most hopeless state, and then HE MAGICALLY PRODUCED ANOTHER LIFE SAVING DOUGHNUT!  My heart filled with joy!  We would not die!  We had another doughnut!

Is there anyone better than Mike?  NO.  There is not!

I’m not sure I will ever have a moment as happy as the moment Mike pulled that doughnut out of thin air.  We ate that doughnut, and this time it WAS enough to get us home.  Mike’s magical doughnut got us all the way back up to Apple Hill.  The day had been a wondrous success.

And we all lived happily every after.

The End.


…A Blog About the Buffalo Sabres

Observations 2
I can be reached at: willfulcaboose [at] gmail [dot] com

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In accordance with the Fair Use Copyright Law, The Willful Caboose uses logos and registered trademarks of the National Hockey League to convey my criticism and inform the public of the Sabres' suckitude/badassitude (whatever the case may be). Photos on The Willful Caboose are used without permission, but do not interfere with said owner's profit. If you own a specific image on this site and want it removed, please e-mail me (willfulcaboose [at] gmail [dot] com) and I will be more than happy willing to oblige. (Special thanks to The Pensblog for their help with this disclaimer.)

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