Archive for July, 2011

6 Things

1. HOOOOOORAAAAAAY for gay marriages in New York State! A joyful, joyful, joyful day.

My mother’s twin sister is gay, and I grew up one block from away from my aunt and her partner Mary. I’ve been very close to both of them my entire life. I couldn’t love them more. They helped raise me.

Having been raised in part by a lesbian couple, I simply do not understand resistance to gay marriage.

The story I always tell about my experience growing up with a gay couple is this: When I was about twelve I overheard my then 9-year-old sister ask my mother, “Mom, are Kathy and Mary lesbians?” To which my mother replied, “Yes”.  As difficult as this may be for some to believe, that overheard conversation between my mother and my sister was the first time I ever, even for one second, considered the nature of my aunt’s relationship. I had literally never thought about it before. In the first twelve years of my life I hadn’t noticed that they were different from heterosexual couples. Of course I was aware that they were two women, but their relationship was such an (beautifully) ordinary part of my childhood that it never once occurred to me to question it. After I heard my sister say the word “lesbian” I thought, “Oh, hey. Yeah. They are lesbians.” And that was the extent of it.

The legalization of gay marriage is important, it’s right, and it’s unstoppable. Someday soon legal gay marriage will be the law of the entire land, and history will view those who opposed it as bigots.

Niagara Falls got all dressed up in rainbow colors to celebrate. Makes me smile.

2.Dry Island” is the kind of coaching power move that can seriously bite you in the ass. I’m going to go ahead and call “Dry Island” a massive failure for Peter Laviolette. Theoretically, professional athletes absolutely should be able to commit to a month of not drinking, but, well, obviously Dry Island didn’t work. It contributed to a big rift in the Flyers locker room, and now, years later, two of the best players on the Flyers have been traded, and players are ratting each other out to the press. That’s some great coaching!  Stay crazy, Flyers!

3. Everyone, please take time to visit the ALL NEW Sabres blogroll page! And, as always, if you know of a blog that is not on the list, PLEASE let me know!

4. I’ve been playing around a lot with Spotify. I decided to give the full “Premium” subscription a try, and so far, I think it’s worth the money. Spotify has almost everything I want to listen to, including a decent amount of classical music. My biggest complaint is that the iphone app needs a LOT of improvement. It crashes every time I try to create a new playlist on my phone, and using Spotify chews up my phone’s battery power very quickly. But in terms of having a basically-limitless music library at my fingertips, I’m very impressed. It’s not quite hoverboards, but Spotify still feels pretty “the future is here”-y.

5. We’re almost to one of my very favorite times of the year. Starting next Monday I’ll have six weeks off from work (the BPO keeps a pretty similar schedule to teachers- lots of time off in the summer). What should I do with myself? Possible activities: start a gang, learn Spanish, landscape my entire backyard, sit around playing on the interwebs.

6. I’m trying to work out a way to sell some of my unused season tickets to Sabres fans instead of Leafs and Habs fans. (Now, before you leave a comment lecturing me about selling tickets to visiting fans, I ask that you kindly reconsider. Because… seriously, shut up.) There has to be a way to pull this off. Most of my unused games I sell to my friends at the price I paid ($54 a seat, this season), but I always sell a handful of games on Stub Hub.

I’d always prefer to sell tickets to Sabres fans than to visiting fans, so I think I’m going create a page on this blog that lists the games I have for sale and my asking price. I’m just going to try it for this season, if it doesn’t work, no biggie.  (Now that I think about it, is this even legal? Am I going to get thrown in the slammer?)

Meet Matt Phillips, Super Violist.

I’ve known Matt Phillips, a violist in the Buffalo Philharmonic, for about ten years now. For the first five years I knew him, he was basically just an ordinary violist like the rest of us. Matt was certainly never visibly out of shape, it’s just that he was no more or less athletic than your average classical musician.

At some point along the way, things changed. At some point, Matt started jogging. I say “at some point” because from my perspective, one day Matt was just a regular, non-runner like most people, and the next day he was… running marathons. It seriously seemed like it happened overnight. Even now, if you ask Matt, “So, let me get this straight. One day, out of the blue, you just started running extremely long distances?” he’s just like, “Yeah, pretty much.”

Matt is obviously really good at running. He’s also really good at the viola. He seems to be some new breed. A “Super Violist”, if you will.

First he will try to defeat you by playing the viola, and if somehow that doesn't work, he will beat you in a foot race. Enemies, beware.

Now whenever Matt takes a day off from work we all assume that he’s running a race somewhere. When he returns to work he’s always extremely nonchalant about whatever ridiculous feat of strength he’s accomplished.  I don’t know much about racing, but Matt always seems to place very high, and sometimes he even wins the race. (My favorite story of Matt winning a race is when he won the Erie Philharmonic’s 5k. Orchestras are very supportive of one another, because as an industry there is absolutely no benefit to being competitive. That said, it’s still amusing when someone in one orchestra wins the 5K of another orchestra.)

Why am I writing about this on my hockey blog? I’m glad you asked!

Yesterday, Matt ran in the “Hamburg Character Chase”. If I’m reading the race results correctly, he placed 5th overall, and 1st in his age group. That’s some pretty good running, Matt!

Here are the results. I’ve blocked out most of the other names because I don’t know if it’s kosher to re-post race results, but please scroll down for an amusing surprise.

It’s official. The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra has defeated the Buffalo Sabres on the field of athletics. When the Sabres feel they are ready to challenge us to a Battle of the Orchestras, we will be ready to defend our turf.  For now… advantage, BPO.

Your move, Sabres.

 

 

The Sabres Blogroll Project

Since there isn’t much of interest going on in Sabreland right now, my thoughts have turned to more bloggy matters. Specifically, my blogroll.

Once upon a time, I took tender loving care of my Sabres blogroll. I tended it, and weeded it, and whispered sweet nothings into its ear so that it knew it was loved, but somewhere along the way, I drifted away from my blogroll. Earlier today I started tinkering with my Sabres blogroll and I discovered that was a big fat mess. Not only were there dead blogs, but there are important omissions.

In looking over my blogroll, I’ve realized that I no longer have what I’d consider a full grasp of the Sabres blogosphere. I don’t think I even know what’s out there these days. Back when I started Sabres blogging about four years ago, I honestly think I read every post that appeared on every Sabres blog, everyday. Since then the blogosphere has absolutely exploded. There are, like, a bazillion Sabres blogs now, and I don’t think anyone could possibly read them all. The blogosphere is absolutely churning out content at this point.

This is a potentially exciting time for the Sabres blogosphere. The Blogger Summit showed us that the Sabres organization is paying attention to us, and that they are willing to instigate conversations with the blogosphere. I’m not sure the Sabres (or any sports franchise) really know how to deal with bloggers yet, and I think in this uncertainty is a fair amount of opportunity. Right now the Sabres seem like an organization that is invigorated, curious, and creative. A luck would have it, we’ve got an army of invigorated, curious, and creative people writing about the Sabres as a hobby. I don’t have any idea what the future could bring in terms of the blogosphere’s relationship with the team, but I do know there is power in numbers.

It seems to me that the more people we having blogging, the higher the odds the Sabres will continue to want to interact with the blogosphere… which is where the blogroll comes in.

I’d like to assemble a list of every single Sabres blog out there. I want to know who is writing. Specifically, I want to know how many people are writing. I want a number.

In the past I’ve invited the blogosphere to be on my blogroll, but this is a little different. This time I am asking for your help compiling a list, as a favor to me. In the end, I want to have a definitive list that says, “This is who we are. This is the Sabres blogosphere.” I’m planning to dedicate a page of this blog to the blogroll, and I promise (cross my heart) to keep it updated.

Here’s the criteria for being on the blogroll:

1. The blogs have to primarily about the Sabres and/or Buffalo sports. I used to have a handful of general Buffalo-centric blogs in the blogroll, but I took those out. Obviously, it’s cool to write about other stuff (hell, half of this blog is about other stuff), but the Sabres should be the main thing.

2. The blog must be active. When I went through my existing blogroll I took out all the blogs that hadn’t been updated at all in the 2011 calendar year. So, the definition of “active” is pretty loose. If you’ve written in the last six months, you’re in.

That’s it.

I’ve moved the current Sabres blogroll up in the sidebar. Take a look at the list, and let me know who I’m missing. Please do not be shy. Leave links in the comment section, email me at willfulcaboose@gmail.com, or contact me on twitter.

Thank you for your help! Happy blogging!

You Say Goodbye, And I Say Hello.

Okay, the initial burst of free agency is over, and while we’re all still holding our breaths for the magical all-our-bad-players-in-exchange-for-Malkin trade of our dreams, it’s time to take stock of the current situation. Who’s in and who’s out?

______

OUT: Mark Mancari

Mark Mancari, I absolutely refused to give up on you, and I’m sad you’ve moved on.  I’ll miss you… not so much your playing (which always seemed super fabulous to me, actually), but definitely your tall swarthiness.  Good luck in Vancouver, and don’t party too hard at the Roxy.

Mark Mancari

Now the Sabres don't have a player who looks like he might moonlight as a pirate. :(

_______

IN: Robyn Regehr

I’m totally, totally psyched that we’re going to have a stay-at-home, punchy defenseman named “Robyn” on the Sabres.  Thanks for waiving your no trade clause, Robyn. Please let me apologize in advance for your new nickname, which is “Sloth”. Yes, you do remind me a teensy-tiny bit of that guy from the Goonies, but I assure you, “Sloth” is a term of affection at my house.  There is no one I’d rather have on my side in case of a Mama Fratelli-related emergency than you, Robyn. Welcome to the team!

"Baby Ruuu-th?"

______

OUT: Rob Niedermayer

Dude Nieds, I finally learned how to spell your name, and then you had to go and move to Switzerland.

Well, thanks for that one goal you scored that one time! (No, but seriously, thanks for getting waaaay better in the playoffs. That was awesome. Hopefully some of these scrubs learned a thing or two from you.)

He's the best looking of all the Niedermayers!

______

IN: Ales Kotalik

Wait….what?

Um...okaaaay.

______

OUT: Steve Montador

This one stings a bit. There are just some guys you like, and Steve Montador is one of those guys. I wanted him to stay, and I feel a little bit like Monty got the shaft. I mean, he was totally a part of the Sabres bridge from suckiness to not-so-suckiness, and it doesn’t feel fair that he got the heave-ho. On the other hand he signed a FAT contract in Chicago, so I think he’ll survive without us just fine. (I fully expect for Monty to start showing up in the background of all the, “Patrick Kane Is On Another Bender” articles on Deadspin. As the designated driver, or course.) Good luck, Monty. Thanks for being all-around awesome, and also for wearing that CHIPS outfit at the Catwalk for Charity.

Shaone Morrisonn and Steve Montador

Nice

IN: Ville Leino

Ville Leino, I have a good feeling about this signing, but man, Darcy took a big chance on you. I know that when Darcy said, “I’d like to offer you $27 million dollars, but only if you like playing center,” the only sane response was, “I don’t like playing center, I LOVE playing center,” but, you better be good at playing center. Seriously.

I don’t really know how to tell you this, but you’re sort of the new Vanek in that we-can’t-afford-anyone-else-because-we-gave-all-our-money-to-you sort of way.

Uh, no pressure or anything though.

This expression bodes well.

OUT: Tim Connolly

Bye, Timmeh. Thanks for… everything. I wish things had ended differently, I really do. Mostly I wish you’d gone to, like, the Panthers or some team like that, so I could safely say “good luck,” but now you’re a disgusting Leaf, so you’ve left me no choice but to say, “I hope you never win again.”

Timmm-mehhh

IN: Christian Ehrhoff

This is the contract that really signaled that this is a new era of Sabres hockey. This contract completely blew my mind. Ehrhoff’s contract is mega-cap-circumvent-y and it (theoretically) extends until the end of time.The assumption is that eventually they’ll just buy him out, but still. It completely rocks my world-view that of all the current Sabres, Ehrhoff is the one slated to be around for the longest. In ten years I’ll be forty-five years old which is impossibly old. Surely I’ll be dead by then, right?

Get used to this face, because we’re going to have hoverboards before his contract is up again.

OUT: Chris Butler

There is NOTHING not to love about Chris Butler. I’ll miss you, Butts. Have fun in Calgary, and thanks for being such a good Sabre. I’m sorry I don’t have much to say about you, but this post is going on forever, and I’m really getting tired of writing it. The good thing about you is that I doubt you’ll mind. You seem like such a good sport about this sort of thing.


Good old Butts.

______

So, that’s where we stand. We’ve said our goodbyes, and we’ve welcomed the newcomers. I, for one, am ready for the new season to begin!

The Hangover

Scene: A bedroom. Noonish.

Duuuuude, what the hell happened last night?

My head hurts.

What day is it? July 2nd? Oh man… (sits up in bed, blurry-eyed, hair all askew)…did we sign some dudes?

(Looks over to the right.) Who is this dude? (looks on floor next to bed) Why is there a Leino Flyers jersey on the floor?

(coughs a few times, clears throat, gently closes eyes, considers just going back to sleep)

(slowly opens eyes)

(Looks down at hand. Brings hand up near face.) Why am I wearing a wedding ring? (Looks back at Finnish guy.)

(gently closes eyes)

(slowly opens eyes)

The last thing I remember from last night is hearing that Darcy was on his way to Mississauga… (rubs eyes)… wait… did we get Richards?

 


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