Archive for the 'Apple Hill' Category

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.


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.


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.

I’m BACK, and I’m Better Than Ever

Hello, Dear Readers!

You may or may not have noticed this, but I haven’t written on this blog in, oh, ten million years, give or take a few millennium.  I can’t remember a time in the three years I’ve been writing this blog when I’ve thought so little about hockey or blogging.  I went on hiatus.

I also went out of town- to Apple Hill.  You may remember Apple Hill from such posts as Too Much Nature (that post was written entirely on my cell phone), Charming Pictures of Young People Playing Music in the BarnThe Bat in the Shack Story, and the time it would NOT stop raining.  If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile you’ve actually read quite a bit about Apple Hill.  (Isn’t it weird that I’ve been writing this blog long enough to have written about Apple Hill THREE times already?  I think that’s weird.  Also kind of cool.)

shackThis year I lived down in the swamp (as opposed to up on the hill) in Cabin A.  No bats, but I did live with at least one lunatic mouse who wasn’t even remotely afraid of me.

I decided I didn’t want to pay ANY attention to hockey while I was at Apple Hill, and I think it was a good choice.  Instead of paying any attention to the draft, I paid full attention to skit night.  Instead of spending my day off catching up on hockey blogs, I spent my day off watching multiple World Cup games with fun and attractive people.  Instead of spending even one minute of my time and energy thinking about Darcy Regier, I was happy.

I had a wonderful time at Apple Hill this year.  I feel refreshed and invigorated and newly inspired to be as awesome as possible.

So, in the spirit of trying to be as awesome as possible I sat down and said to myself, “Self, free agency starts TOMORROW.  What are you going to write about it on your blog?  You have to write something, and, for the love of Lindy Ruff, make it awesome.”

Here’s what I came up with: Diddly poo.

I’m still not ready to think seriously about the Sabres.  I just don’t care that much about them right now.  I almost never think about them, and when I DO think about them all I really feel is a shoulder-shrugging sense of “Well, something will happen eventually….is it really worth thinking about this?”

And honestly, do we really want to think too hard about the likes of Tim Connolly and Drew Stafford right now?  No!  We do not!  It’s beautiful outside!  We’re young, and we still have good hair and strong backs.  We can spend our time doing almost anything.  Gardening, practicing, flirting, painting rooms bright green, drinking and more drinking, cooking, sewing small squares of fabric together!  The world is our oyster.  This is no time to think about the Sabres.   No time at all.

So, let’s just not.

Tomorrow, the Sabres will sign someone  It probably won’t be too exciting, but it will be someone.  If Darcy trades anyone from the “top six” I’ll eat my hat and I’ll also jump for joy.  Let’s just wait and see what happens.  If the Sabres want us to write about them more, maybe they should try being sassier.  If they can’t be sassier I’m more than willing to make my own sass.

We’ll meet back here tomorrow night and see if we’re feeling any more inspired to discuss the Sabres.  If not, we’ll just think of something better to talk about.

Life is short, you know?

Day Twelve (4 Things)

1.  I’m going to jump on the bandwagon and say, “YAY TWITTER!”  Anyone who poo-poos Twitter has never spent two weeks in the deep New Hampshire woods with only sporadic internet access.  Twitter has been HUGELY fabulous while I’ve been away.  Thanks to Twitter, I found out about Michael Jackson in a timely manner and I was able to follow along with the NHL draft while at the Apple Hill skit night.  Twitter is a great way to stay connected when you are away from a computer.  At this point in human history I demand to know what’s going on at all times, but I ALSO like leaving the house and stepping away from my computer.  That’s where Twitter is awfully handy.  Plus, it’s a hoot to see who rocks at Twittering and who sucks.

2. I hear Darcy drafted some big, punchy dude.  Excellent.

3. It sounds like Spacek is not going to be a Sabre next year.  That pisses me off a bit.  I get irritated when people act like losing Jaro is no big deal.  I think we still need him.  I know it’s still very early in the off season, but Darcy has a LONG way to go before I stop assuming the Sabres will suck next season.  A long long looooooooong way to go.

4. It also sounds like we should keep one eye on the Stafford situation.  I can’t quite put my finger on Staffy.  Part of me thinks he’s never going to pan out as a points leader, and part of me thinks that in a different system, with a different coach, he’s got the potential to be great.  I just have this hunch that Lindy and Staffy hate each other.  I’m wary of letting Stafford get away, but I’m also wary of giving him a contract based on his “potential”.  I’ve had it UP TO HERE waiting for the Sabres to live up to their potential.  Personally, I’d fire Lindy before I’d give up on Staffy, but I’m willing to admit that my judgement is wacky when it comes to these things.

Day Eleven

After lunch and dinner at Apple Hill we have a very informal concert for the camp participants in the Concert Barn.  This is the “practice” before the real concerts on Saturday and Sunday.  Today there was a thunderstorm so we had to close all the windows.  It was very cozy.

Concert Barn

Day Nine

I ate lunch in this little restaurant/grocery store in Harrisville, New Hampshire that was STRAIGHT out of Glimore Girls.  It was so Star Hollow that I half expected Luke to walk in, wipe the table down while I was trying to eat, and get exasperated by my fruity tendencies. (Because, I’m, um, soooo Lorelie.  Heh.)

Harrisville Seriously.  This is what Harrisville looks like.  It’s full of friendly, interesting looking people who all seem to know each other.  I wonder if they have knit-a-thons, and starlight festivals, and a hilarious local nerd named Kirk.  I hope so.

Life is pretty good today.  Tonight I’m going to eat homemade Korean Barbeque, and then martinis.

I sat down at the computer to catch up with Sabres news, and there is none.  I know it’s still early, but I was hoping that half the team would be traded by now.  Move your ass, Darcy.

Day Eight

Faculty concert?  Check.

Now comes what might be my favorite day of the year- the day off at Apple Hill.  I’m going to spend all day tomorrow chilling in Keene, enjoying the big city lifestyle, and dreaming of the day when I too will have such glamorous amenities.

Day Seven

I took this photo on my cell phone before a rehearsal this evening. This is the view from the Winter Rehearsal Room at Apple Hill.

That rectangular thing on the left with the four posts sticking up from the ground is Mike’s raised bed garden. It’s the old ping pong table, upside-down and filled with dirt.

I took this picture on my phone, through a window screen. The photo looks cool on my phone, but I haven’t seen it on a computer, so forgive me if it’s just a green blob. If I ever have computer internet service again I’ll post something decent.

Day Six

When I lazily titled my post a few days ago “Day Two,” I didn’t really consider that numbering the posts would make me feel obligated to post every day while at Apple Hill.  If you ever want to further understand the kind of crazy I am, just know that I’m the kind of crazy that feels obligated to write on “Day Six” if I’ve written on days one, two, three, four, and five.  I don’t really care about the quality of the posts (good heavens, NO), only that I write every day.  It’s a sickness.


Here’s a little story: 

Today I ate lunch with the six-(almost seven)-year-old daughter of an Apple Hill participant.  We discovered that her birthday is on July 23, and my birthday is on July 22nd, which makes us soul sisters.  Elise’s birthday is on July 26th, and the six-year-old has a friend whose birthday is on July 24th.  So, what we need is another friend whose birthday is on JULY 25TH and then we could have BIRTHDAY PARTIES ON FIVE DAYS IN A ROW.  (This prospect made my young friend literally squeal with delight.)  If you, or someone you know was born on July 25th, please contact me IMMEDIATELY.

Day Five

Sometimes you wind up having a really good rehearsal on the night you think you’d rather die than rehearse.

Day Four (No Goal-eriffic)

Day Four at Apple Hill is the last taste of relaxation before everything gets all topsy-turvy and busy.  Until today I’ve just been rehearsing with the other faculty in preparation for our concert on Tuesday, but tomorrow the coaching begins.

So, in celebration of my soon-to-be-over freedom, I drove into town to sit around in Brewbakers for a few hours.

I was cruising around on the interwebs when I made a shocking discovery.  Today is the 10 year anniversary of No Goal!  Ten years ago I was living in Philadelphia (dude, it’s crazy that that was ten years ago), and I had never seen a hockey game in my life, so the No Goal anniversary has no particular emotional significance to me personally.

But, I imagine some of my Sabres-loving brothers and sisters look upon the event with a frown in their heart, so, in an effort to cheer you up, I will now make an embarrassing No Goal-related confession for your amusement.

Reason #48,937 that Katebits is a num-num

I first saw the famous picture of “No Goal” when I got really into the Sabres in 2007.

HullIt burns!  It burns!

I read the story about Hull’s skate in the crease, and of the grave injustice, and learned that Lindy rose to (nearly invincible) power in the aftermath by dubbing the play, “No Goal”.

“It’s a TRAVESTY!” I declared.

The thing is though, while I was perfectly willing to hop aboard the “BUFFALO HAS BEEN ROBBED” train, I didn’t really understand how Buffalo had been robbed.  You see, I had made a terrible mistake when I first looked at the famous photo of No Goal.

I….looked at the wrong skate.

Hull 2I know.

In my defense, when I looked at the photo, I was looking for something controversial. I was looking for a “close call”, and I thought the photograph was the “smoking gun”.  The skate that I thought was Hull’s skate is the only skate in the picture that is both visible and even slightly open for interpretation.  I didn’t occur to me that Hull had literally been STANDING in the crease.  My eyes just went to the skate that looked the shadiest, and that’s where I assumed all the controversy lay.

Of course, had I deployed even one or two brain cells, I could have pick up on a few other “clues” in the photograph.

Hull 3

Katebits is an idiot, case closed.

Oh, but I’m not done.

Here is the true scope of my stupidity: I didn’t just hone in on the wrong skate in that photograph back in 2007, I honed in on the wrong skate for two years. I didn’t realize the truth until APRIL OF 2009.  I had been writing a Sabres blog for a YEAR AND A HALF at that point. A few months ago I saw the photograph for some reason, and like a bolt of incredibly slow moving lighting, it occurred to me, “Heeeey…..waaaait a minute…”

Dear Readers, I have many times thought about telling you this story, but I always stopped myself because honestly, it’s really embarrassing.  For some reason I LOVE to tell the internet all about how I’m a complete idiot.  Telling stories about my near inability to function without protective headgear has been a staple of my blogging from day one, but this one is humbling, even for me.

When I turned on the computer and realized today was the ten year anniversary of No Goal, I couldn’t resist.

(I’m NOT having mini-strokes.  This is just how I AM.  I know it’s hard to believe.)

…A Blog About the Buffalo Sabres

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

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puck goggles
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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