Monthly Archives: January 2012

a beginner’s guide to the NHL playoffs.

For those of you new to the majesty and intrigue of the National Hockey League, the NHL playoff system might be confusing. While our country’s football league playoffs take approximately six hours, the NHL prefers to heighten the Excitement and Drama by stretching the process over the course of several days, months and/or years.

Right now, you are probably on the edge of your seat with Anticipation,* for this is the point in the season when things really Pick Up. Yes, in just short of six months, one lucky North American  US city will be awarded Lord Stanley’s Cup, which, when referred to in the possessive, sounds much more disgusting and far less desirable than the actual trophy.

But how excited should you be, Hockey Fan? To determine your favored team’s chances, ask yourself the following questions:
1.  Do I live in Montreal?
If yes, is it the mid 70s-to-early 80s?
If no, better luck next year.

2. Does my team currently have less than 40 points in the League standings?
If yes, dear Ohioan, shift your allegiance a bit further east to Pittsburgh for the foreseeable future.

3.  Are there freakish identical twin redheads on my team?
If yes, do not make direct eye contact, even if the game is televised. THEY CAN SEE YOU AND THEY ARE WATCHING. Also, odds are in your team’s favor.

4. Am I able to pronounce easily the last names of more than 75% of my team’s roster?
If yes, were you born in a former Eastern Bloc nation / the Soviet Union / Scandinavia?
If no, do you speak fluent Russian, Czech or Swedish?
If no, better luck next year.

If, after answering this brief questionnaire, you feel that your team’s outlook is bleak at best, you needn’t fret: The odds are still decent that they will make the Top 29 and thus, advance to the First Round of the playoffs.

But then what?

At the close of the Regular Season, a simple bracket system is created to determine each team’s advancement through fifty-three rounds of play, each increasing in difficulty with each passing month. Once a team progresses through the Regular Double -Blind Round-Robin Elimination Rounds and completes the quest through the Enchanted Gorlok Forest, they compete in the Semi-Finals.

During the Semi-Final death matches, teams will battle each other in the 25 Heures du l’Hockey, an endurance test akin to Le Mans, but on ice. Also, the goalies are blindfolded.

The Championship Series is next, during which teams must compete wearing skates that have been dulled by the soft ice, which is melting because it’s already fucking June. Here, the goalies’ glove hands are bound behind their back with electrical cable tied to a blasting cap. Also, the blasting cap has already been inserted into the explosive charge.** This round is often referred to as The Race Against Time.

The victors are at last crowned in a ceremony that takes place in their city’s most riotous neighborhood. If 22 members of the 23-man roster are able to make it from the playing venue to the ceremony, the Cup is ultimately theirs. Also, a mix of wild boars and drunk fans of the opposing team armed with AR15s have been unleashed in the streets.

At this, the playoffs come to a close.

But do not fear, Hockey Fan! Pre-season will begin again in three short days!

*and/or hemorrhoids.
** if this makes no sense, blame Wikipedia. And my short attention span. Or my cut-and-past skills. Or a combination of all three.

But then there’s the issue with the space gloves…

I’d like to state, for the record, that the version of Edward Scissorhands that appeared to me in a dream twenty-two years ago* was far more interesting than the version released to filmgoers.

Do you remember your dreams? I’m able to recall at least one or two random snippets of my sleep-nonsense almost every single morning. A (very informal) poll of some coworkers reveals that this is sort of an odd phenomenon, but the way I figure it, I live inside of my own head most of the time anyway. I think I’ve trained my brain to latch onto this kind of crap longer than some people.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. Scissorhands. Basically I went to sleep one night, dreamed that I was watching the film, and woke up absolutely convinced that the movie took place entirely on a spaceship. I thought I was some sort of Film Psychic – I hadn’t seen the movie, had caught maybe three seconds of the trailer, and yet I, Julie, was able to piece together the entire plot in my sleep.

Surely there was a career in that, right?

It wasn’t until much later that I realized I had been just a teensy bit off-base, though I suppose it didn’t completely surprise me (for the record, I’ve still never seen the film in its entirety – is there a space-travel sequence of which I’ve been hitherto unaware? Pleasesayyespleasesayyes).

And this has happened to me before, a few times. I just can’t recall which movie I dreamed up. The Fast and the Furious, maybe. Tell me: do they drive quickly and vehemently? Because I might’ve called that one.

just a mock-up. ya know, just to see how the public responds to my idea.

 

 

*Whoa. How old am I, again? Sheesh.

the big blanket let-down.

Edit: Cheese-and-rice, Julie! Talk about some first-world problems! Oh, poor me! I’m too warm and cozy at night! My life is hard! Oooh, woe is me!
I honestly disgust myself sometimes. Please forgive me.

*             *             *

Friends, this post is to inform you that I am moving. I’m not sure where I’m going yet, but it will be someplace cold (possibly Canada, or an area with “tundra”). I also don’t know when I’m moving, but it will be soon – hopefully before winter ends. While I shall miss all of you dearly, I just really want to get some use out of this down comforter on which I threw away my hard-earned dolla-dolla-bills, y’all.

Cue harp music and that wavy thing they do with the camera when someone’s having a flashback on an 80s television sitcom.

After I got back from visiting Brother in Warshington in August, I started having flashbacks of my hotel bed. But instead of waking up in a cold sweat and hiding behind furniture when startled, I’d catch myself daydreaming about that sweet, sweet nest of luxury into which I’d collapse my weary body each evening after spending the day sightseeing and having my skin seared off by the blazing sun.

Oh, friends: it. was. divine.

Oh, friend, I will not forget you.

So divine, in fact, that I was able to almost-completely ignore my near-crippling phobia of hotel beddding (though I think the sun poisoning lowered my resistance). And after I returned home, I wanted more.

Like some sort of down-feather junkie, I stalked the internet in hopes of finding some kind of affordable down blanket into which I could basically assimilate myself each evening. I would – literally – not rest until The Perfect Bed was recreated within my own apartment. And at last, I met my match through Overstock.com.

This is where the fantasy unfortunately ends.

The furnace-ing of my apartment is such that the bedroom and bathroom become far hotter than the kitchen and living room when the heat is running. Like – very noticeably different. Like, whoa. Don’t misunderstand; this is GREAT when taking a shower on a cold morning! …but it’s not so great for other things.

Like sleeping with a down comforter on top of you.

I thought that I read somewhere that down blankets are good year-round, but this one is apparently not one of those magical blankets. I’m good until about 3:00 each morning, when I wake up soaked in sweat (ok, not literally, I don’t have some sort of condition) and have to turn the fan on. 32 degrees outside and I’m sleeping with a fan on. Why don’t you just kick off the damn blanket? you’re saying. Except I sleep better with a blankie on top of me, I whine in response. It feels weird to just lay there with nothing on top of me. That’s what she said! That’s what she said!

In defeat, I’ve been forced to abandon my wondrous down blanket in favor of the normal old quilt that served me perfectly well for the past eight years of my life (I imagine there’s some sort of bedclothes trash-talking that goes on when I’m away: Haha, sucka! I was here first and I WILL ALWAYS PREVAIL. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!).*

But the memories of Perfect Bed still haunt me, which is why I must relocate myself to more frigid climes (or just sleep with the window open, I guess) in order to once again relive the magic. For I will always remember the good times, Perfect Bed. They can’t take that away from me.

*okay, now my quilt is kind of scaring me.


put THAT in your pipe…and call the plumber, because that’s not good for pipes.

Every once in awhile I freak myself out after spending time on WebMD, convinced that a teeny cut is actually the bite of a parasitic spider, or my headache is symptomatic of something horribly amiss (everybody now: it’s not a tum-ah!). I do pride myself on never actually following through with this nonsense – I’ve never went to the doctor with a binder o’ Shit I Printed From The Internet or anything – but imagine my surprise when I caught myself almost doing something similar (read: just as nuts) this morning.

So my kitchen sink leaks. Or something. Like, you turn it on and water slowly flows from places in the fixture where water Should Not Pass. And I’m no plumber, so I’m not sure exactly what the problem is. My best guess is that something needs to be tightened or turned or caulked or welded or augered.* But what? Surely I can find some diagrams on the internet, I think. Then I can more accurately describe the situation to Maintenance Guy Who Never Wears Pants.

Really - is all this really necessary? Certainly some of those are just for show.

I was excited by the prospect of enriching my knowledge of plumbing when it very suddenly hit me: Why? Why would I need to do this? Mr. Shorts doesn’t give a fuck if I can’t accurately describe what washer needs replacing.** His job is to figure out what’s wrong, and then to fix it. Like a doctor, but in jorts and steel-toed boots. Really, I’d look just as silly referencing diagrams in Plumbing for Dummies while I filed my Maintenance Request as Joe Schmoe telling their doctor what to prescribe or what tests to perform.

I have much better things to do with my time than learn plumbing, anyway. Like write blog posts.

 

*And there exhausts my plumbing vocabulary.
**Oooh, I remembered another one. See also: Trap. Plunger. Drano.

it does a body good

Sure, this lunchbag looks cute, but how much can it hold?

An entire box of cheese-somethings (what the hell is that word? Can anybody read it?) AND a can of tea?

What more would I possibly need for lunch?! Aside from Cheez-its and bottled water, of course.

you are your own fast forward.

Subtitle: “Breaking Up is Easy To Do” Wouldn’t Have Sold NEARLY as Many Records
Sub-subtitle: Though, really: Neil Sedaka could sing about his family dying in a nuclear accident and he’d probably still sound happy.

Okay: Wasn’t there a movie about this?* Some magic channel-changer movie? Click, I think it was called? Starring Adam Sandler? I never saw this movie, but I’m pretty confident that it didn’t win any major awards. Writing, directing, acting, sound mixing, editing, lighting and producing aside, here’s why (note the caps for emphasis):

We don’t need a fast-forward button for life. YOU ARE YOUR OWN FAST FORWARD.

Sorry: did I not make myself clear? Once again, for the cheap seats:

YOU ARE YOUR OWN FAST FORWARD.

so. freaking. smiley.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. The ability to just will  something to be over would be pretty freaking sweet, wouldn’t it? Just skip on through that root canal, say. Or an unpleasant conversation with someone. Or even something much more significant – the aftermath of a personal or public disaster, for instance.

Like if your family were killed in a nuclear accident. That’d be rough.**

Humans possess the unique (read: kick-ass) ability to not just experience a wide variety of emotions, but to rationally process through them. Is this tricky? You betcha. But does it help us, in the long run? More importantly: DOES IT EXPEDITE OUR OWN HEALING PROCESS?

Oh fuck yes.

A lot of folks have heard that whole “That which does not kill me, makes me stronger” line, right? It’s unfortunately become cliche as hell, but it’s no less true. If we were never tested emotionally, we’d just be a race of flat affect-ed, unthinking morons (who would go positively bonkers at the first sign of trouble).

Man! When you think about it, you really have a whole fuckton of personal power within you! I mean, it might be hard to wrap your head around it right this very second, but geez-o-Pete: whatever it is you’re facing right now… shit. You got this.

It probably doesn’t feel like it right now, but you got this. It’ll suck for the time being, but eventually? Wow. This’ll all seem like it happened ten, twenty, thirty thousand years ago. IF  you let it. IF  you give yourself up to the process of  be-ing and healing and not-wallowing (better word choice? I don’t mean that condescendingly).

Julie, who the fuck are you talking to?
Everyone, asshole. Yours truly included…But I think there are some folks out there who need to hear this. Right now.

*Not the Sedaka family dying in a nuclear accident, that is. I think that‘d be more suited for a PBS documentary, and the project probably wouldn’t involve Adam Sandler. Maybe we could get Bill Kurtis to narrate. Except I think maybe Mr. Kurtis has since passed.

Oh, God, no: BILL KURTIS IS STILL WITH US. Please disregard that last comment. DEEPEST APOLOGIES. Wikipedia to the rescue.

**Unless Neil Sedaka wrote a song about it, of course.

nowhere to hide

I’ve got good news and bad news, folks.

First, the good: I recently discovered that I can clearly hear the tornado sirens in my apartment.  This is important because a) the older I get, the less I want to die in a horrific storm, and b)… yeeeeah, no. No B.

And now the bad: I recently discovered that I’m not quite sure where I would actually go in my apartment if a storm came a-barrellin’ down upon us. Because sitting in my living room, next to the wall-size window, is maybe not the optimum situation.

Basically, there is no safe place for me to hide.

And now, Dear Readers, allow me to refute your counter-arguments for the sake of melodrama.

An interior closet, you say? Of course. Let me just crouch beneath the shitty wooden shelf that my apartment’s FURNACE rests on. I mean, how much could a furnace possibly weigh? What’s one, two or seventeen shattered vertebrae, anyway?

How about the bathtub? Oh yes, of course: the Porcelain Death Trap on the exterior wall adjacent to the breezeway / wind tunnel between apartments. No prob, Bob. After all, the construction of these units is stellar. I can only hear every single conversation my upstairs neighbors have because I have sonar-bat-hearing.

Basically, I’d be safer running outside and flinging myself into a ditch.*

*Okay, okay. I kid. There’s a space that I can wedge myself into between the wall and washing machine. And besides, I think I read somewhere… something about pipes? Go near pipes? Pipes are sturdy? Whatever. If I seriously thought that a tornado was headed my way, I’d climb into the fucking dryer if I thought it’d keep me safe.

sometimes your underwear ends up in a ShopVac

I don’t want a house. Houses are expensive, and very breakable.* Too many things can go wrong with a house, and when it does, you can’t just call up the Maintenance Guy Who Always Wears Shorts Even When He’s Shovelling Snow and be all like “Um, my garbage disposal sounds like someone hid a cat in there.”

No. Instead you have to figure out how to fix the problem yourself, and then call someone to come fix the fixing you attempted, a process which generally costs somewhere in the Four- to Fifty-Billion dollar range.

Really, the only good I can see coming from home ownership is being able to drum up sympathy from your friends when things go horribly wrong. Like if Killer Bees took up residence in your chimney, or Gary Busey moved in next door.

Or, as in the case of my parents’ home this morning, Enchanted Tree Roots waging war against the pipes-or-whatever that lead away from the house and toward the sewer lines, causing a bunch of Nastiness to get all up where it don’t belong.

The initial text exchange:
Juanita: WE HAVE A SEWER BACKUP IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM
Me: Oh no.
J: OH NO IS RIGHT

I vaguely offered my assistance in a “what can I do? And please don’t ask me to come over and mop up the shit water” kind of way, but was (thankfully) declined.

om nom nom nom nom!

Time passes, and Juanita calls with an update. After my father vacuumed up the laundry room floor, he found something curious inside the ShopVac.

“Are these yours?” he asks my mom, holding a decimated pair of women’s underthings.
“Um, no.” she responds.

She tells me this, and my brain begins to fill with questions:

1. When did I decide to stuff my underthings into the floor drain?
2. …or hide them in the ShopVac?
3. Which pair? Were they cute? If so, can they be saved?

As the drain cover was never removed during the clean-up efforts, the unfortunately-mundane conclusion is that, at some point, some errant laundry never made it through the washer-to-dryer or dryer-to-basket transition and got kicked behind something-or-another, only to be discovered many months (I moved out in May!) later in the reservoir of my dad’s ShopVac. The pair in question appears to have not caused the back-up.

Which is unfortunate, because that would have been a hell of a story.

*See also: fine china, children, small dogs.

 

*        *       *       *      *

UPDATE:
our most recent text exchange:
J: DAN THE PIPE MAN IS HERE
Me: I really hope that’s what’s written on his truck.

2011 in review (thank you, Fred Weller fans of Brazil!)

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,800 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 47 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.