Thursday, October 06, 2005

Wild Vs. Flames (10/5/05) (Update)

Yes, I'm putting in an update to my post. I forgot to mention a few more things.
1. As we were preparing to enter the Xcel, my wife and I were forced down to shift to a different path because of the way the crowd was moving. As we worked toward the door, I accidentally bumped into this guy wearing a black Wild practice jersey. I had a good 30 pounds on him so he stumbled into the wall. I apologized, and he turned on me quickly, looked me up and down, and said, "That's fine. Just try to be more careful in the future." He then paused as if I was supposed to ask him something. I just said, "Yeah, I'm really sorry. Wasn't paying attention, just too excited, sir." "I understand," he repsonded and then smoothed out his hair and went on his way.
My wife told me this morning that the guy I bumped into was...St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly. Yes, I knocked the Mayor into a wall totally by accident. She knew it was him because in-between the first and second period, Mayor Kelly presented the signed "State of Hockey" flag to the crowd (I was in the line in the men's room...the men's room, folks). The funny thing is that, according to her, "A lot of the people who were watching him, booed him when he was announced. What's that about?" I explained it to her this morning.
2. KQRS played a clip of Pawlenty's gaffe at last night's game. Usually I don't like to do this, but I would like to point out that you heard it from me first. Like I said, usually I don't dig for credit, but this is one time where KQ is saying, "You heard it from us first." Nope. Check the time log. 10:38 last night. I had it first.
3. Several networks were shocked (SHOCKED I TELL YOU) at how well the Wild contained the Flames. Apparently, CBC (Canadien Broadcasting) and TSN thought it would be a slaughter. My brother-in-law, who gets really into the Flames (he's the Flamer, remember?) was so angry, he almost ripped the arm off his chair. All I have is...HAHAHAHAHA.

Ok, folks, I am on my way to Detroit and will be there until Sunday. So have a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Wild Vs. Flames (10/5/05)

Opening night. OH BABY! What a game. Beyond just the scoring, there were idiotic fans, a swearing Pawlenty (more on that later) and more.
As a season ticket holder, I plan to hit all 41 games on home ice to talk about the game as well as some interesting tidbits. First, I'll recap some of the game's best moments, then the quirky moments that happened (be it from the crowd or guest celebrities).
Tonight saw the Wild taking on new rival Calgary in the first of many games (due to the new schedule, teams will play other teams in their division more than any of the others). Calgary has been chosen by many different publications to win it all. That's right, for the first time since 1989, Calgary has been chosen to win Lord Stanley's Cup. The Wild, however, have been destined for...well...the future. Many believe that the Wild should have done more with free agency.
Tonight, the experts...were wrong.
The Wild came out strong. VERY STRONG. At the end of the first period, the Wild had outshot Calgary 16 to 3. That's unheard of for this team. Minnesota is supposed to be a defensive team, yet here they were outplaying the annointed "Best Team in the League." (Thanks Sports Illustrated!)
During the first period, Marc Chouinard got the scoring started less than two minutes after the first puck was dropped. It was a beautiful goal. Chouinard nailed a Daigle pass past Kiprusoff (who looked very human tonight after ruling the roost during the last playoffs). Brent Burns got the second goal with 1.5 seconds left in the first (Pierre-Marc Bouchard would get the first of his three assists here).
Everyone felt very confident as the second period started. Roughly 6 and a half minutes in, the Wild went up 3-0. Immediately, the fans were roaring (as they had been all night), but many now thought this would be a shut out. Well, Daymond Langkow ended that dream by scoring at the end of the period. Fans were now a little nervous during the break. What if the sleeping giant was finally awake? What if Calgary now came out and steam-rolled the Wild?
With the third period under way, the crowd was unusually quiet. Even when the announced number was 19,398 fans, the crowd was happy, but still in the zone of the game. At the 6 and a half minute mark (again), the Wild came through on Chouinard's second goal. This goal also saw newcomer Matt Foy (more on him later) gain his first point of his career. Congratulations Matt!
Still, the fans (some of whom were shouting, "sieve!") would soon be holding their collective breath. The Flames charged back with two quick goals to make the score 4-3 Wild. During both goals, the Wild defense disappeared. The hard-nosed play of the previous two periods evaporated. Roloson even let in one of the softest goals by Iginla. He just didn't move.
Thankfully, Todd White, one of the players acquired during the offseason, put the game away with a late goal. That sent a lot of fans to the doors. Chouinard added one more empty net goal to complete the hat trick (Yes, hats were thrown).
All in all, it was an awesome opening game. The new rules were easy to follow, but there were some very questionable calls (for both sides, but more for the Flames). Still, as great as the game was, there were some interesting off-ice activities as well.
"Like what?" you ask. Let's take a look:
1. The best moment of the night came when Governor Tim Pawlenty and his wife stepped up to the mic for the "Let's Play Hockey!" moment. After showing the crowd a bunch of kids that had joined us via sattelite, as well as the Bud Light party outside (which was ok, kinda crowded), the Governor was supposed to say, "So let's drop the puck and...Let's Play Hockey!" Instead, our governor fumbled. He dropped the f-bomb. Sure he corrected himself, but both his wife and he knew he made a mistake. It wasn't bad. Really innocent, honestly. Still he said, "So let's drop the fuck...PUCK (and this moment his eyes get really wide and his wife's mouth makes that 'O' people make when a mistake has been made), and LET'S PLAY HOCKEY!" Then, bright red, he hugged his wife and hid his face. It was hysterical. Obviously, the man is horny.
2. Some fans need to learn proper hockey etiquette and rules. For example, you do not start yelling "sieve," if you only have a three goal lead in the second period. First of all, that's bad form. Secondly, it's also a jinx. Seriously. It was after that the Flames came back. You have to score four unanswered goals. Then you can say it. Either that, or he has to give up five goals and you have to have a four goal lead (or three in the third) to be allowed to yell, "sieve." Seriously. I went to a Ranger game as a kid. They had a two goal (2-0) lead in the second period. The crowd started yelling, "seive" over and over again. Guess what happened? Game ended in a tie. That's why you don't yell it. It's a curse if it's at the wrong time.
3. Unpleasant fans aplenty. The people who sat next me refused to talk to me. I know they're season ticket holders, because they were there during preseason. They will not look at my wife and I nor will they even talk to us. No idea why. The people behind us, we talked about their 7 month old, the game, teaching, and more. The people on the other side talked to us about the 2003 playoffs. Even the annoying guys in front of us who showed up at the beginning of the 2nd period and left in the mid-third talked to us about the arena. But the gal and guy next to me were trying to give me Cancer with their minds. At one point I was drinking water, and the woman told me I was being too loud. Huh? I wasn't slurping, just sipping. There was NO NOISE. They left early as well.
Three rows back from me, a girl who was angry with a Flames fan near me, kept throwing peanuts. She hit everything but the fan. Bad form. The best, however, was the guy who couldn't wait for a urinal, so he peed in the sink in front of everyone. Huzzah.
Oh, and people, let me just say one thing: It's great that the team won. We're all happy, but stop with the horn-blowing. Seriously. When you're behind me honking for ten minutes then cursing at me because I won't do it too, honking more won't make me do it. Neither will shouting, "Hey fucker, can't you hear me. Honk, bitch!" Yeah, no. It's rude. Seriously. Rude.
4. Matt Foy. I have been cheering this kid since he was drafted. He's played in Houston for awhile, but during the 2003-04 preseason, he was phenomenal. Tonight, he scored his first point (an assist) and was a generally big body out on the ice (which the wild need now that Matt Johnson is gone). I really hope this kid stays up in the bigs. He moves very well and made only one or two rookie mistakes (gave the puck away once, should have had a goal, but didn't deke well). Seriously, watch this kid. Cheer for #83. He's great. He will be a force to be reckoned with in the next few years. Hopefully the Wild see his potential and use him correctly. Keep it up big boy!
5. The perks. The Wild love their fans, and they showed it tonight. Sure, they didn't really lower prices for tickets, but we got the following:
Free hotdog
Free chips
Free soda
A calendar
A mini Stanley-Cup
Free scratchers (most gave Hockey Lodge discounts, but one gave a free trip).
Free ticket for the night if you are a season ticket holder
A free fireworks show on the river after the game
And one hell of a greatly played game.
Still, I think my favorite part was Pawlenty swearing. He just looked like a kid who was in serious trouble.
Then again what do I know? I was the guy teaching a 7 month old kid how to scream "Screw you, ref!" I could be wrong.
One down, 40 more home games to go.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Ramblings for the Evening (10/4/05)

I love rain, but this is getting ridiculous. Up to ten inches? Well huzzah. If I wanted this much rain, I would have gone granola and lived in Seattle near my sister. Oh well. So, without further ado: HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT!
Hockey, Hockey, HOCKEY!!!
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, hockey is back. In less than 24 hours (22.5 to be sort of exact), the
Minnesota Wild will be facing off against the Calgary Flames. I'm super excited (seriously...there's some shaking). My wife and I will be up in the second level with the REAL fans. It's nice to see that the Wild is trying to make up for the fact that they didn't lower ticket prices (in fact they went up a little) by throwing a block party. Now, here's the only downside. With Kellogg being essentially shut down at 4 PM, how much does it suck if you aren't going to the game and are trying to get around town?
Still, even though every major news publication is picking the Wild to be bad (Sports Illustrated said that they Wild obviously haven't learned that there are new rules), I am still excited to head over to section 222 and yell my head off. I also really hope the Wild beat the Flames as my brother-in-law is a Flamer (It's really what the fans call gotta love Canada) and won't shut up about how they're going to win the cup. So, if any Wild fan is reading this, I call on you to "take out" (as you see fit) any Calgary fan that attempts to come to the arena tomorrow.
A conversation between my butt and the mailwoman's hand:
Hand: Hmm, what's that?
Butt: Just a humble little butt. I'm just helping to pull some weeds out over here.
Hand: You look like you might be leaning. Perhaps I should put my hand on you to keep you upright.
Butt: Well, I'm ok, but I can't really stop you now can I?
Hand: Hmm. Now that I'm here, how about a little squeeze?
Butt: Whoa there. That's gonna make the head pop up and hit the mailbox and make some pain.
Hand: Oh, come on. What's a harmless little squeeze between friends?
Butt: Hey, I have no way to stop you, so go ahead. Just grab the right side, it's the better side.
Hand: No can do. The left is presenting itself to me, and I have to keep going.
Butt: Sigh. All right then.
And finally
The DMV (Or Hell on Earth):
I really don't like the DMV. Even when I have something to read (Currently reading a wonderful book called
How to Be a Canadian), the place is just horrendous. Honestly, if there is a hell, then it has to be like the DMV. Forget fire and brimstone. Imagine having to sit around smelly seniors, screaming children, and angry and vocal people for all of eternity (even the two hours for me today was TOO MUCH). So why was I there? Well, I had to renew my driver's license. Now because I live in Robbinsdale, I have to go to the Brooklyn Center offices in order renew the license (Robbinsdale only does tags). Three things happened while I sat there that made me think about how much I pity the people who work there, and how stupid most people are.
1. The Curser. A young gal was at counter 14 trying to do something with her ID. I was sitting near this counter, so I overheard everything. The conversation went as follows:
Counter Lady (CL): You need to have proof of identity, miss. Your old ID, birth certificate, that kind of thing.
Girl (G): What? That makes no sense. I wouldn't be here if I didn't need my ID.
CL: I can't give you an ID without something that tells me you are who you are. Sorry.
G: What the fuck? That's the stupist thing I've ever heard. Give me my motherfuckin' ID, bitch.
CL: Please don't swear. That's unnecessary. Bring in the proper ID, and I can help you.
G: (Very loudly) This is because I'm black, isn't it?
CL: (Suddenly nervous) No.
G: Walks away from the counter and returns with two guys, also black. This is the bitch.
Guy 1: You a fucking racist? Is that why you didn't give here the card?
CL: No, sir. At this point the manager comes over. I cannot give her an ID because she says she's that person. She has to show proof. That's what stops identity theft, or even terrorism.
Guy 1: Do I look like a terrorist? Does she?
At this point, the manager closes the counter and asks the group to all move to a private office.
The outcome, from what I could tell, is that the Curser did not get an ID. She screamed about the "Motherfuckers" as she left the place.
2. The Unattended Kid. A kid who was 3 or 4 was not being watched by anyone. He was just running around the entire place, pushing legs out of the way so he could run through the seating area. After annoying the old couple in front of me for ten minutes, the kid, who was obviously sick, turned and (oh how I wish I was lying) puked on the floor next to the woman's purse. Now, after doing that, he just continued to run around. No one came to apologize, no parents, or
anything. I ended moving because it smelled quite foul. Several of us told the people at the counter about it, but we never saw a custodian or anything.
3. The Angry Counter Guy. Wow, Jim at counter 4 was pissy today. Sure it was warm in there, and there were alot of people, but jiminy, there was no reason to cut my head off because I hadn't filled in the "county" box. I wasn't sure what to put. Was it Henn? Henne? Sorry. Then, when we did the vision test, he was mad about the way I put my head into the machine. Huh? I didn't realize that I wasn't supposed to rest my head on the black bar that says, "Place forehead here." Sorry that I follow written instructions. Sheesh.
Then again, what do I know? I actually stop at Stop signs. I could be wrong.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Mail Mondays (10/3/05)

Hey Kids, it's Monday. You all know what that means: Mail Mondays returns. Oh I can just see how excited you are.
Well, due to some fatigue on my part, we'll be hitting only one letter this week.
I'm really curious. Why won't you talk about politics. You put little tidbits here and there, but you always talk about how you don't want to talk about politics. So why not?

Curious George

Good question George. Let's keep it simple: I think there are way too many political pundits out there talking about the way this country should/used to/will be. It's very frustrating. A great number of people who really have no objective views of this country sit there are bitch about how everything is the other guy's fault.
But it goes beyond that. Politics makes me sick. Instead of really looking at how things are going or just truly are, people hide blindly behind their party's ideologies. "Well if this guy says that's how it is, then that must be how it is." It's wrong.
If you really and truly must know my opinion, here it is: Liberals/Democrats and Conservatives/Republicans have screwed up everything. L/D: You have made it impossible to talk about anything in this country. Everything is now offensive. For such a relaxed group, you've made conversations sort of...puritanical. Hang on their C/R: You've done just as much evil. Beyond killing the Earth, you've continued the whole "scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" kind of politics. Interesting how the War on Drugs is still funded, but keeping kids from drinking...not so important.
The bottom line: You've all taken the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the ideas of the Founding Fathers and blended them into an inedible milkshake. Are there things that politics have done to make things better? Sure. Women's rights, minority rights, etc. That's great. Truly great. However, every event that happens now is politicized beyond belief. 9/11 has become the dead horse that's a skeleton, yet we keep beating it.
I believe that politicians no longer truly care about the people they are supposed to serve. No, they care about getting that re-election campaign money. Is it any wonder that people talk about how the 1st four years of the presidency is all about getting re-elected?
That, George, is why I don't like politics. A system designed to give the people a voice, has removed the people almost entirely.
Then again, what do I know? I thought that the hanging chad was an old friend of mine dangling from a balcony. I could be wrong.

On a final note, Ironic Teachings will be sporadically posting over the next few days due to prior commitments and such.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

An Open Letter to Cable Channels

Dear Various Cable Channels,
I am extremely disappointed and perplexed by many of you. Your programming choices have become...boring or pathetic. I will, of course, cover this in a moment. Having insomnia means that you find ways to pass the time while you're not sleeping. For me, when not reading, I glance around at various channels. So let's take a look:
1. MTV: For shame, MTV. You're known as Music Television, and yet, you NEVER PLAY VIDEOS ANYMORE! It's all Real World and other crappy reality shows that the world doesn't need to see 24 hours a day. When I was a kid, you played edgy and awesome videos. I no longer had to just listen to the music, I could see a story going with it. Guns 'N' Roses' November Rain, for example, had this whole thing with a funeral and a wedding. It was awesome. Then slowly, but surely, you started replacing your videos with shows that touted teenagers being teenagers. You took away the videos in their entirety to show screaming teens talking about how much the love the bland host of the show. Then, you committed the worst sin of all: You created a second station that was to play videos all the time. Why? Because your main station was essentially stopping. WHAT!? A channel dedicated to music videos could no longer play them?
How could it get worse? Well, then you took most of the videos off MTV2 and replaced them with repeats of the shows on MTV. Essentially, there are no videos anymore except at random times when no one would see them. However, your not the only one guilty of this....
2. VH1: Ok, I now your the bastard step-brother of MTV, but you have fallen under the same sway. It used to be that I could turn to you for music. Almost anytime of the day, I could click over and there would be a cool video. No more. You, too, have started the MTV plan. Instead of music, we get schlock like My Fair Brady, Breaking Bonaduce, and other reality shows that are way over played. You ever listen to a popular radio station (such as KQRS), and that station plays the same song everyday all the time? It's annoying, isn't it? Well, that's what's happening to you, VH1. You and MTV have now given up on the whole video thing. The first video played on MTV, if I'm not mistaken, was Video Killed the Radio Star by the Buggles. Well, I may not be the first, but I will add my two-cents: VH1 and MTV have killed the video star. Both of you, however, are not alone in moving away from your programming....
3. G4TV: This is a channel, "for gamers." They show video game reviews, clips, etc. Suddenly, the channel is moving away from that. Now, I understand that you need to keep your viewership, but certain things don't add up with your new programming. Most video gamers are either nerds or wannabes. Seriously. Sure there are some "cool" people, but the hardcore gamers are not social creatures. The channel that is dedicated to gamers is now showing Fastlane, a failed Fox cop show starring Peter "I wish I had Tom Cruise's career to go with his looks" Facinelli, and Bill "This show killed my career" Bellamy. It didn't last long on Fox, yet it's on G4. What does it have to do with games? Nothing. Same can be said for The Man Show. Instead of showing these two shows that have nothing to do with gaming, here's my suggestion. Obviously the channel is marketed toward men. How do I know? They use Jenna Jameson for some promos. If you don't know who she is, look it up. Instead of shows that have scantily clad women, just start showing porn that is game related. You're a cable channel, you can do it at night, and the men will be happy, because they can see real (or at least bared) breasts. Seriously. Think about it. Stop teasing these little gamer guys with scantily clad women that would have nothing to do with them.
Also, you need to hire people who look like they actually play games. Having a former model host a show about games reiterates a fantasy that many of these guys will never have fulfilled: A lot of hot women do not play video games. Sorry. It's true. If you are one, congratulations: You're a minority. Oh and being satirical about your own station, not funny. You are the people who make the reviews. You can't pick on yourselves for the way you review. It's not funny and it makes no sense. If you don't like the way you're doing it, change.
G4, you're not the only channel guilty of miscasting and bad programming. One channel that I used to really like is ultimately guilty of bad programming taste. I'm talking about....
4. ESPN. Oh man, you have fallen SO FAR! Once upon a time, you were the preeminent sports channel. You had the days' scores, interviews, and more. The problem is that you have A. Turned into sophmoric idiots, and B. You've now put out shows that, well, shouldn't exist. Let's start with A.
I once saw Charley Steiner crack up on the air. It was really funny. Why? Because stuff like that didn't happen on the air. The men and women of the channel were serious reporters who had the occasional funny nickname (thanks to Chris Berman), but they never left their professionalism outside. The current crop of anchors seems to be failed comedians. I want to know who won the Red Sox/ Yankees game. I don't want to hear lines from Schwarzenegger films yelled when a ground ball is hit. I don't mind enthusiasm, but I really don't like how this is treated now. It's almost as if sports is second to what these guys can get away with saying. I never thought Kilborn was great for yelling, "Jumanji" whenever someone dunked. Yet, many people did. Now, instead of guys that are interesting, I feel like I'm watching high school students make boob jokes on camera. It's boring. These guys don't give an air of professionalism. Again, it's that feeling like they're failed comedians. I expect to see Dane Cook giving me the scores soon. These guys are like a failed fraternity.
I also believe that it is because of how you treat sports, that current players only care about getting on the show instead of playing the game. Sure, it's great when Michael Vick runs for 60 yards on one play, but it's not good if he's doing it not to win, but to get in the night's highlights. Basketball players are the same way now. Forget that pass, I need to dunk over this guy so they'll show me.
Now, as for your original shows. Some of them are ok. Around the Horn, though it feels fixed everyday as if you know way ahead of time who's going to win, is entertaining and sports related. Pardon the Interruption is also fun to watch, because it deals with sports news in an interesting way. But things like Tilt (and I'm sorry, but Poker is NOT, NOT, NOT a sport) and Playmakers are interesting, but ultimately I don't want to watch a drama when I'm looking for sports. Plus, you pulled Playmakers, which you advertised as "daring," because of pressure. If you're going to do it, do it all out. Still, most people, when looking for sports, don't want to watch a drama with a guy doing drugs or whatever. We just want the scores. Don't give me that whole "Well we made a channel for that" speech. You were started for that reason. Stick to what works.
If you really want to know why people now go to the internet, it's because they can get what they want without all the crap you throw in with the info. I want to see who won, cool, it's right there. No snarky remarks, no annoying comments, just the information on who won and how. I can also watch replays online. Same thing with music videos or game reviews. It's time to start making it worthwhile to watch again, because soon society will put you behind and go to their computers. And then where will you be?
Then again what do I know? I'm the guy watching the Food Network at 3 AM, because Rachel Ray makes me laugh. I could be wrong.


All right, ladies and gentlemen. I have been officially "dared" to write a nice piece about everyone's favorite photographer: Meridita. Now, I don't really now how much writing in this space constitutes "two pages," but here goes.
So the question on the table is why does Ms. Meridita truly "rock." Well, this does not have a simple answer. Let's begin at the beginning.
Meridita: The Photographer
As anyone who has seen her work (and if you haven't, dear reader, I highly recommend you go and check out her work) can tell that she has a knack for it. I believe it was Ansel Adams (though I have been known to be wrong) that said, "A great photographer sees the world not only with his camera, but also with his heart and his soul." I look at the pictures that Meridita takes, and I can see the person behind the camera. Look at her photos of Minneapolis as the sun is setting. You can see that world is a palette.
When she turns the camera onto human subjects, her eye still has a clarity. Look at her self portrait in the broken window. The fact that her head is hidden is not only to hide her identity to the viewer but also shows a keen insight into humanity. The fracturing of our minds into different idenities (with family, friends, etc.) is seen in that photo. Some of her other photos with people (such as her July 3rd party) show the photographer's (that would be her) insight into human emotion, be it love, happiness, or just drunken giddiness. I love photography, but it's clear to me that Meri has a deeper, spiritual connection with it. Almost as if the photographs allow her to understand the world. And that is the true mark of a creative genius.
Meridita: the Person
Meri is a very caring person. As I mentioned
before, I was recently struck (or hit) by a car. Now it was nothing serious (just some soreness), but Meri at least cared about what happened. She even gave me the "Sad Puppy Face." How nice is that? But beyond just me, dear reader, one can see that she generally cares about the world. You want proof? Look at the comments she leaves on people's blogs. Look at her own blog. While she may be jealous that her new roommate received roses, she has never really complained about her lovelife, the world around her, or anything like that. If you look at people like myself or Worm, we point out the world's foibles. She, however, only looks at the things that make the world great. A constant optimist (or so it seems) which makes reading her a positive experience (unlike me, as one student told me, because I'm so depressing). I would venture to guess that Meri would give a dollar to the guy on the street. I would also venture to guess that she's the kind of girl who would give a guy five cents if he was short for coffee. She's even kind to old people (something that so many people in this world aren't). She went out to the orchestra hall with a man much older than her. I'm told it wasn't a date, so she was being nice.
Ah, but beyond humans, Meri is quite affectionate with her pets. No doubt you've heard about the Doodle Poodle and the Kitty Companion? Meridita loves her pets, and she takes great care of them. Many people own pets, but they don't really get to know them (for lack of a better term). Meri knows her pets. She knows what they'll do and why. Do you know why your cat grabs on to you arm and licks? Is it love, or something else? She knows.
I am very glad that Ms. Meri reads my blog, because it means that I have had a person with keen insight viewing my opinions and thoughts and giving me her two-cents.
Then again what do I know? I'm just a guy who was dared to give his opinion. I could be wrong.
Oh, and in the future: Don't dare me to do anything.