Hey, Gentle Reader! Happy New Year! 2013 so far has been pretty solid, and is inspiring us to look back with fond nostalgia at the year that has just passed. (Or perhaps we just had an idea to do a year-end post but didn’t get around to it before the year actually ended?) So, while our supposed reason for even having a blog in the first place — hockey fandom — has been on ice for a distressingly long time (HAHAHAHA! See what we did there?), we still have a lot of things we were happy about.
12. Three extra months without Chico
So last night we were watching an episode of Law & Order (more on that later) in which the victim was a youth hockey coach who was killed over an ice time dispute. (Uh, spoilers?) As a plot point came up about how the parents of the kids on the hockey team had a history of brawling in the stands, Pookie tried to remember the term “rabby-do” but completely drew a blank. And then she realized something we’d all been taking for granted: there is no Chico in our lives right now. Huzzah! The lockout is good for at least one thing!
11. Hitting our work/life balance strides
At the risk of sounding all touchy-feely in a corporate HR kind of way, 2012 was a banner year for both of us as far as making peace with our work situations is concerned. It’s generally less of an issue for Schnookie, who has the cushiest job in the history of cushy jobs, but Pookie took on some serious, long-term headaches in her job and learned how to process them without any extra angst or unhappiness. We know in this day and age that we’re lucky to have full-time jobs at all, but it’s especially nice to be able to honestly say that we’re both happy to get up in the morning and go to work.
10. Melvins Lite
This may come as a surprise to you, but we are massive, massive dorks. And always have been. So way back in the early ’90s when we were in high school and “alternative” music was easy to find and we were into cool bands and shit, we were not nearly cool enough to be the kinds of people who actually went to see said cool bands in concert. Then we got old enough to be able to spend our own money on tickets to things and to drive ourselves to the venues for those things, but those things always turned out to be hockey games. This fall we got our shit together and ventured into the scary world of concerts performed by rock and/or roll bands. In October we saw Melvins Lite at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, and it was awesome. Sure, the drive there was the shittiest shittiness that ever was shitty, and sure, the waiter at the Mexican place where we had dinner spilled Schnookie’s mole sauce all over her lap, and sure, we felt like massive, massive dorks who stood out like sore thumbs in among all the concert-going veterans. But damn. You know what sounds amazing live? Melvins Lite. (Also, they’re loud. Very, very, very loud.) We also spent about an hour before the show rubbing elbows with Buzz, Dale, and Trevor, and then got all the cool shit from the merch table after the show and were walking on Shevil-fueled air for days afterward.
No, we didn’t bring nice cameras with us.
9. Law & Order
Every summer when hockey goes away we wile away the summer by watching full runs of old TV shows on DVD. (Who can forget such great off-seasons as Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman or Walker, Texas Ranger? Not us!) Figuring this was going to be an extra-long summer, we had to break out the heavy artillery for it: Law & Order. And it has lived up to all of our expectations and beyond. For starters, it’s a lot like watching a Devils game in that when it starts, we know exactly how it’s going to end. Also, we love the patented Jack McCoy cross-examination burn! The Lennie Briscoe one-liner! The arraignments! And the fact that, six months later, we’re only halfway through the full run.
8. Double farm share
In previous years we have gotten entirely not enough vegetables from our farm share. This year we signed up for a second one, and life was abundantly vegetable-y. Sure, “we got lots more vegetables from a CSA” sounds dull on paper, but in reality it was a game-changer.
This was just one week out of 26. Oh, summer of plenty, how we loved you.
7. New House
On New Years Day 2012 Boomer read us our extended horoscopes for the upcoming year (she’d found them on, like, Yahoo or something. We’re not normally horoscope people). All three of them talked extensively about how we were going to get a new house in the coming 12 months; that was horrible. We didn’t want to leave stately IPB Manor. We love it here! It’s perfect! No, horoscope, don’t make us go!
Well. 365 days later, it turns out it was all true — we got a new couch (which, if you sit in your living room as much as we do, might as well be the entire extent of one’s house), grow lights for our garden seedlings, a new amazing front door, a new beautiful color on the outside of the house, and we converted from an electric cooktop to a gas one. Dude, it is a whole new stately manor.
Look at those baby tomatoes go!
Where all used to be horrible, blah, depressing blue, now there is pink!
Where all used to be dreary and dark, now there is a Dutch door with massive sunlight! And that blobby thing is a kitty igloo — don’t judge us.
Okay, yes, we learned to can stuff during the fall of 2011, so technically this wasn’t a new addition to our lives. But it was our first year of doing whole-hog food preservation during a summer of plenty. As the dark days of winter are rolling along, we’re neck-deep in all the flavors of summertime, and cooking is fun, fresh, and exciting for all the exotic condiments and pickles and ingredients we made ourselves.
This is only part of it. Seriously. We did a LOT of canning.
We have become, over the last 18 months, Mike Patton completionists. So when Secret Chiefs 3 released a recording of “La Chanson de Jacky” with Patton on vocals, we needed it. Only… it was only available on vinyl. Sigh. We didn’t want to do it, but we really had no choice. We started with a little toy record player…
…and quickly upgraded to a grown-up turntable.
Before long we discovered what audiophiles and hipsters and people who compulsively collect things have known all along — vinyl is so much fun. In fact, we read someone floating the notion that the NHL should offer Center Ice for free if they actually end up having a truncated season this year, and we hope that happens because we just spent our Center Ice budget on Big Business and Creature With The Atom Brain records.
We had to say goodbye in short order to three of our family members over the last 14 months (Mahmoud, Dr. Shopdog, and Roy). But we also welcomed two new little denizens to stately IPB Manor, and they couldn’t be more delightful. Kitten mischief is something we were sorely lacking.
Fabi and Zizou aren’t tiny anymore, but they’re still cute.
3. Being fully music-enabled
So, you know how we’re obsessive vinyl freaks now? Well, part of the fun of them is we invested in a set of wireless speakers that mean we can listen to our records (and digital music, but that’s less fun) all over our house now. And we keep finding more and more amazing music because Pookie, being a superstar reference librarian, is able to harness the powers of the internet to keep us abreast of all kinds of cool shit. We used to have literally no idea how to find new music, and we’d go three or four years at a time without any kind of expansion to our horizons. But now we’re not going more than three weeks without finding something new that we love. It’s like going from having only local public-access broadcasts of our local peewee hockey team’s games shot on VHS to having full-HD Center Ice. And hey, if there’d been an internet back when the mainstream stopped playing the kinds of music we liked, we would never have gone 20 years without ever attending a rock concert. Thanks, internet!
2. Devils getting to the SCF
Remember hockey? If we squint, we kind of almost can. And that’s a good thing, because dude — the Devils went to the Stanley Cup Final in 2012!
Seriously! And what’s more, they beat the Flyers and the Rangers in taking the Eastern Conference. Hockey in 2012 was awesome.
1. Afghan Whigs at ATP
Remember way back in our list when we said we loved seeing Melvins Lite playing live? Well, that was small-time compared to what happened a few weeks prior.
There simply are not words.
We went to see the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in New York City, because The Afghan Whigs were headlining. Back when were massive, massive dork teenagers, The Afghan Whigs were on our very short list of favorite bands, and as the years went by most of those bands fell off the list, but the Whigs stayed. To put this into hockey perspective, we were Afghan Whigs fans four years before we started watching the Devils. They had a reunion tour this summer, and that was what prompted us, after 20 years of being massive, massive dorks, to stop being afraid of going to concerts. And holy shit. HOLY SHIT. Did that day ever make up for lost time. We also saw Dirty Three and The Antlers and we ended up in the second fucking row for Mark Lanegan Band and then the Whigs. Like, ten feet away from Greg Dulli. And the show was insane. And honestly, we are still giddy just thinking about it. You know how there are those rare, stand-out, perfect days that you remember in crystal-clear detail for years and years? Yeah, this day was one of those.