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Archive for the ‘Off-Season’ Category

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.

Melvins Lite (Lite Not Pictured)

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.

Farm Week 19

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.

April 23 2012

Look at those baby tomatoes go!

October 14 2012

Where all used to be horrible, blah, depressing blue, now there is pink!

April 7 2012

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.

6. Canning

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.

Garden Grub 118

This is only part of it. Seriously. We did a LOT of canning.

5. Vinyl

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…

July 7 2012

So cute!

…and quickly upgraded to a grown-up turntable.

September 25 2012

Less cute!

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.

4. Kittens

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.

Happy Cat Bench Monday, Window Edition

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.

September 22 2012: or Rock And/Or Roll

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.

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June 11 2012

There wasn’t any champagne in our glasses this year, but hey, at least we got to a point where it was worth dusting the glass off in the first place. Thanks, Devils! And thanks to you, stalwart Gentle Reader, for making this already fun season even funner. We hope everyone has a fabulous summer.

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Have you ever found yourself wishing you could live somewhere as cool as stately IPB Manor? Think again. This is a recap of the actual, impassioned discussion/argument we had tonight:

We were watching a two-part episode of “Deep Space Nine” (yes, you can stop reading now. Our point has been conclusively made.) in which Earth is being threatened by the encroaching threat of the Dominion. (Yes, this gets dorkier.) Much of the action, such as it is, is set in Sisko’s (zzz…) father’s (zzz…) restaurant (zzz…), and, half-buzzed after a big glass of wine, Schnookie cut off a serious expository scene by exclaiming how dumb it is that restaurants haven’t apparently changed at all in 400 years. It looks exactly like a late 20th-century restaurant, dammit.

Pookie, perhaps also half-buzzed, has a bone to pick with Schnookie’s bone-picking. She feels that there can’t honestly be that much a person could think would change in table settings over 400 years.

“SPORKS!” Schnookie proclaims.

“Pfft,” Pookie dismisses.

The battle lines are drawn: Schnookie feels that 400 years ago people weren’t using forks, so it’s not at all unreasonable to think that table settings on Deep Space Nine would be different, and Pookie feels they were using forks, so Schnookie’s a complete idiot.

Boomer happens to have her computer on, so, perhaps also half-buzzed, she gets to googling. Schnookie shouts, “Google ‘when were forks invented?'” and Boomer discovers they were invented in the Middle East in about 1000 CE.

“HA!” Pookie triumphantly slurs.

“WAIT!” Boomer hiss/shouts. “Forks weren’t adopted in Europe until the 1600’s.”

“HA!” Pookie triumphantly slurs louder. “That’s 400 years ago!”

“NO!” Schnookie bellows. “Google ‘did the pilgrims use forks?’!!”

Boomer does so. And it turns out that no, they did not use forks. Why use a fork when you’ve got fingers, yo? Furthermore, forks weren’t adopted in Colonial America until the mid-1700’s.

“BOOM!” Schnookie screams in Pookie’s face. “FORK!”

Pookie tries to make a point that Schnookie’s a moron by demanding to know what should replace forks 400 years from now. Schnookie insists that if she knew that, she’d invent it and patent it now to get rich off of it. Pookie concludes our not-at-all-stupid debate by announcing, “Well now I’ve found a reason to have my head cryogenically frozen when I die, so I can be thawed out 400 years from now to see what they’re using instead of forks.”

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We’ve been sort of hilariously insistent that summer is over for the last few weeks. It’s been cool and rainy here at stately IPB Manor, with predictions of the weather continuing on mildly this way for the foreseeable future, and we’ve got a pumpkin on one of our garden fenceposts, and the earliest leaves are starting to turn. It’s been lovely, especially now that there’s tennis on TV every night for us to get back into the whole “watching sports” thing instead of our summertime “watching Star Trek” routine. Hockey anticipation was building right along with the season shift… until this afternoon, when we read Gulitti’s report that Travis’s leg fell off and he’s out for, like, ever. The season hasn’t even started yet and it already sucks! We started to slip into a spiral of depression and gloom, until we remembered one important thing:

It’s not not summer yet! We don’t have to worry about Travis’s Achilles tendon, or the fact that no significant Devils injury has healed on the projected timetable that Lou tried to assure fans of in the last few years, or, as Boomer said, lament that at this rate we’ll never find out what the Travis/Zach/Kovalchuk line can do. No, we don’t need to spare any of that a second thought for a few more weeks yet, because it’s still August.

So we spent our evening toasting marshmallows and watching the bats wheeling overhead in the twilit sky. And that’s all this Devils blog has to say about hockey tonight.

August 18 2011

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Zach avoided arbitration by signing a one-year deal today. We should probably be breaking down what this means for the Devils’ weekend, but it’s 4pm on a lazy summer Saturday, so instead we’d like to focus on something else that caught our eyes in hockey journalism this week. On Monday, the estimable Tom Gulitti posted part one of a fan Q&A with Travis. Included among the queries was this:

“Travis: Which of the following would you choose as your favorite movie:
1) Stargate
2) Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
3) Back to the Future
4) The Mighty Ducks”

Gentle Reader, this might be the greatest construct for questions ever. It’s not “what’s your favorite movie”, it’s “I don’t give a crap about you; what’s your favorite of my favorite movies”. Only, in this case (and with all due respect to the questioner) it’s a bunch of crappy movies (and “Raiders”, which we’ve got no beef with), one of which Travis had to admit he’d never seen. Think of the possibilities!

Zach: Which of the following would you choose as your favorite cookie:
1) Graham cracker
2) Chocolate chip
3) Un-adorned sugar cookie
4) Fig newton

Marty: Which of the following would you choose as your favorite Star Trek episode:
1) Sub Rosa
2) Darmok
3) Rascals
4) Trouble with Tribbles

Patty: Which of the following would you choose as your favorite color:
1) Jade green
2) Red
3) Ice blue
4) Pukey brownish purple

Zubrus: Which of the following would you choose as your favorite quilt pattern:
1) Mariner’s Compass
2) Trip Around the World
3) Star of Bethlehem
4) Drunkard’s Path

Tedenby: Which of the following would you choose as your favorite painting:
1) Death of Socrates
2) Raft of the Medusa
3) Three Musicians
4) A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

Whichever Sesito, if any, is still on the team: Which of the following would you choose as your favorite pepper:
1) Jalapeno
2) Joe’s Long Cayenne
3) Sargent
4) Green bell

Josefson: Which of the following would you choose as your favorite book:
1) The Sound and the Fury
2) The Count of Monte Cristo
3) The Corrections
4) Shopaholic

Whitey: Which of the following would you choose as your favorite activity:
1) Not swimming
2) Swimming

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We sometimes get asked by friends and colleagues how we manage to be so happy all the time (they clearly don’t read this blog), and our answer is always that we just happen to be very good at letting the little things in life delight us. And when we say “the little things”, we really mean it. For example, we’re having spaghetti with a simple tomato sauce for dinner tonight, one of our favorite meals, and we had this exchange about it:

Schnookie, smugly: There’s a special surprise ingredient in tonight’s dinner, Pookie.
Pookie, excited: Oh? Really? What?
Schnookie: What ingredient can turn a weeknight… into heaven?
Pookie: SAUSAGE!

Seriously. It takes so little. It really makes us wonder how the Devils have gone so wrong by us.

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— So we’re sitting there watching another episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and an alien dies sort of mysteriously. When Dr. Crusher does the autopsy, she discovers that his physiology is crazy weird compared to humans’ — because he has no distinct organs, he died because of a “complete systemic failure”. As she explains it to Picard, Pookie breaks down the science in terms we can all understand: “He died of coach-killing. We can’t definitively single out any one element, but it’s likely it could have been excessive exposure to the element Langenbrunnerium.”

— Later in the same episode Crusher starts conducting her own murder investigation on the Enterprise, and Pookie wonders, “Why don’t they have MPs?” “Yeah,” says Schnookie, “Where’s Jack Reacher?” Pause. “I would love to see Reacher in the Star Trek universe.” Pookie: “Totally! Reeeeaaaaacher! Iiiiiiinnn!!! SPAAAAAAAACE! And instead of being played by Tom Cruise, Reacher could be played by Link Hogthrob.”

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