Friday, November 26, 2010

Send in the Clowns

Everyone seems to be a comedian at Canada Post this week. In fact, not just at work, but in general. Here are just a few examples:

I guess I have a reputation for being quiet at work. I’m not really all that quiet usually, but I’m not a morning person and I like to get out early, so I tend to put my head down and focus on getting my mail sorted and tied out.

This morning one of the carriers asked the aisle in general if registration (where we pickup our barcoded items such as parcels) was open yet.

“Yes,” I replied.

“What?”

“Yes.”

“No, no, I heard you. I just can’t believe you spoke. Hey everyone, did you hear that? She said something. Finally!”

“Oh ha ha,” I told him. “If you’re really that desperate for some conversation this morning we can talk about where my Habs are in the standings versus your Leafs.”

“No time,” he replied, losing all interest and strolling off. “I gotta go to registration.”

Chickenshit.

 ***

 There’s a letter carrier that always wears shorts, a short-sleeved shirt and a vest year round, regardless of the weather. The other guys were giving him a hard time while we were all standing around in the freezing cold, waiting for our cabs to swing by.

“We’re wearing winter coats and here you are in your summer gear,” said a fellow carrier.

“The ladies like me this way,” he sniffed, though he was clearly freezing his ass off.

“Sure, sure, they do,” said a third. “It’s the only way you ever get hard.”

 ***

Today out comes a carrier who has shaved his head. The look is totally unflattering, and of course he took some grief for it.

“Did you get rid of them, Mike?” asked a co-worker.

“Rid of them?”

“The lice. I’m assuming that’s the only reason you’d do that to yourself.”

***

In the cab on the way downtown, the cab driver says, “I’m gonna pull around the corner, so you don’t have to cross Barrington Street.”

I thanked him, because Barrington Street is one of Halifax’s busiest, and it’s a total nightmare to cross, especially during rush hour traffic.

“I don’t care about Shaggy (I’m covering his route this week) getting killed,” says the driver, “But you’re prettier than he is.”

I told Shaggy this later on.

“That son of a bitch!” he roared. “What’d ya do? Bat your eyes at him?”

“Oh please,” I replied. “He just did it to piss you off.”

“It worked!”

***

While I was waiting in an office tower for one of the elevators, a building custodian noticed me standing there, loaded to the eyeballs with mail. I had carried out the mail for the whole building, rather than wait for the truck.

“I bet you used to be 6 feet tall before you started carrying all that around.”

“Not quite,” I answered. “But I’ve lost a few inches for sure.”

“Good thing you’re not a man saying that.”

Right? I thank God for this every day.

***

Even the 17 month old Nephew has taken to playing comedian lately. He'll peep under the sofa and say "Ball". So whoever he's with has to crawl around down on all fours to look for this ball, only there isn't one. Then he smiles and laughs.

He's also taken to mocking his grandmother. He likes to unroll the toilet paper, and she always tells him "No no no!" when he tries it. So now he's taken to wandering into the bathroom, unrolling it anyway, all the while saying "No no no!" with a shit-eating grin on his face. He's his father's son all right.

Speaking of kids, I was delivering my mail and spotted a woman walking by with her young son who looked to be about five or six years old. I don't know what she asked him to do but he stopped dead on the sidewalk, put his hands on his hips and said in the most indignant tone of voice I've ever heard, "Oh I don't THINK SO."

I burst out laughing, causing the mother to laugh too, and after a minute or two she finally composed herself long enough to say, "We don't have time for this now. Just come on."

The kid complied, shaking his head like he was greatly disappointed with her. Meanwhile his mom kept giggling like a schoolgirl as they passed out of view.

I can't wait until the Nephew is his age. It ought to be really interesting considering the genetics.

***

During last night's power outage, Bro was reading animal books to the Nephew.

"And what does the sheep say?" asked Bro.

"Baaaaaaa...."

"And what does the cow say?"

"Mooooooo..."

"And what does Nanny say?" asked Bro, not expecting an answer.

"No! No! No!"

Everyone's a comedian. Everyone!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Morning Coming Down

First things first – a big heartfelt thank you to my twitter friends who joined me in the live blog last night. Leafs and Habs fans were both present, and I must say it was truly enjoyable at least from my end, so I hope y’all had fun too. Hopefully it won’t be the last time.

OK, time for a reality check this morning, even though I’m still riding a high from last night’s game. There are some things troubling me, and since it’s my blog I’m going to address them. Don’t worry – there’ll be some pluses on the board here too. My usual silliness is at the very bottom of this post under Utter Nonsense.

Scott Gomez

I blogged about his lack of production yesterday, but last night just set me off all over again. He’s completely ineffective offensively for this team, and it’s hindering the rest of the team as a result.

Last night Cammalleri got shoved onto his line. I guess Andrei’s constant unwavering efforts earned him a reprieve, but there’s no way Cammy deserves the babysitting duties on this guy all of a sudden either.

Constantly reshuffling the top two lines to get Gomez going is not working. It’s also not the responsibility of Cammy, Gio, Andrei or Pouliot – who remains on the 3rd line – to get Gomez going. That’s on Gomez.

Meanwhile since Plekanec is getting all the attention from opposing teams, his line has to work extra-hard to do their jobs. They’re the only real threat to score. I think the 3rd line is more likely to score than the 2nd at this point, and that speaks really ill of Gomez.

I want the shuffling stopped. Cammalleri himself said he thinks it’s better when the team forms chemistry with consistent lineups, and I tend to agree. Put the 1st line back together Jacques, and address the real problem – Gomez – by switching him with one of the bottom 2 centers. Not only is Gomez no longer qualified to be a top line centerman, I no longer think he’s good enough to anchor the 2nd line either.

The Glaring Hole

I hate having a grinder as a top 6 forward. I’m okay with Moen, Pyatt, Darche and Lapierre, but NOT on one of the top two lines. They don’t have the skill set. The only one who could possibly fill that slot on the roster is Benoit Pouliot, and it appears he’s locked onto Halpern’s wing.

That’s good news for Pouliot and Halpern, who work well together, particularly paired with Darche, but it leaves a hole that a grinder is just not going to fill. If the Habs don’t have another top 6 forward on their roster to fill that hole – and currently they don’t – then it’s either bring up Max Pacioretty from the farm team or go out and buy a winger with Markov’s upcoming cap space.

Andrei Markov

He’s gone for the season. I’d be really truly surprised if he wasn’t. I’m just hoping it’s not a career ending injury, because Markov at 70% or 80% for a short-term contract with a low cap hit next season is still worth the risk. He’s that good.

The defense has proven it can be solid without him. Not as much as an offensive threat maybe, but if Jacques continues to restrict Hamrlik’s and Spacek’s icetime to just under the 20 minute mark, the Habs will be able to cope sufficiently with Markov’s absence.

Markov is seeing his doctor for final diagnosis on Tuesday I think. We should know then if we have money to go out and buy a winger. I really think it’s what Gauthier is waiting for before he makes any more roster moves. Why buy on the cheap when you have money to burn?

Mike Komisarek

Poor Jonas Gustavsson. I can’t blame him for dropping the F-bomb after Komi set up Cammalleri with that beautiful feed right in front of the Toronto net. Lord knows I swore enough about Komisarek when he was wearing the bleu, blanc, et rouge. It’s nice to be on the receiving end of one of his shitty passes for a change.

Last time I liked Komisarek I’m pretty sure there was still a Dodo bird wandering around downtown Montreal. There still is, but now he’s in a Toronto uniform. Dunno about you but I like it much better this way.

Jeff Halpern

Honestly before the signing that brought him here I’d never heard of the guy. He had 9 goals in 71 games last season as he jumped between two teams, but it was his faceoff numbers that impressed me. He’s at around 60% and winning the draws, particularly in the defensive zone, is always crucial. I also thought he’d relieve Plekanec nicely on the penalty kill duties, and he has too.

Slap him in a Habs uniform and I guess he’s putting his money where his mouth is when he said he wanted to play in a hockey market. He’s got 5 goals in 20 games, he’s solid in the faceoffs and on the penalty kill, and has turned into Pleky Lite.

Not sure Gauthier wants to keep him anymore than he wanted to keep Dominic Moore, but if Halpern keeps this up I hope he earns a new contract next year. I just hope we can afford it, with Gomez’s albatross hanging around our necks for 3 more seasons after this one.

So I guess I gotta give Gauthier props for this signing too. I’d also like to thank Burke for taking Komisarek off Montreal’s hands. Two genius GMs right there, each for a different reason. Gotta love it.

Carey Price

Not sure if he’s channeled Dryden, Roy and every single ghost of the Old Forum or what, but holy hell. He had great numbers in October. His November stats are completely unreal.

I know a lot of people were upset with the Halak trade – me included – but it wasn’t because of Price’s lack of abilities. It was because of the extreme pressure he’d face because of it. Well I guess that answers that.

Nice to be wrong. It really is. Price is eating up the pressure and attention like it’s candy.

That said, while I think Eller has potential, it’s not going to sell me on the trade entirely until Jacques gives him a fair shot with decent wingers. And now I’m circling back to the Gomez situation so enough said.

Attitude

It’s funny but after the game last night Price’s focus was already turning toward the Flyers rematch coming up on Monday. It’s a good indicator of the Habs mental shift this year. No resting on their laurels, just constant drive and focus. I like it a lot.

Last season with a 2 goal lead going into the 3rd period the Habs would typically turtle and fail to generate offense. They had piss poor shots on goal during the 3rd usually, and more often than not it would get them into trouble. The best defense is a strong offense.

Dunno what Jacques is feeding these boys, but they’re eating it up. I don’t usually give Jacques props, but that he’s got them buying into his system and bringing their game faces most nights speaks well of his coaching abilities. Saturday’s game was his 1200th, and he got a win. Congrats Jacques, and well earned.

Utter Nonsense

Mike Cammalleri single-handedly cost me $100 dinner at the Keg Restaurant last night. I suppose I could blame Tomas Plekanec too here. I had my money on him, and Mom had her money on “her boy” Cammy.

I gotta stop making bets when I’ve been drinking heavily. Speaking of which, I started watching the game alone except for my online friends and then Mom came home and opened a bottle of Italian Merlot I’d bought. She watched most of the first period in the living room before giving in and joining me in the den.

“I can’t believe I’m right back into hockey,” she declared. “And this team is turning me into an alcoholic.”

“Welcome to the club,” I said, toasting her with my cooler. The Habs have played 4 games and I’ve gone through an entire case of 24 Smirnoff Ice coolers, to the cool tune of $60. It’s getting expensive to be a Habs fan in my house, and I’m not talking about all the bling I’ve been buying here.

“I really don’t mind,” she continued.

“Of course not,” says I. “I bought all the booze. How do you like being a Habs fan?”

“Well I used to be years ago when your Dad and I went to the games at the Forum.”

“Yeah but up until recently you were all about Sid the Kid. Now you’re rooting for the Habs.”

“I know!” she snapped, glaring at me. “That’s YOUR fault! People are gonna think I’m crazy at the game in January. One minute I’ll be rooting for Sid, the next for the Habs. And you’re sitting in front of me.”

The tickets I got for the game on January 12th are in the 6th and 7th row, directly in front of each other. It was pretty much the best I could do when the time came to buy, and I was lucky to get tickets at all anyway.

“Why?” I asked.

“I don’t trust you not to kick me in the head if I cheer for Sid.”

OK I would NEVER kick my mother in the head. Maybe a little slap upside the head, but not a kick for cryin’ out loud.

“I’m going to need a few drinks before we go to the game,” she declared. “Maybe a half dozen or so. That should do it.”

“Let’s hope.”

“And I still want the Habs to win. Sid can score a goal, but I want the Habs to win. Think I can get one of those game pucks from Price? I want one of those too.”

Final score for the night – Tyger 1 Crosby 0. Take that Sid! And Cammy, thanks for the $100 assist on that one.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Habs Leafs Live Game Blog

All Habs and Leafs fans are welcome here for tonight's LIVE GAME BLOG! Just click on the highlight to join the fun! Really hope to see you there.GO HABS GO!

Friday, November 12, 2010

From the Desk of the Evil Overlord

I'm happy to report that my ongoing efforts to corrupt members of my family into turning to the Dark Side and becoming Habs fans is coming along nicely.

I wasn’t going to write a blog today, because really other than hockey it’s been a pretty tame week, and frankly I’m grateful. It seems I’ve not had a lot of those lately.

But then Bro says to me: “You haven’t put a picture of me and my boy in our Habs jerseys on your blog”. It sounds tame when typed out like that, but it came across more like a courtroom accusation when he delivered it, complete with the requisite indignant belief and finger pointing.

So let’s go back a few days to Nov 5th, when it’s Bro’s birthday and he’s called Mom and Mom’s called me 3 times before noon, while I’m wandering around Halifax in the freezing, driving rain that is turning my mail soggy no matter how hard I try to keep it dry. By the third call, I was getting testy.

“Yes?”

“Are you almost done? Your brother wants to go get the jersey.”

“Not yet! This is a shit route and I’ll be out here all day. You’re gonna have to wait!”

“Your brother is getting impatient.”

“Yeah I got that the first and second time, thanks,” I said, and hung up.

Since I got a fan jersey for my birthday back in May, Bro has lusted after it, and as per usual instead of buying what he wants for himself he demands it for his birthday instead. He waited patiently until November 5th, and then lost all reason and started with the harassment.

I finished my route, drove home and made them wait while I grabbed a quick shower and changed out of my work uniform. We hopped in the car and took off for SportChek, where we found a game jersey he was satisfied with for $129.99.

“Great,” I said, whipping out the credit card. “Let’s get it done.”

Not so fast. Bro wanted it embroidered with his last name and his son’s birthdate numbers, June 4th – so 64. They don’t do iron-ons or embroidery at SportChek.

We all hopped in the car and drove across the street – yes I know – to Cleve’s. Same thing there – no embroidery and no iron-ons – but it was $10 more for the exact same game jersey.

“Well I’m going back across the street,” declared Bro.

“See if they’ll match the price instead,” suggested Mom, and I agreed. It had been a long day and I’m not a patient person to begin with. Running around was not ranking high on my fun-o-meter.

The clerk at Cleve’s called over and the SportCheck staff told him it was $139.99.

“Bullshit,” said Bro. “I just had it in my hands.”

To their credit, Cleve’s took him at his word and game him the $10 discount, then suggested an embroidery shop for him to get his name and numbers stitched on. In the meantime, Bro came over that night, watched the game and the Habs put a big W on to celebrate his birthday and his new game jersey.

The next day, Bro calls me.

“It takes two weeks to embroider. Costs $60. And they have to send my Habs jersey to Toronto – of all goddamned places – to get the embroidery done. Can you believe it? TORONTO!”

“At least you’ll have it professionally done,” I said. Really, it’s not like they’re sending to the ACC for gawd’s sake. I’d have been more upset about the 2 week wait but he seemed stuck on the Toronto angle.

Anyway, here’s the pic of him and the Nephew in their jerseys.



The Nephew is well on his way to being suitably turned into a Habs fan and perhaps even a future first round draft pick. Not only does he have this little gem of a jersey courtesy of his lovely aunt (yours truly) but his grandma has also been sufficiently corrupted off her Sid the Kid love long enough to pick up a pair of CH slippers for the boy.

Check it out!



Are they cute or what? I’d like a pair myself!

The Nephew is also very much into hockey, at the ripe old age of 17 months. He seems particularly enthralled by the Habs red sweaters as they shoot up and down the ice, and Bro says he'll stand there for a long time just enjoying the game. This bodes well, no? It helps a lot that his father is helping me in turning the Nephew's little mind towards our favorite team. It's also good to have a Young Apprentice.

Bro took his jersey home and showed it off to his his wife Zee, who admired it suitably. Then she caught sight of her 17 month old boy also dressed in a Habs jerseys. Zee is not really into hockey.

“I’m gonna be in trouble in a few years, aren’t I?”

“Yep,” said Bro.

Girl, you’re in trouble NOW.

Soon my work here will be complete. Next I just need to build a new Death Star.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Eat Your Heart Out Habs Fans!

I was in the cab on the way to deliver the afternoon portion of my route and the driver had on a talk radio chat where the subject was men and women.

“You’re saying that men can get luckier than they do,” the male host was asking.

“Oh definitely,” replied his female guests.

She then went on a litany of what not to do’s for men, and capped it off by saying the thing that men stop doing is being curious, and that this is the biggest mistake they can make.

I may not have authored a book on the subject, but I have to disagree strongly here. I won’t presume to speak for all women like she did, but I’m a simple girl so for me the biggest mistake men make is not dishing out enough bling.

Today I got my bling, courtesy of Dennis Kane.

Mom called as I was near completion of my mail route.

“You got your box,” she said, “but you have to go pick it up. There was a problem with the intercom and I didn’t know the mailman was downstairs.”

I did a little happy dance in the street, regardless of amused passerby, and practically skipped my way down the last couple of blocks. I hauled ass back to the post-office, completed my cleanup and then drove home like a maniac to get the item card.

I got my prize home, tore into the box, and Bro took all of a half a second to start drooling.

“Nice stuff!”

“Are your hands clean?” I demanded. “Don’t be touching otherwise!”

Bro badly covets the picture of Maurice Richard, his absolute favorite hockey player of all time. It’s probably my favorite item of the collection too, though I’m really in love with each and every piece right now.

He helped me set up my prizes in my inner sanctum, and as promised here are the pictures for you all to get ultra-jealous over.






Everything is going to be kept in the handy dandy little sleeves that Dennis sent them in, though there's already been an 'incident'.
"I probably shouldn't be handling these," said Mom, flipping through one of the magazines.

I gasped in horror. "What are you DOING?"

She quickly slid it back into the plastic protector and handed it to me, and I carefully placed it on the shelf next to my Maxim Lapierre autographed cap.

"Don't look at me like that," she said, but quickly exited the Shrine (as Bro calls it) anyway.

Now I just need to find a plastic case for Mad Max's hat and I'm all set!

Dennis, I can’t thank you enough! It’s quite a nice change from last week when I got chased by four different dogs in one day. I like these kinds of days much better!

And folks, if you all aren’t following @DennisKane on twitter or reading his truly excellent hockey blog (links are to the right), you’re probably not a Habs fan. In that case, this blog entry is probably not for you. Sorry.

But squeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I'll Panic if I Want To

I love being told what to say, do, think and feel. If you believe that statement, this is not the blog for you. It doesn't only apply to hockey. Here's been my week thus far.

At Work

Co-worker returns from 6 month extended leave and bumps me back to pee-on status. He says to me, "I don't know why I came back. I don't want to be here. This place sucks."  He spends half the morning's shift bid ranting at a supervisor for his misery at being there, and telling her how to do her job. End result is we're all about 20 minutes late starting our setups, so he can jump up on a soapbox and pitch a hissy fit.

Why come back then idiot? Why spend your life working in a job you hate? Is it just to take joy from spewing your negativity on others around you? It seems to be the sole reason I can think of. If he thinks all the casuals junior to him who were forced to sit there and listen to his venom support him in any way he's completely delusional. By the time he left the only thing we were pissed about was him inconveniencing us.

You know what? I like being a letter carrier. The job itself is fine. It's the over-the-top personalities like him that drive me crazy. One of the reasons I actually like being a letter carrier is because - at most - I'm only going to have to tolerate the preaching of the sanctimonious over-privileged assholes like him for 2.5 hours a day max, most of which will be spent with my Ipod blasting away at full volume.

Then there's the LCA duties, and people nitpicking every little thing. I literally had to move a cart a full inch because a carrier complained. I lifted the bar, moved it, and then said, "Here?"

He said, "Yes, that'll do."

I said, "A whole inch? You need that whole extra inch right there?"

Bear in mind that this cart is probably 6 feet long by 6 feet high and weighs a few hundred pounds without any mail, and this one was fully loaded.

He said, "It was more like a foot..."

"You're not married are you? If you were I'd bet your wife would be happy to show you difference between an inch and a foot."

I walked away. It was an inch, okay?

The supervisor comes up to me and says, "You know you're supposed to dump the extra flyers every morning?"

"Sure," I said. "But the recycling boxes (these are extremely large cardboard boxes that require forklifts to move them) are on back order. Where exactly would you like me to put them?"

"Just take them away," was the reply.

So I wheeled them out and shoved them in a corner in some binnys (wheeled carts), and got promptly grieved for it by the other LCA who spends half his shift sleeping in his truck. When 3 late large monos (cages) of committed mail came through one morning I put mine out and didn't bother to tell him about his sitting there. I also demanded help with mine, and he had to fend for himself at the last minute.

Did I mention I can be a bitch sometimes?

At the Garage

To add to the misery, I've spent over $5,000 in car repairs in less than 6 months. My car still needs winter tires, and the car my Dad dropped off to us to take care of  while he lies on a beach in Panama also needs repairs. I'll put the tires on my car, but his is getting sidelined for the winter. He can deal with it when he gets back. I'm done.

Meanwhile the Hyundai dealership - where I did NOT buy the car and only took the car to once because of a factory recall issue - called me and wanted me to take the car in for a "checkup". I blew my top. The last repairs I had estimated there were $600 over the estimate of my usual garage. It didn't matter how mad I got at the guy, or how I pointed out that the car had just had five grand worth of repairs. All he saw was dollar signs. All I saw was red. By the end of the conversation he was apologizing profusely and I was warning him never to call me again.

I doubt he gets paid enough to listen to the sharp end of my tongue more than once anyway. In retrospect I almost feel bad, but then I think - they've already tried to rip me off once before. So go to hell stupid Hyundai dealership.

At the Game

The headline on today's habsinsideout.com site was "Don't Panic". You know what? I'll damned well panic if I want to.

The Plekanec line has stopped scoring. Everyone else is still not scoring. Scoring goals is necessary to win. Half the d-corps looks like they might need defibrillators on the ice at some point. That means the team's only solid consistent performer is its goaltender. If this is not reason to panic, then what is?

On Dennis Kane's site there was a link to an old Bleacher Report article that made me realize that despite Gainey's expensive new players, a new coach and his stupid "new" system, nothing has changed for the Habs. They're still a bubble team. I find it hard to believe they're going to elevate past that this year.

October was fun, but they played weaker opponents and November is shaping up to be a nightmare. The Florida game was bad, but the Columbus game was totally embarrassing. Yeah, these are the Habs I've been used to watching for far too long now.

Every now and again they'll remember to skate hard, drive to the net, and apply a two-man forecheck for more than 30 seconds a period. Then they'll look dangerous. Then they'll look good. And I'll buy into it again.

Joke's on me I guess.

I want Jacques Martin gone. I never wanted him in the first place anyway. He's not creative, not visionary, and thinks way too deep inside the box. Giving him props for putting Andrei Kostitsyn on the Gomez and Gionta line is driving me crazy. It was a last-minute panic ploy. If he carries it into the next game and juggles his top two lines I'll retract, but he's a creature of habit. He likes his veterans no matter how badly they play.

We're going to get Cammy-Pleky-AK and Moen-Gomez-Gionta on Friday. Expect Spacek to play. Expect Picard and OB to sit. I no longer care if it's Darche or Pyatt or Boyd who gets benched. They all suck right now.

I love Gionta, but he couldn't find an empty net from 3 feet out. I rarely agree with Boone but when he said "Gio couldn't put it in the ocean" I laughed until my stomach hurt. It's completely true. Neither can Cammalleri. They could have GPS, a hound dog and a neon sign flashing at the net and still miss high and wide or shoot it straight into the goalie's logo like it was magnetized or something.

I'm tired of reading about how good Gomez is at gaining the offensive zone. It's the only damned thing he's good at. He can't complete a pass to Gionta, and he won't even try for whoever the hell it is on the other wing. He skates into the zone, looks for a pass to Gio, and if he can't find him because  the defense is lying is wait because he's ENTIRELY FUCKING PREDICTABLE then he turns it over like a short-order cook flipping pancakes.

When Darche is your best forward it's time to kick your big money players hard in the balls. Jacques gave them the day off instead. No doubt they'll all think about what they've done and feel the shame while they drive around in their goddamned BMWs.

I hope Pierre Gauthier does not make a trade, like he's rumored to be trying to do. The 2010 team is having the same problems as the 2008 team, and this is after the roster was gutted, the coach was replaced and the GM quit.

Maybe the problem is me. I'm impatient. 18 years and I'm flat out of patience. Perhaps I'm not panicking after all. Perhaps I'm just jaded and bitter.