mrissa: (question)
[livejournal.com profile] aliseadae is doing the five questions meme again. Ask or be asked in comments.

1) What book character would you like to be friends with in real life? Friendship is hard, because it relies on particularities of personality. I have been missing Patrick from the Secret Country books, even though right now he'd be one of my friends of whom I would think, "Oof, not now, Patrick," and put off answering an e-mail unless it had something time-sensitive in it.

2) What is your favorite mathematical concept? The relationship of e, i, pi, 1, and 0 is nice.

3) What is your favorite fairy tale? At the moment I am turning over The Twelve Dancing Princesses in my head for a thing, but I don't know that the underside of it will look the same.

4) Tell me about a good memory from college. Sometimes on Saturday mornings I would get up and go to the library, up on the second floor, and I would get whatever I wanted and look out on campus, and there would be nobody in the library and nobody walking around that early and it would be so quiet. There were lots of good people in my life in college, but on the down side, there were lots of good people in my life in college. And having an entire floor of library and view out over campus and the edge of the Minnesota River Valley to myself was really, really lovely.

5) If you could go anywhere in space or on earth and observe something with no harm to yourself, where would you go? (e.g. the horsehead nebula, the center of a volcano) Right now I am weirdly water-focused. So I am thinking the Marianas Trench, with a good light source and some good recording devices. Alternately under the ice crust of Europa if Europa actually has ice crust and water.
mrissa: (getting by)
One among you has asked me about professional hockey fighting. Specifically, this person is a baseball fan and notes that fisticuffs of this nature would not be permitted in America's Pastime. (Well, America's Pastime is probably NASCAR these days. But never mind.)

And look. Hockey is not the same as any other team sport. It isn't similar. It takes place on a sheet of ice. I know this is obvious, but it matters. I'm not sure it's possible to play hockey without any incidental physical contact. In baseball, there is one very well-defined place in which players from the opposite teams might accidentally run into each other, and that's while running the bases. I suppose it could happen that a catcher and player could come into incidental physical contact; and, of course, there are elaborate rules, both written and unwritten, about the pitcher hitting the batter with a pitch and what forms of retaliation are acceptable there. Baseball fans should keep this latter case in mind, because it's highly relevant.

See, pretty much everyone who follows baseball understands that sometimes the pitcher will screw up and hit the batter. This is not by any means a good thing, and the batter gets to take a base if it happens. But nobody argues that any pitcher who hits a batter under any circumstances should be banned from the league or fined a substantial fraction of their year's pay or anything extreme like that. Hitting the batter with pitches is part of the game.

And yet most fistfights in baseball immediately follow batters hit by pitches.

So what gives? The rules have accounted for this situation, right? Why does anybody ever start a fight, knowing that the rules have accounted for it?

What happens there is that the written rules are not perceived by the players to have accounted for all possible cases of a pitcher hitting a batter with a pitch. Sometimes pitchers are blatantly vindictive or going after players in inappropriate ways. There is a fairly clear unwritten code about charging the mound: a batter won't do it for an ordinary hit-by-pitch situation but will do it when the pitcher's behavior falls outside the accident category.

So let's get back to hockey.

Unlike in baseball, physical collisions are part of hockey. It is an ordinary part of playing the game. Either side can score at any time in hockey, there is jostling for the item in question, and remember the sheet of ice? It is relevant. You have people of a certain size jostling after a very small puck at high speeds. They will run into each other. This is an ordinary part of the game. It is within the context of the rules. There are rules for what is and is not clean physical contact between players, between one player and another player's stick, etc.

The problem is that there are large grey areas. You could not set up pressure sensors inside the uniforms at certain places and have objective confirmation as to whether a foul had or had not occurred, whether a particular play had been against the rules or within their bounds. So the refs have to make judgment calls.

If you are watching hockey with me, and you hear me say in warning tones, "You're gonna start a fight," and then more urgently, "Asshole! You're gonna start a fight!", I am almost never talking to any of the players, not the captains, not the assistant captains, nobody. I am almost never talking to the coaches (although there are a few teams that have a thuggish culture, and I do blame their coaching and managing staff). I am almost invariably talking to the referees.

Fights in hockey happen because the refs are not calling the close penalties. Okay, occasionally they happen for a few other reasons. But the vast majority of hockey fights I've ever seen--and I've seen quite a few--came when one player was physically hassling a member of the opposition and the ref did not call it. If the leeway that the refs give the players to "just play the game" feels to one team--or to both teams--like it's crossing the lines into their players having to tolerate dirty checks and hooking and stuff like that, a player will be designated to draw that line themselves. A player who finds himself in that role a lot is called an "enforcer" because he is enforcing the rules of the game; he is enforcing physical boundaries for his teammates. He is saying, "No. You are not allowed to smash my teammate's head into the boards from behind. You are not allowed to harry my goalie. Thus far and no farther. Back off."

Which brings me to the death of Derek Boogaard.

I have been trying to figure out what to say about this ever since it happened. The Boogeyman was one of my favorite hockey players ever. I loved to watch him play, and honestly I loved his fights. He always fought clean. Some players, the league has to review their fights to make sure nothing untoward happened. Boogaard wasn't like that. When he got sent out for a brawl, he'd get this look on his face like he was the big brother who's been left in charge of the slumber party and has just discovered his younger sibling's friends microwaving tinfoil. His face--incidentally one of the more handsome faces I've seen in hockey--said, "I cannot believe you are making me sort out this stupidity. But I don't care who started it; I will finish it." With Derek Boogaard on the ice--or even on the bench--I felt like the other guys were safe. If the other team dared to try to run too close to the edge of penalties, even if the refs were terrible, Boogaard would sort it out. Often he would just grab a guy's sweater and smack him a couple of times, and it'd all be over. He'd come on the ice and skate in these slow circles, and I knew it would be all right. He never looked angry. He was calm and rational and in control. On the ice.

And now I will never see him make that face again, not even for another team, because he's gone. Twenty-eight years old. Gone. And while a mix of alcohol and painkillers takes out people from all professions and all walks of life, because that sort of thing is not a respecter of persons, I can't help but wonder if it was related to all the fights he was in--if he might not have struggled with as many pain issues if he hadn't been in so many fights. I'm wondering if I shouldn't wish that more penalties were getting called so that he could have had more ice time just being a great big guy who passed the puck to someone with pretty hands and tried to score a few goals while he was at it.

I don't know. Hockey fighting is there because the league recognizes that the refs are substantially imperfect, and because there are a great many of us who believe that the world is safer for the more vulnerable players with enforcers on the team, going out to make sure that everybody is clear on where the boundaries are. But that doesn't mean that the refs making it necessary a little less often might not be good for everybody.
mrissa: (intense)
1. My godfather is well and truly married, and I alone have returned to tell the tale. Where by "I alone" I mean "everybody who went." Also there's not much tale to tell, since it went smoothly. And it turns out that there are e.e. cummings poems that are clean and yet related to people coming together romantically! Who knew? Apparently my new cousin Hsin-Yi knew! So she is your go-to person for clean and yet romantically involved e.e. cummings. We never had one in the family before. Now we do. When the officiant said that her sister was going to read e.e. cummings, I thought, "Oh, uff da, here we go!" because I knew it wasn't going to be maggy and milly and molly and may, and all the adult e.e. cummings I know is really adult. But apparently Hsin-Yi is refineder in her literary sensibilities than I. (Also, "refineder" is now a word.)

2. The tomatillos are harvested, and there was frost, so we are done harvesting for the year. My fingers are almost recovered from doing so in the wind. Are we done processing them? Oh, cue the hollow laughter. Like fun we are.

3. [livejournal.com profile] timprov and I went out for breakfast, and on the drive home, I saw the first snowflakes of the season. They didn't last long enough to hit the ground. But I saw them. I saw.

4. I have word of my latest Analog story, from someone living in Montreal who liked it and liked the Montreal bits in particular. So that's good. I would like my arthur copies now, but arthur copies are sometimes slow. (My first set of work-for-hire textbooks came with a packing slip that actually said, "arthur copies." And I could not resist quoting the Arthur-shaped snot-monster from The Tick and saying, "I Arthur! I Arthur!" Most of you already know this.)

5. We have decided that if I ever do an elaborate Halloween costume again, I will go as the Stanley Cup and make other people go as hockey players and lift me over their heads. Possibly I should get an 8-year-old to let me do this, as they are more broadly feasible to lift and yet about the size of a Stanley Cup, but Rob has already decided on his costume for this year. Still, I am not in much danger of doing an elaborate Halloween costume any time soon, so that's all right; getting all the names down would take awhile. This is Minnesota, so you can't just write, "Gordie Howe blah blah Gretzky blah blah something about Crosby."
mrissa: (themselves)
[livejournal.com profile] mrissa: And then [livejournal.com profile] markgritter was listing the places Vernor Vinge could have gone to see a live lobster. He went on at quite some length. Like, Byerly's, Red Lobster, the aquarium. Boston Gardens.
[livejournal.com profile] timprov: Um.
M: Okay, he didn't quite get so far as Boston Gardens.
T: Good. It's not like octopuses and Detroit.
M: I am concerned--I am suddenly quite concerned about the octopuses and Detroit.*
T: Like how at any moment--
M: Yes.
T: At any moment some guy there in Detroit has an octopus in his pants and you don't know it.
M: Yes. This concerns me greatly. Please tell me that Ziploc is involved.
T: I'm thinking no.
M: Or that nice friendly people such as the Detroit equivalent of United Noodle have sold the Red Wings fans some lovely dried octopus for their flinging needs?
T: Clearly not.
M: Oh, oh, oh, I am concerned. So in a regular plastic bag like a Target bag, just a whole dead octopus.
T: Possibly. If it was me I would use a thermos.
M: This is heartening.
T: But thermoses are not allowed in the arenas.
M: Not heartening!
T: But it's not like things that are not allowed in arenas never get in arenas.
M: And something like a smuggle-in beer belly contraption would be difficult to get the octopus out of--and although I hear octopuses are good at wriggling in and out of confined spaces, I expect that's mostly the live ones.
T: Never underestimate the power of the undead octopus.
M: No, I am concerned.
T: I think they have official Red Wings jackets with special pockets for the octopuses.
M, heartened: Do you? Like duck hunting jackets? Oh, I am relieved.
[pause]
M: Wait! I am not relieved! Oh why was I relieved?
T, laughing: If they don't, it's a marketing opportunity waiting to happen.
M: Now I really have to ask the internet how this works. And fear that it will answer me.

*Detroit Red Wings fans have been known to fling dead octopuses upon the ice. No, I cannot explain this to you. I am not a Detroit Red Wings fan.
mrissa: (winter)
Last night I wore real clothes and ate real food and spoke audibly. Hurrah for me! Today I am still fighting off the remnants of this virus, but I have it on the run, I'm almost sure. I'm going to be taking it easy as much as possible the next few days, because I am warned that this one can get nasty towards the end. No harm to just a bit more tea and reading under the afghan.

The problem with allowing as how Carter can have a prologue if he wants one is...the same problem with writing anything else with Carter, really. He tends to run away with things. So saying, "Arright, boyo, how does it start?" promptly hands me something like five prologues. I find this excessive. I was not convinced that one prologue was not excessive. Still, when I have brain to do it I am writing them all down, in case I need Carter's Church Of Baseball Hockey Speech at some later point, or Carter's Briefing On Janet And Tam, or Carter's (Completely Wrong) Theory of Why the Queen of Air and Darkness Chose Tam To Begin With, or Carter's (Only Slightly Less Wrong) Theory of Why It's Never The Defensemen or like that. All those things will go in their little files, and maybe for once I will have the "bonus materials" sorts of things people talk about. Or not; it's entirely possible that all the rest of that stuff will go somewhere else in the book than the prologue, or in short stories.

But the thing is, mostly when I write things that get cut in later drafts, they are the wrong things. I look at them and say, "No, no, that's not how it happened," like if one of your relatives was telling a story from your trip to Louisiana only you remembered very clearly that it was when you were in Maine instead. And if the things actually happened and need cutting and redoing, it's because I wrote them badly. So I almost never come out of this whole process (at least so far) with material that is substantially correct as written but does not belong in the final draft. Maybe Carter will do that for me. We'll see.

I am also trying to keep him very thoroughly away from the words "else the Puck a liar call," because I am a bit scared of what will happen if someone lets him at them. And since he, y'know, doesn't exist, someone would have to be me. So. ("Like hell all is mended," says Carter in my head. "Think but this my ass.")

Also, the Wild won, and Cal was back on the ice, and do we regard this as a coincidence? We do not.
mrissa: (think so do ya?)
So as long as you don't need me to do anything involving eating, drinking, talking, singing, staying awake for more than four hours at a stretch, thinking about anything complex, or regulating my own body temperature--oh, or walking around or driving, obviously--I'm doing just great.

Which is fine, because it's not like there were things I wanted to do this week other than curling up on the sofa and trying to get and keep something in my system that has more substance in it than cloudberry tisane. Nor did anybody else have anything they might want of me.

Oh wait.

At least the new fella finally gave Mikko the C before Bruno and The Grizzled Veteran took him out behind our beautiful palace of hockey for a come to Jesus chat. (Note: if this sentence is incomprehensible to you, repeat to yourself, "hockey blah blah hockey blah blah blah Mris is pleased," and you will have the gist of it.) Particularly good because there isn't a good lot of space behind the Xcel per se, and I would think that kind of thing might alarm opera patrons.

I do wish they'd have stayed NSP or at least spelled it with an e in it. Because Xcel looks stupid, and what does it mean? Who knows? Whereas Northern States Power was very clear: where were they? Northern States. What service did they provide? Power. So there ya go. Possibly I'm misremembering and what they used to be was Minnegasco, but that, too, was fairly transparent. Harumph harumph harumph.

Rather than hugs or virtual cups of tea, if you could link interesting articles, stories, comics, blog/journal entries, etc. in the comments, I would appreciate it muchly.
mrissa: (winter)
I have the weirdest feeling that I can't finish a draft of The True Tale of Carter Hall until the hockey season starts. I have no rational basis for this. It's just this feeling I have.

What I'm wondering is: with all the other stuff that's gone on in my life this year, should I push on that and try to disprove it? Should I work on another novel until the season starts? Should I just write a metric buttload of short stories? Should I work on what I feel like working on, as I feel like working on it, and see what happens?

This thing where all the goals and deadlines are internal: it sometimes gets kind of weird. I am a great deal more comfortable when I'm working on a novel and therefore have a place where my work goes by default unless something else comes up. But I'm not sure if I should just go with that or try to keep my brain from falling into ruts. So I am thinking thinky thoughts about it.

(Note for non-hockey fans reading this: the Wild's season opener is September 15. So we're talking about what I am doing for less than a month, not for, like, six months or something.)

Maybe I should watch Whale Rider again and see if that helps. (My initial charmed reaction to that movie was, "They're like us! But the water's liquid!")
mrissa: (amused)
At the Josh Ritter concert last night:

Josh: I want to try to play a new song for you.
Enthusiastic Minnesotan man in the crowd: I'll bet it's pretty good!

Oh, Minnesotans. Never, ever change.

(It was pretty good, too. It had icy death potential, which improves most things.)
mrissa: (dad)
So.

Yah.

1. Fourth Street is next weekend! Our Fourth Street-related social obligations start midweek. I think it's going to be a good year for it. I'm pretty excited.

2. It's my dad's birthday, and my grandma and my aunt and uncle are in town to celebrate it with us. Last night: pizza and buster bar dessert. Tonight: cake and presents and I don't know what, we're waiting for Dad to say. Usually he says good stuff. So.

3. 1 + 2 + [livejournal.com profile] markgritter's business trip being extended at the last minute + various minor tasks arising = not a great deal of down time for me. I'm going to be in need of some serious reading time on the couch with the poodle late in the month. If I'm a little scarcer than usual on lj/e-mail for the next week or so, don't worry.

4. Also do not worry if I am not scarcer than usual. Ideally you will refrain from Mris-related worry in all circumstances. My grandpa always said ninety percent of the things you worry about never come to pass, but he never took it well when my mom and I tried to argue that that meant we should worry about bad things that were more than 10% likely, in order to improve the odds.

5. Marian Hossa, one would have hoped, should have learned his lesson. In any case, the nhl.com article claiming that he took less in the way of salary because he's an altruist is On The Drugs. Quick background for those of you who don't follow hockey: Marion Hossa left the Penguins after they lost in the Stanley Cup final last year, accepting a lower salary and a contract for fewer years from the Red Wings because--and this is what he said--he wanted a better chance at winning the Stanley Cup. The Penguins went on to beat the Red Wings this year without Mr. "I want to tag along with other guys I think can win the Cup for me" Hossa. Was this altruistic? Well, put it this way: if he'd said, "I am willing to pay x million dollars for what I consider a better chance at winning the Stanley Cup," would anyone have said, "What a humanitarian"? That's effectively what he did. He didn't take a lower salary with Detroit so that newer guys could have higher salaries, or so that the tickets to the Detroit games would be cheaper, or so they could make some improvements to the arena, or to buy poor kids hockey equipment, or to help with the flagging Detroit economy. He didn't do it because he thought he could grow as a player in Detroit, or because he thought his personality would fit better with that organization. And he certainly didn't do it to give the Poor Little Red Wings a better chance at winning the Stanley Cup they totally couldn't have gotten without him: they've won four of the last fifteen years. So I have no idea where this ridiculous idea that he's an altruist is coming in, because it is Just Plain Dumb. Also, the boy should have read more Grail myths, and maybe he wouldn't have gotten himself into this predicament.

The extraordinary thing about that article I linked is that he seems to be claiming either that the Penguins couldn't have won it with him or the Red Wings couldn't have lost it without him. Which, y'know, may be true. So far the data says that the team with Marian Hossa loses. But I'm a bit surprised that he's the one proposing this theory.
mrissa: (reading)
"It is in free time that the special player develops, not in the competitive expedience of games, in hour-long practices once a week, in mechanical devotion to packaged, processed, coaching-manual, hockey-school skills. For while skills are necessary, setting out as they do the limits of anything, more is needed to transform those skills into something special. Mostly it is time unencumbered, unhurried, time of a different quality, more time, time to find wrong answers to find a few that are right; time to find your own right answers; time for skills to be practiced to set higher limits, to settle and assimilate and become fully and completely yours, to organize and combine with other skills comfortably and easily in some uniquely personal way, then to be set loose, trusted, to find new instinctive directions to take, to create.

"But without such time a player is like a student cramming for exams. His skills are like answers memorized by his body, specific, limited to what is expected, random and separate, with no overviews to organize and bring them together. And for those times when more is demanded, when new unexpected circumstances come up, when answers are asked for things you've never learned, when you must intuit and piece together what you already know to find new answers, memorizing isn't enough. It's the difference between knowledge and understanding, between a super-achiever and a wise old man. And it's the difference between a modern suburban player and a player like Lafleur.

"For a special player has spent time with his game. On backyard rinks, in local arenas, in time alone and with others, time without short-cuts, he has seen many things, he has done many things, he has experienced the game. He understands it. There is scope and culture in his game. He is not a born player. What he has is not a gift, random and otherworldly, and unearned. There is surely something in his genetic make-up that allows him to be great, but just as surely there are others like him who fall short. He is, instead, a natural."

--Ken Dryden, The Game

I tell you, when I started reading this book, all the quotations on the jacket about how it was the best hockey book ever were a bit off-putting, and I started making snide remarks about it curing scrofula. But I am won over. If you have the king's evil, it might be worth a try to order this book, at least if you have the king's evil and like hockey.
mrissa: (reading)
I'm not going to finish Liberation until later tonight or perhaps tomorrow, depending on how well writing the middle of this chapter goes, so I might as well do the book post now and put that in the second half of the month. I hope I remember to talk about standing between it and Battlestar Galactica then. Well, someone will remind me if I forget, or else they won't.

books read, early January )
mrissa: (winter)
It is interesting writing The True Tale of Carter Hall so that the hockey fans should go, "Hmm, something's not right here," and the mythology geeks should go, "Hmm, something's not right here," and the mythology geeks who are also hockey fans should be going, "OH NOES OH NOES RUN AWAY RUN AWAY!!!" I will be interested to see how well I nail that balance in the first draft or whether it needs tweaking in one direction or another.

Anyway Carter got to punch the fella in the ear and force him down on the ice when he crashed the net, so everybody is satisfied, where by "everybody" I mean me, Carter, Coach Laird, and Honor Itself.

Also I have the last of my post-Christmas sale purchases, which is a red sweater with white snowflakey bits, which is honestly how I look in my own head. Native garb and all that.

So it's afternoon now? Huh.
mrissa: (winter)
I finished writing a short story this afternoon.

It was not the one I'd intended to write. It was not the backup to that. Nor the second backup. Unlike fear, surprise, and phonetical devotion to the Poh-pay, it was not among the chief stories I intended to write today.

It's a story.

It might even be a good story.

I feel good about it, and I feel good about having done it, and I feel good about letting go of my other intentions long enough to do it, and those three things are not the same.

I guess we'll see what the smart people who think about these things think about this thing.

But anyway: it's better to light a candle than to trip over the end of the same dresser that's always been there and dislocate your knee and add crutches to this whole sorry spectacle.

Or something about darkness and cursing. Something like that anyway. There was darkness and cursing in this story. Mostly cursing, since it was "Carter Hall Gets Two for Roughing." Anyway, you do the things you can do, and this is a thing I could do. And I will not give up on the things I couldn't do so far today, necessarily, but sometimes I will give them a rest for awhile and enjoy the hockey.

That's probably the moral right there: give it a rest and enjoy the hockey.

I guess I will let the hockey be a metaphor just this once if you absolutely insist.

Analogy

Nov. 12th, 2008 09:32 pm
mrissa: (dad)
"I was drafted in the eighth round of the junior draft by the Hamilton Red Wings. I showed up to camp to find seventy-five other players on the ice. I phoned my dad crying my eyes out, but he said, 'Son, just do one more day.' The next day I called and said, 'Dad, there are forty-five guys better than me!' He told me the same thing, 'One more day, son.' The fourth day I called him back and said, 'You know what, Dad? There's nobody here who can do what I can do.'" -- Pat Hickey, quoted in Dave Bidini's The Best Game You Can Name

You think his dad was surprised?

I don't. Because mine wasn't.

In case you missed it: the fourth day did not make him say, "I'm better than everybody! Nobody else is any good!" And that's important, too.
mrissa: (Default)
1. If you are in the US and choose to vote on Tuesday, please look carefully at your method of voting. I don't mean your method of selecting how to vote, I mean physically, specifically, how are they having you vote in your precinct? Ask yourself: if there was a question of malice or error, is there some way that a nonpartisan group could recount my vote with some reasonable assurance that they were counting it the way I cast it?

This is not just important if the election doesn't go your way. Even if you're having the best election of your life and are thrilled with everyone who is elected from president to third assistant dogcatcher--even if every referendum you wanted passed and every one you didn't failed--the process is important to democracy. And while people may feel a lot more passionate about it if they feel their vote has been stolen and the results have changed thereby, it sounds a lot less like sour grapes to say, "I don't dispute the results of the current election, but I think we need to look at this in the long term and change how we're doing this."

(People outside the US: no, it's not standardized. It's not even standardized within a metro area in some places, much less within a state, much less within all of them.)

2. Here is my plan for Tuesday: normal morning consisting of internet stuff, PT, writing, couch time with poodle, workout, shower, lunch, PT. Then there will be voting. Then tisane. And then--this is important--I will stop reading lj until Wednesday morning. I will not turn on the news. If I watch anything on the television, it will be a DVD or perhaps the first period of the Wild/Sharks game.

Because here's the thing: there is nothing I can do at that point to change the outcome, and it is not a horse race. If someone edges ahead with the first few states reporting and then someone else surges with the next few and like that, me watching it happen will not change it. And me watching it happen doesn't change the results of the Wild/Sharks game, either, but at least our man Mikko is on fire this year, and he has such pretty hands. (Note for the potentially confused: this is not literal. By "pretty hands" I mean that he does skilled and sometimes unexpectedly elegant things with his stick and the puck, not that he should model rings and wristwatches.) I know that some people will be comforted by knowing as much as possible about the election as soon as possible. I think it'll be a better idea for me to think about something else. And if you find you're not enjoying watching the results trickle in, maybe it's time for you to make cookies or read a book or knit a sock. If you are, if liveblogging the election or sitting around snarking with friends is your thing, enjoy it. I'll catch up with what you had to say on Wednesday morning.
mrissa: (reading)
This is the fortnight when I officially got back my nonfiction reading ability. Hurrah. I can't actually swear to whether I have regained my old nonfiction reading ability or whether I have learned how to do it under current circumstances. Still and all: useful and welcome.

books read, early October )
mrissa: (winter)
"It was fascinating and very different from refereeing in modern hockey. For one thing, I didn't have a whistle; when I wanted to call a penalty I would ring a small bell and then send the player off the ice. I found that some players didn't fancy my calls and began to threaten me. My solution was to get a bigger bell, which I used for protection. If anyone -- fan or player -- got tough with me, I'd just wave the bell at his head and that calmed him down. It was much more effective than a little whistle.

"Of course the big bell also had its drawbacks. It was heavy and when I wanted to call a penalty I'd have a devil of a time shaking it. Occasionally I'd drop the thing and crack the ice -- or a toe."

--Bobby Hewitson, interviewed in Stan Fischler's Those Were the Days: The Lore of Hockey by the Legends of the Game
mrissa: (flirty)
I have mostly steered clear of controversial political issues in this lj, but a friend's post has made me aware that there is an issue on which I can no longer in good conscience keep silence.

To wit: playoff beards. I am for 'em. Let there be no confusion: distinctly in favor. Brent Burns looks like a demented hillbilly in his, to be sure, but Burnsie looks like a demented hillbilly under most circumstances, so that harm is outweighed by the great joy that is everybody else's playoff beard.

In fact, while I'm enjoying the NHL playoffs a great deal more than I am enjoying or expect to enjoy the PotUSA playoffs (though with equal doubts, I suspect, about the officiating), I would like to suggest that people could grow playoff beards for that as well. Don't shave until your team wins the...well, it's not as cool as the Stanley Cup, but if you don't bother to learn to play hockey, you can't really expect it. But the US Presidency, at least, which has a few consolations despite its distinct lack of Stanley Cup. And if you don't have a team in this particular set of playoffs, you could still grow a playoff beard in support of those who do, and sort of to add to the pleasant parts of the spectacle of the thing. At least for me personally, and isn't that what's important here?

People whose beards look as though someone snuck in while they were sleeping and drew on their face with a cheap Bic pen and then ran away when it looked like they were waking up are exempt from this exhortation, I suppose. I suppose.

Also, nobody is strictly required to buy a Life of Brian style beard for my amusement. No. Definitely not a requirement.
mrissa: (helpful nudge)
(not an exhaustive list)

1. Backstrom, honey, you are just not allowed to trip the other players like that. I'm glad you fellas won. Hurrah. But whipping your stick around the corner of the goal: no, dear. No. Very smooth, very wrong.

2. Joan Baez has aged beautifully. Holy crap, we should all hope to age as well as Joan Baez.

3. There is sort of a squirmy happy feeling I get on rereading the first book of a favorite series. Even if the book itself is not a favorite within the series, there's the memory of, "Oh, right, this is how it all begins, this is what I first started to love about this series, and these are the bits I couldn't fully appreciate then," that comes creeping in.

4. This is some consolation for not having Murder Must Advertise, which is what I thought I wanted. This approach of trying to get all the Lord Peter books for less than $1 each, used, has not gone well lately. It was fine when I didn't care how soon I had them. Now the bloom is off the rose that is the thrill of the hunt (I'm sorry, I couldn't think of another metaphor to mix in there, so you'll have to make do with two), and I want the remaining ones and wish I'd spent $1.50 or even $2 on them when I was steady and in a bookstore and they were there in front of me. Let this be a lesson to you.

5. It apparently is possible for me to come up with YA SF novel ideas that don't involve spaceships or virtual reality, those being perfectly respectable SF things that are rather overused in YAs, in my opinion. Down side: did I need another novel idea sketched out? Not so much. But here we are.

6. You know all those "[your interest here] is love" graphics that were going around lj awhile back? Pete Seeger really is love. Really. Our PBS affiliate played an hour and a half biography of him this evening, and it was just exactly the thing. Just exactly. He got me all choked up at least three times and bouncy with delight a great deal more than that. Also: Pete's belief in the long run means the long run, not the slightly-less-short-than-short run, not "the long run" meaning "day after tomorrow, Sunday at the latest." This is extremely useful to me at the moment.

But I wasn't going to talk about that part, so I won't.

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