Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Matchup I've Been Waiting For happened. My favorite NHL team since I was a child, the Carolina Hurricanes (formerly known as the Hartford Whalers), are playing in the Eastern Conference Semis this weekend against the Boston Bruins. You know, that other team that 9 out of 10 New Englanders root for.

Today I'm going to talk a bit about the Boston/Hartford rivalry, my history with the Whale and a little more about the Hurricanes.

Let’s go back....

In 1979, well before I was thought of, a hockey team known as the New England Whalers of the World Hockey Association joined the National Hockey League and became the Hartford Whalers. For the seven years that the New England Whalers existed, they never missed the playoffs.

Things would soon change For the next 18 years, the Hartford Whalers had just three winning seasons and made the playoffs eight times.

Sometime during that 1986 or 1987 season I became a fan of the Whalers. Why you ask? Why would I root for a team that wasn’t very good, when a team from Boston was making Stanley Cup final runs? That's a tough question. I think in some ways I liked rooting for the underdog. But at 7 years old I can't imagine I was too aware of what an underdog was. It may sound simple, but they had awesome uniforms. The combination of blue, green and white...matched with what I still think is the best team logo in sports history had me hooked. If you've never looked at the logo of the Hartford Whalers, notice how the Whale Tail and the W placed together form an "H".

So I was hooked on the Whalers. Now this next part I just have to put out in the open even though it has nothing to do with hockey, but more to do with green uniforms. Around that time of the mid 80's, I also was rooting for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles. This was definitely because of the green uniforms. I wasn't really aware of New England sports pride at the time, and I definitely didn't realize how unlikable Philly sports fans were. So even today, I kind of give myself a hard time for rooting for the Eagles and not sticking with the awful Patriots. I think my last year of rooting for the Eagles was around 1994, so no, I didn't jump on the Patriots bandwagon in 2001. I came to my senses and realized that being a New Englander means sticking with your team through the good times and the bad times.

And let’s not forget, the Whalers were from New England, so I was not breaking any rules there.

Back to the Whalers. I probably went to six or seven games in Hartford from 1990-1997. It was always a ton of fun. My dad would drive me and a few friends, usually for my birthday. I don't remember them really winning any of the games, but they were still a ton of fun. One time I had my mom tape the game and somehow we had first row seats. I had made a sign that said "GO WHALERS!" and I think I saw it at one point while watching it later on the VCR.

I mentioned that they missed the playoffs 10 times out of 18 years. But from 1986-1992, they did manage to make the playoffs. And those are my fondest and most vivid memories of the team. So I guess you could say during my tenure as a Whalers fan, they weren't always terrible.

I was so much of a fan that when I was in the 8th grade, I captained an intramural floor hockey team and instead of naming it a normal team name, I called it Hartford. On the morning news bulletin after each time we had a game, I heard on the P.A. “The 8th grade Hartford beat the Bruins.” Not that you really care, but that team was awesome! During the draft, I decided to pick every bully, trouble maker, tough guy, or athlete I could. This was a great strategy because (A) we intimidated the hell out of the other team, and (B) half of them were always in detention, so I got to play more minutes. Yeah I think it was supposed to be a 12 or 13 person team but we always only had 8. I only had one of the girls show up usually too, so I put her in goal.

I read that the 1986 Whalers team had a parade thrown for them due to their winning one round in the Stanley Cup playoffs. That's not exactly a city used to going all the way.

Their biggest rivals were the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers because of the proximity of the teams. But when it came to the playoffs, I don't think the Whalers had a bigger rival than the Montreal Canadians. In 1986, 88, 89 and 92, Hartford lost to the Canadians in the playoffs. The most memorable would be a game seven, double overtime loss in the Adams Division semifinal to the Canadiens in 1992. I stayed up with my dad and watched both overtimes. It was one of the first times pro sports punched me in the stomach. That was the last time the Whalers made the playoffs.

When the Whalers scored a goal at home, they played this ships horn that was amazingly loud. It was such a celebration because it didn't happen very often! Check out this horn!

Another sound that is synonymous with the Whalers is the song The Brass Bonanza. This song was played at the beginning of each period and at the conclusion of all Whalers games. Check out how addictive it can be! (During the Carolina Hurricanes 2002 playoff run, I remember Chris Berman and his cronies at ESPN playing the song in honor of the state of Connecticut’s only pro franchise)

The Hartford Whalers had several Hall of Famers play for them including Paul Coffey, Dave Keon (don’t know him), Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull and Ron Francis.

Other talented players you may remember are Keith Primeau, Brendan Shanahan, Geoff Sanderson, Pat Verbeek, Sean Burke, Andrew Cassels, Kevin Dineen, Ray Ferraro, Glen Wesley, Chris Pronger and Ulf Samuelsson

Then there were names the true Hartford Whalers fans would recognize: Dave Babych, Steve Chiasson, Murray Craven, Randy Cunneyworth, Sami Kapanen, Dave Tippett, Curtis Leschyshyn, Goalies Jean Sebastian Gieguere, Mike Liut Frank Peitrangelo, and who can forget the name Zarley Zalapski. I know I can’t.

A few of those names immediately come to mind when I think of the Whalers. Ron Francis was traded to the Penguins in the early 90’s and won two Stanley Cups with them, but returned and finished out his career in Carolina, which included a finals appearance. He is 4rd all-time in NHL point leaders.

Kevin Dineen also played most of his days for the Whalers. In fact he scored the last ever goal in 1997 for the Whalers in a 2-1 victory over the Lighting. One crazy stat about Dineen is that he is one of only five players in history to score 350 goals and spend 2000 minutes in the penalty box.

Ulf Samuelsson isn’t necessarily synonymous with the Whalers as he is with “cheap shots.” Ulf is the person many hold responsible for ending Cam Neely’s career as well as a couple other players. Neely was one of the star forwards for the Bruins in the 80’s and early 90’s. I don’t have a lot of respect for Samuelsson, but he did play a fair bit of time in Hartford, so he gets a mention.
I found an article stating that Francis’ #10, Dineen’s #11 and Samuelsson’s #5 were all retired, however I went to other sites that didn’t mention them at all. This picture proves that they were indeed retired, I am just not positive if they stayed retired once the team moved.

In March 1996, the Whalers newest owner Peter Karmanos announced that he was moving the team. Prior to that announcement, there had been a couple years of negotiations that ultimately fell through. A unique situation with the Whalers owner is that he did not announce where the team was moving to! It wasn’t until July that I found out the Whalers would become the Carolina Hurricanes for the 1997-1998 season. Bright red uniforms…yuck.

During the whole campaign to save the Whalers, I had a mini Whalers shrine in my locker at school. When it was finally announced that they were officially leaving, I had a countdown in my locker for 40 days or so until they were gone forever. I took the move very seriously.

That reminds me, I miss my Hartford Whalers memorabilia. I have it all at home: four Whalers jerseys, t-shirts, a Puck head (that’s a hat in the shape of a puck!), key rings, pins, hats. My favorite item would have to be my corduroy Whalers had that I probably received around the time I was eight, and wore well into college. Now it has so many holes in it that I don’t think it can physically be worn. Mom if you ever throw that away….

Now Back to the big move. As a Whalers fan, I had a big decision to make. Do I continue to root for the Carolina Hurricanes because they are really the same franchise, just with a new name? Or do I go and become a full on Boston Bruins fan? Well let’s see here. The Whalers had been pretty good to me, making the playoffs 8 out of the 16 years I was alive. What about the Bruins? They haven’t won a title since….1972. So there is no need to jump on any bandwagon there. My final choice was to stay with the Hurricanes and continue to support the Bruins when the two teams weren’t playing each other.

The move was sad. I was bummed that there would be no more Hartford Whalers in existence. But as I grew older, I realized it was a business decision. And that’s what pro sports are, a business. I’ve thought a lot about their move and to this day. I ask why, why did they have to move. And then I start to think from an owner’s perspective. What’s the first reason you move? MONEY. Obviously. Let’s get rid of the awful Hartford Whalers and introduce hockey to a whole new fan base that will fill up the stadium. And secondly, Stanley Cups. Every owner wants a ring. And if you look at the Carolina Hurricanes brief history, you’ll see one two finals appearances and one Stanley Cup trophy. And for that, I say good job. As a fan, I finally got a winning team.

That 2002 Stanley Cup finals which most of you don’t remember because, let’s face it, who was watching the NHL in 2002, was a great series even though Detroit beat Carolina in 5 games. There was an epic double overtime game that Detroit won and pretty much took the wind out of the Cane’s sails.

That brings me to Bruins fans. How can you not be sickened that they haven’t won a cup since 1972? Check this out. The Tampa Bay Lightning, Ottawa Senators, San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks have all produced teams that have either won a Cup (TB and ANA), made it to the finals (Ottawa), or had the best record in the regular season (San Jose.) And those four teams mentioned have been around fewer than 20 years! So you know how I said the Whalers were so bad, well the Bruins, in my lifetime haven’t given me much more to jump around about.

Before I get into the series later this week, I have to share my 2006 Stanley Cup Champion Carolina Hurricanes story with you.

At the time, I was working on the Carnival cruise ship Fantasy out of Florida. The Hurricanes were in the finals against the underdog Edmonton Oilers. Coincidentally, I was working with more Canadian citizens than I ever remember working with before. So we had some great trash talk going throughout the week. Carolina went ahead 3-1 and had the chance to wrap up the series at home. So I was pretty cocky the night of game 5. I wore my Hurricanes jersey to the crew bar, which if you’ve never seen this jersey, it is pretty hideous. But I wore it with pride! The game went into overtime and all I needed was a Carolina goal. What happened instead was that a shorthanded Edmonton team scored on an easy breakaway right away. I don’t think I’ve ever received so much trash talk in my life. In fact, they chased me out of the crew bar and I was really ticked off.

To abruptly wrap up this story, the Hurricanes ended up winning the Cup in Edmonton in seven games. It was great to see the Hurricanes/Whalers franchise raise their first banner. Yep, I celebrated that one all by myself.

A great story about that 2006 team was Glen Wesley. Wesley played most of his career in Boston and Hartford, leaving for half a season to play with the Maple Leafs. It was his 18th year in the league and he finally had his ring. I don’t think he was an exciting player or even great for that matter. But my impression was that he was a dependable defenseman. The picture above is of Hurricanes Captian, Rod Brind'Amour (The only player I know to have an apostrophe directly in the middle of his name!)

Moving onto this week. How can I be pumped about a playoff series when I haven’t watched a game all season? The simplest answer is, “It’s the playoffs…” Something about the NHL playoffs is so exciting that even casual fans have to watch. I grew up playing ice hockey and dreaming of being Ray Bourque as a kid. The playoffs are a journey: Four series, a couple of months, playoff beards. It is all so much fun. And the final prize is just the coolest looking trophy in all of sports.

The Bruins are the number one seed and the hurricanes are six. So the B’s should have no trouble. But the Hurricanes have proven to be a tough team to beat in the playoffs. And with this being the first playoff series between these two teams since 1991, I hope it is a good one.

Did you know that the Hurricanes were the first team since 1939 to miss the playoffs the year before and the year after they won the Stanley Cup? (They also missed it the second year after they won)

During their Cup run in 2006, the Hurricanes were the only team in history to lose nine games in a year’s playoff and still win the Cup.

I was looking at the Hurricanes Cup runs in 02 and 06. Both those years, they knocked off the New Jersey Devils. Once again this year they have. Could it be there year? I think the Carolina/New Jersey matchup has to be getting bigger and bigger.

Also this week I noticed that Paul Maurice is managing the Canes again! He was hired in 1995 by the Whalers and wasn’t fired until 2003. I remember he was the youngest coach ever hired at the time. Well apparently in 2008 he was offered the job again. I love that when players or coaches go back to their former teams.

So I am disappointed that I most likely will not be watching the games. I do have a couple friends who may be able to get them at their house. But they will be on our TV’s at 9am or taped and played later. By then, I’ll know the outcome anyway.

With all that said, I’d like to wish my Bruins friends and family the best of luck. I hope your Stanley Cup dreams come true, and I don't mean having it shipped in from Colorado.

For my Hartford Whalers friends who despise anything to do with the Carolina Hurricanes (which really I have no friends that qualify for this), enjoy your current AHL team the Hartford Wolf Pack.

And for those NASCAR lovin’ CAROLINA HURRICANES fans, lets beat up on them Bruins this weekend! The 18 year old me would want you to...


Monday, April 27, 2009

See ya in May! One last April post

So I'm thinking this will be my last post in April. It is nearly the 28th here, I don't think anything too exciting will happen on the 29th and 30th, and I've written every other day for 30 days. I'll give you some time to catch up. Also 15 posts in a month has a nice ring to it. Remember, never end anything on 13. Try to end on 9 if you can. My rules.

I jumped the gun again on the hockey playoffs. They added three weeks to the schedule so no playoff game was played tonight. What's great is that they don't cost me any extra. I've already paid my $150 for the season. So tonight we played the #1 team. It was a hard fought battle. I scored one in the first half on a nice rebound and one in the second, a top shelfer on a break away. We were down 4-1 at half. But we came back to tie it up 5-5 in the final quarter. We then went down 7-5. With about a minute left with the other team leading 7-6, we scored an obvious goal, but for some strange reason, the ref didn't see it, and the other team went down and scored to make it 8-6. If we were playing for the Stanley Cup, I'd be a bit more upset, but I mean, when you get right down to it, we're playing mens league hockey. So really, it was just a fun game. We'll get them next time. And the playoffs are basically two games. Win two and we're the champions. Not exactly March Madness.
Speaking of scoring goals, I was thinking that I never hit a home run in baseball, but damn it feels good to score a goal in hockey.

This week, learning about health foods, carbohydrates, protein, confusing! Everyone has a different opinion about what makes you lose weight, build muscle, feel better. I think I just need to experiment a bit. For example. I've been eating a lot of cereal. But some nights I get home late and eat a bowl before bed. Well tonight I'm reading that the cereal is loaded with carbs and not a great midnight snack! So I think the cereal is a great thing I'm getting into, I just need to watch what time of day I eat it. But as I write this, I'm also reading about people who have a bowl of cereal every night and actually don't gain weight. This is all very confusing. Heck, send me your thoughts. It can't hurt.
I noticed today that it was colder in Sydney than it was in Keene, New Hampshire. Congratulations Granite State. Your good weather has arrived.
Speaking of NH, one guest at the restaurant the other day who had dual citizenship with Australia and USA said to me...."GIT ER DONE!" That made my day. He had spent a lot of time in Missouri. That's the type of state that says "Git er done!"

I read a sad story this week about a high school baseball player who died when he was hit in the head by a pitch while at bat. Sad story. I once was hit in the head by a baseball in high school. It is amazing how lucky I was not to be seriously injured. Something about the story intrigued me also. The game was played in Lebanon, Missouri. When I was 12, my baseball team went to the Bambino World Series and played on a high school field in Lebanon, Missouri. I wonder if it was the same field I played on.

Finally, if you scroll down the right hand side of the page, you'll see something new. It is a list of all my friend's blogs. There are some pretty good ones in there. Stuckatseven is about a guy just like me who is living and working in Australia for a is way different than my site. The 6149 is a new one written by my Keene contact in Sydney. It has a new feature of reviewing albums and has some interesting other topics. Sex and the 30 something is written by a woman I met here who talks all about being single in her thirties and how the dating scene goes. It doesn't hold back. It is like reading Cosmopolitan or watching Sex and the City. So if that offends you, don't go there. I believe she has been named a finalist for best blog in Sydney. Empty Reviews is by a guy I went to high school with. He writes reviews on movies and concerts. Little Wonder and the Sun Machine I just started following. It is by one of my fellow Carroll College classmates. She is living in New York City with her husband and uses it as a way to tell people back home in Wisconsin what's going on in her life. Thriving with Arnie is by one of my Up with People cast mates. From what I've read, it is a very spiritual site. She has some good poetry and of course other good things to say. And finally, Like Nailing Jello to a Wall is by a woman I met at an Up with People reunion in Boston in 2002. She has a lot of opinions, always something interesting for me to read. So if you ever get bored of A place for my Stuff, feel free to click on the links. I know they'd appreciate your visit.

Git R Done...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Work, 24, relationships, life and Playoffs?

Just finished a long weekend of work. Double shift on Saturday and Sunday My feet hurt. But I have the next two days off and plan to recover a bit. Of course tomorrow night is the playoffs for our inline hockey leauge. Only four teams, but still I am pretty psyched for it. I'm not sure where we stand. I think we ended up in last, but haven't had a full team in weeks. I think we'll be tough to beat.
The NHL playoffs are also going strong. I am not seeing any games, but I am following and watching the highlights online. Carolina is down 3-2. They are still my team. Also Boston I am rooting for. Go B's! Also excuse the spelling of Playoffs! in the picture above. I couldnt find a better pic of Jim Mora saying "Playoffs!?"

I've written more posts in April than in any other month since Arriving in Oz. I'm not sure where the inspiration has come from, but I hope that it continues. The fact that I've discovered writing again after a four year hiatus thrills me. I see I have two new followers that I've never met. Thanks for dropping by and reading. Also sometimes when I add pictures to the blog, for some reason, I am unable to separate some paragraphs. The formatting won't let me. So if there are any English majors out there who are frustrated by my inability so separate certain paragraphs, I have an excuse.

As I am writing this, I am watching 24. It is a new episode here, but unfortunately since it has started, I have missed two episodes. So I guess for me it is 22. The great thing about these shows is at the beginning, they summarize what happened last week. So really it is okay. And also, LOST is my #1 show here. As long as I still have LOST, I'm a happy guy. Also 24 is not getting old, but it has been going on since 2001, and really...I get the idea, Jack is having a bad day...again.

I was talking to a friend earlier this week who just had a break up. He was feeling pretty sad about it. Coming from someone who has been through multiple, I knew how he felt. Reminds me of a dialogue from the movie Swingers. Mike is struggling to get over an ex, and Rob is there to explain how he will eventually get over her...

Mike: Okay, so what if I don't want to give up on her?
Rob: You don't call.
Mike: But you said I don't call if I wanted to give up on her.
Rob: Right.
Mike: So I don't call either way?
Rob: Right.
Mike: So what's the difference?
Rob: There is no difference right now. See, Mike, the only difference between giving up and not giving up is if you take her back when she wants to come back. But you can't do anything to make her want to come back. In fact, you can only do stuff to make her not want to come back.
Mike: So the only difference is if I forget about her or just pretend to forget about her?
Rob: Right.
Mike: Well that sucks.
Rob: Yeah, it sucks.
Mike: So it's just like a retroactive decision, then? I mean I could, like, forget about her and then when she comes back make like I just pretended to forget about her?
Rob: Right. Although probably more likely the opposite.
Mike: What do you mean?
Rob: I mean at first you're going to pretend to forget about her, you'll not call her, I don't know, whatever... but then eventually, you really will forget about her.
Mike: Well what if she comes back first?
Rob: Mmmm... see, that's the thing, is somehow they know not to come back until you really forget.
Mike: There's the rub.
Rob: There's the rub.

Relationships are a funny, and frustrating thing. I was thinking today that they may be more difficult than playing golf or baseball or playing a piano. When you hear about baseball, experts say if you hit .300 for a career, you are in the hall of fame. Well with relationships, I guess technically, I, along with many others... am batting .000....not a stellar average...yet I still feel like coming to the plate again and again.
Sometimes I think love is like asking a friend to punch you really hard in the arm and once the pain goes away, you ask him to do it again. I'm just kidding. I think experiencing the tough times is neccessary in order to figure out what the heck it is we want out of this life.
I want to share one one more movie quote I found today from the 1989 film Parenthood. It had me smiling.....

[Gil (Steve Martin) has been complaining about his complicated life; Grandma wanders into the room]
Grandma: You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster.
Gil: Oh?
Grandma: Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride!
Gil: What a great story.
Grandma: I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.

Man, that almost has me emotional. Life does get scary. There are sad times. Some days I just would rather spend the day in bed. But when those good moments come around, I am grateful to be here for them. Sometimes I wish I could share some of those moments with more of you.
But hey, I could go on all day with movie quotes that make me smile and laugh, but I'll save some of the good ones for another time. Goodnight!

Friday, April 24, 2009



Anzac Day is a national public holiday in Australia and New Zealand, and is commemorated by both countries on 25 April every year to honour members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I and also to commemorate the soldiers who fought in France and Belgium.

Today is ANZAC day here in Australia. I have heard a lot about it since arriving here. It is very much like our Memorial and Veterans Days in the USA, however, Australians get very excited for this day. It is one of the biggest party days of the year I understand, which makes me wonder if the efforts of the soldiers who fought for Australia's freedom are observed properly, through this alcoholic binge. I think they are, its just that Australians like a good drink no matter what the mood is. Celebration or mourning.

I purposely am working double shifts Friday and Saturday. I need the money, don't need the drink. I will probably head out after my second shift though maybe to see the York's for a bit.

Back to ANZAC day. They have a game here called Two-Up. Also from Wikipedia:

Two-up is a traditional Australian gambling game, involving a designated 'Spinner' throwing two coins into the air. Players gamble on whether the coins will fall with both heads up, both tails up, or with one coin a head, and one a tail (known as 'Odds'). It is traditionally played on ANZAC Day in pubs and clubs throughout Australia, in part to mark a shared experience with Diggers through the ages.

Sorry about my laziness to explain this day in my own words, but I am going to work soon. Not sure what a digger is, but make an educated guess.

There was a memorial service at dawn this morning also. I beleive the majority of Aussies wake up around 5am to attend this service. I did not attend.

So that's a very brief history on ANZAC day. I will write a bit more after it to give you the feel of what it's like even though I will be working most of today.

I think the world often forgets that countries like Australia have played a part in many of the wars around the world. It is great to be here and see them celebrate their heroes. It reminds me of my grandpa, who fought in World War II and Korea. I will be thinking of him today.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


On my daily run today (yes, daily run!), I was running at a good pace when I noticed a couple up ahead in the side walk walking slowly in the same direction I was running. To be courteous, I decided I would run into the road a little so I didn't startle them when running by. So as I approached them I left the sidewalk, took a few paces onto the grass, then tried to jump the curb down onto the road. Due to the recent rain, my foot found some mud and I made a similar dive to what Pete Rose is making in the above picture. The only problem is, instead of startling them, I fell directly next to them and SCARED THE HELL OUT OF THEM. It was an older Asian woman and a child. The look on their faces was priceless. Realizing that I also had passed a possibly cute jogger about 100 feet back, and that she probably witnessed this, all I could do was keep that sprint up until all witnesses were far behind! The bloody scraped knee, and mud down my left side was worth the price of admission for that story.

So as I mentioned, my new thing is eating healthy and exercise. I've run the past three days, consumed about three liters of water each day and had several helpings of fruits and vegetables, as well as a great breakfast of Special K and yogurt. I'm only in the first week of trying to form new eating habits, but like anything else, I think if I do it long enough I will enjoy it. Already Special K tastes okay and that stuff is gross by itself!

Also so far I've noticed that being healthy makes my overall mood pretty great. The last week I have just had a great outlook, and just feel good about me health wise for the first time in awhile. And that I'd say is maybe the best thing I've done here so far.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday Night Hockey

Last night was hockey night. Apparentely the league added an extra week into the schedule, but did not schedule any matchups. Also, nearly half of the players couldn't make it, so we just mixed the teams up and had a pick up game, just like the old days at Wheelock Park. Everyone threw their stick in the middle, somebody throws the sticks into two piles, and there you have your teams. It felt a bit like "All-Star" weekend with all the mixed jerseys playing against each other. With the break last week and the playoffs starting next week, it was a perfect night just to hack around.

It was also great having some of the better players on my team last night. I played against Mike York, but wasn't matched up against him, so we didn't really battle. We were talking after about how nice it is to have good players around you. It seems that they always get open, and because of that, it usually means you are open too. I always felt that I stepped it up a few levels when playing with better players. Don't want to look like the weaskest link, know what I mean?

It was a good workout. We played for 2 hours. I feel great today, sore but great. The picture above I always liked. I remember it was in Wayne Gretzky's autobiography by Rick Reilly that I read as a kid. The caption read something along the lines of: Lemieux may break all my records. It's a great photo because not only do you have Gretzky and Lemieux, you also have Ray Bourque and entering on the right is Paul Coffey. Four hall of famers. That photo is probably around the time when I was into the NHL most.


Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Crosby, Stills and Nash, The Doors, The Who....

What do you think of when you hear these names? I've been thinking a bit about music lately. For someone born in 1981, and who is a casual music fan, words like Classics, Greatest ever, Rock and Roll, Pioneers all come to mind. I was recently at a record store in Sydney hanging with music enthusiasts and learning a bit about them. Those people I was hanging with may have a problem with being called music enthusiasts because their passion for music goes beyond enthusiasm: It is a part of who they are. Fanatical might be a good word too.

My contact in Sydney, originally from Keene is one of those people. When I first met him, I had no real idea about his tastes and passion for music. But now after spending a few hours together, and also reading his blog and facebook posts, I realize this guy is extraordinarily passionate about music. His album collection is in the 1000's. He has categorized everyone of them. I've seen the online database. It is huge. I told a friend of his that he should have an article by Rolling Stone written about him.

To put his music-loving into context, think of a stat freak in baseball or football. Ever try to talk to them casually about the sport and then they start whipping out names and numbers you've never heard of? My friend Zidron from college is like that with Major League Baseball. I just want to have a watercooler chat about the Sox or Cubs and he busts out info that I wasn't really anticipating hearing about. Well I think music fanatics are a lot like that. They will mention bands and use musical references that just fly over my head. All I can do is nod my head and appreciate how much this person has spent learning about their passion. I like when they will say, "If you like (insert band here), then you will like (insert band here). Or (Band name)'s drummer went on to play with (musician) and then later on toured with (band). It's a lot like baseball I guess. (If you like A-Rod, then you will like Mark McGwire. Or Boston's pitcher went onto play for Toronto and later played for New York.)
Going back a few paragraphs, when I said I was a casual fan. I think that's a correct statement. I mean I enjoy many of those artists mentioned above. But only their music mostly. Beyond the music, I don't have that passion of diving into the meaning or history of it.. Or I haven't taken the time to learn about it yet. One gentlemen I met at the store who is full on into learning about music said he didn't get into it until he was 30. So I wouldn't say that I'm never going to find music interesting or inspiring.

Some people might even say my taste in music is terrible because I still love the 90's rock scene. I grew up with it. Many of my memories include those 90's songs. Nirvana, weezer, Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, Green Day... So that music is a part of me. But at least I can appreciate that there were 30 years of rock and roll before I was born...and another 50 years of music before that that probably influenced everything leading up to now. I hope that last sentence is relatively correct. What I mean is, I missed the GOOD stuff.

I collected things growing up. A lot of you know this. CDs were one of my favorites. My mom, brother and I were all a part of Columbia House. Remember them? We'd get a CD or two every couple of weeks. In a 10 year stretch, my brother's and my collection was up to about 450 albums. I was on my way to being a music fanatic. But somewhere eventually, I realized that music wasn't worth my money anymore, and I stopped buying them. I know that a lot of the ones I bought, I didn't always listen to the entire thing! I bought it for the singles or the popular song that was on the radio. Sometimes I would find a random song I like, but there definitely are albums I still own that I can't recognize all of.

Now that I think of it, my mom had great tastes in music. Her all time favorite is Bonnie Raitt. Again, I don't know a lot about her, but from the little I've heard, she could sing the blues.
So my friend at the record store. I would think he listens to an entire album, and most likely has an opinion on it right away. I'd like to ask him actually how he goes about listening to a record. Do you listen to it all the way through? Or take a week to let it soak in? I believe his passion is the blues. He's mentioned Neil Young, Bo Diddley, Bob Dylan as some of his greatest influences...I believe he gets more out of a record than you and I can imagine. There's something in all that music from the 50's and 60's that I know is amazing, I just don't know what exactly. A couple of us asked him what his favorite year of music was....and he actually answered "I cannot answer that, but I can say that I am passionate about music from 1920-1970" If I started now....and tried to learn about the roots of music like the blues and jazz all the way back to 1920, I would need a couple lifetimes I think. Sometimes I wish I could have been born in a different decade, that way I may have been more into it. but then again, this internet thing is pretty awesome. I'm glad I have it around.

My closing thoughts are that I think I am envious of music fans because it looks cool. People who work in record stores have such a great job. Listening to music they like and talking music with music fans. In another life, I want to be that guy at the record store. But what I've learned is, most music fanatics are not doing it to look cool. The music to them tells a story, has a meaning, serves a purpose. It's in their blood and drives and inspires.
I guess it makes me smile knowing we have those people out there to teach us novices about music history. I can appreciate that. I don't know about the blues, or jazz, or soul...but I know what I like, and nobody can change that. My tastes are different than yours. You might be a car lover, a nature fan or a travel expert. I think I should take some of my own advice when I say find your passion and run with it....If it makes you happy, do it. So listen to what you like and rock on. Thanks for listening.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Monday Morning for Eoin

Good morning Australia. I'm just waking up on a Monday. No work today, but I do have hockey tonight. Eoin, my friend met through the York's says he reads this page at work, especially on Monday's. So enjoy it my friend. Eoin was actually the only person to give me feedback on changing the title of the blog. He wanted it changed back to Ryan Down Under. But I think his Australian ties make that a biased opinion. I will change the background photo maybe, it is rather dark.

Eoin is the guy in the middle there, I probably should have cropped me out, but hey as Willie said in Bad Santa..."They all can't be winners can they..." He has some pretty amusing t-shirts. The one he is wearing there says "You just leave me here like a candle." He had a good story behind it that I can't fully remember but basically this guy used to say it all the time when people had to go. It didn't make a whole lot of sense to them and so it inspired the t-shirt. Oh and that's Mike York on the right.

I had a really good weekend....I mean I told you last week how boring my birthday weekend was. Well I really made up for it. Patting myself on the back. HIGH FIVE!

I worked Friday night, and had a pretty early evening. Saturday I had the day off so I went to the city and met my Keene contact at Mojo Records for Record Store Day. There was a band, beer, good crowd. It was great to catch up with him and talk about the Sox. He is the biggest music fan I've ever met. Actually after talking about music, being in that record store and having my own opinions on music, I have a blog in my head right now that should be out soon. It has something to do with record stores. Not sure yet.

So after a couple beers in the city, I got a call from Curt York. He and his brother Mike and Eoin were having a couple at his house. Kind of amazing that all my Keene contacts wanted to hang out on the same day. I then left the record store, headed back to Caringbah and had a beer with those guys. On the bus to Caringbah, there was a very funny french man. How hilarious is their accent? Especially if they are funny too. This guy had us laughing pretty hard. By us, I mean just strangers on the bus. He said he'd been to Fenway park or as he said it Fen-ouay. He also was talking about soccer. Ronaldo, Zidane...etc.

We all went out to Northies in Cronulla after Curt's place. I hadn't seen Curt in a couple months so it was good to catch up. I see Mike once a week for hockey and I usually run into Eoin once every couple of weeks. It was one of their mate's birthdays so we had a couple of schooners...or as they say "SCHOOONAAHS!" Ah, thats one of those Australian words I think is funny. Doesn't that mean sailboat? I managed to get home not too late and was pretty pleased with the day's events.

Sunday I worked a double shift. I was happy it didn't start until 1pm. We were saddened that the other USA girl working there was fired. She didn't show up to her Saturday shift. It was her birthday apparently. But that was her choice. Nice gal from Western Illinois. Inbetween shifts, I had one of our signature blackened prime ribs. It is truly amazing. For something like $12 I get this huge steak. Good perk.

After work, most of the employees stayed after to have drinks and say goodbye to our Canadian employee who is leaving today for Canada. In all honesty I could care less that she's leaving. She constantly frowned and had an attitude. I hear she was having boyfriend troubles, but still, bring a smile to work. Bad moods can be contagious and I didn't like being around hers. Enjoy your maple syrup! It was fun to hang with the staff anyway.

2 words I think are funny in the restauraunt: is that little flowery piece of paper. Also Ramekin...its a little container to put sauces in...Ramekin sounds like this character in Super Troopers, Ramathorn....Car ramrod! Car Ramrod!

Hockey tonight. It is our last game and then the playoffs start. No Stanley Cups or anything. Its all in fun...unless I have to hit ya.

I bought my plane ticket to New Zealand. Pretty excited about that.

With the NHL playoffs going on, I will most likely be writing about those memories soon. So look forward to that, the record store blog, ah, I have one going about weezer's Blue album. Check back in soon.

Alright, that's it for now. See ya. Oh yeah, I'm missing the Sox.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Not much going on today. Luckily twice this week, work has called asking me to come in, so tonight I will go in at 7pm. I need all the hours I can get. I'm trying to save up for this New Zealand trip.

What else can I tell you about work? I'm getting better I suppose. I can carry 3 plates at once. I know the menu better. I like the fast pace environment and being able to have good conversation with strangers.

I think I'm going to the city this weekend to see a friend from Keene. It is apparently "Record Store Day" in Australia, so there is a concert and party going on in the city. Should be fun. I've only seen my friend once since getting here so it will be good to catch up.

NHL playoffs are starting. I'm rooting for the Bruins of course, but I do cross my fingers for the Hurricanes too. They used to be the Hartford Whalers. You know, most Hartford people will not root for the Canes. Do you think it is wrong of me to still root for them? I mean they are still the Whalers in my mind. And they did get a Stanley Cup in 2006. That was a good time.

I received a couple birthday cards in the mail this week. One last week from mom and dad, one this week from my Gram. Also, a random one from Carrie from my UWP Cast E group. Thanks to all of you.

I nervously await your reactions to the title change of the blog.

Alright, I told myself I'd go for a run by 4pm. It is 3:51....SEE YA!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Four Stooges

I've recently been talking to a few of my old Carnival Celebration friends online; Craig, Lesley and Boffa. The four of us worked on the Celebration from sometime in early 2006 until probably the end of 2007. We had a great chemistry together as hosts and always had fun doing our jobs. What is interesting is the four of us were never on the ship together at the same time. It was constantly a different combination of three of us. If I could have it my way, I would have the four of us make up one great host team someday. I sometimes think of us as the Three Stooges plus Shemp, or the Four Stooges.

In sometime early 2006, Lesley, Boffa and Craig had signed onto the Celly. I have heard some stories about the good times. But I think if I asked any one of the three what their favorite contract was, this would be their favorite one. It sounded to me like constant craziness. I mean these guys ran the ship.

But Craig, a.k.a. Sexy Craig had to go on vacation in August of 2006 and that is when I stepped in. Lesley and Boffa were my co-hosts and they were crazy. In my first few weeks I was going through a tough time and instead of letting me sulk about it, there were many a middle-of-the-night wake up calls telling me to go join their party. Lesley has this amazing ability to pull an all nighter, then have energy the next day. I always thank them for helping lift my spirits. I think their philosophy was to have a good time, no use worrying about things you can't change.

My second week on board when I had a cold and was just not having a good time, the Celly hit land in the Bahamas and had to go into emergency dry dock to fix a broken propellor. It was truly one of the most miserable times I can remember. But looking back, Boffa and Lesley really helped me through that week when the ship was out of water. One night in fact, after returning from a night in Freeport, the three of us walked underneath the Celebration! I've never seen those photos, so if either of you two have them, I want to see em! We told the security guys we were "official" so he let us go underneath. We were wearing flip flops I'm sure.

Lesley doesn't really need sleep actually. She brings a smile to every event she does. I mean yeah I've seen her when she wakes up after a big one and she may need a cup o tea, but her recovery is amazing. One of her favorite events to host was the Mens Hairy Chest Competition. She made it unique and her own. She could handle obnoxious, drunk men with grace.

Boffa, Lesley and Ryan in the Bahamas

So for the next few months, the second installment of the stooges took over the Celly. I remember many nights in the disco or at the pizza bar on lido deck. Our deck parties were always a blast. Lesley and Boffa had this saying, "Chocolate bars" that I never figured out. Really, I think it meant "no excuses, lets go!" but really, they just said "chocolate bars" at different moments. I guess it is an inside joke.

Then we were all saddened when Boffa had to go home early. Everyone in the department, wherever they are today, still misses that guy. He has it, whatever it is. He has that charm and swagger that is fun to be around. I never saw Boffa upset or flustered. His character really kept my mind at ease when things were tense, which they rarely were.

No worries with friends like these

So with Boffa gone, the bosses called back on our boy Craig to take his place. Now it was the third and final combination: Lesley, Ryan and Craig. Immediately, Craig E Boy and I hit it off. I had heard countless stories about "Sexy Craig." He was always a great host. He brought his own dynamic and energy to the stage. We became roommates not long after he arrived and he ended up being my favorite roommate in three years of cruising.

Craig would often make up stories about me and tell the audience on the first night of the cruise. For example he used to tell them I was on the pilot episode of Grey's Anatomy. Another time he told them it was my last cruise because my wife was expecting twins. Depending on how I felt, I would confirm or deny the rumor.

Halloween 2006

I suppose there was one more combination of us hosts. That was when it was time for Lesley to leave the Celly. Coincedentally, on the same day she was supposed to leave, our Cruise Director's appendix ruptured and he needed to be rushed to the hospital. So for one cruise, they let Craig E Boy and myself run the ship. It was possibly the best four or five day cruise I was ever on. Just two 25 year olds running the entertainment department on a 100,000 ton ship. Classic. We stayed roommates for the next five or six months.

Attempting to run an entire department.

In June 07, I left the ship life. My body and mind needed a rest. Many people ask how does one walk away from cruising the Caribbean. Sometimes the body and mind need a break. Craig was on vacation at the time and was scheduled to come back to the Celly. And I wanted a break from calling bingo numbers.

I almost ran into Boffa a few weeks ago. He was in Sydney for about 24 hours, but we didn't make it happen. Hopefully I will get to visit him in Melbourne before this trip is over. He has told Criag, Lesley and me that he wants back onto the ships.

Sexy Craig left ships for a few months recently, actually to retire after a good three years or so on board. He has decided to return this August to the Glory, my first ship. He constantly tells me I should come back too.

Lesley is still going strong. She has worked her way up to Assistant Cruise Director and has filled in as Cruise director on several occasions. Whenever we talk, she tells me to get back there so we can host together again. It would be nice.

I've told a few people that I would consider going back someday. It just would require me to be in the right place at the right time. It would take some serious thought about going back to a life that limits you to never driving a car, cooking your own meals or seeing family for months at a time. Ya never know. (Cooking my own meals...maybe I'm stretching the truth on that one)

Next blog will be about Australia, I promise.


First off tonight, a couple of changes. I never had any new suggestions for alternative titles to Ryan Down Under....and that's ok. So without any consulting with anyone, I changed the name to "A place for my stuff." It is a fitting title for a few reasons. A lot of this page is about my Australia experience, but a growing amount of other material is about what is in my mind, not related to Australia. So my "stuff" is all of that non-Australia detail. And if or when I leave here, Ryan Down Under won't really make sense. George Carlin had a famous piece called "A Place for my Stuff." It was maybe one of his best, cleanest pieces he ever wrote. Definitely one of my favorites. I relate to it because I am always moving around and having to pack up my stuff. So I suppose my mind is full of stuff too and I need somewhere to put it.

"Actually this is just a place for my stuff, ya know? That's all, a l‮ti‬tle place for my stuff. That's all I want, that's all you need in life, is a little place for your stuff, ya know? I can see it on your table, everybody's got a l‮ti‬tle place for their stuff. This is my stuff, that's your stuff, that'll be his stuff over there. That's all you need in life, a little place for your stuff. That's all your house is: a place to keep your stuff. If you didn't have so much stuff, you wouldn't need a house. You could ju‮ts‬ walk around all the time. A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it. You can see that when you're taki‮gn‬ off in an airplane. You look down, you see everybody's got a little pile of stuff. All the little piles of stuff. And when you leave your house, you gotta lock it up. Wouldn't want somebody to come by and take some of your stuff. They always take the good stuff. They never bother wi‮ht‬ that crap you're saving. All they want is the shiny stuff. That's what your house is, a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get . . . more stuff! Sometimes you gotta move, gotta get a bigger house. Why? No room for your stuff anymore."

Click on that link for the whole version...

Also I added a counter to see how many people visit the site. But it counts everytime I go to the site too, so I probably check it two to five times a day. Oh well, technically somebody is looking at it, even if it is me.

Alright, I will post something tomorrow. Check back in soon.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

No Stairway....Denied!

I wrote most of this post Sunday night but didn't publish it until Monday at noon.
On the bus ride home from work tonight, the bus driver had a radio station playing. It played the entire song of Stairway to Heaven. After a pretty boring weekend, this really made my day. I was really into the song. There was time for one song after that. It was "All I need is a miracle." Must have been an Easter themed show.

My weekend...was...the...most...boring...weekend...ever. I worked Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday day. Working Saturday bummed me out more than I thought it would. I should have requested that night off. Anyway, a friend I've been dating here and her friends showed up and sat in my section. So I got to serve them. That was nice. Tonight my plans to watch the Red Sox game fell through. I think I'm really bad at making plans because if I had done things differently, my weekend may have been packed. Things to work on in the future. So it is Sunday night. I think April 11 is officially over around the world. It actually feels great to get that day over with. 28. Damn right!

No hockey this week because Monday is the Easter Holiday on the calendar.

There is a new sports channel here in Australia. It is free, so some of the sports they play are as exciting as watching paint dry. But they have been playing NBA and MLB games regularly. Also I saw the end of Tiger's round today.'s all taped. It is a crazy world we live in. I can go to ESPN and get the final result in an instant. Tomorrow I'm going to try not to get the Masters results...but honestly, that will be nearly impossible. I check the news and sports headlines everyday when I wake up. Will take some serious willpower not to get online.

UPDATE: I already found out who won on the Monday morning news. The last paragraph is kind of unimportant now.

SportsChannel used to be the official channel of the HARTFORD WHALERS! haha.

One of the sports on this channel is women's netball. It is like the WNBA here, except that people actually ATTEND THE GAMES! It looks like a basketball court, okay? There are hoops just like in basketball, except there is no backboard! The women don't have to dribble, they just cannot run with the ball. So as soon as a player gets the ball, they must stop. When shooting, the defender has to be one meter (What's a meter!) away. It is strange to watch. But I see kids playing it around town.

LOST is on this Wednesday. I think watching LOST is one of the top 5 hours of my week. I sometimes wonder what life will be like without LOST. We are only 2 weeks behind those of you watching in the USA. 24 is on tonight. Jack Bauer for President.

I'm talking on facebook right now with Sam Lacey. He went to Fuller School with me in Keene. He is a guy that I lost track of and wasn't sure where in the world he was. He seems to be doing well. I was happy to hear from him. We had a good talk about everybody we could think of from Fuller School and had a few laughs about growing up.

When I woke up Monday morning, the news said that Elle McPherson spent her Easter with family and taking a run on the esplanade in Cronulla Beach....I work on the esplanade on Cronulla Beach. I'm so sad I missed her. I love her work.

Schwing! And goodnight!

Friday, April 10, 2009


28 huh? Boring number right? Of course 9, 18, 27...I like those....but 28? I guess the good thing about 28 is that there's a 29 after it. The only good joke about 28 is dirty. (just send me an email to get it)

Yeah, it's my birthday. I am unofficially 28. I say unofficially because I turn 28 here in Australia when technically I turn 28 on the 12th of April in Australia due to me being born in the USA. By the time my birth time comes around in the USA, it is already the 12th in Oz.

You know what I would have liked? Turning 27 (a multiple of 9) in 2009....or how about a guy I grew up playing baseball with. His birthday is 9/9....Imagine having that b-day. 9/9/09 and turning some multiplhe of 9. Ah, nevermind. I like 4/11....or as they say here...11/4

This post isn't about "tooting my own horn", it's just an attempt at remembering April 11th since 1981. If you are a follower of this page, you know I remember details from long ago. Well with April 11, for some reason, I have very few memories. I don't know why, but I can only remember a handful of my 28 birthdays.
I think I have the best birthday month. I mean, when you share the same birthday as former MLB pitcher Bret Saberhagen, why even argue? But there's something about April birthdays that I think is as unique as being a lefty, which I am. I'm an Aries. I don't particularly get into star signs. I had a woman recently tell me all about the Ram and what it means. I wasn't really into it. The only star signs growing up I was interested in, was whatever sign belonged to the girl I had a crush on at the time. If Leo's daily horoscope said "Love was in the air," then I knew it would be a great day at school the next day.
Why can't I remember my birthday? B-day's 1-4 are out obviously. Mom might have to verify this for me, but I think for #5, I had the chickenpox, and therefore couldn't have the big party I wanted. I think that's what happened.

I had a couple of childhood parties on 10 Westview in Keene. It was your standard elementary school party: Cake, ice cream, games run by the parents, gift bags for the friends, and probably a cry fest or fight between a couple of the kids at some point. I think later in life I heard my dad mention how draining a child's birthday party can be. I do not doubt that!

21 is the big birthday in the United States. (Oddly enough, it's a big birthday in Australia, yet they can drink at 18) My 21st was when I was attending Carroll College. A guy from New Jersey, named Scott Baker took me out for drinks. I think I turned 21 at 12:01am Thursday morning. So it was a looooong weekend. He brought me to a bar called Sharkies in Waukesha. Either that night or the next, I was sick.

I remember turning 19 because I have a picture of it. I was in Raleigh, North Carolina. Lars from Sweden was my roommate during our Up with People tour in 2000. Our host family brought us out to the Macaroni Grill. Real classy place. I totally heard Lars tell the waiter it was my birthday. So I had to act all surprised when the cake came out. Lars ate at least half of that cake they gave me. He still is one of a kind.

27 is recent enough to remember. San Antonio, TX. Down by the riverwalk with a local UWP alum, my advance work partner Karen from NY, and Georges from Luxembourg. Georges was one of my Education staff members in 2000. They brought me to a great restaurant. It was fun to be surrounded by good people.

Here's another one I have a picture of...except for the year I can't remember. This was in Montreal. I drove up there to visit Raz, Synnove, Sarah G and a few other Cast E's. Based on faded memory, this is....2001. I hadn't yet been to Carroll College. So in this pic I am turning 20. The particular restaurant makes the b-day person stand up with a chicken in hand while the restaurant sings. For a few years there was a regular crowd meeting up in Montreal. I haven't been back in six years or so.

2005-2007 are a blur. All three probably took place on Carnival Fun Ships. No pictures exist. I don't think. Wait, going through some old files...I was inbetween the Carnival Fascination and Carnival Elation at the time of my 24th. So most likely I spent my 24th bday in Wisconsin or NH. I had traveled back to WI for the first time in March 05. My next big day was on the Carnival Fantasy in 2006. I had a nice cake in the crew bar with my then girlfriend and entertainment staff. Oh and wait it here. I signed back onto the Carnival Celebration April 12, 2007. That means...for my 26th...that I went out for drinks in Keene with my brother Jon, slept for about 2 hours, then flew to Jacksonville and signed onto the Celly. SEE! I knew I could remember this. Just needed to write it down.
My mom always told a pretty cool story about my real BIRTH day. I'm not going to tell it because she does such a good job at it. It was pretty special from what I hear, I had only been around a few minutes so I can't give you the details.
Birthday fact: If you didn't know, Chocolate Cake is my favorite. If you didn't get me chocolate cake, then I didn't like it. I had some pretty cool cakes growing up. At least one or two Hartford Whalers themed cakes. Those bakers down at Sun Foods knew how to make a whale tail!

All these memories remind me of the Forrest Gump quote, "You know it's funny what a young man recollects? 'Cause I don't remember bein' born. I don't recall what I got for my first Christmas and I don't know when I went on my first outdoor picnic. But I do remember the first time I heard the sweetest voice in the wide world" (Note: I don't remember the sweetest voice in the world...maybe the sweetest sound...the horn after the Whalers scored a goal)

Anyway, this year is a weird birthday. I'm working today. And that is fine. Really. I mean technically most of today is really still April 10th in the USA. And that is where I was that would mean most of my SUNDAY is my true birthday. And for that I have plans to go over to Judd's house. Judd is also a Keene native....and his birthday is on SUNDAY! So after I get out of work on Sunday, I am going over to Judd's to watch the Red Sox game. It will be tivo'd but still, it will be my first sox game of the year. I'm pretty psyched. I have a few of those Budweisers left over too. If only we had some Dunkin' Donuts or the Rem Dog.

Alright, time for bed. It is officially April 11 here.

Also I realize this blog of late hasn't been so much about Ryan Down Under but more about Ryan's fantastic memories. Well these memories are what keep me smiling everyday when I'm missing the fam. I'll keep you updated on Oz, just don't expect any shortage of "looking back" blogs either.

Goodnight! 28 doesn't seem so bad so far!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Dude! Do you remember this helmet!?

I just returned home from Penrith after a pretty good game tonight. I'll tell you about it in a sec. I just found this photo online. It is an old Cooper helmet. I mentioned in a previous blog that I wear the same helmet I wore when I was eight years old. Well this might be older. I think it looks like it was designed by NASA, a hockey loving NASA guy. Chris Levebre...(Could never spell his name!) had one.

We won 7-3. Not the most exciting game in the world. I was denied any points tonight, but the team played well. It was 4-3 until late in the last quarter when we put three more away. Our team passed a bit better than normal, especially down low behind our own goal and on the breakout. No penalties either, just a pretty clean game overall. Next Monday is a public holiday so we won't play.

This is called "Wayne Gretzky's Office"....the area behind the net. It is where the Great One set up many goals. Except it was the other team's net!

I was noticing there are only a few of us that play with no face mask or visor. So far so good. All teeth in check. Knock on wood.

Craig McTavish was the last NHLer to play without a helmet. Nuts right?

Some random things I've been thinking about:

9 out of 10 Australians ask me if I'm from Canada. I always answer, "No, but close!" I think they know that if they say, "American?", and I was Canadian, it would be offensive to me. Those Canucks sure are proud to be from up there, or as some Americans like to call it, "America's Hat."

When I started out waiting tables, my biggest fear was dropping food. But I realize now that it isn't that scary. My mentality is there isn't an option of dropping a plate. It has to get to its table. Drinks are a little different I think. I would be more embarrassed dropping food than drinks.

When I was describing seeing the Delorean the other day I meant to say that for some, it would be like seeing a red Ferrari or a Rolls Royce. It just happens once in a blue moon. (Blue moon?)


I'm missing a great month of sports in America: The Masters, NCAA hoops finals, playoff races for NBA and NHL, Opening day of MLB and Im sure a couple of NASCAR races...hehe, I'm half joking with that last one. Half.

I purposely pronounce the word Tomato like Toe-mot-toe here. My accent stands out enough as it is. Mashed potatoes are just mash. Ever heard of beetroot? It comes on burgers...I don't think I can describe it very well, but it looks like the cranberry we eat at Thanksgiving.

I started reading a book today about a big gangland war that took place in Melbourne starting in 1999! Amazing how recent that is. Will keep you up to date on it. They actually made a mini series here about it. I'll have to read more on prison sentences here, but it seems like people who commit some major crimes here have the chance of getting out someday, whereas in the states we "Lock em' up and throw away the key..."

George Carlin thought "Lock em up and throw away the key" was a bad idea: "Where you gonna throw it? Out in front of the jail? His FRIENDS WILL FIND IT! How far can ya throw a key , 50, 60 feet tops? Even if you hold it on its side and like skim it, you know, you’ll only get an extra 10 feet off it max. This is a stupid idea and needs to be completely rethought"

Been awhile since I threw a Carlin quote in there. Like 2 weeks.

I found this nice memorial to George online. It might be hard to read, but it is George's final wishes. I was and still am sad that he isn't around. It is a very small world though. Some of his ashes were scattered on Spofford Lake in Spofford, NH.