I really need to pay more attention to these kinds of things. I just noticed the NHL playoffs begin today.
I had better get on to issuing my yearly predictions as to how each series is going to play out.
For those unaccustomed to my methods, I only do a round at a time. I like to evaluate each series by match up, and not lock myself into predicting who will win a series that might not actually happen.
Some years I have been stunningly accurate (like in 2006 when I picked Edmonton to knock off the 58-win Detroit Red Wings in the first round). Other years I’ve done a fairly piss poor job of picking winners. How will I do this year? We’ll have to wait until the dust settles to find out.
On to brass tacks.
1 Pittsburgh Penguins v. 8 NY Islanders
Have to give this one to Pittsburgh. The league’s #2 team overall against the #16. Yes, upsets are going to happen. Just not in this series. Penguins in 5.
2 Montreal Canadiens v. 7 Ottawa Senators
This is a match up that should have happened a few seasons ago. Instead, it happens now. Both teams are close. Both in terms of team play and in physical distance. The only aspect of this match up the experts are giving to the Habs is offence, with defence and goalkeeping favouring the Senators. However, the playoffs are a different beast, and I have confidence Carey Price will be Carey Price. Canadiens in 6.
3 Washington Capitals v. 6 NY Rangers
It appears like Alex Ovechkin is back. Led the league in goals. Willed his team into a playoff berth. Then again, the Rangers were consistent all year. As much as how a team ends the regular season doesn’t really mean anything, I have to go with the hotter team. Capitals in 7.
4 Boston Bruins v. 5 Toronto Maple Leafs
Don Cherry is going to jizz himself each and every game. This is a decent mismatch. The Bruins are the better team, and the Maple Leafs, while icing a good team, just don’t match up that well. Except in fisticuffs. But fighting virtually disappears in the playoffs. Bruins in 6.
1 Chicago Blackhawks v. 8 Minnesota Wild
I’m calling another no-contest here. Chicago pretty much ran roughshod over the West this year. Minnesota, while holding its fate in its hands, still pretty much only scraped into the playoffs. Blackhawks in 5.
2 Anaheim Ducks v. 7 Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings scraped into the playoffs. The Ducks were the league’s #3 team all season. The Red Wings, in making the playoffs, are in them for the 22nd straight season. The Ducks are back following a really bad year last season. I have to say experience wins out, but barely. Red Wings in 7.
3 Vancouver Canucks v. 6 San Jose Sharks
Third straight division win for the Canucks. The Sharks have basically seen their window to win the Cup close. The same could be said about the Canucks, too. But with the up-and-down nature of the Sharks’ season, you never know. Canucks in 7.
4 St. Louis Blues v. 5 LA Kings
The Kings return to defend their title in a better position than last year. The Blues are in the midst of surging into a home-ice spot. I’m leaning towards the hotter team. Blues in 6.
I am still alive, despite the serious lack of posts lately.
It’s been a busy time at work adjusting to new coworkers, so I have been preoccupied with those concerns.
In the interim, I think you’d all be interested to learn I have been producing work, which means I have new additions to my portfolio.
So, I encourage you to check out my online portfolio. Here’s the link. Enjoy.
I finally tried curling some time in the early months of 2011.
Then I finally curled in a league during the 2011-2012 curling season.
After somehow missing the sign-up for league play in the 2012-2013 season, I thought I was doomed to a season with no curling.
I found a way to get on a team for the Westlock mixed bonspiel the last few days.
It was certainly an experience. We started the bonspiel Friday night with a shutout win, which is difficult in curling. Seriously. How do you get up 7-0 after three ends? So that was a quick opening win.
The second game was Saturday. I can’t exactly remember how the scoring went, other than we fell down fairly early, and then clawed our way back bit-by-bit before hitting a five-spot. At that point, our opponents conceded the game.
So, we’re sitting at 2-0 and ready for a Sunday-morning ‘A’ event semifinal.
Well, that didn’t go very well. My touch escaped me, as it did for just about everyone else on my team. The result? A 10-0 loss after five ends.
So ended my first bonspiel.
And now I’m stoked for the 2013-2014 season.
I love this sport.
I finally (finished) read(ing) Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” recently.
I have to say it was both not what I was expecting and exactly what I was expecting.
Allow me to explain.
It was not what I was expecting because my idea of “Dracula” was more like a trapped-in-a-castle-with-a-madman tale. I had always had this idea that the tale of Dracula was a group of travellers had their ride break down somehow (horses died or ran off, carriage wheels broke, that kind of thing) and they were forced to seek refuge in Dracula’s castle.
Then one by one a traveller disappears and/or is discovered to have vampire bite marks on his or her neck.
Eventually someone figures out what is going on and the remaining travellers seek out the monster and kill it.
And I was partly right.
How it was everything I expected: it wasn’t gay like Twilight.
Sorry. I just wanted to make that joke.
Seriously though. I had heard things about how Dracula was a monster, that he was a vicious killing machine. Or at least a vicious turns-people-into-vampires machine. And that’s pretty much what he was.
But he was also so much more.
He was a conniving, fairly intelligent and brutal monster. He bites someone, and then returns until that person has been sucked enough that s/he is turned into a vampire.
And he has the power to command the weather, to a degree. He can also control animals. He can turn into a bat (OK, everyone knows that). I can take on a non-corporeal form.
In short, he is pretty much the prototypical horror.
Now, when it comes to how Stoker wrote his tale, I have to say I have some issues. Not many. Just some.
I like how he varied the perspective as he revolved through Jonathan Harker, Mina Harker, Lucy, Dr. Seward and a few others. It allowed the knowledge and understanding of the tale’s happenings to be developed as each character began to realize what was going on. And it also meant the reader was able to see that progression and foresee the other characters figuring things out.
On the other hand, it required some mental gymnastics, especially if the reader had to stop reading midway through one character’s journal. But that wasn’t really that much of a problem, just more of an observation.
So, overall, I was very happy with Dracula. It more than made up for my decision to read “The Weir of Hermiston.” My god, that was horrible.
I swore to myself I would not pay attention to this NHL season, as a form of protest against the bullshit that was the lockout.
But, with how well the Montreal Canadiens are doing, I’m finding it hard not to pay attention.
You see, it’s been quite a long time since I have seen the Habs performing this well. I cannot remember the last time the team had started a season with 14 wins in only 24 games (14-5-4 as of March 6), nor can I recall the team going 11 straight games without losing in regulation (8-0-3, before a March 5 loss to the New York Islanders).
More to the point, I don’t think I had ever witnessed a 14-5-4 run at any point in a season.
What makes ignoring the run even harder is that it’s put the Habs in first place in the Eastern Conference, somewhere they haven’t been this late in the season since posting 104 points in 2007-2008.
Then there’s the fact I follow a lot of NHL reporters and Habs bloggers on Twitter, so every time I’m checking my feed I see lots of news about the season I am trying to ignore.
Although, I must say this is likely all my fault.
I’m actively reading what I should be avoiding, and checking the NHL website regularly, when I should be going elsewhere.
It’s time to buck up and use some willpower. The rest of the season, or at least until the playoffs start, I must abstain from following the Habs.
Besides. I’ve got the Toronto Blue Jays and all the hype they’ve built to keep me company and engaged.
I am the editor of the Westlock News now.
This is my second editorship, after having been in control of the reins of the Barrhead Leader.
I have to say that occupying this role is both fun and challenging. It’s fun because I am the last line of defence, so to speak, when it comes to submissions in the forms of letters and other story ideas.
But it’s challenging because my duties have somewhat doubled. Now I am responsible for making sure I complete the stories I choose to take on, as well as making sure the story list is as full as possible. Sure, I am not the only one who has to come up with stories for the paper, but as the editor the brunt of that duty falls to me.
I’m not complaining. I do relish the added gravitas I now get to wield, even though I don’t act like it’s a big deal. That’s because it’s really not. Other than keeping the list ship-shape, things really haven’t changed in the newsroom.
Except for adjusting to my reporter. But that’s the case any time you change jobs or get new coworkers — there’s a feeling out period until both parties are comfortable with each other. And so far, things are going smoothly. This is going to be fun.
I don’t like Valentine’s Day.
I think it’s all comsumeristic bullshit. Buying your loved ones candies and frilly lingerie simply because it’s the so-called “Day of Love” doesn’t strike me as a true manifestation of your feelings for someone.
Unless you’re a guy dating a golddigger. Then I suppose it would be a true manifestation of your feelings. Or hers, anyway.
Now, of course this is the time I go ahead and pull the whole pot-and-kettle thing. On myself, no less.
You see, I have actually got a young lady something for this Valentine’s Day. Yes. I did.
But, before you string me up as a traitor to the cause, I have to tell the whole story.
The thing I got this woman was a single, elementary school-style valentine, complete with a heart-shaped lollipop. I paid exactly 0,00 $ for both items. Instead, one of my co-workers brought in her grandkids a few days ago and one of them had a bag full of the cards and the lollipops. He gave me one, and what it said on it I felt was perfect for for this girl I know. So I wrote her name in the ‘to’ section and mine in the ‘from’ and brought it home with me today.
Yup, I gave a valentine to my housemate.
Why not? It’s not like I’m wanting to send a message of love and lust to her. If I were, I would be a lot more direct about it and I would not have done so today anyway.
However, what I did do today, or rather will be doing in the coming minutes, is getting in touch with a young woman whom I’ve been eyeing, and asking out on a date for this weekend.
Huh. I guess I am the pot calling the kettle black in this case.