Thursday, March 29, 2012

You Knew I’d Get Around to it Eventually

Hockey playoffs are just around the corner.  I’m surprised no one asked where all my Bruins posts were hiding yet.  Oh wait, no I’m not.  Most of my readers have no interest in the Bruins or hockey.  Well, sorry, you’re getting it anyway.

First of all, if you do like hockey, know anything about the Bruins or just want a good laugh, this video is a must see.

Classic, right?  Well I think it is, and I know my Aunt thinks it is as well because we’re both complete and utter dork fans who are in love with how the Bruins personnel/player’s personalities come shining through in the video.  And who doesn’t love Bears?  Especially Bears that vacuum and use a typewriter.

Watching this and receiving the email in the picture at the top of this post really got me thinking about a couple things in the past week. 

The team has struggled on and off this season.  It started out being called the Stanley Cup hangover.  Then they won every single game in November.  For those keeping track that’s thirteen straight games.  Then they won another 9 out of 12 in December.  The team literally went from worst to first in a matter of weeks.  And we’ve been pretty content to hover near the top of the Eastern Conference standings for the rest of the season.

But something was still off.  Something wasn’t really clicking, it didn’t feel the same as last season’s magic and it was like everyone, including the players, could feel it.

Last week I figured out exactly what it was - they became way too serious and they lost their fun.

During most of last season there was the infamous jacket that Andy Ference bought on eBay.  The jacket got passed around from teammate to teammate after each game to congratulate who they felt had a stellar performance.  At the Stanley Cup banner raising the jacket was presented as a final parting gift to Mark Recchi who retired after last season.  I think I cried a little as the jacket, and my favorite player, would no longer grace the locker room.  The jacket was hideous and barely fit any of the guys.  But it was inspirational, and hilarious.  It was just plain fun.

Last year The Bear and his cantankerous attitude owned Boston, he was everywhere.  He ran around making commercials that berated those who did not respect the game.  He told fans that it was never okay to date a Philly fan, even if she shaved her moustache.  He did a victory dance after every win.

He was the epitome of the attitude of Boston – yeah I’m tough but I’m too cute for anyone to worry about that…unless they poke me, then all bets are off.  The Bear was just fun.

The guys pranked each other and we heard about it all.  They became the people’s team again.  And an entire city stood behind them as they won a Cup that was a long time coming.  Despite bitten fingers and scary as hell concussions in the Finals, the team pulled together, tossed out any thoughts of dirty play, and simply, flat out, won.

They went out on that ice and worked hard but mostly they just had fun.

This year has been different.  Despite one or two funny, locally seen commercials for retail outlets, injuries plagued almost half the starting lineup by mid-season and it took an emotional toll.  New guys did and didn’t seem to gel with the style of the team’s play (I’m looking at you Corvo, get it together man!).  Refs once again seemed to have it in for us this season (Read: every season since our induction into the league, sorry but I speak the truth).

But unlike last season where we brushed it all off and just laughed about it, this year everyone seemed to take it to heart and let it in.  We stopped having fun.  Even Thomas started to look off his game. 

Then a funny thing happened.  We lost a game in such grand fashion a couple weeks ago to the struggling Tampa Bay Lightning that even I was questioning my team.  Our backup goalie Turco got the start, was pulled for Thomas (who desperately needed a night off after Rask was injured a few games before), and then Turco went back in because Timmy couldn’t get it done either.  No one seemed to know how to skate, puck handle, pass, or connect with each other.  But that’s not the funny thing.  The funny thing was that the entire team seemed to share a collective sigh.

I think someone finally poked The Bear because since then we’ve only lost 2 games.

Something in the team clicked. A light bulb went off.  The fear of not making the playoffs wasn’t it.  The chance of a defending Cup team not getting to the big dance wasn’t it.  They all got a good healthy fish-slap and started smiling again.

That’s when “The Bear & The Gang” video came out.  The Bear was back.  The fun was back.  The vibe was rekindled.  The guys were back to their old selves again.  They got on the ice and for better or worse they just remembered to have fun.

With playoff tickets going on sale tomorrow I’m brought back to last season when my Aunt and I spent a small fortune on tickets to Game 4 against Philly.  A game I just knew in my heart we were going to win. A series I just knew in my heart we were going to sweep.  A series win that we’d be in the building to experience.  It was magical.  It was inspired hockey.  It was FUN.

As we come into the last week of the regular season I’m hoping the team can keep the vibe of fun going.  That they can keep enjoying each other out there on the ice again as the season wraps up and we move into the playoffs.  I hope they keep their spark of good fun and go out there to show Boston we can do it all again.

And hey, if it’s any kind of fate, one of the Cup wins in the 70's was during the years ending in a 1 & a 2.  Not sayin’ anything, just sayin’.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Torn Down in the Name of Convenience*

It’s probably about time for me to pull High Fidelity out of the old DVD book.  It’s been a while and, lately, everything seems to be pointing me in the direction of Cusack.  Other than his brief, yet stellar, performance in Sixteen Candles, there was no character quite like Rob Gordon to take the edge off my own life.

Okay, fine, there was that somewhat mysterious, too dorky to realize he was cool, man of every girl’s dreams character, Lloyd Dobler.  But everyone knows that the deeper brooding and overtly-melancholy fucked-up-ness of Rob is way closer to real life.  Lloyd is the one we all want; sweet, devoted, teaches us to drive a stick-shift, supports us when our dad goes to prison, goes with us to London. 

But every woman knows that boom-box thing would never happen in real life.  Instead, he’d probably end up hating London because the cloudy and gloomy days would bring out his inner emo and he’d fly back to the states to ruminate over his failed relationship for the next decade.  In the end Lloyd will just end up owning a flailing record store, borrowing money from us that he’ll never pay back, and cheating.  Sorry but it’s a true fact that the girls looking for Lloyd pretty much universally end up with Rob.

But I digress…back to Cusack.

Another thing pulling me into Cusack-dom was this book I read yesterday “Stupid and Contagious” by Caprice Crane.  The main male character all but tells us that he’s Rob Gordon.  So of course that character was all I could picture through the entire book.  But, you know, with blue eyes. 

The book was phenomenal, recommended by a friend as she said the writing style was so similar to mine she almost thought she was reading my work.  I knew what my friend meant within about 10 pages.  I will definitely read every book Crane has written.  Especially if she has more characters like Rob.

And I almost completely forgot about The Raven coming out in just four short weeks.  I’d heard about this last year but didn’t know how I felt about it.  If I were making the ‘Rob’s Top Five Authors of All Time List’, Poe would pretty much be in the number one and number two spot.  I was convinced they’d take the most well-known of Poe’s poems and hack it to bits (haha, yeah, slight pun intended).  But they’re not.  Hacking it I mean.  The poem is the inspiration for the movie and I seriously can’t wait.

The movie is about a detective who joins up with Poe to solve a whole bunch of murders that someone is perpetuating based on his writing.  Not that I support serial killers or anything but seriously, how cool is that concept?  Only thing better than having a stalker when you write like Poe does is to have someone respect your work so much that they start living it.  That’s hardcore.  I may break my no theater and no horror (ish) rules for this one. 

Oh yeah, Cusack plays Poe.  Not the serial killer (or so we think, who knows right?).  Not a hitman, like some other characters he’s already played.  But he still gets to be all dark and broody.  Oh Cusack, it’s like you were born for this role.

Anyway, seems the world is pushing me to do some kind of list, top five or something, so I’m doing this Sunday Stealing meme.  While I wait for my book’s copyright registration to come through I may just have to have a Cusack movie marathon later this week because I'm clearly running out of interesting blog posts... 

1. Which TV character do you think you are most like?
Other than the baby thing Christina Applegate’s character on “Up All Night” springs to mind.  Otherwise I’ll go with Miranda.  Also sans baby.

2. What time do you go to bed?
At exactly 11:07 every night.  If I stay up until 11:08 I know the world will cave in and the locusts will come.

3. What was the last meal you made from scratch?
AH HAHAHAHAHA!!!!  Oh wait, you’re serious about that question?  Does throw-everything-into-a-crockpot-and-pray count as “from scratch”?

4. What is your favorite type of music?
Obviously I should be saying something about outer limit progressive hipster shit that no one has ever heard of (including the hipsters, seriously) but I don’t drink enough Starbucks to be that cool.  Plus I don’t have the effort to keep up my work out routine enough to get into black skinny jeans.  So I’ll just go with pop.  Just like Rob, who was a progressive hipster.  Maybe.  Makes me feel like I'm in good company or something.

“What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?”
- Rob Gordon

5. In what position do you sleep?
I’ll go with lying down like most of the other humans I know.

6. What is your first memory?
I forget.

7. What is your least favorite smell?
Top 5 all-time least favorite smells: skunk, puke, horse poop, wet dog, and cat pee.

8. Its your round at the pub and your friends asked you to surprise them. What drink would you buy and why?
Beer.  Because I’m cheap and boring.  And we’re in a pub for god sake.  What do you want, a fucking mojito?

9. What was the last thing you read/watched that made you cry?
America’s Next Top Model.  Every time they send a girl home for being beautiful and skinny but just not "modely" enough I feel so sad for her…

10. They say that you learn something new every day. What was the last thing you have learned?
That my husband had no idea how they changed from ice to parquet and back to ice at The Garden.

11. Which Literary love interests would you snog, marry and avoid.
Seriously no opinion on this, never even thought about it before.  But now I will.  And I'll get back to you.  Maybe.

12. What is your oldest memory?
See #6

13. Paperback, Hardback or Kindle? Which of these is your favorite reading format and why?
Books.  Real ones.  I can’t bring myself to use a tablet.  I even downloaded Kindle to my phone and I’ve made it through about 10 pages of a book I’m actually enjoying.  I also added it to my library queue.  There is something Zen and gratifying to flip actual pages even if its heavier to carry.  Technology is not always the better choice for me.

14. If you could bring back any canceled TV series for another run what would you pick and why?
“Family Ties”, I think there was just so much more they could have done with Skippy.

Sunday Stealing provided the questions.  As a side note I deleted #15 because it was word for word the same question as #13.

A meme really is an excellent choice for those “feeling basic”. 

*“Pointes” to you if you got the reference in the title.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thank You for Waiting…

Your life is important to us.  Please continue to hold for the next available friend. 

Boop.  Boop.

Basically, this is what I should’ve told everyone before I crawled into my cave to obsess over finishing work recently.  Here’s the thing, I love all of you.  Really, I do.  But I woke up one morning and realized…

“Holy shit, I’m a writer!  With a deadline!  And people who already ordered my book!  Yea! Oh, wait, that means I actually have to finish the thing and get it ready to hit shelves then, don’t I?”

Luckily I completed the final tweaking of my manuscript yesterday.  Today all I have to do is double check that page numbers fall into place, create a pdf file, and submit to the Copyright registration office.  I’m guessing it will be ready to go on time but I was so freaking concerned that I pretty much fell off the planet doing only the bare minimum of keeping in touch with people.  I hate to say it but I hardly remembered my own schedule the past 3-4 weeks.  I found it tough keeping up with myself, so there was no way I was keeping up with you.

But now that the big deadline push is over with I can get back to –

·         Chatting on the phone with friends I promised many times that I’d call but never did.
·         Help my dad launch a company.
·         Tag/link friends in blog posts that have been UBER generous with doing that for me lately and I’ve been a slack-ass in returning the favor (specifically I’m talking about The Pedestrian Writer, who is a hilarious & heartfelt blogger.  He’s working on a novel right now about a teenager who discovers he has cancer and all the life reality that goes along with that.  I seriously can’t wait to read it…no pressure my friend haha.  Oh & see #5 below because I completely agree with you on the exercise thing!).
·         Spread the love that my mom’s photography studio – Judi FitzPatrick Studio – is the responsible creative force behind my book cover that you see lurking over on the left sidebar.  Isn’t it freaking awesome?  Yes it is!  Yea mum!
·         Consulting with my tattoo artist – I get inked for the first time on April 17.
·         Making a couple tablecloths for my SMIL that I promised I’d do weeks ago.
·         Making a little something for my dear friend Ginger the Ninja (who I promised this to like a freaking age ago and feel like a total jackwagon for not getting on it quicker!  Sorry my friend, next week for REAL the sewing machine is coming out!).
·         Read and comment on blogs.
·         Write blogs more consistently.
·         Read that book.  You remember the one, I was so jazzed to open it a couple weeks ago and then I kind of spent more time with my own then hers.
·         Open mail (aka pay bills, make sure there’s still money in my bank account, catch up with the real estate agent about our house purchase and if its gone through, make sure to alert management that we’re so out of here).
·         Do laundry.
·         Attend to personal hygiene, you know, like showering more often than when I’m being forced to leave the house or have people over.
·         Oh yeah, and write more so I can put stuff in my Writesy shop because clearly writing hasn’t taken over my life enough already.

Not too busy right?  No, no.  Not at all. 

I also got tagged in a meme by Selena over at Because Motherhood Sucks what feels like 2 weeks ago.  Time to follow through on this thing.

I must preface by saying I don’t pass these on or do the award thing so if you read this, are interested and want to steal it, by all means have at it.  As a sign of good faith on my commitment to getting back to all things not Ripple the Twine (<-- available for pre-order now --> shameless self-promotion woo hoo!), I will now complete this meme as a way to show I really WILL get back to being everything to everyone again.


That day may not be today but “I try to be my best…

Seven Random Things About Me

1. My favorite ice cream is mint chocolate chip.

2. I was super nostalgic for Boston on St. Patrick’s Day, more so than any other time since we’ve moved away.  Which is weird because as an Irish girl I don’t think I’ve been out on Amateur Day in well over ten years.  There’s just far too many morons who think that drinking excessively is what makes you Irish for a day.  It doesn’t.  Go home.  Preferably in a cab.

3. The self-dubbed “Year of No Excuses” was not titled the year of no fear but maybe it should’ve been…I’m really looking forward to getting the book finished & out there in 2012 but I’m petrified off my fucking ass to actually have it purchased and read because then it’s all really real.  But it’s exactly what I want at the same time.  Through my life I’ve had, oh, I’d say about 100 different job titles, but Author is really the only one I ever wanted.  I never thought I’d make it happen and that scares the begeezus out of me.  For reals.

4. I actually enjoy cold & rainy days now.  Because they are so few & far between it’s a welcomed respite from the perfection that is our weather most of the time here.

5. Exercise is not fun.  I don’t care how many different types of activities I try to incorporate into my daily life that keep it interesting, you know, so I keep doing it for that health thing, but that does not equal fun.  There’s no doubt my body feels better after I’m done, sure, but I’m not excited to go and do it.

6. I’d be more than happy to have the opportunity to take my laptop & my cell phone and live in a cottage on the coast for a month straight with absolutely no connection to the internet.  Alone.  Writing but not speaking with a soul unless it’s for emergencies.  Such emergencies would include – calling my dealer because I ran out of weed, calling the liquor store to see if they deliver wine by the gallon, calling Dunkin Donuts to see if they deliver coffee by the truck load, calling in a food order 2-3 times per day (Because cooking?  Really?  No.).

7. I actually hate talking on the phone.  I have no clue how I did it so much when I was a kid/teenager but now I’d so much rather text or email (or even Facebook) to keep up with people.  It is so much quicker and doesn’t limit your ability to do other things.  Like pee, watch a Bruins game, have your ear remain intact, etc.  There are some people I have to talk to on the phone because they don’t subscribe to these other methods of communication and I get it but I hate it.  There is only one person I enjoy talking on the phone with, and that person is…

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Heaven Comes With A Yard of My Own

It isn’t that I think there won’t be kids where we’re moving.  It isn’t that I think there won’t be dogs where we’re moving.  And trust me, I understand that the majority of the population thinks that sleeping until seven o’clock in the morning is an “oh poor baby”, with sarcasm, luxury.  But I absolutely guarantee that the aforementioned majority, no doubt, are the people who have kids and / or dogs that they allow to run aimlessly through apartment complexes making all that racket first thing in the morning. 

Yeah, well I don’t have either one, and there’s a reason for that (Read: Reasons.  So many in fact that it would be impossible to list them all and after reading this post you’ll be thanking me that I don’t have either, believe me.).  Both of them, when they make their all too similar shrill barking sounds, cause my spine to curl into an almost pretzel like shape and make me wish I had a current subscription to Guns & Ammo. 

All I want is a little respite, a bigger yard and less populated street, so maybe I can avoid feeling like the neighbor in Rear Window every morning.  He got caught after he knocked off the little puppy and used it for what it was really good for – fertilizing his roses.  Too bad Jimmy Stewart had that stupid injury or the guy would have most certainly been in the clear.  Lord knows all the neighbors were secretly thankful he got rid of that constant barking; man did I ever appreciate his tenacity.  The neighbors were just lucky he only went after the dog and the wife.  I assure you, it was simply because there were no kids around.

Because here’s the thing…all kids are assholes.  Your kid is no exception.  The sooner you admit it to yourself and others, the happier we will all be because perhaps you’ll attempt to do something about it.

I’m not saying that only kids are assholes though.  Far from it.  In reality, everyone is a complete and utter jackwagon.  The people who understand that they are an asshole, and feel as if it might be inhumane to subject other people to that personality trait, are the ones who don’t have kids.  Or dogs.

Or at the very least, if those who get what I’m saying here do have kids, they will have taught the mini versions of themselves that, no, it’s not okay to play your fucking recorder at eardrum piercing volume at 6:30 in the morning outside everyone’s apartment in the complex as if you were driving the god damned snakes out of Ireland. 

Maybe you’d also keep your hounds from hell on a leash so A) they don’t poop all over the grounds of the complex (which you refuse to pick up so the wafting smell of it filters into my open windows all day long) and B) so they don’t go after each other in what sounds like a page out of the Michael Vick playbook of how to train your dog to go for the jugular at 6:30 in the morning. 

As a side note here, when your dog is off its leash and it runs chirping in order to kill another off-leash dog, your tiny voice 100 feet away saying “Bailey, no.  Bailey, come!” really ain’t getting the job done.  After the eleventh time you said it in thirty seconds I’d have thought you would have figured that out.  But silly me, I should have known better.  Shame on me for having hope.  Go buy a fucking leash.  And please, start using it.

I guess what I’m really trying to say is that someone should really teach all those old dogs – meaning the idiots who have decided that rearing something to adopt their own awful habits is somehow a good idea – some fucking manners.

Look, I get it, you’re probably all thinking that I too have terrible habits, things that could be considered just as annoying.  Sure, I watch television at a volume that would blow out most old people’s hearing aids.  Fair enough.  I’m sure the neighbors downstairs are none too thrilled with that and yet they too suffer in silence.  Likely plotting how to get rid of me on a daily basis.

Well I have a great idea first floor neighbor.  How about calling the bank and asking them to speed up this whole approving our purchase process so we can get the hell out of here.  The sooner I’m in my new home with the eight foot high barrier wall and acreage buffer from all those small and loud annoyances, the safer children and dogs (read: their owners) will be.  And the sooner you’ll have someone new move into the apartment above you while I finally get the night’s rest I so desperately need. 

And then you can plot to get rid of them instead while I lie in my smell free, off-pitch flute free bedroom until whatever hour I choose with the television up to whatever volume I like.

Ah, heaven.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Samantha Baker, Eat Your Heart Out

Last night I went to my first ever book reading and signing.  The evening was made possible by Jen Lancaster, Author of many memoirs.  Hilarious, snarky and bitterly honest memoirs.  Now her first fiction novel called “If You Were Here” is out and I’ve wanted to buy it since the day it dropped.  Not only because I love her work as a general rule but also, see the linked tab up above on my blog - “Vacation In the Ghetto”?  Yeah, well her book is apparently the fiction equivalent of my real life experience.  It has to be read.

Since arriving in Arizona last year I’ve run around doing all kinds of stuff I’d never done before.  It started to occur to me that life is just way too short not to enjoy myself.  And why would I ever want to limit the possibilities of things I might enjoy because maybe somewhere in my mind I convinced myself it wouldn’t be fun?  I wouldn’t.  That’s why I decided to go to this book reading and signing last night.

And insert complete dork here.

Why did I consider myself such a dork?  Well, it occurred to me while I was standing in line, waiting for my turn at the table, that this woman is probably in my top five Authors of all time.  And there she was.  Right in front of me in real life, not just a photo on the back of her book.  Sitting at the Barnes & Noble at Desert Ridge in all her hilarious, tan and fabulous, snarky and brutally honest beauty, with a black Sharpie marker and a head full of the same movie references that I’ve been spewing for over twenty-five years.

But here’s the trick, I only know one other person who devours her work like I do and that friend lives in California.  I was on my own for this experience.

If there is a Chick-Lit equivalent in memoir writing Jen Lancaster has cornered the market.  Her work is witty, sharp, self-depreciating, honest, self-educational and bitter.  These are the kinds of events a girl is supposed to go to with her girlfriends so they can grab a glass of wine afterwards and rehash all the hilarious bits of the night.  Instead, I had Matt drop me off and he went to get us a Kinect while I giggled and nodded alone for an hour.

As I inched slowly toward the front of the line I realized that, not only had I just listened to one of the funniest passages from a memoir I’d ever heard in my entire life (because oh goodness how it resonates), but that I was literally about ten people away from meeting my I-aspire-to-be-you inspiration Author.  My palms literally started sweating.

I don’t run in any kind of celebrity circle or anything but I’m pretty sure celebrity types would all say that unless you made the most lasting impression ever – threw up on them, squealed uncontrollably, got arrested for trying to kidnap them – they are never going to remember you specifically.  Your face, clothes, inane stories about how your friend spells your name JenN so she doesn’t forget the second N, and pout when your favorite Author calls that second N “superfluous”, will all just blend into a vast sea of other idiot dorks who think their stories are somehow going to be the thing that makes her want to get your cell phone number and ask you to hang out after the event to grab a drink.

Because they do that, right?

Okay, in all fairness to myself here I wasn’t quite that deluded, I’m not a total moron, but I did at least want to make a good first impression on this woman.  I’m a Writer.  A Writer of snarky, witty, punchy, Tomboy-Lit.  The chances we will find ourselves in the same room at the same conference or event in the future is more than very possible.

So I didn’t want to be a complete fan-girl dork.  But I was.  At least in my head I was.

After my verbal equivalent of throwing up on the very person I aspire to mimic (career wise) was over, I came around the back of the table and headed for the door where Matt had stowed the escape vehicle that would hopefully get me out of my own head. 

As soon as I got in the car I texted my sister (who knew I was going to this because I believe I somehow managed to evoke jumping up and down, clapping and squealing in a text when I was on the way there).  I professed my utter dork-hood.  I lamented that I’m just freakishly awkward and that meeting people I admire forces the dork-o-meter up about a billion times higher. 

She said “Bet you only felt awkward you were great I’m sure.”

And somewhere in my head I heard “I don’t think you’re a dork.  I don’t think Mom thinks you’re a dork.”  “Mike thinks I’m a dork.”  “Mike is a dork.”