Monday, April 25, 2011

Fair-weather fan

It's been let transpire a time or two in the past that I like ice hockey. Truth is I love watching ice hockey more than I ever enjoyed watching any other sport, much to my surprise because I've never played it, I've never met anyone who played it (or even really liked it), I'm not particularly drawn to seeing people getting smashed/slashed/stomped over/ beating the crap out of each other, and I can't even skate. Oh, and I've always despised couch potatoes. And I hate being cold. But so be it. My first, let's call it, exposition to hockey was on 2/13/2009 at the Mariucci Arena, and it was college men's hockey... I was captivated from the drop of the puck to the end, entranced almost, hooked if you catch my drift. In the following 12 months I watched more men's college, women's college, boys' high school, world U-18, men's olympic and professional hockey (mostly NHL but also a little Czech Superliga and KHL).

Even though not every game was good or worthwhile, every kind of hockey has been great to watch by its own merits. High school hockey is full of passion and hope, and anything can happen. U-18 is a blossoming promise and from the few games I attended, a handful of players have been drafted by the NHL and are making their way up the grades. College hockey teams are the oldest of all, bearers or a proud tradition, and olympic hockey, being such a short tournament is like a serious all star game where every second counts. Even women's hockey, usually snubbed for being less physical and less defensive, is more interesting from the tactical point of view (I learned a thing or two by watching women's Gophers) and let the goalies shine like no other player on the ice. If I had to choose one of those as my favorite I wouldn't know which to pick.

But to nix one hockey fix, there's nothing like the NHL. With 30 teams and 82 game seasons (that makes over 1000 60 minute games from September to early April), and 4 best-of-seven playoffs rounds until early June, that's a lot of hockey. Most games are internet and TV broadcasted, and there's abundant written press and blogs, hockey told in many voices and from many points of view, an unstreamlined stream of words that usually disgress, sometimes collide and very seldom align. The world of hockey literature was notoriously hard to locate (a pretty stunning fact taking into account I'm a trained reference librarian) but once I found one end of the twineball everything I had to do was just click around the links and immerse myself in that ocean of information.


Being a fan of the sport is not quite the same as being a fan of one team. Having gotten acquainted with the sport at age 30, I can't boast a family tradition or allegiance of any kind. It's true that I lived in Minnesota, self proclaimed State of Hockey (though if that was left to me to judge I'd give that title to Massachussetts), so I tend to root for teams based there but I'm not particularly loyal to them. Matter of fact, I try not to root for anyone because I feel sometimes that teams don't deserve my support (not that my support means much, but anyway).

What I do is to renew my picks every tournament, every game sometimes. If I like better one team's game I'll be happier if that team wins, but not because any deeper sense of faith or faithfulness. If that team turns its game to crap, then I'm not cheering for them anymore. That probably makes me a fair-weather fan, one of the most despicable creatures in the world of sports, but until there is one very good reason to stick with one team I'll be simply jumping around and enjoying the game from my place, this is, my couch and my laptop.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Brothers on the father's side

I guess I tend to take iconography as if it had always been there.

And not the work of a flesh and bone person.

I had no clue that Coca Cola's Santa Claus and the Quaker Oatmeal Man were brothers on the father's side.

That neat chair Santa is sitting on is a pretty good indicative of his creator's influences, though. I'm so drawn to midcentury scandinavian design and so addicted to Coke that it never stop making sense, does it?


Coca Cola image from here. Quaker image from here. Sundblom image from here.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Nook is no book

Last year I must have been particularly good because the fat man in the red suit (aka Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Pére Noël, Papá Noél, etc.) left a nook for me under the Christmas Tree.

It's a very pretty gadget, that looks just like another nondescript tech gadget (an oversized phone? a GPS? a camera with secret lenses? a maimed computer?) and it's great for reading. It's e-ink technology is way better for the eyes than light emitting screens, and it's way lighter and slimmer than most books.

It would be perfect if it wasn't for the fact that the nook is no book. It's just a toy, an energy guzzling, somewhat clumsy, not excessively ergonomic toy that looks tempting for pickpocketers and small time crooks, so I won't be carrying it much around. Its purported screen saving mode consumes more energy than I'd thought it would (or think it should), and it takes so long to boot that I wonder often whether the start button is working ok. It surprised me as heavy at first, although the weight is fine, but the placement of the turning page buttons is lower than it should be (and the "next" page button should be on top, because that's used more often), and the gesture recongnition on the touch screen, for some misterious reason, also seems to prefer going backward rather than forward. That page turning thing makes me think that the nook was designed with middle eastern markets in mind, rather for people that reads languages written left to right.

Anyway... nookie lets me read in privacy, without anyone guessing or being able to read over my shoulder (not unnoticed, at least), an that's ok with me. I'm glad with being able to carrying it around the house, or to bed, and loading and unloading books. It's my one toy, and for one, big guy in the red suit, I won't make fun of you or question your defying law physics.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A matter of tunnel vision

A few days ago I read this post on things you can tidy in 10 minutes. It got me thinking, really, how come I feel I never accomplish anything regarding housework, and then it struck me.

It's all a matter of tunnel vision, of just seeing one thing and not stopping until it's done. You mean to take away the shoes adorning every corner of the livingroom floor, but once you took up the first pair a stampede of dustbunnies ran past your ankles and getting hold of the broom got on top of your priorities list. Then you may sweep all the floor but the shoes will still be there.

Tunnel vision mindset... I'll put that into practice, and see how it works.