Sunday, November 30, 2008

*happy dance*


I survived NaNoWriMo 2008!

I’ve never professed to be a Writer, but I do write fiction in addition to the writing that shows up on my two blogs and in my paper journal. 

So, when September / October rolls around, I start thinking about signing up for the insanity that is NaNoWriMo (or National Novel Writing Month).  The goal is simple: 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. It breaks down to 1,667 words a day.  Sounds completely manageable, right?  HA!

I did it last in 2003 and it was HARD.  I struggled with every single word - using ridiculous plot twists and stooping as low as to break out words that I would normally contract.  It was ugly and I felt dirty.  But I won and I was hooked.  I spent the next 5 years in school.  It is impossible to take classes and revolve your life around NaNo.  At least, I found it impossible. But then again, I’m a seat-of-my-pants type of writer.  I don’t get the people who won earlier this week and have already started researching and character sketching next year’s.  I don’t know how to write with such discipline - even my school papers were total stream of consciousness garbage during the first draft (or several).

This year, I did nothing like that.  It was real writing.  No cheating… although I did introduce a character in the first paragraph and then kind of forgot all about him.  He was supposed to be involved in this thing with the main character, but I decided afterwards that I didn’t want him to hang around very long. I actually ended today at a cliffhanger, so I could pick up the story later. When I have the time… Currently my goals for the next few weeks are prepping for the GMAT, writing my essays for my MBA application and doing 50+ handmade Christmas cards. Not necessarily in that order, of course, but I want to get my application in by January 15th (the first available 2009 due date) and sit for the GMAT in February.

It’s time to get back to the real world and not spend so much time on this stupid computer.  (It’s a good thing I didn’t enjoy the WoW trial I got sucked into…)


Posted by Matty on 11/30 at 01:36 PM

Sunday, November 23, 2008

And your point?


hartford failures whalers media guide ::  1996-97 season :: the final season

My wee, little obsession with a sport that’s played on ice amazes people more often than you would think.

I’m not sure why my complete, fanatical devotion that sometimes borders on scary-focused would amaze people.  It’s not like I’m a GIRL or anything.  *snickers*

I can tell you this much - it started with the Hartford Whalers.

My attraction to hockey stems from two separate, but very linked things: A game vs. Russia and the Hartford Whalers Children’s Cancer Fund. 

My very first hockey game ever, we saw the Whale play the Russian National team. (This was the way early 80s.) I can’t remember off the top of my head who was who, but someone got checked in the corner and the zamboni doors opened, dumping both players on the floor. I don’t really like violence, IRL at least, but in hockey?  Bring. It. On.

The second thing is much more sentimental.  When my cousin Nicholas was dying of cancer, I knew the Whalers would often do hospital visits to the sick kids.  I always hoped we’d be visiting when they were there (this was before that first game - they were just celebrities, then).  I wanted to do *that*—get the players to the kids and make their hospital stays happy ones—when I grew up.

Living a half hour from Hartford didn’t make me a Whalers fan, though.  My attention was pulled north - to what is now known as the “Hub of Hockey”.  (yuk)  I was bleeding gold and black from day one.  I like to think that it’s because I share Bobby Orr’s birthday.  My favorite player in all of Bruins history?  Easy.  Andy Moog, and I have the autographed photo to prove it.

I worked for the UConn Men’s Hockey program my last two years in school as the student manager / admin assistant.  I’m not sure what other student managers at other schools do, but I carted water buckets, dirty laundry, and (on a few occasions) drunk hockey players around in addition to living on the bench, tape and stones at the ready.  Back in those days, UConn played in an OUTDOOR rink.  Yes.  OUTDOOR.  (The indoor rink wasn’t completed until after I graduated.  I know without a doubt that’s where most of the hair on my chest comes from.  HA!) 

I remember a lot of “my boys” fondly… Link, Marotta and Schultzie walking around Freeport with me during my first road trip when I didn’t know any of the team yet… the time Converse got pissed off and destroyed a water bottle less than 6” from me (I got soaked! and pissed.)... the time Philly Blunt took a puck to the nuts and I discovered the idiot didn’t wear a cup (try having THAT discussion with the kid’s dad!)... the one-two punch of Matty Nee and Murph the Smurf with their snake and renditions of “C’mon Ride the Train”...the day the top of JJ’s finger got sliced off and the day I had to hold Busenberg’s back together after he took a skate to it.  These were (and still are) my boys. 

I spent the summer before my senior year in college as an intern for the Whale.  My time at UConn killed any hero-worship I might have had for the players and I loved working in PR.  I got to call all the players that summer and ask them stupid questions for the media guide, pick photos, write a press release naming the draft picks, and basically hang out with the stats guy.  I’ll never forget reminding Nelson Emerson that BGSU had just retired his number.  Or the fact that Shanny is such a f’ing, well, I’ll stop there. Any hope I had of joining the Whale after college vanished for good the day

The Devil

Karmanos announced the team was moving.  I watched that last game from my dorm room, in tears.  It wasn’t right.  They were OUR team, Connecticut’s team, before the UConn basketball programs became THE game in town.  I never really bled green and blue, but it hurt all the same.

I wound up in Toledo, working for the ECHL affiliate of the Red Wings as the Director of Community Relations. I made friends with most of the guys and I’ll have a special place in my heart for Kolzy, Arsey, Malts, Thorpey, Louis… all of them. I did a lot I was proud of - a lot of hospital and school visits, starting a kids’ club and a dek hockey league - but it wasn’t enough.  I left the team after a year.  The money wasn’t there and the GM didn’t like me.  You would think a big, macho hockey player wouldn’t be afraid of a chick, but apparently something about me bothered him.  I struggled with that decision for a long time.  I still dwell on it at times.  I turned my back on my dream, my love, and it would be a long time before I could watch the sport again.

My original plan for college was to go to a Beanpot school, specifically BU, but I would have taken any of the others as a back-up, even BC, just to be close to that level of hockey… when my mom died my junior year of HS, it kind of changed everything.  When we moved back East in 2004, close to Boston, we got season tickets to BU before the boxes were even unpacked. My love of Boston University hockey reignited my passion for the game.  I never thought I’d feel that again. I never thought I’d feel it so INTENSELY again.  There was a point where I could reel stats off the top of my head and everything focused around hockey… it was back, harder than ever.  (Except for the fact that I can’t keep stats in my head like that anymore… *sigh* Must be getting old.) I don’t know any of the current BU players personally - I’m a little too old and too married to hang out in bars or share classes with them - but I love these boys with the same ferocity that I did the ones I used to work with. My life has come full circle… in its odd little way.

SO… to get to the whole reason behind this post, I invited a friend from college, my “football boyfriend”, Bill, to come to the game on the 29th with me.  Bill and I had the following conversation via Facebook:

ME:  I have to be in the arena as close to 6 as possible - I need the time to read the game notes and watch the warm-up. (I am a wee bit psycho and superstitious.)

BILL:  WOW! You are a hard-core fan.

He doesn’t know the half of it.

Posted by Matty on 11/23 at 08:45 PM

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What an awesome week… NOT!


rear left tire ::  vw jetta :: november 21, 2008


I’m having some issues with putting myself too much out there, expecting things to be different and getting crushed when I get screwed.  I know I didn’t do a lot of things right and I know I’m so far from perfect it’s not funny, but I don’t think I truly deserve what’s been going on around me.  I made my bed, I’m lying it in, but I want things to be different.  I’m working hard for things to be different.  But I’m getting the shaft.  And quite frankly, I’m a little tired of it.  If I knew how to fix this, maybe things wouldn’t have gotten so far out of hand… but they did and I still don’t know how to reconcile past, present and future.  Just thinking about it makes me sick to my stomach.  I’m not that strong.  Yet.

Then, there’s a new health scare among the extended family.  Is it cancer? Is it a blood clot? Why is it there? What caused it? Shouldn’t we have been given a larger reprieve since V1 of this ended in May?  Why won’t anyone take ownership and talk about this?  Why are things being left AGAIN to the person that so beautifully f’ed things up during V1?  Ugh.  I don’t have it in me to deal with this on top of everything else. But I have to… in sickness and in health and all that crap.  If I had thought about it referring to more than my husband and I, I might have left him in the gondola in Vegas.

Tonight, we headed to Boston to watch BU lose to UVM.  It was a terrible game on so many levels (even though it finally got better a little too late)... and I think it was jinxed since moment one.  I’m pretty stupidstitious and I should have known something was wrong when I chose to listen to “Hey Baby” on the radio instead of changing the radio station. ( That’s what the students sing after a win.)  Then, something happened with J’s car which resulted in ME driving into Boston.  I hate driving into the city.  I’d much rather take the train, but things are a little different now and it was easier for me to meet him at his office and leave my car there.

For the record, Rollheiser’s a sieve and the fine folks working the Agganis Kiss Cam, should have left the camera on the girl on girl action.  (It was just as classic as the NESN guy’s face when he learned the real lyrics to “The Song” as he was filming us at the Beanpot.)  Colby Cohen didn’t deserve the stupid 5 min penalty and game DQ he got at like 15 seconds left.  It was a terrible call and caused the guy behind us to tell Benedetto to go home to his loveless marriage.  Ouch!  At the same time, there’s a reason we chant, “I suck! I blow! I’m Benedetto!” and he certainly didn’t disappoint tonight. Since I can’t obsess over D-men from Winchester, MA any more (since there aren’t any left), I have decided to obsess over Chris Connolly.  This kid, he’s like the perfect blend of that AMAZING line a few years ago of Baby Bourque, Petey Mac and Boomah!..  I wouldn’t mind making sweet, sweet love to that child.  (OK, yeah, I would. He’s a little young and not my type.) He better stay in school all 4 years, but I have a feeling scouts are going to be all over him soon.

After we left Boston, we decided to meet the AAA tow driver at J’s office since both that and the VW dealership are on the way home.  When we left the car in the “capable” hands of the tow truck driver, it had 4 tires.  When we stopped at the dealership, it had 3.  Nobody knows how it happened.  Not even the tow truck driver.  Which is kind of interesting when you think about it. Anyhoo, the tow truck driver dumped the car and left us sitting there.  Trying to figure out our next move.  I moved my car so that it pointed at the ruined tire and turned on the high beams. J took photos for the insurance / AAA / tow company, whoever would need it.  As we’re leaving the dealership, I got pulled over by a cop.  Imagine cracking up - because there’s nothing else you can do - and trying to tell the cop all you’re doing is saying goodbye to the Jetta with the blown-out tire.  I’m surprised he didn’t ask me to get out of the car…

Hey, world? I’m done being a grown-up now, K? Thanks.  Buh-bye.

Posted by Matty on 11/22 at 12:39 AM

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In remembrance


ct veterans’ cemetery :: middletown, ct :: taken sometime in 2002


Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
?Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky

Scarce heard amid the guns below.?
We are the Dead. Short days ago
?We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
?Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
?Take up our quarrel with the foe:?
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
?We shall not sleep, though poppies grow?
In Flanders fields

for Dad, for Pelkey, for all the others…

Posted by Matty on 11/11 at 11:01 AM

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Here piggy, piggy


painted pig :: roman baths, bath, uk :: september 4, 2008

This is one of my favorite pictures from our London trip.  Not because I’m particularly enamored with pigs or the Roman Baths but because of how this picture came to be.  I’m in the ladies’ room, washing my hands when I see him (her? it?).  The window is open a crack.  Just wide enough for the zoom lens on my camera.  Let’s just say whipping out a camera in the middle of a crowded loo is pretty much frowned upon.

It’s those odd little things that make vacations special.

So, while I’ve been away, I finally figured what I want to be when I grow up and found a job doing exactly that.  Amazingly, it does not involve public or private accounting.  But that doesn’t mean my not-yet-conferred diploma is useless. Well, that’s not quite true, it does involve accounting, I’m just not an accountant. I’m a bookkeeper. It doesn’t feel like a step backwards. In many ways it’s a huge step forward.  The position is a better fit for my personality, my work ethic, my need for background noise and my love of wearing jeans to work. (Some of the best perks aren’t monetary.)  I need to send out huge props to my career counselor and my baby brother, Bry.  Between ripping my resume to shreds, starting it over from scratch and spending too much time in the car heading to CT the following weekend, I really considered all my options and my skills and settled on the description of the perfect job.  Amazingly enough, that exact job description appeared in the Boston Globe.  And now I’ll be working there.  I start on the 17th and I’m pretty excited.

I also found out my eldest cousin on my mom’s side is engaged.  Our relationship is still pretty broken, for want of a better term, so I’m not really surprised I found out via Facebook.  That doesn’t mean I’m not hurt or disappointed, but I’m willing to try to get over it.  I am thrilled for her - this is a huge milestone and something she’s wanted for a very long time.  Plus, he seems like a sweet guy.

The BU hockey team is off to an amazing start.  This senior class - especially the two captains - did something magical during the off-season.  This is what last year’s team should have looked like.  I still miss last year’s senior class dearly, but these seniors, and the incoming freshmen, have taken the existing team to a whole new level. We followed the team to Lowell on Friday and after a disappointing start, the third period turned into a nailbiter.  We came away with the W, but I don’t want to ever see a game like that again.  My poor heart can’t handle it.  Also, we sat in front of some kid who is working part time for a junior hockey league. Let’s just say he shouldn’t have been so cocky.  I mean, seriously, a junior league? I worked in the minors and the NHL and some of the guys I’d met during my time in the pros would eat him alive.  I know it’s a starting point and I know he’ll get whatever job he wants because it’s easier to move up if you have the experience, but he should have really gotten off his high horse.

Also - Obama got elected.  Not a huge surprise, although it did look like it might be a bit of a close contest in the days leading up to the election.  I couldn’t get behind him.  I’m not sure why - but I wasn’t impressed with his DNC speech in 2004, like most of America, and no matter what her faults, I loved Hillary.  But now he’s president-elect (can’t forget that one word… it’s not official ‘til Jan. 20) and after his acceptance speech and his immediate actions since, I’m starting to see what everybody else saw.  So I was slow to jump on the Obama bandwagon.  I’m still not 100% sure that he can get it done - he’s inheriting a really large, really ugly mess and I’m not sure this is something he could handle even in two terms successfully - but he’s given me hope. I haven’t felt that way for a long time.  Not just because he broke through the racial barrier, although that’s important, but because he immobilized the people in this country in a way I haven’t seen since the rampant wave of patriotism, of pulling together, in those dark days following Sept. 11.  I still get all verklempt thinking about it.  I saw in the news that Jesse Jackson had been there when Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed and seeing him in tears in Chicago, watching the realization of King’s dream, was powerful.  More powerful than a lot of things we were exposed to that night.

“And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream…

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…’

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character…

I have a dream today!

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day…”

See the full text of King’s speech here.

Posted by Matty on 11/09 at 02:02 PM