Monday, June 24, 2013

Too much lulling

(For Dan and for the guys on my team.  Hockey team reminder.  Cuz baby it's hot outside.)
My Fellow Dragons:
I just realized the mistake we've made. 

As we take to the ice this Tuesday at 6:30, we have to turn it around, reverse our mindset, and then quickly move forward.

Our early season strategy of "Lulling the other team into a false sense of security" has gone on for approximately  four games too long.

Oh don't get me wrong: It was friggin' brilliant at the time.  Play with the other teams' emotions, allow them to think the season is all wrapped up, stay in a division worthy of our attention, and then lower the bombastic boom: all friggin' brilliant.

But now it's time to move forward and perhaps win a game or two.

"But Kev, won't that make the other teams think less of us?  Switching our game plan mid-season; won't the other teams question our motives?"

Well, first let me say that I respect your integrity.  Many people would cast aside our early season strategy the way Brad Pitt cast aside Jennifer Aniston with nary a look back as Angelina Jolie beckoned all hot and naughty on the horizon.

But just as Brad Pitt is now fighting fast-moving zombies (and for gawd's sake I hope Dave isn't reading this part) we too have to put the past behind us and do battle against the evil undead known as "The Bandits".

Tuesday night.  Early Tuesday night.  6:30 at the MasterCard.  Please see the various suggestions at the bottom of this email in order to help you escape work early.

Gentlemen, the "lulling" strategy worked early in the season, but it's now time to turn things around.

Please let us know if you cannot make it.  Unfortunately Brent is unable to join us for a couple of games, so we will have to win without him.  I'm bringing Zed to the game, so we are going to have a little book-reading cheering section.

See you Tuesday night.  Please look at previous emails with a six-ish start time for helpful hints to ensure you can leave early enough to make the game. And please see below for various new reasons to excuse yourself from work in order to make the game.

Yes, they call me Mr. Helpful. 

- Kevin.

Excuse 1: My dog ate my laptop and I have to take the computer to the vet and the dog to the computer store. 

Excuse 2: My wife just phoned, she's dizzy and I have to take the guinea pig to the hospital. 

Excuse 3: I have to escape and move west. 

Excuse 4: I have a landscape class, it's the best. 

Excuse 5: I need to manscape my masculine chest. 

Excuse 6: My neighbour asked me to look after their dog and I forgot to leave the radio on. 

Excuse 7: The seatbelt in the backseat is broken and I have to save some orphans from a fire. 

Excuse 8: I promised my wife/girl friend/partner that I'd help her with her clean the house. 

Excuse 9: It's cheap Tuesday and I need to buy tickets for my six year old to see "World War Z". 

and finally...

Excuse 10:  I have to play hockey -- Dragons hockey!!

Hope to see you Tuesday night. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Be vewy quiet...

He looked at me with complete seriousness and said, "When I grow up, I want to be a unicorn hunter."

I tried to match his sincerity when I replied, "That's nice. But you do realize you can't hunt unicorns. They're imaginary. So you can't really kill them."

He then just looked at me and smiled. "That's funny. That's the same thing the unicorn said to me."

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Why have a birthDAY when you can have...

(for my hockey team, the inspirational reminder...)

My Fellow Dragons:

In honour of Birthday Week, my kind, lovely wife allowed me to have a three and a half hour nap this afternoon.

(Okay, it may also have been due to me getting up with her yesterday at six a.m. to drive her into Toronto (in the rain) so she could be at work for 8:30 when I didn't have to be in until 9:30.  And it may have been because she then got to sleep on the drive home as I drove in DVP/404 Friday traffic, in the foggy rain, with the sense that a sinister succubus was tailgating my soul the entire way.  So -- nap on the way into work + sleep on the way home = nap for Kevin on Saturday afternoon.  Or it might have been the fact that she has final accepted the celebration known as Birthday Week.)

For those uninitiated and unaware of the wonders of Birthday Week, it is the natural and at times necessary extension of the birthDAY celebration into a week-long bonanza of birthday goodness.

As an illustration, last week my lovely wife and I were at a store and she made a joke at my expense, to which I exclaimed, "Whoa!  Hold it!  Birthday week!  You can't say that!"

My patient, lovely wife then explained to the cashier that it was my birthday on Sunday and somehow I felt entitled to a week-long celebration.  I then explained to the cashier that when one's birthday is so close to Christmas and New Year's that people tend to lose sight of it, Birthday Week is a natural response.

My wife looked at the cashier for support.  The cashier responded quite calmly, "I celebrate Birthday Month."  My wife was speechless and looked aghast at the thought.  

The truth of the matter is this: I believe if you meet the right person at the right time, that stranger's birthday gluttony can make my mere birthday indulgence look reasonable in comparison.  I believe that the notion of Birthday MONTH has cemented the significantly more manageable Birthday WEEK into an annual January event.
Thank you greedy cashier lady for my making my tiny and yet petulant pouts of self-centred egotism look acceptable.  Without people like you, my birthday would only last for a day.


Alas, today is in fact the last day of Birthday Week.  So on Sunday there will be no reason to service me with the tremendous hockey pleasure I was given last week.

Last week was a birthday hockey present unlike any I have received before: a 11-6 shellacking delivered to our opponents -- a game where almost every player on the ice managed to get a point on the game sheet (sorry Sean), a game where Brent scored six goals and then offered to donate three of them to me so I could have a birthday hat trick, a game where the third period saw dogs sleep with cats, Charlie Brown finally kick the football, defensemen play forward and forwards drop back to defence -- all without causing any kind of birthday, Epiphany-iotic apocalypse.  Well done, gentlemen; well done.

This week we leave the beauty of the MC Centre behind us as we head to the much-much smaller, much-much dingier Rinx 1.

There, on the infamous 'girl rink' we will battle the Jets -- a team that we beat after coming back from a 1-4 deficit to win 7-5.  

Is anyone expecting a victory like last week's? -- oh gawd, I hope not.  I am hard-pressed to remember a previous Dragons victory like last Sunday's game.  I think it's been done *to* us, but I don't recall us delivering such a spanking to another team.  And a six game unbeaten streak? I can't remember that, either.  But as the Cajun French say, "Laissez les bons temps rouler."

Sunday early evening in Rinx 1.  

Mark is out for a bit (appendectomy and then the flu will do that to a guy -- heal up, dude!) but I hope everyone else is in non-surgical, non-vomitous good health.

Let us know if you cannot attend.  

Otherwise, let the non-Birthday Week year continue with Dragons joy!

All the best,

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Birthday with Dragons

 (Another hockey greeting for my patient and indulging team.  They were kind enough to take me out for drinks after our dazzling victory.)

My Fellow Dragons:

So I'm sitting at Starbucks, not in the comfy chair, but instead I am perched on a tall chair at a tall table and able to look down upon the other customers and smile silently and smugly as I enjoy my position of self-inflated superiority.

Bob Dylan whaling on the coffeeshop's playlist? -- He can't ruin my mood.

The books staring at me on the bookstore's shelf -- "Why Won't Men Ask For Directions?", "Is There Male Menopause?"' "Why Do Men Leave the Seat Up?", "Can You Have Too Much Sex?", the obligatory shortest title "Does Size Matter?", and finally "How Do Men Think?" -- all try to undermine my undeserved seat of power.  All fail in their reverse-misogynistic attempts to spoil my mood of caffeinated enhanced delight.

Three reasons for my happiness...

1. My eyes are fine. There is no glaucoma, but I should go for another test in two years.

2. The car passed its emissions test and the renewal sticker has been obtained. 

3.  It's just a cyst. Nothing to worry about. Not testicular cancer or anything like that. Just a cyst.

Three friggin' great pieces of news. 

Oh, and, AND even with tomorrow's birthday I will still have my final toe in the much desired 18-49 demographic so every time I watch "The Good Wife", "Elementary", "Fringe" and "Archer", Nielsen is begging to suck the juice out of my much valued eyeballs to confirm their tv viewership for advertisers. So I still have that going for another 12 months.

And yesterday my lovely wife asked what I want to do for next year's first dates/ways to leave your lover/Labatt/shades of grey celebration.

(Do you want to know how fiercely Canadian I am? -- when I was percolating on that list the other day, the number of US states did not even cross my mind. It wasn't until much later in the percolation process that I realized, "Oh yeah, American states."  Adam Sandler, Paul Simon and beer came first. So very Canadian.)

As of tomorrow, I am the same age as Captain Kirk in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan". And I think that my hair is way, way nicer than the toupee that Shatner was rockin' in that movie. Please don't tell me if you think otherwise; if it's an illusion, it's an illusion I will cling to by its roots.

Because tomorrow is in fact my birthday, but much, MUCH more important...


Dragons hockey! 

A five game unbeaten streak is carrying us into 2013. Five games of glorious undefeated joyous pleasure. If those games had been beautiful women, each and every one of them would have had a delightful "Oh My!" smile on her lips. 

Welcome to the new year!

To usher in this year of non-triskaidekaphobian wonderfulness, we will battle they of the unnecessary apostrophe, the Zulu's.

Last winter we were in the same division as the Zulu's and then we were moved above them. And (continuing this email's theme of undeserved smug superiority) although we are once again in the same division, we are still above them in so many, many ways:  better looking, better listeners, better at math and definitely more polite and respectful towards both women and young children.

Gentlemen, Sunday afternoon. Down at the MasterCard.

Welcome to 2013. My eyes, my car and my non-Shatner-esque hair all feel like its gonna be a good year.

I look forward to starting it off on the right skate with you.

Hope to see you there.

Dragons' farewell to 2012 (for Dan)

(This was to my hockey team at the tail end of last year.  Dan asked why I haven't written in awhile.  I can never recall whether "awhile" should be one word or two.  So, for Dan...)

My fellow Dragons:

Imagine the heartache and the tremendous sense of loss I felt yesterday when I dropped into my local steal-their-wi-fi Starbucks, only to discover that they had removed the comfy chair!

The comfy chair -- much coveted and much beloved -- gone from the Starbucks!  Replaced by a selection of much less comfortable, much less inviting chairs.

It was as if your favourite girl, she of the beautiful, quirky, crooked smile and gorgeous Grecian nose, had decided to have plastic surgery to correct nature's wonderful imperfection  and make her more common.

(Nuts, I gotta find out what time that comic book store in Barrie opens on Sundays.)


Sunday night we start the long goodbye as we bid adieu to 2012 and play our last game of the year.

Oh yeah, sure-sure, we gather again in 2013, on my birthday no less, but Sunday night is the last time we will do battle on this side of the new year.

(Because if the comic store opens at noon, the boys and I might be able to sneak a visit in before we head up to my folks. There's nothing I *need*, but there might be something I *want*.)

We will take to the ice to battle the Heat. And I'm torn between an analogy of (a) dowsing their flame, (b) chilling them out, (c) turning up the heat on the Heat, or (d) showing the Heat what it really means to be on fire.

I think I'm gonna stick with the last one. Cuz, holy flip floppetty frig -- and I do not want to jinx it (I really, really don't) -- but we are on fire!  My fellow Dragons, a four game winning streak?  Ummm, that is just deliciously delightfully darn great. Comment tu dis, holy flip floppetty frack!

(Y'see, my lovely wife isn't big on making additional stops on the way to someplace. She just wants to get there, and it stresses her out when we don't go directly to where we are going. Versus me, I figure there is often/usually/always time for one more quick stop. This brings me great pleasure, being able to squeeze one more thing into the trip; she, however, refers to this as "Death by bookstore.")

The game is at Rinx 1. And it is a late night game. So it is 100% understandable if you are unable to attend given the seasonal shenanigans that tend to occur this time of year. Just let us know which way the wind is blowing.

As for me, I'm 50/50 whether I will be able to attend. My lovely wife is in Montreal for the weekend, but my Sunday consists of driving up to Bracebridge for a late family lunch, leaving the family get-together early in order to drive back to Newmarket and grab my hockey equipment, driving down to Toronto to meet my wife at the train station, and then driving to the Rinx to play hockey while my best girl cheers us on.

Oh, and I gotta try to squeeze a visit into a comic book store, too.

Therefore if the planets align, I will be at the game. If they do not align -- well, at least the Mayan calendar was wrong.


Please print out the team list from the truenorthhockey website in case I cannot attend.

But I do hope to see you there, for the final game of 2012.

All the best,

Saturday, April 7, 2012

It's Not Large, But It's Good

There's nothing quite like good news when you were kinda expecting it to be good news, but if it had been bad news it would have been really, really bad news.

Especially when it's the sort of stuff you don't want to tell people about because it's probably nothing to worry about but you're still kind of worried about it: don't want to share because it's nothing, but need to share cuz it could be something.

So my lovely wife knew, but friends mostly didn't and family definitely did not.

A couple of months ago -- heck, it was back in November -- I went for a physical. Just to get things checked out, nothing important demanding attention. But then I had to go to another office for blood work and get my blood pressure and such checked out.  Again, no big deal.

And then, in the new year, I contact my doctor to get the results. She hadn't called me, so I figure everything is hunky-dory, but it's always a good idea to follow up.

When we finally talk she tells me that everything has come back fine, but...

(And gawd knows I was not expecting a "but")

... but my heart rate is quite low. And it's probably nothing and sometimes a low heart rate is fine, but given my family history, she'd like me to see a specialist.

My father died of a heart attack years ago (one day at work, leaned over to pick something up and *boom heart attack gone* just like that) so when my doctor says it's probably nothing, I'm still thinking "Umm, no. It's something."

I checked with Stan, one of the guys on my hockey team who happens to be a doctor, happens to be a recipient of the Order of Canada, and happens to be one of just the nicest guys I know, and I asked him for his 2 cents on the matter. He told me that he's seen my play hockey, seen my heart rate go up and then come back down and there I shouldn't worry. It's good that my doctor wanted to get it checked out, but Stan felt that I shouldn't worry.

So I try not to worry.

But getting the bloody referral to a specialist takes a huge friggin' long time; as in, several calls to my doctor's office to have them chase down the specialists that are not getting back to them quick enough for my peace of mind.

Finally I see someone. He checks my heart rate, my blood pressure and also tells me that my heart rate is on the low side of normal, so let's wear a heart monitor for 48 hours and then come in for a fitness / stress test.

And the results go like this...

I do have a low pulse. Average is considered 60-90 beats a minute while at rest. My heart rate is 58-59.

At night, when according to my wife I am snoring more like a banshee, my heart rate is 35.

I happened to be playing hockey while wearing the heart monitor and my pulse climbed to 180.

And when I did their fitness test I was 58 at rest but then my pulse peaked at 166. The doctor also said he was impressed that I completed the whole 12 minutes of the fitness test.

In short, while my heart rate is below normal at rest, it shows the range that they want to see -- low at night while sleeping, goes high during exercise but then goes back to normal. He explained that if a person's pulse is low but is unable to rise with exercise, that is when they become concerned.

Oh and he also said that my low heart rate suggests that I "don't think a lot". I laughed and told him that my wife would probably agree; he then corrected himself and said that he meant I don't *worry* a lot -- that I handle stress well. I'm not sure if that's true, but I guess the heart doesn't lie.

It is strange, having a concern that you can't share. It's probably nothing, but it could be everything. I was worried that the doctor would say something like "Well, it's a good thing we caught this when we did," and I'd be told that it was a lifetime of diet and pills and very careful exercise and eggshell fragile carefulness. Knowing that things are probably okay and not to worry is not the same as being told that "Yep, it's fine. You're good. Keep doing what you're doing and go have fun."

And having that stamp of approval is pretty wonderfully awesome.

So I don't know if I'm big hearted, but I can now confirm that at the very least I am not broken hearted and from the looks of things I am good hearted.

Friday, February 24, 2012

If I Could Give Myself a Title...

A couple of weeks ago I told my team that it was my resolution to be more plodding -- not thoughtful or careful or exact or any of those words of 'precision'. And not devious or conniving or Iago-esque or those words of a 'plot behind your back' nature.

No-no, just more plodding.

But now that I think of it, I'd rather be known as this...

The Prince Regent of Pithiness.

No-no-no, not moaning, complaining, whining or general 'pissiness'.

PITHY as in straight to the point, brief, succinct, not needing three or more attempts at a definition or explanation in order to clarify a point.

But not so arrogant to claim the title of King, Emperor, Heir Apparent or Supreme Ruling Dictator for All Life Eternal.

Oh how I would so like this to be my title...


People would smile and nod in my direction as I walked by. They would offer shy, funny grins of amusement and acknowledgment as we crossed paths, and occasionally I'd stop to tell them a quick story...

Such as the time when my son was 10 years old and we were on holidays and he was asked by a Mexican dressed up as a native warrior if he'd like a picture of a snake around his neck and my son agreed and he then had a huge thick scary snake placed around his neck and I took the photo because I thought it was the man's pet and the snake hissed and I thought "Wow, it's cool how the guy must have de-fanged his snaked because otherwise it would be scary" cuz it was one huge snake and the man lifted the snake off from around my son's neck and he set the snake down and it slithered away towards the jungle and I then realized that the snake was way too big to have fit in the guy's backpack and holy shit that wasn't his pet and I just let this guy put a wild huge thick scary snake around my son's neck!

... and we'd laugh at the quick story and the man on the street would wave and I'd wave and we'd walk off in different directions, both of us feeling enriched by the encounter.

If I was the Prince Regent of Pithiness.

Oh how that would rock my little world.