Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Hockeyween

Halloween will never make my list of favorite holidays. When I was little, my costumes always had to be something pretty, like a baton twirler, a princess or a bride. I never liked looking silly, or scary, or anything other than coordinated and beautiful. That probably explains my current taste in expensive clothes and accessories, but that's a whole other ball of wax.

I was thankful for Halloween spirit tonight, since it was at least a nice diversion from an absolutely abysmal Kings loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Tonight at least, we remembered the days last season when our mascot Bailey was the most interesting thing about the game. And tonight he had his own costumes....

At least some of the fans had a sense of humor....

And luckily there was one bright sport! Gotta love a guy with awesome hockey hair. Meet hockey hottie of the night, Vancouver's #18 - Steve Bernier.

I still don't love Halloween, but thank goodness for hockey boys! And here's hoping for better luck for the Kings at their next home game this weekend....

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mayer vs. O'Sullivan

So I guess it was only a matter of time before my love of live music and hockey collided. John Mayer is doing a charity concert in LA December 6 at the Nokia Theatre. The Kings and the Blue Jackets play that same night across the street at Staples Center. What's a girl to do?

John lost this one. Sully shoots and scores! I'll be at the Kings game.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Life on the Road

It's been a busy couple of weeks on the road, and as many of my friends keep reminding me, I'm way behind on my blog posts. Part of me is flattered at the fact anyone cares what I have to say. But I also admit it feels like pressure more task on life's ever-growing to-do list. Nonetheless, I'm going to make my best effort to catch up this week and provide more of my entertaining insights and observations to my loyal readers...who are also the best friends in the world!
First stop - Dallas, TX, the first leg of my journey from LAX to Tampa, FL for a meeting a couple of weeks ago. It's been a while since my last stop through DFW, and I must admit they've made some terrific renovations. This one gave me pause....

It's a complete convenience store in a box. Now I've seen smaller versions of this in hotels, a kind of souped up vending machine. In fact, the one at the Holiday Inn in San Jose dispensed some much needed cold medicine for me once upon a time. But this contraption had everything from Tylenol to "Armadillo Droppings," which is apparently Texan-speak for chocolate pieces. And as I marveled at this glass-enclosed robot-operated convenience store in a wall, a bunch of thoughts occurred to me:
  • I can buy stuff even when the airport is deserted and everything is convenient!
  • I wonder how Armadillo Droppings taste...
  • Nice not to have to talk to anyone if I need a quick shot of Pepto...does that make me anti-social?
  • Is this what the world is coming to? No human interaction? Just the swipe of a credit card?
  • Wow, I'll bet this thing put a bunch of people out of jobs.
In the end, I passed on the Armadillo droppings and went to the Starbucks across the hall instead. Until the robot convenience store perfects the caffeine delivery system, I still need people to survive.

Monday, October 13, 2008

"We Check Everything But Bags"

I got far too little sleep last night and had to get up really early this morning to make the dreaded trek to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) for an 8 am flight to Dallas that will eventually get me to Tampa, FL. I wish I could say this trip was for fun. Not that work isn't fun (threw that in in case my boss is reading...) but you know what I mean. Work is work. Although I will be tacking on a visit to Michelle at the end of the week before I head back West, so I guess there is some fun in this trip. Although not at this stage.

Anyway, the phrase "We check everything but bags" greeted me in the parking lot shuttle this morning. It's an ingenious advertising campaign for my boys, the LA Kings. It made starting the morning so much more pleasant to think about hockey! Unfortunately, the phrase took on a different meaning once I reached the airport.

I'm on American Airlines thanks to Progressive's travel service and their cost parameters. Flying other airlines reminds me how much I truly love Southwest and wish they could take me absolutely everywhere. American is one of the nickel-and-dime operations that now charges you for every checked bag. Now I appreciate there is a cost to the airline for handling my wardrobe changes, so one part of me gets it. But what the bean counters at American failed to understand is that every plane now takes longer to load because people are trying to carry on huge bags that don't fit just to avoid the charge. That costs money. And the time of the gate agents gate-checking those bags. That also costs money. I could go on an on. Suffice to say, American is a great example of why so many airlines are in bad shape.
But the funniest "checking" incident took place when I went through security. I was wearing a metal free outfit, wearing jewelry tested on many trips that I knew passed metal detection. I pulled out all my liquids, did everything I was supposed to. But going through the gate, the damned buzzer went off. Anyone guess what caused it?
My 1/8 inch wide, 2 inch long barrette! The screener actually made me take it off and send it through the x-ray on the belt and everything. I've been teased about my big hair all my life. Nice to know it's an official threat to national security.....

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Rough Start

I've been looking forward to the Kings home opener all week. New team, new attitude, reunions with old seat buddies, seeing our favorite ushers again and of course, the end of my wait to see Patrick O'Sullivan go flying down the ice with the puck. I enjoyed all that and more tonight, although I suppose winning the game would be asking too much.....

Yup, Kings lost 1-0 to the dreaded San Jose Sharks. It doesn't help that our former captain Rob Blake now plays for the Sharks (although the crowd did an awesome job booing him). Or that our $47 million man Anze Kopitar lost his temper after a bad play, smacked his stick on the glass by our bench and broke it, earning himself a 10 minute misconduct penalty. Or that the Kings were denied not one but two legitimate goals on lousy officiating! Oh, and did I mention Jack Johnson, one of our key defencemen who plays huge minutes every game, has an "upper body extremity" injury and left the game after the first period. I mean, come on! What else could possibly have gone wrong?

In fairness, I shouldn't be all doom and gloom. Sully didn't play on the starting line (where he belongs), but he got in a lot of minutes and looks pretty good for missing all of camp on the contract issue. It won't be long before he's back on the top line again. Our penalty kill was good, and defensively we're head and shoulders above where we were last year. We just need to get some offense together and get the puck in the net. And bring Kevin Westgarth back to start some more fights...I miss his energy!

One bonus moment of the night was my "Welcome Back Sully" sign and I making it onto the jumbotron during pre-game! I'm hoping he saw it.

I guess we've got nowhere to go but up....

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Signs of Fall

I woke up this morning and felt a change in the air. Since I fell asleep with the windows open last night, the house was freezing this morning. When I headed out for my morning coffee run around 7 am, the thermostat on my car confirmed the change in the CA climate....a crisp 55 degrees, while feels like winter after the 80's we've had the past two weeks. But I must confess, I'm tired of the heat and ready for fall. Plus I got to try out the seat warmers in my car for the first time! How did I live without them?

After I got back from Starbucks, the house was still a little too chilly to walk around barefoot, which is what I usually do. Out came one of my favorite friend gifts - hand knit socks from Michelle! As Tanya would say, I think there's a business in there somewhere...I love these, and the color is soooo me.

The new plates for my car also arrived this week, so after my coffee and breakfast sandwich had a chance to settle, I figured it was a good time to put them on. I just love the very official looking wrapping the State of CA sends them in.

Out with the old....especially the nasty window sticker you have to keep on the car when you have a temporary registration.

And in with the new!!!

And since this wouldn't be my blog without a mention of hockey, the Kings season opener is today is San Jose, and the first home game is also against San Jose tomorrow.

That explains the's hockey weather!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Long Overdue

As any hockey fan will tell you, the players name you decide to wear on your back is no small decision. During my relatively short tenure as a Kings fan, I've had several "favorite" players. My first year, it was Sean Avery, because he was brash, scrappy and played with a ton of energy. When he got traded to the New York Rangers, my loyalty went to Anze Kopitar, the Kings then 19-year old Slovenian phenom. Anze's an awesome kid, but something still didn't feel right. I wasn't getting that connection to motivate me to wear the name.

At my first Tip-A-King in February of 2007, I met Patrick O'Sullivan. He was in the same tent with team captain Matty Nordstrom and Jamie Lundmark. At the time, Patrick was floating back and forth between the Kings AHL affiliate Manchester Monarchs and the NHL club. I remember cracking up when he smiled because he was already missing a bunch of teeth on one side! Most of the guys were still hung over from partying after a big game the night before, so they were absolutely hilarious. This group shot is my favorite one from the 2007 event. Patrick is on the left.

During the season last year, I started watching Sully more closely. The guy got hit in the face with a puck and knocked out 3 more teeth in the first home game of the season. He actually came back and finished the game, only finding out later he broke a bone in his face! OK, so he's plenty tough. Then Nadine and I got passes to a post game reception and we spent some time talking to him. He's basically shy but totally nice, and has the best attitude going. He's had some interesting challenges in his young life, but he's overcome them by working his ass off for everything he has. LOVE that! Something told me then...this is the guy.

About a month later, the Kings Care Foundation had a signed O'Sullivan jersey available for bids during the game. I knew that was my moment, so I stood by the booth for 20 minutes and one-upped everyone who dared to put down a bid. I finally had my jersey!! So of course, it was time to take a photo....

At Tip-A-King 2008, we got another photo. Looks a little more grown up, huh? Still totally nice. I told him the story of how I scored his jersey by beating off a bunch of other people, and he thought it was great.

Sully had an awesome year, ending up 4th on the team in goals and total points. So at the end of the season, when it came time to re-do his contract, everyone including me thought it would be the easiest deal ever. Oh, if that were only the case!! Anyone who talked to me at some point this summer heard my frequent "Sully Watch" updates. The negotiations dragged on for ages, with deadlines passing and rumors swirling. I was even prepared to by another O'Sullivan jersey for different team if he got traded, all the while hoping against hope he would stay.

It was a LONG, agonizing summer, and fall hasn't been much better until today. But the wait is now over. We finally have contract!!! And have 3 more years to wear my jersey.

Welcome back Sully!! See ya in a few days....the home opener is this Sunday. GO KINGS!!!

Monday, October 6, 2008


One of my favorite expressions in college was "That's classic!" Or the shorter version, simply "Classic." Depending on the tone of voice used, "classic" could refer to many things, and serve either as a sign of approval or criticism. Examples:
  • A tuba player inserts a fake red tongue into the tuba bell for a Halloween costume honoring Mick Jagger. A clarinet player sees it and cheers "Classic!!" (as in "What a cool costume! Wish I thought of it.")

  • A group upperclass of housemates throw a party and some airhead freshman girls decide to crash the party, proceed to do beer bongs, then fall down the steps to the porch. The upperclassmen roll their eyes and mutter, "Classic." (as in "Freshmen are so stupid...they'll never be as cool as us.")

Classic can also refer to something so timeless that it never goes out of style. Like Randy Newman's sarcastic song titles. Or Beach Boys harmonies. Or singing "Sweet Caroline" in a group of total strangers at the Hollywood Bowl!

That's right folks, Neil Diamond is classic. Nadine got us tickets for my birthday, and we had a blast. I know what you're thinking. Neil Diamond? So 70's AM radio easy listening!! Sequined jackets! How is this man possibly classic? Because in my book, anyone who writes music that so universally connects with people (even those who weren't alive when the song was popular but know all the words) deserves to be classic. Not to mention the fact that women in the front row were ready to throw their clothes onstage for a 67 year-old man. Something about him must be cool, because 18,000 people can't all be wrong.

Even the LA Times liked it, and they're hard to please. Here's a link to review if you'd like to check it out.,0,2113464.story

Like Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville" and Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl," Neil' and his "Sweet Caroline" are "Classic" in the best way. I hope I'm that cool in 30 years....

Friday, October 3, 2008

This Defies Explanation

Early 2000-something model Saturn. Decent condition....but it is a plastic car.

Apparently there is something special about this vehicle I'm missing. Because the owner feels it necessary to protect the car guessed it, The Club!

Someone help me here....