Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Call for submissions

Okay, so I have received some WONDERFUL Blingee in my inbox in the past 24 hours. But I want more. Keep 'em coming. I do not have any Max Talbot blingee. This makes me sad.

LATE EDIT: I have sid, geno, orpik, mad max, and godard Blingee. JStaal's jealous. As is everyone else. Grandpa Guerin doesn't want you to know his feelings are hurt... but he's crying inside.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Second Round Love (and No Love) Letters

Dear Anaheim,
You just completely effed up my western conference playoff bracket.
No Love EVER,
Mer
(Well, except you, Getzy. Okay, maybe you too, Whitters)

p.s. Have fun facing the Wings in the next round, SUCKERS!

Dear Detroit Red Wings,
I will not say this often, so savour it: I hope you win. That way, I will get to watch Vancouver annihilate you in the conference final.
-Mer

(Hossa, I still hate you. You are full of fail. I hope you choke. Again.)


Dear Canucks,
I am fairly indifferent towards you most of the time, but frankly, playoff season in Vancouver is much more tolerable when Canucks fans are happy. And I honestly think you will take the Hawks in 6 games. You'll be gearing up for the conference final by the time I get back from Pittsburgh, right?
Cheers,
Mer

Dear Captain Serious,
You have a special place in my heart for being one of my WJC boys.
But I don't think you guys will beat Vancouver.
Sorry.

Maybe next year,
Mer

Dear Boston,
Does it really matter who you face in the second round?
No. I didn't think so.
See you in the Eastern Conference final.
Looking forward to watching you lose,
Mer


My Dearest Penguinees,
Please win this series at home in Game 6.
See you in eight days.
(If I don't end up in the emerge hyperventilating from anticipation before being institutionalized because some doctor thinks I'm certifiable.)
lovelovelove,
Mer


 love you thiiiiiiiiiis much!

Send me your Blingees.
I will have an all-Blingee-rific post.
(Not just Pens, do WHOEVER you want!)

LATE EDIT:

Brooks Orpik probably deserves his own post for this article alone. But I'm lazy and I have about 100 other things to do today, so he must settle for his own Blingee. It will be posted later since I just accidentally deleted it. BOOOO!


OH! And congrats to HCDB!
(That's Head Coach Dan Bylsma to you, kid!)

Monday, 27 April 2009

Monday Morning Haiku

The sun is blinding.
This cannot be Vancouver
it 's a bit surreal.


My room is a mess.
Half-finished projects all over
await completion.


Leave it to Mad Max
to get his ass beat down
to help his team win.


Superstitious? Me?
When I don't wear my jersey
the Pens always lose.


Columbus got swept,
screwing up my whole playoff
bracket in the west.


If Vancouver wins
the western conference final,
this town will go nuts.


Only nine more days
before I fly to Pittsburgh
to see lovely friends.


I love haiku. I am butchering the poetic form, but I don't really care.
Write me some about the Pens and I will post them in a big second-round Pep-Rally post.
Also, Bligees. If you have become addicted to this ridiculous pass-time, email me the results and I will post them all sometime soon.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Here We Go, Baby!

Hey Mer, that was for you!
Can't wait to see you.
Love, the Pens

SEE YOU

IN ROUND TWO

PITTSBURGH!!!

679 words that change your life forever

Let us being with a flashback to May 30th, 2008.

Luc Bourdon died yesterday. Kris Letang did that heartbreaking interview this afternoon. You can't stop crying because it seems so stupid and pointless that young, talented people always seem to die whereas the sour old hags you work with cling so limply to life that you wonder how they keep going since they clearly don't enjoy life the way they could.

The Pens are down 2-1 in the Stanley Cup final against what, realistically, is a much better prepared team of Detroit Red Wings. You still think Marian Hossa is a gift from the gods (but WHY did we have to trade Army to get him???) and you wish that you lived in Pennsylvania so you could go watch Game 5 (because there has to be at least a Game 5 now that we've won a game) on the big screen outside Mellon.

You wish you had an excuse, someone to crash with, or a friend impulsive enough to go in on a hotel room in downtown Pittsburgh. But you don't.

You know you will sit alone in your dining room, watching the Game 4 broadcast on CBC.ca on your laptop, wishing there was more you could do. You wear your Malkin shirt. The one you bought one morning during the third round; Malkin made something of a heroic comeback that night. You pray you don't have to buy another t-shirt for the Pens to do well.

You watch yet another off-day interview with Sid wherein he repeats his stock phrases "we just need to execute" and "we're just going to play our game" irritatingly often, and you want to know what the hell he's smirking about.
You go to the only place where people will understand your obsession.

And you wonder if anyone else is feeling the way you are...


Bloggermer said...

okay, back to ACTUAL Pens-related musings...

has anyone else been a little creeped out by Sid's unwavering confidence in the face of adversity? I'm still not not sure whether to admire or fear his "we're not going to change anything, we just need to execute" attitude. I mean, sure he pulled it off for Game 3 (man DID he EVER pull it off!) but we need to see that same attitude and more importantly, confidence, from the WHOLE team, not just Sid.

May 30, 2008 8:10 PM
Blogger michelle said...

Nope,
I think it's great
And I think it's also great that he really IS leading by example

May 30, 2008 8:29 PM
Blogger mer said...

oh i find that confidence INTENSELY attractive, it's also just a little creepy, like he knows a secret he's not letting anyone else in on it...

AND I WANNA KNOW THE SECRET!!!

May 30, 2008 8:32 PM
Blogger snoopyjode said...

it's a total cliche, but it really is true that if you hear something enough, you'll believe it. i think that sid is (as michelle pointed out) leading by example and saying those words over and over and over again so his teammates believe it, too. someone (maybe you, mer?) said earlier this week: he's wearing that C for a reason!

and i gotta tell ya, i'd only be creeped out if he was like, "man! we just can't figure these freakin' guys out!" O_o

May 30, 2008 8:38 PM
Blogger michelle said...

I'd be creeped out if he ever uttered the words, "I'm just going to give up."

Then I'd be all, ok who are you and what did you do with the real Sid???

May 30, 2008 8:56 PM
Blogger Stephanie said...

I wish I had half his optimism in my own life! I'm a pessimist/realist...but I'm workin' on it :)

It is contagious though. He is so genuine and sincere that you can't help but believe him!

So if Sid says it's so, then who am I to argue... :)))))

GO PENS!!!

May 30, 2008 9:22 PM
Blogger snoopyjode said...

HAHAHA, anyone who reads 2 or 3 posts on the show HAS to figure out that i'm a glass-is-half-full kind of gal! :) i always try to find the bright side of things - life's way too short not to.

May 30, 2008 9:30 PM
Anonymous Maria said...

I don't think his "confidence" is a bad thing.. Too much of it might turn in to something else though.. But for now, i think Sid and the Pens might need it.

May 30, 2008 9:32 PM
Anonymous Val from M. said...

Let's go boys!!!!
Live from Montreal, with my BEAUTIFUL penguins' t-shirt, I going to spread the good news : They are going to win..... write it down in your mirror, all over the wall, it's call positive perseption of life..... I believe in their victory!!!!

May 30, 2008 10:08 PM
Blogger PensFan_87 said...

I have a good feeling about tomorrow and cannot wait for it =]]. I might not be home though to catch the first period and that's gonna kill me but hopefully there will be that slight chance I can get home in time.

On another note, not sure if anyone else read it but the wings' Holmstrom might not be playing in tomorrow's game due to an injury after colliding with Hal Gill (that's what happens when you mess with our Pens haha). But according to the article he's still sore and might have to make a game time decision. And if he doesn't play we wouldn't have to deal with his defensive play at the net (he's a wings key defensemen at the net).

GO PENS!!!!

May 30, 2008 10:18 PM
Blogger michelle said...

I like Val's enthusiasm :)

May 30, 2008 10:19 PM
Blogger Anna :] said...

The thing that gets me pumped is thinking about the feeling a got when the Pens scored goal 1. It was the feeling I have been waiting for this whole series. It just took my breath away.

The other thing is thinking about Orpik's sweet hits. Those made me jump up and down and my brother and I went insannnnneeee.

The crowd was amazing. I love how it took a good minute to start the National Anthem because the fans wouldn't stop the "Let's Go Pens!" chant.

It all makes me smile.
Let's Go Pens!!!!

May 30, 2008 10:22 PM
Blogger michelle said...

@ anna --

Yeah, Orpik put new meaning in "live every shift!" haha

May 30, 2008 10:30 PM
Anonymous Ali said...

Orpik's shift was nuts...it's even crazier how "the shift" now as a sort of cult following. You should check out over at the Pensblog...it's nuts. haha. But, hey, I totally agree that it was pretty incredible!

I'm feeling optimistic about tomorrow...I just don't want to get too optimistic...I have to find that "line"...

AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! I'M SO EXCITED!!!!! (0kay...random, but true)

By the way, I like the new format on the commenting...I keep checking back to follow along...

Blogger mer said...

** this is UNBELIEVABLY long**

I am SO sorry to everyone not following this thread - and to Snoop for being so darn verbose on your comments page today, but I think I need to explain what I meant a bit more explicitly because clearly my choice of words was inadequate.

snoop & michelle - On Wednesday night, I DID say that Sid's wearing the C for a reason, and his unwavering confidence is exactly why I said it. I agree, Sid IS leading by example, and if you believe something hard enough it CAN come true (iwillmarryryanwhitney
iwillmarryryanwhitney - okay, maybe I can't believe ALL things into existence :P)

“Creeped" was the wrong word. I’m just not sure there’s a word to sum up impressed- absolutely-floored-bewildered-nervous-freaked-out-with-positive-connotations; I definitely didn't mean it in a negative way.

Needing something to aspire to, people are often quick to create heroes of ordinary people. In doing so, they often ignore the flaws and exaggerate the strengths of their exalted figure, forgetting that we are all human in the end. When those heroes then prove themselves to be merely human, we are left somewhat broken-hearted, not because our hero failed, but because our hero proved to be fallible, just like us.

There have only been brief moments where I was able to muster the indomitability Sid has shown this week. It's blind confidence, it's singular focus, and it's unbelievably rare. But Sidney Crosby is a rare bird (pun COMPLETELY unintended, but totally acknowledged). He is living up to the expectations people have created, and it now appears that we may have actually under-estimated how high his expectations for himself are, and how determined he is to excel. I supposed I am simultaneously relieved and unnerved that every hint of Sid's strength has been just that, a hint.

The more he shows this strength, however, the higher the expectations rise. And the higher expectations rise, the further they have to fall if it all comes crashing down.

It’s about faith (in God, true love, the Pens' ability to win the Stanley Cup; take your pick): some simply have faith because they do and they always will, some start out with faith but lose it after a few too many disappointments, and then there are some who want to have faith but want proof before they can – which actually completely contradicts the idea of faith, but we’ll ignore that because they Want to have faith, and that’s worth something.

I would consider myself someone who falls into the first category, but that does not mean that I don't sometimes wonder if I'm an idealistic nut-job. I have faith that Sid can lead the Pens to victory, but I feel a bit crazy for having that faith.

There is a feeling stirring in the cockles of my heart that we are about to see Sid prove that all of the hype that has surrounded him for the past fourteen years has been deserved, that we (the media, the fans, the hockey world in general) have not simply built him up because WE needed a hero. It’s unbelievably selfish, but I want Sid to be as strong as he seems, I want him to keep the surprises coming, I want him to keep rising above the adversity. I want him to be that guy that kids can look up to not just as a hockey player, but as a role model of what a leader truly is. I want him to inspire (more) people. I want to know that I’m not crazy for thinking that people that incredible can exist, even if they are equally as rare.

I want him to be (almost) larger than life.

I want him to be a real-life hero.

And that scares the living daylights out of me, because if he actually IS that person it will prove that people that strong exist, and I may never be able to settle for anything less from myself ever again.

May 30, 2008 10:57 PM


You have no clue writing this that, less than a year later, you will be counting down the days to a flight that will take you to see at least two of the people (again) who were a part of this comment-section conversation.
* * *

I never intended to start a blog (let alone more than one). I had a diaryx journal back in 2000 and 2001. (If anyone else remembers this site -other than my lovely C.K.- please let me know!) I had that before it was called blogging. Maybe I was ahead of the trend? Maybe I'm just a big ole' geek and I've liked writing for longer than I'd like to admit to.

I stopped writing in that diaryx thing on June 15th, 2001. It wasn't really a decision, just a result of things that were out of my control. The last post I wrote was sickeningly, frighteningly prophetic, and I think part of me was scared of that. I honestly felt like a modern-day Cassandra, only without the added bonus of knowing what it was we were supposed to be afraid of. I just knew we should be afraid. And we should have been.

Suffice to say, I had other things to deal with than writing a blog at that point.

... seven years pass...

The blog that got me into this whole blogging thing? None other than Jodie's ever-fabulous blog, The Sidney Crosby Show. I came across this lovely corner of the universe while I was doing research for my book. It was probably the most incredible outcome ever of googling Sidney Crosby. (In the long run, it's led to so many more ridiculous and wonderful things than reading his wikipedia page ever did.)

For a month or two, I just read TSCS. Then I started commenting. Then playoffs started, Jodie removed comment-moderation, and the site became something of a mecca for displaced Pens fans who would have otherwise had no one with whom to share their unbridled excitement.

Playoffs do something to us (us being hockey fans/Canadians, because a lot of Canadians are unabashed band-wagonners come the post-season). It's like going to war, only in a completely non-serious manner. It's better than nationalism; less people are likely to die in a hockey game than in a conventional war.

But playoffs do breed the same kind of impassioned call to arms. You pick sides. You choose colours. You raise banners. You don uniforms. You chant battle cries. You have a Captain in whom you hold complete faith; a leader you follow willingly into battle. And you have what, for four to seven games, becomes a near-deadly enemy.


I have issues with war. I have studied it too much not to hate it unequivocally, and hate people for doing stupid, horrible, unforgivable things within the context of it. I know very well that any analogy I make comparing the NHL playoffs to war is facetious and, in some way, trivializes the horrific realities of war. But war has a few, intermittent upsides.

As much as it divides people it also brings people together. As much as it pits two enemies against one another, it creates heroes on both sides, people to believe in, to cheer for, to idolize. And, frankly, it gives us something to be fiercely loyal about, to fight for, a campaign to get behind, a cause to support.

Sports are sort of the same way: they give us something to live for, without the risk of having to die for anything. It's war in the post-heroic age. And, frankly, it's safer (in most cities, with the exception of maybe Glasgow and Porto) to pledge allegiance to a sports team than to a guerilla army.

We used to fight for land. Territory. Natural resources. For trophies and riches and the spoils of war. We don't anymore. Well, not us. Not directly. But a huge portion of the world still does.

Perhaps in the post-heroic age we need porfessional sports, because there is a latent instinct in us to fight for something, to take sides, to chant, to go to into battle and compete for something. Within the world of pro sports, we're still fighting for most of the same things as we've always fought for.

We fight for trophies like the Stanley Cup and the Superbowl. We fight for Olympic gold and IIHF medals and championship rings inlaid with diamonds and rubies and words in foreign languages that mean dedication, and perseverance, and strength. We fight for honour and pride and the right to call ourselves champions.

People can call professional sports 'just another industry', they can claim that athletes are over paid and franchises charge too much for tickets, but at the end of the day I think everyone in North America is happy that the Battle of Pennsylvania, the Battle of Ontario, and the Battle of Alberta refer to rivalries between hockey teams and not real battles over coal, or silver, or oil.

I've always toyed with the notion of writing a treatise (19th-century-style) on the potential impact of professional sports in developing nations, in terms of their ability to decrease the incidence of domestic political turmoil and, possibly, even international involvement in conventional (or unconventional warfare). It brings people in a community together. It helps people find common ground. It becomes something of an identity. And it's healthier than the LRA or the Tamil Tigers. I'm not suggesting that Uganda can support a soccer league like the UK can, and I am well aware that a certain amount of infrastructure is required to support something like the NFL, but you don't need to be a G8 country to support sports teams: NHLers used to have day jobs.

I can't help but wonder if maybe other countries would benefit from the emotional outlet pro-sports provides. And maybe they will, someday, when they're done fighting real inter-state wars.



Tonight, no matter the outcome of Game 6 of the Pens-Flyers series, some small part of me that isn't cheering like a hellcat for Pittsburgh will be quietly thankful that Sidney Crosby, and not Joseph Kony, is the one leading us into battle, that I have the liberty to pledge loyalty to a sports team rather than having to pick sides in a real war.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Bonne Fête Kris!

I could say this post is going to have substance, buuuut... that would be the biggest lie I've told since that time I told my dad I'd be home by midnight and came home three days later. (That was in 1998... I don't lie a lot. Oddly enough though, now that I think about it, that also involved a boy named Kristopher... weird...)

April 29th is the third-worst day of my year (every year) and this year, I have decided that instead of dwelling on the only thing more unnegotiable than taxes, I have decided to ignore its existence. Instead, I choose to celebrate Birthday Week, Le Swooon-Style. Essentially, this is going to be something of a Kris Letang Love-fest, celebrating all things Le Swooon so that I don't have to think about stupid crappy things that happened years ago.

If you are easily offended by good looking men, flightless birds or black and gold hockey sweaters, well, you've been warned. Call me whatever you like, and try to see if I care. Also, I finally got a Blingee account over Easter weekend (in case you missed the octopus-assassination thing a few days ago) and, as can be expected, the results are moderately ludicrous.

Now, down to business...


It's Kristopher Letang's Birthday today!
swooon blingee
BONNE FÊTE KRIS!!!
He's 22.
If you see him, buy him a beer.
Then buy him another one, from me.
I'll pay you back when I'm in town in a couple weeks.

What does the birthday boy want this year?
Tu croix?!

Sorry, this one's out of my 'bloody, guts and glory' price range.
I'll cheer like a hell cat though, if that helps.
I'll make idiot bets with the universe, too.
You need only ask.


If Kris Letang's life so far was a hockey game, this is how shit would go down...

First Period: Le Swooon Baby Photos (aka Minor/Junior Hockey)
Theoretically, I should list his stats or something.

I should mention how his team in Midget won silver in the National Championship (the Telus Cup) in 2003, shortly before he was selected 27th overall by the Val d'Or Foreurs in the QMJHL Midget Draft in 2003. Or how he was named the top defenceman in the Quebec Midget AAA league in 2004.

Maybe even something about him playing on Team Quebec in the Under 17 Challenge. Quebec won bronze.

I probably should mention that he was one of the top D-men in the QMJHL while he was in junior but, honestly, I expect everyone is too busy staring at his pretty brown eyes to really take notice of what I write.

Is there really any use mentioning that he scored 13 goals in his rookie season in the Q? Or that he notched 19 assists. Or that in his sophomore season he logged 68 points in 60 games. That's 25 goals, 13 of them on the power-play. Love him. Love him LOTS.

There's also that little thing of him being named to the both the QMJHL and CHL All-Rookie teams in 2005. And that bit about him being drafted 3rd round (62nd OA) to Pittsburgh that summer in the Sidney Crosby sweepstakes.

Does anyone really care though, that he was on both the QMJHL and CHL All-Star teams in 2006 and 2007? How about that he was Captain in Val d'Or in his third season of junior? Or fact that in that last season in the Q, he only played 60 games with the Foreurs because he played 7 with the Penguins and another bunch with Team Canada at the Junior Worlds? (ACTION SHOT! and... gratuitous shot of another boy I ADORE...)

At the end of the 2006-2007 season he took home some hardware: the Emile Bouchard Trophy (best defenceman), the Kevin Lowe Trophy (best defensive defenceman), and the Paul Dumont Trophy, the QMJHL award for Best Personality. Paul Steigerwald finds this hard to believe. I think he's just dumb and doesn't get Letang's terrifically French Canadian sense of humour. It's a cultural thing...

Kind of like bleaching your beautiful brown hair blond in junior.
(Then again, I suppose dying your blond hair black at 16 is comparable, so I really shouldn't talk...)

What? You didn't think I love him because he's just another pretty face, did you?


First Intermission: Gratuitous Eye Candy...
You make my heart into mush when you smile like that... good mush.
Do it as much as you like.
Seriously.

These photos have been hijacked from anywhere and everywhere on the internet. If one is yours, okay. I'm not getting money for this so don't flip out. I'll give you credit if you want.

For whatever reason this Pens and Pins photo was saved as "apartement avec moi?" - I can't remember exactly why, but I blame Kylie. (The answer, however, would be a resounding BEN OUI! :P)












See Oxford English Dictionary under 'rakish grin'
(we all love and hate you C.)


Second Period: Porter le C, and other Team Canada exploits
2005
Kris Letang makes the U18 team.
Goes to the Czech Republic.
Wins silver.

*
2006
Makes the U20 team.
Goes to Vancouver (big whoop...)
Plays in the Garage.
Wins Gold.

*

Happiest. Boy. In. Canada.
(he's #12)

*
2007

Makes the U20 team. Again.
Porte le 'C' - Capitaine Le Swooon.
Goes to Sweden.
Scores 6 points in 6 games.
Wins gold. Again.
Named to the WJC All-Star Team.
I remember him being given a player of the game award or two,
but I can't find record of this.
We already know he's ace.









Back when you didn't hate Craig Hartsburg yet...














<-- The gold-medal game you faked sick to watch because your ex-boyfriend hated hockey. One reason he's an ex...
*

Warning: potential sob-fest alert.
Happiest. Boys. In. Sweden.



Second Intermission: Swooon-worthy

































Third Period: Bienvenue a Pittsburgh!

*

*
You're looking at this photo and you realize that TK and Letang are wearing numbers other than 48 and 58. Then you notice that the trainer next to them is in a Sens jacket. Must be pre-season. Best guess is fall 2007?


























Letang now plays for, what was growing up, his favourite team. Try not to dwell on the fact that this is kittens-in-your-crocs-calibre-cute or the fact that, even though neither of you is from Pittsburgh, you were both unwittingly cheering for the same team in 1991 when you were both infatuated with Mario Lemieux's god-like on-ice exploits.
le swooon can crash my net anytime he likes...
(I'm not the only one who thinks so)

*clutch-city*

I don't need to go over how Letang's become a solid blue-liner since last fall when he was forced into a more serious role with Sarge and Whitters (pre-trade) on the IR, do I? Or how he's the highest scoring defeceman the Pens has this season? And I certainly don't have to go over the fact that he's scored as many game winners this season as Sidney Crosby, or that, in the 2007-2008 season he led the NHL in shootout goals by defencemen. Do I?

Didn't think so.










Action shot! Pens-Flyers Round 1, Game 2
(courtesy of Kylie)


Overtime: Things that make your knees weak
(even though you KNOW it's completely pathetic...)

Hey Richards?
That smirk is about to get wiped off your ugly mug of a face.
Yours Truly, #58

Innocent? I look innocent, right?



Double Overtime: Why You Want to Bring #58 Home With You


*

...1:44 ish on...
*

...1:50... le swooon dangereux...
*

*

Someone please feed this boy...



*

Triple Overtime: Wherein Your Brain Turns to Mush...


...mute the bad rap-music and imagine saying him whatever you like...

Oh, the hair... it probably deserves a post of its own.


...and Your Motherboard Explodes...
I can't look at this without laughing hysterically.
Please do not ask me to explain: I have no clue.

le swooon-drool
My best guess is too much Easter chocolate...


Bonne fête mon p'tit chou!
Bonne chance samedi soir!
J'espère que tu n'etais pas vraiment blessé mardi...

(Et bonne chance dans la prochaine séries contre n'importe qui qu'ils sont!)