Saturday, January 30, 2016

What's With The Corner?

Updates of stuff. Let's start with hockey because why not? Specific efforts have been made to improve my goaltending. First, as an Xmas present from my long-suffering wife I took a semi-private lesson with a coach who wasn't a YouTube video. His name was Jim and the rink we were in was about twice the size of the room you're in - go ahead, look around and soak that in and if you're in a library just forget you read that - and to say it was helpful would win an award for understatement of the year.

Basically I, as can be expected, was doing pretty much everything wrong. He changed the way I moved, the way I stood, the way I dropped, the way I filled my water bottle . . . okay, not the last one.I was excited to take what I'd learned and try it out before my next game filling in at goalie for the Scurvy Dogs.

Didn't happen.

In addition, our regular goalie found a pad upgrade for me on some sort of goalie network while at the same time suggesting that the ancient, well-traveled pads I was using now might just be holding me back a bit. So for a ridiculously small amount of money a set of gently used pads/glove/blocker were shipped in from Canada THE HOME OF HOCKEY. They're huge, big puffy white slabs of goodness that make me feel like my previous pads had been railroad ties I'd been strapping to my legs. I looked forward to getting to try them before my next game filling in at goalie for the Scurvy Dogs.

Didn't happen.

No, via a combination of free tickets, kids things, and a blizzard I went into my game having never even had the pads on before, having not tested out my new bounty of knowledge. Which Kit was going to show up? The one who had those glorious two nights in the fall or the one who coughed up 13 during the Mustangs' slow slog as league whipping boys?

Meh. Somewhere in the middle. I did okay, I guess. We lost 3-1, which isn't too bad, and I didn't get beat by any dead-on shots. The first goal was a shot I didn't see that caught me wandering off the post when the shooter came out of the corner in traffic. The second was a rebound after the guy drove out of the corner and then dove or was knocked down. Either way he scored while on his stomach, flicking it in as I dove to cover it with 7.2 seconds left in the 2nd period. DAMMIT. That made it 2-1, and the goal they got in the 3rd was a pass from the corner (again! Ye gods, what the hell was going on with the corner?) that went to someone uncovered coming down the slot. Never had a chance on that one. I don't know how many saves I made, but it was a few. There was still a lot of scrambling and being out of position and not recovering quickly enough because I'm freaking old and lack flexibility but the combination of better equipment and actual training seemed to help. We gave a pretty good team a challenging game and it was fun. I get to be goalie against another top team this week, but at least they kicked their mini-Gretzky out of the league for being too good.

Staying busy otherwise. Still plodding along on my website, but as soon as I get it launched I'll announce availability as a freelance editor/writer. Not that I'm not available now, but it'll seem more professional to have a site to point to. Writing every morning on a possibly silly project that turning out to be both challenging and fun to create, and I can only hope it fits the bill of what they're looking for. The inclement weather has caused work to pick up, which is a good thing. Getting ready to sign the kids up for softball/baseball and will be coaching as well. Looking forward to Rabbitcon. Irked at numerous scheduling conflicts in the future. STILL waiting on an Xmas present for Lola, but sure it'll be worth it. Either a great idea or a total flop. Nursing along a sprained wrist after being slewfooted in the previous week's game. Chalked off all of Friday night for XCom 2 playing. Priorities, gang. Priorities.

Okay. Have to go move things to allow for the delivery of a new washing machine. TRY TO CONTAIN YOUR ENVY

Monday, January 11, 2016

It's In the Playbook. Really. Also the State of the Month

It all went according to plan.

Last night our intrepid Scurvy Dogs were locked in mortal battle against the Blue Devils. With about 3 minutes left we were down 1-0, having hit at least 3 posts and missing about a bazillion should-have-been goals. We were pressing, trying to get the equalizing goal, and suddenly I found myself scrambling back to defend against a two on one (did I mention I was playing defense instead of goalie? Probably not. I played defense last night. Rusty as a screen door at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, but whatchagonnado). I got to my blue line and spun, in good position to force the puck-carrier wide while cutting off his passing lane.

Then I caught an edge and wiped out.

How long, do you figure, does it take a body to go from upright to prone? A second or so, right? Pretty quick. Yet that tumble to the ice took an eternity for me, long enough for the following to flash through my head:
-Shit. This isn't good.
-Losing 2-0 is the same as losing 1-0 in the standings.
- Shit. I was even for the game.
-Are the people of Manitowoc all that blind and clueless? Really?
-Oh hey there's the ice ow

I had an advantage, though - I wasn't playing goalie. Instead it was our much, much better goalie Chaz, who stopped the guy who breezed past my sprawling form. I would like to take a moment to note that Chaz had played a game in goal about 3 hours earlier for one of his 346 other teams. Ah, to be young again. Anyway, one of our forwards picked the puck up on the backcheck, skated the length of the ice, and finally got one past their goalie to tie the game up.

JUST LIKE I PLANNED IT. Some Wile E. Coyote-level sooooopah genius stuff there, my friend. And did we win the ensuing shootout? Of course. Chaz doesn't lose shootouts. So now we find ourselves at 4-5, already with more wins than last year's 3-14 campaign. Is this a contract year for me?

(I better mention that Jeff G. played in the earlier game as well, otherwise he might invert my L6 lumbar or some other spinal thingie)
 In other news, goalies be goalie-ing. I've started my program of hitting clinic for reps and was rewarded by being pelted by eager skaters who hadn't had a puck sponge show up for a month. By the time we got to scrimmaging at the end of clinic I was so exhausted I could barely stand up.Old goalie is old. And because I'm not enough of a glutton for punishment I have a semi-private lesson with a goaltending coach on Saturday. Hopefully I'll be taught how to play, uhm, goal. Seriously. I'm just winging this thing right now.

Other things since I update on a lunar cycle:

The Boy got his blue belt Saturday, but I'm still waiting for the love of karate switch to flick on in his head. He likes it, he has fun, but he's not excited about practicing on his own or pumped up for sparring or whatever. I sat there DYING watching the kids spar for their tests, wanted to be out there SO MUCH. Well, not against the kids. The temptation is huge to start taking classes and thoroughly encouraged by my wife (SILENCE FOUL TEMPTRESS) but I just can't make that sort of time commitment right now. I have hockey 2 nights a week and gaming one night a week. Lola has derby at least one night, sometimes two a week. The kids still enjoy me reading to them, and if I started taking class two nights a week that would almost vanish. Plus if I'm serious about adding more clients on for editing/writing I need to have time to do the work (the websites and cajoling for work will come soon, I promise). So, I think for now I'll have to (regretfully) hold off. I need to take care of far too many things, PLUS I need start actively trying to find a gorram agent for the damn book I wrote, and get more stories out into the world, and keep working on this ridiculously silly writing thing I'm trying to do, and do construction for the play Becky's doing, and coach softball and baseball, and . . . I'm pretty busy.

Plus XCom2 comes out February 5th. I gotta keep my priorities STRAIGHT.