Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dorm Life

Is actually worse than it was the first time around. I hate it already - too much drama, not enough hockey (it doesn't help that the hockey I do get is in time to watch them LOSE. AGAIN.).

I'm the oldest here by approximately a decade. Okay, not quite, but the next youngest person is three years younger than me. This, plus the fact that there aren't really very many of us but we're all in different stages ranging from people who have been here for months to people who came in today (like me), makes it irritating. And the fact that I got pulled aside today to hear that I'm a "unique case" that the MTLs will be keeping an eye on. Not only am I one of, if not the, highest ranking student right now by virtue of being an A1C AND having graduated Basic four months before most of these guys, but I also have had four months "off" ("OFF?!" Do they know ANYTHING about my unit??), and I'm local. So apparently this makes me very interesting to the MTLs. On the one hand, this could work in my favor. On the other, it could work very much against me. And I'm new, which makes me very interesting to the other students, particularly the girls (I'm the only female who came in this week). A bunch of 18-19 year olds who think they feel superior is really irritating. I don't mind listening and getting tips and learning the ropes, but it's pretty annoying. My roommate doesn't seem too bad so far, though. And I guess I am very lucky because I actually get to start class really soon, which means I can get the hell out of here soon. The dorms are actually pretty nice, don't get me wrong. It's the people in them that drive me nuts. I cannot get through these phases fast enough!

I didn't like living with other girls (except maybe Marcy, we got along pretty well) in college, I didn't like it at Basic, and I REALLY HATE it right now when I have a perfectly good (solo) apartment with a GOOD internet connection AND tv AND a kitty less than 20 miles away. Blargh. (Oh yeah, did i mention the 5 mile run we did for PT today? That would count as one of the better parts of the day, even though my feet hurt like crazy. Yeah, it's been THAT good.)

Now I get to go make my room inspection ready and hopefully go to bed early. Don't want to deal with this day any more.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Take Me Out To The Ball Hockey Game!

Dear Chicago Blackhawks,

Thank you for entertaining me with an insanely fun game the other night in Los Angeles. We must do it again sometime soon! I think it was a mutually beneficial arrangement and needs to continue - I get to have fun at the games and in return, I would graciously accept the duties of being your good-luck charm/cheerleader/plainclothes coach. We can try it out for a few games to see how it works, but I have full confidence in our respective abilities. I'm sure it would be a very minor expense for you guys, and have great return for everybody. Please let me know what you think of this offer.


Seriously, though...That. Was. Awesome! You know things are going to go well when the very first song to start off your drive is "Chelsea Dagger" by The Fratellis.
Which is not only a very fun, energetic song, but is also the 'Hawks goal song. So a very good omen. Of course, I get on the road late, as always, and hit traffic as early as Santa Barbara. And, of course, I got somewhat lost in Downtown LA, but then I thought maybe these guys might know the way and decided to follow them. Good call, as it turned out, so thanks, anonymous Kings fans!

So despite leaving four and a half hours before the 7:30p game, I only got here (okay, so that's actually the Nokia Center, which is across from the Staples Center, but it was a cool shot, okay?) a few minutes after 7:00p and then had to wait for Jen to get there and of course there was confusion trying to find each other, so we barely got to our seats in time for the National Anthem (they had a female Air Force lieutenant colonel there to represent the military that night, woo!), and I didn't get to see warmups at all, which I hear are the best time for pictures. I shall have to be more expedient next time.

But anyway, our seats. Um, how shall I put this? They ROCKED! We were four rows up from the ice, right behind the Kings' penalty box (Jen's pic, all she had to do was lean forward a little during one of the many times Ivanans was in there during the game. This time he had company!) and just oh so slightly kitty-corner from the Blackhawks' bench I'd SWEAR Jonathan Toews looked right at me and smiled at one point, but I'm sure it was my imagination. Sharpie, however, did come over at the end of the first intermission and decided to use the area right in front of us for stretching. The man is, to hazard a guess, approximately a billion times hotter in real life, but that might be a conservative under-estimate. And he has the most amazingly impish smile, but unfortunately, they move too bloody fast on the ice to get good pics of their faces! The only times I could catch any of them standing still, they had their backs to me. Still, it's not every day that there is an Olympic gold medalist less than ten feet away from you! (Even if his usual partner in crime, Seabrook, was out for the game because of that ugly hit he took Wednesday night. Glad to see an 8-game suspension come out of that! Seabs apparently skated in practice today, though, which is heartening, to say the least!)

Laddieboy finally decided to be gracious and pose for me, though, which I thought was very sweet of himOh, and we were absolutely surrounded by Blackhawks fans, too which made it even more fun! Picture deliberately blurry because I couldn't get it to focus without the flash, but with the flash, I lost the colors, and I thought the colors were more important for this one! (In addition to the goal song omen, the very first jersey I see near the Staples Center? A bright red Blackhawks one, of course! Another good omen! I was driving and didn't get a pic of him, though!)

Kings' fans are odd birds, though. I mean, they were friendly enough, no nastiness or anything, but they seemed pretty quiet. Maybe all games are really like this and just seem louder on tv. I dunno. The lack of a play by play also made it seem really quiet, but it was totally made up for by the fact that we were seeing it live in front of us. The other thing that really surprised me was the total lack of response when the opposing team (us) scored. I mean, I wasn't expecting them to play Chelsea Dagger, of course, but there was absolutely NOTHING. Not a goal siren, not an announcement, not even a flashing red light. I mean, I get making a big deal out of a home team's goal, but is it normal to have absolutely no recognition for the away team?? I thought that was weird. The first goal was down at the farther end from us, and the only reason we knew it had happened was because we saw the guys start piling on Brouwer and thumping him on the back. It took forever to change the scoreboard, too, so a lot of us were doing the "did we really score??" looks at each other before they finally lined up for the puck drop at center ice. The other two goals we scored were down at the nearer end to us, and we saw them quite clearly. Chicago fans have never been accused of being quiet! Oh, and I'd always thought it was kind of silly for there to be so many shots of players on the bench watching the JumboTron during games, but now I get it. Sometimes it was a little hard to see what was going on at the farther ends away from you, and it was easier to keep an eye on things via the screen. And yes, Kane really does do that with his mouthguard. Constantly, even on the ice. He's gonna get his teeth knocked out one of these days, and that would be bad =(

It was Jen's first hockey game ever, and my first pro hockey game (I have vague memories of being at a Rivermen's game in Peoria when I was little), so we had fun doing the whole starstruck thing a lot. A better pic of me: A better pic of Jen:There were two guys maybe a couple years younger than me (Jen is a couple years older) next to me, and two little boys with their dads, who were obviously pals, in front of us. All in Blackhawks jerseys, of course. They were SO much fun to watch watching the game! And, of course, we all had to work together to teach them the proper (kid-friendly) cheers, since the Kings fans weren't doing them right. (It's "Lets Go Hawks!", hel-LO!) Jen is not really an avid hockey fan, she usually only watches it during the Olympics, but she was pretty fun to hang out with. We had fun teaching her the game, and, of course, we all really liked the fight!

I do have to give the Kings goalie, Quick, props. They had something like 35 shots on goal and he stopped all but three. And got his helmet knocked off by one! (That's my boy, Sharpie!) But, all good things must come to an end, and after 60 minutes of playing, the powers that be decided three goals was enough for one game and picking on the Kings even more would be unsportsmanlike, so everyone packed up and went home, and I finally got a decent shot of the Captain and Alternate Captain together (if only they were turned around!)
I really can't explain how much fun it was to be there. If I lived anywhere near Chicago, I'd spring for season tickets, or at least one of those six- or ten-packs. (I assume they have those in Chicago. The teams here have them, anyway.) Don't get me wrong, there are advantages to watching it on tv - hearing the plays explained, actually seeing the whole rink (which is not as big irl as it looks on tv!), being in your own home - but man, is it cool to feel the thuds as the players hit the boards and hear the crack of the puck as it gets passed from stick to stick! You really appreciate the speed of the game and the skill it takes a lot more when you're up close!

And today wasn't too bad either! (I mean, aside from the fact that both the Sharks and the Red Wings lost, which is always cause for a good day.) I spent the night in downtown LA at the Ritz Milner, which is just down the street from the Staples Center. (Not the Ritz Carlton big fancy oolala hotel, which is also near the Center, but the Ritz Milner, which is much smaller and cheaper, but still clean and safe, which is all I really care about in a hotel room when it comes right down to it.) While I could only live in one if I absolutely had to, I do like the space efficiency and bustle of big cities' downtown areas. Having a grocery store as the first floor of a building, or a restaurant on a middle floor, instead of in their own individual buildings, is a source of amusement for me. And just a few blocks away you get into the hispanic markets, which are just colorful and loud and crowded and vibrant.

So I played tourist for a bit, and then headed over to my old stomping grounds and had lunch with John and Eduardo, which was a blast as always. We didn't realize until I was halfway home (John and I often talk on the phone when I'm driving out of LA, usually because I get stuck in traffic) that today exactly is our fifth anniversary. We've been harassing each other officially doing shows together for five years now. I say I deserve a medal, or at least a pin. He says I don't get anything until ten years. We'll see who wins that battle ;-) Anyway, there may be a small, private show in Santa Barbara at the end of May, so cross your fingers that I'll be around for it!

And I think I've officially had more drinks than hours of sleep now, so I'm going to crash and start my weekend tomorrow. And dream of hot Blackhawks and Stanley Cups and magic =)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Beware the Ides of March

(Keep in mind this is also after a weekend where my Blackhawks had not one but TWO games IN THE BAG and then lost, AND one of my favorite players got injured so badly he'll be out for the rest of the season AND I found out that I'm not supposed to "aggravate" my ankle for pretty much until I go to tech school, unless I want to be killed by certain people who worked hard to get me into said tech school, which means no martial arts, so I wasn't really on a good streak anyway.)

6:30a: Instead of being woken up by my favorite songs, as usual, I wake up to a very faint beeping noise. My phone apparently hadn't gotten fully plugged into the clock and wasn't triggered by the alarm. The clock compensates by making a pathetic buzzing. Not a fun wake-up call.

7:30a: Feeling pretty good for being ready not just on time, but early, despite the alarm clock and having to wear blues today. Step outside to decide if I want my jacket or not, and the door promptly blows shut behind me, locking me out. Luckily, the maintenance guy lives across from me.

7:40a: Leave for work, feeling lucky that I did not hit the sides of the garage door while backing out (I have a fear of that, our garages are narrow!) on a day when luck is clearly not on my side. But now I'm ready, I have my stuff, I'm on the road to work on time despite Fate so far.

8:00a: Stop at the last stoplight before the road turns into the highway and decide to take a sip of my iced coffee to celebrate still being on time. Just as I think "hey, that's not the lid they usually put on these cups," said lid and said cup decide to separate in my hands, and iced coffee literally explodes all over my car. It's all over my uniform, on my face. It's dripping from my hair, and the steering wheel, and the dashboard, and has completely FLOODED the center console, which of course houses my phone, phone jack/radio, and Bluetooth headset when I'm driving. I manage to pull over after the light changes, rescue the phone from its coffee bath, manage to send a text to my captain, and the thing promptly dies.

8:10a: Manage to get turned around to head home to change, swearing vehemently over the apparently dead phone, the stained uniform, and the cold iced coffee puddle I'm now sitting in. Am stopped at an intersection, my light turns green, I start into the intersection, and manage to slam on the brakes in time to avoid getting t-boned by some friggin idiot who decided the red light didn't apply to him. Now I'm cold, wet, stained, phoneless, pissed AND shaken. And I haven't even made it to work yet!

8:30a: Finally make it home and get the car cleaned out enough to at least be not completely gross. Park sideways between the garages so I can easily get to the Dumpster with the sopping wet paper towels. Dry the electronics off as best as I can, and turn them off. (Phone does decide to work properly upon rebooting, which I am extremely thankful for.) Decide to leave my car parked where it is while I run upstairs to change into any clean blues I have available. I have my long sleeve shirt (which requires the tie tab, which must be straight) and my skirt (which I don't mind wearing usually but requires hose rather than socks). Am halfway through changing when the doorbell rings. Decide to ignore the doorbell, as I'm still in the process of buttoning up my shirt, and hear the complex manager start yelling and banging on the door asking if I was okay. Realize I'm going to have to deal with her unless I want the entire building's attention and jerk the rest of my uniform on. Apparently she saw my car parked at the odd angle and immediately assumed something must be terribly wrong. Assure her things are (relatively speaking) fine and head out the door again, remembering to grab an old towel to sit on in the car.

8:50a: Get another coffee from McD's, adamantly telling the lady that they'd better put the right lid on it this time. It was a different lady, so she probably thinks I'm insane.

9:30a: Finally make it to work, and realize after I've checked in with the captain that my belt is not even close to being straight with the rest of my uniform. Get my orders for tech school. Try to find out what I'm supposed to bring and where/who I'm supposed to report to when. No one knows, and there's no information online. Training NCO promises to look into it.

10:30a: Go to the shared printer to get a course outline I'm working on and notice the guy who's taking over the student flight has printed out some information for them about Basic. Some of it is no longer current. Feel the need to let him know this and end up spending the next hour and a half arguing with him about how BMT actually is versus how he thinks it should be.

12:00n: Look down at my legs during the above conversation and realize there's not just a run, but a large hole in my nylons. Right on the back of the knee, very visible. Make a run to the BX to get new hose.They don't have the size and color I really want, so I have to settle for a darker color.

1:00p: Back to work and have absolutely no concentration on the job at hand. Decide to continue research, thinking Training NCO will come get me when she's ready to go talk to the people she wanted to go talk to with me. Resurface four hours later, having not found anything I was originally looking for but lots of fascinating things that had absolutely relevance whatsoever. Consider the day absolutely wasted at work, and feel guilty that I actually got paid for it.

4:30p: Get halfway home before remembering that I'd wanted to stop at the commissary for groceries so I wouldn't have to stop in town in uniform. Decide I have stuff for spaghetti at home and continue on.

5:00p: Get home. No spaghetti noodles. There are lasagna noodles, though. Get the bright idea to put them in one of my disposable mini bread pans layered with some of my sauce and throw it in to the oven even though I don't have any cheese for a real lasagna. Feel pleased with my brilliant idea and get out a bottle of cheap white zinfindel. Press the corkscrew against the cork, which immediately pops DOWN into the bottle, splashing wine everywhere. Come very close to throwing things around the room in frustration.

5:15p: Open box of lasagna noodles to start layering the whateverI'mmaking while the oven preheats. Pull one out, and am greeting by several little black faces looking at me. There are BUGS in my unopened box of lasagna noodles. (Granted, I have no idea how long I've had the box, it was in the very back of the pantry.) EW. No pasta tonight. Settle for frozen pizza again. I do love pizza, but I'd just had it the night before.

7:00p: Tune in the hockey channels and realize Detroit is getting beat. Watch that game for a few minutes before realizing that with the way my luck has been going, if I keep watching and cheering for the Flames, literal flames will probably start raining down on the rink, mass hysteria will break out, and Detroit will end up winning. (Sure enough, they did, too. Without the carnage and mass hysteria, though. Unless you count being a Red Wings fan as a hysteria.) Instead, hook up the laptop to the tv (which was actually successful for some reason) and continue getting caught up on Season Two of Castle, which I am very behind on. Have brief text convo with my brother, who I am trying to convince to come out to visit. Am unsuccessful again.

10:00p: Come online to check scores and email and start this post. Curse seems to be fading - one of my magic crew is able to go with me to the game on Thursday. The Sharks apparently lost to the Ducks (who saw THAT coming?!) last night, which cuts their playoff lead over us to only two points. That's the best news I've had all day. And the way my day has gone, I'm going to take it and end on a good note. Tomorrow can't be worse, right??

Thursday, March 04, 2010


I'm so excited! I got tickets to the Blackhawks/Kings game down in LA March 18th!! And not just any tickets, but pretty good ones! (Center ice, row 4, glass seating!) And I found a Patrick Sharp third jersey for a steal on eBay, so I'll even have something appropriate to wear! Now, just to find someone to go with me! ;-) My goal, of course, is to run away with Sharpie after the game, but seeing as that isn't likely to happen (and I'd have to go through the whole 'dealing with foreign nationals' routine, since he's Canadian - a definite downside to having my job), I'll just have to try to take lots of pictures. I think the magic crew is gonna try to get together that weekend while I'm in town, too, so that should be enough consolation for only getting to make smoochie faces through the glass.
We were awesomely represented at the Olympics, though, and that game was friggin' amazing! And our boys have handled it all with a lot of class - a lot of respect for everyone they played, and even better, a lot of love for "coming back home and winning things together now!" What more can you ask for in a sports team??

ETA: I have had Saving Abel's "New Tattoo" stuck in my head for two days now. It's driving me nuts!

I've got a brand/new tattoo
The colors in it remind me of you
I've got a brand/new tattoo
The colors in it remind me of you
Blue is for the bruise that you left on my heart
Red is for the color we're about to paint this town -
Oooo, I got a new tattoo!