"Just because Carl irritates me doesn't mean I want him, like, dead or crippled or something."--Me, during the end of Talladega.
Male Flyers fan: "Hey, Malkin, just wondering--what does dick taste like?"
Male Penguins fan: "Like second round of the playoffs."--Friendly conversation between fans during Game 4 of the Pittsburgh-Philadelphia Stanley Cup quarterfinals, April 21
I can't believe I went more than two months without updating! This is gonna be a long one, fair warning. I wasn't blowing anyone off. Nothing major was happening to me, either. I was just very busy at work, and also had two sinus infections that required antibiotics. I am very much hoping that I didn't wear down my resistance if the swine flu and I meet, but my doctor and I both treat antibiotics as a silver bullet, so I really truly did need them when I took them. I turned 35 years old on March 11th. It was decent as far as birthdays go, but I found myself feeling old. I especially felt it the next week, when for the first time ever, I needed two teeth drilled and filled. I am definitely taking the dentist seriously about drinking less soda and using straws now!
This week has rattled my and L'Ailee's nerves! First we found out about the swine flu. Our friends who are parents are keeping their kids home from school, and my friend who is 7 months pregnant is worried, too. We're seeing a lot of face masks when we go out. We're not wearing them ourselves yet--they have struck me more as a talisman than actual protection, especially when I saw people at my favorite sports bar (more on that in a bit) removing them to drink their beer. We're just being ordinarily cautious--hand gels, Vitamin C and zinc, not shaking hands, that kind of thing. The Air Force One flyover by the Statue of Liberty had me and the rest of my office's Emergency Preparedness Committee, which I thought was a really thankless position, evacuating the office. I guess it's good to know that our e-mails and meetings and drills haven't been a total waste, but what an awful way to find out! Especially when my poor L'Ailee, who lost a good friend in 9/11, woke up screaming and crying from a nightmare that night and took forever to go back to sleep! Then this morning, right before our commute into Manhattan, the front of a fucking five-story building collapsed! Thank the Gods it was unoccupied and (so far) nobody is hurt, but it was just blocks from the old WTC site, and traffic was really snarled up.
That's yet another reason why it's wonderful that Iowa has legalized same-sex marriage and New Hampshire might. Rural life is looking really appealing to me at the moment, and L'Ailee, who loves NYC and has vowed to never live in a small isolated town again, is kind of liking the idea herself. But of course, trouble happens everywhere. I have to force myself to remember that. There's a reason why my favorite T-shirt says "Living in fear sucks!" Besides, Iowa doesn't have an ocean!
At least there's sports. Talladega is so special to me. It's a superspeedway like the one in Daytona Beach, where I grew up. I will not miss it, not ever. I even reserve a special food for it! I make the infamous Ro-Tel and Velveeta dip that tastes so good and is so bad for you. Some of my friends who watch the races at our house refer to it as "Superspeedway Dip," as I only make it for superspeedway races. Restrictor-plate racing ain't healthy, after all, so why should we be?
Speaking of, here I was envying the people who could see Talladega up close! Brad Keselowski's win defined "upset," but that's one of the things I love about Talladega--how it's really anyone's race. Carl Edwards is whining all over the media about how it needs to be safer for drivers, but he literally ran away from that wreck, almost perfectly re-enacting a scene from the movie Talladega Nights. The ones who really need to worry are the fans. Talladega's owners better have learned a lesson about fences! However, Edwards did call one of the more severely hurt fans in the hospital, a teenage girl whose jaw was wired shut. That was class. It was so weird. Just as I'd screamed, "Oh, *fuck* no!" because he went up front, and earned disapproving looks from a 13-year-old with a crush on Edwards and her mother, that wreck happened. I am not ashamed to admit that I went white. Intellectually, I know my words don't have that kind of effect, but a big crash like that makes intellect go out the window. I usually love how Fox Sports handles NASCAR, but I'm still mad that they chose not to wait around until Ryan Newman could be interviewed.
Then there's hockey. At that aforementioned sports bar, which is my favorite because I'm the one who redecorated it and it's my first-ever commercial job, there was a betting pool for the Elite Eight going into the Stanley Cup semi-finals. I won it! I totally took it all! (L'Ailee would have had a two-way split if the New Jersey Devils won.) I had people mad at me because I bet against both the Devils*and* the New York Rangers, but I won the pool! It'll be a nice trip to DC this summer if things go okay and a cushion if the after-school club where L'Ailee works her second job teaching middle-school girls gymnastics stays dead. The best was when a guy hollered, "The goddamned *interior decorator* beat us!" I haven't worked a decorating job aside from my pregnant friend's baby's new nursery, which was cost-only, for three months. So that sounded pretty sweet to me. I didn't dare tell him that I chose the Anaheim Ducks over the San Jose Sharks because I thought it'd be funny as hell if a team named the Ducks beat a team named the Sharks. Sometimes you just need to sit back and let people think you're a genius.
One change from my last entry is that the Pittsburgh Penguins went from goats to glory pretty quickly! Second round, here we come, and I'm almost as excited as NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman that we're playing the Washington Capitals! That's always a good time. Watching them against their cross-state rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers, is also good. L'Ailee and I had the TV on almost continuously, because she needed to watch her Detroit Red Wings walk all over the Columbus Blue Jackets, too. This is how devoted L'Ailee and her best friend A. are to their Wings: He's growing a playoff beard along with their beloved Pavel Datsyuk. He convinced L'Ailee to quit shaving her head as well. I'm sure she'll be almost able to dye and straighten her hair before she goes and shaves it again with a sigh of relief. Right now, the tiny curls and incipient white streaks in her mostly black stubble are aggravating her. She's borrowing my scarves a lot.
There was winning sports team sex to be had, and a couple times when we were tired, winning sports team making out. We watched each others' teams and cheered them on, which is pretty easy for now considering that mine's Eastern Conference and hers is Western Conference. Last Thursday, I watched the Pens give away the store to the Flyers, and howled, "I missed the Office for this?" But I kept the faith, and boy, was it rewarded! Hell yeah, it was rewarded! L'Ailee let out a couple "that was sick!"s for a couple of Crosby's goals. I was astonished at the positions that goalie/human pretzel Marc-Andre Fleury could contort himself into. She had to explain a few things to me, like why one of Evgeni Malkin's goal attempts was illegal, but I understand the game much better than I did when I first moved in with her. I don't mind when people call me a "bandwagoner" or laugh at me when I admit that I got into hockey because my spouse loves it or tell me I "smell like new Penguins jersey." I like the Pens because they're fun as hell to watch and it's cool to get in on the ground floor of something that's great and might just one day be legendary. (Plus the logo's cute. ;-) I think the NHL likes my jersey sales as much as anyone else's. It's a bit frustrating, but also amusing, when people who like hockey or their team because their daddy liked it think less of someone who wanted to know what her spouse found so interesting about those guys on the ice rink. Thanks to all the hockey fans I've encountered on Blogspot who are far more welcoming to newcomers.
Also, I am frankly amazed at the level of homophobia that the Flyers' fans heap on the Penguins and their fans. It's not like I haven't ever encountered homophobic taunting in sports. The Tony Stewart gay rumors started when guys realized that he's single and women (like me) find him sexy. Until last year, there were a lot of Stewart anti-fans who seemed certain that he and his former crew chief Greg Zippadelli were up to *something*, though they weren't quite sure which one was the pitcher and which one was the catcher. Jeff Gordon fans got a lot from Dale Earnhardt, Sr. fans back in the day. Like Sidney Crosby, he was very talented and very young and borderline pretty by his sport's standards. The rainbow paint scheme on his Dupont ride certainly didn't help. Let us also not forget the Florida college football rivalries! Gator fans still chant "FSU, FSU, where the women are women and the men are, too!"
But the Flyers' response to Malkin and, especially, Crosby is something the hell else. Seriously, those allegedly masculine straight men sure spend a lot of time thinking about what Crosby might do in bed, probably more so than the young female Pens fans in "Mrs. Crosby" jerseys. Dan Hopper, in the blog post I referenced at the top of the post, noted that at the third period of Game 4, "my mind had more or less drowned the word [fag] out by this point." The Mondesi's House blog drives the point home.. Being that I've always been female, I guess I'll never get it, but I tried. "Those guys seem to think sex with a guy is, like, the worst tragedy that can ever happen to a man," sighed A. "Of course, they are wrong." A. thought he was straight until he fell in love with his best male friend, who is now his lawfully wedded husband. Maybe I just need to reconcile myself to knowing that I never will fully understand it and that Philadelphia will never be a fun place for me to take in a hockey game.
Oh, well. Beltaine's tomorrow, and I'll be celebrating with a group tomorrow night. Slowly but surely, I am *finally* finding a group of other Pagans to celebrate with up here, and it's awesome! I hope you have a happy Beltaine if you celebrate up here, or a happy Samhain if you celebrate in the Southern Hemisphere, and a happy weekend whether you celebrate Sabbats or not!
If you can stand to do more reading, some links:
Heavy metal music in Muslim theocracies This is pretty damned cool.
Zoo Atlanta's Panda Cam is back! Every weekday from 10am to 5pm Eastern time, be less productive by checking out the antics of eight-month-old Xi Lan and his big sister, mother, and father!
Stripping through the recession
Finally, in tribute to Bea Arthur and Estelle Getty, Why the Golden Girls was sitcom genius.