Scoring — PS. Sort of.

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I’ve talked a few times about goals; mostly in the context of hockey, although I’ve exploited the different meanings of the word ‘goal’ to make fun of some stuff. Whatever, but it’s mostly been about hockey. In particular, I’ve mentioned that I have two main goals when playing hockey (and doing a lot of other things): don’t get hurt and don’t barf.


Yesterday I stretched the first one just a little.

I was sitting on the bench (The white team had two people on the bench. Luxury — in summer people go on holiday and things tend to get a little thin on the ground. Er, ice.) when our left winger skated to the bench and said “Left wing.” (That’s a ‘thing’ in pick-up hockey — most of the time, no one has a defined position; there’s a FIFO queue on the bench and the person at the head of the queue takes the position of the person coming off. So what he was doing was telling me (since I was at the head of the queue) that I should get off the bench and play left wing.)

Left wing was on the far side of the ice so I skated that way, trying to figure out where everyone was, where everyone was going and where the play was headed. While I got my bearings I dodged a player in white going this-a-way, a player in black going that-a-way but I didn’t see the player (in white — not that it matters) heading back towards our blue line at fairly high speed.

Unfortunately, he didn’t see me either.

You can kind of imagine what happened next. He went down. I went down. Sticks flew. Loose equipment came, well, loose. (I remember a single glove sitting lonely on the ice a good twenty feet from either of us. I think it was his.) In short, hilarity ensued. (Well, maybe not hilarity exactly but it probably gave several people their minimum daily requirement of schadenfreude.)

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I decided to shorten my shift — a sit on the bench looked pretty darned attractive. Moreso than usual, I mean.) On the bench the now-first-in-the-queue guy asked the obligatory question: “Are you OK?” “Yah, a little wobbly but otherwise OK.” “Remember that it’s only pick-up hockey; take it easy.” “Well” I said, “I only have two goals whenever I play: don’t barf and…” “…and don’t get hurt” he added. “Those are pretty good goals.” Just then someone arrived and he had to leave.

Time passed. I was on the bench and he skated to the gate at the end of his shift. “Right wing” he shouted, “and don’t barf.”

Guess I made an impression.



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I was walking down the sidewalk the other day when I had a minor epiphany (very minor — only I could have such a pathetic epiphany) — it occurred to me that, all things considered, this isn’t a bad place to live. You wouldn’t know it from my maunderings, of course: I’ve ranted at length about the misdirected cleverness of the shadowy figures that make incomprehensible decisions about parking, I’ve whined about the brain trust that spends money on technology that isn’t needed and is rarely used properly (here, here, here and here – obsession is rarely healthy and never pretty); I’ve complained about the questionable judgment of elected officials that apparently make planning decisions by listening to the voices in their heads. Despite all that there’s still a lot of good stuff hereabouts; you just have to look for it.

So I was looking for good stuff while I was walking down the sidewalk, wearing the black hat that I don’t believe in, reflecting on the words of several of the world’s notable thinkers. And I found some: I found a tree beside a church. It’s a very nice church as churches go, but the relevent thing was the tree — it’s the only place in the world that I’ve ever seen a bird in an ancient Greek hat. (Who knew that giant woodpeckers were Presbyterian?) That day the tree was unoccupied but it still made me smile. (Add one to the Good Stuff column.) It also marked my destination: it’s directly across the street from an art gallery.

I was going there to pick up a something I had left to be framed. (I found it in the park. Parks with nice ladies brandishing art is something else for the Good Stuff list.) I picked up my picture and went back to the street. The first thing I did was check for noisy birds. Nope — still none. The second thing I did was check out the display window next to the gallery; it had a pair of black leather thigh-high lace-up boots with five inch stiletto heels. They frightened me. They’d frighten anyone.


It occurred to me that that’s another good thing: the ability to watch entertaining birds, acquire beautiful art and shop for terrifying footwear in the same city block, well, that’s the way city planning should work.

print ++$GoodStuff;


The one to the left of the door was framed next to sinister footwear.



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The Internet is full of stuff.

Politicians tell us it’s full of ‘information.’ Gamers tell us it’s full of lag. But what it’s really full of is memes.

For example…

Kate Monster tells us that it’s really really great but she’s a little naive and forgets one teeny little thing. Her neighbor Trekkie tells her (musically, of course) that her worldview is perhaps a little narrow without once calling her ‘Horatio.’

Good going, Trekkie.

Trekkie is also being a little Horatio-ish but to be fair, he can’t help it — he’s written as being single mindedly fixated on a single thing. (And when you’re obsessed with hammers, the world tends to be viewed as being full of nothing but nails.)

There are tons of other things on the internet. There’s… I can’t think of anything right now. Fortunately, Germaine comes to the rescue:

I thought that’s what the internet was for; boobs, porn and stupid cat videos. Germaine Endez

Of course. Cat videos. How could I possibly forget cat videos? (And cat video analogues, of course.) Heck, I linked to one just the other day. I’d never done that before.

Of course, as soon as I linked to a cat video, the number of hits on this blog shot up by between one and two standard deviations (assuming that the distribution of hits is at least vaguely poissonian). Coincidence?

I sure hope so.



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Before I start, I feel that I must bow to a dominant internet meme.

Now that that’s out of the way….

They say that goals are important.

They‘ can be in Columbia (or want you to think that they are), ‘they‘ can be associated with a cheating athlete, ‘they‘ can have an annoying website, but google says that ‘they’ are two hundred thirty-six million strong. Who can argue with that?

Well, me for one, but for the sake of argument let’s assume that I’m not going to.


Goals are important. Just less important than avoiding injury and the tossage of one’s cookies. Because one does have to prioritize.

Those are the only things on my list-o-priorities (the list was originally composed for hockey but I’m constantly surprised how applicable it is in other contexts) that I’ve actually ranked but there are other things on that list. Things like “don’t start too many fights” — not usually a problem but it has happened. Things like “don’t embarrass yourself too much” — that one’s probably number three. Things like “try not to suck” — it depresses me sometimes that I have that on the list at all.

And things like “score a goal.” Because goals are important.

I am not a scoring machine. Despite this I like to score a goal once in a while. Given my skill level and my desire to set goals that are attainable, I mentally try to score one a year (calendar year, not ‘season’). With the amount that I play that amounts to about one goal for every six dozen games. Or so.

Two days ago was Monday, and Monday means (besides blood-soaked forays into the subway) hockey. (I mean, for a while Tuesday was Monday but we’re back to Monday being Monday, I think because school is out but I’m not sure. Whatever the reason, some things are just Meant To Be.)

On about my fifth shift I was playing right wing and we broke out of our own zone; a defenceman who teaches high school, raises sheep and wears a personalized sweater passed the puck to an adjunct professor who carried it past the red line and passed it behind ‘my’ opposing defenceman. I beat him to it and drove for the net (‘drove’ might be too strong a verb) where their other defenceman was trying, without much success, to neutralize a Famous Canadian Writer who was trying to make himself a nuisance on the far post. I skated behind the net and, as the goalie tried to cover the space, tried to sneak the puck past the FCW and between the goalie (not the historian, the other one) and the post.

It deflected off the goalie’s leg and went in. Goal for the white team! Trouble is, I had no idea who scored it. Did it go off the defenceman? Did the FCW get his stick on it and redirect it? If so, it’s his goal. If not, though, it was my goal and my quota for the year has been met and here it is only July. I mentally gave it to him and skated to the bench for a rest.

The rest of the game passed without incident. I had a couple of good shifts (one decent assist) and a couple of bad ones (the less said the better). After the game, after I changed and showered, after I didn’t offend any nice Muslim women, I walked toward the atrium (and why the hell does an arena need an atrium?) where my passenger was waiting for me. On the way a complete stranger stopped me in the hallway. Did he want to ask who was left in the locker room? Did he want to make an architectural critique? Did he want to tell me my shoe was untied?

None of the above, actually. He said “Nice goal”, clapped me on the back and walked on.


I had two thoughts. The first one was “That’s never happened to me before. It’s kinda weird.” The second one was “Guess the pressure’s off for at least six more months.”