Friday, April 30, 2010

v2, d52: Insomniac

I was tired and headachey enough to go to bed without you tonight, blog. I figured I'd just miss a day and call tomorrow Day 52 and not worrying about back-blogging since, ya know, I've already missed the 365-in-365 track.

Anyway, I couldn't sleep again, so I thought I'd try writing a little. Sometimes that helps. Sometimes, it does the exact opposite. That's one of the tough things about my sleeping problems: everything that sometimes works is also sometimes a detriment. Writing. Reading. Snacking. Glass of milk. It's like in Super Mario Bros. 3. When you're playing the mini-game where you have to line up three pieces of a picture to get more lives? All the pieces are there, and there are three different possible good outcomes, so it's not like there should be a terrible trick to it. But everything's still gotta line up just perfectly for it to work. Same principle, only I never know which picture I'm going for when I'm trying to fall asleep.

Um...or something like that...

I'm also really tired, and I've had this pretty bad headache off-and-on (mostly on) for the last couple of days. Hopefully it goes away by my birthday on Sunday.

Robbie's very excited about my birthday. He knows it means we'll have a cake. He's been asking for birthday cake all week because of it. What do I want for my birthday? Hm...I'd like to get to watch all of Game 2 between the Pens and Habs on Sunday afternoon. That, cake, and a day of rest would be fantastic.

Of course, you can always send me checks. I won't turn down checks.

Hey, you need to read this (thanks Hatcher). It's one of the coolest Make-A-Wish Foundation stories I've ever heard of.

Well hey, eyelids are getting heavy again. You know, when I was a kid, I used to listen to a Mountain Streams cassette tape to help me fall asleep. I don't know that it worked, but that's kind of a funny thing for me to think about. Relaxing music playing, and a stream trickling until it's interrupted by a sharp CLICK at the end of the side. However, it's helpful to know that I've always had trouble sleeping.

All right, I'm gonna try bed again. Got to work in the morning. Goodnight, all!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

v2, d51: No bloggy, must write

Real-writing tonite. Sorry. Enjoy yesterday's videopalooza a bit longer.

Also, this is an awesome human interest-type story. After the Capitals suffer one of the most disappointing letdowns in recent Stanley Cup Playoff history...well, just click and read. Stick taps to Brooks Laich.

Also, the Sharks took a 1-0 series lead on the Wings tonight. Of course that doesn't necessarily mean anything, 'cause the Coyotes did the exact same thing in the last round and we all know how that turned out, but still. The score stands Megashark 1, Giant Octopus 0. CHOMP!!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

v2, d50: On the Lighter Side

Things have been a little on the heavy side this time around. Life has been pretty heavy the past two months. And sometimes, you need a break in the heavy. So, here's a little change in pace. No rhyme, no reason. Enjoy some clips from you youtube favorites list.

If you can't find something in here you like, I can't help ya ;-)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

v2, d49: Expectations

(After-post edit: I always hate it when people type "We" when they really mean "I", and I now realize that's exactly what I did with this post. I apologize if you are not reflected in any of the following "We"'s and feel you have been unfaithfully projected into my own observation)

(After-post edit 2: I never re-read these things after I write them. I hope this makes sense)

Let's face it, we all have expectations for one another. We all have the potential to disappoint one another. We expect this guy to come through when given an assignment. We expect this other one to phone it in from time to time. We expect Woman A to get excited about a certain piece of news, and we expect Woman B to be disappointed. We think he'll most likely cry when he hears News X, we think she'll hate us when she finds out Object Y. We have a pretty good idea which of friends are going to be okay and which ones are going to get into trouble sooner or later.

And let's be honest: most of the time, we can be right about Person X and Person Y. We know she's not going to do anything dumb, because she's a smart girl. We know he's going to louse everything up, because he always has. We know they're going to get mad at each other, even if they don't yet. The people we're closest to rarely surprise us.

And then sometimes they do, and when it's a nice surprise we're not embarrassed by our lack of foresight; we simply rejoice in the delight of the surprise and have a great laugh about it later. But when the surprise lies on the other end of the spectrum, sometimes we can't help but feel a little betrayed. Sometimes even a little guilty.

"I should have seen this coming." "How could he/she have done this? He/she's not that kind of person?" It's a fairly significant shift in our worldview, at least on a personal level. "I thought he was a GOOD guy." "I thought she was a SMART girl." "I thought we could trust them!" As though the fact that they caught us by surprise with a bit of foolish judgment changes everything we thought we knew about our dear friend to begin with.

Look, it's impossible to avoid expectations. I give you ice cream, I expect you to be happy. I run over your dog, I expect you to be mad at me. There are very few situations in which I don't have an inkling of what you'll do when presented with a specific set of circumstances. And thus, it's impossible to avoid disappointment. When disappointment happens, though, I think it's important not to overreact. We weren't all wrong about our friend, our sister, our parent, our colleague, whoever let us down. Rather, I think it's important to let such events serve to remind us that all of the people we've pegged into certain holes in our minds--the Smart People, the Generous People, the Strong People, the Irresponsible People, the Sarcastic People--are, first and foremost, People. And people you can love. Expectations, not so much.


(After-post edit #3: For some lighter fare, this is pretty bizarre. Gotta love the playoffs)

Monday, April 26, 2010

v2, d48: Day Off(ish)

Well, I've finally got what many are telling me is a long-overdue day off from work. So of course, I've got a massive headache. Rehearsal-withdrawal, I'm sure. Slept in quite a bit this morning, which is good because I was up late last night reading after the Kings/Canucks game ended. (Really thought the Kings were going to pull off the upset. Drat.) Skipped breakfast and went straight to lunch, played a game of Strat hockey, then took a shower.

The rest of today is dedicated to what I hope someday becomes my "other" job. Got a couple of scripts that MUST be sent out, and they really can't wait any longer for various reasons. So that's what I'm working on now. A couple of contests coming up, a couple of scripts I'm sending out to publishers. Editing, printing, packaging, sending. The less-fun part of being a writer, which is probably why I haven't been very good at it up to this point. But let's face it, this hobby has to start making me some money sooner or later. ;-)

Incidentally, it's nice to finally have a printer at home. Makes this a lot easier.

Unrelated, but an awesome story: What happens when an NHL player shows up to play in a rec-league men's pickup game.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

v2, d47: Making the Mercy Seat

Today's text in Sunday school (yes, adults still do "Sunday School," though in my church they just call it "Bible study" because, let's face it, Sunday School is for kids) was taken from Exodus 25. Not generally the most mind-boggling or profoundly impacting scripture, but it sparked a bit of an idea in my head that I wanted to share, especially with any of my artistically-minded friends.

This is that riveting part in scripture where God is giving Moses specific dimensions for all the stuff the Israelites are to make for Him while they're in the desert: tabernacle, priestly garments down to the ephod, ark of the covenant, etc. It also outlines some really specific sacrifice laws. It's crawling with cubits and grain offerings and it lasts roughly a third of the book of Exodus, so you generally skip over this stuff.

Anyway, here's today's text. It's talking about building the ark of the covenant (which one day would become lost and would have raiders searching for it, natch). Specifically, it's talking about what is going to go on top of said ark of the covenant:

"17 “You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two and a half cubits shall be its length and a cubit and a half its width. 18 And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 Make one cherub at one end, and the other cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim at the two ends of it of one piece with the mercy seat. 20 And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat. 21 You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. 22 And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel."

(Side note: I always wondered why God spouted out numbers in the middle of conversations like that. Imagine if we all followed that example. "Yup, those Coyotes have really showed they belong with the NHL's elite. Nineteen! Winning a potential elimination game at the Joe? Not too many teams can accomplish that feat. Twenty! I'm hungry. I want pancakes.")

As an artist and a Christian, I like to think that every work I touch is glorifying to God. I hope that everything I create is to some degree inspired by Him, either directly or through something He is teaching me in my life. And I CERTAINLY hope it's something that, at the VERY least, He likes. (Imagine walking around Heaven one day and some being, either an angel or a saint or one of those strange many-eyed creatures from Revelation pulls you aside and says, "You were in Miss Nelson is Missing!? I loved that show! I watched every performance!") Here, however, there's absolutely no question whatsoever. God says, "I want this to be done, and I want it this way." And there's still some room to play. He doesn't say, for example, "The cherubim on the left shall always wear a smile, while the cherubim on the right must always frown," nor, "One cherubim tells only the truth, the other tells only lies. Thou shalt ask them one question." He says cherubim, this far apart, facing this direction, wings up, aaaaand go. And yet, to the sculptor (or sculptors) who are given this task, He gives a very specific set of boundaries within which to create something beautiful that will, beyond the shadow of a doubt, be used directly in the service of the Most High.

I guess there'd be two ways you could take this. You could either really freak out, i.e. "Ohmigosh! This has to be PERFECT, because God's going to sit on it, more or less!" I think I'd gravitate more toward awe and respect, and I think it'd be a lot easier to view the use of my talent as an act of worship knowing with certainty that you were creating something commanded by God to His own specifications.

I'm not one of those who believes that the act of creation (in terms of the arts) is inherently holy or worshipful in the same way that I don't believe every time a choir belts out "I am a friend of God" they are necessarily worshiping or leading in worship. It can happen, totally, and it was probably written or designed in worship and for worship, but I don't think an act is worship when it is disconnected from a spirit of worship. (And I'm sure there are plenty of in-depth thesis papers you can find on that topic, and I'm afraid any diatribe of mine to that end would probably be really boring) There've been times in my career when I think my writing, directing, or performance have been worshipful acts, and there have been more times when they probably weren't. Similarly, there've probably been times when my prayers haven't really been worship and times where they have. Despite that, I still always hope that there will be something that is, at its core, God-honoring.

So, imagine being given a task that you know 100% has been handed down from the mouth of God that requires the attention of your specific gifts. Different from a commandment such as "Love your neighbors" or "Defend the alien, the fatherless, and the widow," but something that requires someone like you. A sculptor, or a musician, or a singer. Not having that nagging voice in the back of your head wondering if this is really something He'd take pleasure in, because He specifically asked for it.

I dunno, I think it'd be really cool.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

v2, d46: Turns out, Opening Night can be kinda dull for blogging...

That's not to say that Opening Night was dull or bad, but really, aside from "The show went well!" and "People loved it!" and "We ate fruit, cheese, and sandwiches!" and "The floral arrangement looked kinda like it was vomiting tulips!" there's just not a lot to talk about. I think I mentioned yesterday how proud I am of everybody, and how much I like this show. I'm ready to not have to watch it anymore, though. I've seen it every night for the past two weeks (and parts of it most afternoons as well). I'm ready for a Fox-break.

Those of you who see or have seen the show, I'd love to talk about it sometime. And I'll try to make sure you've seen the whole thing before I call you and ask for your opinion! *embarrassed*

Fantastic day for hockey games. Three games, all of them tight, all of them featuring third-period comebacks and lead changes, and two of them featuring overtimes. Two of them saw teams going home, and even though one of the teams golfing tomorrow is my Avs, I have to be pretty happy with the way they played this year. I mean come on, they were supposed to royally suck. See my season preview. Just about every expert on the continent had them finishing 13th-15th in the conference. To take the #1 seed to six games, no matter how bizarre the circumstances, showed a ton of heart and quite a bit of promise for the future.

Also, this is the second straight year the Pens came back from down 3-0 in game six to win their first round series on the road. Quirky little stat.

Hope you all enjoyed the beautiful weather. It's starting to get warm again in Houston.

Finally, I totally trust the Texans' scouting staff. I'm pretty crazy about our picks this year. I'm a little puzzled as to why we picked up TWO tight ends, but I'm sure it'll all make sense in the end.

That, or we really just don't care what we do with our seventh round pick.

Friday, April 23, 2010

v2, d45: And we're.......back!

Whew. Okay.

Hi again.

It's good that I didn't blog the last two weeks. For one thing, I was really, really, really tired. Almost all the time. Up until earlier this week, when Alice opened, and I wasn't trying to get to work right at 8:30 a.m. any more. (You wouldn't think changing my ETA from 8:30 to 9:00 would make that much of a difference, but it totally has!) For another thing, well, things were just really taking a pretty sharp downturn when I shut the blog down last week. I knew this was going to be a rough month, and it certainly lived up to expectations. After the overnight in the emergency room with Robbie (once again, he's fine), things across the board just got worse. Work became uncannily stressful and, at times, downright discouraging. I spent a lot of time wavering between glum, fatigued, and just plain angry.

Would have made for some crappy blogging, and a couple of you would just have worried about me, and that wouldn't have done at all ;-)

Now, there were definitely pockets of joy in that time. It's not like I was depressed. My folks came down for an awesome visit last weekend and gave Kim and I a much-needed night out. Rehearsals for Alice were always a bright spot, and I think we did a lot of great work during that time, which was energizing. Then, there were my once-a-week dinners with my wife and child between rehearsals. Those were nice. But on the whole, not a "good" time.

So, Alice Now! opened Wednesday morning. We had final dress rehearsal and preview performance Tuesday afternoon and evening, and between the cast sat in the courtyard with our dinners and enjoyed one of the most beautiful days we'll see all year. That was a really good day. I'm pleased with the show. It faced some really interesting difficulties throughout the process, from script changes to rehearsal limitations to actors' illness to my getting pulled out of rehearsals occasionally for meetings with the boss. On top of that, it was a musical adaptation of a fairly disjointed story in the first place, so we were already a bit short on rehearsal time. Also, our production department was set back a couple of weeks due to late casting (another something that was out of my hands), so we were adding pieces all the way up to the preview performance. Lots to contend with. But I'm really pleased with the work my cast (and everybody else who touched this production) did, and I think we've got a solid show, especially considering the hand we were dealt this time around.

About halfway through the week, the most stressful of the circumstances that were making evening rehearsals so stressful started to improve. That cast finally got a chance to run the show a few times and work to find their own continuity, and I think they've put together a very solid show. It's hard to be objective after watching something every night for the past five weeks, but I think the reactions from our two preview audiences justify my claim. I'm thrilled that this team is going to have such a solid run.

I don't think I'll volunteer for this sort of workload again. Directing one show in the morning and assistant directing w/ the boss at night definitely took a lot out of me, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I pray to God that I was helpful and effective in both roles, though, and I have learned a lot from the experience. I'm actually already a little sad that I don't have another directing project lined up. It seems like I need a weekend to recover, and then I can get back with it. That's probably not true, but that's what it feels like. Opening nights energize me.

Bah. I need to be a writer again for awhile. And a husband/father/friend. And that means dinner out this evening, a night at home with my son on Wednesday, Outgehangen at the first opportunity.

I'll provide some more opening night details for Little Foxes tomorrow. This has been a crazy journey, and I'm probably better for having done it. I appreciate all the prayer and comments and other support I've received over the past month. Those of you who know my family well know that work schedules weren't the only burdens we've been bearing lately. This has been a good exercise in remembering that God is faithful.

So those of you whose lives I kind of dropped out of to some degree, it looks like I'm back. Gimme a call sometime.

Oh, and I know you all missed my NHL playoff preview in my absence. Don't worry, I made my predictions. (One is already completely wrong, but who knew the Flyers would bounce the Devils so quickly with Boucher in net and without two of their top forwards? I mean really??) I sent them to Sherri so there would be recorded proof that I made them before the playoffs started. I'll let you know what they were before round 2 starts. Because I know you missed my playoff hockey coverage.

I think that covers most everything. Expect a new RNGOTM soon. Enjoy your weekend. It's beautiful outside, so go for a walk or something.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

v2, d44: Temporary Moratorium

Hey readers.

I'm taking a break.

I'm going to go ahead and work on a post with the details of our recent adventure in the emergency room, but I'm not going to bother sitting down to write it all out in one day.

And I'll pick back up on Day 45 and plug away until I reach 365. It'll be like nothing ever happened.

I'm really honestly just too busy to blog right now. It's part work, part life, and part family. They all demand a high amount of time, energy, and thought right now, and as much as I love daily blogging, and as much as Travis and Sherri look forward to it every morning ;-), it's just gotta come down a couple of notches on the priority list.

Both shows open next week; Alice opens next Wednesday and Foxes opens the following Friday. I should think that, once they are up and running, I'll be able to get back into the swing of this thing.

Until then, I'm working about 14-hour days and trying to take care of what I can around the house after 11 p.m. There's not a lot I can do to lighten the workload right now, but the 20-40 minutes I devote daily to FOMW can definitely be better spent elsewhere.

Just so everyone's clear: I'm doing fine! I'm happy! I'm tired and I suspect a bit more stressed than I realize, but I'm good.

And I look forward to telling you all about it in a little over a week and a half.

Behave, the Internet. Don't do anything exciting until I get back.

And for the rest of you all: first round of the playoffs starts tomorrow. Enjoy.

(Also, apparently there is orangutan kick-boxing in Thailand. That's weird. And if I learn any similarly earth-shattering happening during my moratorium, I'll find the two-and-a-half minutes necessary to pass it along to you all)

Monday, April 12, 2010

v2, d43: Yup

Yup. I missed a day. My usual blogging time was interrupted by a sudden 8-hour trip to the emergency room.

Sounds exciting, huh?

Nope, I'm not going to tell that story just now, because I have slept 3 of the past 36 hours. Everyone's okay, so no worries. But my fingers are bit on the shaky side and I need to get some rest.

Details soon, I promise.

Good night!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

v2, d41: "Then we getta go home"

Next week is Tech times two plus understudy rehearsals. This means A) I ain't seen nothin' yet, workload-wise, compared to what's coming over the next seven days, and B) the finish line is in sight. One week from tonight, I have a nice evening out with my wife all ready to go. One week after that, both shows are open and out of my hands forever. Minus, of course, the rehearsals where I'll have to get Alice's understudy ready to go on.

Blast. I need to look into getting those scheduled.

I guess I'll just go ahead and turn this into my weekly request for prayers. I really need to be on top of my game pretty much all week, and most of my in-between hours where I could sort of zone out between meetings and rehearsals are now filled with other meetings or rehearsals. Also, I need to make an effort to eat healthier and get out to run at least three times this week, but I'm having trouble working up an appetite for anything but Spaghetti-O's (which I don't actually have any of).

Also, if anybody would like to buy my family a week-long vacation starting April 24th, that seems to be an appropriate way to celebrate the opening of these two projects ;-)

Friday, April 9, 2010

v2, d40: Dallas says goodbye to Mo

I've never been the biggest Mike Modano fan in the world. In fact, earlier in his career, I couldn't stand the guy. We've both mellowed as we've grown older, though.

What Super Joe was to the Avalanche, Mike Modano has been to the Dallas Stars, and while he hasn't said for certain that this is, indeed, his last year, the writing seems to be on the wall. The man's been almost as instrumental to the last twenty years of USA hockey as he has been to the Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars organization. Many considered it a slap in the face that he wasn't included in this past year's Olympic squad, but he's just not as fast as he used to be.

Anyway, because I've never liked Modano all that much, I can't write a fitting sentimental farewell post for him (and again, he technically hasn't retired and may still want to play another year), but I did catch this video from last night's game against the Ducks, and it was pretty awesome. Nearly choked up just a bit.

Also, after this tribute in the 3rd, Modano assisted on the tying goal and then scored the winner in the shootout in what's probably his last game in Dallas.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

v2, d39: End of an Igloo

Well it's not technically the last game ever to be played in Mellon Arena, but due to the NHL Playoffs'--shall we say, unpredictable?--nature, the Pens organization thought it would be wise to host their au revoir ceremony before tonight's regular season home finale. Probably a good move.

For those not in the know, Mellon Arena, called The Igloo because, well, it looks like an igloo, has been the Penguins' home since the team first came to Pittsburgh in 1967. It's the oldest arena in the league, literally decades behind just about every other facility, and has long needed to be replaced. For a long while, it looked like the Penguins weren't going to get a new arena, and the team almost moved. (To Houston, actually) Fortunately, an eleventh-hour deal was struck, and the Pens stayed put and won another Stanley Cup, and next season they'll be moving into their brand new home.

Lots of history around the Igloo. I think my favorite image of the arena will always be the night that Mario Lemiuex came out of retirement and they projected a giant "He's Back!" with the number sixty-six against the dome from the outside while the snow fell in large flakes against the dark night sky. Awesome image. I'd post a pic, but it's late and I can't find one quickly so I'm not wasting too much time.

Before the game, there was a ceremony honoring over 50 former Penguins players, coaches, and GM's. A lot of the guys represented significant periods in Pens history: team's first ever coach, first ever captain, Stanley Cup champs from the '90s, famous lines reunited, etc. After awhile, though, I got the impression they were just throwing a jersey on any former Penguin they could find.

I mean come on. Francois Leroux??

Really, though, it was an awesome, awesome ceremony. If we ever make it to the new theater, I hope we have something kind of like this before our final show at the old one. Bringing back old-school vets from the company, possibly dressed in one of their more memorable roles. Cool idea, yes?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

v2, d38: Chicken Soup FTW

Today started off poorly, then got a little worse, then got a lot worse, then got WAY worse, and then improved.

Really, I can't describe it beyond that, which sucks, because if you fancy yourself a writer and you can't come up with any words, you're pretty much up a creek. And you start borrowing outdated idioms that make you sound sorta backwoods-ish. It's like being an archer with no arrows. Or a walrus without tusks. Or a cowboy that rides an ostrich! Or a water pistol that shoots jelly!

Hang on a sec, this calls for a video.

Hey, did anybody ever figure out what was wrong with that doll? She looks just fine to me. I mean come on, she even says "How do you do?" Well, she actually says a lot more than that. All the toys have far more extensive vocabularies than any plaything I've ever owned.

Perhaps it's the fact that she's a sentient doll. Maybe that's what makes her a misfit.

Ohhhh man...that just brought back this terrifying memory from my childhood:

You have no idea how creepy that thing was in real life.

(Wow...when did I lose control of this post?)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

v2, d37: Former Aeros: Where Are They Now?

It's been over a month, and I don't think I've done a strictly hockey post yet, have I? (Playoffs starting next week, start expecting it)

The Aeros kick off their last week of the season tonight. They'll play four games between now and Sunday, when it's going to be all over for the boys in the Bomber sweaters. Not even close to the adrenaline-pumping playoff run from 2009. These boys were right in the thick of it until February, where just about all the wheels fell off the cart at the same time. For a while, it looked like we were inventing ways to lose.

Now, due to schedule and finances, I haven't been to see the Aeros since January, I think, so I haven't witnessed much of this first-hand, but I read up pretty well, and I'm at the point where I can sort of get the feel for a team from the box scores and recaps. We (Aeros faithful) said at the beginning of the year that we didn't have a whole lot of talent, and lack of talent pretty much did us in. And the goaltending was a bit quirky.

Well, you know. Quirkier than goaltending usually is.

Anyway. I like to look back from time to time at the NHL regulars who have "graduated" from the Aeros in the five seasons that I've been following the team. A lot of them are playing for the Wild, obviously, but a few have spread their wings in other places.

Former Aeros: Where are they now?

Josh Harding, Minnesota--Man, has this guy had it rough or what? A few years ago, he was the heir apparent to Manny Fernandez in goal for the Wild, then he got hurt in the preseason and Nicklas Backstrom took the ball and ran with it and, well, three years later, Harding is still a backup, only now to Backstrom. Every year, he's showed flashes of brilliant play, but he's not going to unseat Backstrom.

This year, he played a long stretch of games while injured because the man they call Backy (I don't know if anybody calls him Backy) was already out with an injury of his own. Playing hurt for so long, Harding kept the Wild in the playoff hunt and played until he was literally incapable of going any further. His last save before being helped off the ice was a jim-dandy, too.

Harding played a few more games later in the year--still hurt, and it really showed--before the hip forced him out for the rest of the season.

One thing I really like about this video: the guys trying to pronounce the name of Anton Khudobin (a guy we'll probably be seeing on this list NEXT season)

Cal Clutterbuck, Minnesota--Clutterbuck has scored some nice goals, he's got some speed, he's got some great stories, and is an official FOMW Fan Favorite. Has been since his days with the Aeros. And, for the most part, he's a very clean player. The guy hits everything in sight with clean, legal body checks. He's the guy you love if he's on your team and you HATE if he's not.

According to the poster, this took place on a game on December 30th, 2010. I'm going to assume they meant 2009, though, because otherwise this clip has no place on this year's list.

Clayton Stoner, Minnesota--This poor guy. He spent five years in Houston, finally gets the call to stay in Minny, and after eight games he gets an injury that takes him out for the rest of the year. The guy even flew to Germany for some revolutionary type of surgery that was supposed to fix it. Yeah, it didn't. He's going under the knife again this summer. No one in the organization has worked harder for longer than Stoner to get a shot in the NHL. Here's hopes to a full recovery and a full season with the Wild next year.

In our next clip, Stoner absolutely owns Edmonton's Ryan Stone.

Joel Ward, Nashville--Here's one the Wild shouldn't have let get away. Ward was our leading scorer in our least offensive year. He was a heart-and-soul type player, could hit, could score a little, could pass decently. He did everything well and nothing excellently, and he's developed into a nice 2nd-3rd line winger for the Preds.

Here's a goal he scored against the Wings.

Patrick O'Sullivan, Edmonton--This has been a rough year for Sully. He's scored about fifteen goals too few, and he's got a plus-minus of something like -32. Major ouch. Even on the Oilers, that's bad. Still, he was probably the most talented rookie the Aeros have had since I've been here, and was the only of our big-time scorers playing like he cared at the end of our four-game sweep by the Admirals back in '06, so there'll always be soft spot.

This is a pretty nice goal from early in the season. Powers by one defender and takes the hit as he scores the goal..

John Scott, Minnesota--You sensing a theme? The guys the Wild let go of = guys who can score. The ones they kept = guys who hit and/or fight. Those who followed my blog last year know how much I love Big John Scott (and I love the fact that every play-by-play guy who I've heard call one of his fights refers to him as Big John Scott). The guy's a great story of a man who worked his way past all the odds to live his dream.

He's also got a really small amount of actual talent, so I don't know that he'll be around the NHL for long. Nevertheless, more and more NHL tough guys are learning that you just don't tangle with Big John Scott if you can help it. I also love that he's the first guy to step in if you take a run on a teammates. The man definitely knows his place on the team.

Behold, Scott destroys Alex Bolduc:

Benoit Pouliot, Montreal--Keeping with the theme of "the guys the Wild let go can actually score," we come to Benoit Pouliot. Benny always had a ton of talent, but he just couldn't put it together in Minnesota OR Houston. The Wild finally traded him to Montreal for fellow underachiever Guillaume Latendresse. The move worked out for all parties involved. Pouliot has scored seventeen goals for the Habs, and Latendresse has done well in Minny, too. Isn't it nice when everything works out?

Robbie Earl, Minnesota--I don't know whether or not to count Robbie or not, since he's only been up when injuries have hit. However, that's amounted to almost half a season, and it looks like he's up for the rest of the year. Injuries have really been rough for the Wild this year. So I'ma post this video.

And it's not the best video, nor his prettiest goal, but it is against the Red Wings. And that's always worth watching again and again and again...

Monday, April 5, 2010

v2, d36: "I feel like a wrestler. Like a frog wrestler."

People watched my play today.

You'd think I wouldn't still get anxious about that sort of thing, but apparently I do. I generally feel like I still have to prove myself, especially to my peers, and especially if it's something I wrote but haven't had the outsider's perspective throughout the process. In this instance, it was a show I'm also in, so while I feel like it's pretty good from the actor's standpoint, I ultimately have no clue how it looks to the audience's eye.

Especially an audience of people whose opinions I respect.

Even though I know the show is a hit with its intended audiences, I second-guess almost every single line when friends and colleagues are watching. Despite how many OTHER knowledgeable friends and colleagues have already said it's fine.

Blah. Insecure artistic tendencies.

Anyway, our uber-talented photographer Jeff was among those intimidating presences in the audience, and he snapped some photos that you can find by clicking here. (You can see more of Jeff's awesome work here)

You'll notice I look like a mutant frog. Yeah, well....OH HEY LOOK, the Angels just hit back-to-back homeruns! Hooray for baseball!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

v2, d35: Comes the Bride

Every head turns to see her, every neck cranes to catch a glimpse.
Every eye in the cathedral is fixed fully on her.
(Hers are on him)
The ones who knew her past are there.
She glides by them like an angel.
They sit in the pews, remembering her the way she was,
When she wasn't even worth the dust she was formed from.
They never dreamed that one day she'd be beautiful.
(Her eyes are on him, each step brings them closer)
He cannot mask his joy (Not that he'd want to),
It escapes the corner of his eye and trickles (like blood) down the contours of his face.
He went through hell to get her here.
They said she wasn't worth it. Said it to his face.
Now they are silent. He has made her beautiful.
(Forever begins today)
Her hand trembles as he closes his (scarred) hands around it.
Now they are together. He will cherish her forever, and she will never be ugly again.
All their darkness forever in the past.
Here comes the bride.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

v2, d34: Mark and Kristen are married!

Spent today's late morning/afternoon in this nice wedding chapel tucked away just between I-45 and the Hardy Toll Road in a surprisingly forested area that you would never in a million years stumble across by accident. My friends Mark and Kristen were getting married, and I was playing the role of "Groomsman on the End." (I've now played the roles of Groom, Usher, Best Man, Groomsman on the End, and Shoeless Groomsman) I got off work for the occasion. I missed the rehearsal (due to rehearsal) so I didn't really know anything about the day's schedule before I got there (half an hour late), but that was okay because I've been in similar situations before. The last wedding I was in, I was flying into *grumble grumble* Detroit during the rehearsal, and the first wedding I was in there was no rehearsal, so I'm pretty comfortable learning things on the fly.

The biggest difference between this time and the previous times, however, is that in all previous experience where I walked in fairly clueless, somebody clued me in. I got surprisingly little information this time around, partially because I didn't know anybody else in the wedding party (except, obviously, the bride and groom) and partially because the entire wedding/reception were being run and organized by the staff at the chapel. Now don't worry, everything in the service itself went pretty smoothly. I found my spot, stood there, and turned when I was supposed to. Weddings aren't difficult, blocking-wise. After the service, though, I was pretty much on my own.

Was I supposed to sit with the rest of the wedding party? Did they want the whole wedding party to enter the reception together? Was I supposed to help clean up? Were we going to trash the getaway car? Why did they move all our personal belongings out of the groomsmen's room?

I didn't know the answers to any of these questions, and nobody thought to tell me, if anybody knew. So I pretty much winged it once the wedding pictures were all snapped. Which was fine, especially since some friends from work had claimed a table for themselves by the window that had a great shot of the fountain and the lizards that were playing just outside.

The site was just gorgeous. Really, everything about the wedding was pretty. Good colors, pretty dresses, most comfortable tuxedo I've ever worn, bride was beautiful (J. Vernon McGee once said that he believed God allows every woman to be beautiful for her wedding day. I think he may be right), ring bearers were adorable, lunch was picturesque and tasty. The flower girl realized that she still had some petals in her basket by the time she'd made it to the front of the stage, so she stopped and tried to throw the remaining petals back down the aisle onto a spot she noticed she'd missed until she was completely out. Groom cried. I'm always down with that. I got a little teary-eyed, too, cause you know, that's how I do.

After Duder and the Bergstroms left, the dance floor opened up to a song that was specially requested by the bride for everybody to learn a dance to. At first, I wasn't going to participate, but then I saw that Mark was the only guy on the floor save for the bride's father, so I jumped in to lend him a hand. It was a very simple, repetitive dance that was pretty fun. The first few times through. But the song was way too long for the dance, and I started to wish I'd jumped in on the end instead of in the middle, because there was no way to slip out until the song was over. It was fun, though. After that, they played a bunch of faster songs, and all the kids took the floor with their parents and grandparents and burned off as much of the wedding cake sugar high as they could. By the time ABBA's Dancing Queen hit the speakers, most of the guests were either gone or else over dancing, and the dance floor became an arena for a melee brawl featuring about five little boys under age six and the flower girl, who somehow managed to stay right in the middle of it the whole time without ever getting into the rough stuff. At one point, one of the youngest boys ran full speed right past me, raring back with a closed fist and whacking me in the leg as he ran by.


Orlando recommended I give the kid a nice clean hipcheck the next time he ran by. The kid ignored me after that, though. Next time, Cooper. Next time...

Overall, a fun (though occasionally confusing) event with a romantically picturesque setting, good friends, high-quality fish and meat, silly dancing, violent children, very little information, and an extremely Christ-centered ceremony. I'm happy for the couple and glad and honored that I got a chance to be a part of their special day. Thanks to everybody who was a part of the celebration. Hope I don't look like too much of an idiot in too many of the pictures.

Friday, April 2, 2010

v2, d33: "Oh, the wonderful blood of Jesus"

I know I already posted this on Facebook, but I really think it's a great Good Friday song.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

v2, d32: Are April Fool's in decline?

Is it just me, or does it seem like April Fool's Day is getting less popular?

It may be just because I'm older, and thus so are my colleagues, but I only heard of one person I know getting pranked today. (Not counting Facebook pranks, because really, they don't count. Gee, you're pregnant? You're suddenly in a relationship? Suuuuure you are...)

Obviously, I'm not against a declining tend in AFD pranks. I think I stated on here last year that I'm really just not that fond of the day to begin with. Still, it felt like today was basically just a normal day around here(we have normal days around here?).

Worth noting: Kim and Robbie came up for a surprise dinner before Foxes rehearsal. Definite high point of the day.

Also worth noting: Exactly how tired am I lately? I fell asleep today during Teammates rehearsal. On the floor. During a scene that I was in.