Sunday Hockey Surprise

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Some surprises suck. For instance, finding out that you’ve got no edge even though you sharpened your skates less than three ice hours ago. Usually I go five, even six ice hours in the summer when the ice is so soft anyway that super sharp skates are detrimental, before I get them done again. Also an unfortunate surprise: we ended up with 5 defencemen this Sunday. I hate that. Is hate too strong a word? No. It is not. 5 defencemen (D) makes everyone unhappy, especially our goalie, who helped argue for 2 centres to rotate though 3 pairs of wingers and 3 D. We did not win the argument. I was not impressed.

See, with 3D you are always ‘in the game’. You are either on the ice or waiting for a good time to swap. You’re completely exhausted by the end. It’s wonderful! 4D means two set pairs of defenders. This is also ok. Now you don’t have to worry about your partner as much since you will each stay on your own side (with 3 D I bounce between left and right as necessary since I like playing off-hand), remain in the same rhythm together the whole game, and just kinda know when they are going to pinch or peel back. 5D? Oy. Now you are getting bored on the bench and swapping sides and partners all the time. Not optimal. Our goalie hates this since she likes knowing who is going to be where and when.

In a more serious league, with actual coaches and stuff, I’d be less perturbed about the whole thing. However, this league has unique quirks that, before I usually supported. See, my ‘team’ does not exist. My ‘team’ (top of three skill levels) only has a couple of actual top level players on it (and our beloved goalie, of course!). In order to not forfeit every single game, we were given permission to borrow from the lower tiers and we cobbled a surprisingly good team together that way! This is a wonderful deal for those players. It gets complicated for them when their division and ours play back to back, but we have enough other tier players regularly helping now that it’s not a big deal; we like playing with a shorter bench anyway! But, now and then, EVERYONE shows up and I end up fuming. I’m paying the same money as everyone else on the team, but I am not allowed to go help out lower level teams when they are short. I try to help other teams at my level when they need help getting 7 on the ice, but that’s a rare thing. This makes me one of a few people on my team that only gets to play one game in this league each week. This makes me all GRR, especially when some others are whining about how tired they are. I HAVE AN IDEA. WE’VE GOT THIS. IT’S FINE. GO HOME. 3D is optimal, yes, but I am super happy with 4 over 5! </bitter>

*cough* Anyway, it was a pretty ok game. Since I knew I was going to sit every other shift, I went full out crazy every time I hit the ice. We played the first place team and they usually beat people by 6. We only lost by 4, so that was pretty huge. Goalie stood on her head and we could not buy a bounce at the other end. With my non-stop rushing I had some really good chances, but she had an excellent glove. She was apparently pretty proud of it herself since she didn’t actually use her blocker. She’d catch shots across her body instead of deflecting them with the blocker. Can’t say I’ve seen that before! And did I mention that I had no edges? I looked hi-freakin’-larious out there taking random faceplants and wobbles and wipeouts. Straight line, I was ok. Turning or stopping, however, was more complicated. I usually have a stone on the bench with me, but not then! Three moments stand out:

1.) I’m at the red line, just off the bench, heading to the offensive zone to join the play. Their D fires it down ice a little to the left of me. I turn to stop it. Well, that was what I had planned to do. Instead, one leg pushed off, the other one didn’t, and I did a quick splits at centre ice. I did not get the puck. I think the refs called it icing out of sheer pity.

2.) I’m at my blue line. Other team D is at hers. Puck is at the faceoff dot. I decide ‘screw it, I’m rushing. That’s my puck!’ and I bolt down the ice. By the time the puck crosses the icing line, I’m ahead of other team D and it’s mine. Uh-oh. What’s just after the icing line? The end boards. Somehow I found and edge or a rut or a prayer and did not go THUD against said end boards but turned and was able to pull off a top shelf wrap-around. Damn that other goalie and her glove hand. That would have been the best goal of the season by far!!

3.) Halfway through the third, I decide to go for a skate again. I’m lead player, deke my way through the neutral zone, tee up the puck and nearly blew a tire when I went to check my speed a bit to better line up the shot. I still got the shot off while falling — literally. I had neither skate on the ground when I made contact with the puck! — but it was more a wounded duck than a bullet. I was moving pretty good when I took the zone, so I slid quite a ways once I hit the ice. BOTH teams found that one equally amusing, as did everyone else in the rink, I imagine! Even though I had just gotten back on the ice, I went back to the bench, laughing my ass off to regroup a little and clean myself up. Good times.

One bad thing did happen, though. In the third period, one of the tired D got hurt while we were on the ice together and I felt like a gigantic ice-hole. Not that there was anything to be done from my side of the ice (though the ref should have called a penalty on the other team! Totally two for roughing…) but I really really wanted 4D, tops, and immediately felt guilty for thinking that. She should be totally fine for next weekend though! Might have to wear a brace, but otherwise ok. With my silent grousing (and not-so-silent post) about having too many players, just watch us have nobody next Sunday!!

I should also seriously consider re-taping my sticks before Friday’s game:

Their backsides are just as rough :)

things I know I should not do but keep doing anyway

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That will be the title of my autobiography one day. Mine and a lot of people’s, I suspect.

Things I Know I Should Not Do But Keep Doing Anyway: the story of every boring, unsuccessful person ever

It would sell zero copies, have no reviews on Amazon (Canadian or American), and just be two thousand pages of lists of crap. A completely meritless study in mediocrity. * cough * I might be working too hard these days and I’m a little grumpier for it! It’s only January 7th and I would have sworn that it was the 30th, at the very least.

My brother was over during his Christmas break and we had fun just hanging out, doing nothing, and eating extremely poorly. He’s moving farther away than ever before shortly, so I’ve been extra sure to take advantage of every opportunity to watch hockey (AHL, Spengler, World Juniors), hit the ice, or game together. Or me to stay up all hours of the night to pick up his drunken behind from a party on the other side of the city. This is what you get when you swear to your brother that you will always give him a ride when he’s drunk, no matter when or where: you get to laugh your ass off at your drunk brother talking smack about the world and playing loud music. Not a promise I’ve ever regretted making! Well, not for longer than a sleepless day later, anyway!! Good times ^_^

Since this sibling relationship is gonna be long-distance in the near future, we’ve been on the lookout for new games to play. I don’t have Xbox Live Gold right now, and that’s fine since there’s nothing co-op we are remotely interested in right now. He re-upped his World of Warcraft subscription as a trial run, but I stayed away. I’m still not sure I have the self-control to have a WoW sub and not have it be the only game I play. We might give Dragon’s Nest a shot (through Steam). We sorta liked Spiral Knights back in the day, but the energy system is most annoying and DN looks to have the same limiting factors, even though we enjoy the dynamic combat. He doesn’t have a PS3. He only has a laptop that seems to want to set itself on fire when running anything more complicated than a browser, so that’s a limiting factor on the PC side. I’d love him to play some Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or Team Fortress 2 with me, but could be a tough sell. He was huge into Enemy Territory back in the day as the world’s most badass engineer. I think I can get him into TF2 simply because of the engineer class, so that’s my next pitch to him. I will avoid explaining the crazy Hat-based economy as long as possible.

This is why, as you will soon see, I am extremely disappointed that neither of us like Borderlands 2. We almost outright hated it. My brother is off on a business trip this week, but when he’s back we’ll compare notes and try to make sense of all that went wrong. Remember, we loved the first one, broken as it was. I wrote a dozen posts about it!

He’s not into racing or finding a game to play together would be simple! WoW remains a possibility since there have been a trillion changes since either of us have played seriously, and Blizzard doesn’t delete inactive characters. This will let me twink us out with some better-than-nothing starter gear and, at the very minimum, some non-sucky bags. He prefers to play Death Knight while I am a Druid for life, yo. Actually, I was a kick ass Shadow Priest back when that was a thing, but I don’t have a clue about any of the trees now and what works or ends in tears. Neither of us raid; we just kind of tool around, accomplishing nothing. I used to spend a lot of time in Battlegrounds. A lot. I was even a Knight-Lieutenant, for those of you old enough to remember when those ranks existed. Apparently they are back now.

Huh.

CUE OMINOUS MUSIC…

kicking things off in style

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But not too much style.

This year I spent the last hours of 2012 in the excellent nerdy company of Troy Goodfellow, Jon Shafer, and Kay Fedewa in downtown Toronto. Despite leaving heading across the Gardiner to the late hour of 9pm, there was next to no traffic. I even got to laugh at all the people standing outside in massive bar lines. Given the option between hanging out at a bar/club or someone’s home, the home wins every time! Double bonus when there’s readily available and affordable parking!!

Yes, yes, I know that transit was free on NYE, but I don’t live close enough to any subway or bus station to make it worthwhile. I’m not much of a drinker, anyway, since I’m just as happy sipping on ginger ale all night! Also, this way I get to have my own stereo-blasting personal space and avoid going all ‘Canadian Ninja’ on overly enthusiastic revelers ^_^

We had a very quiet evening — mostly offline except for random YouTube music — and talked about nearly every aspect of gaming. This, I assume, surprises nobody. What did surprise me was not seeing a single RIDE stop around 3 am when I drove home! It was actually a bit of a weird drive. I felt like I was driving in New York since it was a zillion cabs and then my little car as the only one without roof mounted lights and ads. One of the few things that could have made January 1st, 2013 even better would have been the Leafs/Wings Outdoor Classic. Thanks for nothing, NHL. Fortunately, Canadians showed up big in the Spengler Cup this year and the World Juniors seems to be headed to an exciting finish. Go Canada Go! If nothing else, the lockout has been fantastic for getting me off my ass and on the ice again. Joining two leagues was definitely one of the best decisions I made in 2012!!

I don’t bother with resolutions anymore. I suck at them. Much better to have ongoing goals, right? Well, here are two I’m more than happy to make public:

1.] WEAR YOUR FREAKIN’ GLASSES. SERIOUSLY.

I even like my glasses! They are light, not fugly, and save me from massive headaches when working on a monitor for many consecutive hours. So why don’t I always wear them at my desk? I have no idea. I get sucked into what I’m working on or reading and don’t take the thirty seconds to locate glasses and resume function. No more! I’m going to make myself pause, save myself the inevitable pain, and then hop back on task. Such a small thing and it makes such a big difference!

2.] GET BACK TO SHARING THE THINGS YOU LOVE!

Gaming and music and articles and tv and sports and movies and theatre and animated gifs and recipes and whatever… if it makes me happy, it might make you a little happier to know about it, too! ^_^

Christmas: SUCCESS

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Woo. Surviving Christmas isn’t usually a big deal around here, because nothing happens on Christmas. We all stay in bed until whenever and do presents when everyone is up. Not exactly super organised, but all low stress. Christmas Eve, however, is a bit of a thing in my family. This year was supposed to be our year to host. By ‘our’ I mean ‘my parents’ because they are the ones with a house and all. Instead, my parents cancelled Christmas.

Yes, I wrote it like that just to see how long before my mom reads that and calls me ;)

Actually, they merely postponed hosting for a year since the house needs some renovations and instead everyone decided to host smaller more local Christmases instead of driving everyone to one location. It was a little weird not seeing everyone, but kinda nice to just chill with the cousins at a small dinner. Now I don’t know what I am rooting for next year! I can totally get used to not having holiday panic attacks and free from “YOU FAIL AS A HUMAN BEING BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE GREAT GRANDCHILDREN YET. NO, I DON’T SEE HOW POINTING OUT THAT YOU HAVE A BROTHER IS IN ANY WAY RELEVANT.” Yes, I did try and throw my brother under the bus there last year. Was worth it. He understood.

Day job has kept me pretty busy, being on call when not actually a work a ton. I still tweet far too often, but now I’m working on making more time for myself so I can get back to playing games and writing about them. Since I joined two hockey leagues this winter, I’ve definitely given hockey and hockey-related activities far more of my free time than gaming. With the crazy backlog that I have right now, I’m not even sure where to start!!

My brother has rejoined World of Warcraft, but I think I can resist that for a bit, at least.

Most likely to play next: Saints Row III, Dark Souls, or GRiD (all on PC, with controllers).
Most likely to write about next: Borderlands 2. Because I hated it. So much. Very disappointing.

Giving 110%

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20% sleep
70% day job
8% hockey
22% future projects (writing, building a set, getting b-roll)

Now is a peachy time to mention this post’s title’s subtitle: BAD AT MATH. DOES NOT COMPUTE. Yeah. That math is really not working out for me right now, but it’s getting better! Actually, it’s going to get a lot worse, and then it’s going to slowly get better. Or I go snapshow. Anything can happen! ;D

The big thing up there is the day job. Yes, I made a very tough decision to take a break from professional games writing to earn a steady paycheque (+ expenses) working a tech job. This is NOT me retiring from writing, far from it, but it has let me rebuild my savings after a not-so-great last year and put aside some extra for some trips I’ve been wanting to take my whole life. Oh, and I like what I’m doing since it’s with tech I find fascinating (RFID) and I’m kind of a liaison between two companies full of people I enjoy working alongside. There are downsides, as with anything, but this contract isn’t forever and the positives presently outweigh the drawback of not having every second of the day to myself. A drawback that merits mention, however, is that everyone in this company does a metric crapton of work during the holiday season and I’ll be joining them. December is going to be busier than October and November were, and that scares me a little. Work will skyrocket to 92%, hockey will remain at 8%, and sleep goes out the freakin’ window.

Note that 0% of the time allocated above has gone to editing the wild & crazy SupReq. 01. I’ve taken a few stabs at it, but it’s a much bigger project than anticipated! I can mostly salvage the sound errors, and I’ll be cutting around the unscheduled breaks when we had to restart a feed, but I’ve mostly learned to take better notes while actually playing and have basically a filled a notebook on WHAT TO DO BETTER NEXT TIME. For an episode one I can at least say that it wasn’t the largest disaster of 2012, but we totally had a blast and look forward to getting back to it in early 2013. Yes, I’ll be sure to release the edited episode one first :)

Depending on the hour of the day you check in here, things might be extremely broken and/or blank and not resolving. I’ve got to, again, patch up some server-side stuff in stages this week and I expect to do my usual ‘Learn By Breaking Everything Nearly Beyond Repair’ technique to get it done.

Supervision Required – LIVE

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twitch.tv/jenncutter
twitch.tv/troygoodfellow

I can not even begin to describe what a mad rush this was to put together. I had everything all set up at my place last night, watched Suzuka Quali (go Mark Webber!), and then everything went to hell overnight when Bell Internet died in my area.

Neither Troy nor I wanted to cancel the show, so we grabbed EVERYTHING and ran it over to my parents’ place to take over their basement with the most crazy stream setup in history.

crazy stream setup

And we are off! Now, you’ll have to watch BOTH mine and Troy’s stream as a compromise for this last minute dash, and for that we sincerely apologise!!! Please drop in and say hi here, in the twitch chat, or on twitter, and let’s get to rescuing the princess and enjoying mad challenges ^_^