Saturday, November 27, 2004

19 and counting.....

I keep denying that I'm depressed about the hockey lockout. That is, of course, until game night. Tonight I'm missing what would be my eighth game, the Hurricanes twelfth home game, and the team's 19th game overall.
I miss the hour and a half drive. I miss trudging through the free dirt parking lot to the arena. I miss suiting up for the game. I miss all the people who sit near me. I miss the $8 beers. I miss getting all fired up about a botched power play. I miss the agony of watching a breakaway result in clanging one off the post. I miss the heartbreak of watching us lose. I miss heckling Kerry Fraser about his hair. I miss Chuck Kaiton on the radio. I miss the drive home, listening to the post-game report on am radio. As much as I hate to admit it, I miss Tripp Tracy and John Forslund do the TV play-by-play. I just miss my Hurricanes and I miss the NHL. I'll really feel it again tonight while I'm at work instead of at the game, watching us play the defending Stanley Cup champs.
I like watching football, and college basketball is okay, but they can't do for me what hockey does. My optimism about a saved season is waning every day. We already know there won't be an all-star game. Our only hope is to have this sucker resolved by the middle of January. The last NHL labor dispute cancelled half the season and was finally resolved on January 13, 1995. I'm sort of thinking that that's about as far as we can go without losing the entire season.

I really despise the NBA, and the recent fiasco in Detroit washed away any chance for me to give them another chance. Now there is talk of the NBA heading into a labor dispute. My opinion here is quite different: Let them strike. Good riddance.

I feel really bad for folks who work at NHL arenas, though. The popcorn vendors, the ticket takers, the ushers, the custodial staff. All the people who make some of their living wages by working hockey games. Hotels, restaurants, bars. They're all taking a hit, too. I'm sitting over here crying about not being able to do something recreational, and meanwhile there are people missing part of their income.

I pray to the hockey gods ----- make it stop! Let them play!

Friday, November 26, 2004

the turkey myth

I was thinking.... here we are. Thanksgiving. I'll eat a lot of turkey, load up on that tryptophan stuff, and sleep like a baby.
Turns out, though, turkey isn't the secret. That tryptophan stuff is found in just about anything high in protein. I learned from that the tryptophan helps your body produce niacin, which in turn creates serotonin. This is where we get the drowsiness; the increased serotonin levels make us all sedated and whatnot. BUT, they say, it works best on an empty stomach. So all that cheese and crackers before lunch, and the salad and other stuff that I got to before the turkey sort of got in the way.

According to the information I found, folks were skipping the consumption of turkey and taking tryptophan supplements as a sleep aid, but the FDA banned them in 1990. Turns out these supplements were connected to some crazy muscle disorder that occasionally resulted in death. Usually, the FDA knows what's best, but in any case, I'd rather be a little sleepless than dead.

I had a bad day at the Scrabble boards. I lost a few games and a bunch of ratings points, dropping to 1015 or something like that. I think I played alright, but I couldn't string together two good games in a row. I was getting frustrated with bad racks, and I let that frustration take away from my concentration level. I had to stop playing earlier than I wanted to. It's okay though. I know that soon enough, I'll go on another winning streak.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

insomnia, hockey, and scrabble

I've always been somewhat of an insomniac. I'm also an early riser. This means that even when I do get sleep, my body screams for me to wake the hell up at or around 7:00 in the morning. Weekends, vacations..... it doesn't matter. These days, I consider myself lucky to get 4 consecutive hours of sleep. Most nights I get about 3 hours total.

Part of the problem is that I just don't get sleepy. Forcing myself to sleep doesn't work so I have to occupy the time somehow until that glorious moment arrives. I spend a lot of time playing Scrabble online ( but it's difficult to find a decent match when it's 3 in the morning. Sometimes I read, sometimes I watch movies, sometimes I play video games. The only games I play are sports games.

I should say that I'm a big fan of NHL hockey. I have season tickets to the Carolina Hurricanes. This season isn't happening because of a labor dispute, which naturally makes me sad. One can only watch the movie Slapshot so many times, so I've been gettng my hockey fill by playing NHL 2005. It has some really good things about it, and the likenesses of the players and arenas is pretty incredible. Actually, it's really creepy because my seat is clearly visible in the game (although the folks at EA mixed up the end at which the 'Canes shoot twice), and the person in that seat looks like me! Perhaps I hyperbolize a bit here, but the guy is white and has short brown hair and wears the home red sweater. As far as I'm concerned that guy looks as much like me as the EA Rod Brind'Amour looks like the real Rod Brind'Amour. My only real beef with the game is that you cannot look at league-wide stats. You have to search team by team. No league leaders in statistacal categories. Only team leaders. I don't remember this being the case in years past, but I do recall this being the same case for NCAA football 2005. Odd.

Part of what keeps me up at night is that I obsessively think about Scrabble. Racks, boards, endgames, etc. Maybe I should try not playing for a while, but I don't really see that happening.