Monday, July 5, 2010

Domestic Drafts and Decadic Disruptions

Its time to move the chains. July is here, but June almost held the line of scrimmage. My head is still feeling the aftershocks after the scrum.

The end of the month didn't help it out much, and I have to admit that I genuflected to the chthonic gods as the particle board desks danced about and the tenuous ceiling tiles appeared ready to crack and crumble upon us, the faithful martyrs of the research room. Why couldn't a comet or a three-headed calf Ussher in this epochal event on the geological calendar? Why didn't I choose to work from home, where this particular cataclysm would have been smothered within the sonic swell of my stereo speakers?

Perhaps the Underworld was upset with the time it was taking to complete the DHL Draft. It had begun to unspool the previous week. By that Friday, within 30 minutes of the commencement of the actual NHL Draft, I made the last selection of the DHL Draft. The Highlanders ended up skating away with Brett Connolly (Stammer's future linemate), Beau Bennett (Sid-e-ney Crosby's future winger), and a mature veteran to help advance the cause of my embryonic dynasty. Mission accomplished.

Seconds after making my beaubonic pick, I was out the door. Bomber and I were going to watch the real thing unfold at a local sports bar. Yes, a self-advertised SPORTS bar. I found Bomber sitting at the crossroads of the Entertainment District, enjoying the visual delights of downtown. Its been getting harder for Bomber to separate himself from his suburban fiefdom of sylvan domesticity. But tonight we were going to see, and hear, exactly how well we fared with our forecasted phenoms.

We got to the "sports bar" around 6:50. Ten minutes to the Draft. I began to reconnoiter around. I knew it needed to be a cloistered area, far from the madding crowd of downtown hipsters who decide to pleb it out at the pool hall to the barely audible strains of the music track. No shortage of smaller TVs -- we'll stake out a demesne with a table and turn up the volume as we revel in our rite of spring/early summer. Once we annexed a suitable area, we returned to the bar to ask for the appropriate channel and a little volume. "You wanna watch what? What channel? Yeah, TSN is on most of the screens." Fair enough, we just want a watch it in a corner where the waitress will bring us food and beer and we can turn the volume on slightly. "Well, the volume for all the TVs would be affected, and we'd have to turn off the music." There is no music playing, I replied. "Yes, there is." It could barely be heard above the din of the pool playing pretend-plebs, but yes, there was an inoffensive soft pop/classic rock soundtrack for them to bob along to. Well, could we just have volume for the first hour or so, until more patrons arrive? I doubt they'll miss the music, and just maybe some of them might be interested. It does have to do with hockey. We'll buy food and beer. I felt like I was negotiating in a New Jersey TGI Friday's to have the Ottawa Senators game turned on. No, it's not on the Nascar Network or NBA Gametime .... nevermind.

Seemed the self-styled Canadian sports bar only turned on the volume for what they deemed "major sporting events". It wasn't like it was the goddamn Grey Cup.

Bomber was thirsty, so I grudgingly gave them the last dough they'll ever get out of me, and we had a beer while watching the opening of the draft in maddening mute. At least we didn't have to endure any more of the "Taylor vs. Tyler" tripe that necessarily kicked off the proceedings.

After the predictable first few picks, we headed across the street to another bar. We got a spot in front of a TV, ordered some pub food and a pitcher of Mill St. draft as we resumed watching the Draft.

My boy Connolly couldn't have gone anywhere better. Ditto for Beau Bennett, the last pick of our draft, passed over for players that might never get to the NHL. Bomber's second round pick turned out to be a steal as well.

Then, for the last week of June, the celebrations began with another Zaphodiad on Canada Day eve. Graven plugged in a great set ("I Speak your Sadness" is phenomenal), and, though I had to endure universal ridicule for my odd musical tastes, I also enjoyed the instrumental jazz-core of Ace Kinkaid.

On Canada Day, I sequestered myself from the patriotic throngs to watch the NHL "Free Agent Frenzy", which turned out to be, as it always is, a nibbling of chum.

The following evening it was off to Bomber's pastoral compound. After the requisite intergalactic bus ride, grumbling along with the rest of the bustling hive as they fled the quotidian tedium of Work, I arrived beyond the Pale. It was soul-refreshing to spend a couple of days in the hinterland with Bomber and Lauzzy. Swimming, drinking, retelling stories that never get old, as well as spinning a few new ones. It was especially nice to see Lauzzy's 2 yr-old. I wonder how many more years it will take for her to realize that she was named after Voltaire. Perhaps she will prefer to think of herself as named after Jimmy Page.

The weekend was wrapped up with an Indian buffet worthy of a Mughal emperor. Hopefully I will be able to visit Lauzzy on his home turf in the middle of the South Seas next winter.


  1. Nice post. Just one minor quibble: 'Far From the Madding Hipsters'? What, in this town? It would be an improvement. God, don't you hate Sports Bars with a Parisian attitude.

  2. I'm surprised you got that treatment from Sir John A's. Now we're really gonna start a fight in there next time we go drinking...that's right, I said, "we're."