Friday, October 17, 2008

Hockey hockey hockey

I have two tickets for tomorrow night's Capitals & Devils game and I can't wait. Last Saturday was the Capitals home opener and it was the saddest day of my life. Well, the saddest day in a long time anyway. I didn't have tickets to the game, I had no friends willing to pay any amount of money to watch hockey.

That wasn't the sad part, though. I was on the Metro going down to the bookstore around 6pm the night of the opener and I found myself surrounded by people in hockey jerseys and Capitals gear.

Hockey fans!

I wanted to go so bad and I've been depressed about it ever since. I really need to meet some hockey fans out here.

While I haven't met any hockey fans in the last week, I did meet a New Jersey fan. I work with a native Jersey girl at the bookstore and eventually wore her down to go to the game, but the $25 seats were sold out and both of our budgets are pretty tight. I went on eBay to find some tickets and was nearly salivating. My Jersey girl friend is very independent and very responsible and I'm lucky that's the case. I kept finding great bargains like $120 seats for $90. I wanted lower level seats so bad I was salivating. In my irrational lust for great seats I would've had no problem maxing out my credit card for expensive tickets, taking a loss and selling the seat to my bookstore friend for $25.00. Luckily for my budget, cooler heads prevailed and she wasn't comfortable letting me pay the difference. We ended up buying $50 tickets for $30 a piece. We are both starting our careers and working at the bookstore part time to make ends meet, so even $30 stretches the budget a bit. But I don't care... I miss hockey. I also bought a pair of tickets for the game on the 28th, $19.99 for the pair.

This means I'll make it to at least 8 games this season. Anthony bought me a six-pack of tickets for graduation but I haven't picked out my seats yet. When I go tomorrow I'll look around and decide where I want to sit. I am not crazy about going to hockey games by myself. I love hockey too much, it'll be hard not to be able to nudge someone and say, "Did you see that!?!" Plus, I've been sitting next to J and Pops for so long, I'm not quite sure how other people will react to my random excited sounds. My cheers are completely spontaneous and involuntary, I hope I don't embarrass myself too much.

It'll be really different to watch an NHL game. It will be sad not to have all of my Quad City hockey friends to watch with. Instead of four rows from the ice I'll be more like 4 miles from the ice. Also, I need to learn how to be a Capitals fan. Right now I'm just a hockey fan, I want to see a good game more than I want to see the Caps win. Although I should probably mold myself into a Caps fan, just so I can fit in. I can only name about 2 players on the team, but GO CAPS!!

Hockey is finally here. Without having my friends and my old seats, the NHL is going to feel like a step down from minor league hockey. That's okay though. I'm just excited to be going to a game. Yay! Section 416 row H here I come!

I'm so excited for hockey. I don't know if I can get to sleep tonight.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Shhh... it's a secret!

Secret shopping, actually; or mystery shopping if you prefer. It sounds kinda' fun, but it is work and it usually doesn't pay much more than a free meal. I used to do it a lot when I lived in Iowa but not so much out here. It's usually not worthwhile to spend a couple hours and two or three bucks minimum to hop on the Metro for a free sandwich. Some of the companies have cool stuff like Six Flags visits, trips to the spa, or hotel stays; but it's not always worth it. You have to remember every painstaking detail about your visit and it can take a while to fill out the online surveys. Once I got a nasty email and a bad grade (yes, we get graded) because I didn't describe the outside lighting at a movie theater. Seriously, the lighting in the parking lot lowered my score. She was awfully picky for someone who was paying me in movie tickets and popcorn.
Last weekend I was checking for available shopping jobs and I saw that my local grocery store had a shop available. There was no cash payment, just some free groceries but it was the place I usually shop so I jumped on it. Well, apparently I jumped a little too quickly b/c instead of signing up for my local store, I signed up for a different location that wasn't even on the Metro line. I actually had no idea where this place was. Oops.
The logical thing to do would've been to contact the company and try to switch the locations. Instead, I illogically took responsibility for my mistake and decided to go shopping across town. That included studying the bus route to leave work and go to the store, and then from the store home - a 30-40 minute trip each way. The Metro fare and bus transfer made for a more expensive trip. Plus, did I mention? I had no idea where the hell I was going. My free groceries ended up being not so free. In fact, the picture above ended up costing me about $3.00 in cash, 90 minutes of my time, and a slight pain in my arse. I thought I was signing up for some free groceries from the store I was already going to. Instead, I clicked the wrong link on a website and ended up having to step outside of my comfort zone. It was definitely worth it.
It's kind of silly, but somehow going to a new grocery store made me realize how quickly I fell into a routine out here. I also remembered why I fell in love with this city so quickly.
I almost got onto the wrong bus, but I realized my mistake and apologized to the driver. The bus driver was really helpful, and other people on the bus were quick to offer directions. The weather was great, and it was such a pleasant walk through a new neighborhood. There really are some very friendly people here in DC. Maybe it's because they're used to tourists, but most people aren't only willing to help, they're forthcoming in offering to help.
It turns out I signed up to shop at the tiniest store in the area. My cabinets are unusually well stocked for the moment and they didn't have a lot of the things I needed. Since I didn't want to buy anything perishable before my long trip home, I ended up throwing some random things together and grabbing the treasures you see above. It was a big mix-up and I didn't get much out of it, but the reminder to break from my routine was a much-needed one. This city has so much to offer and I ride around underground every day, only to emerge to walk between the Metro stop and work; or the Metro stop and home. What a waste. I really need to get out more.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Can the debates get any more depressing?

Less than 20 minutes into the final (thank heavens!) debate and I'm thoroughly depressed. It's not only because I keep hearing the same nonsense the candidates have been uttering for a year, but now they're stressing their point by talking about "Joe the plumber." They've made up some hypothetical voter to demonstrate how well they relate to the regular hard-working folks in this country. See? They're not elitist, they're looking out for Joe - who happens to be a plumber by trade.

Not only is this really dumb and unconvincing, it's making me very sad. My Grandpa's name was Joe. He was a plumber. He passed away and I miss him. I'd much rather be watching football or Matlock with him right now than listening to these two clowns. This presidential horserace has already made me long for happier days without the reference to Grandpa. I'm telling you right now, if they start to argue about a metaphorical Dog named Daisy, I may slit my wrists.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Senators are so funny

I don't know how Minnesota feels about it, but I like a Senator with a good sense of humor. That is why I'll be watching C-Span on Saturday night at 8pm to tune into the MN Senate debate between incumbent Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger Al Franken. That Norm Coleman is hilarious!

I'm a big fan of the old SNL so I've been following Franken's senate bid. Surprisingly, there is not much national news coverage of the MN race. The national media loves to talk about how hard it will be for Republicans to hang onto their seats this year, but I haven't seen much special attention paid to the celebrity comedian Democrat challenging the conservative Republican. This morning, NBC political director Chuck Todd shed a little light on this. On Joe Scarborough's morning show, Todd said he's heard from several high ranking Democrats that they don't want Franken to win because they're afraid this will open the door for every Hollywood liberal to run for office. Interesting.

I would've thought Franken's ability to raise millions of dollars would throw the Dems support behind him. Apparently their job security is more important than a veto-proof majority. They don't want to give up their seat to another Democratic senator named Streisand, Affleck, Sarandon or Robbins.

At first glance, their cold shoulder toward Franken seems selfish. They could get a veto-proof majority in 2008, but they're probably convinced they won't need it because they'll have President Obama to tow the party line. Plus, Franken has been a political commentator for quite some time. If Franken were to win a senate seat it wouldn't be any more of an invitation for celebrities to run for office than say, an action movie star becoming the governor of California. (But then, maybe they're just trying to contain the celebrity political nonsense to California.)

I was a little annoyed with these anonymous high-ranking Democrats for shunning the Minnesota Democratic candidate out of fear of being replaced. Then, I considered two little words that persuaded me that their fears are warranted.

The scariest words this country would ever have to utter: Senator Baldwin.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Can we start over?

I'm watching the Presidential debate and I was ready to turn it off after exactly 13 minutes. Every time Tom Brokaw asks a question they answer with, "Well, my opponent said..." I don't want to hear this. I don't want to hear about how afraid we should be if the other guy gets elected. I don't want either one of them running my country. Can we just wipe the slate clean and start over with some real nominees? These people - John McCain and Barack Obama - are a joke. Sarah Palin is a punchline, McCain and Obama are a joke. The joke is on us my friends! And when I say, "my friends" I mean that if McCain keeps saying that phrase I'm going to scream. Ditto for Obama starting his sentence with "Look..."

Both of these candidates sound like children.

adult: "Barry, did you break the neighbor's window?"
child: "But Johnny broke the whole door!"
adult: "Johnny, did you break the door?"
child: "But Barry's going to raise your taxes and meet the repairman without preconditions!"

Thursday, October 2, 2008

One more observation

...continuing my post-debate list from a few minutes ago...

Joe Biden, Sarah Palin and John McCain all have sons fighting in Iraq. I think it's about time for those Obama girls to stop getting a free ride. C'mon Obama daughters - time to start showing a little patriotism!

Some thoughts on the V.P. debate

It's past my bedtime but I have a few comments about tonight's Vice Presidential debate that I have to get off my chest first.

1.) I can't believe Barack Obama is at the top of the ticket over Biden. I watched the presidential debate last week and thought McCain and Obama both sounded like quibbling children. Biden comes across as so much more knowledgeable and genuine. It's ridiculous that Obama is the presidential nominee. It will not be easy for me to vote for Obama in order to get Biden.

2.) Both of the V.P. candidates came across as so much more genuine than their candidates.

3.) Sarah Palin exceeded expectations and I don't want to dismiss her abilities, but here are a few things I hope to never hear in another debate for a presidential candidate.
3a.) "Dawg-gonnit"
3b.) "Darn right!"
3c.) A "shout out" to the folks back home.
I know she's folksy, but let's pretend this is important, can we? For someone who has been the butt of jokes from her Katie Couric interviews, she didn't win over any independent voters with her, "Hi Ma! I'm on teevee" act.

4.) Something rubbed me the wrong way when she said that Jill Biden's rewards were "in heaven." I realize she meant it as an endearing sentiment, but I've sat down and had lunch with Dr. Jill Biden; she is a lovely woman and I may be taking this personally here, but that comment is something you'd say about a matronly schoolteacher. Jill Biden has her PhD and teaches at a community college, their daughter Ashley is a social worker and Beau Biden is about to ship off to Iraq. They're good people, they don't need Sarah Palin to assign a place in heaven. (Yes, I'm being defensive.)

5.) I flipped around through different networks tonight and it was pretty ridiculous. MSNBC and Fox News both defended the left and the right respectively. I can't take either of those networks seriously when it comes to this election. I've switched to CNN now so we'll see how they do.

6.) I have nothing against McCain, Palin or Obama personally; but this election is ridiculous. None of those clowns should be running our country. It's a sad day when you have no confidence in your potential leaders, but the consolation is that they can't be any worse than our current leadership. We're so screwed.