Tuesday, June 30, 2009

This & That

Just a quick update of my thoughts on all the skinny that has been going on with Sabres and the NHL.

- Anne and Shelby have already informed us that our very own Ryan Miller has been invited to Team USA's Orientation Camp in August. He's the only player on the roster who will be representing the blue & gold, but WNYers like Pat Kane and Brooks Orpik are also on the roster. Ryan has said before how much it means to him to participate in the Olympics and to represent his country, and it will be really neat for Sabres fans to see him out there competiting. I'm not going to pretend that not I'm biased, but I really hope he gets the starting job. He's a great competitor who has shown that he can raises his play significantly at key moments in important games, and I think he'd do a good job in backstopping Team USA in the 2010 Winter Olympics. Being apart of Team USA also means that it's likely that he and Chris Drury will once again be teammates. And then there's Mr. Scott "I like to take out Ryan Miller and bust his left ankle" Gomez and Mr. Phil "I like to give Ryan Miller a shit-eating grin after I score on him in a shootout" Kessel who are also potential future Team USA members. Do I sense some drama? Nahhhh, of course not. These aren't high school girls, these are grown men for god's sake! I suppose one of the neat things about being apart of the Olympics is that players have to put aside their differences and rivalries and join together to represent their country and compete together.

- Today the Aud has officially been knocked down...finally. A time capsule was found during the Aud's demoltion from 1939...pretty neat! Here is a link to the video of Byron Brown opening the capsule and showing the crowd what is in it. Many fans are sad to see the Aud go, but I guess I game to terms awhile ago, and I'm not bummed like most fans. The memories will live on forever and that's all that really matters. Hopefully the demolition of the Aud represents a new chapter in the waterfront development situation because I know how much Buffalonians are craving for some sort of attraction down there. I was down at the waterfront a few days ago and it was really buzzing. The people of Buffalo are just dying for some sort of activity/attraction to go on down there and I just hope that the city follows through.

- I attended the Draft Party at the Albright-Knox with a few of my fellow Sabres fans and I had a pretty good time. Everyone in attendence seemed to be very pleased with the Sabres' selection of Kassian...I think the fans are pretty happy to see the direction that the Sabres chose in this year's draft. It was also fun to see Mike Robitaille wander around the stage in his sassy flippy floppys and Tim Conolly oogle at my assets. Gotta love Timmy. He always knows how to class it up. There was also an awesome BOUNCE HOUSE in front of the art gallery that I really wanted to bounce on but I restrained myself. The draft got me excited for the future as I've heard really good things about Kassian and our other draft picks. It also made me think of the prospects that we already have like Myers who has a good chance at making the squad next year, which would be pretty exciting.

- Tomorrow is the big day...free agency! It's the day that hockey fans either embrace or dread, depending on what position your team is in. Regardless, it's a day of excitment and we'll see players get signed to mega contracts worth vast sums of money (Bouwmeester) and we'll also see fans bitch and moan when their GM (Darcy Regier) does absolutely NOTHING to improve their team's roster (the Buffalo Sabres). I know I'm excited! It's a day where fans have to say goodbye to certain members of their beloved team and it's also a time where fans might welcome a new addition! For us, it seems more and more likely that we're going to say goodbye to Spacek, Peters, Numminen, and Afinogenov. There are also the lesser known UFAs like Ellis and Moore that may or may not stick around. It's not really worth weighing in on these specific players and what I want to see our management do with them, but all I'll say is happy trails for those who do leave us.

I'm sure I'll be updating in the upcoming days to recap the free agency frenzy. Until then...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Picture Time

Ello, ello. In my last post I said that I'd make an update posting photos that I've taken recently, sooo here we are. I've got some pictures from my day at the Allentown Art Festival and I've also got some pictures I took when I was down at the Waterfront a few weeks ago. But the pictures that I am the most eager to post are from the No Doubt concert!

I've said this several times on here, but I was so excited to see them live...being a huge fan for all these years and never seeing them live before. I think live music is the best. I'm always up for going to a concert or a show, even if I'm not familiar with the band or musician. Live music to me is always entertaining and you never know if you're going to stumble across a new band or musician in your endeavors. So it's especially awesome to go see a band that you're a huge fan of live. I guess it's strange for me that I have never seen No Doubt live after all these years of being a fan since I have been to my fair share of concerts over the years.

I was like a kid on Christmas the day of the show. I couldn't really contain myself and I was just so eager to see them. I went with my two good friends and my cousin. We got there pretty early to tailgate and then we made our way to the venue. We were right up against the stage and it was awesome! The first act was a musician named Janelle MonĂ¡e. I've never heard of her before but I think she has recruited a fan. I thought she was very talented and she had a great stage presence. The second act was Paramore. I've never really listented to Paramore before but I know some of their stuff. The lead singer was very energetic and cute and the bassist was pretty sexy. But I was just eager to see No Doubt. They really blew me away. They've been together for so long yet they still seemed so fresh and innovative. Gwen Stefani is a star, what can I say. You could tell that each member of the band was feeding off each other's energy and they loved being onstage together. I had a wonderful time and I keep looking at my pictures and listening to their songs to try and relive the night.

Anyways...onto the pictures!

Allentown Art Festival

An adorable baby bulldog that was attracting all sorts of attention at the festival.

A very friendly dog that likes to walk up and down Elmwood. His owner is a very nice man who has a flower shop on Elmwood.

Buffalo's waterfront

Lake Erie

Lake Erie

Gwen Stefani

Tony Kanal and his awesome bass.

Gwen being awesome.

Tom, Adrian, and Gwen during the encore.

The band takes a bow!

Ahh yes, good times. Sorry if the influx of photographs was too large for your liking, but I did say that this was going to be a photo post. Heh. I've got some more pictures of the concert and of the waterfront on my Flickr, if you'd like to see more. Other than that...I hope all the dads out there had a great Father's Day!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Kaleta's Busted Hand & Some Slow Motion Hockey

So now that the offseason is in full swing, I really don't have much to say, but I will try. Right now I'm feeling pretty restless with a lot of things so maybe updating this will help. I found a few links and I have a few tidbits that I thought some of you might be interested in.

- First off, here is a really great story about a bunch of men in their 70s and 80s who still get together to play some shinny hockey. They call it "slow motion hockey". It's great stuff. How refreshing is it to see these guys have such a positive and youthful outlook on life at their age. I hope when I get to be that age I have their perspective.

- Secondly, while I was going about my routine of checking the various blogs that I like to read, I found a story about two women in Buffalo. Dwell is a catolog that focuses on modern architecture and it usually features homes and people who live in trendy and thriving metropolises, so it was both neat and surprising to see a story about Buffalo. The story is about two women who have created their own workshop to teach people skills and techniques to fix up their homes and give them more "green" to make their homes a little more environmentally friendly. So check it out. I've always been proud of the unique and beautiful architecture Buffalo has and it's always been one of the reasons why I enjoy going to the city to just take a walk or a bike ride. During school, sometimes I will just walk around the Elmwood Village between classes to get a nice look at the scenery. I think Cleveland (near Spot Coffee) and Chapin Parkway are some of my favorite streets in the entire city that have some of my favorite homes is. I also love the block on Franklin between Allen and Virginia. I would love to live in one of those houses.

- Also, it seems as though our dear Patrick Kaleta has broke his hand. He was at a fundraising event recently and I've seen some pictures on Facebook and he's got a cast on his right hand. I saw him at work the other day but I just saw him in passing so I didn't notice his hand.

- I went to the Allentown Art Festival this past weekend and it was a great time. I remember previous years it was extremely hot out, and while the weather was nice and sunny this year, it wasn't too hot. It was fun walking around with all the people and seeing what the vendors had on display. I especially took an interest to all the photography and it was inspiring for me. One photographer had pictures from Europe, and it reminded me how eager I am to travel. One of the biggest reasons why I want to travel is so I can capture the world around me through my lens. I really want to go all over Europe in the near future and I also want to go to India and Japan. One of these days... I also enjoyed all photography from Western New York that I saw as well. As much as I want to travel and see the world, I am proud of where I come from and I know that Buffalo is always going to be my home. I don't think I could ever leave this place permanently. So although it's eating away at me to travel, I also appreciate where I live and what it has to offer. Buffalo really is a great place to photograph!

After the festival, we went to Cecilia's on Elmwood to get some drinks and appetizers. Apparently my breasts thought I was hot because they took the liberty to spill my glass of water in my lap. I was sitting up to pull in my chair and as I sat back down, the ladies bumped my water. Fortunately I was wearing a dark dress so it wasn't that noticeable and I was sitting in the sun so it dried pretty fast.

- This upcoming weekend is going to be an exciting one. First of all I'm starting the weekend off right by going downtown tonight with some friends and maybe to the Square if the weather decides to cooperate. Then on Friday I'll be at Darien Lake to see NO DOUBT!! It still really hasn't hit me that I am finally seeing them live after all these years of being a huge fan. I think it will finally hit me right when they are about to come onstage. Then I might burst into "fangirl" mode. It won't be a pretty sight, but dammit, I won't care. Then on Saturday I'm doing some volunteering with Carly's Club so I look forward to that.

I'll be sure to take pictures of all the festivities and I already have a few that I need to share that I took at the festival and when I went to the waterfront a few weeks ago. I'll make a picture post in the upcoming days.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Happy for the Pens

Well another season has come and gone and we have ourselves new Stanley Cup Champions.

I have to say that I was partial to Detroit winning again but honestly I didn't care all that much. I have no strong emotional ties to either team it's just that I've always liked watching Detroit compete and I never really liked the Pens. I don't hate them, but they just have never been a team that I could get behind. But I do love me some Marc-Andre Fleury. Timely saves and a thick French Canadian accent...what more could I want? So even though I thought I wanted Detroit to win, I was really happy for the Penguins and I've gained a lot of respect for them after not only this series, but the entire postseason. It's pretty neat considering at a point in the regular season they were really struggling and they were in 10th place. I remember when the Sabres were still in the hunt, some fans were wondering what team had the potential to knock them out of playoff contention. I remember some fans saying how Pittsburgh was not a threat. First of all it's foolish to rule out any team when they are right in the hunt, and secondly, Pittsburgh just has too much talent on their team to not worry about. It was not surprising for me to see them battle their way from 10th place to a playoff position after a coaching change.

I really did think Detroit was going to win the Cup again, even though I didn't think it was going to be easy for them to face the Pens. I was pretty sure they were going to win at the Mellon during Game 6, and I have to say that I was surprised that Pittsburgh won. It showed me that they have learned from last season and they had just as much as a right to compete for the Cup as Detroit. Hey, any team who eliminates Detroit in the playoffs deserves a shot at the Cup, right?

I'm happy for Fleury as well. I've noticed that sometimes during the regular season he doesn't always get the credit he deserves and fans can question how good he really is. I believe that he's a very good goaltender who still has his best years ahead of him. I think he'll only get better. He had a few struggles in the post season but all in all he (and with some help from his goal posts) was there for his teammates when they needed him the most. It was fitting that he made a fantastic save in the dying seconds of the third period when Detroit was frantically trying to tie up the game to send it into overtime.

So congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penguins, they deserved it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Draft Day at the Albright

The Sabres have announced that their Draft Day party will be held on June 26th from 3-10 pm at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

I think it's a pretty neat idea to have it at the art gallery this year because it gives people who may not otherwise get a chance to view all the great art that the gallery provides. I always thought it was so neat how this city is such a huge sports town but it's also a town that recognizes the arts and really supports it through all of the art galleries and art festivals that this city has. It's perfect for someone like me who is a huge sports fan but also appreciates art. Anyways, along with being able to watch the draft, there will also be activities such as autograph sessions with current and former Sabres and a Roundtable discussion with some players. I'm sure this will be a good hockey fix for Sabres fans who are dying for something Sabres related. Honestly, before this was announced the only thing remotely Sabres related that I could talk about was how Sabretooth accepted my friend request on Facebook. AWESOME, RIGHT?! Oh, and also a certain redheaded defenseman got prettyyyy sloppy at The Tragically Hip concert.

I didn't attend the Draft Party last year (there was one I'm assuming), but I'll probably go to this one since I'm on the same boat as most Sabres fans and I am missing Sabres hockey very badly. Plus it's an excuse to go to the art gallery, which unfortunately I haven't been to lately. I used to go a lot, but I just haven't gotten around to it lately. I've been meaning to pay a visit to all the other local art galleries as well. The Albright is great (and probably my favorite), but it's always good to expand your horizons. I've been to the Burchfield several times, and I really like it but I think I'm still partial to the Albright. I'll probably have to request off work to go, since I usually work Friday nights. Speaking of which, Kate brought up a point when she said that she's going to have to work during Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. I'll most likely have to work as well, which flat out sucks. Game 7's are the best...especially during the Finals! Of course I'll have my handy DVR all set, but I don't need to explain why that's not the same as watching it live. What a shame. I swear when the Sabres make it to the Finals I will quit my job if necessary. Or I can just plead to my managers how I absolutely CANNOT miss it. They'll understand, right? I mean...it's Buffalo.

Speaking of the playoffs, last night's game was pretty great. Although I am partial to Detroit winning again, you have to give Pittsburgh credit. After such a disappointing and embarrassing performance from Game 5, they proved that they wanted the series to extend to 7 games and they did not let Detroit clinch the series and win the Cup yet again. I really don't know what's going to happen during Game 7, because I was pretty sure Detroit was going to win in Pittsburgh again. It makes for an exciting Game 7 which I unfortunately will most likely miss. It was awesome watching Rob Scuderi try his hand (or leg/foot?) at goaltending. He did a pretty good job, wouldn't you say?

It also looks like the Philadelphia Flyers have found a new goaltender in Ray Emery. I just have to say that it's pretty low of the organization to choose Emery over Biron based solely because Emery won the fight when the two went at it in that infamous brawl. Give poor Marty a break. It was his first fight and Emery had Mike Tyson painted on his mask...Marty didn't stand a chance! Oh well...I'm sure Marty will find success elsewhere. Maybe the two could fight again and the winner of that fight would prove to be the goaltender that Philly goes with? Nevermind...

Yesterday was a pretty bad day for me from the get go. I had to get up early in the AM to drive downtown for jury duty. Blehh...yes, jury duty. So on my way I realized I needed gas so I pull into the gas station and I run out of gas about 20 feet away from the gas pump. I was also blocking all the traffic coming in and out because it was pretty busy with all the commuters getting gas before heading off to work (and grabbing some Tim Horton's). I was already in a pretty bad mood given that I had to go to jury duty and also I'm just not a morning person. Thankfully two very nice men helped me out and pushed my car to the gas pump. Thank you, kind strangers. Don't worry, I thanked them there...I wasn't saving my "thank you" to them for my blog. Jury duty wasn't so bad since the case that I was chosen to participate in was dropped so I got to go home after waiting around in that huge room for a few hours. At least I am free of my civic duty for the next 8 years. Not too bad.

So the summer is now in full swing and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I went to the Square last week and it was a good time. The band, The Disco Bisquits, were pretty good and I saw them last year as they were on last year's Thursday at the Square lineup as well. The only thing is that they are a jam band and sometimes their songs can be 5 minutes too long. But the people are always great and it's a fun and cheap way to spend a night downtown. I plan on meeting up with my cousins at their loft in the city tomorrow before going to the festivities. I'm looking forward to all the festivals coming up such as the Allentown Art Festival. There is a lot of activity going on in Buffalo during the summer. I plan on taking advantage of everything that there is to offer in the summer (like always), but I am also hoping I can go on a few road trips this summer to various cities. It should be a good time. I'm also planning on working more on my photography this summer so I'll be sure to share my photos with all of you. Right now I have a few from my time down at the Square but they are just from my point and shoot camera because I wasn't sure if DSLRs were allowed (I'm still not sure because I got mixed answers). Here's a few:

The stage, the crowd, and City Hall in the background.

Looking up while sitting on the "Soldiers & Sailors Monument" in Lafayette Square.

I thought this was a nice view showcasing some of Buffalo's unique architecture.

Trip to Spot...grapefruit green tea over ice, very refreshing.

This picture is really grainy, but check out that awesome bike!

And this wasn't downtown, but I had to take a picture of this:

"Hockey Mum" almost ran over my friend Scott.

Ahh yes...good times. Oh, and I'd like to mention that I've added a new blog to my blogroll. Melissa has started a blog called Hockey Is Life; Nothing Else Matters. She's eager and excited to become apart of the blogosphere and she promises that her blog will be great, so pay her a visit!

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Happy Birthday, Marilyn

This has nothing to do with hockey, but I wanted to make a post wishing my favorite lady a happy birthday. Some of you may or may not have caught on that I am a pretty big Marilyn Monroe fan. Today would have been her 83rd birthday.

I've been fascinated with Marilyn for as long as I can remember, and it was because I was captivated by her beautiful face. I've always been very interested in the "golden age" of Hollywood, so it makes sense why Marilyn has always been so intriguing for me. I'm a sucker for anything vintage and basically the time periods from 1920-1960 have always been my favorite eras in American history, and that's exactly when Marilyn lived. She was born in 1926 and she died in 1962.

I guess I would consider her my idol, and a lot of people always ask me why. I think nowadays Marilyn is only viewed as the sex symbol that made her famous. She's there to look beautiful and be sexy. But my adoration goes beyond the "Marilyn Monroe" facade, and I admire her for who she was as a person. Obviously I could never truly know Marilyn on a personal level considering she lived before my time, but after investing a lot of my time in reading books on her life and just researching her, I really feel as if I can understand the type of person she was. She wasn't perfect, but no one is and I find that endearing. She made mistakes and did things that I don't agree with at times, but that's not to say that she wasn't a great woman. She was dealt with a hard life and she was a very vulnerable and sensitive woman and I feel a lot of people exploited that and took advantage of her because of this.

I know a lot of people will only see Marilyn as a woman who liked to sleep around and who developed a drug habit. I think these people just don't know enough about Marilyn to see who she truly was. After all, she's hasn't been alive for over 45 years, so it's hard for people to defend her name and it's easy for people to conjure up stories about her life. I know pretty much everything there is to know about her, and I almost feel as if it's my duty to defend her name and show her for who she really was.

I could probably write a book about how I feel about her and why I admire her so much, but I'll keep it simple. Marilyn was more than a beautiful face. She was a sweet woman who adored children and animals. She was sensitive and vulnerable and I think what she wanted most out of life was to be appreciated. She adored her fans and her public and she didn't want to let them down. She often told her friends to hold a good thought for her, and I hold a good thought for her every day.

Her charisma has captivated people for many decades and I still love watching her act in movies and pose in front of the camera. Her sweet face and voice always makes me smile. In honor of her birthday, I'll probably watch Some Like It Hot or Gentleman Prefer Blondes. If you haven't seen any movies with Marilyn, I'd highly recommend those. The Seven Year Itch is also a good one, and it features the famous subway scene.

LIFE magazine has also announced that more than 300 "new" photos from one of my favorite photoshoots of hers has been discovered in their archives and they will be made available to the public early next year. It's funny after all these years how there are still unseen photos of her emerging. I can't even imagine how many photos of her there are out there that I have yet to see and probably will never see. The camera loved her.

When I heard about the news of these new photos, I felt pretty much the same way that this little girl feels in this picture:

Hey...what do you know, I tied in hockey with this post. Okay, not really. I love hockey!!! There, now it's officially hockey related, right?

So happy birthday Marilyn, you truly were a special lady.
Coincidentally, it's also my late dog's birthday too. Jasper was a great dog and he was 17 years old when we had to send him on his journey. He was a great companion until the very end.