Thursday, May 29, 2008

Proving Me Wrong

Earlier today, I wrote a big ol' post about my crazy online life. Not much after that, I got mentioned by one of my favorite bloggers which was a real ego boost. Just this evening, after installing the latest OSX update, my computer's hard drive went kaput. Back in the olden days, before I had my life entirely online, this would have been cataclysmic. Oh no! Everything gone!

As it is, this will be mildly expensive and a little inconvenient but my computing life will go on. Andy is manually backing up all of our photos as I type, and that's just a precaution really. Because the hard drive has been going south for awhile, we haven't been able to use Time Machine for regular backups of my stuff, but we do have a fairly recent manual one so I'm not too worried.

Planning ahead for hard drive 2.0, I think there will be a hefty emphasis on keeping Time Machine working properly and even using some of that iDisk space we're paying for. I also need to fix the fact that my iTunes library has a bunch of kid music and a few CDs worth of jug band music. Those selections alone are not going to keep me on the treadmill for the required length of time.

Wait-what? You're planning to spend more time with your computer so that you can spend more time with your real life? How does that work again? It probably doesn't. But a girl can dream, right?

My 15 Minutes

Well, here you have it, folks. My brush with fame! All of that obsessive intertoobing has won me honorable mention on one of my favorite blogs. Huzzah!

Once you read the reason for my meteoric rise to fame, you'll probably agree that I'm a humongous dork. But at least I'm a happy dork.


I've been pretty preoccupied with our lovely red neighbor for the past few weeks. Things are really happening, and I'm having a hard time taking it all in. For those of you who are interested, here are my favorite resources.

The official site at University of Arizona. See all of the pictures, read all of the news.

NASA's coverage, but be careful or you'll get all excited about the other stuff that's going on.

For up-to-the-minute coverage, Mars Live does a good job. (They also do Twitter, which is handy when I'm away from my computer.)

For help digesting what's going on, I like Emily at the Planetary Society.

And, when I want to see some pretty pics and a succinct explanation that captures the wonder of it all, I visit the Bad Astronomer. He writes about all kinds of other interesting things, too.

I am loving the pictures sent back by the orbiters. It is absolutely amazing to me that we have machines orbiting a distant planet that can take pictures of another machine as it lands and now that it's landed. It's hard not to be excited.

My Electronic Life

With this whole internet thing, I tend to vacillate between all and nothing. For those of you who've sent email I haven't answered, submitted comments to which I haven't responded, all I can offer is that I'm in the middle of a downswing. I'm generally a sketchy correspondent at best, but I've been even more of a slacker lately. I still really like hearing from you, though.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about my online life lately. I like having a blog to share our family goings-on with family and friends. I like occasionally sending my opinions out into the great void. It's neat to read what other people are writing, and I have a good dozen blogs that I like to read. A person could literally spend all day, every day reading these things. It takes some discipline to stay caught up while simultaneously filtering out the noise.

When I realized that I was missing out on some of the doings of friends simply because I wasn't on Facebook, I signed up. I have to say I like the idea of Facebook. It's fun to catch up with people from my past lives and bring them back to my present. For someone who moves around and tends to travel in varied and diverse social circles, this is a fantastic device. It is also very noisy. Any number of friends who are active and you can spend an entire day reading their updates and taking quizzes. Again, it requires discipline to not just hang out there all day. And, there's always the vague suspicion that it's exhibitionist and annoying. This video pretty well sums up my reservations:

And then, of course, there's Twitter. I had dismissed it as yet another bit of digital noise I could do without, even as friends were adopting it. And then, there was that story about the guy who was sprung from political imprisonment when he used Twitter to tell his friends he was arrested. Well, who wouldn't want a following like that in this day and age. Our current regime doesn't believe in the constitution much, so it would be good to have Twitter as an ace in the hole. So, I'm findable there. I follow a few friends, a blogger I like to read, and the Phoenix lander. Oh yes, I get text messages from someone pretending to be a machine on Mars. That's pretty cool, because I know when the super amazing stuff is happening even if I'm not by my computer. (I have it send text messages to my phone.)

I'm a bit confused as to the etiquette of Twitter, though. It seems a little like electronic stalking to me, which is why I haven't added two of the most widely-read bloggers I read. Isn't it creepy? I never "tweet" anything I wouldn't mind random people reading. But, anyone can choose to "follow" you and see what you're up to, and you have to block anyone who signs up that you don't want. You can also browse by location and see what a whole mess of people (complete with pictures, in many cases) you're not following at all are up to. That makes me a little nervous, and I hope that no burglars, G-men, missionaries or serial killers are on to this as a targeting tool.

So, when I evaluate the kinds of online lives available these days, it's hard not to see it as an attention-seeker's version of a dirty sock. And, I certainly don't want to leave that lying around for the entire world to see. There are articles out there about the up-and-coming generation's very different understanding of personal privacy, and when I read them I feel like an old curmudgeon for suspecting these whippersnappers of naivete and an unhealthy preoccupation with self. And then I realize that I'm giving it a go myself. I can point to my reasons for signing up for these various online activities, but I have no clear understanding of why I keep participating. Very seductive, this electronic lifestyle. Also noisy and confusing.

I'd be interested in hearing about the electronic lives of my readers. What's Web 2.0 doing for/to you?

We've Been Reading

Observant readers will note that I never quite got around to posting a list of our library book choices last week. They were largely uninspired, so I don't feel like you've missed out too much. This week's notables include:

Big Smelly Bear
by Britta Teckentrup
I picked up this book for entirely selfish reasons. I get sick of fighting with Elise over the bathing habits (specifically lack thereof) of her three omnipresent stuffed animals. I've been met with wild tantrums when I use a direct approach, and find it just annoying enough that I thought I'd try being subversive. I did not once mention how stinky Teri was this week, and I like to think that this book planted the seeds of a tantrum free bath for the critters yesterday. It's a nice hygiene reminder.

A Promise Is a Promise
by Florence Parry Heide, illustrated by Tony Auth
George is a borderline spoiled little boy who decides he wants a pet. I like the mom's response-it seems tongue-in-cheek to me. The kid does a good job of looking around for annoying pets. The real lesson here seems to be for parents to not make promises to their smart kids.

A Snout for Chocolate
by Denys Cazet
We read the first of these "Grandpa Spanielson's Chicken Pox Stories" last week, and just had to read the next one this time around. We love the grandpa-kinda reminds me of Grandpa Karl. This author writes a lot of books for young readers, and I like his style. We'll be perusing his other titles for more gems.

by Mick Manning, illustrated by Brita Granström
Elise chose this one, and it was the first one she wanted me to read when we got home. I've only read it to her once, but I've been called a supermom at various times all week. Elise really likes looking at the animal moms doing the same kinds of things to take care of their babies that I do to take care of her. I like that it shows a human mom breastfeeding because it might just get Elise used to the idea that this is a normal human behavior. At the very least, it might spare me from a very loud, public exclamation of, "Mommy, what is that lady DOING?!!!"

Angelina and the Rag Doll
adapted by Katharine Holabird, based on illustrations of Helen Craig
We've just discovered Angelina in a big way. I don't think Elise has any designs on being a ballerina, but she sure likes the adventures Angelina has. This one is a great introduction to giving and charity. It's really getting Elise thinking about ownership and sharing. This story was a great way for her to address the sadness of inadvertently giving up something important and measure it against the value of giving joy and comfort to someone else.

Lily Takes a Walk
by Satoshi Kitamura
This book's illustrations are just weird enough to unsettle me, but I like it. Lily goes about her business while her dog accompanies her on a walk. The dog sees more and more outrageous monsters that terrify him, while Lily sees none of it. I like to think that Nicky the dog does all of the worrying so that Lily doesn't have to. I need to see if this author has other books, because I love this one.

And I even checked out some stuff!

Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter
written/compiled by Alison Hansel
This was just too good to pass up. I made my own Harry Potter scarf shortly after the first movie came out, and always wanted to make a sweater like the one that Harry got so mangled at the end of that movie. This book doesn't show anything spectacular (in my opinion) but it has stuff for knitters of all levels and the stuff is really cute. If you're looking for some basic sweater patterns, this book has some nice ones. I want to use up some of my scrap yarn making owls.

What Shamu Taught Me About Life Love and Marriage: Lessons for People from Animals and Their Trainers
by Amy Sutherland
I heard this author on Talk of the Nation, and wanted to read the book. I'm glad I got it at the library, because I wouldn't buy it. The idea is fantastic. The execution is mediocre. I was looking forward to some animal training stories, but instead got a whole lot of snarky commentary about the author's husband. And some imprecise writing. Members of her family are not "subspecies," and "ATM machine" is redundant. It's not bad, just not the standard of writing I'm used to reading. The one thing it did do was encourage me to get out my bird behavior books again. Beaker is going to be treated to a fun makeover in the next several months.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Growing Up

It's official-Elise is getting to be one of the big kids. The past few weeks have been full of all kinds of "new" this and "first" thats. We're struck by how much more patience Elise seems to muster. It hasn't been that long since one small setback would rock her world so hard she'd be a weeping puddle on the floor. It's been a very long time since she would willingly try new foods without serious coercion-well over two years. And now here we are, wondering who is this kid who keeps trying difficult things and diversifying her diet.

We headed to a park yesterday to picnic and just generally hang out. It was extraordinarily confusing for us to sit on a bench and watch Elise play instead of being subjected to weeping when suggesting that she could probably figure out the slide on her own. We were then dumbfounded to see her actually SITTING ON A SWING. And TRYING TO MAKE IT GO. Elise has wept at the merest suggestion of swings since she was big enough to sit in one. A couple of weeks ago, she met a kid at our nearby park who was swinging in one of the baby swings, and she wanted to try it. It was ok, and she seemed to have fun. This climbing onto a regular swing all by herself and actually attempting to use it was unprecedented. I have no idea what prompted her to give it a go, but I'm so proud of her!

Of course, there is also a whole lot of climbing of new things which should also be given its due. There is a climbing wall at the park that she can now do on her own, and she tried something similar at this park yesterday. And she's confident about various kinds of ladders. And she runs and jumps across the wiggly bridge-like thing on play structures. I know a whole lot of parents who take this kind of thing for granted, but that has never been our style. Conquering this fear of trying new things, especially physical new things, has taken a whole lot of persistent effort. I have no idea what changed to make this click, but for the moment I don't care. Our daughter now has fun at the park! I see a lot more park time in our future.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Pew Pew!

We always know when it's 5:30am here. The little house finches outside go crazy and start chirping up a storm for about 20 minutes. My favorite has been one that sings a longish but recognizable tune that ends in, "what?" alternating with that same tune that ends in, "pew pew!"

Big dork that I am, I fell in love with this one and have been bummed that I haven't heard it the past 5 days. Some other fun songs, but not pew pew. Well, this morning pew pew was back! And has added some interesting new phrases. Pew pew also seems to be accompanied by someone who has a gift for imitation, as I keep hearing something that sounds a lot like a finch trying to be a rooster. Or Beaker.

I love the little finches. What do yours say?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Geeky Weekend, part 2

So, I am a regular reader of Wil Wheaton's blog. I really liked him as Wesley Crusher (apparently a controversial statement among "real" geeks and trekkies), and I've been loving reading the fruits of his career transition. I certainly recommend giving his writing a look-it's good stuff.

Last year, when Super-Con was in town I remember being downtown and laughing about (and surreptitiously at) the costumed weirdos. This year, my perspective was a little different. Wil Wheaton was going to be there! Oh, and the guys from MST3K!

So, coming to this realization after the deadline for online ticket sales, I headed to the nearest comic book emporium to get my discounted advance ticket. I also made a purchase. I'll probably go back and do it again. A startling turn of events for a girl who's never been in a comic book shop before.

Saturday morning, I was very jealous because Andy and Elise were headed for a bug festival at an area nature center. It looked fun! As it happens, they had a fantastic time together and I got to hear all about it later.

Walking into the convention hall was fun. The costume contest sign-up was right next to the check-in-and-get-your-wristband place, and I thought that was fun. I made up my mind to wander the entire hall and get the lay of the land before seeking out the folks I most wanted to see. What a lot of great things to see! I felt a bit out of place because I really don't know that much about comics. I can say that I was only mildly interested in the big name ones I'd heard of before, and had a great time looking at the stuff presented by the artists themselves. I'm a sucker for people's creative efforts.

Anyway, I would just like to say that this was one of the nicest groups of people I've encountered. I wasn't expecting more than the usual contingent of jerks that one finds in convention halls, but I was surprised to not meet anybody being a creep. Really?! We should all be so lucky as to live in a world in which jackasses are so marginalized that they have to go underground. Say what you like about geeks and social skills, but it was an absolute joy to me to be in a room full of people who were happy and wearing their emotions on their sleeves.

When I came across Wil Wheaton, he was chatting away with a group of fans. I almost didn't recognize him because of his beard. (His picture on his blog does not include beardage.) I joined the short line to meet him, and a clearly excited young man stepped in front of me. When he realized that he'd probably cut in front of me and looked sad about it, I said not to worry, I'd been standing there looking around. In my mind this was a clear, "No worries, I wasn't being obvious that I was in line, we're cool." In his mind, I'd been standing around and now welcomed the chance to stand in line behind him. By this point, I was starting to feel a little nervous about being a fangirl in line to see a star, so I was pretty happy to let someone else go ahead of me. Maybe he had a better idea of what was on my mind than I did.

From reading some of Wil's stuff, I was pretty sure he'd be a nice guy and treat his fans kindly even if we got all dorky on him. Seeing him interact with the guy in front of me was enough to melt a heart of stone. I think it must take an incredible amount of skill and compassion to respond pleasantly to strange, blurted questions about public parts of your life from complete strangers. And to do it with a gentle sincerity must be a mark of a Good Person. If I were a star signing autographs, I'd want to be like Wil Wheaton. No question.

I'd like to think that when it was my turn to talk to this very cool actor and author I was also very cool. But I totally wasn't. "Ooooh, ooh! Make a connection with me! Maybe I'll stand out as not-just-another-fan!" Yeah, probably not. Talking to a complete stranger about whom I think I know a lot, and who knows me not at all, probably isn't going to forge any lifelong friendships. I'm proud that I didn't drool or blurt out anything profoundly inappropriate. Clearly, I have much work to do on my star-chatting persona before I should attempt to get anywhere near David Tennant.

The guys from MST3K were nice to hear in a panel discussion and fun to meet. I will have to check out their new project, Cinematic Titanic.

Still not as much fun as Wil Wheaton, though. He told me about where the book I had him sign has been, which I'm sure he's told before, but he was telling it to me. I am so excited to have in my hot little hands the small booklet thingie he published for his summer convention touring. For those who want to know, my hand-numbered volume is number 7 of 200. (Not Seven of Nine-that's something else entirely.)

It was great to get out and try something new. It was even better to meet someone I admire and to be able to honestly add to that admiration. I think I like my inner geek-maybe I'll let her out more often...

My Geeky Weekend

This weekend, I did something I never thought I'd do. And I'd probably do it again.

The End

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Owls in the Family

Once again, I've dithered about and not been able to come up with a thorough account of our week's best library picks. However, I'd like to mention our inter-library loan score!

I haven't read a lot of Farley Mowat's stuff, but what I have read I have loved. I think Elise will eventually love The Dog Who Wouldn't Be, for example. For now, though, I thought that Owls in the Family would be perfect.

We started reading, and Elise was bored by the first chapter. It's a lot of introduction to the plains of Saskatchewan as seen through the eyes of adventuresome boys. Her attention wasn't really caught until baby owls entered the picture, and then she was really distressed by dead ones.

(Elise is obsessed with death these days-really trying to figure it out. We've been reading and talking and I'm mostly sure that we should keep talking until she gets bored of the topic. Anybody with insights please feel free to comment on this entry or mail me privately.)

The absolute best part of our reading experience was when Elise realized that Wol and Weeps had become friends. You'd be hard pressed to see a girl more enamored of a story and its possibilities. They're friends! They stay together and play together! Beautiful. She also really liked hearing about Wol sneaking up on Mutt, though I could tell that she had some reservations about an owl picking on a "helpless" dog.

The stories in this book were fun to share, and I think we'll enjoy reading them again when she's older. In the mean time, she's welcomed a new enthusiasm to her repertoire. When Elise and Andy went to a nature center this weekend, they saw an owl and Elise was enamored. "I've never seen an owl in person!" Of course she has, but before we read Owls in the Family she hadn't really noticed.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fantastic Photos

Loyal readers will remember last year's exciting photographic excursion and the fantastic results. Well, this year we volunteered for the California Photographic Workshop again. And ohmygoodness are we thrilled with the massive numbers of incredible pictures. Special thanks to Uncle Peter and Auntie Roni for wardrobe assistance in the form of raingear-an excellent gift that keeps on giving. Thanks, guys!

And now, without further ado, Please feel free to enjoy!

Fight Global Warming

I would like to let my readers, especially those in the Bay Area, know about a great volunteer event this weekend. Pay homage to your noodly master and help save the planet at the same time! I speak, of course, of the Million Pirate March.

As the more enlightened among my readership already know, there is a direct correlation between the decline of pirates and the rise in global temperatures. While it is not reasonable to expect that we all drop what we're doing and take to the high seas, a concerted effort this weekend can and will increase your "arrrrrgh footprint." Especially if you take public transit to the event.

So, ye landlubbers, get yer rig together and fight global warming this weekend!

The Irony, it Burns!

I've been trying to ignore the Democratic Primary Circus ever since I submitted my ballot earlier this spring. It is impossible to pay attention without being annoyed and disheartened.

Apparently, it is not possible to choose a candidate without being either a misogynist or a racist. If you're a fence-sitter, does that make you both? Also, "working class" means poor, which of course means that if you're not poor you're probably an elitist. Because cognitive dissonance is an integral part of so many of our religions today, it is now completely logical that a candidate can be a radical muslim while simultaneously being under the spell of a looneytunes christian minister. NAFTA is starting to look like it was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, or maybe it "accidentally" fell down some stairs.

It's all an interesting idea for a dystopian novel, until I realize that this is actually happening. Dude, I've never done drugs (even though Nancy Reagan told me not to) and this all fits perfectly into my idea of what a bad trip must be.

Just when everything seems hopeless, somebody does something clever to bring on much needed comic relief. Today's offering is courtesy of the Clinton campaign. Turn down your irony sensors, because this may actually blow them out...

Apparently unable to find a newspaper headline that fit with the little video spot they were making, it's a good guess that someone made one up and just tacked it onto the first article they could find. So as to not spoil the surprise, I would like to direct your attention to this well-written account. Please note that he does indeed link to the original so that you can verify for yourself.

Ohmygoodness you didn't see that one coming, did you? Me neither. I've spent the past 24 hours giving this entirely too much brainspace. Was it a deliberate act to remind the public of how awful Men are and how Hillary still shines forth? Was it a stupid mistake by an idiot staffer? Was it the work of a saboteur? We may never know. But I find it fascinating.

The pressure of this campaigning stuff somehow manages to cook reality into an unrecognizable sludge without actually neutralizing the bits likely to kill us. I've tried reading the instruction manual, but have yet to identify the problem. (Inferior ingredients, irregular financing, apathetic kitchen staff. Clearly this home canning stuff has a lot of elements to consider...) If we're not all dead of Mad Lemming Disease by the end of this primary season, I'll be surprised.

And now, just in time for today's West Virginia primary, I leave you with the words of the always entertaining Keith Olbermann.

Remember, if you're not feeling marginalized, you're not paying attention.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Humorous Pictures
more cat pictures

Ah, Books

Two weeks of library favorites summed up right here...

Where Did That Baby Come From?
by Debi Gliori
It's hard to be a big tiger when a baby tiger joins the household. After a lot of speculation as to the cub's origins, the older one concludes that it's probably an earthling like the rest of us. I wasn't too fond of this one, really, but Elise seemed to love it.

Billy Tibbles Moves Out!
by Jan Fearnley
Billy does not want to share his own private bedroom with his baby brother. Parents insist and do a lot of talking about everyone sharing. The kittens "share" alright, and we get to giggle at the grumpy daddy when he gets exactly what he says he wants.

One of Each
by Mary Ann Hoberman, Illustrated by Marjorie Priceman
Oliver Tolliver is a pretty clever dog and clearly very good at keeping a well-ordered house. It takes a cat to inject some constructive criticism and give him a chance to shine. I love the way this is written-the rhythm and rhyme scheme are just fantastic and a joy to read aloud.

I Like Things
by Margaret Hillert, Illustrated by Lois Axeman
We like collecting things here, and so does the kid in this book. It's in with the easy-reader books because the words are simple and the vocabulary is small. Maybe that's the biggest part of its charm. Elise and I learned all kinds of new ways to categorize and play with some of the things she likes to collect.

Beetle Bop
by Denise Fleming
Elise really, really likes bugs. They're fun to watch and play with. So, seeing lots of bright, colorful beetles in a book is right up her alley. Reading this gave me the idea to get some ladybugs to try to cull the aphid population that is currently making our sidewalk sticky and our trees look sickly.

Silent Kay and the Dragon
by Larry Dane Brimner, illustrated by Bob McMahon
I absolutely loved this book. It's from the "A Rookie Reader" series, and just very well done. Kay is a young (female!) knight who goes to slay a dragon, and the adventure revolves around words in which the k is silent. Brilliant. I'm going to look for more of these-they're hilarious!

How Many Fish?
by Caron Lee Cohen, illustrated by S.D. Schindler
Elise picked this one up in response to our recent trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and spent the week enjoying counting the fish. I think I got to read it to her once, and the rest of the time she "read" it to herself.

Wake Up, Big Barn!
by Suzanne Tanner Chitwood
This was one of the librarian's selections for storytime, and Elise loved it. The illustrations are interesting and lovely, but I have to say I didn't get much out of the words. Pretty book, though.

Let's Talk About Feeling Sad
by Joy Berry
We've been having some anxiety and worry issues around here, so when I saw this on the shelf I grabbed it. Not a real expert on talking about feelings, I've been looking for a way to get Elise engaged in a dialogue, and this was it. We both really enjoyed reading (and rereading) this book, and if I can't find the rest of the series at the library I'm tempted to buy them.

A Summery Saturday Morning
by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Selina Young
A nicely done rhythmic, rhyming story about a family's adventures on a summer morning. I totally want to go along with them.

Oh, the technology!

In spite of my avowed desire to spend less time in front of a computer screen, I've been doing more of it lately. Apparently, I can't help myself.

First it was email and random websites. Then it was blogs. Then it was lots and lots of blogs. Then it was blogging. Then it was Facebook. Then it was Twitter. Oh dear. And when I mention that I began to salivate while looking at a Wii today, thinking of Guitar Hero and oh wow look at all of those games they look like so much fun hey I think Elise might like that one I'll bet this would be great at Christmas so we can have something to do together at home when it's raining out and it's just so pretty and little...

Yeah, out of control. I'll work on it.

Wonderful Month of May

May is an exciting month here at Steingruebl World Enterprises. We get three big celebrations during the first part of the month. My birthday on the 4th, Mother's Day somewhere after that, and our wedding anniversary on the 18th. Wahoo! All of that and springtime too!

Many thanks to everyone who sent along birthday wishes-it was indeed a lovely day. We had a fantastically relaxed day together which was just about perfect. Except for the Sharks losing in quadruple overtime, but they're forgiven. That wasn't nearly as stressful as it could have been, as Elise and Andy presented me with a back-massaging chair cushion.

As an after-the-fact bonus, I learned from Wil Wheaton that I'm born on Jedi Day! Quoth he:

Oh! Please enjoy this moment from lunch, which I sent to Twitter: Anne: It's Jedi day! Me: What? Anne: May the Fourth be with you. Me: OMG I am so sending that to Twitter.

One can get the context of this here.
(I would also like to mention that his latest book is a great read, and his brother Jeremy takes pictures that make me homesick and happy all at once.)

Mother's Day is coming up, and I have no idea what we'll be doing, but I suspect that my fantastic family will find some way to avoid the brunchtime crowds and perhaps concoct a surprise breakfast while I sleep in. For example.

We've been shopping for our anniversary present to ourselves, and made the purchase today. I'm not telling what it is until the 18th, though. We'll be going out to dinner, just the two of us, on the 16th. Most likely after I attend an orientation for a cat rescue organization. We haven't planned anything exciting for the 18th yet, though. If you have (tasteful) suggestions please feel free to leave 'em in the comments.

There you have it-a round up of some of the wonderful parts of our May. I hope yours is set to be exciting and fun, too.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Library List Hiatus

Loyal readers may have noticed that I didn't get a library book review up last week. We got busy. And we didn't pick too many winners. The good ones we did find, we kept for another week and you'll get to read all about them this Thursday.

Remember the Morans

If ignorance is bliss, why doesn't this lady look happy?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Playoff Madness

We are hoarse and hard of hearing, but very happy here at Steingruebl World Enterprises. We'd reserved our Friday night sitter for this evening in honor of my birthday this weekend and then Andy heard from a friend at work that free Sharks playoff tickets were to be had. Well, okay, sign us up! It is not my fault that I look a bit deranged when I'm exceedingly happy and excited.

As it happens, these weren't just any old seats, they were Row 1. We had to look between the players' legs to see the puck hit the ice in the face-offs. Of course, this meant that we didn't have the best view of the ice, but we did get to smack the glass and get ice on us during some of the bigger hits. I also had an immature but fabulous time thumbing my nose at Turco and any of the other Stars that happened to look my way. It was so fun! And, because the first several rows are seated on top of bleachers, we could stomp our feet to make noise, in addition to clapping and screaming.

We could also see that the Comerica Bank Zamboni had something funny written on the side-click to embiggen and you may giggle too. Note how spotty looking the dude with the goal is. That's from smudges on the glass left by actual hockey players.

Most of the action seemed to happen at the other end of the ice, but we did get to watch Brian Campbell, with his unbelievably red hair, make a fantastic goal. Given how few shots on goal there were, I think that they must have been pursuing a strategy of boring Turco into sloppiness. But Campbell's shot was excellent and it was right in front of my nose.

I'm new enough to hockey that I am not familiar with how the officiating changes with playoff games. It seems like a lot of penalties are not called, and some are random. The Sharks got the best breaks ever (after getting a lot of kinda crummy calls, in my opinion) tonight, with two apparent goals by Dallas being overturned on review.

When the Sharks managed to get an icing call on them in the last 5.7 seconds of the 3rd period, I thought we were done for, but they saved themselves and went on to Period 4. For those of you who might have been following this series, you know that this was a decidedly bad thing. We've lost two games to Dallas in overtime here in the playoffs. And then Joe Pavelski just smacked one in and I thought the roof was going to fly off. I know I did my best to help that happen.

Good grief. We went in half expecting to witness the Sharks in their last game of the season, and instead we were part of a fantastic party. And, thanks to our corporate sponsors, it only cost us for the babysitter. Dinner and tickets were free! Wow, was that ever fun. Pretty fantastic birthday present from my hubby. And from the Sharks.