Sunday, March 14, 2004

1:57 PM, and it doesn't seem like I'm able to find any more CDPD service at the moment. We are taking a short break at the Charleton East rest stop, which is just inside the Massachusetts state line. I've been text messaging with Donna H all this time, and according to her, we're making excellent time.
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As always, we watched some movies on the bus. On the way up, we saw Good Boy, which was cute (even if it doesn't come even REMOTELY close to describing actual dog hierarchy or behavior). Still, I'd recommend it for families with kids, particularly if said kids love animal stories as much as I did (and still do).

Then we watched a film that I'd had no idea even existed -- this is the occasional result of my not paying much attention to what movies are showing, at any given time. It's called Radio and I would highly recommend it to anyone, at any time. In fact, this morning I saw it advertised on Comcast's "On Demand" feature and seriously considered setting up a tape in the VCR and ordering the movie. I think the charge for movies on demand is between $3 and $4.

Once we arrived in Manchester, the Monarchs booster club treated us all to pizza. The pizza was good, but WOW, was it hot. As in, literally hot enough to cause injury. I thought of my grandmom, who used to describe people who liked scalding hot meals by saying, "They must have an asbestos mouth". I loved it, though.

After that, we still had about 90 minutes to kill before game time, so our bus took us to The Mall of New Hampshire. That's where I caught up with Donna H by phone, and found that she wasn't going to be able to meet up with us before our group arrived at the arena. I had her tickets with me (two, though it turned out the other person couldn't make it), so when we got to the rink I left them at the will call window for her.

What a great arena the Monarchs have! Verizon Wireless Arena is about 3 years old, and it's a beautiful building. The only drawback (for us, but not for the team or its fan base) is that the only place where blocks of tickets were available was on the second level near the top. WHEW, was it a workout getting to and from our seats. I don't normally have issues with stairs, but these stairs were steep as heck and we had to climb quite a distance to get to row R. The sensation in my legs reminded me of how it felt after doing a set of exercises at the gym, back when there was a gym in my neighborhood that I used to belong to. (At least that was a GOOD feeling, unlike the sensation in my knees, which were cranky due to the long bus ride and the cold weather). How high up were our seats? On the bus ride home, I heard a fellow fan talking on a cell phone describe it by saying, "Now I know what God feels like". LOL.

The game itself was terrific. We didn't win, but we were well matched with the Monarchs and frankly, I wouldn't have minded seeing a tie. We spent quite a bit of game time tied at 1-1 and with the same (or nearly the same) shots on goal. However, we fell behind 2-1 in the third period, and that was pretty much it. We couldn't solve their goalie again, and Manchester got an empty-net goal with a few seconds left. But hey -- our guys played VERY well overall so I can't complain. Donna H did arrive shortly before game time, so we spent the game watching hockey and catching up.

On the way home, we had another movie, but I was so exhausted that I fell asleep before it ended. It was MVP, about a hockey-playing chimpanzee, and the truth is that I was so sleepy, the only reason I even attempted to stay awake was that I saw there was a deaf character who signed, as did her hearing family members. Then I got curious to see just HOW the good guys were going to win at the end and tried even more to stay awake. No dice -- fatigue won out over curiosity and I missed the end of the movie.

I'd told Donna H to send me a message when she got home. I got her text message just as our bus arrived at the Mass Pike, at 11:48 pm. Mark and I got home rather later than that... the bus arrived at the Skate Zone at about 4:30 AM. By the time we drove back to Philly, and dropped off three fellow fans at 12th and Shunk (which was on our way home), we got home after 5 AM.

I'm STILL tired, but I had a great time yesterday and I'd gladly do it all again. It was a great day.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Well, here we are, two hours into a 7-hour drive to Manchester. I'm composing this post in the bus, somewhere on the New York Thruway. :o)

So far, we've watched a movie (Good Boy) and raffled off an Ian MacNeil autographed hockey stick. I also had the chance to growl at a billboard ("Stanley Cup Champion NJ Devils -- for tickets, call ___". GRRRRRRR) and at the Continental Airlines Arena which is where the Devils play. We also ran into some serious traffic heading through the Bronx. I think we were on I-95 at the time, and now I can see why Donna H avoids using that route when she comes down to Philly. As congested as the traffic on our side was, the SOUTHbound traffic was even worse, and this is a Saturday morning. Sheesh, I don't want to see what those roads look like during rush hour!

I looked at the NYC skyline and felt sad. I'll never, ever be able to look at it without thinking "Something's missing" and remembering how barbaric people are capable of being toward one another. :o(

Thank goodness at least it's a BEAUTIFUL day. We haven't had tons of sunlight in Philly for the past few days, so seeing actual real-live sunshine is a treat and a mood lifter.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Speaking of the Phantoms, BOY did we ever start our three-game road trip off well! We just shut out the Providence Bruins, 4-0. Antero Niittymaki gets the shutout win, and John Slaney got two goals and two assists. I'd vote for those two guys as the first two stars of the game, for sure! (I have to check the box score again to see who I'd vote for as the third star.)

Go, Phantoms! Keep up the good work, the Phan Club's heading up to see you guys tomorrow!
Oh, dear. Can it really be a month and a half since I last posted? YIKES!

Mea culpa. The gap in posting started because for about a week, I was dealing with either a full-fledged migraine or the minor headache and other symptoms that tend to be the precursor of a migraine. After that, I was not only out of the habit of jotting thoughts down on a regular basis, but I kept thinking "Oh, I have so much stuff to catch up on. I'm busy now, I'll do it later".

Well, the more stuff I felt I had to post while playing catchup, the more daunting the task looked.

Finally, today I decided, "Phooey. I'm just going to pick up from here and move forward. If I think of anything that oughta be mentioned, that happened during the past few weeks of downtime, I'll just say it."

So... I'm baaaack. :o)

And just in time, too. The Phantoms Phan Club is going on a trip to Manchester to see our boys play the Monarchs. It ought to be a fun trip. And it's sure to be something that I want to post about. So it's time to dust off the ol' blog and get back into the swing of things.