Boston


576 Mile Commute To Work

Being a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, it doesn’t happen very often that you get to see two of the top teams in the league battle it out but that’s what happened when I saw the Bruins play host to the San Jose Sharks. After a minor ticketing fiasco, we ended up sitting in box seats for the game which was a much better result than the nose-bleed section. The game had a couple of fights, plenty of scoring opportunities to get the home crowd excited but the result was a disappointing 2-0 loss. Take away that shutout loss for Boston, and they have scored 19 goals in their last 4 games – it just happens they don’t score anything the night I am there. It was my first ever game at TD Gardens but the arena is definitely worth a visit with all the memorabilia inside of the legendary Celtics, the Great #77 for the Bruins and even jerseys of Brady and Manning during their rivalry years.

On the other end is Green Bay – By far the smallest city to have a professional sports team is once again the champion. This marks only the second time since I moved out here to North America that a professional team out of the four major sports that I root for has won the championship – it was also the Packers in 1997. As I mentioned in an earlier post, The Blue Jays have not made the playoffs since 1993 when they won it all for a second year in a row, while the Leafs and Raptors have struggled just to make the playoffs this past decade, never mind being a contender to win it all.

I think I moved maybe once or twice from my seat once the game began and even tortured myself through the god-awful half time show just so I wouldn’t miss the beginning of the 2nd half especially since Pittsburgh had just scored to the end the half and the momentum was definitely beginning to shift. Most definitely the worst quarter to watch all season was the 3rd quarter. Packers struggled to do anything, punted on every single drive while gaining only 17 yards in the entire period.

What arguably feels like the longest week in a very, very long time is about to end. Last Friday I flew into Boston for the weekend to visit a friend to watch a hockey game and then the Super Bowl to see my beloved Packers play the Steelers. I was initially scheduled to come back from Boston Sunday night which I fortunately got changed to Monday morning. After having gone to bed after midnight, waking up at 4:30am and taking an hour and a half commute to the airport followed by a 100 minute wait and a 90 minute flight from the greatest airlines in North America (maybe outside of Jet Blue) and I was at work in Toronto at 11 – a lovely 576 mile international commute.

I don’t know how people in the US make those long commutes in NYC and Boston on a regular basis but I could never pull that off on a regular basis. Having spent the rest of the week playing Left 4 Dead 2 much later during the night than I really should have has really compounded my lethargic week. At least tomorrow is Friday which hopefully means I can sleep in at least one of the two days but knowing how my weekends go here, I really doubt it.


My Trip Home (12/24 – 12/28)

A blizzard wasn’t exactly what I was looking forward to when I went home this past weekend but it sure made things interesting.

The drive down there Friday afternoon was really good since I guess not too many people drive down to the United States on Christmas Eve. The border, which didn’t have too many cars, ended up costing me over an hour because I was classified under “Document Control” which required further inquiry on their end. It turns out that since I am no longer actively residing in the US, I will need to apply for USCIS – I-131, Application for Travel Document or otherwise risk losing my permanent resident status. A slightly confusing point was the agent telling me I need to apply for any travel over 6 months (which will be in January for me) but the application instructions say the permit is required once you have elapsed over 1 year. I figure I should get that cleared up as soon as possible since I am traveling to Boston in February.

It was good to see our new house fully furnished for the first time and I did sleep in my bedroom for the first time as well. The huge driveway, which is quite useful for the tons of relatives that come to visit, is also a very big pain to clean storms that dump 18” of snow on you. My mom had prepared lots of good food which obviously included Kofta (of course) but we ended up eating out most of the days – Popeyes, Chicken Guy, Kabab Paradise and Sun Tavern. Let it be known for the record however, I did not leave New Jersey without eating Kofta at least twice – because that would have been unacceptable on my part.

I was hoping to see a lot more friends from high school on Monday but the blizzard took care of that. However, the day wasn’t a complete waste as roads cleared up a little so I saw a couple of friends from Milltown before wheeling and dealing decisions took place to relocate the 222 Secret Santa Tres over to Justin’s house so Jolly White Giant could also grace us with his presence because 30” of snow is too much for him to drive in. I will also neither deny nor confirm the fact that a vast majority of that time was spent playing/yelling/screaming at Mario Kart.

Work is pretty light again this week as we all anticipate/dread the YE stuff to start next week. One coworker next to me answered her phone this morning by saying, “Alien Headquarters, Guadalajara. How can I help you?” – all in joking of course, we don’t really host reception services for the Alien HQ… as far as I know.


Joshua Sacco: Great Speaker, Has Awful Parents

Great moments are born from great opportunities, and that’s what five-year-old Joshua Sacco had on Sunday night in front of a sold out Opening Night at Fenway Park. This kid apparently gained his fame last year when his YouTube clip grew in popularity and gained near cult status. He used the speech Herb Brooks gave his ‘Miracle on Ice’ squad before they went on to defeat the Soviets — with a little twist of course. Last Sunday night (opening night for the 2010 baseball season), he took his act from hockey to baseball and delivered the inspirational speech following by a few fist bumps by the Red Sox players.

Anyways, he still needs better parents to use his public speaking ability to improve his skills rather than saying “Screw ‘Em” in front of a sold out crowd at Fenway Park. Either way, he already has better public speaking skills than me so who am I to criticize?


Guest Post: NHL Playoffs Preview

If I need hockey news from someone I know personally, it is usually down to three people and two of which I went to high school with. One of those two has written a guest post on the upcoming NHL playoffs that get underway on Wednesday with 3 Eastern Conference series and 1 from the Western Conference.

I have bolded his series predictions below and added mine [in blue]. I think it just might be a nice contest throughout the playoffs to see who predicts the series more accurately.

Here is an analysis from Rusty Moke who is an avid hockey fan since as long as I can remember and has been in attendance for more hockey games this year alone than I even I got to watch:

The NHL playoffs are finally upon us; if 82 games weren’t enough get ready for a couple more.  Now, I’m no NHL scout or hockey analyst, (just an old high school buddy of a specific angry brown guy, who I’d like to thank for making room for me in his intelligent blog) but as an avid hockey fan/player you might be able to find a morsel or two of decent predictions among all of my ranting.

There are 8 different matchups, so I’ll make it short and sweet for each one.

(8) Montreal vs (1) Boston – The Bruins have surged forward this season, from 8th playoff seed last year to 1st this year.  The Canadiens have limped down the stretch, Markov is injured, and Price needs another year or two to become an outstanding goaltender.  Although I believe Boston is overrated and Tim Thomas is garbage, I’ll say Boston wins the series 4-1. [Boston – 4-2]

(7) New York (R) vs (2) Washington – My hatred of the Rangers aside, they are going to have a tough time with the Caps.  Washington has too much firepower for Lundqvist to handle between Ovie, Semin, Green, and Backstrom.  Theodore is Washington’s weak point, but the Rangers season long scoring problems shouldn’t give him much of a problem.  Having the #1 penalty kill in the league doesn’t win games.  Washington sweeps 4-0. [Washington – 4-2]

(6) Carolina vs (3) New Jersey – I’m obviously going to be biased towards the Devils.  Yes, we’ve had problems with the Canes all season long.  Yes, since Marty broke the record he hasn’t been at the top of his game.  But, Marty finally has rest and we have too much history with Carolina to drop this game.  Keep an eye on Babchuk, he’ll make things interesting.  NJ wins in 7. [Carolina – 4-3]

(5) Philadelphia vs (4) Pittsburgh – Not much to say here.  Since the coaching change Pittsburgh has been nearly unstoppable.  Everyone recognizes the names Crosby and Malkin.  Philadelphia has always been an unpredictable team, I don’t think they can hold onto this series, Biron isn’t very reliable.  Pittsburgh wins 4-1. [Pittsburgh – 4-2]

(8) Anaheim vs (1) San Jose– Not much to say here, get out your brooms.  Keep an eye on Cheechoo.  San Jose in 4. [San Jose – 4-1]

(7) Columbus vs (2) Detroit – Look no further for an upset.  Columbus has fought too hard to lose to the Wings in their first post season appearance.  Osgood isn’t as good as he is made out to be, Nash’s leadership is better than Datsyuk’s.  Mason isn’t done with shutouts this season.  Columbus in 7. [Detroit – 4-1]

(6) St. Louis vs (3) Vancouver – The Canucks faltered during the middle of the season, they won’t during the playoffs.  Congrats to the Blues for making it to the playoffs, they better enjoy it while it lasts.  Luongo has this one.  Vancouver wins 4-2. [St. Louis 4-2]

(5) Calgary vs (4) Chicago – Another close series.  Chicago has youth; they can make a run at the cup next year.  Calgary’s trades this year were invaluable.  Calgary wins 4-3. [Calgary 4-1]

Don’t go placing bets on my predictions, but then again who knows.  The playoffs always find some way to keep things interesting.  My cup prediction:  New Jersey vs Calgary.  That’s probably biased, but I’ve seen it all season.

I will probably add my own analysis tomorrow but once again big time appreciation and thanks to Rusty for some fantastic analysis. Once again, if any of you wanna jump in and add your predicitions, feel free to comment below and just let either me or Rusty know wha you think of the guest post.


A-Rod? A-Roid? A-Fraud? 1

Got a SI Breaking News text during my class (BioEthics of all classes) and certainly made the three hour class go my much better. (Official Sports Illustrated Story here)

Alex Rodriguez has usually stayed away from criticizing Barry Bonds or speaking out against it but his fans and Yankee fans have certainly made it clear who would eventually hold the “Clean” Home Run Record one day. So much for that. 

As if he wasn’t hated enough in New York, this certainly adds another flavor into the mix. I was listening to WFAN on my way back from Hoboken and a caller called in to say that the worst decision A-Rod made for his career was to come to New York. He has struggled to find his own identity since and one thing after another has really bogged him down from becoming the greatest player of all time – whether it was his marriage or relationship with the fans or steroids. I am certain Boston is quite glad this morning they lost the A-Rod battle to the Yankees on this one.

The Curse of the Yankees continues – alive and kicking since 2000.

In a candid interview with Katie Couric, New York Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez addresses the recent controversy involving the use of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs in MLB baseball.