HERE WE GO

May the good guys win...

Today at 5pm PST, my beloved Vancouver Canucks will face the Boston Bruins in the first game of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. I’ve waited exactly 16 years, 11 months, and 18 days for the Canucks to return to the Final. The waiting began on June 14, 1994 when I watched a tired and battered Trevor Linden lean up against the boards on one knee at Madison Square Garden where the New York Rangers celebrated wildly before him. Linden, with his nose broken and ribs cracked,  wore a look of disappointment, a look that was replicated across millions of British Columbians that night, myself included.

In those nearly seventeen years in between, I waited patiently for a Vancouver team to return to the big dance. In all those years, no team managed to get beyond the second round, except for this year’s edition of the Canucks. There were plenty of years of disappointments. There were the dark and terrible Mike Keenan and Mark Messier days. Those were probably the worst. There is a reason why Keenan and Messier don’t come back to Vancouver to visit. Then there were the years the Canucks didn’t even make the playoffs. Or perhaps even worse, the years of playoff disappointments; lost leads in a game seven and so forth.

So here we are again, one last but giant hurdle to cross before the ultimate prize that awaits. I can feel the anticipation that’s been building in the city and across the province. Victory is not assured and the struggle ahead will be great. Though I’ve been incredibly anxious and nervous for almost a week now, this is what I’ve been waiting for all these years. We’re now into the final stretch. I can only hope the results will be different this time around.

 

PHO AGAIN

You can almost smell the broth!

I know I’ve written about pho before but I want to mention it one more time. This hearty, aromatic, delicious, and addictive offering from Asia is now enjoyed by millions of people who are not Asian. While this is good, I often see people eat pho in a way that tragically denies them the maximum amount of enjoyment they could be getting.

A lot of people get the bowl of pho and then proceed to just use their chopsticks to pick up noodles and the beef to get these items into their mouth. The spoon, which every pho house provides, is left used. This is a critical mistake. The missing element here is the broth. The pho broth is the essence of pho. It’s the ingredient that makes or breaks any bowl of pho. To leave it sitting in the bowl while you pick up noodles and beef is a sign that perhaps you don’t understand what pho is all about.

The best way to eat pho is with both chopsticks and a spoon. Start by dipping the spoon into broth, filling it slightly. Then use your chopsticks to round out the spoon with noodles, beef, onions, green onions, and whatever other items you might have in the bowl. Then proceed to shovel the contents of the spoon into your mouth. The importance here is to savour the broth with the rest of the ingredients of the pho. Each spoonful should be a small scale representation of the whole bowl. It should have a bit of broth, a bit of noodle, a bit of meat, and so forth. Using just your chopsticks gives you a coarse and unsatisfying interpretation of your meal. One bite of all meat and then one bite of all noodles, that’s not how pho deserves to be appreciated.

Try it out the next time you get pho!

AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT

I haven’t been to a wedding in over two years and I haven’t been outside of this province in over 14 months. Yet, in the next two weeks or so, I’ll be at two weddings, one of which will take me to Manitoba. Of course, the next two weeks are also when my beloved Vancouver Canucks are playing in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in seventeen years. The NHL released the schedule for the finals today. The moment Kevin Bieksa scored the 2OT winner to propel the Canucks into the finals I was filled with dread as to how those weddings would come together to clash with my intense desire to see the Canucks battle for the ultimate prize in hockey.

One wedding, my sister’s no less, is on June 4th. The other wedding, the out of province one, is on June 11th. My original hope was that the series would be over by the time the second wedding rolled around. As you can see from the schedule, the second wedding lies between games five and six. My sister’s wedding banquet is on the evening of the second game. There’s nothing I can do about the second game. It’s my sister and my only sibling. I guess family must come first. It won’t be an elimination game, so makes it a bit better. Don’t tell anyone though, but I’ll have a radio earpiece in one ear from 5pm onwards that day. Shhhhh!

The second wedding is an interesting situation. In a perfect world, the Canucks win it in four games and by the time I go to Manitoba, I go with a relieved and huge smile on my face. Odds are, no team is going to sweep in this series. Game five in Vancouver could be an elimination game and I will be watching it in Manitoba. I would take a Vancouver series win in any situation but I’d prefer it if I were in Vancouver if they did win. I’d like to see the celebrations first-hand. If the series goes to six games or beyond, it won’t matter. I’ll be home by the time game six rolls around.

So to sum it up, the most ideal situations involve Vancouver winning obviously but them winning it in four or six games (well, seven I guess too). The less ideal situation is them winning it in five.

I can imagine I am not the only person dealing with these types of situations right now. All over British Columbia, fans are scrambling to clear schedules and absolve them of responsibilities in order to follow the most important playoff series in the last seventeen years of Canucks hockey.

THE WEATHER… AGAIN

We just had a long weekend here in Vancouver and it was mainly cloudy the entire time. It rained heavily this evening and looks like it will continue until morning. The forecast for the next six days is for showers. The highs will only be in the mid-teens. This will be our grey and rainy introduction to June. Of course, the weather doesn’t really matter as most of British Columbia will be inside watching hockey for the next two weeks or so.

If you’re living in a sunny and warm place, be thankful for your weather.

A QUIET EVENING

Henrik did not touch it
Courtesy of Getty Images

I had a quiet evening as did much of Vancouver tonight. I ate some leftovers for dinner and then watched some episodes of Oprah that I had on the PVR. Ha! Just kidding… I don’t own a PVR, those were Oprah torrents I was watching.

FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS

The blue glow is so pretty!

There is a non-porn web site that I visit regularly called Reddit. The UI is somewhat clunky but I like the content. There is a section there called “firstworldproblems“. In that section or subreddit, if you will, people complain about things in a tongue-in-cheek way. People bitch about trivial things, knowing full well that while yes, a cracked iPhone screen is annoying, there are millions of people in the world who do not have fundamental access to democracy, freedom, education, food, and safety. Everyone is in on the joke. The trivial aspects of the complaints highlight the great divide between life in the first and third world. Reading some of the posts is amusing but then I’m tinged with a bit of regret as I know there so many people in the world who would be lucky to have such problems.

Well, I have my own first world problem. When I moved to my new apartment, I didn’t bring my old computer speakers with me. I gave them to my parents as I wanted one less thing to move and I thought I’d get a smaller set, a 2.1 set instead of 5.1. I never got around to getting those new, smaller speakers. So for the last two years, I’ve been just using my headphones on my computer. Last week, I saw some decent speakers on sale and decided to buy them. The speakers come with this neat control knob. It controls the volume and has a jack for headphones. It also has this cool blue LED ring that indicates the power is on. There’s a picture of the control knob above. While it looks great, the blue LED ring is on all the time. The only way to get it to turn off is turn off the whole speaker set. Unfortunately, the only power switch is located on the back of the subwoofer, which I have tucked underneath my desk. Since my desk is next to my bed, the blue LED is on when I turn out the lights and go to bed. It’s quite bright, so I’ve had to get on my hands and knees and flip the power switch underneath my desk each night before I go to bed. I’ve thought about putting a cup or something over the control knob but on the other hand, I do save power by shutting it off every night.

First world problems I tell ya.

ASTEROIDS THIS BLOG

If you click here, you can play Asteroids with this blog.  Use the arrow keys to move and space bar to shoot. It works in Firefox and Chrome, not sure in IE. Press “Esc” to end your fun. Won’t work if you have Javascript disabled.

UM, REALLY?

It's spelled with an "E"

Sometimes I like to go to random baby name sites to find out what they might have to say about my name. I haven’t done this in a while but I somehow managed to stumble upon another baby name site. I looked up my name and it didn’t really give me any new origin information that I didn’t know already. They did, however, have a section called “drawbacks” which I’ve never seen before. As some of you know, a few people call me “Winnie” which I quite like actually. Not a drawback. I’ve never had anyone all me “Window”, probably because it’s downright stupid. I don’t get a lot of “Mervin” but a few people have called me “Irv” when I was younger and I didn’t mind one bit. No one has called me “Wind” probably because I’m not fast as such. On the other hand, I do like passing it and on a frequent basis as well. I’ve gotten “Winner” before because if you reverse the syllables in my name, that’s what you get. Who doesn’t like getting called a winner?

As a comparison, I decided to look up the name “Adolf”, which for reasons I hope are obvious is not the most ideal name for a baby boy. While the same site did point out that “Adolf” was the first name of the world’s most nefarious evildoer, look at what it had to say when it came to “drawbacks” of having that name:

Yeah, what could go wrong?

Yes, that’s correct, according to this web site, there are no negatives to naming your baby “Adolf”. Yet my name has five separate reasons why it might not be a good name. “Honey, it looks like Adolf is the way to go, sorry Dr. Schrödinger.”

SORRY ABOUT ALL THE HOCKEY

Loyal readers, I know many of you reside in all different corners of the world. Your support, even in many time zones away, is much appreciated. In the last several weeks, the majority of my posts have dealt with the local professional ice hockey team in my city, the Vancouver Canucks. I know many of you don’t follow ice hockey, so these posts probably have very little value to you. I wish for every post about hockey I could write a post about kittens playing in boxes or goats on the side of a cliff. Alas, take comfort in knowing the playoffs will end one way or another by about the middle of June. Then this blog will go back to being boring in other ways.

So who saw that girl flash her twins at the last game?