Saturday night wasn’t all right for the Habs …

Well, the NHL 2013 season is underway. Saturday night’s Habs-Leafs game was a disappointment (for us, anyway).  To say the least.

There I was, all in my new Habs toque and my newish t-shirt actually going out to watch the game because the wifi in our building didn’t work.  A message from a Quebecois friend of mine about watching (a pleasure to hear from him), a moving and spirited opening ceremony, the Habs hit the ice — and it was 2011 all over again.

All the received wisdom from last season made it out that the problem with the Habs originated behind the bench.  I’ll admit that Jacques Martin’s “I’m-an-extra-from-Walking-Dead-who-can-write-and-is-too-lazy-to-gnaw-on-the-living” act got old real fast. But was it really all his fault?

Besides, if he was the problem he was made out to be, shouldn’t SOMETHING have changed when Randy Cunneyworth took over? I really doubt RC’s not being a Francophone was all that much of an issue to anyone but the PQ – there aren’t that many Francophones on the team, and if they wanted to be snarled at in French, all they had to do was take the Métro out to Beaudry station and ask, in English, to buy an all-day pass. Easy as poutine.

Yes, I know not everyone was playing somewhere else while negotiations dragged on (or didn’t happen). Yes, I know there really wasn’t much of a training camp or any preseason.  But you know what? That applies to the Leafs, too, and last night they didn’t let it get in the way of their play. The Habs, on the other hand, were disappointingly lackluster.

I do want to acknowledge the contribution of the refs during the game – although it would probably be more fitting if a Leafs fan did that, since most of the calls went Toronto’s way. But the officiating we will have with us always, and if you know that’s a factor, you do your best to play in a way that makes it a non-issue.  Like clearing the puck, better puck handling, getting more shots on goal and scoring.  Little things like that.

Obviously, things could improve. One game is a little early for panic, even in Montréal. Especially for me, conditioned from my earliest recollection to be resigned to teams that play almost well enough. (I think they start training us in the cradle here in Northeast Ohio.)  It’s just that the talent’s there, the front office was cleared of Pierre Gauthier, Jacques Martin’s not behind the bench, and there’s no real and obvious reason why this team shouldn’t have improved.

Once upon a time, there was a hockey team who came on the ice with attitude, expected to win and usually did. I think they were called the Montréal Canadiens. I hope they show up Tuesday night – I miss ‘em.

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This time, the “H” does stand for Habs! :) (also hockey)

I am a passionate Montréal Canadiens fan.

The Canadiens are also known as the Habs. “Habs” is short for “habitants” or “the people” — the name given to the original settlers of New France.  The nickname is generally believed to be an accident — another owner believed that the “H” in the logo stood for “Habitants” and it stuck. However…

To see what he meant — that’s the team logo below.

The owner’s mistake was and still is common. A lot of people assume that the “H” in the middle stands for Habs,  but it doesn’t.  It stands for “hockey” — as in le Club de hockey Canadien, which is the official team name.  We also call it “Les Canadiens (or Le Canadien), Le Bleu-Blanc-Rouge, La Sainte-Flanelle,Le Tricolore, Les Glorieux (or Nos Glorieux), Les Habitants, Le CH and Le Grand Club” (thanks for the full list, Wikipedia!).  Sometimes, when the season’s as bad as this one was, we may also call the team (or at least certain players or front office personnel) other, far more colorful names. 🙂

You’re probably wondering how a lifelong Northeast Ohioan with no ties to Québec could become a fan of a team she has never had the good fortune to see play in person. (I will next season — just watch!!!).  I wrote a blog post about it you can read here.

For the record, my favorite player right now is Tomas Plekanec (if any of my regular friends read this, I can see the eyerolling and hear the “no? really?” in charming sarcastic tones now). 🙂  Guy Lafleur would be next among historical players and I’d have to think about who else to include.

Our season ended (with a defeat of the Leefs… YAY!) Sunday but hopefully we’ll get a great new GM and coach and next year will be different.

GO HABS GO!

Weight Loss, Round II: Oh, and by the way…

By good rights, I should be posting this on Wednesday, but I anticipate a strange week this week, so I probably won’t get a chance then.

So… I’m pleased to say that my (very gradual) weight loss continues.  I haven’t had a particularly good week or so eating wise, and I’ve (not intentionally, but due to circumstances) not been working out as much, but I am definitely down. Right now, I’m just below where I was at my “low water” mark last summer, so now it’s “onward and downward”, so to speak. It’s my intention to work out at work this week, plus I hope to get a ‘second shift’ in at the Y on Tuesday and Thursday.  I’ve managed to get to a couple of water aerobics classes and liked them very much.  It was funny — the first time I went, I got out of the pool thinking, “Gee, that didn’t seem as hard as I expected,” a sentiment that lasted until I got up the next morning and realized how much work I had really put it.  The water carries some of the load, making it a rather deceptive process.

Saturday I came to work briefly and walked on the treadmill/did the elliptical.  I’m sorry, but no one is going to convince me that the elliptical is easier and less work than the treadmill.  I just don’t believe it.  I’m working longer and at a higher level on the elliptical than I did before, and the stupid thing’s trying to tell me that 20 minutes on it (I split my 40-minute workout between the two) is about a third of the calories of the treadmill workout.  Not a chance. I mean, with the elliptical, you’re moving your arms as well as your legs. I don’t see how it can be less work.

Oh, well.  In the meantime, I think my fantasy football team lost again — at least this week it was closer.  My fantasy hockey league drafts on October 3, and I’m looking forward to that, if only because it also means we’re just three days away at that point from the real thing starting. I<3 my Habs.  (I suppose I should post a warning on Twitter and FB for the non-fans… )

Still praying for my friend.  Really storming heaven on this one.  The thought that I might lose this person is absolutely devastating to me. Please help this special being, Lord.

And for all the rest of you, hope you are well, too.  Always have time to listen and care if you’re not. {{hugs}}

(since 9/7/2011: .97%; since 3/1/2011: 7.11%)

Turn out the light, the season’s over …

Well, thus endeth the 2010-2011 NHL season.

Hope, (as I said on FB), that I have enough class to congratulate the victors, even if the words tend to stick in my throat.

Congratulations, Boston. Just don’t get too used to having that trophy.  We’re going to need it back in Montréal next year — for the (ahem) 25th time.

In the meantime, I have to say that I’m as disappointed in the people in Vancouver who rioted as I was in the idiots who pretended to be fans and rioted in Montréal last year. In a lot of ways, this has not been a good year for professional hockey and I hope that 2011-2012 will be better.  Hope. Not expect.

p.s.  How do we go about impeaching Gary Bettman?

Hockey Fans, Stand Up …

During the NHL playoffs, while the Habs were still in it, a restaurant owner in Montréal put up a poster rooting on the home team.  The NHL struck back and fined him 1000$CA per day for the time it was up, resulting in an 89,000$CA fine.  You can read more about it here:  http://montreal.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20110516/mtl_basha_110516/20110516/%3Fhub%3DMontrealHome

I find this incredible.

I don’t think any other major sports league pulls this kind of garbage.  Through the 90s, when the Indians were winning, the Plain Dealer used to print banners in the paper that everyone in town hung in their windows … and a lot of people did their own.  Never heard that the MLB fined anyone.  Dick Jacobs didn’t send people out to force them to change their decorations.

And when the Browns were good (in the Kosar days), people wrote songs and they got played on the radio and no one seemed to mind. Fans dressed up like “dawgs” in the stands and cheered “Go Browns!” — a cry echoed on Browns paraphenalia of every description, on the signs and flags and posters visible on every office building and business … the statues outside the Federal Reserve Bank wore Browns helmets (and maybe “jerseys”, altho I can’t be sure about that, my memory being what it is) … guess what? No fine from the NFL.  No ‘cease and desist’ from the team.

Finally, when the Cavs were winning with LeQuitness, there were signs and tees and you name it — the name was EVERYWHERE (LeBron’s and the team’s) — and not a peep from the NBA. The Cavs didn’t see the need to tear down anyone’s stuff (well, except for the giant Nike sign after His Loserness left).

The NHL’s only outpost in Cleveland — the “we lasted for two years andthen  became the North Stars” Barons of the 1970s — probably wished someone would put up a sign or two.

I have been a Canadiens fan for over 30 years. I love my Habs and I love Hockey … but there’s a reason why the NHL’s product is #4 (or lower — if you include Nascar) here in the States.  Someone in the NHL needs to buy a clue, and learn that you don’t grow a sport by chasing down the fans and taking money from them for imaginary offenses. Whether it’s going after the car dealership in Vancouver for supporting the ‘Nucks, this restaurant owner, or the Montreal Gazette’s Hockey Inside/Out blog (formerly Habs Inside/Out — but the NHL claims that’s copyrighted, too), you need to figure out what’s really copyright violation (like the people on EBay counterfeiting stuff) and what’s an honest expression of fandom.

GO HABS GO! Vive le bleu, blanc et rouge!

Sue me, NHL.  I dare you.

One way or another …

Le Twitter, c’est moi.

LOL, no, I haven’t developed delusions of grandeur — at least no worse than usual, thank you — it’s just that thanks to my new job and the #gohabsgo hashtag, I’ve kind of become the Twitter queen here at work and off the job, I use it far more than FB these days.

About two months ago, we had an impromptu meeting of our department, and decided that we should have a bigger share of the marketing/PR for our company.  So it was determined that each member of the email department was responsible for one tweet a day, which we were going to forward to my boss for tweeting.

Except I guess I looked excited and it was decided that I should become Twitter Leader. So now it’s MY job to ride herd on everyone, gather the materials and Tweet them every work day.

In the process, I started using Twitter more myself.  I’d been using it to post notifications about my #FridayFlash posts before this, but really hadn’t started using it seriously.  I had a bigger Facebook presence.  But in the meantime, the primary relationship I kept FB for went south in a major way and I also started meeting people on Twitter who were Habs fans.  So now I watch the games on whatever feed is coming through most clearly (side note: Thhhptptpt! to the idiots at the FBI who decided [just before the Super Bowl, mind you] that they would shut down ATDHE; Twits) It’s usually RDS, when I can get it, TSN if not and sometimes the opposition’s broadcast, when desperate.  And I’m also on Twitter, watching the #gohabsgo search feed, enjoying my Tweeps’ comments and making some of my own.  It’s given me the opportunity to use my French on the fly, too. I love the instant interactivity of Twitter and I can also (for all the good it does me) cross-post to FB if I want to, with the #FB hashtag.

I remember fighting using Twitter — I couldn’t imagine how I would use it.  Initially, my signup was when Ashton Kutcher and CNN were ‘racing’ for followers. Now I’ve got almost 600 followers of my own, between other writers, other Habs fans, coworkers and SEO/Email people.

And I’ve got to be honest.  I like it a lot better than Facebook.  Just sayin …

Now Playing on iTunes: “Longfellow Serenade”, Neil Diamond

p.s. You can follow me at @TEC4_Cleveland

Nous vivons ensemble, part deux!

About a year or so ago, I decided I wanted to learn French.

What I didn’t realize is it’s not really that simple. First off, what French did I want to learn? I could learn a generic, standard French (mostly French as it’s spoken in France). I decided not to, eventually, because I figure that it’s pretty unlikely that I’ll spend much time in France. It would be nice to do the tourism thing, but I don’t think I’d want to live there. Even being a tourist is a stretch — I priced airfare, hotel, etc., etc. and said “Uh. No. At least not until I win the lottery.” Which means never, since I don’t play the lottery, and as the Ohio Lottery says in its commercials, “If you don’t play, you can’t win.” So.

Also, I write stories set in Cajun country and that’s whole different kettle of fish. (I’m sure there’s a snappy Cajun French equivalent for that — or for t’at, as the Cajuns say — but I don’t have my Cajun phrasebook handy so I don’t know what it is.) T’e t’ing is, cher, even Cajuns don’t always speak their French, so it’s not all that practical. Although I’d love to live in Acadien Louisiane some day, if only to research the book I want to write (you can read the first chapter of it here).

I do live in the northern part of the country, and could probably drive from my current location to Québec — meaning Montréal — in less than a day. So Québecois French it is. (Or, if you want to be strictly correct, Laurentian French — if you go up to Gaspé, their French is Canadian Acadian French, yet another kettle of proverbial fish.)

I have been reading, practicing, writing, Tweeting, FBing and otherwise interacting with my chosen variety of French to the best of my ability. I am slowly building a vocabulary through reading and writing and speaking. I’ve set my FB and any other software I can to French (including my MP3 player). Listening/hearing is what has come hardest for me; whenever I can, I watch mes Habs via the RDS feed, with Pierre Houde and Benoit Brunet (and yes … Joel.  Did you have to remind me?) Every game, I manage to discern a word or two more. Now, if I could only ensure that when I get to Montréal I will only encounter people using hockey terms, I’ll be all set. 🙂 I also listen to Rock Détente out of Sherbrooke — an FB acquaintance of mine is the Président d’Honneur of a local charity walk and one of the other people involved is une animatrice for the station, so I picked it out for that reason. One thing that has come of listening to the station, besides hearing French words that AREN’T hockey terms, is liking some of the Quebec music. One singer I’ve come to like is Boom Desjardins, who apparently used to be with a group called “La Chicane”. I’m listening to one of his songs now — Jusqu’a Dimanche — I bought it from iTunes.

BTW, my efforts to learn French haven’t gone unnoticed by the world at large. I’ve started to get spam completely written in French, which I think is hysterical.

Éventuellement, j’espère que je vais apprendre parler Français!