Full Speed Ahead: Director’s Cut, Deleted Scenes

2010-2011 Maple Leafs Annual on sale
The 2010-2011 Maple Leafs Annual: TOP SHELF.

Way back in mid-July, confident that the Ilya Kovalchuk free agency mystery would surely be over in a matter of  days, I sat down and started writing the piece that eventually turned into “Full Speed Ahead”, my contribution to this year’s Maple Leafs Annual.  “Full Speed Ahead” is an effort to expand upon the ideas I developed in an article called “Tanks But No Tanks: We’ll Go Our Own Way”, which appeared in last year’s Annual.

Now, I know that Tom Petty says the waiting is the hardest part, but – at least for me – when it comes to writing, ol’ Muddy Wilbury is wrong.  It’s not the waiting but the starting that I find most difficult. Once I’ve come up with some idea about what to write about, it is always a struggle to gin up a graceful and effortless introduction to the subject material.  Some would argue that this paragraph and the one preceding it are evidence of their own truth.  How meta is that?

Anyway, the long and the short of it is that I often spend hours writing an introduction that ends up getting wholly or largely cut from the final piece.  I think the opening I wrote to last year’s article went some 1,200 words, none of which survived my first re-write.   It was a good decision to cut each and every one of those words last year, I’m convinced of it.  The material just wasn’t strong enough to warrant inclusion in the final piece.  This year, something similar happened when I put my fingers on the keys and started to write, though the excised portion was positively tiny compared to last year’s behemoth orphan.

The other difference this year is that I actually found what I had written in those initial opening paragraphs to be reasonably entertaining.  It made me laugh.  I thought I could usefully post them here and kill two birds with one stone: on the one hand, they represent an instant blog post, complete with previously produced blood sweat and tears, and on the other I can do my little (admittedly belated) bit to help pimp the Annual.

Here, then, are the paragraphs I ended up chopping from the beginning of “Full Speed Ahead.”

Alec Brownscombe, the esteemed editor of the Maple Leafs Annual, has asked me to contribute a piece updating readers on Brian Burke’s progress towards a successful rebuild of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  As I sit down on the front porch this mid-July afternoon to commit my thoughts to paper – the weather pleasant, a cold beverage close to hand, comfortably seated in my grandfather’s best Thinkin’ Chair™ – it may shock you to learn that I find myself after a time idly pondering whether it would be morally wrong to wish, however fleetingly, for some calamity to befall our Mr. Brownscombe.  You might wonder how this could be so, as he seems an amiable and pleasant enough fellow.  In view of the inherent difficulties associated with the task he has assigned me (more on this in a moment), however, I can only conclude that he takes some perverse enjoyment in the knowledge that I am suffering.  Thus do my thoughts wander;  I can’t, in good conscience, go so far as to wish him any violent indignity, but I do wonder about the efficacy of voodoo and whether it would be possible to thereby arrange the universe so as to ensure that each and every time he eats something with mustard, a little drop of yellow revenge attaches itself to his shirt, decorates his tie, or does to the crotch of his pants what Colton Orr regularly does to Matt Carkner’s face.

Comfortable chair and cold beverage aside, there are pitfalls along the path for those who seek to evaluate the Leafs‘ progress to date;  chief among the obstacles for the aspiring analyst is the fact that the team is clearly in a state of great change.   The fact of change should perhaps come as no surprise: noted hockey theorist Heraclitus believed in the centrality of change as a force in the universe, illustrating his point cleverly by observing that water is ever flowing and that therefore one may never step into the exact same river twice.    On the other hand, it is also true that nobody likes a smartypants and for that reason many people feel that Heraclitus can get stuffed and proceed to ignore him.

Obviously, it is a bit rich to complain about the challenges that change brings to an article about the rebuilding of a team;  it is, after all, impossible to rebuild a team without altering it.  Still, so much happened to the Maple Leafs roster over the last half of last season, trying to get a fix on the progress of this voyage toward competitiveness seems especially difficult.

Most often, when you watch the “deleted scenes” section of a DVD it’s painfully obvious how and why the scenes in question were banished into obscurity.  Would Sophie’s Choice have been the same with the robot battle sequence in the middle of Act Two?  Would people have responded positively to the Broadway dance number originally slotted to end Raging Bull?  And what about the sex scenes in Toy Story?  Cutting all of these things from the final product was probably the wise decision, and truthfully, it was the right call in relation to the above paragraphs too, which are excessively concerned with excuses and my struggles to write.  They are, and were, ultimately unrelated to the topic at hand, so they had to be chopped.

Other things I think you should know about this year’s Maple Leafs Annual:  I got overruled on what I think was the funniest photo caption I wrote.  At the bottom of page 108, there’s a picture of Kris Versteeg hoisting the Cup after the Blackhawks’ victory over Philly this past June.  The caption I wrote was “Be honest: if we’d told you last year that there would be a picture of a Leaf forward raising the Cup in this year’s magazine, you would have wet yourself.”  C’mon, it’s PEE humour!

I haven’t finished reading the whole Annual yet.  I have forced myself to read in bits and pieces, rather than devouring the thing in a single sitting.  Gus Katsaros and Gabe Desjardins have really outdone themselves on the statistical profiles that appear in the front portion of the magazine – an entire page devoted to each of the Leafs’ 18 major players, with some smaller profiles dedicated to more peripheral cast members and prospects.  These things are chock full of advanced statistical analysis and insightful scouting assessments.   My MLHS colleague Garrett Bauman has a terrific interview with Dave Poulin, and Jonah Sigel of torontosportsmedia.com scored an interview with Our Angry Irish Overlord himself.

All of the above are terrific.  There are also standout pieces from Michael Forbes of Bitter Leaf Fan (about the Leafs’ approach, such as it is, to social media) and Sean McIndoe of Down Goes Brown and the National Post.

There are pieces too from Julian Sanchez (PPP of Pension Plan Puppets), Jason Orach (Chemmy), Alex Tran, a fellow named [edit, Sept. 24/2010: name removed by author’s request] who I’m pretty sure is daoust from PPP, Steve Burtch, the Puck Daddy himself, Dirk Hoag and of course Clayton Hansler.  I haven’t read these pieces yet, so I can’t honestly say how good they are, but based on their previous output on the web, I’m very confident that I’m going to enjoy it all.   You probably would too.

Based on what I’ve seen so far, I think this year’s version of the magazine is even better than last year’s first installment in the series.  Don’t get me wrong, I thought last year’s Annual was a terrific read.  If it had one flaw, however, there were a number of articles that seemed to cover very similar ground.  Not so this year;  Alec has rather smartly divided the content into four discrete sections, one focussing on the current Leaf players, a second dedicated to the Marlies and other prospects, a third relating to the management of the team, with the fourth and final section dealing with some history and the experience of being a Maple Leafs fan.

I Have Been a Bad Blogger

Bad Blogger IMG_1299
Six Words of Truth

By now, I should probably have a whole category dedicated to “posts in which I apologize for being a lazy dilettante who wanders off from time to time, transfixed by something shiny”.

I don’t want to say I haven’t posted in a while, but there have been two – two! – Slug is Doug podcast episodes released since my last post.

I can explain away a week or two in August – kind of – because my MacBook was in the shop getting a flaw on the display screen fixed.  The other computers in our house were in places that were far too hot (no A/C in the house yet, long story, maybe I’ll tell you that one some other time) to even contemplate spending time in.

More than that, though, the summer has been a busy one.  Work, yes, and some work-related travel for both Spouse and I, but also some play;  a trip to Sudbury, a fishing trip, some writing projects (more on that in a moment), some music projects, a lot of yard-related chores (and yet the place is still a mess), a number of visits from family and friends (including the Second Sort Of Annual Founders’ Day Celebration)-  and lots of getting ready for an addition to our family.  That last bit, I think, explains a lot about why I’ve found it difficult to write extensively here for some time.

Back to Blogging IMG_1303
Portrait of the Blogger as a Chastened Man, Now With 34% More Reformative Zeal

I have talked about it on Twitter a little, but here’s the skinny:  Spouse and I are expecting to be joined by Even More Junior Than Junior (EMJTJ), our first child, in about two and a half months’ time.  In this space, I’ve tried to strike a certain balance concerning personal matters;  I tend to include them in my writing because – for better or for worse – I think that I just write better when I bring the personal context into things.  I know, though, that Spouse is a more private person than I am, and I have tried to respect her clearly articulated (and reasonable) wishes not to have the minutiae of her life publicly documented across the Interwebs for time immemorial.  Similar concerns would apply for EMJTJ;  I have no doubt I’ll be documenting my soon to be sleep-deprived travels through the poop- and vomit-rich land of fatherhood, but I don’t want to make a public spectacle out of my son.   That will be something he can do on his own, no doubt in a licensed establishment, on some evening in the distant future.

Obviously, a lot of our energies have been focussed on the pregnancy over the last few months.  As we slowly get our home and our lives ready for the changes that are about to come, I think I have also been struggling with what, if anything, I ought to write here about the pregnancy.   As you can tell from the dearth of material hereabouts recently, I have obviously decided – I think mostly unconsciously – to edit that part of our lives out of the story that unfolds here.  There are reasons for my reluctance that go beyond the obvious privacy concerns. Neither Spouse nor I are what you would consider to be “youthful” first parents, so we’ve been a bit hesitant to allow ourselves to just enjoy the process, I suppose out of a sort of superstitious concern that we might be tempting fate to deal our child a host of medical problems to punish us for our hubris.  Writing it out makes explicit how silly that is, but I would be lying if I didn’t own up to using something like that thought process over the last few months.

Anyway, in general terms, all is well.  Spouse – and EMJTJ, so far as we know – are both healthy.  We have taken to referring to the little fellow as “Furious G”, thinking that it would do him well to get an early start on some street cred.  Since he is currently unable to knock over a liquor store, bust either a rhyme or a move and has no posse, we figured a hip hop name would be a good place to start.

Annual 2010-2011 book90_300
The 2010-2011 Maple Street Press Maple Leafs Annual

Aside from producing a human life, or at least a nascent one, during my digital estrangement from you, I have been doing some writing.  Much of this writing has happened at work and for work purposes.  It is boring and technical and awful and confidential, so I’ll tell you nothing about it.  The only reason I mention it is because that too partly explains why I haven’t been using my leisure time to write more and post it here.  In addition to the work writing, though, I also spent some time writing an article for the Maple Street Press 2010-2011 Maple Leafs Annual, which is available now in Chapters Indigo stores across Canada, as well as on many other newsstands in the Greater Toronto Area.   You can also order a copy online from Maple Street Press (just click the last link).

My article is an update on the rebuild of the Toronto Maple Leafs, exploring further the ideas I developed in last year’s edition of the Annual.  It’s called “Full Speed Ahead” and I am once again genuinely interested in hearing what people have to say about it.   Please drop me a note in the Comments below if you’ve read it (or last year’s article, for that matter).

When I finished the article about a month and a half ago, I got in touch with Alec Brownscombe (the editor of the publication) and asked him to send me certain information so that I could help him promote the thing.  As busy as he was, he did send along the info I asked for – and it sat in my inbox waiting to be developed into a blog post.  While I was distracted, the magazine was made available for pre-order online in August, and I promised myself that I’d have something up the day before it was scheduled to appear on shelves in stores.  That day came and went too, lost amid the excitement of the arrival of my newest niece Clara.  Now here we are, half way through September and I am re-calibrating my target for “before the opening of NHL training camps.”

I hope to have a little something for you tomorrow on what’s in the Annual.  Until then – I missed you.  I’ll try to keep in touch.

Getting out of the House

If you’re looking for me here today, you won’t find me at home. Instead, I’m over at Maple Leafs Hot Stove (in a virtual and metaphorical sense only – in real life, I’ve gone to work, honest, boss).

Alec Brownscombe has asked me to contribute my thoughts occasionally over at MLHS, and I’ve agreed to do it.  It doesn’t spell the end for this site;  I plan to continue posting here just as sporadically as always.  We may find, you and I, that my thoughts about the Leafs get plastered more frequently over there instead of here.  I honestly don’t know how this will go.  Anyway, I told Alec a couple of weeks ago that I’d “have something for him shortly”, which of course translated into a two week delay.  I think I was having a very difficult time deciding exactly what to write about in my first post.  I felt that what was needed was something fresh and different,  a thematically consistent column with insight, humour and unassailable logic.

Instead, I told a story about one night in a bar in Washington D.C.  Oh, and the Tragically Hip makes an appearance.  Go on over and check it out;  let me know what you think, provided your feedback is positive.

(Kidding.)  (Mostly.)

Maple Leafs Annual: It Stacks Up

Maple Leafs Annual on sale - Ancaster
128 pages of no ads, truculence and my article

Spouse and I stopped in to the Chapters store in Ancaster on Saturday; part of the purpose for our visit was to pick up another copy of the Maple Leafs Annual (click on the link to find out what this is, the details of my contribution, and why you need to buy it in order to avoid the sudden onset of leprosy).  I am going to donate a (signed, if the successful bidder so desires) copy of the Annual for the charity auction that Spouse and I will be running this coming Thursday.

I have received two copies of this magazine in the mail – one, I bought for myself as soon as orders were being taken, and one was sent to me by Maple Street Press as an “advance copy”, I guess as a thank you for participating in the creation of the publication.  I don’t know why, but I can’t bring myself to part with either of those copies, and in any event they are well thumbed and not exactly pristine any more.

I have to confess that there was something really cool about seeing the publication on the regular display racks in the magazine section at Chapters.  Here they are at left, racks and racks and racks of the things.

I loitered around for a little bit, hoping to see somebody stop by and browse through one, but I had no such luck.  I can tell that a lot of people have been standing there reading them, because the copies at the front of the top two racks pictured at left had both obviously been handled quite a bit – can’t say whether people are actually buying the things after that, but they’re definitely handling them.

Spouse and I will have a couple of weeks off from work starting at the end of this week, and I have half a mind to just go sit in the Starbucks there and watch until somebody takes one down off the rack.  I’d probably run up, grab it out of their hand and buy the damn thing for them.

As an aside, I’m more than a little interested in hearing what people think of this magazine, so if you come across any reviews, criticisms, etc. please feel free me to drop me an email with the link  to junior [at] heroesinrehab.ca.

For Maple Leafs Annual Buyers: A Welcome

maple leafs annual cover
Maple Street Press' Maple Leafs Annual 2009-2010

I am told that the Maple Leafs Annual is now available in many Chapters Indigo stores.  My Dad picked up his copy in a store in Burlington today.  Other reports via Twitter suggest that copies have been found in places like Wal-Mart elsewhere in the province.

If you’re someone who has already bought a copy of the magazine and you’re a new visitor dropping by this site because you followed the link at the end of my article, thanks for your interest.  PLEASE do me the favour of taking the time to drop me a message in the comments, even if just to let me know you were here.  I’d prefer it, of course, if you wrote a few hundred words about how my article is the best thing since somebody froze up a piece of poo and started whacking it around the frozen pond with a crooked branch, but feel free to berate me instead for whatever flaws you have identified in my article.  I really would like to have a discussion with the readers and get your impressions of what I wrote (even if you don’t do impressions :-), thank you very much, don’t forget to tip your waitress, be sure to try the veal and I’m here all week).  Like many of the contributors to the magazine, I haven’t done this sort of thing before and I am (some would say pathetically so) desperate for feedback on the results.

If you’re interested, you can read other things I’ve written on this site about the Leafs by clicking on this link (well, at least the ones I remembered to tag properly).  I also write about some other things, mostly my life in small-town southern Ontario on a piece of property I call “Juniorvania”.  One of my favourite posts, for example, has to do with the time my riding lawnmower tried to kill me.

Maple Leafs Annual 2009-2010: IT’S HERE!!!


My complimentary copy of the 2009-2010 Maple Leafs Annual – the Leafs season preview magazine containing my article on the arc of the Leafs’ rebuild and published by the “lunatic millionaires” who are “allergic to money” has arrived! Can you believe it, my piece was published on page 85, well known in the trade as the single most important page in any book, magazine or Jehovah’s Witness literature.

cropped MLA arrives copy
Well, that's a weird smile...but look at the mag!!

I would love to write all kinds of witty stuff now about that, but I need to spend some quality time with the articles. More on the content later.  Incidentally, you can learn more about how to get your own life-affirming, magical and money-generating copy by clicking on the little picture of the magazine cover in the upper left corner of the site.

My initial reaction, having just opened up the box and frantically turned pages to confirm that my bit actually got published (in order to ensure that this is not part of an elaborate joke being played upon me by family and “friends”), is that the magazine looks terrific.  Alec Brownscombe should be very pleased;  I know I am.

Maple Leafs Annual 2009-2010

maple leafs annual cover

Remember the big secret, the writing project that I was feverishly beavering away at (and – miracle of miracles – actually finishing) a few weeks ago?

Well, it’s not so much a secret anymore.

The good folks at Maple Street Press (previously described in this space as “lunatic immigrant millionaires with a tenuous-to-non-existent grasp on the English language” who believe they are “allergic to money”) have published the “Maple Leafs Annual 2009-2010”, the newest addition to the Maple Street Press family of sports publications.

I am told that the book may be found in Barnes & Noble bookstores across North America beginning August 18th (oops, relied on some bad info originally) that the book is affordably priced at $12.99 and that it hits newsstands September 8th.  It will be available at all Indigo Chapters stores in Canada as well as wherever magazines are sold in the greater Toronto area, including Walmart, grocery stores, drug stores, newsstands, etc.    Should you so desire though, gentle reader, you may guarantee yourself a copy by pre-ordering here (this latter option, which involves an additional $5 for shipping and handling, gets the thing directly to your home, trailer or cardboard box, conveniently eliminating any need whatsoever for you to leave your couch, lawn chair or patch of litter-strewn asphalt beneath the highway overpass*)

I hear you now:  “Hang on just a second, there, hoss” you are saying.  Just what the hell am I pre-ordering anyway by clicking on that magic link up yonder (did you know that you talk like a cowboy with Internet access?  Well, you do.)  Let me fill you in just a little bit on the details in that regard.  Alec Brownscombe, editor of the magazine and the maître d’ at  Maple Leafs Hot Stove has posted the whole nine yards about this publication announcement here.  I don’t want you to run away across the vast expense of teh Intarwebs just yet though – who knows, all that disorganized clicking and surfing might just break the damn thing, and what a fine mess we’d be in then – so here’s a wee smidgen of what Alec is promising:

Maple Street Press is an independent publishing company that works to produce high quality, authoritative, analytical, and insightful sports publications for the serious fan. More than your generic team guide, the Annual is the first of its kind to offer a variety of comprehensive viewpoints on the topics concerning the Leafs loyalist. We’ve assembled a cast of many of the web’s most knowledgeable Leafs and hockey writers, each of whom offers a unique and insightful perspective with a finger firmly on the pulse of Leafs Nation all the while. Collectively, we offer 128 ad-free pages of relevant Leafs content; analysis, interviews, scouting expertise, in-depth statistics, key information, humour, colour photos and nostalgia included.

I am really quite honoured to have been asked to contribute a little sumpin’ sumpin’ for this exciting project, if only for the chance to get published alongside pieces by some real superstars in the hockey writing world (James Mirtle !) and others by some top-notch bloggers from around the Barilkosphere (including local favourites PPP, Chemmy, Down Goes Brown, eyebleaf, Cox Bloc, Bitter Leaf Fan and  Alec Brownscombe himself). These are the real goal scorers on our little writing team (see what I did there?  It’s called a “metaphor”, or at least I think it is.  We writers are a tricky lot);  I consider myself to be more the plucky and dogged (fourth oops, mistake pointed out by Godd Till Sept. 15/09) third line winger, the Bill Berg of  Leafs blogging.    My article focusses on the arc to be travelled by rebuilding franchises generally and compares the plan adopted by Brian Burke and the Leafs to the model apparently being used by Bruins’ GM Peter Chiarelli.   I know that a lot of the pieces that Alec commissioned for the magazine are what I think professional writers would term “long form”;  mine was over 3000 words.   I suspect that the Maple Street Press publications are unique in that they are focussed exclusively on a single organization, permitting much more in-depth analysis than the superficial league-wide season previews you’ll avoid reading elsewhere, and I can tell you from my experience writing this piece that the long form permits the writer to really try to develop an actual idea instead of just bombarding you with facts and stats.  I am excited to see my own article in print, but I’m absolutely jacked to see what my fellow contributors have come up with for this very reason.

I am also very much looking forward to actually meeting my fellow contributors and literally rubbing shoulders with them at the production wrap cocktail party, which I suppose will likely be some sort of exclusive catered affair, black tie of course, with insanely witty Leaf-related chat over canapes.  I hope that it’s “monocle optional”, as mine is in the, er, monocle shop getting repaired.  And there’s a bit of a backlog on account of the monocle repairman being so busy.  Of course, nobody’s mentioned that there are any actual plans to put on such a shindig, but I have to assume this sort of thing is customary.

As an aside, I would never have guessed that Brad May would be on the cover of a Maple Leafs-related publication but I would suppose that I am no more astonished by that development than Mr. May and his family.  Also, to answer the inquiries of my wife: no, I do not know why Luke Schenn doesn’t have a hockey stick in his hands in that photograph.  It is safe to assume, however, that the picture was taken just moments before the untimely passing of a brave, if not particularly intelligent, opponent.

In closing, I am not just asking but rather begging you to purchase a copy of this wonderful magazine.   Please don’t make me ramp this up a further notch to “threatening.”   It would be nice if Maple Street Press actually found this exercise to be a productive and financially rewarding one so that they might consider someday publishing another such magazine and including another such contribution from yours truly, in which case I could ask you to buy yet another magazine and I might be able to then afford to pay the ransom demanded by those kidnappers and get my uncle Russell out of the Sudan safely**.  The publisher can’t say stuff like this (you know, on account of consumer protection advertising laws and so on) but, in addition to containing all kinds of wonderful content devoted exclusively to consideration of your Toronto Maple Leafs (individual player profiles! history, analysis and humour! colour photographs!), and apart from the fact that it’s provided to you in a handsome, durable format that is advertisement-free (you’ll need to order your sea monkeys and x-ray specs from another publication), I am told by a reliable source’s best-friends uncle’s cousin twice removed that the magazine also has the salutary effect of causing its purchaser to become instantly more attractive to persons of the opposite sex.  Moreover, it cures baldness, premature ejaculation, bad breath, rickets, all golf-swing mechanics problems including both “hooks” and “slices”, leprosy and spontaneous human combustion – at least, there’s no reliable proof yet that it doesn’t do these things.

So, in summary, you should buy it or you might instantly burst into flames.


*assuming you have a ready and reliable supply of snacks already sorted out

**no warranty is made that any actual kidnapping occurred or ransom was demanded.  And even if it was, no promises are made that any funds obtained will be applied to the aforesaid ransom demands.  Sorry, Uncle Russell***.

*** Uncle Russell may not actually exist.

Stop the Presses! I Finished a Project!

I Am So Dope.

Since late last week, I’ve been spending a huge amount of time working on a writing project that was due this past Tuesday.

It’s the first time I’ve been commissioned to write something for publication.  Naturally, I wanted to make as good an impression as possible, so I promptly missed my deadline  and turned in a piece that is slightly – and I have to emphasize the word “slightly” – longer than the specs called for.  I will be able to share some more details later, but my article will be published in a magazine that is targeted towards Leafs fans and written by bloggers and fans who follow the team passionately.  Heavy involvement of bloggers basically guarantees that the target audience skews younger.

Here’s how I make myself laugh sometimes.  I actually engaged in a thought process that took several hours, no word of a lie, in which I decided that it was important to write a catchy opening paragraph in an effort to draw the reader in to the piece;  I carefully analyzed the expected demographic of my audience (see above) and came to the conclusion that some smart modern humour would fit the bill.  I then set out to write the joke around which the introduction to the piece revolves.

Somehow, a paragraph that started out referring to Adam Lambert (of American Idol fame) ended up being about Dagwood Bumstead.  The truth of the matter is that I have absolutely no explanation as to how and why this happened. Modern humour?  Dagwood?  Seriously, anyone who makes it past that opening paragraph will be required to mentally picture me driving twenty miles an hour too slow in the left lane with my right blinker on, wearing a ridiculous hat and rushing to get home so I can shake my cane at the neighbourhood kids to get off my lawn.

All I can say is:  sometimes you end up with what you were shooting for; sometimes, not so much.

Portrait of the Artist as a Wrung Man

I have been working all day on a writing project that is due shortly.  The “writing process” (by which I mean “staring at the screen wondering what the hell I’ve gottem myself into”)  was going painfully slow a bit earlier,  so Spouse convinced me to take a break to go into town.  We had dry cleaning to pick up and it just so happens that there’s this little ice cream stand right next door to the shop.

Admit it: you thought this paragraph was going to be about me getting ice cream all over the dry cleaning, didn’t you?  Sorry to disappoint – all clothing has successfully been retrieved from the cleaners and is safely back inside the house with little or no additional patina of melted ice cream.  I am an idiot;  just not that kind of idiot.

While we were driving back home, I mentioned that I needed to repair to Mission Control with all due haste, so that I could “art my writicle.”

Oh dear.  This might be tougher than previously expected.

Like “Brewster’s Millions”, But Less Plausible…

This is how I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that print journalism must be anachronistic, irrelevant and doomed:  I have been asked to write a piece on the Leafs for publication in an actual hold-it-in-your-hand, you-could-drop-that-thing-and-bruise-a-toe book.   And get this:  I am told that I will be getting paid to do this thing.  From this latter fact, I conclude that the publishers of this tome are almost certainly lunatic immigrant millionaires with a tenuous-to-non-existent grasp on the English language.  Believing that they are allergic to money,  I suspect they have resolved to rid themselves of the cursed lucre in the most pro-social way possible;  by contributing to the publication of a well-respected and important medical journal filled with scholarly research.  I just pray someone has a camera when these well-meaning but misguided philanthropists are presented with the finished product – I foresee an instant and compelling portrait of blinking uncomprehension and, quite possibly, some feces throwing.

I can’t give out a lot of details at the moment, mostly because I don’t want you to steal this gig from me, but rest assured I will be pimping the book like a madman once it has been brought into existence.   As much as you are now staring at the screen, cursing the rotten luck that leaves you bereft of detail, I can promise you that you will someday remember fondly the happy times before this godforsaken book was mentioned by me in every sentence.

I’ll bet you can’t wait to be that unhappy.  In the meantime, I am busy trying to figure out how the hell I am going to manage to get everything done that I will need to:  for example, not only do I now have to find the time to research and write the piece, if I am going to be a writer I also have to make sure that I spend the correct amount of time bellyaching about how making the deadline is going to be a bitch and so on.  I guess this post is a pretty good start on that.  I must be a quick learner.

All kidding aside, I do have some degree of concern about taking on yet another project:  at present, for those of you keeping track, I am (theoretically) in the middle of:

And those are just the projects I’ve blogged about!  I also have it in my mind to convert some old VHS video to digital (I spent a large part of last Saturday wondering why I haven’t yet converted my copy of Leafs/Kings Game 7 in ’93 to an iPod-friendly format so that I can watch it whenever I feel the urge.   This, as much as it may be a cry for help,  is not a lie.)   There are also three or four crates of old vinyl LPs that are practically begging for my attention, so much of my (formerly?) beloved music desperate to enter the 21st century at last.

Anyway, no doubt some of my time tippy-tapping away at my article will take away somewhat from the time I have available to examine my navel here for your benefit;  you must be devastated, I can tell.  I have to say, though, that over the last week or so, I’ve enjoyed spending a few minutes in front of the blank screen with the cursor blinking and a hundred poopy jokes wanting to be written.  I guess I’m having fun writing, and I’ve pushed back a little bit at the multi-armed time-eating monster that my job has recently become.  I have been forcing myself to make just a little bit of time to sit here and flap my virtual gums at you, and it has made me feel a bit better, so I am going to try (see the list of projects above) to keep it up.

Seriously, stop laughing at me.


Note:  The Spitfires lost to Brampton last night 4-2.  I recorded the game via Freecorder, loaded it on to my iPod then carefully avoided hearing about the score;  I listened to the game after I went to bed at around 11:30.  About two hours later, I was bummed out – and sleepy.   Anyway, Dad and I won’t be seeing the Spits claim the Championship Trophy tomorrow night in Brampton;  I just hope I haven’t jinxed them too badly.  We want another W!