Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Son of A...

 We were so close.  Last week I watched closely as the snow slowly disappeared completely, and I reveled in the 40 degree temperatures.  I heard the songs of new birds in the morning, and the sun was coming up earlier and earlier. 

I didn't dare say anything out loud, for fear of jinxing it.  But spring was on its way.

We were so close.

And then I woke up this morning to a driveway full of almost impenetrable snow.  I dutifully shoveled what I could before work.  And then after work, I came home and shoveled the slop that the plows had flung onto my sidewalk. 

It sucked. 

And then I looked at the weather for the next few days.  Yikes. 

Lots of snow there. 

But there is a bright side.  We don't live in New York, which is expecting a foot of snow tomorrow.  And this isn't my bike.


And March begins on Monday.  Maybe my back will be better by then.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Beware the Hawk

I went to the UMass-St. Joe's basketball game yesterday at the Mullins Center. It was an afternoon game, there aren't many home games left this season, and I had a buy-one-get-one-free coupon for tickets, so I thought it would be a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

The game itself was a rather lackluster affair. The Minutemen seized the lead in the opening minutes and never trailed; they ended up winning by eight.

While the action on the floor didn't keep my attention, I will admit to being mesmerized by St. Joe's mascot, someone dressed as a hawk. It wasn't the costume so much as what the person in the costume was doing the whole game: flapping his wings. Even during timeouts. Even during the national anthem, he had one hand over his heart and he kept flapping with his left wing. Hand. Wing. Whatever.

Apparently, this is the mascot's trademark move. According to this website, the hawk flaps his wings about 3,500 times per game. That's got to be exhausting. So, there I was, watching the game, and then I'd say to myself, is he still flapping? And then I'd look at the end of the St. Joe's bench, and there he'd be, flapping away. And with the lifeless eyes in the oversized head, after a while, honestly it began to get a little bit creepy.

If you've never experienced the hawk before, you can check it out in this video, where the hawk stalks a St. Joe's alum.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Damn You, Weather!

Before yesterday's non-storm, I found myself engaged in some workplace banter with an employee about the weather.  She told me that she is still amazed that someone was able to take something as mundane as the weather and build an entire television channel around it.  I replied that I, too, thought it was a great idea, and that it showed just how interested people are in the weather.  Not only that, but the weather is a perfect topic for conversation, because the weather affects everyone and in talking about it, it's very unlikely that you'll get into the same type of heated conversation that you could easily slip into if you talk about politics, religion, or your favorite baseball team. 

And then the schools were canceled yesterday in anticipation of a snowstorm that never materialized. This apparently angered a lot of people.  Okay, maybe not a lot of people, but a number of people, anyway, who post on Masslive yesterday were angry.  The targets of their wrath were the weather forecasters and their close kin, those people who promote global warming.  Here's a typical comment:

"These are the same people that scream "Global warming." Weathermen are calling for a big storm - 3 to 5 inches here (Amherst). So far it's a DUD so that means these weathermen are too. All schools are closed at great costs. When I was a kid - I waded through a foot of snow to get to the school bus stop to go to school. Now - look at us! We act like the Southeners who see their first snow! We're evolving backwards." George 7

I've just never really known people to get so angry over the weather. Let me rephrase that: I've never really known people to get angry at other people about the weather.  There have been plenty of times when I've been angry about the weather, but I haven't focused my anger on any one person (like Al Gore--read the comments), or any one profession.  But maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe it's finally time to stop talking about the weather and do something about it. 

That's what these people did.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I've Let My Guard Down

As I sit here at work and look out the window at the first flakes falling in what may become (depending on which forecast you choose to believe) a furious winter storm, I have to face the realization that I am utterly unprepared for this storm, physically and psychologically. 

I left the house this morning later than I wanted to because I couldn't find a pair of gloves.  At one point, I had three lefts and no rights.  It wasn't snowing at that point, but I'd heard the forecasts and spent the morning feeling the panic as the local radio DJ read the list of closures every five minutes or so.  I didn't have to listen to the radio to find out if the Northampton schools were closed, because I was fortunate enough to get a personal phone call at 5:55 a.m. from the schools superintendent telling me that the Northampton Schools were, in fact, closed for the day.  I looked outside as I listened to the message and saw no snow falling.

I realize that school officials are often in a no-win situation when it comes to closing schools because of snow, but I found it particularly galling this morning to get woken up to hear about a snow day when there wasn't any snow falling. 

And then, as the rest of my family slept, I ate my oatmeal and thought about the day of work I had in store. that's when my oldest son came into the kitchen and told me how he'd woken up in a panic because he had so much he had to get done at school today, but then he realized that it was a snow day.  Boy, was he relieved. 

I know that it never occurred to him that I wasn't really in a position, sitting there in my shirt and tie getting ready to head out the door, to adequately appreciate his relief. 

Once I was outside, I had the wherewithal to make sure that I had some sort of tool in the car to remove the snow that is supposed to come later today.  Well, I had the wherewithal to look for something.  All I could find was a small ice scraper.  All those brushes I trip over in July were nowhere to be found. 

And then on my drive to work I realized I'd forgotten to take my cell phone with me.  Not the end of the world, of course, but I did have images of being stranded in a snow bank on my way home with no way to contact anyone.  Plus, I use my cell phone to take pictures for my blog, which is why I can't share pictures of a parking lot free of snow or a pathetic ice scraper. 

Clearly, I've got spring on my brain.  If this were a typical New England winter, I'd have gloves and a brush already in the car.  I'd have sand in there, too, and everything else I could need to get through a winter storm.  But I've been lulled into complacency, and now it's all going to come back to bite me. 

I blame that fat rat Punxatawney Phil. 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Goodbye, Giants Stadium

The demolition of Giants Stadium has begun.  Thanks to my friend John, I spent many, many Sunday afternoons watching the Giants play, almost from the moment the stadium opened.  I also saw Bruce Springsteen do one of the first concerts at the stadium.  I also saw the Grateful Dead, and miscellaneous other events.  At the NFC Chamption Game in 2001, I even spent some time in the NFL commissioner's luxury box. 

One thing I appreciated about the stadium was that it didn't have any corporate name attached to it.

I was a bit sad to see the video of a crane digging into the concrete walkways.  But I'm glad that I had the chance to see the last Giants game at the stadium earlier this year.  It was a warm day for December, and my kids got the chance to see the stadium.  My oldest son is 10, just about the age I was when I first began going to games.