Saturday, September 29, 2007


We all know that Wayne Gretzky has for many years now been recognized as the greatest hockey player ever. The man walks with wood from the days of his youth. What hockey record didn’t he set in the annuls of the NHL, ehh?

Now me, you guys know, am just a humble little lop-sided skater on the short side a being over the hill. Yeah, but I’m still walking with wood too and maybe that’s only cuz I invented the phrase. WTF? Well if I didn’t invent it then I was the first to use it so completely public like I do in this here blog.

The rest a ya can blow smoke out your ass if ya don’t agree with me.

Ok - the stage is set. Now here’s this week’s story.

I’ve been following the development and release of a new skate product called the Therma Blade. Its been in development over the last five years and could end up being an innovation to our game of hockey. In a nutshell the Therma Blade is a heated hockey blade system. The warm blade assists in melting the ice under it - turning it to water which in reality is the basis for a skate blade’s ability to glide smoothly. That is a “known fact” - plain and simple, ehh.

You guys knew that, right?

Ok, so maybe ya didn’t. Ya don’t know nuclear science either do ya? Me neither.

Shit, who cares? I sure don’t give a rat’s ass whether ya know science or not. You guys know some shit about hockey though and that’s all that matters. Ehh?

Around about the middle of this month the Therma Blade is going to be released and available at your better skate shops. It’s been tested by several hundred skaters including Gretzky. The developer of the new blade had him try a pair around the time of the 2004 All Star Game in Minnesota and afterwards he said that he would endorse them. Haven’t see him in any ads yet but my global reach in the fantasy world of advertising is kinda limited from my cabin here in the back woods.

Well this damn product has got me a little pumped up and I’m working on deal where Therma Blade ends up being a partial sponsor of my team: Norris’ Nightmares. Trying to get them to spring for blades for all my guys and gals on the team. They’d get advertising on our jerseys and in all of our game programs. We’re close in the negotiations, but aren’t there yet. I think it will be a great deal for both parties.

I’m working on some other sponsorships too. Takes a lot of my evening time after work - or as you might say “my regular job.” I get settled into my recliner after dinner with computer on lap, composing letters of interest to possible sponsors, while the honey watches TV in the background. Bless her heart for allowing me to pursue the excellence of hockey. She’s my girl, ehh!

One night last week I fell asleep in the old recliner doing these chores and woke up with the laptop blank on my lap and the TV still on with the honey out like a light on the couch. Dark as midnight outside and dim inside being lit only by the TV.

Ya know how that is when this sorta disruption occurs to your sleep cycle. You’re all confused and disoriented - me too. If it wasn’t for the TV, I wouldn’t have been able to get back on track right away like I did. I checked my watch and it was about 2:30. Shit, I thought, I gotta get up at five so I gotta get back to sleep. I’ll just leave the honey where she’s at. I look around to find the clicker to turn the TV off when one of those late night commercial announcer says “And you get these Magic Skates, the pair - left and right skate - with heel switch and pocket remote for only $50,000, batteries not included. Call now and we’ll throw in a personally autographed picture of Gretz.”

Not sure what I was hearing, I turned back to the TV and watched the remainder of the commercial. It turns out that the Magic Skates were really a bargain at the price stated. What these little gems do, is take your skill set and beliefs in them back to a previous time. Gretz is their spokesman as he had used them secretly during his NHL career. The ad showed a picture of Gretz as a nine year old, the season that he got 23 goals, or something like that, in one game. He used the Magic Skates regularly to take him back to that freak game. Applying the magic of the skates he turned into the super star that we are still in awe of today.

They explained that during his day as a player the Magic Skates were still in development which is why he wore them secretly. The batteries were one of two things that they’ve now perfected. Gretz’s version didn’t always hold a charge otherwise he would have scored thousands of more goals then he did. They’re not included in the base package but sold separately with a charger. This battery kit you can get for another $15,000 and worth every penny.

Now I’m thinking that I don’t understand the science of these dang skates but I sure like what they can do. But crap that’s a lot a money, ehh? Kinda like a specialized time machine that enhances your psych and confidence to overcome any defects in your hockey skill set. Maybe they’re worth it?

The second feature that they had improved was the power switch. They said that in Gretz’s day they only had a hard wired switch. Gretz kept his up in the top of his breezers.

Oh yeah - you guys are thinking now “Right, all this in one commercial?” This is one of those five minute infomercials. So shut those thoughts up, ehh.

Alright back to it.

So Gretz has this switch up near his hip. He keeps his jersey tucked in right there by it so he can easily reach in and turn the Magic Skates on. Kinda worked back then, kinda didn’t. Gretz sometimes couldn’t get his gloved hand to turn it on.

So now they’ve got a remote that can do it. Usually then, they say, it is controlled by the player’s coaching staff. The remote overrides the base switching system which is located in the heels of the skates. You activate the switch here by clicking your heels together. Kinda like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, ehh? This ain’t Kansas Toto.

Wondering, could these pups really take the abuse of a rough and tough hockey game? Or are a bunch of marketing shysters just trying to rip off the most honorable of athletes - hockey players?

Sheesh, I’d like to get a pair to try out. But I’m thinking when you get right down to it I never really had an outstandingly terrific game. I can remember one game where I scored two goals and can vaguely remember some where my defensive skills were pretty damn good. But just too much of a blur ya know, too many after game brewskies to be able to pick the right time of my hockey life to apply to the Magic Skate system.

I don’t know how they work.

Guess I won’t ever know - the dang alarm went off and it was 5:00 AM again. Gotta get ready for work now but that was one hell of a strange dream. Ehh?

Jasper here. Skate hard you guys!

Sunday, September 23, 2007


I kinda like to scrounge about and salvage things that can be used later on. The barn’s full a this kinda shit. Plus I really can’t stand to pay the premium dollar for something new when there’s just a stew pot full of folks that will let go of perfectly good crap for dimes on the dollar.

So when Timmy, that’s T-Ball to those of you that remember him from an earlier tale, called up last week and said that he had a line on a wood chipper that he wanted and wanted to know if I was up for a road trip - well shit, I was all ears. He mentioned that there might be some other stuff that maybe I’d be interested in acquiring or at least looking at. I’ve been looking for a used log splitter and a portable mill. I’d use the log splitter to bust some a my timber to sell next summer and I’ve been also thinkin about constructing barns and out buildings for folks out in the North Woods to pocket a little more cash so a portable mill would be damn handy.

Timmy says, “Jasper if you’re going then we gotta hoof it quick.”

I gave the cookie jar a look-see and discovered a couple a hundred bucks. Got a hold of the honey for approval then buzzed T-Ball right back. “Timmy, I’ve got a couple a C-notes and I’m ready to roll.”

“That ain’t a lot Jasper. But knowin your wheelin-dealin expertise you’ll probably do a-ok. We’re heading north dude so you’ll have to change that cash for Loonies along the way. Headin up by my grandpappy’s place. I gotta hitch up the trailer and will be by within the hour. Pack some chow, ehh.”

I threw together some liverwurst, Limburger, onion and mustard sandwiches grabbed a fresh bag of Doritos, and brewed up a couple of thermoses of java supreme. Time to get stinky - twice - I figure. T-Ball will appreciate this shit. Nothing like the competition to determine who can fart the loudest or foulest on a road trip, ehh? And I’ve got the fuel right here.

He shows up, I take a last pisseroo and we hit the road. “So where are we exactly heading?” I ask as we get rolling. I look at my watch and its about 7:30 Friday night and the sun’s already set off to the west. The night’s ahead a us.

“Well, Jasper, my grandpappy lives on Prince Edward Island. You remember that don’t you? Its going to be anywhere from a twelve to sixteen hour drive depending on the border crossing, night construction along the way and the ferry. We’ll have to trade off driving and napping I figure.”

He continues the small talk and I sorta remember that he’s from Cape Breton or Prince Edwards Island but mainly I’m just thinking somewhere north of Nova Scotia. Now I’m beginning to worry a bit. Sure hope the directions are clear and the route straight forward or we’re going to get good and lost when it’s my turn to drive. I could get mixed up in an ice rink (been known to have put the puck in the wrong net a time or two - aw come on you guys it was by accident - I’m really not that screwed up).

T-Ball jams a CD in and starts singing along. Its some fuckin opera or some shit and he’s doing a damn good job of imitating, at the top of his lungs, the foreign sounding singers. I ain’t into this crap but he pulls off some of the weirdest shit sometimes. I could go for some cranked up classic rock or some of that current country music like Toby Keith or Big and Rich or Keith Urban.

Them boys kick ass just like the my rock from the seventies and early eighties. If he puts in any rap or hip-hop crapola I sure for shit am going to give him a hella left elbow right in his fuckin Adam’s apple. We gonna brawl over that shit!

After about an hour a this (I keep hoping his voice will give out) he reaches over and turns the stereo off pulls a folded piece of paper from his pocket and says “I downloaded this and printed it out. Open the glove box there and the light will come on. Won’t give me as much glare as the overhead will. Take a look at that. Some fuckin sales, ehh?”

It’s a map. Hmmmm. A map that’s listing about a hundred and forty yard sales. The damn thing’s titled “The 70 Mile Coastal Yard Sale” and its of the area called Wood Islands over on PEI. “Ya see that Jasper, there’s a shit load of yard sales spread all the ways from Orwell down to Belfast and out to Murray Harbor. There’s going to be some good shit and it’s a damn good party besides. These folks will love us when we tell em that we came up from the States. If you let on that you’re a noogie puck head then they’ll be putty in your hands when ya start negotiating your shit. Ehh? You ready for this? Saturday aaaaand Sunday.”

Now me and T-Ball, we’d been out to auctions, estate sales, livestockin and such together cuz we sorta think alike when it comes to livin in the woods ya know. We don’t go at this shit like a couple a old bitties looking for knick-knacks and shit. We go for the gusto. If we can get someone to give us a lemonade then we can get them have us help finish off a case of brewskies and all a their leftovers. Since we’re on the cheap here (well at least I am) we’ll be looking for a place to shack up at least Saturday night and maybe Sunday too. It’s a damn game and we play it well.

The sandwiches and chips get munched away and I nod off for a bit cuz Timmy finally shut up for a while. I don’t know how much sleep I got but I woke up from him just ripping one really loud ripe one. “Fuckin-A, ya shit! We gotta open some windows.”

“It ain’t so bad Jasper. You can out do me old buddy. You ready to drive? You snore like an old pleurisied dog - ya bitch. I need to take a piss. We’ll pull over and swap over for a bit.”

We get out and piss. I cut a loud snorkeler, Timmy starts laughing and about drizzles on his boots. Damn wasted fart. I figure I can give him some sweet breaths while he’s sleeping.

I check our bearings. “Just stay on this road. It’s Trans Canada Highway 106. We’ll take the ferry out of Pictou/Caribou over across the Northumberland Strait to PEI. Make sure I’m awake then, ok?”

“Yup, I got ya covered”. Shit, I’m thinking: if I don’t get us fuckin lost in the meantime. I’ll be damned, I must a slept like puck in a snow bank, if I didn’t wake up back when we crossed the border. Poured myself a fresh mug of lukewarm java supreme - and we rolled again. T-Balled puffed on a doobie and was out in five.

“What the fuck, Jasper?”

“Sorry about that ya pecker head. Had to swerve for a couple of dumbshit deer and the trailer about fishtailed on us. We never lost pavement though. Ehh. Nod back out. I got things under control.”

From there on it was uneventful except for the juice I was ripping while he slept - all the way to the ferry. Woke him up and told him that his snoring sounded like a cow waiting for a late milkin. He chugged on some now cold coffee and we crossed over to PEI; wanting to hook up first with the dude that had the chipper that T-ball wanted.

He made the deal and we hornswaggled a free bacon and egg breakfast outta the guy’s old lady. Said we were going to do some shopping and that we’d pick up the chipper on our way back home - could we leave the trailer at their place.

We hit the road and cut the cheese all morning. He asked about Norris’ Nightmares and I told him the team was coming along pretty good. Just like when we were young Outlaws. Told him that Jingles and Bronzy were running the practice this weekend for me. It’d be ok.

Damn right!

Anybody that’s participating in the 70 mile yard sale has balloons displayed out at the road and sometimes a little hint of what they’ve got for sale. I’m a bit more interested in the places that are more rural because they might have some equipment I need but we stopped at places in the communities too. T-Ball always gets a good chatter going with the dealers and shoppers both. I like to play the part of disinterest over what I really want and over emphasized awe over just terrible garbage. We saw the usual used household goods and clothing, trinkets and paintings. There were a lot of local crafts stuff too like quilts and cozies of every shape and form. Noticed everywhere a hodge-podge of crafted paintings, dolls and carvings of red headed, freckled faced tarts.

Picking one these various items up I ask Timmy, “What gives?”

“Anne of green gables,” was all he replied as he jumped back into his complementary banter with an older matron.

Like I knew what that meant. Anne of green gables, ehh? Not a clue.

We were visiting one place after lunch. (Had weaseled some lobster sandwiches out of a couple of young lasses at the last place while sharing some bottled home brews we had acquired along the way.) They had three tables out and you could tell that it was a couple of families working the goods. One of the tables had a couple of old style goalie masks on it and I gave them a little scan. Picked one up and the old codger sittin in a well worn high back oak chair said, “Yup, that mask there, ehh, used to be Cheevers.”

That said, I flipped it over and examined it a little better. It was just a toy street hockey or Halloween mask that had been marked-up and painted a bit. Probably even had been pissed on to look weathered and stinky. But it sure for shit wasn’t one of Cheever’s. Playing the dumb fuck and tempted to see how much bullshit I could get outta this old guy I say, “Cheevers, ehh? Who’s that?”

Oh that lit him up. He got out that old chair and came up to the table just laying it on thick. T-Ball had to get involved now. We just acted like we believed every bit of it. Everyone of his exclamations was followed with a “No shit, ya gotta be kidding!” He claimed that Cheevers had personally given it to him. Well if he had given him a mask, then in my opinion it was still hanging on a wall back in his den.

I quiz him, “How much ya want for it, five hundred bucks?” to see how full a shit he really was.
He stammers a bit and says, “Nah, not that much. I want to get two-fifty for ‘er.”

We excused ourselves expressing that we wished him luck and that a hockey collector might stop by with that kinda cash on em so he could sell it.

Me and T-Ball just about couldn’t hold our laughter as we walked back to the truck. That oldster had his head right up his ass, uh huh.

Been at it now all day long and I haven’t seen a log splitter or portable mill. Probably have to get that stuff from Sears and Roebucks alrighty or maybe if I’m lucky for about half their price I’ll find something that won’t fall apart right away from that new tool house they call Harboure Fraight.

We’re just about ready to call it a day when we see some balloons out at the road by a nifty little farm. The tables were set up along side the barn that had been painted a light grey with dark blue trim. Wasn’t a working farm I figured - too dressed up. Long handled gardening tools were for sale leaning up the side a the barn. Crafted items, pies and cookies were on the tables. A spirited, grandmotherly appearing woman was working the sale. She had made all the crafts and pastries she said. She had a nice comforter that was the colors that the honey liked so I worked a good deal and bought it for her. Ya can’t come back empty handed from this kinda weekend extravaganza ya know. Gotta score some brownie points when ya can. She shared some cookies with us - damn fine oatmeal chocolate chip. And we chatted a bit - me trying to bring on the charm.

I asked about the selling of the tools and her decorative barn. She explained that the barn was now set up as guest rooms and that her husband had passed away last year and he had maintained the place. But now she hired a local gardener so the tools were for sale. I told her that we were just a couple a hockey players up from the States.

She said, “Oh, my! My son had played hockey. I forget how much fun it was to go watch him play. Brings back such memories,” she whispered as several tears came to her eyes. “I’ve got some of his stuff I was going to put out but I didn’t think it would sell. He died in a car accident about twelve years ago, you know. Do you want to see what I’ve got. Come on into the tack room at the end of the barn.”

Being interested in maybe making arrangements to crash here later tonight I followed her and let her reminisce. We got into the tack room - maybe it was once but it looked more like a sports den then anything now and smelled of stale cigars. All kinds of stuff was in the room and all neatly arranged along one wall and in a closet. Nothing particularly excited me until I looked in the closet and saw a bundle of hockey sticks. Shit! They were Paul Coffee righty Sherwoods like I used to use and hadn’t seen in years. All brand new! An even dozen of em.

I told her that I was interested in the sticks but I was also interested in a place for the night. She said that she’d sell the sticks and two rooms for only a hundred bucks but it was conditional on us joining her for breakfast and conversation tomorrow morning. I told her that it sounded like a deal but we weren’t sure when we’d be getting up. She said that that would be ok - she’d wait for us. Then she went to get me a couple of keys while I took the Sherwoods out to the truck.

T-Ball had found a bar and grill up the road a piece after talking with a couple of other folks that were browsing the tables. We said our see ya laters and went on up the road.

The place was pretty good. They actually were a microbrewery that had some damn fine amber that went well with anything. I had a lobster dinner (never get enough) with home fries, dinner salad, hot cheese bread and more beer. Timmy had a steak and lobster dinner with a baked potato, clam chowder with homemade crackers and more beer.

We just sorta kept pounding those ambers and around nine a couple of young ladies showed up. T-ball hit on them right away and I joined in the conversation but mainly sat back and watched him work. They had come over from Halifax and one was stunningly beautiful - looked like Nichole Kidman, when she was in Far and Away, except when she smiled. She was missing two teeth in front and had a gold bridge with diamonds set in it that you could easily see. Kinda turned me off but figured that they were conversational so I asked about them. Seems as though she had gotten hit by a puck while watching preseason tryouts for the Bruins some years back. They gave her a big settlement and she thought she’d dress it up a bit with the moola. Kind a made me wonder how much else of her was “dressed up”.

T-Ball, always the ladies man, made his move and tossed me the keys. “Catch ya in the morning Jasper. The ladies and I have got some business to take care of.” And they disappeared out the door.

I order another brew and savored every sip rather then chugging it like the drunken fool I normally was. Paid my tab and headed back to the little hobby farm for the night. At some point in the night the next room got a little noisy so I figured that Timmy and the girls must have finally come back here.

There was tomorrow yet and more yard sales. Maybe I’d still find a log splitter or portable mill like I wanted. This 70 mile yard sail on Prince Edwards Island had been pretty good so far.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Hey puckesters, woodsmen and woodswomen. Jasper here for a weeks worth of dumbshit happenings. But because of this crap I’m gonna have to keep it short this time.

Just a heads up though, the team is coming together fine. And I did a bit a scouting earlier in the week that I’ll fill ya in on at a later date. Ehh?

Here’s the shit.

I can’t type very good today and figure I won’t be able to for a little while. Its not like I could type very damn good before but now I’m having to use an unfamiliar finger on my right hand. Yeah, you guys got that right, I only type with two fingers. Never got myself edumecated in the fine art of typing. Always was a dang bit more interested in playin hockey, chasin ‘tang and consuming massive quantities of brew.

So bear with me my friends from the backwoods.

Here in the fine state of California you have to get a smog inspection on your cars and trucks every couple a years. Got my truck smogged last year - the old pile a shit passed again. Not bad for Detroit iron, ehh?

Well, the notice on the honey’s little neat beast came in the mail some time two weeks ago. Its fairly new so I didn’t expect any problems. Went to get a new air filter for it but couldn’t find one at our nearest franchise auto parts. Don’t know what the deal is with that so I went back home feeling kinda screwed. Opened up the barn, pulled the neat beast in to do a little self maintenance. Fired up my air compressor and pulled out the air filter and blew it out with the compressed air. That’s about all I could do. Its either going to pass or fail. I’m at the mercy of the dang smog test computer.

So that was Friday night and after a long day on the road working. I had checked earlier in the week for the best deal to get the test done and picked out a place that would be open Saturday morning.

The place was about twenty minutes away back in town. So at 7:30 I left the cabin and headed into town. I got to the smog shop a little earlier then the 8:00 am advertised opening and waited for the gate to be opened. A truck pulled up and a couple guys unlocked the gate and drove in. I fired up the neat beast and followed them in pulling in front of the middle business, Smog Pros, of the three inside the fenced area. I waited a few minutes thinking the guys needed to get organized and then I got out and went up to the office door of the shop. It was still locked and I noticed the guys that opened the gate were at the neighboring business.

Shit, I thought, I guess I’ll have to wait for someone from the smog testing joint. I went back to the neat beast and settled in with a paperback while I waited for someone to show up.

I looked around every once in a while when I heard some noise but never saw anyone else show up. Most of the noise I heard was from two or three crows in the next door parking lot trying to get a tossed out fast food to-go container opened up. Ingenious little fucks, those crows are. They went at it the whole time I waited, but I’m not sure they ever really got the trashed container open.

By 8:30 I got fed up with the waiting and decided to leave. Drove over to the gate and found I was locked in. Fuckin-A!

I tried the business phone number and no one answered but could hear it ringing inside the shop. I looked around and decided that the three strings of barbwire over the top of the chain link was going to deter me from climbing out. Damn! I was laughing at this shit now. I’m fuckin locked in this place and more then likely nobody’s going to come back to unlock the gate until Monday morning. Ehh, whacha think?

So I get my shit together and called the honey to get the non-emergency number for the local sheriff’s office. She gave me the number and I called but waited about five minutes before someone finally picked up. I explained my unbelievable little tale of circumstance and asked if they had an emergency contact number for the business. After some hemming and hawing and need for more info from me the dispatcher came up with a number. I gave her my number and she said she’d call me back to let me know what she was able to do for me.

A few minutes later she calls back and said she had gotten a hold of the owner’s wife and she would come and let me out. They lived in the neighboring town so it would take a bit. I called the honey back to let her know my frigged out status and laughed our asses off for a bit. Broke off with her and settled into my paperback again.

After about a half hour the owner’s wife showed up with another lady and they unlocked a different gate then the one I had come in through. The first gate was a swing gate but this one was on rollers. It was all jammed up and I assisted with the ladies to get it opened enough for the neat beast to get through. While doing so the owner’s wife explained why nobody showed up. Her husband was out of town and the mechanic that does the test had volunteered to do some work at his church for the day. Just my luck to pick this Saturday, ehh. She also said the guys that the other business were at are never there on Saturdays and she didn’t know why they had been there this morning.

Aw shit, what are gonna say? Its really pretty funny when ya think about it - getting locked in some place.

So anyway, I’m trying to un-jam the bottom roller of the gate when all of a sudden it rolls pretty good until it hits my hand that is so stupidly holding onto the top rail. The top roller damn near severs my right index finger from my shooting hand. Shit if I don’t grab the little sucker quick like and apply direct pressure like they teach ya in first-aid class. The blood is getting everywhere and the owner’s wife says that they don’t have any bandages. I look in the neat beast and see a used paper towel on the passenger floorboard and wrap it snug around my pointer.

The owner’s wife wants to know if I’m ok and that they’ll give me a real deal if I can come back next Saturday for the smog test. I tell her I’m fine and I’ll give it a shot on coming back next week. Am I nuts or what?

The gate’s opened just enough for the neat beast to get out so I pullout and head back home while I continue to apply pressure to the dirty rag wrapped around my poor little fingey.

Since I just started my new job the health insurance hasn’t kicked in yet - so the emergency room is out the question.

I come inside the cabin and yell for the honey. “Ya need to patch me up sweets!” She digs the fixin stuff from under the bathroom sink and I peel back the grubby paper towel from my finger. The blood gushes again and the honey gets weak in the knees. I tell her I’m ok and we’ll fix it all up nice and nifty. (Like I never fixed anything up after a hockey game or bar brawl, ehh?)

So we clean it up, put a bandage on and tape it so it won’t bend. That wasn’t enough to keep it from bending though. I needed a splint. So I went to the kitchen and busted a plastic spoon in half and used it for a splint - taping that little chunk of white plastic snug to my index finger like some jerry-rigging expert. I don’t think my old hockey buddy, Stinky, could have done a better job

So that’s the shit.

It cracks my ass.

Get locked in, splice myself up with a plastic spoon, and can laugh about it the whole time its happening.

Yeah, I must be walking with wood …. Or some sort of shit, ehh?

Saturday, September 8, 2007


Whooya guys and gals, bitches and bastards.

Just woke up from a little nappy and getting ready to chug another brewski. Got my fingers warmed up by doing one of those stupid surveys over at Myspace about one of my bloody high schools. What a waste of valuable time, ehh?

Shit, I held my second skate for Norris’ Nightmares this morning at 4:00 am. That’s why I was napping just a bit ago. Its not like you get up at four o’clock but ya gotta be at the rink sharp as a tack and on the ice at four o’clock. Ya know, at least a cup a joe in ya and havin take a good crap by then. Had the ice for two hours again, well, an hour forty-five this week. The price was alright at that hour and it gave me chance to see who “really” wanted to play for me.

Just got my second beer now and poured in the primo glass mug that I got a quarter a century ago for being the best man in my brother Jingles’ wedding. That damn mug is like Jingles - tough as all get out. Don’t know how many times its been dropped but its still not busted.

Good dude that bro of mine. He showed up again to help out this morning. Runs the ice like some kinda drill instructor. Bronzy, my other bro, the jerk, called at about seven o’clock and said he musta forgot to set his alarm. Ya know I forgive him though, cuz honestly I figure one of his cute kids probably farted with the clock in the middle of the night when they snuck into his and the wife’s bedroom to tell him they were having dreams about hockey and the sun and cookies and …. Yeah, it happens.

But I don’t cut no slack for the guys that want to skate for me. You show up when I say so, you skate your ass off and ya don’t give me no lip. Yup 4:00 am is mighty early.

Good turnout again. A few of the guys were hung-over I could tell. That’s ok with me. Being able to get crunked out and then later skate some shit shows the character that I’m looking for. Now if I can just find the skill set that we need to turn this team into a winner. Ehh? Whacha think you guys?

We had em do the standard stretches and shit. Want to keep them from getting injured from strains and I emphasized how skating once or twice a week isn’t going to get it - they’ve got to work on stuff on their own time too. Jingles got them skating paired laps with sprints on the whistle then switched it into full rink figure-eights to add some interference and agility into the mix. When we took the first break from that we had a bunch of em hurling over the boards. Now ya know why the rink always smells so damn bad and vomitous early in the morning. Ya always thought it was an ammonia leak or something didn’t ya.

One of the heavy heavers was Whitney. Yup, I’ve got ladies trying out for the team too. She hails from the University of Denver and wears a practice jersey from Planet Hockey Skills Camp. Says that she was an instructor there. Anyway after she had finished with Ralph Chunks I heard her say that she’d been partying hard until two and hadn’t slept yet. Good shit - she’s got potential.

Another honey, Jamie from Duluth, skates her ass off and was on a national championship team last year. A little moody, skates without socks and has a tattoo of crossed hockey sticks on one of her feet. There’s a chance for her too.

A third lady showed up this morning also. Jessa, she cracked me up. Wears a jersey that says “Hockey Ass”. I think she’s a little hemp hoe that rings the bell from Rapid City. Ya can tell that she’s into bikers and shit like that - bad ass and all. Wonder if she read my blog about the Sturgis run/tournament for next year? She seemed to be favorin one leg all morning and I mentioned to her that she looked weak when she cut to that side. She told me “My knee is all fuckered up, but it’ll get better coach.” Cracks my ass that one!

So there’s a whole slew of guys and gals out there on the ice this morning. Made me feel good to see their liveliness and stamina. They were all walking with wood for showing up and puttin out.

With about forty-five minutes left I hauled out the barrel of practice pull-overs and Jingles and I broke em down into lines and defensive pairings so we could run some three on twos and short scrimmage sessions. I inherited these colors from Bif’s Broncos a former Junior team that’s now faded into notorious oblivion. Same jerseys, same brown plastic barrel, and same bloody bad stink. Don’t think they’ve ever been washed and I ain’t planning on doing it any time soon.

The drills ran well and the guys looked sharp. I gotta tell ya I was feeling fuckin proud this morning. The goalies were quiet as usual but did the job. Thinkin I might need to dig up somebody to help coach them but not sure yet. Everybody was getting in each others’ faces but no one dropped the gloves yet. Its intense, I can tell, and that’s what I want. I gotta get get this group of forty or so down to twenty in the next month.

Haven’t had any serious injuries either yet. So that’s been good but lucky. We did have one guy miss the last twenty minutes or so cuz of some fun shuckin and jivin on the bench. He got pushed and knocked off balance. Fool bounced his head off the end a the bench and had to sit cuz he got freakin dingy. Had to yell at the guys to keep their helmets on from that point forward. Didn’t really miss the dude though cuz he was one of the weaker skaters this week. Kinda hope that he won’t show up for the next skate.

We finished up with paired laps again. Single whistle sprint with a double whistle to skatin backwards. The guys dropped the practice pullovers in the barrel as they stepped off the ice at the end of practice. I had to laugh when each one commented on how bad the pull-overs stunk when they skated backwards. Oh yeah, I remember how bad that was from my days wearing em. When ya skate backwards at speed ya create a vacuum and that smell can’t escape your vapor trail. And that’s where you’re taking your next heavy breath, in that vapor trail, and the stink will just about suffocate ya. Love those pull-overs!

Love these guys!

Gotta go get another brew now and start a list ranking of the tryouts. This is the tough part.

Until next time - keep skatin hard - enjoy the shit - and walk with wood every chance ya get!

Jasper Wheats

Sunday, September 2, 2007


A lot’s been happening as I’m getting ready for the new season. Last week, you know, you guys, I finally picked a name for the team. Thanks to Chuck Norris, ehh, the name is Norris’ Nightmares. We’re going to be a “kick-ass team” playing as dirty as we gotta to beat our opponents. I’m guessing from past experience that we’ll be on the verge of getting kicked out of the league after game one. Yeah, we’ll be on secret - double, double secret probation. Been there, done that.

But, I guess that we’ll just have to hang out and wait and see.

Oh, yeah - I almost forgot - we will be quite skilled too. No hacks on Norris’ Nightmares, ehh. Goalies are stoners, forwards are danglers and defense are fearsome with killer slapshots. Everybody’s gotta be a grinder. No candy-asses allowed; just skilled shit-kickers with attitude.

So a couple weeks back I put the word out that I was going to have tryouts for a new team and last week I updated the info by letting folks know that the team’s name was Norris’ Nightmares and that the first tryout was going to be at 10:00 pm Tuesday night.

Now that was last Tuesday night and I had rented the rink for a couple of hours. They were kicking a public session off at 9:45 and cutting new ice for us. We could stay on right until midnight cuz some church youth group was coming on for broomball after us and they wanted the ice fairly roughed up. Noggin heads those broomballers!

I got-a-hold of my brothers, Jingles and Bronzy, to come out to help me run the show. Told em I’d buy the brews afterwards but I needed to have someone helping out while I took notes and shit. I picked them up a couple of whistles and we got together in one of the dressing rooms around nine to go over the game plan.

I didn’t know what to expect. The flyer’s I posted said $15 a pop for “A” level competitive tryouts, with goalies for free. I don’t have a sponsor yet so the cost is fairly steep on the front end. I figured that I’d probably have to cover for at least an hour of the ice time myself until the word spread about what I was putting together.

All I can figure is that my reputation musta proceeded me in this endeavor as we had thirty-nine skaters and six goalies show up our first night. I had thrown together a quick little one page questionnaire that everybody had to fill out with name, phone number, email address, experience, preferred playing position , etc. You know the shit. And most importantly what they were going to wear on the ice so that we could identify them for my notes.

I’m telling ya it was a good turnout. Jingles and Bronzy were even impressed with the quantity of good players that showed up. Of course there were a couple of real beginners that didn’t belong there and so I talked to them and gave them a refund as I excused them.

All of the others went through the drills and at the end I asked them all to come back next week for a continuation of the evaluation. This was just the first call and they could invite others if they wanted. I wouldn’t start winnowing the group for couple or three weeks yet.

I’m tellin ya I was absolutely in heaven with this turnout. It was good, I was walking with wood when we headed up to the bar later.

As usual though we had the typical horse shit stuff happen. Guys forgot some of their gear and others were pretty nervous.

Two guys stepped on the ice with those damn fabric soakers on their skate blades. I think it was Chase and that hotshot friend of Matt’s. Both of them lit right on their asses. Looked just like I figure those broomballers were going to look like later on. Matt had stood out in the locker room as he sat there laced up finishing off a package of Cheez-Its like he hadn’t eaten in a week or something so I remembered him quite well.

We had one goalie show up almost an hour into the skate. He was in full gear, like the way we showed up when we were kids when our folks would drop us off. At first I wasn’t going to let him on the ice, but a couple a guys, including Shawn, vouched for him so I let him skate. He smelled a bit like beer and smoke but played snappy. During a break from his time in the net I chatted with him a bit to find out what was up and he told me that he lived close by and often dresses at home and walks over to the rink. Tonight he passed by a house where a party was going on and a couple a dudes out in the front yard started laughing at him and said that he had to come on in for a brew and meet the local gang hanging there. Not able to pass up a free beer he jumped in. Said he’d probably head back after the skate cuz a couple of cute sisters seemed kinda interested in him.

I guess I’d probably had done the same - can’t pass up a good thing.

Shapiro had a picture of his great dane glued to the back of his helmet (a real ugly bitch) and forgot one of his gloves. Bronzy had an extra pair in his bag so Shaprio was good to go but not until he totally freaked figuring he wasn’t going to get to show his stuff.

The worst of all - I mean we just about had to air the place out - was Cam. I don’t know what the fuck he’d eaten earlier but it pretty much reeked. I know about getting nervous before going on the ice but this was extreme. Cammy is skating in for a one timer drill when he winds up and nails a dinger but unloads his shorts at the same time. Embarrassed as all get-out he did the fastest gear change and shower on record. I’m not real sure where he disposed of his soiled shorts but it was relief when we couldn’t smell that ass-wipe anymore.

This week was good and I figure next week will be even better.

Norris’ Nightmares are moving forward. We be walking with wood, guys!

I’ll fill ya in on what happens next week. So come back again for some more good reads.

Skate hard!

Jasper Wheats