Sunday, May 17, 2009


I’ve been back from my job search trip to the west coast now for almost a month. A lot has been happening aside from the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

I’m being kinda apologetic here – but I didn’t do so well on my picks for the winners in the first round. I only got right five outta the eight teams advancing. Damn shame about those Sharks, ehh. They just fell apart again. Tough luck, boys. Ha, ha!

I really don’t want to re-pick teams again to come out of the second round but I will anyway. So here ya go:

Penguins over the Capitals
Bruins over the Hurricanes
Blackhawks over the Canucks
Redwings over the Ducks

I’ve got to tell you that I have really enjoyed watching the superstars play in the Pens/Caps series. Oh to be young again.

So I’m here home again in the back woods and have spent just a lot of time dwelling on what I saw in Oakland and the business that Rup said about there being a lot of money in the control of fights. But, I’ll tell you guys, I don’t think to highly of zapping players – but money is money – and my slow poke mush for brain has been working overtime. Shit for dooty if during the flight home I didn’t even look at one of the airline magazines. I was making notes and drawing sketches instaed. Just trying to think about the whole big picture. And damn, could I make some money off of this latest control exercise that the NHL wants to institute? Yepper, my oatmeal was steaming.

I got back to the cabin and spent some time explaining the situation and possible ideas about it to my honey. I know she listens to me out of the goodness of her heart even though her heart usually isn’t into the things I do.

She gives me hug and I give her a squeeze and a passionate kiss – cuz I truly had missed her and she does bring me back to earth on the rare occasion that I drift way over the boards.

“Jasper, every time you go away you come back home with another hair-brained idea. I’m beginning to think that you’re more likely related to Stinky than you are to Jingles and Bronzy. You ought to bounce these ideas of yours off of some experts before you burn up anymore of your time. And you know that’s my time too.” She smiled up at me and I kissed her again.

(Author’s note: Moving on past that two hour interruption and getting back at my writing here I need to input an update. Chicago eliminated Vancouver and is the first team to move on to the third round. So … that makes one of four picks right so far. I’m feeling good!)

Taking the honey’s advice I placed some phone calls to Jingles, D-Pity, Stinky and Bronzy to set up an evening meeting. I didn’t tell them much, just said that we could watch a game, have some pizza, drink some beers and talk about an idea that I have.

Everybody showed with a six pack and the honey put a couple of frozen pizzas in the oven for us then she left for her sister’s. She set a timer and I told the guys that we’re living on a budget so the frozen pies would have to do. Nobody complained, but Bronzy said he could of picked up something fresh in town if he’d known that I was serving non-apetit.

I laughed at that, showed him my gut, and said “Here’s non-apetit for ya!”

“Oh gee Jasp, put that thing away before we all gag a rag,” he laughed back as Jingles’ beer went out his nose.

Stinky stood up and stretched his arms back and pushing his substantial girth forward and boasted “You Wheats boys don’t have shit. Ya ain’t even ready for the wars.”

“Well frozen or not, it’s gonna beat the cooking I’ve been doing lately,” stated D-Pity. “Seems as though all I’ve had for the past month has been cold cereal and microwaved garbage. I hardly have time to sit down – so busy getting my place in shape and getting that rink planned and stuff.”

Jingles cleared his throat after coughing and such and asked “Yeah, how’s that going Wayno?”

“Ah shit, it’s just a lot of work. Working with engineers, architects and all that crap. But the worst is the county. My property is zoned for agricultural use only. They want me to jump through just too damn many hoops. There’s times that I think maybe I should give up on it there and find another piece of commercial property to buy. Ya know though, I just want it in my backyard. Kinda like going out to the pond. Ah shit we’ll see. “

The game got going and the buzzer went off so I pulled out the pizzas and sliced them with a kitchen scissors and brought ‘em out for our munch-a-bunch. I rightly can’t remember which game we were watching. Seems as though it was Vancouver versus St. Louis because none of us were too excited about who ended up winning or losing.

Jingles, between bites, led off with “So Jasper what’s this idea that ya want to go over? Is it about the Nightmares or Crossed Stick Society or what? We all saw your sweetie leave so I’ve got to figure it’s hair-brained because she’s learned over the years to avoid listening to your whimsical plans. Shit she doesn’t believe in you until you’ve gotten something finally done. Ha, ha!”

“Give me a break, damn she went to her sister’s for Pete’s sake.”

“Nah, she always leaves now when we get together to build something Wheats. You know that,” laughed Stinky. “I sometimes think that maybe she doesn’t like me, but Jingles has got a point.”

“Yeah, so what’s up?” Bronzy asks through a mouthful of pizza.

So I told them about my last trip to the west coast. And how I had stopped at the Oakland rink; seeing the trials for the taser fight stopping apparatus that the NHL had thrown together. I expressed my opinion and told them how I had chucked my cookies when the referee had accidently tasered himself. Then I pulled out Rup’s business card and said “He said there’s a lot of money in this and if I came up with something that works better, to go ahead and get a hold of him.”

“Do you guys see an opportunity here? I walked in on something that most of the sports world isn’t privy to. I don’t like seeing guys getting zapped but maybe we could make a bundle if we came up with something that worked and was fool proof. Jingles, you’re kind of an electronic genius. Bronzy bro, you work at Graingers and could get a discount on hardware. Paul, you know how to kluge things together better than anyone I know, plus you have access to all kinds of strange but useful shit out at the salvage yard. And Wayno, you’ve got connections in the business world and possibly some funding if ya buy into this.”

“Wait a minute Jasper. Did you guys see that?” Wayno – D-Pity quizzed. “I really like the fact that Versus is covering hockey, but sheesh, when they display these banners, the only thing I can figure out is the cameraman can’t see the banner because SO damned often, like just now, the banner is covering up where the puck is being played. It drives me absolutely nuts.”

Jingles responded, “Well shitaroo, but cable over in my neck of the woods doesn’t even carry Versus so this is a sweet treat for me. Reminds me of the old days when you used to come over to watch the games on scrambled networks at my old place down in the cities about twenty years ago. Ehh, Jasper?”

“Jingles you ought to come up with some kinda filter that could be added to the cable box to zing out ads and shit,” piped in Bronzy.

I added my own comment, “Yeah, I find the banners irritating too. And I think you’re right, the cameraman must not be seeing it. Ha-ha Jingles. I remember those days. Good times when we both lived down in the cities. Remember that time I was over and Ry-Ry was digging up carpet raisins and eating them?”

Jingles blew beer through his snout again. “Yeah and that carpet was, like, the color of raisins too. I don’t know how he could find them. French fries were easy, remember?”

“Yeah,” I chuckled, “good times. And to think you’ve got that kid in law school now. Shit, that’s something, ehh!”

“So, you guys, back to my idea.”

(Author’s note: This thing is taking me days to write and the second round of the playoffs is now over. Pittsburgh’s going to play Carolina for the Eastern Championship and Chicago is going to play Detroit for the Western Championship. So I didn’t expect the Canes to move on and I guess I was wrong about this being the Bruins year. Oh well, there’s always next year. That’s what I keep saying about the Kings.)

“Here’s kinda what I’m thinking. We use something like a dog training collar. Everybody on the ice wears one and each is programmed to a different frequency. The zapping is controlled from a panel run by somebody in the scorekeepers box. It’s gotta be better than using a taser type device. Dang that was nasty seeing that ref zap himself. What do you guys think? We could test it in a scrimmage up here. Get it perfected before we contact the NHL, you know.”

“So I’m thinking on the financial side of a trial or test or whatever ya want to call it,” D-Pity started us off. “You’re talking about thirty to forty collars depending on how big a bench you’re running for each side. Then you’ve got the control system. How much money you think we’re talking about to start with?”

“Well, I haven’t really figured that out on that big of a scale first off,” I responded. “I need you guys to brainstorm for some ideas on the cheap. Ok?”

Stinky hollered, “Well cripes Jasper, yank some more beers out the fridge. Hey! I’ll be able to think a lot better after I have a couple a more.”

I got up and went to the fridge and grabbed another cold one for each of us. There was still a bit of pizza left but grabbed another bag of chips from the cupboard too,

Stinky took his beer, popped the top and downed it in about three gulps without losing a drop. “Jasper, I think I’ve got a couple of torn up remote dog training collars hanging off a nail in one of my sheds. I don’t know if they work or nothing. And I don’t have the trainer’s controls for them.”

“Good, Paul. That’s a start of what I’m thinking for our first trial” as I tried to act like the facilitator. “Keep it on a shoestring. Jingles, you think of any way that these could be used without their original controls? I mean, if they even work.”

“Well, we’d have to get fresh batteries and power them up to see if they work. They probably have a local control switch for testing,” Jingles was analyzing the idea – I could tell. “I could put a digital scope on them and check them out. It might be difficult to determine what their receiving frequency is though. I’d need that to make the control transmitters. You know each has gotta have a separate operating frequency or this whole idea’s no good.”

Bronzy interjects, “They might be like garage door openers and the frequency is coded inside the receiver or dog zapper housing. If so then all you have to do is go back to the manufacturer’s website and you can probably find the frequency.”

“You know, you’re probably right, Bronzy,” Wayno piped in. “I think I’ve seen those codes myself on garage door openers and keyless car lock systems. This is a sweet idea. I like it.”

“Yeah Wayno, talking about sweet. Who was that lady you were with at the bar after the last time you played with us? Ehh?” Bronzy quipped.

Jingles added his two bits, “Yeah D-Pity old buddy old pal. Speaking of dogs, who was she?”

Defending himself, Wayno the D-Pity whines back,“Come on guys, she wasn’t that bad. Was she? She’s one of the architects I’ve been working with. She was up here doing a site walk and then talking to the county for me.”

I had to ask, “What did she look like you guys? Was that all there was to it?”

“They were swapping spit back in the corner booth after a while,” Stinky started filling in the blanks. “Didn’t think old Wayno was that desperate.”

“No, no, no. She’s hot, Jasper. I’m telling you. We hooked up down in Florida last February and it wasn’t half bad,” Wayno explained.

Jingles gave me the real shit about it though. “Ha, ha, ha! Jasper, remember Bif’s description of Tone’s girl friend? Yup! This ‘lady’ that D-Pity was with was just about as handsome as a can of smashed assholes.”

“No way! Don’t tell me. You guys are gonna make me waste some good beer here,” I laughed. “Wayno, you old dog, you’ve got absolutely no tastes when it comes to the honeys. Shit let’s get back to the collars, ehh.”

“Jasper,” Jingles starts in and burps a righteous good belch, “you know, we could probably use garage door opener remotes to control the dog collars. I could modify their outputs to be on the same frequency as the collars’ electronics. I think it would work.”

Bronzy stated that he was pretty sure there were some returned remotes back at the store that he could dispose of. Of course Jingles would have to fix them first. And Stinky said that he knew that he had some that worked but they were about the size of a deck of cards. They weren’t new small ones.

I told everybody that for a test of the idea, the size of the equipment isn’t going to matter too much.

“You know, you guys, we’ve got to test this thing out and then refine it. Can all of you gather up what you need and we’ll meet again next Saturday. Jingles will have the hard part but maybe he’ll be able to show us how to help. The priority is that If the collars don’t work or can’t be fixed then we’ll have to buy a couple of new ones. There’s no point in working on the other shit if the collars don’t zap or can’t be controlled remotely.” I closed the major discussion with, “You guys are all in on this then, right? If it works, then like Rup indicated, we could be in the money. Shit we’ll be walking with wood boys. Right up there with Nike/Bauer, Cooper and the other big boys in hockey gear.”

Jingles said that he’d stop by Stinky’s yard on the way home and find some spare time during the week to start troubleshooting the collars and fixing them if he could.

We let our minds wander a bit while we watched the rest of the game. Most of us, I think, were chewing on the Canucks asses through the whole thing.

So next Saturday, we move on.

To be continued in the Thug Zapper (no.3)

Jasper here, Catch you then.