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November 3, 2018

What. A. Game.

Filed under: Hockey — chuck goolsbee @ 8:15 pm

I’m a hockey fan. I was a player and an on-ice official for most of my life, and now… well I’m old, and slow, and am content to just watch. I can watch any hockey game, be it NHL, NCAA, or Junior hockey of any sort. I love the game and its almost constant flow, finesse, and yes… its brutality. From having watched tens of thousands of games from on the ice, in the stands, and on TV, I can sense the game itself. I often know when a goal is going to be scored beforehand – mostly because I know how to spot the mistakes that lead to goals. I can honestly watch any game and get enjoyment from it, however about thirty years ago I picked a single NHL team to become a fan of… entirely due to proximity. I was a grown up, and I could afford to pay for a ticket for a game or two, and there was a team within a two hour drive of my home. namely the Vancouver Canucks. I had watched their Stanley Cup run while in college in 1982 and having never been an Islanders fan, I really hoped these plucky regular season losers who were riding a hot streak would win the Cup. Sadly they were crushed in four straight games. A few years later I was out of school and living close enough to attend some games, so I started going, and loved it. They were never very good, but never really bad either. Vancouver is a lovely city and filled with knowledgable hockey fans. It is a great place to watch the game. The Canucks have made two more Cup runs since I became a fan, in 1994 (I even scored a ticket to Game 2 against Calgary, and witnessed one of Pavel Bure’s greatest goals), and again in 2011. Both were unsuccessful but provided a lifetime of memorable moments and plays. I now live way too far to regularly attend games, but I watch every one I can via NHL.tv on my Roku.

The Canucks are in a “rebuilding phase” after the twins Henrik & Daniel Sedin retired last year. Only two players remain from that 2011 season, and the roster is filled with kids. Young, raw talent. They haven’t coeleced into a great team yet, but boy are they fun to watch! Nobody expected much from them this season, but here we are after a month of play and they sit atop their division, and are second place in the Western Conference.

Last night’s game illustrates just how fun, and interesting this season’s Canucks are… They played the Colorado Avalanche, who had just lost the night before in an ugly fashion, giving up five goals in the third period to Calgary. Less than a minute after the face-off in Vancouver 19-year old Elias Pettersson (this year’s rookie phenom) made a breakout pass to 21-year old Brock Boeser (last year’s rookie phenom) who put on a Pavel Bure-like burst of speed to open the game with a goal. Always great to score first! (something the Canucks have regularly failed to do for many seasons) It was a beautiful goal on a beautiful breakaway. But Colorado scored next to tie the game. Then Pettersson made another brilliant play, essentially bouncing the puck off the end boards which rebounded back to Boeser who had sped past the Av’s defence, and one-timed the puck into the Colorado net. It was VERY reminiscent of a classic “Sedinery”, that is the type of plays the Sedin twins pulled in their heyday. What made this interesting from an “inside hockey” perspective is how close it was to being a minor infraction, namely “icing”. Peterson essentially iced the puck, having shot from well inside the center red line, which is why the Av’s defence were so lax. Boeser was already behind them, which nullifies the icing, and makes what was a delay of game into a brilliant play. But then Colorado scored to tie it up again.

What made the Canucks so fun to watch back in 2000-2012 era was the fact that any player and every player seemed to be a scoring threat. Even the defense. In the 2011 Cup run, every line was a scoring line. It seems like this year just about every Canuck has been putting up points. Every sports movie has that one veteran player who has a bad attitude. Seems to be playing for a paycheck rather than a win. That guy on the Canucks is played by Loui Eriksson. To me he is an overpaid schmuck. Likely one of the worst deals the Canucks have made. But even he scored a goal last night. I can’t remember the last time he scored a goal.

But then Colorado scored to tie it up again. In fact they scored two and took the lead for the first time of the game. But Pettersson scored again with a few minutes left in the second period to revive the stadium.

Colorado scored a minute and a half into the third, and the Canucks evened it halfway through the period on a great second effort by Markus Granlund. But then a late penalty lead to Colorado getting what looked like the game-winning goal with a mere one minute and thirty-eight seconds to go. Vancouver pulls their goaltender, and Boeser makes a great behind the net pass to Bo Horvat, who puts the puck right on Pettersson’s stick in the slot for an amazing one-timer into the net to tie the game.

I suspect that if something comes of this season, such as a playoff berth, or even a Cup run, people will look back at this game as the turning point of their season. This is where it came together and a team came from it. A team that is capable of winning consistently and producing results exceeding the output of individuals. Maybe even Eriksson will earn his paycheck. Who knows?

Overtime was amazing. Pettersson was pulled down from behind on a breakaway. It should have been a penalty shot, but did turn into a Canuck power play and Derrick Pouliot, a Defenceman, scored his first goal of the season with a freak shot that bounced off the crossbar and off of a Colorado player into his own net. The stadium went wild, and I likely yelled loud enough to scare coyotes off of the butte.

https://www.nhl.com/news/c-301563606

October 19, 2018

An impromptu solo mini-cannonball. (Part Three, the actual Cannonball part)

Filed under: Cars,life,Road Scholarship — Tags: — chuck goolsbee @ 12:04 pm

Yesterday’s drive wore me out, and after a Mexican combo plate dinner weighing my gut down, I fall into a deep slumber instantly upon laying down in bed. Unfortunately, I bolt wide awake around 4 am. Sunrise is still hours away and I want to experience some daylight for the first stretch of road. US Highway 50 west of Delta, Utah into Nevada is a mind-blowing place. The very first time I drove it was on the aforementioned Cannonball Classic with my father in 1999. It is an enormous, austere, and desolate landscape unique to the American West. LONG stretches of arrow-straight asphalt, flying off to the distant horizon. Very little flora, and almost no fauna. Mountain ranges rising as if to block your path, and then the road rises directly into them, and snake through, over and down again into the expansive basins, only to resume the arrow-flight westwards. The experience is visceral and very visual. Driving there is a challenge and an adventure. I long to do it again, which is precisely why I chose this route. I could have continued north on US 6 and Utah 36, on to Tooele (a section that remains UN-highlighted in my atlas), but US Highway 50 is beckoning me back. Night driving is unsatisfying however. When your vision is limited to only what your headlights reveal your world shrinks to that minute speck. It is just asphalt, stripes, reflectors and roadsigns. Without those wide open vistas there is nothing at all special about any road, much less US 50.

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October 18, 2018

An impromptu solo mini-cannonball. (Part Two, the actual Cannonball part)

Filed under: Cars,Road Scholarship,Thoughts — Tags: — chuck goolsbee @ 5:35 pm

So I’m alone, in Albuquerque, with a nice car and no co-driver. Our plans have gone awry, and I have a few choices of what to do next. One is to just continue on to SoCal and visit friends. I’ve already seen the Grand Canyon, so no need for that side trip. Another option is to drive straight home by the most direct route. It’s between 1200 & 1400 miles, depending upon which “direct” route I choose. But here is where I have to admit a personal quirk: I like to drive on roads I’ve never driven on. I’ve been wandering all over this continent in a car since I was a kid, and it never ceases to amaze me at the wonders one can find by taking a road you’ve never been on before.

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An impromptu solo mini-cannonball. (Part One)

Filed under: Cars,Goolsbee News,life,Road Scholarship,Thoughts — Tags: — chuck goolsbee @ 11:06 am

My brain is fogged. I’ve been driving for two days straight with minimal sleep, after two previous days of driving as well. I’m only ~250 miles from my journey’s end, but I really felt the need to get out of the car.

So here I am, sitting in a Burger King somewhere west of Boise, Idaho, sipping on a cold coke zero, munching on some terrible onion rings, and scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed to just give my brain a rest. How did I get here?

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July 4, 2018

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Filed under: Goolsbee News — chuck goolsbee @ 4:49 pm

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April 30, 2018

Thoughts while driving home at sunset…

Filed under: life,Thoughts,Writing — chuck goolsbee @ 8:25 pm

Late today I had some errands in Bend, and did not get back on the road home until right around sunset. It has been rainy and grey all day, but just as the sun set behind the Cascades, a break in the clouds appears in the lee of the mountains and bathes Central Oregon’s high ground and low clouds with a reddish golden glow. My route from Bend to home is the Powell Butte Highway… a highway in name only. It is a narrow two-lane through Juniper and Sage. For some odd reason tonight it is utterly devoid of vehicular traffic, save me. Back in 2010-2013 this road was my daily commute, and after decades of Seattle’s stop-and-go it was a pleasant change of pace, and most of all I relished the drives home heading into the setting sun. Tonight takes me in the opposite direction, allowing me to soak in the light reflecting from the hills, the clouds, and most interestingly, from the windows of every home on the butte, including mine. These reflections were so strong as to appear to be very bright electric lights, as if every home was wearing its Christmas best finery.

Between the light show, and the absolute absence of any other cars on the roads the whole experience begins to take on a dreamlike quality. My mind starts wondering why I am so alone. Is something happening of global importance that I am blissfully unaware of?
But still, the amazing light show keeps me enthralled as I drive. Pulling through the penultimate corner and up the steep hill going up the butte I can see the light is no longer blazing off the windows and I put my foot into the accelerator to try and get home a few seconds faster to watch the last of the dying sunset…

That’s when the full-grown Mule Deer prances onto the asphalt about 15m in front of the car.

Reverie vanishes in an instant. Full on the brakes and horn simultaneously. The deer stops(!), rotates back around and bounds back to the right. Following it with my eyes, I see the inevitable herd (there is NEVER just ONE deer!) One of them is just off the road, just outside my passenger window.

I feel like an idiot for not seeing them earlier. The groceries (including a dozen eggs) are remarkably intact given that they launched off the seat, off the dash, and onto the floor.

Self-medicating with a vintage Bordeaux as we speak.

April 29, 2018

Imagine what we can do!

Filed under: life,rants,Technology,Thoughts — chuck goolsbee @ 3:24 pm

Perhaps the finest achievement of mankind, other than the chairlift of course, is the silicon transistor & integrated circuit. When you process it at a base layer we have taught rocks how to think.

I’ll say that again: WE HAVE TAUGHT ROCKS HOW TO THINK.

Place that now smarter rock into a powered device, with input/output systems, storage, memory, and a connection to all the other thinking rocks we’ve created and the potential is truly unlimited. I get very excited when I think about all we have created and my very small role in making it all happen.

Imagine what we can do!

Then I go out into the world and look around, only to see my fellow humans using these amazing devices…

…to play solitaire.

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