Fantasy Hockey: A Year End Review

February 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

Technically, we still have two weeks left in our fantasy hockey season.  But I wrote this review for our league message boards and decided to share it with you all.  It’s a look back at the players I chose on Draft Day (recapped here) and how they’ve performed, in my mind.  My team looks rather different now, but still has some core players.  Since not all of you play fantasy hockey with me, I’ve put each player’s name in bold who is still on my team.  Also, the team after their name is the one they played for when they were drafted by me.  Enjoy and feel free to comment if you disagree with anything!

1. (1) Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins C/RW) – #1 ranked fantasy player. Has proven that I wasn’t making a biased choice when I took him first overall. On pace to have his highest scoring season. Beast.

2. (16) Pekka Rinne (Nashville Predators G) – Solid. #1 in wins. Might not be the league’s absolute best but he’s certainly top 5 and in a league with only a handful of team-carrying goalies, he gets the job done night in and out.

3. (17) Zach Parise (NJ Devils LW) – I’m iffy. On one hand, he’s put up decent numbers all season long. Flip side, not as much as past seasons, and not what I was expecting from the newly named captain. He does play tons of PK though, which may be why his +/- is generally awful.

4. (32) Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks C) –Will anyone ever know what happened to this Ducks team, or is the first half of their season basically an X-File??

5. (33) Shea Weber (Nashville Predators D) – Had an amazing first half, slowed down a little since 2012, but still one of the best.

6. (48) Jonas Hiller (Anaheim Ducks G) – I held onto my Ducks players WAY too long. I clung to them harder than Frodo did to the Ring at Mt. Doom.

7. (49) Jeff Skinner (Carolina Hurricanes C/RW) – Putting up steady points… until he got a concussion in Dec. and was out months. Hasn’t picked right back up where he left off, either. Bummer.

8. (64) Brent Burns (San jose Sharks D) – Playing pretty much as expected. Good numbers for a dman. For an 8th rounder, I’ll take it.

9. (65) Alexandre Burrowes (Vancouver Canucks LW/RW) – Picked him because he would be seeing top-line action with the Sedins while Kesler was out. Too bad a back injury made him miss games in Nov. Probably dropped him too fast though. I could use his +21 right now.

10. (80) Mike Cammelleri (Montreal Canadiens C/LW) – Ugh, I went with a “gut” feeling on this pick. Too bad I forgot I don’t have a gut and therefore should not listen to it. Ugh ugh ugh.

11. (81) Nathan Horton (Boston Bruins RW) – If I was going to pick a Bruin, there were a bunch of others I should’ve gone for.

12. (96) John Carlson (Washington Capitals D) – The Caps have played with no heart all season long and I don’t think he’s the one to get it beating again.

13. (97) Chris Stewart (St. Louis Blues RW) – He’s helped the Blues have an unexpectedly good season, but his suspension and injury in the early months of the season didn’t impress.

14. (112) Logan Couture (San Jose Sharks C/LW) – 52 points in 61 games, and an All-Star appearance? A steal in the 14th round.

15. (113) Jack Johnson (LA Kings D) – 8 goals in 61 games. Part of the Kings offensive woes.

16. (128) James Van Riemsdyk (Philadelphia Flyers LW) – Didn’t pick up from his playoff scoring surge the way I’d hoped.

I think there are a few reasons I’ve been in/near the bottom of the standings all season long. Biggest reason though is because I held on way too long to underperforming players, trying to give them a chance for a turnaround. Also because, in a league where 2 goalies count for so much, my backup goalie has always stunk. As I said in #2, I think this season is incredibly light on team-carrying goalies. Off the top of my head, I can think of only about 7 or 8 goalies that perfom night in and out. Don’t get me wrong, NHL goalies are all tops in their class, but even in this class, there’s a wide disparity between good and great. Howard, Lundqvist, Rinne, Kiprusoff, Quick, Elliott, Luongo, Thomas… they always give their teams a chance to win. Did I miss any?

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Again We Keep This Solemn Fast

February 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

Again we keep this solemn fast
a gift of faith from ages past
This Lent which binds us lovingly
to faith and hope and charity

The law and prophets from of old
in figured ways this Lent foretold
Which Christ, all ages Lord and Guide,
in these last days has sanctified

More sparing, therefore, let us make
the words we speak, the food we take,
our sleep, our laughter — ev’ry sense!
Learn peace through holy penitence.

Let us avoid each harmful way
that lures the careless mind astray
By watchful prayer our spirits free
from scheming of the Enemy

We pray O Blessed Three In One,
our God while endless ages run,
that this our Lent of forty days
may bring us growth and give you praise 

– St. Gregory the Great

A Hodgepodge Medley of Links and Thoughts

February 22, 2012 § 3 Comments

A haphazard, slapdash,  conglomeration of links and thoughts:
 
Fashion! I love the patterned tights, lace-up ankle boots, and structured skirts that were featured in Burberry Prorsum’s Fall/Winter 2012 Collection.  London Fashion Week is occurring, but I haven’t been paying as much attention to it as I normally do, because of my hectic schedule the past month.  However, I caught sight of some pictures from it on The Sartorialist and had to look further.  I really like the knee length of the skirts in the show, and paneled or quilted outerwear.  Here’s a gallery of pictures from Fashionising.com, and few from that gallery:

 

Hockey!

Evgeni Malkin is the leading point-getter in the NHL right now.  I had a lot of people give me grief for making a biased choice (coughDanny!) when I took him 1st overall in our fantasy league.  Too bad for them that he’s proven me right all season long. 

There’s a lot of stuff happening in advance of the NHL TRade Deadline Day on 2/27.  I’m curious to see if Rick Nash goes somewhere (and if so, who was the party willing to acquire him and his current -21 rating and who were they willing to give up for him).  I also thought this was a cool article on NHL.com, a review of some of the trades from last year’s deadline and how they worked out for each team.

The Maple Leafs aren’t doing so hot lately.  They’re 4-5-1 in their last ten and have the amount of points as Winnipeg.  The only reason they are clinging to that 8th and final playoff spt is because they’ve played two less games than the Jets but have the same amount of wins.  Not that I care about the Leafs.  I just think it would be awesome to have a Penguins/Leafs playoff matchup, because of the mixed alliances in my household.  Would I be able to jeer at Mom as my Pens crushed her Leafs?  Would it be a hard-fought battle of epic playoff hockey?  Would she crow in triumph over me if her team won?  (HA.  Not bloody likely.  Her team winning, I mean.)  Well, for any of that to even have a chance of happening, the Leafs need to make the playoffs.  So I kind of hope they do. 

Playoff hockey is the best. 

 

Catholicism!

From the USCCB website, a great post about 10 things to remember in Lent“5. It’s about dying to yourself. The more serious side of Lenten discipline is that it’s about more than self-control – it’s about finding aspects of yourself that are less than Christ-like and letting them die. The suffering and death of Christ are foremost on our minds during Lent, and we join in these mysteries by suffering, dying with Christ and being resurrected in a purified form.” 

A site that made me smile, on the ongoing birth control/religious freedom/utter absurdity of our government issue.  http://womenspeakforthemselves.com/  I’m pretty darn sick and tired of people thinking they speak for “all women” when they talk about the need for free contraception.  Sign the list!  Remind our President that “No one speaks for all women on these issues. Those who purport to do so are simply attempting to deflect attention from the serious religious liberty issues currently at stake.” 

Reason #94582423 that I love the Church: Today is a feast day dedicated to a Chair. 

No, not really.  I mean, it’s easy to understand how one could think that, given that the feast day title is “The Chair of St. Peter”.  In all actuality: The Latin liturgy celebrates today the feast of the Chair of Peter. It is a very ancient tradition, witnessed in Rome since the end of the fourth century, which renders thanksgiving to God for the mission entrusted to the Apostle Peter and his successors.” – Pope Benedict, 2/22/06.  (Zenit Link) (More pictures of the Chair link)

Can you find the chair?

A Bit of Other Work

February 15, 2012 § 3 Comments

Sorry if blogging is a little light for the next few days.  I have to give a talk on the Holy Spirit and the sacrament of Confirmation for a retreat next weekend.  It’s hard for me to write multiple things at once, so I probably won’t be writing any blog posts until I have this talk done.  After that, it’ll be back to normal!

 On a different note, did you know I have twitter now??  I do!  Find me @rosebabetski.

Here, look at this cool link.  Rocco Palmo talks about the Consistory that is happening this weekend in Rome.  This is where Archbishop Dolan will be made a Cardinal.  It’s interesting stuff!  Read it.

Another thing: The Maple Leafs are in the playoffs, if they started tonight.  WHA………!??  Anyone who knows my mother can imagine how excited she is by this news.  I have not yet been able to sway her to become a Penguins fan. 

 

Whatever, Mom.  I’ll take those guys over your guys any day.

GUEST POST: Settlers of Catan

February 10, 2012 § 4 Comments

Genevieve writes again!  (In case some of you are unaware, Settlers of Catan is a board game.  I am very good at it.  I (very) infrequently lose.  The other day, I played with Pete and Gen.  Here is Gen’s post about that infamous game.)

Settlers of Catan

I sat there, my cards in my hand, my brain focused on one thing: beating Rose’s winning streak in Settlers of Catan.  I was determined, she beat everyone I admired and liked, this time she would lose. It was a long game, I cannot remember every move, but I know Pete and Rose were pulling out pretty good moves; I was getting disappointed at my so-far-failure. I needed to make Rose lose, and keep my own dignity by not coming in last. My move I remembered, I needed wheat and brick.  I could trade three of my ores in for my wheat, so I did, and to my delicious ambition to make Rose lose, I did get my wheat. What I did next was brilliant; I asked “Who will give me a brick?” Rose shook her head, “I don’t want to give away my brick.” I made sure she had brick, and I lifted up my development card, which help you get points easier.   My development card was a monopoly card, which meant I could take all the brick that Pete and Rose had.  “Too bad!” I grinned and took her brick happily. That was my best move, other than that, it went downhill. Lucky me, Pete came in first and Rose in, get this: SECOND! And I came in last. Rose is awfully mean to me during the game, note that.                                      

Restaurants and Theology on Tap! (But mostly restaurants)

February 8, 2012 § 4 Comments

Just two quick items on my blog agenda today:

Item 1: I am working at The Cafe tonight.  Longtime readers of the blog and personal acquaintances will be familiar with this restaurant and its place in my life.  I worked there for about 5 years as a part-time job (usually 3 nights a week), in addition to whatever full-time job I held at the time.  This past summer, I finally gave it up and have been only filling in ever since.  They call me (infrequently) when they’re stuck and can’t get anyone else.  Tonight is one of those nights. 

Working at the restaurant has always held a strange spot in my heart.  I have tried many times to pin down exactly what the feeling is.  I’ve never succeeded, I think because the feeling varies so much from each experience there.  Most of the time I don’t miss it.  But then sometimes… I do.  It sounds crazy, but there are nights when I want to be on my feet, swinging around the corner of the bar and into the kitchen, stacking tickets, flipping tables, perfecting dessert plates with a splash of whipped cream and chocolate sauce.  There are times when I miss juggling dishes and poking fun at customers with the other workers.  For every rude diner and poor tipper and drunk old man, there’s a funny first date couple and a table full of cute guys and an eating by themself out-of-towner who tips me extra just because I chatted.  I miss helping the parents who’d come in with babies, making them feel welcome and letting them know I like babies and don’t care how many other people think children have no place in fine-dining.  I don’t miss the dead nights, the slow nights, the poor nights.  I don’t miss the foot aches and the back pains and the growling stomach because I’ve been so busy serving other people’s hot, delicious food I haven’t had time to eat in five hours.  I’m a social person, I miss seeing new faces and interacting with people.  Restaurants aren’t for people who hate people, but restaurants can make anyone hate people.  You have to find your spot.  You have to understand this:  For every night you’re overbooked and understaffed and overworked, there eventually comes the night when the momentum is on your side.  The restaurant hits that spot where you’re moving, moving fast, but it’s a good fast.  It’s the night when all your favorite people are working with you and the chefs are cheerful, and the bartender is slinging drinks and the tables are tipping.  Your feet and hands are busy and you’re smiling because you’ve got it under control.  People are happy.  People are eating good food and drinking good wine.  I wish every night could be like that.  If it were, I might never have left the restaurant world.  

Item 2: Theology on Tap has started again in Wilkes-Barre!  I am remiss for not mentioning this sooner.  The first session was last night and, although I did not attend, I heard that it was awesome.  The poster for this month’s program is on the side.  If you don’t know what Theology on Tap is, that’s okay!  Because I already co-wrote a letter explaining what it is!  Here is that letter, which I am sure Shannon will not mind that I reposted:

Dear Friends in Youth and Young Adult Ministry,

We are proud to announce that Theology on Tap will be held once again in Wilkes-Barre, PA!  We ask for your support and prayers as we begin this new undertaking in Young Adult Ministry.  Mark your calendars for every Tuesday in [February] starting at 7:00pm! The sessions will be held at Rodano’s on Public Square; there is a $5 cover charge and food will be served.

Theology on Tap is a series for young adults in their 20s and 30s, designed to give them a comfortable and fun environment to share their questions and comments on Catholic teaching.  Each week will feature a different speaker and topic, geared towards current issues and lifestyle.  We ask you to encourage this program in your parish or school community.  Young adults are searching; they want to find meaning in life, answers that go beyond the instant gratification culture.  Catholic teaching offers these answers, rich in both reason and spirituality.  Society may dismiss those who seek to ‘live the truth in love’ (Ephesians 4:15) but we try to recognize their desire for what it is: a need for a life focused on something greater than one’s self.  Theology on Tap is open to all, whether practicing Catholic or not.   Those who come can discuss their questions, concerns, and ideas, while enjoying some pizza and beer!  The word catholic itself means universal.  With this program, we want to continue making the Church universal, reaching out to people wherever they are.  We know that faith should not be confined to a pew for an hour on Sunday morning, that it should change our lives with its power.  What better place than a bar to show young adults that their faith can be practiced no matter the surroundings? 

Please spread the word about Theology on Tap, whether through your bulletin, email, Facebook, or any means!  If you are unable to attend, or simply wish to show your support for Theology on Tap, feel free to make a donation to help with our costs.  All donors will be remembered with grateful appreciation in our prayers!  With your help, we can bring the solid foundation of Christ out into the public sphere!

Attack of the Evil Acid Slime Monster

February 6, 2012 § 10 Comments

It was a dark and stormy night.

Rain lashed against my bedroom window and the wind howled unceasingly.  It felt like an autumn storm, but it was the beginning of February here in Pennsylvania.  I stood in my room, bored, and thinking dark thoughts.  The subject of my displeasure was the innocent-looking bookcase in front of me. 

“There isn’t a single new book on this shelf,” I muttered in irritation as I pushed aside Pride & Prejudice.  “I’ve read all of these books a hundred times.  I could quote them all!”  The Lord of the Rings trilogy joined Jane Eyre and Jane Austen in the rejected pile.  Mark Helprin’s Freddy and Fredericka flopped forlornly on its side.   “I hate them all!  I hate all my books.”  Not even the numerous titles on my Kindle could satisfy my desire.  I growled at Rilla of Ingleside, and sniffed in disdain as I scrolled past the Outlander series.  Chesterton seemed bombastic, Rothfuss too verbose.  “I want a new book!”  My querulous tone grew louder.  “I’m tired of all of these ones!”

Thunder crashed outside as my tantrum reached an end.  Making up my mind with the weather, I punched a few buttons on my Kindle and ended up in the digital bookstore.  “I’m buying a horror book.”  Yeah… a horror book!  The thought appealed to my black mood and seemed to fit the dreary evening.  

“But wait, Rose,” I paused to remonstrate with myself.  “You hate horror books.  You hate horror movies.  You cannot even walk to your house in the dark alone without thinking you’re going to be stabbed to death by a really tall, stringy-haired, uncouth masked murderer.  Remember when you watched Saw 4?  You nearly puked and you still can’t stand tape-recorded voices!  You couldn’t sleep for weeks after you were FORCED by Danny and Jaci to see Paranormal Activity.  For heaven’s sake, Rose, when your siblings want to scare you, they sneak up behind you and play the Michael Myers theme music on their phones!  WHY are you going to read a horror novel?”

“Self,” I said to myself, “there comes a time when a girl just needs to read a horror novel.  Now is that time, self.”

“Okay,” the wiser half of my brain said to the (stupid, idiotic, very dumb) other half.  “Go ahead.  Read the horror novel.  Have fun with that.”

Humming happily, I read through a couple of reviews and settled on Dean Koontz’s Phantoms Sounds scary, right?  I thought to myself.  Perfect.

 

Two hours later, I lay in my bed, wide-eyed in the dark, totally unable to fall asleep.  Every creak of the house, every rustle of the rats in their cage next to my bed was a sign of impending doom.  Death was coming for me.  An acidic oozing slime was even now churning its toxic way up the stairs, through the hallway, and over the threshold of my bedroom.  It would be a swift killer, quickly slurping its way onto my bed and dripping its acid all over my face.  I shuddered in the darkness, envisioning slow mutilated death.  I began saying my prayers, making my peace with God, and continued yelling at my (moronic, dumb) self. 

After a night filled with uneasy sleep and vague, shadowy dreams of terror, I awoke (still) scared and grumpy (again).  My alarm seemed particularly obnoxious as it beeped out a descending tone, informing me that it was 6 AM. 

“Arhgjhrghfagrrghklrarghh!”  I rose and went to begin my morning ablutions.  As I showered, my mind couldn’t help but dwell on how easy it would be for a death-ball of slime to sneak up on me.  The sound of its churning approach would be muffled by the running water, and no one would be in time to save my beautiful face from being eaten off.  It would be a messy, painful death, I reflected with distaste as I shampooed, but at least my blood would wash down the drain easily enough.  Save my mother a bit of labor. 

 

That small amount of selfless sacrifice carried me through the routine until it came time to blow-dry my hair.  I stood in front of the mirror, trying as hard as humanly possible not to wonder if the acid slime monster was going to drop from the ceiling onto my head.  My mind is the sort that dwells on things, you see.  It’s not enough for me to frighten myself by reading about demons and ghosts and acid slime monsters.  No, my mind constantly returns to their horrific existence, and most frequently it does this when I’m alone.  (You want to know the real reason I still live at home?  There it is.  I am afraid to be alone.)  The slime monster in Phantoms had devoured its victims by spraying them with corrosive acid.  My imagination drifted again as I thought about the phrase “corrosive acid.”  I pictured myself caught unawares, face contorted in terror as a slimy oozy terrifying THING descended upon me.  Would it eat my hands first, to prevent me scraping it off, I wondered.  Or would it immediately dissolve my face, burning me horribly and destroying my gorgeousness?  Maybe it would slither around my ankles and then slurp its way up onto my torso.  Or what if it jumped out from behind the-

DARKNESS.

TERROR.

NO LIGHT.

NO NOISE.

PITCH BLACK.

The lights in the bathroom shut off.  The dryer died at the same time.  “AIIIIIIIIIIIIHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”  I screamed and dropped the blowdryer onto the ground.  Everything was black and silent except for the echoes of my shriek.  I couldn’t see anything at all.  Fumbling for the knob, I wrenched the door open, sure that the acid slime monster had killed the power.  The darkness would make it easier to eat my face off.  Twenty-five years of life experience and courage went out the window.  I regressed back to a child immediately and flew down the dark hallway to my parents’ bedroom.  

Once in there, I stumbled to a stop as it dawned on me that there were no lights, no sounds, anywhere in the house.

That’s when it hit me.  I knew what had happened. 

“Dad?”  I said in a quavery voice, sounding about 5 years old.  “Wake up.  I think I blew a fuse.”

Where Am I?

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