Puck an A, eh?

That first slap of cold air across my face in late September stirs me up like you wouldn’t believe. Or maybe, if you’re a puck-nut like me, you get it. It’s sharp and sudden, especially after ten weeks of heat and humidity. There’s suddenly wind – not a breeze but real gusting wind. The first squadrons of leaves skitter over pavement; if the vectors are right the rural reek of pigs invades my mostrils as I walk through my edge-o’-the-burbs neighborhood wearing jeans and long sleeves for the first time in months.

When all this bombsrds over me, I grin like a preschooler delighted with his Duplo architecture – a big goofy smile full of teeth and strain from the sheer joy of  basking in the advent of hockey season. That’s right, hockey! Say it like that, like you love it! I know I do. The slap of a shot! The flat crack of a tape-to-tape pass! The grunts, the cheers, the yells from a ref booming out over the rasp and schick of metal blades gliding over perfect ice. It’s magnificent, and it’s just the beginning.

For the next nine months, I get to mispronounce the word, “offence” and wind up all my questions with a surperbly Canadic, “eh?” I’ll talk smack about Detroit, St. Lou, Dallas and a bunch of other ratshit cities, quote stats, rave about Wayne Gretzky, and ride the season rollercoaster of my beloved Blackhawks. I’ll cheer streaks, swear about bad calls, wear my white sweater for home games because I’m old-school, worry about role players and young guns working hard enough, boo Gary Bettman (even if he’s been damn good for the game), drool over outdoor games, and then…then! After all that, half the league goes home and the playoffs give me the sports equivalent to a two-month-long orgasm. As many as three games play on separate screens all around me – on my phone, my tablet, and my TV, every night for almost sixty days. It’s a glut, after a marathon, and it all comes after that first gust, that first cool caress that predicts this very evening, at 6pm, when the whistle blows and the puck drops for the first time up in Ottawa.

I know where I’ll be. How about you?


Having Daylight Savings Time start on the weekend must be terrible for our animals. The humans have weird days, moods, and perhaps scents when we’re off our game. Then it’s Sunday, and fir a lot of us that means a slightly different routine. Our pets have to endure an extra day until the weekday “routine” asserts itself to animals. DST is often strange enough, so remember to pet your pooch, cuddle your kitty, feed the bunny, cheep at the birdie, and so on. I’ve got a Vizsla in my lap, and he’s finally relaxed. It’s all good. Tomorrow, back to work. Back to Bwmann.

A Dream

Vacation in Southern Illinois seems to agree with my subconscious. Nearly every night, I’ve experienced multiple vivid, wacky, narrative dreams. Here’s the best of them so far.

I’m in a public park with a trio of friends, amanand two women. Nobody specific, nobody I know from reality, just the four of us casually having a picnic and shooting the breeze. The sun is out, warm and springlike, but we’re in a patch of shade. There’s plenty of sky to watch, which is good because one of the women – we’ll call her Kate – is an avid bird watcher. In fact, one of the reasons we’re in this park is to spot some rare species which are in the area.

So far it’s been a bust. We eat our lunch, hang out, talk about eveything else from music to books to jobs to politics, but no birds other than the common varieties grace us. Kate is crestfallen, and her boyfriend Rob tries to console her, so do the other woman and myself. Eventually we pick up our picnic and are just about to head out, when I look up and see these two large yellow birds soaring together on outspread gigantic wings. They look sleek and elegant up in the air, but as Kate snaps pictures and I stand up for a better view, the birds bank and head straight for us. As they get closer, I can see they’re not smooth, not elegant, but more like big-eyed, overstuffed, heavily plus stuffed animals with short, hooked beaks and round bodies. They buzz low over my headand knock me down, and I smack my face on the grass. When I push up to my hands and knees, one of these giant birds is a foot away, peering at me with a cocked head.

“Careful!” says the other girl, “the book says they’re not very friendly-”

Swift as a snake, the bird darts forward and head-bumps me like a cat. Its yellow plush fur is as soft and thick as it looks, and it continues to smear itself agaisnt me, to the astonishment of my friends. I figure, “What the hell,” and reciprocate, to the delight of the bird.

The second one comes and joins in, and as Rob wonders aloud, “How did that happen,” the other woman, who turns out to be Margie, says, “Nik’s just got a way with animals.”

And that’s when I woke up, with me as the new avian buddy.

Weird night…