My weekend started Friday morning at 2:00, when I was awakened by the foghorn sound of the alarm on my cell phone.
It ended about an hour and a half ago when I came staggering through the door and got mobbed by all four of my cats, who (in between demands that I pet them) claimed that my husband mistreated them horribly and beat them constantly while I was gone.
Con artists, all of ‘em. And that’s just the Wirtz family! Badum-bum.
I hit the road a half-hour later than I wanted to, at 4:30 AM–and I had to make a 10-mile detour to my husband’s place of ork so that he could whine about how much he would miss me terribly while I was in Columbus–but I made phenomenally good time, getting to Columbus right around noon.
The drive itself was pretty good–I love driving through the Appalachians, especially in early summer and especially early in the morning when the mist isn’t quite burned off yet. The I-77/81 corridor in Southwest Virginia is always my favorite part of any trip to that part of the country, if for no other reason than the cat-and-mouse game that so many drivers play with the Wythe County Sheriff’s Department. Wythe County is known as a giant speed trap, and the deputies use decoy cars and clever hiding spots to nab unsuspecting speeders–especially those with out of state plates like mine. Good thing I remembered to tap the brakes a few times right before I got to the top of the hill overlooking Wytheville!
Got to the hotel and met up with my friends Amy and Lisa, who came down from Michigan for the Draft, and we checked into the ‘otel. I’d elected to leave the jersey at home–for some reason I just didn’t feel it appropriate. Of course, I also left my red hat at home too–which was kinda annoying, especially since I didn’t realize I’d left it at home until I was crossing the Ohio River. DOH!
After chillin’ with Lisa and Amy and having a good (and cheap) lunch at the nearest Waffle House, it was off to the Arena for me.
Jackets fans, y’all have a pretty spifftastic barn by the way. Very nice looking place–but MAN do y’all have some hellacious one-way street action in your downtown! I thought Raleigh was lousy with one-ways, until I got to C-bus. Wow. I tried to find a parkplatz, and realized something:
In my excitement over being in a new town, I apparently forgot how to drive. That’s right, I almost turned into oncoming traffic on a two-way and cut across three lanes of traffic in downtown not once but five times. If you were driving around Columbus and got cut off by a beat-up brown Cavalier with an NC plate referencing a certain Big Czech Defenseman, that was me.
I also got lost a couple of times, but we won’t discuss that. Bloody one-way streets and exits on the left….
The blogmoot was pretty fun. I went walking into the BLAP after coming up from downstairs, and I walk past this unassuming cat sitting in the corner with a laptop bag on the table in front of him. Journalist, I thought.
Then I saw the kepi. I turn around and come on back.
Army of Ohio?
Hi, I’m the Acid Queen.
I sat down and we started rappin’. Then Drew showed up. Then a couple other folks showed up (Truthspeaker–one of the Jackets folks–and Kevin, who reads more than blogs), and we were off to the races!
So we’re all chillin’ in the corner, when this guy who looked like an exhausted (but tanned!) Tony Soprano comes walking past us. He looks around the corner, and then comes back towards us. “I’m looking for a guy who calls himself Tapeleg.”
Then I see the media cred around his neck.
Tapeleg’s not here yet Eric, but you’re welcome to come grab a seat.
Lemme tell you; for a cat with a Celtic surname, Eric McErlain looks more Italian than I do. Bada-bing!
Then Tapeleg showed up with his lovely lady friend Meg in tow, followed shortly thereafter by Greg Wyshynski and Emperor Paul I.
While we were all hangin’ out, we heard about the Vokoun trade. Hello, Major League anyone? And to FLORIDA, no less? I mean, I like Vokoun and all–BUT NOT IN MY GODDAMN DIVISION! Man. The talk about the trade led to talk about the on-again off-again (and hopefully off-except-to-local-investors) sale of the Preds, which led to talk about Charlotte vs. Raleigh–and boy, did I have fun explaining to Greg why it’s impossible to compare Charlotte with Raleigh when it comes to fan support for a team.
The festivities broke up about 6:30ish, and we all went meandering into the arena. I parked with Tapeleg and Meg upstairs in 312–and we camped next to two of the most annoying-ass Blues fans I have ever encountered. And drunk? Oh man were they hammered! And of course, after about pick five or six one of them went out to the concourse and honked all over himself–which I didn’t see, but I did smell it when he came back in the section sans jersey. Can’t hide the heady aroma of booze-yack that easily, yanno. Between those two losers and Annoying Blackhawks Fan, I think I’d take Annoying Blackhawks Fan–at least he kept his yelling to a minimum (though I did get a chuckle out of Tapeleg when Bettman said “Chicago, you are on the clock” and I belted out a lusty ALEXANDROOOOV!)
BUT! The one thing more annoying than the Booze fans–who were finally escorted out by the securebots after the 10th pick or so–were the Blue Jackets fans that kept howling acclamatory phrases down toward the TSN setup where former CBJ GM Doug McLean was camped with Bob McKenzie and James Duthie. Yes, DM(F)GMHCP knows the Jackets Nation hates him–but please, we’re kinda trying to hear what’s being said if you don’t mind.
Apres Round 1, there was to be an afterparty of sorts at the Hyatt–I was there before anyone else (so I missed seeing Yzerman get booed by the Jackets fans when it was Detroit’s turn to pick), and I was chillin’ with a Diet Coke when I started to get on the nods thanks to the combination of my back meds and the wearing-off of the adrenalin in my system…and no way was I going to conk over around my fellow bloggers, because with my luck I’d have woken up dressed in a Red Wings jersey with I HEART CHRIS CHELIOS XOXOXO tattooed on my forehead or something and the picture would be the header for Abel to Yzerman by now. Them bloggers, they’s some sneaky folks. Can’t trust ‘em, I say! (just kidding, of course.) So I went back to my hotel and zonked until about 8:00 AM or so.
Saturday was pretty laid-back for me. I opted out of Rounds 2 and on because I wanted to see The Cup more. It’s a ritual for me: Every Draft I go to, I go see The Cup. Pay my respects to the spirits, say a prayer, and leave. I went and stood on line with my little camera in hand, and saved the last picture on the roll for the names of the 05-06 Champs.
Driving home was a little anticlimactic, in a way. I was tired because I’d had little sleep on Thursday night or Friday night, so I was more interested in getting home than I was in sightseeing–and I wound up having to pull off the road a few times so I could grab a catnap. But I am of course home now, which is good.
I’ll be back in the saddle sometime tomorrow. See y’all next year in Ottawa.