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The year in books, 2010 Jan. 10th, 2011 @ 01:32 am
Have a Little Faith, Mitch Albom (non-fiction)
Juliet, Naked, Nick Hornby
Everything Is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer
No Time to Wave Goodbye, Jacquelyn Mitchard
The Greatest Thing That Almost Happened, Don Robertson
The Sum and Total of Now, Don Robertson
How Starbucks Saved My Life, Michael Gates Gill (non-fiction)
The Bird Room, Chris Killen
The Condition, Jennifer Haigh
A Child Called It, Dave Pelzer (non-fiction)
House Rules, Jodi Picoult
Havana Bay, Martin Cruz Smith
The Abstinence Teacher, Tom Perrotta
Dream of the Blue Room, Michelle Richmond
Notes Left Behind, Brooke and Keith Desserich (non-fiction)
The Brutal Language of Love, Alicia Erian
The Boy Who Loved Tornadoes, Randi Davenport (non-fiction)
The Girl Who Played Go, Shan Sa
Nine Stories, J.D. Salinger
The Complete Game, Ron Darling (non-fiction)
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
Skeletons at the Feast, Chris Bohjalian
From the Holocaust to Hogan's Heroes, Robert Clary (non-fiction)
Twilight, Stephenie Meyer
New Moon, Stephenie Meyer
Eclipse, Stephenie Meyer
Once on a Moonless Night, Dai Sijie
The Greatest Hockey Stories Ever Told, edited by Bryant Urstadt (non-fiction)
Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer
The Weight of Silence, Heather Gudenkauf
The History of Love, Nicole Krauss
Paper Lion, George Plimpton (non-fiction)
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Beautiful Boy, David Sheff (non-fiction)
Tweak, Nic Sheff (non-fiction)
Testimony, Anita Shreve
Eating With the Enemy, Robert Egan and Kurt Pitzer (non-fiction)
The Tin Can Tree, Anne Tyler
The Accidental Billionaires, Ben Mezrich (non-fiction)
The Island, Victoria Hislop
You Better Not Cry, Augusten Burroughs (non-fiction)
Look Again, Lisa Scottoline

Blame it on the nearly three hours I spend five days a week commuting in and out of the city -- I read 42 books last year, a new personal record.

I think if I had to recommend one above all others, it would be the one with the funny-sounding name, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Plagiarising myself from when I posted about it on Facebook, it's "poignant, delightful, fun." I'd definitely advise putting it on your 2011 list.

What else?

Yes, shamefully I admit that during 2010 I did read the entire Twilight series. The girl I was dating at the time owned them and, honestly, if you're willing to overlook the fact the writing is geared toward angsty adolescent girls, they're not that awful. Nowhere near as good as the Harry Potter series or anything, but mindless fun that you can breeze right through.

If you've never read anything by Don Robertson, his whole Morris Bird series, starting with The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread (which I read in 2009), is worth your time. I didn't realize the order they went in and actually read the third and final book of the series before the middle one, which made things a little anticlimactic, but whatever.

David Sheff's book about his son's meth addiction was incredibly good and intriguing to the point that when I then learned the son also had a first-hand account out I immediately followed up with that.

Once on a Moonless Night is really the only book on here that I just struggled to get through and couldn't wait for it to be over. I picked it up because a former co-worker of mine had loaned me another book by Dai Sijie years back that I really enjoyed. Not so much, this one. The writing just put me to sleep.

Overall, though, I read a ton of good stuff this past year -- if there's a particular book on here you're curious about, let me know and I'd be happy to go into detail about what I thought of it.
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished

The year in books, 2009 Dec. 31st, 2009 @ 08:05 pm
Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson, Jann S. Wenner & Corey Seymour (non-fiction)
Waiting to Surface, Emily Listfield
Miles from Nowhere, Nami Mun
A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini
Isabella Moon, Laura Benedict
Mercy, Jodi Picoult
Handle With Care, Jodi Picoult
Sarah's Key, Tatiana de Rosnay
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer
Rush Home Road, Lori Lansens
The Cure For Modern Life, Lisa Tucker
Hope's Boy, Andrew Bridge (non-fiction)
The Soloist, Steve Lopez (non-fiction)
Perfect Family, Pam Lewis
The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown
The Labrador Pact, Matt Haig
Columbine, Dave Cullen (non-fiction)
Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafisi (non-fiction)
Straight Man, Richard Russo
Dog Years, Mark Doty (non-fiction)
Among Other Things, I've Taken Up Smoking, Aoibheann Sweeney
The Road, Cormac McCarthy
Candy Girl, Diablo Cody (non-fiction)
The Last Summer of Her Other Life, Jean Reynolds Page
Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk
The Traveler's Gift, Andy Andrews
The Blind Side, Michael Lewis (non-fiction)
Ladder of Years, Anne Tyler
Best Friends Forever, Jennifer Weiner
Cowboy & Wills, Monica Holloway (non-fiction)

I'd probably recommend the vast majority of what I read this year and I don't have the time to individually review them, so if there's anything you're curious about just leave a comment and I can tell you more about it.

If you haven't read The Blind Side or The Soloist, definitely start there. And then see the movie if you haven't already.

Thanks to gift cards and Borders coupons, I've compiled a decent-sized stack of books to begin 2010 with -- I'm debating whether to start out with Nick Hornby's newest, Juliet, Naked, on loan from cheekybaby, or the latest from Mitch Albom, Have a Little Faith, which is his first non-fiction book since Tuesdays With Morrie.
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful

P&P's wedding weekend (Sunday) May. 27th, 2009 @ 06:23 pm
Saturday night ran unexpectedly late, thanks in large part to the Car Towing Extravaganza, so it took the majority of us a while to get going Sunday morning. Eventually Sarah and I joined Pete, his father, his stepmom and some other relatives for a late breakfast in the hotel restaurant. A few hours away from the wedding, Pete seemed to be holding it together pretty well, although even I was feeling a little nervous by this point.

After breakfast everyone retreated to their rooms to get dressed, then we met in Pete's father's room before heading over to the church. This was when the photographer also met us and began to take pictures. ("You're going to hate this sound by the end of the day," he said as he started snapping.) Among those present in the room were Pete's sister-in-law and her two young daughters, one of whom was the flower girl. She took an immediate liking to Sarah, who sat and read her a book while Pete gave all of his groomsmen nice watches as gifts, something he'd planned to do at the end of the rehearsal dinner before everyone bolted when they realized their cars had been towed.

Once again, the dead bird hanging above the church entrance had slipped all our minds until after we were dressed. Russ was still gung ho about going to whatever means necessary to get it down, while the rest of us were somewhat leery about the possibility of getting bird guts all over our tuxedo rentals. As it turned out, though, someone from the church had come through for us and had it removed. This was the first sign that, unlike the day before, at least Pete and Pumtiwitt's wedding day would pretty much go according to plan.

Guests began arriving around 2 for the Catholic ceremony that was scheduled to start half an hour later. Laura and Scott made it all the way from Vegas. Jenn and Andrew were there, along with Jen and Bryan. I saw Brenna for the first time in years and we hugged, then I shook hands with her boyfriend Kenny. After greeting guests and escorting them to their pews for a while, it was time to beat a hasty retreat to the side room where Pete and his groomsmen would come out from -- I met the priest briefly, everyone got lined up and before you knew it, the time had arrived to get this show on the road.

I guess it's not all that different actually being in a wedding, since a lot of the time you're still just sitting down and watching the proceedings. When I was standing up front, I just sort of took it all in -- I looked out at the guests, made eye contact with Sarah a few times, checked to be sure I was standing up straight and in the right spot. And of course I watched Pete and Pumtiwitt. I first got to know them as a couple when I was still living in Glassboro, working at the Bridgeton News and calling the log cabin home. I was the first person to visit them when they got their apartment in Delaware almost six years ago. There was so much that had gone on for all of us to bring us to this point we were at on Sunday, and if I can say one thing about Catholic wedding ceremonies, there's plenty of time to consider all of it!

Seriously, though, it was a touching moment to be a part of, right up to the point where the marriage was official and the priest instructed Pete to give a "delicate" kiss to his bride. We all made our exits down the aisle, mingled around outside for a bit and blew bubbles, then came back inside for round after round of wedding pictures. Sarah left with Karen at that point and went back to the hotel for a little bit prior to the reception, while those of us in the wedding party smiled repeatedly for the camera and anticipated the limousine ride that would take us there in style.

Our first order of business after pulling away from the church was to pop open the bottle of champagne left for us inside the limo. Now, it doesn't take nine people very long to finish one bottle of champagne, so Russ requested to our driver that we stop at the first liquor store we passed so we could replenish our supply. This greatly amused the photographer, who was following us and also stopped to snap pictures of Pete's brother Brian coming out of the liquor store with three more bottles of champagne along with various mini bottles of vodka, rum and other hard alcohol.

Let's just say I did my fair share to ensure not a drop of champagne went wasted on this night. I'm guessing I had at least a glass from each of the four bottles in the limo, all of which were consumed by the time we arrived at the reception. While we waited out in the hall to make our grand entrance, Bridesmaid Erin wandered up with another glass -- she said she got it from the bridesmaid's suite and offered to bring me back one, so that was number five. I was escorting Bridesmaid Joliene, a huge sports fan originally from Colorado who was a lot of fun, and we proceeded to put away another glass pretty much anytime there was a toast, be it best man, maid of honor, family member or whoever. There's a very good chance I hit double digits by the end of the night.

Well, if you've already gone and viewed the pictures, you now have a better understanding of how I ended up in a group with Joliene and Maggie, the Maid of Honor, in what I've affectionately termed the Drunken Silverware Serenade. During one song -- might've been Celine Dion, might've been Shania Twain, who knows -- we grabbed our forks and started singing at the head table. At one point I happened to look over in Sarah's direction -- she was sitting at a table with college friends of mine I'd introduced her to previously -- and made a gesture with my fork to her as a way of saying hi. Joliene caught me and said, "Awww, did you just point at your girlfriend? Let's go over there! I've seen her, she'll totally sing with us!" So we paraded over there, Sarah ended up joining in our singing, Jenn took the incriminating photos that are now up on my Facebook, and a jolly good time was had by all.

Between drinking, eating and dancing, the reception seemed to fly by -- by the end it was time to wish Pete and Pumtiwitt good luck before they flew off to Paris the following day for their honeymoon. Sarah and I once again got a ride back from Russ and Karen -- they were flying back to Arizona early the following morning, so as a favor for their hospitality all weekend I took possession of Russ' tuxedo rental and returned it along with mine to Men's Wearhouse on the way back to Jersey on Monday. Sarah and I lingered in Delaware long enough to wander around the Christiana Mall and have lunch at Ruby Tuesday's before heading home.

Thanks to Pete and Pumtiwitt for making a great weekend possible! Here's to a long, happy life together.
Current Mood: giddyfull of champagne

P&P's wedding weekend (Saturday) May. 27th, 2009 @ 05:23 pm
The plans for Saturday seemed pretty cut and dry: rehearsal at the church in Newark, Delaware, around 5:30 followed by dinner at a nice restaurant down the street. Sarah, my lovely girlfriend of the past couple months, met me in Brick a little after noon and we proceeded to head out.

Most of us staying overnight for Pete and Pumtiwitt's wedding were situated at a Holiday Inn around 20 minutes from the church and not far from the reception site. Sarah and I checked in, met up with Pete and then ran into Russ, one of the other groomsmen, and his wife Karen, who had flown in all the way from Arizona. The five of us decided to carpool over to the church for the rehearsal in the nice Toyota Prius that Russ and Karen had rented for the trip.

Karen was driving and while on the interstate came up alongside a car whose driver apparently was unaware his right blinker was going and going and going. Russ, evidently forgetful he was back on the east coast, leaned his head out the window, gestured to get the driver's attention and yelled, "Hey! Hey! Your blinker's on!" We weren't sure if the guy didn't understand what Russ was saying or just didn't take kindly to it, but his face darkened, he gave Russ the finger and then, after Karen passed him, he sped up behind us. This led Pete to bemoan the fact he might not live to see his wedding day, but that was pretty much the end of that little incident and we arrived in Newark without further difficulty (though, "Hey, your blinker's on," did become a catch phrase for the weekend).

There was no parking at the church other than on the street, so we parked in a shopping center lot about a half block down where the church people had told us to go. We walked over and waited outside the church for everyone else who was to be part of the rehearsal to get there, and that's when someone noticed it. Above the entrance to the church, some netting had been put up, I suppose in order to keep birds from nesting up there. Unfortunately, what had ended up happening, apparently fairly recently, was some poor bird managed to essentially hang itself from the netting. We decided the dead bird had to come down -- one, because it seemed like a bad omen; two, because it wouldn't look good if we decided to take pictures directly in front of the church; and three, because we could all picture something awful happening like the dead bird plummeting down on Pumtiwitt's head as she strolled out of the church on the happiest day of her life. We threw around ideas like trying to find a ladder, having a tall person climb up on another tall person's shoulders to try to reach it or just locating a really long stick and playing bird pinata, but eventually had to leave that task for later as it was time to get the rehearsal itself under way.

This was the first time I'd ever been part of a wedding party, so I wanted to make sure I got everything down during the rehearsal, as much as possible, so there were no missteps the next day. It was a little confusing, made more so by the fact the priest for the actual ceremony wasn't present because he had a Saturday night mass, and we had a fill-in. But eventually we were all satisfied with the proceedings and so we headed down the street to the rehearsal dinner, which was quite nice. It had its own cocktail hour and everything, followed by a four-course meal. Sarah and I ended up sitting at a table with Pumtiwitt's bridesmaids, who all went to school with her at the University of Delaware, and it was a fun time. At least, that is, until someone came back in to say their car had been towed.

This news started a steady trickle of patrons out of the restaurant to check on their own cars, and it continued to get worse as it was soon discovered that a handful of cars belonging to people at the rehearsal dinner had been towed from the shopping center lot. Russ and Karen were among the few to be spared, but only because they had decided to hit up 7-Eleven between the rehearsal and the dinner, and ended up moving their car to a paid lot closer to the restaurant. All the people left in the shopping center lot had been towed, even though they had placards in their windows that said "church parking." Apparently the church didn't have jurisdiction to grant anyone safety in that lot, and in Newark the towing companies have a field day to the point where the trucks will sit out in the lots and watch people park their cars, then tow them if they're not back in the allotted time (supposedly, from what we were told, if you parked in that lot for reasons other than to patronize the shopping center, if you weren't back in an hour they could tow your car).

Russ, Karen, Sarah and I retreated back to the Prius and then headed over to the shopping center lot to see if we could be of any assistance by giving people rides or whatever. By this time representatives from the towing company had arrived, at least one of whom was being belligerent to Pete, and a whole scene was unfolding. Pete was naturally upset because it was the night before his wedding and, instead of being back at the hotel bar having drinks with his father and his groomsmen, he was standing in a parking lot arguing over why the vast majority of his guests (including several with small children) no longer had means of transportation. Finally this one woman with the towing company who seemed like she might possess at least half of a working human heart said she'd release all the cars without charging the normal fee (which I heard from a few of the bridesmaids who had been towed before was anywhere from $80-250, depending on who you asked), and Pete's father took all the drivers of the cars that had been towed over to get them back.

So I guess all was well that ended well and Pete might even be able to laugh over all of it 10 years down the road, though he understandably didn't see anything amusing about it at the time. He eventually jumped back in the Prius with the rest of us and we drove over to Pumtiwitt's brother's house to pick up the rings, then went back to the hotel and up to Russ and Karen's room for a quick drink before heading back to our own rooms for bed. At some point along the way Russ realized the bird dilemma still had not been solved, so we decided we'd have to handle that the following morning before the ceremony.
Current Mood: crazycrazy

Pete and Pumtiwitt get hitched! May. 27th, 2009 @ 05:13 pm
OK, so even though my posting days on Live Journal are pretty much over, there are still special occasions liable to bring me back from time to time. One of them happened this past Memorial Day weekend when Pete and Pumtiwitt got married.

I'm planning a post on Saturday's events (rehearsal, rehearsal dinner and all the hilarity and shenanigans that ensued) and a post on Sunday's wedding and reception, but for now, anyone who is not on Facebook or hasn't logged in recently to see the pictures can view them here (there are a few random shots in the beginning from Head Start, Pete's bachelor party and an outing to the Pop Shop).
Current Mood: relaxedrelaxed

Jan. 5th, 2009 @ 06:22 pm
Not quite as often as the changing of the seasons but more frequently than a leap year, I can be counted on to forget my debit card in the ATM machine at a local Wachovia. This happened once again Saturday afternoon. I stopped at the bank on my way to the train station and when I went to buy my ticket later, there in the front pouch of my wallet was my yellow Metro Card instead of the blue debit card that should have been on top. Being a veteran of this move I didn't even panic, just cursed myself out a little, waited for the weekend to pass and headed back to the bank earlier today to sheepishly retrieve the card. Fortunately I had just taken cash out in the transaction where I left it behind, so I had enough for train tickets, meals and even gas (helps I can fill my tank now for $15 or less) during the period of time my card and I were apart. Anyway, now that I got this goof out of the way I should be good until late 2010 or early 2011, mark your calendars.

After the stop at Wachovia I hit up Path Mark to buy groceries. In the dental care aisle where I was picking up mouthwash, there happened to be $25 in cash on the ground and two elderly women the only patrons around. I got the attention of Elderly Woman #1, who said the money wasn't hers, but Elderly Woman #2 claimed it, thanking me and saying it had fallen out of her pocket. Hey, just in case I happen to misplace my debit card somewhere other than the relative safety of the ATM, I'd like to have some good karma built up.

My first book of 2009, Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson, is turning out to be an absolutely amazing read. It's an oral history co-authored by Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner and full of interesting sources. Now, I enjoy reading about Hunter and think he was a cool guy, but it occurred to me that it's a good thing I don't idolize him or anything. Like, what if I wanted to name a son after him? Couldn't do it. I guess I could do it backward and name him Thompson. It's OK, though, my future kids are going to be named Bounty (boy) and Bargain (girl).

License plate frame seen on the drive to Red Bank today: "I'm a Librarian ... and I Will Shush Your Ass".
Current Mood: weirdweird

New Year's Eve in Atlantic City Jan. 1st, 2009 @ 06:38 pm
New Year's Eve fell on one of my regular days off, leaving me available to make plans. It had been years since I'd actually done anything interesting and I really didn't feel like spending it alone, so I was relieved when I had lunch with Rich the day before and he suggested meeting up in Atlantic City. We agreed we wouldn't make any specific plans beyond that, we'd just sort of see where the night took us.

The previous time we hung out in Atlantic City for the Gin Blossoms concert during the summer was one of the most fun nights I had all year, so we started New Year's Eve by going to Hooters for dinner because that's what we had done then. I had three "Christmas Lights" (some sort of alcoholic lemonade-like beverage) with my meal and Rich ordered an Irish coffee and then had to explain to our waitress how to make it because apparently it's never been ordered at Hooters before.

We had thoughts of heading down to the House of Blues to see if there were any tickets left for the Goo Goo Dolls concert, but that was all the way down at the opposite end of the boardwalk and it was pretty freezing out. So we stopped at a casino bar along the way for drinks. I had a cranberry and vodka, then someone decided we were all doing shots and so Rich and I did Southern Comfort. We also met this security guy who liked to talk about the NFL and rap music. A little before 10, which is when the concert was supposed to begin, we headed back out into the cold.

When we got to the House of Blues the concert was sold out, so we went to another casino, got another drink and decided to gamble. Except I needed to replenish my funds, so I hit up an ATM and decided it would be fun to conduct the transaction in Portuguese, just because it was an option given to me. (I'm pretty sure I was also the one, at the inaugural Punch and Pie Holiday Spectacular®, responsible for us all watching the Garfield Christmas special in Spanish, with Spanish subtitles. I guess I become more cultured when I've been drinking.) We then sat down at video poker machines and I proceeded to win $20 -- not that significant, except it's only the second time I can ever remember coming out on top when gambling, the other time being a Dec. 2002 trip to Atlantic City with Rob and Pete. At this point I started drunk texting various people to tell them about the Portuguese ATM transaction and winning the money. I also badgered Pete for the score of the Devils game. When he texted back to say he didn't know, I called him a bitch and insisted that he did know. Once I finally did learn the final via the ESPN scroll in another casino bar, I texted him yet again to express my displeasure that the Devils lost. (Pete saved this text and sent it back to me today. It begins "dammit all" and the spelling deteriorates rapidly from there.)

About half an hour before midnight we wound up at another bar in another casino where I ordered another vodka and cranberry that would be my final one of the night. We ended up meeting this cute young couple whose names I think were Pat and Vicki. We chatted and took pictures and at some point another dude started talking to Rich and once the clock hit midnight he handed us all cigars.

The countdown to 2009 in picturesCollapse )

Rich had a catering job that required him to be at work by 3:30 in the morning and I wanted to get home and sleep because I had work later today, so eventually we had to clear out. We ended up both parking on the sixth floor of the garage at the Hilton so I followed him until we got out into the city and I sensed he wasn't really sure where he was going. At a red light I put my car in park, ran up to his window and he confirmed as much, so I told him to make a U-turn and follow me. Then I managed to lead us both out of Atantic City. I was home safely by about 2:30, although I had developed a case of the hiccups several hours earlier that accompanied me the entire way home. I spent this afternoon watching the outdoor hockey game at Wrigley Field and now I'm in the city, at work, editing stuff on it and preparing for another night.
Current Mood: workingworking

From Done to Summer Dec. 31st, 2008 @ 04:36 pm
Books I read in 2008Collapse )

Well, after four straight years of managing to read exactly 30 books, this year I broke through and read 38 before all was said and done. And that was in spite of not reading much at all the last few months -- I remember picking up Surviving the Extremes in early October, which means I only got through six books the last three months of the year. If I'd maintained my pace from early in the year I probably could have reached 45 or 50 even.

The big difference this year was definitely the train -- and especially during the summer, when I worked day hours and had to take it both into the city and back home. If I had a good book during the summer, chances are I finished it in three or four days.

Breaking it down, as I always do, more than one third (13 of 38) of my selections were non-fiction, an improvement over last year. And 27 of them were by authors I hadn't read previously. Ann Packer and Michelle Richmond were the only authors I read twice during the year.

There was a point early in the year when I read three books in a row I would highly recommend: Fiction-wise, Those Who Save Us, about the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, and The Year of Fog, about the search for a missing child. Non-fiction, Three Cups of Tea was inspiring and outstanding, about a former mountaineer who builds schools and promotes peace in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Also, please read The Last Lecture if you haven't already.

I enjoyed The Kite Runner and Snow Angels to the point where I'm curious about the movie adaptations. I didn't like Atonement in novel or movie form as much as I thought I would. And The Breaks was who knows how many hours of my commute that could have been better spent listening to my iPod.

It's wildly inappropriate, but I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell had me actually laughing out loud on the train at times. And After the Fire, written by a Star-Ledger reporter about the Seton Hall tragedy, is the book I sped through the quickest, under two days. If anyone gets around to reading it, let me know and I'll tell you why, though if you read to the very end you may figure it out for yourself.
Current Mood: geekygeeky

Happy holidays, everyone Dec. 23rd, 2008 @ 05:00 pm

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
You give us so much snoophuntyhunt.

O Christmas Tree
from the Christmas Song Generator.

Get your own song :
Current Mood: blankblank

Weekes for months Nov. 6th, 2008 @ 01:41 am
Wednesday was my father's birthday, and since the Devils were playing at home on it for the second straight year, we did a hockey game. Last year I got the tickets through the Devils' beat writer for the Star-Ledger -- they were upper level and I still had to pay for them. Predictably, now that I work for NHL.com, this year I was able to do a lot better.

It was the first time I used my office connections and my whole family, including my mother and sister, went this year. I put in the request a couple weeks ago, but you don't get a confirmation until the morning of the game, nor does the e-mail they send you specify where they're putting you. From talking to a couple guys I work with, they told me sometimes you end up in the NHL's suite (where supposedly you're stuck paying for your own food but there's free beer) and other times you get the "club seats" -- the lower-level, center-ice ones where you also have access to the Prudential Center's special lounges with their full dinner buffets (in this case the food is free, you're just stuck paying for the alcohol).

Well, I got the club seats, 17 rows off the ice. The face value was $250 -- not for all four, per ticket. It boggled my mind when I considered that it would have run me a thousand dollars to take my family to a game with those seats normally.

And we got the full experience. In addition to the great view of the game and the unlimited food and non-alcoholic beverages, the broadcasters were right above our section. After the first period I got to use the restroom with the Devils' TV announcer, Mike Emrick. I was standing at a urinal when I heard someone congratulate him for a broadcasting award he's due to receive, and I turned around and there he was at one of the sinks washing his hands. After the second period my father went up to the lounge to get more food and ended up meeting and shaking hands with the color guy, former Devils and Islanders goalie Glenn "Chico" Resch.

Sadly, you're only allotted eight complimentary tickets per season, so I already used half of mine and won't be able to take all my friends and impress them -- at least not this season. If I work there long enough I'll definitely spread the wealth around. But safe to say if my family didn't already think I had a cool job, they sure do now.

And the game did not disappoint -- the full 60 minutes, a five-minute overtime and a shootout, Devils a 4-3 win over the Lightning. This was the first game after it was learned elbow surgery will sideline Martin Brodeur until at least February. I've seen them start other goalies before, but it was always with the knowledge that this was a rare night off for Brodeur, not how it's going to be for the next several months. Knowing that gave the whole game a bit of a weird feel. But the fans were really behind the new starter, Kevin Weekes (the subject for this entry was a Bergen Record headline -- I wish I'd thought of it), serenading him with "Weeeeeeekes" after big saves. And someone had a "We believe in Weekes" sign. Another fan had a sign for the new Lightning coach that read, "Hey Melrose, gimme your wallet!"
Current Mood: energeticenergetic
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