Measured Extravagance

2001-02-27 - 10:13 p.m.

Notes from my first Predators' game:

• The guy who got voted "Fan of the Game" was a grizzled folkie-type in a vest and fishing hat, who cheerfully doffed the hat when the cam was going around superimposing an animated ten-gallon hat on various victims' heads.

• The scoreboard has lousy resolution - we suspect all the money went to the fireworks and flames that go off when they introduce the starters. Also, too many movie clips (including Braveheart three times) and noise-o-meter segments.

• On the other hand, being in Music City does apparently net good performers - the "recording artist" whose name I've forgotten sang the national anthem loud and true and free of frills, and there was a decent zydeco band stirring up the crowd during the intermissions.

• When the pre-game animation showed Fang knocking the Red Wing-ed wheel off-balanced, I murmured into the ear of the Beautiful Young Man: "I don't think so." BYM: "Nope."

• It being "Party Gras" night (hence the zydeco band), there were also beads thrown into the crowd. I handed the turquoise strand that landed at my feet to the mother behind me whose son had been steadily kicking the back of my seat for most of the first quarter (so much so that the BYM had asked me, "How are your kidneys holding up?"). The BYM spoke into my ear: "A bribe?" "Mais oui," I responded (I'd already told him to stop, twice. The second time, the mother apologized and moved him to a different seat).

• Shots on goal for first period: Preds 4, Kings 14?. Shots on goal for second period: Preds 8, Kings 23?. At the beginning of the third period, the BYM asked me if I wanted to bet on whether the Preds would improve on their shot-taking. Shot 1 occurred before 15:00. "Hey, they're on schedule!" Shots 2 and 3 took place before 10:00. "Wow, they're cookin' now." Then the Preds scored (after a number of people had already given up and exited Gaylord Center), and the crowd was getting revved...and then the Kings scored again - on a Predators' power play. (Translation: the Kings were playing with one man down, they weren't the ones who were supposed to score at that point.) The Predators were on defense for at least 2/3 of the game - they aren't ghastly, but neither did they look like contendahs.

• Scoring aside, though, it's fun watching hockey players, taking in the whoofs of ice spraying from the surface after a particularly hard crash again the boards. Their jitterings as they attempt to stay limber during the singing of the anthem. The goalies' gear-laden stretches and the robot-on-speed quality of their maneuvers. The sheer unnaturalness of players gliding and sliding at such speed over the ice - compared to, for instance, my slow picking across a frozen sidewalk. ...And it reminds me of the walks I used to take down Hill Street in Ann Arbor in summer, when the roller-hockey players would be playing pick-up games in the marching band lot, shirts and skins, their bodies lit by the headlights of strategically parked cars.

* * *

I just leaned back on the chair and it snapped again. (The BYM had looked at it yesterday - "You really did break it, didn't you?" and then reassembled it.) Hearing my squawk of dismay, the BYM came over and studied it more closely: "Ah. That part [pointing to metal thingamajig around a screw] should actually be in here [the rest of the chair back, dangling from his other hand]. [pauses] This one is from Meijer. [gestures to wooden swivel chair over by the closet] You should use that one...[grinning affectionately] and, if it kills you, we'll go get something else, you elephant."

* * *

On my car stereo:

•Archie Fisher's Sunsets I've Galloped Into, which I wanted to like, he being "one of Scotland's national treasures," but I just wasn't moved. I think I was hoping for something more reedy and raw - which is no fault of Mr. Fisher's, of course. His music was more contemporary and easy-listening than I expected, that's all.

•Julian Lennon's Mr. Jordan. Dumb lyrics, interesting hooks.

•Something flamenco.

•Judy Kaye's Diva by Diva. I especially love her renditions of "Where is the Warmth?" (which led me to The Baker's Wife) and "What Does He Want from Me?"

•Rasputina's Thanks for the Ether. Some of it is boringly performance artsy, but their cover of Melanie Safka's "Brand New Key" is rather fun:

I've got a brand new pair of rollerskates
You've got a brand new key
I think that we should get together and
try them on to see...

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