thrawn had been trying to convince me to go to an Ottawa Senators game with him for quite some time. i had alway put it off thinking that obtaining tickets three months into the season would be virtually impossible. the Senators have been playing amazingly well during the first few months and have virtually stayed at the top spot since the season started. the new goalie, Dominik Hasek, and the new forward, Dany Heatley have been an excellent addition to the team. this year they must win the Stanley Cup.
the Toronto Maple Leafs have been the Senators' nemesis ever since the Sens team started playing in 1992. Sens have been kicked out of the playoffs by the Leafs 4 times in 5 years. this year, though, things are different. as Don Cherry said, Sens are no longer intimidated by the leafs. he pointed to a specific instance where a Senator bodychecked a Leaf player in front of the Leafs bench, looked up at the entire Leafs team and grinned at them before skating away.
after beating the leafs 7-0 on january 21st, the two arch rivals had another match scheduled on the 23rd of january. senators had beaten the leafs 3-2, 6-5, 8-0, 8-2, and then 7-0, this next match would be the sixth between the two teams with ottawa winning every single match. awesome! the sixth match would also be the last match between the two teams before the playoffs and since the leafs had just lost a day ago by a score of 7-0, the january 23rd match was sure to be exciting.
so i was very surprised when i found tickets for sale on craigslist. after getting a confirmation from the person that yes they are still available, i asked dooh to go pick up the two tickets. usual price for those seats is actually higher so we were very lucky. dooh was very helpful and went out to get the tickets within half an hour of my calling him. with the tickets in hand thrawn and i were eagerly awaiting for the 23rd.
which also happened to be Election day in canada and the first time i voted in an election. last time i was in ottawa and Elections Canada had my permanent address as the Mississauga so i was unable to vote unless i travelled from ottawa to mississauga. in any case, i was looking forward to this year's vote and was pretty excited about it.
after taking the day off, thrawn and i went to a primary school close to our house to cast our votes. the whole process was actually quite disappointing. i was expecting something grand and spectacular but it was very quiet and boring.. no mobs, molotov cocktails, music, crowds etc. just a hello, step this way, here's a pencil and a ballot ( made out of flimsy grey recycled paper that wasn't event cut properly on the edges ), step behind that cardboard box and choose the person you want to vote for. when you're done fold it and bring it to me. they didn't even ask for id.. i just told the old lady at the table what my name was and she used a worn-out ruler to cross out my name from the list of registered voters she had in front of her; a bunch of paper print-outs stapled together. very anti-climactic. but i will definitely vote again.
after voting we started the long 4 and a half hour journey to ottawa. i had seen the Corel Centre before while driving past it but thrawn had never seen it before. the building is huge and i really regret i never went there with lunato earlier when both of us were in ottawa. also, recently Scotiabank and the Ottawa Senator's owner made a multiyear deal and renamed the Corel Centre to Scotiabank Place. horrible name in my opinion.
the match was to start at 730 and we were inside at 630. the place is huge and so open.. it was almost scary to see so many seats and such a huge open roof. the venue has a maximum capacity of more than 20,000 people and has been sold out consistently for the past few matches. we bought two coke bottles, paying $4.25 each for a single coke bottle.. thats the most i have ever paid for coke. crazy prices in there.
the game itself was awesome. the thousands of people, the incredibly loud crowd noise, the electrifying atmosphere, the GO SENS GO chants, and the Senators team... everything was full of awesome. the intro before the team skates onto the ice is one of the coolest things i have experienced. suddenly all the lights turn off and the crowd starts cheering and then there are bright red lights across the entire arena that turn on and off along with the sound of a beating heart. its very loud and you can feel you body shake because of the defeaning sound. i wish i had recorded more of it but i was worried about filling up my 256 MB memory card.
i didn't realize that there would be no commentary during the game. 4 years of watching hockey on tv had given me the illusion that every hockey match would have commentary as well. but when we're watching it live, its quiet.. well not quiet, the crowd is loud enough, but you dont hear the commentators. the seat to our left was emtpy and on the right was an elderly and very friendly couple. the people on our right and left were both SENS fans so that made the experience even more enjoyable. oh and the washroom stalls have an amusing notice in there.. i took a picture so you can see what im talking aboot. overall, both of us had an excellent time... especially when Senators scored first.. and then kept on scoring for a 4-1 lead :)
the game ended at 4-3 so toronto finally managed to score some goals. so far toronto has scored 12 goals and ottawa has scored 36 goals during the matches between the two teams.. woooohooooo go sens go!
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after the match we found out that the conservatives were sure to win the election and form a minority government. doh.. that robot stephen harper is not my idea of a prime minister. it took us about an hour to get out of the massive parking lot and we headed home. i drove first thinking i will drive to within 200km of toronto and then give it to thrawn. the weather was ok so the roads were fine. but we almost had a head-on collision with a deer on highway 416. that highway is incredibly dangerous at night. this was the third time i've almost been in a bad accident on that highway.
this time the deer was in the middle of the road facing away from the car. i saw some sort of an object in the middle of the road and it took about a second, a long long second, to realize its a deer looking away from me. the deer looked back towards the fast approaching car. as soon as i realized there is a live animal right in the middle of the road my brain stopped thinking and i lost direct control over what i was doing. i really felt as if i had given up control over my body and my instincts had taken over and were guiding my hands and feet. i started turning right to avoid colliding with the deer. the stupid animal also realized that it should not remain standing in the middle of the road..... and jumped right. omfg wtf holyshit godamn.. actually there wasnt even time to utter a single word.. everything was happening so fast. with any voluntary control over myself i felt my hands turn the wheel left and i managed to avoid hitting the deer by a mere 5 or 6 cm.. literally.
the entire episode took about 2 seconds.. one.... two. there was no time to brake but i know i lifted my foot from the gas pedal. the car speed was about 110 km/hour and high beams were on. i shudder to think what would have happened if the front headlights were not on high beam. or if there was snow on the road.. but i wouldn't be driving at that speed if there was snow on the road. three incredibly short seconds and i missed colliding with a deer at 110 km/h by a mere 5-6 cm. we coasted to a slow 60 km/h while i asked thrawn if he was ok. he was, of course, freaked out as well but he was ok and he kept saying, 'man, we really missed it by that much.' very scary incident... but thankfully with no injury to anyone.
the rest of the journey was uneventful. my plan was to drive to within 200km of toronto and then give to thrawn but i started feeling very sleepy after passing kingston so i just stopped the car and handed it over to thrawn. there is no point in risking anything just to get home a few hours early. i told thrawn again and again that just stop somewhere if you start feeling sleepy.. and then curled up on the back seat and amazingly fell asleep. it wasnt a very comfortable sleep since i woke up repeatedly but still the rest was very welcome as i was pretty exhausted by that time.
i should write to my MP and urge him to do something about highway 416. twice i've almost collided with a deer; one living, one dead. and once during winter i was carpooling and the car spun out of control and almost landed in a ditch. 416 needs fences around it and needs to be cleaned more often. it doesn't have as much traffic as 401 so once it snows the snow ust stays on the road and doesnt melt away. please fix this!
we reached home around 4 in the morning and both of us directly went to bed happily knowing that the Ottawa Senators had beaten the Toronto Maple Leafs yet again.. unbeaten since 2004!!
on the morning of my birthday on the 13th, i heard glass breaking sound. i went outside my room to my mom to see what happened and there were so many pieces of glasses on the floor in the kitchen.
"mom, are you o.k?"
"yeah, i just hit the glass with my elbow while i was doing dishes. by the way, there will be so many good things coming this year for you"
"breaking a glass is a sign of good luck, some people do it on purpose. it just happened on your birthday morning so it's a sign of good luck for you"
"oh really? true or not, i will take it"
by now i truly believe it. i had wanted to change my position at my work and it happened recently. i am still working for same ministry but different work in a different office which is what i have wanted for so long. i miss my ex-coworkers a lot though.
i have wanted to learn skiing (i have gone skiing twice long time ago and i sucked at it) and i went on a ski trip with my new coworkers last weekend. we all enjoyed the weekend there and i can ski now without falling continuously:)
also recently, we, my coworkers and i, chipped in 10 dollars each to make big money for a game. the winner will get all the money and feel happy about it during the upcoming lunar new year holiday. the game is like this. you draw as many vertical lines as the number of people taking part in the game. then everyone is given a random number and they go and put one horizontal line in the slot assigned to them. this horizontal line can be drawn anywhere from the top most part of the vertical lines to the bottom part. basically you make a ladder in your slot without knowing what the final result will be like because everyone else can make their own ladder as high or as low as possible. once everyone has drawn a line then we start climbing these ladders which have become stairs now because all the ladders are all connected. the game stops when you cannot climb any higher and whichever ladder you stop in is the winner. i chose the 5th ladder without expecting so much but surprisingly i became the winner and got the money!!! see? lucky me..
talking about sikander...it was the first birthday to spend without him ever since i have know him. when i was talking to him the night before my birthday i told him, "i know you are in Korea right now, where are you?", "no lunato,i wish but i am not", "you you sneaky.. you are gonna come to my office tomorrow, aren't ya? i am on 11th floor, don't get lost"
hehe instead of him, a package arrived here for my birthday. best pictures collection since we've known each other and very good taste of picture frames, cds with his korean handwriting on it (some letters didn't make sense:) and sweets..thank you sikander.. when i get home after a long day, i sit at my table looking at what you gave me. all your presents refresh me and make me realize that smiling makes everyone look pretty and happy :)
so everyone smile~~
bucky is the name of the cat that did this to skid's left and right arm. they were fighting with each other and bucky kept leaping and clawing at his arms or something. looks painful but skid assured us all that its ok and nothing to worry about. just temporary scratches that will heal in a few days. no pain no gain or something.
i had asked him to bring his playstation 2 along with him because i wanted to see if i could hook it up to my Dell 2405 monitor. and indeed i can. lots of people on shack have said that ICO is one of the best roleplaying games ever made so i wanted to play that as well. skid had it so he brought the ps2 and ICO along with him. i played probably half an hour of ICO before i stopped. the reason i stopped was because the game really is very good. the atmosphere in the game, the music, the visuals, and the huge open spaces create a gaming experience that i've never had before. so i stopped after about 30 minutes into the game because i know lunato would love the game too and i want to play it later on with her watching events unfold with me. the same stupid reason made me delay playing half life 2 for a long time. but eventually i gave in and started playing hl2 and it was truly a masterpiece. i'll just replay both half life 1 and then half life 2 and continue with ICO later with lunato.
skid's flight to moscow via frankfurt was today at 5 and he wanted to be at the airport by 2-230 pm. my hearing test was at 430 pm so everyone's schedule worked out well. i dropped him at the airport, wished him well, and went home before heading to the hospital. it was really nice having both siblings at home for a few days. both thrawn and i spent more time with skid that we had had for a long time now. we also watched King Kong at the theatre and skid fell asleep during the first hour. i nudged at him and he woke up, smiled, and asked me if the big monkey had shown up yet :P
on the way to the airport skid was talking while i was driving. he was on my right and i felt as if he is talking quietly or had stopped talking mid-sentence. so i turned to look at him and saw his lips were still moving but i could barely hear what he was saying.. "hey hey now you're just being mean and deliberately talking quietly to make fun of my right ear's hearing ability !" hehe but in fact he was just mumbling and i wasn't losing my hearing nor was he teasing me... so he says !!
the hearing test was a routine test. i was told to sit on a stool inside a big metallic soundproof chamber with huge headphones on both my ears. the doctor played random beep boop sounds in the left and right ears and i was to press a button that i held in my hand if i even thought i heard something. the different sounds went from louder to quieter and the doctor tested the left ear and then the right ear. only one test was uncomfortable. the doctor started talking into the headphones and kept increasing the volume. i was to ask him to stop when the sound became unbearable. that test was also for both ears and really was the only uncomfortable test during the entire 20 minute test. this doctor's diagnosis was that the hearing in my left ear is also not 100% and should be checked out. doh :(
the results will go to dr. beard in a few days and then we'll see what he recommends. usually if nothing is wrong then patients don't get called for a follow up appointment to "discuss results"