Archive for the ‘Life In Buffalo’ Category

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Shots Off The Foul Pole…Or, My Trip to a Bisons Game

June 14, 2009

Tomorrow is my grandfather’s 80th birthday. In celebration of that event and next week’s Father’s Day holiday, the entire family decided to surprise him with a trip to today’s Bisons game, including a suite experience and throwing out the first pitch. Let’s just say that D-Day had less planning than this birthday extravaganza. But despite all the hard work, emails and other subterfuge that had to happen (aka lots of phone calls in code), my grandfather was truly surprised and a good time was had by all.

- No way in heck were there over 6,800 people at Coca Cola Field for today’s game. I realize that may have been the “tickets sold” number and not the “tickets redeemed” number, but my guesstimate on attendance was probably 4,500 at best. There were lots of people disguised as red seats, lets put it that way.

- When we entered the stadium, we were given Thunderstix. I think I’m now deaf in my left ear after having cousin #1 bang on them for the better part of a game.

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dadadadadada…thunder

Cousin #2 exercised his creative juices and made the below from his Thunderstix.

P6140494It’s a dog, in case you were wondering. Said creative cousin is also available for birthdays, weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs.

- I took a breather from the fam and headed down to the main concourse to check out the gift shop and what was going on on the main level. The Bisons gift shop is pitiful compared to the Sabres Store. And I knowsthat I’m spoiled by the Sabres Store, but seriously, the Bisons gift shop is ridiculously small and doesn’t seem to have a very large product mix. There was a hoodie on the website that I liked but the store didn’t have, and the team was selling Buster plushies from last season at full price. Is it because the Mets don’t seem to want to have the Bisons sell a lot of merch? Who knows.

- When we were leaving the stadium, we were all handed bags of new Wise Honey BBQ Cheese Puffs. I can’t help but wonder why someone would want to combine barbecue flavor with cheese poofs, but they did. It’s like someone got baked, combined cheesy poofs and Honeycomb in their munchie stupor and thought this would make a great snack. They’re not bad if one is hungry enough, but I’m not going to run out and buy a bag.

- The kids running the bases after the game were ridiculously adorable. There was a father out there with his son, who was probably not more than a year old. They ran the distance from first to second before the father picked him up and ran around the rest of the bases carrying him, before depositing him about ten feet away from home and allowing him to toddle the rest of the way on his two little legs. The kid was precious and completely in awe of both Buster and Chip. Belle just confused – and probably frightened – him.

- I really felt bad for those in the Bisons bullpen during the game. They were constantly being divebombed by seagulls and even had a close encounter with a foul ball that scattered them pretty quickly. While the seagulls were nowhere near as insane as what is going on in Cleveland (at least ours don’t land on the field), I can’t help but wonder how long it will be until a fan is attacked by a bird, or a bird affects the on-field action.

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Oh Say Can He Sing

April 5, 2009

WIVB ran a story tonight about Sabres anthem singer Doug Allen, who has entered the USA Weekend Anthem singing contest. Singers nationwide are invited to submit video of themselves singing the national anthem. The top 15 videos (as judged via their YouTube stats) will be graded by judges based on originality, lyrical accuracy and popularity on YouTube. The winning singer will be invited to sing the anthem at the Smithsonian and a Baltimore Orioles game on Flag Day.

Unsurprisingly, Allen’s submission is from his singing at a Sabres game. His submission can be viewed on YouTube, by searching “oh say can you sing doug allen.”

Here’s wishing him the best of luck.

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Friday Funnies

March 13, 2009

- While looking at the restaurant list for WNY Restaurant Week 2009, I stumbled across this little gem that is the newest establishment to settle in Dowtown Buffalo. Someone has a really great sense of humor and a good understanding of Sabres history.

- Sabres.com has a new “Y0ur Sabres Delivered” posted, focusing this week on the new guy, Dominic Moore.  While most of the questions are pretty basic, he did share that Ryan Miller is helping him out with directions and stuff. Moore does report that while Miller isn’t good with the street names, he’s good at knowing where to turn left or right. This tells me that Miller may have adopted the Buffalo style of giving directions. You know, we don’t give directions by saying “go three-tenths of a mile up Hertel and then turn left onto Starin and then go a half-mile until you hit Tacoma.” We follow the let’s use landmarks as directional notations. Directions commonly include phrases like “turn left at the Burger King. If you’ve hit Forest Lawn, you’ve gone too far.” It’s how we are. It sounds like Miller’s a good direction giver, so at least we don’t have to worry about Moore ending up lost on the East Side.

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Making Music

December 29, 2008

Last night I went to the Ronan Tyan / Buffalo Philharmonic concert at Kleinhans. I love going to Kleinhans. The building has this odd mix of rickety charm and history to it. And maybe it’s because I have no musical ability whatsoever, but I do like going to orchestra concerts. I like seeing the musicians wander out on stage and each start warming up individually, leading to what seems like a mass orchestral warm-up that summons Falletta on stage.

I went back and looked at what I wrote about Tynan’s concert last year, and this year’s show did include a lot of the songs he sang last year. “Hallelujah” was still uplifting (as much as that song can be) and the requisite Shrek jokes were cheesily funny. “All I Want Is You” by U2 was beautiful, as was Springsteen’s “Into The Fire”, which was dedicated to the 5 Buffalo firemen who died 25 years ago in a propane explosion.

The BPO had a chance to shine on “Danny Boy” and “The Last Rose of Summer.” In the second act, they really shone on “Sabre Dance.” You couldn’t expect a concert in Buffalo and featuring a Sabre to not have this awesome song played.

Drew Stafford showed up in the second act of the concert to play the Metallica version of “Whiskey In The Jar” and U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” The Metallica really highlighted Staffy’s guitar skills and Staffy’s enthusiasm for the guitar, but the U2 seemed to be pretty basic for him (and it was one of the songs he played last year).

The U2 song with Staffy was supposed to be the last song of the night as Tynan made a comment that they were running close on time. However, the crowd’s standing ovation and some gentle prompting from Falletta caused Tynan to come back and sing two more songs. He finished with one Irish song and “God Bless America” which also included an audience sing-a-long at the end. Thank heavens Tynan came back to sing “God Bless America.” After he left the stage at the end of the U2 song, this woman in the next section over started shrieking in the world’s shrillest voice “God Bless America…God Bless America.” And she kept at it until Tynan came back on stage. I was ready to crack her upside the head with my purple NY&Co satchel, that’s how annoying she was.

In terms of the “celebrities” in the crowd, I only saw The LQ and Ed Kilgore. And of course, The LQ made it a point to stop by and schmooze The Kilgore.

Now, onto the important part of the evening…the fashion review. Let’s start with Stafford. He was wearing a white button front shirt, untucked, and a pair of extremely well fitting jeans. I was four rows from the back of the hall and even I could tell that the boy knows how to wear a pair of jeans. As I mentioned before, Staffy seemed confident while playing the guitar, but turned almost bashful when the crowd started applauding and he was entering/exiting the stage. He did this really cute little half-wave and bashful smile thing. All he needed was a “who me” to complete the bashfulness.

In terms of the audience members, there were really only three bad faux-pas that I saw:

- a satin dress three sizes two small. As we’ve all learned from Project Runway, satin is one of the most unforgiveable materials ever! Don’t try and jam ten pounds into a five pound bag is all that I am saying.

- a short sweater, leggings and Uggs, all topped off with a beret. I know it’s a trendy look, but it’s not one of my favorites and seemed out of place in the concert environment.

- denim capris worn with hooker boots (why? just why?)

If you want to read the professional review of the concert, Mary Kunz Goldman of the Buffalo News offers her two cents here.

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Let It Snow, Let It Snow

December 21, 2008

Yea, we can stop with the snow thing already. I’ve been trapped in my house since I got home from work on Friday (with the exception of a brief trip to Wegmans and Starbucks this morning). I’m going a little house happy, and the crappy football game I’m watching isn’t helping matters. (A Bills game? Crappy? Hard to believe, right?)

Since I’ve had some time on my hands, I’ve been playing with my camera and Picasa. Here’s what’s resulted.

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Blowing snow. Drifting snow. Isn’t it fun?

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Alternate side parking has been kind of thrown out the window in this storm. I don’t think anyone could park on the street even if they wanted to.

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Is this not the most ridiculously adorable holiday wreath you’ve ever seen?

And since we need some hockey talk in this post, Sabres Edge is reporting that Lindy made the boys skate this morning. Goose is still out with the heinous upper body injury and Kaleta has been fitted for a neck brace again. The walking wounded report is getting longer and longer, as the two of them have joined Timmy, Rivet and Gerbe on the sidelines. Hopefully the Christmas recess will allow for a little bit of healing for these guys.

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Saturday Surprises

November 29, 2008

- I went to the Radio City Christmas Show at Shea’s this afternoon. The show was absolutely amazing. I really feel in the Christmas spirit tonight. The train ride to the theatre was comical, as we were on the train with a group of about 30 senior citizens who had never been on the train before. They were amazed at the little things, like how the ticket machine worked, how the train coming down the tunnel towards the station made the station get colder, etc. These senior citizens were really having a good time.

And attending a show at Sheas is always a fun experience. The theatre lobby is absolutely gorgeous with all the marble and wood and the Christmas decorations only added to the splendor. I think the main staircase would be a gorgeous place to have wedding photos taken. The inside of the theatre house is just beautiful, with all the hand painted decorations and trim.

My favorite number of the entire show was The Nutcracker medley. The traditional holiday music featured a cast of dancers in bear costumes, bears dressed as ballerinas and cossacks. I love the Nutcracker music, and the dancing bears brought just the right whimsical touch to the routine. It was hysterical and adorable at the same time. And surprisingly, no children melted down at the sight of the dancing bears.

I really, really recommend that you see this show if it comes back to Buffalo next holiday season. It’s well worth the money for the tickets.

- I’m excited there’s a new Sabres Green Team commercial playing Not that I was tiring of seeing Gaustad in that spiffy grey jacket, but I already know about turning my thermostat down. I’m ready for some new fun environmental facts, please!

- Why does this feed out of Montreal look like its being shot at the bottom of a fish tank? It’s making me feel like I need to get my eyes checked and my glasses adjusted. I also feel like it’s well on its way to giving me a migraine.

- Memo to Jaro Spacek. Killing Pat Kaleta with a slap shot may seem like a good idea in theory, but in execution, it’s not!

- Someone on the Montreal defense is going to be fired after letting Vanek remain unmolested behind them, leading to the Sabres first goal.

- After re-seeing the Paul Gaustad interview with Maria Genero, I’m still struck by how aware Gaustad is of the local area. He mentions the art gallery and our great mom-and-pop hole in the wall restaurants as pluses. It’s such a contrast to an interview Willis McGahee gave last year where he only mentioned Buffalo as being known for its Applebees and TGI Fridays.

- Speaking of football for a moment, the word coming out of New York is that New York Giant Plaxico Burress shot himself in the thigh accidentally while at a club. While the poor dear should be thankful that he didn’t shoot his bits off, inquiring minds do want to know why he had a gun on him at a club in the first place.

- Clarke MacArthur is not inspiring confidence in me with his comment during the intermission that it may take the Sabres until the very end of the game to pull out a win. Can someone tell these guys that a hockey game is a full 60 minutes, and a complete 60 minute effort is required? I’m getting tired of the cardiac kid routine. They can’t keep going to that well.

- That 2 minute 5-on-3 penalty kill by Buffalo in the third period was outstanding. Toni Lydman’s three blocks toward the end of the kill were superb.

- It’s sad that the aforementioned penalty kill was the highlight of the third period.

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The Kids Are Coming!

October 27, 2008

I think I’ve been priced out of the tickets for the World Junior Championships. $40 per ticket for the upper bowl is just a smidgen out of my price range. Added into the fact that a good chunk of the tournament is going to be played after my Christmas work shutdown is over means that I’ll be a couch potato for this tournament. If Time Warner were smart, they would pick up the TSN feed of the tournament. Ratings would be through the roof in the Buffalo area. (Of course, by that point we could already have TSN on our cable systems, so that wish could be a moot point.)

I wonder if this means that the Sabres are going to be exiled to the road for two weeks, or will they be able to play the occasional home game on an off night during the tournament?

These championships are going to be huge for the City of Buffalo. Not only will the economic impact be huge, but this is Buffalo’s chance to shine on the world stage. (I may also fall over if LQ’s pronunciations of stores being open on the waterfront by the time the tourney rolls around come true.) We’re going to put on one hell of a show, showing that Buffalo really is the City of Good Neighbors, and one heck of a hockey town.

Here’s a pretty neat video recapping the USA’s first and only gold medal win in the WJCs (2004…yes that is Stafford you see and hear zooming around there.)

The thing that always gets me about the WJCs is the wide range of emotions at the end of the gold medal game. The winning team is jumping around like a bunch of lunatics, while the losing team looks like they’re going to be taken out back and shot when they get home. I also like the complete joy that the winning team shows while singing their national anthem during the victory celebration. Those guys are just singing their fool hearts out and its beautiful

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Birthday Bits

October 24, 2008

- Add me to the list of people who thought that Miller scoring on his own net was probably one of the funniest moments of this young season (second funniest: Spacek saying the word “pigeon”). I think what made it so great was the fact that Miller was laughing about it and shaking his head before the puck dropped. It was like he realized that there was nothing he could do about it and decided to just roll with it.

And you know that not only is he probably getting shit from his teammates and coaches about it (including a threat by Lindy that the next time Miller scores means he buys the entire team dinner), but with being in Colorado tonight, he’s probably going to be getting shit in person from his BFF Jon-Michael Liles.

And on the plus side, the mouse potatoes of the world took Miller’s brain fart incredibly well. No one threw him too far under the bus.

- And “Birthday Claus” brought me the best birthday presents today. In addition to last night’s Sabres win, which was an early present in my eyes, I got tickets to the December 10th game against Tampa and a Gaustad t-shirt. Its a 3rd logo t-shirt with the retro letter and numbering on the back. Its very cool looking.

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Farewell, Old Friend

October 21, 2008

Today marked the last official time that Buffalo Memorial Auditorium would be opened to the public (well, the media and politicians at least) before its demolition next month. Its really sad to see what was such a great old building reduced to a vandalized mess of a shell. The sight of the crowd standing at what was center ice with the sun streaming down on them is a very haunting photograph.

Not that HSBC Arena isn’t a great building to watch a game in, but it lacks that character that the Aud had. I remember going to Sabres games as a kid, riding the train to the Aud with my parents, getting off right in front of the arena. I remember the walls of the lobby painted deep Sabre blue and gold with the marble floor and accents. The actual ticket turnstiles clicking as they recorded you entering the arena, the clicking sound mixing in with the din of the crowd and the program sellers grasping to gather people’s attention.

And c’mon, who can forget the Earl of Bud?

I remember seeing the “Niedermayer: Dead” sign for the first time in the Aud, and not really getting what it meant, wondering why someone wished ill on a hockey player. And since the Aud closed down 12 years ago, that should tell you just how long a blasted Neidermayer has been hanging around. (And yes, I did catch on to what Niedermayer: Dead sign referred to, in case you were wondering.)

A couple of really great galleries from today’s tour have been posted online.

This one is from The Buffalo News.

Yet another one is from Buffalo Rising, and is found on Flickr.

And of course, time for the gratuitous YouTube embeds. The first one is from the WGRZ News the night the Aud closed. Its a nice look back at the different NHL, soccer, lacrosse and basketball moments that happened at the Aud. Though I will warn you that you will be humming Simon and Garfunkel after watching the video.

This one was just linked by the boys over at Goose’s Roost a couple of weeks ago. Its the final part of the closing ceremony after the last Sabres game at the Aud. I’m just linking it because the final lap skate captures the history of the team, as well as the passion of the Buffalo fans. If you don’t have goosebumps listening to the “Let’s Go Buffalo” chant in the darkened arena, then you’re probably watching this dull as dishwater Sabres/Bruins game.

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Where Was This When I Was In School?

September 30, 2008

I took a class called Economics and Sports when I was a junior in college. It was an Honors seminar and old Bobby Buts assured me that I would have no problem with the class. I trusted BB’s judgment. That was my first mistake. The first day of class, I realized I was screwed. It was way more economics based than sports based. Did I mention that I had never taken an economics class before? This class was the worst class (just ahead of Religion and Politics) ever. I think that class broke my brain.

So perusing CNNSi today, I read that Bates College is offering a class on the “Red Sox Nation.” That’s right, this freshman only class focuses on the reach of the Boston Red Sox and baseball into popular culture. I got stuck reading about contracts and charts and these guys are studying baseball and pop culture.

So. Not. Fair.

- One, two, three, four…Goose will not declare a thumb war. Thumb surgery has put Gaustad on the sidelines for a minimum of three weeks. With Adam Mair out, that really leaves the Sabres with only Peters and Kaleta to serve as the role of big tough guy. But, on the other hand, could it give Gerbe or MacArthur a chance to stay in Buffalo for a little while longer. It will be interesting to see how the lineup shakes out over these next two weeks.

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