14 December 2009

I love you, Detroit (Coda).

So, The Scrappy Octopi have returned from our epic trip to Detroit. I was so beyond sad to leave; we had the best vacation in the history of vacations, but there was something awaiting us here that made the return home tolerable:

The brand spankin' new podcast by and for Wings' fans, The Obstructed View. If you haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, check it out now. I woke up this morning at home (had the day off from work), checked my email/Google Reader, saw that the podcast was up, and thought, "Damnit! I can't listen to this now because of the fucking dial-up here." (Don't laugh.) So, I took the shortest shower known to mankind (cannot guarantee the hygiene) and sped down the road at like 900 miles/hour to a coffeeshop where I could download it and enjoy it thoroughly. I almost experienced death by school bus T-boning at one point. (Now you can laugh.) Anyway, the podcast is amazing--funny, intelligent, thought-provoking, filled with so many of those, "Holy shit, I'm glad I'm not the only one thinking [insert fantabulous idea here]." There are some super-entertaining people writing out there in the Wings' universe, guys. Can't wait to listen to this every week.


So, now that I'm home, I feel the need to put a cap on the entire experience by writing about the wonderful times we had in the Motor City. So much to write about. Here goes:

Monday, December 7 (The Arrival):

Woke up at the asscrack of dawn to embark on our journey. We decided to rent a car because both of our cars are in that ambivalent sure-it-still-runs-well-but-it-may-implode-at-any-moment phase of their lives. Picked up a Ford Focus at Enterprise--most uncomfortable car ever for an eight-hour drive, and we both drive small cars along the same lines as the Focus. How uncomfortable, you ask? I told Brian I'd have to take a bowel movement upon arriving at our destination in order to prove to myself that I still have a tush.

Not so excited about the drive there...

...but VERY excited about the endpoint:

Upon arriving in Detroit, we visited Meijer to load up on some essentials (read: booze), and we visited Tim Hortons to load up on some additional essentials (read: Timbits). We then went to Pegasus in Greektown to partake of some saganaki (OPA! more about that later), and we tried octopus for the first time. Yep, that's right, The Scrappy Octopus consumed octopus. I had a huge crisis of conscience after that; I mean, how would I explain that to all my seafaring brethren? I finally settled on the rationale that all creatures would resort to cannibalism at some point; if I ever get called out by some angry eight-armed heathen, I guess I'll just have to chalk it up to survival of the fittest.

Tuesday, December 8 (Day Two):

Visited Hockeytown Authentics in Troy. Didn't spend a lot of money, but I did buy my nephew a Wings' Zamboni toy for Christmas. Ate lunch at Qdoba, which I hadn't been to since college--used to be one of my favorite throw-up foods while partying it up, so I was so pleased to revisit it.

Meanwhile, on Twitterverse, I got blamed by some good folks for the Grandy trade and basically everything horrible ever that's ever happened in the history of the universe; apparently, TSO's presence in Motown warranted the horrible happenings. Needless to say, we were crushed by these baseless accusations, but also sort of inappropriately tickled pink that people actually believe that TSO's sphere of influence extends into MLB trades. Christ, people, don't you realize that the only thing I have power over is making Ville Leino score so many points by promising to pelt him with my unmentionables. I mean, didn't you see the Anaheim game? He scored like...one assist. I'd like to think that was because he had a little spring in his step and a lovelight glowing in his heart.

We also trekked to Lansing to check out the Capitol. More importantly, though, I'm looking for someone to shed some light on this:

That's someone who has pitched a tent on Capitol grounds. (And no, not in that way. Christ, we're not talking about Leino anymore, so cool it.) What is the meaning of this tent-pitching? Is this an aficionado/stalker of Governor Granholm's? A reenactment of the Bonus Army? Someone whose GPS broke while looking for a state park? Someone please explain this!

Wednesday, December 9 (GAME DAY, PART ONE)

Woke up packing my A-game. We ended up eating/drinking at Cheli's before the game; we didn't have a chance to check out Cheli's during our last trip to the D, so we wanted to include it this time. Had a great time--especially enjoyed the "Welcome, Kid Rock fans" on the side of the building and kinda hoped he would be there to do some shots with us.

Headed to the game with my wastey-face on. My "recaps" (generous label) can be found here and here, but I did forget a few things:

1. A kid behind us kept trying his damndest to come up with awesome insults against the Blues. It made the game actually enjoyable, despite what was happening on the ice. Some stellar examples: "Well....well...the Blues...are...a...terrible hockey team!" or "Well...the Blues can just go to...back to St. Louis!" For a brief moment, I considered hopping over the back of my seat and trading places with Dad in order to give the kid a few pointers, but I figured he'll get it, eventually. Keep on truckin', kiddo.

2. Have you ever had a moment when you're like, "Ohhh, shit. Did I just enter the Matrix and wind up back in my old self, only five years ago?" Yep, totally happened to me when I entered the bathroom between periods and saw a girl literally holding up another girl in the handicapped stall. At first, I thought maybe they were trying to hook up and just forgot to close the door, and I considered telling them in case they wanted some privacy, but as I left my stall, I got nearly run over by several (male) security guards entering the premises, and then it dawned on me what was going on, and that's when I had that weird sense of deja vu. Keep on truckin', super duper drunk girl who may have permanent brain damage.

Thursday, December 10 (Day Four):

Woke up with a mega hangover, ended up degrading myself by voting in a Barbie poll on Facebook about what color her hair should be (I picked red). Thought about what I had just done, got really depressed about the shambles that is my life, but then cheered up in about five seconds' time when I remembered where I was and why I was there.

This is the day when we had the brouhaha with the hotel, so we didn't get to hit the town until the evening. Had yummy fajitas at Armando's in Mexicantown, and I was fucking thrilled to get a Jell-O shot with the check. I mean, really: Can you think of a better incentive not to dine and dash?

We were kinda beat from all the hassle with the hotel, so we headed back to the room, got our drink on and stayed up all night watching hours of The Office. We also sat in our room's huge window seats and watched cars passing over the Ambassador Bridge and driving through Windsor. It was a great night.

Friday, December 11 (GAME DAY, PART TWO):

Yep, the day I was born to live through: Detroit v. Anaheim, Good v. Evil, Awesome v. Vomit.

In the interim, I had received even more threatening messages from all sorts of naysayers about how TSO had jinxed the team by being in the D. Seriously, though, I was in tears during the second intermission, and it takes a lot to make me teary-eyed. I just couldn't believe that we were on the verge of watching another loss, another shutout, at that, especially at the hands of a team I hate more than almost anything.

Then, this guy saved the day by breaking the scoring drought:

(Also, I decided to give this guy a hug, just for good measure. I can't believe we got to run into him, too!)

The Wings won in OT, which for me, was just amazing; sure, Anaheim gained a point out of the excursion, which is upsetting, but seeing the Wings triumph in OT hockey, in person, and watching the Ducks get screwed by one of their infamous egregious penalties was just fanfuckingtastic.

Insanity ensued:

Saturday, December 12 (Getting Sad, Last Day)

We took this opportunity to visit Pegasus again. We had a server without the same dynamism as the lady we had on our first night in town. She was incredible; she did "Oooooo-paaaaaaa!" so loudly, the entire restaurant turned to look. And that's the way Opa should be done.

On our Saturday afternoon lunch, we observed as many people partook of the saganaki, and not a single server delivered it with what The Scrappy Octopus determines to be acceptable pizzazz. In order to propagate proper Opa etiquette, we are launching a new investigative/informative sister-site, Rate My Opa! We feel an important call to duty to spread the word about subpar Opas and to provide an outlet for others to let out their anguish and resentment stemming from bad Opa experiences. We are excepting submissions.

Also, we drove around forever to take pictures around town. I took, approximately, a bajillion. I'm going to be making a photo album on Flickr...soon.

Saturday night, we watched the game from Hockeytown. Is it always that deserted for away games? One of the bartenders told us that he figures more people hang out in the 'burbs instead of coming back into downtown. Interestingly, scores of people who were attending the shows around Hockeytown kept dropping in for drinks, and they looked like they were going to a rave, so with our Wings' gear on (and the huge table of Wings' diehards behind us), combined with the people who looked like they were going to a rave, I felt like I should have been dropping X and waving glowsticks when the Wings scored. (I mean, I already had on a diaper, so I was pretty much rave-ready.)

A few random notes:

1. I love Red Pop. First time I'd tried it, and I'm hooked. Bought a bunch of it to bring home with us.

2. We also tried Better Made chips for the first time; I especially adore the Red Hot BBQ variety. I bought some to bring home, too, but I'm looking for a liaison in Michigan who is willing to send me some on a periodic basis. We'll set up a schedule, and maybe we can use Pay Pal or something. Any takers?

3. Checked out some awesome places in Midtown: Good Girls Go to Paris Crepes, which has like thirty different kinds of crepes. I got this awesome kind with lox and horseradish. I really wanted to try some of the sweet types, like strawberry and chocolate, but one crepe is HUGE and enough to fill you up. The inside of the restaurant is cute, too; they have huge posters of old French films on the walls. Guys, this is a great place to take your girlfriends on a date.

4. Leopold's Books is right next door. Small collection of books, but what he has totally rocks. If you're a book snob (I figure, if everybody likes it, then it probably sucks), check this place out. He also has a nice assortment of Detroit-related books and ones published by the Wayne State Press.

5. If you're into artsy stuff--or you're Xmas shopping for an artsy friend--City Bird on Canfield is a nice little shop with all sorts of Detroit-centric items. I picked up this necklace, plus a journal and a kickass wallet made from recycled Meijer shopping bags. Now I'll think of the D each and every time I pull out my ID to get carded. How sweet is that?

6. Speaking of IDs, not a single place carded me, with the exception of the Joe and Hockeytown. I get carded every place back home, including places I go to all the time, and I always thought it was because I look and act twelve. Maybe I showed some maturity in Michigan? Naahhh, that doesn't feel right.

7. What's the weirdest thing I've ever seen in a bathroom stall?

An ad with a fucking speaker at the bottom of it! How freaky would that be, if that thing started talking to you while you're on the can? What would you do? (I would say s--- your pants, but you're on the toilet, so that negates that.)

8. What's the second-weirdest thing I've ever seen in a (ladies' room) bathroom stall?

A fucking ashtray!

9. I didn't know our pal Andy from Fight Night at the Joe had his own sushi place downtown. I appreciate the international/somewhat paradoxical nature of the place. Right on, dude:

10. What's the most awesome thing I've ever seen splayed on a bathroom wall (other than my own # and the words "for a good time")?

Geez, who could have put that there? (Hope you like that person's drunken third-grader's handwriting.) Whatevs, how could I feel bad about vandalizing public property when the following poetry shared stall space with mine?

11. I never, ever think of myself as having an accent of any sort, but being in Michigan makes my hillfolk twang stand out like a sore thumb.

12. Also referencing something I said earlier, to all of you out there who were sipping on Haterade before the demolition of the Ducks on Friday (yep, I'm looking at you, Tyler, Chris, Michael, and Andy), anybody want to go ahead and thank TSO for the back-to-back wins on Friday and Saturday? We'll be accepting compliments, postcards, flowers...and rimjobs from Ville Leino only.

Coming soon, I'm going to write a tirade on wardrobe etiquette for hockey games (got a LOT to say on that one), and I will get that photo album up and running. Thanks, Detroit, for the best week ever. Can't wait to see you again. XO--The Scrappy Octopus

(P.S. I have in my possession a very awesome and entertaining video of a very inebriated Brian celebrating the back-to-back wins by dancing to "Soulja Boy". He has thus far refused to let me post it on here. I need encouragement from the blogosphere to get him to let me put it on here. I tried telling him it will bring happiness to so many people. I need your help! A public outpouring demanding the world no longer be deprived of such fabulousness would be much appreciated. Thanks a million.)


  1. So glad you had such an awesome trip, and I TOTALLY give you credit for the B2B wins!! You and Bertuzzi, but I know it was really you guiding his stick. What other explanation is there?

    And you absolutely need to tell Brian that my life will never be complete until I see the video of the Soulja Boy incident. Seriously. I won't be able to sleep nights.

  2. Sounds like an amazing trip. Glad you had a nice time.

    OSLO! The city in which I was born, breed and currently reside. Sushi's popular here too though.

  3. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Christine; it's nice to see us get some love for the positive things that occur in our presence and not just the downers.

    Andy, I thought of you immediately upon seeing that sign. It actually wasn't the sushi that provided irony as it was the fact that it was called Oslo but also had "Thai" written on the sign. Plus, it's not every day that you see a Norwegian sushi bar that serves Thai food and also serves as a dance hall.

    So, now we're at a 50/50 rate of encouragement for the video of Brian's dancing. If I lose this quasi-bet, I'm going to be VERY disappointed.

  4. Fact: The world NEEDS more video of happy, celebratory dancing. The good feelings will spread over the internet to all viewers.

    Glad you had a great time.

  5. Yeah, Sushi and Thai from Oslo doesn't exactly sound right. And dance halls get rarer and rarer here :D Nice find!

  6. Fact: Baroque, you are 100% correct, and I appreciate your concurrence. Now Brian's outnumbered 2-1 (not counting multiple posts by the same person).

    And Andy, we were just shocked to see that you secretly ran a business downtown and didn't tell us about it. Because, since you're the only Norwegian I know, I assume that you own it.

  7. Excellent report!!

    I look forward to the wardrobe etiquette because, without fail, I see some awful choices being made at every damn game I attend! I'm not talking Jersey Fouls either (although there are plenty of those).

  8. First of all, not sharing Brian's dancing video with the world is akin to waterboarding. KNOWING its out there and not being able to see it is an act of mass degradation.

    I gotta tell ya, I don't remember hating on TSO prior to the Ducks game, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. I talk lots of shit, and chances are good I'm growing senile in my old age. If you mean hate directed toward Todd Bertuzzi, then you've got me, miss. There is evidence of that ALL over TPL (though much of it has been graffito-tagged to be more positive - check it out if you haven't already, because it took some effort HA).

    The guy that "invented" Faygo went to my high school, so we had free Redpop in the hall vending machines. If I knew then that I wouldn't always live in Michigan, I would have drowned myself in it.

    It looks like you had an awesome time! And I'm totally stealing your "sprawling on the bathroom wall" idea, although the men's room at the Joe is just a long trough into which random people piss, so I'm not sure I'm comfortable leaning over it...

  9. @Raputa, I am so happy you're as excited to hear it as I am to write it. And you won't be disappointed, I hope--I wasn't planning on including jersey fouls, as I feel there is a LOT out there without even delving into that sector of the population. I will, however, make an exception to that rule by saying I was impressed by the Wings #69 jersey parked behind the glass, directly behind Babcock last night. Ha!

    @Michael, YES--comparing Brian's lack of compliance to waterboarding is the best. idea. ever. As a staunch opponent of waterboarding, Brian is sure to get on board now. Maybe next, we should accuse him of being unpatriotic and threaten to sic Toby Keith on him. (He'll put a boot...somewhere.)

    As far as Redpop, I actually fell in love with the off-brand Meijer stuff. It's strawberry AND cherry, and the combination is just lethally awesome, and I mean that quite literally. I plan on dying of glucose overdose due to Redpop intake.

    Lastly, hip, hip, hooray for public vandalism! The Town Pump is FILLED with graffiti, and even in the nice young ladies' room! Shameful...

  10. Natalie: Yes I own it. Together with your old teacher

  11. I'm going to have to send your "I Love Detroit" pieces to my friend who just moved there. (Yes, voluntarily--but from St. Louis.)

    I commented on a few of your Flickr photos. Looks like you at least walked by some of the places I mentioned--I haven't tried the restaurants you named so it's good to have the info (I thought the crepe place was just a stand--didn't know it had seating). Leopold's is either new or I've missed it.

    I'd never tried Red Pop till I was in Detroit, and first had Better Made chips at a Tigers game. Vernors floats are my favorite Detroit treat, though.

  12. Thanks, K! Appreciate the shoutout. I'll be sure to check out your Flickr comments tomorrow (dialup internet at home = worst thing EVER for viewing photos. Sigh.).

    Oh, and BTW re: the crepe place, there are two different locations, from what I read online. One of them is currently closed, and I had read reviews of that one online that said it had no seating in the restaurant. The one we went to was pretty small, probably ten tables, at the most, but it was adorable. And it's pretty inexpensive, too--you should definitely check it out. Leopold's is literally in the same building. You walk through a main door, and then you have a choice of doors to the restaurant or the bookstore. Good times, all around.

  13. Oh, and Andy--tell Ms. Hauger I said howdy and that I still remember the song she taught us to practice scales that involves coffee making one pee. (Actually not kidding with that one.)

  14. yeah, I tell her. By the way I'd love to hear you Americans pronounce her name. There is no frickin way in hell you can get close to do it right.

  15. We pronounced it something like HOW-ger. Probably NOT correct in any way, shape or form.

    Hey, I meant to tell you at some point re: Norwegians being awesome. I read this excellent book over the summer called "Out Stealing Horses" by Per Petterson. It made me want to get a cabin in the Norwegian forest to escape reality.

  16. So I'm glad to see that you were able to break the Grandy bad juju (yes, your fault) by spurring the Wings on to that win over Anaheim. A heartfelt "thank-you" from all 3 of us over at MW.

    That said, if you don't release the dancing video soon, I will be forced to kidnap Ville Leino and his wicked 0.2 PPG average until the world gets to see Brian "Crank Dat."

    Do it.

  17. Best threat yet. We can't afford to lose (chuckle) Ville Leino.

  18. It's not really right, but I can't really explain how to pronounce it either.

    Yeah, that book is pretty good. And I have a cabin in the Norwegian forest/by a huge lake. And one in the mountains. [/bragging bastard]

  19. Yes, thanks for the newfound appreciation, chollis! Glad we redeemed ourselves to the good folks at MW.

    You canNOT kidnap Ville Leino. I will die of heartache. Therefore, Brian HAS to let the video go up!

    Also, good for you, Andy. I'll be sure to let any Norwegian chicks who pass through the TSO sphere to hit you up.

  20. Hehe, do that.

    Having thought a bit, I will try to explain how to pronounce Hauger. The Hau-part has a sound that doesn't really exist in english, but well the "H" is pronounced normally, the "a" is pronounced like in Alex, and the "u" like in la Rue. But the "a" and the "u" sounds are still kind of drawn together in a way. The -ger-part is pronounced like in Pronger. The pressure on the word is kinda like in Wilson.

  21. OK, I just thought about that. Sat here at my desk at work and tried to say it aloud the way you described. And I ended up howling like a coyote. Haaaaoooooooooo-ger is the way it came out. I am NOT cut out to be a Norsewoman. This is terribly upsetting to me. Scandinavian accents are the most kickass accents in the world.

  22. Haha. I am quite sure you got it wrong, but hey, I hadn't expected you to get it right either.

    How about trying to pronounce Natalie in the Norwegian way (well, at least when people from Norway have the name, I read yours as Natalie pronounced in English). It's basicly Nuh-tuh-lee-eh

    or I guess you could do it like Na(rk)ta(rp)lee-eh

  23. Narktarplee-eh it shall be from here on out! I love it. Nuh-tuh-lee-eh is a great alternative, though. It has so much pizzazz!

  24. you need to take away the rk and rp in Na(rk)ta(rp)lee/eh. Those were just there to signify that it's Na like in Nark and ta like in tarp.

    And yeah, it has a bit of pizzazz, probably even more when pronounced by an english speaker

  25. Gotcha, but I really liked adding all those unnecessary consonants. I thought maybe all Norwegians enjoyed adding unnecessary letters.

  26. Nah. It should be said that the language, like English, is extremely difficult to pronounce just from reading it (rules are for germans), but we're not that into extra consonants