17 March 2010

You mean to tell me it's a Wednesday and it's acceptable to drink and write?

(Puh-leeze. Like we're deterred from drinking and writing any other day.)

Happy St. Patrick's Day, heathens! May the road rise up to meet you, at least enough to catch your vomit so it doesn't splatter all over your shoes.

Anybody got any good plans for the day's festivities? If you're still looking for something to do, you're totally welcome to come to our haunt tonight. As a matter of fact, I've drawn up a little invitation:

So, what we have on the agenda is me presenting a shamrock to Homer, who's totally attending our shenanigans, then the three of us (plus you) are going to get drunk off some Jameson, then we're going to steal a Guinness truck, then we're going to get rich from selling the Guinness we don't drink (and we're totally cashing it in for golden medallions, hence the image of Ballin' B doing a pot-o-gold dance), and then we're going to wrap it up by eating some Irish stew and drinking some leftover Guinness.

Anyway, the Wings are off until Friday after winning thrice. (Love that word--doesn't it just sound dirty, like thrust? Thrice thrust? Thrust thrice? I promise I was going somewhere with that.)

I was typing something to my pal saraneuie the other day, and I was talking about H2H, and I typed, "...next week at H2H", and I got giddily excited. Next week, y'all! If we're excited, imagine how Herm feels.

So, it got me to thinking: So many of us are descending upon Hockeytown from all over the place--perhaps not as exotic and faraway of a place as Brazil, but it's fascinating nonetheless to think of how spread out the community of Wings-based friends is.

So, in honor of all the special places we individually hail from, as well as all the togetherness and other warm and fuzzy feelings we'll be experiencing at H2H, I present you with today's question demand:

Tell us something awesome about your hometown and/or current locale.

Brian and I hail from a very small town, the population of which is 653, according to the 2000 Census. Neither of us have ever lived within the town limits, but for the record, the county proper has a grand total of four stoplights.

Our town is known for being the country's first spa; George Washington and various other colonial VIPs used to chillax in the constantly 74-degree mineral waters that still draw visitors from the DC area. I guess you could say that to our Founding Fathers, this area was the Champagne Room for ballers only.

We also have a WWII-era movie theater with one screen, typically showing new-ish releases about eight weeks after they first hit normal theaters, a mom-and-pop gas station where high schoolers exchange bullshit and blowjays, a coffeeshop where most of the coffee flavors taste like pee, a bar out in the sticks with a built-in Patsy Cline museum, one newspaper serving the entire county that's only published on Wednesdays (current headline: "Sheriff & commission clash over staff duties"), and a tiny church on just about every mile-long stretch of highway in the countryside.

But the thing that makes our town unique from other small towns in our region is that we have a castle.

It was built sometime in the 1800s by a rich old dude who'd married a young hottie, and of course, he wanted to impress her. In true dramatic fashion, he constructed the castle on a ridge high atop the town, so from the castle's turret she could look directly down upon the town park and see the outlying areas of the town at large. The wife lives on in legend as the host of the grandest and most debauched parties (and no, for the record, TSO does not trace its lineage back to her, although it would be kickass).

What about you guys? What's the deal with where you live? What puts your location on the map?

And one more time, happy St. Patrick's Day:


  1. Hmmmm....according to the local ice rink, which is really old, (100+ years, been rebuilt twice in the same spot)we are the "birthplace of professional hockey." But, you know, they're probably over exaggerating.
    Love Dropkick Murphys. That song plays quite often on my iPod.

  2. I'm a Michigan native, but I currently live in Orlando. Scratch that, I live in a growing hick town outside of Orlando, a growing hick town most known for the wild chickens that roam the downtown area, conveniently near the southern home cookin' restaurant that serves delicious fried chicken and was recently painted a disgusting neon yellow. It's much more exciting to say I live in Orlando, although I did once see the wild chickens eating out of a dumpster behind a Popeye's chicken restaurant, so my town totally has cannibalistic chickens. We also live about a mile from a lake that is home to over 10,000 alligators, no lie. It's called Lake Jessup. Look it up if you don't believe me.


  3. I live in a city north of Denver, Colorado that was founded in the late 1800s by a group of people from Chicago. Basically it was like a colony - they sold memberships and came out as a group with all the building materials. I almost moved to Chicago before I moved here so I've always found that interesting.

    We have mountains, of course - the city is named after one. Good Mexican food (due to a large Hispanic population). Two decent breweries (one of which you may have heard of - Left Hand). Believe it or not, a great sushi place. Also, absolutely stunning weather - 300 days of sunshine per year. Even big snow dumps of 2 or 3 feet usually melt within a week due to the thin air and low humidity. Which is funny, because my in-laws on the East Coast always tell me they can't imagine living through the winters out here!

    Really, I sound like a tourism brochure or something. I should get paid for this.

  4. Yay for Dropkick Murphys!

    Now that that is out of the way, can I say I prefer Bushmills? I know, it's the Protestant Irish Whiskey but I'm an atheist so it really doesn't matter to me. The Jameson is just a little too smooth for me.

    Okay, now that that is out of the way, I live in Cleveland. I believe everyone knows that our river once burned, we had Dennis Kucinich as our mayor, we have a tremendous sports tradition that includes never winning anything but sometimes coming close, and we have the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame which is incredibly cheesy. There are many famous people who have left Cleveland but who have never been able to leave Cleveland behind if you know what I mean. It's kind of in your blood. Remind me to tell you what a dork Trent Reznor was back in the day...

    What you might not know about Cleveland is that it's actually a nice place to live, except for the winter weather. We've got tons of little ethnic communities with fantastic places to eat. It's big but not too big and you can actually afford it. Lake Erie is lovely to look at although I wouldn't go in it and the Flats is a great place to have a drink and watch the big Oglebay Norton ore carriers (yes, you have to sing The Edmund Fitzgerald) navigate the twists and turns of the Cuyahoga River. As an added plus, we still have mens' stores where you can buy chartreuse suede shoes to go with your chartreuse suit. That's right, we're bad.

  5. Ooh, I totally want in on those celebration plans! I'll even make some colcannon to go with the Iriah stew.

    I live in The Other Vancouver(tm). Not the one where the Olympics just ran, but the one in the US, which is really just a glorified suburb of Portland, OR. Only on the Washington side of the river. Our claims to fame include being a camping spot for Lewis & Clark at the Western end of their expedition, and serving as a big outpost for the Hudson's Bay Trading Company while they worked to oppress the natives.

    Oh, we also had Willie Nelson for a few years at the beginning of his music career, back in the 1950s. It's pretty much been downhill since then.

    But we are still close enough to Portland to have some decent fun, and far enough from Seattle to be affordable while reserving thee ability to crawl through that city for a weekend now and then.

    But as far as hockey goes, we're a huge sucking black hole of suck. Especially since the closest major junior team (WHL's Portland Winterhawks) is affiliated with Chicago.

  6. Though I won't be representing either of the following cities at H2H, I'll be there in giddy spirit -- and watching for all of you on the tele, so you better make signs!

    I was born in Liepaja, Latvia, which is said to be shaped like a butterfly, you can walk the whole city by following the single tram tracks, it's always super windy, and the fence posts at the train station aren't nailed down so you can swing the boards around and take a shortcut to the cobbled downtown from there.

    And I currently reside in San Francisco, which is spectacular and everything you've heard is true. It often smells like shit, and though the city is only 4 miles across it takes an hour to get across town on a bus.

    Happy Paddy's Day!

  7. My hometown, Troy, is known for having Exit 69 off of I-75 for Big Beaver Road. Yes, our main road is called Big Beaver. And, yes, it is Exit 69. I'm proud to say that that's where I get off (75). I've seen people pulled off on the shoulder taking pictures of the exit sign on numerous occasions. We were also the original home of Aileen Wuornos (sp?), the serial killer that Charlize Theron played in that movie she won an Oscar for. If you watch 'Almost Famous' closely, you'll catch that the fictional band, Stillwater, is supposedly from Troy. How I wish they were real.

  8. Oslo is the capital and biggest city of Norway. We have 586 000 inhabitants, and 1.4 mill in metro Oslo. It is the world's only capital that also is a ski resort. Holmenkollen, a hill on the west side of Oslo (and the richest part of Oslo) had world cup events in cross country, Nordic combined and ski jumping last weekend and will have biathlon world cup events this weekend. They will have the nordic skiing world chamionships next year. Holmenkollen is maybe the most famous, and definitely most traditional and prestigious of all Nordic skiing arenas. The old ski hill (http://www.holmenkollen.oslo.kommune.no/getfile.php/Webside%20forutbyggingsprosjektet%20i%20Holmenkollen%20til%20VM%202011%20%28HKP%29/Internett%20%28HKP%29/Bilder/gammelbakke.jpg%20%28600x327%29.jpg) was a HUGE icon, but was torn down. The new one (http://gfx.dagbladet.no/pub/artikkel/5/50/505/505912/HolmenkollenX20PlansjeX2011_1184128983_1184128997.jpg) is nice too.

    Oslo is surrounded by large forests on three side and the Oslo fjord on the fourth. Our new opera house lies by the sea and has won many prices: http://z.about.com/d/architecture/1/0/A/q/OsloOperaHouseNorway-ErikBerg.jpg

    Other than that Oslo is the financial center of Norway and also Europe's heroine capital.

    The city was founded in 1048, but most of it burnt down in 1624. It has more than 25% immigrants.

    Another nice landmark is Akershus fortress, built in 1299, but adjusted in 1646. It's not huge and impressing, but very beautiful: http://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fil:Akershus_festning_by_night.jpg

  9. Other than that Oslo is the financial center of Norway and also Europe's heroine capital.


  10. My city is about 40,000 people and is pretty quiet and boring, which as a high-school age kid drove me a little nuts, but now after working in Baltimore, MD for several years I appreciate the boring-ness because it also means a lack of gunfire! There are two high schools, the awesome one that I graduated from (GO CHEMICS!) and the other one which has the only redeeming feature that my brother-in-law graduated from it without being contaminated by Charger Cooties.

    Like any other place, we have the standard mall and downtown area and family restaurants and parks scattered around, but we have a couple unique features.

    We were actually named America's Best Tennis Town at the 2009 US Open (I don't play tennis, but the people at the tennis center were very excited that the city won the vote), which gave the community a $100,000 grant to be used for the community. They have plans to use it to refurbish several outdoor courts for public use, reinstate after-school tennis programs for kids that were casualties of budget cuts, and purchase a couple of wheelchairs designed to enable disabled kids to play anyway.

    We have a three-legged pedestrian bridge (called the Tridge, built in 1981) downtown, going over the point where the Chippewa and Tittabawassee Rivers join. It's a landmark in the downtown area, close to the farmer's market and the skatepark, and the centerpiece of the park area where the fireworks are shot off every summer.

    My town also has Dow Gardens, which is possibly one of my nephew's favorite places in the world, because it is a very informal botanical gardens where they don't frown on kids running up and down grassy hills (although they don't want anyone jumping from rock to rock across the stream because they will slip and fall in) and while my parents push his baby sister sedately along the paved paths in her stroller, I'm the one who runs up and down the steep hills with him, rolls in the grass, and lets him splash in the pond. It also has a wonderful children's garden area with several playhouses and activity areas that he likes to play in.

    And incredibly awesomely the town is home of the Great Lakes Loons of the Midwest League, an A-ball affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, a playoff team last year (VERY EXCITING - I WAS THERE WHEN THEY CLINCHED A POSITION AND ALSO FOR AN EPIC COMEBACK IN THE PLAYOFFS AGAINST A CLOSER WITH A MINISCULE ERA, AND THE BOYS KILLED HIM WITH HOMERS!!!) a former uniform of the pitcher Clayton Kershaw and a really beautiful new ballpark. Fantastic place to watch a baseball game.

  11. Wow, until Nat mentioned four stop lights, I wouldve swore we only had three lol yes, our town really is that small! She did miss a few facts:

    1. I live directly across the street from what was until about 6 months ago a full fledged crack house. Oh how I wish it were still there

    2. people regularly go hunting. with their trucks.

    3. We also have approximately 206 antique malls. Seriously. All the antiques in the universe, we have them here in our small ass town.

    4. I heard George pee'd in the tub when he was here. Buyer beware!

    In all seriousness though, its a cute place

  12. How delightful that you want to know about my little Kalamazoo (Kalabama). Well, it's known as the Celery City, I've never actually seen any celery growing anywhere, so whatever. There are 246,000 peeps living here. And you might find this interesting, the largest group of douchebags per capita in the country. Now I don't have any hard statistics to back this statement up, but TRUST ME. Kalamazoo is home of the Western Michigan Broncos and the Kalamazoo College Hornets. Every August we hold the National championships in boys tennis. Um, we just had the National Curling Championships last week at our own Wings Stadium, home of the Kalamazoo K-wings hockey team (Sharks and Flyer affiliated :( ) Let's see, famous people from Kalamazoo: Greg Jennings (Green Bay Packers), Matt Giraud I guess he's from American Idol, and Derrek Jeter. Kalamazoo is home of the Upjohn company, who was bought out by a company that I may or may not work for, and shall remain nameless. There may or may not be little blue pills involved. There are many parks, lakes, and rivers. We get something called lake effect snow showers which just means ass loads more snow than the rest of the state. We even have high signs behind our fire hydrants with pictures of the fire hydrants on them because we get so much snow.

    I haven't been able to drink whiskey since high school.

    Krononymous: Atheist=awesome. I'm a vegetarian atheist, it's a real conversation starter, especially here in the conservative deer camp belt.

    Natalie and Brian: I know where you live. I have attended your spa, back in October 2005. It was lovely. I stayed at the Highland Inn (?), maybe, I think that sounds right.

  13. WingedUP: Where do you live that is the birthplace of professional hockey? Also, I love that Dropkick Murphys song, although I think it should be banned from professional sports arenas that are not, in fact, in Boston. It would be too bad because it is such a kickass song, but still...it just don't sit right with me, you know?

    Breakaway: What you wrote was so hilarious, I laughed about it for 10 straight minutes. Mutant wild chickens?! That's priceless. The wildlife situation in Florida entertains me so much. I saw something on the news last year about how so many people had bought big snakes like boa constrictors as pets, but then decided it was too much work, so they let them loose in the swamps, so now there is a large snake phenomenon that threatens to overturn the ecosystem, not to mention threatening human beings. Craziness!

    Jenn, I already flipped out about how much I love Left Hand Milk Stout on Twitter. You weren't born and raised in Colorado, though, right? I know you said your husband's family is from Boston, but I don't remember if you said you are from there originally. I've never been to CO, but I would love to visit. It looks so beautiful. We have lovely mountains here, but they're gentle and rolling, not the imposing snowcapped beauties you have out there. Believe it or not, we actually have a kickass Mexican restaurant in our little town, too, which is completely random, at least to me.

    Krononymous, I had no idea you were from Cleveland. You MUST share these Trent Reznor stories with us. (For the record, we are more than happy to accommodate your need for Bushmill's. TSO has a long-standing oath to its readers that it will NEVER side with religions squabbles over its posse, so rock on.) I am so jealous that you got to experience Kucinich-mayordom first-hand. Did he issue city-wide holidays for UFO hunting? (I had to go there.) Finally, your thoughts on Lake Erie sound like our thoughts on the Potomac River, which forms the northern boundary line of the county: Nice to sit by and drink a beer, but to fish from? Hell to the no.

    Christine: I knew you lived out in the Pacific NW, but didn't know you were outside of Portland. Have you always lived there? Willie Nelson rocks my socks, so congrats on being able to claim him. Sorry about your junior hockey team being owned by Chicago. The Wheeling Nailers (ECHL) are probably the closest to us, and they're affiliated with Pittsburgh. Suckass all around, right?

  14. Vicky, a city shaped like a butterfly sounds beautiful. Did you family move straight from Latvia to California? I've also never been to San Francisco (all the way across the country), but I think it would be incredibly awesome. We will DEFINITELY have you there with us at H2H in spirit!

    Kris, your Big Beaver/Exit 69 story was hilarious, too. That's one of those things that just sounds too good to be true, but since I've driven by it during our Detroit treks, I 100% believe you. Somebody with a wicked sense of humor at the Department of Transportation HAD to be behind that...I mean, that just can't be a cosmic coincidence.

    Andy, I thought of you last night: Brian and I were at a bookstore, and there was a book titled 501 Places You Need to Visit in Europe, and I was so upset that all they had of Norway was a giant fjord. What about Oslo?! The weirdest part is that there were 17 pages devoted to Sweden. I wish I would have thought to get the name of the publishing company so you could write them a strongly worded letter.

    Baroque, that's awesome about your town and tennis! I am terrible at tennis, but I enjoy playing it nonetheless. I just Googled the Tridge and it is awesome-looking. I really like the idea of the botanical gardens. Real (stuffy) botanical gardens make me feel really uncomfortable.

    Dena, how far is Kalamazoo from Detroit? You ARE coming to H2H, right? I will DIE if I can't meet my soulmate. Ha! I LOVE the sign of fire hydrants above the actual fire hydrants; that is too funny. I kinda feel bad about bitching about all our snow this winter...

    You MUST tell us why you've been to Berkeley Springs. I know it's a tourist-y place and all (DC assholes are ALWAYS clogging up the place with their horribleness), but how did you even hear about our town to begin with?

  15. They played that song at the 'Hawks/Wings game last time in Chicago. It kind of annoyed me-I mean, why would you be going anywhere near Boston for a Chicago/Detroit game? I live in the sprawling city of Houghton,Michigan.(lol) We're also famous for being left off the majority of maps in the world, seemingly because we fall into Lake Superior when the mapmaker is just too lazy to include us.

  16. To get you started (and in case you really need a laugh today), you can search "Slam Bamboo" on youtube. Although if you really want some Cleveland nostalgia, just click here:


    I tended bar in between undergrad and grad school. Tuesday night was "New Wave Night" and Slam Bamboo was a regular. I seriously would have been a lot nicer to him if I knew he'd be rich one day. (-;

  17. Gah, I'm late to the party again! As Natalie and NurseNitz know, I'm from Dearborn. We're famous mainly for Ford (hometown of Henry Ford, World Headquarters of Ford, site of the Fairlane- the Ford estate, The Henry Ford Museum...) but we have other things too, I swear. We have just under 100,000 people according to the last census and would probably be thought of as more of a big city if it wasn't for our close proximity to Detroit. I live in a strange area where you drive south to Canada, north to Southfield, and west to Eastern Michigan University. Nice and not at all confusing, right?
    Dearborn is also known for having the largest concentration of Arabic people outside of the Middle East. That means that although the classes never ran, we always offered Arabic as a language choice and would occasionally serve hummus in the school cafeteria. It also means we have some of the best Arabic food you will ever eat in your life, anyone who has the chance at H2H should seriously try some!
    The Rouge River is disgusting. My dad was part of a clean-up program for it in the 70s and they're still recruiting high school ecology clubs to try to clean it up. Ok, they claim it's 97% clean now, but I wouldn't stick my toe in if you paid me.
    Other than that, we have a branch of U of M that seems to cater mainly to engineering students but accepted a plain old liberal arts student like me too. We used to have a lot more (an apartment complex in Florida for retirees where Dearborn residents got great deals, Camp Dearborn out where my cousins live, lots of city pools that were actually kept up...) but some of the pools have been abandoned and the camp and complex sold off because of revenue issues. The pool by my house is still in service, so I'm happy :)

  18. St Patty's was not great for me. Worked all day, girlfriend was sick so when I got off I brought her some Kleenex with Aloe and some Chicken Tortilla soup from El Pollo Loco. Later in the night she took some prescribed cough medicine, which 30 or so minutes after we fell asleep decided to not agree with her stomach so after much pain on her part I was on hair holding and back rubbing duty a few times. After several more hours of horrible guttural pain on her part and me comforting and rubbing my hands through her hair and across her forehead she finally fell asleep, and i did shortly after i knew she was down for good. Then work today, so 3 hours of sleep and no drinking or fun last night. Boo me for being the only sober Irishman in the world.

    Awesome thing about my home area? Heather Rae Young (Playboy's Miss February 2010) and Kassandra Logsdin (new comer in February Issue of playboy as well). I knew and was good friends with one of them and graduated high school with both of them in 2005.

  19. Natalie - Nope, not from Colorado originally, or Boston either. I grew up in the California Bay Area, near Santa Cruz. If you ever pick up a package of strawberries in the grocery store and look at where they came from, it will probably be from there. It's often mistaken for the artichoke town or the garlic town, but it isn't either of those, although it's close by.

    No, I was never a Banana Slug.

  20. Natalie. The fjords are definitely VERY much worth visiting, but we also have gigantic waterfalls, some very old stave churches (old wooden churches from like the 13-12-1300s that only exist in Norway, my favourite is one 2,5 hours from Oslo called Heddal Stave church, which incidentally is where my mom was baptised: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heddal_stave_church ). There are really a lot to see here other than fjords.

    Oslo itself is probably a better place to live than to visit and it is incredibly expensive here. Like, we are among the most expensive cities in the world (people earn ALOT, but then stuff is EXPENSIVE). But it is well worth to visit. Other than the Opera and the iconic Holmenkollen, we also have the following things that tourists love:
    - The Munch museum. Edvard Munch (they guy that painted "Scream" and "Madonna") donated many of his pictures to the city of Oslo. They are now in a great museum.
    - The National gallery. More Munch, some foreign art, a lot of other famous Norwegian painters that I generally dislike.
    - The Fram museum. Fram ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fram )is a large and very special ship that was used in several North and South pole expeditions, including Roald Amundsen's successful run at beeing first to the South Pole. It is in a large museum and you can go into the ship and watch how everything was.
    - The Kon-Tiki museum. The Kon-tiki ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kon-Tiki ) is a wooden raft that Thor Heyerdahl used to reach the Polynesian islands from South America, thereby proving that the Polynesians might have migrated from South America. The museum also has a couple of other famous rafts that he used.
    - The Viking ship museum ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viking_Ship_Museum_%28Oslo%29 ) is a nice small building with three old viking ships in it. Truly amazing.
    - The folk museum. A nice outdoor museum with houses from different eras and parts of Norway. The houses have been deconstructed, brought to Oslo and then rebuilt so that they are exactly the same. Also has a stave church.

    aaand, the most famous one:
    - The Vigeland sculpture park ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vigeland_Sculpture_Park ). All the Americans love this one. It's extremely famous. It's a beautiful park in central Oslo designed by artist Gustav Vigeland and filled with his sculpture (mostly of naked people).

    Alot more to see too. Oslo is nice, but not in the wooow this is a beautiful place kind of way.

  21. Yep, moving from a small and backwards Eastern European country during the fall of the Soviet Union to California was one MAJOR culture shock. But I also find it shocking how much CALI represenation is amongst the Red Wing fan base.

    Jenn, I'm a Banana Slug and proud of my yellow slimey heritage... or whatever. :)


  22. (no hostility is implied in above post, eek)

  23. WingedUP: I'm glad someone else feels my pain. It really is too bad that it's Boston's song because it is SUCH a kickass, get-pumped song, but that's just the way it is.

    Krononymous, I love that you hung out with Slam Bamboo back when Trent Reznor back was in Slam Bamboo. That makes my life complete. That is all.

    Sara, the name Rouge River sounds lovely, but I'll take your word for it being a place you want to avoid physical contact. Ever since you and I talked about authentic hummus that one day, I've had it in my head and can't get it out. Like I said before, maybe Brian and I will just stay forever and ever...

    Crater, I'm really sorry you had a bad St. Patty's Day. That's too bad that your girlfriend was sick. Hope she's feeling better now. On a brighter note, congrats for being from the hometown of those Playboy Bunnies. That's gotta be a positive, right?

    Jenn, I had NO IDEA you were originally from CA. I wonder if I'll be able to remember that since I always associate you with (cold-weather) Colorado. :)

    Andy, I now feel as if I could write a tourism guide for the city of Oslo. Maybe then we could show those bookstores what's what.

    Vicky, I agree with you about the number of CA Wings' fans. You, Jenn, and Crater all commented on here, and you're all either originally from or currently living in California. Awesomeness. (No hostility taken in your previous comment--TSO is a hostile-free zone among its writers/commenters.)

  24. OMG so many comments.


    I will kill them all.

    Anyway, I came over here to ask if it's you who made fun of me for liking that drop kick murphy song... I'm assuming it wasn't b/c you posted the song too. OR maybe it was. I can't remember.

    I haven't slept in a while.