The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend Ramblings

Why yes, I still blog. I feel like I'm telnetting or something when I do it, though. So, here's some thoughts about things and other things.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Sock Index of NHL Team Popularity

Sometimes, it's funny what you find when you're looking for something else. I've been searching on the internet for a pair of hockey-themed socks, similar to ones that I bought long ago when I was in Nashville for a Predators game.

No, they're not "hockey socks", like you'd expect to see NHL'ers wear during games. I'm talking about novelty-type socks. I own a pair of white with blue heels and toes socks with the Predators logo on them, and I've been looking for a newer pair for some time now. I've concluded that there's only one pair similar to them - a pink pair by For Bare Feet, which I'm hesitant to order. 

This search confirmed something I wasn't entirely surprised to discover: not every NHL team is created equal. I was looking at available socks from one particular website (, and wondered how many different types of socks with logos of each NHL team were available - just on this one, non-hockey oriented, website.

In case you think the idea of "hockey socks" is odd, keep this in mind: there were a total of 274 different types of socks, featuring 29 of the 30 NHL teams – and one for the NHL logo itself. However - and this is where the "unequal" part comes in - not every team had the same number of items available. 

What follows is a count of how many different "socks" you can buy through Football Fanatics for each NHL team, ranked from greatest to least. It paints an interesting picture:

1.        Buffalo Sabres (20 items)
2.        Detroit Red Wings (20 items)
3.        New York Rangers (19 items)
4.        Philadelphia Flyers (17 items)
5.        New Jersey Devils (16 items)
6.        Boston Bruins (15 items)
7.        Pittsburgh Penguins (14 items)
8.        Chicago Blackhawks (13 items)
9.        Minnesota Wild (10 items)
10.     Montreal Canadiens (10 items)
11.     San Jose Sharks (10 items)
12.     Tampa Bay Lightning (10 items)
13.     Washington Capitals (10 items)
14.     Dallas Stars (9 items)
15.     Los Angeles Kings (9 items)
16.     St. Louis Blues (9 items)
17.     Anaheim Ducks (8 items)
18.     Calgary Flames (7 items)
19.     Florida Panthers (7 items)
20.     New York Islanders (7 items)
21.     Winnipeg Jets (7 items)
22.     Vancouver Canucks (6 items)
23.     Carolina Hurricanes (5 items)
24.     Colorado Avalanche (4 items)
25.     Toronto Maple Leafs (4 items)
26.     Nashville Predators (3 items)
27.     Columbus Blue Jackets (2 items)
28.     Edmonton Oilers (1 item)
29.     Ottawa Senators (1 item)
30.     NHL Logo (1 item)

You may notice there is one team missing from the list: the Phoenix Coyotes. That omission is predictable, as it wasn't certain that the team would even be playing in Phoenix on a permanent basis until recently.

What is exceptionally odd is how three Canadian NHL teams (Vancouver, Toronto and Edmonton) have few items available. This is somewhat explainable in that this is a US-based web store, and as such they don't have much available.

It does indicate, though,  what teams are thought of as "most important" to NHL marketing.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Olympic Thoughts

Now that we're headed into the final week of the Olympics, some thoughts on Sochi 2014:

Monday, January 13, 2014

What a difference a year makes

Wow, it's been a long time since I've updated this blog. A lot of stuff has happened since I last said anything "blog-worthy". Some of it is inconsequential, some of it isn't.

So let's go through some of it:

Shortly after my last post, two things became painfully obvious: the Nashville Predators weren't going to be making the playoffs, and they also weren't going to have the services of Pekka Rinne for a while. Sadly, both things are still true - and now, there are rumblings among the Predator Nation of a demand for change behind the bench and in the front office.

Also shortly after my last post, my cat, Brooke Field Houk, started having issues physically. It turned out she had lost pretty much all function in her kidneys, and her outlook was bleak. We had to put her down on the 20th anniversary of my first day at EAS. 

The whole Ryan Braun thing happened out of nowhere, and had me soured on the Brewers and baseball for a while. The second the suspension was announced, the Brewers season effectively ended.

I wondered, after we put Brookie down, how long it would take us before we'd get another cat. The answer turned out to be just over two months. I forgot how much of a handful kittens can be, but it's been a fun time.

One night at work, I wandered in to the mail room and discovered that a posting had been made for a position that was essentially the exact same position that I had when I was at EAS. I put in for it, not sure if I'd get it - and it turns out I was the #1 person in line for it. The entire month of July was a transition phase for me, but I managed to re-adapt to working in the reception cottage.

I cringed with the rest of the people in the state of Wisconsin on the night of November 4 when we heard those words that sent a shiver up our collective spines: "Aaron Rodgers is hurt." I don't think there was anyone who thought a month and a half later that we would still be in the playoff hunt, and that we actually would end up winning the NFC North.

After a quiet Thanksgiving at home, I was looking forward to the Christmas holidays. I headed into work for one night, with my first weekend off of the month beckoning to get the holiday season off to a good start.

And then that deer ran across the road in front of my car. I swerved, hit a patch of the ice on the shoulder that launched my car into the ditch that normally would have been reserved by this time for snowmobiles, and nearly got back onto the road - but the frozen snow was too thick, and physics caught up with momentum.  

I went into the body shop the next morning, after hastily calling in to work, and had them give me an estimate on the repairs - mostly to my side mirror and the dents the beastie did to car. There was also a crack in the front bumper, which meant that was going to have to be replaced, too. But overall, it wasn't looking bad.

So, Saturday afternoon, I decided I was going to go get gas in the car after dropping the wife off at an appointment. And on my way there, a 19-year-old kid in a 17-year-old Saturn tried to turn left in front of me as I was tooling down the main drag here in Merrill.

Now it was going to be the bumper, the grille, the hood, the headlights, the fender, the door... And this was accident number 3 for said car. That was enough for me.  I decided to spend the day off that I had been given after a visit to Urgent Care to start looking for a new car. Obviously, I wasn't in much of a position to bargain or haggle, but I was pleasantly surprised by my credit union that I was okay for a loan. And the car I was looking at was under the amount I was approved for.

I spent that week afterwards having to deal with two separate issues - uncertainty as to whether my car was going to be totaled, and a scheduling issue at work that nearly made my Christmas vacation a massive bah-humbug. Fortunately, the car issue was resolved, and I didn't have to cancel my vacation the week of Christmas, and it looked like I was going to be able to take delivery of my new (to me) car on the 26th.

The really sad part of the whole Christmas week, though, was that the snow forecasts that hit the state that weekend before. Both the wife and I decided we'd be better off staying home for Christmas Eve instead of driving down to be with family in Racine. It looked like a good idea when we were invited to a get-together with some friends after the Christmas Eve service for our church.

I got home that night, and my stomach didn't feel so good. I thought it was just me having over-eaten. I had some trouble sleeping that night, but I didn't think anything of it.

At least, not until I found myself racing into the bathroom and throwing up.

Unfortunately, the nausea and vomiting didn't stop until I told Sarah that I was extremely dehydrated and couldn't keep anything down. That resulted in a joyous holiday visit to the emergency room, where I was pumped full of fluids and anti-nausea meds which resulted in me exchanging nausea for instant diarrhea. (Hey, I never said I'd pull punches on here.)

I've recovered from that, but the recent "Polar Vortex" made enjoying my new car difficult. The funny thing was, the entire time I was concerned that my car wouldn't start in the cold, I never thought to check the wife's car. Sure enough, Tuesday morning came around (after she stayed home the Monday of the Deep Freeze), and when I went over to her car in the garage to start it... Rrrrr rrrurrr rrur.

When I took it in to the place where I got my car, they discovered that it was the original battery. On an '05 Sebring Convertible. Yeah. Replacement time. And, of course, that means putting the car up on the lift, taking the wheel out so you can take the battery out from under the left fender...

I'm just now kinda taking a breath after all this. I had a shrug-it-off attitude about the whole Packers "Arctic Bowl" loss, and this whole Predators season is starting to look like a lost cause. I'm not looking forward to spring training and baseball like I was in past years, because I know the Brewers aren't going to be as good as in the past (shuddering when I recall my days as a STH when the Crew was stinking up the place the first few years at Miller Park).

My December, as bleak as it was, wasn't all negative. Along with my new ride (a Chevy HHR - the first GM product I've willingly purchased), there was the pleasant surprise of my alma mater making the Stagg Bowl for the eighth time in the last nine years - and the subsequent pounding of our rivals Mount Union for our fifth D3 football title.

So here we are, 2014. Lot of year ahead of us, and a lot of blogging - at least, a lot more than in 2013 - ahead as well.

And, hopefully, by this time next year I'll have a new boss.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sliding Away

The weather up here in Northern Wisconsin has taken a turn for the strange today.

Instead of the usual snow we get when the temps rise, we're starting to see rain. That wouldn't be bad, if it wasn't for a few things:
  1. The temperature is hovering right at 32 degrees F.
  2. The wind is coming from the East and making that 32 F feel more like 21 F.
  3. The surface of many roads are already slightly melted from the minor warmup we had yesterday.
This afternoon, I was heading out to get some groceries we hadn't gotten the last time we'd done the shopping. No real problems getting out of our complex, and it didn't appear that the road that leads out to our "main drag" was that bad.

However: I started to stop for the intersection at the end of the road, and discovered something: black ice. What was worse, the last part of the intersection is an incline down to the main highway. So not only was I sliding, I was picking up speed.

The view to the left is obstructed by a roadhouse-like corner tap that has a small parking lot built into the side of road (something I've discovered is common here in NC Wisconsin). I had two brief thoughts as I was sliding: first, I was gonna get broadsided by some logging truck as it came down the road. Second, I wasn't gonna be able to stop once I got to the main highway, and I was going to slide right across the road.

And through the guard rail, and into the Wisconsin River.

Which, at this intersection, was about a good 30-40 foot drop from the other side of the road.

I think I swerved and threw my car into "Park", which locked up my wheels enough to cause me to stop - at about an 80 degree angle to the direction of travel. Very carefully, after finally breathing again, I reversed out of there and slowly went down to the stop sign, and turned right onto the main highway. There were no cars coming from the west, thankfully, so that wouldn't have been a worry.

Still - I don't know how much longer I can take this weather up here.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A few thoughts for a Saturday late in January

Some random things:

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Last minute thoughts

We've got less than 32 hours to go in 2012. Some thoughts as the clock ticks down: