ellenscult: (Default)
If you follow my twitter at all, you might possibly have noticed that I'm attempting to watch all of the Stanley Cup playoff games (or at least have them on in the background while I do other things). If you are unaware of the joy that is ice hockey (closest thing to quidditch you'll ever see on the ground, honestly, joy to watch), the NHL consists of 30 teams (31 next year) which play 82 games through the regular season. The top 16 teams (you'd have to look up about Eastern and Western Conferences and first and second wild card entries) end up in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Each playoff series consists of the teams playing a best-of-7-games format against 1 opposing team. The first round also serves as the semi-finals of the Western or Eastern Conference finals; the second round is the quarter-finals and the third round is the finals. The best team of the Eastern Conference then plays the best team of the Western conference in a best-of-7 series to determine who wins the Stanley Cup.

You may be able to tell from this that the NHL season is pretty much the most demanding (by far) of all professional sports, and the Stanley Cup is the toughest trophy to win. And it's played on ice. At top speed. Sometimes with blood and fights and the threat of serious injury. And all the players are armed with sticks and skates (knives on their shoes. Seriously. Football - of whatever form you prefer - is incredibly wussy compared to KNIVES ON SHOES. Unless it's Australian Rules football. Which is just insane, and the referees start fights and look like butchers, and the players are part MMA fighters, part gymnasts on speed).

So. As of this afternoon, 40 games have been played in round 1. 6 teams are through to the second round, with 4 teams competing for the last 2 spots. I am a Pittsburgh Penguins fan, because they're awesome and lovely and like dogs and they're quite simply the best team out there with the best players in the world, who are also some of the nicest guys you'll find in pro sports. (Yeah, I read a hockey romance, started following the Penguins, then they won the Stanley Cup, so now I have a subscription to NHL tv and spend far too much time cheering them on.) I've watched 35 games (watching my 36th at the mo) and I use the time (surprise) to do a little crafting.

So here's my Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 1 blanket, which is done bar a couple of loose ends needing sewn in. (Dante's in the background, on one of the many dog beds.)
Crocheted blanket in pink and blue stripes.

Next up: Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 2 legwarmers. By request from my sister's mum.
ellenscult: (funky)
I've been meaning to post for a while; in brief, I've finished the short course of counselling, yes it's helped and I'd recommend it - talking things out with an impartial, compassionate person is extremely helpful. My car now has a new switch, so the main beam headlights will stay on when I want them to, not when I indicate. It also has other New BitsTM and is pretty much ready for MOT at the end of the month. In completely unrelated news, I am extremely broke this month. Meh. I have a touch of tonsillitis, which is rather annoying since I had my tonsils out around 20 years ago. Double meh! It's been the High Holy Days, so rather belatedly, may you all be written and sealed in the Book of Life for a sweet and healthy year to come.

In knitting news, I finished Dad's jumper and still have to pop it in the post. I've knitted all of the sleeveless hooded cardigan for Jacob (bar the pocket) and have crocheted him a cat out of the leftover yarn; I just have to put the hood onto the jacket with a three needle bind-off, knit the pocket and sew it on, and sew on the buttons. I'm part-way through knitting a Henry scarf with the leftover merino yarn (from Dad's jumper) for my father-in-law's Christmas present and am contemplating knitting another in grey silk for DH for his birthday in November. I've been going to the Knit & Natter groups at Randalstown and Antrim Libraries, which are awesome, especially now I have a library card and have discovered the joys of borrowing magazines, ebooks and audiobooks online with said library membership. For free. Woohoo!

I'm off my daily routines - no meditation, no Duolingo - and I'm not getting to sleep until the middle of the night, which isn't helping, apart from that the NHL season is now underway and the Pittsburgh Penguins games start around midnight BST. (They've won their first two regular season games, which Yay, but their captain, Sidney Crosby, probably the best ice hockey player in the world, is once again out with a concussion, which very much Oh Noes.) As I'm both in the UK and also have no TV license (don't watch live TV, have now stopped watching BBC iPlayer, tend not to watch much of anything anyway), I listen to the Pens games on their in-house radio broadcast, which is great, but makes me profoundly grateful for the UK's advertising standards. I have to refrain from emailing the Pens organisation and asking them to think more carefully about who they sell advertising space to, because some of the radio ads are so far beyond the bounds of truth and decency (both moral and ethical) that I boggle when I hear them. You might not be fat - you might just be bloated! Take this supplement and it'll clear out pounds of rotting, toxic sludge from your belly! And this is paraphrased, without listing the medical claims they're making... Just - wow. How anyone at that supplement company can justify the language they use, how they can see themselves as anything other than (at best) amoral predators, I don't know.

Right, enough of that, I can't clear my head enough for a more coherent rant. But seriously, just, no. Gah!

*deep breath*

Anyway, I've discovered a love of ice hockey and have been following the Pittsburgh Penguins since May, and it's all the fault of fanfiction. No, really. *headdesk* I read a lot of fanfic. This isn't news to anyone who knows me. I tend to skip from fandom to fandom as the mood takes me, and if I enjoy a story by a particular author, I'll go see what else they've written, and then, if I'm bored, I'll look at the stories they have bookmarked, because chances are our tastes will overlap at least to some small degree. It's a nifty way of finding some great stories to read that I'd otherwise not discover. So I read an excellent Teen Wolf series by an author called Sidara, and when I looked at their bookmarks, I spotted a story by TheHoyden, whose stories I've encountered in a few fandoms and always enjoyed. But the story, King and Lionheart, was marked as Hockey RPF (real person fanfic), and RPF makes me uneasy. Writing fanfiction about fictional characters is one thing, but writing about real people crosses a line in my mind. But I like TheHoyden's stories, and this one had a 'marriage of convenience' tag, and I'm a sucker for that trope in romance. Not that I've written my own 'marriage of convenience' fanfic, oh no, not at all. *ahem* So I clicked, and I read, and I've been hooked ever since, both on hockey RPF and on ice hockey and on the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are an amazing team (they won the Stanley Cup shortly after I started following them, go Pens!) and an amazing organisation (they do a lot of stuff for a whole lot of charities, an awful lot of community work, and seem like an awesomely supportive place to work). So yeah, the RPF is a guilty pleasure, but the ice hockey is a genuine pleasure, and though it might be a bit odd to find a love of a sport from reading romance, but eh, that's how my heart works.


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