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Monthly Archives: August 2010

Peripheral Matters

Progress has been somewhat impeded by trivial matters.  Photos for one thing.  Turns out that Russian visas require smile-free photos for the application, so my extra grinning passport pics would not suffice.

Also, the website for the KHL-NHL exhibition games must be going through growing pangs, as only today would it let me actually order a ticket to the St. Petersburg game (SKA v. Carolina Hurricanes.)  I started several days ago, once the ticket ordering pages appeared, and each day more of them would be translated into English, and now Latvian.

I am still not certain that I have purchased a ticket.  There are a couple of emails in Russian in my inbox but I have not run them through google translate yet.  How will I get by in Russia without google translate?  Where are those Star Trek devices when you need them? (more…)


Things are proceeding apace.  I went and looked up that word, apace, because I suspected that it did not mean what I thought it meant.  I was right.  I thought it meant fast, even too quickly.  Really it means “swift enough to stay abreast, to maintain momentum.”

It serves my purpose.  On the same day that the State Dep’t told me they were sending my passport to me, it arrived.  That is some amazing overnight service.  Practically keeps up with teleportation.

The hotel problem has resolved itself.  A friend has offered me a place to stay.  I didn’t know he had a place in St. Petersburg.  It is all starting to feel too easy, or like I should have done this before, or maybe I feel a little rushed. (more…)

Visibility Poor

Trying to find a hotel in a good spot in St. Petersburg, I found hockeyarenas.net, which had a map/location feature.  Unfortunately, the default setting was to “satellite.”  All I could see were gray clouds.  Apparently it was not a good weather day in the area.

The good news is, there is a metro station right near the arena.

The bad news is, I can’t find a cheap hotel near a metro station.  Also, I am not sure I am okay with taking the metro at night anyway, though surely hockey fans are hockey fans everywhere and if one were to  insert oneself into a mob of same, one would probably be looked after as a member of the flock.

Sigh.  It cannot be an adventure without a little risk. (more…)

Passports, a Plan, and a Poodle

Russian ConsulateI went to the Russian Consulate this morning.  It was fun.  I don’t know why, but I really like state buildings.  Perhaps I have been raised to trust the State, at least trust them not to steal my purse or spill drinks on me.  Consulates tend to be pretty.  The tiny waiting room for the visa desk was very elegant.  Ornate but not excessive.

I feel privileged to have a Russian consulate within driving distance.  Apparently very few cities have them.  It makes me feel special. (more…)

Go See

bbq announcement

So many words, still not enough info? Scratch that, it was enough to make me show up.

I got wind of a Comcast SportsNet event in the city. Someone posted the announcement on the Sharks message board. The announcement seemed very vague, despite its verbosity.  The date was Thursday August 12, it was described as an “authentic postgame BBQ.”  The word “authentic” bothered me to no end.  I could not visualize an inauthentic barbecue unless they served martoonies and tofu.

I also could not fathom how anyone could put on a barbecue in downtown San Francisco for free, and yet say space is limited.  See, a barbecue has to be outdoors or people will die of a special kind of indoor barbecue smoke inhalation.   The logistics of how to limit entry to an outdoor space and yet be hospitable and promote your venture had me curious.

Finally, a list of various Bay Area sports celebs expected to appear made me wonder if it would be a staged event, or just a mob scene, or what.  I had to go see. (more…)

Insanity Clause?

The NHL’s CBA has boundary issues.  It has not defined some important limits.  It does not specifically limit contract length, it does not limit the NHL’s time frame for approving a contract, and it does not, apparently, limit the NHL’s ability to change their mind even after approving a contract:

Under Section 26.10(b) of the CBA, the NHL can investigate a possible circumvention even if the player’s contract has been “approved and registered”. On top of that, Section 26.10(d) provides that there is no time limitation  barring an investigation (“There shall be no limitation of time barring the investigation of a Circumvention by the Commissioner). (Offside: A Sports Law Blog)

Tim Panaccio points out that another section of the CBA does define a time frame for NHL approval or rejection of contracts (5 days unless the season starts in less than 7 days, in which case it is one day).  I imagine the reference to “investigation” might negate that time frame requirement.  The NHL sounds a bit like Elizabeth Swann: “Hang the code, and hang the rules. They’re more like guidelines anyway.” (more…)

The Sixth Sense?

phrenology chart

Weird science

I visited with some family friends yesterday and of course I brought up hockey.  One of them lives here in California, but two are from Detroit.  Hence, whether or not they are hockey fans (which they are not), the subject of hockey must necessarily be appropriate.

Playing fetch with my dog whose name has been respelled “Marleau,” the California resident said “but Marleau isn’t with the Sharks anymore, is he?”  I cleared that up for him.  How do you not know very much about hockey and yet still come up with that?

The Red Wings decision to sign Modano was seen by all as a mark of real class, deserving of nods and approving comments like “excellent organization.”  Ignoring a likely age bias on our part, we concluded that the Red Wings must be the pinnacle of management wisdom, good and right and all things sensible.  Yes, of course we were drinking.  The conversation drifted to some football family dynasty.  I dragged it back as well as I could.

The more interesting topic, I thought, was whether or not someone who has never played hockey can properly appreciate the game.  Well, that was my question.  The man I was having the conversation with seemed to think the question was “can someone who has not played hockey understand the  game?”  He explained that, as someone who had not played hockey, he could not really understand the game properly, and neither could I. (more…)