Imitation of Life

Uncle Walt checking back in.

It’s been a long while since I last wrote. In that time, the Pens managed to get their act together and play up to their potential. Reeled off a giant winning streak, lost one, and came back to defeat the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins. Evgeni Malkin is completely on fire. The level at which he is playing is truly something that must be seen to be believed. He’s everywhere. He’s scoring goals, he’s playing great defensively, he’s stickhandling through entire teams. I’m terrified that he’s going to burn out, but he’s doing the opposite. He keeps getting better. At some point his production will trail off a little, but…my God.

An alarming trend that is returning in the NHL, and this is something Jesse Marshall at Faceoff Factor has spoken about, is the system some teams are playing against the Pens (among others). That system? Slightly hold up the forecheck in the neutral zone and then collapse around the goaltender, keep all shots to the outside, and wait for an opportunity to spring someone.

It’s horribly boring hockey that takes ALL skill out of the game. Remember how magnificently boring (and therefore horribly tense) the 2010 series vs. MTL was? I don’t even want to think about that series, let alone see it Jesse does a great job of breaking down the how-and-why the system is troublesome, especially for teams like the Pens. Totally worth the read.

Continued after the break…

Other things and goings on in Walt’s world…

The biggest, and potentially most important, is that I met somebody. It has been a very long time (about 2 years) since I was last on the dating scene. That was, in large part, by my own choice until I got my life straightened out. I didn’t feel I was in any position to manage a relationship until I could manage myself. The last thing I needed in life was to bring someone else down. I didn’t need to bring them down to my level during that period.

People who knew me personally over the last few years knew just how awful and intolerable I was. I treated everyone I knew poorly and was just not that great of a person to be around. I’ve really made a concerted effort to improve that. I’ve eliminated many of the variables that were bringing me down and worked towards a more meaningful, purposeful life. And since making changes and improving my station, I’ve made an effort to find someone special. I am, by no means, ready to declare that search definitively over, but I met someone. And she is very special.

Things are still in the early stages and I try not to put the cart before the horse, but I can’t help but get excited when I meet someone. Sometimes I say things that are incredibly stupid. Sometimes I am a complete fool. This is not that uncommon. It’s worse when it’s someone I really dig. I end up putting my foot in my mouth way too often. Hopefully not so often that they tuck tail and run. Without getting into too much detail or revealing personal information, just know that she’s a wonderful person and getting to know her has made me want to be a better man. She is bringing out the best in me (which, consequently, also brings out some of my worst qualities, like just how intense of a person I can be) and I am trying, trying, trying to not screw this up.

Additionally, I’ve finally, both in terms of money and time, been able to make an investment in my health. I found a deal that was too good to pass up and finally invested in the elliptical trainer I’ve wanted for some time. I’ve allowed myself a few days here and there just to rest so that I don’t over-extend myself, but I try to run at least 3 miles a day. I also invested in some resistance bands, but those only recently arrived. I haven’t really been able to use them much. I’ve been trying to eat a better (and more regular) diet as well as become much more active.

This attempt at improvement is multifaceted. I don’t deny my search and finding of the aforementioned girl has played a major role in this. I want to make myself a better person, and that includes better physically. She is incredibly supportive of this effort, too, which gives me that extra bit of motivation I need some days. On top of that, I want to do this for myself. I want to feel better and look better. I want to be around for a while and the direction I was headed before was not a great path.

It has been a period of incredible change for me. Sometimes I’m riding high and sometimes I’m real low. Much like the Pens’ season, it’s been an up and down affair. Hell, I go through those extreme highs and lows in the span of a day. It’s a wild time for me and I appreciate people’s patience right now.

We’ll not even get into the discussion about the incredible level of stress I’m feeling from work. Unreal level of stress. February is going to be the worst month for me. We’ve been plugging away pretty much since New Year’s day and don’t stop until March 2, when Spring Break rolls around. Once Spring Break hits there’s only about 9 weeks left in the school year. This semester is just going to get crazier and crazier.

Thus is life in my manic-depressive mind.

And that brings you up to speed.


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