Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Small Things

At about 10 years old something happened that made me really angry.  I had the nickname of short fuse, and little things could make me yell and scream, but this time it was no little thing.  I don't remember what it was that made me angry, but I remember the end of the day well.  My Mom sat by my bed, running her hand through my hair, and smiled.  I think at first the smile made me more angry, but that didn't last long; Mom had a disarming smile which had a way of melting away my anger.  Mom then explained to me how silly and wasteful my anger was.  She explained how anger causes us to use many more muscles in our faces, and it takes much more energy to use those muscles.  A smile is much more natural and takes so much less energy that it just doesn't make sense to do anything but smile whenever possible.  I've never asked a teacher, googled, or tried to verify this explanation because it makes too much sense to be wrong.  Since that day I have kept this in mind and tried at all costs to smile as much as possible, it just makes sense not to waste energy being angry.

Two years ago today my Mom died.  This was not the most tragic thing to happen that day, and between now and then there have been many more devastating things that have happened that have impacted many others more severely than the loss of one persons mother.  But this was closer to me than those other tragic events, it was more real.  I saw her take her last breath, and slowly let it out, and not take another.  I saw the pain leave, the fight end, and I cried.

Today I've remembered many things that happened with my Mom which I did not really think were that important at the time, but now I understand that these things, these moments, were significant events in my life.  For two years I have not had any new moments with my Mom, no conversations, hugs, laughs or smiles.  But I do have those moments that helped shape me and that live on in me every day.

I miss you Mom, and I appreciate now more than ever all the things you did for me.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Jerry Meals gets it Right

Come on, are you seriously telling me that you can see better than Meals does when he is right there?  Catcher makes a swipe and MISSES his leg.  This has been blown out of proportion, and the media owe Meals a major apology.

Take a look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZRGe9Rjzek

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Google+ (Plus) iPhone app is here!

Everyone who is anyone has an iPhone, and is on Google+.  But to this point we were stuck using a somewhat useful mobile page for Google+'ing on the go.  All the while Android owners have been rubbing their Google+ application and all it's fancy functionality in our face.  Well NO MORE!

Go to iTunes > App Store > Categories > Social Networking and it is the #1 Free App.  Yes, that's right, #1
(or go here)
Once you are there, add me to a circle and tell me about the things you love, and hate (gasp!), in Google+

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Oiler Optimism

Everything is roses right now in Oil Country.  The trades and signings all smell great, everyone is saying the right things, and the kids looked great in development camp.  Talk radio is full of optimism and calls to add that piece that will make this team a contender.  While this is all really nice, it is going to come crashing down when the season starts.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love the Oil to make a run this year, have Hall and Hemsky in the top 10 for scoring, RNH have a shot at Rookie of the Year and have Doobie force Renney to sit the Drunk Russian Goalie.  But lets be honest here, at this point our team isn't all that different from last year, and although some may be trying not to remember, with that team we finished dead last for the second year in a row.

Injuries.

It was because of injuries that last season happened.  And really the last 3 or 4 seasons all were plagued by injury.  Yes, this is somewhat true, but all teams have injuries.  Pittsburgh was the best example of how good teams overcome injury, and quite frankly we don't have the depth to compare.  OKC cupboards are better than the farm club from past years, but until they are competing for top spot down there we can't say we have NHL'ers ready to help when the injury bug bites.

Well aren't you just all Mr Negative!

Sorry, but realistically here is where we are at.  We have one legit top D man in Whitney, two established scorers in Smyth and Hemsky on forward and one goalie with experience in Khabbi.  The rest of the line up is filled with "if" and "hopefully", which doesn't inspire much confidence.  One or more of the sophomores are going to be terrible this year.  One or more of the acquisitions is not going to pan out.  And there are going to be more injuries.

You may be surprised if you've made it this far to hear that I am really looking forward to the coming season.  I am hoping the ifs and hopefullys all work out, the injuries don't come and the rookies kill it.  I am going to cheer with the wins, explain away the losses and figure out all the moves tambellini should be making to get this team to the cup.  But I go into it all with the blinders off and realistic expectations that this team will be picking in the top 5 again at next years draft.

Starting Lineup:

Smyth-Horcoff-Hemsky
Hall-Gagner-Eberle
Paarjarvi-RNH-Omark
Eager-Belanger-Jones
Hordichuk-Brule

Whitney-Barker
Smid-Gilbert
Peckham-Sutton
Chorney-Petry

Khabbi
Dubnyk

Adding existing YouTube videos to Google+

One of the best things so far about Google+ is the integration with other Google apps.  For those of you who already have videos on YouTube sharing them is very easy.

From the Home screen click on the Add video button in the Share box:


Select YouTube:


Then select Your YouTube videos:


Now on the right you see all your previously uploaded YouTube content, ready to add!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Ready or not, here he comes

There is a lot of talk these days about the latest #1 overall pick in the NHL Draft, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (RNH).  Most notably the talk is about whether he can make the Edmonton Oilers this year, or does he head back to Red Deer.  There is no need for this talk to continue, he simply has to stay.

Bold statement? Just plain stupid?  Let me explain.  The fact is there is nothing to gain by sending him back to the WHL, and everything to lose.  Sending RNH back to his WHL team in Red Deer he can only meet expectations, or fail to meet them.  Expectations are so high for him that there is no way to exceed them, and anything but a spectacular season would be deemed a failure.  How would he handle something failure and the pressure that comes with it?  We all know the pressure cooker of a market that Edmonton is, and how fickle the fans can be.  Imagine he goes to Red Deer and other players outshine him, he is not the top scorer, and Red Deer doesn't do well?  The local talk shows would be a constant stream of callers declaring the pick a mistake, RNH a failure and calling for a trade, the firing of Tamblowe, and Stu "The Magnificent Bastard" McGregor's record would be forever tarnished.  And even if his play isn't poor and his season not considered a failure based on performance, when was the last time the first overall pick didn't make the team?  How would he take it being the first to have that happen in so long?  A failure of a season in the eyes of fans and the media is the most likely outcome if he is sent back, and could ruin him as a player in the long term.

On the other hand if he stays the expectations are minimal.  He is young, he hasn't matured enough yet, and is not expected to light it up.  Look at Tyler Seguin, he didn't play impact minutes, or even every game.  But I would suggest almost no one called his season a failure, and even had Boston not won the cup he would have been confident coming in to next season with very little fan or media pressure to drastically improve over the year before.  In the same way RNH can come into Edmonton, especially with the center depth they added today, and can play soft minutes, sit games, and play with little to no pressure.  There is no down side to him staying this year and playing; ready or not he is here to stay.

I know many will still talk about this as if there is a question of whether he should stay, but I believe the decision is obvious, so lets move on to more important topics, like what is going to happen with Hemsky...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

This is the end

Well, a little late to the game, but I was so upset by the Conference finals that I tried to avoid NHL hockey all together until next season, or at least free agency and the draft.  But, it has been impossible to ignore this final, full of controversy, big saves, big goals and big gaffes.

Quick run down:


  • Burrows should have been suspended.  Ya, finger was in the mouth, but a bite is a bite, one game was necessary.
  • Lapierre, and then Lucic and Recchi's finger waves are just plain funny.  Fun to watch, raises intensity, I don't get why everyone is so upset.
  • Rome on Horton, late.  Borderline hit if the puck was still on his stick, maybe a minor for something, but if the puck was on his stick he would have seen him and avoided it.  4 games is more than I expected from the league, but I am happy that they gave that much.  I was hoping for the series + the first 10 of next season.


Bruins in 7 - please don't let the Canucks win

Friday, May 13, 2011

Old men and Sluts, bring on Round 3

Following a fantastic round 1, the second round of the NHL playoffs were almost a bust.  With three of the four series at 3-0 and the other at 3-1 we may as well have just skipped it all together.  But alas those wily wings and pesky predators managed to bring us some excitement, and give the other teams some much needed time off, those old men need more time for that.

The east is now a battle of the old men, Thomas vs Roloson.  At 37 and 41 these two war horses have led, and sometimes dragged, their teams through to the eastern conference final.  I didn't pick either team to make it, but now that they are hear I'll go with lightning in 6.  Not a lot of rational for the pick other than I like the team, Roli was an Oiler, as was Brewer and Bergeron (who'd better keep his distance from Roli if the lightning are going to do it).  Stamkos is a budding star and St. Louis and Lecavalier and great veterans that are easy to cheer for.







The sluts out west are likely going to give each other as much as the other is willing to take.  This is a battle of chokers and both teams will give it away quicker than a puck bunny at the bar after a Jr B championship.  I am staunchly against the canucks as it would be unbearable to listen to their fans gloat about a Stanley Cup for the next 30 years...remember that time, when we won the cup...good lord kill me now!  Big Joe getting a chance at a cup seems like a good story, and Niemi has never lost a playoff series, so why start now.  Sharks in 5, just because.


So far my predictions have turned out like a guy playing pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey after 20 J├Ągerbombs.  In round one was a respectable 5 for 8, but in round two I went a pathetic 1 for 4, making me 6 for 12 overall.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Appreciation

I talked to my Dad this weekend, went for lunch with my step Dad and my Aunt and I spoke recently with my Uncle, my great Aunt and even my Father in law.  Two sister in laws a brother in law and my younger brother have been over recently.  But tomorrow it will be over a year since I've spoken to my Mother in law.

Last year at Easter the in laws were over.  Holly wasn't feeling well.  She had a sore back, and it had been like that for a while.  In fact it was so bad she and Neil spent most of one night at the hospital.  Despite that it was still a great visit.  The boys love their Nana, Ethan especially with whom Holly had a special bond.  We reminisced, talked about future plans, and marveled at how things change, and yet stay the same.  Terie and I woke Holly up with an impromptu boxing match in the room above where she was sleeping, and even got it on video; definitely a holiday classic!

What nobody new that weekend was that Holly only had weeks to live.  Holly had cancer, but no one knew it.  Her back problems were due to a large tumor and she also had cancer in the lungs.  The following weeks were a terrible time, with frantic visits, hope and sadness, smiles and tears.  In the end there were many more tears, and the months to follow were especially hard.



I was reminded this week that time doesn't stop, doesn't even slow down for you in times like this.  Suddenly it has been a year.  Family will come together tomorrow, and we will find comfort in the company, and the great memories we have been left with.






We will also be reminded to appreciate the time we have with those we love.


 We all miss you Holly <3 <3

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Are you kidding me ref?!?!

My son recently started reffing.  I wanted him to so that he could see how hard it is, and gain a better appreciation for what they do so that he wouldn't complain about them when he plays.


Well after "the call" last night on Weber that ended up costing Nashville the hockey game, and the allowed goal by Malone that put TBay up 3-0 I just have to vent a little.  Come on Reff!  What game are you watching!  You let everything go, and then you call THAT!!

Alright, back to your day.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Round 2 - Ding! Ding!

Ok, that was totally WICKED!!  Round 1 of the NHL playoffs was the best in memory, granted, I have a short memory.

I was very excited for Round 1 (Read More) and it more than lived up to the bill.  I am still excited about Round 2, but not to the same extent.  The potential for big upsets has passed and the frequency of games is going to be less, and well it just isn't as exciting given those things and the fact that the Oilers are well established in the off season activities.  But one thing that can make it more exciting is predictions!




My record from Round 1 (just looking at winners) was 2 for 4 in the west, and 3 for 4 in the east for a total of 5 for 8, with a couple of those bang on with the number of games as well.  Really the only one I was way out on was Detroit, and well I admit it was a gamble that didn't pay off.

So Round 2:

West:

Vancouver (1) vs Nashville (5) - Nashville in 5, I'm going with my heart and not my head here, usually a bad idea.
San Jose (2) vs Detroit (3) - San Jose in 7, I went into this year picking SJ to go to the end, I'll stick with them.

East:

Washington (1) vs Tampa Bay (5) - Caps in 4, these guys are the real deal and Roli is too old.
Philadelphia (2) vs Boston (3) - Flyers in 7, this one is a toss up for me, Phillie seems like the deeper team

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Do you trust me

I've loved the Google Chrome browser ever since it arrived on scene.  It is fast, sleek, and just feels right.  In all places I browse I install it if it isn't there, and hate the few sites that seem to still require IE.  Then came extensions and my life was made whole!  IETab and now I don't have to switch to IE!  Extensions for twitter, facebook, email, url shortening, taking screen shots of the page I'm on, and most recently a new toy called Evernote.




Now for whatever reason, when I installed Evernote's web clipper extension I noticed the security information:

This extension can access:
    • Your data on all websites
    • Your browsing history

Well, that seems like a lot of access, so I decided to learn more (from http://www.google.com/support/chrome/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=186213):

Apps and extensions you install may have access to your data. You might also see a warning dialog when an already installed extension or app is updated, if the item requests new or different permissions. A warning doesn’t mean that the extensiondoes do something dangerous, just that it could.
Don’t install an app or extension unless you trust its creator. Check the item’s ratings and reviews to determine if it’s trustworthy.
Here are the permissions that apps and extensions may request. Click the links to see more details.

This item contains an NPAPI plug-in.
Caution: NPAPI plug-ins can do almost anything, in or outside of your browser. For example, they could use your webcam, or they could read your personal files.
Your list of installed apps, extensions, and themes
This item can read the list of themes, extensions, and apps that you have installed. It can't install items, but it might enable, disable, uninstall, or launch items that you've installed.
Your bookmarks
This item can read, change, add to, and organize your bookmarks.
Your browsing history
This item could look at your browsing history. This warning is often a by-product of an item needing to open new tabs or windows.
Your data on all websites
This item can read every page that you visit -- your bank, your web email, your Facebook page, and so on. Often, this kind of item needs to see all pages so that it can perform a limited task such as looking for RSS feeds that you might want to subscribe to.
Caution: Besides seeing all your pages, this item could use your credentials (cookies) to request your data from websites.
Your data on {list of websites}
This item can read the pages that you visit on the specified websites.
Your physical location
This item uses location information that your computer provides about where you currently are.

Well now, what!  Now I'd better look at some of my other extensions!! Lo and behold a couple extensions had the top level of access, I nearly passed out.  Plugins have access to my ENTIRE computer.

This all made me wonder for the first time in my life about FireFox.  What permissions do their add-ons have?  It must be similar right?  If it similar then they aren't telling.  I cannot find anything describing what access you grant to a FireFox add-on when you install it.

The key text in Googles description above is "Don’t install an app or extension unless you trust its creator.".  Well how can I trust some person or company I've never met?  And even if I trust them, for some strange reason, how can I trust all the people that work for them, their data hosting company, their security and on and on.

Here is the strange part; I trust Google more than ever because of all this.  Google is forcing application and extension developers to be clear about what access their code needs to function, and the transparency this provides makes me more comfortable when dealing with Google as a whole.

But now I need help with a couple of questions:

1) What permissions to extensions/add-ons in other browsers have to the data on my computer?
2) How do you know if you can trust the developer of this code?



Monday, April 11, 2011

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

The NHL playoffs are upon us, and even though our beloved Oilers are planning their draft picks, their minor league championship, some world championship contributions and tee times, I am still extremely excited.

The next couple of weeks are the hockey equivalent of the March Madness that college basketball brings us.  Nightly there are at least two meaningful, high intensity hockey games with loud home crowds, sell outs, and players leaving it all on the ice.  This is what it is all about.  The fact that our team isn't there takes a little of the excitement out of it, but not much.

So, because I love hockey and want to have it in writing in case I am right, here are my round one predictions.


West:

Vancouver (1) vs Chicago (8) - Hawks in 6, how could it be any other way :)
San Jose (2) vs Los Angeles (7) - Sharks in 4, LA doesn't have it, at most their D and G steal 1.
Detroit (3) vs Phoenix (6) - Phoenix in 7, I keep calling it so I have to be right eventually.  Goaltending steals it.
Anaheim (4) vs Nashville (5) - Nashville in 5, Anaheim battled hard to get there, but without their top two tenders they fall quickly.

East:

Washington (1) vs New York Rangers (8) - Washington in 5, Rangers barely made it, Washington has been building up to this.
Philadelphia (2) vs Buffalo (7) - Buffalo in 7, this one is a toss up, Flyers struggled to the line and Miller will be the difference.
Boston (3) vs Montreal (6) - Bruins in 6, too tough for the Canadians, but Price holds them in longer than they deserve.
Pittsburgh (4) vs Tampa Bay (5), Lightning strikes in 7, Pitt puts up a good fight, but even if Crosby comes back this Tampa team is for real.

Round two start with Sharks/Hawks, Coyotes/Preds in the west and Caps/Sabres, Bruins/Lightning in the east.

I love this time of year!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What election

I am an educated 30 something father who works in the public sector.  I pay attention to what is going on in the world, have opinions on what is good and what is bad and am proud to be Canadian.  And I couldn't care less about the federal election.

I can't put my finger on why exactly I feel so apathetic about this election, but no matter how hard I try to care about the issues, feel strongly for a candidate and put the date in the calendar when I MUST go to the polls, the passion just isn't there.  I would be very interested to see how many promises made in elections over time are kept.  The feeling that the candidates and parties can say what ever they want to get in and then change their plan makes the whole thing feel very pointless and my vote very meaningless.

Over the coming days I am going to make an effort to care, but I am not making any promises.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Edmonton likes New so it will never be Old

Have you ever been to an old city?  One with rich history, great landmarks and stories on every corner?  How does that happen?  A city needs to be around for 1000's of years, survive war, be part of dynasties, and be ruled be great people.  Right? Do you know what else it has to do?  It has to keep the buildings it builds, build around them, maintain them, be proud of them.

This is something Edmonton is not good at.  We like new.  We have the money, and not much to do in this winter wasteland, so when a building gets a little old we decide to knock it down and do it again.  If we really like the building we might move it to Fort Edmonton first (didn't bother with city hall though)!  I for one don't like this approach, and when I think about the current new arena debate I wonder if it is another situation where we are overlooking what we have because we want something new.

New is nice!  We all like new, shiny, fancy things.  Sure they cost money, but it is worth it because well new things are NEW.  We want to be world class right?  We can't be world class like our fancy brother Calgary if we don't do it up.  I saw one study or report or something near the beginning of this debate talking about a Rexall place renovation, but it was quickly dismissed.  Why pay a third of the price to fix what we have when we can spend triple and have something NEW.  This attitude seems wasteful and maybe we need to take a closer look at why everyone is telling us the Oilers cannot survive at Rexall Place.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

2011 NHL Trade Deadline = Bust

Not much worth talking about happened on deadline day 2011 in the NHL.  Minor league swaps, role player additions, and boyes to Buf.

In oilerville the talk is about Dustin Penner, whose trade is regarded as the biggest move of the day.  My initial reaction was that this trade makes some sense.  A young player who was a top 15 pick, another first round pick this year and third round (maybe second) next year.  What followed was extensive debate and many arguments both for and against this trade.  After listening to many points of view and reviewing Teubert's history I'm leaning toward this trade being a bust.

I previously posted that we shouldn't trade Penner.  He scores.  He is big.  We don't have that anywhere else in the lineup.  Trading him and not getting something that fills the void back pushes our rebuild back even further, and could make the going a lot tougher for our young players in the next year or two as they will face the top checkers and defense the opposition has.  We didn't fill the void.  A late first round pick won't fill the void.  A third round pick next year won't fill the void.  And Teubert definitely won't fill the void.

Sure, we may package that pick for something better, but we will have to give up something else we already have.  There was no need to make this trade and if this was the best offer out there we should have passed.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Music that inspires

A 10 year old in Winnipeg, MB has a youtube channel, and it is about to change her life.  Maria Aragon has been uploading videos of her music for over 2 years and on Wednesday she caught the ear of the artist she covered, Lady Gaga.  At about 4000 views Lady Gaga tweeted that video's like Maria's cover of her latest hit "Born This Way" are the reason she makes music and touted Maria as the future of music.  Two days later her video has rocketed to over 2 million views, appeared on local radio, and there is no end in site.

Take the time to check out this cover and some of the many other inspiring videos at her channel http://www.youtube.com/user/rojuanearagon.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Don't trade proven NHL producers

There is a lot of talk about trading Ales Hemsky and Dustin Penner at the upcoming trade deadline.  We could get high draft picks.  We could get good young prospects.  We could get screwed.  As much as we hype prospects, many don't live up to expectations.  Trading proven NHL performers for potential that may not be realized is not a recipe for success.

There are arguments to trade these guys that sound good at first.  
  • We are in a rebuild and they are in their late 20's.  
  • Penner doesn't try his hardest.  
  • Hemmer is a Prima Donna and not a team player.  
  • Hemmer is hurt all the time.  
But I don't believe any of these are necessarily true or valid reasons to trade Penner or Hemsky.  

We should keep Hemsky.  
Hemmer was hurt most of last year, but since 05/06 he has played 81, 64, 74 and 71 games and scored close to a point a game.  He may come across as whiny and self absorbed, but if you see his interaction with Hall this year, the smile on his face and encouragement he gives, I would guess that we are seeing a fierce competitor who gives his all to win.  Sometimes this is misinterpreted, but the will to win is not something that you can teach and we should not disregard it.

We should keep Penner.  
Penner scores.  Penner is big.  Penner is great on the powerplay.  We have no one else with all of these traits and will not get someone back who does.  In fact, because of the lack of size in the rest of the lineup he is even more valuable because of his size than he would be otherwise.  Penner's perceived lack of effort I call big man syndrome.  Because his legs aren't pumping a mile a minute and his face isn't angry looking it appears like he isn't trying and doesn't care.  I do not believe that to be true at all.  

Both of these guys could be in their 30's when the young ones come into their own.  Good!  You cannot win without veteran leadership.  I'll use Sharp as an example of a guy who was on a team when it was at the bottom, and then was the veteran leader when they finally achieved their goals.  If we trade these guys for prospects then we might as well add 2 to 3 more years to the rebuild.

There is only one good reason to trade either of these proven veteran producers, and that is if they are not going to sign here after next year.  This summer we should be working hard to sign them to extensions in the 2 to 5 year range.  But if either indicates now that they have no intention of signing and will test free agency then, and only then, should we seriously look at moving them before the deadline this year.

I believe that if we are to trade this year, we need to make decisions on our small players.  There are too many players 5'10" and under and eventually we need to decide which ones we are going to put our money on.  But really there is no need to do that this year either.  Wait until the off season and see how things unfold.  There will be contracts to work out which may help some decisions.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A new beginning

Going to ease back into this.  Look for opinions on hockey, tech tips, political comments and whatever else I'm in the mood for!