Friday, December 31, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
drop a post here on yee ol' blog, and talk about a few things before the year is up.
To start, I am unsure what is going on for new year's this year. Here it is, December 29th, and I still have made no real sound plans for it yet. I sincerely doubt I will do anything at all. A couple of friends are doing small intimate things, more so because they are in the same boat I am. There is one party with some great friends, but I just am not into the house party scene anymore. I always go and sit in front of the chip bowl and talk idly with whomever is sitting in front of me. I wouldn't mind doing downtown to the waterfront for the fireworks, but truthfully, the logistics of getting there, getting back, and all things in between make it more worth my while to stay home! Honestly, with the weather we've been having lately, we'd only see coloured fog anyway. :S So, it looks like a night with a glass of wine and my lovely wife. Not a bad thing at all.
Now What Day 2010 had to have been our most successful event of such type ever. With nearly 2 months of planning behind us, 7 grown men tipped a glass of their favorite alcoholic beverage to one another at 10am in the morning and thus began a day of revelling in our excesses. It was like we were all 21 again, at least for a day. It was glorious, not just in the sense that we all threw ourselves over to our geeky natures, but because it was also an opportunity for some of us to actually experience something new. In gaming, I myself have never been one to enjoy first person shooters. (I believe I've mentioned this here before). So, when the first voicings of "let's play Halo: Reach" came up, I was less than enthused, to say the least. I was looking forward to the annual run at level 50 in the horde for Gears of War 2, I was looking forward to some NHL 11 (Dave, if you are reading this, those were some KILLER games!!), I was looking forward to some Rock Band 2 or 3 (which, strangely enough, never truly materialized). But Halo? The most generic of generic shooters? Seriously? Anyway, I said to myself that this wasn't about me today, it was about us all. So I bit the bullet and gave it a go, and surprisingly enough, I had more fun playing this game than I have in play ANY game in recent memory. Even more surprisingly, I DIDN'T SUCK AT IT. :D I held my own and managed to get a few kills before it was all said and done. This is a memory that I will stick with me for some time. Lesson learned people lesson LEARNED! Anyway, through all the joy and bliss that was Now What Day, I was starting to feel my age. My 34 year old body just didn't feel the same way after hour 12 as it did after hour 2. With the debauchery that was Dominos, Don Cherry's Ultimate Wings, Bacon Cheese Burgers, KFC Variety bucket, and all the little snack stuffings in between, marinated all together with booze and coke, I just didn't feel very good in the end and the next day was really bad. I am thinking that if there is a next year, I'll be cutting back considerably.
My joy in the rebuilding of Table Hockey Boards is still in full swing. I'm just waiting on some parts I've ordered away for and I'll have 2 complete boards built. I have the original Coleco vintage board from the 70's, and a current model Stiga Stanley Cup Championship board. The Coleco board is the one that I've been sticking up all the printable players for in recent weeks, and the Stiga board has 3d players and a new, no dead zone board. We've done a little "rebuild" on the Stiga board here at work before Christmas, with a new playing surface and all new board and exterior decals. There was one broken rod, for which I am just waiting on via shipping from the official dealer of Stiga, http://hockeytablegames.com. Mark Schwartz down in Ohio has been selling these tables for over 10 years now, and has a great working knowledge on them. Sadly, I think he's a Leaf's fan. I guess nobody is perfect. :D
Well look at me, I TOTALLY forgot to talk about CHRISTMAS! Biggest thing to happen in the past month and I simply forget to talk about it up until now. SHOCKING. :P Anyway, this year for Christmas, my wife and I decided to go all out on each other and spend more than we normally would. This added up to a fantastic Christmas. I picked up lots of coffee for her Keurig K-Cup Coffee Makers, got her a Cakeboss Cookbook, some shirts, some chocolate, some DVD's, and a brand new I-Pod Touch. (Touch being a key word, since I don't think it's left her hands since she opened it!). Now you'd think that this would be a good haul for any tech loving, caffeine induced geek, but it wasn't. She TOTALLY trumped me and gave me a way better Christmas. Now you see, there are 3 things in life for Chris Dixon that everybody knows. I near legendary
obsession with the New York Islanders, my near fatal addiction to Coca Cola, and my painfully time consuming indulgence in all things Xbox 360. I also enjoy restoration projects and photography, but we'll stick with the first 3 for now. So, we stuck all of our gifts under the tree a day or so before, a kind of tease to each other to help build anticipation for Christmas Day. I looked at some of the wrapped presents and thought "oh! I think she's bought me a Kinect", and "oh! I think she has me a couple of scented candles! I do recall saying I enjoyed those". "Those look like they may be some strategy guides". "That big box, I'm not sure what that may be, likely some shirts for work, I need those". All of these things would have been wonderful and I would have loved them all. But my wife Steph, being the bundle of awesome that she is, decided to take it a step further. (Kudos on some very concealing, and deceptive wrapping dear.) You see, the box that I thought was a Kinect was actually a fun throwback to our first Christmas in our new home, and was a case of Coke. Oh baby. The scented candles were actually individually wrapped cans of coke. OH BABY. The shirts were actually AN AUTHENTIC NEW YORK ISLANDERS PRACTICE JERSEY! OH OH OH! THE STRATEGY GUIDES WERE ACTUALLY A BRAND FREAKIN' NEW 250 GIG XBOX 360 HOLIDAY BUNDLE!!! WOOOOO!!!! My eyes kept getting bigger and bigger as she passed me parcel after parcel. What a holiday. That wasn't even all of it, as I got some tools for the house (painfully needed), socks, pants, a Spiderman keychain (all boys and men need to have a Spidey on Christmas morning, it's a RULE!) and my favorite holiday movie ever, Elf with Will Ferrell.This was a fantastic Christmas. Thanks to one and all. We also bought each other a 46 inch LCD TV. Strange,that being an afterthought. :P
The Islanders went on a little streak of 4-0-1 over the holidays, with big wins over the Canadiens, the Lightning, and the Devils included in there. It's nice for the team to finally get a couple wins and give their fanbase a little relief. Yesterday, the Isles traded their supposed #1 defencemen, James Wisniewski to the Canadiens for a couple of draft picks. I'm a little puzzled by it, but I'm pretty sure that he would have left as a free agent by season's end anyway. Some of the comments he's made really showed him to be a little unhappy. It's too bad too. At least they got a couple of picks for him, a 2nd rounder at that. The Habs got a great player too. So, in the end, the Isles traded a 3rd rounder for a 2nd rounder and a 5th rounder. Not a terrible play at all.
I start my shoot for Altered Reality this weekend. My wife will model and it's going to be a sight to behold. I've set a deadline for January 6 to have 3 to 5 completed altered shots. It's going to be a lot of fun and it's truly the first real itch I've had to take a photo in quite some time. I love photography, but recently I've really felt burned out from it. It feels like work now. I have such a small palette to work from, given my ability to travel is non-existent and Newfoundland, for all it's beauty, has more shots taken of it than most of the world's seven wonders, making it painfully hard to not shoot something that has already been taken a million times over or having it be painfully predictable. This shoot offers me the chance to be creative and to add a little digital twist.
So that's a wrap for my first year in blogging. It's been fun and I've written and posted far more often than I had ever hoped. The fact that I'm still doing it is remarkable in itself, given the way life has become so busy and I don't need to fill random lunch hours any longer. To all my readers, the 5 or 6 of you who are anyway, thanks for reading and all the best in the new year.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
It's amazing how bad this guy is as a GM. He's near Milbury-ian bad. But because he was a "Sutter", he was invincible.
Take a look:
The Flames have been stuck on mediocre land for the last few seasons and fans deserve something to cheer about. So its time to make a trade to get better and maybe make the playoffs or blow it all up and rebuild.
Either way, is GM Darryl Sutter the right man for the job? Lets take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly of Sutter’s reign to see if he is the guy you want trading away Jarome Iginla or Miikka Kiprusoff.
BAD – One of Sutter’s first trades was to trade away Chris Drury to Buffalo for Rhett Warrener and Steven Reinprecht. Reinprecht had decent offensive upside but could never stay healthy long enough to be a regular scoring threat, while Drury went on to have back-to-back 30 goal seasons and back-to-back career highs in points in Buffalo.
GOOD – Sutter traded a second round draft pick in 2005 to San Jose for Kiprusoff. Kipper went on to become one of the league’s elite goaltenders and took the Flames to the Stanley Cup Finals. This was one of Sutter’s best transactions as a GM.
UGLY – Failed to keep Craig Conroy with the team and Conroy signed with Los Angeles. Conroy scored 22 goals and a career high 66 points in his first season with the Kings. Sutter realized his mistake and traded for Conroy in the 2006-07 season.
GOOD – Sutter traded Oleg Saprykin and Denis Gauthier to Phoenix for Daymond Langkow. Saprykin and Gauthier never really developed into regulars in the NHL and both are no longer playing. Langkow scored back-to-back 30 goal seasons in his second and third seasons with the Flames and had a career high 77 points in the 2006-07 season, before injuries slowed him down. Injuries aside, this was a steal for Sutter.
BAD – Sutter made a great trade to get Kristian Huselius from Florida for Steve Montador and Dustin Johner. Huselius played for the Flames for three seasons and scored career highs in goals (25) and points (77) in the 2006-07 season. Sutter was unable to re-sign Huselius, who signed with Columbus.
GOOD TURNED BAD PART ONE – Traded Jordan Leopold and two draft picks to Colorado for Alex Tanguay. Tanguay had a career year in his first year with the Flames, scoring 81 points, but struggled in his second season with the Flames. Tanguay has never scored over 60 points since his career year in 2006-07. Tanguay was traded to Montreal for a first round draft pick in 2008 and a second round draft pick in 2009. Sutter signed Tanguay this off-season in the hope that Tanguay can resurrect his career.
GOOD TURNED BAD PART TWO – Traded a first round draft pick in 2008 and a second round pick in 2009 to Los Angeles for Mike Cammalleri and a second round draft pick in 2008. Cammalleri scored a career-high 39 goals and 82 points in his single season with the Flames. Sutter failed to re-sign Cammalleri, who signed with Montreal.
GREAT – Traded a conditional second round draft pick in 2009 to Chicago for Rene Bourque; one of the greatest trades Sutter has made. Bourque has been a consistent scorer for the Flames, with back-to-back 20 goal seasons, but injuries have slowed his career. Bourque is on pace for a career year and has been the Flames’ best player this season. Sutter was able to re-sign Bourque to a six-year contract extension, which is a fantastic signing.
BAD – Traded Matthew Lombardi, Brandon Prust and a first round draft pick to Phoenix for Olli Jokinen and a third round draft pick. Lombardi was a consistent 30-40 point second line player for the Flames who went on to have a career season last year with Phoenix scoring 53 points. Jokinen finished strong with Calgary scoring 15 points in 19 games but didn’t last the new season with Calgary only scoring 35 points in 56 games.
How bad is Jokinen? Sutter basically gave him away to the Rangers whe he traded Jokinen and Prust to New York for Chris Higgins and Ales Kotalik. The Jokinen experiment failed the first time, but the additions of Kotalik or Higgins were never really an upgrade. Kotalik lasted just 26 games with Calgary, scoring five points, while Higgins only last 12 games, scoring just three points. So what does Sutter do this off-season: He signs Jokinen to a TWO year contract. Sutter has a pattern of trading away or letting a player go only to bring that player back.
BAD – Sutter decided not to sign fan favorite Theo Fleury to a comeback contract. Fleury scored one goal and three assists in the 2009-10 preseason and would have put fans in the seat. Instead, he decided to go with the players he signed that off-season; all of which were gone after one season.
UGLY – Traded Anton Stralman to Columbus for a third round draft pick in 2010. Stralman never played a game for Calgary, but he went on to score 34 points last season for Columbus. Stralman had a ton of potential to be a gritty offensive defenceman that Sutter basically gave away for a draft pick.
BAD - Traded Dion Phaneuf, Fredrik Sjostrom and Keith Aulie to Calgary for Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Jamal Mayers and Ian White. Phaneuf’s first four seasons with Calgary, he scored 47 or more points in each of those seasons and had a career high of 60 points in his third year. Phaneuf struggled to start the 2009-10 season and was quickly shipped off for a bunch of second and third line players. The best player Sutter acquired from Toronto was White, who was quickly shipped off to Carolina after a slow start this season.
UGLY – Sutter’s free agent record is not good as he has failed to sign a superstar or elite free agent and of the 30-plus free agents he signed, only three played more than three seasons with the Flames. Only three free agents Sutter signed are still with the team (Bourque, Mark Giordano and Cory Sarich). The highest scoring free agent signed by Sutter was Todd Bertuzzi who scored 44 points and Tony Amonte who scored 42 points. Twenty-one of Sutter’s signings lasted a single season or less—that is not a very good record.
So let me ask again is Darryl Sutter the man you want running the Calgary Flames?
Today he stepped down. The Flames likely will become better immediately.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
A classic Canadian Jersey.
Toronto Maple Leafs.
Much like the real life team, a disappointment. I figured these guys would be #1 or #2.
These guys actually tied with the Leafs.
Los Angeles Kings
The surprise team of the bunch. Who even likes the Kings? Gretzky doesn't even play anymore! :P
No surprise here. These guys were head and shoulders about any other team in this countdown.
Keep em coming! The teams are HERE FOR YOU. There is a huge table hockey following on the net, and far too many people are asking for far too much for these decals. Take em. I'm giving them away for free!
My Islanders aren't far off, in 7th place.
Let's take a quick review of what teams I've posted thusfar.
New York Islanders
Toronto Maple Leafs
Vancouver Canucks "V" Jersey
Detroit Red Wings
New York Rangers
That's 16 so far. I think:
St. Louis Blues
Minnesota North Stars
New Jersey Devils
various other Canucks and Blues Jerseys
... are left. Posts will continue!
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
First: The Skinny. Taylor Swift and Def Leppard share the stage for this CMT TV Special. Each plays through some of their greatest hits, sharing the stage with the other. An interesting concept, similar to J-Z and Linkin Park a few years back.
Now, I've never been a big fan of Def Leppard live. They really do a lot of mixing on their vocal for their studio albums, so they sadly sound somewhat inferior live. Backing vocals in particular. But tfor this show, it seemed they brought their A-game. They were entertaining, the vocals, while still inferior to the studio albums, were very good, and Joe Elliot did not look out of place with a girl 30 or so years his junior.
Taylor Swift is somewhat of a mystery to e. She is a country singer. I hate country music. She is a tween idol. I hate tweens. Why do I find her entertaining then? She has a lovely singing voice and her music is **cough** listenable. Mostly, anyway. She and Joe Elliot really blended well on stage.
The song shoices were predictable, but for the short set, these were the songs they had to play. Love story, Photograph, Hysteria, Pour Some Sugar On Me. All the same stuff we've heard a million times before. All great renditions though. Especially Photograph, given it's not my favorite Lepp tune but I found myself air guitaring to. :P The DVD contains 3 deleted songs, I forget the Swift song, but they do Two Steps Behind and Love, two great Leppard tunes. Love in particular was very good, with Swift giving a grammy like performance at the beginning.
Want a great DVD as a gift this year, Ask or give this one. It's worth the 7 or 8bucks it costs, and you'll enjoy almost every bit of it. Especially if you are a fan of either of these acts.
Is there any interest in starting a table hockey league? Apparently, they are all over Canada. It'd be a great opportunity to get together with a coupla guys, have a few beer and a good time, and to do it in an organization might come with benefits too! Tournaments, etc.
Any readers out there interested?
Some leagues around Canada:
Just a reminder, all files are scaled as is. Open in Paint or Photoshop, print at 100%, and you'll get great results.
Coleco Printable Table Top Rod Hockey Players: Part 11: Your Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks!
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Side Note: If at all possible, I will try and stick to the classic looks, and not add modern looking pads or sticks.
If you have a request for a team, current or otherwise, post a comment and I'll get right to it. I should have the 21 teams from the 70's board, plus the Soviets, the Canadians, and the USA within the next month. I can create custom teams. I will do this FOR FREE. I see on Ebay that people are charging as much as 40 bucks for sticker sheets of teams, which is ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS. Here, you get them free. Enjoy. Coming up, it looks like I'll have Montreal and Toronto next.
Monday, December 13, 2010
It's around this time of year the ba hum bugs come out full force.
"I hate the rush"
"I hate people"
"I hate the crowds"
"Christmas is so commercialized"
"I have no money for that this year"
Blah blah fucking blah. Christmas, the holidays, etc. are what you make of it. Personally, I absolutely LOVE this time of year. Yes, you do get crowds and people and mess and whatever, but who cares? Christmas is the time of year where, once the day is actually upon us, is one of the most friendly, happy days ever. It's like this every year too. People forget their issues with others and raise their glasses in toast together. Gifts given and received erase all the hum drum of the previous 30 or so days and all are happy once again.
I've personally been called crazy by many. I love the whole thing. The crowds in the malls and stores, the lights, the spending of money that I generally do not own. Who cares? I want to make Christmas special for one and all, and once a year a little splurge (within reason) on them isn't going to kill me. Then the day comes when they open their gifts, they tip their glasses, they smile and forget about work, about stress, about whatever. That day comes and for a brief moment, all is right in the world for EVERYONE and that makes it all worth it.
We didn't get to celebrate Christmas as much last year because we had just purchased our home and were a little shy on cashflow. This year, we have a little extra money and we're going to use it to contribute to a better season. Be it gifts, food or drink, we are letting go of the purse strings a little and are going to enjoy ourselves. This year is going to be special. In 5 years we may not remember what we got from each other, who we drank with or what we did, but we'll always remember that this was a special year.
So the next time someone whines about Christmas, put the biggest grin you can muster on your face and say: "Stuff it Grinch. Christmas is awesome, get over yourself."
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Tonight my wife and went to a movie for the first time in many, MANY months. As the title suggests, it was the latest of the Narnia series.
All of us, for the most part, as children have a place in our minds and dreams of a world we go to retreat from the troubles of everyday life. There are the bullies, the chores, the fears, the hates, the drag of day to day living. For most of us, it is a fantastical world where we are the kings or queens, and everyone loves us and reveres us. For me, I was a super hero. I was Superman, or someone relatively close to what he is. Invincible, nobody could touch me and I was able to stop all the evil in the world.
When I watched The Voyage of the Dawntreader, I felt the same feelings inside that I felt as a child, hiding away from the latest bully or the latest school day. I sat in that theatre with my bag of popcorn and my bladder buster coke and ate this movie up with a vigor I hadn't felt in a long time. I sat there like I was that 10 year old boy again, seeing the joyous fantastical world that was created by my mind. The long vistas, the adventure of a lifetime, all was pouring out of the screen before me. I didn't want it to end, and when the credits rolled, I was sad and wanted more.
Technically, the movie severely lacks when it compares to Avatar. It's 3D felt tacked on as an after thought. It was more comparable to Clash of the Titans. It did enough to bring me into the film more, so in a sense it did do what I feel 3D should and bring more immersion to a film experience. Visually the movie, outside of the 3D, was astounding. The Dawntreader was a beautiful craft. The animals, Reepicheep the mouse, Azlan the Lion, and Eustace the Dragon, plus the wonderful denizens of Narnia, were a sight to behold. Each whisker, freckle, skale, and horn was rendered beautifully and in comparison to much of what we see in the realm of 3D animation, puts almost all to shame.
Caspian, Edmund, Lucy, Eustace and all human parts were played believably and wonderfully. Eustace in particular stole the show and was quite convincing. At the start of the movie, he literally makes you hate him, and by the end, makes you love him. What an amazing actor this Will Poulter is at such a young age. You don't see a child playing in a movie (such as Skandar Keynes was in the first movie, The Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe), you see a character in the movie growing before your eyes, learning to become the man he needs to be for such an extraordinary situation.
Caspian, played by Ben Barnes, was dashing. Many a young hearts will swoon when they see him on screen. Barnes' portrayal of Caspian was far better than his last outing, and will even inspire thoughts of Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn in the now legendary Lord of the Ring trilogy. Edmund and Lucy, played by Keynes and Georgie Henley, were servicable in their portrayals, serving more as a perspective for the audience to this fantastical world of Narnia, than the children they play.
The religious aspect of the Narnia series is a nuisance for me. Azlan is God of course, but do we need to hear him say this at the end of the film? This in itself really took away from the adventure, fantasy, and joy of the film for me, and I feel it will keep many people in a society that is growing more atheist by the day. The horrors wrought on society as a whole by organized religion are now showing as scars upon us all. But I won't get into this one, as it is a discussion for another time.
All in all, this is a fantastic Christmas epic that should be experienced by all fantasy lovers and fans of the books. I have never read the books and really do not care to. But should this film franchise continue, I will always be ready to relive my childhood fantasies, and buying a ticket.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
It's been a long time since I blogged... no excuses like being busy or what not, I just haven't done it. Maybe burnout in all forms that has killed my love of photography, slackened my game time, and killed my joy in doing anything creative may have something to do with that. I dunno. Anyway, today I'll talk briefly about my love affair with all things Def Leppard. They are a little dated, they aren't the most popular band in the world, but I could care less.
My joy in all things Leppard was born from my older brother Paul. He was your average little trouble maker, and my idol. He was outgoing and popular, much like any other big brother or sister in any sorts of story you see. My earliest memory of the Lepp comes from being in a car, passenger side back seat, and seeing big brother leaning out from his driver side back seated position to press play on the tape player to hear Pour Some Sugar on Me. We were just driving past Gushue's Pond Park going to our friend's cabin in Brigus Junction. Oh the glory days when the Lepp were king and the Dukes of Hazzard were still on TV. (at least in rerun!)
My current collection of Def Leppard music is basically everything they have ever recorded. I have every CD:
- On Though the Night (78ish)
- High n Dry (81ish)
- Pyromania (83ish)
- Hysteria (87)
- Adrenalize (91)
- Retroactive (95 ish?)
- Vault (96ish)
- Slang (96ish)
- Euphoria (98ish)
- Rock of Ages Greatest Hits (?)
- X (?)
- Songs From the Sparkle Lounge (2008ish?)
On top of the albums, I have dozens of CD singles, 4 Vinyl LP's of the first 4 albums, 3 45's, a few tapes, and countless MP3's from Itunes. It's an amazing collection of classic and modern rock.
One of the things that really sticks with me through the years of dual guitar awesomeness is a line that an old girlfriend said to me once. Cindy was her name. She said "no matter what memory I have in life, be it a school dance, be it a boyfriend, be it whatever, there's always a Def Leppard song I can remember it with. This is so very true for me, with memories of Def Leppard at Cadet and Scout camps, high school everything, college AND university days, all can be recalled when I hear that particular Lepp song associated with it.
(In a breaking news comment, it's DEF LEPPARD for the rest of the day! Must wash away the poison of Boney M and Kenny & Dolly...)
Just the other day I was opened up to something new, Grooveshark. It allows me to listen to hundreds of Lepp tunes without having to even look for them really. It's a great utility. Take a look. And now, BACK TO WORK! :D
PS: tonight I predict the next Isles loss, guessing 4-1 against the Bruins.
Friday, December 3, 2010
I don't like the 1 year commitment from Goodlife, and their sales person was REALLY PUSHY, but the freedom of doing whatever you want when you get in the door is fantastic. I have yet to check on New World for programs and plans.
Updates to come.