Eat. Drink. Rock and Roll.

Or... we're going to have ourselves a dirty Easter!

Last year, at Eastertime, I didn't go home to visit my family. With exams approaching it just wasn't worth the trip. I, instead, was invited to the dirty basement Easter of a good friend of mine: Alison Casey (who happens to be awesome, and also girlfriend of my pal Scott!). We ate a turkey log in the basement, and watched rookie of the year. It was pretty sweet.

This year, we're going to out do it.

Friday, I am hoping the bus to Toronto, for a weekend of seafood, rock and roll and boozing out.

There's a monsters of rock coverband on Friday night, and we're going to rock that place hard. We will also rock that liquor hard. Prior to the bar, we'll be having a delicious meal of seafood. CRABS LEGS! Very few people share the intense love of demolishing crabs and eating their succulent meat, but Ali might just out do me. No matter what, it's going to be a kick ass night.

Saturday, we're returning to our favorite pub on Bloor Street: MacKenzie's. This place has a habit of under charging us for beer. One evening we had about a dozen strongbows each (apple cider for the unknowning) and a number of them didn't find their way onto our bills.

Brilliant.

I think a stop at the Yellow Griffon Pub for some delicious burgers, and Dr. G's for some delicious stuffed French Toast will be in order too.

Oh, and the weather is going to be above seasonal. And I mean almost tropical.

So look the fuck out Toronto!

Work Work Work

So, my work term this term is at the Near North District School Board. I have worked there before, last summer, helping with the transition to the new school board site. The site used Sharepoint.

You may have heard me bitch about sharepoint. Lots.

My main task was to transfer files and meeting minutes from the past decade from QuickPlace to SharePoint. This consisted of downloading the files (could do that in batches) then reuploading them to SharePoint.

My main complaint about SharePoint was that it was more time efficient to upload individual files one at a time then to do a batch upload.

As a batch upload you had to:
1.Select and upload all files
2. Edit Properties and click ok FOR EACH FILE INDIVIDUALLY
3. Opt to Check in FOR EACH FILE INDIVIDUALLY
4. Confirm check in FOR EACH FILE INDIVIDUALLY

You ended up going through three screens per file.

Uploading each file individually meant you only had to go through one screen per file.

I bitched about this. LOTS. And people understood. The reason for this issue was because the title field for each file was required. There was no way around it that we could figure out.

Well, half a year later and I'm working on the school boards Library System, and my supervisor, the only programmer on staff, has been dealing with SharePoint.

There's a DEV server and a live server, and in attempting to upload a batch of files to the DEV server yesterday, she noticed something: Everything was uploaded checked in.

She tried to duplicate it on live: Everything was uploaded checked out.

This puzzled us, and we did some digging. For the live server she left everything as the default, including file type. For DEV, she had selected Office 2003-07.

The default apparently makes the Title a required field.

...

I think of the DAYS. THE WEEKS. That were spent by TWO of us, uploading files in the most efficient way we had available... And now, half a year later, we find a way to make it better.

This is good news for the users.

It pisses me off.

Tomorrow is the last day of my work term here. I'm not sure how I feel. It's had ups, and downs. I've learned a fair bit here, and definitely got along well with the staff. I think the only other programmer in the place was glad to have someone who shared her humour.

I have doubts about programming though. But... I guess it's about that time for me, right? Seems every two years I give up, or look for another career.

Since 2000, I've studied Anthropology, History, Web Design and now Computer Programming/Systems Analysis

Since 2000, I've worked as a retail clerk at Canadian Tire, Manual Labour for a Construction Company, Warehouse Night Shift for the Liquor Store, Cellular Phone customer service at a call center, Payday Loan loan shark, Tree removal, Web Designer and consultant, and now... A programmer.

Sometimes I wonder what I've gotten myself into. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and make different choices. Sometimes, I just wish I had a clue.

Most of all, I wish I could really answer: What do I want to do?

Go Leafs Go?

I love the Toronto Maple Leafs. It's pretty much an abusive relationship though. I remember going to play Shinny with my dad when I was young, decked out in a Maple Leafs Jersey. At the time, I really didn't know any of the players, I just knew it was my dad's team, and that was good enough for me.

1993. I was finally old enough to really GET hockey. And what a time to get hockey. Doug Gilmour. Wendel Clark. Felix Potvin. Pat Burns. I was sitting in the car, listening to the radio after visiting my grandfather in a retirement home, as Nikolai Borchevsky scored in overtime in Game 7 to take the Leafs over the powerhouse Detroit Red Wings in a huge upset. Toronto would go on to beat Curtis Joseph and the St. Louis Blues in the next round in an amazing series, and play against Wayne Gretzky and the LA Kings for a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals. This was the series in which every Leaf fan EVER developed an intense hatred for referee Kerry Fraser (Google him, or check out http://www.downgoesbrown.com)

There was heart break. For more then one reason. The Leafs would have gone on to play the Montreal Canadians in the Stanley Cup Finals, which may have led to the end of the world as we know it. But a phantom call gave Gretzky and his team the chance to move on, and they did. And lost.

I kept being a casual fan until my first year at the University of Waterloo, when I would watch every Leafs game, cheering on the likes of Mats Sundin, Darcy Tucker, Brian McCabe, Tomas Kaberle and Curtis Joseph. I literally finished a Latin exam in 20 minutes so I could catch Game 4 of the Toronto-Ottawa series (with the Leafs up 3 games to none, I wasn't going to miss a sweep.)

The Leafs had good teams over those Pat Quinn years, but never made it to a big game. And on the down swing of Pat Quinn's time with the Leafs, there was a lockout, and since then we've not made it to the playoffs. I had to endure with a goalie who was more like a sieve, who's last name bore a striking resemblance to my own.

This year, things changed. Incredibly. The Leafs are bottom dwellers, but over this season the Leafs have become one of the youngest teams in the league. People will debate the sense in trading two first round draft picks and a second for Phil Kessel (especially now that we are essentially eligible for a first overall pick) but at the time I can see why the deal was made. No-one was anticipating such a low finish. I was willing to accept Kessel would likely be better then whomever we could draft.

We hadn't played well this season, leading into the olympic roster freeze. Then a miracle happened. In one short day, six members of an underachieving team were sent off, and new players brought in. One of these players was Dion Phaneuf, who in his first year with the Calgary Flames was outstanding.

Suddenly, the Leafs were different, they were quicker. Young players were given the shot, and they rose to the occassion. Phaneuf brought leadership and accountability to the team. We became tougher, faster, more FUN.

The playoffs this season are not possible, nor were they at about the halfway point, but we have hope. We have a young team with two cornerstones in Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf. We have an incredible number of young players who are playing well. Tyler Bozak seems to be finding his role centering Kessel. Kulemin is playing outstandingly. Sjostrom has become one of my favorite players simply due to his defensive ability and Penalty Killing specialty. The goaltending tandem of JS Giguere and Jonas Gustavsson has been fairly solid (Giguere picked up back to back shutouts in his first two games as a Leaf!).

The old has been moved out, and the new are looking to have potential. They're playing well, having won 5 of the last 6. I have hope for next season. I have been wrong about this before, but I don't think I have been as entertained by a Leafs teams in a long time. I can see similarities to the Chicago Blackhawks, with a young nucleus, learning to play together. This is a Leafs team I can really get behind. This is a Leafs team I can get my hope up for. I know it's not an instant Stanley Cup, but I see the pieces in play, and I see this team getting better and better as they play together.

I see a future.

Go Leafs Go.

Awe-Inspiring and Minty Fresh

Hey, this still exists!

In honour of St. Patrick's Day (and the Minty Fresh Shamrock Shakes... you should get one today) I have decided to update everyone as to what their favorite anthropologist/historian/web designer/systems analyst/loan shark/retail expert/sharepoint slave/lumberjack/alcoholic is doing.

I am typing in livejournal. Type type type type.

I'm also getting old, apparently. The realization that a friend of mine whom I have known for over a decade now (frightening) is 6 weeks away from fatherhood. Another couple already has a child of 13 months. I remain practically alone among the non-married/non-engage folks.

It's like, when you were a kid, and someone asked you what you wanted to be and you were like "iunno".

I'm saying "iunno" right now. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a Ghostbuster. Guess that didn't pan out. I wanted to be an astronaut too, until I watched the Columbia Shuttle Launch in my kitchen. Palaeontology was an interest for a long while, as was Archaeology. And History. Now? I'm sorta bouncing, wanting to attach myself to something I can LOVE doing. And that can pay the bills. The overlap in that venn diagram is less then the "Times Carson is Truly Happy" and "Times Carson is Wearing Pants" Venn Diagram. I guess I'll just go with the flow though.

I'm also going to point out that yesterday was the 10th Anniversary of "Doggy". If you know It Hurts To Be That Stupid, then you know Doggy.

...And most anyone who still has me as a friend on this thing probably does.

Happy St. Patrick's Day from the Awe-Inspiring Minty Fresh One!

Holy Fucksquatch!

Just checking to see who's paying attention.

and why the hell are you paying attention? This hasn't been updated in 2 years and this certainly isn't a meaningful post.

It's that time of Year Again!

I posted last year just before the beginning of the season, and damnit, I'm doing it again (and also to prove I've not fallen off the face of the earth yet).

This Wednesday marks the new hockey season start, and the second year under the new salary cap and rules. During the last season we saw some surprising successes, from teams like Buffalo. My Leafs did not do as well as I would have liked, missing the playoffs for the first time in seven years, and that failure marked the end of Pat Quinn's time in Toronto. There's many reasons why the Leafs missed the playoffs last year. Lackluster goaltending, a lack of depth in defense past McCabe and Kaberle, lack of speed and youth, and Sundin being out a good portion of the early part of the season all made for a difficult season for the Leafs. A Late Season rush by Toronto, carried by J.S. Aubin and Mats "Put the freaking team on my back and carry them" Sundin made for some interesting games as the Leafs struggled for the last playoff spot, but ended up just missing the postseason.

So, what's changed?

Ed Belfour, and his massive contract, GONE. In his place comes Andrew Raycroft. Raycroft had a dismal season last year in Boston. This could be because he had an injury for the first part of the season, and eventually was replaced by two other goalies who were able to pick up their games. Raycroft, as well as having close to the best lastname ever, won the Calder Trophy his rookie year in the league, just before the lockout, and was an MVP in the OHL prior to that. Which Raycroft did Toronto get? MVP-Calder Quality Raycroft? Or Injured beginning of the season Raycroft? We, of course, are hoping for the former, because picking up a young top goalie like Raycroft would make giving up perhaps the best "prospect" goalie worth while. If Raycroft is able to repeat his Calder season, we have a nice goalie backbone till Pogge is ready to take over. If Raycroft isn't able to meet his old form... will he be better then Belfour was last year?

Hopefully the answer is yes, and hopefully he'll be aided by the new defense corps the Leafs picked up. Back are Thomas Kaberle and Bryan McCabe, with new contracts, and this is a good thing. McCabe and Kaberle work well together on defense, they make a great tandem and can cover up each others weaknesses. McCabe was a scoring dynamo for the first part of last season, so there will be pressure on him to repeat this year. If Kaberle starts to shoot the puck (and he was showing signs of doing so near the end of last season) they'll be putting up some rather nice numbers. Joining these two are Pavel Kubina and Hal Gill. Kubina is probably the better signing of the two, and once he settles into Toronto will hopefully be back to the form he was with the Lightning on their Cup run. Gill, picked up from Boston, will be a stay at home guy infront of Raycroft (also from Boston) and is known as a crease clearer. He's not Chara big, but he can use his body, and that sort of defenseman was something the Leafs were missing last year. Two spots remain open, and there's a large crop of talented young defensemen trying to take'em. Carlo Colaiacovo seems to be one of the favorites to make it, but after a nasty concussion last year, and a possible reoccurance of symptoms early in camp, who can tell. One of the not-so-young defensemen trying to fill a spot is Brad Brown (a former North Bay Cent) and shows a lot of grit when playing. He's a bit older, but was willing to step up to McGratton of the Sens and drop the gloves with success. With Domi gone, Brown could fill the role of competent defenseman AND enforcer if need be.

Beyond the defense, the Leafs have gotten faster, but not by who they added but by who they dropped. Gone are Lindros and Allison, and with them gone room is made for some of the youngsters to step up. One such "kid" is Suglobov, acquired late last season from the Devils for Ken Klee. An offensive minded hotshot, who has been impressing during the training camp, Suglobov could be a great addition to the team, and played well on a line with Stajan and Steen. If he can learn to be a little more defensive and get more of the team mentality down, he'd do well with the Leafs.

Speaking of a little more defensively, who better to teach a young guy to be a bit more defensive on forward then Mike Peca? Peca was brought in to help with the Leafs penalty kill, which was mostly horrible the last year. Along with that, Peca will be more then able to add a little grit to the team, and maybe even pot himself a few grinding goals. Peca's leadership and defensive abilities will do well on the team, and alot of the younger players could learn a thing or two from him.

One of the big question marks for the team is Jeff O'Neill, who had a rather dissappointing season last year. Depending on who you ask (three articles in three different papers have O'Neill listed as either "OK" "On the bubble" or "On the outside looking in"). I personally think you'll see O'Neill on the team, and while he might not get to the 41 goal mark he had when he was with Carolina, I do think we'll be surprised by him.

Speaking of Carolina, the reason I think we'll be surprised by O'Neill is actually two reasons. First of all, he had some great chemistry with Bates Battaglia, who he played with in Carolina, during the preseasons. Second, and perhaps most importantly, is the new coach of the team, Paul Maurice, also, formerly of Carolina. Maurice lead the Hurricanes to the finals a few years back, and his regime for the 'Canes is probably a very big reason of why they are last years Stanley Cup Champions. Maurice was brought in to coach the Marlies last season and was groomed to replace Pat Quinn. All accounts show Maurice is willing to push his team to be the best they can be. A rash of strains, pulls and soreness this training camp might show how hard he's pushing the team. A new face behind the bench maybe the key to the Leafs season.

One big plus for the Leafs last year was "the kids" - Alex Steen, Kyle Wellwood, Matt Stajan and Alex Ponikarovsky all played exceptionally, and this year will be rewarded with more responsibilities and more ice time. Maurice has even put Kyle Wellwood on the wing of Mats Sundin, and the kids creativity seems to be working well for Mats.

Speaking of Mats... by far, the Leafs best player. After the Olympic break last year, when Mats and Team Sweden won the Gold in Hockey, Sundin became a force. injured in the first part of last season, after a puck to the face in the opener against the Senators, Mats after the Olympics seemed to have the ability to pick up the team and carry it on his back. A year older, and still without the much sought after "winger" Leafs Fans are clamouring for, Sundin does have the ability to elevate the game of most anyone who plays on his wing. Last year he stated he liked having the creative Wellwood on his line, and Maurice seemed to like the chemistry, so there could be good things coming for Sundin. Sundin will also be getting top minutes like never before, and hopefully that will make Mats elevate his game to new heights. The Leafs need it from him.

Last year, Darcy Tucker elevated his game to become one of the top scorers for the Leafs. A favorite amongst most Leaf Fans, it seems Tucker matured a bit, and finally filled the role the Leafs needed him for. If Tucker can keep the maturity he start to show last year, and become a gritty, grinding offensive power, the Leafs will do well. That, and if he can not fall back into his pre-lockout whining ways.

The leading even strength goal leader among the Leafs last year was Chad Kilger. Kilger stepped up his game last year, but will he be able to continue with that trend this year? Kilger could be a huge question mark for the Leafs, but in his role as a third or fourth line guy, it's likely Kilger could be a rather effective force for the Leafs, even without leading the team in even strength goals this year.

The big story during the preseason this year for the Leafs really seems to be the backup goalie battle. Who will be backing up Raycroft? Aubin or Tellqvist? Aubin has been slightly better during the preseason, showing better form and better rebound control. Aubin also has the advantage of being the corner stone of the push to try and make the playoffs, following Tellqvist's meltdown in the back-to-back games against Montreal. Aubin also seems to be more confident in net and has the least flexible contract, so all signs are pointing to him as being the back up. Maurice, however, coached Aubin in the Marlies before he was called up and yanked him out of net on more then a few occassions, so it will be a mystery who will be behind Raycroft for at least a little while longer. There is also the possibility that the Leafs will carry two backup goalies into the beginning of the season. While Aubin has been better, in my opinion at least, during the preseason, there is a possibility Tellqvist could get the backup slot because the Leafs could get more from trading Aubin then Tellqvist. The gap between the two hasn't been too wide, so who knows what could happen.

That's that, really. There's still alot of questions before Wednesday's season opener, and there's alot of question marks. I can't wait to see how things happen this year, it looks like it will, at the very least, be an exciting year for Leaf Fans.

So: Go Leafs Go!

(no subject)

December 10, 2005: Mats Sundin and Eric Lindros are (finally) put on the same line.

Funny how something like that just seems to jumpstart a game... too bad it was done halfway through the third period.

And Good for Kyle Wellwood steeping up his game and earning backa center position.