Runaway Future

30.1.2007

get your game on, go play

Filed under: The Daily Grind — forbes @ 0:32

Just under a week ago, the NHL had their much maligned All Star Game. Early results indicate that ratings were low, very very low. Here are my thoughts on the whole spectacle.

I skipped the Young Stars game and apparently it was appropriately lame. Watching the Skills Competition, it was sadly the same tired and overdone competition.

First, the goalie shooting competition was missing. Although a gimmick, I found it enjoyable when the goalies (in full gear) tried to take a shot on an empty net from their side of centre.

Secondly, they talked to players during some of the competitions, like talking to the goaltenders on the tendencies of the shooters in the shootout and so on. It was pretty good stuff, especially the running commentary that Turco did. But it was far too short, they cut him off after a single shooter, just so that the ‘real’ paid commentators could drivel on. Turco seemed more then willing to sit there and chat it up, why not use that for their advantage? It would be much better to have Turco make claims on what shot he thinks each player will make, rather then random talking about what is happening that usually happens.

Finally, they should modify the shootout to be more like the good ol’ NBA Dunk Competition. The Dunk Competition has become a fan favourite and given the skill level of some of the NHL players and some of their creativity while in on the one on one, a Style Shootout Competition would be awesome. Have players like Crosby try the lacrosse goals, the spinoramas, the backhands. Only one player did much more then a few dekes, the competition could use a lot more of that.

That said, I agree with what has often been said of players wearing helmets in the shootout. Some say that taking the helmets off and making the players faces and heads that much more visible will help promote the players as stars and increase the feeling of attraction and ownership to the players by the fans. The fans start to see the faces, make a deeper connection, care more and so on.

That brings us to the All-Star Game. Rory Fitzpatrick didn’t play, despite the fact that Scott Niedermayer (one of the starters) was unable to play due to injury and Fitzpatrick as the #3 vote-getter would be an ideal candidate. In what has now become known as Rorygate, it has become shamefully obvious that the vote counts were tampered with to attract the utmost attention possible, but not allow Fitzpatrick to be voted into the game. Basically, the NHL wanted both sides of the plan, to take advantage of the beautiful viral marketing scheme that dropped into their lap and to also still honour the wonderful tradition of the All-Star Game. It seems they failed at both. Here’s a link to Slate.com’s article (yeah! even Slate got in on it). There’s plenty of other coverage about this all over the NHL blog network with enough questionable proof that it only comes to one conclusion. Sadly, the NHL still lies, not even meriting the whole thing with a ‘no comment’ or a ‘neither confirm nor deny’. No, Bill Daly claimed that there was no changes made to the voting process throughout the whole campaign. Yeah…sure…just ask those who voted for Rory consistently. My only hope is that the one message, that the real fans, those with passion for the game, were fed up and tired of the shenanigans and tired of the bullshit and the fact that the NHL ignores their existing fans to try to attract new ones. The All Star game is boring, tired and stagnant and that’s just the beginning.

Speaking of the actual game, first off the woman singing the Canadian National Anthem was more then terrible. She left room for her own artistic singing at the end and then after screwing up O Canada, she proceeded to fall flat on her ass. Quite the way to begin the game, of course, it wasn’t the first time this ever happened.

Then was the interview between Ron MacLean and Gary Bettman. Now, I admire Ron MacLean, he’s always been a more than capable foil to Don Cherry’s act. But the guy is starting to lose his edge. He’s not a fan of the new NHL rules, so much so that it’s starting to blind everything else and throw his entire straightman act off kilter. Bettman handled Ron like he would any two-bit reporter.

Bettman has been in his job for 15 years. 15 “Glorious” Years. Maybe it is soon time for him to hit the road? My vote for new Commish? Brian Burke. Sure, sure he’s Anaheim’s GM, but look at his track record. He used to work for the league, he took a job with Vancouver, a then failing franchise and turned it around. Then he goes to Anaheim, a team with a decent foundation but terrible attendance. He brings in some winning ways and low and behold, the success of the team and his style of play has more people going to the Pond. Burke knows hockey, he knows the game and knows the business. As much as I would hate to see him leave his post with the Ducks, I think he’d be great as the head of the NHL.

Perhaps the most shocking part of the discussion was when Ron unveiled his new-look NHL alignment. There has been many debates on the NHL schedule and how it is balanced amongst divisions and conferences, with players like Crosby only visited Western Canada once every three years. One of the proposed solutions was separating the conferences into two divisions, rather then two. But with each division featuring 15 teams, this naturally led to one division per conference with an additional team compared to the other, which opened the door for the idea of further expansion.

That’s where Ron came in. His suggestion was a team in Winnipeg and a team in…wait for it…Halifax! Queue the much rolling of eyes and the groans all throughout Halifax. Phil Croucher of the Daily News put it pretty good in his column. Sure area hockey fans will pay 90 bucks to see exhibition hockey at the Metro Centre, but there’s only 7000-8000 who show up and it’s once a year. They’ll need twice as many people, showing up 41 times a year to make it worth their time.

Basically, the only way Halifax could dream those NHL dreams would be first for a population boost in the area, maybe to the tune of an additional 100 000 people or so. With the expected tech and trade explosion coming, that’s doable, but can’t be expected.

Secondly, the city would need to win the 2014 Commonwealth Games bid just to ensure the sports infrastructure can be put into place. The current bid probably doesn’t include anything close to an NHL sized arena that can hold at least 18 000 people, nor does it contain anything that could be easily turned into that arena. But bringing the Games would not only get the right sort of people in place to get this done, but also prove that it could work.

Speaking of the arena, that’s the other thing Halifax needs. The Metro Centre holds 10 000, so this would be almost twice the size of the existing facility. Naturally, there’s already whispers that the Metro Centre needs replacing or refitting soon. It’s location causes nightmares in the downtown core whenever a big event finishes up. So the arena probably couldn’t go there (probably wouldn’t fit either). Which means a new site needs to be found with access, parking and etc.

If anyone can do it, I put my money on the folks at the Trade Centre.

29.1.2007

“The era we are living in today is a dream of coming true.”

Filed under: The Daily Grind — forbes @ 13:29

When I went to Florida with my family in 1994, I really wanted to go to Tom Sawyer Island. I had just read the books and I wanted to go to the Island. My parents promised that we could go after we saw the Diamond Horseshoe Jamboree. Unfortunately, the Island closed at dusk and the Jamboree show finished well after that.

I’ve always lamented this fact, because I can distinctively remember the entire exchange and I’m pretty sure I got very upset at the time too.

It’s always been a goal of mine to return to Disneyworld and make it to Tom Sawyer Island. Unfortunately, I might never be able to.

Flipping through the Re-Imagineering weblog, it appears there are plans to get rid of the Island in favour of Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Playground.

I can’t say I’m pleased by these developments.

it’s never the someone you’re hoping to recognize.

Filed under: The Daily Grind — forbes @ 13:21

This goes along with my last post simply because I’m still mulling it all over in my head about the way we all wear masks.

Most of the comments on Don’s weblog were saying for him to not change his style of writing. I don’t really think they understand what he was talking about.

It’s not a choice, more of an observation, that such a show of readership, a spotlight of attention will have an effect. That knowledge will permenate in the back of his mind the next time he hits submit.

It is, of course, a double-edged sword. What’s the worth in writing if there is no audience? But what is the worth of an audience if it restrains you? The balance between remaining relevant and feeling validated in your work and feeling free to say what you mean.

I’ve been ambivalent to it all. I know through web stats that there are people out there reading these words. I’ve gotten a fair share of people come through looking for the Peter Duffy information. I’ve shyed away from posting my blog address in my MSN name. I do have it linked to my Facebook. But I would be as shocked as Don if something I wrote suddenly gained popular attention.

The greatest curse and the biggest present of the Internet is the ability to remain anonymous. Online, you can be completely faceless, a luxury not often experienced in the doldrums of our day to day life.

Look, for example, at the Shelburne (shit)blogs. When granted a visage with no repercussion, the pure ugliness in people emerges. Racist comments, hateful words. These are people who spend every day amongst one another (and Shelburne is far too small to be anonymous in real life), and they hide these feelings under the surface.

It’s the same idea with the White Supremacists. There are allegedly a number of them in the Halifax area, but none of them showed up at the Jared Taylor discussion. None of them have seemed to ever make their ideas and movement visible in this area.

Obviously those are extreme examples, but when given the safety of flying incognito, the truth finally appears. For some, it is far too shocking to deal with.

It’s fine until someone says so

Filed under: The Daily Grind — forbes @ 0:47

I mentioned Donald Crowdis’ weblog before, Don to Earth. It’s probably the only blog run by a 93-year-old Canadian who used to work for the CBC and the Nova Scotia Museum.

Don wrote a purely heart-breaking entry on his view of his own inevitable death. He’s 93 and he approaches the whole subject without fear, but a sensible calmness that I can only hope comes as you get older. I encourage you all to read it:

I’ve floated on the remark “Been there, done that” for some time now, but the notion that the moment is approaching when I can no longer say this bothers me. The truth is, I don’t want to go. [Link]

The problem is, that entry was linked on BoingBoing, which can be viewed as an ultimate compliment by some Net residents. So there’s the inevitable wave of traffic to the site and now Don seems to have been struck with…well not stage fright…but more of a realization of an audience and the knowledge that being aware of people reading his words will have an effect on his future commentary on the world:

My blog, a little over six months old, has become popular. Until now, I have been able to write about anything that occurred to me, not really caring how many people paid attention. Now I feel I have a standard to uphold, and I fear this will cramp my style — which I didn’t try to have. No doubt this phenomenon is part of being or feeling responsible. [Link]

Every now and then, I feel the same way. Not always sure of myself or feeling comfortable exposing myself fully, throwing out exactly what I want to say for all to witness. What if my family read? What if my co-workers, or my boss reads? What if my friends read? What if they don’t? No one wants to feel accountable for everything they ever say. I’ve had my own regrets and troubles with that balance sometimes.

I’ve come to accept it better with my Hockey’s Future writing. Emails from relatives of the prospects are always difficult, but I deal with mentions by scouts and other names better now that I’ve grown more comfortable with my work. I’ve had one case where someone tied this blog to my work with HF which was a bit embarrassing, but all bridge under the water.

That said, there has been plenty of times when I find myself susceptible to self-censor. Most recently, the battle of the white supremacists Vs. the Halifax Locals. Basically, after the Jared Taylor incident, (Of Note: Please read that entire article, it is a gem) plenty of discussion took place on the Halifax Locals board about the whole thing. At the same time, plenty of discussion took place on a White Nationalist board about the whole thing as well. Obviously, there were two different major trains of thought on who was in the right and who was in the wrong and just as obviously, both sides eventually found one another.

So words were exchanged, empty threats made and the White Nationalists made it their mission to try to unmask those in attendance at the failed speech. That’s when it started getting a bit out of line as personal information is dug up and posted on the White Nationalist board. Then one of them takes a picture of the house where a number of the protesters lived. Suddenly, Internet words become real world concern.

As can be expected, this whole chain of events bothered me greatly and while I did not actively participate in any of the arguments, I did watch it closely, like one might watch a car crash about to happen. So far, nothing more has really developed. Petty arguments have been fired back and forth, but the Locals are getting tired of it and hopefully soon this will all fade into the past.

I must admit, I was (and am) very troubled by all of this. The apparent stalking of innocent people in the streets of Halifax. Hell, even the fact that people with such a shocking different viewpoint walk amongst the people in this city is quite distressing. I don’t want to stick my head up, I don’t want to be a target due to my own views, draw attention to myself for the wrong reason. I’ve talked before about the trail of identity one leaves across the online world and through mine, everything can be seen and found, my address, my phone number, my office. It’s crazy how much a dedicated person could find out if given the inclination.

So why give it to them? Are normal ideals that I (and everyone I know) view as commonplace worth making a huge stink over?

24.1.2007

Someone woke me up…

Filed under: The Daily Grind — forbes @ 7:45

A very odd thing happened this morning to wake me up. On work days, I set my alarm to wake me up at 7 and I sometimes forget to move the little button over to wake me up at the right time. So far, that has never killed me, though I have woken up a bit late by accident and had to skip breakfast or something as a result.

So last night/this morning, I was laying inbed and I remember waking and turning to look at the clock. It was either 5:40 or 6:40, so I rolled over and went back to sleep.

In my dream, I was sitting at the table in my apartment, writing. I had the song I’m currently obsessed with: All the Same by Sick Puppies, playing from my laptop and for some reason I had a large space heater in my living room, pumping out the heat. I remember in my dream, turning looking at the space heater and realizing that I already had a smaller one in my storage closet. I figured I would be able to return this large on and save $97.00.

All of the sudden out of no where, I hear someone say ‘Kevin’. It was a female voice, maybe middle aged or elderly. Not one I recognized immediately. But it woke me up, very quickly. I rolled over and looked at the clock, and it read 7:04. It appears I did not turn on my alarm the night before. I layed there for a minute, seeing if whoever called my name would repeat it. Grabbed my glasses and checked the hall.

I was positive that someone in the ‘real world’ had just called out my name, waking me up. I checked the hall, thinking it might be my neighbour in trouble. But the voice wasn’t strained or sounded scared, it was almost conversational or well, truthfully the way you say someone’s name when you’re trying to wake them up or attract their attention.

I’m pretty freaked out regardless. I showered and sat down to capture this story before any of the details fade.

Isn’t it funny that I wrote so much stuff mocking Duffy about his ghostly encounter? At least my spectres just want to make sure I get to work on time.

Very odd.

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