Monday, April 25, 2011

Ramblings From The Rink April 25th, 2011

I have an abbreviated Rambling from the rink today. Cam is out skating at the Monday evening stick time, so I have a chance to say hello.

Super cool thing that happened today? Cam got himself dressed tonight without any help. Top to bottom, in his goalie gear no less. I'm awfully proud of him.

I'm looking forward to getting home tonight to catch game 5 of the Blazers Mavericks playoff series. Cams teacher is giving reading credit for watching the game. I approve.

That's all I've got. Have a great night. By the way, this is the first post I've done on my phone. I am a tech god!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ramblings From My Chair

Happy Easter!

First things first, great weather last Friday and Saturday for Cam's lacrosse events. Rain came back to visit today so all of you holding off on donating to #OregoniansAgainstRain, this is your fault. Donate now, or you can never again complain about the weather.

Exciting happenings today. Cam was the 7th man at the Winterhawks playoff game today. That means that he was introduced, and got to skate out on the ice to stand with the Winterhawks during the national anthem. He had his own locker room, with his name on the door. His grandpa took some pictures so I'll see if I can get something up soon. Cam did a fantastic job. Oh yes, the Winterhawks beat the Chiefs 2-1 to tie up their Western Conference Finals series 1-1. Game 3 Wednesday in Spokane.

Some quick thoughts before I leave you. No 3 vs 3 today because of the holiday so there are no Ramblings from the Rink. Easter brunch was fantastic, thanks mom! Great to see the folks, Julia and my good friend Curt. Congratulations to the Nashville Predators and my favorite Brandon Wheat King Alum Jordin Tootoo for beating the Anaheim Ducks and advancing for the first time to the second round. Congratulations to the Portland Trailblazers on their spectacular 23 point comeback Saturday afternoon to tie up their playoff series 2-2.

Be Well!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sunny Skies and Make Believe PAC's

Well we had a lacrosse game today where it did not rain. Not a bit, not a drop. Thanks to the bribes doled out by my new Political Action Committee, #OregoniansAgainstRain, the weather was bright and sunny. It was a little cold but that's not our problem. Let the cold weather wimps put together their own group.

You may be thinking to yourself, "Who do you pay to get nice weather?" Well let me tell you, that's a fantastic question. Turns out there's a fellow just outside my place of employment who's more than willing to promise me nice weather for a nominal fee. I'm sure the donations to St. Anthony's helped (as well as the candles, don't forget the candles), and the money spent on my new jacket was the icing on the cake. Everyone knows that preparation is the key to stopping rain in it's tracks. It's like washing the car when you want rain, only in reverse. (On a side note, the only thing that frightens rain more than a good waterproof jacket is a sturdy umbrella, but my Oregonian cred would take a dramatic hit if I picked up one of those.) We keep track of these things so we'll know who to go to when the rains come again.

Turns out lacrosse isn't all that bad once you're not being rained on. Very enjoyable way to spend an evening. We took pictures of the game which may have been a mistake. There was one penalty called during the game, but when we got home and took a look at the pictures, we found several stick infractions.

Now I suppose there are a great many things you can do with your stick that may be called an infraction, but what I'm talking about is pretty straight forward. We have pictures of sticks hitting shoulders and arms. Pictures of sticks being jabbed into sides and stomachs, and we have one picture of a stickhead being speared directly into a facemask. I know I don't know all the rules of this game yet, but I'm fairly certain that's not allowed. Judging solely by the photographic evidence it's amazing there were any survivors.

I have been heard to say 'If you're not cheating, you're not trying', and 'It's only cheating if you get caught.' I even tweeted the infamous line from Jessee "The Body" Ventura, 'Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat!' But when it's staring you right in the face, (or glowing at you from a computer screen) it can make you question yourself. Maybe it will get you to take a good, stern look at your core values. It may even shift you a little bit. Not a lot mind you, but a little. Then again, maybe there's not a lot wrong with wanting the referee's to earn their game checks.

Well then, I guess that's something I'll have to mull over.
Until next time,

Monday, April 18, 2011

This Rain Can Stop Now

As a mostly native Oregonian, (I was born in Seattle and moved to Oregon when I was 5) I have seen most of what this state, specifically the Willamette Valley, has to offer as far as weather is concerned. I've seen droughts in summer, flooding in winter, rain that brought land slides blocking the coast range and causing major detours. I've seen winds that blew down trees, ice thick enough to collapse power lines, and just a couple of years back two weeks of snow that brought this town to a complete stand still, but this year has taken the cake.

They call it La NiƱa, and it brings extra wet weather to the Pacific Northwest. Those of us who live here understand that wet winters and springs are par for the course. There is no hope for summer until after The Rose Festival. That's Portland's party that happens from early to mid June. We make up for it by having some of the most beautiful summers on earth, but to get to summer you have to go through spring and years like this try men's souls. The weather has been cold and damp all winter and to make matters worse Cam has picked this year to try his hand at Lacrosse.

I'm all for Lacrosse, I love the running (for him), the eye hand coordination, and the team play it requires. The only thing I don't like about it is that it is played outdoors rain or shine. We haven't had too much of the latter this year. I think there have been a total of three Lacrosse days this year when it hasn't rained at least a little. A typical practice is an hour and a half of rain followed by a soggy trip home. Nothing gets a chance to dry out and I swear we are going to end up with the entire practice field being brought home on his cleats. I'm going to need to figure some kind of a way to handle all of the wetness. Until I do there will be more #OregoniansAgainstRain showing up on @MacBeerchill's twitter feed, and for sure there will be more whining. Fair Notice!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Passive Research

In his DVD Circle, Eddie Izzard talks about doing passive research. "The easier version where you let the research come to you." I've been thinking about this a lot lately because my son is doing research for a school project. The project is pretty cool. Each student picks a state, then they come up with a drawing and a paragraph about something in that state for each letter of the alphabet. He's used the Internet to look things up before, but this is a little more in depth.

I told Cam that I would help him with the search because he wasn't sure how to find what he was looking for. He told me that he was typing Michigan into Google and it brought back so much stuff that he couldn't sift through it all. I explained to him how he could add more words to narrow his search. He ended up typing "Things in Michigan that start with letter E". Four or Five links down the page he found an A-Z website that gave him a ton of new ideas, which was great. So he writes down his ideas and he'll be able to come back to them this weekend when he writes up his paragraph and adds his drawing.

He's doing a good job with this project, and I'm pretty sure his 'I don't know how to use the search engine' bit was legitimate, but there have been lots of time where he's performing "passive research".

"Daaaaad? how do you spell ridiculous?"
"Isn't that one of your spelling words?"
"Yeah but I don't want to look it up" (by which he means 'turn the page over'. That's right, the answers are on the back)

Does that exchange sound familiar to anyone else? I just need to remember that he's not being lazy, he's doing passive research. On the bright side he is in a good spot to finish up his ABC pages in  May.

Anyone else have a good Passive Research story?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Next Up on Netflix - DEADLIEST CATCH

Cam has been abusing Netflix again. What's he watching now? Deadliest Catch Season 6. We missed this season when it ran live. I watched it with him until Captain Phil got sick and was taken to the hospital. It stopped being fun to watch. Knowing that a character dies really takes the fun out of a reality TV show. It's good to be watching the show again, and it's good to find something Cam and I can watch together. Something that isn't on Disney channel anyway. Wizards of Waverly Place is pretty good, but sometimes you want something a little less youth appropriate. It doesn't get much less youth appropriate than Deadliest Catch.

USA Hockey Takes On Checking

So you might have heard me mention that USA Hockey is looking at moving the introduction of body checking from the Peewee level (11 and 12 years old) to the Bantam level (13 and 14 years old). There has been lots of talk about this around the rink. I'm going to lay out the arguments against the move first, and then I'll talk about the arguments in favor.

Argument's Against:

1. Bantam kids are a lot larger than PeeWee's.
The kids at the PeeWee level don't skate as fast, and are not as big as the kids at the Bantam level. By introducing checking at the Bantam level you are making kids who haven't been checked before have to endure more punishment. Included in this is the 'Canada introduces checking at the 7-8 year old level.' This allows the kid to get used to body contact before they are big enough, or strong enough to cause real damage.

2. American teams will not able to play against Canadian teams because of the difference in rules.

3. The lack of checking will put American kids behind developmentally, and they won't be able to catch up.

Argument's in Favor:

1. Introducing full contact later allows kids to develop better skating abilities.

2. Older brains are less likely to be concussed then younger brains. Terribly worded. What that means is that concussions are potentially more serious at younger levels. Older brains are better able to absorb a check. (There are some interesting studies involving hockey leagues in Ontario that start checking sooner, and Quebec where checking is introduced later that seem to bear this out.)

3. In order to allow for a more gradual transition into body checking, coaches will introduce body contact at the Mite level (7 and 8 years old), which will be reinforced and expanded upon at the Squirt level (9 and 10 years old). Body checking will be taught at the PeeWee level (but not allowed in games). This will allow plenty of time to learn how to both give and take a hit.

I think both sides make interesting points and in my mind it comes down to this. If the point of USA Hockey is to provide a fertile training ground for the NHL then I think the choice is a no brainer. You introduce body checking at the Mite level. The smaller, slower moving Mites do not pose a significant threat to the well being of other Mites. Think dominoes falling rather than bowling pins flying after a 16 pound ball comes down the lane. The sooner kids learn to protect themselves, the better off they will be.

The point of USA Hockey, however, is not to provide future players to the NHL. Statistically speaking fewer then 1 kid in 30,000 will progress from youth hockey into the NHL. For these kids there should never be a need to "deliver a blow", or "finish a check".

The reason to deliver a body check is to separate the puck from the body of the puck carrier. It is not to punish, or intimidate the other team. The Mite A team that played in Cam's league this year provides a good example of how body contact (not checking) and good angling can provide great results. This is what USA Hockey proposes to teach at the Mite through Squirt and PeeWee levels. To me, this is what hockey at the youth level should be. Hitting a skilled player hard into the boards because he keeps getting around you should not be what youth hockey is about. That's the way the pro's play.

We'll see what happens come June. I'll let you know. In the mean time if you have any questions that I can answer let me know. Post a comment and I'll respond. If you have anything else that you would like me to pontificate on let me know that too.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Phoenix Rising

Phoenix Rising is the new book by Tee Morris and Phillipa Ballantine due out in bookstores in May. A couple of talented individuals. Hit up their website to find out more about the new book and to discover the wild and wooly world of steampunk. Think Will Smith and Kevin Kline in Wild Wild West, only good. (On a side note, I really liked Wild Wild West. I thought it was highly underrated.) 

Sheer Poetry

I smile every time I hear this song. No, I don't know why.

Fun Loving Criminals
 - Scooby Snacks -
lyrics courtesy of


- Everybody be cool, this is a robbery!
- Any of you f@#king pricks move, and I'll execute every motherf@#king last one of you!

Me and Fast got the gats; we're out to rob a bank.
We got Steve outside carrying a full pack.
Now everything's cool and everything's smooth. (Hey that's smooth)
I walked up to the teller, I gave her the letter
She gave me the loot with puckered up lips
And a wink that I found cute, and I said, "baby, baby, baby"
(Is this some Kharmic-Chi love thing happening here baby or what.)
By that time Fast tapped me with the 9 he said it was time to blow, ya know.
So out the door we go.
Back to the ride with Steve inside and alive; off we drive
I hurt my lower lumbar, you know we'll
Never get far, riding around in a stolen
Police car, so we dropped it off and piled in a Caddy;
Steve was driving because I had to talk to my man

- Look, I don't know anything about any f@#king set-up, you can torture me all you want.
- Torture you, that's good, that's a good idea, I like that one.

Running around robbing banks all wacked off of Scooby Snacks! (2x)

I don't give a f@#k about the hell's
Gate, ain't punkin' the crowd and I'm still standing up straight.
So, we pull these jobs to make a little money;
No one gets hurt if they don't act funny.
On the way to the yacht, we almost got caught,
Fast is shooting mailboxes, not knowing where the cop is.
They're at the Dunkin Donuts, adjacent from
The Froman's whose mailbox fast had just exploded.
They gave chase, but my man
Steve is an ace; we lost those brothers with haste.
We casted off and along we went off Bermuda to an island resort we rented.

- Sonny, I need you cool, are you cool?
- I am cool.

Running around robbing banks all whacked off of Scooby Snacks! (4x) 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ramblings From The Rink

Spring has sprung and the air is filled with pollen, or in the case of Oregon, rain. Those that should know better are trading that fresh spring air for the smell of an ice rink, along with the accompanying aroma of hockey equipment. 3 vs 3 is upon us once again. My son's session is at 8:30 on Sundays, then he wants to stay for stick time from 9:45-11:00. Then there's a Learn to Play game from 11:15-12:45 that he stays for. That means that I'm going to be at the rink from 7:45 until 1:15 on Sundays for the foreseeable future.

So you all are in luck! I'm going to start blogging during this time. I'm going to start off with matters relating to hockey in general, and youth hockey in particular. I'll try and keep other topics from infiltrating this time, but I've really got no guarantees!

The first topic I'm going to hit up next week is the upcoming vote by the board of governors for USA Hockey to move the introduction of body checking from the Pee Wee level (11, and 12 years old) up to the Bantam level (13, and 14 years old). I have contradictory opinions regarding this and I'll have them laid out for you next week.

In the meantime if any of you have a topic you'd like to see me take a swing at let me know in the comments section below. I've got the comments section set so I'm moderating them. I'm not expecting too many to show up at once, but please expect some delay before they are available to view here.

Take Care!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Is That A Parka You're Wearing?

Something that's been bothering me for a while now. Why is it that whenever I see a picture of Ron Wyden in Portland he's wearing a parka? Is he brought to us by Columbia Sportswear? He is a U.S. Senator right? Would it kill him to mix in a tie? I don't even need to see him in a suit, Just a sports jacket and maybe some slacks. I know the governor routinely runs around town in blue jeans and cowboy boots, but that's kind of his thing. Senator Wyden's thing cannot be the parka. That's silly. For the love of goodness, I just saw David Wu in person not two weeks ago, in the same building that Ron Wyden was in back in December. Do you know what David Wu was wearing? A suit. An honest to goodness, growed up and everything navy blue suit. He may not be able to keep a staff together but at least he can dress the part.

Enough! I need to take off these jeans and throw on some shorts. Hey, don't look at me like that. Work days over...and I'm pretty sure you didn't vote for me anyways.