I Survived!


Jan 11 – I survived – Barely – A very busy weekend. Sunday was Oliver’s Christening or Baptism – whatever is the appropriate term. We took Ben and Lily for Saturday to free up Shaun, Becky and Oliver for “rehearsal” and, or other stuff.

That meant we got to take Ben to hockey and I got to remember how to put his equipment on. I probably could have pulled his socks up to his nose – they were long enough, but sizing is tough for the little guys. Sweater was good so that was fine. Burlington Timbits use NHL colours so Ben’s squad are the “Wild”. The green guys. Then it was off to Mickey D’s for a late lunch. Yup – back to MacDonald’s again – I thought I had passed that stage but apparently not. At least they now have decent coffee,

The rest of the day was at Chez Moorehead as my Facebook post indicated – a repeat of the morning activity – Puzzles for Lily and Wii Mario for Ben.

Sunday – Oliver got himself sprinkled so I guess he is now official. In my last post I commented on the risk of fire and brimstone with me in a church. Little did I realize that Sunday actually was the “official” fire and brimstone sermon Sunday, as was made clear in the homily? I kept sneaking a peak out the window waiting to be consumed by the lightning bolt but there must have been better targets somewhere else. Dodged it again.

I have posted Becky’s composite picture which I thought was pretty cool – same bat time – same bat channel – same bat photographer. All three GKs baptized in the same place with similar pictures taken by the same great photojournalist – Moi!

From the top down – Ben – Lily – Oliver

Trifecta

The pic also substantiates my claim that I have been in a House of Worship at least three times in the last five years. Add in a couple of weddings and you could almost call me a regular.

Post sprinkling we all retired to Shaun and Becky’s for post-game snacks, a touch of the grape, some gift giving and chit chat. We packed it in relatively early so that the senior set (us) could go home and rest up.

Weather – We also returned to base early last night in case the weather went south, or should I say north, and the roads decided to do double duty as skating rinks. Fortunately, this did not happen in our neck of the woods but things were definitely crispy with the wind chill when I walked out the door this morning. Went from no coat or light jacket on the weekend to the full on winter gear ensemble – heavy coat, gloves, scarf and toque this morning.

Good news was that I only encountered one “slippery” location hidden on the sidewalk on my way to the bus. Even better news is that courtesy of some surprisingly acrobatic moves I managed to avoid landing on my butt!

Fashion statement – someone is definitely doing a great job on parka sales for the ladies. It hit me this morning as I stood freezing my ____ off at Clarkson GO Station that a surprising proportion of the female commuters were sporting (typically) brown parkas with the (faux) fur-trimmed hoods. Canada Goose is alive and well and probably has a lot of relatives stuffed into a bunch of those coats. I was jealous.

Steelers Win – Fortunately they were playing Cinci who have a less than stellar play-off record. I did not see the game (GK Duty) but the boys picked up a Wildcard win and get to move on to the real play-offs. Not talking Super Bowl yet but the terrible towels are still flapping for at least another week. And no, I have not checked my final pool results yet but I can basically guarantee no cheques are coming my way.

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What day is it?


Jan 8 – I am having difficulty with dates. I thought the 6th was the 5th the 7th the 6th and now the 8th the 9th! A complete reversal. Clearly senility is setting in.

Bulls 2

Market Madness – I hope everyone is offering sacrifices to the economy gods to get things going again so that the Bulls come out to play and the Bears go away. Recent events have not done my Corporate share price nor my investment funds any favours. Keep these trends up and the new retirement age will be around 85. I mean, I like what I am doing but there is a limit.

Oliver Day – Hold the presses and watch out for bolts of fire and brimstone. Rumour has it that I am going to darken a church door again this Sunday. This is becoming much too regular an event as it is probably three times in the last five years that I have been in a “House of Worship” – and an Anglican one at that.

The occasion is Oliver’s christening. Amazing what senile grandparents will do for the GKs. Can’t believe he is almost 5 months old already. Some of my relatives reading this will be shaking their heads and reaffirming the great wisdom in the decision in making me the next Gen Black Sheep of the Clan. Oh well, you have to be good at something.

Bigger definitely is Better – At least up to a point. In an earlier post I mentioned that I had scammed a “bigger” monitor from Shaun. I think it is a 26” as compared to the 22” I had hooked up to my notebook before as a “mate to the 22” I have on my obsolete desktop. The 4” inch difference is huge. I can easily run applications basically full size side by side which is great when you are working with data you need to cross check – like schedules or ice blocks or team match-ups. Where it gets really silly those is if you run some games full screen (like the MS Games) as you almost want to sit across the room to heel comfortable.

Makes me remember those 12 and 13” CGA / EGA / VGA / SVGA monitors that we all oohed and aahed over in the early days – because they were in colour!

It is also great to watch videos on. That should be no surprise as it is not too long ago that a 26” console TV was the living room norm in a lot of homes. Then the “Big Screens” invaded.

The problem is – What if Shaun wants it back? How could I stand to regress to a paltry 22” model again.

NFL – Play-off time and wonder of wonder, my Steelers get at least one game from their Wild Card finish. Got to believe they have a good chance for a couple of wins as once you hit the play-offs, dumb luck and a who stays healthy longest can have a major impact. Remember, it ain’t ovah til it’s ovah!

Reminds me that I will have to see where I ended up in my football pool. After missing a few Thursday picks and doing horribly on some games that should have been a lock, I walked away (figuratively) and I think the computer then says I pick all the favourites. Don’t know if that was the case or if I just bottomed out so I will have to check. It was a fund raiser anyway, so I had no expectations of a financial return. Go Steelers!

Time to bail – the two senior GKs are heading our way tomorrow so I need to rest up and hide the Popsicles – like that will help.

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Is it over yet?


Jan 7 – Despite it being Thursday it seems this week will never end. Having taken Monday off and returning from holidays I am definitely out of the routine. Leaving for the office at 0 Dark hundred and returning at 0 Dark hundred in the cold and dark is not fun. By next week I may be re-acclimatized – I hope so.

Downton Abbey – is done. Surprisingly I really enjoyed this show as did apparently many others. I don’t know if it was the depiction of the English “Upper Class”, the trials and tribulations of the “Downstairs” staff, the snobbishness even with the servants or just the general depiction of the lives and times. Regardless, it was an enjoyable watch and I’m sorry to see it end.

New Season – While it really is not a new season in absolute terms, a number of shows have caught on to the idea of taking mid-season “breaks”. While some shows may only skip an episode or two over Xmas, more and more are disappearing for four to six weeks. I guess that lets them cut down on the number of episodes they need for a full “season” or probably more likely gets them off the air during the holidays where I suspect more folks are doing other things, “specials” grab the eyeballs and generally audience are down which is never a good story to tell sponsors and advertisers.

Having said that, they are all now coming back so that I need to get my downloading / recording back in business.

The Royals – Over the holidays I stumbled across this series and haven’t decided what to make of it yet. It is a play on a variety of “Royal” behavioural challenges as a supposed current English royal family goes through a variety of domestic, political and personal uglies that hopefully no one depicts as real royal life. I started off thinking it was pretty stupid and frivolous but am almost convinced it is entertaining. It seems they are actually trying to build some plot intrigue around some pretty shallow behaviour. It is midway or so through Season 2 so it got renewed at least once and apparently it has been renewed for a third season.

I expect that the Queen – “is not amused”.

It is a download, so I am not even sure where it is “airing”.

I have to admit that the producers have done a great job of establishing these Royals as a truly dysfunctional, decadent family!

Netflix – is getting more and more popular and also appears to be receiving investor support as the business news talks about their share price increases.

We have Netflix and overall I was not too excited about the Netflix Canada content but was clued into a service that allows you to “choose” what Netflix country content you want to watch. The service we have is “Onlocator” which works via a DNS redirect that “fools” Netflix into thinking you are somewhere you are not! I think we are currently watching the Swedish version but the “control” to switch countries is currently managed by Jane. So who knows where we are or where we will be. It costs about $50 a year as a third party add on service and is a web site on your computer. Your streaming device (black box or DVD, whatever) has to allow you to program a specific DNS setting. My WDTVLive Western Digital box and my LG DVD do. My Sony DVD does not. Look before you leap and check the Onlocator site for more info.

Hockey – So far I have not heard a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth over the Juniors’ early exit from the IIHF Worlds. Did the pundits and talking heads expect us to lose? One rationale I have heard is that we did not send the strongest team we could have as we sent more “youngsters” as a development plan – maybe that means we are worrying about next year when it is back in Canada.? Nothing like wanting to win on home turf – just ask Finland!

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FSMT – The countdown is on.


Jan 6FSMT – The countdown is on. We had our last major pre-tournament meeting last night and fingers crossed we are in good shape. January 22 – 24 will be the fifteenth Frank Sabatino Memorial Tournament (FSMT). Hard to believe it has been 15 years and it shows a great deal of dedication and character for the folks who have not just started and kept this tournament alive but have developed it into one of the premier House League tournaments anywhere.

A bunch of the games are at the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex so come on out and watch a bunch of kids having fun if you have the time. Check the web at www.fsmt.ca for more details and the schedule. Or, follow the tournament and scores on Twitter at @FSMT_info.

Minor kerfuffle of dealing with 50 teams instead of a perfect 48 but we have worked out a good way to deal with our 18 team division and have used that count as an incentive to come up with a “new” way to handle the “Breakaway” skills event. As they say, “Necessity is the Mother of Invention”.

Now it is time to dig out all the support stuff and have it ready. The notebook, monitor, printer and related gadgetry to manage the on-line scoring and stats. The photo equipment to catch some of the “candid” shots. The pucks, pylons, stopwatches, clipboards and materials for the Skills competition. Plus the FRS radios for communication, MP3s and chargers / cords for music and just some of the other “general” stuff.

All in all, getting everything ready for another great event.

Where to Start? – Over Xmas and New Year’s, there were so many things on the go that it is tough to figure out what to comment on and or what detail. The time also flew past so fast that everything is already becoming a blur.

Talking about the GKs is always good for content. We had them for part of last Saturday and their memories and expectations are always constant – Grandpa and Grandma’s house means Popsicles and Chocolate Milk. They have been convinced that “grape” Popsicles are Grandpa’s favourite (they are) so that every time they get “grape” it is cause for celebrations and much giggling as they eat one of Grandpa’s favourites. Does not matter if it is the dead of winter, they have to have their Popsicles whenever they visit. After Popsicles and Chocolate Milk it is whatever they can scam.

On Saturday, we had picked them up from Ben’s hockey and it is amazing to see how he has improved, especially over the last week as he had attended a three day Hockey Camp over the holidays and it made a huge improvement. Lily is turning into a puzzle wizard so we have to figure out what piece count she is ready to challenge next as our current supply is simply too easy.

Note to self and others. Do not challenge Ben to Wii games as you will likely get smoked by a 5 year old – despite your best efforts (right Uncle Andrew!). Table tennis, Tennis and Bowling are particularly dangerous (as is Connect 4).

Looks like Oliver is not planning to be left behind either, as at just over four months he is into turning over and traveling which will create all kinds of fun. You can’t just put him on the floor anymore and take a break as he is apt to be gone when you return.

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January 4th – Already!


Jan 4 – A belated Happy New Year to all. I hope you had a good (but not too good a time) ushering in 2016 and disposing of 2015. Most normal people are back to work today but not me. I typically plan for the one extra day to have a true day of R&R for myself as it somehow seems that the rest of the holiday season disappears is a mad whirl of activity. This year was no exception and somehow my day of rest has so far been anything but. Two reasons – both self-imposed as I am not going to comment on the ever overflowing “Honey-Do” jar. Tournament and Social Media – the current culprits.

Tournament – The 15th annual Frank Sabatino Memorial Tournament (FSMT) is barreling in for Jan 22 – 24. This year we have 50 teams in three categories and 12 divisions. Wonderful except that one group has 18 teams (not 16) which creates some scheduling stress in web ware that is not optimized for unbalanced divisions and this of course falls on yours truly. Not to say others aren’t working equally as hard on other aspects but getting the schedule done, checked, rechecked, agreed, requests hopefully accommodated and then finally posted is one of the core and time sensitive tasks as we all know that coaches and managers have no patience.

However, we have it done, it is also setup in my MS Access template db as well and the Twitter feed for scores and messaging is also up and running. – Which brings me to the joys of Social Media.

Social Media – Back in 2008 I started a web site, including a blog component for probably not entirely the most positive reasons. Since then I have maintained my http://www.minorhockeyfan.com site with until recently fairly regular blog postings.

Time and progress march on and being an inveterate dabbler, I now find myself up to my eyeballs in Social Media vehicles that expand the time to participate requirements at the same time as my time available to “play” seems to shrink.

Too many irons in the fire.

http://www.minorhockeyfan.com – the original site built using FrontPage where FrontPage is no longer supported by Microsoft but is still outthere and is what I use – FrontPage 2003 – the last version.

http://www.minorhockeyfan.wordpress.com – the “free” blog site I use that works on any computer / tablet and has mobile apps. Easy to use and auto-updates content – like this – to my Facebook but then I need to carry it over to my FrontPage site.

http://www.minorhockeyfan.wix.com/waynesworld – My also “free” WIX site that I was using for Sports pics from baseball, hockey, soccer etc but was thinking of converting to a family pix site and then I stuck our summer trip pictures on it months ago and have not done anything with it since.

Facebook – already mentioned with posts and pics.

Twitter – sometimes used and posts to Facebook as well.

Pinterest and Instagram that I have but have not really used and then there are the “clouds”

How many have I got? I really don’t know as I may have multiples of some due to devices. iCloud, OneDrive, Box, Dropbox. . . and a bunch of stuff I probably either don’t know about or have forgotten.

That’s why it is already January 4th and I haven’t done anything. My R&R day is just about over and I have not R&R’d yet.

So, no New Year’s resolutions, no promises of what I will do. Things used to be so much simpler – BUT – That’s progress – so they say.

 

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2015 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 22 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Top Secret Recipe


For those of you interested in the “Moorehead” popcorn recipe – here it is. I wouldn’t do this for everyone but since Aunt Marilyn asked . . . Along with some commentary.

Ingredient List

  • 1 2/3 to 2 cups of good popcorn.
  • 1 pound of butter (not margarine – yuch!)
  • 2 2/3 cups of white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of corn syrup (Beehive golden corn syrup – not white is my preference)
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla (the special Mexican vanilla extract is very good)

First, we only make double batches so this is the DB recipe. Only wimps make singles.

The batch makes two buckets. The best size if you can find them is roughly 12” X 13” and 6” to 8” deep. It is good to have lids. When you are done the popcorn should be around 3” deep – loose not packed in.

Popcorn – freshly popped. We use Orville and pop it in a popcorn popper (our Cusinart just croaked so it was a Betty Crocker model this year. Only use “good” popcorn. Once you pop it, spread it on wax paper on the countertop and make sure you pick out any unpopped kernels or little hard shells before you put it in the buckets – saves on the teeth that way and cuts down on the lawsuits.

Just a little oil to pop, no butter or other stuff.

As a check, the buckets should take about 1 2/3 to 2 cups of popcorn kernels to pop enough for the right amount. The low end puts more caramel on the popcorn, the higher end puts less. Whatever.

Make the popcorn first and have it ready in the bins before you start on the caramel sauce.

Caramel Sauce

In a large sauce pan or pot or whatever it is called, slowly melt the butter, blend in the sugar and corn syrup and add the 2 teaspoons of vanilla. Stir constantly over medium heat until it comes to a boil.

Once it starts to boil (not just the first bubbles but a true boil) continue to stir for 6 to 8 minutes. There is probably a candy thermometer value that tells you when to take it off but I never use one. As you stir, Chefs, such as myself, can note a bit of texture change and thickening of the sauce – when that happens you are good to go!

Make sure your trusty assistant is standing by. As soon as you take the sauce off the stove, start drizzling (that’s techie talk for pour slowly around the popcorn in the first bucket. Remember you are going to try to split the sauce evenly between the two buckets so don’t get carried away. Pour about ¼ of the sauce (circling the surface) and continue stirring the caramel in the pot while your trusty assistant uses a large strong spoon to “mix” the popcorn in the bucket to distribute the sauce through the popcorn. Once the first ¼ is stirred in a bit then pour another ¼ over the popcorn again and mix it in.

At this point you hopefully have ½ of the sauce left and are ready to go at the second bucket as soon as your trusty assistant completes the low skill stirring task in the first bucket. Use your supervisory skills to ensure the stirring is done well before moving to bucket number 2.

Remember to keep stirring the sauce all the time and try not to drip on the countertop or floor.

Repeat the pour / mix / pour / mix process for bucket two with hopefully enough sauce to do a good job. It is important that it gets well stirred and mixed in the buckets to spread the caramel throughout all the popcorn. Keep an eye on your assistant to make sure this is done properly.

You can then take your stirring spoon and scrape together the dregs in the pot and let it cool a bit )or you will burn the heck out of your mouth) and taste the caramel toffee for yourself. It should be chewy.

If you don’t cook it long enough it will be too soft and if you cook it too long it will get too hard and brittle.

I make mine “just right”! Ask my conniving relatives who keep stealing it.

Enjoy!

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