Randy Cunneyworth: The Habs new head coach

First, I would like to say congrats to Randy.  First, for being promoted to head coach for the Montreal Canadians, and second for having the guts to take over as head coach for the Montreal Canadians.  Unlike most hockey fans in Montreal, I have nothing against Jacques Martin.  As far as I am concerned, he wasn’t on the ice, so he isn’t the one that should be taking the blame for the poor performance of the team.  Did he pull off a herculean effort in winning with poor player performance by finding “magical” lineups, and such, probably not.  But until he is the one wearing the skates, and responsible for the poor ice presence, I will not be one to assign him ANY blame.  He is not the one that is always second on the puck, not picking up loose pucks, or picking up the loose man in front of the net, he has no blame for that.  Winning and losing has a lot to do with what happens ON THE ICE, not behind the bench.  Its that extra little bit of effort on a play that will capitalize on opportunities, or create opportunities where there weren’t any.

The coach is there to try to best utilize and co-ordinate the players to best direct their skills to victory.  By knowing the opposing team, and knowing your team, you can elaborate strategies, and discover weaknesses that you can use to your advantage and win the game.  However, if the players are playing like dung, then you could be the best coach in the world, and you’ll just have another losing streak, that’s it.   But that isn’t the way of the NHL,  in the NHL everyone blames the coach, because its unthinkable to have a multi-million dollar player who isn’t giving it his all.  Never blame the 6 million dollar a year cry baby that doesn’t like the pressure of this city or that.  You wanted to play professional sports, live up to that requirement.  You are being paid to play like an all-star, show us where that money is going.

Next, Montreal, what are we going to do.  Montreal is both the best and worst hockey city in the world.  You will NEVER find a more enthusiastic home town when it comes to hockey, but you will also never find one that will turn on a player/team as quickly as ours does.  Because hockey is beyond just the national pass time, it is our religion, some people take it too seriously, just like the religious crusades of medieval times, some people don’t have the common sense to know when calm down.  We have a history of taking good players, some with the potential of being great, and pressuring them into become nothing more then cones on the ice.  Let me ramble off a couple names just so you know I’m not making this stuff up….How about Latendresse, Ribeiro, John Leclerc, Micheal Ryder; do any of those names ring a bell.  There were players who were good, but have consistently performed better as soon as they took of the shirts of the “bleu blanc rouge”.  Why can’t we just support our team, and encourage them when they need it, and celebrate when they do.  The whole idea of a home crowd is to bring your team UP when they are down, and to ride the good times with them.

I would like to draw attention to a few things, this attack by Montreal’s french media about the new coach not being able to speak french.  First, what does it really matter, the coach needs to first and foremost speak to his players, right?  How many of those players are “pure” french speaking people who don’t understand anything but french?  His job is not to speak to the media, its to coach, and to try and win hockey games, the media can and usually is managed by PR.  Randy never said he wouldn’t learn french, he said he would do his best to learn it, in fact embracing it is almost a better word, so why attack him.  We’ve had “francophone” coaches for a long time now, do you know what we haven’t had in a long time, a freaking STANLEY CUP  victory party.

Quebec’s broken justice system

This week-end I almost feel over with the news that i received.  the reason for my reaction, was the complete and utter disgrace that our justice system has turned into.  I will explain to the best of my ability the situation, and let you be the judge.

A good friend of the family called my house on Friday in tears.  She had just received a telephone call from her EX’s parents ( the father of her 2 children ).  They feared that he was suicidal.  Not to sound mean or anything, but our concern wasn’t that he was suicidal, but that he was suicidal, AND had custody of the kids this week-end.  The first thing she did was to tell his parents to call the police with their suspicions.  If she had called, they would have simply assumed “crazy ex-wife” and not done anything, so having the call come from HIS parents, they should probably listen.  So they called the local police station, and were told, and I quote “There is nothing we can do, nothing has happened yet”.  The police didn’t even write down their ( or their son’s ) name, or information to follow up on.

This incident comes only a short few months, after her eldest child ( almost 7 years old ) told the mother ( our friend ) and the paternal grand-parents, that “daddy leaves us alone sometimes to go play poker at his friend’s house down the street” ( first, why does a 6 year old know anything about poker ).  Some context here, this guy ( the father ), also filled for bankruptcy this past summer due to gambling debts, so gambling for him is not a hobby, but a problem.  Our friend called the police at that, and was told, unless he is caught in the act, we can’t do anything.  She also called the social worker in charge of their custody case ( shared custody ), and was told the same thing, “If we don’t catch him in the act, there is no proof, and therefor nothing we can do”.  This to me seems sad, that we need outward signs of neglect just to initiate an investigation.

So what can be done?  If she goes to get her kids, she is at fault and the courts will award him full custody. If she keeps her kids at home, the courts find her guilty ( of breaking the shared custody ruling ) and awards custody to him.  If she leaves the kids with him, isn’t she putting them in danger?  I can maybe see the reason for the police not to trust the ex-wife, but why, when its his own parents, do they not take a minute and think….maybe we should at least go and talk to him, or have the social worker go and talk to him.

Considering the NUMEROUS cases of “we need proof”, being too late, I am surprised that they aren’t trying to be more pro-active.  Just take into consideration the case of Emmanuelle and Laurie Phaneuf.  Emmanuelle went to the police station to try and get help because he was beginning to act irrational, and the police told her “He hasn’t done anything yet, so there is nothing we can do.”

I can understand that the police are over-worked, under-staffed and under paid for the work they do.  They probably also have a lot of people who create false complaints ( angry ex’s trying to get revenge ).  But at some point shouldn’t it at least be investigated.  I would much rather have it turn out to be a false alarm, then for them to ignore, and it be the real deal.

When are we, as a people, going to stand up and say “that’s enough”.  We want our justice system fixed.  Enough with raising politicians salaries and benefits.  Use some of the money that the government is collecting, and help the people.  There is a great video going around the web from the “generation we“, that you should definitely take a look at.  That simply brings to light, that if we want change, we need to take the steps to put those changes into motion.

I leave you with a question,  do you think the police should “wait for proof” before even beginning to investigate?  Where do we draw the line of reasonable cause?

How I got tricked into coaching hockey

Most of you know that I’m a dad, and a very happy and proud one at that.  I love my children, and spending time with them.  When my oldest asked if he could play hockey this year, we said sure.  I would rather have him play sports than become a vegetable in front of a television or video game.  As most Canadians, hockey is part of life, part of growing up Canadian, and having him show interest on his own was testimony to that.  So we signed him up with the local league ( which for some reason is the most expensive city around, with the some of the least ice time available ), for him to start this past September.

Trying to be a good community citizen, I offered to help when the season started.  Figured I would get on the ice, and help teach these eager young kids how to skate, and why they should love this game that is for so many people a source of national pride.  Well, that first week, there were about as many parents on the ice, as kids.  Now, normally that isn’t much of an issue, but seeing as we had 50+ kids on the ice, that’s a lot of people.  Over the next couple weeks, parents began to dwindle, as they had no interest in being on the ice, they were only there because for 1 of two reasons.  First some parents were slightly over protective, and felt they needed to shadow their children, second some children wouldn’t get on the ice if their parents were there with them.  If I had wanted, this is where i would have exited stage left, but wanting to give back to the city and community i live in, i thought it responsible to offer my assistance.  I have played numerous years of hockey ( which is more than some of the wobbly parents can say, there were days i didn’t know who was more wobbly on their skates, the 4 year old who is just learning, or the parent ).  The director in charge, thanked me for my offer, and informed me that to be on the ice to help i needed my coaches cards ( which makes sense, they want people who understand how to teach kids on the ice ), so he signed me up for the course.

The course itself is a week-end, so it wasn’t a major commitment.  The course consists of 3 parts, an online module about respect ( i.e. how to handle situations ), a health section ( i.e. safety and first aid ), and an actual training aspect ( which included 3 hours of ice time ).  I now felt ready to ASSIST in the molding of these young hockey players.  My plan was to be an assistant this year ( if they were short ) and maybe next year be head coach, to be able to share my learning with those who are starting out.  Unfortunately for me, the administration had other ideas.

The city had registered about 13 people for the course, of which 6 actually went ( some had work conflicts, some never got confirmation,etc ).  So that now leaves us with 6 people holding cards ( Each team is REQUIRED to have someone with their cards at each and every game, otherwise you forfeit ). Of those 6, 3 wanted to coach, and 3 wanted to assist only.  Of those 3, 2 had never played hockey, and this was their “initiation” to kids hockey.  Guess where that leaves me, facing the sentence “If we have to ask you, will you actually do it?”.  Given that situation, I’m now the coach of my son’s team.  I’m happy that I have a couple of assistants, 2 of which were involved with the program last year, but didn’t want to get their cards ( that whole, if you want to be on the ice you need your cards, was a ruse to get people certified to be coach, as they were lacking coaches. )

I’m looking forward to seeing what this season has in store for us.

Cromwell and cruthers shaving oil

Cromwell and Cruthers Shaving Oil
So as some of you know, this year I converted to a more traditional wet shaving routing. This includes using a brush, traditional soaps/cream, a Double-Edge (DE) safety razor, and even a straight razor on occasions. I’ve been meaning to try and use a shaving oil. It is exactly what it sounds like, an oil that you rub onto your beard, and use as a lubricant to shave with.

This is the first shaving oil that I have tried, and to be honest, I can’t say i’m impressed. Now this may have nothing to do with the product and all to do with me not liking shaving oils, but without having anything to compare with(the only one available around here), it happens to reflect against the product for me.

My experience with the shave oil, is that is protected enough when I shaved immediately after stepping out of a steaming shower, but as I usually shave in the evening during the week, I tend to use a hot towel. When doing this, I noticed i needed SIGNIFICANTLY more oil, and it provided less protection while shaving. I noticed more razor burn after using the oil then either soap or cream. I will try it a couple more times, but so far, Shaving Oil isn’t for me.

Building your A team

A couple days ago, I came across a blog entry that talked about building your A Team. An A Team is, for me, a list of individuals that you can feel comfortable surrounding yourself with, and that things will get done, well. These are usually people you’ve worked with before, and they are the people you would instantly try to build a new team with given the opportunity.  They are the people that you may not be able to hire right away, but they are worth waiting for if you know a position would open up.

I felt like I wanted to expand on this. The people on YOUR A Team are not necessarily the “smartest person”, the “best developer”, etc, they can be, but it isn’t a requirement.  They are the people that no matter what the project, you can count on them to help get you out of it. They are the people that you don’t need to worry whether things are getting done, you can just have faith that it is being done.  These are the individuals that no matter how bad the situation, will keep everyone going, by the simple knowledge that we will get through it successfully, with a smile on your face.

So I figured I would take his challenge, do I have my A Team, I can’t say I have the full team together, but I do have some of the key components, people that know they art/trade and know how to adapt it to any environments.

I’ve also come to realize that I am on at least a couple people’s A Team, based on previous experience.

Do you have your A Team? And does it ever change?

Starting a new job

Everyone has been there at some point or another, and i am no exception. This week i started a new job, and like all jobs, it will probably prove to have its ups and its downs. For the moment, i am facing most of the downs that i will encounter ( they were not unknown walking in ) so I’m not surprised about it. The downs that i was mentioning, is this company isn’t very “social media” friendly, so my presence on Twitter will probably be greatly reduced, as contributing isn’t always as easy on a smart phone. I wasn’t on FaceBook much before, but my presence will probably reduced. There are also some weird other things, like blocking access to GMail, but that i guess can be passed as security ( controlling what emails enter/leave the company network ).

But its not all bad things, there are a lot of good things about this company, compensation is very interesting, opportunities for growth and learning are pretty incredible as well. Since it is a large company, they have the benefit of having a large employee base to move people around, and have a varied experts pool.

I will not be mentioning the company or any of the internal workings, just to avoid any potential problems.

En ville sans voiture

OK, this post was meant to go out a couple weeks ago, but with some things came up, so its a little out of context, but I needed to get this out anyways.

I’m an avid supported of public transportation, yes it can definitely improve, but I still take it everyday of the week, and will continue doing so, until its not an option.  After reading that statement, you think you can probably predict what i’m going to say next, but you would be wrong.  The campaign held in Montreal known as “En ville sans voiture” that happens near the end of every September, is in my opinion, a HUGE waste of money.  don’t get me wrong, i’m not against closing down the street and making it pedestrian only, my complaint is in how they do it.

Either shut the street down permanently ( or for the summer ) or don’t do it at all.  This year, they shut down sections of the road ( only between intersections, between McGill, and Jeanne-Mance ( I think ).  They brought in crews to lay down sod, setup booths, etc.  All this between 9 something and 3 something ( I didn’t note specific times ).  How much money do you think this cost the city, and in turn the tax payers.

Either man up, and shut the street down from April to October, or don’t do it at all, and invest the money you would have spent on this event in improving public transportation, improving communication of eco-friendly programs  (which is essentially what the booths do anyways ).

So Mr. Tremblay, what’s it going to be?  Smarter more efficient use of the money, or grow some balls and shut the street down, and show commitment to being eco-minded.

Steve Jobs: the man, the inspiration, the icon

A tribute to Steve Jobs using Apple's Logo
A tribute to Steve Jobs using Apple's Logo

To those of you who know me well, you will probably be surprised by this post, but some things transcend preference, and affect us all.

I am not a big fan of most Apple products, and have had questionable doubt about Apple’s practices in the past ( and even some of the more recent ones ), but this post isn’t about my preference for Apple products.

Steve Jobs, was solely responsible for Saving Apple, twice.  I don’t mean he built the products himself, wrote the code himself, etc.  I mean that on two separate occasions he came back to Apple when it needed him most, whether Apple or Jobs knew it or not.  He brought inspiration, dedication and ideas the world had never seen, or have even imagined.  He came in, surrounded himself ( from top to bottom ) with the kind of people that he needed to see his ideas through.  He managed to weed out those he thought harmful to the vision and helped mentor and cultivate the ones that would help.

Could you imagine the type of discussion when he first brought up the iPad, “Yeah, laptops don’t quite do it for me in the media consuming industry, how about just the screen part.  On and yeah, it’s about 100 times too thick/heavy/big to carry around.”

I’m not here to say the IPad is the best tablet around, we each have our own opinions and preferences, but Steve is credited ( and well deserved ) with bringing that type of device to the main stream.  How about the IPod, how many people know about portable media devices ( MP3, not CD ) before the IPod.  He took something that was truly geeky at heart, and made everyone know what it was and want one.

This is the type of man Steve Jobs was to the world, his commencement speech at Standford University.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA

Steve Jobs was nothing short of genius, and a leader in technology that will truly be missed by all.  Everyone in the technology world uses,  has used and has learned something from Apple.

Rest in Peace Steve.  You will be greatly missed, even by those who didn’t necessarily always agree with you, or your visions.  You still managed to bring us into the future of computing.

Nexus S/Android review

Back in May i was faced with replacing my IPhone4 with another mobile device. The reason i needed to change was that i was changing jobs and the phone was a company phone. Being in Canada, i was going to get screwed by the astronomical prices we have here no matter what, so it wasn’t really a matter of finding a good deal, there is no such thing as a good deal on mobile service for Canadian residents. For those unaware, Canada has probably the highest costs for mobile service of any developed nation.

I decided to take the time and look around the options and figure out what i wanted. I had already had an IPhone 4 for almost a year, and wasn’t overly impressed. I am not a windows guy so a windows phone wasn’t very interesting. I decided Android was the platform for me. Now the problem, which model. I finally settled on the Nexus S. I like the fact that the nexus series phones, as they aren’t locked to a specific version.

I’ve had my Nexus S for a little over 4 months now, and feel comfortable to give it a decent review now.

I am running Android 2.3.6 on my nexus S. It is snappy and responsive ( even while running Launcher Pro with a bunch of widgets enabled. ) The first thing that i noticed enough to compare was that you could have widgets that actually do stuff as opposed to on the IPhone widgets aren’t supported ( i am not talking about rooting the phone, i am talking “stock” setup. You can root either device and do more, but even rooted i give this win to Android as you have more control than a rooted IPhone because of the OS). Customization options on the android are pretty slick.

First thing to notice on android, is its intuitive, and easy to use.  Navigation is easy and simple, they even have a “intro” widget that will guide you through the basics, such as finding applications, adding shortcuts to the main screen.

There is a fundamental different thought that should be noted, on an IPhone, your apps are listed on the screen where as Android has a drawer, and you have the option of adding shortcuts to the screen.

The Android market has a good selection of  apps to suite most of your requirements.  A lot of companies are starting to see the light and offer both Android and IPhone apps.  There are however someone people going for biggest bang for their buck and will only provide an IPhone app.  Typically these are more related to specific services, and not tasks.  An example of this is instagram,  they only offer an IPhone app, but there are other alternatives ( such as Retro Camera ) that will accomplish most of the same things.

As for the hardware, the camera on the Nexus S, is very comparable to the one from the IPhone 4, the screen isn’t as pixel perfect ( but uses less battery as well.

I have to say one thing that i really appreciate about the Nexus S, the SD partition mounts like a normal removable media device.  You don’t need to be tied to ITunes, or anything else.  Which makes it simple for adding/removing music pictures, videos, ring tones, etc.

Overall, for people fitting my profile( slightly more geeky, wanting an easy to customize platform without voiding warranty by rooting ) i definitely suggest the Android.

Real Shaving Company : Step 1 : Hot Towel Mask

RealShaving Co. Hot Towel Mask Bottle from realshaving.com

About the product:

This is the second RealShaving Co. product that I am reviewing.  It is still part of the “Step 1” range that makes up the “Pre-Shave” routine, preparing your bread, and skin for the actual shave.  This product is designed to soften the hair about to be shaved by warming the hair, and moistening the whiskers.  This is also the second product of this “type”, the other being Gillette’s Thermal Face Scrub.  I could not get a decent picture of the sample bottle( being a small bottle and me not having a decent enough camera, and since this product is one of the few of the RealShaving Co. products NOT sold in my area, I grab the picture from their website ( sorry for the men’s health picture with it.  I don’t usually like doing promotion for things i don’t personally endorse.

The Good:

My opinion of this product was a surprise to myself.  I was less than impressed with the Gillette thermal scrub i had tried a few months back.  So I didn’t have very high expectations going into trying this product.  My experiences had been less than stellar.  So you can imagine my surprise when i find myself really enjoying this product.  The premise of a thermal mask, is to heat up your beard to make the bristles softer, hence easy to cut through with your razor.

The application of this product is pretty straight forward, simply wet your face, squeeze out some of the product into your hands and then rub onto the wet area of your face.  You will almost instantly feel the warming sensation, and with the pumice like texture, it will easily remove any dead skin at the same time.

This product offers a nice alternative if you don’t shave after a shower.  Instead of keeping a hot face towel to soften your beard first, this product works really well.

The Bad

Well there here are the bad parts, for me anyways.  First, sometimes the pumice like substance tends to stick to your face when rinsing.  Be sure to rinse properly because if you miss one, you’re going to see some blood.  Second , the product isn’t available locally, after some quick research the product doesn’t seem available anywhere.  RealShaving Co?  any comments?  The product works really well, does exactly as advertised.  It offered a better than the experience i have with another competitive product in the same category.

Overall

I really enjoyed using this product, and would love to add to my regular routine, but can’t find the product anywhere, online or in a brick and mortar store.

 

For more information I encourage you to look up the Real Shaving Company and their products

website: http://www.realshaving.com/
twitter: @realshavingUS / @realshavingUK