Tuesday, April 29, 2008

NLL first round picks

I made my predictions for the first and second rounds of the NHL playoffs, so it's time to make my predictions for the NLL playoffs as well.

  • Buffalo over Philly — Iannucci is the real deal, Snider is a monster on face-offs and loose balls, and Philly got some great goaltending from Blazer and Miller in the Toronto game the other day, but they did almost lose to a Rock team that didn't make the playoffs and didn't have Ryan Benesch playing for some crazy reason. The game is in Buffalo, and the crowd there will be really loud, which the Bandits thrive on. This will be a good game though, and some friends and I will be heading to Buffalo to catch it.
  • Minnesota over New York
  • San Jose over Portland — Colin Doyle had a great season for San Jose and always steps it up in the playoffs. We saw it time and again when he was with the Rock. The guy hasn't won three Championship Game MVP awards for nothing.
  • Colorado over Calgary

Update: I nailed the Buffalo-Philly game. I did go to the game last night, and Iannucci was the real deal (4 goals), Snider was a monster on face-offs (winning 28 of 30, though the vast majority were simply conceded by the Bandits), Blazer and Miller did play well, and the Buffalo crowd was very loud. Oh, and the Bandits did win.

Second update: That was all I nailed. New York took out Minnesota, Calgary beat Colorado, and Portland stunned San Jose this evening, so I'm a dismal 1 for 4 in the first round. Second round begins this Friday, so more predictions coming soon...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Bonds a Blue Jay?

Frank Thomas was released by the Jays last weekend after a dismal start. Now some people are advocating that the Jays sign Barry Bonds as their new DH. While he's a better hitter than Thomas (in fact, he's a better hitter than many of the Jays), I think this would be a colossally bad move for the Jays. Sure they'd get a lot of press for it and attendance might increase, but the effect on the clubhouse might be devastating. Bonds is not known for his friendliness, and he's widely known as one of the least team-oriented players around. According to Rick Reilly, formerly of Sports Illustrated, when Bonds was with San Francisco, he skipped the team photo, didn't work out with the team, didn't travel on the same bus as the the team, and didn't eat with the rest of the team. Do the Jays, or any other team, need a DH badly enough to accept that kind of a primadonna?

I think the fact that Bonds has been a free agent since last September and nobody has signed him speaks volumes.

Impossible advice

I recently upgraded my home computer from Windows 2000 to XP, and now it has this annoying habit. Whenever I plug my iPod in to sync / charge, it tells me "Hey! You just plugged a high-speed USB device into a low-speed USB port! If you were to plug it into a high-speed USB port, you'd get better performance. Click here to list the high-speed USB ports available." But when I click there, it tell me that I don't have any high-speed USB ports on my old clunker of a computer. So Windows knows that I don't have a high-speed USB port, yet every time I plug my iPod in, it tells me I should use one.

I need to look for a registry entry called AnnoyUserByAdvisingThemToUseAHighSpeedUSBPortWhenThereIsntOne and set it to 0. Though the way Microsoft does things, it would likely be an undocumented "StopAnnoyingUser..." setting that doesn't exist, and I would have to create it and set it to 1.

Update: If you go to device manager and find the USB driver and go to Properties, there's a checkbox on there somewhere saying "Don't display USB errors". Check that and the message goes away. Of course, if I get a different USB-related error, I won't see it either, but that doesn't happen often anyway.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Second round picks

I was 6-2 in my opening round playoff predictions, missing only the Washington-Philly and Anaheim-Dallas series. Now, calling Pittsburgh over Ottawa was not a real stretch, and Montreal over Boston was not supposed to be a stretch, but that series turned out to be much closer than I think anyone imagined.

Here we go with the second round picks:

  • Montreal over Philly
  • Pittsburgh over the Rangers, though I see this series going 6 or 7.
  • Detroit over Colorado
  • San Jose over Dallas — this one was difficult. Dallas must be brimming with confidence after knocking off the Ducks, but I think San Jose can still pull it off.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Rock out, roll on

For the first time in their ten-year history, the Toronto Rock will not make the playoffs this year. They had yet another mediocre season (though actually better than last year when they did make the playoffs), and have not had a season above .500 since 2005 when they won it all. Something's gotta change, and I think it should be Mike Kloepfer, the "Director of Lacrosse Operations" (why they don't just call him the General Manager like every other sports team, I don't know). He's the guy that made the Doyle for Benesch deal which I wasn't sure about at the time, but has since shown itself to be the downfall of the franchise. That may be stretching things just a bit, but not that much. This is nothing against Benesch, who I like — he is a skilled player and has scored his share of very nice goals. But Colin Doyle he ain't, and his sophomore slump this year isn't helping his case any. Maybe they thought that Kevin Fines would turn into a Doyle-type player, but before he showed whether he could or not, they traded him away as well.

Kloepfer brought Peter Lough to Toronto as a free agent, and that was a good move. Getting Cam Woods and Kasey Biernes sounded good, but neither has played as well as I had hoped (though Woods is kicking ass in the penalty minutes department). Clark didn't play Ian Rubel and then Kloepfer traded him away for nothing, and I don't understand that move at all. Rubel was no candidate for Defenseman of the Year, but he was capable and tough, and I don't understand why they didn't want to play him. He traded Rusty Kruger away for nothing. He traded All-Star defender Phil Sanderson away for nothing. The Josh Sanderson for Ratcliff trade is too recent to really consider, though it is a touch ironic that Sanderson assisted on the overtime goal that knocked the Rock out of the playoffs.

Then there's Glenn Clark behind the bench. In his two years as head coach the Rock are 11-16 with him behind the bench with one game left to play (that doesn't include the 2-2 record while he was suspended). He's not in a Paul Maurice-type situation, i.e. a good coach with crappy players, he's had some excellent players in front of him including future Hall-of-Famers Veltman and Watson, a bunch of skilled offensive players like Manning, Sanderson, Ratcliff, Benesch, Wilson, Biernes, and Shearer, and top defensemen like Phil Sanderson, Chris Driscoll (one of the most underrated players in the league), Lough, Woods, Daryl Gibson (another guy traded away for nothing), Biesel, Merrill and Rubel. Clark has also shown a tendency to fly off the handle, though he's shown a lot of restraint since that incident. The Rock's failure this year is at least partially his fault as well, but Kloepfer is the guy who made the big trade that killed the offence. I don't think Kloepfer is as bad as this guy does — he think that it's Kloepfer's fault if it rains — but the team needs a major change in the off season. Jim Veltman is retiring after this Sunday's game and losing him will hurt, so some lacrosse-savvy person needs to be brought in to do something, and probably something significant.

The Rock have a track record of not waiting long to make this kind of move. Ed Comeau took over for the legendary Les Bartley and so had some pretty big shoes to fill, but they fired him after only six games. Terry Sanderson took over and brought that 2-4 team to the playoffs, then brought them to 12-4 and the Championship the next year, but when the Rock finished 8-8 the year after that, Terry was given the hook. I guess the thinking there was "Sure, we won the Championship last year, but what have you done for me lately?"

If they don't fire Kloepfer and/or Clark after missing the playoffs for the first time ever, I will be very surprised.

Earth Day

On Saturday morning, Gail and the boys and I went over to the school with some garbage bags and spent an hour and a half picking up litter from the parking lot and gardens in front of the school. We filled three garbage bags in an hour and a half which was very satisfying but at the same time, cleaning up things like a tampon (unused), a condom (didn't bother to check if it was used), hundreds of cigarette butts and some broken beer bottles from in front of an elementary school was quite sad. We didn't do this specifically for Earth Day; we did the same thing last year on a walking trail near us.

The City of Toronto sponsored a bit anti-litter campaign for Earth Day as well. Yesterday, our friends Liisa and Richard and their kids came over and we went for a walk through our neighbourhood. We passed by a bunch of people doing the same thing in the creek; seems a local church had organized a big cleanup for Earth Day.

It hadn't occurred to me until Richard mentioned it, but he's right — when did Earth Day become nothing more than "litter cleanup day"? Originally, I thought it was about increasing public awareness on energy conservation, vanishing rainforests, endangered species, and larger environmental issues like that. I'm all for cleaning up litter, but it seems that people are thinking "I can't do anything about the rainforests, but I can pick up this pop can", and that they've done all they can do. I thought the whole idea of Earth Day was to convince people that cleaning up litter isn't all they can do.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Smart, or just lucky?

A woman in New York City gave her 9-year-old son a subway pass, $20 and some quarters and left him in Bloomingdale's, telling him to get home by himself. He made it home fine, and the woman says that this will teach him much more independence than keeping him on a leash for his whole childhood. (Note that the kid had been begging her to do this; it's not like she just sprung this on the kid one day.) I cannot imagine leaving Ryan (who's eight) alone downtown to fend for himself.

Part of me agrees with her. She's certainly got guts, not to mention confidence in her child, and in the long run this independence is a very good thing for her kid. The other part of me is thinking "If I throw a butcher knife in the air with my eyes closed and happen to catch it by the handle, does the fact that I didn't get hurt mean that it was a good idea?"

Now, this woman lives in Manhattan, so her kids have grown up in the city. If we lived in downtown Toronto, walking around downtown would be less of a big deal. And New York has an extensive public transit system, with which the kid is probably very familiar. My kids have never been on the TTC, and have only been on GO trains a couple of times, and there are no busses in Waterdown at all. So we're not really comparing apples to apples here — if my kids had grown up living in Manhattan, perhaps I might have a different feeling.

Ryan will be nine in the fall. His school is about a 20 minute walk from our house, but he does not walk to school. Now part of that is convenience — Nicky is too young (five) to let him walk, so we have to drive to the school anyway. But even if that weren't the case, there is the obvious fear of abduction, although Waterdown is a quiet little bedroom community and such a thing has never happened here (to my knowledge). I don't think he'd get lost, and I don't think he'd wander off somewhere instead of going to school. (Nicholas is different story there — he wouldn't care if he ever made it to school.) There's one major street he'd have to cross, but there are lights, a crosswalk, and a crossing guard there. I was walking to school by myself when I was his age, in fact when I was a year or two younger than he is now, although my walk was a little shorter than his. (Though strangely, I have no memory of walking with my younger sister. I wonder how she got to school?)

But am I paranoid and overprotective, or just cautious? I don't know the answer.

Toy review: PVR

There are a few TV shows that Gail and I watch when we can — some CSIs, some Law and Orders, and NCIS (and 24, when it comes back next year). We don't watch them live, we tape them. Yes, on actual video tapes. A few times, we've been watching a show and had the tape end partway through the episode. Other times I've forgotten to adjust the VCR for daylight savings time, and other times we've realized that we hadn't seen a particular show in a while, and it turned out that the show had been moved but we didn't adjust the VCR. A couple of weeks ago we were watching a particularly suspenseful episode of SVU when the tape suddenly stopped. We had run off the end of the tape with 5 minutes left in the show. That was the last straw. I got annoyed enough with myself that I called our cable provider the next day and upgraded our cable box to a PVR.

Now I should be able to simply say "record all new episodes of SVU" and it will do it. If the show changes time slots, it will adjust. If there's a special episode on a different night or a two-hour episode, we'll get it anyway. Once we have a bunch of shows taped, we can instantly look through them and see which ones we've seen or not seen, and watch them in any order we want. This is, of course, assuming I can figure out how to do this. I've set it up to record a bunch of series, but it keeps telling me that there is nothing scheduled to be recorded. I didn't get a manual with the PVR, though Cogeco is supposedly sending me one. I found a PDF online, so I've been looking at that, but I can't figure out what I've done wrong.

And I'm just starting to get used to this pausing live TV thing. We can pause for up to an hour and then fast forward through commercials, or rewind to see or hear something again.

The weird thing about the PVR is that there is no cable output. The old cable box had two coax jacks, one for input (i.e. from the cable jack) and one for output (to the VCR, which itself had a coax going to the TV). The new one doesn't have coax out, so I needed another way to connect it to the TV, and unfortunately, the VCR lost out. The TV has two inputs, but each input supports two connectors (S-Video and RCA), so I can connect FOUR different video devices. So I have the DVD and PVR on one input (if the DVD is on, its signal overrides that of the PVR) and the Wii and the iPod dock on the other (similarly, the dock overrides the Wii). But there's no easy way to connect the VCR to anything, so it's unplugged and just sitting there. Luckily, I have the fancy remote to control everything so I don't (and more importantly, Gail and the boys don't) have to remember which things have to be on and off in order to make anything work. We just press the "Watch TV" or "Watch a movie" button and it does all the right things.

This is just the coolest thing. Why I didn't get one of these PVR things a year or two ago, I don't know.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Speaking as someone who doesn't "get" techno music, this is just perfect.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sean Avery

...to grasp the most basic concept in sports: sportsmanship. What was Avery doing, counting steamboats? There's no place in pro sports for this kind of childish behaviour.

Should Avery be suspended for this? No. Should he have been penalized? I'd say 2 for unsportsmanlike conduct wouldn't be unwarranted. Should he be called out by his teammates and coaches? You bet. Will he? Not likely.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Back from the dead

My computer has returned from the dead. I wiped the system disk on Monday and installed Windows XP. My next step was going to be to connect to the internet and run Windows Update to get SP2 and then the 90+ patches since SP2, and hope that my router was enough to protect my unpatched machine from hackers while I did this. But I heard on a Security Now! about a handy tool (Note: web site is in German) that lets you download all of the available Windows patches on a machine already connected to the 'net, burn a CD, and then use that CD to install all the patches on the new system in one shot. Great idea, right? If only. I downloaded everything on my work machine, burned a CD, and brought it upstairs to the new machine. I tried it a number of times, and it just kept telling me that there was something wrong with my system. The message was in somewhat broken English, so I couldn't tell exactly what was wrong. I thought maybe it required SP2 to be installed, though I was under the impression that SP2 was part of what this tool would install. I downloaded XP SP2 on my laptop and burned a CD with that, installed that, and then tried to run the update CD again, but still nothing. So much for that idea.

I installed the old Linksys network card and it connected to the wireless network immediately. I then had to revert back to my original strategy of connecting to the net and downloading the patches through Windows Update. It downloaded zillions of patches over the next few hours, but eventually it was up-to-date.

My next challenge was iTunes. As I mentioned before, I was fully ready to have to wipe my iPod, spend hours copying directories from the old iTunes directory into the new one, and then resync everything. But a comment from cahwyguy (thanks!) pointed me at a tool called CopyTrans that would repopulate iTunes from an iPod. I first renamed my old iTunes directory as a backup, then installed iTunes and ran CopyTrans. I plugged in my iPod and it sucked down everything, though it took over 12 hours to do this. After copying the data, it then spent over an hour adding each song individually to iTunes. iTunes didn't seem to like copying the files that I had purchased from the iTunes store so I had to restore them from the backup CD I had made before. It was a long process, but when I plugged the iPod into iTunes, it synced my purchased songs again, the latest podcasts, and that was it. Snaps for CopyTrans! <snap> <snap> <snap>

Note that the version you download is the free trial version, and to get the full version you have to register. I wondered what the difference was between the two (i.e. do I need to register, or will the free version do what I want?), but there was no answer to this question on the website. Correction: there was no useful answer — this exact question appeared in their FAQ:

Q: What is the difference between the trial and the full version?
A: The trial and the full versions are the same file. The difference is that the full version has been unlocked thanks to an activation code...

OK, thanks, but that didn't answer the real question: what can the registered version do that the trial version cannot? Luckily, the nagware dialog in the program itself answered that question. In case you're interested, the free version will only copy up to 100 files. Since I had over 6000 files to copy, I had to register it, but this only cost about $10 so that was no big deal.

The machine is pretty much back now. I still have some more software to install, but the big things are there. The problems I was trying to solve in the first place (the wireless network issues) are mostly gone, but I'm still seeing network drops. For a while the other day, the network would drop, then it would reconnect again right away, only to drop again 10 seconds later. I was doing non-network stuff at the time so it didn't matter, but it must have gone on for half an hour, dropping and reconnecting repeatedly. Other times over the last couple of days I haven't seen it drop at all. I don't think it's a signal strength issue, because when it does connect, the signal strength is "very strong". I tried unplugging the cordless phone in the office to see if that was interfering, but it seemed to make no difference.

I think my next strategy for dealing with this problem is "live with it". If it gets worse I may have to alter that strategy, but I think it'll work for now.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

First Round Picks

I went 11-for-15 in my NHL playoff picks last season, so let's see if I can match that record this year:

  • Montreal over Boston
  • Pittsburgh over Ottawa — The Sens started off a very hot 25-9-4 — on a pace for an amazing 119 points over a whole season. Since January 1st, however, they have been a very mediocre 18-22-4 — on a pace for 76 points, which would have put them second last in the conference. Unless something sparks an incredible comeback, I think they'll ride that wave right out of the playoffs, probably in no more than 5 games.
  • Washington over Philadelphia — I'm starting to agree with those who say Ovechkin is the best player in the NHL.
  • New York Rangers over New Jersey
  • Detroit over Nashville
  • San Jose over Calgary
  • Colorado over Minnesota — this was a tough one. The teams' records are identical (44 wins, 38 losses) except that Minnesota stretched three of their losses out to overtime, so they got three extra points. Giving a point for a loss, even an overtime loss, is silly.
  • Anaheim over Dallas

Friday, April 04, 2008

Alfie and Mats

I saw some of Off The Record last night, and one of his guests (who kept saying "As a Leaf fan...") questioned the leadership abilities of Daniel Alfredsson. He even went so far as to call him a "punk". Two former Senators players were also on the panel, and disagreed vehemently with him, saying that Alfredsson not only called his teammates out in the locker room when necessary (which is his job as captain), but backed it up on the ice.

Maybe it's because I don't hate the Senators as most Leaf fans do, but I have nothing but respect for Alfredsson. He's obviously an excellent player, and I think he's a great captain as well. A couple of years ago when Alfredsson pretended to throw his stick into the crowd during a game in Toronto (as Mats Sundin had the week before), a lot of Toronto fans called him out, saying that it was classless or taunting or something. But Sundin and Alfredsson are friends off the ice, and I didn't see it as taunting Sundin, though maybe he was taunting the crowd (something opposing players routinely do). I thought it was kind of funny, actually.

I have a lot of respect for Sundin as well, but Alfredsson has led his team to the Stanley Cup finals, something Sundin has never done for the Leafs. Then again, it's not Sundin's fault that the Leafs management has consistently surrounded him with substandard players (OK, maybe other than Alex Mogilny). If Sundin was playing with the likes of Spezza and Heatley instead of Jonus Hoglund and Dmitri Khristich, things might have been different.

The same guy who questioned Alfie also suggested that the Leafs not bring back Sundin next year because there would be no point. While I see where he's coming from (if the Leafs do some serious rebuilding this summer, which it seems that they will be, there's no way they're going to be contending next year), I think bringing Mats back would be a good thing for the young kids that will be playing for the Leafs over the next couple of years. First off, he's their best player. Secondly, some veteran leadership for the young players is an absolute requirement when a team is rebuilding, and the Stajans and Steens and even Antropovs of the world just aren't going to do it.

Deux salles, s'il vous plait

We are trying to plan our trip to France this summer. Gail's stepmother is coming with us, and this is causing us no end of grief. That sounds wrong — it's not her fault. We're looking forward to travelling with her (and not just because she's fluent in French!), it's just the fact that there are more than four of us that's the problem.

There are zillions of hotels and B&B's in France, but most of them don't seem to like groups of more than four (and a good number don't like groups of more than two). We are finding that we need to book two rooms every night because none of these places have rooms that can hold five people. It's pretty standard for hotels over here to have rooms with two double beds, and many of these have a fold-out sofa-bed as well, or you can get a rollaway bed brought to the room. We've stayed in hotels that had two queen beds and a double fold-out sofa-bed — and these weren't the upgrade rooms. I'd be willing to sleep on the couch for a night or two if necessary, but that doesn't seem to be an option either. For our week in Paris, we're renting a two-bedroom apartment because it's cheaper than getting two hotel rooms per night. This has the advantage of having a kitchen as well, so we can buy our own baguettes and cheese and escargots and make breakfast or lunch some days rather than going out to restaurants and cafés for every single meal.

What the hell do European families of five do when they travel? Do they always get two rooms?

Maybe I could just live without the internet

I've spent the last week or so trying to save my home computer from an untimely death. Well, not that untimely, really, it is something like a 866 MHz Pentium III that's a few years old, but seeing as how we're going to France this summer, I don't really want to spend $1000 on something if I don't really have to.

The machine is running Windows 2000, and has had a Linksys wireless card for a number of years. We started out with a Linksys wireless-B router, but then I bought a DLink wireless-G router a year or two ago. The router is in the basement and this machine is on the second floor, but we've had no wireless problems to speak of.

That is, until a few months ago, when we noticed that the wireless signal would suddenly drop to nothing on that machine. Usually it would come back fairly quickly, so it was just a minor annoyance. A couple of weeks ago, I was using the computer in the morning (I remember this because I submitted our income tax returns electronically that morning), and then in the afternoon the signal dropped again, but this time it didn't come back. My work laptop and Gail's work laptop were both fine, but the computer upstairs simply couldn't see the network anymore. I tried rebooting a couple of times, but it was as if the network just vanished. I tried rebooting the router as well, no luck. Next step was to uninstall and reinstall the drivers, and after that didn't work I remembered that we had an extra wireless network card sitting around from our old computer. I switched the cards and still got nothing.

By this point, I was ready to toss the whole thing out the window, but I managed to contain myself and simply moved the computer downstairs so I could plug it directly into the router. (Imagine using a wired connection! That's so 1998.) It seemed unlikely that both the network cards would stop working, so perhaps the firmware upgrade I did on the router a couple of months ago, combined with the old network cards and the fact that the machine is running Windows 2000 all combined to form a configuration untested by the Linksys and DLink QA people. So I went to Future Shop and bought a new DLink wireless card. I made sure the card was compatible with Windows 2000 — I figured a brand new DLink card plus a DLink router with the latest firmware plus a supported operating system should mean a functional system.

I got the card home, and as soon as I opened the box, I ran into yet another problem. The quick install guide said "Do NOT install the card in the computer until the drivers are installed" but there was another piece of paper in the box that said "Install the card, then click Cancel when the Found New Hardware dialog appears, then install the drivers". So which is it — card first, or drivers first? If the piece of paper said "the quick install guide is wrong, you need to do this", then I would know that the piece of paper was added later to avoid reprinting the entire quick install guide, but there was no such message. I think I chose to install the drivers first and then the card (because that's what you had to do with the Linksys cards), and of course that didn't work. I had to uninstall everything, uninstall the card from Windows (though I didn't physically remove it), then reboot the machine and install the drivers after the card. Still nothing, so I looked on the DLink web site and downloaded the latest drivers for this card and installed those. Finally, the computer recognized the card, found the network, and seemed to have connectivity. I held my breath and unplugged the network cable, then surfed the net for the next few minutes to make sure that I was actually reading real non-cached data from the internet. I rebooted the machine at least once to make sure everything was fine after a reboot, and it was still good. I shut the machine down and brought it back upstairs. Problem solved, right? Wrong.

As you may have expected from the previous troubles, it didn't work when I got upstairs. But it wasn't that the card couldn't find the network, the computer didn't recognize the card anymore. If the card couldn't find the network, I could understand it to some extent — maybe there's some interference from the cordless phone or something, but interference wouldn't explain Windows not seeing the card itself.

I am at a loss. I have now tried three different wireless cards in this computer and none of them work. I will probably try uninstalling the drivers and card (including physically removing it) and starting over one more time, but I must say that have very little confidence. I have begun the process of copying all the important data from the C: drive over to the D: drive (which contains my iTunes library, lots of digital pictures, videos of the kids and stuff like that) to prepare for paving the C: drive and installing Windows XP on it. I briefly thought about just upgrading to XP rather than installing from scratch, but if there's something screwy in the registry or some corrupted system file that's causing all these problems, an upgrade may not fix it, so I'll format the partition before installing the new OS. I've already vacuumed the dust out of the computer and run a low-level disk maintenance utility to make sure the disk itself is OK. It is possible, however, that the real problem is on the motherboard or the PCI slots or something, in which case the re-install will be fruitless. If we still have no wireless network after I'm all done, then it will all have been for nothing and then I'll have to buy a new machine. Or just live with a computer that's not connected to the internet. Rrrrrrrriiiiight.

I'm also a little worried about reinstalling iTunes — I'm pretty much expecting iTunes to wipe my iPod completely and then have to resync all 60+ GB of music and video. I've already backed up my iTunes purchases to CD, so all I should have to do there is put the CD in and click "Restore". As for the rest of the CDs, I'm hoping that I can just point iTunes at my current directory and have it recognize it or import it, but I don't think it works like that. At worst, I should be able to create a new iTunes directory and then drag & drop all 500+ albums from the old one. It will be a slow process, but not as slow as having to go through all my CDs again and re-rip them. If that happens, I will be very put out.

If I end up having to wipe the disk and reinstall the OS, I won't be doing that until early next week. If you, dear reader, have any suggestions, feel free to leave me a comment.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Welcome Lewis, b'bye Josh

I'm going to miss my first Toronto Rock home game in over six years this weekend. Gail's dad turns 65 on Saturday, and so we're going up for a visit. Since I got Rock season tickets in 2000, the only home game I've missed was one game in December of 2002. We were on a Carribbean cruise at the time, and had scheduled it in December because we knew the lacrosse season started in late December. That was the one year that the league decided to start the season early.

And so I will miss the Rock debut of Lewis Ratcliff, who was traded from Calgary at the trading deadline for Josh Sanderson (some draft picks were thrown in there too). For the most part, I will miss watching Josh on the offense — he's one of the best playmakers in the game, and holds the league record for assists in a season. In fact, I believe he holds second place on that list as well. He can score some pretty goals as well, make no mistake, but he is known for setting up players, and is was kind of the point guard of the Rock. However, he's not a great defender at all, so if he gets caught on a fast break and can't get off the floor, he's a liability. I did get quite frustrated with his lack of hustle as well — you almost never see him running full out, and on the transition to defense, he's almost always the last guy off the floor. He's probably the smallest guy in the league (5'7", 160 lbs), making him pretty useless at setting picks; big defenders just run over him without noticing that he was even there.

Ratcliff, on the other hand, is 6'1" and 200 pounds and is a pure scorer. He might give back to the Rock what we lost in Colin Doyle, and that's someone who can power through the defense instead of trying to finesse around them. People have called Ratcliff a selfish player who would rather take a low-percentage shot himself than pass, but he's got more assists than Sanderson this year, and that's without Tracey Kelusky playing.

I see this as a fairly even trade that might be good for both teams.