Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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NaBloPoMo – Day 29 – Playing D

" Go Habs Go "A few weeks back, I had to play defence in my hockey game. I usually play forward and haven’t really ever played defence1 and quite honestly, I find the notion of it a bit scary. It’s too much pressure! You are responsible for stopping the people on the other team from taking shots! And if they score, you feel bad. Playing forward, on the other hand, is all about the glory. Scoring goals or making a beautiful pass so that your linemate can score a goal – all about the glory.

Of course, I realize that hockey is a team game and even when I’m playing forward, I can screw up and feel like it’s my fault if the other team scores2. When the defence3 from the other team that you are supposed to be checking gets away from you and scores a goal – you feel bad! When you can’t get the puck out of your own end and the other team scores, you feel bad! But overall, I feel like the pressure is more on the D. So I’ve always steered clear of it.

However, one of my teams this year is a bit short on players who play D on the roster, so, depending on who shows up for a given game, occasionally some of us forwards have to go back on D for a game. And a few weeks ago, it was my turn. It was against a really strong team (they got moved up a division a few games later because they were winning so much in our div) and someone suggested I should play D because I’m a strong skater (which was a really great compliment! I feel like I’ve worked a fair bit on my skating over the past few years, so it’s nice to know that it’s helped!) and I knew I was going to have to work my butt off! And also have to figure a lot of things out on the fly – when I play my usual position (left wing or centre), I can go a lot on instinct since I’ve done it for so many years. But as D I really have to think about where I’m supposed to be and what I’m supposed to be doing! So much pressure!

Anyway, I actually thought it was a good experience, because playing defence gave me a totally different perspective on the game. I was able to experience the game from the D’s point of view and it helped me see how I can be a better forward. Often defence will tell us that in our own end, when the D get control of the puck, make sure to get open, keep moving, give them someone to pass to. It’s no use passing the puck to someone who is standing still, right next to an opposing player who is poised to swoop in and grab that puck, so the forwards need to get moving! And while that makes perfect sense, it’s one thing to hear someone say that, and it’s a totally different thing to experience being that D who has the puck and there’s no one to pass it to to get the play going in the other direction. And then to experience when the forwards are moving to the open ice, ready for the pass, and the you see how much of a difference it makes. It was so useful to see from the D’s point of view how the game unfolds when the forwards are doing different things and it really makes it real what you need to be doing as a forward. So in the end, I’m actually really glad I played that game as defence – I think I’m a better forward for having done it.

I’m pretty sure there’s an analogy in here to life – how it’s really worthwhile to see things from someone else’s perspective once in a while. Maybe even someone who is very different from you. How you can learn something about what their experience is like and maybe even learn something about yourself. But it’s past my bedtime and thus too late for me to get into such deep thoughts, so I’ll leave it up to you, dear readers, to give it some thought!

Image Credit: Posted by Guy Mayer on Flickr with a Creative Commons license.

  1. Other than in the 10 day long hockey game when everyone just played wherever position because we only had one sub at any given time, but playing was more just like trying to survive on the ice for *another* four-hour shift. []
  2. As we like to say on the ice, the puck has to get past all 5 of us before it ever gets to the goalie! []
  3. So it has just occurred to me that we sometimes call the defensive players “defencemen” – I usually use just “defence” because I play in an all-womens’ league, but  “defence women” just sounds weird to me. But it’s just occurred to me that we never say “forward men”. It’s just “forward”. You say “centremen” on occasion, but far more often you just say “centre.” But you never ever say “forwardmen.” I wonder why that is? []

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IT is not my friend. Or is it?

I’m not talking about my iliotibial (IT) band, nor am I talking about the monster from the Steven King novel1. I’m talking about information technology. Which seems to have had my number recently. I think this whole IT being a problem thing actually started last Thursday, when I ordered a pizza online and when it didn’t arrive after a long, long time, I called the pizza place and apparently their computer had crashed and they hadn’t bothered to reboot it, so my order was there, but they didn’t know it ’til I called and they went “oh, I guess we should reboot our computer”. And I ended up with a later pizza than I wanted, though I did get it for half price!

Crick on a pizza box

While not happy the pizza was late, Crick was satisfied with the pizza box as a new place for sitting.

The next morning I awoke happy that I was able to work from home today, but then discovered that my wifi was not working, though a reboot of the modem fixed that issue. Much more concerning, however, was that my work laptop would not start. The power button light came on, but the screen was just blank. I tried turning it off and turning it on again, the universal fix for computer problems, but that didn’t help.

Props to my friend Steven for finding that clip on YouTube!

The first few times I tried holding the power button to shut it down and then holding the power button to turn it on, I saw a flash of the ThinkPad logo for a fraction of a second, but after a few attempts, I couldn’t even see that.

I tried plugging it into my monitor in my home office, in case it was just the display, but that didn’t work – my monitor just showed me a blue screen. (In fairness, I’ve never plugged my work laptop into my home monitor before so had no idea if it is just that they aren’t compatible with one another2. ).

I was doing this while on a series of conference calls. Thankfully, my home laptop was working so I was able to check my emails and calendar and whatnot with that so that I knew things like what the teleconference number was and getting the emails about why everyone else missed one of the calls and what time we could reschedule the call.

Eventually I decided that doing the same thing over and over again was not getting me different results, so I emailed the IT guy from my office, who suggested that I turn it off and turn it on again3 When I informed him I had tried that, he told me about a reset hole that you stick a paper clip in to do a reset, which I didn’t know my laptop had and though it didn’t work, at least I know about that for future reference.

So he suggested that I bring the computer by the office for him to look at. So much for me getting to work at home! And off I went to my office to drop it off. Our schedules unfortunately did not match up so I couldn’t actually meet up with him – I could be at the office by 1 pm after finishing my conference calls, but would have to leave by 2 pm to get to another appointment, whereas he had another meeting that meant he couldn’t get to my office until 2 pm.

Anyway, I got to the office and decided to try plugging into the dock there and lo and behold the damn thing worked, albeit only showing stuff on the external monitor! So apparently the problem is with the laptop screen not working, rather than the computer as a whole. I still left it there for the IT guy to see if he can figure out what the deal is – he emailed this morning to say that he had to send it in for repairs, so it will be *at least* 10 business days before I get it back. My office was able to provide me a loaner laptop for that time, but now I have none of my bookmarks, my browser add-ons, or my various other settings for stuff I do every day.

The other – minor by comparison – IT annoyance was that I’m not able to use my credit union’s deposit-a-cheque-by-taking-a-photo-of-the-cheque-with-my-smartphone option to deposit royalty cheques from my publisher because it is a US company and you can only do that with Canadian cheques. So today I had to go to an actual credit union branch, like Neanderthals used to.

As I was reflecting on my IT woes, I thought about this bit by Louis CK:

And really, when I think about it, the vast majority of my technology worked flawlessly during this time (and most days). I was able to work from home for most of Friday because my own laptop worked fine (as did the modem after a quick turn-it-off-turn-it-on-again), my smartphone allowed me to keep up with emails while I took the driver-less Skytrain (which I paid for by swiping my Compass card, which automatically reloads itself when my balance dips below a certain amount so that I never run out of transit fare) to my office, which I accessed by swiping my fob, and then I dropped off my laptop, the repairs for which will be taken care of my IT guy, who responded pretty much immediately upon my sending him an email. And now I have a fully functioning loaner laptop for work while my main laptop is being repaired. Most fortunately of all, I had just backed up all my files onto an encrypted thumb drive on Thursday4,5, which I did after a co-worker lost a bunch of files when her laptop died and she’d been saving stuff on her laptop’s drive rather than the network drive. I have an iPhone, an iPad, a laptop, and a television, all of which connect to all of the information ever via The Internets. My car tells me when it’s time for an oil change, my alarm clock updates itself automatically to account for Daylight Saving Time6, and my washing machine can tell how dirty my clothes are. I can email money instantly to family and friends from my phone, I don’t have either a home phone or cable TV because I can get everything I need through the my smartphone and the Internet, and I have a contraption that will feed my kitties at whatever time I set it for so that I can work a 15-hour day without having to come home for cat feeding duties7.

So, yeah, I think maybe I’ll give IT a break here and be thankful for all the modern conveniences I have rather than being upset when one of them doesn’t work perfectly at all times!

  1. Though both of those things would be good guesses for things that might not be my friend. []
  2. Spoiler alert: It was just that they weren’t compatible, for some unknown reason. []
  3. In fairness to him, I’m sure that many people call him without trying that. []
  4. I’m not able to back my files up on a network drive due to a peculiarity of my work situation where I technically work for a research centre, but am mostly at a project office, and my research centre-owned laptop does not play nice with the project office network. []
  5. I also store the most up-to-date copies of my most important files on a SharePoint site that I share with my business analyst. Fortunately, none of the files I have as of yet contain any confidential information, so I’m able to do this. []
  6. Yes, I still use an alarm clock instead of just using the alarm on my iPhone. I’m a Luddite. []
  7. OK, maybe that last one isn’t so great! []

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Poor Zaphod Again

So I was driving home from the dentist tonight and was quite shocked to see a *giant* crack in the windshield of my beloved Zaphod Beeblebrox the Car. Like, *giant.* I know for certain that it wasn’t there in the morning when I scraped the ice off my windshield because, well, I was looking right at my windshield, and I didn’t notice it when I was driving to the dentist’s office and given how big it is, I don’t see how I could have not seen it. My best guess is that there was some sort of a rock chip that I didn’t see and the combination of the cold outside and the heat to defog it on the inside made it crack  ((it was too dark for me to get a close look at it by that point, so I’ll have to examine it more closely in the morning)). As I drove to the produce store, which is where I was headed after the dentist, I saw the crack proceed to grow across my windshield. My initial thought, for a split section, was “this kinda sucks.” But then I *immediately* thought, “Eh, there are worse things that can happen in life. I’ll deal.” And I was surprised at myself. Usually it’s so easy to think “oh woe is me! The world is out to get me!” I mean, when I discovered that someone had scraped my car back when I first got it, I was very upset for days. For days1!! So to find myself just letting this go really took me aback. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen a lot of people who really have bad things going on in their lives – I mean, today alone I heard about the death of a family member of one person that I know *and* that a family member of another person I know is very, very, very sick; and as everyone in the Vancouver blogging world knows, Derek will not be with us for much longer – so maybe that puts my very small “problems” into perspective. I mean, given what other people are going through… and all I have to do is take my car into the shop?  I’m pretty much living on easy street.

Poor Zaphod - cracked windshield!

As you can see, Zaphod's boo boo is quite extensive. Poor Zaphod.

 

Does anyone happen to know if I make an ICBC claim for a cracked windshield, will the cost of my insurance go up?

  1. first world problem, much?? []