Sunday, June 30, 2013

First Revamped Goals Review

Kicking off the second half of the year I've adjusted my goals for this year down to four.  This is my first goal review with the renewed goals.

  1. Learn Greek
  2. Gold Commissioner JtE
  3. Get a New Job
  4. Quarterly Dates 
 First, I'm working on expanding my flashcard pack.  I'll have over 400 words in the pack when I'm done.  I'm going to have to get serious about setting mid-term goals and benchmarks.

Second, my biggest concern is making sure we have enough commissioners.  I haven't really worked on recruiting this week, but I have been working some issues that, if resolved correctly could help, if resolved incorrectly will be very damaging for sure.  These issues are top of my list for this category right now.

Third, I've been learning some new things and have scheduled a tour, so I am working this goal, but there are no prospects right now. 

As a sort of side note to this, I found out this week that I can NOT transfer any of my Post 911 GI Bill to anyone.  I had to have done it while still active in the Guard, and after 2009.  I retired in 2007 so that was never really an option and I found out this week that I can't go back unless they call me back.  I had been under the impression that I could become active again if I needed to.  Since that option is off the table I have to make a renewed effort to use that benefit myself for school.  After April, 2020 I won't be able to use it either.

Last but not least at all, are dates.  We have not had one and we don't have any plans right now, but we are talking about it.

This wasn't a very exciting report, but reporting keeps me honest.

I think my next post will be a bit more exciting.  I'm going to go on a rant about the use of the word, "scrum"  by sports broadcasters when they are describing something other than Rugby.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Congratulations and Moving Forward

First I had to put this.

That's nice, isn't it?  Let's just savor that for a moment.

I've let it sink in for a day and it is really nice.  My eldest went to the store yesterday to buy blank tee shirts to make us all Blackhawk championship shirts.  She is actually very good at that sort of thing.

I promised myself after 2010 that if the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup again I would learn to in-line skate and how to play hockey.  I'm not sure when I'm going to start that, but it will probably be soon.  I just hope it's not too hard to learn.

I wanted to share another thing with you.  Now a-days they call them memes.  I think of them more as motivational images.  I had one years ago of a closeup of what looks like a Rugby ruck and the caption is Jack Dempsey's quote, "A champion is someone who gets up even when they can't."  I loaned it to my Father when he was battling cancer.  I was reminded of this sort of thing the other day so I put this together:
Way to go, you Hawks!

Here is my Stanley Cup story.  For Game 6 we were at home and put the game on fairly early in the first period.  The Bruins looked like they had fire in their eyes, a desperation that the Blackhawks were just not matching.  The Hawks looked hesitant, slow and not too interested in really getting into it physically or with speed.  Then Boston scored and I thought to myself, "This is going to Game 7."

I didn't want to see the Blackhawks wimp around so I went down to the basement to work on some stuff.  I could still hear my older two in the family room whenever something important happened.  When I had to I walked through the house.  Some of the things I had to do required me to move from the basement to the first floor and to the upstairs. 

Mrs. Prop was in our bedroom watching with our youngest.  She would change the channel when things got too tense and/or at commercials.

I did see the first Blackhawks goal, the Toews goal where he took it from the faceoff and pretty much single handedly drove down and stuffed it right between Rask's legs in the 5 hole.  He did it right in front of everybody.  They say the way to beat top line goalies is to not let them see it coming.  They can't stop what they can't see, but Rask saw that coming all the way and there was just something about the way Toews did it that he could not stop.

I had a sort of feeling that I didn't really recognize until yesterday.  At that point I realized that Jonathan Toews would not let this game end in regulation with a loss.  The Blackhawks were not going to lose in regulation that night.  He was going to win it or at least keep it tied into overtime.

It was still too much to take, too much to watch directly.  I had to keep watching from the fringes.

I was upstairs doing something and saw the Bruins' score their second goal.  My oldest screamed, "No!" for a minute, but I also saw how the Blackhawks were skating so much better, with a better sense of urgency and purpose.  I was worried that it would go to a Game 7, but I also thought that they would probably tie it up again.

Eventually it got to be time to get ready for bed.  I still had to get up at 3:00.  I went upstairs with about three and a half minutes left.

I talked to Mrs. Prop for a bit.  I mentioned that there was plenty of time to tie the game again, but not enough time to get the winning goal and then went into the bathroom to brush my teeth.  I closed the door.

You know how long it takes to brush your teeth?  It only takes about two minutes.  I heard my youngest make a little squeaking sound.  A few seconds later I heard Mrs. Prop say something like, "Holy shit!"

I figured that the Blackhawks had indeed tied the game again.  After all, how could they score two goals in that time?  If they had scored the winning goal wouldn't I have heard my very loud teens screaming and yelling?

I finished brushing and came out of the bathroom.  Mrs. Prop had already changed the channel to "Criminal Minds" or something.  I said, "What was the noise I heard; a scary movie?"  They said that it was.

I got into bed and they asked me to plug my ears and close my eyes.  I know now that they were checking to see if the third goal held.  Then she told me that they had won.

I said, "What, how, who?"  but the other two came charging up cheering.  I had to wait to watch them hand around the Cup for a while before they showed any replay and I found out what had happened.  In less time than it takes to brush your teeth the Chicago Blackhawks had gone from losing Game 6 to winning the Stanley Cup.

Which puts me in mind of this:

I have to hand it to the Boston Bruins.  They are a heck of a team.  If they hadn't been playing against my Chicago Blackhawks, I'd have been rooting for them.  I like smashmouth football.  I don't like the passing all the time, glamor, flash, all offense all the time football.

The Bruins play smashmouth hockey.  Their success is driven by tight team play delivered aggressively and hard.  I know the city of Boston was really looking forward to an emotional lift after the struggles and pain of the Marathon Bombings.

In the end the Blackhawks played just as tough as Boston did, but the Chicago Blackhawks played with toughness and skill, speed and flash.  Boston ended up having to resort to brutality.

The Blackhawks were the better team, the tougher team and they are my team.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Growing Hockey (and Hawkey) Fan

I am becoming more and more of a fan of hockey.

I'll admit I jumped on the band wagon in 2010.  I had  been watching the playoffs that year casually, but what really sealed the deal for me was when Duncan Keith got his teeth knocked out and only spent a short time out of the game before returning.  When I heard that I said, "I have GOT to watch this game."

I have been to one Hawks game.  When I was very young (probably about eight) my cousin took us to a game and we sat in the corner right up against the glass.  This would have been about 1974-75.  I had no idea what was happening but I was thrilled by the big men slamming against the glass and the Gino's East pizza we had after the game.

Despite this I never got into ice hockey as a youth.  We weren't too big on watching sports at our house anyway.  We watched the Bears, but not really anything else.  We were always outside playing, mostly football.

We were a fairly rough and tumble bunch.  If we weren't playing football, we were playing dodgeball (usually our own invented brand that we called Tron, using Frisbees) or floor hockey.  I even got stitches playing floor hockey.

I never played anything more organized than intramural softball (16 inch, and only because that was the only intramural sport we had) and a season of floor hockey in the park.  Everything we played was sandlot or in the church basement at Boy Scouts.

We did love watching the Bears.  When we played sandlot football I tried to run like Walter Payton and tackle like Dick Butkus.  Walter never ran out of bounds, he ran his would be tacklers out of bounds.  I loved that sort of gutsy, hard hitting play.  I loved watching Butkus drive ball carriers into the ground.  I never saw either of them get into a fight.

That brings me to the first reason I never got into ice hockey, the fights.  It seemed, at least to me, that back in the 70s and 80s there were a lot of fights in hockey.  There was a joke about going to a fight where a hockey game broke out.  I hate that.  In a hard hitting sport I don't know why anyone ever needs to fight.  It spoils the game and there is no reason for it. 

The second reason was that the Blackhawks never made it easy to watch them.  I never knew when they were on or what channel.  Eventually they had their own private channel that you would have to subscribe to.  You could not watch them in Chicago for free.

Even if I could have watched them when would I have had time to watch that many games?  There were just too many games to keep track of.  I feel the same way about baseball.  Baseball's sin of lethargy on top of that means I will never warm to that, but with hockey I'm beginning to see how I might be able to work around it.  I especially liked this year's shortened season.

The last reason I never got into hockey was because I could never play it, not ice hockey at least.  Even when we played floor hockey you couldn't emulate your favorite players, the Bobby Hulls, the Stan Mikitas, the Tony Espositos, the Denis Savards, the Daryl Sutters, Chris Chelios', the Jeremy Roenicks.  I knew all those names, but I didn't really watch them play because I didn't feel the need to study them so I could learn how to play like them.  I knew I would never be able to even imitate that play.

I've overcome that.  Now that I'm old enough to realize that there are just some things I'm never going to do, I can appreciate someone doing something that I will never be able to do. let alone top.

The NHL has gotten away from fighting (at least there is less than I remember) and the Blackhawks are not a brutal team anyway.  With the style they play it is in their best interest to keep the game moving and use their speed and skill.  I love that.

Also, as bad a my knees keep getting (I hurt my left knee just playing 45 minutes of tennis yesterday) I need to find a low / no impact cardio activity to pick up.  Skating seems like just the thing to try.

I also have another forever memory of ice hockey and of some of these Blackhawks.  When my Dad was sick we watched the Olympics together when I was over at his house.  I remember watching the Gold Medal Ice Hockey game between the USA and Canada.  There were Blackhawks on both sides.  I'll never forget watching that game with my Dad.

So now I'm watching the games.  I'm trying to learn the sport.  I'm learning the names and numbers and styles.  I've looked into other teams (gasp) to see what they are like.  I casually watch whatever hockey is on when I have a free moment and a fleeting control of a TV.  I'm talking about it at work.  I'm nervous about how games will turn out.

I like these current Blackhawks.  I love how they started this season.  I like that they won the President's Trophy.  I have been watching them casually since 2010 and was genuinely disappointed when it looked like this season might not happen.  I know what the new alignment will look like and bemoan the loss of the Redwings in our division.  I'm even thinking about getting tickets to some Wolves games, both to see the Wolves (which I have done a few years ago and had a great time) and to see the Rockford Ice Hogs.  I want to see the if I can watch some rising star.

Go you Blackhawks.  Take the attack, yeah, I'll back you Blackhawks.

Καλό Καλοκαίρι! Happy Summer!

Wow, Greek again.  That is indicative of my renewed efforts.  I think the only major goal I'm going to have for 2014 is to learn Greek.  I'm going to have to get serious about this.  It has been going on far too long for me to not know it better.

I rode my bike to work four days this week.  That's the most in one week so far this year and I finally hit 25 commutes.  That's very far off the pace I set two years ago when I rode my bike to work over 75 times (that's about 1/3 the workdays in a year and several hundred dollars of savings in fuel alone).  I got rained on very much yesterday and a little earlier in the week.

Let me review my goals:

  1. P90X - done
  2. Learn Greek - behind
  3. Quarterly Dates - No dates so far this year.
  4. Get a New Job - I've been checking the job boards, but haven't found anything yet.
  5. Get Girl Scout Training - done
  6. Gold Commissioner JtE - working on it.  I have to, others are depending on me, especially scouts.
  7. Fortnightly History Podcast - Although I'm far behind in my original schedule,  I've been reading up on Chicago History and podcasting.  I set up my podcasting equipment in anticipation of recording a podcast and of recording the guidebook for the Chicago Lincoln Avenue Trail, but I'm having some trouble getting it to work right.  I think I'm going to tank this as a goal because I need to work on the CLAT more and the others.
  8. Learn the Trees  - I am going to put Learning the Trees and Participate in an Archaeology activity on hold for this year.  By not fretting over these I think I can concentrate on my Greek studies.
  9. Participate in an Archaeology Activity
  10. Join a Club - We'll see.  If it helps to concentrate on Greek to skip this one too, then I will.
For the second half of the year here are my goals in order of importance:
  1. Learn Greek
  2. Gold Commissioner JtE
  3. Get a New Job
  4. Quarterly Dates
Four goals, six months.  Think I can do it?

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Καλό Μήνα Ιούνιος

Good Month, June!

Just finished watching the Blackhawks win game 2 against the LA Kings.

Today was the final day of Exercise Across Abbott, and I did more exercise each week for four weeks.  I think our whole team did, so we get tee shirts.  It was mostly on the strength of riding my bike to work most days of the week.

I checked the job board, but it was empty (no jobs in my area).

I have fallen behind in my working on The Chicago Lincoln Avenue Trail, which is tied into my history podcast.

I am also woefully behind on my studying Greek.  I will have to redouble my efforts in June.

Once I get caught up with something I have to do for the Lincoln Avenue Trail I have something special in mind for this blog.  I found some interesting writing exercises that I will share with you.  I'll share my efforts in the exercises as well.