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Archive for 2009

Happy birthday, Child Two!

Although I recently covered Child Two’s mathematical triumph, here’s evidence I wasn’t making it up. Here’s more.

Still champions (of the west)

We played JSH, the champions of Hockey Montreal’s Novice B East League on Sunday. We had played them in a tournament in January, losing in a shootout.

The first period ended 0-0, but they probably had the edge in play. The second period was all ours and we took a 1-0 lead. The period ended as we had a two-man breakaway crossing their blue line.

Normally, our games progress without interruption but for the playoffs, the zamboni cleans the ice after the second. We had time to sit in the dressing room and plot strategy for the third. Unfortunately, our opponents could also take advantage of that opportunity. They came out stronger. Our boys started back on their heels and never recovered. We lost 2-1. Child Three played superbly – but so did the other goalie.

I think the big victory to win the Western League took a little wind out of our sails, but no matter. We all had smiles at the end of a great season.

We had another nervy moment last night. I use a little FM device that lets me listen to my iPod on my car’s FM radio. By “my iPod”, I mean Child One’s specially engraved gift iPod. I never leave it in the car but stick it in a pocket and take it with me.

Last night, I went shopping with the two younger kids, and the iPod. on the way back to the car, I too out my keys and discovered the iPod was missing from my jacket. We retraced our steps all over the giant Loblaw’s but didn’t find it. The smile on the kid at customer service revealed that he felt the same way I did about the possibility that someone would turn in an iPod they found in the store. Regardless, I left him my card and he promised to staple it to a note. He cautioned me that there was little hope, and I agreed – but some hope is better than none.

Back at my car, the guy parked next to me was pulling out of his spot. His withdrawal revealed more and more asphalt and there it was! The iPod had fallen out of my pocket right next to my car and hadn’t been run over by the guy who was pulling out.

Lesson learned: don’t put the iPod in a waist pocket of a jacket. Pants or breast pockets only.

Bonus April Fool fun:

Netsurfer Digest used to track all the great online April Fool hoaxes. While I’m less diligent about that, I am impressed with two of Google’s efforts. Check out Gmail Autopilot and the panda-loving CADIE.


This morning at 9:00, the NDG’s two Novice B teams faced off for the championship of the Hockey Montreal Western League.

The Panthers had beaten us 4-2 earlier in the playoffs, but we climbed into the final game with a solid 3-0 victory over the Ahuntsic Chiefs.

The Panthers had only lost one game this year – in a shootout, to us. We’d also tied them during the regular season.

This morning, our boys played their best game of the season. We dominated the game, territorially, in shots, in saves. We played better positional hockey, which got us up 1-0 on an end-to-end rush and 2-0 on a nice shot to the corner of the net. Down 2-0, the Panthers stopped playing as a team and started to press. That allowed our boys to control enough of the game and add a big goal to make the final score 3-0.

Elvi had our new video camera, but got a little confused so early in the morning about what red and green lights mean with respect to recording. We have two periods’ worth of video of the breaks after whistles and before faceoffs. She did get the third period on tape, and there were other camcorderers at the game, so with any luck I will be able to slap together a DVD of the entire game.

Tomorrow morning we play the Eastern League champions for the city crown.


In my reporting of my children’s activities, I have a bias for Child Three because I participate with him in his sports. Here’s some news of the girls.

The Math League is an international organization that distributes math contest to schools and grades the responses. The elementary school that Children Two and Three attend usually does well in the Canadian National Math League results – but this year, the school is tops in the entire country and it’s not even close.

Helping her school to victory, Child Two scored so well (37/40) that she tied for tenth in the nation. One of her best friends tied for first (39/40). You can see the scores and school rankings here.

Child One meanwhile, makes friends in odd places. While waiting for a lift home from a movie, she plopped her self down on Ste. Catherine to read her book. Apparently, the combination of her personal style and slight figure can prompt some concern. A well-meaning adult approached her and asked if she needed any food or other help. Child One said that she was fine, and the adult took her at her word, but left her with a small medallion of Mary. The slogan reads “O Mary conceived without sin pray for us who have recourse to thee.” It’s a Catholic thing. As the punchline to my favourite vampire joke goes, “Dos vet nisht helfen.”

Child One also makes friends on the bus. According to her, a college-aged guy took out a pen, scribbled on a business card, and handed it to her before getting off the bus. The college-aged guy’s name is Kevin, he wrote to Child One “You look nice”, and he included his phone number and e-mail address. I guess he has a thing for 14-year-olds in school uniforms. Oy.

Live to play another day

Our team of Novice B boys finally played like they can and won 3-0 to advance to the league finals, which will be an all-NDG affair. I wonder where our team has hidden for the last month.

Child Three got the shutout, but seemed a little awkward on a few long slow shots early in the game. He came out to play one as an opposing player closed in. Standard goalie procedure in that case is to freeze the puck or at least send it into a corner where a defenceman can pick it up, but Child Three decided to stick-handle around the opponent, giving the entire bench the heebie-jeebies.

When he came to the bench after the period, he expressed how cool it had been to stick-handle the puck by the other kid….

We play again Saturday.

Patient status

As I related recently, my father and I took down some extra foliage: “Our intention was to remove one casuarina tree but physics got out of hand. One major branch took out the pride of the papaya trees on its way down. The base of the papaya tree split like a dropped watermelon. We tied the papaya with rope to return it upright and used electrical tape and soil to seal the split trunk and protect the spongy exposed innards. I have little hope for our patient, but recovery is not impossible.”

You can see the fallen papaya in this photo. It’s the straight gray trunk in the foreground, parallel to the ground.

My father writes with news of the recovery. The prognosis is good. Eight days post-op, our patient is sprouting new leaves and has already produced some hefty new fruit.

In the first shot, you can see our electrical-tape bandage and the loop of the rope that is keeping it upright.

Bonus hockey update:

Our boys played two decent periods of hockey last night but couldn’t make up the two-goal hole they dug themselves into in the first. We lost 4-2 and play again this morning. We need to win to force a rematch with our NDG rivals in the finals.

A big move

I’m switching Web hosts at least temporarily while my web-host friends move from the Pacific Northwest to Arkansas.

My new host is local, SurfZen, which my students will recognize as the host for my course Web sites.

My blog and Web site will remain available while the DNS changes propagate over the Net, but my blogging may appear to cease until the DNS change becomes available to you, almost certainly within five days.

If the wait is intolerable, please enjoy the following video of extreme shepherding to help ease the pain.

Au revoir!

Latest gadget

When I first learned of the Vantec NexStar external SATA drive dock at ThinkGeek, I had lust in my heart. It looks like a gleaming white toaster into which your disk drives plug like slices of bread.

It works like a charm. The box has a USB cable that plugs into your computer and it works as easily as a toaster in your kitchen. Insert your drives in the slot, set for medium brown, and push down the lever. OK, I lied about those last two steps. The NexStar is actually 2/3 easier to use than your toaster.

This wonderful device does have a few drawbacks. The two-slot model costs US$78, plus shipping on top of that. A single-slice version costs US$40 plus shipping. Furthermore, the device handles only SATA drives. While it will accept drives of multiple sizes – pulled from your desktop or your laptop computers – if you have an IDE drive, you’re out of luck.

These drawbacks sent me looking for an alternative. I found several, but none as cool as ThinkGeek’s offering. All follow the same basic schematic: a cable with a USB port on one side and a head that features multiple hard-drive ports on the other. I settled on another Vantec product, the aptly named SATA/IDE to USB 2.0 Adapter. It cost C$25.49 (about US$20) at with additional fees and handling bringing the cost to a low C$30 – and free shipping!

We have yet to put it to use, but we can’t wait! We have a pile of old drives with who knows what on them.

Bonus apology:

Sorry, Regan. I hope ThinkGeek doesn’t now totally discredit that reference letter I wrote for you.

Close one!

My early return from the islands allowed me to take my position behind the bench for our second Novice B playoff game. In my preview of the game, I wrote last week, “The next playoff round sees us host the Chiefs (no, not those Chiefs), who battled us to a 2-2 tie and then lost to us 3-2. We’ll need more goals than the lone regulation tally in the first game.”

The game was a battle without many shots through half the first period when we put one in. We tallied another early in the second period to go up 2-0.

Then the walls caved in.

Child Three made a brilliant pro-quality save on a hard riser to his glove side. He threw out his left pad in doing the splits and reached across with his trapper to deflect a sure goal into the corner. What a thing of beauty.

Unfortunately, one of our defencemen soon after coughed up the puck as he was trying to stickhandle out of the slot. Child Three was ankle-cuffed by the quick shot and the score narrowed to 2-1.

The Chiefs kept coming. Somehow, our defense gave up a two-man breakaway that resulted in a high rising goal to tie the game. We started the third period knotted at 2-2.

The first shift of the third saw a long, hard, low shot put us behind 3-2. Child Three probably should have saved that one, but he was too deep in the net – at least he knew it.

We were in a hole, but some good effort and some even better saves kept the Chiefs at bay until we tied it up. We pulled ahead with three minutes to go on a beautiful rush and pass by one of our least skilled players. Our little Frenchman took the pass and buried it in the open side of the net. Child Three had to make two game-saving stops (see the sequences below) before the buzzer sounded, but we eked out a lucky 4-3 victory.

We’ll have to play better in the semifinals against our fellow NDGers.

Bonus search of the week:

Some panicky parent found this blog with a Live Search search for “baby ate chinchilla poop“.

My fame increases incrementally

I’m the subject of an interview at Freelance Survivor, the blog of Dee-Ann Leblanc, a fellow member of the Internet Press Guild in Vancouver.

I’m home, tired and content. I volunteered to get the kids to school so Elvi could sleep in a bit, but I think I’ll head back to bed now for a little while myself.

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