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My neck is getting better every day. It is still stiff when I turn it all the way to the left or right, but at least I can turn my head without discomfort. Sleeping was a challenge when the Ibruprofin wore off and the soreness came back. However, I can now sleep through the night for the most part. I still wake up once or twice through the night though. The good thing is that I am feeling better, and I should be 100% in the next week or so.

Without any hockey to play, I have been spending all my time at home. The last few nights I get home, make dinner, watch hockey, play some video games, and then go to bed early. After the last 3 months of going to hockey 4-5 times a week, I am enjoying the extra time I have at night. I think I am going to really enjoy it over the next week and a half.

More heat and cold

Been doing heat and cold compresses all day to my neck and am really not feeling a huge difference. I am glad I have the next 2 weeks off of hockey, because if I didn’t, I would be giving my games away next week. I let my neck rest for 3 straight days and it was 50% better when I played on playoffs. That means probably 1 week without playing will probably be what it takes to make it better. In 2 weeks, I go to a big super bowl party where I will be playing tackle football (in the snow hopefully) and having a good time. The goal is to be better by then.

I had a lot of fun playing hockey over the last 3 months. The end of the season was a downer though being as that I had 3 teams in it to win a trophy and I didn’t get it done. However, it was a very successful season. One that I couldn’t have dreamed of. My return to the Copper division was a great success as I placed 3rd in goals against out of a division of 8 teams. All my other teams made playoffs and had pretty successful seasons on their own. I am really happy I took the time to play for so many teams.

However, I spent too much time playing and my body is paying for it right now. No rest in between games may have affected the way I played hockey on some of my other teams. If I was 100% on playoff day, would I have done better? Thats a good question that I will be asking myself for a while. Sure, when I was out there, I didn’t feel much discomfort. Especially since I was popping 800mg Ibruprofin through the day. I do have to look at the results and question if that injury did affect my play in some way though.

I am going to embrace the time off for these next 2 weeks and enjoy it. I am not talking about spending more time at work either. My goal is to do some project work after hours and maybe eat up a Saturday, but I want to be home. I want to spend time playing Battlefield 2, watching my NHL Center Ice package, and most importantly spending time with the wife. She has been a trooper about my hockey playing over the last 6 months. Time for me to give back a little. Today, I spent time cleaning the kitchen, making dinner, and went grocery shopping. Thats all I could really muster with my neck feeling like crap.

I do have a lot of little things to do outside of work though. Got to get my leg pads repaired a little bit, some parts on my helmet fixed, and the laces on my skates replaced. I have some openings on the teams I am playing for so I have to place some calls to get the ball rolling on that as well. Ah fun stuff!

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While all the thoughts and memories are still fresh in my head, I thought it best to post this morning about the playoffs yesterday. For the first time in over 2 years, I got 3 teams in the playoffs. Last time, I played 5 games and won 2 championships. This time, I was 0-3. Not a single win to even talk about. There were a few positives, a few irritations, and a couple negatives I want to discuss though. I guess you can call this the good, the bad, and the ugly if you want.

The Good:

  • Dekleine Builders, the 4th seeded team, played a very very strong game against the Black Dragons but lost 3-2 in OT. This team that everyone counted out from the start gave the top seeded team a run for their money the whole game. Both teams hit posts when it was tied 2-2 and played very intense hockey. I couldn’t have been more proud of this team than I was after that game.
  • Also on my list here was the Bulldogs and their captain Jeff who worked hard in our game but lost 2-0. It was Jeff’s last game in a Bulldog uniform as he will be moving to Chicago in a few short months.

The Bad:

  • The referees who awarded the Black Dragons an overtime 3-2 when it should have been a 4-3. It was a mistake, and I guess I can accept that. I can also accept the fact that when it is 3-2, there is a better chance that we could have gotten a break. It just never came to pass, and it makes me think….what if?
  • Never getting Jeff a championship before he left. I took him to the finals 2 times and the playoffs 5 times and just couldn’t get it for him.

The Ugly:

  • My play in the first period against the Slapsticks was rather poor. They got 2 questionable goals on me before they scored 4 really good ones to beat us 6-3. I keep saying that I have my strongest games in the playoffs. Today, that just wasn’t the case especially in the first game when I coughed up 2 bad goals like I did. I guess the positive spin on this was that I played solid the rest of the day and came through with some solid saves in the later games.
  • My neck is in bad shape this morning. It was already questionable yesterday, and by the end of the day, I couldn’t turn my head properly. Today, it is all tight and sore. The good thing is that I have no hockey for the next 2 weeks.

It has been a long and enjoyable session. I had a great time playing and I am already looking forward to the next season. I am planning on being on 3 teams and that is all. I was on 5 this session between ice and rollerhockey. Rancid broke up and reformed under a new team name with a different captain. My ice hockey team I dropped on my own mainly because I can’t handle the late ice times.

Now comes the 2 week period of healing and relaxation at night. No hockey for a while. I will enjoy it while it lasts.

IT Certifications, People Still Believe in Them?

As someone who does all the hiring for the IT department, I can tell you that certifications are not on the top of my list for hiring. Here is how I prioritize.

1. Experience: This trumps everything right here. How long have you worked on Windows 2000 server? Can you solve real world problems? I tend to test candidates on real world issues to see how they would react. Typically, the inexperienced people with certifications can’t answer questions like this.

2. Education: A degree from an accredited university can work wonders. Those people who have a degree have shown they can see a project through and have a pretty diverse education. Obviously, a masters degree is better than a bachleors. The degree can matter if they have a degree in political science and are applying for a computer job without much experience.

3. Certifications: The worth of these has went down quite a bit. Mainly because there are a lot of people who left high school to get an MCSE in hopes to make the big money right away. What you have is a book learned computer certification that will be obselete in a year or so. There is no real world experience, trial and error, or problem solving in these things. However, if you have a certification with experience and a degree, that changes things. You have a good balance of all 3, then you will beat out competition for a job when some candidates only have experience and an education without the certifications.

Certifications can’t carry your resume on its own. However, they do help carry a resume when you have 8-10 years of experience and a 4 year college degree.

Just my .02 cents.

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On the eve of playoffs, my neck is still not getting better. I strained a muscle on the left side of my neck that extends down to the left of my back. Turning my head to the left is uncomfortable, and the same with turning it to the right. It is getting better, but I am uncertain as to how I will feel come tomorrow. One thing is certain, I will be playing. I have 3 teams in playoffs, and my 10 championship is calling my name. All I have to do is deliver.

2 in playoffs and 2 on the bubble

After our 11-2 loss we took on Friday, I found out that our team squeeked into playoffs. Not due to performance, but due to the team in 4th place taking a forfeit due to non payment and becoming ineligible for playoffs. So, now we get the opportunity to play the team in the first round that beat us 11-2 on Friday. Dekleine Builders has the potential to suprise that team if they all come ready to play and maybe even make a run at a championship. All it will take will be 2 strong games. I won’t let them down in the playoffs.

So now, I have 2 teams in, and 2 more possibly going. My monday night copper team needs to win and then have help to make it in. Rancid, who plays on Tuesday, can make it in with a win. First thing is first and that is to concentrate on Monday night. If we are lucky, maybe we can slip in.

An outside shot

With a win today, the Bone Collectors have an outside shot to make playoffs, but we need a lot of help.  It was good to win 7-3 tonight, but I still let in one bad goal.  Still, I will take the win after losing 4 straight games.  Now a big test next week will come when we face a tough Stuck with Jordie team who we barely beat last time we played them without their best player.  It will be interesting.

I took a stick to the upper neck today so I am more than a little sore.  I don’t have games tomorrow so I am hopeful that things will heal nicely before Wednesday night.

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As much as I don’t want to admit it, Halbert’s passing has left a hole that is hard to fill. I remember the things he used to do and the attention I gave him. Man, as much as that cat annoyed me, he had a positive affect on my life. I guess the thing that irritates me the most was the fact that it was a piece of plastic that did him in for the most part. I don’t know what made him eat that piece of plastic in the first place besides the fact he may have been an idiot. I just want to forget the last few days of his life when he was sick or drugged up. That wasn’t the cat that I knew so well.

The healing process has been more difficult for me that I could possibly imagine.

Halbert

My last two games on Thursday and tonight were victories, and I thought they might come with a price…

One of our cats, Halbert, has not been feeling well as of late.  Today he was worse so we took him to the animal hospital.  I got the call just after I was done playing that he needed to be put down.  He had liver damage and something was hurting his pancreas.  At least that was the gist of what I got from the doctor and my wife.  My wife was a lot stronger than I was because she took him to the hospital and got the news about 5 minutes after I started playing so she was there a good 70 minutes dwelling on the news she got before I got there.  It was hard for me to deal with when I saw him just before we put him down.

I guess I find it more disappointing than anything else.  Some of the internal injuries Halbert sustained was due to eating some kind of plastic ring of some kind.  The last 2 pets I lost in my life before this one died due to their own lack of intelligence.  My Lab dog decided to cross a 4 lane divided highway at night.  Tiggy the cat decided to run outside when I opened the door and all attempts to recapture the cat were not successful.

I guess I will never understand animals and it is natural for me to feel this way, which is angry and upset.