Chuq Von Rospach is a Silicon Valley veteran doing Technical Community Management and amateur photographer with a strong interest in birds, wildlife and landscapes. My goal is to explore the Western states and working to tell you the stories of the special places I've found. You can find out more on the About Page.
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Monthly Archives: March 2003
I’m sure most of us have talked at one time or another about getting away from it all and living on some remote island.
Laurie and I have….
I’m sure most of us have talked at one time or another about getting away from it all and living on some remote island.
Laurie and I have. Victoria has been high on our lists of potential retirement towns for years, but even though it’s on Vancouver Island, because of the size and the ferry system, I’m not sure it counts. But around Vancouver Island, and up the Sunshine Coast, are many smaller islands that people also live on. you also have the San Juan islands in the area as well.
Getting away from it all is the fantasy — but what if you need to get back? What’s it really like living on the wrong end of a part time ferry line?
Canadian author Hilary Stewart did that. When she retired she moved to Cortes Island, and then wrote a book about what it meant to live out there. That book On Island Time” is a fascinating read in and of itself, but anyone who’s thought about doing this really ought to track it down.
I first discovered Stewart when I started researching Pacific Northwest native culture. She’s the author of many books on my shelves about those people and their art (one of these days, I plan on getting to talking about that stuff, too. honest). Cortes island is a small island accessible by ferry from Campbell River, about a four hour drive north of Victoria. To get to it, you take a ferry to Quadra Island, drive across the island, and then take a second ferry out to Cortes. The Quadra island ferry runs from 6AM to midnight, about once an hour. The quadra to cortes run goes about every two hours, from 9AM to 6PM.
That’s the first reality of island time: if you’re late, it leaves. If it’s full, you wait for the next one. If it’s the last one, they’ll see you in the morning. Unlike bridges and freeways, you work your schedule around the ferry. At busy times, you show up early to get a place, and wait (some ferries have some reservations).
Not everyone can handle island time. I love it. To me, a ferry is a way to unplug from my day to day reality — it’s a realization that I can’t just point the car south if my work calls with an emergency. The ferry is, psychologically, a way to force myself to give up control of my schedule to someone else. that’s one reason I so love to vacation in Victoria (moreso than Vancouver, or Seattle or Portland, much as I love all of the northwest) — once I get on that ferry, I can leave the rest behind (even though my hotel room has cat 5 hookups in it!).
Laurie can sometimes get frustrated by the waits, especially peak times where we might run into having to wait for a second sailing at Tswassen or Horseshoe Bay (in practice, I don’t think we ever have). Me, I just pull out a book or the paper and relax; most of the time she does, too — but once in a while, the process bothers her. My parents are driven crazy by ferries, because it’s out of their control.
And it gets worse. Sometimes there are accidents. Sometimes there are delays. Sometimes the ferry simply is shut down, by strikes once in a while, or by extreme tides, and more commonly, by weather. I admit to being a bit of a ferry geek (and it’s all Jack Chalker’s fault. long story, some other time). If I have the opportunity to take a ferry I haven’t taken before, I’ll try it.
Most of the time. A while back we took a November trip north, flying into Seattle and then renting a car. We decided to do some exploring, so we scheduled some time in Campbell River. Our original plan was to head north up the sunshine coast (the coastal side of the vancouver mainland) via the Earl’s Cove to Saltery Bay ferry, up to Port rupert, and take that ferry across to Comox. At the last minute, because we were running late and the weather wasn’t great (it was November, after all, and frankly, the weather wasn’t bad, just not good enough to warrant sightseeing new territory) we bailed and took twassen to nanaimo and drove up the island.
And it wasn’t until we got to Campbell River we found that the Port Rupert ferry was shut down by a strike. see, the plumbing on the ferry had failed, and, well, the crew had been trying to get it repaired, and finally got tired of the smell.
Just as well. I like ferries. Just not without limits. We still plan on doing that trip, just not in November. Better to explore new territory some other time of the year.
Another aspect of island time is access to amenities. When you’re two hours from the mainland, and you might find your connection shut down for a few days at a time by weather, don’t run out of toilet paper. Planning ahead isn’t just a good idea, it’s absolutely crucial.
My family has a cabin in Washington, in an area known as Paradise Bay. To get their, you cross the Hood Canal Bridge, drive a bit, then hang a right, and keep driving. Officially, it’s considered Port Ludlow, but that’s the post office, not the reality. The nearest supermarket is about 10 miles in Poulsbo. the nearest serious shopping is down in Silverdale, about a 25 mile drive. The nearest gas station is 6 miles.
In other words, you can’t just pop down to McDonalds when you don’t feel like cooking (the nearest McDonalds is near the supermarket). Except for those rare times the Hood Canal bridge is closed (really, really bad weather can do it), at least we have access. On an island? once that ferry turns off the engine, it’s over. Don’t need a prescription filled until morning.
And that’s where I join Laurie in realizing island time isn’t for me. The isolation that comes with being on that island just isn’t something we feel we can do long-term. We both like some amenities — god help me if I can’t get to a bookstore easily, for instance. Being 10 miles from Poulsbo is okay. Being on Vancouver island is okay. But neither of us feels a great attraction to heading that much farther into the wilderness. Except to visit for a while…
Which is one of the things that keeps drawing us back to Victoria. It’s easily accessible, but still, because of the ferries, somewhat isolated. It’s small, but has enough of interest to keep things fun. And it’s a great base camp for all sorts of adventures, but still developed enough that the hotel has internet installed… heck, we want to get away from it all, but we still appreciate civilization, too…
Steve Bellovin has released RFC 3514, a change to TCP/IP to make it easier for network applications to tell whether or not the packet is safe or has evil intent. Once fully implimented, this will make the job of the firewall a lot easier.
This has been such a weird ass season. I hope the weirdness is ending, but who knows?
Have you figured out why Darryl Sutter got fired? Neither have I. I thought I did, but I was wrong. it was clear (from the one year contract) that not everyone within the Sharks wanted Darryl back — and I assumed it was Lombardi, partly because I simply couldn’t see the franchise firing the coach that just won the division (“marketing will kill you, if the fans don’t get you first”) and partly because of what he said at the time of the firing.
Silly me. After Lombardi was fired, jamison came out and said that bringing Sutter back was a hockey decision (i.e. lombardi). The strong (strong) implication being that the business side of the team didn’t want him back, and all Lombardi could get him was the one year deal. And if that’s true, then the pressure to fire Sutter came from the business side, and Lombardi played good soldier to the press in saying it was his idea.
Why does that make sense? Think about it. When Lombardi was fired, who was the first person to call him? Darryl Sutter, according to various reports. If Lombardi was the guy trying to fire your butt, as well as the guy who got you fired — are you going to call him when he gets fired? I just can’t see Darryl calling him up and saying “neener neener!”. It just doesn’t fly.
Firing Darryl Sutter sure didn’t solve the problem. Ron Wilson seems to be, but it took bloody forever.
Have you figured out why they fired Dean Lombardi? Neither have I. but I have some guesses.
First: we won the division last year. But in the history of Dean Lombardi, only once have we finished above .500. Whatever else you might think, however screwed up it was when he as given full control, ultimately, this is a franchise that hasn’t won a winning tradition. Building one? I’d like to hope so. Has one? Not really. So since the bottom line is winning, you have to feel that Lombardi was always one crisis of faith by his bosses away from being unemployed. Even if it’s not his fault.
Second: Dean Lombardi eats, sleeps, and dreams hockey. Some folks wonder if he’s really a hockey guy, they don’t know Dean Lombardi. The guy ate his stomach over the team. If it ever won a cup, his first thought would be how hard it is to defend the damn thing. He’s like that. Dean Lombardi is also honest, sometimes too honest, about what he says.
For instance. talking about the “cancer in the locker room”, a statement Jamison later came out publicly and said he wished Dean hadn’t said. Dean probably regretted it, too. Later, Lombardi came out and said he was looking at a three year plan, which I’m sure went over with marketing and the owners like a lead balloon (“yeah, let’s sell season tickets next year by having a team that we’re saying will be good in three! that’ll sell tickets!”). Jamison was upset enough at the first to comment on it, and has since come out himself and said he feels the team will be competitive next year (aside: “who’s right? depends on how you define the term. Look at the wing’s game. Next year’s team should be fun, win a bunch of games, and could well be a playoff team. Dean Lombardi’s idea of competitive is “deep into the playoffs”. so at some level, both, depending on how you set expectations).
Third: off more into speculation-land here. it’s no secret Lombardi was told to cut salary. Numbers differ. the number I heard was $15 million. He didn’t. Nolan went off to toronto, a deal that I think everyone wins: Nolan needed a change of scenery, even if he hated leaving San Jose. Toronto and Quinn can make the most out of him, Nolan is clearly revitalized and playing better with the “C” off his shoulder, and San jose is away from his contract. But beyond that, Lombardi didn’t do much. The Damphousse deal failed because of a million dollars Lombardi wouldn’t subsidize, even though it would save money. Ultimately, he couldn’t pull the trigger, I think, because the deal didn’t make sense as a hockey deal. Ditto, I think, Selanne. They wanted a player and prospects for him, not just salary dump. they didn’t get that kind of offer, they sat on him. I think Lombardi wouldn’t make bad deals for the team just to cut salary, and went back to the ownership and told them they’d cut the salaries at the draft when better deals would be available.
And I think ownership sacked him for it — for being given marching orders to get the salary down, and refusing to do so in a way that screwed over the team. He tried to make it a situation that worked from a hockey view, and ownership just wanted that number smaller, now. that — and his tendency to say things he believed, even if they weren’t politic, and his support of a coach out of favor with his bosses, and the new ownership wanting to put a new face on the organization, as new ownership is wont to do. but Lombardi made it easy, at the end. He tried to do what was best for the team, and that might have worked under Uncle George, but with the new owners, budgets are budgets. he busted his, and got busted. that’s business in silicon valley.
You see signs of that all through the organization right now. I’ve heard multiple rumors of employees having their salaries frozen, and even paycuts. Last year, they had a big fight with the usher union, squeezing every nickel they could (the ushers, selfish fools, were trying to get a pay scale based on the Living Wage. they failed). This year, the nickel squeezing was ARA on foodservice and the food unions. That fight was pretty brutal, and I’m not convinced it’s completely finished (note of possible conflict: my sister currently works for a union in southern california in various capacities, and prior to her current gig, worked for the union that handled the food service employees at Disneyland, the hotels, anaheim stadium and the Pond. So she was directly involved in dealing with Disney and the Ducks.).
I know lots of folks, going back to the North Star days, wanted to bitch about the Gunds as cheapskates. I never saw it that way. Instead, I always felt that “Uncle George” was the relative who showed up at christmas and handed $10 bills to all of the kids. And some of the kids griped, because their friends in (ahem) New York and Detroit got $20′s. Well, I think we’ll all miss George before too long, when it becomes clear what the new ownership has set as an agenda. Because I feel, at least right now, that the current ownership setup is seriously undercapitalized for running a hockey franchise.
At least in the short term. This valley is in a nasty recession. Stock prices are dead. It’s affected lots of us (working for apple, I haven’t had a raise in over two years; my bills weren’t frozen, though, and I have a job, so I’m not bitching). The owners may have a higher net worth, but they aren’t isolated from all of that. In some ways, it’s nastier, because more of their income is non-salary and results based: stock options, for instance, or under-market grants. Or bonuses. If you stock is down 70%, like Brocade’s was last time I looked your options are under water, your bonuses are zero, and you’re riding it out with the rest of us (just with a larger mortgage). These guys got into the ownership group just BEFORE the bubble really burst. I hope they expect things to cool off — I doubt anyone expected it to fall off a cliff. So I think they’re pushing to get the budget in line, because while George wasn’t super-super rich, merely pretty damn rich, this new ownership group is well off, but right now, their deep pockets are under water along with all of our options and investments, too. So I think this ownership group is digging a foxhole to survive until the valley turns around and the new CBA is in place — and at some level, I can’t blame them. Still, it’s frustrating. It’s also worrisome if this is the best ownership group Jamison could round up, because down that road lies — the Seals. the death spiral of losing your original owner who lost money because he believed, and then never having enough money to be competitive to drive attendance to make money, until you hear the little flush at the end….
Laurie somewhat thinks the death spiral is there. I’m not so convinced, but I’m not sure there’s much margin of error. and to be more positive — the rumored budget next year is $33-35 million, down from $48. Still a quite respectable number, and you can put a pretty good team together for it. just not a team with Nolan and (ahem) Selanne on it.
So what I’m seeing right now is very much the Canuck’s model: good, young competitive team, expectation to make the playoffs and raise havoc. Don’t expect really expensive stars, but we’re not Buffalo, either. Or the Cubs. At least, not yet. Cut losses until we see the new CBA, and hope it makes us financially competitive. If not, don’t be too surprised to see the team sold again and everyone cut their losses. Paul Allen, white courtesy phone?
FWIW, the number I’ve heard is $10 million, cash operating loss. that’s money that went out of the organization above adn beyond what came in, ignoring how accountants define and manipulate things. It could end up at $15. That’s about a million dollars out of pocket for each owner in the ownershp group, ABOVE what was originally planned. not total, extra. Words you might keep an ear out for in the press: “cash call”.
Perhaps the cleaning house was inevitable. Sutter was Lombardi’s guy, Lombardi was, I guess, Gund’s guy more than jamison’s guy (and if rumors are right, at least one, and possibly two, of Lombardi’s staff of hockey guys and advisors actually worked for Jamison, and were there to watch Lombardi as much as advise him; I knew that, I guess I never really thought about what it meant in terms of the sometimes machiavellian politics of the sharks as a business.
Because when you get down to brass tacks, the fight that tanked this season wasn’t between players, or between players and sutter, or between players and lombardi. it was between the hockey organization, and team management. The final line in the sand was between Lombardi and Jamison, and it really looks like Lombardi was trying to maintain what’d been built, and Jamison (and the owners) were trying to get costs under control. Lombardi hardballed Stuart, and hardballed Nabokov, and he did it because he was told to. That (and other comments and rumors) pissed off the players, and they went sour, and nobody could fix it. Ultimately push came to shove, the players soured on the situation, and then Sutter was shot behind the shed, because they want more fan-friendly hockey and someone who doesn’t scowl at reporters, and then Lombardi was shot, because he was told to do something and couldn’t. So now Jamison gets to build his new organization, with people who see things Jamison’s way.
Which may not be all that bad, really. I’ll go out on a limb and say our new GM is likely Steve Tambellini from Vancouver, which is a great choice. the big risk is we can’t afford him, or he won’t touch the problem. So Wayne Thomas is on the great altar of “you’re our second candidate” — if he was going to be GM, they’d have hired him already. He’ll get hired only if the candidates they really want turn them down. Until then, he’ll put on a happy face and pretend he doesn’t know he’s the bridesmaid, because that’s what good soldiers do. And when they hire a new GM, he’ll turn in his resignation, tell the press it was voluntary, and hopefully nobody with a brain will believe him. But he won’t stay unhired long. Wilson? I don’t have a read on doug, other than “he’s not the next GM, either”.
And changes are already starting. People are leaving the organization in the wake of Dean’s firing. And those that haven’t quit: more than a few expect to be let go. The restructuring has just begun. Ron wilson is coach next year, because Jamison said so. Expect lots of other things to be different, on the ice and inside the bunker…
Which, in some ways, may not be bad. It’s definitely not the end of the world, it’s definitely not ALL bad. I can’t even argue with firing Lombardi much. And I do respect and trust Jamison, “hockey man” or not, he’s smart enough to make sure he has people he can trust to advise him who are.
But it’ll be different. Some might like it better, some will hate it. Maybe it was time (I keep thinking back to “only one season > .500″). I just hope I’m wrong about the owners pockets. $35 million is a good salary structure, but if they struggle a bit and still lose money, what’s next? 28? 23?
whatever it turns into, we won’t know what it is for a while. I just hope the journey is more fun than this year’s trip….
“And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
Much as I enjoy hockey and like watching NHL games — there are places where the NHL is plain old broken or braindamaged.
For instance, in the last couple of days, Mattias Ohlund gets hit in the face again with a puck and suffers an injury just below the eye he almost lost, and Pavol Demitra suffers a bruised retina and is out AT LEAST a month.
But if you listen to the league, and more stridently the union, wearing visors isn’t a safety issue, it’s an issue of personal choice. Players complain it hinders their eyesight (true, but if everyone wears visors, they’re equally hindered) — and if you take a look at the list of top scorers in the league, you’ll see guys like Theo Fleury, Jaro Jagr, Luc Robataille, Ziggy Palffy — it sure seems the GOOD players aren’t hindered by wearing visors.
The league and the union needs to get real here. The union, especially, is, as Laurie likes to put it, thinking with the wrong part of their body, and dealing with this in terms of the macho image issues, not the safety issues. And while the players are posturing and the league is turtling on this issue, the fans get to watch elite players like Demitra and Ohlund not play due to eye injuries, and players like Brian Berard are permanently maimed, lose their career and will have their lives changed — all for our entertainment.
Eyes are irreplaceable — they affect a player’s career, and more importantly, their life. The attitude that it’s a personal choice is a false one, or else the NHL ought to remove their rules requiring helmets, pads and cups (although, speaking of thinking with the wrong part of their body, if you think any hockey player is stupid enough to play without a cup… — but these same players are more than willing to risk their eyes?). As fans, eye injuries cost us the ability to watch these players — is the league really better because Demitra’s out for a few weeks?
Visors aren’t a complete solution, and we can’t prevent injuries just by wearing visors, but they are an easy way to reduce these injuries, and the only thing standing between a player and the loss of an eye is the macho attitude of canadian hockey players (thank you, Don Cherry) — European players seem to have no problem wearing visors and succeeding in the NHL using them. It’s time for the NHL to stop thinking with its testosterone and make visors mandatory for players in the league. Either that, or OUTLAW cups unless you also wear a visor. It’s a lot easier to go through life minus a testicle or two than it is going through life without an eye or two — but you wouldn’t know it the way the league acts.
Darren Eliot chimes in:
Here’s a piece I’ve been meaning to write for a while…
While he was in San Jose, we got to know Jay More a little bit. A very nice, quiet, somewhat shy person who happens to work in front of a crowd of 20,000 people every night. Nice wife, nice kids.
Or more correctly, USED to work in front of a crowd of 20,000 people. Jay took a hit to the head, went down, and never got back up. Concussion. Long-term post-concussion syndrome — the same problem that’s cost the league Brett Lindros, Pat LaFontaine, Nick Kypreos, and has now made Eric Lindros basically unhireable in the NHL, because one more hit to the head and he’s a 50 year old boxer leaking lime jello out his ears.
The NHL has to get serious about hits to the head. Period. Exclamation point. How many more guys need to be sitting in a dark room three years after a forced retirement to keep the migraines at bay, before the NHL fixes the damn problem?
Here’s the problem, as well documented by writer Jeff Shultz:
(document no longer available)
We have a coach (Ron Wilson) yelling at his players (Brendan Witt) to “get” someone, quote-unquote. That someone was Andrew Brunette. End result? A fist to the head, a concussion, multiple games missed (so far) by Brunette, and a $1000 fine to Witt, which his teammates likely passed the hat around to help pay off. No fine or suspension to wilson for overtly ordering the hit. No suspension to Witt. Witt wasn’t even issued a minor penalty, tahnks to the NHL’s “what’s a penalty in the first period isn’t a penalty in the 3rd, because we have dinner reservations to keep” mentality of referees (but — that’s another rant, later)
Earlier this year, Louie Debrusk skated up behind Todd Harvey, and put him down with a brutal elbow to the head, which left him with a concussion, pinched nerves, and whiplash. Game misconduct — no suspension. harvey is STILL not playing. Harvey never saw him coming, because Harvey made the mistake of trying to play hockey, not realizing he was about to be attacked from behind for no reason.
To be fair, the NHL has gotten better at dealing with blows to the head. They’ve gone from completely oblivious to merely horrible. Players and the union make small talk about taking responsibility — but nobody does it. Even though the players are doing it to themselves, there’s no leadership in the union to stand up and say “dammit! enough!” and take the issue to the league and to its membership to do something.
It’s time for the NHL to do something about this, before we lose more players, before we end up with a breathing vegetable on the ice that makes yet another PR travesty for the NHL to try to live down its (not completely undeserved, but overblown) reputation as a goon sport.
And the answer is simple — you have to give players, and teams, motivation to change their behavior. All the talk in the universe means nothing without some teeth to make them think about it.
Here’s how you make them change.
Any blow to the head, for any reason, by intent or by accident, is an immediate major penalty and game misconduct — unless the two players are in a fight and both players have their gloves off. If they’re fighting, let them fight. If ONE guy is beating the crap out of another guy, you stop it. A player gives his approval to fight by dropping his gloves. Until he does — you don’t touch his head.
I don’t care why a guy gets hit in the head. I don’t care who hits who. I don’t care what body part gets hit. You don’t touch a player’s head. I don’t care if you knee him while he’s n the ice. I don’t care if you elbow him in the ear. I don’t care if you highstick him. YOU DON’T DO IT. PERIOD.
You’ll be amazed how fast players will learn to keep their damn sticks down when they realize the league is serious about this. right now, they don’t have to. what’s a two minute penalty? Nothing. So make it a major anda game. Make it hurt. Make it stick.
How do you make it stick? simple:
The league adopts a rule allowing video replay for hits to the head. Every NHL game is reviewed by the league office. Any blow to the head that is caught on tape but not penalized during the game is called for a one-game suspension of the player — and a two game suspension of the referees that missed the call.
Does a player have to die or turn into a vegetable to do something about it? If we do, how many more do we need before they’ll get serious about this?
the league office is horribly irresponsible in their dealings with blows to the head, but so are the teams, the board of governors, and the union. it’s union members attacking each other here — where is the union? Other than making excuses?
There’s no reason — NONE — for this behavior. And in any sport but hockey, that kind of behavior isn’t tolerated. In real life, it has it’s own term: criminal.
but in hockey — it’s just gritty physical play. Unless you’re the grittee, and not the gritter. And you can be gritty and physical and not attempt to scramble someone’s brains and ruin their life — at least, if you have a modicum of talent. And if you don’t, the NHL doesn’t need you.
time for the league to get serious about head hits, before someone dies. We’ve already lost too many good players for them to be sitting around whining about players needing to be responsible — force responsibility on them. Now.