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 2006
The deadline for a new union contract at Disneyland has passed, but, according to Al Lutz, management seems to hold little fear of a strike. One of the many factors working in management’s favor? Since Disney shuttered its old parking lot, where would the picket lines go?
You put it where they’ve been in the past. I was working the park when the first strike happened, years ago. The lines will stay on the sidewalks, crossing the entry points to the parking lot. More importantly, they’ll cross the EMPLOYEE and supply entry points.
And in general, as happened back in the 70′s, they’ll be generally ignored. Most visitors won’t cancel their trips over a picket line (union supporters will know better than to show up in the first place, but the # will be small). And Disney’s always done a good job of both scheduling the different unions to separate contract lengths so they can’t all get together and negotiate en-masse, and they’ve also done a good job of including “will cross” clauses that rule out sympathy strikes. Other unions won’t be able to hold out, limiting any real effectiveness.
When the first strike happened (maintenance workers– electricians, plumbers, mechanics, painters, etc, late 70′s), I was a teamster doing work supporting the maintenance guys, so I got to cross the line, where management tried to hold the park together. Basically, anyone who knew a hammer from a crescent wrench became part of the crew doing upkeep of the ride; since a number of management had come out of the ranks, that’s not as bad as it might sound, but it meant a lot of folks doing 14-16 hour days and sleeping at the hotel, until it was settled.
There’s a human side of this kind of problem, too: one of the guys I worked with was in his 60′s, a few months from retirement. His wife was sick, he was dependent on the medical. Disney told him if he struck, that went away. Union reassurances notiwthstanding, he felt he couldn’t risk that — so he crossed, and spent the strike at his lathe, machining parts for the rides and hating every minute of it. He just had too much to lose.
When everything got settled (nobody was happy, but Disney basically won), the regular crew came back. And they all felt terrible for this guy, who was a great guy and friend of many — but he scabbed. And so until he retired, none of the union guys talked to him unless it was strictly work related. Nobody. Nothing.
And THEY hated every minute of that. But — they were clear they weren’t willing to forgive him scabbing, even for that. Although any number of them said to me they’d have probably done it to, and taken the punishment for it. (Since I was Teamster, not trade, it was okay for me to talk to him some so they tended to talk to me about stuff they wanted to make sure he heard, informally.
Strikes suck. Rarely are there winners, it’s just what you lose.
A typical day game at San Jose today: both teams seemed tired and somewhat bored early, complicated by sticky ice (the ice in San Jose this year is much improved — rarely soft and slushy, but with a tendency to get frosty and sticky, causing pucks that refuse to be passed where the players send them — but a big improvement over previous years). Dallas got the better of the play early, until Ron Wilson sent out the Smith line followed by the Parker line in succession, and both lines just ran around and hit anything that moved for about 3 minutes combined. Dallas didn’t react well at all, and San Jose took the momentum and scored three quick goals.
Combine that with some — funky — reffing by Koharki and Auger: it was very consistent all game, which I like; but they consistently seemed unwilling to call some stuff, and consistently called some other things that seemed silly compared to what they were letting go. Add in a couple of questionable calls (one against both teams, this isn’t a homer gripe) and one really, really strange call, and — I’d give the refs a B- for the game, but I doubt the league would want to use it for a teaching video.
The really strange penalty? Nils Ekman was skating backward in a loop, his back to Marty Turco. When he got too close, Turco took a step and cross-checked him square in the back, snapping the neck and sending Ekman to the ice, where he lay, dazed for a period of time. End result: Ekman, 2 for goalie interference. (my call? Ekman, 2 for GI, since he WAS skating backwards into Turco’s space, but Turco gets two for a nasty, vicious cross-check, too. How they didn’t call that, I don’t know.)
It was the kind of daytime game we’re used to seeing in San Jose: boring early, frustrating later, and the Sharks not deserving a win (and in this case, not getting it). In fact, they actually came close, but once it was up 3-2, Dallas picked it up again, and Modano scored a truly nifty goal to tie it up, and after a scoreless overtime, the Sharks again lost a shootout; I guess it’s a moral victory that (a) they made it close, and (b) they stopped jokinen for the first time this year.
And I don’t mind giving Dallas 2 points, and frankly, I’ll take the point, which the Sharks may or may not have deserved. They’re 9 points out of 10 for the homestand, which has made the Sharks serious playoff contenders again, something I didn’t expect; even better, they can land anywhere from 6th to, well, about 10th.
The problem: 17 games to play, and 10 on the road. The Sharks road record is, well… not great. Not good. Well under .500.
74 points with 17 to play. It looks like 96 points will be needed to make the playoffs. That’s 22 points, or 11-6.
If they win out at home (7-0), they still need 4-6 on the road. More likely, home is 5-2, which would require 6-4 on the road.
So it’s far from over. If they don’t take this winning onto the road without a hitch, they’ll be golfing again soon.
I want to see AT LEAST 2-2 in the next four games (including the game tomorrow ending the homestand). then maybe I’ll believe…
The sharks have finally (suddenly?) figured out gritty. three really good, gritty games in a row,
If they keep this up, they’re in the playoffs (watch out, vancouver) — but they’re playing at home, where they’ve done well all season. half their games left are road games, where, oh, no so, good. So the key’s going to be if they can translate this into some road wins. If you look at recent points-per-game and strength of schedule for the Sharks, it looks encouraging. The west is trending to 96 points to make the playoffs, and the Sharks are trending to 98 points. But that doesn’t factor in home/road records (yet) properly. Way too close to call, but they’re two road losses from being dead, no matter how they play at home.
Both goalies had awesome games, but Garon kept this from being a laugher early. Cheechoo, however, ultimately took the game over and decided it, with help from Joe Thornton.
Last night was injury city; it had the potential to be a really expensive win and loss for both teams. Craig Conroy put his stick in front of a clearing pass and it launched the puck into his face; fortunately, it hit him a bit above the eye (same problem as Doug Murray in pre-season, except Murray injured the cornea); Conroy was sewn up and playing in the second.
On the Sharks side, Scott Thornton hit the boards funny and needed help off the ice, he was skating off in that hunched-over stance — I think separated shoulder, someone else I talked to thinks ribs. Either way, not likely something easily fixed by an ice pack. We’ll see.
And to answer a couple of questions before you knew to ask: Yes, I thought Tootoo dove and embellished on parker’s elbow. Maybe not as much as Parker did, but he helped it, and that was a game where the refs WERE calling penalties on seeing the results, not the action. And yes, I think two games off for Parker is fair, and no, I’m not upset Witt didn’t get any, either. If you go back and look at the tape, whatever Witt or the preds did, it was verbal. Parker initiated, and Parker reached over the glass at them. Once he made contact — Witt responded. Parker just plain old blew a gasket.
Oh, one quick note about Cheechoo: 4th hat trick of the year, 8th multi-point game of the year. 40 goals (2nd player in team history to do this, after Nolan). Showing not only more and more confidence, but more willingness and ability to just take over a game and dominate it. This performance is not JUST that he’s skating with Thornton and those two are unbelievable in how they work together, it’s a kid that’s figured out just how good he is and really is believing in what he’s capable of. He’s not sitting back and waiting for Thornton to feed, he’s an increasingly aggressive forechecker who’s picking off passes and stuffing them down goalies and generally raising havoc.
Man, he’s fun to watch. And I keep going back to Torino and asking myself — how did he not even get a serious look, much less not make the team? There are at least three Sharks (Cheechoo, Hannan, and Preissing for the US) that would have made their Olympic teams better than what was sent. Maybe McLaren, too.
Ohwell. And since Gretzky lives out here in the west, he doesn’t even have the “I know the eastern teams best” excuse.
So as usual, Doug Wilson took my advice, and made two deals at the trade deadline.
Ville Niemenen for a pick? I really like. He’s a mini essa tikkanen (or for you younger hockey fans, Steve Avery without the stupid parts). He drives other teams crazy — and slowly drives his coach crazy as well, with a tendency to take stupid and badly timed penalties. He’s a success as long as he draws more than he takes, and both Doug and Ron Wilson will simply have to get used to gritting their teeth a bit as he skates to the penalty box (chirping).
He is something this team needed — an agitator. Mark Smith tries, and Doug Murray seems to generate similar agitation mostly by completely ignoring those around him — but Niemenen adds a missing dimension to this team, and he’s a player who can do it for a few years easily. So he helps us now, but he doesn’t seem to be a rental (not sure offhand of his contract status). The rep I’ve seen on him is he’s not a locker room problem, but he tends to have an edge all of the time, which is why teams tend to get tired of this kind of player and move them around; but there’s always another team to start pissing off waiting…
It showed in the game against edmonton last night. Both teams started off a bit tentative, and then wired it up into a hard-fought, very physical, tight-checking, high-intensity FUN game. You could see the “trade deadline” fog a bit, but it got shaken off and then everyone got rolling.
The sharks played — angry. If they can keep that up, the playoffs aren’t out of reach, but we really needed it two weeks ago. we’ll see.
On the Dimotrakos trade? He’d stalled, at a level of performance below what was needed. Not for lack of effort, but he simply didn’t seem to have a next level. I had hopes for him (he was a player that truly stood out at Maine when we saw him at the Frozen Four in Anaheim), but it hasn’t happened. I’m sad to see him move on, I wish him well and hope the fresh start serves his success also — but I’m not sad to see the change made. To me, this is addition by subtraction; he just wasn’t the right guy at the right time for either side.
And it’s nice to see Parker back and playing. here’s hoping his concussion cooperates….
Earlier this week, San Jose defenseman Kyle McLaren addressed the Sharks performance in back-to-back losses to Edmonton and Calgary on the Rick and Rod show. McLaren, a hard hitting team leader, questioned the effort that several San Jose Sharks brought to the ice.
Last night, we watched a disappointing overtime loss to anaheim — the best of the three road games post-Olympics by far, but it continues the problem with a lack of effort from some parts of the team. That lack of effort isn’t coming from the top four forwards (Thornton, Thornton, Marleau, Cheechoo) or the energy forwards (Smith, especially) the top four D, or the goaltending.
But the next tier down — the contribution just isn’t there. Eckman seems to have the effort, but McAuley? Dimo? It’s too soon to depend on too much from Bernier, and I’m happy with his play to date, but this team’s lacking something. Not talent, not even effort, but — fire in the belly?
Is it a case of enough young kids (and this is a young team overall) being comfortable enough with their situation?
But we’re ate the trade deadline. After the last three games, I’ve realized this isn’t a playoff team — but it would be if Joe had been with the team all season, the problem is digging out of the early season hole. I like the team overall (it needs tweaking, not fixing) — and I’m not sure that the problem isn’t just needing a year under their belts and a playoff miss to piss some guys off.
So at the trade deadline, my suggestion to Doug Wilson: if you do something, do it for next year, not this year. This isn’t a team to sneak into the playoffs in 8th and hope to get hot. Don’t mortgage later for a first round out; this team will be better long-term if it misses the playoffs this year.
But — if you can find the right pieces to pull in now for next season, go for it. To me, the positions I think most need upgrading are the ones that Eckman, Dimotrakos (who I think still has upside, but I don’t see him finding it for some reason) and especially McAuley (who simply seems to have faded during the lockout year) — go for it. Everyone else: I’d leave pretty much alone. I know some folks want to see us add to our defensive depth: I think what we have is fine, once Murray’s healthy. What some guys need is playing time, nothing else, although I’m starting to think we can upgrade from Jim Fahey — but I’d want someone young and mobile, not a veteran here.
To me, this team is 1-2 players from being an awesome team, which makes it a really frustrating team at times; but it’s also a very young team, which requires patience. And as a season ticket holder, I know playoff dates are important to team revenue, but I’d rather not pay to see this team go out in four in the first round, thanks. I’d be even less happy to see us mess up future years for a run for that kind of playoff. And that’s about what this team would do…
In that piece, I found her “bar analogy” for social software to be simple yet compelling:
You could think of it like your favourite bar. The social function is similar. You don’t go there because the beer tastes different than from in the bar next door, but because of the people who are there.
People who aren’t already caught up in an on-line community often fail to understand the allure. They seem to think that the virtual nature of the community somehow structures the interaction in a way that precludes the sort of intangible things we’re used to in face to face communities.
One of the stories I’ll have to tell in more detail after my service at Yahoo is complete (and likely just a footnote in someone’s book) is about the Flickr acquisition.
During one of the final internal “sales pitches” for the purchase, I had finished demonstrating Flickr to some important Yahoo’s that weren’t as familiar with it. One of the technical leaders in the room suggested, politely, that it was a waste of money and that “we could build this in six months.”
I honestly don’t remember if I responded to his assertion in that meeting or not (I think I did), but to me he was wrong and missing the point. Yes, we could have replicated the technology in six months. Heck, we probably would have improved it quite a bit. But we didn’t have the experience to replicate the “feel” of the early Flickr community.
Jeremy and Esther are right on here. Laurie and I have used this visualization for about 15 years in trying to describe our views on how mailing lists should be run and used; it’s not about the list (or its software), and it’s not about the owners (except as the people who set the tone): it’s about the people.
It’s easy to duplicate software. It’s tough to duplicate environments, and impossible to duplicate the people.
The real value of the Flickr deal for Yahoo wasn’t buying the software (as they did with yahoogroups, for instance, to name a piece of Yahoo that always has felt rather lifeless and corporate to me) — it was that they made sure the Flickr group came with it, and kept working on it, and by being willing to KEEP IT FLICKR, not rebrand it yahoophotosharing.
They recognized the community by leaving the name alone, and that’s helped Flickr STAY what they bought.
I’m back to using Flickr again — and the more I use it, the more impressed I am with it. And I note that I use it, despite the fact that I could use .Mac instead (for free). And one of its greatest strengths is that unlike a lot of the “Web 2.0″ stuff people keep babbling about, the Flickr technology is relatively simple, but strongly enabling for people (IMHO, much of “Web 2.0″ these days are a few geeks congratulating each other over “really neat hacks” of marginal usability or usefulness….)
(nothing much here except a little egoboo, and a placeholder for me to find this more easily later. I was off looking for something else, and ran into Evelyn’s Noreascon 3 (1989) Worldcon report. Has it really been that long?
As a side thought, perhaps this is a bit of foreshadowing for future posts…..)
This success has not been without its drawbacks. It is generally agreed (by
the panelists, and just about anyone else you ask) that the volume has
increased faster than the content. “Flame wars” abound (several academic
studies have been done on “electronic flaming,” or insulting via electronic
bulletins boards and/or mail). As Chuq said, “The computer flame war is a fine
art. I have been practicing it for many years…. The best way to react is
silence.” Or to quote from WarGames, “The only way to win is not to
The proposal was made that electronic bulletin boards in general and Usenet in
particular need a “farm team” structure to solve the problem of uneducated
users swamping the system with such postings as, “Has anyone ever read any
Heinlein?” or “What time does the SF Bookstore close today?” As Chuq put it,
“Usenet is 100,000 people running an apa.” The results are what you would
expect. Chuq’s response, of course, was to go off and found OtherRealms,
which started as a strictly electronic fanzine, and later switched to producing
hard-copy as well. Since he (and it) were nominated for Hugos this year, one
can’t say nothing good has come out of the system.