That was a long game.

April 11, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Can't Make This Up, Sports 

As some of my long-time readers know, I have season tickets to the Trenton Devils – the ECHL (2 levels down from NHL) affiliate of the NJ Devils.

This year the Trenton Devils started off badly (with a record of something like 3-11) but then had a stellar 2nd half and have made the playoffs.  They are 2nd seed in the North Division.

Last night was the first playoff game against the Elmira Jackals.  This should be an interesting 7-game matchup – the record against each other in the regular season was 6-6-1.  Last night’s game was about what was expected, with neither team having more than a 2 goal lead.   Regulation ended with the score tied 4-4.

In the ECHL during the regular season games that are tied after regulation go to a 4-on-4 5-minute overtime period, followed by a shootout.  For the playoffs, they use full 20:00 sudden death overtime periods with a 15:00 break between each overtime for zamboni work.

At the end of the 1st overtime, the score was still tied.

At the end of the 2nd overtime, the score was still tied.  We went home, but I listened on the web after that.

At the end of the 3rd overtime, the score was still tied.

At 6:10 into the 4th overtime, Elmira scored to win.  That made the game 126:10 playing minutes long and 4:55 duration time, the longest in ECHL history.  Both goalies finished the marathon, and Elmira goalie Michael Teslak now holds the ECHL record for saves in a game with 71.

Both teams have to play again 19 hours after the game ended tonight at 7pm.  I’m seriously considering bringing my blankie and teddy bear to the game.

That was a long one.

This Week

February 17, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Ham Radio, Religion 

This week is “in between” time.

I’m in the middle of the process for obtaining Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute.  I’ve had the skills for years, but never got the certification.  My wife already has this certification.

It’s a lot of work getting this certification.  I had to document 4,500 hours of work leading project tasks over a period including at least 36 months of time.  I also had to document 35 contact hours of training.  The process of documenting that alone took me a solid week.

Then I chose to take an exam prep training class to make up the 35 hours.  I found out later that I already had the 35 hours (my previous boss reminded me of an in-house training class that counted), so I should be able to carry some hours into the next reporting period.

I completed the training class yesterday and submitted my application.  Now I’m in the up to 5 day waiting period while they decide whether or not to approve my application.  Then I pay for the test and either immediately scheduled the test or go through the 5-day audit process.

This PMP certification will open up a lot of jobs that I am qualified for aside from not possessing the certificate.  Many large and medium-sized companies require this certification for project management jobs.

I had to put the job search on hold while doing the documentation and training.  I should be restarting it now, but I believe it would be more effective to get the certification and update my resume and then start.  So this is limbo time.

Tomorrow is busy anyway.  I need to drive to Philadelphia (in the rain and/or snow) to pick up a city ID card for my volunteer work with the Philadelphia Digital TV project.  I was recruited by the local FCC office as a ham radio operator to assist with the installation of Digital TV converters for the elderly or disabled.  I may be volunteering this Friday to do this work.  Then in the evening my church committee Project Open Door is presenting our final report to the church Session.

Thursday I’m having lunch with somebody from the church.

Friday as I mentioned above, I may be volunteering in Philly.  There is a Trenton Devils hockey game that night.

Saturday evening is a major event.  The Trenton Devils are retiring the number of Scott Bertoli – who played his entire professional career (aside from a few trips up one league) with the Trenton Titans.  I’m definitely going to that game and getting out all of my old Trenton Titans stuff.

Sunday I have coffee duty for the deacons at church, and youth group in the evening.

Thanksgiving Weekend Update

November 26, 2008 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Job Search, Life, Religion, Work 

It’s time for another update.

This year is different.  Being out of work at a holiday is both easier and harder than usual.  Easier – because there’s more free time to prepare.  Harder – because the situation does tend to drag on you.  This year I am thankful for what I still have:  my wife, my home, my health (more or less), my cats, my church youth group, my other church friends, and all of my friends who have been so helpful with my job search.

The job search continues.  I have a few irons in the fire for possible permanent positions, and I’m starting to look at consulting as a temporary or permanent solution.  I have heard from several companies that they are impressed with my skills and experience, and that they need someone who can do what I do, but that they are unable to hire at the present time.  They’re telling me that they’ll get back to me in the first quarter of next year, assuming that I’m still available (and truthfully – I hope that I’m not).

This weekend is alternating nothing and crazy.  Here’s a quick rundown:

Today (Wednesday) – Later this afternoon I’ll knock off the job search and start vacuuming the whole house.  Tonight Carolyn will start preparing the stuffing for tomorrow’s dinner.

Thursday (Thanksgiving) – Carolyn’s parents will be arriving at our house in the morning, and all of us will head over to my parents in the early afternoon for the big extravanganza.  (Carolyn’s aunt, uncle and cousin will go to my parents independently.)  The afternoon should include dinner, a post-dinner snooze or walk around the neighborhood, then dessert and probably the Eagles game.  The Brennan parents and Carolyn and I will head home and the Brennans will stay overnight at our house.

Friday – The in-laws will head back home at some point.  So far, nothing else is planned.

Saturday – No big plans, but there’s a Trenton Devils game in the evening.  Carolyn will probably make the dessert for tomorrow.

Sunday – Church-a-palooza.  This is what happens when I’m not paying attention while scheduling.  I’m on deacon coffee service before and after worship, I’m serving communion during worship, and then after Fellowship Hour is over I’m setting up tables for the evening Hanging of the Greens Advent Potluck Dinner.  In the afternoon Carolyn and I will prepare a salad, then we’ll go back to church for said potluck and cleanup.  It’s actually a good thing that I’ll be that busy – it offsets the week.  This is a semi-historic worship service – the “first elder under age 18 in 310 years” is also serving communion for his first time.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Malaise

April 7, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Life, Religion, Work 

I’m sorry I haven’t written lately.  I’ve been busy at work, busy outside work.

I’m also having one of those weeks (heading towards months) where everything is going just a little wrong.  Nothing is seriously wrong.  Nothing is seriously right.  Everything is just a bit off kilter.

Work – as I’ve noted previously, the company is up for sale.  Just today I heard two different rumors listing different companies that want to buy us – one possible and one unlikely.  The senior management committee that approves IT projects just deferred a decision on a major technology change that we want to make.  If they turn that down completely, I probably need to either find a new job or resign myself to being caught in a technical cul-de-sac (like COBOL programmers were 10 years ago).

Home – Home is generally OK.  I wish that Carolyn and I shared more common interests – so that we’d end up spending more time together.  I don’t want to grow in the wrong direction.  Finances are being pinched just like everybody else between tiny raises and huge cost increases in everything else.  As I said – pretty much completely OK but with a few signs of wear.

Church – I’m serving as a “Visit Steward” for the capital campaign.  I’m getting the feeling from conversations with people that folks are really unhappy with the way that the campaign is being run.  Most people agree with the need for funds and support most of the projects involved in the campaign, but there’s a lot of disaffection with how it’s being run.  Also, the consultant sent to us by the PC(USA) Church Financial Campaign Service is really turning people off.  There has to be some way to let the people in Louisville who sent her to us know what a terrible job she’s doing.  We had our campaign visit training this past week.  The handout was clearly cludged up from other campaigns and included references to things that we aren’t doing in our campaign (like 2nd and 3rd visits, household information cards, etc).  One of the biblical references for stewardship actually came out against giving to the church if you read the next verse.  Oh, well.  I did make my pledge as required (all visit stewards were told to turn in their pledges as part of the commissioning ceremony yesterday, with less than a week’s notice) and even included a check for the entire amount.  As soon as I do my 3 visits with members I’ll be done with the campaign.  Here’s the hard part – one of my visits is to a family where one breadwinner is jobless.

“In Deuteronomy we are told to give 10%.  Jesus tells the rich man that he should give everything.  So the amount that we should pledge is somewhere between 10% and everything.” – no, this wasn’t a joke.

Youth group is another area that is fine, but still not quite right.  We had one youth make a life decision that will greatly negatively impact her choices in the future and it’s hitting me harder than I expected.  Our attendance is rather spotty – we see a decent number of youth at each meeting but the list of attendees is different most weeks and we don’t really get to connect with them regularly.  As I said – things are mostly OK.  Youth Sunday is next week and we really have our act together in advance for a change.  I am looking forward to going to Montreat for Week VI this summer.

Then there is the team that I co-chair.  At our last meeting I got called a racist – under the theory that any white person is automatically a racist.  This was said by a white person to a room full of white people – all of whom are well-intentioned in mind and as far as I can tell in practice when it comes to racial issues.  I’m not looking forward to our next meeting two weeks from today.

When it comes to church I’m at a crossroads.  I want to either become more involved or less involved.  I don’t think continuing my current level of involvement is feasible – it’s gonna have to go up or down in the fall.  I’d really like to be more involved, but in a meaningful way in a position where I can help the church change for the future rather than in a “pair of willing hands” way.  I don’t mind doing the necessary, but it seems so much of church work is maintaining the old ways rather than working for the new.

Hockey – the Trenton Devils finished 6th out of 7, with the lowest number of wins in the entire history of the franchise.  Enough said.

So malaise is the word of the day.  Judging from the economy it might be the word of the entire country.

Week Roundup

March 20, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Life, Religion 

This week’s roundup comes a little early – I’m taking Good Friday off from work.

Sunday – After worship I went to the Adult Forum on the capital campaign which included a manse tour.  The manse tour included lunch.  This solved a problem for me – Carolyn was in North Jersey at a wake for a cousin-in-law of hers.  Later in the evening I went to Sr. High youth group where we prepared further for Youth Sunday.  I have an assignment – I need to find Old Testament scripture(s) to match up with the Prodigal Son.  (Feel free to suggest some in comments or e-mail)

Work this week has been quiet.  My boss passed her Project Management Professional exam on Monday (on the first try!) and we celebrated with donuts and bagels on Tuesday.  The entire group is taking her out for lunch next week.  Other than that I’m doing design work for a project.

Planning for the moderator candidate event is progressing.  I’m finding a huge disparity in how presbyteries handle the list of commissioners.  Some are treating it like I’m some kind of identity thief and insisting on forwarding the event information to their commissioners.  One stated clerk said that he’d look at the invitation and determine whether or not it was “appropriate” for the commissioners.  Other presbyteries are being very forthcoming and giving me all of the information that I ask for in minutes.  I have to wonder who abused the list of commissioners at some point and how that caused the very prickly reaction in some places.

Monday evening at church Project Open Door met (well, actually at the manse – it solved a child care issue for the pastor).  Most of the meeting went very well.  Then we got to the subject of whether or not racism is an issue in our church (which is 90+% white) and whether or not we’ve introduced bias into our visitor survey.  I’m amazed at how passionate people were about their positions (given that it was a room full of white people) and at how much disagreement there was.  After this painful experience we’re going to revisit it again later – probably with the help of an expert.  Ironically, Barack Obama covered all of the issues that we discussed in his speech the next day.

Tuesday evening I ended up serving as the pick-up Net Control Station for a ham radio weekly drill.  This was the weekly Mercer County SKYWARN/RACES/ARES net – to test radios and procedures in case our services are needed due to a disaster or severe weather.  It went relatively well given that most of our members were attending a club meeting at the time and were unavailable.

Wednesday evening was quiet for a change.

Tonight I plan to go to our church’s Tenebrae (Maundy Thursday) communion service.  It will reportedly be very powerful.  They gradually dim the lights throughout the service and end in darkness and silence.  With the strong winds that we’re going to get it should be interesting.

Friday evening we’re off to see the Trenton Devils play the Dayton Bombers with my sister Laura.

Saturday evening we go to the Philadelphia Wings vs. New York Titans lacrosse game at the Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton.  My friend Jill has a crowd coming.  My sister bought two tickets and after a friend dropped out Dad is coming with her – they’re riding with Carolyn and I to the game.

Sunday morning’s Easter service will probably be Catholic this year – we did Presbyterian last year.  Sunday afternoon we’re hosting Easter dinner with the Smiths and Brennans at our house (anywhere from 9 to 13 people depending on who comes).

Happy Easter!

A Great Sunday, part 2

January 28, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Religion, Sports 

PCOL Youth at Devils game

On Sunday afternoon, I treated the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville Sr. High Youth Group to a suite watching the Trenton Devils vs. Wheeling Nailers.

I get a free suite for a game once a year as part of my season ticket package, and I decided to use it for the youth.

The group numbered 21 including my wife and I and included regulars and some youth who don’t attend often.  The afternoon was fun but theologically ambiguous – when the mascot comes to your suite is it OK for Presbyterians to yell “The Devil is here!  The Devil is here!” and then run TO the devil?

Unfortunately the team lost the game, though we got to see every possible second of hockey.  It took the 6th round of the shootout to decide the contest 6-5 for Wheeling.

We got away with no lost youth and only one minor injury.  Here’s a safety tip – if you are sitting directly below the TV mounted on the wall, be careful when you jump up to celebrate!  We’re hoping some of the non-regular youth will participate in future activities such as the lock-in in two weeks.

We have got to do this again next year.

The best part of the whole evening was having the seminary student get his picture taken with the Devil.  We’re planning to send it to his CPM.  (for the non-Presbys – the committee in charge of his development as a candidate for ministry)

Check back in a day or two for the picture.

End of Week roundup

January 25, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Ham Radio, Life, Religion 

Here’s what’s going on.

  1. I managed to decompress from the congregational meeting last weekend.  There are still some hard feelings among the young adults who work with youth, but we’ll get over it.  I did express my feelings to my pastor.
  2. Last night my committee co-chair and the pastor and I had a conference call.  We’d had to cancel the committee meeting because so many members were unavailable for the meeting (including a disturbing number who chose to drop out and prioritize something else higher – after they’d agreed to be there).  We have a strategy for moving forward (but I can’t discuss it here until we’ve announced it to the team).  How do you staff church committees when the really involved people are also really busy?
  3. I passed my ham radio Emergency Communications course, with 100% on the test and 100% of my assignments accepted on the first try.  Next month or in a few months I’ll take the Level II course.
  4. Tonight Carolyn and I are headed to the Trenton Devils game.  We’re skipping Saturday because 3 games a weekend is too much.
  5. Sunday the church is doing a service project in lieu of (or technically during) the worship service.  We’ll start in the sanctuary, but then break early to spread out around the building making School and Baby kits for Church World Service, and hygiene kits for the Crisis Ministry of Trenton and Princeton, and sandwiches and wrapped utensils for the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen.  Then we’ll gather for lunch and close worship.  It’s Levi Sunday (named for the Levites – get it?  We’re supposed to wear jeans).
  6. Sunday afternoon the Sr. High (and some Jr. High) youth group will go to see the Trenton Devils hockey team (ECHL).  My season ticket plan includes one free luxury suite a year, and I’m treating the youth.  It should be fun!

I have been tagged in the book meme, but I don’t know if I’ll get to it today.  Maybe later.

Happy New Year – a roundup

December 31, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Life 

Here’s what I’ve been up to in the last week or two:

12/17 – day off from work, didn’t do much
12/18 – work
12/19 – work, office Christmas lunch
12/20 – work, delayed by brake failure on the way to work, left early
12/21 – work, got my car back, watched the Trenton Devils win
12/22 – Smith family Christmas celebration (see below)
12/23 – church in the morning, youth group Christmas party in the evening
12/24 – off from work, Presbyterian Christmas service in the evening
12/25 – Catholic Christmas service followed by Brennan family celebration
12/26 – off from work, price new tires
12/27 – off from work, watch Trenton Devils win
12/28 – off from work, watch Trenton Devils lose in shootout
12/29 – home, work on CDs for friends
12/30 – church, then work on CDs for friends
12/31 – work until 3pm, watch Trenton Devils, home for midnight
1/1 – off from work.  Sleep.

Does it seem like I didn’t do much?  You’re right.  I didn’t.  This was sabbath/rest time.

Happy New Year!  See you in 2008!

Hello, Trenton Devils

May 18, 2007 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Sports 

Trenton Devils

The New Jersey Devils announced today that they are changing the name of the Trenton Titans to the Trenton Devils.

Trenton,   NJ (May, 18, 2007)
– The National Hockey League’s New Jersey Devils today re-branded its ECHL affiliate from the “Trenton Titans” to the “Trenton Devils.”  The team’s new home and road jerseys will feature “TRENTON” in red across the chest, with a stylized horn in the “T” and “N,” along with the familiar New Jersey Devils logo.  The announcement was made by Devils’ CEO/President/General Manager Lou Lamoriello.

“The Devils’ organization prides itself on two things:  consistency and excellence.  Our goal is to have all of our players at every level play for the same name and logo,“ said Lamoriello.  “We want our players to
feel a sense of pride every time they put on their respective Devils’ sweaters.”

The Devils will become the only hockey franchise with the same nickname at the NHL (New Jersey), AHL (Lowell), and ECHL (Trenton) levels.  Five other NHL teams – Boston, Dallas, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, and San Jose – currently share a nickname with their AHL affiliate.

In 2007-08, the ECHL’s Trenton franchise, 2004-05 Kelly Cup Champions, will enter its ninth season of
operation.  The team will continue to play its home games at the 7,605-seat Sovereign Bank Arena.

Full and partial season-ticket plans for the 2007-08 season are available by calling a Trenton Devils ticket representative at (609) 599-9500.  For further information, visit www.trentondevils.com.

The Trenton Devils are a member of the ECHL, North America’s Premier “AA” Hockey League.  They are owned and operated by the National Hockey League’s New Jersey Devils.

I am heartened to see that the owners are recognizing this fall as the 9th year of the team, rather than the 1st year of the new image.

Ticket prices (according to the Trenton website) for season tickets are up about 10% over the earliest discount price from last year.  This is fair, given that they haven’t increased for several years.  The single-game tickets appear to be up 3-8% depending on location.  At the season ticket rate, I’ll probably renew.