Saturday, 18 August 2018

Uni-Watching

I'm a big fan of the work that Paul Lukas does when it comes to uniforms and the aesthetic appreciation involved with uniforms. He and Phil Hecken, who does a lot of the weekend work, are a couple of great guys who really know uniforms, and they really got me into the uniform craze a number of years ago. Thanks to them, seeing this young lady from the U16 Canadian Women's Fastpitch Championship wearing proper stirrups brought me great joy as the host Smitty's Terminators were the only team of the twenty at the tournament to wear proper stirrups with their uniforms. To be honest, the stirrups looked great on the diamond, so it warmed my somewhat-cold heart to see these young ladies wearing proper hosiery with their softball uniforms!

Stirrups were quite common amongst old-time ball players, and some teams even got their names from the colours of their hosiery: Red Sox, Black Sox who became the White Sox, and Redlegs which was shortened to Reds as examples. Legends like Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, and Nolan Ryan all wore stirrups as part of their uniforms thanks to their knickerbocker pants which often ended below the knee. Stirrups were worn traditionally over white sanitary socks, "sanis", as it was thought the dyes in the stirrups could pose health issues for those wearing them.

Stirrups went out of baseball fashion in the 1990s as long pants took over to the point where players around the turn of the century were looping the hem of the pants underneath their cleats, creating a virtual spat like football players wear on their cleats. Honestly, it looks awful, so the return to high pants and socks was a welcome sight as we made our way into the new millennium. But high socks are meant for soccer, not baseball, and the stirrups have been slow in their pick-up when it comes to major league teams. The Tampa Bay Rays have been using them at times and there are specific players who have began to don the stirrups more often, but it's a piece of the baseball uniform that needs to return. It just feels like a baseball uniform when you see the white sani peeking out from the shoe below the stirrup's colour.

In saying all this, there are certain things that I just need to see to make said uniform feel complete. Stirrups in baseball is one of those things, but hockey has its own set of nuances. There are specifics that made the old sweaters worn by hockey teams look distinctive when it came to that "hockey look". Things like proper hem stripes and shoulder yokes that actually fit the shoulders are key to making a hockey jersey look like a timeless classic.

I get that we all have different likes. Some people are fond of the lace-up collar. Some people enjoy seeing jerseys with minimal striping. There are those who want to see less black on jerseys and more colour. There are those who prefer white at home. I understand that we all have our differences when it comes to jerseys and what we like, so perhaps there should be a template to appease all.

In your mind, what is the one thing that has to be on a jersey to make it a hockey jersey? Throw your suggestions in the comments. I'm curious to see what has to be on a jersey for it to feel like a hockey jersey for you. If there are enough responses, I'll see if I can come up with a template. Who knows - maybe there will be an HBIC jersey one day!

What I do know is that whoever is running the Smitty's Terminators team in Winnipeg is teaching the young women about the finer points of the uniform. That's an important aspect in sports!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 17 August 2018

Where's Teebz?

There's something about being outside in the fresh air watching baseball that can't be replicated indoors in a dome. It's a distinct with the sounds, the sights, and the smells of the ballpark. Luckily, I will be spending my next few days creating one of those sensory inputs as I've signed up to work the barbecue at the U16 Canadian Women's Fastpitch Championships, and I'm excited to see some outstanding ball being played while serving up mouth-watering hamburgers, hot dogs, and smokies. With the weather being incredible over the next few days, I believe that the old barbecue pit at the ball diamonds will be hopping, and it's one of those smells that just triggers memories.

I'm not here to talk too much about the smells of the grill, but I am saying that I'll be off the grid for the next few days with my watching the flames tickle the goods upon the grill. I expect that there won't be earth-shattering news, but I've been wrong before so I'll take the risk in taking a few days off social media and the ol' blog. In the meantime, if anything extraordinary happens, make sure you tag me in the news so I can keep up with the times!

It should be a great day for softball, grilling, and outdoor living, so I'm out as my shift starts in an hour. Enjoy the day and weekend, everyone!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 16 August 2018

The Hockey Show - Episode 308

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, is back with its continuing Summer of Interviews series! This one will be much shorter than usual at the request of the interviewee and his busy schedule, but I simply couldn't pass up the opportunity to speak with this distinguished gentleman! Beans and I will also go over what has been a busy summer of signings, moves, and news that we've been neglecting with the amazing people we've featured on the show up to this point. It's going to be one of the busier shows of the summer, so settle in and get ready for another jam-packed episode of The Hockey Show!

I was lucky enough to speak with a legend of the hockey community in Mr. Barry Melrose about his involvement in the new Sparrowhawk Pictures film Ahockalypse! The Hockey Show was lucky enough to get about twelve minutes with Mr. Melrose during his media sweep that included about 100 interviews yesterday, so I want to thank Mr. Melrose for his time! Also on the show tonight, Beans and I will go over everything happening everywhere as there have been a ton of player signings and moves in the KHL, the Krefeld Pinguine played their first exhibition match, U SPORTS has all sorts of news coming out, the Canadian pro women's league will feature a Manitoba Bisons player next season, and we'll even try to squeeze in some additional local hockey news from that rink we have downtown. It's a busy show tonight at 5:30pm CT!

"Holy smokes - Barry Melrose?!? How can I listen?" you ask. Well, the easiest way is for you to download the UMFM app on your phone or tablet. It's literally the most convenient way to listen to any of UMFM's great shows any time of the day, so go get it! Just follow this link on your iDevice or this link for your Android device and get the UMFM app! It's never been easier to tune into The Hockey Show or UMFM! Download the UMFM app today, and don't miss any of our great programming or shows! Of course, you can do the radio thing at the 101.5 frequency on the FM dial and you can always listen online via the UMFM website as well!

If you prefer social media, we try to remain up-to-speed there! Email all show questions and comments to hockeyshow@umfm.com! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter. You can also post some stuff to Facebook if you use the "Like" feature, and I always have crazy stuff posted there that doesn't make it to the blog or show.

Tonight, Barry Melrose wins Zombie Kill of the Week while Beans and I discuss what's happening in Russia, Germany, the Canadian university hockey scene, the NHL, and more only on The Hockey Show found exclusively on 101.5 UMFM, on the UMFM app, on the UMFM.com web stream!

PODCAST:August 16, 2018: Episode 308

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Manual Labour

Let's be honest: Facebook is a bit of a clown show right now with all the bumbling they've been doing and the garbage they've been involved with over the last few years. From messing with timelines to giving away user data to analytic companies to aiding a foreign entity in influencing an election, Facebook's reputation isn't doing so well. Because of their track record, they've been working overtime to fix these issues as well as their reputation, but it's going to take another hit today after the email I received recently.

Here is said email in its entirety.
Facebook has recently made significant changes to their platform. One of those changes includes removing the ability for third party applications, like IFTTT, to publish status messages, link posts, and photos on your behalf to your personal Facebook profile.

The following three Facebook actions will be removed from IFTTT starting today, along with any Applets that used them:

Create a status message
Create a link post
Upload a photo from URL

While it’s unfortunate to see some of your favorite Applets removed, we support Facebook’s decisions to evolve their platform in the way they best see fit.

Thank you for your understanding.
The IFTTT Team
For those that aren't familiar with IFTTT, the acronym stands for "If This Then That" as the image at the top shows. It is a service that HBIC uses to post information to various social media platforms when a new post is added to the blog. Basically, it made posting updates convenient for me so I didn't have to paste links and write up descriptions all over the place. That is, at least until now since Facebook has disabled the ability for IFTTT to post my articles on my Facebook timeline as of August 2.

If you're looking for hockey content on my Facebook page, I'm afraid it's few and far between right now... which goes to show how often I check my Facebook page. In the future, new posts will be posted manually there for people who read my stuff from that site. It's unfortunate that this has to be the case with Facebook, but they sort of did it to themselves. The only problem is that I'm paying for their incompetence.

We'll get the Facebook feed rolling again, folks. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

I Wanna Take Part

I often get taken to task by my co-workers who see me, the lone IT guy in a massive region, sitting in his office "doing nothing" while they slave away in their jobs. I take this good-natured ribbing because I happen to be able to multi-task fairly efficiently, but I often come in earlier or stay later on days where I can so that I get more done in the hope that I don't have to work harder down the line. It never truly works out as I planned, but one can hope, right? Today, though, there may be hope as one New Zealand company is throwing conservative work standards into a tizzy with their novel idea!

According to a report in The Guardian, "Two-hundred-and-forty staff at Perpetual Guardian, a company which manages trusts, wills and estate planning, trialled a four-day working week over March and April, working four, eight-hour days but getting paid for five."
The experiment run by Perpetual Guardian founder Andrew Barnes saw the following results:
Jarrod Haar, professor of human resource management at Auckland University of Technology, found job and life satisfaction increased on all levels across the home and work front, with employees performing better in their jobs and enjoying them more than before the experiment.

Work-life balance, which reflected how well respondents felt they could successfully manage their work and non-work roles, increased by 24 percentage points.

In November last year just over half (54%) of staff felt they could effectively balance their work and home commitments, while after the trial this number jumped to 78%.

Staff stress levels decreased by 7 percentage points across the board as a result of the trial, while stimulation, commitment and a sense of empowerment at work all improved significantly, with overall life satisfaction increasing by 5 percentage points.
Hi, where do I apply? This idea that Andrew Barnes has sounds absolutely incredible, and it seems to go back to the idea of working smarter, not harder. I totally subscribe to the idea of working smarter, so this makes too much sense to me. At a previous place of employment, I tried to get them to institute a ten-hour four-day work week for my department so that everyone got an extra day off. That was met with both laughter and every way one can pronounce the word "no", so I'm glad to see someone actually put the idea into practice and get tangible results back from the experiment!

Perhaps what encourages me even more to explore this idea was this section from the article.
Helen Delaney, a senior lecturer at the University of Auckland Business School, said employees’ motivation and commitment to work increased because they were included in the planning of the experiment, and played a key role in designing how the four-day week would be managed so as not to negatively impact productivity.

“Employees designed a number of innovations and initiatives to work in a more productive and efficient manner, from automating manual processes to reducing or eliminating non-work-related internet usage,” said Delaney.
If you're going to let me, the employee, design my work week for efficiency and productivity, you've already sold me on the idea. Having the policies and procedures dictated to me from someone who has a very vague idea what I do in my daily routine frustrates me to no end, so having me including in the planning phase to maximize my efficiency lights me up. That's the kind of input that I want my employer to seek when looking for ways to be more productive, so this entire experiment appeals to me in a big way.

I get that most employers want the five-day work week to continue as it's currently designed to offer holidays and other benefits based on the hours worked by employees. I'd counter with the fact that two weeks of holidays rarely scratches the surface for most people when it comes to time they need for themselves, and the idea that "weekends are enough" is laughable to me. When 78% of 240 people feel they can effectively manage their home and work commitments better with an extra day off per week, I'm very sure that the end result is happier, more productive staff which is good for business. Sure, there are likely less sick days used, less health-related benefits sought, and less mistakes made due to a number of factors - complacency, monotony, fatigue, etc. - but the bottom line is that happier staff are more productive staff because they feel valued by their employer, especially when they're involved in making the workplace better. That's just simple psychology.

I know that, for me, I am afforded a lot of freedom in my role thanks to my travel schedule and the requirements of my position. My supervisor and manager are great people who understand the importance of work-life balance as well, and they've allowed me time to pursue things that interest me. There are certainly deadlines and goals that have to be met in my position, but the fact that I meet these requirements regularly has allowed me some greater freedom than being chained to a desk. Don't get me wrong: I love my job thanks to the freedoms I have in it. I'm grateful for these freedoms, but it could be enhanced even further with an additional day off per week. The amount of non-work stuff I could get done with that extra day would be too numerous to count.

I'd love to see this implemented in a North American workplace where it seems more and more employees are living to work just to pay bills and keep a roof over their heads. How great would one extra day off per week be for the psyches of the employees who take part in this experiment? I would assume there would be a major upswing in their productivity and efficiency, not to mention a far happier outlook on life, and that's great for business. If there is a business willing to try this in North America, I would hope that there are credible and legitimate studies done on the results because I suspect that the prison of five-day work weeks the majority of us are stuck in would crumble.

The only question left to ask: which company is willing to try it out?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!