Saturday, November 29, 2008

Catching Up - The Last 86 Hours, 2 Caps Victories & 2 Movies - 1 Awesome

Well fellow bloggers and folks who for some reason or another find my musings worth reading, this past week was one spent mainly with family either traveling to and from meeting with other family members in Myrtle Beach, SC or being together with them there.

This week's adventures started when I spent this past Tuesday morning at the local middle school as a Prince William County Department of Education "Resource Speaker" for Career Day. It's something I've participated in three years running and always interesting. Over the course of the morning six groups of middle school students come to a table and "interview" me. As in the past they start with a prepared list of 10-15 questions (this year it was 15) that they later have to turn in for a classroom assignment or extra credit I assume. The 15 questions are ones you'd expect - 1) How did I get into the field? (I do "Engineer"). 2) What special training or education do you need to get into the field? 3) Are there opportunities for advancement? 4) What's a typical day like? 5)How much do people in the field usually make? 6) What do you have to wear to work? 7)Do you have to travel outside the area? 8)Do you commute to work? Etc. If you keep them on track you also have time to let them ask other questions that they really want to ask and this is where the real fun begins. Besides the usual one that you get at least every other group - Do I have a son or daughter that goes to their school or a nearby middle school? (No our only son graduated from Battlefield High last year and is in college.) there are a couple that they usually ask like "What kind of engineer are you and how is that different from other engineers or the type of engineer i think I want to become? (From those really into it.) This year the first 5 groups I had were filled with 6 in each group except the last group in which I had 4, so that's 34 8th graders with some interest in possibly becoming engineers, not bad my understanding is that's about 15% of the class. That was the good news, the bad news only one of the 34 was female. The woman at the other end of the gym for "modeling" sold out - all females. I guess I'm wondering what things would have been like for me if I had been in spot at the middle of the gym and at the end opposite the "modeling lady" had been a guy with a sign "professional athlete"? I'm betting he'd have been a lot bigger draw then the Prince William County Prosecutor who was there. Oh well, we in the technology industries just need a LOT more shows like CSI and NUMBERS on prime time and those that fell like me need to do a better job of explaining why we enjoy our careers and find them rewarding. It's something that companies like ours at ICx Technologies need to do more of and I'm thankful that ours is an enlightened company that encourages us to do this time of outreach and community service. My last question to them - What are you doing for Thanksgiving? - anecdotally, over 80% traveling locally or regionally to spend it with family, if you're interested in that sort of thing.

Tuesday night I picked my son up at Union Station and Wednesday we spent the majority of the day driving down to Myrtle Beach. I did enjoy watching the last 1/2 of the third period of the Hurricanes 3-1 home loss to the Flyers before calling it a relatively early night. Of course I was very pleased to see the Caps beat Atlanta on the Hurricane's post game show. Thanksgiving Day our family has a number of customs and traditions that are related to going out to an early dinner and then spending the afternoon together doing something. This year we went to a movie together - "The Four Christmases" - apropos and funny - at Broadway On The Beach, I'd go again but that's not the awesome one. Later that evening my son and I returned to Broadway At the Beach's IMAX theater and saw "The Dark Knight" in an IMAX (2D) Theater with a great sound system. It was as they say, totally worth the $16.00 price of admission and I wish they'd make more real movies like this in IMAX and show them in the few IMAX Theaters around DC. How about a "Miracle" or "Slapshot" remake in IMAX - that'd get the hockey crowd out I'd bet. Then yesterday, once again the day spent traveling back home. As much as I hate to admit it, now that we don't see our son much since he's at school most of the time, being locked up together in the car for 5-8 hours isn't so bad. We always seem to have plenty to catch up on.

Well now, "How about 'dem Caps?" What a difference a week makes. The call-ups have now played two home games and the Caps held there own. Tonight the Caps travel to Columbus, OH to take on the 9-10-3 Blue Jackets. The Blue Jackets are led by their sharpshooter Rick Nash but have dropped three straight at home. The Caps have lost their last three road games though against teams that are all arguably (at least in Los Angeles' case) stronger then the Blue Jackets. The Caps will likely once again field a team that has at least 5 names on the ice that weren't part of the opening night roster due to injuries. The big questions in this blogger's mind are: 1) who will start in goal, will Jose Theodore who was "lights out" awesome last night want and get the start or will it be Brent "Johnnie" Johnson who has also been "pretty darn good" so far this season too? and 2) will either Mike Green, Tom Poti, Sergei Federov or Alexander Semin make it back to the lineup tonight, and if Federov makes it back will he play "D" or Center? Interestingly, if the Caps win tonight in Columbus, they will have captured 20 of 30 available standings points in the month of November. That's 0.667 hockey, in spite of being almost snake bitten on their most grueling road trip of the year and playing 8 of 15 games against teams that were playoff teams last season. They've also gone 7-1-2 against Eastern Conference Teams during the month. They remain on pace for a 104 point season, despite a spate of injuries that at least from this vantage point appears "second to none" in the NHL so far this season. Ending the month with a win in Columbus, especially if it's accompanied by Anaheim beating Carolina at RBC Center tonight, would be a great way to celebrate Bruce Boudreau's first "anniversary weekend" at the Caps' helm. Heck while we're at it let's root for the Devil's to win their sixth straight without Martin Brodeur when they face the Pens at the Igloo tonight as well.

Given that the injuries now will add some additional suspense to the December schedule as the Caps continue their quest for dominance in the Southeastern Division, and a run at potentially winning the Eastern Conference as well; starting the month tied with the Penguins for second in the Conference and 5 points ahead of the Hurricanes in the Division sounds great to me. Of course to make that happen, once again tonight the Caps have to stick to their system and get some solid play and secondary scoring from the third and fourth liners. The system and the relentless forechecking will be needed to tie up Rick Nash, "young gun" Derick Brassard, Jason Chimera, R.J. Umberger, and Kristian Huselius in the neutral zone, just like the Caps did last night to the Canadeans. Then to win the game the Caps should look for a team effort to put three or more pucks to the back of the net, again just like last night. I'll be "Rockin' the Red" from the settee in Bristow, VA. How about "y'all"?

LETS GO CAPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Dan, Jr. said...

It's great that you participate in that Career Day activity. Could be enlightening to some of those Middle School kids. I bet the number of students (including girls) interested in your field would increase significantly if you were to do the same at a High School.

I spent Thanksgiving down in the Fairfax area visiting with my younger sister's family. Surprisingly, the drive down from Harford County, MD wasn't too terribly crowded.

A hockey movie in IMAX would give you a sense of being on the ice, yeah?

There had been talk of Brent getting the start in Columbus, but I bet Theo has a good shot at it, after getting the shutout last night.

Dan, Jr. said...

I will be viewing tonight's game within a crowd of one from my living room couch. It being on a Saturday night, my daughter will probably be out somewhere. I'm expecting to polish off the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers.