Update Your Links!

I made the decision NOT to pay for the URL redirect. So if you have any links to my blog, please update the base URL to www.noformatblog.ca. I’ll leave this up for a bit with edited posts but there won’t be any further updates in this feed.

Thanks ūüôā 

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The NHL – 2016 Mirror Universe

Hi there! This blog has moved to http://www.noformatblog.ca. You can get to this post directly by clicking here.

I recently found a free hockey simulator called “Hockey GM“, which is an off-shoot of Baseball GM, which itself is an offshoot of Basketball GM.  It’s a fun text-based simulator where you run a team, and control everything from ticket prices to player movement.  I uploaded a fan-created NHL database to Hockey GM, and ran the Ottawa Senators for the first season.  Here’s what unfolded in this mirror universe!


The season started on a sour note for the Ottawa Senators, playing to a 2-5-3 record after 10 games.  In those games, the Sens allowed 36 goals while scoring only 18.  The worst loss in that stretch was a 7-0 thumping at the hands of Colorado Avalanche.

After 35 games, the Senators sat with a record of 10-18-7, good for 27 points and last in the NHL overall.  That 35-game stretch included a 10-game winless streak, which started with the 7-0 loss in Colorado, that wasn’t snapped until a close 2-1 victory against the Florida Panthers.  Craig Anderson made a solid 21 saves to earn the victory, while Ryan Dzingel and Zack Smith picked up the goals for Ottawa.

While Ottawa hoped the victory would be a turning point in the season, they continued their poor play going into the half-way mark of the season to sit with a record of 13-19-9.  Still last in the Atlantic Division, but at least 3 points up on top of the New York Rangers for second last in the Eastern Conference.

In the end, the Sens finished with a record of 34-35-13, good for 7th in the Atlantic Division / 11th in the Eastern Conference.  They did NOT make the playoffs, though they did hold the 8th spot for a few games as they climbed their way back to respectability.

Unfortunately for the Senators, Craig Anderson decided to retire so the priority for 2017 is to find a new number one goaltender.

Team Leaders:
– Points – Erik Karlsson – 66 (37G-29A)
– Goals – Erik Karlsson – 37 (Finished 10th in scoring)
– Assists – Mark Stone – 40 (25G-40A-65P)

Some individual game stats of note:
– Mark Stone scored 4 goals and Derek Brassard had 3 assists in a 6-3 win over the Minnesota Wild
– Erik Karlsson scored 3 goals in a 4-3 OT win over the Nashville Predators
– Mike Hoffman and Erik Karlsson each had 3 assists in a 6-5 OT loss to the Montreal Canadiens
– Erik Karlsson scored 3 goals in a 6-5 win over the Minnesota Wild

Awards:
Stanley Cup Champions: Dallas Stars
Playoffs MVP: Tyler Seguin (DAL) (10G-12A)
Best Record – East – Pittsburgh Penguins (60-18-4)
Best Record – West – Chicago Blackhawks (53-24-5)
Regular Season MVP: Ryan Getzlaf (ANA) (65G-39A)
Defensive Player of the year: Erik Karlsson (OTT) (279 Hits, 337 Blocks)
Goalie of the year: Braden Holtby (WAS)
Rookie of the Year: Connor McDavid (EDM) (43G-32A)

Notable Retirements (* Demptes players named to Hall of Fame)
Jaromir Jagr*
Joe Thornton*
Roberto Luongo*
Vernon Fiddler*
Chris Neil
Henrik Sedin
Craig Anderson

Podcast Subscription Post

Hi there! This blog has moved to http://www.noformatblog.ca. You can get to this post directly by clicking here.

I almost labelled this as the “Monthly Podcast Subscription Post” but thought better of it. ¬†I’d like to have this as a regular feature on the blog, but I don’t know yet if it’s going to be monthly or maybe less frequent. ¬†Either way, I think the format may change, but you’re going to see this kind of post pop up more than once!

I subscribe and listen to a lot of podcasts. ¬†Usually, I don’t have the time to listen to more than a few in a day, so I tend to be pretty picky when it comes to adding or dropping shows. ¬†I have no problem trying out new shows if I like the description or it comes recommended, but I quickly drop shows from my rotation if it doesn’t “do it” for me.

These posts won’t have much info added to them, with the exception of new subscriptions & dropped subscriptions. ¬†For those, I’ve got a brief write-up of why I added / dropped the subscription.

With that said, here’s my current subscription list, pulled from my OPML file in Pocket Casts:

Active Subscriptions
(Podcasts with an episode in the last 90 days)

  • Cynical Cartoons
  • Overthinking It
  • Filmspotting
  • Toronto Blue Jays Podcast
  • Harry Potter and the Sacred Text
  • A Cast of Kings
  • Make Dad Read Comics
  • Engage: The Official Star Trek Podcast
  • The Night Time Podcast
  • CBC Radio 3 Podcast
  • Writing Excuses
  • Mission Log: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast
  • Untold: The Daniel Morgan Murder
  • A STORM OF SPOILERS
  • Hokey Religion: The Star Wars Podcast
  • The Benchcast
  • Missing & Murdered: Who Killed Alberta Williams?
  • Sens Callups
  • Almost Educational
  • Here’s The Thing with Alec Baldwin
  • Good Job, Brain!
  • Transporter Room 3: The Star Trek Podcast
  • Under the Influence
  • Anthology – The Twilight Zone and Classic Sci-Fi
  • Birds All Day
  • Polaris Podcast

New Subscriptions

  • Side Hustle School
    • Why I added it: I’m skeptical of this one but the subject matter is something I’m interested in: “A daily show for everyone who works a regular job and wants to start an income – earning project on the side . In each episode , listeners will hear a different story of someone who ‘s started a side hustle – along with what went well , how that person overcame challenges , and what happened as a result . The show is written and hosted by Chris Guillebeau , the New York Times bestselling author of The $ 100 Startup , The Happiness of Pursuit , and other books.”¬†
  • Twenty Thousand Hertz
    • Why I added it: this was based on description alone. ¬†It sounds like it’s a podcast about Sound Design, something that is inherently COOL: “You may not think about the sounds you hear every day but somebody has . The voice in your phone the effects in your video games that drum machine in your favorite song There are people – and stories – behind every one of them . Join your host , Dallas Taylor , on an exploration of the stories behind the world ‘s most recognizable and interesting sounds.”
  • The Pitch
    • Why I added it: based on the description, I figured I’d give it a try. After all I like Shark Tank / Dragon’s Den a little: “A show where entrepreneurs pitch investors for funding Like Shark Tank , but smarter”
  • Steele Wars : Star Wars Podcast
    • Why I added it: Steele has appeared a few times on Plumbing The Death Star and I wanted to add some more SW content to my list.

Dropped Subscriptions

  • Beware & Warning
    • Why I dropped it: The humour just wasn’t for me. ¬†I felt that the length of the shows was also too long for what I wanted from the episodes. I respect the work they do but it’s just not a show for me.

Inactive Subscriptions
(I haven’t declared these “dead” yet…)

  • Eric and the Legion
  • Radio Free Burrito
  • The Adam Sandcast
  • The 6th Sens Podcast
  • Rathole Radio
  • TV CRIMES
  • Memories of the Futurecast
  • Days of Old

An Unpopular Opinion

This is probably going to get me ZERO fan mail and INFINITY hate mail, but I have a problem with Bell’s Let’s Talk initiative.

To be clear: I support the initiative in general Рmental illness is a serious issue and raising awareness is great.  And if you use their #BellLetsTalk hashtag, they are donating money to the cause.  I support that.

But my problem is with that hash tag. ¬†Maybe I’m overthinking it, but what started out as a great campaign has, in my eyes, turned into a big advertising push disguised as a charitable cause. ¬†I have more to say on the matter, but before I do – I’m going to figure out a way to donate some money to the cause without tweeting Bell’s proprietary hash tag.

I’m not 100% clear on how to do that, because Bell only says it’s donating money “to #MentalHealth initiatives” – I’m not sure where it’s going. ¬†At this time, I sent out a tweet asking where I can donate directly instead of going through Bell.

As to my previous point about Bell disguising an advertising campaign as a charitable effort; I found an interesting Globe & Mail article from 2013. ¬†I’m glad to know that I’m not the only person who has an issue with the angle of this campaign.

In reading the article, it struck me as odd that the interviewer was so focused on asking ‘why mental health’ and ‘were you concerned about any negative reactions to the brand’ – which actually tells me that Bell has done a great job of supporting the cause and giving a positive spin on it. ¬†I mean, I’ve never had any negative impressions about the brand simply because they support mental health initiatives, but that only 4 years ago these were questions that needed to be asked is telling, at least to me.

But here’s the part of the article that I focused on – even though it was a small part of it.

Why attach your name? That gives the cynics a chance to dump on the campaign and dismiss is as marketing.

I can understand that there is cynicism. But if you know about the issue of mental health, you know the single biggest barrier to people getting help is the stigma. So having an organization with the history, breadth and heft of Bell being associated with it so publicly gives a boost to the mental health community.

OK. ¬†I will admit that is a good reason to attach the brand to the cause the way that it is. ¬†And I totally understand that you can’t go about this using a hashtag like “#LetsTalkBell” because then it sounds like you’re trying to talk about your next phone/tv/internet package.

Still, I think I would prefer it if the hashtag was simply, “#LetsTalk”. The campaign as a whole is fine to include name branding – but in a way I feel like throwing in the brand name dilutes it a little bit.

On the other hand, this is one day in the year that I see people address mental illnesses in a frank and honest manner, when otherwise it might not have been brought up at all.

So I think I have come around on my unpopular opinion Рthe tweet for this blog post will include the #BellLetsTalk hashtag to raise some money.  But I still plan on finding out where I can donate money directly, as I wrote above.  I feel more comfortable doing something like that in a less vague, more open manner.

Let’s Talk.

The No Format Blog

This is the No Format Blog. It draws direct inspiration from the (unfortunately) now-defunct No Format Podcast.

This is the No Format Blog. ¬†It draws direct inspiration from the (unfortunately) now-defunct No Format Podcast. ¬†What I liked about that podcast was that they felt free to explore whatever topic they wanted to discuss – movies, photography, technology – they weren’t limited to one single topic.

While that concept is hardly a novelty, there weren’t really very many podcasts like it when the show was updating regularly. ¬†Still, they pulled off the concept a lot better than most “guys-around-a-mic” podcasts do in 2017.

But enough about them. ¬†My name is Stephen (you can call me Steve too, I won’t complain). ¬†I needed a place to just¬†write about anything that interests me. ¬†I’m not doing this for money or popularity; in fact my only hope is that people read it and interact. ¬†If only 5 people do just that I’ll be happy. ¬†But there isn’t one single topic that I want to focus on, so creating a blank slate was really helpful.

I’ve blogged before – in fact, I technically already have a blog space that I can do this with. ¬†But I wanted to start fresh and try to build an audience without any preconceptions.

So what’s in store if you stick around and read my blog? ¬†I have a wide variety of interests, but I bet the predominant topics will end up being about media in general (with an emphasis on podcasts, TV, and film), a little bit of photography, writing, Android-related stuff…that’s all that comes to mind off the top of my head. ¬†There will probably be other things popping up. ¬†I definitely want to throw in personal bias and experience in wherever possible.

But at the same time I recognize that I’m not a celebrity. ¬†A random reader probably doesn’t care who I am or what I’m eating for breakfast – so you’re not likely to see that unless I really want to share a recipe with you.

Please be honest and feel free to criticize any writing I post here.  Challenge my views.  Or agree with me 100%.  All good.  As long as whoever is reading this gets some kind of satisfaction after doing so.

Thank you!

 


Steve