Tracy does a great job (as she always does) talking about a subject that is often the elephant in the room. Mental health is a subject that is rarely discussed openly, and it often has a adverse effect within the workplace (although Tracy frames her presentation as “mental health and IT,” I expand it to say “workplace,” because it likely encompasses more than just IT).
Everyone deals with mental, emotional, and psychological issues in some form, whether we acknowledge them or not. Addressing those issues can often improve upon your day-to-day issues, and perhaps even turn your life around.
I’ll admit that the COVID-19 crisis has had me fall into some bad habits. This morning, I decided to address one of them.
Since gyms have been shut down due to the crisis, I have fallen off the wagon when it comes to my CrossFit workouts. I’ve been doing a lot of sitting on my duff. Since I work in IT, it’s the nature of the beast and a job hazard. I woke up this morning to a sunny morning (for once — we’ve had a lot of rain, sunny days have been few and far between, and it’s directly affected my mood, not to mention my motivation), and decided to do something.
I went to the Couch to 5K website and did a little reading. I’ve toyed with the idea before, but never pulled the trigger on it. For whatever reason, this morning was different. I downloaded the C25K app to my phone, put on my shirt, shorts, and CrossFit shoes, and followed the instructions for Day 1 as I went around the block several times. Day 1 is essentially a 20 minute AMRAP (or maybe EMOM might be more accurate — I’m not sure) that alternates between 90 seconds of walking and 60 seconds of jogging (not including a 5 minute warm-up and cool-down walk at the beginning and end). It sounds pretty easy, but I was still winded by the time I was finished.
Will I keep this up for eight weeks? We’ll see. Right now, the jury’s out. For all I know, I might wake up tomorrow morning and decide that I want to stay in bed. But hey, we all need to start somewhere. Maybe at the very least, when the COVID-19 crisis is over and I’m allowed to go back to my gym, I won’t cringe when the coaches tell me that the WOD is a 5K run.
This morning, the local grammar school put on a car parade by its teachers. I took some photos, and I wanted to share! Good things happen in neighborhoods, and I have good neighbors!
First, my neighbors wanted to show their support! The chalk art was by my neighbors across the street. I could also see other people out in front of their houses with balloons and signs to show their support as they drove by.
I figured it was a good excuse to take out my horn, so on a whim, I grabbed it and serenaded the cars as they went by. I figured, what’s a parade without a band!
Here goes the parade! I guess-timate that there were about a dozen or so cars, maybe more. I only got a few of them because I was busy playing my sax as they drove by!
Despite the COVID-19, everyone is making the best of the situation. This put a smile on my face today.
One of my admitted addictions is my Xbox 360 and EA Sports NCAA Football 2013. With all of us shut in during the COVID-19 crisis, I’ve had a lot more time on my hands lately, and I’ve been playing football on the Xbox a lot more than I care to admit.
One of the things that NCAA Football 13 allows me to do is align my own conferences. So I decided to have some fun with it.
With conference realignment, we have teams that, geographically, don’t make much sense. West Virginia in the Big Twelve (a conference whose easternmost school was once Missouri)? Seriously? Also, college sports conferences often have their own identity relative to their geography. With no Eastern conference, that identity no longer exists.
When I was a student at Syracuse, there was no eastern football conference (at that time, the Big East was basketball-only). Instead, there were a bunch of eastern independent football programs under the umbrella of the ECAC (not an organized conference) that pretty much played each other every year, so for all intents and purposes, they informally made up their own conference, even though there wasn’t one at the time.
The late Joe Paterno once said that we need to have an all-sport Eastern conference (this was before Penn State joined the Big Ten). I’ve often thought, if we had an Eastern conference, this is how it might have looked. Well, since NCAA Football 13 allows me to align my own conferences, I could make that happen. I decided, why not!
NCAA Football 13 represents the 2012 season, which is the last season of the Big East conference and the year before Syracuse and Pittsburgh joined the ACC. It means that, in this gameplay universe, there would always be a Big East conference, and the American conference doesn’t exist. Additionally, the four-team FBS championship hadn’t yet been implemented, so I’m stuck with the BCS (boo!). It is what it is.
So in setting up my all-Eastern dream superconference, I decided to kick out any non-traditional Eastern football teams (so long, USF) and bring back the old, traditional Eastern independents (hello, Boston College, Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple, and West Virginia), as well as pilfering other traditional conference teams and independents (looking at you, Maryland and Notre Dame — in this fantasy world, Maryland leaves the ACC, where they were at the time; in 2012, they hadn’t yet joined the Big Ten — and Notre Dame relinquishes its independence. Hey, before you Golden Domers yell at me, this is my setup, and I can do what I want!). I also kept other Big East teams that weren’t “traditional” — Cincinnati, UConn, and Louisville.
Of course, since I took teams from other conferences, I moved some teams around in order to balance them out. It’s interesting how your own fantasy conference realignment affects the other conferences as well! So, among other things, UCF and USF became ACC schools, Missouri went to the Big Ten, and Texas A&M went back to the Big Twelve. (I might have made some other moves as well, but I don’t remember what they were off the top of my head.)
Including twelve teams allowed me to split my conference into two divisions, along with an end-of-season championship game, so I created Eastern and Western divisions. When all was said and done, my new Big East conference looked like this.
Big East (Eastern Division)
Big East (Western Division)
(Note: yes, I know Cincinnati is further west than West Virginia. I wanted to keep as many of the traditional Eastern powers together as much as possible. Hey, my scenario, my rules!)
I also set up cross-division rivals, similar to what the ACC currently has — Syracuse (Atlantic Division) plays Pittsburgh (Coastal Division) every year, and so on. So in this setup, Notre Dame plays Boston College every year and Louisville plays Cincinnati. (I don’t remember what other pairings I had; I think I paired Penn State with Maryland, Pitt with Temple, West Virginia with Rutgers, and Syracuse with UConn.)
(Speaking of which, EA Sports keeps insisting that SU vs. UConn is a major rivalry. As far as I know, that rivalry only existed in basketball, and it wasn’t all that heated, like SU vs. Georgetown. Personally, I have nothing against UConn, except when we play them!)
I set up a championship game played at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. I actually wanted to set it up at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, but unfortunately, NCAA Sports 13 doesn’t offer that as an option, so I tried to pick the most centrally located stadium in a big metro area (so Penn State was out) that was offered by the game.
(Okay, maybe Pittsburgh is more centrally located. The game does allow me to change it at the end of each season. We’ll see.)
It makes for an interesting setup. I keep the geography of the former Eastern independents, and it has its own Eastern identity. If I could imagine what a geographically-sensible college football realignment might have turned out, this is how it might be organized. Oh, what might have been.
By the way, I just finished playing a season in which I took my 14-0 Syracuse team to the national championship.
Last November, I bought a new laptop. My old HP had served me well for a number of years, but it was showing its age, and I decided to get a new one.
In the last couple of days, I’ve used it to download some things and make more use of it. The first was SQL Server 2019; yesterday, I wrote about installing it (ed. note: I started writing this ‘blog article on Friday, but didn’t get this out until Monday). I intend to do more with it, and I’ll write about it later as I go along.
The second is resurrecting an old hobby, and it’s directly related to my music.
As many of you are aware, I’m a musician in my spare time. When I’m not trapped at home by COVID-19, I play piano in a Catholic church on Sunday mornings, and I play clarinet with a symphonic concert band on Wednesday nights. I used to do a lot more, but increasing demands on my time forced me to cut back.
One thing about me that a lot of people might not be aware: I’ve written and recorded songs. I have a page on which I have demos. Feel free to click the link and give my songs a listen, if you feel so compelled.
However, I haven’t done anything with my music in a long time. There are multiple reasons for this, first and foremost being that “life happens.” I’ve been busy doing a lot of other stuff, my life has rolled merrily along, and my dream of becoming a rockstar (literally!) had to be put on hold. By now, a number of the songs I’ve written are coming up on about thirty years old. I like to think that my music is still relevant, but I encourage you to check out the link above and listen for yourself.
Another major reason I haven’t done anything with it in a while is frustration. I used to work a lot on MIDI sequencing. Much of that work was done on an old Macintosh computer using Trax sequencing software. Laugh about the ancient setup all you want, but it was easy to use, it worked very well, and it got the job done.
Unfortunately, that changed after I decided to switch out my aging (and slowly-dying) Mac for a PC. After making the switch, I constantly had problems. I discovered, much to my chagrin, that my PC would blue-screen as soon as I tried the MIDI sequencer. And after that, I experienced latency issues that I was unable to correct. I would hit a key on the piano, and I would hear the sound a couple of seconds later — completely unacceptable when you’re trying to do MIDI sequencing work. I wanted to work on sequences, but it frustrated me enough to abandon it — and return to it only sporadically, if at all.
With me being home due to COVID-19, and looking for projects to work on, I figured it was a good time to revisit my music and MIDI sequencing endeavors.
I first downloaded and installed ACID Music Studio on my laptop. I had bought the software a long time ago. It used to be a Sony product, but Magix has since taken it over. I was happy to see that my software license was still valid, so I was able to install it on my laptop with little trouble.
I then took my old recording project files and restored them on my laptop. I’m using ACID to play some of my projects as I write this, and I’m happy to see that they’re still there.
Okay. The next step was to see if my computer would work with my MIDI setup. The piano I use as my controller is a full-sized Kurzweil Ensemble Grande. I have a MIDI Out cable attached to the back so that I can install it to a MIDI interface. I took my laptop to the living room and started setting it up.
Alas, this is where I ran into a problem. My E-Mu XMIDI 1×1 interface did not appear to be compatible with my laptop running Windows 10. When I checked the website, I saw a message saying that the interface had reached end-of-life and was no longer supported. Foiled. I ordered a new MIDI interface from Amazon. My new MIDI setup would have to wait.
So, until I get my new MIDI interface, the rest of this experiment will have to wait. I’ll pick this up again when my new hardware arrives.
I’ll admit that I haven’t been doing a very good job of staying on top of my ‘blog lately. This is an article I’ve tried to start several times during the past couple of weeks of confinement, but I’ve fallen into some bad habits during this ordeal. I won’t get into them right now; it’s not a subject I care to delve into, although I might write about it another time (there’s a reason why I’m titling this article “part 1;” I suspect this won’t be my first article about COVID-19).
I suppose a good way to start this article is the start of my personal COVID-19 experience. The crisis hit home for me when this news bit appeared. I play the piano for OLA, so of course, I was there. Upon hearing about this, I immediately left my office for home, where I self-quarantined until this past Sunday.
Even after my quarantine period expired, however, I didn’t really leave home. I haven’t had much reason to do so. My office is closed through at least April (thankfully, I have the ability to work from home). The Albany Catholic diocese has shut down churches, so I have no reason to go on Sunday mornings (disclosure: I am not Catholic; I only go because I play the piano for a Catholic church on Sundays). My gym is closed, and the band I play in is shut down until further notice. Even if I can go anywhere, I don’t have any place to go.
As of right now, I don’t have anything of note to write about. My days at home are spent writing documentation, watching TV, and playing Xbox (in case you’re wondering, my main Xbox addiction is EA Sports NCAA Football). There are a lot of other things I can and probably should be doing during our period of confinement, including (but not limited to) spending more quality time with my wife, taking advantage of the time to learn things, and work out. I wish I could tell you that I’ve had a great revelation during my time in isolation, but that moment hasn’t happened yet. When it does, I’ll make sure I write about it.
So for now, the main reason for this article is to let my regular readers (both of you) know that I’m still alive. I’ll try to get better about writing any insights I might have. Until then, carry on (my wayward son)…
I enjoy attending sporting events. My previous post got me thinking about the sports venues that I’ve visited, and I thought it’d be fun to compile that list!
A few caveats: I only list venues (along with their home teams and/or events) in which I’ve actually seen a game. For example, I’ve set foot in Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, but I didn’t actually see a game there, so it’s not on my list.
I don’t list opposing teams. I’ve been to so many events that I don’t remember them all. Also, for “home” arenas in which I’ve seen large numbers of games, they’d be too many to list, anyway.
I also denote any arenas that are homes to “my teams.” While I live two hours away from Syracuse, I still consider the Carrier Dome as my “home” arena. Geographically, Siena and UAlbany are only minutes away from me, and I do root for the home team in those arenas, but they’re not necessarily “my” teams or home arenas.
I only consider organized professional (major or minor league) and NCAA (any division) teams or events. Organized non-professional or collegiate events (e.g. Little League World Series, Olympic games, etc.) count too, although I’ve never been to one. The pickup game of touch football in the public park doesn’t count.
These are listed in no particular order, although I try to list my “home” arenas, places I’ve visited more often, and places geographically close to me first.
I mark arenas that either no longer exist or are no longer used for that sport with an asterisk (*).
All games are regular season games, unless denoted.
I have never been to an NBA, NHL, or major soccer game, which is why you don’t see them listed.
So without further ado, here’s that list.
Arenas I’ve visited
Yankee Stadium (new), Bronx, NY — NY Yankees (my home arena), ALDS
Yankee Stadium* (old), Bronx, NY — NY Yankees (former home arena)
Joseph Bruno Stadium, Troy, NY — Tri-City ValleyCats (another home arena), NCAA Div-III tournament regional
Heritage Park*, Colonie, NY — Albany-Colonie Yankees (former home arena), Albany-Colonie Diamond Dogs
Robison Field, Troy, NY — RPI Engineers (my home field)
Fenway Park, Boston, MA — Boston Red Sox
Shea Stadium*, Queens, NY — NY Mets
Citi Field, Queens, NY — NY Mets
Kingdome*, Seattle, WA — Seattle Mariners
Safeco Field (now T-Mobile Park), Seattle WA — Seattle Mariners
Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD — Baltimore Orioles, All-Star Game
SkyDome (now Rogers Centre), Toronto, ON — Toronto Blue Jays
MacArthur Stadium*, Syracuse, NY — Syracuse Chiefs
Alliance Bank Stadium (now NBT Stadium), Syracuse, NY — Syracuse Chiefs
Olympic Stadium*, Montreal, PQ — Montreal Expos
Veterans Stadium*, Philadelphia, PA — Philadelphia Phillies
Tiger Stadium*, Detroit, MI — Detroit Tigers
Coors Field, Denver, CO — Colorado Rockies
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL — Tampa Bay Rays
Damaschke Field*, Oneonta, NY — Oneonta Yankees
East Field*, Glens Falls, NY — Glens Falls Redbirds, Adirondack Lumberjacks
Stade Canac, Quebec City, PQ — Quebec Capitales
Dwyer Stadium, Batavia, NY — Batavia Trojans
Silver Stadium*, Rochester, NY — Rochester Red Wings
Places where I’ve never seen a game, but are on my wish list: Wrigley Field, Chicago; Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles; Oracle Park, San Francisco; Kaufmann Stadium, Kansas City; Petco Park, San Diego; Nationals Field, Washington DC; PNC Park, Pittsburgh; any Nippon Professional League game in Japan
Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY — Syracuse Orange (my home arena)
ECAV Stadium, Troy, NY — RPI Engineers (my other home arena)
’86 Field*, Troy, NY — RPI Engineers (another home “arena”)
Bob Ford Field, Albany, NY — UAlbany Great Danes
Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, MA — Boston College Eagles
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD — Navy Midshipmen
Michie Stadium, West Point, NY — Army Black Knights
Veterans Stadium*, Philadelphia, PA — Temple Owls
Yale Bowl, New Haven, CT — Yale Bulldogs
Met Life Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ — Syracuse Orange (NOT my home arena!)
Giants Stadium*, East Rutherford, NJ — Syracuse Orange (also not my home arena!)
Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH — Ohio State Buckeyes
Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, LA — Sugar Bowl
Pontiac Silverdome*, Pontiac, MI — Cherry Bowl
Tampa Stadium*, Tampa, FL — Hall of Fame Bowl
Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ — Fiesta Bowl
Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY — Pinstripe Bowl
Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL — Camping World Bowl
Places where I’ve never seen a game, but are on my wish list: Harvard Stadium, Harvard; Memorial Stadium, Clemson; Beaver Stadium, Penn State; Rose Bowl, UCLA; Michigan Stadium, Michigan; Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame
Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY — Syracuse Orange (my home arena), NCAA tournament
Manley Field House*, Syracuse, NY — Syracuse Orange (women)
RPI Armory*, Troy, NY — RPI Engineers (my other home arena)
Times-Union Center, Albany, NY — Siena Saints, MAAC tournament
Alumni Recreation Center*, Loudonville, NY — Siena Saints
SEFCU Arena, Albany, NY — UAlbany Great Danes, America East tournament
Pittsburgh Civic Arena*, Pittsburgh, PA — Pitt Panthers
Lundholm Gymnasium, Durham, NH — UNH Wildcats
Case Gym, Boston, MA — Boston University Terriers
Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome*, Minneapolis, MN — NCAA tournament
Reunion Arena*, Dallas, TX — NCAA tournament
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY — St. John’s Red Storm, Big East Tournament, NIT Preseason Tournament
Barclays Arena, Brooklyn, NY — preseason tournament
Places where I’ve never seen a game, but are on my wish list: The Palestra, Penn; Allen Field House, Kansas; Pauley Pavilion, UCLA; Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke
RPI has a new arena: ECAV (East Campus Athletic Village) Arena. I have yet to see a game there.
Houston Field House, Troy, NY — RPI Engineers (my home arena)
Messa Rink, Schenectady, NY — Union Dutchmen
Times-Union Center, Albany, NY — Mayor’s Cup/Capital Skate Classic, NCAA tournament
Glens Falls Civic Center*, Glens Falls, NY — Mayor’s Cup/Capital Skate Classic
Lynah Rink, Ithaca, NY — Cornell Big Red
Starr Rink, Hamilton, NY — Colgate Raiders
Tate Rink, West Point, NY — Army Black Knights
Bright Hockey Center, Cambridge, MA — Harvard Crimson
Yale Ice Arena, New Haven, CT — Yale Bulldogs
Thompson Arena, Hanover, NH — Dartmouth Big Green
Olympic Ice Arena, Lake Placid, NY — ECAC tournament
Walter Brown Arena*, Boston, MA — Boston University Terriers
Cumberland County Civic Center (now Cross Insurance Arena), Portland, ME — Maine Black Bears
Hartford Civic Center (now XL Center), Hartford, CT — I don’t remember the event, but it was four teams: RPI, Maine, Colgate, and I don’t remember who the fourth team was.
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY — Rivalry On Ice (Yale vs. Harvard)
Places where I’ve never seen a game, but are on my wish list: Alfond Arena, Maine; Hobey Baker Rink, Princeton; Matthews Arena, Northeastern
Times-Union Center*, Albany, NY — Albany River Rats, Albany Devils
Giants Stadium*, East Rutherford, NJ — NY Giants (my home arena)
Rich Stadium (now New Era Field), Orchard Park, NY — Buffalo Bills
Sullivan Stadium*, Foxborough, MA — New England Patriots
Veterans Stadium*, Philadelphia, PA — Philadelphia Eagles
Although I’ve been to Met Life Stadium, it was for a Syracuse game. I have yet to see the Giants there.
Landsdowne Stadium*, Ottawa, ON — Ottawa Roughriders
Times-Union Center*, Albany, NY — Albany Firebirds
Wow, I’ve attended a lot of sporting events!
Anyway, this was a fun exercise, and a neat list to put together. I’m hoping to add to it!
I became interested in this ‘blog for several reasons. I am an alumnus of an NCAA Division I power conference basketball school. I am a college basketball fan, and a sports fan in general. I was a pep band member in college, so that fandom tends to be amplified. I enjoy visiting and exploring sports venues. And I love to travel (although I don’t always have the time or money to do so).
I became curious about his ‘blog. I did a quick skim of his impressions about my “home” arena. I also have two Division I basketball schools within fifteen minutes of my home (Siena and UAlbany), so when I have a chance, I’ll have to read those as well. His ‘blog looks interesting, so I’ll have to read through it some more when time allows!
I applaud the gentleman’s efforts. While I’m not as ambitious as he is to try attending 350 basketball arenas, I do enjoy catching games whenever I can (I recently caught a St. John’s game at Madison Square Garden during a weekend getaway down in New York). I will confess to having a pipe dream of attending games in all thirty Major League Baseball stadiums. (So far, I’ve made it to Yankee Stadium [both old and new], Citi Field, Shea Stadium, Fenway Park, Camden Yards, SkyDome/Rogers Centre, Olympic Stadium, Tiger Stadium, Veterans Stadium, Kingdome, Safeco Field [or whatever they call it now — T-Mobile park, or whatever it is], Tropicana Field, and Coors Field. Whew! I think that’s all of them!)
Everyone needs to go out and experience life. One of my ways of doing it is attending sporting events. Whatever it is you enjoy, go out there and enjoy life!
For those of you reading this who work in some type of professional position, how many of you have a resume? I’m guessing that at least 98% of you (if not more) would have your hands raised.
Now, for those of you who are very active in some extracurricular activity (just for context, that activity for me, personally, happens to be music) — and by “very,” I mean you dedicate large amounts of time, money, energy, and resources to it, as though it was another job (even if you’re not making money off of it) — how many of you maintain an extracurricular resume?
I didn’t think about this until recently. This past winter, I music-directed a local show production. One person I met in the production told me he was looking for a music director, and said he wanted me to do it. I hemmed and hawed about it a bit (and I still am — those of you who’ve done theater shows know that it sucks up ALL your free time). He did tell me that the board of directors asked for my resume so they could get a look at my background.
Until this came up, it never occurred to me that I should have a resume outside of my professional life. Immediately, I started coming up with questions. How would it differ from my professional resume? What should it look like? How should I organize it? What should I include?
In any case, I have an idea in the back of my head as to how I’m going to put it together (and I do intend to put one together). Music is an activity that I take very seriously, and I do look for opportunities to do something with it, even though I don’t do it for a living. So it makes sense for me to have one. Besides, if I do decide someday to leave my professional life behind and make music my career, who knows?
So if you have some activity outside your professional career that you pursue seriously, consider putting together an extracurricular resume. You never know what opportunities could come from it.