Tuesday, December 29, 2009

group therapy

Moderator: Good evening and welcome to this support group for people who have unusual addictions. There are coffee and donuts in the back. Please help yourself to them. We will start with the person on my left and continue in a circle. Please introduce yourself and state why you are here:

"Hi, my name is Ken."

Group: Hi Ken.

Moderator: and why are you here this evening?:

Ken: I became an addict of the board game Scrabble and as of this weekend, it has been three years since my last game.

Group (many with confused looks on their faces): *quiet clapping*

M: That is very unusual and I see why you are here. Can you explain how you got addicted to Scrabble, a board game that is supposed to be fun?

K: After I injured myself bowling in February 1994, I needed something to supplement the competitive juices that I missed. My first intentions were fun but since my memory is so vibrant, I got good fast. By 1998 inspired by a tournament win the previous October, my game got to the point where I entered the National Scrabble Championship since it was in downtown Chicago. However due to bad play, bad luck, and inexperience, things went far worse that I could ever imagine:



All games are head to head. Winner is person with best win-loss record after 31 games with total point differential used as a tiebreaker.

I finished in 128th place out of 133. One person got sick late Wednesday and that is why I got two forfeit wins. When the last game was played by the champion on table number 1, I was on table number 66.

M: That had to have been a huge disappointment. What did you do after?

K: Seeing where I ranked compared to the best of the game and knowing that I was unable to get to that point, I instead became a club and tournament director. I saw many problems and unfair practices that other directors shown and wanted to make things better focusing things on that and reported bad practices to the association. However, people didn't care how badly they were getting screwed over by people supporting the top 5% of players and I never got any real support for my cause. I did run some tournaments but after three people I cared most about seeing play in my tournaments died due to AIDS, MS and old age, I decided to stop hosting them.

M: Sad. Were there any good moments?

K: A few. One time in a club I played the person who won the National and eventually World championship and with him tired and distracted and with good draws, I did beat him. Another time I ended someone's 35 game club winning streak. However, all that just raised my expectations and created more frustration for me when things did not go well.

M: I see; what happened next?

K: One night when I was out of town, my wife accidentally erased three years of club stats off my computer hard drive and another time my daughter ruined my hard copies stepping on them in the car on a snowy day. After that, the desire to run a club was gone. In spite of me expressing me that lack of desire, I was coaxed into still running things though I had no ambition or desire to do more than the bare minimum.

As I became a husband and a father, and later a fan and participant of comedy music, I had less time to devote to playing and studying Scrabble and it eventually started to show in my play. There was one time where I almost got kicked out of a tournament as my frustrations showed and playing Scrabble started to take a toll on me mentally. It got to the point where I would see any writing, sign or billboard and immediately try to rearrange the letters in it.

M: It makes sense that personal life would take away from other things.

K: The worst one was after my daughter kept me up much of the night before a tournament where I played horrible. A year before that, I realized my level of play was equivalent to the quality of sleep the night before. When I got home and my daughter made noise, I came as close as possible to doing something really bad to her. I had to gently put her down and walk out of the house.

G: *gasps*

M: Oh my.

K: When two people I called out about unfair tournament practices got a standing ovation as they were inducted into an area "Hall of Fame" at a tournament I attended, I realized it was time to stop.

M: So you walked away? Did you tell anyone?

K: No, I just stopped going to the club and eventually someone called and I told her I could not play anymore.

M: In the past three years, have you missed it?

K: In some ways I do. I still remember interesting things that happened at clubs and tournaments. I do occasionally play word games on line and even Scrabble once or twice but never played the board game which has sat in the same spot in my basement for three years untouched.

Late last summer, I got an invite to come back and a schedule of my former club's events. One time I even made the trip to the club but as I started down the stairs I heard the sounds of the tiles, paused, and left without saying hi to anyone.

M: Thanks. Who's next?

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Madman Christmas Carol (excerpt four)

From chapter 5

After a trip to the bathroom. he saw a figure dressed in a simple suit sitting on one couch and gesturing with his hand said, "Greetings, sit here."

"Carl ... Sagan? The man whose presentation of facts and philosophy caused me to question my religious beliefs and eventually decide to abandon the lies of the church."

"Yes, but you know that. Why did you just day it?"

"You died in 1996; not everyone knows who you are."

"Sigh. Anyway, I am here to show you your past; that what you are now is not what you were and that you can't change it since it would affect who you are."

"What? I do remember who I was. My biggest problem with that is I don't forget things."

"Still. I am here to show you your past holiday seasons."

******

"Pay attention." The ghostly figure of Carl Sagan points towards the tv and it kicks into action. Ken grabs the remote to change the channel but realizes he has no control of what is being displayed.

It shows a bunch of people sitting around a console tv set in a smoke filled room. Ken focuses his attention and realizes it is his grandmother's house with versions of his now deceased uncles most of whom have either a cigar or a cigarette in one hand and an Old Style beer in the other. He also sees his father who appears eerily similar to him as his age at that time is what Ken's age is now. Looking at his father's comparatively thinner body, Ken defending himself states, "If I smoked 2-3 packs of Lucky's a day, I would be as thin as he is."

He then hears the announcer on tv " ... with Stenerud missing a game winning 22 yard field goal attempt, this playoff game is going into overtime; coach Stram can't believe what just happened."

With his jaw open, Ken replies, "1971. Municipal Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri. The day I became a fan of the Miami Dolphins. Larry Csonka's 25th birthday." He then notices a six year old kid sitting on the floor watching the game asking questions about it. "I was very chatty; wanted to know as much as I could. Still do." He smiles. "I didn't realize how close that first missed kick was."

The ghost of Carl Sagan responds, "You see how changing one little thing in the past could affect the present. You could have become a Chiefs fan." Ken shakes in fear at what was said.

Now the view on the tv set changes as the announcer states " ... and Garo Yepremian's 37 yard field goal ends the longest game in NFL history as the Miami Dolphins advance to the AFC championship with the 27-24 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. They will face the winner of tomorrow's Baltimore Colts Cleveland Browns game tomorrow to decide the AFC championship."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

ID time

During my show on Dementia Radio on Thursdays from 7PM to 8PM central time which reaches the 5 year anniversary as this post is made public, I will play at least once per half hour an ID tag that I create with a program called Goldwave. Initially I created a basic one to play and used it for a while.

After an interview I did on the Dementia Radio Saturday show called Revenge of the Particle where I was "apprehended" by "agent Luke Bauer" before I was going to sing live on the air, I took excerpts from it to add to the ID tag. Inspired by the positive reaction I got playing it, I decided to create more of them whenever I got an idea to put into it and also created other ones. Also I have gotten ID tags made by others for my show as I have done some for theirs. The sources for them are in this chart: (Note: Id tags for the station itself are not included)



Done at my house: Entire content recorded on my computer

By others: As stated, by other people who sent them to me.

Added item recorded live: A sound byte from a live show on Dementia Radio

Added item from tv, song, movie: From either a tv show, song or movie

Added item other source: Two You Tube clips, one podcast, one website

Thirty two is a lot and with playing general station ID tags and some tags for specific times of the year or special occasions, there are some I hardly play at all. Maybe I can find a way to play all of them in a row one time. :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mall Santa Quiz time

Here is a holiday quiz:

In which tv series, tv special, or movie did Santa or the person dressed as him...

1. was born, became an outlaw, break out of jail, and end up setting up his operations at the north pole?
2. fall off a roof and break his neck?
3. was sick and replaced by the Jewish version?
4. condone a girl not returning an article of clothing lost by a man?
5. had his existance proven by the Unites States Postal Service?
6. perform a lounge act holiday medley of songs with "Jesus"?
7. gave a toddler a box of plutonium?
8. try to rob a mall while drunk?
9. save the world from an alien invasion?
10. suffer a fatal heart attack while visiting sick kids in a hospital?
11. gave a bell that fell off his sleigh as the first Christmas present?
12. advise a child that a specific toy he wanted is dangerous?
13. added a physically challenged member to his team and gave away defective toys?
14. allow two creative kids, their sister, a couple of their friends and a troop of girl scout knockoffs to deliver presents to a town?
15. lose his paycheck betting on a dog then adopted it.
16. get replaced by a fat man who usually wears nothing but a leopard skin loin cloth?
17. watch two members from Dragon Ball Z and Rudolph destroy a possessed Mrs Claus?
18. was rescued by a penguin after being stranded in his sleigh on a pond?
19. terrorize people after being built in the year 2801 and joined forces with Kwanzabot and the Chanukah Zombie?
20. was put on trial for committing hit and run of an old lady?
21. steal all the presents and decorations in a town only to return them a couple of hours later?
22. try to kill the last known member of an alien race whose members have two hearts?
23. got beat up by an angry kid in a mall?

Answers:

1. Santa Claus is Comin' to Town (1970)

2. The Santa Clause (1994)

3. Saturday Night Live - The Night Hannukah Harry Saves Christmas (1989)

4. Frosty the Snowman (1969)

5. Miracle on 34th St. (1947)

6. South Park - Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics (1999)

7. A Very Special Family Guy Freakin' Christmas (2001)

8. Bad Santa (2003)

9. Santa Claus conquers the Martians (1964)

10. St Elsewhere - Santa Claus is Dead (1985)

11. The Polar Express (2004)

12. A Christmas Story (1983)

13. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (1964)

14. Phineas ans Ferb Christmas Vacation (2009)

15. Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire (1989)

16. A Flintstone Christmas (1977)

17. Robot Chicken Christmas (2007)

18. A Wish For Wings That Work (1991)

19. Futurama - Xmas Story (1999)

20. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer (2000) (a direct to TV video was made)

21. How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

22. Doctor Who - The Christmas Invasion (2005)

23. The Boondocks - A Huey Freeman Chrsitmas (2005)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Madman Christmas Carol (excerpt three)

If you have not read my disclaimer please read this first: http://notnormalworld.blogspot.com/2009/11/clearing-brain.html

From chapter 3:

December 24th at his mother's house though less uncomfortable than the following day at his in-law's is still something Ken dreads. Squeezing 15 people in a house made for at the most 4 is not his idea of fun. While sitting on the bed in the front room that is used by his father he ends up talking with his brothers-in-law (and one other person who always seems to be part of the family functions and has no where else to go) about fantasy football. "As expected, my team is in the title game again and after this TOUCHDOWN! I believe my team is a winner. So when will I get my money?" Ken asks his brother-in-law.

"What do you mean expected? You have not won in a while and you only are going to win this year because you got lucky with a draft pick in the 11th round."

"Since this is the first time in the past three years the draft was held on a day that I could make it and I was not violently ill I knew I would have the best team and unlike the time before when other teams colluded to prevent me from winning, it did not work."

"As I said, there was no collusion; they were just negligent with taking care of their teams and it hasn't happened since. Can I give you the money New Year's Eve?"

"That will be fine. I believe that had I not called out the league then it would have happened this year too. I do appreciate your efforts when I noticed discrepancies with other team's lineups."

******

In the kitchen where his wife was talking to his mom and sister, "When I walked in you were talking about what game to play after opening presents. I did bring a couple of ones I got including the one I texted you from Gencon Indianapolis about getting to see if it would work well here."

"It's ok," Ken's sister replied. "We'll be fine with what we have."

"It does not involve trivia and it is something no one can accuse me of cheating even though I don't."

"What do you mean you don't cheat?" Ken's wife chimes in.

"I don't need to cheat."

"That baseball trivia question you answered so fast. You had to have looked at the card before."

"You think I need to look ahead at a question involving BASEBALL?" Ken emphasizes. "The question itself led to only one answer and since I had the crafty Arizona Diamondbacks left handed pitcher Brian Anderson on my fantasy baseball team in 2003 when he missed a start after playing too many video games, I knew it and answered right away."

"I still don't know why Randy Johnson is not considered a crafty pitcher."

"Randy Johnson threw the ball 95 miles per hour. That makes him a power pitcher, not a crafty one. I have told you that many times in the last three years."

"I have never heard the word crafty ever used in describing a pitcher."

"That is because like most Cubs fans you don't understand a thing about baseball!" Ken angrily replied as his wife stormed out of the room.

Returning his attention to his mom and sister, "It takes a lot of nerve to state 'wheel' is not a valid answer to 'things in the sky' in Scattegories by claiming a wheel is not a tangible object in the sky when you have St. William on your sheet!" Ken proclaims while grabbing a celery stick and heading back to watch the football game.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I am the champion?



I am until someone gets a higher score on that song playing bass. (Note: Song has been available for about a month though to play it on Rock Band, the Lego version of the game needs to be purchased and the songs exported from the disk to the hard drive.)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Title clinched

On Monday, my fantasy football team officially clinched its third division title in the past 6 years. The standings are as such with two weeks before the playoffs begin:



The league uses fractional points to try to avoid ties. If you are interested in the scoring system used, reply or send me an e mail and I will provide it.

The name of my team, Misfit Demons, comes from the video game Mutant League Football representation of the 1972 Miami Dolphins. The representation of the 1985 Bears are called the Midway Monsters.

From bottom to top in the Kraut division the other four people are the person who does not take care of her team who on multiple occasions this season had a person in her lineup who did not play due to injury, the person who decided to stop trying once he realized his team had no chance since he was not ready on draft day, the n00b who after drafting the person I marked as the best running back in the league (Chris Johnson) put him on his trading block and then traded him to me, and a Cubs fan, nuff said.

I have over the past six years taken advantage of the teams in my division which have consistently been worse than the Brats division especially this year as I share the division with the league's 4 worst scoring teams. Since the person who runs the league who won last year suffered an extremely difficult schedule this year as I faced people who either don't know what they are doing or care to put the effort into running their teams, the divisions will be changed for 2010.

I have proposed a plan to reset the division alignment every year based on the regular season record of the previous year. Hopefully, this will eventually make things fair for everyone.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Madman December Carol (excerpt 2)

If you have not read the disclaimer first, please do so here: http://notnormalworld.blogspot.com/2009/11/clearing-brain.html

From Chapter 2

At the entrance to the grocery store among the commotion of the man ringing his Salvation Army bell and the shoppers entering the store was a little girl standing in front of her mother. She was handing out little slips of paper to anyone who wanted one and Ken out of courtesy took one and read the hand written note on it while walking into the store. He stopped on the other side of the entrance then walked back outside and said to the girl, "You should not be handing out these slips of paper. You spelled ..."

Her mother angrily walks in front of the girl to confront Ken, "Who do you think you are telling my daughter to not hand notes to people? Do you know what is written on the note? It is John 3:16, the bible verse which explains whose birthday we are celebrating in two days."

"Yes, I know what it is. She spelled the word perish with an a."

"So? Who are you, some kind of spelling expert?"

"Since I have played for the National Scrabble Championship, I would consider myself one. If you want people to respect and pay attention to the message, it should be spelled correctly." Ken replied while walking back into the store with his daughter who was talking with the girl while their parents argued.

After getting the groceries while walking to the exit, a little kid runs in right front of Ken and his daughter, trips over his own two feet and ends up landing face first into the back of a stroller. Ken looks over the crying kid as the mother tries talking to him in Spanish as a bilingual store employee tries to calm her down. Seeing that the situation is being handled, he walks away with his daughter. As Ken gets to the door, he hears the woman screaming frantically and catches her eye as he leaves the store.

On the way towards the parking lot, Ken noticed the mother and kid were gone but the Salvation Army person was still ringing his bell and shouting Merry Christmas and as usual, Ken ignored him. Apparently annoyed with what he saw earlier, the worker with his bell walked up behind Ken, rang the bell next to his ear and shouted, "I said Merry Christmas!"

Wincing in pain from the sound, Ken turned around and to the surprise of the bell ringer, grabbed the bell out of his hand and threw it into a garbage can. "What the ****'s wrong with you?" screamed the man as he went to retrieve his bell.

Ken screamed back even louder, "You're ****ing lucky that I didn't take that *** **** bell and shove it up your ******-****ing ***!" Turning to his daughter who had a ringside view and speaking in a much calmer tone, "Remember, parking lot."

A few hours later the doorbell rang at Ken's house. It was the police. Ken nervously asked, "What can I help you with today?"

"By any chance were you at the grocery store earlier today with a little kid?"

Feeling impending doom Ken nervously replied, "Yes."

"Did you see a little kid trip and hit his face on a stroller?"

"It happened right in front of me. I was walking to the door with my daughter when he fell. Since someone was talking to her in Spanish, I figured I could not help."

"Can we take that as your eye witness to what happened? It would add to the report. Is this the correct spelling of your name?" the officer shows the sheet as Ken signs it. "Ok, thanks for your time, Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas," Ken reluctantly replies. After closing the door, he breathes out a big sigh, "That was scary."

Later that evening, while he is on his computer, his daughter approaches him.

"Are you doing you radio show now, daddy?"

"Yes, I Am."

******

"I'm about to go live on the mike, you want to join me?"

"Sure."

Ken speaks into the microphone, "This is the madman on the loose and you are listening to the Larry Csonka birthday special as the hall of fame fullback turns a year older in a few days. I am not alone here in Hardcore Gaming Studios. The little girl you heard screaming in that last song is here with me. So are you excited about the next couple of days?"

"Yep!"

"Nice. We had one interesting time at the store today. Didn't we?"

"Yep."

"You think that adventure would make an interesting chapter in a story?"

"I don't know."

"I have a lot more music to play. You have anything else to say?

Giggling, "Can you smell that? I just farted."

"If anyone had a doubt that this is my kid I think they have been removed. Here is Bob Rivers," Ken turns off the mike and starts the music. "Damn, what did you eat, kid?"

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"real" music

A couple of years ago right after changing the CD that I was listening at work, someone came up to me and asked if I listen to any real music. Curious to what was meant, I was told that real music consists of original songs done by people or groups that play their own instruments. I asked, lead guitar, bass guitar, drum, and maybe a third guitar, keyboard or even trombone and was told yes. I shrugged my shoulders and the person walked away. I then hit the pause button and listened to the Ookla the Mok CD Super Secret which has all original songs performed by people who play the instruments I described earlier. As the first words of the CD were sung (Mr Potato Head), I cracked a rare smile at work and continued what I was doing.

Most people associate comedy music with Weird Al Yankovic. He has been doing this over 30 years and most of the songs people know from him are parodies songs that were popular when the parody was written. I have many times tried to explain that Weird Al has done more than parodies. Over the past 30 years he has released 12 original albums that have 140 total tracks on them and 6 songs on the internet since his last album was released in 2006. The breakdown of the type of songs is here:



Recent parody - Any song that is a parody of a song released within the past 5 years and the songs most people know (Eat It, Smells Live Nirvana, White and Nerdy)

Classic Parody - Any song that is a parody of a song that is over 5 years old (Yoda, Jurassic Park, The Saga Begins)

Polka - Except for the 3:39 polka version of the six minute song Bohemian Rhapsody, the Polkas consisted of a medley of 15-30 second excerpts of songs strung together in a group. Except for the time he did all Rolling Stones songs in a medley, they have been recent songs Al could not work separately as a parody.

Style Parody - An original song that sounds like it was done by a different artist. Over the years, he has done this to Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa, Devo, and Talking Heads, and more recently NWA, The Beach Boys, and USA For Africa, and the Doors.

Original - An original song. Some of them were theme songs for the tv show or movie.

Other - One straight cover and one instrumental.

I did not include songs that were never released due to not getting permission and/or only performed at concerts. From what I could recall, most of them were parodies.

Friday, November 13, 2009

clearing the brain

Over the past couple of years I have had unconnected pieces of a story develop inside my head. Last year I decided to connect them and throughout the past 12 months developed and for the most part completed it.

Currently titled "A Madman Christmas Carol" one can imagine it applies the Dickens' classic story to me. It contains situations I have encountered over the years and random thoughts about potential future situations many of which I do not expect to encounter.

While writing it, I soon discovered that most people whom I know can not for various reasons read it. However, I decided it would be possible to post edited excerpts from the story.

In the excerpts I decided to skip some things in between. I placed a divider ***** to designate that.

Even though I have basically completed the story, it is still a work in progress and whenever a thought gets into my head about a change, I will make it.

A Madman December Carol (excerpt one)

From Chapter one. ***** means material purposely not put in this blog.

It was a holiday lunch at any common workplace. The employees mostly in shirts with their names on them were enjoying food their supervisor brought. At one end was a radio playing a CD of songs of the holiday season as most everyone was talking and laughing. At the other end there was a person quickly and silently eating his food watching everything with a cynical look on his face.

In an attempt to get him involved, someone walked up to him and asked "Why weren't you at the company's holiday party, Kenny?"

The person stopped concentrating on his food and looked at his dark blue shirt grabbing it just below a patch with a name scripted on it and then peered disgustingly back. "Er, Ken."

The reply which seemed to automatically come from his lips as it had been said many times over the past few weeks when asked if he was going was, "Since I have to get my daughter after I leave, I can't drink alcohol. Since they serve Pepsi there, I won't drink that. I would also need to leave before they serve any decent food. For me there is no reason to go."

She rebutted, "Why not go just to hang out?"

With an annoyed look coming over his eyes he replied, "It took me years to learn how to forget about this place and the people here once I am no longer within these walls and I really can't do that at the party. Anyway, if I want to be ignored around the people I work with ..."

"Huh? Tell me. You want to say it."

"Never mind." Trying to change the conversation, "I am really not a good social person outside the comfort zone of my house or while working. In most social situations, I usually end up silent in a corner until someone comes up to me. Yes, even in the group I hang out with, the same thing can happen."

*****

At this time the supervisor starts talking about the past year and his hopes for the new one and then opens up the presents his employees contributed to get him. While cleaning up shortly afterward someone else asked, "So what are you buying your daughter for Christmas, Ken?"

"As usual, nothing"

"O.K. For that football player who was born on December 25?"

"His name is Larry Csonka. Anyway, with how things are, I really can't buy her anything. I don't have the money."

writer's note: It is revealed later in the story that since store credit and gift cards were used to obtain presents for his daughter so it was accurate to state that nothing was purchased.

*****

"Won't your daughter be disappointed that Santa won't get her anything?"

"My wife ruined it for my daughter a couple of years ago while my kid was praising Santa for getting her something by telling my daughter that it was me who got it for her."

A few hours later when it was time to go home, since the building was closed the next couple of days for Christmas, the supervisor greeted everyone on their way out with a handshake and a hearty "Merry Christmas!"

Ken reluctantly mumbled, "Merry Christmas."

Someone else shouted, "Merry Christmas, Ken!"

"See you Monday," was the reply as he walked out the door.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

double cheeze burger, onion rings and a large orange drink

As requested by one of the readers, I am doing this week's entry based on the many problems and experiences I had getting food from restaurants and fast food places. To be honest, I used to be a far worse customer than I am now expecting the same quality I expect from the work I do from people who make their living flipping burgers. I have gotten to the point where I now realize that mistakes should be expected especially when ordering something that is not normal. As someone who eats food well cooked and without any liquids on them (with rare exceptions) having problems with ordering food becomes common so I try to order food that does not require special handling.

This chart basically describes the types of situations I have had:



To explain, held onions meant that they gave me everything but onions when onions was all I had wanted to get. The two WTF are for the one waitress who refused to get me the salad I ordered unless I put dressing, oil or a squeeze of lemon on it and for the Subway employee who put everything on my sub, told me I would like it that way and then after I asked him what was his problem offered to punch out of work and settle our differences behind the building.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bonus list

Looks like someone wants me.



For some reason I can not believe someone would walk into a confessional, ask for a blessing and confess that they are a Cubs fan. Though I would question the judgment of the person, I do not see how that can be a sin.

I also realized that had I instead of taking a few hits from a joint while celebrating my team's title in 1986 and shot myself with heroin, meth or smack, I could have avoided one damaging thing to my soul while also avoiding the pain, aggravation and discomfort of donating blood.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

4 months to Bloomington

This Monday, the great Luke Ski announced the comedy music schedule for Marscon 2010 held in Bloomington, MN the first weekend in March.

Unlike last year, I am very pleased that the former Twin Cities group the Nick Atoms were named the guest of honor as they are doing one last show together. It is also FTW that Schaffer the Darklord and Throwing Toasters (along with the podcast winning radio show Dr. Floyd) will be making their first Marscon appearance traveling from NYC and LA respectively for the show.

However, there will also be artists at Marscon whose music and personality clash with me which is starting to become more common than I want it to be as people who are considerably younger than me are joining our group of friends and are making music.

This chart reflects my personal opinion of the artists currently on the schedule.



I can not thank enough the great Luke Ski for his hard work in bringing awesome music to the convention and for the convention itself for allowing it to become the place to travel in March to see many of the best artists in comedy music perform.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Go Yankees?

From what little baseball playoff talk I have heard this year, most people agree that they want someone other than the Yankees to hoist the trophy once this seemingly endless playoff end. In the three sports where playoffs are best of 7 series, I am getting increasingly disgusted by how games are spread out in an attempt to maximize tv ratings usually at the expense of the quality and integrity of the games.

As I posted last year, since there is no personal team that made the playoffs, I am rooting for the Yankees to win the title since they were the best team in the better league for the 2009 season and because I picked the Yankees to beat the Phillies for the title after picking all six division winners correctly. (Yes, even St. Louis. I got a lot of flack stating in March that the Cubs were only going to win 85 games and not make the playoffs.)

I had in the past rooted for the underdog in the playoffs but for a while it got to the point in baseball where the lesser teams would win playoff series and titles as explained in the chart:



I used the 20 games above .500 barrier to determine whether or not a division winner is in my opinion worthy of a title. When looking at past regular season records, I confirmed that from 2000-2006 five of the seven champions either failed to win a division title or 91 games.

Also from 2000-2008, only 2001 had two league champions that won 91 games and its division and in two of those years, 2002 and 2006, neither team had won 91 games or its division title.

I am very pleased that 2009 marked the first season since the current format was established in 1995 that the two wild card teams and the one division champion that did not win 91 games, St. Louis, all lost in the first round.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Family Circus style driving, part 6

Heading to my sister's house in Frankfort is easier than it used to be after the North-South tollway (now called the veterans tollway) was extended south to interstate 80. Before, I had to take the Tri State Tollway, exit at 95th and Harlem and drive 12 miles on the street. On average taking this route saves me 10 minutes which for me is well worth the extra $2 in round trip tolls.

Last month while driving there with my wife and daughter, my wife told me it was the first time she was in a car that correctly exited from interstate 355 to interstate 80 toward my sister's house. I asked her what she did wrong and she stated she took interstate 80 the wrong direction and only discovered her error when she saw the next exit three miles down the road.

Having done that earlier in the year myself at the 355/55 exit as I posted about in the summer, I can understand even if this exit is simple with traffic going left exits left and traffic going right exits right. However, she told me she did that three different times.



And she just told me she as I was putting this entry together that she would be ok driving home tonight from the Park West theatre (about 30 miles from my house) if necessary. Er, ... no.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Non championship sports part 3

As the days get shorter and the chill starts to be felt in the air, it is time for the NHL season to begin. As with the previous two charts, there is one team that has gone significantly longer without a title than any others. Here is a chart showing their title odds since winning their last title in 1961:



Due to expansion, adding teams from the World Hockey Association which folded in 1979, continuing conference and division changes and even a couple of teams folding, the odds changed 7 times in 16 seasons. Since 8 teams from each conference made the playoffs each year, working out odds from uneven number of teams in divisions was unnecessary.

Unlike the Lions who went 0-16 last year and the Cubs who for most people were a disappointment in 2009 in spite of my correct prediction in March of an 85 win non playoff season, the Blackhawks are many experts' popular pick to win the conference and cup title for 2009-2010. Four players from that team were on the cover of the ESPN magazine hockey preview issue. They have come a long way from being a city joke less than 2 years ago. My only concern about the team for this upcoming season is their goal tender who can struggle against good teams as long as they remember the same thing most NHL fans know. Shoot high against him.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Non championship sports part 2

Though the Chicago Cubs are doing better now that their overpriced corner outfielders are no longer active, they are all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs at this time. Therefore, unless the Cubs either overcome an 8 1/2 game division deficit with 9 games to play or overcome 4 other teams to win the wild card berth, this chart will reflect their failure:



One hundred times in a row a team other than the Cubs will win the title. (Note: There was no title awarded in 1994 and even though the Cubs were 16 games out of a playoff spot when the 1994 season was ended by a strike in early August, that year does not count)

Through 1961, the odds of the Cubs winning a World Series was the same as four tossed coins landing on heads. With more teams added since then and with creating three divisions and including a wild card (which for all the NL Central teams increases the odds), the mathematical odds of winning the NL pennant is currently equal to drawing a non suicide king from a full deck of playing cards and of the World Series that plus a coin flip.

To determine the odds of a team not winning a title for 100 seasons I had to multiply (15/16) 53 times, (19/20) 7 times, etc. That comes out to 199-1.

For not winning the NL pennant since 1945, I did the similar thing of multiplying (7/8) 16 times, (9/10) 7 times, etc. Those odds came out to 392-1.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

bonus

From the same mind that brought you the epilogue to Ghost where a few years later a lonely Molly Jensen takes a lethal dose of sleeping pills in an effort to meet Sam since she did not want to wait 40 more years but by killing herself ends up joining those who killed him in eternal damnation comes the sequel to the 47th animated feature from Walt Disney.

Meet Mr. Robinson's Destiny

The story of a young orphan named Goob who after making a title winning catch develops the confidence to become the most successful businessman in the world by executing a hostile takeover of the corporation formed by his childhood friend. However, while going through the lab, he discovered plans for an idea that was never produced and decides he wants to leave his mark on the world by developing the DOR-15 device.

However, there are flaws and unlike his childhood friend who has the humility to consider it a failure, Goob continues development of the project until it takes over the corporation and the world.

Exiled and in hiding, Cornelius Robinson with his son Wilbur decide that to save the world they must use their time machine to go back to the point where he as a kid named Lewis, he helped Goob make the winning play and prevent that from happening.

After that is done, Cornelius advises Lewis to try to help Goob overcome the despair of his failure but when that did not work, it was agreed that Goob needed to go into a mental hospital where he spent the rest of his life sedated and often restrained.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Inspired by death

On my internet radio show (www.dementiaradio.org Thursday evenings starting at 7PM CDT) I sometimes have problems figuring out what songs to play. I then realized by paying attention to news, I could come up with something to play and go from there.

Of course deaths are commonplace this week and because of Henry Gibson I played something based on Laugh in and the Blues Brothers since he was in both of them. I would have played the song "Lybian in a Jet Plane" for recently deceased Mary from Peter Paul and Mary but realized I did not have it. For Patrick Swayze, I played "Mr Ghost is coming to Town" since the song "Have a Patrick Swayze Christmas" does not work as well in September.

Anyway, the movie Ghost has an ending that I really do not like. NOTE: Spoiler alert for the rest of the post




Ok, after the Swayze character ascends into heaven, there is a young attractive woman who knows for sure the man she loves but saw wastefully murdered still exists but she knows she can not see him until she dies which on average is at least 40 more years. Also looking at a scene from earlier in the movie, if she dies in her 70s she will ascend as an old woman while her dead husband will be the same way he perished.

Personally I believe the character decides after a few years to try to join her dead husband but by killing herself condemns her to the hell and joins the people responsible for killing her husband in the first place.

Being a sports fan, I have watched many sports movies. Some of them have endings that ruin it for me. I am only talking about movies that I liked and not Major League II, or Caddyshack II where I found myself rooting against the hero or movies whose endings might not be sports accurate but still work like Happy Gilmore. Here are my top 5 likable sports movies with bad endings:

5: Wildcats. I liked the idea of a suburban divorced mother becoming a coach of a inner city high school football team and thought the story went well as she first had to gain the respect of the team and then get them better.

In the big game, it came down to a defensive stand and a field goal attempt by their high class school opponent to win the championship game. Somehow, the big, fat player from the inner city school who had to join the team to avoid getting into trouble made it to the other sideline and got insulted by the coach. He then made it back to his team's sideline and demanded to get back into the game and was put in the game as they were lining up for the field goal . I figured he was going to plow over the line and cause a shadow to fall over the holder as he blocked the kick. That would make sense. He actually jumped 5 feet into the air to block the kick and his teammate recovered the ball and returned it for a winning touchdown.

4: Taking Care of Business. A long time suffering Cubs fan (what Cubs fan isn't?) is in jail but not scheduled to be released two days after the Cubs World Series game in which he won tickets. So he gets his fellow inmates to "hold him hostage" as he sneaks out. He not only attends the game but makes a spectacular catch of a Mark Grace tape measure home run and then returns to prison in disguise as nothing happened.

First off, Mark Grace tape measure home run? Anyway, wanted people have been arrested at ballparks for appearing on a kiss cam in the ball park during a regular season game. Now we are supposed to believe that someone who is already in the news from being held hostage in a prison and makes a spectacular catch of a home run in a World Series game does not get identified by anyone other than his fellow inmates?

3: Mighty Ducks D3. I liked it more than D2 which also could have made the list. The Ducks as a group get a scholarship to a private high school for hockey but have trouble adjusting to a new coach and the varsity team. In the annual varsity vs. jv match up, both teams decide to let the game decide the school's nickname and with a last second goal, the Ducks win.

First of all, I liked the fact that the Ducks decided to listen to their new coach and adapt their style to give themselves a chance vs the varsity team and the game was scoreless until almost the end where two Ducks players were penalized giving the varsity team a 5 on 3 advantage which in hockey is huge. Normally, teams shorthanded by two players just try to keep the puck out of their net. The Ducks' captain steals a pass and goes the other way to try to win the game but gets caught by two varsity players. So he passes the puck behind him where a defense man joins the play and scores the winning goal.

What is wrong with that? The defense man who scored the goal was the goalie in the previous two movies and is fat. For him to score the winning goal, he would have needed to beat three varsity players down the ice after skating around frantically for 30 seconds in the penalty kill. No way.

2: Rookie of the Year. A ten year old Cubs fan injures his shoulder then discovers he can throw a ball over 100 MPH so the Cubs sign him to be their relief pitcher. In the game to clinch the division title after their starting pitcher blows his arm out, the kid falls and his arm returns to normal but he still retires the side with trickery to win the game.

In that inning, the kid used the hidden ball trick for the first out and a softball pitch for the final out after the batter realized the kid lost his fastball. The second out turned into a child's game that made me think why couldn't the writers make the kid's arm return to normal after one out.

Also, the scene after the division game shows that the team won the title. Though possible, it is very unlikely that a team after losing a starting pitcher and the closer would win two playoff series especially since the team was going nowhere before signing the kid.

1: Necessary Roughness. A top college football team was severely penalized for violations and forced to recruit walk on players and a former high school star quarterback who never got the chance to play in college to play the schedule. Due to academic problems and an administrator who wanted the team disbanded, the team was forced to have their players play both offense and defense and they got beaten badly until the end where the upset the number one team in the nation.

I enjoyed the movie especially Rob Schneider announcing. It was a fun movie. However, defeating the number one team in the nation with a squad of scrubs playing both ways? For some reason, no one on the team got hurt during the grueling season played on a hard AstroTurf field until the next to last play where they faked an extra point and completed the pass to get the two point conversion on a play where someone blocked below the waist which should have drawn a penalty anyway. It left me shaking my head in disgust.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Non championship sports part 1

Since this is the first Sunday of the 2009 NFL, this is as good as time as any to do some math work about the one franchise which has gone the longest without winning a title or getting to the title game, the Detroit Lions.

Their last championship game was in 1957 which they won. Since then, they have only won one playoff game though they won consolation games played in the 60s. Their record of futility peaked in 2008 by becoming the first team to go through an NFL season with a 0-16 record.

The list is the mathematical of the odds of the Lions of winning a title in each of the seasons since 1957:



From 1958-1965, odds reflect winning NFL title. 1966-2008 Super Bowl. Since the NFC had divisions of unequal number of teams from 1970-94 except for the strike year of 1982, those odds do not reflect the number of teams in the league.

Doing the math, I was surprised to discover the odds of the Lions going 51 seasons without a title is only 8.45-1 and the odds of the team not making it to the title game is 67.5-1. Of course going 0-16 in a season is 2 to the 16th power to one or 65,536-1.

P.S. For those who might sarcastically ask about a certain other football team, I will create a chart about it when the Lions and the other 11 franchises (MIN, PHI, NO, ATL, AZ, NYJ, BUF, CIN, TEN, SD, KC) who have won a title since 1973 do.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Happy fluff day

As I have the three day Labor Day weekend, I figure this is a good as time as any for this post. It seems like school starts for most kids earlier in August every year and I realized it happens because there are so many holidays during the year, school needs to start in August and end in June to allow for them.

I started thinking about this and this chart reflects my opinion of this:



For me the only days I consider a holiday are Jan 1, Memorial Day, July 4 and election day. As far as I am concerned every other day should be considered normal as far as the US is concerned. Yes, I am talking about December 25 (religious day for those who choose that belief) too and any day named after one person or 44.

On the calendar I use at work, I actually cut out all of what I call the fluff holidays so it appears to my satisfaction.

I also try my best to make sure I am not at work on my birthday after what happened one year where I got stuck for there 11 hours without even having a chance to take a break or last year where I got a two inch long paper cut on my face. However having it late in the year has on multiple occasions, including this year, forced me to work on it since my vacation is used up by then.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Draft day

This Sunday I head to my brother-in-law's house for the league live draft for fantasy football. I get to see people only once per year and that is a good thing because there is one person there I would want to punch and another I would bitch slap still pissed off about what happened on 2007. As you probably can guess, I am the asshole of my league. It was probably a good thing that I was very sick on draft day last year since it kept me from getting out of line.

When I first got hooked up to the internet, I would play any fantasy game that I could find and play other sports related handicapping games. With other things happening on my life and on two occasions them affecting the final outcome, I do not play as often. I also stopped playing fantasy baseball since leagues no longer use the Sabermetrics format which I like. Just about every league now uses batting average and home runs and include stolen bases and pitcher strikeouts where I strongly prefer using on base percentage and slugging average and not have stolen bases or strikeouts factor.

I also don't play in public on line leagues with 9 strangers since 2 or 3 of them usually stop caring about their team one month into the season.

As you can imagine, I have had success:



This chart does not include one handicapping game which I will explain later.

The five most significant fantasy sports players I have dealt with:

5. Barry Bonds. SF OF- 2002. Not the year he hit 73 home runs but the one after. His on base percentage and slugging keyed the team I had my first title with.

4. Tom Brady. NE QB - 2007. Knowing he finally got decent wide receivers, I planned on getting him in the third round that year as most people pegged him for the 4th or 5th round. He set the NFL record for touchdowns that year. If it was not for questionable player decisions and lazy ownership by other members in one league (punch and bitch slap), I would have won both leagues I was in that year. Note: Being at a memorable convention one weekend created a situation where I had to make a player decision early Sunday morning and I made the wrong one not knowing if a questionable player was going to play. Had I made the correct one, I would have won the league anyway.

3. Steve McNair Ten QB - 2003. Drafted the number one player by someone else in one league I was in, I got him in the 6th round in another league. His co MVP year allowed me to win my first football title.

2. Mushin Muhammad Car WR 2004. Needing another back up wide receiver, I drafted him in the 11th round. Though he was the fifth one I drafted, he turned out to be the best one in the league that year and one of the main reasons I won in 2004.

1. Scott Podsednik Mil OF 2003. ESPN had a game called Diamond Daily where people paid $20 and picked one player a day out of a pool of one third of the available teams. Every month $2,000 each went to the person whose players had the most home runs, runs batted in and batting average among the over 6,000 entries they had.

In September that year, I had players who were getting hits all month and in spite of Sammy Sosa going 0 for 5 one day, I had a chance to win the batting average portion. Since I had the minimum number of at bats needed to qualify for the batting average portion, I decided to not play players for the last week. On the last Saturday of the month, I was in third place and put Scott Podsednik in for Sunday since he had a favorable matchup and was planning on removing him if the people above me had their average fall below mine and I was in first.

I was at a convention that Saturday and did not get a chance to look at a computer until it was too late. I found out the two people above me had players who did not do well on Saturday and I was in first going into the last day of the month. Scott Podsednik went 4 for 5 that Sunday and I won $2,000. For what it was worth, I still would have won had I not played him but had he gone 1 for 5 or worse, I would have lost.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Gencon "cos play"

At the science fiction conventions I have attended, I have many times seen groups of people in costume as a group. I've seen costumed groups depicting members of the cast of Blazing Saddles, Mortal Combat, Guitar Hero, and the movie 300 and have seen people dressed as members of a group like Stormtroopers, the Stonecutters from the Simpsons episode, Ghostbusters, Cobra Command (GI Joe), or as in the picture I posted last November, Nazis. I even saw a group of people in military riot gear conduct an intensive military style sweep of the area around the convention hotel.

As I arrived in downtown Indianapolis 5:30 Friday night, I noticed a large amount of traffic around the convention center even for rush hour. When I saw people with flags directing cars to parking lots and the clothes people were wearing, I realized what was happening. Eventually we got to our parking lot for the hotel and when we went out to dinner, the crowd was mixed with gamers and people wearing blue shirts with numbers on them.

The percentages in the chart are an estimate based on what I saw:



In clockwise order: Addai-RB, Vinatieri-K, Gonzalez-WR, Wayne-WR, Freeney-DE, Harrison-WR (no longer with team), Sanders-S, Saturday-C, Clark-TE, Manning-QB

I also saw 6 purple shirts, 3 with 28 (Peterson), 2 with 93 (P. Williams) and one with 69 (Allen).

For what it is worth, the Vikings beat the Colts in the preseason game 13-3.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Back

With the pain and spasms I have had in my left leg the previous couple of weeks being at the computer long enough to create a chart was not plausible.

Last weekend, I went to Gencon Indy for the 7th straight year. In the previous six years I would mainly stick around and watch merch tables and do not much else since playing Scrabble and the burnout from that made me not interested.

Since I played an interesting board game in July with friends, my interest in other games now exists and I went there as a customer. However, I realized that due to financial and logistical considerations, I need to be selective on what games I get. No matter how cool the game might be, if no one else is interested in playing it, it will just sit and gather dust.

Though I did purchase one game last weekend, there were others I was wanting to get but decided against. The following chart explains:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

better late than never

As many of you know, I have been having problems with my left knee since last fall. I did have my knee scoped last Wednesday afternoon. I finally got the chance to sit at the computer and do this chart:



I decided to expand the time frame for last Wednesday and Thursday to show more detail. Fortunately pain pills (which I have not taken in over 10 years, allowed me to get to sleep on the first two nights.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Showing my "normal" side

I have seen and experienced many interesting things within my group of friends and in the world or sci-fi conventions. Sometimes the descriptions of what happened and in some instances what I have turned down would be only seen by those who enter certain stores where my daughter would not be allowed. So a thing like seeing two people dressed as Buddy Christ boffing (battling using foam swords) at a con is not out of the ordinary and actually rather mild.

At a sci-fi convention in 2004 shortly after I started to really know people well, a question was posed within our group of about 15 people who is the most normal and it was unanimous that I was. I get a laugh out of people (and occasionally a worried look) who know me at work or within my family when I say that. Being older than many, having a kid, not being a true computer person (talented enough to find a job in that industry), straight, having little artistic or musical talent, and mostly a sports fan are the things that make me such.

It rarely causes conflict since I escape my normal world with fandom. I usually don't want to talk sports or anything within my life there. When I am at a con, I don't care about what happens in sports and have to catch up the Monday after.

One thing that a difference shows is literature. When I was in grade school, I would read books about science, math, or sports. I had no interest in stories and having a test about a novel every other Monday in high school was the most difficult academic thing I had to endure there. Except for a period in the mid 80s where I read every Dr Who novel I could find, I never cared for fiction. Since I got a full time job in late 1987, I have read two books and one because I made a promise to people who were awesome enough to throw me a surprise 42nd birthday party. At conventions and at my friend's houses I see a large number of novels. They read them, I don't.

I do watch movies and tv and my friends' interest in certain ones and music about them have made me watch them even if they were based on books I would neither have the time nor interest to read. Harry Potter is one of them. Though I am not interested in reading 7 books, I do have the time to invest to see movies and for me it is ok that the movie will not tell the whole story as written since 2 and 1/2 hours can't cover 700 pages of material. The two occasions where I saw a novel from high school turned into a movie, I was disappointed in how it was adapted and in the Natural, upset they changed the ending of the story.

I knew something significant happened at the end of the sixth HP book. Whenever people in the chat room started to talk about it, I would conveniently need to leave since I was going to find out when I saw the movie. On Tuesday at the FuMP (www.theFuMP.com) there was not only a song based about what happened in the movie but in the description was listed how it did along with a statement that everyone knows what happened in the movie just like the secret in Citizen Kane. I was pissed off. I posted a comment stating the people who have been working for the past 20+ years might not have the time to read books and someone else commented about the same thing.

I also found little agreement from those in the chat room since they by being younger and into literature, were able to read all the books and surprise from them that I never read any of the Lord of the Rings novels either. After reading the Hobbit as a Junior in high school, I would never consider reading LOTR.

Out of curiosity I asked 20 people who have a full time job if they knew about the ending to the sixth book:



The 5 percents cover one who correctly guessed at it, one who knew about it but was not sure in which book it happened and one who not only was able to answer the question but provided unsolicited detail about the explanation given in the seventh book.

16 of the 20 knew Rosebud was a sled.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Geeks in love

As I stated in a post a month ago, I was in the bridal party for my best friend. They met through something called Nerds at Heart which was designed for people to meet people who define themselves as one. Here is a picture of the bridal party:



Last weekend, at a convention, another of my closest friends, Luke, proposed to his girlfriend, Sara while performing a song he wrote about her last year. Since I knew this was happening, I decided to drive 400 miles one way to attend the convention to see it. Knowing what was going to happen, I had the duty of recording it as seen here:



Picture taken by Baron Dave Romm

That got me thinking (yes, as dangerous a sentence as I can write) ... that when Luke and Sara met, they lived in Wisconsin and Tennessee and they are not the only long distance relationship I have seen in our group of friends over the past 8+ years.

Thinking about that I came up with this:



There is no way I am going to state who or how many relationships factored into this chart. Considering there has to be people from 20 different states in our chatroom, I am surprised that the in state percentage was not lower.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Board gaming pt 2

My favorite sports related board game is Strat-O-Matic Baseball. It also used real players but unlike All Star Baseball every player on the team is involved and games are played as teams. It also takes into account fielding, running, throwing, injuries, and most importantly pitching.

In every at bat, a batter card and a pitcher card is involved. One six sided dice (d6) is rolled. If it is 1-3, the corresponding column in the batters card is used. A 4-6 roll uses the column in the pitchers card. Then 2 d6 are thrown and the total is read in the column to reflect what happened in the at bat. Some results need a twenty sided dice rolled as there are two options. Also the d20 is used for stealing, plays where a fielder's rating is involved, base running, and injuries.

To show how a card would look, I took my daughter's stats from this year and created a card:



For example if the first die is a 2 and the total of the other two dice is 8, the result would be a walk.

A few notes: Since the card only reflects half the possible options, it does not match the stats. I adjusted the card to provide the results if her batters card went against an average pitchers card from her league. (In the game, no pitchers card had a hit by pitch (HBP) possibility)

Fielding ratings in the game went from 1 (best) to 4 (worst) and throwing ability was from +5 (worst) to -5 (best). I created a 5 fielding rating and +8 throwing to be honest.

In the game, there are power ratings of "N" and "W". A "W" rating would turn a home run on a pitchers card to a SINGLE**(runners advnace two bases) for those who regularly don't hit home runs. I created "VW" meaning all hits on a pitchers card would become SINGLE* (all runners advance one base).

Also, I matched column 3 on my daughter's card with the column 3 on the card from Barry Bonds 2001 season where he hit 73 home runs.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Board gaming pt 1

When I was growing up, there were no video games so I was playing sports related board games. They involved individually or combinations of dice, magnets, levers, ping pong balls, charts, spinners, and football players that vibrate on a football field when electricity is turned on.

Most of those games involved generic players who occasionally had different abilities but the games were basically simple.

There were two baseball games that actually used real players that I played as a kid. One was called All Star baseball. Every all star player was represented by a disc which fit into a spinner. One player from each position was selected, a lineup was made, and every at bat was a spin. Numbers ranged from 1-14 and the space for each number represented how often each possibility could occur.

The numbers were:
* 1 Home Run
* 2 Ground out, double play with runner on first base
* 3 Runner reaches base on error
* 4 Fly out, all runners advance
* 5 Triple
* 6 Ground out, all runners advance
* 7 Single, runners advance one base
* 8 Fly out, runner on third base scores, others hold
* 9 Walk (Base on balls)
* 10 Strikeout
* 11 Double
* 12 Ground out, runners advance if forced
* 13 Single, runners advance two bases
* 14 Fly out, runners hold their bases

Since my daughter's softball season ended last Monday, I decided to create a disc to represent her season: (Note: Not all possibilities are on the disc since those situations did not occur in her 22 plate appearances)



I added number 15 to represent hit by pitch.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Steroids

I was working on this post anyway when the Sammy Sosa situation was made public. With how much pain my knees were in and with a con last weekend, I was unable to finish this until today.

Since my first game in June 1972, I have seen 13 of the 25 people who hit at least 500 home runs live in the fifty or so games I have attended over the years



For some reason, when posting color charts, I lose some of the image quality. I did see Frank Thomas at Comiskey Park and U.S Cellular Field.

Except for Hank Arron who I saw as a member of the Brewers but decided to use the Braves color, the colors of the players I saw reflect the team or teams they were on when I saw them. For those I did not see, I used the color of the team or teams they were most associated with.

Of the 12 I saw play in a game, (Mike Schmidt was a member of the 1983 all star team and I saw him at the workout day before the game) none hit a home run in a game. The player with the most home runs that I remember seeing hitting one was Harold Baines who hit 384.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Busted

While at my mom's last month, we heard a couple of police sirens and rushed outside to see what happened. We noticed two different cars pulled over by police and after they were done, they went back to the corner and pulled over two more cars.

Shortly after between my sister, parents and brother-in-law, we decided to put up a dollar guessing the color of the next car pulled over. From what we could tell, a third officer was a few blocks north of where we were relaying the info upon spotting the situation. Considering how fast traffic can go on Western Avenue, it was possibly a speed trap.



It got to the point where upon a car getting pulled over, one of us would cheer along with the kids as the other four pulled out a single. As the police car returned to the spot, we were cheering it and shouting out what color of car to pull over next. Not wanting to miss out on any action or add to the tally, we decided to order pizza and once it arrived, we stopped betting though more cars kept getting pulled over.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Man of Honor

In a couple of hours, I will need to leave to go to the wedding of my best friend Carrie Dahlby. I then realized that since I met my wife in January 1997, this will only be the fifth time we will both be at a wedding including our own and the first time since I got drunk in Joliet six years ago and during the Cha Cha slide gave a new meaning to the move Charlie Brown by pretending to miss kicking a football, launching my self into the air screaming AAUUGGGH! and falling on my back in the grass outside the dance floor.



Weddings I attended with my wife where I was in the bridal party, I only listed as a member of. + family means when I still lived with my parents, + guest means with my girlfriend at that time, Mr and Mrs with my wife, con attendee means at a con where anyone could watch. The wedding at the first con I attended was unforgettable and I found a picture from it. http://www.generalgeneral.com/ezine/capricon2002/capricon2002.html

Yes, that is Dr. Demento who gave away the bride, and the best man is dressed as Lt. Data from Star Trek and the ring bearer was dressed as a cow. The man in the back performed the ceremony wearing only a diaper and a crown of thorns.

My participation in the wedding was difficult for Carrie and Josh to determine. Ideas ranged from me walking her down the aisle to actually performing the ceremony. There are things done by a maid and matron of honor (both of whom she has and who looked great together at the bachelorette party) that I can't do. Carrie also wanted me to be with her to help when needed. I then realized the term man of honor would describe it best. It might not be listed like that in the program but I don't care.

Having gone through my wedding almost ten years ago when it was almost completely relatives as I really had no friends at the time and the people I worked with and played Scrabble with ignored it, it will be interesting to see my friends there in formal attire mixed with those who really have little understanding of our unique world. From what I have heard it will be 40% us, 60% others.

Since all my up front memories of my wedding are of being upset and angry, I hope that this wedding like the one I attended in Iowa by myself a few years ago will uncover the hidden good memories that are buried inside. At least I know the DJ there will not be subcontracted and won't be playing music for his 23 year old girlfriend who crashed the reception and won't ignore requests from the groom since the mother of the bride instructed him to do so.

Anyway, I just got a call from the bridal party and I have to leave now to drive someone somewhere in the city and then drive back home to get my daughter and back to the city for the ceremony.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The great American Race

Sorry about no post from last week. With my job and the bachelorette/bachelor party I attended last weekend, I had no time to make a chart or post.

Since 32 brave drivers are going to try to avoid getting wrecked by Danica Patrick in Indianapolis this Sunday, I figured this is a good time to post the miles I have driven the last 20 years without doing anything worse than scraping a double parked car while driving a station wagon on a clogged downtown Chicago street.



Yes, I am aware of the potential for irony created by this post.

FYI: (note rant to follow) People may ask why I pick on Danica Patrick. In her rookie year where she finished fourth and started to get all the publicity, she made two major mistakes at slow speed, stalling her engine in the pit and spinning the car while accelerating on a different restart. The first mistake happened under caution so she did not lose a lap. The second one caused two other cars to wreck themselves out of the race. Along with another incident where the car she touched with her tires wrecked, she took out a total of three other drivers and the last incident put her out of sequence with pit stops causing her to take the lead late in the race.

Since then her attitude has caused many unnecessary incidents on and off the track. This is why I don't like her.

NOTE: She ran an incident free race finishing third. Anything can happen

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Family Circus style driving, part 5



This situation happened to me twice both times coming home from a long convention weekend. First in March 2006 and second last Sunday. I was so tired, I failed to get in the right lane to turn onto Irving Park Road to get home. Once I realized my error, I made a right turn, turned around my car and got back to the point where I made the error and continued on my way.



This situation happened last Easter Sunday while driving to Joliet (or as I like to say Zombie Jesus day driving towards removed by TMI filter ) Because of the reworked road, the ramp to head south is now the second one when it was the first one the past 10+ years and I instinctively exited off the wrong one. Once I realized my error, I got off the next exit and got my car turned around headed into the correct direction.

Unlike the previous four posts about this subject, the driver turned the vehicle around and proceeded back to the point the error was made and went the correct direction both times only delayed for about 5 minutes. The driver did not aimlessly drive around hoping to go in the correct general direction and end up 20 or more miles away from where they should be.

Maybe it would have been a good thing to drive around aimlessly and get lost last month. Then I would have not gotten sick from my mother-in-law's cooking.

Friday, April 24, 2009

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mr. Destiny



All but Elk Grove Village was a concert.

In 1990 a movie starring Jim Belushi was about a man who though successful in life was still feeling ill will about what happened to him during a baseball game as a kid and got the opportunity to change it. However, changing that seemingly insignificant event completely changed his life and eventually caused the main character to need to change things back to what they were as his new life was not quite what he had hoped it to be. I know other tv shows and movies had the same theme including a Simpsons episode this season.

I would love the opportunity to possibly change an event like that or more importantly change an event where I got hurt or hurt myself like when I permanently damaged the bursa sac in my left leg while bowling in a league with the best amateurs in the Chicago area 15 years ago. However, that would definitely change my current life. Even preventing me from stepping on that hot dog last September could have done something as I could imagine getting into a car accident only caused by me not being at Sam's Club later filling out an accident report.

Anyway, seven years ago this past week was a convention called ALCON III. I was real excited since Weird Al was actually going to make an appearance there unlike the one in 2000 when he was on tour. Others had seen him there at the one in 1998 where I found out about it one week after it was over.

I was there early that Friday all excited and was helping people setting up. I was helping Luke Ski get his items from his car when my camera fell out of the pocket of my Hawaiian shirt and I noticed it was cracked. I was able to snap the camera back together and it still took pictures.

On Saturday the guest of honor showed up and I got someone to take a pic of me with AL with my camera. He offered to take one with his camera because I told him what happened to mine. I declined that offer stating I got it to work.

When I developed the pictures two week later, I found out the film was exposed and none of them developed. The timing was not good either since it was a very trying time with my family.

Since then, I have had instances where I thought I could replace that picture but due to timing and one person's ignorance, I never did. (Note: That second incident and my reaction over a year later possibly changed history on the Dr Demento Show.)

Since then, I have found out that where I live makes it difficult to get backstage after a concert to meet him. There are certain people, like the one who organized the ALCONs and the two who run AL sites along with the family of AL's drummer, Jon "bermuda" Schwartz who all live in the Chicago area and join AL backstage whenever they are there. That makes it difficult if not impossible even for my friends. They at most get two passes and use them for themselves and a s.o.

At times that instance has created a problem on its own in my head especially after hearing others who by not living in Chicago are able to go backstage and get a pic with AL or having people I would not expect get a pic. It would make before and after his concerts difficult for me. I used to even think people would purposely exclude me and put me down. Maybe one did but then again, I got back at him.

Would I want to alter that moment from seven years ago? Definitely. I don't see it causing any harm though I could picture an instance similar to that of the hot dog. With AL not on tour currently, I did get the next best thing earlier this year:

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My circle of golf



Simple chart, let me explain:

This pattern has followed my golfing since 1992 and gone on a four year cycle since.

Excellence, Presidential election year: I play great. All my best scores and performances have come on those years.

Injury, Presidential term starts on this year: I feel the effects of an injury which prevents me from playing the game as often or well as I did the previous year and in 01 and 05, actually needed surgery. The injuries might not have happened that year but the effects were greatest in those years.

Distraction, men's soccer World Cup year: I find something else to occupy my time in the summer. Ranging from a summer bowling league, Scrabble, my wife's illness, and conventions, I barely had the time or money to play the game.

Interest: men's Rugby World Cup year: I get involved with another type of golf like video game, on line, Golden Tee, or disc golf but reach a point where I won't get any better than I do so I turn back to real golf.

Being 2009, I am currently suffering from discomfort in my left (non surgical knee) initially caused by stepping on a hot dog I dropped in September and aggravated many times since.

Bonus: Here is a picture of my daughter and one of her teammates whose family I have known for 3 years through my daughter's karate but neither they nor us knew each other's last names:

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Family Circus style driving, part 4



Map Legend:

A: My best friend's house
B: My house
C: Where my wife noticed Lamb's Farm and realized she was going the wrong way
D: Where my wife was when she called me telling me she was lost and I had to go on the computer to find out where the hell a city called Johnsburg is and guide her home from there.

Since I had to watch my nephew one night in 2006, I could not go to a play with my best friend and knowing that my wife does not get out that often and since I agreed ahead of time to watch the kids that night, I realized it would be best if she went instead of me. She has driven home from her house before so I thought she knew how to get home.

First of all, I did not realize she took Irving Park Road for almost 20 miles the previous time she did that (just like FCD3) and was driving towards my house the first time using Foster Ave which taken to the Kennedy Expressway, 190, Mannheim Rd and Irving allows me to make the 21 mile trip home in about 40 minutes.

She got on the Edens Expressway which also has a Foster Ave entrance. It took her 2 and a half hours and over 70 miles.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Downloadable rock



One of the reasons I got the Xbox 360 for Rock Band was to download additional music. It is available at either $1 or $2 per song except for a couple of free songs and specific groups or albums which by purchasing all of them at once, it is cheaper.

After I used up my $20 download card last week, I realized I have 99 additional songs along with the ones from both main games and noticed the categories they are in. Here are examples of what is there:

Classic Rock: AC/DC, Boston, The Who
Pop Rock: Johnathan Coulton, The Police (that is where those songs are listed)
Rock: the Cars, Nine inch Nails
Progressive: Rush
Metal: Metallica, Motley Crue
Other: Spongebob Squarepants, MC Frontalot
Alternative: R.E.M., Red Hot Chili Peppers
Emo: All American Rejects
Glam: David Bowie
Southern Rock: Skynnard

For anyone expecting a different theme this week, I apologize. After downloading three songs from Spongebob and noticing they were listed as "Other", I decided to do this list instead.

Friday, March 27, 2009

My inner Opus



Note: JoCo = Jonathan Coulton

My favorite December special is A Wish For Wings That Work. It features Bill the Cat and Opus the penguin most notably from comic strips Bloom County and later Outland.

Since it was made in 1991, I do not feel guilty about spoiling because I am going to talk about the episode and if you have not seen it by now, you should:

The idea is that Opus is unable and really wanting to fly like those around him and his attempts end up failing spectacularly causing him to receive much grief from those around him who do fly.

What ends up happening is that a situation arises where Opus's ability to swim saves the day as the wings of a penguin are designed for swimming instead of flying.

OK, what does that have to do with this post? I do enjoy music and love the idea of singing. However, my inability to determine pitch or tone won't allow me to do it competently. I did try to learn how but knowing what to do and being able to do it are two different things.

It has caused me unnecessary anguish and frustration and until I realized I show every symptom of a person with Asperger's syndrome including tone deafness, I had no clue why.

It makes sense to work on what a person can do well and not worry about what a person can't and to trust the intentions of those one calls friends.