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.