Monday, December 20, 2010

Analyzation of the unexpected

Tonight on a frozen field in Minnesota, the Chicago Bears clinched the 2010 division title. Had I been a bookie, I would have lost a lot of money expecting them to win at the most 6 games and made odds reflect that opinion.

How did this happen? They stayed healthy unlike the last couple of seasons where players were getting injured constantly. They have also benefitted from timely injuries to key oppponent players.



The large X designate all pro players who were out. The positions in the other column represent key all pro players who were not in the lineup.

The 4 losses came against teams that were healthy and did not have a key player get hurt during the game.

Score radio personality Dan Bernstein said it best early in the season: The Bears are a team that is decent enough to win a division title if all the pieces fall into place. In 2010, that most definitely happened.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

crunching numbers

This year the yahoo fantasy league added points against to the stats and made them retroactive to the previous years in the league. This allowed me the ability to more easily examine the points scored against players in a season and discovered an error I made about 2007 in a post I made in August.



One more point against per game than I initially determined in 2007 and I included 2010.

I also discovered that my 2007 season was not the worst as far as points scored against than expected:



Though I did not even have the worst schedule in 07 what bothered me was that I by far had the most points scored and deserved a fate similar to the one I had in 2010. The person who set the record this year had the worst total in the league.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sith lord fantasy football

I have noticed that with many things in my life my best performances happen when I am angry including bowling, golf, and Scrabble. I am guessing my anger overcomes my nerves and gives me focus. Of course there are times when the anger created problems rather than success.

In 2007, I had the best team by far in the league but only finished 6-8. I lost one game and a playoff berth by making a wrong decision about an injured player which I made hung over in Akron, OH at 9AM after a very memorable party the night before.

The pattern of 4 people in the league having injured, inactive or bye week players in their lineup against one other team really got me upset. When they played my team with a fully active lineup, they would have their high score for the year. In the last week, one team purposely held players out of his lineup to prevent me from making the playoffs. Had I not woke up on the day of the 2008 draft violently ill in an Indianapolis hotel room and had to stop twice on I-65 to vomit, I probably would have started a fight.

I decided to instead take out my anger on the league. In 2009, I won my division title and league championship and last Sunday clinched the division title once again having the best team. Here is the standings: (I deleted the names of the other teams.)



For the 4th straight year, my opponents are scoring more against me than the rest of the league but by only 1 point per week this year. That is why my record is at my personal best 10-3. (I am playing the person who held players out of his lineup in 07. Right now, everyone on my team is on the bench.)

When I won the league title last year, I was not real excited being more satisfied from exacting revenge than happy. I am feeling the same way now. After the worry about losing the two weeks before clinching the division title I am comtemplating my resoning for continuing and considering no longer playing just like I did with Scrabble four years ago.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Rockin like Weird AL

On his website, Weird Al Yankovic was asked about his music appearing in either Guitar Hero or Rack Band and though he was interested stated neither Activision nor Harmonix (comanies that produce the game series) were interested.

Earlier in the day I was asked about his parodies appearing in the game and I stated that since the music was written by other people it would be very difficult to obtain the rights to produce the parody version. Personally I would really enjoy if either Hardware Store or Albuquerque (my two favorite original Weird Al songs) or any other of his original songs made the game but most people only know the parodies and would not care for his original material. In a post in November 2009 I explained that about half his released material are original songs and I doubt either company would put the effort into creating them for the game.

That got me thinking .... How many songs available for Rock Band have been parodied by Weird Al and how many have appeared in his polkas? The answer is 48 total. I turned the results into a chart:



In his song Bedrock Anthem, Weird Al parodied both Under the Bridge and Give it Away and since they both are available in the game, I counted them both. Also, Enter Sandman (available in a polka medley) and Give It Away though appearing on the disk for Rock Band and Rock Band 2 respectively were among 10 songs that were not allowed to transfer to the hard drive to play in Rock Band 3 due to licensing issues.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

free movie time

Thanks to the HBO/Cinemax free 10 day special plus the ATT U-Verse special over Thanksgiving weekend, I was able to catch up on movies that I have never seen and see some movies that I have not seen in a while: Here is a list and some comments. Note: There are spoilers.

Movies I had never seen before:

Army of Darkness: Heard about Bruce Campbell and the movie through songs. I could see the appeal though it was cheesy at times.

Coraline: Though the plot was typical I enjoyed how well the animation looked.

Up: As heard by others the beginning of the movie was as good as expected. Unfortunately, everything after could not live up to it in spite of them trying.

The Princess and the Frog: Another movie that was really enjoyed by my friends. I could see why. The music and story was well done even though I should have figured out the plot.

Kung Pau: I had seen parts of it but never all in one viewing. My daughter was watching it with me and after the fight in the meadow stated it was the dumbest thing she has ever seen and wants the 45 minutes of her life she spent watching up to that point back.

Muppets Take Manahttan: Never saw it before. Never want to see it again.

Frost/Nixon: I heard about those interviews and after watching the well done movie want to see if that is how things went.

Invictus: I am among the few people who knows the story of the 1995 Rugby World Cup and that event made me realize how big of an advantage the host country of world wide events have. I was very impressed by how accurate the events of those games and how well the action of rugby were portrayed.

Movies I have seen before:

Avatar: Saw it in 3D on New Years Day and after a long night before missed part of it. Very enjoyable in regular vision and I still don't understand why the love scene was so scrutinized. I would not mind my ten year old daughter watching it.

Apollo 13: I am still amazed by how things were done in the world of 1970.

Animal House: Since I had to pause the movie for about 15 minutes whuile watching it on Friday morning, I did skip by scenes I did not feel appropriate for my kid to see. She said she would love to scream food fight at school. I did not realize Donald Sutherland was in the movie and after seeing Apollo 13, tried to connect him to Kevin Bacon. Then I noticed a very young Kevin Bacon on the screen.

Spiderman 2: By far the best of the 3.

Blues Brothers: Watched it with a group of friends late Saturday night. 6 people in the room all grew up in 6 different states. Unlike other movies that depict other areas, the Blues Brothers seems to only be enjoyed by those who live in the Chicago area. For some reason, while watching the movie, I was trying to figure out how it could be shadow casted with me playing Jake when someone asked if that movie was ever shadow casted. One thing for sure, it would need a lot of people many playing multiple parts for it to have a chance.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Game number 64

Tonight is the one night in four years where I am the embodiment of the enemy. Yes, the Chicago Bears are playing the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on a Thursday night NFL Network special broadcast. Since the game starts shortly after 7PM, I was planning on not doing my Dementia Radio show since there is no way I can do my show and watch the game since my casting computer is in my basement and the tv is upstairs. (Decided to do show after all and just check on cast during comercial)

It has always been uncomfortable when these two teams met when I was a kid but things changed in 1985 when the Dolphins inspired by members of the perfect 1972 team, blew out the previously undefeated Bears.

Anyway, here is a synopsis of the Bears/Dolphins games over the last 25 years:

Dec 2, 1985 (Miami): Starting Bears QB Jim McMahon was on the sideline still recovering from injury. The Dolphins were 8-4 suffering the effects from losing the previous super bowl at the beginning of the season but playing much better at this time. Dolphins QB Dan Marino behind his strong offensive line and with his WR had the perfect system to counter the Bears agressive "46" defense and was able to complete passes before the Bears pass rush could get to him. Their defense sold out completely on stopping Walter Payton early and forced backup QB Steve Fuller to try to beat him and he could not. Though Jim McMahon played the second half and Walter Payton finished with over 100 yards rushing, it was not enough and Miami won 38-24. (the wireless internet code for my house is 3824DEC285)

Sep 4, 1988 (Chicago): Though Payton retired, Neal Anderson was leading the Bears rushing attack and they were still a decent team. The Dolphins by then were not. Though Marino was still there his offensive line and wide receivers were nowhere as good and their defense was bad. Behind 2 rushing touchdowns each by Anderson and McMahon, the Bears won 34-7 controlling the ball for almost 45 minutes, the second longest time of posession in their team history.

Nov 24, 1991 (Chicago): On a cold, windy day near the lake where snow fell, neither offense could do much. The Bears were leading late when punter Maury Buford dropped a snap giving Miami field position and Marino threw his only touchdown pass of the day to bring the game into overtime. They got the kickoff and drove the field making a field goal to win 16-13.

Nov 13, 1994 (Miami): The 1994 Bears were probably one of the worst teams ever to make the NFL playoffs. Though 10th in points allowed with 307, they were 24th out of 28 in points scored with 271. Four times during the year and in the playoffs, they were down three touchdowns. The Dolphins were on their way to winning their division. The week before the game, I said the Bears were going to win. Why? The previous two weeks, the Dolphins running back and fullback got hurt and were missing the game along with their number 2 wide receiver. They averaged 10 receptions per game.

As expected, the Dolphins were able to move the ball but without their running backs, were unable to get into the end zone until late. The Bears did not do much either scoring their two touchdowns on a fake field goal attempt and after a fumble. They made a field goal to take the lead and blocked the Dolphins' game tying attempt to win 17-14.

Oct 27, 1997 (Miami): The Dolphins were a decent team but the Bears were not being 0-7. With the Bears coming off a bye week and the game being changed to Monday night on Saturday due to the World Series in Florida needing game 7, I was worried but still expected a Dolphins' win and the Dolphins came out flat. Except for a 71 yard reverse, they did nothing the first 28 minutes of the game and the Bears were up 15-7 after a TD, two field goals and a safety. When the Dolphins scored a touchdown at the end of the first half, Jimmy Johnson tried chasing the 2 point defecit and failed.

After the Bears got their third field goal, the Dolphins scored on a fumble return and again failed on the two point conversion being up 19-18. Two more Dolphins TDs put them up 15. However, Bears QB Erik Kramer threw two late TDs against a tiring Dolphins defense and after converting a 2 point try sent the game into ot.

The Bears got the ball first and after completing a 30 yard pass after the 40 second clock expired, kicked a game winning field goal 36-33. That night, I learned to not go for two until you absolutely have to.

Dec 9, 2002 (Miami): With the NFL restructure, it was 5 years between games. The Bears were still bad. The Dolphins were a different team with Dan Marino retired and Ricky Williams rushing the ball. I was waiting for 5 years to return the comments I heard. Ironically, that day at work we had a meeting about personal conduct towards others and along with talking about religious and personal values, sports were mentioned.

Anyway it was not much of a game played in a downpour. Williams had 212 rushing yards and 2 TDs. Henry Burris threw his first touchdown pass late to make the final score 27-9 Miami.

What was done at halftime did not sit well with me. The Dolphins retired Larry Csonka's number 39. At the end of his speech, he thanked the 1985 team for beating the Bears. Fortunately the city's disgust with the Bears did not create any feedback.

Nov 5, 2006 (Chicago) : Daunte Culpepper was going to make the difference for the Dolphins. He didn't. By then the Dolphins were 1-6 and had Joey Harrington at QB. The Bears were on their way to playing in the Super Bowl and were 7-0. For a month I was telling anyone who would listen that the 72 Dolphins will be able to do their annual champaigne toast after the Bears lost to Miami and every Bears game was cementing my belief more. Why? The Dolphins were coming off a bye and I knew Bears QB Rex Grossman is not the same player in bad weather and figured the timing was right.

People were wanting to make bets with me including having me eat dolphin meat when they lost with them eating bear met if the "impossible" (their words, not mine) happens. Them eating bear meat would not make the win better for me and me eating dolphin meat would make it worse so I realized making that bet would be stupid. I also turned down an offer from the VP of production to attend the game with him since I did not want to be the target of drunk and angry Bears fans when they lost. (those were my words to him)

Dolphins' DE/LB Jason Taylor won the defensive player of the year award in that game with 3 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception return for a touchdown. Fueled by 6 Bears turnovers, the Dolphins won 31-13.

The next day, not one person commented to me about the game. I was holding up one hand to my ear Hulk Hogan style to enjoy the silence while smiling.

I stated in August that the only way the 2010 Bears will look like the 1985 version is by being down by 21 points in Miami at halftime. Nothing I've seen this year had made me change that thought until November 14th when the Dolphins' top two QB and Jake Long, the best offensive lineman in the game, were injured. With their third string QB probably starting the game and Long questionable, I will be starting the Bears defense on my fantasy team. (Note: I make the best fantasy choices for my team and though I would want to see the Dolphins score 40 points, I do not see it happening.)

I only have one hope for the game and that is of the Dolphins' organization: Please do NOT honor the 1985 team at halftime since it has been 25 years. Though I appreciate what happened that night, it would be in bad taste and since they did not even make it to the Super Bowl, they don't deserve it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

a new demographic

Though ages ending in zero are the most celebrated, the ones in five are considered important by society since it changes how people are defined. The former retirment age, AARP membership and categories of people for advertising purposes are based on ages ending in five.

Last month, I had my yearly meeting with my insurance agent who examined a couple of my policies and made some changes. I was also reminded my life insurance policy will renew and I will be reevaluated as far as risk since things change with people.

Knowing weight can put a person in a higher risk category like tobacco, diabetes, blood pressure medication or history, I asked about that chart and saw this:



For weight, there are three levels of increased premiums. I just listed the ones where the additional cost would occur.

Though my weight at that time 284 barely put me out of the range, now being 45 puts me over. Since then, I have gotten to just under 280 but I still have over 10 lb to go. I just need to sometime within the next 365 days lose the weight necessary to keep my premiums from more than doubling rather than going up about 25%.

The discount rate? Would be nice but by getting to that point, the base rate would go down but I would be placed in a higher category by losing more than 25 pounds in a year.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The cause of and solution to all of life's problems.

Truer words were never spoken by Homer Simpson as those about alcohol. This weekend is a convention called Windycon located in Lombard, IL and since it is held on the second week of November, I generally treat that as the time to celebrate my birthday. Last year, we had my Rock Band setup and I hardly drank. This year, I will have no con committments expect for getting home safely and I know of people who would help me if I was unable to safely drive home.

I have had many different experiences involving alcohol and created a chart describing them and will explain them below:



A: Asshole. If I drink a little alcohol, I become one. This is the reason I generally avoid drinking at home, with my in-laws or at work parties. This happens when I have a responsibility towards someone else or something I own and I know I can't drink enough to where my judgement would be impared or when my mood is ruined. In situations where that can happen, it is best for me to not drink at all.

B: Too fast. This happened one time to me when I got to a con at 12:30 AM and quickly drank two awesome tasting green beverages. As I was finishing my second one, I found out Everclear was in it. I have never vomited the same night from drinking alcohol and this was the closest I ever got. Usually when I drive home from a con, I will stop drinking 90 minutes before I need to leave. I realized that it would take more than 90 minutes and for the only time had someone take me home.

C. Ill. I ate too much before that evening and when I added alcohol, my digestive system went into overdrive. Much of the evening was spent making mad dashes to the toilet.

D. Not there. Sometimes when drinking, I get to the point where the taste, concept, or responsibility of alcohol won't allow me to have any more. I am not an asshole but don't get to enjoy the feeling it can give.

E. Square root of 13. This is the stage I was in when the picture on my profile was taken. I start to rate my intoxication level not from 1-10 but based on a number times the square root of 13. This is what happens when someone who can work with numbers like I do starts to drink.

F. Wheeeeeee. The fun things happen. Six years ago this weekend, I got to that point on Friday and somehow my wife also got to that point on Saturday with me. Every time my wife without the kid joins me at a con, I try to get her and I to that point. Only one other time did that happen.

G. Free Bird. I start to show effects of the alcohol most memorably while playing Free Bird on Guitar Hero against a person dressed as a Trojan Warrior at 3 AM. While we were "singing" during the beginning on the song, I leaned back to play notes and since I was leaning against a corner of the bed, fell on my back and was still playing the notes as I staggered back up.

H. Charlie Brown. This happened one time when I was insulted by my in-laws at a wedding and told that I do not drink. Since all they had there was Bud Light, it took a while for me to feel the effects of the alcohol. Doing the Cha Cha Slide, I made sure no one was in front of me. When the line "Charlie Brown" came up, I took three quick steps, kicked my right leg, threw myself into the air and screamed "AAAUUUUGGGHHHH!" landing on my back. I got up to my stunned in-laws, finished the song and screamed at them, "That is why you don't see me drink!"

I. Passed out. Happened twice. Woke up and had no idea how I got there until remembering later.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Madman fixes the world of sports (part 4)

The Chicago Bears offense.

No, this is not a joke. Is spite of how they have looked, I know what they need to do to make the most of what they have.

I had the opportunity to see the most recent game in person and I can say it was the most poorly played professional sporting event I have ever seen and I am talking about both teams.

First of all, coach Lovie Smith is a decent coach except from the time the game starts until it ends. Though he is a good coach in practice, his on field management is horrible and needs to be replaced. The Bears need to have someone assigned to him who understands concepts like clock management, fourth down decisions and what plays to challenge and has the authority to make those decisions for the team. (Note: I can help)

I was not happy when Mike Martz was assigned to run the offense but not because I don't like the concept of it. I saw it succeed in St Louis and Detroit but I knew it will fail with the current Chicago Bears.

First of all, that offense needs a versitle running back who can catch passes. They have that in Matt Forte and Chester Taylor who are suitable. Other than that it is a serious mismatch.

First of all, the Martz offense worked with Kurt Warner, a fairly immobile quarterback who can quickly read defenses and make correct decisions. Bears QB Jay Cutler is an athletic QB who can make instinctive plays but has problems making correct choices. The Martz offense takes advantage of Warner's strengths while exposing Cutler's weaknesses. The one touchdown pass Cutler had against Washington was on an instinctive play.

Since the QB needs to drop back and read defenses, he needs an offensive line to keep pressure from him. The Bears line is bad. St Louis had Orlando Pace at left tackle who will be in the hall of fame in four years. (He was done by the time he joined the Bears). The Bears line is overmatched and needs to fool the defense with counters, play action and roll out passes. The Martz offense is straight forward in blocking and the Bears get exposed badly. This Sunday, the Bears offense will have its best game of the year against Buffalo since they were off last week while the Bills played 5 quarters losing on the last play in overtime. Bad teams and players play better after the bye week and the Bears offense definitely qualifies as one.

The Martz Rams had two very good route running wide receivers and one good one and tight ends who are basically linemen that wear numbers in the 80s. The Bears have 2 speedy kick returners, 2 never-will-bes and one special teams player at wide receiver and 2 pass catching tight ends who don't block well. 'nuff said.

The Rams offense was known as the greatest show on turf. The playing surface at Soldier Field is known as the worst in the league. I saw people wiping out in warmups. On one pass play in the game, two wide receivers and one defensive back fell without being touched. Precision and timing is not possible for home games. The best pass patterns for Soldier Field are those that do not involve sharp cuts and take advantage of the Bears speedy wide receivers and athletic, strong armed QB. This weekend in Toronto (where Buffalo is hosting) the Bears wide receivers will have good footing and will be able to make plays without having to worry about their footing. If possible install field turf. Please.

After the Buffalo game it will get ugly.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

chaotic neutral

The title is how I refer to myself politically. I find serious faults with the ideals of both major political parties and not wanting to completely associate myself with one of the other ones, refer to myself that way.

I am registered as a Republican since living in DuPage County, Illinois, the Republican primary determines the winner in all countywide elections. I was very annoyed by all the phone calls and junk mail I got over the past month including a call at 5PM from a woman who I explained that I have never missed an election since I have been eligible to vote in 1984 and had already voted.

As I stated in a recent chart, people call me liberal in the regular world since I do not care for the Christian and corporate based politics of the Republican party. I also believe the Democrat party is over focused on people who they precieve to need help at the expense of people like me who don't have that much to begin with. I also grew up with a negative feeling to the Democratic party.

My parents who live in Chicago are registered Democrat (like I was when I lived in the city) but vote for who they want in general elections feeling the same way that I do. In Chicago the Democratic party was known as the machine and my mother's family was directly impacted by their policies before I was born:

The machine became known in 1960 when Mayor Richard M. Daley had the city vote returns arrive late with just enough votes to allow John F. Kennedy to defeat Richard Nixon. Had California gone for Kennedy, people could have said that Daley won the election for Kennedy.

Anyway, my uncle after turning 18 went to vote in 1964 and when stating his name, Martin J. Bobber Jr., was told his father, Martin J. Bobber Sr. voted earlier in the day. That really confused my uncle since his father died in October 1959. Records stated Martin J. Bobber Sr. voted both times in 1960 and 1962 as well as the 1964 primary. My uncle had to produce a death certificate to prove Martin J. Bobber Sr. can no longer vote and after 3 long hours finally got them to rip up his record.

So yes, I know the dead has voted in Chicago.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

showing your support

While walking to and from the football game and inside, I noticed a vareity of Bears jerseys worn by fans and not just number. With alternate jersey colors and designs, there were many different versions of jerseys worn at the game of current and famous past players along with generic shirts and jackets so trying to create a chart of that along with watching the game and most importantly my daughter was not feasable.

I decided to break down clothing worn at the game by what they are so here is the chart:



People who know me could ask why I did not wear my Dan Marino jersey. First of all, it is 15 years old and has been in the wash numerous times and looks like it has. I also did not want my daughter to see drunk, obnoxious fans make rude comments towards me because of my clothing like what happened to me in 1998 at Wrigley field when I wore my Dolphins Jacket. Since the 1985 Bears team was honored at halftime and I wondered out loud why they showed highlights of all but one game, it was a good choice.

Also, I don't own any Bears clothing that would fit me and I figure wearing something different would make it easier for her to spot me in the thousands of people there in the case her and I get seperated.

Anyway, IT'S TILE!

There is no "s" at the end of Soldier Field

On Thursday, our company president gave away two sets of two tickets to the October 24th game between the Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins. My name was drawn so I took my ten year old daughter who expressed interest in going. Looking at the Bears site, I discovered cash parking at the game is $26 and 2 miles away so I drove to my parents house to take CTA as I used to do with my father when I went to games with him in the 80s. Now travelling rail as opposed to bus made that option better.

I remember simply walking straight there with my father from Roosevelt and State St. following the group. However, it is not the same. In order to avoid pedestrian traffic on the streets around Soldier Field, walkers were routed via police enforced barracades through the southern end of Grant Park and around the Field Museum to get to the stadium.

Having not seen a Bears home game in almost 16 years, I was curious to see how the stadium looked from the inside. Though the stairs were steep, it looks like a 21st century stadium with two large jumbotron screens and I was impressed.

Here is a picture showing the walk my daughter and I had.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

stumping the madman

Even in the real world, my knowledge of sports specifically football and Super Bowl history is considered obcessive. When I saw the symptoms of Asperger's listing an over abundance of knowledge of a specific subject, that is what came to mind.

When watching sports on tv, I will state things before the announcers and every once in a while my wife is still amazed like during this year's PGA Championship when I noticed when Dustin Johnson illegally touched a bunker with his club incurring a two stroke penalty and costing him a chance to win that title. The announcers mentioned it ten minutes later.

Anyway, I noticed at work we printed a job which contains cards each having 5 trivia questions about each of the previously played 44 super bowls. My first instinct was to grab the sheet and write the answers but I had just finished my break so I had to wait until I got home.

All the questions which referred to cities and not specific teams ranged from what happened to the team during that season, to their nickname, to the site, MVP, or specific stats from that game.

Out of the 220 questions, I correctly answered 135 of them or 61.3%. For numbers 5, 7, 20, 25 and 44 I got all 5 correct and was wrong on all 5 for number 37. (I did not use roman numerals since it would make things more tedius than it already is)

I broke down the questions by super bowl numbers:

1-9: 32/45 correct
10-19: 30/50 correct
20-29: 32/50 correct
30-39: 21/50 correct
40-44: 20/25 correct

The years where I was actively playing tournament Scrabble are the ones I had the fewest ones correct and the oldest ones where I read books about them as a kid and the most recent ones I did the best.

I also broke the questions by type:

Site (where the game was played or planned to be played) : 9/12

Game play (specific things that happened in the game) : 36/60

Before game (things that happened in previous seasons, during that season, or in that year's playoffs) : 13/20

Stat (specific number ranging from points scored to turnovers to yards by player or team or specific time within game) : 16/44

MVP (game MVP) : 13/15 (two missed were position of Desmond Howard where I put WR and answer was KR and Brady completing most passes in a game for #38)

Team (about team nickname) : 9/10 (did not remember Carolina in #38 were known as the cardiac cats)

Game history (about events that occured suring or after game) 39/60

Other than those asking for a specific number, I got about 2 out of 3 correct.

I was surprised by the number I did miss though a couple of them were misread by me.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

the real 03 NFL MVP

Today marks the 7th anniversary of an infamous event in Chicago sports history as a baseball team completely collapsed after a fan interfered with a foul ball during game 6 of the National League championship series.

What most people don't realize that that incident also changed events in the National Football League as well. Let me explain:

First of all, I must state that since December 25, 1971 (Larry Csonka's 25th birthday) I have been a fan of the Miami Dolphins. As I am writing this, I am sitting 10 feet from the plaque of the 1972 team which by finishing 17-0 is the only team to go a full season without losing or tying a game.

I could talk about the Miami Dolphins references in my life ranging from the keychain hanging from my car's rearview mirror to a button on my computer that plays their theme song created in 1972 (which the Houston Oilers parodied for themselves in 1977) to passwords based on a game played 25 years ago (a topic for a post 5 weeks from today) but I will use my first visit to Don Shula's restaurant/bar to define my fandom where I noticed two footballs designed to show scores of playoff games having the wrong score and needing three months of emails to get it fixed.

Unlike most playoff series, I did care who won when the Cubs played the Florida Marlins for the NL title in 2003. I wanted the Cubs to win not because I am a Cubs fan. I root for then 156 games per year but in playoffs I usually root for the better team and Florida won 90 games to the Cubs 89.

I wanted the Marlins to lose. Why? They played on the same field as the Miami Dolphins and once baseball season ends, the grounds crew can tear up the infield and replace it with grass. I did not want the football game played with dirt covering part of the field since it could create injuries and or bad footing.

Because Florida won, they could not place new sod over the infield and on October 19 the 4-2 New England Patriots faced the 4-1 Miami Dolphins. The Patriots were reeling having lost two straight games.

New England and Miami were tied at 13 late in the 4th quarter. Miami was driving and had a 35 yard field goal to win the game on the last play of regulation. The Dolphins' kicker, Orlindo Mare, at the time the second most accurate kicker in NFL history had the dirt in the infield give when his left foot planted and the kick ended up low and blocked.

In overtime, the Dolphins had the ball first and had another 35 yard field goal attempt to win the game. Having been a kicker I could tell Mare tried to compensate for the dirt on the attempt and the kick ended up wide right as the footing this time was solid. On the next play, New England caught the Dolphins flat footed and completed a 65 yard touchdown pass to win the game.

The Patriots won their next 22 games after that including Super Bown XXXVIII. In an off season interview, Patriots' linebacker Teddy Bruschi stated that had they lost that game, they probably would have not won the Super Bowl that year.

So it can be stated that Steve Bartman was the real 2003 NFL MVP.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Madman fixes the world of sports (part 3)

Subject: playoffs and league formats

Since the baseball post season started today, I need to create this if nothing else to get my thoughts out of my system

My ideas for MLB, NHL, and NBA are sililar so I will group them. All the leagues have too many playoff teams for the number of regular season games played. Reducing playoffs by one round would remedy this. Of course, money is the issue and I would be fighting the desire for more money for the owners and players. I would also want to reduce the regular seasons by one or two weeks but then again, money.

The one thing that bothers me the most is their playoff scheduling. Today a game was played in the dome in Tampa at noon central followed by one in Philadelphia and a night game outdoors in Minnesota. I know the 4PM local start definitely factored in Roy Halliday's no hitter. Why did they schedule this; more viewers for the Yankees game.

Baseball is not designed for 40 degrees and rain but much of playoff baseball has that. It turns the game into a joke. In the day, the October weather is playable but people in power would rather have ratings rather than better played baseball.

The worst part of playoff scheduling is the off days. I understand having a day off for travel but not when teams are playing consecutive games in the same city. There should never be a day off between consecutive baseball games in the same city and no more than one day off for basketball or hockey. It takes away from the game.

Also, why can't a series start early if the two teams finish their round in less than the required games? Then following series would have less chance for bad weather. I also include basketball and hockey which played indoors in late May and June can cause courts to develop condensation and ice to turn into mush.

Championships should be played in decent conditions. The last three title matches played by Chicago teams involved 40 degrees and rain, a torrential downpour, and 85% humidity which made the indoor ice very slow and inconsistent.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ba-con by the numbers

Last weekend, people headed to Palatine and Addison, IL to see my friends Luke and Sara get married. While some of us were eating dinner on Friday night, we were saying this is like a convention and though I proposed Wedding Con 2, people decided to call this weekend Ba-con due to the groom's fondness for the product.

As I do, I decided to list things that happened last weekend in number form trying to keep things in cronological order:

3.05 - distance in miles from my house to hotel (shortest trip by far)
14.14 - distance in miles from O'Hare Airport to hotel
13.46 - distance in miles from hotel to church
551.49 - distance in miles of longest drive from home to hotel
1,543 - distance in air miles of longest trip to O'Hare
3 - number of Chicago Italian beef sandwiches Chris Mezzolesta had always wanting to try it
13 - age in days of youngest person when things started on Friday night
5 - people impressed that I made a logo for the Rock Band group "I want TILE!" using 25 squares to spell the word TILE.
75 - total number of people there
13 - states they call home (FL, IL, IN, IA, MA, MI, MN, MO, NY, NC, TN, VA, WI)
7 - comedy/filk music artists
18 - people who have at least a solo line in a recorded song
15 - people who attended "bachelor party" Friday night at Dave and Busters
2:21.17 and 3:07.76 - My best times on the easy and moderate course on the Daytona USA game (best times on any of the 8 machines in game)
14 - Highest level Luke reached on original Mario Brothers Game
2.07 - fastest time in seconds for Chris Mezzolesta to correctly answer 5 of 5 questions in trivia game
382 - consecutive notes hit in song on Guitar Hero Arcade by DJ Tommy Tooney
3,000 - points in tickets converted by my wife for four teddy bears, a pencil box, pen, pencil sharpener, and a small box of Nerds candy (note: some points were already on card when she got there)
2 - people on each side of bridal party
5 - people who posted pictures of the ceremony or reception while it was happening
10 - people who were thinking about the cello notes during Pachabel's Canon in D Major while it was being played at wedding.
55 - pounds the much slimmer ShoEboX lost this year
0 - people who shouted "Tile", "ok" or something similar during wedding since Sara demanded no one do that during the wedding ceremony
20 - people who shouted "TILE!" right after bride and groom left getting it out of their system
37 - age of youngest person of the two who conspired to change the "just married" letters on back of car to read "jist a murder"
8 - number of tables with a three sided centerpiece consisting of a movie or tv show poster, an additional poster or collection of material and a drawing of the bride and groom in the movie or show. (2 more were made but not needed)
10 - number of people who cringed when Danger Woman appeared in the multi person greeting played for the happy couple where she told Luke he should call her giving her phone number
8 - number of wedding photos of people related to bride or groom on display
4 - people who belly danced at start of reception (including bride)
12 - lit candles on top of one piece worn on one dancer's head
1 - candle at very top of piece not lit to make sure the paper lanterns hanging from ceiling were not accidentally set on fire
3 - songs groom sang during reception
50 - times I have seen Luke perform "Just a Gigolo" or his parody "Just Mister Londo"
200 - times Luke's brother said he saw Luke perform that song
12 - people who were still in hall 2 hours after reception ended
1 - little girl who opened a door that was closed and then locked herself in the basement traumatized by the sight of something neither her no anyone else should ever see
27 - people who attended party the following day at couple's house to open gifts and eat leftover food
1 - Mc Donald's bathroom "Culverized" by Rob Balder
5 - comedy music artists who though tired perked right up when someone suggested they write and record a song
4 - games Josh and I played while they were writing and recording said song
8 - people who ate at the "dead dog" dinner at nearby place on Sunday night
8 - different people I drove sometime during the weekend
203 - total miles driven

Monday, September 20, 2010

the music I have seen

Last July, I showed the picture of me recording Luke Sienkowki proposing to Sara Trice and this weekend they get married.

Since I first met Luke at Alcon 2000, I have had the opportunity to see many musical performances by many talented people over the years and as appreciation of the work he has done on and off stage, am listing the most memorable ones. (Note: I am not including performances by Weird AL since I would have seen his shows whether or not I met Luke or got involved in the Dementia community. The ones listed are only cover those I saw because of Luke)

I am going to put them in cronological order:

Windycon masquerade. November 2003: As has has done at Gencon for years, Luke performed entertainment while the judges decided who won. He always adds extra backing tracks to his show CD just in case he needs more time than given. This time, the judges could not make up their mind and he was on stage for over 90 minutes instead of the 20 he was expected. I had to rush his back up CD of music to the person playing it and then with the playlist in my hand tell him what number since I could tell what he was going to play by either the audience request or his hint. Now with his background music on a portable device, that would not happen again but the chaos that happened on stage along with how well he handled it caused the show to make my list. If I ever write the book about my experiences with music and fandom, that night would be the first chapter.

The Nick Atoms. March 2004: Luke told people you have to come to a convention called Marscon located in Bloomington, MN. 7 of us packed into a van and we headed there. I was going to the parties but decided to listen to their show. I was amazed by their unique sound and style and though they have gone their seperate ways now, appreciated what they had.

Da Vinci's Notebook. March 2004: I heard some of their music played on the trip to Marscon but was not impressed. I was still talked by Luke into driving to Madison Wisconsin the following weekend to see them on their farewell tour. From the first song, I was mesmorized by how well they performed together with no instruments. Upon seeing two of them a couple of years later as a different act, I mentioned that show and they both wished that someone was recording it.

Penguicon filk circle. April 2004: Filk circles are a staple of most science fiction conventions and they consist of people sitting in a room and in turn performing a song. Some are funny, some are serious. Most of the time when this is happening, I would rather be in one of the party rooms. This one was different as by 2 AM it consisted of comedy music artists rather than filkers. In turn they each performed a song to the dozen or so people watching. The finale was when ShoEboX from the group Worm Quartet decided to perform a brand new song which is his attempt to write the most evil song every written. The room was broken into three groups and each had a word to chant on cue. The song performed "What Your Parents Think (all your music sounds like)" is still enjoyed by everyone who listens to it and many people, including me, move to a specific part of the room when they realize it is time for that song so they can chant their favorite evil word.

Sudden Death. April 2004: On the weekend Weird Al's parents died from Carbon Monoxide poisoning, there was a small convention in the Chicago area. I had heard Sudden Death perform a couple of times before most notably to the backs of people who were in line to get an autograph from Weird AL and his wife Suzanne in 2002. With his projector, his show made fans of many there. He got a rare standing ovation by other artists about his song concerning work meetings. The folowing year he had the number one song on the Dr Demento show and in 2007, had numbers 1,2, and 4 and his album was considered for a Grammy.

Dragon*con masquerade September 2005: In early 2005, Luke started work on a special song to perform with Carrie and she could not wait for me to hear it once it was done. When she accidentally told me the name "Grease Wars" a month before it was finished I knew exactly what it was going to be; a series of song parodies from Grease telling the story of Star Wars episode 4, A New Hope. When I first saw it performed, I knew it was special. After hearing it many times in 5 different states, it was time for Dragon*con. They were able to get a spot in the masquerade and since I was filming it for them, I was able to join the room of over 5,000 people hoping they would react to the song the same way I did. The reaction was so positive, he must have sold over 150 CDs that night after the masquerade ended and more during it by people who saw it on tv and headed to his table to get the song now.

Gencon August 2006: Though Luke was the halftime entertainment at the Gencon masquerade for many years, he only in recent years also got time to perform regular shows there. Devo Spice and ShoEboX joined Luke and Carrie for 3 hours of total mayhem on stage.

Jonathan Coulton October 2007: The two members of Da Vinci's notebook who still wanted to do music formed a group called Paul and Storm. On a rainy Monday night, I drove to the House of Blues to see Paul and Storm perform in the upstairs bar and not the main stage. Before them was a stoic, bearded performer sitting on a chair playing a guitar and singng in a calm tone. I was aptiently waiting for Paul and Storm but while talking to the person at Coulton's merch table to find out more about him I heard a lyric that got my attention, "Kennesaw Mountain Landis was a bad mother fucker". Knowing who he was I stopped talking and moved toward the stage to listen to the rest of his set. After finishing with "Re:Your Brains" and "First of May" (done with Paul and Storm) I was back at the merch table to get two CDs. The next time I saw both groups perform Paul and Storm was first and with the popularity of Portal and the song "Still Alive" they played to overflow houses and had to move to two larger venues to accomidate everyone who wanted to see them.

Paul and Storm March 2008: After a long time, Luke finally got Paul and Storm to appear at Marscon. Half way through the show, they stopped the show to take a phone call from Jonathan Coulton on stage. Though they knew it was going to be over the time allowed, they had to perform their final song "The Captain's Wife's Lament". As expected with the crowd, everything went well over the top, and by the time they were done one person was laughing so hard he could barely breathe.

Luke and Carrie Gencon 2010: The Gencon audience for Luke's show has always been the best con one that does not feature a lot of hardcore fans. Since Luke's wedding plans made it too difficult for him to make a complete new album, he did not need to play all new songs but decided to play material from his past as well as present material with Carrie who also played new material. In one song, the crowd, without having heard it before, was able to chant Wil Wheaton as the line before it led people to that rhyme. When the introduction to Grease Wars played (a song they had not performed in almost two years at that time) started, the reaction from the crowd gave me chills and though the song has become redundant for me as I have heard it over 250 times and seen it performed 45 times live, it was awesome to see it done.

While doing this, two other performances which are personally special to me need to me mentioned:

Rush June 2008: Yes, the group with Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeton and Neil Pert. Sara (who has a picture with her siblings and Geddy Lee on her wall) is able to get comp tickets and that year, she asked me to go with her. Sitting on the floor of the United Center ten rows from the stage is something I will never forget. I can't believe they have never even been nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Carrie Dahlby March 2010: In 2007 Carrie wanted to parody the Eminem song he did with his daughter and used my kid for that role. Though she had performed on stage with my kid before, it was special to see them on stage at Marscon.

Friday, September 10, 2010

misfit

Over Labor Day weekend, tens of thousands of fans flocked to downtown Atlanta for Dragon*Con for their annual convention. Being large enough to cover multiple hotels, they have many top notch media guests from movies, tv, and writing. In the years I have been there, I have seen people from Firefly/Serenity, Buffy, and Mythbusters, along with Mickey Dolenz, Adam West, Eric Estrada, the Iron Sheik and cartoon voice actors Billy West and Roger Bumpass.

Since Dragon*con has grown over the past couple of years, they decided to remove the comedy music track as it did not draw enough guests to their liking. Therefore, making that trip to Atlanta is no longer as desirable as it used to be.

In 2007, Notre Dame played Georgia Tech in the Georgia Dome on Labor Day Saturday to a full house. After seeing that, Chick-Fil-A, which is headquartered in Atlanta, decided to sponsor a Labor Day Saturday game in the Georgia Dome giving almost $2 million each to the two schools who sent teams there.

This year Louisiana State played North Carolina. Each school sold 31,000 tickets. Fans flocked to Atlanta to see the game. Many of them found out about Dragon*con and reserved rooms at the convention hotels at the Dragon*con rate stating they were attending it. Others decided to hang out there and watch the geeks. It got overcrowded and crazy fast. The hotels had to eventually check for badges before people were allowed into the hotel and that created a problem since some hotel attendees were there for the game.

The chat in the channel I hang out this week focused on this and the fact that Dragon*con needs to follow the lead of Gencon and Convergence by not allowing hotel reservations to people unless they have purchased membership at the con.

However the chat turned towards anger to the football fans and being one, I took offense to some of what was said especially when I won't be seeing much of the opening weekend of the NFL season or week 3.

This made me think of the song idea I had a few years ago comparing my life in the mundane world to that in fandom but never really got it past the development stage.

Here is a chart of some of them:



I do have a bad habit of exploiting the differences I have with people rather than the similarities no matter which group I am with. I need to work on that.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Family Circus style driving part 9

At the risk of this blog turning into "ignorant things done by the person stupid enough to marry me", I am posting this. Though it involves driving a longer than normal route, it really is unlike the others I posted.

About 5PM six years ago, I had to drive north to get my four year old daughter from day care. On the way back, I saw a bunch of smoke around where my house was and got really scared when the police blocked the street where I live. I drove around, parked on the street and ran carrying my daughter to where the fire was. It turned out that the house across the parking lot, 75 feet from mine, was on fire. Sad, but relieved, I took the kid inside as the fire truck pulled into the lot.

About 45 minutes later my wife rang the front door bell and I could tell she was upset. She said she got a ticket. I asked her what happened. She stated she had to drive around the block because the police would not let her on our street and when she got to the corner, they tried to block her again and after she drove through it, they gave her a ticket.

When I explained to her that the house across the parking lot was on fire and the lot is blocked so the fire truck can get there, she did not care. All she cared about was parking her car in her spot behind the house and now she has to leave the house again to move her car.

Here is the map:



Though the house was not completely destroyed, it took about a year of repairs for it to once again be habitable.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The secret to his success

I will start by stating this: I have hated Tiger Woods for over 30 years. When I saw a two year old golfer on the Mike Douglass show with his golf pro father while I was hitting plastic golf balls with a wooden cane even in winter except for the two times in the year I would play golf with my father on the course, I got jealous. (Note: Since I was hitting the plastic balls in a empty lot with rocks, I was not allowed to use real clubs)

My jealousy got worse as I became able to hit cheap golf balls up to and over 300 yards in the 1980s with clubs that were made before I was born. Once I started working full itme, I took lessons, got low end equipment and got decent at the game (scoring in the low 80s breaking 80 a couple of times) but never got as good as I had hoped. Today, I am forced to swing left handed due to the problem I have in my left hip.

Eventually the two year old I saw on tv in 1978 grew up and started to play on tour and started to win. In 2000, he dominated like no other golfer I have ever seen before did and hearing people on Golf Network tall about it inspired this post. Obviously his upbringing allowed him to have the knowledge to go with the strength a 24 year old would have but there was more and though I heard about it then, no one talks about it now.

Nike after signing Tiger Woods developed their golf portion of the company and with Tiger, developed equipment including a golf ball that was superior to the Titleist ball 90% of the tour used. People stated the ball was able to go farther, spin more consistently and stay in shape better giving the player who uses that ball a 1-2 shot per round advantage.

Due to contracts, most tour golfers could not switch from Titleist. Paul Azinger did and was voted comeback player of the year. Bob May, a previously unknown golfer who lost the 2000 PGA to Tiger by one shot, also was playing the Nike ball. The new Titleist ball introduced in 2001 negated that advantage and that is why Tiger does not win tournaments by over 10 shots anymore.

Anyway, I have had this thought in my head for a month now and by writing this, I was able to get it out.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

more rocking

Earlier this year, Harmonix started releasing info about Rock Band 3 due out late October. First they stated it will have 3 part harmonies and keyboard. Then they said a pro mode is being developed where a player will actually play the individual keys on the keyboard and on the guitars they are creating for the game hold the fret buttons the same way a real guitar would be held to play the note. The pro drums mode will involve more cymbal action and more options to hit.

About half the songs in the game were announced over the past couple of months with the balance announced last weekend. After looking at the list, I started to wonder if Harmonix decided instead of creating a full game with a disc and just improved the game with a system download and then put the 83 songs for download on a pay per song basis over the next six months, what would I do?

This chart shows the answer:



The others are a live version I would have to hear before getting, one I only know from a Weird Al polka, one a reverse parody where I do not know the original.

The game will cost $60. Thirty one downloads at $2 equal $62 so the game is worth getting. I expect that within some of the 40 songs I don't know by title there will be some that I end up recognizing.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Madman fixes the world of sports (part 2)

Subject: Fantasy sports; mostly fantasy football

As I made this post under the fantasy sport championship banners and trophies that hang from the ceiling in my basement, I see so much wrong with how it is played when I hear about other leagues. Even in the one league that I am annually the one to beat over the past 10+ years, there are things that I do not like but it is the least bad one I see so I tolerate it.

First of all, lineup. Any league with less than 8 or more than 12 is not feasable. Unless the league is 8 players, having more than one active QB is wrong. Active running backs should be one or two per team. Some leagues wrongly allow a third running back to be active as a flex player. Wide receivers should be two or three and one tight end and kicker. Having a flex position only works in leagues that have one RB and two WR. Any more than those in any position is not feasable with a 32 team league since it would remove the ability to choose which players to make active in each week or force players to drop players in bye weeks. Also, defense should be a unit and not individual players unless you have a league with people who are able to dedicate the time necessary.

Generally, there should be 6-7 extra spots in each roster to allow for byes and injuries and to force players to decide what players to keep active. My best concept is to allow teams an extra roster spot during bye weeks but I have yet to see a league incorporate that.

The scoring systems used is what I find most wrong with all fantasy leagues. My philosphy is simple. Every yard counts, every turnover counts, every point scored in the game counts. No more, no less. What I mean by every yard is that fractional and negative points need to exist so every yard gained or lost will count be it passing, rushing, receiving or return no matter who gains it. I have seen a league without return yards.

One other scoring thing that is needed. NO FLUFF! What does that mean? No points for receptions, no points for a long field goal and definintely no points for reaching a yardage goal. I know a league that without feactional points where the difference between 299 and 300 passing years is the equivilent of one and a half passing touchdowns since there is a 5 pt bonus. When I heard that, I wanted to run away screaming.

One last thing that irritates me is people who fail to manage their team. One year there was a team who had 5 opponent player spots inactive in a three week span and I established the fact that I am asshole of my league calling them out. I can understand if a questionable player turns inactive and a person gets stuck. I have lost two games with that happening to me and lost a game that cost me a playoff berth and potential title not wanting to get burned and the questionable player did play.

I would love to penalize a team for having a bye player or a known injured player in their lineup by penalizing points in all future games within that season or the following one if applicable. The people in my league vetoed that idea when I brought it up.

For the past three years, my opponents have scored more points per game vs me than their theoretical average for the rest of the year. I believe playing against me causes people to actually think what they are doing since they want so badly to beat me.



Last year, I was able to overcome the one touchdown per week increase by my opponent over their statistical average to win my 7th title in 10 team leagues since 2002. (Note: That number involves 24 total leagues in football, baseball, basketball, and NASCAR.) 2004 was my last baseball league and 2007 was the last time I played more than one football league.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Family Circus style driving part 8

Gencon Indy last weekend was one of the most enjoyable cons I have attended. From playing games to watching music to just hanging out and meeting cool people, it was the con I really needed to have.

After the con was over, I helped Luke pack the items from his merch table and he asked me to join him and his fiancee for dinner before we head home. Though I am not a chili person, I still decided to go to the Skyline Chili place figuring that like Lindy's Chili near my parents' house, they would have non chili items.

We were in the same parking lot but on different levels and since I did not have anything to pack, I figured I would exit and wait to follow them. Because of a car behind me, I had to circle the block but found a spot to wait.

After five minutes the phone rang. In the time I circled the block they left the lot and were on their way. With the sporatic signal from being downtown, I heard a street name and went on it. Turns out it was the wrong street.

Since it was late afternoon and the sun was out my phone was not much use especially since I did not feel comfortable stopping anywhere being unfamiliar with what areas are not safe and not wanting to find out the hard way which ones aren't.

Eventually through Sara's (Luke's fiancee) phone, they were able to guide me to the place. I also discovered that streets in Indy are designed to either go to or away from downtown. Here is the map:



As expected, there was something I could eat and I also found out that not all chili uses ketchup so maybe I might try chili in the future.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Madman fixes the world of sports (part 1)

I have followed sports ever since I was old enough to understand them and after almost four decades, I have seen a lot of things that could be better and have ideas to remedy them. No doubt many of them would not be instituted since it would cost money or prevent people from making more money. However, if I had the ability to make changes in most every sport (and some things I don't call sport) this is what I would do.

With so many things to change, I will be starting a seperate blog since some of my regular readers really don't care. However, the first one will be posted here:

Topic: Soccer

Orginally I thought this is the one sport which was fine. However, the recent World Cup showed very significant flaws that need to be corrected.

First of all, I am among the few who didn't mind the zuzuvelas. Background noise is part of the event and having the local music played made it seem special.

There are two things that definitely were at the forefront of the event. First of all was the ball. It was determined in wind tunnels that the new corporate designed ball for the event was unstable when struck at high speeds since the stiches were on the inside and the ball was perfectly round. Many people stated, "Both teams have to play with the ball so why does it matter?"

This is why. Imagine the NFL having a different ball for the playoffs which becomes unstable when thrown at high speeds or long distances. Wouldn't it hurt passing ball clubs more than running teams the same way a windy day can effect a game? The same thing happened at the World Cup. People complained about less scoring. Why? Long passes and shots were unpredictable. Spain was one of the few countries who did not depend on long passes and that allowed them to capture their first title. I believe all new future ball designs will be tested at game speeds. Duh.

The other issue is officating. From missed calls to bad calls, it dominated the event. I know FIFA wants controversy but not this way. The soccer referee has to cover an area that is bigger than a football field and it is common for the ball to travel from one end to the other in a few seconds.

He also has two linesman who can advise on fouls from the sidelines and can rule on offsides. That is not enough! The ref has a general path from one end of the field to the other which is way too much ground to cover. I propose having a second ref. It works with hockey and with each one covering to each goal line needing a goal camera would be unnecessary. The paths are listed here:



One more thing. People who speak English in the United States really don't care about professional soccer exccept for the World Cup. I am begging FIFA, ESPN and every other network to stop trying to get Americans interested. Americans prefer football played with laces and always will. It is embarassing. The networks made such a big deal over Landon Donovan's winning goal over Algeria even though it only made them advance into the round of 16 where the United States was beaten by a country that has fewer people than Texas.

The networks made a big deal when the women's team won the World Cup in the United States in 1999. A home country winning the title is not uncommon. They also compared that team to the one that won the Olympic gold medal in hockey in 1980. No, No, NO!

The 1980 US olympic hockey was assembled in the fall before the olympics and was made up of individuals from different college teams most of whom afterward went into the NHL. The 1980 USSR team played as a unit for only their home country. Those players went to special schools where with studies learned their sport from the best instructors and the best of them played for the country.

Over half of the 1999 US women's team went to the University of North Carolina and the national team at that time was the only one the women on it played for. Anyone else see which team in the miracle on ice game mostly resembled Mia Hamm and her teammates?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

redefined

While driving to the south suburbs on July 4th to see relatives on my mom's side of the family many for the first time in almost three years, I asked my daugther which subject I don't want to discuss will someone talk to me about first? Scrabble, golf or Weird Al concerts. To my surprise bowling was the one that came up.

At work on the day I finished 15 years at my company I had four different people ask me a question about all four subjects and I had to nicely explain why I don't play Scrabble or golf, that I have no idea what new bowling balls exist and why I am not going to see Weird Al again this summer explaining the internal gut ache I now get driving home from his shows marking to the date the time since I took a picture with him that did not develop.

In a December post, I explained why I don't play Scrabble and in a post earlier this month, why I won't see Weird Al in four states this summer. The reason I can't bowl or golf anymore is the same so I will try to explain:

In January 1994, I got real good at bowling. Over a 5 week span consisting of 45 games I averaged 215 at four different bowling centers. Four of my five highest three game series I ever bowled were in that span. After bowling three practice games one evening after work with my boss trying to help his game out, my fiancee wanted to practice herself. After work and three games, I wanted to rest but listened to her and went. The second ball I threw I felt a pop on the outside of my left leg. I thought nothing of it until I started to feel pain in my leg ranging from my knee to my hip.

The pain got to the point where I had to stop bowling and see a doctor. I went through a month of therapy and was ok the rest of the year though I did not bowl anywhere near as well as I did before I got hurt. That summer bowling in a league against the best in the city, my left leg not only popped but collapsed and I ended up 15 feet from the foul line. Though I tried to figure out a way to bowl after that, I could never bowl in a league again as the pain would always return no matter what I tried to do. It also got to the point where I could not look at my fiancee without being upset at her so I had to break up with her.

Eventually as I got older and heavier, my leg started to affect my ability to play golf as it would start to fail and prevent me from shifting my weight onto my left side. I finally decided to see a doctor again in 2008. He said I had bursitis in my left hip.



The gluteus medius muscle (muscle shown in the chart) is what stabilizes the leg when all the body's weight is on it. When the bursa is irritated it presses against the gluteus medius muscle and that causes the muscle to overwork, spasm and eventually fail. Bowling and golf causes weight to be transfered completely to the left leg for a right handed person. When the leg fails to support the body's weight, it makes bowling or golf difficult if not impossible to do let alone done well.

Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning has his bursa sac removed a couple of years ago. However, he is younger and in much better shape than I am and the doctor said I would have to be close to 200 lb for him to even consider that surgery for me.

After therapy for that specific problem in 2008, my leg got better and I was able to hit golf balls again well. That fall, I felt a pop in my left knee three different times and exactly one year before this post, had surgery to repair damaged material. In the surgery, the outside of my left leg was braced against a steel support and the doctor's assistant pulled my lower left leg to the outside to allow access to repair the damage. I has spasms in my left leg for a couple of months after from the strain of the muscle being stretched.

Though I am functional as far as work, the idea of bowling or golfing is not plausible especially after my left leg failed on the driving range three weeks ago.

What do I do now? I still do my radio show every Thursday. Also, I have finally come to terms with the fact that my daughter's existance means my family name dies with me. Yes, it took me ten years to complete the five stages of grief. I do still attend conventions but my body won't let me do what I used to be able to do. I just exist and write in this blog and soon will start a blog where I produce ideas to fix what I see wrong in the world of sports.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

oops

I decided to keep stats for every player on my daughter's team and had game discs made for all of them on one image until I accidentally changed the size to one and erased all of them. I was able to reproduce five of them and here they are: (the other five hopefully by the weekend)

Note: It was for a game called All Star baseball where players are represented by a disc that is put inside a spinner. The number cooresponds to the result of the at bat. Also, outfielders, infielders, and pitchers and catchers had a different color pattern.



Numbers refer to:

* 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, or lead runner is out (I modified it)
* 13 Single, runners advance two bases
* 14 Fly out, runners hold their bases
* 15 Hit by pitch (I added it)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I see dead people

In spite of my post from last month, I decided to put my daughter's desire over my internal conflict and got two tickets to see Weird Al Yankovic on July 9 in Merilville, IN.

During the fourth song, Smells Like Nirvana, my daughter turned to my ear and stated, "He is playing the guitar left handed." Having never realized that before, I agreed and then told her, "Kurt Cobain, the lead singer from Nirvana, is left handed and since he is dressed like him, that is why."

That got me thinking ... How many famous dead people are referenced in this show? There is a lot of video footage shown between and during songs along with costumes based on people who have passed on.

As suggested by one of the regular readers, I put this chart together:



Tv: Irene Ryan (died 1970), Buddy Ebsen (d 2003) (shown on video before song Money For Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies)
Bob Denver (d 2005), Alan Hale (d 1990) (on video during unreleased song I'm in Love with the Skipper) Note: Other dead actors from Gilligan's Island were not in the concert video
Johnny Carson (d 2005): Shown twice mentioning Weird AL while doing the Tonight Show
Charles Nelson Reilly (d 2007), Gene Rayburn (d 1999) : (in song CNR talking about the legendary feats of Charles Nelson Reiley and in video shown during that song)

Music: Michael Jackson (d 2009) (Dressed like him while performing Eat it)
Kurt Cobain (d 1994) (Dressed like him while performing Smells Like Nirvana)
Jim Morrison (d 1971) (Dressed like him while performing Craigslist which is a Doors style parody)
Jimi Hendrix (d 1970) (during an in between song video where AL burns an accordion on stage in the same manner that Hendrix once burned a guitar)

He also performs part of his song Another One Rides the Bus (parody of the Queen song) during the medley where he does 1-2 minute parts of multiple songs.

In past tours he showed a scene from his 1989 movie UHF called Raul's Wild Kingdon featuring actor Trinidad Silva who died during the movie production.

Note: When a person has been performing material based on pop culture for over 30 years, it would almost be expected for some of the subjects of the material to be dead. I could not imagine a Weird AL show that does not involve him dressed as either Michael Jackson and Kurt Cobain.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The next level

My daughter's 10U softball team had a far more successful season than last year finishing 10-4 in 4th place out of 11 teams. However, bad fielding combined with untimely hitting caused them to lose their playoff game vs the 5th place team who they easily beat earlier in the year.

My daughter who was noticeably taller than she was last year compared to her teammates also played better batting third in the lineup for much of the season finishing with 57 total plate appearances. Just like last year, I took all her plate appearances (except for the one game I could not attend) and make a game disc out of them:



Numbers refer to:

* 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, or lead runner is out (I modified it)
* 13 Single, runners advance two bases
* 14 Fly out, runners hold their bases
* 15 Hit by pitch (I added it)

I decided to not consider errors since they are very common in 10U softball. Once she gets to 12U, I will start counting them.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Joining the 21st century (thanks to BMZ)

While on the road from Penguicon in May, one of the people I was driving told me he had an ipod he was no longer using and after he cleaned it up, he sent it to me.

I was reluctant to use it at first but I soon discovered how useful it is especially when I worked on a Saturday and instead of having a beat up cd player and cds, I had my music in my pocket and with a set of headphones was able to listen to over 130 tracks for 9 hours without even coming close to draining the power or bothering the people who work with me. (ok, it is not perfect)

Just before I posted this I added more songs (including a disturbing brilliant track posted to the FuMP yesterday @ www.thefump.com) to get to 200. I noticed something unusual in what was on the device and created this chart:



With the Circue du So What Cd completely on my device, the sketch quantity is high but I was surprised to have over 4 times the number of original comedy songs compared to parodies and that does not include original songs from movies or musicals.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

request denied

The summer of 2010 marks the return of Weird Al Yankovic on tour and through Facebook and from others telling me or asking about riding with me, there was no way I would not know even though having decided following the last concert I saw him perform in September, 2007 that I would not spend another penny on him.

My curiosity did get the best of me and I decided to look at this tour's set list and got interested especially knowing that the songs on his new unreleased polka is something my daughter (who expressed interest in seeing a concert) would enjoy since she knows more of them than I do. I looked at getting tickets but realized that except for the time between "Fun Zone" and "Yoda" (opening and closing of concert), it would not be worth the money, time and aggravation and decided against it.

Looking at the tour schedule, I would have normally attended four different concerts in four different states. My total expected personal costs for the shows are listed here:



The one with lodging would involve a party the following day in the Detroit area.

Thinking about my decision to boycott AL and my post about what happened on my wedding day, I realized I am now being the same passive aggressive person I was then. I decided to send a e mail to the drummer of the group Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz who I've met before. I asked about four backstage passes (me, my daughter, best friend and her husband) to the Detroit area or Rockford show since the Chicago area ones are taken by the same 15 or so people who I see every local show along with Bermuda's family. That idea was suggested three years ago to do by one of those 15 people.

As with the last 6 times I asked over the past 8 years, I got a courteous "no" reply. Apparently, I am not "good enough". I could really be bitter about it and be passive aggressive towards them like the time a couple of years ago I saw one of the "Chicago AL fans" at a Jonathan Coulton concert and knowing he won $82,000 on Wheel of Fortune asked him why was he guessing "L" when "N,R,and T" were available?

I have made this mountain out of a molehill high enough and really don't want to add any more than I already did. Anyway, looking at myself in the mirror, if I ever got that opportunity to meet Al backstage, I would most likely do what I did at W00tstock a couple of weeks ago upon meeting Mythbusters Adam Savage:



She looks better than me anyway.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Whammy burger (again!)

For the past four weeks, I have avoided McDonalds because the last three times I went through their drive thru in three different places, the price on the menu board for the 6 nuggets mighty kids meal was between 10 to 40 cents less than what I was charged and when I checked one of the locations a couple of days after, the price was not changed.

On June 16th, my daughter had a 6PM softball game on the same day the park district had a field trip at Lincoln Park Zoo and due to traffic, she did not get back until 5:15.

Knowing she takes her time to eat, we went to the closest place to get food which was a McDonalds and when the price was displayed, I noticed I was charged 20 cents more than listed. When I went to pay the bill, I tried to explain to the manager that this is the fourth different McDonalds in a row that had the wrong price on the drive thru menu board for the same item.

Wanting to get to the game I decided to not continue my complaint but as I drove around the building, I noticed the other menu board as the place had two and had to get out of the car to confirm what I saw.

When I got to the park, I called them:

"This is McDonalds, Can I help you?"

"Yes. This is the person who complained about your menu board having a wrong price ten minutes ago. I looked at your menu boards. One of them has it listed as $4.29 and the other at $4.39. You are charging $4.49 for the 6 piece nuggets kids meal." *click*

This confirms what I suspect. They don't care and no doubt the price has probably been wrong on the board for a while. Here is a map of the four locations and when I was there:



On my way home from work today, I stopped at the McDonalds where I had the discussion on May 18th. The price was still incorrect on the drive thru board.

All this leaves me to ask one question: "Am I the only person in the northeast part of Du Page county who pays attention when ordering and cares that the price listed is wrong?"

To compare, I have not seen any similar error at any other place. Just McDonalds who probably will not be seeing me again until the Mc Rib returns if at all.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

from 203 to 32

I have been asked how the World Cup field is determined so I figure I will summarize it the best way I can.

First of all, the host country, South Africa, automatically is in the tournament. The other 202 countries who entered played starting in August 2007 for the remaining 31 spots within their region of the world. 13 from Europe, 4 from Asia, 5 from Africa, 4 from South America and 3 from North/Central America make the field. The other two spots are determined by a playoff between the first non qualifier from North/Central America and South America regions along with the first non qualifier from Asia playing the Ocenania region winner.

For the United States, they had to qualify as one of three teams from 35 countries in the region. Seeded as one of the top 13, they did not have to participate in the first round where 22 teams played for 11 spots. The 11 advancing teams played a head to head match with one of the 12 seeded teams and the 13 seeded team played a match against one of the top 12. The US defeated Barbados 9-0 total goals in two games to advance.

The third round had the 12 teams play in three groups of four round robin home and away (6 total games per team) and the top two teams from each group advanced to the region final. Those 6 teams played another round robin home and away match (10 games per team) finishing last October 14 where the top three (US, Mexico, Honduras) made the final and the fourth place team (Costa Rica) went into a playoff with the 5th place team from South America (Uruguay) which Uruguay won. The United States had to play 18 total games from June 15, 2008 to Oct 14, 2009 with a total record of 13 wins, 3 losses and two ties to qualify for the final.

The 32 teams are seeded in four groups of 8 and one team from each group by random draw is placed in one of 8 groups of 4 as shown here:




The teams in each group play one match agains the other three teams and the top two advance into a 16 team single elimination format where the champion is crowned on July 11th.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Time to look back

Since one of my co workers recently got married, the topic of weddings became a hot topic at work. After hearing about my wedding day 11 years ago from the date this post becomes public, one of the regular readers suggested I devote an entry to that day. With the regular Thursday topics date specific, I decided to make this seperate one.

I can say without a doubt that my wedding day, June 12, 1999, is one of the most frustrating days I have ever lived. Because it is the day I got married, the memory of it has not dwindled even after 11 years. It is possible that by making this post some of the bad memories will leave since in the past putting thoughts onto a screen have taken them out of my head. That is the main reason I am going to write this.

I decided to look at what happened from a third person perspective and realized that everything boiled down to four main things that caused my day to end up like it did. However, all of those things could have been resolved or made a non issue by actions made on the date and up to a couple of years before.

First of all was the hotel situation for me. For the out of town guests and myself, we reserved a block of rooms at a hotel in the area. When I got there, I discovered that my room was not a hot tub suite as I reserved. Apparently, they lost the note stating that the groom had a hut tub room reserved on his wedding night. After checking into the room they had for me and finally falling asleep, the phone rang shortly after midnight. They told me they were able to get me the hot tub room and I could move into the room now.

The only way this could have been prevented aside from staying in another hotel which would have not worked since the best man was also staying in the hotel was to confirm things with the hotel the night before so any problem would have been resolved before I got there. Then I would have not gotten upset at people the night before. However, last minute plans including getting my credit card left behind at Best Buy took over my thought process.

It makes sense for a hotel to place all people in a room block in the same area and that is what happened with me. The only good thing about it was when I saw my 2 year old nephew naked in the hallway after escaping the hotel room. I stayed with him until my sister realized he was missing and came running down the hall looking for him. Had I been in the suite I reserved, I would have not seen him on my way to the pool.

Anyway, I had everything moved into the new room and eventually fell asleep about 2 AM knowing that I had a tee time in 7 hours.

The next morning I had something special planned. I was going to play a round of golf with the men in my bridal party. On the 18th tee, I was going to grab a special ball out of my bag and state, "On the day Jack Nickalus got married, he played a round of golf with the men in his bridal party. On the 18th tee, he announced like I am doing today, 'This is the last drive I am going to hit as a single man!' He teed the ball, gave it a mighty swing and barely hit the ball as it rolled into a pond just off the tee just like this hole here. With this old golf ball with his logo on it I have saved since I first heard this story in 1988, I will beat Jack Nicklaus."

Well, the Joliet area had about two inches of rain that morning and the golf course was closed since it floods easily. I was very disappointed when I woke and confirmed what the news stated the night before. In spite of my best efforts, I could not get back to sleep after waking up at seven.

Since the 18th tee at that course was close to the entrance of the golf course and on a little hill, I could have easily gone there and just hit one ball even in the middle of pouring rain. Had I explained what it would mean to me, they probably would have let me hit one ball of the 18th tee. Of course, had I let someone who was not getting married that day know my plans, he could have suggested it to me. Ten years later, I allowed my plans to make a wedding special distract me from what I should have been doing in the role I had. Two opportunities forever lost in time.

By the time for the ceremony, the skies had cleared and though it was humid, it was a nice day. After what seemed like an eternity in the room off to the side it was time for the ceremony and after the woman I plan to spend the rest of my life with joined me at the altar and we nervously looked at each other for the precher to begin.

She started, "I, your name," I replied properly though it was difficult for me to not say, "your name". Then she said, "in the name of God." There was an uneasy pause for about 10 seconds as just about everyone on my side on the building and half the other side were wondering what my reaction would be. Nervous, I just repeated her words and everything else went without a hitch.

As someone who as George Carlin stated was Catholic until he reached the age of reason (which for me was a year after graduating St. Rita High School) our vows were meaningless. In the few seconds we had together before greeting everyone we wondered why the preacher did not use what we wrote and instead went by the book.

After the pictures were done and most everyone was out of the building, I stormed into her office and screamed, "Why did you not use what we wrote? You embarassed me and my bride in front of our whole family!" She stated she did not find what we wrote appropriate. I yelled back, "Couldn't you have told me this before we were on the altar?" She said she did not look at what we wrote until just before the ceremony and decided then.

I slammed the door on the way out and discovered my wife was already being escorted out of the building my her mother who heard me and was trying to get her out of there. I grabbed her arm and told my mother in law, "She is with me now."

Why did we get married there as opposed to city hall? Having grown up and seen numerous weddings in a church I was wanting a similar one myself. Since the weddings of my wife's brother and sister were civil, I knew my mother-in-law wanted a nice looking one herself. Except for one problem the preacher solved, using her was not a good idea. Since then I have seen weddings at other places that were just fine.

Then the reception. There were discussions with music and all I wanted was a couple of specific songs played. I even allowed my wife to choose our first song though I had something I would rather hear. Heck, I wanted us to be introduced to the Weird Al instrumental Fun Zone but decided to not be assertive. Anyway, the individual numbers in the date of the wedding 6+1+2+9+9 add to 27 which has been on a Weird Al song on every album but his first and as of now has appeared on the cover of his last 3 CDs. On the book provided by the DJ, I marked songs I wanted to hear. Having seen him work an event on my wife's side of the family, I figured he was fine even though I would have preferred the person who did my sister's wedding.

At the recpetion, I notice a strange young face with the DJ equipment. Apparently the person that was hired sub contracted the job to a 20 something year old. I asked him if he has the list I marked and he assured me he will follow the instructions. After food, I walk on the dance floor with my bride and then hear the most awful voice in music by someone other than Whitney Houston. It was the first time I had ever even heard the song though I had heard other crap by that artist before. (Note: There is no way I would consider telling you the artist's name let alone the song. I have walked out of a grocery store leaving behind a cart of groceries when it was played on their PA system.)

I did manage to suffer through the dance trying to remember how happy I am supposed to be. I had just enough alcohol in me to be an asshole but not enough to feel drunk happy and I was in no mood to try to get that way. Eventually more music is played and I am just watching everyone who is between 15 and 25 on the dance floor as I wonder to myself, "What the hell is the DJ playing? I have never heard these songs in my life."

I followed current music until Whitney Houston embarassed the country before Super Bowl 25 and then got popular from it. Eight years later, I had never heard of people like Ricky Martin, Lou Berga or Marc Anthony nor the songs they did. Since I was taking pictures away from the dance floor during Mony Mony, the only non slow song after the first dance I was on the floor was the Hawaii 5-O theme since it was the only thing I knew.

The one person from my work who was there could tell I was upset and asked me what was up. I angrily explained to him that in spite of what he said before the reception and then me nicely asking him to play songs on my list, the DJ is not listening to me and is playing what he wants. Apparently my tirade was picked up by the microphone of the person video recording and she had to edit it from the video which I have only seen once and will never see AGAIN! I then asked my wife who was with me about a woman who was dancing that neither her nor I knew.

When I wrote a note to the DJ about it after we returned from the honeymoon, I found out my mother-in-law gave him specific instructions to not play what I wanted to hear.

Now, what could have been done? First of all, I made a mistake when I got involved with the profit sharing program at work. I had a clever idea to save money for the wedding. Once I knew I was going to marry her (which was a couple of months after we met) I had my work take as much as possible out of my check so I could get it back for the wedding. I then found out a couple of months before the wedding that once the money is taken out, I can't get it back. I was mis informed by the person who worked in that departement at that time.

The only other option for financing the wedding myself was to borrow. Since my wife was still in college at that time and had student loans to repay, I did not want to add an additional burdeon at the start possibly preventing us from having the boy child we wanted to have. Because of that, I had to relegate control to the person who could pay for it.

At the end of the reception, I confronted the DJ who was packing asking him why he did not play what I wanted. When he gave me a shrug, I had to be restrained and taken away by my brother in law and co worker since they did not want me to spend my wedding night in jail. I then realized the strange girl who was on the dance floor was his girlfriend who crashed the reception. That would explain why he was playing songs for the 15-25 crowd and not the 30s bride and groom.

The time to be assertive about the music was after the third of fourth song. Being nice and not getting assertive with him until the end was stupid. I had never heard the phrase passive agressive at that time but it definitely fit me that date and on many occasions since.

Now what have done in the almost 25% of my life since? I left the place bitter and angry and it stayed with me all honeymoon almost landing me in jail at Walt Disney World arguing over $80. I have been asked about forgiving or forgetting. I have never forgiven anyone unless they admitted to me their error and now, 11 years later, I have long since stopped waiting for an apology. Forget ... me? The person who was able to name 27 of the 28 players on the Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks (missing one skater who played three games) and can if given a number from 1-44 recall the score, MVP, site and one thing 99.9% of people don't know or realize from that game. All I have been able to do is to move on.

Whenever a wedding is coming up for anyone, I advise people to NEVER give up control and borrow money if necessary to keep it.

A couple of years later, I reluctantly attended a wedding reception on her side of the family next to a farm across from the Joliet Motor Speedway. As it was a buffet, I let the other seven people from my wife's immediate family go first since I eat fast. When I was walking back to the table with food in my hand after talking to someone else, everyone at the table (just their table, no other one) including my wife had a glass raised and my mother-in-law said "to family". After a few seconds of disbelief, I decided it was best to eat in my car.

45 minutes later, my wife came to the car and asked me if I was done embarassing her family. After heated words, I was told her family did not include me in the table toast since I don't drink alcohol. Having to drive 45 minutes home after being with her family, I don't drink with them since my fast metabolism could create a problem for the drive home. Also, I do not want to create a problem with them by allowing alcohol to let me tell them what I have held back for years.

I decided this was time to show them I can drink. I chugged as much foul tasting Bud Light as I could handle and in spite of the food, I was drunk quickly. After the dancing started I would shout, "Hey one more decent song than was played at my wedding!" whenever a song I liked was played.

That night was the first time I ever heard the Cha Cha Slide and being 2002, I was still physically decent enough to join them on the dance floor. Hearing the phrase "Charlie Brown", I took two quick steps, swung my right leg launching myself into the air while screaming "AAUGGH" and landing on my back. I then got up to the shock of people there and finished the song. 90 minutes later, I was sober having given the portable toilets a good workout.

Being older than many of my friends, I have had the opportunity to be at four of their wedding receptions. One of them was similar to mine in structure. While watching the ceremony and reception, I had a surprise revelation. For many years, every thought about my wedding date was negative. All throughout the day while watching the ceremony and reception, I was able to recall good memories from my wedding day. Unfortunately, they returned to the recesses of my mind by the time I woke up the next day but now I know they are there. There is a wedding I will be attending later this year. Hopefully, the good memories of my wedding day will return and this time I will be waiting to not only relive them but to hopefully reassign them in the front of my mind so I can look upon that once in a lifetime day without complete regret and bitterness.

The most unusual wedding I saw was at my first con in 2002. The couple got married traditionally but had a second ceremony for fandom. Here is the bridal party picture:



The seven in front from left to right are the flower girl who the night before gave me a shot with her glass between her boobs and later that night ended up joining two ladies and a very lucky guy, the maid of honor, Dr. Demento, who gave away the bride, the happy couple, the best man wearing a Star Trek TNG outfit and Commander Data face paint, and the ring bearer who had the ring tied to one of the teats in the cow costume. In the back was the man who performed the ceremony wearing nothing but a loin cloth and a crown of thorns.