Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tournament of bad Madman region

Over the past couple of years, two local sports radio DJs, Dan Bernstein and Terry Boers have done the tournament of bad where they with two people who work with their show arrange 68 bad things involving sports and other things into 4 regions and have people vote on what is more bad to get to one winner. This year the final features Notre Dame student safety against Getting on Lake shore Drive in the middle of a snowstorm. (Urinal conversations and Charlie Sheen's rehab efforts)

I was wanting to make my region a couple of weeks ago but was unable to do so until today. Here is the region:

Here is an explaination on why these are here in bracket order:

play-in game - USA soccer - FIFA (international soccer federation) has for years tried everything to get the US good in international soccer so the networks will pay top dollar for coverage. That is the only reason they pushed the women's game knowing the US is one of the top teams to try to generate interest in a country which does not care. FYI: Major League Soccer consists mostly of players who could not make it in the good leagues that exist in Europe.

play-in game - bad apostrophes - An apostrophe is used for possession and not plural. I have seen ads, billboards, tv commercials and even a cake that used an apostrophe as a plural.

1 - State of Illinois financial situation - Drastic measures have been taken to try to recover from many years of neglect and abuse.

8 - NFL rule changes - The NFL is now concerned with head injuries and want to reduce them. However, the new rules that are created to try to protect players can change the game completely. Fans like the NFL partially because it is a collision sport and take collisions out can ruin the game.

9 - People overenthusiastic about their lifestyle changes - I get it. You did something that make you better and you want to help others. It can go too far. Like posting charts on weight loss progress and .... er .... You know what I mean.

4 - Obama haters - He was fairly elected president. Had there been an problem with his eligibility, it would have been taken care of before he even started his campaign. I don't agree with many of his decisions and personally believe he was not ready to take office when he did. That does not mean I want him dead or impeached. People will have a chance in 2012 to elect a president.

13 - Avoiding the number 13 - I have seen hotels, hospitals and software skip that number. Putting a specific number will not create a problem nor prevent one. More effort should be placed on quality rather than superstition.

5 - Wrigley Field wall - It is mostly made of brick and is covered with ivy. When a college football game was played there last November, both teams had to go one direction worrying about players with helmets and padding crashing into the wall. They have padding painted with ivy for that game. That should be installed for the safety of players.

12 - playing songs on a car horn or doorbell - Unless the horn or doorbell is musical, playing a song with it might sound like the song to the person doing it but is annoying for everyone else.

2 - Soldier Field surface - Horrible, game changing. Needs to be replaced many times during the year. The Bears would be better off changing to an artificial surface.

15 - people who live in the US and can't speak English - English is the only official language in the US. People who want to enjoy the benefits of living in the US should learn the country's language.

7 - parking a car in two spaces - If a car is too expensive or too large for the driver to park in one space in a public lot, then it might be best to replace the car. I understand the desire to not want it dinged but to me taking up two spaces in a crowded parking lot is inviting people to smash the windows.

10 - NCAA football and mens basketball playoffs - They have the opposite problems. 68 teams is too many for basketball and I don't care if one of the last teams is one of the last 4 to make the field. With the money involved, I doubt that will change. Football has 2 in the title game along with many bowl games. The 3rd best football team is left out. As with basketball, money rules.

3 - Stating "god" is punishing Japan - Bad things in nature happens and people suffer and die from them. Jumping on that situation to try to impose a religious agenda is the exact opposite of what most religions want their people to do when others are in need.

14 - Counting an NHL overtime loss as a tie - Though teams get a point for it, it is still a loss.

6 - Saying any comedy song is done by Weird Al - People share and repost files. When they do that to a funny song, many automatically state Weird Al and occasionally misspell his name. There are many people who do funny songs who are not as well known as him. In a CD being released April 1, Devo Spice has a song about it. Gnome Sane?

11 - PGA/NASCAR end of season playoffs - It happens in September through November otherwise knows as football season. Most fans don't care. This cheapens championships since it is based on a few events rather than the whole season.

I am not going to ask people to vote since I know there won't be enough people interested to make it worth the effort to run it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Rock Band squeeeee

Last Friday evening where both of us were tired, Carrie and I were talking and the subject of the band Boston came up and I told her how much I enjoyed their first album and when 6 of the songs from it came to Rock Band, I went home from work, immediately turned on my XboX 360 to get them to play in album order with side 2 first finishing with Foreplay/Long Time which was on the Rock Band 1 disc.

Though we had met 7 years earlier and have become surrogate spouses, the subject of my non dementia music preference is something that we had rarely talked about. After getting home from work this Sunday, I decided to look at the 475 songs available to play in Rock Band on my system and discovered there are about 75 songs I had or would have immediately purchased when available for DLC to play right away. (This includes songs that are available on the 5 RB discs I have)

20 of the songs are those I would play on my Dementia Radio show and are all made since 2000. Since those are the only 20 songs from the 21st century that fall into the get it now category, I did not include them in this chart:

Orange is 60s, green 70s, pink 80s, and blue 90s. Not wanting to make too many categories, I recategorized some genres to classic rock and pop/rock categories.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Off Target

Unable to find any snacks at the Mall of America that were healthy, I told the three people I was driving that I needed to get fruit and since it was 1PM Friday, we had time before anything started at Marscon.

When we passed a Wal-Mart, the passengers were not wanting to stop there. Though I am a Sam's Club member, I can understand their desires since one of the people I was driving is a target employee who gets a discount. Though savings would not be significant on a 5 day 900+ mile trip involving 4 nights in a hotel, I figured why not and headed towards the Target I thought existed west of where we were going.

The Target employee said he could use his phone to find one and directed me differently and after going to a distribution center, headed towards a store. However, it was a little slow and I got info on where to exit the expressway 10 seconds late and had to swing around.

For clarity, I used multiple colors since it would be confusing if I didn't.

Anyway, we finally got my hungry and irritable self there.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

surviving the bump

I did forget to mention one other bad thing about Marscon. Weight gain. The party atmosphere causes people to overindulge and while looking at some the people there I do not seem fat so there is no guilt. When I tried to lose weight in 2009, it ended at Marscon and ended up back to my regular eating and getting myself to the point where I weighed what I did this January.

Not wanting to repeat that mistake, I decided to take the whole week before off work to avoid eating the extra food I usually do wanting to eat all the extra calories I am allowed from Feb 26 through Mar 11 in the 5 days of the con allowing myself about 12,500 total for the 5 days.

Things changed the before the con as I ate a lot of pizza while casting with two others on Wednesday and donuts on Thursday morning. I then realized the weekend was going to be about controlling gain rather than maintaning weight.

The rest of Thursday went ok and Friday's trip to the Mall of America better as I saved calories by eating a regular size grilled steak and walked around to find a place that had fountain Diet Coke since I do not drink Diet Pepsi. Every place in the south food court, including Mc Donalds, had Pepsi. I also decided it was best to not get a Dairy Queen shake or any other mall snack food though I was tempted. I ended up going to Target to get bananas, apples, and Diet Dew, the only Pepsi bererage I drink which is not available in the mall. I also saved calories by not drinking alcohol after the music not really in the mood to start to party after midnight.

The rest of the weekend involved a lot of food and beverage. Two breakfast buffets in the hotel, snacks in the movie room, the surprising well stocked con suite, the awesome spread by Breakman Z's parents enjoyed on the ride home and KAHN's mongolian buffet provided me much more than the planned intake of calories along with the food I brought and the large amount of alcohol consumed on the party bus.

When I returned to work on the 9th, there was weight gain and after eating at a wake on the 10th it was worse. However, one week of better eating more than overcame the weight gain as shown here:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The easy chart

On the way home, I figured out the details and used last year's map to reflect the 2011 dementia track attendence.

I know due to financial concerns (including one performer who was missed by many after he discovered the cost of airfare once he knew he could go increased to the point where the trip was not doable for him) some states represented in last year's chart are not in 2011.

As far as deciding performer/fan I decided only anyone introduced as the main person performing on stage or who is a member of a band as performer.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I used to play football

Finally got home from Marscon 2011 about 9:30 Monday evening. Am pretty tired as can be expected. After a situation that should not have happened kept 7 of us stuck at the Belvedere Oasis a half hour after we finished lunch on the way there, things went rather smoothly on both trips and everything in between. There will be follow up posts recapping some things that happened.

People might be most interested in what happens starting about 49:30 into the video.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Not all peaches and cream

Marscon is almost upon us. Later today, I meet the first couple of people for the trip. However, like almost everything in life, Marscon is not perfect. Here is a list of things that can make my weekend more difficult than it can and hopefully by writing this, I can get these thoughts out of my head now.

1. Organizing the trip: In 2005, I realized most of the people in the Chicago area do not have a car and since rented a vehicle to drive others there. Once I get behind the wheel things are great. Until then, it is a hassle. Eventually others have come from out of state to join me and after it got nicknamed the bus people started to think it was an actual bus. Of course it has been common over the past 7 years for people to ask about it, say they are riding, then back out and this year is no exception.

I have been financially burned by this too. Every year gas prices would increase the 3 weeks before the trip and it would cost me more than I quoted. I now give 2 quotes and collect twice; once for the vehicle and again for gas once I get an idea on mileage and cost. A couple of times there were too many people for the vehicle(s) obtained and after quoting the trip as everyone riding, I ended up forking $500 to make up the difference.

2. Non music con attendees. One year the music track went 7 minutes long even though we got a late start due the the panel before running long. The person who ran the masquerade that year which happens after the music track ends while going through rehearsal with me there wasted about a half hour complaining about the "shit music" and when everything ran 90 minutes long stated the music track running late was the reason. Since then things have been very tight with music especially considering the large number of acts that want to perform.

There have been times where the effort needed to keep everything exactly on time has created a rush in the performers and forced people to cut songs from their set list.

3. The cost. 4 nights in a hotel even splitting the cost with others is not cheap. Unlike other areas where a con suite can provide the occasional meal, the Marscon con suite is underfunded and every meal needs to be purchased. Over 5 days, that cost can be large. Almost every performer has stuff at the awesome table 27 to purchase. I can easily spend a grand over the weekend without blinking if I am not careful.

4. Drama. In any group where you get 50-75 people together where they are out of their normal routine and where many of them are drinking, there will be drama! Since there are male and female people there and the con nighttime atmosphere is like that of Vegas stupid things can and will usually happen.

In our on line community, things can happen and when people meet IRL, those conflicts can become IRL. I am definitely no exception to this rule. The worst was the time where a person's comment at 2AM triggered a reoccuring nightmare that I had and I woke up sweating and angry. When that person screamed something to the performer right behind me that afternoon so loud it hurt, I wanted to grab that person and scream back in their face. Eventually in front of others I ended up punching the wall in the elevator and when that person made a stupid comment to me later that evening, I saw three people get up to prevent me from putting that person's impression in the wall though I replied professionally.

Granted that person also creates conflict with me by posting the result of the hosted countdown show in the chatroom during my show. I have asked for years that all I want is for that person to respect my time slot and ask for permission. Instead of asking me for permission that person records the show later in the evening to avoid that conflict.

Anyway, I need to get my suitcase packed and clean the house.