Monday, December 24, 2012

Husker ball

On Thanksgiving Day 1971, the "game of the century" in college football was played as Nebraska defeated Oklahoma 35-31 in a battle of #1 and #2 teams. The Cornhuskers went on to finish #1 and that became my college football rooting interest.

After that season Nebraska which played games on artificial turf usually lost any chance to finish #1 to Oklahoma and when they would defeat them would lose in the Orange Bowl (which was the bowl the Big 8 champion always played) to a southern team on the slow natural grass surface. It was most frustrating in the 1983 season when Nebraska has to face the relatively unknown University of Miami on their home field and lost 31-30 after Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier got injured in the first quarter.

It was also difficult in the 1993 season against Florida State. The previous two years they lost to Miami and FSU in the Orange Bowl but this game was for #1. Though the 10 point underdog, Nebraska held their own in spite of a touchdown ruled when a FSU running back clearly lost posession of the ball before crossing the goal line. Down 18-16, Nebraska completed a pass to the FSU 28 yard line and the time keeper allowed the clock to expire. It took 10 minutes for the officials to clear the field after confirming that the player was down and there was still time for one more play. I would not fault the most experienced NFL kicker waiting 10 minutes to attempt a championship winning kick let alone a 22 year old college student.

Anyway, the next year Nebraska finally won the title beating Miami in the Orange Bowl and then two more the next 3 seasons.

In 2000, Nebraska was #1 most of the season but lost twice near the end and ended up in the Alamo bowl against the Big 10 co champ Northwestern Wildcats. By then, I was playing fantasy football and there was a college bowl selection game. Since my mom did not have internet, I would go to their house with a list of games for my mom to select who she wants to win and make them for her.

When I came to that game, she picked 20 point underdog Northwestern to win. I stated Nebraska would win by 50. My father who was not interested in the contest offered me 5-1 odds on that which I stated I would put up $20. By the second quarter, the rout was on and after the coach let up by the end of the third quarter the final score was 66-17. Since Nebraska won by 49, the following day I gave my father a 20 dollar bill and looking confused about the bet, he took it.

My mom later that night asked me to never make a bet with my father again since she thought he was going to have a heart attack over the game and she had never seen him so worried about a game in his life.

As I filled out my college bowl game contest in which I rank games from 1-35 as far as I believe who will win, I had the Nebraska game for 35 points. After wathing them get beaten badly by Wisconsin for the Big 10 championship and seeing their opponent Georgia barely lose to Alabama for the SEC title, my high point total is on them to lose. My lowest point game? Chick-Fil-A bowl.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Return of movie time

Shortly after I got my replacement XBox with a free one month live membership card, I realized I could get a one month free trial with Netflix to see what it is. Also my cable company again had a free Thanksgiving weekend for all the movie channels which I used to watch many movies that were unavailable through Netflix. (That is the reason I decided to not continue after the free trial.)

I decided to break down the 25 things I saw by category:

The best part of the deal was that my daughter was able to watch Seasons 5 and 6 of Doctor Who through Netflix. (except for the 2 holiday specials which are only available on the DVD collection.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Family Circus driving # 11

This Sunday afternoon my family is having a "celebration of life" dinner in honor of my father at a hotel in Countryside. Knowing how large our extended family is we dediced to limit the attendence to invite only since we wanted to know about how much food to have ready.

Of course, my daughter and I will arrive early and since we are staying late, I figured it was best for my wife to drive herself so she would not have to wait for me to drive either there or back. I sent her the address and told her when we have the room and when there will be food.

I then realized that she could get lost trying to find the place. Here is a map:


Now why do I expect this to happen? The hotel is located on Joliet Road. I tried to explain to her that Joliet Road runs 4 miles from Harlem Ave to just past La Grange Rd, merges into Interstate 55 for 5 miles then spurs off again leading into Romeoville then Joliet and that she needs to take Interstate 294 to 55 north to Joliet Rd to the hotel.  

Knowing how little she listens to me, I expect her to take 355, exit onto Joliet Rd, drive 7 miles past Joliet State Prison, then call me wondering where the hell the hotel is.

Note: She rode with me there and back so the theory was not tested. However, she did notice the hotel was on Joliet Road and wondered why we did not take I-355.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Last male of a surname

Last Friday night, September 21, the nurse who as assigned to help my mother with my terminally ill father noticed that he had stopped breathing and after finding no vital signs declared him dead. It was a relief to our family since he was in intense pain the last couple of days.

While visiting on the 9th, my father was barely able to function or sit in his wheel chair. We could tell it was soon. Even though I made bets for him that morning he was not interested at all in the results. Late that afternoon, I heard him call out for help and with my mom and sister on the porch, got up and asked him if I could help. He looked at me, realized who I am, and stated, "It's a shame you never got me a grandson to carry on the name."

My reaction ranged from anger, to disgust, and to sadness knowing I failed. Granted, my wife lost our male fetus mostly because she had gotten pregnant too soon after getting off birth control and the idea of trying for a second child was nixed due to her inability to be a competent mother and a few years later her physical inability to safely attempt to carry one. Anyway, not wanting to create a scene, I just walked out and headed home. Those words was the last complete sentence my father ever said to me.

What really makes me scratch my head is what happened to my friends who became parents since my daughter was born in 2000. Here is a chart:

If including those my age and older, this is the result:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Family circus roadie style

Last weekend marked the 10th straight year I attended Gencon Indy. I originally went to help the great Luke Ski at his merch table but now after discovering board games now go to play games on Thursday and Friday and then help Luke on Saturday when he performs while the judges in the masquerade determine the winners as he has done since 1997.

This year he has more than merchandise and his display. Earlier this year, he had a successful Kickstarter campaign to get a full audio and video system for his show. After the dealer room closed at 6PM on Thursday, we needed to move his audio system from the penthouse suite he was upgraded to in the Canterbury Hotel to the Crowne Plaza Hotel one and a half blocks away for the shows which began on Thursday evening.

Normally, this would take 10 minutes at the most to take the tiny elevator with the equipment down 11 floors to the lobby and a short walk to the hotel on the fancy bricked sidewalks which in the past has caused a small wheel to break and items to fall off a small hand cart and the following day caused musician Tom Smith while riding his mobility cart loaded with his merch while driving with one hand on the wheel and the other holding his guitar to fall.

 However, for the fourth straight year on either my Gencon arrival or departure date there was heavy rain that evening and taking the electronic equipment outside was not advisable. However, the layout of the Indianapolis Convention Center and surrounding hotels allowed us to get from one hotel to the other without going outside even though the trip took almost three times as long.

Fortunately, the weather the rest of the weekend was fine and the orange path was used the rest of the time. P.S. Tom Smith was shaken but ok and on Friday and Saturday, I carried his guitar to the hotel so he could have both hands on the wheel of his cart.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Playing as myself

In 2008, Rio Grande Games released a non collectable card game called Dominion. It is a deck building game where a player uses treasures represented by cards to expand his Dominion by obtaining treasures, facilities, personnel, and lands which decide the winner mostly represented by cards that are added to the deck.

What I believe makes the game popular is the variety of the 10 kingdom cards that make up every game played with basic treasures and lands to acquire. The additional cards can be lands which give victory points, treasures which can allow you more purchasing ability and mostly actions which can allow you to draw more cards, give you treasure, improve the cards you have or attack opponents by forcing them to discard cards from their hand or by removing or giving them cards that make their deck worse. The 10 cards added to the game can be personally selected or randomized from the 25 choices in the original version. As 6 expansions have been created since the game debuted, there are now over 150 different kingdom cards to make up a game and there are ipod apps and a website that would allow you to randomize the cards based on what versions you have. There is also a website where someone with the nickname madmanOTL plays.

At Gencon Indy the new expansion Dark Ages premieres. The creator of the game has released previews of some of the cards that will be in it. When my daughter and I saw this, I did a spit take and my daughter burst out laughing.

There are some cards in the game which we call them something else. My daughter stated she will call this a "daddy".

Monday, August 6, 2012

The final contest

 One of the few things my father and I have an understanding is with horse racing. When I was a kid I would enjoy going with him and he did not usually mind having to pay an extra $2 for me to get in. To me handicapping horse racing is a study in applied math and I remember many times at the now torn down Sportsman's Park and the still operating Hawthorne Race Course next store.

Summer at Sportsman's was my favorite time as it was the big harness meet. We would go about 3 to 4 times a month and those nights in Cicero are now missed by me since the park closed.

In late 1986, my father's boss started to get involved with owning harness horses and he had moderate success. One day in May 1987 my dad come home from work excited. His boss with two others bought a potential 3 year old champ named Call Me Sir N (the N stood for New Zealand bred).

In late May of 1987, Call Me Sir in its first race went straight to the lead and won by 5 lengths and then the same way won three more coming within 1/5 sec of the 3 yr old track record of 1:55. Those races had purses (money given to the top 5 finishers of the race) starting at $8,000 and going to $10,000. The owners decided to enter the horse in the American National 3 year old pace (purse $250,000) against Jate Lobell, the best horse in the country. I looked on You Tube and there is a video of the race held on July 3, 1987.

Even if Call Me Sir did not have a difficult time gaining the lead in the race, it still would have not had a chance. Because the driver tried to win the race, the horse was exhausted by the top of the stretch and ended up 6th.

Here is a winner's circle picture taken exactly 24 years ago today in 1988 when the horse posted its best career winning time of 1:55. A significantly thinner contacts wearing 22 year old version of me is on the right next to my father.

Three Saturdays ago, I visited my father and could tell something was not right. He has deteriorated over the past 10 years but this was not good. We wanted to take him to the emergency room but he would not go until the last race from Arlington was shown on tv since he has bets made. When we got to the hospital and opened the door, he vomited his dinner and would not stop vomiting or hiccuping the next 4 hours. The next day my mom told my sisters and I what was happening: We knew he had a tumor removed from his back but we did not know he has cancer on his vocal chords and GI tract and he is too ill for any treatment. He was released 5 days later and has hospice care during the week at the house.

Knowing that him being involved with horse racing is what he looks forward to do, I offered to go to the race track on the following Saturday, July 28th, to make the bets for him. I also decided to make bets at Arlington and compare the results as one final father/son horse racing handicapping challenge.

The night before, I stopped at an off track betting place, got the next day's program and studied it grateful that I have bifocals and decided what to bet. I placed my bets Saturday morning at a place near my house and drove to my parents house to collect his money, make his bets at Hawthorne and then watch the races with him on the horse racing channel. Here is a chart of the results: (click on the pic for a closer view)

To summarize, I lost 8% fewer on my wagers than he did and would have done a little better had both of us just played $2 to win on every horse had in the bets.

I went again last Saturday and made bets for my father for Arlington, I played the harness card at the Meadowlands in New Jersey since it was the biggest day in harness racing. I won a couple of races while I was there and played others to watch on tv with him later. The last race I bet was the US Pacing Championship, a race that was held at Sportsman's Park and moved to New Jersey after Sportsman's closed.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

dealing with idols

Tom Rockwell is a software engineer who lives in New Jersey with his wife and three kids. To fans of the Dr. Demento Show and those of nerdcore, he is known as Devo Spice formerly of the group called Sudden Death. He describes his act as if Weird Al Yankovic was red headed with a beard and does rap.

I first met him at the first sci-fi convention I attended in February, 2002. He was there with Dr Demento and the great Luke Ski. I found his act ok but was most impressed by his duet with Luke Ski of the song Peter Parker which ended up being the #1 song on the Dr. Demento show for 2002.

I saw him later that year performing at a Weird Al convention to the backs of most of the heads in the audience as they were in line to get an autograph and picture with Weird Al and his wife whom he married the previous year and in Indiana in September 2003 and was not impressed.

I became of fan of his music after an amazing performance at a con in April 2004 and have enjoyed his work since. He also had the number one song of the year on the Dr. Demento show in 2005 and in 2007 where he had the number 1,2 and 4 songs of the year while participating in #5 while Weird Al's "White and Nerdy" finished #6.

Three years ago, he saw a Tweet by @UncleLouie who is the representative of @TheFatboys, a hip hop group famous in the 80s and 90s whom Devo Spice (and the great Luke Ski) credit with helping inspire them to create music. Uncle Louie offered the musical services of the 2 remaining members of the group for money. Devo Spice inquired about the cost and found the $500 fee within reason and reserved 16 lines for use in a future song and paid in advance for it. He ended up releasing a video explaining what happened. In it, he made these 5 points:

1. In 2010 I paid Uncle Louie $500 to get Prince Markie Dee of The Fat Boys on a song.
2. Despite repeated promises Mark never sent me the verse.
3. Louie refused to refund me the money.
4. In July of 2012 I sued and won.
5. Instead of paying me Louie threatened me and called me a racist.

 What I saw in the video was how painful this situation has been to Devo Spice. This was done by a group that inspired him and in spite of his Dr Demento success, he was ignored and shunned by them.

I could see someone adding to the suit demanding extra money for the time spent, loss of sales by not having the song on the CD, libel, or even interest. Devo Spice decided to not seek that. When Googling "Devo Spice Fat Boys", the first 8 entries are 6 articles about this situation most including screenshots of the agreement, emails and the racist tweet, the video linked above, and the Fat Boys song Devo Spice and Luke Ski parodied as a tribute to their music.

When this info became public a few days ago, people were asked to tweet to @UncleLouie and @Thefatboys asking them to refund the money.. If you have the time, please do so.

Note: A week after posting this, Uncle Louis sent him an apology along with the $522 from the judgement.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Still out

Today, Hardcore Gaming Inc. addressed the rumor that the Misfit Demons was listed in the Frankfort Invitational draft:

HGI: We will confirm that the Misfit Demons are listed as drafting 9th in the Frankfort Invitational draft. However, that is a mistake. Apparently the ownership of the league along with other owners in other leagues did not believe our statement made last December that 2011 was the last year of the Misfit Demons franchise after 15 years of mostly successful operation.

(Steve) Bartman Memorial Stadium was leveled and coach Richard (Dick) Hertz was vaporized in what after an investigation was determined to be an accidental nuclear explosion. Even if there was even any consideration of fielding a team this season, we would have to start from scratch with a new stadium and coach.

HGI will only spend the 2012 season only working with other teams as a paid adviser. Details on the availability will be available soon.

Any questions?

Reporter: Is it going to be difficult to miss the season?

HGI: No. In spite of the Demons having their best performance in their 15 year existence, 2011 was a very difficult season for the ownership. Of the 16 Sundays last year, there were only 6 that did not involve leaving the home base sometime during the afternoon or even not being there at all which made following things difficult . Also the expansion of Thursday evening football has also made winning in fantasy football require even more time involvement.

R: Isn't there money to be made?

HGI: Yes, the Demons were profitable the last three years which involved three division titles and one league title. However when considering the time involvement, the money made per hour was the same as those who make Nike shoes in Asia.

R: Couldn't HGI just participate for fun and not make the time involvement? I know of one league where I won a title by doing nothing.

HGI: Congrats on your title. There is no way HGI would even consider not producing its best effort. In 2006, feeling guilty after winning division titles the previous two years, we purposely decided to tank the season. Half way through, that decision became regrettable. After collusion the following year prevented the team from making the playoffs though it was by far the highest scoring team in the league, HGI decided to take out its anger towards the league by dominating it.

Being violently ill during the 2008 draft put the team in a 0-5 hole. Since then the team has won 39 out of 51 regular season weeks even though over the past 5 seasons the Demons opponents have scored 278 more points (almost 4 per game) against the Demons than against other teams in the league.

R; Are you sure that the other teams in the league want the Demons to participate so they can experience the challenge of going against your yearly superior squads?

HGI: Doubtful. We believe the other teams have better scores vs the Demons because they know HGI will get on the case of those who do not put the effort into their squad. We are aware that if all the teams were as talented as the Demons, victory would be far more difficult but at least winning would be meaningful and not what it has been. The anger towards the league that drove the franchise over the past four seasons stopped making winning enjoyable early last season.

R; Couldn't the Demons find another league or create one?

HGI: At this time, we know of no leagues that would be worth our time or energy. The private ones we know are filled with teams and formats that are not to HGI's liking. Create or joining a public one with teams we do not know is dangerous since it could be filled with teams that could quit or collude especially if there was significant money involved.

Thank you for your time. No further questions.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

naked to clock

Noticing a coworker was regularly arriving 15 minutes or more before their start time, I commented that 15 minutes before I want to punch in work, I am naked. Upon repeating that I have gotten the strange looks I occasionally get when I try to say something clever or insightful.

Of course having a 2.7 mile commute allows that to happen and over the years have developed a morning routine. Ideally, this is how it goes:

30 minutes (before I want to punch in): Out of bed, head to bathroom, turn on water in shower and use toilet.

28 minutes: Enter shower

20 minutes: Exit shower, flush toilet, brush teeth, shave.

15 minutes: Head downstairs, get dressed (clothes are ready from night before)

11 minutes: Pack food to take, get phone.

9 minutes: Exit house, get in car.

2 minutes: Park car at work.

Of course things don't always work like last Friday when I fell asleep on the couch, woke a couple hours later, went to bed shortly after 1AM, crawled into bed without noticing that I knocked the plug to my alarm clock loose causing it to reset so when I woke, I thought it was just after 4AM when it was 6.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Family Circus driving #10

Due to my financial situation, I am unable to go to Hunstville, AL for Deep South Con 50 this weekend which features musical performances by many talented artists and media guest of honor Dr. Demento whom I was hoping to thank in person for playing 5 songs that I had a cameo including one based on a parody idea I developed while in high school. Hopefully one of my friends will get him to autograph a record I sent with him.

On Thursday morning, while feeling sorry for myself at work instead of being in a car on the way to DSC, I got a phone call and had to leave ASAP to drive someone to the Elmhurst Hospital Emergency Room which was opened less than a year ago. This was the third time since September I had to go to that ER along with 2 trips to other ERs and trips to two other hospitals to see a newborn and visit my father who has had multiple surgical procedures over the past couple years. (Note: This trip to the ER fortunately turned out to be a false alarm and nothing serious)

While almost there, I heard a worried comment since I did not take the route directed by a sign. Having been to the Elmhurst Clinic over the past 15 years which the hospital was built next to, I realized that the way I take is faster especially considering that the ER was on the west side of the hospital. When having to take my kid to the ER in December in separate cars, I got there 3 minutes before my wife who followed the sign instead of the car.

While driving home with my wife, I tried explaining that the route she always takes home from the clinic or hospital is the exact opposite of the route I took to get there. She told me the route she tried to take one time.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Mad dog vs. Madman

Last Monday, I was at Lombard Commons Park playing disc golf. After finishing #3 (point A on the map), I heard a noise about 25 feet behind me. The person playing #3 had a large dog snapping at him (point B on the map).

I called out to the people watching a softball game involving 7 year old girls (point C on the map) thinking the dog was with one of them. The dog turned away from the person and came after me. Fortunately when I hit it in the face with my disc golf bag (which had about a dozen ones in it) it backed off.

At that time a woman (point D on the map) who was walking from the street that ended near where I was called out to the dog. It saw her then ran away with the woman walking after it. (arrows)

After playing the next three, I heard police sirens at the ball field at the other end of the park. They caught the dog in short center field (point E on the map) interrupting a different softball game played by 8-10 year old girls and had a police vehicle there.

While I was waiting to play #6 (point F on the map), the woman who was talking to the police pointed towards me and the police waved for me to come over by them. She was upset that I hit the dog with the disc golf bag even though I had seen the dog snap at another person then go towards me. The person who was behind me 15 minutes earlier confirmed my story and to my surprise and objection, the police let the woman go home with her dog

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Everybody dies

Last week I said good bye to what has made up 1/3 of my work personality, Dr. Gregory House. I tell people my job is 1/3 parts each Dr. House, Winston Wolfe (Pulp Fiction) and Radar O' Reilly (M*A*S*H).

Considering what was happening with the show, I was anticipating the show would end with House's death but after hearing the episode title is "Everybody Dies" (a takeoff of a common phrase from the show "Everybody Lies") I realized that he was not going to die. I was satisfied with the show's conclusion including how things ended up in Princeton Plainsborough Hospital..

On December 31, 1999, I had a belief that my life was exactly half over at midnight Jan 1, 2000. Since I was born @ 5:28 AM on November 13, 1965, I figured out that 6:32 PM February 17, 2034 is when I will expire. (I did adjust to Feb 17 allowing for one more leap day after Jan 1, 2000 than before.)

Not to my surprise, I usually get very confused replies and looks upon revealing this information. This is not the first time I had this type of feeling.

For a long time when I was a kid, I had the belief I would not make it to 25. The Saturday before my 25th birthday, I was at work at 619 S. Wabash in downtown Chicago. As with most Saturdays there, it involved restocking our first floor picking area with merchandise stored on the 2nd floor. Believing this was possibly going to be my last Saturday night on earth, I wanted to get done quickly so I could leave early.

Being ahead of pace, I was able to take my lunch about 20 minutes earlier than normal. As I often did, I walked a block north for food and brought it back to eat. While waiting for the last minutes of my lunch, I heard a large rumble outside. On the 15th floor of the parking garage next door, someone backed a car into the wall sending bricks to the pavement on the path I walk to get lunch. Had I taken my lunch at my normal Saturday time, I easily could have been in the wrong place at the wrong time and quite possibly killed.

Having cheated fate, I knew I was going to survive but had no idea what to do next since I figured why worry past that date? To be honest, my decision to not consider anything past that date definitely put me behind the learning curve for many social things and one I am still behind up decades later.

It is possible that in less than 22 years, I will cheat fate again. No matter what, I am not going to do anything deliberate to make my belief come true. If I survive that day, I will just as I did in 1990 continue to live.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

United Center cosplay

Last month, my sister purchased 2 tickets to the Blackhawks first round playoff game against Phoenix hoping that the game would be played on the Sunday. Since it was played on Tuesday, starting at 8PM her husband could not make it and she asked me to go. Having never been to a professional playoff game, I jumped at the opportunity. We got there about 6:45 and had time to kill. So with the help of my sister we tried to track the wide variety of jerseys the majority of the fans there wore. I did this from 6:45 to 7:30 and also counted those easily seen from the section where I was sitting. I decided to not bother counting those of the 5 all stars (Toews, Kane, Hossa, Sharp, and Keith) since there are too many and also decided to not count jerseys custom made for an unknown person. (If I made a jersey with the number 13 and the name Madman) I broke it down two ways and here are the charts describing the 140 jerseys:
To my surprise I only saw one jersey that was not Blackhawks related and that was of the Charleston Chiefs from the movie Slap Shot. The N/A are 6 with the number 00 and name Griswald.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

What's new with HGI?

Hardcore Gaming Industries (HGI) is still conducting an investigation into the incident that happened at midnight January 1st when a small nuclear explosion centered in Steve Bartman Stadium leveled the town of Simpsonville, KY and vaporized Misfit Demons coach Richard Hertz and most of the town's residents.

Since HGI decided to cease operations for fantasy football at the end of the 2011 season where the Demons lost in the title game, they do not have to worry about building a new stadium or finding a new coach.

Last August, Gozer Games LLC presented a new board game they were interested in developing and HGI was involved with the play testing of the product. Called Titans of Industry, the game is now considered ready for production.

The idea of Titans of Industry is to develop the best corporation by purchasing facilities that produce and sell goods and then directing your personnel to most effectively do that to gain victory points which will determine the winner. Within the game, there are also opportunities to direct your personnel to train additional workers, make your facilities more effective, develop corporate strategies to acquire additional victory points, and gain advantages for the next turn. Here is the layout of the board and a sample of the factory and business cards in the game:

Getting a manufacturer to make the game for sale is not cheap. To get the necessary funds, Gozer Games launched a kickstarter for the product.

The advantages of kickstarter is that the developer of the project will get guaranteed sales before production along with the necessary funds needed to manufacture the product and the people who pledge money get bonuses for their up front support and also the knowledge the money will not be accepted until the goal date and only if the minimum amount for the goal is met.

In this case, people who pledge will get the PDF files needed to print and play the game before the game is produced. Higher amounts will get a copy of their previous game Vampire Werewolf Fairies, a copy of Titans of Industry, a version of the game with better pieces, and for $250 the naming rights to one the the facilities in the game which HGI is hooping to do.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The last Marscon 2012 post

As I have done the last couple of years, I put together a chart of who appeared with who and where:

The closest I came to getting on stage was when I cleared the table and chairs off the stage after opening ceremonies and before the music started on Friday.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Death and Facebook

Last weekend at my mother's house she gave me the St. Rita alumni magazine which is delivered to her house since I don't want them bothering me for donations as I only donated (and will in the future) when their varsity football team wins a state championship. After tossing the donation envelope in the garbage I turned to the section which lists those who have passed away and noticed one of the half dozen from my class which I really didn't like is listed.

I had to fight my instinct to immediately transfer my ill feelings towards him to Facebook since I know if the words are not carefully chosen, the tone of the message will become the topic rather than the message itself like when I posted about the fat girl in the neighborhood. (Now I refer to her as the female Eric Cartman) I also have to remember how varied my current 200+ friends are:

After Whitney Houston died, I was unable to find the correct way to state that shortly after she destroyed the National Anthem before Super Bowl XXV (and became famous from it) in 1991 that I stated to my boss that on the day she was found dead in a hotel room I was going to have a big party and that since I found out about her demise on the way to party at Capricon it came true.

After some thought, I was able to get this written since it also explains why I have those feelings towards him:

To my surprise only one person commented and it was neither a family member who was trying to pass their overwhelming Christian ideals onto me nor was it one of my classmates. It was someone who I have not seen personally in over 8 years and though I have liked and replied to his posts, this was the first time he commented on one I made:

Here is a bigger view of the profile pic:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

From all over the country

Yesterday evening, I returned from the aweseom weekend that was Marscon 2012. As I have done for now three years, here is a map the 15 states (along with Washington, DC) people came from to attend and or particiapte in the music track:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Going for the gold/getting off 69 with a hot woman

When I transferred my XBox information to my new system, I lost all my in game stats from Rock Band and as far as the game was concerned, I had to start everything all over even though my achievements remained believing that I would have to go through the tedius task of searching every song to see what I have done on them.

Recently a Rock Band app appeared on Facebook and it allows three things. I can use points they allow to request a certain according playing artist to be added to the game. I can search by title or artist for songs that are available to purchase which became useful at a party where I brought my system. It also shows my high score per song and per instrument.

What surprised me looking at that feature is that other than the 20+ minute Rush 2112 medley, the highest score I had in any song was on vocals for Snoop Dogg's Drop it Like It's Hot.

It also states how many songs in the game I got 5 gold stars which is earned playing expert and scoring 1 1/2 times the 5 star requirement. In Rock Band 3, I can earn 5 gold stars for my instrument even if other players are not playing expert.

It showed I had 70 songs. However, one of them was on harmonies which I know was done by someone else so that makes 69. A couple of weeks ago an out of town friend paid a visit and though she was not feeling her best wanted to sing a few songs in the game. On one of them while on bass, I did earn 5 gold stars getting me off 69 gold starred songs. Here is a chart by instrument:

Personally, I hoped you would not think I would actually post an entry in a public blog about having oral sex.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

prop time

With Super Bowl XLVI happening in 8 hours from now, I went to a site to see all the game based bets and jotted 38 of them I would make. (To make things simple, I am assigning a base $500 wager to the 2 main ones, spread and game over/under, and base $100 to the rest.)

NYG +3 (+115) Over 53 (-110) total - 1,050

MVP: Mario Manningham 35-1
First TD: Chad Ochocinco 25-1
More pass attempts: Brady - 1/2 (-125)
Manningham more receptions than Branch: (-115)
Manning 3 TD passes (+250)
Tynes more kicker points +1 (EVEN)
Manning throws 4Q TD (-140)
Manningham first NYG TD (7-1)
Ochocince first NE TD (15-1)
Brady 3 TD passes (+250)
Brady more pass yards -4 1/2 (-130)
Brady 4Q TD pass (-135)
Manningham scored TD (+160)
Less than 9 penalties (+135)
Danny Woodhead TD (+300)
Over 70 1/2 (+450)
Over 65 1/2 (+300)
Over 61 1/2 (+225)
NYG 41 points (18-1)
NE 31 points (10-1)
71-75 tot points (18-1)
Score first 4 1/2 min of 4Q (+195)
4Q highest scoring (+200)
NYG scores every quarter (+200)
NYG scores 1Q,2Q (-150)
NYG - 3 1/2 (+185)
NYG - 7 1/2 (+300)
First half tie/NYG win (+1400)
NYG win 7-10 points (+700)
Half time tie (+500)
NE longest TD (-115)
First TD 40-59 yd (7-1)
Def or special teams TD (+155)
9 tot TD (9-1)
3 tot FG (+300)
Longest FG 37-43 (+300)

Total prop bets wagered $ 3,810
Total wagered $ 4,860
Return $2,700
Result -$2,160

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

t shirt time

As become a custom at Marscon, there is a shirt with the music performers in cartoon form based on the convention theme. This years theme is rocking the apocalypse and here is a pic of the design that was created by it:

FYI: The music guest of honor, the Consortium of Genius, are the ones operating the machine causing the apocalypse as their schtick is that are evil geniuses bent on overtaking the world or destroying it if they can't. Also the creature carrying death while drinking a can of Shasta is Superhorse, the member of the comedy group Cirque du So What which was created when the group was ret conned. (You would have to hear the track to completely understand.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Style over substance

This week, the Marscon 2012 musical lineup was announced. I have noticed there are acts whose ideal and concept are greater than their performance (or how I would imagine it) but first my letter grade ratings and preference of artists of how I would want to see them at Marscon 2012.


Seamonkey - It has been over 3 years since I saw him perform and I was very happy to hear he will be there. Having the late night Friday spot is ideal for him as his material is for mature audiences only.

Devo Spice - His act is a perfect combination of intelligent lyrics, sound music and complimentary video and I know he has changed his setup to prevent it from getting damaged like last year. No one I know has traveled more miles to Marscon without being a guest of honor. Hopefully that will soon change since he is as deserving as Worm Quartet was in 2011.


Worm Quartet - Last year's GOH put on a show worthy of that title and I know it will be awesome in 2012.

Possible Oscar - Though they have done shows without the full band, it is different in their home MSP area. Hopefully Nathan will be there but it will be great even if he doesn't go.

Circue Du So What? - Sketch comedy quartet will no doubt be performing material from their CD which will be released at Marscon 2012 along with the sketch (and song) which will be repeated many times by fans as they travel up and down within the hotel.


The Great Luke Ski - Why a B? First of all, I get to see him perform multiple times a year so the Marscon show is not as special to me as others (especially the Gencon non masquerade show). Since he runs the event from the music point of view, participates in the opening ceremonies sketch and Dementia Wrestling Smackdown along with many other things, it can take away from his ability to do his best show. Having his concert on Sunday could also be an issue since Marscon weekend can put a strain on people and their voices.

Power Salad - Always produces a good performance. Glad he is returning to the stage after being unable to go in 2011.

Dino Mike - Was a pleasent surprise when I saw his act a few years ago.


The Gothsicles - Their first Marscon performance was amazing and I cannot imagine a Marscon without hearing the Konami Code played. However, for me, except last year when I was experiencing the drunk adrenaline filled feeling of invincibility, the song does not produce the same reaction as it did in the past. It will be the first time seeing the group without DJ EYG.

Now those whose style seem to overshadow their performance:


TV's Kyle - He is a very funny and talented person and I am glad he will be returning to Marscon as he fits in very well in support of other acts. However, when he was the main one on stage last year, his inexperience showed. No doubt, he will be more comfortable in 2012.

The Consortium of Genius - The 2012 music guest of honor also known as the COG (COG!) was an act I wanted to see since I first saw them advertised in Luke's DVD. The idea of a group of evil geniuses as a musical act was something I wanted to see and was filled with anticipation when I saw them take the stage at Dragon*Con in 2006. Twenty minutes later, I walked away confused wondering if I was the only one who found them bad.

The following day while manning Luke's table, I had a chance to speak with the person who plays the part of their leader Milo T. Pinkerton III and he stated that he felt bad about how they stunk it up on stage since Hurricane Katrina prevented them from getting the rehearsal they were hoping to get.

With that knowledge and after hearing the songs they have released on the FuMP, I am going to give them a fresh chance to impress. I enjoy hearing from them via Facebook, You Tube, and on the Funny Music Podcast and am hoping they live up to the GOH status.


the Boobles - First of all, I really like the idea of the Boobles. Parodies of the greatest rock and roll band in history (the Beatles), songs about breasts (duh), and appreciate the idea of their profits going for breast cancer research. Their website also takes the idea to the next level with pictures, logos, and even their CD called the Pink album. Thay have raised close to $3,000 since their project started.

Why the unfavorable rating? When I got my CD, I played the first song and heard a Beatles parody about boobs. Then I heard another Beatles parody about boobs, then another... I am not sure how that will transfer to a 30 minute show and if it will go over well on a Saturday afternoon with a potential all-ages audience.

I do admit that I am not a fan of the early Beatles and that most of the Boobles songs are parodies of early Beatles work which for me can get real repeatative.

If someone who was interested in purchasing 5 CDs from table 27 (the Marscon music performer table) at Marscon and was asking me what to get, I would definitely recommend getting the Pink album among them.

Friday, January 6, 2012

I Can't Go For That

I have never liked the group Hall & Oates. To me it signifies the worst of the 80's style of music. In spite of that I still married the woman I did even though it is her favorite group. I have learned taht you fall in love with people and not ideals.

Anyway, they played in a concert in downtown Chicago in 2002 and since she did not want to pay for parking I took my kid to my mom's house and picked my wife up at the theatre after. This is what I saw leaving the theatre:

She has seen the group play at many places nearly as much as I have seen Weird AL.

Last month, Harmonix announced that the group was coming to Rock Band in 2012 along with announcing 2112 by Rush was coming. Every Friday, I wait to see what new songs become available for Rock Band and today the announcement was made and after reading one comment talking about how gay the music is and another 12 telling that person off, I decided to post a comment on Facebook which I usually do.

I also failed to mention that if my wife now shows more interest in the game, she might decide to look back over the past 18 months or so and ask me to download some songs I would rather not play let alone pay for.

An hour after my reply I checked Facebook, saw this, and reacted:

Hopefully by posting this I can get their songs out of my head. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!