Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bowl time

As the Fiesta Bowl is being played in the home of the Arizona Cardinals, I figured out the use of the field for all 39 college football bowl/playoff games are being played and posted the chart with the surprising result:






Switching to a JPEG made the chart so dirty and I am not redoing it. I was surprised to discover more games are played in NFL stadiums than college ones.

The stadiums that are used for multiple bowls were counted twice. The others are the two played in a field used just for the bowl game.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The George Costanza wallet

At work recently someone told me I have a "George Costanza wallet". Though I have watched most of the episodes from Seinfeld, I do not remember that specific reference. When I asked a coworker whose on line handle makes a Costanza reference, he confirmed that was due to the large amount of cards in my wallet. He then asked to measure my wallet which on its side was about 2 inches. (something I jokingly stated that females usually tell me)

When I got home, I decided to look at the cards in my wallet and did dump one. This is what is left:
For what is not obvious:

Gov - I included my I-Pass account card.
Health/Insurance - I have cards for both my daughter and I as well as a card stating what medications I am taking in case of an emergency.
Entertainment - Top Golf (daughter and I) Dave and Busters
Work - Cards certifying I am able to drive fork lifts.
Store - Either rewards or membership card.
Disc Golf - PDGA membership card as well as merchandise coupon card.
Personal - Dr Who fan club card from the mid 1980s and the room key card from the last Marscon which I replace every year.

So that is what you get (along with what little money is inside) if you manage to steal my wallet.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Laces out!

Being a Dolphins fan I occasionally get asked about Ace Ventura since the movie involved the Dolphins and quarterback Dan Marino.

In the movie, the Dolphins lost Super Bowl seventeen because their kicker Ray Finkle, a small, thin, German with a mustache missed a short field goal because Dan Marino's hold caused the kicker to make contact with the laces causing the kick to go unexpectedly wide.

 As I have a bad habit of doing, the mention of that can cause me to ramble as the facts differ.






When I looked up Uwe Von Schamann, the slightly build German who was the Dolphins kicker at that time who wore the same number 5 as Ray Finkle and whose clip was used in the movie, I discovered in college he made a field goal to win a game leading the opposing team's crowd in a block that kick chant. The year before, he had a chance to win a game against the same team but the center snap went past the holder. Uwe referred to that play as "the hold".

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Family circus driving #13 (I think)

It has been a while since one of these was posted since for the most part, I stopped caring about her driving but this time I was forced to intervene. One of the only good things about having to move into an apartment was needing to get rid of the cat. Though occasionally it was tolerable the constant vomit, shedding, scooting and mostly urinating made the house uncomfortable. I was considering "accidentally" dropping a bowling ball at the wrong time as trying to find a "no kill" place for that cat that nobody we knew would take was difficult and wasting time that should have been used for packing. After we had moved and the cat was STILL IN THE HOUSE, I attempted to grab it to drop it off at the pound but was unable to do so.

Anyway, a place was finally found and my wife with my daughter headed there. You can guess what happened:






When my daughter called me, they had just crossed into INDIANA 25 miles from where they needed to go. After guiding them to the place and then home (5 hours after they left) my daughter stated she was using the GPS on her phone until my wife grabbed it from my daughter (who was pleasing with my wife to listen knowing they were going the wrong way) and threw it into the dashboard causing the battery to dislodge. My wife gave her phone to my daughter a half hour later to call me.

From what I could ascertain, my wife was looking for the Harlem exit off I-294 and since it does not exist and neither my wife nor daughter saw the sign stating they were crossing over Harlem Ave, continued driving another 15 miles before exiting and then heading east on 159th st. One would have to exit at 95th street and head east a couple of blocks to get to Harlem. Also on the way back, they missed the 95th street exit and had to drive a couple of blocks north to turn around to head back to 95th.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Game 64 (2014 edition)

It feels like not that long ago I posted about the games played between the Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins since 1985 just before the teams played in 2010. As I anticipated the injuries suffered by the offensive players of the Dolphins the Sunday before and then during the Thursday night game showed as the Bears (whose defense that week was on my fantasy team) won 16-0

So what about this Sunday in Soldier Field? Both teams finished 8-8 last year having issues with a specific part of their team missing out on a playoff berth by losing their last regular season game. In each team's first five games this year both teams lost to Green Bay and Buffalo as well as a surprise 2013 playoff team (Carolina/ Kansas City). Both teams also beat a very bad team (Jets/Oakland) as well as a team that lost last year's conference championship (49ers/Patriots).

One would think reading that both teams are similar and the game will be close. This is why not. The NFC over the last couple years has been better. Also the Bears did play a 6th game and looked as well as they have all year since their early season injuries to many offensive players have mended for the most part allowing the team to gain timing in practice. Last Sunday it was 88 in Miami for their afternoon game which they lost giving up a touchdown with 3 seconds left.

I was looking for stats related to how well teams have played the week after playing in extreme conditions (heat, cold, snow) to confirm my observation that they generally don't but could not find any.

I did considered the possibility of the Dolphins defensive line causing havoc with Cutler creating turnovers or even an injury or Tannehill being able to exploit the Bears D but don't see either as likely especially with Tannehill slowed by an ankle injury and their #1 RB Moreno out for the season after last Sunday.

This looks like the type of game where the Bears can score early as the Dolphins are still reeling from their loss last week causing the Dolphins to start to press, panic, then quit (similar to the Broncos last Super Bowl).

Score: Chicago 31, Miami 7.

P.S. I hope I'm wrong.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Columbus Day is NOT a holiday

Multiple times over the previous three days I had to tell people I have to work on October 13th which is Columbus Day in the US and Thanksgiving in Canada. I stated though schools, the government, and stock market are closed today, things in the real world are open.

This morning at 5:35, I was surprised to hear the train crossing and then panicked when I discovered there was a freight train stopped on the tracks on the street just east of where I now live. When I left the driveway, I realized others have the same issue and my normal 8 minute commute took 25 minutes and I was late for work. Here is a map showing my route (normal in orange, today's in green, and the X marked where the train made the crossing impassable.)

 
 
Note: I am travelling east to west or right to left on the map and this only shows the first third of my commute.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Official projection


As I stated, I wasn't kidding about when I am projected to die. It even states this on my artist profile on the Mad Music website. Note: I updated the pic since the 3rd (and most likely final) track was listed on Jan 14, 2015.




Monday, July 7, 2014

As noted on Buzzfeed

Someone wrote a nice article about FuMPfeST including pics and a video where I make an appearance.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/katienotopoulos/the-men-who-dare-to-be-demented

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Soccer TMI

Since the World Cup is starting tomorrow in Brazil, I wanted to post this for those who want to sound smart about the event.

This is the 20th version of the event held every four years. This is the 19th time it has been held on a continent which borders the Atlantic Ocean. (One was cohosted by South Korea/Japan) Except for 1930, the other 18 events held in an Atlantic Ocean border continent all had UEFA (Europe) or CONMEBOL (South America) teams in the semi-final.

Also in those 18 events, 17 of the winning countries were on the same side of the Atlantic Ocean as the host nation. The only time it didn't happen was in 1958 when Brazil won in Sweden captained by someone named Pele.

 So what does that mean? First of all, don't expect a team from North America, Asia, or Africa to make the semi-final. Second, since this year's event is in Brazil, expect a team from South America to win.

Generally, teams focus on defense in the World Cup so teams with talented scorers have an advantage. The best one in the world right now is Luis Suarez, who led the Barclay's (English) Premier League in goals but is having knee issues. If he holds up, my pick of Uruguay to win the title would be a good bet even though they were the last team to qualify for the 32 country final.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

"Title defense" and national championships

No this is not about the NHL where a deflected shot in overtime as I predicted ended the Blackhawks' attempt to repeat. This is about disc golf, my disc golf, that is.

Like I suggested in my post tournament questionnaire, the tournament I won my division in Palatine last July is being held in less than two weeks. Here is a pic of me making a shot on #9 last year:



I did go on the course last Sunday and the weeds are much more manageable even cut in some places where they weren't last year. I also took half the dose of medication which caused my heart to pound in my chest and it relieved the pain without any symptoms.

I believe that recent events in my life are guiding me to dedicate more time, energy and funds to disc golf since I am not sure how many more productive years my body has left in it. The fact that my casting computer has died and my final show will be broadcast later this month is a sign to do other things along with the fact that as far as comedy music is concerned, I have accomplished all I could expect. I have appeared in numerous songs that played on the Dr. Demento show joining wonderful, talented, awesome musicians whom I consider as friends on stage during performances, met and replaced the pic of Weird Al the broken camera failed to take and by being chosen as a juror for the Logan Awards was given the highest honor one without musical talent could ever imagine. FuMPFeST will be a fitting finale for me especially watching my daughter perform something she wrote.

Since I turn 50 next year and the year of birth is the guideline, I will be the youngest one in the 50+ division as opposed to one of the oldest in my current one. The Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) holds a national championship every year and it is time for the madman to appear on the playing field for one last go around while he still can.

I went to the PDGA site and looked and found out something I did not know. The PDGA national championship is an event which people have to qualify the previous year and get an invite to participate. For the Grandmaster (50+) division, I need 75 points from events in 2014. The type and size of the event determines points. The small one I won last year was worth 8 points. Therefore I would probably need to play anywhere from 4-6 events to get what I need even playing in a non 40+ division with more players.

I also looked at my rating based on the limited tournament play I have done the past 5 years. Compared to the other 26 people from Illinois in my age bracket, only three are worse. In the 50+ bracket, I would rank 20 out of 25. Obviously I need to get better.

Also realize that to have a chance, I need to weigh less and that could help with my play.

It will not be cheap and I have to figure out how much in entry fees, lessons, and possibly a Weight Watchers and fitness center membership would be needed to get myself to the point where I can give myself the best chance to qualify. I might even attempt to crowd fund this.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Comic con? No thanks.











This time of year just like in August I am asked two questions back to back multiple times. Are you going (or Did you go) to Comic Con? Why not? Since it has been a while since I posted a chart, this is as good as time as any:

This chart represents what I have done at various sci-fi cons from '09-'13 that do not involve things like working at a table, eating, hanging out, and most of the parties with the Marscon 2011 party bus filled with live music the exception.


What each one means:
Music: I decided to include comedy and filk since both of those events involve sitting in a room watching music performed.
Gaming: Either a planned event like I attend at Gencon or a pickup game.
Dealer's room: Where things from clothing, jewelry, games, figures, comic books, and toys are sold.
Costuming: Though many are dressed in costume, there are events specifically for people to display their costume and often perform in it.
Ceremony: Most conventions have an opening ceremony where the con chair and the staff address the convention as a whole. Some cons have a closing ceremony
Media: An event involving a person (or people) most of whom appear in movies or on tv.
Panel: A room where people on a panel discuss preselected topics of interest to those in attendence.
Science: Some conventions have an area devoted to science or technology where a person can learn about those fields.
Food: Some cons have events based on a specific food like chocolate.
Art: Many cons have an art show where people can bid on or purchase pictures, photographs, drawings, or sculptures.
Misc: Some events at a con don't fit into any other category like water aerobics, the propatorium, or massages.
Author: Where a person who has penned a work of literature either discusses it or reads from it.

So what does that have to do with Chicago Comic Con which I know as C2E2 in April and Wizard World in August? Both of those events do not have music or gaming. That is what they are. They feature a large room where many dealers have things to sell as well as plenty of places to wait in line to get an autograph from someone or to see a panel where people talk about their past or current show/movie. The times I have gone was spent walking around the dealers room looking at things as well as waiting in line for an autograph.

The party scene at Comic cons (as well as at Dragon*con) is different also. One either has to hold one, be someone, or be an attractive woman to go and I don't fit in any of those categories so there is really nothing there that is worth my time let alone the high cost.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Another puzzle piece uncovered

Trust me, I know I still need to make my chart showing who performed with who on stage at Marscon. It has been physically difficult for me to sit at the computer and make it. That is why I am mostly in the chat room only during my show. I have also had problems the last couple of months entering and exiting cars especially after work.

A couple of years ago, my doctor wanted me tested for diabetes after looking at my previous blood test thinking I had it. Since I lost confidence in her after I got the flu a couple of years ago, I did not go. This year, I started to show signs that I was actually diabetic and had my best friend Carrie convince me to make an appointment after Marscon and show up so I would not bail.

My doctor tested me and determined that I was not diabetic. So, she did a physical and upon realizing that I could not reach down to remove my socks and me telling her that tying my shoes has become so difficult that there have been occasions where I removed my shoe to tie it referred me to a rheumatologist.

I spent far more time than I anticipated on Monday explaining in detail my orthopedic history and my current symptoms, getting fully examined, and getting x-rays and a blood test. She explained to me she believes I have psoriatic arthritis which is inflammatory rather than medical or orthopedic. The pamplet she game me listed the symptoms which other than swollen fingers and toes, fits my situation.

The condition happens when white blood cells attack the lining in joints especially after activity causing stiffness and pain. There are modern medicines which make white blood cells less active but can leave a person open to infection. The blood test was to see if I am a candidate for that.

When I got home Monday, I called my mom to tell her. She stated that is what my father had. Since psoriatic arthritis is also hereditary, the diagnosis makes perfect sense. Researching it more, I discovered that cold, dry weather can trigger this type of arthritis and realizing that my father started to have physical issues as a 50 year old man during the winter of 1978 when it was below freezing for 40+ days even confirms my suspicions more after the winter we had this year. Since it went undiagnosed in my father until 1993, there was significant damage which a few years later forced him to use a cane, then wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Yes, the (color of the 3XL shirt I was wearing) elephant was addressed. Though being obese does not help my situation, I could have developed these symptoms even if I weighed what I should.

I then started to think... A few years ago in June I was lifting large sheets of paper, stopped to go to a meeting in a chilled office, and strained my back. For at least 10 years, I would struggle walking after taking my break at work. Both of these issues are explained by this.

Last night I showed my sister the pamphlet along with my record of blood tests at the bowling alley during her league night. She pointed out to me the 86 year old in her league which created jealousy from someone who had to give up league bowling at 28. I also talked to my nephew who was practicing about many things with bowling. I wonder if my physical situation was a factor 20 years ago when I made my IT band no longer suitable for bowling.

Though I am glad to know about this today, I do wish I could have found out 2 years ago when my father was still functional. I never could understand why he would end up in bed from pain after doing anything remotely physically stressful, chugged Excedrin, and walked like a cripple after he turned 50.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Define "First ever".

Being a juror for this year's Logan Whitehurst Memorial Award for Excellence in Comedy Music (official title) is something I consider a great honor being someone with limited ability to make anything that would be considered worthy of soch an honor. Since I was unofficially asked early last year, I specifically made sure to pay attention to all music released last year knowing that I would have to choose what songs would be deserving of that award. Here is a picture of 5 of the jurors and this year's chair imposed with the two jurors who were not at Marscon two weeks ago



When the month of nominations of songs and videos began I was periodically looking at the list and though the period still goes for another week and a half, I watched all the videos and made notes on my initial impression. Once nominations close and I get an email listing all the eligible ones, I will watch them again and decide which ones up to 5 get my vote.  For the two song categories (original and parody), I will listen to all of them and decide which ones get my vote though I have an idea right now which is subject to change upon songs which I might not be familiar and potentially new nominees.

The list of those nominated along with the form to nominate additional ones can be found at http://www.loganawards.com/nomination-list/.

A couple of days ago the channel IFC announced they are pairing with College Humor to present the "First Ever" Comedy Music Awards. Since the first Logan Awards was presented in October, 2011, the reaction from my friends was expected. Two past Logan Award jurors along with me and two others have replied to the article stating that. What really has me unhappy was that the music group Garfunkel and Oates (winners of the award last year) appear in the article along with the one video they made which I have written an past entry about.

Yes, there is a proper noun used for the show name and Garfunkel and Oates is appearing on a show with IFC so it is logical for them to be on the article but I believe the article implies the Logan Awards doesn't matter.

What I believe gives the Logan Awards validation is Dr. Demento's involvement from the beginning along with "Weird Al" Yankovic who was a juror for the first event.

Note: As of now, the Funny Music Project (a.k.a. the FuMP), the group that sponsors the award, nor any if its members have released any statement about this. The only thing that exists publicly is a podcast where two of its members initially reacted to the article late Thursday evening with them stating they need to figure out what to do.

I also have one additional thought after reading the many comments and replies to the people from IFC, College Humor, and Garfunkel and Oates about this: What would Logan Whitehurst have felt about this?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The bottom of the barrel

As I stated in previous entries, I was able to perform Track 24 at the fan showcase and it went almost as well as it could. Three different music artists who saw it stated I am not as bad as I believe I was. Carrie Dahlby (the person who created the Luke Ski tribute CD and then asked me to make a bonus track in it) was among the three people who were recording video and here it is:



What made this performance unique was that I was the only fan who performed this year. The other people who performed that morning were artists.

At the beginning, I had the host read my "permission slip" signed by Dr. Demento proclaiming that I have earned the right to perform in EVERY future fan showcase.

Then I stated I would dedicate this to the person who was running the karaoke room 10 years ago still open from the night before when I did One More Minute  after waking in the morning waking up many people some who were not on the same floor. That person died last year and later that night, there was a tribute karaoke concert for him.

As many sat in the hot tub Sunday evening after the convention was over, people were discussing the lack in interest in the fan showcase and since a main stage event provides the same venue for the artists who don't have an individual concert as the fan showcase, it has become redundant and will probably be discontinued.

If that turns out to be the case I can state I was the last fan to perform in the fan showcase.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Post Marscon post #2

As I do every year, here is the map displaying attendees of this years Marscon dementia music track.

It took a little while to incorporate the map of Austria but that person's attendance far outweighed the difficulty in including it.



Post Marscon post 1

Still recovering from Marscon weekend and with being needed at work tomorrow and Friday these posts will be later than usual.

This year, a "by the numbers" list seems like a good idea and here it is:

Total hours: 128
Total miles driven: 1,250
Different people driven: 7
People I have never driven before: 3
Dollars spent on gas: 150 (ten less than estimated)
Times heard the song "Fireworks, Pornography and Beer": 5 (One on way to get rental, once just before entering Wisconsin, one while leaving Wisconsin, one at 2AM in party room, one live on stage)
Total miles to drive in Wisconsin to go from the Chicago area to the Twin Cities area: 288
Fireworks places seen: 10
Pornography places seen: 6
Cheese places seen: 14
Temp displayed in car on trip there: between 28 and 32

Number of people who scared a woman in TGI Friday's who turned 80 by shouting "happy birthday, Carol" together from their table: 16
Alcoholic beverages consumed by Dr Demento in Dementia Radio party room before the music started: 2
Alcoholic beverages consumed by me in the Dementia Radio party room while Dr. Demento was in it: 4
Number of stuffed large animals on display by Minnesota Hunting International during their convention held in the same hotel the same weekend: 15
Total occasions a podcast (or portion of) was recorded: 6

Total time slots for music performers: 14
Songs played by Possible Oscar in their 30 minute time slot: 1
Length in minutes of "epic sax medley" played as bridge of Possible Oscar song "At the Con" : 22
People in front of stage creating "kittens for sale" mosh pit: 5
Number of people who moved to their favorite section of the room to shout their favorite evil word: 5
Number of men in Dementia Smackdown wrestling: 14
Number of women in Dementia Smackdown wrestling including the winner: 4
Number of robots in Dementia Smackdown wrestling: 1
Number of horses in Dementia Smackdown wrestling who were attacked before entering the ring and replaced by a real wrestler: 1

Total people joining the wrestling champion who did a water aerobics class at 9AM Saturday morning: 9
Total people that were in the room watching the fan showcase when it started: 15
Musicians that were in the room watching the fan showcase when it started: 6
Musicians that performed in the fan showcase: 4
Fans that performed in the fan showcase: 1
People who recorded video of that fan's performance: 3
People who understood why the fan stated, "Gone, bitch!" in the fan showcase: 1
Musicians who told that fan he is better than he thinks he is: 3
People who agreed the fan showcase should now be discontinued since a main stage event provides the same purpose: many

Different people who watched Carrie's 2 year old son during her show having to go to and from the stage and the stroller in the back of the room: 3
People from Meep Morp studios that joined Dr Demento on stage talking about the documentary: 4
Logan Awards people who took a pic together after the main group one: 6
Total pictures or video I took with someone else's phone or camera: 12
Total pictures taken of Dr Demento with someone else's phone or camera: 4
People from the dementia group that together went to Saturday night dinner at the hotel (including Dr. Demento): 24
Alcoholic drinks consumed Saturday night: 1
Number of bottles that were used to make it: 8
People who played boob tree: 9
Of those who draw professionally: 2
People sitting on floor outside Dementia Radio party room talking while only 2 people were inside: 15
People who were watching their phones when the time went from 1:59AM to 3AM: 4
People who were in room when it closed at 6AM: 7
Meep Morp people who were in room at that time though they were conducting interviews at 10:30 the next morning: 2
Sober people in room helping those in their need: 2

People watching live recording of Luke and Carrie's Bad Rapport 100th episode: 24
Distance in feet from Luke to Ken when they did, "Let's call Ken": 12
Concerts I had to listen from hall trying to recover from caffeine headache: 2
People in conga line during last song of weekend (Pico and Sepulevda): 10
People who were in pool/hot tub Sunday night: 35
Places in pool/cabana area from the three times I attended Convergence I referenced while in hot tub: 5
Time pool was closed with me and one other person in it: 11:25PM
People in room when Dead dog party closed at 3AM: 8
Total CDs obtained: 4
Total items obtained for daughter: 3

Monday breakfast people: 20
Those who took picture of Kornflake after she put a cut out picture of Greg Brady's head over each her breasts: 8
Temp reading on car after making the way through slush covered frozen material to load car: 50
Temp in Menominee (do do do do do): 55
Temp in Madison: 60
Temp in Rockford: 45
Temp in Chicago: 55
Temp in Wood Dale: 50

Temp in Wood Dale Tuesday morning: 40
Temp in Springfield Tuesday afternoon: 70
Time spent in Springfield park enjoying weather before heading home: 1 hour
Temp in Joliet: 50

Time it took to write this: 90 minutes

Thursday, February 13, 2014

T - minus 3 weeks

Once again it is mid February and soon it will be time to head to Minnesota for Marscon and its Dementia track. As I do every year, here is my personal assessment of the main stage performers hopefully in chronological order:

Possible Oscar A-   This is the one artist which will benefit the most by the convention moving to the Doubletree Hotel. They play best loud and the room that hosted the music at Marscon over the past 7 years had a low ceiling which made it overwhelming at times.

Power Salad A-   Always enjoy his music and hanging out with Chris off stage at the con.

TV's Kyle A-   Another person who I enjoy his presence off stage as much as on stage who was my daughter's favorite American based performer last year.

Insane Ian A-   Last year in my best of 2013 show, I featured four of his songs. Sometimes there seems to be something missing when his music is performed live.

Worm Quartet A   It doesn't matter that I have usually heard everything he performs before. It is still that enjoyable to watch.

Carrie Dahlby B   Returning to the main stage after a while. She has definitely made other acts better over the years with her awesome voice.

Devo Spice A   I was somewhat skeptical about his new CD all about Dr. Who thinking 12 songs about one topic would be monotonous. I was pleased by how each song seemed fresh and the total depth of the songs in the CD about the 50 years of the show.

the great Luke Ski A   A while ago, I suggested it would be understandable if he gave up his main stage slot to work on running the con since it was showing in his performance. However, he has retooled his act to make it easier for him and more enjoyable for the audience.

Meep Morp featuring Dr. Demento A+   I can't wait to see Dr. Demento since it has been 10 years. I want to thank him for playing the songs in which I was involved.

Henry Phillips A-     I only know a few of his songs and can't wait to hear his full act.

DJ Particle C+   I am not that familiar with the music she has done over the past 4 or 5 years.

Beth Kinderman (and the Player Characters) B-    On a Saturday night at Windycon (held in the Chicago area in November), I really enjoy her work. I support her party room and occasionally stop by to see some of the acts that perform and she is an awesome person.

Mikey Mason A-     Saw him last year at Marscon and Gencon and have enjoyed his submissions to the FuMP and his CDs.

FuMP Jukebox B-    As I have said in past years, this is a great format for those who are not as experienced or accomplished as others.

Dementia Smackdown B     The last gasp of the musical magic that is Marscon. To be honest, I am usually worn out by this time and don't want it to end but I know it must.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Things you probably don't know about the Super Bowl

I am well aware that most of the people who would read this would not care but I am writing this to get these thoughts out of my head similar to my story A Madman December 25th Carol. I have one thing per decade.

60s: Two of the players that would made their league's all 1960s decade team, Paul Hornung and Don Maynard, were not a part of their team's win. Hornung who was at the end of his career was the the only Green Bay Packer to not see the field in Super Bowl I and Maynard had a hamstring injury for Super Bowl III while caused him to just be a decoy and not have a pass thrown towards him. It is likely that Maynard's injury helped the Jets since it caused them to be conservative on offense.

70s: There has only been one ball in Super Bowl history to hit the crossbar preventing points and it was a pass. In Super Bowl VII, the Redskins had an open receiver in the end zone but the pass struck the crossbar since the goal post was on the goal line through the 1973 season. The Redskins lost by those 7 points. I also know Golden Richards TD catch in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XII would not be allowed today and to be honest it should have not been allowed then under those rules but it did not decide the game.

80s: Though no team has played the Super Bowl on their home field, twice did the NFC team play in their metropolitan area. The Rams played Super Bowl XIV in the Rose Bowl though their team played in the Los Angeles Coliseum 18 miles away and the 49ers played Super Bowl XIX in Stanford Stadium 27 miles away which is closer to San Francisco to where the 49ers new stadium is being built. Also, the 49ers (as I predicted to my father being unhappy that the game was like a home game to the 49ers as their coach Bill Walsh stated) played a home game in Stanford Stadium after the 1989 Bay Area earthquake.

90s: In the final play of Super Bowl XXXIV, Tennessee Titan Kevin Dyson caught a pass and was tackled a half yard short of the goal line. During the drive, Tennessee had first down on the Rams 45 yard line. They completed a 7 yard pass while St Louis was offsides. Titans coach Coach Jeff Fisher took the penalty. I commented about it at the time and the 2 yards they lost that play was the difference. (Yes, I know that game was played in January 2000 but it is close enough)

00s: I have two. In both Super Bowl XXXV and XXXVI there was a dominant team facing a team lucky to be in the playoffs. Early in both games the dominant team threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. In Super Bowl XXXV, the Giants were called for a mediocre penalty while allowed Baltimore to keep possession and in Super Bowl XXXVI, the play held up in spite of the fact that the Patriots defender hit Rams QB Kurt Warner in the helmet after he let go of the pass. Even back then that is usually called a penalty.

So? Baltimore score on that possession and routed the Giants and that Patriots TD allowed them to upset the Rams.

Denver Broncos coach John Fox today becomes the 6th person to be the head coach of two different franchises in Super Bowl history (Shula, Parcells, Vermeil, Reeves, Holmgren).

People (after what should be the non issue of "nipplegate" which happened during the unnecessary half time show) remember Super Bowl XXXVIII and Adam Viniteri kicking a game winning field goal in the 32-29 game. Technically the field goal is not the winning margin.

with 12:39 left in the game, Carolina down 21-10 scored a TD and went for 2 (to be down by 3) and missed. They scored another TD with 6:53 left and went for 2 (to be up by 3) and missed. When New England scored a TD with 2:51 left they made their 2 point conversion to be up by 7. Had John Fox not chased points early in the 4th quarter, Vinitieri's field goal would have tied the game at 31 and the game would have gone into overtime.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Prop time, 2014

As I have done the last couple of years, I am listing the prop bets I would make on this upcoming Super Bowl between Seattle and Denver. Prop bets consist on things other than the final score of the game ranging from individual and team performances in the game to things that happen during the broadcast to non sport things like pregame and halftime agendas.

In these bets I would wager $100 to win the number after the plus sign so if it was +300 I would collect $400 being the $300 from the bet plus the original $100

Sea scores exactly 3TD +275 (X 5)
Sea scores exactly 2FG +220 (win) $320
Sea leads at half by 7-9 points +800 (X 22)
Both teams combine for 5TD in the game +400 (X 6)
First misc TD is an interception return +400 (win) $500
First score of game is Den FG +350 (X Sea safety)
Last score of game is Sea rush TD +500 (X Sea pass)
Both teams combine for 3FG in game +275 (X 2)
Sea def or special teams will score a TD +225 (win) $325
Any def or special teams will score a TD +155 (win) $255
After first quarter Sea leads by 1-6 points +450 (X Sea up by 8)
Sea -7 1/2 +350 (win) $450
Sea -3 1/2 +180 (win) $280
margin of victory exactly 10 points +700 (X 35)
Den scores exactly 1FG +200 (X 0)
Den scores exactly 2TD +250 (X 0)
Sea wins by 7-12 points +500 (X 35)
Lynch scores first TD of game +550 (win) $650
Lynch MVP +375 (X Malcolm Smith -field-)
Manning 2 total interceptions +350 (win) $450
Manning 2 total TD passes +200 (X 1)
Lynch scores first Sea TD +180 (win) $280
Welker scores first Den TD +450 (X D. Thomas)
Lynch scores TD in first half +135 (win) $235
Earl Thomas has interception +250 (X)
Washington Capitals hockey player Alex Ovechkin has more points than Sea sacks +120 (push - 1 each) $100
Manning has a pass intercepted for a TD +400 (win) $500
Wilson 0 TD passes +275 (X 2)
Welker scores a TD +105 (X)
Welker 7 or 8 receptions in game +250 (win) $350
Sea first score is rushing TD +200 (X safety)
Total points 41-50 +250 (X 51)

These I would wager $220 to collect $420
Sea +2 (win) $420
Total points in game under 47.5 (X)

This I would wager $200

Seattle wins +115 (win) $430

Total amount wagered would be $3,840. 
Total collected $5,545
Profit $1,705

Note: On all winning bets, I collect the amount bet along with the payoff. For example, the $100 bet on Seattle having exactly 2 field goals is returned with the $220.

Unlike last year, I could not find a wager to state Sea would score 27 or Den 17 and I was going to wager on what will be the first song Bruno Mars would perform but the song my daughter said without seeing the possible choices was not among them.

It is better I don't involve the halftime show since I will be playing Rock Band during it like I have done the previous 4 years.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

squeezing the sponge

Recent events got my brain working on analyzing myself.

On December 24th, per request I brought my XBox 360 and Rock Band to my mom's house. As it happens when Rock Band is played in my family, I become the one who does funny voices and comments and either alone or with my daughter the weird, crazy songs that I have downloaded for the game.

Last Sunday at Luke's 40th birthday party featured karaoke in a building which reminded me of a strip club private show room as we were in a special room with seats

I was coerced into performing the song The Gambler with Carrie's husband, Josh. His voice mostly drowned out mine and after the line that began, "If you want to play the game, boy," I said to be funny, "Game Boy? up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right..." No reaction. When I did that song at my mom's house while attempting to sing it with my sisters, two people who knew the Konami code chuckled. I then remembered that in my group of friends that I am not the crazy funny one but the "normal" one whose singing is so bad it has become a joke and spent the rest of the time there unable to gather the courage to do another song.

After I explained to Carrie that in my family, I am the crazy, funny one, Luke and Carrie who did not realize that called me live on their podcast to talk about it. I explained that outside my friends, I end up repeating many of the funny things I hear in songs, movies, and tv shows like a sponge and like a sponge, what comes out when it is squeezed is usually not as good as what it soaks in.

In my group of friends, there are many inside jokes that when applied elsewhere lose their effect. If I go with my daughter tomorrow to her future high school called Fenton, deliberately sit in the SATAN! section, act like the song in the Denton Dossier is playing, and reply to the person at the mike with a robust OOOKKKAAAYYY! nobody other than my daughter would get it.

Until yesterday, I would not care. Now I do.

Last Friday the subject of Track 24 (the song I created for the Luke Ski tribute CD) came up in the gaming group and I was going to explain to someone who had no idea what it was what led to it until I realized it would take longer to explain it than the song itself.

In full detail this led to that track being made and what my plans are:

March 6, 2004 7AM: I wake up and find myself walking the hallway of the Marscon party rooms when I hear music in the karaoke room. I walk in to see someone I know still in there from the night before. She coerces me to grab the mike and for the first time in my life sing karaoke sober. I look up, she is video recording me. Fifteen seconds into the song, One More Minute, I realize two things. One: I can't sing. Two: Now I understand why I was booed performing karaoke in a bar in 1996. After I did Walk the Line, the person hosting karaoke recommended that I should not do karaoke.

March 11, 2004: The husband of the person who recording me, Luke Ski, was doing his weekly internet show featuring music from the previous weekend's convention and played what I performed. Someone in the chatroom stated that my performance woke her up on the floor below.

Over the next couple of years: I try to get Carrie (whom I first met that weekend) to help me sing as she has a degree in music. She states she can't help me.

March 2, 2007: While eating dinner in the restaurant downstairs, I got a text demanding that I HAVE to be at the Marscon opening ceremonies sketch. During the sketch which bounced around various topics, convention agent Luke Bauer was introduced and he asked for a report from Chloe played by Carrie. Among what she reported was that there was a Madman on the Loose in the karaoke room threatening to sing William Shatner's version of Mr. Tambourine Man. Luke asked if it was Ken Sherlock, and after confirming went, DAMNIT.

After that I thought it would be cool if in the karaoke room there would be a 24 style showdown but we never got the time.

March 5, 2007: While driving home from Marscon, I realized it would be cool if I learned how to sing and surprise everyone next year by doing a competent version of Mr. Tambourine Man in the karaoke room. I then purchased an on line vocal training program which still to this day occasionally sends me an email.

April 20, 2007: While at Penguicon, I notice the karaoke room has Mr Tambourine Man and was going to give it a shot but Worm Quartet was about to hit the stage so I could not stay to do it. After screaming SATAN! and SHIT! FUCK! DEATH! BEER! my voice was too trashed to attempt it.

late June 2007: Having finished the course, I contacted a vocal coach and made an appointment for mid July.

July 7, 2007: I tell DJ Particle, who was casting live at Convergence, that I was taking voice lessons and that live on the show I was going to sing when "Luke Bauer" appears to "stop" me. This was planned by me so I could surprise people at Marscon 2008.

July 18, 2007: I go for a voice lesson. After 10 minutes the person stated he could not help me since I have no sense of pitch or tone and that I hear like a color blind person sees.

December 2007: Luke asks me to record something at his house where I do the voice of a Russian being interrogated and then tortured.

Jan 4, 2008: The song Jack Bauer is released. The recording I did turned out to be in the song where my character is being tortured by Jack with the singing of William Hung (the She Bangs person from American Idol)

Various conventions that year: I appear with Luke on stage during that song dressed in a suit and George W. Bush mask being interrogated in the song. 

March 7, 2009: While in the Marscon Dementia Radio party room at 2AM, I stated I caught myself singing and apologized. Luke shows up right after I left and DJ Particle loudly "thanks Luke Bauer" for showing up just in time to stop me from singing. That night, I suffer the reoccurring nightmare I would get about being removed from the fan showcase performance since I can't sing. They next day, I was barely able to function almost doing something that would have been very regrettable. I proclaimed that anyone could babble with music into a microphone for 2 minutes, have it recorded, and get it on DJ Particle's top 20 countdown.

March 7, 2010: I get singed permission by the music guest of honor to perform at the fan showcase and have DJ Particle read it. The music of Mr Tambourine Man starts and just before I sing, my daughter's voice is played instead stating she purposely edited the file so I can't sing and asked me to put the mike down and let someone else sing. I repeat that in 2013 but have the file "glitch" preventing me from performing.

March 6, 2011: I walk into the room during the fan showcase as DJ Particle is making a Luke Bauer joke, shake my head in disgust, and storm out.

Feb 2013: Carrie tells me she is doing a tribute CD for Luke to be given to him in the summer and asks me to perform in it. My first thought was "Jack Bauer" but at 6:24 it was way too long and I agreed figuring it would be a bonus track worthy song.

April 2013: I figure out a way of doing a 27% length version of "Jack Bauer" where I torture the character with me singing "Mr. Tambourine Man" and after threatening to do the full song causing the spy to comply, ending it. Since I did not cover the full song and wanting to create a joke since iTunes list songs that way, wanted to call it Track 24 and have it as the 24th track on a CD.

June 1, 2013: After 2 months of rehearsing, record the two choruses and one verse on the first attempt. It took a little while with the torture scene due to exact timing but it was done in less than an hour. Since it turned out to be a 2CD set, some creative numbering was done by Devo Spice to get my track to be #24 on the second of 2CDs.

June 3, 2013: I find out the person who ran the karaoke room at Marscon who was running it in that day in 2004 died.

June 22, 2013: The CD, Worst Tribute Ever, is released and Luke is overwhelmed.

June 23, 2013: I was going to perform Track 24 as a surprise during karaoke. However, the DJ was initially uncomfortable with getting music from another source as my backing track was on my ipod and by the time he figured out how to do that without risking his computer, I was too tired and my nerves were too shot to attempt it.

June 28, 2013: Track 24 appears on DJ Particle's weekly top 20 countdown at number 17. Had my company's firewall not blocked the site's registration email confirmation, it could have been number one for that week.

January 16, 2014: I announce live on the air that I will not perform Track 24 at the upcoming Marscon Fan Showcase the way it appeared on the CD if Carrie Dahlby's indie gogo project to fund her third CD reached its goal.

March 8, 2014 (planned): Perform Track 24 at the Marscon Fan Showcase. (twist?)

Date TBD 2015 (planned): Perform Track 24 at the Marscon Fan Showcase. (twist?)

It took almost an hour to write the time line that produced a 2 minute song.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Baccarat and the NFC Championship game

Being CDO (like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order as they should be) the concept of balance was something that would often lead to losses at casino gambling as I would leave during a hot streak believing it would turn equally as cold and plodding through a cold streak expecting things to turn around.

I then read a book (probably given as a gift) that changed my philosophy logically explaining that hot streaks should be ridden and cold streaks should make a person not bet and leave the table. The phrase that stuck in my head is: A person loses once betting on a streak and wins once betting against it. Using that logic definitely made my casino trips less bad and for a short streak in 1996 profitable. Unfortunately on the trips made alone on my birthday and Dec 25 with my mom and aunt I reverted to my old form where I plodded through horrible luck on my birthday and on Dec 25 stopped early up a couple hundred and then saw the next deal where my hand would have been dealt a pair of aces.

Baccarat is the game which the streak strategy is most prevalent as there is a choice of two bets to make and the casino provides cards (and now a display) where a gambler can see the recent results.

Though I like playing that game, I usually stand out when I play it since it is located in the high stakes room where people play much more than the $10 or $15 minimum that I play and that it is by far the game preferred by players of Asian origin. On Dec 25th, the Horseshoe casino closed their craps table due to lack of players but had 18 baccarat tables filled with people many of whom took their shuttle from Chinatown.

If you have read this far you are now wondering what the hell does all this have to do with today's NFC title game versus the 49ers and the Seahawks, a game which I believe is even since the 49ers are playing better right now.

Over the previous 8 seasons there have been patterns (defined as a repeating streak of 3 or more occasions) with Super Bowl champions and participants. The last three Super Bowl champions played during the first round of the playoffs and since the 49ers are the only remaining team that did, logic would initially dictate that they will win and then in 2 weeks and that had been my thought.

However, that is not the only pattern. Before the past three years there were two winners that were a team on a bye and before that three winners that played the first round. So there is a 3-2-3 pattern which would suggest a Seattle win.

If this was happening at a baccarat table I would play the money on Seattle as long as the person representing the casino would have provided enough time for me to have made up my mind.

The AFC title game is far less complicated in my mind. Since it is going to be 60 degrees in Denver (while people in the Chicago area deal with 20s and soon sub zero lows) Peyton Manning should be able to run his offense normally which should be too much for New England and its injured receiving corp.