Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Start of NFL season 2011

Well, I was pretty sure that there would be no football this year after the contentiousness of getting a new CBA setup. I was wrong and really it just turned out that there was just too much money on the table for something to not get worked out. That said, the shorter camp lead to a bunch of injuries that I don't think would have happened if there was a full time period to train and get prepared.

So a couple of predictions on the year. I think that the Bengals are heading to the first pick in the 2012 draft, but there are a couple of teams nipping at their heels such as Seattle, Tennessee, and Buffalo. Although with the NFL, you never know what will happen. On the other end of the spectrum, NFC champs will likely be either the Eagles or the Packers, but I put my money on the Packers as I expect them to be much more consistent, while I think you will see bigger wins and bigger losses from the Eagles. On the AFC, I think you will see either the Patriots or the Steelers at the top of the pile. Between the two, I expect the Steelers to do better just with more experience on defense and the magical Mike Wallace.

That aside, I fully expect the Lions to go 8-8 this year. I am fully prepared for a terrible season though. Or at least that is what I am telling myself. I need to come up with a bet again. I think this year I will keep it simple and say if the Lions go double digit wins or a player on the team gets offensive or defensive player of the year, I will pick up a Jersey.

And really, I just happy that football is starting soon.

Monday, September 05, 2011

PAX 2011

Another year of PAX gone, and at some level I miss it, but boy did I need sleep afterwards. This year I was joined by my former intern, Scott. He definitely is more into the video game scene than I am. So last year, I did a lot of the talks. In other years, I've done more time on the exhibition floor or in the board game rooms. This year I decided to go a bit more low key and reduce the amount of time I sat in lines and also avoid the exhibition hall as it was an absolute zoo, probably because of the fake badges.

Day one, I tried to hit the keynote, but no luck. I heard it was good along with the Q&A. Instead I started out in the exhibition hall wandering aimlessly seeing anything that would catch my fancy. There was definitely a ton of cool looking games there. Seems like the biggest booths belong to the AAA games and MMOs. Does that mean that MMOs are flush with cash? Either way, it was pretty amazing. I would say that "All Orcs Must Die" is the game I was most surprised by. AssCreed:Rev looked amazing and Skyrim and Lego Harry Potter 2 and ... you get the picture. After wandering the hall, I went and stood in line for Wil Wheaton's talk. Scott decided to bail as he expected to get in later and headed back to hall. As such, Scott missed out on another great Wil talk. Heh. After than I made my way to the Wizards D&D floor. I put in a couple of dungeon delves and I was hooked. It was great fun.

Day two, I did some more D&D and exhibition hall prior to seeing Wil, Mike, Jerry, and Scott doing Aquisitions Inc with Chris Perkins after a 2 and half hour wait in line. I was super impressed by the set they had built and with Paul and Storm with their minstrel prowess. Chris built an absolutely incredible story, but Jim Darkmagic is just a ... supporting humor character and the result was that what could have been an incredibly interesting story was a little bit flat and completely filled with fey guy jokes and dick jokes. That said, the guys are still super entertaining and Wil and Scott's interplay is fun, but we needed more Jerry. We checked out Halofest which was a little disappointing. I am not sure what I was looking for but it just had this weird Museum vibe to it with way more people. Some of the content was very cool, but was just left wanting more. Afterwards, I convinced intern Scott to visit Wizard land again (I said I was hooked right?) and we were right in time for the DM challenge which is where a DM puts together a 3-4 hour adventure and we the players rated him. Kudos to the DM we had as he put together a fun story.

Day 3, I was exhausted and checked out the expo hall again but with an eye towards picking up something for Miranda as well as checking out some of the weird and less well traveled. I did a little more D&D and also wandered through the board game area. Definitely was exhausted at that point.

Overall, I had a great time again. I met a lot of interesting people and played games and listened to some fun talks. There was some incredible cosplay going on and most folks were just super cool. I don't think you can really say that about most large gatherings. I will be going again, and hopefully I can get some more friends to go as it is just a good time to be had.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Dear NFL, re: Free Agency

Dear NFL Owners and Players,

This off season has been a bit tumultuous and I am sure that it has not been fun for you either. What has surprised me is just how fun it was once the season got underway. The accelerated free agency turned what is normally a very stately and boring section of the season and made it compressed. Suddenly the fans were much more excited about players they normally would not have noticed.

What might be interesting for next year would be to open free agency 1 week prior to the Draft next year.

Thanks, and don't lockout/strike again.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Draft Lions done

Alright... The draft is over and I proved once again that I have no idea who the team would pick. Maybe I will tally up how I did later, but it was bad enough that it can wait indefinitely. On to how the Lions did...

Most the draftniks think the Lions did a terrific job. The players they got are generally highly regarded. The main thing is that they did not really address any of their team weaknesses. Mayhew has been talking about building up your strengths similar to what the Colts did when they went with Manning and continued to draft offensive weapons and protection. I am still a little boggled that they continue to ignore the fact they have a 33 year old, undersized center, one of the guard positions continues to rotate and rotating the right tackle position. Backus is getting older too on top of it. Couple that with guys at CB and OLB that didn't even make the training camp cuts for other teams. That said with all of that, they did go 6-10...

So onto what the Lions did for a draft:

1) Nick Fairley, DT, Round 1, Pick 13: projected as one of the top 3 DT in the draft who has flashes of brilliance but inconsistent play brought on by inconsistent effort. There is not a lot of data here as he only started 2 seasons and only his second season did he produce any results. I don't like this because at the same time, you could have had one of the top-3 OT at that time or one of the top-3 CB at the time. All those had first round grades.

2) Titus Young, WR, Round 2, Pick 12: A WR?! The basic analysis on this guy is that he is a poor man's DeSean Jackson. Under 6ft, with 4.3-4.4 speed. No reports on his hands, but the main use it seems would be the bubble screen and then stretching the field to push the safety's back. Not so sure on round two with a WR. At this point they could have had the 2nd best OG in the draft. If you want short speed, there were lots of guys that would fit that bill.

3) Trade alert: Lions trade a boat load of picks to move back into the second round with the Seattle Seahawks. Basically we trade all of our picks in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh round for the Seahawks second, fifth, and seventh. Lions management is filled with retards.

4) Mikel Leshoure, RB, Round 2, Pick 25: 2nd best RB in the draft, but the draft was very deep with good RB. Great pick if it were not for the trade. There was no reason to move up to get one though as there were plenty. Leshoure is a big beefy power back. Seems to have good hands. Single cut type back.

5) Doug Hogue, OLB, Round 5, Pick 26: More of an athlete than a plug in OLB. Was a RB, but converted to LB his Junior season. Did well with the conversion. This is more of a special teams pick, but could be a starter in a couple of years. In the 5th, this is a pretty solid pick. However we could have had Greg Jones, LB MSU who could have started near about immediately but has low upside...

6) Johnny Culbreath, OL, Round 7, Pick 6: Have no idea. Seriously. The guy is good sized but I have never watch South Carolina State play...

Just disappointed overall. They picked good players but it feels like stafford will get killed again and we will get burned in the air again.

Bears drafted well taking a T then DT in the first two rounds. Both should contribute immediately. Packers drafted well by focusing on all the points of need and doing them in rounds that make sense, and they got good players at the points of time they were picking. The Vikings are just pants on head retarded. They took a QB way too early in Christian Ponder. They took a TE next when they could have grabbed one later. Just weird.

The basic feeling I got from the draft was that there were fewer super star type players, but more guys in that mid range. Looking at most player grades, you usually have 3-5 who grade out in mid to upper 90s, but the highest this year was a 86. This is across several boards. The patriots did another superb job grabbing good people and getting picks next year. Sigh.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mock Draft 2011

Per usual, I am going to put together my mock draft. Last I think I got 5 teams right which is pretty terrible. Hopefully I a bit better at guessing this years teams, but really it is difficult with trades and all the smoke screens that teams put out. Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier to predict who will be good, but then I remember how many busts there are in a year.

To make matters worse, this year there may not be football which means the draft, instead of being an interesting thought exercise, turns out to be a colossal waste of time. Although me doing this is :)

What should make it easier is that there will be no trades that include 2012 draft picks. This means there will be a lot less trades as trading players will also be difficult because of the lack of a CBA. So my guess is there will be less trades than last year, but will still be a few.

1 CARMarcell DareusSo many needs for Panthers...
2 DENVon MillerMost needs on defense, likely to grab a safety in the second round.
3 BUFBlaine GabbertThey could go OT here, but think they will grab one of the top 3 QB.
4 CINDa'Quan BowersCould also go OT, but likely will grab in start second round.
5 ARICam NewtonWTF
6 CLEAJ GreenThis doesn't feel like something Holmgren would do...
7 SFNick FairleyLots of pressure to take a franchise QB here...
8 TENPatrick PetersonAnother need for a QB here...
9 DALTyron SmithBest OT to protect the QB and push the line edge for runs
10 WASMark IngramHello Shanahan.
11 HOUPrince AmukamaraHouston continues its attempt to shutdown then Colts.
12 MINMuhammad WilkersonCould trade up to get one of other DT, but this is definitely a need. Could also grab Locker.
13 DETAnthony CastonzoA year without Stafford injured, not including the lockout?
14 STLJulio JonesSt. Louis continues to build a football team.
15 MIARobert QuinnCould go Locker...
16 JACCameron JordanPicking Jacksonville, impossible.
17 NEJ.J. WattWith two first round picks... who to go after first...
18 SDGabe CarimiCould also go with DE Kerrigan here.
19 NYGNate SolderProtect that Manning
20 TBRyan KerriganBetween McCoy and Kerrigan, someone should be free to get a sack.
21 KCCorey LiugetVersatility seems to be the new KC.
22 INDDerek SherrodProtect that Manning
23 PHIMike PounceyMight go for a linebacker here...
24 NOAdrian ClaybornMaybe less blitzes this year?
25 SEAJake LockerI don't agree with my own selection, as I don't think Pete will go this way... probably wants an OT for depth.
26 BALJimmy SmithWinning on D will continue, but more time with Flacco and his receiver crew will pay dividends this year, if they play.
27 ATLAldon SmithGotta put pressure on Aaron Rodgers somehow...
28 NEAkeem AyersI expect more O-line in round 2.
29 CHIDanny WatkinsGive Cutler a little more time, but round 2 will see either a LB or DT.
30 NYJCameron HeywardWould hopefully grab some double teams to open up better blitzing paths.
31 PITMarcus CannonDoes Big Ben need to run so much?
32 GBMikel LeShoureAnother year without a running back is not acceptable.

We'll see how I do this year...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Month of March

Been watching the fight over the NFL season continue. Normally we would be in the thick of free agency with some prep for the draft period. Now we have the draft coming up but a near guarantee that there won't be a season for the rookies to play in. What a pain.

Recently had a birthday, where I turned 33. Hoping it will be a good year.

Also prepping for Miranda's birthday. Mostly preparing myself for her birthday and any sort of party/celebration that happens.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Random bits and pieces

Currently I am hiding away from Miranda. She has a cold and things at work are hectic enough that I am hiding away so I don't miss work or have to work from home. That tends to make things much more difficult and then I just end up working more. Christmas has come and gone with us still meaning to finish our Christmas thank yous. I feel like I should call and thank you since I prefer to have that type of two way communication. Or maybe it really means that I am too lazy to lick a stamp. That said we always appreciate the love of our family.

We find ourselves gripped in winter again. A couple of cold days have found their way to Seattle. I thought when I came here that we would not see so much cold weather, but it turns out that you should see about 1 week of nasty cold a year. This year we got about 2 weeks spread over 3 instances. But Miranda got the snow she wanted... of course she is sick and can't enjoy this round.

Football is done. Sad the Steelers couldn't win. Happy the game was fantastic. Right now though, I am pretty sure with the current labor negotiation that we will not see football until late next year or maybe not at all next year. At some level, that is fine. I will abandon the sport if it decides to abandon its fans. Or maybe I switch over to college ball. I am not blaming either side of the disagreement, but get this damn thing fixed.

Work is work. I have spent a lot of time doing operational work for the team to make sure everything is in tip-top shape and cleaning up some old code. My latest passion which probably marks me as sick in the head is efficient web service wire protocols. It is amazing how much efficiency is lost by making something flexible, I wonder if there is not some happy medium that can be achieved. Wish I could expound more but really I need to do some research to exactly layout what is seen in Apache's web service framework and other web service frameworks. That said, we moved from the old, beloved PacMed building to our new digs on the Amazon campus. I have to say that I am not totally digging our new digs.

The things I like about it are that we are on campus and it is easier to meet with teams and there is an interesting Amazon vibe. I honestly am looking forward to seeing what that looks like this summer when folks are more likely to be outside instead of tucked away in their cube farms. Now as for the specific space that I am in... we I am not digging it so much. It is a team room without the room, which means we are just in a wide open area next to the elevator and that means noisy and high traffic. I am currently working on some ideas to make it more ... personalized. I spent part of the morning pricing out a mini project to create a 4 ft by 4 ft beaded curtain with the p13n robot design on it. Well it is looking like it will be both expensive and time intensive when I was really just aiming to only be time intensive. A glass bead curtain of this design will cost about $1000 and a plastic version will be about $300. I am not sure what I was expecting when I needed about 10,000 to 15,000 beads to do the curtain. So now that is up in the air. Maybe a gigantic poster of Frank will be enough.

Last year, some of Ben's friends from high school and another guy and I started doing a D&D4 campaign online. We tried to get Ben to join in, but it was getting really difficult to do tasks involving communication. But after a time we decided to give it a whirl and it has been fun. For the first 6 months, Nick DM'd the adventure and we spent a lot of time learning the rules and playing with Google Wave (which is going away at some point) and using Skype. Starting about 1 month ago, I agreed to give Nick a rest and whip up a couple of adventures so that he could play on the Character side of the game. So far so good, as it seems like all involved are having fun. I have enjoyed the character side as it was interesting (and less work) but the DM side is great as you are putting together an outline of a story and letting your friends create the dialog and specifics. Really you are just telling each other a story and it feels very much like Improv.

On the Improv front, my old group, MTU's The Troupe, is celebrating 20 years of storytelling. But along that front, they are announcing that they are disbanding the official school group. It has been hard since the mother of the Troupe retired but they have had many years of alumni support and great shows as well. But it seems that it is getting harder to find faculty resources and keeping organized. There are 2 things in college that I look back and deeply love and that The Troupe and Student Theatre Association. It seems that there is less time for those outlets in college than their used to be. But I am glad for all the skills they have taught me and the friends I have from them.