November 30, 2003

Fantasy Hockey

I've never been in a fantasy hockey league before this season, and knew absolutely nothing about it. It took me a couple of weeks to figure out what was going on, and despite myself I'm doing ok so far. Here's some things I've observed, which may or may not mean squat.

1. Luck plays a big part in success. You can do a lot to help yourself during the season, but luck or the lack of it will make or break your season. Players doing unexpectedly well, avoiding injuries, hot teams and more will all factor in.

2. The draft is critical (sometimes). Our league used an automatic draft, where team order was randomly determined just prior to the draft, and then players were assigned by offensive rank and position. So first the centers were doled out, then left wingers and so on. We were given the chance to 'customize' the draft order for our teams, but I decided to trust the automatic method. So far, it's worked out great for me (see 1 above).

3. Goaltending, goaltending, goaltending. You need two solid starters, and two stars would be better. Five of the top six teams in our league lead with goaltending, and the other is reminiscent of the old Pittsburg Penguins, ignoring defense and winning games 5-4 all season long. Once again, I got lucky here, picking up the hottest goalie of the season, Numinem of Atlanta. My second goalie is Esche of Philly, which is good because he wins almost every time he plays, but he's being platooned so he only plays around half the games. My original third goalie was Broduer's backup in New Jersey. I got rid of him quickly because Martin Broduer plays more games each season than any other goalie.

4. Go with your strengths. Early on I noticed that I was getting big points every week because my team made a lot of shots on goal (not every league awards points for this). I began waiving and drafting players with that stat in mind. Given two available players of roughly equal stats, I'd take the one who took more shots. You can't score if you don't shoot, right? This strategy has paid off in that my team has the second-most number of shots, and my players tend to score plenty of goals, assists and game winning goals.

The main weakness of my team is the plus/minus stat. Basically, if you're on the ice when your team scores, that's a plus one. If the other team scores while you're on the ice, then that's a negative one. An overall negative stat generally means that the opposing team has an easier time scoring while you're on the ice. Positive stats mean just the opposite. Players from the powerhouse teams like Detroit, Ottowa and St. Louis are generally going to have more plus players, although each has one or two guys who are really down there on the minus side. Again, I tend to give more weight to this stat than most because I'm trying to improve it. Once the season starts, you can do that only incrementally, because you'll seldom find more than marginal players on waivers.

5. Trades. If everyone in your league is just standing pat with their team or only dropping and picking up players via waivers, then basically the season becomes a lottery. Whoever had the best computer-generated draft is going to win. That's no fun at all. The league I'm in has had a few trades, but not many. I've made two out of a dozen or so that I've proposed or been offered.

I just made a trade that I knew would either make me look like a genius or an idiot at the end of the season. Early returns are for idiot. I traded offensive-minded Miroslav Satan (is that a great name or what?) and another player for two players who had great plus/minus numbers and slightly less production on offense. Once again I was trying to improve the most glaring weakness of my team without screwing up my other stats too badly. Unfortunately, one of the players I got in return was injured the day of the trade and is out indefinitely, so I shot myself in the foot there. So it goes.

I figure I spend about 20 minutes a day on average looking at scores and such, and it's been fun and added a lot to my enjoyment of this hockey season. If you're a hockey fan it's worth looking into for next season.

Posted by: Ted at 07:36 AM | category: Square Pegs
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November 29, 2003

An unexpected visit from an old friend

Mookie (who blogs dead people) and I had the house to ourselves today while mom did her last day of work for awhile. We did some chores and straightening up, then sat down to watch George of the Jungle together. If you haven't seen that movie, then you need to be smacked upside. If you saw it and thought it was stupid, well... duh!

So as the closing credits rolled, we were watching for the song titles because one in particular had caught our fancy, when a name jumped out at me.

Sergio Aragones. He was listed as one of the animators for the opening credit cartoon. Does that name ring a bell? I spent years loving his little doodles in the margins of MAD magazine. Each issue had countless little masterpieces scribbled in random corners of each page.

And that brought back names I didn't even know I remembered. Don Martin (master of odd sound effects), Dave Berg (The Lighter Side...), Antonio Prohias (Spy vs. Spy) and Mort Drucker. These guys were my heroes growing up, because I wanted to be a cartoonist too. I wasn't bad, but nowhere near talented enough to make a living at it. Oh well.

On the first trip to the grocery store every month I'd scan the magazine rack and snag the latest issue of Mad. My mom would just roll her eyes and add it to the pile at the checkout. She never complained much because I would read them cover to cover. Heck, most of my popular culture came from those pages, as I read parodies of the movies of the day - movies I'd never see in their original versions. I'd carefully fold each back cover to find their secret message (thanks to Al Jaffe), and cover my lunchbox with Mad stickers trumpeting inane sayings.

Once my brother got old enough, he started to get Cracked magazine, and I always looked down on him for it. Cracked was funny (remember "Shut up's"?), but it wasn't the original, ya know?

I have a box of old Mad magazines in my basement that I rescued from my parents house a few years ago. I was actually kind of amazed that they had kept them for all those years. I was proud to introduce my kids to 'the usual gang of idiots'.

Update: While doing some research for this post, I found references to early illustrations done by Basil Wolverton. I loved his work, but only found it in the complilations and paperbacks. He was a little before my time.

Also, fans should check out Doug Gilford's Mad Cover Site, especially his very cool cover trivia pages.

Posted by: Ted at 08:35 PM | category: Cult Flicks
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Seriously

If you’ve read any of these, then you know what its all about. This is the personal stuff, the things I need to vent about or get off my chest in an attempt to de-stress myself. I do a little of that inside the extended entry. Read it or not, it’s up to you. more...

Posted by: Ted at 07:56 PM | category: Seriously
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oooooh-kay

I was jes' chillin' last night and caught an interesting program on TV. Listed as Bram Stoker's Burial of the Rats, it stared Adrienne Barbeau and lots and lots of other scantily clad ladies. And rats. Although they're not treated all that kindly (there are a couple of rat deaths), they are an integral part of the story. Did I mention scantily clad ladies? We're talking serious leather bikini's and topless dancing. And rats. And scantily clad ladies.

It was on the Showtime Beyond channel, Victor.

Posted by: Ted at 07:53 AM | category: Munuvian Daily Tattler
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November 28, 2003

Hoser, eh?

Build your own outdoor ice rink. Link courtesy of the Hockey Pundits.

Posted by: Ted at 12:24 PM | category: Links
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Feeling good

Lynn from Reflections in d minor reflects on why Thanksgiving is special to Americans. This is a beautiful bit of writing and absolutely correct too.

President Bush visits the troops in Iraq for Thanksgiving. This man is amazing, and that was the perfect thing to do at the perfect time.

While I'm admiring leadership, let's give Hillary Clinton a hand as well, for visiting troops in Afghanistan over Thanksgiving. I've spent holidays working on the flight line, and visits like this are very much appreciated.

And although I'm at work today, that's a good thing too because Mookie and mom are putting up Christmas decorations. It's nice to come home and find that my only job is to haul boxes back up into the attic.

Oh yeah, it was a pleasant surprise this morning to find myself alone atop the standings in my Fantasy Hockey League. The top five or six teams have been tight all season, and it changes every day, but this is the first time I've been in first place all by myself. Woot!

Posted by: Ted at 07:16 AM | category: Links
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Build It - 1

I’m going to start a series of posts where I’ll build a basic model rocket kit online. The idea is to show the process step by step, including pictures and passing along tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way, while you follow along and build your own rocket.

I’ve asked a few people about this idea, and there seems to be some interest in it. Please feel free to ask questions as we progress, and hopefully we'll see some pictures as folks build and launch their rockets.

Once again, there will be a separate category just for these, called “Build It”, and the main part of the post will be in the extended entry so you don’t have to deal with it if you don’t want to. more...

Posted by: Ted at 06:11 AM | category: Build It
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Cheesecake review

A while back I made a quick and easy Caramel Apple Cheesecake using Jennifer's recipe. I also said that I wanted to try a variation using pineapple, so I made one for Thanksgiving.

The 'old-fashioned' recipe called for only 1 package of cream cheese, and the addition of 1 tsp of lemon juice. This resulted in a frothier and lighter cheesecake. Not better, just different. I used crushed pineapple (well drained) and coconut instead of apple, with 1/2 cup reserved for topping after baking. I also sprinkled more toasted coconut on the top.

Result? It's good. Mookie prefers the apple version, but she likes apple better anyways. I like 'em both, and they're easy enough to do two at the same time. In fact, maybe three, because I'm thinking about cherries with slivered almonds and maybe a splash of brandy, drizzled with dark chocolate...

Posted by: Ted at 05:35 AM | category: Recipes
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November 27, 2003

Giving Thanks

Today and every day, I'm thankful for all of my online friends and visitors who stop by. Your comments and encouragement mean more to us than you know. I also appreciate the time and effort you put in when you post to your own blogs. Reading you is like visiting with friends.

The blogosphere is an inside-out universe, where we can pour out our hearts and souls for all to see, writing things we wouldn't dream of saying to friends at work or church. Yet for all this honesty, the most common external details of our lives are hidden from each other. I may have a good idea of your fears and hot-buttons, even of your kinks, yet I don't have a clue as to what kind of car you drive or what your voice sounds like.

I'm richer for having known all of you. Thank you, and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Posted by: Ted at 08:03 AM | category: Munuvian Daily Tattler
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Anything will fly if you stuff a big enough motor in it

For some reason, rocketeers like to add the words 'of death' to the description of unconventional designs. The first time I'd heard this, I was admiring a huge fiberglass pyramid that was being prepared for launch. When I asked what it was, the owner proudly informed me that it was the Flying Pyramid of Death.

It's like an unwritten rule or something.

I've seen the Flying Tetrahedron of Death, the Flying Traffic Barrel of Death (including flashing traffic warning light), and the Flying Port-o-potty of Death (aka Our Stinkin' Rocket). But people soon enough branched out into things 'of Doom' and 'of Destruction'.

And of course, anything can inspire a rocketeer. For instance, the Vatsaas Brothers built and flew The Happy Birthday Party Napkin Rocket of the Apocolypse. The source for that should be self-explanitory. Well, except for the 'Apocolypse' part, but we already covered that.

You should visit their site and admire what can be wrought of insane genius.

Posted by: Ted at 06:48 AM | category: Rocketry
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More non-Rocket Rocket Stuff

From the same artist who brought us the Oz painting from yesterday, say hello to Rocket the cat.

Now this is guaranteed to steam your buns! The Rocket Dog frankfurter vending system. It's Ergonomic too. Be still my heart.

Posted by: Ted at 06:18 AM | category: Links
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November 26, 2003

Seriously

Ok, if you’ve read the first couple of these, then you know what its all about. This is the personal stuff, the things I need to vent about or get off my chest in an attempt to de-stress myself. I do a little of that inside the extended entry, along with the story of the birth of my son. Read it or not, it’s up to you. more...

Posted by: Ted at 08:45 AM | category: Seriously
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Where would Jack Nicholson sit?

Finding Oz.

Posted by: Ted at 07:20 AM | category: Links
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New Ad Campaign from NORML

The top 15 Slogans for Legalized Marijuana

15) Got Buzz?
14) Pot: When you care Enough Not to Care At All.
13) A Day Without Pot is like School
12) Weed My Lips!
11) Hemp: the World's Practical Solution to making, like, paper and rope and necklaces and stuff.
10) It's Not Just For Glaucoma anymore!
9) Help eradicate Road Rage in our Lifetime
Official Sponsor of the NBA
7) Because the waste is a terrible thing to min....Dude! I totally fucked that up!!
6) When Was the Last Time You REALLY looked at your hand.
5) SMOKE POT! ( Did We Just Say That Out Loud? Or Did We Just Think It?)
4) Recommended by 5 out of 5 deadheads
3) Just Doob It
2) It's the all-the-time smokey, skunky, sticky, greeny, seedy, stemmy, doobie so-you-can-get-high medicine.

And the Number 1 Slogan for Legalized Marijuana.....

1) Skull shaped bong: $12.00, Primo Maui-Grown Bud: $100, Watching Teletubbies with your Buddies: PRICELESS

UPDATE: It has been pointed out that this list is in fact copyrighted from Topfive. I went to the site and looked and it is indeed, although their are minor differences. Go visit their site and enjoy their humor, but don't steal it and email it to all your friends like some nitwit did to me. Here's hoping that this link will make things right. Thanks to Brian J. for pointing this out.

Posted by: Ted at 07:12 AM | category: Square Pegs
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Boomers

US ballistic missile submarines make up the third leg of our nuclear triad, along with our land-based missiles and long range bomber forces. The subs are nicknamed boomers, and go out for months at a time, sitting quietly in their assigned areas - just in case.

When it's time to fire a missile from underwater, a complex sequence of actions happens. One of the first things is that a 'gas generator' is set off in order to near-instantaneously create a large bubble that the missile 'rides' to the surface. Once the missile breaks the surface the motor fires and lifts the missile into the air, where it's guidance system takes over. This happens in split-seconds.

Just in case the motor misfires, the submarine leans off of vertical by a few degrees, so that a malfunctioning missile doesn't fall back and hit the submarine. more...

Posted by: Ted at 06:20 AM | category: Military
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November 25, 2003

Winter on the doorstep

Starhawk over at Freedom Lives posted a picture of his beautiful Arizona rose which, incredibly enough, is blooming right now.

I've already pruned back my roses and put them to bed for the winter, but in the extended entry is a shot of the first bloom we had this past spring. Enjoy. more...

Posted by: Ted at 12:22 PM | category: Square Pegs
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Your Alpha Bravo Charlies

Thanks to DeltaTangoBravo (and I even stole his excellent post title), you can now learn what your initials would be in the Radio Operator Alphabet. Military types might already know this, but it's still fun.

Alpha
Bravo
Charlie
Delta
Echo
Foxtrot
Golf
Hotel
India
Juliet
Kilo
Lima
Mike
November
Oscar
Papa
Quebec
Romeo
Sierra
Tango
Uniform
Victor
Whiskey
X-ray
Yankee
Zulu

Interestingly, many folks seem to wind up sounding like old porn stars and strippers.

This is Romeo Tango Papa signing off. Over and out.

Posted by: Ted at 10:48 AM | category: Links
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It takes a village to raise a child

And y'all are letting me down! Mookie started her 'Dead Guy of the Day' posts, and so far she's only gotten a couple of comments about being a troubled child. Heck, I already knew that.

So the parenting gene kicked in (translation: my wife told me I'd better deal with my child), and I'm steering her morbid sense of humor towards a quest to learn more about capital punishment and the debate surrounding the issue. Hence the recent descriptions about methods of execution and even a little bit about her personal feelings on the subject.

Which is more than you folks are doing. C'mon people, in modern society everyone else is responsible, so if she grows up sick and twisted then she's a chip off the ol' block it's your fault too!

While you're there, engage her by leaving thoughtful comments. Challenge her, make her think. And don't forget to give her hell about her spelling and grammar too. Heaven knows she doesn't listen to me anymore, and lately that frightens me.

Posted by: Ted at 09:57 AM | category: Munuvian Daily Tattler
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How to know whether or not you are ready to have kids

Take these few simple tests for yourself. more...

Posted by: Ted at 08:37 AM | category: Square Pegs
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November 24, 2003

New Jams

I'm sitting here watching the hockey game in my brand new flannel jammie pants. My wife made them for me today, and she's going to attempt a scrubs-style top this weekend.

Nothing more comfortable, so eat your heart out. Nya Nya.

Posted by: Ted at 08:14 PM | category: Square Pegs
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