Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

on death

I think about death sometimes. I'm not sure if I do it "a lot" or more than "normal." But I think about it.

Every time I start writing a book I imagine what would happen if I died before I finish it. I'd want people to assemble everything I'd written to that point and have it printed for anyone, even if it was really bad.

I don't have a will yet. I suppose one day I'll need to have one. Until then, I suppose this will suffice. I don't want to be buried in the ground. By default I had assumed that meant cremation...which is only one letter away from creation, I fact I stumbled upon moments ago with a typo. Interesting?

Although a quick google revealed a funeral proceess called, promession, where the body is frozen by liquid nitrogen and than shattered into a powder. Basically either by fire or ice, we can turn our bodies into dust. I'm not sure which I'd prefer...although I suppose cremation would be simpler, and therefore easier on those taking care of the arrangements.

As for scattering my ashes--and I would want them scattered so I don't end up as one of the Family Matters situations where Urkel knocks over my urn and then has to replace it with ash from a fireplace before Carl Winslow comes home--I don't think I know where it should be yet. One suitable place would be Jamaica, specifically the waterfall that I visited near Ocho Rios. Also acceptable would be outside Arrowhead Stadium, but only after a win. But I figure one day I'll come up with something better. A river wouldn't be bad in theory, you know, water flowing on and on, but the Mississippi or anything like it is pretty dirty.

As of today, I wouldn't want to be in a cemetery where people have to go to feel sad. I'd want anyone who cared to remember this life with a gentle fondness and not get down about it.

Update 1.21.10: After a few months of reflection, my current feelings are that I'm sure I'd want my ashes scattered in nature. No parking lots, no trip to Jamaica required. Preferably some place pure--not the dirty Mississippi. Colorado mountains, or a clean stream would be nice. Or even a forest area would be okay. More on this as I develop.

Songs I'd like played at my funeral, in order:
What I Got (reprise) - Sublime
Banana Pancakes - Jack Johnson
Piano Man - Billy Joel (but only if people will sing along)
1,2,3 - 311

I'm sure Hoagie Central isn't an official document, and hopefully I'll live long enough to put this out there in some other format, but at least this means that no one's going to bury me in Peoria.

Put it on the board!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

i'd catch balls for free

2008 Salary + Stats

Highest Paid
Fitzgerlad: $17,103,480 / 96 catches = $178,161 per catch
Moss: $14,006,720 / 69 catches = $202,995 per catch
Owens: $13,731,560 / 69 catches = $199,008 per catch

Average Salary
Ochocinco: $3,550,000 / 53 catches = $66,981 per catch
Kevin Curtis: $3,700,000 / 33 catches = $112,121 per catch
Toomer: $3,800,120 / 48 catches = $79,169 per catch

Lowest Paid

Greg Camarillo: $450,640 / 55 catches = $8,193 per catch
Jason Avant: $450,760 / 32 catches = $14,086 per catch
Miles Austin: $450,760 / 13 catches = $34,673 per catch

I could have tried to show the most ridiculous salary per catch, or the best bargain, but that's not the point. I just wanted to see if you get what you pay for in terms of catches per dollars spent. Obviously, higher paid receivers do catch more, but not nearly enough to account for their salary. Of course, they are yards and touchdowns to consider as well.

But they don't score as many touchdowns as you'd think. Fitz and Megatron led the league with 12; only 7 receivers in double-digit scores.


Me from May 8th:

"And then we get to Brett Favre. Who had a meeting with the Vikings to say I'm staying retired. Then WHY THE FUCK DID YOU HAVE A MEETING? It makes no goddamn sense.

It absolutely infuriates me that my Mike & Mike in the Morning and my Fanhouse and my gets taken over by this bullshit. Don't cover his bullshit! I don't care if he discovers a cure for Swine Flu: I don't want to hear his name, unless it's Week 1 and he's actually playing.

Someone on M&M joked that the reason Favre told the Vikings "no" was because he knew he would be sharing the news cycle with Manny and he wanted to wait until he would be the only story."

And from Arrowhead Pride on July 7th:

"The Vikings will play Favre's former team the Green Bay Packers on Monday night, Oct. 5, at the Metrodome on ESPN. The Vikings are planning to require anyone buying a ticket to that game to also buy a ticket to the Aug. 21 exhibition game against the Kansas City Chiefs."

Let's see, training camp is over in two days, he got to jerk Peter King around for a couple months, might as well join the Vikings. And those tickets that the Vikings-Chiefs tix that they couldn't sell are now going for triple face value.

The biggest mistake is that this hurts the Vikings. Their Super Bowl hopes in the next couple years just took a nose dive. They need to find a quarterback solution that will help them throughout the prime of AD. This is going to waste a year or two and I don't think I'm being hyperbolic when I say this could waste Peterson's Super Bowl window. I know the Vikings can't win one with Favre, so this is just pushing back their timeline for possible success.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

a lions milestone

Matthew Stafford's first pick six!

In fact, his first NFL pass was an incompletion. And his first three drives? Punt, Punt, Pick-six. But it's just the preseason. If I was a Lion's fan I'd want to be there for his first pick-six in a regular season game.

Friday, August 14, 2009

autopilot stats

There have been 40 published copies of Autopilot.

8 copies have been sold at 6 of the purchasers have revealed their identity; 2 are still a mystery.

32 were purchased by me. 29 I have sold in person. 2 have yet to be sold. And 1 copy, the rough draft that preceded the release date...has been destroyed.

That means that my revenue for Autopilot has been $450. But the 32 copies cost $202.94. Which means that so far, the profit for Autopilot is $247.06.

I figure I probably spent another $75 or so in release party food and beverage. All told my bottom line is probably about enough to purchase two tickets to a Chiefs game, or something fairly decent off Craigslist.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Original Chicago

So while reading about the new CTA expansion plans, I stumbled across the mention of a Block 37 in Chicago. I wasn't sure if this was a restaurant, an actual block, or a cool developer shorthand for an area like how the condos at Randolph and Des Plaines are marketed as R+D Condos.

Anyways, a little digging turned up this super helpful map.

It shows the original plan for Chicago including 58 numbered city blocks. I typically think of city blocks as being one side of a street, say between Grand and Illinois on State. But it makes more sense when you see this type of map, that they literally are blocks, or squares.

Also, I never really stopped to think about when the cities were laid out, but always thought it was sort of cliche that every town/city has streets named after old Presidents. Well, when you're laying out a city in 1830, I suppose Jefferson, Washington, Madison makes a lot of sense.

Update: Another thing that this map explains, is why State and Madison is the center of the numbering grid system, 0 W, 0 N.

So because I like to do this sort of thing, I made a google map that shows the Original Chicago blocks in blue, along with the current Loop. I assumed there would have been more overlap. Interesting, anyways.

Also, Wacker...not an original street name.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Softball 2009: Game 9

After holding last week's opponent to 3 runs, I told all my teammates that I'm going for the shutout. This opponent was 0-8 so I figured that was our best chance ever.

------- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 -- F
US --- 4 4 0 2 0 0 3 -- 13
THEM 3 0 1 0 1 0 3 -- 8

I made a couple of errors in the first inning. I was playing tight, trying to not allow any runs. You should never say that you're going for a shutout. I knew that, and still I tried.

Batting Stats for Game 9
1st AB: 1B, run, rbi
2nd AB: 1B, run
3rd AB: sac fly, rbi
4th AB: 1B, run, slide

Average: 3 for 3, 1.000
Slugging: 1.000
3 runs
2 rbi

Pitching Stats for Game 9:
7 IP
8 runs
1 K
0 BB

ERA: 8.00 and the win

This game was notable for the play I made in the top of the 7th. It was not the greatest play I've ever made, but it was pretty darn good. I had just gotten on base with a single. The batter behind me hit a ground ball through the infield. I easily rounded second and was going to be fine at third. At this point we were up at least 5 runs and hadn't given up any big innings since the first. I felt comfortable knowing we were going to win. And I knew that the girl positioned as the catcher hadn't been making any catches/tags.

So I decided to go home. I got about 5-10 feet away from home plate when I saw the situation unfolding. The pitcher was running to home to cover the plate and the throw was on the way. It looked like I didn't have a window to score. So I was thinking about turning around to go back to 3rd and hit my brakes.

As I'm slowing down, I see the pitcher turning to his left and catching the relay throw as he's running. It's at this point that I see a window, and continue going for home. The pitcher now has the ball, is basically at home plate but still moving, and is turning towards the 3rd base line to tag me.

I kept going towards the pitcher and sort of slide my left foot in between the pitcher's standing legs and lean back to avoid a tag. It was a clean slide and I'm not sure if he ever tagged me at all, but he sure was pissed that the ump called me safe, considering he had the ball and was at home.

Regular Season
Team Record: 3-6
Games I Was There For: 3-3
Pitching Record: 3-2

2009 (includes mid-season tournament)
Team Record: 6-6
Games I Was There For: 6-3
Pitching Record: 6-2

And there you have it, for playoff seeding we're a 3-6 team this year. And yet I showed up to play 9 games and won 6 of them.

Monday, August 03, 2009

2nd Beach Volleyball Tournament

On Saturday I woke up early (and drove into the city!) for a young advertising professional's Beach Volleyball tournament. This was the next event in the series vying for the same trophy that we just won the softball tournament for. Each winning team gets their name, year and sport engraved on the trophy. Could we keep the mojo going?

There were 7 teams going. There would be a series of pool play, and then the top 4 teams would advance to the playoffs. The morning started off reasonably nice, if a bit cool. By the time we got a couple games underway, it started to get even cooler. Then it started sprinkling. Basically most of the time it was cool and cloudy with a bit of rain. Not good weather for beach volleyball.

Anyways, we faced our first opponent in pool play, and won the first game, but dropped the next two.

We pulled it together to win 2 of 3 from our next opponent.

At this point we were 3-3, it was sprinkling pretty good, and I thought about just taking off. We had 7 guys and could only play 3 at a time, so we rotated in and out, so it's not like I needed to be there. But I stuck it out. Because of the weather they shortened the remaining pool play to single games. We won one, and lost one. So now we had a record of 4-4. I thought that might be it for us.

But they said that we had we advanced to the playoffs. I asked who we were playing, and they said it was the team that "was spanking everybody today."

So I surmised based on our record and theirs, that we must be the #4 seed going against the #1 seed. All of a sudden it felt like Lake Placid, 1980: we were Team USA going against the Soviet Union.

Because of the weather and the delays, the playoffs would also be a single game to 25, rally scoring. All day we had been playing 3 guys, 3 girls. But our semifinal opponent was playing 3 guys, 2 girls. We had been told this year, that you couldn't have more guys than girls, and we were told if we only had 2 girls, that we could only play 2 guys. Whatever.

So we followed suit, making it a 5 on 5 match. We started strong, winning a few points. They were not happy about that. They seemed pretty hardcore, and acted like they knew what they were doing. We did not. It was pretty even the whole game. We had the lead 18-14, when the incident occurred.

One of our players went to spike the ball and ended up catching the net with his other hand pulling it down a bit. To that point all day, we hadn't had any calls about touching the net, and there had been instances where people touched the net, but perhaps didn't pull it down like our guy did. He did spike it and it seemed that we had won the point. But their captain, a guy who looked exactly like a young Will Arnett wasn't happy about the net grab.

He insisted it should be their point, our guy explained how it was unintentional and didn't help him. And clearly, 19-14 with our serve is quite different than 15-18 and their serve. Eventually we settled on a re-do, but I know that he wasn't happy about it.

From 18-14, we were able to pull some more good plays together and wouldn't you know, we took down the Soviets. Do you believe in miracles? YES!

From there it was on the Championship game, and it would be quite a poor analogy if our team lost to Finland at this point. We beat them 25-14 and retained possession of the Campagna Cup.

- - -

The thing is, is that we were not the best team for the duration of the tournament. We got some help in the form of the weather, which forced us to only have to beat the Soviets in a single game to 25. It also helped that they were playing 2 girls (who were quite good) which allowed us to only play 2 girls (no one on our team was that great). I think a guy on the opponent's team in the championship game hurt his ankle and wasn't playing. I don't think he was a star, but still. And I think the poor weather also meant that other teams might not have had their full rosters, thought that's just a guess.

The point is that winning is not always as simple as you might think. We got a lot of breaks and played our best volleyball at the end when it counted.

- - -

Through my adolescent team sports career I got participation trophies for our soccer teams and a baseball team. I got a few 2nd place tennis medals/trophies in Peoria tournaments. And of course I got 1st place academic awards, but who cares about those.

No, it wasn't until I got to my 20's and joined the company sports teams that I actually won a championship trophy.

June 24, 2006: 16" Softball Tournament
June 20, 2009: 16" Softball Tournament
August 1, 2009: Beach Volleyball Tournament

The 09 Softball takes the cake because of the unbelievable, thrilling, come-from-behind victory in extra innings of the championship. It should also be noted, that these were all single-day tournaments, not a playoff championship culminating an entire season of play. But still, 7 teams showed up on Saturday, and 6 walked away without the trophy.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Softball 2009: Game 8

I missed Game 3 on the DL, I missed Game 6 on vacation, and Game 7 because I was working late. All three were losses.

Game 8 was a rematch against our opponent that beat us 7-6 in Game 2. This was a team that we really should have beaten. It was also the game when I severely injured my arm. But if you look at that box score I pitched two out of three innings scoreless and felt that I could have easily held on for the win.

On the way to the game, I was thinking that we should aim for a shutout. Inspired by Buerhle's no-hitter, I thought that this team was a good opportunity for a goose egg.

------- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 -- F
THEM 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 -- 3
US --- 6 3 3 0 0 0 x -- 12

Batting Stats for Game 8
1st AB: 1B, run
2nd AB: 2B, run
3rd AB: fly out

Average: .666
Slugging: 1.000
2 runs

Pitching Stats for Game 8:
7 IP
3 runs
1 K
0 BB

ERA: 3.00 and the win

Almost got the shut out. The run in the first was partially my fault, as with one out, I fielded the ball and got the out at first, allowing a runner to advance to second. She would come into score.

In the 6th, we turned a double play a rare play worth celebrating. However our first baseman started celebrating with the ball in her hand and only two outs, allowing a runner from third to come in to score while I'm shouting at her to throw the ball home to me. (The same player allowed a run the same way earlier in the season, after she made a great catch in foul territory.)

But our bats came to play. I love it when we score more in the first inning than the other team all game. Either we got complacent or their defense tightened up, but the damage was done. I would have been set to lead off the bottom of the 7th, had we needed to bat that part of the inning.

Regular Season
Team Record: 2-6
Games I Was There For: 2-3
Pitching Record: 2-2

2009 (includes mid-season tournament)
Team Record: 5-6
Games I Was There For: 5-3
Pitching Record: 5-2

Our last game of the regular season is against the team we beat in week 1. So even though our record is technically 2-6 this season, my personal record is 5-3 in games played.