Saturday, March 31, 2012

Curling: Week Six

We won our bowl game.

The toilet bowl as it were.

Even though it was a ten team league, there were really only nine teams plus a team made up of subs every week. And for week 6, two teams were combined as they were both missing players.

So even though we were 2-3 and on the cusp of being 3-2 and tied for the championship game...we were playing for 7th.

And after getting four in the 3rd end, we were up 5-3 after four. Which made me laugh, because it's the same lead we had over both teams playing in the championship. 

By the way, I again was playing vice, the third position. When I came up in the 5th, the house was empty. I put two in. After the opposing team's last throw, they had one closest to the button. But our skip hit a nice shot and we ended up scoring two. That's a three point swing and now it's 7-3.

They added one in the 6th. And then we realized that we only had time to play one more end.

So we're sitting up 7-4 with the hammer.

With our skip coming up they had two in the house but only one shot left. And our skip's first shot knocks one of their stones out, leaving them one in and only one to throw, down three.

Their last stone doesn't make it into the house. If it had, the smart play would have been to just shake hands or throw it five feet.

But since we couldn't loss the game, she went ahead and shot for the point. Of course she knocked an opposing stone into the house, for a final score of 7-6.

I feel like I made a lot of progress between the two games I subbed and my first week of this league. And I feel like I also stepped up quite a bit over the last two weeks. But that may just be because I switched to third position, and I'm better at aiming shots at opposing rocks than drawing to empty space.

It was a good game and definitely nice to end the season with a win.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Curling Standings through Week 5

They didn't publish a final standings, but they did give us the schedule for the position round, so based on that, I was able to piece together the following.

Championship: Rock Stars 3-1-1 vs Full House 3-1-1

Rest of Standings:
Luck of the Draw 3-2
Northwest Sliders 3-2
Junior Women 3-2
8 End Dreams 2-2-1
Junior Men 2-2-1
Blazing Brooms 2-3
Rocking The House 2-3
Substitute Team 0-5

Pretty amazing how tight it is. 3-2 is good for 3rd place while 2-3 is 9th.

The Rock Stars beat us in week 3, despite us having a 5-3 lead through five.
And Full House beat us in week 5, despite us having a 5-3 lead through five.

We win one of those games, and we're 3-2, that team is 2-2-1 and it would come down to tie breakers.

Of course we really should have won week 4, when we were up 6-3 through six. We were really fricking close. And now we're playing for 7th.

AD Bracket: The Champion



Arguably the best part about that video is Michael's like "GOB's not on board."

Let's try again.



That's more like it. The best part is the understated "Come on" at :46.

This was inevitable.






Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Stocking My Bar

If you look at my favorite cocktails, it doesn't require a full bar setup. Here are the few spirits I need, with my preferred brands.

Bourbon
Buffalo Trace or Maker's Mark

Rum
Myer's Dark or Coruba or Angostura 5 Year or Gosling's Black Seal Rum

Tequila
1800 Silver or Patron Silver

Mixers
Diet Ginger Ale, Ginger Beer (Cock 'n Bull), Limes, Diet Squirt

- - -

You can find Buffalo Trace, Myer's Dark, and 1800 for about $20 each or less. Another $10 in mixers and you have everything you need to make a Bourbon & Ginger, Dark & Stormy or Paloma.

If I have some money leftover, I could get some Simply Limeade, Limencello and Tennessee Honey to add two more cocktails.

Monday, March 26, 2012

I often watch hockey on Viasat Sport, a Swedish network.

And between action they show their own daily scoreboard.

That looks like Detroit 5 - Columbus 1 SLUT

Apparently "final" in swedish is slut. Good to know.

Curling Regular Season Recap

After two weeks we were 2-0 and I was thinking championship.

After five weeks we are 2-3 and will not be in the championship. And if you remember week 1 was really a forfeit (deservedly so since I was playing against my own team) but we still walked away with the lesser score.

But it seemed like we were really close...let's take a look back.

Week 1: Up 5-1 through four. Up 7-6 through seven. Lost 8-7.
Week 2: Up 5-1 through three. Down 6-5 through seven. Won 7-6.
Week 3: Up 5-3 through five. Lost 8-7.
Week 4: Up 6-3 through six. Lost 7-6.
Week 5: Up 5-3 through five. Lost 9-5.

There you have it. We built a lead every week. And then choked it away. The only true win we got was a two-point comeback in the final end.

Our team wasn't that good. But we got an easy schedule. We really should have won week 4. Week 3 was ours for the taking, but they hit a perfect shot that turned the tide. And week 5..was a toss-up. We were evenly matched and if our skip doesn't give them two points in the 7th it's a one-point game in the last end.

We were really close to being 4-1, but at the same time, really close to being 0-5.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Curling: Week Five

Tonight we were missing two of our usual players, including our skip.

I volunteered to play vice (3rd) and one of the subs skipped.

We were up 5-3 through 5.

In the 6th, our first four shots went through the house, and they were sitting two in the four-foot with a guard. My first shot was a perfect draw to the right of the two in the house and became shot rock. They bumped one of theirs back, but they only scored one. If it wasn't for my shot, they could have 4 in scoring position.

So now we're up 5-4 through 6 with the hammer in the 7th. You can probably guess what happens next.

After my shots, the yellow team still were sitting two. And then up comes our skip. His first shot knocks a yellow guard into the house. His second shot knocks a yellow guard into the house. Yellow scores 4 in the 7th.

Now we're down 3, when we should only be down 1. And the strategy is completely different. Yellow's laying guards, we're trying to knock yellows out of the house. We ended with two red in the house...but there was a yellow closer.

Final: 9, 5

We finish the regular season 2-3.

I had a lot of great shots. I'm much better when I have something to aim at (opposing stones) as I'm a lot better at getting the line right than the weight. So it helps for me to shot 3rd instead of 2nd.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Big F'ing Game Tonight

Depending on what standings you use, the Avs and Coyotes are ahead of one another fighting for one playoffs spot.




And tonight Colorado plays Phoenix. With 7 games to go, this is simply huge. The last picture above shows Phoenix with a 56% chance of making the playoffs and Colorado as 39%. I bet tomorrow those numbers are quite different.

So again, the Avs have 7 more games. Here's their chances of making the playoffs based on their possible remaining records:


Remember less than a month ago when I thought that 92 points would get them in?

They've got 8-3-1 since then, earning 17 out of 24 possible points. For their first 63 games, they earned 54% of the possible points. Since then...71%.

So it looks like 94 points is the new goal. 4-2-1. I'll have the Avs on my computer, and I can put on Wisconsin-Syracuse and Cincy-Ohio State on the big screen.

The Frozen Four Bracket

If this tournament was held directly after March Madness, I think it could catch on. People have bracket fever. Sure, college hockey doesn't have the history that college basketball does...and there's over 300 NCAA Division 1 basketball programs, and there's apparently 30 in hockey...featuring such famous schools as Canisius, Rensselaer and St. Cloud St.

But...I'm going to ignore all of that and say that this could catch on if it was on CBS.

Here's the bracket.



Here are my picks:

BC over Minn-Duluth
Minnesota over ND
Miami over Union
Michigan over Ferris

BC over Michigan in the Final

AD Bracket: Championship Game

This was inevitable.


At first glance, Michael is just a straight man, the glue that holds it all together. But he's so much more. From "You can't do that on the balcony, Buster?" in the pilot to him calling his son's girlfriend Annhog.



warning: recorded with a potato



And then it was a matter of GOB versus Baby Buster.

Did you really think that GOB was going to lose?




And now it's here. Michael vs GOB. Going mano a mano, HERMANO a HERMANO.

Sweet (16) Thoughts

This year I did Calcutta, our bracket for fun, and a work bracket pool, with over $100 on the line. That was the one I most wanted to win. I'm currently 16th out of 19th. Even if Baylor goes to the Final Four, I think I would still lose by 10 points to another guy who has UNC winning it all.

- - -

How about Adam? Over 6 million brackets were made and he's in the top 200. Good enough for the 100.0 percentile. Too bad he's about to plummet. Heck of a run.


- - -

Someone was talking about joining our work pool this week, and everyone was like, ha, you missed the first two rounds. But it got me thinking?

How would your scores compare? In our pool, they'd be missing out on 340 to 530 of earned points. But you'd have 1280 possible remaining. With two rounds of hindsight, could you do better? For the sake of this challenge, I'll compare my score from the sweet 16 on, to my original bracket.

Kentucky over Baylor
Michigan St over Florida
Ohio St over Wisconsin
Kansas over UNC

Kentucky over Kansas

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

Coincidentally, even in curling, I need to keep my weight down.

Manning to Broncos: First Impression

I think the Broncos are the favorites to win the division the next two years.

But Montana was traded to the Chiefs in 1993. He was 36. They went the playoffs those two years. And then he retired at 38.

Manning turns 36 this week and just underwent 4 neck surgeries. I think 3 years in Denver is optimistic.

And as much as I wasn't worried about Tebow being a great QB in the long-term...he did take them to the playoffs in year one.

I don't think that Peyton wins another Super Bowl and I think the Broncos are going to be not very good in 4-5 years.

But it does make the Chiefs road the playoffs in the next couple years quite a bit harder.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Curling: Week Four

We were up 6-3 after the sixth end.

And then we hit a bad shot that knocked one of ours out, letting them score 3 in the 7th.

In the 8th, we hit a bad shot that knocked one of theirs in. And even with the hammer, our skip couldn't draw to the house.

Another one-point loss in a game we should have easily won.

Even more frustrating because the previously undefeated Rock Stars lost 9-1. So a win here would have positioned us nicely.

We were on the far edge of the rink, and the ice was so slanted that it was impossible to curl a shot toward the middle of the ice without it dropping out of bounds. I didn't have many good shots, most of them too hard.

It was stupid.

Friday, March 16, 2012

FUCK

AD Bracket: Final 4

You guys broke me.


My original final four not only included Gene Parmesan but...The Surrogate. 

I know the Surrogate was only in a few episodes, but he always cracked me up. And I love Tobias as much as any Analrapist, but I feel like the Surrogate had a better PER. 

But you guys. You love chalk so much. If you had it your way, Buster would be a 1-seed, and you'd have all four 1-seeds in the final four. 

So I'm going to give The Surrogate his one shining moment: 


Michael: Oh, yeah, that’s my father. That’s why we had the meeting here— so that he couldn’t interfere.
Larry: Interfere? I ought to pull down your pants and spank your ass raw.
Michael: I’m sorry. Have we met?
Bob Loblaw: Oh, yes, this Larry Mittleman. He’s your father’s surrogate.
Michael: Surrogate?
Larry: That’s right, you dumb bleep.

Lucille: Well we figured you know best, and who are we to interfere, and you love this girl, and the rest will just be little happy surprises along the way. Like you said.
Larry: Yeah, with the exception of the retard thing.
George, Sr.: Oh, God.
Larry: Tell me you didn’t just say that.

George, Sr.: So I’ve hired this guy to be my eyes and ears.
Michael: You know, Dad, this guy costs us a fortune.
Larry: He’s worth every penny.
George, Sr.: Hey, I didn’t say that.

G.O.B.: What do you think, Dad? A whole... tiny town?
Larry: Another brilliant idea, Einstein.
G.O.B.: Really? You’d like to build it with me?
George, Sr.: Larry really never knows how to sell the sarcasm.

George, Sr.: So you’re saying shred the evidence?
Bob Loblaw: That’s a felony. And I certainly couldn’t endorse anything like that.
George, Sr.: Got ya. Wink.
Larry: Wink. Did you say “wink” or did you wink?
Michael: He said that, too, Dad.

- - -

In other news, Michael finally proved his worth to his Dad.
GOB had the easiest road to the Final Four since UNC.
And Buster, well once you get that guy going, it's hard to stop him.

- - -

So now we've got the weekend to think about this.

We've got Michael vs Tobias. Dead wife vs dead marriage. Cornballer vs cornholer.

And we've got GOB vs Buster. A true hermano vs hermano fight. Or boyfight, if you will.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Avs tie it at 59:59!

Just yesterday I wrote a post of the best games I've ever seen on TV...and didn't have any that qualified for the Avalanche, despite catching about 40-50 of their 70 games so far this year.

There was a Duchene OT winner over Christmas break in O'Fallon. And a shootout win against the Blues that I made Brittany watch even though she couldn't care less.

But last night...

For the last 18 minutes of regulation, the Avs were down a goal and were pressing. Shot after shot, chance after chance. They even got a power play with 5 minutes to go. But no goals...

- - -

Before the game, I figured that COL needed to win 7 of their remaining 11 to make the playoffs. Coming in to the game, they had won 8 of their last 11. So it's not crazy.

But as the clock winded down, suddenly that stat was about to change to needing to win 7 of their last 10. Not great.

The Avs pulled their goalie, and following a offensive zone faceoff the puck was cleared down to the Avs end.

Downie had the puck behind the goal with 12 seconds left.

He passes it to Landeskog, who gets the puck at the top of his defensive faceoff circle with 9.7 left.

Landeskog races to the left of one Sabre, then the right of the next. And enters the zone at 7.2 seconds. He shoots the puck from the far left wing with 5.7 on the clock.

The puck goes wide of the net.

On the other side, O'Reilly gathers the puck at 4.1 and flings it toward the net at 3.5. He's basically flush with the goal line at this point. If the puck gets in-between the post and the goalie, I doubt it goes in.

It hits the side of the net at 3.2.

999 times out of 1000 the puck bounces to the side and back of the goal and the game is over. But this time the puck hits a Sabre curling around the net. It bounces off him, between the post and the goalie.

With 2.3 to go, the puck hits the ice inches from the goal line.

McGinn who just charged the net swats at it at 2.1, then slams it home on his second try with 1.7 left.

The overhead view toward the end of this clip shows what happened the best.



In case that one ever goes down, here's a link to the NHLVideo youtube version.

And here's an awesome link: the homer announcers call the last 25 seconds. The color guy provides a disappointed grunt when the Sabres clear it.

So that goal tied the game and earned the Avs one point. When they won the shootout (9-1 now in shootouts!) they got the second point.

Crazy.

the life of a '12 illini

I've previously opined on how great it would have been to attend Florida from 2005-2009. 

But I couldn't help myself. What is it like for this year's seniors graduating from Illinois?

- - -

Freshman Year

Fresh off an appearance in the Rose Bowl, the football year started with a close loss to Missouri, included a historic 45-20 win over Michigan at the Big House and had them poised to go to another bowl with a 5-4 record. They lost their last three games including one to Northwestern and Western Michigan. They finished 5-7. No Bowl Game.

With a basketball team featuring McCamey, Tisdale and Davis, the Illini finished with a respectable 24-10 record, good for third in the conference. They lost in the semis in the Big Ten Tournament and earned a 5-seed in the big dance. They lost to #12 Western Kentucky.

Sophomore Year

If you liked 5-7, you're going to love 3-9. Juice Williams' senior season didn't go as planned. He was benched for Eddie fucking McGee. The Illini did beat Michigan at home. But their season ended in a 53-52 loss to Fresno State when a lineman caught a deflected pass on a two point conversion as time expired. Just watch. No Bowl Game.

The basketball team continued to be mediocre. The addition of Paul and Richardson didn't matter much. They finished 21-15, lost in the Big Ten semis and missed the NCAAs. They lost in the third round of the NIT.

Junior Year

Out with the Juice, in with the Scheelhaase. Football season seemed better with a nice win over Northwestern at Wrigley, but really they compiled a 6-6 record by beating crappy teams. They did get invited to the Texas Bowl and beat Baylor. So that's something.

For McCamey's senior year, plus two great recruiting classes on the floor, you'd think the Illini would be poised for success. How does 20-14 sound?! After losing in the Big Ten quarters, the Illini did secure a #9 seed in the dance. And wouldn't you know...they won a tournament game! They beat #8 UNLV by 11. Next up, #1 Kansas. They lost by 14.


Senior Year

For Scheelhaase second season, the football team started 6-0! This was going to be the year! ...for Zook to get fired. They lost their next six games. Possibly because they started playing Big Ten teams and not Arkansas State or South Dakota State. Even after Zook got fired, the Illini managed a bowl berth and beat UCLA. Two bowl wins in a row!

In Bruce Weber's 9th season, the basketball team started 15-3! This was going to be the year! ...for Weber to get fired. 52 days before he was fired, Illinois was a projected 2 seed. Once Illinois dropped 12 of their next 14, they didn't even get invited to the NIT.

Football Summary

These poor seniors. Their football team went 20-28. Their best seasons were 6-6 where they got a pity bowl.

Basketball Summary

These poor fucking seniors. They made it to the NCAAs twice. Won one tournament game. They made it to the NIT once. And even missed the NIT once.

And I got to see a BCS bowl and a Final Four trip. Sorry.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

HOLY CRAP

#avs

Best Sporting Events I've Been To

Monday's hockey game prompted me to make a list of the best sporting events I've been to. The easiest way for my brain to organize this is to sort by my favorite teams.

Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs 31, Cardinals 13 -- 11.21.10 (espn, HC 1, HC 2)
This was a great win that lead to the playoffs. Bowe was awesome. A beautiful day and part of a great barbecue birthday weekend.

Chargers 34, Chiefs 31 -- 11.28.04 (espn, HC)
I know this was a loss, but it was a closer, more exciting game. Dante fumbled in the clear and then made up for with another return TD. This was the first game with the girlfriend that would one day be Mrs. Hoagie Central.

Chiefs 24, Eagles 17 -- 10.11.92 (pfr, HC)
This was only my second game and I was in the first row banging on the metal sign behind the endzone band. Twenty years ago!

Illinois Basketball
National Championship: North Carolina 75, Illinois 70 -- 4.4.05 (espn)
Yes this is another loss on my list of best sporting events. But it was awesome, so, so so close. And it was the National Championship. And we had 5 good friends crammed into 4 seats.

Confession: I didn't really go to many other basketball games in person. I remember watching the Wake game on Bash Court, the Wisconsin game at Legends, and of course the Arizona game with Mark on Bash again.

Illinois Football
I went to the 2001 Sugar Bowl and the 2007 Rose Bowl, but both of those were close enough to be that much fun. Glad I went to both, but still.

And I didn't realize it until just now, but the list of good Illini games that I've been to is pretty sad. The year that I had I-Block tickets, Illinois went 1-11. The only victory was against Illinois State. And we still celebrated with Brandon Lloyd and Burnsy stole his towel.

Illinois 35, Indiana 14 -- 10.13.01 (usa today)
This was Dad's Day and my dad and I saw Illinois kick ass with Kurt Kittner from the horseshoe.

Ohio State 23, Illinois 16 (OT) -- 11.16.02 (wiki, yt)
My dad and I went to this one too. Ohio State was #2 and would go on to win the national championship. Beutjer drove down the field in the final minute and Illinois kicked a 48-yarder to send it to overtime. My dad and I were chanting OVERRATED. In overtime, down 7, Illinois receiver caught two passes but were ruled out of bounds. The one on 2nd down was clearly out. The one on 3rd down was questionable. I remember leaving the stadium chanting BULLSHIT. And then a beer fell on my head. Still the second best game I'd been to in person.

Minnesota 38, Illinois 34 -- 11.13.10 (espn, yt)
The football itself was depressing, how Illinois let a shitty team come back and beat them in the final minutes. But it was fun to be back on campus with everyone.

God, this list is depressing.

Chicago
I went to two Blackhawks games, two White Sox games, and a Cubs game. I wasn't invested in any of them.

Colorado Avalanche
Avs 3, Ducks 2 (OT) -- 3.12.12 (espn, HC)
Given the sad state of this list, this one easily makes the cut. Great seats, goals right in front of me, my first Avs win in person, and in overtime by the possible rookie of the year.

And that's the list.

But I can't stop here...

- - -

Best Games I've Ever Seen


Illinois Basketball
Illinois 90, Arizona 89 (OT) -- 3.26.05 (cbs, wiki)
CBS named it the #3 March Madness game of the decade. All I know is me and Mark in Bash Court. Despair and then screaming and jumping.

Illinois Football
Illinois 28, Ohio State 21 -- 11.10.07 (espn, HC)
We took down the #1 team in the country on their turf. They still got to go to the title game. Assholes.

Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs 27, Raiders 23 -- 11.6.05 (45 minute hulu, 2 minute yt, HC, pfr)
Great game. But it comes down to the final 4 seconds. Chiefs have the ball but no more timeouts. Kick a field goal to go to overtime or go for the win? Nope. Larry Johnson, 20-blast. Touchdown.

Chiefs 21, Chargers 14 --  9.13.10 (nfl, HC)
I watched this game at Burnsy's. Season opener on MNF, introducing New Arrowhead, and the Chiefs take down the division champs. The start of a nice run to the playoffs.

Chiefs 40, Packers 34 (OT) -- 10.12.03 (pfr, 45 minute hulu)
This was probably the best game from the best Chiefs season I can remember. KC started 9-0 and finished 13-3.

There. I feel better now.

Sure there are other great sporting events that I've seen live that didn't involve my favorite teams. Bills-Oilers. Reggie Miller against the Knicks. The last 5 Super Bowls have all been great. Countless March Madness moments, including Kansas-Memphis and UCLA-Gonzaga. But anyone can make a list of those.

Curling Standings through Week 3

So we lost to the Rock Stars.

Their remaining schedule is NW Sliders (1-2) and Rockin the House (2-1).

So at least one of Rock Stars or Rockin the House can't get to 4 wins.

We already beat the Jr. Women, so we presumably hold the tiebreaker over them.

Luck of the Draw plays At Large (0-3) and NW Sliders (1-2) and they won the Rookie A league in January-Feb.

So you have to assume that Luck of the Draw will get to 4-1.
Rock Stars could get to 4-0-1 or Rockin the House could get to 4-1.

But aside from the Rock Stars, I don't know how they'll figure the tiebreakers.

- - -

To sum up, if we win out we'll get to 4-1 and have a decent chance to be one of the top two teams in the league.

If we finish at 3-2 or (gulp) 2-3 we don't have a chance.

Our remaining schedule is Jr. Men and Full House, both currently 1-1-1.

AD Bracket: Elite 8

Let's get to it...



All the number one seeds took care of business against more bit parts.

The Doctor was no match for George.

God, I love the Surrogate.

Would you believe, I actually had Gene Parmesan upsetting Buster? But after reconsidering, and Mark's strong vote of confidence, I reluctantly let go of my Gene love. Gene!

But enough about last round...

I'm way more excited about the upcoming matchups.

Michael Bluth vs George Bluth, son vs father

And Buster vs George Michael, the two people that had to wear the frontispiece.

Will the Surrogate continue his cinderalla run?

Can Carl Weather get his stew on against GOB?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

THAT WAS AWESOME

Wow.

Going into the game, there were two things that I was hoping for.

1. A Win (obviously)
2. An Avs goal on our end

I got tickets on StubHub in January. The best value was seats behind a goal. I got two lower bowl seats, 16th row, for $15 each. There was $10 in fees (service and electronic delivery) but I had a $10 discount code. So final price for two awesome seats: $30. I went to the game with my friend AJ. I didn't charge him for the ticket--all he had to do was buy me a beer and we're even.


I got there early to watch warmups. He arrived one minute before they announced the starting lineup, holding two giant cups of Fat Tire (Colorado pride!).

I liked the seats. Yes it was hard to see the action on the far end, especially when there was a crowd in front of the goal. But when there was an offensive rush coming to our end, it was quite a rush. The puck movement on our end was awesome to follow, it felt like I was seeing everything from the goalie's perspective. From a sitting position, I could just see the near goal line over the boards and the crowd in front of me. So every time the Avs had a scoring chance I was leaping out of my chair. (Side note: Since I've gained a bit of weight since November, my Avs shirt was fairly tight and the people behind me were getting a great view of my lower back every time I jumped up.)

While at work yesterday, I was reading previews of the game and they said that the leading scores for both teams were game-time decisions: Anaheim's Corey Perry and Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog. Perry had suffered a hard hit in a recent game; Landeskog was battling flu symptoms. (One press tweet mentioned diarrhea, every one else just said the flu.)

I was already bummed that Duchene was injured, so I was really hoping to see Landeskog play. In warmups, I was scanning the ice looking for 10 in white and 92 in burgundy. And I was happy with what I saw. Perry out, Landeskog in. Landy is a rookie but our leading scorer and usually our hardest hitter as well.


Also, I made sure to get seats on the end where the Avs would be shooting twice--the 1st and 3rd period.

In the first it seemed like all the action was on our end. And about 10 minutes in, a puck bounced loose from a crowd on the boards and McGinn fired a shot that went top shelf from behind the faceoff dot on our left.

Toward the end of the first, Downie had two great scoring chances right in front of the net, but no goal.

In the second, Anaheim outplayed the Avs. The shot differential grew. Of course, since they switched sides, the action was still mostly on our near end. Landeskog, the one with flu symtoms, seemed like the only Colorado player who wanted to hit anyone. And with 1 second left in the period, the Ducks scored with a loose puck in front of the net.

In the third, the Avs started on a power play and a shot got past their goalie, but was flopping around the goal line and a Duck defenseman cleared it out. It was back and forth and I didn't have a good sense of who would score next. Around 8 minutes to go, I said "next goal wins."

With 6:47 to go in the game, a Colorado defenseman (Hejda) took a low slapshot from the point and Porter tipped it up and into the net, off the pipe. Bananas.

Now it was up to Colorado to hold on for 7 minutes. Then 6 minutes. Then 5 minutes. Then with 4 minutes to go, Colorado gets called for their first penalty of the game (each team only had one the entire game). And 16 seconds later, Teemu fucking Selanne scores on a rebound from the wing.

Tied up with just under 4 to play.

With 3 to go, our second leading scorer, Ryan O'Reilly got the only breakaway of the night. Just as he got the shot off, the trailing defender dove and slashed at his skates. O'Reilly got the shot off and ended up in the goalie's glove, who sort of fell and slid around the goal line. There was a review to see if the puck had crossed the line while in the goal. No goal.

So you know what that means. FREE HOCKEY.

The good part: The Avs were still shooting on the near side. Both teams had chances. And then this happened:



Right in front of us! Overtime winner! Two points in the standings. I didn't even realize it was Landeskog until a minute after he scored.




So I got the win. And not one, but three Avs goals right in front of me. In fact, 4 out of the 5 goals in the game were scored on our end.


And I didn't even mention the nachos! At the second intermission, I was on a mission in search of nachos. I feel like stadium food is always overpriced and usually not that good--but nachos are pretty reliable and a good value.

After passing up one concession which featured pizza and dogs but no nachos, I saw the concession stand title Jalepeno's Cafe. There for 7.50 they sold Monster Chicken Nachos. I'm in. AJ said he would buy them for me. He got a regular nachos (4.75) and a Colorado Native beer (7.50) for himself. The total? 12.25. The lady didn't charge us for the Monster Chicken Nachos. Free hockey and free nachos!

Oh and they were awesome. Sour cream, guacamole, salsa, beans, pulled chicken, jalapenos, covering a ton of chips. It probably took me 20-25 minutes to eat them all, and I can finish a burger in 2 minutes.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Second Avs Game in person

The first time I entered the Pepsi Center was back in November.

It was the Avs 14th game of the season. And it was a good thing we were in our seats when the puck dropped. Colorado scored 34 seconds in. And then never again. Lost 2-1.

Colorado is 7-3, Anaheim 4-6 in their last 10.

The Ducks are out of the playoff hunt, but the Avs are still clinging to hope. 4 teams are within reach of that 8th spot.

Anaheim's leading scorer is day-to-day and I'm hoping he sits this one out.

Go Avs.

Brackets, Calcutta and other Madness

Since we already completed our calcutta and I don't really care how our bracket contest ends up, I'm going to go ahead and talk about my March Madness thoughts.

My Elite Eight looks like this:
1-3, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2.

Boring and wrong. I know it won't end up with that much chalk. So why pick it? Because in each case, I think those teams have the best chance of getting that far.

In considering which teams to get to the Elite Eight (and which teams to advance to the title game) I looked at the strength of the 3's and 4's in each region. So let's break it down by section.

SOUTH

Kentucky
Indiana
Baylor
Duke

Kentucky is the #1 overall seed, but I think Indiana can beat them.
If Kentucky is the #1 overall, that should mean that Duke is the worst #2. I like Baylor. I don't like Duke.

So I've got Kentucky meeting Baylor. But I picked Baylor to win the region, because I think they have a better chance of beating Duke than Kentucky does of beating Indiana.

WEST

Michigan State
?
?
Missouri

Louisville (4) could be a trendy upset pick to Davidson. A 5-12 is a tossup.
So I've got Michigan State easily to the S16.

On the bottom, I don't know anything about Marquette. So I just assume they stink. I've got Murray State in the S16. And I really like Missouri. So I've got them in the Elite Eight.

So I know that Izzo somehow always gets to the final four, but I think Missouri is super strong and I think they have an easier road. (Louisville may be picked to lose in the first round, but that doesn't mean they can't advance and possibly beat Mich. St.)

EAST

Same sort of thinking in the East.

I like Syracuse and Ohio State, but think that Ohio State has an easier road.

Wisconsin could be a tough out.

So I've got Ohio State beating Syracuse.

MIDWEST

I've got Temple beating Michigan. Either way, UNC has an easy road to the E8.

While the bottom half looks like a slugfest. Kansas, Georgetown, even SDSU could all get to the E8.

Just reaffirming that I like UNC to win the region.


FINAL FOUR

So here's my final four. In parens, I'm putting the number of tough games I expect each one to face to this point.

Baylor (2)
Missouri (1)

Ohio State (1)
UNC (1)

Based on that, there's a good chance that Baylor isn't in the final four at all. So advancing them another round is a serious risk.

And I knew in October I was going to pick UNC to win it all. Shit happens.

UNC over Mizzou.

Calcutta

Mark has the best team based on seeds. Niraj looks likes he has the worst. But they don't play games on paper.

Here are the teams I think have a good to reasonable chance to get to the Elite Eight:

Kentucky
Indiana
Baylor
Duke
Michigan St
Missouri
Murray St (half chance)
Syracuse
Wisconsin (half-chance)
Florida St
Ohio St
UNC
Gtown
Kansas

Here's our Calcutta rankings based on who has those teams:

Mark: 4
Niraj: 3.5
Dave: 3
Savan: 1.5
Matt: 1

Let's go one step deeper: Teams with a realistic shot at the Final Four:

Kentucky
Duke
Baylor
Mich St
Mizzou
Syracuse
Ohio State
UNC
Gtown
Kansas

Mark: 3
Dave: 3
Niraj: 2
Savan: 1
Matt: 1

Obviously, I don't know how things well shape up, and whoever owns the winning team will be the winner. And I like my chances of that being UNC.

But at the start of Final Four weekend, my best guess at the standings is:
Mark
Dave
Niraj
Savan
Matt

AD Bracket: Sweet 16

Here's the bracket that everyone's talking about!


Notes from Round One

You can't have a sweet sixteen party without Ice!

The Literal Doctor: I'm sorry, but I'm afraid there's nothing more that I can do.
[everyone gasps]
Michael: Let him keep talking.
The Literal Doctor: Because Dr. Stein has been assigned to your case.

Ann and Stan Sitwell suffered from the same problem. They were in a lot of funny scenes. But Michael and George Michael made Ann's scenes funny, not her. Same for Sitwell with GOB and George getting the laughs.

Banger in the mouth!

Confession: I never really liked Oscar (.com!) And I love Larry Middleman.

Lucille:Well we figured you know best, and who are we to interfere, and you love this girl, and the rest will just be little happy surprises along the way. Like you said.
Larry: Yeah, with the exception of the retard thing.
George, Sr.: Oh, God.
Larry: Tell me you didn’t just say that.

Another Confession: Maeby has her moments, but I never thought that her, Lindsay, or Lucille were nearly as good as their male counterparts. Sorry. Also, Steve Holt!

It's not easy being white. It's not easy being brown. All this pressure to be bright. I got kids all over town.

Now wait a minute. This is just purely a social call. You know, just two adults getting a stew on, man.

And that's why you never go up against J. Walter Weatherman in a bracket.

Gene!


Looking at the Sweet Sixteen matchups

All four 1-seeds advanced. As well as all 6-seeds.

Perhaps the best matchup this round is Tobias vs Mrs. Featherbottom.

But the real matchups loom large in the elite eight. Can't wait.

And as for my commenters, feel free to play out the bracket with your round one picks. It will be interesting to see how closely our final fours matchup.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Curling: Week Three

We lost.

A game that we really should have won.

We were up 5-3 after five ends.

In the 6th end, we had one in scoring position with a guard. But they had the hammer. And their skip threw the perfect shot, a draw that curled around our guard, knocked ours out of the four-foot and stayed right there. That shot scored two for them--a three point swing.

Now it was tied.

The 7th end was a disaster. In a tie game, somehow they got three. I felt like we had outplayed them on the whole, but they had enough good shots to score points when it mattered.

In the last end, we actually had a chance to win or tie. We had two in the house when our skip came up. Both shots came up short. Though it was a tight window and I don't think I could have threaded that needle.

So we lost 8-7.

We're 2-1 now and the team we just lost to is now 2-0-1 with a tiebreaker against us. And I'm sure there's going to be some other 2-1 teams now. So our championship game hopes are still alive, but on the ropes. I think we'll need to win the last two games, and even then it's not guaranteed.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

What people like in Autopilot

This stopped me in my tracks. It's one thing to say that I sold 250 copies of a book in 2011. It's another to see that people are reading it, highlighting passages they liked, and that multiple people highlighted the same stuff.

It's weird. Even if it's only 3 people, it's a strange feeling to see that people are independently liking certain sections that I've written.

Popular Highlights of Autopilot 

&quote;
I wonder how much of my life has been lived on autopilot. Some days I’m having lunch and I don’t even remember taking the train to work that morning. We only remember what we want to remember. &quote;
Highlighted by 6 Kindle users
&quote;
What Santa Claus is for kids, Jesus Christ is for adults. &quote;
Highlighted by 5 Kindle users
&quote;
What if dreams are just memories that haven’t happened yet? &quote;
Highlighted by 3 Kindle users
&quote;
We spend so much time devoted to the trivial. So much energy put into things that don't matter. That when something like this happens, it's hard to react. It's hard to function. I cry over playoff losses. I curse when drivers cut me off. I actually care about so much bullshit that it's hard to find the emotion necessary at times like this. &quote;
Highlighted by 3 Kindle users
&quote;
No matter what we’re talking about, my wife and I find ourselves being contrarian, if only for the sake of being contrarian. People call it playing devil’s advocate. But really it’s just that after spending so much time with someone, you just want to be right. &quote;
Highlighted by 3 Kindle users

The Arrested Development Bracket

It's March. I'm taking inspiration from Grantland, but this time beating them to the punch. And I found out how to make better looking brackets in Excel.

So without further ado...


I already filled out the entire bracket. I know who wins it all. But I figured let's do it a round at a time.

Sweet 16 Results: Monday, March 12
Elite 8 Results: Wednesday, March 14
Final 4 Results: Friday, March 16
Championship Game: Monday, March 19
Winner Revealed: Wednesday, March 21

- - -

I based the seedings on polls that I found online. And carefully constructed the bracket so that at each round my favorite characters would advance. And I tried to pair characters that shared something in common where I could.

Let's look at some tasty round one matchups:

Michael vs Rita (Mr. F)
Stan Sitwell vs George Bluth
GOB vs White Power Bill
Barry Zuckercorn vs Maggie Lizer in a battle of lawyers
Carl Weathers vs Lindsay
Steve Holt vs Maeby
Gene Parmesan vs Lucille

I'm posting these round by round so if Mark and Burnsy (or Kirat--don't think I forgot about my 4th reader) want to weigh in they can. But rest assured that your votes won't change anything.

Check back on Monday for the Sweet 16.

Fixing the NHL Standings with a 3-Point System

Current NHL Standing System
Reg Win/OT Win/SO Win = 2 points
OT Loss/SO Loss = 1 point
Reg Loss = 0 points

The first flaw in this system is that not all games have equal points. If St. Louis beats Nashville in regulation, two points are awarded to St. Louis. If St. Louis beats Nashville in overtime or the shootout, two points are still awarded to St. Louis, but Nashville has earned a point as well. This just became a three point game. It doesn't really make sense that some games are more valuable than others.

The second problem is even bigger. For games tied late in the 3rd, both teams have an incentive to play cautiously. Just getting to overtime, assures both teams half credit. With the good possibility of earning full credit.

This system doesn't make sense.

Let's look at two options.

Proposal A: Conventional Wisdom's 3-point plan
Reg Win = 3 points
OT Win/SO Win = 2 points
OT Loss/SO Loss = 1 point
Reg Loss = 0 points


This solves the first problem easily. All games are worth 3 points.

This also solves the second problems. Teams have an incentive to win in regulation (thought teams still could play cautiously to make it to overtime, at least insure earning a single point).

In a recent ESPN post about this, someone criticied this plan as such:

"You could have a tie game with five minutes to go in regulation and suddenly a team pulls their goalie because they desperately need those three points to move up the standings late in the season," the GM said. "And then they get an empty-net goal scored on them and the other team gets handed three bonus points instead, which could have a huge impact on whatever club was chasing that team. Get it?"

Yes that would be a shame if a team desperate for three points pulled their goal in a tied game. But if you look at the numbers, I doubt it would happen unless it was the last game of the year. Because the chance to get two points in a overtime win, is much better than the risk of getting zero in a reg loss.

This plan solves a lot of problems and makes a lot of sense. But here's a question...should winning in the five minute overtime be less valuable than winning in regulation? Imagine if winning in extra innings or overtime in the NBA or NFL was worth less than a regulation win. Also imagine, that just getting to extra innings helped you in the standings.

It seems contrary to just about everything else we know about sports.

So let's take a step back. Why don't we just count wins?

The answer, clearly, is that now with the addition of the shootout, it would be too arbitrary to award a full win based on winning a three-shot shootout.

Right? Isn't that the answer? So why should we penalizing overtime winners and rewarding overtime losers in hockey, but not in any other sport? Even currently, if you win in overtime, it's a win.

So let's take a look at an alternate idea, one that I haven't seen talked about at all.

Proposal B: Hoagie Central's 3-point plan
Reg Win/OT Win = 3 points
SO Win = 2 points
SO Loss = 1 point
Reg Loss/OT Loss = 0 points

Let's look at the problems with the current system.

Yep, all games are worth the same amount of points.

Now what about teams tied in the 3rd playing cautiously? I think this would work even better than Proposal A. There is no incentive to get to overtime. If you make it to overtime, you still haven't earned a point yet.

So teams would play hard in the 3rd. And I think it would make overtime even better as well. For a team that is excellent in the shootout, like Colorado (7-1) or Detroit (7-2), currently they have an incentive to play cautiously in overtime. But with an overtime win being worth 3 and a shootout win being worth 2, I think all teams would play to win in OT.

And it makes sense, according to the reason why we don't just count wins in the first place. Because the shootout is sort of arbitrary and winning the shootout isn't really the same as winning the game in regulation or overtime. So the fans still get a winner or loser. And if your team loses in the shootout, at least you still got a point out of it.

I really don't see a problem with this idea.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

I think Water Basketball should be an Olympic sport

But it the shallow end. For lots of dunks and alley oops.

And a circle around the basket where defenders can't go. For lots of dunks and alley oops.

Goaltending is allowed if you can reach it.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

My Favorite Wire Characters Bracket

So once again, Grantland came out with a non-sports bracket:


Now, I'm not a Wire-fanatic. But I have watched the entire series. And I couldn't help myself.

So I put together a 16-character bracket. Why not 32? Well, just think of these as the first round of winners from the Grantland bracket. Why would I need to seed the people that couldn't win one matchup? Of course, it wasn't as simple as playing out the Grantland setup. Because some of my favorite 16 include people in first-round matchups from Grantland's bracket (McNulty and Cedric, Mouzone and Bunk, Snoop and D'Angelo, Avon and Prez). But also because I wanted to carefully construct this. More on that after you see it.

But the biggest question is what is your criteria for selecting your favorite character? I based it simply on this: which characters would I rather watch a scene of?

I based the seedings on Grantland's seedings. Which allowed for upsets. Which is key. If I just ranked my favorite characters 1 to 16, that wouldn't be a very good bracket at all.

So for example, Marlo didn't even crack my top 16 and Avon was out in the first round. I just didn't find them that enjoyable to watch.

So how do I construct a bracket like this, where I want to control how far each character advances? I do it in reverse order. And in tiers.

So Omar was my favorite. Then I wanted String to face him in the final. Lester and McNulty round out my final four. And then I picked my elite eight: adding Bunk, Clay, Carcetti and Cedric in that order. Then it's just a matter of juggling the seeds. Originally I had McNulty as a 4 and Lester making the Final Four as an 11 over the 3 seed Bunk. Then I realized I hadn't placed Avon and based on Grantland's seedings he needed to be in the top 4.

I was happy that I got to place McNulty vs Bunk. And the final four featured two street vs cop matchups, with the street winning both times.

- - -

Of course, this is just a personal preference. And like I said, I'm not a Wire fanatic. I'd love to hear what Mark's favorite characters are, at least a final four, if not an elite eight.

my cbssports.com account

This year's work March Madness is being run through cbssports.com. So I had to make an account. when I tried to register "Fymbo" as a username it said it already existed. So I logged-in and found my account details.

Curling Standings through Week 2

I've posted screenshots of standings before. But always as a fan. Never as a member of one the teams. Here's our remaining schedule.

Week 3: Blazing Brooms vs Rock Stars
Week 4: Blazing Brooms vs Junior Men
Week 5: Blazing Brooms vs Full House

Week 6: tbd (Championship Week (or Bowl Week, I suppose, if you don't make the championship.)

Luck of the Draw is a really, really good team. I subbed for them in Rookie Winter A League in January. They won it all with a 5-0-1 record. I'm very surprised that they lost last week to Full House, a team that lost in Week 1 to the Junior Women.

- - -

To make the championship game, you have to be in the top 2, you don't have to be #1. A win this week would be huge.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Bullshit


Let's see. Triple-letter F is 12 + 2 + 4 + 5 is 23. x3 is 69. 
Plus 12 + 1 + 1 + 2 for fern is another 15. 

That's an 84-point fuck. 

Thanks a lot Words With Friends. Fuck is neither misspelled nor a proper noun. And I'm pretty sure it get's used more than ern. 

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Curling: Week Two

So the first thing that happened tonight was I found out that last week's game counts as a win for us. Even though we lost by one, since they only had two players and I curled for them, it was a forfeit. So our run to the championship is still in play.

This week our opponent was three high school girls...and the club president. Here's how most ends went. The first two girls couldn't get their stones across the hog line. The third girl could but wasn't very accurate. And then the president would come in and thread the needle to the button.

We were red. I was second again.

1st end: Red 4
2nd end: Yellow 1
3rd end: Red 1
4th end: Yellow 1

At this point, the team with the hammer (last stone) had scored every time. In the second end, I played two great shots and we had three or four in scoring position, but the yellow skip's hammer throw was perfect. But after being up 5-1 after three and with the hammer coming again in the 5th, I was thinking blowout. I was hoping that maybe I could skip the last end if it was garbage time.

5th end: Yellow 1

Even though we had the hammer, yellow scored. But we would have the hammer in the 6th. And the 6th is a good one to score in. That gives your opponent the hammer in the 7th, setting you up to have the last stone in the 8th.

6th end: Yellow 1

Crap. After being up 5-1, it was now 5-4. We couldn't lose to high school girls. My shots weren't as good anymore. A few short, a few long.

7th end: Yellow 2

Are you serious? Now we're down 6-5. After the first four ends where the team with the hammer scored every time, yellow had scored three ends in a row when we had the hammer. But we still had it for the 8th. We were down. We needed 1 for a tie, 2 for the win.

8th end: Red 2

Hell yeah. This was serious curling. My first shot (3 of 8 in this end) knocked a yellow out of the house and rolled into the house, behind a guard. It remained one of two red stones in the house at the end. Clutch.

So now the Blazing Brooms are 2-0. There's 5 rounds of league play (10 teams), and then the top two teams are selected to play for the championship, a la the BCS. Last season the two teams selected were 4-0-1 and 4-1.

I don't think we're the best team in the league. But that doesn't matter. We only play 5 of the other 9. If we can catch a few breaks, it's not out of the question.

Of course, it's not all about the championship. I'm playing quite a bit better over the last two games then I did when I subbed. It's a lot of fun.