Friday, June 28, 2013

Ranking NHL Logos, Part Two

Here was part one. 

15. Devils
It's very cartoony. When I look at it, I just see an N, not a N and J. But partly because they Devils have been consistently good in my lifetime, it seems not so bad. If an expansion team came out with this, I'd hate it.

14. Avalanche
It would be better without the black in the lower right. Middle of the pack seems fair.

13. Oilers
It's pleasing. The type gives it character. It's nice that they haven't tried to update it to be more modern/aggressive. Clean. 

12. Blues
It's similar to the Red Wings in concept, but nowhere near as pleasing. Still it's nice and clean. No need for any letters. 

11. Wild
I was shocked to see this so low on the original list. It's very Minnesota, a nice landscape with hidden animal bonus. The green is lovely.

10. Rangers
Attention LA: this is how you do a crest. Nice use of lines and curves, red white and blue done in a non-obtrusive manner. Strong lettering.

9. Canadiens
This is a little bit like judging the McDonald's golden arches. What it represents is the oldest, most storied franchise. The logo itself, is classic but kind of bland. The H is a nice touch, but still, it's not in the top 5.

8. Senators
If this was done today, there are so many ways it could have gone wrong. I love how it's not trying too hard.

7. Sabres

A great example of going back to what was working. Buffalo and Sabres all in one neat circle. The Gold is a nice touch.

6. Lightning
Probably a better ranking than most would give it. But I love how clean and flat it is. One color. Amazing how simplicity can work in your favor.

5. Bruins

Simple and strong. Just the right amount of detail. The B by itself would be not enough. Circles help. Notice how we haven't seen a hockey stick in the top 15.

4. Jets
A great example that older doesn't have to mean more classic. The old logo was a dull attempt at combining a Jet into the letters and using a hockey stick as a J. This feels modern and like it was the right choice 50 years ago as well. Nice job. 

3. Blackhawks
We've seen how simplicity can work in your favor, here's one that shows how complexity can be done right. There are a lot of details, but they're done in a clean, simple way to create something special. 

2. Maple Leafs
I really had a hard time deciding between 1 and 2. They're both one color which goes a long way. They  both have iconic shapes. The type is lovely on the leafs logo. But ultimately I gave the nod to Detroit because it didn't need any letters.

1. Red Wings
Simple and complex all at once. There's a concept that represents the city well but it's done it a one-color clean way. What's not to like?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ranking NHL Logos

I saw this piece of shit article and figured I could do better.

30. Canucks

This is a shitty idea with shitty execution. It barely passes as a C, everything about it is terrible.

29. Ducks
Just bland. Feel like it's trying really hard to be from the future.

28. Blue Jackets

This is a shame because Columbus has the best third jersey around. But this color scheme and design are cloying.

27. Islanders

I get it. It's the island. But at small sizes it just looks like a stripe with a shitty brushstroke technique. The fonts are weak. The Y hockey stick doesn't match so it's a piss-poor job all-around.

26. Capitals

This isn't as offensive as the bottom four, but it's pretty bad. You can't just throw a hockey stick into anything and have it a be a good hockey logo, in fact, it's a recipe for a bad one. And the washington is part of the logo but unreadable in normal use. At least their color scheme is appropriate.

25. Stars

This is shite. Loses points for being brand new and being a downgrade from their old logo. It's a D in a star. Someone decided that a D on an angle was more impressive than a regular D. Italics are intimidating!

24. Flames
I don't like logos that are cartoony or trying to be aggressive. This falls into cartoony. Although I guess it's also trying to be aggressive.

23. Penguins
Cartoony. And there's that hockey stick. It feels like they think they're ironic or something for using this. A downgrade from where they were.

22. Predators
Aggresive. It's at least well-done. Just boring.

21. Sharks
The holy trinity. Cartoony, agressive and a hockey stick! I think you could have an awesome logo for a shark. Just the fin would be exciting. This seems silly.

20. Kings
This doesn't feel like a logo. I wouldn't mind just the crown. I do appreciate that they've dropped the purple.

19. Coyotes
It doesn't show up that well in a small size, but it's not awful. A little boring but it's a decent coyote. 

18. Flyers

To make this list, I started by organizing them into best, worst, and in between. 13 teams fell into my worst category. As I started to rank them I kept moving this up because it has all the elements of logos I like. It just doesn't do it for me. Maybe it's the color scheme. Even with no "bad" elements, it's still sort of ugly.

17. Hurricanes

This was the worst logo on the article I linked earlier and I wasn't sure why. It's a decent graphical representation of a hurricane, the symmetry is pretty nice (though I wish it was perfect). It's not great, but it's a lot better than the Canucks. Of course, it does slightly resemble a butthole.

16. Panthers

This is hit and miss. I appreciate the symmetry. But the gold is an ugly shade and it's trying pretty hard.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Week 8

Week 0 = 205 pounds
Week 1 = 200.5
Week 2 = 199
Week 3 = 197
Week 4 = 196
Week 5 = 192.5
Week 6 = 190
Week 7 = 189.5
Week 8 = 186

Now that's what I'm talking about! After being stuck on a plateau for a week, I was able to shake it off and tie for my 2nd best week ever. (And you can't really count the first week where it's always going to be the fastest and plenty of water weight.)

I did it by having a high-calorie day last Wednesday and then being a bit lower than normal on Thursday and Saturday. Plus, I starting doing these to build muscle and it definitely was a key factor. I went from 188 to 186 in two days thanks to those exercises. 

Feelin' good. Almost at 20 pounds lost. Almost at the halfway point of 22.5 pounds. 

Monday, June 24, 2013


I didn't have a chance to take a picture. But I did steal a good photo and add a little color to it. Ta da.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Love to Love, Love to Hate

During this series and the whole playoffs, everything I read or heard said that people were rooting against LeBron and the Heat, as if it was the right thing to. 

And yet, in the 1990's it seemed like most people wanted to see Jordan win. Before 2008, everyone wanted Tiger to win. It's hard to remember for sure, but it seemed like people liked watching Joe Montana win. 

But of course, non-Yankee fans love to watch New York lose. It's become popular to hate on Duke. In 2001, the Patriots were a lovable underdog. By 2008, I was rooting against the 19-0 bid. 

So how do we decide which successful athletes or teams we want to root for or against? The old standby is that America loves an underdog. Which is true some of the time. But not all of it.

In tennis and golf, it makes more sense to root for successful athletes. Because they're still playing against the field. 2005 Tiger might be a favorite to win a major, but his chances of winning might only be 15%.  

In team sports, there seem to be some stars that America loves to love. Maybe because Jordan played in the pre-internet era, but everyone seemed to want him to win, even if I didn't. (I thought he was a ball hog and remember rooting against him in 97, 98. I was in the minority and rightly so. You want your stars taking your big shots. I'm also aware that I'm using the word "seem" a lot.)

I'm a sports fan that doesn't really follow an NBA team. I like LeBron. I like Durant. I don't like Kobe. I rooted for the Heat and I thought they were going to win game 6 the whole time, even down 5 late. 

I don't have good reasons for who I like, who I don't like. But I know that if LeBron had missed the shot that Duncan missed, writers would have ripped him 100x more than the Spurs' star. I know that LeBron is the best player since Jordan. Better than Kobe and Duncan and whoever else you want to put in the mix. Good enough that when the next young star comes out in ten years, writers might ask if this is the next LeBron, partly because it's not conceivable or fair to ask if this is the next Jordan. 

But I think it comes down to mostly this. It's fun to watch an underdog topple a heavy favorite. But it's also exciting to root for greatness. I want to see Tiger break Nicklaus' records. And then in twenty years, I want to see someone break Tiger's. Even if LeBron can't match Jordan's titles or MVPs, I want to see LeBron win as much as he can. I want to see someone at his prime do things that others can't.

Another Deposit at the Bank

Last year, LeBron won his first title and we had a little check-in on Dan Gilbert's guarantee. 

Just for fun, let's do it again.

In case you don't remember, the owner of the Cavs, Dan Gilbert "personally guaranteed that the Cavs would win one before LeBron" and "you can take that to the bank."

So how are those two teams doing? Since LeBron left:

The Cavs have won 64 games.
The Heat have won 216 games.

Including three consecutive Finals appearances, 2 titles, 2 Finals MVPs and 2 Season MVPs for Mr. James.

Last October, Gilbert said he wished he hadn't guaranteed that the Cavs would win a title first. But that's not how things work. As I learned on Seinfeld, that was the bet! You can't just take it back when you lose. You put it out there. So what bank can I take this guarantee to?


You'll get to see the chart in a second, but I'll cut to the chase. Since the Finals MVP award was introduced in 1969, nine players have been awarded the MVP in both the regular season and the NBA Finals. This is a great accomplishment to be the best player over 82 games, and then lead your team to the championship and be the best player in the finals.

Only three players have done this more than once:
Michael Jordan (4 times)
Larry Bird (2 times)
LeBron James (2 times)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

If you need me, I'll just be watching this over and over

Week 7

Week 0 = 205 pounds
Week 1 = 200.5
Week 2 = 199
Week 3 = 197
Week 4 = 196
Week 5 = 192.5
Week 6 = 190
Week 7 = 189.5

This was a frustrating week. I didn't really do anything different and yet the weight stopped coming off. Today I'm "pulling a Memorial Day" and having a high-calorie day on purpose to try and get my body to burn calories at a higher level. It seems counter-intuitive but it has worked for a lot of people, including myself. 

Also, it would probably help if I put on some muscle. So there's that. 

Chicago Food List

After making my New Orleans food list, I couldn't help but think about the top 5 places I would want to eat at the next time I'm back in Chicago. When I mentioned it to Mrs. Hoagie Central she named Portillo's, India House and Gino's East.

Here's what I would get:

Italian Combo, Hot, Wet (italian sausage + italian beef with hot peppers and plenty of au jus) at Johnnie's Beef near Oak Park.

Sausage Deep Dish at Edwardo's

#4 (corned beef + roast beef) on White Challah with Bacon at Perry's in the loop

Double Decker (capicollo, salami, mortadella, provolone, giardiniera) at L'Appetito on Huron

Pizza and pasta at Quartino on State

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What are the odds?

In game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, the Los Angeles Kings were 14.4 seconds away from elimination. They trailed the Blackhawks 2-3 in a score or go home situation. They scored. (They eventually went home anyways in OT, but that's not the point.)

What are the odds that they would score a goal at that point?

- - -

Method #1

With that little time, the Kings pretty much had to win the faceoff cleanly. Clean wins don't happen every time, and a tie-up would waste valuable seconds. I'll be conservative and say a clean win for the Kings would happen 40% of the time.

Even with the puck, they had to get a shot to the net. In a situation like this where the Blackhawks know they need to shoot quick and should be ready to block anything, that's not easy. I'd say once they have the puck, getting a shot on net might happen 60% of the time.

Now is the tricky part. Getting it in the net. In the regular season the Kings scored 2.73 goals on 29.8 shots for a season shooting average of 9%.

So Method #1 says that when the play started, the Kings had a (.4*.6*.09 = .022) 2.2% chance of scoring. Even that seems high, no?

Method #2

The Kings averaged 2.73 goals in 60 minutes over an entire season. The time remaining (14.4 seconds) constitutes .004 of a single game. Ergo, I could expect the Kings to score .01092 goals in that amount of time. Which I think is the same thing as saying they would score a goal in 1.1% of the scenarios with 14.4 seconds left.


If so far, Method #2 seems more plausible, how did Method #1 double it? Well using estimates I pulled out of my ass, I gave them a (.4*.6) 24% of getting a shot on net. But using their shots per game average, over an entire season they only got a shot on net every 120.8 seconds. Which would mean that their chances of getting a shot on goal in the final 14.4 seconds was really only 11.9%. But that leads us back to the same 1.1% chance of scoring.

But these numbers are based on season averages covering all instances of play, and the moment in question was a offensive zone faceoff, with a 6 of 5 to boot. So it would make sense that their chances of scoring in that stretch were higher than over the typical 14.4 second stretch in the season.


I think 1.1% to 2.2% is a reasonable range. For my final answer, I'll err more on the side of the season averages and say the Kings had a 1.5% chance of scoring when the puck was dropped.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Dissecting the 2-3-2

I hate the 2-3-2. Every playoff series should be 2-2-1-1-1. Let's go deeper.

In the 2013 NHL Western Conference Semifinals, after four games the Blackhawks trailed the Red Wings 1-3. But the Blackhawks had home ice.

So it created a decent scenario for them: You get a home game for game 5. If you win that, you'll get a road game for game 6. Win that and you'll have the momentum and a home game for game 7.

So the home ice team trailing 1-3 has a glimmer of hope.

What about the team without home ice?

Well, in the Western Finals, the Kings found themselves trailing the Blackhawks 1-3. They had to go on the road for game 5. But knew that if they won that, they would get a home game in game 6. After that it's game 7 on the road, but anything can happen in a game 7.

What if these scenarios had been in the 2-3-2?

The Blackhawks, despite having home ice, would have had to play a game 5 in Detroit. The series could have ended there and Chicago would have had less home games.

Down 1-3, the Kings would have known they would have to win back-to-back games in Chicago. Glimmer of hope, much less so.

Okay, so that shows that the trailing teams prefer the 2-2-1-1-1, regardless of home ice. But what about the winning teams?

In the first example, there's a ton of pressure on the Red Wings to close it in five. For the team without home ice to win a 2-3-2 series, they either have to close it out on the road, or win the first 4 of 5.

In the second example, the Blackhawks probably would be fine with a 2-3-2, knowing they would have game 6 and 7 at home. But they have home ice, and they're trying to end it in five. Why should they have to give LA three home games, based on the ticket money alone?

- - -

Let's shift to the 2013 NBA Finals.

The Spurs and Heat were 2-2 after four. Game 5 is huge in this scenario. In a 2-2-1-1-1, the Heat with home court should get the chance to dictate the series and go up 3-2 at home. A Heat loss at home would give the Spurs a chance to close it out at home. A Heat win at home puts the pressure on the Spurs to hold serve and force a game 7. Both of those seem right.

But in the 2-3-2? The Spurs get the game 5 home game. A Spurs win at home puts them ahead but only because the team without home court advantage has had more home games. The Spurs haven't really taken a decisive advantage in the series yet, knowing they have to close it out on the road. Meanwhile a Spurs loss at home would give Miami a huge edge.

In short, it seems unfair to both teams. After a pivotal game 5, the team with home court has had less games and could be out of the series. And the team without home court has to either win 4 out of the first 5, or go on the road to win the title.

The 2-2-1-1-1 is perfect and provides lots of little nuances and strategies.
The 2-3-2 is shit.

New Orleans Food List

Last week, there was a Verrette family reunion in New Orleans. We wanted to go but couldn't for kid-related reasons. Anyways, I figured I could live vicariously through Yelp. Here are the places that I would have wanted to go if I had been there.

French Quarter

Cafe Du Monde: beignets
Central Grocery: muffaletta
Acme Oyster House: fried oysters and shrimp po-boy with tabasco mayo
Mr B's Bistro: gumbo with chicken and andouille sausage
Killer Po Boys: seasonal po-boy flavors like pork belly
K-Paul's: jambalaya and gumbo
Leah's Pralines: creole pralines (chocolate is very good)

Rest of New Orleans

Parkway Bakery: gator sausage po-boy

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Week 6

Week 0 = 205 pounds
Week 1 = 200.5
Week 2 = 199
Week 3 = 197
Week 4 = 196
Week 5 = 192.5
Week 6 = 190

In the last two weeks, I've lost 6 pounds. In the three weeks prior, I only lost 4.5. Of course, that Memorial Day cookout threw off the numbers a bit. And I can't expecto keep up 3 pounds a week. 

I was 190 on Monday morning, and was good all day Monday and Tuesday. So I was a little surprised to still be on 190 this morning. But hopefully that just means I'm due to drop the next pound or two soon.

Today I am wearing a short that I've never worn before. (Bought it last fall or so and it was too tight when I brought it home.) 

15 down, 30 to go. At this rate, I could hit 160 by September/October. Which gives me enough buffer room to comfortably get there by my 30th birthday. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Since Tebow is currently the Patriots' 3rd string QB--after this move--I guess he is now Kafkaesque.

Edit: This is probably the best thing I've ever written in my life.

The Best of Tennis

Let's start with the totals. Here's your top 6:

Other notables:

Growing up, Pete Sampras was my guy. He was the youngest to win the US Open at 19. Ten years later, he broke Emerson's record of 12 majors. With Sampras and Agassi, I didn't think I'd ever see anything like that again.

And then this happened:

The last 40 men's grand slam events.
Federer + Nadal have won 29.
Federer + Nadal + Djokovic have won 35.
That's nuts.

Both Federer and Nadal have won all 4 events. Something that Sampras, Borg and Djokovic can't say.

Federer has won 7 of the last 10 Wimbledons. (The other three belong to Nadal and Djokovic)
Nadal has won 8 of the last 9 French Opens. (The other belongs to Federer)

Federer and Nadal have met 8 times in Grand Slam finals. (Nadal 6-2)
If it wasn't for Nadal, Federer would have won 4 more French Opens, 1 Wimbledon and 1 Australian.
If it wasn't for Federer, Nadal would have won 2 more Wimbledons.

Five-Set Finals between Federer-Nadal:
2007 Wimbledon: Federer d. Nadal 7–6(9-7), 4–6, 7–6(7-3), 2–6, 6–2
2008 Wimbledon: Nadal d. Federer 6–4, 6–4, 6–7(7-5), 6–7(10-8), 9–7
2009 Australian Open: Nadal d. Federer 7–5, 3–6, 7–6(7-3), 3–6, 6–2

Based on the numbers you'd have to say that Federer has had the best men's tennis career. Even though Nadal currently trails Sampras in majors, I'd put Nadal #2 all-time, because he's won every event and had to go against Federer.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Tracking My Weight Over 7 Years

The red line is the dividing line between a "normal" BMI and an overweight BMI, according to my height.

I'm almost surprised at how long I stayed under 180, which was my wedding weight--which is sort of the dividing line between I look okay, or I look kind of chunky.

In 2009 I made a few efforts to lose weight and you see two sharp down lines, but couldn't keep below 170 for any length of time.

I had assumed that I had really started to put on weight when we moved to Denver and H was born back in late 2011. But according to my records, that's not true. I actually weighed less in April 2012 then I did in April 2011. But once we started looking for a house, doing house improvements and pregnancy #2 arrived, I really packed it on.

In fact, you can see that I gained weight during both pregnancies, although quite a bit more during the second one.

Although this chart makes assumptions. Let's look at the raw data:

The first chart is fairly accurate through 2009 because I didn't go too long without weighing myself and tracking it somewhere. But from November 2009 to October 2012 there are four straight lines, that assume I was gaining and losing at a steady pace. Particularly, it assumes from April 2011 to April 2012, I started losing weight right away. It's likely those parts should have some flatter sections and some steeper sections.

Anyways, I'm optimistic that 2013 will be the biggest downward line yet, matching 2007.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

"What's your, exercise, both?"

Niraj asked the question above. 

Here's what I'm doing.

1. I track my calories every day, entering what I eat on My current limit is 1850 calories per day. Some days I might only get up to 1600 or so. Occasionally I might go slightly over. 

2. I try not to take any calories after 7pm. I give the kid a bath and that's it. 

3. I track my weight every week. I chart it on livestrong and post it here. I also weigh myself every day because I look forward to it. I like to see progress. But I don't beat myself up if there's no progress. Realistic is 1-2 pounds a week. Since my scale is in half-pound increments, there's not going to be movement every day. Some days it goes up. 

The key is staying with it. 

That's pretty much it. There are other good things. I'd like to build muscle to boost my fat-burning capacity, but haven't been to our rec center to work out. I've done a few sets of push-ups here and there, but nothing dramatic. Drinking more water and eating more fruits/vegetables will make it easier to stick to a daily calorie goal, but it's not like I need to eat broccoli to lose weight. 

I'm starting at 1850 per day, knowing that as I progress, I will likely have to lower my calorie intake. I think when I got down to 160 pounds, I was eating around 1400-1500 a day. And at some point I might have to do some cardio or muscle-building to get over a plateau, but I'll take that as it comes. 

Week 5

Week 0 = 205 pounds
Week 1 = 200.5
Week 2 = 199
Week 3 = 197
Week 4 = 196
Week 5 = 192.5

As expected, last week's weigh-in was artificially high due to Memorial Day. By Thursday I was 195. And then I just stayed on track and have lost 12.5 total. I'm wearing jeans that I haven't work in 6+ months and buttoned a shirt that has probably been just as long. 

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

The Perils Of Progress

On May 14, 2013, Vampire Weekend released their their album, Modern Vampires of the City.

It's good. It's closer to really good than pretty good. What I'm surprised at is how similar it is to their previous two albums.

Their debut self-titled album came out five years ago. Contra followed in 2010. The songs from all three feel like they might have been recorded at the same session.

My initial reaction to this was it was a bad thing. But is it?

- - -

Brand New has released four albums. Their first record, Your Favorite Weapon, is full of simple, poppy songs that are just about perfect. The album came out in 2001 and I still listen to it today. I can put "Soco Amaretto Lime" on repeat for an hour and "The No Seatbelt Song" still gives me goosebumps.

In 2003, their second album showed that they weren't content to make the same music. Deja Entendu is a better album, full of layered structures and texture not commonly heard on radio singles. This was real progress.

They continued down this path in 2006 with The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, but to less success. The songs are more layered, but less accessible. Gone are any resemblances to hooks or the snappiness that punctuated their debut.

By Daisy in 2009, it was all texture, all filler.

- - -

I would absolutely love a brand new Brand New album in the same vein as Deja Entendu. But I would be equally happy with 12 new songs that sound like Your Favorite Weapon. 

- - -

Panic at the Disco gave us an incredible first album, again poppy, snappy, something fresh. But then followed it up with Pretty. Odd., one of the best albums I've ever heard.

So I had high hopes for the evolution of their third album, Vices & Virtues. It was flat. As if it was the cutting room floor of Pretty. Odd. 

- - -

So that brings me back to Vampire Weekend. Their songs sound the same. Some new chords, some new lyrics. Same old stuff. It's a little disappointing that they're giving me what I know, and not something better. But at least they're not giving me something worse.