Monday, February 28, 2005

Trying to explain "fantasy baseball" to some people can be difficult. Hell, it's difficult to explain to most people. Explaining a fantasy baseball draft to people is just downright impossible.

I try to avoid these situations whenever possible, but since I'm at work on a Monday (which isn't usually my schedule), that brings up the question of why my schedule was different. Now, if I were a thinking man, I would have said something like "I was having warts removed with a laser" or "there was a plane crash and I was called to identify a body", which would have eliminated any followup questions. But no - I say things like "I had a fantasy baseball draft."

"What? What's fancy baseball?"

Sigh. The weekend was good though - I always enjoy the drafts, despite how annoying some of the people can be or how crappy I do in them. The Scoresheet draft is always fun, just because it's an auction draft and causes mass havoc. Granted, it's a lot of the same jokes every year (which some members of the league drill down our throats), but it's still good times. I drafted like crap this year, but it seems like a lot of us did. I'm thinking we'll see a decent amount of trades before the season starts, which'll be cool, because we never have that.

Anyway, just wanted to get that out of the queue. More stuff later.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

So I join a Yahoo Fantasy Basketball league, solely because I know almost nothing about basketball anymore, and thought that maybe - just maybe - that playing in the league would help me get into basketball more.

Naturally, I've completely ignored the league, and not so expectedly, I'm winning it.

Now, this can be explained by two theories:

1) "Public" fantasy leagues are done by people who don't give a crap 10 minutes after they get their team, or are filled with people who have absolutely nothing riding on it, so if they draft a bad team, they just ditch the league and do another one.

This makes sense. As we approach the halfway part of the NBA season, three of the twelve teams in the league have yet to make one roster move, meaning they have the exact team they drafted in the beginning. I can't see if they've switched their starters or whatever, but every player they had in the beginning they have now. Of the teams that have made transactions, I'm in second place, with 6 total (and as I mentioned, I'm not the most active member). There is one team that made 7 transactions, three (including myself) that made 6, one that made two, and the rest have either made one or zero. Not the most active league in the world.

2) "Involved" fans make hunch picks, overanalyze, ignore players who have done well because they're "not supposed to" do well, pick favorite players, and go nuts over rookies so that they can look cool for picking the sleeper that no one saw. Non-involved players just pick the best available players.

That's what's helping me here. I didn't even touch my draft list - I went by Yahoo's rankings. As it stands right now, I know I've heard of six of the ten starters on my team. Most of them I couldn't pick out of a lineup. But, this is who I have:

PG - Lebron James - Ok, even my wife knows who he is.
SG - Richard 'Rip' Hamilton - Know him from him doing well in the finals last year. Has a lot of hair, if I remember correctly.
G - Rafer Alston - Had to look up his first name. Know he plays for Toronto. Seem to remember a story about him walking out of a game when Toronto's coach benched him. Players don't seem to like Toronto's coach.
SF - Drew Gooden - Remember him from college being real good. Looked at his stats - doesn't seem to be that bad. Has apparently been traded twice in his career already.
PF - Eldon Brand - I know he's good. He used to play for Duke - despite that, he's a good NBA player. Used to play for Chicago - still not sure why Chicago traded him.
F - Kyle Korver - Apparently white. Probably would have guessed that by his name being "Kyle", but I didn't know that either. Plays for the Sixers, which I was unaware anyone outside of Allen Iverson played for that team.
C - Raef LaFrentz - I know he's white. Hell, I remember him being all-everything at Kansas. Has also apparently been traded twice. Fits in perfectly on Boston. Apparently, if you're a NBA GM, you shouldn't draft a Kansas star, just pick him up in a trade when the original team gets sick of him.
C - Marcus Camby - Former UMass guy, when I used to watch college ball. Went to Toronto, then the Knicks, then got hurt, so the Knicks got rid of him for magic beans. Now exchanged New York media stories with Kenyon Martin in Denver, where Lebron 2 plays.
Util - Bobby Simmons - Listed as a "guard-forward", so he must be about 6-5 to 6-8. Sure enough, 6-6. Surely a Bill Simmons favorite (especially with the Clipper season tickets now), Simmons sat on the top of a free agent list when I needed another player. "Educated" roto guys would have probably stayed away from him. I see 16 points and 6 boards a game and multi-position eligibility, and I take him. You wonder why I'm in first.
Util - Vladimir Radmanovic - Another FA pickup. Saw him on the list, didn't stand out except that he apparently shoots three pointers, which is always entertaining from a power forward, and you can never have too many three pointers from your PF position. Radmanovic throws up more than 5 a game, and actually hits 41% percent of them, which is just an awesome gameplan. I like weird foreign frankensteins to be able to shoot the trey. Possibly my favorite player on the team.

So, have I learned anything about the NBA during this adventure? Outside of foreign frankensteins shooting the trey, not really. But I'm preparing less for by baseball draft this year.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Gah. The flu is simple - get sick as hell for 24-48 hours, then back to normal.

A wicked cold is different - Get kind of sick, know that something is coming, drink juice, think that it's going away, get lax, have it hit again, drink juice again, watch that fail, get a fever, become motionless, don't eat for three days, get kind of better, blow nose for two weeks straight, lose ability to talk, avoid dairy alltogether, have difficulty hearing, get random headaches, hack at inopportune times, and have people give you no sympathy because you've "only got a cold".

Bastards. Welcome back to the blog. The writing juices are eventually going to flow again. I've wanted to start to write again, but with my brain being all over the place, I can't seem to focus my thoughts for over 5 minutes in a row to be able to.

I watched the Super Bowl by myself (my wife was in and out most of the time during the game), and it really just wasn't that interesting. Super Bowls are meant to be party atmospheres - we normally go over by brother-in-law's and hang out there, watching the game and eating food and hanging out. We didn't because his daughter was sick and we didn't want to risk anyone else getting sick (HA~!). So, instead we watched it at home, and even with my wife's best efforts to make "football food", she was still running around in "clean up the house because we've been gone for 4 days" mode and I was watching the game by myself, which made it seem less like a Super Bowl and more like a playoff game.

With Daytona on the horizon, I will eventually vent on my NASCAR adventure I had several months ago - I didn't want to talk about it before because there was a possible job involved, but since that isn't going to happen, I'll gladly vent.

Just at another time.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Followup from two posts ago, re: the quarterback who gave away jewelry and took it back -

An exerpt:

We were standing at Culpepper's side when the transaction took place. There was no animosity, no hurt feelings and no accusations of impropriety -- only thank-yous from Townsend, his parents and a doctor nearby.

The AP version of the story, however, in essence painted Culpepper as a spoiled athlete who "sheepishly" took away a gift from a paralyzed teenager once the cameras stopped shooting. Newspapers and Internet sites picked up the story nationally. One problem: Nothing could have been further from the truth.

Anyone who has met Culpepper knows he wears the necklace every day. He has for years. Garish as it might be -- its main ornament is a 6-inch hot pepper -- it carries sentimental and personal value. Since when is anyone -- athlete, actor, politician or average schmoe -- obligated to hand over personal possessions permanently when someone asks? Or should Culpepper have shot down the request and embarrassed Townsend on television?

If that's your story, then the next time someone asks you for your wedding ring or a sweater your grandmother knitted, you better cough it up. Or else find some real news to write about.

ZING! Who called it, eh? Good job, media!

This was going to be the "about Tony" entry, but that'll come later. I'll just say for now that he's back for two weeks, and it's a very awesome thing.

Anyway, I've got a 17 inch monitor that I've had since I had "Whitey", my old Dell from '98. It's still a good functional monitor, and outside of a little cosmetic damage to the casing, it's perfectly fine. However, living where I do, I can't afford to have 25+ pound paperweights hanging around for "just in case". Plus, I was given orders to get rid of it, and I refuse to take something that is fully fuctional to the dump and PAY to get rid of it.

So I go to my buddy to get rid of it. At first, I post it for $20, and throw in my functioning but oddly coloring HP 882c inkjet printer. No takers.

After a few weeks, I decide to just put the thing in the "free" section, because no one apparently wants to pay money for a printer. Sure enough, within MINUTES of posting it, I started to get emails from people quite willing to take my free fully functional monitor.

My provisions: you had to pick it up. Sounds easy, right?

The first person who responded asked where I was located. In the listing, it says "Bridgehampton" right next to "printer". I explained that I was in Bridgehampton. She responded that she was in Queens. She lost. The next person who responded was also in the five boroughs area.

The next I wish I could have given the stuff to. They were two grandmothers in Harlem who did all kinds of charitable things for local youth, from fixing up computers to those who couldn't otherwise afford one to giving people suits for job interviews - very cool. They even offered me $20 to bring it to them since they didn't have a car. Unfortunately, they were located in Manhattan (obviously - Harlem), and I really couldn't drive over 100 miles to deliver a monitor.

The emails kept coming in. Generally, they went like this: I want your stuff, ok, I'm in Bridgehampton, when can you come pick it up, oh, I'm sorry, I didn't know where you were/I don't know where Bridgehampton is. I even had a few that thought I was giving away a whole computer (one asked if it came with a modem - to my knowledge, very few monitors come with modems). All together 11 responces, and only three that had anything useful to say - the Harlem people (that's just a good story, hav eto see if there's something we can do with them), someone who pointed me to a Yahoogroup where Eastern LI people swapped stuff, and one person from Port Jeff who was willing to come out if I could wait until the weekend.

I'm going to end up giving the thing away to my co-worker who lives in Sag Harbor. Don't know why I didn't think of that earlier. Then again, I wouldn't have gotten so many interesting responces. Craigslist is full of some "interesting" people, to say the least.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Thin ice: Culpepper gives jewelry, gets it back

Talk about being put into a no-win situation. For those of you too lazy to read the story, it breaks down like this. NFL quarterback is taking questions at a press conference. Paralyzed high schooler asks if he "can get some of that ice", referring to the $75k necklaces quarterback is wearing. Quarterback puts necklaces around high schooler's neck. High schooler's parents assume quarterback was giving the necklaces to their son. Quarterback finishes press conference and looks to get his necklaces back from high schooler. Uncomfortable situation ensues.

I'm actually impressed that the media is reporting the story fairly - using the direct quote that the high schooler gave and reporting the story. However, you can guarantee that every half-ass local news hack and sports radio troll is going to report this as if Culpepper pushed the kid down a flight of stairs. We don't even know if the kid really meant that he wanted the necklaces - such a request sounds pretty ballzy (ballsy?) - and was more likely the kid being a kid and throwing a compliment in Culpepper's direction. When Culpepper figured he'd try to give the kid a thrill, the parents took it the wrong way and Culpepper was left looking like crap because he wanted to get his jewelry back.

Now, the argument that people have is that Culpepper makes a lot of money, why not give him the jewelry. Well, why should he? The rich are supposed to just give away their possessions? Since I'm not rich, should I just randomly ask rich people for their possessions? "Wow, you've got a nice car, can I have it?" I could have my mom faint or something.

Culpepper's apparently "making it up" to the kid by giving him a gift in the future of some variety. Hopefully everyone will end up happy in the process - the kid gets something for nothing, the radio and local TV hacks get a story to make them seem like they have opinions about something, and if Culpepper trys hard enough and ignores what the hacks might say about him, he might be able to feel good about meeting this kid and doing something nice.

Doubtful, though. Media hacks - bah.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

This was the first day I've worn my sneakers in over a week since getting my Payless special workboots. I love those boots - they go great with the truck and I can trudge them through the snow and not get my feet soaking wet. They're oddly comfortable too. And, since I only dropped $25 on them, I don't feel bad crappifying them.

I think that's the official sign I've "grown up". Five years ago, those boots would be Timberlands, have cost $120, and I wouldn't have worn them outside until the snow melted, which is scheduled for April.

Tech support pet peeve - people who introduce themselves on the phone and wait for a greeting. I'm your tech support person. I don't want to hear "this is so-and-so from Important Company Corporation."


"Um, hi. How are you today?"

"Fine thanks. Listen, my email is giving me a problem..."

Like, couldn't you have just said what your problem was? My favorite ones are the ones who when that beat takes place and I'm waiting for them to explain their problem, they say "hello?" to make sure I'm on the phone. I hate that awkward position of that "how are you?", especially in a tech support situation, because in a bast case senerio, the person ignores that question or responds with "good, thanks" like my wife does even when she's in a big shitburger mood. Worse case senerio, they tell you how horrible their day has been SOLELY BECAUSE OF YOUR COMPANY. Look, you reaching your quota limit because you don't know how to delete your email messages isn't why your one night stand didn't call you back or you got passed over for a promotion. It's because you don't know how to delete your email. Be thankful I showed you how to do it and didn't talk down to you like 98% of other tech support people.

At least I have Cheez-Its here. White Cheddar - brings back memories of Reuters.