Wednesday, January 30

Fatal Moss

+ Why did I read 'Fatal Revenant'? I should have known all second books in Donaldson trilogies have unhappy, depressing, seemingly despairing endings. I mean, why plow through that many pages (500+?) to be cliffhung on a depressing ending and the next book doesn't come out until when?

Maybe I should have just read the summary somewhere.

Confession: my tastes in fiction run more to the 'Young Adult' section, where 'mature' authors don't feel compelled pour down doom and destruction. I'd pick Harry Potter over George RR Martin every time.

Oh well ...

Check that 'trilogy' thing up above. Apparently this set of chronicles is four books. Wonder if the third book will also be depressing ...

+ Don Banks likes Randy Moss and covers Randy's time with the press yesterday.

Tuesday, January 29

Smart weight fixing Brady

Madhu continues to be my avenging muse of updates. If I don't post, he prods me in IM. So here I go:

+ I'm at that really boring stage of weight loss. The first week I lost 7 pounds. That was great. But I'm only down 2.5 pounds the two weeks since then. It's ok. I know it takes a long time. But it's boring.

Of course, it's important to not watch the scale too closely. Weight changes daily, even with controlled caloric intake. I'm just supposed to be gathering the data and watching the trend, not obsessing about the daily number.

But it's still boring. Not boring enough to eat a pint of ice cream, though ;-)

+ Stuart got a Passion smart car (with pix and subsequent posts). I think Guam Brad will especially be interested in this.

+ Jaq is doing a great series called Fixing the [Star Wars] Prequels. Wish this was the Phantom Menace that got made ...

+ Peter King doesn't like the Giants' D-line's chances against Brady based on how they did in their last meeting.

Add to that some pretty impressive testimonials about Brady's play.

Thursday, January 24

Happy Birthday, MountainRunner!

Matt Armstrong very kindly posted happy birthday to me on January 2nd. Today's my day to return the favor.

Hope you have a great one, Matt!

Shoot over there and wish him a happy birthday.

Wednesday, January 23

Quick note on Heath Ledger

I had no opinion on Heath Ledger before his role as the Joker. He looked great for that and I'm bummed that he killed himself (OD). I wonder if they'll be able to finish the movie with his part intact? Looked like he was developing into quite a good actor. Too bad.

This post says he'd completed all his work in The Dark Knight.

Tuesday, January 22

My take on the candidates

Mark's got an interesting open thread for opinions of the candidates. My response:

Totally naive opinion: I'm leaning toward Obama because I want a change. I confess I am influenced by the good doctor.

I'll tell you what does not appeal to me (well, one thing): the Repub contest to claim Reagan's mantle. I mean, if I wanted that, I would have voted for Bush/Zombie Reagan.

I'm with CKR and CGW on Edwards. He just doesn't pass the smell test.

McCain is just too crabby and combative for me (and perhaps too old).

I tell you what: that Bush/Zombie Reagan site still makes me laugh and it's been around for more than four years!

Pats today

+ Dr. Z might be right. The Giants might win. But I don't think so. Yes, they've won on the road, but the Bucs, Cowboys and Pack all looked bad against the Giants, and I don't think it was just the Giants who did it to them.

True, the Giants have the momentum. Maybe they are peaking.

The Patriots have looked beatable. And Tom Brady's foot might be hurt.

But I still think the Patriots are going to win.

More importantly, I'm pulling for them.

+ Another paean to Kevin Faulk.

+ Banks is right: the Patriots D has been great lately.

+ Some of you will really hate this. I decided to go ahead and get the book 'Patriot Reign' and read it in the run-up to the Super Bowl. Pretty good so far.

I love this book!

But you might not.

It's 'The Blind Side' by Michael Lewis, the author of 'Moneyball'. Similar book: a look at changes in sports through an economic lens, especially changes in value. But this one has a much more compelling personal story that it's built around. I'm looking around for more books to read that are similar to this, but I don't see too many.

Maybe it's my calling to write the next 'Blind Side' ...

Proposal: Bad Sports Life: Coping When Your Favorite Teams Never Win it All

My favorite teams are the Cubs, Vikings and Hawkeyes. They haven't won a major national championship between them in since 1908 (100 years!). Book will combine sports, economics and personal stories. Will focus on near brushes lately: Cubs were 5(?) outs from the World Series in 2003. Viking made the NFC Championship in 1998 while breaking the single season scoring record. Iowa's a more marginal Big Ten team (let's face it). They've had some brushes with greatness but haven't hit the big time.

Lute Olson got us to the Final Four but got hired away. Kirk Ferentz was starting to look good, we sewed him up, but then his record went south. What about other, smaller, newer colleges that have won?

Title evokes 'bad hair day'.

What do you think?

I think I likely won't follow through and actually write it. If I did, that would be something new ;-)

Monday, January 21

Aah! Something I didn't comment on!

Peter King's column prompted me:

+ There was a surprising amount of skill play yesterday in Green Bay, considering how cold it was. There were problems, too, especially as the game went on. But everyone thought it would be mostly running, and that wasn't the case.

+ And one more thing: King gave Kevin Faulk Offensive Player of the Week. What I'm sayin'.

The day after

+ Goldberg has the best write-up I've read so far of the Patriots' victory. Nice credit to Kevin Faulk who is an amazing utility player in their system. He's the kind of guy who could not command top dollar somewhere else, but as a part of this team he makes really amazing contributions.

+ Banks is pretty good, too, focusing on the defense, which held the Chargers to only field goals, including three red zone trips. Now, that wasn't an incredible feat, since LT was out and Rivers and Gates were hobbled, but it was definitely the key to this game

+ All the writers want to blame the wind for Tom's bad throws. Not sure that was the problem, but maybe ...

+ This was not exactly the Patriots of old (contra Vrabel). They have created such a high-powered offense that they force opposing defenses to pick part of it to shut down. They all pick Randy Moss because he'll kill you fastest. But that still leaves some pretty good clubs in the bag, including the improving (and crucial in the post-season) running game and the short game, especially to Wes Welker in the slot.

+ Since I am not on the Patriots payroll, I can ask this question: How do they look for next year? Moss is eligible for free agency, I think. If he gets a ring, will he stay? If he doesn't? Anybody else?

The defense, especially, is pretty old. They need to draft some guys who can contribute in each unit (line, backers, secondary), and bring that average age down a little.

+ Prediction: I'll take the Pats, of course. Confession: I keep picking against the Giants and they keep proving me wrong. Good for them. I still don't think they'll win this game. They could, sure. But I don't think they will, because:

1. They're too inexperienced. They almost folded yesterday. The pressure will be huge.

2. Weather will be no factor and the Pats should be able to dust off the offense that buried teams. The banged-up Giants D will not be able to stop Moss, Stallworth, and Gaffney in the long game all night, not to mention all the underneath stuff to Maroney (out of the backfield), Welker, Faulk, and Watson. And the run game.

That's all from me for now.

What do you think?

Sunday, January 20

Patriots Win!

Patriots' game was closer than I wanted. About what I expected in terms of the Chargers being banged up. However, the Chargers' D was very impressive; made Tom throw three picks.

I pick Green Bay to win this game. They're good, and I think the Giants' luck is past due to run out. Heck, I thought they'd lose last week.

I could be wrong. This could be the new New York Giants, but I'm still picking against them.

I'd rather the Giants win, because I think they'll be easier for the Patriots to beat in the Super Bowl. We'll see.

Wednesday, January 16

American Rubicon radio Pressure

+ Dan had a really great post on why you should vote for McCain or Obama. But my favorite part has nothing to do with who you vote for:
America "needs" none of the candidates. We already have the people, the wealth, the rulesets to get by just fine until 2009.
+ Shane had a nice post about proposing to his wife at the Rubicon (and how it wasn't all that great ;-)

+ Want to listen to my radio station? I'm trying out and (you won't believe this), I uploaded 828 songs. I can listen to whatever ones I want to when I'm logged in on any computer with an internet connection. You can listen to them in random play. Check it out:

+ If you love the Queen/Bowie song 'Pressure', like I do, then you'll want to watch this video with Annie Lennox singing Freddie Mercury's part. Pretty awesome:

Monday, January 14

Monday football thoughts

Check out this quote from Peter King:

• Tom Brady was a ref's buried whistle and a stunning drop by Mr. Hands Wes Welker from being 28-for-28 the other night. Are we watching the best quarterback of all time in mid-career? Are we watching, maybe three of the best five or six of all time?

• Peyton Manning threw for 402 yards and Lost. He and Tom Brady started a combined opened 30-of-30. Add what Favre did and is doing. We're in a real golden age at the top of the quarterback list.

You know why that is? Competition. Improved defense, greater parity, etc. have pushed quarterbacks to be all they can be.

+ Interesting quote from Adam Vinatieri:

"I have more respect for him than any other coach," said kicker Adam Vinatieri, who owns four Super Bowl rings. "Selfishly, I'd like to have him back. If he goes, I'll give him a hug and wish him well."

Subtext: Vinateri respects Dungy more than Bellichick. I don't blame him. I do, too, especially on the character issues. It's interesting, though...


Amy Winehouse is (kind of) the new Lauryn Hill...

Sunday, January 13

Football thoughts

Hmm. This was going to be an extended reflection on the Patriots' win, but I lost interest. Let's see:

+ Brady was perfect. On the two incomplete passes, he hit his receivers in the hands and they dropped 'em.

+ Did you see what that foolish Jags rookie safety, Reggie Nelson, said? 'It was a dump-down game. Anybody can go 26-of-28 in a dump-down game.' Ah, no, they can't, as the author rightly observes. Brady set regular-season and playoff records for passing efficiency. Prediction: If the Pats play the Jags next year, the quote will be on the bulletin board and they'll beat that guy like they beat the Steeler bigmouth.

+ Peyton was unlucky. His two interceptions were tipped. (Though I liked seeing him lose, but not Dallas and Tony.)

+ I found myself, at times today, rooting for the team I thought New England would have an easier time with. Sick, I know.

+ Easy teams for New England has already come to pass, in some ways, I think. Apart from the Packers, and themselves, the Pats already played the best looking team this weekend, the Jaguars. Indy and SD beat up on each other and I don't see Billy Volek or Philip Rivers beating the Pats in Foxboro this coming Sunday. And nobody really thinks the Giants could win the Super Bowl, right? I mean, they played New England close two weeks ago, but their luck's going to run out, just like the Redskins' did.

+ After spotting the Seahawks 14 points, the Packers looked amazing. We'll see how they look against the Giants. Let the hyping of a Packers-Patriots match-up being now.

+ Simms said at halftime that the offenses didn't need to adjust, but the defenses would. And the Pats' must have, right. But I wasn't paying close enough attention to see how they did it. And I haven't seen it in the press so far...

+ I'm disturbed by Rodney Harrison's bad attitude, not to mention his illegal substance use. He got flagged in each of the last two games for personal fouls.

+ Wrap up: I like this whole article by Don Banks (warning: Brady paean ;-) Jags did what it takes to stop Patriots -- and still lost .

Saturday, January 12

Someone in the Jaguars organization is stupid

Did you see they've had an asterisk next to the Patriots record on for the last four months.

Talk about bulletin board material!

Don't kick to Devin Hester and don't give the Patriots a reason to get angry.

I thought the Pats would win tonight. Now I'm even more confident.

Friday, January 11

New leaf

Madhu demands an 'interact' update, and who am I to ignore my adoring public ;-)

Actually, I sort of semi-intentionally didn't update this week on account of trying to begin a few new habits.

First of all, I let myself get back up to an unacceptable weight (206.5 at the top) and started counting calories again this week. All of the usual stuff, especially feeling hungry a fair bit of the time. I have been averaging just under 1500 calories per day. Still want to get down to 170 and then decide with Christine where to go from there.

Of course, I have tried this many times before. What's worse: failing repeatedly or quitting to try?

I'll tell you this much: I have concluded the only way I'm going to lose weight and keep it off is to weigh myself every day and count calories everyday, even when I make it to my target weight. I just can't be trusted to figure it out for myself.

I keep hoping vaguely that I won't gain weight. Then when I start to, I give up, eat what sounds good, live in denial, the whole shmear. Ugh.

I estimate that, in the last 5 years, I have lost and regained at least 60 pounds (3 20-pound increments). Double Ugh. These are the times you wish you'd gotten to your target weight and stayed there.

For inspiration, I read through The Hacker's Diet. Lots to recommend there. But it basically comes down to what I just wrote above: you have to count (or plan) your calories and you have to weigh yourself every day.

He's also got a 15 minutes per day exercise program that I'm sure is not up to Mark's standards, or Shane's, or ... . But, it seems doable from the start. It can be done inside. It doesn't require special equipment or a gym membership. There's really no reason not to do it. So I've started that and have 5 big days under my belt.

Christine and I walked 4 days this week, too, for a half hour.

Finally, (I'm really not trying to overdo it here) I've been concerned that I am not being intentional enough about the most important things in my life. As a springboard, I've been looking at AA's Big Book, especially the 12 Steps, from the perspective of a garden variety sinner.

How's that for an update, Madhu? ;-)

Thursday, January 3

Comic book movies

+ Been meaning to post on the Iron Man trailer. Looks so great. Robert Downey Jr is perfect for Tony Stark.

(Geek defense reporter thought: Since Raptors are thought to be capable of 'supercruise' at Mach 2.5+, does that mean Iron Man can go faster? ;-)

+ Mark embedded the Dark Knight Trailer I recently reviewed, so here it is:

Music for your happy (belated) new year

Nothing shocking here, just my two new year's faves:

The New Year - Death Cab

New Year's Day - U2

Wednesday, January 2

Happy Facebook Birthday!

I'm not much of a Facebook participant. I don't spend a lot of time over there. Mostly, I want people to read my weblog ;-)

So I've been pleasantly surprised today by how many people from Facebook have wished me a happy birthday. They obviously are heavier users than me.

Makes for one more part of a fun birthday :-)