Thursday, August 31, 2006

One week to go!

Yup, one week from today I will be in Pittsburgh ready to see the Steelers defend their Super Bowl title. It should be great time. The Steelers haven't looked great in pre-season but that doesn't matter. They return 19 of 22 starters, not bad.

Yesterday was also my last day on the infernal 'summer hours' at work. The only problem is that we aren't going back to 8-5 we're going to 7:30-4:30. Most of the office lives 10+ miles from the office and wants to avoid traffic. I actually think I'm going to prefer this change but I do love my sleep.

I'm also off to Dragon*Con today. Since 1993 this will be my 11th Dragon*Con. It has changed a lot over the years and morphed into basically just a big party. My first passion, comics, have really been removed from Dragon*Con yet it is still a pretty strong show for gaming. With us being based in Charlotte it makes sense for us to come down and run some tournaments.

Monday, August 28, 2006

One Monday closer to MNF!

ESPN and the NFL have been running various different promos/commercials/spots on Sportscenter about the Fantasy Football rules. Some of them are actually informative, some just funny, some shouldn’t have been filmed. The Reggie Bush mobile ESPN commercial and the NFL new guy fantasy player are both hilarious. I’ve played fantasy football for eight seasons in a row now. I usually only have one team but some years like this one I have more than one, this year I have two. I’m a much better fantasy baseball player, although this year I’m having a horrible time. I’ve played fantasy baseball since 1993 and have won multiple leagues including money leagues. This year I’m in three fantasy baseball leagues and will finish in the top 3 in one but get crapped out in the other two. Anyways, I typically make the playoffs with fantasy football but have only won one league.

This year I’m in two leagues, one had an ass late draft and I auto-drafted. If I do well so be it, if not oh well. The other league is the one I set up with friends from work and a few from outside. This one I wanted to take a lot more seriously, it would be nice to do well. Here is the team I ended up with.

Round One – Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis Rams
Round Two – LaMont Jordan, RB, Oakland Raiders
Round Three – Anquan Boldin, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Round Four – Julius Jones, RB, Dallas Cowboys
Round Five – Jevon Walker, WR, Denver Broncos
Round Six – Todd Heap, TE, Baltimore Ravens
Round Seven – Jake Delhomme, QB, Carolina Panthers
Round Eight – Pittsburgh Defense
Round Nine – Tatum Bell, RB, Denver Broncos
Round Ten – Laveranues Coles, WR, New Jersey Jets
Round Eleven – Isaac Bruce, WR, St. Louis Rams
Round Twelve – Phillip Rivers, QB, San Diego Charges
Round Thirteen – Jon Kitna, QB, Detroit Lions
Round Fourteen – Santonio Holmes, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Round Fifteen – Jeff Reed, K, Pittsburgh Steelers

I’m not overly excited with this team. That doesn’t mean shit of course, I was excited over my fantasy baseball team that is going to finish in the bottom third. The stupid java program Yahoo uses kept crashing out on me and caused me two issues. I don’t think it will cost me much but it was annoying to constantly have to re-launch the program. In the round 1-2 turn, I had the 9th pick in a 10 team league I really wanted Willie Parker. I was worried that #10 would draft him but he didn’t. Well the app crashed out and drafted me LaMont Jordan instead of Fast Willie. I don’t think it will cost me too many points, I think Art Shell is going to run Jordan a good bit and I’m still not certain Fast Willie is an every down NFL back yet, still I wanted Willie! The other issue was when I reloaded it around round 11 or 12 I couldn’t get it to sort players properly, it kept not showing players remaining. By this time I had my queue set up to auto-draft so we don’t have a Jordan for Parker issue and I only had Phillip Rivers and Santonio Holmes in my queue and I picked Rivers. I didn’t see Kitna still on the board, I love me some Mike Martz QBs or I would have picked him. It isn’t the end of the world, hopefully Delhomme helps me out.

I do like that I have some Pittsburgh things to root for, defense and Jeff Reed, and who knows Santonio could actually see some playing time and Ben might actually throw some. I do find it odd and neat that I have three ex-FSU WRs, go Seminoles! I think Todd Heap is going to have at least the second best TE year, McNair loves the TE and I couldn’t resist Tatum Bell. I was an idiot and drafted Jones who has the same bye week as one of my starters so I needed a 4th running back and maybe Mike will give him some carries that week.

All of this really means though is that I’m ready for some football! Kickoff is one week from Thursday when I will be in Pittsburgh to see the Steelers take on the Fish.

Congratulations 24

Pretty Bird and I for some reason always watch award shows, well at least the two big ones, the Emmys and Oscars. We watched last night and overall it was a pretty good show. Conan was great as the host and Bob Newhart was as always very funny.

As for the awards themselves, I was really suprised at the number of nominations and as it turns out wins for shows that are no longer on, well that and any nomination for Two and a Half Men. I can understand it for shows like West Wing or Will & Grace that are just done but for shows that got canceled, well it proves yet again viewers, voters, and network execs all have different opinions than each other. As for Two and a Half Men, wtf. Sometimes the top rated comedy show is actually a really good show, All In the Family, M*A*S*H, Seinfeld, etc. or even others it is really good fluff, Friends or Everybody Loves Raymond but in this case the show is just awful. It stars Charlie Sheen, wtf.

With Alan Alda's win the West Wing tied Hill Street Blues as the drama with the most Emmy wins. I really would have liked to have seen West Wing win another award last night to give it the record all alone. I guess I most would have liked to have seen Martin Sheen win the award. I love Kiefer as Jack and 24 in general but to think of all the awards West Wing has won and none of them going to the Martin, oh well.

It was great to see 24 win. I agree a little with Dr. Heimlich that the past season wasn't the best or at least my favorite. I do think however the current, non-stop format really helps the show with more viewers. For people have a 24-rich office environment it isn't hard to keep up the hype even with delays but for most people they need to the ride to continue as quickly as possible. Having the show run 20/21 weeks in a row just helps make the show seem 'better'.

Now hopefully we can get the actual shows started.

Monday, August 21, 2006


I'm sure I will eventually stop blogging about my new TV but not right now. Yesterday we had Direct TV come and hook up the HD receiver so now we can take full advantage of Toshiba's nice TV. The ads for HDTV and the displays at the store simply don't do it justice, until you watch it for 20 minutes in a row and/compare it to a regular broadcast you really don't know how good it actually is. We'll do a little Good, Bad, and Ugly to describe my 10 hour stint with HDTV yesterday, in reverse order.

Ugly - The only major problem (other than they actually are pretty expensive) with HDTV is they actually are incredible resolution, both good and bad. Incredible high res shots of John Madden, Jon Miller, Joe Morgan, Al Michaels, let me just say I could live my life without seeing that much detail of old white men. Squeamish or not, you can literally see random hairs, pores, you name it.

Bad - Well the cost. The other bad is the quality of education involved with the people who work at Direct TV. Now I love their service compared to cable and I almost always get a person who can help me. The problem is the first person you talk to on the phone. OMG, I'm suprised they know what a TV is much less how to help me solve my problem. They are obviously working from a script and rarely offer any useful information. The nice thing is they usually offer a higher level of person quickly and then I don't stay on hold very long. If you can get Direct TV over cable I highly recommend it.

One other bad is the guy who set up my receiver. He didn't tune but four of the five satellites which means I'm missing three HD channels. He also set my TV and the receiver up for a non-HD feed, I spend the first 10 minutes watching HDTV thinking my extra money was not being spent very well. If both of those things were done correctly then I wouldn't have spent 15 minutes on the phone fixing it and setting up a follow up appointment to get the 5th satellite. The nice thing is Direct TV offered me six months of the HD programming for free to make up for it.

The HD selection does leave a little to be desired. Right now I get HBO, Universal, HDMovies, ESPN, ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox. Some channels have very limited HD content like TBS or the NFL network. I also should be getting ESPN2, Discovery, and TNT but I'm missing them. My Sunday Ticket will also be HD and I can get pay per view HD as well.

Good - Where to start. Almost everything is good. The picture auto-resizes depending on the feed. HDTV is usually filmed widescreen so no black bars or distorted pictures to eliminate the bars. Like I've mentioned before the image quality is just off the charts good. You can make out individual blades of grass at the PGA Championship yesterday or the astroturf in the RCA Dome. Pretty Bird watched Prisoner of Azkaban today and was flipping over the detail that she'd never noticed before. To make out the texture of the Green Monster at Fenway to the paint chipping on a bench on the Colts sideline, good lord it looks good.

Battlestar Galactica. Universal HD runs the new BSG series everyday it seems and man it looks good. I can stand to look at close ups of Six all day long. To see the stiching in her dress probably meant I was looking to hard at her but it was still worth it.

The channel selection is a majority of my most watched channels. I got all the broadcast shows, football, Sportscenter, and HBO in HD. I just need SciFi and life will be good.

It will be fun to go through football season in HD or watch Jack Bauer beat up some Chinese guys. The quality difference between HD and my DVD player is making me hoping that the BluRay/HDDVD thing gets over soon, and of course for them to drop their price. $500 (or $1000 for BluRay which I think is going to win) is just too much.

I wonder if Reggie Bush will look any faster tonight in HD? Of course I probably won't be able to tell since most of the camera work will probably be TO pouting on the sidelines or me getting upset that they are focusing on TO and changing the channel.

Only two weeks left!

Today marks the two week countdown until I can stop having to be at work at 7:00am. Our company has this idiotic 'summer hour' policy. We work an additional hour Monday through Thursday to work only half days on Friday. Now I do like the half days on Friday, mostly, there are two major issues I have with 'summer hours'. First I wouldn't mind something like 8-6 or even 7:30-5:30, which is what it was last year but 7-5 is just too early. My other issue is that I don't get all of the half days. This year was much better than last year, last year I missed 9 of the 15 half days. This year I only missed 6 of the 15. I would much prefer to work a regular schedule the weeks I'm not going to have a half day, it isn't like I can't tell that they are coming or something.

I guess that brings me to my next rant, this stupid lack of even an unofficial comp time policy. This is my fourth salaried job and the only one without even an unofficial comp time policy. The theatre and Taco Bell both had an official comp time policy for extra days worked, you got them off later. Straight up one for one. You got zero time for extra hours worked in a day and the theatre had zero official holidays so you couldn't make those up. Decipher had an unofficial comp time policy, apparently Warren didn't like comp time but every department I can remember had the same policy. You got half a day later for any weekend you worked and a full day for any holiday you worked.

We have nothing, zip, nada. It wouldn't be that annoying but I will work an additional 21 weekend days, three holidays, and six half days in 2006. My favorite reply while I was complaning about it was "It isn't fair to the other employees if you don't come in on Monday because you worked all weekend. They don't see that you worked all weekend so it would be seen as special treatment." Um...what? That doesn't even make any sense. The other response is that it is made up on your bonus. Well my understanding is the bonus is company decided, by department, and position. Every manager level person I've talked to in my office got the same bonus percentage. I also don't like being lied to.

I'm not asking for an even trade here, not even close. I'm just asking for a little make up here or there. If I ran a company with salaried employees my policy would be pretty simple, you earn half per one extra required day worked. If you have to come in on Saturday because you can't get your workload done during the week that is a different type of conversation. If you have to come in on Saturday because you're required to be there that is different. Salaried jobs aren't 9-5 so I would not give, nor do I expect, any extra make up for when someone stays late or comes in early.

I didn't really want to turn this into a rant, I'm just upset about having to work more days than my counterparts.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

This just in

Matrix looks great on the tv as well. Why it took me so long to get this thing I will never know, man it is fun.

No time

I thought I would be able to blog much more now that I'm not traveling as much. Well it seems the new TV is taking much more of my, everything looks SO GOOD on it.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A long time ago...

It seems like it has been forever since I've blogged, which it has, over a month. Well being the convention manager (in addition to being the tournament admin with Worlds coming up, retail relations guy, plus overall marketing guy, not to mention the other stuff I won't mention) has just kicked my ass. Let me just say Gen Con went really well, more players than I thought, I was under budget (four out of four shows under budget), and I get to see some old friends. In addition to my current crop of players I saw about 30+ old Rings players plus ex-D people Will, Kim, Andy, Kyle, Evan, Mark, Dawn, plus honorary D people Scott Martins and Jim Colson. I missed Tom, Joe, and Juz but they were only there for a day. Now Gen Con Indy is over and it is time to settle down some. Maybe I will only have 9-10 hours of work in one 8 hour day.

Now that I'm slowed down some I will hopefully blog a little more often. Although with my new toy I'm not so sure. Meet our new friend.

I know, I know, not the best picture in the world, sue me. It is obviously the opening scene in Star Wars on our brand new 50inch Toshiba DLP HDTV. Star Wars was literally the first thing we put on the TV, I mean seriously, how else do you break in a brand new TV? Right now the only HD signal item we have is the XBOX 360 and it looks great. NCAA 2007 on 720p is insane. The DVD player sends signals at 480p which is a huge step from 480i that regular TV broadcasts. The HD box is set up on Monday so next week I will be watching HDTV baby! It will be a little bit of time before I get an HD or BluRay DVD player however, I will let them fight it out. One last image to show off before I leave.

Saturday, August 5, 2006

Dragon*Con '06 done, up next Steelers Football!

Dragon*Con was fun as usual. Not as productive for the company as I would have liked but it was still okay. We sold a good bit of stuff and had plenty of people stop by, we just didn’t sell as much as I wanted to. It was also my first Dragon*Con since 1994 without Pretty Bird, that was a little odd. It was great to see some old friends, some of which I only get to see once a year at Dragon*Con. There was five (six if you count Jim Colson) ex-Decipher people there, still amazes me. It wasn’t a lack of intelligence or hard work that doomed it.

I leave for Pittsburgh on Thursday, I’m so excited. I’m of course a little less excited since I’m pretty sure the Steelers are going to lose without Ben. I think the Steelers are a very solid, very young team but the Roethlisberger guy is pretty damn good. Either way my mom and I are going to have a good time.