Archive for the “Play” Category

For those off-hours

…when they decide to take a mid-morning nap in their kennel and both begin snoring. (Do they have surgery to remove doggie adnoids and tonsils?)

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I mean, where did 2008 go? I swear I was sitting here in my chair and it was October. The next moment, I’m writing checks for the mortgage and they say “2009″.

Which means I’m either getting older, or I’m losing track of time. (Or both.)

Reflection – I left my old work group (Lending) last April to start work in a new department. It was tough to leave; I was one of the few left of the “original” Mortgage Web Hosting personnel, and most of the team members and contractors that I was leaving behind were people that I had worked closely with for four long years. In most cases, I even helped bring on board a lot of the current team members and contractors.

But, it was time for a change, and looking back 8 months later, I don’t have any regrets. My new team is smaller and that means that we all have to get along and know each others’ strengths and quirks. I think we’re jelling pretty well.

It was also hard to hear from all the team members and contractors that were let go after I left. Contractors that were so instrumental in getting major projects up and running and maintained had to be let go due to length of service. Team members that I worked with also resigned or were “bought out” (given a hefty severance), like my former team lead/manager-for-all-intents-and-purposes.

And in some cases, I heard from team members that were placed on “the list” (those whose positions that are being eliminated due to reorg or budget issues and are first in line for internal postings elsewhere in the company). When you’re placed on “the list” and you have been doing a narrow scope of work for your current job, it’s hard to get another internal position elsewhere unless that new job is similar to your old. And having to counsel/coach some of these people was really, really tough because I knew that their chances of finding another position at the company were very slim, and because I knew their families could be in serious trouble. Thankfully, one of them DID make it and get another position, and the other landed on his feet with another position at another company because of some of the advice I gave him.

So my Christmas wasn’t so bad after all, and neither was theirs. :)

Heck, I even learned how to replace a broken window in my house in the past two months. (Kids + basketball hoops + proximity to house windows + wild shots = bad things)

Now, an Anime update -

Completed:

Macross Frontier (4 out of 5 – it was riveting up until the very last episode, and then it got corny for about half the episode…)
Sword of the Stranger (4 out of 5 – excellent movie since in the feudal period)
Wind ~ a breath of heart (4 out 5 – kicking myself for not watching this sooner, like say 2 years ago…)
ICE (3 out of 5 – a little cliched at the end “was it really just a dream”, but a likable pastime.)
Freedom (4 out of 5 – ending was a little rushed, but the artwork was absolutely gorgeous)
Vexille (5 out of 5 – holy SHMOLY! If you haven’t seen this, you need to.)
Yu-Gi-Oh: Shadow Games (3.5 out of 5 – this is the very first season, before the series began focusing on the collectible card game… it’s quite different, but enjoyable)

In the queue / already begun:

Deltora Quest (through episode 15 – there are 65 eps…)
Candy Boy (through episode 4)
Hellsing Ultimate OVA (through #5 – there are 6 total, from what I understand)
Gundam G00 Season 2 (through episode 14)
Clannad After Story (through episode 13)
Here is Greenwood [jdrama] (through episode 7)

Only first episodes watched:

Sekirei (What IS this series?)
Scrapped Princess (yes, I know I need to just watch)
Real Drive (ditto)
Zettai Shougeki (again, HUH?)

Series in progress but I can’t find time to circle back to complete:

Nadia (up to ep 22)
Tokyo Underground (up to ep 5)

On the To-Do list:

Ah My Goddess Tatakau Tsubasa
Madlax
Chrno Crusade
Macross Fufonfia (hehehehehe)
Slayers Revolution
White Album
Akane-iro ni Somaru Saka
Crystal Blaze
Chaos Head

Maybe I’ll actually find time to catch up with my reading as well… I have three DragonLance novels still to finish off here at the homestead…. in between Suns or Coyotes games on TV of course!

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So, I’ve managed to get some more Anime series completed. Now, this is really a big accomplishment because 1) two kids reside in this house, 2) I have a full time job, and 3) I’m doing the majority of the housework while wife finishes her degree this November.

Yikes!

Anyway, in the past couple of months since the last Anime Update, I’ve finished:

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Individual Eleven (4 out of 5 – creepy good!)
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Laughing Man (4.5 out of 5 – this plotline had me trying to solve the puzzle early, early on… that’s a sign of good writing!)
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Solid State Society (5 out of 5 – extraordinary. Highly recommended)
One Pound Gospel [jdrama] (3.5 out of 5. The actor playing Kosaku was downright hilarious, but Sister Angela’s actress needs polishing)
Idolm@ster Xenoglossia (3 out of 5. About halfway through it, the plot actually got compelling and made it worth watching. Prior to that, it was just fluff…)
School Days Valentine’s Day OVA (2 out of 5. Eh… not really that interesting.)
ef – a tale of memories (3 out of 5. Interesting plot idea, but not really executed well.)
Amatsuki (3.5 out of 5. The ending caused this to drop .5 stars, but if there’s a second season – no word yet on this – then I’ll up it back to 4)
Mnemosyne (4 out of 5 – holy crap, that’s some serious timelines and complex storyline)

In the queue / already begun:
Macross Frontier (so far we’re approaching 4.5 stars out of 5…)
Sekirei (only seen first episode … all I can say is NANI?!?!)
Candy Boy (only two eps and an OVA… what IS this?)
Hellsing Ultimate (YEAH, boy… OVA #5 comes out in October 2008 – NEXT MONTH)
Deltora Quest (so far it’s like the books, but I’ve heard there will be differences…)

Classics already begun:
Scrapped Princess (why didn’t I watch this last year??)

Things still on the “to do” list but haven’t started:
School Days
Ah My Goddess Tatakau Tsubasa
Madlax
Chrono Crusade
Wind – a breath of heart
Freedom
Vexille
Itazura na Kiss

And just for grins, I’m going to revisit Marmalade Boy. (yes, all 70+ episodes.)

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This is a follow-up to the High School Football post I wrote on 8/31/08.

I said:

The columnists that cover high school sports are only interested in covering the Phoenix-metro big schools (4A/5A). They have one or two folks that attempt to cover everything else (1A – 3A) and they fail miserably. You can follow the threads on multiple forums about how bad their coverage is, how badly they mess up their team rankings due to being uninformed, and how apathetic they are when it comes to anything that resides outside Maricopa County.

This past Monday, the Repugnant’s rankings came out for 2A and lo, a Phoenix-area school was #1 (Phoenix Christian) to nobody’s surprise. This, despite the fact that PC has played two games against awful opponents: Westwind Prep, a perennial 2A bottom-feeder, and Williams Field, a team that is playing varsity football for the first time ever and has NO SENIORS on its team. The Repugnant picked this PC team over a dominating St. Johns team (2-0, both wins over powerhouses: week 1 over Thatcher, and week 2 over Round Valley, which is a powerhouse school in the next higher conference (3A)).

If anyone doubts how bad the Repugnant is for high school coverage at this point, they seriously need to take a step back and visit a different newspaper, like maybe the Yuma Sun.

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The Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) has announced a “partnership” with the Arizona Repugnant:

“Azcentral.com have unveiled a partnership that makes azcentral.com the state’s only site to feature every score and schedule for all AIA member schools in each sport, providing the most comprehensive, updated coverage.”

Yeah, no. This was announced this psat Thursday. In yesterday’s (Saturday’s) edition, there was absolutely NO coverage of high school football. So much for this vaunted partnership.

24-7Football.com still provides more information, more up-to-date scores, and more in-depth analysis than anything the misinformed hacks at the Repugnant could come up with.

The 24-7 site’s admins are on recruiters’ speed-dial. The coaches prefer to deal with the 24-7 folks over newspaper columnists any day of the week. The AIA has proven themselves to be three-years behind the times in everything technology-related. This “announcement” is just Much Ado About Nothing.

The columnists that cover high school sports are only interested in covering the Phoenix-metro big schools (4A/5A). They have one or two folks that attempt to cover everything else (1A – 3A) and they fail miserably. You can follow the threads on multiple forums about how bad their coverage is, how badly they mess up their team rankings due to being uninformed, and how apathetic they are when it comes to anything that resides outside Maricopa County.

Which brings me to Geoff Grammer of the Tucson Citizen.

Now, I love the Citizen. I used to work there. I fondly look back on that place as the place that gave me a chance to get into the work force and show what I could do. The people were top-notch. The writing made me almost want to be a journalist (if the pay was close to technology, I probably would’ve switched). The editors knew what they were doing.

And now they have Geoff Grammer who has the title of “Varsity Sports Editor”.

I had posted on his site, and, of course, my post had a link back to the DKC Rankings. He did actually link back to the rankings, so I emailed him a quick thank you. However, in that thank you, I raised a question to him: (sent on 9/18/07)

Looks like you linked the DKC ratings. Thanks for that.

I been meaning to ask – why is it that the Citizen, which always has the best HS coverage anyway in S. Arizona, always seems to omit the 1A / 2A / 3A schools?

It’s not like Tucson and the surrounding area doesn’t have small schools -

1A
Ajo
Patagonia
St. David
(Tucson) Tanque Verde
(Elfrida) Valley Union

2A
Bisbee
Benson
(Oro Valley) Pusch Ridge Christian
Tombstone
Willcox

3A
(Tucson / Vail) Empire

The Citizen reports on Casa Grande and Buena (both in different counties), why not the rest of the schools in Cochise county and those actually in Pima county?

Prior to this email in 2007, under Grammer’s “reign”, the Citizen’s Varsity sports largely ignored the small schools in Southern Arizona, despite the profession that the Citizen was the voice of Southern Arizona. You can look back to this date (9/18/07) and see the coverage of small schools increased dramatically from that point onward. AND the coverage is way better than the Repugnant. Now, I can’t imagine how long Grammer had been there prior to my email, but it was very disappointing to see this lack of coverage, which is why I had to ask him what was going on.

Mr. Grammer never deigned to respond to that email.

However, he did post on his blog after Sunnyside shut out Salpointe 17-0 in week 4 of 2007 and instead of moving UP in the rankings, Sunnyside dropped from #2 to #3:

An interesting note… the DKC rankings aren’t subjective at all. They’re based on a formula of some sort, which has to be why Sunnyside, after a 17-0 shutout of a 5A-I Salpointe team, dropped in the rankings this past week.

So I responded with a pretty straightforward explanation of what actually happened, which was because Marcos de Niza thumped Yuma by 39 points and moved up to #2. Wasn’t anything that SS did wrong, it was because de Niza did it right. (Again, Mr. Grammer sent no response.)

Ever since then, Mr. Grammer has been very standoffish about what I do and where I fit in the grand scheme of things. The link from his site “mysteriously” disappeared as well. [EDIT: The link was on one specific blog, and it has since "rolled" off. I have found it and readded it here.]

Now however, Mr. Grammer has begun posting on the 24-7 site (as of today 8/30/08, Mr. Grammer has exactly _28_ posts to his name. Yes, _28_.) Yet, Mr. Grammer has only posted in the big school forum (4A/5A). I guess, once again, the small schools are beneath him. It’s actually sorta sad, because he’s posting there but his posts consist of “Here’s my So. Arizona Top 10 for the week, for anyone who cares.” (That’s verbatim, by the way.) And there are responses to the tune of “Southern Arizona?” (Again, verbatim.)

So, just like everyone else, I ignore the Arizona Repugnant “rankings”, since they have no clue, and Mr. Grammer’s “rankings” because he just combines all Southern Arizona 4A/5A schools into one “top ten” group, which doesn’t really do anything for anyone. I don’t read Mr. Grammer’s blog anymore because he’s really just a plea for attention (posts on a major forum asking to “check out my list” with a link are pretty self-explanatory). I don’t read the Repugnant’s worthless dribble on high school sports previews/coverage/etc. either.

When I want my info, I go to 24-7 Football, Friday Night Football (3A schools only) or I go to the Arizona Sports Network. 24-7 has the info, FNF has the scoop on the 3A schools, and AZSportsNet has the daily/weekly broadcasts and the experience.

And as of this past Thursday, I’m partnered with AZSportsNet, so it’s even better. They get all the statistics they can handle along with the network of information I’ve uncovered, and I get the benefit of their experience. Win-win. :)

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