24 November 2005

Week 11: The L-rd Giveth...

I suppose it's karma as much as anything else...I went from riches to rags this week, with last week's clean 5-0 sweep being replaced with just one lone win this time around. Thus endeth the Phalanx's undefeated run. We'll keep it short and sweet, out of respect for the deceased.

AnyGivenSunday: Team Autodraft skewered Philly Phalanx (10-1) 134-11
UIUCAAL: SunburnedCrackMidget toasted Philly Phizz (9-2) 105-54
WFL: Big Benz rolled over The Senators (7-4)
WFL Bonus: Barbie's Bruins (5-6) torched the Benchwarmers 77-68
NLFFL: Ann Arbor Ice Storm flash froze
Philly Phrenzy (6-5) 86-70
asdf: Olney Ocelots (4-7)
carbonated Orange Fanta 112-108

On the bright side, it ain't likely to get worse next week!

15 November 2005

Week 10: 5 Wins on a Broken Wing

It was a bonafide boffo week for all 5 of my fantasy squads...first time that's happened this season. Unfortunately, it came at the expense of an extraordinarily painful loss for my Eagles at the hands of the hated Cowboys. Basically it came down to a horrendous mistake by McNabb. The same McNabb that was going against my undefeated Phalanx. The same McNabb that was beating my Phalanx by 0.13 points until that interception. I suppose it's better to at least win one of the two, but all things considered, I'd rather go 0-5 and see my Eagles be in contention.

I'm guessing this year will be for the Eagles what 2002 was to the Pats...a retooling year with moderate success. Next year all the key players (excepting TO) will be back, along with a bumper crop of draft pics and a healed McNabb. It's probably for the best, who the hell wants to go to Detroit in February?

Anyhoo, on with the show!

AnyGivenSunday: Philly Phalanx (10-0) harpooned Vancouver Mad Orcas 81-78
UIUCAAL: Philly Phizz (9-1) exorcised Belichik is Satan 60-48
WFL: The Senators (7-3)
roasted The Benchwarmers 68-64
WFL Bonus: The Conservatives limbaughed Barbie's Bruins (4-5) 89-60
Philly Phrenzy (6-4) fletched the Presidio Rangers 90-75
asdf: Olney Ocelots (3-7)
rang up Item #40156 83-70

I'm really enjoying being undefeated. I'm also enjoying seeing my Ocelots climb out of the cellar...they're now #7 out of 10! Trent Green, Kelly Holcomb, and Reggie Brown almost were my undoing this week, but somehow I managed to squeak out my victories. Now no more bye weeks, we're all at full strength until the Superbowls! Let's get it on!

14 November 2005

Ye Olde Fantasy Footballe Dilemma

So the Phalanx (9-0) are tied with the Mad Orcas. I've got Reggie Brown and L.J. Smith. She's got Donovan McNabb. I blew it not starting Hines Ward (Fantasy Rule #1: ALWAYS start your studs), but my 3-point score by Brad Johnson didn't exactly help things. On the bright side, should Donovan have a good night, my Eagles will likely win, and then what do I care about a fantasy loss? But should he have a good night and the Eagles still lose...nothing worse than ye olde double whammie.

So let's see a nice Brian Westbrook game...lots of passing to RB and LJ, but all the scoring by BW running it in, ok?

But most importantly, WIN EAGLES WIN!

Intensive Care, Part 2

Okay, it's review time for Robbie Williams' latest effort, Intensive Care. I covered below how I became interested in the artist, so read that if you want some more background.

Overall Impression: Intensive Care is a solid effort, 3.5 stars out of four.

The good: Again, Robbie's ability to release only good songs continues unabated. There are no tracks to skip on this release (nor have there been on any previous ones). His switch from Guy Chambers to Stephen Duffy as his producer/writing partner hasn't diminished his quality one bit. I'm consistently amazed by this.

The bad: While they're trying to market Tripping as the catchy single from this album, there really is no Feel or Angels in Intensive Care. All the songs are good, most are great, but there's no anthem here that rises above the rest. On the bright side, that means that the wife won't be subjected to the same song over and over every time she's in the car.

Song by Song:
Ghosts: Any song that stars with "Here I stand, victorious. The only man who made you come." has to have some redeeming value, and this is no exception. Robbie always likes to start strong (the first track on Sing When Your Winning is, appropriately, Strong), and this is probably the strongest Brit-Pop track on the album. It's got a great beat, with a little discord thrown in (surely Duffy's work) and a lovely, resounding refrain, "We are ghosts!"

Tripping: I'm not sure what to make of this song. It's good, to be sure, but the melding of a reggae beat and falsetto doesn't really work as well as it was probably intended to. Some may even find it grating. Still, give the guy a little credit for moving out of his comfort zone.

Make Me Pure: Here's what happens when Ballad Robbie meets Ironic Robbie. A still roguish gent prays for redemption, but not until he's ready to behave. Great stuff. Awesome song.

Spread Your Wings: Back to rock-and-roll for Sir Williams, and he doesn't disappoint. More unrequited love with a toe-tappin' beat.

Advertising Space: Not exactly a title you'd expect to climb the UK charts, but I wouldn't be surprised to see this one released as the album's second single.

Please Don't Die: Another fabulous tune. Far better use of falsetto. Great bridge.

Your Gay Friend: Have to turn this one down a bit when playing at work, but still worth the listen. The lyrics are a bit strange, but certainly nothing to complain about.

Sin Sin Sin: I love the refrain of this song. Solid effort. A bit sacreligious, but I like that sort of thing.

Random Acts of Kindness: This tune almost sounds like a Smiths song...or at least Morrissey. Nice to see the Robster hopping out of the box a bit. There are worse groups to be compared to.

The Trouble With Me: Here's my dilemma. I love it when artists throw string sections into songs, and there's a lovely one in this tune. There's even a neat little poppy thing about 3 minutes into the tune. In the end, though, the song's just not all that engrossing. He even sounds like he's phoning it in.

A Place to Crash: Where'd this one come from?! It opens strong and enveloping like a Beatle tune, then moves into pure Robbie pop with some stellar harmony. Then repeats. Top notch!

King of Bloke and Bird: Just like SNL, Robbie saved the experimental, offbeat track for the end, and since it doesn't really work, I'm glad it's there rather than breaking up the rhythm of the album earlier. It also ends with a minute of silence, which I HATE, unless there's some hidden track at the end (a common occurrence on his earlier albums).

From the Singles
Meet of Stars (Tripping EP Enhanced CD): No one loads their EPs like Robbie. There's always some sort of previously unreleased track that's worth the £2 or £3. Here we have Robbie Williams in the style of David Bowie. Not his best work, really, but listenable.

Bag Full of Silly (Tripping DVD-EP): Oh, my, what do we have here? This little gem may be the best song of the lot! In fact, damn the consequences, it IS the best song! How'd this not make it onto the album!?! Thank goodness I've got a DVD audio ripper to put this baby onto CD. This is pure Brit-Pop Robbie, some of his best work. The second refrain, just a taste for you:

Last night this girl in my bed, I was telling her what I said
When all I had was potential, and a headful of dreadful
With a bag full of silly, walking through Piccadilly,
and I, well, anyway, anyway...
We're all made out of places, and I've been to a few.
What I need now is an aerial view.
'Cause I can see for myself that I can see for myself,
but, oh, I, anyway, anyway...

The Video
I haven't watched the either the DVD-EP, the movie on the Tripping Enhanced EP, or the bonus DVD on the Intensive Care Limited Edition yet, but I will soon, and you'll surely hear about it.

10 November 2005

Week 9: A Surprise Victory

AnyGivenSunday: Philadelphia Phalanx (9-0) coordinated the Grid Men 94-68
UIUCAAL: Philadelphia Phizz (8-1) balled Team Teabag 67-33
WFL: The Senators (6-3) committed
patricide on the Conservatives 84-70
WFL Bonus: The Bentopolous Slugs slimed Barbie's Bruins (4-5) 91-70
NLFFL: The Bus Drivers ran over the Philadelphia Phrenzy (5-4) 68-59
asdf: Olney Ocelots (2-7)
T.O.ed the Hartford Holdouts 119-82

Yes, you read that right, the Ocelots got win #2. Time for this juggernaut to start a-rollin'!

09 November 2005


I think I was pretty clear here...

And an update on the F.U.T.O. front.

04 November 2005

Dude, you're getting a what?!?

I never thought the day would come. I've been a Dell man for probably a good 6 or 7 years. I've only bought Dells for me, for work, for my wife, and for my family. I laughed at the lousy Gateways and too-expensive Sonys. And excepting my Crusoe-powered Fujitsu P2110 notebook and a brief, poorly-performing flirtation with the cheapie Cyrix 486SLC, I've always been an Intel guy.

Until now.

My ancient Dell Precision 330 is dying. Its Pentium-4 1.5 GHz processor is obsolete beyond words. So I went to the trusty Dell Outlet site to hook myself up with a new computer.

First off, I couldn't find a single machine under $1500 that I could slide my 4 160GB ATA-133 hard drives in...they build them way too small these days. When I asked on the Dell forum what I should do, I was told it was going to cost me.

Second, anything with a reasonably good graphics card, reasonably fast processor, and a gig of RAM was over $1000 too. All I wanted was a value-priced system that could run Doom 3, play DIVX movies without a hitch, and that would last me a few years without having to upgrade. I figured if I wanted one of the not-quite-cutting-edge 3.2 GHz Intel Extreme Edition Pentium IVs, I'd have to shelve my plans for six months or so before their prices dropped.

So I started doing a little field research. A trip to CompUSA showed me that if I wanted an Intel, I was going to pay for it, and these folks were all claiming how good the AMDs were. I've been hearing about the AMD revolution forever, but I never thought they were a serious competitor, like Linux vs Microsoft.

Turns out, the latest AMD 64-bit line kicks some serious ass. I did some comparisons at the best benchmark site I could find, Tom's Hardware Guide, and the AMD 64 line is right in step with Intel's latest and greatest, and even better in some categories. But Dell doesn't sell AMDs. So goodbye Dell. Hello HP!

I also looked at Compaq (yes, same company, I know, but different product lines), but the HPs offered the faster AMD64 3700+ in their cheaper, off-the-shelf HP Pavilion a1230n. And where's the cheapest place to find such an item? Amazon, of course. They've got an extra $50 rebate until 11/8, which more than counteracts their $29 shipping charge. $650 after rebates.

As for the graphics card, instead of ponying up $300 for a machine with a $100 better card, I just went out and got the eVGA nVidia GeForce 6600 (not the substandard 6600 LE) at IchibanPC. $100, free FedEx shipping.

And what about those four hard drives, you ask? Well all my precious data will now be comfortably housed in a LexusBay DK-7 Quad Bay firewire system. And why pay $300 at the LexusBay site when it's only $189 plus shipping at CoolDrives.com.

So for an even $950, I'm getting me a top-of-the line performer with all the bells and whistles.

Suck on that, Dell.

03 November 2005


So I'm flipping around Amazon (I love their recommendations engine, despite the malicious future it will generate in Epic 2015), and they've recommended Watchmen, which I of course already have, but I like to read other people's reviews of my favorite books, and as I'm scrolling down, I see that my own Listmania List of my favorite books is the very first recommended page! Over a thousand people have read my list. Only two have said it was helpful, but still to have my recommended booklist in the same Amazon page as Watchmen is pretty flattering.

So, of course, a survey was in order. My list is given on the pages for A Confederacy of Dunces, The Stars My Destination, The Demolished Man, Isaac Asimov's Robot Trilogy, V for Vendetta, Preacher: Gone to Texas, and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.


01 November 2005

Week 8: It's a good thing this isn't Fantasy English-League Football...

...or the Ocelots would be dropped down a division at the end of the season. They had a real chance to get win #2 last night, but they, of course, blew it.

AnyGivenSunday: Philadelphia Phalanx (8-0) Sisyphized the Valley Valiants 75-31
UIUCAAL: Philadelphia Phizz (7-1) circumsized the Jewgantors 106-67
WFL: The Bentopolis Slugs slimed The Senators (5-3) 130-93
NLFFL: Philadelphia Phrenzy (5-3) hunted down the Chelmsford Coyotes 70-22
asdf: The Hollywood Hogwash
bennifered the Olney Ocelots (1-7) 87-80

The Phalanx also now have a 2-game lead in their division. Unfortunately, all it takes is one loss in the playoffs to erase that healthy undefeated glow. Still, it's good to be the king.