Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February Bonus Day

Good afternoon everyone.  Once every four years we get this day, February 29th.  Just sitting here thinking about it, I cannot recall having known anyone whose birthday is today.  I'm going to give you another ramble today, but I feel less guilty about it looking at the calendar.  In just a few weeks it will be very easy to fuel my Friday entries with sports material for a couple of months, with the random Wednesday sports blog.  Although I like doing this blog on a regular schedule (Monday, Wednesday, Friday at the moment), I do not want it be a chore, which is why I don't spend hours researching random sports-related topics just so I can have something to write about on Fridays.  Football predictions, the NCAA basketball tournament, etc..., when I am guaranteed to be following what is happening, writing the Friday entries is EASY...  ;)  To recap my gameplan for a couple of entries that I will be making next month, I will be making a multitude of different NCAA Tourney predictions on Wednesday, March 14th, and I will be making my regular season Major League Baseball standings predictions for every ballclub on Friday, March 25th.  'Selection Sunday' (the announcement of brackets) for the NCAA Tourney will be taking place a week from this Sunday, on the 11th of March.  I had a nice surprise waiting for me when I returned home from work last night regarding my fantasy baseball league.  I signed up for my spot a few weeks back (going on 3 weeks maybe), and at that time I was 2nd of the 10 teams needed to make the league go.  If 10 teams don't sign up for a league by the projected draft time, that specific league doesn't 'make', and you have to sign up for another one.  Seeing that my draft was scheduled for Sunday, March 25th, I really wasn't worried about the league not having enough teams, but it's nice to know that your league is 'locked', and also fun and helpful to find out which spot you have in the draft.  Well, when I left for work last night, the league only had 6 teams in it, but when I returned home to find out if anyone else had joined, I couldn't find my league's draft time on the list.  Sure enough, when I checked my e-mail, I had the confirmation that my league is officially 'locked', and the e-mail came at 7:45.  This means that in about 2 hours, 4 people signed up for my league.  Anyway, I found out that I will have the 3rd overall draft pick in my league.  I picked 7th out of 10 teams last year under the same format.  What I obviously like about selecting 3rd is that if someone asks me to list my top 3 prospects for the draft, I am GUARANTEED to get one of them.  This is a 'snake draft' for any of you who have played fantasy football under the same draft format, so picking 3rd means that I will next pick 18th when it comes back around, and then 23rd, and then 38th, etc, etc... for 28 rounds.  Each team owner has 75 seconds to make their selection each time, and 280 players are drafted all together, so the draft takes a little while (I believe that it took 2 1/2 hours last year).  If you have been following the blog regularly, you already know at this point in my life that baseball season and fantasy baseball just get me to the next football season.  I'm still shaking off that 300 dollar bill on my vehicle repair, and doing everything that I can to make a move back to Las Vegas at the end of the summer.  Hopefully I can save enough money and the economy will cooperate enough to allow me to do so.  It will definitely give more punch to the blog if I have action on the predictions that I am giving to you...  I saw something nice on facebook today when one of my former co-workers who I mentioned here a little while back (the milk story) noted that she was glad that she wore her heels to work today.  This notation was accompanied by her posing in a photo with David Robinson...  She recently received a well-deserved job offer from a radio station in San Antonio and is already 'living the dream'...  I ended up being a 'trooper' and watching the whole Daytona 500 on Monday night.  As I watched the race, I realized that auto racing is one sport that I could not compete in.  I am weary of the idiots on our nation's highways when they get too close to me while we're driving 70 miles an hour.  The prospect of racing HOUR AFTER HOUR on an oval track where I would be driving in a 'pack' of cars traveling at 200 miles per hour does not appeal to me.  The world of auto racing is one of the sports arenas where my brother has managed to outdistance me in life.  I have never been to a live NASCAR race, a live fight (boxing or UFC/MMA, etc...), or an NHL game.  Don't get me wrong, I have been to an NFL game, and NUMEROUS Major League Baseball and NBA games (including all of the Western Conference Finals and Finals home games in the Spurs' title runs in 1999 and 2003).  This doesn't mean that my brother isn't a punk however.  :)  I definitely need to make connections if and when I get back to Las Vegas to take advantage of the opportunities to view these sporting events.  I hope that each of you had as good a month as I did (outside of the vehicle repair).  One of my friends brought me a calendar from Las Vegas for 2012, and I received it at the end of January.  Since the February photo was a picture of a statue (outside of the Statue of Liberty, I could not care less about statues), I ripped the statue photo out so I could look at a Strip photo that features that redone Aladdin, which is now the Planet Hollywood Casino.  I can remember doing this like it was yesterday, and now tomorrow is March.  For all of the little sayings that I may have problems with for whatever reason, you better BELIEVE that TIME DOES FLY...  I hope that you have a great day and I will see you again on Friday.
      

Monday, February 27, 2012

I Won't Lie, It Hurts...

Good afternoon boys and girls.  I apologize for missing my Friday entry here.  I was a little preoccupied with the condition of my vehicle, and today I found out the damage - THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS...  The alternator needed to be replaced, so hopefully I won't have the urge to eat very often this week... ummm, month...  I'm trying to save up money to move back to Las Vegas, and that bill was painful to say the least.  Weather permitting, I will have the chance to watch other people with car trouble tonight as the Daytona 500 is scheduled to start in about two hours.  Yesterday the broadcasters said that this is the first time that they've ever had to change the day of the race, and we'll see if they can actually race tonight...  With my engine running, I was able to do an errand for my friend today, which allowed us to witness an amusing confrontation...  (Yes, this is my normal Monday ramble now...).  As I was leaving the grocery store after picking up a rotisserie chicken to eat my depression away, my friend called me and asked if I could pick up some cigarettes for him (while I'm sitting in my car with my then-hot chicken - what are the odds??)...  Anyway, I go back in and pick up the smokes, and then proceed to my workplace.  My friend and I go out front after I drop off his delivery, and happen upon a confrontation that is occurring in the alleyway, as two drivers are trying to use the same one-car alley, and are yelling at each other from behind the wheels of their respective vehicles (maybe they knew I needed material for my ramble).  The cars are facing each other left-bumper to left-bumper, head-on, with the guy who had obviously just turned into the alleyway (I know this because he has advanced maybe 10 yards into the alley) yelling at the driver of the other car, "you'll have to back up because my car doesn't go in reverse..."  (true story).  The woman driving the other car yells something back at him (it was easier to hear the guy because his open driver's side window was literally facing us and was feet from where we were standing), to which the guy responds with something to the effect of "it doesn't bother me..." (as if he is prepared to sit there for the long haul)...  After about another minute (count out a literal minute to yourself) they start chirping loudly again, and then the guy somehow manages to squeeze his car in-between the lady's car and the wall of the opposite building - Freaking surreal...  :)  This all followed the events of about 45 minutes earlier when I walked to pick up my vehicle from the mechanic, and had to use the same crosswalk where I was almost rundown a few months earlier (the incident which I described in a blog entry a little while back)...  I am waiting to get the go-ahead from the crossing light, and as the light turns red, a truck pulls up to the signal, stops at the red light, and then GUNS IT, BLOWING THRU the light as the opposite light turns green and we get the go-ahead to cross...  I roll my eyes (I WAS NOT on the crosswalk yet, thankfully) and the girl crossing from the opposite side of the street sees what happens and my reaction, and I nod as she says something to me about his genius driving in passing...  There are a few people from San Marcos, America that I would like to enter at Daytona tonight - I think they would spice things up a little...  ;)  There is still room in my fantasy baseball league at www.cdmsports.com if anyone is interested in joining.  Under the 'Draft & Play' option, it's a 25-dollar league that is drafting on Sunday, March 25th at 11:00 a.m. CST using rotisserie-style scoring (not points).  The 10-team league still had 5 spots open when I looked this morning.  I hope that all of your vehicles are working and that you get to enjoy the race tonight.  I will see you again on Wednesday.
    

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

GRRRRRRRRR.....

Good afternoon everyone.  Today's post will be an impromptu ramble after I didn't make a trip to 'Bikini Hill' for the third day in a row on a BEAUTIFUL San Marcos Wednesday...  GRRRRRRRRR.....  Instead I have wasted half the day (over two hours, divided by a lunch break) trying to start my car after it decided to revert back to its behavior of a few months ago.  The battery has juice, but the connections to the battery aren't giving me the necessary charge to start the engine.  GRRRRRRRRR.....  This seems to be a result of me having to hit the brakes pretty hard in a parking lot last night to avoid a collision with another vehicle, at which point the battery and brake lights lit up on my console.  GRRRRRRRRR.....  Anytime that this happened during the summer or fall, I was able to readjust the battery cables and get the car to start.  I will probably end up giving it another go later tonight because I am really not keen on the idea of paying to have my car towed and then paying again to have it fixed...  After working and cleaning up after work last night, I can confidently say that my least favorite part of Fat Tuesday is feathers...  Little orphan feathers, laying all over the place...  I can't do a ramble for you without another bank story.  This time when I went to the bank, I had a cup full of change that I have been saving since I moved back to San Marcos in August.  After I gave the cup to the young lady to dump into the change machine in the back of the bank, she reappeared to let me know that there would be a 2% service charge if my change totaled $100.00 or more.  My initial response (in my head) was that I hoped the total didn't go over 100 so I wouldn't have to pay a fee, but then it occurred to me that if the total DID go over 100, I'm only giving them 2 dollars for EVERY 100 that I get back.  Human nature is a funny thing...  As it turns out, she asked me to guess how much change I had after the machine had counted it (the tellers like playing this game with their customers as this has happened to me before).  I guessed that it was $50.00 and it turned out to be a little bit more than $65.00...  If you find a moral to that story then you are a better person than I am...  :)  Leaving the grocery store last night I saw that there is a new 'tabloid' about reality shows.  It is really sad that we have gotten to the point that we have so many reality shows that there is enough drivel to fill a tabloid with on a regular basis.  Yeah, I'm pretty bitter because my car won't start, but still...  If you've been following the blog regularly, you've probably figured out that my t.v. viewing habits are sports, 'The Big Bang Theory', sports, 'Law & Order', sports, poker, and sports...  I am going to give up for today because I am a little tired after pointlessly attempting to get my car to start.  I hope that you're having a better day than I have, and I'll see you again on Friday.
    

Monday, February 20, 2012

President's Day & 'Toddlers And Tiaras'

Good morning everyone.  I hope that you are enjoying your President's Day.  As I stumble out of bed to do my ramble today, I am doing so after enjoying about as much sleep in a 24-hour period as I have for quite a while. I went into work for an early event on Saturday, which meant that I slept less than normal beforehand.  Of course this was accompanied by working longer than I usually do for a normal shift...  Anyway, I am well-rested now, and if the weather forecast holds up, today may be the first day of 2012 that I make a trip to the actual 'Bikini Hill'.  It is supposed to be 67 degrees and sunny this afternoon in San Marcos, America, which would be perfect for stretching out and digging into my fantasy baseball magazine on my day off.  In the meantime, let me do some rambling...  Last week one of my friends showed me a clip from the show 'Toddlers And Tiaras' on her phone.  GOODNESS GRACIOUS...  This may be the most disturbing thing that's ever been on television.  The clip that I saw focused on a six year-old girl who is a little beauty pageant contestant, and she was hamming it up for the cameras...  At one point as she's dancing around she actually says, "A dollar makes me holler"  WOW...  This is actually someone's CHILD!  Completely unacceptable...  On a much lighter note, as much as I will bash commercials that I don't like, I found one that I do like this weekend.  Clorox has a commercial where a mother and child are waiting at a bus stop and the child is wiping his nose with his sleeve.  The mother says, "don't use your sleeve" - the boy then proceeds to wipe his nose on the sleeve of the white dress shirt of the man that is standing beside him...  Well played...  :)  I read something from the AllVegasPoker website that I have referenced here before that I truly had a hard time wrapping my brain around.  A poker player was discussing sports betting in his story and he made this statement:  "I have a feeling with sports betting (that) you can bet either team and as long as there isn't an upset, you have a good shot at winning..."  HUH??!!  If you bet the FAVORITE and there isn't an upset, then...  :)  My brain just FROZE for a moment as I tried to process his statement...  As I try to determine whether or not I'll be able to make a move back to Las Vegas at the end of this summer, I am reminded of the movie 'Apollo 13'.  There is a point in the movie where they are going through a checklist of problems that will need to be solved in order to bring the crew back, and someone basically points out that we'll worry about that when we get to it because we're only this far down the list right now...  (The actual movie quote is much better, but I can't seem to find it online right now).  Between saving up money, and finding a job in the desert where the current unemployment rate is 12.7%, and finding a place to live, and, and, and....  Well, I have this afternoon to look forward to if the sun does indeed break through as forecast...  Oh, by the way, 'Bikini Hill' has gone over 4,000 views now, so we'll see if we can get 16,000 more views by the end of the year to reach the 20,000 that I predicted...  :)  I hope that you have a great day and I'll see you again on Wednesday.    
                           

Friday, February 17, 2012

Approaching Tipoff

Good afternoon everyone.  There is a lot of housekeeping going on in San Marcos, America today at the home of 'Bikini Hill'.  Not your literal housecleaning, but preparations being made for future blogs and things of that nature.  With the NBA All-Star Game being played next Sunday on February 26th and the NCAA Men's Tournament Selection Show taking place on Sunday, March 11th, I am slowly but surely gearing up for MY basketball season.  I may have touched on this before, but for those of you who may be new to the blog, this is what my sports year looks like at this point:  Football Season; Basketball Season (beginning with the college conference tournaments and the NBA playoff run); Hockey Season (beginning with the playoff run); Baseball Season (picking up on the heels of basketball and hockey finishing).  I play fantasy baseball to get me through the summer and to September when the football season starts over again.  Intertwined in the sports year I will watch the Golf 'Majors', the big NASCAR races, various UFC fights, the World Cup every 4 years, the Olympics every 2 years, etc...  As I typed in a moment ago, the NCAA Men's Tourney brackets will be released on Sunday, March 11th.  I have decided to do my blog with various NCAA Tourney predictions on Wednesday, March 14th.  The tournament will actually begin on that day, so my blog will come out early to precede any action.  One of my predictions that was gold last March (I made the prediction on facebook because I did not begin writing this blog until September) was my call that NONE of the #1 seeds would reach the Final Four - NAILED IT!!!  ;)  Come back on March 14th and we'll see if I can get anything right this year...  Regardless of what I predict on that Wednesday, I will predict games up through and including the national championship game in subsequent Friday blogs.  By the way, if you are an NCAA hoops fan and a Las Vegas fan, the opening weekend of the NCAA Tourney each year (Thursday - Sunday) is the only event that rivals the Super Bowl in the desert annually for the amount of action that is wagered on games.  In a nutshell, it's a GREAT PLACE to watch basketball games for four days if you ever get the opportunity.  If you are a baseball fan, I will be releasing my regular season predictions for the upcoming MLB season on Friday, March 23rd.  This will include my guess at the records for each team this year, just like I did for the NBA regular season a few months back.  One of the predictions for the MLB season that I made last Friday is that the Philadelphia Phillies will win the National League's berth to the World Series this year.  They just have SO MUCH pitching.  For any of you who are looking for a place to play fantasy baseball, I play at www.cdmsports.com and have been playing there for years.  The league that I joined actually has eight spots left in it if you are interested in competing in the same league as me.  I am playing in a 25-dollar rotisserie league using players from the American and National Leagues (that's the cost for the whole season).  It is a 10-team league under the 'Draft & Play' option, and the draft is on Sunday, March 25th at 11:00 a.m. CST.  CDM offers various other options (AL or NL players only, different entry fees, different scoring types, etc...) if the framework of my league doesn't suit your taste.  If you do join my league, my team's name is the Bikini Hill Giants.  I am going to let you mark all of those dates on your calendars now, and I will see you again on Monday with my ramble.  I hope that you have a great weekend!
          

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Unstoppable Jeremy Lin

Good morning everybody.  Today's post is going to spotlight the new sensation in New York City that is Jeremy Lin, and then it will trail off into a ramble as we all wonder how we are going to survive until next Valentine's Day...  :P  As I typed here recently, it is going to take me a few more weeks to get into the full spirit of basketball season, but something is happening up in Gotham that is going to help me along.  As I was flipping through the channels yesterday, Stephen Colbert hit me with a great line.  In reference to Jeremy Lin, Colbert said, "You know that times are hard when a Harvard Economics Major has an easier time getting a job as an NBA point-guard than as a Wall Street bond trader."  Evidently Mr. Lin went undrafted after his college playing days ended, and he was released by the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets before finding a spot to sleep on his brother's couch (this is very similar to the story in which I ended up on my sister's couch for a few weeks this past summer after failing to find a teaching and coaching position, but I have yet to hit it big time either sports betting or playing poker...).  ;)  The Knicks signed Lin to gain some needed depth at the point-guard position, and after some recent injuries he got his shot and has taken over New York City by storm.  His most recent heroics came last night in Toronto when he drained a three-pointer with less than a second remaining in the game, breaking a tie and giving the Knicks a 90-87 victory over the Raptors.  This comes on the heels of a two-point win by New York over the Timberwolves in Minnesota in their last game.  The game prior to that, which is the game when he appeared on my radar, he outscored Kobe Bryant at Madison Square Garden in a 92-85 triumph.  The Knicks are currently riding a six-game winning streak and Lin has been an instant celebrity.  It will be interesting to see if Lin is just a flash-in-the-pan or if he is going to be force for years to come.  He seems to be a character guy and I am rooting for him.

As I give you a little mini-ramble here, I hope that all of you enjoyed your Valentine's Day yesterday.  I followed the facebook posts yesterday, which included the sister of a co-worker of mine getting proposed to - very nice...  I also saw photos of cards and flowers and heart-shaped pizzas as Hallmark enjoyed one of its favorite holidays.  I worked last night, which started a five-day stretch for me that was extremely humid as San Marcos, America is preparing for a 75-degree day today on the 15th of February.  The chance of rain that is accompanying it doesn't make the weather ideal for going to Bikini Hill, but it beats 3 feet of snow and 20 degrees below zero, trust me...  Speaking of weather (like that segue?), I saw at the Weather Channel's website that a new show will be debuting on February 23rd.  'Lifeguard!  Southern California' will be hitting the airwaves, and the ad that I saw features a photo of a female lifeguard running along a beach 'Baywatch' style...  I predict that this show will become one of the network's highest-rated programs (see, I just can't help myself when it comes to making predictions).  ;)  Speaking of predictions, the friend of mine who was kind enough to give me a job when I struck out in the education field this past summer was FULL OF PREDICTIONS after work last night.  Of the three that he threw out there, I believe that the most-likely to occur is that Peyton Manning will never play football again.  Now read that carefully - I didn't say that I THINK that Manning will never take the field again.  I just said that of the three, that one is the most likely.  His second call was that Robert Griffin III won't see the field in his first two years in the NFL (not counting preseason games).  I jumped all over this one, saying that Griffin would see the field in special situations or even in a slash role (wide receiver, etc...), and that's IF he didn't get starts as a quarterback.  The third one, which really made me smile, is that he said that I couldn't stay off of facebook for two days, and that he was willing to bet me.  He was actually willing to bet on the Griffin prediction, but offered a much bigger wager on the facebook one.  I don't know how this wager would be monitored, but it reminds me of one my favorite quotes that I coined about myself:  "People have underestimated me my whole life."  ;)  Have a great day and we'll see you on Friday.
             

Monday, February 13, 2012

Las Vegas Deals

Good evening everyone.  As I begin this ramble, I have discovered recently that reading stories about Las Vegas does not quench my thirst for wanting to return.  I have recently rediscovered a website that is a compilation of personal stories about poker excursions to Las Vegas. Just take a moment to visit this site at www.allvegaspoker.com/tripreports.php if you want to skim through the over 2,000 poker trip reports that have been submitted to date.  You will also find a lot of comments here that speak to the quality of the hotels if you are looking for a play to stay on your next visit to the desert.  The site is up to date as stories have been submitted as recently as two days ago.  While on the subject, let me also take a moment to once again type in the address of my friend's blog, who lives in Las Vegas and is very talented at telling tales from the green felt.  Visit pkrdlr.blogspot.com/ (Life As A Las Vegas Poker Dealer) to skim through the over six years of stories that my friend has archived.  Today was a very lazy Monday for me as I slept as much as possible to prepare myself for working the next five days.  One of the things that I did accomplish today was renewing my driver's license though.  For those of you who live in Texas, you may renew your driver's license any time within a year of its expiration.  I was not aware of this and only made the trip to the office today to change my address on my license.  After waiting in the usual line, I was immediately sold when I was offered the option of renewing my license for the next five years, thus having to stand in this line one fewer time.  I made the clerk smile when she asked me for my weight, which resulted in me looking down at my waistline before answering...  :)  My weight will fluctuate depending on what I have been eating and how active I have been, so when I looked and answered "220", I managed to get a little smirk...  As I hung out around my apartment for most of the rest of the day, I realized that I am not in the mood to immerse myself in the current basketball season yet.  It seems like the optimal time to do this will occur in two weeks, when the college teams are preparing to compete in their conference tournaments and the professionals will be reaching the halfway point of their stunted season.  I do have a little rant for you about one of the NBA players who was at the microphone in the past couple of days though.  The Los Angeles Lakers won a very close game at Toronto, one that saw the Raptors turning the ball over with seconds remaining in the game due to a five-second call.  When asked about what happened after the game, Kobe Bryant basically said, "I was surprised.  I didn't go to college, but I can count..."  Brilliant...  I think that they teach you how to count to five in like..., kindergarten, but I am very impressed that you can count to FIVE Kobe...  Congratulations!!!  I'm not sure how the league will survive when a player with so much class leaves in a few years...  I was looking at the Yahoo! headlines a little earlier in the day, and when I skimmed down to the entertainment section, I found this GEM:  "Miley Cyrus cuts her hair again"...  REALLY?!!!  I wonder how many people clicked on that headline after reading it... (Yes, I'm rolling my eyes right now...).  This week I bought a box of ice cream for the first time in a while (yes, the ramble is hitting a new low right now), but have you bought a box of ice cream recently?  The box that it came in doesn't have the normal 'slot' closure like it used to (similar to that of a cereal box), but it closes more like a moving box, where you have all of these flaps that you have to fold over one another.  Now I went to college, but when it comes to folding a box that contains frozen food...  ;)  I hope that you have a good one and I'll see you again on Wednesday.
           

Friday, February 10, 2012

The World Will Not End This Year

Good morning everyone.  I am sure that if you have stumbled onto my blog today, then you feel about as lost reading it as I do typing it - there is no football to make predictions about...  I do have some random predictions that I will give to you on this dreary San Marcos day in the spirit of what this blog has been about on Fridays.



Me vs. The Mayans

The Mayans predicted that the world would end on December 21st, 2012 if you believe what you read (or some of what you read).  Different experts evidently disagree on the date above being the exact date that the Mayans were pinpointing.  I am going to go out on a limb and predict that the world doesn't end in 2012.  By my definition the world ending means EVERY SINGLE PERSON has to be gone (just to be clear).  The upside of making this prediction is that no one will be around to tell me that I was wrong if I do make a bad call here (obviously another upside being a victory for humanity, but whatever)...  :)



Me vs. Tiger Woods

I made this prediction about Tiger Woods A LONG TIME AGO (you can ask my brother) and I am not backing off of it.  I do not believe that Tiger Woods will end his career with more wins in the 'Majors' (Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, PGA Championship) as a professional than Jack Nicklaus.  Nicklaus has 18 victories and Woods has 14 at this point (the count is 20 to 17 if you count victories in these events as an amateur also, which I'm not).  The odds are stacked against me in that Tiger Woods should still have a lot of golf ahead of him (unless the Mayans were right of course, which would force Woods to sweep the 'Majors' this year just to tie Nicklaus)...  ;)  What is in my favor now is that Woods has lost his game for the moment, and if and when he does find it, his game will have to be better than everybody else's, and Tiger is not getting any younger.



Me vs. The National League

My blog entry with the regular season predictions for every team playing Major League Baseball is about a month away, but I will give you this teaser now.  I predict that the Philadelphia Phillies will be the National League's representative in the World Series this year.  I will tell you now that I don't have an American League opponent picked out for the Phillies, and that when I make my blog entry in about a month, I won't have playoff predictions attached to it.  What I am telling you is that adding Jonathan Papelbon as the closer to a pitching staff that has Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels is going to be extremely tough to beat.  The Phillies lost last season in the playoffs to the eventual World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals, but Albert Pujols will be playing his baseball in the American League this year.  The 'City of Brotherly Love' should stock up on champagne is all that I am saying...



Me vs. Illiterate People

Okay, I am not trying to be mean to people who cannot read here, but I am going to make a prediction about my blog readership for the year 2012.  'The View From Bikini Hill' has been in existence from September 28th, 2011 until today, and has been viewed a total of 3,709 times to this point.  The lion's share of that viewership so far has been people who have come here to read my football predictions, and the average amount of viewers has been about 900 readers a month if you do the math.  I am going to go out on a limb here and predict that this little blog will reach 20,000 views by the end of 2012.  One thing that I have in my favor is that the blog has been viewed enough now that whenever somebody does a search on 'Google', if their search happens to match words that are included in any of my entries, 'The View From Bikini Hill' appears as an option to click on.  Another thing that my prediction has going in its favor is that I have an NCAA basketball tournament, NHL playoffs, NBA playoffs, a full MLB baseball season, and full NCAA Football and NFL regular seasons ahead of me.  I will also be keeping you apprised of where the viewership is at, so if you see that I am coming up short and wouldn't mind clicking on my blog 30 or 40 times a day, that would be a HUGE help!  I'm just kidding of course...  ;)



I hope that you have a great weekend and I will see you again on Monday with my ramble...



          


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Rattlesnakes And Dreams

Good evening everyone.  Well, I'm starting my Wednesday blog on Wednesday here in San Marcos, America, and it WILL still be Wednesday when I finish this entry (on the West Coast)...  I worked last night and got to bed at about 4:30 a.m., slept fast, and returned to work this morning at 10 a.m.  That is the reason that this entry is coming to you so late in the day - I just woke up from a nice little 4 1/2 hour nap a little more than an hour ago.  You will NEVER guess what I dreamed about...  I was sleeping and dreaming that I had this little pet rattlesnake.  My rattlesnake was only about 2 feet long, and I know that it was young because it wasn't very big around and it has these little tiny baby teeth as opposed to long fangs...  Let me stop here to give you a little bit of background.  I have a sister who has a number of snakes (I think that 4 is the current number, or maybe 5).  These snakes are boas and corn snakes.  My personal feeling about snakes is that I have no fear of them if I know that they are not poisonous.  With that being said, I have held her snakes, let them crawl on me, etc...  So back to my dream, my little pet rattler is crawling on my arm and it begins 'nipping' at me, taking little playful bites at me much like a puppy would.  At this point it occurs to me, "hey, this thing is poisonous."  (Remember, I WAS sleeping...).  So now I begin trying to grab the snake by the neck, near its head, much like you see the experts do on t.v. when they're trying to milk snakes for their venom.  I put the snake back into its tank, and then somehow it is out of the tank, following me across the room on the floor.  Of course it eventually catches up to me, and I have to fend it off again.  The snake never rattles as it is trying to nip at me throughout the course of this dream by the way.  Eventually the snake manages to BARELY get its little rattlesnake teeth on my skin, barely enough to feel it on my right hand, so little in fact that I have to wonder, "did it bite me?"  At this point I wake up, and because of the way that I was sleeping, my right hand is numb when I wake up...  So I do the next logical thing, and start checking my hand for bite marks...  :)  The funny thing about all of this is that its been at least a week since I have seen a snake, and that was on t.v. during a little show on sea snakes...  I am glad that I was so tired when I returned home today because I completely forgot that Duke was playing at North Carolina tonight.  I have liked the Tar Heels back to the time before they ever had Michael Jordan, and I would have been upset if I had watched the whole game only to see them lose on a last-second three-pointer to the Blue Devils.  Now that football season has ended, I will start studying up on my college basketball and you will be seeing some college hoops predictions in the coming months.  Shortly afterward I will be posting my baseball predictions for the regular season (I DID pick up my fantasy baseball magazine after I worked today, and you may very well be seeing a fantasy baseball post here also), followed by my NBA playoff predictions, and then we will have a couple of months of following baseball and reporting on the upcoming football season before football is officially back.  Somewhere in there I will probably be reporting on the World Series of Poker also, and if I have things my way, I will be blogging about a move back to Las Vegas.  The major roadblocks to me moving back to Las Vegas when my current lease ends are the current 12.7% unemployment rate in the desert, and not being able to save up enough money in time to move back knowing what the current unemployment rate is...  And if you haven't figured this out yet, I am chomping at the bit to move back to the city where I can readily find poker games and easily make sports bets at will...  :)  I will be back here on Friday to blog about something that is sports-related - can you believe that the football season is REALLY OVER?!...  Oh well, have a good one and I will see you again on Friday.
                    

Monday, February 6, 2012

Super Bowl Hangover

Good morning everyone and welcome to the Monday ramble.  I hope that you enjoyed your day yesterday.  I had a great time myself, and my 'hangover' isn't alcohol-related, but it's due to the fact that it will be SEVEN MORE FULL MONTHS until we see meaningful football games played again...  I predicted that the Giants would beat the Patriots 24-21 and the actual final score was Giants 21 Patriots 17...  Once we reached the conference championship games this season I was right in the ballgame with my predictions.  How many of you find Cris Collinsworth completely annoying?...  I was watching the game yesterday with my father and my brother (and 30 or so other people), and I found myself regularly turning to my brother to complain about Collinsworth and something that he said.  AND THEN Wes Welker drops that pass late in the 4th quarter and Collinsworth remarks, "he makes that catch 100 out of 100 times..."  HUH?????  I felt like yelling out, "AND THAT WAS THE EXCEPTION?????"  Mr. Collinsworth tends to over-dramatize EVERYTHING that happens in the game...  "That timeout could be important later, that point they lost by going for two could be important later, not getting enough cheese on those nachos could be important later..."  Okay, I might be embellishing a bit, but GIVE IT A REST, PLEASE...  Yesterday's halftime show seemed pretty popular with the fans in Indianapolis, and after some mediocre shows in the recent past, I turned to my brother and told him that the people on the entertainment committee for the NFL must have said, "we're done screwing around, next year we're getting Madonna..."  In the wee hours of Sunday morning I was playing some free online poker at MSN, and when the topic of the Super Bowl came up, one of my opponents mentioned what the menu was going to be at his house for the game.  "We're doing wings, bacon-wrapped teriyaki chicken, and deviled eggs - it's gonna be a chicken massacre..."  :)  Roger Goodell made a couple of comments on behalf of the NFL recently...  He mentioned that the Pro Bowl may be ended if the quality of the game does not improve (GREAT IDEA), and he said that the NFL will be expanding their Thursday night schedule to include games from Weeks 2-15 of the season.  Once the NFL Network came into existence you just knew that more and more games would find their way there, didn't you?...  Watching the halftime show yesterday reminded me of a thought that I had earlier in the week for today's ramble.  With my penchant for making predictions, I realized that I spend a lot more of my time looking toward the future than looking back at the past.  I have never seen some of the very popular movies about the past like 'Gladiator', but I am much more inclined to watch a movie that deals with future events (i.e...  'The Day After Tomorrow', 'Armageddon', '2012'...).  I made a trip to the library of my Alma Mater this week, and I found a few quotes that I wanted to share with you, followed by the story of how the library closes (TRUST ME)...  :)  Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, said this to Newsweek in an interview about who she likes to work with:  "I leave aside the bastards, because that's one thing I don't compromise with:  people who lie, people who cheat, people who are not with the group and behave like parasites.  That, I can't stand."  Amen Miss Lagarde...  This quote comes from Mark Jackson, the Head Coach of the Golden State Warriors, in an interview with Sports Illustrated:  "... I had to tell the group during a timeout I don't need a choir of "my bads."  Every time they come over, "my bad, Coach, my bad."  That's not what I'm looking for.  Find a way to get it done."  Well said Coach Jackson.  THIS happened at 2:30 a.m. at the library, as the library prepared to close at 3 a.m.  A girl on the P.A. system announced, "... all books must be checked out by 2:45...  all lights will be shut off by 2:55 SHARP..."  Yes, you read that right, and what's WORSE, she REPEATED THE ANNOUNCEMENT...  You can't beat that - the library will be closed at 3:00, and all of the lights will be turned off by 2:55...  OUTSTANDING!  :)  I also read in TIME magazine that YouTube is now getting 4 billion views per day, so at almost 3,700 views in 4 months, 'The View From Bikini Hill' is RIGHT BEHIND...  ;)  Have a great day and I'll see you again on Wednesday!
                         

Friday, February 3, 2012

Super Bowl 46 (2012)

Good morning everybody.  I am sitting here dreading (not really) making this prediction after coming so close to the final scores in the conference championship games.  Before I get into calling a score on this year's Super Bowl, I do want to thank all of you for stopping by.  This blog was born on September 28th last year and has been viewed over 3,500 times now.  In the coming months I will be making predictions on the NCAA Basketball Tournament, the Major League Baseball regular season standings, and the NBA and NHL playoffs.  'Bedazzled' is on cable right now as background noise as I do my research for this game, and will likely be blamed or praised for this pick's success or failure... We are currently in the neighborhood of being 59 hours from kickoff.



Super Bowl 46 from Indianapolis:  New York Giants (9-7) @ New England Patriots (13-3)

Current Vegas Odds:     Patriots  (-3)     Over/Under  (54 1/2)

When these two teams met November 6th in New England, the Giants beat the Patriots 24-20.  In Super Bowl 42 in 2008, the Giants beat the Patriots 17-14 in Glendale, Arizona (I just wanted to throw that out there).  I have picked the Giants to win their last four games as luck would have it, starting with their game against the Cowboys for the NFC East crown.  Do you remember that far back?  The Giants had to beat the Cowboys to get INTO THE PLAYOFFS.  After defeating Dallas 31-14, the Giants downed the Falcons 24-2, upset the Packers 37-20, and edged out the 49ers 20-17 in overtime.  I have a 1-1 record on the Patriots playoff games, as I was right in the neighborhood on their 45-10 win over the Broncos (I had New England winning 37-17), and I was also very close on my score in their 23-20 victory over the Ravens (EXCEPT that I had the Ravens winning 24-20).  My first instinct was to take the over in this Super Bowl, but as I sit here playing with my poker chips (those of you who know me personally can probably see me manipulating the 3 poker chips in my right hand) as I review the schedules and scores of the Giants and Pats this season, they actually didn't play in many games where they would have beat an over of  54 1/2.  What makes the over tempting in this game is that it will be played indoors, making the track faster and taking away any chance of inclement weather.  What hurts the chances of a high score are a healthy Bradshaw and Jacobs for the Giants.  I can see New York running the ball to chew up the clock and to keep Brady from throwing it all over the place.  Green-Ellis is a capable and possibly under-utilized back for New England, but any carries that he gets also run the clock.  The iffy status of Gronkowski for the Patriots also potentially hurts the chances of a shootout.  New England running some hurry-up offense is not out of the question though, which obviously means more plays in less time, and the chance of a higher final score.  What was a weak and beat-up Giants secondary early in the season has been bolstered late in the season by an outstanding defensive line, and this group has not given opposing quarterbacks all day to play around in the pocket.  I expect Brady to face some pressure in this game.  To this point in the playoffs Manning has faced a lot of pressure in the Giants pocket and has been Houdini-like in escaping it.  Nicks can be a monster...  I think that the special teams are solid for both teams, including the field-goal kickers.  The only way that I envision a blowout is if key injuries or a slew of turnovers occur.  This is such a tough game to call, but this is what I'm going with...

My Prediction:     New York Giants  24     New England Patriots  21   -----   Giants (+ 3)  Under (54 1/2)

I hope that you have a very safe and enjoyable Super Bowl Weekend and I will see you again on Monday!



                     

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Netflix Business Model

Good morning.  As planned, I am here writing an entry on a scheduled day for the third time in a row.  It's okay, you can hold your applause, but I appreciate it...  :)  I am going to hit you with another ramble as I almost nervously await writing Friday's blog entry, whose subject will be my Super Bowl prediction.  I am a little antsy about my Super Bowl prediction after hitting so close on the conference championship games.  To give you a quick recap, I predicted that the Giants would defeat the 49ers 23-21 in the NFC Championship Game (actual score:  Giants 20  49ers  17).  I also predicted that the Ravens would beat the Patriots 24-20 in the AFC Championship Game (actual score:  Patriots 23  Ravens 20  -  the Ravens probably win 27-23 if Lee Evans holds onto a touchdown pass).  My scores were not only in the neighborhood, but it's like they were in the same house...  :)  I have two more days to worry about the Super Bowl anyway...  In case you haven't seen the current lines, the Patriots are favored by 2 1/2 or 3 points using the sportsbooks that I look at online (Caesars-Hilton, MGM-Mirage, and the Station Casinos - all in Las Vegas).  The current over/under on the game is 54 1/2 or 55 points.  While we're here, I thought that I would pass along a quote that I read on facebook yesterday.  "I just saw on television where a Newsweek poll found that only 8% of facebook users like the new timeline feature that will soon be made mandatory.  I don't blame facebook for ignoring this negative feedback since doing so worked out so well for Netflix.."  Okay, well I read that quote after I typed it...  :)  Facebook has a stock offering on the horizon, and it seems that they are going down the same path that Netflix did.  It's not that facebook charges its users any fees for its service, but they just seem bound and determined to make people angry.  For those of you who aren't Netflix users and haven't already heard the story, last year they decided to raise their rates despite protests from their customer base, and this rate-hike resulted in the loss of a lot of their customers.  I happen to be among those who do not like the new timeline feature on facebook, although I would not close my account over it.  I have no doubt however that some people will choose to close their account because it is just another in a series of changes that facebook is forcing on its users.  Busy, dizzying, and less user-friendly are some of the apt descriptions that I have heard about the new feature.  When 92 out of every 100 of your users don't like a change - show a little common sense people...  I'm just seeing on Yahoo! where Aaron Rodgers ripped some of his teammates at the Pro Bowl for their lack of effort.  Finally something that I can get on board with concerning Rodgers (although I admittedly like his State Farm commercials).  I said here last week that I would not watch the game because they don't play a lot of defense, and guess what...  they didn't.  If you are an NBA fan and you have a minute, compare my predictions for the current NBA regular season (you can find these in one of my previous entries titled '2011-12 NBA Regular Season Predictions') to the current standings.  I'm surprised myself at how many teams I have in the correct slots in each division at the moment...  In the next few months you will be getting NCAA Tournament predictions and Major League Baseball regular season predictions here among other things...  I am going to call it a day now, but I will be back on Friday with my Super Bowl prediction.  Four days until the Super Bowl...  :)  Have a good one!