Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Curious Decision

I’m going to start off by saying, although I’m talking about sports, this is not an entirely sports related blog post.  Yesterday, the NHL announced that it would be continuing its partnership with NBC/Versus and will exclusively show hockey games on those family of channels.  This is a curious move because the NHL rejected a bid from ESPN.  Now, I am a huge ESPN fan, I can’t deny it.  But recently, my alliances are moving a bit towards hockey, but that’s based more on my annoyance with the NFL.  But for the NHL to spurn ESPN is fascinating!

You could argue that if any sport wants to succeed, it has to go through ESPN, in some form or fashion.  I mean, what self-respecting sports fan doesn’t watch ESPN at some point during the day?  I know I do.  I’m watching it now.  It’s almost like the NHL is daring ESPN, goading them into some sort of fight.  I don’t know that they can win.

But what I have learned over the course of a year of indulgence into hockey is that it is very much a niche sport.  Everyone doesn’t like hockey, everyone won’t ever like hockey.  And by that token, I think some die-hard hockey fans don’t like their sport being mixed with others.  I’d argue that this is a foolish move on the NHL’s part, but I have to admit, it might have merit.  I think the relationship that the NHL has currently with NBC allows them to have more control over what games go on and when, something I have no doubt an ABC-owned company would never relinquish.

Just to give you some perspective, and prove I did some reading, the NHL will be making $2 billion on this deal 10-year deal; the NFL makes $20 billion through next season, assuming there is one.  It isn’t like the NHL is getting greedy.  And I’d argue ESPN probably played hard for this in the sense that they also aren’t sure about this Fall’s football season.  I’m actually happy they didn’t go with ESPN, it proves that hockey is its own sport, I only hope I don’t regret their decision later when I can’t watch a game I want to watch, or don’t get the highlights on ESPN.

In interesting news, I still have not played my brand new NHL 11 game yet…every time I get home, after the gym, I immediately start watching playoff hockey…its like a drug!  But I’ll happily review that soon enough!  Also, I lied, this is totally a sports related blog post, tricked you though, didn’t I?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sports Revue

I have to get this in at least once a week, so you can tune out here if you like.  My hockey prediction are going down the toilet, thank you Vancouver and Montreal!  The Caps dropped one game, so I could still be right there, but it looks like Montreal will be taking their series against Boston, despite a loss last night.  The Red Wings look to sweep the Coyotes, not sure what happened in that series, but I did guess that one.  The Penguins are showing more fight than I’d expected, but I still give the edge to a hungry Lightning team that has everything to prove.  I’m not 100% on the Sabres over the Flyers right now.  They let an ‘easy’ home game get away from them last night.  I’m not sure what is going on with the Sharks; they are letting the Kings have their way in that series.  And finally Anaheim is gifting their series to Nashville, who, if I’m not mistaken, is looking for their first playoff series victory.

In rather surprising but enjoyable news, both the Lakers and the Spurs lost their first games of their series.  I argue that the Spurs are too old to contend and I think the Lakers have looked tired all season.  I think it’ll be a surprise who gets in on the Western Conference, but expect the Heat to advance in the Eastern Conference.

The NFL released the schedule this fall, which is a complete farce.  I’m starting to wonder if this whole lockout is just something to contrive attention from the media so no one is paying attention to basketball, baseball or hockey.  If I weren’t so addicted, I’d cancel my NFL ticket right now…but I can be all talk and no saddle sometimes.  It happens.

I probably should give this more credence, but I saw Scream 4 this weekend, very amusing and very watch-able – even I wasn’t terrified!  Not a small feat for me.  In other news…do I have other news?  Not so much, but I might have some more thoughtful blogging as the week goes on, we’ll see.  Stay classy, gang.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Value of Things

I’m a big fan of buying and selling things.  It started as something silly, really, buying nonsense toys or comics and then selling them on ebay for a profit.  Now, almost ten years later, I am one positive feedback away from breaking 1000 and that isn’t a small feat.  But by that same token, I’ve been learning something with my most recent large-scale purchase.

This past year, I bought season tickets to both the Washington Nationals and the Washington Capitals.  One was much cheaper than the other, I always quip that I could have bought a small car with the amount I paid for the Capitals tickets, but the Nationals one, in comparison, were practically nothing.  One of the things I regularly sell on ebay are trading cards.  A little known industry, really, but fans of say, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter or Twilight will pay big bucks to get a complete set of the trading card corresponding to each movie.  I’ve been hanging my hat on those for a long time, but the Nationals tickets, to put this in perspective, are worth about the same as a 100-case set of any of those cards.  So I bought those in lieu of buying more trading cards, which have been slowing down.

This card retails for over $1500, sadly I do not have it

Now, this comes back to my main point, what is the point of all of it?  With the Capitals tickets, I’ve learned quickly that I lost more money than I made, but to be fair, I sold more than two-thirds of the tickets, and was only in the red by a bit.  Thanks to an amazing deal on the Nationals tickets, I’m doing really very well with those and expect to be ‘in the black’ before August. 

A key question comes up, what is this all worth?  With every one of my trading card sets save one, I am still in the negative.  But because the items continue to move, and I keep track of the reconciliation, I don’t feel bothered by it.  But how can I be sure I’ve ‘made’ anything?  How can I be sure that all the work and effort is worthwhile?

With the Capitals tickets, I really truly have had a unique experience over the course of this year and the events that, as a ticket holder, I’m invited to are pretty difficult to get admission to and are a lot of fun.  The organisation does not skimp on extras and it showed at the few events I went to.  But does that justify the money I didn’t make back on the tickets?

I realised, this week that the value for the tickets, in some respects, are not always there.  Last night was the first game of the Playoffs for the Capitals and I had far more trouble selling that one game than I had for most of the year.  I couldn’t fathom how I couldn’t sell the tickets for close to twice the value and ended up selling them with less than twelve hours to the event for about what I paid for the tickets, so little to no profit in that transaction.

I’d argue I learned an important lesson on value this week, and that really was the point of this rambling entry, even though I might think that something has value, it may not.  The cost of doing business, in this economy, can be unpredictable.  If I plan on continuing down this path of relative uncertainty, then I’m going to have to find an intrinsic value to what I’m both buying and selling.  If I’m only making a small profit, or losing money and gaining nothing, then I think I’ll need to get an intervention on not buying things in hopes of making money.

This was really rambling, I realise, but I’m distracted with watching auctions on ebay.

Monday, April 11, 2011

2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs - Predictions

I hope you realise that this blog is the location for my love of sports, as well as other things, but given the ‘official’ announcement last night, I have to discuss the standings/seedings for what is fast-becoming my latest addiction.

Eastern Conference:

No. 1 Washington Capitals vs. No. 8 New York Rangers
No. 2 Philadelphia Flyers vs. No. 7 Buffalo Sabres
No. 3 Boston Bruins vs. No. 6 Montreal Canadiens
No. 4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. No. 5 Tampa Bay Lightning

Western Conference:

No. 1 Vancouver Canucks vs. No. 8 Chicago Blackhawks
No. 2 San Jose Sharks vs. No. 7 Los Angeles Kings
No. 3 Detroit Red Wings vs. No. 6 Phoenix Coyotes
No. 4 Anaheim Ducks vs. No. 5 Nashville Predators

As you may expect, I’m rooting for the Capitals, but, in their opening series, I am predicting 5-6 games to decide it.  The Rangers have had their number all year, but they were not yet playing the new defence-first system.  I give the edge to the Caps in this one, but a short leash for whoever is sitting in goal.

For the rest of the Eastern conference, I expect the Sabres to upset the Flyers in 6,maybe 7, games.  I also expect the Bruins and Canadiens to fight it out in 7 games.  I think the Lightning will upset the Penguins in 6 games, but if the Penguins get ahead early, that could change.

For the Western Conference, I expect the President’s Trophy curse to continue for a third year and the reigning Stanely Cup champs, the Blackhawks will oust the Canucks in 7 games.  I don’t expect nay upsets in the Western conference besides that, but all the series will easily weigh in for 6 games.  The Sharks, Red Wings and Ducks should advance to the next round.

Overall, I think the Capitals could find themselves in their second Stanley Cup appearance, but I see the Bruins and Penguins as being large stumbling blocks.  On the other side, I think the Sharks should break out of their funk and get through this year, but these really are just guesses.  You’ve been warned.

Friday, April 8, 2011


I’m feeling both very random and utterly unmotivated, so here’s my bizarre take on the news that more dolphins are washing up on shore in the Gulf Coast.

In case you’re not familiar:

‘Since February 2010 to April 2011, 406 dolphins were found either stranded or reported dead offshore.’

As stolen from  But a la Clue, this is what really happened (this is how I imagine it):

Dr. Blowwhole, the arch-nemesis of Skipper, of the Penguins of Madagascar, has amassed a great dolphin army, but those recruits that do not toe the line are being made examples, by mysteriously being sent out of the water and onto dry land, like that one episode of the Simspsons Tree house of Horror.  I tried to find a video, but it looks like they've been pulled from YouTube.

This amusement was also brought to you by my unmitigated disdain for dolphins.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

News - Who Knew I Watched?

With an already troubled economy, I find myself scratching my head at what I’m watching on the news.  As an avid sports fan, I have already seen one major money-maker go down (see the NFL) and we may have another one on the rise (see the NBA).  But to add insult to injury, and I’m not one to watch the news really, I notice that we are counting down to one day before the Federal Government might shut down.  How is this even possible?  I won’t bore you with details you won’t read, but it does really defy logic, doesn’t it?

Looking at an article on CNN that pretty much sums it up, I’m once again fascinated by the lack of people’s ability to communicate or compromise.

I realise that in many ways, I often do not compromise, I see it as losing, and that right there really says a lot about things.  Right now, I am sure, one way or another, people feel like they’re losing.  When you compromise, you are giving something up.  But you should be giving something up to get something.  In this scenario, if the House had compromised, they would have done something and at least been definitive on the things Obama gave them instead of sitting on them.

It is hard to give power up once you have it over someone/something, so I understand how things continued to go downhill, but how can we be looking at a work stoppage, realistically?

As someone who hasn’t quite gotten their taxes in, does this mean I have more or less time to get that done?  But think of all the services that will be suspended in the meantime.  On one screen-shot, CNN seemed to be alluding to the Armed Services won’t get paid.  Now, whether you’re for or against the war, having people with equipment that could kill me not having their money, seems like that’s destined to fail, or could turn into a situation that we, as a Nation, are trying to prevent.

I can’t tell how this is any different than a bunch of squabbling kids over something trivial, though in this case, it is anything but trivial.  Just like the NFL and impending NBA lockouts, do the people who are blocking these things not realise the effect of their actions?  That seems unlikely.  In the NFL, the players are saying they’re fighting for what they think is right, but what is really going on?  Truthfully, I think this is a sign of greed and pride.

All the people involved in both situations are prideful, thinking so much of themselves; they don’t see the forest for the trees, if that is the right phrase.  Additionally, the workers in Congress will continue to get paid, regardless of the outcome of tomorrow’s deadline.  So what motivation do they have?  Their status (pride) lifts them above all the others in the world and they show no concern for their fellow man.  It really is maddening.  And since they will continue to get paid, there’s no worry about losing their source of income.

I’m both fascinated and ashamed of what’s going on.  But is anyone honestly surprised?  I can’t say that I am, and that’s what makes it so much worse.  For some reason, I keep thinking of a scene from Star Wars, where Padme begs Anakin to speak to the chancellor (before he becomes the emperor) and ask him to let diplomacy take centre stage, but given the current circumstances, perhaps a fight might be the right way to go.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Confession #1

I have to make a confession, like many things I don’t want people to know about me because it makes me seem silly, but I really like Miley Cyrus songs – I don’t care that her dad is sketch/skeezy or that she’s almost bordering on white trash sometimes, I really like ‘em!  The Party in the USA song always makes me smile and the Climb I can’t sing along with (if you know me well, you should know why ;))  but this brought a smile to my face as I came into work today, totally changed my mood from half-awake to happy J

for your viewing pleasure, both videos :)

I really find music affecting, its why I stopped listening to Metallica at one point last year and only listened to Glee Soundtracks.  If you have something more positive around you, it can be affecting and infectious.  Maybe this'll help someone else have a good day too.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Consistency is Key

As with most things, being consistent has to count for something.  I try to be consistent, even with little things, like my calendar rules, though those might border on OCD.  I have gone so far as to try to schedule things, but it never works the way I think it should.  As you may imagine, this blog will border more on things that interest me than not, such as sports, so I’ll understand if some (most) tune this out, but something has to be said about consistency in sports.  And what I’m really angling at is consistent winning.

I’m not a huge basketball fan; I really can’t sit through an entire game.  But when I do cheer, it’s for the Dallas Mavericks, whom I was lucky enough to see when they came to DC in February.  Unfortunately, the team I probably should have gone to see, and it actually physically hurts me to say this, are the LA Lakers.

On Mondays, EPSN posts its power rankings (right now, we have MLB, NBA and my beloved NHL) – as usual, I hit the NHL one first and yell at the computer for this week dropping my beloved Caps down to 3 from 2, hoisting the Sharks past us and leaving the league-leading Canucks on top.  But in the NBA, there has hardly been any change for a few weeks.  The Lakers have returned to form and the slumping Spurs and spastic Mavericks show no signs of consistent life.
Yet, what do we hear about the NBA all the time?  The Miami Heat.  God, they need to get over themselves.  I will be the first to admit that I think Lebron James is an amazing player, matching him with Dwayne Wade was a great call.  Chris Bosh you can take or leave, he doesn’t do much.  Combined, they call themselves the Heatles (a play on the Beatles for those of you sounding it out).  But the Heatles haven’t been epic; they’ve been average, for them.  They’re a great group together, but I don’t see them winning it all this year.  The Lakers are the team to beat.

Kobe has once again taken a group of no-name players and hoisted them on his shoulders to aim for yet another championship.  They fought through a really bad losing streak and just won a few games in a row, but I don’t know that there is enough credit being given to them.  They are the defending champs, they deserve to be the expected favourite until proven otherwise.

If we can go one day without hearing about the Heatles, I’d be happy.

I’d be remiss to not bring up a wonderful word that the NFL knows too well and the NBA is going to learn: lockout.  Let us hope that the owners and players in the NBA learn from the mistakes the NFL is making now.  Locking the players out is not going to solve anything.  I honestly think that there will be little to no NFL this coming year, and you know what, I’m fine with it.  Give me baseball and hockey and I’ll make it through.

And I dare not make a sports-related post and not mention hockey.  We were treated to some fantastic games this weekend, the Caps coming back to beat the Sabres in OT being the highlight for me, but also the Rangers helping the Caps by beating the Flyers in OT and the Bruins in regulation last night.  Unfortunately, they’re matching up with the Caps right now for the playoffs, and they’ve beaten us in ¾ meetings this year.

Baseball is also proving to be mildly interesting as the games are starting to pile up.  The much-hated Red Sox can’t buy a win, quite literally, and I have to say I’m enjoying their failures.  Especially considering so many baseball analysts said the Red Sox were the team to beat.  But a 0-4 start in April won’t count for much come September.  I doubt they’ll go much longer without a win, but I’m hoping for it to extend for quite some time, perhaps until the after they play the Yanks?

I’ll try to control my sports nonsense as best I can, but no promises.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Insidious, A Review


This movie was brought to us by the same people who came up with Paranormal Activity 1 & 2, and those of you that know me, know I was scared pantless from those two, and this was no exception.  I had my eyes covered for a good chunk of the movie, I won't lie, but what I did see, was totally freaky!  The movie marries frenetic pacing with quiet lulls of nothing.  The cinematography pays homage to the classic scare movies, like Drag Me To Hell did, and overall, it was just a well put together movie.

The main premise of the movie is that a family movies into a new house and strange things happen almost the same day they move in.  As things continue to escalate, one of the kids falls ill, falling into a coma.  Weird things continue to happen, one of the kids commenting that he doesn't like it at night when his comatose brother walks around the house...then we get a scene featuring that and I was terrified.

At points, I felt like I might run out of the theatre...

The wife/mother convinces the father/dad that they need to move, and they do, but the issues persist, so much so that the mom actually sees someone in the house and is then confronted by the entity/person.  Things escalate and the mother seeks her mother-in-law who sides with her and brings in an expert.  In textbook horror movie lore, this spells doom for everyone involved.  Why people don't just run for the hills and start praying, I don't know, because that's what I started doing while I was in the theatre.  I know, but I am the superstitious type.  And when you live through certain things, its hard not to be affected by things like this, which really starts the discussion of why I go, but that's a discussion for another day.

The horror in the movie was more subtle than not, but there were quite a few scares that were 'in your face.'  Overall, I'd say this is as scary as the aforementioned movies, but if you have kids, of any age, I'd advise not to go - the movie is 'still with me' now and I can't imagine how much more affecting it would be if I did have a kid.

One of the main vehicles the movie uses is the helplessnes the parents feel as their child continues to be lifeless for the majority of the movie.  That is a great way to make people uneasy and to keep them off guard.  This is the first movie in awhile that I've felt really scared after seeing, high marks for that.

Friday, April 1, 2011

America's Past-time

I had a very lucky experience yesterday, and actually this past fall, but let's not go back in time.  I had the luck of attending Opening Day at Nationals Park where the Washington Nationals took on the Atlanta Braves.  I'm giving the Nats more credit than they probably deserve, they're not a very good team, but they do try.

It was quite cold outside, and the game is outdoors, there was a steady mist/drizzle and despite the weather and poor play, I had a really wonderful time.  I get it, what makes baseball a past-time for America.  It isn't about the game, or the players, it's about bringing people together, cheering for a common cause - it's what makes sports such a great equalizer. 

I love hockey, as you should know if you're reading this, but there is something about baseball, a commonality, that everyone, no matter their origin or even preference, can understand.  Its kinda like math: everyone understands it, it is a common language, and so baseball is a common interest.

There is nothing like sitting at the ballpark with good friends and just enjoying a game.  Pure Americana.