Category Archives: Glen

Palace!!!!!!

Beating Everton on the road and collecting their 4th win in the last 4 games was an awesome thing to see on a Wednesday!

Seeing Jerome score his first goal in forever was awesome as well.

Can’t wait to see how the last 4 games play out now.  Liverpool and Man City can’t be thinking of getting an easy 3 when they come to Selhurst Park in a few weeks.

Go Eagles!

Monday notes

- Sports On Earth does a much better job of summing up what is going on with the Brewers right now than I ever could, as they detail what has been happening with the team during their 10-2 start (including winning their last 9 in a row.)

It’s hard to think about big series in April, but with 3 against Pittsburgh (already completed,) 3 against St. Louis, then another 4 at Pittsburgh, there is a lot of interesting games in the NL Central early.

Also, while it’s impossible for the Brewers can keep playing like they have, it’s been sure been fun to see how many interesting ways they can win games of late.

- Dan was giving me grief for not mentioning the Brewers lately, but I have been paying as much attention, if not more so, to Crystal Palace’s play over the last few weeks.  Getting 9 points over the last three weeks has pushed them from 17th place (and in serious danger of relegation) to 12th place and 7 points clear of 18th (with 1 game in hand) with 5 games to play.

While I still have so much to learn about the Premier League, and soccer in general, I just love the passion that the Palace fans show at every game, whether at home or on the road.  I’m glad that I picked the Eagles to support as this season has been a hell of a lot of fun to watch.

- The other thing that I’ve been watching was the end of yet another Islanders season.  That organization frustrates me to no end.  Maybe next year they’ll sell the team and fire Snow… maybe…

- FIFA World Cup 14 is due to release tomorrow for the PS3 and Xbox 360 and while I loved the previous game, I really couldn’t get into the game based on the demo.  The PS4 and Xbox One versions of FIFA play incredibly well and are very fluid, but the older version of the game engine just doesn’t seem to hold up very well after having experienced the new versions of the FIFA game engine.

- Konami has released their own World Challenge DLC for Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 and while it doesn’t have the full presentation that the EA Sports game costs, you could get Pro Evolution and the DLC for just over half the price ($29.99 for the game at Amazon – $4.99 for the DLC) of picking up FIFA World Cup 2014.

Something to think about.

 

Changes (part 2)

One of the best things that has come from being sober for the past seven months is that I feel like I’ve started to get a much better perspective on my life, and while it is debatable that I have gained a better insight into my life I do at least feel more in tune with myself.  It would also be fair to say that another part of this new look at my life has to do with entering the quote, unquote area of my life known as middle age.

Throughout the years, I thought that I was leading a life that would prevent me from having that large scale mid-life panic attack where I would want to buy an incredibly impractical car or leave my wife and family to start all over again with some 20-year old blonde.

A few things make the thought of such things laughable in my situation.  For one, I’m a guy that still plays video games nearly every day, which doesn’t exactly make me hot stud on the market material for most women.  Secondly, I bought a Prius when my station wagon got totaled last year because fuel economy was so much more important to me than having a car that looked stylish.  Lastly, blondes aren’t my kind of thing, maybe if I would have said redhead… um… but where was I?

It’s fair to say that some of the things that I have been realizing over the past few months have a lot to do with expectations, but not the ones that I have been, or would be, setting for myself.

When I gave up drinking, I had more than a few reasons for doing so, but what I could not have foreseen was how much my decision would seem to impact others.

Over the past few months, encounters with others, have varied from people accepting my decision and moving on, to the idiotic environments where people tried to make me wear a funny hat because I was the only person who was not drinking.

Recently, a few of my closer friends have stated to me that they don’t know what to make of our relationship now that I have quit drinking.  Each time this has come up it has been, more or less, a gut punch to my psyche.  Sadly, every time that someone says something like this to me it has made me think about having a drink.

It would be so easy to just pick up a beer (or glass of wine) and go right back to being that same person that they were so comfortable being around, but that’s not the person that I am or want to be any more.

Thankfully, each time that these ideas or feelings come up, I have been able to push them back down and realize that I like the person that I am more now because I’m not drinking and that I don’t need what alcohol was providing.  What has given me pause over the past few months is that some people seem to need me to be drinking in order for them to be comfortable around me and that is a difficult concept to wrap my head around.

A few weeks ago I was talking with my oldest daughter and some how or another the conversation ended with us talking about going to a bar.  She looked at me and said, “Dad, I’m glad that you don’t drink any more.”

I couldn’t have imagined a simpler statement from anyone that could have had the impact that was generated from those 9 words.

My daughter loves me and is happy with the change that I made, even though she doesn’t understand all of the reasons why I did it.  I can only hope that, eventually, my friends can reach that same conclusion as well.

Wednesday notes

- Hopefully you’re all able to get your brackets in.  I have mine completed, not that it will be any good (I’m pretty bad at them traditionally,) but it is done in time.

- Picked up a copy of Animal Crossing: New Leaf and you should have seen how excited my daughter was to be able to visit the village I made in my game.  It really is the simple things that amaze them sometimes.  Of course, as soon as I got the game, I had plans for the next two evenings so she couldn’t come and visit my village again.  It’s tough being a parent (and having a life outside of home.)

- I have to admit that I’m a bit curious and jealous of the tech writers that are getting a chance to try out Project Morpheus and Oculus Rift at GDC, but the good thing is that it is going to be a few years before the headsets come out for the Playstation and PC.  Still, the tech looks cool and they could make for some interesting gaming experiences.

- Lastly, I’m very excited to start playing inFamous: Second Son over the weekend.  The first two games were two of my favorites in the previous generation and I look forward to being an truly evil bastard who will be destroying large parts of Seattle very soon.

Friday notes

- So, I gave South Park: The Stick of Truth a good hour of my time before I decided that I didn’t care for the game.  I’m sure that devoted fans of the show will love how they were able to make a game that really feels like an extended South Park episode, but I just couldn’t see how it was going to keep me interested enough to play through the entire 10 to 15 hour campaign.  If you are interested, there is a segment where you can create excrement that you can throw at enemies in the game to distract them…. so there is that.

Again, I pretty much knew what I was getting into with the game, but I wanted to take a look at the game and found that it just really isn’t for me.

- Probably the highlight of my week happened when someone stopped by my office at work and taught me how to tie a bow-tie.  I’ve been annoyed at how difficult that process was every time that I’ve tried to learn how to tie one and now I think I finally have it figured out.

I’m sure after a good 15 or 20 minutes tonight I’ll have it dialed in and I will complete one of my goals of looking like I’m the whitest guy in the room.

- Have a great weekend

Thursday notes

- As a small percentage of sports fans would know, yesterday was the NHL trading deadline and the Islanders moved Thomas Vanek to Montreal for a 2nd round pick and a prospect who is playing in the Swedish junior leagues.   The bummer in this was the fact that they had acquired Vanek for Matt Moulson (a fan favorite player) along with a 1st and 2nd round pick for an upcoming draft (they can defer this years 1st to next year from what I’ve read,) so they essentially lost a high draft pick (they are in the bottom five in league standings at the moment) to rent Vanek for a lost season and only gained a player who may never make it to the NHL.

It’s been a frustrating season as an Islanders fan, and who am I kidding… it’s been pretty disappointing to be an Islanders fan for the last 20 some years (1993 was the last time they were in the finals for their conference and 1984 was the last time they were in the Stanley Cup finals.)

It’s really hard to see what they’re trying to accomplish, as they have done almost nothing to try and acquire the goaltending help that they need, along with a large need now for a forward to replace the scoring that Moulson/Vanek were providing.  Sigh… it’s tough being an Islanders fans some days and lately there are a lot of these kinds of days.

- Last week, I was really struggling to find a game to play to fill the gaps until some of the bigger titles for this month came out (South Park: The Stick of Truth, Titanfall, and inFamous: Second Son.)  After a few failed attempts at finding a game that would really grab my attention, I took a look at my Wii library and grabbed Super Mario Galaxy 2, which had been sitting unopened since 2010.  It’s moments like that where I realize that I have a serious problem with buying too many games (which I am really trying to address via Gamefly, rather than buying games new.)  Even though I knew that the game would be terrific and that I would love to play it, I consistently allow myself to get distracted by things varying from other games to random woodland creatures running around outside of my home.

I can safely say that my time with the game has been terrific though.  Waiting a few years to play it doesn’t make it any less great, and it has been tremendous fun to play through.  Also it has the nice bonus of being a game that I don’t mind my daughters walking in on watching me play.

Surgery, running, the past, and the future

A few weeks ago, my orthopedist let me know that I was looking at surgery to deal with the pains that started in my hip last October.   The pains were caused by an impingement in my right hip, due to the shape and growth of the head of the femur, along with some tearing of the labrum in the hip socket.  That diagnosis led to him suggesting a surgery that has an 80 to 85 percent chance of success. If the surgery does not succeed, it could lead to looking at a hip replacement.

While I wasn’t shocked that this was the course of action that we were going to have to take, it was still a sobering reminder of the fact that I am approaching a time in my life where participating in sports, or even simple exercising, could start to have large scale repercussions on my life and well being.

When I decided to take up running a few years ago, it wasn’t the first time in my life that I wanted to compete in long distance running.  That began when I was 8 years old.

My parents divorced when I was 5 years old and over the next few years, my mother worked incredibly hard, taking on multiple jobs in order to support herself, my two sisters and myself.  Eventually we left the town that I grew up in and we moved to a low cost (or poor, if you prefer) neighborhood in Madison, WI.

As a young boy who was confused about why his father wasn’t around and who didn’t fully understand why his Mom had to work so hard to pay to make ends meet, I gravitated to a man who paid a great deal of attention to me, my 3rd grade teacher.  That teacher ended up abusing me and he indirectly led me to my interest in and propensity toward running.

When we moved after that school year, we ended up moving into a duplex in the small town of Deerfield, WI.  The view from my bedroom in that duplex is one that I’ve never forgotten and through the magic of Google Maps, I can give you an approximate representation of what I still see when I close my eyes.

Track-sm

Every day that I woke, I could look out my window and see the track, across the street, that encircled the Deerfield High School football field, and when the weather was right, I would go out onto that track and run.

Running became an outlet for me as I tried to escape some of the issues that I was dealing with in my childhood.  Having no knowledge of what therapy was and not knowing how to deal with what had happened to me, it made sense to run whenever I needed to get away from whatever problems were in my mind.

By the summer of 1984, and in the midst of the Olympic fever that was covering the United States, I was running lap after lap, nearly every day, and I felt that there was no doubt that I would be competing in long distance events for Team USA by the 1992 or 1996 Olympics.

Eventually though, running stopped being something I would only do for fun or exercise, but became something I did when I was scared or frightened as well.  On multiple occasions, I ran from school when I made a mistake or things became too difficult to handle.  Running wasn’t just an escape, it became the means to escape from my problems.  I started to link the fear in my mind with the joy of the run and eventually, fear won out, and I stopped running.

A few years ago, I started to run again and I realized what a mistake it had been to give up this event that gave me such freedom and allowed my mind to operate with so much clarity.  Ideas and problems that had been so hard to work out while I was sitting at home became easy to solve while I was in the midst of a long run.

The runs got longer and longer until I finally tackled my first half-marathon.  I smiled as I crossed the finish line and saw my daughters and wife waiting there for me, proud that I had been able to accomplish such a challenging physical task.  From that first half-marathon, I expanded out to three of them the following year, and with each race I became more and more comfortable and felt myself becoming more in tune with the runner inside of me.

Then a few days after my last half-marathon, the pains in my hip began and I started to feel pain on my right side with every stride.  I pleaded with my body, through the means of rest, ice, and heat, that I would listen to, and take care of, it.  I would let my body recover so that I could just keep on running.  Eventually though, it became clear that rest and treatment alone weren’t going to solve the pains that had set in.

Depending on the events of my surgery, my running days may be coming to an end, as the doctor told me that some people who take up long distance running again at older ages sometimes do damage to their body that cannot be easily repaired at that stage in their life and he said that some people have to give up running when injuries such as these come up.  Many of my friends, who do not run, have parroted that sentiment and have said that I should just give up running and focus on other sports and find different means of exercise without really understanding how important running has become for me.

As I look back on my past and the running that I’ve done, both mentally and physically, I have to hope that luck is on my side, because I know now that I’ve stopped running from things and that I need to keep running, not because I am escaping from something, but because it is taking me to where I want to go.

Pro Evolution 2014 Data Pack 3 is out

Thanks to Paul2478, I see that Data Pack 3 is out for Pro Evolution 2014 is now out for the PS3.  I’m actually grabbing it at 1:15 in the morning, since I just got home from playing hockey late on Wednesday night.

Paul will also be updating his option files in the next day or so as well so that you can get all of his kit and player changes once he uploads the files.

After a few months of time comparing FIFA and Pro Evolution, it’s quite easy to say that I prefer the gameplay of Pro Evo over FIFA.  Both are fine games, but Pro Evolution has got to be my pick for the better soccer game to play right now.

MLB 14: The Show Quick Counts and Player Lock

Sony has announced some of the details today about the new Quick Counts and Player Lock features that have been implemented in MLB 14: The Show.

I have to say that I’m torn about such a feature.  While it’s great that they will have a way that might actually allow people to play through an MLB season without having to sim a great deal of games, I would be curious to know how much statistical analysis has been done to know how accurately they could put forth those kinds of counts in the game play.  If it’s being completely at random, without any knowledge of the strengths (or weaknesses) of the hitters or pitchers, then it really becomes just a time saver and nothing else.  If, on the other hand, they would be backing it up with historical count information for each player, then it could be pretty interesting.  (Of course, this says nothing about how it would be handled for new players that enter the game.)

It’s safe to say that I’m thinking about this a bit too much.  Probably just way too geeked up for baseball season to start.

Tuesday notes

- Typically with a basketball arena, you don’t want these sorts of things happening

Gotta figure that the person in that seat is a bit unhappy with things right now (and feeling pretty damn lucky right now.)

- Finished up Tomb Raider last Friday night and was entertained throughout.  $60 entertained?  Ehhhh…. I’d have to say no.  Considering you have been able to pick up the game on the PC for $5 over the last few months, I would have to say that the graphical additions to the game wouldn’t have been worth the price difference for me.  Thankfully, I rented it and didn’t have to deal with the post-purchase guilt.

- Tomorrow morning is my meeting with the orthopedist at which point I will be finding out what they want to do to address the labrum tear, arthritis, and bone spurs, on my right hip.  At this point I’m hoping for a surgical plan just so I can get the damn pain resolved and start  training for the marathon that I want to run at the end of the year.  The person in charge of my hockey group has different plans and he just wants me to play through pain for the rest of my life (he just doesn’t want to find a sub for 6 or 8 weeks.)

Either way, we should have a plan tomorrow.

 

Valentine’s Day

One of the things that my friends, and possibly some of you, know about me is that I wear my heart on my sleeve.   I tend to be more than a bit emotional at times and it seems that as I get older, I’m becoming more and more of a softie.

Today I got my first ever email from my daughter, and I don’t think she’d be upset if I shared it with you.

Email from my daughter

 

I don’t know if it will ever get better than that.

Wednesday notes

- The pond hockey tournament in Eagle River was terrific last weekend even though there we were skating in wind chill temperatures as low as -20 below zero.  I did grab some video from a home-made camera mount on my chest protector, so I’ll see if I can grab that in the next few days and get some of the “highlights” posted.  The weekend went far too quickly and I’m already looking forward to the tournament next year.

- Not that I got a chance to see much of him when I was growing up, but Pete Maravich was one of my favorite basketball players when I was a kid.   Watching the videos of some of his highlights on Youtube show you some of the amazing things that he was doing almost 40 years ago, and it is very easy to picture a player like himself being in today’s game without any issues.  If you get a chance, take a look at the story that was written over at Sports on Earth about the relationship that Pete’s two boys had with the game after he passed away.

- Last week, Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition for the PS4 showed up from Gamefly and it is one of the most fun games that I’ve played in recent memory.  It pulls very heavily from the Uncharted and Assassin’s Creed style games, but doesn’t have all of the machismo that those games provide.   While there are some disconnects in the story as Lara transitions from a simple researcher to a stone cold killer, the cut scenes at least give you the feeling that violence isn’t the action that she wants to take but that it is put upon her out of necessity.  I can highly recommend that people rent the game, at the very least, as it is a beautiful game to watch as well as play.

- Anyone else as geeked up as I am to watch men’s Olympic hockey start up?  Canada, Russia, and the US all take the ice tomorrow.

- Lastly, I’m really excited to see Crystal Palace play against Everton today as the new additions to the squad really made a big difference in their offensive play style during last Saturday’s game against West Brom.  It’s asking a lot, but if they can steal 3 points on the road today, they can push themselves up to 10th in the league table and the chances of getting relegated become greatly diminished.

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