- Well, it's my birthday and it's clear to me that the only thing that my body is getting better at, as I get older, is producing more ear wax and ear hair.
- I stopped into Starbucks this morning to get a free birthday smoothie (quite nice of them, really) and saw that they had free iTunes codes for a TV show. This weeks code was for the ESPN Films presentation of Catching Hell, a great documentary about Steve Bartman.
Here's the code that I picked up for any of you iTunes users. First come, first served.
Please post a comment if you use it.
- The Islanders played a hell of a series against the Penguins, losing 2 of the 6 games in overtime, including the series clincher on Saturday night. That team really does look like it's got things heading in the right direction for the first time in a few decades.... hell, they haven't won a series since 1993, so I think they're due. With a bit more experience, I think they could be a tough Eastern Conference team for years to come.
- As far as gaming is concerned, I've been playing around with Sleeping Dogs on the PS3 thanks to its addition on Playstation Plus. The fighting engine really has a similar feel to the Batman Arkham Asylum/City games, and that is a great compliment. One other thing that I really enjoyed is that after you spend some time with certain characters in the game, it adds specific bonus items to your map so that you don't have to search the city blindly looking for them (health shrines, surveillance cameras, and jade statues being the ones that I've got added to this point.)
I know that I've sung the praises of the Playstation Plus before, but I really don't think about buying many games lately due to the fact that there are so damn many good games on the service right now. Best $50 I spend in gaming each year.
- Have a great Tuesday.
- Still working on finding a new host for the website. I hope to have something in place in the next week or so. Just a matter of being able to make the time at home to be able to pull it off.
- Also, dealing with an abdominal injury that I seem to have suffered either while playing hockey or working in the yard last Sunday. It's caused me to miss one day of work this week and is severely hampering my ability to train for my half-marathon that is coming up in a few weeks. Not much fun there.
- At this point, I'm not surprised any more to see how resilient the Islanders have been in their series with the Penguins. Each time they are down, they manage to fight back into the game. Outside of the 5-0 Game 1 loss, they have really been playing inspired hockey and I've been stuck by the TV for each game. If they can manage to steal game 5 in Pittsburgh tomorrow night, things will get very interesting. Hell, I'm just happy to see them playing well at the end of the season though. It's been since 1993 since they won a playoff series, so it's been a long time since I've seen any success for this franchise.
- Still enjoying my 2010 Prius, but I'm debating replacing the stereo, as the one that was factory installed is really not all that user friendly. I've been debating a ton of different models from units with GPS built in, to having the unit mirror what is on your phone, there are just too many options to look at.
Also, I'm not incredibly handy with installing stereos. The last time I attempted it, I was in high school and my dashboard was a complete frankenstein job. I would tend to think that I would do better this time around if I tried... but I'm still concerned about how great of a job I can do. If anyone has any suggestions or thoughts about the stereo process, please pass them on.
- Let's start catching up....
- I'm now the proud owner of a 2010 Toyota Prius after finally dealing with all of the issues with my wagon getting totalled out. So, if you see someone driving way too slow on Wisconsin highways while they are trying to conserve as much gas as they can, it's probably me. (Last tank was 49.5 MPG, WOO!)
- Another reason that I haven't been around as much of late is that I'm training for another half-marathon in a few weeks. This one has been a hell of a lot harder to train for than the last one, so it's taking quite a bit out of me. 4 more weeks and it'll all be over though, for good or bad.
- Back to sports stuff....
- I have a tremendous amount of respect for what Jason Collins did yesterday in announcing that he is gay. It's been far too long that athletes needed to dread this decision while being an active participant in any major league sport. Hopefully others will be able to follow in his footsteps soon enough.
- EA Sports has reportedly canned Tiger Woods 15 for next year, which I can't say is all that surprising. Each year the title seemed to struggle with finding it's identity. With some luck, they'll be able to make some large advancements for the new console platforms (and perhaps for the PC as well.)
- If this is what is due to come of the next Xbox, count me out.
- All I've heard for the last week or so is that EA might be going exclusive with certain titles on the Xbox, which I truly believe will be one of the worst things that could happen in console gaming. Ugh. All of this stuff just makes me want to lock into PC gaming more and more....
- Still playing Your Turn Football, like it's going out of style. Each day, I get frustrated with my crappy backup TE's that can't catch a pass, but I keep playing over and over to try and get enough money to get a better team put together. The game is just crazy addictive.
- Since I really didn't have a ton of interest, I'm curious as to what thoughts people had about the NFL draft. Word around here is that people are very happy with what the Packers did, but I have no real thoughts on it either way.
- Not that it was all that surprising down the stretch, but I'm very happy to see the Islanders in the playoffs again. Not thrilled that Crosby will be back on the ice for their series with the Pens, but glad to see them back in the hunt for the Stanley Cup again.
- Lastly, I don't think I could have ever imagined a game where the Brewers hit 5 home runs (and 3 triples) and not one of those hits came from Ryan Braun. This team is a total mystery to me right now as they doing the lion's share of their scoring and work without Weeks hitting or Aramis Ramirez or Corey Hart even playing. Utterly remarkable that they're over .500 at the end of April.
- So, here's what happened to my day today.
If you look carefully at the wheel, you can see tufts of hair. That's where the deer ran into the wheel of my car at about 7:50 this morning while I was on the way to work.
After that, I had to deal with the fun of insurance and getting a rental car (the first one smelled really bad and hadn't been cleaned and was returned for a 2013 Nissan Altima, which is just plain awesome.)
All of that is adding up with a ton of other activities that I have going on over the next week.... Blackhawks game on Friday night, Brewers opening day (my first) on Monday, and a long weekend vacation with the Mrs. next week. Too many things going on all at once.
- So, one of the funny things about getting a review copy of an EA Sports title is that you are put under embargo about giving any impressions about the game until the day of release, but Dan on the other hand can get a copy of the game via the Season Ticket and talk about it 3 days early. Odd decision, that one. I'll have my impressions of my time with Tiger Woods 14 tomorrow.
- One thing that I wanted to mention in the post is the performance of the Wisconsin Men's Hockey team. After starting the season 1-7-2, they went on a 21-5-5 run and won the WCHA tournament championship (in the WCHA's last season, sadly) to make the NCAA tournament.
Everyone here knows that I'm a huge Wisconsin homer, but this was a great run to end a season. What's even more entertaining to me is that just a few days before Christmas, I had this exchange with my daughter.
Gaby - "Daddy? Do you know what my Christmas wish is?"
Me - "What, Gaby?"
Gaby - "For the Badgers hockey team to play just a bit better."
Neither my wife nor myself force sports onto our kids, but man... you should have seen how happy my oldest daughter was when she heard that the Badger hockey team would still be playing this weekend.
I'm not expecting or hoping for a national championship, but I'm just glad that my daughter's wish came true and made her as happy as it did.
- Now that we're to the round of sixteen, I feel it's a good time to update the results of the bracket contest.
John Brown is in the lead, but I'm in 9th and 1st among those picking Kansas to win the tournament. So, there is that....
- Speaking of the tournament, I'm not going to be happy unless I watch more of FGCU highlights and see them beat Florida in their next game. How can you watch that and not want that and not want that team to win it all?
- More tomorrow.
- When a long absence occurs from something that you really enjoy, it's always great to have some epic excuse or some really amazing timeline of events that have happened that have prevented you from being able to take on that task. Alas, that's not the case for me. Not to say that I haven't had some very fun activities in the last few weeks, but I've just basically been incredibly busy at work. When I'm not at work, I'm at home trying to just relax before I have to go back to work again. Rinse. Repeat.
So, here's a brief summary to get all caught up with my life for the last few weeks (not in any particular time based order.)
1. Went to the Packers/Vikings playoff game at Lambeau and had an amazing time. I hadn't ever been to a NFL playoff game before and it did not disappoint, and if you add to the fact that it was a night game, it just became even more incredible. There was a tension at the tailgate and at the game that were completely foreign to me. Everyone knew it could be the last game of the year and people were tending not to celebrate as much as they would before a normal game, but my friends and myself did our best to make sure that people enjoyed the heck out of it. Plus it was awesome to beat the Vikings (even if Joe Webb was their QB.)
2. Had a great New Years Eve thanks to some terrific friends who brought Cards Against Humanity as a game for the group to play. If you have friends that are not easily offended, it can be an amazing night of laughter playing that game. It can be printed out for free, but my wife and I are planning on picking up the official version soon. It's worth well more than the $25 that it costs based on the night of entertainment that we got out of it.
3. Went Ice Fishing this past weekend and had a great bit of luck with that as well. Had 30 to 40 tip-ups during the day and had at least 20 fish on the ice. Ice Fishing is a great deal more fun when you're actually catching stuff. Otherwise it's just getting drunk on a lake... which isn't all that bad of a concept either.
4. Saw two movies up for Best Picture. Django Unchained and Silver Linings Playbook. Both were very good, but Silver Linings Playbook was an absolutely terrific story that was remarkably well acted. Tremendous.
Django on the other hand is a very good film using the slavery as a basis for a revenge film. It's incredibly graphic, but the story and the subtext is what really keeps me thinking about it. I don't believe for one second that it will win best picture, but it clearly deserved to be nominated.
5. Another that I saw (and can't believe that I didn't mention when I saw it,) which I enjoyed a tremendous amount as Seven Psychopaths. If you saw En Bruges, you need to see this movie. Another violent film, but incredibly funny at times as well. Well worth your time to track it down on DVD/Blu-Ray when it comes out next week.
Those are the major activities... although minor ones may be referenced from time to time in the future.
Back to the blogging...
- Why does anyone care about the Manti Te'o story? A football player lied about an imaginary relationship for media attention. Move on...
Seriously, a girl commited suicide after reporting being raped by Notre Dame football players and that gets zero attention. I wish the media would actually pick the stories that need to be told, not the ones like this pathetic dreck.
- Lance Armstrong is a huge liar and a major league d-bag for suing people in the past when they were telling the truth about what was going on in relation to his doping. If he were the great guy that some people are clinging to, he would pay restitution to the people who's lives he made hell for the last 10 years.
- We get another year of MLB2K? Who saw that coming? I have actually enjoyed that game more than the Show from time to time, as I just enjoy the pitching interface more than what Sony is doing. I'll be anxious to know what they've been doing with the development time, but I'm guessing it'll be a roster update and some gameplay tweaks.
- If anyone nationally didn't know it before, they should know now that Wisconsin elected a moron to senator in 2010. Replacing Russ Feingold with Ron Johnson will go down as one of the worst election mistakes this state has made. Just watch any of the "questions" that he has been asking Secretary of State Clinton or John Kerry and you'll see that he is clearly in over his head.
- Glad that hockey is back and that DirecTV has NHL Center Ice for free until the 31st. I've been watching a ton of games, and while it is clear that they are a bit rusty... it's just awesome to see NHL hockey again.
- Back to your regularly schedule programming... and lots more work for me.
- You should also note that Hot Shots Golf for the Vita is for sale for $9.99 at Best Buy this week.
The game is a great deal harder than it has been in years past though. The difficulty ramps up in a big freakin' hurry. No doubt about that.
As far as MLB 12 is concerned, I've had 3 crashes in the game since I started messing around with my RttS careers. Not sure if it's just a corrupted install on my system or whatnot, but I wanted to make a note of it.
- My wife and I managed to survive the 8-2nd graders sleep-over at our house over the weekend. There are two things that certainly came out of the event...
1. I will never be considered to be the "cool dad." Some of those kids were absolute pains in the butt and I was not going to let them get away with all kinds of stupid crap (breaking things, etc.) in my house. I think I'm just getting old. I'll need to buy a shotgun and a rocking chair to have out on my porch soon.
2. Another sleepover won't be happening any time soon, especially when some of the kids need to go to church at 7:00 in the a.m.
My daughter ended up with a headache from all of the screaming and yelling throughout the night (no yelling by me,) and said she had a good time, but would only invite the more quiet kids in the future.
- As a result of the sleepover and the nap needed as a result of it, I slept through the entire Packers/Vikings game. Can't recall the last time I did that. My wife and I woke up and she said, "When do the Packers play?" "About 3 hours ago," was my answer. It's pretty clear that the team doesn't need me to win.
- On Saturday night, when my wife and I had a few spare moments, we turned on the TV and while it was surprising to see the Wisconsin football team winning 35-10 (when I turned it on,) all I wanted on TV was to watch some Wisconsin hockey, and there was none to be had that night.
The team has really been struggling, although they took 3 points this weekend at #5 Denver, but hockey is clearly still my first priority when it comes to sports. I will never get over my love for the game.
- Lastly, if you want to get a feel for how much one of the former Madden developers liked working for EA, take a look here for a glimpse.
- Have a good week, all.
- Gotta say that regardless of the outcome, I'm pretty amazed with the run that the Brewers made at the end of the year. Being as far back as they were and getting to within 1 1/2 games of the wild card was impressive, even if they self destructed to a horrific Houston team.
- I watched a bit of the Wisconsin game against Nebraska on Saturday night and was amazed at how quickly that team could blow a 17 point lead. It also amazes me that a team with an offensive line that averages 330 pounds cannot get 1 yard on 3rd or 4th down when it needs to. Impressive stuff.
- Still trying to figure out why I should have cared about the Ryder Cup.
- If you are playing Borderlands 2 and aren't following @DuvalMagic (Randy Pitchford, president of Gearbox studios) you have missed out on quite a few free Golden Key giveaways in the last week. I just found out about it on Saturday and managed to add an additional 3 keys through their Shift system. Nice to know that I will have plenty of nice weapons to try out whenever I get the guts to open up the Golden Chest in Sanctuary.
- Love that the NHL owners and players are still meeting, but disappointed about the fact that they aren't discussing the big issues.
It seems to me that this is like seeing a river cresting past flood stage and instead of taking care of the crucial issue of the flooding, you decide to discuss the brand of bags to use to make the sand bags.
- It seems that the honeymoon with the officials at the Packers game lasted about 2 minutes before they started complaining about bad calls in that game as well.
- Lastly, NBA2K13 releases tomorrow. I'm hoping to have my copy either today or on release day and will start to post some thoughts about the game after I have it in hand.
Sorry for the site issues recently. I was out of town on vacation and didn't know that there was something going on until late last night. Hopefully things are back up and good again.
Here's the gist of my vacation...
- 52 holes of golf.
- 32 miles of running (including a 9 and 13 mile run)
- Boat riding
That about sums up the last week for me... oh, and finally playing a decent amount of Plants vs. Zombies on my tablet for gaming fun.
- The Brewers pretty much stink due to the fact that they can't hit.
- The Stanley Cup finals ended up on a whimper with a 5 minute major (legit penalty) allowing L.A. to score 3 goals early and put away game 6 before there was a chance for any sort of close game moments.
- The NBA finals doesn't interest me in the slightest.
- NCAA Football 13 is coming out in a few weeks, so I'll be efforting to get a copy of the game and do an interview.
- Speaking of interviews, I'm going to re-create our feed for the podcast. The current one is all goofed up and Apple won't do anything to correct it even though the feed is good. Oh, well.
- Hope everyone is well. Talk to you again soon.
- Well, I finished up my first run through Diablo III early Tuesday morning. It's so rare that I would play through a game and think instantly about playing through it again, but there you have it. Based on the statistics, it took me and my Barbarian 25 hours to finish my first playthrough on normal difficulty. Yesterday I started playing with a Demon Hunter and played all the way up to the Skeleton King before calling it a night. What surprised me was how much more fun I was having with the Demon Hunter than I did with my Barbarian. Sure it's fun to just hack away at things, but it seemed to be a lot more entertaining to cast my demon dogs and throw darts at any unsuspecting enemy that I was facing. The amount of strategic changes that I needed to make to handle a boss like the Skeleton King was refreshing as well.
Another nice thing that Blizzard has done is to allow you to share cash and your stash between your various characters. Gone are the days where you needed to get on an online game, give something to someone else, then sign back on with the character that you wanted to have that item. Being able to throw them into your stash with one character and then load up a different one and let them use it is a huge benefit and something that I really enjoyed seeing.
It'll be very hard to find another game that I will spend this much time on in the near future.
- This Brewers season has to be one for the record books. They now have lost their starting SS, 1B, C, and 2 starting pitchers to the DL for extended periods of time. I'm amazed that they have taken 2 games against the Dodgers considering the lineup that they are throwing out there. Still, they're my team... gotta stick with them.
- So, my new thought for my home television situation is to replace our Dish Network solution with a Tivo Premier box and subscribe to Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix. Along with a PS3 or 360 that can handle the MLB and NHL packages, that should get me almost everything I need, for a considerable savings over my monthly satellite costs.
The one thing that I really need to make everything work like I would want is the upcoming Tivo streaming devices. I don't want to think about having to put a Tivo box in every room that we have a TV, just so my wife can watch her shows in the living room and in the bedroom.
Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions?
- One of the reasons that I've been really glad that we've had Satellite for a few more months is because of the Stanley Cup playoffs. This years post season hockey has been tremendous and I am really pulling for the Kings to win their first cup. Although, I wouldn't be really all that upset if Brodeur got one last one either. Still, seeing an 8 seed roll through the playoffs like the Kings have, has been pretty damn impressive and I'd like to see them finish it off.
- I'm out of town this weekend as I'm attending the Minnesota Walleye opener tomorrow. Still, have a few things to catch up on.
- Can't wait to see game 7 between the Capitals and the Rangers. Man, I hate the Rangers... Really, REALLY want to see them lose tomorrow.
- Thanks to my boss and one of our vendors, I had a chance to meet Aaron Rodgers yesterday and get a few pictures taken with him. I have to say that he was an incredibly nice guy and took quite a bit of time to talk with people. Definitely very generous with his time and, not that I had a bad impression of him in the past, I think quite a bit more highly of him as a person (beyond the athlete side) now as well.
- In gaming, I'm pretty excited to start playing Diablo III next week. I get how some people aren't all that excited about it, but I was a huge fan of the last two games and sank tremendous amounts of time into both. I know that games like Torchlight and their ilk are very similar... but they just don't have that "Blizzard polish" that games like Diablo and Starcraft bring.
- One of my friends at work recommended a movie to me and I have to pass on the recommendation to you all after having seen it. You really need to see "In Bruges." It's a terrific dark comedy from Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleason. Easily one of the most quoteable movies in the last few years.
- Have a great weekend all.
- Man do I hate the Rangers.
Still, it was a bad penalty that cost the Caps the game. You get your stick up like that and a ref will be forced to make that call.
Hopefully the Caps come back and win game 6, so we can see another game 7.
- I am so glad that I picked up that LED football game for my phone. It's an awesome bit of nostalgia. Although I do find that the CPU is quite a bit more intelligent than back in the day, which is nice for upping the challenge level of the game.
- As of this morning I had 4 position players on my fantasy baseball team on the DL. I feel like the Brewers. All I know is that my team pretty much sucks at this point. Thank goodness it is a long season.
- One thing that I am trying to determine right now is what I should do for the release of Diablo 3 next week. I have a pre order at Best Buy already and they are doing a midnight launch, but that wouldmean that I would need to kill 6 hours after work. Or I can just pre order from Blizzard and have the game ready at midnight. Decisions, decisions.
- Lastly, Wisconsin has its primary today to see who will be running against Scott Walker in the recall next month. It has been an incredibly bizarre political year and a half in Wisconsin. Hopefully people get out and vote in big numbers today.
- Don't know if you've seen this, but this could possibly be the worst idea for a sports related video game ever. Bouncing an actual basketball in your living room? Oh, yeah.. that sounds like a brilliant idea.
- At home, we have had a psychotic bird attacking our house every single day for the last 3 days. He takes a dump on our deck... then stands in it... then runs into our patio door over and over again smearing crap all over the house. If it wasn't so damn funny to see, I'd be more pissed about it.
Anyone else ever dealt with behavior like this before?
- As I mentioned on Saturday night, I ran in my first 8K race, finishing in a humbling 46:10. What I realized after doing the race is that I really like the running part more than the biking and swimming parts that I've been doing in my triathlons. Next up is a 10K later in the summer... the proceeding towards a half-marathon next year... I think. I'm not doing it to win any contests... just want to enjoy the process of training for the runs and get the exercise.
- Also, while I was away, I finished up watching the Wire. If there was ever a character in television as compelling and interesting as Omar, I don't think I've ever seen it. A tremendous series from beginning to end, filled with wonderfully written and acted characters. Everyone needs to watch that show at some point. It's just so, damn, good.
- Time to get back to watching more of the NHL playoffs....
- Another week, another season of the Wire. Damn that show is good.
Honestly, I cannot remember another show where there wasn't a single character who didn't have massive flaws. Every time the story makes you start to like someone, they do something idiotic that makes you hate them again. Amazingly well written and acted. On to season 3.
- As far as gaming goes, I haven't had much time for anything lately. Other than work, I've been spending a lot of time on working on my running. I've registered for my first ever 8K race at the end of the month and ran that distance for the first time ever last Friday. I didn't complete it as quickly as I would have liked, but I guess that just gives me plenty of room for improvement.
After that, I just have to get back to swimming practice again. Seriously, I'm one of the worst swimmers out there. If I didn't have my wet suit, I wouldn't have a chance. Gotta work on that.
- Nice to have the baseball season back again, and it is refreshing to see the Brewers...um... give us an interesting game to watch tonight.
All kidding aside, it's just great to have baseball back.
I don't know if any of you saw the game on ESPN tonight, but what in the hell is up with the behind the ump camera angle. For the first 3 innings they gave you a view from about 20 feet behind the ump. You could see the ball exit the pitchers hand, then lose it as the batter and ump got in the way. You had no idea what kind of pitch was being thrown and it was nearly impossible to see the ball come off of the bat.
For years, in my opinion, the best camera angle is the one from CF. You can actually see all of the action tonight. Whatever horsecrap that was on ESPN tonight was just plain weird.
- If you have a chance to see it (I know it was on HDNet a few weeks back) check out 'Goon.' It's the first decent hockey movie that I've seen since Slapshot. It's not a serious film by any means, but it actually feels like the people who wrote it had actually seen and/or played the game before. Again, not a terrific film, but a fun hockey movie to watch.
- Back later...
Amazon is running a deal where if you buy any of the EA Sports games they have available for download, you get a matching credit (for the cost of that first title) to use towards other EA Sports games.
Here's an example...
Customers who buy Fifa Soccer 2012 for $20 can get Fifa Manager 2012, Fifa Soccer 2011, and Fifa Soccer 2010 for free.
Or, if you buy FIFA 2012, you can get Tiger 2012, NHL09, and Madden 08 for free.
It's not a bad deal if you want to get the last releases for PC sports games to hit the PC.
Oh, and there are some decent updates and mods out there for NHL and Madden if you pick them up.
Nice to see some PC Sports gaming love....
Norfolk State and Lehigh beating two number 2 seeds in less than 3 hours. Absolutely amazing.
Still not as good as this moment in sports... but these were sure a hell of a lot of fun to watch.