Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

FIFA 11 is here

And all the angels said! Amen!

So far the experience has been pretty good but let me get the bad out of my system.

I'm not a big fan of having to pay for features that should be out of the box. Live league play for single player is $10 bucks (800 MS pts). Not sure I like that. You have to have a code that comes on the manual to get online. I'm ok with that, I guess. Just another hoop to jump through though. I've tried to play 3 games online... two of which locked up. First day, I know. I just get skittish with Xbox Live. I don't play a bunch of games online but I have played enough to know that Live can get hijacked and broken. Ah, well. We'll see.

Now for the good.

Game play is more natural. I can't pass the ball around like a pinball machine anymore. While I liked that, 11 feels more natural and real. Tackles are better and more fouls for aggressive play. Shots are down... way down. Thumbs up for that. More play in the midfield like a real game and through passes forward are more difficult to preform. Overall, I guess what I am trying to say, it's slower. Which is great!

Much improved gameplay. Game on!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Northampton Town 2 Liverpool 2

The Cobblers pulled it off (last week) on penalties. What a win for them. Liverpool had mostly reserves playing in this Carling Cup match... still... I'm no expert, but i'm pretty sure this sort of thing shouldn't happen. Nice work Cobblers!

I read somewhere that this game ensures that Northampton will be turning a profit for the year now. Something about that I like because I know that more then a few Premier League teams are in financial trouble.

This will be a game long forgotten in the world of soccer, in fact it may already be. But for NHT it is a win for the ages.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Back from New England(?)

Had to take a trip to a place I never really expected to go. North Andover, Massachusetts. I didn't have much time to do much. A lot of work. I wasn't far from Boston, but it seems nothing is really that far from anything when you're in that area. Looking at the map I realize that I wasn't really far from Portland, Maine.

Flew in to Manchester, New Hampshire... which reminds me. FIFA 11 this week!

Monday, September 20, 2010

II. Only interesting to me

1. Tailgating at Buffalo Bills games.

A longtime Bills fan has been selling bowling ball shots (shot out of the finger hole) and grilling off the hood of his Pinto for near on two decades... until last week when an NFL suit told him "not any more". The NFL is trying to clean up the gameday experience, I get that. NFL games are rated R events on the field and around the stadium. But shutting out this guy in Buffalo isn't necessary. Yeah, yeah, the law and what not. Turns out they wanted to move him away from the stadium altogether but they settled on letting him stay where he was, just sans bowling ball. It's Buffalo man, he is a true fan of that team, leave him be.

Which leads me to...

2. Steelers fan dude.

Ohio gained about a billion Steeler fans a couple years ago when the won the Super Bowl. I don't mind someone jumping on a bandwagon but it is over the top here where I happen to live. I have a trifecta of bars around me so every Sunday in the Fall Mr. and Mrs. Fake Steelers fan pure out on the streets drunk and loud. It's always sort of bothered more then it should, this rooting for a team cause they are good. It is prevalent in all sports I reckon. It isn't the fan whose dad was a fan or someone who moved from PA. It's young Ohio dude who hasn't worked a day in their floppy handshake life. Oh well, it's hard to explain. I guess when you have a little prick you feel like you have to root for a winner? Get off my lawn you punk! You too - ikillyomomma screen name - who kept picking FC Barcelona when I was going with the Columbus Crew on FIFA 10!

3. Finished Red Dead Redemption

A couple weeks ago, but deserves mention. Those guys at San Diego Rockstar pulled off an excellent game.

4. Alcohol free lifestyle right now

Made a pact with someone. That's not a underhanded way to say "made a pact with myself" either. That said, it'll do me a lot of good as well. Save for the rude comments about nonsense like poor Steelers fan that come out from not sipping on a 12 year old single malt scotch (or Bulleit Bourbon) to calm the nerves. Jokes aside, it is something I'm taking seriously. Does the body good and makes grocery shopping more interesting. I have a host of new beverages in my fridge like San Pellegrino, Virgils Root Beer, Jones Soda (or Pop, which I've been off of for a couple years) and various forms of fruit juice, I'm sure alcohol will make it's way back (vino maybe), but for now it's off. It means a lot to me to be helping someone.

5. Shawcross is no longer my captain

Drogba has taken the arm band as I was called out (wisely) by the commish in my fantasy soccer league. Expect Drogba to go down with injury! In other fantasy news. The other football kind. I'm still playing with the "good guys" for the 4th year straight. Won me a championship a couple years ago. Almost dead last in the other years, but this year I'll be back on top!

6. Who is Dying Bravely? We Don't Back Down

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Shelby Sensation, the Reverse Apache Master

Picked up Eastbound and Down today. I've been wanting to watch it for sometime. Next season starts up on HBO here later this month. Lookout for it. David Gordon Green will be doing a handful of the episodes again this season while Jody Hill will handle most. The series is more Jody Hill Observe and Report then Green's Undertow or Snow Angels. Jody is from Concord, NC so I'll give him a pass on Observe and Report (it had it's moments, albeit, um... off beat?).

In Eastbound and Down they just sort of turn it loose. It extremely rude and profane but at the same time honest -- which is a tightrope. One that Apatow and Seth Rogen like to walk (save for Year One). Will Farrell seems to be linked somehow to rude/profane/honest comedies. Okay by me. Role Models was a funny as heck. Eastbound is no different, he is one of the producers.

McBride's Kenny Powers has become somewhat of a cult figure around baseball parts. After the first couple episodes it is hard to see, but the show (under Green's direction) hits his stride around the 3rd episode - just ends too quick, there is only six of them.

September 26th is the next episode. It's moved out of NC, but hoping the charm is still there.

Visual Concepts and 2K

What is a list of these teams doing here?

1985-86 Chicago Bulls
1989 to 1992 Chicago Bulls
1994 to 1998 Chicago Bulls

1985-86 Boston Celtics
1989-90 Atlanta Hawks
1989-90 Cleveland Cavaliers
1989-90 Detroit Pistons
1990-91 Los Angeles Lakers
1991-92 Portland Trailblazers
1994-95 New York Knicks
1995-96 Seattle Supersonics
1996-97 Utah Jazz
1997-98 Utah Jazz

2K is blowing the doors off... These teams have been confirmed as playable teams in 2K11's NBA game this year. They will be part of a Jordan "be a pro" like feature in the game. There is rumor of more coming out. I'd like to see them go a little further back in time and add more teams from the 80s. It is pretty amazing that the 86 Celtics are on here. They are quite possibly the best team in NBA history. Man, and the "Bad Boys"? and Riley's Knicks? Could it be Starks, Ewing, Oakley, Mason teaming up again? Those guys loved being Knicks. Talk about a trip down memory lane. That team played with more heart then any other in NBA history. That's right.

This falls in line with more teams the better theory that I have. Classic teams is a start, but I'd like to see the inclusion of the NBA's D league and international leagues as well. I'll say it again, EA's FIFA has it right with all the teams and leagues. MLB 10: The Show gets it too with AAA and AA ball. Madden is falling behind here. Football may be limited because it is mainly and American thing, but why not just include NCAA with the NFL? Why make it a different franchise? Okay, that may be a bit much.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Entire World

So... At work I have to manage a plethora of employees and manage quite a bit of inventory and analyse how well we use that inventory. It's great fun, let me tell ya. Our merchants were musing recently about large format framing. So I went over the top. Above is a rare picture of work. I can't thank my team enough for putting that bad boy together.

Anyway. The analysis is carrying over to other parts of my life. Namely; tracking who I play online during FIFA 10 matches. Not sure why I do it, just do. Below are the games that I have finished. I say finished because I have strict rules about who I play with. Stoke or Crew. I find that often times when I'm playing with the Crew and winning the opposing player drops offline thus giving me the 3-0 win. I've eliminated those games in the stat tracking below.
Safe to say I've played many a half against Barcelona that has been dropped. Bums that drop out and can't stand loosing to the mighty Crew!

Monday, September 13, 2010

#1 Stoke City fan (in the USA)

Maybe not, but until I meet another one I'll claim the number one spot! Finally, a win! Phantom call at the end of the game, but I'll take it. Gotta say, I've put in more games with Stoke on FIFA 10 then I care to mention. I'm not sure how exactly I became a fan other then picking a team with a friend based on my simple rules of the following:

1. No famous teams (not sure why, I pull for Liverpool and teams with American players)
2. Interesting team name (Potters)
3. Underdog
4. Heavy on the English born players (pride I guess)

Stoke Upon Trent isn't that far from Kettering, in American terms. But in England I may as well be on the other side of the planet.On a side note; my jersey from came. Customer service was very nice. Jersey is probably for framing really. Too large. But I love it. Maybe should have gone for a Malsbury or Howard on the back, but Johnson will do!

Go Stoke! Vis Unita Fortior! United Strength is Stronger!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Redskins, Long in the Tooth

Bleeding Green Nation put together an impressive list and analysis of the ages of all players in the NFC East. I always take note when such homework is compiled.

Redskins are the eldest this year. By far.

Only interesting to me

Peter King of Sports Illustrated has a topic buried in his Monday NFL column called "Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me". Love him or hate him his column is excellent. So I'm going to rip him off here and go on talking about things that I find interesting as I settle in Ohio's "gray season" (autumn and winter).

(and most of Spring).

1. JMU beats Virginia Tech in Lane Stadium? Yes!

In the world of college football it doesn't get any more embarrassing then this for the Hokies. I had lots of friends go to VT. I've visited the school a couple times. I like where it is and like that good engineers come from there... I've just never liked their athletic teams or fans. Loud, boastful, arrogant. They are always ranked high to start the season but find ways to drop down like loosing to JMU. Maybe I just don't like them because they were allowed into the ACC. They belong in that dirty conference full of "known for sports only" schools. The Big East.

Another thing I have mixed emotions about is that they enter the stadium to a Metallica's Enter Sandman like some pro wrestler. It seems to be what they are known for these days. Nice work Hokies. This VT tradition dates way back to the year 2000 when a vote was taken. It was Sandman or Welcome to the Jungle. I wish the students choose neither. But, they did.

All that meanness said; the environment this song creates out there in the mountains, especially on a cool and soggy night, has probably made a few opposing players piss their pants (note: no JMU player wet their pants yesterday. **Nor do the blue bloods over at UVA ever soil their britches**). Their entrance has it all. The song is like catnip for Hokies. I have to admit - seeing Virginia's flag run out on the field with tens of thousands of fans going nuts to a backdrop of fire works gives me the duck bites. Sic semper tyrannis!

I like how people spill onto the field. It's one of these things that blurs the line between sporting event and battle field. I know that I shouldn't, but I love that it exists.

2. Ohio State is having trouble with special teams.
2a. Terrelle Pryor is a "weapon" not a QB.

I am expecting the Buckeyes to run the table this year and meet up with a school like Alabama (if they can survive the SEC). Bama is a much better team.

3. "Let's show these northern boys how Southern Boys play football!" - McElroy, Alabama Quarterback before their game against Penn State.

McElroy of Alabama is a Rhodes Scholar applicant, Sigma Alpha Epsilon member, his father is a VP in the Dallas Cowboys organization and he hasn't lost a game he has started since the 8th grade. I stood up when ESPN rolled that quote clip of him stating the above quote. They ended up stomping Penn St in a game where they pulled up in the 3rd quarter (out of respect for Penn State, if I may be so bold).

4. I hope ESPN removes the "crawl" of sports updates at the bottom of the screen during games soon.

It's not necessary. It's a hangover from days before the internet me thinks. Also, while I'm at it employ the "less is more" theory of design with time and score graphics that are ever present at the bottom of the screen. I'm looking forward to the day when I have the option of dropping that and watching a clean feed and only pulling it up when I want it and where I want it. So called on demand statistics during games is where a sport like baseball can be become king again. It'll happen so says I.

**My thoughts on the difference between a Hokie fan and a Wahoo is thus: VT fans feel they have to win. When they don't, they get all pissed off and down. UVA fans? Pretty even win or loose.**

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Wild West of Video Games

Finally ventured online to play some FIFA 10 games this weekend. It's about what I expected. Each opponent picking Real Madrid or Manchester United. I stay strong with either Stoke City or The Crew. I've actually won one legit game. Well at least I thought I did, the guy I was playing jumped off right at the end thus giving me a 3-0 win. Bittersweet.

A couple notes about playing online:

1. EA has a pretty good match making system
2. You'll play Real Madrid
3. You'll play a guy who is a huge fan of Newcastle United, and he will work you

All in all, it's fun. I'm not a huge online video game player but FIFA is good. Looking forward to September 28th when I can set up a league. In the meantime I'll be sharpening my skills against Real.

As for the Wild West of gaming online? My game of choice is Call of Duty. Sports games never seem too fair, but FIFA is good. Looking forward to starting something up!

Legend has it...

Here's something you'll never read anywhere else: According to my father, Campbell University once had football but cancelled it due to a death on the field. I'll have to follow up with him on the date that happened, but if I recall it was around WWII. My dad claimed that the powers that be at the time made a solemn vow never to carry a football team ever again.

In 2008 Campbell University broke that alleged vow and started playing football once again. I was curious this morning about how they were doing so I checked the scoreboards on the usual sites. Nothing. So I went over to the CU website to see what I could find. Turns out they are playing in the Pioneer Football League with the likes of Davidson, Jacksonville, Butler, Dayton, Drake, Valparaiso, Marist, San Diego and Morehead State.

I had mixed feeling when I found out a few years ago that CU was entering back into the football world. I liked that Homecoming was marked by a soccer game. However, I read the the Pioneer League is the only non-scholarship football league in Division-I. There is something I really like in that.

I didn't know there was a D-I non-scholarship league. Nice work Campbell.

Nice win yesterday too.

50 Degrees

It is 50 right now. Ohio isn't messing around this year. Jumping right into the best time of the year. Kinda saw it coming over the past two weeks. Warm during the day in the high 80s but dipping down into the 60s at night.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Brother In Town

It was great to have Jim in town for a little bit. A rare visit out here. It is rare for me to go back to she him as well. Too rare both ways. It was much needed and helped very much. I don't air out a whole lot of what is going on in my life here on this journal bloggy thingy, but I am very grateful to have the things that I have. Thanks Jim, you helped more then you realize and I hope to be in Virginia soon.

Enjoy the Bahama Momma Brats, tell Trish I said hello and thanks for coming out and listening to me and all of that. Your sage advice will go far.