36 Chambers – The Legendary Journeys: Execution to the max!

April 30, 2008

Potential Digs Located

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Feasel @ 8:36 pm

I’ve been looking for an apartment the last couple of months and, having found a place well-suited for me, I decided to jump on it.  I heard back from them and they have two apartments potentially available:  a ground-floor two-bedroom apartment in one building, and a one-bedroom top-floor (third floor) apartment in another.  My preference is with the two-bedroom, but we’ll see what is actually available soon…

At any rate, I’ve been working so much at work that I haven’t had the time or energy to do much of anything, so I have (as usual) a lot of links but no energy to post them.  Maybe I’ll get to something more substantive tomorrow…

April 28, 2008

Programming Links Of The Day, 4/28

Filed under: Programming & Work — Kevin Feasel @ 9:21 pm

I haven’t done too much HTML formatting in recent years, and on my projects thus far, I’ve been working with a fellow who is more of a graphic designer than I (not that this is saying much…), but I’ve been picking up some of the slack as he’ll be doing his own assignments soon and it’s about time that I learned more about this stuff.  One of the things I never liked about web development is that browsers generally have strange quirks which require coding for particular browsers (I’m looking at you, Internet Explorer).  For example, IE 6 doesn’t really format borders inside <tr> elements, but fortunately there is a workaround for this.  This trick was particularly important because I was not guaranteed to have all of the columns filled in for a particular row but I wanted a uniform border.

My other issue wasn’t so much a programming thing as a Visual Studio kerfuffle.  I was getting a package load failure in Visual Studio Explorers and Designers Package ({8D8529D3-625D-4496-8354-3DAD630ECC1B}).  What worked for me was exactly what the error message said:  run devenv /resetskippkgs.  I figure that the package probably failed when I was trying to open up an XSD dataset and my Team Foundation Server connection dropped, so the package failed and stopped opening until I ran that.  Afterwards, things were good as new.

Another person in the office has a 200 GB hard drive for his own server, and despite that, he was running it to the limit.  It turns out that his SQL Server instance had a database with approximately 20 GB of data but a log file over 120 GB.  There are some tips at this site to shrink that file, although I took the easy path of detaching the DB, renaming the log file, re-attaching the DB, and deleting the renamed log file.  In the long term, though, the best way to keep that log file relatively small is to maintain it well rather than using these kinds of tricks.

April 27, 2008

…And A Not As Good Day Two

Filed under: Sports — Kevin Feasel @ 9:20 pm

After the first two rounds yesterday, I was jazzed about how the Bills would do today.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t nearly as good as day one.

The third round saw the Bills draft a pass-rushing defensive end.  At first, I wanted them to draft Dan Connor, but I suppose having a 4-3 with basically three middle linebackers (as Kawika Mitchell has middle linebacker traits and relative lack of speed, but plays outside) wouldn’t be such a good thing…  Chris Ellis is an okay pick considering that the Bills definitely needed help pressuring quarterbacks.  But he probably was a reach.

Reggie Corner seems like he might be a decent depth option and play dime next year after spending a season on the practice squad.  But the guy who really seems like a reach was Derek Fine at tight end.  Fine doesn’t have the size and blocking skills to be a really good blocking end, nor does he have the height and speed to be a really good receiving end.  If he becomes Trent Edwards’ safety blanket, that’d be nice, but there were better tight ends available and this was a disappointment.

Near the end, Buffalo did get a couple of players of decent value depth-wise.  Alvin Bowen won’t be a long-term replacement for Angelo Crowell but might take a Keith Ellison role as a coverage LB and become a good special teams contributor.  Xavier Omon will likely become the #2 RB and might be a serviceable backup.  And Steve Johnson has a chance to become a possession receiver, like a taller Josh Reed.

All in all, I’d give Buffalo about a C+ for the draft.  Their first two picks were A- quality, but they really needed to address tight end better than they did, and I think they spent too many picks on cornerbacks given that they already have two pretty solid contributors (Greer as a nickel and McGee as a starter) and a talented but developing Ashton Youboty on the team.

It probably would have been a nice thing for Buffalo to take a shot at Colt Brennan.  They could use a backup QB and given how far he fell, he would have been cheap.

At any rate, the Bills are definitely improved over last season, and now the question is whether they have enough talent to squeeze into one of the wild card slots.  We’ll find out soon enough…

April 26, 2008

A Good Day One

Filed under: Sports — Kevin Feasel @ 10:05 pm

Buffalo did a great job on day one, I think.  Going back a couple of months, I highlighted what I figured were Buffalo’s needs going into the free agency period.  In retrospect, I would move TE up in importance, to right above RG.

The Bills did a fine job in getting a solid OLB, a decent rotational DT, and an excellent (though injury-prone) DT before the draft.  Now, with day one over, they also have Leodis McKelvin (probably the best CB in this draft class) and James Hardy (a very productive WR who still needs some work).  McKelvin should work well in Buffalo’s Cover 2 scheme and although he isn’t a #1 CB, he has the potential to become one.  Hardy, meanwhile, is exactly what Trent Edwards needs:  a very big, strong target at WR #2.  That will also take some pressure off of Lee Evans, and unlike Limas Sweed or Malcolm Kelly, Hardy doesn’t have significant injury problems.  He has had some character issues, though.

In day two, I’d really like to see them go after a pass-catching TE in the third round.  That would give Edwards a second big target, allowing him to put his checkdown abilities to best use.  After that, I could see them drafting for depth and a good offensive line prospect (C or RG) could work out just fine here.  If they can do that, they’ll have pretty much every major problem shored up and are legitimate contenders for a playoff spot.

April 25, 2008

The Age of Werdekemper has begun!

Filed under: Economics, Sports, Video Games — Tony Demchak @ 12:53 pm

Before I went to bed last night, I thought about how to improve my lineup. Marte wasn’t cutting it at third. He’s not only the worst regular on the Indians, he’d be the worst on the Bisons too. The problem was that Blake wasn’t exactly the solution; he’s best tolerated in small doses or against only lefties. This is when I came up with the best possible plan. Move Cabrera to SS, Peralta to 3B, and call up Werdekemper. Werdekemper is about twice the player Marte is (which means he’s still a #9 hitter, but at least not the worst regular in baseball). He’s also a bit older than I thought, so I knew he wasn’t likely to get much better.

My next thought was to get rid of David Dellucci. It’s not that he’s worthless, it’s that I don’t need a pinch hitter who can’t run and doesn’t hit for power, much less a regular. So I decided to send him down to Buffalo, who likely burst into song as now Jason Tyner can sit on the bench, where he belongs. I was going to call up uberprospect LF Odell Whitehead, but he’s out for two months. So I scoured the free agent market and found Reggie “Don’t call me Barry Bonds” Stocker. I wasn’t going to sign him; then I saw how much he wanted. $410,000 a season for two seasons. Yes, he’s 43. Yes, he probably juices. But when you can get the second best hitter on your team and a new clean up hitter for practically nothing? Yeah, have to take that.

Madden News

Filed under: Sports, Video Games — Tony Demchak @ 1:11 am

Two bits on Madden from GameSpot.com (although I was really looking for GTA IV stuff).

1) No more PC version. I never really played it on the PC; I always played it on a console. If scrapping the PC version means improving the next gen version, by all means do so. This may spark more “PC is dying as a genre!” stories. This death has been rumored for years; it remains that PC is a better platform for some games (RTS, simulations) and console is better for others (FPS [which I would not have said five years ago] and sports).

2) Brett Favre is the cover man for Madden 2009. A brilliant move; apply the dreaded cover curse to someone who doesn’t play football any more! This will either curse the entire Packers, Aaron Rodgers specifically, or cause Favre to become a flesh eating zombie that haunts the night. I don’t know about you, but I’m stocking up on buckshot.

As a side note, to get NFL Head Coach, you have to pay $90 for the collector’s edition of the game. I never played the original, but I’m not sure that it’s worth it. There’d be some other stuff to get me to fork over an extra thirty bucks.

April 24, 2008

How to be a master trader

Filed under: Sports, Video Games — Tony Demchak @ 1:48 pm

So, I took a look at my MLB 08 Franchise, and noticed two things right away; I have too many outfielders and Jamey Carroll is terrible. I made two great trades. First, I called up Andy Marte to play third and let Casey Blake be a four corners hitter with some pretty good pop. I traded Jason Michaels for Cornell Werdekemper, international superstar and middle infield prospect. Second, I traded Jamey Carroll for Eugenio Velez, who not only has an awesome name (although not as good as Werdekemper), but can play everywhere but catcher, is really fast, plays good defense, and is a switch hitter in the sense that he can flail impotently at pitchers from either side of the plate. He’s my new pinch runner/infield/outfield defensive replacement. Werdekemper will start at Buffalo; he’s blocked in the bigs (for now) by Asdrubal Cabrera, who plays a good 2B, hits pretty well, and is a pretty solid choice to leave in charge of Spain in case you have to conquer Italy. So here’s my bench now:

Casey Blake (1B/3B/LF/RF) – hits well against lefty pitchers and doesn’t embarass himself against lefties

Eugenio Velez (IF/OF) – pinch runner; defensive replacement; occasional starts in case too many people are tired at once

Kelly Shoppach (C) – awesome right handed pinch hitter; has more HR (3) than Victor Martinez (0) a month into the season

Josh Barfield (2B/SS) – in case I want offensive production from my backup infielder, instead of none

Kenny Lofton (OF) – lefty pinch hitter; the man to rest Grady Sizemore; pinch runner

My lineup looks like this:

CF G. Sizemore

2B A. Cabrera

DH T. Hafner

1B R. Garko

C V. Martinez

SS J. Peralta

RF F. Gutierrez

LF D. Dellucci/C. Blake

3B A. Marte

And my rotation/pen

C.C. Sabathia

F. Carmona

J. Westbrook

P. Byrd

C. Lee

Bullpen:

S. Elarton (RHP) – Receiver of outsourced innings that I don’t want anyone else to have/emergency starter

J. Lewis (RHP) – 6th inning guy, if Lee is pitching; still more likely to pitch than Elarton

J. Julio (RHP) – 7th inning guy; possible future closer, used for a couple of innings whenever possible

R. Perez (LHP) – One of two setup guys; sometimes used as a LOOGY, but usually stays in the game

R. Betancourt (RHP) – The rock of my bullpen; if there’s a tie game, he’s going in

J. Borowski (RHP) – “Closer”, he gets three run saves or against crappy teams; in reality, just slightly above Elarton in the pecking order. Plan is to let him get thirty saves or so and then trade his ass

Note: If you think this entire post was about making a dorky nerd pun about Cabrera? You’re absolutely right. Also to make people aware of Cornell Werde-fucking-kemper, because his name r0xx0rz my b0xx0rz.

Who’s the David Eckstein of football?

Filed under: Sports, Video Games — Tony Demchak @ 1:15 pm

In my fourth season as coach of the Akron Zips, a pattern is beginning to emerge; I win either all my games or all but one, win the MAC Championship, and lose the bowl game (if I go undefeated) or win (if I lose one game). This is because if I go undefeated, I go to bowls I have no business in. Last season, I lost the National Championship (this is the Zips, remember. Of Akron.) to USC, 24-7. The season before, I got anally raped by Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl, like eleventy billion to zero. (Fine, I did score at least one touchdown.) My biggest problem? An execrable offensive line. Since playing NCAA 08, I have quickly grown to understand why offensive linemen play until their clinical death or shortly afterwards; they’re in REALLY short supply. Good O-linemen are as rare in college as in the NFL; the problem is the best, the five star prospects, invariably go to the larger schools. It isn’t even easy to attract four star linemen, even though I maxed out my prestige. When you search for O-linemen in the prospect search, the game always includes the ubiquitous “athletes.” Athletes are not o-linemen (not that o-linemen aren’t athletes). For an example of an athlete, think Antwaan Randel-El. A college QB who also played WR and RB. Or Devin Hester, who plays WR and DB. Or even Ted Ginn Jr., who plays KR/PR, WR, and really high overdraft. Note a pattern? They aren’t offensive linemen. How bad is my line right now? A converted defensive end is playing center because my last one transfered. I have a 90+ right tackle, but he’s a senior. I’ve got a solid 82 left guard who’s a freshman; the rest of my line is 70 or below. My QB has mad speed, which he needs, because he gets sacked a lot. Oh, and my tight ends are also barely above 70. Why do I win at all? My defense is pretty damn good (except at MLB; the line could be slightly better, but it’s deep and strong) and I have great skill players at QB, FB, and HB. My HB, Brandon Wright, is crazy fast but drops anything if he gets hit hard. My FB, Marcus Gold, is a monster and can’t be tackled, but has the footspeed of a pre-1990s zombie. My QB, Justin “You must cut down the tallest tree in the forest with a” Herring is even faster than Wright, but with even poorer technique and more prone to fumbles. Quick passes work okay; my WRs are essentially cloned, all with around 91 speed and good hands. Try to throw deep on a non-play action pass? Sack. Try to throw deep on a slow developing play action pass? Sack. Try to throw over a 46? Sack. The only play I’ve never been sacked on is a screen, and I’m sure that’ll happen too. Thank goodness for the option.

Coach, you’re a DIPShit*

Filed under: Jerks, Sports, Video Games, Wacky Theories — Tony Demchak @ 12:57 pm

So I’m playing as Rodrigo Clemenza in MLB 08, Mexican superstar pitcher who is in no way Roger Clemens, and I finish the second month of season two of my career. After beating most of my goals and a rocky start, I receive my next set of goals. One includes “Hold opponents to under a .200 batting average for the next 8 series (or around four weeks or so).” Now, the reason I’m still in AA is because I always fail one goal a period, and they have set me up for failure here. Rodrigo may strike out a lot more than a walks, with a K rate of just under a batter an inning, but I’m apparently not AAA material because I can’t use the Jedi Mind Trick on my crappy infield defense. Jerks.

*DIPS stands for Defense Independent Pitching Statistics; it’s a combination of ground ball to fly ball ratio, strikeouts per nine innings, walks per nine innings, and HR surrendered per nine innings. Voros McCracken did some pretty hefty research and came up with the answer that once a ball was hit by a batter, there was almost no control on the part of the pitcher on where it went, apart from whether it was a grounder or a fly ball. Stats like BABIP (batting average on balls in play) fluctuate wildly from season to season for pretty much every pitcher.

April 23, 2008

Your Legal Decision Of The Day

Filed under: Curmudgeonliness, Wacky Theories — Kevin Feasel @ 8:12 pm

Wickard v. Filburn (1942) has to be one of the absolute worst judicial decisions ever.  The Supreme Court decided that a man who grows crops on his own territory for his own consumption and does not sell said crops still falls under the interstate commerce clause.

Incidentally, that case provides a double-whammy because not only as the judicial decision terrible but the initial law which prompted the judicial case was also, as most production quota laws go, absurd.

Thanks to Richard Adams over at NLT for this.

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