Sunday, November 30, 2003

Due to the unfortunate incident this past Thursday, I have been given sole control over the remaining picks. This doesn't really change anything, though, except that I get to make the comments, too. Originally I wasn't going to write many comments, only for those games that I felt like, but Lucas didn't seem to think that was nice, so go on. Enjoy my insightful comments. On to the picks!

NE at IND: Now that Harrison is back as a starter, I think Indy will find a way to beat the Patriots. IND

MIN at STL: Neither team has been impressive lately, so I'm going on my own personal bias, that being that I dislike Minnesota more than St. Louis. STL

BUF at NYG: To be honest, I really don't have anything to say about this game...except that I wish Moulds wasn't so gimpy still. But maybe that's just me. NYG

CIN at PIT: I never thought I'd see the day when I would willingly pick the Bengals to beat the Steelers. CIN

PHI at CAR: McNabb has finally started playing like he did last year. Finally. He might falter some against Carolina's defense, but I think they'll be able to pull one out. PHI

SF at BAL: Baltimore used up all of their scoring potential last week. I mean, really...44 points? There can't really be much left. SF

ATL at HOU: Wow, who would've thought that one player would make all the difference? Atlanta really needs Vick back. HOU

AZ at CHI: Now that Kordell is starting, things will turn around for the Bears. Oh, who am I kidding? But they'll still win today, though. CHI

NO at WAS: Yeah, this could be a troublesome game for the Saints, but somehow, they'll find a way. NO

DEN at OAK: Creaky old Raiders pull off a win? I don't think so. DEN

KC at SD: Is this a joke? KC

CLE at SEA: Seattle is probably pretty mad after last week, and sorry, Cleveland, but you just don't have what it takes. SEA

TB at JAX: All right, I'm pretty sure that Jax won't win this game, but I'm still going to pick them. I just can't pick Tampa Bay to win. And for once, I actually get to watch the Jags play. JAX

TEN at NYJ: McNair is still a gametime decision. So...Volek will probably start. Which could be trouble, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, since he did ok last week. TEN

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

I'm proud and happy to announce that I finally have a real job lined up. It came down to two companies giving me offers at about the same time, and it ended up being a pretty tough decision because I really liked both offers. For those of you who care, the place I decided on is Great Lakes Educational Loan Services and I'll be doing J2EE and Websphere stuff. Basically this place acts as an electronic middleman between universities, students, and lenders, so there's a ton of money passing through their systems every day. One bug or system crash could cause huge financial problems, so I guess my coding standards are going to have to go up a bit. Anyway, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank those of you reading this blog that supplied professional references for me, or just offered support. The check's in the mail.

Some tips I can give to those of you that will soon be in job-hunting mode yourselves are:

1) Apply to everything you could possibly be qualified for and worry about repercussions later. You can always decide it's not a good fit after you talk to a place. I certainly didn't think "this is the one" when I applied to the place that ended up hiring me.

2) Job hunting really sucks. If you have a job you're reasonably satisfied with, keep it. I was so sick of looking at job postings.

3) When going to an interview, think up answers to all those stupid stock behavioral questions (e.g. "Tell me about a situation where you showed initiative") before you go in.

4) If possible, search in as broad a geographic range as possible. I had the disadvantage of having to look for a job in a pretty small city, so things took longer than they probably would have otherwise.

5) If they want people to take a test, it's a bad sign, even if you're a person who tests well. I'll save this for another post.

On an unrelated note, last year I almost forgot to do Thanksgiving football picks, but this time I'm ahead of the game:

GB at DET: Some people blame Joey Harrington's struggles on his anemic receivers. Well, the receivers are horrible, but so is Harrington. He throws the ball with his eyes closed sometimes, I kid you not. GB.

MIA at DAL: Even if Bill Parcells is proving himself to be an excellent coach in the real world, he's not in my little sheltered fantasy world (a world in which the Bucs did not win the superbowl last year, by the way). MIA.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Two NFL picks posts in a row? I know this isn't an update frequency that most people (myself included) are happy with, but I've been exceptionally busy as of late dealing with some final interviews at several Madison-area companies. This process has also forced me to wear a suit far more than I'd ever want, but it appears those days are numbered. I've finally received my first solid offer, so I can at least definitively state that I will be working somewhere (a somewhere with a relaxed dress code) within the next month or so. More details will appear here once I work everything else to completion and make my decision. Anyway, on to the business of the day.

DET at MIN: I wouldn't be surprised if Minny did drop their 5th straight, but let me make this perfectly clear: Thou Shalt Not Pick Detroit in an Upset Special. Their starting recievers are Bill Schroeder and Az Hakim, for crying out loud. MIN

JAX at NYJ: I thought Lisa would have voted for the Jags here, but the facts are the facts: There is no way you can stop Santana Moss, "The Moss that isn't a Worthless Human Being" NYJ

NO at PHI: Philly is the best not-that-good team in the NFL. Or perhaps its the Patriots. I've said before, many people call it "well-coached", I call it "luck". PHI

SEA at BAL: I pretty much forced Lisa to change her mind here and pick Baltimore. It may be madness to pick a team with no quarterback, but I think that poorly of Seattle. And I'm sure Ray Lewis is going to be really pissed. BAL

NE at HOU: Chris is right, this is a major trap game for New England, but Houston is going with Tony Banks at QB. Tony Banks! NE

IND at BUF: Stick a fork in the Bills, they're done. And I don't just mean for the year. They're just plain done. IND

PIT at CLE: I'm slowly developing another picking heruistic: If the team looks like crap on Monday Night, never pick them the following week. Also, the "Game I Don't Care About of the Week". CLE

CAR at DAL: Its going to be a long downhill slide for Dallas. By the time it's all over people will think the Cowboys are a bobsled team. CAR

SF at GB: Suddenly, after two nice starts, everyone thinks Tim Rattay is the second coming of Joe Montana. He reminds me a lot of Ty Detemer. GB

CHI at DEN: No team evokes more pity than the Bears. Awww, look at those poor bears, they're too scared to throw the ball more than 10 yards downfield. Awww, look at those poor bears, they have no playmakers. You get the idea. DEN

STL at AZ: St. Louis and Seattle are both much worse than 7-3. And they both may make the playoffs. What a world. STL

CIN at SD: In a week of trap games, this is the one that will actually turn into an upset. I still don't believe Cincy any good - the Chiefs would have lost last week to just about anybody. Seems like they wanted to get the first one out of the way. Upset special. SD

OAK at KC: This is a major trap game for Kansas City, but Oakland is going with Rick Meier at QB. Rick Meier! KC

TEN at ATL: Another solid trap game, but the Titans have that super-bowl look right now, winning even in their bad weeks. I must salute Chris for an exceedingly bold pick here, though. If there was ever a time for him to use "upset special", this would be it. TEN

WAS at MIA: Once again discouraged by a recent defeat, Steve Spurrier decides that his players should start wearing visors instead of helmets, or "hard, brimless, covered visors", as he likes to call them. MIA

NYG at TB: Wow, its rough doing picks in these non-bye weeks. I'm fresh out of fresh, insightful commentary. So I'll revert to my old standards. Jeremy Shockey sucks. Warren Sapp sucks. Keshawn Johnson sucks posthumously. NYG

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Time for picks again. But first, a quick apology about lack of posting depth and breadth recently - I'm in Milwaukee. I'm sorry. Happy?

Once again, for about the 3rd or 4th week in a row, Chris has gone exceptionally vanilla in his picks. The same thing happened last year when I easily built an insurmountable lead early in the season; and it was only a few bold predictions on his part that brought the standings a bit closer at the end. Now, we see that Chris, once again frustrated at the steady progress made by the Dynamic Duo of Lisa and myself, is forced to continue dwelling on who exactly makes the picks here at Mount Athos, although I continue to assert that it is a collaborative effort. In fact, he should be thankful that Lisa has final say - a look at the past few weeks confirms that most of the picks I would have changed myself ended up being correct.

Anyway, he can keep dissin' and we'll just keep on pickin'....

BAL at MIA: Baltimore's performance on sunday night last week was amazing. I have never seen a team show such skill in finding ways to lose. MIA

ATL at NO: Give it up, New Orleans. You ain't goin' anywhere. NO

NYG at PHI: Chris, you're pushing the term "upset special" again, especially given Philly's generally crappy (although winning) team. And I thought I talked about "snoozer of the week" too - I want royalties. PHI

WAS at CAR: Encouraged by recent success, Steve Spurrier finally figures out the problem with his offense - he was trying to make the quarterback throw the ball, even though all those defensive guys were clearly trying to to tackle him. Hence, Rod Gardner. CAR

HOU at BUF: Aw, crap - I did it again! Mental Note: Houston is NOT the Titans. Suddenly this game looks a lot more winnable for the Bills. BUF

STL at CHI: I have a little twinge that makes me actually think the Bears may win this one, the same I had for the Chargers last week. I guess I'll find out if it means anything on Sunday. STL

KC at CIN: I finally have a solid hypothesis regarding the Chiefs' unlikely success: Dick Vermiel is a magic elf. KC

AZ at CLE: It would be an upset if either one of these teams win. AZ

JAX at TEN: Just to say something positive about the Jags, I'll say this: I do believe they're one of those teams that's capable of pulling an upset every single week. TEN

NYJ at IND: Blech. I just can't get excited about Indy, for some reason. This would be my "Game I Don't Care About of the Week" if I hadn't reserved it for other use (see below). IND

SD at DEN: As much as I loved watching the Magic Flutie bring down the Viqueens last week, it ain't going to last. DEN

DET at SEA: Boy, does Seattle have a cupcake schedule. They always lose to the good teams and often lose to the bad ones, yet people continue to think they're a solid. SEA

GB at TB: Its amazing how bad football prognosticators are - they think that every team that wins the super bowl is going to be a dynasy. Meanwhile, the Bucs are falling apart, you can just feel it. GB

MIN at OAK: This would be my upset special if I had final say, but it's probably good that I don't, in this case. MIN

DAL at NE: Bill vs. Bill? High Suspense? Must-See TV? Not here. I'm making this my "Game I Don't Care About of the Week" out of principle. NE

PIT at SF: Two Teams apparently on the rebound, but in reality already lost causes. I guess we go with the home team here, but in reality I don't care. SF

Monday, November 10, 2003

Ooh, look - Smaller fonts! Now I fit in with everyone else! Honestly, from what I've seen of other people's blogs, it really seems like there is a strong inverse relationship between computer savvy and preferred font size....

I also fixed the alignment problems with the link bar (hopefully). At some point I plan on doing a major upgrade, but for right now, I'll just go with "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". This blog was never intended to be a platform for my technical expertise (or lack thereof), anyway.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Once again, Lucas and I are splitting duties on the picks. And for those who actually read last week's picks and remembered Lucas' first comment, please note that I did not start this week's post with "Ok."

ATL at NYG: Question: How much worse can Atlanta be? Answer: None more worse. NYG

AZ at PIT: The Steelers are playing as bad as any team in the league right now, and I'd actually consider picking the Cards if it was up to me. Then again, Arizona is probably the worst 3-4 team in the history of the universe (or maybe it's Chicago). PIT

SEA at WAS: Watching his season fall apart, Steve Spurrier recently called Chris Doering to ask if he was available to play quarterback next week. SEA

TB at CAR: Yes, this would be one of Tampa's "good", or "even-numbered", weeks, but Carolina always plays them tough, Stephen Davis or no Stephen Davis. CAR

IND at JAX: What a dilemma for Lisa: her number one fantasy player (Marvin Harrison) versus her hometown team. My money's on much better results in the fantasy league. IND

HOU at CIN: I'm still not sold at all on the semi-decency of the bengals. 3-5 in the AFC North is like 0-10 anywhere else. CIN

CHI at DET: Picking Detroit here would not be an upset special (and thus would not violate the golden rule), and I'm loath to ever pick the Bears, but Detroit is just a bad, bad team. CHI

MIA at TEN: It seems like the Dophins are surprised at how fast passes are getting to them now that Brian Griese has become the starter, And it's not like Griese has a big arm. If Jay Fielder was throwing, Miami wideouts could do their laundry while his passes were in the air. TEN

CLE at KC: Can KC go 9-0? Of course they can, against a Browns team that still can't decide who they're going to play on offense on any given week. This week's quarterback is Bernie Kosar. KC

MIN at SD: You know what? I think the Chargers are going to win this game (or at least keep it really close), but if that was actually the pick here they'd send me off to the crazy house. MIN

NYJ at OAK: Who'da thunk the Raiders would be in total chaos at this point? Well, I guess a lot of people do get cranky in their twilight years, especially if they don't have their dinners at 4:00 sharp. NYJ

BUF at DAL: Dallas? Lisa? Ehhhh.. I'm having serious reservations about a lot of your picks this week. If Dallas wins their division I'll eat my hat. DAL

BAL at STL: Faulk's back and it's in the dome; that's good enough for me. Mike Martz is still a pompous idiot. STL

PHI at GB: The Pack has turned a corner, baby. The offense is firing on all cylinders, and now they've picked up 400-pound Grady Jackson. That's right, with him and Big Gil, Green Bay will have almost half a ton tied up in their two defensive tackles. GB

Friday, November 07, 2003

This past wednesday I was dragged to The Matrix part 3 premier, so I figure a review is in order. First of all, I say "dragged" not because of my preconcieved notions regarding the movie itself, but rather the fact that I generally hate going to movies, especially anticipated ones, on their opening day. After watching the film, I only wish I had put up more of a fight. Sure enough, we had to get there an hour early to stand in line to get good seats. I have never seen a greater assortment of losers and dorks, and I worked in a computer science department. The problem with Matrix dorks, as opposed to CS dorks, is that they only think they're intelligent, because they like a trilogy that is bloated with 10-th grade symbolism and half-baked religious references. But, as usual, I digress. On to the movie review proper.

Keanu Reeves very first words in Revolutions are "Where am I?". The answer is, quite simply, "In a horrible movie". While trying to encapsulate my feelings towards this movie, the Bart Simpson's phrase "total wank" just kept coming to mind. Sure, part two was bad, but it least it had some new elements and one hell of a chase scene. Part 3 has virtually no redeeming qualities. The riddle-talk is back and almost as bad as ever: I feel the need to stress once again that the purpose behind this seems only to be for the writers to tell the audience "Hey, look at us, we're smart!". Anyone can throw a bunch of philisophical, metaphysical, existential and religious references togther - that, in itself, does not constitute any deeper meaning. And not explaining anything doesn't mean it's a mystery you're leaving up to the audience; it means there are a lot of plot holes. I will now summarize the movie, without giving too much away, if you're actually considering seeing it.

1) Lots of philisophical jibber-jabber in a train station
2) The gang goes to a truly disgusting night club (details omitted as this is a family-friendly blog), bascially as an excuse for a small "slow motion & wires" fight scence, the only one of its type in the movie.
3) A long fight scence where computer generated robots fight other computer generated robots, in a even less interesting manner than, say, The Phantom Menace.
4) Neo decides to go to the city of the machines, creatively named "Machine City".
5) Neo fights Agent Smith in the rain for what seems like about 8 hours real-time.
6) An ending where nothing is resolved.

The original Matrix was appealing because of its focus on an unoriginal, but interesting futuristic scenario, combined with some special effects that really hadn't been seen before. The plot pretty much worked itself to completion by the end of the first film, and the special effects were taken about as far as they could go in the second film. Therefore, the third film was left with a completely unoriginal plot and a different kind (i.e. overly-CG'd) of battle scenes.....

Well, I've gone into quite the tirade here, so perhaps it is best to just wrap things up. There is plenty more I could say, but I think I've already delivered my message. 1 star.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Ok, so we decided that this week will be the same as last week: I get to make the picks, Lucas gets to write about them and tell me if he thinks that a pick should be changed.

IND at MIA: Has anyone noticed that Lisa starts every post with "Ok"? Sorry, on to buisness. Brian Griese will realize this week that playing the Chargers does not actually constitute playing football. IND

NYG at NYJ: Great, one underachieving New York team versus another. I'll root for the one that doesn't have Jeremy Shockey. NYG

NO at TB: Lisa, don't do this to me. I hate picking Tampa Bay to win, especially when their bipolar disorder is due to be at its most suckiest. This would be my upset special if I had final say. TB

JAX at BAL: Earlier this year, before he became a starter, I gave a vote of confidence in Byron Lefwich. I also said he was "years away", so don't blame me for his consistent 3-interception performances. BAL

CAR at HOU: For some reason, whenever I see HOU I still think of the This week I was particularly confused since the Panthers and Titans just played each other. It was very dissapointing when I figured out that I hadn't timewarped through a wormhole. CAR

SD at CHI: Yikes. Chicago's high-school-level passing game versus San Diego's non-existant defense. Whatever happens, it's not going to be worth watching. CHI

OAK at DET: The Lions and Bears must be thankful they get to play each other twice a year. It's the equivalent of a AAA game. OAK

PIT at SEA: Is this the end of the line for Bill Cowher? The runner-up to Dave Wanstead for the "best coach's mustache" award would be sorely missed for his use of quarterbacks as wide recievers and vice versa. SEA

CIN at AZ: Hello, Game I Don't Care About of the Week. Also, note to Arizona: Thank you soooo much for winning a game besides the Packers game, thereby allowing me to continue my life. CIN

STL at SF: How 'bout them 49ers? How many years will it take for them to realize that you need some semblance of a kicker to be able to win NFL games? STL

PHI at ATL: Mike Vick says he's not coming back for a while, and it's hard to blame him. Wait, no, it's easy to blame him. If he's not trying to scramble around like a madman in a meaningless preseason game the falcons are still in contention, despite a secondary that was unanimously benched. PHI

WAS at DAL: Gripped by nostalgia for his days at The Swamp when he was coaching the Gators, Steve Spurrier asks permission to flood Texas Stadium with 6 inches of standing water. Halftime entertainment is slated to be dragon boat races. DAL

GB at MIN: The Vikes were exposed big time by the Giants last week. If you hear the comments coming out of the twin cities, it sounds like the team has lost all confidence. Hopefully this is the start of a long downward spiral. GB

NE at DEN: I have no idea how New England wins games. You look at the active roster and there really isn't jack there. Some people would attribute this to Bill Belicheck; I would attribute this to unusually benevolent football gods, the same gods who caused Drew Brees to throw 3 INT's and 0 TD's in a week where only 3 points would have beaten Chris in fantasy football. Whatever voodoo you're doing, Chris, it's working. NE