Sunday, December 2, 2018

College Football Playoff 2018

I do this every year, and I'm doing it again this year. I'm telling you what the NCAA FBS Subdivision (what I still call Division 1-A) playoffs would look like if they did it right.

All 10 conference champions should be in a playoff. They won their conference, and that should mean something. A place in the tournament is a suitable reward for accomplishing that goal

Keeping in mind that limiting it to the conference champions leaves out some really good teams that are better than half of those conference titleholders. So, add the six best teams, as determined by a committee -- just like the CFP is done today -- to the tournament. Have #1 host #16, #2 host #15, and so on. Losers in the first round still get an opportunity to go to a bowl game.

The winners would advance to the next round, with the highest surviving seed hosting the lowest surviving seed, and so on. That leaves four teams left, and those teams would meet up New Year's, just like the CFP does today. The difference is, the final four got there by winning a playoff game, not solely by a committee vote.

Seeding, to me, should be the conference champs first -- similar to how the NFL does division champs first -- with the Wild Card teams rounding it out. This year, for example, Georgia didn't win their conference, but are considered one of the best by the CFP. They would be in the playoffs, but behind Northern Illinois, for example, since NIU won their conference.

Some won't like putting NIU and UAB above Michigan, but they won their conference. Besides, putting all ten conference champs higher will make for some better games. I mean, which is a better game: Alabama playing NIU or Penn State? App State playing Clemson or UAB?

Here are the seedings, listing the teams, the conference championship if applicable, record, and CPF ranking (or other as noted):

  • Alabama (Southeastern) (13-0) (#1)
  • Clemson (Atlantic Coast) (13-0) (#2)
  • Oklahoma (Big 12) (12-1) (#4)
  • Ohio State (Big Ten) (12-1) (#6)
  • Central Florida (American) (13-0) (#8)
  • Washington (Pac-12) (10-3) (#9)
  • Fresno State (Mountain West) (11-2) (#21)
  • Appalachian State (Sun Belt) (10-2) (#30 Coaches)
  • Alabama-Birmingham (Conference USA) (10-3) (#34 Coaches)
  • Northern Illinois (Mid-American) (8-5) (--)
  • Notre Dame (12-0)(#3)
  • Georgia (11-2) (#5)
  • Michigan (10-2) (#7)
  • Florida (9-3) (#10)
  • Louisiana State (9-3) (#11)
  • Penn State (9-3) (#12)

This gets everybody that can make a case for being included a chance to prove it. Whoever wins out from that pool of teams is worthy of being called national champions.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

1,100 movies

Several months ago, I mentioned that I had passed the 800 mark in movies in my digital library. Well, I have more than that now. I've now surpassed the 1,100 mark.

Just so we're clear, I have some movies on DVD that I haven't ripped to digital. But, I'm not counting those.

How much have I spent on all this? I have no idea. And I'm not gonna do the research to see. I'd not like the answer, so I'm not gonna do a lot of work when I know I won't like the answer.

Most of the digital movies I have are from purchases from iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, VUDU, or Fandango Now. You see, I have a MoviesAnywhere account and many purchases from any one of those services will automatically be added to the other. Not all, to be sure, but many. About half. 528 of my 1,100 movies are digital purchases that are in the MoviesAnywhere library.

I need to mention one other thing. Some movies are movies that I don't really own. Not exactly piracy. Not exactly. I better explain.

I still have a Netflix DVD account. I have a queue of movies that I set up for them to send me discs. I'll rip the DVDs out and add them to my library. Now, how is this not piracy? Lemme 'splain.

I rip the movies so I can watch them on one of my streaming devices. It's in with the other movies, and I can simply find it and play it. And, if I don't like the movie and don't want to keep it, I delete it. So, I'm getting rid of a movie I didn't buy, but had because I rented it from Netflix.

But what about the movies I do like or want to keep? Well, I keep them. Only, I will buy it from one of the streaming services. For instance, had I rented (via Netflix DVD service) "The Searchers" which is one I didn't have. I ripped it and decided I wanted to keep it. So, I have a pirated copy, right? Well, not really. I bought it this past week when it went on sale, as I said I would do. I do that with all the movies I want to keep. I'll check sales, and buy them when they're on sale. If after a time they're not on sale, I'll pony up the full price. Then kick myself when it goes on sale a week later. Either way, I'll buy and download the new digital version and delete the ripped version.

I have all the ones I ripped from DVD tagged, and those ripped from rentals I check digital sales every week. Those I ripped from DVDs I own, I still check, but my focus is on ripped rentals. After all, I haven't paid for them, and I buy those first. I did buy Silverado last week, which is one I had ripped from a DVD I own. It was $5, so I made it a fully digital HD copy, and deleted the older copy.

So, piracy? Maybe you could make that case. But I'm renting via DVD and buying those I want keep to add to the collection. I'm good with what I'm doing. Ripped rentals and just keeping them? Nope. Won't do that. I will buy them or I will delete them.

Anyway, I recently hit number 1,100 in my library. But what was movie 1,000? Pride of the Yankees, which I bought after having ripped it from rental. I bought it when it went on sale. And, I'm glad I did. It's currently unavailable from Amazon streaming.

Oh, and movie number 1,100? The Man From Hong Kong. Yeah, I didn't expect that answer either.

I'm past that number now, heading towards 1,200. I may or may not post about that. I didn't post about number 900 -- Drunken Master, which I didn't see coming either -- or number 1,000 when it happened.

I just need to figure out why I'm buying martial arts movies. I don't even like martial arts movies. I don't even remember buying them, but I see them in my library.

I wonder if my grandson got hold of my remote again. Gotta keep a closer eye on that boy.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Bring back ties

I'm not trying to make a fashion statement, although I regularly wear ties. I want them to bring back ties. Not the necktie, but tie ball games.

I'm primarily talking about college football, since the professional game is a bunch of whiny millionaires that aren't fit to carry Jim Brown's or Johnny Unitas' shoes. I don't care what those clowns do.

In college football, we need more ties. It complicates things, and nobody is happy with it. So, why do I want them to bring back ties? Because that's life.

Sometimes, you win, sometimes you lose. And sometimes nobody wins. That's life.

Sure, it'll cause some inconvenience. And now that they have a mini version of a playoffs in Division 1-A -- they still need to have a 16-team playoff, not this 4-team thing -- it will be necessary to break those tie games through the semi-finals.

What about the title game? Well, if it ends in a tie, we have co-champions. That's how life is sometimes. Nobody wins. Even in the most important things, sometimes there's no winner.

Then there's the fact that there is no limit on the number of overtimes. The players have fought hard for 60 minutes, and are being asked to put themselves at risk even longer for a game. Sure, they want to win. Everyone wants to win. But sometimes, nobody wins.

Put a limit on the number of overtimes, you say? Well, if a tie is okay after, say, four overtimes, why not after three? Or two? Or one? Or none, since ties are okay?

So, how to implement this? Well, I'm for just doing it. Unless it's a playoff game before the finals, then a tie is a tie.

Conference championship game? A tie is a tie. Co-champions.

But what if the game determines who plays in the Porcelain Bowl? Let the Porcelain Bowl invite one of them. Or pick somebody else.

Of course, that won't happen. But they could allow ties in non-conference games as a start. How likely is that? Well, when there's games like Alabama playing Sister Mary Margaret's School For Wayward Girls, it's unlikely. But imagine how excited Wossamotta U would be if they managed to play Ohio State to a tie. For them, not losing is a win.

There have also been some great tie games. There was the Harvard-Yale 29-29 tie. The Notre Dame-Michigan State 10-10 tie. The Notre Dame-Army 0-0 tie. The Army-Nave 21-21 tie. Classic games all.

And, with all that football does teach some of the players -- those with enough character to pay attention -- is that sometimes, you just don't win. Sometimes, nobody does. But you have to accept it.

Yeah, I'd like to see the tie brought back to college football. It's a life lesson that's important. It's frustrating. Nobody is happy. But sometimes that's life.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Cable again

I have cable TV again.

That's something I never expected.

You see, I'm a huge advocate of cutting the cord. I'm generally not a fan of cable TV. Or satellite TV. Since January 2011, I've been watching TV mostly by streaming content. But, suddenly, I now have cable TV service.

Let's get some stuff out of the way first. I'm paying for Internet and TV (by whatever means) at two locations. At one location, I dropped cable in January 2011 when, after crunching all the numbers, I determined that I'd save $65/month by dropping cable and moving to streaming. Now, that $780/year ($65/month x 12) was not full savings. I had to buy a Roku. And a TV antenna. And I had to buy a few TV episodes that weren't available by other means. Still, I had a large net savings for the year. So, I was happy.

New offerings came available. Hulu expanded. Amazon Prime streaming expanded. Netflix expanded. Services like Sling TV came along. All that just reinforced by decision to drop cable. Everything was great.

Later, I began paying for Internet and TV (by whatever means) at another location. That location was serviced by an entirely different cable and Internet provider.

At the second location, I found that I could get a decent broadband Internet connection plus local channels cheaper than Internet service alone. Yeah, I didn't believe it at first, but sure enough, that was the case. Which meant I didn't have to shell out anything for an antenna. I'd get Internet service cheaper, and could watch local channels (which is all I would have picked up from the antenna anyway), and it wasn't a bad price.

Every 6 to 12 months, I'd have to take my happy butt down to one or the other of the cable offices -- I get better results in person because of my charming personality -- and renegotiate a price. After my experience with the second provider, I learned to check for packages that aren't advertised. And, that continued along for a bit. Well, it continued until late September.

In late August or early September, I'd add Sling TV with the Sports Add-on so I could watch college football. After the season, I'd drop Sling TV. Sometimes, I'd use DirecTV Now or one of the other streaming services if they had a great deal on a package or offered a free streaming device. I ended up with several Apple TV devices or Roku devices by doing that. Still got a Roku in the box, never opened.

Recently, one of the locations had gone up, meaning the 12-month "special" had expired. So, I marched myself down to the cable office and started negotiations. This time, when asking about the cost of services, I found out that I could get Internet and a basic cable package -- not a locals only/lifeline package, but one with ESPN and other cable channels -- for a decent price.

I calculated the cost of Internet plus Sling TV with Sports Add-on against the cost of Internet and Basic Cable. And, what do you know? The Basic Cable package was cheaper.

Now, before I ran to sign up for that, I checked into a few other things, such as how well authentication against apps on Apple TV or Roku -- I didn't bother with Amazon Fire TV or Android TV, since Apple TV and Roku are over 95% of my watching -- and found out that they'd work. The local cable company even supports that single sign-on for many apps on Apple TV.

My streaming service that included ESPN was going to renew today, but last week, I got the cable service going, and now I've dropped my streaming service in favor of cable TV. Which surprised me.

If you had told me that I'd be going back to cable, I'd've told you that you were crazy. You still might be crazy, but telling me I'm going back to cable has no bearing on that assessment. Because here I am. A cable user.

I feel so dirty. But I'm saving money.

Took 'em nearly eight years to get the message.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

John McCain

I haven't said much about John McCain's death. Heck, before now, I haven't said anything about it. Not even to people privately.

There's not anything I could add to what people have said. I will say that I voted for John McCain for president in 2008 because he was a better choice than the idiot the Democrats nominated. I had some strong online disagreements with some people at that time. They said he was no better than Obama. I thought just about anybody would be better than Obama. I still feel that way.

I don't regret my 2008 vote. McCain wouldn't have been the president I wanted, but he would have been a better president that what we got. I thought that then, and I think that now.

I wasn't a big fan of his throughout his political career, but I did respect his service. I've seen people online trashing his service, and I don't particularly care for that. Don't like his politics? Fine. I'm right there with you. Don't like his service? I'm not gonna join you on that.

One thing in particular that's been going around again relates to the aircraft carrier fire that killed 134 service members. Yes, McCain's plane was the source of the fuel that fed the fire. No, McCain wasn't responsible. The Navy determined that a missile was accidentally launched from elsewhere on the carrier, that the missile hit two planes (including McCain's) and started a spill that was ignited by the missile rocket engines, and that the missile landed in the ocean without exploding.


[The YouTube]

How much of those statements about McCain are from misinformation or people that just don't care about the facts, I don't know. I'm not a fan of either.

What I'd rather focus on are the good things. Like I mentioned, I didn't always agree with McCain on some things, many things, in fact. But let me conclude with this appearance on Saturday Night Live, from back when it was funny.


[DailyMotion]

Monday, August 20, 2018

UPS has PSd me off

I had a Roku suddenly stop working the other day. That's actually unusual -- or has been until recently.

You see, I've had Roku devices since 2010, and I've had great success with them. I'd replace them only because I wanted a newer device for one reason or another. I'd hand the older ones off to family or friends and enjoy the new one.

Well, I've had a couple of different Roku Ultra boxes lately, due to problems I've experienced. And one of them was one I bought from Walmart that suddenly stopped working. So, I took it back to Walmart. Only they said I had to contact the manufacturer. So, I contacted Roku, and after a couple of days, they finally issued an RMA. So, I shipped it off via UPS last week.

Well, it's been a week and I still haven't heard back from Roku. So I pulled out the receipt and put in the tracking number and found out ... UPS is delivering it to Roku today.

The receipt shows I paid $19.66 to ship it last Monday. The tracking information shows they picked it up last Monday. A week ago. Made it down to Jacksonville last Monday night. And finally made it to California yesterday ... six days later. Well, it's out for deliver to Roku in San Jose today.

$19.66 for UPS to take a week to get a package to California. Heck, I coulda put it in one of those big Priority Mail envelopes from the Post Office and had it there last Wednesday for $6.70. And, no I didn't compare before I shipped. There's a place a couple of blocks from the house that is really convenient. What's not convenient is paying almost $20 for something to take a week to deliver.

Yeah, UPS has PSd me off. I shoulda used the Post Office. And you can bet, next time, I will.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Getting thrown out of Disney World

I've only been thrown out of Walt Disney World once in my life.

Now let me pause for a moment and say that I suspect that statement may surprise people, but for different reasons. Some may be surprised that I was thrown out of Walt Disney World at all. The others may be surprised that it has only been once.

When did this happen? Why recently. Quite recently.

You see, I normally wear a hat and coat. The hat keeps my delicate skin from being ravaged by the sun. Actually, it's partly due to a really bad episode of sunburn I received in Kuwait. So, lately, a hat has been a part of my wardrobe. Not a cap. A hat. A grown man hat.

When you wear a hat, you also should wear a coat. Looks better. Plus, a coat is great for concealed carry, as I'm not a fan of open carry.

I've had a shoulder holster for a bit. My first one actually broke. Not sure why, but it broke. So, I replaced it, but my new one didn't come with a place to hold an extra magazine. I've been carrying the extra magazine in my coat pocket.

Well, as I mentioned, I went to Disney World recently. They don't take kindly to carrying weapons inside -- although a Leatherman is okay -- so I left my .380 in the car. But, I forgot I had the magazine in my coat pocket.

I was reminded of it when I took emptied my pockets at the gate to enter the Magic Kingdom park. They called all kind of security folks, including a bunch of deputies, to look at it.

They wanted to see my ID, my carry permit -- Georgia and Florida reciprocate -- and had a few questions. Then they said I could leave. So, I left.

I put the magazine in my luggage and went back to the park and had a good time. Maybe I'll tell you more about the trip, but you've already heard the best part.

If I get thrown out again, I'll tell you all about it, though.