Saturday, July 31, 2010

Leave Me Alone

Another lazy post. It's definitely how I feel right now and I just want to shout it at a certain person. All credit to the photographers kindaiwantto and vi-ol-et.

Leave Me Alone. by ~kindaiwantto on deviantART

leave me alone by ~vi-ol-et on deviantART

Friday, July 30, 2010


Played this game straight through today. It was pretty good. Very interesting visually and solid puzzle-based gameplay.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Gaming Tuesady Update

I'm bumping my achievement goal up to 20775 from 20700. I've found myself less burnt out on gaming plus I will be getting Limbo for XBLA and playing it over the weekend.

Madden 11 demo

I thought I would hate the new play-calling system, but I actually kinda love it. I actually think it makes me a better player and breaks up the monotony of play-calling. The new locomotion engine, as in NCAA Football 11, adds another element of realism. If they made improvements to Franchise Mode, I think this will be with out a doubt the best Madden to date. Unfortunately, the Browns are going to suck hard in this game and I'll have to spend a lot of time trying to get them better.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Random Wednesday- Okkervil River

I'm severely lacking inspiration this week, but this is a lazy solution. So, here's a tribute to my favorite band: Okkervil River.

"Lost Coastlines"

"For Real"

"Girl in Port"

"Love to a Monster"

"It Ends With a Fall"

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Gaming Tuesday


Gamerscore Last Week: 20529
Goal: 20650
Gamerscore Now: 20659

Achievements Unlocked

NCAA Football 11

One Hit Wonder 25G
The D Is For... 15G
Options 25G
Throw 'Em a Curveball 15G
Aggressive Spread No Huddle 25G
Spread No Huddle 25G

After an an afternoon of achievement whoring, I managed to meet my goal for this week. For whatever reason lately I've been a little burnt out on gaming and the things I'm enjoying aren't very achievement rich.

Goal for next week: 20700

Here's what I've come up with for a "punishment" when I fall short of my achievement goal. For ever point I am short of my Gamerscore goal, I will donate a nickel to The Harry Potter Alliance. There will be more on this in future Gaming Tuesdays.

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood Multiplayer

I have loved the two Assassin's Creed games, so far and to this point they have been entirely single player. The new multiplayer looks awesome. I'm just afraid that it'll will be prone to being entirely ruined by douchebags. Hopefully there are safe guards against douchbagery.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Browns' Monday


Perhaps the bleakest position on the team is the Quarterback position. Unless it turns out that Delhomme just needed a change of venue to quit sucking so hard, it is really hard to imagine the Browns having any semblance of a passing game. Since I have serious doubt that is what is the problem, my guess is that Seneca Wallace will end up being the starter by the half-way point in the season. Not that he would be any great improvement. At least Colt McCoy is signed and will be in camp on time. I don't think he should see the field this season unless the other two get hurt. Given the way Browns' quarterbacks go down, that is a possibility. Realistically, McCoy probably isn't going to the answer at the quarterback position anyway.

The weak passing game will be make having a successful running game very difficult. I think using Cribbs in the Wildcat will be the most effective use of the QB position this season.

Haden Holdout

Joe Haden is looking like a likely holdout. I doubt it will be very long holdout, but this year the number seven slot is difficult to price without some other top 10 deals signed. Last year the number seven pick was Darius Heyward-Bey, who the Raiders way over-paid. Right now only one first rounder has signed a deal, but it will take a few more signing from higher up in the draft to set the market. Assuming the Raiders don't give their draft pick another way over priced deal to mess it up, I doubt Haden will miss more than a few days of camp.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Buckeye Sunday- 5 Reason This Won't Be the Year

Last time I outlined the reason why this could be the year for Ohio State to win another National Championship. Here are the reasons why that may not actually happen:

5.) The System- Generally the BCS has been kind to the Buckeyes, but if the Big-10 proves to be as weak as I think it will be, it may not be.

4.) Luck
- As noted last time, luck can play a factor. Unfortunately that can cut both ways. What if Robert Marve has turned himself into the greatest quarterback ever? What if there's a bad call in a close game against Wisconsin? That element of uncertainty could cost the Buckeyes.

3.) Expectations- There are great expectations for this year's Buckeye team. That could work against the team in several ways. There is believing your own hype and therefore thinking it will be easy. There is also the burden of high expectations that could cause poor performance. Finally, there is the target that is produced by being considered a 'great team.' It's not that Ohio State doesn't always have a target on their backs; it's that it's bigger this year.

2.) Injuries- This team is loaded with talent, but at some critical positions there is an apparent lack of depth. It is not entirely true that Ohio State would be in trouble with certain injuries, because the depth is still big name recruits, just generally unproven. If someone can name Pryor's back-up in comments I'd be impressed.

1.) Alabama- Alabama is loaded and if they make it to the National Championship game, I do not think there is a match for them anywhere in college football.

The Agent Problem

In recent weeks four programs have come under investigation by the NCAA for alleged player involvement with agents. This is a serious problem in big-time college athletics. Agents are trying to assure themselves a cut of a player's rookie contract, which in the NFL is massive, and there are no real consequences for the agent or player. I have a feeling that this issue will prove to be rampant in college football and even worse in college basketball due to the one and done rule.

So, what's the solution? There really isn't one that the NCAA can implement that will be truly effective. The most effective tool the NCAA has is the punishment that it can issue to programs whose players commit violations. Unfortunately, these punishments never actually punish the guilty parties, but those who are in the program long after those who are responsible have moved on. It is still all the NCAA can do and it does really encourage programs to ensure compliance, when they see the type of punishments that was handed to USC. These punishments still don't really solve the problem of agent involvement with college athletes though.

The only real effective solution can come from the agents themselves, the NFL and the NBA. Starting with the agents, some sort of trade-union or organization of agents that provides licenses and oversight would be a step in the right direction. If an agent is found to be involved with a college athlete, that license should be revoked. If the player's unions of the NFL and NBA could make it so they only deal with licensed agents, that would make doing business with college athletes a huge risk and not worth it. Also, introducing a rookie pay-scale in the NFL would reduce the incentive for an agent to involve himself with a college football player. Sam Bradford is looking at 50 million guaranteed money in his rookie deal, so the agents cut will be massive. Not only will it help with the problems in college, but it would fix one of the really messed up things about the NFL.

Thanks for reading and please comment.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

How Replay Should Be Implemented in Soccer

Mistakes were made by referees at the 2010 World Cup that could have easily been avoided with the use of technology to assist the ref and his assistants. Here are the areas that soccer can use instant replay effectively.

Goals- If you really think about no official on the pitch is really put in a good position to make decisions about where the ball is in relation to the goal line. The assistant referees are in line to call Offsides and the referee is behind the play. Using replay to check questions regarding the goal line would improve the game, because goals are incredibly significant in soccer and the call should always be made right. Also, if the technology could be perfected a ball that makes noise when it has entirely crossed the goal line would be an excellent option.

Offside- Offside is a really difficult call if you really think about all that has to be taken into account by the assistant referee. To really make an accurate call the assistant referee has to be able to see several areas of the pitch simultaneously. This would be able to be used effectively to disallow goals scored by players who were in an offside position. It becomes more complex correcting the other type of mistake. If a player is was actually onside, but who is called offsides, scores a goal is possible to discern the effect of the offside call on the players on the pitch. I think a good way to determine whether or not a goal should be allowed on an overturned call is to answer two questions. Was the Goal Keeper affected by the offside call? and if so did he have a realistic chance at a save anyway?

Special Circumstances in the Box- There are two things that I would consider "special circumstances." One is handball. An advantageous handball in the box can dramatically alter a game. It shouldn't be allowed to be so, and also should have a player sent off. The other circumstance would be out of bounds calls. This could be corner vs. goal kick or whether or not a ball crossed the touch line before or during a cross.

Overt Aggression- Acts like the kung-fu kick in this year's World Cup final, Zidane's headbutt, or Melo's stomping on Robben are unacceptable in soccer and should see a player sent off the pitch. If acts like this are missed by the officiating crew, replay could make sure acts like those a properly punished.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The K.E.N. Campaign

I am definitely a big supporter of the K.E.N. Campaign. If you don't know what it is, The K.E.N. Campaign is anti cyber-bullying and about "Keeping Everything Nice" in gaming. Here's the video for the campaign:

There is a false bravado that is created by the anonymity of the internet. Being a bully online isn't brave at all; it's cowardly. It's easy to be a troll, a bastard, or just plain mean on the internet. No one will ever know who you actually are and the people receiving your abuse are probably far away from you. Assholes are all over the web and the K.E.N. campaign is about isolating them.

In real life, I find that it is very rare to run into someone who isn't kind. Assholes may stick out in our thoughts and memories, but in reality the vast majority of people are friendly. In gaming, it is much the same way. Perhaps the proportion of assholes is greater due to the anonymity that exists, but the majority of gamers are nice and just trying to have fun. The assholes are the ones who stick out, but they are definitely the minority by a significant margin. If we make it clear that being an asshole is unacceptable and leave them isolated, it will be possible to defeat them.

It's not about fighting back; it's about being the better person. If you run into an asshole or a clan of assholes, fighting back will only encourage them. Just mute them, and if you feel comfortable, announce that you are doing so. If they are picking on someone else, just be a friend to that person. Simple as that. You've made it clear that cyber-bullying isn't going to be allowed to be effective while you're around. If all else fails, just choose not to game with that person or those people who are being assholes and leave the lobby.

Here is something that I feel is a misconception about the K.E.N. Campaign. The campaign is not about making the online community a place where one has to be super friendly all the time and everybody gets a trophy even if their a shit player. You're allowed to get upset, to still be competitive, but it just should never lead to bullying. Ultimately the goal should be to have fun while gaming, not boost your ego on the back of someone who is at the end of your mic.

Thanks for reading and Keep Everything Nice.


Link of interest:

Nixie Pixel does an excellent job discussing the issues raised by anonymity on the internet and why it is a necessity even with the problems it helps to create.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Letter to myself 10 years ago


Your done with elementary school. Pretty cool right?

Now your going to meet some pretty awesome people in sixth grade. When you tell them you went to Hawthorne they won't know that it is actually a school in the district, but it's ok. The friends you make in 6th grade will be what makes Middle School bearable and at times fun. Oh and heads up your best friend from elementary school will remain your best friend until the end of middle school, but then you'll lose touch after that.

Now you are about to witness two incredibly significant historic events. You know there's an election coming up. In fact for an eleven year old you are very informed about politics and trust me that will stick with you. Well, Al Gore is going to win the popular vote nationally and lose the election and you are about to find out what the electoral college is. There's going to be some crazy stuff pulled in Florida that will make George W. Bush president and that would be the worst thing to happen to the country if not for the next thing I'm going to tell you about.

A little bit more than a year from now something that seems ridiculous is going to happen, but it will have tremendous significance on the rest of your life. A group of Islamic extremists are going to hijack airplanes and use them as missiles and kill thousands of Americans. It may seem strange that something like that could happen, but trust me it will and the world will never be the same after it.

You do not need to really care about grades in Middle School. Get those Fs and Ds, because its only real effect on you will be that you will start off in Algebra in high school and not Geometry. That being said, once you get to high school it's time to put your nose to the grindstone. Get good grades. *Hint* Especially 2nd quarter freshman year, because that bad GPA could really fucked up your transcript. Oh, and when you see Mr. Peterman as your Algebra teacher go to the guidance counselor and demand a change.

You are about to go through a period before your true personality develops in which you are going to be a bit of a douchebag. This will peak in 8th and 9th grade, so just try to tone it down a bit please. 10th grade will be shitty year in general, but it will be the time that you start to discover who you really are.

Oh and please get your bloody driver's license at 16.

So, in your Junior year of high school you discover who your best friends are and start really having an awesome time. Senior year is going to be the best time of your life thanks to those people, so just keep that in mind once you get there.

Now the most important thing. Start figuring out a way to get out the house after high school. You are about to hit a point where your relationship with dad will be getting exponentially shittier by the day. You do not want to end up 21, still living at home and having a little piece of yourself die everyday.

Other things I'd like you to do:
-don't be ashamed of the things you actually like
-be more social
-don't let your resentment of your father stop you from doing things that you ought to do

Your future self,


P.S. At some point in 2009 you are going to start referring to yourself as Michael as opposed to Mike.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Gaming Tuesday


Gamerscore Last Week: 20274
Goal: 20500
Gamerscore Now: 20529

Achievements Unlocked

NCAA Football 11
Speed Reader 5G
Red Zone Shutout 15G
Balanced Attack 15G
What a Weekend 30G
Point Some Fingers 20G
Switcheroo 20G
Untouchable 25G
Survivor 20G
Simply Perfect 30G
Picking Up Yards 15G
Mr. Efficiency 15G
20/20 Club 25G
Best Class Ever 15G
1st Option For 6 5G

Goal for next week: 20650

Ok, two things on this. First, help me come up with a creative consequence should I fail at meeting my weekly Gamerscore goal(keep it light hearted and PG.) Secondly, if anyone wants help with an achievement let me know. I would be happy to give tricks and tips or even post an achievement guide.

Online vs. in-person gaming

Back in ancient times, if one wanted to game with their buddies they had to get together and all play on one console and one TV. It is a blast to play Mario Kart or Goldeneye with your friends while your all in the same room. A problem it is virtually impossible to make that a common occurrence. People have real lives and getting together to game frequently can be a problem.

Now, one can game with anyone at anytime via XBL or PSN. It definitely makes gaming with your buddies simpler. It also creates opportunities for new friendships that could not be created elsewhere.

Which type of gaming is better? I'm not sure. What do you think?

Thanks for reading and please comment.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Browns' Monday

Starting off with some good news, I suppose. Shaun Rogers isn't going to prison(he's still an idiot though):

That's a help, but the defense is still incredibly underwhelming. The defense improved as a whole at the end of last season and there were some nice additions this off-season. It will probably be the better side of the ball by quite a bit this season. It's just when you look at the defensive roster, no player, with the exception of Rogers, really stands out as being exceptional. There is one particular area that looks weak. That is the Safety position. Looking at the safeties on the roster: Who in the hell is going Safety? and Why in the hell are none of these guys NFL caliber?

The Browns decided not to franchise Sean Jones following the 2008 season, which is really where the problems at this position begin. Jones was a really good safety and this franchise let him go. Following last season the Browns cut Brodney Pool. He is a talented safety, but concussion issues have plagued him. The Browns are left with safeties on their roster that aren't that great.

Abram Elam and Mike Adams will be the starting safeties next season, assuming that rookie T.J. Ward from Oregon doesn't prove to be amazing. Elam and Jones are both average at best and the depth behind them is mediocre. Now, T.J. Ward could prove to be a great Safety, but my guess is he will end up being only a slight upgrade over Elam or Adams.

In the type of defense being played in the NFL today, safety play is very important. Safeties have to be able to play near the line to be an 8th man against the run and be able to cover receivers and running backs when an opponent gives a spread look. The Cleveland Browns just do not stack up at the safety position.

Thanks for reading and please comment.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Buckeye Sunday- 5 Reasons This Could be the Year

Amongst Ohio State fans the feeling going into this season is pretty optimistic. Along with being optimistic, there is also unease. There is almost a fear of being too successful and risk being over matched by an SEC opponent in the championship again.

Here are 5 reasons why this year can be different.

5. Easy Schedule- There is no doubting that the Big 10 is down this year. Ohio State is without question the class of the conference. Miami(FL) is a tough non-conference game, but I really think Ohio State is a better team should be able to win that one. On top of that, if Ohio State goes unbeaten and makes the Championship, the rest of college football is down. Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, USC, Oregon, Georgia, etc are not looking like they'll be at the elite level this season. Of course, Alabama is super loaded, but you never know about what could happen in the SEC. Ohio State could end up playing an unbeaten Big East school or Boise State.

4. Luck- As mentioned above the regular season is looking pretty doable for the Buckeyes. Of course, things like injuries could change that. Or bit of luck against a team like Purdue on an upset bid. The SEC could beat itself up and leave Ohio State with an easier opponent in the National Championship Game.

3. Defensive Strategy- Given the beatings that Ohio State received against Florida, LSU, and USC, an improved defensive strategy became necessary. The fear of blitzing against quality opponents is gone. A more aggressive defensive strategy has been proven to be effective against Texas in the 2009 Fiesta Bowl, USC in 2010, and (finally a victory) Oregon in 2010. Putting pressure on the quarterback is key to playing defense well in College Football.

2. The Defensive Line- Ohio State's D-Line is one of the best, if not the best in College Football. Being able to pressure with four down linemen allows tremendous freedom in defensive scheming.

1. Terrelle Pryor- Following the poor performance against Purdue last year, his improvement has been great. He's an elite athlete and when he is playing well he can keep Ohio State in any game.

Thanks for reading and please comment.


What I did yesterday/Why I didn't post

My Mom and I went here


and I got these


We also went here


and I got this book



Then we went to visit my sister and her sleeping animals :)


We went out to dinner here


This is what I got



Friday, July 16, 2010

Stress and Anxiety

The inspiration for this post(and I guess it's a reply to it as well):

I am a shy, awkward, nervous, anxious, and generally neurotic person. Stress and worry are consistently a part of my life. My mind rarely stops and I am constantly over-thinking and over-analyzing. I would certainly like to be able to turn off my brain at times, but in a lot of circumstances my nature can be a blessing.

Coping with the anxiety and stress is important for me. My tendency toward stress and anxiety is part of what makes me who I am, but it also could easily lead to my own mental breakdown. The best coping mechanism for me is what I will call my inner Bobby McFerrin. I always try to keep the little voice in my head that says, "don't worry, be happy," healthy and prevalent. The best way for that to remain in decent shape for me is adequate sleep, but of course my overactive mind can create periods where getting proper amounts of sleep difficult. For those times it is all about distraction. I can find distraction in varied ways that will focus my mind on something other than what is keeping me stressed and worried. Perhaps the best therapy for me is playing my guitar. I can be angry or worried, but once I've picked it up and started playing, I calm down. Another distraction for me is video games. Playing games that are just fun like Rock Band or Saints Row 2 can provide a great distraction for me. Sometimes when nothing else works just sitting in my room with the lights off and curtains drawn and listening to music helps. At lot of times listening to sad music helps me out greatly.

Thanks for reading


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Special Comment: The Future of U.S. Soccer

Following the United States Men’s Soccer Team's performance at this years World Cup, I cannot help put wonder what's next for U.S. Soccer. This team's successes were tremendous, but it continued the failings that have haunted American soccer for quite sometime. This team, undoubtly the best U.S. team ever, won the CONCACAF Gold Cup, Finished first in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying, and finished as the runner up at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. Given all that this team accomplished, was just reaching the Knockout Rounds an actual success, or did this team fail to live up to its potential?

It is a bit of a loaded question, but I believe that this team failed to live up to its potential. I'm not claiming that this could have or should have won the World Cup. I am saying that their performance in the South Africa, while exciting, really wasn't really that strong. At the time the 1-1 tie against England seemed exceptionally impressive, but looking back at it now, was it really? While the English team certainly looked loaded going in to the World Cup, it became pretty clear that England was in poor form. Then came the spectacular comeback against Slovenia. The U.S. played quite well in the second half in this game, but had major failings in defense that lead to the 2 goals for Slovenia in the first half. The U.S. scored 3 goals; one improperly disallowed late in the second half that should have given the U.S. the victory. While it is regrettable that a blown call took the victory away the United States, I don't feel the U.S. have the right to cry foul. They allowed two cheap goals in the first half and put themselves in a position where that call was allowed to matter.

The Game against Algeria was probably the best total game the United States played in the World Cup. It may seem odd that a 1-0 victory in the final seconds over a Nation that is not held in high regard when it comes to soccer was the best performance, but I really think it was. With the exception of one major mistake early that should have led to an Algerian goal, the back line played pretty well. Along with that there were many chances created by the U.S. team, which was impressive considering how defensive and cynical the Algerian play was. How it took until second half stoppage time for the U.S. to finally take the lead 1-0, I do not really understand. The U.S. won group C with 5 points, which was the first time the United States had won a group at the World Cup.

Ghana scored early against the United States, which had proven to be a theme for the U.S. team. This time it was a turnover committed by Ricardo Clark in an area of the pitch where a team should never, ever, turn the ball over. Ricardo Clark, shortly after that, proceeded to get a Yellow Card on a challenge that should have earned him a Red. While, I think Bob Bradley did a pretty good job tactically during this World Cup, going with Clark over Edu was a horrible decision. Edu and Bradley in the central mid-field had proven to be a very solid tandem in the prior two games, so I do not understand why Clark got that spot back in the Starting Eleven. Clark's poor performance led to him being substituted for with barely a half-hour gone in the match and that basically meant the U.S. was wasting a Substitution. The U.S. played much better in the second-half and created chances and eventually equalized on a Donovan PK. Five minutes into extra, another major screw up in Central Defense let Ghana score an incredibly cheap goal on a ball that was just a hopeful clearance. It was clear at that point that the U.S. team was exhausted and Ghana passed and dived their way through the rest of extra time for the victory.

That was it. The United States was eliminated from the 2010 World Cup in a very disappointing fashion.

The primary culprit for the United States leaving South Africa early was the poor performance of the central defenders. During this World Cup the United States used 3 central defenders, Jay DeMerit, Carlos Bocanegra, and Oguchi Onweyu. They made mistakes that led to 4 of the 5 goals allowed by the United States in its four games at the World Cup. Onweyu was clearly out of form and had to be replaced by Bocanegra, who is not a natural Central Back, in the final two games. It was failings of communication as well as marking in the central defense that proved to be the undoing of the United States' chances. The mistakes that were made by the U.S. central backs are entirely unacceptable at this level of soccer. It is incredibly rare to see the types of mistakes frequently made by U.S. defenders at the International level.

The midfielders are certainly not without fault of their own. While the midfield is filled with the best the U.S. has to offer in terms of soccer, its failing contributed to the opportunities, which led to opposition goals. Poor marking of runners through the midfield and turnovers in the defensive midfield have been continual problems for U.S. Soccer. Those errors are also unacceptable at this level of soccer.

The first issue that comes up after any World Cup is what to do with the Manager. I have tremendous respect for Bob Bradley and believe he has done an excellent job with this team. That being said I do not believe his contract should be renewed when it expires at the end of this year. Bradley has advanced the cause of U.S. soccer amazingly well since replacing Bruce Arena following the disastrous 2006 World Cup, but it is about as far advanced as he can take it. The United States' Men’s National team needs to move in a new direction if it is ever going to be able to compete at an elite level.

Bob Bradley is gone. Now what? I believe the U.S. Soccer Federation needs to look for managers that don't come from the American soccer school of thought, but rather Europe or South America. I'll drop a name. Dunga. Dunga, the recently fired manager of Brazil would make an excellent manager for the advancement of United States soccer. The major failures of U.S. soccer have been those of discipline and organization and manager like Dunga would address those problems very well. While, it will probably be impossible for the U.S. to actually land Dunga or someone else of his stature, it is important that they hire someone in that school of thought in order to fix the major tactical problems the U.S. have been facing.

Another problem facing U.S soccer becoming elite is the system itself. The apparatus for player discovery and development is very poor in the United States. There are some nice programs like Project Nike, which are getting some of the best players developed and turned into professionals early. For the most part however, the way talent is discovered is through College soccer. To really make changes it will require a paradigm shift in how the development of athletes is done. In American football, it is high school to college to Professional, but running that system in soccer doesn't work well. It leaves U.S. soccer players far behind their counterparts from other countries. The U.S. Soccer Federation needs to find a way to get the best American soccer players into professional environments much earlier.

Having fourteen year old soccer players turn professional may seem strange to common American sensibilities, but it is the way of international soccer. High School, club, and College soccer puts U.S. players behind players from other countries.

If the system in the United States changes regarding soccer development, another important step is development of domestic soccer leagues. MLS, considering the popularity of soccer within the United States, has been quite successful. It has recognized the realities of soccer in the United States and has provided a good product without bankrupting itself. The significance of MLS in the advancement of U.S. soccer over the past 20 years cannot be understated. While the interests of MLS and U.S. soccer may not seem entirely mutual, it is clear that a strong MLS helps U.S. Soccer and strong U.S. Soccer helps MLS.

It is important to keep MLS viable, but it is also important to expand professional soccer in the United States. Actual MLS expansion probably is not the best option right now as there has been recent expansion and it is yet to be seen whether or not MLS can support these new franchises. A solution to add quality professional soccer teams to the U.S. would be the development of a genuine 2nd division. While there are some other domestic leagues, most notably the USL, in reality those leagues are little more than hobby leagues. A true 2nd division that would be affiliated with MLS, but not the direct financial responsibility of MLS, would add roster spots in visible positions for more American players. That would help improve the chances of finding talented players who may have fallen through the cracks.

This second division could be a USL that is put into a position to be a more viable league. It could be a new league that would have new franchises in larger markets than the USL. An affiliation of whatever becomes the 2nd division and MLS is very important and could be done in a few ways. It could be done like what is in Baseball or Hockey where each MLS franchise has their own farm team in the 2nd division. While that would be a way to do it, I believe the preferable way to have an affiliation between these two leagues would be a promotion/relegation alignment. In this alignment the top two teams from the 2nd division move up to MLS at the end of each season and the bottom two teams from MLS would be relegated to the 2nd division. I believe it would add credibility to the new league and provide greater competition.

MLS must also recognize that it will be little more that a stepping stone for the best American players. It will never be able to compete with the major European leagues and obstructing the moves of Americans to those league hurts American soccer and in turn the MLS itself.

If the United States ever wants to compete at the top levels of international soccer consistently, it is critical that changes are made. The complete overhaul I have suggested may be unrealistic, but it is still important to keep progressing.

Thanks for reading and if you have made it this far why not leave a comment.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Random Wednesday- 10 things to save in a fire

So, lately I've been kind of obsessed with watching vloggers over on the old Youtubes. Here's one of my favorite channels called Five Awesome Girls and where I got the idea for this post:

Anyway, one of their themes from a few weeks ago was the ten things you would save in a fire. I really liked the topic, so I'm doing one for myself. Making this list did make me realize something that disappoints me; I really have few things that I am attached to sentimentally. I mean pretty all of my list are things that could be easily replaced and it wouldn't dramatically affect me. It's sad really. Well, Here it goes:

1.) My Acoustic Guitar- It's my baby and I love it so much. At this point I don't think I could really live without. I use to entertain and/or calm myself. It is just really easy to pick up and play and I absolutely adore being able to do that.


2.) My Xbox 360- What can I say? I'm a gamer nerd who has most of his time eaten up by this thing. I can't say that I'm particularly attached to this particular Xbox, but I am attached to the hard drive that has all my saved games and DLC. I choose to save the whole thing because I don't think someone will hand me a new Xbox outside of my burning house:)


3.) My PC- I have everything on my PC, so I would definitely want to save it from the flames.


4.) My CDs- Because I'm a dinosaur *RAWR* I still have tons of CDs. Even though I have all my music on my computer and Ipod, I still wouldn't risk losing them. Also, nothing beats popping in a cool CD while driving and rocking out!


5.) My Ipod- For the same reasons as above only less archaic.


6.) My Backpack- I love school plus it carries the book I'm currently reading.


7.) My Books- I've limited myself to 5 books that I would save from the fire. We're assuming this is a very slow burning fire and allows for multiple trips for those who are wondering at this point about how this would work logistically. Here are the books I would save:
1984- It is my favorite book
The Gospel of The Flying Spaghetti Monster- It is The Good Book
The Guns of August- It is the book that is up next for me to read
Critique of Pure Reason- It is what I plan to read after The Guns of August
Oh, The Things I Know- It is the greatest self help book ever written.


8.) Xbox 360 Games- If I survive this fire I don't intend to not have any video games to play. Again I've limited myself to 5 games:
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2- Perhaps the most guilty party in consuming my time
Red Dead Redemption- A really awesome game that is visually stunning and a blast to play
Resident Evil 5- I waited ages for this game. I love it and don't want to part with it
FIFA 10- The game that I'm really into at the moment
Saints Row 2- This game is just silly fun


9.) My High School Diploma- It is really the only thing that I have that shows accomplishment on my part. So, while I'm 3 years out of High School and still have only managed to finish a little more than a year of College, this at least is something that says, 'Michael succeeded at completing something.'


10.) This cool ceramic box I made in Ceramics in High School- It really isn't technically that good of a piece, but it is by the best thing I've ever made. Well, at least in an artistic sense. I only recently rediscovered it, so there's nothing in it, but I just think it's awesome.


Compare to the only other piece that I still have from all my K-12 art classes(same ceramics class)


An example of Kayley from Five Awesome Girls doing this(much better than mine.)

Thanks for reading and please comment.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Gaming Tuesday


This will be a weekly thing tracking my Gamerscore. I am definetly an achievement whore on xbox.

Gamerscore Last Week: N/A
Gamerscore Now: 20274
Goal for Next week: 20500

Last Achievement Unlocked: Earned Your PT 15G- Become a starter in Road to Glory Mode

NCAA Football 11 First Impressions

The latest NCAA Football is out today and I've been playing quite a bit of it. So far it's been pretty good. Its not a tremendous shift from last years game really, which isn't a bad thing really. Not to say that there are not improvements.

The new locomotion engine used makes the game feel a little more solid. It adds an element of realism, which wasn't really lacking before, but it is an improvement.

In Dynasty mode, the recruiting system is more involved and improved. As opposed to previous installments of this game where you would call a recruit and the time used would vary, this game lets you decide on how long the conversation will last. If you want to make one pitch to a recruit it will take ten minutes, two twenty and so on and so forth. Also you do not get to choose what pitch to make any more. The pitch is randomized(sometimes it will give a coach's choice) and you can make the pitch, ask the recruit what he thinks about the pitch, or go negative and recruit against others schools about the pitch. I know a lot of people thought recruiting was too involved before, but I really think this is a significant improvement to the series.

While I don't the entire 120 ways to play sales pitch made is really accurate, the idea spurred an improvement to this game. Now it is possible to run an actual no huddle offense and not be limited to just the audibles. When running to no huddle, you have access to your entire playbook. This an element of college football that really makes the game feel right.

Here is my most significant complaint and I've had it for almost as long as I remember playing the NCAA Football series. Clipping is a call that is almost never called in actual football. It is ridiculously common in this game. I don't know what the deal is EA, but seriously I can't be that hard to switch the call to Illegal Block in the Back. I mean that is an example of the problems that are in a lot of EA games, but I don't think I'll go on that rant now.

Omigod the New Mortal Kombat gives me hard on

I seriously cannot wait for that game. That is all.

I had a few more topics I planned to cover in this post, but I decided since they were going to be long that I'll save them for a separate post.

Thanks for reading and please comment.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Browns' Monday- The I've been paying attention to soccer not the NFL edition

The latest Browns' news that I'm aware of:

An Average receiver hooray!

Now will those Cleveland fans who keep calling LeBron names just stop it. He's not a traitor or a coward. He left because he didn't stand a real chance to win a title with the Cavs organization. No one can win a title alone and he alone has gotten the Cavs close as any one could. If you want to be angry, be angry with the front office who failed to provide talent around LeBron that could actually help(like going with Jamison over Amare over bloody J.J. Hickson,) and way over paying for mediocre players(like Mo Williams,) and presenting them as the player that would help LeBron. Also stop accusing LeBron of quitting on the Cavs. What the bloody hell? He had a bad game in Game 5 that's all. He frickin had a triple-double in Game 6. He isn't so great that he can choose not to try and pull stats like that.

There you go. A rambling, nonsensical rant. Thank for reading and please comment with your thoughts on Lebron James or whatever.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Buckeye Sunday- the Secondary and Conference Expansion

The Weakness?

A perceived weakness in this years Ohio State football is the Secondary. The loss of the starting safeties, Kurt Coleman and Anderson Russell, are significant losses for the defense, but I don't really think it is reason to panic at all. Their replacements will be Jermale Hines and Orhian Johnson. Jermale Hines looked really good playing nickel-back(not the shitty band,) and even started several times at safety in the place of Russell last season. Johnson is more of a question mark, because he had little playing time last year. He did start a game against Indiana, but of course you don't really learn much from ones performance against Indiana. While there is a lot unknown about Johnson, he was a big time recruit and a great athlete and should be able to fill the role quite nicely. Plus, if these guys don't work out, The Buckeyes have been pulling in 5-star DB prospects like made the past few seasons, so someone will be able to play the position and pay it well.

At Corner Back, The Buckeyes are returning their starters in Devone Torrance and Chimdi Chekwa. I think both of them where pretty impressive last season. They should be among the best in the conference this year and are not really a major concern.

The best thing the Secondary has going for it though is that Ohio State has one of the best Defensive Lines in the country.

Conference Expansion

I don't understand how the Big 12 went from viable to non-viable to viable so quickly. Ok, I do understand that Texas makes it viable, but the conference seemed to hold itself together by whoring itself to Texas. I don't really see what is keeping the other nine schools from bolting. I get that they will get more money(if things go according to plan,) but they could also end up trapped in a non-viable conference where Texas eats up nearly all the pie.

Conference expansion isn't going to stop, because the Big 12 stayed together. It seems to me that the schools besides Texas that decided to stay may have screwed themselves majorly.

Thanks for reading and I'd appreciate comments



Here you will find the musings of awkward, shy, nervous, and generally talentless nerd. This blog will be about gaming, sports, music, politics, my own life, and anything else that I find interesting or inspirational. My goal is to post daily blogs, which will follow certain themes. I am certain to fail at actually sticking to that goal, but will try my best to keep up and not add this blog to the growing list of my failed blogs.

Here are some of the weekly posts I hope to make:

Buckeye Sunday- A blog that will focus primarily on The Ohio State Buckeyes, but will also be a place to discuss other things in college football and basketball.

Browns' Monday- This blog will be all about one of my greatest loves, The Cleveland Browns. Much like Buckeye Sunday, it will also be a place to discuss other issues in the NFL.

Gaming Tuesday- A post all about video games. It'll be about what games I've been playing, what I will play, what's new, Achievements, Youtube gamers I like/dislike; basically all things gaming.

Random Wednesday- Pronounced Wandom Wednesday is what ever random bullshit I find interesting or entertaining. It could be youtube videos, pictures, an article, etc.

Special Comments- A blog about an issue that I have strong feelings about. It could be about anything, but most will likely be focused on Politics.

Silly Comments- Just me being a smart-ass. Well, I guess I'm always a smart-ass, but It'll be more concentrated in these posts.

I hope to come up with a few more themes and would appreciate suggestions. Also suggestions for a cool header would be awesome.

Welcome to this blog and I hope you find it interesting. Please feel free to leave comments and send me messages via email( or on twitter @Pastafarian07