28 February 2008

Fantasy Baseball Season!

Well, with February wrapping up tomorrow with a big LEAP DAY!
This also heralds the start of fantasy baseball draft season. So, today being mostly braindead, I've been doing a few mock drafts on ESPN where I either drafted all hitting first, and when I filled up all those slots, moved to the pitching and vice versa, just to see the rosters that would result. Here they are for your amusement:

Both are 10 team mixed leagues

HITTERS FIRST (round selected in parentheses) and I had the 8th pick overall.
C Russell Martin LAD (5)
1B Nick Swisher CHW (9)
2B BJ Upton TAM (3)
3B Ryan Braun MIL (1)
SS JJ Hardy MIL (12)
1B/3B Ryan Zimmerman WAS (7)
2B/SS Howie Kendrick LAA (10)
OF Carl Crawford TAM (2)
OF Nick Markakis BAL (4)
OF Brad Hawpe COL (6)
OF Jeff Francoeur ATL (8)
OF Josh Hamilton TEX (11)
U Kevin Youkilis BOS (13)
SP Chad Billingsley LAD (14)
RP Jason Isringhausen STL (15)
SP Ted Lilly CHC (16)
SP Joe Blanton OAK (17)
RP Eric Gagne MIL (18)
SP Jeff Francis COL (19)
RP Carlos Marmol CHC (20)
SP Jon Garland LAA (21)
SP Justin Duchscherer OAK (22)
B Connor Jackson ARI (23)
B Adam Jones BAL (24)
B Rafael Betancourt CLE (25)

PITCHERS FIRST and I had the 9th pick overall
C Kenji Johjima SEA (12)
1B Nick Swisher CHW (13)
2B Rickie Weeks MIL (14)
3B Troy Glaus STL (17)
SS Jhonny Peralta CLE (16)
1B/3B Joey Votto CIN (19)
2B/SS Mark Ellis OAK (20)
OF Brad Hawpe COL (10)
OF Andruw Jones LAD (11)
OF Pat Burrell PHI (15)
OF Jacoby Ellsbury BOS (18)
OF Travis Buck OAK (22)
U Evan Longoria TAM (21)
SP Jake Peavy SD (1)
SP Erik Bedard SEA (2)
SP Josh Beckett BOS (3)
SP Brandon Webb ARI (4)
RP Jonathan Papelbon BOS (5)
RP JJ Putz SEA (6)
RP Joe Nathan MIN (7)
SP Chris Young SD (8)
SP Javier Vazquez CHW (9)
B Micah Owings ARI (23)
B Kelly Johnson ATL (24)
B Jason Kubel MIN (25)

Overall, I like the makeup of the "Pitching first" roster over the "Hitting first". I think this is mostly thanks to the fact that most everyone focusing on hitting at the very beginning, so if you're picking up all the great pitchers in the first 7 rounds, you can collect all the aces/top closers. Hitters tend to be deep, so even though you might be stuck with high risk/high reward players like Votto and Longoria or potentially unexciting guys like Glaus or Johjima, overall it is still a solid lineup, minus the real big boppers.

I'll have some more draft thoughts later on ...

27 February 2008

Travel and Tunes

I've been busy criss-crossing the nation yet again (don't even get me started about O'Hare) ... but here's a little iPod update.

Current iPod Top 10
1 Rubicon by the Blistering Suns
2 Avantcore by Busdriver
3 Shake a Fist by Hot Chip
4 Under Pressure by Xiu Xiu
5 Allure by Jay-Z and Notorious B.I.G. (from Ratatat Remixes Vol. 2)
6 Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa by Vampire Weekend
7 In Der Nacht by K.I.Z.
8 Throw It On Me by Timbaland & the Hives
9 Sophia by the Toothaches
10 Down Boy by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs

18 February 2008

The state of the airline industry

Recently, I flew to Bloomington, IL and back. It was supposed to be four flights: CA to O'Hare, O'Hare to Bloomington and back.

Well, of the 4 flights on United, 2 of the 3 I actually took where >1 hour late because of "crew issues" (i.e., the crew wasn't available). The 3rd late flight, from Bloomington to O'Hare, was late enough for me to miss my other flight. So, United rebooked me on American, adding an extra leg, going from O'Hare to Dallas, then Dallas back to CA, all on the next day. United put me up in one of the worst airport hotels I've been in with no free internet, a shower that barely worked, a turbofan-loud heater and maybe 5 cable channels. Then, I had to wait 4 hours in Dallas, including almost 2 hours in the MD-82 on the tarmac while we waited for the thunderstorm to pass ... during which American loaded more passengers and then delayed the flight more so they could add the latecomers baggage. And then had the gaul to try to hype the cheap-ass food they now sell on all flights (well, both United and American do this), only giving the coach class folks a single beverage on a 3.5 hour flight. The flight attendants were rude and flippant, especially Kay Cee (on AA Flight 1119), who yelled at a number of passengers (including me) who tried to use the bathroom when the seatbelt light was OFF - no explanation, just "Sir, return to your seat!". So, 4 of the 5 flights were VERY late, rude staff, and not even an offer of compensation. No apology. Not even a free bag of pretzels. And you wonder why the legacy carriers like United and American can't make money when they nickel and dime you and make it clear that they don't give a f&%k about their customers. I will gladly use a low-cost carrier in the future or Delta (who looks like they have their act together) than the mess that are United and American.

OK, I'm done with my rant. And of course, I get to fly back to the Midwest next week. On United. Bah!

08 February 2008

iPod Top 10 and two new reviews

Busy busy.

I've got my latest iPod Top 10 ...
1 Rubicon by the Blistering Suns
2 Avantcore by Busdriver
3 Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa by Vampire Weekend
4 Sophia by the Toothaches
5 A-Punk by Vampire Weekend
6 Under Pressure by Xiu Xiu
7 Ready for the Floor by Hot Chip
8 Allure by Jay-Z & Notorious B.I.G. (from the Ratatat Remixes, Vol. 2)
9 Throw It on Me by Timbaland & the Hives
10 Down Boy by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Here are two new TIG reviews:
Hot Chip - Made in the Dark
Future of the Left - Curses!

06 February 2008

Torchwood Season 2 and Super Duper Tuesday

So, I've decided to watch season two of Torchwood. I'm not entirely sure why as I wasn't entirely impressed with season one, but hey, you have to try to forgive and forget. I suppose season one did end relatively strong and the crossover (well, with Captain Jack) to the end of the brilliant end to season three of Doctor Who, I was hopeful.

Of course, the other draw for season two of Torchwoodwas the introduction of Captain John Hart, portrayed by none other than James Marsters. Yes, Spike has work again, which is great. OK, well, his work involves him playing more-or-less the same character on Torchwood as he did on BtVS minus the whole blood-sucking thing, but hey, thats is why we like Marsters faux-British characters: they're like the Billy Idol we wished existed (beyond the final scenes of The Wedding Singer).

Not to give too much away, Captain Jack and Captain John are both former Time Agents that worked together ("for two weeks" Captain Jack says, but they were caught in a time rift, so it was really 5 years). Beyond that, I won't get into it other than that Marsters is great and the chemistry between John Barrowman (Captain Jack) and Marsters is incredible (especially if you've always fantasized about Spike and Angel making out). However, what it did make me realize is the real reason Torchwood sort of sucks: Captain Jack's gang - the actors specifically - aren't very interesting or good. Sure, they're all adequate, but they are all so one-dimensional characters. When that is combined with the fact that none of the actors do anything to expand the characters (except that Yanto's character is a little more snarky in season two so far ... nice touch), I'm left with Captain Jack/John Barrowman trying to keep the whole series afloat, and as much as I love Barrowman, Captain Jack as a character just can't do it. Combine him with the Doctor, he's great. By himself, he needs someone to play off of, and Captain John/Marsters was exactly that. It is sad that I loved episode 1 of season two, but episode 2 left me getting bored again just like season 1 did. Well, at least Captain John makes multiple appearances this season!

In non-sci fi nerd news, I'm disappointed that Hillary Clinton won the California primary ... and by a decent margin. I'm still behind my man Barack, and the primaries in the mid-Atlantic states over the next few weeks will be telling.

That being said, Obama did put on quite a showing on Super Duper Tuesday, winning more states that Clinton and actually overtaking her in the delegate count, depending on the hypermath you use to calculate it ...

03 February 2008

Obamania! (Oh yeah, and too bad for the Pats)

Well, my Wes Welker mojo didn't work. Way to go Giants.

That being said, we're down to < 10 days until pitchers and catchers report!

And with a day until Super Tuesday, the Intellectual Thicket officially endorses Barack Obama for the Democratic Primary!

01 February 2008

Super Bowl!

Big Superbowl weekend. 18-0 Patriots versus some team for New York with some other Manning. They're like the Wayans of the NFL. OK, well, not really, but anyway, I'll work some mojo here.

Gotta love Wes Welker.

Anyway, here is a new TIG review:

And an updated iPod top 10
1 The Blistering Suns : Rubicon (Edit: Sure, change your name after I post this!)
2 Busdriver : Avantcore
3 The Toothaches : Sophia
4 Timbaland (with the Hives) : Throw It On Me
5 Vampire Weekend : A-Punk
6 Xiu Xiu : Under Pressure
7 Bloc Party : Hunting for Witches
8 Die Fantastischen Vier : Einfach Sein
9 Hot Chip: Shake a Fist
10 K.I.Z. : In Der Nacht