Friday, September 28, 2007

Last post for a while.

I am writing this post while sitting in Doc's "Captain's Chair", as he is off for the day. He is getting some radioactive serum pumped into his veins and then he will be running a hamster maze while men in white jackets make notes on their clipboards. Woody calls this chair "the big chair", but on closer inspection it is much smaller than my usual chair. This is in fact the smurf chair. I hope when Doc returns from his battery of invasive tests, he will still be three apples high and able to fit into the Captain's Chair.

In the meantime, it means that I have a computer while I am at work, and I can write this blog posting. But it will be the last time for a while, since my computer is gone at home, and Doc will be back in the "big" seat on Monday, and I will no longer have one from which to work. I have brought my computer into the station, in the hopes that our technical masters here at work can do something with it. It is becoming more and more useless as every day goes by, the internet won't close properly, CDs and DVDs won't burn properly, the mouse works only occasionally and I have no skill set with which to fix it. But I am moving, and I will not be able to use my computer for a while anyway.

So while I move, it is my prayer that our techno-robo-compu-geeks are able to figure out what's wrong. I assume that when they do, whether that be by this afternoon or in two weeks, I will discover that it is in fact, entirely my fault. Like, I got a virus when I visited , or my burner will not burn DVDs if I keep using it as a cup holder...I'm only kidding. I have never used my DVD drive as a cup holder. So it may be a week before I am able to continue the "Diaries of a Windbag", as Woody so aptly calls my blog.

In the meantime, I am going to firmly entrench myself in suburbia, whitewashing my picket fence, planting azaleas and hosting pictionary parties. Ordering chinese food instead of pizza, drinking caesars and margaritas instead of beer, and maintaining my glorious lawn instead of watching Steven Seagal movies. I have dealt with the lawyers, I have delivered my cheque, I have done the requisite things, whatever they may be, and whatever my understanding of them allows. Frankly, 90 percent of the things I have done in order to purchase a home are foreign to me, and I don't understand what the hell I'm doing. Land transfer tax? Tax on paying tax? Subsidiary taxes? Don't get 'em. I DO understand title insurance, but that's not much in the big picture. So...for now, blogging ends.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Football picks to help you with your Pro Line. Because I am that good.

As the new King Of Prognosticators, I have decided to share this gift with everyone who may want to play Pro Line this week. It would be selfish of me to keep my newfound prowess to myself, and therefore I will post my predictions for the coming week right here, so others can reap the benefit of my skills. You may choose to use them, or you may not. Keep in mind that this is a brand new power I wield. Although I went 15-1 this week, I went 10-6 the previous two. And in week 2, I went 2-14 against the spread. So...use at your own risk.

Houston-Atlanta: Atlanta is lost. They are the worst team in football. And Houston looked pretty good against a truly great Colts team. Take Houston.

Baltimore-Cleveland: Cleveland will get the benefit of a smaller spread because they are at home, and because people are still thinking about the 50+ points they put up on Cincinnatti. This was an aberration, and Baltimore is too good. Take the Ravens.

Oakland-Miami: The Dolphins are still fairly well-respected for an 0-3 team. The Raiders are still pretty lousy. But that last win will have given them some confidence. Did you see them win by pulling the same stunt on Cleveland that Denver pulled on THEM a week ago? Priceless. And the Dolphins have been a second-half-of-the-season team for the last six years. Take the Raiders. Even though I hate the Raiders.

Bears-Lions: Lions are back down to earth after getting absolutely hammered by the Eagles. The Bears are not a Super Bowl team this year. Lions are at home, Bears will get the points, take the Lions.

New York Jets-Buffalo: It's a division game, so there are never any guarantees, but I think this has to be the game where the Bills pull out their first win. They are at home, they are not an 0-4 team.

Green Bay-Minnesota: I would not be surprised to see Minnesota favoured in this game. Although they just lost to the Chiefs, who are a very lousy team, and Green Bay has won 8 straight games, Brett Favre has been murdered at the Metrodome his entire career. But this year, he is watching film of the opposing teams before games for the first time ever, he will be prepared, and the Pack should pull this out. Take Green Bay.

St. Louis - Dallas: The Cowboys, much as I hate them, might be the best team in the NFC this year. St. Louis is shaky. Take Dallas.

Pittsburgh-Arizona: The Cardinals look decent, they are at home, but the AFC is so much better than the NFC this year, I would be hard pressed to take the Cowboys over the Chiefs. OK, I'm exaggerating. But there's no question here. Take Pittsburgh. If you're in an eliminator pool, this is a good bet.

Tampa Bay-Carolina: Tampa Bay is 2-1, but it's deceiving. They beat a Rams team that just didn't come to play last week, and their win over New Orleans came against a team that is in disarray. Carolina is not much better - they also beat the Rams, and their win over the lousy Falcons was less than inspiring. But Carolina will likely have a better season, Steve Smith will have another huge game, and the Panthers should cover at home.

Seattle-San Francisco: The Niners were exposed in a big way by the Steelers last week, and they are not likely to beat Seattle, should the Seahawks come to play. They laid an egg against the Cardinals, it won't happen again. Take the Hawks.

Kansas City-San Diego: If the ailing Chargers could have found a better game in which to turn their fortunes around this season, it's this one. LaDanian Tomlinson can't be held to 60 yards all year, and if you hopped off his badnwagon, sat him in your fantasy league, whatever, now is the time to bring him back out. He will have a MONSTER game against the Chiefs, who are lousy. The Chargers will clean up here, and finally make a statement. One word of warning - Although this game seems like a lock, I would advise against taking divisional games as your pick if you are in an eliminator pool. Although this one really does look like a sure thing.

Denver-Indianapolis: Denver was finally knocked off by a good team last week, as the Jaguars held them to less than 50 yards rushing. The Broncos had the softest 2-0 record in theleague, they should really have been 0-2, and Jacksonville showed them why. The Colts are too powerful, they will win going away. Take the Colts, and this could easily be your eliminator game.

Philadelphia-Giants: Both coming off big wins, the Eagles was expected, the Giants was not. Eli Manning looked good last week, Donovan McNabb looked much better. Eagles will win, but it will be close.

New England-Cincinnatti: The Patriots have looked nothing short of dominant all season. They have outscored their opponents 114-35. Their lack of spying ability means they look shaky for the first series, then they take over. They will likely be favoured huge in this game, but Cincinnatti, at home, on Monday night, needs to make a statement and they have the guys to do it. Look for the Bengals to cover the spread, but it won't be enough to knock of New England.

There you go. These are my picks, straight from the King of Prognosticators. This helps me in two ways - one, if I am mostly right, I look like a genius. And two, if I forget which teams I picked come Sunday, which happens every now and then, I can refer to my own blog. Just don't send me hate mail when ... I mean lose on Pro Line. I guarantee nothing!

A book to read. Right now. Read it. OK, two books.

Randall let me borrow a book of his a few days ago, and when I finally got around to starting it, I couldn't put it down. The Kite Runner is one of the best books I have read in a long time. I don't tend to read novels that were written in the past thirty years, but I managed to get to the DaVinci Code, and a couple of local books, and The Life of Pi. The DaVinci code was very easy to read, but not a terrifically written book. The Life of Pi was wonderfully written, a real page-turner, and remains one of my favourites. But The Kite Runner is better, because not only is it a page-turner, it has a huge amount of cultural significance.

The story is told from the perspective of Amir, an Afghan writer who lives in the United States, as he looks back on his childhood in Afghanistan. His friendship with a Hazara boy, who was his servant and also his best friend. The story continues through the years, as the Russians invade, and are repelled by the Taliban. He describes how initially the reaction of the Afghan people was one of relief and happiness, since the Taliban reign meant no more Russians, and peace would return to Afghanistan. But of course, all was not as it seemed, and before long, the Taliban was much worse, even, than the Russian occupation. Public executions at half-time of soccer games, ethnic cleansing and genocide. Amir manages to escape Afghanistan with his father, and they make a life for themselves in America.

But a phone call from an old friend in Afghanistan compels Amir to return to his homeland, to right a wrong, and to perhaps atone for a childhood misdeed that has hung over his head his whole life. The story is beautiful, the description of a country in turmoil is devastating, and the book is one that will stay with you for a long, long time.

Another book I just finished that I absolutely loved is Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. The idea of reading an Ayn Rand book did not initially appeal to me, as I was afraid it would be dry, clinical and bleak. Well, it was definitely bleak, but dry and clinical it was not. A fascinating book, and amazingly, I found, one that I could not put down either. The world has become overrun with "looters", people who use politics to become rich and powerful on the backs of businessmen and industrialists who are the true innovators. Three of these innovators predict the outcome of this politicized world, and set out to take it back for the people of true vision. One of the best books I have ever read. I lent it to Doc, I imagine he will never read it because the print is very small. Or maybe he will get it done during his vacation.

I might be a weirdo.

Or, as Randall says, a weirdie. I am writing this post in the hopes of receiving some kind of response from people, to determine if the quirks and character traits I possess are normal, weird, or as bizarre as my family believes them to be.

Weird quirk #1: I have a nipple-phobia. Not that I am scared of nipples, more like I am scared of my OWN nipples. I can't stand having them touched in any way, I can't wear a shirt that might rub against them in some way, when I go outside and my nipples get hard, and someone points out my nip-ons, it's all I can think about for hours. Every time someone tries to pinch my nipples, whether it's a girl, a guy, a small child, whatever, they will get hurt. I have some sort of innate ability to bust out Steven Seagal moves on anyone who goes near my nipple. It's like I black out for a couple of seconds, and when I come back to myself, there's someone on the ground, with their arm behind their back, in a vise grip from my hands as I freak out.

My girlfriend insists that since this is just some mental thing, she should be the exception to everyone else. Like, it is OK for me to hurt anyone else when they come near my nipples, but that I should condition myself mentally so that she can touch them. She doesn't even WANT to touch them, she just wants to be the only one who can. This is insane. She won't stop trying either. Which means she always has fresh bruises to explain. "Well, he DID beat me, but I WAS asking for it..." Not exactly the kind of thing you can say to people. And then she explains my nipple-phobia, and these people no longer look at me like a wife-beater. They look at me like I'm sone kind of freak. Which is better, but not by much. They also look at her like she's nuts, and say "why bother?" Why, indeed? I may never know.

Weird trait #2: I am not a germophobe. I have no problem with the five-second rule for my food should I drop it on the floor. I have absolutely no problem with public bathrooms. I have made out with some very filthy women. I am comfortable with garbage. But I can't stand eating out of a communal bowl. On Sunday I was at my mother-in-law's house, and she ate some ice cream off my plate. Her fork touched mine, and I couldn't eat off the plate any more. She was irritated, like what, I have germs? But it freaks me out. The family looks at me like I'm some kind of weirdie. Is this normal?

Weird trait #3: My whole life is a disaster, disordered, messy - but my DVDs and CDs have to be exactly where I left them, my whole collection has to be in order, and I have to be able to know where every one of them is. When someone borrows one, I leave the space open so it can be returned to that exact spot. It drives me nuts when someone puts one back in a different spot. I don't mind it with books, or forks, or whatever, but CDs I need to have in order. I also can't stand it when the CDs are left on their own, without their cases. They have to be put back in their cases or I will not feel right.

Weird trait #4: I can't stand music I dislike. I don't mind people liking bad music - like what you will. But I have physical trouble when it comes on. When my girlfriend puts on her 80s stuff, or the new R&B Usher type crap, I get physically uncomfortable, and I have to change the CD or the station or I have to leave. I can't drive the car unless I can stand the music.

There are more weird traits I have, but I will save them for another time. But really - is this stuff normal?

I proclaim myself King of Prognisticators!

Although Doc and Woody would have you believe that I have failed in my challenge - that of defeating a seven-year-old in football picks - I beg to differ. When Jacob and I went head-to-head this week, I decided to go against my gut in one game, so our picks would be different. I knew he was a Jacksonville Jaguars fan, and that he would pick the Jags to beat the Broncos. I chose Denver simply because I knew he would choose Jacksonville, and therefore we had two games that could determine the outcome. And truly, it was something of a toss-up game for me. In the office pool, however, I chose Jacksonville. And although Jacob and I both went 4-1 with our five picks this weekend, I went 15-1 in the office pool!

To be fair, there was some luck involved. The only game I lost was the Washington-New York Giants game, but I should have lost two. I really did mean to choose the Vikings over the Chiefs, I just mis-typed. But I'll take the weekly victory, the overall lead in the office pool, and the kudos that come along with the win! AND I will declare myself King Of Prognosticators, at least until next week when I go 6-10 or something. Even in the on-line CHEZ pool, I was back on top as champion of the Doc and Woody show once again - 84 points to Randall's 81, Woody's 70 and Doc's 40. 11-5 against the spread. That's a good week in my books.

I may not have BEATEN Jacob, who is a good football analyst as well, but I certainly did not LOSE the challenge. Perhaps next week, whether I challenge Jacob again, or another seven-year-old, or whatever Doc has planned, I will assert my dominance once more. Or, perhaps, I will be absolutely decimated, and I will have to write a very contrite blog posting.