Thursday, December 31, 2009

Back Up and Running...

We got a new router tonight from Best Buy. We opted to go for a bit more expensive one, mainly because it was on a better sale than the less expensive options. Basically, the $100 one was on sale for $90 but the $125 one was on sale for $100.

It's a Linksys and we got it home and installed in less than 20 minutes, and it's working flawlessly. Everything connects to it very well and it's got strong signals. The only thing that wasn't getting a really strong signal was the Xbox that is now located in the basement. So I ran up to Target and got a 16 foot USB extension cable and ran that up into the ceiling, and low and behold the Xbox down there is now got a solid 4 green bar connection.

So, after a couple hundred bucks and a good amount of time we've got EVERYTHING in the house running wireless and running well. I guess that's not so bad, considering we probably needed a new router anyways, and now the Xbox downstairs is running well. After all the issues last night we looked around a bit and found that the router that we did have had HORRIBLE reviews. Most of those reviewers were also experiencing the same things we were.

The connection to the Xbox in the basement was a bit of a hassle, but in the end we got it working which is really all that we can ask.

Who'd have ever thought that my friend Alex giving us an Xbox would cause us to:
A. Spend $275 on a new TV
B. Spend $100 on a new router
C. Spend $100 on an Xbox Wireless Adapter
D. Spend $20 on some USB extension cables
E. Spend about 6 hours working on getting a computer running again

It doesn't really matter, though. It was all stuff that we were probably going to do in the next few months anyways. I guess we just got to it sooner than later!!

What a Nightmare...

Wow. Tonight turned into just an absolute nightmare with Cathy's computer.

We went to Walmart tonight to look at an LCD TV to put in the bedroom so that we could move the 32" LCD down to the basement so that we could hook up the new Xbox down there. We found one that we liked but it was $40 more expensive at Walmart than it was on their website, so we left.

We stopped at Target and found the same TV for the price of Walmart's website so we snatched it up. It's a 26" Vizio 1080p LCD. It looks great in the bedroom...quite a bit better than the 32" LCD that was in there.

I then moved the 32" TV downstairs and hooked everything up. Grabbed my wireless adapter from the Xbox upstairs and checked it downstairs. It worked. So Cathy decided to go and grab a new wireless adapter for the Xbox downstairs so we could get them both hooked up.

We got it hooked up and running, but it was cutting in and out. I did a bit of searching and found out that if I upgraded the firmware on the wireless router maybe it would help a bit with the range.

That's when the nightmare began.

In the process of updating the firmware, the router reset itself which killed the internet entirely. Well, I'm no network whiz so I was now flying blind. I tried to just connect the desktop PC to the modem so that I could at least get some information back, but that wouldn't work.

So I called Comcast and they reset the connection so that it would work with the desktop again. I then found the manual for the router online and downloaded the PDF file. Everything should be simple now, right???


I went through the process exactly as described in the manual for the router...and...nothing. In fact, nothing actually was what the DESKTOP would now do. It wouldn't load any programs. It wouldn't shut down. It wouldn't close any open windows. It would literally do nothing.

So I shut it off, which just seemed to make whatever demon lives inside of it angry. The process of things not working continued to snowball until I finally tried a system restore. In the middle of this the computer basically just stopped...when I shut it down it started telling me I needed my Vista installation discs. Uh oh.

I ended up finding the discs, and about two hours later had Windows reinstalled. Yes, a fresh install. It wouldn't work trying to repair itself. It wouldn't do anything. So the fresh install was required.

On top of all of that, the darn thing wouldn't find the drivers for the uber-graphics card that's in it. After about an hour of fiddling around on the net I found the stuff for that and got it up and running.

So here are some good parts of the nightmare: the desktop is running again, it doesn't have any of the original "bonus" software that Dell had installed that we never use, and it seems to be fine.

Now here are the bad parts: all of the stuff Cathy had on the hard drive is, music,'s all lost and will need to be reinstalled, I still don't have the wireless network back up and running, who knows what other small drivers might be missing that I just haven't become aware of yet.

I guess in the next few days I'll have to go and get a new wireless router...hopefully one that will effectively install itself!!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Laptop Update...

It's been nearly a month since I upgraded the RAM in my laptop...and it's still running VERY well.

I think that putting the extra RAM into the thing was probably about the best $30 I've spent in a good long while. It's like the computer is brand new again.

I've been running regular scans for malware and registry errors. So far I haven't run into anything with them, which is good.

I am really glad I ended up buying the RAM and not spending the money on another computer. I would have spent at least $300 on a new one...but instead I spent less than 10% of that total and I FEEL like I have a brand new computer.

I Had A Bad Day... my fantasy leagues.

If you remember, I was playing for THREE Championships this week and was in a fifth place game.

Remember how last week I won every game I was in?? This week was the exact opposite. I lost EVERY game this week.

In my first private league I lose in the Championship game by a score of 95-70. It had a lot to do with a HORRIBLE showing by the Giants defense that netted me -1 point and the fact that Steven Jackson was projected to have 11 points but didn't even play. If those two parts of my team even get CLOSE to what they were projected to get, this game is probably tied. Oh well, I'll take a silver trophy in that league.

In my second private league, my alternate team was playing for the Championship. Going into the Monday night game I was up 72-71. I had Minnesota's defense and he had Minnesota's kicker. Well, if you watched the Monday Night game you know what happened. Final score, 78-72...another silver trophy.

In my first public league I was playing for a fifth place finish. I lost that one by 11 points to finish sixth. Oh well.

In my second public league I was in my FINAL championship game. At least this one was close...riiiiiight. I got beat by 60 points in a game that EVERY player on my team didn't come close to getting his projected score. ANOTHER silver trophy.

So four losses...three silver trophies. That's actually a pretty solid performance this season.

My final position in all of my leagues ended up:
First Private-2nd
Second Private-12th
Second Private Alternate-2nd
First Public-6th
Second Public-2nd

To make the week end on an even worse note...I picked the Giants and the guy in second picked the Panthers. We each had about 9 points on the game. We all know how that one my 15 point lead going into this week?? Let's just say it's now a 4 point deficit going into the final week of the season. At least I'm absolutely assured of a silver trophy at worst in that league...but I've still got a fighting chance to get the gold!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tee Gee Eye Eff...

What?? That's right...TGIF.

I know that I had a day off in the middle of this week for Christmas, but that didn't even feel like a day off when it was all said and done. We went to Lansing early just like we would for work, hung out with my parents and then drove home. Needless to say, it didn't really feel like a day off.

It was also REALLY busy at work this week. Not only was it busy, but there were a bunch of delays and such too, which made it seem doubly busy.

So I'm really happy to have a few days off. We are going to Cathy's dad's house tomorrow night for Christmas and dinner with him. Other than that, I don't think that we really have anything planned that we want to do. We'll probably go out for something to eat on Wednesday and maybe do some shopping around to see if there's anything we can find to spend some Christmas money on.

But either way, it's just nice to have some time to rest after a pretty hectic week.

Gearing the Car Up for Winter...

A bit over a month ago we got Cathy some new windshield wipers for her car. I actually like them quite a bit. They look nice and they work really well. They are blade style wipers that have constant pressure on all parts of the blade which helps keep the windshield as clean as possible.

Well, tonight I bought a set for the Taurus. I got them installed right when I got home. I'm trying to make sure that the car is at it's best for the upcoming winter. The blades that were on there worked okay, but these ones will just be that much better. I didn't end up getting one for the back, but I probably will in a week or two. I'd like to get a slightly larger one for back there so that it cleans more of the back window.

Next up will be some new headlights that are designed for safer night driving. They are brighter and focus the beam differently than standard bulbs. Oh yah...they look really cool, too!!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!

So today is case you hadn't noticed.

Cathy and I opened our gifts to each other right after midnight. Then this morning we headed to my parents house for gifts and dinner.

I got Cathy some Swarovski stuff...a charm necklace and a star charm. I also got her a giant stuffed monkey and a bunch of stocking stuffers. She also got a strategy guide for a game that she's been playing, but I gave that to her a few weeks ago.

She got me a few magic tricks, a small solar powered radio controlled car, a football trivia book, and some really cool wireless headphones so I can watch TV at night in bed and hear it instead of turning on closed captioning. She also got me a bunch of stocking stuffers as well.

I thought we both got each other some pretty good gifts.

Then at my parents we both got quite a few things. I got a floor jack for the garage...mainly so that my dad can take his back!! I got a Lego set from my grandparents and $50. They also got both of us a toaster oven...not one of the ones for toast, but one of the actual oven ones. My parents also got both Cathy and me one of those portable DVD players which will be nice for the trip to Vegas. It's a really nice one...with a big screen. They also got us headphones to go with them. My parents also got us a really awesome shower head that's one of those rainfall like ones. They have one in their house and I liked my mom got us the new version of it.

I got some other stuff, too, but I'm pretty tired and right now I can't really think of everything that I got.

Everything I got for my family they seemed to like. So all in all it was a pretty good Christmas!!!

We are going to Cathy's dad's house on Tuesday to celebrate with him.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Xbox 360...

Cathy and I had been thinking about getting another Xbox 360 to have in the house. She wants it to hook up in the basement so that she can watch Netflix while she's down there doing puzzles or working out or whatever.

We were pretty sure we were going to get one sometime in the next few months as we continue to slowly work on getting the basement set up the way that we want it.

Well, today we went to work and our friend Alex had been busy handing out Christmas presents to all of his close friends. He saved Cathy and I till last and got us right as we were leaving.

Alex gave us an Xbox 360. It was the one that he HAD been using for the last few years. He recently had some trouble with it and just went out to buy a new one. After he bought the new one he took his broken one apart and found out that it was just a tiny little problem inside of it, and he went about fixing it so that it works perfectly. He decided that he would be keeping the new one anyways because it has a larger hard drive on it, so he figured that since we were looking for one that maybe we could get some use out of it.

Cathy and I were really surprised. We were planning on buying it from him when he first told us that he got it working again, but the fact that he gave it to us is super cool. We'll definitely be hooking it up in the basement really soon and getting everything down there running and in order sooner rather than later now.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New Entertainment Stand...

So Cathy and I are probably going to be getting a Blu-Ray DVD player soon. We were originally going to get a PS3 to do the job, but our surround sound system hasn't been operating correctly for a while now, so now we're leaning towards getting a surround sound system in a box that has a BRD player built into it. We found an LG one at Best Buy that we liked quite a bit this afternoon.

We also have been planning on doing something different with the TV setup in the basement. Maybe adding a 32" LCD down there to replace the 20" tube TV that's down there now. We found a nice 32" TV with a built in DVD player at Best Buy as well.

We also have been planning, regardless of which TV is down there, on putting a different TV stand down there. So tonight while we were at Meijer we found a really cool TV stand that we both liked quite a bit. It's pretty stylish looking. Best part?? It was on sale from $140 for only $100. We also had a $5 off coupon. So we took some measurements of it then came home and measured it out and decided that it would work.

So we headed back to the store and bought it. As it turned out, Meijer was actually having some Santa Bucks deals going on so we got ANOTHER $20 off the total price. We got the whole thing with tax and everything for less than $80.

We loaded it into the car and went home to put it together. When I started getting the box opened, I thought I heard some funny sounds. Of course, when I got to the glass panels that the stand uses for shelves they were completely shattered. So back to the store we went.

We got it replaced with the other one that was on the shelf and took that one home. That one had no problems and within an hour I had it built. We then took the stuff off of the old shelf and put it on the new one.

It looks very nice in the living room and works perfectly with all of our modern components. It will look even better if we end up going with the Blu-Ray surround sound system, because the one that we found is VERY modern looking.

I'm pretty happy with the stand. It works great and makes the things look a bit less cluttered.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Championship Week...

Next week is Championship Week for MOST fantasy football leagues. It is for ALL of my leagues.

I am happy to report that this week, I went 4-0!!! I won every single game, and I won them all when it mattered the most.

In my first private league, thanks to the Giants defense I pulled out an improbable win. I will play for the Championship next week against the #1 seed. He went 13-1 through the regular season with the most points. Luckily for me, the most points was only a total of 32 more than my team I've got a chance. Either way, I'm guaranteed a trophy in the it's just down to gold or silver.

In my second private league, as I reported yesterday my alternate team is on it's way to the Championship game. I'm guaranteed a trophy in that league as well...again, it's down to gold or silver.

In my first public league I destroyed my opponent. I won by 70 points. I'll play for fifth place next week, and the worst that I can finish is sixth. No trophy, but not too shabby.

In my other public league, I also destroyed my opponent by 40 points. I'll play for the Championship next week, and again can finish with nothing less than a silver trophy. I'll play the #3 seed. We split the season series with both of us winning by about 20 it should be a solid game.

So luckily, I will finish with THREE more trophies this season, which I consider a solid season. Now, let's just hope I bring home some gold hardware!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

First Weekend of Playoffs...

So the weekend is almost done, which means that the first weekend (or second in some private leagues) worth of playoffs are almost done as well.

Here's how things are looking for me right now...with ONLY the NY Giants vs Redskins game tomorrow left to be played.

In my first private league, I am currently winning by 5 points. I have the Giants defense left to play who are projected to get 11 points. He has Redskins Tight End Fred Davis left to play who is projected to get 6 points. I honestly am lucky to be going into the final game with this as tight as it is. Going into the Sunday Night game I had nobody playing and he had Brett Favre AND DeAngelo Williams. Those two players alone were slated to get 26 points which would have buried me. HOWEVER...Williams got hurt early and only got 1 point, and Favre had an old fashioned Favre-type game and only ended up with 5 points. Those two stats keep me very much in this game and very much in the hunt for the Championship game.

In my second private league, my alternate team has secured a spot in the Championship game with an 83-69 victory over the #2 seed. I will move on to play the #4 seed team who ended the season with the same 8-5 record as me...but scored about 100 less points. It should be a very good game for the Championship...and I like the fact that Carson Palmer is on my team going against the Chiefs. I also have Larry Fitzgerald going against the Rams. Gotta like those potential numbers. I can finish no worse than second, so I'll be adding another trophy to my case no matter what!!

In my first public league, the league where I missed the playoffs by one game, I am smashing the guy in the consolation round. I am currently up by 62 points with one guy left...he's got nobody left to play so that means I've won. I will finish no worse than sixth overall in that league.

In my second public league, I am up 93-66. He has Giants receiver Dominic Hixon left to play, who is projected to get .76 points. I would like my chances if that were all that was left...however...I also have Quinton Ganther, the Redskins running back, and Brandon Jacobs, the Giants running back, both left to play. Those two are slated to get 22 points for me, so I'm basically pretty much sure I'll be going to the Championship game in that league as well...which will assure me another trophy to add to my case!!

In my Pick'em league I led by 11 points going into this week. The Vikings loss tonight hurt me a bit...but only from running away with the week. I am currently up by 8 points for the week, 76-68. We both have the Giants picked tomorrow night. I have 11 points on them...he has 15 points on them. That means that IF the Giants win, the final for the week will be 87-83. I am already assured a victory overall for the week, and I'll go into next week with a 15 point overall lead. If the Giants lose...I'll be even better off. Not too shabby. I really wish the Vikings could have come through tonight for a win. That would have given me another five points and could have sent me into next week with nearly a 20 point lead. But I guess had they won, I probably wouldn't have been so fortunate in my first private league's playoff it's alright.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Busy At Work...

Man, it's been really steady the last few days at work. I'll be thankful when the holiday rush is over.

It's been the kind of days where you are literally standing and working for 8 straight hours. Even when there aren't a ton of people, there is still a steady enough stream of people to basically make it so that there isn't any time to take a break at all.

The one thing that's really nice about when it's busy like that?? The days go by fairly quickly...and it's ALWAYS nice to finally get home after a day like that.

I'm hoping it will calm down just a tad over the next couple of days. I could use a slower day!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

N.O.V.A. for the iPod...

Near Orbital Vanguard Alliance is a new game for the iPhone/iPod Touch. I downloaded it tonight for around $7.00.

It's amazing. This is basically a direct rip off of Halo for the Xbox, only on the iPod. Many of the guns are similar, the enemies appear similar, and the overall design of the game just screams Halo.

But you know what?? That doesn't take away from the fact that this is one of the best hand held games that I've ever played. I have over 40 games that I have downloaded for the iPod, but this is by far the one that has given me the most "console like" feelings of them all. Granted, I like a LOT of the games I have on my iPod, and I play a lot of them quite a bit.

But this new first person shooter is something to marvel at, and really lets the competition know that the iPod is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to gaming.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's Playoff Time!!!

Fantasy Football Playoffs are here in standard leagues. In one league I started them last week.

Luckily, I actually made the playoffs with THREE teams this season. So it's time to start getting ready and getting players set for a run at some trophies!!!

In my first private league, I am going in as the third seed against the second seed. I am projected to win by 11 points...BUT...this is the same guy that thumped me by nearly 80 points just last week.

In my second private league, my alternate team has moved on to the second round as a third seed, and is also playing against a second seed. I am favored in that game by 5 points. I actually haven't played the team that I'm playing against at all this season, so I'm not sure how this one will turn out.

In my public league I'm going in as the #1 seed. I'm playing against the #4 seed and I'm favored to win by a solid amount. I did play this guy once this year and beat him pretty good...but this is the playoffs so we'll see what happens!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Shopping is Done!!!

My Christmas shopping is COMPLETELY done!!!

I got all of the gifts done the other night, and now I don't have to worry about anything else for the last 10 days before Christmas. I will have to run out to get some stocking stuffers, but those can be purchased pretty much anywhere at pretty much anytime...

so, as far as I'm concerned my shopping is done!!!

Another Seizure for Cooper...

Tonight Cooper had a mild seizure. It was probably the "best" seizure that I've recalled him having. He only went through the initial stages and it only lasted a couple of minutes.

It happened while he was getting amped up over getting some dinner. The three dogs were all getting really wild, and he just had it. When he got done with it I fed him and he ate just fine, then went outside and peed a river.

This is his first one in over 6 months. The last one he had was back on March 30th of this year. So it's been over 8 months actually.

Again, I'm only really putting this into the blog so that I can keep track of WHEN we KNOW he has them, so that if they become more common we can let the vet know.

For now he seems absolutely fine...but I'll keep my eyes on him.

FFL Regular Season is Done...

So all of my fantasy regular seasons are done. This last week wasn't the greatest for me...

In my first private league I got HAMMERED. 155-73. I'll fall to third place and enter the playoffs. That's the good news. The bad news?? The guy that just destroyed my team will be my first round opponent.

In my second private league, my team is done. My OTHER team won it's first playoff game 83-68. I'll move on to the next round and face the #2 overall seed. It should be a pretty close game.

In my first public league, I lost to fall to 7-7 and end up missing the playoffs by two games. Not too shabby, really, considering that I lost four games in a row in that league leading up to last week.

In my other public league, I lost to drop to 10-4. However, the guy that was tied with me also lost, so I'll go into the playoffs as the #1 seed. I have several hundred more points on the season than the guy I'll be playing...but nothing is ever a given.

That makes me 1-3 for this week...however, the one win was the one that was the most important, because it was in a playoff game.

For the season I am now at 39-30, which is good for a .565 winning percentage. Not too great, but not too bad. I am also in the playoffs with three of my five teams, which is pretty good.

In my Pick'Em league the Cards lost tonight so I didn't gain any more points, but EVERYONE in the league had the Cards picked so I lost 6 points to the guy in second place this week, but stay at 11 points up overall in the league.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hanging On By a Thread... my Pick'Em league.

After jumping out to a 17 point lead going into this week, I played it safe with most of my picks. However, the guy in second place went out on a limb with a couple of picks, and as such going into the game tonight he had picked up 11 points on me which had pulled him within 6 points of me.

Worse yet?? We had different picks for the Sunday night game...each with 5 points on the game. If he won, he'd pull within 1 point of the overall lead...if I won, I'd pull back to an 11 point lead overall.

Luckily, I had the Eagles picked and he had the Giants picked. At the end of that game, I was back to an 11 point overall lead. We both have the Cardinals picked for tomorrow night...I have 8 points on them and he has 7 points on them. So if the Cards can manage a win, I'll be back up to a 12 point overall lead. He'll have gained 5 points on me overall, but that's better than what could have been!!!

My Magic Collection...

My magic collection has been constantly growing since I came back from Las Vegas.

Since getting back I have acquired a collection of nearly 45 effects. I have asked for some for Christmas as well, and I'm anticipating having nearly 50 by the beginning of the year.

I'm having a lot of fun learning the tricks and then performing them for others...especially co-workers. I like tricks that work themselves, because I'm not very proficient at sleight of hand...but that hasn't limited the amazing results of many of the effects that I have. Of course, some of them that I have bought I like better than others...but overall I'm pretty happy with my collection.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Las Vegas, Lance Burton, and Carnival Games...

Lance Burton is my favorite magician. I've liked him ever since I was young when I saw a special starring him on TV. I've been to Vegas twice in the last 15 months, and BOTH times that I was there I wanted to see Lance perform at the Monte Carlo hotel. However, both times that we were there, somehow, he was on a break from performing and wasn't going to be there.

So I checked his website out for our trip in February, and of course there are no shows listed while we'll be there. I was a bit disappointed as I really want to see his show, so I contacted his web site to check to see if maybe the tickets just hadn't gone on sale yet. Luckily, they got back with me and said that Lance would be having standard performances all through February, but not all tickets for that month had gone on sale yet. So it looks like I'll finally be able to go and see him!!!

Also, I don't know if I've ever mentioned this, but when Cathy and I went to Niagara Falls a few summers ago we had a TON of fun at "The Great Canadian Midway," which is a collection of carnival type games in a giant building right down near the falls. We really liked playing the games and winning us it was almost like gambling but with a more certain payout.

Well, after looking around the web I found out that Circus Circus Hotel and Casino have a pretty spectacular indoor midway at their hotel. So we decided that one of the days we are there we are going to make our way down to Circus Circus and have some fun at their midway.

I really can't believe that I hadn't thought that they would have one before. I guess it just kind of slipped my mind that they were down there at all. They are so far down the strip that it's pretty easy to forget that they are there.

Either way, we're coming up with some things to do that are different than what we've done the last two it's beginning to seem like it's going to be a full trip again...instead of just resting and relaxing!! However, I WILL be gambling a bit more this time...I'm a sports nut and the Winter Olympics will be on while we're there, so I'll be having some fun with that!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Got Those Gifts Figured Out...

I figured out what I am going to get Cathy for Christmas. I found it online today and I really like it. I hope she ends up liking it, too.

I also realized I wasn't quite done with my shopping...I had everything all set for my grandfather, but I forgot to actually submit the purchase on Amazon. So I have to actually do that still as well, but that shouldn't be a big deal because I'm an Amazon Prime user so I get the free two day shipping.

After those couple of last things, I'll be all done with shopping...which means that I can avoid stores like the plague for that last couple weeks before Christmas!!! That will make me a happy camper!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Almost Christmas Time...

It's almost Christmas time. I have all of my shopping done except for Cathy. She has given me a few ideas, but I'm having trouble finding what she wants (like it's out of stock online) and even the ideas that I've come up with on my own have been proving troublesome to find.

Hopefully in the next few days the things will be back in stock and I can get them all ordered and on the way. If not, I'm going to have to come up with some other ideas quick!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Crappy Weather...

It's super cold also snowed about an inch or so.

Now it's raining, though, so the snow is turning into this disgusting slush. It's really slippery outside. I had to run to the store this evening and the going was pretty slow.

With the snow starting to come, and probably it's going to be around more and more over the next few months, I think that I'm going to get a sled. There's a pretty nice sledding hill at Cascades park, and I think it would be fun. Plus, they are only about $ it's cheap, too.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What a Fantasy Week!!!!!

Alright!!!! What a week!!! I had been waiting for a week like this for a while.

In my first private league, I ended up holding on with the help of Donald Driver and a bad day by Ray Rice. I ended up winning 116-104. That takes me to 7-6 in that league and I am solidly in second place. Best part?? I should have secured a playoff spot with the win. The best that the guy in fifth can get to is I should be locked for the playoffs.

In my second private league, with MY team I got yet another win. I wish I could have gotten a few more in the middle of the season. I held on for an 85-81 win, bringing my record to 6-7 and finishing the season with a 3 game winning streak. Even so, I will miss the playoffs with that team. I finished strong, though, which is okay in my book. I will finish 6-7.

My OTHER team in that league lost today. However, due to the other things that happened in the league, I secured a playoff spot with an 8-5 record. I've been inconsistent the last few weeks, but I also played a couple of the top teams in that span. I secured the third overall seed in the playoffs, which is pretty good. The playoffs in that league start next week.

In my first public league, I got a win to break my four game losing skid. I climb to 7-6, and maintain my fifth place position. I need a win next week, a loss by the guy in fourth, and I need to get about 30 more points than the guy in fourth in order to be able to make the playoffs. It's a long shot...but the good thing?? I'm actually playing the guy that is in fourth, so if I win I will get two of those three things out of the way right off the bat. The winning by 30 will be tough, though. The worst I can finish is going to be 7-7, though, so that's a successful season.

In my other public league, I had a nail biter!!! I went into the Monday Night game down by 23.26 points with Aaron Rodgers still to play. Well, when it was all said and done, Rodgers has gotten me 23.52 points...that's right, .26 points more than I needed for the win. I ended up winning the game 104.92-104.66. That takes me to 10-3 in that league, and solidly in first place. It was a close one, and barring any stat corrections I should come out with the win. I don't think there will be any stat corrections, because there was already a small one in the Monday Night game so I think I'll be good to go.

So that means that I went 4-1 this week...which puts me at a season total of 38-27, which is pretty good. I will have at least two teams with winning records, and at worst can have two teams with .500 records. I will only end up with one team with a losing record, and that is one game under .500. I have secured playoff spots in three of the five leagues and I'm still alive in the other league.

To top all of this off, the Packers won tonight which gained me another five points in my Pick'em league. The guy in second had the Ravens, so after this week I will have a 17 point lead. That will be the first point change in nearly three weeks in that league.

Monday, December 7, 2009

I'm Loving the Cardinals Tonight...

Today in my Pick'em league I was in a pretty bad spot.

I had a two point lead for the week over the guy that's right behind me, but he had 10 points on the Vikings tonight and I also had the Vikings, but with only 4 points on them. So if Minnesota would have won the game I would have been down by 4 points for the week.

We have different picks for tomorrow, with me having Green Bay with 5 points and him having Baltimore with 3 points.

So, had Minnesota won tonight he would have had a chance to gain 7 points on me for the week, which would have pulled him to within 3 points of me. But, since the Vikings lost, the most he can do is win tomorrow which would give him a one point win for the week. That would get him to 9 points back.

However, if Green Bay wins tomorrow, I'll end up winning this week by 7 points which will put me back to 17 points ahead.

We've been separated by 10 points since November this is the first time that anything is really going to change at all.

I'm really glad the Cardinals handled the Vikings the way they did...they at the very least gave me room to breathe for the week!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Going Back...

So we did it. We originally weren't planning on going back to Vegas for a while...but I decided that I would have the most fun with my bonus money by going on a trip. Cathy got an e-mail about getting 25% off the rates of the rooms at the Planet Hollywood if we booked more than 60 days in advance.

So we did it. We booked a room for four nights in late February.

We are going to go and just do some hanging out this time. Cathy wants to see a show, so we'll probably end up doing that, and we'll probably end up going to the Knight show at the Excalibur for dinner...but other than that I think it's going to be a whole lot of relaxing. I may end up renting us a car this time so that we can go and do some things that are a bit out of the way if we want to, but I'm not 100% sure on that yet.

So now I'm in the process of trying to find some good fares to get out there. It's looking like the whole thing should cost me right around $800, which isn't too bad at all!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fantasy Week Results...

So now that the first game of the week is almost over (Jets-Bills) I think it's time to update what ended up happening this weekend in my fantasy leagues.

As I posted earlier, it wasn't very pretty...but it wasn't all bad.

In my first private league, I ended up winning and going to 6-6. Amazingly that puts me solidly in second place. Two more games before the playoffs, and it would appear that if I win one of them I'll be in really solid position to make the post season.

In my second private league, with my team I ended up winning to go to 5-7. I'm out of the playoffs with that team, but that doesn't mean I can't play spoiler for a few other teams. With my other team I ended up losing to drop to 8-4 and have not yet secured a playoff spot. However, even if I lose next week the team that is in 9th place will need to score nearly 300 points to overtake me, so I'm pretty sure I'll end up in the playoffs with that team.

In my first public league I dropped my fourth straight game to fall to 6-6. I'm not out of the playoffs yet, but I need to win my last two and have the guy ahead of me lose at least one of his games in order to get I'm not really counting on much.

In my other public league I dropped my second straight game to fall to 9-3, however I'm in first place still and have secured a playoff spot.

That brings my overall record for the season to 34-26. I have basically secured two playoff spots and I'm looking solid for a third one. Not too shabby so far...lets just hope I can bring home a trophy or two.

Also in my Pick'em league I ended up staying ahead by 10 points. The guy in second and me had different teams for the Monday Night game...luckily I had the Saints and he had the Pats, so I gained the point I had lost back. The guy in third is now 58 points behind me, so he's effectively out of the running. Basically, me and the guy in second are fighting for the gold the other two have fallen so far behind that they can't seem to get back into it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Rejuvenation of My Laptop...

I have a laptop that is a couple of years old.

It's a Dell Inspiron B120. It's got a Celeron 1.4 ghz processor in it with a small hard drive and 512 megabytes of RAM.

Well, I had been thinking about getting a new computer with some of my bonus money from work. But then I started thinking...maybe I can make this Dell work a whole lot better. I don't really use it for much other than browsing the internet, storing pictures, using Notepad, and downloading iTunes Apps for my iPod. So there really isn't any reason that I would need some super computer to be able to do those things.

I set about getting it running in tip-top shape again. I ordered one gig of RAM from Crucial. The system can support up to 2 gigabytes, but after some research I found that in this system 2 gigs wouldn't be much better than 1 gig. That, and I could upgrade to 1.5 gigs for $ upgrade to 2 gigs would have cost me $60. So the one gig was a much better value as far as I was concerned.

Next, while waiting for the RAM to come in the mail I went about taking care of some things on the operating system. I started out running my Spybot to look for spyware and then ran my AVG to check for viruses. Both of those came back with nothing, so I ran a scandisk on the system and got rid of some unused files. I then ran a defrag on the system which took FOREVER.

I was then turned on to a little program called CCleaner. CCleaner is a system cleaner utility that does a whole bunch of things. It helps you remove programs, it clears internet caches, it clears temporary files. Basically, it cleans crap off of your computer (which by the way is what that firs "c" in "CCleaner" means...crap). I used the program to remove over 1.5 gigabytes of programs and unnecessary cache and temporary files. I had no clue that much of my hard drive was being taken up by those things. That alone made the system run quite a bit faster...especially on the internet. CCleaner also has a part of it's program that runs a registry scan and clean. Using that I found that I had nearly 1,000 registry errors. CCleaner fixed all of those for me as well.

I then found that the company that makes CCleaner also makes a defrag utility that they claim is better than the one that comes with Windows. It's called Defraggler. I downloaded that and used it. To my surprise it did seem to do more than the Windows one did, and not only that but it did it infinitely faster. I don't know if it was so much faster because I had just run the defrag a few days earlier, or if it's because it's just a better program.

The last thing I did software wise was upgrade to a better spyware program. I downloaded and used a program called Malwarebytes. Malwarebytes is exactly what it sounds like...a program that checks for malware of all kinds...viruses, spyware, trojans, roots, worms...the works. It's not a good substitute for an actual anti-virus program because it focuses on getting viruses that other AV programs miss or can't remove. I ran that program and found that I had a couple of problems. One was a Trojan Horse of some kind and the other was a worm that was rampant on Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter earlier this year. I never use Facebook, but apparently the worm can enter your system even by logging in, which I do occassionally, so I'm sure that's where I got the worm. I've got no clue where the Trojan Horse would have come from. Either way, both of them were removed. I noticed a drastic increase in performance of the computer as soon as I had used Malwarebytes.

Then today my RAM came. One nice little stick of one gigabyte. It took me two tries to get it installed correctly...the first time I didn't have it pushed far enough in to the slot...but once I got it in the computer instantly recognized it and now I have 1.5 gigabytes of RAM in the system. Before when I was using the computer like I typically would, I would have anywhere from 400-600 megabytes of memory being used by the page basically I was maxing out my RAM and then some. Now with the new RAM in there I don't have to worry about that at all anymore.

Now that everything is done, the laptop seems like a new computer. It's running crisp and fast, even better than I remember it ever running. I got all of this done for a grand total of $30. The programs were all free so the only thing I actually paid for was the RAM.

I MAY think about buying a new hard drive for the computer soon. I have a 40 gigabyte one in there now, but apparently I can get quite a bit better performance out of a new larger one that is also faster. I have found a few in the $50 range that should work perfectly. To do this though, I may have to take it to a friend to have them do it because I don't have Windows discs anymore. I might not even end up doing never know.

All in all, I'm really happy with what I've done to it. I would HIGHLY recommend CCleaner to anyone that is having some issues with performance on their PC. I would also HIGHLY recommend Malwarebytes. Defraggler may or may not be a better program than the defrag system in Windows...I'm not sure...but it's free, too, so that one I would recommend as well.