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Archive for October, 2007

Dear writers

Posted by Chance on October 29, 2007

Dear writers of Scrubs,

For some reason, every show feels like they have to have an on-again, off-again relationship between two main characters. I think Who’s the Boss started this, and was popularized by Friends Ross and Rachel. Consequently, so many sitcoms feel that they have to pursue this formula. Some shows still do this well, like The Office‘s Jim and Pam. But those two have a chemistry; there is absolutely none with J.D. and Elliot. They are more like best friends. Having two co-stars get involved is okay, but they have to click in order to have a real relationship. I feel like Scrubs is simply putting the two together because they happen to work at the same place. It’s predictable. Why not do something totally out of the norm, like people not getting together solely because they are two young costars on the show?

And what is up with people only dating those they work with? Why does a doctor have to date another doctor? What about the pizza girl/guy? I’m just not sure if the majority of America dates and marries the person they work with. And why does every member of the family have to work the same occupation? Alias did this to the extreme. Sydney, of the CIA, has a dad who is in the CIA, and has a mom who used to work the CIA (but ended up being a double agent), she had an unknown half-sister who works for some foreign intelligence group, whose dad happened to work for the CIA, and Sydney marries a guy who works for the CIA, whose dad used to work for the CIA…this is getting ridiculous…. I work on software. If everytime I had a conversation with my wife, sister, sister’s husband, long-lost brother, secret father of mine, and it involved whether or not C++ or Java is a better programming language, I would move to the forest.

Dear writers of The Office,
You are about to suffer from Steve Urkel syndrome. Family Matters used to be a somewhat heartwarming show spotlighted on a variety of characters (not that it was really a great show to begin with). They had the nerdy guy who everyone liked, and, in typically fashion of writers who milk things for all they are worth, basically turned it into the Steve Urkel show. You are doing the same with Steve Carr\ell’s character, Michael Scott. Instead of the show staying true to its origins, a comedy with somewhat real people in a documentary type scenario, the show has become a “what crazy things will Michael do in this episode?” You have a great cast, use them.

Dear producers of The Next Great American Band,
Kudos to having a long overdue show on actual bands who write their own stuff and cover something other than Destiny’s Child. But, c’mon, having a critic who is an outspoken British guy, how original.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

When being a sports fan, take it one game at a time

Posted by Chance on October 25, 2007

Being a fan of any sports team can be a great experience, or it can be painful. But the experience doesn’t have to depend on how a team does. Being a good fan depends on how seriously they take their team’s success, to some degree.

One aspect of fandom I think is very important is to have the same approach that a coach or player should have: take it one game at a time.

What I mean is that a fan should focus only on the upcoming game and not the big picture of how the team does. I believe that when fans focus on the overall picture – if they will make the playoffs, how good of a bowl game they make, if they’ll win a conference/league championship – then the overall fan experience is less enjoyable.

Why do I think this? Let’s look at things in college football terms, since that is my favorite sport. If you don’t have a team that typically performs all that well, then from the fan’s perspective, they have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Every victory is a joy. Losses are still a disappointment, but they are gotten over more easily.

However, let’s say you root for a championship caliber team, Ohio State, USC, Michigan, Oklahoma, Florida, etc… Things change. Fans will believe that the conference championship and a BCS bowl game is theirs to lose. High expectations are set upon the team. Losses are met with people calling for the coach’s head. Wins are met with sighs of relief. Even during a victory, fans will analyze the teams performance to see if any weaknesses were exposed that will cause problems later.

So, does this mean we just root for bad teams? No. I think the answer is to keep a short-term mindset even when your team becomes successful. As I said earlier, fans should just look at the value of winning a game, one game at a time. Relish each victory. Don’t worry about the postseason. Don’t obsess over the fact that your team barely hung on to victory while their pass defense was ripped to shreds; be thankful that they found a way to win.

It’s okay to be disappointed after losses, and I think, to even lose a little sleep that night from time to time. But be disappointed because it was a loss, not that the team won’t get to go to so and so bowl game or, because they lost this game there is no way they will win the next one.

By approaching games this way, I think fans do a better job in sharing in the emotional highs and lows of the season along with the team.

Posted in Sports | Leave a Comment »

My apologies to anyone who is not an Oklahoma State fan

Posted by Chance on October 19, 2007

Posting about my college team is a tad self-indulgent, because OSU is one of those teams whose fan base consists primarily of locals to Oklahoma and/or alumni, me being at one time the former and now the latter. And OU is winning the battle as far as local fans. But, you have a choice if you want to read this or not.

Why I believe Oklahoma State will do better this season than the last season. OSU just romped Nebraska 45-14 in Nebraska. But the thing OSU fans saw last year is that the team would have a great victory one weekend but not carry the momentum into the next weekend. A great come-from-behind victory last year in Kansas was deflated by a loss to A&M the following weekend at Homecoming. A great victory over Nebraska did nothing to propel the Cowboys at Austin playing Texas. So, based on last year, the victory over Nebraska means swat in predicting future outcomes this season.

However, there are a few factors that makes me think this year’s team is different.

1. Better defense. OSU played poorly at the beginning of the season, but they picked things up in the middle of the Texas Tech game, despite the loss to A&M after that. OSU kept a great Nebraska offense to a couple of garbage-time touchdowns.
2. More consistency at quarterback. Bobby Reid, who started last year but is benched this year, is a great athlete and hit great heights as quarterback, but was very inconsistent last year. Zac Robinson, the current QB, has had more consistent production if you neglect his very first starting game at Troy.
3. More overall offensive consistency. Even during the victories last year, it would take some time for the offense to click. Last season, Nebraska jumped to a 17-0 lead before OSU started finally moving the ball. In the Kansas game, OSU came from behind to win, and at Kansas State, they almost had a come from behind victory. This season, OSU’s offense is clicking early and jumping out to an early lead.

About Mike Gundy: For those who don’t know, Gundy held a passionate, angry press conference when a columnist from the Oklahoman criticized Bobby Reid. In short, I agree with what Gundy did, but I don’t agree with the way he did it. I disagree with Gundy in some respects, because I think college athletes are fair game when it comes to both praise and criticism. At the same time, however, Gundy has every right to defend his players in public and say that a column is wrong, although he should be careful not to attack the columnist. I think Gundy was right in talking about the issue publicly, because it was a public column, but he should have waited till he calmed down and collected his thoughts. The news, whether local or ESPN, have shown an amazing amount of bias in showing the negative reactions to his spiel, and not any of the positives from fellow coaches.

Posted in Sports | 1 Comment »

Is football just a big chess match?

Posted by Chance on October 18, 2007

Colin Cowherd from ESPN radio listed the following 4 things to look for when determining if you have a good coach in football.

1) Team plays better after halftime.
2) Team plays better as the season progresses.
3) Team scores few offensive penalties. Defensive penalties are less importance since they are more reactionary.
4) Team plays fairly consistently. Team does not do awesome one week then totally blow it the next.

The quality of coaching, Colin insists, does not depend on play calling. Or, at the very least, cannot be surmised from the play calling.

I believe those 4 points he mentioned are probably pretty good ones, although 2 and 4 could probably be combined. However, the lack of these qualities could also indicate an inexperienced team, especially on the college level, so that should always be factored in.

So, how important is play-calling? I think people like strong leaders. They like their quarterbacks to shoulder the team, and they like their head coaches to be the mastermind pulling the team’s strings. We like to envision football as a big chess match between two head coaches. When a fourth and one is not converted, we may tend to blame the coach for calling the play, not on the players who should have executed properly. So I think we harp on play-calling too much at times.

However, I don’t know if we can dismiss the importance of play calling. I’m not talking so much about when a run or pass is called, but an overall play calling philosophy. It is important that a coach utilizes the talent he has. Many people in the area claim that the Denver Broncos performed better when the current coach, Mike Shanahan, took over, simply because he utilized John Elway much more than the previous coach (although there are not a lot of Shanahan fans at the moment). When you have a star quarterback, you want to make the riskier calls and go long more often, and when you have a stud running back, then you want to go for the sure running game.

But I can still see Colin’s point in that we often assume that we know what the best calls are, but we aren’t in the coaches shoes. We also don’t know what is the result of bad play-calling and simply poor execution. But we tend to look at the end result of the game, when the end result is a combination of coaching and players.

Posted in Sports | 3 Comments »

Our view of authority – what it means for politics and where it came from

Posted by Chance on October 16, 2007

Although I would call myself a limited-government conservative, to me, mainstream conservative somewhat makes sense. Although the term “mainstream conservatism” is somewhat up for grabs, in short, I would define it as this: a view that government should have a say in moral affairs and be more hands-off in economic matters. This is why it makes sense. In general, authority figures have a role in saying what is right and wrong; examples include the church, our parents, schools, etc…

But…I am overlooking something. Let’s go back to the parents example. Parents tell us what is right and wrong, but they also provide for us. They nurture us and they try to provide a somewhat safe environment.

So, for some reason, when I think of authority, I immediately think of a type of moral authority, some guide telling me what to do and what not to do. Others, however, may think of a more nurturing, provisional figure. It’s not that we neglect on facet of authority, we may just tend to emphasize one side in our minds.

So this makes me think, do our political views come from our view of authority in general? In fact, do our political views have something to do with our family structure, or at least, our view of it?

Think of a conservative’s view of government. The government lays down the (moral) law, protects us from bad guys, and tells us to go out and get a job. Sounds like your stereotypical Dad.

Think of a liberal’s view of government. Here, the government makes sure we have what we need and is a little more permissive concerning what we do and don’t do. Does this sound like a Mom?

Stay with me here. This has nothing to do with if conservatives are manly men and liberals are girly girls or anything like that. I’m just saying that, for some reason, conservatives tend to view their ideal government as some type of father figure, whereas liberals see the government as a more nurturing mother figure.

So do our political views have anything to do with our family structure? Does the dominant parental figure affect our views?

This is just a theory, but I really don’t have anything to back it up. I consider myself a cultural conservative, but I didn’t have a strong father figure until later in my life. If I asked conservatives and liberals I knew about their family life, I don’t know if their stories would indicate any correlation between political views and dominant parental figure.

So how would libertarians figure into the equation. It’s hard to say because, unlike conservatives and liberals, their whole philosophy requires more of a compartmentalization between the institution of government and other institutions, so their experience with authority in the family structure may be less likely to affect their view of government. Or, has their experience with familial authority initiated their limited government views in the first place?

But maybe I am limiting my scope and need to expand it to other areas of authority in our life. What about the church? There is a high correlation between religious people and conservative thought, but there is also a growing number of Christian liberals, so who knows?

So am I onto something here, or am I way off?

Posted in Politics | 10 Comments »

Thoughts on the college football scene

Posted by Chance on October 10, 2007

People have underestimated Ohio State. While Michigan was losing to I-AA schools and Texas was just barely beating Central Florida and Arkansas State, Ohio State was dominating their opponents under the radar. There is too much of a time lag in rankings in the polls. I would have kicked Texas out of the top 10 after the first 1 or 2 weeks.

Les Miles is a better coach than I thought he was.

Because of the way we crown our national champion, people get involved in imaginary contests about which conference is better. We can only surmise that such and such conference is better than the other one just because of a single game between two schools earlier in the season, or maybe there were no games at all. We don’t really know if the Big 12 champ is truly better than the PAC-10 champ, so we make a guess based on strength of schedule, which is primarily within one’s conference. It doesn’t make any sense.

The best way is to have a tournament of 8 teams. Why 8? Because we want to avoid two things:

1) the have’s having two or three more games than the have-nots. Let’s say a regular season schedule is reduced to 11 games. Bowl-worthy teams would have 12 games. The top 8 would only have 12, 13, or 14 games. If we have a tournament of 16 or 32, we have the top teams getting 4 or 5 more games experience than a team at the bottom.
2) Injuries.

Big 12 notes:

Analysts said that the Big 12 was rich in great quarterbacks, but things have turned out slightly different than expected. No one would expect Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford would lead the pack, not only in the Big 12, but in the nation in efficiency. Texas’s McCoy is in a bit of a sophomore slump, although the Red River Game looked promising for him. And OSU’s Bobby Reid isn’t starting for his team anymore.

The Big 12 champ may very well come out of the North this year. Kansas, Colorado, and Missouri are looking good.

Nebraska should have stuck with Frank Solich. He was a 10-3 coach when they fired him, and if I’m not mistaken, he took them to a national championship game. He was fired because Nebraska wasn’t THE team in the Big 12 anymore. However, things change in college football. It wasn’t just Osborne leaving Nebraska, it was two coaches by the name of Bob Stoops and Mack Brown that changed things in the Big 12. Now, looking from Nebraska’s point of view, they believe someone else could take them to the top rung. Callahan came in, and it was known things would be messy, as their would be growing pains with a new type of offense. But Callahan has had time to recruit. They have not been much of a factor in the Big 12, and the idea of them going to a national championship game anytime soon is laughable. As the San Diego Chargers have learned, you don’t fire a winning coach.

Posted in Sports | 1 Comment »

I just couldn’t stay away… On SCHIP

Posted by Chance on October 6, 2007

So Bush vetoed SCHIP, so he’s a total scumbag right? I mean, who wouldn’t want to provide health insurance for kids?

But no issue is as simple as it seems. And sometimes what seems like the obvious, simple solution may provide a short term fix, but will not really address the problem.

So the SCHIP idea works like this: health care is too expensive, so let’s have the government cover the costs. It is a noble plan, and I admire the Democrats motives. But, as I said a couple posts back, opposite opinions do not mean opposite goals or motives.

Bush and the Republicans don’t hate kids, they just don’t think government expansion of health care will truly fix the problem, and they think it can make things even worse. People such as myself believe government expansion will harm the overall quality of health care. And the net result would be more children dying.

When something is too expensive, we must ask why it is too expensive. And liberals may roll their eyes when this conservative says that government is the problem, because it seems that that is the excuse every time. But at least some of the time that is true. As the pachyderm points out:

In Manhattan, an individual cannot purchase health insurance for less than $10,000/year. Clearly, that is a problem with NY laws, which do not permit managed care organisations to charge lower premiums to healthy 25-year-olds than to the elderly or the chronically ill. A 30-year-old, nonsmoking, female resident of SoCal, however, can get basic coverage for approximately $600/year.

What’s frustrating about the issue is that so many people look on the surface and see it as the caring Democrats being shut down by the “couldn’t care less about children unless they are in the womb” President Bush. I’m not saying there is no worthy debate here, because there is, but it still requires further analysis.

Unlike the strict libertarians, I’m all for the government helping people who cannot help themselves. Not everyone can afford health insurance. But before helping people out, we must examine why such a problem exists in the first place. Cut down spending before asking for more money.

Normal people do this. If I look at my budget and find out I am in the hole every month, I would examine my budget and find out where I could cut costs and if there are any unnecessary expenses. If our family worked like government however, my wife would immediately demand that I get a 2nd job so that we can afford to feed our son.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

I just couldn’t stay away… On SCHIP

Posted by Chance on October 6, 2007

So Bush vetoed SCHIP, so he’s a total scumbag right? I mean, who wouldn’t want to provide health insurance for kids?

But no issue is as simple as it seems. And sometimes what seems like the obvious, simple solution may provide a short term fix, but will not really address the problem.

So the SCHIP idea works like this: health care is too expensive, so let’s have the government cover the costs. It is a noble plan, and I admire the Democrats motives. But, as I said a couple posts back, opposite opinions do not mean opposite goals or motives.

Bush and the Republicans don’t hate kids, they just don’t think government expansion of health care will truly fix the problem, and they think it can make things even worse. People such as myself believe government expansion will harm the overall quality of health care. And the net result would be more children dying.

When something is too expensive, we must ask why it is too expensive. And liberals may roll their eyes when this conservative says that government is the problem, because it seems that that is the excuse every time. But at least some of the time that is true. As the pachyderm points out:

In Manhattan, an individual cannot purchase health insurance for less than $10,000/year. Clearly, that is a problem with NY laws, which do not permit managed care organisations to charge lower premiums to healthy 25-year-olds than to the elderly or the chronically ill. A 30-year-old, nonsmoking, female resident of SoCal, however, can get basic coverage for approximately $600/year.

What’s frustrating about the issue is that so many people look on the surface and see it as the caring Democrats being shut down by the “couldn’t care less about children unless they are in the womb” President Bush. I’m not saying there is no worthy debate here, because there is, but it still requires further analysis.

Unlike the strict libertarians, I’m all for the government helping people who cannot help themselves. Not everyone can afford health insurance. But before helping people out, we must examine why such a problem exists in the first place. Cut down spending before asking for more money.

Normal people do this. If I look at my budget and find out I am in the hole every month, I would examine my budget and find out where I could cut costs and if there are any unnecessary expenses. If our family worked like government however, my wife would immediately demand that I get a 2nd job so that we can afford to feed our son.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

A short break

Posted by Chance on October 2, 2007

I’ve been on travel the past week so I haven’t had time to post. Right now I am busy with a few things. I want to come back soon, I just have to devote time to other things at the moment. I want to make sure that when I do come back I can post at least 2 times a week, which I know isn’t very much to some, but I want to at least be consistent.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

A short break

Posted by Chance on October 2, 2007

I’ve been on travel the past week so I haven’t had time to post. Right now I am busy with a few things. I want to come back soon, I just have to devote time to other things at the moment. I want to make sure that when I do come back I can post at least 2 times a week, which I know isn’t very much to some, but I want to at least be consistent.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »