I Push Buttons

Whether I'm coding, writing, playing games, or pissing people off, it all boils down to pushing buttons.

March 30, 2009

Game Over, Man! Game Over!

Pittsburgh's disappointing loss to Villanova did me in. I got Michigan State right, but every other pick I had for the Final Four turned out to be wrong. Oh, well. Maybe I'll do better next year. I hope Michigan State goes all the way, since they are the team in my bracket that got the furthest.

My order of preference for 2009 NCAA Champion:

1. Michigan State
2. UConn
3. Villanova
4. UNC

March 28, 2009

March Madness: Day #6

The end of round three was not so great for me. My south bracket is completely destroyed. Syracuse didn't come close to getting the win I hoped they would, and UNC completely obliterated Gonzaga. Ouch. I have no teams in the south anymore, but it would be best for me if Oklahoma took out UNC, and I think that is about 50% likely to happen. That game should be really close tomorrow.

My Midwest bracket is in great shape. Louisville completely embarrassed Arizona, and Michigan State pulled it out against Kansas. The Kansas/MSU game was intense, and I enjoyed watching that one. I'm glad MSU was able to pull it out in the end. Gotta love those free throws!

I still have a shot of winning this thing in my group. Right now I'm one game behind. If UNC loses to Oklahoma, that will be a huge boost for me, since it will break everyone else's south bracket. Connecticut beating Missouri would also help. Most people had Memphis going to the final four in the west bracket (including me), but one person had Missouri. Pittsburgh has to win for me tonight so they can fight their way to the championship, and Michigan State needs to win tomorrow. The final four is as far as I need them to get, but it wouldn't hurt if they made the championship game either. We'll see how it goes...

March 27, 2009

March Madness: Day #5

The opening of round three of the NCAA tournament was both good and bad. It was good, in the sense that I am now in the lead in my group; it was bad in that half of my championship game is now gone. Memphis just could not put it together against Missouri. I don't know what happened, but that was not the same team that destroyed Maryland last weekend. I have to give it to Missouri, though; they played exceptionally. If you think Louisville's defense is tough, Missouri's is like a freaking rock wall. A rock wall that chases you at a ridiculous speed. I think they have a shot at taking the whole thing down if they continue to play at that level. Connecticut is going to have a tough game on Saturday.

I did, however, make one correct call that no one else in my group made. I had Duke losing to Villanova. I was pretty certain that they weren't going to be able to keep it together to get into the Elite 8, and I was right. I don't think Duke had the lead at all the whole game. Their outside shooters weren't hitting well, and they were unable to penetrate Villanova's defense on a regular basis, causing them to lose by over 20 points. It really shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone; they've been inconsistent all season.

Pittsburgh is scaring me. Though they continue to win, their margins are far too close for a championship team. I'm beginning to have my doubts that they will even make it to the final four, much less the big game. This is not the same team that was rocking the regular season. They continue to claw and escape defeat, but I think that's going to catch up to them soon. Of course, as long as they continue to win I don't care how bad they look.

UConn beat Purdue handily, which I expected. I'm wondering if they can handle Missouri, though. If Missouri continues to play like they did last night against Memphis, UConn is going to have to have a practically flawless game to stand a chance. UConn is ridiculously efficient from the free throw line, so they definitely have a chance of making up ground there if they need to.

In order to have a chance at winning this group, I need for Michigan State to beat Louisville. That will break everyone else's West/Midwest section of the final four. I have MSU in the final four, but losing to Memphis. Gonzaga beating UNC is probably also a necessity, as some people have them as winning the championship; I don't even have them in the final four. We'll see how things pan out tonight.

March 22, 2009

March Madness: Day #4

No surprises today, although several of the games were closer than what I would have liked. Of the games that I had teams playing in, I picked them all correctly. My sweet sixteen is in pretty good shape with thirteen out of my sixteen teams still alive. Thursday and Friday are going to be huge for me, one way or the other. Here's hoping I got them right.

March Madness: Day #3

The opening of round two of the NCAA Tournament went very well for me. Of the picks that were still valid, I only missed one. I had called for the upset of Texas over Duke, and for a while I was pretty sure that it was going to happen. However, Texas' massive amount of turnovers and inability to capitalize on their free throws caused them to end up losing by five. Despite that, there were several over-the-backs by Duke near the end of the game, that should have been called that could also have turned the game in Texas' favor.

Speaking of which, I don't know what the problem is with NCAA refs, but there is a severe lack of traveling and over-the-back calls across the board. This goes for almost every game I've watched this year. If you're not going to call it, just take it out of the rules. Otherwise, it makes you look corrupt when you make the calls only occasionally and miss them at crucial points in a game.

In reviewing all of this, if you watched the game you should have been able to see just how overrated Duke actually is. Texas had 10+ turnovers and shot less than 50% from the free throw line, and Duke still only managed a five point win. Don't get me wrong; Duke is not a bad basketball team. But they are not as good as the media and their fans would have you believe, either. Duke in basketball is kind of like Notre Dame in football (before Notre Dame actually became extremely horrible); everyone in the media kisses their butts just because they're Duke. Villanova should make short work of them.

March 21, 2009

March Madness: Day #2

Round 1 is now over. Yesterday did not fare nearly as well as Thursday for me. I had seven misses. That's disgusting. Luckily, again, only one of those I had going on to round three (Utah), so it's not devastating. I'm currently second in my group, only one game behind the leader. There's more than enough time for me to take the lead, provided the rest of these teams behave and do what they're supposed to do.

Wake Forest... Guys... What happened? I mean, it wasn't even close. 84-69 loss to Cleveland State?! If someone has a perfect bracket at this point it's someone who doesn't know what they're doing (ie, dumb luck). There's just no other explanation.

Tennessee should have beaten Oklahoma State for the same reason Butler should have beaten LSU. Bah. And they were so close.

I'm surprised Florida State got knocked out so early. If anyone should have been a Cinderella pick, it was them. I was worried they were going to go deeper than the round two I had them set at; at least I don't have to worry about that anymore.

The Ohio State/Siena game was as close as I thought it would be (74-72), and I just lost the coin flip on that one. Whoever won that game was going to get destroyed by Louisville in round two anyway, so that one didn't bother me too much.

My other two misses were USC beating Boston College and Dayton beating West Virginia. At least the West bracket is still behaving itself. I'm still perfect there. Amazingly enough, I only have three correct picks in the Midwest bracket, but I have all three of those going to the Sweet 16, so it's not completely screwed up! Woohoo!

March 20, 2009

March Madness: Day #1

I'm 13-16 so far for round one. That's pretty decent I'd say. Of my three misses (I picked Clemson, Illinois, and Butler to all make it to round two), I only had Clemson proceeding to round three (and losing there). So even though all my losses are in the South bracket, the important pieces are still intact. I have Gonzaga meeting Syracuse there for the Elite 8 game. Since all my losses are in the South, I'm perfect in East and West. Midwest hasn't started yet; all of their games are today.

I guess it's not a huge upset that Clemson lost to Michigan. Michigan had a pretty decent schedule this year, and they beat several good teams that came to the tournament, including UCLA and Duke. Clemson just had such an awesome start to their season (undefeated until January) that I hoped that would carry in to the tournament. They only had one bad loss to UNC. Of course, they had an inexcusable loss to Georgia Tech at the end of the season. I'm not even going to try and defend that one. Did they just leave starters out of the game to save them for the tournament? I didn't watch it. At any rate, they should have gone much farther, and it is disappointing that they are out so early.

I was hoping Butler would pull the technical upset over LSU, but they just couldn't do it. I watched the last half of the game at the gym while I was working out, and they just couldn't get their defense together. They were able to get down the court and hit three pointers to slowly close the gap with LSU, but when LSU comes right back down and hits for two, it's going to take a long time to catch up. If they'd made a few more key stops, they would have had this game easily.

And Illinois losing to Western Kentucky? REALLY?? I'd be surprised if anyone has a perfect bracket at this point after that game.

March 17, 2009

Weigh-In

Just a quick post with my weigh-in for the week. I made it down to 200 lbs! I've lost 15 lbs since the beginning of the year, although it's 10 lbs since I started tracking it online. I'm halfway to my goal!

Previous Weight: 201 lbs
Current Weight: 200 lbs
Goal Weight: 185 lbs

March 15, 2009

It's Bracket Time!

If you would like to compete against me in the NCAA March Madness brackets this year, head on over to ESPN and create your entry. It's fun, and it's free! We'll be playing for bragging rights only, so you don't have to worry about any entry fees or anything like that. Once you've created your entry, join the group "Facebook Bracket Breakers" with the password "guessaway" and you're in!

March 10, 2009

Weekend Update

We had a pretty good weekend, for the most part. Friday night we went to church for Friday Fun Night. We brought several games, but we ended up playing "Apples to Apples" the entire time. It was good fun, and we introduced some people to the game who had never played before and ended up really enjoying it (despite the fact that I won two out of three games).

On Saturday, we got up early and went to the annual church prayer breakfast. I sang in a trio, which went pretty well, and we enjoyed some great breakfast food. While there, we decided that we would go play mini-golf with Eric and Emily in Germantown later in the afternoon (the weather was so nice!), after Courtney had finished with her volunteer work. When we got there, however, we were dismayed to discover that it was closed and wouldn't be open until May. Instead, we went to Maggie Moo's at Washingtonian Center, got ice cream, and watched in bewilderment as parents let their children climb over a chain fence to play on a giant, plastic train that was obviously not meant to be played on. I revelled in the irony that the one child to not climb up and play on the train had a mental disability. I predict he will go farther in life than any of the others; furthermore, the others will grow up with an inflated and undeserved sense of entitlement. See, parents? It starts with the plastic trains! Don't let your kid become a leech on society!

End hyperbole.

Saturday night we went to Mark's birthday party at Carly and Eric's, which was good fun. It was a James Bond themed party, so I put on the tux, and Courtney put on one of her nice dresses. There was great food, and a fun time playing blackjack, which I totally destroyed, thanks to an all-in play on the last hand where I was dealt Blackjack. As a prize, I won a $25 gift card, which is probably being held hostage until I remember to give Carly her Demetri Martin tickets.

The only down part of the night is that my allergies kicked in something fierce. I don't know what plant it was, but some species decided that two days with temperatures above freezing meant "shove pollen in Matt's face," and I was sneezing and blowing my nose for most of the latter half of the evening. It was so bad that I ended up staying home from church and on the couch for most of Sunday. Once my meds kicked in, I was fine, and I've been ok so far this week. Hopefully I won't be going through that again any time soon.

Stupid plants and their microgametophytes. That's right, I said microgametophytes. Look it up, kids. Or don't. I'm not the boss of you.

--

I've been doing pretty well with my diet and exercise, the birthday party this weekend notwithstanding. They fixed the scale at the gym, so I was able to do my weigh-in today. I'm one pound away from my first major milestone. Sweet!

Previous Weight: 204 lbs
Current Weight: 201 lbs
Goal Weight: 185 lbs

March 04, 2009

A Busy Mind

My apologies; it's been almost a week, and I haven't posted anything. Shame on me. I'll go stand in the corner as soon as I'm done writing this. I haven't really written anything lately because I don't have anything to write. Now, when I say that, I mean that I don't have any polished ideas to write. I have a ton of things bouncing around back and forth in my mind, and, to tell you the truth, it's really kind of annoying.

I have really had the urge to write recently, but the problem is that I can't get my mind to focus on just one project at a time. Right now, I have three big ideas jostling for my attention, and each one of these is composed of many smaller ideas that are tightly interwoven. One of my ideas is to restart my online version of a Choose Your Own Adventure story, which I alluded to a few entries back when I posted the poll.

Several years ago, when I built my own "my first website" spot on the web, I had started this fictional tale where I would write until I hit a decision point, and then I would create poll and ask the readers what the protagonist should do next. It was written in first person, so it was actually people voting en masse on what they wanted to do next. It was actually quite popular among my circle of friends, and I would love to start that back up again. I'm just having trouble nailing down what the main plot line should be.

While that's rattling around upstairs, I also have two other writing projects I've been brooding on. The first is obviously the story I'm co-authoring with a friend. I've been thinking about some of the things we came up with a couple of weeks ago, and I think there may be some problems with some of our plot threads and characters. I've been trying to work around them in my mind so that I have something substantial to suggest when we end up discussing the issues. Naturally, when I start thinking of writing something, my mind constantly returns to the inconsistencies of this project, even when I'm trying to concentrate on something else.

The other story will undoubtedly become a personal task at some point in the near future. I don't remember what I was thinking about a few days ago, but this plot idea sprang mostly formed into my mind while I was on my way to work. I immediately opened a Google document once I got to the office and started making a plot outline. I've done some universe building here and there as the world continues to germinate in my head, and I think that this has the potential to be something really cool and unique. If only I could clear my mind enough to actually work on it. Of course, I have a limited amount of free time, and if I work on this personal project, I will be sacrificing time that needs to be spent on my cooperative project.

What I really need is for someone to pay me to not go to work so that I can play with my own projects. Venture capital for me to do what I want, basically. If you know of such a person or organization, please have them contact me with utmost haste. Thank you.

Now, off to the corner with me.