Monthly Archives: April 2016

This Saturday, the Greatest Show Returns…

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The Greatest Show number 78 is coming… and it’s coming with a vengeance!

Bored this Saturday (April 30, 2016)? Well, don’t be. There are three entertaining gents and one entertaining lady who are ready to knock your socks off with humor, cooking, and a little bit of Tom Foolery on the side. We talk about booze, we talk about food, we talk about Star Wars, we talk about comics, and we talk about so much more.

Think you can’t have a nearly weekly show on these topics? Well, you can… and we’ve been doing it for over three years, kids. Sure, we took a hella long hiatus in the 40s, but you know what? We’re back at it and we are ready to rock this show like it’s never been rocked before.

Coming this week, we will probably cover some Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes talk. There is a likelihood of talk about comics and superheroes. You can probably bet we’ll speak about the upcoming and impending Movie League. We’ll probably throw in a few Mad Libs and possibly a dirty joke or seven.

You think we can’t be entertaining? We are 42 times more entertaining than you think. Yeah, that’s a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy reference.

So… join us live. Join us underwater. Join us in space. Just join us, because we are cool and that is all you need to know.

ESPL Week 16 – The Lead Grows

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The scoreboard is a bit barren this week, but the one definitive result is the one that matters and it’s also the one that causes us to start looking at the end of the season and who might be walking away with the championship.

Wordsmiths hosted Sporting Black Cats to a scoreless draw, keeping Wordsmiths without a victory and holding Sporting Black Cats in the bottom four.

Gothica hosted Allen FC, with Donovan Righte scoring the sole goal at 47′ to give Gothica three more points of a lead over their second place competitor.

Naval Armada hosted Shamrock Celtic in a scoreless draw, both clubs desperately need to start winning and desperately need to start showing some sort of dominance.

Vulcan FC hosted Shazam CM in a scoreless draw.

Halo hosted Emerald United in a 1-1 draw, with Halo scoring at 37′ (Andrei Ramius) and Emerald United scoring at 86′ (Trent Areonak).

Knightsquare hosted Real Olympia in a 1-1 draw, with Knightsquare scoring at 24′ (Nico Capella) and Real Olympia at 48′ (Francisco Perez).

“We’re the only club to gain ground this week,” said Simon Tarken, Gothica’s team captain. “We’re one step closer to claiming the championship and I think that there isn’t a club out there that can stop us.”

“The tale of this season is a clear one,” said Donovan Righte, Gothica’s second highest goal scorer. “Simon has the most goals in the league, I just took a clear second. With the two highest goal scorers, and the only club with a solid hold on top, there’s not much that can get in our way. We are focused and we are ready to win.”

The tale of the season is starting to get clearer. There are six more weeks and while Gothica holds an 8 point lead over Emerald United, they have not completely wrapped up the season. Gothica needs to win 4 more matches to seal their position as champions, or have the league falter as they either hold steady or win.

“Assuming that Gothica doesn’t win another match all season,” said Michael Brady, analyst for the ESPL. “Then Emerald United, Shamrock Celtic, Shazam CM, Naval Armada, Halo, and Allen FC all have a legitimate shot at winning the championship. Looking at the likelihood of who actually has a chance to win the championship, Naval Armada is just a little too far out, with Shazam CM having only a marginally better chance. The real race is actually between Gothica, Emerald United, and Shamrock Celtic.”

“Shamrock Celtic goes to Gothica before the season ends,” said Martin Thomas, ESPL commentator. “That will be a spectacular match if, and that’s a big if, the two clubs are closer in points by that point. They also play Emerald United, which will be another big push for one of those clubs. Honestly, this race is only close if one of Shamrock Celtic or Emerald United is on a big winning streak and Gothica is stalled out.”

“Emerald United has been solid all season, really,” said David Archer, ESPL commentator. “United has a harder road than Celtic, though, as they have to play Celtic, Shazam, and Naval whereas Celtic only has Gothica and United in their way.”

“The final piece in the puzzle is Gothica,” said Angela Marcus, ESPL field reporter. “All of the speculation relies on Gothica being stagnant. Their only two real challenges in the final six games are against Shamrock Celtic and Shazam CM. After those two, the other four matches don’t pose much of a problem. Real Olympia, Knightsquare, and Wordsmiths are all easy wins, in my opinion. Vulcan is the fourth in that string and they have a shot against Gothica, but it isn’t a strong shot. Gothica really has this wrapped up unless they literally fall apart from here on out.”

Time will tell… see you next week.

SpecterFit 40: A Look At Calories

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Welcome back to SpecterFit, the 40th Edition. This is the first edition where I’m going to state that the “weekly” part of this column may not always mean that there will be a column every week. Having said that, though, I’ll be putting together as many of these without a break as I can because I’d like to have a weekly column rather than a sporadic one.

This will also be the first column I don’t drone on about SpecterFit 1.

There is a lot of people who will look at a food, or even go so far as to look at the nutritional information, and think that what they’re eating isn’t that many calories. Well, more often than not, those people are wrong and more often than not, those people are overeating in a big way.

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The image above is what 200 calories looks like, depending on the food in question. If you click on the image, you’ll get a fuller sized image to look at but why I wanted to include this was to give you an idea what 200 calories, JUST 200 calories, looks like. You can see the tiny burger, the Hersey’s Kisses, the M&Ms, and french fries… compare that to what I’m actively choosing as snacks for myself (the broccoli, for example). If you haven’t eaten three eggs, that’s a lot of eggs. What about the overflowing plate full of celery.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I have a healthy thousand island I dip my broccoli into, and that means I don’t gob the stuff on the broccoli, either. I lightly dip the broccoli, just enough to make it “wet.” I’d do the same if I ate celery on a regular basis. I’m a person with a healthy bent on what I eat (most of the time), so I need help with the portion control. A picture like this helps.

Am I still talking about food?

If you look back at my columns, I give a percentage of kitchen to working out… that percentage is where weight loss comes from, and I’ve probably even used different percentages for that illustration. The point is, you’re going to be far more effective at losing weight using your kitchen than you are lifting weights, running, or whatever. Don’t get me wrong, those things will definitely help, but if you’re running five miles a day but eating terribly, you’ll only lose as long as you’re still running. Change your eating habits, you’ll continue to lose weight as long as you don’t stray from your habits.

This is a shorter column, one that will probably be the last talking about food for a while. I wanted to stay on the subject before moving on but you should never forget that the kitchen is the place where weight loss occurs most, not the gym. Be active, but eat better.

Get fit.

Emerald Specter Movie League

If you’ve clicked over, you’re interested enough in the headline to learn more about what I’m calling the Emerald Specter Movie League. There are movie drafts online, on podcasts, and in work places that allow you to draft movies and compete with friends and co-workers to “earn the most money,” but Movie League is different… yeah, I’m going to make it more complicated. Let’s get the “splash” image going right here:

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The idea behind the Emerald Specter Movie League is to allow people to compete against everyone else by drafting movies and trying to come out at the end as the “big winner.”

DJ, that sounds exactly like every other movie draft… ever.

Yeah, but Emerald Specter Movie League is different.

The Emerald Specter Movie League will take place over the course of two, yes TWO, distinct movie “seasons.” The regular season will run from June to September for 2016, with the top half of the competitors will then be able to participate in the “post season” schedule, running from October to December 2016. The ultimate winner will be the one who not only advances TO the post season, but is the big money winner IN the post season.

The 2017 will hopefully have some mad large participation and we can get the ESML running with lots of folks. The 2017 season will run from April 1, 2017 to September 30, 2017 and the post season will run from October 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018… because movies are awesome.

So… here’s the rub. Here’s what sets the ESML apart.

The movies eligible for the draft will be posted prior to the draft, and you will bid on movies to try to win them from your competitors. You’ll be bidding in the millions of dollars and you don’t have a spending limit. Read that again: there is no limit on how much you can spend.

DJ… DJ… DJ… we can just go on bidding forever? How is that going to work?

I’m glad you asked.

Let’s say the movie in question is Larry Bond: 003.5. So, Joe Q. Public bids 100 million to buy Larry Bond, Sam Body bids for 125 million, with Bill Fold bidding 155 million. Bill wins, he now owns Larry Bond: 003.5 for a whopping $155 million. The movie finally comes out on June 1, 2016 and earns (domestically) $162 million (rounded up)… here’s where the catch comes in and why the bidding stopped when it did. Bill Fold has his $155 million bid SUBTRACTED from the total domestic gross of $162 million, leaving him $7 million towards his ultimate total in the ESML. Bill regrets spending so much, but the movie was rated so highly and he really wanted it… he just wishes he spent a little less on it.

Your bids are subtracted from the domestic (American) gross. If your bid is MORE than the domestic gross, you still subtract it… which means you can potentially earn NEGATIVE totals in all of your bids. This creates a new strategy and will eliminate anyone just putting all their eggs in one basket with a big blockbuster (i.e. Star Wars or Harry Potter) and makes you consider more options.

Boom.

The 2016 season will be invite only, though I will take some enthusiastic potential requesters at emeraldspecter DOT com AT gmail DOT com.

Who’s in?

ESPL Week 15 – Stay Strong

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Powerhouse clubs are still the powerhouse clubs and there was a lot of excitement on the pitch for most of the clubs in the league. Let’s get to the action!

Halo scored early (at 22′) when Shinji Yamagashi rocketed one through the posts and totally slid past the keeper to take an early lead. The home side would try to equalize but wouldn’t be able to send one in until the second half at 50′ when Severus MacLain evened up the score. Ghudra Nmamba would win the day for Halo with a 78′ score to give them the win.

The woes of Knightsquare continue, winless, as they enter into their away match with Allen FC, who has been steady up to this point. Franz Volstagg at 44′ would give Knightsquare the lead going into the half, causing the home crowd to worry that they would see their club be the first win for the Knightsquare. The second half opened up the scoring as Hans Mueller at 65′ put one past the keeper to even the score, then Charles Alexander at 72′ put in the second goal, giving Allen the lead. Theron Wildhorse at 85′ put in the equalizer but 86′ saw a quick return to the lead by Shawn Rock for Allen as they would hold on to win the match.

The league’s leading scorer extended his lead to 13 as Simon Tarken led Gothica to a solid win against Naval Armada. The first goal came at 3′ when Norman Tavez caught the keeper sleeping and snuck one into the lower left corner. That would be the only score of the first half. The second half saw scoring at 47′ from Gothica’s Simon Tarken, at 60′ from Naval’s Matt Craven, at 64′ Gothica’s Pierre LaFayette, and the final goal came at 85′ from Naval’s Matt Craven (his second). Naval Armada was unable to pull out the victory, giving the home side a bigger lead in the league.

Sporting Black Cats hosted Emerald United in a scoreless match, with both sides getting chances but only Emerald United’s side being close enough to get the ball into the net, only to have both scores turned back as offsides calls. This was the league’s only scoreless draw this week.

Shazam CM hosted Wordsmiths in the big scoring match of the week. At 4′ Shazam’s Jackson Alexander opened up the scoring, which was followed by a 9′ score by Shazam’s Corey Carson and 10′ with another one from Jackson Alexander. Up 3-0 in only 10 minutes of play, Wordsmiths broke their scoreless side with one at 12′ when Shu Liang put one into the back of the net with authority. Supporters were then treated to another goal at 20′ by Shazam’s Jackson Alexander (completing his hat trick), followed by a goal at 22′ from Wordsmiths’ Jason White, a response at 24′ by Shazam’s Drago Petroff, at 41′ by Wordsmiths’ Shu Liang (his second) and finally 44′ by Wordsmiths’ Travis Trevors to end the half at 5-4. The only other score came from Shazam at 50′ when Drago Petroff put in Shazam’s last, and his second, to win the match 6-4.

Vulcan FC hosted Shamrock Celtic in the final match of the week. There were no scores in the first half but plenty of yellow cards were distributed for both sides. A grand total of 6 yellow cards were handed out, with Celtic earning 4 to Vulcan’s 2. The second half saw all the scoring starting at 47′ when Arak Shemin for Celtic put in the first goal. That was followed at 53′ when Vulcan’s Arbo Muvata equalized, at 57′ when Celtic’s Kip Nguyen¬†scored, at 78′ for Vulcan’s Jaque Lareaux, and at 80′ for the final score by Celtic’s Patrick Barnes to give Shamrock Celtic the 3-2 win.

The leading scorer is Gothica’s Simon Tarken at 13, with both Donovan Righte (Gothica) and Khan Galaxy (Naval Armada) tied for second at 11. There is more to come in the ESPL, see you next week!

The Greatest Show 77: Movie Edition

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In a world where things are not what they seem. In a land of things that never seem to go right. In a time when technology is totes the bomb, yo. You have a mission to accomplish.

She’s the fastest cook in the West, in the modern day, wearing totally tight pants that her husband loves staring at… especially her butt. She has the ability to make things burst into flames with her mind. She’s the brains of the operation, but she’s also the beauty. She is Tricia Allen.

He’s got a beard that thinks for itself. No one has ever bested him in a game of lawn darts. Water flows around him because it’s afraid what will happen if it gets him wet. He is the vampire, werewolf, medieval knight that likes to hit people with magical foam weapons. He is Bob Miotto.

Dashing, daring, pony tailed up… he is the stealth, the low budget apartment residing hacker who knows that a night on the town may involve him dressing up and playing the role of someone completely different. He is Kevin Couick.

He is a lover, not a fighter… and he’s a fighter. He has counted to infinity… twice. He doesn’t read books, he intimidates them into giving him the information that he wants. He wears a live rattlesnake as a belt. He is the most interesting man in the world… he is DJ Allen.

This is the movie edition.

SpecterFit 39: Drinking the Calories

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There is a deep meaning to the title of this one as I want to address several things that most people do not pay attention to, so I wanted to concentrate on food once again as we enter into the 39th Edition of SpecterFit Weekly.

The title is the concentration here: drinking the calories. When you read that, what immediately comes to mind? Alcohol? Sugary drinks? Sodas? Orange juice? Lemonade? Some combination of them?

I am actually referring to all of that. Unless you are a highly active individual (working out six to seven times a week, once or twice a day, etc), then drinking calories is a stupid, stupid thing to do. A can of Coke is about 140 calories per can, to say nothing of the sugar that the soda is made out of being a terrible choice. That is 140 calories less that you shouldn’t be eating if you’re trying to lose weight.

Juices that are from concentrate are also terrible to be drinking, from a “get healthy” standpoint. If you think that Kool-Aid, Hawaiian Punch, Gatorade, or anything like that are better, you’re probably reading this blog at the right time. While Gatorade is better than the rest of what I mentioned, water is the beverage you should be partaking in the most. If you’re drinking sugary drinks, then you’re drinking calories that you need to eliminate from what you are eating.

Have an app or a website that tells you how many calories you need to stay under in order to lose weight? Well, if you look at what the calorie count is (let’s just use 2000 per day as a good, even number) then if you drink three cans of Coke a day, that’s 420 calories already off the top of your 2000, leaving you only 1580 calories left for your day. Eat a Big Mac with one of those Cokes and you’re looking at only about 1000 calories left to eat for a day… that’s JUST the Coke (can) and a Big Mac. If you eat the french fries, or alter the size of your Coke (to be a large fountain version), then you’re looking at far less calories for the rest of the day.

Stop making terrible choices.

We also don’t need to calorie count, if you’re eating smart. But there is another bane to weight loss, getting fit, that no one pays attention to that contains boat loads of calories (and empty calories, at that): alcohol.

A can of beer (I’ve chosen Bud Light) contains 110 calories. If you can drink just one, that isn’t so bad, but I don’t personally know anyone that doesn’t have at least four, putting them at 440 calories. At a bar, the glass is bigger than a can, so that means you’re drinking more than 110 calories. There isn’t anything beneficial in those calories, either. They’re wasted, intoxicate you so you don’t really want to be active, and generally cause you to want to drink more (so, you can literally drink your entire caloric intake in our example above in a single drinking event).

That’s insane. Why drink your calories?

Water is what you should focus on when you’re drinking liquids. Sure, the occasional drink isn’t harmful, but in places where the weather makes working out and being fit prohibitive, drinking tends to be the extracurricular event of choice. This is a reason I chose to move somewhere the weather is nice 90% of the time.

Drinking calories is never a smart choice, but if you’re going to drink them, at least make them nutritional. Drop the soda. If you point back to my last column and say “but you drink sodas,” you missed my point in that column. I drink them occasionally, and then only the diet variety. I’m conscious of how many calories I’ve drank and monitor myself to keep the calories for the day at a somewhat reasonable level. I don’t drink my calories. If you can’t also do this, then you shouldn’t be trying to justify your bad behavior.

There’s another thing I’d like to tangent on for just a brief moment. If you point to someone else’s bad behavior as justification for your own, you aren’t making a solid case… you’re making excuses. This blog is about getting fit and getting rid of excuses. One person’s terrible choices are not a justification for you to make terrible choices. Let that other person lounge in their squalor and rise above it. Thus endeth the sermon.

Fruit juices, especially the kind you squeeze yourself from that actual fruit, are the best non-water options you have. In fact, if you’re eating right, the sweetness of (for instance) a strawberry should actually be a little too sweet. I once found strawberries a little on the sweet side, meaning that my sugar intake was exactly where it should have been… and I was happy about that. I’m working back towards that. Water is still better, though.

The whole reason for what I wrote here was to get you thinking about the crap you’re putting into your body. If your body is a temple and you shovel chips, beer, and sugar in by the handful, then your temple is definitely in a state of disrepair. Why be broken down when all it takes is a little self control?

SpecterFit 1 will have badges, as I’ve mentioned last week. In the next month or two, I’ll reveal what those badges will look like but I wanted to mention them again because EmeraldSpecter.com is the place that will hold which badges you’ve “officially” won. I’d like to personally see some participation and that’s why I’m choosing to keep the official records here. I’m doing this in the hopes I can feature someone in future SpecterFit events.

Speaking of future SpecterFit events, I’d like to hint that the February event will be another SpecterFit title event… yes, SpecterFit 2 will be February 2017 and there will be a chance to earn another event specific badge, possibly even two. There may also be a “title” to the event, like something catchy to reference (i.e. SpecterFit 1: Genesis). Time will tell and look to this column to hear the announcements.

Get fit.

ESPL Week 14 – Lots of Score

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The action of week 14 was exciting and we only saw two draws in the league. That is a refreshing feeling as results are starting to flow again. Let’s get to the recaps.

The first match saw Knightsquare host Gothica, pitting the worst against the first on the table. While Knightsquare scorers Friedrich Gunther, Ryad Al Syad, and Darin Van Pelt put the ball into the net, Gothica’s Donovan Righte and the hat trick of Simon Tarken left the first place club in the winning position.

“Words,” said Alan Marquardt, Knightsquare’s team captain. “Words cannot express my disappointment. This club has a lot of work to do and there isn’t much time to do it. If there were an ESPL League 2, we’d be a shoe in for relegation this season.”

The second match saw Emerald United host Wordsmiths, also getting a solid win as their three goals from Edge Righte and two from Paco DeJesus stayed through to the end against Wordsmiths’ own Kerwin Katzer and Wonk O’Riley’s attempts to equalize.

The third match saw Sporting Black Cats host Shamrock Celtic, with Celtic’s Thor Skjelstad scoring the sole goal of the match.

“A win is a win,” said Thor Skjelstad. “We need more of these, though.”

The fourth match saw Real Olympia host Shazam CM in a draw, scores by Real’s Severus MacLain and Shazam’s Jackson Alexander. Shazam supporters showed up in droves only to go home with a disappointing draw.

“We started out strong,” said Jackson Alexander. “Things just haven’t been going our way, lately.”

The fifth match saw Vulcan FC host Allen FC to a scoreless draw. Allen players have no idea why they’re not doing better, just like Shazam, they started out strong and have leveled off quite dramatically.”

The final match of the week saw Halo host Naval Armada, with the visitors getting the victory and allowing the club to move forward in the league. Halo scorer Hector Cruz was the only goal for the club and Naval’s scorers Pedro DeJesus and Stephan Khan pushed them to the ultimate victory.

Week 14 gives us hope for more action in the future. Let’s move forward to week 15!