Monthly Archives: February 2017

ESPL Week 8: A New Number One

In a return to the old format, if just for a few posts (or maybe the long haul), we give you the awaited Week 8 recap. Let’s not wait any longer!

Starting off with the first game of the week, Queensdaisy hosted Allen FC and managed to lose 0-1. The match was a heated contest, with some pushing several times, but Allen FC’s Max Vice put a strong shot into back of the net at 26 minutes. The home side wasn’t pleased but they made several real attempts at the goal but failed to equalize the game. Queensdaisy has had a rough inaugural season with only one win, four draws, and this being their third loss. One wouldn’t expect them to be taking the league by storm, but the focus doesn’t seem to be getting them going in the right direction just yet.

Next on the schedule was Real Olympia hosting Citrus LF, winning the match 2-1 at home. Real Olympia’s Francisco Perez scored the first goal at 19 minutes and Tim Bailey dropped the second goal in at 23 minutes, just over the goalie’s head. Citrus put in their only goal right after the half, at 47′ Nicolai Borloff slid the ball right by the keeper. Citrus gave a valiant effort but falls as Real Olympia is pushing for a much better season this year than last year.

In the collision of two titans of the league, Shamrock Celtic hosted Emerald United in what was touted as being the biggest match of the week. Celtic failed to score, with the guests United scoring at only 7′ when Xin Li established they were the ones who would be dominating the day. Celtic did not get a decent chance the rest of the game, with United putting in near goals the rest of the day but failing to extend their score. There were plenty of thrills but Celtic was shown  the cracks they were certain weren’t there.

But wait, the real upset of the week happened in Shazam CM hosting Gothica, as the defending champions were taken down in a 2-1 showdown in Shazam’s home stadium. Shazam’s Taoufik Belbani scored at 18′, the only goal of the first half. Shazam scored another one at 84′ when Jackson Alexander put the home side up 2-0, with Gothica scoring their only goal at 87′ at the foot of Adam Stonewall, a ricocheting shot originally sent from team captain Simon Tarken. With the defending champions getting their first loss of the season, they were sent home knowing that winning the second season isn’t going to be a cakewalk.

“It’s one loss,” said Peter Stark, GM of Gothica. “We have an entire season to do this, one loss isn’t the end of the world. The media is making this out to be the end of the season, us losing our championship in a grand failure or pride and energy. That simply isn’t the case. This is week eight of a 30 week season and I’ll be damned if I’m going to pack the team up and call it the end.”

Sporting Black Cats hosted Halo FC to a 2-2 draw. Sporting’s goals were at 40′ with Avondale Borusa and 92′ with Kai Funaki. Halo scored at 44′ with Hogi Prince and 62′ with Andrei Ramius. The match was well balanced, with both clubs getting plenty of chances to extend the score but in the end, the injury time equalizer was enough to prevent Sporting from falling further down the table than absolutely necessary.

Tardis hosted Knightsquare and gave their home crowd a 3-1 victory, displaying vast holes in the Knightsquare defense and, frankly, embarrassing GM Otto Borden in grand fashion. Tardis scored at 40′ by David Lopez, 70′ by Luis Suarez, and 72′ by Kelvin Bradley… all of that happened after Knightsquare snuck one in at 34′ by Anthony Marconi. There was some criticism of Marconi’s post goal celebration but that immediately went away as Tardis equalized and then scored two more to show they saw the gaps in Borden’s lineup.

Vulcan FC hosted Naval Armada, expecting a fight and they were not disappointed. Vulcan lost the match 4-2, with their goals coming at 39′ and 52′ both from Kiefer Springwood. Naval scored at 4′ and 76′ by Pedro DeJesus, 44′ by Vance Alexander, and 67′ by Stephen Khan. Naval is looking to put themselves back into he thick of the title hunt and this was a big step towards that goal, especially in the week Gothica was handed it’s first loss.

The spotlight match of the week was Wordsmiths hosting Octagon, with the home club figuring this to be a place to showcase their talent. Octagon wasn’t having any of it, though, as they scored the sole goal at 38′ by Muleaki A’anhi to win 1-0. Ocatgon’s second victory gives hope to the club to avoid finishing on the bottom in this first season, a distinction they’d very much like to avoid.

Well, that was week 8’s action, hope you’ll join us next week.

Emerald Specter 37: Getting Things Together

Did I just use a color image, an OLD color image, on the new formatted website? Yes, I’m in a mood, I’m ready to rock, and I’m ready to write about things finally coming together. Boom. Read on.

In the 37th outing of this column I am drudging back up the color images, the polished looking ones, from the website of yesteryear… why? Well, some things have come together today and I wanted to throw some color up on this page for a little bit of a different spice up.

I got the Specter Show feed issues fixed!

By the time you read this, you’ll probably be looking at that with an eyebrow raised and wondering “you were having issues?” Yeah, I was, but after extensive investigations on what needed to be fixed to get things working the way they were supposed to be working, I believe (fingers crossed) that you’re about 5 episodes into the show and I’m happily recording more.

Like this column, though, I keep going back to the well on topics and I really haven’t decided on what I want to really put out there. This website used to be all about creativity and self improvement and I’ve gone away from all of that and have been slowly, barely, getting back into the self improvement as I’m having serious issues getting the creativity to be consistently created. Sure, podcasting is being creative, but I want to theme things instead of having the “Greatest Show, a show about random conversations,” the “Specter Show, a show about random topics,” the “Emerald Specter column, a column about random topics” and start getting things into a “when you read or listen to this, this is what to expect.”

It is a lot harder than you think it might be.

I’ve recently met another podcaster at work, and he’s got three or four (or five or six) audio podcasts he’s a part of (tangent: I also used to do five or six podcasts at once) and he’s got a theme for each one of them. A lot of them are movie based, with a show about a short running cartoon show spinoff of Back to the Future, but you know what you’re getting right out of the gate. I can’t even commit to a single theme, like “movies” or “pop culture.” Self improvement seems to be a very good thing to concentrate on but I’m only barely getting myself squared away again and don’t feel confident telling others how to get better… period.

When I was lifting weights, when I was writing, when I was podcasting… I was doing things and I was confident about them. The old “Website Official Podcast” was a random conversation/interview of someone interesting I knew, but that ended up not running as far as I thought it should… and I would do that again but I don’t want to rely on the free time of others to get something like that back up on it’s feet. Would I consider another show for that? Sure, but not the Specter Show.

I’ve got some physical ailments at the moment that prevent me from lifting weights again, but my job is physically active and I’ve been losing weight doing it… 30 or so pounds as I write this. I’m not eating as clean as I used to (which is to say barely at all), so healthy eating used to be a topic I can’t preach about actively, either. The bullet journaling is going off like gangbusters, but I’m afraid if I drill into that too often that I’ll drive away the casual reader and/or listener.

So I’ve become someone afraid to pull the trigger.

I’ve recently gotten back into logo design. My wife, and a local friend, are both looking to “brand” themselves and I’ve gotten fairly proud of my abilities. My wife’s logo is complete for Made by, which you should absolutely visit. Is she using it as of this post? Time will tell, but if she gives me the ok, I’ll link it here, too… the other local friend hasn’t visited me as of this writing but she is going to be swinging in for one. Here’s an opportunity to make money from a hobby, which would be lovely.

In the past, I’ve designed some of my own logos that I feel are stellar and would love to have made them FOR someone to use in a professional sense for an actual profit. The old website logo, which I am still not talking about, had a simple design that I initially didn’t start with… for the first three or four years of the site, I changed the logo four or five times… until I came up with the one that was simple, elegant, and was used until the site almost died (I did make one change but missed the long term looking one). The Emerald Specter logo, seen here:

I made this one in the “simple and elegant” manner I made the other site’s… but I had a “glassy look” to this logo before going this flat and simple look. The logo was jazzed up a bit like this:

The logo is the same, except I removed all the unnecessary “glitz” and just went simple. The one pane of color is supposed to signify my advancement forward, rather than relying on the glossy look. I’ve been designing logos in my head without the glitz lately, so I hope I get to put that into practice. If you want to see more logos I’ve designed, you can visit the ESPL (which will be summarized in a single, long “this was the rest of the season 2” post, soon). I made those logos and for a lot of them, I did them from scratch. Some have elements of clip art, but the clip art really fit the situation. I was getting ready to redo other logos like I did the Wordsmiths but that may not be happening anymore, though I’d still love to do it.

All in all, if I can feel confident about what I’m doing, I will feel confident helping others improve. Will I really be a self improvement guy? Seems like life is pointing me in that direction… for now.

Think on it.

The Specter Show 004: Sanctified

The Emerald Specter, DJ Allen, comes to you with the fourth edition of the Specter Show, a show increasingly becoming about self improvement. Nothing wrong with that, though.

This week, DJ discusses the bullet journal game he’s failed to get anything done on but explains what he envisions for the gamification of the bullet journal and some actual progress made!

ESPL Week 7: And One Shall Fall


“I’m Martin Thomas, and I welcome you to the seventh week action of the second ESPL season! I am joined by my co-commentator, David Archer. Let’s take a look at the overview before we begin covering topics.”


“David,” said Martin Thomas, ESPL commentator, “What do we need to know about all of this?”

“Martin,” said David Archer, ESPL commentator, “first and foremost, we need to know that Naval Armada and Shazam CM have struck a deal for Patrick Barnes. Barnes is out until week 17, but Shazam has a nice set up and sent Linke Rosseau to Naval Armada. While Barnes is out, John Jones will be playing as a replacement. Secondly, we should break down the general action of the week.”

“Naval Armada lost to Gothica at home, 1-0, showing a weakness in their very first outing without Barnes.”

“Martin, I don’t think Barnes is a benefit to Naval right now. He got himself banned, he’s loud, he’s a solo player on a team, and while Rosseau isn’t a long term solution, at least they can get through the season with a team player.”

“The undefeated clubs left in week 7,” said Martin Thomas, “Are Gothica, Shazam CM, and Emerald United. Gothica is on top and looking to repeat as champions in season two.”

“There was a lot of action but the highlight of the week was Shazam CM putting an exclamation point on things with their 7-1 win over Tardis. If they can keep this up, they’ll be superb when Barnes hits the pitch with them.”

“Nothing really stands out for me with this week, as we had three draws and generally low scoring matches.”

“There’s always next week, but at least the action was live.”

“I’d like to take a moment to comment on the league’s leading scorer, Gothica’s Simon Tarken. He has eight goals on the season and we’re only in week seven. Gothica is definitely behind their team captain,” said Martin.

“I see a lot of fierce competition for the leading scorer spot,” said David. “Arak Shemin has seven goals and has been keeping up, if not leading once in a while. I’m shocked we haven’t had more draws like we did this point last season.”

“I think things are comparable, actually. The trend is definitely for less draws this season, which only helps prop the league up.”

There will be more ESPL next week… stay tuned.

Emerald Specter 36: I Can’t Argue With Results

Shut the front door! Another column? What? Man, someone is on a roll… and that isn’t all I’m on a roll doing. Read on, be amazed, and I’ll be talking about how I achieved all this awesome.

Before I get too deep into this column, unless the ESPL question asked a column or two ago is overwhelming, I do not believe the ESPL will exist for a third season. I’ll finish the simulation for the whole season, releasing the final results in a post well before the final week would have debuted. Again, I’ve gotten no information as I write this yet, and I’m actually anticipating not having any feedback on the issue at all. It was, after all, just a side project, so it isn’t a complete loss.

By now, you should have gotten episodes 1 & 2 of the Specter Show. Yes, I did say the first episode would be released in January but a snafu on my end caused a delay. I recorded the second episode about two hours before I wrote this and I’m felling good about getting things moving in the right direction.

So, let’s tally all this up: I’m writing columns on a regular basis and I’m releasing the Specter Show on a schedule… add that to the Greatest Show being continued through a weekly (mostly) release, I think that things are starting to finally get going in a positive direction.

What makes this all possible? Bullet journal!

Yeah, you knew that was coming.

I have a schedule in that book and I’m trying to complete as much as I can in that journal on a daily basis. I’m dialing back how much I scheduled per day because I now understand there is a very definitive limit to how much I can realistically do, so that I can schedule appropriately and accomplish things rather than put the little notation next to my items that say incomplete or migrated.

One might believe that you will all be rolling your eyes, but I’m getting life on track. I’m accomplishing things on my list, I’m developing the website and getting things done around the house. I’d even go so far as to say that my wife would tell you that things have improved dramatically, too. The one thing I need to get better at is keeping up with the bullet journal daily maintenance (my coloring in of things that are done, how I spent my day, and getting a preview of tomorrow). Once I get that on track, things will really get better.

I have mentioned game-ifying the bullet journal… and haven’t done anything to work on that at all, but I do have some ideas on some of the basics. One thing I need to do is determine what kinds of things you can earn points for, allowing for a basic background story to be available to explore, as well as just earning points to buy things and characters. This game-ification might even get people who aren’t good storytellers get better at telling stories.

If you write up your daily activities, you get points. If you can accomplish at least one thing on your daily list, you get points… if you accomplish them all, you get more points. If you plan out and make improvements in how you journal, you get more points… and all these points will allow you to unlock things along the way. If you aren’t good at coming up with things to fill in with this game, I can give you what I’ll be using, but nothing is written down yet. I am going to be adding a list or two of things that I need to create this bullet journal game and as I develop my own life, the game will develop in my book. A side project within a side project that has turned out to be a very important part of the process.

What types of things am I going to be keeping track of in the bullet journal starting in February? Well, Bob (my first co-host on the Greatest Show) is keeping track of his daily weight, the weather for the day, and making little notes about things that happened during the day. I will be including all of those, as well as keeping analog track of my steps/miles walked each day and be figuring out what else I need to be able to look up for the future. What about keeping track of how long it took me to do my actual route each day I work? I’m also going to grab log in and log off times, just to be able to see if there is a pattern in how long or when I work.

Do you want video of what I’m doing in my journal? Do you want pointers on how your journal should be used for your own improvement? Do you want me to work on the game within the journal to give you more reason to start getting your own bullet journal started? Why wait on me? You can do this, too.

I haven’t talked much about my bullet journalling in the Specter Show and I don’t really think I want cross pollination of topics between this column and that show. I could literally just read the column and release the show like that, too, but then I’m taking away another outlet to do something interesting with the audio podcast. I’ve also been asked if I’m going to turn the Specter Show into a video podcast, a la the Greatest Show, and at present I have to plans to do that… but I won’t eliminate the possibility entirely. That would be a “way out in the future” situation.

Well, once again, the time has come to bring a column to an end. Once again I’ve referenced a great deal of my bullet journalling because that has helped me accomplish things. I won’t only talk about it, but you won’t stop hearing about it completely. The better I get, the more I support the idea of using it.

Think on it.

The Greatest Show 116: GSFS 6 – February Fallout

The Greatest Show Fight Series returns for the 8th installment! Join the fight fans in watching the following card:

Greatest Show World Championship
“Emerald Specter” DJ Allen (C) v. “Mystery” Kevin Couick 3

Greatest Show Women’s World Championship
“Silky” Tricia Allen (C) v. “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey

“Shotgun” Bob Miotto v. “Notorious” Conor McGregor
Bruce “The Dragon” Lee v. “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone
“Heavy Metal Jesus” Kevin Lama v. CM Punk
“El Presidente” Abraham Lincoln v. “The Apex” Red Baron

The Undercard:
“Iron” Mike Tyson v. Rampage Jackson
Amanda Nunes v. Lady Gaga
Confucius v. Rocky Balboa
“Cupcake” Meisha Tate v. Queen Elizabeth II
Mr. T v. Buffalo Saws

Watch the whole event here! Enjoy.

The Specter Show 003: Down In It

For the third edition of the Specter Show, DJ Allen (the Emerald Specter) brings you more talk about the space opera and the direction that is going.

And most importantly, DJ has figured out why the feed was getting zero interest and he corrected that to show everyone that there is a new podcast out and about… thank you BluBrry!

ESPL Week 6: Explosive Remarks

coveresplThe great round of action in week 6 is overshadowed… not by last week’s announcement, though that was in the minds of everyone around the ESPL, but by Patrick Barnes and his tirade after being tossed out of the match in front of all the ESPL media. There was great action on the pitch as well, as we turn things over to David Archer and Martin Thomas in the Week 6 review.


“There were three draws this week in some knock out, drag out action,” said David Archer, ESPL commentator. “The league leaders lost one of their lead players and the world heard all about it. Martin, where do you want to start this week?”

“I want to start with the game of the week,” said Martin Thomas, ESPL commentator. “Not only is the last match on the schedule for the week the spotlight game, but it proved to be the one everyone was interested in as we entered the final match of the weekend. Shazam CM punched through for seven total goals to Tardis’s two, giving Taoufik Belbani a hat trick and the statement of the week: Shazam is here to stay.”

“They really took their place as one of the clubs to beat if anyone wants to take the championship this season,” said Archer. “Honestly, I never doubted Shazam had the opportunities, I was just surprised they hadn’t capitalized like this sooner. They really are capable of this type of performance four out of every five matches.”

“Some players were distracted by the announcements made last week,” said Thomas. “Some were distracted by the enlargement of the league for season four, but there were more heads concerned that they would be playing women next season.”

“In fairness, Martin, there haven’t been a rash of signups for the ladies at this point,” said Archer. “I mean, those players who think that they’ll be shown up by the women are the ones who probably don’t understand that if they want to be considered the best, they have to be willing to play all comers. Just because the gender may be different doesn’t mean that the league will looked down upon.”

“I know we’re both avoiding the elephant in the room, so why don’t we hit that up?”

“Martin, the story of the week is undoubtedly Patrick Barnes. The Naval Armada forward has been boisterous, vocal, and he’s not shy about touting his own capabilities. The unfortunate part of what Barnes did this week, though, really may have hurt Armada’s chances of staying in the hunt for the championship.”

“Patrick Barnes had gotten a yellow card for a questionably vicious tackle early in the match against Allen FC,” said Thomas. “Normally, when a player obtains a yellow card, especially for something as questionably damaging as his tackle, the player takes a lighter approach to the match and rarely sees themselves getting into further card trouble. Not Barnes. Just after the 35th minute, Allen FC team captain Charles Alexander went towards the goal for a shot, Barnes not only knocked him over but stepped on the opponent while he was down, really causing some concern on the pitch from both clubs. Barnes received a straight red card, though a yellow would have done the job, and the ESPL has imposed a six week ban for Barnes’s actions on the pitch. He was vocal at the media conference after the match.”

“This is a bunch of sh–,” said Patrick Barnes at the media. “I’m targeted because I’m a f–king awesome player. Chuck had no damn business flopping down like he did and if you look at the G—–mned replay, you’ll see he blatantly grabbed my foot and pulled it into his chest. This league needs to be more diligent if we want to show the f–king world we deserve to be considered among the best. The officiating squad out there is a bunch of whipped p—ies and they couldn’t hold my jock strap. There isn’t a one of those f–king jack wagons that has a hint of talent, which is why they’re tossing yellow and red cards around for a living. I’m being targeted. Targeted. This is a bunch of sh–!”

“The ESPL had initially given Barnes the six week ban for stomping on Charles Alexander,” said Archer. “They extended that to ten weeks after Barnes’s tirade towards the media.”

“We have no place for that kind of verbal assault in the ESPL,” said Thomas. “Barnes was clearly out of line. He claims Alexander grabbed his foot to ‘flop’ the injury, but we know that the incident resulted in Alexander having bruised ribs. He hasn’t been assessed for play in week seven but to have that kind of medical results from something like that, you can’t really claim you’ve been targeted.”

“Part of the reason that Celtic let Barnes go without a bidding war was exactly this type of hot headed play,” said Archer. “There could have been something of a bidding war for Barnes but Celtic put up a paltry number compared to what Armada offered. I wouldn’t be surprised if Armada starts trying to shop Barnes’s contract to see if they can recuperate some of their investment.”

“Barnes is a talented player, but in comparison to Khan Galaxy, who is considered the best player in this league as far as talent goes, he’s barely in the same conversation. Galaxy’s anguish when the card came out was really the image of the week in my opinion.”

“Khan Galaxy was asked to speak in front of the media, too, and he declined. The coaching staff of Naval Armada wanted to keep others off the microphones after Barnes went rogue like he did.”

“Six match ban to a ten match ban. Simply unbelievable.”

“We should finish up the week’s review by pointing out we had three draws this week, Gothica reclaimed sole possession of the top spot in the league, and the second place is really a four club race between Naval Armada, Shazam CM, Emerald United, and Shamrock Celtic. While Celtic is two points farther behind than the other three clubs, they’re still a contender.”

“I wonder if Armada is going to show some cracks on the pitch next week in the absence of Patrick Barnes?”

“Time will tell, Martin. For the ESPL week in review, I’m David Archer.”

“And I’m Martin Thomas. We shall see you next week.”