Tag Archives: Premier League

Everything about the professional football league that comes from England.

Journal of the Emerald Specter 71: Bring on the New Year

Shut your mouth, it’s 2018!

Yeah, yeah… I know, “hey DJ, you probably wrote this last year and we are only just seeing it now.” Well, that is true… but I’m a lot closer to the actual release date than previous articles have been over the course of December, so I’m nearly real time.

But enough talking to myself, it’s time to look at a “New Year’s roundup” of sorts.

So, it’s time to start thinking about the BuJoRPG again. I’ve been overwhelmed over the course of the last two months and haven’t had a chance to put any effort into the bullet journal at all… like, I mean if I was bullet journaling steadily all year I wouldn’t have a single entry for November or December.

Work hurts.

When I last left off from working on the system, I was deep into creating a map for one to explore a “storyline,” more information on the “Jade Realm” that I’d pseudo-created for the BuJoRPG. Well, having had a chance to really give that a thought over the last couple of months, maybe I want to step back from world building to actually just build the basics. I’m reevaluating the approach, and I’m not starting over, I’m just going to hold off on the world building part. BuJoRPG2 may see some upgrades, slight rewrites, or things of that nature… but I’m going to be working on it again.

Speaking of bullet journaling, I wanted to start a new journal for 2018 and I had previously wanted to power through my original journal before I did that, but I’ve decided to use that journal as a testing ground for the BuJoRPG stuff and just start a new journal entirely. On January 1, 2018, I will have started the new year with an attempt to get re-organized and hopefully that leads me to a better chance at 365 days of journaling.

This month, the inaugural “basho” begins for the year as the Emerald Specter 2018 Winter Basho kicks off as previously announced. As I write this, there are four competitors out of 12 that will be participating in the event and I’m hoping that the rest of them jump on board before the actual kick off day.

The time controls are one move per day, which is as fast as I can guarantee I’ll personally be able to play. With my working schedule, several life unknowns, and just not really wanting to tie the event down to a single day or something like that, I’m hoping that the play is fast enough to ramp up the basho schedule from four to six for 2019, though we’ll see how this all actually plays out.

Realistically, I’m anticipating half of the players in the 2018 Winter Basho to not participate in future bashos. While I’d love to believe that the gimmick of chess crossed with sumo is enough to bring back people to compete for the “titles” that are involved, I’m enough of a realist to understand that to build a steady “roster” of players, this is probably going to be a two year plan. Some people will get it right away, some will pop in and check it out before deciding it isn’t for them.

This is one of those years where I haven’t payed as much attention to the NFL as I have previously. There have been years where I’d watch all three games on TV on Sunday, then watch the Monday game and when it was available, the Thursday and Saturday games.

This year? Pfff… I can’t tell you how many Sunday mornings I’ve woken up and just didn’t realize football was on TV. Hell, there have been days where my wife and I went out to eat and the only reason I knew I’d missed football is because it was on in the restaurant.

I’m mentioning this specifically as an NFL subject, but I’ve also slacked on watching the Premier League and the MLS, too, as 2017 hasn’t been a good “sports year” for me.

In 2001, I made a spreadsheet that was able to track the “picks league” I’d run for the people I worked with. The NFL schedule came out and I went to work ensuring that you could just input the scores of the games on the appropriate sheet and everything would update automatically. You could track up to 20 people in this league making the selections and while the coding of the spreadsheet was a little time consuming, I really enjoyed making it.

I’ve only made one similar since that year. When the 2018-2019 NFL schedule comes out, I plan on doing that again. I’m not sure I’m going to include places for people to keep track of their picks but if I build the basic sheet, I’ll be happy enough with myself.

Sticking with sports, the UFC has had a damn good year in 2017. I’m looking forward to seeing what they have in store for 2018, too, as I’m going to start watching more of the events that I’m interested in seeing. I’m a big fan of the women and would guarantee to see the “lady fights” that were on whenever they were on but 2017 didn’t really let me get into UFC as much as I’d wanted.

Going out to watch UFC is something of a problem, as nearly all the bars and restaurants in the area that show the fights are packed to the hilt and have waiting lines out the door. Watching the fights at home is a costly endeavor, too, but if I can find out who at work likes to watch the UFC and is willing to split the cost, I’ll order the fights and none of us will take a giant hit on the price.

Yeah, I know that isn’t how the UFC intends these things to be watched, but we’re still paying to watch the fight and the groups aren’t going to be bigger than five or six people, so it isn’t like I’m hosting a public showing.

The last month or so, you’ve been treated to the “resurrecting old IPs” columns for possible future solo RPG adventuring. I’d even gone so far as to say I was going with my “Tron” idea and started figuring out what system I was going to use…

Then the holiday rush started and everything went to the back burner. EVERYTHING.

Well, if I’d have started RPing that scenario back in November or December, I might be supercharged to keep on with that storyline until some sort of “break” or “conclusion” came along… but since I haven’t even gotten to start the thing, I’m deciding whether I want to use another scenario or just move forward with the Tron one. Finding others to play with has forced me into using solo RPG as the only option I have.

Hey, DJ, what about the last column? You mentioned building some sort of fleet?

Yes, I did, and I’m glad you mentioned that.

Right along side working on the BuJoRPG2, I’m also going to be writing articles for the new fleet. The world that I’m creating does need some explanation and these articles can basically be used as the “training” for anyone wanting to play in the fleet.

Things I need to write up (generally speaking): biological information on the available and known species, a brief history of the planet from which the protagonists hail, how space travel works in this fleet, cultural backgrounds of the different nations on the planet, military structure, and basic things like how to run a SIM.

There is a lot to write and I’m really the only one that can write them up. I’ve got someone lined up to help design starships for the graphics side of things and with any luck, they won’t all look like a single person designed them (similar to what Star Trek ships look like).

I’ve attempted to write prose for a long time. There have been many, many false starts, and even fewer endings. The sad thing is that the “space series” short stories that I used to write are all in the past and I’ve seemed to have lost the ability to keep doing that sort of thing. So, I’m going to give myself a year to accomplish a goal that, if I don’t actually start doing it, I’ll never do.

I’m going to write a single issue, 22 page story, comic book script.

Not only am I going to write 22 pages of comic script, I’m going to then draw the damn thing, ink it, color it, and see how long the whole process takes me. There is no illusion that I can get this task done to completion in a single month, but if I’m going to write the script I want to see the end result.

I’ve talked about, pined over, and romanticized creating comic books since I started collecting them way back in 1987. There were six issues of a homemade comic that I made that have long since been lost that I even made, though I would tell you right now that they are horrible and the stories wouldn’t hold up at all under any scrutiny.

If I don’t do this in 2018, then I cam put that dream away and forget about ever doing it because talk is cheap and I’m tired of not doing anything about it.

The whole goal is to finish this project in 365 days, have a finished product by the end of 2018. I think that is a realistic goal and I’m hoping that it will inspire me to make more if I can complete one.

Wouldn’t that be great?

I’ve seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi. There has been both super positive and super negative reaction to it, and I’d like to throw my two cents in as well.

“Old school” fans will proclaim from the mountain tops that the Original Trilogy (or OT) is really the only Star Wars there is, claiming it to be untouchable for its greatness. The majority of these fans are over the age of 40.

The younger generation of fans, the ones that grew up during the Prequel Trilogy (or PT) are the ones who understand that the OT is good but really love the PT and hold that as the standard to which Star Wars should strive.

We also have a few fans out there that like all of the saga, none of one of the trilogies aforementioned, and there are even still more with other variations of likes and dislikes.

The OT fans that hold up that trilogy as the best profess to wanting more stories with those characters and we are getting that with this Sequel Trilogy (or ST), but things aren’t working out exactly as they’d hoped. The OT super fans are also the ones primarily upset over the loss of the Expanded Universe (EU) that was turned into “Legends” by Disney after the purchase of Lucasfilm.

When Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released in theaters, OT fans initially went orgasmic because they could now ignore the prequels entirely and just focus on moving “forward.” Well, you either seem to really like TFA or really dislike TFA, I haven’t really seen any “in between.” The movie was basically an entire “fan wank” rehash of the OT condensed into a single movie. Yes, there are redeeming bits and interesting beats in the movie, too, but overall, it’s the OT retold in a single movie.

Now that TLJ (The Last Jedi) has taken us into new territory, officially, the OT fans are crying super hard that this new movie isn’t their Star Wars. I have mentioned in some Facebook posts that I felt the movie didn’t really feel like Star Wars but I accept that things need to change in order to not continuously rehash the same story over and over again.

My question to the PT haters has always been: how can you hate half of something and claim to be a fan of it?

If I rank the Star Wars movies, and I’ve done this before TLJ came out, I’d have a different order if I included the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story into the mix… I don’t normally add that one because it’s not a numbered episode, so after putting thought into what I really think about TLJ, the order I’d rank the films in the saga are as follows:

  1. Star Wars: The Revenge of the Sith
  2. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
  3. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  4. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
  5. Star Wars: A New Hope
  6. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  7. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
  8. Star Wars: Attack of the Clones

With a prequel toping the list, I can feel (through the Force) millions of “fans” cry out in agony. RotS is a superior movie, although the film suffers a little from some lumps, it isn’t as “hole filled” or terrible as the OT people want to make it out to be…

I’d probably slot Rogue One right behind The Last Jedi if you made me add it to the list… but since I’m not going to rank the Solo film (as I have zero interest in it) or a Boba Fett film (as I also have zero interest… and as an aside, the character did literally jack shit on screen and he’s super popular? Why? He has literally done nothing to warrant the popularity), I leave Rogue One off that list as well.

When George Lucas made the prequels, the OT fans cried that he ruined their childhood. Those same fans rejoiced at the purchase by Disney, leaving GL out of the mix entirely… and now they’re crying about the fact that Disney is actually doing something interesting, albeit not what they wanted, with the franchise.

You can’t hate and love the creator simultaneously. Pick one.

Star Wars has a bright future. Rian Johnson was given the green light to have his own trilogy, divorced from the Skywalker saga entirely. What have I heard fans think the new trilogy will be about?

  • Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • Mandalorians
  • Knights of the Old Republic

Really? These are completely divorced from the Saga? I don’t think so, McFly.

The key words are “divorced from” and people are having a hard time grasping that concept.

I want to end this segment by boiling down a little 411 for the kids reading this: Luke Skywalker, son of Anakin Skywalker, with R2D2 and C3PO, are what the Saga is about. This links them to Rey, Kylo Ren, Snoke, Darth Vader, Darth Sidious (Emperor Palpatine), Padme Amidala, Chewbacca, Yoda, Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo, Leia Organa, Lando Calrissian, Admiral Ackbar, Mon Mothma, Jabba the Hutt, Biggs, Wedge, Mace Windu, BB8, and more characters than I can continue to name before I have to start looking them up… If Rian Johnson is going to tell a trilogy that is original and new, then there can be no connection to these characters aside from a passing mention.

Speculation ran rampant about Rey’s parentage and it comes down to the fact she’s a nobody. Why does everyone in the galaxy, read GALAXY, have to be related? Let’s do something new, something different, and let’s stop living in the past.

Nostalgia is for people who don’t know how to move forward.

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.

World Football 1

This was posted… should have been scheduled.  Ooops.  It’s only 3 days early.

Sure, I let the first “World Football” just be a generic post… but now I get to make them into a column.  Why not, right?  Better graphics will eventually come, of course, but this one will do for now.

By the time you read this post, the Barclay’s Premier League “early” games will have already completed.  That means that Manchester United hosting Swansea City will have already ended with what I’m predicting to be a 3-0 result.  Manchester United is my team, yes, but I don’t think that Swansea City has what it takes to hold MU down.

For the season as a whole, I’m thinking that the top five will be Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea,   Liverpool, and Manchester City.  Is that a safe bet?  Sure… but those aren’t in the particular order I think they’ll finish.  I won’t put them in a particular order, yet, but I do want to talk a little bit about the season as a whole.

Last season was tough for Manchester United fans.  We “sucked it up” a bit on the pitch and I can’t say that I was entirely surprised by the whole scenario.  I wasn’t all that confident we’d do well without Sir Alex and I was proven right.  Part of the problem was that no matter was Moyes did, he would not be able to do enough.  NEVER follow THE guy, because you’ll never live up to expectations.

Now, Moyes was worse than I expected he’d be and I’m glad he got the boot already.  We shall see if  van Gaal can do any better.  I sort of shut down in the middle of last season and I’m just starting to wake back up so I can’t say as I know much about van Gaal, but I’ll be interested to catch whatever matches I can catch.  I won’t, however, be watching Manchester United at 6 in the morning… mainly because I’d have nowhere to watch it.

In the end, I follow many teams in many leagues… because if I’m going to be stuck somewhere and there is soccer on, at least I can root for someone.  I like Celtic, Barcelona, River Plate, Dortmund, DC United (and soon Portland Timbers)… there are more but I don’t want to list every team because I honestly don’t know if I could.  In the end, if Manchester United is playing, I’m watching them.

Here’s hoping to a winning season!