Monday, November 15, 2010

Blood like my chardonnay: chilled

I was reading "Early August" by Robert B Parker.  The main character, Spenser, is reading a book throughout the novel.  The book is "A Distant Mirror" by Barbara Tuchman.  "A Distant Mirror" was used as the basis for all of the background in The Seventh Seal.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Recap and New Challenge

Final count

Nils: 100, Nicole 83 in 363 days.

And in other news I've signed up for the 2011 MDI Marathon.  It's scheduled to be held at 8AM on October 16th, 2011 so I have tons of time to train but I'm going for a finish under four and a half hours.  I've never raced anything longer than 5 miles and never run longer than 16 at once (back in college) so this will be a good test.  Instead of a h2h counter I'll be posting a training mileage counter which will start at 0 and then just add up until race day.  Any guesses for the total mileage?  I'm thinking it'll be close to 1500 over the course of the next 11 months as I'd like to start slowly (at around 15-20 miles/week) and then build up to more like 70-80 before I start to taper.  This is all premature of course; I could probably start training in July of next year and be fine to finish it.  I'm going to work on some other challenges in the meantime as well and I'll just pepper in training updates as I go.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Greece was awesome

But now I need suggestions for a new challenge.  Something epic but not completely retarded would be nice.  I'm thinking either a marathon or trying to memorize pi to 100 decimal places or something.

Monday, October 18, 2010


This may be proof that Portland, Maine is indeed a finer city that Cleveland, Ohio...I mean it was almost too easy to get ahead in Cleveland...

Proud loser

uuuhhhh so I threw in the towel, the summer became hectic and the viewings became less of a priority. I hold confident that I would have finished viewing groundhog's day 100 times had I kept the momentum from the start, but after the move, the new job, my cousin's wedding, and planning for the future, seeing Bill Murray shove angelfood cake in his mouth once more made me nauseous.
I'm proud and impressed with Nils for his accomplishments, all of them. He stuck to his guns and truly seemed to love the competition it's sad to see him bid farewell to a friend.

His prize? Crete. Nils and I depart on Wednesday for the island of Crete for 10 days...10 days of sun, warmth, and ocean breezes...something opposite both of the movies we've been strapped to for 100 days. I won't lie, I'm mildly disappointed I couldn't complete the challenge, and I'm sure Nils is mildly disappointed as well.

But there will be other challenges, competitions in the future...this I guarantee. I will also guarantee victory too (by myself that is).

100 - "So you know nothing?"

"I am unknowing."

I lack the faculty to fully express my emotions right now.  I have experienced something magical, birthed something metaphysical and have persevered to an incredible triumph.  I have taken something common and forged it into something never before done on this world.  I have been part of something truly great in the old sense of the world, and I will never forget this moment.  161 hours and 40 minutes, the equivalent of over six straight days of viewing, and now I have finished.  Bengt, Max, Gunnar, Bibi, Nils, Ake, Anders, Maude, Inga, Erik, and most of all Ingmar, I thank you.  I will forever more think of you as family, and I will visit you always.

99 down - "And will you now reveal your secrets to me?"

I have no secrets.


-just died for the 99th time.  He's getting REALLY good at it.


On to 99, and the promise of oblivion...

Aaand man is mortal

I should have listened to Death.  After 3 hours of sleep just almost fainted running an errand.  Is this the end, or the beginning?


Not my temperature, but instead where I finally called it quits last night.  It's tough to say that I had any new insights because I was so tired and things were blurring a bit.  One thing that's become increasingly frustrating though is the differences in the translations between copies.  A simple line will be translated three or even four different ways depending on whether it's the dub, the Criterion subtitle, the Netflix dub or the Netflix subtitle.  They're not even small differences either.  Oh well...after tonight it'll all be moot.  That's right.  One night to rule them all.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I've decided to drink my way through.  Not the best plan for an ordinary Sunday night, but I fly to Greece Wednesday morning so I can afford to try and power through.


Where am I?


Had to take a nap.  I think I'll go for 96 and then have dinner.


Just made it through.  S bored...


Break for Pats football

92 down

About 35min into #93.  One thing I noticed in 92 was that Block doesn't respond to the return of Raval at the end of the film.  Instead, he actually turns his head away once the dying seminarist's screams first become audible.  I've got to think that Bergman has the knight react this way because, by this point in the film, he interprets any type of bad omen as the fulfillment of Death's promise to return and finish their game.  He's resigned, beaten down by what he experienced during the death of the witch, and his subsequent conversation with Death there.  When he hears Raval's screams, he doesn't need to react because he's already dead.  His last-ditch attempt to cheat is not for him, but for Joff, Mia and Michael, and is the only charitable act he makes in the film.*

* Jons is the one that saves Joff.  Jons is the one that saves the MG.  Jons is the one that helps Plog against Skat.  Jons is the one that wants to fight the soldiers to save the witch.  It's some of the most telling irony in the film that the man who doesn't believe in God is the one that is constantly performing good deeds, while it's the man who desperately wants to be faithful that is so consumed by doubt that he's become paralyzed and unable to act.  Bergman was a notable Atheist and it's been said that he based the character of Jons on his own beliefs.  That's very evident throughout the film.

89, 90, 91

Working on 92 right now.  Short is my day, as Skat would say.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Again barely made it through.  It's going to require a serious effort to make it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Barely made it through this one.  Right around Karin's introduction I was touch-and-go and had to do some jumping jacks to stay away.  13 left with 8 full days to's going to be very very close.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Weekend of Doom. DOOM!

83,84,85,86 done.  I'm starting 87 right now and hopefully will be able to take a break before I power through at least one more today.  I'm wondering if Bergman is watching me watch him work.  I've also decided that I only need 7 people and 4 settings to recreate the entire film.  I think I can cast it just from my friends in the area; the tricky part is finding a small village (I could get away with 3 buildings I think) that I could shoot some scenes in.  I'd love to use a throwback town but I doubt that they'd let me film there.  Any suggestions?

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Not finished yet, had to pause it at the 1:11 mark (right when Skat stabs himself with the false knife to escape Plog) so I could go to bed.  According to Cole she watched all of her #83 yesterday morning so she's ahead by about half an hour.  Hopefully I can finish 83 and get 84 in tonight but playoff baseball is REALLY hard to resist.  Go Twins!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

81 & 82

I had a dream last night.  Joff was talking to me in the voice of the witch.  He said: "I'm beginning to see you."

I think I'm starting to get delirious again...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I'm in serious Jeopardy here...only half-finished #81 this past weekend and now have more viewings than days remaining.  Tonight I have to try and finish #81 and then squeeze in #82 to give myself a fighting chance.  If I can get down to 10 or so left by the long Columbus Day weekend it'll be a victory.  I have to power through.

Friday, October 1, 2010


For some reason, and I haven't fully digested it yet, this viewing was absolutely hilarious.  I wasn't drunk or sleep-deprived but I literally busted out laughing at LEAST 7-8 times.  No clue why.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


I started 80 as well and ended up having a really fun dialogue with my brother on whether the specific chess pieces could represent players in the film.  I don't think that we could completely tie them together, but I did find it interesting that the viewer only sees Death capture two of the knight's pieces and both of those pieces CAN be tied directly to the plot.

First we see Death capture Block's rook, or "knight" in the field of milk and strawberries.  The Rook is an obvious avatar for Block, and when Death captures that piece we get the sense that Death is trying to show that Block cannot escape him.  It's a fun scene because Block has for the first time in the film achieved a sense of inner peace and contentment, spurred on by his nostalgia and the idyllic family of Joff, Mia and Michael.  Indeed, when his knight is captured Block laughs because he's tricked Death into a trap whereby he has him in check.  In a sense, he's checked his own fear of dying by reveling in memories of his youthful love.  Only when Death intimates that he's also after Michael does Block lose this peace, and succumb again to tortured despair.

The second, and last time we see Block lose a piece to Death is probably the darkest point in the movie, both emotionally and literally.  The group has just seen the witch be burned alive and Raval give up his ghost as a result of catching the plague.  There is a sense, as even Jons notices, of unearthly anticipation, as if something terrible is about to happen.  Death, upon appearing, immediately captures Block's queen.  This part I found can be interpreted two ways.  One, that Death is striking his final psychological blow against Block, and trying to show prove his inability to protect himself and his companions, or Two: Death is foreshadowing that the knight's wife, Karin, is also doomed.  I'm not sure which is a better message to be honest.  I like them both, and I think both add to the background sense of desperation that justifies Block's act of knocking his pieces to the ground to stall Death's inevitable victory.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

i haven't thrown in the towel just yet...i may or may have not gotten in one more viewing today...i want to kill myself, but i did it. sorry nils...
i don't know if i'll make it, but it's a true race now...instead of a blowout victory by myself.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

78 done

Nothing really noteworthy here, just plugging away.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Crux, no, not a Harry Potter post

Nicole recently told me, flat out, that she has no interest in reaching 100 viewings of GHD.  She never really got back into the flow of watching it after the long hiatus and even though she's 19 viewings away with 27 days left has decided to throw in the towel and concede the (presumed, as she's still technically sitting ahead of me) victory.

Initially I was disappointed because it was a really strange thing that we'd been able to share for almost a year.  We'd gone from great friends to a couple, and though I can't give all of the credit to Antonius Block and Phil Connors, I think they deserve some at least.  I'm still intending to finish my 100 but I think I've started to already look back on the competition with fondness, not only for how it changed me but how I've changed in general over the course of the last 11 months, accompanied by a conflicted knight and his jaded squire.  When I see copies of The Seventh Seal in movie stores I don't exclaim "Hey!  I know that movie!" but instead it's a slow smile as if I was greeting a forgotten friend, and a slew of memories from a time when I dared to be stupid.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Starting 78 - Am I Joff or Raval?

With Cole suffering from a head cold and unable to watch Groundhog Day as she catches up on sleep, I'm feeling pangs of guilt as I forge ahead to try and catch her this week.  Am I Raval, who steals from the dead and attempts to take advantage of those less fortunate?  Does this mean that I'll die of the plague?  Then again, Joff indirectly steals from the dead when he purloins the "solid silver" bracelet from Raval later on.  If I'm the underdog as opposed to the bully does it mitigate or even absolve my actions?  I'm thinking that I should be extra nice to Cole regardless.  Either she gets better and finishes strong with me, or appreciates the kindness enough to let it slide that I've snuck in 3 viewings while she's gotten in none.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Sneak attack Cole.  Straight trippin.

Sing a ling

Jons sings about death and sex while Joff sings about religious holidays.  Not so subtle here, Ingmar...

I was also watching the performance by Joff, Mia and Skat in the town near Elsinore and caught the joke again.  The first song that they play has Skat (dressed as a rooster, or "cock") seducing Mia away from her husband Joff, who is thus crowned with a cuckold's horns.  Of course then the next scene is Skat seducing Lisa, who thus cuckolds her husband Plogg.  The irony is not lost here.  The really interesting part is that in the second song Joff and Mia sing about Death celebrating a victory.  That could really be perceived as Death making an appearance in the story, summoned if you will by Skat and Lisa's indiscretion.  Visited by Death in this way, and unable to postpone his Death by way of a game of chess as Block had done, Skat is then the first to die.  Lisa is saved, at least momentarily, because she travels with Block and the virtuous actors.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Sea Eagle, and 76

By showing a sea eagle at the start of the film is Bergman trying to foreshadow the appearance of Death, to portray him as a predator, stalking Antonius Block and his squire?  Peter Cowie's audio commentary describes the eagle "floating balefully" so there's definitely a negative connotation.  Too many questions.

Elin formerly Woods

That's who Bibi Andersson is reminding me of.  Oh, and 75 down.


Fries, skies, rise, eyes...


Honestly I think it was for a nice dinner.  Perhaps some milk and strawberries?  Or Angel-food cake eaten in one bite?
it's like i said, i love this film, i've seen it over 100 times


Okay so we're back. And I fear Nils has almost immediately entered into the dark world of the seventh seal.

i'm on 80, 81

Did we ever discuss a prize? It damn well be something pretty sweet because this blows.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The voice, and 75 starting

At the beginning of the movie the first lines are from The Revelations of St. John the Divine, a fact that we all know by this point.  However, watching the intro this time something struck me.  The voice that reads the lines, the only "narrator" that we have throughout the entire movie sounds remarkably similar to that of Bengt Ekarot, the actor that plays Death.  Could it be that the entire movie is a story set up by Death?  A parable of a sort, designed to advocate Joff's approach to life instead of Antonius Block's?  That would certainly put a slant on the story, and make it even more of an overt commentary on ethics than it already is.  Joff and Mia are already essentially caricatures of Joseph and Maria, the "adopted" parents of Christ (Abstinence!  99.99999% effective!).  If Bergman has framed T7S as a cautionary story told by Death it would blow my mind.  This question must be answered.


Bring da noise.  I'll bring da Bergman.

Some interesting points

A few points that have come up during viewing #74:

1) There are two visitations in the first two introductions of characters.  First, Death visits Antonius Block on the beach.  The second visitation, occurring just after Block and Jons pass by the caravan, is the Virgin Mary and the Christ child appearing to Joff.  Now I find this interesting because of the similarities and the differences in the visits, but more importantly in how the visits effect the viewers.

In both cases the visitations are of a supernatural origin, appearing out of thin air and surprising the viewer.  In both cases the revelation is made to a single male, and in both that male is in charge of others.  Interestingly enough both Block and Joff instantly accept the validity of what they've seen.  Neither doubt that they've been visited by a higher power.  The differences have much more import, and makes me wonder how much Bergman intended to craft his characters through the visits.  The visit of the Virgin Mary has puzzled me throughout my many viewings especially.    While Death appears several times and plays in integral part of the story, the Virgin Mary only appears once, and is not even mentioned again.  Also, while the Virgin Mary is silent Death speaks to Block, and perhaps that is why Block decides not to share his experience with his companion.  Joff of course immediately tells Mia what he's seen.  Now, are Block and Joff the chosen parties for their revelations because they have certain powers?  Remember that Joff is able to see Death when he visits Block for their final showdown at the chessboard.  If he had waited a few more minutes, would Block have been able to see the Virgin and precluded his internal doubt?  Would he have curried favor with God by sharing his experience with his squire?  Obviously the key differences between Joff and Block are their levels of faith and the fact that Joff and his family survive Death's visitation.  Is Joff's visitation a sign that his family is protected, or just that he has extra-sensory detection?  Death hints later on that he desires to kill the actor and his family.  Is he especially eager because he's been barred from them by God until they joined with Block's group?  There really are a lot of questions raised here.  I'll have to think abut them a bit more as I work my way to the finish.

2)  I think I've come up with a new "plague pattern".  At the start of the film Block is visited by Death, dooming him.  He then kicks Jons to wake him up, passing the plague to him.  Jons then touches both Raval and the Mute Girl, dooming them as well.  Raval touches Plogg, who then is patted on the back by Skat, and clutched at by Lisa.  This explains everyone and also explains why Joff, Mia, and Michael are spared as they never make direct physical contact with any of the affected party after they've been infected.  Of course the timeline doesn't quite work if the disease is linear, but that can be explained by variables in immune systems and personal hygiene. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Fear of the Past

We now await to see if the strategy has paid off.  Will the hare be able to finish as strongly as they started?  I've watched T7S exactly 4 times in the last 8 months, and now have 55 days to watch it 27 more times in order to fulfill the parameters of my challenge.  Secretly, in the dark, like some wet unspeakable horror, the urge to watch the knight Antonius Block is stirring, brushing its claws against the back of my brain.  It's been patient, waiting in in the dank recesses of my imagination.  But now, as I enter the final 7 weeks of the challenge...

...I feel something ancient and sinister begin to stir.

The Travelling Night, Part One

The TARDIS swung through the time vortex like it was on the end of a whip, pitching and yawing at incalculable speeds as it was cruelly yanked through the fabric of the universe like a knitting needle wielded by a furious grandmother.  Any resident of Earth, nay, any creature from the galaxies A-M in the Classification of Terrestrial, Aquatic, Mineral or Avian-based Life Forms/Hypocroxes  would have been torn apart in miliseconds, shredded by the tremendous G-forces being exerted upon this remarkable blue box that, up until now at least, showed zero effect from undergoing the equivalent of an atomic enema.  Gas-based life forms, of course, would be instantly dissipated or diffused as their axial particles re-aligned with the vortex tunnel.  Astral projections, to follow, would be quite unharmed and could easily have been enjoying a cup of tea as they kept pace alongside.  Sadly the TARDIS had not been properly stocked in some time and was fresh out of tea, though there were some bags of Fluvvian renth-dust, which if mixed with pepper, the tears of a mermaid and the light from one of the Golden Orbs of Verro’Xinth Gallia made a quite passable attempt at Earl Gray.  There were no astral projections on board this trip however, and if there were they much prefer human blood to Early Gray because of the vitamins.

For a Time Lord the physical ramifications of being ripped through time and space by a power outside of him or herself was rather unique.  It was like being poked quite sternly with an index finger right over the left temple, right over the left eye socket and a little further to the left.  It wasn’t life threatening in the least, but once Time Lords had discovered that they had the ability to regenerate themselves after suffering a mortal wound many killed themselves rather that experience it for an extended period of time.  Extremely high tolerances for pain, do Time Lords have, but very little patience and zero capacity for being poked, especially sternly.

The Time Lord that was the current resident of the TARDIS, or Time And Relative Dimension In Space, gahh, and praise be to the Head of Bowe for that time-saving acronym, was the paragon of that rare quality of patience amongst his kind.  An extremely dapper man, thin as one of those aforementioned tea biscuits and with a sense of humor twice as crunchy, I mean dry, he had put up with the sensation if being poked in his left temple for nearly ten minutes, and aside from his left hand, which increasingly kept making independent advances towards the sonic screwdriver and it’s “Kill” setting on the bench was doing admirably.

“That’s quite enough, you,” he tittered as he cast a frown at the offending limb:  “Arm and I simply won’t back your plans, and this side of my body in an oligarchy so you can’t do anything about it unless you want to register a complaint.”  The hand stopped in its attempts and turned around to beseech his left leg in attempt at a coup.  The Time Lord, called “Hey you!” by some, and “You there!” by others nodded triumphantly as his leg remained impassive and immobile.  “That’s right.  You’ll have to stay alive with the rest of us while we figure out exactly what’s happening here.”  His hand made a rude gesture and he laughed.  Just then his head was tapped again and he stopped in annoyance.  Never one to let circumstances get the best of him he deliberately and defiantly laughed laughed again for several seconds and ignored the tapping.  “Ha!  No space-time finger-poke warning can stop a good laugh,” he exclaimed as he grinned and looked around for applause.  There was only silence.  Well, silence and the several dozen alarm sirens that were currently going off as the structural integrity of the TARDIS was being peeled like a banana.  “I really need to get some new travel companions” he muttered to himself as he took several long strides to the bank of controls at the center of the ship.

The Time Lord, whose real name was [deleted by the Editor, so sod on you] lost his grin as he studied the readings from over one hundred varied and diverse instruments, all of which were at this point advocating that he should listen to his left hand and use his screwdriver to turn his brain into a bowl of cereal, or a pudding pop and escape this madness.  His brow furrowed and his lips pursed as he read, then suddenly he tapped his chin with one thin finger.  “I think,” he said, “that I need a pipe.”

A full minute later, sporting a fresh bow-tie and smoking Adalurrian bubble-gum out of a bamboo pipe the Time Lord returned and studied the readings again.  By this time his left hand had abdicated it’s seat on the oligarchy of his side of the body and fled to the right side, where it sat uncomfortably in his right pants pocket and made bending over and standing up straight extremely difficult.  He couldn’t quite blame his hand, the readings were exceptionally bad.  Whatever force had ripped his ship from the placid orbit it had been in was extremely powerful, and worse, it was raw and unrefined.  He’d run into technologies, and even individuals with the ability to affect his beloved ship, but they were generally defined by a level of precision and delicacy that was missing here.  Instead of snatching the TARDIS, and the Time Lord within, this raging pulse was just as likely to destroy it’s target.  The Time Lord puffed on his pipe, not noticing that it had gone out, and decided to take a nap.  From what he could see there was nothing that he could do from within the ship that would allow him to escape the energy beam, and additionally no way that he could see how to determine where, or whom it originated from.  He would simply have to wait and see if the TARDIS would survive the journey, and deal with whatever the situation might be when the time came.  Furthermore, he hadn’t slept in what was now just over seventy-four years and was beginning to become nostalgic about it.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

78 79

Got the disk back...actually borrowing nils'
he's right the movie thrill is done, the competition has lost all meaning and luster...hopefully this doesn't reflect upon our friendship.
so bored.
80 will be non climatic.
It's like a big ol' monkey on my back like a giant hairless monkey that nobody loves and no one is sure why it exists, but it's there. gross.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Grind grind.  Actual chess against Death would be more exciting.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Working on 71 tonight.  I have to say, it kind of feels like the magic is gone a bit from the competition.  I know the movie sooooooooooo well at this point.  There's nothing new to learn, I just grind out each viewing.  I think I might need to do a drunken marathon this weekend to rev my engine back up.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Finished #70 last night but I'm stalled behind Cole while she gets a replacement disk (I have one but I'm totally not going to let her use it).

Technical Difficulties

Sorry folks...just as we near the home stretch...while viewing number 78 with my cousin and her fiancé, the last 4 minutes started skipping, and while they were in awe of my abilities to recite the last four minutes verbatim, the disk is broken...the competition is stalled once again.

More soon.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Nearing the home stretch

Nicole's over 3/4 of the way home and I've got some catching up to do.  Watching #70 on the bus to Damariscotta right now (the other option was The Wedding Planner) and hopefully #71-75 tonight and tomorrow.  I'm anticipating some support from Nicole's relatives helping me to catch up tonight, and I should be helped out by the weather, which should be cold enough that it will force us to stay inside.

Took a short break last night to watch Horrors of Spider Island (aka It's Hot in Paradise) and I highly recommend it if you like terrible, terrible movies.  Otherwise avoid it.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


In southern lands there are creatures that are called the ape.


I feel nauseous. Physically ill.
I'm out of my gourd, like Phil was out of his gourd....
I've come to the end of me, there's no way out, just remember we had a beautiful day together.
he just smiled at me, did you see that? i believe he did.
hey there mister, something i can do you for?
quick get the word out somebody kidnapped phil, we're going after him
why would anyone steal a groundhog
i can think of a couple of reasons, pervert.
insert crap music, fake car chase sounds, bad 80s background
he must have just snapped
this outta be good,
why can he be thinking?
not bad for a quadraped, side of your eye
hey they're chasing us
make it fun
don't drive angry, don't drive angry...

i'm worried.


It's scary how easily the flow of the movie came back to me.  By Jons' conversation with the painter I was reciting lines along with the characters in Swedish, and I greeted each actor by their real name every time they appeared on screen.  It's still frustrating that the commentator Peter Cowie states that all of the characters are framed in the shot where Plogg confronts Jonas Skat when Antonius Block is clearly not pictured.  I may not catch Cole tonight, but I can feel the familiar thrill of The Seventh Seal overcoming me again.

73, 74....

Here's what I have to say. It frightens me that I think it's sweet how he doesn't give up on her...either there's a softer side to Cole, or...well I don't want to consider the alternative. Bonus viewings this weekend, while visiting with family we'll be watching the movie since they've declared it to be one of their favorites. I hope to watch 75 before work today, 76 tonight when i get in from work, 77, 78, and 79 before i leave for Dams, then 80 on the bus, 81 with the uncle and cousin. go team cole.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


the music is haunting...i commence 72

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Preliminary Keeper 2010 Draft Recap Column

I'm still waiting for answers from some of the teams but I thought that I'd post up what I had so far.  Pictures and hiLARIOUS insight to follow.

2010 Fantasy Baseball Keeper Draft Recap:

Standard 5x5 scoring, 6 keepers, with the new managers picking first and third.

Draft Order:
FZeros (my team)
Canadian Animals
The Guinypigs
Bad News Bodie
Polish Sausage
Emerson Tigers
Flushing Johns
Tuscaloosa Dumplings
The Schwartz

Savage (Last years finish: 12, kept Justin Morneau, Victor Martinez, Brian Roberts, Aramis Ramirez, Carl Crawford, Chris Carpenter)

FZeroes (Last years finish: 11, kept Chase Utley, Jose Reyes, Ryan Zimmerman, Jon Lester, Ben Zobrist, Yovani Gallardo)
Did you have a specific strategy going into the draft, and if so what was it?
My draft strategy this year really stemmed from my offseason trade with Tuscaloosa Dumplings and from my draft position near the top, a result of a massive second-half collapse last season.  I knew that, though I needed a first baseman who could at least approach Ryan Howard’s power numbers, there were enough being kept by other teams that the talent pool at that position was actually quite deep.  I knew that at least one of Kendry Morales, Billy Butler, Mark Reynolds, Derek Lee, Chris Davis or Adam Dunn would make it back to me for my second round pick, and so I could take advantage of picking second overall to work on another position.  Keeping Ben Zobrist over Nick Markakis also meant that I didn’t need to reach for a replacement shortstop to cover for Jose Reyes dealing with thyroid issues early on in the season.  By the draft time I’d narrowed my pick down to either Matt Wieters (clearly the best catcher available, and an excellent keeper prospect) or Josh Johnson (who would enhance my already formidable pitching staff and compensate for a high whip from Gallardo if he didn’t take the next step forward.  I decided that I would go for Wieters, then either a starter or first baseman in the second round, followed by the opposite in the third round after the quick turn.  I also had some “pet players” like Carlos Gonzalez and Jorge De la Rosa that I wanted to make sure I got, in about rounds 10-11.  I really wanted to target strikeout pitchers, and no more than 5 starters as I’ve had problems controlling my innings in years past.

Do you think that you were able to implement it successfully?
Yes, I took Wieters, then had Derek Lee, Adam Dunn and Chris Davis available at pick #22.  I’d really wanted Billy Butler but The Schwartz snagged him fairly early in the second round and I went with the first baseman with the next highest batting average and RBI totals from last season so I could afford to draft some high-power, low-average outfielders later on if I needed to.  I also got my starting pitcher in the form of Jorge De la Rosa, and managed to snag Carlos Gonzalez a round later.  I did have one problem in the middle rounds where my internet connection went and my team was forced to autopick, but I ended up with Jay Bruce, who although I think I could have gotten him later than round 15 isn’t an altogether terrible pick considering that I needed an outfielder there and I really think that he hits between 30 and 35 home runs.  I stuck right at my 5-6 starter cap, and picked up some very high-upside players like Cameron Maybin, Kyle Blanks and Nolam Reimhold to fill up my bench, as well as Rajai Davis, who I’m extremely high on and will keep me respectable in steals if Reyes misses much time.

Who do you feel were the reaches of the draft for your team?  For the league?
I think that Jay Bruce was probably a reach, and if this wasn’t a keeper league Matt Wieters is a terrible pick where I took him, but really I like the value I got per round, and honestly I don’t pay too much attention to ADP as I don’t know the other managers in this league much and was willing to take players higher than their listed ADP just to ensure that I got the players that I wanted.

For the league I generally think that the draft went well, although as usual I thought that it overvalued younger, unproven players.  Steven Strasburg will have very little value this season I think, and even though Buster Posey will be great in 3-4 years I think that he really could have gone undrafted unless you knew that he had value as a trade chip.  Bobby Abreu could probably have waited a few rounds in my opinion as well as there were a LOT of good outfielders this season with much higher upsides, but then again if he reproduces last years’ results he’ll be worthy of that pick.

Who were your favorite picks for your own team?   For the league?
I really liked getting Carlos Gonzalez and Jorge De la Rosa where I got them as I think both finish in the top 100 players this season.  Ted Lilly I think was a complete steal where I got him in the 21st round; he’ll be a huge help in whip to offset some of my younger guys and still strikes out a respectable total.  Maz Scherzer I feel like dropped too far as well; he’ll have excellent strikeout totals and a superior defense behind him in Detroit compared to what he had last year.  I could easily see him topping 200Ks and winning 15 games.

For the league I thought that Josh Hamilton really slipped too far.  I was guilty of it myself, but I think that people were so afraid of his fragility that they kept passing over him for more dependable options and hoping that he’d slip to a level where he’d lose his risk, and by the time that happened he was just way cheaper than he ever should have been.  Especially with our deep benches he shouldn’t have fallen past the 10th round.  Kudos to Regulators for finding a potential 40 steal outfielder in the final round with Brett Gardiner also, and Colby Rasmus and Brad Penny were great high-upside picks near the end of the draft as well.

Canadian Animals (last years finish: 10th, kept Adrian Gonzalez, Ian Kinsler, Curtis Granderson, Nick Markakis, Dan Haren, Kevin Youkilis)
Did you have a specific strategy going into the draft, and if so what was it? 
Seeing as I had a good set of offensive keepers, I wanted to set a good base for my pitching staff early and then get some young, high upside bats to round out the offense. Do not draft a catcher to the end. Don't jump too early for saves. 
Do you think that you were able to implement it successfully? 
Overall I do. Adding Nolasco, Baker and Soria to Haren gave me a strong start to a pitching staff in a 12 team league. Good K's, with a low WHIP. Didn't get all high upside young guys with all of my picks, but could not pass up Kubel/Vlad/Hawpe where I got them. I managed to finally not draft a catcher until the 24th and feel that I'm still just fine there. Only have 1 good closer which may hurt me in a 12 team league. I have 4 other guys though that should get some saves during the season which i what I was counting on doing. 

Who do you feel were the reaches of the draft for your team? For the league? 
I may have reached some for Burnett. I wanted a high K pitcher, but he could of probably waited another round or so. Probably jumped the gun on Frasor a little early, although now hearing he is closer to a clsoer spot makes it feel a bit better. 

Biggest reach of the draft overall to me was Pedro Alvarez in the 10th. Tremendous talent, but won't be playing a full season this year and I'm not sure I would be using a 6th keeper spot on a guy who may only play a half season or less.  Elvis Andrus was also a bit of a reach only because of some of the other big bats available at the time, and the fact that Rollins was already on the roster. 

Who were your favorite picks for your own team? For the league? 
I was happy with most of my early pitching picks, but my 2 favourite picks would be; Victorino in the 11th (123rd) when he has an MDP around 79 and Alexei Ramirez in the 13th (147th) when he has an MDP around 108. 2 guys that should give me decent AVG. and a good mix of speed and power. 

Carlos Pena in the 12th was good value. AVG killer but 40 HR power that late is nice. Same for Quentin in the 11th. I kind of missed him on my sheets when I picked Victorino or I would have grabbed him, but is a very nice small risk/big reward guy. 

Those are just some of the nice picks. Overall it was a great draft. Even right up to the end my guys were getting picked off my list just before me. Very enjoyable and can't wait to get the season started.

The Guinypigs (last years finish: 9th, kept )

Sullys (last years finish: 8th, kept
Did you have a specific strategy going into the draft, and if so what was it?
My typical strategy is to sort players into tiers by position, and try to stick to the strategy of taking the best available players early in the draft & look to fill holes (strikeouts, stolen bases, etc.) in the later rounds.  Oh, and never grab a closer early, unless he’s named Mariano Rivera.
For this draft, I looked back at past history & noticed I’ve missed out on young talent at the expense of established veterans.  For example, I drafted Manny Ramirez and missed out on Evan Longoria.  While Longoria was no sure thing back then, I made a conscious effort this year to look for young talent in the early rounds.
Do you think that you were able to implement it successfully?
Obviously, grabbing Strasburg in round 7 shows I went for youth early.  I almost went for Beckham instead, and kind of wish I had, since my team already has three SP keepers. However, if Strasburg is as good as advertised, having him and Hanson for many years isn’t all bad.  Plus, I was able to get Ethier in round 8, who I had highly rated.

Who do you feel were the reaches of the draft for your team? For the league?
I’ll break it down into a couple of groupings:
My reach, rounds 7-11:  Jose Lopez 2B/3B.  I was hoping to get Chipper Jones, but Polish Sausage grabbed him ahead of me.  Classic panic pick, even though I’ll probably play him at 2B instead of 3B
League reach, round 7-11: Anyone named Asdrubal should never be drafted until the mid-teens.
My reach, rounds 12-16: Perhaps a tie between Qualls in round 12, and Cantu in round 16.  The run on closers caught me off guard, and I was certainly on the ass-end of the run.  Unfortunately, I have this bum in some of my other leagues too.  While Cantu may not be regarded as a reach, I have visions of ’09, where I had to live with Aubrey Huff manning the hot corner for me.  Cantu looks like a repeat of that nastiness.
League reach, rounds 12-16: Continuing my bias against all things Cabrera, I vote for Everth Cabrera in round 13.  Batting 8th for the Padres = very few games with 4 AB’s = very few fantasy stats.  I think the next seven picks in the draft (Franklin, Kendrick, Dotel, Beltre, Pierre, Liriano, and Lidge) will all return better value than Cabrera, who will probably sit on Schwartz’s bench backing up Scutaro.

Who were your favorite picks for your own team? For the league? 
I was very happy with my early picks.  I have Ethier rated high on my OF tier, and was glad to get Dunn to back up Berkman at 1B, who is having trouble after his knee surgery.  Dunn’s 35+ HR’s means he’ll probably lead my team in that category too.  A healthy Carlos Quentin is a good pick in round 11.  I doubt he has much left in his tank, but Furcal in round 21 gives my team some speed in a fill-in role.
For the league, I think Jason Bay in round 8 is great value.  The back to back picks in round 13 of Hamilton/Beltran was good too.  Both could provide a lot of value for the round selected.  Regulators may have gotten the steal of the draft with Hunter Pence in round 10.  He’s raking this spring, and seems to me could be in for a huge year.  Plus, my daughters like calling him “Underpants”.

Bad News Bodie (last years finish: 7th, kept
Did you have a specific strategy going into the draft, and if so what was it? 
In short, my strategy was to draft offense early, then pick high reward/high risk pitchers in the later rounds and make sure to have 3 closers on my roster by the end of the draft. 

Do you think that you were able to implement it successfully? 
Well I’m definitely taking some chances on my pitching staff. My two best pitchers are both only 22 years old (Brett Anderson and Kershaw). I was able to get some high reward/high risk pitchers in the later rounds like I had hoped to do. Too bad one won’t be back until the All-star break (Bedard) and one just got sent to the minors even after a good spring (Latos). 

My offense turned out just how I wanted it to. I was able to surround my core (Prince, Longo, the Uptons) with well rounded players who hit for decent averages and won’t hurt me in any category. 

I have 3 definite (I use that term loosely) closers on my team and one temporary closer in Morales. So for now I am content with my relievers. 

Overall I think I successfully implemented my draft strategy. Only the season will tell if my strategy was a good one. 

Who do you feel were the reaches of the draft for your team? For the league? 
Mike Gonzalez (Closer, Orioles) was a pick I didn’t want to make in round 12. But the closers were going quickly by then and I wanted a 3rd closer on my roster. I probably took Brett Anderson a round too early. But I had a feeling I was going to lose him if I waited another round. 

For the league, I’d say Andy’s pick of James Shields at 97 was a bit early for him. ESPN has his ADP at 161.6. 

Who were your favorite picks for your own team? For the league? 
Gordon Beckham in the 7th round was my favorite pick. I was happy to get Mat Latos late in the draft. But Beckham was my favorite pick. He will have 2B eligibility 5-10 games into the season and will probably be a keeper for me for years to come. Hopefully he stays at 2B…or moves to SS. 

For the league, Nils’s pick of Raul Ibanez at 146 was a steal for that kind of production. Ibanez probably won’t do as well as last year, but he will produce in that lineup and in that ball park. ESPN has his ADP at 104.

Polish Sausage (last years finish: 6th, kept
Did you have a specific strategy going into the draft, and if so what was it?
My overall draft strategy is a combination of three philosophies: 1) draft the best available talent, 2) select future keepers or players with high upside, and 3) don’t reach for a player if there are many others within the tier/group I have broken them into with my pre-rankings.  I also have studied ADP’s to get a sense on how long I should wait to grab players I specifically am targeting.

Did you think that you were able to implement it successfully?
I had mixed results.  While I kind of figured that Strasburg wouldn’t fall to me in Round 7, he was only 2 picks away.  I targeted Cain in Round 8 and Cargo in Round 9 but both were grabbed earlier than I had hoped.  That’s why this league is so tough.  I had a few reaches as well, but on the plus side I was able to grab some players with high upside.

Who do you feel were the reaches of the draft for your team?  For the league?
I’ll break them down in round groups – my player first, the league second.
Rounds 7-11:  Nate McLouth - easily the worst pick I made all night.  I was still on tilt from not getting Cargo and was looking too hard for an OF who could have 25 HR’s / 90 RBI and 30 SB.

Asdrubal Cabrera – seemed a few rounds too early; there was quite a stretch after that selection where no 2B were being taken.
Rounds 12-15: Brad Lidge - an injury concern with a horrible ERA and WHIP and was a real roll of the dice on a 3rd reliable closer.

Jonathan Sanchez - a nice pitcher but Round 12 was pretty early from what I’ve observed and based on other SP’s who were also available at that time.

Rounds 16-20: Johnny Cueto – I lost focus on that pick.         
Kerry Wood – I am of the opinion that this guy is done.

Rounds 21-25: Mark Buehrle – I could drop him now and he’d sit as a FA for quite a while.

Casey Blake – I’d say the same about him.

Who were your favorite picks for your own team?   For the league?
Again, I’ll break them down in round groups – my player first, the league second.
Rounds 7-11:  Manny Ramirez – I must be in the minority here in thinking that he can return to some of the numbers he posted prior to the 50 game suspension.  If he has to get back on the juice and obtain a more undetectable masking agent I am fine with that.
Adam Dunn – how did the Big Donkey last so long?  40 HR players are tough to find this late in the draft.

Rounds 12-15: David Price – of course, I thought Francisco Liriano was in this category last year, and we all know how bad that pick turned out.
Josh Hamilton/Carlos Zambrano – both players have the real potential in 2010 to return to numbers from earlier in their careers.

Rounds 16-20: Alex Rios – hitting 5th in a HR-friendly park, and the manager is pushing for his lineup to be more aggressive on the base paths.  Why did I waste my 11th round pick on McLouth when Rios was available 5 rounds later and has the potential to outperform him across the board?    

Ian Stewart/Chris Davis/Jason Frasor – the first 2 are nice 3B options and were usually taken much earlier.  Both of these guys left my queue right before I crapped the bed with the Cueto pick.  Shortly after that, the one remaining legit closer (Frasor) was selected.

Rounds 21-25: Desmond Jennings – If he gets healthy, Tampa Bay falls out of the AL East race quickly, and the Rays decide to deal Crawford this year, I’ll see if this guy is worth the hype.
Magglio Ordonez/Drew Stubbs – Round 23 for Magglio?  Huge Value.  Drew Stubbs might also outperform McLouth in 2010.  Did I mention that McLouth was a bad pick?

Emerson Tigers (last years finish: 5th, kept

Flushing Johns (last years finish: 4th, kept

My strategy started with the keeper list... 6 hitters (the final spot came down to Aclides Escobar at SS or Kendry Morales at 1B... since I was already keeping Joey Votto, I opted for the SS). So I went into the draft needing some hurlers. The creme was already taken, something like 15 pitchers on the keeper lists of the other teams. But my best from last year was Carpenter and I didn't want to use a keeper spot on him.

The 1st three rounds (picks 7 - 9), I stuck to the strategy (SP's Josh Johnson and Chad Billingsley, and Closer Beach Boy Brian Wilson). Then I went WAY off my strategy and REACHED for Pedro Alvarez in round 10 (I likely would have still gotten him 4 - 6 rounds later... but I'm from Pittsburgh, so I took him... he should be up by early July, and since this is a keeper league, I thought, why not).

My other SP's (Dempster, Harden, Hughes, CJ Wilson) have some risk / reward involved, but if  only 2 of the 4 pan out I should have a decent rotation. I also got 2 pretty good closers and 2 more closer potentials.

The "steals" for the FJ's (in my mind at least) were Chris Davis (round 18) and Franklin Gutierrez (round 20). I also love Prado as one of my breakout players of the year. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the team... but am also always ready to deal.

The biggest reach of the draft... Strasburg in round 7 (I probably feel this way due to my preference for hitter-keepers)... maybe this pick provoked me to jump on Alvarez so quickly... thank you very much Sully's!!!!!!! Best late round, high reward pick - Ted Lilly in round 21.

Tuscaloosa Dumplings (last years finish: 3rd, kept

Did you have a specific strategy going into the draft, and if so what was it?
Well this year, unlike the past few, I did seem to have a specific draft strategy going into the draft.  In the past I would just about always take the top player available in the draft, no matter what my individual needs were.  After my offseason
trade of Ryan Zimmerman and Jon Lester for Ryan Howard i had a gaping hole at third base to fill up, along with second base.  When it came my way, Chone Figgins was available and one of my top choices for the fact that he is eligible in both the 3rd
and 2nd base postilions.  I feel much more confident drafting hitters early, because pitchers are so finicky and brittle, though i did jump at Matt Cain in the 8th. It was then that I wanted to have a more balanced team, and not necessarily go after
big time power hitters like i have in the past.  I wanted to have an even spread in all categories, and i feel I accomplished that pretty well.

Do you think that you were able to implement it successfully?
Well as i mentioned beforehand, yes i feel i definitely implemented my strategy well this year.  I drafted only a few one category guys, like Bourn, and focused on multi-catagory players across the board.  The temptation to jump on guys like Josh
Hamilton was definitely there, as he slipped so far, yet i already felt i had enough power in my keepers that adding a dangerous pick like
Hamilton would have been counter-productive.  I feel i achieved a very well rounded, strong team to tweek and
work on throughout the year.

Who do you feel were the reaches of the draft for your team? For the league?
Hmm these are always tricky to say, as i remember last year i called out someone for taking Chris Carpenter in the 12th round or so and he almost won the Cy Young, so let's see here.... Firstly, for my own team i would say the reach of the draft
would have been Adrian Beltre in the 14th round.  He has potential to be sick this year, but i feel i could have waited a few more rounds on him.

For the league, which again i was dead wrong on my prediction about this last year, i would have to either say Bobby Abreau as the first pick of the 7th round, though a solid player I'm not sure if he is a better pick than a Mark Reynolds.  If not
Abreau then I'd have to say Pedro Alverez in round 10, which i felt was quite a bit early, but could definitely pan out if all the myths and legends of his Arod like potential are correct.

What were your favorite picks for your own team?  For the league?
My favorite pick of the draft for my individual team i feel would definitely be my last pick of the draft, Nick Johnson.  Even though he's a Yankee, at the 25th pick he's a steal as long as he stays healthy.  That lineup, that stadium, and being a
lefty could amount to massive numbers from a last pick. No Travis Hafner for the Dumplings this year!

For the league, i would have to say my favorite pick would have been David Price at round 15, yes i still have a huge man crush on him.  He has all the potential in the world and is flying a bit under the radar this year.

The Schwartz (last years finish: 2nd, kept

Regulators (last years finish: 1st, kept Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Feliz Hernandez, Zack Greinke,

Did you have a specific strategy going into the draft, and if so what was it?
Not a very organized approach, mostly going for offense early, grabbing a good 3rd starter and not missing out on closers.
More specifically I look for players with a consistent history who look like they are improving.  I had a short list of what I felt were undervalued or forgotten players that I wanted on my team and I was happy to get alot of them.

Do you think that you were able to implement it successfully?
I would give myself a B grade for the draft.  However I am worried about my pitching as most of my starters reside in the American League.  I may be in line for a high ERA.

Who do you feel were the reaches of the draft for your team? For the league?
I did take Garza a round early but I felt there was a shortage of quality SP's after him.  The rest of my early-mid round picks were in line with their ADP or after their ADP.

I did make some reaches later.  Specifically, Slowey in the 15th, Sean Rodriguez in the 21st and Mark Rzepchinsky in the 24th were all reaches.  However, if I am right in my projections those picks may look half decent by the end of the season.

As for everyone else, I like Niemann and Jorge De La Rosa but not in the 11th round.  Jon Sanchez in the 12th was early considering his walks.  Brian Wilson in the 8th was early.

Who were your favorite picks for your own team? For the league?
I was happy to get Hunter Pence in the 10th round as I did not expect him to be there and had actually considered taking him in the 7th.  I was happy to get Mariano Rivera early as that allowed me to make some value picks later on in the 11th and
12th while there was a closer run.  I also got Doumit in the 22nd, 5 rounds later than his ADP.

There were alot of steals in this draft.  Josh Hamilton went in the 13th, well after his 6th round ADP.  Javy Vazquez was a nice pick in the mid-late 9th. Jason Kubel went late in the 14th and he had the quietest .300-28-100 RBI season ever last

Martin Prado in the 16th was a reach in terms of ADP but I actually like him there.

Other great picks:
Billy Butler in the 8th.  Kyle Blanks in the 17th.  Ian Stewart in the 18th.  Franklin Gutierrez in the 20th.  Colby Rasmus in the 22nd.  Derek Lowe in the 25th.

Monday, March 29, 2010

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program

Movie posts will return starting tonight but just a heads-up that I will be posting the post-draft recap column from the MDI Keeper 2010 league at some point this week.  Same format as last season, with two new managers and a FAAB waivers setup.  I have 4 question/answer sets already but will wait until I have at least 8 before I start posting them up.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Phil: I told you. I wake up every day, right here, right in Cleveland, and it's always February 27th, and there's nothing I can do about it.

True to form, art imitates life, life imitates art. This of course under the assumption that GHD is art.
My eyes shot open this morning to candid radio chatter, there's a full blown snowstorm, but it seems like nothing more than a couple of flakes.
I've finished packing my entire apartment, i rearrange everything so the move should go as smoothly as possible. I make a few final phone calls to ensure that everything is in order...
Around lunch time, I bundled up, headed to the local dive diner, ordered a BLT, a waiter proceeded to drop a tray of dishes...again I thought nothing of it.
I went back to the apartment, took a nap, woke up to a phone ringing...the flight canceled. I'm stuck in Cleveland.
I was supposed to leave and yet in the back of my head I hear Phil:

"You want a prediction about the weather, you're asking the wrong Phil. I'll give you a winter prediction: It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be grey, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life. "

Tragedy, my chauffeurs flight is canceled, the flights the next day all booked,

Phil: Come on, *all* the long distance lines are down? What about the satellite? Is it snowing in space? Don't you have some kind of a line that you keep open for emergencies or for celebrities? I'm both. I'm a celebrity in an emergency."

And so I'm in Cleveland for another three days...if tuesday rolls around and I'm still in Cleveland I vow to learn how to play the piano, how to ice sculpt, and be a kinder, gentler Cole.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Replacement copy ordered

According to Amazon I'll have my sweaty little paws on another disk of The Seventh Seal early next week.  I'm as nervous as the fat girl to returning to her 10 year high school reunion having lost all of the weight, stinking of her desperate need for acceptance THIS time, yet consumed with the fear brought on by memories relived.  That is what this movie challenge has reduced me to.  I am a stinky fat girl.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

everything has changed

Groundhog day has changed everything. When I see Bill Murray a slow smile appears on my face, my heart warms a little, and a nostalgia kicks in. He's become like an old friend, I feel as if he and I have gone into battle together, I see his sad eyes and think I understand his pain, his sorrow, his deepest emotions. When I see a photo of him, I start reminiscing about a past relationship with its highs and lows and all around mediocrities. Scary? Sure. Sick? Definitely.

GHD is as much apart of me as the burns on my forearms from trials and tribulations in the kitchen. War wounds that I look upon as reminders of being younger, more naive.

If someone mentions GHD, the day, the film, the feeling, I smile and know that I can answer any and all questions.

This past GHD was treated much like a second birthday, postings on my facebook wall wishing me a happy groundhogs day. Some very close friends found a man in a groundhog suit and had a photo taken with him holding a sign wishing me a happy groundhogs day.
The superbowl wasn't GHD free, Punxsutawney Polamalu being featured in an esteemed superbowl commercial. (side note HUGE fan of the superbowl results this year...Manning Face).

My opponent and I have also discussed our respectful pilgrimages:
His to the swedish shoreline to drink milk and eat strawberries (sounds like heaven, irony implied?).

I, on the other hand, head to Punxsutawney, Penn for the actual GHD festivities (it's been compared to Mardi Gras) followed by a trip to Woodstock Illnois to eat angelfood cake and heavenly sticky buns despite the fact that the Clocks diner is now a Starbucks (woodstock is the actual location of where the movie was filmed). This trip through the midwest, though fun, would be less exotic than Nils' journey to Scandinavia. Bastard.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fear receding faster than George Costanza's hairline...

To describe the experience of going from watching one movie 3+ times a day for an entire month to not watching it is difficult, as the body tends to "blur" memories of a traumatic event.  The first stage of T8S challenge was very much that, a breakup and a near-death experience mixed into one.  While I'd become increasingly jittery and paranoid as I watched T7S over and over again, once I stopped those feelings actually increased as my body missed what it had grown to expect.  The first day "off" was reletively normal; I saw Death walking down side streets out of the corner of my eye, I heard Nils Poppe speaking in Swedish behind me only to disappear when I turned around, and every time I heard a woman's voice it was Bibi Andersson saying "I love you."  If that experience could be characterized as a waking dream then days 2 and 3 were living nightmares.  Instead of catching glimpses of a black cloak I felt icy fingers on my wrist, or heard breathing inches behind me.  I woke up in a sweat several times a night, almost always within a few minutes of 5AM the first time, and then almost on the hour after that until I got up for good at 8 for work.  At work I would have to translate people's words, or try and read lips as if they were speaking in a foreign language.

All the while I have to be honest in that I was completely consumed with horror.  You know the feeling of when you wake up after a night out and you have no idea where you are, but you know that it's not where you're supposed to be?  It was that, multiplied by the fact that I wasn't just waking up but was in fact feeling that way 24/7, and I'm sure that's why I was unable to sleep more than a few hours at a time as well.  I'd trained my body to watch T7S, and when I stopped it was telling me that I'd broken a bond of trust and would pay the penalty.  My shoulders hunch at my desk as I remember back to that first week "off" and now I'm rubbing my arms like a junkie remembering his first week off of smack...

more to come

Monday, February 1, 2010

Buckeye Chuck

Glad to see that Nils has decided to recommence the challenge, in a way I wish I could start again tomorrow, as seeing that it is indeed Groundhog day, it would only be fitting to resume with a marathon viewing.

FUN FACT: Ohio has their own version of Phil the groundhog! They have named their vermin Buckeye Chuck. I'm not sure where in Ohio this event takes place, but I can almost guarantee polka bands and outdated outfits, annoying insurance salesmen, and many women like Nancy Taylor. I debated going and reenacting some of my favorite scenes from the film. I would of course go in costume (that of Nancy), do her modified rumba in pink spandex with rabbit fur earmuffs...and then proceed to a local diner to shove one piece of angel food cake in my mouth with one bite. However I'll be unable to participate in the days festivities due to lack of ride and compatriots.
Instead I will watch the film on my own, just once, since it'd be unfair to rack up more viewings with Nils unable to truly compete.

Yes, I am winning the word challenge...however it should ALSO be noted that I am winning the shape challenge as well by a landslide!

There is another sub-competition of who is more nerdy...we have yet to qualify whether or not being more nerdy is a win, or a loss...this is a challenge in which Nils is dominating...again we have yet to qualify this as a positive for Nils, or for myself...

Out of a dark cold winter...

Well I've decided to finish this challenge after all.  I've gone through just about a 12 step process after losing the dvd and I'm back to being optimistic that I'll finish within the original goal of 365 days.  As it stands 104 days have elapsed since the competition began, and it's been a few solid months since I've seen T7S.  Nicole is moving to my current city of residence on February 26th courtesy of one Uhaul chauffeur (yours truly) and I've ordered a new copy that should arrive immediately afterwards.

In the black void of time between this post and the previous one a few sub-competitions have sprung up, and I'll try and catch everyone up on them here.

1) Nicole and I each assigned our counterpart an uncommonly used word that we have to try and sprinkle into conversation while going unnoticed by our unsuspecting audience.  I passed off "callipygian" (meaning having an attractive posterior) to Cole while her word for me was "acaudate" (referring to creatures without tails).  Every time we used our word without anyone noticing we secured one point. If someone called us out for using a strange word, or asked us to elaborate on its definition we lost the use of the word and would have to petition the other to be given a new word.  Nicole dominated the first round, racking up 12 points before being called out.  I had less success, mainly because with Avatar having come out everyone wanted to talk about things WITH tails, thus severely limiting the chances for my word to be used.  As it stands the score is 14-6 Nicole.

2) The Shape Challenge.  In this challenge we assigned each other a distinctive shape that we would have to find as many examples of as possible.  A sighting must be verified with photographic or video evidence to be considered legitimate.  I chose a bow-tie shape for Nicole, and for me she selected "Dinosaur shaped".  When I questioned the ease of being able to quantify a "dinosaur shape" she relented and clarified that as long as I could adequately explain the shape's dinosaur-like characteristics it would be counted as legitimate.  Bing.

I'll start to post more regularly again starting now, and will in several posts attempt to describe the harrowing sense of loss and despondence that followed the sudden break in watching T7S.  Truly it was a fight to free myself from the grasping clutches of an addiction, and it took several weeks before I could think and process without the taint of the movie polluting my mental processes.  I was as the moon after a lunar eclipse, slowly growing in confidence and luminescence as the blighted darkness receded...