Rejected

Usually I have a witty caption: Tonight? Nothing.

About a year ago I wrote a pilot for a TV series. The idea was that I’d make a serious attempt at getting into the entertainment industry (I didn’t learn my lesson from college). I Took a few solid weeks to storyboard, research and draft. Once the first draft was done I set it aside and spent a week focusing on developing long term story arcs. After that I rewrote the first draft and tooled it to line up with the first set of story arcs. I took another week away from the script following the second draft, to recharge and give myself an opportunity to look at the writing (and story) from a fresh angle; after, one of two reactions occur, “hooray this is awesome” or, “who the fuck wrote this and no wonder they’re going nowhere.” Then I Do a third rewrite or scrap the project and move from there. It’s a highly refined and over developed creative process.

When I get it right it takes about a month to complete a project from scratch. In this case it was a cleverly crafted pilot episode, first draft of the second episode and first season 6 episode story arc. It was also my first full foray into writing something for television.

After some more research I finally found a production company based in Canada that accepts material from people who don’t have agent representation. I would have included letters with hearts and mints in the envelope if it were a mail-in submission, anything to increase my chances (I’m assuming you saw the title of the post and know where this is going). So I typed up a submission and sent off the first episode and the series outline.

And waited.

After a week or so, I got the clever idea to start work on a second idea I had been tossing around; this one involving temporary workers stealing technology (and anything not bolted down) from a large company run by number crunching douchebags – testing the limits of how far they could go without being caught or fired. At its core it was a disposable hero story. When I got to the “hooray or rejected” stage, the story ended up in the rejected bin.

So I continued to wait.

11 months later an email pops into my inbox from the production company. I wasn’t shocked to hear that they wouldn’t be starting production on my show this year; by this point it was a foregone conclusion, I just assumed that someone read it, laughed at the uneducated Canuck and went on their way approving scripts from friends and industry vets. What got me was that despite being rejected, my ambitions for the project were almost spot on: They agreed on the network, the target audience, the anticipated series run and a few minor details I can’t recall at this hour. The basis for their rejection was part of the foregone conclusion I came to terms with during my 11 month wait; the subject matter of the series completely contrasted the delivery, which proved too much of a risk. Lowbrow base, highbrow execution. And the network I was aiming at had recently cancelled a show that had close to the same subject matter as the pilot. Which I had no idea about at the time.

The best part of all this is that with 11 months to get over the rejection, I’m actually motivated and have been writing a lot more lately. Rejection has this funny way of motivating.

I figure if I keep trying to beat down that door eventually someone will let me in. I could also send that pilot to a few other companies, but I think I want to rewrite it and load two series into the chamber before testing the waters again.

~J

Advice Content: Don’t be defeated by rejection. Period. Sure it’s hard, but things worth having are typically tough to get.

Advertisements

Dear Max, (a breakup with deli down the street)

Dear Max’s Deli,

For this correspondence, I am addressing the company of Max’s Deli (here on forward referred to as “Max”). The fact that I’m addressing this to you Max and not an individual manager or owner is of importance. I am certain that if I tried to find out to whom this letter to should be specifically addressed, my concerns would fall on disinterested eyes. Likewise, if I walked into your deli and asked to talk with a manager I would be met with a vapid stare. This is the attitude and inefficient service that I and many others in the Oak Street neighbourhood have come to expect from making a simple request at your fine establishment.

Thus the focus of this letter to you, Max.

I write because I care. I like you Max. I love your expensive-but-totally-worth-it desserts and your Crocodiles have become an easy treat to cap off long days at the office. I’ve had a chance to try your coffee; it isn’t that bad. I’ve had the chance to sample a large portion of your menu and have always come away satisfied. Although there are delights in your store, you need to work on your ambiance.

Every time I walk through that front door, that swings open a little too easy, I instantly feel like I am an inconvenience. The closer I get to the front counter, the more amplified that feeling becomes. You see, it is obvious to myself and many of my friends that the staff at your deli hate life. Maybe it’s the low wage service industry job, but we’re in British Columbia dammit; our high schools and local colleges have courses that teach youth hospitality and service. Perhaps they are unmotivated because these are the types of jobs they’re most likely to land after they graduate. Regardless, a large portion of our economy is based on the service industry. Your staff should try harder. Thus, as someone who has an interest in the economy, I’m going to do my part to direct my business elsewhere.

This wasn’t an easy decision to make. Every time I fled your doors after a successful purchase with the ensuing ego-busting from the staff, I really do enjoy your products. Keep in mind though, delicious snacks can only take a guy so far. After a while he needs a little lovin’ and I’ve found someone else.

I’m not the first to look for taste-bud lovin’ elsewhere; I won’t be the last, but if no one tells you then you’ll never know why these people choose to skip past your doors. At first I thought it was me. Maybe my standards were too high; so I cheated on you with a deli down on 4th.

At first I entered the relationship with a little hesitation, I’m typically a very loyal guy, but I was warmly welcomed by someone who seemed like they actually wanted my business. The food wasn’t up to the usual standards and the place smelt like old wood and apples, but I gave her a second chance. The relationship kept getting better! She has these sticky cinnamon buns and the icing…Oh my god!…I don’t think I could legally describe the uses we found.

Every once and a while I’m reminded of what we used to have. I’ll walk by your front door, stop for a moment to take in the wonderful smells and become lost in the memories. Though the second I turn my head to gaze longingly through your pristine windows, I’m instantly reminded of the demon that lurks within and I continue on my way.

~J

“ONOES THE CANADA LINE WAS DOWN!”

I've never been so angry about a minor inconvenience, just wait till the Internet hears about this!!!111one!~

I've never been so angry about a minor inconvenience, just wait till the Internet hears about this!!!111one!~

The way Twitter exploded you’d figure a bomb had gone off or a Kraken was laying siege to the only bridge servicing The Canada Line between Richmond and Vancouver; the daily commute to work was interrupted by irregular service, panic, chaos and crying children – it’s not truly a catastrophe unless some kid somewhere is crying like it’s the end of the world. Saw it during the Olympics when there was a bomb-scare on the Sea Bus and a small child had pieced together that he might have been in the vicinity of the blast. I expected much of the same and was completely let down.

There was no great orange ball of fire – that was a day earlier at the Christmas Market – or giant squid, people were very orderly and the only kid I saw was absolutely fascinated by the fact that he got to go over a bridge he’d never been on before in a bus. The two people in front of me, former coworkers, were even having a laugh about being permitted to be late for work due to the weather and arranging a midnight snowball fight.

For those of you not in the know, a large – by Vancouver standards – dump of snow, heavy gusts of wind and barely sub-zero temperatures caused an electrical failure on two trains while they were passing over the Fraser river around 9:30am; leaving two trains and about a hundred people stranded for an hour. As this is the only way across the river and the mentality of “just send more trains” has since been determined as an entertaining but ultimately pointless loss of human life, passengers were diverted while they deiced the bridge. Coming from a city where -30 degree temperatures is a typical winter day and it takes a combined ambient and wind temperature of about -45 to cause any major interruption in Light Rail service the whole scenario smacked of absurdity and possibly a small engineering oversight. Protrans BC handled the situation smoothly and the agents stationed around the Canada Line were forthcoming with answers to any question asked of them. Not nearly the panic inducing chaos that Twitter suggested.

The whole situation got me thinking; 90% of the Tweets I read were expressions of extreme negative disbelief that a situation like this would ever befall a 2-billion dollar mass transit system. Sadly, I even got caught up in the disappointment that my daily commute was going to take a bit longer than normal, but this is why I typically leave a little early for work – in-case shit like this comes up! Was my own pissy comment a little childish to make? Yes. Was getting to work today such a massive hardship that no longer justifies the convenience of normally being able to get to work in a quarter of the time it took before the Line opened? Not even close.

STHS Commissioners: Handling The Off Season. Part 2 – Rerates

Math *can* be fun. Shame my Grade 12 Math teacher didn't think so.

Rerates can be handled in four ways; NHL Rerates, SIM Rerates, Hybrid Rerates and Manual Rerates. Three of them are relatively quick and painless, the fourth takes a lot of time and in my opinion is the most worthwhile option.

NHL Rerates are pretty easy to come by. Players are rated according to their NHL performance, whoever rerates the players releases a roster pack and the Commish uploads it to their league. It’s fast. It’s easy. It removes the Commissioner and GMs from the process as much as possible, which can be good or bad depending on the league; it also removes SIM performance entirely from the equation. A crafty Commish can typically find player packs for any year, in any style and of any colour; there are even packs out there that cover the KHL, AHL, ECHL, CHL and European Elite Leagues. NHL Rerates work for a lot of leagues, but they’ll have the hardest time being successfully implemented in a retro league, because there is absolutely no reward for individual player performance and scouting for the draft becomes a little trivialized. These Player Packs are also amazing starting points for any league in its first season.

SIM Rerates are my only knock against the STHS simulator. From my experience they tend to skew league balance after one or two seasons and the Commissioners end up combing through the ratings anyways. They are quick and are completely dependent on player performance. They’re good to have idly running in the background during the course of the season – with a huge attribute choke, maybe +/- 2 in any direction, but to rely on them for the big job at the end of the season is suicidal.

In leagues that prefer the automation, but like to maintain a particular level of control the Hybrid Rerate method is best route to take. Pick one of the first two methods covered (typically NHL Rerates) and manually adjust ratings to reflect league performance or balance out squads. I’ve been in leagues that give a 60/40 split in favour of NHL rerates, player performance still matters, but in the hands of an unskilled nob a roster can still produce high quality players.

And finally, we’re going to be spending the most time becoming intimate with Manual Rerates. This method is scary and takes a lot of time. Allows you the most control and if GM involvement is your cup’o tea it’s easy to integrate – we don’t cover the GM integration in this post, but we do in the next one. GMs will say you’re bat-shit insane for trying this and they’re probably right.

It took a few seasons of refinement, but this is the most effective method I’ve come up with. I usually give myself a week to do everything – some GMs will protest the league being shut down for a week, tell them that this is their chance to formulate an off season plan and write articles that’ll contribute to off season GM rewards.

First things first:

Mass Editing is your friend! My method requires you to go through the entire list of players twice. The first time through can be done entirely through mass editing.

Remember to always backup your rosters before attempting manual rerates, because you never know.

Rerates will be divided into two categories: Potential and Performance.

Divide player ratings into two categories: Core Stats (CK, SK, ST, DU, PH, SC and DF) and Arbitrary Stats (FG, DI, FO)

The range I typically apply to any given statistical rerate is +/-3. Before bonuses, the most any one stat can be boosted by an excellent season is +6 (for both the performance and potential rerate) and the worst it can get is -6 for a disaterous season. It chokes off wild attribute swings after one season of good performance and encourages long term statistical development. A good exmaple of a player who might have experienced a huge, but ultimately undeserved, attribute jump is Anson Carter, he had an excellent season in 05-06, but couldn’t repeat the performance once he signed with the Blue Jackets the following season.

Rerating Potential and Age (Core Stats only):

Potential and Age walk hand in hand. If it’s one thing that is common through every Fantasy Hockey League it’s that youth is valued – almost above all else. A player’s potential can become a universal indication of when they’ve stepped out of the early stages of their career development and into their prime, it’ll also begins to put pressure on older stars who may not be able compete at the same level they did earlier in their career. PO becomes the initial cornerstone of the Rerate process by determining what bonuses a player will receive based solely on a:

PO between 99-90
+3CK, +3SK, +3ST, +3DU, +3SC, +3DF

PO between 89-75
+2CK, +2SK, +3ST, +2DU, +2SC, +2DF

PO between 74-60
+1CK, +1SK, +1ST, +1DU, +1SC, +1DF

PO between 59-40
No statistical changes, the player is considered to be in the prime of their career and is Rerated based entirely on performance.

PO between 39-20
-1CK, -1SK, -1ST, -1DU, -2SC, 0DF

PO between 19-0
-3CK, -2SK, -2ST, -2DU, -3SC, -1DF

The whole process can be done quickly and painlessly through Mass Edition, if PO is between: and modify . Repeat the process for a few seasons and you have a good base for a natural development curve. Importantly it forces players to eventually age and slow down and gives a less immediate jump to prospects. A top end prospect would then have 8 seasons before hitting the point where their Rerate is based solely on performance and a statistical jump like this: +15CK, +15SK, +18ST, +15DU, +15SC, +15DF. Or take a player with 69SC up to 84SC if his PO is 99. This also gives a player about 14 years before they start to slow down.

All of this is done before considering a player’s performance.

Remember to make a backup and save your progress.

Rerating Performance (Both Core and Arbitrary stats) for Farm and Pro:

I like the tackle this one on a team-by-team basis, it requires a little bit of prep work and can be very long winded; it’s easier to come back to the process knowing you just finished rerating the Senators as opposed to sitting down and trying to remember which Smith you left off on. A reminder, I recommend typically suspend trading for a week or so while I plug away at the Rerates. Most GMs are forgiving. If you’ve assigned a player agent, it’s also a good idea to distract GMs with RFA presigning.

First things first:

DO NOT hesitate to give players minuses for performance. GMs are going to whine and moan about any attribute decrease and make up any excuse to reverse the decision, this is why GMs also have a little bit of control later on in the process. As mentioned in Part 1 of this series, I like to keep player ratings suppressed as much as logically possible.

Find the highest and lowest point for every statistical category (on both farm and pro) and work out an average, this’ll give you a good indication of where a player’s performance sits amongst his peers in the league. +3 attribute increases being reserved for the absolute upper crust of the league.

Before I tackle each team I also find an average of the team’s major statistics. Goals, assists, points, +/-, SH%, PIMs, Hits. A good player performing poorly on a good team may experience a decrease in skill, whereas a good player performing poorly against the league average, but well against his teammates would experience a small increase.

If a player has played more time on the Farm team, use his farm stats. I tend not to be to generous with playoff performance, but I do factor it in.

Now for the tough part. Starting with the first team in the league – usually Anaheim if the rosters page is in alphabetical order – begin to rate every single attribute for every single player.

+3 – Player meets and exceeds expectations
+2 – Ahead of the pack, but not the top
+1 – On par
0 – Par
-1 – Below average
-2 – Didn’t perform up to expectations
-3 – The season to forget about

A brief rundown of what to consider with each attribute:

CK – Hits
FG – PIMs
DI – PIMs, hits
SK – Age, Time on Ice
ST – Hits, shots blocked
DU – Games played, Time on Ice
PH – Assists
FO – Faceoffs taken, FO%
PA – Assists,
SC – Goals, shots, SH%
DF – +/-, shots blocked

Now you see how this portion can accelerate or stymie prospect development, and hopefully the benefit to having a strong farm system. (A tip to any GM who has made it this far: If you’re in a league that takes its farm system seriously, do everything you can to stock your farm system with quality. Not only will it give you plenty of depth options, but also a quality place to develop your youth and you will consistently be a contender in some way or another.)

At the end of it all jump into Mass Edition again and decrease PO by 5 and hand out +2LD, +3EX for every player in the league and for the love of fuck save your work.

Captains, Alternates and The Playoffs. (EX and LD only)

At the beginning of every season I ask that the GMs declare a team captain and two Alternates. I toss the names onto a spreadsheet and check the spreadsheet at the end of the season. Captains who remain on the same squad the entire season receive a +2 LD bonus, Alternates receive a +1. If a Captain or Alternate was traded during the course of the season, they do not receive the bonus.

For teams that were playoff bound, I typically gave a +1 EX for each player who made it to the post season (and actually played a game – not scratched). I continually toyed with adding higher EX bonuses the deeper teams made it into the post season, but it became to cumbersome to keep track of and with the other bonuses out there, I abandoned the idea. Do keep it in mind when combing through teams during the Manual Rerate process, but don’t put a lot of weight into it.

Award Bonuses:

Most leagues I’ve been in tend to have an award system that’s closely aligned with NHL awards. Sadly the leagues never tend to go much further than that. “Hooray, you won an award!” and are sent on your way. I like to give Rerate bonuses to players who receive individual awards. It’s usually something small, but chances are that if a player scores the most goals in the league during the regular season he’s already recieving a +3 (plus his potential modifier) to his SC.

The Award bonus system typically worked something like this:

Hart Memorial Trohpy: +1 to all Core Stats, +2 to LD
Lady Bing Memorial Trophy: +2 to DI
Calder Memorial Trophy: +1 to all Core Stats
Art Ross Trophy: +1PH, +1SC, +1PA
James Norris Memorial Trophy: +1DF, +1ST, +1CK, +1PH
Frank J. Selke Trophy: +1DF, +1ST, +1CK
Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy: +1SC, +1PH

Once those bonuses are applied, you’re done with the Manual Rerates.

Next: GM player Rerates and Free Agency.

STHS Commissioners: Handling The Off Season. Part 1 – Entry Draft

Shame it never looks like this online

I’ve decided to put all of my STHS knowledge to type through a multi-post series of how to handle the off season. A handy guide for every Fantasy Hockey Commissioner out there to sift through, absorb and if they so choose, integrate into their leagues. The plan is to release the posts in four parts covering; The Draft, Rerates, Free Agency and GM Rewards. Inside those posts I’ll cover a few keys points in detail and provide advice on how to integrate and enhance the league experience.

There are going to be parts of this post that might seem a little abstract in concept, but hang tight, everything will be detailed and explained. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment and if you want to reproduce the blog elsewhere, please have the courtesy of letting me know.

Finally, if you’re on the STHS development team, thank-you for programming this awesome little simulator. Thank-you for taking the FHL concept and improving on it ten-fold. I haven’t had the chance to try version 2, but it looks great.

Without further delay. We start our journey with the first thing every GM on the outside looking in during the playoffs is looking forward to and one of the first things to be handled by every Commissioner during the off season. The Entry Draft.

Buildup to the Draft:

A commissioner always needs to be thinking ahead. The off season can be a very scary place, filled with high expectations and pressure from GMs to jump into the next season as soon as possible. I’ve seen more leagues shut down due to “pissing and moaning” from GMs during the off season that lead to a stressed out Commish pulling the plug than I care to recall. It’s during the playoffs and early off season that Fantasy Hockey Leagues go through hefty GM turnover, they get bored, depressed and agitated by being on the outside looking in. Think of it like this; if you didn’t make the playoffs, would you have a reason to check the website every day during the postseason? No. One of the smartest things a Commish can do is give his GMs something to do when they’re not busy, and generating hype for the Entry Draft is one of the best ways to keep ’em interested.

How?

This may only work in Retro leagues, but let your GMs scout, rank and rate their own prospects. I got into the habit of rating the Entry Draft class by the quarter mark of the season. If the league is playing through the 1992 season, there should be no surprises regarding the quality of the upcoming draft. At the halfway mark I’d release a series of lists of names divided into Skaters and Goaltenders, North American and European, rank them much in the same way the NHL Central Scouting does and release the list like this:

You’ll notice that the list won’t tell the GMs much. Player names, position, the ballpark estimate on a few key stats and estimated potential. (Note: I like to rank by potential and default EX and LD to 25 unless a player is a bit older. When I’m outlining the Rerate process you’ll see why.)

Around the trade deadline I’ll modify the list ever-so-slightly to reveal a few more stats, update the potentials and redo the rankings. From there I begin to encourage the GMs to send in their impressions of how the prospects are going to look once created. And let your GMs influence *how* these players turn out. If a GM rates a Power Forward differently than you do, take a reasonable average between the two. Never stray to far from your master list! Giving GMs a little bit of control over how players turn out from the draft will keep them interested. The more immersed and invested your GMs become, the less likely they are to leave during league downtime or treat their franchises like John Ferguson Jr would.

I also like to keep a cap on the highest any one stat can be rated for a prospect, usually it’s 70 and you’ll see why when we get to the Rerating Potential portion of this series.

Why GMs would want to do this:

Activity bonuses. Activity Points are good for bonus GM Rerate Points, Cash and Reputation. Activity Points, GM Rerate Points and Reputation may be foreign concepts right now; I’ll cover them in a later post about rewarding GMs. If you give GMs a clear benefit for submitting lists the more likely they are to do so.

How to encourage late round gems:

I like to think that under different circumstances players like Alexandre Daigle and Jason Bonsignore would have turned out differently, and in a fantasy hockey league why not give them the opportunity at an NHL career? To prime this in an STHS league I tend to inflate the potential (PO) of a player who was highly regarded but didn’t pan out and keep his core stats at a minimum. The way the Rerate System works (outlined later) the rewards for a high potential will boost his stats over time and if the player performs (likely on the farm club) the performance bonuses will rate the player well enough to let him climb the depth chart.

It’s a longer road, but the potential for payoff is there. This is also why it’s good to encourage a full farm system. The cycle of players can be portrayed realistically and it gives depth and support to the professional club. Veterans who are too low on the depth chart to be regulars on the Pro club can also serve the auxiliary purpose of mentoring youth on the Farm.

In practice the concept works a little backwards to how it actually happens in the NHL; smart GMs will know that you can build a solid franchise from a healthy mix of blue-chip prospects and late bloomers. It can also keep GMs interested during the later draft rounds.

A lot like…

“Off The Board” draft picks:

These irritate the fuck out of me. Most GMs will protest if you choose to get rid of them and keeping them in the league is another way to encourage activity, but be warned, they create horrible imbalance when GMs exploit the system – and it’s easy to exploit.

For those of you who don’t know what an “Off The Board” draft pick is, it’s when a GM selects a player who wasn’t originally drafted by an NHL club, but rather signed as a free agent and made his name through performance. The NHL is currently filled with examples of very talented players who were overlooked – for whatever reason, in a lot of cases because they took the college route – and have now made a name for themselves as star performers. Such as; Martin St. Louis, Dan Boyle, Chris Kunitz and Nicklas Backstrom.

If a GMs is interested in exploiting the system, they’ll stock up on late round draft picks and rattle off a bunch of players no one else even thought about when they pick five times in a row. Usually with an air of smugness around them.

Why?

Because the idea of who can and cannot be drafted becomes very hazy if it’s not outlined very specifically. That’s why I preferred not to include them in my league. You can draft from a very specific list of players who were actually drafted and ranked, everyone else is a free agent.

Off The Board draft picks also make life hell for Commissioners who like to pre-rank prospects and have the ratings done ahead of time.

If you want to establish a specific position on these types of picks, instead of outright banning them, age or the year they signed their first professional contract are two routes to take.

Ways to run the draft:

There are three effective ways to run a draft. Both have their pros and their cons..

1. Forum or Email Draft. (GMs either email their lists or post their picks to a forum)
– Pros: Removes the pressure of everyone needing to be online at the same time. Effectively takes care of the “time zone problem”. Allows for a lot of calculated inter-round trading. Gives the GMs time to seriously consider the players they’re drafting. A lot of work can be done behind the scenes to make the rest of the off season easier, like rerates.

– Cons: They take forever. Sometimes over-trading can occur with eager GMs. The league risks losing a lot of off season momentum if GMs take their time making selections.

2. Live Draft. (Getting everything done in a mass MSN or IRC chat)
– Pros: Gets everything done in a relatively short period of time. Is very exciting for the GMs involved. Generates a lot of shrewd business dealings. Gets everyone together and as a result generates league articles and long winded trade talks. It’s all and all healthy for the league if pulled off correctly.

– Cons: Can sometimes be a logistical nightmare – an unprepared Commish will sink in a Live Draft. As the draft drags on some GMs eventually get moody or pissy. Arranging a convenient time for everyone to meet up can be a pain – this is where you run into the “Time Zone” problem, 6pm in Vancouver is 9pm in Toronto and while the person in YVR can stick around for a few hours the person out East may not. If a GM misses the draft, doesn’t send in a selection list and the Commish is a vindictive prick a team’s future can be destroyed. (Pro Tip: Don’t be a vindictive prick.)

3. NHL Aligned Draft. (Drafting order in your league follows the NHL player selecton order to the letter. EG: If Nashville wins the lottery draft, selects first and it happens to be 2007, they select; Kane, Brennan, Katic, Vaive, Kempe, Kalinski and Phillips. The top five selections will always be: Kane, Van Riemsdyk, Turris, Hickey and Alzner.)
– Pros: Is an easy and quick no BS way to conduct the draft.

– Cons: Completely negates 90% of the purpose for this article. Is hard to pull off in Retro Leagues and any league with less than 30 teams (or the amount of NHL teams in the league for the year played). Generates a lot of junk prospects and a lot of work for the Commish if he’s undertaking manual rerates. A lot of GMs will feel completely removed from the drafting process, which can lead to picks being devalued.

I prefer a combination of the first two. Live Draft the first three (or four) rounds and conduct the rest of the draft on the forums or through email.

Ranking and rating prospects:

I like to keep player ratings as low as possible. Not so low that the difference between Daniel Paille and Sidney Crosby is a handful of Overall (OV) points, but low enough that very few players stick far out from the pack and even fewer players start that way. Chronically high overalls stifle leagues very fast. If a team is full of players who are routinely sitting in the 80’s for Overall (OV) regardless of where they sit on the depth chart it looks bad. If a player like Donald MacLean is created with his Scoring (SC) in the mid 70’s and an OV to match, where does that put Jarome Iginla’s SC and where does that stat go after a few seasons if Iggy performs poorly? If everyone starts rated well, then you’re that much closer to the rating ceiling and that much more likely to hit it.

Keeping overalls low also gives your superstars room to grow. Keep in mind that it’s impossible – or you have to be bat-shit insane – to start with a ratings pack made entirely from scratch. The players you create from the first season forward are going to have a huge impact on the outlook of the league and if you want to maintain control over player ratings, this is where you start.

I’ll cover that in detail during part two of the off season process “Rerates”.

~J

Lets Pretend This Changes Everything. Again.

In the year 2012?

It happened sometime around 10am PST, I was sitting behind the laptop doing my daily check of the usual sites when I started to notice a strange trend. Apple was stationed in nearly every “currently trending” slot on Twitter. Several blogs I read had already produced headlining articles about the unveiling of the new iPhone. Throwing a few numbers out there; Engadget, typically runs 19 articles on its main page, as of 14:08 PST 16 of them are iPhone related and 14 of those are directly related to the launch of this product. Every major news source had at least one article on its main page that was peppered with comments. My Twitter feed was filled with praising Tweets and ReTweets and comments had begun showing up on Facebook.

A storm like this is easy to weather, walk away from the computer for a little while and do some chores around the apartment. Phone a friend and arrange a meeting for coffee. Pop in a movie. Listen to some music. Do anything except pay attention to what’s happening online. The joygazm will eventually pass and things will return to normal. “Normal” being a continual bombardment of sometimes-clever commercial marketing campaigns designed to generate hype, remind people that the product still exists and that they should buy it.

Then my phone rang.

Being an unemployed person actively hunting for work, any mid-day phone call has the potential to be life altering. (I’m grossly over estimating the importance of one phone call, but to the unemployed a call has the ability to bring a lot of change.)

It was an automated voice message from a Fido customer instructing me to “check out the Apple website”.

I don’t want to jump to extremes, but this illustrates there’s a good chance that as a species, we are fucked. The Information Age has been kind to us, but imagine what’s going to happen when this speed of information begins to infiltrate absolutely every fiber of our being – it’s happening already and progressing rapidly. Imagine if The Cuban Missile Crisis happened tomorrow. I don’t remember how tense the situation was, I wasn’t alive, but I hear it’s probably the closest we all came to surrendering the planet to the cockroaches. Now imagine if a media frenzy equivocal to the release of the iPhone 4 centered around something a little less frivolous? Maybe that phone call would have been “Cuba has the bomb” and all the supporting information could have easily been plucked from online news sources and blogs with semi-doctored photos and uninformed, but seemingly rational, opinions. We’d have a situation brewing in a matter of hours that could severely impact us all. Humans like to panic and we are conditioned to be fearful. I remember where I was when I heard about 911 and I shudder to think of how I would have reacted to the news if it happened in 2010.

It’s only a matter of time before some clever politician – maybe even a clever terrorist – figures out a way to dupe us all into believing hype just long enough to react to it by doing something incredibly stupid, my guess is that it’ll have something to do with an election.

~J

Short: 2010 Stanley Cup Finals Prediction

The Chicago Blackhawks vs Philadelphia Flyers for the Stanley Cup?

Chicago in six. Conn Smyth; Jonathan Toews. (Though I feel that Dustin Byfuglien should win the trophy because of the amazing job he’s done getting under everyone’s skin.)

I know it’s not an elaborate prediction with a whole load of “what ifs” and conspiracies, but sometimes a guy just wants to predict.

~J