boon-dog-gle: (noun) work of little or no value done merely to keep or look busy.
free: (adjective) provided without, or not subject to, a charge or payment.



I have always had a bit of an obsessive personality. It's partly genetic. There are histories of addictions to both alcohol and gambling on both sides of my family. The summer after I graduated from high school, a group of friends and I started playing cards for money. We played with quarters. At one point in the summer, I was up $80 through the course of many games. By the end of the summer, I was down $100. For those of you not inclined toward math, that means I went on a stretch of losing $180--in quarters. That taught me two things: 1) I could easily become a gambling addict; 2) I suck at cards. For Christmas, I got a computer game of Texas Hold-'Em poker. That has effectively quelled my desire to play cards. I spent many, many hours playing the game, and now only play occasionally. Even though I know it's only pretend money, I'm still sick enough to experience the thrill of winning and the devastation of losing. But, my chief intent in this post is not to discuss gambling. Though, I would like to, some day.

I have more current obsessions to fill you in on. The first, an on-going and long running obsession is baseball. You may recall from my quiz (if you took it) that baseball is my favorite sport to watch. In another post, I may explain why baseball is the perfect sport as well as the best spectator sport (especially in the stadium). Actually, however, the inspiration for this post came from my discovery that a large community shares my disdain for baseball announcer Tim McCarver. McCarver really is an awful announcer, who constantly makes the most absurd comments. The link above is to the site I recently discovered. I particularly recommend that you try out the link to McCarver Gems that lists just a few of the ridiculous things he has said during broadcasts. McCarver is tolerated because he is a former very good ballplayer, and because he has been doing it so long. Now, maybe you're saying I shouldn't be mean to someone who doesn't intend any harm. But, why should McCarver get to inflict the baseball watching nation with frustration? If he's bad at his job, it's not like it is his right to continue. Am I off base on this? If so, let me know.

My second obsession, which is also long running, is the video game "Madden NFL 2005". I believe it is the best selling video game series of all time. And, it is by far the best, most advanced sports video game ever. The graphics, game-play, and play options are amazing. The best option is the "franchise" mode. In that mode, you can play with one team through 30 years of games and playoffs. And, you control all the off-the-field things like rosters, trades with other teams, setting ticket prices, and drafting new players and signing free agents in the off-season. You can even build a new stadium or move the team to a new city if you want. Actually, I like those off-the-field tasks as much as playing the games. A new feature this year is the "superstar" mode. This is similar to the "franchise" mode, except instead of following a team through time, you follow an individual player as he progresses through a career. It is quite thorough. You start by choosing his parents, which sets his DNA. (I guess we know where John Madden stands on the "nature vs. nurture" debate.) Then, through his career, you choose the players agent, accept or decline endorsement deals and movie roles, and otherwise control his public image. Along with, of course, playing games with him and his team. Anyway, the new version came out a couple of weeks ago, and I've been playing non-stop.

The third obsession that I'll bore you with is with on-line Scrabble. A few months ago I joined the "Internet Scrabble Club". It's free to join and it's really cool that I play with people from all over the country-and the world-at all hours of the day. You can choose the length of time for a game(usually 25 minutes), and the quality of your opponent. I've become a much better player in the time I've played. I suppose it won't really mean much to most (or any) of you, but right now my rating is 654, with a record of 52 wins and 41 losses. The very best players are rated around 2000. Most player are rated between 300 and 600. I've discovered that there are a few keys to Scrabble. First: two-letter words. You can get a list of all the acceptable two-letter words, and I've pretty much got it memorized. Second: search and plan for bingos, don't just hope for them. Bingos are when you use all 7 tiles from your rack and get a 50-point bonus. Even when you're looking for them, I don't find them that often. But, they're worth it. Anyway, it would be great if any of you are interested in joining. You could create buddy lists, so we could look for each other to play now and then.

O.k. I guess that's enough for now. My laptop has been in the shop for a couple of weeks, which is why I haven't been posting much. We've been using our desktop, which is ancient, and the old modem in it is absolutely enfuriatingly slow.


W Sofield said...

Madden and Scrabble sound like obsessions I could get into. Thanks for posting. Quite interesting. I might look for Madden 2005

nickg said...

For anyone interested, I fixed the link for the Internet Scrabble Club.

James said...

we should play some Madden some time.

jeremy said...

you should meet me down at meshuggah for some scrabble.

also, the documentary WordWars is now out on DVD. i know the blockbuster in the loop has it. it's amazing.

G.K. Chesterton...

"The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people."