Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tired Brain

Sometimes when I have a busy week -- as this week has been -- I get to a point on late Thursday afternoon when my brain just shuts down altogether. Usually with a night's sleep I can cajole it into some useful tasks on Friday: some indexing, sorting out contracts & invoices, maybe a bit of project estimation or planning.

This happened to me again today, though I did manage to at least bump through a few e-mails with the rest of my day. But I rather suspect the high-class thinkin' is done for the week for me. This may be why Thursday is such a popular TV night, both for me and the nation as a whole. I may not be the only one out there who suffers this problem, and nothing sez "tired brain" more strongly than turning on the tube and vegging out for the night.

What's that you say? This is hardly the cleverest or most insightful Patio Boat post you've ever read. Um, I refer you again to the title.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Two Daily Haiku

John's Daily Haiku
Another long day:
Meetings, e-mails, indexing.
So nice to be home.

Katie the Beagle's Daily Haiku
Another long day:
Naps, sniffing, more naps, and treats.
So nice to sleep more.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Hobbits Among Us

My friend Jon "Hoppy" Hopwood sent along an interesting story from today's New York Times: A Tiny Hominid With No Place on the Family Tree. The story regards the anthropology mystery of a tiny fossil found in Indonesia back in 2003 that was the subject of a recent symposium at Stony Brook University:

Six years after their discovery, the extinct little people nicknamed hobbits who once occupied the Indonesian island of Flores remain mystifying anomalies in human evolution, out of place in time and geography, their ancestry unknown. Recent research has only widened their challenge to conventional thinking about the origins, transformations and migrations of the early human family....

For those who know Hoppy, his interest in the subject is entirely understandable:

Hobbit: Short and rotund.
Hoppy: Short and rotund.

Hobbit: Renowned love of beer.
Hoppy: Renowned love of beer.

Hobbit: Fond of Buckland poetry.
Hoppy: Fond of Bukowski poetry.

Hobbit: Lives in luxurious hole in ground.
Hoppy: Lives in luxurious '87 Caddy with holes in side.

Hobbit: Surprisingly stalwart in a tight corner.
Hoppy: Surprisingly tight in a corner store.

Hobbit: Hairy feet.
Hoppy: Hairy toes.

Do hobbits live among us even now? I don't want to jump to conclusions, but I do expect to hear from a certain committee from Stockholm, Sweden, shortly after I put Hoppy in a bag and drag him down to Stony Brook for a closer examination.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Nuthin' Fancy, Just Faux Summer

Inside, the beagle snoozes loudly in her chair.

But we have both the big sliding glass doors on the lake side open on this warm April evening, and through the screens I can hear summertime approaching: the frogs chirping away in high, ringing trills; the lake lapping at out dock; and our recently repaired wind chime clanging every now and then with the first breezes of tonight's approaching storms.

They're all calling out on this hot, humid night.

Feels like a summer evening, even if it is still April.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bonus Beagle Haiku

Oh heck, have a haiku about Katie the Beagle anyway:

Katie the Beagle
Hiding in a beach towel.
The trauma? A bath!

This Week's Extremely Local News

Haven't heard any comments pro or con on this format in a bit. How's it working for you all? Is it useful here on the blog? Would you all rather just have a haiku about Katie the Beagle?

John Magee It's been almost twenty years since I worked there, but I am proud as can be that a writer from my hometown newspaper, The Glens Falls Post-Star, won a Pulitzer Prize today: April 20 at 11:11pm

John Magee is lunchin' in the cube. (Hey, it can't all be glamour and drama.) April 22 at 1:18pm

John Magee loves how adamant fans get about NFL Draft choices before the draft, since their knowledge is usually based on third-hand observations made by some draft pundit. My own two cents on the Lions taking Matt Stafford? Um, he's not going to make the Lions any *worse*, that's for sure! Fri 12:55pm

Scott Pollack at 1:09pm April 24
Good comment, I no longer listen to the draft pundits. I have my own rating system which is similiar to the system that I use to crown my own college football national champion. Utah was my champion last year, Boise State a couple of years ago, and Penn State in 1994.

Steve Mace at 1:15pm April 24

John Magee at 5:54pm April 24
At least a few of the pundits have watched some film or attended the combine. But most of the yappers work off somebody's interpretation of somebody else's opinion. And then the guys who call in to radio shows work off those fourth-hand opinions.

And yet I love the NFL Draft, nonetheless. Oh, sweet contradiction.

Steve Mace at 5:56pm April 24
Are you still talking about football? Please hand in your rugby boots, IMMEDIATELY!

John Magee sez, "Warm Friday afternoon, meet cold beer. Cold beer, meet warm Friday afternoon." Fri 5:55pm

Matt Thompson, Roger Franklin, Ray Abruzzi, Nicole Artanowicz, Andrew Mutch, Larry Trudeau, Susan Riordan, and Jay Lowman like this.

Jeffrey Kofsky at 7:32pm April 24
Guinness #1 down; #2 on the way.

John Magee at 9:36am April 25
And then we introduced the happy couple to our neighbor's pontoon boat and cruised the evening away.

John Magee really enjoyed the first pontoon cruise of the year last night. Now it's time for some general yard cleanup to the dulcet tones on the radio of fans calling in to complain about Lions draft picks. Saturday at 12:35pm

John Magee and Monique were extremely impressed by the organization of the NO HAZ day at Walled Lake Northern High School for dropping off hazardous materials. Both we and our now toxic-free garage thank everybody involved! Saturday at 3:14pm

Catherine Dufresne-Magee and Sheila Nason like this.

John Magee loves the NFL Draft and the panic-stricken voices of Detroit radio announcers and callers whenever the Lions make a pick. I'm also amazed by the continued durability of Mel Kiper, Jr.'s hair. Saturday at 7:17pm

John Magee has been watchin' more NFL Draft coverage. The Lions are off the clock for a couple of rounds now, so perhaps it's time to do a few productive things with the remnants of my day. In general I like the Lions draft and think they probably got a few good players, a vast improvement over the Millen era. Sunday, 1:45pm

Ryan Claytor at 2:03pm April 26
Boy-howdy, how long does this draft process take? I've been seeing your draft updates for a few days now. I have no clue about what's going on in football, but here's hoping for some good picks. :)

Eric Blosch at 2:03pm April 26
No offense, but a 41-year old Scott Mitchell would have been a vast improvement over the Millen days.

Ronald Wong at 2:51pm April 26
No where to go but up! You listen to Millen, and he's intelligent, but it didn't translate into building a program.

John Magee at 4:15pm April 26
Still two more rounds and three Lion picks to go, Ryan. All the coverage hereabouts is because when a team's as bad as the Lions, the draft is considerably more fun than the actual games.

John Magee Congratulations to Mr. Irrelevant, kicker Ryan Succop (U of S.Carolina) the 256th and final pick of the NFL Draft, who will be rewarded with a trip to "Irrelevant Week" in Newport Beach, CA.

Condolences to "Mr. Almost Irrelevant", TE Dan Gronkowski of Maryland, who was picked #255 and will be punished by having to play for the Detroit Lions this year. Sunday, 7:50 pm.

Human Nature? Ain't Nothin' Natural 'bout This Reality TV

I'm not necessarily proud of it, but I love the NFL Draft. No, no, I don't just love the NFL Draft. I loooooooove the NFL Draft. But I'm not quite sure why, and I know that I can't quite justify it. So let me list out a few of the things that I really like about it:

1) Tradition -- For nearly 30 years now I've been watching Mel Kiper, Jr., saying, "I don't like the pick. I think it was a major stretch." To me, this is one of the rites of Spring, up there with ice out on the lake, migrating waterfowl, crocuses and tulips, baseball Opening Day, and the sweet smell of blooming lilacs. I'm not sure if Mel Kiper's hair is blooming, but I am sure that it's non-migratory.

2) Hope -- Frankly, I've rooted for some bad teams over the years. Some really bad teams. Plus the 0-16 2008 Detroit Lions, who were in a class of badness all their own. But I will never forget that burst of optimism that I felt when I was 13 years old, a terrible Giants team drafted this linebacker from North Carolina named Lawrence Taylor with the second overall pick, and the highlight reel rolled. Finally! Finally! Look at this guy. Who cares if UNC is a basketball school. He's a bad-ass. Ten years later, the Giants had won two Super Bowls.

3) Hopeless -- So if Lawrence Taylor was the second pick of the 1981 draft, who was the first pick? Running back George Rogers, who went to the New Orleans Saints. Ten years later, the Giants had won two Super Bowl titles, while the Saints were ten years older. Disaster creates drama and few things are littered with more disasters than the NFL draft. For every Payton Manning, there is a Ryan Leaf. (In fairness to George Rogers, he went on to have a decent career. He even won a Super Bowl of his own, though it was with the Washington Redskins just before he retired.)

4) Suprises -- Mike Ditka once traded the New Orleans Saints' entire draft to move up and select running back Ricky Williams. Crazy people do crazy things on draft day, and I'm not just talking about the Jets fans lining the balcony of Radio City Music Hall. There's a certain joy that builds as each Oakland Raider pick approaches and we all know that Al Davis will do something spectacularly unexpected. (Then, to recall tradition, Mel Kiper will say, "This is another bad reach by the Raiders. That player would have been there four rounds later.")

As I type this, the Lions just traded their 3rd-round pick for a later 3rd-rounder and a 4th-rounder. SURPRISE!

5) Decision-Making -- I just really enjoy watching all of the decision-making that goes on. Every pick involves a decision tree: Trade-up? Trade-down? Who's the best player? What positions do we need to fill? And there's a vast quantity of analytical minutia clogging the decision-making tree. So eventually a guy like middle linebacker Zach Thomas -- who tackled everybody in sight in college -- drops to the 5th round because teams think he's an inch too short and ran the 40-yard-dash one-tenth of a second too slow. What does he do in the NFL? Tackle everybody in sight for the next ten years.

6) Armchair Drafters -- Everybody who follows a team has an opinion about who they should draft. And the best thing is that none of us really know anything about how these players will turn out. I watched 1/2 of one game that Matt Stafford quarterbacked this year. The Lions front office has watched every throw he has made in a game going back to his junior year in high school. And yet I feel perfectly entitled to judge their pick.

And whereas passionate opinions with no basis in fact are one of the most annoying aspects of politics, in spectator sports there are an absolute boon. Talk radio and the Internet have really helped ramp up this aspect of the draft. Right now on, there are hundreds of Lions fans live blogging about the Lions draft. And most of them are pissed. They have no idea whether any of the picks will actually work out. But given the Lions' history so far this century, they do know that they should be pissed at the front office on draft day.

7) Faux Hype -- Despite all that I love about the draft, it really is a non-event. So I just love watching the PR machine that cranks up around the whole thing.

And now, the Detroit Lions are back on the clock. So I'm going to stop typing and start getting pissed about whomever it is that they'll pick. It's my duty as a Lions fan.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Two Black Ski Gloves

Two black ski gloves
Reaching up from the short spring grass
While the morning breeze blows from the lake
Across the bright lawn of the park

Two thick black gloves
Grasping for the April sun
As it melts the last ice crystals
Of the final frost
Of Winter.

How did they get there?
Did somebody drop them accidentally?
Were they thrown away in celebration?
Or were they placed there deliberately,
In thanks that their season is done?

A Canada goose walks up to them,
Honks at them, cocks its head, then moves on
To nibble the tender shoots of grass
That also reach for the sun.
The gloves do not see the goose;
Their fingers stretch up blindly.
The gloves do not see the sun,
Yet the sun warms them all the same.

Two black ski gloves.
Supplication or surrender?
A mute request for just one more day of Winter?
Or do even the gloves enjoy
The warmth of a sunny April morn?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Today's Guest Poet: Mary Campbell-Droze

It's been a busy week on many fronts, with very little actual writing of my own. So instead of foisting another lame haiku off on y'all, I thought I'd pass along this outstanding limerick from Mary Campbell-Droze. It arose from an FBN discussion of the extra price now charged by United Airlines for XXXL passengers, the extra price charged by clothing manufacturers for XXL and XXXL clothing, and the appropriate attire for a night on the town in certain San Francisco bars:

United Airlines To Cause Obese Passengers' Exile:or, United Against the Cause for Obese Vertical Smiles

In masculine clothing, the trend
Is a ratio of cost-per-distend;
But A**less chaps
Have significant gaps
So their ratio is cost-per-offend.

Monday, April 20, 2009

This week's Extremely Local News....

John Magee is working at home this morning and enjoying a clean desk, thanks to three straight weekends of shoveling and sorting piled up paperwork. April 13 at 9:46am

Eric Blosch at 12:18pm April 13
I get the same effect with one quick trip to the circular file.

John Magee at 3:51pm April 13
The end effect was similar, except that I had to pull about three binders worth of village stuff for filing and another 10 or 20 pages of assorted items that needed to be kept out of about 20,000 total pages. There were still two recycling bins' worth of stuff that got chucked. It amazes me how much paper I am buried in each and every week. What ever happened to that "paperless society" thing, anyway?

John Magee is still hungry after his cup of oatmeal and now contemplating an early lunch in the cube: a stuffed pepper and mashed potatoes. Mmmmn. April 14 at 11:31am

John Magee at 11:48am April 14
Early lunch wins out. Yummy!

John Magee revised last night's wee little poem in his head as he drove in to work, and revised it on the Patio Boat blog itself (A Sudden Quiet while enjoying his tasty lunch. Now, back to work. April 14 at 1:11pm

Eric Blosch at 2:15pm April 14
I must say, I enjoyed that.

John Magee at 2:19pm April 14
Thanks, Eric. The revisions were pretty small, but I think they made it a much better poem.

Laura van Hoff at 7:10pm April 14
love the the patio boat photo of you in the floatie thing even more!

John Magee celebrated the sunny spring afternoon by driving over to Tom's Root-Beer Stand for lunch and enjoying a couple of coney dogs from a tray on my car window while I looked out at Walled Lake. April 15 at 1:31pm

Marti Bush and Jay Lowman like this.

Ray Abruzzi at 1:52pm April 15
well-played, Sir, well-played

Monica Lesnau at 4:42pm April 15
Me, too. Weird . . . We were in the white Escape. About 1:30 p.m.

John Magee at 5:22pm April 15
I pulled out just after 1 pm. It definitely put a spring-like bounce in my step. (while also putting a rock-like lump of coneys and fries in my tummy.)

John Magee just noticed that Ron Frenz and Tom DeFalco are going to be at the Motor City Comic Con this year. Since I just happen to have a wee stack of Spider-Girl original art that already has Sal Buscema's autograph, it looks as if there may be some autograph huntin' going on this year. April 15 at 10:02pm

John Magee Sunny spring day! Yippee!! (Alas, that I'll be spending it in Cubicleland, though.) April 16 at 9:52am

Eric Blosch at 12:28pm April 16
I see a kernel of an idea for a new novel, along the lines of Flatland, but a world of cubicles. The alternative title would be 'Reality'.

John Magee at 12:43pm April 16
I broke out into the sunlight at lunchtime to run an errand.

The best part of living through a Michigan winter is how good it feels when Spring does finally arrive.

Phil Gaven at 3:39pm April 16
You do realize that you people in Michigan are free to leave, right?

John Magee at 7:03pm April 16
Since when? Hey, why didn't somebody tell me about that?!!

John Magee is sorry that this weekend's old boy rugby match was cancelled due to lack of arthritic ruggers, and wants to thank Mike Gangler for all the work he did trying to put that DOGS @ Grand Rapids game together. April 16 at 7:00pm

Roger Franklin likes this.

John Magee has to get up reasonably early and should be going to bed. But instead I'm watching an episode of "Hogan's Heroes". I think I'm going to regret this when the alarm clock goes off. Fri 12:52am

Rich Riordan at 7:40am April 17
I know that's still hard to pull yourself away..

John Magee had a busy day of village governance on many fronts: wireless service, swans, and potential citihood. Ironically, now that I'm working at my real job after spending my morning in a meeting on wireless service, the wireless on my work laptop keeps crapping out. (Yet my home laptop seems just fine.) Ahh, computers. Oh well, I got to visit FB on the home laptop whilst I rebooted. And now, back to the other laptop. Fri 3:43pm

John Magee is done workin', and now enjoying the rest of this beautiful, sunny spring day! Wow, it's nice. Fri 6:26pm

Michael Magee at 10:43pm April 17
Done workin', and now buried in the basement studying the entire weekend.

Snow yesterday. Snow/rain today. Snow/rain tomorrow.

Wow, it's not nice.

John Magee at 12:42am April 18
Oh, sure, you have to go study all weekend. But I just had to go drink beer with old boy rugby players. Don't you feel my pain?

John Magee isn't going to sit around reading Facebook. I'm going out into the genuinely warm April day. Hurrah, Spring has sprung! Sat 12:49pm

Patrick Donnelly likes this.

Andrew Mutch at 12:57pm April 18
But you're still online...

John Magee at 5:11pm April 18
Nah, I was outside cleaning the garage and running errands. My laptop was the one sticking around online.

John Magee and Monique are off to a wine-tasting fundraiser this evening. However, I'm going to continue to leave my laptop online with the browser open to Facebook, just to further confound Andrew as to my true whereabouts. Sat 6:17pm

Phil Gaven at 11:54pm April 19
I am so proud of you guys, willing to help those people who are so unfortunate that they can't even taste wine. You give and you give.

John Magee and Monique lazed about this morning reading the papers, then a late brunch with a yummy ham, mushroom, and cheddar omelet. Now we're getting our rainy Sunday afternoon under way. April 19 at 1:11pm

John Magee at 1:13pm April 19
And indeed, I have started the afternoon list by petting the beagle's ears. I'm on the board. What next?

Steve Mace at 2:09pm April 19
Solving the Middle East issue. If you could just go ahead and get on that now that you're nice and relaxed. Thanks.

Roger Franklin at 3:35pm April 19
Whoa there! Did I miss you fixing the economy? Let's get our priorities straight here.....

John Magee at 4:22pm April 19
It turned out that item #2 on the list was petting Katie the Beagle's ears some more. I'll get to the Middle East and the economy later today, probably after I watch the ballgame.

Susan Magee Riordan at 4:46pm April 19
After dinner, could you work on health care policy for a bit?

Roger Franklin at 5:42pm April 19
Holy chin!! I just noticed the clean shaven look! It's like a time machine!!!

John Magee at 7:41pm April 19
After dinner I may work my way up to a nap.

Steve Johnston at 8:49pm April 19
You are so agressive on Sundays....time for another beer yet?

James Maloney at 2:34pm April 20
This does not sound like the Detroit we read about in the media

John Magee at 6:17pm April 20
It does, however, sound like the slothful old boy prop that you would read about in the media, if the media covered slothful old boy props.

John Magee and Monique watched "Milk" tonight, and both thought it's a great movie. It turns out that Sean Penn really did deserve the Oscar. Who knew? Monday, April 20, 12:19am

Stacey Tucker-Blosch at 2:04am April 20
We watched it tonight too. Very good.

Sheila Nason at 8:05am April 20
Dick and I watched it Friday. Yes, he was very good.

Gretchen Brimmer at 8:17am April 20
Have you seen "Henry Poole is Here". Strange movie, but I liked it...

John Magee at 9:50am April 20
Nope, haven't seen it. It looks as if it got roughed up pretty good on the ol' TomatoMeter (38%).

John Magee - Busy work day with lots of e-mails and teleconferences, but not enough actual work accomplished. And now off to a village council work session...Monday, April 20, 6:08pm

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Too much basking, not enough blogging leads to this sort of post:

How can I write poems
When spring is at hand? The sun
Is no muse. I bask!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Midnight post

Sleeping dog in chair.
Sleeping wife curled on couch.
Sleeping blog? Quick post.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A recap of the writing process for the previous post, in haiku

Tour report. Whine, whine.
Whine. Damages. Whine, whine, whine.
Desk. Whine, whine. Delete.

The no-whining-zone post

I just typed up a long post that slowly devolved into me whining about too many things to do, too many places to be, and not enough time to do them all. Then in consideration of you, gentle reader, I deleted the paragraphs and paragraphs of whining.

Here's what was left: three paragraphs on an interesting tour I took yesterday evening, two sentences on television, and one whine-free phrase at the end. Enjoy:


Last night I went down to tour the Menlo Software Factory in Ann Arbor because my company is instituting the agile software development process for our new product development. I thought it would be interesting to go take a look at a company that's done that for a while, to try to get a better sense of how my group of indexing specialists will be able to best fit our work into that sort of development cycle.

It's worth checking into if you're involved at all in software or online products. It's especially interesting in that it places a great emphasis on putting all of the programmers in the same room at the same time, a sharp contrast to the "outsource to India" method that seemed to sweep through everybody in the last decade. They also place a great emphasis on eliminating the scheduled meetings and e-mail deluges that are often a great impediment to productivity for most programmers working in the corporate world.

But rather than me trying to tell you about agile, in the unlikely case that you really are interested in software development processes you can click on the Wikipedia article that I linked to above or sign up for a tour here: Menlo Tours. The tour was definitely interesting and well worth my time. And if nothing else, they also offer free pizza with the tour. This likely ensures sign ups from lots of hungry and poor University of Michigan students.


I must confess that I watched the last half-hour of the Damages season finale with Monique. Good heavens, those people are not very nice to one another. I don't think Miss Manners would approve.


... still enjoying a clean desktop...


Monday, April 13, 2009

A Sudden Quiet

A sudden quiet engulfs our living room
When I turn off the television.
The din replaced by the steady tick-tock,
The swinging pendulum of our old wall clock,
The wheezing snores of our sleeping beagle,
Tick-tock, wheeze,
Monique turning a paperback page,
Tick-tock, wheeze, flip,
And the clickety-clack of the keys as I write this poem.
Tick-tock, wheeze, flip, clickety clack.
Tick-tock, wheeze, flip, clickety clack.
Tick-tock, wheeze, flip, clickety clack.

And then, no more clickety-clack.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Extremely Local News, issue 2, Apr. 6-12, 2009

John Magee is recovering from the trauma of his 14-hour blizzard blackout by watching opening-day baseball games in HD on his big, honkin' plasma TV, now that the power is back. April 6 at 5:22pm

Michael Magee at 5:31pm April 6
The Red Sox got rained out, now all I have left is rooting against the Yankees.

Sheila Nason at 5:51pm April 6
Dick's watching and rooting against them right now too.

John Magee at 6:16pm April 6
Ooooh, through the magic of DirecTV Extra Innings I'm watching four games at once right now.
The Tigers' first game at 7 pm, then Michigan State hoops for the National Championship at 9:21 pm. I think I would've been sad if our blackout had continued another ten hours.

Phil Gaven at 6:50pm April 6
That scene in "Ray" where he goes through heroin withdrawl - that's how I picture John in a power outage. "Doctor, get this boy four simultaneous channels of sports STAT!"

John Magee at 7:42pm April 6
And now that the Tigers are already down 4-0 in the first inning, I guess it's time for some of that heroin.
John Magee Let's go, MSU! April 6 at 9:31pm

Jenn Spahn at 10:42pm April 6 via Facebook Mobile
I think everyone is watching this game right now haha.
John Magee Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. (Which was about one minute into the first half.) Congratulations to MSU for a great run! (And to me for finally winning the "Old IACers" office pool!) April 6 at 11:53pm
John Magee drove to work without my laptop this morning, and so I had to turn right around drive back home when I got to the office and realized I didn't have it. I ain't too bright in the mornings. April 7 at 2:17pm

Jim Stoy at 2:32pm April 7
more coffee, less thinking

John Magee at 3:33pm April 7
You say that as if "thinking" entered into it at all. I'm pretty sure there was no thinking going on whatsoever.

Jim Stoy at 4:18pm April 7
like I said, more coffee

Katy Balcer at 5:08pm April 7
I've witnessed you pull that one before!

John Magee at 5:50pm April 7
My learning curve isn't very impressive, is it? But it has been nearly a year since the last time!

Neil Walker at 12:55pm April 8
So...uhhmmm...yeah John, guess what I did this morning? Why couldn't I learn from YOUR mistake? Noooooo...I had to do it all by myself. That is NO way to start the day. 4 hours later and I'm still trying to recover...
John Magee is now laughing at Neil Walker for forgetting *his* laptop this morning. Ha! Ha! Ha! April 8 at 4:36pm

Mary Alampi likes this.

John Magee at 4:38pm April 8
And if there's anybody out there who hasn't yet heard enough about amnesiac laptop owners, I rambled and scapegoated about it over on my blog, too:

Benjamin Magee at 8:30pm April 8

John Magee is pretty sure that if he tried to transport brownies in Warren County, this is what would happen with his brother-in-law Harry: Thu 12:13pm ·

Harry Spahn likes this.

John Magee at 12:15pm April 9
That was yesterday's "Jump Start". The plot thickens further today:

Harry Spahn at 1:46pm April 9

John Magee at 6:47pm April 9
You smile, yet I'm still afraid to drive through Warren County with delicious baked goods!
John Magee enjoyed delicious Costa Rican coffee this morning, thanks to his folks who brought it back with them from their trip to Costa Rica, and then sent it along to Michigan. Thanks! Fri 11:56am

Steve Mace likes this.

Sheila Nason at 1:12pm April 10
Glad to hear you liked it.
John Magee Callin' it a day at work. Friday evening cleanup to come when I get home. What should the cleanin' music be this time? Fri 6:13pm

John Magee at 7:23pm April 10
Hmmn ... the end of the Cubs @ Brewers game seems to have won for now on the TV. Alas, that me sitting on my butt watching baseball isn't getting the cleanup done!

Robert Forster at 10:21pm April 10
try this:
Let me know what you think.
John Magee Friday night cleanin' done enough for tonight. Now it's time for a delicious Sierra-Nevada Bigfoot Barley Wine and a little baseball on the tube. Fri 10:29pm

John Magee at 10:31pm April 10
BTW, tonight's cleanin' music was Alison Kraus, A Hundred Miles or More and Susan Tedeschi, Wait for Me. Bob's recommendation may have to wait 'til tomorrow.

Ray Abruzzi at Fri 11:01pm
Nice plan!
John Magee had a lovely, lazy Saturday morning. Time to be productive now. Yesterday at 12:16pm

Steve Mace at 12:31pm April 11
Why start being productive at this stage of your life? Unproductiveness is your bag. Stick with what you know. Case of suds, and raw red meat.

Roger Franklin at 12:57pm April 11
He makes a good point John. It's now past 5 o'clock back home, so you don't need to apologise to anyone. We'll back you up.....

John Magee at 1:40pm April 11
You've convinced *me*. Now all you need to do is convince Monique. Good luck with that.
John Magee fibbed on Facebook. I didn't really start being productive an hour ago, unless you count writing up a new post for the Patio Boat blog as "productive": Now I better get that cleanup project back under way!
John Magee is dancin' up a storm to the Dead at Barton Hall '77, as he and Monique get the house ready for Easter dinner with Arsen & Brigitte. 12:51pm April 12

John Magee at 12:54pm April 12
P.S. Where's the Easter Beagle, you ask? Katie the Beagle is basking on the porch in the spring sunshine.

Phil Gaven at 1:31pm April 12
I've seen that dance and I'm not sure it qualifies as a "storm."

John Magee at 3:19pm April 12
... dancin' up a mild spring drizzle ...
John Magee is showing Arsen how Facebook works. 9:10pm

Erin Eliza Braun at 9:38pm April 12
Hi, Arsen!

John Magee at 10:24pm April 12
Oh, shoot, we had already moved on. I suspect he would've been quite excited to have somebody actually say, "Hi!" to him while we were surfing. (I also suspect that it won't be long until he'll be around here himself. We shall see.)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A virtually lovely, lazy Saturday morning with the morning paper, sort of.

Nothing exciting to report from my Saturday morning, but it was pretty much my favorite way to start any weekend: lazing about under the covers with a newspaper and some coffee 'til lunchtime. The older I get, the more firmly I become convinced that this is really the only civilized way to begin the day.

The one recent change in that Saturday morning routine has been the move of the Detroit Free Press away from home delivery to its online-only format on Saturdays. This is the third Saturday that I've had to function without my morning Free Press. Sure, there's still a New York Times waiting for us out in the paper box, but the front page of the New York Times is no way to start a pleasant day. I much prefer starting my day with the sports and comics before working my way up to the hearing from the rest of the world. I'm still toying with the idea of going to a 7-day New York Times subscription, just to have a physical paper, but I've decided to embrace the future for a little while and see how it goes.

This morning I did discover the first concrete advantage to not getting my paper delivered in the morning. I felt no obligation whatsoever to put on my robe and slippers to walk out in the 33-degree morning to fetch the New York Times when what I really wanted was a recap of the Tigers' opening day obliteration of the Rangers, plus my morning comics. Instead I just stayed quietly in bed and read the paper on my iPod, snug beneath three layers of blankets and soothed by the mellow tones of the snoring wife and beagle. This was waaaaay, waaaaay better than getting upright and going outside into a pretty blustery April morning.

Three weeks into the Free Press's dive into semi-virtuality, my iPod Touch has become my default newspaper reader, since it has the advantage of being a good deal easier than my laptop to carry about as I go through my morning routine. The iPod's screen is considerably smaller than I'd prefer, but the mobile edition is made for that sort of small screen and formats text pretty well for it. And the electronic edition, which provides a replica of the printed paper, does a pretty good job of displaying the comics in a way that's still basically readable on my iPod. So I read the sports on the mobile edition, hit a few other sections to see if there's anything interesting, and then finish off my morning browsing with the comics on the digital edition.

One thing I've noticed, though, is that if my morning newspaper needs to compete with the entire Internet, sometimes it loses. I've got fantasy baseball news to catch up on, and the Free Press no longer carries box scores. Plus, the extremely local news on Facebook is generally of more immediate interest to me than the assorted bits of local non-news that the Free Press usually carries. ("News Flash: City of Detroit government proves incompetent yet again! Read all about it! Yet again!") And then there are always a few blogs out there that generally provide more interesting fare than the pared back content of the tattered remnants of my newspaper habit.

Oh, and the Free Press also just dropped Gil Thorpe from the sports section, which just flat-out irks me. How can you drop Gil Thorpe? You know, Free Press, if I've gotta go to the Chicago Tribune's web site to read Gil Thorpe, I might just stick around over there. Maybe I'll even click on a few of their ads. Do you hear me, Free Press?

It's going to be interesting over the next few months to see whether the Free Press can continue to be a part of my morning habit. Or whether it will start to fade into the background. In many ways, the real reason I read it every morning -- especially as its real news quotient has dropped sharply over the last ten years and it became more of an aggregator of newswires than a genuine reporting resource -- was that it continued to be delivered to me every morning. And I like having a morning paper to browse through as I claw my way to consciousness each morning.

I've always subscribed to the local paper, wherever I've lived. It never occurred to me that one day the local paper would stop subscribing to me!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Haiku sandwich

Work 'til 6 pm,
But brain quit at 4 pm.
Time to read e-mail.

It's a good thing that I have a well-nigh infinite quantity of e-mail that I can't seem to keep up with anymore, because working my way backwards through my unread e-mails seems to have become my managerial equivalent of clock-watching. I just start on the pile, and the next thing I know, it's quittin' time.

Trying to keep working once you've run out of brainpower for the day sometimes seems to me like the worst thing about working with your brain. Back when I did various forms of physical labor it was generally possible to just soldier on for the last couple hours of the day. But man, when your brain is tired, your brain is tired. And telling it not to be tired doesn't really work. What I usually find when I try to push through is that I often end up making myself more work afterwards than if I had just set things to the side and started fresh the next day.

I think that's one of the thing I like about fiddling with fantasy baseball statistics at the end of the day. It doesn't usually require much brainpower at all. Just a bit of converting and sorting, and then I can look at them and see if they added up to anything. I'm sure this is also why Solitaire, Minesweeper, and Spyder continue to draw so many users, when there are lots of more "challenging" games out there.

Um, and I suppose this is why not every Patio Boat post is chock full of original thought or even genuine grammar. Sometimes my fingers are writing them long after my brain has checked out for the day.

Type, my fingers, type.
End the post with a haiku,
And then let's go home.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fame, of a sort, plus fame of another sort: a "Carrie Fisher's Key Ring" update

I was just going back through the blog to look for new comments, when I came across a brand new comment on my Norman Rockwell at the DIA post by somebody who had come across the post by Googling "mark rothko dia". If you do that right now, that blog entry is #3 on the first page of Google results, the Holy Grail of Internet visibility. I'm currently #11 if you google "norman rockwell dia", which almost gets me onto the first page of results.

The Patio Boat seems to be buoyant. Link to it from your .orgs and .edus and watch the world come on board. (Supposedly inbound links from .org and .edu domains are especially prized in Google's relevance algorithm. Perhaps it's finally time for to make its links o'plenty debut!)

This upswing in traffic also means that I made more in March from the little Google AdSense account that I opened on March 10 than I did from being president of our village. Final tally? Silly Blog $27.88, Public Service, $20.00. I'm sure that somewhere therein lie the seeds of humanity's inevitable collapse.

Speaking of fame, I know you've all been waiting with bated breath to find out why I have a photo of Carrie Fisher's key ring. (Most of you have been waiting with bated breath; Katie the Beagle has been waiting with baited breath, breath that smells like bait.)

As a reminder, the photo in question:

And no, I did not pull that photo off the 'Net. In fact, here's another taste of the high-powered celebrity rumor-mongering yet to come. I actually used the keys that are attached to Carrie Fisher's key ring -- both of them. Oh, yes, there's a humdinger of a story still to come and the world demands to know it. Stay tuned, Star Wars geeks and Patio Boat readers. (Frankly, those are two groups with considerably more overlap than I care to admit.)

But in the meantime, I want you all to ponder whether it's a coincidence that the estimable Ms. Fisher appeared at the Wondercon in San Francisco while Monique and I were out there this February, and that in May she will now be appearing at the Motor City Comic Con in Novi, Michigan, just five miles from our house.

Coincidence or red herring? You be the judge.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Creature of Habit

No, this isn't a post about renowned Beagle of Habit, Katie. This is instead an admission that it doesn't seem to take much to throw me off my morning stride these days. And once that happens, it turns out that my day is surprisingly vulnerable.

On Monday -- for those who didn't hear enough of my whining about it in the Extremely Local News Report -- we went without electricity for fourteen hours, from a little bit after midnight until 2:30 pm or so. Apparently some branches came down in our snowstorm and managed to take out a transformer with them, blacking out most of the south side of Wolverine Lake and a chunk of northwestern Walled Lake, too, just for good measure.

So there we were, snowbound in the midst of The Great April Blizzard* of '09, no power, no light, no water, at Nature's mercy as the indoor temperature plunged towards freezing. So we did what any sensible Midwesterners of pioneer stock would do. We stayed in bed with several layers of blankets on top of us and waited for DTE to restore our electricity. Eventually brave Beowife Monique bundled up in her parka, took Katie the Beagle for a walk, and then drove out to fetch us hot coffee, newspapers, and sandwiches while I re-warmed the beagle by tucking her under the blankets, too.

Fortunately, just before civilization broke down entirely, power was restored and I was soon spending my evening watching televised sporting events on a plasma TV. Ahhh, crisis averted.

Or was it?

Apparently my brain was still frozen this morning. Sure, I got up, shaved, showered, and drank my coffee just as usual, revelling in the return of hot water and heat. Then I packed my laptop computer in its carrying case, set it on the stairway next to the door, and headed into the kitchen. There I packed a delicious lunch of leftover seafood stew and a few tangerines. The only real blip in my delightfully powered morning came as I fretted a bit about the fact I had already had two mugs of coffee, so there wasn't really enough coffee left in the pot to bother filling my usual travelmug. But I solved the problem by nobly taking on the caffeine martyrdom of bad corporate coffee from our kitchenette once I got in the office. Crisis averted, I bundled up, picked up my notebook, picked up my lunchbag, headed out the door, brushed the snow off the car, and drove in to work.

You can already see where I went wrong, can't you?

Just seconds after parking the car, I said several naughty words as I visualized my laptop computer case, sitting there on the stairway next to the door. After making a brief and embarrassing appearance inside to confess my ineptitude and shame, I got back in the car, drove home, and worked from home the rest of the day, calling in to meetings over the phone so as not to expose the innocent to my great shame.

This would all be embarrassing enough if it was the only time I had pulled such a boneheaded stunt. However, it's the second time that I've done this in the last year. This is like a carpenter showing up to work without his toolbox or a figure-skater going to the rink sans skates.

I would blame it all on general disorientation caused by our Monday blackout and move on, but I did have several rehabilitative hours of sports on the big, honkin' plasma TV Monday night. I think what really threw me off was not having a coffee to sip in the car, and not having the travelmug to carry out with me as I schlepped my other stuff. I mean, I felt as if I lacked something when I went out the door, but I knew what it was: my travelmug.

Still ... sheesh. It would be bad enough if I had just forgotten to pack the laptop altogether. But to pack it up and set it on the stairs right next to the front door, and then forget it?

Yeah, it was a power outage of some sort, that's for sure.

*Well, it was six inches of wet snow. That's a "Great Blizzard" when it happens in April, as far as I'm concerned.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Extremely Local News Report

Monique has taken to calling the Facebook feed "the extremely local news," since I seem to generally check it out on weekends around the same time we're reading the paper or listening to the news on the radio.

With that in mind and with the ongoing collapse of our nation's news infrastructure, I thought I'd convert my little status updates for the week into a bit of a newswire report by compiling them and editing them a smidge for clarity. This is in part just to see what it was like, but also to give you non-Facebookers a chance to catch up with the week in Wolverine Lake. Mostly, I'm just curious what it all looks like when its together in one place. I'm soliciting commentary on what you think, especially from you non-Facebookers. Let me know if you think it'd make a worthwhile weekly feature here on the Patio Boat. If so, is it worth including the commentary, too?

The John Magee Extreme Local News Digest for March 26 to April 6:
Thu, March 26, at 12:15am
John Magee
picked his (5) for "favorite beers": Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Guinness Draught, Bell's Oberon Ale, Samuel Adams Boston Lager, and The Poet. Yummy, yummy, yummy. Looking forward right now to the summertime return of the Oberon.

Fri, March 27, at 10:02am
John Magee
has a fun, restful weekend planned. But kinda wishes he was rucking around in Nashville with the rest of the Detroit ruggers.

Sat, March 28, at 7:45pm
John Magee
had a great time at the MSU Comics Forum today! Plus, I rounded up a new stack of indy comics by local creators to look forward to reading!

Sun, March 29, at 1:09pm
John Magee
is looking at the awesome handmade book stand that Monique bought us for our anniversary from Phil Gaven's Shininglass Studio:

Susan Magee Riordan at 2:00pm March 29
That is very pretty! Good selection, Monique.

John Magee at 2:33pm March 29
Photos now up on the blog:

Stacey Tucker-Blosch at 2:42pm March 29
Very nice.

Eric Blosch at 7:12pm March 29
That's a very nice piece. I'd consider ordering one myself, but it's looks too big for "Webster's Completely Abridged Two-Color Guide to Upper Wisconsin Animals, in Twenty-Four Glossy Pages".

Mon, March 30, at 12:09pm
John Magee
was working at home fairly diligently before he got distracted by Obama's auto-industry address. Now I'm pondering its meaning, and I think I'm optimistic.

Jeffrey Kofsky at 6:53pm March 30
Go ahead, Detroit, have some New York money. We've got too much of it anyway.

John Magee at 7:28pm March 30
Thanks for the cash, Jeff! We'll write you an IOU on these shares of Lehman Bros. that we're not using any more.

Wed, April 1, at 9:22am
John Magee
was stuck in an inexplicable traffic jam on 12-Mile Rd. this morning. What was it? A stalled car, geese walking across the road, or alien UFOs with lasers? I'll never know.

Craig Neuman at 9:24am April 1
I was actually reading about that on the internets this morning. It was alien geese with lasers in a stalled UFO.

John Magee at 9:32am April 1
Mystery solved! The Internet is truly a wondrous place.

Neil Walker at 10:31am April 1
Yeah, those alien geese ruined my morning. Work is enough fun as it is, it SUCKS when the day starts like that.

Thu, April 2, at 2:55pm
John Magee
Meeting, meeting, lunch, meeting, meeting, 1/2-hour free, meeting. So why am I on FB with my 1/2 free hour? Ooops, better stop typing. Time for a meeting.

Rachel Skousen Herr at 3:00pm April 2
Many a times I wonder the same thing about myself, yet here I am!

John Magee at 4:30pm April 2
Meghan Gaven introduced me to one of my favorite new phrases: "Social notworking."

Michael Magee at 8:21pm April 2
You're just increasing your productivity. The company should thank you:

Fri, April 3, at 7:36pm
John Magee
had an interesting day at the Michigan Municipal League Region 1 conference. Now it's time for some Friday night cleanup around the house. Cleanin' music? Rush 2112.

Scott Pollack at 8:17pm April 3
Glad to see you're cleaning up you own Temple of Syrinx...and the meek shall inherit the earth.

John Magee at 8:44pm April 3
Sadly, when I told the Priests about Facebook, they had this to say:

Another toy
That helped destroy
The elder race of man

Monica Lesnau at 9:00pm April 3
"Interesting," you say; is that good? Thanks, again, for driving. It's always a pleasure working with the wonderful people of Wolverine Lake, and their President is a pretty good guy, too.

John Magee at 9:13pm April 3
On this occasion I meant "interesting" in the good sense. The ride was fun, too. Much better than driving to and fro alone.

Phil Gaven at 9:57pm April 3
Did you crank up "Red Barchetta" and show your friends just how low the balls hang on that Civic Hybrid?

John Magee at 11:00pm April 3
No, but I did play the Folk Channel on XM Radio as we putted up I-275.

Carissa Wilkins at 9:15 am April 4
john, john, john....what would we facebookers do without you??????

John Magee at 10:54 pm April 4
Without me? You'd all probably read about one less update per day, that's what!

Sat, April 4, at 2:15pm
John Magee is off to the Detroit Institute of Arts with Monique, Arsen, and Brigitte. Alas for Katie the Beagle, who will stay at home.

Sheila Nason at 2:42pm April 4
Have fun! Wish we were going with you.

John Magee at 5:45pm April 4
Arsen & Brigitte toured the Norman Rockwell exhibit that Monique & I toured a couple of weeks ago, while we toured some of the older French & Italians (and the Van Goghs, of course.)

Mary Alampi at 7:24pm April 4
Please share for us a big, warm hello to all three and keep one for yourself. Heck, toss one in for the beagle while you're at it.

Sat, April 4, at 8:36pm
John Magee Way to go, Michigan State! Great to have good news around here!

Eric Blosch at 11:06pm April 4
More importantly, good-bye UConn!

Yesterday, April 5, at 12:15am
John Magee
is reading two great poems on Arsen's blog: and

Today, April 6, at 3:38pm
John Magee
didn't mind the 6" of snow nearly as much as I minded that the storm knocked out our power from midnight until after 2 pm today. Ugh!

Gretchen Brimmer at 4:17pm April 6
Yuck! I will stop complaining about rain now....

John Magee at 5:18pm April 6
The added bonus is that we also lose water (well pump) and heat (electric ignition for the gas furnace) whenever we lose power. It got a wee bit chilly in here by this morning.

Today, April 6, at 5:21 pm
John Magee
is recovering from the trauma of his 14-hour blizzard blackout by watching opening-day baseball games in HD on his big, honkin' plasma TV, now that the power is back.


So, what'd you think, oh Followers of mine? Is it worth seeing the week's "news" compiled that way?

Not nearly so independent as we like to think.

Ahh, a man's home is his castle and nothing befits the dignity and independence of man as the single-family home. We are propertied, with assorted lot setbacks saying to one and all, "Stay back, world. We may not have an alligator-laden moat, but we have the power of zoning regulation keeping our castle free from intrusion by the rest of the world.

And, oh, the coziness of your home at midnight when a snowstorm rolls in. We are safe and secure, and island of warmth in a cold, cruel ... uh-oh.

Hey, what happened to the power? Aw, c'mon. Where's the electricity? Wow, it's dark out there. The whole neighborhood must be out. And man, I think that snow is still whipping in the wind. Oh, that wind is howling now, isn't it? Aw, c'mon, now. It can't really be out, can it

It could. And it stayed out from about midnight last night until 2:30 or so today. In the case of our little house, on top of losing all the light and the electrical items (including our Internet connectivity) losing power also means that we lose our water (well pump) and our heat (igniter and thermostat). In a pinch we can get water from the lake to flush the toilets, but that's about it.

It was already pretty late when the power went out while the storm cranked up last night, so we just went to bed. But when we got up in the morning, it was pretty darn cold. Since I had planned to work from home today because of the storm forecast, that might've been okay. But with no Internet connectivity there was really very little that I could do. So, I called in to work to convert my work-at-home to a day off. Then I grabbed our little battery/hand-crank radio out of the closet, Monique picked up the leftover Sunday papers, and we stayed in bed under about four layers of blankets, waiting for the power to come back. Even Katie the Beagle got into the action. With the house down under 50 degrees, our insufficiently insulated beagle started to shiver. So she got a very rare invitation to the top of the bed, to join us under the covers.

All-in-all, it was the longest power outage we've had since the big East Coast/Midwest blackout of 2003.

Now about this time you might be imagining a lovely throwback to colonial times this morning: hunkered together with the dog for warmth and reading words printed on paper. It wasn't quite as low-tech as you might imagine. After we got bored by the radio, I pulled out my iPod, and we listened to a few NPR Science Friday podcasts that I hadn't heard yet. Hardly the stuff of a genuine return to the 19th Century. Eventually, the rest of the world found us and there were some phone calls (via our landline phone and cell phone.) And then Monique ran out to the Tim Horton's / Wendy's in Walled Lake for hot coffee, hamburgers to go, and newspapers.

Um, I'm guessing the average homesteader on the prairie didn't have that option, either.

But it was a good reminder of how really dependent on electricity our entire infrastructure is, especially our house. We occasionally discuss installing a generator, though it doesn't usually seem all that high a priority. But I can see that day coming, given how unheated and unwatered we are when we lose power in the winter. What I really wished for today was a nifty electricity-generating windmill. With the wind howling the way it was, we would've easily generated enough power to run four houses while keeping an entire pack of insufficiently insulated beagles warm.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sunny Saturday afternoon in April

The blog is calling,
As is Spring walk with wife and dog.
Result? Post a haiku.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

April 2 Haiku for Patio Boat Poetry Lovers

April 2 Haiku for Patio Boat Poetry Lovers

Three thousand words
About fantasy baseball.
April Fool! Or not?!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Dullest Post in the History of the Patio Boat Blog

As many of you know, I have a bit of a habit. Some would call it an addiction. It's not something easy to shake like heroin or crystal meth. It's fantasy sports, especially fantasy baseball. One of the reasons things have been quiet hereabouts the last week or two is that I have been prepping the draft for two teams. One is the keeper-league Adirondack Black Dogs squad that my brother Mike and I co-own. (The link is to our rather dusty old team web site, with real action photos of fantasy baseball.) The other team is my own squad in the HQ Forum Masters League. That league was started up a few years ago by some of the more frequent visitors in the discussion forums at a fantasy baseball web site that Mike and I subscribe to, In that 15-team league we draft entirely new teams each year, and each year I give my squad a new alliterative waterfowl-based name.

Previous to the eve of the draft we were the Anatidae TBA, and then on the eve of the draft we announced our 2009 team name: the Loony Loons. (Previous team names have included the Miffed Mallards, the Meek Mallards 2.0 (an in-season rebranding after the Miffed Mallards were in 14th place in mid-May), the Dabbler Ducks, and the Wobbly Wigeons. The league itself is the most competitive top-to-bottom league that I've ever played in. It's run as a bit of a public league on the boards there, in that we report on our progress, moves, etc. We're not Tout Wars or LABR one of the other experts-only leagues, but we're pretty close to a AAA equivalent to their major-league game. In fact, several of our league members do get paid to give fantasy baseball advice. All of this means that I take great pride in having done very well in that league since I joined, so well that just today I was called one of the league sharks. Here are the results to date:

2006, Meek Mallards 2.0 - 2nd place
2007, Dabbler Ducks - 1st place
2008, Wobbly Wigeons - 7th place, 1/2-point behind my mortal rival, Old Tom.

My mortal rivalry with Old Tom probably deserves blog posts of its own, but I think you can see how the 2008 year-end results were entirely unsatisfactory and out of keeping with the level of excellence that we expect here at Patio Boat headquarters. Consultants were brought in, experts were grilled, heads rolled, we applied for a government bailout, and in the long run we ended up blaming our problems on CNBC's Jim Cramer. Ultimately, we decided to solve our problems by jettisoning Matt Millen as a role model and hiring Danica McKellar to be our new general manager, a move I hasten to add that was based entirely on her statistical and mathematical expertise.

The HQ Forum Masters 2009 draft was last night. And if you haven't figured it out by now, this is destined to be the dullest post in the history of Patio Boat because for the rest of this post I am going to tell you about the team that I drafted last night. Get used to it folks, for the rest of the season shortstop Elvis Andrus (Tex) is going to be as much a part of the Patio Boat cast of characters as Katie the Beagle. (Though if I start feeding liver snaps to Elvis, I think we can all agree that I will have gone too far in crossing the worlds.)

Worse yet, rather than give you fresh and original thoughts about my team, I'm about to repurpose content. Since it's a bit of a public league, one of the things we do on that site is to give our post-draft thoughts about how the draft went. And so, without further adieu, here is my annual epic opus on how the draft went and what I thought about my players as I rostered them. In all honesty, you're all excused from reading further. Nothing is duller than reading about somebody else's fantasy baseball team. And unless you know your major-league baseball players or at least something about fantasy baseball, all that follows will quickly degenerate into gibberish.

So why is it here? Well, I'm trying to be reasonably representative of what's on my mind hereabouts, and this was what engulfed my mind last night and for much of the days leading up to the draft.

(We do what is called a "serpentine" draft, which means that my draft position was #14 on the odd-numbered rounds and #2 on the even number rounds. In this league we select our draft positions beforehand, which was its own interesting exercise in statistical analysis and which led me to make an unusual move down the slots to the 14th of 15 spots in the first round.)


The Annual Post-Draft Opus

For the most part this was another "draft for value, trade for need" draft for me, a philosophy that fits well with the #14 slot. I had some things I thought I would pursue, but I didn't plan to force anything. That was just as well because the early disappearance of the reliable and semi-reliable closers made me adjust significantly on the relief-pitching front.

In general, I'm pretty happy with what I brought back from the draft, though there may be a few decisions I wish I could revisit. I'm especially pleased considering that I prepared less for this draft than any of the other HQFM drafts I've been in to date, due to a variety of non-fantasy-baseball-related things. I did, however, get rid of a few "improvements" I made in my rankings for last year's draft, and just more-or-less went back to a simplified version of what I did in 2006-07.

Here's the blow-by-blow (paired, since I was near the turn with just Atavists two picks at the very end between mine):

1.14 Pedroia, Dustin 2B BOS - It sounds as if the abdomen strain should be okay by season's start, and I liked the positional scarcity at 2B. Plus, I felt I could get a good power-hitting bat with my next pick. A bit of a gamble, really, since last year represented his full upside.
2.2 Holliday, Matt LF OAK - I was in a three-way quandry between him, Beltran, and Soriano, and decided to go with a bit of youth and the hope that his skills will translate to the AL at sea level. He felt like a pretty solid building block here, and the most reliable of the options. I thought Beltran had too much downside potential in this slot, but I thought really hard about Soriano. Ultimately, Soriano felt to me like an injury waiting to happen. He'll undoubtedly lead the league in everything this year. Beltran and Soriano went with the next two picks.
3.14 Peavy, Jake SP SD - Best player on my board, and I thought there was a significant dropoff to the next tier of pitchers. Should be a good anchor for the pitching staff. I had decided in advance that if Santana, Peavy, Halladay, or Sabathia was still on the board at this point, I would probably grab one and concentrate on batters for the next few rounds. Santana, Halladay, and Sabathia were all gone, so I didn't want to leave the best remaining for Avatar at the turn.
4.2 McCann, Brian C ATL - I like to roster two good catchers if I can get them at a decent price. I had rated McCann as my #1 catcher choice, and I liked the value over the replacement pool that he offered here. (Though I must say I was awfully tempted by my favorite Tiger, Curtis Granderson, who went two picks later.)
5.14 Napoli, Mike C ANA - I thought there was a dropoff to the next tier of catchers and decided to finish off my catcher shopping spree. A pretty risky pick with my #5 pick, though, given that he's coming back from shoulder surgery. This pick feels more risky than a pick at the end of the fifth round should.
6.2 Hunter, Torii CF ANA - Best hitter on the board at this point. Thought about Jermaine Dye or Vernon Wells here.
7.14 Dye, Jermaine RF CHW - ... and Dye was still there at the bottom of the 7th round. One thing about drafting around the turn is that players very seldom make it back to you once they go on the long walkabout to the other end of the draft and back. This was a pleasant surprise.
8.2 Polanco, Placido 2B DET - Best combination of hitting and positional scarcity on the board at this point. This is the fourth year in a row I've had Polanco at 2B, and each year he's fallen pretty far below where HQ would rate him. Both the Straight Draft Guide and my own rankings put his value up in the 5th round.
Speaking of OFs I thought about in the 6th round who stuck around, Vernon Wells was still on the board here in the 9th. But I was leary about the fact that he'd already missed a big chunk of ST with a hamstring issue, and that his wrist was acting up. Plus I had already filled three OF slots and thought it was probably time to address some other needs. Wells went to Vino on the autodraft in the 10th round. Man, I was tempted to roster him, but instead decided to start filling in the corner infield.

9.14 Jackson, Conor 1B ARI - I had Carlos Delgado and Carlos Pena queued up for this pick, but they went in the four picks just before me. There was a definite power dropoff to Jackson, but he also has some upside.
10.2 Verlander, Justin SP DET - Oh yeah, pitchers. One thing about Vino's autodraft no show was that it took a ton of the top closers off the board. I didn't like the value proposition of the remaining dregs, while I did like quite a few of the starters still at the top of my board. My original hope was to roster a top starter and a decent closer and fill-in the next seven afterwards. But with the decent closers all gone, this turn was where I decided to punt saves. I was torn a bit between Verlander and Greinke, who I felt were both guys with high upsides and some level of risk. I decided to go with the hometown pick and bet that Verlander's 2009 would resemble his 2007 more than his 2008.
11.14 Meche, Gil SP KC - Best pitcher left on my board. A pick for reliability over upside.
12.2 DeJesus, David LF KC - Best batter left on my board. A pick for reliability over upside.

Yeah, those two seem kinda boring, but at this point of the draft it often seems to me just a matter of picking up value when and where and how it falls to you.
13.14 Andrus, Elvis SS TEX - This was the first pick where I really felt that I rolled the dice. At this point I needed some SBs and I needed a shortstop, so I rolled the dice with the 20-year-old rookie instead of going with the safe pick in Jason Bartlett. So I went with Elvis's upside. This pick could turn out okay, or it could come back to bite me. Gambling on upside in the 13th round doesn't seem too bad, though. Bartlett went to Atavist with the next pick. If I get 30+ SBs out of Elvis, it will have worked out. If not, eh, all I passed on was Jason Bartlett. We shall see.
14.2 Kawakami, Kenshin SP ATL - Gambling on the Japanese import. Japanese pitchers have translated well the last few years, and I think HQ's done a good job of projecting them.
15.14 Guillen, Carlos 3B DET - Best hitter left on my board, and a pleasant hometown pick. I hope he can stay healthy in LF. I like his 2009 prospects a bit more than HQ.
16.2 Kuroda, Hiroki SP LA - Another Japanese import, this one with a successful year of MLB under his belt. I thought he was a good value here.
17.14 Wheeler, Dan RP TB - At this point, a few of the relief pitchers that I didn't like earlier started to look okay. With several of us likely punting saves, I reckoned that picking up a few saves might be worth some points in the end. Wheeler was the best pitcher I had left on the board, though that value relies on Percival's wheels falling off and Wheeler getting the job.
18.2 Blalock, Hank 1B TEX - I had Blalock and Mora both pretty even going into the turn, so reckoned one of them would come back out the other side. They both did and I decided to roll the dice with Blalock. Power was getting pretty scarce around here and all three of my CIs are pretty speculative. I was pretty tempted to roster both Blalock and Mora, and move one of them to my UT slot. In retrospect, that might have been the right move.
19.14 Morales, Kendry OF ANA - Nice upside and he should also be able to serve as a Plan B at CI if things go awry there.
20.2 Percival, Troy RP TB - Well, since I already bought the Tampa setup guy and presumable heir apparent when Percival collapses, I reckoned I might as well buy Percival himself and see how many saves I can squeeze out of him before the collapse.
21.14 Spilborghs, Ryan RF COL - Best overall hitting value left on my board because I couldn't find Felix Pie in the draft room. (I have no idea what went awry, and I tried from pretty much the time I rostered Percival until I was on the clock here, so I decided that somebody must have already drafted him, though I could see no evidence of it.) I probably needed power or SB more than BA, though, so I should've speculated on somebody with upside there like, like ... well, Felix Pie. It wasn't as if there were a lot of good options left here. We were definitely into the Mark Teahens and Luke Scotts of the world. Pie went four picks later to somebody more technically competent than me.
22.2 Devine, Joey RP OAK - I'm sure we all dropped him off our boards because the dreaded phrases "elbow" and "visit to Dr. Andrews". In the 22nd round it seemed worthwhile to see how the visit turns out. If things go bad, he won't be the first 22nd rounder I've cut. He won't be the last.
23.14 Uehara, Koji RP BAL - The Loony Loons are starting three Japanese pitchers this year. Alert the Japanese papparazzi and add some tempura and some miso soup to the clubhouse banquet. Not sure what, if anything, he has left in the tank at this point in his career, but I am sure I've drafted worse pitchers in the 23rd round.
24.2 Litsch, Jesse SP TOR - Figured I should get a pitcher to put in Devine's place while we await the news on his elbow. Litsch was the best one left on my board, so he's out of the reserves and into the rotation.
25.14 Griffey, Ken RF SEA - Took a flyer on a leftover possible power source. What does he have left in the tank? How will his declining power in the Cincinnati bandbox translate to the spacious walls of Seattle? Can he stay reasonably healthy at DH? I dunno. But it seemed worth a flyer to see what happens. I'll probably start him in the Spilborghs/UT slot to start the season and see how it goes.

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