Olivia’s lost her first tooth Friday, Oct 29 2010 

Yesterday at the sitters one of Olivia’s bottom teeth came out while eating a sandwich. It had been loose for a couple weeks now. When I picked her up yesterday she ran to the door and flashed me a big proud smile…and her tooth in her hand.

Last night we put the tooth in a special ‘My First Tooth’ case and left it on the bookshelf in her room. The tooth fairy came at some point and left her a Toonie. When we checked on her early this morning she was still asleep…but somehow the case had made it from the bookshelf into her clenched little hands.

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Well, since you all know…. Friday, Oct 22 2010 

my surgery went smoothly. 10 minutes prep, 15 minutes local, 15 minutes rest. All at the doctor’s office. One word: Scalpel-less. Do no other procedure.

Laying here now in the basement watching blu-rays and icing on/off. Even with Tylenol 3’s, Iron Man 2 was intolerable and Anne Hathaway’s Passengers is abysmal. I’ve had to get up twice to put in a new movie. If I’m out of commission longer because of this, I’m going to give hollywood a big wag of my finger!

Kids are gone until tomorrow! I can watch the ALCS without interruption. Must make my bet now!

Should be doing all but running the Iditerod by Sunday.

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Yikes!!! Sunday, Oct 17 2010 

OK, I’m not super excited, but at this moment, right now, I’m BARELY ahead of my competition this week (71.1 – 69.9) to win a HUGE upset in my FFB league. I shouldn’t even believe I have a chance but…WOW I do. There’s 2 min left in the game and I’m up by one reception. And fortunately my opponent’s guy just left the game……more to come! I’ve been SO SCREWED this year that I’m due for something to go my way. How can I have the most points in the league and still be 2-3? Because I also have the most scored against! It blows but it’s fun!

Update Oct: 22 – I won by a mere reception. mainly due the fact that oppenent’s player broke his hand just after I wrote this so he never came out for another snap.

I play this same opponent in 2 weeks and will happily play him without that particular player.

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Golf weekend Wednesday, Oct 6 2010 

To more or less close out the golf season (except for the slim chance that the stars align for an unexpected November round) – Pat, Robbie and I had a golf weekend outing using Pat’s cottage north of Wiarton (along the west coast of the peninsula) as the home base. Pat recently purchased this cottage and it was a great opportunity to check it out.

Pat, I must say, you have a great buy there. For the price you paid you have a solid cottage that is modern, comfortable and sound. Any fix-em-up projects are for pleasure than out of necessity. We look forward to renting it for a week next year.

The weekend was cold, but only ever threatening of rain. The Saturday was damp but calm so that it was comfortable enough to wear shorts and windbreaker, with several opportunities to take the windbreaker off and swing a little more freely.

We played Stone Tree just south of Owen Sound. What a nice find! The course layout was very pleasing and challenging. Although the fairways were sparse on grass and very wet as to be expected, the greens were consistent an in excellent condition. We look forward to playing that again. And the cost of 65 that includes cart was a great deal. We played a variant of Wolf for 3 players where the wolf was the middle distance drive. He then doubles his score at the end of the hole and wins if it beats the combined score of the other 2. This worked out well and nobody was a millionaire after all was said and done.

Back at the cottage we spent a lot of time doing something none of us get a chance to do these days: drink beer and veg. Watched a LOT of movies and more or less did nothing. We had discussed having a fire or going canoeing…but the weather wasn’t good enough to make that enjoyable. Sure, I’ll golf in that weather, but wouldn’t want to sit around in it.

On Sunday, the temperature was about 8C and windy. But clear. It was undoubtedly colder than the day before and right on the edge of being comfortable to play. But play we must. We headed out to Cobble Beach Resort which is along the bay north of Owen Sound. RIGHT on the bay. The course lays out along the shore and works it’s way up the escarpment. There are 3 holes that go right along the waterline and into the wind. Literally a 4 club wind…and what a cold wind! The 17th is a par three that hits right towards the water. A 140yd green surrounded by water. Even off an elevated tee, I hit 5 iron. The 18th was a 550 par 5 along the coast and it ate me alive….sort of. I had a 7 but that included 2 penalty strokes. The 9th hole (which was our last today) is a 500 yd par 5 that moves along the coast but was actually with wind. I parred it.

This course was very well likely the toughest course I’ve ever played. The layout alone is of very high difficulty. Even without the harsh conditions this course is a monster. Most greens are elevated, the bunkers are in the right spots (the ever-present water hazards force you to play towards the bunkers), the fairways are narrow, and there are no flat spots to be found anywhere, especially on the greens.

The pins that day were outrageously difficult. Almost always tucked a few feet from the edge of the green in some obscure corner. All greens were enormous so that you could hit safely on, but the putts would be treacherous benders. Definitely a risk-reward situation when choosing to go at the pins. There was one hole where if you were on the highside of the hole it was virtually impossible to keep the putt on the green should you miss the hole….even from 10 feet out!

But we had no complaints. It was well worth the torture to see how our game matched up on a professional caliber track. Even at the whites it was such a difficult course! 6000+ yds is the limit of my game in weather like that. The blues are 6700 yds and I could probably be OK playing those under better conditions. The tips are 7200 yds and not even a chance I could break 100 on that block.

SPeaking of breaking 100, I ended up with a 94 which I thought was pretty good under the extreme circumstances. In fact, there were at least 6 strokes that I recall were not even weather based that should not have happened. I had difficulty hitting from the fairway on this course because they are immaculate and pristine. I have never played on such blessed fairways before and am not used to the ‘tight’ nature of the grass. It requires precision ball striking to hit the ball crisply. Starting your divot even 2 or 3 cms behind the ball would result in a chunk. Every ball from the fairway had to be struck first before the divot was made. This is unsettling to me and required some adjustment….especially those 3/4 shots about 70yds and in. Very uncomfortable conditions for me. I figured it out eventually but not until I wasted several great drives into the fairway. I know I could have scored mid-80s on that day if I could’ve overcome this.

But this was another reason why it was worth playing (and what a deal for $85). Playing a course like this gives you perspective on how much cleaner your game needs to be. If I played these types of courses day in and day out I’m sure I’d clean up my game quickly. But it gives me even more appreciation at how excellent the pros really are. To strike it the way they do on those fairways is incredible!

And now to the greens: THE BEST GREENS I’VE EVER PLAYED. They were 100% consistent. And it was like putting on glass. SO smooth, so consistent. So fast! I love these kinds of greens. I can read them with confidence and know that as long as I get the putt going on path, it has a chance of going in. Effortless putting energy is best for me. I had several one-putts from many lengths on greens that are significantly more difficult than the ones we normally play. But the fact that all greens were the same speed, there were no bumps, irregularities, ball marks, etc. more than compensated for the complexity of the green. It allowed for the skill of putting to emerge.

I can’t wait to play these courses again. I’m hoping we can plan a similar weekend sometime next summer. The price is right for such unbelievable courses!

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2010 Finders Keepers Champion Wednesday, Oct 6 2010 

After a hard fought inaugural season of the Finders Keepers Rotisserie league, I finally came out on top. This is the first year of keeper league that is based on contracts to define the ability to keep players from year to year.

There are a lot of kinks to iron out in order to prevent tanking. At about the halfway point of the season the teams were essentially split into 3 factions: 2 teams that were emerging as contenders, 4 teams that were figuring out whether to make a run for the last 2 money spots and 2 teams that had tanked and sold off their 1 year contract studs. Already at this stage, the ability for the bottomfeeders to battle for the basement was impacting the dynamics of the competition.

By July 31st, the day of the MLB trade deadline, it was clear who the top 4 were going to be. This led to seriously skewed trades for players picked up off of the waiver by the non-contenders and then sold to the desperate contenders for outrageous prices. Literal windfalls for the contenders at the price of top level draft picks and prospects. This had a serious domino effect on contenders that had strategically built there team without costing their future. A.K.A me. For every move that a contender with an inferior team made, I was forced to sacrifice my future to keep ahead, solely because the rules allowed this inferior team such an unbalanced ability to better their team. The solution of course is going to be to penalize or make it far less lucrative for non-contenders to dump and/or better yet, define rules to encourage teams to remain competitive for as long as possible. My solution is to move to an H2H league that includes the top 6 teams (out of 10) in the playoffs. That way, even down to 6th – as long as you make it into the playoffs you never know what could happen. This will reduce the number of tankers, and the early dates in which owners determine they can tank.

Anyway, back to this season. The 3rd and overwhelmingly unbalanced event occurred on Aug 31st, our leagues trade deadline. It is at this point where the 3rd and 4th players are ensured 3rd or 4th and they deem it is safe to dump their stud 1 year players onto the market….in which there are only 2 buyers, one of which (me) has no desire to forgo his future since he is winning….but may need to do so to prevent the 2nd place from buying up all the talent and making a run.

Of course this is exactly what happened. The 3rd place player was virtually guaranteed 3rd no matter how much talent he dumped. And since he was desperate to recoup some of the high draft picks he gave up earlier, he windfalled 5 stud players to the 2nd place team in exchange for his 1st rd pick. This is so extreme as to be embarrassing to the spirit of the league. And this must be deterred from happening moving forward. What a crushing blow to myself who spent so much time building my team and planning for the future. Of course, I was forced to make a counter move of the extreme nature to fend off. I traded off my 5th rd for similar package of players from the 4th place team and what fortune considering I had to convince her that she couldn’t get 3rd and was guaranteed 4th basically allowing her to buy some future with players she won’t be able to take along to the next year.

The compounding problem here was the following: my team was already loaded with talent in each position. Talent that I had earned through fair negotiation and proper scouting. The talent I bought with my 5th round was only marginal compared to the windfall the other owner received since I was replacing quality with slightly better quality while he was filling glaring holes in his lineup.

The final straw that ALMOST broke the camel’s back (more to come on this) was that due to the dynamics of the teams that tanked early and those that are now starting to coast – the 2nd place team was able to chew up points in the standings by overtaking the tankers. Meanwhile, I was a frontrunner all along and did not have many points to gain since I was already ahead of most players in most categories to begin with. Basically I could now only defend against the onslaught that was coming my way.

And, with a lot of luck, I was able to fend off the challenge. It came down to the last weekend. And it amounted to the fact that I got a cheap win from a closer, a couple of wins on a highly risky 2 start pitcher I bought of waivers that got me 2 wins, and then a final win on the last day to defend 3 precious points. But that wasn’t enough. I was alarmingly overtaken in RBIs by the overwhelming windfall on the 2nd last day. It is only by sheer fortune that my injured players finally came back on the last weekend and outscored my competitor in order for me to take back that 2 point swing.

But that still wasn’t enough! I also needed help from tankers that just couldn’t tank bad enough. There was another team that had a player active that had 6 stolen bases on one day….which passed my competitor and cost him the final devastating point that was needed to insure victory.

Fortunately I was on a golf vacation over the weekend that I didn’t have to torture myself. Apparently, after talking with other owners, it was literally a coin flip down to the last set of games on Sunday.

Over the past month, I was quite disheartened to watch my well earned lead dwindle on a daily basis as my competitor reaped the rewards of his windfalls. It became overtly evident to the commissioners that we simply cannot repeat this type of scenario again so that the skilled owners more often than not will rise to the top. Unfortunately, it became clear to me that any rules we put into place will require some sort of punishment or limitations in the bottom feeders ability to be overly rewarded for tanking and trading off studs for the future. And after being forced to give up so much future in order to stay on top, well, I’m one of those bottom-feeders next year and will be hit hardest in my abilities to rebuild. I saw a 2 year rebuild now instead of 1.

The moves are necessary for the betterment of the league. But what a cost to me and the others who threw everything at this season to win it. It was so disheartening to be involved in this that I’ve often wished, and still do even after winning it, that I wasn’t contending this year so that I could be competitive over the next few years since rebuilding just got harder to do.

Several times I’ve indicated to the commissioners that I will be resigning my team over the offseason. And I’m still leaning towards that. However, there is a little light: I’ve already received some very intriguing offers on some of my studs that I will be offloading in order to rebuild. Lucrative offers that give me hope that with my skills I can rebuild a lot sooner than I had initially thought….regardless of what new rules are put in place.

Stay tuned! I may still be in this league come next year.

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Golf League Finale (and my new ‘lag’ swing) Wednesday, Oct 6 2010 

It was a year ago at this time when I won the league final last year shooting even to win the day. But overall, only good enough to finish outside the top 5 for the season.

This year I was coming in hot and looking to move up from 4th to maybe taking the title? The good news this year was that both 9 holes in the tournament would count towards the total standings. Thus, a strong outing would give me an outside chance to win the day and the league.

A big part of my confidence comes from the new changes made to my swing. It really came together about midway this year and has accounted for success.

After all was said and done, I shot +2 to win the day (net) but not the season overall. I came up short by about 2 points…enough to finish 2nd. Still, combine that with topping the skin totals and this ended up being my best season so far. And I’m looking for even better things next year with the improvements made to the swing. Now if only the short game could find a breakthrough!

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