Fantasy Football 2010

Quick update / documentation on my 2010 Fantasy Football season ....  As many of you know - I take a great deal of pride in fantasy football - in particular - the league I have been commissioner for the past 13 years (The BigTime).

2010 was a remarkable all around year for my fantasy football efforts.  I was in three leagues:

  • The BigTime (I share the franchise with Colediggy)
  • Funk Air (Wah-Nee league) (I share the franchise with BBBC)
  • "Goodie League" (Goodie is the commissioner - I only joined last year because they needed another team and Colediggy/Salis owned one of the other franchises.
Anyway - In all three leagues - I made it to The Finals in every one!  I am really proud of this and recognize that I sound like a complete geek - but I'm not ashamed to say it.  

The end result:  We won the Funk Air and lost the other two in the finals - but again - still very proud of the overall effort.  I don't know if this will ever happen again which is one of the reasons I'm sharing on my blog... and ... here's a picture of Alexa and Daddy cheering on "The Commission" with T-shirts made by Tuna Glantz:


Our Bed Bug Experience

In case you don't watch the news - Bed Bugs are a huge problem in the US right now (and particularly in NYC).  We currently went through a few weeks of hell on the issue (a lot of which was self-imposed hell) and thought I'd share it with others to learn from ...

While I'm not allowed to write about why I called a company to come and check our apartment out for bed bugs, trust that it was a good reason.  Also trust that the reason I called the specific exterminator was of sound thinking...

This said - here's what went down ... I called an exterminator to come to our apartment with a dog to come sniff for bed bugs.  Before (and after) they came - we had looked and there were absolutely no signs of them - but again - I had good reason to call.  The dog "alerted" at our bed.  Not anywhere else in the apartment but in our living room.  When I asked the guy who came with the dog a question or two - his response was literally "Dude - I don't know - I'm just a dog trainer.  Call the company for a quote and plan of attack."  Suffice it to say that both Amy and I were freaking out ... When I called the company - they said they gave me a ~$2,000 quote to treat our apartment and basically sent over a one page document of how to prep for treatment.  Because we have a little baby - we obviously wanted the issue treated as soon as possible - and we somehow got them to find an opening for the end of that same week (4 days later). Before hearing about what needed to get done - I honestly thought it may take a day or two to prep and definitely never could have imagined the amount of work that needed to be done ... So ... that's what Amy and I did.  We spent the next 72 hours putting all of our clothes in the dryer - folding them - putting them in bags closing them and putting them in our living room or bedroom.  All of our daughters stuff.  All of the stuff in our closets.  EVERYTHING CLEANED AND PUT IN BAGS.

Amy then called a friend who went through this bed bug hell a few weeks earlier and told her what happened.  Being more educated on the topic she said that the story sounded a little off and recommended that Amy call the exterminator she used for a "second opinion."  They were scheduled to come a day before we had planned for treatment from the other company.  When the other company came - the same thing happened - where the dog "alerted" at our bed but no where else.  The difference was that the people with the dog looked to verify - and couldn't find anything.  They said that we DEFINITELY went overboard with prepping our apt. and had we called them instead of the original sketchy exterminator - we would have saved ourselves hours of stress and work.  It's fair to say that neither Amy nor I slept very well for those 2 weeks...

Because we had already prepped our apartment and the dog had alerted - it just made sense to do the treatment.  We decided to not treat the whole apartment (avoiding chemicals with a baby in the house seems like smart parenting to me) but rather our bedroom only.  This obviously was at a much lower cost - but more importantly - gave us much better piece of mind with what was going on.   We got the treatment - and then gradually put all of our stuff back to where it belonged.  It sounds minimal but trust that it's a huge time-suck.

Fast forward to earlier this week - and we are 100% bed bug free.  They came out 2 weeks ago and pretty much said the same thing - but we needed earlier this week to be 100% sure.  I can speak for myself by saying how relieved I was.  The scary part is that apparently over 10% of NYC is infected with the epidemic - and so you have to be very careful everywhere: In cabs, public transportation, putting your bags down on the floor (at work for example) especially overnight, etc.

Based upon my experience above - here are my Top 5 Bed Bug related tips:

1) Before you assume you have bed bugs - look for the signs:
a) Blood spots on your sheets
b) Black marks (like a felt pen marking) on your mattress, etc
c) Bites - which usually come in a linear line in 3's - but can be single ones as well.
- If you don't show any signs - there probably isn't a huge rush to have someone come out.  Dogs coming to your apartment can range from $100 - $350 - so it's definitely not cheap - but for me, personally, it was worth the piece of mind for the dogs to come.

2) Get a reference from exterminators and don't be scared to get a second opinion.
This business is like .com boom of 1999.  Everyone (especially these companies) are trying to make money and they know that many people in NYC will pay whatever they need to in order to get rid of the problem.  They have more business than they know what to do with - but - that doesn't mean that companies can treat people like crap.  Make sure you feel comfortable with the company you are using to treat the problem and if you are someone who needs to be hand-held - make sure you find a company who can accommodate that.

3) If you rent - talk to your landlord about treating for bed bugs before making the treatment plans yourself.

4) Try not to let your mind think of the worst.  (I should have listened to my own advice - but didn't)
Bed bugs are ENORMOUSLY mental.  I can't tell you how many nights/days I wake up still feeling like something is crawling on me -- and -- nothing is or has! The truth is that while bed bugs are a huge pain in the ass - outside of the pain of the bites - they are not harmful.  They don't carry disease.  So - yes - the worst case scenarios are that you are inconvenienced - and while that is still mentally daunting - you have to try and put it all in perspective.   This said - I recognize how horrific this issue is - and definitely stressed out majorly while it was going on.  While I still freak out once in a while - I'm really trying to beat it mentally.  I don't want this experience to change the way I live or think in my own home.

5) Learn how to limit your risk
Bed bugs are a problem and while there is nothing you can do to guarantee you'll never get them - there are some things you can do.  For example, if you're staying at a hotel - leave your bag by the door as soon as you enter - and check out the mattress.  If there are black dots on it - BOUNCE.  When you travel, use a bag that can be put in the dryer.  When you get home (outside your door), put all your clothes from the bag in a plastic bag then immediately put the bag in the dryer (Heat of 120 degrees+ for 20 minutes+ kills them).  Then put the clothes from the bag in the dryer after.  Buy mattress and box spring covers - they're expensive - but they limit places that the bed bugs can hide.

Again - just some thoughts for those that were interested.  A horrible experience for sure - but definitely could have been worse and I'm so glad it's behind us.


My Disdain for a Specific Type of Reality TV

I'm not a frosty old man (yet). While I may not know what the current "hot spots" around town are - I'm not completely out of the loop (yet). I may not be familiar with all of the artists who compromise the top 10 songs on iTunes - but I know and download most of them (today). Bottom-line - this isn't a post about why I'm old or why "kids these days" are _____ (insert your frosty comment here).

This said - I CANNOT stand the current popular format of some reality TV. By "cannot stand," I truly mean that I get ill merely listening to the voices of these characters. It's the type of RealityTV that the Hills brought us... So ..Anything "Kardashian", anything "Housewives of," "Bethany Getting Married," etc. Really - anything that's premise is: Here is a train wreck of a person or people - let's follow their lives, have some forced drama around ridiculous things, and make these people think they are the class of America.

While I can bucket Jersey Shore into the description above - it also falls into the "let's put random people in the same living environment and see who hooks up, doesn't get along, etc. I don't watch the show (and don't know why literally 10X times more people watch that show than Mad Men), but the show doesn't make me physically sick if it's on in the same room as me... I can at least understand why people watch this kind of show...

Given that my wife works in the television biz, she likes being in the know of hit TV shows. She's DVR'd them in our bedroom - which means that before going to sleep she thinks it's a good time to watch them. I disagree. Those shows make my blood boil - so that's like saying - let's drink a case of red bull and then try to go to sleep ... My wife and I definitely do not have to agree on every TV show that will be on when we're together -- compromise is obviously needed. I try not to watch too many sports or poker shows with her in the room, (I definitely don't have anything UFC on, etc) and to me - this is really the only thing where I have a very low tolerance.

If given the choice of listening to 2 hours of Oprah or 15 minutes of hearing Chloe Kardashian pontificate on the BS that are forced plot lines for a reality show - I'm choosing Orprah every time!

While I really want to .... I can't judge people who watch the show because different people like different things ... I just don't want to watch or hear these kinds of shows, personally. Is that so wrong?


The New-Look Miami Heat

If you're a friend of mine at all, you will know that I'm a rarity:  An original Miami Heat fan.  I can name the entire roster of the inaugural 1988-89 Miami Heat. It's been my favorite sports franchise of my lifetime - and 2006 was an extra special year for me (and not only because it was the year I asked my wife to marry me)....

It's unfortunate that everyone (myself included) has met their "Lebron" quota for a while -- but I wanted to take a second to document my thoughts of the new look Heat...

For starters, it's such a weird feeling for me.  The Heat have NEVER been the true favorites in the NBA.  They've been contenders and one-time champions ... but they've always casted a heavy shadow of doubt for it's fans...  Regardless if the new trio works or not (and I'll get to my thoughts on that soon) - they will be the "NY Yankees of the NBA" for the next few years.  The team that everyone outside of Heat fans will vigorously root against and frankly I'm not used to that with them or for almost any team (Michigan is like that in Football I suppose - but they've won one National Championship in the last 20 years ... so ... it's a little different and tempered for sure).

When D.Wade and Bosh announced earlier in the week - I was PUMPED.  I never imagined that they'd be joined by the reigning MVP and so my brain is honestly still processing what just happened....

At first glance, how can I not be happy?  Seriously!  In watching every game of my favorite franchise, I will get to watch arguably the best and most exciting 2 players in the league - plus Chris Bosh who is arguably the best power forward in the league... I've read almost every writers opinion on why it won't work -- or what a jack-ass Lebron made of himself, but here are my top take-aways:

  • Anyone who says that "there won't be enough balls to go around" is making super-star generalization and doesn't know Lebron or Wade's game at all.  Neither of them actually NEED to be 30 PPG guys.  They are just a true superstar and realized that in order for their teams to win games - that's what they had to do.  Season stat averages do not mean anything to either of these guys!  They are arguably in the top 5 in the league in Basketball IQ - and I honestly think the number 1 reason why they decided to join forces was because they both enjoy "the right way" to play the game rather than the new-school 1:1 game -- and that's why they decided to join forces.
  • Lebron wasn't happy in his old job.  He loved it for a while, and then something last season just wasn't right and he wanted a change.  I think I know 2 people who've worked at the same company for more than 10 years.  Why is it any different for these guys? 
  • The way he announced was douchey and very un-Lebron.  I think he was just naive rather than anything else.  People are jumping on him aggressively for it - and that's fine - but the guy is 25... Let's settle down a little bit people...
  • I'm so excited to watch these 3 guys play together - I can't even explain it - but for those that know me - this will resonate:  I am more excited for The 2010-2011 Miami Heat than I have for 2010-2011 Fantasy Football.  (Note:  This doesn't mean that I'm any less excited for Fantasy Football - it is merely a barometer of my excitement).
  • Three players can't win a championship on their own - but analysts are all enjoying the reasons why the Heat won't be that good a little too much.  The Heat will find serviceable players.  Pat Riley historically can find plenty of no-name role players (U. Haslem, B. Bowen, I. Austin, M. James, A. Carter, etc).... And this doesn't even include Mario Chalmers and Joel Anthony who WILL flourish with the 3 superstars!!
So - that's how I feel today.  I'm sure I'll write more when the season approaches....  THE HEAT IS ON BABY....!!!  Let's GO!


My Cable Salesperson of the Year!

A quick note to let my wife know that while she may not have won the actual award ... I am so proud of her for being recognized as one of the absolute best at what she does!

In case you didn't know, Amy was in the final two of "Cablefax's Sales person of the Year - National Cable Sales."

Excerpt from today's Cablefax Daily:
Amy Goffin, AMC 
We hear nothing but good things about Goffin, who is a rising star at AMC.  Get to know her now before she takes over the world.
Amy doesn't know how to half-ass anything - and this is especially true when it comes to her job and career, which is why it's great to see her recognized.  I couldn't be prouder!!!


iPad, the Wife's Perspective

(Authored by Amy Goffin)

Advertising Works! There is no other way to begin this post. I sell TV advertising and my husband and I continue to have fun debates over TV ad effectiveness versus online advertising ROI. This is a case study of why advertising and product integration works.

A few weeks ago Brett and I stumbled into the Apple store in our neighborhood. Not because we were looking to buy anything, but mostly because it was raining, we needed to kill some time and it was a cool new store that I have not been in. As we were walking out Brett said, " i think i want to put myself on the wait list of the iPad." Since I am not an early adopter (Brett had to sell me on the iPod when we first started dating and a big part of the sell was him agreeing to manage my music which he still does today) my response was - "Why don't you let some people get it first and see how it works." Second response was "Can't you leave something out there that I could buy you as a gift?" (knowing he is a tough person to buy for! - it was out of love, I promise). That was the end of that. We left the store and didn't speak about it again.

Last Wednesday we watched our new favorite show, Modern Family. The episode centered around the husband wanting the iPad the day it came out the the wife, wanting to be a good wife, trying to get it for him. We laughed, and that was the end of the discussion...until Friday evening.

Brett mentioned the iPad was coming our the next morning (I had no clue) and that many friends had asked him that day if he was getting it. As I went to sleep that night I mentioned that we should go in the morning, but we made no specific plan. I was up  before Brett and I called the Apple store in our neighborhood to see if they were opening early, nope - normal hours. I went back to sleep and when i saw the clock said 8:45am I jumped out of bed and went to the living room and suggested we go to the Apple store and get it. The Modern Family episode really helped me to understand the mind of an "Early Adopter" and realizing my husband is one of these people, that getting the iPad on the day it was available would be exciting to him - and that got me excited. Brett wasn't as excited as I was at first -  anticipating a crowd, long line and it being overall annoying. It was a beautiful morning so I suggested it would be a nice walk and if it was crazy we would leave. As Brett described in his post, while there was a line, it was an interesting experience. And that was what it became for me: an experience. As I said, I am not an early adopter, so being one of the first to experience the iPad was not a goal for me but, I am a shopper...and once we decided to go for it I wanted to be part of the iPad experience. There were camera crews filming people and as we left the store there were 4 store employees who cheered for you - how exciting! It felt like we were part of technology history. And that is the same way I felt the first time I used it...

As I started exploring I wanted to see if I could do the same 3 things I do online, email, photos and shop - they all work...I already won my first ebay auction using the iPad! Testing the book feature really was incredible. It is light and I would be so happy to have this with me on a plane or on vacation instead of a few books making my bag heavy. I think my only issue is that a new form of technology is another thing to that gets in the way of normal communication. It could be very easy for an entire family to sit on the couch, TV on, iPads in hand - and never have a conversation with one another. That part I do not like.

As an advertising gal, I can't wait to see how iAd does in the marketplace. Just another evolution in the business and the chatter is that the application for advertising will be a good one. But for now, I am impressed and can admit that product placement (paid for or not) and advertising worked on me!!

iPad Review

I've now owned my iPad for almost a full week.  As many of you know - I'd like to think of myself as a "standard consumer" early adopter.  The "regular consumer" descriptor speaks to the point that although I may work for a tech company -- I'm not really a "techie" ... I don't speak in tech jargon nor do I get excited about things like processing speed, etc.  I just like cool gadgets that make my everyday life activities more convenient.

Anyway ... Onto the specific task at hand ... So I bought an iPad....

At 9 AM Saturday morning, Amy, Alexa and I went to the Apple Store 6 blocks from our apartment and waited on a line for 15 minutes or so.  It wasn't bad at all, in fact, it was actually really interesting.  While waiting on the line, we were accompanied by friendly Mac employees who offered us water, as well as being greeted by people from Starbucks giving away coffee and food (as well as other folks giving away fruit drinks, etc).  When we got into the store - it felt like there were as many employees as customers jammed into the place.  When we got set-up with our 1:1 sales person, I was on the fence as to which memory size I should buy - and when I told the sales rep what I was planning on using it for (web browsing on my couch), he told me that the less expensive model was more than fine (I wasn't hard sold on the more expensive versions - which was nice).  Amy's coolest take-away from the experience was the check-out process.  I gave my credit card to the sales person helping me, he swiped my card on a hand-held device and a receipt was emailed to me.  Easy breezy.  (Click here to read Amy's perspective)

Anyway - onto the actual product review.  I'd be lying if I said my first impression was a good one.  After charging the iPad, when I turned it on I was greeted with a prompt that instructed me to connect to iTunes.  I did this and then my iMac told me that I needed to update my verison of iTunes (which I did).  I was then prompted that my Operating System (Mac OS 10.4x wasn't compatible with the iPad).  This wouldn't have been the worst news in the world if I solely wasn't able to sync my iPad with my iTunes... but ... I couldn't do ANYTHING with it.  I couldn't play with my new toy!! I was so annoyed.   So the next day, I went to the Mac store and they connected my iPad with a computer there and I was all set (until I turned it off when it happened again).  UGH!   Luckily my work computer is compatible...  So in terms of "easy compliance with my existing hardware" - I gotta give the iPad an F.  Apple took the arrogant assumption that the only people they wanted to have a seamless first experience with was those people who had everything latest and greatest from them... It seems as if I want to avoid this I need to update my OS (which I'm in the process of doing - but need to back everything up, etc),

That's the bad news....

The good news is that once I got the product to actually work -- it was EXACTLY what I was hoping it was:  A bigger, sleeker iTouch/iPhone that is perfect for couch web browsing at home (with my access to my wireless connection).  That's all an iPad is: an iTouch with a screen that is about 6 times the size, which enables a far more enjoyable web browsing experience.  The product is extremely light and does not over-heat like a laptop or netbook.  In my first go-round, the battery life has been extremely impressive.  I've used it for a few hours every night this week and have yet to have to charge it up since my first initial charge...

The book reading feature looks amazing.  Perfect for reading in bed because you don't have to turn on the lights if your significant other is trying to sleep.
I'm sure the applications will only get better - and like they did for the iPhone -- the applications will be the real value of the device in the long-term - especially given the sizable real estate expansion of the device. In particular, I couldn't get over how cool the ABC viewing app was.  It made it so easy to watch shows - and the video quality was fantastic!   

I'm sure a solution will be figured out over time - but one downside was Flash being excluded.   It is definitely a drawback as I've been unable to view Youtube vidoes on the device yet because of this.

I'm still getting used to some of the strange lay-outs (like how email inbox appears, etc), but no major lay-out complaints.....

So, all in all, if you are in the market for a laptop to be used at home primarily for web browsing -- I highly recommend the iPad.  If you are somewhat experience with the iTouch/iPhone experience you will have no problem getting accustomed to the iPad.  It's definitely an affordable price and I definitely see myself getting my money's worth in no time.

That's it for now.   I'll try and update this post as I encounter good and bad things with the product....


Gus Johnson

Dear High-Powered Producers of Major Sporting Events,
I know there are a lot of experienced play-by-play commentators out there - but if you ask any male between the ages of 18-45, they will beg you to hire Gus Johnson to do the "big game" or any game he's available for that matter ... 

The guy just makes the fan viewing experience better and for some reason - a large portion of the games he works just seem to be exciting.  I put the over/under of Gus Johnson calls included in "One Shining Moment" this year at 5.  I'll take the over - and Gus only does a small portion of the games.

I had a few friends who watched that amazing Kansas State - Xavier game at a bar, and while we all agreed the game itself was unreal -- it was clear that those of us who had the "Gus Johnson audio track" enjoyed the game a little bit more than those without it.  (I could have done without Len Elmore, personally, but Gus

The guy is just exciting and appears to be a genuine fan.  Period.  I am not sure I can pinpoint the Gus Johnson "it" factor any better than that. 

So - again - if anyone reading this knows anyone involved in the hiring or play-by-play announces of major sports.... PLEASE convince them that Gus Johnson should be the top choice for any big game.  Fans will appreciate it - I promise.  Thank you.


Top TV Comedy Shows This Season

I've gotten a lot of random traffic (from Google) on my post of my top 20 TV Shows from the past 5 years.  Some people even left comments that because I like shows like How I Met Your Mother - I must be an idiot ...(which I've erased).. To each their own ....

As it's a common conversations with friends -  For those that haven't watched much TV this season -  I thought I'd list my top 5 TV "Must Try" Comedies from this season.  Quality comedies are rare these days - so I have a top 5 rather than a top 10 or top 20.

Again - this is my personal opinion.  I don't watch "The Office" or other type of uncomfortable-humor type-shows.  I definitely have an affinity towards NYC-30 somethings plot-lines (go figure).   No other factors are taken into account.

Top Five Comedies (2009/2010 season)
1. Modern Family - Seriously - if you don't watch this show and have time to watch TV - get on it right away!  There is not a single character (of the 12+) that are bad.  If there is anything you take away from this post - it's start watching Modern Family!
2. 30 Rock - Yes, it gets tons of awards for it's writing and acting - and it should.  It gets at least 2 belly laughs from me each episode.
3. How I Met Your Mother - Definitely it's worst of it's 5 (I think) seasons - but I'm so invested - and have such a deep understanding of the characters - that I still giggle at most of the jokes.
4. Rules of Engagement - Seriously - Puddy (Patrick Warburton) is one of the funnies characters on TV.  David Spade is even somewhat bearable.
5.  Entourage - Not sure this counts as "this season" - but I guess I don't watch enough comedies.  While some think this show has fallen off - I'm definitely sad the 22 minutes are over after every episode.


Local Retail Product Availability On Your Cell Phone

It's been a while since I promoted a Google product or service on my personal blog - so here goes .... Ans while this is something that may not be launched as a perfectly useful tool -- it is very exciting to foresee the future benefits.  (Plus - given that I've focused on retailers since I've been at Google - and have been talking to them about this for such a long time - it's increasingly cool to me, personally)

Anyway - today - Google launched the ability to see local product availability at a number of beta retail partners (like Sears, Best Buy, and Pottery Barn/Williams-Sonoma/West Elm) on smart phones.

So - as this blog post says, if you go to shopping.google.com on your i-Phone/Android device/etc you should be able to see if that 42-inch plasma or the canon elf in the color you want is a available at your local Best Buy.

I have a bunch of sporting goods clients and so I think a useful example is with sneakers.  I know I'm a size 12 Nike, but I also know that shoes/sneakers are sometimes just something that you need to see in person or try on .... So .... How useful would it be to know that the basketball sneaker in the color I want (because I researched online) is actually in stock in my size at the store 7 blocks away (rather than going there and rolling the dice).   Come se dice en Espanol .... "Time Saver!"

Again - it's very much a "beta Google product" - but assuming retailers are brave enough to invest in "what's next" and share their local inventory data with Google .... This could be a very very useful consumer advance in retail shopping....


6 Blog Posts Per Year?

It's been 2 months since I've posted anything on this blog.  I warned people when my daughter was born that I'd post less frequently, although I gotta say - I didn't think I'd average 6 measly posts per year ... Sorry!

There are a number of reasons why I haven't posted anything.  For starters - I love spending as much time as I can with Alexa and her smiling face.  When she's not awake - I'm trying to relax, spend time with my wife, catch up on TV, etc.  Sitting down to write blog posts hasn't made it's way to the priority list of how to spend my time.

Secondly, I've had my new role at Google for about 6 months now.  While I wouldn't consider myself overly important - I really have zero personal time at work.  In my past roles, a slow Friday afternoon here and there wasn't uncommon - but now - I can't think of the last time I was anything but nonstop in the office.

These two reasons are true - but - I think the heart of the problem is that I honestly think I am less creative than I was prior to my daughter being born.  Not that I would trade my daughter for creativity (or anything else for that matter), but before she was born - I'd randomly think of blog topics all of the time (ex. commuting to work or randomly during the day when I saw something happen).  Now, it's like my brain can't fit these types of thoughts into the rotation.

The first few months when sleep was rare - I blamed my creative fog on that.  Alexa sleeps through the night now - so what's my excuse?  I don't get into as deep of a sleep as I used to because I'm a little conditioned to be waiting to hear my daughter cry - but I'm still sleeping 7+ hours in a night - no less than I did pre-Alexa.

I've asked other fathers I know if they feel the same - and most just kind of laugh it off (as if they don't want to say "I don't know what you're talking about dude - but I feel bad saying that you're nuts because you are a new father - and that's cool." 

Anyway - if anyone has any insight into this creative fog please let me know. 

I very much enjoy sharing my opinions on this blog (not like anyone reads it anymore) and would like to continue it for a long time - but recognize that a mediocre posting 6 times a year just isn't going to cut it.