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Customizing Kiko

I’ve returned to using the Kiko theme after finding some custom CSS, which achieves a lot of what I would want out of the theme. I’ve also started working on my dark mode, including a fun glow effect on my masthead. The colors are a set I’ve used many times from the Seattle Sounders. Light or day mode use the classic Rave Green and Sounder Blue, with the dark or night mode taking from the team’s Nightfall look.

Update: A few have mentioned they like the glow effect in the dark mode theme. It’s simply a layered text shadow effect, set at markers of all the way up to 70 pixels. The example I found, showed it with an animation, but I didn’t want to make it too distracting. With the Kiko theme in mind, the CSS code looks like this:

.masthead-title a {
    color: #fff;
    text-shadow: 0 0 10px #fff, 0 0 20px #fff, 0 0  30px #c8347e, 0 0 40px #c8347e, 0 0 50px  #c8347e, 0 0 60px #c8347e,  0 0 70px #c8347e;
}

Reassessing My Streaming TV Plan: July 2020 Edition

YouTube TV made news yesterday when they announced a $15 price bump for their service from $50 to $65 per month. That’s a fairly significant price hike, to say the least. This comes with the addition of Viacom-owned networks like MTV, BET, and VH1.

This left me wondering what the competition looks like currently. With that in mind, I have a few requirements. First, the more live sports channels, the better. Even though there isn’t much going on for live sports at the moment, there’s still some, mostly overseas (I’m watching an English Premier League match as I type this). Secondly, to even be considered, I want local channels. This eliminates Philo, Sling, and Fubo for me.

Lastly, I currently have a subscription to HBO Max, which is currently fed in as a legacy Apple TV Channel. I’ll take this setup as long as I can get it, since original HBO content is still downloadable through the Apple TV app. Even if this was forcefully discontinued by HBO, I’ll gladly switch to the HBO Max app since I watch enough content there to justify paying for the service. With that said, I include HBO Max in my calculations. AT&T TV Now’s $80 package includes HBO Max, a $15/mo service on it’s own.

So, how do the major players stack up?

YouTube TV Hulu Live TV AT&T TV Now
Locals * * *
ACC * *
BET * *
BTN * * *
CBS Sports * * *
Comedy Central * *
Discovery * *
ESPN * * *
ESPN 2 * * *
ESPN U * * *
FS1 * * *
Fox SN * * *
MLB *
NBA TV *
NBCSN * * *
Olympic * * *
SEC * * *
TBS * * *
TNT * * *
USA * * *
VH1 * *
Vice *
Total Cost w/ HBO Max $80 $70 $80

As much as I’m annoyed by the price hike, I’m still in the best place with YouTube TV. Hulu Live TV comes in a little cheaper, but that comes with some limitations, like having to pay extra to watch live channels away from home. AT&T TV Now has some personal advantages for me, like unlimited viewing over my cellular data since I have AT&T and tight integration with Apple TV which allows me to change channels with Siri. Unfortunately, they lack a decent amount of the channels I have and watch currently. With that said, I’m sticking with YouTube TV.

Where I Stand With Writing

More and more I’ve become more in favor of writing to my own personal page or to a digital journal before sending anything to social media. Even though my blog posts syndicate to Twitter, it’s origins are my personal site. I have two things in mind when I do this. First, it’s control. I want to have control over how I write. I don’t want character limitations or some kind of terms of service overhead that’s unrealistic. I also don’t want to adhere to any algorithms. An example would be how Facebook was deeming any post dealing with coronavirus to be against their terms of service, even if the post contained helpful information.

Lastly, I write to remember. I want to have something where I can use a keyword search or tags where I can quickly bring up a memory or what I thought of a beer I had.

My one go to tool I have at the moment is the app Drafts 5. It has a clean, simple, & distraction free interface, yet it allows me to set up workflows I can run as actions which push my words out to where I want them. My two main destinations are my personal page hosted with Micro.blog and the digital journaling app Day One. Both of these are available wherever I am, either on mobile while I’m on the go or on my desktop while I’m at home.

Day One is where I send thoughts I want to keep to myself. Maybe I’m just clearing my head or maybe it’s just a thought I don’t deem worth sharing. It could be a travel note or a bad day at work. I love Day One because of how it displays my words and keeps them safe and encrypted. I also love the metadata it pulls in from my location, the current weather, and how many steps I’ve had during the day. One last little feature I’ve been seeking to use more of late are the journal prompts it provides, since it makes me think of things I maybe wouldn’t have otherwise.

My personal site is my social media hub. The things most people would share on social media, like photos, their hot takes, or something about a vacation they’re on are things I would share on my site. Understand I have no likes or metrics on my site, so any seal of approval or spark of interest from others comes from conversation through either the Micro.blog community or from Twitter where my site syndicates to.

More and more I’m trying to find better structure in how I post online. What I mean by this is when I post a link, I want a standard format for how that kind of post is displayed. I’ve achieved this with my beer reviews, but other areas I’m still figuring out what I think looks good and is easy to follow. I think I’m getting an idea of what I want though.

The important thing is to do this for myself. I’m not the kind of person who can keep everything bottled up, so for my own mental health, writing is key. If people end up enjoying what I share, then great.

What's on my Apple Watch

Things (top left) - The task manager I use for my daily routines. This is the stuff I have to do. The watch app shows items marked for today.

Carrot Weather (top right) - A much deeper and more customizable weather app than the stock option.

Sunrise/Sunset (bottom right) - Helps me get a feel for the day.

Breathe (bottom left) - I'm trying to do breathing exercises more, so putting this front and center should help.

Fantastical (sub-dial top) - My favorite calendar app. The complications are cleaner to me and I love how the app itself displays things.

Activity (sub-dial right) - My daily movement stats for the day.

Carrot Weather (sub-dial bottom) - In this case, I want to see what the dew point is. It gives me a good indicator of how comfortable it's going to be.

World Clock (sub-dial left) - Set to Pacific Time, this gives me an idea of what time it is where one of my best friends live. Even though I can do the simple math, this clicks with my brain faster.

Defunding the Police is About Reallocating Funds

About a year ago, I did jury duty on a methamphetamines possession case. Long story short, with the evidence we were given, it added up to the woman being found guilty. She was given a sentence of two years jail time.

There’s a portion of the conversation my fellow jurors had over the evidence that’s sticking with me. We had one hold out juror who I believe felt bad for the woman in question. The point was actually made to this juror that the best thing for this woman is for her to go to jail and get clean and not be let directly back out onto the street. This was followed by speculation this woman was a repeat offender (I found out after the case she was).

The questions that have been ping-ponging in my head over the last couple of days is why do we put the burden on the criminal justice system to rehab drug abusers? Why aren’t we putting that job in the hands of specialists?

Much of the discussion of defunding the police has revolved around the reallocating of funds to things like social services, drug addiction services, & mental health services because the police are simply being asked to do more than they’re trained or even care to do.

Going back to the woman in question, she had already been to jail multiple times. Jail wasn’t helping her. That much we know. Further, by sending her to jail again, she now has another mark on her resume for when she tries to get a job again, making it harder to get a quality job and making it more likely she’ll end up caught in the same cycle she’s been stuck in for the last decade.

I’m also not the first one to think about this. Former Dallas Police chief David Brown said as much in 2016.

Remember the name: George Floyd

You may have heard the news. Yet another Black man was killed by a police officer. You may have seen the video or images of the incident, wooing a white police officer with his knee on the neck and throat of a Black man, who was clearly struggling to breathe. That Black man died.

His name is George Floyd.

And with that we add to the long list of names like Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Phliando Castile, Freddie Gray, Alton Sterling, Walter Scott, Oscar Grant, Tamir Rice, and countless other Black men, women, and children who have been killed by the hands of police. Time and time again with these cases, little to nothing is done about it. A cop may get fired. In the case of Eric Garner, it took four years to fire the officer in question. Even more rare does an officer get tried and convicted.

At this point I shouldn’t have to point out how wrong this is. I shouldn’t have to point out all anyone has ever asked for in these cases is some accountability. At the very least there should be some empathy for those who passed. I see very little of either in these cases and that bothers me greatly. It should you too.

This is all just one of the many symptoms of the systematic racism this country was frankly founded on from its origins 400 years ago. From day one Blacks were treated as less. Until whites decide this is really a problem, I don’t see it changing anytime soon.

George Floyd should be alive today. May he find justice.

I Look Forward to the Day When I Can Switch to an E-Bike

I’ve had my eye on e-bikes for quite some time. Where I live, in Lincoln, Nebraska, I can get most places rather easily by bike thanks to our pretty good trail system. However, as I get older, it’s becoming harder to get into proper shape to bike regularly. This is where the pedal assist and throttle options of bikes become extremely inviting to me. The below video explains a bit more of why I’m eyeing e-bikes.

When it comes to e-bikes, the only thing holding me back at this point is cost. That said, I have my eyes on the $1,200 RadRunner from Rad Power Bikes. That price point is actually pretty good when it comes to entry level e-bikes. I also like the simplicity of this bike as there are no gears, so you’re relying only on different levels of pedal assist or throttle. It’s just less to think about. Lastly, Rad has made a good name for themselves and I like the fact they’re from Seattle, since I know they’ve tested these things in the rain.

All of that said, I look forward to the day when I can switch. My poor knees will be thankful for it.

A Simple Shortcut for Setting Aside Some Quiet Reading Time

I’ve been getting a little bit of a reading bug as of late. Personally, I use my iPad as my eReader. One disadvantage of this, compared to a dedicated eReader, is the lingering possibility of getting notifications while I read. While I could just manually turn on Do Not Disturb during this time, I figured this was a good opportunity to make a workflow which can take care of a few things automatically.

The workflow I created makes a 15 minute calendar event called “Reading Time”, turns on Do Not Disturb for the duration of the event, and opens the Books app for me. This can be triggered either by tapping the icon in Shortcuts or by saying “Reading Time” to Siri. Obviously, the duration of the event can be changed to your preference.

The workflow can be downloaded here.

My First Attempt At Making a Black &... Copper

Black and tans are one of my favorite cocktails of any kind, much less a beer cocktail. I still had a couple cans of Guinness in the fridge along with a local brew from Zipline called Copper Alt. So, why not make a black and… copper.

Since I don’t have a proper spoon, it was a little messy. And of course, since it’s Cascadia Day, why not make it in my Mt. Rainier (aka Tacoma) glass? Over all, not a bad first take.

R.I.P. Andre Harrel

The world lost one of the greats in music with the passing of Andre Harrel, who was the head of Uptown Records in the early 90s, and then later Motown Records. I sometimes find I can’t express the depths of what someone did or meant as articulately as others. So, I’m going to let someone who can.

Here’s Questlove on his Instagram on the passing of Andre Harrel:

Dude. #AndreHarrell man. He gave you the best soundtracks of your life man and you didn’t even know it. We never gave him his flowers. He redefined the party!

Def Jam was the artform. Bad Boy was the attitude Death Row was the muscle

But without even knowing it?

Uptown was ALWAYS the party.

I’m sitting here going through my crates STUNNED at the amount of six degree to Andre records I’ve spun weekly on a regular basis for the last 35 years yo.

The is a staggering loss.

We never gave Andre Harrell his flowers.

Name em: Al B Sure/Heavy D & The Boyz/Guy/. I mean mentoring Diddy alone brings in Jodeci/BIG/Mary J/Father MC/Christopher Williams—-and even in those names the success with THOSE artists come Missy/Timb/Neptune’s

But let’s not stop there: first time we really paid attention to Halle Berry was in a Harrell film called Strictly Business

Let’s throw “Candy Rain” in there or Lil Shawn’s “I Made Love”—-I may be dating myself but man Mgruff’s “Before We Start” got MUCH play round my way. Jeff Redd (who brought Blidge to the label) had a banger with “You Called And Told Me”—-“Touch It” from Monifah STILL bangs to this day. & back to Diddy, I’m absolutely w/o a doubt certain that he feels his success is also Harrell’s success so in a round about way there is no Bad Boy w/o Harrell. (Lemme also remember Daryl Chill Mitchell’s “Hip Hop’s Here To Stay” another classic uptown jawn. Horace Brown too….. Too Many Classics

Let’s not forget NY Undercover & all the clever music moments in each ep.

We never gave him his flowers. This isn’t even half of his achievements nor does this even bring to light the people’s lives he changed or his loved ones left behind. He literally introduced a new sound to the world (the first new jack swing projects were on Uptown)—-wait hold that——his label changed music TWICE because hip hop soul’s music picked up where New Jack left off and on the same label. Such a short time to paradigm shift music TWICE!!!!!!!! Damn man. We never gave him his flowers man.

We lost one of the great ones today. My condolences to the Harrel family and to all of those he touched.

Using a Turntable With a HomePod

A few Christmases ago, I received a turntable from my brother. I know nothing of what makes a good turntable, but my brother is one of those people who reads product reviews from the likes of Consumer Reports, so I’m sure the Audio-Technica turntable I have is a good one. The only issue I’ve had with it is hooking the damn thing up.

I bought an audio receiver from a friend a couple of years ago which will work with this turntable, which has an embedded RCA hookup. However, the only speakers in my apartment are a couple of HomePods, of which I have one in each room. That’s been a problem, obviously.

Sonos sells a product, called the Sonos Port, which has RCA hookups and transmits via Airplay 2, which the homePod receives. However, this product runs for $400 or more. It’s a quality product, but much too expensive for my budget.

To the internet we go!

With a quick search online, it looks like I found a solution for using my turntable over Airplay 2 so I can stream to the HomePod. It’s bulkier than I’d like, but far cheaper than the Sonos Port. It goes as followed:

  • My old iMac with AirFoil installed ($29)
  • USB Audio to USB cable ($5-$10)

All in all, it looks like I should be able to do this for $40 or less. I’ll update to let you know how it goes.

A Simple Shortcut for Walks at Sunset

If you’ve followed this blog or my Twitter feed long enough, you’ve probably seen my sunset photos. I most likely am taking these while on an evening walk, typically after work. Timing is the key for this, so I decided to make a workflow in Shortcuts for iOS. The shortcut looks up my local time of sunset, then creates an event that places that time right in the middle of my walk. It takes me about 15 minutes to get to a good spot to snap a photo, so that’s my reasoning behind the timing. These times can be adjusted to your liking, however.

Here’s the Shortcut.

Marshawn Didn't Get the Ball & Everything Has Sucked Since

I’ll never forget Super Bowl XLIX. That’s the one where Russell Wilson threw an interception at the goal line, which lost the game for my Seahawks. Everybody feels like Marshawn Lynch should have been given the ball then.

Just the other day I heard a theory that the decision to not give Marshawn the ball threw the Earth off its axis. Since that decision in 2015, many bad things have happened, such as:

  • Brexit
  • Trump
  • Australian Wildfires
  • Covid-19

This is all Pete Carroll’s fault.

A Couple Observations as I Ventured Into Society

I live right next to a mall where there’s a GameStop inside, where I’ve had a preorder I’ve been neglecting to pick up. I had heard rumors GameStop had gone to delivery only, but I decided to stop in anyway.

I can’t say I’ve ever seen the parking lot as empty as it was on a Sunday afternoon during lunch time. As I neared the door, “Everybody” by the Backstreet Boys was playing over the mall’s speaker system, so this will clearly be playing for the actual apocalypse. Upon entering the side where the GameStop is, I passed the food court where only a cheesesteak joint and the Panda Express were open. I get to GameStop and the rumors were true, they are only doing deliveries.

On to the local grocery store, where I just wanted to get a bag of frozen breaded chicken breasts and some ice cream. This place was a zoo. I think about four people tried to run me over in the five minutes I was in there. I could feel everyone’s panicky tension and I honestly couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

That said, I wonder why store point of sale systems still ask for my PIN number when I use Apple Pay. Seriously, stop it. I’ve already authorized it’s me by the device being unlocked in the first place, don’t make me touch your potentially virus ridden buttons needlessly.

Anyway, I’m home now and I frankly don’t have any need to be around people for the rest of the day.

What I'm Doing in These Strange Times

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, so I’m writing this as I have a pint of Guinness. I have at least one per my own personal tradition on this day. My estimation is I’m about a quarter Irish, since my grandmother was full blooded and that line has since been diluted twice since. I’ve always taken a bit of pride in that part of my ancestry since it’s by far the most documented.

Anyway, so how am I handling this coronavirus situation? As best as I can, I suppose. I’m not really sure how much solitude I’m supposed to give myself and as someone who can’t sit still sometimes, I just took a quick walk to feed my need to roam and to clear my head.

I work in retail, so the nature of my job doesn’t permit me to work remotely from home. So, I go in when I’m scheduled and cross my fingers I don’t get sick off this thing. In the case that I do, I at least have the peace of mind my butt is covered if disaster does strike. That said, I’m not trying to become too concerned about it, just trying to stay reasonable while trying to follow the advice of my local health officials.

The lack of live sports has been the hardest thing for me so far. ESPN has been playing many of their 30 for 30 documentaries, which has been a bit of a joy for me. But, I was just starting to get amped up for baseball when the word dropped the season would be delayed. At this point, it could be May or June before play resumes. With that in mind, I’m looking forward to getting my copy of MLB The Show for my PS4. Simulation baseball will have to do for now.

So far, for the most part I’m doing ok. I haven’t really had to deal with a weekend of no social interaction yet, so I think that’s when things will hit me. I’ve set myself up to hopefully do some gaming online, so hopefully that’ll help. One of the things I love about sports is it gives me something to look forward to every night. With that gone, I at least have found something else for the time being since one of my favorite musicians Benjamin Gibbard is performing via live stream every night at 6 PM CT for the next two weeks. I watched tonight’s show before my walk tonight and it was really just what I needed after getting home from work.

I have tomorrow off, so my plan is do get laundry done. That’s my time to catch up with my mom and to help her out with things that she needs, usually tech related. Other than that, just trying to make the best of my time.

Blackouts are Bullshit

In 1995, the Quebec Nordiques moved to Denver, Colorado and were renamed the Colorado Avalanche. The ended up winning the Stanley Cup that first season in Denver and with players like Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, and Patrick Roy, I quickly became a fan of the team. This was made easier by, in addition to the nationally televised games, they were shown on our local regional sports network Fox Sports which would switch over to the Rocky Mountain branding whenever the Avs were playing.

I was a fairly hardcore Avs fan until about 2004. This would be the year the contract the team had with Fox Sports expired and Stan Kroenke, the team’s owner, launched his own network Altitude Sports and Entertainment. For whatever reason, my local cable provider Time Warner Cable had no interest in picking up the network. To make matters worse, Nebraska is still deemed at Avalanche territory, meaning Avs games were blacked out on the NHL’s pay-per-view and streaming options. Not being able to watch the games, my interest in the team wained.

15 seasons later, these blackout restrictions still exist and Altitude is still not available in Eastern Nebraska via cable. The only option available is through a satellite provider, where DirectTV is the only one to offer the channel. However, since I live in an apartment, that’s not an option either.

Having availability to watch the games of a team is a big part of building a love affair with that team. It’s how you get to know the players, their strategies, and so on. It makes you want to know more about the organizations from the top down.

I say this to say I totally feel the pain of my fellow Seattle Sounders fans on the east side of the Cascades.

The Sounders have a contract with TV network KZJO, a MyNetworkTV channel otherwise known as JoeTV. This is great for anyone within the JoeTV viewing area. The problem is that viewing area is primarily the Seattle-metro.

There is currently no streaming solution for the Sounders through the rest of Washington. MLS matches are now streamed on ESPN+, but Sounders matches are blacked out within Washington State. Through last season, YouTubeTV had a partnership with the Sounders to stream the games locally, but that was allowed to expire. Since JoeTV is a Seattle based local network, there’s no simulcast through the rest of the state.

This is inexcusable to shudder the ability for a group of fans who love a team to be able to view said team. Blackout restrictions were initially put into place to encourage fans to buy tickets. That said, I’m currently an eight-hour drive from Denver, so that argument seems thin to me. This also doesn’t explain why road games are blacked out. It’s also a bit unreasonable to expect every fan to be able to attend every game.

The Sounders blackouts in Washington hurt the supporter subgroups who gather in bars to watch the games. These viewings help build the supporter community, which is vitally important in soccer more than any other sport. Supporter groups are the lifeblood of a football club as they’re the ones who bring the energy every match with the sole purpose of pushing their team to victory. They’re the ones responsible for tifos, the huge graphical displays which often honor the team itself and often take weeks to design, organize for, and create. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes within a supporter group, so this leaves a bad taste in the mouths of those who look forward to every weekend and travel cross-state to matches. They have a right to feel slighted.

As of last night, the Sounders officially hinted that a deal was coming, but was not ready in time for tonight’s match against Columbus. It’s unknown if alternate methods will be available, even if that means watching the opposing team’s feed via satellite. I certainly do hope my Sounders family in Washington find a solution to this soon.

Bottom line, blackouts kill fandom. This is a multi-league issue that’ll likely take legislation to address nationally. Leagues and teams should be looking to do everything they can to bolster their support and blackouts simply do the opposite.

How Disposable Are Your Thoughts

Jay Springett writing on his own site:

Your thread is great! But it is also ephemeral, temporal. It might feel great to see all the shares, likes and comments and follows rolling in. But the reality of twitter the way that the platform is designed. Is that no one is going to be able to find it again in a weeks time. And in a month or so no one is going to remember it all.

This right here is why I’ve favored posting personal posts to my personal site. In the world of social media, your thoughts are quickly forgotten and that’s by design. For small inconsequential things, I’ll post to Twitter or to my Instagram story. But, for anything I value, it comes to my personal site.

This is because I have control over it. I can index it, I can search for it, and I can quickly find it. I can also dictate how I want it shared.

My Zen Time

I’ve often referred to my walks as my zen time. This is when I can get outside, mash the pavement, and work out any aggressive energy I have. I start a workout on my Apple Watch, which triggers Do Not Disturb for the duration of the workout, leaving me with just me and the path I’m taking to worry about.

Today was one of those days I really needed to do this. I’m used to going to work by 9 AM most days, so I became a bit stir crazy just sitting around doing nothing after being told there were no hours to give this morning. I was also waiting around for emails and reply backs from various sources today, so there was no better time than to get outside and clear my head. I ended up with quite the workout.

The best part about this (outside of feeling a little better) is I’ve come close to meeting my active calorie goal for today and it’s not even noon.

Nervous

I don’t usually vent in a public forum, but maybe I just need someone to tell me things are going to be ok. I’m full of nerves right now. My current employer has slashed hours for pretty much everyone, leaving me to constantly barter for more hours to fill the gaps. Although I’ve been able to do that for the past couple of weeks, it’s still a bit of a crap shoot and the process is a bit of a pain in the ass. I’d rather just have the comfort of knowing when I’m working.

That said, I am looking for work. I’m looking for a change of careers in general. I’ve been to college twice and I’m not doing anything with any of that education and it bothers me. I’m eventually looking for something along the lines of IT, tech support, or something dealing with web design. I had an interview with a company where the job meets somewhere in the middle. The hours are good, I’m sure the pay is as well, and the workplace environment seems extremely welcoming. I want this job!

Where the nerves come in is I haven’t made it past the first interview so far in my job search. I fear my lack of experience is coming into play, bringing in that issue of how do you gain experience if nobody gives you a chance? A chance is all I need because I know what I can do and what I’m capable of.

This week feels like a big week for me and I feel like a huge load will come off if things go right. I just hope they do.

On Restoring My Sanity

I’ve reached the point with Facebook where I’ve sunk into being much more of a lurker than a user. I’d delete the damn thing if I could, but I simply can’t trust some friends and relatives to use something better. I seriously doubt people will come around to start personal blogs or go back to writing emails. The later was actually a suggestion a cousin had after our last family reunion. That idea never left the ground, so maybe I’m justified in my trust issues.

I’ve grown to loathe big social media in general due to the lack of respect for my personal info and the b.s. spread by some of its users. That said, at least I can still use a client like Twitterrific for Twitter which allows me to alter the feed to make it much more tolerable. As for Facebook, the current political cycle has caused me to delete the app from my mobile devices, leaving me to check only on my desktop. It’s less convenient, which is the point.

I frankly didn’t expect to go into full rant mode, but hey, isn’t a blog a much better option than a tweetstorm? I like to think so.

Rules Changes for the 2020 NBA All-Star Game

The NBA All-Star game this year will feature some rules changes that pull from playground basketball. These rules are meant to drive competition throughout the game with some added incentives. Those changes are:

  • The first three quarters are played as individual games. This means, at the start of each of the first three, the score is reset to 0-0. The winner of each of those quarters wins $100K, which goes to the team captain’s charity of choice.
  • At the start of the fourth quarter, the clock is turned off the scores from the first three quarters for each team are combined. Then a target score is set by taking the leading team’s score and adding 24 (in honor of Kobe Bryant) to it. For example 135 + 24 = a target score of 159. The team which reaches the target score first wins the game and $200K to the charity of the team captain’s choice.

I feel like this will help increase competitive play during the game, especially before the fourth quarter where the game has had a habit of lagging trough bad defense and a variety of dunk attempts which become less thrilling as time goes on. By resetting the score and laying the incentive of charity money in the end, I expect better defensive play and more tenacity in general. Come the fourth quarter, one team is likely going to have more work to do than the other, so if they want that $200K, they’ll have to work for it.

One final nice touch to this year’s game is the renaming of the All-Star MVP Award to the NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award. It’s going to be a fun and emotional night tonight and I’m looking forward to it.

Britain leaves the EU

Listening to Beats1 this morning, where the current show is being broadcast from London. So, of course there was mentioning of Britain leaving the EU, which came with a tone of disappointment.

Across my Micro.blog community, a few of the British and European members have posted their thoughts on things becoming final today.

From Matthew Lang in Britain:

Even though we’re leaving the EU, I’ll also still consider myself more European than British.

From Paul Robert Lloyd:

Of the countries I’ve visited, many are members of the EU while some are members of its related institutions and agreements. Throughout, I’ve learnt that we have more in common than that which divides us, and realised that I am and always will be, culturally and emotionally, European.

From Khaled Abou Alfa, who lives in Copenhagen:

I didn’t want to believe this day would come to pass. I didn’t want to believe that a majority of the British people thought that being European was such an unwanted part of their lives. Yet here we are. For my part, I have enjoyed and continue to enjoy being European.

As someone who lives across the pond and has never ventured over, I feel like I lack some prospective on this. However, I am familiar with what confusing balloting language can look like, which is some of what led to the vote to leave. Still, there was also a segment of the nation who did want to leave and I really don’t understand what they really felt was so bad about being part of the EU. Nonetheless, here we are.

My 2020 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot (If I had a vote)

I can relax this year. After the last two years of wondering if Edgar Martinez would get in as his eligibility ran up, the Mariners will have to wait a few years before Ichiro becomes eligible, and even then, he’ll probably be a first-ballot player. The Braves don’t have any pressure issues either, despite a couple of players from the 14-year division run eligible. So with that, here’s who I’d pick this year.

  • Derek Jeter - I hate the Yankees, much like most non-Yankee fans. Still, I’ve always respected Jeter. He gave everything every day. He was consistent. He’s everything you would ask for in a major league ballplayer. He also had a career .310 BA and a 58.7 WAR. He’s probably the only sure-fire guy in this class.
  • Barry Bonds - I know, I know. He did PEDs. I understand where many wouldn’t vote this guy in for that reason alone. But, even if you take his career before 2000 when many assume he was clean, he was still a nine-time all-star, a three-time MVP, and a seven-time Silver Slugger award winner. He simply dominated the 90s. Simply put, you cannot tell the story of baseball from the early 90s through the 2000s without mentioning Barry Bonds.
  • Roger Clemens - Just like Bonds, if you take his career before 2000, you still have a Hall of Fame-caliber resume. With just that he would be a seven-time all-star, a five-time Cy Young Award winner, a four-time wins leader, 6 time ERA leader, a five-time AL strikeout leader, and he’s a member of the MLB All-Century Team. He should be in the Hall.
  • Andruw Jones - Only Ken Griffey Jr. was a better defensive center fielder than Andrew Jones in their respective era. There was rarely a time when a ball was hit to centerfield that I didn’t believe Jones wasn’t going to catch it. If he had a chance, he was there. Those fielding skills won him ten consecutive Gold Gloves. Hitting wise, it took him a little while to really get going, then he tailed off hard once he left the Braves. While in Atlanta, he was typically in the middle of a lineup that included Chipper Jones & Fred McGriff, among others. He was a threat as a Brave.
  • Larry Walker - Sure, he was aided by Coors Field, but Walker hit on the road also. His numbers are on par with a majority of hall of famers. Put Walker in.

I have my doubts if this will be the actual class this year. But, if you’re asking me, this is who I’m going with.