Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Fantasy Team Name And A Dream

With fantasy football season here, it's time to start thinking of good team and league names. The right team name could mark you as a fantasy pro in your league. The wrong name will make you the league laughing stock.

It seems my best ideas for a name happen while I'm driving, walking the dog, taking a shower or some other activity where I'm not near the computer or a pen and paper. Then I sit down to register my team and my memory fails me...along with all creative powers to think up a new one. That empty Team Name field just stares at me. C'mon, how tough can it be to think up a good name?

So I compiled a list of cool fantasy team name ideas that I use to help trigger the creative brain cells when needed. I found some good name generator sites and added those to the list for times when I need a name right now.

Remember that most fantasy sites allow you to change your team name whenever you want. I've seen teams change their name weekly. You'll want to keep your league names consistent to avoid confusion.

How do you think up your team names?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fantasy Football Commissioner 101

Every fantasy football season brings a new crop of rookie commissioners. Many of them don't have a clue what they're supposed to do.

That was me 5 years ago. My very first season playing fantasy football I got talked into serving as the commissioner. Fortunately the season went well, but I had a few "crap, what am I supposed to do now?" moments.

I've learned a lot since then both by being a commissioner and by playing in leagues with different commissioners and observing what worked and didn't work for them.

Here are my top 3 keys for success as a commish:
  1. Plan early - Register your league, pick a draft date, set up the rules and get your invites out. The earlier you do this, the better. It will give you more time to deal with rule change requests and finding replacement players if needed. If you're doing an online draft, you'll have a better shot at getting a good time slot.
  2. Communicate with your league - Make sure they know how to sign up, when the draft is, what the rules are and when their entry fee is due.
  3. Be fair and consistent - As the commish, it's your responsibility to see that issues are resolved fairly and impartially. Not everyone will like your decisions but if they see that you're objective, they'll respect that and want to stay active in your league and play again next year.
Those 3 will give you the foundation to get the league running smoothly. Check out my full set of fantasy football commissioner tips to learn more.

Have a great season!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Blogging Bug

Wow, I only have a handful of posts here and I'm already starting a 2nd blog. The new one is called Lens Harbor and it will be focused on Squidoo related topics.

I still plan to post occasionally about Squidoo stuff here. The new blog is on SquidTop which is a blogging platform created for lensmaster blogs. It will mostly be quick posts about new lenses, tips and topics that other lensmasters might be interested in.

I'll add a Lens Harbor feed over on the side panel here. Please keep an eye on it and click through if you see something of interest.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Truelove

This weekend I finished reading The Truelove (aka Clarissa Oakes outside of the US). It's the 15th book in Patrick O'Brian's excellent Master and Commander series which I'm a huge fan of. There are 20 books in the series so I'm now 75% through...not counting the 21st book that O'Brian was working on when he died.

I like to read 2 or 3 Master and Commander books in a row to keep the story flow going then I'll read something else for a while. Otherwise I start talking like an early 19th century British naval officer and my wife looks at me funny...well funnier than usual. This time I read The Kite Runner and then The Mysterious Island during the break. The Mysterious Island takes place in the same part of the world as The Truelove (only about 50 years later) which got me in the mood to start the series again.

In this one, Aubrey's ship, the Surprise, is en route from Australia to South America when he receives new orders to stop a French attempt to take over the fictional island of Moahu. In addition, they are to recover the British whaler, Truelove, which was captured by the French. He also has to deal with an escaped woman convict (Clarissa Oakes) who one of the midshipmen smuggled on board while in Australia. Most of the book covers the events during the voyage to Moahu. Clarissa's presence on the ship creates tension among the officers which affects the entire crew's morale as they prepare for the upcoming battle.

The story telling was top notch as always. Not much combat action in this one but there were several sub-plots expertly woven in that defined this book and connected it to the overall series story line. O'Brian continued his style of abrupt endings that come too soon. I don't know why the publishers renamed the book for publication in the US. Clarissa Oakes is a more fitting title since so much of the plot revolves around her.

I suspect Jack is going to start having serious health issues soon. He's always been a heavy eater and his career is tough on the body. Maturin spent more time tending to him in this one. I'm sure he'll turn out fine though...he has 5 1/2 more books to star in. Up next: The Wine-Dark Sea.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Mole Episode1: Crowd Favorite Gets Executed

The new season of The Mole debuted last night with a twist. Marcie, voted at the start of the show to most likely be the Mole by the other players, was executed. She was my first choice to be the Mole when they were doing the introductions. Why? Because, as I told my wife, "stay at home moms are sneaky." According to ABC's Behind the Scenes blog, the show's crew thought she was the Mole, too! So I wasn't alone in my first impression...still wrong though.

Jon Kelley, the new host, looked more nervous at the start of the show than the players did and his delivery of the intro was cheesy. He was much better when he turned the announcer voice off and talked normally. It seems like he's able to develop good rapport with the players so I expect he'll get better as the season progresses and he gets more comfortable with the job.

The show itself was good...up until they announced the exemption. I'm not a fan of exemptions, they make the show distracting for viewers. I want to watch players complete the tasks and try to figure out who the Mole is...not scheme to win an exemption. The introduction of exemptions spoiled the 2nd season. This one was a surprise reward which makes it more acceptable since it doesn't waste as much show time. It sounds like players will know when it's up for grabs next week from the preview.

It's only the 1st episode but here are my top 3 picks for the Mole this week:
  1. Mark - He's a history teacher...he should have known during the Selkirk scavenger hunt that batteries and blue jeans weren't around in 1704. That sob story during his interview may be legit but the delivery was a scam. I believe he does need the money...the money he'll win as Mole.
  2. Liz - She seems very confident and she's got an inside joke. Her occupation is listed as "Retired". Retired what? Undercover cop or secret agent perhaps? She was also one of the appraisers...but she did get the bag over the falls...but she also knew it probably wouldn't have money in it. Keep an eye on this one, she's up to something.
  3. Paul & Bobby - Hey, it's the first episode and my #1 choice got executed so I'm calling a tie for the #3 spot. It won't happen again. Both of these guys were slackers in the scavenger hunt. Paul is over dramatic and is trying to get people to think he's the Mole...maybe too much. Bobby (aka Walking Skeleton...that dude is thin) was huffing and puffing from a collapsed lung while walking on the beach. Not sure if that's an act or not yet...from next week's preview it looks like he'll be doing more of it. He spends a lot of time hanging back and observing, letting others talk...good strategy for a player and the Mole.
Of course, the real Mole is probably someone who got little air time on this first episode. We'll learn more next week...