Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tecmo Super Bowl: The Greatest Video Game In History

This blog decided it'd be cool to report on its recently completed Tecmo Super Bowl season. As is this site's custom, Pun City played every single game in the season. It chose the team it preferred for each.

Some notable statistics from the season:

Dan Marino's 59 touchdown passes.

Sterling Sharpe's 2346 receiving yards (on only 59 catches for 35 TDs).

Barry Sanders's 2104 rushing yards.

Christian Okoye's 258 points on 43 total TDs. (This blog isn't a big Raiders fan, so Tecmo Bo wasn't used much).

Lawrence Taylor's 101 sacks.

LT and Derrick Thomas tie for the league lead with 15 safeties. Thomas ties Michael Cofer for the league league in blocked extra points with 6; and Taylor and Thomas share the lead in blocked field goals with 4 each.

The 49ers won the Super Bowl in a 30-14 game over the Chiefs. This blog now thinks it's going to run through 28 seasons with each different team (hopefully) winning the Super Bowl each year. Should be pretty fun.

Oh, and another thing - this blog realizes there's probably a number of Tecmo players that have better stats than these. Feel free to post those. This blog's stats, on the individual player level, were somewhat stunted by playing less than a full season with each team. And because this blog didn't use Bo Jackson more than 1 game, it didn't have the Bo Factor in full effect.

At any rate, this blog loves hearing about old Tecmo stories, so feel free to "one-up" Pun City on this one.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Pun City Trip Ends With A Bang And A Whimper!

All right, 5 months in the making, it's.... the final day of Pun City's trip around mid-America for conference trips!

This blog was looking to add a 4th conference tourney to it's trip with the Big Ten title game in Indianapolis, IN. When last we left Pun City, this blog was in Columbus, Ohio talking trip with Dank.

Had to get up early based on the remaining 2-hour drive to Indy from Columbus. Headed to Tim Horton's first to grab a soda and some cookies, Dank got a donut. Pretty much hurting already based on the limited sleep and the road weariness. Wasn't getting any more alert, but the soda helped some.

Indianapolis is a really cool town, so this blog wanted to get there early to head to the Circle Centre, a pretty awesome mall mainly for its location (right next to the RCA Dome, Conseco Fieldhouse, and a short walk from Victory Field).

The mall was alright, this blog was able to pick up one of the last gifts it needed to grab for another one of its friends. It was pretty cool to see the huge masses of Iowa Hawkeye and Ohio State Buckeye fans converging at the mall.

After the mall, this blog walked over to Conseco. This blog ran into one of the same Army National Guardsmen that had been at the Missouri Valley Conference championship in St. Louis. Strange to see a "familiar" face this late in the trip. There was a nice spread outside of the Fieldhouse, however. The Army National Guard was handing out towels, t-shirts, and rubber wristbands just for the asking. This was much easier than the 50-situp requirement in St. Louis, but the shirts weren't quite as cool.

AT&T was handing out racquetball-sized basketballs with their logo on it. Cooper Tires was giving away beads with the Big Ten logo on the end. They had run out of most colors, however, and there were no longer any red beads left. The worker said he'd been telling Buckeye fans that the black beads were "dark grey," so they could grab one in support of their team. Iowa, in the meantime, had both gold and black varieties available for their squad.

This blog had an Ohio State shirt for the day, so it caught a little grief from Hawkeye fans. Nothing too bad though, since TOSU was a heavy favorite and both teams were NCAA tournament-bound. One radio station was set up outside the Fieldhouse giving away can coolers and magnets. Normally these wouldn't interest this blog too much, since this blog doesn't often listen to Indianapolis radio. In this case, this blog made an exception. There was an absolutely stunning girl working their booth and generally being ignored with the bevy of better loot options available to fans.

This blog was able to strike up a conversation with her, and found out that she, like many people in town, was an Indiana fan, and was disappointed they had been eliminated in the semifinals the day before. The giant market of ticket scalpers (and very small market of ticket buyers) was symptomatic of this phenomenon. This was also probably the longest conversation this blog had with any female on the trip, so this site supposes that's worth mentioning.

This blog decided it didn't want to be lugging around all of this free stuff during the game, so it headed back to its car to put the loot away. This proved to be a very lucky decision, since AT&T's ball would have been confiscated upon entry.

Having heard the Conseco Fieldhouse was the best arena in the NBA, this blog had high hopes as it entered the home of the Pacers. Most likely because this blog was dead tired, it did not seem to meet the billing. It was a very good stadium, but did not seem to be dramatically better than other arenas this blog has been to. That said, it was still the best NBA arena this blog has been to, a list that includes The Palace at Auburn Hills, FedEx Forum, The Bradley Center, and The Staples Center.

The game ended up being a blur. This blog seriously considered leaving early to get home and sleep, but held on to see Iowa claim the championship. During the first half, this blog was in x-treme nosebleed seats on the 4th level. Worse still, this blog was sitting next to Iowa fans, so there was some slight tension and no one with which to commisserate. Luckily, due to the huge number of unoccupied seats, this blog was able to pick out an open seat on the second deck, and sat there for the second half.

This blog vaguely remembers concessions being very reasonably-priced and tasty. This site headed out immediately following the conclusion of the game and headed back for Wisconsin. Adding to the adventure, this blog encountered and drove through what it later found out was a tornado outside of Chicago.

It was good to get back to this blog's bed, but Pun City knew it had decks to swab on Monday morning. A crazy trip concluded with Pun City exhausted yet refreshed, knowing that it had gotten a gigantic dose of college basketball in a small period of time, just in time to prepare for NCAA tournament pools. (This blog finished 2nd in a field of 18, winning no prize, but as they say, life is not in the destination, but the journey).

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Pic-A-Nic Basket Case

This blog's headed up to St. Croix Falls, WI and Minneapolis, MN for the weekend. It's rather cool to get a long weekend from deck swabbing for the first time in a while.

While deck swabbing gets on this blog's nerves quite a bit, there was a cool event the other day: The Company Picnic.

Oh yes, the once-annual, kinda lame, always cheap-as-possible olive branch that says "We appreciate our employees so much, we buy them an adequately(?) catered meal that fits neatly into our fairly small employee morale budget."

As far as this blog can tell, there are some necessities with every company picnic. Here they are:
1. Food. Mass produced, at least mildly palateable, able to appeal to a large audience. Ideally as cheap as humanly possible. This blog heard of one grocery store chain that was rumored to be serving food at their picnic from dented cans that could not be sold to consumers. While this blog has seen a couple companies get their picnics catered, it's never exactly gourmet. This makes sense, and this blog really doesn't mind the setup, since most foods with mass appeal also appeal to this site. Just don't be serving this blog product deemed unsuitable for the public.

2. Contests. Every company picnic seems to have contests, but the type of contest usually depends on the type of company. Smaller companies can go all-out with talent competitions, eating contests, and the like. Mid-size companies can go with more restrictive contests, specifying to a point where they aren't going to get too many contestants. Examples might be singing contests and costume contests. Huge companies pretty much just punt and go with the "Enter your name to win..." contests. The huge companies seem to mysteriously award the huge prizes to employees no one is good friends with, and only vaguely know the department the winner comes from.

3. Tents. This blog has to believe that if it weren't for company picnics, the giant tent industry would go out of business. Going into work, if you see a giant tent in the parking lot, you know you're in for some free food and a contest.

Some other possibilities don't seem to be requirements for a company picnic, but are pretty hilarious. A recent "Sombrero Contest" provided comic relief for this blog and its fellow deck swabbers.

First off, the concept of a "Sombrero Contest" is ridiculous in and of itself. Secondly, the resulting shenanigans proved to be classic.

Here are some hypothetical questions, completely unrelated to this site's personal experience:

Is there any chance that the winner is not going to have chips and salsa in the sombrero? Any other way that particular contest gets won?

If you lose the contest, which was a bonus in the first place, aside from being completely optional, do you have any right to complain?

Would you be a total rocket scientist when you lodged a serious protest over the results of a "Sombrero Contest?" Is there any situation where a "Sombrero Contest" is worth filing a formal complaint over? (Actually, that could be a pretty cool topic for another blog) Is there a realistic possibility that a sombrero contest's results would be overturned?

Is a sombrero an ironic prize for a sombrero contest winner? Wouldn't the winner already be pretty well set in the sombrero department? Are there cases where one would need to have two sombreros? (Maybe a casual and a formal sombrero??).

Maybe this blog is unfamiliar with the vast majority of sombrero contest bylaws. So many questions. If this blog's readership can help Pun City out, this blog could sleep a little more soundly in the future.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Southland Conference Tries on a New-tral Tone

This blog was recently made aware that the Southland Conference will hold their Men's and Women's Basketball Conference Tournament at the Campbell Center in Houston, Texas. This neutral site is a departure from their recent conference tourneys, which were held at campus sites. No one else seems to be reporting on this, so this blog may have its first "exclusive" here. (Yes, the Southland Conference website mentions the location, but it doesn't make a big deal about it).

That got this blog to thinking that, since it was planning its trip for next March, it may as well list the 2007 men's basketball conference tournament sites for all Division I conferences, since that's some moderately useful info. So here you go:

Atlantic Coast Conference: Tampa, Florida. March 8-11

America East Conference: TBA. Most likely will have opening rounds in Vestal, NY March 3-5, with championship at high seed's campus on March 11.

Atlantic 10 Conference: Atlantic City, New Jersey. March 7-10

Atlantic Sun Conference: Johnson City, Tennessee. March 1-3

Big 12 Conference: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. March 8-11

Big East Conference: New York City, New York. March 7-10

Big Sky Conference: High Seeds' Campus Sites for opening round (March 3), then #1 seed's home court for the semifinals and championship (March 6-7)

Big South Conference: TBA. Most likely high seeds' campus sites for opening round (February 27), then #1 seed's home court for semifinals (March 1), then highest remaining seed's home court for the final (March 3)

Big 10 Conference: Chicago, Illinois. March 8-11

Big West Conference: Anaheim, California. March 7-10

Colonial Athletic Association: Richmond, Virginia. March 2-5

Conference USA: Memphis, Tennessee. March 7-10

Horizon League: Opening round at high seeds' campus sites February 27. #1 seed's home court for quarterfinals and semifinals March 2-3. Highest remaining seed's home for final (March 6).

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference: Raleigh, North Carolina. March 5-10

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference: Bridgeport, Connecticut. March 2-5

Mid-American Conference: Cleveland, Ohio. March 7-10

Mid-Continent Conference: Tulsa, Oklahoma. March 3-6

Missouri Valley Conference: St. Louis, Missouri. March 1-4

Mountain West Conference: Las Vegas, Nevada. March 6-10

Northeast Conference: High seeds' campus sites. March 1, 4, and 7

Ohio Valley Conference: Nashville, Tennessee. March 2-3 (Opening rounds at high seeds' campus sites February 27)

Pacific 10 Conference: Los Angeles, California. March 7-10

Patriot League: High seeds' campus sites. February 28, March 4, and March 9

Southeastern Conference: Atlanta, Georgia. March 8-11

Southern Conference: Charleston, South Carolina. February 28-March 3

Southland Conference: Houston, Texas. March 5-11

Sun Belt Conference: Lafayette, Louisiana. February 28-March 6

Southwestern Athletic Conference: Birmingham, Alabama. March 8-13

Western Athletic Conference: Las Cruces, New Mexico. March 6-10

West Coast Conference: Portland, Oregon. March 1-5

So there you go. America East and Big South need to get on that. Although, when announcements come this late, chances are that they'll be at campus sites simply because those are much easier to book. Now you too can plan a zany conference tournament trip. You can be just like Pun City.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Beale Street to Buckeye Country In 10 Hours

This blog realized that it was in the middle of planning next year's trip and hadn't yet finished reporting on the last 2 days of its last one. So away we go, March 11th, 2nd-last day of the trip:

This was going to be the last day in Memphis, but also potentially the longest day of the trip (despite only 1 game). Following the game, this blog had two options:

A) Drive directly to Indianapolis where no hotel had been reserved. The plan was basically to sleep in this blog's car overnight, either in Indianapolis or nearby West Lafayette. If weather was lousy, then finding a pretty cheap hotel was another option. Advantages would be a shorter drive and possibly checking some Indianapolis night life. Problems would mainly stem from sleeping in a car.

B) Head over to frequent Pun City contributor (and resident fast-food chicken expert) Dank's place in Columbus, OH. Advantages would be free lodging, as well as meeting up with Dank for the first time in a month and a half. Disadvantages would be a significantly longer drive, plus the need to drive the next morning.

This site will get back to that in a while. First was the Memphis-UAB final, which promised to be pretty exciting given that UAB had beaten Memphis in their last meeting (at Birmingham), and the two teams had very fast-paced systems in place.

A rude awakening at 7:30 AM at this blog's hotel. A couple scrubs knocked on this site's hotel door, presumably after this site's parking spot, based on the ranting this blog heard outside prior to the knock. (The spots weren't marked, anyone could park anywhere, just a couple of morons is what it boiled down to).

This blog went to Parking Can Be Fun again, which was not closed despite crews working on the entrance area. Somehow it was only 3 bucks to park, so that was way awesome. On the way to the Arena, this blog saw a pretty sizeable number of cocktail drinkers on Beale Street. This was no big deal, aside from the fact it was 10:00 AM on a Saturday.

Back to basketball, neither team took longer than 5 seconds to bring the ball over half court for the entire game. Memphis was able to pull out the victory, and a major part of their success was the extremely amped home crowd. UAB's band played "Dragula," which was pretty cool for them.

This blog was pretty energized by seeing the victory, so it didn't mind driving the extra to Columbus. This would mean a 10-hour drive, but it wouldn't be especially bad since it was beginning fairly early, and there would be college hoops on the radio. SEC Semifinals were going on as this blog was driving, eventually followed by two large radio dead zones in the back country of Tennessee and Kentucky.

An interesting point of the trip included a Ford Taurus that had one wheel camber inward at a 45-degree angle and bounce off the guard rail into a spin-out in Tennessee. Thankfully, this blog got to the accident before police could get there to make traffic a complete nightmare. Another less fortunate part was getting stuck behind an accident well after it had happened, a situation where traffic was backed up for about 20 miles. This blog stopped at a McDonald's since it got hungry in the middle of nowhere and hadn't eaten there since early on in the trip.

In Kentucky, this blog found a truck stop that actually had a Kentucky Wildcats shot glass for one of this blog's friends, apparently a very elusive state to find shot glasses in his experience. Toward the end of the trip, around Cincinnati, this blog was able to get a signal of the Atlantic 10 final for the home stretch to Columbus.

Met up with Dank, talked trip, showed off some of this blog's wares for a while and watched some more basketball on TV. A pretty exhausting day even though it was just 1 game, mainly because it canvassed 4 states.