2011 Fantasy Baseball preparation

This year marks 9 years in a fantasy baseball league run by an old college friend of mine. I have decided to prepare differently this year.

Usually, I go into the draft with lots of pages of paperwork, highlighters, pens, etc. I then sit on a cramped couch in a cramped room and frantically try to keep up with the draft, who has taken which players, and inevitably fall behind. Or worse, pick a player that is already taken. What should be fun becomes stressful at times. I am not naturally an organized person.

This year, I’m going paperless. It is just going to be my laptop with me. I made a spreadsheet in Numbers that lists the top 300 players in order, top players by position, etc. I can then just search through the spreadsheet when a player is picked, quickly highlight the player red (unless I picked the player, who then ends up being highlighted green), and move on. I can also quickly look up players to make sure they aren’t an injury risk or were just knocked out for the season.

I also normally have to deal with flakey wifi or worse, hosts who forget their wifi password. This year, I am bringing my MiFi device as a backup.

I don’t have any stats to back this up, but I already feel vastly more productive, organized, and less stress using this method. This is just when doing pre-draft preparation too!

I will post what my team ends up being once I get back later today.

Living in small towns

I grew up in the small town of Goshen, NH, which is about a 5 minute drive from downtown Newport and a 15 minute drive from the town of Sunapee. I had no idea growing up how long both sides of my family have lived in the area. Until I started doing my genealogy research a few years ago, I assumed that most of my ancestors moved to the area relatively recently. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

A few examples:

  • On the Gonyea (father) side, there has been a presence in Newport and/or a surrounding town for over 120 years, with my 3rd great-grandparents moving their family into town around 1891.
  • On the Collins (mother) side, there have been relatives that grew up in surrounding towns as far back as the early 1800s and a sustained presence in Sunapee since about 1910.
  • On the Currier (grandmother) side, evidence suggests a continued presence in Newport and surrounding towns since about 1900.
  • On the Cutting (great-grandmother) side, there is evidence of a presence in Sullivan County since amazingly the mid 1700s!
  • On the Parker (great-grandmother) side, evidence says a presence in Sullivan County since the late 1700s.

It is clear that many of my ancestors, once they moved into Sullivan County, clearly thought they had found a great spot. Very few members of my family and ancestors have moved away from the area since then and if so, only a few hours away at most.

The big benefit of this? Much easier for me to do research given that so many of the records are located in just a couple of towns all close to each other. For example, I could spend all day at the Richards Free Library in Newport given how many ties I have to Newport.

Removing the search bar in Firefox

I like Chrome’s unified search/address bar, but Chrome otherwise just doesn’t fit how I use a web browser. Luckily there is an easy way to make Firefox’s awesome bar do something similar. In fact, it is even more powerful.

  1. Customize your Firefox toolbar and remove the search box.
  2. Go to your favorite search engine
  3. Right-click the search text field on the search engine page and add a keyword. For example, for Google you can simply call the keyword google.
  4. Now in the awesome bar, type ‘google searchterm’ and hit enter. The search is automatically done on Google.

The best part about this trick is that you can do it on just about any site on the Internet that has a search field. You can create many keywords to search your favorite sites, such as Amazon, Newegg, Twitter, etc.

Enjoying vacation

Those of you who know me realize that I work a lot and that is probably an understatement. I rarely leave my desk at work for breaks, I am constantly thinking about it (especially since I am on-call 4 days a week), and it is really hard to hit the off switch. The reason why it is hard to hit that off switch is simple: because myself (and the rest of my colleagues) love what we do so much.

On Friday, I finished up my day and officially entered vacation mode for a week.

I don’t think I have ever looked forward to a vacation more than this one. The mental relaxation you get simply from turning off my work e-mail (and Boxcar notifications for our status page) is quite amazing. My aim is to totally recharge the batteries this week.

Saturday my wife and I visited my brother Justin in Burlington and helped him purchase his first new car. Wonderful time, although very sick of driving (three hours each way).

Sunday our nephews and my sister-in-law visited in the morning. My wife and I then went out and did some scouting of possible houses in the Manchester area that we are interested in.

Today my dad and I are going hiking somewhere in the White Mountains. First time we have done something like this together in a long time, maybe years. All I know is that it is supposedly an “easy” hike. His definition of easy is quite different from mine. We will see!

The rest of the week, I am most likely doing lots of genealogy research and working on fixing some things in our condo so we can put it on the market.