Final Post of 2008: Year In Review

Because I just got a new idea and I’m breaking up my minor bowls into two posts, you’re actually getting THREE posts each today and tomorrow!



Can you believe that just happened?

I mean… this was a year in which, after eight years of Bush, a Democrat was elected President in resounding fashion. And in so doing became the first black president in the nation’s history… after being completely unheard of four years ago (and arguably, not much better two years later). And running a campaign that was not only the culmination of a four-year trend of people’s participation in political campaigns, but was almost a people’s movement on par with anything coming out of the sixties. Almost literally, Barack Obama was no longer a candidate or even a person; he was a cause.

Speaking of his race, this was a year when – out of nowhere – after years of both groups being in the wilderness, it became virtually guaranteed from the start that either a black or a woman would garner a major-party nomination for President.

And both of those produced, by far, one of the most entertaining presidential campaigns ever.

This was a year that ushered us into what almost everyone is calling not a mere recession, but our worst crisis of the sort since the Great Depression… and it has a shot to be even worse than that, and upend everything we know about American society.

This was a year that produced so many great sports moments that ESPN had little to do but sit there, awestruck, and produce one single special, lacking any of the formatting of past specials, that proclaimed it simply “the Greatest Year in Sports”, including an Olympics that produced too many moments to count, from the Opening Ceremonies to Michael Phelps to Usain Bolt and plenty more you probably didn’t see. No “Top 10 Games” special as in years past, and I should have included the Ryder Cup in my own list. Probably at #8, bumping out #8 or #9. Seriously, I could have easily made it a top 20, and that may have been the problem.

And most of all, this was a year that produced a lot of turmoil in my own life… when I launched my own webcomic and finally found a voice on Da Blog, when I found myself at a crossroads that will only begin to be resolved as we enter the new year.

It’s kind of hard to imagine that such a chaotic year is finally coming to an end.

I had seen 2006 as a fairly pivotal year, but that was because of my interests: the ten-year-old UPN and WB networks finally collapsed into the CW (with its sloppy seconds joining a hastily-formed network that now, shockingly, is in far better position than the CW), the NFL started a new primetime paradigm with NBC, ESPN, and its own network, and the Democrats took both houses of Congress and set the stage for the retaking of the White House.

This was far bigger than that. This was my generation’s 1968.

Depending on how much Bush’s legacy holds up, this could prove to be the true beginning of the “twenty-first century”, much like World War I was the true beginning of the 20th (and the end of the Cold War was arguably its end). In my own life, it seems like I’ve been 20 forever (are you sure I was only 19 when the Iowa caucuses happened, let alone when I launched Sandsday?), and I’m still going to be 20 for almost five more months! It’s like the previous 20 years was just a prelude to this year forward in my life.

Here’s to 2008, in all its wild wackiness, in all aspects of the game.

2009 has a heck of an act to follow.

It’s going to be a mite awkward for it to sink in that it is 2009.

2008 Golden Bowl Tournament: Minor Bowls (through end of 2008)

Bowls affected by the Golden Bowl Playoffs as listed here only. If I may be allowed to rant for a bit, while I was able to calculate these games I’m astounded by the idea that people are ONLY interested in weather of the future. I was able to find the weather from SportsLine’s (aka CBS Sports) previews, but as SportsLine doesn’t link to its previews I only found out about it by a fluke, and as it’s on a PREVIEW and not on the box score I don’t know exactly how much precipitation there was or if there was any, only what the chance of any was before the game. It’s not like the weather is an important aspect of understanding the game; if we need to know it before the game, why not after? I mean, if it’s good enough for Whatifsports, why not real sports sites? And are we really more able to tell whether there will be rain than how much there will be, or if that’s not the case, are we really more interested? Anyway, onwards and upwards, with wild guesses taken on the rain:

EagleBank Bowl: Miami (FL) 27, Navy 23
Navy managed to keep a closer game of it than in the real game against an arguably better opponent, but couldn’t get the job done in the end.

New Mexico Bowl: BYU 62, Fresno State 28
The Bulldogs lost the real game to a 6-6 Mountain West team. Imagine them facing an opponent that was actually ranked.

Las Vegas Bowl: Utah 58, Arizona 20
BYU underestimated the Wildcats in the real game. Utah’s too good to make that mistake.

Motor City Bowl: Central Michigan 6, Wisconsin 42
Um… should we be glad the Golden Bowl isn’t real and we didn’t actually get these atrocious bowl matchups?

Emerald Bowl: California 42, Clemson 17
It’s the Jahvid Best show! And I didn’t even set Cal as a home team!

Independence Bowl: Kentucky 0, Wake Forest 16
Now here, we didn’t get a game between two sucky minor conference teams. Too bad it’s a freakin’ shutout! Bowl: Rutgers 64, Florida Atlantic 38
You notice a lot of these bowls look like early-season “guarantee” games. Though to be fair, Rutgers didn’t exactly set the world on fire this year, and Florida Atlantic won its “real-life” bowl. And you notice the Owls put up a lot of points on the board on their own part.

Texas Bowl: NC State 59, Rice 49
Now here’s a game that got improved by the Golden Bowl: Rice gets a BCS opponent! That alone makes it worth watching! And the game was more competitive than the real thing, as Chase Clement kept the Owls in it almost to the end.

Chick-fil-A Bowl: South Carolina 17, Virginia Tech 24
The team that actually was in the Golden Bowl tournament sneaks out of the Georgia Dome with a victory, despite a valiant comeback attempt by Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks.

In the new year I bring the rest of the minor bowls, as well as the non-semifinal BCS bowls. Watch the Rose Bowl knowing it’s more than a meaningless what-if game, but actually a national semifinal in the Golden Bowl tournament, and I’ll have the other semifinal on Friday.

Update time

Okay, so maybe I’m not posting on another webcomic tonight (Tuesday). In fact it’ll probably not be out until Thursday at the earliest. As I’ve mentioned, several popular webcomics aren’t updating because of the holiday, so I picked out a webcomic for this week fairly late.

I will have two posts both tomorrow and Thursday to make up for it.

I’m pretty sure this is the post I intended to post on Thursday but forgot.

One of the things Robert A. Howard accosted me for in his comment-rant a little over a week ago was my tendency to squee like a fangirl at any links whatsoever.

Now, the main reason I post whenever I get linked, aside from being convinced that this is the link that will bring me everlasting fame and I want to commemorate the moment, is to alert potential advertisers of traffic bumps, so they can bump up their bids accordingly. However, I’m not sure it’s particularly useful for that purpose. Most people probably use Project Wonderful’s “campaign” feature to place their bids, which automatically scale to match current traffic, and PW also provides its own tools to alert bidders of important links, albeit from a select list of traffic generators. Find out more here, although I’m not even sure if this system still works. (Not to say that you can’t get on to Da Blog bidding by hand – I did so successfully on what was really a test bid on a couple of webcomics advertising for Sandsday, though I think I only showed up on one. If that makes any sense.)

So in a new Da Blog Poll that’s been running since Sunday and will continue for a couple of weeks, I want to ask: do you find the acknowledgements of traffic bumps useful or annoying? Do you think they’re useful for advertising even if they are a little annoying to anyone else, or are they useless even for advertising because the acknowledgement tends to lag quite a bit behind the bump itself? You can find the poll in the sidebar, and the comment section of this post will allow you to sound off beyond just the two options on the sidebar.

Those big, hairy critters can be a bit stroppy.

(From Irregular Webcomic! Click for full-sized very fabric of the universe yada yada.)
You know your crisis is reaching monumental proportions when it starts roping in themes that aren’t even regular.

When it starts roping in Harry Potter… and the Star Wars theme that’s been virtually unheard of since Darths and Droids started.

At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if Espionage got involved… or even the Supers theme that hasn’t been heard from in ages. We’ve already seen six themes out of fourteen that aren’t Death, Miscellaneous, or Me. (Cliffhangers, Mythbusters, Shakespeare, and Martians are the others.)

That leaves Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday strips to finish up the seven strips needed to rope in every last theme… but crossovers will almost certainly be included in there, and it would be poetic justice to put the critical moment one year to the day after the death of Me.

(Then again, it evidently never occured to the Comic Irregulars how close Phantom Menace would come to wrapping up in 200 strips, so why should I give DMM credit for minding the one-year gap? Though who am I to speak? For whatever reason, I keep wallowing in Morgan-Mar central instead of just posting on a non-Morgan-Mar, non-OOTS, non-CAD strip on Tuesday like I’m GOING to do.)

Meanwhile in Irregular Webcomic, we’re slowly going through Armageddon theme by theme, I guess.

(From Darths and Droids. Click for full-sized planning.)

Just when I say I’m going to move away from a small set of webcomics, Da Blog practically becomes David Morgan-Mar Central. Perhaps because Morgan-Mar has a lot of stuff going on all at once, between this and Irregular Crisis.

My already-slim prediction of ending the current movie at #200 is looking unlikely. But we have started the preparations for the next movie – including a rather… unusual… answer to the question of who Jim will play next.

Huh? First of all, who are we talking about? Padme, or the Queen? They switched places for the bulk of The Phantom Menace, but while on the one hand Jim is excited about being a ruler, implying Amidala, he specifically asks Obi-Wan to give his stuff to Padme…

…and given the blossoming relationship between Padme and Anakin in the second and third movies, that would seem to hold more dramatic potential. (A man and a woman role-play a relationship between a man and a woman… only they play each other’s gender. Awk-ward! And a minefield of potential commentary to boot!)

Although Wikipedia indicates that, contra the impression I had gotten from the Darths and Droids annotations (with some help from Attack of the Clones promo materials), Padme and Amidala are actually the same person and the person dolled up as Amidala for most of Phantom Menace is completely unimportant. (Which when you think about it, would make sense for Leia being a “princess” in the original trilogy.)

In any case, we can begin formulating what might happen for the duration of two movies now on the basis of a single strip. Too bad we can’t seem to formulate what might happen for the duration of a week on Da Blog on the basis of a single post. But we will break out of the rut on Tuesday, I guarantee it!

I hate it when that happens.

(From Irregular Webcomic! Click for full-sized parallel tearing.)

So, did you hear? Apparently the very fabric of the universe got torn apart today.

Unfortunately it didn’t involve more themes than just two.

Still, it’s kind of funny that the previous comic involved Death of Being Stared At By a Giant Frog going back in time to deliver Me to administer his own death. Good way to build to the moment.

Or maybe it’ll just cause reality to shift to a new paradigm.

Perhaps in this new paradigm, I actually climb out of my three-comic rut.

These sorts of posts are only useful if you meet me in person. I sometimes get mad at stuff online, but that either manifests itself in the physical world (where you can’t be affected) or completely differently online.

If I’m getting too mad for me to control myself, the best thing you can do is let it happen.

Whatever you do, don’t attempt to apply some sort of reprimand while it’s in progress, certainly not one stemming from letting my madness make you mad as well.

Don’t try to psychoanalyze it, don’t tell me I’m doing anything wrong, don’t tell me I’m getting mad at something minor. Any of those things will just make the problem worse, or even reignite it if it’s seeming to subside.

Human emotion, by definition, is not rational. So why do we need to make it seem rational? Why do I need to be mad at anything in particular?

Why do I need to become something inhuman? When I get mad, I end up mad at myself for being mad, and then I end up mad at myself for caring whether or not I’m mad or expressing it in a certain way. I’d be a thousand times less mad if I was just allowed to be mad.

(99% of the time, you can get along with me fine, although being friendly or striking up a conversation or even trying to interact with me in any way that’s not mandated in some way is not going to work and it’s going to be counterproductive. But if you don’t take some tidbits away for the other 1% and then label me as a monster – or even seek to reduce that 1% by not lighting the match in the first place – it’s your own damn loss.)