Milwaukee area: Seeking 2-4 writers

So for a little while now I’ve been kicking around the idea of starting a newspaper centered around original Milwaukee music.  A plan was formulated and I contacted everyone I knew who might be interested.  That wasn’t too long ago, but the idea is already fizzling a bit.  It’s understandable… some people want to be a part of it, but just don’t have the time.  Others might not have liked my approach.  Others still might have been weary of the size of the project.  Going to try and address all those problems, especially the last one.  In my typical fashion, I came up with some grand scheme of how to make it the best thing Milwaukee has ever seen.  Bad move on my part as that’s a good way to scare off volunteer staff.

New game plan.  I want to start waaaay small.  I’d like to get a staff of 3-5 people (including myself) and just see what we can do.  Everyone will contribute 1-2 articles per month and it we’ll do reviews, interviews, opinion, etc.  The whole paper will be like 4 pages (maybe more depending on how much we all write).  I will take care of the layout/printing/advertising stuff and figure out a very easy way to handle distribution.  We’ll start with a few hundred copies and they’ll be available at a small handful of places.  If it stays that size, great.  If it grows, great.  Have more ideas, but let’s just start there and see what we get.

I just need the 2-4 additional people.  I don’t want to assume that those who were interested in the original plan will be on board for the revised one, so I’m throwing this out to everyone I know.  If you want to do some writing, let me know.  We’ll see if we can get a 1st issue out the beginning of 2010 (January).

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New favorite brewery

I’m currently finishing off a 6 pack of the Octoberfest from Central Waters Brewery.  It’s not my favorite Octoberfest (it’s kind of a foggy orange color, very light/thin with a toasty/nutty flavor – quite tasty but a departure from a typical Octoberfest beer), but I still rather like it.  I’ve had as many beers as I can find from Central Waters and I’ve decided they are one of my favorite breweries.  Yes, other breweries make fantastic beers, but to be a favorite brewery I want to be able to pick up nearly any of your products and enjoy it.  I think they bumped Dogfish Head out of my top 3 (I’d put it at 1. Bells, 2. Laguinitas 3. Central Waters).  Try their Glacial Trail IPA, it’s my favorite of what I’ve had from Central Waters so far.  Oh and they’re in Wisconsin too!

Turn the volume down

I know this has been written about to no end… but I’m going to briefly rant about it again as my right ear felt like it was going a little quieter on me yesterday.  See, when you’re in a rock band and you have a show, the best thing to do is crank all your amps to 10, ask the sound guy to jack the levels and have your drummer hit everything as hard as possible.  The physical energy from the sound waves translates into emotional energy for your audience.  My math may be off, but it’s usually on about a 2:1 scale.  So if your music is hitting the audience at 140db, it’s creating 280J of good times.

There are a few problems with this theory though… first there’s the whole problem of likely hearing loss and also severe pain (which usually happens somewhere north of 125-130db).  Thankfully there are nice ear plugs for that stuff which nobody uses.  The other part, when you crank your music up like this, you’re being a dick and it usually means your band is shit.  Not “the shit.”  “Shit.”  It’s a dead giveaway to seasoned audience members.  When they see a band that keeps cranking the volume up during sound check or the first few songs, it’s usually because the band stinks and they need the cacophony of loud to give the illusion of cohesive musicianship.  If you think your band is good, you’re doing yourself a great disservice as behind 130 or so db our ears cannot distinguish much.  Any of the nuances in your playing get lost in a giant whirlwind of noises.  Imagine a loud Harley, 737, jackhammer and circular saw all running in a small room at the same time.  It just becomes a blur.  You can’t distinguish one noise from the other.  Beyond that, unless you are playing a club that supports a few hundred people, chances are the PA system can’t support your volume.  In the usual 50-100 person venue, you’ll be lucky if the PA can support your vocals over the natural volume of a drumset and 30 Watt tube amp.  Once you mic the snare/kick and guitar amp and crank them all up, you are assuring yourself that the PA will start clipping/distorting and nobody will be able to understand the lyrics or maybe even know anyone is singing.

I’m not saying that your noise rock band needs to be playing at cafe poetry night volumes.  But actually listen to yourself more often.  When you’re doing sound check, rather than just making a really loud stage volume and assuming it’s great, have a band member or trusted friend go out into the audience.  Try playing a song with guitars, drums, vocals.  If you’re in a small venue (around Milwaukee that might be the Cactus Club), have the drummer play with no mics, then run the guitar/vocals through the PA.  Turn the volume up until everything sounds pretty level with the drummer.  Then you can mic some of the drums if a few things are getting lost.  If you don’t believe me, stick a camcorder in the back of a room and record one of your normal shows compared to one where you do sound like that.  Tell me which one sounds better.  If you think the absurdly loud one does, it probably means your band needs more practice.

Packers draft picks – Ted Thompson Edition

Green Bay Packers Draft History

2009
Rnd Name College Note
1 B.J. Raji Boston College
1 Clay Matthews Southern Cal
4 T.J. Lang Eastern Michigan
5 Quinn Johnson LSU
5 Jamon Meredith South Carolina
6 Jarius Wynn Georgia
6 Brandon Underwood Cincinnati
7 Brad Jones Colorado
2008
Rnd Name College Note
2 Jordy Nelson Kansas State
2 Brian Brohm Louisville
2 Patrick Lee Auburn
3 Jermichael Finley Texas
4 Jeremy Thompson Wake Forest
4 Josh Sitton Central Florida
5 Breno Giacomini Louisville
7 Matt Flynn Louisiana State
7 Brett Swain
2007
Rnd Name College Note
1 Justin Harrell Tennessee
2 Brandon Jackson Nebraska
3 James Jones San Jose State
3 Aaron Rouse Virginia Tech
4 Allen Barbre Missouri Southern State
5 David Clowney Virginia Tech
6 Korey Hall Boise State
6 Desmond Bishop California
6 Mason Crosby Colorado
7 DeShawn Wynn Florida
7 Clark Harris Rutgers
2006
Rnd Name College Note
1 A.J. Hawk Ohio State
2 Daryn Colledge Boise State
2 Greg Jennings Western Michigan
3 Abdul Hodge Iowa
3 Jason Spitz Louisville
4 Cory Rodgers Texas Christian
4 Will Blackmon Boston College
5 Ingle Martin Furman
5 Tony Moll Nevada
6 Johnny Jolly Texas A&M
6 Tyrone Culver Fresno State
7 Dave Tollefson Northwest Missouri State
2005
Rnd Name College Note
1 Aaron Rodgers California
2 Nick Collins Bethune-Cookman
2 Terrence Murphy Texas A&M
4 Marviel Underwood San Diego State
4 Brady Poppinga Brigham Young
5 Junius Coston North Carolina A&T
5 Michael Hawkins Oklahoma
6 Mike Montgomery Texas A&M
6 Craig Bragg UCLA
7 Kurt Campbell Albany (NY)
7 William Whitticker Michigan State

 

We had 34 draft picks in the first 3 years of Thompson as a GM.  The current starters from that pool are:

– Aaron Rodgers, QB
– Nick Collins, FS
– AJ Hawk, ILB (who might not be starting right now if not for injuries)
– Greg Jennings, WR
– Daryn Colledge, OG

Jason Spitz was our starting center this year, so he should count at #6, but unfortunately he went on IR this week.  Allen Babre was starting at RT, but he was so bad we had to re-sign Tauscher.

For a team that believes in building through the draft, we’ve done a miserable job of it.  Here’s a look at our Week 9 starters and where they come from:

Offense
QB: Aaron Rodgers – TT Draft Pick
HB: Ryan Gran – Trade
FB: John Kuhn – Waivers
WR: Greg Jennings – TT Draft Pick
WR: Donald Driver – Pre-TT
LT: Chad Clifton – Pre-TT
LG: Daryn Colledge – TT Draft Pick
C: Scott Wells – Pre-TT
RG: Josh Sitton – TT Draft Pick
RT: Mark Tauscher – Pre-TT

Defense
LE: Johnny Jolly – TT Draft Pick
DT: Ryan Pickett – Free Agent
RE: Cullen Jenkins – Pre-TT
LOLB: Aaron Kampman – Pre-TT
ILB: Nick Barnett – Pre-TT
ILB: AJ Hawk – TT Draft Pick
ROLB: Clay Matthews – TT Draft Pick
CB: Charles Woodson – Free Agent
CB: Al Harris – Pre-TT
FS: Nick Collins – TT Draft Pick
SS: Atari Bigby – Free Agent

By my count, that’s 8/22 starters that Thompson has drafted.  He’s drafted 51 total players in that time frame.  That makes his success rate for drafting starters just over 15%.  That doesn’t mean the other players that are starting are all bad.  We have a lot of talented players that were either here when Thompson arrived or that were acquired outside the draft.  The problem is, with so many poor draft picks (23 draft picks – 45% – are not on the team), we’re really lacking in depth and have clearly over-valued at numerous positions.  It’s bad.  Top it off with McCarthy stinking the joint up and we’re heading the wrong direction.

Let’s assume Brady comes to camp healthy…

His recovery is now reported to be going well, he didn’t hurt his back leg, so I guess that might be easier to deal with and he’s never been a mobile QB.  So let’s just pretend that everything goes great from here out and he is essentially Tom Brady from day one of this season.

That being the case, let’s assume Brady avoids major injuries and is a very productive member of the Pats for another 3-6 years before retiring.  Keeping Cassel for that period may very well cost the Patriots Tony Romo money, which is way more than any team would invest in a backup.  It won’t happen.  So we’ll say that Cassel needs to go.

That all makes me wonder, what are the scenarios where it could happen this year?  Chances are teams will seriously consider Cassel based on how he played last year.  He didn’t finish the season with a wimper like Anderson did in Cleveland last year, he actually kept getting better.  So there is a chance he could be a viable option as a starting QB for a team in need.

With no other considerations, here are teams that may want a starting QB this year:
Tampa Bay
Carolina
Minnesota
Tennessee
St Louis
Detroit
Kansas City
New York Jets
San Francisco

Of that list, Tampa depends on what they do with Garcia, Carolina may not give up on Delhomme yet, Minnesota and Tennessee both have vets and irradic young guys that they may keep around, Kansas City has Thigpen who played decently last year, St Louis still has Bulger although he hasn’t looked too good, the Jets might have Favre, San Fran may stick with Hill.  Detroit is the only team that really has no worthwhile option.

However, if he plays almost as good as he did last year, I’d put Cassel as a more attractive option than any of those teams currently have (if you think long term, in the case of Tampa, Carolina, Minny, Tennessee).

So who is potentially going to make a move?

Tampa Bay: I think this team is too difficult to figure out at the moment.  I don’t know if they are going to blow up the current roster or just try and keep things going for a year or two and figure out what to do next.  It seems like they’ve tried to keep continuity at the coaching spots, so the latter might be true.

Carolina: They have talent on defense, a good offensive line and running game and a few good receivers.  They also have a QB who completely self-destructed in the playoffs (and no, it wasn’t just about opponent talent, watch the Raider game).  Delhomme has been all over the place his entire career and I think Carolina may consider a change.  However, to afford Cassel they’d definitely have to get out of Delhomme’s contract and I don’t see that happening.  Chances are they’ll go for a QB via the draft.

Minnesota: Brad Childress has stuck behind Tavaris Jackson like it’s his brother or something.  However, I think he might be starting to seriously doubt if Jackson will ever develop into a real starting QB.  Chances are, Childress will lose his job before that happens.  Minnesota has been very agressive in bringing in talent recently and it hasn’t paid off because they’ve had Jackson and Gus Frerotte at quarterback.  You’re not going to win with either player, because as we’ve all seen, even the best running games can get shut down and you’ll need to make plays via the air.  Neither guy can get it done.  Minnesota has the 22nd pick in the draft, which is immediately before the Patriots pick.  Kind of weird to pick back to back, but it’s a fairly desireable spot as you get a quality player without the massive financial burden.  I could see this deal happening.

Tennessee: Kerry Collins is 36 years old and Vince Young is getting top draft pick money.  As much as I believe neither QB will get you a championship, I don’t see the Titans going a different direction.

St Louis: Bulger has made big steps backwards recently, but the team around him has been horrible too.  So it’s hard to tell if he really has been declining or if the team around him has just been too bad.  Chances are, St Louis will work on building with their lines in the draft and keep Bulger until they have a decent team around him and evaluate from there.

Detroit: They need a QB, along with a LOT of other help.  We’ve all seen what happens when a bad team puts a rookie quarterback on the field and there’s no sure fire lock for the #1 pick at this point.  Detroit could keep their pick and get an offensive tackle, but I think they’d really like a franchise QB.  The problem with this trade though, is the #1 pick.  The Patriots have no desperate position of need except to slowly add youth to their linebackers.  Maybe one of the hybrid DE/OLB guys could shoot up the boards and justify a top pick… but while that would certainly benefit the Pats, I don’t know that they want to throw all that money at somebody.

Kansas City: Very interesting option here.  Kansas City has a ton of young players to develop and they need help at every position.  They also happen to have Scott Pioli running their show now.  He knows Cassel in and out.  He also wants a complete culture change with the Chiefs and a new offensive leader is a great way to do it.  Unlike the situation with Mangini going to the Jets, this isn’t some big rivalry.  Again, we’ve got the problem of a high draft spot not being very attractive, but the #3 spot is a little easier to live with than #1, so who knows… I would put this as a possibility.

New York Jets: Maybe Favre comes back, maybe he doesn’t.  Maybe the team still believes in Kellen Clemens, maybe not.  Either way, I can’t imagine the Patriots trade anybody of value within their division.  They saw what happened last year as the Jets let Pennington go to Miami, who knocked New York out of the playoffs at the end of the year.  New England is too smart of an organization to let that happen.

San Francisco: I’m never sure what to make of this organization.  They have a lot of turmoil in their division (Age/injuries/coaching problems in Seattle, rebuilding in St Louis, massive coaching staff turnover in Arizona) and they could be a solid move or two away from stealing that division.  They liked Shaun Hill last year, but let’s face it, he’s not the answer for any team interested in being a serious competitor.  They are going to take a decent hit when they likely cut former #1 pick, Alex Smith, but that’s better than keeping him on the roster.  Just based on numbers, the 49ers have an attractive pick at #10 overall.  I think based on where the team was at the end of last year and what the possibilities are in their division, they could go after Cassel.

#$%& YOU NBC & WTMJ!!!!

Seriously, worst Super Bowl I’ve ever seen!!!  First, they forget to broadcast the first few moments in HD.  Big goof, minor impact as they fixed it immediately (not sure if this was just in Milwaukee or was the national broadcast).  Either way, this set the tone fora crappy night of TV watching.

I live 5.5 miles from the local NBC digital antenna according to antennaweb.com.  I have 99% signal on all digital frequencies.  Yet, because the idiots obviously didn’t switch to full power for the single largest TV event of the year, myself and countless others had artifacts throughout the game, total picture/sound loss and basically the kind of viewing experience that reassures you that nobody out there cares about people who watch OTA.

Beyond that, they put a 1 hour episode of the Office on right after the game.  That’s great if you watch everything live, but for the millions of us using a DVR, it creates a very high liklihood that you’re going to miss the last 18 minutes of the episode.  I know, you should look at your upcoming programs for conflicts, blah blah blah.  How about this, maybe you shouldn’t put a top rated TV show directly following a live event that ALWAYS runs late!

Now I feel compelled to go searching for 3D glasses to watch my favorite show, Chuck, in 3D Monday night.  I don’t want to watch it, but my boycotting the show will only hurt me in the loss of entertainment.  Instead, I’m going to look at every sponsor of Chuck tomorrow night and make every effort to boycott their products.  I won’t be watching that Monsters/Aliens movie.  I won’t be buying any Pepsi products.  The list will grow and I’ll try to post here if I have time.