Time for a random thoughts post.
1. Taking a pet to the vet is tough. One of my cats had to get a growth removed today, and getting her in the carrier was not easy. It’s worse because she, like many cats, is terrified of the car ride. It needs to happen periodically, but man, I hate feeling so mean to them.
2. At least I get to try a new breakfast place while I wait for her. It’s clearly run by foodies, so this has some potential. Some consolation for me.
3. I have gotten so blase about water in my basement. After all the work I’ve done it’s been reduced to fairly small puddles that look to be rising through the concrete. At least I don’t see water trails from the wall. It will be reduced more when I complete the landscaping around my house, which hopefully will happen next week. Nevertheless, after having major flooding issues back in Columbia and some here, I will call two small puddles a major win, especially in the Kansas City area.
4. Writing, I have discovered, is both a job that you have to both force to happen and allow to happen at its own pace. You have to write something every day, but switching what you write helps allow the writing to stay fresh. I say that because I’m in the midst of switching my focus on the next book to the second Edward book, which is flowing nicely, from the first Ludmilla, which is not.
5. I am excited that I have now a specific schedule each year. I work better with deadlines, which is shocking to absolutely no one who knows me. I will have a full rough draft of a novel to my editor on 1 April, 1 August, and 1 December, with a schedule of editing and then publication laid out. The next Edward novel will go to my editor on 1 August to be published in November/December. The first Ludmilla will be at the editor by 1 December to be published by March/April, and so on.
6. I was asked how many books I will have in the Shijuren series. I don’t know. I’m not writing them in trilogy form, rather I’m writing series about characters in a world. I’m not sure how many characters I’ll write about, because I have a goodly number floating in my head right now and story ideas to go with them. I’ve spent years plotting the history and there’s so much for me to explore. I can hardly wait.
7. Lilies is proceeding apace. At this point I can definitely say we’ll have a Lilies. I’m guessing it will be a wet Lilies. Not much I can do about that. However, our staff has been brilliant. I may not have done much right, but I did get good people.
8. I’m really looking forward to LibertyCon. It will be my first convention as a published author. I may be the smallest fish there, but I’m in the pond.
9. I’m also excited about the Cowboys this year. A bunch of pundits have said they’ll take a hit because DeMarco Murray is now in Philadelphia. I like Murray and his effort, but raw counting numbers suggested he was great when he was merely good. His yards after contact was good at 2.5, but not great. People have touted his pass blocking, but the stats do not back that up. I plan on writing a serious breakdown of the Cowboy RB situation, but I’ll say right now that the Eagles overpaid for Murray.
10. Few, very few, RBs are worth a second contract in the NFL. Very few are worth a 1st round pick. Murray himself was a 3rd round pick. I won’t say that anyone can play RB at the NFL level, but I will say it is the easiest position to replace.
11. Since I’m talking football, I’ll emphasize that ANY/A differential is the most important stat out there. ANY/A is Average Net Yards per Pass Attempt, and it includes sacks and interceptions as well as positive passing stats. Basically, it says how efficient you are passing the ball. The differential part is the comparison between how efficient you are on offense and how much you disrupt the other team while on defense. A stat is useful only if it can be a predictor of future results and this stat matches the results of the NFL over every era quite well, even before passing became the norm and not the exception. Passing efficiently is, and has always been, the most important thing a team can do on offense.
12. Notice the efficiency aspect of ANY/A. Yards gained do not guarantee efficiency. Touchdowns do not guarantee efficiency. The NFL ranks teams on offense and defense by yards per game. This is wrong wrong wrong with a capital WRONG! If a team gains 350 yards on 50 plays and another team gains 360 yards on 60 plays, which is better? Clearly the team that averaged 7 yards per play as opposed to the team that averaged 6.
13. Counting stats are the devil. The only counting stat that matters is wins and losses and, especially in the NFL, has no predictive value for the next year. 16 games is just too small of a sample size.
14. Off the cuff, without really looking at things, I would guess right now that the Cowboys will go 11-5 but actually have a better team. We don’t know injuries yet, of course, and that happens only if Tony Romo stays healthy, but the Cowboys have one of the youngest rosters in the NFL and younger teams tend to stay healthier.
15. It’s amazing how unlucky the Rangers have been over the last two years. Last year, the set a record for most injuries in MLB history. Worse, those injuries included potential career-ending ones to Matt Harrison, Martin Perez, and Jurickson Profar, three cornerstone-type players. If healthy, these three would have the Rangers winning the AL West. Of course, this year started with losing one of the top 5 pitchers in baseball, Yu Darvish, on top of all that. Yeah, you take 4 of your top 5 starters away from your team and see how your rotation works.
16. Nevertheless, baseball is a weird sport. Despite all the bad luck, the unsurprising regression of Rougned Odor, and long list of injuries this year, somehow they’re holding it together at around the .500 mark. There’s a chance some injured players come back at the end of the year, and if they keep this up they could be in striking distance to eke out a division win.
17. I think that’s unlikely, though, because I really like what the Astros have done. And I think they’re on the upswing in general, if only they don’t have the awful luck the Rangers have had. I wish they were still in the NL Central where I could still root for them without a conflict. Also, I think they should go back to the cool 1970s multi-colored lined uniforms.
18. Speaking of which, the Buccaneers should definitely return to the awesome orange uniforms.
19. Why can I think of a boatload of interesting points in the car or the shower and then forget them almost immediately when I sit before a keyboard?
20. I don’t really have a 20th point right now, but I want an even number. Why do I want an even number so bad I wrote this point out?