Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Since October of 2006, I've been participating in Fantasy Moguls. It's a site dedicated to playing a fantasy game based around movies, instead of sports. The rules of the game have changed quite a bit since I started playing, but it's always been a lot of fun to me. (I'm not sure why; it's probably because every round is an optimization problem with imperfect information.) It's actually pretty simple to play as's not as complex as fantasy football/basketball/baseball.

There are basically two types of games: Box Office and Ultimate. In both of these you start with $100 million and each film costs some amount of money to buy. You can have up to 8 films on your slate. For Box Office Moguls, you are concerned with one thing: total box office revenue. For Ultimate, you are concerned with 4 categories: total box office revenue, per theater average, weeks in the top 5, and IMDB score. (The last criteria means if you field less than eight films you get a '0' for any empty slot on your slate.)

One of the running jokes about this game is how I've managed to finish 2nd 4-5 times in leagues with my friends. We have people who have finished 1st multiple times but I can't seem to close out.

Finally, that streak ends as yours truly won both full-year and half-year leagues for Round 2 of the Ultimate Super Leagues. What are the Super Leagues you ask? They are public leagues started by rabid fans / columnists of the site as a way to play the game against the maximum number of people. Each round sees the bottom 10/20% cut from the league whereas the top 5% win immunity from elimination for the next round. (It looks like this immunity will come in handy as I am not looking too great in Round 3.)

I should also mention that Ultimate is my game, if it wasn't obvious from nearly being eliminated from Round 2 of the full year Box Office league!

For those of you who are curious, here is my winning slate, I used the same one in both leagues:

Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert TourJumperThe Bank JobDr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! Under the Same MoonDrillbit TaylorThe Flight of the Red BalloonThe Forbidden Kingdom

(Note that the poster for Under the Same Moon is incorrect.)

Here's an analysis of the slate:

Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour($16) $65.22M 15 8 2.6
Jumper ($23) $79.17M 4 9 5.9
The Bank Job ($4) $29.21M 0 2 7.8
Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! ($31) $144.42M 7 16 7.6
Under the Same Moon ($3) $11.19M 7 0 7.7
Drillbit Taylor ($12) $29.78M 0 3 6.1
The Flight of the Red Balloon ($4) $127K 8 0 7.2
Forbidden Kingdom ($7) $21.4M 4 5 7.7
TOTAL $380.51M 45 43 52.6

I feel the major tech pick of this slate was Hannah Montana. At $16, not everyone had it but I believed in the power of Miley Cyrus and Disney. Yes, the IMDB is terrible but the TBO and PTA points more than make up for it. I also have three cheap picks with good IMDB (and PTA) to balance things out. Jumper and Horton gave me the TBO and Top5 points I needed. Forbidden Kingdom was also a good pick and helped out by debuting at #1 in the relatively weak month of April. Drillbit Taylor is quite the dud, not even reaching its projections but at the $12 level I don't know if Run Fat Boy Run, Married Life, or two weeks of Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? would be worth it instead. Judging from the performances of all these films, I think Married Life would be better simply for the IMDB rating.

So now the question becomes, can I do it again? And can I win a league among my friends? I guess we'll see....

Monday, April 28, 2008

Weekend Update: 4/25/08 - 4-28-08

(In an effort to increase the regular content on this blog and in order to figure out just what I do with my life, I've decided to start keeping records of my activities on the weekends. This is sure to be more boring than a Physics/English lecture for the three of you reading this blog, so feel free to skip this entry. These are mainly for me.)


I stayed late at work (after hitting the gym) to study up on my AJAX book. I moved my computer and stuff around so I could utilize two monitors. (It's great, I highly recommend it.)

Afterwards I stopped by Gameology to add some UFS cards to my auction. I believe I had bids on every item save for the Spelljamer and UFS lots.

On my way home I stopped at Target for laundry detergent and Rick's for dinner.

It was definitely not the most exciting day, but I got through 1+ chapter in my AJAX book.


This was a day of menial tasks. I cleaned the bathroom and did my laundry. I also managed to advance the main plot in Mass Effect...and I got one of the infamous sex scenes. All I can say is: WEAK. Seriously, it was PG-13 teen movie this really deserving of an 'M' rating? I guess it was for me, since my character is female and thus the resulting coupling was lesbian.

I managed to get some practice in at Almansor's driving range (I actually hit some good shots with my drive for once) and had dinner at Pho 79.

I went to bed early because I had to get up early for Sunday.


A bunch of us went to Los Robles Greens Golf Course in Thousand Oaks. It took about 45 minutes to get there. The course was all right, it was an easy course and I almost broke 100. (Most days I'm happy to break 120.) I ended up shooting 103 but there 4 penalty strokes. I guess if I hadn't lost my ball and hit a drive out of bounds....

Needless to say, I was super tired after playing (even though we rode) so the rest of the day was spent preparing dinner/lunch for the week (pasta and infi sandwiches).


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Weekend Update: 4/18/08 - 4/20/08

(In an effort to increase the regular content on this blog and in order to figure out just what I do with my life, I've decided to start keeping records of my activities on the weekends. This is sure to be more boring than a Physics/English lecture for the three of you reading this blog, so feel free to skip this entry. These are mainly for me.)


A bunch of us went to Twohey's to gorge on the all-you-can-eat rib special. I ate 21 ribs, which is not as much as I ate about two years ago. In my defense I'm older and wiser. Also I did eat lunch; I wasn't super hungry by the time dinner rolled around.

Afterwards we tried to watch Forbidden Kingdom but there were only front row seats left. The same thing happened with Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I ended up going home to sleep early because of Saturday's main event.


I participated in the 1 club 1 putter golf tournament held at the Arcadia Par 3 Golf Course. Shot a 69, which is my 2nd best score. I totally could've beaten my best score but I choked it away at the end. I finished like almost exactly in the middle, 11 or 12 out of 23. This is about right in terms of my skill level. The really sad part about all of this is it clearly shows I almost always choose the wrong club for a shot.

The afternoon was spent watching the first playoff game between the Spurs and the Suns. It went to double overtime; I was cheering for triple overtime and near the end it looked like it would happen. Alas, I was robbed of my desire in the last seconds of double overtime. Still, I got to see Tim Duncan hit a 3.

I played Army of Two with my friend. We totally sucked it down with our lack of team work and FPS ability. It was rather sad and more of a comedy of errors.

The evening saw dinner at Savoy and froyo at Yogomo. A member of our group appreciated their lack of tartness, convincing me that Yogomo has a niche in the SGV froyo war.

The night was capped by Forbidden Kingdom. I'd give it a 7-7.5/10. I was entertained, though I had low expectations.


This day was spent on maintenance tasks. I did my laundry, played Mass Effect, and hit up the Alhambra Golf Course for the driving range and practice facilities.

I also went grocery shopping and cooked my lunch/dinner for the upcoming week: turkey chili. (So janky, yet so good.)

There was an been an hour or so of TV as well. I watched reruns (but the episodes were new to me) of The Simpsons and King of the Hill.


Monday, April 14, 2008

2007 in Movies

Because I have borderline OCD, I save just about every ticket stub from a film. Usually these end up stored in a junk drawer for years before I finally get rid of them during a fit of cleaning. However, I realized that I can totally justify hanging onto my stubs in order to do a quick retrospective on all the films I've seen over the course of a year.

What have I learned from this?

I see a LOT of films...and I'll see ANYTHING. Seriously, I have no taste and it shows. I don't know why but I can't really get into watching films on DVD or more than once so a movie ticket is about the same cost for me. (I also don't like the clutter so if anything I would Netflix.) I suppose the main issue is when I'm at home I'd rather play video games than watch a movie. (TV shows are a whole different thing though, I totally buy those season sets since I don't have cable/satellite.)

Here's the list of films including dates I've seen them. I've rated the films on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being super perfect awesome and 1 being beyond craptastic. I've allowed myself 1/2 point precision. Keep in mind I've built up a huge tolerance for bad films so some of these lower ones are probably unwatchable for the uninitiated among you.

Random Stats: So from this we can tell I watch a lot of movies during the summer and winter seasons, which makes sense since these are the big seasons in the film industry. I will note that the high number of January through April films totally means I watch quirky/crappy films. Interestingly enough, I saw 0 films in October. I blame this on the fact that no one wanted to see Saw IV with me and I never got around to seeing Michael Clayton.

And yes, I am saving my stubs for 2008 so this will be a yearly thing. Hopefully I'll be able to post this in January rather than April.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

15 More Seconds of Fame

Today is the day that justified my job at Pitzer College. Those of you (Sumir) who started reading with my first blog post are probably aware that I am an avid listener of the Kevin and Bean morning show on KROQ. I listen on my way to work and continue via online streaming.

I'm sitting at my desk working on stuff when I hear the mention of Pitzer College on the show. I was shocked as this is a small college that doesn't get much attention. It turns out one of the students started a club called the "Masculinist Coalition". Needless to say, dickery and bickering ensued on campus.

You can listen to the whole segment here and here.

I wrote an email during the segment and Bean read it when they came back from break, right before going to calls. The segment as a whole brings up a lot of good points and Phoebe from the Feminist Coalition pretty much gets pw3nd on air which only adds to the entertainment.

There's a digg post here for those of you who have accounts.

I think with this and some recent CCG forum features, I'm down to only 10 or so minutes of Internet fame. I better make the best of it...time to start a side project!