Fantasy Football Championship · 20 December 2014

On Any Given Sunday by John Morgan
licensed under CC BY 2.0

I can hardly believe I am in our fantasy football league’s championship game. I know. It is mostly luck. But I am still excited that I made it. Especially, since I had such an inauspicious start (2-5) and was seeded next to last in the playoffs (seventh) with the second lowest points scored among those who made the playoffs. And since I dodged a bullet by a week (my semi-final opponent scored over 170 points in the quarterfinal game), I feel fortunate indeed to be playing in the ultimate game of the season.

Being in the championship game is the epitome of fantasy football. (Actually, the epitome is winning and getting our trophy called “Epitome,” but I do not want to jinx myself by saying so.) Some would say that it means I have done a great job of drafting players (but I have a roster that only has 3 of 15 of the players I drafted). Others would say that I have a knack of looking at statistics and picking up the right players at the right time (but I have had more players do well after I dropped them, than I can count). Still others might think that I just play players with favorable matchups (but even though I read what the pundits have to say, I really do not know which players match up best against which teams).

In reality, I am just lucky.

Actually, I am not just lucky. My quarterback and my best running back were part of my draft. I have had plenty of waiver wire pickups who scored well after I picked them up. I have also done well choosing which players to play which week (even though one of my starting receivers scored zero points last week). In short, my success has not just been luck. It only seems that way.

If I was to give any advice to fantasy football managers or coaches or whatever people call them, I would say a few simple things. First, play your “Go to” guys. They are the ones who consistently score points, so you need to have them in your lineup. Everybody knows that, but it needs to be said. Then, look to the player with the hot hand. While you cannot predict a coin toss based on the previous one, you can see when players are having a streak. Play the streak. Then of course, you need to take into account who is playing whom. Some players do better against certain opponents than do against others, which is why the fantasy football experts emphasize which teams give up points to which positions. It makes statistical sense. Lastly, you need to go with your gut. There are times when you need to ignore the statistics, go against the predictions and just trust your instincts. After all, your gut feeling can be your subconscious recognizing patterns. Or it might just be the food you ate before you set your lineup.

Despite my own practices in choosing players and setting my own lineups, all I know for sure is that this final game of the season could come down to a trade that I did not make.

My worthy opponent (who won the regular season and scored the most points) had offered me a good receiver for a good running back. My reason for not trading him was because I did not want that running back to beat me in the playoffs. If I qualified. He had precious few running back options then and if those options kept scoring few points, I might be able to beat him. If we met in the playoffs. I did not trade him as a defensive move. Just in case.

It turns out that I could have used that receiver down the stretch, and I ended up dropping my running back due to a season ending injury. Looking back, I could have gotten something for nothing, instead of nothing for nothing. I do not begrudge my running back. After all, he got me many points throughout the season. I just wish I could have seen that the trade was a good one for both of us at the time and would not have hurt me in the playoffs after all. In fact, the receiver he was willing to trade me could hurt me in the championship. Oh well. C’est la vie.

I am excited to be in the ultimate game of the fantasy football season this year. I just hope that my drafts, my pickups, my matchups, and my luck hold out. I hope that my lineup stands the scrutiny of hindsight and second-guessing. And I hope that my no trade does not come back to haunt me.

Regardless of the outcome, when all is said and done and the 2014 fantasy football season comes to an end, I will either be a champion hoisting our trophy, “Epitome,” or an also ran. Believe it or not, I will be happy either way. Probably because I can still hardly believe I am in the championship game.

© 2014 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Deconstructing Emoticons · 13 December 2014

A writer acquaintance who I am following on Twitter and who I introduced in my blog as the caretaker of #6words told me that I am not supposed to deconstruct emoticons. Which naturally got me to thinking. Why do we deconstruct any writing in the first place?

It has been a long time since I have taken a writing class, but it seems to me that we ought to take writing as it stands. Sure, we need to understand the time period in which it was written. We might even need to understand what state the author was in. But can we really know that the author had some deeper meaning than what he or she wrote? Can we really believe that there is more than what is written on the page?

I have been writing for a long time. I have written books and screenplays and of course, I have blogged. I have not tried to say anything more than what I wrote in any of my writing. Sure, I have tried to express my Christian faith and my writing as a whole relates my values. But I have not tried to weave in some unwritten message into anything I have written. I am just not that clever.

I know that what I write has little if any literary or social value, but still, I wonder if there is somebody out there who wants to deconstruct my writing to see if I am a subversive or have sinister motives for writing. While I may or may not be the typical writer, I do wonder about the merits of deconstructing anybody’s writing.

Let alone emoticons.

Emoticons are those little symbols people put in texts and Facebook posts and Twitter feeds. It used to be that people embedded sideward smiley faces :) or frowny faces :( or winking faces ;) into their prose to show their emotions. Now, even word processors put in real faces when we do the proper keystrokes. (I actually had to get rid of them when I was writing this piece.) Whether the characters or the faces those characters represent show up in people’s prose, they are called emoticons or emoji.

I never used to use emoticons in my own prose. Then again, I was never and am still not much of a texter. Or even much of a Facebook or Twitter user. However, I have been working hard to better use social media to promote my writing. Not that it has helped much, but I do have a few followers. And I have made a couple digital acquaintances. Which is why I have started to use emoticons more.

Since there is no sarcastic font, emoticons are often necessary to show when a person is not being serious. Sure, all caps can show somebody yelling or being angry, but without some context, a person cannot really show sarcasm or levity in short bursts. Which is why I have used emoticons in some of my Twitter posts. (Which are called tweets for some reason, but I already wrote that story.)

Like prose, emoticons ought not be deconstructed. They should be given and received as the whole message. People ought not read subtle or hidden meanings into them. After all, they are just little pictures showing emotions. I should have remembered this when I tried to decipher the meaning of my acquaintance on Twitter. I should have realized that her smiley face about something I had tweeted, meant she liked it. Period. There was no hidden meaning to be implied. She was not just saying she liked my writing and when she actually meant she did not. The emoji should have stood for what it said.

(It was a fun little exchange on Twitter. Much shorter than this piece describes. But it did bring up some interesting thoughts.)

I will never understand deconstructing writing to find out what the author really meant. Especially, when said author is long dead. I should have remembered that when I was deconstructing emoticons.

Then again, when it comes right down to it, maybe most authors do have hidden meanings in their writings. And in their emoticons. I know I do not. But I do wonder what hidden messages we would find if we read stuff backwards. ;)

© 2014 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Self-Fulfilling Prophecy? · 6 December 2014

Fresco of prophet Joel
by Michelangelo and his assistants
This work is in the public domain.

The thing about self-fulfilling prophesy is we may never know whether we said the prophesy as a prediction of our actions or if our mind controlled our actions to fulfill what our words predicted. It is a mindboggling conundrum, but one that I must tackle due to my most recent words.

Maybe I should go back a bit.

Most people would agree that self-fulfilling prophesy is when somebody says something and then sometime in the future it actually happens. Sometimes the statement is made as a wish or a hope. (I am going to be a professional writer.) Sometimes, it is made negatively. (Never say never.) Sometimes, it is just a statement of the obvious. (Sorry, no example for that one.)

I often tell people that they need to be careful what they say because words have power. Especially, when they say negative things. I remind them that they are the first people to hear whatever it is that they are saying. So they ought to be careful. They do not want the negative stuff becoming self-fulfilling prophesies.

In a recent blog post, I wondered if my friends Mike and Marc would pick on me about my post on being a Twitter cheater. Naturally, they did not. I am not sure if it was because they were waiting for the right moment or if it was because I said they would. Or even if it might be because they knew I was going to write about self-fulfilling prophesy. (In Mike’s words, “That would be weird.”) Regardless of the why, M & M have not done their job.


Unfortunately, I heard through the grapevine that M & M are indeed going to do something. Regardless of this notion about self-fulfilling prophesy. (Actually, I got the scoop straight from the horse’s mouth. From the M who wants to be green.) At any rate, apparently my friends are preparing something horrific to get me. I am not sure what it could be, but whatever it is, I hope that it gets me a couple more readers. (Yes Marc, that would double my readership.) However, I am not looking forward to whatever it is.

In some ways, I wish that self-fulfilling prophesy was a type of mind control. For if it was, I could talk M & M out of whatever nefarious plans they might have for my demise. But alas. They are impervious to mind control. Not because they have no minds to control (as the M who wants to be green would say), but because they would see right through the Jedi mind trick. Which of course, does not mean that I will not try to keep them from making my words come back to haunt me. (These are not the droids you are looking for.)

So as is often the case, one silly story leads to another, which leads to yet another.

I was hoping that my words would not come back to haunt me even when I knew they would. Although, I did not think it will come in dramatic fashion, I do know from whom it will come. I just wish this self-fulfilling prophesy stuff was not so accurate.

© 2014 Michael T. Miyoshi

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