Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I used to read Bill Simmons' column over at ESPN page 2 all the time - like I didn't miss one for at least two years running. But then I discovered the Wages of Wins, and my feelings began to change. Now, Bill openly admits that he is an entertainment-focues writer, and that he writes about sports from a fan's perspective. And that's fine. But he has an awfully big readership, and therefore has a lot of sway, and he explicitly derides statistical analysis. So I haven't read many of his articles lately.

The other day I saw that he wrote up an NBA preview, and a few of his predictions are laughable. He has Milwaukee in the playoffs, and the Cavs as a lottery team. Really? The Cavs are the same team except for Varejao, and while that will hurt them does it really take them from 52 wins to 39? And who is new on the Bucks this year? You guessed it - Bobby Simmons, Bill's pet ever since he did an interview with him after the '05-'06 season.

They also have Jinlian Yi, who might actually be solid. But the Bucks sucked last year and that's all they got.

He also has Denver finishing with the same record as the Spurs, which illustrates the same scoring bias that plagues the rest of the NBA. Denver is the same team as last year after the Iverson trade, the same trade that improved the 76ers. Iverson is not good, and neither is Carmelo. They are both average. The Nuggets are all about Camby, Nene and Reggie Evans (do they still have him? He may have been traded).

I love his writing, it is very entertaining, but when he acts like a know-it-all it is immensely frustrating.

Interesting news today ladies and gentlemen. I spent an hour or so last night putting the new album up on Songslide, a site that allows the purchase of individual songs - but the purchaser gets to pick how much he/she pays. So it's basically just like the new Radiohead album experiment (which I like very much by the way) except that they have a really cool slide thing that you use to pick the price. Anyhow, I have a link over to the left you can use to get to my page. Please, if you like the music but don't want to buy a whole album, just buy one song. I'm asking for this because I want to support cool ideas like Songslide as much as myself.

And, sadly, the Cavs resigned Pavlovic yesterday for too much money. So of the two holdouts they signed the one they need the least, and he will take minutes from more productive players (Devin Brown and Gibson). It's a sad, sad day today.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Paypal order buttons for the new album have been up for a few days and I finally got around to setting up a separate page for international orders. Everything is accessible via the 'music' link.

Suddenly (somehow) the Browns have a winning record, and I haven't seen a single game all year. It's times like these that I miss Cleveland...

Here's a bold statement: the next release will feature a ton of violin. I'm about a week away from buying one (I've been learning how to play the past few days) and I'm loving it. The problem is, I don't have a lot of money, and I have no clue how one should go about buying a violin. I've seen some for as low as $150 - they're probably crap, but there are definitely guitars at that price that are more than serviceable for a beginner. I just don't know.

Any thoughts on this issue are most welcome.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Wow, I found a really good review that just came out... of Anniversary (for those not 'in the know' Anniversary is my last album - it's two years old).

It's a German website that seems to only review free netlabel offerings, and they just got an English version online in September. Here is the review (plus comments).

Lost on Purpose - Anniversary (Sundays in Spring)
October 16th, 2007 · 3 Comments

Lost on Purpose - Anniversary EP - FrontGuitar Folk-Pop | Lost on Purpose is L.A.-based one-man indie band Will Holland. His “Anniversary” EP was released on Belgian Sundays at Spring-Netlabel back in 2005 and can cope with most of the commercial indie Pop outlets easily. Elliot Smith, The Shins, Modest Mouse? Don’t spend your expensive listening time on them, get this unpolished nugget into your ears!

Next to V.O., Pokett and Sepia Hours, Lost on Purpose has always been my favourite in the Sundays in Spring-back catalogue. Will’s EP opens with “London”. Acoustic guitar, harmonica, good vocal-harmonies and some sketches of piano, that’s everything Will Holland needs to construct a clever indie Pop song.

“Ohio 2″ afterwards is based on a wonderful piano-backing and the layered vocals that sound a bit like Minnesota’s finest Low. Phew! “Lonely Road” is a up-tempo masher with tight acoustic guitar and four-to-he-floor handclaps, while “Thank you Music Guru” comes off with sugar-sweet vocal chords and intimate guitar-play. Like Yo La Tengo backing up for Elliot Smith. While everybody needs to quote influences from British bands nowadays, Will Holland’s American indie Pop-music is like a glass of aged whiskey in a display of neon-coloured alcopops

3 responses so far ↓

1 dana // Oct 16, 2007 at 6:28 pm

oh, this one is truly lovely. i am thirsty for more acoustic and folk music. why not writing something about
2 Bettina Rhymes // Oct 17, 2007 at 3:03 pm

yeah, aerotone will definitely be featured here. i’ve been able to lay my hands on aer.010 already and this one is awesome, once again.
3 dana // Oct 19, 2007 at 12:11 pm

yeah please lay your hands on this release :) curious reading how you describe the music.


Ok, so only one comment has anything to do with me. But I like the phrase 'lay hands'. 'lay your hands on this release'. Translation is fun.

I also like anyone who refers to my music as an 'unpolished nugget'.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Indians are out of the playoffs, and my new CD is out the door.

It's called not if but when. I will have ordering capabilities and sample songs up soon (well, some of the songs are versions of the las aranas ep). Soon as in a few hours or up to one (1) day.

It's time to bask in the glow of accomplishment. I'm thinking Portal...

After all, I need something to do for seven (7) days until the NBA season starts.

This CD is a collection of songs from the past two (2) years, since Anniversary was released. I have no idea what to think of it anymore. It's just a bunch of songs. I tried to make them good.

Hope you like the music.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Notes from the week.

I saw part of the Cavs' preseason game vs Orlando the other day, and it was played in Shanghai. I was in Shanghai just a few months ago, so that was cool, but it's clear that Hughes is firmly entrenched in the starting lineup. He got big minutes, while Devin Brown was relegated to the second team with Ira Newble and Shannon Brown. Not a good sign.

I never watch daytime TV since I'm at work all day, but there is a TV in the lunch room at my new job. So one day I caught part of 'Rome is Burning' on ESPN, starring the lovable Jim Rome. This guy is a walking disaster. The whole show is him making bold - no, arrogant - pronouncements with absolutely no evidence offered to support his opinions. I thought I was watching Fox News for a few minutes. Actually, he is the sports equivalent of Bill O'Reily.

I'm not sure if it's worse than 'Around the Horn' though.

Who watches this show? I seriously wondered about that, but then was reminded of the answer. Take a look at this wonderfully researched and presented post about Kobe Bryant, who some consider to be the 'best' player in the NBA. Then look at the comments. These are the people who watch Rome is Burning. I am sad.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but the album will be done this weekend. It's true. On Monday I will have them in my possession. My screen printing nightmares are nearly over. October 22 is the release date.

Monday, October 15, 2007

"My god, what is that smell?"

"That's the smell of desire, my lady."

"No, it... it smells like a used diaper filled with Indian food."

"You know, desire smells like that to some people."

Replace the word "desire" with "success", and you'll know how I feel today.

I finally got the screen printing to work yesterday. I feel like a genius and moron at the same time. I tried everything, and spent hours (and wasted some good currency) trying to figure out why it wasn't working. Turns out I had the wrong squeegie. It's used to push the ink through the screen, and looks similar to your every day squeegie used to wipe windows with. I was using one made for fabric printing, and so was designed to push more ink through the screen than other squeegies. As a result all the text in my design was getting 'blown out'. I bought a different squeegie yesterday and suddenly I am a screen printing maniac.

The main implication of this relevation is that the CD will actually be released in October. Yes, it will happen. No, I can't believe it.

Switching gears:

As you may well know Radiohead released an album last Wednesday. It's called In Rainbows and you can download it for any price you want. This article explains the economics, or lack of, of the pricing scheme and is an intriguing read.

Interestingly, the average price paid for the album was $8, which is the exact amount I paid. Why did I pay for something I could have (legally) gotten for free? I don't know, and that's kind of the point of the article. Part of me wanted to 'do the right thing', part of me was following the golden rule (since I would like people to pay for my music too, although maybe I was just trying to avoid being a hypocrite), part of me knew I was going to write about how much I paid and I didn't want to say I got it for free for fear of the social consequences.

I think the experiment shows, in some way, that market economies really work, since the price of $8 more or less jives with how music has been priced historically - ~$11-$12 for a CD with packaging (unless you're Sam Goody), so $8 without packaging makes sense. I think this shows that the whole music piracy 'problem' isn't a result of overpriced music. It's probably a result of poor quality music.

I'm just throw this out there. What if you could stream an album, or at least half of it, from an artist's site to sample the music, and then pay whatever you wanted (with perhaps a minimum payment of $3)? People would then be free to set the price for music based on its quality.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Indians are playing the Red Sox right now and Travis Hafner hit a solo home run in the first inning. Indians up 1-0. And yes, I didn't write anything about the Indians all season, and now I am invested in their playoff performance, so I guess that makes me a fair-weather fan. So be it; it's better to get into your hometown team when they make the playoffs than not at all.

And after 1997, can you blame me?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The front page of ESPN's NBA site is the following:

Hollinger's Player Ratings
How do they rate?
John Hollinger has the 2007-2008 projections for every NBA player, from 1 to 328.

Within this feature Hollinger rates all NBA players using his PER metric, which is the official player rating of the NBA.

It's a pretty good metric, showing how NBA players rank based on their objective game stats. There's just one big problem, though.

A player gets a point for each basketball point scored, so a 2-point basket gives a player 2 points.

A missed shot is -1 points, so if a player shoots on two consecutive possessions and makes just one basket, his net point total is +1.

At this point the player is shooting 50%, which is good (particularly if he is a guard), so giving him a point seems valid.

However, if the player shoots a third basket and again misses, he is now shooting 33% and his net point total is 0.

33% shooting is horrendous, and each year no players with significant minutes shoot that poorly. However, a player shooting at that rate is not penalized in the PER system.

Therefore, if a player shoots above 33% - say 34% or 35%, which is still terrible - he will receive positive net points.

So as long as a player shoots at least 33%, the more shots he takes the higher his PER will be.

I didn't figure this out myself of course, I owe all this to the Wages of Wins, a site I have mentioned exhaustively. They have developed a better system of player evaluation, in part because a missed basket is worth -2 points instead of -1, but more importantly because they linked every statistic to actual team wins and weighed them appropriately. It is a far more accurate system and more people need to know about it. I'm just trying to do my part.

Monday, October 8, 2007

So here's the deal - I had to completely redesign the cover for the new album. The old design was great, but it was a little more than I could handle as a neophyte screenprinter. So I had to rethink my inks, buy a new screen altogether, and I'm starting the process anew this week. Hopefully (and I really mean that), it will work, and I can have everything finished within a week. But I know how my time estimates usually go...

I can't tell you how happy I will be to get this finished. It's been a long time coming...

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Basketball post today. I will share my screen printing frustrations later.

The 'big' offseason news for the Cavs is the signing of Devin Brown, a guard. I have 'big' in quotes because he is not considered to be a great player - the name wasn't familiar to me and that's why I didn't bother to post anything until now.

So yesterday I looked up his stats at the Wages of Wins and lo and behold - it looks like Devin was a productive player last year. Not spectacular, but he was above average. Considering that the Cavs haven't had even an average guard the past two years (the best has been Eric Snow, who was slightly below average last year)... as Carl Spackler would say, this looks like it could be gravy.

So I was inspired to put together my prediction, based solidly in statistics, on what the Cavs will do this year. And my prediction - drumroll - is that the Cavs will win 52 games. This would be a minor improvement over the past two 50-win seasons.

I am basing my prediction on the Win Score metric, and I am guesstimating the number of minutes allotted to each player. This is of utmost importance, because if Mike Brown were to play his best players the most the Cavs could improve by as much as 5 or 6 games - and a 57-win season would be a major upgrade.

However, we all know Mike, and so I expect Larry Hughes to lead the way in minutes per game for all guards as he did last year. I expect Gibson to get more minutes, but he will most certainly take minutes from Snow (who, as I mentioned, is more productive than Hughes).

A big 'if' is the future of Sasha Pavlovic, a restricted free agent. I am hoping that the recently acquired Brown will allow the Cavs to let him go, or work out a beneficial sign-and-trade. However, if he is still with the Cavs he will probably get minutes at Brown's expense.

The Cavs do not have an issue in the frontcourt. All their players there are productive. This is a huge advantage which makes their inability to get productive guards all the more frustrating.

Here are my calculations:



future min

Wins Produced



























S. Brown



D. Brown



Total Wins


WP48 is the average WP48 score of each player from the past two years. Note: Gibson was a rookie, and players often improve as sophomores (see Deron Williams). Then again, sometimes it works the other way around...

Also note: last year Devin Brown posted a .130 WP48 in his third or fourth year in the league. I only have data for the past two years, but two years ago his WP48 was like 0.000. I don't know what to make of this. Hopefully last year is a better indicator of what he's capable of.

Future min is my guess, based in part on the average min/game played the past two years and on my knowledge of the team. I'm probably very close with the first five players (the frontcourt). The gaurds, as I mentioned, are a crapshoot. Thoughts?

Wins produced is derived by multiplying the min/game and 82 (games), multiplying the answer by WP48, then dividing it all by 48. For a full description of WP48, Wins Produced and the like see the Wages of Wins.

Final thoughts: I hope the Cavs get rid of Pavlovic and find the balls to drastically reduce Hughes' minutes. If they do that, and divide the bulk of the guard minutes between Snow, Gibson (assuming he improves at least a bit) and D. Brown (assuming he is as good as last year), the Cavs could increase their wins into the upper 50s and seriously contend for the title once again. I know this rational thinking will not take place on the Cleveland bench this year, but perhaps elements of it will (or injuries will require roster changes). It will be fun to find out what will happen, and that's why they play the games.