Here we go again

In the spring my thoughts turn to one thing and that’s the start of the baseball season. The winter is over and I thankfully don’t have to put up with NFL schedules, NBA nonsense and the fucking over-hyped pain-in-the-ass NCAA tournament. No, I don’t have a bracket and no, I don’t want to see yours.

So, with longing and anticipation I look forward to the start of the baseball season. Unfortunately every year, with the start of the season, brings the realization that I can’t actually WATCH any of the games I want to. I live vicariously through text-messages to my cell phone with per-inning updates and then read the sports news sites early each morning or listen to Mike & Mike as they catch me up on what happened around the league.

You see, the problem is the MLB. More accurately, the MLB’s bullshit TV licensing program. The MLB and the teams negotiate with TV stations to air the games. The network the games are on are local to the area the teams are in. Those networks then contract together and offer things like the “MLB Season Ticket” or “MLB Extra Innings” to exclusive providers like Comcast. Comcast offers those packages to consumers for outrageous costs.

Even Dish Network, one of the original providers of entire out-of-market baseball season broadcasts, has announced that they were unable to reach a deal with the MLB because of the MLB’s demands, so this year even Dish customers are out of luck. FTA:

“DISH Network will not be carrying MLB Extra Innings, the out of market baseball package, and MLB Network this season. The demands made by MLB were not in the best interest of our customers.”

There is, currently, NO legal way to watch an out-of-market baseball game, other than paying $100 per season, directly to the MLB, to watch games on the MLB website.

There is a sports package offered from AT&T Uverse that includes all the major ESPN and Fox Sports Net stations, across all regions, but after talking with a representative on the phone, it turns out that any baseball game broadcast on those stations would be blacked out (except regular ESPN of course).

So, AT&T doesn’t have the games, the Satellite providers don’t have the games, and the Comcast package… it’s $169 AND it DOES NOT include NESN (the New England Sports Network) which 99.9% of all Red Sox games are on.

There is literally no way to watch baseball on my TV. None. I can technically watch the games streaming over the internet, on my laptop, but I have to pay $100 to do it. I can’t even put in to words how much that is complete and total bullshit.

Absolutely. Fucking. Wrong.

The MLB and their money-grubbing, ass-pirating executives should be ashamed of themselves. I should be able to watch any game, in any region, in any medium I wish. I shouldn’t be forced to pay $100 to watch it on my screen on my laptop, that’s horse shit. That’s not even TV. TV people! I can’t watch a baseball game on FUCKING TV. There is something so seriously wrong with this country and with this sport when after a long day at work I can’t come home, have a beer and watch a fucking Red Sox game.

And I’m lucky. I’m a fan of one of the two biggest teams in the country. So big that every time the Red Sox and the Yankees play they sell the special rights to the broadcast to someone like ESPN, which is awesome for me, I get to watch my team 3 maybe 4 times a season. If you’re a fan of a smaller market team, you will almost NEVER see you teams on regular cable or, heaven forbid, broadcast TV.

That’s pathetic. Truly fucking pathetic. And it gets me all worked up every time I think about it.

I am seriously, SERIOUSLY considering a SlingBox Solo. The only obvious downsides to that is that it’s $179, about the same price as Comcast’s package and that I’d again have to watch TV on my web browser. The upside is that I could mail it to my parents house, have them hook it up, tune it to NESN on a spare TV and just leave it. I would get everything on the network, including Bruins and Celtics games, and I could change it later, have them send it back to me, all sorts of stuff AND the money wouldn’t be going to the MLB.

I would really love to find some sort of work around for all this, but I don’t think it exists. And watching TV on my laptop IS better than nothing, but just barely. The alternative is finding some sort of baseball torrent, which means I’d have to wait until the game was over, encoded, uploaded and seeded before I could download it. That could take hours or more likely days.

Anyone have any other ideas how I can watch a Red Sox game this year? If you do I’ve love to hear them.

Review: Watchmen

My brother-in-law and I went to see the late showing of Watchmen Sunday night. Now, I should preface any review with the disclaimer that while I’m familiar with the comics, and have read the first few, I never finished the series. I don’t know what the ending was supposed to be, what they left out or what they changed. I’m familiar enough to know what it should have felt like, but not enough to make judgments on any story aspect outside of my “movie goer” opinion.

That said, while I don’t think there will be many, spoilers may exist in the post ahead. You have been warned.

Needing Inspiration

I’ve always had a theory that if you’re trying really really hard to design something, and you’re getting “artist block” and can’t think of any good angles to come at the problem from, that you need to simply walk away from it and do something else for a little bit until you can come back to it. Talking it out with others of an artistic persuasion also helps, as does surfing for inspiring images or websites in hopes of sparking your creativity. Giving your brain a minute to cool down though, at least in my opinion, wins out above all the rest.

I’m trying to design a “tribute” ad for a guy at NASA. He’s leaving and an ad is going to get run in various aerospace publications thanking him for his great work and years of service.

I’m a total complete blank.

The first version I did looked like an obituary with dates that he served from and a nice portrait in the corner. The guy isn’t dead, he’s retiring. That simply wouldn’t do.

It’s really not that involved, or interesting, or needing to be anything special. Just a simple one pager about this guy. I just can’t seem to gear all the gears engaged in my brain today. I think a fresh start on it tomorrow might help, which is why I writing this post now. I’m killing time. That and the fact that writing always helps me think. If I can string together sentences on a page, the words come out of my brain in a more organized fashion.

There are some days where I can’t speak to save my life. I dribble words all over the place like I’m a dyslexic 6 year old. But sitting in front of a keyboard and writing my thoughts down, that I can always do. I’m not sure what it is about the medium. Maybe I was born to be a writer of some sort. Maybe that’s just the way my brain works.

I dunno. I’m just killing time until the proverbial whistle blows at the end of the day.

I’ve been considering, as I always have, actually writing something in a more formal fashion. I’ve got a few ideas for books and/or movies that I think with the right treatement, could be interesting. Some day I’d actually like to get those out and onto a page where others could see them. Of course, I say I’d like to do a lot of things that are never going to happen, but that’s a topic for another day.

New LI is coming

As you may have already figured, I’ll be installing a new WP install and new spiffy theme for LiquidIllusions this weekend. The theme is actually pretty cool. I think it’ll serve as a perfect blend of portfolio and infomative website that I can use to drum up some business. I’m downloading all my old files and backing them up since doing this will pretty much require a wipe of what’s there now. I’ll let everyone know when it’s up and running and if you have a second, I’d appreciate some feedback once it happens. I hate use the phrase but, “in these tough economic times”, it’ll be good to have a little side business to bring in a little extra money. I’ve already done an engagement portrait and I have a highschool senior portrait “on the books” for the near future. I’m not charging much for either shoot, but they’re good starting places for building my portfolio. If it all works out, this kind of thing can be the begining of my own studio.

Anyway, just wanted to spread the word that the “reboot” of sorts will be happening shortly. Stay tuned.

Photo Portfolio

Hey gang, I’ve got a quick opinion question for you. Due to a recent (and welcome) increase in the amount of freelance work I’ve been getting, I feel it’s probably time to update my portfolio (on LI dot net). So, my question is this.

Should it remain as Mackenzie Photography, even though it’s under the LI domain name? Or, should it be rebranded? If it’s not rebranded, does one name under a different domain name confuse anyone?

Also, given my love for WordPress, should I try and create a WordPress photo portfolio using an available theme (althought there aren’t too many that are any good) OR should I create a static web page that might be more aethestically pleasing, but be harder to maintain and update in the long run? Is there an alternative option I haven’t considered? Anyone know of any really good photo gallery software that would work well AND look professional? Or should I just stick with a regular old web page?