Chelsea 1-2 Crystal Palace :: Time to regroup #KTBFFH

Well, 2015-2016 is off to an horrid start for Chelsea.

Here was our starting lineup:

Here were our available subs:

We opted to sub Willian off for Falcao, Azpilicueta off for Kenedy, and Matic off for Loftus-Cheek.

The recipe for last year’s success is not working this season, and we need to change things up right quick if we want to get a top 4 position as we have only earned 4 points from 4 games, and only 1 other team has let in more goals than we have.

Ivanovic is clearly the target, the way in behind our back line, the weak point through him our opponents know they will cause trouble and disarray. We should move Azpilicueta to Right Back and let Kenedy own Left Back, reserving Ivanovic for Center Back duties as a substitute or as a starting replacement for Cahill.

Fabregas is clearly misfiring. He is not the same player that he was last season. His passing is poor, and it is affecting the team. Replace him with Ramires ASAP.

Matic is off his game. He is not bossing the midfield like last season. If he doesn’t take the game by the scruff of the neck, our midfield will continue to fold to the opposition. Replace him with Mikel for the time being to shore up the midfield.

Hazard is haphazard. I’ve seen no real purpose or organization to his movement and passing. He just doesn’t look sharp, and he doesn’t look dangerous. I’m not sure if he can influence the game, but let Loftus-Cheek take over Hazard’s duties for now. [EDIT 8/29/15 9:36am Pacific] How did I forget about Oscar? Once he is available, he should take charge.[/EDIT]

Willian has been poor. He takes a lot of shots—none of which are on target. I would suggest pulling him off and switching formation to remove a 5th midfielder.

In lieu of the 5th midfielder, we can add on a 3rd forward. We could go with Pedro, Diego Costa, and Falcao up top:


Azpilicueta – Cahill – Terry – Kenedy

Ramires – Mikel – Loftus-Cheek

Falcao – Diego Costa – Pedro

That’s just my two-cents. Whether right or wrong, something has got to change, because our current strategy just isn’t working as we are falling flat on our face.

I couldn’t be more happy that a long international break is here. We need to regroup.


City 3 – 0 CFC

Well, it has been a long time since I last published a blog post.

It has been an even longer time since I last wrote about football.

But here I am today with a ton of time on my hands and a myriad of thoughts about the state of affairs for my beloved Chelsea—2 games into the 2015-2016 season with only 1 point of a possible 6 to show for it.

We lost today 3-nil away at Manchester City. To be frank, it was horrid.

Why did we line up as follows (I don’t know if this was the official setup, but these were all of the starters)?


Ivanovic – Cahill – Terry – Azpilicueta

Matic – Ramires

Willian – Fabregas – Hazard

Diego Costa

Sergio Aguero’s goal came due to a fatal error by Cahill. I thought he should have been subbed off at half; Mourinho instead opted to sub off Terry.

Ramires and Fabregas looked knackered. Fabregas was rather imprecise throughout. I thought that the two should be subbed by Cuadrado and Falcao, respectively, although I had forgotten about Remy, whom I feel is much more deserving than Falcao.

We lacked offensive. We lacked defensive. We were poor. That’s not exactly the compelling statement we want to kick off the season.

I should say that our worst game last year saw us lose 3-nil to West Brom, so it is entirely possible that we have gotten the worst of it over for the rest of the season. I realize that is highly optimistic, but I’d rather not be cynical.

Here were my comments on the game as I watched it. Note that around the time I felt like City were holding back, they ended up netting 2 more goals. Credit to them.

Here are some post-match musings through Twitter and the like.

I think something is wrong in the dressing room. It’s almost as if we are resting on our laurels or we have a sense of entitlement. Titles are earned; they are not given. Wake up, lads!

I’m confused by this excerpt. When I read the full article, I became more confused. Mourinho stated that Chelsea were the best side in the 2nd half, but it was City who scored twice in the latter half and not Chelsea. However, his final quote should be noted: “We couldn’t capitalize on the second half.” We couldn’t convert. We lacked offensive options, drive, determination, and will.

Per the full article, I agree: “Chelsea looked sluggish in midfield as Silva, Sterling and Toure ran rings around the, and they failed to find their rhythm in a rambunctious encounter.” Additionally, “. . . the reigning Premier League champions were most disappointing in midfield as Ramires, Hazard and Willian floated around without purpose and Nemanja Matic raced around like the Tasmanian Devil trying to put out fires in the engine room. His usual partner in crime, Cesc Fabregas, was nowhere to be seen and this display reeked of a man low in confidence and unable to live with the cut and thrust of his powerful opponents.” This game was lost in the midfield, allowing City to put the pressure on the back line, who capitulated 3 times.

This just hurts to see.

Meanwhile, we now signed a proper left back. I suspect that Ivanovich is going to be fighting for a center-back position between Cahill and Zooma, although Terry may be phased out as he is the slowest one of the lot. In Ivanovich’s old spot, Azpilicueta will move to the right back.

Well, Week 2 is over. Mourinho needs to sort things out in the locker room. We need to make a resounding comeback next week against West Brom next week—the very team we lost 3-nil to last year. I expect a strong, compelling, inspiring comeback next week against all odds just as Abramovich will, which I believe will motiviate Mourinho and his men.

Psalm 119:153-160

Psalm 119:153-160 all begin with resh (ר).

Look at my afflictions and rescue me
for I do not forget your laws.

Plead my legal cause and redeem me
let me live in your word.

Salvation is far from the wicked
for they do not seek your statutes.

Your mercy is great, oh Lord
let me live according to your justice.

Many are my persecutors and my adversaries
I have not stretched from your decrees.

I saw the treacherous ones and felt disgust
because they do not keep your word.

See that I love your precepts
Lord, let me live according to your steadfast love.

The sum of your word is truth
and every one of your righteous judgments is forever.

All About That Treble, No Bass: Upgrading Computer Audio to get that boom, boom, boom

Have you ever noticed that your personal computer’s audio lacks the bass necessary to round out the music you love? I have, and painfully so. In my quest to achieve a balanced audio spectrum from my computer, I have resorted to some affordable solutions, but the results have not always been the same. I want to help others learn about their options, so that they can upgrade their computer’s audio to get both crystal clear highs and deep booming lows. I myself have an Apple iMac computer. I have used one General Electric (GE) 5.1 system, one Klipsch THX-certified Promedia 2.1 system, and a custom 2.1 system using parts from AudioEngine and Pioneer. I will break down each system, so that you might learn what will work for you.

The GE 5.1 system was good for creating greater volume but was still all about that treble, no bass. Even though it had a subwoofer, it lacked any sort of power, and it’s undertones were really subverted. However, this system was only $50, which was perfect for a broke college student. If you are looking to simply add some volume with a little bit of bass, a system like this one might be just for you. However, if you are looking for some real power out of your subwoofer, you’ll need to get something more expensive, such as the Klipsch Promedia 2.1 system.

The Promedia 2.1 system is about $190. Like the GE system, it is an analog unit. It’s satellites deliver the crystal clear highs one would expect from a THX-certified system. It also delivers deep booming lows, after all it has 200W of power—35W to each satellite and 130W to the 6-inch subwoofer. It provides well rounded bass and treble. Personally, I found the best performance from this system when turning off my iTunes equalizer. If you want a moderately cost-effective 2.1 system that gives you great treble and decent bass, this system works well, especially for music and movies that do not include big sonic boom lows. However, for me, it was not enough, because I was used to hearing those lows from some of my favorite songs, such as, but not limited to, Hybrid Earth by ERRA (the boom occurs at 1:46), Lonely Giant by Elitist (the booms occur at 0:43 and 2:32), and A New Beginning by Threat Signal (the booms occur at 1:34; 2:44; 3:35; 3:42; 3:50; 3:58; 4:06; 4:14; and 4:18). I tried using the iTunes equalizer to no avail to compensate for the missing bass. I knew it was missing something by comparing it to the audio experience I have in my car, which has an 8-inch subwoofer. The lows are all there in these songs when in the car, so I expect it to be present when listening from my computer. So, I turned to a custom system featuring AudioEngine A2+ speakers and a Pioneer SW8 100W subwoofer.

The custom system with AudioEngine and Pioneer speakers provides crystal clear treble with deep booming bass. It came at a price, though still affordable. The AudioEngine A2+ speakers were $250 for the pair and the Pioneer SW8 was $160. Purchasing cables to connect the A2+ speakers to the subwoofer added an additional $20. In all, this setup cost $430. While the Klipsch was analog, the AudioEngine is both digital and analog. It came with the appropriate USB cable for a digital connection and a 3.5mm cable for an analog one. I am using the digital connection. The AudioEngine produces equal treble to that of the Promedia. However, where the Promedia 2.1 lacked in bass, this system more than makes up for it due to the Pioneer subwoofer. All the booms that I could not hear in my favorite songs with the GE and Klipsch speakers are now present. What is odd is that both the Promedia and the Pioneer subwoofers are both rated down to 38Hz. In theory, they both should be able to create the same deep booming lows. Yet, they do not. I believe it has to do with at least one of three factors. First, the Promedia featured a side-firing 6-inch cone while the Pioneer features a down-firing 8-inch cone. Second, the Promedia was a 6-inch cone while the Pioneer is a 8-inch cone. Either the down-firing subwoofer is superior or the 8-inch cone is superior. Finally, it could be the bigger enclosure in the Pioneer subwoofer. Maybe it is a combination of the three differences? All of these theories are merely conjectures, because I really do not know as I am not an audio engineer. However, in praxis, this system works. It costs more than twice that of the Klipsch, but the audio experience is perfect. If you are looking for a system that is affordable and hits both the highs and the lows regardless of a movie or a music file, this is the best system in my experience.

There we have it. For $50, the consumer can add more volume but not greater audio clarity, for less than $200, the consumer can get clearer treble and deeper bass, but, for less than $450, the consumer can get the full listening spectrum. My recommendation is to choose the system that best fits your price range and your listening needs. If you listen to jazz for example, you may not need the ability to hit those deep sonic booms. If all you do is watch YouTube clips on your computer, you might not even need a THX-certified system. Purchase according to your needs as well as your means, and you will be satisfied, but, if you want that boom, boom, boom, I would recommend the AudioEngine A2+ speakers along with the Pioneer SW8. It is a powerful yet still affordable combination that gives you balanced bass and treble through the full listening spectrum.

How to control iTunes volume completely independently from the system’s volume

Like me, do you ever want to control iTunes audio independently from the maximum audio of your system? I love audio. I love music. However, I also want balance between my system volume and my iTunes listening experience. I am happy to report that I have found the solution—AirPlay!

AirPlay is a media protocol over WiFi that Apple developed specifically to allow wireless streaming of music through iTunes. As a result, it will allow you to drive iTunes audio independently from your system’s volume.

Now, what will work with AirPlay? What are inexpensive as well as expensive means for using it?

I’ve been researching this stuff for a couple of months. This blog post documents my current findings. Maybe it will help you out, oh random reader.

I should mention that there are AirPlay speaker solutions. However, they typically do not have the latest Wireless N or Wireless AC technology. The moment you connect up a Wireless A, B, or G device to a Wireless N or Wireless AC network, it will reduce the quality of the network itself, which would be an undesired effect. Furthermore, these speakers and docks are typically expensive for what you get. Besides, said speakers and docks do not have good bass range in frequency response and driver abilities, nor do they have subwoofer outputs. If you want quality bass, you will want a different option, such as the ones below.

If you want AirPlay on the cheap, there is at least one solution. Get an AirPort Express and a 3.5mm mini to RCA cable. These will cost you about $120 total. Then, connect them up to your existing stereo as follows:

  • AirPort Express 3.5mm Output > 3.5mm mini to RCA cable > Existing stereo RCA input

iTunes will allow you to stream your music wirelessly to this Express. The volume is totally independent of your system, so it can be as loud as the stereo is set to, but iTunes can control the volume from within the application. You could set the stereo hardware to half volume and then adjust the software volume in iTunes or from the Remote app for iOS.

If you want a good AirPlay setup, which I would assume is a 2.1 speaker system, you might want to consider purchasing an AirPort Express, 3.5mm mini to RCA cable, a powered subwoofer, such as the Pioneer 8″ subwoofer, a subwoofer mono cable, and the iLive ITP180B soundbar (it happens to be an iPhone/iPod docking tower). The soundbar is cheap, but it has one rare feature: a subwoofer output. For the cost, you cannot go wrong. For the subwoofer, I would recommend an 8″ driver. Anything less is not going to get you the full range you would want (my Klipsch system has a 6″ driver, and I can attest that it does not give me all of the super low booms that my 8″ Pioneer subwoofer gives over AirPlay in a different room); anything more will be overkill. This setup would cost no more than $350, depending on the subwoofer you get and where you buy the gear (Amazon seems to have some great deals). The setup would be as follows:

  • AirPort Express 3.5mm Output > 3.5mm mini to RCA cable > iLive RCA Input; Subwoofer Output > Subwoofer cable > Subwoofer Left or Mono Input

The above setup is probably what I will be doing. I’m not made of money, so it is an appealing solution. However, I did figure out a premium solution that would replace my Klipsch setup and add AirPlay.

Purchase a 7.2 receiver with multi-zone capability and built-in AirPlay. You can connect your computer’s speakers through this setup as well as the AirPlay speakers in a separate—independent—zone. If money were no obstacle, here’s what I would do:

This gear would cost around $1200 depending on where it was purchased. Here’s how it would be set up:

  • Zone 1 (Computer speakers)
    • Input
      • Computer 3.5mm Output > 3.5mm mini to RCA cable > Pioneer Receiver RCA Input
    • Output
      • Pioneer Receiver Left, Right Speaker Outputs > 14-guage speaker wire > Pioneer Bookshelf Pair #1
      • Pioneer Receiver Subwoofer 1 Output > Subwoofer Cable > Pioneer Subwoofer #1 Left Input
  • Zone 2 (AirPlay speakers)
    • Input
      • AirPort Extreme LAN > Ethernet cable > Pioneer Receiver LAN
    • Output
      • Pioneer Satellite Left, Right > 14-guage speaker wire > Pioneer Bookshelf Pair #2
      • Pioneer Subwoofer 2 Output > Subwoofer Cable > Pioneer Subwoofer #2 Left Input

This setup is appealing to me, because I would be able to have control over the computer speakers as well as the AirPlay speakers from the same receiver, and then I would have a consistent aesthetic throughout. However, this setup comes at a high cost!

No matter how you do it, you can control iTunes volume independently via AirPlay. There are lots of options out there, but it depends on how much you want to spend. You can do it on the cheap, or you can do it for an arm and a leg. In the end, you can be the master of your system’s and your iTunes’ volumes.

The Day I X’d Comcast: Hopping on over to Dish Network

Comcast, namely Xfinity and its Xfinity TV, sucks. It is expensive, and I don’t even get what I want out of my entertainment through its services.

Today, I have ended my consumer relationship with Comcast for it’s TV services and started a new one with Dish Network.

Here’s why:

The Hopper with Sling is an awesome experience. It boasts 2TB storage space, contra. the Xfinity X1 with a maximum 500GB. It also boasts the automatic commercial skipper (for select shows, and only after 11pm the day the show airs), also contra. the X1, whichhas nothing like it. The Hopper can record 6 shows simultaneously whilst the X1 can only record up to 4. Plus, the Hopper can sling contents to an iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone to watch recordings on the go. The X1 doesn’t exactly have that ability.

But the Hopper with Sling is not the only reason to leave Comcast. I have bemoaned on multiple occasions how unsatisfied I am with Xfinity Sports’ HD coverage for soccer, namely with beINSport. Furthermore, for whatever reason, Comcast cannot come to an agreement with beINSport to permit their customers to participate in beINSport Play, which adds the ability to watch more soccer games online than are aired on their channel. Dish not only offers beINSport in HD, but it also offers Play.

And for close to the same cost as my Xfinity Triple Play that merely provides a TV digital starter bundle with additional sports package, which does not include Fox Sports 2, I will get all of the sports channels that I desire plus a ton of channels for my wife and son that we don’t already have through Comcast. That’s right: for our tastes, Dish provides more channels for less money.

To make it work, I am canceling my Triple Play and retaining only the broadband Internet connection. I will no longer have a home phone. I do have a cell phone, so I have given up a home phone number. But this is an AT&T cell phone, and as I do have a MyCell, I can add on unlimited MyCell minutes for less than the cost of my home phone. Not only will I have the same end goal–a working phone number with unlimited minutes at home–but I will cut out all of the pesky, irritating telemarketers.

All things considered, it’s a no-brainer: Dish is superior. Good luck, Comcast!

[EDIT] So, I see that Dish doesn’t show “HD” for beINSport. However, the feed is definitely HD; I wonder if Dish doesn’t mark it as HD because they aren’t using an SD broadcast at all. Either way, the video quality of the broadcast of beINSport on Dish is superior to Comcast’s. [/EDIT]

2 Tim 4:19-22

We need to be people who are welcoming. It’s a simple thing, really. Outsiders do not want to be part of a clique. We need to build the kingdom by welcoming others. In other words, we need to be friendly and personable. We may be set apart, but we do not stand apart. We are to be in this world but not of it. We need to build networks of people to help encourage each other.

Let’s build friendly, welcoming networks in order to build up the church.

2 Tim 4:6-18

We need to be faithful people. We need to be faithful to God, and we need to be faithful to each other. We are not lone wolves. We are a wolf pack. When one of us is being persecuted, we should not abandon them. We should surround ourselves with good people, with people of the faith, to encourage each other through the persecution. We can help each other, even by providing jackets or books. And when we are going through persecution, we need to be faithful to the Lord to carry out the task set before us. We need to believe that God’s plan is good even when our circumstances are dire. We need to believe that God will save us, either in this life or in the afterlife, so that in all circumstances God will receive glory.

Let’s build up the church by being faithful to each other and to God, so that we do not go through persecution alone.