Monthly Archives: October 2013

Rookie Lessons from Fantasy Premier League

Whilst I managed to perform considerably well in Facebook Citizen Sports Fantasy Football League for the past three seasons, I had to go back to the drawing board and sorta start afresh this season following Citizen Sport’s decision to merge with Yahoo! Football Fantasy, which I felt was a bit buggy.

So, following some other football kaki’s advise, I joined the more renowned Fantasy Premier LeagueВ (FPL), supposedly the biggest fantasy football league in the WORLD..:-p

Anyway, with quite a number of differences in terms of point scoring and exciting elements like wildcard, I felt like a total rookie coming into FPL. I had already sensed it was gonna be quite a difficult fantasy season ahead and I was proven right because from the season kickoff, I had already started to make several uncharacteristic ‘rookie’ mistakes in the FPL.

As the season progresses, I hope to learn and adapt more to the FPL system so that I can improve on my standings. So, as for today’s blog, I thought it would be good for me to share some ‘rookie lessons’ learnt (so far!) from my first year playing in FPL. guess it would provide some good references to others in the same boat too…

1. There’s NO SHAME in taking a HIT (ie. minus 4 points for each additional trade in per GW). Unlike the previous fantasy league I was familiar with, FPL only gives ONE free transfer per week. Additional transfers will involve points deductions. After GW1 completed, it felt so awkward and sinful to make more than one transfer. It only came to my senses to make around 2 transfers after GW3. After all, most managers would also be forced to make similar number of transfers, so on the overall, the point deductions won’t matter so much.

2. Need to master the new Bonus Point System (BPS). Apparently FPL rewards best players of the match via BPS, where the top players gets an additional 3 points, second best scores 2 points and third best gets 1 point. В So far, I have to admit I have not done enough research to determine which kind of players would benefit best from the BPS, although on paper it would seem like the DEFENDERS would stand a better chance, with the assumption that there would be more 0-0 or 1-0, 2-0 scorelines in the defender’s favour.

3. Using the Wildcard (WC) wisely. When I first saw this exciting element in FPL, some thoughts came to my mind on the best times to use the WC – (i) during key double or triple GWs; (ii) when the team is badly struck with injuries; (iii) when the total points deducted from additional trades is like 16-20 points.. Anyway, I had already set my mind to use it during one of those double GWs where a top team would be playing twice, but I had to use this as early as GW 6 because of items (ii) and (iii) above. My decision was based on the fact that I didn’t have a complete team that I was ‘comfortable’ with, and although I was still consistently scoring above average every GW, I foresaw that I would be running into trouble shortly. Hope that using my WC this early into the season won’t come back to haunt me later.

I’m also learning that many managers also tend to use the WC quite early into the season to fine tune the template formation based on the early games into the season. This is quite common because the first three GWs is usually a trial and error phase where we would be studying the performers of the league.

4. Using the WC does NOT guarantee an immediate points harvest! How you should utilise the WC is to plan for the dividends to show up in the longer run. For example, when you use the WC, you would already know which players can or cannot play, so this will help you to save up on those precious free transfers in weeks to come.

5. Cannot see my friend’s team selections for the coming week. Something minor but of which I had to adapt to because the previous fantasy league that I played allowed me to peek at my friend’s selection, so I could re-strategize some pieces based on that. :-p

6. В There is NO specific opening or closing of window to perform player trades. Apparently, I could already start making transfers and pick my team as early as when the current GW is under way. This minor thing cost me some chances to make easy money in the early GWs. Sigh. Shall be more alert now that I know…:-D

Plenty to learn, yet plenty more GWs to play for! 😀

Twenty Thoughts about Taiwan

Last August, work brought me to Taiwan, so I decided to bring along my entire family of five there as well. My children have already blogged about our trip there, but considering it was my first time there, I thought it would be good for me to list down my thoughts of Taiwan as well..

1. Taiwanese are overall very warm, friendly and helpful. And if Taiwanese aren’t available, their road signs and signages are pretty helpful too. 😛

2. Taiwan is one of those ‘left-hand drive’ countries. I had an unforgettable experience first hand at the Taiwan airport when we arrived when I almost boarded our taxi at the driver side..:-p of course, ‘left-hand drive’ countries would also mean having to adjust to walking on the right when not overtaking and left when over taking. It took me while to realise that when our taxi seemed to be speeding on the left lane..:-p

3. As a country that is undoubtedly in the forefront of innovation and technology, Taiwan sure has some of the more advanced looking bidets I have ever seen. Unlike the manual ones I’m used to seeing back home, most of these Taiwan bidets are computerised with plenty of touch buttons – basic ones being spray backside, spray frontside and dryer.

So I was rather surprised when I found one of these bidets with an additional button with a lightbulb logo. At first I thought it was some reading lamp but (out of curiosity) when I pressed it nothing happened. Until I stood up and saw this…

4. The Taiwan metro rail В system is REALLY efficient. I usually measure this by walking blindly into one of the stations and see how easily and intelligent the signages and maps are able to get me to where I need to go. And in Taiwan, it was really easy. In comparison, the signages in Malaysia RapidKL rail system is so much more confusing. Seriously. :-p

5. In addition, the Taiwan metro rail is very family friendly too. Lifts were well and adequately placed in all stations. It was a very common sight to see families travelling TOGETHER on these trains, complete with their baby strollers! And you wonder why families in Malaysia don’t travel often in our LRTs….:-p

6. Apart from families, it is apparent that the metro rail is also very friendly to cyclists, pets, disabled people, etc. too. It was really surprising (and refreshing) to see many passengers travelling with their pet dogs in the train. Cool. 😀

7. One strange observation is the poor marketing of their tourist attractions. For example, when I went into the Taipei Zoo souvenier shop, I couldn’t find any T-shirt with the design printed words of “Taipei Zoo”!!! Nor was there any “Taipei Zoo” imprinted on the fridge magnets or any other ‘basic’ souvenir too! Strange, huh? How about when we took the Maokong Gondola. There was practically no souvenir items promoting ‘Maokong Gondola’ at all! It was as their priority is to promote Taiwan (country) first before the tourist attraction. Hmmmmm.

8. It is undeniable that Taiwan is essentially a “Scooter” nation. It is the preferred choice of vehicle on the road….so much so to the extent that you get to see ‘Scooter waiting spots’ at traffic lights. And yes, all motorists are very well -behaved and do not invade these spaces..(in case you were asking..:-p)

9. Technology is also very well used in the area of public toilets. I noticed in some of the toilets found in the train stations where they have a large electronic board on the outside which monitors which urinal is or not in use. Seriously! :-p

10. I also observed that overall, the streets in Taiwan are pretty CLEAN. The surprising thing here is that you can NOT easily find the dustbins! So where does the rubbish go or get cleaned up? Amazing, huh? 😀

11. As a pedestrian in Taiwan, you’d feel safe to cross the roads, especially at intersections where cars are ‘allowed’ to turn into a street where pedestrians could be walking, they have an unwritten ‘trust’ system that seems to work. 😀

12. Wireless Internet is easily accessible in Taiwan. Of course, as a visitor you;d need to register yourself first. Just make sure you arm yourself with your passport ad you’re good to go! At the Taoyuan Airport, go look for the iTaiwan logo and register yourself. iTaiwan covers most of the buildings and enclosed areas in Taiwan. The other free Wi-Fi service in Taiwan comes via TPE-Free Wifi Access, which personally I felt had better coverage of most tourist spots and outdoor locations. You can register yourself in any of their kiosksВ or information counters, typically found in popular Metro Rail Stations. Having said that, I have to say that the connection, whilst fast when connected is not very stable and tends to break frequently. Also I wonder why there are TWO different services offering free public Wi-Fi. Hmmmm.

13. The city never sleeps! We even saw some restaurants advertising that they are opened till 4am?!!! Best part is that even though you can walk around during these unearthly hours, it kinda feels SAFE.

14. As long as you love BREAD and MEAT (especially pork), you’d enjoy eating tin Taiwan. 😀

15. Bread is so popular here that almost every other corner we turn into is a BAKERY. 😀

16. There are certain ‘default’ items you would find as breakfast here, namely warm soya milk, braised/minced pork on rice (lu rou fan; 滷肉飯 ) and sweet potato porridge

17. For an iconic tourist landmark like the Taipei 101, I was really surprised to see that it is NOT near at all to the nearest Metro rail station (ie City Hall). When I got down in City Hall, I was shocked that I had to walk like another 1.5-2 km to reach Taipei 101! Would definitely suggest for them to build a station closer to this landmark. :-)

18. We already know that most makan places in Taiwan closes quite late, so we were in for a rude shock when we discovered that the Taipei Zoo closed at JUST 5pm?!!! Missed the pandas because of this. Sigh.

19. It is NOT easy to find souvenir fridge magnets in Taiwan. I mean, I would have expected them to be found and sold on every corner of popular tourist spots like Ximenting, but apparently not. I only discovered you’d be able to find them in ‘fashion houses’, those selling shirts and cloths. Ahhh.. 😀

20. If you intend to travel to Taiwan with kids, especially those aged 2 and below…please think again. Think twice over. Then think again for the third time. It is really, very challenging. especially around tourist spots with old streets, plenty of stairs and crowded hawker places. So if you are travelling with kids, be prepared to sacrifice on places you can visit and length of time you can spend on places.