Saturday, February 09, 2002

NAQT Sectionals Today
-----Original Message-----
From: Matt Bruce
Sent: Saturday, February 09, 2002 9:43 PM
To: 'ross-steven@uclink4.berkeley.edu'; 'quiz-bowl@CSUA.berkeley.edu'
Cc: 'topquark@naqt.com'
Subject: kudos (Re: 2002 WEST COAST NAQT SCT)


Hi Everyone,

I thought the West Coast SCT was really well-run. Nothing went wrong, partly because a different with-it person seemed to be in charge of everything that needed taking care of from buzzer setup to stats to customer service. Keeping things at or ahead of schedule was key.

Good job y'all, and congratulations to the winning teams. Hope to see a lot of you at ICT,
Matt


Other than that not much to add. My vocal chords are a little shot. I'm psyched that teams actually wanted me to read the finals, a tense match between Berkeley and Caltech. Either that or Ross (Ritterman, highly capable TD) didn't feel like reading. One way or another, I went from thinking I had the two last-place teams for a grudge match, to David Farris tapping me on the shoulder and asking, "hey can you read for us?" Sure, I'd love to. Then Ross offering his services as scorekeeper. Oddly enough, I think we were in "his" room for this. Ross is really cool.

Actually I don't know much about him except
a) likes to organize things
b) to some extent, gets made fun of by his teammates for this
Add to this, somewhat unexpectedly,
c) delegates really really well

This is in contrast to certain control freaks I know. :-)
(I know who I am and you know who you are...)

Ross was anal about exactly the things I'd be anal about (told everyone in advance who'd be reading in what room, gave great clear directions on where to show up when in the morning, field, schedule, frequent e-mail updates and so on) avoided anality about exactly the things that I think some TD's (not including present company) get overly anal about (making everyone wait until the last damn scoresheet comes in to start the next round, other time-consuming annoyances).

More to the point, everything got done well because somebody
a) knew they had to do it
b) actually did it

The guy in charge of buzzer set-up did really well. I wish I remembered his name.

Ms. Chevalier (middle initial R. stands for Righteous, I'm sure most of my audience remembers her from Wellesley) did an impeccable job with stats, handled my little spreadsheet thingy without a hitch. Probably didn't even use the macros, since she seems like the sort of person who'd say the hell with it and just go to the Tools | Sort ("Data | Sort"?) menu the way my macros do anyway. Whatever she did, the printouts were prompt and apparently accurate. Ross and Andy Penner and two other Berkeley folk and Chris Nolte (onetime Caltech, then Silicon Age, now unemployed but doing lots of NAQT editing) and I all read. Each of us had a full-time scorekeeper: That rocks.

The only thing that sucked was the field size. That and a couple things about the questions that I wish hadn't turned out that way. (More on this once it's clear that all sectionals are complete and commentary is safe.)

Friday, February 08, 2002

Best Day Ever?
In general I overvalue days that involve cool things having to do with women. Put any of those days aside and also put aside graduation days and milestone birthdays. Of the rest -- of the "ordinary" days -- today is arguably the best day of my life.

Just to be specific:
1. Housing Our landlady accepted our counteroffer. This is fortuitous given that Berkeley had become no longer an option since Mike no longer wanted to move. (I could have forced him to move but why?)

2. Employment Chris and I will both interview with Vectiv before they consider any other candidates. Fel (their VP of engineering) hinted that the interviews might simply be a formality, where all that's left to do is negotiate compensation. I had a figure in my head for the amount of money I was going to ask for. Fel promised no specific dollar amount but the ballpark figure he threw out was almost exactly mine, maybe even slightly higher.

3. Giants Tickets I got at least one bleacher seat for every game I wanted. In 17 of the 20 cases, I got exactly one seat because there weren't two adjacent bleacher seats left for those games. This is a blessing in disguise because the biggest reason I have to buy two tickets (instead of one) to a game is to disguise my loner-loser status and leave an option open in case something astonishing happens and I end up hitched to or roomed with a fan of the relevant team.

4. A's Tickets Flush with the employment prospect (which I'll now somehow manage to find a way to piss away :-)), I went ahead and got the Field Level season tickets (20-game miniplan) instead of General Admission bleacher. I'm going to be one or two rows behind the opposing bullpen. Five or ten years ago this would have been a golden heckling opportunity but now, I think I'm too old to heckle. Still... imagine all the foul balls! These are pimp-daddy seats.

There's a modest risk factor here: What if nobody from among the A's fans I know wants to pay anywhere near the price of a Field Level seat? Well, it turns out I got a massive discount from the fact that these are season tickets, compared to almost no discount for doing the same thing for Bleachers. It works out to about $20 a ticket, not bad for right behind the bullpen eh? If I can get my guests to even pay me $10 a game, I'll be content.

5. The most gorgeous weather on Earth Coming back from the Coliseum, as I took one of those curved ramps approaching the Bay Bridge from 880, I could see the Bay Bridge and the San Rafael Bridge. The sky is so blue, the water so clear. Better yet, just as I got past the toll plaza on the Bay Bridge I realized it was so clear today, I could see the Golden Gate Bridge from the Bay Bridge. Pluswhich, the commute went ridiculously smoothly for 4:00 on a Friday afternoon. Granted, the heavy traffic was going the other way. Still, I had to go that way at 3:00 on a Friday afternoon, which was already a mess but not the timesuck I feared.

When it comes down to it, the thing that really makes this day is that I went to Pacific Bell Park and Oakland Coliseum on the same day.

What does Pacific Bell have that Network Associates lacks? Hmm... oh: A stadium that didn't used to have a commonly-accepted non-corporate name. Along those lines I think we should start referring to Houston's current outdoor baseball stadium as The Astrodome, incongruities be damned.
THANK YOU MLB!!
Looking over the 2002 schedule because I have a bunch of tickets to buy this afternoon, preferably in-person to avoid service charges.

It just struck me that the four-game post-ASB series is back. At least for the Giants it is. But it's not interleague so presumably everyone has a similar schedule. What I'm getting at here: That awful pair of Thursday-Saturday, Sunday-Tuesday series is dead. That was an absolute sacrilege.

Major league baseball teams do not travel between Saturday and Sunday. That's just a violation of everything the baseball schedule is about, not to mention common sense.

Also, the four-game series right after the ASB is supposed to be against a divisional rival. With odd-sized divisions, not every team can do this, but I can only hope that most of them are.
Tim Keown needs to take a Midol
How much Olympic coverage will I watch over the next two weeks? None. Zero. I just don't care, sorry.

Part of my jadedness comes from the two equal and opposite emotional reactions that the Olympics produce, both of which I really really don't like. One is the jingoism many U.S. fans slip into. The other is the knee-jerk America-bashing that happens when people (justifiably) object to the jingoism but, once they've begun objecting, don't know where to quit.

Then there's the flag controversy...

Today's loaded headline: Lawyer in Russell rape case blames victim -- the sad part is it's actually pretty accurate as headlines go.
Society of People With Short Names
One-syllable first name plus one-syllable last name yields short name, also tendency of people to call you by both names at once. I'd be willing to bet that nobody ever calls Jon Rea just "Jon" but rather always the full "Jon Rea."

I suppose Coen actually has two syllables, not one. This gives Mark a more normal ratio of letters to syllables in his name. I have nine letters but only two syllables. On my birth certificate or in formal paperwork I suppose it's 12 letters, three syllables. Sometimes you have to add the "-hew", sometimes not.

Did I mention I might have both a place to live and a job?
The Pink Panther
It's quite possible that February 8, 2002, will be the day I look back on for years as the day that I got both a place to live and a job.

"Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss."

This is somewhat premature since in both cases we still have some face-to-face meetings and some paperwork to take care of. I could yet blow one or both of the opportunities. Nonetheless, things are really really looking up.
SAGWA
Best show on TV! (At least, best show on public TV.) Caught some of it while waiting for Sarah to get ready to go to dinner Wednesday. Immediately hooked. Theme song stuck in my head.

Siamese cats are awesome.
Like Child, Like Parent
We all turn into our parents eventually. I noticed separate examples of this in both me and Sarah this week, pertaining to both Mom and Dad, passing to the next generation both within and between the sexes. Both Sarah and me are, in different ways, turning into both Mom and Dad.

This actually has some relevance to dating life, of all things. Specifically, on the unofficial list of things that make me (in theory, in my head) more or less attracted to someone, you'd be surprised how important it is that her parents be happily married. I figure people whose parents couldn't make a marriage last are themselves (probably through no fault of their own) far less likely to make a lasting marriage than people whose parents succeeded at it.

(Note: I think no less of someone whose mom or dad (or both) passed away. In fact that makes me more likely to feel comfortable liking somebody, in that odds are they had to develop an incredible amount of character to overcome that kind of adversity.)

Also, a vast preference that she herself not already have married someone. More about this comes up in the TMI of all places.
Matt After Dark
It's here. Read it if you want. Be forewarned: Things there might be offensive. Then again, if you're going there looking explicitly to be offended, odds are you'll be disappointed. I can't offend people on purpose very well.

It's unclear to me sometimes what the dividing line is between TMI and non-TMI. I don't even promise never again to offend you here. But the basic difference is that any given person's mom could read the blog you're reading now and in general not ever be all that uncomfortable. That's probably not true of the TMI blog, which owes its existence to my having things I want to say that my tact won't allow to put in a mainstream blog.
I can't believe I wrote one but...
http://friendtest.com/viewquiz.php?account=matt979
Have at it. I own the top spot because I wanted to test the thing but couldn't figure out how to wipe that score out.
Tonight I sleep in my own bed
Sarah flew out on a redeye. I hope she lands safely. Thursday we went to the Musem of Modern Art and also to the Metreon. In between we ate at Chevy's, a chain restaurant cruelly masquerading as local Mexican food. Do they have Chevy's outside of San Francisco? I can only assume so. We could have gotten much more "authentic" Mexican food in the Mission. Not that I'd know where to go, though I do know where some decent burrito places are. But none of them are right on the corner between MOMA and the Metreon, as Chevy's is.

For dinner we got Chinese takeout. That kung pao chicken is still settling. (Does that count as TMI? Actually come to think of it, not quite. Some time tonight I'll create the new one and adjust templates accordingly.

Things on my event horizon:
An AOK game would be nice, although it's later than I thought it was.
(Much roommate conversation has taken place tonight about both careers and residences.)
Much NAQT question writing needs to take place. (Don't worry, not for SCT.)
Lots of blogger futzing.

On Friday:
Talk to Fel about Vectiv
Take care of unemployment compensation if applicable
Mail Sarah's jacket to her (she left it here)
Drop by Giants ticket office to get single-game tickets without that hideous on-line service charge
Drop by A's ticket office to get any sort of miniplan before single games go on sale, although if I do the general admission bleacher seats then this is irrelevant

Next week:
Rescheduled DMV appointment
Probably should get my car in for a tuneup

Thursday, February 07, 2002

Congratulations Tulsa Drillers, 1988 Texas League Champions
Something about the New England Patriots hoopla got me to thinking. If you're a long-suffering New Englander then you can complain about going 16 whole years without a championship parade. My old Silicon Age buddy Steve hails from Philly and he has a similar complaint about lack of championship parades. But what would you do if you spent your whole life in freakin' TULSA?

...or Montana or Mississippi or New Mexico or any of about a dozen or so backwaters of this country that are nowhere near a top-50 media market...

I don't think the 1988 Drillers got a championship parade. I'm pretty sure no Tulsa team has won anything of consequence since then. Statewide I suppose the 2000-2001 Sooners count for something.

In other news... that "After Dark" blog just might happen, not tonight though.

For what it's worth,
Itinerary with Sarah
Sunday: Pick her up at the airport, get a ticket because my tags expired, go to the Kubicek place for the Super Bowl, come back and watch a little Game Show Network.

Monday: Plan to go to the Museum of Modern Art (Ansel Adams exhibit), decide instead to do Alcatraz when we realize we don't need to get tickets two days in advance after all. Eat at a '50s style burger diner on Fisherman's Wharf before catching the 1:00 ferry. Get back, take a cable car ride, eat at Neptune's on the Wharf, come back and watch still more Game Show Network.

Tuesday: Sarah's day by herself. Pizza ordered after her return. Yet more Game Show Network. (And various and sundry other TV, as on Sunday and Monday, though I suspect that the Game Shows will be Sarah's enduring memory of these nights.)

Wednesday: Walk along the beach to the zoo. Sushi for dinner. Bowling in the evening.

Thursday: The MOMA exhibit after all. Maybe Chinese food. Lots of TBA. Drop Sarah off for her redeye.

Tuesday, February 05, 2002

Sarah's sense of Whammy
Sarah just now not only correctly predicted every single Whammy (including the one that ended the game) but also correctly predicted when players would(n't) pass their spins. She briefly wondered whether she had total recall of this episode, which would be especially frightening given that this particular Press Your Luck aired almost 20 years ago.
Matt is a two-faced, curmudgeonly prude
Sarah's watching Real World. Actually when I'm not typing this so am I. This was her choice of TV show just as the Fear Factor was her choice. (Actually that one was Kubi's choice but she's the one who mentioned its existence.)

This particular Real World is insipid. But will I say that in her presence or suggest some other show? No, because I'm a wuss. Also it's interesting in a masochistic way. Actually it's interesting in precisely the same way that Loveline is interesting. That's (the radio version) another show she likes and I don't care for.

Thing is, I could see exactly what was on tonight's Real World just by going to BU. Man claims to be devoted to long-distance girlfriend but really isn't. Woman gets all drunk and makes an ass of herself. Even totally wasted she manages to be attractive to the guy she's with, when I found her singularly unattractive.

In general, people that age are distressingly similar, all so self-centered, all so boring, all so horny. Maybe I'm just bitter about never getting any myself so don't listen to me without a grain of salt. But in any case, it's a whole bunch of... am I about to have an American Beauty moment?

There's one particular person I knew at BU through whom I realized just what a wasteland people of that age group are. I don't want to insult her in particular (if you know who I'm talking about more power to you, if you don't just nod and smile; not the one that I usually bitch about but someone else I could conceivably bitch about), then again I also don't want to suggest that her particular problems were anywhere near universal. Rather, she had unique and uniquely severe problems, but in how she dealt with them one could see a lot of just how people that age can be.

I have a point here but I'm failing utterly to convey it. Instead I'm coming across as frustrated and bitter.
TMI?
Every now and then I consider starting a Matt after dark sort of blog, with all of the disturbing thoughts and observations that I currently choose not to share with you all.

The downside is that it's unclear how diligently I'd keep it up. My political blog, for example, seems to have died on the vine.

The plus side is that I have some things that you'd probably find highly amusing. You could read it and yet claim you don't read it: Plausible deniability! I have to warn you, I'd pull no punches. It's unclear whether anyone will actually write to me expressing support for this. I think a lot of people would secretly find this amusing yet are unwilling to admit it. I don't blame you, I wouldn't admit it either.

I also wish I had a kickass entry for the latest Savage Love contest but I really don't. I do have a specific piece of TMI, maybe that counts for something.

(My conceit is that if you're an exceptionally close reader, you could probably figure it out if you wanted to.)
Full Circle
Wrapping up everything I've written this afternoon:
There's question about whether or not I have a soul. There are cool pictures of hot teen pop idols, thanks to the wonders of <img src>
(And, for getting tags to display as text like that, the wonders of &lt; and &gt; - or of &amp;lt; and &amp;rt; and so on recursively.)

Then the question of where I want to live. I could have a place in Berkeley with friends who like me a lot and a job in Berkeley with colleagues who like me a lot. I'm hesitant on both counts for no apparent reason, possibly because both the job and the house are less elegant than I have pretentions of achieving. This actually figures into whether I have a soul. Maybe my future employers will overpay me and my future roommates will undercharge me for rent? If I were slick enough I could pull that off; it's unclear whether I have an ounce of slickness. My mullet isn't even gelled.
My Big Roommate Dilemma
This is what I was actually itching to write about.

The place I'm at now, we'd been paying an exorbitant amount. The landlady wanted to reduce this to $4,000. We were insisting on $3,800. Actually I wanted to accept her offer of $4,000 but other roommates thought it made more sense to hold out for more, or for whatever reason were unwilling to commit at $4,000.

(My share of the $4,000 was to be $925. My share of the $3,800 was to be $875.)

We'd looked at a three-bedroom a block away from here that was $2,100 a month, where the landlord wanted people to move in right away. We couldn't take it because there was no way for us to get out of February rent here. (Think about it: The landlady still has our deposit.) And yet, supposedly, this place is still vacant. Now, in addition to the lease problem there were two reasons we (Chris, Scott, and I) didn't take it:
1. Scott is fussy about the term. (Full year, for that apartment.)
2. I was all bitchy about the smallest bedroom (earmarked for me) being so small.

But that place isn't even what has led to the dilemma. Rather, even as my current situation is in flux, Mike has decided that he is moving out. I could take over his room. This would be massively convenient for Paul and David, for whom I'm the first-choice of possible new roommates. It would be cheaper for me to live in Berkeley, although not massively so. (Enough to outweigh moving expenses, though not necessarily outweigh the personal anguish/hassle of moving.) My bedroom would be smaller, though (it appears) not as small as the one I bitched about.

Basically, if we can't get a deal done at the SiliPalace, I'd be moving to Berkeley. But what if we can get a deal done here? Well... hmm... by inertia I'd just as soon stay put. The X-factor is Vectiv, since the office there is massively convenient to the Berkeley place. Vectiv might want to hire me, in which case I'd probably be better served just moving to Berkeley point blank.

So in any case I put the screws on my roommates in terms of expediting negotiations with our landlady. Because, remember, I was the one who was outspokenly in favor of taking what she offered in the first place. So in some ways, I'm entitled.

Just wishy-washy about the perception of leaving people in the lurch..
In case you were wondering:
Sarah is out in San Francisco doing the things that she wanted to do on her own. Since I used to have a full-time job, most of her previous Bay Area sightseeing was solo anyway. This works out well because clearly there will be things she'll want to see or do that I wouldn't be interested in, maybe even places where men aren't welcome.

Today it works out because I have a ton of errands to run, from all of which I'm procrastinating on this blog. In particular I went to the DMV to renew my tags but idiotically didn't bring the paper work I needed to bring. Therefore, have to make a new appointment. Grr.

For what it's worth, Coldplay has replaced R.E.M. as the musical act for which Sarah's esteem furthest exceeds mine. She adores them both, I can't stand either. Apparently I'm the only Coldplay hater in my age group, though I make up for it with my vehemence. Someday I'll emit a blood-curdling scream, solely because the phrase I never meant to cause you trouble got stuck in my head and wouldn't leave.

Going the other way, my best guess is that Creed is the musical act for which my esteem furthest exceeds Sarah's. Prior to Creed it was probably some hair band. We both had an immediate, profound liking for Staind. (Not sure what this says about our family life, since in theory we're not dysfunctional or anything.) She got into Linkin Park months before the whole rest of the world did, whereas it took the whole rest of the world buying their CD for me to get around to doing so. But something about Creed rubs her the wrong way, probably the religious overtones.

(Don't get her started about Incubus. Actually there's enough depth of dislike there that maybe this is the band where we differ the most, though it feels like bands that one of us is just plain apathetic about shouldn't count.)

Oh, and when we were just pulling out of the airport, The Bone played Bon Jovi's "Lay Your Hands On Me." Sarah still has a soft spot for Bon Jovi in general and I still have an unnatural liking for this song in particular. It was one of those disturbing coincidences that this song came on. We both did a double-take.
Thoughts on Britney
See this column and this rebuttal.

got Britney?

Count me decidedly in the minority but I thought the Pepsi "think young" commercial was the Super Bowl's best. Everyone I know disagrees with me here but as they went through "history" I found myself buying the concept more and more, then Britney as Robert Palmer clinched it for me. (Maybe it was the hair but she reminded me of Robert Smith almost as much as Robert Palmer.)

So before that, I was personally apathetic to Spears, or so I claim. The strongest opinion I'd expressed about her was that if and when the Lolitas finally draft her, she should be either a very very good player or a very very awful one. Corwyn agrees. Actually she's somewhat more likely to be a spectacularly bad player. Other league owners don't see why she deserves to be any more superlative either way than, say, SM Gellar or MJ Hart.

Nelly Furtado

I generally don't listen to her songs because it's not the kind of music I like. I've been all hot and bothered for Nelly Furtado (above) for months since my radio stations play her songs. My radio stations don't play Britney. My TV stations play her ads -- everyone does -- although I thought last year's was really overrated. I could especially use a whole lot less of the Bob Dole "down boy" cameo.

Still, two things stuck about about this most recent ad:
1. She's hot. Go ahead and admit it, she is. To some extent anyone who succeeds in pop culture as a girlie icon is hot; she's no exception.

2. She has more talent than you think she does.

I may actually go out and buy a tape or CD of her stuff and listen to it as a guilty pleasure. I won't go carrying on about her or anything but I'll look people in the eye and say, "Yeah, I like Britney Spears. You got a problem with that?"

Christina, on the other hand... thanks but no thanks.
Do I have a soul?
It's possible that I don't. Then again, it's possible that I'm just a grown-up, for all the good things and bad things that this entails. If you haven't done so already, go read these thoughts of a grateful Pats fan. Or another one.

Actually there's evidence against my being a "grown-up," namely the Playmate Fear Factor, about which I think in hindsight Coen's "Shame. On. You" comment is right. I'll claim (correctly but way too defensively) that it wasn't my decision or Shelly's (Kubi's fiancee) decision to watch that show, though neither of us objected or anything. Rather, the Fear Factor impetus was not only Kubi but also (of all people) my sister. This is the downside to both channel-surfing and majority rule. In addition to missing U2, we missed the important part of the player intro's (Pats being introduced as a team) because Kubi wanted to catch the end of the golf coverage.

Odd memory just came up here: Many people think that Lee Greenwood's rendition of "God Bless the U.S.A." at the 1988 Republican convention was one of the most moving moments in televised political convention history. I suspect that nearly everyone who feels that way is, in fact, a Republican, but whatever. We were at my grandparents' house when this happened. My grandfather actually started flipping channels in mid-song because he didn't appreciate the sentiment. Maybe this runs in the family: Lots of Red Sox fans, or baseball fans in general, were deeply moved by the Ted Williams thing at the 1999 All-Star game. Not me, I was impatient for them to get it over with. For community sentiment, sometimes I'm just tone-deaf. I didn't like Whitney Houston's national anthem either. Go figure.

Anyhow, this Pats thing makes me very happy but more as an observer than as part of it. I can't honestly claim to have been a fan. I moved away from Boston two years ago. I'm not entitled to be part of the celebration. That kind of sucks but also adds a get over yourself (myself, that is) air to it.

After some bitter, painful, flat-out embarrassing championship failures, my football team finally got a title, four years ago. (Four years?! Seems like barely one or two.) Then they got another one. Then John Elway retired. They haven't been close to it since then but two was enough for me. I'm satiated.

Sunday, February 03, 2002

Also, given how moving it apparently was, I wish we'd watched the halftime show. But instead we watched the Fear Factor special with the playmates. *shrug*
Congratulations!
Watched the SB with my sister and with the Kubiceks (well, Chad K and Shelly King, though once they marry...), who are moving to KC in two weeks.

I wish I'd been fully into it with diehard Pats fans. As it is I watched the game with a diehard -- and, in the end, quite dejected -- Rams fan.

Between my "take the Rams, give the points" mantra (head, not heart) and Kubi's prediction of 63 points (both head and heart - "and on every touchdown I'll say MARSHALL, MARSHALL, MARSHALL"), I think the hubris factor went off the charts.

So, I'm extremely happy for New England but it's... a weird feeling, like I'm an adult but I don't want to be. I grew up too fast. This Patriots team is so inspiring that I wish I'd had faith in them all along.

Clearly I didn't. Those of you who did, hats off.

But I do get credit for a prescient too much time. (As in the Rams left too much on the clock after the TD.) I am to the "too much time" phenonemon what Paul McGuire is to the chain measurements. I'm never wrong about it.
Sally is my favorite Peanuts Character
(but it's probably not what you're thinking)

Lucy is fine too, as everyone's favorite fussbudget, but slightly overrated and not at all profound. At least, doesn't stand out among Sally, Marcie, Patty, and so on. ALL the girls on Peanuts are insightful.

"I did what you said, big brother... I've been worrying about everything.

"I even worried about you...

"I worried that you'll never amount to anything and you'll marry the wrong girl and all your kids will be stupid...

"Well, I think I'm starting to get a little sleepy..."
--Sally transfers her worries back to Charlie Brown.

See also her philosophies of life:
"Who cares? How should I know? Life goes on."
B natural above middle C, with D sharp harmonic overtone
1. Gratuitous high note in several Lynyrd Skynyrd verses, including the first syllable of "losing streak" in the first verse of Saturday Night Special.

2. Approximate pitch of the "mm-hmm!" that one of yesterday's readers used to indicate a correct answer. Always it was "mm-hmm!" She was an excellent reader for enunciation and everything else. The "mm-hmm!" was just icing on the cake. I loved being in her room for a round with easy bonuses.
Stuff I have to let off my brain before I fall asleep... I've started recording my AOK games now so I can play them back. On playback I always hit the "fast forward" button. Seeing the guys run around all fast like that is a hoot but the afterimages appear in my head when I'm trying to drift off, even if I hadn't played in over a day... at the tourney today was a woman who actually took the initiative to talk to me. She was from UCLA but her teammates from Oregon. East Asian features. Women with that ethnic background seem more likely than other women to at least not completely snub me, not sure why. Anyway we talked on the way to lunch, just smalltalk. It came up she wants to do bioinformatics, and so here Scoon totally cut in to troll for career advice. From that point on the conversation was her and him. Oh well. I gave him crap about it just for the sake of giving him crap about something... Scoon wore all black today. Black shirt, black jeans, what the hell? Then again I was a fashion nightmare. Greenish blue shirt with greenish tan pants, seemed to clash. Worse yet, with my blue denim "white trash" jacket, all the whiter and trashier with the mullet. Oh, and my first two score-changing buzzes were both on country music questions. On one of them I said "Yankovic" and got prompted. I had no idea what Frank Yankovic's real first name was. I froze. Would just saying "Not Weird Al" be specific enough?... After the tourney we went to the Chevy's at Stonestown Galleria. I was underwhelmed. Border (Cambridge, MA) is much much MUCH better. Well, Tex-Mex versus California? Should've gotten the fajitas. Or not.

<TMI>
It's possible I've had some digestive problem my whole life or something. In sixth grade my dippy "Comm Skills" (middle school psychobabble for "English") teacher pointed out that (this class being right after lunch) I always seemed to need to excuse myself and wondered about my health. More to the point I just flat eat too much. After seeing the particular restaurants where I always stuff myself and always immediately need certain "relief," you'd think I'd learn. Especially with book store loving roommates to teach me the hard way. But no. (This time, bought a Peanuts book real real quick, found the food court men's room, read a bit and meditated a bit and came back in plenty of time that they didn't even notice I was gone.) I mean hell, does this always happen to me? Hmm, no. Of all places, not at Hot Pot City even. But crap (so to speak), I really REALLY need to stop stuffing my face. Blah. Oh FWIW I was thin in sixth grade. Well, average. Didn't balloon out until freshman year of college.
</TMI>
How was Terrier Tussle?
Quick Cardinal Classic notes below plus random other stuff. Enjoy. Conceivably this is my last entry until Sarah goes back home, unless there's obvious downtime. (She's not in town yet but while she sleeps in my room, I won't have nearly the same combo of Internet access and ennui.)
Student Newspaper Fun
One thing you run into at a quiz tournament is the host school's paper. Usually lying on the floor somewhere. I don't know how The Stanford Daily compares to the Freep, though clearly some in my audience will be interested. (Cooch, you out there?) I stuck a copy of "Friday, February 1" in my pocket. Before I throw it away...

Top front page headline:
Sand Hill Rd. widening remains unclear
accompanying graphic combines a map with a photograph of a bulldozer with a very large question mark of unknown font.

The top editorial is entirely a masturbatory exercise in which the outgoing editorial staff pats itself on the back, with one highly amusing exception. Column by Doug Geyser and Ramit Sethi. Word-for-word topic sentence of a paragraph, and since it's a news-and-notes paragraph it's bold in the original:
The University should change its mascot back to the Indians, only to the Ramit kind of Indian. For some reason I laughed out loud at this.
Maybe We Can All Be Chad?
Mike Develin needs to be more like Chad Kubicek.

This is an alarming statement on several counts:
1. I have no convenient link to describe the distinctive Kubiness of Kubi for those who don't know him.
2. These two people themselves don't know each other well. Twice they've met each other at A's games when I was with one or the other.
3. It's a very bold statement to make, bolder than I like to be about molding someone's actual personality.

The thing about all this Piaget talk is that if you observed Kubi for awhile but not necessarily months on end, you'd start to think he lives his entire life at stage 1. He thinks about what to say or do and then simply says or does it. It's true, that's how he is. But -- maybe this is just the flip side of the coin of being Midwestern, although Kubi takes Midwesternness to whole new levels of magnitude -- he has something. A moral compass? An instinct for how to do right by people? An extreme depth of generosity? Whatever it is, Kubi manages to say or do exactly the right thing without appearing to second-guess himself whatsoever about it.

Go Koob!