Wednesday, April 03, 2002

Barry Bonds is still on pace for 324 home runs.
In other news, I pick up Chris Nolte at 5:40 a.m. tomorrow and R. at 5:50 a.m. Flight leaves at 8 a.m. I'm figuring on waking up at 5 and leaving my place at 5:20.

Get back midmorning Sunday, go almost straight to a D&D game in Palo Alto Sunday afternoon.

Tonight I did some errands (e.g. car wash, Gap run for some nice-fitting shorts, for fear that I didn't have time to launder any) and left others out (Supercuts). One that I did was get new windshield wiper fluid for my car. The last time I did this was New Year's Eve, of all times. Which reminds me, I haven't written to Heather in awhile.
Fantasy Baseball Ramifications
Everything has fantasy baseball ramifications these days. When it occurred to me that East Coast night games had begun I punched up the Braves-Phillies game (Don Sutton and friends). Vicente Padilla (SP-PHI) pitching to Marcus Giles (2B-ATL); I have both of them in some league or other.

Braden Looper looks like the Tim Crabtree of 2002. That is, crappy pitcher who was already on my Luigi (Howe Sportsdata) roster suddenly lucks into the closer's job. Sucks even worse as a closer, even the save opportunities end up not helping. I'll be a little miffed if the Looper closer mystique led me to waste a roster spot on him since I was so about to cut him.
Going to Chapel Hill
Leaving tomorrow morning, flying out to a national championship quiz tournament. A vast majority of this site's audience will either be there yourselves or have seen the preparation for this first-hand. Looks like I'll be doing Division 1 stats. Woo.

In one of those forced social conversations that happen in washrooms now and then, the guy I report to asked about "long weekend" plans. He was vaguely impressed. I mentioned how I have one of those hobbies that often feels like a job, other than the compensation part.

Speaking of hobbies that often feel like jobs, it suddenly occurred to me while having the conversation that I owed the good folks at Baseball HQ a National League injury chart. That ate up my lunch time. Yay Excel. This chart was due at 9 p.m. Eastern, or 6 my time. Unclear what apocalypse would have resulted had I continued to flat-out forget about it.

I had a pet peeve to expound on but I've forgotten what it was. Maybe had to do with indecisive people. Actually more precisely I think it involved the act of keeping other people waiting. This is something I hate and something I hate to do; it results in my getting halfway to personal pride in punctuality. If it were a real peeve then I'd be getting into work a lot earlier, though in my own (feeble) defense I'm here sufficiently early that people who need to talk to me know where & when to find me.

Thanks to work, Carmen and I ran late to get to last week's sushi dinner. Namely, she was stuck in a face-to-face meeting where all her nonverbal "I have to go now" cues were being steadfastly ignored. She joked in the car about how it's too bad the Hentzels are not Latin-American, in that if they were then it'd be much more likely that when they said 5:30 they meant 6:15. Yeah. That's the excuse I'll start to give in the particular set of situations where I have no concept of time. (Namely, getting up in the morning and giving project estimates.)

Your Life Sucked Away, Five Minutes At A Time
Except that quiz tournaments are a situation where I have entirely too keenly a concept of time. Tournaments that run late bug the hell out of me, even if -- especially if -- "everybody does it." Part of my ire involves the practice of certain bracketmeisters insisting that all rooms return with scoresheets before any room can begin the next round. Remind me to explain sometime why this is wrongheaded and why the usual rationalizations ("it would have been just as delayed anyway") turn out to be false.

This gives rise to something of a quizbowl holy war. I discovered last night that the people who matter most (on paper) actually agree with me here. We'll see.
Random links

How to interpret the "rudeness" survey. Heard about the survey on the radio last night while trying to get a traffic report explaining what was up at 6th & University (I saw police escorts, streets blocked off, people marching and holding signs, just the usual Berkeley stuff). It was reported right after the study about how people don't get enough sleep, complete with nagging about how we should sleep more. Fuck you! I screeched at the radio -- few things on Earth are more annoying than being hectored by AM radio. If I wanted to spend my life being hectored, I'd have written in Mrs. Clinton at the presidential polls instead of settling for voting against her husband.

Psy Ops at its best.

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

Lots of sirens outside
I wonder if I'll ever know what that's about.
Barry Bonds Is On Pace For 324 Home Runs
Saw his first one when a group of us went to Brennan's (Irish food, bar/cafeteria, very meated) for lunch.

Listened to most of that game on the Giants radio network despite audio-streaming (almost streamed Vin Scully instead, tough call). Caught a little bit of Bob Uecker on the Brewers-Astros, then the current voices of the Expos, who are very non-description.

Montreal does seem to have an English language radio outlet this year. This isn't that dopey webcast they had a year ago.

Jake and Kim just left the product loft to go see A's-Rangers. I have vague regrets about missing this series given the teams involved but Opening Week is bad timing for me when it comes to the NAQT ICT. K has candy on her desk, sugary candy. I heard vaguely about where this candy's from but forgot the story.

Got an interesting, prayer-related e-mail from one of my mom's closest friends. My godmother as it were, although this was never official in the Catholic sense that I know of (me being Lutheran and all). It's interesting to compare people's relative discretion about things that happen in their lives, although obviously what you can feel comfortable telling your best friend far exceeds what you'll tell the equivalent of the whole Internet.
Hadn't heard Waste in awhile
And now I'm all somber. I can't put my thoughts in words, though oddly enough saying "I can't put my thoughts in words" ends up doing the trick after all.
On weblogs and Winamp
One random thing I remember about Boston is just how crappy its newspaper columnists were. Week after week, I'd wonder: How is it that Mike Barnicle still has a job? Or Patricia Smith? Or Alex Beam? The first two got caught up in using other people's words. Beam is still stubborn enough to use his own, ugly though they often turn out. You may have seen his recent piece on web logs. Two highlights:

1. He falls for an April Fool's joke, wherein a staunchly free-market Norwegian blogger named Bjorn Staerk ("Bear Strong") briefly set his site up as a Marxist Revolutionary.

2. The background e-mail he sent to James Lileks, which Lileks reprints here.

Reaction on the blogs themselves has been swift and harsh. The only thing I don't like about this is that at some point it's overkill. Some things are just so ridiculous that rather than repeatedly reminding people how inane those things are, you come out ahead just ignoring them. The Oscars, for example.

In other media news,
Jennings' love for himself is infinite and limitless. He's the Kathie Lee Gifford of network anchors. And we don't need a Kathie Lee Gifford of network anchors.
--Tom Shales, Electronic Media Online

Finally, I am a discontented headphone wearer. No Major League Baseball today until 4 p.m. my time. Worse yet, the RealOne that I had to download yesterday appears to have interfered with CD settings. Even though I thought I'd kept the relevant file formats still defaulting to Winamp, for some reason RealOne still wants to play my CD's. The sound quality is still okay, maybe a little muddier (hard to tell: Staind is muddy by its nature) , but it's just the feeling of relatively helplessness. I code for a living: If I can't keep all these audio programs in line, then other people out there don't stand a chance.

Or else I'm just stupid. Take your pick.

Monday, April 01, 2002

Pressbox Prozac Award
Dave Niehaus, hands down. Nobody gets or gives the heart attacks the way the Voice of the Mariners does.
Remember the Ryan Dempster game?
As bad as Pedro was that day, the Red Sox either won a slugfest or very nearly won it.

I guess if you're the opposing pitcher, there's something extremely psychologically disarming about Pedro getting torched that leads you yourself to get torched, at least if you're Dempster or Cris Carpenter.

Allegedly, some other pitcher threw a perfect game the same day as the Dempster game. I refuse to believe this. Don't try to convince me, it's a waste of breath. I don't believe that this Bronx place you mention even exists.
QOTD, April 1 Division
Take your pick...
Google is able to process search queries at speeds superior to traditional search engines, which typically rely on birds of prey, brooding hens or slow-moving waterfowl to do their relevance rankings.
--Google explains its PigeonRank system

"Awww, you're so cute. Okay, okay, here... uh... If Mo [expletive] Vaughn was such a [expletive] leader, [expletive] how come he [expletive] tore his [expletive] bicep bench-pressing some silicone-filled stripper as part of a [expletive] bar bet, huh?"
--Troy Percival humoring a beat reporter, from Baseball Prospectus Week in Quotes
ESPN Gamecast, bearer of bad news
D Oliver relieved P Martinez

Hate to say it but it's going to be a long year in Fenway.
Would it kill Major League Baseball to buy enough servers (and functional code) to service their wannabe paying customers?
I thought I'd spend today listening to live audio. My $14.95 is ready and waiting to be spent. Guess they don't want my money after all. Fuckers.

Why does the game I love have to be run by total morons?

Then again, from what I hear the news with Pedro is not good. Probably just as well. I can already hear Trupiano whining in my head.

Sunday, March 31, 2002

Elements of a Simpsons Shark-Jumping
1. Gratuitous trips to foreign countries
2. Excessive self-awareness

Not that it was a bad episode, simply that it tried too hard and tried to be too many different things at once.

I think I'll pass on Greg the Bunny. Somebody reading this will have to explain after the fact just how bad it was.
Revisionist History
Melvin and New York's Bob Watson were discussing the framework of a deal that would have sent Jorge Posada, Eric Milton and Tony Armas Jr. to Texas for (Ivan) Rodriguez, who was eligible for free agency after the (1997) season. "My gut feeling was we were going to have to move him," Melvin said. "I remember telling my wife that I could get run out of town, because there was a good chance I'll have to trade Pudge."
--Phil Rogers, ESPN

Far be it from me to criticize a such a bedrock player but this deal would have been surprisingly good for the Rangers. Offensively, the gap between I-Rod and Posada is noticeable but not gaping. Imagine a rotation led by Milton and Armas. What might have been.

At the time I was really touched by the loyalty that I-Rod showed. It was just one element of my really off-beat July 31, 1997 story, the one that involves going out to Uno's with Ashlie after she and Peter had renewed their lease, the one that involves my looking really good (especially for a summer intern) when random SportsTicker people came in to tour the company (Howe Sportsdata) that night.

The purchase by SportsTicker turned out to be decidedly not a good thing for Howe Sportsdata or for minor league statistics generally. The resigning of I-Rod didn't turn out as well as I thought either, but that's just from finding out how great a deal Texas would have gotten. The division titles in 1998 and '99 were nice but it would also have been nice to do something in the playoffs other than roll over and play dead against those same Yankees.

Not that I'm sick of "God Bless America" but as soon as Osama is dead, the Palestinian suicide bombings stop, Iraq has a democratic governet and so on, one thing that will make me happier than most is finally hearing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame," by itself, in the 7th inning.
"Here, Kubi Kubi!"
Always nice to get a phone call from a friend, even if he ends up gloating about his local cable system having the Deuce and yours lacking it.
A bisexual geek-girl, a soldier, and Matt's mom walk into a bar...
There are left-leaning people out there, at least college age, who like to claim that the right is all a bunch of conformist clones.

That's why I myself am not only utterly indistinguishable from asparagirl but also utterly indistinguishable from Sgt. Stryker.

I need to think about reorganizing my blog links...

Also, I really want my mom to start a political weblog. Only hers would be entirely political. She seems like the kind of person who would be a little reluctant to talk about her family on-line. Well, strike that: She'd have little asides about the Cubs or the local flavor of Chicago's western suburbs. Still, she'd be perfect for it. She's extremely intelligent, opinionated, and well-read (particularly newspapers and magazines), with a fair amount of time on her hands.

Then once she did that I could be Jonah Goldberg to Mom's Lucianne. Or not.

Seriously, I'm very impressed by many (not all, but many) of the right-leaning weblogs. I'm not sure what it says that the best weblogs, like the best radio talk shows, lean towards my side of the aisle. It could go either way.

There's selection bias that could go either way. Mark Staloff, left-leaning Harvard quiz alumnus, inexplicably spends a lot of time reading Free Republic and also various homophobic, anti-Semitic, and-or "white power" sites. Or at least did as of two or three years ago. I think it's a bizarre need to have easily shot down strawmen, either that or he genuinely fears them. Like if I had friends who read The New Republic but instead of having honest discussions over what they think, I went off and read The Nation and slippery-sloped them into that pigeonhole.

In any case, while there's some extreme illogic among Freepers, Usenet diehards, and so on, there's also some really good writing going on out there. The best of it makes me think two things:

1. This stuff is at least as good as the syndicated op-ed columns that people pay money for.

2. Nonetheless, my mom (specifically my mom) could write stuff as good as this herself.
More from the political blog-world
Happy Birthday to Joanne Jacobs. I think having your birthday fall on Easter would be really cool. My mom gets this every now and then; mine is just barely too early for it to ever work out.

I'm so enamored of one's birthday being on Easter Sunday that I'm tempted to never again tell anyone about my actual birthday (other than filling out paperwork) and instead always just celebrate it on Easter. It's the day that I think far more thoughts along those lines anyway.
Read this.
(Or, if you're checking in after the fact, specifically read this.)

If my heart were 100% into that political blog, I'd have mentioned asparagirl long ago, for her post about Condi Rice.

Note that Andrew Sullivan was partly mistaken when he described her as gay. She's bisexual, with a boyfriend. (Also known as "attainable but occupied"?)

Anyway, link to her site forthcoming, since the older, stodgier people I've been linking to seem to have all stopped updating their sites at around the same time.
From the sacred to the profane
It's imposssible for me to watch ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, or even the recent NBC playoff broadcasts, without thinking of this one. It's from Ball Four by Jim Bouton. Entry of September 1, 1969.

Norm Miller was doing the broadcast bit in the fourth inning when Joe Morgan came back to the dugout after missing a big curve ball for strike three.

"Joe, Joe Morgan, may I have a word with you?"

"Sure, Norm, how's it going?"

"Fine, Joe, fine. We wanted to ask you about that pitch you missed. What was it?"

"Norm, that was a motherfucking curve."

"Can you tell our listeners, Joe, what's the difference between a regular curve and a motherfucking curve?"

"Well, Norm, your regular curve has a lot of spin on it and you can recognize it real early. It breaks down a little bit, and out. Now, your motherfucker, that's different. It comes in harder, looks like a fastball. Then all of a sudden it rolls off the top of the table and before you know it, it's motherfucking strike three."

"Thank you very much, Joe Morgan."

One time Joe Morgan as color analyst actually was analyzing a curve ball on an instant replay, and I almost fell out of my seat laughing, wishing and hoping he'd drop an MF-bomb on the air.

Eternal Life
Eternal Hope

And a Happy Easter to you and yours. In addition, thanks to television contracts, today is Opening Day, at least for the Indians and Angels.

I will refrain from complaining that our cable system lacks the Deuce. Instead I'll listen to the radio feed or maybe just watch the Oklahoma women on ESPN.

Although I'd be understated about it at best if you saw me, inside you know that this is the best possible day of my life, event-driven singularities aside. Someday I'll marry. Maybe. Someday I'll become a father. Right now it seems unlikely but time can only help On some particular days various wars will end, dangerous foes vanquished.

But in calendar terms, today is as good as it gets. If I were benevolent dictator of the universe, Easter Sunday and Opening Day would always be the same day. I suppose Easter would have to be standardized to the first weekend of April.

Tonight Jarrod Washburn pitches against Bartolo Colon. You've probably heard of Colon and probably not heard of Washburn. Very few people realize that Washburn is the better of the two pitchers or that Anaheim is the better of the two teams. If it weren't for the vast difference in strength between the AL Central and AL West, I'd even predict that Anaheim finishes with a better record. Oh wait, I actually did predict this.

I'd post full predictions here but I need Kubi to forward me e-mail back to me since I shortsightedly failed to save it to a Sent Message folder.

One of my favorite things about Easter is the color scheme. I like the soft pastels. Cyan just might be my favorite color, as you know from all my web page background colors. I'd have never thought of it. If you ask me what my favorite color is and limit it to (roughly) the Crayola 8 instead of the Crayola 64, then I have to go with red first, followed by white. Take that as you will. Put it this way: red trumps yellow and blue but cyan trumps yellow and magenta.
It was 1998.

But Wally was definitely 1997. I'm so confused. Both involved April weekend series against Seattle. At the Wally game I remember seeing Ken Griffey's Mariner merchandise on about every third or fourth kid.
I know it was a rerun but I missed it the first time
So what was your favorite line?

A. "If I were 15 I'd so have sex with you!"

B. "Remember: She's the one who broke up with you. So she deserves it."

C. "He looks like if The Rock had sex with a Muppet."

D. "Can you sign it as Nomar?"