Saturday, April 27, 2002

Simbase: Owner Wanted
There are definitely baseball fans in the audience. Maybe when I mention Simbase, some of you even follow the link.

There's a pending ownership vacancy. (One of the current owners is no longer interested in continuing to run his team, though for Year 12 he's been running it anyway just to make a future transition smooth.)

I don't know what the plans are to fill it but it looks like I tried and failed to recruit a new owner, so I'll assume there's a vacancy until I hear otherwise. Write to the commissioner to express interest.

What a Simbase Owner Does
In no particular order...
1. Draft players. At the start of the season some players retire. Exactly that many players are in the draft pool for the next season, with "college stats" generated from the abilities inherent on their player cards. Every owner sends his (or her!) draft instructions to the commissioner. This is a requirement even though the draft is live (usually on IRC, on some weeknight known a week in advance), since you never know what technical problems might come up.

Draft instructions include a preference ordering of players (with special instructions like "don't take more than one pitcher"), enough names for your picks, and whom to waive if you draft someone for whom you don't have an open roster spot. Names are one of the fun parts of this exercise! This is a league in which a team full of villains drafted George Steinbrenner in the same year that Olympus added both Baldur and Jesus to the Pantheon.

(As for which franchise will have the opening, put it this way: If you know a little African or Aztec myth, you might have a lot of fun with your draft nomenclature.)

2. Send your lineup and instructions after spring training. The spring training stats give you some idea of how good your players are, in addition to their career stats, college stats, scouting reports, and so on. Starting lineup is self-explanatory: Eight players, eight positions. Add a bench order to that, starting rotation, pitching usage instructions, in-game strategy (e.g. how often to attempt to steal), and so on.

2a. Modify your instructions if your players get hurt. If a player gets injured during a game, e-mail is sent automatically to the owner to given them a chance to modify their player usage instructions for the duration of the injury. Of course you can also send modified instructions whenever.

3. Trade with other teams. Obviously this isn't required but it's just like any other baseball league. If you see a deal that improves both teams, go ahead and negotiate it. Pull the trigger when you've come to an agreement.

4. Get scouting reports on your players after each season. At the end of the season, an aging roll affects each player's inherent ability. You get an automatically generated, confidential e-mail with the results for your team's players. For each players you'll find out that (say) Rooster Cogburn got a "major improvement" but not what kind of improvement it was (extra hit, extra walk, better defense, etc.).

5. Vote on end-of-season awards. Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, MVP, Hall of Fame inductions, and so on.

6. Participate on a message board. Strictly optional, of course. Some owners post a lot, some don't.
more angst
The part I forgot to add a couple entries down:
Back on Monday(?) night, my computer crashed. I went about five nights in a row without even looking at it. Had the monitor shut off and so on. This means I checked e-mail and stuff exclusively from work.

Well, during that time I think my computer rebooted itself. And when it rebooted itself it signed onto my chat programs. I fear that weird misunderstandings have ensued involving my Hawaiian friend. (I wonder if she reads this.) I hope she's forgiven me.

Why I haven't felt like chatting with people is a long story, where the paradox is that I enjoy chatting with people too much and find that it makes me far less productive than if I were just pleasantly indifferent to it all. I've been avoiding something, not because I don't enjoy it but because I enjoy it too much, if that makes sense.
So why did I change my mind?
If you're just reading this weblog from top to bottom, the next entry will confuse you relative to the one a couple entries after it.

After I put in my karaoke request (with what I thought I would sing), somebody picked a song that had a high part that he had trouble with. The DJ held the mike out to the audience to give the guy a little assistance, and I was the one who seemed to best nail the part. At that point, feeling a little cocky, I asked to change my song to one with a higher register.

(Note: A few songs after me, someone actually did sing the song I'd been about to sing, and did it quite well, especially the high part at the end. I'd sort of forgotten about the high part at the end.)
For various reasons I got to work unconscionably late both Thursday and Friday and accomplished far less than I would have liked. In fairness, I was in a position of really not having much to do. Before our stuff could be tested, there was some sort of post-production cycle for a given client that had become far more work-intensive than anyone expected. The work, however, was all implementation and nothing I could really help with.

Well, there were things on the punchlist that would require code changes that amounted to new features. I had the spare cycles to implement this stuff but for QA purposes and risk-avoidance it just wouldn't be practical to introduce more than a very limited amount of new code to that particular build.

In any case, the post-production rush resulted in our bowling outing being cancelled, though we nonetheless had a rollicking good time being sociable after 5 p.m., such a good time that it occurs to me that I cut off an Instant Message chat in mid-stream. Sorry about that, Jon.

People who knew about the karaoke wondered what I was going to sing and wanted a sneak preview. I kept deflecting, changing the subject, avoiding, but you knew I couldn't hold out. I'm becoming ever less able to hold onto my own dignity. As a group of us were standing around talking, I looked around and internalized things and thought through the social anxiety that hits me every now and then and suddenly it hit me that I knew exactly what I would sing. (Well, turns out I was wrong, but I thought I knew.)

Ran upstairs, web-surfed for lyrics, printed them out, and I was ready to perform. Big question among people who knew the song was whether I'd do the "real" version or the radio edit (apparently the so fucking special versus so very special distinction is quite the meme), also whether they could chime in with the Beavis and Butthead comments.
"This song sucks!"
"WAIT - it gets better!
(guitars come blaring in at the end of the first verse)

Somebody asked me if I was dealing with lost love or, failing that, unrequited love. I had no good answer to this question.

In response to a request that I find a more cheerful song, I went back upstairs, surfed for more lyrics, and came back down with Madonna's "Crazy For You." More accolades came, but oddly enough, not for my singing. Rather, somebody asked what my going rate would be to join her trivia team for pub trivia nights.

Trivia versus QB
There's a dangerous misperception building up here, that I'm "good at trivia" as a result of being so into quiz-bowl. The problem is that everything that the academic quiz players value so highly is useless in the real world, and maybe also vice versa. Some of you have played NTN, or done a pub quiz, or even Trivial Pursuit. Some of you have played with buzzers on questions by ACF, NAQT, college teams, or whoever. The difference is significant. Subject matter is the big thing, but also... just as some QB players take knowledge for granted that would go over normal people's heads, I think there are a lot of pieces of trivia that pub quiz players take for granted that academic people happen not to know.

Or rather, I guess the problem isn't my unexpected knowledge gaps so much as my vulnerability. Quiz-bowl players have a far smaller advantage at pub trivia than their friends would think (or fear) that they have. What I fear is that some time I actually will go do the pub trivia thing with a group like this, not give them nearly the advantage that they'd hoped for, and come out of it feeling vaguely like a fraud.

Att'n calvarez: Despite my misgivings, I really want to go back to Mad Dog In The Fog soon. We haven't been in months. Maybe this time instead of just two or three of us, we could join forces with these people I work with?
Achieved a weird alcohol-to-caffeine ratio over the last couple days.

Thursday night, went out for tapas with other co-workers, as a good-bye for Ian the DBA before he heads off to Montreal. Drank wine there. Cut out of there "early" (around 8) to catch the end of Berkeley quiz practice, where I'd promised to run into Joon and give him my Friday night A's tickets. Everyone who'd gone to the Berkeley practice ended up hanging around a bit at this one burrito place.

David Farris and some other guy ended up showing off (to each other) their memorization of Nobel Prize years. There's only one useful response to this. Naturally, Matt, Juliana, and I decided to start showing off our knowledge of Best Picture Oscar winners by year. For someone with such active, vocal disdain for the Oscars, I surprised myself with the accumulated memorization. We inexplicably got stuck on 1977, after which I was the one who came up with Annie Hall just from suddenly wondering Why wouldn't it have been Star Wars? and then remembering what it was that had beaten Star Wars out.

In the late 1990s, MIT's quiz team had a guy named Matt who was really good at pop culture. Now, Berkeley is the team that has a (different) Matt who's really good at pop culture. Neither of them are me.

Juliana, a film buff, maintains that Annie Hall was in fact the better movie. She's into some sort of liberal arts curriculum, through which she both reads a ton of books and watches a ton of movies. It's unclear where the line is between doing this for class and doing this for fun. Since some other guy at the table was seeking out inside info on the best professors for math courses (including Kiran Kedlaya, who was my year at Harvard and is now teaching at Berkeley), we briefly decided we'd find a good math course for Juliana to take.

At this point as you read this, you probably imagine that the joke involves her relative lack of math ability. In fact it'd be the other way around. Apparently she would be in good shape to take math classes but just prefers works of fiction. She complained of having been steered (as a freshman) into a math course that was way too easy for her, being discouraged from taking a harder course that would have been more interesting.

I ended up getting a ride from the burrito place to my car, since the tapas place had turned out to be much further away from campus than I thought. Once at my car, I swung by the usual MLK place to make sure that Mike knew Joon had the tickets. Naturally, both of them were there, as was Paul. We played bridge into the wee hours.
Sometimes having a high-pitched voice sucks. I hate being called ma'am on the phone by well-meaning strangers. I hate wondering every now and then whether the voice timbre results in my being taken less seriously by people than I would have been.

My voice by itself will never make me inherently cool the way that James Earl Jones is inherently cool. Silicon Age's Chief Technical Officer had a James Earl Jones voice. Last summer there was a contest to be the "Voice of Vectiv," the person whose voice would be used for the hold message recording on the support line(?). There was some support for just skipping the contest and naming Dex by acclamation. In the end it was actually a close vote between him and Susan, a very deep-voiced HR/accounting maven.

Theorem: There's a natural limit for voice deepness among women, though they can lower the boundary by smoking. This is probably also true of men.

In any case, sometimes it's not all that bad. There can be solidarity among tenors (item #7). Better yet, because of who I am and how I sound, I can cover


and you can't. Where "you" means basically anyone other than me and a handful of divas.

"Matt, you're fucking amazing." So claims the woman from our party of four from last night. Many other women at The Mint felt the same way, though not in as many words. Rather in as many screams of approval. The DJ (Asian guy, absolutely flaming, part of an archetype found almost exclusively in San Francisco, though I can think of at least two resident tutors at Harvard who fit the "queeny Asian guy" model) thought I looked nervous at first. Worse yet, I'd written down the wrong song #, which meant that he initially cued up "The Tide Is High" even though he saw "Could've Been" on my slip. He had to take a few seconds to adjust for this, during which time I did some impromptu a capella of Blondie.

The DJ made a show of telling me to stop that, "hey! Wait for it, we're a team!" And because it was my mistake, I did the make a show of slapping one's own ass thing, which led the DJ to pretend to spank me onstage. High comedy. High camp. It's kind of a shame that I don't find men at all sexually attractive, because at some point in my performance I blew whatever het cred I had left.

I can never trust my Gaydar because few people seem as gay to me as myself. This is actually mildly amusing.

Then again, for all I know the flagrantly effeminate nature of my on-stage demeanor might have been exactly what drove all the women wild. I wish I was queer, so I could get chicks.

The aforementioned lady of our party performed Sometimes a few songs after me. She was okay. I'd never heard the song before she performed it, which probably gives me one of the biggest ratios of (affinity for Britney) / (familiarity with Britney songs) of anyone under 30. Neither of the other two men in our group performed anything because they were too lame.

David did joke with me, referring to Erica's silk-screened "Lolita" shirt, whether Corwyn would draft her for his his simbase team.

Erica and I were going to do "Total Eclipse of the Heart" as a duet but more than an hour passed and I'd promised David a ride home before too late. Odd transportation logistics: I came to my friends' place (Berkeley) from work (Berkeley). David came home from work (Palo Alto), only to be suddenly asked if he wanted to come do karaoke with us; more to the point whether he wanted to go to karaoke with us via Palo Alto (given Erica's unexpected lack of transportation). So we went down the East Bay, back up 280, swung by Paul's parents' house so that two cars would be available so that David (who had to work Saturday) and I could leave before the other two if need be.

My car's itinerary from Friday would look really weird on a map, especially the part about trying to find parking around Market Street on a Friday night.

Best performance by far was this booming-voiced black guy who belted out a Broadway showtune and brought the house down. Worst performance was one of the dance numbers, either "Girl U Know It's True" or "Pump Up The Jam" because people got confused by their teleprompters and managed to mess up the lyrics & timing. This was in the portion of the evening when most people had already done a solo and a bunch of new entries were duets or group acts.

Gayest performance would be either the two guys who did "One" (U2) as a duet or (unintuitively) the muscle-bound guy who hammed up both "Proud Mary" and "Hurts So Good."

It's funny how stereotypes of homosexuality differ depending on just how familiar the stereotyper actually is with the gay community. Gym rats are some of the last people who'd be perceived to be gay in Middle America, yet those of us who live in cities like San Francisco see how it works: There's a point of buffness beyond which I've never seen a straight guy achieve.

Friday, April 26, 2002

Set the Way-Back Machine to 1987
Dude! RealOne rocks. So it's early 1987, I'm in seventh grade, first girlfriend and all that. Just starting to pick up on the charms of the opposite sex. Who knows what would have happened had I not had pop culture as my moral compass? Seriously. I hadn't heard this song in maybe 15 years.

Thursday, April 25, 2002

"Remember when Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes burned down Andre Rison's house?" [...] "I would label her as psycho. She's psycho!"

Ah, Bill Simmons, the columnist so nice I hear his material twice.

Artists similar to White Lion:
Poison, Ratt, Winger, Bon Jovi, Britney Fox

Yup, that seems about right. Hmm, this version of "When the Children Cry" isn't the one I'm used to. It has an organ thing going, where the intro is vaguely similar to "Whiter Shade of Pale." On the original album (Pride) they have the acoustic version, with no drumbeat. This version is decidedly not acoustic. I'm guessing it's a Greatest Hits-ism.
so torn
We go from Manilow to the Paul Hardcastle song 19.

But according to RealOne, "Coming Up: White Lion," so I have to keep listening because dude! White Lion.
My ears bleed
over this cover of "Let's Hang On." Who committed this crime against aural humanity? None other than Barry Manilow.

Joe Queenan lets Manilow off easy in Red Lobster, White Trash, and the Blue Lagoon. I sort of see Queenan's point about a has-been being ultimately endearing but good grief. Make him listen to that song. Wow.
Speaking of Page 2
Hate to break it to Simmons and probably should show more respect for the dead but there's no polite way to put this: Alice In Chains sucked.
The smack-talking guy's guy
This office has an ESPN echo effect.

Whatever I see on Page 2, I'll hear loudly commented from upstairs on a few minutes later.

"God, Tiger's girlfriend is so hot! She is smoking!"

(Note: I bet a lot of people read "upstairs" and think executive suites. Rather, this is just a loft area where some implementation team people work.)

Pardon me while I make fun of everyone around me. Just feeling bitchy today. In kind of a RTFM mood.
It's actually not entirely clear
what I do today. Code freeze last night, testing in progress. Some punchlist items exist for one client's post-production. Helping with them would make some DBA types and/or implementation types really happy, though it's unclear what the meta-issues would be with this.

The perfect day to have (purely coincidentally) egregiously overslept, in that I have to reasons not to feel any guilt whatsoever:
1. Was here well into the evening last night, being quite productive. Granted, nearly 13 hours passed between departure and arrival, so it's not quite enough to fit the 12-hour rule, but close.

2. No particular meeting missed or task delayed.
All these girls are in the office
Two of them are going around taking a survey. I imagine this is for a school assignment. Questions include things like where people grew up, how many siblings, how many pets.

"Where did you grow up?"
"Where's that?"
It's in Europe.

Similar confusion ensued for Ecuador, though in fairness if you don't know someone's from Ecuador and she says it with a bit of an accent, you might mishear it as something else. I now have a vague mental conception of growing up in Ecuador as one of six siblings.

This is a surprisingly cosmopolitan workplace. I'll just ignore the inexplicable porn music bassline reference that just came from upstairs. (Murmurs of conversation, then guffaws, then somebody saying "if this van's a-rockin'" and someone else doing the bassline. Unclear if any young girls were within earshot.)

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Love Theme From St. Elmo's Fire!
Gotta love 1980s mixes. Gotta love RealOne.

Possibly the first erotic dream I ever had involved that song (the instrumental, not the one about feeling like a man again and having St. Elmo's Fire burning in you). But wait... this is the mainstream blog.

Bah. Not much to tell about it anyway.
Drug Den Demolished
I'm pretty sure actually parked on the street in front of this house last week. There's all this great street parking in the neighborhood just east of the Coliseum. From where you park, you're a block away from the BART parking lot. Walk through that lot, duck through the pre-ticketed part of the station, go up a flight of stairs and blend in with people who BARTed to the park.

I'm always surprised that more people don't park there. Guess they're afraid of the 'hood.
Neg of the Day
Can't get full credit for this song despite knowing the artist and the song within a split second. Would've claimed the title was "I could never love again."

Sadly, this one isn't on The Mint's songbook.
FINALISTS: What Should Matt Sing?
In no particular order...

Naughty Girls Need Love Too. If I did myself up right I could be almost as fetching as Samantha Fox. Need to work on the British accent though.

Sylvia's Mother. Isn't this a decade early for me? All the '70s schmalz you could possibly stand, and yet the kitsch value is off the charts.

September Morn. Neil Diamond is probably way overdone in karaoke, but if you're going to do just one of his, this would be it. Or maybe America, but this one appeals to me. Doesn't work so well on an April evening but whatever.

Come On Eileen. Bonus points if you know who suggested this to me.

Please Come To Boston. Another one from the audience. Kind of in the Sylvia's Mother vein.

Suddenly. Dude!! Check out the typo in the first line of the Dutch site's version of the lyrics. Yeah boy! Fairy tail. No night at The Mint would be complete without that. Aw yeah, welcome to San Francisco, leave your coat at the door.

Speaking of fairy tail, I'm spontaneously adding Chains of Love to the finalists. Although I bet it gets sung at The Mint about a dozen times a night.

Note: RealOne does have an '80s Top 40 channel. Just led into Chains of Love from We Don't Need Another Hero. Sorry, Tina, I love this song but there's no way I can do it justice.

And last but not least, because believe it or not I sing this one in the shower now and then:
Could've Been
I know exactly where my voice will crack on this one: every time I get my hopes up, they always seem to fall. But what could've been is better than what could never be at ALLLLLLLLLLLLL....

Throat gets all scratchy just thinking about it.
His cell phone plays "Scotland the Brave"
But, alas, not with bagpipe accompaniment.
Seeing your name in the newspaper
This is even better.

There are other ways to get your name in the paper. You could write for one. Hey you! Send your resume there, I think they could use someone! And you too.

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

(stop singing)

In Las Vegas, of all places. Finally it makes the news. Saw the construction for it when I was there a month ago.
If you're really into country music and also practical jokes, a really fun prank might be to walk up to Jessica Andrews with a birth certificate and say, No, sorry, I'm Rosemary's granddaughter.

I, however, am not Rosemary's granddaughter. Nor am I Tiger Woods.
Dueling Pregnancy Stories!!
George Bush? Feh! Try Dante Bichette. With picture even!
Sacramento River Cats
My old boss already e-mailed me about this story, since Sacramento is vaguely my neck of the woods and also since I used to be really high on pitcher Aaron Harang as a prospect.

Harang was easily the best pitcher in the Appalachian League in 1999, the year I was responsible for Final Officials for that league.

Also worth noting in that story, the idea that the real prospects play in Double-A rather than Triple-A. In the Rangers system at least, this was true even ten years ago, even beyond the wishful thinking that you might expect from Tulsans as part of a Tulsa-Oklahoma City rivalry.

Ivan Rodriguez jumped directly from Double-A to the bigs. Sammy Sosa did. Can't remember for sure about Juan Gonzalez but he definitely spent a full year in Tulsa and little to no time in OKC. Carlos Pena did get the full Triple-A season in (2001, after being in Tulsa for 2000). Hank Blalock made it to Tulsa in mid-2001 and will have skipped OKC, assuming he doesn't slump badly enough to be sent down.

Benji Gil initially skipped the Sooner state completely, jumping past AA and AAA to go straight to the majors in 1993. This turned out to be a bad career move. Pete Incaviglia skipped the minors altogether, going straight from college to The Show. An even worse career move.
One-on-One Explanations of CVS
No, not the drug store!

One has been going on in the message board for my baseball league. The other happened a few feet behind me two hours ago. The second one shouldn't have been necessary.
What an ass...
Serves me right for linking to something without actually reading it first. The Chron column is an embarrassment. It's also the first time I've ever seen any signs of market rivarly come from the SF direction as opposed to East Bay folk pulling the chip-on-the-shoulder routine.

"I suppose the fact that he went to the hated Yankees is one of the reasons some fans are so frosted. What's the deal, you guys can't hate the Angels? Or the Mariners?"

This is actually a really good question, one of the few interesting points of the column. A related question is, why will the Yankees sell out when the Mariners had trouble attracting a crowd of 15,000? A's-Mariners by all rights ought to be a happening rivalry but I guess there are people who can't get into it if they don't feel the malice. What would you call these people? It's a little worse than fair weather fans. Maybe Schadenfreude fans? No, that's still not quite right.

I'm a little perturbed that people give a damn about the Yankees out here as opposed to Seattle. Then again, if that means I can enjoy seeing the Mariners come to down (at least, if it didn't rain) without fights breaking out in the stands, then I'll take it.

As for the original question, note the difference between "hate" and "enjoy rooting against." For some people those concepts go hand in hand; for me they're opposites. But I do know that, relative to other teams, Yankee fandom attracts a whole lot of assholes. Then again, maybe sports journalism does too.
"I don't know how people could change their minds so quickly," said [Carlos] Pena, who counts himself among Giambi's biggest fans. "If people are loyal to their feelings, they'll give Jason a standing ovation. I hope he gets a warm welcome for all the things he did for this team."
--San Francisco Chronicle

That's about how I feel, at least by now. I'll readily admit to feeling a blood vengeance as of November/December but you know what? Life is too short.

Based on the sports page I see at the cheesesteak place, the Oakland Tribune has had its panties in a bunch about Giambi's return all week. By now, the Chron itself is firing back.

The workplace is abuzz about the fact that the game is sold out. So far nobody's asked me about my own seats, which is good since the Yankee series is one that I pointedly avoided getting tickets for. (I know, I know, I should have included them in my package and then scalped 'em.) When I went to buy tickets, I knew there was some reason to want to go to this particular Yankee series but blanked out on why, so help me. Just as well.

So I did go see the return of Roger Clemens to Fenway Park in a Blue Jay uniform, and I cheered for him just like I'd cheer for Giambi. But Blue Jay fans aren't Yankee fans. They're actually nice, just like the Mariner fans I ran into a week ago tonight. There's something about the Yankees as the visiting team that brings out not only the worst in the home crowd but also the worst in the asshole New York transplants who come out in their pinstripes. (Actually, it's embarrassing if not painful to admit this, but so far as I can tell the biggest visiting-fan jerks I've seen since getting out here have been Red Sox fans at the Coliseum. Close second are Yankee fans, distant third are Dodger fans at Pac Bell.)

In any case, I'm going to steer clear of it all. Not worth the aggravation. Giambi was fun while he lasted. People claim that now he'll be booed because he's the enemy. See also the Ichiro comments from last week. I don't know how well this applies though. It's not like anyone was booing Troy Glaus over the weekend.
Officious Intermeddling
That was a term of art in contract law, I think. I've become a big fan of the word officious. It comes with the territory of being surprisingly deeply offended when people assume an air of authority that, given their position in a given group, they really have no right to assume.
That Law & Order rerun I saw last night
According to the episode guide, that would be Grief, originally aired February 4, 1998.

If anyone reading this happens to know the episode I'm talking about, I have a few questions:
1. What ever becomes of those two brothers who gave the guy a beat-down in the first place? Were those charges simply dropped?

2. What about their sister? If she wasn't raped then what made her brothers think she was?

There's also a little bit of a deus ex machina that I don't like, since the whole point of investigating the dude's previous job was to try to establish a pattern of conduct, where it turns out the pattern might not fit after all. At the very least, they shift gears very very abruptly. Way too fast for me to really internalize the sudden new moral issues. I spent the whole second half of the episode missing the point of the Big Dilemma (which is almost painfully gratuitously a Philosophy class discussion section problem) and instead wondering when they'd tie up the loose end.
Tip Candy In The Library
Did anyone in my reading audience play in The Jackpot Game over the weekend?

Each year on or around April 20 (hence, "the 420 game" or "the Stanford game"), a group of hardcore geeks set up a series of puzzles, scavenger hunt style, which teams in vans have to solve over a 24-48 hour period.

This year's game was in Las Vegas. My roommate Scott helped run it. He was stationed at a particular clue, a set of wooden floor platforms in a 2-row, 5-column grid, with the letter "J" showing on a screen. When teams got to it their first thought was often of Dance Dance Revolution, which is almost but not quite on the right track. Before you can show off your dance moves you have to know the pattern.

When Scott was recounting this clue to me I got the pattern pretty quickly. As soon as teammates got it, they'd see the "J" change into an "A", then "C", so that it spelled out something like J-A-C-K-P-O-T
then some more intricate stuff that led teams to have to do the "Jackpot" thing in faster & faster rhythm, and finally

Where "Tip Candy In The Library" is the clue for the next destination. I was almost on the right track for this clue, figuring that Candy was the name of a waitress or something. Or Something.

Monday, April 22, 2002

Why isn't there a country music '80s station?
Before "Hot Country" but long after "Classic Country" came Larry Gatlin, Crystal Gayle, the Mandrell sisters, and so on. A surprising number of those are available for karaoke at Mint.
Reba gets philosophical
This song raises far more questions than I'm prepared to answer.

My latest approach to these things is not to trust my heart, ever. It's a lying bastard. Or if not a liar, at least comically blind to reality. Not only doesn't it know the world, it doesn't know me. Or I don't know it, either way.

If I get one more OutOfMemoryError I might scream.
What should I sing?
First things first, should I sing at all?

Friday after work I will go bowling. This part seems to be mandatory, as part of the workplace series of Friday social events. Specifically, mandatory in that this is my group's turn to "host." Bowling begins at 5 p.m. After bowling I either go to the A's game or I go to karaoke.

Oakland has 81 home games of which I have 20 home games. Karaoke happens... I guess every night, but to go with a specific group of people you have to make the plans. This is the night for which the plans have been made. I already have the tickets for the A's game. On the other hand I could sell those tickets or give them away. I'd be arriving late to the A's game if I went, say around the 3rd inning or so. Meanwhile, if I did karaoke, it's possible that I'd be giving people a ride, people who'd otherwise have been stuck taking BART.

In the event that I do decide to sing (I refuse to consider "going but not singing" as an option: what's the point?), I'm somewhat disappointed in the selection. Then again, getting a chance to pick a song or two in advance is probably a good thing.

So look through the songbook and send me suggestions. I already have a couple in mind. I'm tempted to post a poll but that would get messy.
A little mullet humor
Note #1: This all comes from my bitching about a Sylvia comic strip, then digressing into e-mail forwards, most but not all of which are insipid.

Note #2: I do not currently have a mullet, thanks to the haircut from ten days ago.

Without further ado...

Shampoo stings my eyes,
I will never feel that twice:
slick hair smells like gas.

O! Squirrel brother,
Your tail, my hair. We are one.
Yet I must eat you.

I liked that foreign
legion movie so much, I
grew me one them hats.

Brown edged tank top sticks
to my white clumpy armpits
Somehow I get laid.

Flowing down the back
helps to keep mind closed, hate
released by short top

My hair is slammin
like Stone Cold. Can I get a Hell
yeah? Hell yeah. Hell yeah.

This super cool hair
and a bucket of chicken:
What more could I want?

my slick snakeskin boots
my silk shirt with rooster prints
always colored jeans

Lynnrd Skynnrd didn't
win no spelling bees. Who cares?
They rock the trailer.

Razor set to one.
Do front and sides and then stop
Reaffirm my style.

Metallica is
for first graders. Nothing rocks
harder than Winger.

Dogs urinate where
they so choose. And so do I.
Red and blue lights flash.

Teen runaway, I
hate my dad. Yet I am one.
Fly, thunderbird, fly.

Ponytails are for wimps.
But if you let that hair loose,
you are my brother.

New white tank top tucks
neatly into tight black jeans:
redneck romeo.

Short like your schooling.
Long like your prison sentence.
The penal haircut.

Bald on the top and
long on the back. Behold my
glorious skullet.

You smoke me up and
jerk me off. You are the best,
and I love you, sis.

My mullet and me
like to climb up a tree. We're
the best friends that could be.

Dad likes my mullet.
The nurse calls it a critter
carpet. My head breeds.

One day I will dip
and race cars. Until then I
ride my bike, chew gum.

With long hair in place
how else can I rebel? Hand
me the bong uncle.

Under the Christmas
tree: tight black jeans and a comb.
I've been extra good!

Short for dad. Long for
the daughter mom always wanted.
Everyone's happy.
My friend Duane is married by now, this having been the weekend following the Masters. (His wedding was in Augusta. Not to be confused with Augusta's wedding (or Dave and Augusta's wedding or Krinsky's wedding or whatever handle you choose), which happened in North Carolina a year or two ago.)

I guess a lot of my old Eliot House mates were at that wedding. I just didn't have the vacation time to spare. So far I've been to one wedding in my adult life (the rest, when I was growing up, all involved aunts or uncles or cousins). Next year, though, could bring three more.

For a split second I thought that I'd finally hit the point where all the couples I knew were engaged. Then I remembered Cindy and Justin, not to mention the Hentzels. Not sure if any of those have hit the point where people idly speculate on how soon the ring and the proposal come.

Cohabitation seems to be some sort of benchmark. Once two people formally live together, it's easy to start to wonder in most cases when the engagement will happen. In other cases I guess you wonder instead when the breakup will happen.

Just now remembered a possible faux pas from the party Friday night. The mix they were playing included a dance version of the Titanic song. Before it was clear that it had a backbeat, someone expressed fear that this would be a song where the couples found each other and everyone else slunk off to the side. I asked the women I was chatting with if they'd ever been at a wedding when something like that happened. Or rather, not asking so much as telling my story but in the second person that people sometimes use when they either don't want to sound like they're talking about themselves or assume for some reason that their own experiences are universal. In any case, the one lady pointed out that she was in fact still young enough that she hadn't had to go through the whole wedding thing yet.

Couldn't tell if she was offended by the implicit idea that I thought she was older than she was. At the very least she seemed very happy with the fact that she was so young.
It's getting more and more popular.

I'm Gonna Miss Her sounds like it could be today what Friends in Low Places was a few years back.

At the A's game Friday, in the "Choose a Highlight" segment, fans got to "vote" (by noise level) to see either Indians/Twins highlights or NHL playoff highlights or Marlin Fishing. Guess what won by a landslide? And yeah, it was actually pretty cool.

Fisherman 1,
Marlin 0
Yet Another On-Line Conversation
Hey Jon, how's it going?

Not bad, other than that I'm not really Jon, just a figment of your imagination, answering the way he might answer, just to be a cheap plot device.

Fair enough.

You know, if you were on AIM, you could talk to the real me if I was logged in.

Good point. I don't know why I don't sign on lately. Just don't feel all that social, at least not at work when I'm getting in later than I want to and not wanting to look like a slacker.

Oh, like the blogger window isn't a telltale sign?

Yeah whatever. And why don' t you call me a girl again while you're at it?
Now that we've run this into the ground, a look at his actual entry (April 21, 2002, if you're reading this after the fact)...

Cooch misses Drew Bledsoe. I should have an opinion about this but I really don't. Boston is too far back in the rear view mirror. With any luck, that's exactly how Bledsoe himself feels about things, though obviously his exodus is on terms different from mine.

In the same vein, out of nowhere Boston's winter sport teams are doing really well. Look at the franchise histories and at my time in Boston (September 1992 to February 2000). Could it be more obvious that I was giving those teams bad luck?

Related rant: Basketball and hockey are "winter sports," and yet playoff series highlights take up precious minutes on SportsCenter well into June, two months into the baseball season. After that there's two, maybe three weeks during which diamond action can dominate the sports highlights before the stupid July football training camp stories begin. Even in that span, Wimbledon pops up on the scene and baseball itself shoots itself in the foot by having those league-wide off days before and after the All-Star game. Have I mentioned how much the All-Star game itself annoys me? Waste of time.

Unrelated non-rant: Glad to see the young up-and-coming journalists see through Barnicle. I too am baffled that he still has a job.
Country Music Stars Who Rap
Works for Hometown News, fails catastrophically for Toby Keith.

As always, this is just my personal opinion.
The Kind of TV I Don't Like
You know, I could either spin off a pop culture blog or just rename this one. The thing is, it's unclear what kind of content this one would end up with.

Oxygen is... instead of the obvious pun I'll go for a slightly less obvious one... about to go tits-up. (Probably not the usage Mr. Mackenzie had in mind.)

Mickey Kaus feels pretty smug about this.

Sunday, April 21, 2002

God Bless Traditional Country Music
I love this song!
History Repeats Itself As Farce
Forgive me for having no sympathy whatsoever for Layne Staley or for his fans. Just as Robert Blake is no O.J. Simpson, so Staley is no Kurt Cobain.

A week ago I was riding with my sister to the airport. We either saw a billboard or heard a radio ad for a concert featuring Jerry Cantrell. I remember wondering whether he had any material other than Alice in Chains songs.

This is one of those bands whose existence I'd forgotten about when I dissed grunge in that incredibly long music critique. But my dissing of grunge still stands.

On a completely different note
I was going to ask what's up with this song but the lyric sheet ended up spoiling it for me. Ah, novelty music. Presented via RealOne as "Traditional Country." I'm so confused.
Linkin Logs
"Forfeit the game before somebody else
Takes you out of the frame puts your name to shame
Cover up your face you can't run the race
The pace is too fast you just won't last.

--Linkin Park, Points of Authority

Forgive me for finding this verse less than inspiring. Not that it's uninspiring, rather that it's anti-inspiring. Why on Earth am I listening to this song when I need music to pump me up for great accomplishments? Maybe at some arena somewhere they can play this for the visiting team's player intro's.

Contrast to a song like Are You Ready?

For what it's worth I'm a big believer in visualization. What you think is about to happen to you, whether good or bad, is often a self-fulfilling prophecy. Some of it is will. Depending on the activity, some of it may even be muscle memory.

There's a point in here somewhere. Maybe it involves young people and despair but probably not. Didn't mean to get that deep. Just, sometimes lyrics are striking, that's all.
Not sure why I'm not falling asleep yet.
I'm miffed that I'm not yet leaving the computer and headed to bed, yet unable to leave the computer without finding some nameless unknowable thing that I seem to have been looking for. Hence this entry.

Contractors, workmen, came by here this afternoon, an appointment I heard about on short notice, one for which only I was home because Scott is out of town, Chris was playing D&D, and Nelson... not sure what he's up to. The landlady and one particular contractor seem to have a habit of loudly arguing with each other in Chinese. The gist of it probably relates to whether there's shoddy workmanship here or whether we're somehow just bad tenants, people who don't know how to change a lightbulb. I'm sure the water damage on the bathroom ceilings is somehow our fault. Either that or we're just making it up.

The appointment was to be at 3, though around that time the phone call came postponing it to 4. Braves-Marlins game also began at 4 (my time), decent chance to see Greg Maddux pitch. Right after everyone left, got a phone call asking if I wanted to go play baseball in Berkeley. Where "play baseball" means four people bring balls and gloves to a field, and take turns pitching and hitting and shagging.

After the baseball (I got one really good hit but also a bruise on my left arm and a baseball stitch-impact redness on my right wrist) came some video games, a trip out to a Japanese restaurant (Mifune), dessert at an ice cream place in Ghiradelli Square, and then random board games and card playing up until about two hours ago.

All in all a nice way to spend that rare free weekend day. The only downside here is that NAQT loses out, in that I'd planned to do a fair amount of question writing. This is how not being in crunch time leads quickly to being in crunch time. *shrug*