Saturday, May 04, 2002

A country run by clueless dicks
This should probably be on the political offshoot but I don't feel like relegating it.

Know who gets screwed by profiling? Senior citizens.

Actually I'm probably less outraged by this than other people will be. Namely the senior citizens themselves, who have a nasty habit of hijacking entire presidential elections over their ever-increasing sense of entitlement(s). Social security for decades on end? Why not? It's not like the system will go bankrupt or anything. Note: I don't expect to get jack shit out of social security, given my age. It sucks but I've become jaded enough about it not to become revolutionary about it or anything. Still, other people my age probably won't take it very well when they find out the hard way. Prescription drug plan? Why not? Sugar daddy will always be there for you.

But this is one case where if a seasoned citizen or two decided to bitch about something, they'd have a point. If we were really serious about targeting the high risk travelers, we'd give up the collective guilt trip and actually be willing to admit that airborne terrorists are overwhelmingly single men of Arab descent. So yeah, obviously, not every single traveling man of Arab descent is a terrorist. The statement doesn't imply the converse. But the correlation going the one way is so strong that, relatively speaking, giving anyone else the latex glove search treatment is basically a waste of time.

Will the Feds ever realize this, and/or have the balls to act on it? Nope. They won't even let pilots pack heat.
Sincerest form of flattery
Both Bizarro and Foxtrot, paying tribute to other comics this Sunday.
Maybe I take things too literally but
when I was six years old, I don't think I knew the word empiricist.

Calvin's vocabulary is oddly big. Maybe that's part of the charm?
I can't decide if there's a labor union rant forthcoming or not
Speaking of the D-Backs, catcher Damian Miller has become an All-Star, Gold Glove-level player, but if you buy World Series T-shirts, pennants, etc. with the players' names, his has to be left off because he was a replacement player. That he was told it was OK by management to play in one spring B game is too grievous for the Players Association to overlook. --Peter Gammons, Diamond Notes

The views of Peter Gammons are, in general, not necessarily those of this author, though in this case I think the way he puts it pretty much sums it up.

In other news, if the company I worked for were a union shop, I wouldn't be here at this instant. But the flip side is I wouldn't be able to arrive consistently so late in the morning and have both co-workers and highers up appear to look the other way. My manager, sometimes called "The Tall Guy" (maybe two or three readers will know exactly who I'm talking about; for the rest of you don't get the wrong idea, he's well qualified for a management position even apart from his height -- this guy I do like a lot), doesn't seem to care what time people get in so long as we get our work done. On the "getting work done" front, the flip side is he doesn't seem to feel much guilt about having folks in over the weekend.

Two-way street, I guess. You could argue that there's massive potential for abuse in either direction in an arrangement like this but it's all about trust. If I didn't trust them I wouldn't be here; if they didn't trust me they wouldn't hire me. There's where it lies, probably, the idea that I am me. Maybe I'm not an especially superlative person but I'm a person unlike any other. That's true of many if not most software people. Collective bargaining doesn't work for us because we're not pegs that can be fit into holes.

This falls short of a screed because I stop short of railing against other people's labor unions. If you're in a union, bully for you. Do it your way; I'll be thankful to be able to do it my way.
<quiz bowl>
Recreational Quiz-Bowler
For all the good and bad of it, that's what I've become. I played in the "singles tournament" at Berkeley today, finishing 5th in a field of 18. Afterwards they had some ad hoc team play going but I couldn't stick around since I supposedly have work to do. Yeah yeah, I'm looking through the punchlist, I'll get my stuff taken care of.

Why do I say this? Based on today's results, the players I'm most similar to in skill are the cheerful, reasonably good ones who enjoy the game but don't take it deadly seriously. Like Paul, onetime "science specialist" who's been away from the game for awhile but still actually Knows Things. Or Juliana, history major who gets quiz stuff right by reading a lot. On the off chance that you care, the recap...

First round, three rooms, six randomly assigned players per room. Came in fourth of six. (The top three all ended up in the top four overall I think.)

Note: One nice touch for this tourney was the 65-point cutoff. The standard for the multi-player early rounds of a singles tourney is that players are "out" once they reach a certain point threshhold. Seeding order comes from how quickly players reach that mark (or, failing that, what their tally is at the end of the pack). So what I like about 65 is that there's a one-neg cushion. Whether you get zero incorrect answers or one, you still need exactly seven right answers. When the tally is evenly divisible by 10, your very first neg puts you in a tossup hole. Having the cushion may or may not have led to more aggressive buzzing but it added a little comfort level.

For the second round, David Farris (#1 in my room) and I went into a room with people who finished at #2, #3, #5, and #6 in their rooms. Over several questions in mid to late pack, the top four of us were within 10 points of each other in the 50-60 range. I leapt onto some neg-bait (hey, it turns out that fluid dynamics has a dimensionless quantity other than Reynolds number, and also that someone other than Marcel Proust wrote a work called Remembrance of Things Past) but still took fourth.

For the third round, all the #1's and #2's from the previous round took a room together, as did the #3's and #4's, then #5's and #6's. Here came the final seeding for the 16-player double-elim, where the worst two players in the #5's/#6's room would be SOL. This was the third time in a row that Farris and I shared a room. Seth Teitler easily "won" the room, then Farris, then a friendly scrum between Paul and Juliana and Steve Kaplan and me, out of which I came in next-to-last after losing different buzzer races to each of the other three.

Double-elim: Upset Nick Meyer in the #6-#11 game, apparently the only first-round game that the superior seed lost. (If you've paid attention to the format, you know that right before double-elim, Nick got the worst result in the top room. Word has it he got neg-happy that round. Against me, he was trying to be more careful but as a result lost some crucial speed.) In the #3-#6, lost to Amar by two questions where I was two down with two to play but neither of us knew either of the last two questions.

"Who is Amar?" For that matter, who is Juliana? Very brief answers here. Stanford also sent folks up to play questions today. Prasun was second in my first-round room, Raj won my second-round room. I think I finished ahead of one of them but behind the other. It seems a little too arbitrary to me what specific number of finish was given 4th versus 5th, 6th thru 8th, 9th thru 12th, or 13th thru 16th. Like, Joon's probably much better than me but had a worse finish than me. Granted, I lasted one round longer than he did but against different opponents. Blah.

Then came close victories against Paul (#6 vs. #12, won by 10 points) and Juliana (#6 vs. #5 -- she'd moved up from #10 -- where the final score was only 5 but I'd been up by much more before very nearly choking) before losing to Farris again (#2 vs. #5), where he was fresh off of losing to Teitler in the game that determined the winner's bracket finalist.

Those two did indeed meet again in the finals and split, leaving Teitler the champ.
</quiz bowl>

Passing Pizza Forward
Yesterday I ate a free Round Table pizza thanks to coupons Joon got an an A's game. Today I ate many pieces of pizza for $5 because the Berkeley quiz team procured so much pizza. Just now, for a little bit more than $5, I procured pizza for a a platoon of Israeli soldiers.

If you value, as I do, the survival of the only democracy in the area, I urge you to do the same.
Sometimes being busy is good
Even if the stress part kind of wears you down in the long run, part of me really does like the hectic days. You can tell from the lack of blog entries. Blog entries from work, especially the short random pop culture ones, are probably a sign of malaise. Then again, you probably enjoy them. Can't blame you, nor the entries. They just reflect, I guess.
Songs I cranked tonight
With the car windows down and everything. In Berkeley, westbound on Ashby Street (also known as Highway 13): For Those About To Rock (We Salute You).

In San Francisco, westbound on Fell, Freebird.
Oh yeah: David
Never came home tonight. He's either working very very hard or having an affair, we really can't decide which. If he is having an affair, my hat's off to him. You go!
Random notes about my friends.
Paul likes Instant Messenging. I really don't. Mike sides with me on this. Joon seemed to side with Paul but maybe just rhetorically. (Stephen hadn't arrived yet.) Paul suggests they're much better than phone conversations in that you can multi-task on your computer. I respond that IM's just have the same problem that phone calls have, where you can't really multitask because you have to choose between the evils of not doing anything else with your time or not paying as much attention to your conversation mate as you would have wanted to.

I know people who are really good at carrying on long IM chats without losing any productivity whatsoever. With the notable exception of Kubi, I don't know of anyone with whom I can do an IM without losing nontrivial productivity. People from work are almost always IM'ing to seek answers to questions, where I have to either look something up or think or both to answer them reasonably.

I'm with Mike that the ten minutes spent devoting 100% of your attention an e-mail is a far better relative use of time than the hours you spend half-assedly chatting with someone. I also wish I could do anything on-line half-assedly, including this blog. What do you think, do I have another spontaneous long entry in me? Got the adrenaline going and all.
Feiler Faster Thesis
As the google search implies, the Feiler Faster Thesis is talked about only by Mickey Kaus. ("M-I-C, K-E-Y, K-A-U-S-d'oh!") It's no less of a good idea. Basic premise is that these days everything happens faster than it used to, including and especially news cycles. Plots travel so fast that even really bad news can be digested, picked apart, exploited for awhile, and then just as quickly forgotten by a fickle media. Bill Clinton exploited the Feiler Faster Thesis to perfection.

In any case, it may apply to how I internally deal with my interactions with people with age. It's amazing to me how quickly someone can go from (in my eyes) God's gift to humanity to the bane of my existence to a human being just like any other.

It's also amazing to me just how transparent everything I say and do must seem to other people. I'm such a blatantly simple person (had an ex-girlfriend use that adjective to describe me, where in context it was unmistakeably a compliment). With any luck, this works in my favor. Like in bridge you probably want to be simple. In poker you probably don't want to be. That's why I suck at poker, unless and until I get my best Jerry Glanville randomly-stupid routine going, at which point I start to throw people off and even get lucky now and then.

The problem is, I can tell sometimes when people see right through me. Or maybe I'm just paranoid about it. Either way, I get that feeling. Sometimes it's comforting.

I do know that a whole lot of how my life works right now is just untenable. For example, it's remarkable how stressful a workday I had, given how not-stressed I was at the point of coming over to Mike et al's place. I don't know what to do about this lack of viability but I'm a lot more amused by it (and less stressed by it) than you'd think. Returning to the poker reference, it's a lot like my friend Igor's favorite refrain: (shaking his head) "this hands a loser -- I'll raise".

Right now I still think I probably have a losing hand but I'm happy enough about it that I'll pay to see the flop.
They were too sick to leave the house but they wanted me to come over anyway.
Paul and Mike, that is. Mike sent me the e-mail. Despite the fact that he mentioned karaoke in the e-mail (along with warning me that he was sick, having caught whatever Paul had), Mike decided that he was too sick to leave the house for it. Paul and Stephen and Joon and I were all sufficiently healthy to order out from Round Table and pile into Stephen's car to go pick the pizzas up, taking advantage of these coupons Joon had gotten when someone hit a home run at an A's game.

The evening consisted of sitting around talking (randomly), deciding we were hungry, hemming and hawing about dinner, then Mike deciding he didn't want to go out nor to eat Round Table. After we got back there was some Smash Brothers (I suck at this, but I kick ass as Kirby) and then some Password (the board game). Note: Joon is phenomenally good at Password. Fortunately he was my partner.

Tomorrow we play in this ad hoc Berkeley singles quiz thing. That is, if neither Joon nor I got the flu (or whatever they have) from Paul and/or Mike.
Why is there a Chipper Jones bobblehead doll on my kitchen counter?
It appears to have been a cereal prize.

Found out at 5 p.m. tonight (Friday) that I'd be working this weekend, both days in fact. Both days I'll straggle in around 6 in the evening and work arbitarily late. Saturday, I'm supposed to not only make whatever code changes I can make (for punchlist purposes -- someone asked the origin of the term punchlist and nobody knew) but also have whatever SQL I can prepare ready to make the DBAs' job Sunday be as painless as possible. Then Sunday night, after having been at a Giants game (and likely out in the sun too long), I'll head straight from PBP to the office and make sure that the newest DBA didn't run into any trouble. Of course he'll have run into trouble.

Training people is frustrating, especially when you have high standards and overestimate how quickly a person who's new to the system can catch on. It occurs to me that I decide way too quickly that any given new acquaintance is unreliable or slow on the uptake. This is exactly the mindset that some of the baseball's worst managers fall into. Jimy Williams, I'm looking at you; Cito Gaston, call your office. Managers who overplay their veterans and sell their rookies short will never succeed in the long run, yet this is exactly what I do in so many work environments.

Then again, once in awhile in my life (mainly in much easier jobs, like doing baseball statistics) I'll work with a new hire who's not only reasonably competent at what he does but also fairly eager to learn. That's when I go all Sparky Anderson and decide that so-and-so is a future Hall of Famer.

Thursday, May 02, 2002

My sister is not at that game
I thought maybe she'd be there, though the game she was going to go to was actually Tuesday. No, her biggest claim to baseball spectating fame will still be the Kerry Wood game.

So what's my biggest? Good question...

I saw one of Junior Griffey's X00 homers, I want to say 300. The one in Boston.

I was at ALDS Game 4 in 1999, the game that the Red Sox annihilated Cleveland by a football score. Also ALCS Game 3, the only game of that series that Boston won, when Pedro and the Sox beat Roger and the Yanks 13-1.

Saw Barry Bonds get a game-winning hit and a tie-breaking homer in the 8th. The latter was San Francisco's first home victory at Pacific Bell Park. Odd that it took them seven home games to do it, given their current amazing record at that park.

No no-hitters for me but shutouts by Pedro, Livan, Russ Ortiz, and probably somebody else in there.

No four-homer games for me but I did see Mo Vaughn take David Wells deep thrice, back when Vaughn was a Red Sock and Wells was an Oriole.

Saw San Francisco clinch the 2000 NL West title, a seesaw game where they took the lead for good in the bottom of the 8th and then cranked "Smoke on the Water" to about twice the normal volume. A couple weeks later, saw the A's beat Texas to pass the Mariners and take over first place in the AL West on the last weekend of the season.

Oakland's Division Series games lately have been sad rather than historic, though they did beat Roger Clemens in the first game of 2000.

Of all this, what was the biggest? Probably the first win at PBP. Honorable mention to any 2001 game in which Bonds homered, or (collectively) the handful of A's games I went to during their long home winning streak.
"I Need A Prom Date"
--sign seen at a Berkeley protest

Since I'll be on that campus as of a couple hours from now (unless I decide the hell with it and go home -- after all, why am I going to quiz practices other than to hang out with people?), the article riled me a bit but a little levity is good.

I wonder if there's a place between here and campus where I could pick up an Israeli flag pin?
I have to go see this.
(or rather, if you're on the east coast, you do)

The Montreal Blitz play women's professional tackle football. They belong to the Independent Women's Football League, which also features the Bay State Warriors, who appear to play in Revere.

Here are more women's football links for your needs.

My eyes are wide and gleaming. I'm trying not to salivate. It's like Christmas morning. Damn, those games must be fun to watch.
Baseball & Pop Culture
Separated at birth: Terry Haig, the color analyst for Montreal Expos games (back on the radio (Montreal's Sports Authority, The Team 990), but also still webcast), and the guy from One Night in Bangkok. They both have that nasal accent that just screams NYC; maybe a true New Yorker could trace it to the exact borough.

The Cardinals have great middle-of-the-ninth rally music. Except that it seems to be by Bryan Adams.
Your Tax Dollars At Work
or, department of "duh!"

Compare this real story (via TollBooth) to this fake one.
The Wells Fargo chick is Roz!?
I'm almost ashamed not to have noticed this. Peri Gilpin to be specific. John Heaton rocks for pointing this out.
You won't like me when I'm angry.
Statistically Speaking...
On Yahoo! Personals, women-seeking-men who live within 25 miles of San Francisco, ages 21 through 33, education "Some College" or greater, marital status single, doesn't smoke, no kids ("Any" or "No preference" for all other search criteria): 314

On political preferences, exclude "Very Liberal" (by unchecking "Any" and checking Very Conservative, Conservative, Middle of the Road, Liberal, and Not Political, one-by-one), and you're left with 189

Sanity check: uncheck all the political views and add only "Very Liberal" to get... 8

Somehow the other people didn't answer the politics question. Guess I won't filter on it after all.

Point of this post was defeated in mid-post.

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

The chick from Wells Fargo
Most of you will now officially have no clue what I'm talking about but one or two Californians will have the shock of recognition.

Before either of these ad campaigns had come up, I'd chosen Wells Fargo pretty arbitrarily. Now, CalFed has Elvis and Wells Fargo has these radio ads featuring this woman. I can't name her because she's never identified. But it's the same gal doing the voiceovers. You'd know her voice anywhere. A little deep but not overly so, a little twangy but not overly so.

I think some Asian car company used her voice for an ad or so but other than that it's overwhelmingly a Wells Fargo presence. I wonder if there's some way to Google one's way to her name. It's not the personal... well, okay, it actually is sort of a homey, chummy ad campaign in its own way, but the intimacy there is a one-way street. She's saying things we're supposed to identify with about how life goes.

Hard to explain, you'd probably have to hear the ads. Elvis is inherently cooler than whatzername but still not so much that I'd change banks over it.
Two people who you probably don't know unless you live in California
1. Carly (especially the first-name basis)

2. Elvis Schmiedekamp

Sometimes an ad campaign hits it really really big, either because the ads are so good or because the ads are so annoying or both. When it's a strictly local ad campaign, you get this major disconnect. Like, I really really want to write a trash (pop culture) question on Elvis Schmiedekamp, but there's absolutely no forum where the question would be fair game for everyone.

How to put this? For the Boston contingent, CalFed ads featuring Schmiedekamp are almost as ubiquitous as Foxwoods ads featuring the jingle. They're all over the radio, and also all over (billboards) public places: Airports, BART, and so on.
Glad I didn't drive today
Reading this story, I couldn't figure out what day they meant. Assuming it's today, for the longest time I couldn't figure out why I didn't notice a delay. Then I remembered: I was on BART through it all.
Florida versus Kansas City
Read the news about the girl(s) and then tell me: Which set of authorities sounds like it has its shit together, and which set just sounds flat-out incompetent?

This ends of affecting, of all things, how I feel about where I grew up. Do this quick thought experiment:
You're stuck in (say) St. Paul, Minnesota, and you need government-related help. DMV, suppose. Relatively speaking are you going to get good service? Will the people you talk to know what they're doing? Hell yes. They'll talk to you in their charming Midwestern accents but they'll know exactly what steps to take and they'll even be friendly and courteous.

Now repeat this in, oh, I don't know, Gainesville. You might meet some friendly ordinary people but the service you get from authority figures... I for one wouldn't expect anything good out of this.

Or think about education. There all sorts of metrics, test scores or whatever, where Iowa and the Dakotas come out on top while Mississippi and environs come out last.

Point being, Kansas City seems to be an honorary Midwestern town. Not sure where that leaves Tulsa.
Hot Sauce
On my walk from work to BART yesterday, stopped by Everette & Jones bbq on San Pablo avenue. Got the rib sandwich. They asked what kind of sauce I wanted. I said "hot."

For future reference, medium (if not mild) would be plenty. When they say hot, they mean it.
Car
Took it in for a 30,000 mile tuneup.
(Actual odometer reading > 35K.)

They said it'd probably be ready by 4/4:30 yesterday, asked if my work number was the right place to reach me. I (falsely) inferred from this that they'd call me when it was ready. They never called.

Yesterday I took BART & Muni home. Today I took Muni & BART to the repair place, where my car was indeed ready.

I'll forgive them, given that the thing now runs significantly better than it did when I took it in. The engine no longer sounds like it has a head cold. The steering wheel no longer intermittently squeaks. The thing runs very quietly and handles like a pro. I think I can steer it to the left or the right just by thinking about veering left or right.

I love my mechanic. Next time I need a new car (which at this rate will be 2006 or so, in spite of all the miles I'm putting on the Intrepid), I'll think highly of just going there instead of (or in addition to) shopping around on-line.
This entry may or may not be legal
(here's why, with commentary)

Hmm, I wonder what's going on in Dallas, Texas, these days?

Let's see... says here a cop slayed an Irving police officer.

Clint Black is moving to Nashville.

There's a governor's race on.

No more junk food in school cafeterias.

Ranger closer Jeff Zimmerman will have surgery. Good news for Hideki Irabu and, to a lesser extent, John Rocker.

Weren't all those stories fascinating? And to think, with half an hour's worth of settings configuration, they could have just made sure all those links redirected to their precious home page. I could have done that.

Suppose you lived next to a busy intersection, with a big window in front of your house. You could get your lawyers to make people stop looking inside your window, or you could close the damn drapes.

As usual, Instapundit sums it up best.

Tuesday, April 30, 2002

"Bil didn't answer. He was too fraught with worry. When would Lizbeth realize that Eric was cheating on her? Dammit, when?!"
--Family Circus parody captioners turn on other comic strips
David Nieporent has a weblog!
Jumping to Conclusions, also known as "The Tollbooth."

Nieporent's previous claim to fame (in my eyes at least) was as arguably the funniest, most correct poster to rec.sport.baseball. Alas, I see no baseball on his weblog aside from an Oriole reference in the "About Me" section.
Very Disturbing Googling
I distinctly remember an old Baseball Prospectus column (or was it Neyer?) about Roger Clemens, using the adjective "meated" to describe his girth and subsequently to compare "meated" versus "non-meated" pitchers.

So I did a google search to try to find it. Come to think of it, this wouldn't have turned up because it was on an e-mail list from last year. Ah well.

Imagine how disturbed I was when the only search result was this very weblog.
Don't read this if you're easily queasy. My head is still spinning. I might have to throw up. That's actually not an exaggeration. Getting work done today will be fun.
Ballpark Trivia
There were two segments tonight. Actually three but two were worth prizes.

On a Millionaire-style question, some guy won an autographed Giants media guide for knowing that Larry Bowa (and not Bob Brenly, Jim Leyland, nor the choice I'm forgetting) hails from Sacramento, CA.

On a contestant-less "Who Am I?" scoreboard segment, Paul recognized Greg Minton ridiculously early from stats. The first clue was something like "125 saves for the Giants from 1975 to 1987" and already that was enough for him.

On an allegedly (but not really) Match Game style question, in spite of audience help, some woman failed to correctly guess J.T. Snow's favorite band. She guessed AC/DC (good guess if it were Jeff Kent) rather than U2 or the correct answer, Creed, as now seen on my homepage.

Problems: The layout gets messed up, plus it's not a babe anymore. Then again, hey, it's Creed. This made me happy.. Paul seems not to be a Creed fan though.
Also worth noting from tonight's game
Obviously both Paul and I noticed the Philadelphia bullpen's collapse. What we didn't realize until hearing Jon Miller's recap was that San Francisco relievers retired all 16 men they faced over 5 1/3 innings. Hats off to Witasick, Fultz, Worrell, F-Rod, and Nen.
Complete Elements of a Good Giants Game
PHI 0 0 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 - 5 7 1
SF 0 0 0 0 1 4 2 1 X - 8 8 1

WP- Worrell (2-0)
LP- Cormier (1-3)
S- Nen (7)

Box Score | Recap | Game Log

1. Paul - You can't underestimate the value of going to a game with a friend who's a true fan of the home team. Buying individual game tickets is cheaper and brings a lot less pressure with it but, even apart from the fact that one ticket is harder to get rid of than two (if you find you can't go at all, as may be the case for me Sunday), going with a friend enhances the good time. Check.

2. Garlic fries - The other thing about two people at a ballgame. If you eat a whole thing of garlic fries by yourself, you'll be more than satiated. In fact, you'll feel a little oogy (not to be confused with Ugie). But two people each end up with just enough to enjoy both the good taste and the distinctive aftertaste. Check.

3. Brisk weather - Oh, my ears are a little red. Once again I stubbornly (actually more like absent-mindedly) went to the game without a coat. So be it. Check.

4. Brisk pace - Uh, not this time. For once I went to a game at PBP and both starting pitchers struggled. Jason Schmidt's defense didn't exactly help him but by the fourth inning he was already pushing 100 pitches, leaving balls up, and getting spanked around so bad that even with two out he couldn't snuff a rally. Missed.

5. Home run by the good guys - Not Bonds this time but rather Jeff Kent, who needs to step up while Bonds tries to play through a bad hammy. Whenever a Giant goes deep at PBP, they play the fog horn, shoot water out of the fountains on the right field concourse, and ring the cable car bell, all for your local-flavor merriment. The sound of that fog horn does to me what the sound of your local rink's goal horn does to any good hockey fan. Check.

6. Stirring rally - Had this in spades, as San Francisco came back from five runs down and scored the tying and go-ahead runs on a pair of two-out, bases loaded walks. Crowd screaming, vastly inferior bullpen fodder starting out behind the hitters, eventually a full count, and then the money pitch isn't even close. Check.

7. Smoke on the water - Fire in the sky! Now pitching for the Giants... #31... Robb Nen! 13 pitches, 10 strikes. If he's completely healthy then Nen is, with apologies to Trevor Hoffman (who's started to enter a decline phase), the National League's best closer. All other candidates are either injury risks or unproven or both. Choke artists need not apply. Anyway, Nen came in and made flyweights like Jimmy Rollins look bad. Check.

8. Mr. Tony Bennett - Once the last out is made and San Francisco has indeed won, once this year's flavor of pop euphoria has played itself out and the lights at PBP dim, the time comes for the final victory serenade. Oh yeah. Check.

Okay, so tonight's game wasn't exactly played at the fastest clip. But that's just one minor flaw. All the other ducks lined up tonight (where the major ones are the Smoke and the Bennett, with Paul and garlic fries both semi-major).

Monday, April 29, 2002

Speaking of Red Sox Theme Music
I think I finally figured out what it is they always used to play for home runs. Crappy soundspeaker system and all. My aural matching patterns are all saying yes to this one. Anyone from up there got a yea or nay on this one?
Arthur's Theme
Heard the Christopher Cross version of this song today for the first time in several years.

Bet the Boston contingent doesn't hear this version nearly as often as the organ version so often played at Fenway Park during pitching changes. That and the theme from Cats, not to mention Copacabana. For the most part, the organ version counts as an improvement on these things.

Or for a whole new wrinkle, try out the Arthur's Theme MIDI.
PSA: Blogger Bug
These days if you write a weblog entry and hit "Post & Publish," the post won't actually show up until the next time you publish an entry.

So a lot of weblogs are always exactly one entry behind what they're supposed to display. See this discussion thread.

I noticed this a few days ago and wasn't sure what to do about it. Looks like at least one other blog is affected by this: Posted Wednesday but I didn't see it on the site until today.

Anyway, just so you know. I like the idea of hitting "post", then waiting 30 sec, then hitting publish.

Sunday, April 28, 2002

I don't understand the new Sam Adams commercials.
Two guys talking. One asks,
"She's pretty, she's smart, why not?"

The other says,
"Because she's my sister and I'll kill you."

Does the other guy not trust his friend with his sister? If not, why not? If there's some reason why you wouldn't trust some particular guy to date your sister, why would you trust him enough to continue to be friends with him at all? Am I just completely missing how American culture works?

How does the way this guy would treat the other guy's sister compare to the way he'd treat any other women? There's obviously not enough plot points in the commercial to really say. Does the one guy think to himself, "he can treat other women that way but not my sister?" If so, while I do somewhat appreciate the family unity theme, this does seem a little sketchy.

What seems really sketchy would be to think about how the other guy's expected behavior compares to the guy with the sister's own behavior. Elsewhere in blogland I've been really harsh about alleged misandry on the part of certain feminist types. I don't like how they impute often to all men the behavior of a subset of assholes.

There probably should be a general rule of thumb for how guys treat women when they hit on them. Namely, imagine some guy treating your sister the way you're treating (or about to treat) a given woman. If it would be unacceptable for some other guy to treat your sister that way, then it's unacceptable for you to act that way yourself.

That shouldn't be controversial, should it?

If that's not the issue then things are going way over my head. I mean, if the one guy can treat a woman well, then what's the other guy's problem? Especially since it really ought to be her life to live the way she wants to live it, rather than be subject to her brother's misguided notions of false masculinity.

In a way I feel like I'm insulting your collective intelligence by saying things that ought to be so obvious that they wouldn't need to be said. But this particular commercial left me so confused that I feel as though it's making assumptions about cultural norms that aren't what I would have thought the assumptions would be.

Maybe I really am just that sheltered?
Other stuff on my social calendar
Saturday, May 4, some sort of quiz bowl scrimmage thing in Berkeley involving the Berkeley and Stanford teams plus random area players.

Saturday, May 11, cooking/gaming/music social in Cupertino.
Baseball Ticket Update
Act now to make arrangements to spend Friday night at the Coliseum with me. Then again, I might use one or the other of those tickets to do something foolish. It's unclear at this point.

Monday April 29, San Francisco vs. Philadelphia. (Special guest: Paul)

Sunday, May 5, San Francisco vs. Cincinnati. (One ticket)
Oh shoot. Did I agree to play D&D that day?! Hope not.

Tuesday, May 7, Oakland vs. Boston. (Special guest: Jake)
Tuesday, hmm. Mental note, that's another thing to reschedule.

Friday, May 10, Oakland vs. Toronto. (Special guest: TBA)

Monday, May 13, San Francisco vs. Atlanta. (One ticket)

Sunday, May 19, San Francisco vs. Florida. (One ticket)

Friday, May 24, Oakland vs. Tampa Bay. (Special guest: TBA)

Monday, May 27, San Francisco vs. Arizona. (One ticket)

My rich fantasy world
No, not that kind of fantasy, nor even fantasy baseball.

Rather, I play games sometimes, by myself but assuming several roles at once of a multi-player game. The sketchier part is that the players in these games always represent my actual friends and acquaintances. (There's never a "me" character in these games because that would destroy the impartiality you need to do a multi-player game by yourself.)

So just now, Imaginary Joon won a 4D contract with the seven of diamonds on the last trick. I can't decide if this means I should buy the real Joon a beer.

Or better yet, call him. Call Mike and Paul. Call the people I actually know so that I can play real games instead of imaginary ones. Except that in theory I can't play games because I have too much stuff to do around the house. Except that in practice I play games anyway because the stuff around the house is tedious and leads to procrastination.

For what it's worth, Imaginary Ben is a kickass Settlers of Catan player. This is good since it'll be months, at least, before I see the real Ben again.
Today, Slashdot is outraged.
Four of the ten current items on the news for whiny nerds page are hatchet jobs on Microsoft.

Lots of people in the tech world believe that Gates et al are evil incarnate. I simply don't. It's unclear to me how they can or should press their cause, but I do know that their shrillness, their obsession, their singlemindedness about it has completely failed to win me over.

Maybe this is a good lesson to draw if you have a cause celebre of your own.

(Do I? I guess so. Life, liberty, property, all the basics. Life: I think I'll stop having philosophical meta-arguments and just start posting death tolls. The figures are pretty staggering. Liberty and property: Seems like everyboy else's pet causes are the ones that pose the biggest threat to those. Unclear why this entry isn't on the political blog. It just feels more mainstream.)
Today I am not outraged.
I've been getting these e-mail spams from "LabelBoy" asking to confirm my mailing address and offering to send me address labels.

A friend of mine apparently has been getting the same thing, with his correct address, and is incensed at AOL for (apparently) selling his real personal info to spammers. My best guess is that AOL's Terms of Service agreement explicitly allows them to do this, though obviously I don't really know. It's also possible that they combined third and fourth party data to match a name to an address to an e-mail address.

Whatever the case, I've gotten three or four of them through Yahoo! lately. For there to be so many of them suggests that the service provider is not at fault. Rather, I'm probably on a bunch of different mailing lists from situations where I had to give both a real address and an e-mail.

In any case, I'm just not upset by this. I know there are people who are, and I know exactly why they are, but this seems like one of those sucky things in life that people eventually just learn to deal with.

Compared to the abject living conditions in other countries, I can think of worse things than getting an e-mail asking you to confirm you real address. Things like not having an e-mail address. Or not having a real address.