Saturday, May 18, 2002

Bay to Breakers
There's a big annual footrace in San Francisco this weekend. The race route goes, as the name suggests, from San Francisco Bay to Ocean Beach. The finish line is right by my neck of the woods. It's a big logistical pain every year but the runners are fun and often dress in zany costumes (or streak). Cindy is running Bay to Breakers, though she ruled out streaking on pain-avoidance grounds.

My colleague Kimberly's annual disappointment is the conflict between Bay to Breakers and ICSC. She's really into running (so I gather) but has to be in Las Vegas, darn the luck.

Two years ago my roommate Scott was taken aback by the effect of Bay to Breakers on parking. Namely, among other things, Lincoln is closed to car traffic. This includes many blocks worth of parking spaces, whose usual occupants have to go elsewhere. At 5 p.m. the day before the 2000 race, the closest spot Scott could find was at 41st and Lawton, four long-blocks south and five short-blocks east of where we are. This year Scott gets the driveway despite currently being out of town. The rationale is that he won't get back until way late tonight and that we'll be less screwed by our spaces than he would've been by his.

Still, between going into the office today (why? there was nothing I could contribute apart from ostensible moral support; or maybe my RealAudio MLB pass so that Seiken could listen to his Angels) and hanging out with Cindy, I had to find a parking spot at 9 p.m. In homage to Scott, I decided to drive from our place (where I'd temporarily parked in our driveway anyway pending nature calling) to 41st and Lawton. Lo and behold, I did find a spot at 43rd and Lawton, in a set of perpendicular parking so convenient and so plentiful what he remembered as 41st might have really been this location.

Yes, that's right, I know a real life Anaheim Angels fan. Many people think that no such thing exists.

There's a running joke among multiple circles of Cindy's friends that Justin doesn't actually exist. They hear about him but never actually meet him. At least one person ended up under the impression that the guy they saw at a soccer game once (me) was the same guy as the Justin that she kept mentioning when talking about her boyfriend. (Smirk.) We supposed if you saw Cindy and tried to picture her boyfriend just by height and width (women's boyfriends often have a similar shape to the women themselves, just a little taller), you'd end up with something like me.
Haruki!
I'll have extra keys on the keychain this week while Cindy and Justin are at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Notes to self are here, of all places, on the theory that I can easily find them.

Of the silver and gold keys, I've already forgotten which is the front door and which is the apartment door but it's 50/50 anyway. Then there's the mail key. I'll just stack the mail on the lazy susan on the kitchen table. (Yes, Cindy and Justin have a lazy susan on their table. The table is an elongated enough ellipse that the people who sit on the ends have a hard time using the lazy susan. An elliptical lazy susan wouldn't work for obvious reasons but Cindy and I both think it would be really cool to have three lazy susans with interlocking gears. This would add even more trouble to the two-people-want-something-at-the-same-time problem that lazy susans usually present but it's still worth doing. But I digress.)

The main reason to drop by is, of course, to visit their cat Haruki. Haruki! (Yes, named for the author.) Haruki will be sullen at first, feeling abandoned but also unable to get through a very important door that, alas, must remain closed for the week. Then eventually Haruki will be so attention starved that he's desperately happy to see me.

Haruki's cat food is one of those specially formulated dry-food brands; most notably it has duck in it. He should have access to drinking water (read: toilet seat is up). Come to think of it Cindy said nothing about cleaning the litter box (I don't even know where it is) but if it gets to where I can smell the thing then I'll probably take care of it anyway. Also, some plants to be watered, at the bottom of the sliding back door.

How funny that E3 is the same week as the annual International Council of Shopping Centers convention. Because Vectiv is a store management product (intended for companies that buy a lot of real estate for franchise placement and need to make intelligent decisions about, for example, which locations to buy), you can see where ICSC is a big source of potential customers. That's why so many of my co-workers will be in Las Vegas this week. Not that I'll be there; it's enough that I'm the one (or one of the chosen, at least) who got to bust ass to make them look good.
I know you don't care that much about fantasy baseball...
...and after all, I'm the one who makes money off of it (well, at least money made maintaining these spreadsheets, not really analyzing), but even so.

Compare Lance Berkman to Matt Morris. Someone wants to trade me Morris for Berkman. Should I even consider it? How much (if anything) more should I demand?

If you care (which you don't): 12 team league, 5x5, I'm in second place with the third-best hitting and third-best pitching. Both sides are very top-heavy these days, where Berkman, Jim Edmonds, and Torii Hunter are carrying my offense; Randy Johnson fronts an otherwise anonymous, very innings-shy pitching staff. Drafted Jarrod Washburn, picked up Paul Byrd and Josh Fogg with Free Agent Acquisition Bids. On the bullpen side, my big FAAB has been Hideki Irabu to go with closers Trevor Hoffman and Kaz Sasaki. Probably should pick up another SP or two given that neither F-Rod nor Arthur Rhodes has given me nearly the ERA/WHIP boost they were supposed to.
Poker Update
I actually didn't totally ignore baseball last night. Truth be told, I heard about the Yankee marathon from Igor, who hosted poker last night. (I also listened to the Sox-Mariners game on-line.)

But my mind, previously filled with work stress, soon became filled with obscene, absurd, half-baked poker betting.

Playing at nickel stakes this time (half the usual), I still managed to go from being down almost $15 to up more than $5 to (in the end) down $25, $15 of which came on a single round of this ridiculous variant on Iron Cross.
I ignore baseball for one night and all hell breaks loose...
Is this baseball's best regular season game ever?

Somewhere out there, various Yankee-haters gag and vomit. Can't blame you. Still, there's something about being at Yankee Stadium after midnight for moments like this.

As a baseball fan and a nightowl, I strongly believe that nearly all of baseball's greatest moments happen after midnight, almost by definition. Moments off the top of my head, in roughly ascending order of historical significance:

If you're on the eastern seaboard, following the local nine, every west coast trip brings the dilemma of how late you can stay up to keep following any given game. Especially if the game is still on at 4:00 in the morning EDT.

Phillie fans should fondly remember this doubleheader for similar reasons. If I had a time machine and could go back and see just one game (or, one night at the ballpark), I'd actually pass up all the historical milestones and mainstream "classic" games and go here to be one of the dozen or so people still around for Mitch Williams getting the game-winning hit. You think I'm kidding, don't you? I'm not.

Sox fans obviously have the Carlton Fisk heroics from what was indeed the best World Series game ever. Notice how popular accounts of the game always talk about the church bells tolling across New England?

At Yankee Stadium, just in the last seven years alone, you have Game 2 of the 1995 Division Series, the Halloween heroics last year, and now Giambi.

We miss Jason Giambi. People claim not to. People booed him mercilessly a couple weeks ago. Understandable defense mechanism. In the long run the A's will be fine but right now the difference is almost demoralizing.

In any case, if I weren't violently opposed to bandwagon-jumping, if I hadn't grown up as far (demographically) from NYC as you can imagine, I could almost imagine myself as one of those diehards in the Yankee bleachers, staying for every pitch, knowing (the way watchers of sappier movies know) that a happy ending is very likely, heading onto the subway in the wee hours, in the City That Never Sleeps.

Lucky bastards.
Erubiel!!
Did somebody say he was back? He himself sure seems to think so.

It's tough rooting for a player on one of the local teams' arch-rivals. I really can't root for the D'backs. But... Erubiel!! Not only is he a wonderful hitter, arguably baseball's most underrated player, but his name even sounds like that nonsense phrase in California Girls (they don't even bother to transcribe it though).

By the way, those are some frightening looking sponsored links...

What's funny is that the big obstacle to Durazo's playing time in the last year-and-a-half has been Mark Grace, who ten years ago was my favorite player in baseball. He was a sweet-swinging lefty who (relative to the Cubs at least) drew a lot of walks. He also, as of 1989, got seemingly every game-deciding hit in crucial late-inning situations. Always had doubles power. Not a home run guy, so death on a rotisserie roster (also insufficiently powerful to be anything more than a league-average 1B; when I was young I wasn't clever enough to consider position context and opportunity cost), but still a great player.

What's mildly bittersweet on the subject of Grace is that he turned out to have been the clubhouse cancer after all, at least if you read between the lines of all the poison-pen Sammy Sosa stories from 1999-2000. He knew exactly how to use the media to bolster his image, and he cultivated a following. He was to Sosa what Jeff Kent is to Barry Bonds. None of which changes the fact that he's extremely witty and used to be a very good player.

All the same... Erubiel!!!

(Darn: I was a couple hours late getting him in Baseball Challenge...)

Friday, May 17, 2002

Fork in Back
For awhile now, I've thought Craig Biggio will never be the same player he used to be, the player whom Bill James ranked astonishingly high in the most recent version of his Historical Abstract. (I actually do agree with James re Biggio in his prime.)

Now it turns out Chris Kahrl is saying the same thing (Astros' entry). Note: Last time I publicly expressed my opinion of the 2002 Biggio, he hit for the cycle (in Colorado) that very day. What will he do now?

Chad Kubicek, re me and Kahrl: "hmmm...I think you are both batty"
San Francisco Campus Geography
Maybe I should finally get SFSU, USF, and UCSF straight. First, geography:

Here's how I'd get from my place to SFSU.

Here's how I'd get to the UCSF main campus. Note that UCSF is the only school in the UC system dedicated solely to "professional study of the sciences." Also known as Med School + science grad students.

Last but not least, USF (the Jesuits!) is actually really close to UCSF.
SFSU
According to the picture on the front page of the San Francisco State University web site, "Love is Stronger Than Hate." Recent events seem to prove otherwise, the administration's tepid response otherwise.

For what it's worth, this is the campus tucked behind Stonestown Galleria (not to be confused with the Catholic girls' school -- Mercy High -- across the street from that mall). Not to be confused with the campus due east of me, which I guess is either UCSF or USF.
Erubiel!
He's back.

And he's liberated!

No more will the statheads hold Free Erubiel Durazo signs!
Then again
If there really is a strike this year then I probably won't come back. Again, not words I use lightly. Not me of all people.
Bud Selig is an evil man.
Not to mention a liar.

And no, I don't use those terms lightly.
Why did I think that was Journey?
This clearly isn't Journey.

In other news, Tina Turner is your private dancer. I guess that beats anything having to do with Ike.
Spontaneous bonus time!
(Yeah, I'm going to send a pack to Mark Coen's Cancel Bowl but even so I have more music question opportunities kicking around here than I know what to do with. Can't send any of them to NAQT because we have a serious glut of questions about pop culture from long before today's high school or even college kids were aware.)

For 5 points per answer--given the lyrics from a 1980s song about child abuse, identify both title and artist.

A. If you hear something late at night
Some kind of trouble. some kind of fight
Just don't ask me what it was

B. It's all so confusing, this brutal abusing
They blacken your eyes, and then apologize
You're daddy's good girl, and don't tell mommy a thing
Be a good little boy, and you'll get a new toy
Tell grandma you fell off the swing

C. "If you don't sit in your chair straight I'll take this belt from
around my waist and don't think that I won't use it!"
Answer me and take your time, what could be the awful crime he could
do at so young an age?

Note: Part C comes from the song that inspired this entry. As usual, kudos to RealOne streaming of '80s Top 40.

Thursday, May 16, 2002

Web Content!
Here is my list. I assume you disagree with me on the particulars. I'm ambivalent about protracted discussion since nothing ever gets settled but variety is the spice of life.

I think I have "most overrated" episodes to mention some other time. The "worst" list will be hard because so many of them are so bad for the same reasons. I do know exactly which episode I think was the worst ever, though my opinion is highly biased.
Best Simpsons Episodes Ever?
(My mistake was grabbing the cheese.)

Today at work I had convenient occasion to quote -- topically! -- from Last Tap Dance in Springfield. Looking through the episode summary at all the other great moments in that episode convinces me that it is indeed one of the Best Ever.

Which episodes especially rock? Seems like now would be a great time to have a COMMENTS widget on this weblog. We'll work on it. In the meantime I'll think it over and post my personal top ten. Off the top my head, the top of the list isn't even close: Selma's Choice in a landslide.
Becky Dent (sic)
I don't think he did it on purpose but Chad's typo in an Instant Message gave me a great mental image.
Skip Caray's Traffic Report
It's unclear why but the Giants' webfeed today is hideously weak. The obvious long term solution is to get a radio for heaven's sake and not rely on the Internet when one doesn't have to. The temporary kludge is to listen to the Atlanta feed, coming in far stronger.

Every time the Braves play an afternoon (Eastern Time) game, around 5 p.m. Atlanta time Skip gives his "traffic report." This always amounts to "I-75 is backed up northbound and southbound, 20 is backed up eastbound and westbound..." and so on. The whole point being that it's always this way.

(The schtick loses everything in the retelling. That's true of Skip Caray generally.)
Time Marches On
I heard "For Whom The Bell Tolls" both on the way home last night and on the way into work this morning. Not bad considering that the song got stuck in my head during lunch Tuesday, when people were discussing distinctive cell phone rings. (I decided then that when I finally get a cell phone, I'll do everything in my power to get "For Whom The Bell Tolls" themed rings. There may be up to four distinct ringable riffs in that song.)

The last three times I've heard that song have all been via the same radio station. Every major media market needs a Station That Plays Lots of Metallica. This one is also the major San Jose Sharks booster among local FM stations, possibly because it's really a San Jose station that just takes advantage of strong signal to branch out and cover the Bay Area generally.

In any case, the song is actually a little somber if you think too hard about the lyrics. I was thinking very hard on the ride home and discovered something: When I think hard I drive like a maniac. At least, when I think hard about things that trouble me. My mind just isn't on the road; worse yet, I make rash decisions.

Corollary to the maniacal drivers who think hard: Twice in the last month or so I've ridden in the front seat of a car driven by someone who tailgates like a m*therf*cker. I'm a big fan of fast, efficient driving but I don't like the style of getting right up behind someone: Unnecessarily aggressive. It turns out, though, that both of the tailgaters I know have a whole lot on their mind, a whole lot of adversity to overcome.

Speaking of a whole lot of adversity, one of my friends (he's about my age) is a widower. I hadn't previously been aware of this; I knew as of a year ago that he was married but didn't hear between then and now. My ignorance of this led me to plant my foot firmly in my mouth and down my throat last night (hence the cryptic entry on one of my other logs). At least my inadvertently offensive comment wasn't directly to this friend.

I don't like contemplating mortality. I rail against the inherent unfairness that some people pass on so prematurely. It's weird to still say this since I imagine most people have come to terms with this a long time ago, either from first-hand experience or just growing up enough (or being not-self-centered enough) that they actually notice it.

When I came home last night, a mental wreck, my roommate Scott asked helpfully whether I'd known anyone in high school or college who had died suddenly. Right off the top of my head I thought of a handful who'd killed themselves. Someone in Harvard '96 was either in a fatal car crash or died in Colombia or both (I may be thinking of two different people). I don't know this directly but I imagine several of my classmates died in New York on the same September day.

But still, the point is I'm still taking my friend's widower status pretty hard. Actually harder than (these days) he himself (outwardly) takes it. All I can say is I now tremendously admire his strength of character, to get up every day and go to work and be cheerful and productive. He's a better man than I. He joins a pantheon of such people (size exactly two, unless I'm forgetting someone). Both of them would probably far rather have their loved ones back on Earth than have my admiration (what's my admiriation worth? I'm guessing not much), but admiring them (and taking my best guess at what it is that a supportive friend would do) is the best I personally can offer.

The other thing, the paradox, about my taking my friends' adversity so hard is that it inverts things a little. You wouldn't expect this but it's surprisingly easy to go from feeling bad for a friend to self pity, which entirely misses the point. This isn't about me. (Inherent self-centered nature of weblog entries aside.) That and "no whining" are things I can't repeat enough, at least as self-help goes.

(Maybe "join a gym already!" is a close third.)

So it seems as though I have a much easier time being a supportive friend to people with comparatively mild adversity, people for whom I can think "wow that sucks" but not be personally affected by the harsh unfairness of it all. For whatever reason these are the people for whom I'm the most useful. I'll listen. I'll give advice as appropriate. I'll care enough to want to see them through but not so much that their agony gives me vicarious agony.

By comparison, I can think of (at least) three people (excluding family members, because family members know entirely too much about each other) who've been through just incredible tragedy/adversity; two of them are breathtakingly stoic, yet the third was so far the opposite of stoic that it's unclear what sort of helpful things any friends or acquaintances could have done.

And in the end, my own problems, whatever they may be:
1. Too much time spent at work (solution: start being more forceful about going home at a decent hour)

2. Not meeting enough people (solution: get out more, easier said than done, it's an ongoing battle)

3. A surprisingly serious potential health problem (also quite embarrassing, not to mention astonishingly improbable, and yet the more I think about it and experience what I experience, the more damning all the evidence is) that may lead to a doctor's appointment very very soon

4. I'm quite fond of somebody but really unsure what (else) to do about it (beyond my random acts of awkward(?) interest-expression). Isn't that the default state of being for single guys my age though?

All of these, plus any that weren't even worth mentioning, pale in the grand scheme of things.

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

When Geeks Collide
(n.b. obviously from me the term "geek" is of endearment)
It turns out Jeremy Sammons lives less than a mile from me. Not such an informative link, I know; this one is vaguely more telling and also not too surprising. Sammons was a year ahead of me in high school.

Meanwhile, I've known for awhile now that Stacy Friedman, my college classmate, lives less than a mile from me. By extension, the two of them live less than a mile from each other.

They've almost certainly met. I'd never thought of them both at the same time before but the similarities are astounding.

Found out about the former via Morgan Freeman (warning: flash animation) -- my high school classmate, not to be confused with the actor. It's amazing what you learn when you get an Instant Message from an unfamiliar handle but still accept it.
Who's Holding Donna Now?
This song still sounds familiar to me; I can't tell if it's because light rock "love song" stations still play it or just my memories of the 1980s were that vivid. It's not nauseating per se, more like that vaguely queasy feeling you get after cheese or hot dog-induced listeria.

As dated bands go, Debarge is quite forgettable but hey, they were popular once.

Nobody names girls Donna anymore, do they? Ritchie Valens would be disappointed. What's the average age of a Donna these days? Maybe 40ish?
asparagirl rocks. See consecutive entries about the Boy Scouts and a certain catalog.
What do you do when a band you hate suddenly releases one of the most kick-ass songs ever?
G G-G G Ab
Just keep on dancing.
C# B C# C# B Ab G

If I suddenly start clubbing it will be singlehandedly to hear this song.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

This is such a typical Giants home game
That from the box score, I'd almost swear I'd been there to see it.

Maybe it's a caricature of a Giants home game?

1. Tight, low scoring (can't get lower than 0-0)
2. Giants rally late, just barely in time to get
3. Smoke on the Water (fire in the sky!)

Actually to be fair it's a prototypical weeknight Giants' home game. The day games have a slightly different character to them: Wednesday/Thursday matinees feature the occasional random slugfest; weekends are harder to typecast because the fanbase, the atmosphere, the whole ambience is different.

Weeknights are when you get the chill wind.
That's a bitchin' set of privacy opt-outs
Thanks to Slashdot I now know that Yahoo! wanted to market stuff to me. I promptly opted out of all that stuff. (From your mail inbox, click on "Mail Home" (top left) and then "Options" (top right) and then "Account Information" (top left).)
I didn't want that mental image...
“Griffey is lucky he just got benched,” said third baseman Aaron Boone. “When I strike out, the fans make me shave Marge Schott’s back”
--The Spitter
Jose!?
Oh, please don't. Then again, I'm thinking the Omar Vizquel tell-all will make a great trash tournament prize someday.
My Favorite "Page 3 Girl"
Almost a full decade before the Spice Girls were anybody, if you were looking for sexy Anglophile music, you'd go no further than Samantha.

'Cause I want your body all the time...

Oh, the guilty pleasures don't get any guiltier!
They don't make covers like they used to.
Walk this Way.

In other news the CEO of my company is interested in my opinion. I suppose that's true by definition but he had specific questions specifically for me and I answered them as best I could. We'll see what comes of it.

Today I suddenly noticed that I work with a lot of thin people, not just one or two but a lot. For a little while I became obsessed with sucking in my stomach. But after more than a year, I'm not fooling anybody.

Some of us actually got free lunch today (Mexican food) as a result of someone dropping her business card into a jar for a prize drawing. I went mainly because I'd already been supposed to share a cheesesteak with the CEO today. Figured I was already lunching with him, place change would be no big deal. We didn't get to have that chat he wanted then, but did chat when I ran across the street for a Diet Dr. Pepper.

People upstairs were hoping to get their free lunch brought back to them (someone expressed disdain for fast food generally but printed out an on-line order sheet anyway). No such luck -- you have to dine in to get the free food. They'll get theirs tomorrow though.
Every picture tells a story...
Like this one. Even in photo selection, The Onion gets everything perfect.

On the subject of Onion pictures, a nice bit of reuse here between the point-counterpoint sexual harassment guy and the attorney who gives his friend's daughter the creeps.
like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup
cut and pasted from an e-mail forward... I'd love to give credit to the original source, which is probably in here somewhere

Apocryphal Metaphors from Student Essays:

Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two other sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

She caught your eye like one of those pointy hook latches that used to dangle from screen doors and would fly up whenever you banged the door open again.

The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

McMurphy fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.

Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the center.

Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.

The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the period after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can.

They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.

John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

The thunder was ominous sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play.

The red brick wall was the color of a brick-red Crayola crayon.

He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.

Even in his last years, Grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long it had rusted shut.

The door had been forced, as forced as the dialogue during the interview portion of "Jeopardy!"

Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

"Oh, Jason, take me!" she panted, her breasts heaving like a college freshman on $1-a-beer night.

He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

Her artistic sense was exquisitely refined, like someone who can tell butter from "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter."

She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

It came down the stairs looking very much like something no one had ever seen before.

The knife was as sharp as the tone used by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee
(D-Tex.) in her first several points of parliamentary procedure made to Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) in the House Judiciary Committee hearings on the impeachment of President William Jefferson Clinton.

The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.

The dandelion swayed in the gentle breeze like an oscillating electric fan set on medium.

It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

She was as easy as the "TV Guide" crossword.

Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any pH cleanser.

She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.

Her voice had that tense, grating quality, like a first-generation thermal paper fax machine that needed a band tightened.

It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.

Earthquakes: Northern California's version of Drew Bledsoe
So I remember reading about this very special day in Boston sports history, when the Celtics and Bruins both won important playoff games, the Red Sox swept a doubleheader at KC, and a figurative tremor passed through Fleet Center as people heard the news that the former Patriot franchise QB was traded.

Tonight was sort of like that. The Kings won to set up a collison course with Los Angeles. I know Sacramento has Webber and Peja but every now and then I space out and think Jason Williams is still on the team. Especially odd given that my supposed favorite team, the Grizzlies, actually do have him. Then again, he never played for Vancouver so it doesn't really count.

The Sharks lost to force game 7. If they can win in Denver they'll run headlong into Detroit. Between the Lakers and the Red Wings it's unclear which team looks more dynastic but either way I'm in the right place to root for an underdog. Never mind that I could have named exactly THREE Sharks players, even apart from messing up and claiming Jeff Friesen. I'd know Teemu Selanne (traded for Friesen?), Owen Nolan, and the goalie Nabokov.

But hey, Miikka Kiprusoff is their backup goalie! Second only to Milan Hnilicka on my list of really cool names from when I did AHL stats a few years ago.

Oakland was off tonight but the Giants had a dramatic home game and I was there. And instead of the figurative tremor we had a literal one, except that everyone was too worried about Robb Nen actually getting ahead of hitters to notice.
Unintentional Walk
And before you ask, neither I nor anyone around me had a clue about the earthquake, not until I got home and my roommates asked me about it.
Braves 0 2 0 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 - 6 17 1
Giants 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 - 7 13 0

WP- Worrell (3-0)
LP- Hammond (1-2)

HR- Bonds (13) #580

Box Score | Recap | Game Log

You knew a game had to end like this some time this year, the way Barry Bonds has been hitting; more to the point the way he's been (not) pitched to. Tie game, two on, bottom of the Nth inning (for some N >= 9), opposing manager decides to walk Bonds to load the bases; opposing pitcher has nowhere to put Jeff Kent but still can't throw strikes to him.

Well, slightly more dramatic than that. The count was 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2, foul ball, foul ball, 3-2, walk.

A surprising darkhorse nominee for team with the biggest asshole as a visiting fan: Guy in the first row of the bleachers, wearing a Maddux #31 jersey, kept taunting the Giants fans in his section, pointing to the scoreboard when it was 2-0. He was mysteriously gone by the 5th inning.

(Riffing on the "he's a bum!" chant often heard in SF, a couple bleacher creatures asked: What's the matter with Mad-dux? HE WENT HOME!)

I think there ought to be a rule that you're not allowed to wear an athlete's jersey unless your personality at least plausibly matches the athlete's. So absolutely no trash-talking in a Maddux jersey; you expect Maddux 31 to be someone quiet, a little geeky, maybe like me. Wear a Sheffield jersey if you want to be a punk.

Atlanta I had not previously associated with boorish fans. Quite a few Braves fans there tonight (a lot of them my age; maybe we're the WTBS generation), all but one of whom behaved well. Come to think of it, I've sat at Turner Field openly rooting for the Red Sox. I've also (albeit more quietly) rooted for the Rangers at not only Fenway Park but also both Bay Area ballparks. This is why the Armando Rios game from two years ago was bittersweet for me at the time.

Hmm, I've actually not yet seen the Rangers since claiming to have realized I was an A's fan around the Carlos Pena deal.

In any case, random highlights from tonight:
Let's talk center fielders
Tom Goodwin?!? It's almost as if the Giants hate that position. Heaven forbid Barry Bonds get the privilege of standing next to a solid major league regular on a daily basis. The much-reviled (though also grudgingly accepted as family) Marvin Benard seems to have found the bench for good. Calvin Murray, who I actually kind of liked, went to Texas during a roster crunch. Shawn Dunston -- they start Shawon Dunston in center field once in a blue moon, including my previous PBP trip, which apparently was his last game before going in the DL. Goodwin owes his roster spot to Dunston's DL trip and his start tonight to Kevin Millwood's reputation as death on right-handed hitters. The primary SF CF is a guy named Shinjo who has quickly become a cult favorite despite the soft bat.

In any case, Goodwin reached on an error one inning and stole a couple of bases in the game. He also made a couple shoestring catches to help generate mild buzz.

As for the other side, I think Andruw Jones wins the fun-to-heckle prize, hands-down, after the whole Gold Club incident. People called him names normally used to describe "women of the night." People yelled things about his credit limit, his taste in women, and even his hypothetical medical condition. (The itching! The burning! You'd better get that checked Andruw!)

Enough about Andruw. Parting thought about CF: We had a Darren Bragg sighting in extra innings tonight.

Kirk Rueter is inexplicably known as "Woody" to diehard Giants fans. As the ESPN clubhouse page helpfully points out, Rueter "works aggressively with soft stuff. Though his fastball rarely breaks 86 MPH, he'll test righthanded hitters with his cutter, daring them to pull it." Sometimes this works; other times it's pretty gruesome. Woody's start tonight partly explains the "17" in the Atlanta hit column. I like him anyway, just not on any fantasy team any time soon.

Early on the Giants didn't get too many hits but made the most of their one big inning. A couple guys delivered with two out, then Bonds hit a monster shot into the cove, the 18th time a Giant has gotten a "splash hit."

Reggie Sanders looked like he'd be the hero in the 8th after tripling and scoring. Felix Rodriguez (on one of my fantasy teams) looked like he'd even get a win out of it. But alas, Nen couldn't nail down the win. Still, another night at PBP, another night of late drama and Smoke on the Water, another night of San Francisco ultimately winning and bringing forth strains of Tony Bennett.

Rumor has it Oakland has a guy like Nen. You know, one of those guys who only pitches the ninth inning and only to protect a lead? Rumor has it sometimes the A's are actually ahead after eight innings. The guy Oakland has must be really good if they traded Eric Hinske for him.

I wonder when I'll finally get to see Billy Koch in person. Barring a spontaneous extra Coliseum trip, it'll either be May 24 or some time in June. (Or later?!?)

Monday, May 13, 2002

Trash Nirvana
Is reading through posts on JumpTheShark (about Beat the Geeks) and suddenly being reminded of an Onion article.

I should hyperlink all three of those but my core readers probably can find the links just fine (aside from the Onion article in question, about a sports nut and a sci-fi nut mutually disdaining each other, which doesn't seem to be archived).
They hear I'm the hero.
On my way to the men's room our resident accountant/HR maven told me as much. At some point in the conversation she mentioned my riding in on a white horse and joked about making sure the horse doesn't leave little droppings.

For a split second I almost panicked, if only because I wasn't sure what I'd done lately that was heroic. Then it occurred to me: system hangs. As in what I'd spent my waking hours on for a few days, as in what (the lack of them) everyone was talking about Friday. I was praised highly at the Monday morning meeting but, of course, wasn't at the meeting.

Maybe this was her way of gently suggesting that I go to more meetings? :-) Of all the conceivably negative feedback one could imagine getting from HR, that one I can live with. I really do need to start going to these 9 a.m. standup meetings. This presupposes that I arrive before 10, but that's sort of the point.
Other people's weblogs
Not sure what happened to Cindy, maybe she just hasn't had anything to say lately.

As if to fill the void, enter Mike. If you know him (this is mainly the Boston U. contingent), follow the link, send him a line, make him feel welcome. If you don't know him... well, what are you waiting for?
By the way, yes I think about baseball too much.
In the shower this morning I made a couple of warm up pitches, the baseball fan equivalent of air guitar. I thought about what it must be like to be young, lefthanded, and fat. Some people would claim that I'm all three but only lefthanded is settled.

Note that I don't actually have hyperlinks in my internal monologue. Sabathia occurred to me after two seconds of trying to think of the first chunky southpaw to come to mind.
Derrek Lee represents an organizational problem.
So states the Baseball Prospectus 2002 entry on the Florida Marlins' first baseman. Maybe I'll quote from it tonight.

The gist of the entry is that Lee is solid enough both at bat and in the field to never be perceived as a weakness. He'll produce the way an average major league regular first baseman produces. But this might not be enough to push a team towards a championship. BP's recommendation was something along the lines of getting one more good year out of him before he becomes too expensive, then trading him when his value is high and opening the way for Adrian Gonzalez, who has scorched the ball in the minors.

All this is relevant to me for two non-baseball reasons:
1. I was reading through the Florida Marlins section of BP2K2 last night when I couldn't fall asleep. It's unclear to my why I couldn't fall asleep; just couldn't. Maybe I'd have still remembered the Derrek Lee entry anyway, but it's fresher now.

2. The metaphor (where an adequate non-weakness represents a problem in that you won't ever think to try to replace the good with the great) seems oddly applicable to my life.

I've hit this extreme now what? stage of across-the-board apathy. My mind is elsewhere, yet even the things I brood about have a been down that road before quality to them. Nobody has sent me highly engaging e-mail in awhile. (Read: I've lost the ability to craft responses to personal ads that convince the ad-placer to write back to my response.) People have sent me reasonably useful e-mail that I've become really bad about responding to.

On the work front
I got massive props today for having the foresight to have fixed a bug a week ago. Never mind that I was in fact told a week ago that this defect exists. Given all the craziness around here last week people were surprised that I'd found time to fix this bug. Now the question is how to manage code and QA so that the relevant customer(s) get the fix as quickly but as risk-aversely as possible.

Suddenly at a point where I had no immediate task, I went to lunch. They had a fajita special at the pasta market, where by "fajita" they mean the put this thing of chicken and peppers and sauce into a plastic cylinder and give it to me for a small fee. More like fajita soup, if such a thing exists. On the way back I saw a woman walking a dog except that she didn't seem to know the first thing about walking a dog. She was really mean to the poor pooch. Bitchy, if you will. Her dog was really excited to see some other dog (a relatively well-behaved dog in the care of a very laid-back young guy in a SF Giants hat), though I suspect also just itching to get away from this moronic human who was probably ruining her life.

Then I got back to the office and found e-mail about a weird quasi-bug about a part of the site that I know almost nothing about. For now, Acquisition Efforts are my raison d'Etre. And hey, my local instance just finished restarting! Let's code...
All Expos, All Twins, All The Time
Important baseball news for anyone who's at all inclined to cast All-Star ballots. I'm firmly behind this movement myself and have put it in practice to the tune of... well, let's just say I've voted at every baseball game I've been to and I'll cast as many on-line ballots as MLB allows.
What would Harry Caray do?
[Joe Carter] said the most ridiculous thing that any human being has ever said in the broadcast booth. Dawn Wells was in the booth promoting "The Vagina Monologues," in which she's appearing in Chicago. Wells, of course, is known for one thing and for one thing only: she played Mary Ann on Gilligan's Island.
--Rob Neyer, May 9, 2002

So let me get this straight: Somebody -- namely Mary Ann, but all it takes is somebody -- is in the Cubs broadcast booth to promote The Vagina Monologues. On WGN. (Or maybe Fox Sports Chicago, or CLTV, who knows anymore?)

Harry passed away several years too soon. Can you just imagine him having that conversation in the booth? Oh, the tangents! Oh, the confusion. How his head would spin, and as a result how our own heads would spin. It makes me giddy just to contemplate it.
Primo Weed!
This is a blatant drug song if ever there was one. And yet it makes my ears perk up and draws me in like an autistic child focused on a shiny object. It satisfies some odd node somewhere in my brain, sort of like hearing the "Time Warp" theme and the familiar voice of Don Pardo (not to mention Dave Morey himself) at the start of KFOG's 10@10 feature.

Back to the drug song... I've never tried marijuana. Had a prime opportunity my freshman year of college but passed it up. It feels like something one should do at some point in life, just to have the experience, but I still haven't gotten around to it. Also there's the fear factor, not of "reefer madness" hijinx or even law enforcement problems but just... one of two things will happen if I try weed:

1. Either I'll hate it and completely fail to see what the fuss was about and feel lame for not fitting in; or

2. Worse yet, I will see what the fuss was about and it'd be such a life-changing experience that I just quit going to work completely, started following Phish, and became very happy but dead broke.

Sunday, May 12, 2002

You Belong To The City
Start with a long, contemplative sax solo. Work in the totally '80s synth beat. At the union of The Eagles and Miami Vice lies some pretty sketchy pop culture.

Hey, is Miami Vice syndicated anywhere? It seems to be too old for mainstream syndication, too edgy (or too dated?) for TV Land.
Kool & the Gang
Next up on the RealOne "80s Top 40" hit list is Joanna. Extensive Kool & the Gang critique here.

For various reasons this band reminds me of middle school band class with Mr. Curtis. Surely I wasn't the only white trumpet player in the group, though I remember my black classmates more easily.

There was no Joanna in my middle school (so far as I remember). There was a Johanna. This is a name, much like Sarah, where I strongly believe that leaving off the 'h' is an unacceptable misspelling. That's just me though.

Then came Bad Medicine. Jeez the popups are annoying tonight. I have that song on a tape in my car. New Jersey, to be specific. Speaking of my car, why am I still here? Solely because Eric called me from the road to point out that traffic on the Bay Bridge sucked. But still.
Somewhere Out There
Beneath the pale moonlight... you know, I never even saw this movie and yet it's an indelible part of how old I am, if not who I am.

When I went to Germany in the summer of 1990, this song would stick in my head a lot. It was the first time I really missed my family.
The guy at the gas station was selling flowers at an extreme discount.
On a lark I bought some. At first I didn't know what to do with them. Then I knew exactly what to do with them. Then I second-guessed myself and got that stupid Coldplay song stuck in my head. Then I told my friend and colleague about the flowers and he also knew exactly what I should do with them.

I'm at work, ostensibly to fix a system crash in a demo instance. This feels like a front, perhaps because it is. No, not a front for buying flowers but rather for taking care of trivia-related data entry stuff that I should have never volunteered for because it turned out to be pain-in-the-ass time consuming.

On my way there, I sat forever in Bay Bridge traffic and listened to most of Who Needs Pictures? Got it on cassette tape today so that I could have country music available in the car. This is an amazing album. The first two songs are very funny and well-put; the title track strikes a chord with me. I can't identify with "He Didn't Have To Be," given that I'm lucky enough to have had the same two parents my whole life, but the song was really moving and almost made me reconsider my extreme reluctance to date a woman who has kids. Nonetheless, the album's best song by far is still "We Danced."

Also purchased at the mall today: Diary of a Madman, on a CD which I then absentmindedly left in the car. I could be listening to it even as I type but no. That's fine, since it just meant I listened to Pedro pitch while doing the time-consuming data entry.

That was my third baseball radio game of the day. Well, not three whole games. I put the Paisley in because today's A's game was so demoralizing. This morning while still not fully awake I'd caught most of the Giants in Montreal before calling my parents.
I almost forgot, if only because it was so dismal...
TOR 0 4 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 - 6 13 1
OAK 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 2 6 0

WP- Prokopec (2-4)
LP- Mulder (2-2)


Mark Mulder said before the game that he didn't feel 100%. Obviously he wasn't; it was painful to watch in that he's capable of so much better. This was the mirror image of a lot of A's games I saw in 2001. Last year Oakland was the team that would jump out ahead and then run on cruise control.

Our seats were so close to the Jays' bullpen that I got to heckle Scott Cassidy and Felix Heredia and listen to Dan Plesac make wisecracks. I remember asking a little too loudly how old Plesac is these days. 50? Didn't realize until just now that the other two are both younger than me.

Afterwards, hung out at Mike et al's place. Played some Smash Brothers, listened to people's problems. Played some bughouse after Joon and Stephen came over. Switched over to that 99 card game but got all pissy either because I was losing so bad or my congestion got to me. Went home around 2:30 a.m., took a whole bunch of Nyquil and woke up a completely changed person.