Thursday, August 22, 2002

Damn!
O & A canned?!

So here's the thing: They'll land on their feet. I wish I could have (back around the April Fools prank, years ago) bought stock in "these guys are going to be HUGE someday." Even now, tons of people who (even when they were nationally syndicated) had no idea who they were, will know.

The more people attack them, they bigger they'll become (the Stern effect). I'm honestly not sure whether this is good or bad.

Unintended consequences: Hey, maybe they'll get a TV show (and therefore Clinton won't). That'd make my day.
Sometimes the system works
This guy is still an ass but at least public opinion led him to do the right thing. Not quite as useful as if he'd admitted he was being an ass in the first place, but small favors...
Explorer vs. Communicator
Why do people insist on treating window.event.srcElement (IE) and Event.target (Netscape) as the same thing?!?

THEY'RE. JUST. NOT.

The former tells you where the event came from. The latter tells you where the event is going to. (Consider a case where you change the value in a form input field, and then either tab or click to some other field on that form. See the difference?)

Unfortunately, srcElement makes it really trivial for me to do something very useful that I can't for the life of me see how to do in Netscape's DOM.
Language Help
zaftig

What does this word mean? Sure, I could look it up on-line (and probably will after posting this). Or take it from context, where the context I get it in is nearly always women and more often than not one woman in particular.

(The phrase I hear is always "zaftig interns.")

So I used to think it had to do with oral sex, this being the evil of misunderstanding context. Now I'm guessing it's about being plus-sized, but not quite that. Help?

UPDATE: So I gather that, when used correctly, the word has a vaguely positive connotation. (Dictionary says euphemistic, but it seems to be more favorable than that.) It really is just plus-sized, or maybe "a little but plus-sized but not a lot"?

Maybe I could have found such a word useful, had the phrase zaftig intern not just ruined it for me. Actually, it's a word I'd have thought was useful but everyone else would either not get it or react to it not so well. Look for the rest of the story elsewhere soon.
Why I am a (small-c) conservative
(You'd expect this to come with a "WARNING: POLITICS" label but it's actually baseball of all things.)

Read this Bill James article (yes, it's Bill James, but it's stat-free). Then read these comments.

In general it is true that people do some ridiculous things just because that's the way they've always been done. But not every longstanding tradition is as pointless as it looks.

More to the point of my argument/disposition, sometimes the idiotic way people have always done things isn't even as bad as the idiotic way they'd replace it with. Here are actual excerpts from the ensuing thread:

How about they base the HBP purely on how far from the plate the pitch is, totally disregard the batter. Which also makes sense in that you would have fewer injuries because there would be zero incentive to "let the pitch hit you" because either it is far enough inside or it isn't.

Bill James also says that they should limit pickoff attempts. I disagree with this, some situations usually in one run ball games call for as many pickoff attempts as necessary. Maybe a circumstancial rule should be made depending on score and inning.

Maybe I'm being unfair but both of these ideas seem, at first glance, to be unbelievably stupid. Any new idea has the risk of total degeneracy; if the old ways of doing things aren't degenerate, they have at least that going for them.

(Note: I wouldn't EVER suggest blindly standing in the way of change. Rather, the whole thing is that people assume that their ideas about the world carry far greater certainty than they do. Things work out in unexpected ways. Show some common sense; make sure your changes are gentle.)

This has implications for design and coding and the discussion my roommate and I had walking back from lunch yesterday but it's hard to explain satisfactorily in a blog post.
O'Reilly has a sense of humor
As seen here, actual sample javascript confirm box:

You are about to experience the most

--| AWESOME |--

web page you have ever visited!!!!!!!

This page takes an average of 15 minutes to
download over a 56K modem connection.

Are you ready for a "good" time, Dude????

[OK] [Cancel]


I'm speechless.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

The phrase I couldn't think of:
See all good people turn their heads each day so satisfied I'm on my way!

The other day my roommate Chris asked me a question about rock genres because he couldn't figure out how to categories some particular J-pop group. (That is, what would their American equivalent be?)

He wondered if the band in question played "arena rock." After hearing a description of the band, my best guess was actually prog-rock. Which led me to mention Yes, only to find out he'd never (that he knew of ) actually heard a Yes song. He asked me for lyrics. Off the top of my head, I thought of "move me onto any black square" and "don't surround yourself with yourself."

All the while, the "See all good people turn their heads each day" riff was in my head, but I couldn't think of what the words were.

The real reason why all this pop culture is stuck in your head is that if you ever successfully forgot it, the absence of it would drive you crazy.
You were looking for that Anna Nicole Smith article?
Them Again!
Guess which pair of DJ's are back in the news again. I felt warm & fuzzy inside when the last sentence was the obligatory April Fool's Menino reference.
Rapid Response Blog/AIM Circuit Continues
I gave Kubi this X10 story, within seconds he fired back this profile.
How to set your homepage
kubiwan: God...MSN has "4 reasons why woman say no to dates"
kubiwan: one is "She has a boyfriend"
StrategyPattern: 1. They're not attracted to you
StrategyPattern: 2. boyfriend (!!!!!)
kubiwan: that is 4.
StrategyPattern: 3. She's busy that night
kubiwan: that is not one


Anyway, if you have better sites than MSN to spend your surf time on, IE users:
Under the Tools menu, choose "Internet Options" and you'll see an input box for home page. Set it to something useful, like Google. Or, Mi Casa, Su Casa. Except that, oddly enough, at least two of the most useful sites to me is those whose URL's are unwise to post to the general public.
Most embarrasing column ever?
(updated URL: thanks to Google caching)
I kept thinking I'd have something to say about this piece but words failed me.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Today's Bitchy Rhetorical Question
Q. Does Treasure Island have DSL?
A. Of course not!! I mean, what would the U.S. m*th*rf*ck*ing NAVY want with this newfangled technology crap anyway?

No DSL probably means no Chris as roommate. No Chris means I either don't take the place or find one or more roommate on the fly.

On an unrelated note he expressed vague regret at the idea of no longer being able to walk home from his D&D games. What surprised me a little about myself was the degree to which this statement just infuriated me. I mean, throw out the fact that he and I have been driving 17 miles each way to and from work for--minus a few month's hiatus--well over a year. Despite his consistently driving in what I think of as rush hour (leaving home on the order of 7, leaving work on the order of 4:30), Chris acts as though he doesn't mind the drive as much as I mind it. Rather, the thing is, my friends live in Berkeley. (You know who you are.)

So many times I've been having a good time there, cavalier about the lateness of the hour, when it suddenly became clear that I had to go to bed, indeed that I was a 34-mile roundtrip drive away from a place of business for which the conscientious arrival time was barely six hours away. (For me, put it between seven and eight hours.) In fairness, my visiting my friends after work would add only negligibly to my total driving time that day. But,

1. Oftentimes I'd go there on weekends, never really acting as though it's nearly as out of my way as (when I stop to think about it) it is;
2. There's the principle of the thing.

Damn technophobic island Neanderthals, you've ruined my day.
The best bad Poison song ever?

Note: Some party-rock songs have three chords. That's way too complicated. For almost all of "Sexual Thing," Poison gets along fine with just the one chord.
More from Sgt. Stryker...
He links to an interesting ranking of countries' tourists.
Best use of obscenity ever
I'm going to try my best not to swear anymore, except when it's called for. Here's some good old-fashioned called-for swearing.
Blogskin collision
I don't mind that Allyson is Dwight, but it's a little confusing that Norah Vincent is Mike H-L.
A plea to sports columnists and wannabes
You're going to be very tempted to write about baseball's potential strike. If you do, make sure you know even the first thing about what you're talking about. Unsurprisingly, this guy didn't. Somewhat more shockingly, this guy didn't either.

My main beef is actually quite different with each of them:
1. The sports-wannabe guy at Reason has baggage. He talks about baseball's alleged "contempt" for its fans, when in fact his own hatred of the game is pretty obvious. Okay, he was screwed as a D.C.-area fan. (But then, in the same article that he debunks the myth of Washington fans not being good enough, he makes an ignorant slap at Montreal. The exact arguments he makes about Washington's fan base apply to the Expos, at least when Montreal teams were even remotely in contention.) From that vantage point he starts out assuming that baseball's players and owners are hateful, spiteful, greedy clods, and sees proof of it wherever he wants to find it. In particular, he blames the players for this year's All-Star Game. Hello? It wasn't the players who blew through an entire pitching staff. F*ckhead. Baseball's better off without "fans" like him.

(Okay, taken to an extreme that attitude turns a highly profitable enterprise into a backwater/niche. Probably not a good outcome, though I have biases of my own.)

2. The Sports Guy doesn't have baggage so much as a rock in his head. Stealing thunder from Chad Kubicek (I'm writing this as he AIMs me):
kubiwan: God....
kubiwan: $90K worth of college
kubiwan: and the Sports Guys learns that
kubiwan: I always thought that theory could be extended to all walks of life.
kubiwan: the theory
kubiwan: Zero-Sum Games
kubiwan: hey....this thing might have other applications....
kubiwan: well duh


I'll admit to just skimming this column, seeing exactly where it was going, and deciding not to bother. So, stealing once again from Kubi:
kubiwan: The luxury tax works with the NBA
kubiwan: so what exactly does it do to "work" in the NBA
kubiwan: it does leave about 75% of the teams with more or less the exact same payroll
kubiwan: with 3 outliers on either end


Now I'm not much of a basketball fan but I think the implied point here is pretty well taken: Where's the parity in the NBA? Where's the outrage about the teams that start the season knowing they have no chance?

Well, it's placed--very appropriately--square at the feet of the morons who caused this, the front offices of those teams (Warriors, Clippers, etc.) themselves.

Would that (casual) baseball fans were so smart.
Nothin' But
Always odd to hear a happy song when you're in a dragging sort of mood. Sometimes it succeeds. This time it hasn't, yet, but maybe the caffeine just needs to kick in.

Monday, August 19, 2002

Pure Flux
Where do you live? Where do you work? Whom do you date? What occupies your time?

All four may be in flux. I have, respectively:
  • A lease up at the end of the month, two roommates moving out, and a continued frenzy of keeping various options open -- multiple places I'd be content with, plus the inevitable pain of finding a moving van on short notice

  • Surprisingly bad job news, although all is not lost yet

  • Cautious optimism (I'm tempted to stop commenting on my social life here, even for TMI)

  • An August 30 strike date

No, I'm not stressed out.

Sunday, August 18, 2002

Treasure Island?!
I may have big living-related news soon. But first I need to let out a primal scream and flog myself over an unrelated personal-life situation. Details... you know where to find 'em.