Saturday, September 07, 2002

Remember when Tim Keown slammed Boston
for its Fiesta Bowl rendition of the national anthem? I really wanted to have heard it so I could know what Keown was talking about.

Turns out there's a Star Spangled Banner instrumental on Boston's Greatest Hits CD (which I'm currently listening to for the first time in a couple years). Assuming Boston's Fiesta Bowl version sounded pretty much the way it does on the CD, Keown is full of it.

(You could have also guessed that from the fact that nobody other than Keown complained; no wire services carried any mention of controversy, at least not that I can find.)

Vindication?
Short-Selling CuMar
I had two fantasy football drafts in two weeks last month. Everybody's getting older but nobody mentioned baby poop. ESPN should pay me.

Real, vaguely insightful insight:
I finally dropped my standing anti-Raider, anti-Cowboy blackballs. We'll see how that goes.
Some overlap between my teams. Sharing the same kicker can't be good, unless the kicker really is that good.

California She-Bop
(10-team league - start 1QB, 2RB, 3WR/TE, 1K, 1DL, 1LB, 1DB)
QB: Daunte Culpepper, Steve McNair, David Carr
RB: Anthony Thomas, Deuce McAllister, LaMont Jordan, T.J. Duckett
WR/TE: Keyshawn Johnson, Jerry Rice, James Thrash, Shannon Sharpe, Laveranues Coles, Corey Bradford, Ashley Lelie
K: David Akers
DL: Patrick Kerney, John Randle
LB: James Farrior
DB: Jay Bellamy, Ashley Ambrose

Scolmedo Hattebaenz
(12-team league - start 1QB, 2RB, 2WR, 1RB/WR, 1TE, 1K, 1Defense)
QB: Aaron Brooks, Drew Breese, Trent Dilfer
RB: Edgerrin James, LaDainian Tomlinson, Tyrone Wheatley, LaMont Jordan, Jamal Anderson
WR: Tim Brown, Rod Gardner, Antonio Freeman, Antonio Bryant
TE: Shannon Sharpe
K: David Akers
Defense: Pittsburgh Steelers

Most represented division: AFC West (no surprise) edges NFC South (some surprise)
Most represented teams: PHI (3+), ATL (3), NO (3), OAK (3), DEN (2+), NYJ (2+)
Least represented teams (0 each): KC, JAX, BAL, CIN, CLE, BUF, MIA, NE, NYG, GB, DET, CAR, SF, STL, ARI

No Rams, Niners, or Packers -- I'm doomed. Go Saints?
Blogger versus LiveJournal
Comment if you wish.

I'm feeling quite the snob but it's unclear whether this is justified.
I am not Matt B
Someone using that handle posts a lot to the Clutch Hits section of Baseball Primer but it ain't me.

I wonder whether the Craig B on Primer also happens not to be the Craig I know.

Friday, September 06, 2002

Fun while it lasted.
And now, as Roy Steele might say after a pitching change, play resumes.

(Words can't describe how deep this guy's voice is.)
Updated.
There's a lot in this meeting notification that you'd find in typical business correspondence, plus one thing you probably wouldn't. That thing amused me way too much.


-----Original Appointment-----
From: [...]
Sent: Friday, September 06, 2002 8:59 AM
To: [...]
Cc: [...]
Subject: Updated: Product Release Communication Strategy
When: Friday, September 06, 2002 2:00 PM-3:00 PM (GMT-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada); Tijuana.
Where: >Conf1: First Floor, Main

UPDATED. LET'S GET IT ON!

To discuss the process around our Releases. Specifically, how we use the Defect Manager and how we might use it more optimally, how we communicate our Releases and code updates internally, and how we can streamline as many related processes as possible given our resource limitations. I'll try to pull together a more detailed agenda prior to meeting time and circulate that so we can get some thoughts bubbling. Let me know if you have any ideas or questions in the meantime. Thanks.

j.
The weirdest thing to pop into my head today...
Andy Williams is currently singing "Corcovado," by A.C. Jobin. Well, at least KABL's playing it.

We played at least one A.C. Jobin piece in high school jazz band, "Look to the Sky." I usually got the trumpet solo for this. Sixteen bars of improvisation. One that I came up with was head and shoulders above the rest. I kept going back to it, maybe embellishing a measure or two but in general the same solo.

I wonder if I ever wrote it down.
Ted Nugent has an offer for Lance Bass
(speechless)
How can he sound so happy?!?
Bobby Darin, that is. He sounds so upbeat on "Mack the Knife" (which you've probably heard) but he sounds downright elated on Artificial Flowers (which you probably haven't). Just look at the lyrics. Rendering such a sad song so peppily is criminal.

And now, "Memory," as interpreted by Barbra Streisand. Not to be confused with the Fenway Park synthesizer 4/4 time corruption of that same song.
Drug Education Highlights
I still think it should be legal but this I found deeply amusing.
April in Paris
Best big-band era song ever?
Welcome Back Mike H-L
Just one nitpick: If the World Championships were Yao Ming's American competitive debut then was this just an exhibition, not a competition? ("Please, no wagering.") I could see it going either way, since the Oakland game was just a tuneup, not to mention box office attraction.

(I heard about it a day after the fact, alas.)

Thursday, September 05, 2002

Gratuitous NFL Predictions
(Aided by a spreadsheet and by making a split-second prediction of each game each week and seeing how the totals came out.)

San Francisco 13-3
St. Louis 13-3
Seattle 7-9
Arizona 4-12

Green Bay 13-3
Chicago 11-5
Minnesota 6-10
Detroit 3-13

Atlanta 10-6
Tampa Bay 9-7
New Orleans 6-10
Carolina 1-15

Philadelphia 13-3
NY Giants 7-9
Washington 7-9
Dallas 4-12


Denver 13-3
Oakland 9-7
San Diego 5-11
Kansas City 4-12

Pittsburgh 12-4
Baltimore 8-8
Cleveland 7-9
Cincinnati 5-11

Indianapolis 12-4
Tennessee 9-7
Jacksonville 8-8
Houston 3-13

NY Jets 10-6
New England 9-7
Buffalo 8-8
Miami 7-9


NFC semifinalists: SF, STL, GB, PHI
NFL finalists: SF, STL

AFC semifinalists: DEN, PIT, IND, NYJ
AFC finalists: DEN, IND

Super Bowl: DEN over SF
A post that has nothing to do with baseball.
There's one song out there that screams "alternative." At least I think so. The best lyric of the whole song is:

I miss your purple hair, I miss the way you taste.

For days I'd meant to drop a blog-mention of this song. Just now I heard it... in a TV commercial for the movie XXX. So maybe not so alternative after all.
Just because the line score tells the whole story...
0 0 0 5 0 0 0 5 1- 11 15 1
6 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 1- 12 15 1

I'd be willing to bet that only one game in MLB history has that particular inning-by-inning score pattern.
The worst imitation I ever heard
This is just shameful but I have to relate it to clear my head of the badness of it. Skip Caray once very snidely (is that redundant?) spoofed Renel introducing "J.T. Snowww" in a falsetto. Very definitely not one of Skip's finest moments.
Some serious "where are they now" content here!
(especially that last guy)
Doesn't look like my usual radio format but now I'm dying to check this station out at certain times of the day/week.
On Google and great PA announcers
This neck of the woods has arguably two of baseball's all-time greatest, though I don't go to other parks enough to get a good comparison. In any case, until now I didn't actually know their names.

Roy Steele (no one web page really seems to do him justice but he's been an A's fixture for decades) and Renel Brooks-Moon (lots of Renel links here; I hadn't realized she was also a DJ), salut. Now you know.
Royals
A tremendous comeback by Kansas City
--Roy Steele nails the situation in a rare editorial comment, while giving the final runs/hits/errors

While it was 11-0 I thought a little about the contrast between the Twins and Royals, between a very good team and a very bad one, between the team that brought fans with Circle Me Bert signs and the team that had few if any fans at Oakland.

Then out of nowhere KC started coming back. They're professionals after all.
Annotating the recap
The A's raked Kansas City ace Paul Byrd for six runs in the first inning... -- I have Byrd on a fantasy team but it's okay. ERA be damned, WHIP be damned. My fantasy players do almost uniformly badly when I see them on visiting teams, yet this works out very well in real life.

Kansas City scored five runs in the fourth and five more in the eighth, capped by Mike Sweeney's three-run homer. Joon had fantasy baseball incentive for Mike Sweeney to do well and for Tim Hudson NOT to get a win. Yes on both counts. Hudson has been snakebit this year, the bullpen having blown (if memory serves) nine games that he left in a position to win.

The last team to blow an 11-run lead at home and lose was the Chicago Cubs on April 17, 1976, against Philadelphia. So who was the last team to blow an 11-run lead but still win?

I wonder if anyone broadcasting the game made a Jim Rooker style "I'll walk home" throwaway comment.

The game was delayed several times in the eighth when fans threw objects on the field. One was a roll of toilet paper; all were quite frustrating. The objects being thrown, the kids running around, the... please understand that I'm introverted, maybe even neurotic.
Okay Jon, I'll admit it, this one was a little asinine.
I'm trying to think of other games that actually made me cry. Didn't cry for Game 5 of the 2002 ALDS (first inning otherwise known as catch it, T-Long, catch... oh no!) but did a little for Game 3 of 2001 (otherwise known as slide, Jeremy, slide!). But tears of victory?

Decades from now I'll die. (At least I hope it's decades from now. I'm resigned to it happening at some point.) Mark that day. In the year or two following that day, think of this particular game and wonder whether otherwise I'd still be alive. Maybe the way it ended wipes all the stress away.

Scott Hatteberg's on deck! Now we can't possibly lose! --me, presciently, to Joon in the bottom of the ninth.

Don't worry, Koch will give up at most one run! --Joon, trying to be reassuring as the A's took an 11-10 lead into the top of the ninth.

There was the strikeout, the second out of the top of the ninth, that resulted in everyone getting coupons good for a free two-liter at Albertson's. (The strikeout threshold is 8.)

There was the big buildup, with Luis Alicea batting with the tying run on second in the top of the ninth but two out and two strikes. As Alicea batted, people behind us in the stands started to file out, as if to get a head start on the BART crush. Their hubris was smacked down. Very very sheepishly did they return to their seats after the game-tying hit.

There was Mike Sweeney's three-run HR in the top of the 8th. Even as he batted I thought of the HR as a worst-case and was thankful that the tying run was merely on deck. When he did hit the home run, bladders and/or bowels flared up within thousands of A's fans in the bleachers all at the same time. The men's room line was astonishing.

The skank-bitch in line behind me at the $1 hotdog (and $6 beer) stand had a new take on The Scarlet Letter. She actually called kids themselves the "scarlet letter that means you'll never have fun again." She and her boyfriend were just mad about being warned about swearing around children. Naturally they dropped a few f-bombs while standing behind me.

At least once while I was in line that stand ran out of hot dogs. Hence I spent most of the 6th inning there. Much-needed cooling-off time. Even with an 11-5 lead, the scoring threat in the fifth was quite stressful.

(Aside: When I played quiz-bowl -- supposedly I no longer do -- I was one of the most high-strung players you'd ever meet. Games like this, or the buzzer competition equivalent, explain why I was so high strung and why I supposedly don't play anymore.)

Kids are, if not a scarlet letter, then at least something. At least the ones who spent the entire game running up the stairs next to me (and sliding down the stair-rail) were. Crack-addled, sugar-highed, call it what you will. (In fairness, they still beat the two twerps who sat behind us Monday loudly discussing the Gameboys they were in the act of playing.)

Also in fairness, the hot dog line f-bombers weren't quite as bad as Sunday's field box f-bombers. Some day I'll write about those guys.

In the top of the fourth, Oakland leading 11-0, people tried to start the wave, with the other team batting. Even apart from my absolute loathing of the wave (here I'm almost as vehement as Skip Caray himself), everyone knows you start it ONLY when your own team bats. I blame this for KC's five-run fourth. That or the "ROYALS SUCK" cheer that broke out in the bottom of the third.

There are two kinds of team for which you simply can't (IMHO) do a "suck" cheer: Those who obviously don't suck (you'll never hear "Mariners suck," say), and those whose suckage is so obvious that pointing it out just seems like rubbing it in.

I was almost laughing out loud -- but quite self-consciously -- as the A's did the hitting and bashing and mauling that led to the early lead. It seemed like so much overkill. A mercy rule felt useful.

No lead is safe. This is why teams continue to try to win, and incidentally why those "unwritten rules" about not stealing bases and such truly are "asinine."

The winning streak, though... oh my.

I've never seen as many bottles suddenly thrown onto the field or within the stands. The combination of elation at final victory with frustration over blowing an eleven run lead -- not surprising things got mildly ugly.

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Are there really people shouting from the rooftops that Terrell Davis does belong in the NFL Hall of Fame?
Bill Simmons is the latest to jump on the anti-bandwagon.

Look, if there really were people in prominent places arguing that he belonged, I could see rebutting them. It just gets old after awhile though. The next time I hear somebody throw in a gratuitous "but he's not a Hall-of-Famer" in their eulogy for TD's career, they're getting a big old F-U.

My take (from an IM with Kubicek a couple weeks ago): If football had a real HOF, then sure, keep him out, but Canton is already such a joke that letting him in wouldn't be significantly worse than other players who are in that one.
People who I dearly feel the need to mock
1. A nameless friend, who on a day that
a. Oakland is bidding to win its 20th straight game and
b. Oakland is selling $1 upper-bleacher tickets (also featuring dollar hot dogs)
honestly thought that there might still be dollar tickets left half an hour before gametime

(Note: The $1 upper bleachers and $8 upper reserve behind home plate were all sold out as of 9 a.m. this morning. There were still $7 lower bleachers. I'm convinced this game ought to be a total sellout. We'll see if it is.)

2. My roommate/colleague, who on the way back from lunch told me an extended story about his watch. He needs a new watchband for it; unfortunately, the only bands he could find are 19 millimeters, where his watch can only fit bands 18mm or smaller. After this story petered out he suddenly asked:

Was there any criterion to be an ingredient in soylent green? Did they look for particular qualities in people or was it just a random sampling?
Chirality
Did you know this word could be applied to ballplayers?

I guess "handedness" is too clumsy.
Thoughts on Ducks
"And are we gonna see Mallard Fillmore plucked, beheaded, and roasted at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for six hours?"

There's always Howard.

My favorite is this guy, and would you believe he's for sale?!

This guy isn't for sale, nor does he sell insurance, but he was fun to heckle.
This is why I love the doctrine of Adverse Posession
(What? You don't know what adverse possession is? Ask your local lawyer, or "I-am-not-a-lawyer" law school grad.)

Maybe the law against living in trees trumps adverse posession here but C'MON! They lived in it, they made it their own. Nobody tried to move them. It's in everybody's best interest to let them stay there. The tree is theirs now. Or should be.

I really hope someone gives them pro bono representation.
Swing music exists to illustrate just how bad other people's taste in music is.
Not mine, of course, just other people's.

I'm listening to all these peppy, upbeat songs, not Creed-style euphoria but more in the showtune vein. Nearly all of them are love songs. This leads me to ask:

WHY ON EARTH are "soft-rock" love songs popular? With all this beautiful music out there, the more I think about it, the more those public places that subject their customers to freakin' Michael Bolton are insulting rather than just annoying.

And take an elegant spring dance, such as the Fete that my fine undergraduate residence (easily the best on campus, at least until housing assignments became random) hosted each year. Let there be a swing band under a tent. And then, I guess to avoid feeding pearls to swine, there's always also a DJ spinning in a crowded sweaty dining hall. Why does ANYONE prefer the DJ to the swing band? I'm at a loss.

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

That Commercial Again
"Feminine enhancement product," they called it.

"Mine were already great," the first testimonial claimed.

See why I thought it was breasts?
Freakiest Set of Commercials Ever
When the radio ad for this came on, it was euphemism all over the place. I honestly thought the product was a breast enhancement cream until the lady who said, "I got there before he did."

Two commercials later was a "Learn Math" PSA wherein we find that the guy who only took basic math is only doing menial work; the woman who studied through trig is now a VP; and the guy who took AP Calculus is a CEO.

I'd be even more impressed if learning math made you better at satisfying women.
America's Best Music
When I put this station on in the car Saturday, it was total pandering. Just as having my mom in town leads me to fix the dial on oldies, I knew that my guest for the day likes music even older than that.

The funny thing is how catchy it is. A bunch of these songs I played in jazz band (or heard some other jazz band play). I am now streaming KABL on-line and loving it. This could be like my country music phase earlier this year. Or maybe subconsciously I'm having good memories of the 2000-2001 A's.

(Oakland's flagship station moved from KABL to the AM incarnation of KFRC between last year and this.)

Speaking of catchy things, for the longest time I didn't want to like that one Jimmy Eat World song. It went so far that I refused to even learn who the song was by. It's not that I didn't actually like the song, rather that I didn't want to. As things-that-get-stuck-in-your-head go, this one seems positively lethal. And until now I'd resisted.

Maybe this is the real reason I'm avoiding current pop?
Nice Haircut
Heard three times in a span of ten minutes. Moral: This guy really was a good hairdresser.

That or I should cut my hair more often than every four months.

Monday, September 02, 2002

Bald schlafe ich
Three straight mornings other people have had leisure on the holiday weekend but I've woken up mid-morning with a mild sense of urgency. Well, the urgency sets in a few seconds after my daily who am I? what's today? orientation. "Social plans TBA with someone," followed by A's day game (and fantasy football draft and spontaneous plans with friends) and A's day game.

I become aware that I'm needed at the Coliseum soon before it really sinks in why or just how singular this weekend has been or just how crazy it is that suddenly I'm living and breathing this one particular stretch of A's baseball. (Oh, and also something else really cool that I'm extremely reluctant to write about, not even for privacy reasons so much as avoidance of pre-hatched chicken counting.)

Long story short, at the instant I type this I'm at my desk at work. Came in here with four goals, maybe five:
1. Update the weblog (check)
2. Remove evidence of fantasy football draft and/or make my desk generally presentable (check)
3. Sanitize my work area (I'm becoming self-conscious about desk messiness and some article I read somewhere about workplace bacteria), won't get to
4. Actually do some work, I honestly thought I could but just... no. See subject line (translate it from the German here.

5. Phone call. I'd really hate to do that particular call from a cell but there should be plenty of time to drive home, freshen up, then make the call.

(Oh, speaking of phone calls, aside to one particular regular reader: As a schedule quirk, the A's actually have No game at all on Tuesday! -- thus avoiding an interesting situation.)
Ode to Gene Simmons
Decades ago Kiss wrote this party/clubbing anthem; baseball was probably not the inspiration.

Some time before Opening Day 2001, someone in the Oakland Athletics gameday department decided that this would be a really nice song to play after home wins. They probably had no idea it would become a part of history.

You drive us wild, we'll drive you M-V-P!!! M-V-P!!!
You keep on shoutin', you keep on shoutin'...

The Oakland A's flagship station is, when not covering baseball, an oldies station (the more official but far less interesting link would be here).

(Aside to those who followed the second link: Greg Papa is the man behind the Touchdown, RRRaiders! tagline that you've probably heard on NFL highlights before; although he also does A's games, he's become so thoroughly wedded to the TV booth that I can't remember hearing him on the radio at all in 2002. The A's primary radio play-by-play comes from Bill King, who had the interesting fortune to take a vacation this Labor Day weekend; therefore if you watched SportsCenter today or yesterday then the voice you heard on the Tejada drama was Ken Korach's.)

In any case, since KFRC has expanded its "oldies" playlist forward in time, I'm tempted to claim that "Rock and Roll All Night" actually would fit their format. In which case, the obvious thing to do is to make a montage, with radio highlights from all 19 (and counting) of the games in this latest stretch. Think of it: "You keep on shoutin', you keep on shoutin' Swing'n'adrive DEEP TO LEFT...."

Barry Zito didn't have it today but didn't need it. Thankfully.

Sunday, September 01, 2002

I like this Peanuts cartoon much much better than the one two days ago.

TEJADA!



That's honestly the wildest I've ever seen a crowd go, to say nothing of being part of a nuts-going crowd.
Cribbed from ESPN
The A's became the first team since the 1953 Yankees to win as many as 17 games in a row. Longest winning streaks since 1900:

1916 Giants, 26*
1935 Cubs, 21
1906 White Sox, 19*
1947 Yankees, 19
1904 Giants, 18
1953 Yankees, 18
1907 Giants, 17
1916 Giants, 17
1912 Senators, 17
1931 Athletics, 17
2002 A's, 17
* had a tie game during streak
A headline I never got to use:
Who's yer daddy now, Bobby Kielty?
His fielding miscues, particularly where on the field they happened, gave me a chance to heckle him at this game, which I went to and fully intended to write up.

(Game #16 of the winning streak, also the first home game in said streak since #6, also the game that everyone thought the strike would wipe out.)

Thing is, I went straight from the game to poker, straight from poker to sleep, and into the day described somewhere below.
Pop-Up Killer
I got a spam e-mail offering me a product to eliminate pop-up windows (the implication being that all pop-up windows are ads). Two things:

1. If the product does what I think it does, I could write the thing myself in minutes. (Okay, maybe hours, just in case of browser issues or me being dumb -- Javascript is really cranky for stupid reasons now and then.) Not bragging, just that Javascript happens to be one of my things.

2. Does this mean some day I'll get a pop-up ad offering to help rid myself of e-mail spam?
The Jeremy Irons problem rears its ugly head
In certain situations I find myself compulsively making anagrams of particular people's names. For the first time that I can remember, I'm completely and utterly stumped on one.

Hmm, which play would you rather see, Agatha Christie's The Mouse Trap or whatever Tom Stoppard's latest offering is?

17 and Counting



Random things I did on the happiest (thus far) day of my life...
(Going for the minutae here, since a coherent narrative would take too many words. Figure it out for yourself.)

Walked 25 minutes from my car to a baseball game. Walked 45 minutes from the baseball game to the car (the former involving 66th Street, the latter inadvertently involving Hegenberger).

Declared a silent death wish to, I kid you not, Li'l Bow Wow, and to the geniuses who run the Oakland Coliseum grounds for scheduling a rap concert head-to-head with an Oakland A's fireworks night.

Hit my knee on a fire hydrant. When the fact that I'd done this went unnoticed, did my best to keep it that way, played it off, and totally forgot having done so until my knee suddenly hurt three hours later.

Got a surprisingly good haircut at a place I'd never been to before, from a guy who took way too much time for my taste (and was way too conversational for my taste) but nonetheless really knew what he was doing. Listened to his story about the time he played a gig (his vocations in life are hairdressing and music -- seemed in his 50's or early 60's) at the San Francisco Airport in a lounge that had a huge computer (old-school computers having been huge) with lights that turned on-off based on which instruments played what notes.

Broke a car wash. That is to say, I was in a long line of cars at a Shell station, finally got to the front, put my three dollars in and chose "regular" wash. Pulled in on the green light that I thought was mine. Waited, waited, nothing happened. Honked, waited, honked, finally drove off in frustration.

Ate the Smothered Chicken at an Applebee's somewhere in Alameda, California.

Used both the toilet and shower in the private bathroom of the master bedroom vacated just today by my erstwhile roommate Nelson, who has moved (I wonder if he's currently en route) to London.

Listened to most of the Giants-Snakes game in my car, marveling that one team could beat Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling on consecutive days. Aside: Listening to Jon Miller in one's car by itself makes the day worth living and the Bay Bridge traffic tolerable.

Listened to the first inning-and-a-half of today's A's game in the car, much of it in a traffic jam on 880. Got to our seats, looked up at the scoreboard and boggled that the number representing the inning was a 5. (Traffic really was just that bad. Not to mention walking from the "overflow parking." Shuttle buses theoretically existed. We didn't feel like waiting for experimental confirmation.)

Saw Cory Lidle give up his first earned run of the month (on day 31 of said month) and Ricky Rincon get clobbered in relief, only for the handsome and talented Eric Chavez to save the day.

Saw a Red Sox fan (so I infer from his cap) bellow out A's suck as he vacated his seat in the 9th inning. After a predictable round of catcalls from the people around him, he tipped his cap at us and said, and I quote, bite me.

ATTENTION RED SOX FANS (since a few of you do read this): Many, if not most, of your brethren are sore losers. I predict that nothing good will come to the Boston franchise (at least not in October) unless/until this is remedied. Perhaps I am a bad winner. (Or worse yet, a fair weather fan, the evidence being my addiction to Red Sox radio broadcasts. Best defense here is that I'm still addicted to Jerry and Joe, despite no longer honestly rooting for the team whose games they call.)

Hmm, what else? Oh yeah, if you define a day by midnight-to-midnight rather than sleep schedule, then I won $30 at poker (peaked at plus-$32.50 or so), only to piss away all but $3.30 of it at the very end. During my good run, there was a hand in which the queen, nine, and eight of spades were on the board. Joon had in his hand the ace of spades and another spade. He could lose only if someone had the jack and ten of spades -- which, of course, I had.

Saw a really good fireworks display.

Saw a decent-looking lagoon from a balcony window.

Explained to someone the rules of Apples to Apples and the "rules" of blank white cards, both of which I was told sounded quite interesting.

Overheard two cellphone conversations in Russian. (Speaking of which, again applying the midnight-to-midnight rule, I met Igor Teper's sister. When I first arrived at poker, having stayed in my car 15 extra minutes to hear the ninth inning of this Giants game, which ended in Robb Nen striking out Matt Williams with the bases loaded and the potential winning run at second, I saw Igor and sis (out on whose name I'm blanking) sitting on a couch together; my initial very false impression was that he and she were dating. Lest you yourself get the wrong impression, this parenthetical paragraph contains the only references in this blog to Igor's sister.)

Let out loud intermittent whoops while driving back home for the night. Louder than my intermittent whoops have ever been, even by myself in the car.

Put in U2's The Joshua Tree as happy music. (How seriously bereft of happy music is my car for this to be the best I could do?) Ejected the tape during "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" as jinx-avoidance, only to hear Right Said Fred on the Star 101 one-hit wonders weekend and decide, who needs jinxes? I can flaunt them. If Pedro Martinez can challenge the ghost of Babe Ruth to a fight, then I can listen to that and even "With or Without You" and even type this paragraph.

Or perhaps coyly insist that the reason why this is the happiest day in my life is the 17 AND COUNTING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh last but not least, heard someone successfully mimic the "TEJADA!" cowbell cheer with a car horn.