Saturday, October 05, 2002

Scott Sanderson
Believe it or not, I really had been wondering where he went. Speaking of former 1989 Cub rotation mates, I saw Greg Maddux pitch in person today (splendidly too) and Rick Sutcliffe in the broadcast booth recently. Mike Bielecki hosts a post-game show in Chicago. That just leaves Paul Kilgus, the #5 starter from that year.
Today's high-concept sports themed improv scenario
Imagine Bill Walton (as seen on NBC's NBA coverage) giving dating advice.
One set of four versus another
So I saw the Giants lose in person today and my A's lost too. And yet, given a choice between today's actual four set of outcomes versus the exact opposite set, I'd have to go with what actually happened. Bye bye, Yankees; bye bye, Diamondbacks.

Incidentally, I have to admit that I'm mildly peeved that teams built all the right ways (A's, Mariners, even Indians) can't beat the Yankees, yet gimmicky teams (purple-wearing mallpark expansion teams, Disnified monkey ralliers) managed to do it. Then again, better the gimmicky teams do it than nobody do it.
Simian Gloating
Ooh hoo ha ah ooh oh ah oh screeeeeeeeeeeech! ee-ee-ee ooh hoo ooh ooh ah ah oh [pounds chest] ah ah ah oo-oo-oo-oo YANKEES SUCK!
ooh ooh ah hahahahahahahahah! screeeeeeeech! YANKEES SUCK
An exercise in linedrawing
I was on Snopes a lot just now. It started with an annoying John Ashcroft-related e-mail forward, to whose sender I wanted to send a pissy response with a Snopes link. As it happened, the relevant Snopes link revealed that the "urban legend" in question was actually a true story.

But enough of that. Wandered around a bit on the site until I found this story. Genuinely funny, to me, and yet it reminds me...

...contrast it to the baseball news story today about a Phoenix-era DJ who called Daryl Kile's widow and asked her if she was bringing "a date" to the game. (Sorry, no link. I refuse on principle to mention the guy by name either. I've mulled over a bit tonight whether seeking the guy out and beating him within an inch of his life would be morally justifiable. You think I'm kidding.)

It's hard to put into words but I'm pretty sure I can safely separate these two stories, with one within the bounds of taste and the other so so far beyond it that I'd be willing to do whatever it takes to get that Phoenix station's license revoked.
Some pretty good baseball games today
One of which I missed because of playtesting, one of which I drifted in and out of. More on that elsewhere.
Free Speech, Canadian Style
Also known as not necessarily free.

Suffice to say I think Canada's policy is silly.

Thursday, October 03, 2002

"Was I a sucker?"
(Somebody sure is/was.)
My parents used to talk back to the TV. I've gotten a similar predilection for them except that instead of watching TV I read news stories like this one (follow it through until you get to the last sentence).
My roommate's little dilemmas
Overheard while we rode back from lunch: His fuel level is awkward in that he probably has enough to drive home and back to work (apparently Berkeley prices beat San Francisco's) but not certain. He could just go ahead and refuel now. If he did, instead of the refill being about $20, it would be something less than what he usually pays. (No idea whether that's good or bad -- I'd started to tune out.)

The fact that he spent time recounting this was almost as mind-boggling as the fact that I bothered with this entry. It was stuck in my head, sorry. I just love that this is the biggest thing he has to worry about, or that it resulted in any contemplation/brain cycles.
Streaming Radio Highlights
This one particular station just jumped from "Kung Fu Fighting" to an obscure track from Bon Jovi's New Jersey ("Stick To Your Guns," if you care -- first time I'd heard that song since, well, yesterday, since I happened to play New Jersey in the car Wednesday morning).

And then after that, Prince's "Let's Go Crazy."

(If you care, this is the UPBEAT 80's!!!!! station (programmed by stuckinthe80s) on Search for it under "Rock.")
Is this picture tasteless?
See for yourself. From Putri Beach, India. (Follow the second link for the explanation.)

I'm on the fence of being offended. Either way I'm captivated.
Imagine a show business bizarro world... which every part was played by an African-American actor. (Or African-British, or... basically someone who's black.)

Anyway the question is, who would play you?

I claim dibs on Cedric the Entertainer.
Ballad Time
Currently listening to "Please Don't Go Girl" (NKOTB), without even a trace of shame.

Go Internet radio!

I used to be able to sing along to this; probably still can but at work it would be unwise.
Maybe it's just that the Saudis already made me mad
But this column nearly made me want to punch a hole in the wall.

There are few things more loathsome than a thousand words that consist entirely of the male-female equivalent of (this is a Simpsons reference):
White people drive like this -- but black people drive like this.

Where I'm coming from:
1. I like sports
2. I'd love to meet other people who do. Okay that's not really true: I'd love to meet women who do, and most guys who do. There's a distinct set of guy sports fans I'd just as soon avoid.
3. I'm not a sexist pig. I don't usually overreact to sexist pigs except when I feel as though they give people like me a bad name.

Sadly, the one person who I could most expect to sympathize-and-then-some, is leaving for an overseas trip today.
Saudi Spam
I just got this popup ad on, of all things, a FoxTrot comic strip.

First off, it's annoying by definition, the kind of ad that I usually close-window and ignore. Like junk mail.

Except it's worse than that. Gee, did you know Saudi Arabia revoked Osama bin Laden's citizenship in 1994? Ooh, that's telling him! That's what we should have done: Instead of frying McVeigh, we should have revoked his citizenship! That would've showed him who's boss.

Bastards. Unlawfully governed oil tyranny. That's the regime we should go after (or, a regime we should go after). Take no prisoners, abide no B.S.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

I really really want to put this on my wall
Though I'm mildly afraid of offending people. This is the second Dilbert I've seen that reminded me uniquely of the company I work for (beyond just workplaces generally). Ironically, the first one also had to do with sales lingo and I think someone on our design team also cut that one out.

(It happened to come out the week of the big annual trade show in Las Vegas.)
By the power of Gamecast, I mock thee

Grab some bench.

One more inning.
Me and Drum
One of my recent colleagues (laid off, unfortunately) spotted me on TV while watching this game.

Thing is, my post-season tickets are four rows behind the drummers. The drummers are going to get on TV a lot. By extension... just a heads up, if you have a chance to watch an A's playoff home game on TV, you might see me. You probably won't, but still, you might.

I suppose I should tell my mom about this. That and the work situation. And the social life situation. Don't look at me like that -- I just don't share enough of my life when I call home.
Instant Messaging QOTD
(typos fixed on the fly)

kubiwan: the Infoplease Today's B-Days page
kubiwan: lists Nat Turner as a "civil rights leader"
StrategyPattern: hmm.... in a manner of speaking. but boy would you get a distorted picture
kubiwan: yup...he would have been 202 today without, you know, the unfortunate incident with his neck
My new favorite search-engine-related quote
Sorry folks, but you won't find any perpetual sex machines here. I'm not 21 anymore.
--Jesse Walker
The word "And" does not belong in the name of a Java* class.

The offending class is also demonstrably in the wrong package. But all this happened more than a year ago so life goes on.

Also, this particular class was really cleverly written. Hats off to the author.

My dirty little fingers are all over so much of the code here that it's always surprising to remember/come across features/components that I've never been involved with. I always like to claim those parts are unimportant.

*- or whatever object-oriented language
Mmmmm... blue screen...
I love this.
Minor Workplace Pet Peeves
1. People who think we should always be adding new features just for the sake of adding new features, as though the world will end (or at least our product somehow get "stale") without an endless stream of shiny objects.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for providing what customers actually want. That said, I could imagine (and be happy with) a situation where we say, "this is the product's core competency" and leave it well enough alone for awhile. (What would I do with my time? As long as the Defect Manager has more than zero items in New/Open/Reopen categories, that's a silly question.)

2. People with no sense of which particular things are actually hard to develop. In particular, an intuively obvious frontend does not at all imply a trivial backend. Actually this one resulted from my misreading a defect manager comment the first time around. The thing that's hard to do was modified by "an additional, but probably more difficult, improvement" rather than by "this is a quick fix."

Anyhow, on the subject of time spent, the "half-time" deadline is approaching. It's unclear whether we'll actually come to this but still possible, perhaps likely. Up to this point I've been overworked but overpaid. Seems as though the ideal (for me) solution would be to get 75% of what my salary has been, and work three 10-hour days a week.
Quote of the Day
"I fought for everything I believed in, with all the fiber in my body."
--Robert Torricelli, cited here (scroll down a bit)

Once again, anyone remember the Saturday Night Live Peggy Lee "Fiber" parody?
Night-owl, caffeine addict, and southpaw
(if you know what I mean)

I suppose there are things you can and can't say in a professional document, even a little personal profile. With luck the appropriate lines will be read between, especially if the audience knows what kind of reputation lefties have in the baseball world.

(In homage to a comment Matt made to a political post: obviously this is the Randy Johnson kind of lefty rather than the Trotsky kind, though I suppose Big Unit doesn't quite have a "zany" reputation; strike, replace with "the Barry Zito kind of lefty," even though Mulder's more the kind I admire. Note the difference between admire and resemble.)
A silly confession about a little thing that bugs me
At first glance I love the picture on my Yahoo! Profile (just now reused the picture for the "me" slide in a business-related presentation). The problem is if you know chess and bother to look at the board then the picture shows what a dork I was the day the shot was taken.

Count how many moves it took white to reach this position: Seven, right? As for black, you can get to that position in four moves but the actual game featured a Ng8-f6-g8 waste of a pair of moves. (Oh sure, it was all a plan to lure that pawn to e5. That's right. Hypermodern strategies, baby.)

Useless trivia about this picture: It came from a simul (simultaneous exhibition) given by the then-president of Harvard's chess club, but at Boston University (while I was at BU -- actually by then I may have been "real world"). He had a master rating if memory serves. I can't remember how the game came out but I probably lost.
For the record
On the dropped pop-up mentioned here, it was Radke's fault. The pitcher directs traffic. Either the catcher or infielder should've caught it but if nobody's claimed it (or two people claim it) then it's up to the pitcher to call who.

Just your baseball pedantry of the day.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

I pity dogs, I really do; if you had a super-powered shapeshifter for a roommate you’d be on edge half the time, too. Particularly if you depended on him for your defecation schedules.
--James Lileks

Neither I nor anyone who reads this blog will ever write as well as Lileks.
Good times for Mr. Kubicek
Life-imitates-Onion cellphone moment earlier tonight. Quoting verbatim from memory:
Gotta go, Cards are on, first pitch, love ya.

Well gosh, I love you too. Or rather, I love your team when it does this.

Almost makes up for sitting through this thing in the hot sun. Minnesota looked like a Little League team for two innings--then came back to win, almost as if they'd made Oakland overconfident.

Key stats:
Time: 3:44
Team LOB 12

(primal scream)

We shall never again speak of either of today's ALDS games.
Scorekeeping on my code geek friends
Today's topic: Comment widgets.

Cindy's takes a surprisingly long time to post and refresh. Matt's posts and refreshes almost instantly.

Matt comes out on top but I'll still put Cindy in a dead heat with YACCS/rateyourmusic thing that I and every other too-lazy-to-write-our-own blogger uses.
Na na hey hey
Not the first manager to go but certainly the first one worthy of a "na na hey hey."

Over/under on days until his next media gig? ESPN or Fox?
Somebody doesn't watch enough Arena Football
Fugly. Not a proud moment in franchise history.

(Craig's line was about the CFL. We don't get the CFL in these parts but we do get the SaberCats.)

Monday, September 30, 2002

Drive-time singalong update
Today brought to you by "Red Barchetta," the best Rush song ever, which I station-flipped just in time to hear the last two minutes or so of near the end of my commute.

Songs in order from that point (one radio station flip involved):
Rush, "Red Barchetta" - I don't even dare sing it. Geddy Lee has a gift that I lack.
Red Hot Chili Peppers, "The Zephyr Song" - note for note, vocal intonation for intonation, I nail this song. I could pass for a Chili Pepper. Really.
Creed, "One Last Breath" - voice cracked miserably on the chorus
Creed (double-shot!), "Higher" - can't quite do Scott Stapp's low notes, try too hard on the chorus/high notes.

"The Zephyr Song" and "Higher" are remarkably similar songs, with similar airborne themes and even the same key. Chord structures are totally different in the verses but chords and melody similar on the chorus.

(Only a Red Hot Chili Peppers song would have an "a minor - G major - e minor - F major" chord structure through the whole verse, then hit D major for the chorus.)

D major: the new "in" key, at least to my ears.

Actually all four of these songs are at least partially in D. The least D-centered of them is "Red Barchetta," where the D major part is mostly instrumental. D in the sustained bassline with G major; G major -> A major; A major -> G major. G-G-A-D-A-G. (Or if you're whistling: B; B -> C#; C# -> B; B B C# D C#) And then somehow an F chord comes out of that. For all that I'd say "Red Barchetta" is primarily in A major.

That's your boring music theory for the day.
Thoughts on divas
Say what you will about her politics (well, I guess I'm the one who usually says it), Barbra can flat-out sing. The cult of personality surrounding her is still wacky but makes vaguely more sense now.

When does Alanis get that kind of cult of personality going?

(Re Barbra, Kubi asks, "ever seen her South Park episode...?" Now what kind of question is that? How could anyone not have seen the best South Park ever. Then again, Kubi erroneously claims that this distinction goes to the rainforest episode.)
Fun with demographics
The DJ on KABL (my "Adult Standards" station) is lamenting the fact that "Everybody Loves Raymond" is going into its final season.
Oh, and a youth minister who likes porn
Why don't I crib the entire Obscure Store linklist for today? It was a banner day for Romenesko, what can I say?
"Makeover Couture"
Makeover Couture.

Makeover, Couture?

Yeah, that's probably a brothel. Oakland cops are having a bad few years.
"That tour bus saved his life"
How would a Parrothead react to a guy doing this?
Darwin's Head Lice
I used to think the Darwin Award Winners were figures in urban legend. This guy should get an honorable mention though.
Poor kid.

Resolved: This wouldn't have happened if the drinking age were 18.

You need a certain type of sense of humor
To really appreciate this Peanuts strip. I do, but I absolutely adore Sally, especially the school reports she writes.

On a similar note (and for some reason a recent Baseball Primer poster attributed this kind of humor to Kenny Mayne), Lon Simmons quote from yesterday:
Joe Angell: "Zinter, in his first at-bat, bounced to short in the sixth."
Lon Simmons: "Well, HE didn't bounce to short but he hit the ball in that direction."

Getting back to comic strips, this is the best Dilbert in several months. Kudos to Matt for pointing it out.
A music post that won't bore Chad
I've decided that one point on which the A's trump the Giants is home stadium music. Never thought I'd say that given "Smoke on the Water" and "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" as a late-game 1-2 punch, but Oakland more than makes up for things on the front end.

They've set 20-game winning streak highlights to a nice piece of classical music (mmm, timpani) and they also have a highlight montage to "Baba O'Riley" that always gets huge cheers.

As with most great things in baseball not involving Branch Rickey, I think the Yankees get credit for being first to use "Baba O'Riley" for fan inspiration. It's a great "stretch drive" song that might feel out of place before August or so.

Sunday, September 29, 2002

If any baseball team hires this jackass to manage it again
I will put a curse on that franchise myself. (Then again, why should I take credit? With a guy like that -- notice how quick he is to blame anyone but himself -- a curse is probably unnecessary.)
Cut-Throat Schadenfreude
How many people in football pick contests were burned by this game? Or, less likely, perhaps this one?

I remain unscathed having gone with the Raiders (hot hand!) and the team playing the Bengals.
The good and bad of radio broadcast banter
Bad: Yesterday, Larry King was inexplicably in the Giants' booth kissing Jon Miller's ass. I couldn't immediately place the other voice with Miller but thought he sounded old and decrepit. Even if Lon Simmons had had a stroke overnight he wouldn't have sounded that bad.

Good: Speaking of Lon, today he got to banter with Willie Mays for awhile as Joe Angell interjected every few seconds for play-by-play. It sounds as though with Simmons retiring, Willie will start to do some sporadic cover-for-Miller's-ESPN-days color work. Amusingly, Lon Simmons still enunciates far more clearly than Willie Mays ever will.

(I'm almost hesitant to bring this up. Black media figures past a certain age -- especially ex-jock media figures -- just have a diction to them. An interesting exception to this is Joe Morgan, who says the most astonishingly wrong things once in awhile but always sounds erudite to me. Hmm, come to think of it Tony Gwynn also enunciates well.)

On other radio stations... today the A's had their understudy radio guy in with Bill King. I can't remember how the guy's last name is spelled but the short version is he's awful. His presence was necessitated by the combination of the A's being on TV but Greg Papa being called away for Raider duties. Ken Korach took over Papa's TV role alongside Ray Fosse. TV takes away but sometimes it gives back: When the A's aren't on local TV -- that is, when preempted by Saturday Fox or such -- Fosse becomes the best "third man in the booth" I've ever heard.

(It's hard to be the third man. Broadcast talk-time gets scarce.)

As for Papa and Tom Flores, today was good for them as the Raiders romped (are in the process of romping? surely it's over by now).
A day in the life of a drama queen
My day became far more interesting when I got stuck in traffic because of these people, a vast majority of whom need to exercise more or put more clothes on or both. I nearly had kittens, the traffic jam was so bad. I composed a blog-post in my mind, titled Fanfest, unseemly things with the 'n' debated on but ultimately rejected.

Between the traffic into downtown and the 4:00 commitment that I thought I had (but was mistaken about), today I pulled my briefest ballpark appearance ever. It helps that when the guy at my usual parking lot tried to charge me $8 instead of $5, I got all pissy (to be honest I was already pissy) and took a free spot in "1-hour parking" instead. I second-guessed this, wondering whether I'd actually come back and move the car, before realizing that there was actually somebody in town who I owed money to who was leaving at 3:00 to catch her flight back.

I stayed at Pac Bell just long enough to retrieve playoff tickets from Will Call (actually from an ATM set up for this!) and see Roy Oswalt get pimp-slapped by the Giants' B-team. Soon after he left, I left. Got to see Barry Bonds in street clothes in the dugout, hamming it up. This game had nothing riding on it with all playoff scenarios locked down already.

Here's where my position on the whole gay thing flipped around 180 degrees in minutes: In my section there were these five shirtless guys with letters on their chest spelling out G-I-A-N-T. (Only when they came up the aisle they were A-G-I-T-N.) They mentioned that their "S" had bailed on them and were trying to get a replacement. They didn't ask me specifically, fortunately, as today for once I actually had no intent of doing anything like this. Matt keep your shirt on!

(Aside: Based on their comments, the most likely reason they didn't ask me was my A's hat. They tried and failed to call me out as a Dodger fan until the one guy saw that my hat--while blue (special July 4 edition)--had "A" on it instead of "LA".)

For you see, today I'm not wearing just any shirt: Today I have on a t-shirt from the Mountain Community Theater production of You Can't Take It With You. Yes indeed, this is a drama queen shirt. To go with it (white t-shirt) I have tan shorts, Tevas, and white socks within the Tevas. I didn't realize just how much my self-gaydar was going off the charts until I noticed that the "G" from the shirtless guys had fags suck written on his bicep in black marker. That's just something I don't want to be part of, never mind my physique not going well with shirtlessness.

My way of reacting to being (somewhat) offended was to identify with the downtrodden. Maybe suspiciously identify. When I saw the slur I decided that if anyone asked, I'd feign gayness. Right about then I also decided that Lance Berkman is cute, above and beyond being an awesome hitter. He has kind of a fairy name though. (Grin.)

In any case, right before I left I bought a bratwurst. The guy who served me asked about my shirt. It turns out he did drama--although I could have told you this just with one look, to say nothing of when he first opened his mouth. So help me, I flirted with the kid because I didn't really know what else do to. Working for a baseball team of all places, heaven only knows what homophobia he deals with.

She who gave me the shirt I'm wearing today would probably be amused by this. Or not. (Disclaimer: I am straight, as far as I know. And I don't mean to trivialize what gay people go through. That said, some elements of gay culture are amusing, especially to the extent that I can "fit the archetype" with relative ease.)
Suppose you know someone whose dad plays chess
At what point is it proper to offer him a game? (Verb choice there is unclear; "challenge" had the wrong connotation.)

Assuming you do play at some point, 1. e4 or 1. d4?

I could see a quiet positional game happening or I could see my being crushed with the black side of a mainline Najdorf.

Props to you if you understood the last two sentences.
Songs that made me rethink an album, if not a whole band
I thought I didn't like No Doubt, until "Hella Good"
I thought I didn't like Red Hot Chili Peppers, until "The Zephyr Song"
Names that are fun to say
In no particular order...
Yulochka (diminutive for Yula, vowel-challenged form of Yulia/Julia)