Saturday, November 30, 2002

Best optical illusion ever.
"Get that man a second-half shirt!"
--Steve Levy in the ESPN basketball studio, at halftime of the Great Alaska Shootout final

The College of Charleston coach had sweated through his shirt, especially around the neck; it was really nasty. Then a call at the end of the half got him so mad that he threw off his sport jacket.
Even though I'm a "cat person"
Few things in life are cooler than watching a dog jump into a lake and go swimming after a bunch of ducks he has no chance of catching.

Dogs who can swim are among the most noble creatures on earth.

Speaking of this, when I ranked my favorite Simpsons episodes I totally forgot about this one. It's a Hall-of-Fame level episode, especially Chief Wiggum's singing at the end, but my big problem with it (as someone who had a collie growing up) is that Laddie is way too fancy, too frou-frou, to really fit the collie mode.

Maybe that's what purebred collies are like. I have a deep-seated anti-elitism when it comes to pets. A border collie, though... put it this way: Can you picture Laddie keeping sheep in line? I think not.

Then again, he does have the fine coat of a Yale man!
Betting against Tom Glavine
Rob Neyer sells him short.

Last year I was in a league where everyone was wary of Glavine. He got drafted absurdly cheaply by the team that finished in second.
Claiming Ryan Rupe
It's almost a fantasy baseball tradition: I think I've claimed Ryan Rupe on waivers in some fantasy league N years in a row.

Now in real life it's Theo Epstein's first move as Sox GM.

For years now Rupe has had a much worse ERA than you would expect from the number of baserunners he gives up. Intuitively, that combination suggests bad luck or a gopherball (home run) problem or both. You wouldn't think that Fenway is the right place for a homer-prone pitcher; on the other hand, since this is a righty, giving up a lot of longballs to lefties, maybe he can turn some of those home runs into long fly balls towards the triangle.

I say "good move."

Oh, and the other reason for consistently worse ERA's than baserunners per nine innings: Sometimes that combo results from pitching much worse with runners on base than with the bases empty. Sometimes that split is just in the pitcher's head. If Joe Kerrigan... oh wait, never mind. Still, if Boston has a pitching coach who can "turn him around," then this will work well. Even if not, maybe he'll have good luck instead of bad luck this year and people who don't know notice which stats are luck-influenced will think that some pitching coach "turned him around."
Speaking of the Pokes: A beginner's guide to OSU basketball
Every year they'll have a really talented newcomer, a senior go-to guy, a hot streak at some point, and a cold streak at some point. Maybe that's every college basketball team. But only OSU has Eddie Sutton.

They'll finish in the top half of the Big 12, maybe upset Kansas at some point, then draw a tournament seed in the 5-8 range. Then comes either a crushing first-round loss or a modest tourney run, at least a better run than Kansas made that year. By March, Sutton's voice is incredibly hoarse.

Two (academic) years ago there was the plane crash (brief moment of silence); other than that, same-old same-old. There's a new Gallagher Iba but, like the old one, it has the same old unusually high camera angle. I'll randomly see an OSU home game maybe once or twice a year, usually on ESPN after channel-flipping.

Obligatory Kansas City angle: JAYHOAX? -- local newspaper headline after Kansas took two straight November losses for the first time in a really long while.
My fair weather fandom knows no bounds
Go Pokes.

Incidentally this means I've been blogging for more than a year. (Unclear when it started since Blogger seems to have eaten all the archives before September.)

Oklahoma State is also an excellent team for someone who really doesn't follow college football to root for. Lately their typical season isn't all that good but I can expect them to struggle and be really surprised when they win big. Also, their best games seem to be against an in-state rival, the kind of in-state rival that one can love to hate.

(Years after leaving the state of Oklahoma, I do root for the Sooners. It's easy to when there aren't fanatics around to remind me why I didn't.)
Do I look like this guy?
The star of the Everyday (Dave Matthews band) video, that is.

I could let my hair get even more unwieldy, found a bigger, dorkier, pair of glasses, gain five pounds or so, and start wearing really tight t-shirts. Oh yeah, and go around hugging everyone.

Would that make me sexy? You don't have to answer that.
Brief, irrelevant sleep schedule comment
Looks like this will be the third night in a row I go to bed a little before 2:30 CST and wake up a little after 10 CST. About the right amount of sleep, even though I wouldn't mind more.

(Things that keep me up: Wednesday = flight delays; Thursday = weblog; Friday = long-awaited actual software development.)

Contrast to the last few weeks at home, when I slept a lot more (maybe nine hours a night average) but on an erratic schedule. My routine here is probably much healthier. That is all.

Friday, November 29, 2002

Dwight's post about dealing with kids on Thanksgiving is much shorter and much funnier than mine.
What kind of Luddite would I be?
(vaguely on the same topic as the previous post)

On my most recent full-time job, the project that best defines my computer geek career, my developer environment of choice was UltraEdit. Now I get to be significantly more pretentious: Off and on the past few days I've done work for NAQT (nowhere near a useful end product but so far the goofing around looks like it might turn out to have been productive), where my editor of choice has been vi within Unix.

I habitually reject both "smart" solutions and "user-friendly" solutions, things designed to save me time with either a bunch of bells and whistles or a ridiculous dumbing-down.

Instead, my biggest "time saver" is to use tools like blogger/BlogSpot, despite their known flaws, rather than spend time bothering to learn Moveable Type or the like.
Does TiVo think you're gay?
Amusing story here but it connotes one of my all-time least favorite futuristic scenarios:

Now and then you'll hear people crow (at least I've heard them crow; every time I've read about this it's been in a positive light) about how some day there will be "smart houses" with mood sensors that automatically set the lighting, temperature, and even background music of your room based on biological readings or somesuch.

These what-if's always gave me great fear, not even about the implied loss of freedom to choose so much as just how inaccurate the software would usually turn out to be.

If you care, my favorite (in the "love to hate" scence) sci-fi/fantasy dystopian nightmare is the totalitarian society rather than the ads-are-everywhere hypercapitalist world. You have much less to fear from having too many choices than from having too few. At least as long as YOU'RE the one making the decisions, not your technology.
A little light reading, especially for Pirate fans
Found this interview via this Baseball Primer discussion thread about this eBay auction.
Andrew Sullivan trots out his Thanksgiving post again
Read this anyway (scroll down a bit); it's memorable.
"everything that's good about college football"
Allegedly R.C. Slocum, coach of Texas A&M, embodies this, since ABC has used the same phrase at least four times today. I just have to ask (since I honestly don't know):

Does he make sure his kids get good grades?
Does he find them tutors who actually teach them instead of writing papers for them?
Does he help his kids find jobs after they graduate?
Do his kids graduate?
Worst Memorial Fund Ever
So I feel sheepish saying this in the wake of tragedy but some people's priorities just floor me.

Say your college-age son dies in a car accident on his way to spring drills. News of the car crash spreads far and wide, leading thousands of people to send you supportive calls and e-mails. Obviously the thing to do is to set up a memorial fund, and to channel all the well-wishers' money to...

"a first-class field house."

Because, I'm sure, Texas Longhorn football didn't already have top-notch training facilities.

Did world peace break out while I was asleep last night? Did every abused child find a better life with stable parents? Have all the animals been adopted from the shelters? Is our environment suddenly 100% safe and sound? All the battered women patch things up with their husbands? Habitat for Humanity finally finish building a house for every homeless person on the planet? March of Dimes cure all diseases and the International Red Cross set up a magic computer system to make all emergency responses unnecessary?

Forgive me for being so vocally appalled but the worst part of all is that ABC apparently felt this was worth several seconds of free publicity in the form of a sideline-babe interviewing the late kid's father. Go Aggies, I guess, and if my alma mater wonders why I (possibly) ended up reneging on a pledge promise, well... I really don't want to break a promise but it's hard to be this pissed at a story like this if I'm going to turn around and be vaguely hypocritical.
Speaking of in-flight movies and all-time worsts...
(See what a can of worms I opened? By the way if you don't care about movies, scroll down for some Thanksgiving data-point stuff or scroll down even further for thoughts on children or further still for whatever was on my mind back in San Francisco.)

Worst Movie I Ever Watched All The Way Through:
Mother, hands-down. Saw this with a group of couples, one day before breaking up with my then-girlfriend. I swear the breakup wouldn't have been nearly as bad had I not also been subjected to Mother.

I hereby give a career anti-achievement award to Albert Brooks. He joins The Fifth Dimension, the Los Angeles Raiders, and (after a pregnant pause, it turns out there's nothing TV-related that I loathe nearly this much) as my major-trash-category demon-spawn entities.

Coincidentally, Brooks is also responsible for the first in-flight movie I ever desperately wanted to walk out on. (Maybe also my first in-flight movie, period? I go to so few movies voluntarily that my not-being-a-movie-buff turns out to be a great quality control mechanism. For captive-audience experiences, this all goes out the window.) The ironic thing about Defending Your Life is that Brooks really needs to hope I'm not the one who gets to pass eternal judgment on him.

(Honorable mention for archetypically bad in-flight movies: Big Bully.)

Honorable mention for Worst Movie I Ever Watched All The Way Through: The Hand That Rocks The Cradle. On prom night. The people responsible for this film owe me some sort of lewd act (with a high school senior?) as compensation for whatever action I might have lost out on as a result of this movie being such a total mood-killer.
How bad was The Bourne Identity?
(Dislodging posts from my mind and also using this opportunity to mention the worst movie I saw in 2002 one post after the worst movie I ever saw, as mentioned at the bottom of the post below this one.)

I had a long travel rant that you don't care about. In the midst of it all I watched (and wore my headphones for) all but the first 10-15 minutes of The Bourne Identity, despite coming to loathe it.

Dozens of plot inconsistencies, asinine premises, things that were either lame or completely insulting. I can't even mention the worst part without spoiling the ending; it's tempting to do so anyway. But one mild spoiler I'll mention just as a representative example: Matt Damon decides that he needs to cut Franka Potente's hair so that she'll be inconspicuous, yet he leaves his own hairstyle exactly the same.

Also worth mentioning: Edited-for-airline-viewing content. An inane level of gratuitous violence was deemed fit but apparently some dialogue at the very end was too much. In less than a minute's span, I caught gosh-darn (twice!), bull-crap, and for pete's sake, all sloppily dubbed.

Thursday, November 28, 2002

This movie really exists!
Flirting, that is. Excellent, excellent film! It's the second of a twin-bill I saw Thanksgiving Day 1993. (See below.) I remembered the name but always assumed it was too obscure for other people to see it. Maybe that's a pre-IMDB assumption. It was a sequel, no less; now I wish I'd seen The Year My Voice Broke.

First movie of that twin-bill: Boyz N the Hood.

1994 (the "church group" -- again, see below): We saw Searching for Bobby Fischer first.

(Mental agility factoid: Despite what many people think, this movie is NOT about Bobby Fischer himself but rather a boy, a real one, who became a child prodigy about ten years after Fischer forfeited his title. The idea was that Waitzkin might become the next Fischer.)

(Random story: At the 1992 national high school chess championships, Waitzkin lost badly in a crucial late-round game. People joked that the title for the sequel would be Still Searching For Bobby Fischer.)

(Random personal footnote to the random story: I know this because I was there. If you care, I scored +3 =3 -1, Draw-Loss-Win-Draw-Win-Draw-Win, in the open section but with just a half-point after the first two rounds, I was never in sniffing range of a championship. I did take home some trophy for doing well relative to other people whose pre-tournament rating was as low as mine.)

Then came an excruciating Robin Williams movie. (Is that redundant?) Specifically, this excruciating Robin Williams movie. Given the title of this post, we've come full-circle from a movie I remember with great bliss to a movie I remember with great horror.

Not that you would have done so anyway, but DON'T EVEN CONSIDER renting or buying Being Human. Actually seeing it on IMDB brings a mild sense of closure but reawakening repressed memories is still painful.

(Devil's advocacy: Do I owe Robin Williams a favor for plausibly saving me from a group that many people think of as a cult? It was the stunning badness of Being Human, as much as anything else, that motivated me to leave the apartment. No wait, that's misleading. The movie was so bad that EVERYONE decided partway into it to stop the tape. They replaced it with some Western, plausibly this one, but I had no interest in staying to watch another movie.)
Datapoint: Thanksgiving Locales
Apropos of nothing other than my weird young-adult life:

2002. Flew to Kansas City at Chad's (repeated) invitation. The invite based partly on repeating 2001, partly on his moving away from SF after we'd been in the Bay Area together for two years.

2001. My parents came to SF. I wanted to take them out to eat for Thanksgiving, assuming I found a place that did Thanksgiving well. (Beach Chalet was a possibility.) Maybe that's not what they had in mind, since Mom gently suggested that she'd be willing to prepare food at my place. Before I could broach that to anyone else, Chad actually invited all three of us to come out to Walnut Creek to see him and Shelly. My parents were surprised and impressed.

2000. My roommates prepared a meal. I think Scott had a friend visiting him from Illinois and she took charge of it. Other co-workers dropped by our place to visit. This was the first time I ever watched any of the "Egg Bowl" on ESPN (Ole Miss versus Mississippi State). Shelly was also in town, I think. (Chad/Shelly residence history: They began dating in Kansas City. Then Silicon Age relocated him to San Francisco. A year later she moved out to join him. A year after that they both returned to Kansas City.)

1999. With Kevin out of town and Leo at parts unknown, I had the place in Somerville to myself. I ate a microwaved pizza and some Triscuits with cheese, then reported to work. (I'd chosen to work Thanksgiving night, for the extra money. There actually were minor league hockey games that night but Sarge and I double-handedly covered everything with ease.)

1998. The second of two straight years mooching off of a Harvard dining hall. This time I was supposed to meet a group of people but overslept. By the time I got there the group had left. I got back to my place in Kenmore Square just in time to see Phil Luckett's coin-flip blunder.

1997. The first of two straight years mooching off of a Harvard dining hall. (They may have both been Adams House.)

1996. Indian food, with my then-girlfriend, at a Kenmore Square restaurant that probably no longer exists. (I think it burned down in the same fire, three years later, that gutted Nemo's pizza and the apartment building above it.) We'd wanted to prepare some sort of meal at her place but an important source-of-ingredients store was unexpectedly closed on Thanksgiving Day.

1995. Quincy House, the designated open-for-Thanksgiving dining hall that year. Ate with Chuck, the first time I'd seen him since he came out. (He'd done so on-line.) I guess there's a meme associated with kids-recently-off-to-college, who come out to their parents over Thanksgiving dinner. Instead Chuck stayed on campus and ate with me. He was exactly the same person as he'd been before he came out. That sounds bloody obvious but I'll sheepishly admit just how much this -- my realizing that he was exactly the same person -- affected my take on things.

1994. A classmate invited me to dinner with her church group. (That's their official link; various critical links are here. ) I'd heard of this group before but my classmate had never told me what church she belonged to, and I'd never actually asked, until about two hours after I'd gotten there, when I saw a name/logo combo on something sitting on the mantle. (Come to think of it, I hadn't known I was going to a church group at all -- rather than a generic circle-of-friends -- until she and I were already walking to the apartment where they held it. Yes, I felt a little deceived.)

1993. Dined at a Boston University sorority house, with three sisters (in the campus Greek sense) and a slightly older guy whose nickname was "Daddy." The gal who invited me had found me on-line through the finger command. Back then I had something amusing in my .plan file. Back then, .plan files were relevant. She'd told me early on she had no romantic interest but was nonetheless interested in befriending me. We were in touch for a few months.

1992. Took a Math 25 midterm (course number won't mean anything to most of you) on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (our instructor was French Canadian; you can't have been in this country very long to make such a uniquely bad scheduling decision), a few hours before my flight. This was the first Boston Logan holiday rush I'd ever seen. It was enough to make me vow never again to fly out of Boston for Thanksgiving weekend: Just too short a time home to justify the travel hell.

(Aside: This year, my Wednesday flight plan was San Francisco to Kansas City via O'Hare, with a connection. My original SFO-ORD flight was delayed at least three hours because it used the same plane as a flight coming from New York that had been delayed by New England weather. This delay made me miss my originally scheduled ORD-MCI flight. I got put on a different SFO-ORD flight, which left on time but ran into strong headwinds. The delay in the air caused me to miss -- by a matter of seconds -- my "Plan B" ORD-MCI flight. So instead of getting into Kansas City at 6:30, or even at 8:02, I got in at 11:56. Blah.)
Datapoint: Thanksgiving Meals
Continuing what Mark started: My tastes and history are both pretty simple:

Before the meal is ready, crackers and cheese are good. I'm a Triscuit zealot (especially if there's also summer sausage) but found out today that Ritz is a perfectly reasonable choice. Today's cheeses were yellow and white-with-spicy-bits; I'm pretty sure they were mild cheddar and jalepeno jack.

Turkey speaks for itself. I like both white and dark meat, maybe a mild preference to dark. Will put both on the plate.

Mashed potatoes need to be plentiful. One time my parents had a Thanksgiving buffet (somewhere in North Carolina) that didn't have mashed potatoes. Dad was apoplectic, and rightly so.

Today's meal had both a green bean casserole and a marshmallowy fruit salad. By pure coincidence, those are both staples at my parents' meals. (Maybe the recipes came from the same magazine, years ago?) Come to think of it I never had any fruit salad. I meant to save it for dessert but in the short run I was full and later on the true dessert was the pie.

I'm not a fan of cranberry sauce but I understand that other people are. I'm neutral to it.

For pie, I've seen various selections but pumpkin has always been one of the possiblities. Unless the other one is pecan, pumpkin will always be the one I clamor for.
In case you missed it
Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother's crib we go.
--Deion Sanders SINGING to accompany halftime highlights of Patriots-Lions

The rest of the CBS studio crew taunted him about the "crib" reference.
"Is that Madonna?"
Chad's future in-laws had that reaction to Gwen Stefani when No Doubt appeared on NBC's Elvis Presley tribute.

It's a connection I'd never drawn before but I can see how they thought it if they'd never seen Stefani.

Thought experiment: Imagine Madonna had never existed. Imagine all the trouble -- and all the publicity! -- that Stefani could have gotten into by doing things vaguely similar to what Madonna did in real life. (And you know Gwen would have.) Would she be as much a cult figure, as much a household name, in alternate reality as Madonna is in real life?

Given that Madonna beat her by ten years in real life, everything she does instead is relatively understated and greeted with sharp disagreement by critics but only mild amusement by the narrow population segment who's heard of her.

(Maybe it's music format rather than age: Before Elvis came the Faith Hill special. I knew significantly less about Faith Hill than any other adult in the room.)
Something Chad and Natalie Solent have in common
The computer and Internet connection here are in the guest bedroom, hence my actual blogging and so on.
Beast of Burden
Today I learned that even after a Thanksgiving meal, I can simultaneously carry a seven-year-old boy on my back and a four-year-old girl in my arms.

Thanksgiving was at Kubi's fiancee's parents' house, along with her brother, niece, and nephew. Good food, of course. (Food digression: read Mark's menu post and Dwight's in the same vein.) Football, both on TV and outside.

I don't think of myself as being good with kids but I might not be averse to them after all. Have you ever been in a room with many people when a cat walked in and most people in the room wanted to fawn over the cat, only to see it make a beeline for the one person who doesn't like cats?

(Aside: I know exactly why cats do this: They go to where they feel less threatened, and anyone who ignores a cat is -- in feline eyes -- less threatening than a strange person who wants to lavish attention. In those situations myself I want the cat to come to me but try to pretend I'm ignoring. This is hit-or-miss.)

When the kids first came over I didn't really interact with them because I was the only person there who didn't already know them. Other people already had roles in their lives; I had no role. Maybe that really did make me non-threatening when we did talk, or when they wanted to play. The icebreaker was basically the younger sister trying to tickle my feet.

I should probably worry a bit that my default behavior around an unattached adult woman turns out to be very similar to my default behavior around a four-year-old girl. The problem with writing that is that it's far more innocent than it sounds. Just, in both cases, over time I become a little too solicitous, a little too eager to appear to listen/react to her.

When it's someone who's hyperactive, inquisitive, a little needy, a little attention-starved, and mildly uninhibited, maybe blatantly paying so much attention to her isn't a terrible thing. That describes most four- and five-year-olds I've known. Then again, it also describes surprisingly many young adult women I've known. In hindsight I can sort of see why I'd get along well with the latter, at least at first. Then, for the young adults, the sexual tension (read: my unrequited sexual attraction) would turn everything into a ridiculous amount of drama. But of course with a little kid, there's no such tension or attraction and it's all good.

What you get instead is the unmitigated joy of seeing a four-year-old girl catch a football (one of those mini-footballs that's smaller than regulation size but has the same shape/texture) or even make a reasonable toss to her older brother. The boy had been antsy to play catch, leading his dad, Chad, and myself outside. Meanwhile his sister rode around on her bike. I worried about her feeling left out if the guys were all tossing a football around and marveling at her brother's good-for-a-seven-year-old skills.

Long story short, maybe I'm ready for children after all. Then again, I'm sure they were more eager to play with me partly because I wasn't an authority figure. (Here "play" mostly just means my letting them run at me and tackle me, or else being a "choo-choo train" where we hold hands and one of the kids leads us downstairs and upstairs around the house.) And conversely, I got to rely on their dad to set limits. Then again, it's probably good to tell a kid to listen to her dad.

Along those lines I got to use this line: Be nice to your sister: She's the only sister you have. I may have said it to Chad's fiancee's nephew, but I was really aiming it at me-from-15-or-20-years-ago. Barring a time machine, it's too late for the child version of me to get that message. (To my deep regret.) But Sarah and I get along great as adults. We had a really good phone conversation when I missed my connection at O'Hare on Wednesday.
Nets-Clippers into overtime
I'm watching the bad late west coast Thanksgiving game, an annual TNT tradition (Mike H-L, you still read this?), except this one isn't nearly as bad as tradition calls for.

In fact, this game is really really dramatic, despite my gracious host sleeping through (on the couch) most of the last 90 seconds (game time; real time more like 15 minutes) of regulation.

back to the game, then some blog miscellany.

UPDATE: Clippers win. Woo. My west coast bias prevails.

Kubi's fiancee went to bed very soon after we got home from Thanksgiving festivities. He himself flipped through channels for awhile as we tried to have a conversation without waking Shelly up. Then we got hooked on the game, though he fell asleep right when it got interesting.
Ashley Madison
I think she said hi to me in home room once.

(If you just saw the CBS pre-game segment, you'll laugh knowingly, otherwise it'll go over your head. Either way, Tom Brady has a new nickname that I plan to run into the ground.)

Greetings from Kansas City by the way. Chad probably says hi.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Greetings from a kiosk at SFO
Given how soon I'll have Internet access this is an unwise impulse purchase ($3.00 minimum for 12 minutes) but the thing was there. "High Speed" overstates the case: either it's a lousy web browser or my DSL is much faster. In any case...

Speaking of fast, Chris dropped me off at the airport at 8:10 for a 10:06 flight; by *8:17* I was sitting at the gate, boarding passes in hand. Automatic checkin helps a lot.
128 song contest update
Ever since the thing wound down, I've been amused whenever one of the Final Four songs actually does come on the radio.

So far:
"Layla" -- 3, and the more I hear it the more dead convinced I become of just how wrong the rest of you were
"Pride (In the Name of Love)" -- 1
"Born to Run" -- 1, right as I type this. Here was your true champion, but people were too blind to see.
"Baba O'Riley" -- 0
Not that it's the critics of Miss World who have a monopoly on being asinine
According to Tim Blair (if the link doesn't work, go here and scroll down to Monday, November 25), the Canadian contestant has been banned from the competition because she fled Nigeria before fleeing Nigeria was cool.
Something interesting that I didn't know
For a quick 10 points, who is the U.S. contestant in this year's Miss World pagaent?

For 30 more points and a bag of chips, what state does she hail from and (in 50 words or less) how did she previously make national news?
Talifemmes Redux
"As far as I’m concerned it’s equally disrespectful and abusive to have women prancing around a stage in bathing suits for cash or walking the streets shrouded in burkas in order to survive."
--Jill Nelson, MSNBC (via Andrew Sullivan)

Hmm. Let's see...

In countries ruled by radical Islam, women can either cover themselves in burkas or be beaten savagely.

Meanwhile, Miss World contestants can compete... or not compete. Unless the Miss World competitions had actual "religious police", swinging their metal sticks around to enforce some standard of (in)decency, the comparison is beyond asinine.

Update: THIS WOMAN IS A MORON. I cannot emphasize this enough. Sullivan didn't even quote the worst parts.

"THE CAUSE of this violence and death? Friction between Christians and Muslims over the west African country’s hosting of the Miss World pageant, scheduled for Dec. 7."

Okay, let's break it down:
1. One editorialist (religion unknown to me) comes up with a funny (and probably true!) one-liner about Mohammad.

2. Hundreds of Muslims go bat-shit.

3. Aforementioned Muslims take to the streets and beat the living daylights out of thousands of Christians, ransack churches, and so on.

Yeah. That really sounds like "friction between Christians and Muslims."

Would Jill Nelson have referred to the pogroms as "friction between Jews and Russian Orthodox"? I guess if her entire column depended on a false dichotomy, she actually might.

As euphemism go, I'll have to remember this one. Hey, dude, it wasn't an assault, it was just friction between your face and my fists (or, "friction between your ass and my foot").

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

A random source of perspective
On my favorite meat market I just saw someone's profile where she wrote "alot" as one word. I was about to cringe and dismiss this woman out of hand. Then I realized that the best DBA I know, and younger brother of the smartest guy I know, also sometimes writes "alot" as one word.

You never know... most of the time command of written language is a good signifier of intelligence/cleverness, maybe not always.
I'm about to post a TMI question
You know where to find the question, but thanks to the limits of the free comments widget I use, I can't put a widget there. So comment here instead.
Comic strip animals
Anyone else think the latest Get Fuzzy series has dragged on a bit? It was really refreshing to see Satchel just snap like that, and finally vent, but after awhile this new routine will wear thin.

In much more serious news, anyone else worry that the bunny's sickness (impending death?) in For Better or For Worse might be foreshadowing? Grandpa isn't getting any younger. I really hate to say that; I hope I'm wrong.
Site of the day
Mean Kitty -- when you're tired of websites with cute, saccharine-sweet pictures of well-behaved cats, go there for the darker side of feline life.
Most cynical rewrite ever
Ah, this story brought back memories -- of the time Clinton deployed Very Special Forces to Iraq.

At least Bush can't drop Da Bomb without losing the whole point of the wordplay.
By the way, if you were thinking of spending Thanksgiving at your local soup kitchen...
Don't. They'll have more "volunteers" than they know what to do with, since so many people want to feel good about themselves on that particular day.

To feel really good about yourself, instead of spending Thanksgiving at your local soup kitchen, spend February 9 there. (Ordinary day pseudorandomly chosen from the winter portion of the calendar.) Or December 28, after the Christmas Spirit has worn off a bit.
Don't give your photographs to Susan Sontag
Or at least, get them back before she throws them away. You won't always get them back through total serendipity.

UPDATE: Scroll down to read about an Afghan orphan ward and the photographer whose pictures moved thousands of readers to offer money or adoption. Sentence that led to a double-take: With a flood of aid money coming into the country following the ousting of the Taliban, corruption has become a major problem, and Bronstein wanted to make sure that the funds would go directly to the women of Marastoon.

People for whom there is a special place in hell:
Embezzlers of international aid money
Corrupt UN officials (worst of all the sex offenders)
anyone who manages to combine each of those elements by, for example, attending a lavishly-provided-for Conference on Blaming the U.S. for All the World's Problems (this one is my favorite, so to speak)
Yahoo! Chess Game History
Does anyone here follow chess enough to make posting about it worthwhile? I just played a really really interesting game, at least as interesting as game-in-three-minutes (no incremental time) can produce. It's imperfect but worth following.

Anyway, here's the history. Yahoo! uses square-to-square notation (there's a name for that but I'm blanking); if you think about the AI involved, you can see why they wouldn't use algebraic (or descriptive!). The result was a draw: My flag fell but he had only a bare king on the board.

(UPDATE: I see what went wrong. On move 25, instead of Rxe8 Rxe8 (and the bishop is pinned), Bxf6! Rxf6 26. Rxe8 and mates. D'oh. And it would have been so pretty.)

;Title: Yahoo! Chess Game
;White: matt979
;Black: sartan1729
;Date: Tue Nov 26 11:11:30 PST 2002

1. e2-e4 e7-e6
2. d2-d4 d7-d5
3. b1-c3 f8-b4
4. e4-e5 c7-c5
5. a2-a3 c5xd4
6. a3xb4 d4xc3
7. b2xc3 d8-c7
8. f1-b5+ c8-d7
9. b5xd7+ b8xd7
10. c1-b2 c7xe5+
11. d1-e2 g8-f6
12. g1-f3 e5xe2+
13. e1xe2 o-o
14. h2-h4 a8-c8
15. g2-g4 a7-a6
16. h4-h5 f6xg4
17. a1-g1 d7-f6
18. h5-h6 g7xh6
19. h1xh6 g8-h8
20. c3-c4 h8-g7
21. h6xf6 e6-e5
22. b2xe5 c8-e8
23. g1xg4+ g7-h8
24. f6-e6+ f7-f6
25. e6xe8 f8xe8
26. c4xd5 f6xe5
27. g4-e4 h8-g7
28. e4xe5 e8xe5+
29. f3xe5 g7-f6
30. e5-d7+ f6-e7
31. d7-c5 e7-d6
32. c5xb7+ d6xd5
33. b7-c5 d5-c4
34. c5xa6 c4-b5
35. a6-c7+ b5xb4
36. c7-e6 b4-c3
37. e2-f3 c3xc2
38. f3-g4 c2-d2
39. f2-f4 d2-e3
40. f4-f5 e3-e4
41. f5-f6 e4-e5
42. f6-f7 e5xe6
43. f7-f8 h7-h5+
44. g4xh5 e6-d5
45. f8-f5+ d5-d4
He's one of my least favorite players but I still don't like to see coaches whine about a clean play.

I wonder whether anyone has ever written Warren Sapp / Ray Lewis slashfic.
Tuesday Morning Quarterback
At the moment write this it's still not linked from the front page but it's here, typos and all, not ready for prime time and yet still at an easily-guessed URL.
Quote of the Day
Oh, whatever, I think it’s kind of funny. These people don’t have lives.
--Ellen Feiss on people who have t-shirts and mugs with her likeness

Meta-startle: Anyone in the class of 2004 (like the author of that interview) is currently a junior in college.

More choice quotes from the article:
The funny thing was, I was on drugs! I was on Benedryl, my allergy medication, so I was really out of it anyway. That’s why my eyes were all red, because I have seasonal allergies. But no one believes me.


I got shuttled down to New York, and I got VIP seating, and I was like, “Wow, I’m at the Oscars or something,” but then I was like, “No, I’m at Macworld.”
Hey, the Bush twins are legal!
("legal" in the sense that they care about, not in the soon-to-be Olsen twin sense)

Some advice to them here. Also, admit it, you didn't know about AlGore III's two-time DUI record either.

(No, really, I didn't myself. I just knew he was a pothead. Curiously, none of this gets front-page billing the way the Bush daughters do.)

Monday, November 25, 2002

Traffic Alert
Someone left here (Berkeley) at 4:45 and just now (based on her periodic cellphone updates) got to San Francisco. Blame this game but there's got to be more to it than that.

Nothing excessively noteworthy here though.
My recommended daily allowance of heavy metal
Went on an errand a couple hours ago. When I got in the car, "One" (Metallica) was just ending on KSJO, to be followed by "Lay it on the Line" (Triumph) -- that might be some sort of record for greatest drop in quality from one song on the radio to the one right after it.

Fortunately, when I got back in the car at the end of the errands, this same station played "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and "Red Barchetta" back-to-back. Words can't describe the aural pleasure.
Who gets the hard sh*t
No matter what the workflow is supposed to be, you'll notice that in most situations, a person delegating work will always have a "first choice" delegatee, the person they consistently go to first with questions and/or assignments.

Even when Vectiv had four full-time developers, the product/operations people seemed consistently to come to me first. That swelled my pride.

Now, in the post-Vectiv world of Vectiv's SRES (various of us contracting for an old customer), the QA manager seems to default to Chris first. That's bad for my pride but good for my time management.
In the Nietzschean ideal world, there are no rules
Or rather, there's no need to punish people. I forget which book it was (I have a ton of "favorite Nietzsche quotes" that I can't remember word-for-word to save my life; also, none of them are what you usually associate him with) but he wrote about how the world would evolve to a point of enlightenment where punishment was no longer necessary. People would just do what they did and manage to get along.

When I was in school I noticed, from year to year, the steady decline in the number of teachers who began the year on what the rules of the classroom were and what the consequences of violating them were. After a point, it should be pretty obvious how to behave in a classroom; after another point, in a perfect world (I guess a magnet school comes closer to this than a typical school), you should be able to take for granted that people will show at least some threshold level of good manners.

In smaller words, the differences is "treating people like children" versus "treating people like adults." I always deeply resented the former; your mileage may vary.

What's amusing to me is that, even as I grew up myself, it seems as though the world at large (or, the U.S. at large) has gone from obsession with codes of conduct to a much more live-and-let-live approach. It's as though people have better things to do now than be disapproving prigs. It's actually most noticeable because the exceptions to this trend are so conspicuous, like here and here (both via Obscure Store).

No, I'm not ready to get rid of rules completely -- otherwise this happens -- but then again, when you're nitpicky about the little mores, it's easy to lose perspective about a real breach of etiquette.

Also, either way, I'm really glad not to be raising kids these days.
Guess I won't be seeing that movie
This weeks' Filthy Critic disembowels Die Another Day. I will say he's right about the theme song, and quote him elsewhere.
Apparently there exist people whose idiocy knows no bound.

Whose fault was it that the Miss World pageant had to be evacuated from Nigeria? If you ask these chicks, apparently it's the pageant to blame.

Brace yourself for the day that the first so-called feminist calls for a return to the burqa. Meanwhile, strongly consider doing something wild in the name of freedom.

(Hey, could we airlift some Girls Gone Wild videos into Arabia?)

UPDATE: References to "pagaent" [sic] now corrected; ironic in light of this post.
Photo Safari
Ever wonder what Stomper (or your own favorite mascot) does in the off-season? Why, training camp, of course.

I actually wanted a snarky reference to last night's Simpsons (the 4th quarter of Broncos-Colts timed itself really well, with every important play happening while Fox was on commercial). Don't want to spoil too much but I do want to give the writers (via Maggie) serious props for a long-overdue critique of the most insipid radio format ever.

Also, the subplot was transparently "ripped from the headlines" in a way that amused me. (Part of the amusement is comparing to how other, more serious shows "rip from the headlines.") Last but not least, the ex-presidents as... but you'd have to watch the start of the show to appreciate it.

Where were we? Oh yeah, photos. Well, if that little digression bored you, you're in good company.
Sports Trivia Zen
(Or, really, any semi-obscure field of knowledge.)

One of the best lines the comments widget here has ever gotten:
For some reason, I remember all of this.
--Chad Kubicek (about the 1987 Big Ten, but really it could be about anything)

That sentence sums up both why I'm still involved in quiz-bowl and why I'm not always proud to be.
This speaks for itself
From Joan Jett's official website, via Australian weblogger Tim Blair:

Jewel and Mandy friggin' Moore have full page features as Rock Icons...Meanwhile Joan Jett gets one line. ONE LINE. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, who have never stopped touring, recently did 10 days in the Middle East playing for the troops stationed in Afghanistan. In AFGHANISTAN, Joan would come onstage wearing a birkha, which she ripped off and stomped on before blazing through the purest and nastiest rock show ANYWHERE. But even in the RS WOMEN IN ROCK issue, a story like that gets ONE SENTENCE on the bottom of the last page of Random Notes.

Rock on, Joan Jett.

Speaking of woman, in music, hold on... just switched radio stations. I hearby retract anything positive I've ever said about Madonna. Between her title track for "Die Another Day" and her "Crazy Train" cover, if she hasn't become a musical atrocity then I don't know who has.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

WARNING: Football
This is probably my last post until Monday middayish. Since you all do most of your websurfing from work -- on any entertainment web site, traffic plummets over the weekend -- you might be seeing this for the first time since Saturday.

If you like football, this is your lucky day. If you don't, you have a fair amount of scrolling to do. An impromptu blogburst seems to have happened. You already know that I write about what I happen to feel like writing, sometimes to odd results. That said, feel free to recommend a topic distrubtion.
A gratuitous reference to my roommate Chris
There's some show he watches at 9 p.m. on Sundays, although apparently tonight it's been preempted by Runaway Bride. He came upstairs around 8:45, wondering whether the game would be over by 9. At that point it was hard to say. Then the second improbable field goal in a short timespan.

"TV is all yours."

"Did the team that you wanted to win, win?"

"Well," I lied a little, "I wouldn't have been disappointed either way."

This is actually somewhat true: I'm either not all that disappointed or acting not all that disappointed. I'm way too old to cry or throw things about a football game, even though a very small part of me wants to.

As mentioned below, this was the first time in 17 such games (probably over a season-and-a-half) that the Colts won despite trailing at the half. By extension this was the first time in ages that Manning led a fourth-quarter comeback that actually rallied his team to victory. It's a little surprising that a quarterback this good would have so few last-minute comebacks. This actually leads me to something that I don't like about Manning, something that I didn't want to write about for fear of jinxing Denver, although perhaps even thinking about it was a jinx.

The thing I like most about Manning is that he can call plays from the line of scrimmage, audible at will, and actually run his own offense. This is a credit not only to him for being able to pull it off but also to the Colts for trusting him. The thing I dislike most about him is that, for someone who audibles so well and play-fakes so well (traits I'd usually associate with improvising), he's so darned methodical. Case in point: They reported at halftime that he would NOT wear gloves in the second half -- he was barehanded both halves, possibly to the detriment of his grip -- and the broadcasters speculated that it was because he wouldn't feel comfortable doing something he hadn't practiced doing.

Here's the method to my madness of gratuitously mentioning Chris in a Manning post: This fixation on practice makes perfect, on staying within the system, reminds me exactly of how Chris does software developing. As a classic, in-the-pocket quarterback, Manning executes brilliantly but doesn't seem to produce imaginative plays.

I wonder sometimes whether being steady-but-unspectacular hurts him in a stretch drive, just as I always wondered whether Chris's pedantry and design finickiness made him less able to produce business solutions in extreme startup-related time pressure. (The flip side of this is that someone like Chris is essential if you want to have a voice of reason around, who will speak out against the kind of bad habits that kill a company in the long run.)

Still, for all that, Manning did have a really good game tonight. I think he'll have many more of those than bad games; and even at his worse he won't be bad in the way that Favre was bad earlier this afternoon. Manning "takes what you give him" (I think that was Maguire's line), where Favre will do his best to make a play out of nothing. In some situations Favre's way is the only way victory would have been possible in a given situation; other times it backfires.

In any case, both Favre and Manning represent completely different aspects of what I aspire to be, what I think I'm capable of doing in life (obviously not literally on a football field), even though it's easy to fall short. I'd love to work this comparison into a job interview somehow but it would take exactly the right question.

(A year ago I used a similar analogy but the main thrust of it was a total diss on Vinny Testaverde for not having the backbone to take personal responsibility for the Jets offense, play-calling, and so on. At that point the comparison was Testaverde-Favre but I honestly can't remember whether I mentioned Favre by name. If Chris and I are ever in a position jointly to do contract work -- maybe Vectiv, maybe some other thing -- and the interview happens to go just right, I could imagine pitching me and him as a Favre-and-Manning contrast of software developers. Not that he'd get the reference but still.)
In theory it's a 50/50 shot; in practice, every memorable coin flip in my life has come up tails, including the one just now. A long kick in the snow, an overtime period. That's almost the right meter for a good football haiku.

The Colts have lost 16 straight games from among those games they trailed at halftime. On the final drive of regulation the ESPN broadcasters mentioned how Favre handles two-minute drills. A Favre-Manning comparison of some sort still to come.
Score one for Tim Young
This is a most excellent idea.
For a quick ten points
what obscure NFL record streak was just now snapped?
Best Broadcast Crew in the NFL
I might know someone who violently disagrees with this (if it's you, speak up) but from my experience ESPN's Sunday night booth is by far the best in the business. Paul Maguire and Joe Theismann are actually informative and engaging.

It's possible that the broadcasters I like better are the ones who see their audience as the dedicated fan rather the casual fan, the ones who have the luxury to do so. (Cable TV doesn't need to get the massive ratings that over-the-air does.)
Great moments in Denver Bronco backup QB history
One time John Elway got food poisoning before a Monday Night game at RFK. Gary Kubiak led the team to a 14-0 victory, mostly by handing the ball off to Sammy Winder.

Gus Frerotte (and Mike Anderson, speaking of backups) led the team to a couple of explosive stretch-drive victories at Seattle and at New Orleans two years ago.

Steve Beuerlein... might do something useful tonight. We'll see.

Bubby Brister had a good Monday Night game once himself but I never really liked him. Speaking of Steelers (and guys I don't like): There was the season that Elway got hurt and Denver went 8-4 with him, 0-4 with Tommy Maddox subbing for him. That's the biggest reason why I could never buy the hype for him in Pittsburgh this season. People might as well put their Kordell Who? t-shirts back into storage.

NON SEQUITUR: A rivalry note. Baltimore-Tennessee was at least briefly a good rivalry, maybe not even as good as Cleveland-Houston used to be. In any case, with my old linebacker injured, I made a trade involving Steve McNair (to the team that lost McNabb) for Ray Lewis. They had an interesting way of celebrating their first games with their new FFL teams: McNair stinking up the joint and Lewis standing around in street clothes.
Two questions
How many times, if ever, did Archie Manning face Bob Griese?

Isn't it a little weird that now Romo is a Raider and Chester McGlockton is a Bronco?
Back to football with a Public Service Announcement
In overtime, if you win the coin toss, then you take the ball, no matter how hard the wind is blowing. If your kicker doesn't like the wind, take the ball first and march down for a touchdown instead of a kick.

In short, Marty M. is a moron and I deeply sympathize with any Lions fans reading this.
We interrupt this football for some computer geekery
Lately pages are taking forever for me to load, almost always for the same reason: slow-loading pop-under ads. It's as though the ad-server websites are deluged with traffic but (probably) have no incentive to optimize. My particular version of IE won't let me do anything on a page (such as scroll or hyperlink) until the stupid advertising is done loading.

There could also be issues with ActiveX controls. I'm tired of being asked whether I want to download the latest Flash player from Macromedia. On a Windows 98 machine, it should be pretty obvious that I don't.
Undefeated by day, winless by night
I don't know if I want to watch it but I will anyway. Denver Broncos, my favorite team in the one sport where I have an undisputed favorite.

Indianapolis Colts, currently blessed with my favorite active quarterback and my favorite active coach. (Excluding Broncos in both cases, although if they suddenly became free agents and led different teams, I think Griese and Shanahan would fall below Manning and Dungy in my affinity scale.)

Let's get it on.

Meanwhile, in fantasy football: These running backs all scored touchdowns from my bench (or from my having recently waived them):
LaMont Jordan (on both my benches!); T.J. Duckett; Tyrone Wheatley; Jonathan Wells.

These running backs in my starting lineups failed to score:
LaDainian Tomlinson; Moe Williams; Michael Pittman; Anthony Thomas.

No rushing TD's for either of my teams this week. (Note: due to injury concerns I declined to start either Deuce McAllister or Edgerrin James.)

Compare the Pittsburgh defense (vs. Bengals) this week to the Atlanta defense (vs. Panthers) and ask me which one I started.

On the bright side, every time Shannon Sharpe can't play (injury or bye), Christian Fauria has a big game for me. In a losing cause.

I suck at fantasy football.
Best and Worst TV commercials
Best: Bud Light, "The Stranger." I dunno, the way she described it, I also would have thought she meant that he should dress up.

Worst: Miller(?) -- I might have misstated the brand. Wait a minute: Angela? That's my sister! I never understood guy-possessiveness. I mean, sure the other guy's bragging about sex but really... it's not an embarrassing story or anything.
Bonus coverage
Not that this would actually happen but if you're near a TV and if you see this the instant I post this, check Fox for Giants-Titans. Absurd. One chain link short. Dom Capers should punt but might not.

Update: Hail Mary batted down in the end zone. My cut-throat pool is officially shot. Rams-Redskins highlights looked ugly. Not a good day for Kurt Warner OR Favre.
College Football Scoreboard, circa 1987
#20 Indiana 21, Purdue 7 (3rd quarter)
Hey, the Hoosiers were good at football once.

Yale 10, Harvard 7 (3rd quarter)
One of the best Band stories ever (I heard this fourth or fifth-hand): If I have the year right, there was a brutal cold snap in the Northeast that weekend. Temperature and humidity combined to make brass instruments all but unplayable. At halftime, the visiting band (Harvard's) went first. Whichever bandie did the PA announcements improvised, telling that audience that, as an innovation, "The Harvard University Band will sing its halftime show," and that the copycat Yalies would no doubt do the same. There's also something about using vodka instead of valve oil but I forget the exact reference.
And yet...
How'd Green Bay get the ball back so quickly? They might still be in this thing. And why is Rich Gannon still throwing (incomplete, at that) with an 18-point lead and five minutes left?

And did Harvard beating Yale yesterday contribute at all to my not telling Connor "hey, look, I'm unemployed, get your alumni funding elsewhere"?
Another Favre pick
Did I ever write about the time I saw Tom Brady's first four NFL interceptions? All were late in the same game at the new Mile High stadium. (Well, I wasn't there; I was at a sports bar somewhere in South Bay. I was the only person really paying attention to Pats-Broncos. Everyone else cared about either the Bills at San Diego -- Fluties revenge -- or whatever the Raider game was that weekend. Maybe Raiders-Eagles?) Anyway, our waitress had actually babysat for Brady when he was little.

The 1987 Buckeyes were down 13-0, now up 14-13. The broadcaster (not Keith Jackson, not Brent Musberger, not someone I recognize) extolled the virtues of one Carlos Snow. The graphic (monochrome yellow, vintage mid-1980s ABC graphic) showed that Snow had 10 carries for 26 yards. Oops. Tom Tupa was carrying the load I think.

Just now a phone call interrupted this entry. Connor, a freshman at Harvard, calling to ask if I could make a generous gift of $(2X) to their College Fund drive. I cut him off quickly but not nearly as assertively as I'd have liked: Instead of a flat no, Connor got a promise of $X -- the amount I've given in the past. Given that $X > 0, what I do with my money does not at all match what my conscience insists, which is that any school with an endowment that gargantuan doesn't need one red cent from me.
On the replay...
I flipped through channels just in time not to see a Jake Plummer TD pass, though I caught the replay. They went for two (before the touchdown it was a 38-14 game, also known as three touchdowns and three conversions) but failed. Ballgame, I imagine.

While Plummer's two-point attempt was broken up, Tampa Bay scored again. Also, I imagine, ballgame.

There's going to be a very special That 70's Show. Do you really think Eric and Donna would last a lifetime in real life? Jury's out. There's an Onion article this reminds me of but I can't find it in the archives. (Engaged couple extremely lucky that their true loves happened to live in the same small town as them -- even set in Wisconsin.)
did I hear that right?
Word-for-word from a Fox TV promo:
When Bernie Mac gets food poisoning, you won't believe the hallucinations he has.

Is TV really that... that... goofy?? Does this mean I should watch more of it?

I think my head just spun. UPDATE: Favre threw Yet Another Interception while I was typing that.
More random football thoughts
Mixed reviews on Joe Buck, Cris Collinsworth, and Troy Aikman. Apparently this is the first time all season I've watched a game broadcast by Fox's A-crew.

45 minutes until NFL Primetime, something else I haven't seen as much of this fall as I would have liked. ESPN is currently showing Cheerleading.

On ESPN Classic, 1987 Ohio State - Michigan. I think I watched this game when it happened, at my parents' friends' house. The sideline reporter just pointed out that this was Earle Bruce's (no relation) last game but that the Buckeyes seemed surprisingly flat. I think we had a Bo Schembechler sighting just now. Great football coach but boy did he ruin the Detriot Tigers. Who on Earth thought it would be a good idea for him to run a baseball franchise?

Houston 13, NY Giants 7. For awhile this game was 7-5. Kubi says that 5 is the "second coolest possible football score ever." Coolest-ever would be 4 but we don't think that's ever happened in the NFL.
Cardinal Pity
Jerry Rice. Touchdown. Wide open. Automatic. The red-shirted home team fans dwarfed by the black-shirted visiting marauders, just as blue and gold had outnumbered red when I was at that stadium a few weeks ago. Bad football team in a warm weather, vacation-destination kind of city. It happens.

Useless trivia: The KC market and the SF market get two distinct "4:05 games" today. (That is, late game broadcast by the network that doesn't have the doubleheader that weekend. It's just TV contract geekery.)

A bonus atrocity: Analyze That? Why did they make a sequel of this? Is it residual Sopranos vulturing?
Four Pop Cultural Atrocities in Five Minutes
Because of the NFL schedule and my Thanksgiving plans, I'll get to see the Arizona Cardinals on TV two weeks in a row (currently vs. Raiders, next week at Chiefs). Could be worse: It looks as though fans in the biggest TV market in the U.S. are stuck with Giants at Houston instead of the Battle of the Bays.

TV commercial atrocities: That Bud commercial with the guy whose buddy explained to him the concept of thirst: Really subtle parody?

The topper of them all: "Pour Some Sugar On Me" is now being used in a cell phone commercial (the company with Ms. Zeta Jones) advertising that you can use your phone to combat misunderstood song lyrics.

Should I go back to bed?
Gaming Update
Yes, no matter how grandiose my weekend plans are, you can easily throw me off course with promises of games well into the night. This time the setting was Palo Alto.

Do not play Kingmaker: Worst. Game. Ever. It has many of the faults of Axis & Allies, plus many faults unique to it, and no redeeming virtue that I could see.

(When we finally agreed to end it, Joon and Mike controlled reigning Lancaster and York monarchs. I had long since helped Mike get safe passage to Calais in exchange for an archbishop, which I'd need to crown Queen Margaret if Joon's king were ever defeated. Two sets of armies were ravaging the countryside, one with a York pretender, one with no heir at all. Joon had the strongest position but was an obvious target. Mike and I holed up in Calais and Margaret's heriditary castle, respectively, unable to do anything interesting other than begging for the game to end. My lingering points of bitterness: Losing two nobles and an heir when Coventry got the plague; losing Percy, an especially kickass noble, to a freak battle accident.)

Poker went well. Five of the seven players were Stanford students; Mike and I collectively drained a fair amount of cash from Palo Alto. I came out a dollar ahead of him.

Luckiest deal: I called Deuces Wild (five-card draw) and dealt myself three 6's and a deuce (not on purpose). Five checks and a bet (probably a position bet) later, what does one do here? Raise and watch everybody fold? Call and hope some people stay in? In real life, call and watch people fold anyway. Got some money on the final round of betting (poor Joon got his full house).

At the end of the night (almost literally: I got in around 5), Mike and I stopped at Krispy Kreme (his suggestion). The sugar seems to have gotten him back to Berkeley safely.