10 September, 2007

relocating

howdy folks. this blog is moving to fancy new digs. if you have links, please update them with my new address: http://blankpage.quiblit.com/

thanks for stopping by. see ya at the new place.

07 September, 2007

death comes in threes

yesterday, luciano pavarotti.

today, madeleine l'engle, author of "a wrinkle in time".

so, who's next? place your bets! perse nominates peter o'toole as a likely canidate for tomorrow's unfortunate loss. hard drinking, hard smoking and 75. granted, the irish can subsist solely on alcohol and tobacco (as can the french, tough i think they need coffee too), so he may have a few years left.

we are legion



the nation grows stronger, one child at a time. the coup is imminent. soon, we shall rule the world! though i'd settle for another series win.

mwahahahaha!!!


victory will be ours!

04 September, 2007

back at work

man, that went fast.

23 August, 2007

am i evil

for thinking this is really funny?

[grin]

how on earth...

did a texas pitcher earn a save in a 30-3 win? really. it's baffling. i guess the sabrmetric contention that saves are a wildly overrated stat has some teeth.

19 August, 2007

another psa

i'm temporarily removing forum comments. not that many of you used the feature anyway. but, it seems there has been a spat (the origins of which ellude me and are likely remarkably stupid anyway) between some users and he-who-hosted-the-forum (aka schad). so, until schad sets up shop somewhere else, you'll have only blogger comments as an option. which is what most of you were doing anyway.

so, carry on.

and, cause i can't help myself...



EDIT (19 aug 2007 @ 4:17pm): for bacon. see? nothing to hide. [grin]

17 August, 2007

my VP is an asshole

so, despite being on FMLA leave, i find myself, once more, working. apparently, one of the projects i'm on decided to start having issues right after i started leave. and, it seems my boss got chewed out by our VP because i'm out of the office. what was i thinking? obvivously, i should have scheduled my son's birth after the production release date (i'm sure perse would have been happy to carry the little guy for another month and a half). didn't i know the project was in danger of going red?

the end result though, is the shit hit the fan and i get to clean it up. since much of my time is currently allocated to shit cleaning anyway, i suppose i'm best qualified for the task. i mean, i still have to test, but it took me (sleep-deprived and all) a whole, maybe, 3 hours to analyze the problems and fix them. obviously, my expertise was needed.

so, what happened? well, i got two defect tickets to tackle. one was an oversight: a derived field in the host extract module that was left alone because calcs would, well, calc the correct value. alas, there is a particular output that is pre-calcs and thus needs the correct value straight from the host. took a whole ten minutes to analyze and fix.

the second defect resulted from the fact that a drunken monkey designed the structure of the test environments. basically, the host has one more test environment than the server world. not only do they not match, but while the server progression is linear, the host code promotion is, well, a zig-zag. basically, i did't realize they were moving code to the next level, and that lower levels don't pick up all the higher levels. apparently, this is supposed support parallel development, but i'll be damned if i can see how it does. it's supposed to allow them to run QA and INT cycles concurrently, with out INT being affected by the changes in QA. but, QA is going to hit PROD first, so why the fuck would you not want those changes picked up? seriously? what the fuck? so, basically, by moving my code to QA, INT stopped working, because it was defaulting to running the production code. i cannot emphasis how fucking stupid this is.

assholes. i might have been able to do this a bit faster, but seriously, anyone else on the host team could have figured it out. but, they weren't specifically assigned to it, so why should they look? better to interrupt my leave time, obviously. i'm particularly pissed off about the last problem because the people running the test job should have known what was happening.

other news from this week:

  • wow, how can something so small shit so much?
  • who ever invented the pacifier damn well better have been sainted
  • damn he's cute
  • really, he's damn cute, even if he's still got night and day reversed

13 August, 2007

31 July, 2007

deadline dealing

looks like the sox have landed gagne as a setup man. initial reports have them sending kason gabbard and 2 outfield prospects (David Murphy and Engel Beltre) to texas.

this tells me they are trusting the schilling has enough gas left in the tank for the remainder of the season (also, he'll be back in time for his spot in the rotation). also that timlin is likely done and they want to take pressure off delcarmen.

i'm not complaining. it'll prevent okajima from being overworked, and give another viable closer option if papbelbon is unavailable. certainly an upgrade in what is already one of, if not the, best bullpens in the majors.

looks like any deal for dye is dead. not a problem for me; despite drew having an off year, dye isn't playing any better. he'd be an improvement over pena, as a 4th outfielder. but that's about it.

EDIT: 7/31, 5:11PM: apparently donnelly needs tommy john surgery. makes the gagne deal all the better.

30 July, 2007

trying to understand sports announcers

so, i was watching the rays vs. sox game yesterday, and (for some reason) extra innings decided to show the florida broadcast (despite having shown the NESN broadcast for the prior three games). anyway, during one of youkilis's at bats, the color commentator remarks that "one of the reasons youkilis is batting after ramirez is that ortiz has had problems against kazmir".

uh, what the fuck?

now, i suppose i shouldn't expect them to know that francona has lately been sitting drew against lefties, and when drew (the usual 5-spot) sits, youk is usually slotted to bat 5th. even so, um, the 5 spot is supposed to protect the 4 spot, not whomever is batting 3rd. regardless of the players, this statement makes no sense. unless we assume that if ortiz didn't have problems against kazmir, the rays would try to pitch around manny? huh? it's giving me a headache trying to figure this guy's logic out.

sometimes i wonder how these people keep their jobs.

27 July, 2007

hawking the forum, again

hey kids! i've mentioned this before, but i'm going for it again...why not comment in the forum? you have the option, and there are some fun and interesting conversations going on in there. check it out. registration is easy and painless. honest.

23 July, 2007

why i love america

what other nation could, would or even thought they should produce...Bacon Salt? i'll tell you: none. you'll only find that sort ingenuity, and desire for all foods to taste like bacon, right here in the good ol' u.s. of a..

there is even a bacon salt blog. and t-shirts! i think i need to own one.

21 July, 2007

harry potter and the deathy hallows

done. but i'm not telling you any more.

[grin]

19 July, 2007

just embarassing

losing a series to the royals? did that just actually happen?

what the fuck?

16 July, 2007

movie review: harry potter & the order of the phoenix

well, perse and i saw the latest harry potter flick on friday. easily the worst of the films so far. actually, it was god-awful. based on the mediocre reviews, we'd lowered our expectations and were still disappointed in the movie. it's almost amusing: with one of the weakest books (azkaban), they produced the strongest film. yet handed, perhaps, the strongest and richest of the books, they've managed to produce a rushed, confused and sloppy debacle.

how? with a brutalized script and even worse editing. the acting is what's you've come to expect: harry (radcliffe) is servicable, ron (grint) is good as comic relief and hermoine (watson) still believes that talking loudly and swiftly is the way to convey emotion. the adult supporting staff is still strong. it is the story itself that has been bastardized. if you haven't read the book, you'll not be able to make sense of anything. even if you have, you might still be scratching your head. the writer, director, editor and, i presume, producers managed to not only cut out all the threads of character development that bind the plot together; they also managed to focus on the wrong points of the plot.

anyway, some SPOILERS:

opening, along with the entire movie, actually, is rushed. but you aren't told that harry is being constantly protected by the order of the phoenix. nor do you get the scene where harry's aunt gets the howler after his uncle threatens to kick him out. it's small, but vital and would have taken just a few more minutes.

you never get a sense of how cut off harry feels. you don't get much of a sense of how scared he is that he'll be tossed out of school. how he feels that dumbledore is ignoring him, or angry with him. anything related to school is thrown out. ron and hermoine made prefects? gone. harry trying to have a relationship with cho? glossed over and then twisted. the slowly building rebellion against umbridge? happens in an instant and focuses only on the weasely twins. the conflict between umbridge and the hogwarts staff is near absent. especially between mcgonnagal and umbridge. my god, you've got maggie smith playing her! woefully under used. the importance of the exams (OWLs)is never made clear, or how ridiculous it is that harry's class isn't going to be allowed to practice spells they'll have to perform on them. that's part of the reason they start the damn DA. the actual Order of the Phoenix is an afterthought. you see a small snap of them, then poof! gone till the ending.

and ah, that last battle with the death-eaters. terrible. so poorly done. oh, sure the cgi is okay. but there is no tension. no conflict. no danger. you actually feel these vicious, murderous dark wizards are going easy on harry and friends, cause they are kids. you actually feel like malfoy would just let them go if harry hands him the prophecy. ridiculous.

order of the phoenix is one of the best of the books. the film version is a debacle.

raku!

what's the best way to spend a 90° day? why, outside, throwing 1800° pots into a trash can full of straw! what, you had to ask?

yesterday was the first time i've participated in a raku firing. and it was a hell of a lot of fun. i'll definately sign up for the next one. anyway, here's some pictures. enjoy!

first things first. gotta practice moving pots:



pots are red-hot and ready to move to the cans for reduction:



what happens when red-hot pots are thrown on hay? fire!



once the pots are all in the can, we close the lid and let them reduce:



and then, after about half an hour, we've got the find everything hidden in the smoldering straw:



one of the best features of raku firing is instant gratification. or sorrow, if your pot cracks from the thermal shock. lucky for me, the kiln gods liked me and all 5 of my pots survived:

small bowl; Roger's Black (Stoneware/Raku)



large bowl; Red-Bronze (Stoneware/Raku)



squared bowl; White Crackle (Stoneware/Raku)



tea cup; Hawaiian Blue (Stoneware/Raku)



vase; Copper Penny (Stoneware/Raku)

12 July, 2007

my first raku firing

will be this sunday. i'm looking forward to it, as fire is prominently involved. plus, instant results! no waiting for the kiln. pots go in the fire, come out, and (once cooled) are all done. granted, i'm not sure if i'll be overfond of raku, since it's non-functional. but hey, it's worth at least one try. besides, i get to use different glazes and slips. we'll see how it comes out.

09 July, 2007

curious searches

hmmm...apparently someone got a hit on my blog when searching for "how to mastrubate on vacation".

first, thanks go to andres carl sena, for allowing this to be.

second, why would going on vacation make mastrubation any more challenging? is there something i don't know?

06 July, 2007

15-4!

once again demonstrating that nothing is better at rousing sleeping bats than a series against tampa bay.

02 July, 2007

adventures in unintentional advertising #4

hey kids, it's two-for-one day! we also examine recent spots for...quaker oats bars! kids love them, apparently. there have been a string of these, all fairly similar. kids play (somewhere) and then you see the quaker oats guy (aka william penn), cast in incrediably unlife-like painted plaster, standing with a tray full of cereal bars. every time they show his statuesque visage, they also play very odd, high-pitched laughter.

intentional message: your kids are safely in the hands of strict, colonial-era religous sect. feel free to ignore the little beasts.

unintentional message: none, really. these commercials just creep me out. i think it's the weird laughter. seriously, quaker oats guy is creepier than giant-headed, smiling burger king guy.

adventures in unintentional adversting #3

wal-mart comes under the gun today. our scene is a barbeque competion in memphis. as the judges are announcing the winners, a tastefully generic family (dad, mom, unisex child) walk on, pushing a wal-mart cart. the man inspects one of the grills that a competitor had used to cook his barbeque. satified that it is, indeed, a grill, he pushes it off screen, family in tow. no one at the barbeque competition seems to notice. we fade to message claiming that wal-mart has the things you need, at the "wal-mart price".

intentional message: wal-mart carries authentic items, used by authentic people in authentic situations. not just cheap crap that no one but a cheapskate would bother to purchase.

unintentional message: if you like something, steal it. preferably while the owner is distracted.

unintentional meta-message: see, wal-mart's prices aren't just low because they employ illegal aliens. they also get their stock from hijacked trucks.

lumber slumber

in the past 6 games, the sox have gone 1-5. they've left 63 men on base! of the 6 games, 5 have been decided by 1 run, including their sole victory during this stretch.

this is not a pleasing trend.

27 June, 2007

semi-informational message

this is for those of you who've wandered over here from somewhere other than WikiFray (ie: people who didn't know me before i started this page). first, if i've not personally welcomed you, i do so now. second, you may have noticed the option to comment in a forum, instead of traditional blogger-style comments. if you haven't read any comments in the forum, i invite you to do so. not only do you get threaded comments (far easier to navigate), but there are some interesting people to talk to. some assholes and lunatics too, but that's normal as well.

anyway, you have the option, should you choose it. if you like it, you can add the same capability to your page. if you don't, well, then you don't.

more unintentional advertising

today's example is a PSA against smoking pot (something i'm actually fond of myself, so i may be biased here). this time, you can actually watch it! the clip is called "dog". most of ads from this group tend to be pretty good, as they don't use the "scare the fuck out of kids with lies" tactic. instead, they simply let you know that smoking lots of pot will motivate you to do little beyond sit on the couch all day and play video games. we'll not get into the cause/effect thing here.

anyway, the recent message has be pot changes your friends (into grateful dead listening, bongo drum playing, tie-dye wearing hippies! no? just into kids who look like they stayed up till 2am, watching bad movies? okay.) and keeps them from doing fun, non-drug related things with you. this one carries the same theme, only it slips in an unintentional message. why? because the lecturing, lonely friend is some teenaged girl's dog. onward!

the ad: a tastefully typical teenage girl comes home from school, drops her books on the counter and procedes to grab a soda from the fridge. her dog saunters in behind her, hops up onto a stool and then gently reprimands her for her smoking of the evil weed, as she no longer plays with him. but if she wants to, he'll be outside. she intially looks confused, cause her dog is talking to her, but then collapses into sorrow as she reflects on the loss of puppy love.

the intentional message: smoking pot will keep you from playing with your dog. since dog is man's best friend, this also keeps you from your best friend. see! drugs are bad!

the unintentional message: holy fuck! if you smoke enough kind bud, you can talk to your dog! that's awesome. pass me the bong.

which message wins? you decide!

25 June, 2007

thank god for common sense

the chungs, though recent immigrants from korea, may be unique amongst americans. why? because common sense reigned in the end when they got sued. seriously, did this man think he could get $54 million because the dry cleaners lost his pants? i mean, i suppose the odds are better than, say, powerball. but not much. at least they shouldn't be. this bit is particularly pleasing:

In a 23-page finding of fact, Bartnoff wrote: "A reasonable consumer would not interpret 'Satisfaction Guaranteed' to mean that a merchant is required to satisfy a customer's unreasonable demands or accede to demands that the merchant has reasonable grounds to dispute."
it's nice to know there is still some small measure of justice in the world.

how to prevent red sox fans from invading your park

over on ESPN's page, there is an article by buster oleney that i cannot read (since i don't feel like springing for an insider account. yes, i'm that cheap). but, the jist, from what i can read of it, is that tony gwynn is/was pissed that PETCO park was taken over by boston fans for the weekend series against his former and beloved padres.

tony, i've got no sympathy for you. or, frankly, for any team, in any city, that complains about being invaded by sox fans when boston is in town. why? because it's very easy to prevent visiting fans from overwhelming the home crowd. buy tickets for your fucking hometown team. if you don't want to be overrun by opposing fans, don't allow for it. if you don't support your team, then don't complain if fans who are rabid followers of theirs take over your park. cause it's your own fault.

the argument against immortality

i caught part of a show on the discovery channel last night, about time (in general). during the segement i watched, the host (a physicist, i think) was discussing the possibility of discovering a biological means to circumvent death. the premumption was this is a possibility, provided we figure out how to either shut off the cell aging process, or kept cell replication turned on. either way, the implication is there is no biological need to die, so let's figure out how to prevent death.

this is a very bad idea.

why? everyone supposedly wants eternal life (although, to be precise, everyone actually wants eternal youth, as swift so kindly points out to us). what's wrong with living forever? well a couple of things.

first and foremost, to the best of our knowledge matter is finite. if one does not die, one never returns to the system. on it's own, this is not particually much of a problem. where it becomes one is when one reproduces. consider this: there are currently a bit over 6 billion humans alive. imagine if suddenly, no one would ever die of old age again. now imagine birth rates don't change. how quickly would we run out of, well, everything? just because one doesn't die of old age, doesn't mean one cannot starve to death.

so, do we allow only childless persons to live forever, on the condition they be sterilized? or, even grandfather in all living persons, on the condition the human race cease reproduction? who would agree to that? what other options are there? exoplanetary colonization? still a long way to go towards achieving that.

ah, but if no one dies, then time is no longer important, right? we could hold off on reproduction untill we find a solution to potential over population, right? perhaps. but consider how one's thinking grows more conservative with age. would this be stopped by halting cell aging? or would people grow ever more stubborn with the passage of centuries? innovation is, typically, driven by youth because of the lack of experience.

often, our philosophies deal with dualism. without darkness, the can be no light. without conflict, no peace. without sorrow, no joy. is the same true of life and death? will we still be truly living, in more than a biological sense, without knowledge of our mortality? this same show, wondering about how we can excise death, also claims knowledge of death as foundation for human culture and belief systems. we believe we are the only animals on the planet attuned to our own mortality (well, the show's writers do; i don't necessarily agree). one could then argue, if one still felt the need to make humans special, that self-awarness is not sentience; knowledge of mortality is. would then, immortality remove our sentience? a semantic point, perhaps. but it would change humanity, and not necessarily for the better.

the prospect of a cessation of one's existance is certainly frightening. i'm in no hurry to experience it myself. however, it also seems necessary. we know that upsetting the balance of systems creates chaos until they can regain equilibrium. immortalizing all humans would certainly unbalance nearly every ecological system we know. what would the cost of regaining it be? i don't think it's worth it; not even for myself or my loved ones. too much else would be lost.

22 June, 2007

some more recent work

this week's batch of pots. the oilspot ran a bit (er, a lot, acutally) and my attempt to manufacture purple on the interior of the tea bowls failed (too much cobalt carbonate and not enough reduction). on the other hand, the temmoku came out damn near perfect. enjoy:


Planter/Cache Pot: Gustin Shino w/wax resist


Vase: Oilspot combo


Pair of tea bowls: Light Blue Matte exterior; Oxblood w/cobalt carbonate interior


Small bowl: Red Shino


Bowl: Temmoku

21 June, 2007

the pluses and minues of last night's sox game

plus: they won, in resounding fashion. despite airing on ESPN. perse thinks it's time for me to put my ongoing superstition about them always losing when ESPN airs to game to rest. however, this is the first wed. night one i've caught, so i'm just not sure i can do that yet.

minus: since it was on ESPN, they cut to every-fucking-single sammy sosa at bat. i understand that it's a national broadcast, but still...who's watching other than sox and braves fans? and i would have been fine with a split-screen or PIP cut. but no, they completely fucking cut over, so i have no idea what in the name of god is going on in the game i want to watch. bastards. lingered far too long on the after homerun celebration too.

plus: another good night for coco. tough one for lugo, cause he got some bad breaks. but better swings from him, so that's good. i like drew in the lead-off spot too. drew, pedrioia, papi, manny, youk...keep that as the 1-5 even when lowell plays.

minus: espn's announcers suck. and the psuedo-conspiracy theory they tried to start, regarding tavarez wiping his sweaty head before most pitches, was just wrong. and rude.

plus: tavarez pitched a damn good game. if we can keep getting near this production out him in the 5 spot, that's fantastic.

expect hit & runs to increase in austin

accidents happen. rather often, actually. generally, it is taken as a good thing to actually stay at the scene of an accident and make sure everyone is okay. it seems, however, that is not the case in austin, tx.

now, i'm of the mind that, upon hitting a child with your car, getting out to check on him and make sure you didn't kill or seriously hurt him is laudable. no one wants to run over a kid (well, usually). so, upon seeing a driver get out and check on said injured child, what is the reaction of bystanders? to try and beat the fuck out of the driver. and to then beat his passenger to death, for the sin of trying to prevent them from beating the fuck out of the driver. nice going folks. way to insure no one will ever stop again, if they think they hit someone.

meanwhile, the kid is hurt, but not too badly.

since everyone seems to like quizes

i give you a link to "the impossible quiz!" mind you, it's not actually impossible, but it is chockfull of trick questions. enjoy.

20 June, 2007

why i hate call in shows

during last night's rain delay, they switched over to a sports talk show. i made it through 2 callers before deciding i'd rather risk missing the end of the game (since it did continue) than listen to these people. at least the host was sensible.

first, we had some guy wondering if it made sense to trade lugo to the O's for tejada, straight up. to which the host replied along the lines of: "are you fucking crazy? why would the O's accept that?" this guy then suggested scheduling fewer series against the "lesser" teams, which again got a reply along the lines of "are you fucking crazy? you think MLB is going to offically designate certain teams as sucking, before the season starts?"

then we had the next dumbass, wondering why lugo wasn't sitting in place of cora all the time. uh, perhaps it's because, despite his hot start (now cooled), cora can't hit. seriously his career EQA is .238, OBP is .311 and SLG is .348 (.659 OPS, that is). and no, it's not because he's not playing every day. in 2003, he had 477 AB, and an OPS of .625. this is why cora is a utility player. lugo, meanwhile, is .259/.335/.395 (.730 OPS). certainly not great, but also certainly better than cora.

that's all i could take. does anyone actually listen to these regularly? if so, why?

19 June, 2007

good to know







but i'm guessing not everyone is inclined to agree with these results.

god hates road rage

perse sent me this link, after she was abushed/interviewed on the subject outside of starbucks this morning, by a local man-or-woman-on-the-street reporter. apparently, the vatican has issued a document containing the 10 commandments of driving. i wonder if it will be adopted by the "what would jesus drive" folks?

anyway, my favorite is commandment #2: "The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm." most excellent. it's no longer just a way to get from point a to point b (hell, trains can do that!). now it's damn near a sacrament.

holy crap!

for those of us curious about what mysteries lie hid deep within the creation museum, but just not curious enough to actually bother going to it...behold! there is an answer. yes, a kindly young couple (with nifty cool t-shirts) went undercover for us, and present for all a photo-journalistic journey through the creation museum.

i find myself oddly disturbed, saddened and fascinated at the twisting attempts to turn evidence for evolutionary and plate tectonic theories into support for young earth creationism. and yet, they still can't seem to escape observations such as this.

part of me wants to applaud their faith, yet i cannot. because it is a false faith. yes, i know faith is believing something to be true when you have no proof that it is. however, that does not equate to believing something to be true when it has been conclusively demonstrated to be false. to maintain such unwavering belief in falsehoods demeans what faith should truly be.

this is now ridiculous

i may have mentioned this before, but every single fucking time i've watched the sox play on ESPN, they've lost. considering this is the only time i see the games on tv, it is most frustrating.

last night was no exception. good night for coco though, at least. that's about the only high note from the game.

fucking braves.

18 June, 2007

lessons from sitemeter

silly quizes drive up traffic. photos of pottery, links to tobacco pipes and baseball...not so much.

good to know. not that i'll make any use of it.

15 June, 2007

it's mine, all mine!

and i'm smoking it right now. ah...so very nice.

i've got the bestest girlfriend ever. [grin]

14 June, 2007

my muse is...

swiped from keifus

You scored as Clio, You are Clio, the muse of history. You love academic pursuits, but still know to have fun. You're a bit of a tease and a prankster.

Erato

63%

Thalia

63%

Euterpe

63%

Clio

63%

Calliope

56%

Terpischore

44%

Melpomene

44%

Urania

38%

Polyhymnia

19%

Which of the Greek Muses are you?
created with QuizFarm.com


apparently i'm actually 4 muses. so i suppose it means it's a mood thing. or their domains overlap. perhaps both.

not at bad at math as i thought

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 9/10 correct!


don't i feel accomplished? i still remember basic algebra! ah well, it was geometry that i tended to screw up on. and mid-to-high level calculus.

13 June, 2007

bugger

i can't recall the name of the nursery i used to order plants from, to get my dad hostas for father's day. anyone have suggestions for a good mail-order nursery (besides jackson & perkins, which would be good if i wanted to get roses. but i don't).

this is what happens when one stops getting catalogs.

EDIT 6/14: found it. oh, and happy flag day too.

some recent work

a few photos of what i've been up to of late, in the studio:


Spherical bowl; Spodumene w/Temple White


Vase; Spodumene


Spherical bowl w/altered rim; Crazy Green


Small bowl w/altered rim; Mamo


Pair of small bowls; Mamo exterior, Oxblood interior


Pair of small bowls; Light Blue Matte w/SJ Black rims


Fruit bowl; Spodumene w/Temple White interior

oh yeah, i'm big time!


My blog is worth $564.54.
How much is your blog worth?



heh. well, maybe not.

12 June, 2007

any of you pipe smokers?

if so, and if you've not found it on your own, this is a drool-worthy site for pipes. nice selection of new, and a great selection of estate pipes (couple of dunhills listed that i'm lusting after. such as this one).

claude, i know you quit, so i apologize if this is cruel.

a few vacation shots

these were taken by perse. mine are mostly b&w film, and so still need to be developed. enjoy:

orient beach:


view from our villa:


at the butterfly farm:

11 June, 2007

here come the yankees?

that's the title of this article. sure, their hitters are dangerous. but the pitching is still spotty, and the hitting has been streaky. also, shouldn't "here come the yankees!" wait, um, untill they get over .500 ball? yes, they've got a 6 game win streak (3 wins against the pirates, hooray!). but, um, they're still 9 1/2 out, and still under .500. please.

back from vacation

and just in time for a 10AM meeting! oh boy.

31 May, 2007

vacation!

perse and i are off to sint maarten for a week for some much needed r&r. so, sadly, you'll be bereft of my wit, wisdom, stubborn refusal to properly employ the shift-key and consistent spelling errors.

enjoy your time working while we're lounging on the beach!

unintentional advertisement messages

this may or may not become a semi-regular feature. depends on my mood. anyway, onwards.

there seems to be a bunch of commericals out there, sending unintentional and somewhat negative messages about the product in question. i don't have a link to today's subject, but you very well may have seen it. it's a visa check card commerical, and features a kindly, yet ill zookeeper. since he is stricken by what seems to be a common cold, the zoo's elephant takes his card and picks up medicine, chicken soup and a blanket for him. then the elephant and a monkey nurse their beridden master back to health.

what's wrong here?

intended message: look how quick and convienent this card is! you don't even have to swipe it, cause of the smart chip!

unintended message: holy shit! anyone can use my card, since there is absolutely no ID verification! look how easy it'd be for someone to rob me blind!

now, it could be that i'm cynical, but the unintended message is the one that sticks in my head.

29 May, 2007

tonight's dinner menu

since i'm waiting for the potatoes to cook some, before i begin on the rest of the meal, i've decided to share what i'm making for dinner:

  • roasted baby yukon gold potatoes
  • fiddleheads, morels and chanterelles sauteed in butter w/shallots and sage
  • ny strip w/welsh oak smoked sea salt
perse is in charge of dessert, which is fresh berries, shortcake and marscapone whipped cream.

this is beautiful

25 May, 2007

stop the abuse!

a new entry has been made into my personal lexicon of brutally abused words: organic. yes, organic. the entry was made official after reading another potter's quote (in the 500 Bowls book), who seemed to think that stone was "organic". newsflash to the world! organic is not a synonym for "natural". rock, for instance, cannot be organic. why? because it's not fucking carbon-based life, that's why. this word abuse irritates me, nearly as much as modification of "unique" does.

i blame organic farming for this. hippy bastards.

24 May, 2007

the news is on

and once again, on the subject of iraq 7 terrorism, the statement that "we fight them over there, so we don't have to fight them here" has been tossed out by our prez. i'm sure this has been mentioned before, but doesn't that just translate, directly, to "we don't care about iraqis, and would rather they die than any americans".

and people wonder why we're not universally loved.

the artist and the artisan

looking for a bit of inspiration, i've been, on and off, flipping through a book called 500 Bowls, to get ideas. the book consists mostly of photographs, with some technical details, as well as the potter's name. a few quotes from potters are scattered throughout. they range from the technical to the amusing (one guy's quote regarding a piece labeled "soup bowl" states it was "inspired by my love of soup". nice! i like the bowl too) through the overly autobiographical and into the absurdly pretentious (such as the quote accompanying a hideous bowl with a dirt brown interior and what looks like a mushroom plunked in the center: "Working with the theme of premature death, this work presents the golden egg of birth, death, and the gift of the near-death experience." er, no. it's just rather ugly).

however, i've noticed something interesting and, likely, telling about me. that is a very strong aversion to the non-functional pieces. very few of them are appealing to me. now, i know that taste is a matter of taste. yet, what i find most unappealing in them is the very lack of functionality. to me, much of the beauty of a ceramic piece, such as a bowl, stems from how well it is suited to performing its function. the lines of the bowl, the curve, the shape; all are more important than how it is glazed, or what sculptural bits have been stuck to it. it is, after all, a bowl; thus is should work like one.

these pieces that i'm turned off by also tend to be made by those who identify, not as potters or ever ceramicists, but as "ceramic artists". this, also, irks me. it harkens back to the old argument between the artist and the artisan. for whatever reason, people still seem to subscribe to the myth that something must be non-functional to be art. furthermore, that pure "art" is somehow of greater value. well, i think that's bullshit. art is not seperate from craft. it is an inherent part of it. it is what drives the craftsman to create works that are beautiful and useful. to remove that element of usefulness is to pull the heart out of the medium. form does not merely follow function. form is born of function. without it, form is twisted, ugly and dead.

i have no desire to be an artist. i do aspire to be an artisan, to be a good craftsman. i'd much rather my work be displayed on someone's table, than in any gallery.

as for the book, despite the minor irksome bits, there are some great bowls in it.

conspiracy?

curious...both games that the sox dropped to the yankees just happened to be the ones aired on espn...

23 May, 2007

scrap

The old trees open their leaves
palms up, to cup the sunlight
and cast a noon time twilight
round children at their rooted knees.

um, what the hell?

i'm not even sure how to respond to this. so i'll refer you first to firejoemorgan.com for the factual rebuttal.

it's a very, very odd article. seems like this guy is pissed that the yankees won? i don't know. pretty much everything he says is factually wrong. and, well, why the wakefield hate? just makes no sense. no sense at all.

22 May, 2007

richard schickel firmly believes you are stupid

this opinion piece is, i believe, a reaction to the current battle being waged (somewhere, out there) between professional book reviewers and blogging book reviewers. personally, i don't care about it. i don't generally review books on my page, though i read a fair amount. mostly, i haven't the time to bother. additionally, i know most people who read this blog. there is an understanding that, if i say such and such book is worth reading, then that is enough to warrant picking it up. but i wouldn't consider that a review. it's a recommendation. however, i digress.

what i take issue to is not even the statement that elitism is a good thing. i agree, to an exent. no, what i take issue with is this statement, tossed out there after listing orwell, edmund wilson and some 19th century frenchman as the pinacles of literary criticsm:

[...]all three wrote for intelligent readers who emerged from their reviews grateful to know more than they did when they started to read, grateful for their encounter with a serious and, indeed, superior, mind. We do not — maybe I ought to make that "should not" — read to confirm our own prejudices and stupidity.

I don't think it's impossible for bloggers to write intelligent reviews. I do think, however, that a simple "love" of reading (or movie-going or whatever) is an insufficient qualification for the job. That way often leads to cultishness (see the currently inflated reputations of Philip K. Dick or Cornell Woolrich, both easy reads for lazy, word-addicted minds).
yes folks, you have an inferior mind. even you "intelligent readers". mr. schickel thinks you cannot possibly read and understand and criticize literary works on your own. regardless of your intelligence. why? i'm guessing it's because you are not a writer. and even if you are, you're still alive. to be a proper critic you must first and foremost be dead. otherwise, you cannot possibly be taken seriously.

as for being "word-addicted", i'm sorry richard, but that is part of the craft of writing. if we are to take the words of writers more seriously, then philip k. dick's reputation is still under inflated. but, you know, he wrote sci-fi and took drugs. i've no idea who cornell woolrich is. so i'm guessing his reputation is not as overinflated as mr. schickel thinks. doesn't matter. schickel strikes me as the sort of pretentious git who equates inpenetrability with intelligence, and "serious" works as being all that is worthy of reading. but, mind you, you must be told what is worthy of your time by a "superior mind". such as, i'm guessing, mr. schickel. who writes for "time".

you'll all forgive me if i stick to trusting my own abilities and the recommendations of those whom i find trustworthy (such as keifus). being a pleb, i'd likely not even be able to understand cricism anyway

EDIT 5/24: in the interest of fairness, i do agree that not everyone's opinion or criticism is of equal value. what i dislike is the idea that being paid to do something instantly means one is better at it than others. for a prime example, read firejoemorgan.com. it's also a prime example of why those who have done some thing (such as played pro baseball) does not mean they are more capable of analysing or criticising that same thing. also, i think mr. schickel does not quite understand how sites that, say review books, come about. they are not written by people who set out to get a job as a reviewer and failed. they are written by people who started reviewing books for friends and acquaintences and then attracted a wider readership. it is not true that if someone is good enough to review a book, they'd have a job. for they may never have sought one. mostly, though, the suggestion that people who write online, as a hobby or diversion, are somehow less intelligent or capable simply because they are writing for free, is extraordinarily insulting. yes, there are a great many morons babbling away online (some may consider me to be one of them). however, there are also a great many highly intelligent people out there, sharing their thoughts as well.

mathematicians are idiots

i haven't read through this whole article yet. i probably won't, because i find the premise ridiculous and, frankly, irritating. however, it is useful (in the opening paragraphs) as an illustration of how brilliant people can be remarkably stupid. particularly game theorists.

here's the setup:

Lucy and Pete, returning from a remote Pacific island, find that the airline has damaged the identical antiques that each had purchased. An airline manager says that he is happy to compensate them but is handicapped by being clueless about the value of these strange objects. Simply asking the travelers for the price is hopeless, he figures, for they will inflate it.

Instead he devises a more complicated scheme. He asks each of them to write down the price of the antique as any dollar integer between 2 and 100 without conferring together. If both write the same number, he will take that to be the true price, and he will pay each of them that amount. But if they write different numbers, he will assume that the lower one is the actual price and that the person writing the higher number is cheating. In that case, he will pay both of them the lower number along with a bonus and a penalty--the person who wrote the lower number will get $2 more as a reward for honesty and the one who wrote the higher number will get $2 less as a punishment. For instance, if Lucy writes 46 and Pete writes 100, Lucy will get $48 and Pete will get $44.

What numbers will Lucy and Pete write? What number would you write?
if you've any sense, you're choosing $100. in know i am.

now, the startling conclusion!
Scenarios of this kind, in which one or more individuals have choices to make and will be rewarded according to those choices, are known as games by the people who study them (game theorists). I crafted this game, "Traveler's Dilemma, in 1994 with several objectives in mind: to contest the narrow view of rational behavior and cognitive processes taken by economists and many political scientists, to challenge the libertarian presumptions of traditional economics and to highlight a logical paradox of rationality.

Traveler's Dilemma (TD) achieves those goals because the game's logic dictates that 2 is the best option, yet most people pick 100 or a number close to 100--both those who have not thought through the logic and those who fully understand that they are deviating markedly from the "rational choice. Furthermore, players reap a greater reward by not adhering to reason in this way. Thus, there is something rational about choosing not to be rational when playing Traveler's Dilemma.
amazing! irrationality wins! er, not really. see, what these guys don't realize is they are basing their logic on the assumption that people are machines. they aren't. sure, mathematically, it may be logical to pick 2, because then you can't lose. but the most you are going to get is $4. yippie fuckin' skippy. a formula, or super math geek, might think in these terms, but generally, humans don't. hell, i don't even think vulcans would. it is far more rational to assume the other person is going to try to maximize their reward, not their odds of winning. sure, if you pick 100, instead of 2, you get nothing. but the other person only gets 4 bucks. you aren't out a hundred dollars. you're out four. in terms of risk, that's pretty damn low. so why bother to low ball it? i'd venture to guess that no statistically significant portion of people choose less than 50. why? it's in the premise for choosing this reward/punishment scenerio: people are going to inflate the value. if you are setting up a problem because you think the subjects are going to try to reap a higher monetary reward, what possible reason would you have to believe someone would choose 2 as an answer to the problem? well, that's covered:
To see why 2 is the logical choice, consider a plausible line of thought that Lucy might pursue: her first idea is that she should write the largest possible number, 100, which will earn her $100 if Pete is similarly greedy. (If the antique actually cost her much less than $100, she would now be happily thinking about the foolishness of the airline manager's scheme.)

Soon, however, it strikes her that if she wrote 99 instead, she would make a little more money, because in that case she would get $101. But surely this insight will also occur to Pete, and if both wrote 99, Lucy would get $99. If Pete wrote 99, then she could do better by writing 98, in which case she would get $100. Yet the same logic would lead Pete to choose 98 as well. In that case, she could deviate to 97 and earn $99. And so on. Continuing with this line of reasoning would take the travelers spiraling down to the smallest permissible number, namely, 2. It may seem highly implausible that Lucy would really go all the way down to 2 in this fashion. That does not matter (and is, in fact, the whole point)--this is where the logic leads us.

Game theorists commonly use this style of analysis, called backward induction. Backward induction predicts that each player will write 2 and that they will end up getting $2 each (a result that might explain why the airline manager has done so well in his corporate career). Virtually all models used by game theorists predict this outcome for TD--the two players earn $98 less than they would if they each naively chose 100 without thinking through the advantages of picking a smaller number.
read that last sentence again. now, think about what this man is saying. the logical conclusion leads to you netting $2, $98 less than naively choosing $100. this is most decidedly not an advantage. and yes, it seems highly implausible that someone would choose 2 because it is highly implausible. the disadvantages of low reward more than outweigh any advantage of choosing low.

anyway, i couldn't really read past that point. the model is flawed, because it is based upon the least important variable in the equation. you don't need a game like this to realize that human decision making is not guided by strict logic. what this says to me is not that it is irrational to defy strict logic, but that it is irrational to stick to it.

hey claude...

you know this guy?

New York Mets baseball fan Frank Martinez, 40, was ejected and then arrested at Shea Stadium in April after he allegedly shone a high-beam flashlight into the eyes of Atlanta Braves player Edgar Renteria during a game. A former neighbor, interviewed by the New York Post, said Martinez was once evicted from his apartment because he would commandeer the hallway after a Mets victory, and into the middle of the night, screaming "M! E! T! S!" as he paraded from one end to the other. [New York Post, 4-22-07] (swiped from news of the weird)
god bless baseball fans.

21 May, 2007

live by the knuckleball

die by the knuckleball.

damn.

EDIT 5/22: upon further review, those 12 LOB didn't help matters.

tea: now better than water

at least according to the brits. but you know, they would claim that, wouldn't they? i wonder if the east india company sponsored this report...

17 May, 2007

dear quadriceps

i'd like to apologize to you for what happened today. i know we've been walking that 3 mile loop for a few weeks now, and you haven't seemed to mind at all. in fact, you seemed to enjoy it. so, surely you can understand why i thought you'd agree it was time to see if we could run for one of those miles. yes, i know we haven't actually done any running, well, since we were on the track team in high school. but still, it seemed like the next logical step.

i was wrong. i see that now.

please forgive me. and, uh, let me stand up, too? please? i have to pee, and i don't want to wheel this chair to the bathroom...

falling victim to guilt week

well, they got me. the folks at WETA are in the midst of their spring pledge drive and, after listening to them beg for days, they got me. mind you, i don't mind donating money to public radio. let alone a station that i listen to for approximately 9-10 hours a day. also, they picked up the slack when WGMS switched formats from all classical to yet-another-classic-rock-station; themselves changing from talk radio to all classical. i greatly appreciate that and respect the risk. plus, i'm getting a nifty bag out of it (for whatever reason, i am constantly in search of the perfect bag. or backpack. luggage too.).

still, i feel manipulated and used. okay, not so much. mostly, i feel like complaining about it. especially because they'll get me again, next pledge drive.

bastards.

UPDATE: i quote, i say i quote, the guy on the radio. just now. "we're not trying to make you feel guilty. although that would help." caught!

16 May, 2007

thunder! lightning!

and just in time to coincide with my walk to the metro for pottery class! thanks weather gods!

15 May, 2007

i should have paid more attention in chemistry class

of late (that is, since i purchased it) i've been reading and re-reading john britt's The Complete Guide to High Fire Glazes: Glazing & Firing at Cone 10. truly a fascinating book. glazing has been one of the areas where i've not quite had a firm grasp of what was going on. part of this ignorance may stem from my status as a student: i have no control over what glazes are available to me for use, nor over the firing cycle. still, knowing more about glazing and firing is only going to help me improve my own work. hence the study.

probably the most important lesson i've gleaned from it so far is just how damned important glaze application is. again, it does depend on the glaze. however, it's very useful to know that i may not have gotten the results i expected because the glaze coat was too thin. or that my glaze may have crawled because i applied it a bit too thickly. additionally, knowing how the colorants, for instance, affect each other is going to help me gauge what glaze combinations may yield interesting results.

the downside is that, not having my own studio and kiln, i cannot try out some of the really fascinating glazes and techniques in the book. for example, since i cannot request a slow cooling to the glaze firing, i won't be able to get any macrocrystaline effects. at least, untill i'm at a point where i do have my own kiln. then i can really play.

anyway, even if you aren't actually making pottery, i'd recommend looking through this book. provided the craft itself interests you. at the very least, it will help you appreciate it all the more.

11 May, 2007

dear daveto

sorry.

okay, not really. but you have my sympathy.

07 May, 2007

and in further baseball news...

an idea whose time should not have come. yes folks, the baseball draft will finally be televised. aren't you excited? i'm not.

there is a reason why people care about the nfl and nba drafts, but not the mlb draft. that is, those fans will see the players drafted the next year (specially the high picks). whereas where one is drafted by an mlb club has little to no meaning, beyond signing bonuses. still not a guarantee of making the club, ever. and still means at least 2-3 years in the minors. even for high picks. that goes quadruple for pitchers.

baseball is arguably the most skill dependant of all the major american pro sports. talent, athleticism...both important. but one needs skill and needs to develop that skill. this is why there is rookie ball, a ball, aa ball and aaa ball. if you don't go through the instructional leagues, chances are slim you'll make it in the big leagues.

for example, if you can shoot a basketball well in high school and college, chances are high you'll still be able to shoot just as well in the nba (specially considering the emphasis they place on defense). whereas, say a pitcher can blow through high school and college with good heat. but if you never develop another pitch and just rely on the ablility to throw a 100 mph fastball, you will get shelled in the majors. and so on.

anyway, i'm certainly not going to watch it. i'm expecting not many others will either. likely i'm wrong, but you never know.

clemens signs with the darkside. again.

so, clemens decided to sign with the yanks. i find myself agreeing with the official line here: eh, oh well. would have been nice to have him back with the sox. no doubt. i don't think he'll be quite as effective in the AL as he was last year in the NL. but he'll likely get more wins. i'm thinking he's good for 10-12 wins and a era somewhere in the 3.50 to 4.25 range. based on his comments, i think he'd also got a "gentleman's agreement", if not an actual offer, of a non-pitching job once he actually calls it quits on the mound. whether as a coach or a special pitching consultant/advisor. the yanks still need more pitching though.

meanwhile, the sox still look damn good. the plus is that they even when they make mistakes, or remind us they are still human (such as okijima giving up his first inherited run), they are still winning. at least, more often than not. sweeps are nice. streaks are nice. but it's the consistent 2 out of 3's that will get you to october.

note to self

this is a reminder: refrain from taking new books to bed. stick with the old, famaliar friends. at least if you want to actually sleep.

p.s: also, that cappuchino probably didn't help matters.

04 May, 2007

disney is evil. and other thoughts

great. so, my internal work IM seems to have lost connectivity. we'll add that to list of today's frustrations. along with the fact that WID never deployed the latest version of our service to the INT box. oh, it went to QA and was released in production last week. but it's still not in INT. what the fuck? we'll tack on to that the request i just got for documentation on this service, so the people who took over maintainence of it (last fucking year) actually have some clue as to what it does.

this is on top of the frustration of not being able to test my own work. seems to be working in lower environments, using the same code. and it doesn't seem to be data driven, as, well, transactions that should hit well established error processing code (ie: none existant policies) aren't going through. i have no information at all as to what is going arwy. which is leading me to believe the transaction just isn't being run at all. bugger.

but what i really want to say is that disney is evil. not just in the usual "disney is evil" sense. they've gone beyond that. today, i saw a commercial for some show called "my friends tigger and pooh". apparently, this is a cgi cartoon about a little red-headed girl who solves crimes with tigger and winnie the pooh. seriously. what in the name of all that is holy is this crap? who thought this would be a good idea? i'm not even a big fan of pooh. but shit like this is just wrong.

disney: dedicating to rooting timeless classics in a very specific time! woo hoo!

i think it's time for a drink.

30 April, 2007

april is the cruellest month

for the yankees, at least. for a sox fan like myself, it's a beautiful, blissful month.

yeah, yeah...it's only april, as my friends who are yankees fans like to say. at least those still willing to discuss baseball. doesn't stop me from enjoying the fact that, currently, the red sox sit atop the AL east and have the best record in MLB (1/2 a game better than the mets). whereas the yankees are in the AL east cellar, and only two teams have a worse record: the royals and the nats.

it's a beautiful, beautiful thing. and i plan on enjoying it as much as i can, cause those fuckers are going to be tough to beat if they get any of their pitching back.

other sox notes:

  • beckett is looking very, very good so far this season. actually trying to pitch, instead of just blow it past people.
  • matsuzaka, right now, is reminding me of beckett last year: great stuff, comes unhinged for an inning each game. growing familiarity with tek and the coaching staff should help.
  • just think...manny still hasn't started to hit yet...
  • coco seems to be getting back to the sort player we saw a glimpse of last april. in his past 10 games, he's raised his BA 124 points. now, BA isn't that great a stat to measure performance, but it's what's available for me, as a tracked stat. plus, since coco doesn't walk much, that's what's mostly driving his OBP. which is still rather low. but rising. regardless, i like to see him getting back into a groove.
parting thought: the couch is large and empty, so why must the cat curl up on my fleece jacket?

i am now titled

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
His Most Serene Highness Lord Twiffer the Sage of Molton St Anywhere
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title


alternatively:

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
His Exalted Highness Duke Twiffer the Charming of Hardy St Thomas
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

27 April, 2007

dear employees, we think you're stupid

looks like work is rolling out a new software release to the office i am technically attached too. and, as is typical, they want everyone to actually turn their machines off for the weekend. but was it really necessary to include this in the email?

You can power down your computer by using the following procedure:

  1. Click "Start" in the lower left corner of your computer screen
  2. Choose "Shut Down"
  3. In the pull-down menu under “What do you want the computer to do?” make sure "Shut Down" is selected
  4. Click "Okay"

This will sign you off and power down your computer.
i'm sorry, but that's sort of insulting. do they honestly think people don't turn off their machines because they don't know how? not due to laziness, or not wanting to have to wait for the damn thing to boot up in the morning? sheesh.

26 April, 2007

a possibly earth-like planet

discovered orbiting a red sun...krypton?

23 April, 2007

i may have been sick as a dog

and subsisting on dayquil today...but still, last night was fucking awesome.

20 April, 2007

murder most foul

i haven't written about the VT murders, because what else is there to say? personally, i don't understand why someone would do such a thing. perhaps there is no way to understand it. yet that doesn't stop people from trying. why? because, for some reason, we think if we understand why, then another, similar, future act can be prevented. unfortunately, even if we understand the motivation and reason behind such action, we can never prevent something like it from ever happening again. the price of being a free people is the risk of some taking advantage of that freedom.

after the fact, our human desire to discern patterns kicks into high gear. with hindsight, it becomes inevitable. here was a man who was highly anti-social. he'd stalked. he wrote twisted plays and stories. he'd been in counselling for a spell. apparently, he was a mean bastard. it all seems so obvious, doesn't it? why didn't anyone act prior to this?

the answer to that is simple: there are thousands, perhaps millions of people just like this who don't go on killing sprees. we cannot suspect or prosecute people for being extremely quiet. we cannot do so even for writing horrible things. i could write twisted stories if i wished. doesn't mean i'm describing what i want to, or plan to do (incidently, his plays do not include anyone being shot. killed, yes; shot, no). simply put, there is no sure way to predict whether someone is going to become a murderer, mass or otherwise.

what we forget when these things happen is just how rare they are. look at the numbers. if we consider something like a school shooting, we can assume we are dealing with an age range of about 15-24, likely male. using the 2005 census data, this is about 14% of the male population: approximately 19,778,495 people. if we had a mass murder from this demographic every day of the year, it would still only be about 0.002% of the demographic that were murdering bastards. that's 0.002% of a 14% slice of the total US population. applied to the total population, an exceedingly small percentage of people decide to go on shooting sprees.

perspective does not diminish tragedy. but, in deciding how to respond to tragedy like this, we need to keep our perspective. everyday, nearly 20 million males between the ages of 15-24 decide not to walk into their classroom and start shooting people. law is a system, and systems need to be designed for normal functioning, not for abberations. an act such as the murders at VT is an abberration. the horror we feel in response to it shows just how rare a thing it is. indeed, what is surprising is that this sort of atrocity doesn't happen more often. we need to remember that. the proper response to acts such as this is grief, horror, shock. the proper response is personal, not legal.

18 April, 2007

understanding baseball analysts

or, any other sports analyst, for that matter. hell, this likely applies to political analysis too. or any sort of news coverage, come to think of it.

anyway, since i no longer live in-market for my favorite ballclub, i find myself watching baseball tonight (unless i manage to listen to the game online), to catch the results and highlights. last night, the "go-to-commercial" teaser spoke of daisuke "imploding" against toronto. this caused me concern. i don't like to hear of sox pitchers imploding, even figuratively. the recap comes on, the analysts discuss how daisuke (i should note here that i think the nickname he's been saddled with in the us, "Dice-K", is fucking stupid. his japanese nic, "Kaibutsu" [means "monster"], is much cooler) fell apart in the 4th inning, due to frustration at some calls that went unfavorably.

now, he did walk in a run in that inning. in fact, all of toronto's runs were scored that inning. but here's the thing: they only scored two runs. comparatively, yes, that was a bad inning. and the sox did lose (2-1, final score). but objectively, not all that bad. certainly not warranting the implications of catastrophe. here's his line for the game:

IP H R ER BB SO HR
6.0 3 2 2 3 10 0
in fact, his stats for the season so far are nearly identical to johan santana, except for w/l and daisuke having a better ERA.

what is most irritating about this sort of coverage (other than getting me riled up at 12:30 in the morning) is this. had the sox won, even by 1 run, these same analysts would have described his pitching in the 4th as "getting out of a tough jam". probably those exact words too. i suppose the doomsday intonations were designed to keep me tuned in, but i was gonna wait for the sox recap anyway. so instead, it just irked me.

in other news, my sympathies to my philadephia readers. the phillies are currently worse than the nats. i'm sorry.

12 April, 2007

imus fired

this was also to be expected. i don't have anything to add, other than i personally advocate firing all morning radio talkshow hosts. not because they are offensive, but because i've always hated the entire concept of morning talk shows on radio stations that i tune to for music. whomever thought that i might prefer to listen to a couple of idiots yammering, first thing in the morning, deserves an unpleasant afterlife.

vonnegut dies

well, he was 84, so i suppose it's to be expected. but that doesn't mean i have to be happy about it.

i'd like to think he's now comfortably reclining on tralfamadore.

10 April, 2007

wow, seattle kinda sucks

bottom of the 5th. we're up 11-1 and on the 3rd seattle pitcher already. i almost feel bad for 'em. the sox announcers are giving them the benefit of the doubt and laying some blame on the slew of snowed out games they've had. they're nicer than i am.

EDIT 4/12: except, apparently, when king felix is pitching. ouch.

Lost Idyll

first draft; very rough. loosely inspired by this discussion.

Lost Idyll

The tattered shreds of elephant
toes speak truths we seek
to keep unknown.

While Tennyson, in sorrow,
saw how nature lurked red,
in tooth and claw
he failed to notice
how ours hands remain
the bloodiest of all.

No savagery is noble;
our own least of all.
Yet God, mankind's cruelest
creation, convinces us
we're not beasts
but for the fall.

EDIT: lacking flow and poor transitions, particularly from the first to second stanzas. hmmm.

09 April, 2007

schilling back in form

much better game last night. papi's bat woke up for 2 homers (3rbi). schilling pitched a great game. padilla pitched well for texas too. got very hairy in the 8th and showed just why we like having papelbon in the pen to close.

06 April, 2007

bah. shut-out.

at least wake pitched well (6ip/3h/2r/1er/2bb/4k). the pen continues to be solid too. no offense today though. all in all a rather dull game, to be honest.

taverez is up for tomorrow's start. we'll see how he fares. hopefully better than he did in relief last season.

05 April, 2007

daisuke's debut

the pitching line: 7ip; 6h; 1r; 1er; 1bb; 10k

i'm taking this a good omen. the one run was on a homer, but i don't think that's much of a concern. papelbon gets his first save to preserve the 4-1 win for the sox.

all in all a very good game. the royals starter, greinke, was also impressive (7ip/8h/2r/1er/1bb/7k). well pitched game, though the royals had some fielding issues.

also, drew continues to play well and demonstrate that he is an improvement in right field. though he did have a strike-out, so i'm sure some numbskull in the boston press will jump on him for that.

Rest

fragment of thoughts on a drive home from a business trip. been kicking around since then.

Rest

Only ease comes easy
at the end of a long day.

Even that comes with the price
of long practice watching cats.

much better

ah, a 7-1 victory is much better. would have liked beckett to have gone an inning or two more, but it's early. no reason letting him wear himself out in april. plus, it does afford a look at the pen.

this afternoon is the debut of daisuke. looking forward to listening to the game. is it just me, or is baseball more exciting on the radio than on tv?

oh, as a humorous aside...the ever-observant folks at FJM noted that j.d. drew was getting slammed by an idiotic sportstalkradio guy for taking a walk with 2 outs and a man on in the first inning of the sox opener. so what did drew do in the first inning yesterday? rbi double. either he was listening or just has impeccable timing. i'll say this again, drew may not have the "hustle and drive" that trot nixon did (and mind you, i liked trot). but it's not because he doesn't care about winning. it's because he's a better ballplayer. the scrappy, dirt-dog players are such because they aren't as good as those who make it looke easy. that's part of the reason people like them. makes you think that if you worked hard enough, you too could play in the big leagues.

03 April, 2007

scoop of the year!

i cannot supress the cynical feeling that cnn reporters are filled with glee regarding their stroke of good fortune.

watching games on espn and why i hate it

reading FJM this morn reminded me why i hate watching games on espn. it's not just that, say, nesn, has a red sox bias. it's just that their announcers are better. much better. you actually get some insight into what's going on and why from the likes of jerry remy.

from jon miller you get the above link. 2 out, down by five, bottom of the eighth, 2 on, papi at the plate and miller thinks a home run will "kill the rally". idiot. having papi strikeout was much better for the rally. what, would you rather a bloop single? in any situation, at any point in a ball game, the single best result from an at bat is a homerun. i'm unsure how scoring 3 runs would "kill a rally". isn't a rally a late surge in scoring?

here's a list of things that would actually have killed the rally:

  • striking out
  • grounding out
  • fly out
  • caught foul ball
  • a single to load the bases followed by manny making an out
notice how all those rally killing scenerios involve making an out? i must be crazy, thinking that scoring is actually a good thing. this lack of insight into the secrets of the game is obviously why i'm not cut out to call a baseball game.

02 April, 2007

dear gil meche...

i fucking hate you.

you look to be, and have performed in the past, as a perfect example of a "journeyman" starter. what business have you, then, in throwing like an actual ace? bastard.

of course, i didn't help that schilling pitched a stinker. against the royals! the god-damn royals!

thank god it's only april. meh.

eBook readers

this little review piqued my interest. mostly because it seems eBook readers still have not advanced to the stage that i think they should be at. which, actually, is rather disappointing, because it should be simple to accomplish. the reviewer touches on some very good points: books are already portable, so portablity of the device itself is not a major selling point. making the display read like actual print is a good thing, as long reading on a monitor is murder on the eyes. it also seems that sony is attempting to cram too much functionality into the device: there is no need to have a book reader play audio, for instance. multimedia devices are all the rage, yes, but somethings should be specialized. and the lack of being able to write in the margins is a severe oversight.

i don't quite agree on the value of eBook readers being the ability to reduce book clutter. frankly, i like having lots of books. i like having books lying about the the place. the value i see in eBook readers is for travellers and students. portability, but not of the device. instead, the ability to carry a great deal of content with you, where ever you go. for instance, even on just the hour long flight up to CT, for work or familial obligations, i'll stuff at least four books into my carry-on. it would be far more convienent to just be able to grab a reader. or, on an actual vacation, one wouldn't need to devote half a bag to books.

the best use though, i think is for students. this is why a noting feature is essential (beyond just typical desire to annotate for pleasure). imagine being able to have all your text books on a reader. not having to spend 60 bucks on a 5 pound staple reference, that has to be replaced every year or two to keep current. light, portable, updatable and, frankly, cheaper for the content.

really, all you need is a good screen, removable memory and a stylus driven interface, with perhaps a corner thumb button to flip the pages. it's not so hard to figure out, is it?

public service announcement

please be advised that, with the advent of spring and the fact that the sox open the season vs. royals tonight, the subject of posts on this blog will increasingly be related to baseball.

23 March, 2007

closer issue closed

papelbon heads back to the bullpen. i think he would have made a good starter, and likely have been more valuable as a starter. but i have to say, i liked the feeling last year: seeing him head to the mound and thinking "good, we've won this one". he says he wants to be the next rivera. i hope so.

the government wants to be your mom and dad

in reading an article on our brave government's continuing crusade to protect kids from the "dangers" of porn being dealt another slap back, i came across this little quote:

"It is not reasonable for the government to expect all parents to shoulder the burden to cut off every possible source of adult content for their children, rather than the government's addressing the problem at its source," a government attorney, Peter D. Keisler, argued in a post-trial brief.
it might be just me, but i find this statement extremely disturbing. essentially, this lawyer is saying it is not reasonable to expect parents to be, well, parents. i'll grant him that it is unreasonable to expect to cut a kid (particularly a dertermined one) off from all access to "adult content", regardless of whether one is a parent or a government agency. particularly as the internet is not the only place to find it (just typically the most convienent). but what disturbs me is the underlying message here: it's the government's job to protect "our children". this is a wrong and, frankly, dangerous idea. it's a parent's job to protect and raise their kids. that means, if one doesn't think there is any harm in, say, your 16 year old looking at porn, then the government doesn't have the right to tell you there is.

repeat after me: it is not the place of the government to be a parent. got that? good.

07 March, 2007

a little spring training humor

for fans of baseball and anime, courtesy of the onion.

06 March, 2007

yo, lentenstuffe

i'll certainly abide by your wishes, perplexed as i am by them. would you like me to de-link as well?

if you'd let me know how i offended thee, i'd appreciate it, though you've certainly no obligation to do so.

01 March, 2007

the weather

i know i'm now farther south than i used to be. still, isn't it a bit early for a thunderstorm? thundersnow would be fine (mostly because it's cool, in an eerie sort of way), but i'm not quite ready for a thunderstorm.

ah well. back to dealing with discrepancies.

27 February, 2007

the news remains behind the times

dear god, why are people being paid to write stuff like this? all of you nice people who read my blog...did you know that you aren't supposed to be out here, posting on the web? you're too old and it's unnatural for you. oh, likely for me too, since i turned 30 last june.

dear ill-informed human interest story writers: inhibition is not necessarily a factor of age. nor of generation. moreover, even if this were a subject worthy of an article, it was worthy, oh, 5, 10 years ago.

please repeat until it is knocked into your head: not every teen has a myspace page/live journal/blog. not every human has an iPod. not every human like text messages on their cell phone (not every human has a cell phone). not every adult is afraid of the internet.

stop writing this crap. it's irritating.

26 February, 2007

the first signs of spring

are, of course, spring training. first sox split-squad game is thursday. hooray! baseball!

i'm a happy boy.

22 February, 2007

more excercises in poor legislation

i may have posted about this elsewhere, before. or i just thought about writing this post. in anycase, i'm writing it now. forgive the lack of links; i don't feel like looking this stuff up again.

seems that some rep. in brooklyn wants to propose a bill making it illegal to cross the street while listening to an iPod. stop laughing, he was serious. why? it seems the reasoning behind this madness is that 3 people in brooklyn were killed crossing the street while listening to iPods, between september 2006 and january 2007. one even, apparently, did not heed the warning cries of onlookers, as the volume was apparently too loud.

this is a horrible, stupid idea. why, one might ask? it could save lives! the problem is, well, there are many problems with this sort of law. the first is, it is not the government's business to save people from their own stupidity. certainly not in a free country. freedom means you are free to make your own errors in judgement, even if they get you killed. but that opinion aside, 3 pedestrian deaths in approximately 4 months is, well, insignificant. i know, i know, every fucking life is precious, yadda, yadda. thing is, there are about 8 million people living in new york. the number of pedestrian deaths last year was, if i remember correctly, 252. and that was low. still, it works out to almost 5 people being run over every week. yet on the basis of 3 of those deaths, new legislation is called for, to fine a specific action that rarely increases the odds of someone getting killed? if you believe the hype, everysingleperson on the planet has an iPod by now. that only 3 of the teeming mass have gotten hit by cars in the pedestrian friendly streets of brooklyn is a minor miracle.

let's say this does get passed into law. how is it enforcable? do the earphones have to be out, or just the music off? how does one tell, if the later? if the problem is people not being able to hear oncoming traffic, should we also fine the deaf for crossing the street? why did we never have this problem with walkmans? and so on.

this sort of bill faces the same problems as those that ban cell phone use while driving. that is, they rely on anecdotal evidence and miss the point anyway. the root problem is that when a human performs a potentially dangerous activity (such as driving, or crossing a city street) whilst distracted by some other activity (such as talking on a phone, listening to music, talking to another person, eating, searching pockets for loose change, etc.) the chances of getting killed increase. what is causing the distraction is not relevant. the point is they are distracted. focusing on specific distractions might look, politically, like one is actually doing something "for the people". but really all one is doing is furthering one's career and furthering the gap twixt law and reason.

EDIT: hehe...keif, this is exactly what i'm talking about (well, in my comments, at least).

12 February, 2007

idle thoughts

amazon just sent me a recommendation for a book i already own. does this indicate their recommendation system is fairly accurate? i dunno. frankly, i tend to only use them when i have a specific book i want to purchase (usually from the scientific american book reviews). but i am a sucker for geology books, so perhaps amazon does know me well. not that it matters. i far prefer wandering the stacks at used book stores.

on a completely different topic, a new dollar coin is going into circulation. with it, the accompanying voice of doom, noting that people don't want a dollar coin, people won't use a dollar coin, look at how the others have failed, and so on. bullshit. people, even those polled and saying they do care, don't really care. the problems with getting people to use dollar coins is you can't fucking get them anywhere. last time they tried this, the only place i ever recieved a dollar coin in change was from the subway pass machines in NYC. you want people to use the coin? make them available. you want people to use a dollar coin over the paper bill? remove the fucking paper from circulation. this is one of those situations where the government shouldn't listen to the people on the matter. if dollar coins will save the government money, then switch to them. that people might "like" the bill marginally more really isn't a good reason to keep them. it's the same sort of mentality that has prevented a switch to the metric system.

get rid of the penny too, while you're at it. i hate those things.

08 February, 2007

why i cannot work in customer service

this article, sent me by my friend and yours, the elusive Please_Panic, sums it up nicely. simply put, i don't deal well with such blatant stupidity. read this again:

Atlantic Theatres in Atlantic Beach, Florida, received a complaint from a woman who'd seen the advertised title as she drove past with her niece. She said that it had made her niece ask her what a vagina was.

The theatre's Bryce Pfanenstiel commented: 'I'm on the phone and asked “What did you tell her?” She's like, “I'm offended I had to answer the question.”'
i'm sorry, but what sort of people are these? she had to explain to HER NIECE what a vagina is? shouldn't her niece already know? how does this woman stand the existence of commericals for yeast infection medications?

anyway, if i was in charge of this theater, i would have succumbed to the massive public pressure of one complaint as well. except, i would have changed the marquee to read either "The Cunt Monologues" or "The Twat Monologues". just to drive home the old proverb "be careful what you wish for".

also, "hoohaa" makes me think of that movie where the guy who isn't deniro plays a blind guy that says "hoo-aaaahhh" all the time.

EDIT: al pacino. why i cannot ever remember his name is just a mystery. plus, the movie is "scent of a woman" and that revalation about "hoohaa" just put a whole new, and dirty, spin on that film.