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Archive of October, 2004

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[Permalink 2004-10-29] Preach It, Brother

October 29, 2004:

Note: This was supposed to go up yesterday, but then the Sox won the World Series, and I figured that was worth a mention. Sorry for two sports entries in a row; I've been trying to avoid that this year.

The Browns finally gain one of the first entries in a TMQ column, and it's for their horrible play-calling in OT:


It's overtime in Philadelphia-Cleveland collision. In the waning seconds of regulation, the Browns scored to force a fifth period, sending the dog-dressed crowd into delirium. Now Cleveland faces fourth-and-1 on its 48. You're going for this, right? The Eagles are an undefeated elite team; the Browns are a 3-3 who-dem outfit; the hometown crowd is roaring at military-afterburner decibels. You're going for this, right? Last season, NFL teams that ran on fourth-and-1 converted 75 percent of the time. So if Cleveland runs, it has a 75 percent chance of a first down and the upper hand for victory; plus ground defense is the Eagles' weakness, the Browns had rushed for 165 yards to that point. If Cleveland punts, it hands the ball back to a team that had already gained almost 450 yards against the suspect Browns defense. So you're going for this, right? You are going for this, right? Boom, a punt. Philadelphia marches for the field goal and victory; Cleveland never has possession again.

If you're 3-3, what have you got to lose by going for the first down in this situation? The punt didn't even help tactically -- Philadelphia took exactly one snap to get back to where the Eagles would have been if the Browns had gone for the first down and failed. Cleveland had a chance to take fate into its own hands, and instead passively punted the ball away. This seems yet another instance of an NFL coach trying to avoid criticism. Had Cleveland gone for it and missed, Butch Davis would have been blamed for the call; as it was, his players were blamed for soft defense on the final Philadelphia drive.

This is one of my biggest beefs with the Browns -- their coaching. Butch Davis is not a pro coach; like Spurrier he's a college coach trying to hack it in the pros and failing. The offensive coordinator, who probably called the play in or suggested it to Davis, is just as culpable. He also doesn't belong in the big leagues; it takes more than half a dozen plays to win a football game. Dave Campo, the defensive coordinator, is as close as anyone on that staff comes to competence, and he'll go running for the Prevent when the Browns are up 3-0 halfway through the first.

Fire the coaches, patch up the O-line, and maybe this team will be a contender again.

[Permalink 2004-10-28] Well, We're All Still Here

October 28, 2004:

Looks like my opinion on what it would take for the Red Sox to win the World Series was somewhat exaggerated. Congratulations, guys; you've earned it.

Now if I hear about the "Curse of the Bambino" one more time, I'm driving out to Boston and kicking every single one of you in the nuts.

[Permalink 2004-10-26] Weird

October 26, 2004:

I had a helpdesk guy come over to my cube yesterday to install some software I need. He was initally impressed with my monitor -- it's nice and huge to do my occasional MapGuide Author work and runs at 1600x1200 -- then issued a what-the-hell type of statement.

He could see the 60Hz refresh. He couldn't believe that I didn't.

Anyway, the monitor's set to 75Hz now, just on the off chance that the flicker I couldn't see was contributing to the squinting and the eyestrain. Kinda doubt it though.

And apparently my eyeballs have a substandard refresh rate. Any idea where I can get some after-market?

[Permalink 2004-10-25] Continuing the Birthday Theme

October 25, 2004:

I've noticed for the last week or so that I'm starting to squint a lot. Looks like it's time to get my eyes checked again. And if the optometrist even mentions anything beyond my normal nearsightedness, it's clock-tower time.

[Permalink 2004-10-23] The Big 2-8

October 23, 2004:

Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday dear meeeeee,
Happy birthday to me

Since today is also Samir's wedding, I even get to drink for free :)

[Permalink 2004-10-22] D'oh

October 22, 2004:

Yesterday my connection at work dropped. Couldn't get online, couldn't access the network, couldn't even run a ping. Then it hit the other people nearby. Turned out later it was a problem with either WINS or DHCP. But not knowing that, I rebooted my machine.

That was a bad idea. At some point my hard drive started to rot, and one of my system files is missing or corrupted. The help desk is trying to repair the install well enough to ghost it, and I'm on a temporary machine. This machine is fine, except I forgot to back up one of my projects (dumb) and it doesn't have Source Safe so I can't check anything in or out. Which is really only a problem if someone wants to access the file I was working on when my connection dropped, because VSS will probably get bitchy over the fact that it thinks I'm still working on the file.

So... looks like I'm spending a lot of time online today.

[Permalink 2004-10-21] I'm Gonna Need Some Coffee

October 21, 2004:

I'm currently watching game seven of the Boston-New York ALCS. It's currently in the bottom of the eight inning, and Boston's leading 9-3.

I have no real interest in this series. Sure, the Yankees are the epitome of everything that's wrong with baseball, but the Red Sox are pretty much right behind them in the Evil department. But no team has ever lost the first three games in the series and forced a seventh game. And for that team to be leading this late is incredible.

So I watch in the hopes that something unprecedented happens. And since these games tend to run four hours or so, I'm going to be up for a while.

Of course, even if Boston wins tonight they'll lose the World Series. It's just the way things have to be.

Edit, 10/20 11:29PM: End of the eighth, Boston's still up 9-3. A pair of 1-2-3 innings would be nice.

11:42PM: Sweet Zombie Jesus, this makes the last two minutes of a football game look fast. Two outs, a sac fly and a man on first, and Torre's bringing in a(nother) reliever. Boston's currently up 10-3.

11:46PM: And the Yankees finally get that third out. Middle of the ninth, 10-3 Boston.

11:50PM: 55 Matsui - 1B
11:53PM: 51 Williams - FC 4-6
11:54PM: 20 Posada - FO 6
11:55PM: Williams - SB
11:56PM: 12 Lofton - BB
11:57PM: Embree relieved Timlin
10/21 12:00AM: 24 Sierra PH for 18 Olerud
10/21 12:00AM: 24 Sierra - GO 4-3

And that's it; Boston has come back from three games down, winning four in a row, to go to the World Series. Now we just need to keep an eye out for anyone playing Frakenstein with Curt Schilling's ankle.

[Permalink 2004-10-19] Winter's Here Already?

October 19, 2004:

Well, it looks like I may have called it with respect to the weather. When I went out to my car Monday morning I had to dig the scraper out of the trunk and remove a pretty good-sized deposit of frost from my windshield.

On the upside, the windshield defogged pretty quickly. Whether that has to do with the new radiator (better heat transfer to the defogger?) or the fact that I actually cleaned the inside of the glass a few weeks ago (not as much gunk to condense a fog onto) is anyone's guess.

[Permalink 2004-10-18] Things I Learned This Weekend

October 18, 2004:

· Stubble doesn't float.
· I need to buy some Drano.

[Permalink 2004-10-15] 'Cause We're All Just Apes

October 15, 2004:

When I thought my car was dead I got a little pissed off. I came back inside and winged my keys at the wall. Left a nice little mark.

Now, those 4 keys and the remote-entry thing can't weigh more than a few ounces. But it was amazingly cathartic to just heave that keyring across the room.

And I now have a new crackpot theoy: Humans are animals, and have violent impulses. Those impulses must be released from time to time to avoid having Bad Things happen. I wonder how many murders or assaults take place just because someone finally snapped. Who knows, maybe those violent video games actually help kids cope, since they can blow stuff up over and over again without actually hurting somebody.

Or maybe I'm just trying to retroactively justify having an "Og smash!" type of moment.

[Permalink 2004-10-14] This Shit's Getting on My Nerves

October 14, 2004:

Just went outside to drive somewhere -- stop me if you've heard this one before -- and guess what: My car took a shit! Again! For the second time in two weeks!

Sounds like my starter -- the one I replaced two years ago even though it wasn't the problem -- is gone. At least I think that's it; when I turn the key all I get is a clickclickclickclick noise instead of the engine trying and failing to turn over. As an added bonus, the first time I tried to crank the thing it did turn over once before dying and doing the clickclickclick thing.

So unless the thing miraculously starts tomorrow morning -- and that's only slightly less likely than Kirsten Dunst showing up at my door and saying, "hey, big boy, take me now" -- I'm going to have to have it towed over to Walters.

Hey, somebody's got to pump money back into the local economy. Might as well be me, right?

A newish car, say a 2001 or 2002, would probably cost me at least $200 a month in payments. That's $2400 a year. This piece of shit is currently running $2175.67 (discounting standard stuff like oil changes and inspections) for this year. It's skating on some pretty fucking thin ice.

Edit, 8PM: It's just the battery, the starter is most likely fine. But since the battery drained for no good reason I'm going to have them replace it -- it was getting kind of old anyway. I'm going to have them check the other things just to make sure. I know I'm paying for peace of mind at this point, but I've gotten paranoid when it comes to this car.

[Permalink 2004-10-12] I'm Solar-Powered... Who Knew?

October 12, 2004:

I've had to move my alarm back five minutes due to my problems getting going in the morning before sunrise. This time of year I spend an extra few minutes in the shower, sometimes wondering why it's raining inside and why the rain is so warm.

I personally think we go off of daylight-saving time too late; it starts in late April, less than two months before the summer solstice, but runs until late October well after the autumnal equinox. To really balance things, daylight time should end in mid-August. Alternately, if you really want it to run six months, it should be in effect from equinox to equinox.

Anyway, my point is that it's too damn dark in the morning this time of year. And that's really about the extent of it.

[Permalink 2004-10-11] New Web Toy

October 11, 2004:

Recently Firefox picked up on Safari's ability to subscribe to an XML feed (RSS or Atom) directly with the browser instead of using a reader. Both browsers currently make the mistake of using a button that says "RSS". (Atom was created to get around RSS's problems with backwards-compatibility; calling Atom "RSS" is like calling GIFs "PNG" because they're also portable network graphics.)

So now I've been going around subscribing to feeds using Firefox's "Live Bookmarks" feature (I don't know what Safari calls it). It's pretty neat; I may have to create an Atom feed for this site now. After all, I need to know when I update.

Edit, an hour later: Well, that was easy.

Edit, 6PM Monday: Apparently, this feature won't make it into Safari until Tiger (OSX 10.4) is released. No word when that'll happen.

[Permalink 2004-10-07] Just Three Little Letters

October 07, 2004:

I'm sure everyone knows this by now, but what the heck: During the vice-presidential debate Dick Cheney urged viewers to go to, thinking he was talking about, a non-partisan group at the University of Pennsylvania that takes the time to research all the claims made in the debates and campaign ads.

Going by what's on the front page right now, it seems they're finding more BS in Bush/Cheney's releases than they are Kerry/Edwards's, so it probably wasn't a great idea to send people there in the first place.

Anyway, most organizations tend to register the three main US domain types -- .com, .net and .org -- all at once, so it's usually not a big deal if you flub the top-level domain. Except, FactCheck isn't one of those organizations. is run by (probably) a cybersquatter. And when his useless site started getting hammered with hits immediately after Cheney's remark, he did what any self-respecting leech would do -- route the site to a place that pays for more bandwidth.

Enter George Soros's site. Soros is a billionaire, and he doesn't like Bush very much. So I'm sure a lot of people were surprised when they went were Cheney told them to, and found a page that basically says "we've got to get rid of these guys." To his credit, Soros put up an explanation of what was going on as soon as he found out. Which would make him the most honest man involved in the debate.

[Permalink 2004-10-05] Review: Bush-Kerry I

October 05, 2004:

Hey, look at that: I'm getting my review of the first presidential debate up just in time for the veep debate. That's still technically on time, right?

Short version: Kerry still looks like Herman Munster, but had his shit more or less together. Bush still looks like a chimp, but stopped just short of flinging poop at Kerry. I would've paid to see that.

Long version: Bush came on pretty strong rhetoric-wise, but I think he was a little nervous. Some people think that his walking over to Kerry's side to shake hands at the beginning was a way of asserting dominance; I just thought he looked like he wanted to get it over with and get behind his lectern. Kerry seemed a little unsure at the start, but found his rythym pretty quickly.

It was obvious Kerry'd been practicing what he wanted to say -- on the first several questions he finished up right before he got the red light or a couple seconds after. For someone who tends toward long-windedness that probably required quite a lot of practice to get it right.

Bush seemed to be going for a shoot-from-the-hip style, and that is what suits him best. He didn't seem like he was able to remember what he was supposed to be talking about after the first half-hour or so. It was actually kinda frustrating to watch; the Leader of the Free World falling back on the old axiom of "this job is hard" isn't something I really wanted to see.

As far as the actual content goes, I think both candidates spent too much time smacking each other's arguments around. Bush, especially, harped on "wrong war, wrong place, wrong time" every chance he got, and Kerry pulled out Bush's mistakes more than a couple times each. For such a limiting format -- two minutes to open, 90 seconds to rebut -- I think both candidates' time would have been better-spent focusing on what they were going to do, not playing the did-too-did-not game.

On the whole I'd say Kerry came off as having been better prepared for and more serious about the debate. Bush, apparently, went fishing the day before instead of preparing. I know he tends to take vacations and time off at inopportune times, but you'd think somebody in his campaign would have pointed out the importance of not getting blindsided here. Kerry also avoided making the mistakes that Gore and G.H.W. Bush did -- where Gore looked downright smug and Bush I looked bored Kerry was attentive and taking notes. Bush (II), on the other hand, almost looked like he was pouting. I know not everybody is going to be able to keep a poker face when the opponent zings you, but something tells me that instead of giving Bush the stink-eye, Kerry was looking down at his notes long enough to write "DIEDIEDIE" a few times instead.

Kerry's "global test" was more of a verbal miscue than anything; in a foreign-policy debate "global" is going to mean "worldwide" rather than "all of us Americans", which is what the comment means in context. It's Kerry's only real verbal gaffe that I can recall four days after the fact, and Bush's team is trying to hammer it for all they're worth. I'm not so sure about Kerry's omission of Poland from the list of allies; it's been public knowledge for a while now that Poland's unhappy with the deal, and it now looks like they'll pull their troops from Iraq after the January elections. Makes the guy look a little precient now.

In the last few days, Kerry's received a bounce from the debate -- one of the most widely-watched, if not the most -- and is once again running in a tie with Bush. I think the momentum here is Kerry's to lose; if he maintains his mannerisms in the upcoming town-hall debate he may be able to take Bush down another couple pegs. Bush, on the other hand, needs to shine in the seconds debate, both in rhetoric and appearance. He needs to pull off a coup in addition to needing Kerry to misstep.

Tonight's vice-presidential debate should also be interesting; we have Evil Incarnate in the form of Dick Cheney (I swear this guy could sound evil saying "good morning") vs. Our Favorite Ambulance Chaser, John Edwards (the guy who talks to dead people has no "s" in his name). Edwards is the one with the fewest ties to Big Money, and he's the only one acting the populist in any convincing way. This one ought to be good; Cheney's definitely the more articulate member of the Republican ticket and Edwards has plenty of practice of winning people over from his days as a trial lawyer.

It's about damn time politics got interesting.

[Permalink 2004-10-04] More Camera-Phone Fun

October 04, 2004:

While my old radiator was sitting out I took a picture of it. It's not such a surprise that the thing failed on me any more.

It's hard to see, since the phone is very low-res, but that white spot on the left side is where the tube blew out. It's actually a bigger split than I thought, about a half-inch long. And the green color isn't an artifact of the camera; the radiator really was covered in... something. You'll also note that there are quite a few fins missing. Given how torn up it was, I'm amazed it lasted as long as it did.

[Permalink 2004-10-01] But Will It Be a Prequel?

October 01, 2004:

I knew it, I'm surrounded by assholes.

Two reasons I hope it'll be a prequel: It'll be a better jab at Star Wars, especially if Revenge of the Sith sucks as bad as I fear it will, and I don't think it'd look right having to replace John Candy as Barf. Of course, Mel Brooks's career has been going downhill since before Spaceballs came out; there may not be any gas left in the tank for this one. But I'll be be more likely to see it on its opening weekend than Episode III.

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