October 29, 2004
Upgraded MT to 3.1 and also MT-Blacklist today and cause all sorts of hassles in upgrade hell but mostly now sorted out.
I did this to try to deal with all the comment spam I have been getting which I just couldn't take any longer. LJ doesn't seem to suffer from this at all, at least for me so far.
October 28, 2004
The Curse is Dead
Well, the curse is finally over after 86 years. Pretty incredible. Incredible job by Pedro yesterday and Lowe today. Manny was named the series MVP which really surprises me given the pitching performances and that the only really scary moment of the entire series came because of his error in game 1. I would have given it to Foulke who did an amazing job not just in these games but in the final 4 against the Yankees as well. Incredible and a sight to see. What a time to be a Sox fan!!!
The Cardinals are too good a team to deserve this, not only getting swept, but never even leading for one moment in the entire series. Their pitching was poor throughout and their hitting never again came alive after game 1. Unfortunately, becasue this series was so easy, I don't think it will be remembered as nearly as special a historical sports moment as I expected last week. The series last week is the one that will be remembered but that is more of a Boston-NY thing and I don't think has the power to be transcendant beyond sport as something like the Miracle on Ice was.
I went down again tonight to Kenmore/Fenway but the atmosphere was not nearly as powerful as it was last week. The crowd (me included) was happy but not euphoric and that made a huge difference. Last week was an experience to remember forever. Tonight was just a fun partying crowd. The influence tonight of alcohol and all was also much clearer and, unlike last week, there did seem to be a fair number of hooligans around. Many people seemed out there more as a pro forma thing than a spontaneous one. For a music analogy (from my biased perspective), this was a Stones concert while last week was the crescendo of a great Dead concert (pun at least noticed).
October 25, 2004
Keep on Rolling
Wow, 8 errors in two games and we're still up 2-0 thanks to the offense, particularly in
game 1, Schilling's second unbelievable performance, and the amazing job by Foulke. Given how much better St Louis has played at home and that Schilling can't pitch again, I still only favor us - this isn't nearly in the bag yet. We need to win at least one in St Louis and hopefully of course just end it there.
October 22, 2004
Taken from Defective Yeti but too good to not repeat:
Q: What's the difference between the Vietnam War and the Iraq War?
A: George W. Bush had a plan to get out of the Vietnam War.
October 21, 2004
Red Sox article
There's a really nicely done article on the win by Bill Simmons. Well worth reading.
This is a somewhat Heathers-like dark comedy about kids in a Christian high school, particularly one, Mary, who gets pregnant as she tries (and still fails of course) to save her boyfriend from being gay, thinking she was told to do so by God. The movie is very good, and although it pokes a ton of fun at the fanaticism, intolerance and bad policies of Catholicism, it is not in the end an anti-religious movie. Patrick, for example, is a main character and very religious but doesn't wear it on his sleeve and is perhaps the best (in terms of 'goodness') character in the movie.
There is one absolutely hillarious scene between friends Cassandra (Jewish girl) and Roland (crippled boy who's sister is the movie's antagonist) who is played by Macaulay Culkin and perfectly delivers this line as they see Mary emerge from the Planned Parenthood clinic in dark sunglasses.
Cassandra : What's the only reason a Christian girl comes downtown to the Planned Parenthood clinic?
Roland : To plant a pipe bomb?
Cassandra : Okay, two reasons.
Really good and funny movie ****.
Wow, Wow, Wow!!!
Wow!!! What a game and what a night! I am absolutely euphoric and at my office after coming over to the Kenmore Square/Fenway Park area immediately after the game ended. I have never in my lifetime experienced a sports moment as powerful as this one. There are still many thousands of people there. I tried to reach Fenway but eventually the cops or something started pushing people back and things for a few minutes really became crazy and dangerous with people being shoved (unintentionally in all cases I saw) around as the crowd mass moved in no controllable fashion. I am a big, strong, tall guy and even I was feeling in danger. The small women there were really in difficulty and also couldn't even see enough to even consider trying to find a way out and there was really nothing others of us could do to help them. I finally managed to make it to the side and wait for the problem to subside. Anyway, aside from that, amazing to be in such a mass of people so euphoric. The chant of choice was "Yankess Suck!". This is going to be a crazy place to be next week and absolutely insane if they win. The Sox winning would certainly be one of the most important sports moments anywhere in history I think given their importance as a franchise, the curse stuff and the 86 year drought!!! I think it would rival the 80 Olympics Hockey win and am having trouble thinking of any other events that would compare.
Well, despite the euphoria, I guess I''ll persevere with my game analysis. This was of course a pretty easy game compared to the last 6 thanks particularly to Damon doing as I asked and picking up 6 RBIs on 2 HomeRuns including the incredible Slam he hit. Waiting for the pitch, I said 'All is forgiven if you drive in 2+ here, particularly if you hit the Slam' and when he did I jumped up and was screaming YES!!!, even TiVo delayed by like 1.5 hours at that point. Ortiz's Homer in the first and my man Damon's 2 walks and Homer didn't hurt either. On the pitching, what an amazing job by Lowe giving the best performance of any Boston pitcher this whole series.
My one negative is on Francona who I thought made the two worst bullpen moves of the entire series on a single pitching change, the first very bad, and the second really crazy. Taking out Lowe who had only thrown 69 pitches and was doing incredibly was the bad thing but maybe he saw something I didn't. Putting in Pedro was insane for a ton of reasons: 1) Pedro only had two days of rest and in the past has not pitched well even on 3 days. 2) Pedro is a starting pitcher and always has been and is a bad choice from the bullpen. 3) Pedro seems to have a psychological issue pitching against the Yankees (Game 7 last year, the "Who's your Daddy?" thing) 4) Partly because of 3, there is no better way to seriously get the Yankees crowd into the game than bringing in Pedro and having him do badly. 5) We want Pedro fully able to start a game as early as possible in the World Series. I really felt that they should bring Pedro in only after ALL of Timlin, Embree, Foulke, Arroyo and Wakefield and this is absolutely not hindsight - just before leaving work tonight I said the same thing to a colleague.
My final thanks is to TiVo which as I mentioned last year is the only thing which makes baseball games watchable for me and was impossible before TiVo. My practice is to start recording the game and then start watching like 2 hours in. Doing this, I usually catch up to live action right around the 9th inning. In Game 6 I caught up right between the break before the 9th inning and so watched the final inning live. Tonight I caught up in like the 7th and then switched a few minutes elsewhere and only watched the bottom of the 9th live. Baseball for me is just too slow and, with these games, too tense and stressful, at regular speed. With TiVo, the slowness is totally gone and the tension is greatly reduced because it is caused more than anything else by the waiting to see what happens which now takes a fraction of the time. Watching a game that is already over does almost nothing for me but this delay effect while the game is still going on reduces the interest for me only a tiny fraction. For this reason, this TiVo effect would be impossible to achieve using a VCR. Oh, since I'm on effectively this huge Ad for TiVo, if anyone buys one and isn't giving the referral to someone else, let me know as they now have a nice rewards program.
Go Sox and Thanks!
October 20, 2004
Book/Movie Lord of the Rings Nitpicks site
Bill's blog pointed me to The Nit Picker's Guide to the Lord of the Rings site which tries to list all the specific differences (skipping all the sections like Bombadil which Jackson completely skips) between the books and the movies. There is a lot missing like the vital lack of Aragorn's banner at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields but it is a nice start at least. Link from Wirds Werds Wurds.
This particularly reminded me of the powerful comment of Graydon Saunders which I quoted below my RotK commentary here. As far as I am concerned, Jackson just doesn't get it in regards to the most emotionally powerful of the book's themes (and in many other important respects) and so completely ruins what is in so many respects a great effort.
Neal Stephenson /. Interview
There is an interesting and amusing Neal Stephenson interview on /.. I just got Systerm of the World from the library and will hopefully start it tonight after the game. I hope I'm able to finish it in the three weeks I have it from the library - something I didn't manage with the previous one.
All Hail Curt!
Wow, what a gutsy and amazing performance. I have been a fan of Schilling for many years, due to his incredible preparation and work-ethic and his involvement with Multiman Publishing (publishers of the wargame Advanced Squad Leader) but this was simply incredible. Also, thanks to the great job by the umpires of getting together to get the calls right! Kudos also to Francona who has done an amazing job managing the last three games and to Bellhorn, who has been all season perhaps my favorite player on the Red Sox and I have kept rooting for him and he really delivered last night. Foulke made me really nervous, particularly the absolutely horrible move of walking Matsui with a 2 run lead in the bottom of the ninth but managed to survive it so kudos in the end.
Obviously, tonight, we again need the usual pair of offense and pitching. Hopefully Damon will emerge from his slump and the rest of the bats will also get to full power.
The main reason Bellhorn is my favorite player is all the walks he draws. I absolutely hate giving up walks and love drawing them. Yes, he also strikes out a lot but I don't care about that since in most cases a strikeout is no worse than any other out, even a long ball to the warning track if there is nobody to tag up and advance. Taking all of these pitches also wears out the pitcher which is huge. Players so often struggle mightily to get somewhat lucky and get a hit when they might otherwise be able to do just as much good by sitting back, maybe fouling off a few balls, and then getting the walk
October 19, 2004
Bought a Laptop
On the spur of the moment, inspired by the 1 day (today - Oct.19) Dell $750 off $1500+ laptop deal Peter blogged, I just bought a Dell Inspiron 600m. Given that you sacrifice the standard 15% off and I didn't exactly hit $1500, this is an extra about 30-35% but that is pretty good and lets me get an acceptable machine for $1K which I was not sure I was going to manage. I hope the keyboard and trackpad are managable for me. This machine is actually significantly more powerful than my old home desktop so I may even use it there too.
I've been thinking about a laptop for a long time but putting if off - for now at least I'm happy this inspired me to move on it and get past the Mac/Windows choice.
Series returns to NY
Wow, what a game! Incredible job by Wakefield, Ortiz, and all the bullpen. I was also again incredibly impressed with the effect Dave Roberts had on the game, in as a pinch runner in the one vital inning. Without even stealing a base, he completely discombobulated Tom Gordon and did at least half the work in getting Nixon a single, allowing him to reach 3rd and score the tying run on Varitek's sac-fly. Just looking at him and the leads he takes one sees why he scares the pitchers so much. The only thing I think the Sox really did horribly wrong was Pedro hitting number 9 hitter Cairo to load the bases and let Jeter bat in the inning - absolute disaster and Jeter unsurprisingly made him pay for it. Pitch the lead 4 guys inside and chance hitting them but against the bottom couple of guys, just go after them and if they beat you, so be it, but most of the time it won't happen.
I have also been incredibly impressed by Francona's use of the bullpen in the last two games. Only a couple of moves have I questioned at all (like bringing in Myers in both games) but even these have worked reasonably well. Torre has been using his bullpen by the book while Francona has been doing what it takes to win and throwing out the book.
Now, its up to Schilling and his ankle. If he pitches well tonight, we should definitely be favored to make it to game 7. If he doesn't, we are in deep trouble given the shallowness of the bullpen after the last two games and only stand a chance if the offense really wakes up. Hopefully we'll get both!
Also, credit where its due to Loaiza who I thought we would destroy, but did an incredible job, making it into a 4th inning with no backup at all. He took the loss but did an incredible job.
Oh, also, a related issue about bullpen, particularly closer, use. I really think that teams should be more willing to use their best bullpen pitcher (usually the closer) earlier in the game than they do. Lets take a hypothetical pitcher who could 100% get 3 strikeouts but only 3 outs per game. Wouldn't you want to bring that pitcher in with the bases loaded (even in like the 6th inning) and nobody out rather than simply coming on at the start of the 9th? This way he not only shuts the other team down for an inning but almost certainly also saves several runs. Since obviously no pitcher is that good, when to bring a guy in is a more complex decision than that but, if I had a Rivera, I would quite willingly bring him in as early as the 6th if the situation called for it.
October 18, 2004
Games Weekend at Matt's
Went Friday and Saturday to Matt's semiannual TrashCon gaming weekend and had a very good time. Played tons of Tichu (and I think won every game except the one where my partner was a relative newbie [and he did quite well given his experience - thought for a long time on several obvious plays but then did the right thing]) and Crokinole (where Rob and I lost like 4 of 5 against Greg and Bill on Matt's cheap Amazon board which was surprising but Bill has gotten much better than he used to be - also every game was pretty close except our one win which was a one round 110-0 drubbing).
I also ran a small $5 buy-in poker tournament using my new chips from CostCo (excellent buy at $60 for 500 chips [12 cents a chip] and a pretty nice aluminum case with a couple of Bicycle decks and some Craps dice). Lost half my stack on like the 3rd hand of the game to Alex's pocket aces when I had top pair - I had a bad feeling about this hand but couldn't bring myself to fold it. I then staged a pretty incredible recovery from down to 65 (out of a starting 1000) by tripling up twice. Unfortunately, I was then knocked out on a hand when I had top pair of Aces with a bad kicker and called Alec down to the river, worried he had an Ace and a better kicker. Turned out he only had KJ and I was way ahead the whole way until he hit a 10 on the river to make Broadway and knock me out but the great majority of the money went in while I had a huge lead and he had only 4 outs so I certainly didn't do anything wrong here. Brian and Kim ended up splitting at the end.
The final major event was Rob's Haste Worte trivia game which my team finally won for the first time, after being second many times. We had a strong team with everyone heavily contributing answers and me being mainly responsible for the bidding. I think I did a nice job, until the very last bid where I misjudged the leading team and thought they would bid at least 8 and make it and we were 4 behind so I thought we had to bid 12. Unfortunately, they only bid 4 and the team in 2nd only bid 5 so we only needed to have bid 9 to win which would have been easy. Also, the 4th team made the worst possible spoiler bid for us of 12 and I was sure we were screwed. However, amazingly we were able to make our 12 reading last, but down to the dregs of our answers - great job guys on thinking of obscure breakfast cereals. Of course, for the first time, there was no prize for the winning team ;( (not that I actually care but others on the team might have). I thought the categories this time were pretty good, with no nightmare issues like the Olympics one last year. No categories I was personally really good at but thats ok. My personal favorite category was the '"Fictional Drinks" one which turned out to be surprisingly large but we couldn't think of that many and probably also underbid it by 1 due to a misunderstanding I had with Rob over the handicap he was imposing that round on the leading teams. The game was slow as always but I at least still found it quite enjoyable. As it is the reading of the lists that takes forever, I think a wise thing would be for many people to play a game on the side or read or something while only the team readers (and anyone else interested) is there for the reading - this would also probably speed things up as the peanut gallery effect would be reduced.
Thanks, Matt, and Happy Brithday!
Well, congrats to the Sox on dodging the sweep and pulling out the game last night. Particular congratulations to Mueller, Ortiz and the pitchers Lowe, Foulke, Embree and Leskanic (nicknamed by some with some reason "Let's Panic") all of whom did more than I thought could reasonably be asked of them. Although still down 3-0, I have never completeley written them off. All things being equal, their chance now would be 1 in 8 or 12.5%. With the Schilling injury and the depleted bullpen after last night, things aren't equal but I still give them some appreciable shot. They really need tonight a solid 7+ inning performance from Pedro and, even more importantly, they need their offense to really wake up and start and keep hitting the Yankee pitchers. Given these two things, I would give them a real shot to manage the miracle and come back. I'm certainly not expecting this but hope remains alive!
October 14, 2004
Movies: Review notes
I was before briefly reviewing most of the movies I saw via Netflix but have now decided to back off and not bother for the most part with the average *** or so movies like The Rundown which I watched over the weekend. Also saw Fahrenheit 9/11 and was, pretty much as expected, not impressed and even somewhat bored. I am all for whatever political effect Moore has had but I don't like his means and find myself constantly fighting with and picking holes in his material, as I simply don't trust him to try to provide an accurate rendition of events **.
October 07, 2004
Podcasting is a new term for a method of distributing asynchronously audio content, with the intent that people download the MP3s onto their Ipods and then listen to them when they want.
One of the leaders of this is former MTV VJ Adam Curry, with his Daily Source Code, which is often quite good. One thing I find kind of different, and likable in a way, is the amount of casual cursing he does, when we are so used to the blandness of broadcast standards.
The BoardGameGeek guys (Derk and Aldie) have also created a Podcast program called GeekSpeak. Amusingly, Adam Curry in his Sept. 29 edition mentioned them, calling them the "Beavis and Butt-Head of boardgames". Their programs thus far have been pretty interesting.
October 06, 2004
I hate driving in NYC
I really detest driving around New York City, even when I'm not doing the driving. It really seems that the chances for accident per mile are like 100 times greater than in other places for the same distance. I have never actually been in an accident there but every time I go it seems we come close to several, although usually just minor fender bender type things. This time, after our driver made a bad move (turning left from the middle lane and not first letting the guy in the left lane go by) but didn't hit a van, the van driver actually stopped in the middle of the intersection and got out of his car to come glare at us. We gestured in apology and he saw there were three of us so he got back in and drove off but this kind of thing just doesn't happen nearly so much in other places. I get completely stressed out by it all, even as a passenger, and basically flatly refuse to actually do the driving there.
Beat up roads, crazy drivers, massive traffic, cars stopped for odd reasons, and ignoring of lane markers all seem to contribute to this horrible situation.