Just another way to survive…

Today I’m blogging from high atop the Nord building on campus, on the fifth floor with a comfy cubic meter of space in one of the hallways. I like sitting here sometimes when I’m bored because it’s quiet, it’s peaceful, and it makes me look like a hobo, which I’m a huge fan of.

  • An executive decision from the offices of Jimmy Sawczuk: no more regular game recaps. They didn’t seem to be that popular, they’re kind of a pain to write because I usually have to adhere to that format, and writing those every day kept me away from blogging about other things. Never fear, if there’s a game I want to talk about, I’ll talk about it.
  • While on the topic of the game recaps, I’d like to thank aimable for his comment on my last post. Part of his comment, the part before he starts spamming, reads:
    Yankees are the best team in the MLB, as far as I m concerned, we have great fans, and really the whole city of New York will say that. In New York if you want to watch the Yankees in style good luck with that, all the Yankees premium seats get sold out and are highly priced.

    Why, aimable, would you ever say that? They’re not even the best in their division, much less the rest of the league. I like the Yankees hitters (when they’re hitting anyway) and I like the back end of the bullpen, but most of that team is just old – and as much as it pains me to say this, Boston should wipe the floor with them this year.

    aimable did manage to prove my point about Yankees fans and Red Sox Nation however: no matter what the numbers say, no matter what the facts are, their teams, to them, are the absolute best in baseball. Right now, the Oakland Athletics are three games better than the Yankees, and you don’t see them walking around saying, “worship the Oakland A’s!”. I don’t doubt the Yankees will make the playoffs this year (although I think I had them missing the Wild Card to the Tigers), but I can’t imagine them getting out of the Division series.

  • I noticed something new on CNN.com today. Next to a few of the headlines, they have a little T-shirt icon:


    Being the inquisitive soul that I am, I clicked it, and was directed to this page:


    I can’t make this stuff up, folks. Seriously! You can have a T-shirt with the words: “Smuggled workers turned into slaves.” At first, I had to look at my calendar, I was sure it was an April Fool’s joke. But no, this is completely legitimate.

    Now, I chose a headline that is controversial to show the bad side of this little ploy. But what’s the good side? Are there some Democrats just sitting on CNN.com 24/7 waiting for the headline: “Bush says he’s an idiot”, or maybe some Ron Paul supporters waiting for the headline: “Everyone cheated, Ron Paul wins by default”, or maybe some Mitt Romney supporters: “Romney washes his hair”? I can’t think of one good headline for a T-shirt. And by the way, CNN.com charges $15 per shirt; if you’re really that desperate, make your own shirt and you can write whatever you want! (And put pretty pictures, too, from what I hear…)

  • Today is the last day of classes here at Case, meaning that in about one week (my last final is a week from tomorrow), I’ll be exactly 3/4 done with college. It’ll be nice to get out of this place and become a productive member of society again, and with any luck I’ll find a company who picks a name and sticks with it, unlike CWRU Case Case Western Reserve University Case Western Reserve.
  • By the way, someone needs to teach the Democratic party how to do math, because between Obama and Clinton, someone is absolutely wrong when they say they’re winning. I’d say Obama has the edge right now, because of, you know, 5000 years of mathematical knowledge, but maybe when Hillary is president she’ll pass legislation banning advanced math so her win is justified.

    In either case, you can’t have two candidates who are both winning. You can have candidate A beating candidate B, meaning candidate A is winning. You can have candidate B beating candidate A, meaning candidate B is winning. You can have a tie, meaning that no one is winning. Or, and I think this is the case lately, you can have candidate A and candidate B slapping each other like two middle schoolers over the stupidest little things, meaning they’re both losing.

    Seriously, if you’re the Democratic party, how do you possibly justify not giving the nomination to Obama? He’s ahead. He’s going to stay ahead. Clinton can debate it all she wants, but in the end, under the system of rules agreed upon before the primaries began, Obama will be the winner.

    I wonder why the Democratic party has superdelegates anyway. Not to pick sides or throw cheap shots, but superdelegates screams “Republican”. The Democratic party is all about equality in every aspect, almost to a point of socialism… except when it comes to picking a presidential nominee. If you were to read the beliefs of the Democratic party, with things as they are, it should say “The Democrats believe all people are created equal… except not all people.”

  • Thank God, the NFL Draft is over. Now ESPN can get back to covering sports.
  • Quote of the Day:
    It’s one of the oldest laws in security: the strength of the security should only rely on the secrecy of the key, not the algorithm. We’ve known this forever, and yet people still do it. Don’t be one of those people.

    David Singer, MATH 408 professor

    Indians play the Yankees tonight, going for the series win against the Bronx Bombers – it’ll be Aaron Laffey against Mike Mussina, who’s not the same pitcher these days. Let’s get the win, guys… put aimable in his place.

    And by the way, I just realized I used the word “slaves” in this entry. Thus, if Google Ads decides to try and sell you slaves a few days from now, I feel it is my duty to inform you that slavery is in fact illegal and you shouldn’t do it. I wonder what the penalty is for Google if those ads were ever run though? …

    My inaugural visit to Progressive Field

    I went to my first Indians game of the year yesterday, against the New York Yankees. It wasn’t your typical first Indians game of the year: the Yankees were playing, I had a shiny new digital camera to play with, and the stadium was newly renamed and newly rebranded. I took some pictures, as well.

    I got to the stadium about ten minutes before first pitch. I was handed my “Go Tribe” rally towel and made my way to my seat. My seats were in section 550, row H, offering a pretty nice view:

    Yankees @ Indians 002

    The Indians played pretty well, and we got a win out of it on Victor Martinez’s walk-off single (the Yankees have already shown some issues with pitching around guys; why pitch around Travis Hafner to get to Martinez?).

    There were definitely more Indians fans than Yankee fans (whose annoyance is surpassed only by Red Sox Nation), but there was one stupid Yankees fan behind me (you know who you are). She seemed to be deeply impressed any time Ian Kennedy found the plate (a loud “NICE.” after every strike), and also seemed to think that saying “drop it, drop it, drop it” as loudly and as annoying as possible on the most routine ground balls would help the Yankees. Fortunately, on the other side of me, in the row behind me, was my favorite type of Indians fan: the loud, obnoxious fan who heckles the Yankees very creatively (Jason Giambi: “He needs some JUICE! JUICE HIM UP!”).

    All in all, a good game. Sorry about the lack of posting lately, and for those of you from New York who thought I was dead: if I do die soon, I hope to get a blog post in beforehand explaining what goes to who and such. I’ll try to post something longer tomorrow.

    Allergies

    Spring is here! In my world, that means baseball is back, school is almost over (but not winding down) and the flowers are in bloom… which means my eyes are itching like crazy.

    I’ve never had really intense allergies that require a perscription or anything like that; it’s more often than not just a minor annoyance for about two weeks while the pollen is really heavy. But seriously, why can’t I have allergies in the winter time? If things have to go bad, I might as well get it all out of the way at one time, right?

    • In computer world, particularly Linux world, the big news of this week is Ubuntu 8.04′s launch on Thursday. I’ve never really liked Ubuntu, as most of you who read this blog know, but it’s nice that it’s able to make Linux so easy for those who want to pose as computer nerds for a while or those who are too cheap to buy a copy of Windows and too lazy to pirate it. One thing Ubuntu has got going for it, however, is a lot of driver support – when I installed 7.10 on my laptop a few months ago, the wireless just worked, there was no fiddling with getting firmware, cutting it up and then wrapping the drivers with NDISWrapper.

      I’m using Fedora 8 (Werewolf…I know, Ubuntu’s codenames are much cooler) on my laptop and on my desktop. I’ll probably keep it on my desktop for a while as part of a dual boot system – Fedora does a great job at doing what it needs to do. On my laptop, however, I like it more and more every time I try it but at this point it still doesn’t quite have the polish that Windows XP has. (For example, for some reason when I move my mouse around in this textarea while editing this blog post, Firefox decides it needs to grab the icon of the Blogger favorites icon and insert the URL into the post. First of all, why would I ever want to do that? And secondly, where do I shut that off?) I like the prospect of using Linux exclusively on my laptop (primarily because instead of having to install bloatware like Dreamweaver and Acrobat Pro I can get much better software that doesn’t use as many resources), but I’m not quite there yet.

    • Today is Earth Day, meaning Google has their obligatory Earth Day logo and everyone else is all “save the Earth!”. Still not sure what the point of Earth Day is – sure, we can all respect the environment today, but tomorrow… I mean, we have to go to work, right?
    • The Indians play the Royals tonight, C.C. Sabathia vs. Gil Meche. Given these two starters’ ERA thus far, this is a pretty unfair matchup. But C.C. has to turn it around sometime, right? There may be no better time than tonight.

      In other Indians news, Jake Westbrook got put on the 15-day DL (I have no idea why, he seemed fine the other night), and Ben Francisco was recalled to the Major Leagues. If I were Eric Wedge, I’d start Francisco tonight and see what he does. The offense needs a spark, particularly in left field.

    • Quote of the Day:
      If life throws you a curveball, take it to right field.

      Rick Manning, color commentator, STO

    On a final note, it’s nice to have The Office back, isn’t it? Looking forward to the rest of the season, even though its shorter than it’s supposed to be, because word is that NBC ordered 30 episodes for next fall. Until later, stay well and enjoy the weather!

    There is a numbness, in your heart and it’s growing…

    My mind is spinning right now thanks to another weekend spent looking at incomprehensible code (both C and MIPS assembly), so maybe some therapeutic blogging will help.

    • I went to the Cleveland Gladiators game on Friday night, a friend of mine scored some tickets directly behind the Colorado Crush’s bench. Let me tell you, the urge not to take the water bottles sitting right at my knees and just spray one of the players was almost uncontrollable. I took some pictures of the event, you can check them out here. I also took a couple videos and uploaded them to YouTube:
      • Bernie Kosar’s pregame speech:
      • The kickoff:

      Enjoy!

    • The CNN Political Ticker is abuzz this weekend with comments over Obama’s “bitter” remarks. It’s amazing to me that a guy who is speaking the truth is getting lambasted by the media for it. Actually, I’m not.
    • Cleveland weather is really annoying. Right now it is 36 degrees outside. It’s APRIL, and today it snowed at Progressive Field.
    • Watched some of the Red Sox-Yankees series this weekend. Who in their right mind pitches to Manny Ramirez with the game on the line, a base open and two outs? I understand not intentionally walking him, but if you pitch to Ramirez he better not see a strike that whole at bat. But of course, Mussina grooved a fastball out over the plate and Ramirez hammered it.

    I’ll post more later today when I have more time and hopefully more energy. I’m trying to keep up with these game recaps but it’s not easy, particularly in the case of Saturday’s game when I didn’t really see any of the game. In any case, stay well and happy Monday!

    And just like you, I’m wondering why…

    I know, I know, I’m slacking in my non-baseball-related posts of late. The good news for you is that hopefully that means I’ll have quite a bit more to say than usual! (According to my calculations…)

    • …alright, so maybe there’s still some baseball stuff. But come on, we’re only a week into the season and there are some huge things happening already!
      • My favorite story thus far has been the Kansas City Royals, who are 6-2 and in the lead in the AL Central. This is a team that is perennially picked to finish last, and until a few years ago, with good reason. Lately though, the Royals are becoming less and less pathetic, and it’s my belief that if they were in the National League, they’d be a playoff team.

        And heck, they might be a playoff team this year. The 2008 Royals remind me very much of the 2004 Indians: young, inexperienced but quality pitching, a career DH who does nothing but hit (Indians: Travis Hafner, Royals: Billy Butler), and a budding franchise player who might blossom into one of the game’s all-time greats (Indians: Grady Sizemore, Royals: Alex Gordon).

      • I picked up Brian Bannister for my fantasy team a couple days ago; that kid looks like he’ll be good.

      • Another interesting story in the central is the surprisingly bad start by the Detroit Tigers. They started the year with the second highest payroll in the major leagues, and they won their first game yesterday.

        I’ve said all winter that good pitching will always beat good hitting; and if you don’t have good pitching, you better be outslugging your opponents all the time. The problem is, if your offense goes into a funk (like the Indians did last summer, like the White Sox did last year, like the Yankees did last year), and your pitching is bad (unlike the Indians, like the White Sox and Yankees of ’07), you’re not going to win many games. Not only that, but the Tigers opened the season against the aforementioned Kansas City and Chicago, both of whom are off to hot starts.

        I fully expect the Tigers to win a lot of games this year, but I don’t think they’ll get out of the first round of the playoffs.

      • Actually, a lot of teams predicted to do bad are off to great starts, including the Baltimore Orioles (who I expect to regress pretty soon) and the St. Louis Cardinals. I read a book last summer about Tony LaRussa, manager of the Cardinals, and I refuse to believe he’ll have a bad team. They may not win the division or make the playoffs (although anything is possible in the NL Central), but they’ll win some games.
      • The Red Sox and Yankees revive their rivalry tomorrow night at Fenway Park. Count me interested. It’s always fun to watch these teams play because their fans are so obnoxious and when two teams of obnoxious fans get together, hilarity ensues. Plus, they’re two great teams with two great offenses and watching them play will feel a lot like postseason baseball. Unfortunately it appears ESPN will be covering the Cavaliers and the Bulls tomorrow night.
      • The Indians have signed Fausto Carmona to a 7 year contract for up to $43 million, with $15 million and 4 years guaranteed. Fantastic move by the Indians, especially with C.C.’s free agency looming near. Carmona was dynamite last year and I have no reason to think he’ll be any worse this year. You might not find a cheaper Cy Young candidate in baseball.
    • And in non-baseball related news, The Office is back tonight! I have some theories about the rest of the season, which I might post tomorrow after they’re all proven wrong tonight. It’s really weird actually being excited to watch tonight, because I kind of got used to it not being on.
    • Has anyone visited MikeHuckabee.com recently?
    • I would write a quote of the day, but I can’t do this one justice by just writing it, so enjoy:

    Hope everyone’s enjoying the weather, and enjoy The Office tonight!

    Umpires

    Watching tonight’s Indians/Angels game and for the second night in a row, the umpire behind the plate (Indians.com tells me it’s Larry Vanover) cannot call balls and strikes in a timely manner. This is absolutely ridiculous and it ticks me off every time I see an umpire who does it.

    Tonight, an Indians hitter (Jamey Carroll) appeared to draw ball four against Ervin Santana on a 3-2 count. With a runner on first (Casey Blake) and a full count, the runner was moving, hoping to take advantage. However, as Carroll began his walk towards first, the umpire called strike three. This was a gap of about 3 seconds between when the pitch hit the catcher’s glove and the call – even Victor Martinez is in at second at that point.

    It hurts the Indians, because you think you get the walk and two runners on, except you only have one runner on. It hurts the Angels, because they “give up” on throwing the runner out at second because due to aforementioned walk, he’s entitled to have that base, even though it’s really a strikeout and he’s not guaranteed.

    Umpiring behind the plate has become way too subjective (again). Major League Baseball should step in and order that the umpires call balls and strikes quickly, effectively, and consistently.

    There’s still time to change the road you’re on

    It’s a sunny April morning in Cleveland, Ohio. Normally, in April, its either snowing and 30 degrees or sunny and 65 degrees, but today, we’ve struck a compromise, and its sunny and 35 degrees outside. It’s okay for me, I get to watch baseball tonight without having to play it.

    • In a rare feat of good news, Wal-Mart is doing the right thing. Although it’s probably not for the right reasons (I can see it now, on the front page of CNN.com: “Wal-Mart is evil”) it’s still nice to see that this story is resolved without any further conflict. One notices, however, that the whole situation could have been avoided if this guy (or his lawyer, not that it’s his job or anything) read the fine print.
    • Front page of ESPN.com/MLB:

      Inside, details about the past 5 seasons for David Ortiz and how he started. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy any article about how the Sox are overrated. But honestly, the fact that an 0-11 start merits a full front-page as well as a two-page writeup for David Ortiz is solid proof that ESPN is biased. No, maybe its not the analysts, maybe its not the anchors. But the people who decide the content are.
    • I’m not sure how Apple’s stock continues to rise, thanks to reports like this one that the 1/3 of iPhone users have a second phone. I see three reasons for this:
      1. AT&T is an absolutely terrible network. I like to think of cell phone providers like grocery stores here in Cleveland: Sprint is like Whole Foods, because it’s far too expensive but quality in the end; Verizon is like Giant Eagle, because it’s quality and good value in the same package; and AT&T is like Dave’s, because you never really know what you’re going to get.
      2. Corporate users have to be able to check their mail via Exchange, which Apple somehow forgot about when they released the iPhone.
      3. I’m going for a workout, and I want a phone with me. Do I really want to take my $500 phone with me when I’m running (particularly if it won’t be replaced by my office)? No, I want to take a little flipphone that’s more durable and not as big a deal if it cracks or gets dirty.
    • How I Met Your Mother was on Monday night, and it was pretty funny. However, these days it seems like the chemistry between the group is gone for some reason. Maybe that’s realistic, but part of what made the show so fun was the chemistry between everyone early on.
    • Fausto Carmona is on the mound tonight for the Indians, and here’s hoping our pitching is about fifteen times better than it was on Monday. Just think: games like the one on Monday are what our friends in Detroit get to watch all year long…
    • Quote of the Day:
      Slap me thrice and hand me to me mama! It’s Jack!

      Gibbs, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

    Hope everyone’s having a good week. I probably won’t post anything tomorrow because I’m working, but I’ll talk to you on Friday! Until then, go Tribe and boo Red Sox!

    …and I’ve rocked them all

    One of the things I don’t like about college (and trust me, there are many) is how difficult it is to maintain a constant schedule. I’m pretty much sleeping during the day now and working at nights because once again my sleep schedule is off. Oh well. On to some links.

    • Hillary Clinton needs to hire some new writers (and by the way, CNN, that title is not what she said…at all). She has used, and continues to use, the same “There are some folks saying we ought to stop these elections” line everywhere she goes. It’s as if we’re all sitting at home saying, “oh, the nerve of those people!” After saying that line, she looks around, smiles at everyone who is booing, and inevitably decides that she’s not quitting and its un-American to force her to quit.

      I’m really not sure what to make of this anymore. Hillary Clinton wants to stay in the race. Barack Obama has said, “she wants to stay in? Let her stay in.” That should be the end of it. But everyone, from Nancy Pelosi to 50 Cent has weighed in on this issue, and somehow, no matter who makes the suggestion, it always gets to someone asking Obama about it. He’s got to be sick of this by now.

    • Speaking of Nancy Pelosi, our favorite Speaker of the House has decided it’d be a good idea to boycott the Olympic opening ceremonies in Beijing in lieu of boycotting the Olympics altogether. This seems weird to me – for the democrats, who are all about “restoring our good image” with the world, how does it look good to basically say “we’re the US, we’re too good for the opening ceremony”? How is that different than saying “we’re the US, we’re too good for the United Nations” in 2003? I understand China is not so fond of human rights and thus perhaps its not a country we should be fully behind, but I’d rather not tick them off either. The fact is that most countries in the world are far behind the US in terms of granting basic human rights to all citizens (Germany, France and the UK are good examples of countries in which many of the issues we face with the CIA/NSA eavesdropping cases would be solved because those countries just do it anyway and no one thinks anything of it).

      To me, the Olympics represent a chance for all nations to put their differences behind them and take a break from being countries with self-interests and just have some good, old-fashioned fun. To boycott the Olympic opening ceremonies would be a huge mistake in my opinion, and might smear one of the greatest traditions in human history.

    • Now that baseball season is underway I’m hoping to actually write a little about each game after it happens. I’m not sure how much it’ll be (and its doubtful it’ll be as long as last night’s) but hopefully it’s something I can accomplish.
    • The Yankees will try to have Opening Day again tonight, and I learned yesterday that in the history of Yankee Stadium, no game has ever been played in March; that record was saved thanks to the rain yesterday. The game should be on ESPN2 for those of you interested.
    • Today is April Fool’s Day, meaning that websites and organizations all over the place play jokes on their websites. There’s a huge list on Wikipedia of all the known jokes, but I think my personal favorite is the Google Docs joke, which added a “New Airplane” option along with “New Document”, “New Spreadsheet”, and “New Presentation”. A “New Airplane” would create a document with folding guidelines for a paper airplane. I want this…pretty much always, and maybe even with cool designs like Microsoft Publisher used to have.
    • Completely off-topic, I watched The Last Mimzy a couple nights ago for the first time, mostly because Rainn Wilson is in it. It was pretty good, but pretty weird too.
    • Quote of the Day:
      I have to admit I’m still at square one. Not that I really object to square one. It’s the only numbered square in the game. At least you know where you are. Nobody ever screws up and goes, “Well, back to oval seven.”

      Jerry Seinfeld

    That’s all from Cleveland. Only 172 wins to go, and the Indians will be 173-0, the perfect season! I’m going to start making the T-shirts now…