Here I dreamt I was an architect…

Hello blogosphere! I bet you thought you got rid of me, but never fear, my faithful (or obsessive, in some cases) following. Lots to catch up on, so hopefully my fingers don’t get tired – there’s a lot of stuff to talk about.

  • I’ll start with some personal news, involving my ballpark tour thus far. I took a somewhat long-awaited trip to Ohio University this weekend, and thus unexpectedly went to a game at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinatti, OH.

    I say the visit was somewhat unexpected, because as you all may recall, Cincinatti was not on my to-visit list when I made the list back in March. However, given its close proximity to Ohio University (at least somewhat) and inexpensive tickets, I could hardly pass up the opportunity.

    Getting to Cincinatti was somewhat of an adventure, thanks to our fearless leader (ahem, Frankie) but we got there and the stadium looks very nice and new from the outside:

    Great American Ballpark

    The view from our seats was also nice:

    Great American Ballpark
    As nice as the stadium looked, something about it didn’t quite strike the right chord with me. Maybe it was the obnoxious (and dumb) Cincinatti fans, maybe it was the old fashioned organ music playing constantly in what is a very new ballpark, or maybe it was the fact that the Indians simply weren’t playing very well. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d say the Great American Ballpark gets a solid 6. Nonetheless, a good time was had by all and some more pictures have been posted.

  • I have a suggestion for the people at Apple, particularly those making iTunes.

    One of the coolest features (in my opinion) of iTunes is the ability to generate Smart Playlists, ones which are automatically populated based on rules that you set. For example, one of the preset Smart Playlists is the “Recently Played” playlist, which creates a playlist of all of the items played in the last two weeks.

    But say, for example, you wanted to have all items played in the last three weeks. All you would do is right click on the playlist and click “Edit Smart Playlist”. You get this interface:
    iTunes Smart Playlist

    You can filter by date last played, rating, play count, whatever you want. But what the Smart Playlist feature basically boils down to is the ability to query the iTunes database. For example, the SQL query for the screenshot above (more or less) is:

    SELECT [songs] -- TOP 25 -- not needed here
    FROM TableOfSongs
    WHERE (UNIX_TIMESTAMP() - LastPlayedDate <= 2*7*24*3600)
    ORDER BY LastPlayedDate

    Before really discovering this feature, I made a playlist about once a month featuring my favorite songs at that time. But the last playlist I made was in August 2007, because I created a “Random Favorites” playlist which looks a little bit like this:
    iTunes Smart Playlist

    Notice the “match any” criterion. What I really wish is that there were more options, because as it stands right now, I can only have PlayCount > 5 OR (UNIX_TIMESTAMP() - DateAdded) < (1 * 7 * 24 * 3600) OR Rating = '*****'. What I'd really like is the ability to have PlayCount > 5 OR ((UNIX_TIMESTAMP() - DateAdded) < (1 * 7 * 24 * 3600) AND Rating = '*****'). You can't do that with the current tools, and while that's a meaningless example, if I were given the tools I may never have to create a real playlist again.

    Editor's note, 3/31/2013: I'm replacing these screenshots because the originals no longer exist, but since 2008, many of these features have been added.

  • Hillary Clinton is still alive - not only alive, but alive and kicking. The primaries in Kentucky and Oregon are tomorrow, and most experts expect that Clinton will win Kentucky while Obama will win Oregon. And "Operation Chaos" continues.

    Clinton should really drop out unless she wins Oregon tomorrow - meaning that she should simply drop out. She's hurting Obama, whether she likes it or not (and secretly, I think she enjoys the fact that she may not win the election but she'll still decide who is elected). But we'll see.

  • I saw Iron Man over the weekend, and let me just say this: I was floored. I totally did not expect that movie to be as good as it was, although I did figure it might give me a quote of the day:

    Army: Is it true that you went twelve-for-twelve with the Maxim Girls last year?
    Tony Stark: That is an excellent question. Yes and no. March and I had a scheduling conflict but fortunately the Christmas cover was twins.

It's still way too cold for the month of May - here's to global warming, everybody!

Update: Fixed the SQL to match.

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.