Friday, January 30, 2009

Hopefully A Therapeutic Dump

1. I am sitting here waiting to get my oil changed. On CNN, the "media" and the President are railing against bonuses and record profits. All I can think is "Damn, I wish I was getting these bonuses or had invested in these companies." We live in "interesting times." And I am just a guy trying to find my way and not doing a good job at it.

2. I have always prided myself on knowing when to "get out," knowing when my welcome was worn out and it was time to go. But on Monday night, I visited this newlywed couple. I was talking to the wife about something pointless. It was a conversation that should have lasted fifteen minutes. But I kept talking and the husband came out, and I made up something about my future. I tried to converse about things I knew nothing about that the husband did. And an hour and fifteen minutes later, I finally remembered that this was a newlywed couple who wanted to do what newlyweds do. I blame some of this on being in a long-distance relationship and overstaying my welcome at graduate school which means many of my friends have moved on with their life. But the event has made me introspective.

3. On a similar note, I saw one of my old high school coaches last night. He only coached me my junior year, but he knew my dad who did stats for him for a few years. I kind-of introduced myself, but he couldn't remember me and was going to the basketball game. It was another one of these moments where I should have just gotten away, but I lingered two extra minutes. Again the event made me introspective. It has been eleven years since my junior year of high school.

4. The problem with older people, many who are in authority, is they are not very organized and not willing to change. This means that younger people get frustrated with them and also don't get better organizing skills. I am having a hard time creating my "Getting Things Done" system. Most of this is my fault, but there are some open loops caused by people I am working with. But most of it is my fault.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How Do We See Ourselves?

David Brooks challenges Rand. (I have a feeling that Randites or Randians or Objectivists or individualists would say Brooks' mixed commitment to the collective represents the main problem with modern American conservatism.) You can read Ryne Sandberg's comments and say "What a great and selfless man " or you can say "What a selfish, self-important, pious prick--NAZI soldiers did what they were "supposed to" too." Or you can feel and say something in-between.

No matter what, I still don't like the Cubs.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Some Things From 2003 Or Man, I Used To Have A Different Side Or James Taylor's "Fire And Rain" Pulled Me From The Ashes

The bathroom wall said "Wake me up inside." All I could say was "No." Why must I hate the rules that we must abide?

It isn't what you used to be or even who you are--it only matters who you're expected to be.
(I would change "who you're expected to be" now. I don't know what to change it to, but I would change it.)

You know: I guess a lesbian can't get AIDS.

I am too out of touch to be good at anything. I am a stranger in a strange land.

Metropolitan was a great fucking movie. (It is.)

Blue sky
Black night
Moon shines
Sun encourages
You die
Period (The End)
(Probably not the best time for this one. But I am discussing the life-death theme that has been around forever. I also have some different opinions about the ending, but that is what I wrote in 2003. )

Shit or get off the pot.

Bullshit. We are here. They are not. And might never be. Therefore we get the right. (Discussing Inter-generational Equity)

If nobody can afford them then they are worthless. (Discussing the end of natural resources.)

I would rather meet a person who was open about their prejudices then one who was clandestine about them.

There is no such thing as fairy tales. Just fairies and tail. (I must have stole this from somewhere, just can't remember where.)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I realized today I had not written a resolutions blog post. I am not going to do one.

I would like to exercise more. So last Tuesday, I went to the gym to lift weights. I had been jogging, but it was raining. I lifted for the first time in six months. I did a lot better than I expected. I can still bench my weight. I could be pushing up 3 bills in a few months. I could get to 1.5 times my body weight even faster.

But I do not want that. I just want to avoid the doctor.

I feel like an adult.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Winning The Big One

My dad sponsored a rec league softball team when I was high school. The team was a story in itself, an eclectic mix of old high school stars past their prime and high schoolers still searching for their prime. We won the regular season championship two years in a row. But we didn't win the postseason playoff either year. (I and some of my teammates were somewhat limited because the playoffs were during two-a-days, but I make no excuses.)

Now it made my dad mad when a guy who once played told him that all that mattered were the postseason playoffs. "The regular season doesn't matter. It is about winning the big one."

Maybe they guy was right. But all I remember are the stories about the old guys past their prime and the guys who were still waiting on their prime.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Joe Posnanski Tries To Say What I Was Trying To Say

I cannot decide if he says it well or not. Maybe he is not trying to say what I was trying to say. But it is only commentary. No one except Texas and Ohio State players knows how it feel to play in the 2009 Fiesta Bowl. No one except Quan Cosby knows how it feels to catch a Fiesta Bowl winning touchdown. Joe's commentary is entertaining, but it is just commentary.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Football: College (NCAA Division I Bowl Championship Subdivision) And Professional Or A New Year's Resolution

The BCS does not bother me. It does not keep me up at night. I do not care. Leagues, associations, conferences and bowls are not about finding the best team. They are just structure to a great game, just a way to know the season is over.*

*When I was a kid, I wanted to develop a local Wiffle Ball league. I had the teams, the venues, the regular and post-season determined. I wanted to design the Crozet Wiffle Ball League (CWBL). I wanted to be a commissioner. Then one summer my dad came out and played with us. He added his structure. His structure was not my structure. And I never wanted a CWBL anymore. I just wanted to play in the backyard with my cousin and neighbors. Today I would like to go back and play wiffle ball in the backyard.

The NFL and college football seasons are mostly done. Most teams' seasons are over. And no one can tell me who the best team is. In college football, Utah beat Alabama in one game. But you can't convince me that Utah would beat Alabama 51 out of a 100 times. I have no idea how good Boise State or Ball State or Virginia Tech or Georgia Tech or Texas Tech or LSU or Mississippi or Penn State really is. USC is good, but they did lose to Oregon State who lost to Penn State. Who knows?

The NFL is parity. If you randomly simulated a hundred seasons, I think every team would average an 8-8 season with some exceptions (New England and Detroit come to mind). There are no best teams--just lucky and unlucky ones.

Of course, we cannot randomly simulate seasons and we will never know who is the best. And that is the point of football, especially for fans. Football is about stories. It is about debating "the best," "who would beat who," the pure violence of the sport, and the complicated people playing it. It is about our commentary on the game.*

*I say all of this while listening to a NFL number cruncher swear his numbers predicted the playoffs, swear his numbers can prove most anything about the NFL. This is commentary too.

So I will continue to read and watch the commentary on the NFL and college football. But I will remember it is just commentary. And I will recognize that my commentary does not matter to anyone but me.

Written On The Back Of A Package Of Foam Cups

"Foam cups are energy efficient. A ceramic mug must be washed and reused 1006 times and a glass washed and reused 393 times before it becomes as energy efficient as using disposable cups.*

*Hocking, "Reusable and Disposable Cups: An Energy Based Evaluation," Environmental Management 18(6) pp. 889-899 (1994)."

I always wondered about this, and I cannot comment on the validity of the study. But I have heard that there were a lot of myths floating around. Maybe the lesson here is that competition and free market choices (in this case people deciding between foam cups and mugs) leads to a workable (I dare say "sustainable") outcome. (In different contexts, a mug or a foam cup might be more efficient.) Given uncertainty and the inability to determine individual preferences, there is no optimal outcome. But the market has lead to a non-dooming outcome. Even though all I ever heard was how bad foam cups were.

(I know there are other reasons to not use foam cups, but my point is that full information is impossible while decisions must be made especially concerning coffee.)