Thursday, December 18, 2008

0 and how many?

It's hard to avoid the talk now. It's basically the cover story on, and it won't be long until everyone picks up the story. I mean, there can't be more than 70 or so who think the Lions stand a chance against New Orleans this week, not with one of the best passing attacks in the NFL coming to town against a banged-up secondary, and after that game, well, remember week 2? Do you really think a game outdoors in December will go any better?

Some people think it's a good thing if the Lions go 0-16. I guess they figure that this will be the last straw, and suddenly William Clay Ford Sr. will realize that for more than 40 years, he's been absolutely clueless, and the only reason he ever made the playoffs at all, other than one fluke season when they were just testing out this wild-card thing, was that the Lions were spectacularly lucky to land outstanding RBs just when the rest of the team was pretty decent. And then the right GM will get hired, and the right coach, and the right players will come to town, and so on.

Of course, 3-13 didn't do it, 2-14 didn't do it, and really, is there anything that honestly makes you think Mr. Ford understands anything about what he's done, or even if he does, that he'd do anything about it? The one thing Ford admired about Matt Millen above all else was his tenacity, that Millen would stick with a cause no matter what, no matter how quickly he demonstrated he was in over his head, no matter how badly he faltered, no matter how far out of his league he was. For most people, the unwillingness to walk away from a job so far beyond their abilities would be unthinkable. Only the most crooked or the most clueless would continue to work, and Millen is neither of those. No, it was tenacity, tenacity to a fault.

So what will 0-16 do? It will make Mr. Ford vow to redouble his efforts, because he really can find a way to make this team win, yes he can. And next season the Lions will take a QB with the #1 pick, and they will go 3-1 in exhibition games, and hope will return in August, and they will go 3-13 or 4-12, and another season will be wasted, and more talented players will leave because they cannot stand it any more. (Remember, Barry Sanders didn't retire because he was physically spent. He retired because he couldn't stand losing any more.)

I can't possibly root for that. This season is killing me. At least with 3 or 5 or 7 wins, there's some hope on Sundays, some bright spot, a possibility that the dark clouds will lift someday and that eventually I will get to see an X by Detroit in the standings, or perhaps even a Y. (Not even in 1991 did the Lions get the coveted Z, not that it would have mattered: Washington would have crushed them anywhere.) But this season has been different. Two weeks in, it was already worse than I'd pictured.

My friends talked me into going out to watch Bears-Lions, round 1 (I know some Bears fans, they're not bad people other than that), and it was so awful, they couldn't really even say anything about it ... and I knew it would be.

I don't even bother watching the games now. I watch the Red Zone channel or sometimes the Game Mix on DirecTV, and occasionally I'll flip to the Lions game, but they collapse so quickly I can't bear to watch. Thanksgiving was awful, worse than the beating inflicted by the Colts in 2004. I was thankful to miss the first three quarters. It's bad enough I don't even watch the night games much. Why bother, other than for fantasy purposes? (Somehow I'm playing for the title in one league and third place in the other, go figure.)

Some of my friends don't understand, they think it's simply pessimism. They don't know that I've seen this before, but never this bad ... all the bad seasons, none of them have been like this. Most of them have never rooted for a team this bad, and the ones who did either had history to cling to or great times in the future. The Lions have neither, not unless you're in your 60s or 70s. They don't understand what it's like to know that if everything falls just so, your team might be able to keep the game close, and that's all.

The players try so hard, and they're just getting to the point where they can actually put decent quarters together, but it only holds for so long, and honestly, how can a team with this little depth possibly survive what they've been through? The Lions have played five quarterbacks this season, and I doubt any of them would decisively win the job anywhere else. The receiving corps includes players cast off from the Colts and Seahawks, the secondary has a player who couldn't cut it in Oakland, and the linebackers, well ... they try hard.

It's been eight years since I had something to watch in December, nine years since a playoff game, seventeen years since a meaningful playoff game. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of other things to root for as a Detroit fan: since the 1991 NFC Championship, the Wings won three Cups, the Pistons won one title and played for another, the Tigers played in a World Series, and heck, even the Shock have raised a few banners in the WNBA.

But I really, really like football, perhaps even more than hockey, and it's hard to explain what it's like to endure eight years of absolutely awful football with no history on which I can draw. I know Bobby Layne and Doak Walker, but they're just names; the epic battles with Jim Brown's Cleveland teams are faded history, the loss of divisional control to Green Bay older than I am.

In a best-case scenario, the Lions will manage to land a GM with possibilities, a decent coach, two quality first-round picks (thank you, Jerry Jones) ...

and they'll win three, maybe four games. And then what? Another rebuilding year? Maybe, in three years, they'll be exactly where they were before Ford allowed Millen to destroy the team: above .500 but just outside the playoffs, searching for those elusive pieces but never quite finding them ...

or maybe they will, and maybe someday Gus Johnson really will get to call that magic play, and maybe, for a change, I'll actually care about the Super Bowl.

But for now, all I know is that in ten days, the Lions will do something they'll never be able to undo. How could I possibly root for that?

It's odd, in a way, because I'm much more detached than I used to be, with sports in general and not just the Lions. It's probably a good thing. When I was younger, this might have killed me. Now, it's more like breaking up with your girlfriend because you got a job in a new city, and not finding anyone remotely interested in you while you hear through the grapevine that she's doing very well for herself, thank you. At first, you might envy her, maybe even wish something bad for her (who's her in this analogy? I don't know), but eventually, you just want to find someone decent. Not necessarily Ms. Right, not even someone with long-term potential, just someone for a nice evening or two, but it never seems to work out, and every time you get that "Oh, sorry, I can't," you lose a little more hope, and you're not sure that even your lowered expectations can be met.

The worst thing is that there will be eight months of nothing before there's even a chance to change things, and even then, well, it'll be the AFC North and the NFC West. St. Louis? Cincinnati? Cleveland? Maybe, but if you looked at the schedule this year, didn't Atlanta and San Francisco look like possibilities? How did those games turn out? And what if they don't beat those teams? Pittsburgh? Baltimore? The last-place team in the NFC East? New Orleans again?

I just wish it were over.

Friday, December 12, 2008

$20 off Amazon Prime membership

No kidding. What's the best thing about Amazon Prime? Two-day delivery, free, including the Christmas season, and $3.99 per item for next-day delivery. (If the item doesn't arrive next day, you get your $3.99 back, too. I've done that once.)

Give it a try. If you normally order things from Amazon, it's absolutely worth it.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


At some point last winter, my humidifier decided to retire itself. I didn't replace it right away because it wasn't a big deal. Around here, what you need during the summer, if anything, is a dehumidifier. We get all kinds of moisture, trust me.

And then during the fall or something, I saw a tolerable one on sale, and foolishly I bought it. I say "foolishly" because I had already learned in the past, or so I'd thought, that cheap usually means crappy when it comes to humidifiers. (That's true for a lot of other things as well.) I suppose I thought it would be different.

Last week, the first cold, dry spell hit. How did I know this? I woke up all congested, runny nose, dry throat, the usual stuff. My humidifier said sorry dude, I know it's only about 30% in here, but I don't feel like working harder.

I turned the fan on high one night, just to see if it would help. It helped all right: it helped drown out the radio when I woke up. Humidity? No help at all.

So finally, after two days of emptying Kleenex boxes at work, I order a Hunter humidifier, the kind I had before. Bad news: they tend to break after a few years. Good news: they work great until something breaks.

It got here yesterday. I unpacked it, filled the tank (it has a big tank, which is nice except that you have to remember it's going to be heavy, 8 pounds per gallon and all that), and plugged it in.

57%, it says. I don't need to do anything yet.

Oh really? I says. I go into the living room. The hygrometer reads something like 28%. The cats agree: don't touch us, we've seen this before. The cheap humidifier, now sitting near the hygrometer, guesses about 30% and is quietly doing not much of anything.

I go back in the bedroom, thinking this one was broken in the box. Time for a return. Great ... only now it says 56%.

Oh, you thought I thought it was really humid? Joking! That was just because I was bored in the box. Give me a bit, I'll figure out what's going on.

Ha ha, very funny, Mr. Appliance. Eventually it realizes how dry things are, I set it and turn it on, and it's off.

40% last night in the bedroom, 35% in the living room, much better than before (I prefer 45%, higher sometimes depending on what's going on outside.) Came home today after all the rain we've had, and it's 45/40. Almost tolerable. To no one's surprise, my congestion has mostly cleared up.

Dry weather, cold weather ... why do I live this far north again? Oh yeah. No hurricanes. And it's cheap. And the cats don't want to move.

Lesson: don't go cheap. Cheap humidifiers are worthless.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Impersonal finance

I've been using an old, old version of Money for a while. There are things about it that always bother me, like how it fails to categorize the same type of transactions over and over, all sorts of little things are difficult to set up, blah blah blah, so I figured I'd upgrade.

ha. I poked around on Amazon and found that pretty much everyone hates both Money "Plus" and Quicken. Also, apparently Money Plus Deluxe costs $1250. Special offers available, indeed. (Seriously, who would buy it at that price? What, does it come with Suze Orman?)

I guess it'll be for me.

It always amazes me when there's a serious need in the marketplace and it's completely unmet by the market leader or leaders. It's like they figure we'll give up and go with them if they agree to suck equally.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Dear old people,

I understand that you want your independence and all that, and maybe when it's dark and rainy, you aren't quite as comfortable as you were when you were, I don't know, my age or something.

But if you can't get yourself to drive faster than 50 in a 65, and you're in what's soon to be the left lane of an interstate highway, and traffic is merging into your lane, get off the road, or at the very least, get into the far right lane.

You're a danger to yourselves and those around you.

not old people

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dear Notre Dame,

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.


P.S. Keep that Weis around for the length of his 10-year contract. Sheer genius, I tell you.
P.P.S. Did he forget to mention the videotapes?

Saturday, November 29, 2008


So we're off to Cincinnati for Thanksgiving, but of course we want to eat something as we get started. (Proper Thanksgiving planning means eating early enough in the day that you'll be hungry when it's time.) She wants McDonald's, I'm fine with pretty much anything, so we decide we'll go to the one at 131st and 37.

But it's not open. Okay, we head to 69 ... but as we pass the 116th offramp, we see the one near the SuperTarget is open. (Maybe, it sure looked open, though.)

Oh well, too late. So we stop at 96th, knowing that if that's not open, we'll hit Einstein or Panera, both of which are open.

We pull up and get out. I try the door - it's locked. But there are cars in the drive-thru, so it must be open. We get in line and wait.

It seems to take forever, but finally we get up to the screen, which is politely waiting to take our order, but we don't hear anything.

So we wait. And we wait.

And suddenly, I have a thought. I say, "What if they're not open?" We look at each other, and now everything makes sense ... everyone else who's stopped by tries the door, then sees a car in the drive-thru, so they get in line. It's fall, so everyone has their windows rolled up until they get in line.

The car in line waits until they realize they won't be waited on, so they drive around ... and see that it's dark inside because it's actually closed. But nobody goes back and tells the people waiting in line ... (we didn't either).

We go to Einstein and eat. On our way back, she asks me how many I think are in line. I think, add a few, and say 7.

There are about 15 in line, going through both drive-thru lanes.

We're sheeple.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Out of what?

There's a Pizza Hut just down the street from us at work, so we get carryout every now and then.

Today we decided to get our usual: Stuffed Crust, two larges instead of one (because there are four of us eating and we likes our pizza). So B calls, and we get bad news:

They're "out of stuffed crust." Apparently they're out of the cheese they need to make it, or some such nonsense, and won't have it for two or three hours. This is like BWW being out of sauce, or wings, or chicken, or something. Totally unacceptable.

Fortunately, there are like 5 Pizza Huts within a few miles of here. Lunch is saved.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


So finally, after six years of cohabitation, the cats are working together.

I'm in the living room, half-watching the Colts-Chargers game as I work on my homework, and I hear a light rattle in the kitchen, as if something had been knocked off the counter. (ems volunteered to take my big-ass coat to the dry cleaners on her next trip, so I emptied my pockets on the counter.) No big deal, Calle sometimes forgets what she can and can't play with.

But then I heard a lighter rattle, almost like something was being batted on the floor. Time to investigate.

As I came into the kitchen, Calle was making her way along the counter by the sinks, as if to suggest that nothing was happening here, she was just passing through to see if perhaps I'd left any tuna on the counter, but it was too late. I could clearly see what was happening: there was a black-and-gray cat on the counter, carefully knocking stuff onto the floor, and a white-and-black cat on the floor, batting at each item to see if it was actually a toy.

Naturally, I'd prefer that they cooperate in other ways, like lying next to each other so that I don't have to Photoshop a Christmas card picture, but I guess this is a start ...

Friday, November 21, 2008


So Tuesday, I have my super-six-month checkups (dentist, orthodontist, eyes - it just happened that way). Well, eyes are every year, but you know what I mean.

And the orthodontist says hey, it's been a year, no need to wear your top retainer any more during the day. Only at night.


Oh, one thing, if it starts to get tight when you put it back on, you'll have to wear it more often. (Because the teeth need to settle in, like the bottom ones have.)

Okay. So I don't wear it the rest of the day, very cool. And I put it in Tuesday night.

It's a little snug. I knew it would be. Before, I'd miss an extra hour or two, and it was always different when I put it back in. This didn't seem to change much.

Wednesday night, a little tighter. Same thing Thursday.

So today, I get home from work, and I put it in. Yep. Looks like as soon as my retainer was out, the top teeth yelled "Party!" and began moving in all directions at once. (In a tooth kind of way - they aren't actually moving yet, they just want to.)

Sigh. And it was so close ...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Now that's better

I'm so embarrassed. Here I am, trying to learn more about web design, and I suddenly realize that forever, I've been using a style sheet with fixed widths.

Bad zlionsfan! Bad!

Now really, fixed widths have their place ... I suppose if you have a graphic-intensive website, you might want to use them. But for the most part, they are a pain. I mean, I'm looking at this at 1440x900, and half the screen is empty space. (Hey, I don't really have a place to put a big monitor, and I don't feel like running another cable across the living room to hook up the TV. Now if this next consulting gig pays off ...)

So now it's fixed. Percentages, not fixed widths. Enjoy zlionsfan's writing in all its full-screen glory!

My, how things change

So AT&T sends me a new card. Did I mention this before? Probably not. Oh wait, I found it. Anyway, they send it to me, and I'm going to use it once and then lock it away, just so they don't cancel it and crush my debt-to-credit ratio, right?

Yeah, that was like six weeks ago. What did I buy?


I'm just having a difficult time buying something right now. Maybe this means I've finally changed, and in five years, I'll be financially responsible. Or maybe I'm rejecting the hypercommercialization of Christmas. Or maybe it's just a reaction to the arrival of crappy fall. (Remember where I live. In Indiana, fall means 40-degree days and rain, and sometimes rain and 40-degree days.)

Still, not buying things isn't a bad reaction. I guess it could be worse.

Okay, none of you will appreciate this anyway. I try not to let on about how financially irresponsible I've been, because ... um ... something.

That's all for now. Off to Facebook to play more games.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Weekend thoughts

So, for the first time in a while, I have been away. Went up to my home state for a weekend of football and, um, unplanned activities or something. (Western Michigan vs. Illinois at Ford Field. Who wouldn't want to see a real football team there?)

Friday, we get up there around 7. Rush-hour traffic in Detroit = bad. (I tried to make us late. I should have tried harder.) Funny, we thought the economy in Detroit was bad, so where's all the traffic coming from?

We get to our crash pad, and our host takes us out to Chris Chelios' restaurant, right in the Comerica-Ford Field area.

But the kitchen's closed. Oh ho, now I see the effects of the economy. To be fair, there wasn't a Wings game that night, and without something like that, well, downtown Detroit was not bustling. At all. You would have thought it was 1 AM instead of 7 PM. (It did seem somewhat safe, though.) So we went to Hockeytown Cafe instead (warning - obnoxious Flash movie with sound that auto-plays: I blocked it and so should you) and had a nice little snack, then off to Fishbone's for some sushi. Good stuff, although I really don't care for masago.

The next day, the whole group goes to the stadium, and right away you can tell how Detroit is different than other NFL franchises. The will-call section is not at the ticket counter, because that would make sense. It's over in the players' will-call section. Huh? So we pick up our tickets and go right in, only perfunctory security (like last week at the UM-Purdue game). Good to see security theater hasn't struck NCAA games, either that or I forgot and it's not like it used to be.

So we go inside to our seats, and they're very good. Lower section, 15th row, between the 40s, I think, behind the Western bench. (The three of us who drove up are neutral - me, a WMU alumna, and an Illinois alumnus. The rest of the group are a mix of MSU, UM, and WMU people, all rooting for WMU.) And from there ...

Ford Field sucks. No, really. I mean, part of it is the problems you always seem to have at a non-NFL game in an NFL stadium. There's way too few people for the stadium, way too few concession stands, not enough food when you do get there, and so on. (I didn't get anything - I did my usual routine, don't get up for 3.5 hours. What can I say? I'm a Libra, I don't like bothering people. I'd rather just sit the whole game and not have to get up to pee.) Anyway, the seats are narrow, there's no out-of-town scoreboard, no stats on the scoreboard ... okay, that might be an NCAA thing, but still, they did a really bad job of putting this game on. If it weren't for the fact that it's an excuse to get back there and see a relatively inexpensive game, I don't know that I'd do it again. I sure wouldn't use it as a reason to see the Lions in Ford Field.

Of course I let my stupid iPhone run down, which means no updates. Fortunately, our neighbors planned better, so we knew that Purdue had lost (surprise) and Michigan had won (surprise!). Back to the crash pad for a cookout, then football on TV, then off to meet some friends (new to me) at Fishbone's again. Went with the lump crab cocktail, not quite what I was hoping for. I prefer heated crab to chilled crab.

Also, Notre Dame sucks. Did you know they were shut out on Saturday? Yes they were.

Sunday, we head back through Ann Arbor. Stopped on campus to check out a few stores (picked up a couple of UM shirts), eat lunch, and see a few sights along the way. Drove through some familiar areas, then back on the road and home. Traffic better, weather not so good. (No sleet or ice, fortunately.) Boo winter.

Got home, checked in on my friends' cats (not happy - no surprise, one's not been left at home like this before and the other one does not approve of me) and mine (not too unhappy, except for pooping).

Overall, a good time. The only thing I forgot was my lower retainer, and that one's not the problem. When I put it back in, it fits into place neatly. When I leave the top one out for a few hours, it fits a little more tightly. I'll probably have to wear it until I'm 50. (Next week, I'm sure he'll tell me another six months, no change.)

Did I mention the Lions suck? Yes, they do.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


So ... we're in the polling place, ready to open. There's a few people waiting outside the inside door. We figure no big deal ... but wait. There are about 50 people waiting outside the outside door.

Steady stream of people from 6 AM to 2:30 PM; it tailed off after that, but we never stopped. Strangely, we had no 5:00 rush, and at 6 PM, no one was in line. We closed with no issues, wrapped everything up, and had the results returned by 8 PM. (McCain took our precinct by about 5:4, which is not a good sign - we are strongly Republican.)

And now I'm watching TV (I'm dumb, but I had homework to do, and how often does this happen?), and I see PA, and OH ... and Indiana has not been called yet. shows that McCain has a 0% chance of winning without taking Ohio. They've called 194 votes for Obama, and easily 77 will go for Obama (CA, OR, WA, and HI). That's 271.


Saturday, November 01, 2008


Okay, the Purdue-Michigan game was exciting enough (although I have to confess we missed the last touchdown to make sure we didn't get trapped in Lafayette traffic for two hours), but wow, Texas-Texas Tech, wow. Wow.


They didn't even use a timeout.


Somehow, they got everyone off the field twice, once after the TD and once after the review. I guess people in Lubbock aren't really good at telling :01 from :00.

I love college football.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Chicago's back

I'm watching the Wings-Hawks game tonight, and in the background, in the third period, I hear two chants ... can't tell the first, but the second one is clearly "Detroit sucks!" (Or is it "Detroit's Cup"? Because we have it now, you know.)

It's good to hear. Why? Because there were 22,000 people in the United Center, a regular-season record. If you're not aware of the importance of that, well, Chicago's been in the league longer than John McCain's been alive. Finally, the new generation is washing away the disrepair into which the franchise had fallen.

Oh, and the game? Right after the chant, Datsyuk scored to tie it at 4. :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Recession? It's all in our heads.

Yeahright. I was just catching up on my mileage today (I track it, yes I do, every time I fill up the hybrid), and I noticed something.

9/30 ... $3.569
10/10 ... $2.779

In 10 days, the price of gas fell about 80 cents a gallon around here. Now, it was really more like 60-65 cents, because the 9/30 purchase was probably up by my house, and the 10/10 purchase was near work, but still.

It gets even better when I add in the previous entry.

9/20 ... $3.839

Twenty days, $1.06 off the price of a gallon of gas.

Yeah, things being cheaper is a nice thing. Unless they are things you own. And you know gas prices aren't the only falling prices ...

Saturday, October 18, 2008


So I'm leading Penn State 10-3 (no, I'm Army, we actually took Indiana's spot in the Big Ten), and they're driving at home to tie it. Second and goal at the 4. TD pass over the middle to the TE. Funny, I thought he was covered, so I look at the replay.

Apparently his QB has special powers, because he threw the ball right through my safety's arm.

Nice. I didn't realize EA kept the "computer needs to win" setting in today's games.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The way politics ought to be

Ever heard of the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner? Me either. You know about it now, though.

Why? Well, it's an annual event (these are links to the 63rd, from earlier this week), and both candidates were invited to speak.

Oh, by the way, it's a roast.

Are they funny?

McCain part 1
McCain part 2

Obama part 1
Obama part 2

Obama is a better speaker, I think. He definitely gets the timing down. McCain may not quite be in his element, but I'll tell you what, he is absolutely funny.

It's a shame we don't get to see them like this more often.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son

Well, I never really had to worry about the last item. I was strongly encouraged to give up the second item. (Law enforcement personnel can do wonders for you.) Now, that first item ... um ...

I was poking around my Excel neighborhood, trying to find further evidence that my cholesterol has always been good (unlike some people I know), and I found a file called Health.xls. Naturally, this is what I wanted.

I open it up, and no, there's no cholesterol in here ... but there are weight readings.

Let me explain. I am a compulsive data taker. I like to record things. Everything. I have tons of useless or nearly-useless data all over the place. I used to weigh myself every day (yes, I know, you're not supposed to), and I'd type it into this neat little workbook, complete with line graphs and automatic formatting on the numbers.

So first I see a lot of blue (decent), a lot of green (good), and a little red (not so good). And I scroll down to the bottom, where I have max and min rows, and I see ... 160.6.

And a long string of green surrounding it. For about eight months, apparently I weighed less than 170, and on December 1, 2004, I weighed 160.6.

This is somewhat disappointing. I had hoped that I'd only been able to drop to 170, and thus my current "goal" would be reasonable, but no ... there is unmistakable evidence that the cats have not been sneaking hot water into my closet and carefully soaking all of my pants, just to get even with me for, um, something.

Now, the problem is that recording data is not the same as using it, and it was clear that I was not using it. The data stops around October 4, 2005, when I weighed 175, and it's pretty clear that ever since, I've been steadily adding weight.

We did a health assessment in September. (Free!) I scored below the national average. Why? Well, I don't eat that well, I don't sleep enough, I don't avoid germs well (funny, I don't get sick often) ... and I need to lose weight.

My BMI is 27.9. Now BMI is a really, really crude way of measuring obesity, but let's face it, you don't really need a number like that to tell you what you need to do. Even at 5'9" (+1 to the screener for rounding my height up, and another +1 because I got an extra half-inch that required the rounding up), 185 is not acceptable. (Well, it was 189, but I was wearing clothes. I mean, who weighs themselves in full work clothes at home?)

So I have 25 pounds to lose by April 1. Why then? I'll be 41.5. I need a specific goal or it's not a goal. And because I said so.

Of course, the problem will be keeping it off, not removing it in the first place. Unfortunately, losing weight has always been relatively easy for me when I've tried, so I don't try hard enough to keep my weight down. You'd think seeing my dad and his dad ballooning in their 40s and 50s (well, my grandfather; my dad was 49 when he died) would have made a difference, but not yet, apparently.

But for now, I have a goal, and the clock is running. Eating better, exercising more (and not just playing DDR) ... sigh.

Of course, it could be worse. I could be dead, or diabetic, or a dying diabetic. Fortunately, the only numbers that weren't so hot on my screening (from the blood work) were my hematocrit percentage (borderline high, likely from dehydration), HDL (borderline low, need more exercise), and LDL (pretty high, need more fiber and less fat). Pretty much everything else was square in the middle.

Good health is a great gift. I'll try not to waste it.

Stupid people suck

Unfortunate news to report: my good friend ems was in a car accident today. Some idiot ran a red light, nearly T-boned her, and then claimed this was an alternate universe where green means stop and red means go. (I had a similar experience years ago; fortunately in my case, the idiot was so dumb that I had actually turned into the intersection and was parallel to her when she ran the light.) She's shaken up and will be sore tomorrow, but nothing's broken or punctured.

Her car took the impact well. Quite a bit of damage from what I understand, but all on the driver's side (the left rear, not the left front). Probably lots of repairs, and all on the other driver's tab. Of course that doesn't restore your confidence in driving or the purity of your car's parts, but it could have been a lot worse.

If you could wish her well tonight in whatever way you would normally do so, I would appreciate it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Phil Luckett works for EA

I just realized this bug.

If you lose the toss, it doesn't matter which end zone you want to defend. EA will assign you the one at the bottom of the screen, I think ... at least it doesn't care which one you choose. Two out of three tosses, I took the wind, but didn't get it.

Didn't get it? Yeah, that would be EA.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bugs that make you go "hmmm"

Kickoff return. We force a fumble at the 24 and recover it. But we're called for a face mask. Opponents get the ball ... at our 39.

Yep, that's EA Sports Quality Control for you.

Update: The very next game I played in our online dynasty, I'm up 7-0 and returning a punt. We fumble and it's returned for a TD (ah, the old EA trick of forcing you to give it the ball) ... but wait, there's a penalty! So I already knew what would happen, and sure enough, we got the ball on their side of the field.

I'm not saying I did this on purpose, but we won 41-12. It was 24-12 and we could have run out the clock, but this was more fun: TD, then we ran back an INT for another one, then we ran an INT to the 11 and kicked a FG as time expired.

Yes, it was for the Bucket. :)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

More of the same

-- We'll see just how much of a "maverick" John McCain is the first time the Democratic-controlled Senate votes on a bill for President Obama to sign. I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that he will vote straight party-line for the rest of his term.

-- If you're a Republican office-holder in Alaska, and you don't have a calendar on your wall counting down the days until you can declare your candidacy for the primary for governor, you're on your way to get one right now. (It's like 4:45 in Alaska right now. You've got plenty of time to find one before the stores close. Unless they're all sold out.)

-- Yes, I know I should be finishing my homework. It's a strange question and I'm not yet sure how to answer it. Besides, it's not like I'm watching the Wings' season opener or anything. (Actually, I'm not. So there. :P)

-- Flex is pretty cool. It's too bad Adobe documents its products so poorly. That's probably the biggest reason why there aren't as many CF developers as you'd think: it's more trouble to learn on its own than it's worth for many people.

-- If it's United Way time in your neck of the woods, I'd encourage you to look into it, read about some member agencies, and see if there's a cause that you support. Times are definitely tough for a lot of people right now, but hopefully some of you are like me and are still fortunate enough to have a little to give to others. Remember guys like Walter Payton saying, "Thanks to you, it works for all of us. The United Way."? Yeah, it's that cool.

-- I would really like to buy Saints Row 2. I really don't have the time to play it right now. What's the Powerball jackpot this week?

-- I wonder if I'd continue with my master's work if I won. I mean, it would be cool to get, and it would give me something to do, and of course I could always do consulting work, but really, would I? We'll never know.

-- Actually, no, I'd be spending 10-15 hours per week writing up detailed salary-cap strategies and sending them to Tom Lewand and Martin Mayhew.

-- I was reminded of my high tolerance for pain today. I caught my finger between the cabinet underneath the sink and a full box of Cascade (hold the top of the box, lift up quickly, ouch). I believe I said a word that George Carlin would recognize. A little blood, no big deal. (Insert old-man-sports-story: blah blah broke finger blah blah wallyball blah blah kept playing blah blah doctor two weeks later. It really didn't hurt much, other than when I broke it. Now I use it to predict earthquakes.)

-- Joe Tiller has given up on this season. I wish I could make that much money doing that poorly at something, not care at all, and get away with it.

All right. Back to the books.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Stuff, and stuff, and stuff

Random thoughts while I attempt to keep my homework at arm's length ...

-- My Xbox 360 streak is over 300 days. I've been holding off on trying the Endless Setlist on Hard/Hard until the streak ends so that I can leave the 360 on overnight if I need to take a break.

-- If you're still wondering why this house has hosted a number of naked women somewhere between 1/pi and -3, the preceding paragraph should have cleared that up for you.

-- The fact that I can spend 15 minutes discussing virtually any aspect of any sport with any audience, but struggle to explain why defect reduction improves the functionality of software, occasionally gives me pause for thought when considering my career choices. However, the road to bankruptcy is littered with the bones of those who wanted to be sportscasters, or something like that, and I've found my way far enough along that path, thank you very much. I like what I do and I like being paid.

-- If cats could type, would they create lolpeople?

-- Yes, I know, they would need to use pointing devices as well.

More thoughts to come. I have two questions to answer tonight.

10:58 PM: Well, I answered one of two, plus finished my charting from last week, so I'm mostly caught up. One more question tomorrow, charting Friday, and I'll be fine.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Just in case ...

... you watched the debate, and you somehow came away with a non-negative impression of McCain, that probably means you forgot his first decision as a Presidential candidate.

As a public service, I'll ask Keith Olbermann to remind you.

Monday, October 06, 2008


So, I've been resisting the activation of credit cards that I have and don't need because ... um ... yeah. (Obviously this is dumb. I know that. Well, okay, I've recently admitted it.)

Anyway, I read on the Consumerist that you might not want to let old credit cards just sit around idly, in case a well-meaning bank decides you don't need them any more. (Again, obviously you would want to buy something small and pay the balance all at once.) Now, this is only a problem if you carry a balance on your other cards, and only then if the card they close represents a significant percentage of your available credit. If you have $100K in credit (I don't, no, it's an example, quiet down), but you're carrying a total balance of $40K, and your bank closes a $30K card, not only are they cutting off their face to spite their face, but you're suddenly moving from using 40% of your available credit to 57% of your available credit, not so good. (No, I would not be anywhere near that figure. Stop already.)

So I went to activate my Crappybank AT&Monopoly card. Call now, it says. Activate online, I says. So I hop online, enter my two-year-old password (yes I know I should change it more often, and if you don't stop interrupting I will turn this car around right now and go home), and here we go ... let's see ... enter the security code from the back of the old card.

Um, yeah. I, um, kind of shredded it, because, see ... yeah.

So I have to call, and surprise, you have to know it on the phone as well. (Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. In fact, it's a good security measure. I just made a mistake, that's all.) So I have to speak to a CSR. She's somewhat helpful, although she pretends that she doesn't know what I'm trying to do, and she's equally mysterious about the "password." (At other banks, this is known as the "security question", and they give you the hint so you know what the hell question you're answering. There was no way to get the hint online, and I had to threaten to answer every one of their questions until I got the right one in order for her to tell me which question it was.)

So she tried a fast-talking wanttosignupforthisgreatprotectionprogramnookayhowabout10000worthofcoverage, and I politely said no thank you. She tried some other credit thing, maybe another line of credit (um, as you can see, I don't use yours, no thanks), and after no to that, that was it.

It wasn't quite as bad as before, but it's not USAA. Still, they're making progress.

Now, to use the card once and then lock it away for two years ...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Vice-presidential ... debate?

If you can watch that and still believe that Sarah Palin is qualified for any office, much less VP of the United States, may your higher power have mercy on your soul.

Monday, September 29, 2008


no Xbox Live.


I knew it was coming, but I forgot until I logged in today.

no Xbox Live.

no DLC.

no leaderboards.

no dated achievements.

Sure, it's only for 24 hours, and I'm sure the folks at are handling this appropriately, but still.

It's almost like the old days, back when we didn't know how anyone else did except our friends.


Is it the 30th yet?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

This is a good bug

Check this out. Amazingly, this happens in my favor. Let's just say that if it happened to me, I might have quit the game for good.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Matt Millen has been fired.

In other news, George W. Bush admitted that he is a corrupt fool surrounded by charlatans and will resign with his entire staff, effective immediately; John McCain acknowledged that the philosophical differences between the W administration and his prospective administration would be as small as Sarah Palin's brain; and I might have a chance with Angie Harmon.

oh really? Trust me, up until today, I'd have put all four thoughts in the same category.

Sorry, don't have time to post any more. I've got to get back to work on my "Jason Sehorn sux" letters.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Apple = fail

What's the difference between Apple and Microsoft?

Apple doesn't think they do that stuff.

So now iPhone software 2.1 has been released, supposedly fixing issues with dropped calls and stuff like that (oh sure, I believe that) ... but of course you can't just update your phone, you have to update iTunes, and of course this is now a new version, so all of this other stuff changes and iTunes has to help you out with all that, and naturally it takes the focus and locks out other applications and wants you to close this app and that app and wants you to restart your computer even though this is XP and you aren't supposed to need to do that ...

and then after you get through all of that, you have to download and install the software for the phone. And then sync it. And all that.

This is progress? This is the stuck-up jackass on TV who smirks at you every time you think about buying a PC, because obviously anything made by Apple is so much better?

I'll tell you what. As soon as the ETF is out of the way, I'm gone. Not getting another iPhone, not using AT&T. This is crap.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Rock Band 2 live blog


Keep in mind I have been avoiding the setlist, so I don't really know what I'm going to play.

8:45 PM: got my guitarist and band set up. I may have to do vocals soon, though, because my first set includes:

Eye of the Tiger

Oh hell yes!

9:00 PM: Oh my goodness. I know an L7 song. Who knew?

Oh yeah, I forgot: great intro music, especially because I just saw Cheap Trick last week, and they did play that song!

9:07 PM: Switched quickly to vocals so I could sing. Very, very nice. Huge improvement over RB. Didn't even have to create a new character. (Five-starred Eye of the Tiger on Expert. Yeah, I'm that good. Modesty not required. :) )

9:30 PM: The sync process is much, much better. I finally feel like I'm actually playing to the music, both watching and listening. It's a quick process even if you don't have the new wireless controllers (those are supposed to sync automatically if you let them).

9:45 PM: Ugh. Beastie Boys. Couldn't they pick good rap?

Got my van. Hey, it's a newer one.

10:25 PM: Challenges. Very cool. Some for the band, some for guitar, some for vocals, some for drums, and YES! Some for bass! (Also, you can finally play the bass in "solo" mode – remember that there isn't a difference between solo and band play.)

Ratt: cool. (Way cool. Junior.) Go-Go's, yum!

End of night: I really like what they've done with this. The challenges are cool, and they do increase in difficulty, even for bass. Finally, we bassists get some love: there are most definitely difficult songs on here. (I can still manage Expert pretty well, though. Gold-starred Message in a Bottle. RL experience does help, you know.)

I want to keep unlocking stuff, but I suppose I need some sleep. Can't wait for the new drum set to arrive so I can work on drums ...

I saw that Ratt and the Go-Go's were also on Rocks the '80s. Hopefully they pulled a few more songs off that game. I played Bad Company and Billy Idol as well, very nice. I also like how my DLC from Rock Band shows up just fine. (Wonder if they fixed the problem with Blink.)

Too bad I've got plans all three days this weekend. Have to wait for the following weekend for a rockout.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bug o' the day

EA Sports thinks that the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy is awarded to the winner of the Army-Air Force game. They even wrote up some crap about it, thinking that Army actually won it in 2006 from Air Force.

Um, no.

It goes to the winner of the games between the three service academies. Yes, the Army-Navy game can decide who wins the trophy.

Anyone with an ounce of college football history could explain this. Unfortunately, no one like that works at EA Sports.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Another bug

Yep, this is a bug. What kind of bug? AI.

If you have a six-point lead, the defense has no timeouts left, and you have the ball in their end of the field, you should

a) kneel down and run as much time off the clock as you can, kicking a FG only if you have to;
b) run the ball up the middle, staying in bounds, but otherwise doing a); or
c) do this.

That's right. I score the game-winning TD. Thanks, AI!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Just got back from the Cheap Trick/Heart/Journey concert. Awesome show. I saw Journey last year with Def Leppard, and Cheap Trick about 20 years ago at Purdue with some strange opening band I couldn't name, but I've never seen Heart.

Cheap Trick was about what I expected, a decent opener, played most of the good songs (except Ain't That a Shame; you could add Don't Be Cruel and Magical Mystery Tour for good covers) and a few I couldn't remember. I always laugh when I hear them introduce Bun E. Carlos. It's amazing that they're all still touring, you know?

Heart was excellent: I knew all but one song, and they covered Going to California, and to my surprise, Love Reign O'er Me, complete with the violins (well, synthesizers, but you know what I mean). I will say that the years have not been kind to Ann Wilson, but she can still sing.

Journey was awesome. The new singer is very good. I can't imagine what he must be thinking right now ... going from covering Journey to being the lead singer, well, I don't know how you could describe that. Anyway, they're one of the best bands to sing to that I've ever seen, and they did their set list very well. When they went from Open Arms to Don't Stop Believin' to Faithfully, well, let's just say it got a little dusty out there.

We didn't stay through the end of the set; we'd all seen them before and wanted to get out early. (And boy, did we. 15 minutes to get home, I think.)

Three solid bands for $25, and that included parking. They don't make deals like that very often, boys and girls. I would highly recommend seeing this tour if it comes to a city near you.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The good, the bad, and the ugly

Hell yes it's a great movie. I have it on DVD, so it must be good. (I don't have the other two. yet.)

Anyway, the good: met some of the Football Outsiders guys at the book signing event here in Indy, at the IUPUI bookstore/B&N. (Yeah, weird branding. Almost like B&N is pretending they don't actually run the school bookstore. Before you scream "Shady!", which it is, realize that there were already a number of shady college bookstore chains. B&N just joined the mess. Come to think of it, "shady" and "college bookstore" is probably redundant. Back on topic ...) Not too many folks there, so we got quality time with the FO guys, lots of good conversation. You missed out on that (and probably on the book, Pro Football Prospectus 2008), so check out the site.

The bad: I decided to check the duct from the dryer to the wall for lint buildup - thought I smelled a little moisture in the last dryer load.

Big mistake. For one thing, there wasn't anything to clean. at all. For another, I hate this task. My stupid flexible duct is held on by those stupid things that you have to pinch together to move. Removing = not a problem. Replacing = big problem, especially if you do not have strong hands and are not particularly skilled in such things.

Now, the guy who had this house built was pretty cheap, so I'm hoping there's a good way to get those replaced with something I can actually move easily. I would gladly pay to have that improved so I can do this regularly.

The ugly: Sunday. I can't wait until Ford sells the Lions.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Someone has to point this stuff out

I wonder if they even realize what they're doing. I mean, this is the 21st century. People do tape what you say, and they will play it back, and they will point out hypocrisy.

No value at all

The "ice" feature in NCAA 09 is complete crap. Apparently it's "in the game" that when the other team calls a timeout before a late FG attempt, you no longer can see where the uprights are or how hard you'll kick the ball, and you have to watch from ground level. Not field level, ground level, as if you were lying on the ground filming the game.

Totally stupid. And, of course, there's an additional bug - when you call a timeout prior to that, you don't get to select your boost, because the other team's "ice" ruins it for you.

EA Sports. If it's not in the game, we added it anyway because we don't know what the hell we're doing.

Sorry ...

Yeah, I know, didn't blog at all. Too much going on. I should have kept better track. Anyway, I picked up McFadden, Maroney, and Steve Slaton (remember, it's a keeper league) at RB, Galloway at WR, Ben Watson as a backup TE for Gates' bye week, and the Eagles defense to replace the Giants.

In the Fracas, I got Green Bay, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, and then I got stuck with Atlanta. Oh well. No one else was high on the Eagles, so I probably overspent on them, and then I had no leverage for my fourth pick. We'll see how bad that was ...

Friday, September 05, 2008

Auction draft tonight

It's a keeper league, so I may not have a lot to post. I'll try a live blog. We'll see how it goes.

I'm keeping ...

QB Tom Brady $19
QB Matt Hasselbeck $12
RB Brandon Jackson $3
RB Fred Taylor $5
WR Nate Burleson $4
WR Larry Fitzgerald $12
WR Derrick Mason $4
TE Antonio Gates $14
PK Stephen Gostkowski $3

$115 cap, start 1 QB, 2-4 RB, 2-4 WR, 1 of the rest.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A helpful tip for saving a date and time in Access using ColdFusion

two steps ...

1. Use odbccreatedatetime() so that you have an ODBC object with both date and time, otherwise all Access gets is a date.
2. Use cf_sql_timestamp (you are using cfqueryparam, right?), so that the ODBC driver understands it's getting a date-time parameter.

Ta da! Date and time in your Access database.

Bug o' the day

Fourth quarter, I'm up 11 late and the other team has no timeouts, so we just want them to run out the clock. We kick off, I finally get my man downfield without having to shake any blocks ...

... and I pass right through the return man.

EA = teh suck.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Guess who's back, back again ...

Chocula's back, tell a friend ...

Woo hoo! Count Chocula! (I bought three boxes. Hey, it keeps for a long time. I may go back for more.) That means three things. One, lots of sugar in the morning! (Do not tell my dentist, my orthodontist, or my wellness counselor – since when is "wellness" a word? – I said that.) Two, it's Halloween season! And three, my birthday is just around the corner, which means a free dessert at BWW.

In other news, the NFL's website sucks. The shop is completely broken. I have to sneak onto a certain page the roundabout way or it won't load. (Also, IE is screwed up again on my laptop, no surprise. I hate to try IE 7 again because it broke my internet connectivity last time, and besides, IE 7 sucks, it has so many CSS holes ...)

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A. Time out

Q. What do you call after back-to-back kickoff returns for touchdowns?

Watching the Colorado–Colorado State game (Sports Pack +1) ... CU up 14-0, CSU drives for a touchdown, 14-7. Colorado runs the kickoff back, 21-7. CSU runs the ensuing kickoff back, 21-14.

Someone's tired out there. The next kickoff, CU runs it out to the 20. All the special-teams players promptly went to the benches and collapsed, or something like that.

Bug o' the day

This time, it's a well-known bug: if the other team attempts a field goal or extra point, it goes off the upright, and one of your players catches it, the other team gets the ball.

Yeah, I can't figure out how that would be possible either. My guess is that a) no one in EA's QA department knows college football or b) the people that do were screaming about this and some idiot decided to release the game anyway. What's a major, game-turning bug or twenty anyway?

I quit the game when that happened. Screw that. It's tied late in the third quarter, you're not screwing me out of a close game.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Today, I start by discovering a solution and a problem.

Solution: IE 7 and Firefox 3 do not treat <button> elements the same. If IE sees a button of type submit, it will assume that what you want to do when someone clicks this button is to submit the form; if there is any JavaScript in the onclick event, it will run that in addition to submitting the form. Firefox sees the JavaScript and runs it instead of submitting the form.

This is kind of a problem if your JavaScript calls the submit() function. :)

So I changed the type from submit to button and everything was fine.

Then I found my problem. We have passwords in a database, I want to check the user's password against the database password. Done: I use <cfqueryparam> in the query to ensure they don't put funny little things in there.

But you can also change your password. If you do that, and you log out, when you log in again, I want to check for your new password. I can't do that if the query is cached. The problem is that I can't make the query un-cache (we don't have CF 8 on this server, although I'm not sure that would help much) because you can't use cacheafter or cachewithin when you use cfqueryparams.

So I need a solution for that.

After a sub-optimal day, I return home and find poop in different places, of course. Here's one spot, right by the box I want to use to return my defective headphones. And look, there's something sticking out of it, like a twig. (Um, these are indoor cats ...)

And I pick it up, but it's light, and I drop it on my hand ... oh, at least it's dry ... wait a minute.

That is kind of a twig. This isn't poop. It's a leaf.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bad day ... or maybe not

So today ...

  • I got up after almost eight hours in bed and still was tired at work (okay, I didn't sleep for eight hours, but still, I went to bed about 90 minutes earlier than usual);
  • The stupid sore on the inside of my mouth that feels like it's on my gums won't go away (I can never remember what triggers these: stress? bad brushing? soft drinks? But I cut back!);
  • I discovered a mysterious bug in the little app we were going to roll out to the group that basically blocked our big project on the day that I met the group's leader;
  • There was YET ANOTHER UNANNOUNCED ROAD CLOSURE on the way to the gym, just cones across the intersection and no way through;
  • I forgot my water bottle at home and the gym's vending machine was out as well, so I had nothing to drink during my cardio workout ...
  • which was 15 minutes longer than usual because the machine decided it couldn't deal with me keeping my heart rate "too high", and instead of raising my target rate, it ended the workout;
  • I couldn't even put cheese on my burger tonight because I'm getting my blood drawn for my wellness screening tomorrow and Pepto + blood draw = a very long wait;
  • I'll be fasting for about 10.5 hours for said screening, so I should wake up tomorrow in a fine mood;
  • and the $100 headphones (I got for free with credit card points) I got to replace the crappy ones that Microsoft makes didn't work when I unpacked them.

But you know what? If that's all that life had to shoot at me today, well, that's not such a bad day, is it? :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Yet another reason for I-A playoffs

Drew Sharp opposes them.

It's actually an amusing article. I'm not sure what Sharp's connection to the BCS is, but after reading this, I'm convinced there is one.

On the other hand, maybe he just wants to be the last man on the ship, loudly proclaiming that there's nothing wrong here.

I won't dissect the "logic" in his column. That's too easy. I'll leave that exercise to you, the readers.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Two more things

Ha ha. The Google ad just now was for LASIK surgery. I don't think that's going to help EA write better games.

Also, Starbucks stopped making decaf frappuccinos, which means that probably happened about six months ago and I haven't asked for one since, which is also part of why they don't make them any more. Then again, the prospect of a company known for its service taking away some of your options ... hmm ...

Bug o' the day

If you get sacked by someone coming directly toward you, your throwing hand and the ball will magically pass through his body. When the ball comes out the other side, surprise! It's made contact with a player and is knocked free.

I'm sorry. I think that if my QB can stick the ball through an onrushing defender, he gets to keep it.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Things I wish I'd known

Why is it that I get spammed by "news alerts", inundated with links to get alerts on all sorts of meaningless news, but I never see an option to get news on important things, like Melissa Stark's presence on television?

But hey, at least it made me add MSNBC (standard-def, sadly) to my favorites, and now I can watch actual Olympic coverage instead of Michael Phelps and commercials.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

More stupid playcalling

Same game. We have the ball with 2:40 to play, down 10-6 because they cheated. The ball is at the goal line. How would you line up? Goal-line formation, run up the middle, right?

No. You'd line up in the shotgun and call a QB draw. Stupid, but hey, it's going to work. We get everyone blocked up front ... and instead of scoring, the QB decides to slide outside the designed hole and he loses a yard.

Fine, third-and-goal from the two. This time, he does line up in goal line ... but drops back to pass and gets sacked. FG. Still losing, 10-9.

The playcalling is abysmal. Abysmal. I am beginning to think that they actually had Corso decide what plays to call in all situations.

Bug o' the day

This one is bad.

When an offensive player is near you, he can automatically engage you (in a blocking stance) no matter where he is with respect to you, and you must break free of the block before moving on.

Situation: leading Kansas 6-3, third-and-6 at our 8. Toss play to the right. I cut inside the receiver as I see it's a run and move to cut off the RB. As soon as the RB catches the pitch, I turn away from the RB, who is in front of me and slightly to my left, and move to engage the WR, who is still behind me and to my right! Turning so my back is completely to the play I had just successfully identified. To make matters worse, even though I want to get to the ball carrier who is behind me, I am stuck on the guy in front of me. Naturally, because I'm the CB, no one has a pursuit angle and the RB scores easily.

What is this crap? Offensive players carry mind-control rays that prevent you from moving in the direction you want to move? No wonder it's so hard to play defense in this game.

Congratulations, EA, you've crapped all over yet another successful franchise.

EA Sports. It's not in the game, we put it there because we don't test our games any more.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Strategy flaws o' the day

Legend mode, we're Missouri, 4-1 playing at 5-0, top-ranked Texas. Trailing 16-7 at halftime, we close to 16-14 in the third quarter, then force a fumble on a screen pass and return it to the 5. Three plays later, we score ... but then the stupid computer goes for 2. With a spread offense. Why? Because it's EA. When you're leading, especially on the road, you get the sure points. Make the opponents chase. Of course we miss, and it's 20-16. (Earlier in the quarter, we decide to punt on fourth-and-1 from the 31 instead of going for it or trying a 48-yard field goal with the best kicker in the country. Yet more stupidity.)

So on the ensuing drive, we have a great goal-line stand (thanks in part to a great play by me, crashing through the line and chasing down the RB for a one-yard loss on third-and-1), so we take over at the 5. 3:31 to play.

What do we do? Three straight plays out of the shotgun. Freaking morons. And on top of that, the punter kicks it straight out of bounds. So the three-and-out we force doesn't do much good, as they hit the FG to make it 20-19.

2:10 to play. What formation? Spread, of course, and of course we're running the ball. QB gets hurt on the first play, dislocated ankle, out for 10 weeks. Did I mention he's the backup? The third-string QB comes in, hands off once and throws a terrible screen pass, we punt. They convert on the short drive, field goal, 22-20.

However, the game's not over. The bug where the clock doesn't run on kickoff returns comes into play again, and we get one more play. Oddly enough, the third-string QB fails to throw a touchdown pass and we lose.

EA's playcalling is absolutely terrible. Don't run out of the spread. Run out of a running formation.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

New blinc

I mean, you really shouldn't need any more than you already have, but just in case you are still thinking about voting for the senior Senator from Arizona ...

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Terrible idea o' the day

Not a bug, a design flaw.

When you're in a tight situation, like a big third down or a fourth-down try, EA decided it would be "helpful" to have legendary coach Lee Corso recommend plays for you.

Now, first of all, that's about the biggest joke in the game. If you see anything on this page that makes you think he's qualified to give any kind of playcalling advice, much less in the modern game, you'll be the first.

But more importantly, what it does is wastes time. It's not so important when it's third-and-3 with a minute gone in the first quarter. It's very fucking important when you are driving for a winning TD and have no timeouts left and it's fourth down. I do not want to waste any seconds throwing away what that jackass set up for me. I want to use the formation I just had, maybe even the play I just called.

If I haven't mentioned this before, I'll say it here. Do not buy NCAA 09. It's a piece of crap.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

What he said


He explains many of the things I dislike about NCAA 09 much better than I could, and his key point is right on the money: EA made such a mess of the AI defense over that unless you're great at NCAA 09, you're screwed, because you will get no help at all.

In fact, I agree so much I'm registering on those boards just to say so.

A drop in the ocean

Hey, look! EA is bothering to fix some things, including:

  • Improved coverage on kicks
  • WR screen routes improved
  • Ball carrier will no longer run out of bounds when changing hands and heading towards the sidelines

(There are more, but these two are the only ones that fix bugs I've personally seen.)

Note that there is nothing about stat accuracy, nor about the mysterious "servers down" crap that I get pretty much every night after 9 or so, even when the servers are very clearly not down. For that one, what I've seen online (which isn't much) recommends shutting down, disconnecting the 360 from its internet connection, and starting it back up.

Um, no. Your shit's broken, you fix it.

Bug o' the day

This is a fun one. Legend mode, Alamo Bowl against Michigan, we force a punt. Coach finally has me on the punt return team (but not returning, yet). I cover my guy, but realize the guy on the right side is coming in untouched. I miss him and he forces a fumble, but I'm right there. I scoop it up and run it for 13 yards. (Of course, the camera doesn't switch. The camera angles are one of the worst things about this game, compounded by the fact that you can't choose them. at all. EA, this is the 21st century; 21st century, this is EA. But that's not the bug.)

The Super Sim pbp shows the returner, the guy who fumbled it, as having a 13-yard return.

Um, no.

On top of that, the stats do seem to show his return correctly (should be 1 return for 0 yards), but don't show me recovering the fumble or returning it for 13 yards (which is how my yards should be shown).

At this point, I believe no one at EA even bothers to verify stats in these games. Sure, some of these situations are unusual, but a company EA's size should have a large enough testing team to see some of these events, and there's no excuse for recording or announcing stats improperly, not when the NCAA's entire set of rulebooks (for all sports) are available on line for free.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Eggcorn: hoist by my own retard

Awesome day in Chicago. Just awesome. Sun, good weather, Cubs win, scantily-clad women (I need to get out more), good times.

Took the Metra into Chicago (no one rides it at 8 AM on Saturday: shocker), then the el up to Murphy's, met the gang, off to the game, then ended up at Retro on Roscoe. Pretty cool: live bands, lots of good food, $5 entry. So we stayed there for a while. A little too long, as it turned out.

I'd decided not to plan too much and just go with things, so when the group decided to head off to the key club, I headed back to the mass transit system: back to Belmont to catch the Brown Line to the Loop. Didn't check the time.

I walked over there ... in retrospect, that didn't hurt me too much. I thought it was a long walk, but Google says like 1.5 miles, which is 20-30 minutes. I could maybe have caught a cab, but I wanted to save money and needed the exercise.

I get to the station, and of course it takes all 10 minutes for the next train to show up. Off to the Loop, and then to Union Station. Check the schedule, uh huh, next train leaves at 8:40, it's 7:10 now, should be able to board soon.

oh wait.

8. 7. I don't have 30 minutes, I have an hour and 30 minutes. crap. The last hourly train left at 6:40. At first I thought it was because I'd walked, but really, that wouldn't have saved me enough time.

I waited it out, but I had to spend way more time in the station than I wanted by myself. And on top of that, while my legs recovered (mostly) from my weightlifting adventure, I was once again not dressed for long walking, and so I now have chafed the skin in an area where I really couldn't ask anyone for assistance if I needed it, because I'm not dating anyone.

You'd think I'd remember, but no. I need to buy compression shorts or otherwise deal with this better before next year. Yes, maybe losing weight would help. Point taken.

But hey, I lucked into the $5 weekend Metra pass. Saved $3+. sweet.

Friday, August 01, 2008


Wednesday, we're playing another new team. (New being a relative term, meaning they weren't in our league last session.) I'm front row, right, playing off the net mostly. Now that the nets are close to regulation height, my ability to block is mostly gone. There's an older guy playing across from me. Seems all right, except that he's one of those guys who thinks that coed leagues were made for outstanding male players to show off their talents; women are there simply to fill out the roster.

What I mean is that when he's supposed to be the setter, he works out something with the woman to his left so that they switch on the attack. Um, whatever, if it makes you feel better. It certainly wasn't helping them at all: in fact, it cost them a couple of points because he wasn't in position in time. (On top of that, it nearly set us up for a nice little point by yours truly, except I bumped the ball straight into the net instead of into a recently-vacated area. anger. anger.)

So anyway, once or twice he's pretty close to the net, maybe even reaching over it, but whatever, it's just C-league. And then on this point, someone sets me, and I pop the ball over, and I hear this flip-flip-flip-flip sound, like someone's raking his hand through the net.

The guy opposite me says nothing. Uh, sure, whatever. We keep playing the point, and then finally the two other people in front on our side ask him "weren't you in the net?" Even the woman front right (remember, he switched) is asking him this.

Finally, as the point is about over, he says something like "Well, I guess I might have touched the net a little, but it didn't have anything to do with the play, are we counting that now?"

a) Now? We count it every time, jackass, whether or not the ball is anywhere near you. Especially when you try to pull the net down.

b) Didn't have anything to do with the play? Either you jumped when the ball was there and raked the net, in which case you're a liar, or you jumped when the ball was nowhere near you, in which case you're a retarded monkey.

c) FOG. He wasn't happy when we won the game, and of course didn't say "Good game" as we went through the handshake line.

FOG? <earmuffs>Fuckin'</earmuffs> old guy. You know the type: usually 10-20 years older than the guys they're playing, but isn't anywhere near in that kind of shape, so they have a certain style of play to make up for it. In basketball, it's the guy who grabs your shirt every time you cut through the lane, or pokes you when you go up to shoot, or elbows you when you jump for a rebound. In softball (slow-pitch, of course, these guys can't handle fast-pitch), it's the guy who calls strikes when he's pitching in a pickup game, or pounds his glove in the infield every time a runner comes by, or tries to take out the five-foot-tall girl at second on a forceout.

And when you call them on it, they never admit to it. ever.

If you have a 50-year-old body, and you want to compete with 20-year-olds, play video games, know your role, or get the hell off the court. It's C-league coed volleyball, not the Olympics ... and if it were a serious match, we'd have refs, and you'd have been called for being two feet into the net, so STFU.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

im in ur tub drinkin ur watur

So I had a bout of fortyitis this week: tight hamstrings, sore back. I'm lurching around the office all day, creaking when I stand up after dinner. I get home, realize the lawn probably should be mowed today (either today or Sunday, after I get home, so yeah, today).

Mow the lawn, relax on the sectional, and realize that I might want to do something before my legs bend up into little Vs. Hard to drive if you can't reach the pedals. I read up, decide on heat, and opt for a bath.

I realize it's been a while since I took a bath at home because it takes a while to fill the tub. I get in, stretch my legs a little, and sure enough, Cat #1 comes up to visit. (She is a big fan of the tub because it has water, and she likes to drink water.)

I'm relaxing, playing solitaire on my iPhone, and suddenly I hear lap ... lap ... lap. I look over, and there is Cat #1, carefully leaning over into the tub and drinking. Not from the faucet. From the water in the tub. The water I'm in.

I move a little, which makes a little wave and breaks the cat's concentration. She backs up, I settle down, and once again, lap ... lap ... lap.

I'm embarrassed. I mean, what if someone saw this? (Aside, of course, from the horrible specter of me in the water.) I have a perfectly good water fountain that, in fact, has fresh water in it RIGHT NOW. Cold, fresh water. And this cat is drinking hot bathtub water. Not warm, mind you. I don't do warm. (Fortunately, no soap this time.)

I really don't understand cats sometimes.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Who are you, and what did you do with AT&T?

I have more things to post about, but a quick one for now (I'm an hour late getting to bed):

Running through my bills to pay them prior to Wrigleyfest (I try to avoid paying bills while on the road ... I don't necessarily trust that wireless connection, nor the wired one if available), and I see I have a bill from AT&T. $21-something.

Now, some time ago, I noticed that my last bill from AT&T was $32. I checked it, and I saw that when I kicked Sprint off by signing up for AT&T long distance (free - duh, it's a landline, and only necessary for DSL and satellite pay-per-view ... sports, you perverts! What did you think I meant?), AT&T didn't remove them from my bill. Oh great, time to call Sprint, because of course AT&T can't settle this, and I can't do it online because ... oh never mind. I decide to call. The phone is dead - I left it off the cradle. Fine. I put it back. Call another day.

Well, I forgot, and now I see that without any urging from me, AT&T removed Sprint's service and isn't charging me for it. Are you sure this is the monopoly I know?

If it weren't so late, I'd investigate further. As it is, I'm going to smile while I'm taking a quick shower to remove sand and stabbing pains in my back.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bug o' the day

This time, it's in online play. (Buggy as hell, not too laggy, well, except for today.) It's a conference game. I'm Purdue, he's Ohio State, and you can't really throw slants or drags if there's a defender anywhere in the vicinity, and my receivers are all slow guys, so I'm screwed, but we're pretty close early on.

Then I force a third-and-long, and he has to chuck the ball deep to a receiver who's a good three feet out of bounds when he catches the ball. Incomplete pass, fourth down, so he lines up to punt ... but wait! The booth is reviewing the call. (At least I think it was the booth. It could have been my opponent, I didn't check to see if he had any challenges left.)

They reverse the call. I didn't pause the game to check it myself, thinking it would show up in the highlights at the end.

Ha. Not quite. The play is missing. Completely.

If that isn't a steaming pile of <earmuffs>bullshit</earmuffs>, I don't know what is.

It didn't cost me the game, of course, but it was one hell of a swing, considering that he drove down and scored a TD to take a seven-point lead, and the next time I scored was a field goal as time expired.

<earmuffs>Fuck</earmuffs> EA.

What? What do you want? Why do you keep touching me?


That's what I came home to today. Now, that's not at all out of the ordinary: as long as I get home on time, I get a meow. Sometimes I get two, but usually Josie only meows if I ask her to.

Today was different.



This was clearly a "Feed me, you idiot" meow, except that both bowls already had food. (Explanation: two cats, two bowls. Regular people bowls, because at one point we thought maybe Calle was reacting to the bowls I had before. Of course Calle eats out of both of them, but I try. It also enables me to keep more food out when I'm gone overnight. When Calle finally explained that the old food was crap and this new food was wonderful, I'd figured it out by replacing the food in just one bowl, so the other bowl is still the old food. There are starving cats in China and all that.)

So I walk her to the food and leave her. After all, there's food in both bowls.



Now, to be fair, at one point, this wasn't "Meow, this food has aged more than 8 hours, I will not eat it" but rather "Meow, I'd love to eat this food, but I have intestinal cancer, and I really don't feel like eating at all", so I really can't dismiss any of it completely. But it still sounded like the former.

Back and forth. I play with her food a little – look, kitty, new food! – but to no avail.

Finally, I put a splash (figurative, because they're on dry food) in the good bowl.

Calle deigns to eat some.

High-maintenance cat. (Literally. Have you seen my credit card bills?) Where would she get that trait?

Uh, don't answer that.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

One more thing ...




Sideline, shmideline

Today's NCAA 09 bug of the day: a receiver can go out of bounds, run out of bounds for as long as he likes, and then come back in bounds and catch the pass. No problems with that at all.

Of course, we know differently. On page 80 of the 2007 official rules, available here, we see Rule 4-1-2-1-a:
A player or an airborne player is out of bounds when any
part of his person touches anything, other than another player or game
official, on or outside a boundary line (A.R. 4-2-1-I and II).
And on page 102, we see Rule 7-3-4:
ARTICLE 4. No eligible offensive receiver who goes out of bounds during
a down shall touch a legal forward pass in the field of play or end zones or
while airborne until it has been touched by an opponent or official (A.R.
(Note that it's okay if you're forced out and try to come right back in. Running out on your own = ineligible to touch the ball first.)

Most decent college football fans know this. EA, apparently, does not. No surprise.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Dumbest thing I have ever seen

Halftime of the BCS National Championship game. We come out for the second half ... and the ball is spotted at the 30 for a play. We line up. The ball is "snapped", but instead of a play being run, the screen says "KICKOFF", which doesn't seem to matter for the players. They are running around endlessly, which is a big fucking joke, because now I'm going to have to restart the game.

I don't know that I've seen bugs in NCAA games bigger than this one. Well, except for the one a few years ago where if you tried to run a hurry-up offense late in the game, it would crash and you'd have to restart the game.

I know, I'll check on the status of our online dynasty. Oops, the servers are down again, please try later.

EA = teh suck.

Canada time?

Apparently EA thinks that Canada uses a different calendar than the US, which is kind of odd considering that EA actually has a studio in Canada ... but anyway, today's NCAA 09 bug is a fun one. I'm simming through the bowls in Legend mode prior to the BCS title game, and I noticed that while the scores were flashing by (because they don't display slowly as you'd think they would, you know, so you can actually watch them), I saw what I thought was Western Michigan-Notre Dame. (Yes, in video games, Notre Dame doesn't get favorable treatment ... it's more like the way things should be.)

See, the thing is that they're playing in the International Bowl in Toronto, and as we all know, that's not played until the 5th. It's still December in the game. So I check the results, and sure enough, it simmed already. (Western won, 34-20. Ha ha ha ha ha. Guess video-Weis couldn't tape Western's signals.)

That's a little worse than the typo about the Big 12 title game. (It kept telling me we were invited to play in the Big 12 title game on 12/6, even though it was telling me on the 8th and the game is actually the 13th.) But it's all right, I'm sure EA knows about it and will fix it in the patch they'll be issuing before the season begins.

Yeah, I didn't think so. I didn't believe it either.

Update: I think it's an anti-MAC bias. The GMAC Bowl sims a week early as well. Now, I don't think those bowl should be played when they are, but the fact is, they are played after January 1, and they should sim then. After all, isn't that EA's rationale for excluding playoffs from NCAA football games the last 10 years or so?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

EA r dum

I guess I'll bring myself to post a full review of NCAA 09 at some point, as much as I dislike the thought, but I can't deal with it right now. There are, however, some things that are so bad (minor though they might seem) that I can't help but share them.

Take coin tosses, for example. What's supposed to happen is that the team that wins the toss picks first in the first half, and the team that loses the toss picks first in the second half. Most games don't do it that way, which isn't that big of a deal unless the weather really sucks: they just make you switch sides every quarter, so one team chooses kick/receive and the other effectively chooses the wind for all four quarters.

I lost the toss, and the AI took the ball, so I wanted the wind in my face, figuring I'd get the wind at my back in the second and fourth quarters. It worked great in the first half: I kicked a 46-yard field goal as time expired to take the lead.

In the second half, I have a three-and-out, and so I get ready to punt ...

... with the wind.

Um, no. Either we switch sides, or I get to pick first and the AI picks second, and because you didn't let me pick, then we switch sides, and I'm heading into the wind.

EA = teh sux0r.

Monday, July 21, 2008

U r dum

Training all this week. It's nice because I get out of the office and learn some new stuff (on Microsoft's dime, actually: part of our volume licensing plan), but also because I'm reminded how dumb some people can be.

I don't mean the person who doesn't understand what the instructor's explaining (on top of it, he did something wrong and wouldn't admit it, or I suppose did it by accident and didn't realize it, but come on, these classes are designed to be easy to follow if you just read the instructions).

I mean the guy who spent minutes trying to figure out what kind of sauce he wanted on his burrito at Chipotle.

It's not, as they say, rocket science. Four choices: hot, medium, corn, or mild. Pick one. (Or more than one, but you know, pick at least one.) Fortunately there were only about four of us in line at the time. The guy covering the first half of the line (bowl through meat) was able to reach over and get my sauce and cheese so that I was ready to go while Jackass was stupefied at the prospect of deciding between FOUR! TYPES! OF! SAUCE! The woman handling the other half of the line is patiently indicating each type, probably wondering how it could be true that someone could have no idea how to answer her questions.

Eventually, the guy says "Corn ..."

The kind manager asks "Roasted corn chile?" (Or something like that. I'd check on their menu, but their website sucks and won't give me a PDF without a popup window. Nice try, suckers.)

He says "Yeah ..."

The lady quickly reaches for the corn salsa, and he suddenly says "No ..."

So she gives him hot sauce and sends him on his way.

It isn't Baskin Robbins or even BWW. If you don't know, pick mild, because you probably can't eat hot sauce anyway. Then get out of the way and let us eat. It isn't the GRE and don't treat it that way.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

XBLA review: Coffeetime Crosswords (4/10)

Yeah, they're back. I have too many projects. I figure someday I can get zreviews to a point where it's worth seeing, but for now maybe I can toss out little ones to satisfy my nonexistent gaming audience.

Coffeetime Crosswords is another bone for those of us who are begging for XBLA content other than first-person shooters. The idea is pretty good, and there's certainly no competition (I mean, other than Buku Sudoku, there's really no paper-style puzzles at all on XBLA). But maybe that's the problem.

If there were another crossword puzzle game, it might have a reasonable control scheme (or at least a customizable one), and then the programmers for this game could have said "Hey, you know I think we might need to change this up a little." See, the basic idea is all right – a ring with A-M, use LB and RB to move and A to select, between A and M is something that flips it to N-Z (and vice versa) – but there's a teeny problem with it. With 14 spots on the wheel, frequently you're a ways away from the switch, so you want a button that will flip the wheel. Sure, here it is: LB/RB. At the same time.

The problem is that the sensitivity is very high, so most of the time, instead of flipping the wheel, you just bounce back and forth between adjacent letters. Sometimes it happens several times in a row. (Good thing this game isn't timed. Oh wait.)

There are other problems, too. The wheel tries to stay out of the way by moving to an adjacent quadrant of the screen when your selection moves. Unfortunately, this can happen while you are entering a word, so all of a sudden, the ring blinks out and reappears in a different place. Again, very disorienting and not conducive to good times.

Furthermore, the ring automatically disappears any time you complete a word. Sounds like a good deal, except that when you are entering a word horizontally that also completes several vertical words, the ring disappears after every. single. word. you. complete. What's the point of indicating that you're filling in the horizontal word when the game stops for the vertical ones too?

The achievements are mostly decent, although they insisted on throwing in a co-op one (because who wouldn't want to play co-op crosswords?), and at least you can use a USB keyboard, but even that's messed up: your selection doesn't advance after you type a letter.

It does save correct words, so you don't have to worry about overwriting a letter you've already confirmed, but I suppose that could have been an option, too (like in Buku Sudoku). Oh well. It's obvious we weren't getting much with this game.

If you really, really like crossword puzzles, and you insist on playing them on your 360, well hey! This is the game for you. Otherwise, I'd recommend getting one of those old things. You know, a magazine. They're awfully cheap these days.

zlionsfan's rating: a four-letter word for ten across.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It might be. It could be. It is!

That's right.

Check it out.


So, after my recent experience with the Who, I'm ready for Iron Maiden.

First try: 59%. You know why? I'm up to the part where I failed last time, just ready to activate Overdrive to get to the point where it's l-r-l/foot, r-l-yellow/foot (the normal beat has a foot only on the first triplet) ...

and I lose the stick. It falls to my left, I miss Overdrive, I miss red and foot, I fail. I cry.

Well, not really. I didn't cry. But I did fail.

I go to the storage room and get the weightlifting gloves I have for just this occasion. Bonus - I don't hold the sticks as tightly, so they bounce better. I fail after 61%, basically the same as my previous best.

I try again, focusing on the stupid bass pedal. (I think I hit it a touch early, normally.)

I hit Overdrive. I struggle through the multiple-bass section, flashing red most of the way.

I get to the closing sequence.

I get to the Big Rock Ending. I nail it.

I get three stars. 75%.

I don't care. One more song.

We're all wasted

I just five-starred Baba O'Riley on Hard drums.

I love this game.

Fine, you don't care. So read this. (Not the comments, just the story.)

Sure, it's not the end of spam as we know it, but it's a long-overdue start. If most ISPs actually checked incoming mail (well, outgoing mail too, but obviously a rogue ISP won't check its own mail), spam would be a lot less prevalent. (Sure, some spammers will work for it, but who bothers now? It's so easy to send crap spam, as you can tell.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Who's next

Who Are You.
Summertime Blues.
My Generation.
Going Mobile.
Eminence Front.
Behind Blue Eyes.
Baba [redacted] O'Riley, one of the best songs ever written.

Guess I'll be playing some Rock Band tonight.

Nothing more needs to be said.

Well, one thing. Love my 6000-down DSL ...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Today was a good day

That's right, I just quoted Ice Cube. Diversity +1.

Last night, I get the feeling that I need to put out the recycling. Check the calendar - no, this is an even week. (My weeks are odd weeks.) Doesn't seem like last week was right, though. I go to bed.

12:00, um, midnight. My phone beeps. Take out recycling. (Sometimes when I sync my iPhone, it merrily moves appointments forward an hour.) So that says two things: one, I have not changed the appointment since I got my new job (11 PM is too late for a reminder), and two, it was so this week.

Too late now. I'll check in the morning.

Get up. Get ready for work. Look at the calendar. No, not my week. Look at the PC. Yes, my week. what?

I check the reminder. Set in January - check that date on the calendar, yep, that was my week. So ... either something changed the appointment, or the calendar is wrong. January ... February ... March ... April ... still right ... May ... June ... July ... wrong. whoops.

aha. The last week in May is an even week. The first week in June is an even week. Not the same week. calendar's wrong. this is my week.

It's about 5 till 7. I figure I'll go ahead and put it out. Worst case is that I bring it back in the evening and try again on the 28th. Wheel it out to the curb, then go back inside to check something ...

and I hear the recycling truck coming down the street. Five minutes later, I'm gone and they're picking up my stuff.

On top of that, I'm told that my town is the 10th-best place to live in the US. Best place in Indiana, and only Naperville beats it among Great Lakes-area states. (Minnesota's part of the Midwest. It doesn't count.)

sweet. I have chosen wisely.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Have you seen this ad for

It's a guy scuba-diving with his cat.

The cat has a scuba suit. (Of course, the screen says "Do not attempt." Duh. The world could be divided roughly into two groups. One group would just as soon leave the suit off the cat, and the other wouldn't try to get a cat anywhere near a suit ... of course if you told it not to get anywhere near this helmet ...)

So then the commercial shows questions: how does scuba work? How were cats domesticated? How are pools filtered?

Aside from making me rewind and watch the commercial, it also made me ask a few questions.

How did they get the cat in the helmet? (It may not actually be underwater, but you never know.)

When the cat is seen in the helmet, is it thinking a) "With which claws should I shred his arm first when we get out of here?" or b) "Could this be any more boring? I could be sleeping now."?

I guess the commercial kind of worked. I'm still not tempted to check out the site, though.

Close call

DirecTV. Channels not coming in. Normally, this means some combination of heavy rain and high winds. Not likely in this case - it's sunny.

Or maybe it's a physical problem, like wires disconnected (nope) or the receiver being blown out of alignment. (That did happen a few months ago – the recent storms didn't do it, so not so likely now.)

It could be a programming issue, except in this case, it's a lot of channels. (Sadly, ESPN was still coming in, so I had no excuse to avoid SportsCenter, which is rapidly decreasing in quality.)

So I go online, and of course the first thing it suggests is rebooting the receiver (unplug, wait, plug in, turn on).

Ta da! Full complement of channels again.

Now how often does that happen?
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