gridlore: One of the "Madagascar" penguins with a checklist: [x] cute [x] cuddly [x] psychotic (Penguin - Checklist)
Well, it's that time again. March Madness. When America grinds to a screeching stop so we can pretend not to bet on a college basketball tournament. Even though i won't be doing my part by wasting billions of dollars of productivity following the games, I've filled out my brackets.

Two of them, actually. One on ESPN and one on Yahoo, both of which will mark the only time I use those accounts all year. The annual Filling Out Of The Brackets has become a holy ritual, with some people spending more effort determining whether Seton Hall has a better free throw percentage than Xavier than they will on their taxes. Which explain much about this nation.

By the way, I'd totally pay more attention to college basketball if "Xavier" was actually the school from the X-Men comics. I mean, is it traveling if you fly with the ball in your hands? But alas, that dream must stay in the realm of the comic book that I demand be on the shelves pronto.

There's even a term for this national obsession with obscure schools you've never heard of: "Bracketology." If you listen to sports radio in late February you will hear grown mean discussing how to fill out your bracket in the way I was told how to save my life if I was exposed to nerve gas: in great detail and deathly serious. For eight years the President of the United States would host ESPN in the White House so he could reveal not a secret plan to send Rush Limbaugh to Mars, but his picks for the NCAA Tournament. It was a show! And boy do I miss that guy right now.

But I'm not a basketball fan in the least. Despite being a total sports goober basketball never appealed in the least. Even though I grew up in the glory days of Dr. J, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and witnessed the deification of Michael Jordan, I was just never into the game itself. Too many weird fouls, I suppose. It would be action action action *tweet* and everyone marches to the other end of the court.

I also blame my mother. As was required by law, our house had a basketball net mounted on the garage. This was put up despite one kid being legally blind and the other two being sports-adverse. But on warm summer nights we'd dutifully file out for a game of Horse. If you're not familiar with the game, one person shoots a basket. If they make it, the next person has to replicate the shot or get a letter. Spell Horse and you're out.

Which would be fine, except my mom was an undiscovered basketball prodigy! She'd nail hook shots, jumpers through the horrible sap-ridden tree branches, and even from the end of the driveway! And then I'd be handed the ball and told to try my best! Ha! There's a reason I became a dedicated bookworm.

There you go, the reason why basketball and I aren't friends. We just don't get along well, and I think we're both good with that. I cheer for the Warriors when I hear about them, and can name at least three team members; although I have to admit that comes from listening to news radio all day, not actual interest.

But I did fill out my brackets. On both I picked Duke to win because I heard someone say that Duke was the bookmakers' favorite. So of course Duke will be beaten in the first round just to screw up my entire bracket. A more likely scenario is I'll have a good first round, get my hopes up, and then watch the entire thing burn down, fall over, and sink into the swamp.

I know everyone reading this is dying to know my secrets to picking a bracket. Do I compare stats? Check the teams comparative records? Examine the coaching philosophies? Seek out the wisdom of wiser heads and heed their advice?

No, most years I pick almost at random. I usually go for the higher seeded team unless I like the other school more. For example, I always pick Wisconsin to do at least moderately well, due to family ties and the fact that I like badgers. My other method is to play Mascot Deathmatch. Which mascot would win a fight? This is why in the years Stanford has made it to the tournament I've never picked them to win. Their mascot is a tree. Trees are terrible fighters.

Go brackets! Do me proud, and I'd like to apologize to Kirsten for my annual descent into March Madness.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
I really cannot stand NBC's coverage. Worse than watching baseball on ESPN.

But I do keep seeing the medal counts, because at some point it became important to "win" the Olympics for your national team. But it bugs me, because the teams are no equal in size. So I've decided to do a quick thing to see who is winning.

I'm assigning points to each medal. 30 for gold, 20 for silver, and 10 for bronze. As of this writing the current medal board looks like this.

1. United States 28G 30S 28B 1,720 points.
2. Great Britain 19G 19S 12B 1,070 points.
3. China 17G 15S 19B 1,000 points
4. Russia 12G 12S 15B 750 points
5. Germany 11G 8S 9B 580 points.

Now, we take those point totals and divide them by the number of athletes.

1. United States 554 athletes. Score 3.1
2. Great Britain 366 athletes. Score 2.9
3. Russia 266 athletes. Score 2.8
4. China 399 athletes. Score 2.5
5. Germany 419 athletes. Score 1.3

Obviously, this doesn't factor in team sports, or events where there is both individual and team scoring. But I find it interesting.

The smallest team in Rio is from the island of Nauru, with just two athletes. If one had earned gold? Team score of 15. Dream big, guys!
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Penguin - Exploding)
Over the last couple of weeks I have become increasingly frustrated with how modern news outlets operate. The fact that it's about viewer numbers and not actually reporting the news in most cases is a fact, but it has become pathetic.

For the record, I am down to watching The Rachael Maddow Show on MSNBC, and I don't even do that every night. I get my news from KCBS radio (740AM) and online from diverse sources like Reuters, Al Jazera, the BBC, and whatever domestic sources I can find for a story. I find network news unwatchable for the utterly shallow coverage. Even the weekend talking head shows have become less "Face The Nation" and more "give your prepared speech." Guest are selected based on the numbers they'll bring in.

What really pissed me off was the coverage of the death of Freddie Grey while in the custody of the Baltimore Police Department and the resultant civil unrest. This was an important story, to be sure. It highlighted the institutional racism this country still faces, the over-militarization and excessive force employed by the police, and the problems of endemic poverty in creating a permanent underclass. This was a story that deserved close examination.

What we got was eight hours a day of talking heads moving from network to network, rash speculation, reporting of rumors as fact, and on-site reporters outnumbering protesters in some cases. There were days when there was nothing meaningful to report, yet the news outlets stayed on the story while ignoring other important stories. For example, did you know that last week the Supreme Court issued a ruling that shocked court watchers and may have paved the way for a challenge to Citizens United? I know because I follow a couple of legal blogs. But it got almost zero airtime because we had to interview a member of the Crips live on air.

I wish I was kidding.

The problem is that directors are terrified that if they cover something else the junkies who want that story only will change channels. Which is a terrible way to get real news out.

My other moment of frustration came Saturday. Saturday, something amazing happened in the world of sports. Two baseball games ended when a baserunner was hit by a batted ball. That's called Runner Interference in the rules, and the runner is out. (The batter gets credit for a single.) Never before in the history of Major League Baseball had two games ended on this call on the same day. Think about it; the Major Leagues ave been around (officially) for 112 years. Each season each team plays well over 100 games. And never before did this improbably thing happen.

So I tuned into ESPN to see some highlights and discussion. However, every other sporting event in the world was being ignored for an over-hyped welterweight boxing match that was universally described as terrible. ESPN spent three hours covering a fight where very little happened, cutting to interviews with everyone involved, analyzing each punch. . . it wasn't a good fight!

But it was a much-hyped fight. This was supposed to be the fight of the century. So ESPN ignored reality and ignored everything else.

There's a reason I don't watch much TV beyond a few favorites.
gridlore: The word Giants over a baseball (Baseball - SF Giants)
San Francisco 49ers: 34
New York Jets: 0

We just controlled this game. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman used 152 packages that left the Jets' defense completely confused. Our defense just shut down the Jets' offense.

San Francisco Giants: 7
San Diego Padres: 5

Giants come back from being down 5-2 in the 8th to win what was basically a tune-up for both teams. We're looking towards the postseason, and the Padres are auditioning young talent for next year.

Meanwhile, in the East Bay...

Denver Broncos: 37
Oakland Raiders: 6

Yeah, the Raiders suck.

The A's remain in the hunt for a playoff berth.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Me - Thoughtful)
In our continuing quest to jump start Niece Prime's adult life, we went to talk to an Air Force recruiter yesterday. It actually was Lenore's idea, and I did my best to detail both the benefits and drawbacks of military service.

The funny thing was that when we got to the recruiting station, the doors were locked, and there was a contact number taped to the door. So we went next door to the Army station to ask if/when the Zoomies showed up. The answer wasn't encouraging, but the Sergeant on duty was kind enough to start working with Nori on the basics. Sadly, there is an issue that is probably going to be a block for her enlisting. Still I'm awesomely proud of her for even considering the armed forces as an option.

I'm not going to mention the block, as it's nobody business.

It was kind of funny, in the course of our travels I got called Lenore's dad twice. At the recruiting station and at the grocery store. And to be honest, when I heard what the barracks are like these days (two-man rooms with private bathrooms, kitchenettes, carpeting!) I was about ready to re-up myself!

But I was so looking forward to the call where we told Craig that after two months exposure to me, Lenore had enlisted. We may be middle-aged, but he's still my big brother, and it is still my solemn duty to torment him.

The Norster is moving into her own place next week, and we're really trying to emphasize that she needs to keep looking for better opportunities and get dedicated to making money. We've done what we can, and will continue to help her in any way we can, but we really want our living room back.

At some point yesterday I got exposed to a stomach bug. Barely slept last night, feeling miserable today. Called in dead. Probably crawling back into bed. I'm willing it was when I went over to my new health-care provider's offices for a coumadin level. One nice improvement at Palo Alto Medical Foundation over Kaiser, I have a dedicated NP handling my INF work, so I'll be seeing the same person each time I dfo a level and getting face time to discuss changes in diet and life-style that could affect my levels.

Not watching the Olympics. Just not overly into them this year. The Giants currently suck like things that suck a lot, but are still clinging to a half-game lead in the NL West.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Me - Google)

  • Got in to discover that I had only four stops, all in Fremont. But...

  • There was a five pallet order going to a plant in Woodland, which is located right between Hell and Gone.

  • No biggie, I'd been there before. I had a GPS, my iPod, and a Giants day game to keep me company.

  • Right after passing through Cordelia truck scales, I get a call.. since I'm "close by" could i make a pick-up in Vallejo?

  • This is an interesting definition of close by. The two stops are 60 miles apart.

  • But hey, it's what they pay me for.

  • Get to the vendor, pick up my one box of washers (to be fair, they were big structural washers, not something you can get at Home Depot) got to start the truck...

  • ..and get nothing. The starter turns over, but the engine isn't catching.

  • Read The Ophiuchi Hotline for 45 minutes, checking on the Giants game occasionally.

  • Mechanic shows up, sprays something right into the intake as I crank the engine, and the beast starts right up.

  • Here's how my day looked.

  • The Giants game was just bizarre.

  • Dropped off a couple of boxes of books with Goodwill, and they will allegedly come and get the furniture we don't want. Must check into that.

  • Did a little more triage on the book shelves. My goal is to be able to get everything - books, DVDs, CDs, games - onto the 3.5 bookshelves we currently own.

  • I'm picking the Netherlands in the World Cup final.

  • Along with everything else we need to do this weekend, we need to do a recycling run.

  • A coworker has given us a lead on a new place.

gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Gadsen)
It's a quiet Sunday morning.. up until ten seconds ago when I heard "GOALLLLL!!" shouted from at least three apartments.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (US Flag)
USA: 1
England: 1

England's players couldn't get off the field fast enough. The Americans lingered to savor the night.

They walked to the end of Royal Bafokeng Stadium where thousands of red, white and blue-clad fans were waving the Stars and Stripes and cheering their heads off.

Try convincing the U.S. team and its fans there wasn't a winner in the 1-1 draw with mighty England.

"We'll take more out of a draw than they will," said U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard, the man of the match. "They're going feel like they should have won the game."

Facing the Three Lions in the World Cup for the first time in 60 years, the United States rallied and then hung on for an instant boost in confidence that they could advance to the second round.

Clint Dempsey became only the second American to score in two World Cups, getting the tying goal in the 40th minute on a blunder by goalkeeper Robert Green. Howard made six saves, withstanding a second-half barrage by Wayne Rooney and his celebrated teammates.

"I think a lot of us came off the field satisfied with this result, but maybe a little disappointed we didn't get more out of the game," U.S. star Landon Donovan said.

Steven Gerrard put England ahead in the fourth minute, blowing past Ricardo Clark to beat Howard from short range. Dempsey tied it when Green fumbled his 25-yard shot that skipped off the ground twice, yet another mistake in a long line by English goalkeepers.

Our best tie with England since the War of 1812!
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Penguin - Typing)
I swear I was told that we'd be down for at least four days. But just for shits and giggles I started up Firefox and got a connection.

Not sure if Earthlink hasn't killed the account yet or AT&T was just a lot faster at switching us to their DSL service. We go to Uverse service later when they can schedule an installation.

My NCAA bracket resembles the Imperial Japanese Navy circa spring 1945.. what hasn't been sunk is out of gas and ammo. Of my Final Four picks, one is still in the tournament.

Been watching MSNBC all day. I love the process.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Penguin - Warning) if millions of NCAA brackets suddenly cried out in outrage and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Me - Google)

  • Still feeling very blah. Not sure if I'm fighting something off, or if I'm just tired and the weather is getting to me.

  • We decided not to go to the monster truck rally. Weather is just iffy enough.

  • Right now, I just feel stalled.

  • Didn't help that work this week was pretty rough.

  • Weather, long runs, and the usual problems combined to give me well over a thousand miles for the week and a nine+ hour day average.

  • Actually gotten some discussions going on the TML that have branched out into some interesting ideas.

  • I'm wearing a hoodie from the Burning Man Department of Mutant Vehicles.

  • This is obviously part of [ profile] kshandra's evil plot to get me out to That Thing In The Desert.

  • I haven't been watching much of the Olympics, but I have been keeping up on the stories.

  • I'm flatly refusing to support NBC's attempts to manipulate time. You have three branded networks, and control over a few others. Show everything live!

  • Then have a nightly two-hour recap/highlights show.

  • This kind of crap is why the BBC is my main source of news these days. American media is too stage-managed for my tastes.

  • Speaking of news, Spring Training is well underway!

  • From everything I've read the G-men realize how close they were to the postseason last year; and are determined not to repeat their mistakes and poor run production.

  • One of my favorite stories is Willie Mays' arrival at camp. After making the usual rounds, the 78-year-old legend sat down with two of the Giants' prospects. Two kids who were visiting the big league camp for a day or two before going to the minor league facility. Both rookies, one straight out of high school, and they get to sit and talk baseball with one of the greatest ever to play the game.

  • First Spring Training game is Wednesday against Seattle.

  • GO GIANTS!!!

gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (US Flag)

So, were you watching the night we all believed in miracles?
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Penguin - Typing)
We went to see Kylie play soccer yesterday, and I never remembered to take out my camera. Watching four year olds play soccer is cute. Or it would have been except for the fact that the team we were facing in this "just for fun, no score kept, let's introduce the concept of team sports" league were all bigger than our team, and obviously had been practicing on the side. Some of the parents were openly wondering about the age of a couple of the opponents, as they towered over everyone else and were far more advanced in terms of coordination and skills. Had we been keeping score, the game would have been called for mercy early.

But I have to heap praise on Kylie. Time after time when the other kids would wilt, or refuse to take the field, she'd get up and go out again. She waqsn't the best player out there, but she got out there and did her best over and over again. That's what makes a winner, and we're all very proud of her.

gridlore: Photo: penguin chick with its wings outstretched, captioned "Yay!" (Penguin - Yay!)
Game faces

Emergency Back-up Niece Kylie, who is awesome, and her mom, who does an awesome job with the kids, at Kylie's first soccer game. I am pleased to report that she kicked the ball a couple of times. Photo taken by [ profile] baka49er, who may finally get the jock she's always wanted. :)
gridlore: Photo: penguin chick with its wings outstretched, captioned "Yay!" (Penguin - Yay!)
Talbot's 2 lift Penguins to Stanley Cup title
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Baseball - Avatar)
I woke up this morning with the opening of ABC's Wide World of Sports in my head. The entire thing.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Penguin - Carpe)
Went over to my mom's this morning to see my Aunt Molly and to wash Darby (Mom's place has a parking spot just for washing cars, whereas we don't even have an exterior spigot that works.) As I was starting to spray down my truck, I got a text from [ profile] kshandra at the hair place. The ladies there were wondering why we didn't come in together. Since I was getting rather shaggy, I wandered over and got mowed. Got home, and took care of the dishes.

We do need to hit both Safeway and Costco, but that can wait until tomorrow. I think I'll do a couple of loads of laundry (how can two people generate so much laundry?) and watch some West Wing DVDs.

No, I'm really not interested in the Olympics this time around.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Baseball - Avatar)
Delaying Baseball Tonight so you can show Doc Rivers mumbling his way through a press conference is not cool. This wasn't even the deciding game of the finals!!!
gridlore: Photo: penguin chick with its wings outstretched, captioned "Yay!" (Penguin - Yay!)
We've got Puppy Bowl!!!!
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Basketball - Warriors)
I'm claiming early seats on the Warriors' bandwagon. After a shaky start, they've become one of the hottest teams in the NBA.


gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)

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