No alarms and no surprises, please.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Nintendo "Gets It"

They see that one way to really succeed going forward is to open your platform. That's how YouTube, Wikipedia, MySpace, etc. have become huge internet institutions. You allow smaller players to create content. That's what Nintendo is doing with a tool kit called "WiiWare".
They're sharing their technology with smaller independent programmers and will allow them to sell their games online through the Wii store. So far, all that's available there is nintendo created ports of older classics. But soon, for low,low prices like 5 bucks or so, you can buy all kinds of interesting games from a variety of new sources and download and play them through your Wii. It's the same model Mozilla uses with Firefox and its extensions.

In doing so, Nintendo has decentralized creativity. It understands that a platform is only as good as its games. So, the more creative people making games the better. They "get it".


Ten O' Clock! I Gotta Rock!

I saw these guys on this tour and even at 50+, it was everything I hoped for when I was nine and my parents wouldn't let me go. In retrospect, this was quite appropriate, but seemed cruelly unfair at the time.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sleepy Joe Must Go

I love Joe Torre. I really do. I just never want him to manage a bullpen or set a lineup. He can hang out in the locker room, hug the players and cry when the Yankees win. He makes a far better mascot than manager. You know, kinda like Cuba Gooding Jr.'s character in that movie, Radio. A lovable retarded dude.

Last night is a perfect example. And while I usually consider Rob Neyer to be "the David Broder of baseball writers", his blog entry (subscription req'd) from today contains the salient bit. Predictably, it's not actually from Neyer, but a friend who emailed him regarding Scott Proctor walking in the winning run in Baltimore.

It's just insane. There is no logical reason why, facing a situtation WHERE YOU CANNOT GIVE UP A RUN, OR YOU LOSE (and fall two games under .500), you would choose Proctor over Rivera. This is managing to a statistic -- the save -- rather than to win. According to Torre's logic, you use Proctor when you simply can't give up a run, and you use Rivera when you can. Absurd.

Further more, checkout Scott Proctor's stats for this year. 22 Walks in 41 2/3 innings. There was every reason to expect that Proctor would do what he did, especially since he threw 4 straight balls to the previous hitter to load the bases.

But Sleepy Joe Torre has his ideas of how things should work. "Guys Should Know Their Roles" and "He shows a lot of moxie" loom larger to Joe than common sense. He's got to go.

UPDATED (9/28): In a classic Torre move, Mo was able to pitch last night. Please note, that unlike a tie game, the Yankees were already down by 4 in the ninth. It was the first time Rivera had pitched in five days.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Man Vs. Wild

This is my new favorite show. British Special forces dude parachutes into desolate places and has to survive and get back to civilization. This dude is one bad mutha (shut yo mouth!).

It's star is Bear Gryllis. I'm not gay, but if I were, I'd want him to be my first.

Today, I did something I haven't done since the Clinton Administration

I played golf. Damn, I can't believe that I waited so fucking long. Awesome time.

I played at a little local 9 hole par 3 course. It cost 12 bucks. All in all, a great place to come back to a game that I hadn't played in 8 years. This is especially so since I never made it to a driving range as I intended to shake off the rust before the round.

First hole, I got a nine. On a par 3 (6 Over!). How does one get a nine exactly? Well, shank your first shot into a tree and then be unable to find it. Take a drop. Then take 3 chips to reach the green. Then 4 putt. See? Easy. An inauspicious debut.

Next hole, I got a 5. Marked improvement. I'd be uneven for most of the round, but shot the last three holes birdie, bogey, par. Man, that was beautiful. Good times.

I can't believe that I was pussy whipped enough to stop playing in the first place. Easily the #1 development of my wife kicking me to the curb is my rediscovering golf.

Did I mention "Good times"?

P.S. I was playing with two of my co-workers, both Brits. Neither of them had seen Caddyshack. I couldn't believe it. "Funnier than Happy Gilmore?" Good lord, Britain is a backward nation.

Movie Review - Knocked Up

Judd Apatow served as Auteur on this movie. It's his baby. In fact, it has his babies in it. And his wife. In a somewhat creepy move, he cast his wife (Leslie Mann) as a wife in this movie and his kids as her kids. Wha? Ugh. They are, at least, refreshingly cute. Perhaps I read one too many articles about this movie before I saw it because I found it distracting. I'll have to watch it again to see if I can move past it.

That distraction aside, I found this movie uneven. Apatow, known on his own for beloved and short lived comedy series "Undeclared" and "Freaks and Geeks", has a vision for this movie that extends beyond the framework of a hollywood movie. Given the scope of what he tried, it might have fit better as a series or a mini-series. This gave the film an awkwardly fast pace.

The plot is very straight-forward. Lovable shiftless loser meets a girl who has it all together and knocks her up. They try to make it work as a relationship and have a baby. Still, those pieces don't quite fit together. Meeting slacker Ben Stone (Seth Rogan) and his gaggle of goofy cohabitants is fun enough. Alison (smokin hot Katherine Heigl) is predictably earnest and perkey. The Hookup is enjoyable. The "I'm Pregnant" scene is hilarious. It's everything after that which just didn't play. For whatever reason, I'm guessing running time, they launch themselves into not only having a baby, but having a relationship. I just didn't buy it. What seems like three minutes later, Alison is telling Ben that she loves him. Wha? Huh? Why the hell does she do that?

Maybe it's the fact that I've looked at those drug store pregnancy tests and felt the implications of the little blue line that made me wonder what the hell these people were doing. It was just so poorly developed that it all seemed so cavalier. That's why I think it a bigger idea that was wedged in to the already unwieldy (for a comedy) 2 hours and 9 minutes. Problem is, for a romantic comedy to work, you have to buy that they belong together and I just couldn't.

Still, my bitching aside, it's a pretty enjoyable film. There are hilarious bits with Ben and his friends, pregant sex and a great one being a bouncer at a night club with Daryl from The Office. For those alone, and Katherine Heigl hotness, check it out.

p.s. possibly funnier than the movie are this deleted scene talking about brokeback mountain and this truly inspired bit of viral marketing in which they pretend to fire Michael Cera from the set, presumably replaced by Rogen. It's fake though. Apatow and Cera have a high-school comedy coming out later this year.
Rating: 3 out of 5 possible couches.

Monday, June 25, 2007

On Second Thought, "Carry On" still sucks

I decided to give "Carry On", the new album from god-like singer Chris Cornell, another listen. It still sucks. I guess 17 years of kicking ass is all C.C. had in him.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

This. Is. Amazing.

This video is from a seminar from an immigration law firm about how they help large companies step around the immigration laws so that they can hire foreign workers cheaply and not bother with pesky U.S. workers.

The Money Quote:

Our goal here is clearly, not to find a qualified and interested U.S. worker. In a sense, that sounds funny, but that's what we're trying to do here.

Here's a link to their firm's website, describing their immigration "value-added services".

If you click here, you can tell them to go fuck themselves.

Yay, Globalization!

I'm sorry, Jodi, but this makes no sense.


Connecticut's governor, a cancer survivor, vetoed a bill that would have allowed people with certain serious illnesses to use marijuana, saying it was fraught with problems and sent a mixed message to children.

Huh? Mixed message to children? What exactly is that message? Could you elaborate? Apparently not. Even her press release doesn't actually address what that "wrong message" could be. For the life of me, I can't understand it. That occasionally, if prescribed by a doctor and registered with the state, marijuana use might help sick people? That's a bad message?

Because I have a really good example of a "mixed message". For example, saying that even under these socially harmless circumstances and under the care of a physician marijuana use is illegal, while running a government that willingly collects millions of dollars in taxes and fees on the sale of alcohol and tobacco? That, at least to me, is a mixed message. Because if you're protecting the kids from getting stoned, what are you doing to protect them from getting drunk or smoking Marlboro's?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Schilling to have arm examined. Head examination still pending

Curt Schilling will have his arm examined with a precautionary MRI. We here at buzzingfridge would never wish injury on anyone. We prefer embarassment or if possible, humiliation. Get Well Soon, Curt!

p.s. I can't wait to read the breathless comments from your Red Sox Nation faithful at 38Pitches. What a bunch of dopey suckups.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Geeky Goodness

Love it. Clever ad from a company that is usually as clever as a ham sandwich. Take that, "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC"!

Please make it stop

Because cats and presidents aren't enough. LOLBots.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Fun with Google Analytics

Every person with a website needs to use Google Analytics. Sure, you're cutting-and-pasting a bit of potentially insidious HTML into your site. But how else would you find out something like this.

On June 8th, a person from Pakistan clicked on my blog after searching for the following in Google.

"Kanye West Boobs"

Welcome, Friend! You are absolutely in the right place for all things "Kanye West Boobs".

Here's my favorite Kanye West Moment. Poor Mike Myers.

And here's my favorite Boobs moment. NSFW!

So, that's how it ended

I was looking for a bottle opener. She came into the kitchen and hopped up on the counter, looking at me quite intently. This, by itself, was different. We had recently spent an inordinate amount of time purposefully not looking at each other.

"What's up?", I said, opening my beer.

She shook her head.

"You look like you have something to say.", I said. "You're chewing on your lips like you're trying to keep them closed."

She shook her head again. I thought for a moment.

"So what, you finally outta here or something?", I said.

She looked down. Finally, she said, "Would you mind terribly?"

Would I mind? In all the times that I imagined this conversation as we flailed about for the last few years, never had I come up with that particular phrasing. I laughed hysterically.

"Would I mind if we break up?", I asked? She nodded. "No, I guess not.", I replied.

She always made me say things first. Quite rightly, I had to be the one to say I wanted to be more than friends. Later, she worked hard to get me to say "I love you" first. And even now, she was unable to say "It's over" when it clearly was for her. We had oscillated wildly between "trying to make it work" and "fuck this" for the better part of a year. She just couldn't do it. And even after ginning up courage for a few days, "Would you mind terribly" was the best she could muster. I'll always love that. It's so her. As usual, I was able to help her out.

With that, it really was over. There were many more things said after that, but none as ultimately meaningful as "No, I guess not". It placed an end-point on a journey that began for us in October of 1996. It's not exactly where we intended to go when we set out together, but we're finally here.

Today, I am very sad and very relieved.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tedium and Frustration

There is nothing more tedious and frustrating than custom windows controls creation. There's a reason that 90% of developers when interviewed say they prefer back-end work to front-end work. I like to do front-end work, although most developers frown upon it, because in my experience the hardest question is ALWAYS "How should this thing work?". Too many projects I've seen have fired off from the starting like infrastructure and built robust technologies, only to later learn that it didn't serve the product's requirements well enough. It's the equivalent of building a computer to answer the question of life (42!) before you know what the question is. Making the app work properly once the important questions are answered, even on the back end, is usually pretty straight forward. I remind myself of this and that I by sentencing myself to tedium now, I get a large amount of control over the usability of my applications. Usually, this tedium is no problem for me. The notable exception to this is perfecting the behaviors of custom windows controls - it can be a serious pain in the ass.

I hate it. This is why you buy these goddamn things from russian coders or find them on codeproject. I've spent all freakin' day working on goddamned keyboard behaviors for an "intellisense-style" drop-down control that I was bequeathed from another developer and it's seriously pissing me off. I hit a bunch of keys, trying to break it, success, success, success, failure! Ack! Diagnose failure, fix, test. Fixed that, find that I broke something else! Ack!

I miss the C++ days when you could hack right into Windows itself, intercepting it's messages and doing what ever you want, sure you had more responsibility, but you had ultimate control. The "safety" of .NET is often offset by it's inflexibility. This doohickey seems to work great sometimes, but the .NET framework is returning some really weird responses to some of the keys I pushed. I've feel like I've been chasing my tail like a retarded beagle.

Worse, I'm now pretty sure that this is because the dude who created this FUBAR control overrode the wrong events from the base control and that's why my behaviors are wrong. Looks like I'll have to perform major surgery on it, rather than the ten-minute-fix I thought it would be. Thus, I will be going home tonight in defeat, rather than victorious. I fucking hate that.

I seriously need a beer. Think I'll go home and let the tastebuds ponder the Magic Hat Mystery Beer. I feel much better having vented this into the vastly spacious emptiness of internet. I have sounded my barbaric yawp into the void. Ahhhh....


Chipper, you are seriously fucking up both my fantasy team's rosters. Get your ass off the bench and start knocking balls all over the park again, please.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Yankee Draft Analysis - Round 45

Wait, huh? We skipped from round 1 to round 45?

Yeah, this my crappy blog. I make the rules. Suck it up, Marine!

Why did I skip the 43 rounds in between and the excellent catching, third base and many, many hard throwing right handed pitchers in between?

Simple. In the 45th round, the Yankees drafted a "switch-pitcher". Make sure you just read that right and your brain didn't trick you into reading "switch-hitter". Switch Pitcher.

The pitch was nothing remarkable: Pat Venditte, Creighton University’s temporarily right-handed pitcher, threw a fastball past a Northern Iowa batter for a called strike three. It was his next windup that evinced this young pitcher’s uniqueness and, perhaps, professional future.

As his teammates whipped the ball around the infield, Venditte smoothly, unthinkingly, removed his custom glove from his left hand and slipped it on his right. Moments later he leaned back, threw a strike left-handed to the next batter, and finished the side in order.

WTF? He can throw from both sides during the inning? Yes. Can he switch during the at bat? No. Them's the rules. There was a bit of confusion over this.

A few months later, the ambidexterity caused controversy. A Nebraska Cornhuskers hitter went to the plate right-handed and Venditte went to his right hand. Then, the hitter moved to the left side of the batter's box, causing Venditte to step off the rubber and ask the umpire if he could switch. The umpire gave his approval, but the Nebraska coach immediately charged out of the dugout, citing an official rule that states a pitcher can switch arms only when the at-bat begins. Venditte, eventually, had to stay right-handed.

"Everyone was standing around, coaches, umpires, players, trying to figure out what to do," Venditte's father said.

I think it would be totally sweet if he didn't have to declare. That way, he and a switch-hitter like Varitek could play this cat and mouse game and then A-Rod could yell "Ha!" from the third and Venditte could throw and really piss off whiny Sox fans.

Here's a cool news feature from CSTV about him.

The last I heard of something like this was Greg A. Harris, who was naturally a right-handed pitcher, but his whole career wanted to try and get people out as a lefty. He finally got a chance in his final season as an Expo. But, it's the only time that's happened in major league baseball. There's a reason for that. You pretty much have to be exceptional at what you're doing to be merely average in Major League Baseball. And a person would have to be truly exceptional to do be good enough to be able to pitch with both arms in the major leagues. Logic says it's highly unlikely he'll be good enough to pitch in the majors with either arm, let alone both.

Well, how good is the kid? I couldn't find a scouting report of the guy. This article has the guy at 88-91 with the fastball right handed. He has a 78-81 mph "frisbee slider" left handed, which sounds truly Mike Myers-esque. No word on the other pitches he throws or the quality of those pitches. His statistics are actually decent and he has been used as a starter, too.

Can he be make it? The odds are not great. When you're drafted in the 45th round and you can use both arms it's probably because you have marginal stuff with both of them. As a reference point, the Yankees used a 42nd round pick to throw a bone to Don Mattingly and draft his son Taylor. Taylor hit .224 in rookie ball, hurt his shoulder and retired. Venditte's only a junior and so he may not sign with the Yanks and see if he can raise his draft stock with a very good senior season. All in all though, he's a very interesting kid and I hope he does sign with the Yanks and that he eventually makes it to AA. That way I can check him out when he plays in CT against the Rock Cats or the Defenders. At the very least, I'm rooting for him to succeed even if it's not with the Yanks. It would be fun to see.

Quick Hits

- Do you hear that Red Sox Nation? That is the sound of inevitability. The Yanks have won six in a row thanks to another A-Rod offensive explosion and are looking great in the Giambi-less lineup. Having the Melkster in Center and Cairo at first added a few much needed things to the lineup. They both can run, play excellent D and bring a lot of intensity. Also, they put the ball in play because they don't just try and work walks OR hit homers OR strike out. But we also owe this run to Bobby Abreu coming out of his slump. All of this means that there will be a showdown in October. The Sox will obviously be there in all their precious New Englandy-Coed-in-Pink-DiceK-Tshirt glory. But, it appears the Evil Empire might show up as well....

- Wanna see a really interesting movie about two bands coming up through the Portland, Oregon music scene? About two dudes who are at once friends and rivals? Recreating Mozart-Salieri where one guy is insanely talented, addicted to heroin and insane? And the other is well-adjusted and jealous of his talent and slightly bitter about his own success? Whaddya mean no? Of course you do! It's called "DiG!" and it's about the then unsuccessful Brian Jonestown Massacre (with fascinating genius Anton Newcombe) and slightly successful Dandy Warhols. The latter had a pretty decent sized hit with "Bohemian Like You". My kids love that song, it's used in the movie "Flushed Away". Check it out. Did I mention that the star of the movie is neither "Mozart" nor "Salieri", but instead "Mozart"'s Tambourine Player? Weirdly interesting movie.

- I realized yesterday that either my son is like George Bush or George Bush is like a three year old. I realized this because of what happened when we went to pick up Chinese food. The kids picked out cans of soda. My son insisted that he was going to drink his out of the can with NO straw. He was quite adamant about that. I told him that the can can be sharp and he needs a straw. Jonny insisted that he knew for a fact the can was not sharp. For the next fifteen minutes (i.e. the ride home) he proclaimed that his can was not sharp. He continued for 10 more minutes when we got home. When I finally opened the can and showed him the sharp edge, we threw himself on the floor and insisted that the edge he had just seen was not sharp! See? He's like Dubya. In my son's world view, his beliefs are fact. Luckily, a "timeout" cleared this up and Jonny was happy to drink his soda with a straw. So, basically, I need to give George Bush a timeout.

- I am disappointed that all that happened to Ricky Schroder's character in 24 was that he may end up blinded. After all, he absolutely ruined one of my favorite shows. I have never seen a worse, mail-it-in performance. He was gods-awful. Couldn't Jack have tortured him? And another thing. It makes me nuts that the dude running 24 is the same jackass behind the 1/2 hour news hour. Now, I find myself parsing the dialog looking for winger subtexts. For example, when the sublime Powers Boothe, who's character is the vice president engineers a 23rd ammendment coup (the second such coup in 6 seasons), and then has everything go to shiite, says, "You just can't know what it's like to sit in this chair until you do." Wait, what? Is this a subtle message saying that I should be easy on our idiot president because I "just don't know"? Clearly Bush "didn't know", but that's because he's an idiot. Am I overthinking this? Fact is, doesn't matter if I over-analyzed it. The mere fact that Surnow's politics cause me to do so, combined with the show jumping the shark anyway, means I am officially off the bandwagon.

- I don't know if this is new to the intertubes or not, but it's freakin' hysterical and not safe at all for work for language. Lots and lots of language.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Yankee Draft Analysis - Round 1

The Yankees went big with the first pick. Big upside, big risk, big kid.

They drafted the 6'10" Andrew Brackman from NC State. He throws his two-seamer at about 94-95 and can get his four-seamer up to 99. He also throws a spike-curve that has been described as "filthy". At 6'10", he cuts an imposing figure on the mound and has excellent athleticism for his size, having played basketball at NC State as well (click here to see him get dunked on big time in a game against UNC). This typically indicates that he'll be athletic enough to repeat his delivery and control his pitches. He has as good collection of pitches as anyone in the draft. His projectable "ceiling" is as a #1 or #2 pitcher.

So, why the hell were the Yankees able to get him in the 30th pick of the first round?

Three reasons. Inconsistent performance, rumors of elbow issues and Scott Boras.

His performance this year was up and down. His coaches have said that at times he was the "most dominant pitcher they'd ever seen". Other times, he'd struggle. It's possible that it's because this year is the first year he's focused on baseball and not played basketball. He's still raw and consistency may come with experience.

There were tons of rumors that Brackman has an elbow injury and may require Tommy John surgery. This would cause him to drop, realistically, as few teams can pay a guy big bucks and then wait a year for him to be able to pitch. The recovery rate for Tommy John is very very high these days so this risk is more short term than long. Had this been rumors of a shoulder injury, the risk would be much higher. The Yankees can take this risk and wait if needed.

Lastly, Scott Boras is his agent. He's famous for holding his guys out and having them pitch in the independent league (see, Stephen Drew and Luke Hochevar) and then throwing them back in the draft the following year if the team doesn't meet his price. Again, with the Yankees $$$, that shouldn't be a problem.

I think the pick is very risky, but the potential of this kid is huge. He really can be an Ace if all things follow to plan and that's what you want out of your first pick. I trust that the Yanks will get a deal done relatively quickly. Under the new Cashmoney-really-in-charge regime, they have been all about spending on the farm team. He'll slide in next to Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Dellin Betances as Yankee farmhands with ace potential.

But that's not even the best part (behind a paid subscription).

PinstripesPlus: Well why the Yankees? Why did you want to be a part of the Yankees so bad?

Brackman: Growing up in Cincinnati, I was born into being a Reds fan. But I would always have the Yankees hats and people would always say, 'why are you wearing that Yankees hat?'. There's always some haters out there that don't like the Yankees and I'd always say, 'what not to like, they're the best team in baseball'. That was always my answer. I never dreamed of playing for the Yankees or anything like that, but once I heard my name called, it was exciting. I hugged my mom, I had hugged my dad and my uncle - I can't even explain how I felt.

Gotta love it! The kid's already spent his youth telling Yankee Haters to stick it! He's the un-Schilling! You have gotten yourself at least one big time fan here! Get used to the haters, kid. They'll only get larger in number and dumber.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Chris Cornell, your new album is pretty terrible.

I'm not the only one who thinks so.

Damn, dude. What happened? In the words of Trent from Swingers, "You were so money!"

Album after album of good, sometimes great, tunes.

Now this. A few times, I looked at my iPod to make sure I wasn't accidentally listening to Seal. And what's with the Billie Jean cover? It's not a great song hiding behind the moonwalking and the sequined gloves. You did it simply because you thought your fantastic voice would make it great... simply because you could.

Damn. I was expecting Euphoria Morning, part II. Instead, I got Cracked Rear View II. WTF?

Maybe that's what you want. Is it? You know, settle into middle age, move to Branson, Missouri and build yourself a theater next to Yakov Smirnoff and wait for the soon-to-be-aging GenXers to pull up in their Winnebagos. But, man, I never thought you would. Shit.

Wow, It really isn't easy being green.

Damn, Kermie.