A locus for eccentrics (hopefully)

Thursday, August 31, 2006

I heart web

There's a lot of weird stuff on the web. I think this YouTube may be one of the weirdest things I have ever come across. The song is pretty disturbing anyway.

Hopefully it's not too perverse. I just was taken aback.

There's also a kind of funny, voyeristic one on google videos, if you're so inclined.


I'll be in Montana this Labor Day weekend. Have fun kids.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

You Can't Go Home Again

Well, that's not entirely true. You can go home again, but you'll be sleeping on a twin bed when you get there.

Monday, August 28, 2006


Project: describe your office/work/computer desk space.
Computer: Shitty Dell. Screen is flat. Model appears to be "Optiplex GX2240." Has CD-ROM drive and 3.5" drive. CD-ROM drive is not writeable.
Panasonic pencil sharpener sits next to computer. There are no pencils in this hospital. This is science dammit! We use ink!!!
Texas longhorn stuffed animal mounts pencil sharpener for effect.
Next to sharpener/bull combo: Cookie Cop from Office Space ("Stop! Move away from the cookie jar.") Unfortunately, he is empty. I need to put some glazed doughnuts in him.
Nearby--office phone. 10 speed dial numbers. Speaker phone. Red Hold button. Transferage available.
Shitty stapler. Square kleenex.
OfficeJet G85xi Printer/Fax/Scanner/Copier nearby.
Narrow mouthed Nalgene with 1/3 water.
Large pad of post-it notes with InVitro logo.
Sweet swingline "industrial MAXXXX" stapler.
Kangaroo and joey stuffed animal hang on wall underneath a "Monet to Moore" Art Institute of Chicago poster, March 13-May 29, 2000.
And behind me, a calendar of David Hasslehoff. For August, he has his arm around a German Shepard and is driving a golf cart. He is luxurious.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

A tale of 2 drafts

Draft #1, in the public league called "Tits." 7th draft pick slot.
1. Peyton Manning QB
2. Ronnie Brown RB
3. Julius Jones RB
4. Darrell Jackson WR
5. Donald Driver WR
6. T.J. Houshmandzadeh WR
7. Mushin Muhammad WR
8. Pittsburg DEF
9. Randy McMichael TE
10. Kevin Jones RB
11. Koren "A.A." Robinson WR
12. Jason Elam K
13. Chris Brown RB
14. Aaron Brooks QB
15. Marcus Pollard TE

Draft #2, in the league with buddies and friends-of-friends. 6th draft pick position.
1. Edgerrin James RB
2. Steven Jackson RB
3. Torry Holt WR
4. Warrick Dunn RB
5. Plaxico Burress WR
6. Joey Galloway WR
7. Matt Hasselback QB
8. Derrick Mason WR
9. Randy McMichael TE
10. Seattle DEF
11. Thomas Jones RB
12. Lee Evans WR
13. Ben Roethlisburger QB
14. Jason Elam K
15. Frank Gore RB
16. Ashlie Lelie WR
17. Marcus Vick QB

I'm pretty pleased with both, though maybe the second one a little more. There were only 8 teams in the second one, 10 in the first draft. I think picking the Pittsburg Defense in round 8 may have been a little high. Hopefully Julius Jones gets a bunch of touches and Marion Barber is less featured. Darrell Jackson definitely still has some injury question marks, Koren Robinson was obviously a poor choice (though I picked up the now first stringer in his place), and there was no reason whatsoever to pick a 2nd TE (picked up the NE rookie instead). Also got Bledsoe instead of Brooks.

I really like my two starting RBs for the second league. Actually I think Dunn and Jones should be fairly solid, though Jones seems to often disappoint. Plaxico may be good or bad and who knows on Joey Galloway, so maybe the WRs may be a bit soft. I may have done good to wait a few rounds to pick the D-fense, though I figured Seattle's supposedly soft schedule may play in its favor. And, of course, Marcus Vick will likely be the NFL rookie-of-the-year in 2006, so I'm VERY pleased about this pick-up.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Price is WRONG, Bitch!

My new apartment has both a dining table and a coffee table that is not holding up the TV, so it's much more amenable to eating a proper breakfast than my old place was. Of course, if you're up before 11 am on a school day, the only thing that can make for a truly complete breakfast is a screening of The Price is Right.

The essential contest of TPiR, for anyone who's been out of the game for a while, is a competitive bid on a random, and usually unattractive, consumer product. By placing the winning bid on this item, you get to play a minigame and put yourself in the running for the "Showcase Showdown," another bidding exercise at the end of the program where you can win a collection of fantabulous prizes.

The initial auction takes place between four contestants, who bid by shouting out some value when called on by Bob Barker. The winner is the contestant who bids the closest to the item's MSRP without going over. It doesn't take a lot of game theory to suggest that, in an auction with open bidding and a publicly-known decision rule, you want to bid last. When you're the fourth and final bidder, you have a number of options at your disposal:

1) Bid whatever your private intuition (and the screaming audience) tells you to bid; this is the only option for the contestant bidding first.
2) "Steal" someone else's bid by bidding their value + 1. The only time when this could backfire is if the rival's bid was actually greater than or equal to the item's value--meaning you've overbid--but since you have three options to choose from, hopefully you've made the educated play.
3) Bid $1, undercutting the other three in the case that they've all overbid.

Back to my breakfast: the initial auction fails because everyone's overbid, so they do it again. The previous low bid was $550.

Granny #1: bids $499. Interesting play, but hey, whatever.

Skank: bids $400. Fair enough.

Dudebro: bids $450. Now, I'd be tempted to bid $401 here, but I can see this as being a best reply if you think the item is on the range [400,499]. By bidding $401, you're inviting Granny #2 to bid $402, meaning you're fucked. By bidding $450, you force Granny #2 to bid either $1, $401 or $451.

Granny #2: bids $399. Let me repeat that, in bold: bids $399! The ONLY way she can win is if the pricetag on the item is exactly $399. I'm still pissed at her.

Granny #1 ends up winning--the price was $500. She then goes on to win the spin-the-wheel game with 40 cents, even though she moved first (Skank busted; Fat Guy finished with like 20 cents somehow).

Here's my point: you can lead a horse to an institutional incentive, but you can't make it not be retarded.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Happy Birthday Suckas!

Now, back to Mr. Prelim. Nothing like savoring the ol' birthday with a 48 hour written exam.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Galveston is beautiful sometimes

These were taken one late July night around 7:30, when it finally starts to cool down a little bit.

The sunset was nice that day. Especially with the whisps of clouds in the air.

Looking towards our house. The construction is going to be a luxury apartment complex whose scenic vista is highlighted by McDonald's.

Monday, August 14, 2006

A Brief Aside

A while back we had a conversation about how REM gets overlooked as one of those rare bands that's been around forever and maintained a fairly high quality.

In a different vein--you know what's an underappreciated album? G&R's "Appetite For Destruction." Maybe it's because I was just reading Chuck Klosterman's 80's metal book, or maybe it's because I'm wearing a wifebeater, but I happened to put it on and it's very, very listenable.

fantasy football

I created a league:

League ID: 448368 League URL: http://football.fantasysports.yahoo.com/f1/448368

The password is love.

Tell your friends! The draft is 12:00 pm CST (please note change), this Friday, but I could probably change it if need be. Maybe a weekday night. I think I put in that 20 teams can play so size is not an issue.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


After a very meh evening at a Robin Williams feature "The Night Listener," Scipio's legion prepares to assault Hasdrubal's Carthaginians.

Technology is Sweet

Wow, this is awesome.


The guy who wrote most of the stuff for MST3K lets you download mp3s for 2 bucks of his commentary on movies--the best part is by doing this he can do much more mainstream movies... his first movie? Roadhouse with Patrick Swayze. Coming soon? The Matrix. I'm really tempted to buy and download these.

Duma, bitches. Duma.

I really enjoyed Duma. It's the heartwarming tale of a boy and his cheetah, both outcasts from their worlds who travel far and wide to discover the meaning of community and family. Whoever plays the kid does a great job, and the guy in the cheetah costume also bears an uncanny resemblance to the real beast. I had a few issues with the geography of it all--mainly that they were supposed to be in South Africa but somehow traveled by foot all the way to the Okavango Delta, possibly transversing the Kalahari in the process. But it didn't really matter because the real strength of the movie was the beautiful scenery and the cheetah. Oh and the bush baby. I sort of forgot how damn beautiful Africa is. It was nice for a change of pace. Hollywood pretty much churns out the same movie these days, so this was a welcome exception. I also thought that tsetse flies were big, lumbering black insects, but this film suggests they're more thin and lightly-colored.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The No-Fun League

Chad Johnson, on his plans for this season's TD celebrations in the wake of another announced crackdown by the NFL Competition Committee:

"Look, they said you can't use props, right?" Johnson said. "You can't bring anything onto the field, or hide it in the end zone, or whatever. I mean, to me, it's silly, because on one hand they really want us to be entertainers, and then they take away a way to entertain people. But here's the thing: Every week, I will get in front of the cameras and kind of announce, in a secret way, what I want the fans to do for that game. I mean, it'll be kind of like a code, but there will be enough hints that people should be able to get it. And every week, the fans will be my props. They can't fine me for that. It's going to drive the competition committee crazy trying to figure it out.

"It's going to be like a soap opera, a continuing thing every week, with new episodes. People won't be able to miss it because, just like with a soap opera, you'll lose track. So everyone is going to have to watch to get that week's secret message. Plus, with the year I'm going to have, they're not going to want to miss any of it anyway."

Also: fantasy football?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

106 Miles to Chicago...

My town, Ann Arbor, Michigan, is auctioning off its bookmobile.

Bidding starts at $5,000. It'd be a steal at ten times the price!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

eMusic rocks

I know this will not come as a surprise to many of you. I have been hearing for a long time about how good a service eMusic is. The deal is, basically, you sign up and have a 14-day trial period wherein you are allotted 50 (!) free MP3 downloads. And that's about it. If you don't cancel at the end of the 14 days, you are moved on to a subscription and you're charged for the service (40 downloads a month $9.99, 65 for $14.99, 90 for $19.99). I guess I like the site because a) there's so much new, great music on there; b) great interface and simple downloading process; and c) once you download a song (or album), you can access those downloads from different machines. This last one is especially useful if you use, say, a laptop at home and a different computer at work/business/office/whatever. Anyway...I definitely recommend trying it out. You can probably get your 50 downloads done in about 15-30 minutes and then immediately cancel. Pretty sweet if you ask me. For the record I got Islands' return to the sea and Of Montreal's the gay parade. The first few songs on the Islands' album are fantastic (one is from some commercial that I can't currently place) and Of Montreal is ridiculously happy. I need to get used to both. Anyway, I'd recommend trying this service out.

I actually posted my book response stuff on the reply section of Intrepid Flame so check there if you are interested. Definitely getting excited about the Austin City Limits festival in September, more so after reading all these reviews of Lollapalooza and Pitchfork. I also gotta say--Chicago is one helluva town. Those reviews confirm it for me. Texas is hotter than the surface of the sun ("my favorite planet"), but I think I am sort of getting used to it. I have finally realized that whenever I go outside, I will sweat. It's just a fact. The only thing that sucks is that it makes trying to do anything outdoors involving exercise (in my opinion, anyways) almost impossible. I mean, even at 6:00 am, I think it is 82 degrees Farenheit and 80% humidity. That being said, I'm going to put on my game face, break out the wristbands, and get my racket on tonight. I'm out for blood on the tennis courts, my friends.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Fuck it. I'll bite. I DON'T EVEN OWN A TV!

1. Book that changed your life:
"The Children's Book of Knowledge." I'm not sure whether that's the title, but it was a giant compendium of essays for children explaning how lightning works, how pinball machines were invented, the story of the first toothbrush, etc. I got it when I was four or so and read it until it disintegrated. My mom actually tried to find a new copy when my little brother got to reading age, but to no avail. So it might have actually been a ghost.

2. Book you've read more than once:
Bjarne Stroustrup's "The C++ Programming Language."

3. Book you'd want for a desert island:
I've always thought this was an asinine question. You'd think it's the same as "favorite $object," but it's not. So what does the desert island criterion change?

4. Book that made you laugh:
"Factory and Manager in the USSR," by Joseph Berliner. The setup? A system where you have to outproduce your 5-Year-Goal by at least 25% if you don't want to get shot, but in order to do so you have to illegally bribe somebody to get the raw materials. The punchline? Turn that system into a functioning market democracy post 1991.

Well, I think that's funny, anyway.

5. Book you want written:
I'd like to see either "A People's History of Europe" or "A People's History of the Middle East." Maybe "A People's History of Africa." The USA doesn't have a monopoly on genocide, hate speech and raging hypocrisy, so why should it have a stranglehold on scenester-approved exposes of the same?

6. Book that shouldn't have been written:
"Why the Caged Bird Sings, and other Poems."

Think about it.

7. ... that made you cry:
I cried at the end of "Rudy" the first time I saw it. I'm not going to lie. Which isn't a book, to the best of my knowledge, but hey.

8. Currently reading:
"Killing Yourself to Live," by Chuck Klosterman. "Irreverent" music writer goes on a cross-country road trip to experience the sites of famous tragedies in music (Graceland, the spot where Ronnie Van Zandt's plane crashed, the spot where Duane Allman's plane crashed, etc.)

9. Meaning to read:
I'm trying to kick the habit, actually.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The People's Champ

So I go to the Houson Press Awards ceremony last night. It was cool, although I accidently went to the Mercury Lounge (voted one of the best clubs in the U.S. by Playboy, apparently) instead of the Meridian club at first. There were some really awesome bands (The Zydeco Dots) and some really shitty ones (Lonestar Pornstar). But anyway, they had a category for Best National Rap Artist, which is basically Houston's current musical claim to fame (Chamillionaire, Scarface, Paul Wall, and Mike Jones were included), Paul Wall wins, and he saunters down the aisle in all his icily-grilled glory. He's kinda chubby, and I don't think I understood a single word he said when accepting the award (something about "Houstizzle" was about it). Still, I thought it was pretty cool that he showed up to accept it. Plenty of local artists didn't even show. ZZ Top, who won for best National Rock Act, sure as hell weren't there. It was gratuitously hosted by Hooters and the Bud cans were $2.50. Not too shabby.

That's all I got. Hope your weekends go well. It is the annual "tax-free" retail weekend here in Texas. Guess you're supposed to go get all your school supplies, so don't blame me if I end up with 2,000 pink erasers and a case of Elmer's come Sunday.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

My Cameraphone Sucks

Earlier this week, I promised a staggering, prolific, multiconcert review. That got short-circuited when tickets for The Roots sold out except for balcony general admission. Sonic Youth + Flaming Lips were then considered as replacements, but that in turn was done in by their tickets costing thirty five dollars.

Indeed, they are sell-outs; and lo, it is unfortunate.

So what am I left with?

  1. The camera on my phone is totally brutal, which you can infer for yourselves from the provided evidence.
  2. Foam earplugs rate a solid B+. I looked like a tool wearing them, but then I didn't have to hear static for a week after the show.
  3. Ted Leo has officially entered the Man Crush Pantheon.
  4. Out of three venues I've been to in the last year, two of them are converted churches. My quest to live a Final Fantasy plot continues.

Vox Populi

I've been reading firejoemorgan for a couple of weeks now. It's a little heavy on the sabrmetrics--some of which make sense, but some of which confuse me as far as the task of getting useful info out of a shitload of monotonic transformations of an original handful of stats--but it does succeed in its mission statement of making me hate Joe Morgan even more than I already did.

It also gave me this useful tidbit on that Maddux-Izturis trade that I hadn't thought of the other day. Guess who has a higher career slugging percentage, Izturis or Carlos Zambrano. Go on, guess. I think the answer will (won't) surprise you.