Friday, October 29, 2004

Day 2 - yep, it's real

This morning, there was nothing on the news services about Game 5, and nothing about the trophy being taken back.

We still won. Holy smokes!

Last night felt almost empty, though, with no baseball on TV. On the other hand, I had too much work to do to watch it, anyways - I had to get Jane's file cabinet assembled, and I picked up a Linksys wireless repeater at Staples to give us enough signal boost to the basement that I wouldn't have to rewire the Ethernet drop. Getting the repeater to work was a major pain in the tail - the setup wizard didn't work, and so I had to associate her laptop manually with it (by assigning it a 192.168.1 address), and then do all the programming of it via the web interface. It works well now, but the driver for my iPaq has trouble handling the repeater and locks the iPaq up hard when it associates. The important thing is that both our laptops and the TiVo handle it fine.

I think I figured out what it is about the World Series that seemed almost anticlimactic. The Yankees series was four straight games of do-or-die baseball. All but the last game was pretty much a nailbiter. Then, Game 1 of the Series was a tremendous, back-and-forth contest, finally coming out our way thanks to the Bellhorn homer and a Foulke save. And I though afterwards "geez, this series is going to be a struggle".

But then the Sox dominated from there on in, and suddenly a World Series that seemed like it would be epic turned into a blowout. It's almost like I didn't have the time to get wound up by it.

Right now, though, I'm debating whether to go into Boston tomorrow with David for the parade. I'm leaning about 3-1 against it, but if we have a nice day outside I could change my mind.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Wow.

The Red Sox are world champs. The scary thing is that after last week, it was almost anticlimactic. Even the partying going on outside my house seems a little more subdued.

However, given that it's been 86 years since the last World Series win, I went upstairs just before the top of the 9th and brought David back down with me to see the end. That way, even if it never happens again in our lifetime, someday he can tell his kids that he saw it when the Sox finally won it all.

The big question for me is "now what?" I'm still a fan through and through, but part of the Sox aura was based on two things; the eternal struggle to beat the Yankees, and the eternal failure to win it all. Well, now we've done both in a week's time. Are the Sox now just another team with good management and a big payroll?

I don't know. It's too existential for me right now. I think I'll just go to bed.

Smiling.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Well, well.

Three down, one to go. I'm terrified.

Besides that, the latest developments in the business world involve some shuffling. The big project I booked Monday is going to slide southward a few weeks - no looking at a likely December start rather than a November start for the bulk of it. The good side of that, though, is that I was starting to wonder just how I'd be able to get all the projects done that were coming on for November, so now some of that time pressure is off. I won't make quite as much in the short term, but I'll keep busy longer overall and I'll keep my sanity better for a while. Which is good.

Lately David's been rather contrarian. It's the toddler thing. But more interestingly, he gets all eager to go to school in the morning, but then he latches on to Jane before we get in the car to leave, and then he really gets clingy when I take him in. Today, he ran the length of the building to get to school (exclaiming "I running to school!"), ran in and straight to his classroom, but then he started crying when I was getting ready to leave. Weird.

Anyhow, there's a fairly busy afternoon lined up in front of me so I better get to it. Hopefully my next entry will be really cheerful and have a datestamp from around midnight tonight.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Running in place

Well, yesterday I signed up a new customer for a major project. This is a Good Thing. However, right now I am also:

- attending my user group meetings.
- helping Jane prep her new home office (in the basement) for her new job that she started yesterday.
- wiring. Lots of wiring (2 phone lines and a network port).
- staying up until the wee hours every night for the Sox games.
- dealing with David, who has been very difficult the last few days.
- trying to just plain keep up with everything else.

It ain't easy, I'll tell you all that. Ugh.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Tonight's sports thoughts

I'll resume posting on more mundane topics in a few days, honest. Meanwhile...

It's the top of the 7th as I type this. Things are looking good, I hope - but I'd really like to have another run or two in. Then I'd feel downright confident.

Combined with a Pats win this afternoon, this could be one of the all-time great Sunday sports days here in Boston.

As for the rest of the NFL, this may have been my worst day ever when it comes to picking. None of my hunches paid off, and after a sweep of my pools three weeks ago, I've been just awful since. Destiny, I guess.

Otherwise, I don't care about basketball, I don't really miss hockey, and there's allegedly soccer playoffs going on right now, but I haven't noticed.

(Embree just logged a strikeout)

I appreciate stock car racing more than I used to, since I learned a little more about it. I know who the top drivers are, and a little bit about the sport itself. I know what a restrictor plate is. And I know what a short track is, too. But just because I know Kurt Busch is the points leader (and that he won both of the races in New Hampshire this year) doesn't mean it's that important to me.

(another K for Embree)

Basically, sports for me mean two things - Baseball and Football. Specifically, the pro versions of both - but I could go to a minor league stadium in some town I've never seen before, watch a game with two teams I know nothing about, and still have a great time watching the game. I only watch football games if they have the Patriots or Giants in it. And usually just the Pats.

(Embree just struck out the side, and Donna Summer is singing now)

Oh yeah - the Tour de France is wicked cool, too. So is the America's Cup, and some of the stuff they do at the Winter Olympics.

But first and foremost is the Red Sox. And we are now six outs away from taking a 2-0 lead before heading to St. Louis on Tuesday. Hold your breath, Red Sox Nation, and I'll see you all tomorrow.

And if you're still here after all that, two things: one, I posted new pictures of David in the usual place. Go get 'em. And two, if you're looking for a good notebook computer value (and you missed last week's $750 off Dell deal), look at the just-upgraded Apple iBook. Processor speeds are now up to a 1.33 GHz G4 (and now with more L2 cache), and AirPort Extreme (802.11g) is now standard. Prices also dropped, with the entry model at $999. However, if you are following the Tiger development process - the iBook is still not using a CoreGraphics-compatible GPU. But it's fine for everyday use and low-end gaming. Go get one. Now.

One down...

Three to go. What a pitcher's duel, eh?

And is there a rule now that all Mark Bellhorn's homers have to hit the pole?

Actually, it wasn't too bad on Wakefield's part. His knuckler was pretty lively, but the wind was helping make it excessively so. Knuckleballs are pretty random pitches at the best of times. The big news to me was just how bad Woody Williams was tonight - I expected him to be a lot tougher. If the rest of the Cardinals' starters are like that, it's going to get ugly. I don't think that'll be the case, though.

And Manny's two errors were both of the hard-luck variety more than the "bad defense" type. I missed Arroyo's wild throw - I was in the other room and they didn't show a replay. Overall, Fox's coverage is leaving something to be desired.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Recharging

Last night I went to bed at 9:30. I didn't wake up until almost 8 today. I'm just about back to normal now.

And the Cardinals are coming to Fenway tomorrow night. Should be good. Even though they won the most games of anybody this year, I fear them less than I feared the Astros - The Cardinals starters are decent, not great (as opposed to Houston, with the Clemens Factor), and outside of Pujols, their offense isn't spectacular. They're just a good, solid, fundamentally sound team who got to beat up on a lot of NL weakness this year. Edmonds and Rolen have good power, too, but they are less dangerous than Pujols. Their best starter is Jeff Suppan, who couldn't even make the Sox postseason roster last year and was released after the season.

The two key question marks for Boston: First, how will Wakefield perform in Game 1 tomorrow, after dazzling the Yankees for three innings his last time out? And second, will letting Ortiz play first in the away games hurt them more than it helps? On the other hand, can the Cardinals overcome what is, on paper, a much more potent attack offensively from Boston, and can their starters go deep into the games to minimize the bullpen exposure?

Whatever - right now I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that the Red Sox take it in 6. And the Yankees will start referring to their plight as the Curse of Alex Rodriguez.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

I feel like my legs are made of jello right now

Really. It's amazing, what seeing the greatest comeback in the history of any major professional sport can do to you. But as a Sox diehard, I didn't stop worrying until the last out was in the books.

They managed to surprise everyone, least of all me. Read back a few days. I wrote them off when Schilling went down in Game 1. Little did I realize that David Ortiz would carry them on his back for two days, that Derek Lowe would rediscover his professional career, that Johnny Damon would break out of an ALCS-long slump with a grand slam, and that Schilling would get his shredded ankle sewn shut and dominate the Yankees.

I stand corrected, and I'm happy to say so. Now let's see who comes to Fenway on Saturday night.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

A region hits the "pause" button

It seems like all New England is on "pause", not just me. People seem tense as they walk the halls here at the Cummings Center. There's something in the air that's got everyone on edge. Red Sox Nation is holding it's collective breath.

Ironically, tonight there's a lot less pressure on the Sox than there is on the Yankees. The Sox are the ones who should have gone home days ago. After that pounding Saturday, it should have all been over. But somehow they managed to win two extra-inning nailbiters to stay alive, and last night Curt Schilling arguably joined the Pantheon by pitching all the life out of the Yankees with his ankle literally sewn together.

There's plenty of time for surgery later. There's plenty of time for sleep afterwards. What matters right now is that the World Series starts Saturday night, at the AL ballpark. And here's hoping it's Fenway.

Holy $#!+

I did not expect this. I'll freely admit it. But I'm really looking forward to Game 7 tomorrow night.

After all, the Sox just became the first team in history to force a Game 7 after being down 3-0. What's one more?

Monday, October 18, 2004

The real division in our country

There's a terrific article in this week's New York Times Magazine(registration required, link will die after a week or so) that sums up how the people in our country are truly divided. And though it's about food on the surface, it's really about America.

By the way, in case you didn't guess it from the article, I'm definitely a Barista's person.

Quoth the Kinkster

As heard on Imus this morning while I drove to a meeting out in Gloucester:

"When you die, your last check should bounce"

I am such a huge admirer of Kinky's...

Also up: the Sox live another day. I'm glad we at least avoided the sweep. I didn't watch most of last night's game, and I'll miss most of this afternoon's as well - I have two proposals to write, and I desperately need a nap soon as well - not a lot of sleep the last couple of days. David's been restless the last few nights, and I had to get up early (5 AM!) yesterday for the final MIT Flea of the season. Sold pretty much all the major stuff I brought, though.

I don't listen every day, but Al Franken's radio show has improved a lot since he first went on the air this past spring.

The Pats have become to football what the Yankees are to baseball. Professionals who sublimate their egos into the larger goal and the team as a whole. Though I hate the Yankees, you have to admire the way they run the organization - and they take guys who were considered cancers on other teams (cough-Gary Sheffield-cough) and turn them into valuable teammates who do and say all the right things. Joe Torre can't get enough credit for handling them the right way, and every player should wish they could be Derek Jeter, even for a minute.

Up here, we have the Pats filling a similar role. But the Yankees have the bottomless pocketbook that keeps them on top year after year, while the Patriots have to contend with the salary cap and the NFL's deliberate goal of parity. Which makes their sustained excellence over the last three and-a-half years all the more amazing. To have held an NFL team at and near the top for this long is an impressive feat - even in 2002 when they missed the playoffs, they still had a winning record and missed out on defending their title through a tiebreaker.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Perspective

At least the Twins won game 1 of their series. And at least the Sox didn't get our hopes up only to have them dashed in game 7.

No, we were out of this from the end of the first inning of game 1 - like I said, unfortunately, back when it happened. No team has ever come back from 3-0, and we're not going to be an exception. When Schilling got hurt, they gave up. The rest of this series is a formality.

We'll see what the makeup of this club is next season, but obviously this one just didn't have what it took if they depended on one guy so much. I think we were all fooled a bit by that streak in August, but think of it this way - every time towards the end of the season that they got close, the Yankees pulled just a little bit out of their tank to stay in front. It was a tease.

Why am I up this early? I'm headed to the MIT Flea - last one of the season. There's time for sleep when I come home.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Mixed blessings

Some of David's crayons have vanished. Well, tonight I found one.

After wandering about this afternoon on some errands with the lad, we went home and I started preparing a tray of nachos. I turned the oven on to pre-heat while I worked, and David hung out by my side and scrounged a chip and a couple of little bits of cheese as I worked.

Then, he poked me in the leg - and when I looked down at him he pointed to the oven and said "look, daddy - candles!"

I looked. There was a fire blazing in the oven.

I grabbed the extinguisher, but was able to put it out without having to use it. Turned out we found one of the crayons. After letting the oven cool and cleaning it out, I was able to resume and make dinner, but that was one scary freaking moment.

So the good part is he spotted it and so I was able to take care of it quickly. The bad part is we have a latch on that oven - I have no idea how he got that crayon in there.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

The bright side

At least we're unlikely to get as caught up in a Game 7 fuss this year. All the wind went out of the Sox's sails when Schilling got hurt, and I doubt that friendly Fenway will be much better for them. Maybe we win one of the next two - two if we're really lucky. I still think we're toast, though (I would love to be wrong about it). Pedro pitched well after he settled down, and 116 pitches is warrior-esque for him, but this was likely his last start in a Boston uniform. He still wants #1 starter money, and he's not going to get that here.

In fact, the only must-sign of all the free agents I can think of is Jason Varitek. Offensively, he's streaky as anything, but he's great at handling a staff and he's the soul of this team. I'd hope to re-sign Cabrera, too - I like his defense and he's a respectable hitter. Signing Lowe would be OK, but at short money only. He has to show that he's worth more than he currently deserves - if I were in his shoes, I'd sign a one-year deal with an option for whatever I could get, then pitch my way to a bigger contract. But that probably won't happen with Scott Boras as his agent. If Pedro would accept #2 money, he'd be a definite keeper - despite his woes in September, he pitched two very solid starts in the postseason, started to show signs of more velocity, and managed to not miss a scheduled start for the first time in years. He's in that phase right now where he's learning how to get by with a little less fastball and a lot more guile - and Pedro is such a smart ballplayer that I figure it'll work out for him.

The debates are over. Yay. With any luck now, the most divisive president in modern history (and I thought Clinton was polarizing...) will be toast in three weeks. I genuinely fear what will happen to this nation in four more years of a Bush administration.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Sober baseball thoughts

After Game 1 has gone into the record books, I stand by my first statement: if Schilling is done, so are the Sox. The good news is that under the circumstances, the bullpen was reasonably effective (the runs Wakefield gave up were almost what you'd expect after all his time off - better now than in his next start), and after the offense finally sputtered to life, they nearly made up the entire deficit in only three innings. Mussina turned mortal again quickly - a good indicator if they have to face him again. Tom Gordon was quite hittable. And Mariano Rivera has looked mortal throughout the Twins series, and he did last night as well. He never used to be a "let a few runners on, then wiggle out of it" pitcher - he was dominant once, and he hasn't been for a while now.

So if Schilling will be OK to go this weekend, it could still turn out in our favor. If not, I just don't see how the pitching matchups can work for us.

I'll be in Cambridge pretty much all day at a client site. Which is good, since I get paid for it...

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Analysis from Mr. Baseball

If Curt Schilling is hurt, it's all over. We have no chance.

To explain this better, one of the matchup givens is that Schilling is a dominant number 1 starter - making Pedro a luxury at the 2 spot. The 3 and 4 matchups are more even. And the Yankees were teeing off on Schilling tonight over the three innings he was in. It wasn't just a bad night - he had no velocity and little command. That means he's probably hurt worse than he let on. A lot worse. It's unlikely he could make another start, I suspect, if he's really hurting.

So with Game 1 a likely lost cause, it's all on Pedro tomorrow night. Not to mention that the Sox offense has come out completely flat so far. Oh boy.

If this ain't the year, it's probably not going to happen in my lifetime. Maybe David will get to see a title in his. If all goes well, he should at least make it into the 2080s...

Quote from our fearless leader

"No, really! I thought it would be bigger after I invaded Iraq, but I just checked, and it's only this big! I'm as disappointed as Laura was..."

'sup?

Just to remind y'all, I've been blogging less for two reasons - one, because Jane is working now (less free time at home as a result), and two, because my business has been doing pretty well of late. My dance card is pretty well booked for the rest of the week, too.

In events over the last few days, we went to the Topsfield Fair on Thursday afternoon - Jane was off and I played hooky in the afternoon. David was nuts about the farm animals, but he really liked the giant robot that was walking around (a man in a tin suit on stilts), and the scarecrow. He's still talking about them, in fact. We arranged out meals for the day so that we could concentrate on junk food, which was fun. And we also let David ride on a bungee harness, which he really enjoyed a lot - especially when I pretended to fling him up into the air.

Then my parents came to visit for a couple of days - it was their first visit since my dad's hip replacement last spring. I think they enjoyed the quality time with the little guy - they could probably have done with a little less me, but it's a package deal. They babysat Saturday so Jane and I could have a rare night out - we went to dinner at Strega, a great restaurant that's owned by a neighbor of ours. It was nice to get out for a change.

Then Jane went to the circus with David yesterday. She'd gotten the tickets from her friend Susan, whose son Jonathan is one of David's friends. I played golf for the first time in about a month while she was out, then went back to their house afterwards to meet everyone for dinner and to clean all the spyware off their PC. Why do people voluntarily use Windows, anyways?

Today, I was going to go the the BNUG meeting tonight but I have to watch David since Jane's doing the late shift. So I'll watch Game 1 of Good vs. Evil tonight. I'm definitely going to watch Game 2 tomorrow after bowling rather than watch Kerry debate the smirking idiot-in-chief. I really hope we can avoid four more years of this cretin.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Others who will be missed

Johnny (the Elder) Kelley passed away yesterday at age 97.

Kelley won the Boston Marathon twice, finished second a record seven times, and finished in the top 10 eighteen times. He also completed the race 58 times in 61 starts - a record likely to never be broken.

In recent years he stopped running the entire race - the last couple of years he served as the race marshall. According to the report I read a little while ago, he had just moved to a nursing home from his house in Dennis earlier that day, took a nap, and never woke up.

We'll miss you, Johnny.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Drips and Drabs

First off: Farewell, Rodney. We'll miss you. Even what turned out to be your final public statement was funny.

I'm looking forward to the return of bowling season this afternoon. Though it also means it's nearly time to put away the golf clubs once and for all (I haven't played since before Labor Day, but I may be playing Friday morning if the weather's nice), I like bowling for entirely different reasons.

I implemented a VPN at home yesterday - I'd had major troubles with my e-mail system at home ever since upgrading to SpamAssassin 3.0. The problems were easy in theory to fix, but because of the fairly complex way SME Server handles things internally they weren't readily fix-able. So I decided to finally try ClarkConnect - the other "major" drop-in Linux-based small server OS. I like it. There's a few minor glitches in the design, but overall it's integrated pretty well and offers all sorts of easy-to-manage goodies.

I'm not nutty busy this week so far. I've done a couple of hours of customer work, and I also am working on proposals for two of my newer ones. The rest of the month looks busier. I also have to catch up on my billing later this week.

If all goes well, tomorrow I'll be playing hooky to go to the Topsfield Fair.

Yesterday, I got lucky and found a parking spot right next to the daycare center. So I left my car there all day. I realized the folly of my decision on the way out, though - since Jane was picking David up (I had to go to a BNUG meeting), I would be leaving without him. But if I left the normal way, I would have walked right past the fence to the outside play area the toddlers play in every afternoon when the weather's nice. He would have seen me, and we would have been in Meltdown City. So I had to exit through a different part of the building, and detour way around to get to my car.

It wasn't as bad when I went for my walk, because that was during his naptime. I planned it that way.

Every time I see Dick Cheney, I think of Ozzy Ozbourne's "I'm the prince of freakin' darkness" quote.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Life, unscripted

Why not use TLC's slogan for today's update? I feel like I'm living in a reality TV show anyways...

Since I wrote last, I did work for a couple more clients, and Jane's new store opened to boffo numbers. Unfortunately, that means we've hardly seen each other for the last few days as well. Which kinda sucks.

As for other events, we went to a charity auction in Beverly last night - I'd donated a TV for it which wound up fetching $600. A nice sum. We met up with friends there and enjoyed the munchies available. We headed home (after stopping to pick David up from the friends' house he was at) around 9:30. Then Jane worked all day today, as well.

But meanwhile, David and I had a fun "guys' day" today. We both wore our Pats jerseys all day until suppertime, and went for a fun walk this morning to get the paper and a donut for him. He tried twice to use the potty, which I was very proud of him for. He's starting to see some older kids who know how now, and that's a good influence for him.

And on Friday I horsed up my home e-mail server during a SpamAssassin upgrade. My bad - inbound e-mail ceased for a while as I dealt with it. I've been a big fan of the SME Server (formerly known as e-Smith, then known as Mitel SME, then community-supported at contribs.org, and now just bought by Lycorix) product line and have used it both personally and professionally for a long time. But it's starting to show it's age and though the template-based system it uses for configuration makes SME a very easy product to set up for the "typical" small customer who doesn't need frills - they just need a working box, it's just not easy to extend safely. I'm going to start looking a little harder at "standard" products like the SuSE Professional and Enterprise line among others. I am a Novell partner, so I have good eval materials to work with.

In other news, I hope Ralph Nader dies of a stroke or similar event in the next couple of weeks. I really, truly hope so. The man has become so blind to what he's helping enable that it scares me - he's either really clueless enough to believe that he's being productive or he's so Machiavellian that he hopes leading us to another four years of the smirking idiot will create a huge backlash against the Republicans in 2008. Either way, the world would be a better place without Nader, and if we're luck he'll choke to death on a carrot or something in the next couple of weeks.

And I haven't even felt this way about actual world leaders in my lifetime. I used to really think of myself as a centrist, and my core beliefs are strongly Libertarian in nature (see my FAQ), but until/unless the Christian right is no longer a factor voting Republican is not an option for me. Period. I may not like the Democrats that much, but any party whose mainstream includes people who think they hear God talking to them is not a party I can support. If that all-but-vanished species known as the Eastern Republican ever makes a comeback, count me in. Until then, I stick to voting straight Democrat across the board, even for the ones I can't stand otherwise.

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