Friday, August 31, 2007

The Gas

So the latest steroid-related shoe has dropped at WWE - as of right now, 18 current and past performers have been fingered in the latest Benoit-driven scandal. At least the 18 named wrestlers had been customers of Signature Pharmacy in Florida, which is apparently a major source source of muscle enhancing drugs in the athletic world.

Currently on the active roster:

Chavo Guerrero
Shane Helms
Randy Orton
John (Nitro/Morrison) Hennigan
Ken (Kennedy) Anderson
Sho Funaki
Charlie Haas
Eddie (Umaga) Fatu
Adam (Edge) Copeland
Darren (William Regal) Matthews
Anthony (Santino Marella) Carelli
Robert (Booker T) Huffman
Chris (Masters) Mordetsky)


Eddie Guerrero
Chris Benoit
Brian Adams (retired six years ago)

No longer with WWE:

Sylvain Grenier (released about a month ago)
Mike Bucci (retired, he's a trainer now at WWE's "farm team" in Louisville)

The one thing I will say in defense of some of these performers is that in most of the articles on this so far, when dates are given virtually none of them have purchases after this past winter (I may have missed one). Many are farther in the past. What this shows is that for years, steroids, HGH, and related drugs were incredibly common in wrestling. After Eddie Guerrero died in November 2005, a lot of performers either stopped or cut back their usage. And after roughly a years worth of the WWE "wellness policy" in place (since February '06), most of them had made their last purchases. I do suspect that the problem is getting somewhat better.

What this shows more (to me) is that there's a slippery moral slope in this area, and that steroid users don't fit into the neat stereotype of "muscle freaks". William Regal (I use his ring name because more people know it) is known for having overcome serious drug and alcohol addiction problems, and is serious about it to the point that he will not even step foot in a bar. Yet he was buying steroids by mail. Sho Funaki, Mike Bucci, and Santino Marella are small guys without very muscular physiques. Regal's not a chiseled and toned guy. Umaga is a big fat Samoan how even uses his fatness as part of his gimmick. It really takes all types. Also, some of these guys (we'll see) have admitted to past steroid use (Edge, Helms, Kennedy), typically in the course of rehabbing injuries. No new news about Edge or Helms there, but Kennedy claimed to have stopped using them when WWE put their policy in place, yet he continued to buy them until this past winter (he could probably argue that he was using them as part of his rehab - he was out injured much of 2006 and may be able to show a scrip). It's possible that a few of them will be able to show legitimate use. I doubt many.

There is, though one factor to the WWE investigation in general that bugs me. In case nobody's paying attention, pro wrestling is not a sport. It's a performance, but more like circus or theater. The results are pre-determined, and audience entertainment is the reason they perform. It's not like real sports, where the use of steroids has a real effect on the results (say, a guy like Barry Bonds breaking the all-time home run record, for instance). As much as I would like to see steroids out of wrestling, I'd much rather see them out of real sports first. Let's have our priorities straight.

Next: my solution to steroids in wrestling...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Missed one today

There was a Woot-Off today. Way too short. And once again, I missed the Bandolier Of Carrots. Meh.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Now I've got to buy a friggin' boat or something

I took the afternoon off today and went out on a boat to fish with my friend Steve, his dad, and David. David liked the boat (a 23' walkaround), until we made it out into open water and Steve let the throttle out.

From then on, he loved it. We spent about 4-5 hours out on the water. The weather wasn't great (kind of overcast), and we caught no fish at all, but it was a nice time nonetheless. We did, however, find some good spots to try on a return trip (a couple of boats were working the area under the Beverly-Salem bridge with good results, for one). David started to get a little antsy towards the end, but it was excusable - he'd had a long day.

I pretty much ignored my phone the whole time, too. That was sweet.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Treo/iPhone scorecard

I got my Treo 700p in late June of 2006. I owned it for almost exactly a year. During that time, Palm released a fix for Palm wireless keyboards, and a DST fix for this year's change. They did not release any new versions of Palm Desktop (in fact, a year and a half after Intel-based Macs arrived on the scene, there still is no Intel/Universal version of Palm Desktop) in that time.

(Mark/Space, the producers of third-party sync software for Palm, Windows Mobile, and Blackberry, produced two major versions of their software in the same timeframe)

In addition, there was no update from Palm to fix the numerous bugs in stability and Bluetooth functionality during that entire year. Palm finally released a firmware update in early July - but last week it was withdrawn due to problems with the EVDO radio that seem to be exposed by it. There is no given timeframe for a corrected release. So as of right now, Treo 700p phones are only availble with the original flawed software.

Meanwhile, in Apple-land, I've owned an iPhone since the end of June - slightly under two months. Not only was it more stable and functional out of the box than the Treo, but they've updated the OS on the phone twice so far - the most recent one having been issued about an hour ago. The first one eliminated just about every bug I had noticed initially, so I'm not even sure what they could have fixed this time!

The moral of this story: Treos suck. And the more serious moral is that Apple is quickly redefining the cellphone experience in a lot of ways - most importantly (in my view) with regards to responsiveness and how quickly bugs are fixed.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Beginning the Comeback

I'm back (for the moment). Last week I finally finished the big project that occupied virtually all of July and now I'm starting to emerge from the fog it left me in. Hooray. So where was I a week and a half ago? Oh yeah - waiting for the iPhone update. Well, it came out last Monday and sure enough, it fixed virtually everything that was initially wrong with the phone. Still no MMS, still no copy/paste, but otherwise pretty darned complete. It'll be nice to see what they start adding - they already somehow added a feature yesterday that allowed .Mac publishing from the photo/camera app. It must have been timebombed to appear yesterday after the Apple announcements.

Which, by the way, were worthy stuff. The new iPhoto has a very spiffy interface that takes full advantage of CoreGraphics, iMovie's had a radical makeover, and the other iApps have gotten new goodies and facelifts. iWork now has a spreadsheet, Pages can do revision tracking and supports Office 2007's file format, and Keynote got some more graphic goodies. If Pages could save natively in .doc format (instead of exporting) I'd have most of my clients switch suites (especially since Office 2008 for Mac has been delayed to January). As it is, I'm still interested in using iWork more.

The new iMacs are spiffy - they contain exactly what I expected them to (Intel=no major specification surprises anymore) but the look got prettied up and now looks kinda iPhone-influenced. The mini got some love with a Core2 upgrade, there's no more $999 box (not the greatest move, but my guess is the $999 iMac was so crippled it sold poorly), but best of all the Mac Pro and Xserve now have hardware RAID available and the AirPort Extreme now has GigE support. Spiffy.

At home, David's taken well to camp. For the first week or so he whined, but now he loves it. Other than that I don't have a lot of kid-related news for y'all. One thing we haven't done much of this summer has been getting him together with his friends, since now he goes to camp 5 days per week and we're away almost every weekend with activities or work. We're going to try and do some more of that the next few weeks as time permits before going away to MV again late in the month. He misses his friends.

And we hope to pick a painter for the fall repainting of our house this week. It's really in pretty rough shape right now.