Archive for November, 2008

Thoughts on Bills/Niners

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

Just some thoughts on a painfully dull, painfully slow, and just plain painful 10-3 loss to the Niners this afternoon.

  • _Two_ bad interference calls on McKelvin? There was no illegal contact on either of those.
  • I doubt that Lindell could hit the upright twice in a row if he tried to. But when he’s trying not to, bam-bam it goes.
  • I think this was the first time this season I’ve heard someone mention that Losman was taken in the first round of the ’04 draft. Generally, they’re trying not to mention him as the ugly duckling to the round that produced Rivers, Roethlisberger, and Manning the Younger.
  • I know he’s going to get crucified for it, but going for it on 4th and 2 was a good call. It’s one of those deals where Jauron is a hero if it works and an idiot if it doesn’t. Look at Shanahan in week 1 vs. Herm Edwards in week 10 (?), both going for two to clinch a game.
  • I think I’d rather listen to a miked up drunken Cheektowaga polack in the stands than that announcing crew.
  • Lynch looked awesome.
  • So did Peters. I think he’s finally back in shape for the season after missing camp.
  • Is someone out there actually buying that American Ale crap?

The Bills are now 6-6, and most likely will miss the playoffs. Again. For my part, I’m now 42% (5/12) on my predictions from the beginning of the season.

I can’t believe they lost to half of the NFC West. That conference couldn’t get into the playoffs in the CFL, for crissake.

Bush’s Legacy

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

Apparently, the departing president is getting ready to deal with the media by warming up with an interview with his little sister.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/11/28/bush-reflects-on-legacy/

His biggest achievement? Leaving office with the same set of values that he came in with. Personally, I would think that managing to go through the last eight years without changing your mind on anything would be a sign of a stubborn, hidebound dullard, but I guess I’m wrong. I forgot that in the 2004 race, we learned that people who are adaptable or open to changing their mind are “wafflers” who should be derided for their weakness.

“Bush also indicated he hopes his legacy is evaluated on success in the War in Iraq, America’s efforts to combat AIDS, and the passage of Medicare legislation in 2003.”

He better hope so. Otherwise, it’s going to be evaluated on the botched Katrina response, the PATRIOT Act, warrantless wiretapping, massive deletion of government emails, misleading the country into an unfounded war, ignoring Afghanistan, and coining the word “misunderestimated”.

So long, jackass. I just hope the Chicago Messiah manages to do something useful beyond looting everyone’s wallets.

Holly Jolly

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/29/business/29walmart.html

I don’t really know what to say about this that hasn’t been said already.  Yadda yadda, consumerist society.  Yadda Yadda, true meaning of Christmas.  Yadda Yadda, downfall of western civilization.

I will say, though, that for the first time that I can recall, I have been actually physically repulsed by the quality and quantity of advertising this Christmas season.  Best Buy wants me to be “You, Happier”, apparently because I have traded them currency for a whole bunch of shit that manipulates electrons in new and wonderful ways.  Nintendo thinks a Wii will make my whole family become less disfunctional.  And car companies are urging me to trade my reliable old clunker for something new and bright and shiney, being sold for impossible percentages off “MSRP”

Stop. 

On Black Friday, I watched a movie and spent some time with family playing board games, sharing stories, and imbibing a few glasses of smashed grapes. 

Thirty-four-year-old Hatian temp worker Jdimytai Damour spent the day first stocking shelves at a Wal Mart, and then holding back the teeming throngs of thousands trying to make their way into the store.  And then failing.  And then giving his minimum-wage life in service of his company who couldn’t even be bothered to hire him on full time, or provide adequate security for its employees on the single busiest day of business for the year.

Merry.  Christmas.

Motown Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so I’ll be sacked out on the couch watching yet another thrashing of the poor, helpless Detroit Lions. It’s like watching a greyhound bus smash into a jersey barrier on the side of the highway; sure, you know you ought to help, but it’s just too compelling a spectacle to do anything but gape at.

(Sadly, the Jets had to go and beat tomorrow’s Lions tamers, the Titans. I was salivating for a chance to see a 11-0 team play against 0-11.)

The truly amazing thing is that the Lions have managed to be so consistantly horrible for so long. The NFL is predicated on the idea of parity, that any team can win on any given Sunday. Every team has the same salary cap, so every team has the same budget to pay players. Bad teams are given better draft picks, so the talent pool on every roster should equalize over time. Aside from division matchups, most teams play drastically different schedules from year to year.

And still, with all of this help built into the very fabric of the league, they still manage to suck. The horrible drafts of the Millen Era. Barry Sanders retiring early just to get out of the circus. Betting the farm on Joey “I got cut from the 1-15 Dolphins” Harrington.

Just thinking about it makes me thankful to be a Bills fan. Happy Thanksgiving indeed.

Dean

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

At 11:50 last night, after a fun-filled day in the labor and delivery ward at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, my son was born.

Dean Xavier. Eight pounds, twelve ounces, twenty one and three-quarters inches. Healthy as can be. I’ll post pictures when I have time to get them off of the camera; I came home to catch a couple of hours of sleep, and I’m headed back in right now.

“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’”

–Kurt Vonnegut

_God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater_

Mmmm, Crow

Monday, November 24th, 2008

As some of you may recall, and many of you will note, Adam posted an entry a few days ago regarding some new videa game thingie, “Live for Speed”.  And I, Luddite that I am, fairly disregarded it.  For reasons that I may share later, I was home Sunday without much to do, and decided to give it a shot.  With my 256K ISP (Wildblue) the Demo program D/L’d in about 45 minutes.  After a quick installation and a read-through of the limited documentation, I was off.

My computer barely meets the requirements of the game (Its a 2-3 year-old Dell with something just nudging the 1Ghz mark in clock rate) so I had to crank back most of the graphics.  And, contrary to the recommendations of the game, I had only a Sidewinder Joystick, not a wheel.  No matter.  Adam was precisely on-point when he said this is one of the most accurate and realistic driving simulations out there.  Car control is way better than any other sim I’ve played, with actual proportional throttle and brake control, as well as steering.  With the Demo mode, you get two cars, a FWD (similar to a Suzuki Swift GTi) and a RWD (similar to a Mazda RX-7) and the dynamics seem very realistic. 

I’m not great at the game- I plowed through the training sessions that were avaialble in the demo mode last night, with my skill set mostly in the “Quick” range (the game ranks you on your performance, from “OK” to “PRO” with “Quick” in between).  And with my barely-adequate box, the sessions involving more than just my car were a trifle jittery.  I managed to massage the settings enough to make it playable, but some extra guts would make it much more livable.  I’m running in 640×480 mode, which makes most of the text unreadable, so you don’t ever really know how fast you’re going, either.  😉

Still, I found it moderately addictive, and realistic enough to make it a worthwhile waste of an afternoon.  My only real gripe is the poor damage modeling, though as the game is, as Adam says, more geared to the racing enthusiast and not the crash-em-up gamer, this is forgiveable.  Also, some of the in-game instructions and what-not suffered from a mild case of Chingrish, but it was always understandable.

Thoughts on Bills/Chiefs

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

A few quick thoughts on the Bills’ confidence-restoring 54-31 drubbing of the hapless Chiefs.

  • It’s amazing that a team that’s been as bad as the Chiefs for as long as they have is still pulling a crowd like that. Contrast that with the Jags, who aren’t selling out anything except for the tarp supply in Florida.
  • What the hell was up with the pass to Royal in the end zone on the first drive? Trent has thrown a ball before, right?
  • On the same drive, kudos to Dick “Braaaaaaaaaaaaaains” Jauron for going for it on the fourth down. With Marshawn in Beast Mode, there’s no _way_ he was getting stopped.
  • Oh, so that’s why we drafted McKelvin as a cornerback. Between him and McGee, I’m pretty happy with the NFL’s only all-Irish defensive backfield.
  • The Chiefs sure don’t seem to have a lot of confidence in their special teams coverage, judging by their reluctance to kick to our primary receivers.
  • Jason Peters seems to finally have his act together, which is nice to see. I don’t think he’s going to be hitting the Pro Bowl again this year, but he’s back to adequate.
  • Mitchell must have tweaked something in the Browns game; he’s just not finishing his tackles properly today.
  • Another week, another crap “late hit” call. It was good to see Gonzalez get whacked on the next play after that pushing-Wilson-into-the-receiver stunt.
  • Trent Edwards has a good running game, and isn’t afraid to take a hit. I admit, though, I just about swallowed my heart on those rushes of his.
  • Lee Evans is back in the game plan. And, as much as I never thought I would ever have a reason to say this, it’s good to see Reed back this week.
  • Marcus Stroud is not a runner. His attempt at a fumble return reminded me of the Sam Adams touchdown a few years back; like watching a tractor trailer racing against a bunch of stock cars.
  • I love all of the receptions for our tight ends. We’re finally getting over the loss of Everett last season — he was supposed to be our Gonzalez or Gates, but we know how that turned out.
  • Not related to this game: What would we a worse job next year, being the new head coach of the Raiders or of the Lions? The Raiders have better personnel, but then you’re working for Crazy Old Man Davis.

The Bills are now 6-5, tied for third in the AFC East, and I’m 45% (5/11) on my predictions from the beginning of the season.

Why Congress Doesn’t Work

Friday, November 21st, 2008

An anonymous commentor on another blog I visit had this to say about our legislative branch of government.  I thought it fairly amusing, and thus am sharing it here, in the absence of any original wit on my part:

“At 435 members w/ 2 year election cycles, the US House of Representatives is like a huge call-center staffed by temps. Any wanker can get in, and with that many people, it takes all sorts of silly alliances to get anything done (hence: Pork).

At 100 members w/6 year election cycles, the Senate is like a like the executive floor in a big company. Bigwigs that probably did something impressive in the past, but grow increasingly out of touch over time.”

Traffic Jam

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

According to this article, there’s a huge traffic jam in Long Beach right now. That’s the main port on the west coast for delivery of new cars from Asian factories, and now they’re coming off of the container ships and just sitting there. The dealers don’t want them. The backlog is so drastic that Mercedes, Nissan, and Toyota have requested to rent space at the port, since there’s no other place to put the cars.

Similarly, the port is amassing huge piles of cardboard and paper. Normally, this is shipped back in the cargo ships to China where it is recycled and turned into packaging for disposable plastic crap to sell at Wal-Mart. But they’re scaling back production, too, so the cardboard just piles up.

I guess this is what it looks like when an economy starts freezing up.

A new addiction

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Our Kart season has ended but the racing will continue.  Live for Speed and AJ’s Grand Prix will get us through the winter months.  LFS is an online racing simulator that is geared to the racing enthusiast not the crashm’ up gamer and AJ’s Grand Prix is an Indoor kart facility.

Some of our club members have been honing their skills on racing simulators for years.  I have always been more of a console gamer than computer gamer.  Mostly because until high speed internet was widely available online simulators were slow and would often crash(no pun intended).  I had the first 3 Grand Turismos in my opinion the best console racing simulators.  I downloaded LFS last week and I couldn’t stop playing.  The graphics were great, the cars handle with a great deal of realism,  and there is a wide varity of cars tracks and styles of racing.

I decided to go through all the Demo version training.  This gives you a good baseline for how the cars handle and some driving tips.  In the demo you have access to 3 cars.  A fwd hatch, a rwd coupe, and a formula BMW.  I’m sure for licencing reasons that some cars are generic and some are not.  The training takes you through all 3 cars and all the available terrain.  This includes a road course, an autocross lot, and a ralley course(are you drooling yet Pitt?).  Once I passed all of them and played against the computer for a while it was time to try a little live action.  I didn’t set any track records but I wasn’t getting lapped either.  I was about 4 seconds off the leader’s pace but I did make a few passes and mixed it up a bit.  The only glitch was when we were in a pig pack the screen would shutter a bit.  From what I read this is some what common.  It wasn’t horrible just noticeable.

I think we are going to have club meetings at AJ’s just because.  It was a whare house that was converted into a gokart track.  It is a road course that a skilled driver can get around in 23-24 seconds.  This will keep our skill set tight and fend off our withdrawl and DT’s.  The karts are similar to what we race.  They have 7hp Honda’s on Sodi Karts chassi.  They are not as fast as our race karts, but this place is open to the public so safety is a concern.  Still these karts are quicker than what you might find at an amusement park or a put/batting cage/gokart/arcade place ala JNC.  Until our next meeting I will have to keep racing on line.