A Pilgrim's Regress
(25 June - 4 July 2005)

4 July 2005
-4th of July seems even more inappropriate than usual in wartime, methinks.  Of course, these days it looks like it's always going to be wartime in this place.
-Oh, I did this the other day... you should too!  It takes about 5 seconds.

3 July 2005
-The Search of the Week is back!  However, I'm infinitely frustrated by the fact that some squiggles have infiltrated the very top of the page & refuse to go away.  I have tried re-creating this page about 17 times now without any success at all.  The demo page I made on my computer was fine, but it acquired the squiggles upon upload & refuses to give them up no matter what I do.  I'm more than a little upset about this, but so it goes.  So the re-launch of the Search is a bit marred, but you can still see the general content.  & if anyone has any ideas why the squiggles are there or what I can do to rid the page of them, please let me know!
-I think I approve of the move to release Boone, even though I personally like him as a player.  We need to dump some power hitters for pitching, & it's nice to see the front office at least recognize that moves must be made.  Still, telling the whole world you don't care about Boone anymore might not have been the best strategy for getting decent value for him...

2 July 2005
-"War of the Worlds" was like a great science fiction movie with the explanations sucked out of it.  Everything one wants in great science fiction was there, except all the explanations of what happens & why.  It left me feeling a little bit cheated, but I still enjoyed the movie a lot... which was a weird feeling to have all at once.
-I am all out of wack today.  Way out.
-Oh, & for those of you warring at home, looks like we've got the totally absurd, trumped-up reason to invade Iran all set to go.  A few former hostages see one photo after 26 years & are convinced that the man just elected President of Iran was a hostage-taker.  Give me a break.  But the Bush administration is taking these claims "very seriously"!!  When they're holding a face-to-face between the former hostages & the captured Iranian President, & the former admit they were wrong one by one, we'll have a big long debate about whether this was more or less absurd than the WMD issue.

1 July 2005
-As though he had heard my trade rumors from yesterday's post, Adrian Beltre promptly made 3 errors in the game yesterday & allowed the A's to sweep the M's in sad fashion.  I got to enjoy 3.5 blissful innings of a Seattle lead this time & back-to-back homers by Ibanez & Boone, but otherwise it was unearned runs galore.  & then our bullpen not doing so well.  When I said our bullpen was okay, I think I just meant that Hasegawa, Nelson, & Guardado are good.  We need a lefty other than Villone (Matt Thornton is terrible) & we could use a bona fide long reliever (in games where Ryan Franklin starts, this guy could start warming up at game-time!).  Oh well.  I had fun at the games, but it's depressing to watch your team get swept in someone else's ballpark.  Everyone around you is so happy & you're just sitting there miserable.  So it goes.  See you again in September, Mariners.  Hopefully you'll have some great young pitchers & a couple fewer power hitters then.
-Re-enter Fish.  Seems that Guatemala treated him well, the requisite sickness notwithstanding.  A world traveler he has been this year.
-The Supreme Court fakes Rehnquist, then goes O'Connor!  Everyone, please let me pre-empt your complaints with a reminder that no Supreme Court of the US will ever ever ever overturn Roe v. Wade.  Now I personally am rather neutral (to slightly leaning "right") on this issue, but I know there are many out there who really believe that this is somehow the most important political issue out there.  This fact alone makes me gag, but practically you should know that this decision just won't be undone.  The Supreme Court would never want to create that kind of chaos in the country.  & there would be chaos.  Refusal to enforce the ruling, widespread panic, talk of secession, it would be a mess.  & no one, no matter how conservative, would really do that.  & before you say "civil rights", keep in mind that the civil rights movement was not about taking something away, but about giving something more.  Yes, there was popular opposition to it in some places, but it was really about making rights in the 1960's conform to what people thought they were going to be in the 1860's.  Your precious ruling will stand forever.  & there will probably not be a Court for ages that will mandate gay marriage, no matter what people you put on there.  So knowing that the Court will stay crazy-centrist, just stop worrying please.
-One of PIRG's greatest problems, at least in the summers, has been & will probably always be the hiring of incompetent people.  It's almost a tradition.  At least people like Emily can bail out the folks who are hurt by said incompetence.

30 June 2005
-I have long advocated sending Ryan Franklin back to Tacoma, if not to San Antonio.  I was almost tempted not to even attend last night's game when I found out he was getting the start, just because I can't stand him.  He's soooo bad.  18-38 in the last 3 years going into last night's game... & he promptly made it 18-39.  Who thinks he should still be a major league pitcher?  I don't think there's a starter in Tacoma who would do as badly as this man.  The M's dropped to 0-3 in my presence this year, & are rapidly melting down overall.  If there was any question about them buying or selling before the trade deadline, I sadly have to admit it's time to sell.  Fortunately, Bill Bavasi's utter incompetence in signing two NL power hitters to come play in an AL pitcher's park can work to our advantage now.  Because we need pitching.  LOTS of pitching.  Unless the team's going to buy Jamie Moyer a new arm for his 50th birthday, it's time to get a totally new staff.  We can let Meche & Pineiro try to work out the kinks.  & the bullpen's fine.  Then we need 3 new arms.  Or at least 2, when Madritsch gets healthy.  I say we dump Beltre (though his homer was exciting last night) & Sexson for two great starters & some base-stealers.  There isn't a contending team in baseball that wouldn't dump their AAA starting staff, no matter how exciting or highly-rated for putting those bats in their lineup.  & then we could solve a problem we've had since we sold Freddy Garcia in a fire sale.  If the last ten years in baseball don't tell you that you need to build your team around pitching (especially when you play in one of the most cavernous parks in baseball!), then I don't know what game you've been watching.  Sorry for the rant, but I really feel like I should apply for Bill Bavasi's job instead of the things I'm actually looking at.  As far as being a day-to-day fan, I'm heading for a third dose of punishment in just a few hours.  I really wouldn't mind seeing another 90-loss season if it had some trades that guarantee we won't be in a rut of 90-loss seasons for years to come...
-Knowing the M's history of General Manager decisions though, we'll probably slip in a deadline deal trading Ichiro to Boston for Heathcliff Slocumb.  & while the 6-2 score yesterday may not look like a Ryan Franklin disaster, keep in mind that it was 4-0 after 2 innings, & the M's, who were down almost the whole game on Tuesday, had to play from way down again.  Suffice it to say that starting the game in a demoralized hole is the kind of gift only Ryan Franklin (or Moyer on a rare off-night) can give that consistently.

29 June 2005
-Well Ichiro hit the second pitch of last night's game over the right-center wall.  After that, it was all Oakland.  There were 6 other M's fans in my section & we celebrated for half an inning before the 8-1 clobbering we wound up with.  Zito pitched the way Moyer's been throwing all season & vice-versa.  Highlights included watching the M's take batting practice while leaning on the visitors' dugout & ... did I mention Ichiro hit a homerun?  He went 3-for-4 & Booney hit well... & there's always tomorrow!
-Did a massive year-in-review catch-up... on the past 2 years!  So now in the History section of the BP, you can check out reviews of 2003 & 2004, replete with top movies & books from each.  In making the movie list (finally), I've realized that I've only seen 10 movies that came out this year in theaters!  Way behind my typical 35+/year pace.  No wonder the movie industry says it's collapsing.  Of course there's been a real dearth of quality movies as compared to the 2004 list.  Hopefully this will pick up... right around the time I get a job & can afford those movies again.
-Oh, & Canada fully legalized gay marriage yesterday.  So if you've been excusing the US for being afraid of being on the cutting edge, it's time to stop.  It's really just time to stop excusing the US for all sorts of things.  Maybe it's just time to move to Canada.
-You may note that I've stopped writing descriptions of the top 5 movies of each year.  I'm not sure quite why, but it just seemed like it would be contrived to describe them in the past couple years.  That probably sounds odd, it probably is odd, & I may just write descriptions for the 10 films listed in '03 & '04 later.  But for now, full descriptions are only on the books.
-I'm probably just feeling very focused on this 'page since I have the extra time, the space from work, & putting up new material feels like such an accomplishment (even when it's relatively very minor)... but I'm considering bringing back the Search of the Week.  I was just reading over old entries of it & it was a fun time.  I know a few people used to enjoy it out there, & others even tried to search for things specifically to win the weekly award.  & while we're dusting off old relics from the long-neglected Imports section, it bothers me that of these 4 cities, Oakland is currently the coldest!  It's colder than Boston AND Astoria?  That's just not right!  No wonder I froze at the ballgame...

28 June 2005
-Well I'm making an effort to be more productive, & it's a good ol' 2 steps forward & 1 step back kindofathing.  But that's fine.  I have 8 apps out now... well it's technically 7 because I interviewed & then rejected the card job.  So 7 outstanding, & 8 total.  Which I think beats my total number of applications combined prior to this, lifetime.  What's that they say about the hardest job being getting a job?
-I think I may have devised a way to make one of the quizzes into a successful commercial venture.  The questions are:  1. Do I want to? & 2. Would anyone take me seriously?  I don't ever foresee really going gangbusters with a project like that, so maybe that's my problem right there.  All I know is September would make the perfect launch for this idea, commercial or not.
-M's in town today!  Very exciting...
-Updated the Animal Quiz Stats (Blue Whales still exceedingly rare) & BP People (posting still exceedingly rare).  I'm noticing that the latter of these pages is becoming more of a blogging graveyard than a place to find live links.  Granted that the folks who update are doing so pretty regularly, but the number of folks who don't update is getting larger.  I also am just surprised by how few of my friends have webpages, overall.  It seems like the type of thing that everybody would be into, at least for a little while.  Of course I think that, though, because I've been so into it for so long.

27 June 2005
-Yesterday, my Dad got struck by lightning.  He's okay.  It was "ground lightning", so he didn't take a direct hit, but a nearby tree did & the electricity found him as its ground to release part of its charge.  He said that between hearing the thunder directly overhead & getting jolted by electric voltage, he thought that Albuquerque was getting nuked.  That was his working explanation for quite a while until he could get inside & talk to my Mom, who'd been inside & interpreted it as lightning... then they put what happened together.  Suffice it to say that I'm feeling awfully grateful, as are my parents.  According to what I could find on the internet, ground lightning is one of the more dangerous types of lightning & has a nasty habit of causing heart attacks.  For him to not even have been knocked unconscious is pretty exciting.  Though he was, to say the least, pretty shaken up.  & now that we can laugh about it, we can add it to the list of seemingly endless bizarre experiences in the family Clayton.
-I'd meant to post a few days ago (as many folks have already) about the shocking decision by the Supreme Court to extend imminent domain to the building of commercial, non-government enterprises.  I told Em about this when it broke (I've been her source for news with her constantly busy on the canvass) & she said "what's wrong with seizing corporate property as well as personal property?".  Because it was so unthinkable that what it really meant was building corporate property on the backs of bulldozed seized homes.  To be fair, the whole United States is built on the back of unfairly seized land, so maybe it makes sense that the tradition- & precedent-based Supreme Court would uphold such nonsense.  But it's one of the first decisions the Court has made in a long time with real relevance, & it's a big mistake.  It's basically just throwing the doors open & saying yes, we're a plutocracy.  If you have money, you have the right to steal from the poor to make even more money!  You do that!  Hopefully this one will get appealed to the... oops.

26 June 2005
Happy Birthday to Mom
-People can't seem to get enough of Tom Cruise & his Scientology & love & all that.  Part of me thinks it's really unfortunate that the guy is using Scientology as his platform for bashing the medication-driven angles of the mental health industry.  Because he's right about a lot of it, but for the wrong reasons.  So his arguments end up all over the media as a straw-man for anyone who believes against the orthodoxy of overmedication.  But then part of me is concerned that no matter what he says, he'd be portrayed as a wacko because our society is already so bought in to the Brave New World lifestyle that anyone who rails against it looks like a straw-man either way.  Which is creepy, & I don't want to believe it, but maybe there's truth to it.  The problem is Scientology, mucking up his arguments & actually making him wacko.  Oh well.  At least having done what I did for the past 2 years, I can know that even in the mental health industry, there are stalwart defenders of a zero-tolerance for psychotropic medications.  In that, there's hope.

25 June 2005
-Doodling around the internet today, I discovered that the NFL (no, not that NFL) has been archiving records I never knew about in the first place!  So old-school forensics folks, do you remember how some people used to keep track of NFL points & meticulously compete for them?  I don't think I had any clue what they were or how they were earned, but apparently there's a record of it all the same.  They even have a record of Emily's!  Figures she edged me out at the very end of our senior year... heh.  Anyway, apparently 1,000 points is some major plateau of "Quad-Ruby" status, so I can retroactively be happy about that.  Good for that crazy run in Congress in Minnesota!
-& while we're on debate history, I finally threw my hat into the APDAwiki ring.  I really do want to do that debate stories project too...
-The more I think about the missing persons thing I posted about a few days ago, the more it seems to get reaffirmed.  Soon I envision a news where we hear about no world leaders or foreign events, only a laundry list of the last 9,000 rich pretty people to go missing.

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